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November 28, 2021

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Jared HancockDecember 25, 2014

In this article, there was a quote shared about "allow[-ing] the Book of Mormon to be taken as simultaneously modern and fictional, on the one hand, and miraculous and inclusive of authentic ancient material on the other." Whether the Book of Mormon is 'from heaven, or of men' is thus set aside. We are continually being told there are no definitive answers-- we are admonished by such statements as these to answer religious truth claims by the universal catch-all 'we cannot tell'. I am persuaded by the points Ralph Hancock has made in this article. He really nailed it on the head the things that are going on among Mormon intellectuals.

John KammeyerDecember 23, 2014

So what we have are the same secular Progressives who have ruined the rest of the liberal arts setting up shop in Mormon Studies. Believing Mormons are free to attend, so long as they keep their beliefs to themselves, raise their hands before asking a question, and do not deviate from the secular curriculum. The teachers will be affable and tolerant so long as no disturbing questions are asked. Nibley would be, (and I am sure he is), appalled.

Ben JonesDecember 23, 2014

Many years ago, I read a book called "Jews, God, and History" by Max Dimont that took the approach that for the purposes of the historian, it did not matter whether Abraham or Moses really had an encounter with God but rather that the Jewish people believed they did and acted upon that belief. That enabled the skeptical reader to get immersed in the history without having to deal with the question of whether it was founded on true events. I found it very stimulating reading though I was not a believer at the time. I did have this nagging question though: How do you believe so that you can reap the benefits of that belief that the Jews seemed to have, their sense of community and as an indirect result, having an influence on history far out of proportion to their numbers? A few years later, encountering Mormons for the first time, I had a similar reaction: I was impressed at the achievements of the Mormons but wondered how they ever got people to go along with the Church in the first place. In retrospect, it was kind of like the Alma 32 discussion of Faith in the Book of Mormon: Accept what make sense to you and it may lead to an enlargement of your soul that enables you to accept more of God's teachings.

PhilDecember 23, 2014

For some time now it has appeared that too many in the Church are willing to "go along to get along." Such an attitude seems to be growing.

AllanDecember 23, 2014

What I find interesting is that so few comments are posted in response to a thoughtful and rich essay such as this, whereas elsewhere, on many other blogs dealing with things Mormon (the "bloggernacle" and beyond), seemingly endless streams of comments pour forth in response to the seemingly endless streams of pain narratives, axe-grinds, traffic-baits, prophet critiquing, and other self-interested posturing.

JackDecember 22, 2014

Thank you, bro. Hancock. This is wonderful. Couldn't the MI just offer two journals? One dedicated to religious studies and the other to Mormon studies?

Peter BellvilleDecember 22, 2014

Similar issues involve the Binle as well as the Book of Mormon.

Mike MansfieldDecember 22, 2014

I agree, it really is counter-productive to "expand" the appeal of the Church to only scholarly research (defined by those scholars) at the expense of defending the spiritual faith, light and understanding that the most real part of us (our spirits) understands as truth.

Carl CoxDecember 22, 2014

In my 20 years or so study of the translation of the Book of Mormon, I have found that there is ample evidence, from my scientific perspective, to lay all controversy to rest. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery declined to give any account of the translation, and the comments of Cowdery need to be understood in that context. There are quite a few witnesses to the translation process that are in great agreement. These can be found in "Opening the Heavens, Accounts of Divine Manifestations, 1820-1844", edited by John W Welch. (It would have been great to have that collection when I began my research, but I found all the major accounts of the translation process before I found that book.) The other part of evidence comes from Royal Skousen's Critical Project of the Book of Mormon. One very interesting and important point is that there are no words in the translation that entered the English Language after the 1600s. This indicates that the actual translation of the Book of Mormon into English had to occur in the 1600s, or at least by someone who had learned English in that time period. This removes Joseph Smith entirely from any input into the translation process, as he would have no way of knowing which common words came into the language after that time. For a paper on that topic, go to and at the bottom of the first page click on the word "stuff". I can be contacted through that web site.

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