Nephite Coins

Unlike such as the ‘white and delightsome’ issue, where apologists tried to defend their leaders’ recent change to the text of the Book of Mormon, FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) has produced a video that actually attacks an ‘inspired’ header to the Book of Mormon and claims a text regarding coinage does not mean what it has clearly been perceived as by millions of Mormons and their leaders for one-hundred-and-eighty years.

With no apparent mandate from the First Presidency and no change of text or header, they claim; through historical Old World data, common sense and reason; that the Nephites did not have coinage as declared by the book and header. Without a First Presidency mandate, this act undermines and discredits not just the Church and its current leaders but many previous leaders and their ‘inspired’ writings. They seem to be agreeing with detractors through sheer logic – a refreshing change, but of significant damage to their leaders’ credibility.

The following notes were posted on ‘Exmormon Forums’ 11 March 2010 and also appeared on ‘RfM’ 13 March 2010. They are followed here by a section from TMD Vol 2 which covers Nephite coinage in more detail:

FAIR concedes Nephites did NOT have coins, dig themselves a hole and jump right in! 

I just came across this video clip from FAIR so it is new to me, but it may well have been available for some time. As I have written on this subject myself, I felt it worth relaying this absurd claim made by FAIR.

Until the 2005 film “The Bible v. The Book of Mormon” was released; no one ever seemed to question the concept of Nephite coins in the Book of Mormon. Everyone knew and accepted that the Nephites developed and used their own currency system.

Subsequent to the film, in a remarkable turn-around concerning all that Mormons previously understood about coins from reading the Book of Mormon, FAIR claimed the heading to Alma 11 is “almost certainly wrong” and that the Nephites did not have coins after all.

It is notable that as ever there has been no official response from the First Presidency or Quorum of Twelve who are the ones (rather than mere apologists) who are supposed to actually represent God. Apologists stir up a hornets nest and the big fifteen keep quiet.

In a three minute clip, entitled “The Book of Mormon and Coins”, John Welch, founder of FARMS (The Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies),  introduces what is news (to them, but not the rest of the world) that “sometimes people criticise the Book of Mormon saying that it talks about coins; and coinage wasn’t really invented until after Lehi has left Jerusalem.”

Daniel C. Peterson, PhD – Middle Eastern Studies; makes this astounding confession:

“There have been no coins found in Ancient America because they didn’t exist – and they don’t exist in the Book of Mormon.”

He adds: “The header note to Alma 11 which describes Nephite coinage is almost certainly wrong.”

Brant Gardner, Scholar, Mesoamerican Studies claims:
“The header is a modern addition. It has nothing to do with the text. It certainly isn’t unusual that people will read that section of the Book of Mormon and assume that it’s coins but we do that with the Bible too. We will read ourselves back into it and make assumptions about the early culture based on what we believe, so we read these things and say it must have been coins.”

Kerry Shirts, Contributing Researcher, Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research then says:
“But those headings were not on the plates. From our understanding, some of the modern brethren put those headings to try to give us kind of a guide but the actual text itself describes different weights.”

Peterson then confirms his view:
“It describes pieces of metal; it says nothing about them being stamped or minted which is what makes a piece of metal a coin. There is no reason to expect to find Nephite coins because I don’t think they ever existed and the Book of Mormon doesn’t claim they do.”

Kerry Shirts:
“The actual idea of the differing weights being used as a weight system in the monetary system is actually in the Mesopotamian, the Arcadian – and the old Babylonian, come to think of it. This is how they used their money was through weight.”

John Tvedtnes, Senior Scholar chimes in:
“In fact even the Israelites used weights initially. The Bible mentions some. The most common was called the shekel which comes from the verb ‘to weigh’ – actually it is the verb meaning to weigh.”

Back to Peterson:
“We know that coinage first appeared apparently in Libya, in modern Turkey or Anatolia and you see in some burials clearly the transition that occurs after Lehi’s departure by about a century or so from the new world. You see mixed hoards of stamped minted coins and also specific weights of metal that are not shaped, minted or stamped. So, there was an evolution there in a sense. People went from fixed weights of metal to actual coins. Lehi left just before that change took place.”

John Welch concludes:
“And that’s what we have in this weights and measures section of chapter eleven. It’s part of a big picture of the legal reforms that explains why those weights and measures were initiated at that time and they conform with what one would have expected from the ancient world.”

Peterson:
“We always have the problem of trying to impose on the text our own imagination of things. If you read the text very carefully and try to filter out your own cultural presupposition the ancient people didn’t necessarily live, think or act exactly the same way we do.”

The Book of Mormon and Coins: 3 minute clip from which the above text is drawn.

The question is, after a long succession of Mormon ‘Prophets’ who have been aware of the header, if it is wrong; when the headers were first introduced, somewhere around 1920 it seems; why did the prophet of the day (Heber J. Grant) allow such an error to be included in the heading or why hasn’t the Mormon God revealed the supposed error to a later prophet and had him ‘clarify’ it. Clearly, Church authorities have no idea what the truth is and do not appear to venture an explanation – or even an opinion. It is left to apologists to make such statements, presumably in some kind of attempt to escape the inevitable alternative conclusion that Nephite ‘coinage’ is yet another evidence of the Joseph Smith hoax.

The heading to Alma Chapter 11 includes the words: Nephite coinage set forth… v.4 confirms they had actual coins (imprinted or not) and such manufactured ‘pieces’ do not decompose over time. If they existed in any form, some should (and would) have been found decades ago. The word ‘pieces’ in this context, in Joseph Smith’s day, meant coins – that’s a fundamental; and previous to an apologetic need for such fanciful conjecture; completely accepted, fact. It was in common usage in reference to such earlier coinage as ‘pieces of eight’; and ‘pieces of gold’ would have been readily understood to represent coins rather than ingots as such by early Mormons. Smith was also obsessed with the idea of finding Captain Kidd’s treasure in some of his money digging exploits, which he no doubt considered contained many ‘pieces’.

Alma 11:4. “Now these are the names of the different pieces of their gold, and of their silver, according to their value.”

This verse is not just a header to be discarded, it is the actual text and clearly states that the pieces each had an individual value – and were not just part of aweight system. The word value does not mean or equal the word weight. Coins may indeed be of equal weight but the text uses the words “according to their value” which is indicative of the purchasing power of actual coins (or pieces) that would not need to first be weighed. FAIR completely ignores this obvious textual problem. If they claim that it needs ‘clarification’, thus completely altering the entire meaning from what everyone previously clearly understood to be the case, then once again they make their God look foolish and incompetent when it comes to an initial plain and simple explanation of the actual case. Knowing such confusion would one day exist, why did the Mormon God not dictate the words “according to their weights” into Smith’s hat?

FAIR claims that the word ‘pieces’ of gold or silver doesn’t mean they were imprinted –  which would only then make them ‘coins’. The notion that they would need imprinting to qualify as currency is absurd when you consider the many different early forms of currency, metallic and otherwise, that have existed around the world without imprinting. However, they seem to think that such pieces would only be found if they were imprinted. Since when did refined pieces gold or silver decompose, imprinted or not?

Peterson says later burials contained “mixed hoards of stamped minted coins and also specific weights of metal that are not shaped, minted or stamped.” So, in the Americas let’s not expect to find imprinted coins and just settle for “hoards” of “specific weights of metal that are not shaped, minted or stamped” instead. Where in all the Americas have any of the millions of these pieces of any size, shape or weight ever been discovered? The Americas have seen more archaeological research than anywhere else on the planet and there is not a single Nephite ‘piece’.

References to weights and measures of the Old World do no more than verify the fact that Smith made up the idea of Nephite coinage in the first place as they would have had no knowledge of such things – just as detractors have long argued. Now apologists play their usual mind games, meant to capture the faithful before they lose faith, and exploit their delusion further by explaining away the inexplicable in a new idea that the header was wrong all along misleading everyone and only they as academics can ‘clarify’ matters and now explain everything away satisfactorily.

These pieces can hardly be considered just measures of ‘weight’ by any stretch of the imagination. Joseph Smith clearly recorded what God supposedly told him via his seer stone in his hat. No pieces have been found, any more than coins have; and no other gold or silver usage in any such complex refined form has ever been found in the Americas. Gold dust was used (in quills) by the Aztecs and Maya who also used measures of 24,000 cocoa beans as ‘currency’. Despite the FAIR claim that they used weights, most used no form of currency at all and using 24,000 cocoa beans has little to do with weight and everything to do with simple numbers.

The ‘pieces’ of precious metal were equal to, or multiples of, other specific values. Therefore each ‘piece’ had to be of equal weight. Such pieces are therefore effectively coins – minted and / or stamped or not; each piece would have had to have weighed the same and perhaps (if they were real) could have been shaped in order to easily recognise the differences.

The ‘shekel’ reference does not mention the fact that shekels were definitely NOT ‘pieces’ that each weighed the same. A shekel was indeed a measurement of the weight of any number of sizes from dust to ingots, making up an appropriate weight. This has always been perfectly clear and understood by anyone who has studied it.

The Nephite system; whatever you conceive it to be; must be admitted as being ‘pieces’ of precious metal and therefore should still be locatable and dateable – with or without any imprints. Gold and silver doesn’t miraculously deteriorate just because it has no imprint! They had to have had millions of these so-called ‘pieces’ and none have been found at all. Also, in the case of Biblical shekels, which are mentioned in the video clip, archaeological digs have not only located evidence of such in the form of gold, silver and bronze ingots; but also evidence of the methods of weighing them; naturally, dating to before the time Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem, just as apologists (only now) admit. So; where in all of the Americas is the archaeological evidence for methods of weighing these millions of missing Nephite ‘pieces’ of metal – or at least ingots of gold and silver – which were manufactured later than those found in the Holy Land, to substantiate the claim?

Measures of barley (Alma 11:7 & 15) could not have been used against the value of Nephite coins or ‘pieces’ as claimed, even as weights, as there never was domesticated barley in the Americas. 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 problematic geography associated with theBOM, 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 they brought it with them and that it was a staple that had to feed millions of people. It is a conclusive fact that this was not the case. Of course, devious apologists may next claim that ‘barley’ may have meant some other type of grain of convenience, just as tapirs once suddenly seemed to have been able to act as horses in order to pull fictitious BOM chariots; another fanciful and ludicrous apologetic notion, which has hopefully (and sensibly) now faded out of apologetic fashion.

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 and according to the BOM it was a staple and used against the coinage (or now suddenly the ‘weight’) system they employed. Barley is a pollen producing crop and no soil core samples have located domesticated barley in the Americas prior to the later colonisation. So, coins or weights – it makes no difference, the whole concept is outrageous and a study of all Native American tribes and civilisations proves beyond doubt that no such system as described in the BOM (whether coins or weights) was ever employed by any of them.

I have copied below, the section on Nephite currency from The Mormon Delusion Volume 2, so anyone who cares to revue the absurdity of Joseph Smith’s Nephite currency ideas can do so.  If you want to substitute the word ‘coin’ with the word ‘weight’ regarding Nephite currency, everywhere in my work – which is quite a stretch for FAIR to now claim – nevertheless, all the problems still remain. It solves nothing and questions everything – including this:

FAIR claims that the chapter ‘headings’ (which mention coinage system) were “a modern addition” and “It has nothing to do with the text”. They claim “some of the modern brethren put those headings” with the “wrong” assumption that it relates to coins. They didn’t bother to consider two things.

Firstly; headings seem to have been introduced around 1920. They were approved by the First Presidency or they would never have appeared. It clearly states “COINAGE” which was always accepted as the case. There have been dozens of members of the ‘big fifteen’ since that time. Each one of them is sustained as a prophet, seer and revelator. How is it that the Mormon God has not seen fit to ‘inspire’, let alone ‘reveal’, the truth regarding this matter to any of those leaders (including TEN actual prophets) in all those years – and still chooses not to do so – to avoid such a problematic situation arising? Recognising that actual coinage is an impossibility in supposed Nephite times, but accepting the Book of Mormon must still be shown to be true at any cost – what authority from that God do mere apologists claim in order to decry their own leaders (and their God) who permitted such an (obvious only to them) error in the first instance? Do the Mormon leaders and their God now rely on academics to explain what is really meant in the “most correct book ever written”?

If the First Presidency are still happy with the header, then, as they reign supreme in the Church, apologists should accept that it does mean coins– unless and until the First Presidency concede otherwise and declare it on behalf of their God. The fact that it is still there affirms that – either they accept Nephites supposedly had coins or – the only alternative (thanks to apologists who pointed it out) is they accept apologists are correct but are quite content for the headers not to be ‘corrected’ and thus perpetuate yet another lie? Which is it? Either apologists are wrong and they should say so; or Church leaders persist in publishing yet another conceded deception.

Secondly; B.H. Roberts seemed quite satisfied to believe they had coins – not just weights, when he wrote, “we have also a number of names of Nephite coins and the names of fractional values of coins…” Roberts ‘explains’ the coinage system and their relative values and then states “there is stated a system of relative values in these coins that bears evidence of its being genuine”. (A New Witness for God. 3:145. Italics added). So; apologists are now also disrespecting Roberts’ explanation which was clearly accepted by the whole Church, leaders and members alike, until this very day. No one I know locally has any more doubt about the ‘coin’ system than they have any idea that apologists decry it.

If Church leaders did one day alter the header to read that it was purely a system of measurement by weight, none of the surrounding problems disappear. It would just add even more complications for the Church, as it would show a reliance on academic postulations based on delusional reasoning rather than revelation from God. What a way to run a railroad that would be!

The apologists may have been better advised to leave well alone as they look increasingly foolish in trying to be clever about things which are already complete nonsense and they just make matters worse. Why would a God dictate the most ‘correct’ book into Smith’s hat and at the same time leave such ambiguity about what has become; due to meddling apologists who want to look the part and appear clever enough to explain the inexplicable; yet another monumental problem for the Church? I can’t help but wonder how such delusion still prevails in people who can see the truth and yet instead of facing it, spend their lives searching for and publishing supposed plausible but unfounded alternative postulations in response to evidence against, not just this, butall the claims made by the Church.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. (Aldous Huxley).

Jim Whitefield. Copyright © March 2010. All rights reserved.

****************

Afterthoughts.

Suppose the First Presidency are still quite happy that Nephites did develop a currency system of coins, just as explained in the BOM; and suppose they always were and still are comfortable with the header; and suppose they still agree with B. H. Roberts that it was indeed used by the Nephites? Does it matter that coins as such had not been invented prior to Lehi leaving Jerusalem? Why could they not have developed the coinage simultaneously to other cultures, just as all Mormons previously assumed and accepted? After all, the Book of Mormon also claims the Jaredites developed submersible vessels and were told they could not use glass windows, many centuries before either concept ever existed. The question is, has the First Presidency ever questioned coins?

What gives mere apologists the right to question what everyone else, including their leaders, accepts as factual? Surely this represents; not a required explanation; for it is already clearly explained and accepted – no; surely this represents a lack of faith to believe what has been published for years by those in authority who should know far better than apologists who are just academics and not prophets or seers (let alone revelators), with no ‘God given’ authority whatsoever. Surely; unless they can confirm the First Presidency have their own doubts and have asked them to make up an alternative theory – and they also now change the header to read ‘weights’ system; this claim is actually the equivalent of the ‘philosophies of men, mingled with scripture’ as Satan would say during the Temple endowment; and they are on the road to apostasy. If they have been given no such mandate, then shame on them for their lack of faith and such an egotistical attitude as to decry the work and view of their God given leaders as incorrect. They have no right and they have no case.

Apologists have three choices.

  1. Produce a mandate from the First Presidency authorising their work.
  2. Renounce it and retract it, as, if they have no mandate, then it is a heresy.
  3. Go one step further and apply the same logic, common sense and reason to the hundreds of other BOM problems and come to the only possible conclusion. Not only did coins not exist, neither did the Nephites. The book is demonstrably no more than fiction in every way.

The following is an interesting note, posted to my thread on RfM by my friend ‘Cricket’ from the Salamander Society. If there is any truth to such a claim, perhaps the First Presidency would care to enlighten the world by producing said coins and submitting them for independent analysis and dating – oh, and at the same time, perhaps slap the wrists of the apologists who have disrespected the Church’s clear position as stated in the BOM header.

Cricket posted:
The following post I got years ago from Sandra Tanner’s Messenger Magazine:

“I did have the opportunity of taking the testimony of two persons from my home town, a man and his wife, Brother and Sister Robinson, who brought what was reported to be a Nephite coin to the offices of the First Presidency around the turn of the century.

He had served in the Southern States as a missionary. He came back from the Southern States with what he believed to be a Nephite coin. His mission president, Ben E. Rich, had so identified it.

I do not know the means by which the mission president made the identification. But Brother Robinson was told that it was a Nephite coin. He was told also by his mission president to take it to the First Presidency when he returned home.

He did so. I took the testimony from him and from his wife, had it recorded and then read it to them and had them sign it. They testify that such a coin was delivered to the Church. I was also told in that interview that they were shown a bag of coins of similar nature, by members of the First Presidency. This, as I say, happened around the turn of the century, around 1890”. (James R. Clark, Book of Mormon Institute, BYU, December 5,1959, p.55).

Posted at the Salamander Society. Scroll down to ‘Nephite Coins’.

A friend recently interested me in foreign language translations of the Book of Mormon regarding Alma. Did Mormon Church leaders have coins or weights represented in foreign language editions? John Bleazard pointed out the text of the 1961 German version which he used while on his mission and also Spanish editions. The following are from official Mormon Church internet versions (hard copies where shown) of the Book of Mormon. Each translation is by machine so they are a guide rather than definitive.

Danish. No heading.
v.4: Her er navnene på de forskellige guld-og sølvmønter efter værdi.
Here are the names of the various gold and silver coins by value.

Chinese. Heading: 說明尼腓人的幣制
Translates ‘currency’.
v.4: 以下是他們按照不同價值的金幣、銀幣
The following is their different values in accordance with gold and silver coins

Dutch. No heading.
v.4: Dit nu zijn de waarden van de verschillende goud- en zilverstukken volgens hun waarde.
And these are the values of the various gold and silver coins according to their value.

Finnish. No heading.
v.4: Nyt nämä ovat heidän erilaisten kulta- ja hopearahojensa nimet, niiden arvojen mukaisesti.
Now these are their various gold and silver monies and the names of their values.

French. No heading.
v.4: Or, voici les noms des différentes pièces de leur or et de leur argent, selon leur valeur.
Now, here are the names of different parts of their gold and money, according to their value.

German. No heading.
v.4: Das folgende nun sind die Namen ihrer verschiedenen Stücke Gold und Silber, gemäß ihrem Wert.
The following are now the names of their various pieces of gold and silver, according to their Value.

Added information from my friend: John Bleazard.
From a 1961 German copy of the Book of Mormon.

Heading: Nephitische Münzen und Mäße
Translates: Nephite Coins and Measures.
v.4: Dies sind die Namen ihrer verschiedenen Gold- und Silbermünzen nach ihrem Wert.
These are the names of their various gold and silver coins according to their value.
John explains: “In German there is no ambiguity over the German word for “piece” or “coin.”  The German word for “piece” is “Stück” and its plural “Stücke.”  While the totally unambiguous word for coin is “Münze,” plural “Münzen.”  That word can only mean coin.”

Hungarian. Heading: A nefita pénzrendszer leírása
The description of the monetary system nefita (Nephite).
v.4:  Most, ezek aranyuk és ezüstjük különböző darabjainak a nevei, azok értéke szerint.
Now, their gold and silver pieces of different names, according to their value.

Italian. No heading.
v.4: Ora, questi sono i nomi dei loro vari pezzi d’oro e d’argento, secondo il loro valore.
Now, those are the names of their pieces of gold and silver, according to their value.

Korean. Heading: 니파이인의 화폐 체계가 설명됨
Nephite monetary system explained…
v.4: 이제 이는 그 값어치를 따라 그들의 금과 그들의 은의 각기 다른 조각의 명칭이니
Now, according to which the worth of their different pieces of gold and silver in their name are you

Portuguese. No heading.
v.4: Ora, estes são os nomes das diversas moedas de ouro e de prata, segundo seu valor.
Now these are the names of several gold and silver, according to its value.

Norwegian. No heading.
v.4: Nå, dette er navnene på deres forskjellige gull og sølvmynter etter den verdi de hadde.
Now, these are the names of their various gold and silver coins for the value they had.

Spanish. No heading.
v.4: Y éstos son los nombres de las diferentes monedas de su oro y de su plata según su valor
And these are the names of the currencies of its gold and its silver by value

Added information from John Bleazard.
From a 1980 Spanish edition.
Heading:  Los jueces y su compensación.  Monedas y medidas de los nefitas.
The judges and their compensation.  Coins and measures of the Nephites.

v.4: Reads the same as the internet version above.

From a 1992 Spanish edition.

Heading:  Se describe el sistema monetario de los nefitas
The monetary system of the Nephites described
v.4: Reads the same as the internet version above.

Swedish. Heading: Nephiternas myntsystem förklaras
Nephite coin system explained
v.4:  4 Och detta är namnen på deras olika guldstycken och deras silverstycken efter deras värde.
And these are the names of their various pieces of gold and their silver pieces for their value.

Tagalog (Filipino). No heading.
v.4: Ngayon, ito ang mga katawagan ng iba’t ibang piraso ng kanilang ginto, at ng kanilang pilak, alinsunod sa halaga nito.
Now, these are the names of different pieces of their gold and their silver, according to its value.

Despite translations into various languages, no one has yet been ‘inspired’ to read anything other than coins into Alma 11:4. To date, everyone seems to be happy with the concepts of pieces, coins and values. The concept of weights is still conspicuous by its absence.

____________________

THE MORMON DELUSION. VOLUME 2. CHAPTER 12.

Joseph Smith’s Flights of Fantasy
Anachronisms – Impossible Book of Mormon Claims
Extract: Pp. 232-238.

Currency.

A complete monetary system, consisting of silver and gold coinage, is described in detail in the Book of Mormon. (Alma 11:3-20). Alma declared they made up their own system and adjusted it, generation by generation, to suit their needs. Smith clearly had no idea about any monetary system that would have been used in Jerusalem when Lehi and his family supposedly left there around 600 BCE. With no knowledge of Judean currency, he decided to invent his own complex (and completely unnecessary) monetary system instead. He didn’t even glean and use the words: shekel; (tribute) penny; (widows) mite; talent of silver etc., from the Bible. That may have landed him in trouble, had he got some of the multiples or usage dates wrong.

Had Smith known the system, the three most important weights in the Bible were the talent, shekel and gerah. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Weights, Measures and Coins, the talent (kikkar) was the largest unit of weight in the Bible. A talent was 3000 shekels (3,600 in Mesopotamia). ‘1000 silver’ means 1000 shekels (of silver) in Genesis 20:16, but the name of the weight is omitted as it is self explanatory. The shekel was bartering material, not a minted coin. It was weighed out. (Jer. 32:9). A ‘beka’ was a half shekel (Gen. 24:22; Ex. 38:26) and the ‘gerah’ a 20th of the shekel. (Ex. 30:13). In turn, the shekel was a 50th part of the ‘maneh’ and the maneh was the 60th part of the talent. The maneh and the talent were only units of account and remained so during the Second Temple period when the shekel became a coin denomination.

In short, this highly workable system consisted of:

Talent              = 60 maneh or 3,000 shekels.
Maneh             = 50 shekels or 100 beka or 1,000 gerahs.

Note the differential between the talent and gerah. (60,000-1). Scales and weights of the shekel unit have been found in excavations; as have gold, silver and bronze ingots; predating BOM claims for currency in the Americas (seventh to sixth centuries BCE). One would therefore expect BOM gold and silver coins, which are claimed to have been minted in abundance, over many generations; to likewise, have been discovered – somewhere.

This is the substance of the value system which Smith claims to have been in existence in America in 82 BCE. Strangely, sets of four silver and four gold coins are equal in value, meaning eight coins with four values. In a real setting, this bizarre coinage would have to be very carefully manufactured to ensure the correct silver and gold content was maintained for each corresponding value.

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. 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. 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.

The old British (Imperial) system of twelve pence to a shilling and twenty shillings to the pound (£), which survived until 1971; probably seems as complicated as any real currency to those only familiar with a decimal system. Early English coinage would break down a penny to a half-penny (pronounced HAYP-nee), a farthing (quarter-penny) and even a half-farthing. (In some British colonies, third and quarter farthings were circulated). There was once a ‘groat’ which was four-pence and also a half-groat. There was a three-penny piece (pronounced thruppence) and a sixpence. The shilling was also minted in multiples; the florin, (a two-shilling piece); half-crown (two shillings and six-pence); and a crown (five-shillings). Ten-shillings and upwards became notes when paper money was invented. An odd one out; the term ‘guinea’ (£1 and 1 shilling) was invented and used around the 1800s-1900s as a more gentlemanly term. Traders were paid in pounds but gentlemen paid in guineas. My own first suit was bought in guineas when I was fifteen, in 1961. However, larger values over £1, as with most currency, were and are still, multiplied in fives or tens. There is much more to this fascinating currency with which I was raised, but in the interests of not straying too far from the point, we must leave it there.

Whilst the idea of 240 pence to £1 may seem strange, in reality it served for greater division than decimal currency which can only be divided into halves, quarters, fifths, tenths, twentieths, twenty-fifths and fiftieths. The English pre-decimal system could be exactly divided into halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, twelfths, fifteenths, sixteenths, twentieths, twenty-fourths, thirtieths, fortieths, forty-eighths, sixtieths, eightieths and one-hundred-and-twentieths. It was extremely versatile.

Smith’s currency system does not measure up to either standard. No one would invent and use a system that doubles five times, with an intermediate 3x coin and a top value equal to all the others; let alone one where the four sets of silver and gold coins were of equal value. It is completely absurd and far too narrow in value differentials.

If we look then at Smith’s system and equate a measure of barley (although there was no such cereal as barley in the Americas, thus the ‘measure of barley’ idea is yet another anachronism) to a penny (for the sake of example), then we get the following. The silver Senum (or gold Senine) would be our ‘penny’; the Shiblon would be a half-penny; the Shiblum, a farthing and the Leah a half-farthing. That’s the base line and works so far, in line with the imperial system. However, we then have a problem – not just in the absurdity of four coins of gold and silver being identical in value – but that (in our comparison) they are only worth one penny (Senum or Senine), a penny-ha’penny (Antion), tuppence (Amnor or Seon), fourpece (Ezrom or Shum) and (seemingly) the highest value is just seven-pence (Onti or Limnah). There is no shilling or pound equivalent. There is nothing of at least ten times value, let alone a hundred times value, which is essential in any currency.

If you increase the values, then there is no lower currency available to purchase what would have been very low value items. If we ignore that problem and assume people had to purchase things in multiples, needed or not (which in reality would never be the case), as there was no ‘small change’, you still only get up to fourteen pence or twenty-eight pence at best for the highest denomination. All currencies allow for coinage with a value low enough to be able to individually purchase the smallest of items available.

A larger item, such as a (BOM claimed) chariot, in Smith’s currency terms would take thousands of these coins to even begin to buy one. Add a couple of (again, BOM claimed) horses to go with the new chariot and the figures become so astronomical as to be incredulous. I am sure apologists would quickly argue that there must have been some further unmentioned denominations, despite Smith’s seemingly complete coverage of the topic, but whatever they may say (or assume), to cover the lack of believability; not a single one of these millions of coins ever has been, nor I venture to suggest (with extreme confidence), ever will be – located.

A Senine of gold was a days pay for a judge. Smith has the character Zeezrom try to persuade Amulek to deny the existence of a Supreme Being for six Onties of silver. That equates to just fourteen days pay for a judge and is therefore hardly a real temptation. (BOM Alma 11:22). Yet v.25 states that six Onties were ‘of great worth’. Smith did not think it through. The real problem lies within the multiples. Despite the imperial system being so versatile, there were only three denominations; the pound, the shilling and the penny. The ratios were 12-1, 20-1 and 240-1. The differential between the early low value coin (half-farthing) and £1 is a massive 1920-1. Today, British currency is decimal (a half-penny was used at first but demonitised due to inflation in 1984), with just the penny and the pound and a ratio of 100-1. Sensibly, intermediate coins are 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, and 50p. Most currencies are now established this way with just two denominations and an overall ratio of 100-1.

Smith has a total of twelve denominations; although, as four are identical, there are really just eight. The differential between the lowest and the highest of these is only 56-1 with a pointless six denominations in between them. The highest valued coin was just fifty-six times the value of the cheapest thing that could be purchased. No one would create a system of twelve denominations containing an overall differential of just 56-1. It simply would not work. It gets worse, as the smallest denomination of gold and silver coins (Senum and Senine) were worth only eight times the Leah, which purchased the cheapest of items. It is not feasible that manufactured gold or silver coins could be worth so little and lesser metals would be used in a society that really could mint such a currency.

The Imperial system had a ‘silver’ thruppenny piece (it actually had a low silver content) and that was worth twelve times the farthing of its day. Smith’s system needed coins valued to at least ten, fifty or a hundred times the value of some lower denomination to work satisfactorily. Of course there could have been coins valued at higher numbers of Onti or Limnah but it would still leave a gaping hole in the workability of the system below that. There are no listed multiples of the highest denominations which would provide a workable monetary system; but if they existed, they appear to work in multiples of seven (the value of them all), making the whole idea preposterous and unworkable.

Smith’s bizarre currency has two major flaws, quite apart from considering the ability for early Native Americans to actually manufacture all the different coins, sizes and weights, each needing the correct percentage of purity (as they had to equally match each of four silver and gold values). There are two other complete impossibilities regarding his ideas.

Firstly; it was set against (undetermined) ‘measures’ of barley. What Smith did not know was that domesticated barley was not in existence there at the time and was not a part of the diet at all. Whilst barley has been cultivated for over 10,000 years elsewhere, it was only introduced to South America by the Spanish in the 16th century and to the United States, by English and Dutch settlers in the 17th century. (See pages 239-241).

Secondly; currency, in the form of minted coins was never used within any Native American Indian tribe prior to them having the idea introduced to them by colonists. The earliest form of ‘currency’ used, which replaced bartering or trading, was ‘wampum’, first introduced many centuries after BOMtimes.

Once well established, an invention or idea is not usually reversed unless a population is overrun or wiped out. It continues to be used until something better supercedes it. In terms of the invention of currency, it also evolves; it is unheard of to abandon the use of it completely once it has been successfully introduced. Smith claims his system of gold and silver currency was used for several centuries by his Book of Mormon characters. If that was the case, where is the cultural evidence of it?

Smith ignores the fact that up until shortly before his own time, Wampum (beads) and shell pendants had been used for generations as gifts and currency; the only money used was minted by the United States. Apart from adorning themselves with jewelry, the wearing or presenting of it also had many social, political and religious implications in addition to sometimes signifying belonging to a particular group. This was the system of Native Americans when they were first discovered in the 1600s.

Wampum (some originally from a particular type of clam shell) quickly evolved into a formal currency with which some European traders then exploited Native Americans. Metal coins were scarce, so wampum became the currency for colonists as well as Native Americans. The Dutch even mass produced wampum (a fathom of white beads was worth ten shillings and purple beads £1). Wampum remained in use right through until the American Revolution, which was not that long before Joseph Smith was born.

The notion that any Native Americans reverted from a comprehensive currency system of gold and silver coins, to no currency at all and then later to wampum (beads of shell, glass and metal), seventeen centuries after such an advance in culture, is unthinkable. I have researched every known Native American tribe for the use of coins and there is no tribe with a history of the manufacture of such a currency.

The Incas (Peru) reached their high level of civilization without any form of money whatsoever and the Aztecs and Maya (Mexico) used gold dust (kept in transparent quills) and also cocoa beans (in sacks of 24,000) as their ‘money’.

Smith’s coins fit no known civilization, yet he claimed Native Americans are descendants of his BOM characters. (For a comprehensive study of the history of money, see Davies: 2002).

The population Smith describes existing as Nephites and Lamanites consisted of hundreds of thousands if not millions of people over the centuries between 600 BCE and 425 CE. With the exception of a few old Spanish coins, lost after the Spanish arrived in the 1600s, not a single coin (or anything else related to the BOM for that matter) of any description has ever been located anywhere in the Americas.

I have not touched on the idea presented that as the judges handled law suits for a Senine a day, they stirred up riots and disturbances so people would sue and they would then get more employment. An early form of ‘ambulance chasing’ boldly appears in the Book of Mormon.

The following does not even deserve comment as it is so ludicrous.

“Now, it was for the sole purpose to get gain, because they received their wages according to their employ, therefore, they did stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ, that they might get money according to the suits which were brought before them; therefore they did stir up the people…” (BOM Alma 11:20).

The reality is, the metallurgy that would have been required in order to manufacture many items described in the Book of Mormon, did not commence in the region until long after BOM times, somewhere around the 9th century CE. Even then, it was not used for the purposes that Smith described. Archeological evidence confirms the true history and it is not remotely as claimed by Joseph Smith. There never was such a monetary system as he describes; anywhere in the world, let alone in the Americas. It existed only in Smith’s imagination.

Extract: Jim Whitefield TMD Vol. 2. Copyright © 2009. All rights reserved.

Visit: VISIT TMD BOOKSTORE.

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The Bible Delusion – Religion: The ultimate con trick

[Edit]: For a long time I considered writing a volume on the Bible and I finally published such a book in May 2016. It relates, not to Mormonism, but to religion in general, as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all rely on Abrahamic origins. This article was written in relation to Mormonism a few years earlier.

The idea stemmed from some clearly impossible aspects of the Old Testament that today are generally accepted by theologians as mythological or allegorical rather than reality; and yet they formed an integral and inextricable part of the Book of Mormon story, writings supposedly from the Book of Abraham, the Book of Moses and some basic concepts taught by Joseph Smith. Therefore, his hoax is further exposed by the truth behind those aspects of the Bible.

Some things; such as the ludicrous notion Joseph Smith included in his Book of Moses (5:8) and his Book of Mormon (Jacob 4:4) that all the prophets from the time of Adam taught people to pray to God in the name of Jesus; are already covered in The Mormon Delusion, Volume 2. Considering Hebrew Scriptures do not concern the Christian concept of Jesus; the whole notion of any early prophets teaching prayer through him is about as nonsensical as any theological concept could be, yet Smith had the temerity to claim it.

I have subsequently concluded that as there is no definitive proof of God, or whether Jesus Christ even existed as one individual person, those concepts will have to remain (as they probably should remain), matters of faith, for those who choose to believe in such things. I have discovered extensive evidence published by many archaeologists, Christian and Jewish theologians and scholars, concerning the truth behind much of the Bible and Jewish history. My intention here is to reflect the truth about the Bible, mainly as it relates to Mormon claims. I will provide just a few details which the Mormon Church once again falls foul of completely, as without them being reality there is no foundation for some fundamental core Mormon teachings established by Joseph Smith.

Whilst much of the Old Testament can certainly be historically, geologically and archeologically proven to be other than as claimed, some is also a real history, albeit greatly elaborated and embellished by successive Hebrew writers in order to make their small semi-nomadic tribes appear as great nations within their region.

When researching and writing The Mormon Delusion series, many aspects from the Bible that Joseph Smith referenced and upon which the Mormon Church today relies, came into serious question. After the devastating discovery that Smith was a fraud and that Mormonism was a hoax, it was equally distressing to discover that many aspects that are contained within Mormonism, which stem from the Bible, are also provably false claims. Whilst there may be an element of truth regarding some of the people, places and events, the Bible is filled with mythology, fiction, legends, fabrications and exaggerations.

The following are some aspects which should be seriously considered in light of the reality concerning the Bible. Some Biblical accounts upon which the Mormon Church relies, are in fact demonstrably untrue and can be proven to be fables or borrowed legends, constructed to create an historical account of Hebrew tribes which set them apart from and above other nations. They were accepted as real by Smith and so his writings include them. He was a cruel deceiver, using his vivid imagination to create a reality for his followers in order to control and manipulate them. If some aspects of the Bible are provably fiction, then some of Joseph Smith’s claims are even more fundamentally flawed than already proven in The Mormon Delusion volumes 1-5.

I have visited the Holy Land and many biblical sites. It is perfectly clear, despite what some Christian web sites may claim concerning their own ‘Christian’ archaeological research, that things are not at all as claimed in so-called scripture. For example, I visited old Jericho and looked at the digs and archaeological evidence regarding the early ‘walls’ of the city.

Firstly, it was more of a village than a city in biblical times. Modern Jericho, which is not built on the same site as old Jericho, is no more than a small town, even today, with a population of a little over twenty thousand people.

Secondly, the original ‘walls’ were some of the oldest in the world, dating back some fourteen thousand years, several thousands of years prior to the biblically claimed date of the creation and of Adam and Eve.

Thirdly, they crumbled away (or fell) in a time frame centuries different from the biblically claimed time of Joshua. I will come back to that.

Despite evolution long being firmly established as scientific fact and the tree of life confirmed via several different disciplines which actually render the fossil record superfluous and a kind of ‘bonus’ if you will, to date, the Mormon Church still takes no official stance on evolution at all. This is probably because the idea of explaining what we now know about the last 13.7 billion years causes more theological problems than the Church could ever cope with. The Mormon Church has two problems here.

Firstly, Joseph Smith established clear Mormon doctrine that the Earth has a lifespan of just seven-thousand years “…the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence” (D&C 77:6).

Secondly, Smith certainly accepted that Adam built an altar just a few thousand years ago – as he claimed to locate it – and the ‘saints’ would go to see it. The fact that the so-called altar stones contained fossils doesn’t seem to bother the Church at all – at least they certainly don’t want to talk about it.

7 April 1931. First Presidency instructs Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith and Seventy’s president B. H. Roberts: “The subject of Pre-Adamites [is] not to be discussed in public by the brethren either for or against the theory, as the Church has not declared itself and its attitude on the question.” (Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. 1997:821)

A few weeks later:

May 21, 1931 – Apostle James E. Talmage, a believer in organic evolution, writes to his son: “. . . according to a tradition in the Church based on good authority as having risen from a declaration made by the Prophet Joseph Smith, a certain pile of stones at Adamondi-Ahman, Spring Hill, Mo., is really part of the altar on which Adam offered sacrifices, and that I had personally examined those stones and found them to be fossiliferous, so that if those stones be part of the first altar, Adam built it of stones containing corpses, and therefore death must have prevailed in the earth before Adam’s time.”

The Church doesn’t officially comment on how that deduction is a reality. Was there then death before Adam and Eve, or did Smith lie about Adam’s altar? As evolution is now established as an absolute scientific fact and as Smith was proven a constant and compulsive liar, the answers are clear and obvious. Adam was a fictional character and Smith lied about Adam’s altar. Today, the Church most certainly allows members to believe death entered the world following the ‘fall’ of Adam. Many religions now accept evolution as fact whilst the Mormon Church remains quiet about it. The Pope accepts evolution – and that affects half of the Christian world. He is just a little uncertain as to when ‘mankind’ started having a soul, according to Richard Dawkins book, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth.’

The original ‘walls’ of Jericho were not ‘high’ – being two stories at most; and they eventually just crumbled, in a time frame several centuries different to the claimed event where Joshua supposedly had the Lord make them miraculously ‘tumble’ so they could take the city with relative ease. Then their God had them kill everyone and everything. We should ask what these people had ever done to deserve such genocidal treatment? Whether the original walls eventually crumbled due to age or earthquake (or even by the wrath of a god), they were certainly not destroyed in a timeframe even close to the Joshua claim.

In any event, Joshua could not have actually been there at any time really, as the events preceding this fictitious event were equally as fictitious; including the Israelites being in Egypt, various unrecorded (except in the Bible) plagues, and about two million people crossing the Red Sea and living in and travelling the Sinai for forty years. Most Christian Churches, including the Mormon Church, are quiet about the fact that Egyptian history, which is detailed and extensive, has no account of Israelites ever being there in significant numbers, mentioning only very small encampments on occasion outside city walls. Two million people in the Sinai for forty years would have left considerable evidence of their existence. Despite many decades of extensive archaeological research, just as with Smith’s claimed Book of Mormon culture, nothing has ever been found.

Israelites, living in Egypt for well over four hundred years, eventually totalling some two-million people, would have been recorded somewhere in Egyptian history. Egypt was defeated in battle at times and had other difficulties which were faithfully recorded. Despite Christian claims that the Egyptians may not have recorded anything about the Israelites due to the embarrassment of the plagues and their departure, the Egyptians did not record selective history and something would certainly have been recorded had the events been close to reality. As with much else in the Bible – these stories were just that – stories; fables, meant to give the Hebrews a more powerful and distinctive past rather than remain known as small semi-nomadic tribes of very little significance.

The following link provides a good accounting of the history and origin of the so-called ‘Israelites’:    Deonstructing the walls of Jericho

I hardly even need mention a global flood, the concept of which the Mormon Church clings to regarding the earth requiring a literal baptism. Life on this planet is sub-divided into domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species. The fact is that there are many millions of species which could not have survived a year long flood and could not have evolved in the short time span since said supposed flood, so everything that could not survive in water must be accounted for as having been in or on the ark. There is abundant and conclusive geological evidence from across the globe that no flood happened on that scale covering everything on the planet and for that length of time ever, let alone in that timeframe.

This fact is ignored in favour of faith in the fanciful. Evidence, again from many locations across the globe, of the continuous existence of humans and / or animals over tens, if not hundreds of thousands and in some cases even millions of years, again refutes such nonsense. To circumvent the evidence, it would require an alternate supposition – perhaps that God placed lots of new species on the planet following the flood. That has not been claimed to my knowledge, as of course it goes against the whole concept of creationism.

The fictional ‘ark’ was described as being about the size of a football field, but apart from the fact that a vessel of that size constructed entirely of ‘gopher wood’ and ‘pitch – inside and out’ could not itself actually survive a flood for any number of engineering reasons, how did it accommodate – for example, over three hundred and fifty species of monkey alone? So, start with at least seven hundred of those and begin counting. End with many millions of species on board and then add thousands of different birds on the roof, most of which cannot land on water, and you start to see the scale of the problem. If you had a hundred such arks, that would still not be enough to accommodate them all.

Then consider how, following the flood, they all managed to not only arrive in different parts of the world, but also magically leave an ancestral record of their existence in those places spanning many thousands (sometimes millions), of earlier years. To accept the ark idea as factual rather than fictional is equal to accepting the reality of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy combined. In fact, there is actually more (anecdotal) evidence in favour of fairies (not that I am suggesting we should believe in them), than there is remotely supporting the possibility of the flood and an ark. It is just a story; a horrid, genocidal story. People love the story of God saving Noah’s family and some animals but seem to block out the many millions of murders this God committed. But a myth is all it ever was – and provably so. An exceptionally good article concerning this area, written by Mark Isaak, is available here: Problems with a Global Flood.

Egyptian history and genealogy of their Kings and Pharaohs spans many thousands of years without a ‘flood’ gap – something Smith has a major problem with in terms of his Book of Abraham. In that book, following the flood, Egyptus, daughter of Ham and Egyptus (son and daughter-in-law of Noah) discovers Egypt after the flood. The Mormon Church is quiet about the fact that this is both historically impossible and also the (English) word ‘Egypt’ didn’t even exist until the Greeks couldn’t pronounce the name of the country – many centuries later. See ‘The Mormon Delusion’ volume 2, Chapter 14 for full details of this nonsense.

The New Testament includes books ascribed to people who did not write them; the books being written and rewritten, decades to even centuries after the supposed time of Jesus Christ, by people who never knew or even met him. The Gospel of John, which is relied upon heavily in Mormonism, is accepted by many theologians as an unhistorical document, written to describe what they would have liked the Saviour to have been like, rather than a remotely true or reliable account of an individual who actually lived.

The Book of Revelation is often quoted within Mormonism. It is a book considered by many theologians to have been written by someone who was insane and it was not originally included in the Bible at all. It only later managed to squeeze its way in by the skin of its teeth – on a very narrow vote – in the fourth century CE and it was very reluctantly included when the canon of the Bible was assembled from approximately fifty gospels and literally hundreds of available epistles. Orthodox churches still do not use Revelation for scripture readings during worship. The inclusion of Revelation was and still is actively disputed but Mormons use it to their convenience.

In the Mormon ‘History of the Church’ Volume VI, Chapter 23 contains a discourse by Smith, given at a meeting held in a grove near the Temple on 16 June 1844, just days before he was killed. In it, he speaks of his ‘Godhead’ idea as well as the ‘plurality of Gods’. Smith takes as his text Revelation 1:6 and quotes it, just as it reads in the KJV.

Rev. 1:6. “And hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

This was the basis of his latest theology on plural Gods. Note the phrase, “God and His Father.” Smith then states “It is altogether correct in the translation” in order to support his latest concept – of polytheism.

However, Smith had obviously forgotten that some eleven to fourteen years earlier, he had produced his ‘Inspired Revision’ of the Bible, at which time he still had a singularly monotheistic view. (The official ‘First Vision’ wasn’t conceived until 1838 and then backdated to 1820 for convenience. See ‘The First Vision’ article on my web site). In it, Smith had actually altered that very verse by removing the word ‘and’ to clarify the doctrine that God the Father was the only God and that he did not have a Father himself.

“…and hath made us kings and priests unto God his Father. To him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen.” (Inspired Revision. Rev 1:6).

How ironic it is that not only was Smith a forgetful fraud, but that his reference may well have been originally penned by someone who was mentally ill. It is also an irony that in this instance his ‘correction’ in the IR is actually closer to a literal translation than the KJV. But he is caught out here by reverting to the original text after he had ‘corrected’ it; so much for Joseph Smith being a true prophet. This act alone is proof positive that he was anything but.

The whole concept of original sin, or in Mormon terms, the ‘fall of man’ and the need for ‘atonement’ are accepted as scriptural and yet no such concept ever appeared in Judaism. It was never biblical in the first place. The whole concept of original sin was the late invention of St. Augustine in the fourth century CE. How did ‘sin’ get into the world? Augustine ‘decided’ that sex and death came via Eve. Much of Genesis as we now read it stems from no earlier than 600 BCE. The concept stems from other stories. We tend to forget that the Old Testament is Jewish Scripture hijacked by Christians and made to fit new Christian theology that was invented many years after Jesus supposedly lived. The Jews never did and still do not believe in the devil – or heaven or hell in the Christian sense for that matter. Judaism is an entirely different concept from Christianity in every way.

The whole concept of ‘one God’ was not originally part of Judaism; something many Christians, and especially Mormons, have no idea about. The concept evolved over time. At the supposed time of Moses and the ‘Ten Commandments’, their God did not demand they worshipped ONLY him; rather he required that none of their other gods – which they were being weaned off – were put before him. There were always a host of other gods to worship and a feminine deity was definitely popular with the women in particular. Archaeology at Jerusalem, outside the city walls, has seen the discovery of figurines from Jewish settlements dating to 800 BCE. Many centuries after the time of Moses, we have over a thousand of these figurines depicting a feminine God. In Jewish homes, they were then still worshipping multiple Gods and it was only at the end of the eighth century BCE that the single God concept finally became accepted and more firmly established.

In ancient Egypt, monotheism has its roots in the establishment of the one ‘sun’ god by Akhenaten of Amarna (1352-1336 BCE). It was possibly a forerunner of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The people still followed the traditional gods, such as fertility gods etc.

Later generations branded Akhenaten a criminal and a heretic as he threatened 2000 years of Egyptian religion. The return to the old religion came quickly and was during his son’s time. (Tutankhamen). The boy king reigned from age nine to about eighteen when his uncle who was caretaking should have handed over power. Tut mysteriously died at exactly that point. (Recent DNA testing has established that he fell ill and died, rather than being assassinated). Pharaoh after Pharaoh set about disinheriting the old religion. The idea of one god then surfaced as the God of Moses.

Dr. Oded Lipschitz confirmed that the “single God idea did not take hold until many centuries after Moses supposedly wrote down the Ten Commandments.”

The creation story first started more than five-hundred years after Moses lived. That story, like many other parts of the Old Testament, was created after the Babylonian roust of Jerusalem and the Jews were in exile. They believed they deserved exile as they must have sinned and exile was temporary. The creation story was conceived and written at this time and it draws heavily on Babylonian myth and legends. The Jewish God works alone in an act of benign will. Six-hundred years after he cleared out all rivals, he became the God of the Christians; six-hundred years after that, he also became the God of Islam.

Although Wikipedia can be notoriously inaccurate, it does have a useful thread under the heading ‘Adam and Eve’ which provides basic details of some original myths and legends that preceded the later Biblical story. It is well worth a look.

As a Jewish Rabbi put it: “Belief transcends rationale and understanding.”

Distinguished philosopher, Professor A. C. Grayling, says “There are so many different creation myths from many different parts of history and so many cultures and all of them share something in common, which is the ignorance of the people who created the creation myths. What they wanted was a story to tell. They wanted a narrative. They wanted a beginning for things and so they made up a story about an agent bigger and more powerful than they were from which the world came. Think of this; if you thought the wind and the thunder were agents like yourself but irresistible and more powerful and then you discovered over many generations that they weren’t; they were part of nature; the agencies in question would begin to move out of nature up to the mountain tops and then into the sky and finally outside space and time altogether. As the horizons of science advance, so the gods vanish further and further away. People want to believe it; therefore they stop themselves thinking about it too clearly.”

In response to the beauty of literature and music etc: “Absolutely no one can deny that our emotional lives; what in a secular sense I would call our spiritual lives; are the most important thing about us. That’s why poetry and music matter. That is why love matters. That is why human relationships matter. Why is it necessary, in addition to the beautiful music; to the stirring poetry; to the profundity of our love for other people; to add on these ancient stories of gods and ghosts? They don’t do anything to enrich it and even indeed historically, they get in the way of it.”

In terms of Mormonism, relative to the legends of the origins of Native American tribes, I have researched all of them and none have any connection with any Book of Mormon concepts or Christianity. I included one such legend in The Mormon Delusion volume 2, concerning a tribe that a Mormon prophet declared were ‘remnant Lamanites’.

A senior pastor, when questioned about the creation, explained “How could a whole dinosaur be preserved? Noah’s flood!…” forgetting that the supposed flood occurred relatively recently and dinosaurs went extinct sixty-five million years before modern humans ever existed. He not only stated that he believed in a six thousand year old earth, but he also claimed science was on his side. He did not explain how.

I was interested to learn when the gospels were actually written and of the growing consensus of thought regarding whether Jesus Christ actually existed as an individual person. The evidence against such an individual actually being real is compelling. There is absolutely no evidence to corroborate such a person outside of the claims made in the documents that now form the New Testament. Before anyone cites Josephus, let me add that I have read his works. He was a Jew and the short paragraph that supposedly represents his notation concerning Jesus Christ was clearly a much later interpolation to help support the Christian position and that fact is generally accepted by most historians as well as realistic theologians. An article by Marshall J. Gauvin is worth reading regarding this matter: Did Jesus Christ Really Live?

The following is a collection of statements that I found most interesting but I have no original reference for them and so apologise to whoever first collated these. They are not mine and original identification appears wherever possible.

“One of the curious features of the book of Genesis is the absence of any reference to what is going on in the ancient Near East during the second millenium B.C.” – S. Hooke, Peake’s Commentary on the Bible, p.188.

“Ur was Sumerian and had no connection with the people known as the Chaldaeans until a thousand years after any possible date to which Abraham can be attributed.” – M. Grant, The History of Ancient Israel, p32.

“Solomon … in the eyes of Israelite historians, marked the apex of Israelite achievement. Curiously, no reference to him or his father David, or their empire in a non-Israelite source is known…” – Isserlin. (The Israelites, p72).

“Monumental structures once attributed to the building activities of Solomon in the cities of Megiddo, Gezer and Hazor have been shown over the years to date from various archaeological periods spanning centuries.” – Rohl. (A Test of Time, p34).

“Neither Moses, nor an enslaved Israel nor the event of this Exodus are recorded in any known ancient records outside the Bible… Although its climate has preserved the tiniest traces of ancient Bedouin encampments and the sparse 5000-year-old villages of mine workers there is not a single trace of Moses or the Israelites.” – John Romer, Testament, pp57/8.

“Damascus reached its zenith during the reign of Hazael … Transjordanian regions were overrun … Hazael was able to cross Israelite territory to progress down the coastal plain to take Gath in Philistia … In fact, Hazael appears to have established an empire or sphere of influence not unlike that ascribed to David.” – B.S.J. Isserlin (The Israelites, p86).

“The desire to read the letters bytdvd as house of david is … a classic example of scholars working backwards from the Bible rather than forwards from the evidence.” – M. Sturgis, It Ain’t Necessarily So, p129.

“‘Ur of the Chaldees’ in Genesis is clearly an anachronistic reference … ‘Chaldaeans’ did not appear in Mesopotamia until the 7th century BC.” – Magnus Magnusson, The Archaeology of the Bible Lands-BC, pp 31,206.

“Instead of splitting the carcass of a sea-monster to create the world, as Marduk did, Yahweh divided the Sea of Reeds to let his people escape from Pharaoh and the pursuing army. Instead of slaying the demonic hordes, like Marduk, Yahweh drowned the Egyptians.” – K. Armstrong, A History of Jerusalem, p31.

“…an archaeological analysis of the patriarchal, conquest, judges, and United Monarchy narratives [shows] that while there is no compelling archaeological evidence for any of them, there is clear archaeological evidence that places the stories themselves in a late 7th-century BCE context.”

“…an archaeological reconstruction of the distinct histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, highlighting the largely neglected history of the Omride Dynasty and attempting to show how the influence of Assyrian imperialism in the region set in motion a chain of events that would eventually make the poorer, more remote, and more religiously conservative kingdom of Judah the belated center of the cultic and national hopes of all Israel.” – Silberman and Finkelstein.

“In the fantasy ‘history’ (chapter 1 of the Book of Numbers) 603,550 ‘males of military age’ fled Egypt at the time of the Exodus, which implies a refugee army of at least two million – more than the total population of Egypt itself! And this multitude supposedly wandered the wilderness for forty years, contriving to leave not a trace of their passing for posterity.”

“Despite the mass of contemporary records that have been unearthed in Egypt, not one historical reference to the presence of the Israelites has yet been found there. Not a single mention of Joseph, the Pharaoh’s ‘Grand Vizier’. Not a word about Moses, or the spectacular flight from Egypt and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptian army.” – Magnus Magnusson (The Archaeology of the Bible Lands – BC, p43).

“The archaeological evidence in Jerusalem for the famous building projects of Solomon is nonexistent. 19th and early 20th century excavations around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem failed to identify even a trace of Solomon’s fabled Temple or palace complex.” (Finkelstein, Silberman, p128).

“The scientific position is clear. There is no evidence of any kind for the existence of Abraham (supposedly the Israelites’ founding patriarch), Moses, or Solomon. At the time of the Exodus, Canaan—the Promised Land to which the Israelites were fleeing—was ruled and firmly controlled by the very Egypt from which they were trying to escape.

Jerusalem, which was supposed to have become the capital of the great unified empire of King David (he of David and Goliath fame), appears to have been tiny and only sparsely inhabited in the relevant period. Many of the great monuments of ancient Israel attributed on the authority of the Old Testament to King Solomon were of a later date.

Excavations of early Israelite settlements on the West Bank of the Jordan since the 1967 Six Day War have suggested strongly that the Israelites were in fact of local Canaanite stock.

They were probably desert nomads who took to hill farming for economic reasons, and developed into two kingdoms—a northern one called Israel, and a southern called Judah. The Bible reflects the slightly differing traditions of the two kingdoms, and when the north collapsed in the 8th century BC and its people fled south, an attempt was made through written texts to unify and reconcile both peoples. Thus the Old Testament began to take shape.

The Bible says the Israelites first began to worship one God in the time of Moses. But in fact, the Israelites from both north and south were actually polytheistic, and the process of monotheism didn’t begin till many centuries after that supposed time.”

Regarding supposed Biblical evidence:

“The Yoash stone, named after a ruler of the ancient Hebrew kingdom of Judah, was cited as possibly the strongest historical evidence of the biblical account of the First Temple, built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. and destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th century B.C. The stone’s inscription gives instructions in ancient Hebrew for maintaining the Temple.

Israeli officials received a tip questioning the authenticity of the Yoash stone two years ago and began an investigation that kept expanding, according to Mr. Dorfman, the Antiquities Authority head. The authority announced in June 2003 that James’s burial box and the Yoash stone were forgeries.

The Israeli authorities said Wednesday that Mr. Golan, working through intermediaries, had been behind both the burial box and the Yoash stone.

The criminal charges filed Wednesday were the first in the case, and they came just days after the Israel Museum said an independent panel had concluded that the ivory pomegranate, which it bought in 1988 from an unknown seller by depositing half a million dollars in a Swiss bank account, was not authentic.

The pomegranate is believed to date back 3,400 years, but its inscription was added recently, the museum said. The Wednesday indictments cited the pomegranate as an example of a high-profile forgery, but did not charge any of the four suspects with counterfeiting it.”

I could continue and record many other aspects that affect both Mormonism and also other religious beliefs – such as the concept that Herod had all the young male children killed. Christians imagine this amounted to hundreds, if not thousands of children. Historians confirm Herod was far more concerned about his masters in Rome than the locals and he would not have been bothered about rumours of a child king being born. However, had he really had them killed, the village was so small that the entire number of children supposedly killed “would not have filled a minibus” as explained the other evening on a National Geographic programme. The Bible allows us to paint fantastical pictures in our minds that are wildly exaggerated or often just fanciful.

I will leave it there and allow the reader to continue his or her own research as they wish. Everything is easily discovered. You only have to take the time to look. My only advice is, don’t trust anything anyone else says – including me – accept only evidence in support of any claim.

On 9 March 2002, an article by Michael Massing entitled ‘New Torah For Modern Minds’ appeared in the New York Times. It shows how Jewish leaders are coming to terms with the truth surrounding the Torah.

Clearly, old ideas are giving way to modern evidence of the truth. This will continue until one day everyone finally realises that fiction began in very early civilization and just because the stories are old and traditionally came through people who designated themselves as representing a god, it does not magically make them any more true than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy in our own day.

Jim Whitefield. Copyright © March 2010, 2015.
[Edited August 2015].  All rights reserved.

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For those who would like further reading about the truth behind the Bible and what it contains, the following books are highly recommended:

Disproving Christianity and Other Secular Writings ~ David McAfee.
Nonsense from The Bible ~ Brian Baker.

For a thought provoking analysis of the origins of myths and legends that ultimately became the foundation of religion: The Invention of God ~ Bill Lauritzen.

After all my research, all I can say is:

If there is a god – he is not very good at religion.
Jim Whitefield.

Visit:  TMD BOOK STORE

March 2010

It seems more and more that the internet is helping people to understand the truth behind the Mormon Church, when until that point they were not even questioning their beliefs. When members are approached by people who have discovered the truth, their findings are usually rejected out of hand. Faith prevails. However, when someone quite accidentally discovers something uncomfortable on the internet and then does some further personal research, the truth seems to more readily dawn on them. They may then approach someone who already knows the truth, to confirm their suspicions once and for all. In the last month or so, remarkably, this has happened to several of my own friends who then approached me. Subsequently, several resignation letters have been sent in and the Church has a few less members than it did.

I wonder how many more people will be added to the list over the years and when the net Mormon membership will actually reduce year on year. My own analysis shows (see TMD Vol. 2) it is starting to level off and considerably more missionaries are needed to maintain the same small annual growth. This is then reduced by a number of people resigning. Of course, overall membership is still exaggerated by all the ‘lost’ members who are counted on record until they reach one-hundred-and-ten years of age, when only then are they considered to have died. Additionally, for the last decade or so, the Church has included ‘children of record’; those under the age of eight, previouly not included, to futher bolster the figures. So, who knows, perhaps decline is already underway. Whatever the case, the Mormon Church will ultimately follow in the footsteps of such as the Methodists and Presbyterians who are less popular now and in rapid membership decline. Time will tell. The truth is out there and it is now only a few clicks away.