Saturday, January 19, 2008

Poor article

Current mood: contemplative

So I wrote a blog about this about a week ago, but as I went to post it, the system said I wasn't logged on so it deleted it. Oh was a pretty long post, so I guess I just wasn't meant to be! In any case, I still want to write about it! Here's the article in question. I was in the January 11, 2008 Record-Courier in Kent, Ohio:

Now, of course I have MAJOR issues with the content and claims made by this so-called professor from Washington state. I'm's hard to really take a professor seriously who's teaching at a community college. I could write (and did) a LONG blog about the issues here (and even why is this guy still a member of the church?). BUT, my main issue has to do with the reporter because this is a terribly biased and unbalanced article as well as incorrect.

For background, this is about the latest editions of the Book of Mormon, more specifically the introduction, and how the new editions have a slight rewording in them in regards to the Lamanites (a major group in the Book of Mormon) and how they are connected to today's American Indian tribes. In my opinion, the change (discussed later) is not that big of a deal and is a clarification rather than a change in doctrine. The introduction itself has only been around since 1981 and is really just that: an introduction to give readers an idea of what they're about to read and why it's important. But as I said, my main issues for this blog are with the reporter and how the article was written and presented.

For starters, look at how much space is devoted to the Church's position that the change is no big deal. Hard to find? It's a two-sentence paragraph in the second column: "What's the big deal? Church defenders say there is nothing important in the change." That's it. No official comments from Church representatives or even something like "the church declined comment" or even a pro-church statement. Now, check out how much of the article is devoted to the professor's antagonistic view of the church and the change. Yep...over two and a half complete columns, some two-thirds of the article. Are you kidding me? This is nowhere NEAR good journalism or even good reporting! Every story has two sides, right? While the opposition gets most pf the article, the defense is limited to one sentence that's not even a quote at that.

My second issue is that the change the article talks about isn't even quoted right. In the paragraph before the church's "defense" is stated it says this: "In previous editions, the phrase was "are the ancestors." Actually, for those of us who have and have actually READ the Book of Mormon, the phrase is: "are the principal ancestors..." (Book of Mormon introduction, emphasis added). The new 2006 editions now state "they are among the ancestors." (emphasis added). When you leave out one of the words, it makes a HUGE difference, now doesn't it? Like I said earlier in the blog, this is a clarification and a good one in my opinion. However, it doesn't affect what's in the book itself and whether it is true or not.

Of course I don't want to think that this AP reporter has some ax to grind against the church or is doing this on purpose, but after reading this, it definitely makes me wonder if there are not alterior motives here. What better way to make the church and its leaders and supporters look like old-fashioned, mindless religious people who ignore reality and science than to extensively quote a college professor, ESPECIALLY one who is LDS and has been antagonistic towards the church? I do seriously wonder why this guy is even LDS still since he obviously thinks that some of our core beliefs are myths and that the leadership of the church is ignoring that. Why be part of an organization that you think that way of? The article and this professor also ignore the scholarly reasearch that has been made in regards to the historocity of the Book of Mormon. There are many great sites that deal with this, one of which is As much as I enjoy the archeological evidence and study of the Book of Mormon, it's not why I believe it's true, nor is archeological evidence why I believe in the Bible. Archeological evidence can only prove that certain places existed, but it cannot prove that certain miracles or extraordinary events took place there. That knowledge and understanding can only come from God himself.

Seriously, the best way to find out what the Book of Mormon is all about is to read it. Yes, it has it's slower parts, but really it's a fascinating story whether you want to take it as a literal history like I and other Latter-day Saints do or just as something Joseph Smith wrote with a third-grade frontier farmer's education. It's SO EASY to get a free Book of can get them from missionaries, from members of the Church, or online at and click on basic beliefs. You can also read it online there or at in the Gospel Library. Sorry to turn this into an ad, but really the best defense for the Book of Mormon is itself.

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