Monthly Archives: June 2011

Do You Unknowingly Share the Mormon View of Divine Inspiration?

When I say that all scripture is literature, I mean scripture in the broadest sense of the writings of every world religion, but I mean literature in a very narrow sense.  I don’t mean it as everything that is written, but rather specifically as literary works, narrative and prose that can be read and analyzed for literary value.

Scriptures can certainly be approached from perspectives other than literary, such as meditative or inspirational, but skipping the crucial step of literary analysis can be hazardous.  As I’ve shown already, books like the Qur’an and the Book of Mormon require believers to accept them as divine revelation before even evaluating their claims or content, and a result of this is that their followers almost never approach their books as literature; doing so would not only suggest human origins, but completely unravel all claims of divine origin.  If we skip the literary analysis just because a text is considered sacred, however, we’d ultimately have to accept the word of a parking ticket if it was claimed to be divinely inspired.

A big difference between the Judeo-Christian Scriptures and other sacred texts is just how human of a book the Bible actually is.  Its books are genuinely ancient and relevant works of literature, so that they function the same whether read as the writings of man or the inspired words of God.  The Bible is not dictated directly by God as is the claim of many other religions for their holy books; every book of the Bible is unashamedly authored by a human writer, in their own language, vocabulary, idioms, and frame of reference.  Really, no supernatural belief is required to accept the Bible for what it is.  Biblical literature essentially follows the rules of literature and can be appreciated as such without diminishing its claims of divine revelation.  On the other hand, the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an can only function as one or the other, and if they are human, they cannot be divine.

Source material often betrays the claims of authenticity for most holy books, but especially the Book of Mormon.  A self-evident quality of literature is that references to other writings cannot precede or exist without an original source.  If I quote another work of literature, then that indicates I had access to that work of literature.  All scholarship depends on this axiom, which is otherwise plagiarism, yet Mormons expect people to make an exception to the rule for their concept of divine revelation.  The Book of Mormon, which claims to be authored on the American continent by Jewish inhabitants called Nephites starting before the first century, quotes extensively from New Testament literature that would have been unknown to its writers.  The only Mormon solution is that these identical passages were divinely inspired independently to both the Nephites and the early church.  Thus, the Book of Mormon contradicts the literary logic of source material, and can only function as “the word of god” to the faithful, which renders its claims of human authorship completely irrelevant.  Why does it even need a Nephite author if it wasn’t a unique Nephite composition?  In fact, the only way the Book of Mormon can function on any practical level as literature is from the position that Joseph Smith and/or his contemporaries with access to the New Testament were the true author(s) of the text.

Ironically, Joseph Smith was aware of the logic of source material in his writing process, as he borrowed from sources that were available to him.  Yet he apparently failed to understand that this was also how his bonded-leather King James Bible was written originally, not through his method of fabricated divine revelation.  As he quoted the entirety of the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7, he demonstrated ignorance of the shared source material between the synoptic Gospels.  Regardless of whether Matthew borrowed from Mark or from the hypothetical Q, the passage in Matthew is a compilation, a speech recreated into a specific context from a variety of common sources, and unique to that particular book.  The sermon in Matthew is also unique in that it alternates material common to the other synoptic gospels with passages which have parallels in the Talmud.  It’s highly unlikely that Jesus delivered the exact same sermon twice, because he never actually spoke this sermon in that order to begin with.  For two authors on two different continents to have arranged the same quotes into the same order is one of the most under-stated literary miracles in the history of the world (indeed, Matthew, Mark, and Luke were in the same time and proximity and even they couldn’t accomplish this feat).  Of course, Mormons don’t emphasize this “miracle” unless it’s brought up, showing that they really don’t believe it themselves.  No supernatural apologetics can override man’s a priori understanding of source logic.

Yet Christian fundamentalists and Biblical literalists who (presumably) ought to know better have the highest conversion rate into Mormonism.  From my experience, they’re also the most likely to challenge my claim about the speech recreation of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, believing instead that this content was delivered verbatim and recorded intact, as the similar content in Mark and Luke were also perfectly preserved speeches through the miracle of divine inspiration.  This position actually shares the same flawed beliefs about divine inspiration as the Mormons (and yet somehow they call me the apostate for viewing scripture as literature, even though this really isn’t even a threat to literalism).  The reality is that all quotations, parallels, and allusions in the Bible can be traced to source material.  Quotes of one work in another are evidence of that author’s access to the work cited, and no Biblical authors ever cited materials that wouldn’t have been available to them.  It’s unreasonable for the Book of Mormon to require divine inspiration as a source for unavailable materials when such a requirement is unprecedented in all of Christian scripture.

The rules of literature are absolutely and all-inclusive; they work no matter how you approach the Bible, whether as a Christian, a Mormon, or even an atheist.  No belief about the nature of the text is required for literary analysis, believers and unbelievers alike can use this methodology to ascertain the true meaning of the text, and from there draw conclusions.  Unlike the Book of Mormon, whose literary analysis betrays itself as a fraud that could not be inspired, the Bible’s literary analysis works from either approach, writing of man or Word of God.  If more Christians only had a literate understanding of scripture, there would not be so many converts to Mormonism.  Sadly, these converts are unaware that they never had an accurate view of scripture, and were essentially embryonic Mormons until their conversion.  It’s the duty of all Christians to have orthodox views on both scripture and divine inspiration, and to promote this among our peers.

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Everything I Need to Know about Islam I Learned from Comic Books

I originally wrote this about Islam, but the same principles are evident in Mormonism as well.

Super heroes, like all mythology, have always shared similarities with religion. I don’t just mean similarities in the narrative, like the Judeo-Christian undertones of Superman (sent by his father from the heavens to earth to perform miracles, die, and be resurrected), the Greco-Roman mythology intertwined in the Wonder Woman mythos, or the Norse mythology in the Mighty Thor. In a monthly, serialized format, super hero comic books demonstrate an accelerated model of the evolution of all myths and religious figures, doing in less than 75 years of the medium’s history what normally takes centuries of scriptural and parabolic evolution. The way comics are written, edited, and even interpreted is analogous to the formation of new religious traditions. A fundamental continuity device in serialized fiction is retroactive continuity, or retcon for short. Retconning is absolutely necessary in long-running comics like Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman, who have been in continuous publication since the 1930’s and 40’s. Wonder Woman, for example, had a consistent history until the death of her creator in 1947, after which subsequent writers disregarded her established continuity to varying degrees. The combination of these textual discrepancies and the passage of too much time since the World War II origin required a full reboot of the series in 1986, in which writers and editors attempted to recognize an official canon and reconcile the contradictions into a single, coherent narrative. One of the major retcons in this process was changing Wonder Woman’s primary antagonist from the more popular name Mars of the Roman pantheon to the more historically accurate Greek version, Ares. This is remarkable not only as a retcon in the Wonder Woman comics, but also because the transition from the Greek gods to the Roman gods is itself an obvious example of a retcon in a religion. Religious retcons result more or less from the same causes that affect serialized fiction: over the passage of time, as new works are in production, there is a departure from the original source material that persists until some event causes an editor to reboot and/or reconcile the narrative. There is no better example of this process than in Islam, which purports to be based on its predecessors Judaism and Christianity, while agreeing with very little in either religion, not even in details of the narratives. If anybody thought the teachings of Christ were a departure from Judaism, Islam would prove the two are completely compatible by comparison. The characteristic effects of the passage of time in serialized fiction are imprinted in the utter lack of chronological definition: Jesus’ mother Mary is the sister of Aaron, the brother of Moses, who encounters Hamaan (from the book of Esther) in Pharaoh’s court. Muhammad’s revision of the Bible is essentially 2,000 compressed years of Jewish history all taking place simultaneously. When looking at the retcon of Judeo-Christian history in the Qur’an, it is first important to understand that the earlier Biblical stories of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus were constantly being retold and embellished in the centuries after Christ, just like serialized fiction. Along the trade routes on the Arabian peninsula, far removed from the epicenter of Christian orthodoxy, Muhammad would most likely encounter the exiled heretics and rejected theologians traveling in caravans. This limited exposure to Christianity would be comparable to developing a religion based solely on what one overheard at truck stops. When looking at the Qur’an’s source material, then, it is less insightful to look at the original canon of Scriptures, that remain intact and unchanged, and instead focus on the writings that followed, like the pseudepigrapha, Jewish commentaries and traditions, heretical Christian writings, and even Zoroastrian sacred texts, all of which have more in common with the Qur’an than the Qur’an has with the Biblical accounts. Just like in a comic book retcon, there was no problem with the first edition of the stories, the inconsistencies came about later from writers with either little knowledge of or little regard for the original books, which polluted the overall continuity. Thus, when it came time to make a reboot in the form of the Qur’an, it was flawed from the start because it was weighted with source material that was flawed. Sometimes retcons are received favorably by the fans, but other times they are rejected even if they succeed in their goal to reconcile conflicting stories together. In a business sense, however, a retcon can be considered commercially successful if it attracts new readers. When this happens, fan communities split into two camps: the newbies, who will never read the original stories and don’t know or care about the changes; and the purists, fans of the original stories who, for whatever reasons, dislike the changes. Ultimately, the Qur’an is symptomatic of a commercially successful yet largely unpopular retcon, where purists can rightfully argue that no change was ever needed except to abandon the stories that were unfaithful to the narrative in the first place. The newbies, on the other hand, just don’t care.

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Why I Won’t Pray About the Book of Mormon (And Neither Should You)

It’s in the last chapter of the last book of the Book of Mormon, yet it’s the first thing you hear.  Everybody who’s ever given the Mormon missionaries a minute of their time has heard at least this one verse.  It doesn’t explain or mention the Mormon version of the “gospel”, or any Mormon theology for that matter, yet this single passage has built a church of millions of converts.  The worst part is, there’s no logical reason why anybody should be convinced that Mormonism is true on this basis, but sadly, people are usually not logical.

This key verse is:

And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Moroni 10:4

Another time I’ll make a more thorough analysis of why Joseph Smith delivered this highly advanced example of psychological manipulation at the same time that he had decided to wrap up his book.  For now we’ll just note that the Book of Mormon does indeed correspond to events in Joseph Smith’s life, and it’s clear he had determined he was ready to stop writing and start proselytizing.  His own admitted writings in Doctrines & Covenants show him to be a very shrewd manipulator (ie: the “revelation” from Jesus Christ himself extorting money from Martin Harris to publish the first edition of the Book of Mormon), and this was no exception.  He had devised a method to manufacture “spiritual” experiences from potential converts, and ever since Mormon missionaries have been asking people to pray about the Book of Mormon.  As long as you’re sincere, the missionaries assure you ever so kindly, God will show you that the Book of Mormon is true (never mind that the verse says to ask if it’s not true).

If you decline, the missionaries are professionals in using the pressure of kindness to try to change your mind; if you’re persistent, then they conclude you’re just not sincere (and nobody likes to be thought of as insincere).  Christians generally object over superstitious or faith-based reasons, but the reality is there’s no reason to even engage the Mormons in the arena of faith, which is only giving unmerited legitimacy to their claims.

The problem with this verse is that its premise is totally illogical.  Having studied most of the sacred texts of the world’s religions, I’ve had books tell me to do all sorts of ridiculous things.  But I don’t burn all non-Babi literature, fast during Ramadan, or chant “Hare Krishna”, simply because I don’t believe those religions.  Asking me to try something because it’s written in a holy book, therefore, would already be assuming truth in that text.  Odds are, if you do what somebody tells you to do, you already believe it on some level.  It’s no wonder that those who are manipulated into praying about the Book of Mormon come to the conclusion that it’s true–because they already accepted it as truth when they did what it told them to do.

But the real heart of the matter is what precisely are converts putting their faith in?  Mormonism hinges on this verse, yet there’s nothing distinctly Mormon about it.  It’s not exactly a summary of the faith like John 3:16.  The biggest problem with sacred texts that make such outlandish claims about their origins (ie: the Qur’an) is that the faith revolves more around the book than around the deity.  Belief in the Book of Mormon is foundational to Mormonism, it takes precedence over belief in God or the death and resurrection of Christ.  This view of scripture is essentially idolatrous by nature, which is why Mormons more often resort to atheism or agnosticism when their faith in the Book of Mormon is shaken.

Christians shouldn’t be so easily fooled by such trickery, and yet Christians are the leading converts to Mormonism.  As mentioned already, most of them had already put one foot in the LDS Church when they took the Book of Mormon seriously enough to pray about it.  I’ll also demonstrate later how many Christians are primed for Mormon conversion because they already hold in common the same inaccurate views of scripture that Mormons do.

The first (and also final) step in preventing these conversions from happening is to never listen to suggestions from any book in question, because doing so is textbook circular reasoning.  It’s not suggesting any demonic or supernatural influence will occur if you do, and contrary to the pressure you will encounter from Mormon missionaries, it’s actually sane and logical not to obey their scriptures before you believe them.  If they persist, they are not only proscribing illogical and irrational behavior, but also behavior to which they would never subscribe.  Try as I might, I haven’t been able to convince the missionaries to try out any of the above recommendations from other religions, which is a double standard on their part.  They might tell me they’ll pray about those books to find out if those are not true (they always remember to phrase this one in the negative), but none of those books are even asking them to do that.  Clearly, they don’t really believe this “try it before you by it” test for any religion other than Mormonism.

A sacred text that requires belief in its divine inspiration before its claims can even be evaluated simply cannot be divine.  This should be obvious to Mormons especially because such a claim is a radical departure from the accepted Christian canon, which they also claim to believe.  Sadly, most Mormons will dismiss this blog purely because I refuse to listen to this one verse at the end of the book, and instead choose to logically and critically analyze the text starting from the beginning.

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Obama Is Not a Muslim (but I’m not sure why he isn’t)

Taking a departure from the usual topic, I thought I’d cover some textual analysis pertaining to Islam, and its leftist apologists.  Despite Islam violating all principles that one would think the Left would hold as uncompromising–separation of church and state, women’s rights (including abortion), minority rights, gay rights, free thought, and basic human rights–the liberal far Left has adopted Muslims as their latest pet group in need of their protection.  Liberals are quick to denounce any criticism of Islam as so-called “Islamophobia”, and will voluntarily parrot Islamic apologetics on their behalf.

Even theological debates or textual criticism of the Qur’an is considered offensive to these secular apologists, though they defiantly exercise their right to be able to criticize Christian theology or scripture.  It almost seems as if, subconsciously or secretly, they really do believe or subscribe to Islam, and in a way, I would argue they do.  For instance, take a common textual criticism of the Qur’an: Muhammad thought that Jesus was the son of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron.  You see, Muhammad didn’t have a linear view of history, and he thought that all the Bible stories he had heard from passersby on the trade routes all occurred simultaneously in some mythic past.  The name for Mary and Miriam are both Maryam in the Arabic Qur’an, so one can easily see how he confused the two.

In the eponymous Surah for Mary the mother of Jesus, he refers to Mary as “sister of Aaron”:

Qur’an 19:27-28–“At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: ‘O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!”

Elsewhere, Muhammad refers to Mary’s mother as “the wife of Imran”:

Qur’an 3:31–“How the wife of ʿImrān said, O my Lord, I have vowed to thee what is in my womb. Now accept [this vow] from me, thou art the hearing, the knowing. And when she had given birth to the child, she said, O my lord, I have given birth to a female child… and I have called her Mary.”

Qur’an 66:12–“And Mary, daughter of ‘Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His scriptures, and was of the obedient.”

This Imran corresponds to Amram in the Hebrew Bible, the father of Moses, Aaron, and of course, Miriam (Ex. 6:20).  Oops!

Now I’ve received death threats from Muslims just for making this argument, but I was more surprised that hardcore atheists and agnostics would take the time to research Islamic apologetics and copy+paste them into the discussion.  I already knew Muslims have argued since the time of Muhammad that “sister of Aaron” is supposedly either a general term for descendants of Levi or a different Aaron.  But I was more amused what these non-Muslim apologists of Islam repeated about the Amram problem.  Muslims argue that both Miriam and Mary had a father named Amram.  Seems like a simple enough solution at first glance, but this actually creates a bigger problem for people who don’t even believe Islam.  You see, there’s no natural way Muhammad could have known Mary’s father’s name even if the Biblical genealogies are wrong (which one must reject anyway if one is going to defend the Islamic position), since there was no record in history of his name being Amram.  The only possible options are that Muhammad made a very obvious mistake, or was given this name through divine revelation, an unprecedented feat in the Abrahamic tradition yet Muslims are suspiciously silent about this “miracle” in the Qur’an.

The agnostic cannot sit on the fence here, either the Qur’an is wrong or it is divinely inspired.  Unlike the Bible, which can be evaluated as truthful or historical even if not accepted as inspired, you must believe the Qur’an is the Word of God if you support it’s unfounded historical re-writes.  Yet surprisingly, liberals who don’t even believe in God will provide a defense which requires belief in the Qur’an.  Instead of acknowledging facts and allowing that to shape their worldview, they have pre-determined their worldview around a political agenda, defending Islam from any criticism, no matter how legitimate.  This movement permeates the spectrum from atheists to liberal Christians, even the most visible Islamic apologist in the West, President Barack Obama.  While there’s a far-Right conspiracy that’s convinced Obama is a closet Muslim, his support of Islam is really no different from his Leftist peers.  Obama is on a political mission, his worldview is agenda-driven, and as a result he overlooks facts that are in conflict with this goal.  In his desire to be liked by Muslims, he recites their own indoctrination and apologetics, claiming Islamic peace and unity while betraying his own values to Islamic subordination.  Obama is not actually a Muslim, but considering everything he says and claims to believe about Islam, my only question to him is:  Why aren’t you a Muslim?

Kneel before Saud

Kneel before Saud!

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116 Pages that change everything

It doesn’t get talked about by Mormon missionaries.  If you so much as ask the missionaries about it, it puts them in defensive mode.  Any hopes of winning an easy convert are suddenly crushed.  They realize this target knows too much, and could present difficulties or resistance.  It’s the  elephant in the room, and when they know that you know about it, it changes everything.  I’m referring, of course, to the 116 first pages of the Book of Mormon that were lost after Joseph Smith permitted his scribe Martin Harris to take them home with him.  This missing manuscript is a damaging smoking gun that’s caused millions of people to stop reading the Book of Mormon before the missionaries can even schedule a follow-up.

Like I said, it changes everything.  More, probably, that Mormons are prepared or willing to accept.  Losing those pages didn’t just interrupt Joseph Smith’s translation work for several months, it changed the entire direction of Mormon history.  Not knowing who, if anyone, possessed this manuscript put Joseph Smith in a vulnerable position.  His whole credibility was on the line, the situation apparently required him to re-translate an extensive passage from the plates he claimed were in his possession that nobody, not even his scribe, had ever seen.  Joseph Smith’s bluff was called and his hand was forced.  Faced with the impossible, the steps he would take to back out of the corner into which he had been painted would radically define the Mormon concept of “translation”, establish Joseph Smith as a divinely inspired prophet in his own right, and set a precedent in Mormon scripture.

Rather than resume work on translating a supposedly existing holy book, Joseph Smith decided to start writing his own.  The oldest surviving Mormon scripture is not actually part of the Book of Mormon, but Joseph Smith’s own proclamation, now collected by the LDS Church in Doctrines & Covenants section 10 (to make a long story short, this was originally two different revelations from 1828 and 1829, first published in the Book of Commandments, then reprinted in the 1835 Doctrines & Covenants section 36 in close to its present form).  By pre-emptively claiming through divine revelation that the missing pages had been altered in a conspiracy to discredit him, he had won a small reprieve.  But damage had already been done, the shadow of the missing 116 pages would hover over the Book of Mormon through the remainder of its completion. When the “translation” work did resume, Joseph Smith began on what would be considered an abridgment, or a shorter, parallel reading of the same passage (confusingly, also called the plates of Nephi).  A special preface would be included in the original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon to cover his bases just in case the lost manuscript turned up.  But they never did, which is a shame for both believers and critics alike.  No longer a threat, the preface was dropped in the next edition in 1837.  This scandal is all but forgotten by the LDS church now, and we can only wonder how the account of this first draft compared to the published (but still not final) edition of the Book of Mormon, and how Mormonism could have been so much different without this incident.

Later, I’ll try to piece together some of the missing contents of the 116 lost pages using educated guesses from the existing version of that narrative, but now I’ll focus more on the very first Mormon scripture.  You see, the first Doctrines & Covenants passage is more of a watershed moment in history than the Book of Mormon is.  It shows that from the inception Joseph Smith’s intent was to be a prophet himself, and the Book of Mormon was really just the stepping stone for his credibility.  It’s my belief that if Mormons were truly honest about their religion, they would acknowledge the impact of the missing pages, and include this prophecy of Joseph Smith in the Book of Mormon.  Too many people have innocently joined the LDS church with no knowledge of these missing pages at all, and as we’ll see, these pages are the real key to understanding the Book of Mormon as literature.

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All Scripture Is Literature

All scripture is literature.  Whatever any religion claims, believes, or teaches about their holy book(s) and how it was received, this is still true for all religions.  Ironically, however, it is forgetting this universal truth that often separates the believers from the skeptics, and causes some to believe in books they ordinarily wouldn’t have had they approached it from a literary perspective.

The more outlandish or obscure its claims of origin, the more misleading a holy book will be unless one is constantly aware of this truth.  The Qur’an claims oral dictation by God through a single prophet; the Book of Mormon claims to be an ancient record divinely translated by Joseph Smith; the Urantia Book claims to have been transmitted to a group of mystics by celestial beings.  Such lofty claims successfully convince the followers of these religions that their sacred text is exceptional, but these claims fall short when the text is analyzed using the simple methodology applicable to all literature.  The reality is that a holy book that makes more down-to-earth claims about its origins, like admitting human authorship, is far more believable than a text that tries too hard to make supernatural claims.

When examining the Book of Mormon, it’s really unnecessary to question it on the basis of its claims of origin.  Critics sometimes spend far too much time focusing on the methods of Joseph Smith’s use of seer stones as a form of divination or black magic.  While these criticisms have their validity, obviously those already inclined to believe the Book of Mormon as a literal, historical account of a group of Jews in America will accept whatever means it was transmitted as valid.  The critics most often resort to challenging its claims through archeology, and even though there is no evidence to support the historicity of any persons, places, events, or cultures described in the Book of Mormon , this tactic still ultimately fails to discourage the faithful.  All Mormon faith revolves around the Book of Mormon, and until Mormons are faced with the literary reality of this text within their own paradigm, all other arguments are futile.

So what is it about the Mormon perception of divine revelation that is irreconcilable with the literary content of the Book of Mormon?  In this blog I plan to cover a textual analysis of the Book of Mormon in a fresh, new way, that goes beyond the anachronisms, edits, and plagiarized passages that can already be found all over the internet.

Joseph Smith

Joseph Smith at work

If you haven’t already checked out the aforementioned South Park episode, I highly recommend it as a more accurate presentation than the official LDS version of history.  This blog will assume this very basic understanding of Mormon history, even though if you can believe it, South Park was still more sympathetic and merciful than they even had to be (for instance, the show doesn’t mention that Joseph Smith didn’t even need to have the alleged plates in the same room with him to “translate” them).

Next: I’ll be covering the oldest surviving Mormon text, which isn’t even in the Book of Mormon.  Stay tuned, and remember: all scripture is literature.

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So this is Seer Stone

seer stone

Joseph Smith's Seer Stone

Since it seems everyone else in the world has a blog (or two), including my 3-year old nephew and the homeless guy who lives by the back dumpster, it’s been long overdue for me to start one of my own.

“What is Seer Stone” you ask?  Anyone familiar with Mormonism in any way–even if only through the South Park episode “All About Mormons”–already knows that seer stones were commonly used by Joseph Smith and other early Mormons to receive their revelations from God.   This blog will not focus solely on Mormonism, although it will heavily document another project of mine in the works pertaining to the Book of Mormon.  The actual point of Seer Stone, however, is really to critically analyze a wide range of scriptures from various world religions, to uncover how different believers determine their canon, how they view revelation and divine inspiration, and  how they determine what makes a writing scripture.

Most people, even religious people, don’t understand the fundamental differences between how different religions see their own scriptures.  Fundamentalism, for instance, has given Christianity a flawed understanding of its own scriptures, which has made Protestantism particularly vulnerable to Mormon proselytization (but more on that later).

Who am I?  First of all, I’m an amateur theologian, not a scholar, so this blog won’t delve too deeply into archeology or original languages (except for the Book of Mormon, which sorry, was originally written in English).  If you haven’t guessed by now, Seer Stone will not be pro-Mormon; if you’re that closed-minded to criticism then that’s your cue to exit now.  It will not, however, be aggressively anti-Mormon; in fact, I hope to illuminate some of the literary value that Mormons overlook in their agenda-driven ambition to want to believe the Book of Mormon as a literal, historical, or scriptural account.  While every topic will be covered from a Christian perspective, I anticipate many Christians will find some controversial topics challenging or even uncomfortable.  Some other topics I hope to cover on Seer Stone may include:

  • The Apostle Paul and the Buddha’s last words
  • Moses and the Baghavad Gita
  • Harmony of the Gospels (I wish I had tracked this on a blog when I did this project before)
  • Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles
  • Questionable books in the Christian canon
  • Source material of the Qur’an
  • and, hopefully, any topics by request.
So even if you’re not a Mormon enthusiast, if you’re interested in any religion or even atheism, there should be something to interest you or discuss here.

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