Books and Web Sites
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The Bible Delusion
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A Few Recommended Books for Initial Reading
Brodie, Fawn M. 1963. No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet. Great Britain 1st Edition. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode. (First U.S. Edition 1945. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf).
Compton, Todd. 1997. In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.
Dawkins, Richard. 2006. The God Delusion. London: Bantam Press. (Transworld).
Dawkins, Richard. 2009. The Greatest Show on Earth - The Evidence for Evolution. London: Bantam Press. (Transworld).
Evans, Arza. 2003. The Keystone of Mormonism. St. George, UT: Keystone Books.
Froiseth, Jennie Anderson. (ed.). 1881. The Women of Mormonism: Or The Story of Polygamy as Told by the Victims Themselves. Detroit, MI: C.G.G. Paine. (Available to read online).
Stenhouse, Fanny. (Mrs. T.B.H). 1874. Tell It All, the Story of a Life’s Experience in Mormonism. Hartford, CT: A. D. Worthington. (Available to read online).
Stenhouse, T.B.H. 1873. The Rocky Mountain Saints - A Full and Complete History of the Mormons. New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co. Available as a Photo reproduction: UTLM.
Tanner, Jerald & Sandra. 1987. Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? 5th Edition. Salt Lake City, UT: UTLM.
Van Waggoner, Richard S. 1989. Mormon Polygamy: A History. Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.
Whitmer, David. 1887. An Address to All Believer’s In Christ. Richmond, MO: D. Whitmer. (Available to read online).
Young, Ann Eliza. 1876. Wife No. 19, Or the Story of a Life in Bondage, being a Complete Exposé of Mormonism and Revealing the Sorrows, Sacrifices and Sufferings of Women in Polygamy. Hartford, CT: Dustin, Gilman & Co. (Available to read online).
There are of course many other highly recommendable books available - such as those by D. Michael Quinn. The above list is just a suggested starting point for anyone who would like more details of polygamy and also evidence of the major deceptions perpetrated by Smith and subsequent Mormon leaders. UTLM has an extensive booklist.
Subsequent to finishing my own work, I have also read and recommend:
Smith, George D. 2008. Nauvoo Polygamy "but we called it celestial marriage." Salt Lake City, UT: Signature Books.
Several books are available to read free online at The Anti-Mormon Preservation Society, located at http://antimormon.8m.com and also at the Utah Lighthouse Ministry (UTLM) located at www.utlm.org. Additionally, ‘Google Book Search’ at http://books.google.com is quickly building a collection of online books which are available to read free of charge. It is always worth checking to see if a book (especially an early or out of print edition) is available online before purchasing a copy.
If I had to recommend one book in which to locate clinically written evidence (as an excellent reference book) against the Mormon Church, it would resoundingly be Mormonism - Shadow or Reality? by Jerald & Sandra Tanner, whose research and findings are painstakingly detailed and highly accurate, not to mention easily readable and well indexed. It is a veritable encyclopedia of all the real facts. Any and every question that can be asked regarding the truth about Mormonism will invariably be found answered within its pages.
Jerald and Sandra Tanner courageously stood up and objected to the Mormon lies in 1959, beginning a ministry which sought to expose the hoax and highlight the truth. Sadly, Jerald passed away just after my first contact with Sandra, to whom I turned for help with books for my own research. Sandra continues the work the couple selflessly entered into, five decades ago this year. It amazes me that the Tanners started their work in the year before I even joined the Mormon Church in 1960. For fifty years, the ministry this wonderful couple started has been an inspiration to many and I wish Sandra every continued success as 2009 sees the beginning of the sixth decade of a journey she and Jerald set out on as a young couple all those years ago. UTLM has become an indispensable resource centre for anyone searching for the truth behind the hoax of Mormonism.
If I had to recommend one ‘reading book’, a beautifully written and a favourite account of the truth, set out in a manner you can just read through and enjoy is by Fawn M. Brodie (niece of David O. McKay), No Man Knows My History.
Likewise, if I had to choose one book that eloquently relates the experience of British (and European) Saints concerning early lies about polygamy, emigration to Salt Lake City and the real underlying and heartbreaking polygamy story, blood atonement and more; Tell It All by Fanny Stenhouse is heartfelt and revealing, enthralling and yet devastating. It will break your heart; you can feel her anguish, torment and confusion. You simply cannot put it down. It places period drama into an entirely new dimension. And yet it is (unfortunately) an entirely true story.
Recommended Web Sites
There are many web sites available relating to the truth behind Mormonism. Some are Christian based, some without reference to any faith, and some are provided by people who, like me, are now atheists. The common theme is a stand for truth and integrity regarding the Mormon Church, irrespective of any subsequent individual beliefs. My experience is that when someone is exposing the truth behind Mormonism, they generally do not over-promote an alternative Christian, atheistic or other view within their writings on Mormonism itself; even if they do so elsewhere on their web sites or in books they have written. In my own books, I try hard to simply say that if someone wishes to continue to believe in God, then they must find Him somewhere other than in Mormonism, for He clearly isn't there.
A comprehensive list of useful sites is available from UTLM at the following link:
Although my personal views are atheistic, for exMormons who remain Christian, Sandra Tanner's work involves a Christian ministry and for those who seek it, she can provide a Christian approach beyond Mormonism (see above paragraph in bold).
Another Christian, who has actually never been a Mormon and yet has published several remarkable articles on Joseph Smith and also the Book of Mormon, with all the skills of an accomplished Mormon historian, is Richard Kelsey, author of ‘Ride The Ark Through Armageddon’. Rich’s work regarding the Mormon Church is currently in four parts.
1. The Book of Mormon
2. Joseph Smith’s First Vision
3. Joseph Smith on Trial
4. The Book of Moses (under construction).
Rich’s articles give an outsiders perspective with logical and thoroughly evidenced research and conclusions that are well worth reading. They can be accessed from Rich’s home page at the following link:
A highly recommended and user friendly source of information is now available under the title The Mormon Handbook which is a guide to many false claims, along with references and also links to quite a number of on line resources that are now available. It is well worth a browse and is available here:
Ex-Mormon web sites I have found useful are generally linked and can easily be located. An excellent starting point is the ‘Recovery from Mormonism’ site at:
www.exmormon.org A web site for ex-Mormons who are in recovery. Contains exit stories, threads on topical questions and many excellent articles and links. Click on ‘Links’ at the bottom of the home page for a range of further useful web sites.
Also, essential Foundation details are available at:
I consider the President’s Message – The Courage to Endure; by Chad C. Spjut, President of The Exmormon Foundation; to be essentail reading. It mainly contains an anonymous letter which expresses the pain and grief of many active Mormons. The Exmormon Foundation holds a conference in October each year in Salt Lake City where hundreds of exMormons and also questioning active Mormons gather to learn more of the truth behind the hoax. Who would ever have thought there would be a need for such recovery groups. The fact is that there is; and I for one am most grateful for their help.
Other worthwhile and highly recommended web sites to visit, include Richard Packham's at:
http://home.teleport.com/~packham/ alternatively: http://packham.n4m.org/
www.irr.org (Institute for Religious research).
www.salamandersociety.com (The Salamander Society). A site with countless pages of detail about Mormonism - including satire as well as the more serious stuff. Many exMormons seem to write satire along their journey as a form of escapism from the stark and devastating reality of their discovery of the truth. I wrote a couple myself a few years ago and they can be found at the following links on Salamander:
http://www.salamandersociety.com/musings/ Scroll down to read "Sunday Satire: Joe and his God."
http://www.salamandersociety.com/reinspired/ Scroll down to "The Decline and Fall of the Mormon Empire."
www.postmormon.org (Web site for Ex-Mormons who are in Recovery).
www.mormoncurtain.com (Thousands of articles and ongoing blogs).
www.i4m.com/think (Articles and commentary on a variety of aspects).
http://20truths.info/ Jim Day's succinct articles on twenty aspects of Mormonism that are demonstrably false. Little is left to the imagination. Faith cannot overcome the facts if someone is honest with themselves.
http://www.iamanexmormon.com/ A web site hosted by Daniel Johnson, creator of an ongoing series of short video clips featuring ex-Mormons who explain in a nutshell, why they left the Mormon Church. Heartfelt stories are freely shared in the hope they may help others along the way. This site is well worth bookmarking for a visit each week to see the latest addition in the series.
http://exmormonscholarstestify.org/ Ex Mormon scholars and historians share their thoughts and feelings about the Church and 'testify' against it. They also tell why they left the Church. This site was created in response to the Church web site where Mormon academics and historians share their testimonies. It seems the Church thinks members are so gullible that if 'clever' people know it is true - then it must be. In reality, equally intelligent people appear in all religions and walks of life.
My own contribution can be located here: Jim Whitefield's 'Testimony'.
www.mormonthink.com A web site produced by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who are concerned about the historical accuracy of the church and how it is being taught to its members and portrayed in the media. A prepublication article which now appears in TMD Volume 2 is posted there and can be found at the following link:
Nephi or Moroni? Scroll down the page to read my Critic's essay.
http://antimormon.8m.com (The Anti-Mormon Preservation Society. A selection of early books on Mormonism, available to read online).
http://investigacoessud.blogspot.com/ Um web site abordando vários tópicos sobre o mormonismo em Português (Brasil).
http://solomonspalding.com/ Dedicated to exploring the Solomon Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon and uncovering Latter Day Saint origins.
There are many other useful web sites now available, details of which appear at several of the above locations. Other hosts are welcome to link this web site.
The Bible Delusion
Religion: The ultimate con trick.
For a long time I was considering writing a volume concerning ‘The Bible’. The idea stemmed from some clearly impossible aspects of the Old Testament that today are generally accepted by theologians as mythological or allegorical rather than reality; and yet they formed an integral and inextricable part of the Book of Mormon story, writings supposedly from the Book of Abraham, the Book of Moses and some basic concepts taught by Joseph Smith. Therefore, his hoax is further exposed by the truth behind those aspects of the Bible. Some things; such as the ludicrous notion Joseph Smith included in his Book of Moses (5:8) and his Book of Mormon (Jacob 4:4) that all the prophets from the time of Adam taught people to pray to God in the name of Jesus; are already covered in TMD Volume 2. Considering Hebrew Scriptures do not concern the Christian concept of Jesus; the whole notion of any early prophets teaching prayer through him is about as nonsensical as any theological concept could be, yet Smith claimed it.
I have subsequently concluded that as there is no definitive proof of God or of whether Jesus Christ even existed as one individual person, those concepts will have to remain (as they probably should remain) matters of faith, for those who choose to believe in such things. I have discovered extensive evidence already published by many archeologists, Christian and Jewish theologians and scholars concerning the truth behind much of the Bible and Jewish history. My intention was to reflect the truth about the Bible as it relates to Mormon claims.
The market for such a volume would be even more limited than that for general books exposing Mormonism. I decided therefore to leave aspects concerning the overall picture alone and instead will provide here, just a few details which the Mormon Church once again falls foul of completely, as without them being a reality there is no foundation for some fundamental core Mormon teachings established by Joseph Smith.
Following several months of research, it became clear that not only are there countless books and research papers already available concerning Hebrew and Egyptian history, archeology, the history of the Bible and local cultures, by many experts far more qualified than I am on such matters; but also that I really have no personal interest in much of the detail that such a work would need to include. There would have to be a reason for me to continue to develop areas beyond the Joseph Smith connection; and being honest with myself, I do not have the drive for it. I would far rather just conclude my work in this area by notating some of the impossible claims of Smith regarding Biblical aspects that were clearly no more than just fanciful in the first place.
Whilst much of the Old Testament can certainly be historically, geologically and archeologically proven to be other than as claimed, much is also a real history, albeit greatly elaborated and embellished by successive Hebrew writers in order to make their small nomadic tribes appear like great nations within their region. When researching and writing The Mormon Delusion, many aspects from the Bible that Joseph Smith referenced and upon which the Mormon Church today relies, came into serious question. After the devastating discovery that Smith was a fraud and that Mormonism was a hoax, it was equally distressing to discover that many aspects that are contained within Mormonism, which stem from the Bible, are also provably false claims. Whilst there may be an element of truth regarding some of the people, places and events, the Bible is also filled with mythology, fiction, legends, fabrications and exaggerations.
The following are some aspects which should be seriously considered in light of the reality concerning the Bible. Some Biblical accounts, upon which the Mormon Church relies, are in fact demonstrably untrue and can be proven to be fables or borrowed legends, constructed to create an historical account of Hebrew tribes which set them apart from and above other nations. They were accepted as real by Smith and so his writings include them. Thus he was a cruel deceiver, using his vivid imagination to create a reality for his followers in order to control and manipulate them. If some aspects of the Bible are provably fiction, then some of Joseph Smith's claims are even more fundamentally flawed than already proven in TMD volumes 1-5.
I have visited the Holy Land and many of the biblical sites. It is perfectly clear, despite what some Christian web sites may still claim about their own 'Christian' archaeological research, that things are not all as claimed in so-called scripture. For example, I visited Jericho and looked at the digs and archaeological evidence regarding the early ‘walls’ of the city. Firstly, it was more of a village than a city in biblical times. Modern Jericho, which is not built on the same site as the old Jericho, is no more than a small town even today, with a population of a little over twenty thousand people. Secondly, the original ‘walls’ were some of the oldest in the world, dating back some fourteen thousand years, several thousands of years prior to the biblically claimed date of the creation and of Adam and Eve. Thirdly, they crumbled away (or fell) in a time frame centuries different from the biblically claimed time of Joshua. I will come back to that.
Despite evolution long being firmly established as scientific fact and the tree of life confirmed via several different disciplines which actually render the fossil record superfluous and a kind of 'bonus' if you will, to date, the Mormon Church still takes no official stance on evolution at all. This is probably because the idea of explaining what we now know about the last 13.7 billion years causes more theological problems than the Church could ever cope with. The Mormon Church has two problems here. Firstly, Joseph Smith established clear Mormon doctrine that the Earth has a lifespan of just seven-thousand years "...the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence" (D&C 77:6). Secondly, Smith certainly accepted that Adam built an altar just a few thousand years ago – as he claimed to locate it – and the ‘saints’ would go to see it. The fact that the so-called altar stones contained fossils doesn’t seem to bother the Church at all – at least they certainly don't want to talk about it.
7 April 1931. First Presidency instructs Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith and Seventy’s president B. H. Roberts: “The subject of Pre-Adamites [is] not to be discussed in public by the brethren either for or against the theory, as the Church has not declared itself and its attitude on the question.” (Quinn,The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. 1997:821)
A few weeks later:
May 21, 1931 - Apostle James E. Talmage, a believer in organic evolution, writes to his son: “. . . according to a tradition in the Church based on good authority as having risen from a declaration made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, a certain pile of stones at Adamondi-Ahman, Spring Hill, Mo., is really part of the altar on which Adam offered sacrifices, and that I had personally examined those stones and found them to be fossiliferous, so that if those stones be part of the first altar, Adam built it of stones containing corpses, and therefore death must have prevailed in the earth before Adam's time.”
The Church doesn’t officially comment on how that deduction is a reality. Was there then death before Adam and Eve, or did Smith lie about Adam’s altar? As evolution is now established as an absolute scientific fact and as Joseph Smith was a proven and constant compulsive liar, the answers are clear and obvious. Adam was a fictional character and Smith lied about Adam’s altar. Today, the Church most certainly allows members to believe that death entered the world following the ‘fall’ of Adam. Many religions now accept evolution as fact whilst the Mormon Church remains quiet about it. The Pope accepts evolution – and that affects half of the Christian world. He is just a little uncertain as to when ‘mankind’ started having a soul, according to Richard Dawkins book, The Greatest Show on Earth.
The original ‘walls’ of Jericho were not 'high' – being two stories at most; and they eventually just crumbled, in a time frame several centuries different to the claimed event where Joshua supposedly had the Lord make them miraculously ‘tumble’ so they could take the city with relative ease. Then their God had them kill everyone and everything. We should perhaps ask what these people had ever done to deserve such treatment? Whether the original walls eventually crumbled due to their age or earthquake (or even by the wrath of a god), they were certainly not destroyed in a timeframe even close to the Joshua claim.
In any event, Joshua could not have actually been there at any time really, as the events preceding this fictitious event were equally as fictitious; including the Israelites being in Egypt, various unrecorded (except in the Bible) plagues, and about two million people crossing the Red Sea and living in and travelling the Sinai for forty years. Most Christian Churches, including the Mormon Church, are quiet about the fact Egyptian history, which is detailed and extensive, has no account of the Israelites ever being there in any significant numbers and only mentions small encampments on occasion outside city walls. Two million people in the Sinai for forty years would have left some evidence of their existence. Despite many decades of extensive archaeological research, just as with Smith’s claimed Book of Mormon culture, nothing has ever been found. A couple of million Hebrews would also have outnumbered the entire population of Egypt. That would have been recorded in Egyptian history. Egypt was defeated in battle at times and had other difficulties which were faithfully recorded. Despite Christian claims that the Egyptians may not have recorded anything about the Israelites due to the embarrassment of the plagues and their departure, the Egyptians did not record selective history and something would certainly have been recorded had the events been close to reality. As with much else in the Bible – these stories were just that – fables, meant to give the Hebrews a more powerful and distinctive past rather than remain known as small nomadic tribes of little significance.
The following link gives a good accounting of the history and origin of the so-called ‘Israelites’.
I hardly even need to mention a global flood, the concept of which the Mormon Church clings to regarding the earth requiring a literal baptism. Life on this planet is sub-divided into domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The fact is that there are many millions of species which could not have survived a year long flood and could not have evolved in the short time span since said supposed flood, so everything that could not survive in water must be accounted for as having been in or on the ark. There is abundant and conclusive geological evidence from across the globe that no flood happened on that scale covering everything on the planet and for that length of time ever, let alone in that timeframe. This fact is ignored in favour of faith in the fanciful. Evidence; again from many locations across the globe, of the continuous existence of humans and / or animals over tens, if not hundreds of thousands and in some cases even millions of years, again refutes such nonsense. To circumvent the evidence, it would require an alternate supposition – perhaps that God placed lots of new species on the planet following the flood. That has not been claimed to my knowledge, as of course it goes against the whole concept of creationism.
The fictional ‘ark’ was described as being about the size of a football field but apart from the fact that a vessel of that size constructed entirely of 'gopher wood' and 'pitch - inside and out' could not itself actually survive the flood for a number of engineering reasons, how did it accommodate – for example, over three-hundred-and-fifty species of monkey alone? So, start with at least seven-hundred of those and begin counting. End with many millions of species on board and then add thousands of different birds on the roof, most of which cannot land on water, and you start to see the scale of the problem. Then consider how, following the flood, they all managed to not only arrive in different parts of the world, but also magically leave an ancestral record of their existence in those places spanning many thousands of earlier years. To accept the ark idea as factual rather than fictional is equal to accepting the reality of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. In fact, there is actually more evidence in favour of fairies (not that I am suggesting we should believe in them) than there is remotely supporting the possibility of the flood and an ark. It is a lovely story. People love stories. But that is all it ever was – and provably so. A very good article concerning this area written by Mark Isaak is available here:
Egyptian history and the genealogy of their Kings and Pharaohs spans many thousands of years without a ‘flood’ gap – something Smith has a major problem with in terms of his Book of Abraham. In that book, following the flood, Egyptus, daughter of Ham and Egyptus (son and daughter-in-law of Noah) discovers Egypt after the flood. The Mormon Church is quiet about the fact that this is both historically impossible and that the word 'Egypt' didn’t even exist until the Greeks couldn’t pronounce the actual name of the country - many centuries later. See TMD Volume 2, Chapter 14 for full details of this nonsense.
The New Testament includes books ascribed to people who did not write them; the books being written and rewritten, decades to even centuries after the supposed time of Jesus Christ, by people who never knew or even met him. The Gospel of John, which is relied upon heavily in Mormonism, is accepted by many theologians as an unhistorical document, written to describe what they would have liked the Saviour to have been like, rather than a remotely true or reliable account of an individual who actually lived. The Book of Revelation is often quoted within Mormonism. It is a book considered by many theologians to have been written by a madman and it was not originally included in the Bible at all. It only later managed to squeeze its way in by the skin of its teeth – on a very narrow vote – in the fourth century CE and it was very reluctantly included when the canon of the Bible was assembled from approximately fifty gospels and literally hundreds of available epistles. Orthodox churches still do not use Revelation for scripture readings during worship. The inclusion of Revelation was and still is actively disputed but Mormons use it to their convenience.
In the Mormon History of the Church, Chapter 23 of Volume VI contains a discourse by Smith, given at a meeting held in a grove near the Temple on 16 June 1844, just days before he was killed. In it, he speaks of his ‘Godhead’ idea as well as the ‘plurality of Gods’. Smith takes as his text, Revelation 1:6 and quotes it, just as it reads in the KJV.
6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
This was the basis of his latest theology on plural Gods. Note the phrase, “God and His Father”. Smith then states “It is altogether correct in the translation” in order to support his latest concept – of polytheism.
However, Smith had obviously forgotten that some eleven to fourteen years earlier, he had produced his Inspired Revision of the Bible, at which time he still had a singularly monotheistic view. (The official 'First Vision' wasn’t conceived until 1838 and then backdated to 1820 for convenience. See 'The First Vision' article on the side bar). In it, Smith had actually altered that very verse by removing the word ‘and’ to clarify the doctrine that God the Father was the only God and that he did not have a Father himself.
6. …and hath made us kings and priests unto God his Father. To him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen. (Inspired Revision. Rev 1:6).
How ironic it is that not only was Smith a forgetful fraud, but that his reference may well have been originally penned by someone who was mentally ill. It is also an irony that in this instance his ‘correction’ in the IR is actually closer to a literal translation than the KJV. But he is caught out here by reverting to the original text after he had ‘corrected’ it. So much for Joseph Smith being a true prophet. This act alone is proof positive that he was anything but.
The whole concept of original sin, or in Mormon terms, the ‘fall of man’ and the need for ‘atonement’ are accepted as scriptural and yet no such concept ever appeared in Judaism. It was never biblical in the first place. The whole concept of original sin was the late invention of St. Augustine in the fourth century CE. How did ‘sin’ get into the world? Augustine ‘decided’ that sex and death came via Eve. Much of Genesis as we now read it stems from no earlier than 600 BCE. The concept stems from other stories. We tend to forget that the Old Testament is Jewish Scripture hijacked by Christians and made to fit new Christian theology that was invented many years after Jesus supposedly lived. The Jews never did and still do not believe in the devil – or heaven and hell in the Christian sense for that matter. Judaism is an entirely different concept from Christianity in every way.
The whole concept of ‘one God’ was not originally part of Judaism; something many Christians and especially Mormons have no idea about. The concept just evolved over time. At the supposed time of Moses and the 'Ten Commandments', their God did not demand they worshipped ONLY him; rather he required that none of their other gods – which they were being weaned off – were put before him. There were always a host of other gods to worship and definitely a feminine deity was popular with the women in particular. Archeology in Jerusalem, outside the city walls, has seen the discovery of figurines from Jewish settlements dating to 800 BCE. Many centuries after the time of Moses, we have over a thousand of these figurines depicting a feminine God. In Jewish homes, they were then still worshipping multiple Gods and it was only at the end of the eighth century BCE that the single God concept finally became accepted and more firmly established.
In ancient Egypt, monotheism has its roots in the establishment of the one “sun” god by Akhenaten of Amarna (1352-1336 BCE). This was possibly a forerunner of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The people still followed the traditional gods, such as fertility gods etc.
Later generations branded Akhenaten a criminal and a heretic as he threatened 2000 years of Egyptian religion. The return to the old religion came quickly and was during his son’s time. (Tutankhamen). The boy king reigned from age nine to about eighteen when his uncle who was caretaking should have handed over power. Tut mysteriously died at exactly that point. (Recent DNA testing has exstablished that he fell ill rather than being assassinated). Pharaoh after Pharaoh set about disinheriting the old religion. The idea of one god then surfaced as the God of Moses.
Dr. Oded Lipschitz confirmed that the “single God idea did not take hold until many centuries after Moses supposedly wrote down the Ten Commandments”.
The creation story first started more than five-hundred years after Moses lived. That story, like many other parts of the Old Testament, was created after the Babylonian roust of Jerusalem and the Jews were in exile. They believed they deserved exile as they must have sinned and exile was temporary. The creation story was conceived and written at this time and it draws heavily on Babylonian myth and legends. The Jewish God works alone in an act of benign will. Six-hundred years after he cleared out all rivals, he became the God of the Christians; six-hundred years after that, he also became the God of Islam.
Although Wikipedia can be notoriously inaccurate, it does have a useful thread under the heading ‘Adam and Eve’ which provides basic details of some original myths and legends that preceded the later Biblical story. It is well worth a look.
As a Jewish Rabbi put it: “Belief transcends rationale and understanding.”
Distinguished philosopher, Professor A. C. Grayling, says “There are so many different creation myths from many different parts of history and so many cultures and all of them share something in common, which is the ignorance of the people who created the creation myths. What they wanted was a story to tell. They wanted a narrative. They wanted a beginning for things and so they made up a story about an agent bigger and more powerful than they were from which the world came. Think of this; if you thought the wind and the thunder were agents like yourself but irresistible and more powerful and then you discovered over many generations that they weren’t; they were part of nature; the agencies in question would begin to move out of nature up to the mountain tops and then into the sky and finally outside space and time altogether. As the horizons of science advance, so the gods vanish further and further away. People want to believe it; therefore they stop themselves thinking about it too clearly.”
In terms of Mormonism, relative to the legends of the origins of Native American tribes, I have researched all of them and none have any connection with any Book of Mormon concepts or Christianity. I included one such legend in TMD Vol. 2., concerning a tribe which a Mormon prophet declared were remnant Lamanites.
In response to the beauty of literature and music etc., “Absolutely no one can deny that our emotional lives; what in a secular sense I would call our spiritual lives; are the most important thing about us. That’s why poetry and music matter. That is why love matters. That is why human relationships matter. Why is it necessary, in addition to the beautiful music; to the stirring poetry; to the profundity of our love for other people; to add on these ancient stories of gods and ghosts? They don’t do anything to enrich it and even indeed historically, they get in the way of it.”
A senior pastor, when questioned about the creation, explained “How could a whole dinosaur be preserved? Noah’s flood!”… forgetting that the supposed flood occurred relatively recently and dinosaurs went extinct sixty-five million years before modern humans ever existed. He not only stated that he believed in a six-thousand-year-old earth, but also claimed science was on his side. He did not explain how.
I was most interested to learn when the gospels were actually written and of the growing consensus of thought regarding whether Jesus Christ actually existed as one individual person. The evidence against such an individual actually being real is quite compelling. There is absolutely no evidence to corroborate such a being outside of the claims made in the documents that now form the New Testament. Before anyone cites Josephus, let me add that I have read his works. He was a Jew and the short paragraph that supposedly represents his notation concerning Jesus Christ was clearly a much later interpolation to help support the Christian position and that fact is generally accepted by most historians as well as realistic theologians. An article by Marshall J. Gauvin is worth reading regarding this matter:
The following is a collection of statements that I found most interesting but I have no original reference for them and so apologise to whoever first collated these. They are not mine and original identification appears wherever possible.
"One of the curious features of the book of Genesis is the absence of any reference to what is going on in the ancient Near East during the second millenium B.C. - S Hooke - Peake's Commentary on the Bible, p.188.
“Ur was Sumerian and had no connection with the people known as the Chaldaeans until a thousand years after any possible date to which Abraham can be attributed.” – M. Grant, The History of Ancient Israel, p32.
“Solomon ... in the eyes of Israelite historians, marked the apex of Israelite achievement. Curiously, no reference to him or his father David, or their empire in a non-Israelite source is known ... ” – Isserlin (The Israelites, p72)
“Monumental structures once attributed to the building activities of Solomon in the cities of Megiddo, Gezer and Hazor have been shown over the years to date from various archaeological periods spanning centuries.” – Rohl (A Test of Time, p34)
‘Neither Moses, nor an enslaved Israel nor the event of this Exodus are recorded in any known ancient records outside the Bible ... Although its climate has preserved the tiniest traces of ancient bedouin encampments and the sparse 5000-year-old villages of mine workers there is not a single trace of Moses or the Israelites.’ – John Romer, Testament, pp57/8.
“Damascus reached its zenith during the reign of Hazael ... Transjordanian regions were overrun ... Hazael was able to cross Israelite territory to progress down the coastal plain to take Gath in Philistia ... In fact, Hazael appears to have established an empire or sphere of influence not unlike that ascribed to David.” – B.S.J. Isserlin (The Israelites, p86)
“The desire to read the letters bytdvd as house of david is ... a classic example of scholars working backwards from the Bible rather than forwards from the evidence.” – M. Sturgis, It Ain’t Necessarily So, p129.
“‘Ur of the Chaldees’ in Genesis is clearly an anachronistic reference … ‘Chaldaeans’ did not appear in Mesopotamia until the 7th century BC.” – Magnus Magnusson, The Archaeology of the Bible Lands-BC, pp 31,206.
‘Instead of splitting the carcass of a sea-monster to create the world, as Marduk did, Yahweh divided the Sea of Reeds to let his people escape from Pharaoh and the pursuing army. Instead of slaying the demonic hordes, like Marduk, Yahweh drowned the Egyptians.’ (K. Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem, p31)
“...an archaeological analysis of the patriarchal, conquest, judges, and United Monarchy narratives [shows] that while there is no compelling archaeological evidence for any of them, there is clear archaeological evidence that places the stories themselves in a late 7th-century BCE context.”
“...an archaeological reconstruction of the distinct histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, highlighting the largely neglected history of the Omride Dynasty and attempting to show how the influence of Assyrian imperialism in the region set in motion a chain of events that would eventually make the poorer, more remote, and more religiously conservative kingdom of Judah the belated center of the cultic and national hopes of all Israel.” -Silberman and Finkelstein.
“In the fantasy ‘history’ (chapter 1 of the Book of Numbers) 603,550 ‘males of military age’ fled Egypt at the time of the Exodus, which implies a refugee army of at least two million – more than the total population of Egypt itself! And this multitude supposedly wandered the wilderness for forty years, contriving to leave not a trace of their passing for posterity.”
“Despite the mass of contemporary records that have been unearthed in Egypt, not one historical reference to the presence of the Israelites has yet been found there. Not a single mention of Joseph, the Pharaoh’s ‘Grand Vizier’. Not a word about Moses, or the spectacular flight from Egypt and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army.” Magnus Magnusson (The Archaeology of the Bible Lands - BC, p43)
“The archaeological evidence in Jerusalem for the famous building projects of Solomon is nonexistent. 19th and early 20th century excavations around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem failed to identify even a trace of Solomon’s fabled Temple or palace complex.” (Finkelstein, Silberman, p128)
“The scientific position is clear. There is no evidence of any kind for the existence of Abraham (supposedly the Israelites’ founding patriarch), Moses, or Solomon. At the time of the Exodus, Canaan—the Promised Land to which the Israelites were fleeing—was ruled and firmly controlled by the very Egypt from which they were trying to escape.
Jerusalem, which was supposed to have become the capital of the great unified empire of King David (he of David and Goliath fame), appears to have been tiny and only sparsely inhabited in the relevant period. Many of the great monuments of ancient Israel attributed on the authority of the Old Testament to King Solomon were of a later date.
Excavations of early Israelite settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan since the 1967 Six Day War have suggested strongly that the Israelites were in fact of local Canaanite stock.
They were probably desert nomads who took to hill farming for economic reasons, and developed into two kingdoms—a northern one called Israel, and a southern called Judah. The Bible reflects the slightly differing traditions of the two kingdoms, and when the north collapsed in the 8th century BC and its people fled south, an attempt was made through written texts to unify and reconcile both peoples. Thus the Old Testament began to take shape.
The Bible says the Israelites first began to worship one God in the time of Moses. But in fact, the Israelites from both north and south were actually polytheistic, and the process of monotheism didn’t begin till many centuries after that supposed time."
Regarding supposed Biblical evidence:
“The Yoash stone, named after a ruler of the ancient Hebrew kingdom of Judah, was cited as possibly the strongest historical evidence of the biblical account of the First Temple, built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. and destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C. The stone’s inscription gives instructions in ancient Hebrew for maintaining the Temple.
Israeli officials received a tip questioning the authenticity of the Yoash stone two years ago and began an investigation that kept expanding, according to Mr. Dorfman, the Antiquities Authority head. The authority announced in June 2003 that James’s burial box and the Yoash stone were forgeries.
The Israeli authorities said Wednesday that Mr. Golan, working through intermediaries, had been behind both the burial box and the Yoash stone.
The criminal charges filed Wednesday were the first in the case, and they came just days after the Israel Museum said an independent panel had concluded that the ivory pomegranate, which it bought in 1988 from an unknown seller by depositing half a million dollars in a Swiss bank account, was not authentic.
The pomegranate is believed to date back 3,400 years, but its inscription was added recently, the museum said. The Wednesday indictments cited the pomegranate as an example of a high-profile forgery, but did not charge any of the four suspects with counterfeiting it.”
I could continue and record many other aspects that affect both Mormonism and also other religious beliefs – such as the concept that Herod had all the young male children killed. Christians imagine this amounted to thousands if not tens of thousands of children. Historians confirm Herod was far more concerned about his masters in Rome than the locals and he would not have been bothered about rumours of a child king being born. However, had he really had them killed, the village was so small that the entire number of children supposedly killed “would not have filled a minibus” as explained the other evening on a National Geographic programme. The Bible allows us to paint fantastical pictures in our minds that are wildly exaggerated or often just fanciful. I will leave it there and allow the reader to continue his or her own research as they wish. Everything is easily discovered. You only have to take the time to look. My only advice is, don’t trust anything anyone else says – including me – accept evidence, and only evidence in support of any claim.
On 9 March 2002, an article by Michael Massing entitled ‘New Torah For Modern Minds’ appeared in the New York Times. It shows how Jewish leaders are coming to terms with the truth surrounding the Torah. This is the current link:
Clearly, old ideas are giving way to modern evidence of the truth. This will continue until one day everyone finally realises that fiction began in very early civilization and just because the stories are old and traditionally came through people who were designated as representing a god, it does not magically make them any more true than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy in our own day.
Jim Whitefield. Copyright © March 2010. All rights reserved.
For those who would like further reading about the truth behind the Bible and what it contains, the following books are highly recommended:
Disproving Christianity and Other Secular Writings ~ David McAfee.
Nonsense from The Bible ~ Brian Baker.
For a thought provoking analysis of the origins of the myths and legends that ultimately became the foundation of all religion:
The Invention of God ~ Bill Lauritzen.
After all my research, all I can say is:
If there is a god - he is not very good at religion. ~ Jim Whitefield.
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