Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Proving the Book of Mormon by Scientific Methods, Part 2

Thanks to Jeff for his comment on my post about whether the Book of Mormon can be "proven" by scientific methods. He wrote:

"There are some really, really close calls to an irrevocable proof in the Lehite Trail/Frankincense Trail, in Chiasmus, in volcano-tectonic events in Central America described in detail in 3Ne8...

But your point is extremely well-taken. A scientific "proof" over-rates what science can actually do - and totally misses the point."
Exactly, well said. We can read in ancient records all kinds of historical evidences; archeologists can find ancient records written on stones and metal plates; graffiti in the Middle East that makes it look like Nephi and his brothers were there (and that they were graffitists); structures that look like baptismal fonts, temples, and altars; writings about a white-skinned prophet or god who appeared to the people in America and promised to come again; and other artifacts that seem to "prove" that the Book of Mormon is a true set of ancient documents.

But I'm going to say this now, as I among many others have said before:

Even when confronted with a copy of symbols and words written in an ancient language he claimed to be familiar with, a scholar in the time of Joseph Smith refused to acknowledge its authenticity.

Even when confronted with linguistic evidence that the authors of the various books in the Book of Mormon were actually different people; that the language of Joseph Smith's translation is not just some mish-mash of his uneducated acquaintance with the English of the King James Version; that the names and objects mentioned in the Book of Mormon are authentic; that the poetic forms are the same as those used in the Old Testament; non-believers will not accept the book's truth.

Even when confronted with the testimony of 11 witnesses who saw and "hefted" the plates, non-believers then and now claim these people were lying or delusional. (Read this post for answers to a fascinating and heart-breaking question, "Does the Historicity of the Book of Mormon Matter?"

Even when confronted with the evidence of thousands of people leaving their homes in the dead of winter to escape persecution for their beliefs in the church, when all they had to do was deny it and turn against the prophet, even now non-believers cannot accept the fact that they knew Joseph Smith was a prophet and they could not bear to deny their beliefs.

I could go on, but why bother. As Jeff wrote, "A scientific 'proof' over-rates what science can actually do--and totally misses the point."

What will it take for the world of scientists and historians and linguists to accept the Book of Mormon? Who cares? Who cares if scholars accept the Book of Mormon on their terms? It doesn't ask to be accepted on those terms. It exists for humble seekers of truth to read it, pray about it, and respond to the witness they receive.

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