Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Book of Mormon and the X haplogroup….again

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Although this point has been hit on quite a bit, I’d like to add a few points to the discussion of the X haplogroup as evidence for The Book of Mormon. I am not a geneticist, but Ugo Perego, a leading geneticist who has published on the X haplogroup, assisted with the article, and had the final say of it’s content. I’d also like to add that this is not meant to attack anyone, but to just present the facts.
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Review: Joseph Smith, The Prophet (Illustrated Edition)

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Title: Joseph Smith, The Prophet (Illustrated Edition)
Author: Truman G. Madsen
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Non-fiction
Year Published: 2010
Number of Pages: 248
Binding: Hardcover
ISBN13: 978-1-60641-224-4
Price: $49.99

Reviewed by Trevor Holyoak

As a youth, I got to know Joseph Smith a little through reading things such as Joseph Smith History in The Pearl of Great Price, Truth Restored, and parts of the Documentary History of the Church. I then got to know the prophet better as a missionary by listening to bootleg tapes of Joseph Smith the Prophet by Truman Madsen that were passed around the mission. I enjoyed them so much that when I returned home, I bought a legitimate set of the tapes.
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Another look at Barley in The Book of Mormon

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Since the discovery among the Hohokam archaeological sites in Arizona in 1983, it has been discovered that little barley (Hordeum pussilum) is native to the Americas. It was first discovered in the “Midwest during the Middle Archaic period, at two locationally close sites. The earliest record came from the Koster North site in central west Illinois, dating to 7,300 B.P. Hordeum pusillum also occurred at the Napoleon Hollow site, beginning at 6,800 B.P.” 1

Archaeologists are now finding barley in several sites all over North America. Barley has now been discovered in archaeological sites in the following places: Arkansas 2, Iowa 3, Illinois 4, Missouri 5, North Carolina 6, Oklahoma 7, Wisconsin 8, and Mexico 9
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Gospel Principles Chapter 8: Praying to Our Heavenly Father

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This week’s lesson is on prayer. Below is a list of links taken from the main FAIR web site and the FAIR Wiki, which may help in discussing possible questions or issues that could potentially come up while studying this topic. Again, please note that by providing these resources we are not suggesting that they be included in any lessons taught. Rather, they are intended to be used as helps by the instructor or participating class members in case the issues do come up during class or personal study.

Beth T. Spackman, “In 3 Nephi 19, we read that some Nephites prayed to Jesus. Is it proper to pray to him?,” Ensign, June 1988.

Are we allowed to pray to our “Heavenly Mother?”

Praise in Prayer and Song

Moroni’s promise

Gaylen Hinton, “I need help in praying for and receiving guidance and personal revelation.,” Ensign, October 1993, 60.

Burning in the bosom

Blake T. Ostler, “Spiritual Experiences as the Basis for Belief and Commitment,” 2007 FAIR Conference.

Northwest College and LDS student recruitment

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Recently there has been some commotion about a recruiting letter to LDS at Northwest College in Powell Wyoming. You can read about it in the Billings Gazette here and here.

Working at a college myself, I recognize that some of the issue has nothing to do with Mormons but was a way to express displeasure with the College President who happens to be LDS. Nevertheless, the comments as represented in the press,  certainly pose some troubling questions. Is it a violation of state law to send recruiting material to students if those students belong to a religious organization? Did some faculty and students use this opportunity to vent their anti-Mormon feelings? Does this now create a hostile educational environment for LDS students at Northwest College? Is Northwest College showing intolerance toward the LDS?
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More on Flamewars….

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A couple of weeks ago, I commented on similarities between Microsoft’s Best Buy  PowerPoint  versus Open Source Advocates flamewar  on the one hand, and the strife between Mormons and their critics on the other.  While in the this, Microsoft represented the anti-Mormon element of the non-LDS community, and Latter-day Saints paralleled the Open Source community, there are many places where the comparison utterly breaks down.

For one thing, the non-LDS community is not the monolithic body that Microsoft is.  This is even (especially?) true of the non-LDS Christians. As non-LDS Christians vary from the liberal Jim Wallis to the conservative Pat Robertson–and beyond, the Open Source community vary from the almost-Marxist Richard Stallman to the libertarian Eric Raymond.  Latter-day Saints, on the other hand, aren’t nearly as diverse, politically; they are the most conservative faith in the USA.

While the Open Source community was the target of false information this time, as I stated in my previous entry, for the most part, it is Microsoft that is falsely accused of being a monopoly by the FOSS community–with assistance from American and European authorities. This antipathy toward Microsoft by open source advocates was denounced by Linux creator, Linus Torvalds–and it perfectly mirrors anti-Mormon antipathy against the Church and its members.

Indeed, either side of one battle can easily find similarities to either side of the other. 

Just as Microsoft provides tech support for users of Linux,(and there are programmes to repair Windows in Linux!) most non-LDS Christians are willing to work with the Church in errands of mercy (and vice versa!). I am grateful for the extended support the Salvation Army gave to LDS clean-up crews (of which I was a part!) when F-5 tornadoes struck the Kissimmee, Florida area about a dozen years ago.

I think these examples of cooperation demonstrate that there need be no flamewars in either computers or religion!

Gospel Principles Chapter 7: The Holy Ghost

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Due to the number of questions that have been submitted through FAIR’s “Ask the Apologist” feature that have coincided with the lessons taught in Relief Society and priesthood quorums from the Gospel Principles manual so far this year, we are starting a series of blog posts that will address potential issues in each lesson. Please note that by providing these resources we are not suggesting that they be included in any lessons taught. Rather, they are intended to be used as helps by the instructor or participating class members in case the issues do come up during class.

Chapter 7: The Holy Ghost

The Holy Ghost Came to Adam and Eve

Depending on how far you get into Moses 5 (the entire chapter is listed under “Additional Scriptures”), several different issues could come up:

Procreation Before the Fall
Original Sin
Wayward Family Members
Sons of Perdition
The “curse of Cain” and “curse of Ham”

Attributes of the Holy Ghost

Who is the Holy Ghost? Has he or will he receive a physical body?
Divinity without a body
Joseph Smith/Office of the Holy Ghost

The Mission of the Holy Ghost

Testimony and doubt reconciliation
Burning in the bosom
Prayer as a means for determining truth

Please feel free to comment about any other potential issues I may have missed.

Zelph in relation to Book of Mormon geography

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In June of 1834 during Zions Camp march to Missouri, human bones were discovered in a mound by a few of the members of the march about a foot underneath the surface. Joseph Smith stated that these were the bones of Zelph, a white Lamanite. Seven members of the camp recorded the experience that day, each one differing from the rest. Dr. Lund quotes from Kenneth Godfrey that all the accounts agree on the following points:
“(1)…members of Zion’s camp, traveling through Illinois, unearthed skeletal remains of a man, 2 June 1834 near the top of a large burial mound; (2) Joseph Smith learned what he knew about the skeletal remains by way of a vision after the discovery; (3) the man was a white Lamanite named Zelph, a man of God, and a great warrior who served under known leader named Onandagus; (4) Zelph was killed by the arrow found with his remains in a battle with the Lamanites” 1

Some have argued the original version of Zelph which was recorded was actually corrected by Joseph Smith, and it was the flawed account that made it into the History of the Church, thereby casting doubt of it’s accuracy. While there were changes in the Zelph story2, they do not change the basis of the claims of the incident that there were Lamanites and Prophets in North America. Continue reading

Book of Mormon geography in Joseph Smith’s day

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Joseph Smith made several comments concerning Book of Mormon geography throughout his life which support both a North American setting1, and Central American setting. Not only this, but he allowed several opinions of North, South, Central, and Hemispheric geography of The Book of Mormon to be published, taught, and re-published without any correction. I believe this can be explained that Joseph did not *know* exactly where The Book of Mormon took place, so as he and others read about and learned traditions of any Indians that resembled anything in The Book of Mormon, they assumed that they were part of Book of Mormon people. It seems they believed that The Book of Mormon took place over all of the Western continent so any and all Indian cultures in North and South America (the Hemispheric geography theory), were Book of Mormon peoples. I believe this because the statements made in Joseph Smiths lifetime are consistently all over the Western Hemisphere, and not secluded to one area over the other. Continue reading