A Believer's impressions on the CES Letter

I doubt you'll reconsider your position, as most people don't reconsider even when things are pointed out to them logically. This is called the Backfire effect.

I think a lot of the reason why many of us exmos had problems with these things is we were raised to take them seriously, and I'm not sure you take them as seriously as we did. Many things on the CES letter and Mormonthink were presented to us as anti-Mormon information, even though there is evidence to substantiate the claims. I am not trying to suggest a no-true Scotsman, I'm sure that you believe as you say you do, and there isn't a uniform codex so much in Mormonism, but many of these issues are things that were taken seriously. I put high value into the credibility of the LDS church when I was a TBM, I thought eventually there would be proof of the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations and the church would eventually be vindicated.

Sure, truth cannot be harmed by proper investigation, but it can be harmed if I investigate and believe things that aren't exactly true.

Then there's no fear for deeply investigating Mormonism, yes? If it's true, it will withstand scrutiny is the point I think Jeremy was trying to make. If the church is true, it really has absolutely no justifiable reason to tell you to avoid "anti-Mormon" sources. If the church (or a claim in general) is true, it can back its claims up with evidence.

Why is this such a big deal to so many people? Joseph inserted portions of his KJV Bible into the Book of Mormon.

How did the Nephites get a hold of the KJV Bible? It was by at least some accounts a translation which involved directly copying words which appeared on the stones. Deutero-Isaiah is problematic too, because functionally, if Nephi was writing any of the Isaiah in the Book of Mormon, he wasn't pulling that from the Brass plates, because those scriptures would not have existed yet and they weren't actually written by Isaiah. Deutero-Isaiah was written decades after the supposed Lehite exodus.

There are also JST changes to verses which are in the KJV Bible which are in the original KJV format in the Book of Mormon.

Sure, these are troubling, but the explanation is simple. Joseph added interesting and familiar details to make the story more palatable.

What reason do you have to think this is plausible? Isn't inserting his own world view into the scriptures he was translating fundamentally the problem with the supposed corruption by the scribes with the Bible?

Anachronisms have debunked smaller books. The story of Abraham in the Old Testament itself is potentially up to question because of the existence of anachronistic camels. If I wrote a story about the 16th century and I mentioned an iPhone and personal computers in the story, would you consider the possibility that the story was fabricated or would you try to come up with an apologetic explanation to justify it away? Horses in the Book of Mormon are just as problematic as a story supposedly about the 16th century which includes 20th and 21st century technology. Just because the Book of Mormon anachronisms are normalized to you does not make them valid.

We haven't found it yet.

And after over a hundred years of looking across the American continents, how plausible do you actually think it is that this evidence will be found? Keep in mind that the Book of Mormon and JSH both suggest a population of continental proportions. See Helaman 3:8 and JSH 1:34. Apologetic "Limited Geography Theory" contradicts the LDS scriptures.

I think the direct lines from Nephi and Laman mostly died out and was replaced by other people with different DNA.

What you think doesn't necessarily constitute as valid evidence. Even if they had all died out, we can find genetic information from from long dead bodies like the Anzic child in Montana whose genetic ancestry is linked to most Native Americans and is also linked to the Siberian area in Asia. Your personal hypothesis doesn't involve testable claims. The LDS church certainly taught for most of its history that the indigenous American peoples were Lamanites, and only recently revised the entry page into the most recent edition of the Book of Mormon to reform the statement that the Lamanites were the principle ancestors of these people to "some" of the ancestors. They've moved the goal post and they've had to because the statements from Joseph Smith until recently regarding the origin of the Native American peoples suggested otherwise while the evidence has not supported this claim.

I think this is really tenuous. I think people get hung up on the map in the CES letter, but try to find a map from Joseph's day that had all of those places on it.

Not everyone thinks that the Vernal Holley map is that important, don't generalize. I'm perfectly willing to accept that it may have been coincidental overlap. The fact remains that no where in the Americas has any support been found to justify the existence of a pre-Columbian group of Hebrew people. Apologists point out coincidence as proof. Correlation is not causation, so it is said. The existence of some technology in the proper time frame in the Old World does not constitute proof that it would have existed in the New. Steel swords may well have existed in 600 BC, but is there any evidence that they also existed in the New World as Nephi suggested he made armaments of that style? Check out the Mormon Stories interview with Michael Coe, an expert in Olmec archaeology and it will be clearer to you why some apologetic explanations are nonsense regarding the proof of steel swords in the Americas.

Although Joseph's writing style and some of the details may have been inspired by other works, I don't think the books are similar enough to claim that the underlying facts were plagiarized.

Go check out askreality.com and look at the list starting around a tenth of the way down the page for examples of other books compared for similarity to the Book of Mormon. I felt like I got punched in the gut when I first read the opening line to The rights of Christ according to the principles and doctrines of the Children of Peace. Don't disregard the similarity based on gut feelings though, just as my feeling of being punched in the gut isn't enough to justify thinking that there's similarity. Look into that site's research in the N-Gram comparison of words found in the Book of Mormon and other books which preceded it.

/r/exmormon Thread