Saturday, August 29, 2009

Communalism vs. Communism

The LDS Church in its beginning practiced a type of economic system called the United Order based on the example and teachings of Jesus Christ and the Early Christian Saints. What is the United Order? The United Order is a type of Communalism or communal living where members of the church live as the Early Christian Saints lived "with all things in common." This economic system should not be confused with Marxist Communism. There are important differences between Christian Communalism and Marxist Communism. It is also interesting to examine why the LDS Church and other Christians no longer attempt to observe communalism as the Early Christians did.

Remember that Paul said by the Levitical Priesthood is nothing made perfect. And remember that the rich young man asked Christ what he had to do to gain eternal life and after reciting the requirements of the law, he asked "what lack I yet?" Upon which Christ responded, "Sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor, and come and follow me." Christ was explaining the oath associated with the higher covenant. Giving our whole souls too God and all we possess is called the Law of Consecration and it is by accepting and committing oneself too this covenant that a person can become fully sanctified and perfected in Christ.

We see evidence in the NT that the early Saints also had received this higher oath and covenant as the Bible says they lived with "all things in common." Now what this term is referring to is not the Law of Consecration itself, but an economic system LDS refer to as the United Order. This economic system which is a type of communalism is not necessary for an individual to observe the law of the consecration, but it empowers a community as a whole to observe and keep the covenant.

If the Early Saints lived the Law of Consecration and Communalism or the United Order, why don't we live this way now as Christians? The reason is actually the story of Thanksgiving.

When John Bradford and the Puritans came to America, they desired to establish a Zion or perfect society. As part of this, they desired to institute communalism as their economic system as they believed the Early Christians practiced it. Accordingly, they assigned 1/3 of the settlers to grow and farm the food, 1/3 to watch out for Indians, and 1/3 to look for gold. Well, you can guess what happened. Everyone wanted to look for gold and no one wanted to farm the food. Consequently, the Bishops storehouse which was the common store of the people was empty. Therefore, Jamestown Colony and the Puritan settlers suffered greatly.

Now, the reason for their suffering is not because Communalism is evil but because what the puritans practiced was probably not exactly what and how the Early Christians instituted the United Order. Additionally, this higher law does not function well in a society mixed with good and evil people. Because everyone has equal claim on the Bishops storehouse, inevitably, there will be idlers who refuse to work for their own support and leach off the resources of the community without making any contribution themselves.

So, what happened in Jamestown with the Puritans? The Colony leadership got together about this issue and after making prayerful consideration, felt inspired that they needed to revoke the United Order and re-nstitute the lesser Law of Tithing. Accordingly, everyone was given a plot of land and told that after they have given 10% to the Bishop's storehouse, whatever they grow in excess of their own needs, they can keep. Well, you can imagine what happened? The Jamestown Colony experienced immediate success and were blessed with abundance. They were blessed so much that the Puritans dedicated a feast day to God to give thanks for His blessings. And as a gesture of peace, they invited their Indian neighbors to participate. And this was the first Thanksgiving and why we observe the Law of Tithing in America and do not institute communalism as was practiced by the Early Saints.

Now, Communialism and the United Order is not Communism, at least how the Early Christians and how Joseph Smith was taught it. According to Joseph Smith's version, LDS saints enjoyed private land ownership and leadership were to labor with their own hands for their own support, although this labor often involved the full time job of operating the Bishops Storehouse itself. In that case, they were free to rely on the storehouse for their needs. They were not paid for preaching sermons on Sunday.

D&C 64: 23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.

Thus in both implementation and ownership and management of property, the United Order preserves to men their God-given agency, while socialism deprives them of it. . . . Socialism takes: United Order gives. -Marion G Romney, General Conference, 1966

D&C 51: 3-6 Wherefore, let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs. And let my servant Edward Partridge, when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, even this right and this inheritance in the church, until he transgresses and is not accounted worthy by the voice of the church, according to the laws and covenants of the church, to belong to the church. And if he shall transgress and is not accounted worthy to belong to the church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the bishop for the poor and needy of my church; therefore, he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him. And thus all things shall be made sure, according to the laws of the land.

The purpose of the United Order was to voluntarily humble the rich and bless and elevate the poor according to the pattern set out by the Early Christian Saints and according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. First and individual voluntarily gave away all their land, possessions and money of their own free will and choice without compulsion or coercion. In return they received a deeded stewardship and inheritance of land, possession and money according to their needs and righteous wants. The individual owned that stewardship and worked it and magnified it for the welfare of himself and his dependents. If there was any excess beyond the needs and righteous wants of him and his family, then that excess was returned to the bishops storehouse. But make no mistake, it was all voluntary and individuals had private property rights and could give their land to their heirs upon their death. That individual retained claim on the inheritance, even if they were excommunicated.

LDS Doctrine Responses

They make philosophical arguments against God, just like atheists do.They attack the Bible, just like atheists do.

LDS believe everything in the Bible is true and faithful. However, we recognize that some writings have been lost from the Bible, and that there are many Bible translations and even more interpretations that has led to many Christian denominations and non-denominations. IF you want an important doctrine that illustrates the problem with interpretation, look at Calvanism and the the doctrine of predestination.

Therefore, LDS believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated and interpreted correctly. This belief is hardly Bible bashing.

Mormons claim to believe in god, or gods ("plurality of gods"). But their belief seems to be no different than Caesar's claim to be God of ancient Rome. Just like ancient Rome, the "gods" Mormons believe in, and even the Heavenly Father "god" Mormons claim to worship, are nothing more than human beings, even the same "species" as ourselves, only recognized as having higher honour. There is no ontological difference between the Mormon "god[s]" and ourselves.

The Bible itself says that all men are the "offspring" of God or the same "kind, species, genus". This belief just teaches that God considers all mankind His children and not just fish in a fancy aquarium. And our belief in deification and theosis and that men are "gods in embryo" is Identical to the Early Christian Fathers who taught again and again "God became man so men could become gods."

This belief in eternal life and the deification of man has nothing to do with taking Gods place. God is a God of gods, King of kings, and Lord of lords. God is the Most High God. This doctrine just means that through Christ the children of God will be blessed to participate in the same creative work and eternal parenting that God Himself does. This is how the faithful in Christ will eventually know God and enjoy His fellowship.

The Mormon "god" can't "create" like the God of the Bible can, he can only "organize existing matter" (just like we humans can).

The Bible itself says that God organized the world and man from the dust. Paul describes God as the builder of all things, and the potter of the clay. The Bible says that "without God, nothing was make, that was made" suggesting that not everything required making. Somethings like intelligence and spirit have always existed and are co-existent, and co-eternal. The Bible in Greek uses verbs for create that suggest God "brought into being" and "put all things together" (sunstaken) and not "brought into existence".

This is especially important when it comes down to the creation of Satan and who is responsible. Because if God brought evil into existence than God is the Father of Evil. If God meerly Gave Satan his agency knowing what he would do with it, than God is an accomplice to mass spritiual murder. But since the intelligences and spirit are co-existent and have no beginning, and evil has always existed as spirit has then Satan is responsible himself for his rebellion after being given every opportunity for good. This resolves a major problem that athesists cite as the "problem of suffering and the problem of evil."

The Mormon "god" doesn't have the attributes of the God of the Bible (omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotency, invisibility, etc.), he is limited in time and space (just like we humans are).

God is the unification of the spiritual and the physical. Even spirit is not immaterial matter. Even spirit occupies space. But LDS know that if your being is composed of pure light, then you are a relativistic being and are not confined by time. God dwells in the eternal now where all things are present before Him. Therefore, a glorified and tangible being can have physical aspects without being limited by time and space. LDS do not confine God to classical Newtonian physics like this argument does.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Overcoming and Prevailing

The NT tells of the story when the apostles observe someone casting out devils in the name of the Lord Jesus but these people did not follow the Apostles. That is, they did not have the authority. The Apostles themselves were unsuccessful on one occasion trying to cast out a devil even with the correct authority. But Christ taught His apostles the importance of religious freedom and said "Forbid them not". In the OT Aaron and Moses say two elders of Israel without the camp prophesying. Moses was petitioned, "Moses, forbid them." But Moses said, "enviest thou for my sake, would that God would make all men prophets and put His spirit on them" (Num. 11: 25-29 ). So again we are taught that God would never forbid anyone from prophesying or casting out devils in His name even without His priesthood authority and sealing keys.

Mark 9:38-39 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

However, in another place in Acts we have several Jews, who used the name of the Lord Jesus to cast out evil spirits, but it says that the evil spirit lept upon them overcame and prevailed against them. Obviously it is no coincidence the words "prevail" and "overcome" are used here. Christ said if we were built upon His rock the gates of Hell would not prevail against us.

Acts 19:13-15 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

There are other instances of Hell prevailing, overcoming, making war with and killing the saints. The 4th beast or Roman Empire in Dan 7 was foretold to prevail and overcome and change the times and the laws of the gospel. John describes this same beast or kingdom with 10 horns would be given power to prevail and overcome. This same beast makes copies or images of itself and is given a mouth which preaches a false doctrine blaspheming God, his name, his tabernacle, and those in heaven.

Why would Christ permit the Saints to be overcome? Because they are not built upon His rock. And then Christ says there will be those who say Lord Lord and Christ will say He doesn't know them. Even confessing Christ is Lord is not enough to not be overcome and prevailed against. And even in works like prophesying, and casting out devils. So being built upon the rock has more to do with just calling Lord Lord, and more to do with works which Christ forbids none to do. So the only thing left is to look at the words of Christ to Peter and ask what is the rock, what more is necessary to not be overcome and prevailed against. And the answer is the sealing keys of the kingdom given to Peter.

Matt. 27: 21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

And it's the keys of the kingdom given to Peter and the sealing in the forehead spoken of in Revelation that will protect from being overcome in the day of tribulation and the day of judgement because the angel says the 4 angels unleashing the tribulation on the earth, "hurt not the earth, nor the trees, only those men who have not the sealing in their forehead" (Rev. 9: 4). This sealing power and authority is the priesthood restored after the great apostasy to the prophet Joseph Smith and to the 12 Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints.

Matt 16:18-19 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Who Were Christ's Other Sheep?

bJohn 10: 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Who were these "other sheep" Jesus Christ was referring to in the New Testament. Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon tells the Nephites that they were the "other sheep" with whom he was referring. However, Evangelicals interpret this scripture verse to be referring to the Gentiles. However, if you read the verse carefully, it is clear, that the verse cannot be correctly interpreted making it refer to the Gentiles.

First, Jesus Christ says that the people he is referring to are His sheep. The gentiles at the time Christ stated these words had not been converted yet, so they couldn't be considered his sheep. The Gentiles hadn't become sheep yet. According to the verse, this group were already sheep. The Nephites in the Book of Mormon on the other hand were already converted to the Lord Jesus and were awaiting his appearance in America. Therefore, the Nephites were already sheep while the Gentiles were not yet sheep.

In fact in Matt 10:5-7 Christ specifically tells the 12 Apostles to not preach to the Gentiles or even the Samaritans. The revelation to begin preaching to the Gentiles only was received after the gospel had gone to the Jews and the lost sheep of the House of Israel first, and then it was given to the Gentiles later. Therefore, the "other sheep" must have been also of the House of Israel and not the Gentiles because it wouldn't make any sense for Christ to tell the us in John 10 that these other sheep would hear His voice and then to tell the Apostles in Matt 10 to not preach unto the Gentiles.

Matt 10: 5-7 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Second, Christ tells us that these sheep would hear His voice. From the Book of Mormon we learn that the Gentiles never as a group heard Christ's voice directly but only indirectly through the preaching of the Apostles and the reading of scripture. Remember Christ said that he had only come to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. The Nephites in America were of the House of Israel and according to the Book of Mormon were blessed to see and hear Jesus Christ who appeared to them in America after his resurrection.

Matt. 15: 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Third. Jesus Christ directly implies that these other sheep were part of a specific fold. Christ says these "other sheep" were "not of this fold" which clearly suggests that Christ had a group of believers somewhere else in the world and that these sheep were already organized into a fold or into a body of believers. This cannot be talking about the Gentiles because the Gentiles in the parable of the wedding feast were likened to random people invited off the street. Therefore, Gentiles were not yet sheep and they were absolutely not part of any organized fold.

Matt 22: 8-10 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Conversely, the Nephites in America observed the Law of Moses, but also had a knowledge of Christ. These sheep in America recognized the sign of Christ's birth and were awaiting the sign of His death. The Nephites, unlike the Gentiles, were an organized body of believers who Christ appeared to and taught the same truths that he taught to the Old World Saints in the New Testament. And through the teaching recorded in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the believers in America and the believers in the Old World became one fold under One Shepherd.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Denying the Body of Christ

In Daniel 7, Daniel is shown 4 beasts or earthly kingdoms. Daniel is told the first kingdom represents Babylon, the second represents Persia, and the 3rd with 4 heads represents Greece. [Greece has 4 heads because the kingdom was divided into 4 after the death of Alexander the Great]. The 4th Kingdom was said to have been as big and terrible as all the other 3 kingdoms combined and it had 10 horns and a little horn. This greatest of kingdoms is the Roman Empire. The 10 horns are 10 emperors to Vespasian. The little horn is Vespasian's son General Titus who was responsible for destroying the temple at Jerusalem, crucifying thousands of Jews on the walls of Jerusalem, and fed Christians to the lions at the Roman Colosseum.

Daniel was told that this great 4th Beast or the Roman Empire would persecute the saints, make war with them, overcome them, prevail against them, and kill them. Daniel is also told in Dan 7 that the kingdom would "seek to change the times and the laws." We see the fulfillment of this attempt to change the doctrines and laws of Christ's gospel with the creation of the Roman Catholic Church and its many creeds.

John in Revelation is also shown this same prophetic vision. John describes the same Beast or kingdom but describes his beast with 7 heads and 10 horns and a little horn. When we remember that Daniel said the 4th Beast was a terrible as all the previous 3 Beasts, we realize that if we add up all the heads of all the Beasts, we get 7 heads. So, it is clear that the 4th Beast of Daniel and the Beast of John the Revalator are the same. Again, John tells us that this Beast would be given power to persecute, overcome, and prevail against the Saints of God.

Rev. 11: 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

Rev. 13: 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

Next John in Revelations tells us that the Beast is given a mouth to blaspheme God. This mouth is the "antichrist." Many Evangelicals are looking for a particular person to fulfill this role. Whether this prophecy is fulfilled by a particular person in the future, I cannot say. We will just have to wait and see on that. But what we do know from the Bible is that scripture has multiple fulfillment and John clearly says the spirit and doctrine of the antichrist was already in the world and in the church. What is the doctrine of the antichrist? John describes it for us.

1 Jn. 4: 3 (2 Jn. 1: 7) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

John comments that the doctrine of the antichrist would have to do with denying that Jesus Christ physically resurrected and redeemed His physical body. The Gnostics and other heresies of the day rejected that Jesus Christ was actually physically resurrected. Now, I don't know any self-proclaimed Christian today who denies the physical resurrection of Christ. So, why then would John the Revelator bother warning us about the doctrine of the antichrist if it wasn't to be an issue?

Well, the issue begs the question; why did the Gnostics not accept the physical resurrection of Christ? The reason was, that for the Gnostics spirit was all good and the body and anything material was all bad. Therefore, they rejected the idea that Christ retook His physical form because in there mind, if Christ had redeemed His physical body, that meant that physicality was not inherrantly evil. And that would mean that if physicality was not all bad and could be sanctified, then God the Father, who encompasses all that is good, must also have an aspect of glorified physicality and personify the perfect unification of the spirit and the physical.

So, while no one today denies the physical resurrection of Christ, We have many Christians who are led to deny the physicality of God the Father. And not only this, but many Christians today who are are errently taught that God the Father is all Spirit and has no physicality, apply this paradigm to their misunderstanding of other doctrines. This rejection of the physical leads many to also deny any physicality to Christs church, Christ's temple, Chrsit's priesthood, and Christ's ordinances.

Rev. 13: 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.

Here we have John specifically explaining the doctrine of the antichrist or the mouth of the Beast. John says that the mouth would blaspheme against God the Father, and His name which refers to Jesus Christ who is called The Name or The Word. But then John goes on to explain that the doctrine of the antichrist would also blaspheme God's tabernacle. God's tabernacle is Christ's body. And we know that Christ equated several things as His body including His temple (kill this body and I will raise it up again) and also the organization of His church.

Many Evangelicals think of the Old Testament as 100% physical and the New Testament as 100% spiritual. They look at the Temple of God along with many other aspects of Christianity as only spiritual realities. For instance, Evangelicals look at the Church and Kingdom of God not with any Earthly organization, but only as a "body of believers" and they interpret baptism as only needing to be spiritually born again while denying the need for the actual physical act of being submerged in water in the name of Christ. The same goes for the priesthood. To an Evangelical, there is no actual authority of God given to man. Instead, there is only a "priesthood of all believers."

On the other hand, the truth of God and the Bible is not to teach that physical is all bad and spirit is all good, but that God is the perfect unification of the physical and the spiritual. It is LDS doctrine that God and all truth has both tangible physical as well as spiritual realities. Therefore, God's temple is both a sacred structure that God commands His people to build in His name, as well as representing our individual souls. Similarly, The LDS Church believes that Christ's church is both physical and spiritual reality manifest by both a body of believers but also a church organization with prophets, apostles, bishops, teachers etc. And LDS believe that a man can only enter into the kingdom of God if he is reborn of both the water and the spirit. This means that in addition to being spiritually born of God, a man must also receive the ordinance of water baptism by one who holds the proper God-given priesthood authority to administer this ordinance. Additionally, LDS believe that a man can only truely worship God if he does so in spirit and in truth, or in other words, in word and in deed.

John gives us another warning about the Beast in Revelation. John tells us that that Beast would make an image or images of itself. That is, the Beast would make many copies of itself. And then John warned us that all those who were guilty of worshiping the Beast, worshiping its copies, or receiving its mark, would be in danger of damnation. Today we see many offshoots of the Roman Catholic Church with the many Christian denominations and non-denominations. But all these heads are sill branches off the same corrupt tree and have their doctrines based upon the the doctrines of men mingled with scripture and not based upon direct revelation and the priesthood authority of God.

Rev. 19: 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of efire burning with brimstone.

Rev. 20: 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

We are in the Last Days, some of these prophecies have yet to be fulfilled, but many prophecies have multiple fulfillment in the scriptures. God said many people would be deceived. Can you tell yourself that you are not blaspheming the body of Christ, and worshiping the Beast, its image, or have received its mark?

Understanding the heresy of the antichrist not only helps us understand the nature of God, it also helps us know how to approach all truth. Unfortunately, some Evangelicals falsely claiming that the LDS testimony is based solely on feeling only and that we deny reason and logic. However, our scriptures prove that this is not true and demonstrate instead that truth is manifest and revealed by God by a unification of purified reason and feeling through the sanctified heart and mind. Accordingly, LDS rely on the unification of reason and feeling, body and spirit, heart and mind, grace and works just as the New Testament teaches. LDS do not base truth on feeling or reason alone. Instead, the LDS witness and testimony of truth is based on a harmonizing of both body and spirit, reason and feeling, grace and works through the power of the Holy Ghost.

D&C 8:2 Yea, behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you and which shall dwell in your heart.
D&C 68: 1 My servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting gospel, by the Spirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the congregations of the wicked, in their synagogues, reasoning with and expounding all scriptures unto them.
D&C 133: 57 And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ancient Origin of the Word Deseret

2: 3 And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.

Some critics of the Book of Mormon point to the use of the word "deseret" as a clear mistake by Joseph Smith in his attempt to pass off the Book of Mormon as authentic ancient scripture. The Book of Mormon was described as being written in a Reformed Egyptian script. And it turns out that deseret or "dsrt" is an Ancient Egyptian word. Unfortunately, modern Egyptologists translate the word "dsrt" to mean "red crown" and not "honeybee" as the Book of Mormon states. Furthermore, the Egyptian word for bee is "bt". Well, many critics would like to leave the argument right there. But, as you might have guessed, there is much more to the story.

It turns out that the "red crown" of the Lower Kingdom has another name. And that other name has to do with what they crown represents and not just what color it is. What is that name? You guessed it, the red crown of the Lower Kingdom is referred to as the "bee crown". The crown even has a thin antenna like protrusion in the front representing the antenna of a honeybee. In fact, when the Lower and Upper Egypt were later unified, the King of Egypt wore a double crown which was a combination of the "white crown" or "sedge crown" of Upper Egypt and the "red crown" or "bee crown" of Lower Egypt.

Early Pharaohs in Egypt were commonly shown with 2 crowns, representing Upper and Lower Egypt. The 2 crowns are the white crown of the sedge representing Upper Egypt and the red crown of the bee representing Lower Egypt. Therefore the title of the Pharaoh "nswt-bity" means the "King of Upper and Lower Egypt", or literally "he of the sedge and the bee". Therefore, I believe the crown was originally named for what it represented and not just by the redness of its color. Therefore, I believe the red crown of Lower Egypt is more correctly referred to as the "bee crown" and not the "red crown".

In fact, the word "bt" is found in many places to refer to the "red crown" and the glyph for the word "bt" actually looks like a honeybee while the glyph for "dsrt" just looks like a simplified picture of the "red crown". Therefore, some may argue that "dsrt" must only refer to the crown's redness while the word "bt" referrs to the crown's bee-ness. Well, if that is true, then for the Book of Mormon to keep its hopes alive whe need to demonstrate that at some point the word and glyph "bt" for bee replaced the word and "dsrt" and its associated glyph.

How can I prove that "dsrt" was replaced by the word and glyph "bt"? I can't. But some other smart people may be able to. Alan Gardiner, in Egyptian Grammar, states that "dsrt", was used to replace 'bt' in two Egyptian titles referring to the King of Lower Egypt. Thus, the title n-sw-bt was sometimes written as n-sw-dsrt, which literally means "He who belongs to the sedge plant (of Upper Egypt) and to the bee (of Lower Egypt)." This substitution of 'bt' for 'dsrt' has led Nibley (another smart person) to associate the Egyptian word "dsrt" and the Book of Mormon word Deseret.

("dsrt" and "bt")

("n-sw-dsrt" and "n-sw-bt")

Why is the honeybee such a powerful symbol to the Early Egyptians? Well, Joseph Smith's translation of the Book of Abraham together with what we know about Egyptian history gives us another clue. The Book of Abraham refers to Abraham's visit to Egypt on his way to Canaan. Before Abraham describes the details of what happens to his wife and him in Egypt, Abraham comments that Egypt was named after Egyptus the daughter of Ham, who bestowed the kingship over Egypt upon her son Pharaoh. Now, Egyptus is a more modern Greek-derived name. Therefore, the name "Egyptus" and "Pharaoh" in the Book of Abraham are considered anachronisms since the origin of term "Egypt" is likely to have come from another source much later in history from the time of the narrative described in the Book of Abraham. But, the point of Abraham's story is not what the daughter of Ham was named, but that the authority of kingship of Pharaoh was maternally derived. Consequently, what Abraham is explaining telling us this detail together with the fact that Egypt and the sons of Ham were cursed or denied the priesthood of God, was that the ruling authority of Early Ancient Egypt was by matriarchal succession. This may be why the symbol of the bee is strongly associated with the King, the crown, and the territory of the Lower Kingdom. The bee is a powerful example of a matriarchal order in nature.

Another point here is that we need to beware that when we translate a word we do not just translate what the word means based on how the word is used today, but that we translate the word based on how it was used and what it meant at the time it was actually written. Words change meaning, and common words get replaced by other words all the time. With a Kingdom like Egypt which has been around since the Flood, it is not a stretch to assume the meaning of words has evolved over time. Therefore, it is very likely the word "dsrt" was at some point replaced by the word "bt".

Today, we call the "dsrt crown" the "red crown" because it is red and that is what stands out most to us. However, to an Ancient Egyptian, I bet they didn't call the "dsrt crown" the "red crown", I bet they called it the "bee crown" because I think the crown is more visually associated with a bee (notice the antenna) than just its color. At some point a new word and glyph "bt" for "bee" likely replaced the word and glyph "dsrt" for bee. This could easily happen. I imagine in the beginning the Egyptians used the common word and glyph "dsrt" for the king and his red bee crown as well as to refer to the common honeybee. But I image that out of respect for the king, the people chose another word and glyph to use in daily life for the honeybee. After a while, it is very probable the people started using the new common word "bt" for bee to refer to the king also.

But finally, there is another important point here that we must not forget. The word "deseret" here may not be intended to represent the actual Reformed Egyptian word for bee. Yes, the Book of Mormon was written in a Reformed Egyptian writing, but the context in which the word is used suggests Moroni ,who is traslating the Jaredite record, is telling us what the Jaredites themselves called the honeybee and not the Egyptians. And since the Jaredites came from the tower of Babel and didn't have their languages confounded, they didn't speak Egyptian but likely spoke the original language of Adam. Therefore, the fact that Egypt borrowed the word "dsrt" which is not exactly interpreted today as honeybee does not cause not much of a problem for the Book of Mormon. On the other hand, the tight association with the word "dsrt" and the "bee crown of the Lower Kingdom" is an interesting convergence that Joseph Smith could have never guessed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

An Airport Answer to Prayer

A couple of weeks ago I took the 2 older children on a trip to Utah with me to visit my family while my pregnant wife and our youngest child enjoyed the weekend in Atlanta with her family. After being dropped off at the airport more that 2 hours from home, I realized I had forgotten my wallet. With an hour before our plane was departing, I doubted that we would be able to get though security without ID.

With less than an hour before our plane's departure, I attempted to call my wife on her cellphone to explain our predicament. Unfortunately, her phone went right to voicemail which meant that her batteries were most likely completely run down and she wouldn't likely check her phone until she arrived at her parents who lived about 35 min from the airport. My wife does have a phone charger in her car which I bought her for her birthday, but which she has rarely ever used. In fact, my wife often refers to the phone charger as an example of a gift I gave myself on her birthday.

As my 2 children and I stood to one side of airport security, and still unable to reach my wife on her phone, I approached one of the airport security officers to explain our situation. Our plane left in less than an hour, I was more than 2 hours from home without a wallet, and my wife who dropped me off at the airport was unreachable on her phone and would be most likely unreachable until she arrived at her parents home. The security officer told me that he was sympathetic to our situation but that they required some form of ID to pass airport security. I walked back a little dejected to where my 2 kids and our carry-on bags were resting. My 6-year-old daughter who was aware of our situation must have seen the discouraged look on my face and began to sob.

At that moment the thought entered my mind and heart to take my children and our bags aside and offer a prayer to our Heavenly Father for assistance. We found a quiet and discrete nook off to the side of airport security and there offered a humble prayer with my 2 children explaining to God our situation, and asking that I would be able to reach my wife on her phone and that we could find a way to get past airport security and make our airplane. After concluding our brief prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, I immediately called my wife again on her cellphone.

As it turned out, my wife answered the phone on the first attempt. I immediately explained our situation, and told her about our prayer, and then I asked her how she thought to check her phone and plug it into the charger. My wife said the thought and feeling just came into her mind and heart to check her phone. She noticed that the battery was down so she plugged it into the charger that I had been using to charge my phone on the way to the airport. My amazing wife then suggested that we might use my son's "Identi-Kid" ID which she told me he was carrying in his backpack. This ID was a professional-looking laminated credit-card-sized card with my and my wife's name on it, our address, but our son's photo and fingerprint.

I approached the same security officer again with my child's ID, and to my relief, and after a pat down and a search of my bags, we were cleared to pass through security with plenty of time to make our flight. Additionally, my wife called her sister who lives down the street and who has a key to our house to verify that my wallet was at home. It turns out that my wallet was resting right where I had set it out the night before with my keys. Somehow the keys made it into my pockets but not the wallet. My sister-in-law was kind enough to overnight my wallet to me in Utah which I received the very next day.

While some might look at this series of events as a lucky coincidence following an unfortunate oversight. I consider this a clear and unmistakable answer to prayer. Although, I do not wish to make a habit of forgetting my wallet while traveling, I am thankful I could use this incident to demonstrate to my children the power of prayer and how we must rely on our Heavenly Father in times of need and adversity. I am thankful to a kind and gracious Heavenly Father for His merciful and loving kindness in answering a humble prayer. Additionally, I am thankful to my wife who i can always count on to be in-tune with and responsive to the Holy Spirit.

While these kinds of answers to prayer are not exclusive to members of the LDS Church, the same promptings of the Holy Spirit that lead me to pray and that inspired my wife to check her phone, is the same power by which I know that there is a God in Heaven, the Jesus Christ is my personal Savior, that the Book of Mormon is the word of God like the Holy Bible and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's true church on the Earth.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mormon Response

1) The Book of Mormon is a fabrication of the questionable religious experience of Joseph Smith, whom I do not believe to have been a prophet.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God and is the stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim as spoken of by Ezekiel. The book chronicles the higher covenant God makes with Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

2) Because there are many accounts of the First Vision, it is unclear as to what message Joseph was trying to relay. The poor copout that the many versions mold together to make one big story is exactly what I said...a copout.

There are several versions of the First Vision. And Joseph Smith suited each version to the audience for which it was intended. In the first version, Joseph Smith wanted to create a parallel between his experience and that of Paul and therefore only mentions that he beheld Jesus Christ. In other version, he included more detail about the entire experience of seeing the Father and the Son as Stephen beheld Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God.

The truth that God the Father and God the Son are 2 distinct persons and personages is not new with Joseph Smith. Justin Martyr to Trypho interprets "Let us make man in our image" and "Man has become as one of us" to prove that Christ is God and that there were at least 2 intelligent and distinct beings present. Justin Martyr specifically rejects the "Royal We" interpretation.

My favorite version contains the description of how Joseph Smith felt after the First Vision. Joseph Smith simply stated that after the vision "my heart was filled with love for days afterward."

3) On the part of the institutional church (in existence), the inability to maintain honest record of its history leads me to further believe that the LDS church is in fact a man made institution with great financial ploys and is more concerned with church wealth, blind obedience, and power than it is about preserving the TRUTH found in the body of Christ and His Gospel.

What other church has done a better job of keeping records and achieving everything any of our leadership has said and making it available to all to see. If we were hiding something we would keep things hidden and use the document shredders. Our church is a record keeping church because we have a duty to chronicle the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Christ in this the dispensation of the fullness of times.

4) The Book of Abraham is a fabrication created to promote a monolatry or henotheism which are only disguises of polytheism.

The Kirtland Egyptian Papers contain descriptions of all the papyri that Joseph Smith had in his possession. Only a small fraction of the collection exists today and what Joseph Smith translated as the Book of Abraham is not in the existent papyri fragments.

5) I do not agree with the denigration of women. I see women more as equals than as mere child bearers.

Women enjoy great freedom, respect, and equality in the LDS faith. There is no "I am the priesthood holder so you have to do what i say" in the LDS faith. My wife and I make all decisions together in prayerful consultation with our Heavenly Father. I would never make a decision alone and have adversity arise and have my wife say, "This is all your fault, I never thought this was a good idea". In stead, because we are equally yoked, when adversity arises, because we have made a prayerful decision together, we can say, "we both know the Lord guided us in this direction, and therefore we should have faith, patience, and perseverance and hold to the more narrow path knowing the Lord will bless us and things will work out for our good because we have followed the Lords way"

6) It is a mockery of God's divine character by lying about His supposed 'exaltation'. He was not a man and never will be a man.

The Early Christian Fathers were the ones that taught "God became man so men could become gods." This is not about taking Gods place and God ceasing to be our Father. We will forever be His children and He our Father. This is about maturing to become like Him and being empowered to join in with Him in His work of creation and eternal parenting. How else would you really come to know the Father and enjoy fellowship with Him unless you were empowered to do the kind of work that God does. Are you going to circle the throne and honor God with your lips only, or are you going to be blessed to sit in His throne with Him and worship God in word and works, in spirit and in truth.

7) I'm a Trinitarian and I view the Godhead as such. God is Master. Christ is the bodily manifestation of God. The Spirit is His consciousness meant to guide and to help discern.

"bodily manifestation of God?" That is modalism and not trinitarianism. the Lutheran Hour speaker Rev. Ken Klaus a month ago was explaining the trinity and was stressing the 3-ness of the Godhead and reviewed all the places in which Christ referred to the Father as separate from Himself and came to the conclusion that the Father and Son are not only 2 separate persons but also 2 separate "individuals".

8) I will agree with Bruce McConkie in stating that the Adam-God theory is a deadly heresy.

Adam-God is a misunderstanding of what Brigham Young was trying to say. I have read many recorded diary accounts of Brigham Young speaking on this subject and it is clear that some LDS misunderstood what was being taught. But if you have been to an LDS temple you know that Adam-God cannot be because Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael are all clearly depicted.

Brigham Young was not teaching that Adam is the Father Elohim. Adam is the Father of Jesus Christs body only by way of Mary the Mother, and Adam is the only God with whom we have to do meaning that Adam has entered into his exaltation and since we are his physical offspring, physically-speaking, Adam is our father and our god, and the only god, physically-speaking, with whom we have to do.

9) No plans to go to the temple within this lifetime or any for that matter. The commonalities that are shared between Masonic ritual and Mormon temple worship are too close. Joseph Smith knew this and so he copied the rituals. Not a good move. I am planning to buy a book from Lighthouse Ministries (the Tanners) in SLC about the changes in the endowment ceremony over the years. I'm not so much worried about exaltation and my 'calling and election' so much as I am about salvation by grace.

If the temple is a pure copy of the Masonic, then you have to explain why the temple covenant is taught over and over again in the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. The Tree of Life vision, that is Lehi and Neph's endowment. King Benjamin's Sermon, that is a mass endowment session. Jesus Christ at the temple in Bountiful is also a mass endowment session. Moses 1 is Moses personal endowment. Yes, the parable and pattern may very, but the message and mysteries being taught are the same.

Joseph Smith clearly confessed that he was impressed with the way that the Masonic ritual was able to teach uneducated and illiterate farmers and labors together with the most sophisticated and learned. Therefore, he used the same format and ritual symbolism of the masonic ritual to teach the LDS endowment.

The parallels you see between the two are like watching a power-point presentation on Physics and a power-point presentation on art history and claiming that one was a complete copy of the other. Yes, the organization of the room is the same, same laser pointer, same projector, screen, monotone lecturer, etc, etc, but the subject being taught is completely different.

Works do not deny grace. Christ empowers us to receive the works and ordinances. This is why Cornelius had to receive the Holy Ghost before he was water baptized. And make no mistake, Cornelius was water baptized as was the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And if you think that water baptism is optional after God has commanded that you receive it, and you openly refuse it, I don't think you can bank on grace to cover you when you all this time you have rejected Gods grace that would have empowered you to receive it. Today is the day of your repentance and salvation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bible Apostacy Allegories

God foretold the Apostasy or falling away again and again in the Bible:

Adam and Eve had Able and Cain. Cain slew Able (Apostasy), Eve gave birth to another righteous son named Seth (Restoration).

Noah and the Flood. Only 8 lives were saved on the ark. During the apostasy, there are 8 prophets who were preserved until the Second Coming of Christ: Moses, Elijah, John, 3 Nephites, Alma, and Moroni.

Joseph was sold into Egypt (America). Joseph in Egypt (LDS) became the means of saving the house of Israel during the famine (Apostasy and Restoration).

Elijiah confronts king Ahab and Jezebel who promote the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth in Israel. Jezebel orders the killing of all Jewish Priests but Obadiah hides away 100 priests. Elijah calls down the a famine as punishment which lasts 3 1/2 years (Apostasy). During that time he is fed by the Widow of Zarephath and raises her son from the dead (Christ). At the end of the drought Elijah calls down fire from heaven to consume the offering and convince the Israelites of the power of God (Restoration).

Daniel 7 and John in Revelation fortell of a terrible beast (Roman Empire), that would arise and persecute, overcome, prevail against, and kill the saints. Daniel says that this same kingdom would change the times and the laws of the true gospel and religion (Apostasy) but in the end all dominion would be given to the people of God (Restoration). The Beast would be given a mouth that would blaspheme God, His word (Christ), His tabernacle (Christ's Body, Physicality of God, Church, and Temple), and persecute the Saints.

Christ foretells that the Sun would dim, the moon would turn red, and the stars would fall from the sky meaning that all sources of heavenly light, revelation, and knowledge would cease. Christ also said of the temple (His body, His church) that not one stone would be left upon another (Apostasy). While the individual stones remained during the Apostasy, doctrinally speaking, there wasn't a Christian church during the time of the Dark Ages until the Restoration that contained the cohesive whole and fullness of the truth of Christ's Church built upon a foundation of prophets and apostles, Christ being the chief cornerstone. But in the end, Christ says destroy this body and I will raise it up again the 3rd Day (Restoration).

And just as Christ allowed evil men to kill his body and he raised it from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ allowed evil men to remove plain and precious truth from the Bible, as well as overcome and destroy his church and temple. Now with the restoration of all things in this the dispensation of the fullness of times, God has restored the plain and precious truths to the Bible with the Book of Mormon, and has restored his church with 12 Apostles and a prophet, and restored His temple.

Amos 8: 11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:
2 Thes. 2: 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Worship of Ashtoreth and Baal Today

Ashtoreth was the goddess of war and fertility, called Ishtar by Assyrians and Babylonians, called Astarte by Greeks and Romans and called Tanith by North Africans. Molech or Baal represented the male principle of life and reproduction. In ancient Phoenicia, Canaan, Mesopotamia and Babylon, these gods were worshiped by ritual temple prostitution involving sodomy and burning infant children in the fire. While our Judeo-Christian culture doesn't outwardly acknowledge Ashtoreth and Baal worship, unfortunately, we are just as guilty as the ancients for the same degree of sin involving immorality and infanticide. Today, homosexuality and abortion have become common place and even protected by our laws. God warned ancient Israel against these sins, and promised severe judgements upon us if we do not repent individually and as a society.

The Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price addresses this very subject. Abraham speaks of the "blood of the Canaanites" as the reason God leads him away from Ur to a promised land. In Ur, Abraham own father worships a false religion. Abraham recognizes the incorrectness of the traditions of his father and seeks for the true gospel taught by the great high priests and patriarchs such as Adam, Seth, Enoch, and Noah. God leads him out of Babylon to find a promised land.

We see that Ur and Egypt were participating in the worship of Ashtoreth and Molech (Baal) and they killed virgins who would not submit to being sexually defiled as temple prostitutes to the "gods of wood and stone" and they offered their children to the fires of Molech (Baal). (Egyptians used other names) but it clearly says that Pharoah was the partaker of the blood (sins) of the Canaanites referring to the sins of sexual immorality and infanticide.

And we set up the issue of false relgion and priestcraft where the pharoahs were not given the birthright and rights to the priesthood authority but falsely claimed it. The rivalry of Jews and Muslims involves jealously over priesthood. And many Christians today make those same false claims and claim to be ordained by God and teach a counterfeit religion and are guilty of gainsaying and priestcraft. But Abraham has the writings of the the great patriarchs and together with the chastening of the Lord, Abraham says he and Lot were convinced of the incorrectness of their beliefs and traditions and many other souls that they had "won".

Aaron: A Type of the Anti-Christ

When Moses when up into the mountain to commune with God, God did not just want Moses to come up but all the Elders of Israel. God desired to establish the higher covenant with Israel. God didn't want a kingdom with one prophet and one high priest, God wanted all His covenant people to be prophets, priests and kings. But the people feared God and would not go up into the mountain. Instead, they told Moses to go up for them and then come down and tell them the word of the Lord second hand. Unfortunately, while Moses was away, the people strayed and fell into sin.

Num. 11: 29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
Ex. 19: 6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.
Ex. 20: 19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Well, the Israelites got bored waiting for Moses to come back down. Some claimed he died up in the mountain and wasn't coming or otherwise was delaying his coming. The impatient Israelites asked Aaron to make a golden cafe to be a false god for them and they gave Aaron all their gold to fashion it. Then God warned Moses to hurry down the mountain because the people were polluting themselves worshipping a false god.

In this story, there is an important aspect regarding delaying and hastening having to do with the second coming of Christ. But there also is a relationship between Aaron and the anti-Christ. This story raises several issues including a false concept of God, preistcraft, gainsaying, sexual sin, etc . Also, the people have rejected God and refused to commune with Him directly but only seek a second-hand relationship with God. And while Moses is away, they immediately forget the Lord and pressure Aaron into making up a false religion and false God and give Aaron all their gold. So, we see here that the anti-Christ in the old days will have something to do with denying the people a personal relationship and communion with God, will take the money of the people, and will make them a false god.

LDS on the other hand invite all its members to develop a personal relationship with God. There is no difference between the teacher and the learner. The meaning of the LDS Temple endowment is that all Gods people are made kings and priests unto God. Every member of the LDS church is given the priesthood and is expected to be a Moses, or a Peter and enjoy the same spiritual gifts and exemplify the same righteousness and be empowered to the same good works in our individual stewardships as these great men of God.

Rev. 1: 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Where are the Nephites?

Many critics of the Book of Mormon complain that if the book is true, there should be evidence of the people described in the book. The book describes battles involving hundreds of thousands of people, and an advanced economic, linguistic and religious culture. So, on the surface you would expect to find evidence of this culture all over. But that is not the whole story.

The Book of Mormon is an ethnocentric book. That is, the authors didn't think it important to tell you the details of the majority culture and events around them because in their view, those details didn't matter. The people of God have never been the majority. But from the text we are given enough small details here and there to get a sense for the geopolitical position the Nephites were in.

When the Nephites arrived in America, they were not the only people here. In fact, it appears they are an ethnic minority. From the beginning of their expansion in the New World, we see the Lehites separate into the Nephites and Lamanites, and we get the impression that Laman, Lemuel, and the sons of Ishmael adopt the hunting-gathering, and bloodthirsty culture of the indigenous peoples already there. It is also apparent that the Lamanites intermarry with the indigenous peoples. And it seems from the beginning that the Lamanites always had a numerical advantage over the Nephites, but the Nephites held the technological and spiritual advantage over the Lamanites.

But then we see the learning, agriculture, and technological advances of the Nephites adopted by the Lamanites. We see cultural and religious decenters from the Nephites leave to live among the Lamanites. And then by the end of the Book of Mormon we see a technically advanced and barbaric apocalyto-like Lamanite culture wage a war of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Nephites until they become extinct and disappear completely from the New World.

So, seeing how the ethnic minority Nephites were the victims of genocide, it is not surprising that archaeologists have a hard time finding remnants of the Nephite civilization among the conquering apocalypto-like Maya. So, while we don't see direct evidence of Nephite cities and monuments, we do see a series of geographic, historical, and demographic correlations and convergences in meso-America with the Book of Mormon.

Here are a few details that interesting in the Book of Mormon:
1. Ammon cuts off arms of the Lamanite attackers with his sword and those arms are brought to the king as trophies. Typical western swords are used to pierce the chest or abdomen and not necessarily to decapitate or sever limbs from the body. However, in Maya culture the obsidian war club is designed for just such a purpose. It is a common sight in Maya art to see a warrior depicted with a shrunken head of a great advasary hanging like a pendant from a necklace.

2. The Anti-Nephi-Lehi's feel great guilt for participation in the Lamanite culture, they consider a burial of their swords a significant gesture, demonstrating that they have forsaken that culture. So, their particular swords must be a ritually important part of the culture they are forsaking. And they also say they wish that their swords not be stained with blood any more. A steel sword could never be stained by blood, but a ritual maya obsidian war club would stain.

3. When Ammon asks the king of the Lamanites if he believes in God, Ammon explains that God lives in heaven and the king says he does not know what "heaven" means. Then Ammon explains that heaven is above the Earth and that God lives there with His angels and looks down on all the children of men. The significance of this detail is that the Maya believed that all their gods lived under the Earth.

4.Sherem is a man that was said to have lived "among" the Nephites. That is an unusual thing to say instead of naming him either a Nephite or a Lamanite. The account in Jacob then goes on to stress that Sherem had a perfect knowledge of the language of the people. Well if he were a Nephite, then he would have automatically had a perfect knowledge of the language. The only reasonable conclusion here is that Sherem was not a Nephite or Lamanite and Nephite was a second language.

5.When the Lamanites go against the Anti-Lehi-Nephi's, the Anti-Lehi-Nephi's do not fight but prostrate themselves before the attacking Lamanites and submit to death instead of defending themselves before their unconverted brothers. In response to this submission, many additional Lamanites become converted, but the rest decide to go to the neighboring city of Ammonihah to destroy it and take prisoners. Now, why go to all the bother of attacking Ammonihah? That is because to install a king after a battle requires human sacrifice according to Maya culture. So, it makes sense that the Lamanites would have to attack another city and obtain captives from them to fulfill the ritual requirements of their religion.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Problem with Jaredites?

I saw a video on YouTube the other day criticizing the Book of Mormon over the perceived absurdity of the Jaredite ocean crossing to America. The critic indicated that part of the reason he could not take the Book of Mormon seriously was the implausibility of the Jaredite ocean crossing. According to the Book of Mormon about 22 people crossed the ocean to the Americas in 344 days in 8 barges. According to the critic, he thought that at 10mph the Jaredites would have been able to circumnavigate the globe 3 1/2 times in that time span. Also the critic thought it absurd that the account said there were about 22 people. He said that after 344 days shouldn't someone have enough time to get a head count. He also questioned the apparent lack of bathroom facilities as well as the wisdom of traveling with honeybees.

1. Speed of Journey: the assumption that a barge should travel even close to 10 mph without sails is an incorrect assumption. The swiftest ocean currents flow at 3-4 knots. Barges would travel even slower because of inertial drag. The fastest racing sailboats to this day have not averaged 10 mph when crossing the ocean.
2. Sanitation Concerns: 22 people with animals on small barges creates sanitation issues. Because the Jaredites arrived in America together, it's not a stretch to assume the barges were connected together by ropes making transfer from one barge to another easy. Therefore it would also be reasonable to assume animals and cargo were stored in certain barges and people in another. Additionally we must remember that the barges had watertight doors on top and bottom. If you stop the top door and open the bottom, water does not rush in and displace the air because the air cannot escape. Therefore what this creates it a "moonpool" in the bottom of the barge which would serve very effectively for waste elimination and fishing.
3. Head Count: the critic doesn't like that the book of Ether says there were about 22 souls in the barges. What the critic forgets is that neither the Brother of Jared, nor Ether wrote the Book of Ether in the Book of Mormon which contains this account. Ether was a summary of the Jaredite Plates by Moroni who is the son of Mormon who lived thousands of years after the event. It is probable the account written second-hand by Ether listed names but didn't give an exact headcount. Moroni also says children were born en route which could also explain why he says there were "about" 22 souls.
4. Honeybees: lastly the critic of the Jaredites had a problem with them possibly taking honeybees with them. In his mind he pictured a journey lasting 344 days without bathroom facilities, animal and human excrement all over, violent storms constantly tipping the barges over and over, with swarms of angry stinging honeybees aboard. However, what the critic overlooks is that native-American species of honeybees are stingerless. Only after Europeans arrived did they bring over the familiar stinging European honeybee because it had been developed to produce more honey. Search for "melipona" for more info on the American stingless honeybee.