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    Friday, February 17, 2006

    Mormons: I am amazed by their ability to believe such a poor script



    Here's a picture of a reproduction of the gold tablets that were given to
    mormon's prophet. Only a reproduction you see, because the actual thing has
    disappeared. Wink, wink.

    The whole script of new
    revalations to the mormons is way over the top. Yet there are so many mormons!

    DNA testing has just burst one of their many bubbles. Maybe now they will
    just give up, but I doubt it.

    For others, living with ambiguity has been more difficult. Phil Ormsby, a Polynesian who lives in Brisbane, Australia, grew up believing he was a Hebrew." I visualized myself among the fighting Lamanites and lived out the fantasies of the [Book of Mormon] as I read it," Ormsby said. "It gave me great mana [prestige] to know that these were my true ancestors." The DNA studies have altered his feelings completely." Some days I am angry, and some days I feel pity," he said. "I feel pity for my people who have become obsessed with something that is nothing but a hoax."

    Over the years, church prophets — believed by Mormons to receive revelations from God — and missionaries have used the supposed ancestral link between the ancient Hebrews and Native Americans and later Polynesians as a prime conversion tool in Central and South America and the South Pacific.

    In recent decades, Mormonism has flourished in those regions, which now have nearly 4 million members — about a third of Mormon membership worldwide, according to church figures.

    "That was the big sell," said Damon Kali, an attorney who practices law in Sunnyvale, Calif., and is descended from Pacific Islanders. "And quite frankly, that was the big sell for me. I was a Lamanite. I was told the day of the Lamanite will come."

    A few months into his two-year mission in Peru, Kali stopped trying to convert the locals. Scientific articles about ancient migration patterns had made him doubt that he or anyone else was a Lamanite."

    Once you do research and start getting other viewpoints, you're toast," said Kali, who said he was excommunicated in 1996 over issues unrelated to the Lamanite issue. "I could not do missionary work anymore."

    Critics of the Book of Mormon have long cited anachronisms in its narrative to argue that it is not the work of God. For instance, the Mormon scriptures contain references to a seven-day week, domesticated horses, cows and sheep, silk, chariots and steel. None had been introduced in the Americas at the time of Christ.

    In the 1990s, DNA studies gave Mormon detractors further ammunition and new allies such as Simon G. Southerton, a molecular biologist and former bishop in the church.

    Southerton, a senior research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, said genetic research allowed him to test his religious views against his scientific training.

    Genetic testing of Jews throughout the world had already shown that they shared common strains of DNA from the Middle East. Southerton examined studies of DNA lineages among Polynesians and indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America. One mapped maternal DNA lines from 7,300 Native Americans from 175 tribes.

    Southerton found no trace of Middle Eastern DNA in the genetic strands of today's American Indians and Pacific Islanders. In "Losing a Lost Tribe," published in 2004, he concluded that Mormonism — his faith for 30 years — needed to be reevaluated in the face of these facts, even though it would shake the foundations of the faith.

    The problem is that Mormon leaders cannot acknowledge any factual errors in the Book of Mormon because the prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed it the "most correct of any book on Earth," Southerton said in an interview.

    All I can think of as an explanation for the Mormon's great numbers, is that
    the Word is powerful. Even if you add on a whole new gold tablets revelation to confuse people and make them "special", it still peeks
    through. Although fuzzy, which is a shame.

    2 Comments:

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Do you believe in God? Why don't you ask Him. I thought Catholics were good people. I guess they are just insecure people who have to write about other religions to make them feel better. Anyways, you wouldn't know about the book of mormon, would you now? Because I've read it. You aren't part of the mormon church, so you don't REALLY know so shut up.

    February 17, 2006  
    Blogger Joseph said...

    Sorry, to offend. I don't mean to make fun as in something to be enjoyed. As I said, it is more amazing than fun.

    You are right, I could read the book of mormon to speak more knowledgeably. But there is so little time to do things in that fashion. There are just too many things of Catholic interest.

    I am forced then to focus on foundational things, to see if they merit further review. And the mormon's foundational things are just too absurd to merit further study.

    However, I did learn something new in this article. Something that helps explain that whole Elizabeth Smart thing with the abductor and her dressing up like wandering camel herdsmen. Now I know they think they were ancient Jews. That is odd enough, but it further helps explain why Elizabeth didn't run away. The whole ancient Jew proposition was probably so confusing to her, that she may have thought her abductor really was the messaih. From strange foundations comes strange lives.

    Anyway, I am insecure as a Catholic only by following the bibical advice to "test all things". Small tests I know, but God's work is infinitely interesting. Looking at mormons is just a small test, and for me, I didn't find God there, just gold tablets, a foundational story that has been falling apart from the beginning, and I conclude that it is a religion for people that need to feel special, because they have special secret knowledge.

    Best of luck to you.

    February 18, 2006  

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