Mormonism in The New Germany, by Dale Clark

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Re: Mormonism in The New Germany, by Dale Clark

Postby admin » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:24 am

Urim and Thummim
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/22/18

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


In the Hebrew Bible, the Urim and the Thummim (Hebrew: הָאוּרִים וְהַתֻּמִּים‬, Standard ha-Urim veha-Tummim Tiberian hāʾÛrîm wəhatTummîm; meaning uncertain, possibly "Lights and Perfections") are elements of the hoshen, the breastplate worn by the High Priest attached to the ephod. They are connected with divination in general, and cleromancy in particular. Most scholars suspect that the phrase refers to a set of two objects used by the high priest to answer a question or reveal the will of God.[1][2]

An ephod (Hebrew: אֵפוֹד‬ ’êp̄ōḏ; /ˈɛfɒd/ or /ˈiːfɒd/) was an artifact and an object to be revered in ancient Israelite culture, and was closely connected with oracular practices and priestly ritual.

Image
Jewish High Priest wearing the sacred vestments. The ephod is depicted here in yellow.

In the Books of Samuel and Books of Chronicles, David is described as wearing an ephod when dancing in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:14, 1 Chronicles 15:27) and one is described as standing in the sanctuary at Nob, with a sword behind it (1 Samuel 21:9). In the book of Exodus and in Leviticus one is described as being created for the Jewish High Priest to wear as part of his official vestments (Exodus 28:4+, 29:5, 39:2+; Leviticus 8:7).

-- Ephod, by Wikipedia


The Urim and the Thummim first appear in Exodus 28:30, where they are named for inclusion on the breastplate to be worn by Aaron in the holy place. Other books, especially 1 Samuel, describe their use in divination.

Name and meaning

Urim (אוּרִים‬) traditionally has been taken to derive from a root meaning lights; these derivations are reflected in the Neqqudot of the Masoretic Text.[3] In consequence, Urim and Thummim has traditionally been translated as lights and perfections (by Theodotion, for example), or, by taking the phrase allegorically, as meaning revelation and truth, or doctrine and truth (it appears in this form in the Vulgate, in the writing of St. Jerome, and in the Hexapla).[4] The latter use was defended in modern Catholic interpretations by connecting Urim and Thummim from the roots ירה (to teach) and אׇמַן (be true).[2]

Thummim (תוּמִים‬) is widely considered to be derived from the consonantal root ת.ם.ם‬ (t-m-m), meaning innocent,[1][4][3] Many scholars now believe that Urim (אוּרִים‬) simply derives from the Hebrew term אּרּרִים‬ (Arrim), meaning curses, and thus that Urim and Thummim essentially means cursed or faultless, in reference to the deity's judgment of an accused person— in other words, Urim and Thummim were used to answer the question innocent or guilty.[1][3]

Assyriologist William Muss-Arnolt connected the singular forms—ur and tumm—with the Babylonian terms ūrtu and tamītu, meaning oracle and command, respectively. According to his theory the Hebrew words use a pluralis intensivus to enhance their apparent majesty, not to indicate the presence of more than one.[4] Along these lines the urim and thummim are hypothesized to derive from the Tablets of Destiny worn by Marduk on his breast according to Babylonian religion).[2][a]

Form and function

1 Samuel 14:41 is regarded by biblical scholars as key to understanding the Urim and Thummim;[4] the passage describes an attempt to identify a sinner via divination, by repeatedly splitting the people into two groups and identifying which group contains the sinner. In the version of this passage in the Masoretic Text, it describes Saul and Jonathan being separated from the rest of the people, and lots being cast between them; the Septuagint version, however, states that Urim would indicate Saul and Jonathan, while Thummim would indicate the people. In the Septuagint, a previous verse[6] uses a phrase which is usually translated as inquired of God, which is significant as the grammatical form of the Hebrew implies that the inquiry was performed by objects being manipulated; scholars view it as evident from these verses and versions that cleromancy was involved, and that Urim and Thummim were the names of the objects being cast.[3][2]

Cleromancy is a form of sortition, casting of lots, in which an outcome is determined by means that normally would be considered random, such as the rolling of dice, but are sometimes believed to reveal the will of God, or other supernatural entities.

-- Cleromany, by Wikipedia


The description of the clothing of the Hebrew high priest in the Book of Exodus portrays the Urim and Thummim as being put into the sacred breastplate, worn by the high priest over the Ephod.[7] Where the biblical text elsewhere describes an Ephod being used for divination, scholars presume that it is referring to use of the Urim and Thummim in conjunction with the Ephod, as this seems to be intimately connected with it;[4][2] similarly where non-prophets are portrayed as asking HaShem for guidance, and the advice is not described as given by visions, scholars think that Urim and Thummim were the medium implied.[3] In all but two cases (1 Samuel 10:22 and 2 Samuel 5:23), the question is one which is effectively answered by a simple yes or no;[3] a number of scholars believe that the two exceptions to this pattern, which give more complex answers, were originally also just sequences of yes or no questions, but became corrupted by later editing.[3]

There is no description of the form of the Urim and Thummim in the passage describing the high priest's vestments, and a number of scholars believe that the author of the passage, which textual scholars attribute to the priestly source, was not actually entirely aware of what they were either.[3] Nevertheless, the passage does describe them as being put into the breastplate, which scholars think implies they were objects put into some sort of pouch within it, and then, while out of view, one (or one side, if the Urim and Thummim was a single object) was chosen by touch and withdrawn or thrown out;[3] since the Urim and Thummim were put inside this pouch, they were presumably small and fairly flat, and were possibly tablets of wood or of bone.[3] Considering the scholars' conclusion that Urim essentially means guilty and Thummim essentially means innocent, this would imply that the purpose of the Urim and Thummim was an ordeal to confirm or refute suspected guilt; if the Urim was selected it meant guilt, while selection of the Thummim would mean innocence.

According to classical rabbinical literature, in order for the Urim and Thummim to give an answer, it was first necessary for the individual to stand facing the fully dressed high priest, and vocalise the question briefly and in a simple way, though it was not necessary for it to be loud enough for anyone else to hear it.[4] The Talmudic rabbis argued that Urim and Thummim were words written on the sacred breastplate.[8] Most of the Talmudic rabbis, and Josephus, following the belief that Urim meant lights, argued that divination by Urim and Thummim involved questions being answered by great rays of light shining out of certain jewels on the breastplate; each jewel was taken to represent different letters, and the sequence of lighting thus would spell out an answer (though there were 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and only 12 jewels on the breastplate);[9][10][11] two Talmudic rabbis, however, argued that the jewels themselves moved in a way that made them stand out from the rest, or even moved themselves into groups to form words.[12]

According to Islamic sources, there was a similar form of divination among the Arabs before the beginning of Islam.[3] There, two arrow shafts (without heads or feathers), on one of which was written command and the other prohibition or similar, were kept in a container, and stored in the Kaaba at Mecca;[3] whenever someone wished to know whether to get married, go on a journey, or to make some other similar decision, one of the Kaaba's guardians would randomly pull one of the arrow shafts out of the container, and the word written upon it was said to indicate the will of the god concerning the matter in question.[3] Sometimes a third, blank, arrow shaft would be used, to represent the refusal of the deity to give an answer.[3] This practice is called rhabdomancy, after the Greek roots rhabd- "rod" and -mancy ("divination").


History of use

The first reference to Urim and Thummim in the Bible is the description in the Book of Exodus concerning the high priest's vestments;[13] the chronologically earliest passage mentioning them, according to textual scholars, is in the Book of Hosea,[14] where it is implied, by reference to the Ephod, that the Urim and Thummim were fundamental elements in the popular form of the Israelite religion,[3] in the mid 8th century BC.[4] Consulting the Urim and Thummim was said to be permitted for determining territorial boundaries, and was said to be required, in addition to permission from the king or a prophet, if there was an intention to expand Jerusalem or the Temple in Jerusalem;[15][16][17][18] however, these rabbinical sources did question, or at least tried to justify, why Urim and Thummim would be required when a prophet was also present.[19] The classical rabbinical writers argued that the Urim and Thummim were only permitted to be consulted by very prominent figures such as army generals, the most senior of court figures, and kings, and the only questions which could be raised were those which were asked for the benefit of the people as a whole.[20] Abiathar joined David, who was then in the cave of Adullam (1 Sam. 22:20-23; 23:6). He remained with David, and became priest of the party of which he was the leader (1 Sam. 30:7). When David ascended the throne of Judah, Abiathar was appointed High Priest (1 Chr. 15:11; 1 Kings 2:26) and the "king's counselor" (1 Chr. 27:33-34). Meanwhile, Zadok, of the house of Eleazar, had been made High Priest. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia Abiathar was deposed from office when he was deserted by the Holy Spirit without which the Urim and Thummin could not be consulted.[21]

Although Josephus argues that the Urim and Thummim continued to be used until the era of the Maccabees,[22] Talmudic sources are unanimous in agreeing that the Urim and Thummim were lost much earlier, when Jerusalem was sacked by the Babylonians.[23][24][25] In a passage from the part of the Book of Ezra which overlaps with the Book of Nehemiah, it is mentioned that individuals who were unable to prove, after the Babylonian captivity had ended, that they were descended from the priesthood before the captivity began, were required to wait until priests in possession of Urim and Thummim were discovered;[26] this would appear to confirm the statements in the Talmud that the Urim and Thummim had by then been lost.[1][4][3] Indeed, since the priestly source, which textual scholars date to a couple of centuries prior to the captivity, does not appear to know what the Urim and Thummim looked like, and there is no mention of the Urim and Thummim in the deuteronomic history beyond the death of David, scholars suspect that use of them decayed some time before the Babylonian conquest,[3] probably as a result of the growing influence of prophets at that time.[4]

Latter Day Saint movement

Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, said that he used interpreters in order to translate the Book of Mormon from the golden plates. The interpreters he described as a pair of stones, fastened to a breastplate joined in a form similar to that of a large pair of spectacles. Smith later referred to this object as the Urim and Thummim. In 1823, Smith said that the angel Moroni, who had told him about the golden plates, also told him about the Urim and Thummim, "two stones in silver bows" fastened to a breastplate, and the angel intimated that they had been prepared by God to aid in the translation of the plates.[27] Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, described these Urim and Thummim as being like "two smooth three-cornered diamonds."[28]

Smith also said he used the Urim and Thummim to assist him in receiving other divine revelations, including some of the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants and portions of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. Only Oliver Cowdery is claimed to have attempted to use them to receive his own revelation.[29] Latter Day Saints believe that Smith's Urim and Thummim were functionally identical to the biblical Urim and Thummim.[30]

Smith extended the use of the term "Urim and Thummim" to describe the dwelling place of God, the earth in a future state, and the white stone mentioned in the Book of Revelation.[31]

In popular culture

Image
Yale University Coat of Arms, with Urim and Thummim shown in Hebrew letters on an open book

In accordance with the belief that Urim and Thummim translates to "Light and Truth", the Latin equivalent Lux et Veritas has been used for several university mottoes. For example, Lux et Veritas is the motto of Indiana University and the University of Montana. Similarly, Northeastern University's motto is Lux, Veritas, Virtus ("Light, Truth, Virtue"). Although Urim and Thummim itself is emblazoned across the open book pictured on the Yale University coat of arms, Lux et Veritas appears below on a banner.[32]

The Urim and Thummim are also afforded some value as artifacts in some modern fiction:

Thomas Mann has elaborated greatly on the definition of this term in Joseph the Provider, the fourth book of his tetralogyJoseph and His Brothers.
• A treasure hunt for the Urim and Thummim forms the central plot of the John Bellairs novel The Revenge of the Wizard's Ghost
• Their apparent desecration by an unknown vandal is a theme in the Arthur Conan Doyle short story "The Jew's Breastplate".
• In the Christian fiction novel The Face of God, by Bill Myers, the pastor Daniel Lawson and terrorist Ibrahim el-Magd race to find the Urim and Thummim, as well as the twelve stones of the sacred breastplate, in order to hear God's voice.
• In the novel The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, at page 30, the king of Salem gives the main character Santiago two stones that the king calls Urim and Thummim. One of the stones is black, which is said to signify yes, and the other is white, said to signify no; a significance applicable when the stones are asked an appropriate question and drawn from a bag. The king himself had removed the stones from his shining golden breastplate.
• Urim and Thummim were the names given to two objects of mystical technology in the Prosopopeia transmedia series, culminating in the International EmmyAward-winning participatory drama series The Truth About Marika by SVT The company P.
• In the television series Dig, the breastplate that is a part of the mystery is said to be the breastplate of the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem and used to communicate with God.

See also

• Cleromancy: the drawing of lots for the purpose of divination
• Divination: ascertaining information by supernatural means
• Dice: polyhedral objects used to randomize decisions
• Oracle: person or object used to obtain information via prophecy or clairvoyance
• Scrying: obtaining supernatural knowledge by means of an object

Notes and citations

1. 1 Samuel 28:3-6 mentions three methods of divine communication – dreams, prophets, and the Urim and Thummim; the first two of these are also mentioned copiously in Assyrian and Babylonian literature, and such literature also mentions Tablets of Destiny, which are similar in some ways to the Urim and Thummim. The Tablets of Destiny had to rest on the breast of deities mediating between the other gods and mankind in order to function, while the Urim and Thummim had to rest within the breastplate of the priest mediating between God and mankind. Marduk was said to have put his seal on the Tablets of Destiny, while the Israelite breastplate had a jewelled stone upon it for each of the Israelite tribes, which may derive from the same principle.[4] Like the Urim and Thummim, the Tablets of Destiny came into use when the fate of king and nation was concerned. According to some archaeologists, the Israelites emerged as a subculture from within Canaanite society, and not as an invading force from outside, and therefore it would be natural for them to have used similar religious practices to other Semitic nations,[5] and these scholars suspect that the concept of Urim and Thummim was originally derived from the Tablets of Destiny.[4][2]
1. Commentary on the Bible, ed. Arthur Peake, p. 191 etc. (1919).
2. William Muss-Arnolt, "The Urim and Thummim: A Suggestion as to their Original Nature and Significance", American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures (continuing Hebraica), Vol. XVI, No. 4, July 1900.
3. George Foote Moore, "Urim and Thummim", Encyclopedia Biblica, ed. Cheyne & Black, vol. IV (Q−Z), cols. 5235–5237 (1903).
4. Hirsch, Emil G.; Muss-Arnolt, William; Bacher, Wilhelm; Blau, Ludwig (1906). "Urim and Thummim". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. 12. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. p. 384–385.
5. Israel Finkelstein, The Bible Unearthed
6. 1 Samuel 14:37
7. Exodus 28:13-30
8. Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus 28:30
9. Yoma 73a-b
10. Yoma 44c in the Jerusalem Talmud
11. Sifre, Numbers 141
12. Yoma 73b
13. Exodus 28:30
14. Hosea 3:4
15. Sanhedrin 16a
16. Yoma 41b (Jerusalem Talmud)
17. Shebbit 2-3, and 16a
18. Shebbit 33d (Jerusalem Talmud)
19. Sanhedrin 19b (Jerusalem Talmud)
20. Yoma 7; Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus 28:30
21. Ginzberg, Louis (1901). "Abiathar". In Singer, Isidore; et al. Jewish Encyclopedia. 1. New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company. p. 56.
22. Josephus Antiquities of the Jews (volume 3) 8:9
23. Sotah 9:10
24. Yoma 21b
25. Tamid 65b (Jerusalem Talmud)
26. Ezra 2:63, which is also Nehemiah 7:65
27. Joseph Smith–History[permanent dead link]. The Urim and Thummim were said to have been found with the golden plates, the aforementioned breastplate, and the Sword of Laban.
28. Smith, Lucy Mack (1853). "Biographical sketches of Joseph Smith the prophet, and his progenitors for many generations". Brigham Young University Religious Education Archive. p. 101. Retrieved 2006-02-02. It [Joseph's Urim and Thummim]; also at EMD, 1: 328-29.
29. Section 9
30. There are seven references to the Urim and Thummim in the Masoretic Text (the basis of most English translations of the Old Testament): Exodus 28:30, Leviticus 8:8, Numbers 27:21, Deuteronomy 33:8, 1 Samuel 28:6, Ezra 2:63, Nehemiah 7:65. The Septuagint version (the pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament) and some English translations of 1 Samuel 14:41 also references them.
31. Doctrine and Covenants 130:8–10.
32. "How Hebrew Came to Yale". http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org. Retrieved 2018-04-16.

External links

• The Urim and Thummim by Reb Chaim HaQoton
• Mormon views of Urim and Thummim and Seer Stones
• Commentary on Exodus 28:30 by John Wesley
• Commentary on Exodus 28:30 by Cyrus Scofield
• The Urim V'tumim: The History of Yale's Insignia and Jewish Thought Today at westvilleshul.org, by Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol – B'nai Israel, the Westville Synagogue, New Haven, Connecticut
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Re: Mormonism in The New Germany, by Dale Clark

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Joseph and His Brothers
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/22/18

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


Joseph and His Brothers (Joseph und seine Brüder) is a four-part novel by Thomas Mann, written over the course of 16 years. Mann retells the familiar stories of Genesis, from Jacob to Joseph (chapters 27–50), setting it in the historical context of the Amarna Period. Mann considered it his greatest work.

The tetralogy consists of:

• The Stories of Jacob (Die Geschichten Jaakobs; written December 1926 to October 1930, Genesis 27–36)
• Young Joseph (Der junge Joseph; written January 1931 to June 1932, Genesis 37)
• Joseph in Egypt (Joseph in Ägypten; written July 1932 to 23 August 1936, Genesis 38–39)
• Joseph the Provider (Joseph, der Ernährer; written 10 August 1940 to 4 January 1943, Genesis 40–50)

Themes

Mann's presentation of the Ancient Orient and the origins of Judaism is influenced by Alfred Jeremias' 1904 Das Alte Testament im Lichte des Alten Orients, emphasizing Babylonian influence in the editing of Genesis, and by the work of Dmitry Merezhkovsky.

Alfred Karl Gabriel Jeremias (24 February 1864 in Chemnitz, Kingdom of Saxony – 11 January 1935) was a German pastor, Assyriologist and an expert on the religions of the Ancient Near East.

In 1891 he published the first German translation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. From 1890 until his death he was pastor of the Lutheran congregation in Leipzig, and from 1922 he was also professor at Leipzig University. He received honorary degrees in 1905 from Leipzig and in 1914 from the University of Groningen.

He was one of the prominent advocates of Panbabylonism, explaining the origins of the Hebrew Bible in terms of Babylonian mythology.

-- Alfred Jeremias


The Epic of Gilgamesh (/ˈɡɪlɡəˌmɛʃ/)[1] is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature....

The first half of the story discusses Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh from oppressing the people of Uruk. After Enkidu becomes civilized through sexual initiation with a prostitute, he travels to Uruk, where he challenges Gilgamesh to a test of strength. Gilgamesh wins and the two become friends. Together, they make a six-day journey to the legendary Cedar Forest, where they plan to slay the Guardian, Humbaba the Terrible, and cut down the sacred Cedar.[2] Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death.

In the second half of the epic, distress about Enkidu's death causes Gilgamesh to undertake a long and perilous journey to discover the secret of eternal life. He eventually learns that "Life, which you look for, you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and life withheld in their own hands".[3][4]

-- Epic of Gilgamesh, by Wikipedia


Mann sets the story in the 14th century BC and makes Akhenaten the pharaoh who appoints Joseph his vice-regent. Joseph is aged 28 at the ascension of Akhenaten, which would mean he was born about 1380 BC in standard Egyptian chronology, and Jacob in the mid-1420s BC. Other contemporary rulers mentioned include Tushratta and Suppiluliuma.

A dominant topic of the novel is Mann's exploration of the status of mythology and his presentation of the Late Bronze Age mindset with regard to mythical truths and the emergence of monotheism. Events of the story of Genesis are frequently associated and identified with other mythic topics.

Central is the notion of underworld and the mythical descent to the underworld. Jacob's sojourn in Mesopotamia (hiding from the wrath of Esau) is paralleled with Joseph's life in Egypt (exiled by the jealousy of his brothers), and on a smaller scale his captivity in the well; they are further identified with the "hellraid" of Inanna-Ishtar-Demeter, the Mesopotamian Tammuz myth, the Jewish Babylonian captivity as well as the Harrowing of Hell of Jesus Christ.


Abraham is repeatedly presented as the man who "discovered God" (a Hanif, or discoverer of monotheism). Jacob as Abraham's heir is charged with further elaborating this discovery. Joseph is surprised to find Akhenaten on the same path (although Akhenaten is not the "right person" for the path), and Joseph's success with the pharaoh is largely due to the latter's sympathy for "Abrahamic" theology. Such a connection of (proto-)Judaism and Atenism had been suggested before Mann, most notably by Sigmund Freud in his Moses and Monotheism, which had appeared in 1939, just before Mann began work on the tetralogy's fourth part—although in the last installment of Mann's work, Akhenaten is postulated as the Pharaoh of the Exodus contemporary of Moses, while Mann in his novella "Das Gesetz" (1944) casts Ramesses II in that role.

Image
Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family adoring the Aten

Aten, the god of Atenism, first appears in texts dating to the 12th dynasty, in the Story of Sinuhe. During the Middle Kingdom, Aten "as the sun disk...was merely one aspect of the sun god Re."[1] It was a relatively obscure sun god; without the Atenist period, it would barely have figured in Egyptian history. Although there are indications that it was becoming slightly more important during the eighteenth dynasty, notably Amenhotep III's naming of his royal barge as Spirit of the Aten, it was Amenhotep IV who introduced the Atenist revolution in a series of steps culminating in the official installment of the Aten as Egypt's sole god. Although each line of kings prior to the reign of Akhenaten[2] had previously adopted one deity as the royal patron and supreme state god, there had never been an attempt to exclude other deities, and the multitude of gods had always been tolerated and worshipped. During the reign of Thutmosis IV, it was identified as a distinct solar god, and his son Amenhotep III established and promoted a separate cult for the Aten. There is no evidence that Amenhotep III neglected the other gods or attempted to promote the Aten as an exclusive deity.


As Joseph is saved from the well and sold to Egypt, he adopts a new name, Osarseph, replacing the Yo- element with a reference to Osiris to indicate that he is now in the underworld. This change of name to account for changing circumstances encourages Amenhotep to change his own name to Akhenaten.

The tetralogy closes with a detailed account of Jacob's famous Blessing of his sons and their tribes, his death and the funeral.
The characters of the individual brothers are determined by epithets taken from the text of the Blessing of Jacob throughout the details; thus Reuben is "turbulent as the waters" (and associated with Aquarius by Jacob). Simeon and Levi are known as the "twins" (and associated with Gemini), even though they are a year apart, and portrayed as violent bullies. Juda is a lion (Leo), and inherits Abraham's blessing since Jacob disrobes his elder brothers of their birthright. Zebulun shows predilection for Phoenicians and seafaring. Jacob calls "bony" Issachar a donkey to evoke Asellus, γ and δ of Cancer. Dan is sharp-witted and "suited as a judge" (Libra). Asher is fond of dainties. Joseph is blessed by Jacob in his dual aspect of male (Dumuzi, god of seed and harvest), with reference to Taurus, and female (since for Jacob, his beloved Rachel lives on in Joseph, and in his affinity with the nourishing Earth), with reference to Virgo. As Jacob comes to Benjamin, his strength is almost gone, and with his last breath he rather incoherently compares his youngest son with a wolf, partly because of Lupus in Scorpio.

Editions and translations

• Die Geschichten Jaakobs. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. ISBN 3-596-29435-5
• Der junge Joseph. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. ISBN 3-10-048230-1
• Joseph in Ägypten. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. ISBN 3-10-048232-8
• Joseph der Ernährer. S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main. ISBN 3-10-048233-6
• Finnish translation by Lauri Hirvensalo. Helsinki/Porvoo: WSOY, 1947.
• English translation by H. T. Lowe-Porter. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1948. ISBN 0-394-43132-4.
• Spanish translation by Jose Maria Souviron and Hernán del Solar. Santiago de Chile: Editorial Ercilla. 2 Vol, 1962.
• English translation by John E. Woods. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. ISBN 1-4000-4001-9.
• Dutch translation by Thijs Pollmann. Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek, Amsterdam, 2014. ISBN 9789028424005.

References

• Jan Assmann: Thomas Mann und Ägypten. Mythos und Monotheismus in den Josephsromanen. C. H. Beck Verlag, München 2006. ISBN 3-406-54977-2
• Thomas L. Jeffers, “God, Man, the Devil—and Thomas Mann,” Commentary (November 2005), 77-83.
• Hermann Kurzke: Mondwanderungen. Ein Wegweiser durch Thomas Manns Josephs-Roman. Fischer Verlag Frankfurt am Main 2004. ISBN 3-596-16011-1
• Bernd-Jürgen Fischer: Handbuch zu Thomas Manns "Josephsromanen". Tübingen/Basel: Francke 2002. ISBN 3-7720-2776-8
• R. Cunningham: Myth and Politics in T.M.s 'Joseph und seine Brüder', Hans-Dieter Heinz Akademischer Verlag, Stuttgart 1985. ISBN 3-88099-165-0
• E. Murdaugh: Salvation in the Secular: The Moral Law in T.M.s 'Joseph und seine Brüder', Stuttgart 1976.
• Vladimir Tumanov. “Jacob as Job in Thomas Mann’s Joseph und seine Brüder.” Neophilologus 86 (2) 2002: 287-302.

External links

• Novels portal
• (in German) Friedemann W. Golka: Die biblische Josephsgeschichte und Thomas Manns Roman
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Re: Mormonism in The New Germany, by Dale Clark

Postby admin » Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:58 am

Bath ḳōl [Daughter of Voice]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/22/18

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

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Ezekiel hears the voice, represented by the Hand of God, Dura-Europos Synagogue, 3rd century CE.

In Judaism bat kol or bat ḳōl (Hebrew: בּת קול, literally "daughter of voice", "voice of God") is a "heavenly or divine voice which proclaims God's will or judgment."[1] It signifies the ruach ha-kodesh (רוח הקודש, "the spirit of holiness") or serves as a metonym for God; "but it differed essentially from the Prophets", though these were delegates or mouthpieces of ruaḥ ha-kodesh.[1]

In art it is represented by the Hand of God.

Jewish Bible

The characteristic attributes of the voice of God are the invisibility of the speaker and a certain remarkable quality in the sound, regardless of its strength or weakness. A sound proceeding from some invisible source was considered a heavenly voice, since the mass revelation on Sinai was given in that way in Deuteronomy 4:12: "Ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice". In this account, God reveals himself to man through his organs of hearing, not through those of sight. Even the prophet Ezekiel, who sees many visions, "heard a voice of one that spoke" (Ezek 1:28); similarly, Elijah recognized God by a "still, small voice," and a voice addressed him (I Kings 19:12–13; compare Job 4:16); sometimes God's voice rang from the heights, from Jerusalem, from Zion (Ezek. 1:25; Jer 25:30; Joel 3:16–17; Amos 1:2, etc.); and God's voice was heard in the thunder and in the roar of the sea.[1]

Talmud

In the period of the Tannaim (c 100 BCE-200 CE) the term bath ḳōl was in very frequent use and was understood to signify not the direct voice of God, which was held to be supersensible, but the echo of the voice (the bath being somewhat arbitrarily taken to express the distinction). The rabbis held that bath ḳōl had been an occasional means of divine communication throughout the whole history of Israel and that since the cessation of the prophetic gift it was the sole means of Divine revelation. It is noteworthy that the rabbinical conception of bath ḳōl sprang up in the period of the decline of Old Testament prophecy and flourished in the period of extreme traditionalism. Where the gift of prophecy was believed to be lacking – perhaps even because of this lack – there grew up an inordinate desire for special divine manifestations. Often a voice from heaven was looked for to clear up matters of doubt and even to decide between conflicting interpretations of the law. So strong had this tendency become that Rabbi Joshua (c. 100 CE) felt it to be necessary to oppose it and to insist upon the supremacy and the sufficiency of the written law.

The last nevi'im ("spokespersons", "prophets") mentioned in the Jewish Bible are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, all of whom lived at the end of the 70-year Babylonian captivity. The Talmud (Sanhedrin 11a) states that nowadays only the "Bath Kol" exists.

Art

In Jewish art the Bat Ḳol was often represented by the Hand of God, as in the Synagogue of Dura-Europas.

Literature

Josephus (Ant., XIII, x, 3) relates that John Hyrcanus (135–104 BCE) heard a voice while offering a burnt sacrifice in the temple, which Josephus expressly interprets as the voice of God.[2] According to Hebrew traditions, Metatron − an archangel and God's celestial scribe − is called the "Voice of God".

References

1. The Jewish Encyclopedia: BAT ḲOL: Kohler, Kaufmann; Blau, Ludwig. "BAT ḲOL". JewishEncyclopedia.com - The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. JewishEncyclopedia.com. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
2. This article incorporates text from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia article "Bath Kol", a publication now in the public domain.
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Re: Mormonism in The New Germany, by Dale Clark

Postby admin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:53 pm

Israel’s “Other Tribes”
by Vern G. Swanson
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
January, 1982

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When the Prophet Joseph Smith set down the Articles of Faith in 1842, he included an interesting declaration concerning the tribes of Israel which now reads in part: “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; [and] that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American Continent.” (A of F 1:10.)

In that statement the Prophet acknowledged, first, a historical fact—that a large portion of the house of Israel had been taken by Assyria from the land of their inheritance and thus were lost from the common knowledge of the tribe of Judah, the ancient record-keepers; and second, the Prophet acknowledged the Lord’s promise for the future—that these tribes “lost” in terms of immediate recognition, would be gathered in again in the latter days.

It was the Lord himself who referred to these of his scattered sheep as the “other tribes of the house of Israel.” (3 Ne. 15:15.) The scriptures and related sources give us a limited body of information about these “other tribes” up to the point when they were “lost” to Judah’s record-keepers.

After the conquest of the promised land of Canaan (Palestine) following Israel’s exodus from Egypt, Joshua partitioned the area into thirteen geographical entities to be possessed by the tribes of Israel. The tribes lived under a government of judges for 334 years, and then under the kingship of Saul, David, and Solomon for another 120 years before the land was divided into the kingdom of Israel and the kingdom of Judah in 975 B.C.

Because of Solomon’s transgressions, the Lord declared the end of his kingdom: “And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way. …

“And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces:

“And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon and will give ten tribes to thee.” (1 Kgs. 11:29–31.)

Thus at the death of Solomon, his son Rehoboam suffered a rebellion that left him the southern part, known as the kingdom of Judah, while a northern kingdom, known as the kingdom of Israel, formed under Jeroboam. This northern kingdom was also sometimes called the kingdom of Ephraim (which was the largest and most prominent tribe), or simply “Samaria,” after the capital city of the Ephraimite province.

Jeroboam immediately plunged the kingdom of Israel into enduring wickedness. Fearing that his people would travel to Jerusalem to worship at the temple in the kingdom of Judah and thus eventually shift their allegiance there, he made idols for their false worship. (See 1 Kgs. 12:26–33.) Nevertheless, the northern kingdom of Israel endured for another 253 years before the people’s wickedness weakened the kingdom to the point that Assyria conquered it.

The Assyrian conquest began about 738 B.C. when the armies of Tiglath-Pileser III marched against Menahem, king of Israel, wresting part of his dominion and compelling him to pay tribute. By 733 B.C., all of the northern kingdom except Mount Ephraim was conquered by the Assyrians, including the lands occupied by the tribes of Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Zebulun, Issachar, and the half-tribe of Manasseh in the region of Galilee, and Reuben, Gad, and the other half-tribe of Manasseh in trans-Jordan. (See 2 Kgs. 15:29; 1 Chr. 5:26.) After Tiglath-Pileser’s death in 727 B.C., he was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV, who immediately laid siege to Ephraim’s capital city of Samaria. After three years, Shalmaneser died and Sargon II took power. His famous “cylinder inscription” declares that it was he who was “the conquerer of the city of Samaria and the whole land of Beth-Omri.”

In his treatment of the kingdom of Ephraim (Israel), Sargon II followed the policies established by Tiglath-Pileser: deportation and colonization. Excavators have found, amid the ruins of his palace at Khorsabad, the annals of his conquest. One entry reads:

“In the beginning of my reign I besieged, I took by the help of the god Shamash, who gives me victory over my enemies, the city of Samaria. 27,290 of its inhabitants I carried away. … I took them to Assyria and put into their places people whom my hand had conquered.”

The Old Testament confirms this account, stating that “in the ninth year of Hoshea [722–21 B.C.] the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the fiver of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” (2 Kgs. 17:6; also 2 Kgs. 18:9–12; see map.) Then Sargon “brought men from Babylon, and from Cutha, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel.” (2 Kgs. 17:24.)

The people thus transplanted into Samaria eventually mingled with the remaining peoples of the northern kingdom and produced a religion that was a mixture of portions of the true faith and portions of pagan worship, for “they feared the Lord, [yet] served their own gods.” (2 Kgs. 17:33.) This mixture of nationalities and pollution of the religion appalled the Jews to the south and created enmity between them and these new “Samaritans.” Even in the time of the Savior, the Jews had a superior attitude toward the Samaritans.

Just how many Israelites were carried into Assyria is not known. Sargon II claimed 27,290 captives, but that number only represents the captives taken from the city of Samaria alone. Doubtless the total number carried away was significant, for Samaria never recovered as a power from the expulsion and never again became the dominant force that the northern kingdom of Israel had been. Nevertheless, the depopulation was not total, since it was the usual policy of the Assyrians to select only the ablest, most skilled, and intelligent of the people for deportation, just as Nebuchadnezzar later did in the captivity of Judah: “And he [Nebuchadnezzar] carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.” (2 Kgs. 24:14.)

It may be that those taken captive by the Assyrians numbered in the hundreds of thousands. In any case, these members of the Lord’s Other Tribes were taken away as colonists to the area of northwestern Mesopotamia, toward the upper reaches of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, there to await the time of their escape. Today those areas are associated with eastern Syria, northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, and the Armenian region of eastern Turkey.

Eventually, some of the displaced Israelites escaped from their captivity, to the fulfillment of the word of the Lord through his prophet Amos: “For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve.” (Amos 9:9.) How this portion escaped, and when, are not known.

Perhaps the fall of Assyria afforded the captives the opportunity to escape. In the period from 614 to 610 B.C. the army of the Medes under Cyaxeres overran all the territory of the Assyrians, including the areas of Halah and Gozan, where many of the captives had been settled. This was the end of the Assyrian empire. Subsequently, some of the peoples held captive by Assyria migrated. This migration seems to have been under way by the early part of the sixth century B.C., for at that time Nephi wrote: “Behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away.” (1 Ne. 22:4; italics added.)

The best account of the departure of the Other Tribes by Judah’s record-keepers is found in the book of 2 Esdras (also called 4 Ezra). In verses 40 through 47 of chapter 13 we read:

“These are the ten tribes which were led away captive out of their own land in the days of Josiah [Hoshea] the king, which (tribes) Salmanassar the king of the Assyrians led away captive; he carried them across the River, and (thus) they were transported into another land. But they took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a land further distant, where the human race had never dwelt, there at least to keep their statutes which they had not kept in their own land. And they entered by the narrow passages of the river Euphrates. For the Most High then wrought wonders for them, and stayed the springs of the River until they were passed over. And through that country there was a great way to go, (a journey) of a year and a half; and that region was called Arzareth. There they have dwelt until the last times.” (R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, 2 vols., Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1964, 2:619.)

This report agrees with 2 Kings 17:6, 18:11 [2 Kgs. 17:6; 2 Kgs. 18:11], and 1 Chronicles 5:26 [1 Chr. 5:26] in that the tribes would have been taken “across the River” (the Euphrates) on the way to the places of captivity named in those verses. An escape “by the narrow passages of the river Euphrates” (that is, in its upper reaches—see map) into “a land further distant, where the human race had never dwelt” points to a northward direction for the subsequent migration of the tribes (the lands east, west, and south of Assyria were already inhabited at that time). This, too, agrees with a number of scriptural prophecies relative to the eventual return of those Other Tribes from the “land of the north,” or “north countries.” (See, Israel, Ten Lost Tribes of, in Topical Guide, LDS edition of the King James Bible.)

Beginning in 721–22 B.C., the Assyrians carried many Israelites captive, settling them “in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” From these areas, according to one account, they later migrated northward “by the narrow passages of the river Euphrates.”

This was to be an event of such significance that the prophet Jeremiah spoke these powerful words:

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt;

“But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.” (Jer. 23:7–8.)

Precisely where the tribes journeyed after the fall of Assyria is another unknown, even as it is unknown to Judah where Lehi and Mulek went; Arzareth itself simply means “another land.” But seeking an actual locale is perhaps an irrelevant question, since the scriptures clearly indicate that the Other Tribes were to be scattered among many nations, even though a distinct remnant of them clearly would remain in the “land of the north.”

It is also clear that part of the scattering surely involved portions of the Other Tribes that didn’t go north. As mentioned earlier, some of the population of the northern kingdom were left in the conquered lands of the northern kingdom by the Assyrians and not taken captive at all. Others, although taken captive, elected to remain in the land of their captivity, for Isaiah indicated in his well-known prophecy: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” (Isa. 11:11; also 2 Ne. 21:11; italics added.) Assyria, Elam, Shinar, and Hamath were all lands involved in the Assyrian captivity. This same principle also applies to Judah, for many Jews did not return to Jerusalem after establishing themselves in Babylon and places where they fled.

Nevertheless, as a distinct remnant, the Other Tribes did become “lost” to Judah’s record-keepers—not simply because they were taken captive, but also because they left their captivity and went forth “into a land further distant,” numerous of them undoubtedly choosing to settle in the lands through which they traveled.

Since that time—particularly in the last few centuries—attempts to locate and identify the Other Tribes have been numerous. At different times and by a variety of Christian authors the Other Tribes of Israel have been identified with the Japanese, Chinese, Turks, Ethiopians, Persians, Yemenites, Nestorians, Afghans, Arabians, Britons, Kassites of Russia, Hindus and Buddhists of India, Scythians, Cimmerians, Celts, Kareens of Burma, North and South American Indians, Australians, and Eskimos. Indeed it is possible that remnants of the Other Tribes may have spread out and became part of all these peoples in fulfillment of the prophecies that Israel would spread itself throughout many countries.

In the ninth century, for example, a man called Eldad ben Mahli went to Kairwan, Tunisia, announcing that he was from a Jewish kingdom in Ethiopia comprising peoples of four of the ten tribes. This tradition continued into the sixteenth century when the geographer Abraham Yagel placed the Other Tribes in Ethiopia and India. Perhaps the most interesting accounts of Other Tribes “hunting” came from a merchant named Benjamin de Tudels, a Jewish-Spanish traveler at the time of the Crusades who shared an account of Jewish communities in the Near East and communities of the Other Tribes in Iran, India, and beyond, northward as well as eastward. Many are the legends, romantic tales, and speculations concerning the locale or present-day identification of the “Lost Tribes.”

It was in this vacuum of reliable reformation regarding the Other Tribes that in November 1831 Joseph Smith received this revelation from the Lord:

“They who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.

“And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep. …

“And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.

“And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.

“And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.

“And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.” (D&C 133:26–33.)

In the last days, then, the Other Tribes are to come to Zion, “upon the American continent,” there to receive blessings from Ephraim. The keys of the “gathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the north” were committed to the Prophet Joseph Smith by Moses on 3 April 1836 in the Kirtland Temple. Since Ephraim itself was one of the Other Tribes lost to Jewish and Christian history, we see that the promised restoration has already begun. In fact, we have been blessed to identify many from another tribe, Manasseh. This identification of tribal lineage is made under the hands of inspired patriarchs in the normal spiritual processes incident to the functions of the priesthood.

As we look toward our common future, we see that, as foretold, the great gathering, or restoration, of all the peoples of Israel who have spread themselves throughout the world will be accomplished and distinct remnants of all of the tribal units of Israel will at last be united again in fellowship under Christ. All tribes are to have representation in the establishment of the New Jerusalem. All tribes will have representatives in the calling of the “hundred and forty and four thousand” mentioned in John’s revelation, twelve thousand out of every tribe of Israel. (Rev. 7:2–8.) These are “high priests, ordained unto the holy order of God, to administer the everlasting gospel; for they are they who are ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, by the angels to whom is given power over the nations of the earth, to bring as many as will come to the church of the Firstborn.” (D&C 77:11.) Thus, a great work awaits representatives of each tribe as they continue to preach the gospel throughout the world to all mankind. Ultimately, in righteousness the Other Tribes of Israel will be prepared to return to Jerusalem, to receive with Judah the lands of their first inheritance. (See Deut. 30:1–5.)

Certainly all the reasons why the Lord “hid” the tribes—as he did with both Ephraim and Manasseh—and exactly when we will identify the others and when a distinct remnant of “they who are in the north countries” will come to “the boundaries of the everlasting hills” is information that remains with God. However, we do know that it will ultimately be for the benefit of all—for those who were “lost,” for the nations who were blessed by their leavening seed, and for us in Israel today who await the gathering of these Other Tribes and the great work of restoring to all the peoples of Israel the true knowledge of their God and King, Jesus Christ.

Bas-relief from the Black Obelisk showing the Israelite King Jehu bowing to Shalmaneser III, King of Assyria, which took place around 820 B.C. (Photography courtesy of the British Museum.)

Vern Grosvenor Swanson, director of the Springville, Utah, Museum of Art, teaches the seventies group in his ward.
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Re: Mormonism in The New Germany, by Dale Clark

Postby admin » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:58 pm

Bedrock of a Faith Is Jolted: DNA tests contradict Mormon scripture. The church says the studies are being twisted to attack its beliefs.
by William Lobdell
Los Angeles Times
February 16, 2006

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From the time he was a child in Peru, the Mormon Church instilled in Jose A. Loayza the conviction that he and millions of other Native Americans were descended from a lost tribe of Israel that reached the New World more than 2,000 years ago.

"We were taught all the blessings of that Hebrew lineage belonged to us and that we were special people," said Loayza, now a Salt Lake City attorney. "It not only made me feel special, but it gave me a sense of transcendental identity, an identity with God."

A few years ago, Loayza said, his faith was shaken and his identity stripped away by DNA evidence showing that the ancestors of American natives came from Asia, not the Middle East.

"I've gone through stages," he said. "Absolutely denial. Utter amazement and surprise. Anger and bitterness."

For Mormons, the lack of discernible Hebrew blood in Native Americans is no minor collision between faith and science. It burrows into the historical foundations of the Book of Mormon, a 175-year-old transcription that the church regards as literal and without error.


For those outside the faith, the depth of the church's dilemma can be explained this way: Imagine if DNA evidence revealed that the Pilgrims didn't sail from Europe to escape religious persecution but rather were part of a migration from Iceland -- and that U.S. history books were wrong.

Critics want the church to admit its mistake and apologize to millions of Native Americans it converted. Church leaders have shown no inclination to do so. Indeed, they have dismissed as heresy any suggestion that Native American genetics undermine the Mormon creed.

Yet at the same time, the church has subtly promoted a fresh interpretation of the Book of Mormon intended to reconcile the DNA findings with the scriptures. This analysis is radically at odds with long-standing Mormon teachings.

Some longtime observers believe that ultimately, the vast majority of Mormons will disregard the genetic research as an unworthy distraction from their faith.

"This may look like the crushing blow to Mormonism from the outside," said Jan Shipps, a professor emeritus of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, who has studied the church for 40 years. "But religion ultimately does not rest on scientific evidence, but on mystical experiences. There are different ways of looking at truth."

According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an angel named Moroni led Joseph Smith in 1827 to a divine set of golden plates buried in a hillside near his New York home.

God provided the 22-year-old Smith with a pair of glasses and seer stones that allowed him to translate the "Reformed Egyptian" writings on the golden plates into the "Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ."

Mormons believe these scriptures restored the church to God's original vision and left the rest of Christianity in a state of apostasy.

The book's narrative focuses on a tribe of Jews who sailed from Jerusalem to the New World in 600 BC and split into two main warring factions.

The God-fearing Nephites were "pure" (the word was officially changed from "white" in 1981) and "delightsome." The idol-worshiping Lamanites received the "curse of blackness," turning their skin dark.

According to the Book of Mormon, by 385 AD the dark-skinned Lamanites had wiped out other Hebrews. The Mormon church called the victors "the principal ancestors of the American Indians." If the Lamanites returned to the church, their skin could once again become white.

Over the years, church prophets -- believed by Mormons to receive revelations from God -- and missionaries have used the supposed ancestral link between the ancient Hebrews and Native Americans and later Polynesians as a prime conversion tool in Central and South America and the South Pacific.

"As I look into your faces, I think of Father Lehi [patriarch of the Lamanites], whose sons and daughters you are," church president and prophet Gordon B. Hinckley said in 1997 during a Mormon conference in Lima, Peru. "I think he must be shedding tears today, tears of love and gratitude.... This is but the beginning of the work in Peru."

In recent decades, Mormonism has flourished in those regions, which now have nearly 4 million members -- about a third of Mormon membership worldwide, according to church figures.

"That was the big sell," said Damon Kali, an attorney who practices law in Sunnyvale, Calif., and is descended from Pacific Islanders. "And quite frankly, that was the big sell for me. I was a Lamanite. I was told the day of the Lamanite will come."

A few months into his two-year mission in Peru, Kali stopped trying to convert the locals. Scientific articles about ancient migration patterns had made him doubt that he or anyone else was a Lamanite.

"Once you do research and start getting other viewpoints, you're toast," said Kali, who said he was excommunicated in 1996 over issues unrelated to the Lamanite issue. "I could not do missionary work anymore."


Critics of the Book of Mormon have long cited anachronisms in its narrative to argue that it is not the work of God. For instance, the Mormon scriptures contain references to a seven-day week, domesticated horses, cows and sheep, silk, chariots and steel. None had been introduced in the Americas at the time of Christ.

In the 1990s, DNA studies gave Mormon detractors further ammunition and new allies such as Simon G. Southerton, a molecular biologist and former bishop in the church.

Southerton, a senior research scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Australia, said genetic research allowed him to test his religious views against his scientific training.

Genetic testing of Jews throughout the world had already shown that they shared common strains of DNA from the Middle East. Southerton examined studies of DNA lineages among Polynesians and indigenous peoples in North, Central and South America. One mapped maternal DNA lines from 7,300 Native Americans from 175 tribes.

Southerton found no trace of Middle Eastern DNA in the genetic strands of today's American Indians and Pacific Islanders.

In "Losing a Lost Tribe," published in 2004, he concluded that Mormonism -- his faith for 30 years -- needed to be reevaluated in the face of these facts, even though it would shake the foundations of the faith.

The problem is that Mormon leaders cannot acknowledge any factual errors in the Book of Mormon because the prophet Joseph Smith proclaimed it the "most correct of any book on Earth," Southerton said in an interview.

"They can't admit that it's not historical," Southerton said. "They would feel that there would be a loss of members and loss in confidence in Joseph Smith as a prophet."



This seaport of Smyrna, our first notable acquaintance in Asia, is a closely packed city of one hundred and thirty thousand inhabitants, and, like Constantinople, it has no outskirts. It is as closely packed at its outer edges as it is in the centre, and then the habitations leave suddenly off and the plain beyond seems houseless. It is just like any other Oriental city. That is to say, its Moslem houses are heavy and dark, and as comfortless as so many tombs; its streets are crooked, rudely and roughly paved, and as narrow as an ordinary staircase; the streets uniformly carry a man to any other place than the one he wants to go to, and surprise him by landing him in the most unexpected localities; business is chiefly carried on in great covered bazaars, celled like a honeycomb with innumerable shops no larger than a common closet, and the whole hive cut up into a maze of alleys about wide enough to accommodate a laden camel, and well calculated to confuse a stranger and eventually lose him; every where there is dirt, every where there are fleas, every where there are lean, broken-hearted dogs; every alley is thronged with people; wherever you look, your eye rests upon a wild masquerade of extravagant costumes; the workshops are all open to the streets, and the workmen visible; all manner of sounds assail the ear, and over them all rings out the muezzin’s cry from some tall minaret, calling the faithful vagabonds to prayer; and superior to the call to prayer, the noises in the streets, the interest of the costumes—superior to every thing, and claiming the bulk of attention first, last, and all the time—is a combination of Mohammedan stenches, to which the smell of even a Chinese quarter would be as pleasant as the roasting odors of the fatted calf to the nostrils of the returning Prodigal. Such is Oriental luxury—such is Oriental splendor! We read about it all our days, but we comprehend it not until we see it. Smyrna is a very old city. Its name occurs several times in the Bible, one or two of the disciples of Christ visited it, and here was located one of the original seven apocalyptic churches spoken of in Revelations. These churches were symbolized in the Scriptures as candlesticks, and on certain conditions there was a sort of implied promise that Smyrna should be endowed with a “crown of life.” She was to “be faithful unto death”—those were the terms. She has not kept up her faith straight along, but the pilgrims that wander hither consider that she has come near enough to it to save her, and so they point to the fact that Smyrna to-day wears her crown of life, and is a great city, with a great commerce and full of energy, while the cities wherein were located the other six churches, and to which no crown of life was promised, have vanished from the earth. So Smyrna really still possesses her crown of life, in a business point of view. Her career, for eighteen centuries, has been a chequered one, and she has been under the rule of princes of many creeds, yet there has been no season during all that time, as far as we know, (and during such seasons as she was inhabited at all,) that she has been without her little community of Christians “faithful unto death.” Hers was the only church against which no threats were implied in the Revelations, and the only one which survived.

With Ephesus, forty miles from here, where was located another of the seven churches, the case was different. The “candlestick” has been removed from Ephesus. Her light has been put out. Pilgrims, always prone to find prophecies in the Bible, and often where none exist, speak cheerfully and complacently of poor, ruined Ephesus as the victim of prophecy. And yet there is no sentence that promises, without due qualification, the destruction of the city. The words are:

“Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”


That is all; the other verses are singularly complimentary to Ephesus. The threat is qualified. There is no history to show that she did not repent. But the cruelest habit the modern prophecy-savans have, is that one of coolly and arbitrarily fitting the prophetic shirt on to the wrong man. They do it without regard to rhyme or reason. Both the cases I have just mentioned are instances in point. Those “prophecies” are distinctly leveled at the “churches of Ephesus, Smyrna,” etc., and yet the pilgrims invariably make them refer to the cities instead. No crown of life is promised to the town of Smyrna and its commerce, but to the handful of Christians who formed its “church.” If they were “faithful unto death,” they have their crown now—but no amount of faithfulness and legal shrewdness combined could legitimately drag the city into a participation in the promises of the prophecy. The stately language of the Bible refers to a crown of life whose lustre will reflect the day-beams of the endless ages of eternity, not the butterfly existence of a city built by men’s hands, which must pass to dust with the builders and be forgotten even in the mere handful of centuries vouchsafed to the solid world itself between its cradle and its grave.

The fashion of delving out fulfillments of prophecy where that prophecy consists of mere “ifs,” trenches upon the absurd. Suppose, a thousand years from now, a malarious swamp builds itself up in the shallow harbor of Smyrna, or something else kills the town; and suppose, also, that within that time the swamp that has filled the renowned harbor of Ephesus and rendered her ancient site deadly and uninhabitable to-day, becomes hard and healthy ground; suppose the natural consequence ensues, to wit: that Smyrna becomes a melancholy ruin, and Ephesus is rebuilt. What would the prophecy-savans say? They would coolly skip over our age of the world, and say: “Smyrna was not faithful unto death, and so her crown of life was denied her; Ephesus repented, and lo! her candle-stick was not removed. Behold these evidences! How wonderful is prophecy!”

Smyrna has been utterly destroyed six times. If her crown of life had been an insurance policy, she would have had an opportunity to collect on it the first time she fell. But she holds it on sufferance and by a complimentary construction of language which does not refer to her. Six different times, however, I suppose some infatuated prophecy-enthusiast blundered along and said, to the infinite disgust of Smyrna and the Smyrniotes: “In sooth, here is astounding fulfillment of prophecy! Smyrna hath not been faithful unto death, and behold her crown of life is vanished from her head. Verily, these things be astonishing!”

Such things have a bad influence. They provoke worldly men into using light conversation concerning sacred subjects. Thick-headed commentators upon the Bible, and stupid preachers and teachers, work more damage to religion than sensible, cool-brained clergymen can fight away again, toil as they may. It is not good judgment to fit a crown of life upon a city which has been destroyed six times. That other class of wiseacres who twist prophecy in such a manner as to make it promise the destruction and desolation of the same city, use judgment just as bad, since the city is in a very flourishing condition now, unhappily for them. These things put arguments into the mouth of infidelity.


-- The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain


Officially, the Mormon Church says that nothing in the Mormon scriptures is incompatible with DNA evidence, and that the genetic studies are being twisted to attack the church.

"We would hope that church members would not simply buy into the latest DNA arguments being promulgated by those who oppose the church for some reason or other," said Michael Otterson, a Salt Lake City-based spokesman for the Mormon church.

"The truth is, the Book of Mormon will never be proved or disproved by science," he said.

Unofficially, church leaders have tacitly approved an alternative interpretation of the Book of Mormon by church apologists -- a term used for scholars who defend the faith.

The apologists say Southerton and others are relying on a traditional reading of the Book of Mormon -- that the Hebrews were the first and sole inhabitants of the New World and eventually populated the North and South American continents.

The latest scholarship, they argue, shows that the text should be interpreted differently. They say the events described in the Book of Mormon were confined to a small section of Central America, and that the Hebrew tribe was small enough that its DNA was swallowed up by the existing Native Americans.

"It would be a virtual certainly that their DNA would be swamped," said Daniel Peterson, a professor of Near Eastern studies at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, part of the worldwide Mormon educational system, and editor of a magazine devoted to Mormon apologetics. "And if that is the case, you couldn't tell who was a Lamanite descendant."


Southerton said the new interpretation was counter to both a plain reading of the text and the words of Mormon leaders.

"The apologists feel that they are almost above the prophets," Southerton said. "They have completely reinvented the narrative in a way that would be completely alien to members of the church and most of the prophets."

The church has not formally endorsed the apologists' views, but the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- http://www.lds.org-- cites their work and provides links to it.

"They haven't made any explicit public declarations," said Armand L. Mauss, a church member and retired Washington State University professor who recently published a book on Mormon race and lineage. "But operationally, that is the current church's position."

The DNA debate is largely limited to church leaders, academics and a relatively small circle of church critics. Most Mormons, taught that obedience is a key value, take the Book of Mormon as God's unerring word.

"It's not that Mormons are not curious," Mauss said. "They just don't see the need to reconsider what has already been decided."


Critics contend that Mormon leaders are quick to stifle dissent. In 2002, church officials began an excommunication proceeding against Thomas W. Murphy, an anthropology professor at Edmonds Community College in Washington state.

He was deemed a heretic for saying the Mormon scriptures should be considered inspired fiction in light of the DNA evidence.


After the controversy attracted national media coverage, with Murphy's supporters calling him the Galileo of Mormonism, church leaders halted the trial.

Loayza, the Salt Lake City attorney, said the church should embrace the controversy.

"They should openly address it," he said. "Often, the tack they adopt is to just ignore or refrain from any opinion. We should have the courage of our convictions. This [Lamanite issue] is potentially destructive to the faith."

Otterson, the church spokesman, said Mormon leaders would remain neutral. "Whether Book of Mormon geography is extensive or limited or how much today's Native Americans reflect the genetic makeup of the Book of Mormon peoples has absolutely no bearing on its central message as a testament of Jesus Christ," he said.

Mauss said the DNA studies haven't shaken his faith. "There's not very much in life -- not only in religion or any field of inquiry -- where you can feel you have all the answers," he said.

"I'm willing to live in ambiguity. I don't get that bothered by things I can't resolve in a week."

For others, living with ambiguity has been more difficult. Phil Ormsby, a Polynesian who lives in Brisbane, Australia, grew up believing he was a Hebrew.

"I visualized myself among the fighting Lamanites and lived out the fantasies of the [Book of Mormon] as I read it," Ormsby said. "It gave me great mana [prestige] to know that these were my true ancestors."

The DNA studies have altered his feelings completely.

"Some days I am angry, and some days I feel pity," he said. "I feel pity for my people who have become obsessed with something that is nothing but a hoax."
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