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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Why Are There So Many War Stories in the Book of Mormon?

While preparing a lesson for Church today, I came upon this excellent video of a talk given by John Bytheway (yes, that's his real name...by the way), who was earlier known for his brand of "squeaky clean comedy", but later became a Church Educational System instructor.  The linked talk was given during BYU Education Week, August 18, 2003.

John states that because the principal compiler and abridger of the Book of Mormon was Mormon, who was a military man at the end of the days of the Nephite people, naturally many things he included from the Nephite record were from his perspective as a warrior.  Moroni, who was Mormon's son and the final writer on the plates, saw our day and reinforced what he saw by confirming what his father said about our potential destruction should we choose to follow in the same, wicked path as the Nephites of his day.

In the war-torn world of today, it is entirely and absolutely relevant and fair for the Book of Mormon to focus on one of the most desperate conditions of humanity, including what leads to it and how it can be resolved.  Perhaps the righteous Captain Moroni, who lived centuries before Mormon, was Moroni's namesake because Mormon recognized in Captain Moroni the qualities of a man of God who also knew that God abhored war and only allowed it as a last resort when the life, liberties, and happiness of righteous people was threatened by an external show of force upon the righteously obtained territories of God's people.

I've always felt that world peace would come if people in power would just read the New Testament and the Book of Mormon together and hopefully choose to become sincere and submissive to God.  It is incumbent upon all of us to spread the message of the Book of Mormon as far and as wide as possible so that eventually the world's leaders can't help but be influenced by its teachings.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Online Gospel Art Picture Kit Statistics - LDSMediaTalk.com

I usually try to keep my posts about the Book of Mormon, because that is, after all, the title of this blog.  However, given my recent encounters with individuals who believe that Mormons worship Joseph Smith or that we treat the Book of Mormon with more weight than we do the New Testament, I had to share something telling from LDSMediaTalk.com.

The Gospel Art Picture Kit is a collection of paintings and photographs used by Primary (children's Sunday school) teachers to illustrate concepts of the lessons they teach.  It contains themed illustrations and photos from all the Standard Works (Old/New Testament, Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price), plus some Church history and ancient Middle-Eastern items.

You can tell a lot about what a church truly believes by what it teaches its children.  With the many, many images available in the Gospel Art Picture Kit, and with the assumption by many that we "aren't really Christians" or that we teach more about Joseph Smith and the restoration than we do about Christ, one would think that the most popular of the online versions of these pictures would be about Joseph Smith and the restoration.


Most Popular Items in the Gospel Art Picture Kit in 2008
Picture Name Page Views
208 John the Baptist Baptizing Jesus 23,670
240 Jesus the Christ 22,638
239 The Resurrected Jesus Christ 18,753
201 The Nativity 16,543
227 Jesus Praying in Gethsemane 16,323
403 The First Vision 15,916
216 Christ and the Children 13,502
238 The Second Coming 12,973
608 Christ and Children from around the World 12,192
212 Sermon on the Mount 11,144

Even "The First Vision", which is arguably a restoration theme, is Christ-centered because, of course, it was God the Father and Jesus Christ appearing to Joseph Smith.

So, with the idea gone that Mormons don't teach their children about Christ, it appears that, ultimately, the only theological difference "mainstream" Christians (as they're called today) should have with Mormons is whether we worship the "right" Jesus.  And that is proof of the necessity for a restoration if ever I saw one.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Simile Oaths/Curses in the Book of Mormon

In these videos, I discuss the significance of Simile Oaths/Curses in the Book of Mormon and other ancient Near Eastern documents. 

Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ancient Texts in Support of the Book of Mormon

In this new series, I discuss an article written by John A. Tvedtnes and published in 2002 that gives an overview of some of the ancient texts in support of the Book of Mormon. 

**Note: I apologize that there is no video for this series. I am having problems with my audio/video syncing on my editing software. I am working hard trying to fix this problem, and hopefully by next time I will have it working.** 

Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Linguistic Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Brian Stubbs (PhD in Near Eastern Languages, University of Utah) is a linguist who working on the development of the Uto-Aztecan and other languages. He had this to offer at the 2006 FAIR Conference. He discussed the evidence for a Semitic influence on the Uto-Aztecan language and his findings regarding his research in this field. An excellent supplement to this presentation can be found in Mike Ash's two books Shaken Faith Syndrome[1] and Of Faith and Reason[2].

Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

[1]: Shaken Faith Syndrome: Strengthening One's Testimony in the Face of Criticism and Doubt (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research, 2008) pages 185-187

[2]: Of Faith and Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting the Prophet Joseph Smith (Cedar Fort, Inc. 2008) page 122


Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Festival in the Book of Mormon

Just in time for 2009, I have a video discussion on an interesting aspect of King Benjamin's speech and the ancient Israelite New Year festival Rosh ha-Shanah.

Enjoy!

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3