Thursday, February 12, 2009

But Ricky!!!

This post will list a few of the evidences that I have found that strengthen the plausibility of the Book of Mormon, and draws its title from the television show "I Love Lucy". Some will notice that I said plausibility, and not prove. Personally, I don't like to overstate my case. I don't think there is one silver bullet that will suddenly convince everybody (or even many people) of the BoM's historicity. There is however something that Hugh Nibley described. Concerning the Book of Mormon he said that:

Even if every parallel were the purest coincidence, we would still have to explain how the Prophet contrived to pack such a dense succession of happy accidents into the scriptures he gave us. Where the world has a perfect right to expect a great potpourri of the most outrageous nonsense, and in anticipation has indeed rushed to judgment with all manner of premature accusations, we discover whenever ancient texts turn up to offer the necessary checks and controls that the man was astonishingly on target in his depiction of general situations, in the almost casual mention of peculiar oddities, in the strange proper names, and countless other unaccountable details. . . . As the evidence accumulates, it is not the Prophet but his critics who find themselves with a lot of explaining to do
Prophetic Book of Mormon 325-326

For my part, I read the Book of Mormon and found many small examples of consistent warfare that stack up very nicely with the checks and controls of ancient sources. Here are a few that I found:
-Desecration rituals resemble Captain Moroni's actions against the King Men. Alma 51:17 compared to Brown and Stanton: Mesoamerican Warfare
-Banners charged with supernatural power used in Battle. David Friedal: "Maya Warfare"
-Cloth armor similar to Aztec use. Alma 43:19, compared to the "thick clothing" described by Ross Hassig
-Pre Battle Divination. Alma 43, compared to many ancient societies such as David Graff in Medieval Chinese Warfare
-Similar army composition to ancient armies.
-Ritualization of combat.
-Correct use of principles of war See the writings of J.F.C. Fuller for more.
-Proper application of military theory: Clausewitz on Captain Moroni's leadership, the offensive defense described by Clausewitz, attacking the enemy's center of gravity, principles of Mass described by Antoine Henri Jomini, penchant for shock battle due to mountainous terrain similar to Greek City states (I will expand this section to a whole post soon, don't worry).
-Proper social contexts such as: part time military due to agricultural needs (Alma 53:7), classification of population by military obligation (young men v. children- see John Welch's "Law of War" in Warfare in the Book of Mormon), inclusion of families for logistical support.
-Possible military colonies similar to Asian and Mesopotamian nations see Micheal Lowe's description of Han Dynasty colonies and William Hamblin's description of Mesopotamian colonies.
-Difficulty defending due to nature of Mesoamerican politics, compare the war chapters to Ross Hassig's Aztec Warfare.
-Accurate description of military elites similar to other ancient societies

In short: the detailed narrative included in the war chapters provide so many evidences for the validity of the Book of Mormon that it is the critics and not Joseph Smith that have some "splaining" to do. Its possible that Joseph Smith guessed or plagiarized from many sources to do this. But where is the evidence? Where are the eye witness descriptions of the notes Smith used? What library had these resources? Who saw Smith researching all of these sources? Who among the associates of Smith had access to this information? The critics would rather respond with snark and sarcasm than answer these questions.


Lyndsey said...

So I just decided that I think you should just package all of these blogs up and send them to Deseret Books and see if they publish them. You might as well get some money for all this work.

Morgan Deane said...

Thanks! Alot of these posts are simply rough drafts and outlines for future book chapters. Thanks for the encouragement and spread the word.