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Showing posts from February, 2016

The Book of Mormon Witnesses: Spiritual Eyes and Eye of Faith

I was surfing the internet and found the following on mormonthink.com:

"The witnesses, by their own admission, seemed to have only seen the angel and plates in a 'visionary state' in their minds as Joseph suggested to them and not really with their natural eyes as members are taught. Why would real, metal plates need to be seen in a vision or with 'spiritual eyes' as many of the witnesses later testified"(mormonthink).

This is completely and totally false. Many have tried to discredit the testimony of the witnesses and many have answered these attacks. Some of the better rebuttals can be found here(Roper, Anderson, Peterson).
I refer the reader to the links I've provided; this post will be short and sweet. The biggest controversy seems to stand around some later testimonies by individual witnesses referring to seeing with "spiritual eyes" or "the eye of faith". Critics will say that these terms refer to imagination or tricks of the min…

Human Deification and Pre-Mortal Existence in The Book of Mormon

Mormonism has a strong Platonist bent. Platonism, to grossly oversimplify, essentially taught that we existed before our mortal births, ultimately with "the Good" in a "world of Forms"; we are here now and we need to figure it all out, through living the philosophic life, and return to the World of Forms, to the divinity that is innately in us. In Mormonism, this is particularly found in the revelations concerning the Prophet Abraham(D&C 132:37; Abraham 3:23).

The most common view of Joseph Smith's doctrinal evolution divides the evolution of Mormonism into three main phases: Palmyra, Kirtland and Nauvoo. Palmyra Mormonism is said to center around the Bible and Book of Mormon. It seems, minus the knew scripture, indistinguishable from mainline Protestantism.

Then as the Saints settled into Kirtland and Campbellites like Sidney Rigdon joined the show, Mormonism became more about spiritual gifts and other charismatic phenomena, coupled with a vision of resto…

The Function of Towers in the Book of Mormon

Towers in the Book of Mormon serve two main functions: war and religion. 
Towers were used for public/religious spectacle(Helaman 7:10-11,14; Mosiah 2:7-8; Alma 48:1). Towers were also used as places of refuge(Moroni 9:7; Mosiah 19:5-6), surveillance(Mosiah 11:12-13; Mosiah 20:8), defense during war(Alma 50:4) and were desecrated by conquerors as monuments of their subject's surrender(Alma 46:36; Alma 51:20).

Torres in Mesoamerica served two main functions: war and religion.
Torres were used for public/religious spectacle(Codex Magliabechiano). Towers were also used as places of refuge(fortified temples), surveillance(high), defense during war(fortified temples) and were desecrated by conquerors as monuments of their subject's surrender(Codex Mendoza).
A Note on Words
Some might balk at the idea of equating temples with towers in the Book of Mormon, especially when towers are described as being next to the temple, but Hernan Cortez himself referred to the Aztec temples as "t…

Fortifications in the Book of Mormon Account Compared with Mesoamerican Fortifications

John Sorenson wrote a fascinating article on mesoamerican fortifications, which can be accessed here. There are several things that jumped out at me. Actually, you should probably read it first. Sorenson shows how the fortifications described in the Book of Mormon mirror those found in Mesoamerica. It's a great read. Two things stick out to me from Sorenson.

Up until at least 1990, there were 10 named fortified sites in the Central Depression of Chiapas, our candidate for Nephite territory. However, there were 30 named fortified defensive sites in Western Highland Guatemala, our candidate for Lamanite territory. No wonder the Nephites never went down to invade and were under constant threat of invasion. It was an impossible task for them but seemingly easy pickings for the Lamanites thus making Nephite victories all the more miraculous.


The above chart shows when the numerous fortified defensive sites were constructed, for all Mesoamerica, not just the Central Depression or Weste…