In my hotel room

Some reader suggested I look for the Book of Mormon in my hotel room, since Bill Marriott, the CEO of the hotel group, is an important Mormon. As his Wikipedia bio notes:

He is an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). In an episode of 60 Minutes aired on April 7, 1996, Marriott was interviewed regarding his faith by Mike Wallace. The episode also included interviews with football star Steve Young and church leader Gordon B. Hinckley. In 1997 Marriott was called by the church to be an Area Authority Seventy and member of the Fifth Quorum of Seventy.[4] This was split in 2004 and Marriott joined the newly created Sixth Quorum of the Seventy, serving until his release on October 1, 2011.

Sure enough, I opened the drawer next to my bed and found both the Book of Mormon and the work it was copied from:

P1050335

Now if you open the Book of Mormon, you will find two sets of testimonies by witnesses who purported to have seen the famous Golden Plates conveyed by the Angel Moroni and translated by the charlatan Joseph Smith. This is the “Testimony of Three Witnesses” signed by Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, and published in the introduction to every edition of the Book of Mormon since the first one in 1830:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvellous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

Direcctly below that is further attestation by witnesses: “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses“, who also saw the plates around 1829:

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shewn unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

This was signed by Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., John Whitmer,Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, and Samuel Harrison Smith.

Now Christians defend the truthfulness of the Gospels because they were written beginning a few decades after Jesus’s death, and none of the writers had actually witnessed the events they reported. But here we have a case in which eleven people verified in writing that they had actually seen the plates on which Mormonism was founded.

So why isn’t Mormonism regarded as better founded, historically, than Christianity? Why isn’t it widely seen as the True Religion? Only because all this happened in recent times. Because know about the duplicity and the clearly man-made nature of this religion, most of us dismiss it as a human-devised cult. (This is also one of the reasons many dismiss Scientology.) But the same was surely true of Christianity—and all other religions. The farther we are from the inception of a religion, the more credibility it attains—up to a point.  We no longer adhere to the Greek gods or the bloodthirsty deities of the Aztecs.

68 Comments

  1. Posted January 14, 2014 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Suppose a CEO of a hotel is a muslim, would his christian clients like it if he would place copies of the Qu’ran in his hotel rooms?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      would his christian clients like it if he would place copies of the Qu’ran in his hotel rooms?

      Since they’re being given the Word of God (®), it’s not as if they get a choice in the matter.
      Also note that, in a significant number of countries, by having been given the Word of God (®) you no longer have the option of rejecting it, since that would make you an apostate and therefore subject to severe legal sanctions. Stoning (in the non-pharmaceutical sense), expulsion, additional taxation, or just plain vanilla execution.

  2. Alex Shuffell
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Didn’t the Romans make fun of Christianity when it was new the same way Christians make fun of Mormonism and Scientology? We have a few examples of this like the Alexamenos graffiti. It shows Jesus with his head the head of a donkey being crucified and an inscription saying something like “Alexamenos worshipping god”.

    As Christianity starts to die off the way the ancient religions it copied from did, we may start taking these new copies and inventions more seriously.

    • Bender
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 4:22 am | Permalink

      Quote from the second season of “Rome”:

      Speaker: “All citizens be aware, that the vassal prince Herrod, tetrarch of Galilee, is visiting Rome. By order of the Triumvirate, during his residence here, all mockery of the Jews and their one god shall be kept to an appropriate minimum”.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:10 am | Permalink

        all mockery of the Jews and their one god shall be kept to an appropriate minimum”.

        That would be about 2 hours mockery, per person, per day? 3 hours on Sundays.

  3. Posted January 14, 2014 at 1:28 am | Permalink

    I hope you threw it away and left a copy of WEIT.

    • Jeff D
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      Even this “testimony” of the eleven doesn’t hold up under modest scrutiny. That is pretty clear when one looks more deeply at the discrepant stories told by Joseph Smith himself (a charismatic liar and bunco artist of the first order), and by Cowdery, Whitmer, Harris, and later by the 8 other witnesses (a separate account concocted by Smith). Cowdery, Whitmer and Harris later left the church in an atmosphere of considerable ill feelings, and still later, Cowdery and Harris were rebaptized. The “testimonies” of these three differ substantially as to the details, and all three of them had “visions” of the golden plates, etc. while praying intensely with Joseph Smith. They were not accounts of being shown and seeing the plates, as I might inspect a friend’s baseball card collection.

      On this issue and others regarding the origins of the LDS church, I recommend Fawn Brodie’s fascinating biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History, written in 1945 and revised in 1970.

      Although movable-type printing, railroads, and telegraphy made it easier to spread a “new” syncrestic religion cobbled together out of plagiarized bits and ad hoc embellishments, these technologies also left a paper trail, making it quite obvious — to anyone who wanted to take the time to look seriously — that this religion, like all others, was simply made up.

  4. francis
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    //

  5. bric
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    I would offer Cavafy’s poem ‘Julian at the Mysteries'; this is the Julian who would become the Emperor Julian the Apostate being confronted with Greek scepticism of his shiny new God:

    But when he found himself in darkness,
    in the earth’s dreadful depths,
    accompanied by unholy Greeks,
    and bodiless figures appeared before him
    with haloes and bright lights,
    the young Julian momentarily lost his nerve:
    an impulse from his pious years came back
    and he crossed himself.
    The Figures vanished at once;
    the haloes faded away, the lights went out.
    The Greeks exchanged glances.
    The young man said: “Did you see the miracle?
    Dear companions, I’m frightened.
    I’m frightened, friends. I want to leave.
    Didn’t you see how the demons vanished
    the second they saw me make
    the holy sign of the cross?”
    The Greeks chuckled scornfully:
    “Shame on you, shame, to talk that way
    to us sophists and philosophers!
    If you want to say things like that,
    say them to the Bishop of Nicomedia
    and his priests.
    The greatest gods of our glorious Greece
    appeared before you.
    And if they left, don’t think for a minute
    that they were frightened by a gesture.
    It was just that when they saw you
    making that vile, that crude sign,
    their noble nature was disgusted
    and they left you in contempt.”
    This is what they said to him,
    and the fool recovered from
    his holy, blessed fear, convinced
    by the unholy words of the Greeks.

  6. Posted January 14, 2014 at 2:51 am | Permalink

    “The farther we are from the inception of a religion, the more credibility it attains”

    Often also expressed as:

    Q: What is the difference between a religion and a cult?
    A: About 150 years.

    • Bender
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 4:17 am | Permalink

      In a cult there is a person at the top who knows it’s just a scam. In a religion that person is dead.

      • David Duncan
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 4:41 am | Permalink

        So, Scientology passed from cult status to religion 28 years ago. :-)

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:13 am | Permalink

          Miscav …
          Miscavities?
          Miscellany?
          Sorry, I’ve forgotten the dude’s name. The one who [ehemm] sucked in Travolta and the little butch boy whose name I’ve also forgotten. Mr Sofa-Dancer.
          I’m having a job to take this seriously, and can’t be bothered to get the miscreants names right. Was that it – Mr Miscreant?

          • Merilee
            Posted January 14, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            Tom Cruise= Sofa-Dancer

            Macavity was the Mystery Cat, but I don’t think he was a Scientologist…

          • Kevin Alexander
            Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            Miscarriage is the name you’re looking for.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            The “Chairman of the Board of Religious Technology Center” (RTC) David Miscavige ~ weird job title

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

              Thanks ; I now have an excuse to go and wash that knowledge from my brain. Barmen of Aberdeen, unlock your daughters and send them out to serve!

          • darrelle
            Posted January 14, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            Miscav . . . whatever, was the 2nd leader of the COS. The 1st leader, founder, inventor, scammer, carny and general low life who stumbled through life as a chronic underachiever and liar, including a stint as a comically bad science fiction writer, and finally happened to luck into a scam that worked very well, making up a comically bad religion, . . . his name was L.Ron Hubbard.

            What is really . . . amazing? . . . bizzare? . . . depressing? . . . is that the actual (as opposed to made up shit) beginnings of the religion, the inspiration, is a matter of relatively recent record. Shooting the shit with a group of other science fiction authors, most of which were true talents and became icons of the genre, the question of what scheme would be the best way to make some easy money came up. The agreed upon answer was . . . start your own religion. And L. Ron ran with that.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

              I prefer the origin myth – Galactic Overlords, volcanos, and all that jazz – as being far more credible than the idea of a bunch of cynical SF authors proposing founding a get-rich-quick scheme by fleecing their True Believers.

              • darrelle
                Posted January 15, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

                To be fair to those other writers, going by their subsequent careers I’m pretty sure they were reasonably decent people and never gave serious consideration to actually attempting such an odious scam. But ole L. Ron was a different breed. Unscrupulous, unsavory, a liar, a cheat, a thief, a carny, sociopathic, megalomaniacal, and just flat out insane, at least by his later years.

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted January 21, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

                Proposing something – in a fictional context perhaps – and even working out the details, isn’t a crime. Carrying it out, is.
                I’m trying to bring an example to mind … how about that Walter Matthau film “How to Murder Your Wife” ? I’m pretty sure there have been real-life equivalents too.
                I nearly got run off a rig once for spending lunch discussing that morning’s “security exercise” and discussing with people where I’d have placed the bobmb to cause maximum damage with minimum (politically inconvenient) casualties.

        • Achrachno
          Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:25 am | Permalink

          I’m sure the new leaders know the score too.

    • Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:13 am | Permalink

      Also to quote one of our great musical philosophers of the last century:

      The difference between a religion and a cult?

      Real estate.

  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    I’ve never stayed in a hotel fancy enough to boast a Bible in the drawers, so never had the chance to check this for myself, but I’ve heard a couple of legends about them I rather like.

    The first is that the pages make excellent paper for rolling joints with.

    The second (and I always think this is what is referred to in the great Jethro Tull song ‘Locomotive Breath’ where it says “He picks up Gideon’s Bible Open at Page One”) is that the local ladies of negotiable affection all write their phone numbers on the flyleaf.

    I do so want this to be true ;)

    • Occam
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 4:09 am | Permalink

      A bible in the drawers may just as well be a makeshift codpiece.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:17 am | Permalink

      The first is that the pages make excellent paper for rolling joints with.

      I find it hard to make them stick together. But we don’t have any difficulty here getting rolling papers, so I’ve not experimented with alternative glues.

      The second (and I always think this is what is referred to in the great Jethro Tull song ‘Locomotive Breath’ where it says “He picks up Gideon’s Bible Open at Page One”) is that the local ladies of negotiable affection all write their phone numbers on the flyleaf.

      From an impeccable sauce like JT, I don’t doubt you. Maybe I always get put into too high a class of hotel, but I’ve never seen this myself. The l.o.n.a. normally solicit in the bar.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, I can’t quote Jethro Tull as authority for that. In fact Googling suggests a plethora of interpretations, very few (oddly) including sex, quite a lot including drugs. But hey, when you’ve got drugs and rock’n’roll, the third ingredient can’t be far away, can it? ;)

        Anyway, my interpretation doubtless says something discreditable about my psyche, which gives me a certain perverse satisfaction.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:30 am | Permalink

          But hey, when you’ve got drugs and rock’n’roll, the third ingredient can’t be far away, can it?

          Tell my unreconstructed hippie persona in the mid-80s! He’d probably hit you with a tofu burger.
          Oh ye ghods, I just remembered Marie “The Plastic Hippie” ; [retch, gag]

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 15, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

          But hey, when you’ve got drugs and rock’n’roll, the third ingredient can’t be far away, can it?

          In one of those bizarre coincidences, I was just saving the PDF of the Tiktaalik paper recently cited and I noticed the specific name “roseae.”
          And now my head is filled with AC/DC’s ‘Whole lotta Rosie.’
          Not that I’m complaining.

    • Posted January 14, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      “Fancy enough”?

      Is that sarcasm?

      I’ve stayed in a couple of nicer joints that stocked not bibles in the bedside stand but…lubricant.

      • teacupoftheapocalypse
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        Well, you never know when you might need to practice a little Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 15, 2014 at 1:32 am | Permalink

        Nope, ‘fancy enough’ wasn’t sarcasm. In fact, now I recall, I’ve spent maybe a total of 7 nights (in my life) in real high-class hotels. Generally I stay in backpackers or real run-down small-town hotels in NZ. I *like* run-down hotels with creaky wooden floors and worn carpets. They’ve got more atmosphere, house bar prices I can afford, and I’d rather spend my money on other things that matter more to me.

  8. Posted January 14, 2014 at 4:33 am | Permalink

    “So why isn’t Mormonism regarded as better founded, historically, than Christianity? Why isn’t it widely seen as the True Religion? Only because all this happened in recent times.”

    Well, yes, that is partly true. But at least Christianity dealt with apparently historical events (whatever contemporary historians may say), whereas the Book of Mormon really is made up of whole cloth. There is no basis at all for the imagined “history” written into the Book of Mormon. That doesn’t give Christianity, or Judaism, if it comes to that, carte blanche to say whatever it likes. There are actual historical controls that can be applied to the both Jewish and Christian texts. But to the Book of Mormon there is no other critical source material. Attestations don’t cut it. Historical context does, to at least a certain extent. Perhaps, as Tom Thompson says, with the Jewish scriptures writers did create a past, but it was written in known languages about swathes of history that is accessible to archaeology and textual sources in ancient manuscripts. So it’s not “only” Mormonism is a recent product; its a product which wears its isolation on its sleeve. The Book of Mormon is much more like the Qu’ran than it is like the Jewish or Christian scriptures, or at least more like Muslims would like it to be, although it is clearly a pastiche of half digested bits and pieces from several Middle Eastern traditions.

    • David Duncan
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 4:46 am | Permalink

      Aren’t Native Americans supposed to be dark skinned Israelites according to the BoM?

      • Achrachno
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

        But at least they were included. The Bible does not mention them at all.

    • gbjames
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:33 am | Permalink

      Then again, Mormons (like Muslims) believe their version of revelation is just another layer slathered upon the previous Yahweh stories. So they’ve inherited whatever apparently historical events might be in earlier days and added a lot of nonsense and woo… and a few other actual historical facts… after all, there really is a place called Missouri.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Well, yes, that is partly true. But at least Christianity dealt with apparently historical events (whatever contemporary historians may say), whereas the Book of Mormon really is made up of whole cloth.

      You are much too generous.

      Perhaps there was a census. But the Romans, by all accounts efficient adminstrators, required people to travel to the place their ancestors lived hundreds of years ago? No.

      Slaughter of the Innocents? Never happened.

      A multitude of resurrected saints walking the streets of Jerusalem after Jesus’ death? Absolutely not.

    • Sastra
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      “I wish I would have been born into a Mormon family or one with another one of those more obviously wrong religions.” (Emo Phillips)

  9. Stonyground
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:16 am | Permalink

    The book of Mormon is also the name of a stage musical which is a satire of the Mormon religion. As far as I know, Mormons haven’t gone all violent protesty about this but actually quite like it.

    • Reginald Selkirk
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Travel around to Marriott hotels, and substitute the screenplay of The Book of Mormon in place of Joseph Smith’s creation.

    • Notagod
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      I think, only because the mormons aren’t a majority. Mormons have been manipulative and deceptive from the start and they still are. If you want a taste of how they would be as a majority look at the history of how they acted when they initially occupied the Great Basin.

      • RFW
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        One of the deceptions practiced by mormons: they withhold the really weird beliefs (which they call “strong meat”) from new converts until they’re sucked in for good.

        In any other business (and mormonism is definitely a business) this would be viewed as a form of fraud, but afaik no one has ever pursued the matter.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted January 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

          A bit like Scientology, then.

  10. gbjames
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    Hotel rooms is why one should never be caught without a few of these in one’s luggage.

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      Your link doesn’t take me to the page I think you intended, which I believe would be this one:

      https://ffrf.org/shop/stickers

      (I didn’t go further because there are at least two appropriate stickers there.

      • gbjames
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Hmm… It was supposed to take you to a specific image. Let’s try this:

  11. Robert Bray
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Angel Moronic

  12. shermanbj
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    The Book of Mormon has much racist content. As a former Mormon, I was taught, as a child, that dark skinned people were cursed by god – supported by scriptural “evidence”. As of Friday, Dec. 6, 2013, the Mormon Church has officially renounced the doctrine that brown skin is a punishment from God. This news came quietly the day after Nelson Mandela, World Anti-racism Icon, died.

    According to the LDS church:
    “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.” Source: https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

    This is a good step, although so very late-in-the-game for a religion guided by a prophet of god blessed with the power of discernment. I guess he discerned that the majority of the country had moved on without them (miraculous!). One should notice, too, that the recent position statement lacked an apology to those hurt by the church’s racism and, the further failed to repudiate the church’s ongoing discriminatory practices based on gender and sexual-orientation.

    See Mr. Deity’s take on this topic:

    • Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      So, Romney voluntarily self-cursed from God, from a desire to be inferior to his Mormon brethren? :D

  13. Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Be it know unto all nations, the Nauvoo Expositor calls bullshit.

  14. gbjames
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    “All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle — keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate.”

    ― Mark Twain

    • Achrachno
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      And yet, it’s a thrilling read compared to the Koran.

    • alphazulu99
      Posted January 16, 2014 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      That Twain fellow had quite a way with words.

  15. TJR
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    “We no longer adhere to the Greek gods or the bloodthirsty deities of the Aztecs”

    Speak for yourself, I regularly worship both Zeus and Quetzalcoatl. This worship takes the form of a trance-like unconscious state, often with vivid hallucinations, which I enter for 6-8 hours per day.

  16. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Hey! My Book of Mormon looks exactly like that! I’ve tried to read it but just can’t. I’d rather read other stuff.

  17. Sastra
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship.

    Whoa — as we all know, eyewitness testimony is the strongest kind of evidence! I mean, as we all knoweth, verily it be truth.

    Pretentious much? Just look at the language of this so-called “testimony.” This was written in the 19th century United States and it sounds like a cross between a Renaissance Faire and a third rate nativity play. If they didn’t want it to look like Joseph Smith was just making it up shouldn’t they have taken care to ensure that what they were obviously writing in modern times at least sounded like it was written in modern times — as opposed to making it look like everyone was in the habit of faking Biblical-style confabulations.

    Several experts in language have amused themselves by examining the Book of Mormon‘s linguistics. They deem it to be exactly what it sounds like: a very poorly done 19th century American bastardization of King James English.

    • Kevin Alexander
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Consider too the miracle of oral tradition. It is well known that eyewitness testimony is very fallible. It can also be demonstrated that repeating the testimony in a chain, as in the game of telephone causes the story to evolve.
      Yet the Bible, Quran, Book of Mormon etc, etc, are taken to be the literal word of god. How can this be unless god miraculously intervened with each telling to perfect the narrative?
      It works with written works too. Notice how St. Paul kept revising his letters for centuries after he died, all the time getting more and more misogynistic. It’s like he got to heaven and god pointed out that he wasn’t tough enough on the bitches, better fix that.

      • kennyrb
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        If oral tradition were all that we would expect the four authorized gospels to be consistent. But instead we find many examples where the authors change stories to fit different theological perspectives.

  18. Daryl
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Today’s Christian apologists would kill for “verification” of their own Faith like the testimony of the eight witnesses. It’s only because it’s the Mormon religion that they so easily dismiss it.

    • kennyrb
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      There’s some truth in this but I think the core problem is that we humans tend to treat our own fundamental beliefs differently from outsider beliefs. John Loftus has a good read on this called, The Outsider Test For Faith. It’s easy to detect the bs in some other religion but not so much within one’s own.

      • teacupoftheapocalypse
        Posted January 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

        I doubt that anyone of any faith would give credence to or otherwise endorse the tenets of another belief system, no matter how closely related to their own. If they do, then they are admitting that the cast-iron ‘proofs’ of their own belief system may not be all they are claimed to be.

        They will therefore look for cracks in the alternative belief set, but do not need to examine their own core beliefs, as they already know them to be true.

        Imagine every true believer waking up tomorrow and deciding to spend the day scrutinising their beliefs and the texts upon which they are based, with rationality and without any preconceptions or prejudices. The planet would be shrouded in the anguished wails behind the realisation of so many wasted Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays.

  19. Stage Coach
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Seeing the plates and the angel and the translation must not have been all that impressive, as more than one of the signatories later left Mormanism for other new religions.

  20. Willard Bolinger
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I doubt very much if most christians know anything about Mormon religion and it’s history or claims. I have had the book for three or four years and still have not read it. Picked up “The Mormons” by David Fitzgerald at 2013 Skepticon in Springfield, Mo. and read it. Rent a room to a student from Saudi Arabia and have been reading the Koran. Really bad! Simple. Will try and read the Book of Mormon, but I too have other books I would rather read. Never in my 41 years ar same address ever had a Mormon come by the house.

  21. shermanbj
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Get your free copy of Book of Mormon here:

    http://mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon

    You may subsequently get the book AND a visit from the missionaries. If the missionaries darken your door, just ask them about their belief that they may one day rule as a god over another world. I’ll bet they don’t give you a yes or no answer. Press them for the ‘Yes’ and they’ll soon leave.

    Having read the painfully tedious book, I can attest to Mark Twain’s comments about it. However, if you don’t want to keep the free book, it can easily be recycled – recycled into something useful, like toilet paper.

    • Posted January 14, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      Or, torn into small pieces, recycled as cat litter! :D

  22. Posted January 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I wrote a song about this wonderful book to the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies around 10 years ago.

    Now a listen to a story from a guy named Joe,
    About an ancient people that you’ll never really know,
    The story was a figment of an immature mind,
    Believing in Jewish Indians will surely leave you blind,

    to reason that is

    Now it tells a silly story bout a prophesying coot,
    who had a murderin son who killed old Laban for his loot,
    they wandered through the desert and they built themselves a boat,
    and with their liahona they would know which way to float,

    the promised land that is, milk, honey and cureloms

    Well they landed on the land and then they had a little tiff,
    Ole Nephi said his brothers to the Lord their necks were stiff,
    So Laman and his brother and their kin were cursed with skin,
    That got a heaping helping of a thing called melanin,

    dark and loathsome that is, full of all manner of iniquity,

    Now the Nephites and the Lamanites they covered all the land,
    from north of Hudson Bay unto the straights of Magellan,
    The Nephites were a waiting for a Jesus Christ to come,
    The Lamanites just laughed and said you paleskins sure are dumb,

    eat drink and smoke funky week dudes,

    Now Jesus came but he was pissed from hanging on a cross,
    He said I’ve had enough of this I’ll show them who’s the boss,
    He slaughtered all the wicked there with storms and many quakes,
    I’ll make these guys believe in me no matter what it takes,

    Take that non-believers,

    So the Nephites and the Lamanites they buried all their swords,
    and out of fear of Jesus they did sign some peace accords,
    But generations passed away and they began to fight,
    And Nephites under Mormon like the French began their flight,

    Up north that is, to a hill called Cumorah,

    Now old Mormon had a son who’s nmme was Moron with an i,
    He gave his son some plates before he knew that he would die,
    Moroni as an angel would gave his plates unto a con,
    This song just like the book is really boring and its long,

    Sorry about that folks, ya’ll don’t believe this shit. (banjos)

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Ha, ha, excellent!

  23. Shwell Thanksh
    Posted January 14, 2014 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    “And we declare with words of soberness…”

    “And none of us were drunk at the time! Or at least not anymore.”


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