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ISRAELITES IN AMERICA?
MORMON JEFF LINDSAY DEFENDS MORMONISM SAYING THAT THERE WERE
The Jeff Lindsay pages on Mormon apologetics are the best places to go to see the Mormon answers to anti-Mormon complaints about Mormonism and to see the evidence for the Book of Mormon. This book was supposedly given to Joseph Smith to translate it with God's power. It gives a record of the Jaredites, Lamanites and Nephites from ancient times and Jesus Christ is supposed to have spent a few days in America. The evidence is that the book was produced in Joseph Smith's day.
Lindsay proposes that there was a connection between ancient America and Egypt for Egypt got imports of tobacco and coca from America. But this has nothing to do with proving that the Book of Mormon is true. The Book of Mormon is not about Egyptians but only claims to have been written in Egyptian.
Lindsay boasts about the Bat Creek inscription found in Tennessee proves that Hebrews were in America like the Book of Mormon says for the inscription was in Hebrew. But then he quotes the authority for this statement as saying the inscription fits Paleo-Hebrew the best. So it only fits Hebrew so it might not be Hebrew. The inscription was so short that it was once thought to be Cherokee (J. Huston McCulloch, "The Bat Creek Inscription: or Hebrew?"). And items found with the inscription have been found dating from between 32 AD and 769 AD. Mormon said that the Hebrew was altered like the Egyptian. He said that the Hebrew was hard to write with and the altered Egyptian was smaller and that was why it was used instead. If they altered the Egyptian that much then what did they do with the Hebrew? When they changed the Egyptian to the extent that picture writing takes up less space than Hebrew then the Hebrew would have been changed beyond recognition so finding real Hebrew in America would undermine the Book of Mormon.
He says the reason for the difference between the Mesoamerican and Egyptian hieroglyphs is that the former were inspired by the Egyptian ones but formed hieroglyphs of their own. So the concept came from Egypt but not the content. Lindsay admits that there is no causal connection between the two systems at all for the meaning and grammar and characters have nothing in common but argues that this does not matter as long as some of the same ideas lay behind the creation of both. If the meaning and grammar and symbols are so different then the only thing they have in common is using pictures to represent things and the way they liked to inscribe their texts on walls. This shows how mistaken Lindsay’s logic is. Some parallels are not enough. We need evidence that they shared at least some characters and meanings and grammatical structure. Lindsay says that nobody can argue from the non-existence of Nephite inscriptions that the Nephites did not exist for there are no inscriptions from the time of Moses or David.
This shows us that Lindsay is unable to give any good evidence and concentrates mainly on a pile of maybes, for example, maybe there are no Nephite inscriptions for the Europeans destroyed them and maybe there is a reason why there is no genetic evidence that Native American Indians have descended from the Jews, to refute the critics of Mormonism. When you depend on too many maybes there is something amiss. That is what evidence is for getting rid of the maybes so that the whole thing becomes believable. The Book of Mormon cannot be the word of God when that is all that Mormonism can do. Using Lindsay’s logic you can defend belief in anything.
Lindsay accepts the view that the entire Book of Mormon story in American took place in Central America. He gives no quotations from the Book to prove this and why did the Mormon Church not believe that until nowadays? The Mormons have looked for a place that might be the most plausible candidate for being the Book of Mormon land and have read all this back into the book. It’s just an interpretation, a rationalisation. It’s no good. Anybody can write a book along the lines of the Book of Mormon say about Ireland and then make it look like it fits what archaeologists have found.
Lindsay claims that the prophecy by Nephi made centuries before Christ that there would be cities that sank and were burned and there would be great disasters with exploding mountains and a cloud of darkness left by the disaster before the heavens open and the Lamb of God appears to the people. The Mormon Church thinks that evidence of these volcanic disasters at the time of Christ has been found in Meso-America. Lindsay says that since Smith did not have this evidence and it has turned up today it shows that Smith was sincere and Nephi was a true prophet. But this is based on the assumption that the Book of Mormon land is in that part of America. You need very serious and powerful evidence before you can say that a prophecy was fulfilled. God in Deuteronomy 18 says the evidence has to be perfect which is logical enough when God said before that that he comes first. There is no evidence at all that anybody in the Book of Mormon had prophetic power which is why according to the standard implied in Deuteronomy 18 it has to be discarded. The fact is that the Book of Mormon never hints that the disaster was volcanic in nature. It speaks of a storm, a tempest, lightning and says that the city of Zarahemla took fire and does not say that lava did it and says the earth swallowed Moroniah meaning that it fell into a hole and was replaced by a high pile that became a mountain and it says the disaster affected the land northward the worst (3 Nephi 8:12). Lindsay says it means the north part of Central America. But when the book is not clear on this it probably means the whole of North America. One thing is for sure, the claim of the Book of Mormon that the entire land was changed and reshaped forever because of the disaster is false even if you assume it is just Central America it is about. The book even goes as far as to say that any big rocks about were smashed to pieces. It means a supernatural disaster not a natural volcanic upheaval. Lindsay is being selective like all Mormon apologists. Lindsay admits that the disaster could have happened according to many scholars up to fifty years after 70 AD. If he was not so prejudiced he would know to wait until he was sure first. Lindsay doesn’t realise that he is accusing God of being an awful teacher. A book of history that is so unclear is poor history.
The Book of Mormon reveals that the ancestors of the Native American Indians are the Lamanites - rebel Jews. The American Indians have never been found to be carrying Jewish DNA. Lindsay says that the Book of Mormon does not rule out loads of mixing with other races that could have led to this DNA becoming unavailable. He says that in Rebecca L Cann’s DNA study that no Native Americans were involved so there is still no evidence one way or the other. But the book never says anybody else was in America when Lehi and so on arrived there. The Jaredites from thousands of years before had become extinct.
The next claim is that Smith could not have known about farming olives the way it is described in Jacob 5. Any encyclopaedia could have told him that. We must remember as well that the account is a parable and Smith did not care if he made a mistake – say if an olive branch cannot be grafted on to another tree – for the olive tree was not a tree but a symbol of Israel. It was not about biology. Lindsay is fooling himself and us again. If Smith turned out to be right that was just a coincidence. Lindsay says the Nephite did not grow olives but one wonders how this parable could be any good if they didn’t because they needed to know what an olive tree was and why it was a good symbol for Israel. They needed to know that it was a symbol of preciousness because olive oil is so precious and useful. By implication then Jacob 5 implies that they did have olive trees and that is against the archaeological evidence.
The Book of Mormon wars were fought after harvest in winter and the winter was said to be warm in one place. Lindsay uses this evidence to show that the book is plausible because harvest time needs to be kept free for the sake of the food and people don’t fight the best when too well fed and that the Book of Mormon land was in central America which is warm in winter. Lindsay offers Alma 51 as proof of the latter assertion though there is not a hint in it that it was not just the mild part of winter it had in mind. And most wars are fought at harvest time for the enemy likes to attack the food source. Lindsay seems to think that the Nephites and Lamanites lived on rich food and were not very mobile when it was plentiful! Not right. Both sides could fight when both sides are well-fed for as long as both are in the same boat they can have a good chance of fighting their best.
Lindsay argues that a sign of authenticity is that the Book of Mormon knew of the unknown until recently tradition of the Jews centuries before Christ of putting their records in their treasury. But he does not tell us that most people do put their records where they will be safe and that is usually where the money is. And he does not remind us that the records in question were the brass plates of Laban. Metal items naturally go where other metal items are. The plates were treasure for Heaven’s sake!
The fact that temples had two pillars in Mesoamerica and a place the people could not enter is assumed to have been inspired by knowledge of Solomon’s temple. You need more than that to establish a connection for all temples consist of priests changing rooms, rooms for placing the deity in, altars and courts. The Jews believed that there could only be one true Temple for the Temple was the later version of the Tabernacle that the people of Israel made in the desert and there was only one Tabernacle and one holy place in it for communing with the deity so probability is against the Mormon claim. When the main trait of a Jewish temple isn’t shared with it by these temples then it is very likely that the other things they have in common are just coincidence. After all, temples are supposed to be houses of worship ad sacrifice and there is a room for the God so they must have lots of things in common anyway.
Lindsay says that since Helaman 7:10 speaks of a tower in the middle of a garden that this shows knowledge of the recently discovered fact that the ancients in America used urban gardens and towers. But this is dishonest for the tower in the book could have been wood and the ones found by archaeologists are stone. And the Book of Mormon never says the garden was in a city.
There is no convincing evidence from archaeology or science that the Book of Mormon is true.
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