Friday, March 4, 2011

Parsing the Book of Mormon

Today, I want to illustrate what I said in a much earlier post about the Book of Mormon being misunderstood. I'm going to respond to a statement I read online recently:

I think it could be a historical record. It's possible. It just doesn't seem to be what I was raised to think it was. It might not be the historical record of the Native American Indians.

Answer: The book itself never makes that claim.  
I personally believed something similar to the limited geography model LONG before I ever heard that phrase, and I also believed that we have absolutely no idea where it occurred in the Americas. None whatsoever. (I think the research into the Old World location is compelling, but not the New World research as to any specific location.) I also believed that the "principle ancestors" phrase was wrong at a very early age, and I'm glad it was changed. (I think the Jaredites might be the Principle ancestors, and that they were Asiatic, so I believe the most recent DNA research actually comes close to validating the Book of Mormon [and I believed the Jaredite connection long before I knew of the DNA controversy] - but that is for another discussion.)

So, just because it isn't what members assumed it was doesn't mean it isn't what it actually claims to be.

Honestly, I have never encountered an actual claim within the pages themselves that I believe is demonstrably false. There are numerous assumptions of people on both sides of the validity debate that I think are incorrect, lame, ludicrous and even frightening - but there's no actual claim of the book itself that I have found to be indefensible or preposterous. Over the decades I have been reading it, on the other hand, there are numerous things that have snapped my head back and made me realize I had misunderstood it previously.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's great that you've had the insight to digest the claims that were made throughout my childhood-I remember and still have in my possession editions of the Book of Mormon specifically claiming,albeit by association,that it was a record of the ancestors of the contemporary indigenous peoples of America.These editions have lavish illustrations of ancient american artefacts.

I accept what you say absolutely,but I am concerned about those whose understanding never got that far.I think our claims should only ever have been to another witness of the Saviour.I see the Book of Mormon only in those terms,and love it for that.Like yourself,increasingly.