Whu?

Wow. I mean wow. This guy‘s gone jus a lil too far in defending the Book of Mormon.

Anyways, this will be my first real post on the Book of Mormon. I still love the Book of Mormon in many ways and find much good in its teachings, theology and thought. I have felt good reading its verses. I still love reading it in family (though I don’t do it very often at all)- I love it in a “story time”, sit-with-the-family-and-bond kind of way. It’s tradition. And it’s a great book. There are some really deepA tapir thoughts/ideas in there as well. Critics have to agree that putting the historical issues aside, there is some great stuff in there. By the way, to keep balance in my studies, I read apologetic material whenever I find it not too ridiculous. I wrote a post called One Point for the Apologists linking to a post on linguistics in the Book of Mormon which I thought was pretty cool.

Anyways, that is mainly what I want to write about the Book of Mormon for now. The rest of this post is more critical in nature, but it is simply a trail of my recent studies (as this blog is somewhat a compilation of my own Mormon Studies). The other day I was talking to a friend of mine in the church about BH Robert’s study of the Book of Mormon. Roberts puts together some convincing evidence showing how Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery could have taken many ideas from the View of the Hebrews as a source for an outline of the Book of Mormon. My friend took a quick look at the VOH text and couldn’t see many similarities and suggested I should read VOH for myself. So I did so today and these are my current (and probably final, since the text is out-dated and boring to read) findings on the parallels between the VOH and the Book of Mormon. Once again, I think B.H. Robert’s analysis of the two texts is already sufficient for me, seeing that he was Church Historian, General Authority, and principal apologist/defender of the Book of Mormon, but here are my own findings on it, anyways (I would also appreciate any thoughts or ideas from anyone who may stumble across this blog):

Starting off with the View of the Hebrew’s title page, there are immediately glaring similarities in purpose. It reads (my notes indented):

 

The View of the Hebrews

EXHIBITING


THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM;


[Which is also the origin of the Nephites trek/story]

THE CERTAIN RESTORATION OF JUDAH
AND ISRAEL;

[The gathering of Israel is one of the themes of the Book of Mormon]


THE PRESENT FATE OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL;

(Found in the title page of the book of Mormon: […]Written to the […] Jews and the Gentiles. […] to show to the remnants of the house of Israel […] the covenants of the Lord.)

AN ADDRESS OF THE PROPHET ISAIAH
RELATIVE TO THEIR RESTORATION.

[Yeah we have whole chapter’s of addresses of the prophet Isaiah in the BOM (see 2 Nephi 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27)]


BY ETHAN SMITH,
PASTOR OF A CHURCH IN POULTNEY, (VT.)


[Oliver Cowdery (Joseph Smith’s principal BOM scribe) had family in Ethan Smith’s church (see section Life) and could have known of E. Smith’s publication of V. of the H. (why not, if his family attended Pastor Smith’s church)].

 

Like I said, I see those as glaring similarities between the two. Now the following pages of research I have taken mostly from another website showing more parallels in the two texts (and there are more parallels than just these, as shown in BH Roberts’ now-published research):

Selected pages from View of the Hebrews:

page 87. “Mr. Adair expresses the same opinion; and the Indians have their tradition, that in the nation from which they originally came, all were one colour. According to all accounts given of the Indians, there are certain things which all agree. This appears in the journals of Mr. Giddings, of his exploring tour. The most distant and barbarious Indians agree in a variety of things with all other tribes. They have their Great Spirit; their high priests; their sacrificing, when going to or returning from war; their religious dance; and their sacred little enclosure, containing their most sacred things, though it be but a sack, instead of an ark.–Messrs. Lack and Escarbotus both assert that they have often heard the Indians of South America sing “Hallelujah.” For thousands of miles the North American Indians have been abundant in this.”

page 88. “Their language appears clearly to be Hebrew. In this, Doctor Edwards, Mr. Adair, and others were agreed. Doctor Edwards, after having a good acquaintance with their language, gave his reasons for believing it to have been originally Hebrew. Both, he remarks, are found without prepositions, and are formed with prefixes and suffixes; a thing probably known to no other language. And he shows that not only the words, but the construction of phrases, in both, have been the same. Their pronouns, as well as their nouns, Doctor Edwards remarks, are manifestly from the Hebrew. Mr. Adair is confident of the fact, that their language is Hebrew. And their laconic, bold and commanding figures of speech, he notes as exactly agreeing with the genius of the Hebrew language. He says, that after living forty years among them, he obtained such knowledge of the Hebrew idiom of their language, that he viewed the event of their having for more than two millenaries, and without the aid of literature, preserved their Hebrew language so pure, to be but little short of a miracle.

page 96. “The native Americans have acknowledged one and only one God; and they have generally views concerning the one Great Spirit, of which no account can be given, but that they derived them from ancient revelation in Israel.”

page 172. “It is highly probable that the more civilized part of the tribes of Israel, after they settled in America, became wholly separated from the hunting and savage tribes of their brethren; that the latter lost the knowledge of their having descended from the same family with themselves; that the more civilized part continued for many centuries; that tremendous wars were frequent between them and their savage brethren, till the former became extinct.

This hypothesis accounts for the ancient works, forts, mounds, and vast enclosures, as well as tokens of a good degree of civil improvement, which are manifestly very ancient, and from centuries before Columbus discovered America. These maginificent works have been found, one near Newark in Licking county, Ohio; one in Perry county, Ohio; one at Marietta; one at Circleville; one at Paint Creek; one on the eastern bank of the Little Miami river, Earren county; one on Paint Creek near Chillcothe; one on the Scioto river; and other places.

These works have evinced great wars, a good degree of civilization, and great skill fortification. And articles dug from old mounds in and near those fortified places, clearly evince that their authors possessed no small degree of refinement in the knowledge of the mechanic arts.

These partially civilized people became extinct. What account can be given of this, but that the savages extirpated them, after long and dismal wars? And nothing appears more probable than that they were the better part of the Israelites who came to this continent, who for a long time retained their knowledge of the mechanic and civil arts; while the greater part of their brethren became savage and wild.–No other hypothesis occurs to mind, which appears by any means so probable. The degrees of improvement, demonstrated to have existed among the authors of those works, and relics, who have ceased to exist, far exceed all that could have been furnished from the north-east of Asia, in those ancient times.”

Page 175. Under the 7th agreement he says: “In conformity to, or after the manner of the Jews, the Indian Americans have their prophets, high priests, and others of a religious order. As the Jews had a sanctum sanctorum, (holy of holies) so have all the Indian nations. There they deposit their consecrated vessels; — none of the laity daring to approach that sacred place. The Indian tradition says, that their fathers were possessed of an extraordinary divine spirit, by which they foretold things future, and controlled the common course of nature: and this they transmitted to their offspring, provided they obeyed the sacred laws annexed to it. Ishtoallo, (Mr. Adair says of those Indians) is the name of all their priestly order: and their pontifical office descends by inheritance to the eldest. There are some traces of agreement, though chiefly lost, in their pontifical dress. Before the Indian Archimagus officiates in making the supposed holy fire for the yearly atonement for sin, the sagan (waiter of the high priest) clothes him with a white ephod, which is a waistcoat without sleeves. In resemblance of the Urim and Thummim, the American Archimagus wears a breast plate made of a white conch-shell with two holes bored in the middle of it, through which he puts the ends of an otter skin strap, and fastens a buck horn white button to the outside of each, as if in imitation of the precious stones of the Urim.”

page 217. “Suppose a leading character in Israel – where ever they are – should found to have in his possession some Biblical fragments of ancient Hebrew writing. This man dies and it is buried with him in such a manner as to be preserved. Some people afterwards removing the earth, discover this fragment, and ascertain that it is an article of ancient Israel. Would such an incident be esteemed of weight?”

page 223. “An old Indian informed him that his fathers in this country had not long since had a book which they had for a long time preserved. But having lost the knowledge of reading it, they concluded it would be of no further use to them; and they buried it with an Indian chief.”

Any comments or thoughts out there? Do any of you find things of value in the Book of Mormon while rejecting its historical claims or do the negative aspects/teachings outweigh the good?

 

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~ by bonoboi on December 6, 2006.

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