Jesus and the Mayans

A new reader, Mike, has posted a couple of comments that have just been spinning around in my head (sorry Mike, don’t mean to be picking on you). I thought it would be worth discussing each in it’s own thread.

In relation to pictures of Mayan temples being displayed in conjunction to the Book of Mormon, Mike said:

As far as the Mayan temples, Hugh, I think you’re mistaken. Mayans were not Jews. They did not live the law of Moses. My understanding is that those temples have nothing to do with Mormonism or Christianity of Judaism. Tim, I can’t try to explain the voice-over. My best attempt is to say that they were using it for visual affect, but it was probably ill-advised since it was obviously misleading. Let me just say that I’ve never heard it taught in church that the Mayan temples were in any way comparable to Mormon temples, or ancient Hebrew temples either. I’m no Mormon scholar so perhaps someone will correct me, but that’s my understanding.

Original post here

What started to puzzle me about that comment was that it wasn’t just this one presentation where I’ve been told that Mayan temples were related to the Book of Mormon. I’ve had numerous missionaries tell me the same. The LDS church certainly doesn’t have total control over what missionaries say, so I can’t necessarily hold that over the entire church.

But the church does control the publication of the Book of Mormon. I opened up my copy this morning and found this picture.
Jesus - Nephites
If the church doesn’t teach that Mayan temples are related to the Book of Mormon why is this picture in the Book of Mormon?

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268 thoughts on “Jesus and the Mayans

  1. I think a possible explanation for this is the enthusiasm that often precedes serious research into anything Book of Mormon-related. Mayan temples were discovered in the general, possible geographic region of the Book of Mormon, and immediately over-zealous Mormons “conclude” that they are Nephite. Though this is erroneous, the images of those temples spread through the church and the architectural styling of those temples suddenly became what the membership of the church associated with “Nephite temples” (even though Nephi made it rather clear that the first temple was patterned after the temple of Solomon). So now in depictions of Nephite temples, whether in paintings or film, we tend to see the step-style Mayan type.
    Moreover, there is a lot of art depicting Nephites and Lamanites dressed like Native Americans and not Ancient Israelites. I can only assume that this is because many Mormons have thought, and still do think, that every Native American tribe is descended from the Lamanites, therefore Lamanites looked like Native Americans.
    I think that Mormons can be forgiven for these overly excited claims that really don’t have any founding in the Book of Mormon text itself. I, for one, am a Mormon who prefers to focus more on the text of the Book of Mormon as a guide to discipleship and will wait until I can actually talk with those who authored it (granting that I can get an audience with them sometime during eternity) to draw conclusions regarding exactly what their temples and manner of dress looked like.

  2. According to this LDS press release this picture is just not conjecture by enthusiastic members. It’s doctrinal. I’m assuming that the Book of Mormon is an official church publication. If I’m wrong let me know.

  3. Tim said: According to this LDS press release this picture is just not conjecture by enthusiastic members. It’s doctrinal.

    I read through the press release twice and I couldn’t find anything that said the picture is doctrinal. Could you please tell me where it said that? I’m pretty sure I followed the right link.

    The only artwork that I know of that is doctrinal is found in the Pearl of Great Price.

  4. Eric it’s a part of the church’s canon and is a recent official publication from the LDS church.

    Seth, you lost me.

  5. The Book of Mormon, as in the text translated by Joseph Smith, is the Word of God and a part of the canon of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Regardless of what edition you use (whether a leather-bound edition that has no paintings, the cloth-bound edition missionaries give out, or even the Doubleday publication) it is the text that is canonical. The more modern additions to the Book of Mormon, i.e. footnotes, index, column lines, and varying pieces of art/photographs are just that: additions, not necessarily canonical.
    I think I am safe in saying this.

  6. So what are we to think of pictures the LDS church places inside the book along with the text? Is it my fault that there is confusion? Should the average reader of the Book of Mormon know that these pictures mean nothing and that when the LDS church places them in their own publication that they aren’t endorsing a view that the people described in the text are not the same people described in the painting?

    Also I’m playing by the rules Robert Millett sets out. I’m not saying that the painting is canon, but it can be described as church doctrine as a recent publication.

  7. Ah, I see where you’re coming from. Indeed the paintings included near the text would give the impression that they are official portrayals of the events described. However, as with paintings depticting Old or New Testament events, paintings depticting Book of Mormon times and events are subjective and according to the understanding of the artist. If I were in charge of what visuals went in the Book of Mormon, rest assured I would choose something other than the painting above. But that’s just me.
    Again, though, I can see why you would be confused.

  8. I’m just making a point that it’s silly to argue that an artist’s rendition of a religion should define “doctrine.” I’ll bet you dimes to dollars that no one in the Church Office Building even noticed or cared about the shape of the building in the background.

  9. Da Vinci’s Sistine Chapel ceiling is definitely not doctrinal, but Michelangelo’s probably is. ;)

    I’m not a Catholic but I’d probably say that it is doctrinal. It was commissioned and overseen by the Pope as a vehicle for worship. If there were any part of it that didn’t fit Catholic doctrine I’m sure it would have been changed. That being said, there’s a quite a bit of the imagery that is intentionally metaphorical.

    I don’t think the painting above was meant to be a metaphor (unless it’s an RLDS painting).

    I’ll bet you dimes to dollars that no one in the Church Office Building even noticed or cared about the shape of the building in the background.

    I’ll bet you dimes to dollars that they didn’t care because they agreed with the shape and thought it was accurate.

  10. I’m glad to know I’ve had such a great affect on this blog.:)

    I agree with #1 and don’t have much to add to it in regards to Mayan temples.

    But in regards to what is doctrine:

    Is in doctrinal that the Nephites dressed like that? Wearing hats with leaves coming out of them (see the guy on the right)? There is a little in the Book of Mormon describing how they dressed, but nothing that comes close to the level of detail in the painting. It’s obviously an artists interpretation.

    The title page of the Book of Mormon says this (written by Mormon, if I’m not mistaken):

    “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God”

    If this applies to the actual text of the Book of Mormon, surely it applies even more to the things the church adds to the Book of Mormon that weren’t in the original text (such as the introduction, which was recently modified to reflect our improved understanding of the ancestry of Native Americans, or pictures such as this).

    Who is claiming that the Book of Mormon is perfect (Joseph Smith said it was the “most correct”–not the same as perfect)? Who is claiming that the leaders of the Church that approved this painting are perfect? Why are we being held up the standard of perfection? Tim, if that’s your standard, I regret to inform you that you won’t find perfection in the LDS church.

  11. Please allow me to make another argument:

    I’m assuming the slide show you were referring to in your original post showed pictures of actual ruins of Mayan temples. Perhaps I’m wrong in this assumption, which might be part of the confusion. What led me to this conclusion was that you stated that they were Mayan temples as a fact, and not just that they were artists’ renditions that looked like Mayan temples.

    Even if we accept the picture as doctrinal (which I don’t, see my previous comment), all it says to me is that Nephite temples looked similar to Mayan temples. That seams to contradict that the Book of Mormon says itself, since it mentions that it looked like Solomon’s temple, but we’ll for the purpose of this argument we’ll assume that at some point the temple was rebuilt and the Book of Mormon doesn’t mention it, or perhaps this is a different temple.

    As fas the actual ruins of Mayan temples, as far as I understand there’s no archiological evidence that links them to Nephites. Mormons are free to believe that they are Nephite temples if they wish, but I don’t (although I admit I don’t know much about Mayan temple ruines), and I’ll re-iterate that I’ve never been taught that from what I can recall.

    Here’s my point in summary (what I should have wrote instead of rambling): This picture does not prove that Mormons believe Mayan temples were actually Nephite temples. All it proves (assuming we accept it as doctrine, which I don’t) is that there was one Nephite temple that looks like a Mayan temple.

  12. The temple that is depicted in the painting above is the temple in the land of Bountiful, one of at least three specific temples spoken of in the Book of Mormon. The first, which was patterned after the temple of Solomon, was built in the land of Nephi during Nephi’s lifetime. At least two other temples are mentioned in the text, one in Zarahemla and one in Bountiful (there could also be another one mentioned, which is the one that is in the land of Lehi-Nephi or Shilom mentioned in the context of the kings Zeniff, Noah, and Limhi, but some scholars think this is the same as the original temple built by Nephi in the land of Nephi, but I digress). As to when the temples in Zarahemla and Bountiful were built, all we know is that it was after Mosiah, Benjamin’s father, fled to the land northward as commanded by the Lord (ca. 200 BC). Unless, of course, these temples had already been built by the people of Zarahemla prior to their discovery by Mosiah and his people, which is possible since they were descendants of a royal Jewish family (Zedekiah). But again, I digress, the point is the only temple we are told anything about its architecture is the original one built by Nephi. As to the others we are left to imagine or assume what we will, but I am led to think that they are probably also patterned after Solomon’s since that was the major archetype.

  13. I just think it’s ridiculous that people actually believe God would personally pop into a prophet’s bedroom to say “Stop the presses! That artist you commissioned the other day is painting a factually inaccurate rendition of a Nephite city. March down tomorrow and make him change it!”

    Tim, you are coming at this from an assumption that there was nothing particularly revelatory about my religion. So you assume that the thoughts and actions of the LDS leadership constitute all there is to know about LDS “doctrine.”

    Try and step back and look at it from my perspective. The personal feelings and beliefs of the General Authorities are pretty-much irrelevant for me in determining doctrine. All I care about is what came from God, not what Gordon B. Hinckley pictured in his head whenever he read about Captain Moroni. It is utterly irrelevant to me.

    Thus it is completely silly to me to suggest that an artist’s picture constitutes doctrine. Did God reveal it? If not, I honestly don’t care.

    You keep trying to approach Mormonism as a sociological phenomenon rather than a religious one. If I were to do the same, I would certainly be calling Joel Osteen a doctrinal representation of evangelical belief, and your protestations that this guy is not representing God very well would be utterly irrelevant to me. After all, there is no “God-component” in the evangelical movement right? So why view it as anything more than what Christopher Hitchens views it as?

    It seems to me that you are perfectly willing to take Hitchens view when it comes to Mormons, but are willing to discard the skeptical sociologist when it comes to your own faith in favor of the God-touched narrative.

    That’s the wrong way to go about this project.

  14. Tim, you are coming at this from an assumption that there was nothing particularly revelatory about my religion.

    Unless we are Mormon, that is the only possible assumption.

  15. All I care about is what came from God, not what Gordon B. Hinckley pictured in his head whenever he read about Captain Moroni. It is utterly irrelevant to me.

    Well, but none of it came from God. For us to grant divine revelation to you is to concede the discussion to Mormonism right off the bat. From a non-believer it can e nothing but a sociaological phenomenon.

    You keep trying to approach Mormonism as a sociological phenomenon rather than a religious one. If I were to do the same, I would certainly be calling Joel Osteen a doctrinal representation of evangelical belief, and your protestations that this guy is not representing God very well would be utterly irrelevant to me. After all, there is no “God-component” in the evangelical movement right? So why view it as anything more than what Christopher Hitchens views it as?

    The biggest difference is that Evangelicalism is not an authoritarian, hierarchical religion that claims a monopoly on the source of uncorrupted truth and access to God and authority to act on God’s behalf. Tim doesn’t even have to say Osteen doesn’t represent God, since Tim doesn’t think any Evangelical ministers “represent God.” He’s safe in saying Osteen doesn’t represent his understanding of God.

    Evangelicals are not even really a denomination so much as a cross-denominational movement. They have no organization, no central authority, and nobody speaks on their behalf.

  16. I understand that Kullervo, the point remains however.

    I was addressing Tim, he and I both come from an assumption of God-breathed religion. You, I think it’s safe to say, do not. I would not make the same argument with you. I would not object to you viewing my religion as a sociological movement. But the dispute between Tim and I is of a different nature. Between us, the question is “which religion is of God?” not “is any religion from God?”

    That rather changes the parameters.

  17. I think what I’m looking for here is something along the lines of “It is a mistake everytime the LDS church publishes pictures that include Mayan temples to illustrate Book of Mormon stories. It misleads people to believe something that is not true of the Mayans, Nephites and Lamanites. These mistakes need to be corrected. The LDS church should have a higher standard of truthfulness on it than any other organization.”

    The personal feelings and beliefs of the General Authorities are pretty-much irrelevant for me in determining doctrine.

    Seth, would that be an LDS minority or majority opinion? I don’t think I came up with the phrase “once the Prophet has spoken the thinking has been done”.

    But the dispute between Tim and I is of a different nature. Between us, the question is “which religion is of God?”

    As to this issue, I’ll address it in a different post. It’s bigger than this one particular topic. As always the invitation is still open to you to be a co-author.

  18. But Seth, you believe in a religion that is God-breathed through an organization. Tim doesn’t. So you can’t hold him to the behavior of unaffiliated Evangelical pastors the same way he can hold you to the behavior of the Church’s hierarchy. Not fair? Not so–it’s Mormonism that makes the claims of organizational authority, so it’s fair to hold Mormonism to those claims, but not fair to hold other groups who don;t make those kinds of claims at all.

    And to the other point, if you’re talking “Which Church is right?” I think you’re not on the wavelength that Tim’s blog is even intended to be on. It’s going to come up, sure, but for the most part, Evangelical understanding of Mormonism is going to have to understand both what Mormons believe about their religion and what their religion looks like objectively from the outside.

  19. Here is the rub. Mormons have said that American Indians are basically Lamanites and descendents of Book of Mormon people. That was taught by Joseph, Brigham and almost everybody since. Its doctrine, it has been doctrine.

    Turns out they aren’t really. The teaching was false in many respects when compared with reality on the ground. Since the doctrine was not correct, it should be abandoned at the risk of looking absurd.

    Some/Most Mormons cling to this teaching just like many bible-believers nominally believe in a flood that covered the earth, Noah stuffed all the descendants of all living men and living animals in a boat, and that the earth is less than 6,000 years old.

    The fact that you see pictures of Noah’s ark that would not begin to possibly fit all of the animals on earth, is similar to the depiction of Mayan temples in this picture. The artist is trying to depict an event using assumptions about what it looked like without really knowing.

    That said, considering meso-america is the most reasonable location for BOM events, if the account is accurate, I think its a reasonable presumption that Nephite temples would look kind of like Mayan temples.

    I think many Mormons would admit that they don’t really know what they looked like.

    Both Mormonism and Evangelicalism both suffer the same discomfort of teaching things that are completely unsubstantiated by any factual or historical basis. I don’t think that makes either one of them generally false, but It is something that both should consider.

  20. Jared said it well, but for Tim’s sake:

    It is a mistake everytime the LDS church publishes pictures that include Mayan temples to illustrate Book of Mormon stories. It misleads people to believe something that is not true of the Mayans, Nephites and Lamanites. These mistakes need to be corrected. The LDS church should have a higher standard of truthfulness on it than any other organization.

    The church has recently recognized that it’s previous assumption that Lamanites are the principle ancestors of the Americans Indians is not true. As Jared pointed out, it was this assumption that led to depictions of Mayan temples as Nephite temples. So I agree with you Tim, that the church should revise the way it depicts Nephite temples to reflect the current understanding. I don’t think it warrants and immediate re-printing of the Book of Mormon, though, if that’s what you are looking for.

    If we’re going to revise the picture, I would also like the clothing to be revised. We really don’t know what they wore, but I think the clothing in the picture is unrealistic and makes them look a little silly, in my opinion (was there any culture in the world in the first century were common people wore so much color and complex patterns? I’m no expert, but it seems unlikely).

  21. Both Mormonism and Evangelicalism both suffer the same discomfort of teaching things that are completely unsubstantiated by any factual or historical basis. I don’t think that makes either one of them generally false, but It is something that both should consider.

    Both should shed ANYTHING that is generally false. If it ain’t true, it ain’t true. It’s a tough sell to say you value honesty and still sell things you know aren’t factual.

  22. I agree with Tim. Call myth a myth. The problem is, that you have to strip down and revise how you look at all scripture to still remain a believer. This brings up Kullervo’s point, if the Church or the Bible says something that ain’t true, doesn’t it make the whole project suspect?

    I personally disagree that you can make wholesale judgments based on particular false statements or false stories. I think the “Truth” is more complex. I think its a mistake to view doctrine, Mormonism or Christianity as a monolithic system where falsity in any part shatters the whole. The mistake is found on those that defend things that are clearly false and it is found on those who attack religion on that basis.

    I think Paul’s point that prophecy is only “in part” is important to keep in mind. We should not expect scripture (or prophets) to be inerrant .

    I realize this view, flies in the case of the typical conception of Mormonism and Evangelicalism, so maybe I am a heretic to both.

    I have sympathy with Kullervo’s position, i.e. why don’t you give it up, stop all the mental gymnastics and questionable apologetics, and all of the clinging to stuff that nobody can prove that is inherently unbelievable (such as the resurrection and deity of Jesus), or at least call a spade a spade.

    The reason I don’t go quite as far as he does is that my own experiences with Mormonism and Christianity give me some basis to have hope in Christianity despite the fact that the Book of Mormon picture may have the costumes wrong and the fact that the Noah story is a myth.

  23. I was once discussing LDS doctines as found in the Bible with a non-LDS Christian. She was using a Ryrie Study Bible, and she was surprised to learn that the study notes on each page were not part of the canonized text. Perhaps, Todd, you are laboring under the same confusion about the artwork in a Book of Mormon publication as my non-member friend was regarding the study notes in the Ryrie Study Bible?

  24. I don’t like all the Mesoamerican-esque imagery for the Nephites, because we simply don’t know where any of the BoM events took place. Then again, if you’re going to make an artistic depiction, you have to dress the people somehow. What’s the best way to go about it?

  25. We could do the Muslim thing and prohibit all human depictions.

    A bit harsh, but it would have the benefit of eliminating an awful lot of crappy art.

  26. Yes, I am well aware that there are simpletons that don’t know the difference between their study notes and the actual text of the Bible.

    There is a significant difference here though. No one group controls the Bible and it’s publication. ANY ONE can print a Bible and put whatever they want in it. Only the LDS church can decide to put a false and misleading picture with the text. The church would not do so unless they thought the picture was generally accurate. Up until about 4 years ago, there weren’t all that many Mormons that didn’t think the Lamanites were the principal ancestors of all Native Americans.

    The fact that the church has since removed that line from the introduction signifies that the church now thinks it’s a mistake to make that statement.

    The church would not publish a painting of Jesus that depicted him as an African man because the church believes that is a false statement (although it doesn’t seem to have any problems showing Jesus as a Swede).

  27. I don’t like all the Mesoamerican-esque imagery for the Nephites, because we simply don’t know where any of the BoM events took place.

    Yes we do: in Joseph Smith’s imagination.

  28. Of course, Arnolf Friberg had absolutely no sense of human proportion… But they really were the flavor of the Book of Mormon for generations of Latter-Day Saints.

    I think most of his other paintings were of, like, Mounties.

  29. Tim- I think you are right the the church believes it is a mistake and that they corrected it.

    By the way, according to some accounts, Joseph did, at many times, explain the dress and manner of Moroni and the Nephites. I don’t think many of these accounts were written down, I would be interested to read them if they were.

  30. Jared–one place you can go to read about it is in Lucy Mack Smith’s biography of Joseph. She talks about how as a young child (pre-Book of Mormon), Joseph Smith would weave intricate stories about Native Americans and how they came to the Americas, etc, and how they met Jesus here. I know many who have considered her words to be faith inspiring.

  31. katyjane-

    The parts of Lucy Mack Smith’s biography of Joseph where she talked about him giving a description of the Native Americans were from the time after Joseph was shown the plates by the angel Moroni on September 21, 1823, and Lucy is clear to say that what Joseph was relating to the family came from instructions that he had received from the Lord. So these were not “intricate stories” that Joseph would “weave”, but instead they were, according to Lucy, a recounting of the things that Joseph was shown by the Lord.

    And in the Wentworth Letter, Joseph makes it clear that his visitation from Moroni on September 21, 1823, included a description and a vision of the ancient inhabitants of this continent:

    “I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people, was made known unto me; I was also told where were deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient Prophets that had existed on this continent.” (History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.31, p.537)

    I think Jared is hoping to find an account of these visions that goes into more detail than the brief mention of them as given in Lucy Mack’s biography of Joseph, or Joseph’s brief synopsis of the things shown to him during the visit of the angel Moroni as described in the Wentworth letter.

  32. After posting the above, I regret not including the reference to the Lucy Mack Smith biography of Joseph Smith, so that others may examine the context and chronology for themselves. So I’m including it here:

    See Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet, by Lucy Mack Smith, Liverpool, England, 1853, pages 84-85. See also, History of Joseph Smith by his Mother, Lucy Mack Smith, Bookcraft Publishers, 1958, pages 82-83.

  33. While this point is trivial to me, I am impressed by the intellectual debate. Most religious debates result in ignorant anger and intentional falsifications of information. As an ex member of the LDS religion (one that does not harbor any anger towards the church) I read a good bit about religion and have never come across a religious debate half as respectful (respectful by religious debate standards) as this one. Kudos to all of you for that.

    Having said that, why do you all feel the urge to convince the other that you are right and they are wrong? What good will it do for you to nit pick and prove that the Book of Mormon is false. On they other hand, why do mormons get on here to defend it’s veracity. I think that people that who try so hard to defend their convictions from others are really trying to defend those convictions from themselves. If you really believe in what you are doing/how you are living then you are not concerned with the opinions of others.

    Best of luck to all and again kudos for the respectful yet passionate debate. Forgive my poor grammar and spelling.

  34. ok so this is what goes down

    People in Jerusalem that leave and they were Nephi. He came to America and wrote records down of his people. He was jewish because he came from Jerusalem. God told him the city was going to be distroyed and it was by the Syrians. That is why you see Egyptian architect in America.

  35. Actually, it was a group of people – Lehi’s family (Nephi was one of Lehi’s sons) and Ishmael’s family.

    Lehi was from the tribe of Ephraim and Ishmael was the tribe of Manasseh. Neither of them were of the tribe of Judah. Therefore, none of them were “Jewish.”

  36. A definition of “Jewish” that includes only the tribe of Judah is a bizarre one that is used exclusively by Mormons.

    Ask an actual Jew and see what they say.

  37. Kullervo, since it tends to come up a lot with reference to recent popularized notions of “DNA evidence,” it is a distinction that is, nonetheless, important.

  38. I’m just saying, only Mormons think that “Jewish” refers to the tribe of Judah.

    And only Mormons think that modern Jews are descended exclusively from the tribe of Judah, too. My office mate claims to be part Judah, part Gad.

  39. I didn’t claim anything of the sort. I was talking about the BoM people.

    I know “Jew” these days refers to the whole lot. So do a lot of Mormons, though I can’t vouch for all.

  40. I think the artist’s interpretation of the Mayan or Olmec temple is conjecture much like artists’ renditions of Jesus Christ.

    No one knows what these structures or people really looked like.

  41. in my opinion as a lds member there is no given proof that the nephites or lamenites were the myans. i also dont believe that the mayan resembling temples in the paintings are necessarily Mayan. Since we do believe that the nephites and lamenites did inhabbit parts of the north and south american continent, it is not hard to believe or imagine for some that after the nephites were destroyed or killed off that the culture may have begun to change not only art but literature and science and astrology as well. while it is not impossible it is also not entirely unlikely that the lamenites may have been the ones to leave the temples, since they did branch off in their own beliefs. i think that when the artist added this temple to the painting it was their way of setting the context or scene for where the event in the picture may or may not have taken place. i truly believe this because if you read the account given in 3rd neohi it describes the destruction and darkness in the land before christ appeared, so as such the chances of that building having not been destroyed are minimal. as such it is just the artists way of trying to depict a time and place that we truly dont know enough about.

  42. Okay to clear everything up, because I find this a very long-winded, yet unfruitful discussion.

    1. The church doesn’t teach that the Nephites are related to the Mayans.
    2. The picture is absolutely not doctrine. It is the artists depiction of an event, and was published in the Book of Mormon for the sole purpose of enriching the reading experience for younger children, and those who find reading tiresome, preferring to use pictures as landmarks on where to read up on stories.
    3. The temple in the background does not prove anything of whether the church is true, false, or otherwise. It is simply part of the artist’s method to show the time period of the painting.

    I’m not sure why you guys have so much trouble getting each other to listen. This is what I said, I’ve said what I mean, and there is nothing false in what I have said.

    -The Troublemaker

  43. The picture showing Christ in Ancient America is not too far away from Mayan & other native Americans’ beliefs turned legends. Native Americans’ traditions, legends, symbols, art works, monuments in south, central & north America, preserved in part, fragments of basic themes, though different from place to place; about wounded wandering “great white god,” or prophets, who promised to one day return.

    There art works, derived from legends, that say that Christ went to Russia, Ireland, the Polynesian islands, etc.

    Early Christian apologists, in response to early anti-Christians, said that Christ went to other nations so as to not be found neglectful of other areas of the world known & unknown to them; but known to God & Christ.

    To answer the charge of neglect, they also said that Christ preached the gospel to the spirit prisoners too.

    Early Christian Apologists also said that Christ wasn’t neglectful because he pre-existed, & had prophets around the world that preached, & foretold about Christ’s birth, death, descent into the spirit world, resurrection & post-resurrection treks around the world & their ritualistic types that were counterfeited by demons who heard the true prophets predicting of Christ coming coming amongst the nations. These were the reasons that early & even later Christian apologists gave to critics in explaining why there are parallels between Christ & the different nations’ “gods” that pre-existed, virgin births, died, descended into the underworld, & rose from the dead.

    Sources:

    Watch the series in the works, entitled: Christ As Cosmic Cruiser, 2008, start with the first 10 min section, & view others sections. Documentary about traditions, art works, legends, stories, customs & writings about Christ’s world wide treks.

    Hallenfahrt Christis, in Richard Paul Wulker, Bibliothek der Angelsachsischen Poesie, (Leipzig: Wigands, 1897), three volumes.

    Himmel Hölle Fegefeuer, Das Jenseits im Mittelalter, 1994, Schweizerisches Landesmuseum, Zurich, Wilhelm Fink Verlag, Munchen,

    Yves Bonnefoy, Mythologies, (A Restructured Translation of Dictionnaire des mythologies et des religions des societes traditionnelles et du monde antique). Prepared under the direction of Wendy Doniger. Translated by Gerald Honigsblum, etc., (Chicago, U.S.A., & London, England: The University of Chicago Press, 1991).

    T. W. Doane, Bible Myth, And Their Parallels In Other Religions, (New York: The Truth Seeker Company, 1882 & 1910).

    R. Joseph Hoffmann, (translator) Celsus On The True Doctrine, (A Discourse Against the early Christians), (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

    Paul M. Hanson, Jesus Christ Among the Ancient Americans, (Independence, Missouri: Herald Publishing House, 1947).

    L. Taylor Hansen, He Walked The Americas, (Amherst, Wisconsin: Amherst Press, 1963).

    John P. Lundy, Monumental Christianity, Or the Art and Symbolism of the Primitive Church, (New York: J. W. Bouton, 1875 & 1882).

    Cyrus H. Gordon, Before Columbus, Links Between The Old World And Ancient America, (New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1971).

    Joshua Moses Bennet, The Gospel of the Great Spirit, (SLC., Utah: Morning Star Publishing, 1990)

    Blaine M. Yorgason, Bruce W. Warren, Harold Brown, New Evidences of Christ in Ancient America, (Provo, Utah: Stratford Books, Book of Mormon Research Foundation, 1999).

    Diane E. Wirth, A Challenge to the Critics, Scholarly Evidences of the Book of Mormon, (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 1986).

    P. De Roo, History of America Before Columbus, (J. B. Lippincott Co., 1900).

    Milton R. Hunter, & Thomas Stuart Ferguson, Ancient America & The Book of Mormon, (Oakland, California: Kolob Book Company, 1950).

    Bruce W. Warren, Thomas Stuart Ferguson, The Messiah in Ancient America, (Provo, Utah: Book of Mormon Research Foundation, 1987).

    Thomas Stuart Ferguson, One Fold and One Shepherd, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Olympus Publishing Company, Deseret News Press, 1958, 1962).

    DT’s Christ, The World Wide Wounded Wanderer, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Religious, Historical & Polemical Studies, 1992 & 2001, Internet rough draft file.

  44. Maybe just to say he met with the Mayan’s? Isn’t that the obvious answer to this?

  45. BGH said : “The Book of Mormon, as in the text translated by Joseph Smith, is the Word of God and a part of the canon of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”… my question is that if the original BOM in 1830 was the true inspired word of God than why would you idiot mormons change it, that mean, in better terms, that you changed the word of God to you likings. also, Seth.R said :”I’m just making a point that it’s silly to argue that an artist’s rendition of a religion should define “doctrine.” WHAT!!! ok let me get this straight? if the artist got it wrong, why in the hell would it be in the book!!!……”I’ll bet you dimes to dollars that no one in the Church Office Building even noticed or cared about the shape of the building in the background.” what the hell….then you guys should put more lies in the BOM to, just add friggen sky-scrapers!!!

  46. The mormans didnt change the book of mormon, JOBOBUS. They Added Pictures, an index, footnotes, and references to the King James Version of the Bible to make the book more appealing and more understandable to the Readers.

    And to the Picture above. It is an artist depiction of how it must have looked back then. But it is what some of the Church of Jesus Christ believe also. If you read in the BoM (Book of Mormon) it tells of people being here before Lehi and Nephi in the Book of Ether. Called the Jaredites. And they were here shortly after the destruction of the tower of babel.
    so they could have easily have been the ancient mayans.
    you’ll notice in the book of mormon at the bottom of each page it gives you an estimate year the events are taking place. but in Ether it doesnt have an estimate year. Because it is telling of the story what happened to the Jaredites on the plates they found in a place where it has been peopled and it was covered in dry bones.
    This is in The Book of Mosiah Chapter 21 where they found the plates.

    Oh, and for the site i have given, it isnt my site. i just came across it today explaining why there is a god.

  47. And to add more on the picture above. that picture is a picture of the cover of the DVD they made called “The Testaments” And before the movie starts it explains a few things.
    it says “While the Exact Location of the events in the americas is unknown and some of the characters there have been fictionalized, the appearance of The Savior and his ministry actually took place.”

    So the picture in the book of mormon is in there, because if youre liking the BoM and u see that picture in the book on a DVD cover. It will make some people want to watch the DVD. So this is a little advertisement for the dvd.

  48. I needed a picture of Jesus and happened to stumble on this site. After reading some of the comments, all I can say is that you all have way too much time on your hands. Get a hobby or a job!

  49. Linda, perhaps you should prepare your Sunday school lessons before 9:30pm on Saturday night and leave our silly hobby alone. ;)

  50. Is it so hard to think that the ancient mayans may have been the Lamanites? After all..where does the Word maya even come from? And i know we have “evidence” that these ancient buildings are “mayan”, but who’s to say they weren’t the lamanites. There is no proof or disproof. But one thing is certain, there is proof of a possible mural of the ten commandments at one of these building sites way before the “white man” arrived to the americas. Which leads me to a speculation that maybe, when the Nephites were destroyed, the lamanites, now victorious seized their lands and property to do as they pleased with. Hence why maybe when the nephites ruled these parts, these temples were used very much like the ones from the old testament, but when they became wicked and the lamaintes took over. all precious and good things were lost and done away with, leaving a heathan race of people. but for a farm boy to guess all this without even hearing about any race of people being there…in such a small gap of time period..is a real shot in the dark…not to mention that the name alma turns out to be a legitimate name for a jewish male. which was thought not to be until recent discoveries in Jerusalem were found. and to say Zedikiah king of jerusalem son’s name to the exact word now know today.. “mulek” is a real shot in the dark.

  51. Also, Joseph Smith was accomplished at inventing stories about Native Americans, intricate and detailed. He did it when he was a kid, and used to entertain his family with his stories. At least, according to his mom.

    So, the fact that he might have studied extra to be able to embellish his story time with his family doesn’t sound that far of a stretch.

  52. FARMS has disproven the 10 commandments story. I don’t even need to go to a “anti-mormon” source to rebut that one.

  53. BJM said:

    Joseph Smith wasn’t a “farm boy” when he published the Book of Mormon, he was 24 years old.

    If you’re suggesting that way too much is made of Joseph Smith’s lack of education, I agree with you.

    There are details of what we know about the book’s origins that suggest to me the book has indeed come to us through supernatural events, but Joseph was no idiot (he was a brilliant man, actually, with an uncanny ability to synthesize all sorts of seemingly unrelated ideas). And nearly everyone in those days was uneducated by today’s standards. It’s time to put that argument to rest.

    Tim said:

    I don’t even need to go to a “anti-mormon” source to rebut that one.

    Very true.

    I don’t think that “apologetics” such as using various coincidences and urban legends to connect the Mayans with the people in the BoM is all that helpful. And arguments such as this one make us look silly.

    Such things are worthy of investigation, and there’s plenty that is fascinating about the indigenous people of the Americas in their own right. But if you’re trying to provide the BoM is true on the basis of archaeology, you’ll find it cannot be done, not even close, with our present state of knowledge.

    Ultimately, faith in the Book of Mormon is, and probably always will be, a matter of faith, not science. I’m not suggesting we end the search for physical evidence, and certainly there are some interesting correlations/coincidences (take your pick) between the BoM and verified history, but whatever we have should be put in context or else we just end up looking stupid.

    And that does more harm than good.

  54. “Joseph Smith wasn’t a “farm boy” when he published the Book of Mormon, he was 24 years old. Y’all really need to get over that terribad Hugh Nibley apologetic.”

    I’m trying to understand just exactly what argument should be dropped. There seem to be two extremes to this.

  55. Brian & Eric ~ I think too much emphasis is placed both on poor representations of Joseph Smith’s age and on his education in Book of Mormon apologetics. I’ve often heard it said, “How could a 14 year-old farm boy write something like the Book of Mormon?” or something to that effect. Problem being, he wasn’t a farm boy when the Book of Mormon was published. We don’t know for certain how old he was when he began composing it, we only know how old he was when it came out, and that was 24. I don’t normally think of 24 year-old men as “boys.” That line of argument seems to come from Hugh Nibley’s Book of Mormon challenge, which is just riddled with problems.

    (BTW, finding out what exactly we do know about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon publication from pre-1830 sources is something I’d love to look into. It’s on my to-do list.)

    And yeah, he wasn’t educated, but both Latter-day Saints and critics alike can usually agree that whatever he was, he was brilliant. History is full of smart but uneducated people producing great works of literature. That’s unusual but it isn’t proof that the Book of Mormon is a revelation from God.

    As to other extremes, as I’ve said elsewhere, I don’t like the theory that Smith just made up the BoM on his own and I’m certainly against the “Satan helped him write it” theory. I prefer Paul Owen’s charismata theory.

  56. Jack, perhaps sometime you should do a post on what you think was the “true word of rebuke” Joseph spoke “upon a wordly, divisive church” while he “experienced a taste of the charismata” (quoting from the link you gave). That would be interesting.

    Partly, I’m not sure what this charismata theory says about the BoM in particular. It’s easy enough from an EV perspective (I think) to accept some of what Joseph taught as truly God-inspired, but the BoM?!

  57. All I can say is that picture itself seems to be definitive proof that Jesus did, in fact, visit the Mayans. Its pretty hard to refute, you have Jesus in the foreground, and a Mayan temple in the background.

    My guess is he stopped in after he visited the people in the Book of Mormon.

  58. Partly, I’m not sure what this charismata theory says about the BoM in particular. It’s easy enough from an EV perspective (I think) to accept some of what Joseph taught as truly God-inspired, but the BoM?!

    Why not? There’s almost nothing theological in the BoM that seriously contradicts Protestant creedal Christianity.

  59. Kullervo, my question about charismata theory may stem from a misunderstanding of Jack’s position—which, of course, is why I asked her to clarify.

    It seems to me that Jack was responding to the implied question, “How do you explain the origin/creation of the BoM (if you reject the LDS Church’s stance)?” by saying that some of the things Joseph said and did were truly from God…and the BoM is one of those things. True, the theology in the BoM is palatable enough, but to to say that the book itself—with its whole back story, etc.—came from God seems a mighty leap for even the most open-minded Evangelical.

    I guess I’m making a distinction between accepting the book and accepting its contents. The contents can easily be explained by “charismata theory,” but to explain the book one has to address golden plates, interpreters, time lines, etc. etc.

  60. Oh, by the way, I don’t know whether or not Morrison ever appeared to the Nephites, but I know for certain that three Nephites visited him and helped write “Riders on the Storm.”

  61. BFF ~ I certainly don’t think the Book of Mormon with its back story as we know it came from God. I don’t think Nephites and Lamanites ever existed and I don’t believe Smith was given a golden book. I do believe that some of the sermons and theology contained therein may have been inspired—that Smith may have been touched by the Holy Spirit at some point in his younger days and still felt the power of that inspiration as he composed the Book of Mormon.

    The big problem I see for this theory is that I don’t believe Smith ever claimed anything but his angel-Moroni & gold-plates story, so it requires believing that Smith was wrong about that but genuine in composing the BoM. That’s why I say I’m interested in what we actually know about the BoM’s composition process from pre-1830 sources. Not that I think the post-1830 sources should automatically be disregarded and thrown out, but it’s a fact in the history of thought that people regularly read their later theology and ideas into the past.

    As to what God’s purpose would be in raising Smith up, something to understand is that the Christian world really was quite divided back then. We live in a day and age where a spirit of ecumenism abounds with Protestant denominations more or less getting along, but back then the body of Christ (as I understand it) was regularly at war with itself for converts. A real “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos,” “I follow Cephas” type situation (1 Corinthians 1:12). Then the Mormons show up and say, “Actually, you’re all wrong, and NONE of you are the true followers of Christ; we are” and call attention to the infighting as proof of their claims. Over time the Protestants settle down, smooth over their differences, and unite against a perceived common enemy.

    Is it possible that God could use Joseph Smith and the Mormons like that? I’m open to it. That doesn’t mean I believe God lied to Joseph Smith or that all of Joseph Smith’s claims are from God. But the rebuke against most of Christianity may well have been.

    This theory is still very much a work in progress in my mind though and subject to change.

  62. BFF: sounds like you’re seeing the same problems with the theory as it pertains to the BoM as I am.

    If you’re willing to wildly speculate, what kinds of information from pre-1830s sources would sway you in one way or the other? (sway you in terms of a theory explaining the origins/composition of the BoM, not say you into accepting the BoM)

  63. The original argument concerning the painting and it being doctrinal I found to be a very stupid argument. It is purely an interpretation of the artist, and its purpose of being in a published Book of Mormon is most likely to help the reader get a possible idea of what the city Bountiful might have looked like. The whole purpose of the picture is to bear witness of Jesus Christ, if you notice, He is in the center of the painting, not the pyramid in the back. The second part of this argument I found to make a little more sense, but I think the only way to know if Joseph Smith was truly inspired of God, and if the Book of Mormon is true is to actually read the book.

  64. Interesting discussion, there has been no serious published scholarship comparing Morrision’s writing with BOM text. . . however there are certain scholars that I know of that have prepared unpublished manuscripts comparing the style as well as forensic textual analysis of the olive tree analogy of Jacob with the Morrison work “Love me two times”. The initial findings were startling.

    You may or not be surprised to understand that both works bear the mark of a writer with markedly similar linguistic and lexicological patterns, identifiably identical diction, especially in the use of the definite article. Additionally, the author of each work had nearly identical metacarpal anatomy.

    Even more compelling, the preliminary conclusions indicate, although with admittedly less confidence, that the author of each work wore a beard. Although peer review is pending, I think we cannot simply dismiss well reasoned conclusions out of hand. Jim Morrison may not have been the author of the Book of Mormon, but there is at least a chance given the above, that he authored the works of Zenos as quoted in the book of Jacob.

    Of course further study is necessary to generalize these findings to other areas of the BOM. We know that Jacob was quoting Zenos in Jacob 5 rather than drafting in his own words but its uncertain if Morrison could have been involved in drafting Jacob or just the source manuscript of Zenos. I don’t have a reference but I am almost positive that Morrison has been linked to other prophetic writings circa 600 BC, so this may be the most likely conclusions. However we cannot ignore the possibility that Morrison was neither involved in the drafting of Jacob nor Zenos but only in the editing and compiling of the BOM.

    While an intriguing thought, I just not confident enough to equate Morrison with Mormon or Moroni or a possible post-Moroni editor. One primary reason for my lack of confidence is that there is simply Morrison was simply no evidence that Morrison had any ability to engrave on metal plates. (Aside from some early drafts of “Break on through (to the other Side)” which were apparently scrawled on the hood of a 1963 Studebaker Wagonaire. but its difficult to find a direct link between inscription which was essentially scraping away paint with actual engraving of plates, while the skills may be similar it is by no means clear that they are the same).

    However, despite the apparent lack of prescient findings, the thematic similarities between “Love me two times” and Hebrew-Nephite scripture are not at all trivial. The theme of enduring love, separation, as well as numerological significance of the number 2 strongly support the initial conclusions that even if he was not directly involved, it is certainly possible that he had the poetic capacity to write such works. (I think that its almost without question that Morrison influenced Solomon’s draft of the Song of Songs, we can almost hear “Love her madly” playing in the background upon recital)

    The only thing in the unpublished manuscripts that caused me pause was an attempt to thematically equate the Doors hit “Gloria” with the sermon on the Mount as found in 3 Nephi and Matthew. Such line of reasoning is, of course, preposterous and shows perhaps a very serious blindspot. As most gradeschool children know, Gloria was not written by Jim Morrison but by Van Morrison. While Van Morrison’s works and style has been very convincingly linked to the Later Isaiah, its almost laughable to consider that he was involved in the Book of Mormon manuscript, let alone the Gospel of Matthew. While I don’t think this gaffe dooms the scholarly conclusions of the draft article, I can clearly see why it has not survived peer review. This is also why I hesitate to quote directly or disclose the scholar involved.

    All said, even though unclear, and there is no direct scholarly connection or “scientific” basis for Morrison as BOM author, given the strong circumstantial case, those that believe that Jim Morrison wrote the Book of Mormon should not be dismissed as “loony tunes”, “seriously delusional”, “completely unable to think critically”, or addressed with other other such demeaning moniker. Neither should these thoughts be dismissed as the product of overuse of hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals or the unfortunate combination of too much Prozac and bock Beer.

  65. omygosh I was tired when I wrote my last comment. That should have said “sided with the ninjas long ago.” That’s what I get for waking up at 4AM on a Saturday….

  66. What are you all talking about? None of what you’re saying matters. The reason there’s a Mayan temple in the picture is the descriptions of the land in the Book of Mormon indicate it was in that area, and the artist took some artistic license. The reason it’s in some releases of the Book of Mormon is because it’s the best-done painting of the coming of Christ to the Americas.

  67. You all would do well to study the Prophet among the Iroquois, and take a look at the collection of stories in “He Walked the Americas” to find the painting an accurate description of what was here at the time of the Pale One. I think you would get some of your suppositions and questions answered. The unfortunate thing about the book, is the bibliography is not that old, most between 1920 and the 60s. Considering that Indian nations were exposed to Christianity from 1492 on, they quickly realized that survival depended on them taking hold of this God that the Europeans were forcing upon them so it makes it very difficult to take the stories at face value. Also, the destruction of history books and codex by the invading Spanish undoubtedly destroyed what possiblity we have of Proof beyond oral traditions which have arrived to current times. The exception would be the archeological finds which support the stories such as pottery shards from the Spiro Mound. Any who are students of the Book of Mormon should enjoy the stories and for your personal edification, compare with those of the Bof M. What proof there is or lack of it, it is the traditions of the American Indian, Condor and Eagle.

    As an example of what White man and his missionary zealots have done to the oral history is in the example of the de-valuation in the story of Jikohnsaseh, Great Peace Woman of the Haudenosaunee, 900AD?. Most of the 1800’s, She was an Honored Woman as Ely Parker, Last of the Seneca Grand Sachems 1830, says that her “word was law”. However 1830 saw the attempt to take the power of the Clan Mothers so that by 1945 or so, she has become a witch and a sorcerer. Much like the Catholic Church did to Mary Magdelene and during the Inquisitions. So the influence of Christianity upon these stories can not be underestimated. And in the same breath, it is possible that in 1830, the Iroquois of NY among whom Joseph Smith was raised, may yet have had a purer oral history about the Prophet who was Master of All Things.

    Interesting stuff. Check it out. The Indians that Joseph Smith describes sounds like Iroquois to me “shaven heads”. Decendants of the Mound Builders. But the Pale One visited nearly every nation on the Americas, so nearly any place would make a great “setting” for a painting.

  68. Maybe Jack and Katie have the gift of tongues cuz I have no idea what mak was even trying to say.

  69. I like intrepting, personally. It enriches my life.

    And Whitney, I agree. Everything you say matters. But I reserve the right to intrept it however I want to.

  70. It is a common search term for Mormons. It’s funny you thought he was against Mormonism. I thought he was fer it

  71. I just happened on to this feed while I was trying do some research about the Mayans. All I want to say is this; NO ONE KNOWS the truth! Stop getting your panties in a bunch. No one is right, no one is wrong, and the great thing is we will all find out one day. If you are not Mormon then why do you even care what the Mormon’s believe about the connection to the Mayans? If you are Mormon, then why do you care about what other people say? I am a Mormon, and I like to believe in a connection. It helps to boost my faith. However I can’t fathom even CARING what another religion believes. Beliefs do not hurt anyone. That is my two cents.

  72. Ok I don’t think it’s so far fetched to believe that the Nephites had a similar style of building temples as the Mayans. Didn’t they live in the same place? They did! Awesome. It’s like how the dome spread throughout Europe not just used by the Romans and Byzantines but in other places as well. Also I may add that the dome was redesigned by the Russians to look totally spectacular as well as in India in the Taj Mahal. So in this 20th century rendition of an ancient time, from which very few original buildings from that time exist, and not very many records (say compared to ancient greece or anywhere in Europe really) is it really so far fetched to believe that the Nephites and the Mayans had similar styles in buildings? I don’t think that they were the same group of people but it’s possible they were related. BTW I’ve never hear that the Nephites are the Mayansbefore I read this. Also another thing don’t we as a modern civilization borrow architecture from bygone days (ie; the US capitol building and Greek architecture), it could be possible that the Mayans did the same with the Nephite culture.

  73. I just happened on to this feed while I was trying do some research about the Mayans. All I want to say is this; NO ONE KNOWS the truth!

    Um, yes they do. Mayans are still around.

    Didn’t they live in the same place?

    No. The Mayans live in the Yucatan. The Nephites live in the land of fiction.

    Also another thing don’t we as a modern civilization borrow architecture from bygone days (ie; the US capitol building and Greek architecture), it could be possible that the Mayans did the same with the Nephite culture.

    Except that the Nephites weren’t “bygone days” for the Mayans. The Mayans lived in Central America at the same time that the Nephites supposedly lived there.

  74. Christ came to the Americas. If you really read the Book of Mormon, you’ll see that not everyone believed in Jesus before he came. Therefore, its possible they had different churches as well. Who knows? We don’t. But the point of this picture isn’t about the temple in the background. It is about the Lord. Instead of questioning unimportant things, we should be mainly focused on the true meaning and story of the picture.

  75. You all are so caught up on a simple application and visual depiction of a man’s view of what it “might” of looked like when Christ came… example… there are so many different pictures of Christ and there is no solid evidence of what he looks like… is that important??? Should it be??? NO… the main doctrine point of view is that he is there… the picture of the Mayan temple is just an artist view of what it “might” of looked like in that time period… since none of us today have seen the actual resin lord nor come near to imagining what it must of looked like when Christ walked the earth and there is no solid base in any religion organization on what painting is fact because all the paintings that we have now are dated past the death of Christ. Should we then say that all paintings of Christ are false and follow the 2nd commandment not to make any graven Images? Should we be like the Jews of Old and not have any pictures? Or should we just be humble and have joy that this painting of an artist who has joy over his belief of the savior – coming to the America’s?? What is wrong with that??? Nothing!!!
    If you don’t believe in Mormonism then of course you would not understand his joy, you’re like the atheist who laugh at our joy of Christ…

  76. you a jerk,

    “since none of us today have seen the actual resin lord . . . “

    Wrong. . . Not only have people seen the resin lord but it was immortalized in song by Paul Newman in the classic scene from Cool Hand Luke:

  77. Hello There was a study by Scientists and also archeologists
    That followed the Book Of Mormon as if it were a map and it lead them to where the Mayans lived to Navoo to Utah Ect

    But I do not believe that our temples are based off the Mayans Temples. But The Mayans are from the tribe of Nephi.

  78. I daresay the point of the picture was to show Christ with the Nephites, not to declare that the temple in the background is what it looked like in real life. The picture wasn’t put in the Book of Mormon to draw attention to the temple.

    It’s a choice the artist made.

    Just sayin’.

  79. Chris, tell us more about this study by Scientists and archaeologists! I have so many questions! Where is Utah Ect? Is it a part of Utah, or is it a sunken continent like Lemuria? And tell us more about this wonderful “tribe of Nephi!”

  80. Chris, did the tribe of Nephi leave Jerusalem before Lehi, so that they could turn into Mayans and inhabit Kaminaljuyu way before 600 BC? Or did the tribe come from a group of Nephites who developed time travel, maybe in the several centuries of flourishing after Jesus but before they all turned into murderous cannibals and killed each other leaving only Moroni?

    Because that would just be awesome.

  81. Ha, I love the “Christian” readers remarks.. Funny how they might pick apart the Book Of Mormon like blood thirsty animals yet they want me to believe Moses literally crossed a parted Red Sea. Sometimes you shouldn’t take things so seriously and stop looking for what’s wrong and focus on what feels right! Mormons rock! Our families raise good people who pay their taxes, help out with social programs, worth Jesus Christ, and do it willingly. We stinkin rock!!!

  82. I love the quotes around “Christian” in Mike’s post. And the implication that they aren’t really Christians.

    Love love love!

    I also think that Mormons stinkin’ rock though. So do Evangelicals. I love everyone. :D

  83. Yes The mormons believe everything in the Old Testament and the New Testament and their Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

  84. Our families raise good people who pay their taxes, help out with social programs, worth Jesus Christ, and do it willingly. We stinkin rock!!!

    So, apparently the standard for a religion to stinkin rock!!! is to:

    Raise good people who:
    a. pay their taxes;
    b. help out with social programs;
    c. worth Jesus; and
    d. do it willingly.

  85. I’d just like to say that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that people would willingly raise nice families, pay their taxes and help out with social programs.

  86. Tim,

    I hate stupid comments like this from Evangelicals.

    I’d just like to say that Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that people would willingly raise nice families, pay their taxes and help out with social programs.

    As I Mormon, how should I interpret this?

    Evangelicals don’t believe Jesus wants people to raise nice families?
    Jesus doesn’t want his followers to pay taxes?
    Jesus doesn’t want his followers to improve the world with (*good*) social programs?

    Seriously folks, it’s about as obtuse as objecting to the 8th article of faith,
    ~We believe the Bible is the word of God when it’s translated correctly.
    When evengelicals get upset at this, am I supposed to suppose they also believe the Bible is the word of God when it’s translated incorrectly?

    Jesus died on the cross so that I can be saved from any sin and so that I can live a Christian life, which does involve descipleship, no matter how many greasy gracers try and say I shouldn’t be a disciple.

  87. My objection is not to paying taxes, raising nice families or being part of social programs. It’s not about being opposed to works (for salvation or otherwise).

    It’s about milquetoast expectations for what the Christian life is all about. It’s about being called into living a radically different life. It’s about being transformed into a new creation.

    No one needs the Holy Spirit in order to pay their taxes and raise nice families. Those are weak expectations and things totally in the grasp of anyone who chooses to live them out.

    I hope taking on the character of Christ looks much more dangerous in the lives of his disciples than any of that.

  88. Tim,
    YOU may not need Christ’s atonement in order to raise a family, or pay your taxes or do any of the things that discipleship requires of us.

    Some of the rest of us do. Nowhere in the previous comment did anyone imply that Christianity doesn’t require a radical change of heart. Focusing on some of the positives that Christianity does do, that the rest of the world views as positive is only as myopic as you force it to be.

    To those of us who know better, we see it better.

  89. Tim,
    Maybe I can help you with your statement. If you had written:

    I’d just like to say that Jesus didn’t die on the cross JUST so that people would willingly raise nice families, pay their taxes and help out with social programs.

    To which we would have responded.

    No one said that is all the atonement of Christ does (or requires) for (of) us. But that is certainly one small portion that is important in the life of the person who shared the comment

  90. If I were to leave a comment on how awesome my faith is I would not lead with paying taxes, raising families or participating in social programs. Certainly all things I would expect to see in the life of a believer, but it’s a bit like congratulating a college graduate for knowing his ABC’s and being able to tie his shoes.

  91. Kullervo, you hang on every Mormon persons words. You act like that one person makes up the whole religion, and you believe that’s what all Mormons believe and say. One person hypothetically says you expect us to believe Moses split the red seas? and also says it stinkin rocks and you’re all over it, like all Mormons say the religion stinkin rocks or doesn’t believe the old testaments.. i recall only Mike Tebow saying it stinkin rocks. and that this religion raises good families who pays their taxes and help out good social programs, worth Christ. And do it willingly. Although these are good traits. But there is so much more to being a follower of Christ. Although I am not a fully active member. But I Believe it’s mainly being morally good and doing your best not to sin and help out with society and be like Christ as much as possible to your ability…

    You’re mainly on here just to mock the religion or look for anything for anyone of the Mormon church to say anything bad or arguable of the church so you can talk down on it. You have no intent other than mock everything of Mormon.. There is no reason for anyone to argue with you about this religion because you would not humble yourself to the truth even if you heard it.. You Deny the Mormon ways. So get on with your life. Do what you believe and stop trying to mock peoples beliefs.

    All the books written that is called the Word of God can be called fiction. The Old Testaments, have a lot of wonders that happens such as the red sea splitting, And so does the New Testaments such as Jesus walking on water. You can call these Fiction, then you have a lot of people arguing with you. Then if you call them truths you have other people arguing you its false.. There is always going to people arguing this. Same with the Book Of Mormon: Another Testament Of Jesus Christ. People are always going to argue all these books. You call the Book of Mormon False because you don’t believe. I have no idea if you believe in the New and Old Testaments. But if you do its because you have faith. And to believe the Book of Mormon you need faith also. And all religions require faith. So why call the Book Of Mormon Fiction when you can easily call the other Books Fiction? There is no point other than to argue. You’re not going to make people stop believing and disband the church. So you Arguing here is utterly pointless.

  92. PC,

    I am going to agree with Tim on this, I really don’t think the Christian faith CAN really have much to do with raising nice families, paying taxes or participating in social programs. . . any more than it has to do with wearing modest clothes.

    Taxes are separate from the kingdom of God, participation in the state is separate from the kingdom of God, family relationships are not really indicative of anything with regard to the faith. its generally independent of politics.

    You can be a loving anarchist and a Christian, can’t you?

  93. “The Mediterranean world had already pretty much figured out Ethics long before Jesus roleld onto the scene.”

    “figured out” is way too strong a characterization

  94. Jared,
    You’re clearly not agreeing with Tim.

    Tim has just pointed out that “those things” are the basics, the ABC’s of Christian religion, not something tangential.

    Tim’s essential argument, is “Who gives a rip. That’s easy.”

    Jared’s arguemnt is, “It doesn’t matter how easy or hard it is for any person, it’s completely unrelated and tangential to Christianity.” I don’t think I agree, nor would Tim agree, based on his earlier statement.

    My argument is, depending on the person’s innate qualities, Jesus does give a rip.

  95. No, I am agreeing with the relative difficultly of paying taxes or raising kids,

    I am agreeing that Christianity is about a phase shift in human existence. Shifting from the selfish to the unselfish, the saint from natural man.

    I won’t say whether Tim thinks paying taxes is a critical part of this sort of radical change. Maybe its worth a discussion.

    When you say “rip” are you referring to fart?

  96. Evangelicals get upset about the 8th article of faith because the Bible’s status as scripture is given a qualification that isn’t applied to the Book of Mormon. That isn’t an accident. The implication is that the Bible is less reliable than the Book of Mormon, and I think we have every right to take issue with that.

  97. The BoM doesn’t need that qualifier because there aren’t millenia of abiblical assertions about the text that aren’t verified by the text itself. The BoM also admits in the text that there are IMPERFECTIONS and that those imperfections are NOT the word of God. That qualifier would become redundant in view of that.

    Assuming that because the qualifier isn’t stated twice that it doesn’t apply is nothing more than an assumption. While there were fewer translations, there was still Mormon’s abridgement and Joseph Smith’s inspired translation. No where do we find a promise in our text (or our doctrine) of in inerrant translation, either.

    My argument still stands though, Jack.

    If you write a phrase, and I (mis)translate it into German, no one in their right mind would insist that what I wrote are still the words of Jack. If I make a mistake, the words then become mine…and no sane person would hold you accountable for my faulty translation.

    So the joke becomes: “The Catholic church believes the pope is inerrant, but no Catholic person does. The Mormon church believes their prophet isn’t inerrant, but no Mormon does. And the protestants believe the Bible is inerrant even when it is incorrectly translated.” A pox on us all.

  98. Jared C.

    When you say “rip” are you referring to fart?

    In the English language there are things called idioms. I know this is a big word, but stick with me, I’ll explain it.

    S
    L
    O
    W
    L
    Y.

    When I searched for the big word, “idiom”, I was given the definition of “fixed expression with nonliteral meaning: a fixed distinctive expression whose meaning cannot be deduced from the combined meanings of its actual words”. I believe “don’t give a rip” falls under the context of an “idiom”. If I search further, it means to “not really care at all.”

    Is that clear, or should I use smaller words???

  99. Ms. Jack said:

    Evangelicals get upset about the 8th article of faith because the Bible’s status as scripture is given a qualification that isn’t applied to the Book of Mormon. That isn’t an accident. The implication is that the Bible is less reliable than the Book of Mormon, and I think we have every right to take issue with that.

    I don’t see that that’s implied at all. When it says that we also believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God, the implication I see is that the BoM is the word of God in the same sense that the Bible is, qualifications at all.

    The elevation of the Book of Mormon to a status in some ways above that of the Bible (in the minds of many) is a relatively recent development in Mormonism. Joseph Smith himself almost always preached from the Bible, very seldom from the Book of Mormon. To suggest that the 8th article of faith sets the BoM above the Bible is giving it a presentist reading that isn’t justified by the text nor by the purpose for which the articles of faith were originally written.

  100. Eric, psychochemiker, here’s what I know: I’ve been studying the church for 12 years. In that time I have had dozens of experiences wherein I showed a Latter-day Saint something in the Bible that made him or her uncomfortable (Acts 10:44-48 is a pristine example) and he or she replied, “Well, we only believe the Bible is the word of God in so much as it’s correctly translated.” They could not reconcile the text with what the church currently teaches, so they automatically assumed the text itself was wrong.

    I have never seen a Mormon do the same thing with the Book of Mormon. I have never seen them say, “Well, the book itself says it has imperfections and errors, so this must be one of them.” Official translations of the Book of Mormon are, for all practical intents and purposes, infallible.

    Mormons treat the Book of Mormon very differently than they do the Bible, and I’m not going to ignore that. If I’m giving the 8th Article of Faith a “presentist” reading, it’s probably because that’s how Mormons themselves tend to read the text. And I tend to be more interested in what Mormons actually believe and think than what they theoretically should believe and think.

    And btw, I have rarely seen Mormons claim the Bible was “mistranslated” and actually mean that the English text does not correctly denote what the extant Greek and Hebrew MSS say. What they usually mean is that the extant Greek and Hebrew MSS are corrupt and have deviated from what the originals said (or rather, what they fancy the originals said). When I point out actual mistranslations in the KJV (and there are many), Mormons will usually resist acknowledging that these are mistranslations and attempt to argue that the KJV is correct.

    Which is the other reason that we take issue with the “mistranslated” charge. In practice, it doesn’t actually mean “mistranslated;” it means the text is corrupt. If the church really cared about having an accurately translated Bible, it would use a different translation than the KJV.

  101. Jack said:

    If I’m giving the 8th Article of Faith a “presentist” reading, it’s probably because that’s how Mormons themselves tend to read the text.

    I don’t disagree with your observations.

    Which is the other reason that we take issue with the “mistranslated” charge. In practice, it doesn’t actually mean “mistranslated;” it means the text is corrupt.

    And, actually, I suspect (but don’t know) that Joseph Smith in his letter to Mr. Wentworth was talking primarily neither about corruption of the text nor of mistranslation from Hebrew or Greek to English. At the time, “translate” was very often the equivalent of “interpret” today — so that Smith’s words today might possibly be better understood to say that the Bible is the word of God to the extent it is interpreted (i.e., explained) correctly. Of course, that understanding of the word can raise many questions of its own, but I do think that’s probably what Smith meant, and it’s consistent with how he treated the Bible.

    And what is the problem with Acts 10:44-48? It’s one of the great passages of the New Testament, teaching that the Gospel is for all, not just the chosen few.

  102. I’m guessing the issue is that the Holy Spirit was poured out before baptism. God forgot to get the specific order correct.

  103. PC,

    “don’t give a rip” falls under the context of an “idiom”. If I search further, it means to “not really care at all.”

    Of course its an idiom, I am glad you learned something on your internet search. . .

    Just like “don’t give a crap”
    “don’t give a rat’s ass”

    and the meaning is obvious.

    I was just trying to figure out how silly and vulgar the idiom you are attributing to Jesus is.

  104. I guess that opens up deeper theological questions.

    If God made our bodies, can flatulence and defecation really be considered “crass” and “vulgar?” Or is excrement peculiar to these imperfect bodies?

    Surely the mortal Jesus shat, pissed, and “let em rip,” but what about the resurrected Lord? Do perfected and glorified bodies defecate? If not, will we have an anus in the resurrection?

    I think it’s worth considering.

  105. Well Tim, I think you know you’ve posted a thought provoking topic when it generates 154 comments over a span of 2.5 years, and an essay on the purported connection between Jim Morrison and the authorship of the Book of Mormon to boot! Well done!

  106. I hope that there are anuses, I just hope there won’t be a#@holes in the resurrection.

    And I really that there are no farts. . they are surely a product of the fall.

  107. I’m guessing the issue is that the Holy Spirit was poured out before baptism. God forgot to get the specific order correct.

    If I had read this in the KJV before posting, I would have seen the “problem” (not that I see a problem here, as there’s no conversion without the Holy Spirit first).

    I’m trying to keep this discussion on a higher plane.

  108. I’m trying to keep this discussion on a higher plane.

    Why are some body functions “on a higher plane” and others not? Is there something inherently holy about seeing and hearing whereas there’s something unholy about defecating and passing gas? Isn’t it purely cultural?

  109. You see that’s funny Kullervo.

    Jared seems to have a problem writing about A$&holes but he has no problem being one…

  110. And in the Wentworth Letter, Joseph makes it clear that his visitation from Moroni on September 21, 1823, included a description and a vision of the ancient inhabitants of this continent:

    “I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people, was made known unto me; I was also told where were deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgment of the records of the ancient Prophets that had existed on this continent.” (History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.31, p.537)

    The teachings of Jesus Christ the Savior are that he walked past no man, or type of mankind.

    This so called LDS religion, founded by golden tablets that were never seen or proven…by a man who raised up as a “seeing story-teller”…in a time when there was widespread discord with both native americans and african americans…is an absolute racial joke of a cult. Less than 200 years ago our god was still a racist causing this type of foundation and the doctrines regarding black skinned people bearing the sin the brother?

    One of the first instructions the angel Moroni supposedly gave Smith was that the information contained within the tablets could never be used for monetary purposes. Yet the LDS church charges a tithing that is not so easily returned when one faces hardship. If you don’t keep paying in you get ousted. Period. The LDS church profits millions each year, does not pay taxes based on exemption yet boldly influences politics, holds public and private property to include elder vacation spots in luxurious places. Notice the frequently proven wrong prophets are not allowed, by word of God himself, to disclose their earnings to their followers.

    It is not okay that discrepancies of such serious magnitude exist in the very “finding” of this new “religion”. How many times did he send witnesses to tablets that did not exist? More importantly how many times before the lie becomes self evident? Obviously not enough, wait we’ll just blame that on man not god himself.

    I think an artistic rendition is sort of elementary in the case of this religion.

  111. @conni Every church requires tithings. It says in the bible that he gives everything on to us and to give back 10%. The LDS church doesn’t force you to pay. I am a member and I regret to say I haven’t payed tithings yet, and they don’t even mention it to me that I must pay.
    Sending missionaries on vacation spots? They send them everywhere to get the word of god out there. Particularly where I am from, they seem to send the men into 3rd world countries where it’s tough to live, even for the missionaries. And the missionaries pay for their own missions. they have to save up $10,000 before going on a mission.
    The money that the LDS church makes from tithings is to build temples, churches, and buildings for the church across the world to worship the Lord. No one uses it for monetary gain.
    No one in the ministry is a paid member by the church. Everyone is a member by volunteer. Of course there may be corrupt people. But I am not saying there is, that may steal some of the money. But I doubt there is.

    The curse of the darkened skin wasn’t God being racist. The skin was darkened to a black where it was unnatural, so the nephites would not mix in with the lamanites. Because the lamanites were wicked and would only bring down the nephites because of their wickedness. The curse was lifted when they all became a good and repented of their sin.

    If God were racist, then why would black and other darker nations worship him? The LDS church has every kind of nationality part of their church. Surely none of them believe God is racist or darkened their own skin because of a curse. Only people who misinterpret the book would think that.

  112. The race of people known as the lamanites were wicked so God darkened his skin to an unnatural color to avoid the mixing of this wicked breed with the pure nephites? If this is what the LDS church teaches it is far worse than I thought.

    Um, excuse me, the human being species of people that lived in that area EVOLVED to survive the environmental conditions where they live(d). Their skin darkened to better accommodate the sun, etc. Purely biological fact.

    The curse was lifted? The curse? Again, if this is what the LDS church teaches…

    I did not say missionary locations. I said OWNERSHIP. Please explain to me why the Mormon church owns vacation land, millions of dollars worth, in Hawaii for example. Please explain to me why the most prestigious elders live in mansions while lowly attenders pay tithing.

    Jesus walked past no man, or type of mankind. He also had much to say about the message of God’s teachings being lost within the confines of a church establishment. The LDS (or any church for that matter) does not knock on doors of people and ask “what can we give you in the name of Jesus Christ?” even though they have millions and millions in bank accounts and holdings.

    How about this, I dare you. Next time your church members plan to get together for a neighborhood recruitment visit…do this. Get food, clothes, blankets, formula and diapers in the car on the church’s dime. Knock on the doors and GIVE to the community what is collected in the name of God and his son.

    I seriously doubt you will though I will be very happy to be proven wrong. Warehouse food and supplies while there are hungry children out there, blasphemy. Stockpile millions in bank accounts while people are losing jobs, homes, etc., blasphemy.

    It is not you personally Alexander that I am referring to. It is all the people like you that join an organization in the name of God and get so caught up you fail to realize that you are only giving to a (cult) corporation and not giving to God’s people.

    I take my money and give to people directly what they need without the confines of a church. You take your money and give it to a church bank account that most definately does not get distributed to the needy anywhere near enough. Yet your religion has taught you that you are above me because you have joined the last, final and only true religion as directed to Joseph Smith by God himself.

  113. I dont see people now a days going unnaturally black because they were in the sun all day. look at Australia. their in the sun all day and they only have tanned skin. i dont see any biological evolving to unnatural black or even going to the dark brown of African Amercians. other than the people that were already darker brown from birth.

    The lamanites and nephites are of the same breed. their basically brothers there is no pure breed nephite. one side followed nephi, the others followed nephis brothers lamuel and Laman. Laman, and Lemuel followed different beliefs and blamed nephi and their god for everything and tried to destroy Nephi and his followers.. They were wicked and always looked for a scape goat for all their problems. so they were cursed until they repented. God didnt want all the people to go wicked.

    In todays world its pretty much the same except for people getting cursed. if you join a gang or something bad youre going to become bad. in order to not become bad you stay away from gangs and wicked people.. For they only want things for themselves and blame others for bad things.
    I use to hang with bad people and i always did bad things with them(nothing serious). now that i dont hang with them anymore. i am always doing good and bad things never happen to me.

    I have no idea if Church leaders live in mansions. People can get rich on their own through their entire life. The leaders are generally old. We are taught not to procrastinate. So a lot of members tend to do a lot of work through their lives even through the retirement age, and tend to get wealthy. I know so many members that are not leaders that live in nice wealthy homes because they followed the churches teachings and are blessed.
    And as for giving the church’s money to the community. i have no control of taking money out of their bank and giving it out.(or else i would). So it cannot be done. Missionaries tend to set up the community events to get more members together. and they have no money while on a mission except for what they need in order to travel and eat.And they have no access to the churches money in the bank.
    I am not a wealthy person myself. but i am generous. i always give money to the beggars that ask. i dont give to charity cause i have barely anything to give. but i always have change in my pocket for the needy.

    Most people you meet from the church from my experience are generally nice people. i see them so generous all the time. Yeah they pay tithings, its because they believe and have faith in something. A lot of people in the world hate the church. but I almost never see any of the members of the LDS church hating on any other religion or people just because they are apart of something. they mostly respect others and their believes. We put our beliefs out there for people to come to the church and have faith with us. some missionaries may be more persistent than others. but they cannot force anyone to believe anything. It’s all choice.

    And I dont recall ever being taught we are better than others because we are apart of the LDS church.

  114. As much as I am enjoying this mini dialogue, I feel like jumping in and pointing out a few things:

    Most of the General Authorities either live in their own homes that they purchased with their own money, or they live in an apartment in downtown Salt Lake City. I don’t know of any posh mansions that the General Authorities live in these days. Sure, Brigham Young had a large house, but, then, he also had an exceptionally large family.

    Conni, have you heard of LDS Humanitarian Services? What about the Mormon Helping Hands program? They do exactly what you are suggesting the members do: gather supplies and take them to those in need.

    Not during “neighborhood recruitment visits”, which don’t exist in the first place – in fact, the members volunteering their time and resources while serving with Humanitarian Services or Mormon Helping Hands are asked to not proselytize. They are there to serve and to help.

    Just a couple of months ago, several members of the LDS Church in the Champaign, Illinois, area joined with other members of the community and spent a weekend packaging meals for Haiti under the direction of Numana, Inc. and the Salvation Army. Our community alone packaged well over 1,000,000 meals to be sent. This is but one small example.

    I don’t see how either of these points relate to the discussion of this painting, but hey, good luck making a connection!

  115. My boyfriend is Mormon and I, however, am non-religious and don’t follow the beliefs of the LDS church. Because it’s such an important aspect of his life and I want to support him, I went to church with him during a combined service (we’re in high school). I could dig most of it, but really one thing about the church really shocked me, and it happened to be this painting. I’m not here to pass any judgment on Mormon or Christian beliefs, but I was offended after seeing this painting in the hall of the LDS church. Now, I haven’t done a ton of research on Mayan/Aztec culture, etc, but didn’t the foreign invasion on their land, introduction to Christianity, and cruelty of the invaders lead to not only the complete collapse of their culture and religion, but their over all demise? In my opinion, this painting is glamorizing something that, I had thought, played a huge hand in an extremely tragic loss of cultural beliefs. When I first saw it hanging up, I was quite honestly a little disgusted and completely shocked. What’s the Mormon point of view on this? I just don’t get it. Not only that, but what does it have to do with being Mormon at all? Can anyone explain this to me?

  116. Hi Ella,

    The European conquest of central america doesn’t have a lot to do with the Mormon belief in Christ coming to visit the american continent. The LDS believe that this happened 1500 years before the conquest. Therefore the conquest is not being glamorized.

  117. Hey have you guys thought about what these Mayan temples were used for. What gods did they worship there. The Mayans were surely not worshiping the Lord of the Israelites. They sacrificed humans cutting their still beating hearts from their chest. Did the God of Jacob require this of man?

    To say that Jesus came to a people that sacrificed humans to a sun god is ludicrous. What would make these people change their ways and turn to a God that was unknown to them. When Christians came to the Mayans they conquered them. Read the old testament and find the truth of people who worshiped other gods than the One true God. He will not be mocked. He will not share his power with man made gods.

  118. Thank you, bob r. You have done it. Based on your reccomendation, I have now read the old testament and I see the truth of people who worshipe other gods than the One true God. I repent of my ways.

  119. “Glad that you are now part of the bride of Christ, Kullervo.”

    Bob r, Kullervo is a man and Jesus is male. Does that mean Jesus approves of gay marriage because he says we should be like him in the bible?

  120. Oh, I have a story about that . . .

    My husband is now the high and mighty ward bulletin guy. He said he would like to incorporate some non-LDS religious artwork in the ward bulletins. For his first week he used a Catholic painting of Jesus.

    He then said something that I found unusual given that he’s kind of conservative as Mormons go. He said, “I wanted to use a painting of Jesus as a black man, but couldn’t find one that I liked.”

    I blinked. “But Jesus wasn’t black.”

    “No, but he wasn’t a white guy with golden hair and blue eyes, either. All paintings of Jesus are just artistic representations of who he was.”

    I can’t argue with that; I certainly agree that many paintings of Jesus have him looking ridiculously American, and it doesn’t seem any more of a sin to paint Jesus as a black guy than as an American white guy. So I asked, “Okay. Would you use a painting of Jesus as a woman?”

    He hesitated for a second. “Well . . . are there paintings of Jesus as a woman?” I showed him this one. He agreed with me that it was a very nice painting and stated that he didn’t think it was any different than depicting Jesus as a black man, but admitted that putting a female Jesus in the ward program was going to get him into trouble.

    Personally, I think black Jesus would have done more than just that, and Catholic Jesus is probably pushing it.

  121. Well, my husband just reported to me that even Catholic Jesus did not make it through, and that he was instructed to only use artwork from “official” church paintings.

    Ha-ha.

  122. Catholics don’t have the same Jesus as Mormons do they?

    I think Evangelicals would be pretty stringent on accurate representations of Jesus since many believe that if you don’t depict Jesus accurately then you are not worshiping the correct Jesus. right? ;)

    The female Jesus in that picture was part of an ad campaign by the state Luthern church in Finland.
    They also had this same sex relationship friendly ad:
    http://adland.tv/n1rv4n4g8/2008/mayjpgs/What_would_Jesus_do.jpg

    Those inclusive bastards! It shows you how off the rails they are . . .it makes me question what my kids are learning in school there as they are forced to learn Protestantism in the classroom. If they keep learning that type of Christianity, they may end up becoming gay as a result!!!!!

  123. Oooh, cool. My husband is the ward bulletin guy too! I’ll have to convince him to use non-Mo artwork too, just to mix things up.

    But I agree. Catholic Jesus probably raised eyebrows. Black Jesus would have created drama. I can’t even imagine what Female Jesus would have done.

  124. Well, my husband just reported to me that even Catholic Jesus did not make it through, and that he was instructed to only use artwork from “official” church paintings.

    Dear heaven, we are an uptight people sometimes.

  125. someone please tell me what an “official” church painting is because I keep being told that the paintings don’t represent the church.

  126. I’m not really buying the claim that ward bulletins have to include “official” LDS artwork (which I can only imagine means artwork commissioned by the LDS church), when I have seen several bulletins with outline drawing clipart such as that featured on sugardoodle.net.

  127. I don’t think Jack said that there is some sort of policy, only that her husband was told to stick to official pictures.

    I am sure the Bishop was inspired to reign him in given the impending female Jesus picture on the program.

  128. Jared, I tried to fix your HTML tags but I wasn’t completely sure what you were shooting for there.

    BTW, I tried to click on your link from on-campus and the university network blocked it due to “nudity.” Quit trying to trick me into clicking on your porn sites.

    I am sure the Bishop was inspired to reign him in given the impending female Jesus picture on the program.

    Whoa. I guess the church is true!

    And no, I’m not saying it’s church policy that one has to stick to official artwork in the bulletin, only that’s what the bishop told him to do.

  129. He’s waiting for a day when we have young women speaking or someone speaking about young women to spring the “polygamy Jesus” picture.

  130. Joseph Smith was a 33rd degree Mason and the Mormon Church is another tool for the illuminati and Satan!
    I was baptised Mormon as a child and always doubted the crazy stories of false made up religion.
    It’s really too bad that this bs religion has fooled so many good people that I know.
    I just hope they all wake up eventually.
    I really cannot understand how anyone could believe in a religion, cult or organization that has secret rituals and publishes books that argue with the Bible.
    The LDS are a Zionist tool as well.
    So sad…

  131. I really cannot understand how anyone could believe in a religion, cult or organization that has secret rituals and publishes books that argue with the Bible.

    I know, because none of the stories in the Bible are crazy in the least.

    Angels, prophets, ancient records, temple rituals, all that stuff is nuts!

  132. That picture hangings in most LDS churches. At least the last 6 that I have attended in 2 different states ( California, & Utah)

  133. That picture hang’s in most LDS churches. At least the last 6 that I have attended in 2 different states ( California, & Utah)

  134. I don’t recall ever being taught anything from the LDS church that argues the Bible or read anything from the LDS church that aargues the Bible. Maybe you were reading stuff from another religion or someone writing stuff and posing it made from LDS, Amy.

    I dont understand how the LDS church in anyway is used for Satans work.
    Tell me some ways Satan uses the church for Evil?

  135. That’s all you can come up with? What subliminal messages were there during general conference? and what makes the part where you write your name in the book the devils book? whats so evil about it?

  136. Writing your name in the devil’s book and pledging your iommortal soul to him? That’s classic evil, Alexander. Get you burned back in the 17th century back when people really cared about their immortal souls.

  137. I think the Mormons actually have statues of Prophet Mohammed (pbh)) in their temples. The enormity of this evil alone is staggering!

  138. Also, what about the gargantuan demon serpent imprisoned in a massive pentagram in a cavern below Temple Square? What does the Church need that for? Don’t tell me they’re just “holding it for a friend.”

  139. Again, I have to take issue with you Kullervo, it seems like you are deliberately trying to slander the Church.

    22 feet long can hardly be considered “gargantuan”.

    There are plain old anacondas that grow that big.

    And you well know perfectly that the demon serpent is used to dispose of the bodies the Church’s enemies since 2002 when the church decided to reduce its carbon footprint and close down the massive incinerator it previously used.

    Helping to prevent global warming can hardly be considered evil!

  140. And BTW, I know for a fact that the Saddleback church has a veritable hive of demon animals in its underground dungeon to devour LDS missionaries and Muslims.

    I don’t hear you complain about that!

    Your bias is appalling.

  141. And BTW, I know for a fact that the Saddleback church has a veritable hive of demon animals in its underground dungeon to devour LDS missionaries and Muslims.

    I don’t hear you complain about that!

    Your bias is appalling.

    Jared, those are devil animals, not demon animals. That’s not the same thing at all. I have to assume you are being deliberately obtuse. You are so biased in favor of the Mormon Church and so stubbornly insistent in its special uniqueness that you are willing to spin the most preposterously distorted strawmen out of other churches.

    And honestly? It just doesn’t bother me at all if Saddleback Church has a whole menagerie of devil animals for eating Mormons, Muslims and Manicheans hidden in a dark, blood-drenched subterranean grotto.

  142. kullervo,

    Strawmen? Intentionally obtuse? not hardly.

    I am happy to acknowledge that Saddleback and other Evangelicals use similar methods of disposing of their victims as the LDS. I consider this a mark of brotherhood rather than dispute. Sure, their methods of ritual sacrifice of heretics are different, but if you break it all down to practical impact, the LDS and Evangelicals are practically indistinguishable on this issue. The “divide” between the groups on this issue couldn’t be less “wide”.

    I can’t see how this is a strawman at all.

    And, It’s practically common knowledge that Evangelical Christians use demon animals to devour their their victims. Devil animals are merely used to torture, scare, and/or hunt them down.

    The facts speak for themselves on this, the devil animals that Evangelicals have access to hardly have the appetite or ability to devour one corpse, let alone the thousands that pile up each week in the Saddleback catacombs.

  143. And, It’s practically common knowledge that Evangelical Christians use demon animals to devour their their victims. Devil animals are merely used to torture, scare, and/or hunt them down.

    Common misconception you mean. Seriously, pretty much everything Mormons “know” about Evangelicals is either a modern caricature or a distorted misperception dating back to Joseph Smith: History.

    Just because Mormons have been telling themselves for 150 years that evangelical devil animals have no appetite doesn’t mean its true. You might want to break out of that shell and actually find out something about other churches if you want to have a meaningful interfaith conversation about the use of infernal creatures to devour dissenters.

    The more you just keep inanely repeating this kind of back-patting oversimplification, the more of a wedge you drive. Its completely at odds with your line about wanting interfaith evil animal dialogue.

  144. And on another note, Mister Jared “All-is-well-in-Zion” C, how do you explain the fact that the Church systematically kidnaps runaway teenagers, harvests their brains, and uses their bodies as animate slaves in the upper rooms of the temple?

    What do they do with all those brains, Jared? What’s really going on in that big genealogy vault?

  145. Kullervo,

    Your pernicious insistence on bringing up the long past, and recently disavowed goes to show that former Mormons like always want to throw mud. . . the spirit has clearly abandoned you.

    You should know very well after the years you spent in the church that the use of re-animated corpses as temple workers was outmoded in 1979 and was NEVER a core doctrine of the Church.

    Its clear from history that the massive overpopulation of vagrant teenagers on the frontier was the primary impetus for the practice.

    Additionally, there was a dearth of living people with the stamina to withstand the fumes created by the mind altering potions brewed in the upper rooms of the temple. Living Mormons could not perform the work for fear of being re-brainwashed.

    By 1979, technology had developed to replace zombie labor in the temple and Ritalin and video games were able to subdue unruly teenagers.

    I admit that the practice itself may be offensive to some, but in historical context it is perfectly understandable. In fact, Early Christians frequently reanimated martyrs slain by the Roman were routinely reanimated for their labor as well as a source of entertainment.

    These historical facts had lead some LDS scholars considered the general abandonment of the practice of reanimation of vagrant teenagers to be a mark of the apostasy. It’s clear that most General Authorities do not believe this.

    Seriously, Kullervo, if you are going to attack the church, at least attack something that LDS currently believe in and is part of their CORE doctrine. These attacks are like attacking the funny outfits of the Amish, who cares about the collateral issues? Focus on what LDS really believe today, not outmoded practices that have been long abandoned.

  146. Thats exactly the problem, Jared C. The Church has not disavowed corpse re-animation at all. Just like with the Adam-God theory, the curse of Cain, the decimation of Jehovah’s witness Kingdom Halls, and the practice of sealing newborn babies with the Mark of the Beast in their forehead and palm, the Church just sweeps it under the rug. No retraction, no explanation, just “I’m not sure we teach that” if asked, and otherwise nothing at all!

    So you wind up with this weird divide within the Church of older members who were once taught about reanimate corpses and remember the servitors and the potions in the temple who still, if pushed, believe those things to be true, and you get young members and new converts with a totally whitewashed version of Church history–no servitors, no potions, they don’t even know about the demon snake–who have no idea that that stuff was ever part of the Church, or that a lot of older members continue to believe it.

    With the brain extraction and the animate corpeses it is particularly problematic since those sections of the D&C are still canonical. Just because the Church may not currently practice brain extraction does not mean it is not still a doctrine belived to be true. How many Mormons don’t even realize that the Church still believes that eternal families will include Celestially lobotomized teenagers and that in the millenium, God’s law will be savagely and psychically enforced by massive Brain Golems?

    Its like trying to nail down evil, psychoactive jello.

    Its like the Church is so obsessed with its PR image, and trying to distance itself from the past image of the bodysnatching desert zombie cult, and in particular trying so hard to draw lines over and against the fundamentalist brain-extracting Mormon sects in southern Utah, that it is having this total identity crisis without even realizing it.

    Let me ask you this, for example, just point-blank: do you or do you not believe that ritual skinflaying is an eternal principle, ordained of God? If you can’t give a straight answer to that, I don’t see how we can even have a conversation.

  147. Let me ask you this, for example, just point-blank: do you or do you not believe that ritual skinflaying is an eternal principle, ordained of God? If you can’t give a straight answer to that, I don’t see how we can even have a conversation

    The question itself is an indication of deep misunderstanding of Mormonism. Mormons can believe in all kinds of things, some are more popular than others, and still remain strong believing Mormons. You consistently try to impose some idea of creedal orthodoxy that is both un-biblical and frankly, offensive.

    What is also laughable is that you bring up skin flaying at all.

    Any honest Christian will tell you that the practice is utterly biblical. Most Christian denominations practice some sort of skin removal in their secret covens, although few, if any are as up front about it as the LDS Church. The only real difference is that the LDS have a clear line of authority to perform flayings. Martin Luther himself felt flaying was the proper mode of ritual torture, even if he did lack apostolic authority.

    And what is the practical difference between burning alive, the most common Christian practice, and flaying? Flaying is arguable far more humane, and often leaves the victim alive.

    Mormons don’t talk about flaying much because there is no need to throw pearls before swine and talk about these things with people bent on mocking them.

    The fact that many LDS are not aware of flaying and its doctrinal significance is no real argument against the Church. That is like pointing out that most Evangelicals don’t know that most Protestant clergy actively engage in undermining the world’s governments and financial systems. The ignorance of the average Evangelical doesn’t really say anything at all about the truthfulness of Protestant mission of world domination one way or another. Such practice and schemes simply do not require that EVERYONE know about them.

  148. And BTW. I find it hard to believe that active members of the church don’t know about the demon snake.

    That has been fodder for anti-Mormon attacks for years. I believe chapter 12 of Gospel Essentials clearly explains its capture and training. I know we were told to mention it as part of the 4th missionary discussion, but that was a few years ago.

  149. And BTW. I find it hard to believe that active members of the church don’t know about the demon snake.

    Jared, I honestly think your perception of what the average believing Mormon believes and knows is sadly distorted by the amount of time you spend in the Bloggernacle. Sunstone Mormons with “nuanced” understandings of difficult doctrines like the demon snake and the Quorum of the Twelve wife-swapping are simply not representative of the average Mormon man, woman, youth, homunculus, tempter devil or animate servitor in the pew on Sunday.

  150. Again, the typical anti-mormon cop out. . . “YOU MUST NOT BE A TYPICAL MORMON!”

    Part of your criticism doesn’t even make sense. . . of course the brainless zombies re-animated to fill pews don’t understand the snake, how could you expect that?

    That said, I don’t think my understanding of corpse feeding demon monsters differs vastly from any average Mormon.

    And if it does, I think that it is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion.

  151. What is really sad is that back when you were a Mormon you grew horns just like the rest of us and benefited from zombie labor just like the rest of us.

    It seems all of your attacks may be motivated by your bitterness over the pain of surgical horn removal performed to return to “normal society” or maybe its because you no longer have access to zombie help. Either way its clear that your attacks are more out of spite than reason.

  152. I realize the last comment may have gone too far. . . I suppose I just get frustrated defending all of the less mainstream elements of the church on my own.

    Where is Psychochemiker when you need him?

  153. I personally don’t believe the temple in the picture is something that is overlooked, but was carefully chosen. People are very careful with religious texts and usually won’t place anything in them that they don’t agree with religiously.

  154. I personally don’t believe the temple in the picture is something that is overlooked, but was carefully chosen. People are very careful with religious texts and usually won’t place anything in them that they don’t agree with religiously.

    This painting is a “religious text?”

  155. We recently visited Bielize and took a tour of Aulton Ha. The guide, of Mayan decent, mentioned in his talk on the way to the site, that Jesus had visited there in ancient times and preached in one of the temple structures. Once there, I asked him to confirm that. He did reconfirm the story and pointed out which temple structure Jesus prayed in. I then asked him if he was aware of the Mormon church belief that Jesus had been there. He said he knew nothing of the Mormon church nor their belief in the story. He went on the state that he was a student of Mayan history as it was his heritage and learned about Jesus’ visit from his Mayan studies. He spoke 4 languages, so this guy was no dummy. Interesting, to say the least.
    Bob

  156. Bob, this changes everything! How come this kind of thing is not more widely known? Do you think that archaeologists and anthropologists suppress this stuff because they know that it would verify the truth of Mormonism?

  157. It is supposed to signify the location of the Nephites or Lamanites (not sure which) in the New World. The New World being the Americas, which is where the Mayans, Incans, or whoever was.

  158. Im going to be plain and simple about this. This depicts what happened over 3,000 years ago. There were only so many resources and building ideas that could be done at that time. People dwell to much on the outside image of the painting, what really matters is the what Christ is doing. He is teaching those in need of the true gospel. I dont know about the rest of society but that is all i see in this beautiful painting.

  159. lol i think it is funny that you guys are missing the meaning of the painting. The painting is suppose to represent christ visiting the lamanites after his resurection. however the artist interpreted the story is shown in the art but why the church publishes the painting is because it has christ visiting the lamanites to go along with the scripture. i find it funny how you are focusing on the background instead of the emphesis of the painting :) it makes me laugh even more that so many people would argue about it :D hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  160. I think your claim that you “think it is funny” would be more believeable if you included more “lol”s and had maybe just two or three more “haha”s.

  161. I still wouldn’t believe it.

    The focus on the background in the painting rather than the illustrative purpose for which it is used is absolutely humorless. There is no irony or other incongruence sufficient to rise to the level of “funny”.

    Kaley, if you want to find this discussion funny you will simply have to make a better argument, or at least provide 5 more emoticons. Until you are ready to put teeth into your dubious claim, it seems your comment is either a bald-faced lie or the mark of madness.

  162. Kaley, if you want to find this discussion funny you will simply have to make a better argument, or at least provide 5 more emoticons. Until you are ready to put teeth into your dubious claim, it seems your comment is either a bald-faced lie or the mark of madness.

    What if its like, one emoticon of a vampire? Regular vampire or space vampire.

  163. I think it has been well established that a space vampire (or regular vampire for that matter) reflects more sincerity of mirth and hilarity than a simple smiley. . . so I suppose we could consider it.

    But It remains to be seen that Kaley has the guts to muster that level of expression.

  164. I was just thinking, a vampire or space vampire emoticon would have teeth, which was your objection to Kaley’s post. Or space teeth, which are basically analogous.

  165. Not a star vampire though. Its not clear from Robert Bloch’s description whether star vampires actually have teeth, but I get the impression that they don’t.

  166. I have significantly more fervent belief in the existence of star vampires than space vampires, which I believe in more than regular vampires. I think the problem with a star vampire emoticon is that looking at it would render you a gibbering, insane husk of a person.

  167. Amen. That’s precisely why Lovecraft was one of the most influential comedians of the 20th century. Basically, whether or not you think his material is still hilarious now, every funnyman since the 1920’s owes an enormous debt to his work.

  168. True, I would like to see more Lovecraftian elements in LDS artwork, for both doctrinal illustration and entertainment purposes.

    Perhaps this is the point that Kaley was trying to make.

  169. After reading this discussion, and talking about this very topic at my dinner table tonight I’ve come up with my own interpretation/conclusion. Being a student today teachers often give us pictures without telling us anything about them and tell us to interpret them. So I decided to do the same for myself to see what I came up with. First when the painter decides what to paint, they tend to think of a story along with it, and visualize what is happening, and where it is happening. Like the “show don’t tell rule”, the painter didn’t want to tell everyone it’s America, he wanted to show. Sure, it’s fact the BOM took place in America, but we don’t know the specific area, or anything much of their culture or architecture (in regards to what we know of other peoples). So my interpretation is the painter added this “tid bit” as an extra addition to help us visualize the moment and make us more comfortable with something that we know (Mayan architecture). Now can you imagine the picture without the temple, wouldn’t it look a little empty? To me the picture would be unbalanced, empty and for all you know the picture could be taking place in Hawaii, or south east Asia. The general purpose of the addition of the temple is to tell us we are in America in this picture. I believe that this picture is included in the BOM to:
    1. Give investigators a clearer understanding of the coming of Christ to America
    2. Show the setting of the picture (so its not some rainforest in Africa)
    3. Give the picture a more appealing aesthetic feel.

    In the end I believe that it’s important we go over these things, and as said earlier, not all the recent additions are perfect (the most true book, not the perfect book). Sometimes we have to think to ourselves that the leaders can’t always scrutinize every inch, and I’m sure that they didnt believe that a little addition like that would cause so much debate.
    I don’t know, that’s my view, but because we are all humans we all interpret in different ways right?

  170. I believe that the Mayan God that is to come about in the time to come is the beast that is described in the Bible.Take note that the Mayan did sacrificesWhich werent of gods purpose I suppose.To take real note into it we should be prepared, to tell the truth not to scare anyone..As artist such as Lil Wayne known for a fact that they may logicly put an end to the world as we know it today.I just wanted to tell my oppinion whether it made sense or not.

  171. Jared C i want you to know that I have read every comment on this thread from COVER TO COVER and I have read them all and I have prayed to know if they are true and DO YOU KNOW WHAT? Our Heavenly Father whispered to me in the still, sweet voice that Jesus did not go to the Mayans because Jesus went to the BOOK OF MORMON: ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST. I jave also read the Book of Mormon from cover, to cover and I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that there was a person in the Book of Mormon called Jared and I do not know if he was a prophet of if he was gay like you Jared C but I think if he was gay he should have just stopped doing gay ebcause going gay is a sin and I know if we stop sinning and pray with all of our might we can be forgiven for even sex sins like gay.

  172. Jared C I think that you know that you should stop doing gay and if you stop for the rest of your life and never sin again and pray with all your real intent that Heavenly Feather will forgive you by the power of the holy ghost. And then JAred C you can get a temple recommend and go TO THE TEMPLE OF THESE LATTER_DAY SAINTS and I know that Heavenly Father wants you to come to his temple Jared C just like the Nephites, of old.

  173. Jared C I know you know that is not repentance. Repentance is NEVER DOING SEX SINS AGAIN and praying with every fiber of your being for your Heavenly Father to forvige you. You still might not be able to go to the highest part of the celestial kingdom where heavenly father lives. Jared C i just prayed to ask HEVANELY FATHER in the name of thy son jesus christ if you could still go to the highest part fo the celestial kingdom and the Holy, Ghost whispered in the still, small whisper, NO. You can not. You can have very serious sex sins like gay mostly forgiven enough to still go to the celestial kingdom but you will not go to the best part. JAred C I am sorry that you will not be able to become LIKE GOD because we know what that means in the One True Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints On The Earth, don’t we? If science makes you gay Jared that is not science that is THE “ADVERSARY” (we do not say his name EVER but I think you know who I am talking about.).

  174. Only one question for you Gidg, if you can provide a satisfactory answer I will stop doing the gay:
    I myself, having made this tragedy of tragedies all by myself, insofar as it is finished—I, having first tied the knot of morality into existence before I drew it so tight that only a god could untie it (which is what Horace demands) —I myself have now slain all gods in the fourth act, for the sake of morality. Now, what is to become of the fifth act? From where am I to take the tragic solution?—Should I begin to think about a comic solution?

  175. I am from Guatemala. I am not Mormon anymore. I do not believe in the Book of Mormon anymore, neither I believe in Joseph Smith nor I do believe the Mormon church is true. Now, what I have to say,that some scientists assert that there is a picture where the Mayans tried to draw Jesus Christ, who came to visit them in the land of Tikal. Well, some do say that Jesus Christ came to Guatemala. Yes, It is true. One of the tales that people said that Jesus came with the disciples to the beach of Guatemala and entered to this land of the Mayans, and healed and raised dead people. Because Jesus came out with the disciples out of Israel in the ship when Peter feared that the tempests were roaring and raging waters against the ship and when the seas were calmed and then Jesus alongside with the disciples arrived Guatemala. These are the tales of the people who said these things about Jesus Christ. But, I do not believe about the Book of Mormon and the Mormon Church is true neither the Joseph is the Prophet. But, I do believe Jesus came to Guatemala. Yes, it is similar story about the Mormon but it is close but not complete.

  176. both the Book of Mormon and the Bible declare that Jesus visited EVERY corner and people of the Earth. The church said he visited the Americas which jnludes North, Central and South America. the Church leaders never declared the peoples of central America to be those described in the Book of Mormon. Peoples venturing off in search of new lands was a frequent occurence within both Books. It is absolutely feasible that a people established themselves upon lands south of thd U.S.A. and that Jesus visited them as well. I learned in school that one reaaon the peoples of Central America welcomed the explorers from Eutope was because they had had prophecies that fair-skinned Gods would some day return to them. The merciful and benevolent god Quetzalcoatl, the god represented as a winged serpent is a direct reference to Jesus Christ. Jesus was described in the scriptures as “descending from the heavens to be trodden under the feet of man likd a serpent”. I absolutely believe that there were other peoples upon the Earth in addition to those whose histories are contained within the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Their obvious understanding of the heavens, of the planets and such proves that there were prophets among them who were given witness of God’s creations and designs.

  177. I absolutely believe that there were other peoples upon the Earth in addition to those whose histories are contained within the Bible and the Book of Mormon.

    A controversial position, to be sure.

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