Posted by: Author | August 5, 2016

Is Paul to Blame for the Great Apostasy?

A key tenet of Mormonism is the Great Apostasy – the idea that the original church that Jesus Christ established faltered and lost many truths as the original disciples were killed or scattered. From the Mormon perspective, current Christianity is a fractured remnant of the original.

Nobody knows exactly how the original church broke down, but there are major events where doctrine was decided and certain beliefs squashed, such as the council of Nicea in A.D. 325. Such ideas as the trinity were introduced, setting aside the teachings of the Godhead as separate beings, the preexistence of the soul, and others. This fits very well in the Mormon Great Apostasy narrative.

IMG_1258-e1437176646497

What if, however; the original church broke down much earlier than that? What if Paul was the major instigator of the “Great Apostasy?” Many (non-Mormon) Biblical scholars believe that may be the case. Scholars such as James Tabor have championed the idea that Paul changed the teachings of Jesus and introduced an entirely new gospel.

According to these scholars, the gospel that Jesus introduced was handed to James, the brother of Jesus, not Peter or Paul. Then over the centuries the followers of Paul took liberties in editing “Christian” material that emphasized Paul’s teachings and minimized James and the family of Jesus.

“The fundamental doctrinal tenets of Christianity, namely that Christ is God “born in the flesh,” that his sacrificial death atones for the sins of humankind, and that his resurrection from the dead guarantees eternal life to all who believe, can be traced back to Paul — not to Jesus,” writes Tabor.

This becomes clearer if you isolate the teachings of Jesus to what he actually said, and examine other early Christian writings such as the Nag Hammadi library.

“It was a full decade after Jesus’ death that Paul first met Peter in Jerusalem (whom he calls Cephas, his Aramaic name), and had a brief audience with James, the brother of Jesus, and leader of the Jesus movement (Galatians 1:18-23). Paul subsequently operated independently of the original apostles, preaching and teaching what he calls his Gospel….” continues Tabor. What this means is that we must imagine a ‘Christianity before Paul’ that existed independently of his influence or ideas for more than 20 years, as well as a Christianity preached by Paul, which developed independently of Jesus’ original apostles and followers.”

Mormons will have to relook at “The Great Apostasy” and decide which of the branches of Christianity it believes in – Jesus and James, or Paul. Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, certainly incorporated the Protestant/Catholic view of Christianity, but he seemed to be trying to reveal ideas beyond that. Ideas lost that needed restoring. Maybe a true restoration of Jesus’ Christianity will require that Paul is dropped entirely.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Author | July 22, 2016

Jesus, Jehovah, and the Broken Testament

angry-god

I’ve always had issues with the Old Testament and how vastly different Jesus is from Jehovah. Mormons believe in the Old Testament, as do most Christian sects, but there is certainly nuance amongst its believers – literalists and symbolists. It’s always seemed clear to me that the Old Testament was for the most part symbolic – take for instance Job, it’s written in the form of a Hebrew play. It’s fiction folks.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to see the actual evil in the Old Testament. In addition to its quirky stories, the Old Testament condones slavery, genocide, rape, and about every unimaginable human failing you can dream up.

Therefore, Jehovah’s edicts in the Old Testament are about the farthest thing from Jesus Christ’s teachings that I can imagine. Throughout the Old Testament Jehovah orders genocide of “gentiles,” kills people who might happen to, say, spill their seed on the ground, is jealous a God, demands obedience or death, and more. Here’s some examples:

1 Samuel 15:2-3

“I’m about to get even with Amalek for ambushing Israel when Israel came up out of Egypt. Here’s what you are to do: Go to war against Amalek. Put everything connected with Amalek under a holy ban. And no exceptions! This is to be total destruction–men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys–the works.

Hosea 13:16
“Samaria will be punished for turning against me. It will be destroyed in war–children will be beaten against rocks, and pregnant women will be ripped open “

2 Kings 2:23-25
“Elisha left and headed toward Bethel. Along the way some boys started making fun of him by shouting, “Go away, baldy! Get out of here!”

Elisha turned around and stared at the boys. Then he cursed them in the name of the LORD. Right away two bears ran out of the woods and ripped to pieces forty-two of the boys.

Ezekiel 9:5-7
“Follow him through the city and kill. Feel sorry for no one. Show no compassion. 6Kill old men and women, young men and women, mothers and children. But don’t lay a hand on anyone with the mark. Start at my Temple…..desecrate the temple. Fill it with corpses. then go out and continue the killing.”

Jesus continually pushed back against the “Law”, or the Old Testament. He said you cannot put new wine into old bottles. He called the keepers of the Law, the Sadducees and Pharisees, a “generation of vipers.”

So what’s going on here? How did this happen? Well, the Old Testament is essentially myth. The Hebrew idea of God, which is tied to the myths of the ancient and clearly barbaric Israelite tribes (and myths inherited from the Sumerians) and their version of God. The Hebrew mythos of God is clearly one of an angry and jealous divinity that was leveraged by the Israelite tribal leaders to maintain order through fear. This mythos became Judaism, then spilled over into Christianity, then into Islam, and suddenly the majority of the world’s religions contained the mythos of the angry Jehovah.

‘If’ Mormonism is a true restoration of the church that Jesus established in the meridian of time, then it certainly became tainted by Protestantism as it was “restored” in the 1800s. Jesus Christ was about inclusion and love – does that sound like Jehovah? We need to stop viewing God through the Hebrew lens and instead focus on Jesus’ teachings of love, forgiveness, charity and service. The Antithesis of Jesus is Jehovah. I certainly don’t believe Jesus was Jehovah. And while many of the myths and parables found in the Torah or Old Testament have useful moral teachings, too much of record contains fearful mythology designed to keep primitive tribes in order.

Much of the Old Testament content has been used to justify the actions of the Nazis, American slavery in the 19th century, and the Christian crusades in the Middle Ages. And it’s not even necessary to cite the war and murder stemming from Islamic extremism. While the Western world has put aside religious-driven war, the Old Testament is being used to smash the rights of LGBT individuals.

All this malicious justification is based on the roots of the Hebrew mythos. It’s sad that in today’s sophisticated society we can’t put the Old Testament into perspective and recognize its culture contexts and mythologies instead of a literal belief as scripture and law. Jesus Christ, a Hebrew, brought us a new law of love, inclusion and forgiveness. I’ll take that one.

 

 

Posted by: Author | July 19, 2016

What Dad Thinks About Mormonism

dad

I’ve recently gone through a faith transition. The transition is by no means complete, but I have moved away from my Mormon orthodoxy and into a more nuanced, semi-believing Mormon. I previously had a podcast about Book of Mormon archeology but no longer publish that because I began to feel disingenuous. It wasn’t just historical issues and inconsistencies that finally broke the proverbial shelf, but also current issues such as the LDS Church’s stance on marriage equality and how the Church deals with (or hordes) money. I’m now a “hoper”. I hope the Book of Mormon is at least based on some truth or historicity, but I don’t believe it anymore. I only hope. I hope Joseph Smith had some sort of divine guidance or true mysticism, but I don’t believe it anymore. I hope the Mormon temples facilitate ancient rituals that make the veil separating us from the afterlife thinner, but I don’t believe it anymore. But, I still hope….

My biggest fear is about what I’ll teach my children. Since I’m recently divorced and their mother is an orthodox believer, the kids will be indoctrinated by her and while at church. Therefore, do I set my kids straight by revealing true LDS history, or is that destroying innocent faith? Should I tell them that Joseph actually used a peep stone? Should I tell them that many of Joseph’s plural wives were also married to other men? Do I teach them that tithing was originally intended for one’s “surplus” and not 10% of one’s income? And at that, only if they actually had a surplus?

I believe in God, but I want my kids to have a more New Age, all-paths-are-good kind of faith. But I also realize that my kids need to be a certain age before being “set straight.” So, I’ve decided to blog about my own beliefs on Mormonism, and am changing the title of my blog to “What Dad Thinks About Mormonism.” Then one day, when the kids of ready, they can read about what Dad really believes. So here we go!

 

 

Posted by: Author | April 1, 2016

The Michigan Artifacts with Alex Koritz

Mich4

 

Posted by: Author | September 29, 2015

Rethinking Creation And The Biblical Timeline

creation

When we add up the generations of the Bible, we come to 5700-plus years. And one must remember, the 6 days of creation came BEFORE Adam. So it’s 5700 years PLUS 6 days. If we read Psalms 90:4, King David says, “One thousand years in Your (God’s) sight are like a day that passes, a watch in the night.”

So even conservative, fundamentalist Christians/Jews/Muslims have to agree on a date for  the creation to be around around 11,700 B.C. Therefore, I hope we can all agree that the idea of the earth being 6,000 years old needs to be tossed out the window. I believe it’s much older, but let’s stick with 11,700 B.C. for the moment. This is an interesting era in archeology.

Archeology Reveals That Civilization Is…Old

In 1991 Boston University Geologist Dr. Robert M. Schoch and independent Egyptologist John Anthony West caused waves of controversy among traditional archeologists, anthropologists, and Egyptologists. According to their research, the weathering on the Sphinx was caused by rain weathering, not wind and sand erosion. Schoch and West also noted further heavy precipitation-induced erosion on the core blocks of the Sphinx and Valley Temples.

The last time Northern Africa and Egypt specifically experienced a climate of heavy rainfall was at least 10,000 B.C., dramatically predating Djedefre and Khafre, the Pharaohs given credit for the Great Sphinx and the Second Pyramid at Giza around 2500 BC. And if the weathering dates to around 10,000 BC, then the actual construction of these sites would have to have been even earlier than that! Or, are these old structures in Egypt merely anomalies?

The Flood

Why is 10,000 BC significant? Because around 11,000 BC and 9,000 BC the Ice Age came to a dramatic end. Solar flares caused a sudden heating of the earth, and this caused massive global destruction, including flooding. Every ancient culture in every part of the world has the Flood Myth, and 10,000 BC is the only time in somewhat recent history (the past 1 million years) that the earth may have been covered by water for a time. Placing the biblical flood around 4,000 BC does not match the geological record, but 10,000 BC does!

Enter Göbekli Tepe, Baalbek, and Jericho

Göbekli Tepe sits at the top of a mountain in the Anatolia region of Turkey.  It was excavated by German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt from 1996 until his death in 2014. A traditional archeologist, and in no terms maverick, Schmidt dated the complex back to the 10th-8th millennium BC, or roughly 10,000 BC!

The hilltop of Tell Baalbek overlooking the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon shows signs of almost continual habitation over the last 8–9000 years.  The amazing platform found at Ba’albek, Lebanon is composed of the largest hewn rocks in the world, the famous ashlars of Ba’albek. Some of the individual stones are 82 feet long and 15 feet thick and are estimated to weigh between 1,200 and 1,500 tons each!

Described in the Old Testament as the “City of Palm Trees”, Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 BCE)!

These are just a few examples of archeological sites that clearly show human habitation much earlier than 6,000 years.

The Red Shift – 6 Days or 16 Billion Years?

Truly exciting discoveries in the last few years in astronomy allows us to quantify the relationship of the “view of time” from the beginning, compared to the “view of time” in the present.

This isn’t science fiction. The general relationship between time near the beginning when stable matter formed from the light and the time in the present is a million million—that is a trillion-fold expansion. This number is a 1 with 12 zeroes after it!

So when light in the beginning begins, in its time, sending a pulse every second, would we see it every second? Nope. We’d see it every million million seconds. Because that’s the STRETCHING EFFECT OF THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE. In astronomy, the term is “red shift.”

The Old Testament says Six Days. How would we see those six days? If the Old Testament says we’re sending information for six days, we would receive that information as six million million days. Because the Old Testament’s perspective is from the BEGINNING looking FORWARD.

Six million million days is significant. What would that be in years? Divide by 365 and it comes out to be 16 billion years, the estimate of the age of the universe.

According to physicist Gerald Schroeder, PhD, the calculations from Red Shift come out to be as follows:

  • The first of the Biblical days lasted 24 hours, viewed from the “beginning of time perspective.” But the duration from our perspective was 8 billion years.
  • The second day, from the Bible’s perspective lasted 24 hours. From our perspective it lasted half of the previous day, 4 billion years.
  • The third 24 hour day also included half of the previous day, 2 billion years.
  • The fourth 24 hour day ― one billion years.
  • The fifth 24 hour day ― one-half billion years.
  • The sixth 24 hour day ― one-quarter billion years.

When you add up the Six Days, you get the age of the universe at 15 and 3/4 billion years. The same as modern cosmology. Is it by chance?

Good science = Good Religion

I hope we can all agree, at least, that the earth being 6,000 years old needs to be tossed out the window. When biblical apologists spar against atheists like Richard Dawkins, they will look ignorant and unconvincing if they don’t embrace the accepted science of the universe. Good science makes good religion.

Posted by: Author | June 19, 2015

Podcast Interview: The Great Wayne May!

Today we host a discussion with Wayne May, arguably the most important researcher for the Book of Mormon Heartland model. We discuss all things Book of Mormon, including the current Hopewell excavation site Wayne is overseeing across the river from Nauvoo.

216

http://mormonarcheology.podbean.com/e/podcast-interview-the-great-wayne-may/

Wayne N. May was born and raised in Wisconsin.  He is a 36 year convert to the LDS Church and has served in four Branch Presidencies, three Elder Quorum Presidencies, Seminary Instructor, Gospel Doctrine Instructor, Veil worker at the St. Paul Minnesota Temple, and currently is serving as Gospel Doctrine Teacher of the Menomonie Wisconsin Branch, Oakdale, Minnesota Stake. His wife Kristine is active with Wayne in the archaeological discoveries of the Midwest. Together they publish the quarterly magazine Ancient American which has been in continuous print for sixteen years and covers the pre-Columbian Americas. Wayne and Kristine are the parents of seven children, and grandparents to sixteen.

Wayne is author of four books on the subject of Book of Mormon Archaeology in North America. They are entitled; This Land: Zarahemla and the Nephite Nation; This Land: Only One Cumorah; This Land: They Came from the EAST: and book four is This Land: America 2,000 B.C. to 500 A.D. Wayne gives firesides to members and non-members alike, wherever he is invited to present. He has been presenting information on the topic of North America’s archaeological data since 1994 which demonstrates how it applies to the Book of Mormon timeline.

You don’t want to miss this one! We discuss Steven’s book, Lost American Antiquities: A Hidden History, and his documentary The Lost Civilizations of North America. Enjoy!

[Audio http://mormonarcheology.podbean.com/e/interview-with-authorproducer-steven-smoot-the-lost-civilizations-of-north-america-1432614138/]

Posted by: Author | May 14, 2015

Reclaiming The Michigan Artifacts

Mich4

I recently gave a lecture at the FIRM Conference on the Michigan Artifacts—a collection of tablets and other items found in Hopewell mounds in the 1800s that contained biblical scenes and Egyptian and Cuneiform writing. Here’s a brief summary of my presentation:

From 1848 to roughly 1920 artifacts were found in Hopewell Indian mounds near Detroit, Michigan containing biblical scenes and ancient languages. Awareness of the artifacts began to build in 1890 when James Scotford reported his first findings. In 1907 Daniel Soper, a former Security of State of Michigan, and respected clergyman Reverend James Savage, also made numerous discoveries in the mounds and increased awareness on a national scale.

In 1910 Bishop Rudolph Etzenhouser, a missionary of the former RDLS Church, published Engravings of Pre-Historic Specimens from Michigan, U.S.A. This really put the artifacts on the map and many well-known scholars began denouncing the artifacts as forgeries and accusing James Scotford as the counterfeiter. A National committee was formed to investigate the artifacts led by Professor Frederick Starr of the University of Chicago, Roswell Field of the Chicago Examiner, and Dr. James Talmage, director of the Deseret Museum in Salt Lake City.

mich

By this time the LDS church had become interested in the artifacts. As I’m sure some of the brethren were excited but the finds, there is evidence that Elder Talmage was more nervous than excited. Apparently he was worried that the whole controversy surrounding the Michigan artifacts would reflect poorly on the Book of Mormon.

Professor Starr and the committee issued a report claiming that the artifacts were frauds, and that, despite having retrieved several tablets himself in front of multiple witnesses, asserted that the artifacts were “introduced into the mound by sleight-of-hand as everyone watched”. Also, several of the artifacts retrieved by the committee were found under tree trunks and wrapped in roots. Counting the rings, the trees were hundreds of years old!

Ever the skeptic, Elder Talmage decided to do another investigation. He took James Scotford with him and they excavate several mounds themselves. They found an inscribed tablet. Talmage then took James Scotford and Daniel Soper on another excavation and they found an additional inscribed tablet. Still skeptical, Talmage ventured out by himself and excavated 22 mounds. He didn’t find any artifacts, and because of this, he concluded that Scotford, Soper and Savage were fooling him and had manufactured the artifacts – despite the fact that Soper was a former Secretary of State, and Father Savage was a beloved and respected community leader.

Mich3Fast forward to 1953: Judge Claude Stone of Peoria, Illinois asked respected Chicago attorney, author and scientists Henrietta Mertz to study the Soper-Savage collection and draw a conclusion as to whether they were fake or genuine. Mertz was a trained specialist in forgery and identification. In fact, she served as a Lt. Commander during WWII in the Office of Scientific Research and Development where she worked with a team breaking Nazi codes. After years of study, Mertz concluded that the artifacts were genuine without question, and theorized that a group of Coptic Christians left the Middle East because of persecution by the early Roman church and made their way to North America. Her findings were posthumously published by her nephew in 1986, titled The Mystic Symbol.

The LDS Church re-enters the scene. In 1960 two LDS missionaries, Elders Bird and Roundy, began a friendship with Father Charles E. Sheedy of Notre Dame University. In the course of their discussions, Father Sheedy took the two elders to the basement under the football stadium and showed them the Soper-Savage collection of the Michigan artifacts. How did Notre Dame acquire the artifacts? Upon his death, Father Savage had willed the collection to the university.Mich6

The elders then contacted LDS Church headquarters in Salt Lake City and excitedly described the collection, which were full of biblical, and, as they believed, Book of Mormon scenes—epic battles between a Caucasian race and a native race.

The Church sent my grandfather, Elder Milton R Hunter, who was serving in the Presidency of the Quorum of Seventy, to Notre Dame to investigate the artifacts. Elder Hunter had authored over 23 books and was the Church’s de facto Book of Mormon archeology scholar. Elder Hunter met with Father Sheedy and the priest gave him the entire collection. My grandfather leaves Notre Dame with a collection of over 800 pieces of the Savage-Soper Michigan Artifacts.

Elder Hunter immediately believed the artifacts were genuine and embarked on a 15-year study of the collection. Even among fellow General Authorities, Elder Hunter had his detractors. Several wanted nothing to do with the artifacts, while others believed they were authentic. In a letter written to Ellis Soper, Danie Soper’s son, Elder Hunter wrote, “The fact that many people have proclaimed that both Father Savage’s and your father’s collections are frauds or forgeries makes your and my problem much more complicated. As you know, I, personally, however, feel that the artifacts are all genuine. . . . “

(Milton R. Hunter. Letter to Mr. Ellis Clarke Soper, Consulting Engineer, Franklin, North Carolina, dated January 20, 1965.)

In 1973 Elder Hunter began a book about the Michigan Artifacts. In 1974 he became ill and donated the collection to the LDS Church. In the donation documentation, my grandfather insisted that the collection NEVER leave the State of Utah. In 1975 this faithful servant of the Lord passed away.

In the following decades, the Church stored the collection in a dark warehouse. Many of the brethren wished to donate the collection to Michigan State University, however, they were afraid of offending my grandmother, Fern Hunter, who was still living. According to former LDS Museum Curator Michael Smith, there was a rumor that the brethren were deciding to wait until Sister Hunter passed away, and then would donate the collection. She passed away in 1998.

mich8In 2000 the LDS Church notified my family about a possible donation to Michigan, stating that the collection would be studied by Michigan archeologists. This seemed like a good move to my family since the collection was sitting in a dusty warehouse. If Michigan archeologists were going to properly study them, then great, we gave our approval.

In 2001 Professor of Anthropology Richard Stamps of Oakland University (and also LDS member) published “Tools Leave Marks: Material Analysis of the Scotford-Soper-Savage Michigan Relics” in BYU Studies. Essentially, Stamp claimed that the artifacts were made using modern tools, meaning metal tools. Stamp, an active member of the Church, made this claim despite the Book of Mormon clearly discussing metal usage. Although a member, Stamp couldn’t publish anything that went against the standard academic doctrine that the Pre-Columbians did NOT use metal. That would have been career suicide.

Dr. Stamps’ “stamp” of disapproval was the final nail in the coffin for LDS leadership regarding the collection. In 2003 the brethren decide to donate the Soper-Savage collection to Michigan State University. Upon receiving the artifacts, the museum immediately showcased the collection under the banner of fraudulent archeology, despite my family having been reassured that the collection would be properly studied and not mocked.

Our family was extremely upset but left with no legal recourse because we had given our consent for the donation in 2000. Fast forward to June 2014. I had become very interested in the Michigan artifacts. I contacted the Church museum about how the donation to Michigan “went down”, and was finally referred to the LDS Church’s lawyers at Kirton and McConkie.

Eventually realizing I was not going to get help from the Church or its lawyers, I took my battle to Michigan. I scheduled an appointment with Eric Perkins, the Michigan archeologist overseeing the collection at the Michigan Historical Museum on the campus of Michigan State University. As a PR guy, I of course wanted to generate some publicity around this “problem”, so I took with me Ryan Fisher of Nephite Explorer, a popular show that explores Book of Mormon history in North American and runs on KJZZ every Sunday.

I must give credit where it’s due: the museum rolled out the red carpet. They set up photography lights and displayed many pieces of the collection for us to handle and photograph. Eric spent three hours with us answering our questions. At one point I pinned him down about why he feels the Michigan Artifacts are frauds. Ultimately, this is what he kept coming back to: “It’s a mish-mash of cultures and languages, and so it doesn’t fit in the archeological timeline anywhere. We don’t know what to do with it.”

In other words, there’s a mixture of languages on the tablets and we can’t translate them. But if one studies the Book of Mormon, this is exactly what one would expect: Mormon tells us that their language had become confounded, and that they wrote in a language he called reformed Egyptian.

I then addressed several reasons why I believed the Michigan Artifacts could not have been a giant hoax:

  • The total number of artifacts containing the Michigan Mystic Symbol range from 10,000 to 30,000
  • These artifacts were found across 20 counties in Michigan
  • These artifacts were found in seven different states over nearly a 100-year stretch
  • Astronomical descriptions inscribed on several stones pinpoint events that took place around 325 A.D – the accused forgers could not have known this
  • No 19th century settler on the frontier would have access to Egyptian and Cuneiform dictionaries
  • The characters on the Michigan tablets match almost exactly many characters of the Anthon Manuscript (Book of Mormon characters)

There are many more supporting evidences I could list; the above is just a sampling.

After studying the Michigan Artifacts, Professor J.O. Kinnaman, a non-Mormon scholar, stated that, “Tentatively speaking, we may say that historically and geologically, when the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair extended many miles inland from where they do now, a Caucasian race, with civilization developed to a point equal to any developed in the valleys of the Nile and Tigro-Euphrates, existed all over the present continent of America. Our knowledge of the Caucasian race will likely extend thousands of years back of the wildest dream of the most enthusiastic archeologist.”

According to author Wayne May, “The mystic symbol is written in the script style known as ‘cuneiform’ which is common throughout the Middle East. This symbol has been found in many North American states such as; Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Utah. A Native American of Minnesota identified this symbol as a name for the Creator’s Son “Yod Hey Vau”.

Now, here’s where the Michigan Artifacts get really complicated. There is evidence that James Scotford did forge some of the artifacts. There is testimony of this from his daughter, and many of the copper artifacts are suspect because they appear to have been made by modern smelting methods. This does NOT mean that the thousands of artifacts bearing the Mystic Symbol are forgeries. That would be impossible. But, one these artifacts are polluted by some fakes, then most scholars don’t want anything to do with them.

Yes, FAIR Mormon and several BYU scholars believe the Michigan Artifacts are fakes. FAIR loves to denounce anything that’s not “Book of Mormon and Mesoamerica”, and they deploy many of the same tactics that anti-Mormons do – the very group FAIR was designed to defend against. Despite skeptics of the Michigan Artifacts, the evidence is not enough to convince me that all of these artifacts could have been forgeries, due to reasons given above. Many prominent scholars believed they were genuine, including Henrietta Mertz and my grandfather, Elder Milton R. Hunter, who had a PhD in History from UC Berkeley.

Mich9If I were Satan and genuine Book of Mormon artifacts were surfacing, what would be the best way to discredit them? Introduce a few fakes into the mix. Classic tactics used by the Adversary – half-truths, scripture mingled with the philosophies of men, and so forth.

Regarding whom to blame for the Soper-Savage collection being donated to Michigan State – it’s important to not blame the LDS Church or my family. Both parties made the decision they thought right at the time given the information they had. We’re all just trying to do our best in this life.

Before leaving the museum, I pulled Eric Perkins aside and asked him the question:

“Is their any way my family can get the artifacts back?”

“No,” responded Eric.

“We are able to raise significant money for the museum. If we gave a sizable donation, could we get the artifacts back?”

“No.” Eric wasn’t just being obstinate. Once a donation is made it legally becomes the property of the people of Michigan. No matter how much money was offered, the Museum cannot legally return the collection to my family, or to anyone else.

Eric did give one glimmer of hope, however. He promised that anyone who makes a request can go see the collection. Again as a PR guy, this gave me an idea. We need to continue to build awareness among members of the Church and overwhelm the museum with requests to see the artifacts. Then, God willing, they will perhaps put the collection on permanent display. In a few months the Nephite Explorer program, using the footage from our trip to the museum, will feature the Michigan tablets. I will continue my presentations to public forums about the collection, and word-of-mouth awareness will continue to spread. Eventually, we’ll get the Michigan Artifacts on permanent display!

Contact Eric Perkins!

Eric Perkins

Michigan State archeologist

perkinsE@michigan.gov

517-373-3559

mayflower

OK, let’s set aside archeology and anthropology for a moment. 1 Nephi 13:30 discusses the “Gentiles who have gone forth out of captivity.” We know these gentiles are referring to the pilgrims who settled Massachusetts, and that they were fleeing Great Britain so they could obtain religious freedom. These Gentiles then would establish a latter-day “nation” (1 Nephi 13:30) that would be “set up,” (3 Nephi 21:4) “lifted up,” (1 Nephi 13:30) “raised up,” (1 Nephi 22:7) “established,” and “delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations” (1 Nephi 13:19). Clearly, this is the United States. I don’t think there exists a Mormon scholar that would disagree.

Throughout the book of Nephi, Mosiah, Alma and Ether, this latter-day nation is referred to as a “land of liberty”, which would become a “mighty Gentile nation” (1 Nephi 22:7) “above all other nations” (3 Nephi 20:27). It also states that this nation will have “no kings upon the land” and the Lord “will fortify this land against all other nations” (2 Nephi 10:10-12). Any of this sound familiar?

The Book of Mormon lands are also correlated with the New Jerusalem. Upon reaching their promise land in the Americas, the Jaredites recorded that “this land”, meaning the land they just arrived in, the “land” of their inheritance, was reserved for the “remnant of the house of Joseph”, and that this same land will be the location of the New Jerusalem of the latter days (Ether 13:8).

Founding-Fathers-Americans-for-Prosperity

Where will the New Jerusalem be? We know that it is Jackson County, Missouri, the literal Heartland of North America. This clearly presents the Jaredites as being in the same land as the New Jerusalem.

Need support from modern prophets? There are too many to reference, but here’s a starter: Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated in the December 2012 issue of the Ensign that, “The United States is the Promised Land foretold in the Book of Mormon.”

Throw all the archeological and anthropological evidences on top of this stuff and it gets fun.

liahonlp.nfo-o-1ecf3

 

picture-11

Older Posts »

Categories