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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The demonstrable falsity of Mormonism

I've been having a reasonably civil discussion in a comment thread with a lady who is apparently a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). The recent Mitt Romney stories have threatened to bring what Mormons really believe to the forefront. But American society has so compartmentalized religious belief that it will no longer analyze it rationally. True to form, most Americans either don't care what a person's religious beliefs are (which can in a sense be a good thing) or else say that a thorough inspection of a person's religion is bigotry.

What to do then with a religion which seemingly has no basis at all in historical fact? Does it matter at all that Mormonism purports to reveal (or restore) a lost revelation about God and history for which there is no evidence? The history of North America put forward by Mormons is such a fabrication that it is actually painful to relate it. It is not worthy in this regard to be compared to the historical evidence, say, for Christianity, and for the trustworthiness of the Gospels and the Book of Acts. Witness this excerpt from the Baptist Press:

Hill Cumorah is located in New York, southeast of Rochester. Joseph Smith claimed that when Moroni appeared to him, he was told that Moroni's father, Mormon, buried the gold plates upon which the Book of Mormon was based on the hill Cumorah just before the great final battle there (Mormon 6:6). In the Pearl of Great Price, Smith writes that the day after his second vision, he went to a large hill outside of the village where his family lived (the hill Cumorah) and found the gold plates (endnote 26). This identifies the hill where Smith dug up the plates as the same hill where Mormon buried them and where the great battle took place. In Mormon 6:10-15, it is claimed that hundreds of thousands of people were killed on or near the hill Cumorah during that final battle. It says that "their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth" (Mormon 6:15). In other words, their bodies were left there, unburied.

To help you understand the magnitude of casualties at hill Cumorah, let us consider another major battle. During the Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War, 55,000 soldiers were wounded, including 6,000 of them killed on the battlefield and 4,000 more whose wounds were mortal. Eyewitnesses said that there was so much blood from the dead and injured that there were parts of the battlefield that seemed like streams of blood. So many men and horses died that all could not be buried at once and many corpses were left on the battlefield until a few days later when others were hired to do the task.

If 6,000 men died on the battlefield at Gettysburg, what would a battlefield look like with hundreds of thousands dead? Since they were left unburied at hill Cumorah, wouldn't there be some artifacts made of metal and stone? Bullets by the thousands are found at Gettysburg. Nothing, however, has been found at hill Cumorah.

University of Rochester paleontologist and stratigrapher Carl Brett has worked in the Palmyra, N.Y, area where hill Cumorah is located and is familiar with the hill and its geologic conditions. He says that if hundreds of thousands were slaughtered at the hill and not buried, there would still be skeletal remains on the surface today, even after 1,600 years. Scavengers and weather conditions would account for why much is gone, but there would still be quite enough left to look at. Metallic artifacts from weapons and armor would also be easily found (endnote 27). But nothing has ever been found at hill Cumorah.

This is just one of many things that could be cited. Is it wrong to discuss this type of information, or to discuss Mormon teachings about the spirit brotherhood of Jesus and Satan?

Not only is Mormonism not a Christian religion, it also is untrue as a matter of historical fact. We know there was a Pontius Pilate; we know that James the Lord's brother was killed in a certain manner; etc. But there was no battle at the hill Cumorah.

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