Weak Arguments #10: “The entire Book of Mormon was discredited just as soon as it said that Christ was born in Jerusalem.”

Newburgh Seminary College
Was Christ born “in Bethlehem” or “at Jerusalem”? And does it matter?

An ongoing series of articles on some common and recurring weak arguments that Christians make against Mormonism.

by Fred W. Anson
The Argument:
“The entire Book of Mormon was discredited just as soon as it said that Christ was born in Jerusalem.”

Why It’s Weak:
This argument is a molehill not a mountain. This is a valid contradiction with the Bible, however, on it’s own, it discredits this verse but not the entire Book of Mormon.

1) This molehill was turned into a mountain by Mormon Apologists
This argument arises from the fact that Alma 7:10 in the Book of Mormon says:

And behold, he [Christ] shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

The first Christian Mormon critic I know of that used this argument was Alexander Campbell who in his 1831 review of the Book of Mormon polemically observed:

But he is better skilled in the controversies in New York than in the geography or history of Judea. He makes John baptise in the village of Bethabara, (page 22) and says Jesus was born in Jerusalem, p. 240. Great must be the faith of the Mormonites in this new Bible!!![1]

And, of course, he has a point since the Bible states plainly, not once, not twice, but eight times that Christ was born in Bethlehem. This is a clear contradiction with the Bible. And since Mormon critics are of the opinion that the Book of Mormon is just a piece of contrived 19th Century historical fiction, as far as we’re concerned, it’s the kind of thing that one would expect were that the case. There are no just surprises here!

However, Mormon Apologists just can’t seem to leave it alone. As Mormon Researcher Bill McKeever notes:

It is obvious that this is a very sensitive issue with these [Apologist] Mormons. According to them, Alma was referring to the surrounding area of Jerusalem and not the city itself. They insist that Alma was a real person, so to credit him with saying that Christ would someday be born in Jerusalem and not in Bethlehem would be a serious faux pas. To say otherwise casts doubt upon the historicity of Mormonism’s sacred Book of Mormon.

We do not hide the fact that we do not believe the Book of Mormon is an ancient text. Because we believe Alma is a fictitious character, we naturally wouldn’t credit him with such a gaffe. We are not implying that Joseph Smith was ignorant as to where Jesus was born. Instead, we believe that this was a simple slip of the pen. Joseph Smith may have mistaken the better-known Jerusalem for the lesser Bethlehem.[2]

And if one suspends disbelieve and presumes that Alma the Younger was in fact a historical figure, such a gaffe is still really no big deal – people get excited and misspeak like this all the time. For example, do you remember the last time that Grandma and Grandpa retold the same story and spent half the time correcting each other’s bad memory rather than actually telling the story? I rest my case.

After all, if the Book of Mormon is true history then Alma would certainly would have known the location of the Messiah’s birthplace wouldn’t he? That’s because the Book of Mormon tells us that he had the plates of brass (see Alma 37) which is said to have contained the Biblical record up until the time of Jeremiah’s prophesies. If that was the case, then Alma would have had Micah’s prophecy, since Micah prophesied more than a hundred years before Lehi left Jerusalem. And that prophesy states clearly:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2, bold italics added for emphasis)[3]

A slip of the pen, in a work of fiction? An over zealous speaker with a bad memory? No big deal right? Well, according to Mormon Apologists, no – this is a big deal!

View of Bethlehem from South Jerusalem. Bethlehem is only 6-miles away.
(click to zoom)

2) What’s 6-miles between friends?
So, rather than simply acknowledging that this is a contradiction with the Bible, Mormon Apologists go to great lengths to convince the world that the word “Jerusalem” in Alma 7:10 really means, “the land of Jerusalem”. This argument is based on the fact that Bethlehem is a suburb of Jerusalem that’s only 6-miles away. OK, I can kind of see that. I was born in Anaheim, California which is a suburb of Los Angeles. Therefore, for those who are unfamiliar with the city (which includes a Major League Baseball team and an itsy bitsy amusement park called “Disneyland”) I tell them that I’m from the Los Angeles area. However, in actual fact, downtown Los Angeles is 24-miles from where I was born. And if anyone pressed me (which hasn’t happened yet) I would simply say, “Well, to be precise I was born in Anaheim which is where Disneyland is, where Angel Stadium is, and where the Los Angeles Angels play baseball.” In other words, I would clarify and things tighten up a bit. I just don’t think that this, in and of itself, is a big deal. Do you?

Thus, Mormon Apologists argue:

Google Earth satellite photo of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. (click to zoom)
Google Earth satellite photo of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. (click to zoom)

The town of Bethlehem is in the “land of Jerusalem.” In fact, Bethlehem is only 5 miles south of Jerusalem: definitely “in the land,” especially from the perspective of Alma, a continent away. Even locals considered Hebron, twenty five miles from Bethlehem, to be in the “land of Jerusalem. This is, in reality, another literary evidence for the Book of Mormon. While a forger would likely overlook this detail and include Bethlehem as the commonly-understood birthplace of Jesus, the ancient authors of the Book of Mormon use an authentic term to describe the Savior’s birthplace—thereby providing another point of authenticity for the Book of Mormon.[4]

But the problem passage doesn’t use the term “land of Jerusalem” it says, “at Jerusalem”:

Dr. Peterson argues, “The most reliable way to determine what a given phrase means in the Book of Mormon, therefore, is to look at the Book of Mormon” ([FARMS] Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 5:73). This is a reasonable point. The problem is that Peterson and his colleagues ignore this guidance and instead go to great lengths to defend a phrase that is not included in the text. While much has been written to defend the notion that Jesus was born in the land of Jerusalem, the fact of the matter is that this phrase is not used in this passage. We repeat, the phrase land of Jerusalem is not used in Alma 7:10.[5]

Furthermore, the other eighteen times the term “at Jerusalem” is used in the Book of Mormon it always means “in the city of Jerusalem”.  Thus, as Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson very correctly observe, “if a phrase is used 19 times, and in 18 of those times it can be demonstrated that it means the actual city of Jerusalem, it is both inconsistent and tenuous to interpret Alma 7:10 otherwise.”[6]

3) Straining at gnats, swallowing Camels…
On the Mormon side of the divide the problem is that Mormon Apologists make this a hill to die on. Why? So Joseph Smith had a slip of the pen when he was writing the Book of Mormon – so what? So Alma had a memory lapse or simply misquoted Micah 5:2 in his prophetic zeal – so what? By straining at this “gnat” of a problem Mormon Apologists are merely bringing attention to the “camel” of their over the top apologetic tactics. Why not just acknowledge the contradiction and move on to more pressing Book of Mormon issues?

On the Christian side of the divide the problem is that some critics overstate their case in exaggerating the importance of this contradiction. While it’s true that the Mormon apologetic on this point is strained and inconsistent, it’s not completely unreasonable. And while this contradiction most certainly discredits this verse it’s a stretch to say that it discredits the entire Book of Mormon. Rather, the overall case that discredits the Book of Mormon is a culmination of contradictions, problems, and issues not just a single contradiction, problem, or issue.

Further, standing on the Mormon side of the divide I don’t see Christians abandoning the entire Bible and calling it “discredited” over just a single Biblical contradiction. I don’t see Protestants denouncing Catholic and Orthodox Bibles as fully discredited simply because they contain the Apocrypha. Nor do I hear Catholics and Orthodox Christians denouncing us because our Bibles don’t. Why then do some Christians expect Mormons to abandon the entire Book of Mormon based on solely one problem text?

4) …and showing obvious bias
I think that the underlying problem here is many Christians seem to employ a double standard when it comes to Mormonism. These Christians tend to judge all things Mormons much harsher than they do all things Christian. After all, the Bible isn’t without contradictions too. Here’s an example:

Matthew 27:5 (NKJV)
Then he [Judas Iscariot] threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

Acts 1:18 (NKJV)
Now this man [Judas Iscariot] purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.

Even if we harmonize this as the hanging rope breaking and Judas’ entrails gushing out after his corpse hit the ground, the fact remains, that when taken at face value this is a contradiction. Should Christians declare the entire Bible discredited because of it? Even Atheist critics and Muslims[7] don’t suggest such a response because it’s so “over the top”. Yet, many Christians would demand exactly that of Mormons over Alma 7:10. To me, such a demand on Mormons reveals an extreme bias on the part of some Christians and the type of unjust, uncharitable treatment that can drive Mormons deeper into the LdS Church if they stay, or right past Christianity and straight into atheism if they leave. This need not be, there is a better way.

The Stronger Arguments:
While it’s clear that while Alma 7:10 used in isolation isn’t a strong argument, it can be used as part of one or more stronger arguments. Let’s look at them.

First Suggested Strong Argument: “Alma 7:10 is just one of many pebbles breaking the shelf.” 
Most ExMormons tell us that there wasn’t just one thing that convinced them that the truth claims of the LdS Church don’t add up, it was a culmination of a lot of little things. They say it’s like a bunch of pebbles being tucked away on a shelf in a deep, dark corner – that is until the shelf finally collapses under the weight of them all. That said, here’s a sampling of some other pebbles[8] to add to the pile in addition to the Alma 7:10 Jerusalem pebble:

"Scriptures" by Grant Heaton
“Scriptures” by Grant Heaton
(click to zoom)

Book of Mormon: The Book of Mormon people built temples in the Americas and performed sacrifices. (Alma 16:13)
Bible: Jerusalem was explicitly chosen by God as the one and only place for the one and only temple and the only legitimate place for sacrifices. (1 Kings 8:44-48Deut. 12:5-6)

Book of Mormon: The priesthood did not need to be Levitical. The Book of Mormon people were from the tribes of Joseph (1 Nephi 5:16-17) or Manasseh (Alma 10:3) not Levi. Nephi, who consecrated the first priests, was from the tribe of Joseph (2 Nephi 5:26) as were they.
Bible: The priesthood could only be through the lineage of Aaron, a Levite. (Numbers 3:9-10)

Book of Mormon: At Christ’s crucifixion, there was three days of darkness. (Helaman 14:27)
Bible: At Christ’s crucifixion, there were three hours of darkness. (Luke 23:44)

Book of Mormon: At the tower of Babel the Jaredites had a separate language which was spared the confusion of languages. (Ether 1:34-35)
Bible: At the tower of Babel there was one language, which was then confused by God. (Genesis 11:1)

Book of Mormon: The Gospel, the Church, and Christianity existed prior to Christ’s incarnation. (2 Nephi 26:12)
Bible: The Gospel, the Church, and Christianity were proclaimed during Christ’s ministry and came to exist after Christ’s resurrection and ascension. (Matthew 16:18)

Book of Mormon: One son of King Zedekiah escaped destruction and came to the Americas. (Helaman 6:108:21)
Bible: All of King Zedekiah’s sons were killed. (Jeremiah 39:6)

Book of Mormon: The Book of Mormon people people received the gift of the Holy Ghost as early as 545 BC (2 Nephi 31:12-13)
Bible: The Holy Ghost was bestowed on the Christians at the time of Pentecost in 1 AD. (Luke 24:49Acts 2:1-4)

Second Suggested Strong Argument: “Why are those Jews acting like goyim?”
“Goyim” is the Hebrew word for “nations” that in Jewish vernacular has come to mean “gentiles”. The Book of Mormon claims to be an ancient record of Jews who left the Middle East around 600 BC. However, these alleged Jews don’t act like 7th Century BC Jews, they act like 19th Century AD Protestant Christians. As Alexander Campbell notes in his review of the Book of Mormon:

[Joseph] Smith makes Nephi express every truth found in the writings of the Apostles concerning the calling and blessing of the Gentiles, and even quotes the 11th chapter of Romans, and many other passages before he had a son grown in the wilderness able to aim an arrow at a deer. Paul says these things were secrets and unknown until his time; but Smith makes Nephi say the same things 600 years before Paul was converted! One of the two is a false prophet. Mormonites, take your choice!

This prophet Smith, through his stone spectacles, wrote on the plates of Nephi, in his book of Mormon, every error and almost every truth discussed in N. York for the last ten years. He decides all the great controversies – infant baptism, ordination, the trinity, regeneration, repentance, justification, the fall of man, the atonement, transubstantiation, fasting, penance, church government, religious experience, the call to the ministry, the general resurrection, eternal punishment, who may baptize, and even the question of freemasonry, republican government, and the rights of man. All these topics are repeatedly alluded to. How much more benevolent and intelligent this American Apostle, than were the holy twelve, and Paul to assist them!!! He prophesied of all these topics, and of the apostacy, and infallibly decided, by his authority, every question. How easy to prophecy of the past or of the present time!!

He represents the christian institution as practised among his Israelites before Jesus was born. And his Jews are called christians while keeping the law of Moses, the holy sabbath, and worshipping in their temple at their altars, and by their high priests.[9]

Further, as Mormon Studies Scholar Luke P. Wilson notes:

The most common biblical terms used to describe the Old Testament priesthood, temple and appointed feasts, are entirely missing from the Book of Mormon. Here are 10 examples of such biblical terms with their frequencies, that never appear once in the Book of Mormon:

  • “laver” (13 times in Bible)
  • “incense” (121 times in Bible)
  • “ark of the covenant” (48 times in Bible)
  • “sons of Aaron” (97 times in Bible)
  • “mercy seat” (23 in Bible)
  • “day of atonement” (21 times in Bible)
  • “feast of tabernacles” (17 times in Bible)
  • “passover” (59 times in Bible)
  • “house of the LORD” (627 in Bible)
  • “Aaron” – this name appears 48 times in the Book of Mormon, but never in reference to the biblical Aaron or the Aaronic priesthood.[10]

Finally, and not insignificantly, as one Mormon Researcher has observed:

2 Nephi 25:24 says, “we keep the law of Moses”. During the time this was written (about 559–545 B.C.) the Nephites were claiming to be orthodox Jews. Having the law of Moses, they would have said the shema (Duet 6:4) and they would have followed the Mosaic law strictly. In fact, the phrase “we keep the law of Moses” appears in the Book of Mormon four times (2 Nephi 25:242 Nephi 5:10Jacob 4:5, and 1 Nephi 17:22), it is a recurring theme throughout the book.

According to Mormon dogma Nephi and Lehi followed the Mosaic law without error. Yet even after all they allegedly knew concerning God and His law why did they still break his commandments? There’s just no excuse for this if the Book of Mormon is true. Further, why are the Nephites blessed by God despite their disobedience of His law, while at the same time God is calling down judgment on the Jews in Israeli for violating it? This makes no sense!

Further, the Nephites were from the northern kingdom (the tribe of Manasseh), so they would have known their heritage. They would have surely known the story of Jeroboam and all he did to put Israel into such a state of apostasy that it merited the Assryian exile of 722 BC. The orthodoxy and legitimacy of these Book of Mormon Jews needs to be seriously questioned![11]

Simply put, shouldn’t a book written about Jews, by Jews, for Jews be . . . well . . Jewish? Shouldn’t such a book accurately reflect Jewish history, values, attitudes, and customs? Well the Book of Mormon ain’t Jewish folks – it’s goy through and through!

Summary and Conclusion:
These arguments are just a small sample of the vast array of better, stronger arguments to choose from. Simply put, the Book of Mormon discredits itself in so many other, better, more persuasive ways that the begging question is this: Why use this weak argument at all? It’s a molehill not a mountain.

"Jesus Christ visits the Americas" by John Scott. It doesn't get much more Jewish than this does it folks? Especially the "Jewish" Temple in the background.
It doesn’t get much more Jewish than this does it – especially the “Jewish” Temple in the background.
(click to zoom)

NOTES
[1] Alexander Campbell, “Delusions: An analysis of the book of Mormon with an examination of its internal and external evidences, and a refutation of its pretenses to divine authority”, The Millennial Harbinger, February 7, 1831

[2] Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson, “Was Jesus born ‘at Jerusalem’?”, Mormonism Research Ministry website

[3] And, I should add that Micah 5:2 not only says “Bethlehem” clearly but redundantly.  “Ephratah” is the ancient name for Bethlehem. A variant of the name first appears in the Bible in Genesis 35:

“Then they journeyed from Bethel. And when there was but a little distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel labored in childbirth, and she had hard labor.” (Genesis 35:16, NKJV)

“So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).  And Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.” (Genesis 35:19-20, NKJV) 

This is also reiterated elsewhere in the Bible (click here).

[4] Uncredited, “Question: Why does the Book of Mormon say that Jesus would be born ‘at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers’ when the Bible states that he was born in Bethlehem?”, FAIRMormon website

[5] Op cit, McKeever and Johnson

[6] Ibid, McKeever and Johnson

[7] For example, please consider these critiques:
Atheist Critic: Uncredited, “Discrepancies in the Bible: The Death of Judas Iscariot”
Muslim Critic: Abdullah Smith, “The Death of Judas”

[8] This list was taken mainly from the website of Main Street Church of Brigham City, “Scripture Reference: Bible & Book of Mormon Contradictions”. Other recommended resources:

Sandra Tanner, “Bible and Book of Mormon Contradictions”
Luke P. Wilson, “Contradictions Between the Book of Mormon and the Bible”

[9] Op cit, Campbell

[10] Luke P. Wilson, “Contradictions Between the Book of Mormon and the Bible”, Institute for Religious Research (IRR) website

[11] Adapted from a Facebook comment made by Brian Roberts on December 19, 2014 in the B.C.  &  L.D.S.  (Biblical Christians and Latter Day Saints) discussion group.  Mr. Roberts has also written extensively on the theme of Book of Mormon inconsistencies on his “Sinners and Saints” website.

BACK TO TOP

14 thoughts on “Weak Arguments #10: “The entire Book of Mormon was discredited just as soon as it said that Christ was born in Jerusalem.””

  1. While there are many things one could say in response to this, I have just one comment to make. You claim that “the problem passage doesn’t use the term “land of Jerusalem” it says, “at Jerusalem”
    While this is technically true, it fails to look at the entire verse, and thus does not recognize that Alma does not identify Jerusalem to be a city. He states “at Jerusalem WHICH IS THE LAND of our forefathers” (emphasis added). So while he does not use the direct phrase “Land of Jerusalem” his words make it clear that he is not speaking of a city but of a geographical region.

    Continuing from this, “at Jerusalem” is used 19 times in the Book of Mormon, but, despite what you claim, 18 of those are not speaking of the city. Those in the books of 1st and 2nd Nephi are, which would be logically considering his familiarity with the area, as well as the familiarity of many with him. However, starting with Alma 7: 10, all the other times it is used it is referring to the geographic region where Christ conducted his ministry. Thus only 11 refer to the city, with the other 8 referring to the geographic region. Alma 7: 10 is establishing the new understanding that would be used from then on.

    Personally, I agree that it is a weak argument, but that is because there is no inherent contradiction, and thus the argument is based on a misunderstanding to the text, as I have outlined.

    Like

    1. As I said in the article:

      “On the Mormon side of the divide the problem is that Mormon Apologists make this a hill to die on. Why? So Joseph Smith had a slip of the pen when he was writing the Book of Mormon – so what? So Alma had a memory lapse or simply misquoted Micah 5:2 in his prophetic zeal – so what? By straining at this “gnat” of a problem Mormon Apologists are merely bringing attention to the “camel” of their over the top apologetic tactics.”

      Thank you for illustrating this point so nicely. Again, as I said in the article:

      “Why not just acknowledge the contradiction and move on to more pressing Book of Mormon issues?”

      Dude, it’s CLEARLY a contradiction, why not just acknowledge the contradiction and move on to more pressing Book of Mormon issues? Such as:

      “shouldn’t a book written about Jews, by Jews, for Jews be . . . well . . Jewish? Shouldn’t such a book accurately reflect Jewish history, values, attitudes, and customs? Well the Book of Mormon ain’t Jewish folks – it’s goy through and through!”

      Thank you for your comment you have validated the article nicely.

      Like

      1. I really couldn’t care less. I see no problem because there isn’t any. However, when someone else is wrong it is good for them to admit it, and so I made the comment to offer you that chance.
        This is only clearly a contradiction because you want it to be and because you ignore most of the verse. In the verse Alma says at Jerusalem, and then defines Jerusalem as “the Land of our forefathers.” He is clearly not talking about a city.
        The reason that I, and others in the church, belabor this point is simple. If we allow you to spread false information in even a small way it makes it easy to spread false information in larger ways.

        Simply put, if an objection is based in an error, no matter how small, it needs to be corrected to prevent larger errors from being accepted.

        As I said, I could say many other things regarding this article, but I chose to focus on the point that you yourself focused on for this reason.

        As to your other point: there is nothing in the Book of Mormon that contradicts or is in violation of the Law of Moses.
        In Deuteronomy there is no statement that a temple could not be built in other places. The prohibition is in performing the sacrifices in locations not chosen by God, but it does not limit God to where, when, or how frequently He will choose a place to allow the ordinances to be performed. It is a much later tradition of the Jews that this prohibition restricted these things to only Jerusalem, not the Law of Moses.
        The priesthood of the Nephites was not the priesthood of the Levites. The Levites held the lesser priesthood, and that could only be held by Levites. As the Nephites were not of that tribe they necessarily had the higher priesthood which Moses had, and which some of the Levites tried to claim.
        As to festivals, I have no clue which festival that is being alluded to in Mosiah. There is a ceremony and a brief celebration that their wives and daughters are not dead, but I see no indication of any festival. As to the Jewish festivals, considering that we are given almost no record of the culture of the Nephites one cannot say that they didn’t observe these festivals. The statement that they observed the Law of Moses would, in fact, show that they did. We don’t need an account of the observance, only a declaration that they were. On this point we should also consider that none of the Jewish festivals are mentioned in Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st or 2nd Samuel, 1st Kings, or 1 Chronicles. Should we reject these books because they don’t speak to the cultural events of Jewish life?

        In all these arguments have very little merit and are unpersuasive.

        Like

      2. @shematwater, you wrote:
        “when someone else is wrong it is good for them to admit it, and so I made the comment to offer you that chance.”

        RESPONSE:
        LOL! OK, so I guess it’s on. I love how Mormon Apologists just can’t let this one go, it’s amazing. Amusing but amazing.

        YOU WROTE:
        This is only clearly a contradiction because you want it to be and because you ignore most of the verse. In the verse Alma says at Jerusalem, and then defines Jerusalem as “the Land of our forefathers.” He is clearly not talking about a city.

        RESPONSE:
        No sir, it’s a clearly a contradiction. To illustrate, I will use the Anaheim example that I used in my article. Now I don’t mean, this to be sacrilegious or irreverent, I simply doing this because I think that it illustrates the point well.

        “And behold, he [Fred] shall be born of Thelma, at Los Angeles which is the land of our forefathers . . .”

        No matter how you slice it I WASN’T born “at Los Angeles” nor was Christ born “at Jerusalem”. Now if the text said …

        “And behold, he [Fred] shall be born of Thelma, at the Los Angeles region which is the land of our forefathers . . .”

        Or

        “And behold, he [Christ] shall be born of Mary, at the Jerusalem region which is the land of our forefathers…”

        . . . then I could see your point. But it doesn’t.

        And again, Shematwater, “…the other eighteen times the term “at Jerusalem” is used in the Book of Mormon it always means “in the city of Jerusalem”. Thus, as Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson very correctly observe, “if a phrase is used 19 times, and in 18 of those times it can be demonstrated that it means the actual city of Jerusalem, it is both inconsistent and tenuous to interpret Alma 7:10 otherwise.”

        Mr. McKeever and Mr. Johnson’s article goes on to cite examples from the Book of Mormon:

        “The first use of this phrase can be found at the very beginning of the Book of Mormon. The narrative begins in 600 B.C. with a man named Nephi explaining how his father Lehi, a prophet, was told by God in a vision to gather his family and flee the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Nephi states that Lehi had “dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days” (1 Nephi 1:4). In verse seven we are told that this vision took place while Lehi laid on a bed in “his own house at Jerusalem…

        As mentioned earlier, the Book of Mormon uses the phrase “at Jerusalem” 19 times. Since it has been established that Lehi lived in Jerusalem, this accounts for seven of the 19. (These include 1 Nephi 1:4,7; 1 Nephi 2:13; 1 Nephi 5:4; 2 Nephi 6:8; 2 Nephi 9:5; 2 Nephi 25:6.)

        Two more examples are 1 Nephi 19:20 and 1 Nephi 22:4. The former records Nephi’s weariness “for those who are at Jerusalem.” Page 53 of the Book of Mormon Student Manual interprets this to mean, “Nephi knew that the Jews in Jerusalem had suffered the fate his father said they would.” In 1 Nephi 22:4, mention is again made of those who suffered at Jerusalem. Context would demand that this too speaks of the city. Hence, it is safe to say at this point that nine of the 19 passages directly refer to the city of Jerusalem.

        When we examine the remaining 10 passages that use at Jerusalem, three of them refer to the people who were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. First Nephi 19:13 reads, “And as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel.” (See also 2 Nephi 10:5 and 4 Nephi 1:31.)

        Four other examples are allegedly the words of Jesus Himself (3 Nephi 15:14; 16:4; 17:8). Third Nephi 10:5 records Jesus virtually repeating what he said in Matthew 23:37. It reads in part, “O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.” In the New Testament we have two occasions where Jesus is credited with using the phrase “at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47 and John 4:21). In both cases we have no reason to believe that it is anything but another reference to the city itself. Luke, John, and Paul all use the phrase at Jerusalem, and in every case it speaks directly to the city.

        Helaman 16:18 in the Book of Mormon states that the wicked Nephites and Lamanites began to doubt that Christ should come and asked, “Why will he not show himself unto us as well as unto them who shall be at Jerusalem?” The heading of chapter 16 interprets this to mean the actual city when it says, “The unbelievers say it is not reasonable to believe in Christ and his coming in Jerusalem.” Helaman 16:19 in effect repeats the question, only this time it uses the phrase land of Jerusalem. This is one of those times that the context allows this phrase to be interpreted to mean the city.

        We next come to Alma 11:4. It reads in part, “Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value. And the names are given by the Nephites, for they did not reckon after the manner of the Jews who were at Jerusalem.” Though many LDS apologists have argued against this phrase having to do with actual coinage, we can’t find anything specific regarding where the decisions for the values of precious metals would have been made. Since Jerusalem was the capital city of Israel, and since it is normally from the capital where such matters were determined, this would again be a reference to the actual city.

        This leaves us with one more reference to at Jerusalem and that is the verse in question, Alma 7:10. We can only offer our readers the simple suggestion that if a phrase is used 19 times, and in 18 of those times it can be demonstrated that it means the actual city of Jerusalem, it is both inconsistent and tenuous to interpret Alma 7:10 otherwise.


        (see McKeever and Johnson “Was Jesus born ‘at Jerusalem’?”; http://www.mrm.org/jerusalem )

        So what you’re proposeing Shematwater is nothing more than a special pleading fallacy. There’s no consistency here sir! Again, in 18 of the 19 times the phrase “at Jerusalem” is used it means “in the city of Jerusalem” the “which is the land of our fore fathers” which follows simply does NOT change this. Clearly the 19th time it means “in the city of Jerusalem” as well.

        It’s a contradiction dude, pure and simple.

        Like

      3. @shematwater, you wrote:
        As to your other point: there is nothing in the Book of Mormon that contradicts or is in violation of the Law of Moses. In Deuteronomy there is no statement that a temple could not be built in other places.

        RESPONSE:
        Deuteronomy 12 (KJV)
        5 But unto THE PLACE which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come:

        6 And thither ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks.

        1 Kings 8 (KJV)
        48 And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, THE CITY WHICH THOU HAST CHOSEN, AND THE HOUSE which I have built for thy name.

        CAPS added for emphasis. And notice in ALL cases the usage is SINGULAR not plural.

        That’s what the text says Shematwater. The idea that God could or would have more than one temple is eisegesis – it isn’t in the text.

        YOU WROTE:
        The prohibition is in performing the sacrifices in locations not chosen by God, but it does not limit God to where, when, or how frequently He will choose a place to allow the ordinances to be performed.

        RESPONSE:
        OK, let’s go with this. Again Deuteronomy 12 (KJV)

        5 But unto THE PLACE which the Lord your God shall choose out of all your tribes to put his name there, even unto HIS HABITATION shall ye seek, and THITHER thou shalt come:

        6 And THITHER ye shall bring your burnt offerings, and your sacrifices, and your tithes, and heave offerings of your hand, and your vows, and your freewill offerings, and the firstlings of your herds and of your flocks:

        Again, CAPS added for emphasis. And notice in ALL cases the usage is SINGULAR not plural.

        Now, that said, could you please show us where God said that it was acceptable to do temple work anywhere but at the Temple in Jerusalem. Thanks.

        YOU WROTE:
        It is a much later tradition of the Jews that this prohibition restricted these things to only Jerusalem, not the Law of Moses.

        RESPONSE:
        And? The tradition of the Jews – be it oral or otherwise – isn’t scripture. In fact, Christ RENOUNCED their non-scriptural traditions.

        Mark 7 (KJV)
        6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

        ‘This people honors Me with their lips,
        But their heart is far from Me.
        7 And in vain they worship Me,
        Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
        8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men —the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”

        9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

        YOU WROTE:
        The priesthood of the Nephites was not the priesthood of the Levites. The Levites held the lesser priesthood, and that could only be held by Levites.

        RESPONSE:
        Really? And exactly WHAT is this “lesser priesthood” Shematwater? The Old Testament had exactly ONE priesthood: The Levites. The Aaron Priesthood was a subset of the Levitical Priesthood and consisted of the descendents of Aaron. BUT the fact remains that there was ONE, and only ONE, priesthood in the Old Testament.

        YOU WROTE:
        As the Nephites were not of that tribe they necessarily had the higher priesthood which Moses had

        RESPONSE:
        Both Aaron and Moses were Levites:

        MOSES
        Exodus 2 (KJV)
        1 Now A MAN OF THE HOUSE OF LEVI MARRIED A LEVITE WOMAN, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

        AARON
        Exodus 4
        14 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not AARON THE LEVITE thy brother?

        YOU WROTE:
        “and which some of the Levites tried to claim.”

        RESPONSE:
        What the heck are you talking about? Either you were a Levite or you weren’t, it was that simple.

        YOU WROTE:
        As to festivals, I have no clue which festival that is being alluded to in Mosiah. There is a ceremony and a brief celebration that their wives and daughters are not dead, but I see no indication of any festival.

        RESPONSE:
        Nonsense. They did a 19th Century Methodist Revivalist camp style festival for King Benjamin in Mosiah 1:9–6:3 to name one.

        YOU WROTE:
        As to the Jewish festivals, considering that we are given almost no record of the culture of the Nephites one cannot say that they didn’t observe these festivals.

        RESPONSE:
        A classic argument from silence. This is fallacious and ridiculous.

        YOU WROTE:
        The statement that they observed the Law of Moses would, in fact, show that they did. We don’t need an account of the observance, only a declaration that they were.

        RESPONSE:
        The Book of Mormon makes a lot of claims that the rest of the content of the book contradicts. This is one of them. They can declare whatever they want to, the fact of the matter is that they violated Mosiac law again, again, and again in the Book of Mormon.

        – continued –

        Like

      4. (continued from last post)
        YOU WROTE:
        On this point we should also consider that none of the Jewish festivals are mentioned in Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1st or 2nd Samuel, 1st Kings, or 1 Chronicles. Should we reject these books because they don’t speak to the cultural events of Jewish life?

        RESPONSE:
        The Jews were lax in observing the mandated festivals – a part of the Mosaic Law – and were judged by God for it. As one biblical commentator observes:

        “The ancient Israelites did not keep the festivals very well. Some aspects of the festivals were not required during the wilderness wanderings. Many festivals were ignored for decades and restored briefly by a zealous leader, only to be abandoned by the next generation. It was impractical for most Israelites to attend every sacred assembly, since the Sabbath occurred weekly, and there was only one authorized meeting place for the entire nation. Most Israelites would have stayed home for most of those assemblies. The agricultural festivals would have less meaning in sabbatical years, when there was no cultivation. And if the law was read only on sabbatical years at Tabernacles, it would be easy for people to forget what it said.”
        (see https://www.gci.org/law/festivals1 )

        That said, the Jews in the books that you mentioned are acting like JEWS not Gentiles. The Book of Mormon people act like 19th Century American Restorationist Protestant Gentiles not Jews. For example, regarding the King Benjamin Festival previously mentioned, here’s what Grant Palmer observed:

        “We have not taken Joseph Smith seriously enough when he stated that he had an “intimate acquaintance” with evangelical religion and that he was “somewhat partial” to the Methodists. [3] Protestant concepts appear to abound in his discourses and experiences. For example, a Methodist camp meeting was held one mile from Palmyra, New York, on 7 June 1826— a pivotal time in Joseph Smith’s life. Preparations for a camp meeting included leasing and consecrating the ground. Thus the “ground within the circle of the tents is considered sacred to the worship of God, and is our chapel.” [4] The Methodists referred to these “consecrated grounds” as their “house of God” or temple. [5] The Palmyra camp meeting reportedly attracted over 10,000 people. Families came from all parts of the 100-mile conference district and pitched their tents facing the raised “stand” where the preachers were seated, including one named Benjamin G. Paddock (fig. 20). This large crowd heard the “valedictory” or farewell speech of their beloved “Bishop M’Kendree [who ] made his appearance among us for the last time.” He was the Methodist leader who “had presided” over the area for many years. The people had such reverence for this “sainted” man “that all were melted, and … awed in his presence.” In his emaciated and “feeble” condition, he spoke of his love for the people and then delivered a powerful message that covered “the whole process of personal salvation.” Tremendous unity prevailed among the crowd, and “nearly every unconverted person on the ground” committed oneself to Christ. At the close of the meeting, the blessings and newly appointed “Stations of the Preachers” were made for the Ontario district. [6]

        This is reminiscent of King Benjamin’s speech to the Zarahemlans in the Book of Mormon, whose chronicler describes the setting: The people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the temple to hear the [last] words which [their beloved ] king Benjamin should speak unto them … [T] hey pitched their tents round about, every man according to his family … every man having his tent with the door thereof towards the temple … the multitude being so great that king Benjamin … caused a tower to be erected … [And he said from the platform,] I am about to go down to my grave … I can no longer be your teacher … For even at this time my whole frame doth tremble exceedingly while attempting to speak unto you (Mosiah 2: 1, 5-7, 28-30).

        The venerated King Benjamin, like Bishop M’Kendree, expresses his love for his people and gives a powerful farewell discourse on personal salvation . The response and unity are such “that there was not one soul, except it were little children, but who had entered into the covenant and had taken upon them the name of Christ.” At meeting’s end, Mosiah, Benjamin’s son, “appointed priests to teach the people” (Mosiah 6: 2-3). In Alma 17: 18, Methodist phrasing is used: “Now Ammon being the chief among them, [blessed and appointed the sons of Mosiah] … to their several stations .” Alma 17-26 then gives a detailed recital of the sons’ preaching with the following summary: “And they had been teaching the word of God for the space of fourteen years among the Lamanites, having had much success in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, by the power of their words many were brought before the altar of God, to call on his name and confess their sins before him” (17: 4). In evangelical meetings it was common for those who were moved by the preaching to break out in tears and fall to the ground. This was considered to be a state of “conviction.” When a preacher looked up and saw those in the audience under “conviction” or “awakened to their awful state,” he would invite them up to a bench in front of the pulpit, called the “altar” of God (fig. 21). There the penitents would pray and confess their sins, “crying aloud for mercy,” seeking forgiveness from God.”
        (Palmer, Grant “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins (Kindle Locations 2123-2156). Signature Books. Kindle Edition)

        Shematwater, simply your arguments would be more credible IF the Book of Mormon people were acting like Jews rather than 19th Century Protestants.

        Like

  2. For me it no longer takes as long as getting to the book of Alma before the BOM is discredited, it takes till about half way down the first page of 1st Nephi chapter 1

    2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.

    Highly unlikely since as it states in verse

    4 For it came to pass in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah,

    this places the action firmly in the 6th century BC during 26th dynasty and in the reign of the Pharaoh Necho II, who had been waging a war of conquest on his neighbors for years, in fact only a few years before he had been directly responsible for the assassination of King Josiah of Judah.
    Unless Nephi was a fifth columnist this like saying Ann Frank wrote her Diary in German because that was the language of the country she was hiding from.

    Like

    1. Considering the common practice of the wealthy aristocracy of learning the language of neighboring nations, especially for the purpose of trade, it is not unreasonable to believe that a wealthy merchant in Judea would have learned Egyptian for the purpose of his business. As the Book of Mormon indicates that Lehi was a wealthy man it is perfectly reasonable to believe he would have done just this.
      Yes, Egypt had been an enemy. Of course, at times it had also be an ally. While Necho had met and killed Josiah in battle, that was in 609, a time when Lehi would have already been a fairly old man, and his four sons would have already begun their education.
      It wasn’t too long before this, though some time before the birth of Lehi, that Egypt was Judah’s most powerful ally, and remained friendly with Judah until King Josiah chose to side with Babylon.
      So, when we look at the full history of the Jews and see how their relationships with nations have changed over time, and especially during the lives of Lehi and his family, it is perfectly reasonable to believe the Lehi would have been instructed in the Egyptian language and would have taught it to his sons.

      Like

      1. @Shematwater
        Your post demonstrates an ignorance of the theological significance of the Hebrew language in Judaism. It is LITERALLY considered to be the original language of humanity and the language of heaven – the language that God speaks.
        (see http://www.myjewishlearning.com/culture/2/Languages/Hebrew/History_and_Centrality/Theological_Significance.shtml?p=0 )

        Many Jew were appalled by the Septuagint and considered it an abomination – a compromise that would accommodate the Hellenization of the Jewish people.

        The idea of Jewish scripture being written in Egyptian – ANY form of Egyptian – the language of their former slave masters is utterly ludicrous!

        “Reformed Egyptian” remains one of the strongest internal evidences against the Book of Mormon.

        Like

      2. You wrote: Considering the common practice of the wealthy aristocracy of learning the language of neighboring nations, especially for the purpose of trade, it is not unreasonable to believe that a wealthy merchant in Judea would have learned Egyptian for the purpose of his business.

        Many trade agreements, notes and product lists have been found scribbled on pottery fragments by archaeologists all around the Mediterranean (especially in Egypt) and there was indeed an international business language and it was Greek no example of “reformed” Egyptian has ever been found anywhere ever.

        As Mr Anson has pointed out Hebrew was the language of the scriptures for the Israelite and no other language would serve, however when the Christians began keeping records and Jewish Historians such as Josephus began doing the same all wrote in the common tongue, the lingua franca, so as to make it available to the maximum number of people Greek, not Egyptian (reformed or otherwise).

        Like

  3. Egyptian

    First, I never mentioned anything about ‘Reformed Egyptian.’ That language did not yet exist at the time of Lehi, which was the time period you referenced. It is basic Egyptian that Lehi new. As to the Greek language being used, that began after the Babylonian captivity. There are almost no records of the Jews before the Babylonian captivity, and so there is no reason to say that wealthy and educated Jews did not learn Egyptian. Given that in latter periods there is significant evidence that they did learn the common languages of the time, it is very reasonable to say that at an earlier time they would have learned the common languages as well.
    Second, the tradition of using Hebrew exclusively is, again, a latter tradition that developed in response to the Babylonian captivity. It was even after this captivity that the Jewish scriptures were collected and canonized. The Septuagent was written during the Hellenistic period, a time in which many Jews were fighting against anything that might threaten them as a nation. They saw any blending of culture as a violation of the covenant, a violation that could once again cause them to be driven from their home.
    I have ignored nothing of significance; I have simply placed those things in their proper timeframe and context. Lehi lived before the Babylonian captivity and his family never experienced the tragedy and crisis of the captivity. Thus they would not have been influenced by this concern, nor would they have developed the later traditions that you are speaking of.
    In fact, many Jews even in the Old World never developed these traditions. In Elephantine in Egypt there was a garrison of Jews that even built a temple and performed sacrifices. Yes, the Jews as Jerusalem condemned them for this, but that doesn’t make them any less Jews, nor does it really prove they were wrong. So, while the traditions you speak of may be the ones that eventually dominated, they are not the only historical traditions that the Jews had.
    Once again, when you consider the full history of the Jewish people and the development of their traditions there is no contradiction here.

    Like

  4. “At Jerusalem”

    “No sir, it’s a clearly a contradiction.”
    You clearly don’t know the English Language, or the conventions of the past.
    “No matter how you slice it I WASN’T born “at Los Angeles”
    Actually, by the rules of English and the conventions of the past, you were born at Los Angeles. While you were not born ‘in’ Los Angeles, the conventions would have used the name of the largest city in the area to identify as your birthplace. This convention is still used in the church, as we name our temples for the cities they are near, even though many of them are actually in the suburbs and not the cities themselves. The convention is actually used by many groups still, it is just no longer applied to individuals.
    “And again, Shematwater, “…the other eighteen times the term “at Jerusalem” is used in the Book of Mormon it always means “in the city of Jerusalem”.
    And where did you get this information. As I pointed out, this is not true at all. When the phrase is used in 1st and 2nd Nephi this is the case; however, starting with Alma the phrase takes on the meaning of the geographical region. I have read all these references and this is how it is used. One reason for defining this as a land and not a city in Alma is to signal the change in the use.
    Thus, McKeever and Johnson are wrong. Actually, many of their arguments are illogical and make assumptions without any real proof.
    Alma 11: 4 – They say that because the context is coinage it has to be referring to the city, because that is the capital. Of course there is no evidence for this beyond their assumption. The meaning of the text is not altered when one accepts that “At Jerusalem” refers to a geographical area and not a city, and so there is no substantial reason to accept their assumption. However, when we realize that the author of the book has already defined Jerusalem as a land in the previous chapter, we have a very definite reason to accept that it is being used in the same way here.
    Helaman 16:18 – On this one they might be right. Because of the repetition there is a reason for believing that ‘at Jerusalem’ refers to the city and ‘land of Jerusalem’ refers to the area. However, it is not mandated by the text, as repetition is commonly used for emphasis in the Book of Mormon; the idea of saying the same thing in different words to make it stand out.
    3 Nephi 15:14 – Nothing in the text mandates a reference to the city. It talks of their brethren at Jerusalem. So, unless you are going to argue that Jesus had no followers outside the city than it makes much more sense for this to be referring to the area, not the city.
    3 Nephi 16:4 – In this we see that ‘my people at Jerusalem’ are ‘they who have seen me and been with me in my ministry.’ Since his ministry went from Jerusalem to Galilee, and since people in all this area saw him and were believers, it is again more reasonable to this to refer to the area (likely the whole area of Christ’s ministry).
    3 Nephi 17:8 – Again, unless you are going to argue that he only healed people in Jerusalem, it makes more sense for this to refer to the area, not the city. (Actually, I think he did very little healing in the city of Jerusalem. It was mainly down in the surrounding area.)
    3 Nephi 10:5 – Again, nothing in the text mandates that this refer to the city and not the area.
    I find it interesting that the only real argument offered for these verses in 3 Nephi referring to the city is that it is Jesus speaking. It seems that this is sufficient in the minds of the authors. However, Jesus would have understood his audience and would have known that they understood the phrase to mean the area, not the city. Thus the fact that it is Christ speaking is not sufficient to establish anything.
    Oh, and just a note, in Luke 24:47 it seems obvious that the phrase ‘at Jerusalem’ is not talking about the city. It says the gospel would be preached in all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, indicating that Jerusalem is the first nation to receive the gospel, which would mean the political entity for which Jerusalem was the capital.
    So, what is the simple truth of the matter is that starting in Alma 7: 10 the term ‘at Jerusalem’ is used to refer to a geographical area, not a city. Before this the term meant the city. So what we are seeing is the natural evolution of the language over time.
    There is only a contradiction if the words of the verse, as well as the rules of the English language and the conventions of writing of the time are ignored.

    Like

  5. Jewish Nephites

    “CAPS added for emphasis. And notice in ALL cases the usage is SINGULAR not plural.
    That’s what the text says Shematwater. The idea that God could or would have more than one temple is eisegesis – it isn’t in the text.”
    Whether it is directly there or not is not the question. The question is whether or not it is denied by the text. Again you are failing to consider convention and the English language. The use of a singular does not necessitate one physical location. Even in the modern day we use this convention in our speech. We say we are going to the bank. We use a singular, but it is understood that there are many different actual locations where we could be going. In the church we speak about going to the temple; the temple is the one place where certain ordinances can be done. So, when it says in Deuteronomy that the Jews were to perform their ordinances in the place (singular) that God had chosen, it is not speaking of actual location, but a type of location, meaning the temple.
    We know that before the temple was built in Jerusalem there were many alters to God built by the Jews in ‘the High Places’ for local worship. God commands such an alter be build in Judges 6: 25-26. Samuel and the prophets were worshiping in such a local High Place (1 Samuel 9-10). David and Solomon worshiped in such places. Elijah, when he did the test on Mount Carmel, repaired the alter of the Lord that had been there before (1 Kings 18: 30). When Hezekiah and Josiah did away with the High Places it was to get a tighter control over the worship because such local alters had been corrupted by heathen worship.
    All of these alters could rightly be the place that God had chosen for such worship to be done, and this would not violate the prohibition in Deuteronomy.
    “And? The tradition of the Jews – be it oral or otherwise – isn’t scripture. In fact, Christ RENOUNCED their non-scriptural traditions.”
    Doesn’t this kind of prove my point? If the tradition of restricting worship to Jerusalem isn’t scripture than what was the point of bringing it up in the first place?
    “Really? And exactly WHAT is this “lesser priesthood” Shematwater? The Old Testament had exactly ONE priesthood: The Levites. The Aaron Priesthood was a subset of the Levitical Priesthood and consisted of the descendents of Aaron. BUT the fact remains that there was ONE, and only ONE, priesthood in the Old Testament.”
    No, there were two. The Higher priesthood is what the prophets had; those who were not descended from Aaron. Such as Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses, who wasn’t even an Israelite. He is described as the Priest of Midian; Midian being another nation descended from Abraham.
    Also take note of the rebellion of Korah and his company in Numbers 16. Moses speaks to Korah and asks “[God] hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee: and seek ye the priesthood also?” Now, as Korah was a Levite he already had the Levitical Priesthood. So, what priesthood could he have been seeking? He was seeking the Priesthood which Moses had, which was a higher priesthood. This is the priesthood that Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, and all the great prophets had. It was the priesthood that Lehi and Nephi had and which was the only priesthood that the Nephites had until after the coming of Christ.
    “Both Aaron and Moses were Levites”
    Your point?
    “They did a 19th Century Methodist Revivalist camp style festival for King Benjamin in Mosiah 1:9–6:3 to name one.”
    Talk about reading into the text. This was a king standing up and addressing his people. It was not a festival of any kind but a royal proclamation. This is not unlike the reading of the law by Ezra the scribe, or the gathering at Mt. Carmel when Elijah challenged the priests of Baal, or a number of other occasions when kings and prophets called the people together to hear a proclamation of revelation. It is very much in the style of the Jews.
    “A classic argument from silence. This is fallacious and ridiculous.”
    This is not fallacious in any way because I never argued that it proved anything. I simply stated that silence cannot prove the argument either way. You are the one arguing from silence as you are claiming that silence proves the lack of something.
    “The Book of Mormon makes a lot of claims that the rest of the content of the book contradicts.”
    Where is the contradiction? For there to be a contradiction there has to be two statements making opposite claims. We don’t see that. We see one statement being made and then a lack of statements clarifying it. So, we have a lack of clarity, but not a contradiction.
    The fact is that there is nothing in the Book of Mormon that violates the Law of Moses, unless you make unfounded assumptions and twist the English language in order to create them.
    “Shematwater, simply your arguments would be more credible IF the Book of Mormon people were acting like Jews rather than 19th Century Protestants.”
    And yours would be more persuasive if you weren’t describing half the human race throughout history, especially Jews and Early Christians. You think it is unique to 19th century Protestants for a well loved ruler to address his people one last time before passing on? Do you think the Jewish people did not have occasions like this, as I have already mentioned? I am sure if you looked throughout all the annals of history you will find dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of similar events in every nation and religion.
    Actually, it is very similar to what Jacob did just before his death when he blessed his sons; as well as Joseph just before his death. Read the last chapter of Joshua and you will find a very similar account as Joshua gives his last words to Israel. Joshua brought all Israel together and rehearsed the history of the people and explained the covenant they made with God, and then asked if they would accept the covenant, and they all accepted it. Strikingly similar, isn’t it.
    I couldn’t care less what kind of parallels one person chooses to draw between two events. There will always be similarities, but they prove nothing. So the Methodists did something similar; who cares? What you have failed to do is to show that the Jews never did anything like this, as your argument is that it is not a Jewish thing to do. I have given a number of events in the Bible that parallel the events you reference in the Book of Mormon, showing that these things are, in fact, perfectly in line with the ancient Jewish culture.
    Or are you going to argue that the writer of Joshua was influenced by 19th century Protestants?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s