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Sunday, July 13, 2008

No Evidence for the Book of Mormon?

Critics of the Book of Mormon like to make the claim that there is no evidence for the Book of Mormon's authenticity. They claim that there is not a shred of archeaological, anthropological, liguistic, cultural, textual or historical evidence for the Book of Mormon or the claims of Joseph Smith. They also like to throw a laundry list of "problems" in the Book of Mormon that they claim compromises the Book of Mormon as an ancient text.

I must confess that I have little patience for this claim or for those who advocate it. Over the years, scholars (primarily LDS but also with some non-LDS researchers as well) have written literally thousands of pages on evidence for the Book of Mormon as an ancient Near Eastern and Mesoamerican record. From the early works of B. H. Roberts, John Widstoe, Janne Sjodahl, George Reynolds and James Talmage to the pioneering and groundbreaking research of Hugh Nibley, to the recent work of scholars from the Neal A. Maxwell Institute (including Daniel C. Peterson, John Sorenson, John Welch, Brant Gardner, S. Kent Brown, Donald W. Perry, John Gee, John Tvedtnes and many more) dozens upon dozens of books, articles, essays, etc. have been written on this subject, documenting evidence for the Book of Mormon as an ancient record.

These materials, however, can sometimes get very technical and run into hundreds of pages and several volumes. The lay reader, therefore, may feel intimidated at times in trying to read through all of this material. To this end, Kerry Shirts, one of my favorite online "armchair" apologists next to Jeff Lindsay, has made a series of videos which he has posted on his youtube page in which he discusses these evidences on a level which is easily understandable and enjoyable to watch.

On an excellent blog, Lehi's Library, the author, a Latter-day Saint whose name is James, has put together a list of Kerry's videos in an easily accessable format and order. For those who are not too thrilled about reading through the thousands of pages on the subject of evidence for the Book of Mormon, or for critics who dogmatically assert that there is no evidence for the Book of Mormon, these videos are highly recommended. Take a look!

http://lehislibrary.wordpress.com/bom-evidences/

For further reading on the Book of Mormon and some of the material covering the evidence for such, I have created a list of recommended books that the reader is encouraged to look at.