Nonsense from the Book of Mormon.

There are no first-hand original texts of anything found in the Bible, therefore nothing is remotely reliable. However, we do have the original text for the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith claimed God revealed to him, word by word, on a pebble in his hat. There have been thousands of subsequent alterations to God’s original words. Below is just one example of how Smith’s God spoke.

“And they were led by a man whose name was Coriantumr; and he was a descendant of Zarahemla; and he was a dissenter from among the Nephites; and he was a large and mighty man; therefore the king of the Lamanites, whose name was Tubaloth, who was the son of Ammoron. Now Tubaloth supposing that Coriantumr, he being a mighty man, could stand against the Nephites, insomuch with his strength, and also with his great wisdom, that by sending him forth, he should gain power over the Nephites; therefore he did stir them up to anger, and he did gather together his armies, and he did appoint Coriantumr to be their leader, and did cause that they should march down to the land of Zarahemla, to battle against the Nephites. And it came to pass that because of so much contention and so much difficulty in the government, that they had not kept sufficient guards in the land of Zarahemla; for they had supposed that the Lamanites durst not come into the heart of their lands to attack that great city Zarahemla.” (1830 Book of Mormon, pp.408-9 which now comprises Helaman 1:15-18).

I doubt any Mormon missionary ever recommended that in its original form as suitable reading for an investigator. It seems Smith’s God was as illiterate as the man himself.

See more in The Mormon Delusion, Volume 4, Chapter 6.

The Bible Delusion. Pp. 81-83.

In March, I posted the story about Balaam’s talking donkey. What supposedly happened next is much less known and just as bizarre. This is the follow up story.

Hang On A Minute Moment 34

Seven Altars, Seven Oxen and Seven Rams – Times Three.

This HOAM moment simply begs to begin with: “If you believe this, you will believe anything.” It will soon become clear as to why. This is the story of Balaam; not the part you may be familiar with, where he has a conversation with his donkey (see Chapter 17, ‘God’s Talking Animals’); but what happened after Balaam continued on his journey. We are in Numbers 22-24.

Balak (king of the Moabites) had sent for Balaam in order to have him curse Israel. When Balaam finally showed up, Balak took Balaam “into the high places of Baal” (22:41), from where they could see the Israelites. Balaam instructed Balak to build seven altars and prepare seven oxen and seven rams for sacrifice. Presumably, the sacrifices were to be made to Baal. Balak was not of Israel and Balaam was there to curse the people of the very God he supposedly worshiped. Would Balak have offered sacrifices to Balaam’s God?

Equally, would Balaam sacrifice to Balak’s chosen deity? Sacrifices make no sense here, unless Balaam felt they were needed to get God to actually speak to him; in which case, would Balak really go along with such an idea? They both then offer a bullock and a ram on each altar, so who knows? Balaam tells Balak to stand by the burnt offerings while he goes off to talk to God. Whatever God shows him, he will relay to Balak.

Balaam duly meets with God in a “high place” and tells him all about the sacrifices (which God should already have been aware of – as he is God). The Lord “put a word in Balaam’s mouth” (v.5). Balaam goes back to Balak and all the princes of Moab who are patiently waiting for him. Balaam’s message from God is in v.8: “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?” Balaam realises he is dicing with death and appears to want to die at this point. Balak asks what Balaam has done to him; he had invited him to curse the Israelites and yet it appears he has blessed them. Balaam pleads that he is only relaying what God told him.

If you think this is an unbelievable story – there is more to come. Balak persuades Balaam to go with him to another high place (the top of Pisgah) to curse the Israelites from there. They build another seven altars and sacrifice a further seven bullocks and seven rams.

Once again, Balaam instructs Balak to wait by the burning offerings while he goes off to talk with God. Once again, God puts a word in Balaam’s mouth. Once again, Balak and all the princes are waiting to hear what Balaam has to say. Balaam has received a commandment to bless rather than curse Israel; which he has done; and there is nothing more he can do about it. He tries to explain, in effect, that they are the Lord’s chosen people and cannot be cursed.

Balak doesn’t seem to take any of it in. Perhaps he suffered from cognitive dissonance? Not that any of this is real. In the Bible, many stories have two, or even three, repeats of the same plotline. This one is no exception. Believe it or not, the Bible claims Balak made a third attempt to get Balaam to curse Israel; he was nothing if not persistent.

Off they go, to yet another high place (Peor); they build yet another seven altars and burn yet another seven bullocks and rams on Balaam’s instruction. During Balaam’s visit with God, this time there is a lengthy description of how wonderful Israel looks from the mountain and how God is with them. Balaam relays all this to Balak who is beside himself with anger. He complains that he had sent for Balaam to curse Israel and yet he has blessed them three times. He tells Balaam to go away.

Before he leaves, Balaam explains Israel will “smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth… Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly… Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever… the Kenite shall be wasted, until Asshur shall carry thee away captive… ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber, and he also shall perish for ever.” (24:16-24).

Believe it or not, after all that, “Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place: and Balak also went his way.” (v.25). You would have thought that Balak would have throttled Balaam rather than just let him go.

Still, in a bizarre twist of fate, when God later commands the Israelites go to war against the Midianites, they kill every single one of the men – and they also kill Balaam. “Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.” (Numbers 31:8). Balaam had apparently encouraged Israelite men to bed Midianite women and God was more than unhappy about that.

New ‘First Vision’ film from the Mormon Church

The new film is avaialble here.

This new portrayal of the First Vision claims to draw on nine known accounts “to provide additional insight.” It doesn’t include anything from most of them because so many aspects contradict each other. The film is essentially the same as previous portrayals.

Joseph Smith did not record the ‘official version’ of his First Vision, as now used by the Mormon Church, until the year 1838, and it wasn’t even published until 1842, some twenty-two years after his supposed experience.

Smith’s first written claim to a First Vision was in 1832. The record appears within the work A History of the life of Joseph Smith, partly written by his then scribe, Frederick G. Williams and partly (including this version of events) in Smith’s very own handwriting. In it, Smith declares that between the ages of twelve and fifteen he became exceedingly distressed concerning the situation of the world and of his own sins, and concluded that mankind had: “apostatised [sic] from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This is an astonishing conclusion for Smith to have written down in his own hand in 1832 as it completely contradicts the later official 1838 version wherein Smith claims that he went to the grove “to know which of the sects was right” and that “at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong.” We now know this was not the case from Smith’s personally handwritten claim of 1832; and yet the film, rather than ‘drawing’ on that first hand account, ignores the 1832 claim and has Smith state “I knew not who was right and who was wrong…”

Smith’s 1832 account goes on to state that he was in his sixteenth year of age [age 15]. In the later official version, he was only fourteen. Within the pillar of light – originally written as ‘fire’, which Smith crossed out – the Lord, assumed to be Jesus Christ, appeared alone and addressed Smith as his son. Naturally, there is no fire in the film.

In 1835, within a week, Smith attempted two further First Vision accounts. In the first one, Smith relates what he told “Joshua the Jewish Minister” (an alias for ‘Matthias the Prophet’ who was actually from another cult). One personage appeared in the pillar of “flame”, then a second personage appeared who forgave Smith’s sins and testified that “Jesus Christ is the son of God”, thus clearly identifying the fact that neither visitor was actually the Saviour as He is only spoken of in the third person. Neither ‘personage’ is specifically identified but Smith confirms he saw “many angels” during the vision – and that is all. A Church essay on the subjest claims “This account also notes the appearance of angels in the vision” leading people to assume that this is in addition to God and Jesus appearing, as members are so familiar with the later backdated story. They neglect to say that it ONLY notes angels, and that no forms of deity are mentioned as appearing at all. Smith states that he was about fourteen years old: “when I received this first communication.” Smith didn’t invent the ‘God and Jesus appearing together’ idea until much later – in 1838.

Smith then continues in his diary to relate to Joshua “another vision of angels” when he was seventeen, thus indicating that the First Vision was deemed by Smith, in 1835, to be one of angels rather than one of deity. One would expect to see this record included in Mormon Church history alongside others appearing in History of the Church, Vol. 2 but it is conspicuous by its absence. The Church has simply ignored the account (along with Smith’s visitor) and it has been left out of Joseph Smith–History altogether.

Erastus Holmes visited Joseph Smith the following Saturday afternoon, on 14 November 1835, enquiring about the Church and asking to be instructed. Smith recorded what he said to Holmes, in his diary. Relating the experience of his First Vision, Smith states that he was about fourteen years old when “I received the first visitation of Angels”, unambiguously confirming his intended meaning when he had spoken to Joshua just a few days earlier. Smith also writes that he told Holmes about later visitations concerning the Book of Mormon.

Clearly, in late 1835, Smith was still sticking with the idea, in two separate accounts in his own diary, that it was an angel (or angels) rather than deity that first visited him in 1820 at age fourteen.

The exact wording of this version of the First Vision from Smith’s diary was later faithfully published, word for word, in the Church newspaper. (Deseret News, Vol. 2. No. 15, Saturday, 29 May 1852). This published First Vision account by Joseph Smith specifically included the words: “I received the first visitation of Angels.”

However, when the account was later entered into History of the Church (V2:312), Joseph Smith’s own wording was deliberately altered. Rather than tell the truth about what Joseph Smith claimed at the time he wrote of the experience, the account was falsified by others. It was changed from “first visitation of angels” to read “first vision” instead, in order to make it consistent with the later, more dynamic idea the First Vision ultimately became, which was not to be one of angels as Smith had earlier claimed, but one of actual deity. Many angels appear in these accounts and yet there are none in the film – even as ‘extras’. So, there’s the rub; ‘it draws on nine accounts’ – and yet it only includes what is convenient and omits details that Smith himself recorded.

This method of falsifying truth went on to become a regular habit within the Mormon Church. They actually have a name for it. They call it ‘lying for the Lord’ and it still continues to this day. It is more than evident in this ‘faith promoting’ film in which Smith has a pious humble voice and God and Jesus speak with American English accents. It’s funny that throughout the D&C, Smith has God and Jesus use no end of very badly phrased 17th Century Early Modern English and yet here God and Jesus use modern day language.

Research reveals underlying claims surrounding the vision were also untrue and even BYU confirms  that Smith lied about being persecuted for saying he had seen God and Jesus in the early years. (Scroll down the page that opens – past ‘Open Document’ to read “Joseph Smith discussed this transcendent vision only privately with a few trusted friends during the Church’s first decade.”) Thus, Smith lied several times in PoGP: JS History v.20-28, claimig persecution between 1820-1823 for saying he had seen the vision.

The Smiths didn’t even live in Manchester in 1820 – and there was no revival that year. Full and real documenteed evidence surrounding the First Vision claim is available here:

A video explanation of events is also avalable in the second half of my Exmormon Foundation Presention from 2010 here:

 

 

Snippets from The Mormon Delusion. Volume 2. Chapter 4.

Moroni, the Angel Formerly Known as Nephi

The Pure and simple truth
is rarely pure and never simple.
Oscar Wilde 1854-1900.

In a General Conference talk given in April 2005, President, Gordon B. Hinckley, Prophet of the Mormon Church made the following remarks:

I hold in my hand a precious little book. It was published in Liverpool, England, by Orson Pratt in 1853, 152 years ago. It is Lucy Mack Smith’s narrative of her son’s life.

It recounts in some detail Joseph’s various visits with the angel Moroni and the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

The book tells that upon hearing of Joseph’s encounter with the angel, his brother Alvin suggested that the family get together and listen to him as he detailed “the great things which God has revealed to you.” (Ensign, May 2005: The Great Things Which God Has Revealed; citing Smith, Lucy 1853:84).

Hinckley was apparently holding an original 1853 edition of the book, quoting from page 84. The quote actually runs from the bottom of page 83 on to page 84 in the original text and so Hinckley, in all probability, really was actually holding an original copy. He calls it “a precious little book” and appears to approve of the original edition. What he does not say is that the book was banned by Brigham Young, collected, burned and then rewritten, a completely falsified version later being published, as if it were the original.

It was initially recommended for everyone, and the 16 November 1854 edition of the Church newspaper, The Deseret News, reported that it was deemed suitable for children. It was used as a ‘reader’ in Church schools in the Utah territory. It was subsequently ‘disapproved’ by Brigham Young in 1865. The original 1853 edition was then suppressed and gathered in, both in England and Utah and burned or destroyed, according to The Deseret News, 21 June 1865. Young then had the book ‘revised’ and eventually, in 1901, a falsified reprint of the book was published by the Church.

It was rewritten, rather than being revised in the way that an historian would make revisions by adding footnotes, showing errors and corrections. Rather, the actual text was rewritten and then published, just as if it were the original work, with well over two thousand words added, deleted or changed, without reference, along with a further seven-hundred-and-thirty-six words deleted with the proper indication, according to Jerald and Sandra Tanner. (Introduction to photo reprint of Smith, Lucy 1853, UTLM).

Although this may seem bizarre, it is in fact typical of the way the Mormon Church has rewritten its history and thus hidden previous, sometimes more accurate and revealing accounts and records, often providing no reference to any changes. In their book, Changes in Joseph Smith’s History, the Tanners note that the Church added or deleted over 62,000 words in work Smith himself had written. These changes were made after Smith’s death. It is reasonable to ask why the personal written record of a prophet of God would need 62,000 word changes, if he was indeed a prophet. Perhaps the same question should be asked of the Book of Mormon, purported to be (declared by God himself) the most correct book ever written, which also had thousands of changes made after the first (supposedly correct) edition, and continues to have significant changes made in new editions, even today.

Lucy Mack’s book contains many interesting things, including her own (and particularly her husband’s) dreams which almost exactly parallel Lehi’s vision story, which the young Joseph Smith would have heard his parents repeat from the time he was about six years old and which later appeared in his Book of Mormon as the dreams of prophets over two thousand years earlier. (This is covered in detail in Chapter 9).

In Hinckley’s remarks above, he indicates that the book contains details of various visits by the angel Moroni. In actual fact, if he really is referring to the original 1853 edition, as he says he is, then Hinckley is at least mistaken, if not lying. In the book, Lucy refers to the angel as Nephi and not Moroni. Page 79 specifies that Nephi is the visiting angel. In the 1954 reprint (now page 75), it has been changed to Moroni in the falsified text. The reason Lucy thought the angel was called Nephi is because that is who Joseph Smith told her it was, and he recorded it that way himself. Initially, Smith’s records simply say that an angel visited, which in itself is strange when compared with the final official account. Apart from a couple of isolated instances in 1835 and 1838, when Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery both quote Moroni as the visiting angel, Smith reverted completely, to the idea that it was Nephi who was the angel, in his later writings and publications, none of which were changed or retracted during his lifetime. Only later was the name changed to Moroni in the accounts, without reference, by other people.

In April 1842 Smith wrote in Times and Seasons:

“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi.” (Times & Seasons. 15 Apr 1842. V.3. No.12:753).

Exactly the same statement formed part of the story in the Latter Day Saints Millennial Star, published in England in August 1842. Smith had not ‘corrected’ it, following the April printing of Times and Seasons, of which Smith himself was Editor.

“He called me by name, and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi.” (Millennial Star, Aug 1842. V.3:53).

The name is repeated a second time in the Millennial Star in an editorial comment, identifying that the saints in England certainly accepted the name of the angel was Nephi

“…the glorious ministry and message of the angel Nephi which has finally opened a new dispensation…” (Millennial Star, Aug 1842. V.3:71).

Smith did not die until 1844, some two years later, and he never published any retractions or made alterations to his own writings. Although previously using the names of both Nephi and Moroni, Smith ultimately seemed to settle on Nephi as his personal choice. Most importantly, the original handwritten manuscript of The Pearl of Great Price, dictated by Joseph Smith himself, shows that the name of the angel was Nephi. Only after Smith’s death did someone interpolate the name Moroni above the line of the handwritten text.

Jerald and Sandra Tanner say that in 1976 they were able to examine the duplicate copy of the handwritten manuscript, Book A-2. The manuscript, which was not even started until about year after Smith’s death, has the name of Nephi as the angel, just as the original, with someone later interpolating Moroni above the line, along with the original manuscript, Book A-1. This clearly shows that as an original copy of Smith’s work, started after his death, the original name of Nephi was not changed by Smith, but rather altered by someone else, long after his death. (Tanner 1987:142-C).

The falsified name of the angelic visitor was of course incorporated into canonised scripture. In 1851, the first edition of the Pearl of Great Price included Smith’s original statement that:

“He called me by name and said unto me that he was a messenger sent from the presence of God to me, and that his name was Nephi.” (PoGP 1st Edition 1851:41).

Orson Pratt “published The Pearl of Great Price in 1878, and removed the name of Nephi from the text entirely and inserted the name Moroni in its place”. (Tanner 1987:137 c. Textual changes in The PoGP, Walter L. Whiple, BYU thesis p.125 typed copy). This was twenty-seven years later.

Current editions of History of the Church use the same words that Smith used in Times and Seasons in 1842 but the angel’s name has since been changed from that of Nephi to Moroni, again without reference. (HC V.1:11). This is yet another falsification which occurred after Smith’s death. (Tanner 1971:13).

Richard L. Anderson, a Mormon writer, admits the change in The Pearl of Great Price but argues that it was necessary as “the ‘Nephi’ reading contradicts all that the prophet published on the subject during his lifetime”. (Improvement Era. Sep 1970:6-7).

He doesn’t qualify all that the prophet published that it contradicted, and in fact many of Smith’s (and others) writings don’t even mention the name of the angel at all. It is usually ‘the angel’ or ‘an angel of the Lord’ or a ‘messenger’ sent by commandment of the Lord. There did however, seem to be some confusion as to which name to ultimately pick, as Oliver Cowdery called the angel a ‘messenger’ and then a few weeks later ‘Moroni’, in 1835 (Messenger and Advocate Feb 1835: V.1:79; Apr 1835: V.1:112) and Smith did once call the angel ‘Moroni’ in 1838 in the publication Elders’ Journal (Vol 1:3). These are the only references to Moroni, along with D&C 27:5 which includes the name Moroni, but this was not in the original D&C revelation. It was inserted – along with well over three-hundred other words (attributed directly to the Lord himself) some years later, in the 1835 edition. The Book of Commandments version of the 1830 revelation contained no angel’s name at all. 1

Other than the couple of references where the name Moroni appeared in 1835 and 1838, the angel then firmly became Nephi in Smith’s writings. Prior to 1835, no name is given at all. By 1842, in published newspapers, in Smith’s own history, and in The Pearl of Great Price, given that Smith consistently used the name of Nephi, apparently it is the name that he had settled upon and intended to be used for his angel. (See: Chapter 5, Summary of Accounts of Joseph Smith’s Early Visions). Contrary to Anderson’s sweeping statement that using ‘Nephi’ contradicted all that the prophet published, that was not the case at all. It was actually the other way around. Smith only called the angel Moroni once. It would have been far easier to have deleted the name of ‘Moroni’ and to have used ‘Nephi’ instead.

Conclusion

Certainly Smith appears to have wanted to ultimately name his visiting angel Nephi. He was, after all, Smith’s first main character in his Book of Mormon. As time passed and Moroni became a more natural, appropriate and logical candidate for the role, as he had supposedly been the one to bury the fictitious gold plates, the angel ‘became’ Moroni. All things considered, it appears that it was a tidying up process after Smith’s death, to make the sequence of events into a more logical, effective and believable overall story.

Had the story actually been true, given the number of times Smith claims he was visited, Moroni’s name should most certainly have been given from the start in most, if not all accounts, especially Smith’s own records. In the event, Smith’s first record of the event in 1832 (nine and five years after the 1823 and 1827 visitations respectively) describes the visitor as “an angel of the Lord” who told him that the plates were “engraven by Maroni” [later Moroni] with the visiting angel not giving his own name at all.

This clearly indicates that when Smith first considered his experience, the angel had certainly not introduced himself as Moroni (or Nephi) as the angel spoke of Maroni [Moroni] in the third person, and did not give his own name. Had the name of Moroni been given as the name of the angel, Smith’s initial writings would have had to read differently and the name of Nephi would never have appeared in the first place.

As with the First Vision, the fabricated story of Moroni’s visits evolved over many years. It all started with the idea of finding gold plates using his money digging seer stone that he found in a well; it developed through to spirits and angels with no name; finally becoming a divinely instructed occurrence involving an angel who Smith ultimately decided to call Nephi, who is now known as Moroni. (Faulring 1989:56-7). An effigy of the angel Moroni now appears, clad in gold leaf, atop Mormon Temples, with the angel Nephi relegated to the pages of the Book of Mormon.

____________________

Notes

  1. Book of Commandments 28:6 (1833:60). Doctrine and Covenants Sec. 50:2 (1835:180). (Now Sec 27:5). Revelation given as 4 September 1830 in the Book of Commandments and changed to August 1830 in the D&C. The original 1830 revelation, published as Section 28 in the Book of Commandments in 1833 has seven verses. In the current version of the same revelation which appears as Section 27 in the Doctrine and Covenants, there are well over three-hundred words added, two deleted and several changed from the original, all without reference. They are written in the first person, as if spoken by the Lord himself, although added several years after the supposed original revelation. It is thus extended to fifteen verses.

December 2016

The Bible Delusion – extract.

Hang On A Minute Moment 96
No Rain for Three Years and Six Months.

Luke and James both refer to the idea that Elias (Greek for Elijah) claimed it did not rain for three years and six months.

Luke records “But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.” (4:25). No rain at all for three and a half years would produce far more than just a famine. Loss of human life, flora and fauna, diseases; not to mention the mayhem that would ensue, would all be at unimaginable levels.

James confirms the event, also citing Elias as claiming a lack of rain for three and a half years. “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.” (5:17-18). God answered a prayer, stopping the rain, until another prayer resulted in it starting again.

Hang on – firstly, there is absolutely no mention of any such thing in the OT; secondly, if there were any truth to the claim (not about Elijah – but rather the actual lack of rain), it would not only completely disrupt the ecosystem (by somehow actually making it stop, at least in that area), all humans would have migrated away – and there would be records of that. Other local life forms would be extinct by the end of it. The concept of stopping the water cycle is, scientifically, completely impossible. It was not a miracle; the consequences are all too obvious. It would be a miracle (metaphorically speaking), if anyone, or any thing, were to actually survive such a cataclysmic event.

In ancient times, people really believed gods controlled the weather, and moreover that they used it to bless or punish, just as they pleased. Many ancient gods were credited with control over weather. Humans relied on good weather and timely rain for their crops in order for them to survive. In bad crop seasons, famine could decimate a society. The belief in gods using weather to bless or curse people, quite naturally rolled over into the Hebrew religion. Their God was no different, although Yahweh was somewhat more violent and cruel in his use of the weather than many gods of the ancients.

In the OT, rain, or the lack thereof, is inexorably connected to God using it in relation to sin or righteousness. The recorded incidences of Hebrew belief in God controlling rain are numerous. (See Appendix F. ‘Rain’ for a selection).

God no longer cares to control the weather – if he did, many thousands of people could have been saved from severe flooding which is a regular feature in many parts of the world. If God was once so ‘hands on’ regarding the rain – what excuse has he got for not assisting now – when helpless humans are so often so afflicted? Are they all too sinful, or is he too busy to bother with them?

Appendix F. Rain.

Referenced from HOAM 96.

God seemed to enjoy controlling the weather, in order to help or hinder, depending on his wont. That is to say, the Hebrews were convinced that God used the weather in this way. If it didn’t rain and their crops failed, they thought it must have been because they had sinned. Such concepts were actually just a continuation of earlier religious beliefs concerning what are now considered pagan gods. In reality, nothing changed – apart from the name of the deity. Gods invariably influenced the weather.
These are a few examples of Hebrew belief that God controlled the rain.

Genesis 7:4. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

Exodus 9:18. Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.

Exodus 9:23. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.

Exodus 9:33. And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.

Leviticus 26:4. Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Deuteronomy 11:14. That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

Deuteronomy 11:17. And then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and lest ye perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord giveth you.

Deuteronomy 28:12. The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow.

Deuteronomy 28:24. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed.

1 Samuel 12:17-18. Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king. So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

1 Kings 8:35. When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:

1 Kings 8:36. Then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk, and give rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.

1 Kings 18:1. And it came to pass after many days, that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.

2 Kings 3:17. For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

1 Kings 17:1. And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.

1 Kings 17:14. For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.

2 Chronicles 6:26-27. When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them; Then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, and of thy people Israel, when thou hast taught them the good way, wherein they should walk; and send rain upon thy land, which thou hast given unto thy people for an inheritance.

2 Chronicles 7:13. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

Ezra 10:9. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.

Ezra 10:13. But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.

Job 20:23. When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.

Job 28:26. When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:

Job 36:27. For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:

Job 37:6. For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

Job 38:26. To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man;

Psalms 11:6. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

Psalms 68:9. Thou, O God, didst send a plentiful rain, whereby thou didst confirm thine inheritance, when it was weary.

Psalms 135:7. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.

Psalms 147:8. Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

Isaiah 5:6. And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.

Isaiah 30:23. Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures.

Jeremiah 3:3. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.

Jeremiah 5:24. Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the Lord our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

Jeremiah 10:13. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

Jeremiah 14:4. Because the ground is chapt, for there was no rain in the earth, the plowmen were ashamed, they covered their heads.

Jeremiah 51:16. When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

Joel 2:23. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.

Amos 4:7. And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.

Zechariah 10:1. Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.

Zechariah 14:17. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.

Zechariah 14:18. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.

The obvious reality? The Hebrew God did not exist or control the weather.

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November 2016

Memories…

It took me many years to fully realise there was no god; least of all the Mormon version – the one I had accepted at age fourteen because Joseph Smith was my age when he supposedly had a vision and later translated a book – a seemingly impossible feat. I later identified the very moment that my Mormon ‘world’ began its slow but inevitable decline and ultimate demise as I ventured into the world of reality.

It was at a High Council meeting during times of fuel shortage and other issues. Regarding anyone being baptised, at one time it could be any day at any time; the candidate was baptised and had the gift of the Holy Ghost bestowed during the same service.

At some point, it was decided that baptisms could not be held on Sunday (once a favourite, after services), because it meant the custodian would have to ‘work’ to fill and empty the font. The Holy Ghost was then conferred on the next fast Sunday. That was new, up to four weeks between baptism and getting the Holy Ghost. I remember the odd convert no longer attending Church by the following fast Sunday but I expect the Church still counted them as members – statistics must always be bolstered somehow. Later, due to the fuel crisis, baptisms could only be held on Sunday as members were at church anyway.

I can’t remember which of these various changes of policy was being disclosed to us at this particular High Council meeting, but I suspect it was the ‘Sunday only’ policy. I suddenly remembered something that David O. McKay had said. He was our beloved prophet when I joined the Church in 1960. When the Stake President confirmed that there were no exceptions, I said “But David O. McKay said that it is every child’s right to be baptised on their eighth birthday.” The Stake President shot back with “Well, he’s dead!”

I don’t think I have ever been more shocked, and that retort (I realised several years later) marked the moment my heart and my belief system, at least subconsciously, began to break. He was of course quite right; the current prophet speaks for the Mormon god, thus all that has been spoken by previous prophets becomes somewhat null and void when past pronouncements contradict new ideas or no longer suit the current regime.

It’s not god who works in mysterious ways; it’s Mormon prophets who continue Joseph Smith’s well established lead – making things up as they go along. The god-given rights of children were thus revoked at a stroke. I subsequently discovered there was so much nonsense spoken by all Mormon prophets that they had to keep changing and modifying things to keep pace with later problems that earlier leaders caused with weird and wonderful ideas that didn’t stand the test of time (or later public opinion).

Time would erode my faith to hold to the rod, or to anything else religious, until the day my world caved in. One day, I was studiously reading the Book of Mormon, as I did every morning, and I suddenly knew for certain that I did not believe in a god, Mormon or otherwise. It was the last thing I wanted and as I closed the book for the last time as a member, I wept my heart out. I had tried to make the Church true in my head and heart for the previous year; but now, god and Mormonism were gone forever and out of integrity I resigned membership. It would be three more years before I quite accidentally stumbled across the truth behind the Mormon Church and my research and writing followed. For me, the next six years were full time therapy; for others, I hope it provides quick and easy access to answers to the questions that everyone should ask.

October 2016

This is from Al-Hasan Ibn al-Haytham (known in the West by the Latinised form of his first name, initially ‘Alhacen’ and later ‘Alhazen’; writing in Basra, in present day Iraq, about a thousand years ago:

“Therefore, the seeker after the truth is not one who studies the writings of the ancients and, following his natural disposition, puts his trust in them, but rather the one who suspects his faith in them and questions what he gathers from them, the one who submits to argument and demonstration, and not to the sayings of a human being whose nature is fraught with all kinds of imperfection and deficiency. Thus the duty of the man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads, and, applying his mind to the core and margins of its content, attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.” (As quoted by Professor Brian Cox in ‘Forces of Nature’ pp. 213-4).

Alhazen expresses exactly how I feel about the ever exciting quest for truth and my love of science.