Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon

I’ve been approached multiple times by family members to listen/watch a 4+ hour discourse on a new theory surrounding the Book of Mormon geography that claims the actual Hill Cumorah is in New York.

The attached article is written in defense of anti-Mormon and anti-Book of Mormon critics. However, found within the text of the article is the basis for, in my opinion, the soundest approach to the Book of Mormon geography.

Although this article is more than 20 years old, it’s worth reading again.

Click here for the article.


The Emotional Intelligence of Joshua & Caleb

In Numbers 14 we read about the 12 spies of Israel sent into the Promised Land to scope out Israel’s eventual homeland. No mention is made if they hired Realtors or not, although they drafted two reports as a result of the trip. One report by Joshua and Caleb and one report by the other ten.Joshua_Promised_Land

One can infer from the text that each man sent was one of his tribes best. However, no mention is made of the requirements, qualifications, or skills needed to be the best. Were they the smartest (IQ), most charismatic, strongest, loudest, most pious, richest, or was it based on nepotism, they were the oldest of the tribes literal lineage to whichever son of Israel bore the name of the tribe?

Scripture Study

How do you study your scriptures? Scripture_study

Almost always by topic. I read or hear something and I follow the natural process of inquiry. For example, teach vs. tell, heart and mind, conflict vs. contention, apostasy, and Bible prophecies of the Book of Mormon. These are typically things that occur during everyday life and I want to know more about it. Another good example is how my wife, Cheri, found the 12-steps of addiction recovery within Nephi’s lament a couple of years ago. The skill of researching leads to deeper understandings and more fulfilling experiences when studying.

I Do No Think That WORD Means What You Think It Means

This is an excerpt from a Brant A. Gardner book review.

Of course, the correct quotation of Inigo Montoya’s famous line in The Princess Bride is “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Unfortunately, it made too long a title, though in homage to Richards and O’Brien’s book, I have substituted the culturally defined Word for its more common reference. That is precisely the message of the book. You keep reading that Word. It doesn’t mean what you think it means. From their introduction:

The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

As the story was related to me, many years ago, as a missionary, Elder Jack Welch was admiring the stain glass art work in a German Cathedral. This particular glasswork depicted the parable of the Good Samaritan. It was then he connected the meaning of the parable to the Plan of Salvation. Years later and many hours discussing and pondering his discovery, this is my understanding of the Savior’s immortal words. My thanks to Brother Welch’s insights.

The parable is found in Luke 10:25-37

The Jaredite Civil Wars

The Jaredite Civil War

According to Ether, over 2 million men, plus their wives and children perished during the final civil war on just one side (Ether 15:2). It is difficult to comprehend, using modern warfare tactics of the 19th – 21st Centuries, how two armies can battle down to 30 people (Ether 9:12) before someone decides to end the battle.

The difference lies in war strategy and technology. Today, we can target specific people, however, when the leader falls, another takes his place. In the days of the Jaredites, the war ended with the death or capture of the king. The preferred methodology was capture. Consider how many sons imprisoned their fathers or vice versa, and kept them there until they died or were freed.

Ishmael & Isaac

I received a series of questions from an old acquaintance. Here are the responses:

Dear Friend,

It’s good to hear from you again. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

Q:        Ishmael was the first son, why doesn’t he have the birthright?

A:         Ishmael was born to Abraham through his handmaiden Hagar, a servant. As such, he had no right to the birthright. Isaac was born to Sarah, Abraham’s first wife and thus inherited the birthright of his father.

General Conference Notes April 2012

Here are some highlights of General Conference. I was unable to take notes in every session.

Elder Bednar (Priesthood session)

  1. The most distinguishing feature of the church is the divine authority of the priesthood. (David O. McKay)
  2. There can be no true church without the proper authority.
  3. We are agents to act as priesthood holders and not to be acted upon. It is our obligation to be actively and anxiously engaged in God’s kingdom.
  4. We violate our priesthood covenant when we do nothing. It is the same as not being worthy.

Isaiah’s shock and awe

Perhaps the most well known Isaiah passage concerning messianic prophecy is found in 2 Nephi 19:6 which is the equivalent of Isaiah 9:6. Let’s set up the passage first. Isaiah is dealing with King Ahaz and in his prophetic utterings Isaiah wants to shock the king with his futuristic insights. “Therefore,” quoting Isaiah, “the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Did Isaiah have restrictions on him?

Given the heavenly restrictions under which Isaiah operated, his message was deliberately obscure, much like the Savior, Who spoke in parables. Isaiah cloaked his message so only those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, can.

Why does the Lord restrict access to truth and gospel principles to His children? For the same reason disciplinary courts are benevolent acts of charity. Knowledge and priesthood authority without the requisite understanding puts the holder under greater condemnation for misuse.

Who has seen the full History of the World?

Isaiah is not the first person to be given access to the prophetic future of the world. Adam saw the history of the world but we don’t have his record. Enoch saw it too, however, he only described the highlights such as the Great Flood, the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the 2nd coming of Christ[1]. After the Tower of Babel, the Brother of Jared (Mahonri-Moriancumer) saw the history of the world from the creation to the end of the millennium, but that record is sealed along with the remaining part of the Nephite record[2].

Can the Holy Ghost be in more than One Place?

Knowing as we do that the Holy Ghost is the Minister of the Father and the Son—appointed by them, because he is a spirit, he performs a special service to mankind. He delivers truth and light through the Light of Christ and his influence can dwell in each of us simultaneously. In other words, the influence of the Holy Ghost can be everywhere at the same time.

However, no member of the Godhead dwells in us in the literal sense, but all of them dwell in us figuratively to the extent that we are like them. If we have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16), which we receive by the power of the Holy Ghost, then Christ dwells in us. (McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, pg. 271-2.)

The Antiquity of Baptism

Baptism carries an interesting connotation when speaking to people who consider themselves Christian in the Protestant and Catholic fashion.

With few exceptions, the ordinance of baptism has been distorted so dramatically that the only two features of origin still remaining are the presence of the person being baptized and the substance of water. Other concepts such as power and authority, mode, meaning, age, metaphors, similes, and purpose are lost and forgotten.

The Promised Blessings of Virtue

Our ward has challenged each family to achieve the Virtue Value award.

The first written requirement is to write the promised blessings of being sexually clean and pure. Here is my response:

What are the promised blessings of a virtuous life?

  • Such a life can be summoned up with the constant presence, influence, and sanctification of the Holy Ghost.
  • It will allow me to have the influence of the Light of Christ in my mind and in my heart. This is the same power and influence that created the world.