Hang on a Minute; what happened to the God of the Jews?

Another snippet from The Bible Delusion.

HOAM 58

God Goes Dark.

Where did the Israelite God go? The final books of the Old Testament all start with each prophet declaring that God spoke directly to him:

Zephaniah 1:1. “The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi…”

Haggai 1:1. “In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, in the first day of the month, came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet…”

       Zechariah 1:1. In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the Lord unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying, The Lord hath been sore displeased with your fathers.” As ever, God is still very unhappy; there is nothing new here.

       Malachi 1:1. “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.”

Incidentally, Malachi’s message is to the priests. “And now, O ye priests, this commandment is for you. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces…” (2-3).

Can you imagine a real God actually saying that if they won’t give glory to him, he will spread dung on their faces? Think about it – very carefully. The measure of this God has been well established throughout the OT. He has never said or done anything actually nice. I really had hoped there would at least be something of merit – but no, there is absolutely nothing.

After thirty-nine books, covering thousands of years, suddenly and without warning, God goes dark. We hear no more from him at all after 397 BCE.

A number of the High Priests at Jerusalem are known. For example, John (373 BCE); Onias (321 BCE); Simon (217 BCE); Jason (175 BCE); Hyrcanus (136 BCE); yet God didn’t say anything to any of them – or anyone else for that matter. The next we hear about God is from followers of Jesus, who wrote about him and God long after Jesus lived – not one of whom ever knew or even met Jesus.

After thousands of years of berating the Israelites with constant threats and recriminations, often killing thousands of them off and constantly sending them into captivity, in 397 BCE their God seemed to forget the Jews and leave them to their own devices. God went dark and he hasn’t spoken to the Jews since.

What happened to the God of the Jews?

 

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Where Does Revelation Come From?

Joseph Smith Admits Revelation may be Wishful Thinking or of Devil

Smith tried to have the copyright to the Book of Mormon sold in Canada in order to raise money, but the trip utterly failed. He then declared the revelation he had received concerning the trip, to be a false revelation. He had been deceived after all. Both the revelation to send men to Canada to sell the copyright and the later revelation that the first revelation was false were obtained by Smith looking at his old money digging seer stone in his hat. Smith himself explained that some revelations are of God, some of man and some from the Devil. (Whitmer 1887:30-31. Available as a free online book from www.utlm.org). Naturally, when it came time to put his revelations into what is now the D&C, these are two of the many revelations Smith instructed should be left out, declaring that he had been deceived and they were not from God.

The upshot of this revelation is, Smith here confesses that when he had a revelation, he could not tell for sure whether it was from God, his own wishful thinking, or even Satan. How then could Smith, or his followers, ever rely on any of his other so-called revelations, when there was only at best, by Smith’s own admission, a one in three chance that they came from God? (The Mormon Delusion Vol. 3:30.)

Another ‘hang on a minute’ (HOAM) moment from The Bible Delusion

HOAM 27

Get it Wrong – and You Die.

In Leviticus 10, two of Aaron’s sons get things very wrong indeed; so much for all the chapters on ‘training’ God had given them. Nadab and Abihu take their ‘censers’ (pots, into which live coals from the sacred fire were placed, and on which incense was thrown to make a cloud of fragrant smoke once they had been taken inside the sanctuary), but unfortunately, they “offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.” (10:1). God didn’t like that, so he murdered them. “And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” (10:2). What kind of God would do that?

 

Joseph Smith’s 1820 First Vision

The first record of a ‘First Vision’ was not penned until 1832. In it, Smith says he had concluded all sects were wrong; claimed to have seen Jesus; and was fifteen years old (which would make the year 1821).

In 1835 Smith had another couple of attempts at recording his claimed vision in which only angels are mentioned. Finally, in 1838, the now promoted version of events, including God and Jesus, was recorded (but not published until 1842) and backdated to 1820. So, what did Smith finally claim in 1838 as now recorded in History of the Church Volume 1 and cited in The Pearl of Great Price – Joseph Smith History?

1. My father, Joseph Smith, Senior: left… Vermont, and moved to Palmyra… when I was in my tenth year, or thereabouts [1814]. …about four years after …he moved with his family into Manchester [1818]. [The claimed ‘First Vision’ occurred] …in the second year after our removal to Manchester… [1820].

Problem: The family did not move to Manchester from Palmyra in 1818, two years before the supposed vision. They actually moved there no earlier than July of 1822.

2. There was a religious revival in the district [in 1820].

Problem: There was no religious revival in that area in 1820. There was minor one a couple of years earlier, around 1817-1818, and there was certainly one in 1824, possibly even spanning from late 1823-1825 overall.

3. Great multitudes joined various religious parties.

Problem: ‘Great multitudes’ did not join anything in 1820. Half a dozen fewer Methodists were recorded that year, with a small handful of extra Baptists and Presbyterians (the three main players of the period). During the 1824 revival, there were recorded increases in membership of 99 Presbyterians, 94 Baptists and 208 Methodists.

4. Four of Smith’s family had joined the Presbyterians.

Problem: Four of the Smith family members did not join the Presbyterians prior to an 1820 First Vision. Joseph Smith’s mother independently recorded that she and three of Smith’s siblings joined following the death of Smith’s brother Alvin which occurred in late 1823.

5. Smith had personally come across and pondered on the scripture, James 1:5.

Problem: In 1824 the entire Smith family attended a sermon by Methodist minister Elder George Lane who preached on the subject “What Church shall I Join” where his text was James 1:5.

6. Smith went to a grove of trees to ask God “which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join.”

Problem: Smith’s claim to have gone to a grove to ask God which Church was right is in direct conflict with his 1832 personally handwritten statement confirming that he had already concluded that they were all wrong.

7. Smith was told to join with none of them.

Problem: In his ‘official’ 1838 account, God told Smith twice that he should join none of the Churches as they were all wrong. Later in his narrative, Smith reminds us for a third time that he was told this. Yet in 1828, eight years after the vision supposedly occurred, Smith joined the Methodist Sunday School – only to be asked to leave again as he was considered to be an undesirable due to his reputation as a ‘glass-looker’ (a money-digging con artist).

8. “A few days later…” the persecution started. Smith makes several statements about it.

Problem: No persecution was encountered at all during the period in question; a fact that is now unequivocally accepted and admitted by historians from Mormon Church owned Brigham Young University (BYU).

So, every single detail that Joseph Smith claimed about his First Vision experience is provably fictitious. But that is just the start Smith’s problems. Read the full story, complete with detailed analysis and historical references here.

 

Animal, Vegetable and Mineral.

Joseph Smith got them all wrong in his Book of Mormon

The following are some (but not all) of the animals that were in existence in various parts of the Americas during the Book of Mormon (BOM) era: alpaca; bear; boar; bison; coati (which resembles a raccoon); coyote; deer; duck; guinea-pig; jackrabbit; pronghorn (Antilocapra americana, often mistakenly termed an antelope); mountain sheep; jaguar; llama; monkey; reindeer; sloth; tapir; wild turkey (also the domesticated turkey from about 3000 BCE); and turtle.

Smith mentions not one of these existing animals in his BOM. He does however, make mention of several other animals which did not exist, as if they actually existed in the BOM era in the Americas.

An overall list of impossible BOM animals includes these words: ass; bull; calf; cattle; cow; elephant; (domesticated) goat; flocks; herds; horse; ox; oxen; (domesticated) sheep; sow; swine (pigs); plus two unidentified animals called ‘cureloms’ and ‘cumoms’; one of which, it has been suggested by apologists, may have been the woolly mammoth, which of course went extinct several thousands of years prior to BOM times. Although God supposedly translated the BOM for Smith, there are no known meanings for curelom or cumom; God clearly forgot to translate them into modern English.

The BOM also mentions ‘butter’ (copied from Isaiah in 2 Nephi 17:15, 22) and ‘milk’ (2 Nephi 9:50), yet in reality, no animals existed to provide milk so they could not have known what butter and milk meant.

In 3 Nephi 7:8 there is a reference “…like a dog to his vomit, or like a sow to her wallowing in the mire” plagiarised from 2 Peter 2:22, the earliest claimed date for which is 63-64 CE whilst Smith claimed 2 Nephi was written many centuries earlier.

Sow: Unfortunately for Smith and more importantly, for the modern Mormon Church (which seems to constantly ignore such facts and suggest simply living by faith), although domesticated by the Chinese 6000 years ago, pigs were first introduced to the New World by the Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in 1539, fifteen centuries after this comment was (supposedly) made, at which time pigs would have been completely unknown to Smith’s imaginary residual Nephites and Lamanites.

Dog: So far as the dog is concerned, there is evidence of domestication dating back many thousands of years. When nomadic hunter-gatherers crossed the Bering Strait from Asia to North America, at least 12,000-14,000 years ago, they had dogs with them. Whilst Joseph Smith does not have the BOM state categorically that dogs were actually in the Americas, ironically, it is the only animal he mentions at all that actually was there. (See: Schwartz 1998).

Agriculture

Various foodstuffs were grown or were available and used during the Book of Mormon timeframe in different parts of America and included three main crops; corn, beans and squash. Other food (not all in the same locations) used by various peoples and cultures, included such things as: amaranth, eaten with chili peppers; chicham (like a turnip); chicozapote, a fruit; gourds; lima beans; manioc or cassava; yucca; peppers; peanuts; various plants; pineapples; potatoes; pumpkins; sunflowers; sweet potatoes and tomatoes. The Mayans grew cacao trees for chocolate, avocado trees and also papaya trees.

Against all odds of at least getting some of them right, Smith manages only one. He includes corn, but mentions not one of the rest of the above in his BOM at all, other than the cover-all statement ‘all manner of fruits’. Instead, he claims that they cultivated barley and wheat (which did not exist there) using manufactured implements, including ploughs made from metal (none have been found), pulled by draught animals which did not exist there at the time.

“And they did make all manner of tools to till the earth, both to plow and to sow, to reap and to hoe, and also to thrash. And they did make all manner of tools with which they did work their beasts.” (Ether 10:25-26)

Smith here combines three errors into proof positive fiction. Clearly, the ancients did not make ploughs (or any other implements) with which to work their beasts, in order to plough, sow, reap and hoe, or thrash [thresh], as they did not have any wheat and they did not have any beasts of burden of any description with which to work such implements, for which there is equally no evidence. There couldn’t be, as there was no use for them. No wheat, no barley, no ploughs and no draught animals – equals a story of pure (and very obvious) nineteenth century fiction.

He also mentions ‘neas’ and ‘sheum’ which are just nonsense words, supposedly given by God to Smith in the 1820s in an understandable form for the people of the day, without further need for interpretation. No one then or now has a clue what they actually mean. Apologists claim ‘sheum’ was an old Assyrian word relating to barley (which they didn’t have), grain or other things such as pine-nuts and it was hardly a word Smith would have ‘known’ in his day as the relevant language was not then interpreted. But, why would God translate ‘reformed Egyptian’ into ancient Assyrian for Smith to see in his hat and then have written down, when no one would ever understand it? It is utter apologetic nonsense, just as is Smith’s use of the word which he just made up.

Pathetically, apologists cling to the idea that a few grains of a type of small barley of some description may have been found in one or two minor locations dating to the BOM time period. Unfortunately, Arizona does not help the geography associated with the BOM, so one problem always leads to another. Additionally, it is completely different to the species of domesticated barley claimed to have been introduced from the Near East by BOM characters. Remember, Smith claims it as a staple and it had to feed millions of people. The reality is that the Spanish introduced barley to South America in the 16th century. British and Dutch settlers introduced it to the United States in the 17th century. Soil core samples from across the continent show nothing prior to that.

Wheat was known to Smith, so he included it, yet it was never a part of the diet of any culture in the Americas any more than barley was. It simply did not exist there before it was introduced, centuries after the end of the BOM era.

Steel bows and swords; gold and silver currency.

Joseph Smith has his BOM character, Nephi, say that he broke his bow, which was apparently made of ‘fine steel’, almost 600 years BCE. This is clearly an anachronism, as it is readily accepted that the required metal (carbonised steel) did not exist in the era.

       And it came to pass that as I, Nephi, went forth to slay food, behold, I did break my bow, which was made of fine steel; and after I did break my bow, behold, my brethren were angry with me because of the loss of my bow, for we did obtain no food. (1 Nephi 16:18). (Emphasis added).

Smith may have felt safe in his assertion, due to the following Biblical references which he may have noticed in the KJV. Smith was familiar with the steel of his own day.

“He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.” (2 Sam. 22:35; also: Psalm 18:34).

“He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.” (Job 20:24).

Steel as we know it, did not exist in the era and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) confirms the word ‘steel’ would better have been translated as ‘brass’ from Hebrew:

“Teaching my hands for battle, And brought down was a bow of brass in my arms.” (2 Sam. 22:35).

“…and a bow of brass was brought down by my arms.” (Psalm 18:34).                   

“He fleeth from an iron weapon, Pass through him doth a bow of brass.” (Job 20:24)

       The Hebrew phrase השוחנ תשק has been routinely translated in the above scriptures as bronze or brass bow. Why would God use the word ‘steel’ in Smith’s hat when ‘brass’ would have led to much less confusion?

Currency

 A complete monetary system, consisting of silver and gold coinage, is described in detail in the Book of Mormon. (Alma 11:3-20). Note that cleverly, Smith has Alma declare they did not copy the system used in Jerusalem (or by any Jews), but they made up their own system and adjusted it, generation by generation, to suit their needs.

Silver Coins

Senum   = a Senine of gold and for a measure of barley or any other grain.

Amnor   = 2 Senums (therefore also equal to a Seon of gold).

Ezrom    = 4 Senums (therefore also equal to 2 Amnors; also a Shum of gold.

Onti        = as great as them all (presumably worth 7 Senums)?

Gold Coins

Senine   = to a Senum of silver and for a measure of barley or any other grain.

Seon       = 2 Senines (and also equal to an Amnor of silver).

Shum     = 2 Seons (and also equal to an Ezrom of silver).

Limnah  = the value of them all (presumably worth 7 Senines)?

Lesser Coins (no mention of the metal used in manufacture).

Shiblon                = half a Senum and for half a measure of barley.

Shiblum               = half a Shiblon.

Leah                     = half a Shiblum

Antion (of gold) = 3 Shiblons.

That is more or less how the currency is listed in the Book of Mormon. As a member of the Church, when you read it as written, you quickly get confused and just gloss over it, accepting that it was their currency, giving it no further thought, as it is unimportant. It is only when you stop to question it and decide to look more closely, that once again the truth shines through like a torch in the darkness. It may be easier to rank the coins in value to show how confusingly useless such a ‘doubling up’ and gold and silver ‘equal value’ coinage system would be in practice:

Leah                       = lowest denomination.

Shiblum                 = 2 Leahs.

Shiblon                  = 2 Shiblums (4 Leahs) or half a measure of barley).

Senum or Senine  = 2 Shiblons (4 Shiblums or 8 Leahs).

Antion                    = 3 Shiblons (6 Shiblums or 12 Leah).

Amnor or Seon     = 2 Senum/Senine (4 Shiblons, 8 Shiblums, or 16 Leah).

Ezrom or Shum    = 2 Amnor/Seon (4 Senum/Senine, 8 Shiblons,

16 Shiblums, or 32 Leah).

Onti or Limnah    = “as great as them all” or “the value of them all”.

The four silver and four gold coins, being identical in value, make the point of the system silly, as the only difference in eight gold and silver coins of four equal values would have to have been in size, weight and percentage purity, rather than purpose. There is no logic to it and the refining and manufacturing requirements far too complex to undertake in such a society. The lesser coins also all double in value, with the exception of the strange Antion coin. Smith’s problem with his currency is that it is a ludicrous system which would not work at all well in a real setting, but he also has other, far more difficult problems that we will come back to. There has never been a system that doubles five or six times, sufficing for everything, for one very good reason; it is completely impractical. No one would invent such a system as it simply would not work in everyday use. That’s ignoring the fact that Native Americans didn’t actually need or use any currency at all, all those years ago.

The Church now tries to claim they may have been units of weight rather than coins, which hardly tallies with the chapter headings in many published BOM languages. (See more here: Nephite Coins In any event, either way, the same problems remain. Ignoring the fact that it is impossible that any Native American tribe or civilisation at the claimed BOM stage could have minted any such currency, the simple archaeological fact of the matter is that not a single such relic has ever been discovered anywhere in the Americas.

(Reformatted extracts from The Mormon Delusion, Volume. 2, Chapter 12. (pp. 213-241) Joseph Smith’s Flights of Fantasy. Anachronisms – Impossible Book of Mormon Claims).

The Mormon Delusion Volume 2 details.

 

The Bible Delusion

Extract

‘Hang On A Minute’ Moment 37

You Don’t Have to Go into Battle if…

The beginning of Deuteronomy 20 reads very much like one of my favourite Monty Python sketches, ‘Marching up and down the square’, where a Sergeant Major (Michael Palin), addresses his troops and excuses them from the parade ground in turn if they would rather be doing other things, such as being at home with the wife and kids, reading a book, or going to a movie; until there are none of them left. I wonder if this is where the Pythons got the idea from.

It starts off by saying not to be afraid if they see lots of horses and chariots and more people than they have, because God is with them. “For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.” (v.4). So far, so good, I suppose. But then, when they are out there, ready to do battle, the officers are to first speak to the people. Instead of fighting, any man who has built a house but not yet dedicated it, can go home and do so, in case he should die in battle and another man dedicate it. Next, if any man has planted a vineyard and not yet eaten of it, he can go home, lest he die in battle and another man eat of it. Any man who is engaged, but not yet married, he can go home, lest he die in battle and another man take his betrothed. If anyone is too scared to fight, they can also go home, in case they would make others fainthearted. I wonder if there would be anyone left after that. And, why wait until they are out on the battlefield instead of addressing such issues beforehand? What nonsense is this?

The Bible Delusion

Extract

Appendix E

 The Mormon ‘Ezekiel 37’ Claim

 “The Book of Mormon and the Bible Support Each Other.”

“The LDS English edition of the King James Version of the Bible and the Book of Mormon have cross-references and study aids that make the stick of Judah (the Bible) and the stick of Joseph (the Book of Mormon) one in our hands (see Ezekiel 37:15–17; also 1 Nephi 13:34–41; 2 Nephi 3:12; 29:8). Give priority to Book of Mormon passages when you teach, but also show how the Book of Mormon and the Bible teach the same principles.” (Emphasis added) (‘Preach my Gospel: a Guide To Missionary Service’ – Mormon Missionary Lesson Manual. p.105. Available online).

Mormon missionaries are firmly instructed to “give priority to Book of Mormon passages when you teach.” The idea that the Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other is somewhat short lived in many ways when you discover that the Book of Mormon claims Jesus Christ was known in Old Testament times and all the prophets prayed to God in the name of Jesus. Naturally, the Bible does not support that idea, or indeed many other Mormon concepts, at all. Nevertheless, the Mormon Church continues to maintain each book supports the other. Members do not see through the many obvious contradictions.

Not least of the liberties taken with the Bible by the Mormon Church is the concept that the Bible is the ‘stick of Judah’ and the Book of Mormon is the ‘stick of Joseph’ in Ezekiel 37:15-17. Thus the Bible and Book of Mormon can be one in our hands. I just accepted this as a member and found great comfort in my ‘quad’ when the Church started to produce them. That is, a quadruple combination of all the ‘scriptures’, including the King James Bible, The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price, all in one handy volume – ‘one in our hands’.

Let’s look at what Ezekiel says and what it really means.

Ezekiel 37:15. The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

  1. Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
  2. And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (Emphasis added). (See also: NIV below).

The above is from the KJV which Joseph Smith had access to. He used the idea to justify the existence of the Book of Mormon in an 1830 Doctrine and Covenants revelation (D&C 27:5).

Only now do I begin to understand the real meaning of Ezekiel and what nonsense the Mormon claim is. Ezekiel was not speaking about books at all in the way the Mormon Church claims. It is actually quite clear when you read more of Chapter 37, even in the KJV, but as Mormons, we just don’t put it all together. Ironically, v. 18 actually asks what the previous verses really mean and then an explanation is provided. The truth is right there in black and white.

Ezekiel 37:18. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?

  1. Say unto them, Thus saith the LordGod; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
  2. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
  3. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
  4. And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: (Emphasis added).

So, we see that rather than remotely speaking about two ‘books’ (one not published until 1830), it relates to two kingdoms being brought together under one king. So, what was the writing all about? A clearer translation gives a much better idea. The New International Version of the Bible helps with this:

New International Version (NIV). Ezekiel 37.

One Nation Under One King.

  1. The word of the Lord came to me:
  2. “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, ‘Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, ‘Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’
  3. Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.
  4. “When your countrymen ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’
  5. say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’
  6. Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on
  7. and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
  8. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.

The Mormon Church would have it that the two ‘sticks’ were scrolls or books; one being the Bible and the other, the Book of Mormon. However, the scripture clearly states that it was Ezekiel who was to do the writing in both cases. (See emphasised text in KJV Ezekiel 37:15-17 on p. 337 above). He was also told exactly what to write on each stick and the above NIV translation tells it all really.

One stick of wood was to have written on it the words:

“For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions.”

The other stick of wood was to say:

“For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions.”

In each case, in the KJV of Ezekiel 37:16, the letter ‘F’ in the word ‘For’ is capitalised, signifying the start of what to actually write on each stick of wood. It is not an indication of what is to be written ‘for’, or on behalf of, the tribes in books, as is the Mormon claim.

There are forty writers and sixty-six scrolls forming the Bible, and many authors supposedly contributed to the Book of Mormon. It is Ezekiel who is to write on both sticks in Ezekiel 37. It is only the Mormon Church that disagrees.

The Mormon Church claims ‘stick’ means ‘scroll’ in Ezekiel. Never mind that the Book of Mormon was supposedly written on gold plates and not scrolls. In any event, Ezekiel clearly identifies that he knows the difference between a stick of wood and a scroll. In an entirely different context, Ezekiel writes:

Ezekiel 2:9. And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein;

From what I now understand, following some research, the Hebrew word translated as ‘stick’ in Ezekiel is pronounced ‘ets’. There are quite a variety of English words appearing in the Old Testament translated from ‘ets’, depending on the context. Alphabetically, these are: gallows, helve, plank, staff, stalk, stick, stock, timber, tree and wood. It is never translated as: book, roll, scroll, parchment or papyri, let alone metal plates of gold, brass or any other material.

The word stick did not mean ‘scroll’ in Ezekiel 37 as the Mormon Church claims. As a Mormon, a cursory glance at Ezekiel leaves one feeling warm and fuzzy due to the trust placed in church leaders; that the Lord has revealed the truth to them. In fact, it can bolster a testimony. Likewise, an investigator may be convinced by a Mormon missionary ‘explanation’ of Ezekiel 37, much in the same way that someone investigating Jehovah’s Witnesses may be influenced by their unconvincing ‘circle of the earth’ explanation. (See Appendix C).

However, an objective review of the real meaning, correct translation and explanation provides, once again, quite an opposite conclusion to the Mormon claim. If you read the whole book of Ezekiel, it is about God and his tortured relationship with Israel. Ezekiel 37 confirms how he would eventually bring them together – in that era; and it had nothing to do with books at all.