Jeff Lindsay and Mormon Apologetics



Jeff Lindsay's Website and some Cog Dis for me right now--help!


Jul 19, 2005 17:14


Alee               (an excellent summary is below)

I have a problem. What exactly out there refutes some of the seemingly convincing information on Jeff Lindsay's Website. Too many things already have me convinced that I can no longer follow Mormonism, or any religion in particular, but this is causing some major cog dis for the moment. All you brainiacs with the knowledge to help, please post!

Specifically, this is where I was reading today.



Re: Jeff Lindsay's Website and some Cog Dis for me right now--help!


Jul 19 17:21



I just posted about a couple of his errors on the thread about evidences for the BoM. His site is riddled with errors as shown just below. You have to take the time to check each of his assertions. It's a house of cards. If you want to ask about a specific assertion, go ahead, and I bet someone here will be able to answer it.

BoM apologetics only sound convincing to people who have little to no background experience in the topic of Mesoamerican history.

Jeff Lindsay’s errors

New Evidence for Pre-Columbian Smelting of Metals!

See the MIT Web page on the MIT El Manchon Archaeological Excavation in Mexico. While critics have long ridiculed Book of Mormon references to ancient metal working in the Americas, interesting evidence is accumulating. Here is an excerpt:
In November 2000, a team of archaeologists led by Professor Dorothy Hosler from the Center for Materials Research in Archaeology and Ethnology (CMRAE) at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, began excavation of a pre-Columbian site in the remote mountains of northern Guerrero, Mexico.
This site is possibly the first pre-Columbian metal smelting site ever found in Mesoamerica. Therefore it is of distinct interest to Prof. Hosler . . . who studies ancient technologies and how civilizations of the past have been affected by them. In particular interest is metallurgy, a technology rare enough to only have been invented two or three times in human history (once in the Americas).
We anxiously await further information about this new discovery. The smelting site in Guerrero is in southern Mexico (see the location on a map). Also note the recent discovery in Peru proving use of metals before 1000 B.C. (or see the article at This discovery pushes the date of metal use in the Americas as far back as 1400 B.C.

Wow! Sounds intriguing! I first read this last year, and thought, hmmm, 2000? Perhaps there is some results available? Sure enough, a quick search on revealed the following report by Hosler.

It is a great find. Clear evidence of smelting – not a residue in the bottom of a bowl (?) but rather:

The work described here and funded by FAMSI, addresses one of the most significant gaps in our understanding of the copper-based metallurgy that developed in ancient Mesoamerica. Until our excavations of El Manchon, we had scant archaeological evidence of metal production–smelting, and processing, and where those activities were located–although we do possess ample documentation of fabrication methods, alloys used, (copper-tin, copper-arsenic bronze, and copper-silver alloys) the relationships with South America, and the overall sumptuary emphasis of this technology. El Manchon is one of several copper smelting sites I located in the Balsas drainage of Guerrero in a 1997 survey. El Manchon is thus far the only such smelting site reported in Mesoamerica. The site is situated at 1400 meters above sea level in the Sierra Madre del Sur of Guerrero and consists of two physically distinct habitation areas characterized by long, low rectangular mounds measuring from 12 to 22 m in length, 2.5 m in width, and about 2 m in height. There also is a large smelting area between these two areas delimited by two seasonal streams. The smelting area is covered with a glassy-like slag and disturbed furnace remains. The site itself stretches across approximately 1 km, is crosscut by deep barrancas and arroyos, and is highly eroded.

Sounds promising, right? Whoops, scroll down to the bottom of the page to discover the approximate dating.

This research project will constitute a long-term undertaking, in part because we are working in an area that is virtually unknown archaeologically. The location of El Manchon, as well as the material remains (pottery, architecture) suggests that this was not a metal production site dominated by any of the well-documented contemporary social groups (Tarascan, Matlatzinca, México). We do have two preliminary dates that cluster around 1300 A.D.*, but these should be considered very approximate. We do not yet know the ethnic affiliations of the people living in this mountainous area of Guerrero. These data will begin to emerge as we continue the analysis of the pottery, in further excavations and in comparative studies.

There is no updating on Lindsay’s site that shares this information.

Since either some of Lindsay’s links aren’t working, or my internet connection is funky, I can’t provide the link for this one, so will refer to Sorenson instead of Lindsay. Sorenson offers the copper sheathing in Cuicuilco, Mexico, as evidence of early smelting. Yet, as Matheny points out in her essay in New Approaches to the BoM:

What may be the oldest piece of metal from Mesoamerica (from the site of Cuicuilco in the Valley of Mexico) noted by Sorenson may date as early as about the first century BC (1985, 278). However, I know of no confirmation of a date that early. In fact its has been suggested by Emil Haury, one of the project archaeologists although not the one who excavated the piece, that the metal was from an Aztec period reuse of a Preclassic mound (1975, 1999). Additionally there is no evidence that the artifact singled out by Sorenson was produced in Mesoamerica. Even if this piece should prove to have been produced in the proper time (Late Preclassic period) and place, we would still be left with 2,900 years of Nephite and Jaredite metallurgy unaccounted for in the archeological record.

From the same essay, I find this extremely significant, when discussing the possibility of early smelting.

Karen Bruhns has explored the issue of early metals in southern Mesoamerica in a well-researched article and remarks that the Maya had some access to metal objects from the Early Classic period onwards. After a review of the information available about these early metal objects, she concludes that the “only relatively certain statement that can be made is, with the possible exception of the Soconusco disks… that all Classic period metal objects found in Mesoamerica are obviously southeastern in manufacture.” (1989, 221) This means that the artifacts were made not in the Maya area or in another region of Mesoamerica but in lower Central America.

If these metal objects were available to the Maya by at least Early Classic times, then the obvious problem becomes explaining whey the Maya did not begin producing their own metal artifacts given the availability of gold, silver, and copper in eastern Guatemala, western Honduras, and El Salvador. Bruhns suggests that the southern mesoamericans lacked adequate pyrotechnology to make the transition to successful metallurgy. (1989, 224) Specifically they lacked the technological prowess to attain and maintain the necessary temperatures to smelt metal. The ceramics from the area were fired in poorly controlled open fires, which often resulted in fire-clouding and incompletely oxidized areas. Only by the Late Classic and Early Postclassic periods does evidence exist that the Maya had begun producing ceramic vessels in controlled firing situations, including kilns. The adoption of the Central American metallurgical technology occurred in the Maya area soon after the production of Plumbate pottery began. Plumbate pottery has a vitrified surface and, according to Bruhns, the “temperatures which produce the characteristics vitrification of Tohil Plumbate are precisely those which are appropriate for smelting.” (1986, 226)’




OK, here's a crack at his first two question


Jul 19 17:40


Stray Mutt

Was it just blind luck that the rare place name Nahom in the Book of Mormon, identified as the place where Ishmael was buried, turns out to correspond to an ancient burial site right where the Book of Mormon says it is?

They didn't find the name Nahom. They found NHM, which can be a number of things, depending on which vowels you choose to insert. The Mormons who discovered the markings decided it must be N-A-H-O-M because that's what they wanted to find.

How could Joseph Smith so accurately and plausibly describe the nature and location of the place Bountiful in the Arabian Peninsula - when critics for years have been denying the possibility of such a place being anywhere in the region?

Again, this is "reverse engineering." They looked until they found something vaguely like they wanted to find and declared it to be Bountiful, without any other corroborating research.

How does one account for the recent discovery of a plausible candidate for the River Laman, continuously flowing into the Red Sea as the Book of Mormon indicates, in spite of the repeated claims of critics that no such river exists?

The "plausible candidate" is a trickle of water, not a river.

But why is it a group of amateur archaeologists can find these supposed BoM places when they can't even tell us for sure where Cumorah is? Why is it they can find three letters in the desert but can't find entire cities, like Zarahemla after a century of looking?

If the gold plates never existed, how did Joseph get numerous witnesses to stand by their stories until their dying day, even when some of them later became angry with Joseph and left the Church?

Can you say "co-conspirators" Jeff? If they didn't stand by their stories they would expose themselves as scammers. Folks don't take kindly to being bamboozled.

As for the rest, Lindsey exaggerates and distorts what was known or unknown in Smith's time.



Lindsay's rationalizations are so convincing, non-Mormon experts / scientists / archeologists regularly join the church!


Jul 19 17:41


Scott Tippetts

Archeologists, Genetic Anthropologists, Comparative Linguists, Metallurgists, Literary Stylometricians (i.e., word print analysts), and Microbiologists are literally flocking to the church in droves, being baptized all over the place!!

The experts are continually publishing scores of academic papers in peer-reviewed journals -- either crediting Lindsay's own analysis in footnotes, or simply plagiarizing his work and passing it off as their own -- breaking the revolutionary news to the world, of the novel insights that the Book of Mormon is contributing to those disciplines!!

Oh, wait -- hold on a minute; that's not exactly 100% accurate.....

In fact, what I said above (and in my subject line) is, ummm, really the exact opposite of the truth. Virtually all of the world's experts in those academic disciplines/fields dealing with those topics that Lindsay 'explains' find Lindsay's contorted rationalizations to be ridiculous. NOTHING about the Book of Mormon or its specific claims passes the laugh test of those who work in those fields.

But, there is always the possibility that they are just not quite as smart as Jeff. Thanks to the Holy Ghost, Jeff knows how to explain their work & findings better than the actual scientists / linguists / archeologists do.

That intellectual superiority of Jeff's, over the entire consensus of trained academic experts in the world, is what leads me to think that Jeff Lindsay is really Batman. Or SpiderMan (I haven't figured out for sure which one). Or, he's some other similar superhero who is secretly omniscient but only pretends to be an unassuming dipshit scholar-wannabe Clark Kent in real life because of his exceeding humility.




Lindsay's ravings are unconvincing even to some TBMs.....


Jul 19 18:23


Randy J.

Read LDS researcher Mel Tungate's criticism of Lindsay at

To see how inconsistent and illogical Lindsay's apologetics are, go to - ba6c002ce6fb2fe0

http://g/group/ - 321461e3f431c50d



[yawn!] With Apologies Again to Disraeli, There Are Liars, #@!$ Liars, And Then There's Lindsay . . .


Jul 19 18:29


SL Cabbie

"But most of the questions I get are from those who just want to attack, not understand."

Spare me the victimese please. I've never sent a single question to Lindsay; anything coming from this end he's received strictly second-hand. And a Cabbie toot of his horn to Langdon and Stray Pup above (whoops, you too, Trixie! Very thorough work!) . . . Those are first rate replies from well-informed and sophisticated posters . . .

Gee, yeah, the Arabian Peninsula had sand, some mountains and valleys and an obscure bit of graffiti that consisted of three scratchings that looked like the Hebrew consonants of NHM . . . having done a bit of the linguistics detective work on other apologists' nonsense, I wouldn't be surprised if we couldn't explore some of the writing at the time and find some pretty bad distortions to arrive at their conclusions (I've seen that smoke-and-mirrors trick before).

BTW, Why didn't Nahom scratch his name in Reformed Egyptian?

Lessee . . . then there's "Why does ancient Mesoamerican geography AND culture provide a plausible setting for the Book of Mormon?

Your question, Jeff. Not mine.

Well, yeah, it does, there are mountains and rivers and a few large cities with big buildings and people who farmed . . .

Only they never used the wheel, had any horses or other domesticated animals besides the dog and the llama. And of course, the llama was never used as a beast of burden; as shown on "Guns, Germs, and Steel" last night, the Incas of Peru had no knowledge of how to use a plow in agriculture . . .

And their writing systems bear absolutely no linguistic relationship to Egyptian or Phoenician writing systems . . .

 . . .

Hey, Jeff, can you spell S-T-R-E-T-C-H?

And now you have to get those dadburned gold plates (weighing upwards of 250 lbs. if an reasonable credence is given to Joseph Smith's description!) all the way to upstate New York without wheeled vehicles or horses to assist you in your journey . . . and no fair using tapirs or llamas . . .

That's enough from me, although I note somebody already made him look really bad on the name "Alma" . . . I forget the exact details but it was on the order of what our loveable Mutt Man said about the secrets on NHM.

Time for someone else to have their fun.




MINOR quibble


Jul 20 04:42



I think you may be thinking of the Aztecs. The Mayans do, actually, roughly span the BOM's time frame. However, their civilization was nothing like what is described by the BOM. The following is by Michael D. Coe in his book Breaking The Maya Code (pp. 59-60):

Pre-Classic (or Formative) Period, 2000 BC - AD 250
At one time thought to be a kind of New World "Neolithic" with the spread everywhere of peasant villages and simple fertility cults based in female clay figurines, we now know that Mesoamerican civilization first took root in this time-frame, initially with the Olmec, and later with the Zapotec and May.

Classic Period, AD 250 - 900
Supposedly the Golden Age of Mesoamerican culture, dominated by the great city of Teotihuacán in the central Mexican plateau, and by the Maya cities in the southeast. In fact, it can best be defined as that period during which the Maya were carving and erecting monuments dated in their Long Count system.

Post-Classic Period, AD 900-1521
A purportedly militaristic epoch which followed upon the downfall of Classic Maya civilization, marked by the over lordship of the Toltec until about 1200, and later by the Aztec Empire, which covered almost all of extra-Maya Mesoamerica. The Post Classic cultures were, of course, extinguished by the Spaniards.

Of course, the most important piece of evidence that could either include or exclude the Maya from being Lamanites or Nephites is their own written records -- which can be read fluently like any other ancient language now! And... surprise, surprise... the Mayan record isn't written in any language or hieroglyph even remotely related to Hebrew or Egyptian (or the fictitious "Reformed Egyptian"), nor does the Mayan written records correspond in any meaningful way to anything the BOM has within it's covers.

I highly recommend reading Michael Coe's book. It details how the Mayan writing system was finally "cracked", and how Mayan hieroglyphs can finally be read and understood, and what type of knowledge we can now gain from the records left behind by the Maya.

It strengthened my anti-testimony a great deal! ;o)



Thanks, That Was Off The Top of My Head . . .


Jul 20 12:39


SL Cabbie

There's still a little matter of three hundred years when all the battles of the BOM were settled and the dates given for the Mayan "Golden Age." And the technology "gaps" I identified between real history and BOM fiction are accurate...

I hate to give Lindsay even an inch because he fabricates so freely . . .

And your separation of the Mayas and Aztecs is well grounded . . . I seem to recall mopologists used to use the Aztecs as "proof" of the BOM with Joseph Smith having some knowledge of their civilization and culture before Mayan history was uncovered and the timeline of the Aztec culture was unveiled . . .

Coe's work is indeed awesome; I reviewed a number articles about it when a trollish sort popped in here and began spouting off the similarities between Egyptian hieroglyphs and Mayan . . .

Perhaps someday I'll have time to read it . . . and now I hope everyone will catch the third episode of "Guns, Germs, and Steel" on PBS . . . shoot, it starts next Monday. What a delightful way to spend Family Home Evening . . .



"How did Joseph know so much about the Arabian Peninsula, including specific names"


Jul 19 19:01



I've heard of NHM=Nahom, which is a bit of a stretch. I didn't know there were more. What are the other specific place names that Joseph identified?



The real question should be...


Jul 20 14:05



"How come, out of hundreds of proper names, this is the best that you can do?"

It comes down to a question of probability. Lindsey is cherry-picking these issues (wow! the Book of Mormon talks about a volcanic eruption, and there are VOLCANIC ERUPTIONS IN SOUTH AMERICA!) while he ignores the invisible elephants (horses, metallurgy, European grains, DNA, linguistics, etc.). It certainly is "His Turn" to ask some questions, but even granting that they are all true -- quite a stretch, since most of his citation is with church-related publications -- he must still reconcile this tiny list against the tsunami of evidence to the contrary.

A volcanic eruption or NHM/Nahom coincidence must be weighed against *all* the evidence. Apologists never want to do that because it's a losing game for them. They would rather focus on a specific issue and demonstrate the feasibility of their position, no matter how ridiculous. The problem is that probability is multiplicative:

P = p1 * p2 * p3 ... * pn

The more ridiculous an explanation is (tapirs are horses, for example), the greater the effect is on 'P'. So, yes, we can accept historical evidence as presented by Lindsey -- but it must be taken as a small part of the puzzle, and it's overall effect on 'P' must be thought of.

Not that we shouldn't address these issues when appropriate -- just remember to put them all in the larger context. Mormonism is unique. The Book of Mormon claims to be both a history and a spiritual guide. We cannot rationally test the spirituality claims, but we can test the historicity claims (something that can't be done with Jehovah’s Witnessess, Buddhism or Scientology -- they must all be accepted on blind faith).

I need to write this idea up properly. It bugs me how both apologists and critics get caught up in the minutiae.

Another way to put it:

"How come Laman and Lemuel appear to have been names that Joseph Smith copied from his personal experiences? How come the same can be said for the proper names of some of the geography in the Book of Mormon (Ogath/Agathe, Hill Ephraim/St. Ephram, Onidah/Oneida, Morin/Moron, Ramah/Rama, Zarahemla/Zarahemla, etc. etc. etc.)?"

Which is more probable, all those "coincidences", or this one, NHM/Nahom -- which even a stretch of itself?



Re: The real question should be...


Jul 20 18:50



ink wrote:


> Which is more probable, all those "coincidences", or this one, NHM/Nahom -- which even a stretch of itself?

This is the wrong question to ask. It's not the probability of NHM/Nahom that we should be "calculating." That's an after the fact calculation of probability which is always fraught with problems.

The question that we should ask is this: What is the probability that such parallels as these would be found if the Book of Mormon were bogus? The companion question we should also ask is "what is the probability that the evidence would be so sporadic and meager if the Book of Mormon were true?"

After a coincidence occurs people ignore all the possible coincidences that didn't occur and start to talk about the probability of the one that did. Then it starts to look like something that was chosen before hand and, lo and behold, it turned out how we'd want it to. That's kind of like randomly shooting a lot of arrows and then drawing targets around the ones that stick in something.

The correct way to approach the "evidence" is to say, what is the probability that given the millions of man-hours that apologists have put into finding "evidences" they would be able to come up with something like this even if the Book of Mormon weren't true.

The answer to that question is, "This is about what we'd expect if the Book of Mormon weren't true." What we'd expect if the Book of Mormon were true is a lot more interconnected evidence...a LOT more.




Lindsay's page PROVES the Book of Mormon is bogus.


Jul 20 02:45



How do you test the proposition: "The Book of Mormon is true history."

Well the same way you test any scientific theory. You reason from the proposition to what would be/happen if it were correct and what would be/happen if it weren't correct.

If it were correct then there would be a massive civilization in the Americas that existed for 1000 years and was based on a form of Christianity. This civilization would have left monuments written in an Egypto-Hebraic language and would have left copious evidence of use of horses, the wheel, cultivated barley and wheat, Smelted steel etc.

Ok this has not panned out. The conclusion then is that the Book of Mormon is not historical.

Unless. . .

Unless you are a Mormon then you don't accept the straight-forward approach and you try to do end runs around the overwhelming fundamental evidence. You find some consonants somewhere that are similar to some Book of Mormon name and trumpet them to the world. You say "How could Joseph Smith have known ... " every time you can find SOMETHING, anything somewhere in either Egypt or North America or South America or Jerusalem or the Arabian Peninsula that can be made to fit with SOMETHING that's in the book.

With all the stuff that happened on those millions and millions of square miles over thousands and thousands of years the probability that something will be found that can be made to look similar is overwhelming even if the Book isn't true history.

This is the crackpot approach: Ignore the fundamental data and find anomalies that seem to fit your pet theory. Trumpet those anomalies while ignoring basic facts. Question the motives of those who hold to the version that the basic evidence supports and accuse them of hiding from you and your "evidence." This is what the Velikovsky people do; this is what the "Flying Saucer's have landed" people do; this is what the Astrology people do; this is what the "Flat Earth" people do; and this is what the Mormon Apologists do.

There are bound to be tons and TONS of parallels that can be made between the book of Mormon and SOMETHING SOMEWHERE. It would be unbelievable if the Mormon Apologists couldn't find stuff as "convincing" as what Lindsay puts on this page given the gazillions of dollars and man-hours they've spent looking. The "list the parallels" approach, by the way, tends to find parallels in proportion to the effort spent looking for them rather than to the reality of an actual causal connection.

They look and look and find something that looks similar then publish and say "How could Joseph Smith have known . . ." If you look only at their lists it's impressive. But that's the tail wagging the dog. They do their research backwards. They find something that fits and then say "Look!" rather than saying "what should we find if the BOM is true history?" and then going out to look for it. That's the real way such research should be conducted.

Actually such research was conducted. The New World Archaeology Foundation (NWAF) was founded by Thomas S. Ferguson in the 1950's I believe. It was stationed at BYU and funded by Mormon donors with a hefty chunk of change coming from the Church coffers. It's main point was to go down and actually find the remnants of the Book of Mormon peoples and their civilization that they expected to find given that they believed the BoM was true.

They went down, they dug, they dug here, they dug there. They didn't find what would be expected. Gradually they changed their focus from "proving the Book of Mormon" to just doing archaeology. As Michael Coe of Yale University (an expert on Mesoamerican archaeology and a friend of many Mormon archaeologists) said, "nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation that would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is an historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere."

Oh, and the founder of the New World Archaeology Foundation, Thomas S. Ferguson? He, an honest man, decided that the Book of Mormon was fiction and said that "you can't set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere--because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of the dirt-archeology." [Thomas S. Ferguson, Letter to Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Lawrence, 20 February 1976]

So people like Lindsay list their sporadic "parallels" and say "How could Joseph Smith have known."

Joseph Smith didn't know, that's why Lindsay has to approach things the way he does. If the Book of Mormon were REALLY true, Lindsay's page wouldn't exist.




Re: reference to Coe's quote? <nt>


Jul 20 14:01



"Dialogue" Vol 8, No. 2 [Summer, 1973] p 46. The quote comes from an article by Coe titled "Mormons & Archeology: An Outside View" Another interesting quote in the article is:

"Nevertheless, the flyleaf of a Book of Mormon sent to me by a Reorganite friend has the following: 'Have you ever wondered about the source of the prehistoric ruins now being discovered on the American continents? Have you ever been curious to know who some of the prehistoric forefathers of the American Indian were? In the Book of Mormon you'll find answers to these questions, and many others.'

"In hundreds of motels scattered across the western United States the Gentile archaeologist can find a paperback Book of Mormon lavishly illustrated with the paintings of Arnold Friberg depicting such scenes as Samuel the Lamanite prophesying on top of what looks like the Temple of the Tigers in Chichén Itza, Yucatan. Any curious archaeologist can hear guides in L.D.S. visitor centers from Sharon, Vermont, to Los Angeles confidently lecturing that the Nephites built the Maya "cities" and expounding on other subjects that are usually the preserve of experts in these matters. Small wonder that the outside archaeologist often feels bewilderment if not downright hostility when confronted with things he is sure cannot be true." (pp 40-41)

Later in the same article:

"Mormon archaeologists over the years have almost unanimously accepted the Book of Mormon as an accurate, historical account of the New World peoples between about 2,000 B.C. and A.D. 421. They believe that Smith could translate hieroglyphs, whether 'Reformed Egyptian' or ancient American, and that his translation of the Book of Abraham is authentic. Likewise, they accept the Kinderhook Plates as a bona fide archaeological discovery, and the reading of them as correct. Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group. This is in spite of a host of well-intentioned books and articles by Mormon intellectuals (whom I shall later discuss) trying to justify these claims." (p. 42)(since 1981 the Church has admitted that the Kinderhook plates were bogus. )

Another similar quote is the following:

"I really have difficulty in finding issue or quarrel with those opening chapters of the Book of Mormon [i. e., the first 7 chapters which only relate to Lehi and his family around the area of Jerusalem]. But thereafter it doesn't seem like a translation to me.... And the terminologies and the language used and the methods of explaining and putting things down are 19th century literary concepts and cultural experiences one would expect Joseph Smith and his colleagues would experience. And for that reason I call it transliteration, and I’d rather not call it a translation after the 7th chapter. And I have real difficulty in trying to relate these cultural concepts as I've briefly discussed here with archeological findings that I'm aware of....

"If I were doing this cold like John Carlson is here, I would say in evaluating the Book of Mormon that it had no place in the New World whatsoever. I would have to look for the place of the Book of Mormon events to have taken place in the Old World. It just doesn't seem to fit anything that he has been taught in his discipline, nor I in my discipline in anthropology, history; there seems to be no place for it. It seems misplaced. It seems like there are anachronisms. It seems like the items are out of time and place, and trying to put them into the New World. And I think there’s a great difficulty here for we Mormons in understanding what this book is all about." ("Book of Mormon Archeology," Response by Professor Ray T. Matheny, Sunstone Symposium, August 25, 1984, typed copy transcribed from a tape-recording, pp. 30-31)

Who is this Ray T. Matheny who is saying all these terrible things about Book of Mormon Archaeology? He's a professor of anthropology at Brigham Young University. He specializes in Mesoamerican archaeology and anthropology.




Coe's quote


Jul 20 13:47



is from a dialogue article. I don't know how to access it online, I wish I did. But here is the full quote with reference.

In a widely read article in the journal DIALOGUE, Michael Coe, a highly respected authority on New World archaeology, wrote in the Summer 1973 issue, pp.41-42, 46:

Mormon archaeologists over the years have almost unanimously accepted the Book of Mormon as an accurate, historical account of the New World peoples...Let me now state categorically that as far as I know, there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who would join this group...The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has even shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith is an historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere.

Apologists dismiss Coe's comments because they insist he is not familiar with current apologetics. (LGT and translation errors, all that mess)



Lindsay doesn't believe his own scriptures


Jul 20 13:02



There's a nice compilation of his attempt to squirm out of one disproven Mormon doctrine here:

If you think you're suffering from cognitive dissonance, imagine what it must be like to understand that geology, biology, history, and archaeology have all disproven the "global flood" doctrine, but keep reading that doctrine referred to as literal truth in every scripture and magazine your church publishes...



Go to the biggest picture possible ..(an excellent summary).


Jul 20 13:28


bob mccue

While it is useful to pick apart the apologists' arguments, as has been done above, in my view the analysis that places the entire apologetic genre in context is the most useful. That is, don't just consider Mormon apologetics, but rather ask yourself what might explain the fact that each ideology (including Holocaust deniers, communists, all religionists, various breeds of economist, various breeds of ecologists, etc.) display an apologetic tendency.

I have found books like Shermer's "Why People Believe Weird Things", Taleb's "Fooled by Randomness", Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World", to be helpful in that regard. In particular, Shermer's final chapter in the second edition of his book ("Why Smart People Believe Weird Things") is insightful when it comes to understanding the smartest or best credentialed of the apologists. You can find, for example, very smart and well educated holocaust deniers, young earth creationists, JWs, Catholics, Orthodox Jews, etc.

In a nutshell, if you are working with a large enough data base, you can find bits and pieces of information to support almost any conclusion you wish to draw. Shermer and Taleb both cite great examples in this regard. This is one of the traps laid for us by "deductive" reasoning. Deductive reasoning causes us to work from a hypothesis ("The Book of Mormon is real history") back into the data to see if we can prove or disprove the hypothesis. If we are influenced by things like the confirmation bias, cognitive disonance etc. (see the relevant sections of, we will tend to find data that confirms the hypothesis, and miss or dismiss the disconfirming data.

Inductive reasoning, on the other hand, involves digesting as much relevant data as possible and seeing what kind of picture emerges. Most science related to complex questions (such as why any particular human culture is as it is) starts out using induction, and then forms and begins to test hypotheses using deductive reasoning, and from there on goes back and forth between the two. Apologists tend to remain in deductive mode, looking for any data that might support their cherished hypotheses, the hypotheses that "must be true" in order for their social world to continue to exist.

Jeff Lindsay and his ilk are fully explained, in my view, by the approach I have just outlined. I no longer feel the need to dig into every bit of evidence he points toward, just as I no longer feel the need to answer every question raised by young earth creationists or holocaust deniers. At some point, we are justified in saying to people of this type that until they can begin to persuade others whose judgment we respect, we have better things to do than continue to dialogue with them.

All the best,






Jul 20 13:43



Definitely a keeper post, very succinct and to the point.

Personally, I still have the desire to address some specific points (in BoM apologetics) due to the fact that even some of the evidence used in the deductive process you describe has been misused and outright abused. This demonstrates that even with giving themselves an extra handicap by approaching the process in a deductive manner, they still give themselves another handicap by allowing their confirmation bias to distort even those evidences they find in their "parallelomania".



Consider, too, where the burden of proof lies...


Jul 20 19:41




As always Bob hits it on the head.

I believe it was in Carl Sagan's book, "Demon haunted world" where Sagan described how for the longest time the burden of proof lay squarely on the shoulders of Evolutionists to prove their theory beyond reasonable and/or acceptable doubt. And they were heckled all the way through that process.

However, when the Theory of Evolution became so entirely tested and accepted because of the obvious good marks received from these "tests" a certain bursting of the creationist bubble was heard 'round the world. The proof became obvious enough that a remarkable shift came about.

The burden of proof now sits squarely on the shoulders of the creationist camp to debunk the theory of evolution.

Jeff Lindsay is like the Creationist who still wants to prove man did not evolve a la Darwinian lines of thinking. Creationist pee into the winds of denial.

It is my view that the evidence against the book of mormon is so entirely compelling and tested that there is no need to bother with the Lindsay fodder. Consider, also, that if or when Mr. Lindsay discovers something substantial to prove the Book of Mormon true, you will hear about it on the front page of your newspaper... or CNN... or Dateline... or a mormon general conference/press release. I will leave it up to you as to whether or not you should hold your breathe for that day.

You know Alee, I rode on the (woo wooooooo!) Jeff Lindsay train for almost a year. It was a nice enough looking train and it sure had a head of steam that made it look like it was going places. What a sad day it was when I finally discovered it just went in one giant circle loop back to the starting point. Very scenic ride though. However, it took me a YEAR of my life to figure that out! That is how big of a loop his train goes on. (either that or I am incredibly dense... or I really really realllllllly wanted the church to be true). Lindsayism was the last thing that kept me in tact as I battled my doubts. He does a decent fleecing job, but if one reads widely outside of religion to see how others think and process data and you will see, amazingly at first, every major fundamental religious group and ideology has their own version of Jeff Lindsay to keep the cognitive dissonance at healthy levels among the rank and file.

Read lots, think critically...




Re: Jeff Lindsay's Website and some Cog Dis for me right now--help!


Jul 22 20:41



I'm a bit of an archaeology buff; graduate courses and all that, but no degree in it. While the archaeology of the New World isn't my area of expertise, I can say that the info on that web site is full of fallacies, misrepresentations and chronological inaccuracies. Anybody can say that they have "proof" of just about anything. That doesn't make it true. I skimmed through the article on the site and couldn't find a single accurate statement. (There may be one in there, somewhere. But I didn't see it.) There simply is no archaeological evidence supporting the BOM.


Related Topics:


330 Captain Kidd, Joseph Smith and Moroni, Camora Island

333 Is FARMS Credible?

378 Rigdon and the Origin of the Book of Mormon

388 What is Limited Geography Theory?

389 Joseph Smith as Sole Author?

391 Mormon Apologetics and DNA

399 Sorenson, Smelting, Tapirs and Misleading Documentation



DNA and the Book of Mormon.  Read the article in the USA Today.  The story that Dr. Simon Southerton submitted to us as to why he left Mormonism due to DNA evidence is at whyleft125.htm along with information on his book.  



Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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