Questions: The Book of Mormon (the Book)

The entire October 2011 edition of the Ensign magazine is dedicated to The Book of Mormon.  One section toward the back of the magazine is titled:  “Common Questions about the Book of Mormon.”  My question about this article (and all the articles in general) is where are the tough questions?  Where’s the beef?  The questions discussed in the magazine article are:

  • What is the Book of Mormon, and does it compare to the Bible?
  • Who wrote the Book of Mormon?
  • What happened to the original record–the golden plates?
  • Who else saw the golden plates?
  • Is there physical evidence that the Book of Mormon is true?
  • I’m confused by Revelation 22:18-19, which tells us not to add anything to the word of G0d?
  • I have heard that changes have been made to the Book of Mormon since it was first published.  What was changed and why?

These are all light-weight questions.  In today’s world, educated members and non-members are frequently asking more difficult questions.  Where are the suggested answers to questions like:

  • What does recent DNA evidence say about the origins of the Native American peoples?  How does this relate to the groups in the Book of Mormon?
  • Why was the sentence about Native American origins recently changed in the beginning of the Book of Mormon?  Is this decision related to the “limited geography” theory?
  • If only a few Native Americans are Lamanites, how doesn’t this effect the LDS Church’s relationship to Native Americans in general?
  • Does the curse of Lamanites relate to skin color?
  • Where do Mormon scholars believe the land of the Book of Mormon is located?  Central America, North America, Ecuador, Malaysia
  • Is it possible that parts of the Book of Mormon are metaphorical?

We, as members of the LDS Church, need to start coming to grips with the real issues that members and non-members are raising.  And it needs to be happening at the leadership level, as well as with organizations like FAIR.

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2 Responses to Questions: The Book of Mormon (the Book)

  1. rogerdhansen says:

    The “Ensign” response to the question “Is there physical evidence that the Book of Mormon is true?” is:

    “Although we don’t base our faith on physical evidence, there is linguistic, historical, and archaelogical evidence for the Book of Mormon. For example, the idea of writing on metal plates was once ridiculed, but in recent years numerous examples of sacred writings on metal plates–some hidden in stone boxes–have been found.”

    The resp0nse goes on to discuss linguistics.

    Compare that with the entry on “Lamanites” in Wikipedia:

    “Although mainstream archaeologists, geneticists, and historians do not recognize the existence of Lamanites, adherents of the LDS movement typically believe that the Lamites comprise som part, if not the entirety, of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the Polynesian people.”

  2. rogerdhansen says:

    According to Dave Banack, writing in the website timesandseasons.org (12 Jan 2012):

    “Once upon a time, the designation [“descendents of Lehi”] . . . was thought to apply to all Native Americans. Under the current understanding–that the descendents of Lehi are actually a small and unindentified portion of the Native American population, the large majority of which are admitted to be of Asiatic descent–the special promises in the Book of Mormon addressed to the descendents of Lehi actually do not apply to most Native Americans. I have not seen this obvious point discussed elsewhere, although it certainlly seems like the kind of thing that would be addressed somewhere . . . .”

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