Tuesday, February 16, 2016


When I was freshman in high school, I took ancient world history. Its was required, but I still enjoyed it. I learned about Mesopotamia, Babylon, Egypt, Israel etc....

I learned about the bronze age, the iron age, the dark ages. All the way up to Native Americans in the Pilgrim era of New England. It was a lot of history to cover in one school year. Though now I wonder how I missed a few very obvious discrepancies between my scholastic studies an my religious ones.

In the Book of Mormon, there is a sub-book call Ether. In the book of Ether was a prophet, known only as the Brother of Jared, who journeyed from the middle east to America approximately1000 or more years before the Christian believed birth of Christ, around the time of the Biblical Tower of Babel. He did this by way of vessels crafted to be like watertight wooden submarines.

Of course, everything is possible with God in tow, so these watertight Iron Age submarines made it safely in one piece. Take away the fact that these things sound completely ridiculous, and go back to when the brother of Jared was making them. As he is in the midst of construction, a light bulb goes off and he says, wait a second, when the doors are shut, how are we going to have light in there? One of his ideas that god shoots down is to have windows. But god says no, the waves will dash them to pieces.

Hang on, windows? I mean, I bet they had windows on their houses in the iron age, but they were probably just holes covered with cloth or shutters. Flat glass used in windows was not introduced until the first century A.D. So the brother of Jared suggesting glass windows is completely out of historical context. But thats okay, because he comes up with the idea to have magical lit rocks instead. Which is much more feasible in god's mind, and he grants his wish.

Then there was the concept of technology and tools. In the Book of Mormon it is said there were swords, shields, chariots, even ships. Historically speaking, anytime a civilization has made technological advancements of this magnitude, they seem to only be expounded upon and further perfected. In the case of the America's, there is no anthropological evidence to suggest any of these devices existed at the time the Book of Mormon is said to have taken place. And there are no surviving swords, ships, or chariots in existing indigenous American cultures. There is also no evidence of things like wheat and horses, both of which were said to have been possessed by the people of the Book of Mormon.

While these things completely escaped my attention, or I just subconsciously ignored them, one thing did bother me. The Isaiah chapters in Second Nephi of the Book of Mormon were word for word out of the Book of Isaiah in the Bible. How was that possible? I was taught the Book of Mormon had only undergone on translation, while the Bible had gone through many translations by many peoples and in many different languages. Why would a first translation from "reformed Egyptian" match a translation from Hebrew, to Greek, to Latin, to Old English, to Modern English? And who knows how many times over? For them to match made no sense to me. I asked my seminary teacher thinking she'd have an answer for me.

"Isn't it wonderful?" she said. I was confused and asked what she meant. "Isn't it wonderful that the Lord had the passages translated to match the Bible so people who read would be able to see it was a second Witness of Christ?" That made absolutely no sense to me. But, per Elder Holland's advice, I put my questions on a shelf, confident God would reveal the answers upon my death. No need to understand religion in this lifetime, right?

I only wish I had critically evaluated my questions sooner, and perhaps I might have avoided all the pain, emotional exhaustion and frustration I had to endure afterward.

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