September 4, 2008

Initial response to FAIR’s review of this research

Filed under: Is FAIR being 'fair'? Share your thoughts on the FAIR article(s). — The FIRM Foundation Blog @ 12:20 am

 

Is FAIR being fair?

Please add your comments and look for my complete responses to these several articles on my website at http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/ for a more ‘balanced’ understanding of the FAIR reviews in the next few days as they are completed.   

The apologists at FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) officially launched their  reviews of my research presented in the DNA Evidence for Book of Mormon Geography DVD, overall their reviews have been ‘cleaned up’ considerably from the initial personal attacks that were made, to their credit. 

From the FAIR website (quoted below) we gain a proper perspective of the significance of the FAIR review of my research. 

“FAIR is not owned, controlled by or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All research and opinions provided on this site are the sole responsibility of FAIR, and should not be interpreted as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief or practice.”

As such, their collective opinions are no more, nor less, valid than any general member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

All members of the church are given the power of discernment through the gift of the Holy Ghost at baptism. It is encouraged that members use this God-given power to determine for themselves whether something is true or in error. Members need not assume that all truth must be first filtered through scholars before being able to find and know it for themselves.

“And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Book of Mormon | Moroni 10:5)

To be clear exactly where I stand, I make the following statements. 

I have not, and do not claim to receive revelation for the church or any of its leaders or members.  

I support and sustain current and past prophets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as Prophets, Seers and Revelators.  

I do not represent the church in any way in this research, and so state in my DVD, my presentations, and on my website (www.bookofmormonevidence.org) .

I do ask daily for personal guidance from the Lord in all aspects of my life through prayer, including my research, and will not deny that I have on occasion felt his guiding influence in my life. This is not contrary to the teachings of the gospel. Please see the following scriptures. I believe the scriptures are true. Following are quotes from the standard works pertaining to this subject. 

“Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

 For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 14:7-8) 

“And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shall receive, behold it shall be given unto you.” (Book of Mormon | 3 Nephi 18:20) 

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (New Testament | James 1:5) 

I am doing my utmost to be a servant of God and his son, Jesus Christ, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  

I know that I am not perfect, and neither is my research. I state this up front in the DVD. As mistakes are found, I will correct them. Please note that the presentation under review was a 4-hour long, non-scripted presentation before a live audience from memory. I could not include much of the total research as the content was limited to a four hour DVD. 

I am simply presenting ideas and information. It is fully referenced to enable those who would like to study further to do so. The information is available for those who seek further knowledge on this subject.  

I invite anyone who wants to know what I have actually said to review the information I present and then make their own decision. It is every member’s right and responsibility to study it out for them self, then pray and ask the Lord to determine what is truth and what is not. The scriptures are clear how to judge for yourself whether something is of God or not. 

“For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also. 

I testify that the Book of Mormon is first and foremost a spiritual witness of the divinity of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. I also testify that it is a literal historical record of real people and events that did actually occur.  

I testify to the Prophetic calling of Joseph Smith Jr. as the leader of this dispensation. I give my solemn witness that he did indeed translate the ancient records of Lehi’s posterity to bring forth the Book of Mormon. I also believe his prophetic statements, claimed by him to have been received by revelation.

I testify that the church today is headed by a prophet of God, currently President Thomas S. Monson, who guides and directs the affairs of the church on the earth today, and who is solely authorized to receive divine revelation appertaining to the body of the church.

Truth stands on its own. 

 

There is much more to contribute to this conversation, but I will refrain from making each post a dissertation.

I have several times requested to have these issues resolved in private, rather than a public forum, but FAIR believes that they are protecting the church and the testimonies of its general membership by attacking a fellow brother in the gospel in good standing in the church because he espouses ideas not held by the dominantly Mesoamerican leaning leadership of FAIR. 

It is hoped that those who take the time to read the reviews will do so with an eye toward what would motivate FAIR to consume so much of its resources to squelch an opposing view on geography?  Could it be that they have a commercial interest in doing so?  I didn’t know until a few weeks ago that FAIR has a distinct interest in attempting to discredit this research, you see, they just released a few months ago a new DNA DVD title ‘The Book of Mormon and New World DNA’ which is currently available on their website as well as Deseret Book.  See  http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p1893036073.html to see their commercial offering.  

Could this be a motivating factor in their choosing to put so much effort into review of my research, to protect their monetary interests?  

What are they so afraid of about this research getting out that they would go to such great lengths to destroy it? As far as I know their extensive review is unprecedented for any other previous review matter, including anti-Mormon works.  Usually opposing theories are relegated to a page or two of review, while these reviews (of which they have posted for a couple of sections so far) are currently more than 66 pages in length!  FAIR has certainly out-done itself against a fellow member, when they never (to my knowledge) launched such a full-scale attack on anti-Mormon critics of the church.  

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? 

Rod  

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109 Comments »

  1. I am a member of the FAIR management board. I am stating that so that readers who do not know me will understand the bias from which I write. However, I am not writing on behalf of FAIR, but entirely on my own account as one who has been involved in the FAIR-Meldrum dialogue from the beginning. What follows is a bit long, but it can’t be made shorter and still fully inform readers about what Rod Meldrum is now doing. And readers should be fully informed.

    FAIR was going to publish the material that it has just released, in the early summer. As you know, Rod, as a courtesy to you as a LDS FAIR agreed to enter into a contract with you. The contract provided that FAIR would lock its blog on your material, provide you with its work to date, and withhold publication until September–a date selected at your request. You’re part of the contract was to read the FAIR material, and before FAIR’s publication date you would tell FAIR what you believed FAIR had wrong, and why. FAIR would review that, and make any appropriate changes.

    FAIR lived up to its contract obligations scrupulously. You, on the other hand, broke your promises. You did not provide FAIR with any list of what you believe to be errors or other grievances. There is available for publication a series of emails between you and officers of FAIR in which you do, as you write, ask for meetings to work things out privately, to which FAIR pointed out that there was a contract in place, to which you not only agreed but for which you effusively thanked FAIR, and that was the way to proceed. A series of email is also available for publication in which you are reminded of your contractual obligations, and that you have not fulfilled them. Your responses varied from claims of problems correlating page numbers, to assertions that you didn’t remember what the contract said about your obligations.

    On this blog you are referring people to your site on which you have posted the very things that you were contractually obligated to provide to FAIR well before this. Obviously, you didn’t write the material you have posted since FAIR puublised, and since the final date on which your communication to FAIR was due. It is therefore clear that you had prepared what, in your view, was a list of things about which FAIR was in error, and notwithstanding your contactual obligations, which are not only legal but, for a LDS, ethical, you chose to break your word, and do it egregiously.

    As I have written, there are series of emails between you and FAIR officers–I am not refering to the email that has passed between you and me–documenting all of this, including your clearly expressed gratitude to FAIR for allowing you to do this, and asking for and obtaining from FAIR an extension of time because of the committments to work and family you described to us. If you differ with me about the contract that you made and your obligations under it, I am sure that publication of the email exchanges will more than adequately address your disagreements.

    So, legally, ethically and honorably, you really should, as the first item on your site, acknowledge that you agreed to send what follows to FAIR prior to September 2nd, that you decided not to live up to your obligations and to proceed instead as you have. Readers will then be fully informed about the context of your complaints and also be able to judge your credibility in making them.

    To any of you who are reading this and have previously not known of this contract, I am sure that if you send an email to Ask The Apologist from the FAIR website, FAIR may decide to send you, or broadly publish, the contract in full.

    Comment by Robert White — September 4, 2008 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  2. I think FAIR is being fair. They saw problems with your approach and made them known. I volunteer for FAIR and remain relatively indifferent on where the BoM took place. I see some very interesting correlations in the mesoamerican model geographically and culturally, but remain fairly aloof from the fray. As it stands, I see your presentation as needing improvement. There are other members of FAIR who believe various N. American models, and they get along great with the organization.

    Bottom line: you can try to make this personal, much more personal than FAIR intends, or you can simply respond to the substantive points of the FAIR review itself. By ignoring the points they make you are avoiding the truth, though you say “truth will prevail.” I suggest answering the actual points addressed in FAIR’s review rather than trying to make this even more personal.

    Comment by BHodges — September 4, 2008 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

  3. Rod:
    1. With respect to your statement that “I have not, and do not claim to receive revelation for the church or any of its leaders or members”; you know that is not a full statement of the issue or of your views, do you not?

    2. The answer to your question, below, is “not a chance”.

    I didn’t know until a few weeks ago that FAIR has a distinct interest in attempting to discredit this research, you see, they just released a few months ago a new DNA DVD title ‘The Book of Mormon and New World DNA’ which is currently available on their website as well as Deseret Book. See http://store.fairlds.org/prod/p1893036073.html to see their commercial offering.

    Could this be a motivating factor in their choosing to put so much effort into review of my research, to protect their monetary interests?

    Comment by Robert White — September 4, 2008 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  4. I am very curious about the way two statements you make can be reconciled.

    First, you propose that you provide: “New scientific support for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.”

    Then, you suggest, in the first blog posting: “Members need not assume that all truth must be first filtered through scholars before being able to find and know it for themselves.”

    The first proposal seems to say that you consider yourself part of the scholarly/scientific analysis of the Book of Mormon, but the second appears to reject that methodology entirely. I don’t understand.

    Should I accept your statement that you have scientific evidence and examine it according to the science that produced it, or should I not examine your data and simply accept your ideas on faith because they don’t come from a scholar?

    I would appreciate some clear guidance on how I should evaluate your work.

    Comment by Brant Gardner — September 4, 2008 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

    • I realize its been almost two years since the above statement was made. I’m new to this and this whole thing may have already been resolve between all parties.

      I don’t find Rod’s comments conflicting at all. Only one who wishes to be confrontational would try to twist it the way you have. I’ve always appreciated FAIR’s work, but I feel like the shoe is on the other foot on this matter.

      Comment by Roland Waldeck — August 18, 2010 @ 10:35 pm | Reply

  5. I shouldn’t say laughable, I should say unfortunate.

    Comment by BHodges — September 4, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  6. So to be clear, to intimate that FAIR might have a “profit motive” in regards to critiquing your scholarship I would say that is false. No one at FAIR is making a buck on what they do. As it states on the FAIR site:

    “FAIR is an entirely volunteer organization, but it still costs money to host our Web sites and put on our annual conferences. We are 501c(3) corporation, so your contributions are entirely tax deductible.”

    I understand that your dvd is a commercial enterprise, however.

    Comment by BHodges — September 4, 2008 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  7. Elder White said:

    FAIR was going to publish the material that it has just released, in the early summer. As you know, Rod, as a courtesy to you as a LDS FAIR agreed to enter into a contract with you. The contract provided that FAIR would lock its blog on your material, provide you with its work to date, and withhold publication until September–a date selected at your request. You’re part of the contract was to read the FAIR material, and before FAIR’s publication date you would tell FAIR what you believed FAIR had wrong, and why. FAIR would review that, and make any appropriate changes.

    When FAIR blind-sided me with their first article, (less than two days before when we had a conference call where I understood we had agreed to work together to address your concerns) I was shocked. Then in some resemblence of good-faith, FAIR agreed to allow me the opportunity to see the review, and gave me a time-frame to respond. I was two or three days away from leaving for the east for a month and there was no possible way for me to work on a response. I expressed my concerns and to FAIR’s credit an extention was made to allow me some time to work on it. As soon as I got back I began working on my response, and I knew that every single word I wrote would be scrutinized to the letter, so I knew that it must be right. In spite of my best efforts, I found myself simply unprepared to release my as yet incomplete reply. I had stayed up until 2 and 3 oclock in the morning working on it to make the deadline. In reality I have had only 23 working days to attempt to put together a response to a somewhere around 160 page report. There were things that I needed to double check, additional research to do, as well as keep up on all my other duties (such as being a father and YM’s President). I sincerly appreciate FAIRs extension, but I simply could not produce what was expected. That is why I asked several times to be able to have a phone conversation with the board so that I could tell you what I was working on and what I had found, without putting it all in a formal written document that is highly time consuming. Speach is so much more efficient in this case. I would have read out of the journal articles and we could have discussed it, but FAIR chose instead to ‘toast my toes to the fire’ and hold me to what in essence was not possible. I agreed to the terms fully thinking that I could in fact do it, but I simply could not accomplish it and FAIR was determined to publish as if their very organizations survival depended on it. My experience with FAIR thus far indicated to me that I cannot send over an incomplete document as you would have a field day with the potential innuendo available to exploit from such a document against me. I had no choice but to let Scott know that I was not going to be able to make the imposed deadline. He gave the nod to publish your reviews anyway, confident that my lack of a formal response indicated that I had no answers to all the challenges. Let me simply say that this is not the case. I apologize to FAIR for my failure to achieve the impossible. I understand that FAIR feels that they had been patient enough, and so I do not blame FAIR for posting their materials. In the rush to post the reviews, you have left me with no option but to continue to finish my responses and post them as I can, which is what I will do.

    Elder White said:

    “On this blog you are referring people to your site on which you have posted the very things that you were contractually obligated to provide to FAIR well before this.”

    I have not posted any formal response either on my website or this blog or FAIR’s blog…because I do not have them done yet. I will post when they are complete, but I must have the time to do a thorough job on something as important as this. I am sorry, but no one was demanding that FAIR publish immediately. It was FAIR’s choice.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 1:40 am | Reply

  8. In post 8, Rod Meldrum refers to me as “Elder White”. I finished my call as an area seventy two years ago, and have never used the title “Elder” since. I did not sign the post to which he responds as “Elder White”, but rather as “Robert White”. Mr. Meldrum knows all of this. By choosing to distort even my name, and to thereby insinuate that I had applied the sacred title to myself when it is not mine to use, is relevant information for readers to use in evaluating what FAIR is doing, and why.

    Comment by Robert White — September 5, 2008 @ 2:41 am | Reply

  9. Brant Gardner wrote:

    I am very curious about the way two statements you make can be reconciled.

    First, you propose that you provide: “New scientific support for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.”

    Then, you suggest, in the first blog posting: “Members need not assume that all truth must be first filtered through scholars before being able to find and know it for themselves.”

    The first proposal seems to say that you consider yourself part of the scholarly/scientific analysis of the Book of Mormon, but the second appears to reject that methodology entirely. I don’t understand.

    Should I accept your statement that you have scientific evidence and examine it according to the science that produced it, or should I not examine your data and simply accept your ideas on faith because they don’t come from a scholar?

    I would appreciate some clear guidance on how I should evaluate your work.

    I understand the potential confusion as I am not a part of the normal channels associated with either side. Let me attempt to explain. As I hold no advanced degrees, I therefore would not be considered a ‘scholar’ in that sense. I am, however, a scientific researcher or what some may prefer to call a meta-researcher (one who does not do primary research such as taking swabs for DNA analysis, but rather performs analysis on the primary research through journal articles). So to answer your question, I do not consider myself to be a part of the scholarly community, but I do in fact work on scientific research. I don’t reject either the scholarly pursuit of truth nor the right of people to ask the spirit about something they have seen or read or witnessed is true. I have tried my best to put every reference in my research so that people can go look up things themselves (a fact that shows the contrast between my work and that of FAIR’s DNA which doesn’t have a single journal reference). I’m sure this fact was appreciated by the FAIR review team.

    Members of the church have been given the gift of the Holy Ghost at baptism. People don’t have to know everything there is to know on a given subject before being able to ask. As missionaries, how many people do you know that knew every nuance of the gospel, or the Book of Mormon, yet asked and got their answer. This is nothing more than inviting people to use this gift as it may apply to this or any other information. I do not ‘bear my testimony’ that my research it true, only that the Book of Mormon is, and it is a literal history. I obviously feel strongly that there is validity to my research, but I expect no one to blindly follow me, and in fact state so clearly in the DVD. I say something to the effect that “don’t take anything I say for granted!”.

    This is simply new research that I am sharing. I am doing nothing more than other theorists do when sharing their ideas, with the exception that I am careful not to make statements like “and this IS the waters of Mormon” as so many Mesoamerican theorists and tour directors do. I try to preface any such location as the ‘proposed’ location. We simply don’t know at this time.

    So Brant, Yes, you should accept that I am indeed presenting scientific evidence (not proof, but evidence in favor of), and therefore it must withstand the rigors of scientific scrutiny, but I also encourage you and others to not neglect the only sure way to know if something is true or not..and that is by the spirit. If scientific truths were easy to establish, why is it that there are scientific controversies? The spirit can and will testify to the truthfulness of things if we will let it. I assume that you are not denying this scriptural based fact. Evaluate my work through both means is what I am asking.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 3:01 am | Reply

  10. I’ve seen the video. I thought it demonstrably full of errors and misstatements.

    If you feel there is too much material to respond to all of FAIR’s comments, you can perhaps address one issue. It is a simple one.

    Rod’s presentation quotes a portion of the DNA article that follows:

    Finally, phylogeography of the subclades of haplogroup X suggests that the Near East is the likely geographical source for the spread of sub-haplogroup X2, and the associated population dispersal occurred around, or after, the LGM [Last Glacial Maximum] when the climate ameliorated [improved]. The presence of a daughter clade [evolutionary group] in northern Native Americans testifies to the range of this population expansion. – M. Reidla, et al., “Origin and Diffusion of mtDNA Haplogroup X,” American Journal of Human Genetics 73:5 (2003), 1188.

    The Last Glacial Maximum was about 18,000 years ago.

    The bold material was omitted by you, Rod, as you read it and on your slide. Can you please explain:

    a) Whether a claim by the authors that the split we’re talking about happened 18,000 years ago is of any relevance to assessing whether it applies to Lehi leaving 2,600 years ago. Don’t you think your audience has a right to know this information in order to assess what you’re asking them to believe?

    b) Why we should consider this omission to be unintentional? It looks pretty deliberate, unless you didn’t understand the words in that phrase. And, the part snipped out is exactly that part that devastates your theory.

    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 5, 2008 @ 3:45 am | Reply

  11. BHodges wrote:

    So to be clear, to intimate that FAIR might have a “profit motive” in regards to critiquing your scholarship I would say that is false. No one at FAIR is making a buck on what they do. As it states on the FAIR site:

    “FAIR is an entirely volunteer organization, but it still costs money to host our Web sites and put on our annual conferences. We are 501c(3) corporation, so your contributions are entirely tax deductible.”

    I understand that your dvd is a commercial enterprise, however.

    I understand that the good brethren at FAIR do so voluntarily, but that does not mean that their organization does not benefit from the revenues generated by their DVD. A competitive DVD could certainly cut into the sales of the FAIR DVD which reduces the amount of money available for their overhead.

    Surely anyone can see that there is a clear conflict of interest for any organization who is relying on revenue from the sales of a product (DVD) to then expend a tremendous amount of effort in tearing down a competitive product in the market to eliminate the competition so as to protect their market share. I do not fault FAIR for trying to share their information, but I take issue with the fact that they have done so without any disclosure whatsoever in any of their reviews and in addition have done all in their power to discredit me and my research to an unprecedented level when they have a clear conflict of interest in doing so.

    I have never denied that I am also selling DVD’s (although I will state for the record that this is not my goal, but rather to share the research with as many as will take the time to view it) and I will soon be able to run all the proceeds into a 501c(3) corporation as well, much like FAIR. As FAIR correctly states, “it still costs money” to get information out to people, whether it be through websites, DVD’s, conferences, or other means.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 3:55 am | Reply

  12. Rod claims:

    I am careful not to make statements like “and this IS the waters of Mormon” as so many Mesoamerican theorists and tour directors do. I try to preface any such location as the ‘proposed’ location. We simply don’t know at this time.

    But, within 90 seconds of such a disclaimer, Rod’s DVD then says:

    Now, this is the Book of Mormon geographic, what I call, map anchors. These are places that you can put in there that are, by revelation, known to be firm places for establishing a geographic map of the Book of Mormon…we know where Zarahemla is, from the revelation [D&C 125] we just saw. – Section #5, “Prophecies and Promises,” 8:12–8:45, emphasis added.

    Seems to me that you’re here claiming that you KNOW, and we KNOW by revelation that your site for Zarahemla (across the Mississippi from Nauvoo is the right one). You emphasize the point repeatedly, this isn’t a slip.

    Yet, the prophets and apostles do not agree with you. So, you do do what you just claimed you don’t do.

    Rod says:

    As I hold no advanced degrees, I therefore would not be considered a ’scholar’ in that sense.

    So, it’s OK for truth to be “filtered” through you, but Church members shouldn’t “filter” what you tell them through people who actually ARE experts in the relevant fields? Really?

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 5, 2008 @ 4:07 am | Reply

  13. Robert White wrote:

    In post 8, Rod Meldrum refers to me as “Elder White”. I finished my call as an area seventy two years ago, and have never used the title “Elder” since. I did not sign the post to which he responds as “Elder White”, but rather as “Robert White”. Mr. Meldrum knows all of this. By choosing to distort even my name, and to thereby insinuate that I had applied the sacred title to myself when it is not mine to use, is relevant information for readers to use in evaluating what FAIR is doing, and why.

    I am sorry if you feel offended, but I was only doing so out of respect for your past calling and have been doing so many times over the past month and you never seemed to mind then. I will be happy to call you whatever you’d like. Bob, Robert, Brother White, whatever. It is not uncommon for people to refer to past members of the Seventy as ‘Elder’. I am sorry you are offended so easily. Please let me know which you would prefer and I’ll respectfully use that.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 4:11 am | Reply

  14. Rod says:

    I understand that the good brethren at FAIR do so voluntarily, but that does not mean that their organization does not benefit from the revenues generated by their DVD. A competitive DVD could certainly cut into the sales of the FAIR DVD which reduces the amount of money available for their overhead.

    Yup, that must be it. :-) This is why FAIR has their material all uploaded to YouTube for free.

    Links here for the interested:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Template:Video:BoMNewWorldDNA

    Anyone who watches it will see it has little to do with anything that you’re doing. Besides, do you really think the LDS DVD market is so tight that someone who buys one wouldn’t buy the other, if that was our worry? That’s silly.

    Once again, you’re ignoring the key issue. It’s your claim that your geography is established by a revelation to Joseph Smith that the Church and all its leaders have consistently denied that’s the problem. You don’t want to hear that, but trust me–that’s the concern.

    Greg

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 5, 2008 @ 4:25 am | Reply

  15. Rod says to the former Seventy:

    I am sorry you are offended so easily. Please let me know which you would prefer and I’ll respectfully use that.

    I doubt he was offended. He did not wish, I wager, to give more stature to his words, even by implication, than they should have. Nor would he want someone to later claim he allowed such a usage to pass uncorrected. Nor should he.

    (In a related example, he probably also wouldn’t think that claiming his own geographical theories were established by revelation to Joseph was a good idea either, because it attempts to give a patina of ecclesiastical sanction where it is not deserved.) :-)

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 5, 2008 @ 4:38 am | Reply

  16. Robert White wrote in the FAIR blog site:

    “The fundamental point is: Joseph Smith did not reveal this to us; his successors have not revealed it to us and have repeatedly said that there is neither revelation nor position from the Church on the subject. You claim you do nevertheless do have a position on the subject, that you have scholarly material in support of your position, and as far as that goes you are on the same playing field as FARMS or any number of other people with theories. But you differentiate yourself by claiming that your position is founded upon revelations through Joseph Smith that you must proclaim anew. In doing that, you differentiate yourself both from other theorists and researchers, and from the uniquivocal statements of the Prophets and Apostles who lead the Church. How can you justify that? Were your stake president to ask you to stop it, would you?”

    Maybe I can help to clear up something that seems to be one of the primary ’sticking points’ in our understanding of one another.

    I have tried to understand better where FAIR is coming from and after pondering on it a while I think I realize where our differences are stemming from. Allow me to clarify if I can what I see as the issue.

    In my DVD I demonstrate through direct quotes from Joseph Smith himself that HE claimed (not me), in first person english, to have received by revelation on the subject, along with scripture he received by revelation, that leads to my final slide in that section stating “Joseph Knew”.

    FAIR is demonstrating that a statement by the First Presidency to the effect that there is no revealed geography is also true and FAIR is assuming that the two are incompatible.

    I disagree. While it is true that in the Wentworth letter Joseph states in first person:

    “I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, and shown who they wre, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments…The remnant are the Indians that now inhabit this country.” and in the same document he describes the angelic visitation wherein “I was also told where there was deposited some plates…” thereby making it clear that he was shown things by revelation directly pertaining to their entire civilization.

    Yet there is another peice to this puzzle. While Joseph himself knew, he did not share all of his knowledge. We can only speculate about why Joseph did not come right out and tell us, but my guess would be that he wanted folks to read and ask the Lord about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon based on faith, rather than his knowledge of the subject. So I do agree that WE have no revealed geography, but I also take Joseph at his word when he states no less than three times in historically unquestioned documents that HE in fact did know. There were a lot of things that Joseph knew that he didn’t share because of their nature.

    Still, I believe that Joseph gave us some clues about what he knew.

    For example, Where did he send the first missionaries ‘unto the Lamanites’ (D&C 28:8) when commanded by the Lord to do so? He immediately dispatched brethren to New York, Ohio, and Missouri, the latter being declared by the Lord to be “on the border of the Lamanites” (D&C 54:8) and “among the Lamanites” (D&C 32:1-2) I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t think that the Lord is confused about where to find the remnant Lamanites!

    So, do WE have definitive revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically NO.

    Did Joseph Smith have revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.

    Is there a conflict? No, because Joseph did not disseminate that knowledge to us, therefore the statements of modern-day prophets stand as absolutely true.

    I hope this can bring us to a clearer understanding of where both FAIR and I (Rod Meldrum) are coming from, and that it can lead to further understanding and reconciliation. That is my hope.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 6:44 am | Reply

  17. From the FAIR blog site:

    Greg Smith writes: “Manyp people have told Rod that there are people who are of multiple views on this issue. He continues to imply that we’re lying.”

    Greg, please stop attempting to put words into my mouth that aren’t there. I have never said that I thought you wer lying, only that I was interested in knowing if FAIR can demonstrate their claimed neutrality. Scott Gordon explained his hesitancy, thinking that I would immediately attack someone personally. That is not my way, but I understand how he could think that as FAIR has targeted anyone that seems to have an associating with me. Therefore I accept his premise and will not expect him to name names, but rather to demonstrate it through FAIR’s ‘works’ such as symposium speakers, video’s, materials, articles and any other media.

    Greg continues:
    “Let’s deal with the evidence.

    Exhibit A

    Rod’s presentation quotes a portion of the DNA article that follows:

    Finally, phylogeography of the subclades of haplogroup X suggests that the Near East is the likely geographical source for the spread of sub-haplogroup X2, and the associated population dispersal occurred around, or after, the LGM [Last Glacial Maximum] when the climate ameliorated [improved]. The presence of a daughter clade [evolutionary group] in northern Native Americans testifies to the range of this population expansion. – M. Reidla, et al., “Origin and Diffusion of mtDNA Haplogroup X,” American Journal of Human Genetics 73:5 (2003), 1188.

    The Last Glacial Maximum was about 18,000 years ago.

    The bold material was omitted by you, Rod as you read it and on your slide. Can you please explain:

    a) Whether a claim by the authors that the split we’re talking about happened 18,000 years ago is of any relevance to assessing whether it applies to Lehi leaving 2,600 years ago. Don’t you think your audience has a right to know this information to assess what you’re asking them to believe?”

    Greg, may I ask you a question? Do you believe in the scriptures as revealed by God’s prophets? Please explain to me then how you seem to think that these people arrived prior to Adam, who arrived only about 6,000 years ago. Do you believe God when he clearly states in D&C 77: vs 6 and 12 which state:
    vs. 6 “Q. What are we to understand by the book which John saw, which was sealed on the back with seven seals?
    A. We are to understand that it contains the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God; the hidden things of his economy concerning this earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence.

    vs. 12 “Q. What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?
    A. We are to understand that as God made the world in six days, and on the seventh day he finished his work, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth, and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, and shall redeem all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things, unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, in the beginning of the seventh thousand years—the preparing of the way before the time of his coming.

    My advice to you, Greg (who quotes devout aethiests to take issue with my asking people to view new information objectively rather than skeptically or affirmatively) is this:
    (Book of Mormon, Jacob 4:8 – 10)
    8 Behold, great and marvelous are the works of the Lord. How unsearchable are the depths of the mysteries of him; and it is impossible that man should find out all his ways. And no man knoweth of his ways save it be revealed unto him; wherefore, brethren, despise not the revelations of God.
    9 For behold, by the power of his word man came upon the face of the earth, which earth was created by the power of his word. Wherefore, if God being able to speak and the world was, and to speak and man was created, O then, why not able to command the earth, or the workmanship of his hands upon the face of it, according to his will and pleasure?
    10 Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand…

    Greg Continues: “b) Why we should consider this omission to be unintentional, instead of a deliberate attempt to disguise what the paper actually says? It looks pretty deliberate, unless you didn’t understand the words. And, the part snipped out is exactly that part that devastates your theory.

    Thanks for your answer.”

    Greg, you really assume too much for someone with so little understanding of the subject material. Your hatred towards me should be evident for everyone to observe. Maybe Rene will bail you out again. This will be addressed in detail in my upcoming DNA report. Please withhold further comments on this subject until you have a chance to review that article. If you don’t, you may need Rene a lot more in the future.

    In the meantime be it known that my belief is this:

    True science and true religion are completely compatible. If there are inconsistencies between true religion and man’s science, it will be science that will conform to true religion, not the other way around.

    When God sayes that the earth’s temporal existance will be 7,000 years and he put Adam on the earth, as the first man, 6,000 years ago, Greg, I believe him. Period.

    Therefore I do reject the theoretical phylogenetic dating because it is not compatible with the truths of the gospel through the scriptures and the prophets who have spoken dozens of times on the subject. I do, however understand genetics enough to know the difference between phylogenetic (theoretical) dating and pedigree (empiracle) dating. The question is, do you? I can answer that for you because you give no indication that you have any idea about the raging debate going on right under your nose in the genetic world. No, you don’t understand.

    Keep you comments coming Greg.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 8:51 am | Reply

  18. Rod says pargrraph numbers added)

    1) So, do WE have definitive revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically NO.

    2) Did Joseph Smith have revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.

    3) Is there a conflict? No, because Joseph did not disseminate that knowledge to us, therefore the statements of modern-day prophets stand as absolutely true.

    White responds: Points 2 and 3 are one of the two cores of your insurmountable problem.

    a. How do you know (point 1) that Joseph Smith had “revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.”?

    b. Why did he not “disseminate that knowledge to us”?

    c. Given that the Prophets and Apostles not not disseminating any such revelatory knowledge that you allege, why don’t they?

    d. Given:

    i) that the Prophets and Apostles do not claim that Joseph Smith had “revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.” and

    ii) that the Brethren do not disseminate any such knowledge to usor disseminate it,

    e) On what basis do you claim to know that Joseph Smith had revelatory knowledge that the Brethren do not acknowledge, and in fact say is not the case? In short, how do you claim knowledge of revelations that are not claimed by the Apostles and Prophets?

    f) Finally, given that the Prophets and Apostles do not and will not teach that “Joseph Smith had “revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.” what is the basis of your claim:

    i) To be entitled to do so, as you are doing; and

    ii) To receive money for doing it?

    Comment by Robert White — September 5, 2008 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  19. FAIR, and FARMS are not the official voice of the LDS church. They are just people expressing their opinion just like everyone else. Please people, take FAIR and FARMS with a grain of salt…very little credibility. My family is un-phased by the spewing of FAIR and FARMS but instead listen to the Prophet Joseph Smith and the successors PERIOD.

    Comment by LDS-Man — September 5, 2008 @ 4:58 pm | Reply

  20. Hi Rod,

    I’m just an interested observer; I clicked over here from the FAIR site. I’ve read through their material and find it very reasonable. Nor does it seem to me that they’re attacking you. But then I haven’t seen your presentation. Is there any way you could make it more widely available, since as you say you want to spread the word? Perhaps post it on YouTube?

    Comment by Cassandra S — September 5, 2008 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  21. White responds: Points 2 and 3 are one of the two cores of your insurmountable problem.

    a. How do you know (point 1) that Joseph Smith had “revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.”?

    Robert, (I hope it’s OK to call you by your given name, as you have not let me know which title you would prefer me to use) I know that you know the answer to this because you read it to me over the phone one evening. But to refresh your memory, I will again lay it out for you. You can find additional information on this here http://www.centerplace.org/history/ts/v3n09.htm#706

    From the Times and Seasons Joseph wrote the following:
    On the evening of the 21st of September, A. D. 1823, while I was praying unto God, and endeavoring to exercise faith in the precious promises of scripture on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a far purer and more glorious appearance, and brightness burst into the room, indeed the first sight was as though the house was filled with consuming fire; the appearance produced a shock that affected the whole body; in a moment a personage stood before me surrounded with a glory yet greater than that with which I was already surrounded. This messenger proclaimed himself to be an angel of God sent to bring the joyful tidings, that the covenant which God made with ancient Israel was at hand to be fulfilled, that the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel, in all its fulness [fullness] to be preached in power, unto all nations that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign.

    I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of his purposes in this glorious dispensation.

    I was also informed concerning the aboriginal inhabitants of this country, and shown who they were, and from whence they came; a brief sketch of their origin, progress, civilization, laws, governments, of their righteousness and iniquity, and the blessings of God being finally withdrawn from them as a people was made known unto me: I was also told where there was deposited some plates on which were engraven an abridgement [abridgment] of the records of the ancient prophets that had existed on this continent. The angel appeared to me three times the same night and unfolded the same things.

    Which part of this written historical account do you not understand? It should be clear to anyone that Joseph A. received a heavenly visitation and revelation and B. that it included all the things that he himself said were included (please see above).

    So the question to you, Robert, is this…Do you believe Joseph Smith’s written words or not?
    If not, please explain away this revelation for us so that we can understand why what he wrote is not what he meant, and explain how it is that you have more knowledge about whether he had the vision or not, that he did.

    There are other examples, but this one should suffice to demonstrate that Joseph Smith was shown a tremendous amount of information about the ancient civilization recorded in the Book of Mormon. And yes, he received it by revelation. Read it again, Robert for yourself without trying to ‘spin’ it.

    Robert White : b. Why did he not “disseminate that knowledge to us”?

    I don’t presume to know the mind of Joseph, but if you have somehow received a knowledge of what his thoughts were, please tell us what Joseph was thinking.

    Robert White: c. Given that the Prophets and Apostles not not disseminating any such revelatory knowledge that you allege, why don’t they?

    I’m not sure you question makes sense, but it appears you are trying to ask why our modern day prophets are not disseminating a revelatory knowledge? I also don’t presume to know the minds of our prophets either. Your question is obscure.

    Robert White: d. Given:
    i) that the Prophets and Apostles do not claim that Joseph Smith had “revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? Emphatically YES.” and

    Do you have a reference where the Prophets and Apostles specifically claim that Joseph Smith did NOT have a revelatory knowledge of the geography of the Book of Mormon? If so, please post it for us. We would like to see the document, if it exists.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 5, 2008 @ 11:39 pm | Reply

  22. Cassandra wrote:
    I’m just an interested observer; I clicked over here from the FAIR site. I’ve read through their material and find it very reasonable. Nor does it seem to me that they’re attacking you. But then I haven’t seen your presentation. Is there any way you could make it more widely available, since as you say you want to spread the word? Perhaps post it on YouTube?

    Hi Cassandra, …nice name, my youngest daughter shares your name.
    I must admit that FAIR’s personal attacks of their first posted review have been for the most part removed from this series of reviews. For that I have now several time expressed my gratitude for their cleaning up their remarks. I agree that FAIR has moved from the personal attacks to a less combative and more ojective (yet still highly biased) review, for which I highly commend them. The tone of my reply will certainly reflect that objectivity.

    I would encourage you to see the presentation and then I would be interested in knowing your thoughts and feelings. I intend to post portions of the information on YouTube when I have the chance to redo the video. Shooting, Editing and producing a quality video is a time and money consuming proposition. I hope to be making the transcript of the DVD available on my website in the next few days. See http://www.BookofMormonEvidence.org . Also, there will be several articles written by other scholars and historians that will soon made available through the website for free. You should find them very interesting as well.

    Rod

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 6, 2008 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  23. Brother Meldrum: “Therefore I do reject the theoretical phylogenetic dating because it is not compatible with the truths of the gospel through the scriptures and the prophets who have spoken dozens of times on the subject.”

    I am confused again. The same principles that scientists use to date the phylogenetic change are used in other processes. Rates of change are indicated and assumed to create a “clock.” That is how archaeological sites are dated, not through phylogenetic changes, but through atomic changes. Same science, different clock.

    If you don’t accept any timeframe deeper than 7,000 years, then you must also reject the C-14 clock and assume that all dates that it gives are much earlier. If that is really your position, how do you accept the dates for the Hopewell. According to the logic of the way you use science, we shouldn’t trust them and therefore they must be much younger than Nephite society.

    How does the C-14 clock get it right only when you want it to, but get it wrong at all other times? Why can you believe that there were people along the Mississippi from AD 200-400 if you believe that all scientific clocks are too fast? They should be much younger than that.

    Could you clear up that confusion?

    Comment by Brant Gardner — September 6, 2008 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  24. I just cannot figure out how some people can simply discredit what the Prophet Joseph Smith himeself said by revelation about the location of the Book of Mormon. Help me out. Was he or was he not a Prophet?

    Dan

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 6, 2008 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

  25. He was indeed. But, you have to read and take into account EVERYTHING Joseph said and did on the matter. This Rod’s DVD fails to do. As a result, people are misled.

    See here

    Greg

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 8, 2008 @ 12:57 am | Reply

  26. Greg those statements come off pretty weak because the times and seasons articles are pure speculation that it was Joseph that wrote it because it was signed by “ED” Other intermittent editors and publishers included Joseph Smith’s brother, Don Carlos Smith, who died exhausted while editor; and John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff.

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 8, 2008 @ 1:51 am | Reply

  27. I know of no historian who has claimed that the “Ed” signature meant anything but Joseph. Do you? (At the time, Taylor was an assistant to Joseph, but–as Rod’s DVD emphasizes–Joseph had assumed editorial control. In a side note, his remarks about not being responsible for things not done under his signature seems to have been that he and the 12 weren’t pleased with the previous editorial work following Thompson’s death–specifically the work done by Ebenezer Robinson solo.)

    [The irony is that we have Rod's DVD telling us we can't believe anything Joseph didn't sign as editor that was published in the T&S; now we have you telling us that we can't believe anything the editor DID sign in the T&S. I guess we can't believe ANYTHING published in the Times and Seasons under Joseph's direction as reflecting in any way Joseph's opinion. Convenient, if rather unpersuasive! Why was Joseph bothering to be editor, anyway, if anyone could write any old thing?]

    Don Carlos was dead by that period, so irrelevant. John Taylor had heard Joseph dictate the Bernhisel letter, so knew Joseph’s view that it supported the Book of Mormon. Woodruff was on Zion’s camp, and yet obviously (from his own journal) had no problem with the idea that the geography extended beyond Rod’s theories.

    So, none of these concepts salvages a flawed theory. At the very least, one must deal with them, and not pretend they do not exist, as the DVD does.

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 8, 2008 @ 3:27 am | Reply

  28. No you can’t really take the T&S as a factual statement anymore than you can take the millenial star statement that Joseph made saying the city of manti was in missouri. The fact of the matter is and Rod’s point I believe is that we do not KNOW that Joseph was responsible for the editorial in the T&S. We do know however that the wentworth letter and revolusionist letter which he did receive by revelation state a different theory other than mesoamerica.

    The fact of the matter is the meso america stands and pretty shaky ground when you try to have the prophet’s words back it up.

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 8, 2008 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  29. Rod’s point I believe is that we do not KNOW that Joseph was responsible for the editorial in the T&S

    The DVD’s claim was that we could only accept that which Joseph specifically signed. Of course, he did sign the Bernhisel letter…. :-)

    You are Rod and everyone else are absolutely welcome to your views. I couldn’t be less interested. You just don’t get to condemn others for “rejecting Joseph” because they have a different view of the evidence that you do–until Pres. Monson or someone with authority tell us otherwise.

    Comment by Greg Smith — September 8, 2008 @ 6:41 pm | Reply

  30. What a rollicking good time this has become. Rod’s a good guy and means well. His remarkable research is the product of an honest guy asking, “what if”. He doesn’t claim any institutional credentials or church endorsement. Accusations and ad hominem attacks all miss the point that he is just stating a personal belief.
    When pitted against the utter lunacy of a two Cumorah theory, at least he has evidence on his side.
    How come Sorensen, or Allen, or Chessman, or Erickson, or any other swash buckling adventurer who finds a solid stone structure and calls it Book of Mormon land isn’t similarly ridiculed?
    I have been aware of the DNA findings since Science, or Nature, (I forget) published back in the late 90’s. It would make anyone ask, “What if”. Rod’s presentation comes off as humble and unscripted. Why attack him on such silly accusations as they have?
    Having read/seen both, I’m with Rod.

    Comment by Brent McGregor — September 8, 2008 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

  31. Looks like a link didn’t get put in where it should have. In #26 Greg says “see here” but “here” is “nowhere”.

    Not wanting to leave people hanging in this fascinating conversation, here is the correct link to the third section of the FAIR Review (titled oddly enough “Section 3: Joseph Smith”):

    http://www.fairlds.org/DNA_Evidence_for_Book_of_Mormon_Geography/DEBMG03F.html

    Comment by Cal Robinson — September 8, 2008 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

  32. Greg Smith wrote:

    “I know of no historian who has claimed that the “Ed” signature meant anything but Joseph. Do you? (At the time, Taylor was an assistant to Joseph, but–as Rod’s DVD emphasizes–Joseph had assumed editorial control. In a side note, his remarks about not being responsible for things not done under his signature seems to have been that he and the 12 weren’t pleased with the previous editorial work following Thompson’s death–specifically the work done by Ebenezer Robinson solo.)

    [The irony is that we have Rod's DVD telling us we can't believe anything Joseph didn't sign as editor that was published in the T&S; now we have you telling us that we can't believe anything the editor DID sign in the T&S. I guess we can't believe ANYTHING published in the Times and Seasons under Joseph's direction as reflecting in any way Joseph's opinion. Convenient, if rather unpersuasive! Why was Joseph bothering to be editor, anyway, if anyone could write any old thing?]

    Don Carlos was dead by that period, so irrelevant. John Taylor had heard Joseph dictate the Bernhisel letter, so knew Joseph’s view that it supported the Book of Mormon. Woodruff was on Zion’s camp, and yet obviously (from his own journal) had no problem with the idea that the geography extended beyond Rod’s theories.

    So, none of these concepts salvages a flawed theory. At the very least, one must deal with them, and not pretend they do not exist, as the DVD does.”

    Greg, are you aware of the fact that in the same issues where the article in question was signed “ED”, other articles are signed “Joseph Smith”? Why would they have been signed differently in the same issue unless indicating different authors? You state that I said that Joseph had ‘assumed editorial control’ but you must have forgotten the part in the DVD where Joseph, again by revelation, gives control of the T&S to the 12 apostles, months before this issue.

    There is a difference between a document signed “Joseph Smith” and one signed “ED”. Greg is assuming (again) that his interpretation of the Bernhisel letter is shared by John Taylor.

    He may have written the letter for Joseph with a clear understanding that Joseph was talking about his “esteem & friendship” with Bishop Bernhisel, and not the book ‘Incidents of Travel in Central America’ that “unfolds and developes many things that are of great importance to this generation & corresponds with & supports the testimony of the Book of Mormon;” After all, Mr. Bernhisel was a bishop of the church in New York which was of great importance to Joseph. Mr. Bernhisels friendship and support also helped to testify of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon as well. I did deal with this very document in my presentation and again FAIR tries to misrepresent it by calling it tantamount to performing a ‘magic trick’ which to my complete disbelief they actually use a metaphor called ‘the naked lady gambit’! This is completely inappropriate and shows another personal attack on my character as they insinuate that I am deliberately deceiving the audience. How do they think they know what is going on my mind, and why would they ‘assume’ that I am trying to play some sort of magic trick on my audience? This is a false accusation and pure conjecture on the part of FAIR. How do they presume to know my mind? It is simply not true. The entire quote is right there for everyone to read. FAIR and I simply disagree on the interpretation of the non-punctuated wording. Who is right and who is wrong? FAIR see’s it one way, I another, but FAIR assumes they know what is going on in my mind and accuses me of deliberately misleading the audience. This is not objective review, this is attempting to show malicious intent, otherwise known as character assasination.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 3:33 am | Reply

  33. From the FAIR website:

    Allen Wyatt Says:
    September 5th, 2008 at 6:45 pm
    Rod,

    Just curious… Why do you think that BYU teaches evolution and an “old earth” in their courses?

    -Allen

    Dear Allen, that is a really good question. Please see the following quote by the founder of the Brigham Young Academy himself, Brigham Young.

    “We have enough and to spare, at present in these mountains, of schools where young infidels are made because the teachers are so tender-footed that they dare not mention the principles of the gospel to their pupils, but have no hesitancy in introducing into the classroom the theories of Huxley, of Darwin, or of Miall…this course I am resolutely and uncompromisingly opposed to, and I hope to see the day when the doctrines of the gospel will be taught in all our schools, when the revelation of the Lord will be our texts, and our books will be written and manufactured by ourselves and in our own midst.”
    (Brigham Young, Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, p. 200.)

    Maybe you can tell me why we are teaching Evolution and an ‘old earth’ at the very university he founded.

    Allen, do you believe the church now endorses evolution and an ‘old earth’? Please let us all know?

    Does the fact that BYU is teaching these concepts indicate their acceptance of such? I know that some professors do indeed teach evolution as ‘the firmest fact of science’ but I reject that philosophy based on the words of the scriptures, prophets and apostles on the subject. Are you stating that my belief in the scriptures and the prophets are any less valid than your ideas on Darwin’s evolution or an old earth?

    Allen, do you believe evolution and an ‘old earth’ over these witnesses?

    Tell us how you are going to reconsile Brigham Young’s statement with your position.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 6:15 am | Reply

  34. Allen Wyatt Says:

    September 5th, 2008 at 6:45 pm
    Rod,

    Just curious… Why do you think that BYU teaches evolution and an “old earth” in their courses?

    -Allen

    For acceditation compliance. The vast majority of Prophets and apostles who have addressed the subject, along with the scriptures, do not support pre-Adamites or earth’s temporal existence longer than 7,000 years. Do your homework on the matter and you will see. Either the prophets and the scriptures are correct, or the philosophies of men are correct. I do not feel that they can be reconsiled (although I know plenty of others who believe they can), but either way, I am standing with the Prophets and their clear statements to the best of my ability, even if it goes against the concensus.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 6:17 am | Reply

  35. From the FAIR blog:
    Rod Meldrum Says:
    September 8th, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    For the record. I do not believe Joseph Smith to be inerrant if that definition means that he never made a mistake. However, when it comes to the things he claims to have received by revelation that he wrote down, I believe they were indeed inspired and I stand with Joseph in his revelatory truths, even if they stand counter to the consensus of the Mesoamericanists. As I have stated, I believe Joseph Smith to be a Prophet of God, and thus so are his revelatory statements.

    No less than three times Joseph Smith wrote that he had a knowledge of things relating to the location of the Book of Mormon saga, their civilization and who the ‘remnant’ Lamanites are/were. He did so by revelation according his documented history. I did not make the statements, he did.

    If FAIR does not like the fact that Joseph made these statements, please take it up with the official historians of the church, who’s responsibility it is to verify said documents.

    All I am doing is bringing Joseph’s words back into the light after Mesoamerican theorists have done their best to relegate these statements by the prophet into nothing more than his opinions. Their written statements testify to that fact.

    See the Mesoamerican leaning FARMS Zelph review http://preview.farmsresearch.com/publications/jbms/?vol=8&num=2&id=202 and then compare it to the historians Zelph REVISITED article http://emp.byui.edu/marrottr/341folder/Zelph%20Revisited%20Cannon.html if you’d like to see the difference serious bias makes.

    FARMS review states:
    “Exactly what Joseph Smith believed at different times in his life concerning Book of Mormon geography in general is also indeterminable. Only a few clues remain. For example, while the church was headquartered in Nauvoo, Joseph read a best-selling book of his day by John L. Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas, and Yucatan,10 which John Bernhisel had sent to him from the East.”

    “Evidently Joseph Smith’s views on this matter were open to further knowledge. Thus in 1834, when Zelph was found, Joseph believed that the portion of America over which they had just traveled was “the plains of the Nephite,” and that their bones were “proof” of the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. By 1842 he evidently believed that the events in most of Nephite history took place in Central America.”

    Compare this to the historians account which states:
    “The journal accounts of Joseph Smith’s activities and his letter indicate that he believed that Book of Mormon history, or at least a part of it, transpired in North America. What does one do with such a prophetic statement? Some have dismissed it as a joke or playful exercise of Joseph’s imagination.19 Others have chosen to emphasize discrepancies and possible contradictions in the source accounts, thereby discrediting what Joseph Smith said.20

    It seems to me that either approach carries heavy risks. When one chooses to state that Joseph Smith can’t be taken seriously on [p.109] this issue, the door is opened to question his statements on other issues. Where does it stop? Does the First Vision, with the discrepancies in the primary source accounts, also come under the doubt and skepticism applied here to Zelph? Why can’t we simply take Joseph Smith at his word?”

    Amen.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 6:20 am | Reply

  36. This is a little lengthy, but if you will endure that and read it fully it will give you the light and knowledge you can use in evaluating what Rod Meldrum is doing–you may not then even have to read FAIR’s forthcoming 200 pages, as excellent as they are, because the following goes to the root of the matter.

    I recently contributed a post to the FAIR Blog, in these words, addressing Rod’s criticism of the teaching of evolution and ‘old earth’ geology at Brigham Young University, implying that to do so was directly contrary to the views of a Prophet. I pointed out that the Board of Trustees of the University consist of the First Presidency, seven members of the Quorum of the Tweleve Apostles and other General Authorities. Rodney has thus arrayed himself against the Brethren themselves. I noted that this is another clear demonstration of the root problem with his Book of Mormon geography–nothing could make this clearer. I pleaded with him to stop.

    At the end of my post, I added as a supplement for the benefit of those who may have been unaware of it, that in June 1992 the University’s Board of Trustees (still the entire First Presidency, seven Apostles, and other General Authorities) published a packet of materials at BYU address the subject of evolution and the origin of man.

    Rather than accept my plea to him to stop arraying himself against the trusteeship of the University by the Brethren, or addressing the issue of his doing so, Rodney, in the following, chooses instead to take me to task for informing readers of the Packet authorized by the Brethren for use at BYU. Here is what Rodeny wrote:

    ” Dear Robert White,
    Are we to understand from the authorization of “a packet of materials on evolution” that you are now claiming to have established the official position of the church on the matter of evolution, thereby taking into your own hands the authority of it’s leadership and claiming that the church has officially sanctioned and embraced evolution and an ‘old earth’?

    “Can you see how you are usurping the authority of the entire church and its leaders by speaking officially for them on the matter of evolution? It seems you are overstepping your bounds and don’t understand proper priesthood lines of authority in making such claims for the church. Stop, brother, stop!”

    The transformation of my heartfelt plea into a parody is saddening. More to the point, however, is that in a regrettably typical avoidance of the substance of this or other examples of his calling into question–in this case, his apparent opposition to the Brethren’s permitting the teaching of evolution and an ancient earth at Brigham Young University, he ignors the tragic position on which he has been called, and tries to deflect readers onto a tangental offering of information. I have a enough respect for those who read here, that Rodney may not, that to believe that you will have noticed that my message and plea have gone unanswered, and drawn your conclusions from that. I am sure you will have also noticed the intellectually dishonest attempt made by Rodney to use my item of information of general interest, to portray me as an apostate, setting myself up as a light to the world. Because this effort by Rodney can inform all readers of his methods and intent, I will first set out my brief item of information, and then Rodney’s assault on it, and me. My purpose is not to defend myself, for I have no need for defence, but to demonstrate how Rodney works.

    Here is what I added after my substantive comments:

    “With respect to the evolution matter: In 1992 the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University authorized the publication of a packet of materials on “Evolution And The Origin Of Man”, by a letter dated in June of that year.”

    This is a simple statement of fact: The entire First Presidency, seven Apostles, and other General Authorities issued a letter authorizing the publication of a packet of information on this subject, in June 1992. It will be clear to all that I have only said what the Brethren did.

    Here is Rodney’s response. He is addressing the statement of fact I made, about the packet, quoted just above.

    “Can you see how you are usurping the authority of the entire church and its leaders by speaking officially for them on the matter of evolution? It seems you are overstepping your bounds and don’t understand proper priesthood lines of authority in making such claims for the church. Stop, brother, stop!”

    In the last three words he mocks my plea for him to stop what he is doing–for his sake, and for those who may listen to him.

    The following will be clear to your from his response to my statement of fact about a step taken by the Brethren:

    1. I have not spoken official or otherwise for the Brethren or the Church on evolution or anything else. I have merely pointed out to interested readers something the Brethren have done.

    2. I not not “usurped the authority of the entire Church and its leaders…” It is clear that the Brethren’s letter of June, 1992 explains the purpose and use of the packet. I had nothing to do with it, do not have anything to do with, but as with many other Latter-day Saints I do appreciate the Brethren’s letter and the packet which it makes available.

    3. I have not overstepped my bounds and have not misunderstood “proper priesthood lines of authority” by informing members of something the Brethren have published,

    4. Lastly “as far as my “…making such claims for the church”, as Rodney says, I guess I have said that the Brethren have written an open letter making material available for consulation at and by the University, and explaining why. But I haven’t invoked any priesthood that I have, nor spoken for the Church, as will be clear to all.

    I have set all this out, not in defence of anything I have written or done, but to illustrate that which must be grasped to understand FAIR’s concerns, and the perils to which it has drawn attention: Rodney ignors or sidesteps actual issues; Rodney distorts what one says when calling his statements into question; and Rodney mocks those who, in charity, plead with him to stop. I dare say that this modest post of mine will explain to any who read it what the real problem is with Rodney’s self-appointed mission and business and, thus informed, will be protected and able to protect others.

    At the conclusion of his message to me, Rodney says that he is now forever leaving the FAIR Blog because it has become “to (sic) contentious.” That is welcomed. However, regretably he continues his contention on his own Blog. I’m going to post this there, although I don’t know if it will pass review.

    Comment by Robert White — September 9, 2008 @ 2:09 pm | Reply

  37. In a statement, the fundamental importance of which cannot be overstated, the Lord said that “no power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood.” (From D&C 121.)

    In an earlier post, Rod Meldrum referred to me as “Elder White”. I at once posted, taking exception to his use of that sacred title, which I cannot use, do not use, and have not used since my assigned ministry ended over two years ago. It is very important to all Latter-day Saints to know that someone once called and sustained to such an office, who has now been honorably released, is not presuming upon a past Church calling–indeed, he could not presume upon the authority of a current Church calling for that would be out of harmony with s. 121 as quoted above. Rodney posted some excuses, and I assumed that was over with.

    However, recently Rodney included this in a post on the FAIR Blog: “Robert, (I hope it’s OK to call you by your given name, as you have not let me know which title you would prefer me to use) I know that you know the answer to this because you read it to me over the phone one evening.”

    I agreed to a number of telephone conversations with Rodney, and mutually agreed with him that we would keep them in confidence so that there could be an open exchange of points of view–with Rodney wishing to reassure me, and with me wishing to explain existing and arising concerns for him to consider and address were he to be so inclined. Rodney’s comment above about “over the phone one evening” refers to one of those phone conversations. Because of the importance of the principle, given that Rodney has chosen to attempt to quote me, notwithstanding the rules of our exchange, I am obliged to give you the fact in lieu of the representation. It was very important to me, to FAIR, and I am sure to the Church that Rodney understand that although I had served as indicated, I was not now engaging with him as any sort of residual assignment from the Church; and that I had in facted waited a number of months following my release before I would be in anyway seen as associated with FAIR, so that there could be no impression of a Church-FAIR linkage. That is all there is to it.

    I do not know if this comment by Rodney presages permission to be to tell you of all he told me. If it is, I am willing to do it; and there is nothing I said of any concern. However, I shall assume unless notified by him otherwise, that his breach was a slip of the kind that ocurrs when one is writing a lot of emails under pressure.

    Signed: Brother White, guy in the pews.

    Comment by Robert White — September 9, 2008 @ 2:32 pm | Reply

  38. Mr. Meldrum, if you put stock in Joseph Smith’s statements, then once again, I directly challenge you to address the Land of Desolation statement in the Levi Hancock journal and how you believe it does not devastate your geography. Or will you discount it entirely? Explain yourself clearly and how you intend to get around Joseph Smith’s own statement.

    Comment by Ed Goble — September 9, 2008 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  39. Ed Goble wrote:

    Mr. Meldrum, if you put stock in Joseph Smith’s statements, then once again, I directly challenge you to address the Land of Desolation statement in the Levi Hancock journal and how you believe it does not devastate your geography. Or will you discount it entirely? Explain yourself clearly and how you intend to get around Joseph Smith’s own statement.

    Dear Brother Goble,
    The difference lies in first hand accounts (such as the Wentworth Letter) and second hand accounts that have been ‘filtered’ through others (Levi Hancock’s journal). First hand account are certainly better evidence than second hand accounts. Do you not agree with this?

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  40. Dear Robert White,
    Why did you not put my entire post into your comments? I simply re-used your comments in the same way you used them against me as an example of how you are taking things and twisting them to make me appear as though I am doing things I am not, nor intend.

    I used your same slick tactics on you and your response is testiment of how it feels to be so maligned. Your continuous and unrelenting attacks on my character and your misrepresenting my words in every conceivable way possible are clear. Feigning your ‘concern’ for me is unbecoming.

    Showing that BYU approved the teaching of evolution does not translate into official acceptance of evolution for the church.

    The official statement of the church is clear. Please see below. This was reiterated in the Feb. 2002 Ensign. Read it, Brother White, and please explain it for all of us to see.

    President Joseph F. Smith, President John R. Winder, and President Anthon H. Lund
    (First Presidency, “The Origin of Man”, Ensign, Feb., 2002, p. 26)

    Excerpts from the formal pronouncement: “The Origin of Man”, November, 1909

    “Adam, our great progenitor, ‘the first man,’ was, like Christ, a pre-existent spirit, and like Christ, he took upon him an appropriate body, the body of a man, and so became a ‘living soul.’ The doctrine of the pre-existence, revealed so plainly, particularly in latter-days, pours a wonderful flood of light upon the otherwise mysterious problem of man’s origin. It shows that man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body to undergo an experience in mortality. It teaches that all men existed in the spirit before any man existed in the flesh, and that all who have inhabited the earth since Adam have taken bodies and become souls in like manner.

    It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was ‘the first man of all men’ (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of the race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God; and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father. Formal Pronouncement: “Mormon View of Evolution”, Editor’s Table, September 1925 (Improvement Era, 28:1090–1091)

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  41. Dear Brother White:
    How many times must I apologize for an innocent and respectful use of a title for which you had no previous concern, and I have respectfully refrained from using it since you brought it to my attention. You may think you are getting some kind of extra mileage by continuing to bring it up, but I sincerely apologized and that should be that for most people.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 9, 2008 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  42. When we are dealing with a question of whether one’s teachings are in or out of harmony with those of the Brethren, or whether the Brethren are being disrespected, Rodney has made it inevitable that the following must be a long post. It includes everthing that he says I improperly omitted using “slick tactics”, answers each question with which he challenged and criticised my comments, and gives those who are, and should be, interested in this watershed phenomenon, additional material from the First Presidency that Rodney has, perhaps due to the press of time, not included. I am, though, sorry for the necessary length. In fairness to yourself, please do read it all.

    The following is in response to Rodney’s comments about my post on his views concerning the teaching of evolution and an ‘old earth’ at Brigham Young University, given that the trustees of that university are the entire First Presidency and seven Apostles.

    The first part of his response is this:

    “Why did you not put my entire post into your comments? I simply re-used your comments in the same way you used them against me as an example of how you are taking things and twisting them to make me appear as though I am doing things I am not, nor intend.

    “I used your same slick tactics on you and your response is testiment of how it feels to be so maligned. Your continuous and unrelenting attacks on my character and your misrepresenting my words in every conceivable way possible are clear. Feigning your ‘concern’ for me is unbecoming.”

    I followed the accustomed practice of keeping entries as brief as possible, and so quoted the relevant parts. However, so that Rodney cannot make that the issue rather than responding to what is the issue,as a first step I am setting out the entirity of Rodney’s post to Mike Allen, now. It is long, but wil put an end to this diversion from the issue with the added benefit of demonstrating the problem at length. The sarcasm and innuendo is more fullsome than in the portions I quoted.

    “Allen Wyatt Says:
    September 5th, 2008 at 6:45 pm
    Rod,

    “Just curious… Why do you think that BYU teaches evolution and an “old earth” in their courses?

    -Allen

    “For acceditation compliance. The vast majority of Prophets and apostles who have addressed the subject, along with the scriptures, do not support pre-Adamites or earth’s temporal existence longer than 7,000 years. Do your homework on the matter and you will see. Either the prophets and the scriptures are correct, or the philosophies of men are correct. I do not feel that they can be reconsiled (although I know plenty of others who believe they can), but either way, I am standing with the Prophets and their clear statements to the best of my ability, even if it goes against the concensus.

    “Rod Meldrum Says:
    September 8th, 2008 at 6:57 pm
    Allen Wyatt Says:
    September 5th, 2008 at 6:45 pm
    Rod,

    “Just curious… Why do you think that BYU teaches evolution and an “old earth” in their courses?

    -Allen

    “Dear Allen, that is a really good question. Please see the following quote by the founder of the Brigham Young Academy himself, Brigham Young.

    “We have enough and to spare, at present in these mountains, of schools where young infidels are made because the teachers are so tender-footed that they dare not mention the principles of the gospel to their pupils, but have no hesitancy in introducing into the classroom the theories of Huxley, of Darwin, or of Miall…this course I am resolutely and uncompromisingly opposed to, and I hope to see the day when the doctrines of the gospel will be taught in all our schools, when the revelation of the Lord will be our texts, and our books will be written and manufactured by ourselves and in our own midst.”
    (Brigham Young, Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, p. 200.)

    “Maybe you can tell me why we are teaching Evolution and an ‘old earth’ at the very university he founded.

    “Allen, do you believe the church now endorses evolution and an ‘old earth’? Please let us all know?

    “Does the fact that BYU is teaching these concepts indicate their acceptance of such? I know that some professors do indeed teach evolution as ‘the firmest fact of science’ but I reject that philosophy based on the words of the scriptures, prophets and apostles on the subject. Are you stating that my belief in the scriptures and the prophets are any less valid than your ideas on Darwin’s evolution or an old earth?

    “Allen, do you believe evolution and an ‘old earth’ over these witnesses?

    “Tell us how you are going to reconsile Brigham Young’s statement with your position.”

    And so, Rodney, there it all is. I do not use “slick tactics”, and a comparison of my selections from your entire post will demonstrate that.

    Rodney then writes to me:

    “Showing that BYU approved the teaching of evolution does not translate into official acceptance of evolution for the church.”

    First, it was not BYU that approved it. Through its Provost, Bruce C. Haffen (now of the Seventy) the Board of Trustees was asked for guidance. That came under cover of their letter of June, 1992, identifying a packet of materials to be made available for faculty and students on the subject of Evolution and The Origin of Man.

    Not forbidding the teaching of evolution and an ‘old earth’ of course does not constitute “official acceptance” of evolution for the Church. That is the point which I made, and you have avoided. You have, in your exchange with Allen, you have placed belief in and by innuendo teaching of evolution and an ‘old earth’ against a paragraph in the letter by Brigham Young to one of his sons, and thus made it a test of allegiance to the Prophets this way:

    “I…reject that philosophy based on the words of the scriptures, prophets and apostles on the subject. …”. Therefore, in allowing the teaching of evolution and an ‘old earth’ at BYU, you are saying by necessary and obvious and unescapable conclusion that the First Presidency and a majority of the Apostles are permiting things that are contrary to “the words of the scriptures, prophets and apostles on the subject. The innuendo, which is offensive to the Brethren, is made clear from your statement introducing this point: “Maybe you can tell me why we are teaching Evolution and an ‘old earth’ at the very university he founded.”

    I will put it starkly: Rodney, write to the First Presidency, with a copy to your stake president, and another full copy and evidence of mailing posted here, and tell them that on a public Blog you asked “…why we are teaching Evolution and an ‘old earth’ at the very university [Brigham Young founded] when you “…”..reject that philosophy based on the words of the scriptures, prophets and apostles on the subject. …”; and that anyone who believes “evolution and an ‘old earth’ over these witnesses” should “…tell us how [they]are going to reconsile Brigham Young’s statement with [their] position.” Please do it and put the minds of all of us at rest.

    Rodney then writes to me:

    “The official statement of the church is clear. Please see below. This was reiterated in the Feb. 2002 Ensign. Read it, Brother White, and please explain it for all of us to see.” OK, having read it in several locations, several times in the past, and having now looked it up and read it again, I will.

    The lead-in to the article in the February 2002 Ensign states:

    “In the early 1900s, questions concerning the Creation of the earth and the theories of evolution became the subject of much public discussion. In the midst of these controversies, the First Presidency issued the following in 1909, which expresses the Church’s doctrinal position on these matters. A reprinting of this important First Presidency statement will be helpful as members of the Church study the Old Testament this year.”

    The 1909 letter from the First Presidency is included in the Packet which the Brethren authorized to be made available to faculty and students at Brigham Young University. In addition to the 1909 letter the Brethren included the following: 1) Their June 1992 cover letter; 2) the Context of the 1909 First Presidency Statement–the one set out in the Ensign; 3) An excerpt from a First Presidency Message in 1910; 4) the Context of the First Presidency Statement “Mormon View of Evolution” in 1925; 5) The First Presidency Statement of 1925; 6) the Conext of the article in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism on evolution published in 1992; 7) The article from the encyclopedia.

    The Brethren obviously are of the view that all of these documents, and the context in which they were written, are of value.

    The article in the Encycopedia includes this statement: “The scripture tell us why man was created, but they do not tell us how, though the Lord has told us that he will tell us that when he comes again. (Doctrine and Covenants 101:32,22) A fuller version of the article was presented to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, from which the existing article was developed. Final approval was given to it by Gordon B. Hinckly. This information is included in the authorized Packet.

    From this it will be clear that any actions taken by the Brethren with respect to these subject, and the teaching of them, are taken with great care, deliberation, moderation and inspiration. It is offensive, and disprespectful to the Brethren, for Rodney to challenge a Latter-day Saint to “…tell me why we are teaching Evolution and an ‘old earth’ at the very university [Brigham Young] founded.”

    Now,so any bias of mine is known: 1) I sustain, honor, revere and follow the Brethren without an deviation of which I am aware. 2) I cannot figure out evolution. I do not deny it; but as a layman I do not understand how it can be. I have tried. I find no fault with those who accept it. 3) I believe that the earth is very old. I do not believe that there is any scripture or other doctrine in the Church that precludes or condemns that belief, nor is there any that requires it.

    I end with the core issue, which Rodney has not addressed: please read what he wrote to Allen, all of it as Rodney insists–I have set it out in full above–then please read my comments about it. To these last, there has been no answer.

    Comment by Robert White — September 9, 2008 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  43. I’m very interested to read the transcript and see the clips. I’ve been watching your website for two months, hoping video excerpts would be posted. Do you know approximately when it might be? Until you get it out there you’re kind of losing the information war, so maybe waiting longer until you can get it fancy-fied isn’t in your interest. I’m especially eager to see the portion regarding the Bernheisel letter that FAIR describes.

    Comment by Cassandra S — September 9, 2008 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  44. So, Mr. Meldrum, then you accept the questionable Manti statements that were “filtered” because they agree with you, but you dismiss something from a first hand journal entry from someone who heard Joseph first hand. HMMM. Very interesting Mr. Meldrum. It all really boils down to whatever Meldrum thinks is from Joseph Smith’s mouth, yet Joseph “knew.” Talk about filtered!

    Comment by Ed Goble — September 9, 2008 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  45. May I add this. I have shared this DVD with over 50 people now. Each person that has seen this, has had their testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith strenghtened and their appreciation and understanding of the Book of Mormon increased. I have seen it help to bring people that are less active back into the church. People that are investigating the church, that were previously in limbo, come to the waters of baptism. What great harm has has Brother Meldrum done? Why do you each feel it your personal mission to destroy the faith of so many? Why attack a brother of the gospel that is only trying to strengthen others testimonies. How does helping people want to read and understand the book of mormon hurt you? What Brother Meldrum is creating is a desire to read the book of mormon. Is this not each one of our wishes for our brothers and sisters. Just because you feel personaly attacked or disagree with his theory does not give you a right to attack his beliefs. Please do not let your pride cause you to make descisions you may one day regret. Is this behavior really becoming of priesthood holders and followers of Christ?

    Your brother,
    Dan

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 10, 2008 @ 3:49 am | Reply

  46. Ed said;

    So, Mr. Meldrum, then you accept the questionable Manti statements that were “filtered” because they agree with you, but you dismiss something from a first hand journal entry from someone who heard Joseph first hand. HMMM. Very interesting Mr. Meldrum. It all really boils down to whatever Meldrum thinks is from Joseph Smith’s mouth, yet Joseph “knew.” Talk about filtered!

    Ed, before making more rash statements, why don’t you take a look at the DVD. I posted earlier that the Manti statements are second hand, and as such have much less validity than written statements by the Prophet himself. I say this because I do not use the Manti quote at all in the DVD, so don’t know where you are coming from in bringing it up. Please do yourself and all of us a favor by becoming informed of the content before making further comments about that which you have not seen.

    No Ed, it all comes down to what competant historians and historical documents have assembled as the words of the Prophet. I am only using their quotes and have given every reference with the quotes so that people can go verify for themselves. Why do you think it has been so easy for FAIR to check on all my quotes? Now FAIR on the other hand in their DNA DVD does not have one single reference! Talk about poor scholarly work! There are so many unsubstantiated claims it was amazing (I guess that is why all the erratta surrounding it) and the hard part is that I couldn’t look up a single reference because there are none. A ‘scholarly’ work without one single reference, and these are the same guys that are taking me to task for my research being poorly done? Who are they to review my work when they are completely devoid of any references? Watch FAIR’s DVD and then watch mine and even you may see a big difference.

    Comment by Ed Goble

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 10, 2008 @ 5:04 am | Reply

  47. Hello Dan,

    Your comment and question are both important.

    To paraphrase Elder Dallin H. Oakes: A bad argument is worse than no argument. Were people to found their baptism on false information, and then found out it was false, they would be in a terrible position.

    The fact that the DVD is so persuasive is one reason we are so concerned about it. As the FAIR publications, and comments on this blog and the FAIR blog show, it is riddled with errors, misstatements, improperly edited quotations, discredited evidence, and so on. Yet, it is convincing unless those watching it have had the misforture of having to have studied all this stuff. Latter-day Saints are gullible for the best possible reason: they would not mislead someone, and don’t expect that someone would mislead them. Therefore, when a presentation is opened by prayer, when as on the DVD a former general authority says some things, when the thread of the presentation is made to appear to be revelations to the Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith, when the evidence looks good to those who, as I said, are fortunate enough to not to have had to study it, people tend to have “good feelings”. And, regrettably, there is a tendency for some people to believe, and to tell others to believe, that good feelings are, and can be nothing but, a witness from the Holy Ghost.

    So, we are very worried. Trusting people, listening to someone whom they should be entitled to trust, telling them–innocently or negligently–things that are not so, and who feel good and who then are baptised because what they saw made them feel good, are at terrible risk. A testimony of the truth must be based upon truth–upon “things as they really are”. That which is on the DVD is not “things as they really are” and the good and happy feelings one gets cannot be a witness of truth. We must remember that it is not folly to be deceived this way. Even the elect can be deceived, and Satan can appear as an angel of light. Mr. Meldrum is not an angel of light or Satan in disguise–the point is that good people can believe that erroneous things are true and that resulting feelings are of God.

    I hope that clarifies things for you. Thank you for spotlighting these issues.

    Comment by Robert White — September 10, 2008 @ 6:03 am | Reply

  48. I understand what you are saying. But a testimony does not come from a DVD. It does however help a person apply Hope for things which are true but not seen. It gives a person hope that the book of mormon is true so that they can excercise faith and pray about the book of mormon. If a testimony does not come by the spirit then it really doesn’t matter does it? It never will stand. Brother Meldrum is not trying to stay gain a testimony on this DVD.
    He is saying here is some evidence that supports the book of mormon. Then go read it for yourself.

    As far as errors. I read the first article Fair did and I saw that Brother Meldrum himself was talked about more then any actual information that is contained in the DVD.

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 10, 2008 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

  49. Thank you for clarifying, Dan. Incorrect information, whether via DVD, print media, motion picture, or oral teaching, cannot produce a testimony of truth. In the 50th section of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord said that if the truth is taught in some other way than by the Spirit of truth, it is not of him. From that we see that even the truth can be taught, but it can be taught in a way that is not of God. In something just short of exasperation, the Lord concludes: “How is it that ye cannot know and understand” this? Thus we see that the Lord requires two things: that the truth be taught (which is this case, it is not); and that even when it is, it must be taught by the Holy Spirit or, even though it is truth that someone is teaching, it is not of God. This principle is, regrettably, not well known, but it is fundamental. The Lord does not accept the notion that the end justifies the means; rather, to the Lord, the means can justify the end. If, as I believe, the DVD material is a deeply flawed presentation, and although it is in support of the Book of Mormon being true, the reasons given for it are not true. Therefore, it cannot, cannot, be a presentation by the Spirit of truth. Further, as we see from section 50, even if someone concludes from that that the Book of Mormon is “true” in some way, the conclusion is not of God. The fact that the hearer is baptised does not change that–what he believes to be a testimony is built on sand, and when the rains fall and the winds flow and beat upon it, as certainly will be the case when inevitably he finds out that the basis of his belief is false, he will fall. The Brethren are aware, and deeply concerned, because this is one of the major reasons for lack of retention. These souls, once and inevitably exposed to the exposes on the Internet, cannot get past the reality that they were misled and it is more difficult to reclaim them than it is to claim them as true converts, built upon the true rock of revelation, in the first place. That is the root of President Hinckley’s oft repeated admonition that fewer baptisms, of people who have been converted to the truth by the truth, is preferrable to many baptisms resulting from anything else. That was a prophetic statement and warning by a prophet. It was so important to the Lord, that he had President Hinckley repeat it over, and over, and over. Your good intentions, to lead people to the waters of baptism, are not in doubt. It is fundamental, though, that your good intentions and mine not replace actual truth, taught in the spirit of truth, in the Lord’s own way. Our eagerness, earnestness and yearning to bring souls to baptisms must never dim; but the Lord through his prophets, from Joseph Smith in section 50, and President Hinckley in our time, has asked us to please not to let our eagerness, earnestness and yearning for good things appear to prosper for a season, but lead to disappointment and failure ultimately.

    Does this not help?

    Comment by Robert White — September 10, 2008 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  50. Then the mesoamerica theory is not based on truth either and should be attacked in the same way.

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 10, 2008 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  51. Let’s flip the coin. I say the above statement because most of the culture of the church is basing alot of testimonies that the book of mormon took place in mesoamerica. You see it in artist renditions in church videos and articles. Why is that allowed to go on?? When we do not know for a fact that it took place there? Why are we not defending that point and stating that it is only a theory?
    What will the membership of the church do if we find out that it really did not take place there?
    Because of the push for the mesoamerican theory we got our selves into this whole DNA issue.
    Because people based their testimonies on what FARMS and other scholars were telling them many have fallen away? Is that not just as bad as what you are accusing brother meldrum of?

    Comment by Dan Lowman — September 10, 2008 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  52. I agree with Dan’s comments about flipping the coin. I think that both viewpoints have pluses and minus. Since the leaders of the Church have not specifically made any direct statements that are doctrine on the topic, both are just options of people and groups. We as members need to decide for our shelves which viewpoint we believe is right or closer the the truth. I think that Mr. Meldrum is just trying to put out there a different opinion for those who do not believe in the Mesoamerican theory. I think that some of his points are worth looking at and yes there are probably lots of mistakes but everything he says is not completely to be discredited in my opinion. I do think that it is good to hear about the flaws of his DVD; the more information the better to make an informed decision. I also wonder about Dan’s earlier comment. “Is this behavior really becoming of priesthood holders and followers of Christ?” I think that both sides are being a bit too harsh, considering both believe in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

    Comment by LDS Member — September 10, 2008 @ 6:29 pm | Reply

  53. “Ed, before making more rash statements, why don’t you take a look at the DVD. I posted earlier that the Manti statements are second hand, and as such have much less validity than written statements by the Prophet himself.”

    Mr. Meldrum,

    I am burned out on this subject and have nothing more to say. I think I’ve said what I had to say, and got too emotional saying it as I do sometimes in things I’m passionate about. I see how you react to everything anybody else says. I see how you’ve reacted to what I’ve said. I don’t have interest in more communications with you, and I’ll let FAIR handle it. I see how productive this has been. At least I’ve educated myself about who you are, and I hope others will see through what you are doing, aside from your geographical problems which are entirely secondary to what you are doing, even if you mean well. I know I meant well when I was associated with Wayne May, but I was in the wrong about lots of things.

    Comment by Ed Goble — September 11, 2008 @ 1:03 am | Reply

  54. I am just another casual observer, my name if Jeff. I purchased the DVD and really liked it. To FAIR, Robert White and others: You guys sound kind of petty and ridiculous to us “simple folk” who don’t live and breathe debates. I can’t believe how much you are out to attack an individual. Why are you threatened by his proposal so much? Why get upset if Mr. Meldrum calls you “Elder White”? I still call my ex-bishop, “Bishop”! Your arguments against him sound like we shouldn’t believe the words of the prophet Joesph Smith on its own, we wouldn’t believe the Lord’s words in the Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants, we shouldn’t believe we are entitled to personal revelation, we shouldn’t bear our testimonies in public. We sholdn’t share things we’ve discovered with others. If so, then why even bother to be a member of the church, we are told to believe and seek all those things. If you would follow your own advice, you would keep quiet, and dissolve FAIR.

    From my viewpoint, much of what was on the DVD was taught regularly in the LDS church in the 1960s and 70s (maybe before then, but I wasn’t born so I can’t say) but Mr. Meldrum put it in a very logical format. Things taught in the 60s: the United States of America was the choice land spoken of in the Book or Mormon, America would be a land of liberty and protected as long as we serve Jesus Christ, we were even taught back then down to the physicial characteristics of who would posess the “promised land” in the latter days; “gentiles who were white and exceedingly fair and beautiful like unto my people”. 1 Nephi 13:14-15, (its all still there in the Book of Mormon if you seek it out.)

    Now tell me, do any of these geopraphical promises sound like the Nephite Prophets are talking about Mexico or Central America? Is it a choice land??? (About 15% of the Mexican population lives in America illegally because its better here). Is Mexico a land of liberty??? (I see Drug cartels, corruption, poverty, and not alot of opportunity to improve onesself. And their corruption is spreading northward. A few weeks ago thousands and thousands of Marijuana plants were discovered in Southern Utah, planted by Mexican Drug cartels.) The church has been in Mexico and Central America for over 50 years (longer in some areas), I don’t see the “promises for a geopraphical area” stated in the Book of Mormon being fulfilled in that country. The church has an over 90% inactivity rate there, Yikes!

    Spencer W. Kimball probably was the most infuential person in changing the setting from the USA to south of the border. He once said the “choice land” included all the Western Hemipshere and all the islands before Asia. And it seems like our current leaders will remain silent on this issue because it potentially could offend many Western Hemiphere members. It would seem like they were misled by people meaning well who wanted inclusion for them. In the past 20 years, FAIR FARM, BYU teachers and others think it was only in a very small area in Meso America and they focus the majority of their time there. But I’m with Mr. Meldrum here, if you have conflicting stories, the original source will have the most correct answer. That source is the Book of Mormon and then Joesph Smith who translated it and spoke with angels about it.

    So my suggestion to FAIR, Mr. White and others:

    Instead of attacking Mr. Meldrum, us simple folk would rather hear your arguments why you think Meso America is the location for the Book of Mormon setting. What evidence have you found? Prove to us why it can’t be in the Eastern USA, but don’t personally attack someone who suggests it! And if you really don’t know where the location is, then why are you trying to stop the flow of ideas???

    Final thoughts: To me, when the Book of Mormon talks about a choice land and promised land, it is referring to a geographical location, with blessings and prophecies for that area, and I have only seen those blessings fulfilled in the USA. But I believe that anyone who comes to Jesus Christ and becomes a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints will receive companionship with the spirit, and will have a more peaceful and happy existence, and great joy in the hereafer. Thanks for listening to me, and I guess you can start attacking me now too!

    Comment by Jeff H — September 11, 2008 @ 6:54 pm | Reply

  55. Rod,
    You attack the FAIR DVD saying that there are no references, while yours is full of them. You even accuse it of not being “scholarly”. Well, the difference between your DVD and mine is that mine contains actual experts in their field. Kieth Crandall is an expert in the field of population genetics. Ryan Parr is an expert in genetics. John Tvedtnes is a Book of Mormon scholar that is on the payroll of the Church, and has assisted in writing Church Manuals. And the others are well published scholars as well. To say that it is not scholarly is mundane. I had the DVD reviewed by other geneticists who were not in the video, LDS scholars (whom many were on the payroll of the church) and even anti-Mormons to name a few. While only a few minor things still slipped through the cracks, it is a good DVD that has scholars and experts on the suject of DNA, Book of Mormon, and Languages. To attack this DVD saying it is not scholarly is really grasping at straws. When your DVD has numerous population geneticists, scholars, linguists, and intellectuals in it and has been peer reviewed, you may have some room to talk, but right now, you do not. I have even offered to help you with some of this, but instead, you attack my work. It’s not even a good attack. It’s an attack just to draw attention elsewhere. That is horrible in my eyes.
    I am curious, what is not referenced in FAIRs DVD? First, the DVD “The Book of Mormon and New World DNA” is done in a documentary style, which style rarely contains references. If you watch the History channel on any given subject, they address the issues along. Your DVD, however, is a talking head lecture, where, references are more common. They are two very different styles of presentations. The important information was referenced, but the majority of the movie shows an accurate view of how DNA most likely won’t be found in the Americas, the area of the BOM, the cohan haplotype, fallibility of the critics arguments, and evidences of The Book of Mormon. Most of which are explaing the issues and don’t need references.
    The fact is, FAIRs DVD is done with many professionals who are Doctors in their field, while yours is only 1 mans interpretation of facts who doesn’t have any professional experience or schooling in these fields. So tell me, who would you rather trust, Experts or an amateur?
    Tyler

    Comment by Tyler — September 12, 2008 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  56. My friend Tyler, (Tyler has, admittedly, been the most Christ-like to me of any of the FAIR members)

    My primary concern with your DVD is that there were a lot of things said that I don’t feel could be backed up with solid scientific journal articles, and I was hoping to be able to look up some of the references or know where they came from and could not do so because they are simply not there. It was easy for FAIR to go back to every quote I had in my DVD because it was fully referenced. Every single scholarly journal article I’ve ever seen is fully referenced for a reason…so that others can verify the information contained within. Neither I, nor anyone else who sees your DVD can go and check any journal article to verify anything. All we can do is ‘trust’ FAIR’s experts have got it right, which, by the erratta already involved, is a poor assumption. At least with mine people can go and look up the articles. With your’s you simply are saying ‘trust us, we are the experts’.

    Just a thought.

    Professionals built the Titanic, an amateur built the ark.
    Experts said ‘God is without form’, and a novice found the truth.
    Experts claimed there was no more revelation, and that same novice (from above) filled a new book with God’s revelations.
    Experts today say we all came from apes through evolution, but Prophets and scriptures state we didn’t.

    I question the wisdom of men and not the wisdom of God. I couldn’t find a reference in your DVD so that I could satisfy questions I had about it, and that is not good scholarship to me. I am sorry if I have offended you, Tyler but the references are not there which means, to me, that it is only the opinions of your experts.

    I am again reminded of the wonderful quote by Michael Crichton (who is both an author and a physician) who has eloquently and accurately described consensus science:

    “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you’re being had.

    “Let’s be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus.
    Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one
    investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are
    verifiable by reference to the real world. In science, consensus is irrelevant. What is
    relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely
    because they broke with consensus.

    “ There is no such thing as consensus science. If it’s consensus, it isn’t science. If it’s
    science, it isn’t consensus. Period.” Michael Crichton, Aliens Cause Global Warming, (Lecture at California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, January 17, 2003)

    All the best to you, Tyler in your ongoing work.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 12, 2008 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

  57. Rod,
    Again, the different styles of videos depend on whether references would be appropriate. As stated earlier, how many references do you find in documentaries on say the History channel? Next to none. How many references do you find in other professionally done documentaries? Next to zero. In a video like yours where it is just a lecture, it would be an appropriate video. If FAIR does a paper, it is fully referenced, which is absolutely necessary. Documentary videos are another story however. You say that every journal you read is fully reference (I agree they should be because they are usually presenting primary information, videos are, generally, not), how many videos are fully referenced? I don’t know of to many. I would say 95-99% of them are not.
    But, despite FAIRs video being a documentary, we do reference the information you are saying is not referenced. The reason you claim it is not “scholarly” is now, no longer a reason for the claim at all. Watch the evidence section again. Kieth Crandall references one of the sources from where this information was found (there is more than one study which shows this to be true). This is not a very important point of the video because DNA studies are constantly changing. DNA studies are still in their infancy and it could change a hundred times more before there is any sort of conclusion. But it is interesting nonetheless.
    Also, we show that there is Biological evidence for The Book of Mormon, which is found to be in the Mayans as well. HLA studies agree with the DNA studies, and I believe are referenced. I know we mention the author of the study but cannot recall if the study itself is mentioned.
    But the point of the video is to show the fallacy of the critics arguments, give a realistic view of DNA studies, and to also show some possibilities of DNA, Biological, and Linguistical ties to The Book of Mormon. Until DNA is absolute, I don’t believe it should be trusted one way or the other. DNA will never prove, nor dis-prove The Book of Mormon.

    You say that the FAIR scholars lay down the law and we expect the public to believe us because we are the experts. Only Mike Ash and Allen Wyatt are members of FAIR. Every other person in the video are not. Keith Crandall could care less about the DNA argument (and has said so many times). He is a Doctor of Genetics, went to school for a very long time, and now teaches genetics full-time at BYU. So, yes, he is an expert (and he referenced his material which he was quoting). Ryan Parr is the Senior Director of genetics lab in Canada, not a member of FAIR, he’s an expert in genetics. John Tvedtnes just retired from FARMS, a division of BYU, and not a member of FAIR, and is an expert in Semitic languages, The Book of Mormon and did study genetics for a while. Jeffrey Meldrum (no relation to you I assume?) is an Anthropologist, an expert in his field, not a member of FAIR, and teaches at a University in Idaho. Brian Stubbs is not a member of FAIR, is an expert of languages, and teaches in Southern Utah. So the video does have scholars of their field throughout the whole video. Nowhere to we say that this is absolute proof (namely because DNA studies will continue to change), but do make a good argument using the latest information, by some great scholars. This is not made by FAIR scholars, but scholars who have PhD’s in this field from all over the country.

    I think the errata page shows that we are willing to accept mistakes/criticisms. I am sure there will be more in the future, but as we continue to learn about the DNA in the Americas, we will roll with the punches. We will change when the information changes and not hang onto old outdated arguments because they support our position. I want to be as accurate as possible and don’t want any false information out there, so I will do my best to make that happen.

    You say that experts built the Titanic and an amateur built the ark. Now, what I’m going to say is pointing at the argument itself of the difference between an amateur and a professional, and not to any person. Would you really go to your local shoe store clerk and ask them a question about your health, who has studied a little bit on the internet the workings of the body, or would you go to a doctor who has studied more from trained persons for years, an expert in every sense, and works with this every day? What about if the shoe store clerk says cardiologists have it all wrong, that heart attacks aren’t caused by eating badly, not exercising, but heart attacks are actually cured by not exercising and eating twinkies? What if they attempt to show from journals, but have elipses which have taken out the words that shoot down their theory?
    Amateurs make amateur mistakes. I am an amateur in many things, and surely don’t expect to be an authority on an issue when there are people that know WAY more than I ever would. That is what happened with the Dead Sea Scrolls. There were amateurs who said that it proves The Book of Mormon true, went and gave firesides showing them as proof. There were people whose testimonies were strengthened, people brought into the Church, and in-actives reactivated, but the information was bogus. What happened to these people when they learned that the event/information that brought them into the Church was false? That is why amateur knowledge can be hurtful to the work rather than help it.

    That is my 2 cents,
    Tyler

    Comment by Tyler — September 12, 2008 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

  58. I said “In a video like yours where it is just a lecture, it would be an appropriate video.”

    I meant to say “In a video like yours where it is just a lecture, it would be appropriate to have references”

    Comment by Tyler — September 12, 2008 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  59. I saw Rod Meldrum’s video and found it intriguing! In reference to all the subject matter experts who write for FAIR, how do I know they are unbiased scientists? Many times the experts’ personal opinions are so esoteric, the lay person is left to ask: huh? The fact that FAIR is adamantly against this DVD gives me more reason to examine its allegations and conclusions.

    Joseph Smith sent missionaries to the Indians around the Midwest and Great Lake states, did he not? He referred to these people as Lamanites. Meldrum’s video used quotes and references to substantiate what he said! How was that bad research?

    He used current, unbiased, scientific research journals to base his theories! He acknowledged that he was not a general authority, and did not say what he proposed was new or incontrovertible evidence. He even stated that at some point some of his theories may need to be revised as new details become available. What am I missing here? Why is FAIR heaping calumny on a fellow brother of the church? In my heart, I believe this is a personal attack on Rod Meldrum, and FAIR is trying to squelch his research for some unknown reason. Some of the e-mails directed at Mr. Meldrum have been incendiary and included name calling. Mr. Meldrum has been a perfect gentleman in all this bouleversement!

    I am a graduate of BYU with a degree in Geography, and emphasis in Cartography. I use satellite imagery to map nations of the world, and have seen the areas the Nephites were supposed to have lived. It would be impossible for a Nephite to traverse the Isthmus of Panama, or anywhere else in Central America in a day and a half as the Book of Mormon avers. Going from one great deep to the other would day MANY days. The area is dense tropical rain forest, do the experts realize this? In many pictures the Nephites look like supermen on steroids, but in fact they were not much different than you or me.

    I believe Joseph Smith knew the Nephites were the Native American people living around the Great Lakes. His statements were clear on this point. The pundits who adhere to the Mesoamerican theory have to stretch credulity to its limits to prove their point. In essence what they proved was the Mesoamerican Theory was not only false, but inconsistent with rational logic. Rod Meldrum has more logic in his little finger, than the pundits at FAIR have in their collective body of knowledge.

    Comment by Al — September 14, 2008 @ 7:22 pm | Reply

  60. Do the FAIR people realise how, to be frank, silly and childish they sound?

    “Don’t call me elder!” (Why? Don’t you hold the Melkesedek Priesthood?)

    “Such-and-such isn’t a member of FAIR. He just retired from FARMS, so yah-boo to you!”

    There is a name for people who have a common purpose yet who pretend they are nothing to do with each other: Fellow-travellers.

    Comment by Matt — September 15, 2008 @ 11:22 am | Reply

  61. A day and a half to travel for the Nephites, doesn’t that shut down the Mesoamerican civilization theory? The majority says YES. Fair is in the minority and has very little credibility. Read their published works and you will find they repeatably stretch all truth beyond the limits of understanding or reason. Truly FAIR should be dismantled and recognized as an anti-Mormon organization.

    Comment by Jon C. Plannir — September 15, 2008 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  62. Let me solve this problem for you once and for all. There is no site of the book of mormon because it is fiction. Now wasn’t that easy. The truth normally is.

    Comment by Henry Walters — September 15, 2008 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  63. I am at a loss to explain how any believing Mormon can care what FAIR has to say on this topic. They are heretical apostates.

    The plain words of the Scriptures and the Prophets leave no room to doubt that there were no “others” for the Lehhites and the Mulekites to interbreed with. IF any peoples migrated to the Americas from Asia they were destroyed in the Noachian flood. To deny this is to deny the truthfulness of the gospel. We believe the Book of mormon to be the word of God. We beleive the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. And Joseph Smith made no corrections to the Bible’s assertion that the Noachian flood happened.

    So who cares what the apostates at FAIR say on this topic, it is time for them to get down on their knees and ask their Heavenly Father for forgiveness for trying to lead his children astray.

    Comment by Steve — September 15, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  64. I offer a third theory for the setting of the Book of Mormon…one that is supported by the vast majority of knowledgeable archeologist.

    “It didn’t happen anywhere…Because its fiction…”

    Comment by Cr@ig P@xton — September 15, 2008 @ 4:20 pm | Reply

  65. I must add I have just finished reading this entire thread…to my great enjoyment. As someone who views the Book of Mormon as a work of fiction, I find this internal (among Mormon apologist) debate on the location/setting for the Book of Mormon one of the most entertaining discussions I have ever read on the internet.

    The mere fact that Mormonism CAN’T agree on a single Book of Mormon location, including consensus on the location for the Hill Cumorah, only lends support to my view that it didn’t happen ANYWHERE.

    All of you esteemed Mormon brethren have made my day…Please, please, please continue this debate, if only for my continued entertainment. :-)

    Comment by Cr@ig P@xton — September 15, 2008 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  66. Elder White,
    I just read your comment about truth and am stunned. I feel like I could write many paragraphs. But I just want to mention that I have seen the DVD and it felt more right than any Localized theory or mesoamerica theory I have read from Farms or Fair. I believe in it, and feel there is truth in it. Then you state that I have been possibly led astray by untruth. Yet I have never been able to feel at peace with what fair and farms say is the most likely story. I have a feeling when I speak to others that have watched and listened to the DVD, that I am not alone.

    Comment by Keith — September 15, 2008 @ 9:20 pm | Reply

  67. Rod Meldrum and FAIR would have better luck spending their time finding the locations of Camelot or the Hogwarts Academy then jousting each other over the location of fictional Nephite civilization. You both seem to miss the irony in your respective arguments.

    Meldrum’s theory is dependent on taking the pronouncements of Mormon’s prophets as if they actually had some special ability to know the mind and will of God. He does a good job of linking his theories to the comments, publishing and writings of Joseph Smith…who clearly taught that the Lamanite remnant nations could be found exactly where Meldrum’s hypothesis state they are. But to get here…Meldrum locks himself into a literal interpretation of Mormon doctrine that include a literal Adam walking out of a Missourian Eden 6,000 ago after having introduce physical death into the temporal world for the first time, dinosaurs that were transplanted to this earth as part of God desire to trick we mere mortal children of His, a literal universal flood that killed all humanity save 8, a literal 6,000 year young earth….etc etc etc.

    FAIR on the other hand must totally dismiss these same Mormon revelations and prophetic pronouncements as the mere comments of men who sometimes actually speculate, often get it wrong and frequently speak as mere mortals….since a prophet is only a prophet when he is speaking as such.

    Meldrum’s theory ignores archeological reality in his placement of the Nephite civilization in the Great Lakes region since there is NO scientific evidence to support his theory that a Bronze aged, Christian civilization, proficient in metallurgy, with a developed written language, extensive road system, coin system of any scale described in the Book of Mormon ever existed in the Great Lakes region of America.

    While FAIR must also ignore these same realities by placing their fictional Nephite civilizations in Central America, at least they are attempting to place the Book of Mormon sights in a location that has some archeological evidence of a great civilization…although the stone aged Central American civilization they are trying to co-oped as Nephite has no similarity to Book of Mormon people.

    Boy am I enjoying the show….please continue

    Comment by Cr@ig P@xton — September 15, 2008 @ 11:10 pm | Reply

  68. Here is a link to a proclamation by Parley P Pratt that they landed in Chile.

    http://relarchive.byu.edu/MPNC/descriptions/prattproclamation.html

    Comment by Henry Jacob Morley III — September 16, 2008 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  69. Rodney,

    In “About This Blog” you say “… No crude, vulgar or unethical comments will be allowed, however views differing from the authors/editors will be allowed so long as they are not abusive. Should abuse occur, it will be deleted. If it happens again, that poster will be permanently blocked. This is for civil conversation and discussion only, not anti-Mormon rhetoric.”

    I submitted a post that you refused to publish. In short, I said that I had no idea where new world Book of Mormon events occured, that while I don’t agree with your theory I don’t object to you or anyone else presenting theories. Because you have often said that FAIR has published on your work because FAIR is committed to the Mesoamerican theory, I said that I, for one, was not, and I gave several examples of things that I am having trouble reconciling with the Mesoamerican theory–if there is any such things as a “True Believers Group” with respect to the Mesomerican theory, then from what I submitted I would be considered by them to be a heretic. I then explained why FAIR published, and that I support it.

    In “About This Blog” you write, among other things: “…No crude, vulgar or unethical comments will be allowed, however views differing from the authors/editors will be allowed so long as they are not abusive. Should abuse occur, it will be deleted. If it happens again, that poster will be permanently blocked. This is for civil conversation and discussion only, not anti-Mormon rhetoric.”

    Would you be so kind as to tell me which of these criteria were applied to my submission: was it crude, vulgar, unethical, or abusive (couldn’t have been because just before that you say that views differing from the authors/editors will be allowed, so differing with you per se isn’t abusive). Surely not only me, but all readers of this blog should know.

    Were it true, as you and others claim, that there is no legitimate basis for my views on these issues, please tell me and all others who read this blog why you refused to publish my post.

    Comment by Robert White — September 18, 2008 @ 4:43 am | Reply

  70. I note from reading through the posts that some are bemused or troubled that I would consider it necessary, and indeed important, to make it clear that I may not and so not employ the sacred title of “Elder” since my service as a Seventy was fulfilled. Because there is obvious misunderstand about why this could possibly be a matter of any importance, I will now explain it. In the Church there are several priesthood offices, but only four sacred titles of respect: President, Elder, Bishop and Patriarch. Some members, out of what I take to be sincere respect, sometimes refer to brethren who have been released by those titles. They mean well. However, these titles are indeed sacred, and are not applied to a brother, but to a brother who has been called to and giving a particular service. They are used to honor the calling, not the brother. Therefore, it is a policy of the Church based, as it has been taught to me, upon the principle I have just mentioned, that when a brother is honorably released from the service in question, the sacred title is no longer used by or applied to him, because it never did in the first place–we do not praise men, we honor some particular sacred services. So, when a missionary is released he is no longer addressed as “Elder”. When a stake president is released he is no longer addressed as “President”. When a bishop is released he is no longer addressed as “Bishop”. When a patriarch is excused from service, generally because of health, he is no longer addressed as “Patriarch”. And upon my release as an Area Seventy I am no longer addressed as “Elder”, nor should or would I presume to apply that sacred title to myself, nor encourage others to. So what, then, was the reason I posted about it? Read on.

    I respect and honor the Brethren. When I was called and ordained a Seventy, and assinged to an area of service, they conferred upon me a great privilege, and were entitled to expect that I had good judgment–a highly valued qualilty in Church leadership. Remarkably, perhaps, after six years when I was honorably released by the Brethren I had good reason to believe the Brethren continued to believe that I still had good judbment. That is one of the highest compliments I could ever receive, and one for which I am humbly grateful. So, when Rodney in his posts refered to something “Elder White” had said or written, I wanted everyone who, like me, understands and honors the sacred titles and the principle applicable to them, that I was a man would would betray a sacred honor and trust–which those who understand and respect these things, could not only call my integrity into question, but would have good reason to ignor anything I said. Therefore, as anyone who knew or now knows these principles of importance, I made it clear that I had not signed myself as “Elder White”, and that any reference to me by that title was Rodney’s choice–because, he says, out of respect but if so it is the only respect he was showing me as you would realize were you to read his concurrent email to me–or to lead you to the conclusion that I was very, very presumptuous about sacred things.

    Comment by Robert White — September 18, 2008 @ 5:10 am | Reply

  71. My last few posts werent posted. I am curious why?

    Comment by tyler — September 18, 2008 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  72. I have one question. I have to say I have not.. seen the DVD.. but have read much of what both have said.

    My question is based on 3 Nephi 9.

    1 And it came to pass that there was a voice• heard among all the inhabitants of the earth, upon all the face of this land, crying:
    2 Wo, wo, wo unto this people; wo unto the inhabitants of the whole earth except they shall repent•; for the devil laugheth•, and his angels rejoice, because of the slain of the fair sons and daughters of my people; and it is because of their iniquity and abominations that they are fallen!
    3 Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned• with fire, and the inhabitants thereof.
    4 And behold, that great city Moroni have I caused to be sunk• in the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof to be drowned.
    5 And behold, that great city Moronihah• have I covered with earth, and the inhabitants thereof, to hide their iniquities and their abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints shall not come any more unto me against them.
    6 And behold, the city of Gilgal have I caused to be sunk, and the inhabitants thereof to be buried up in the depths of the earth;
    7 Yea, and the city of Onihah and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Mocum and the inhabitants thereof, and the city of Jerusalem• and the inhabitants thereof; and waters• have I caused to come up in the stead thereof, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood• of the prophets and the saints shall not• come up any more unto me against them.
    8 And behold, the city of Gadiandi, and the city of Gadiomnah, and the city of Jacob, and the city of Gimgimno, all these have I caused to be sunk, and made hills• and valleys in the places thereof; and the inhabitants thereof have I buried• up in the depths of the earth, to hide their wickedness and abominations from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up any more unto me against them.
    9 And behold, that great city Jacobugath, which was inhabited by the people of king Jacob, have I caused to be burned with fire because of their sins and their awickedness•, which was above all the wickedness of the whole earth, because of their secret• murders and combinations; for it was they that did destroy• the peace of my people and the government of the land; therefore I did cause them to be burned, to ddestroy• them from before my face, that the blood of the prophets and the saints should not come up unto me any more against them.
    10 And behold, the city of Laman, and the city of Josh, and the city of Gad, and the city of Kishkumen, have I caused to be burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof, because of their wickedness in casting out the prophets, and stoning those whom I did send to declare unto them concerning their wickedness and their abominations.
    11 And because they did cast them all out, that there were none righteous among them, I did send down afire• and destroy them, that their wickedness and abominations might be hid from before my face•, that the blood of the prophets and the saints whom I sent among them might not cry unto me from• the ground against them.
    12 And many• great destructions have I caused to come upon this land, and upon this people, because of their wickedness and their abominations.

    Does anyone take into account the way the world looked before this time.. and the way it looked after? Could there be more things that went on that are not mentioned in the Book of Mormon have “changed” the way geography looks today? Mountians that were there.. that are not any longer?

    Could this be why we can’t find real world Geography? Just how much was changed?

    Has anyone dealt with this?

    Thanks.

    Comment by MrNirom — September 19, 2008 @ 1:29 am | Reply

  73. Hello MrNirom,
    Yes this has been discussed in some detail in many works involving geography. The entire ‘face’ of the land was changed, yet there did not seem to be any particular difficulty finding some of the same landmarks such as the temple, other cities, some of their homes, and their borders appear to have remained unchanged. There is also no record of such catastrophic events as recorded by the people of the Book of Mormon in other ancient texts ( 3 days darkness etc.) so it appears to have been localized to some extent. The coastal areas do not seem to show any significant change in shoreline or ocean levels as well.

    If you would like to see a documentary on the subject as it may relate to this geography, I would suggest watching the History Channel’s ‘Earthquake in the Heartland’, from their “Mega-Disaster” series. It just showed twice last Monday on the History Channel and you can purchase a copy of it by going to my website at http://www.BookofMormonEvidence.org and click on the link there which will take you directly to the History Channels ‘store’. You will find that during the 1811-1812 earthquakes (over 2,000) many of the same phenomena that are described in the Book of Mormon occurred, and right under this proposed geography. This earthquake sequence caused the Mississippi river to flow backwards, lakes to disappear and new lakes to form in new depressions, bizarre sand geysers, and foul odors escaping from the ground. The town of New Madrid, for which the fault was named, thought the wrath of God was upon them. If the Nephites were here, surely they would have felt the same.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 2:02 am | Reply

  74. Tyler, I don’t know why your posts have not shown up, I didn’t erase them, you have been civil and I have no reason to delete them.

    Don’t worry though, your numberous posts seem to be showing up all over other LDS blogs bad mouthing my work. I don’t think you are having any trouble getting your ‘message’ out. I, on the other hand, have more to do with my life than spend every spare moment tearing down other peoples work.

    Rod

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 2:08 am | Reply

  75. Dear Robert White,
    Thank you for clearing this all up… AGAIN. If memory serves, you have now brought this same issue up no less than 5 or 6 times on this and the FAIR blog.

    It would almost seem as if you WANT your past service to be an issue here because you keep bringing it up time and again.

    I’ve apologized profusely and have not referred to you in ‘that way’ since. What more must one do to have you drop this? Is there no forgiveness in your heart?

    Rod

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 2:14 am | Reply

  76. Robert White wrote:

    To paraphrase Elder Dallin H. Oakes: A bad argument is worse than no argument. Were people to found their baptism on false information, and then found out it was false, they would be in a terrible position.

    Brother White,

    I would be interested in knowing the context for Elder Oakes quote above. Could you provide it for us? Who do you suppose is ‘founding their baptism’ on my research? I know of no one.

    This is a classic straw-man arguement. FAIR feigns concern about my research because
    1. people ‘might’ base their testimonies on it, and
    2. ‘When’ it is proven false they will leave the church.
    Both of these arguements are based on false presumptions.
    1. The vast majority (probably over 99%) who have seen my research are already members with firm testimonies. They are not ‘basing their testimonies’ on this research. You have a very low opinion of the membership of the church based on this statement, Brother White.
    2. You don’t know that my research will be ‘proven’ false, as you have not seen my reply to FAIR’s review. What if I have answers to the false assumptions FAIR has leveled against me? What then? You don’t know it, so you must be assuming that it will be proven false. That is still an assumption. So your ‘concern’ is based on two false assumptions. What is the ‘real’ reason for yours and FAIR’s continued attacks on me? Could it be because it may be ‘so persuasive’ that it might cut into FAIR’s DNA DVD sales and cause a loss of revenue for FAIR?

    Robert White stated (emphasis by Rod):

    The fact that the DVD is so persuasive is one reason we are so concerned about it. As the FAIR publications, and comments on this blog and the FAIR blog show, it is riddled with errors, misstatements, improperly edited quotations, discredited evidence, and so on. Yet, it is convincing unless those watching it have had the misforture of having to have studied all this stuff. Latter-day Saints are gullible for the best possible reason: they would not mislead someone, and don’t expect that someone would mislead them. Therefore, when a presentation is opened by prayer, when as on the DVD a former general authority says some things, when the thread of the presentation is made to appear to be revelations to the Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith, when the evidence looks good to those who, as I said, are fortunate enough to not to have had to study it, people tend to have “good feelings”. And, regrettably, there is a tendency for some people to believe, and to tell others to believe, that good feelings are, and can be nothing but, a witness from the Holy Ghost.

    Brother White, are you saying that members of the church are ‘gullible’ and simply lack the intellegence or sufficient spirit to discern whether something is true or not without the help of FAIR?

    Are you denigrating the “good feelings” others have felt as nothing more than naive bliss? Who made you the decipher of all spiritual gifts? Or for that matter, who made FAIR the bearer of all truth? How do you KNOW that FAIR’s review is the gospel truth? You don’t.

    FAIR is nothing but a group of individuals who ‘claim’ that they want to defend the church. However, based on the evidence and the comments of Allen Wyatt on your own blog a few days ago, I beg to differ.

    FAIR admits that they have some rather ‘progressive’ views on many things pertaining to the gospel. FAIR condones practically every ‘theory of men’ from evolution, Adam not being the first man (see Pre-Adamites at http://en.fairmormon.org/Pre-Adamites) , to the earth being billions of years old (see D.& C. 77:5-6), to Noah’s flood being only figurative or local in scope. They even ‘brag’ about it on their blog site, calling those who don’t agree with their views, people who “don’t have a clue”. I have pasted a copy below, along with the link, so you can see for yourself.

    If the self-appointed apologists at FAIR are supposed to be ‘defending Mormonism’ it would seem to me that they ought to be defending what the prophets have said and what the scriptures indicate, rather than defending the theories of men parading as science.

    As I posted on their website, (which they took issue with)… My belief is “If true religion and modern science do not match up, one of them is wrong, and it isn’t true religion. When this happens, science will be obliged to alter its views to conform with true religion, not the other way around.

    The gospel is true, and it is based on the foundation of the scriptures and the prophets. FAIR is more interested in defending the theories of men it would appear. That is a shame. I think they are a detriment to the church, not a support to it. Yet they call my presentation ‘dangerous’. I am reminded of the FAIRissees!

    From the FAIR website:
    http://www.fairblog.org/2008/09/06/once-the-church-finds-out/
    by Allen Wyatt on September 6th, 2008 (The same guy who attacked me on the FAIR website)

    I’ve been a volunteer member of FAIR for years. It has been interesting to watch the reaction of many people—especially the critics—to the work done by apologists in general and FAIR in particular. Some of the reaction is quite comical and, I believe, shows that some people [Rod's note here: ie. members of the church who believe such ridiculous things as 'creation' or the 'scriptures' being literal] “just don’t have a clue” (as one of my friends used to say).

    One thing I’ve noticed is that many critics express amazement and astonishment at the things that FAIR is willing to discuss and consider. I often see reactions among those who have left the Church similar to the following:
    • FAIR believes that the prophets are fallible? That’s blasphemous!
    • Those FAIR people are proposing a limited flood? That goes against Mormon doctrine! (Notice the small “d.” Not talking about the book here.)
    • FAIR says it’s OK to believe in an old earth? No way! The Church only believes in an earth about 6,000 years old!
    • FAIR says the Church allows belief in evolution? Everyone knows that the Church is anti-evolution!
    • The Garden of Eden may not have been in Missouri? That’s not Mormon doctrine!
    • Joseph Smith translated using a rock in a hat? I was never taught that!

    The list could go on and on and on. (Actually, it has gone on and on and on for the years I’ve been an observer.) The Church is nowhere near as dogmatic as some critics believe it to be. Individual members, including leaders, are given quite a bit of latitude in their beliefs. Where there is not revelation, speculation is often rife.
    One of my favorites is the inevitable conclusion among some critics that “once the Church finds out what FAIR is really doing, they will shut them down.” I guess ten years of existence, multiple mentions in the Church News, and links on the LDS.org website doesn’t count for evidence as to whether the Church knows about FAIR. Of course, FAIR has always publicly stated that if the Church asks us to shut our doors, we will do it in an instant—we are supportive of the Church and don’t want to do anything of which the Church would disapprove.

    Even prominent critics see “good” in the work we are doing, as they see FAIR helping people leave the Church. Consider this quote from Simon Southerton, made just within the past couple of days on a website popular among critics:

    FAIR seems to help many who are struggling to make up their minds to leave. If I had my wish, FAIR and FARMS apologists would be given the opportunity to educate the masses in the church about how mistaken people have been about the Book of Mormon narrative.

    Simon’s not alone; I’ve seen similar statements from critics over the years, with some saying that FAIR is doing more to help get people out of the Church than any other source. (Perhaps Simon and other critics would like to put their money where their mouth is and actually donate to FAIR. After all, that will help speed up the good they see in FAIR’s efforts.)

    I’d think that as a trial attorney you’d have better things to do with your life than spend it tearing me down, but obviously that is not the case. Maybe you are in semi-retirement and have nothing else to consume your time, but as for me I have better things to do with my time than tear down others. As you may have noticed, I stopped posting comments on FAIR’s website a long time ago. I respond to this because I’m the moderator. I haven’t as of yet, gone out trashing FAIR on the blogs as you have me. I am a patient man, but I do also have limits.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 2:25 am | Reply

  77. I don’t know.. my thinking is.. if a mountain were raised where a valley was.. and a valley made where a mountian was.. could that cause a river that flowed from north to south cause it to flow now south to north?

    Because I never drew a map myself.. Does anyone know where these other cities were that were mentioned? ie great city Moroni & Moronihah, city of Gilgal, Onihah and Mocum? I assume that “great city of”.. is much bigger than “city of”? or did that refer to status?

    So what you are saying… if I understand you correctly… is that the model depectied (both in Mesoamerica and America) have taken into consideration the land before the earthquakes.. and the land after?

    I mean I suppose because there was no maps of before and after there is nothing to compare it to… so how do people tell what was before and what is after?

    Sorry for the dumb questions.

    Comment by MrNirom — September 19, 2008 @ 2:40 am | Reply

  78. Hello Rod,
    I just wasnt’ sure if I was banned, or having computer problems. That last post was more of a test to see if it would work or not. I was just going to post the word “test”, but if it did work, wanted a little more than just that.
    Rod, I have nothing against you. I disagree with your conclusions you come to in your DVD, and think it’s necessary for people to see that it is not as black and white as portrayed in your DVD. I’m not sure if you changed anything in your presentation or not (if so, kudos to you), but from what I see in your DVD, it seems to be an open and shut case. But that is not the case at all, and I believe it to be necessary to let others know the whole story. I have told you before, I must be true to myself and what I believe to be true. I have done this with MANY arguments before I even heard of this one, and will continue to do so throughout my life. I don’t have any malice towards anyone whom I disagree with, but do let others know what I have researched and the flaws I have found. The theory you present is just “the talk” right now, that is why you are getting the attention. Soon, the hype will die down and I’ll be defending the Church against other accusations, and if there is another theory that I find is seriously flawed within the Church, I will do the same. So don’t feel like you are singled out. It is not a personal thing because I think you are a very nice guy.
    Anyway, I probably won’t be coming back to this blog to many more times. I think I’ve made my point and don’t want to argue. I would just suggest looking at the material that FAIR released as a critique to better your product. No on benefits from inaccurate information, and that is what is trying to be done. FAIR constantly is correcting mis-information and this endeavor is doing just that. Nothing personal.
    Tyler

    Comment by Tyler — September 19, 2008 @ 4:16 pm | Reply

  79. Hello Tyler,
    You are indeed a gentleman and I do appreciate your concerns. When you say that I present my material as an ‘open and shut’ case, I have a hard time not thinking about all those who are so sure of their Mesoamerican setting that they have marketed to the saints for so long that I feel that my work is only now beginning to ‘balance’ the subject. Yes, I have a high degree of confidence in my research (and NO, that confidence did not come by ‘revelation’ as FAIR is so wont to attempt to claim). What is wrong with having confidence in what you spent three years in doing? I have never said that this is absolutely the place, in fact, I go out of my way to say that “I reserve the right to make changes without notice”. This hardly sounds like a guy who is completely positive he’s got it right, does it.

    I have already said several times both to Scott Gordon and on the blogs that I will be updating my DVD. That takes time. In the meantime I have ‘stickered’ the DVD with the correction notice as per my website.

    Your fearless leader, Scott Gordon just a couple days ago on an LDS blog actually said that now I think I am the prophet! Your organization is completely out of control and I fear it is FAIR that is the real threat to the church, not me.

    See my earlier post above. There isn’t one theory of men that FAIR doesn’t embrace. Rather than defending the scriptures, and the prophets statements, FAIR is defending the scientific theories of men. What is so insidious about this is that they do it under the guise of ‘Defending the Church’.

    And whoso knocketh, to him will he open; and the wise, and the learned, and they that are rich, who are puffed up because of their learning, and their wisdom, and their riches—yea, they are they whom he despiseth; and save they shall cast these things away, and consider themselves fools before God, and come down in the depths of humility, he will not open unto them. (Book of Mormon | 2 Nephi 9:42)

    Again Tyler, I think you are an upstanding guy, doing what you think is right in ‘defending’ others from seeing a new idea that has merit (not withstanding the FAIR reviews to the contrary). Why do you feel that the membership of the church is to uninformed and lacking in the spirit to let them make up their own minds about it? Why must you feel you need to tear it down in the hopes that you can ‘save’ someone from seeing a fresh perspective on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. FAIR’s sorry excuses for their feigned ‘concern’ are based on false assumptions (see my previous comment) that are the epitome of ‘straw man’ arguments and I am confident that people will see right through that once the word gets out.

    My humble opinion is…Tyler, you need to find a better organization to associate yourself with, you’re much to good of a guy to be involved any longer with FAIR.

    Rod

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  80. re post 78: Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 2:25 am
    You have posed some questions to me, Rodney, and you are entitled to my answers. I have little expectation that you will publish my answers, but as you know for reasons I have undertaken not to discuss publically, you have no reason to let people think I have not been a friend to you notwithstandiing our profound disagreements, perhaps there is some hope that you will. I will leave the questions addressed to Allen, to him. Your questions, as is usual, were stated in a line or two. The answers to and corrections of your few lines demand a more complete explanation. Those who care about the eternal significance of this will, I am sure, read it patiently.

    You wrote: “I’d think that as a trial attorney you’d have better things to do with your life than spend it tearing me down, but obviously that is not the case. Maybe you are in semi-retirement and have nothing else to consume your time…”.

    You are correct, I am a trial and appeals lawyer in Canada. I am not in semi-retirement, and I would rather not have been spending the very many hours I have volunteered on the dangers I see that come from your business project. The reason I do it is very easy to understand: obviously, anyone is entitled to develop and tell others about any theory of Book of Mormon geography, or Kolog, or that the earth is hollow, that they wish to, and sell books about it if they can. What distinguished your business from others is that you claim that it is based upon revelations given on the subject to Joseph Smith although the leaders of the Church have plainly said that the Lord has not revealed your or anyone’s (yes, including FARMS’) geography to the Latter-day Saints through any of the prophets. So, are teaching false doctrine. It is that simple. I know that you say my analysis is wrong. But anyone who wishes to test that for himself or herself need only keep this short statement in mind and watch your DVD again. There are many, many places where you carefully, and with great skill, build to an invetiable conclusion. When FAIR calls you on that conclusion you say: “I didn’t say that.” And, some of the time, that is correct. But you intend people to draw the conclusions. You will correctly deny that you say parents should watch this and then protect their children from what they are taught in seminary; but you publish “testimonials” that that happens and are thus obviously happy with the result. I’ll be a trial lawyer for just a line or two: any judge who watched you build your various theories, who then heard you say that you didn’t state the inescapable conclusion, would not believe anything that you then said about anything.

    As you know full well, you believe, and I know you believe, and you have told a select few, that God has revealed your theory to you, that you have a divinely appointed mission to spread it,revelatory validation of what you are doing and that it will bring “millions” to the truth. You have expressed your rage that we were so fortunate as to find that out–to the point of going, you say, to three lawyers about it because it blows your cover. (And please do not think me so ignorant of the law as not to know what the lawyers told you.) Such a mission as you claim is yours, were there one, would have been appointed by the Brethren. Therefore, you are either innocently believing and making these claims because you are seriously confused in your own mind, or you making false claims. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume its the first: but the damage to others is the same either way.

    Next, you are promoting your mission, theory, and product to Latter-day Saints in an unmistakable package of spiritual, doctrinal and revealed truth, for money. You have moved on from selling over 10,000 of your DVDs (which, at about $20.00 each has grossed $200,000 in the last several months), to a bus tour of the lands you theorize are those of the Book of Mormon and have added, or tried to add, credibility to that by including an emeritus General Authority. I assume that the profits will be good. I understand that those who lead tours to Mesoamerica do very well–but with less damage to their customers. And now I see you are going to have a “retreat” at which your theories will be taught. What you teach about revelation and geography is false; your claim of divine appointed is false; you have combined the two and promote them for money. That is priestcraft. Because you tend to say “the Mesomerican fans do all of that, too”, and because withough full information a Latter-day Saint may think that is true, FAIR has undertaken to provide the information that it has. No Mesoamerican theorist has taught that under the stewardship of the Brethren, revelations give by Joseph on geography have been and are being ignored,or that you have a commission to put things right.

    You know, Rodney, my views on the Mesoamerican theory. I submitted a post about my concerns about them. You refused to publish it–I’ve asked for an explanation. I hope it is not that it would have made it impossible for you to claim the FAIR is dancing to the tune of the scatter-brained “scholars” at B.Y.U.–whom you once said were criticised by President Hinckley for their theories, but about which you have now published a disclaimer and correction–recently moved to the bottom of your home page, in the smallest possible print, and not included on a paper shipped with your DVDs.

    You make this statement: “Brother White, are you saying that members of the church are ‘gullible’ and simply lack the intellegence or sufficient spirit to discern whether something is true or not without the help of FAIR?” Now Rodney, you know that is not what I am saying and I am surprized at you. Just a few lines ahead of that you set out what I did say: “Latter-day Saints are gullible for the best possible reason: they would not mislead someone, and don’t expect that someone would mislead them. Therefore, when a presentation is opened by prayer, when as on the DVD a former general authority says some things, when the thread of the presentation is made to appear to be revelations to the Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith…” they trust the presentation. When someone presents something, as you do, in a way the Church would, they tend to believe it. And may God bless them for it. This can result in them being taken advantage of; but better that than to be suspicious of everyone. People who are not our friends have asked why President Kimball did not see at once that Mark Hoffman was a crook. You know the the answer: that isn’t the first–or second or even the tenth–thought that comes to the minds of the Latter-day Saints. They get hurt; but for the best possible reasons.

    Now, as for “denigrating the “good feelings” others have felt…”: When a Latter-day Saint believes he is safely within a Church context, and hears something that could make him feel glad, it is common although not wise to think that the feeling is a witness of the Holy Ghost. Rodney, you know full well, but have never told people, that I have told you that when I first watched your DVD, although there were some soft spots and loose ends, I felt thrilled with it. You have heard me say that I thouht: “This brother may have finally got all of this right. And it’s based upon Joseph Smith, the Prophet I love. And I can stop worrying about the problems I see with Mesoamerica.” I had very, very good feelings and as with other Latter-day Saints I had didn’t think a brother would mislead me. But that was not any witness by the Holy Ghost, and I thank God that I know the difference. Had I not, frankly put: you would have converted me. But fortunately, I and thousands of others have learned, often through sad experience, that good feelings and a witness by the Spirit are not the same thing. For example, many people, to their shame and to other’s misfortune, have mastered the art of making youth cry and leading them to think they are feeling the spirit when what they are feeling is emotion. The damage done is hard to repair.

    You have written a lot more, but now this, finally: “Or for that matter, who made FAIR the bearer of all truth? How do you KNOW that FAIR’s review is the gospel truth? You don’t.” Of course FAIR is not the “bearer of all truth”. Everyone knows that we’re a group of volunteers doing our best to answer questions, and defend the faith of the Saints. We have made mistakes, and because we aren’t an organization of the Church, our enemies cannot tar the Church with them. We stand up to our errors, apologize, and fix them. That is why FAIR gave you its working transcript weeks before publication so you could identify any errors you found, and then we said we would fix them before publication. You got the transcript, you had the time, and you sent us nothing. I can think of only three reasons for that: you couldn’t find any errors; you did’t know enough about your own work to understand FAIR’s evaluation; or you didn’t bother. And you are right, I don’t know, no one knows that FAIR’s review is “gospel truth”. FAIR certainly doesn’t think or say that it is. But it is honest; it wasn’t written or published for money but rather at the considerable personal sacrifice of many. It didn’t proclaim any revelations that the Brethren had somehow let moulder away. It provided evidence that contradicted yours, it analyzed your methods and showed how you were so succesfull, so that the faith of the Saints could be built on stone and not stand. And there are two things it did not do: it did not promote FARMS or the theories of anyone there; and it did not hold anything back that we knew to be relevant. And we knew and regretted that you would attack us for it, but it was something that had to be done.

    Comment by Robert White — September 19, 2008 @ 6:52 pm | Reply

  81. re post 76 Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 19, 2008 @ 2:14 am about “Elder”.

    I join my hopes with yours that this needn’t be addressed again, although ironically you raised in again at post 76, and although you express exasperation it was you who did publish a number of posts by others hashing this over and not always in a kindly way, and so I submitted the “full meal deal” so that there could not be anyone who could possibly not know and understand the subject.

    If it ever comes up again, I’m just going to write: “Ask Rodney Meldrum. He’s got the whole scoop on this.”

    Comment by Robert White — September 19, 2008 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  82. Response to request for citation for the statement by Elder Oakes:

    “In other instances, a volunteer will step forward to present what he or she considers to be the Church’s position. Sometimes these volunteers are well-informed and capable, and they contribute to a balanced presentation. Sometimes they are not, and their contribution makes matters worse. When attacked by error, truth is better served by silence than by a bad argument.”

    – Dallin H. Oaks, “Alternate Voices,” Ensign, May 1989, 27

    Comment by Robert White — September 19, 2008 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

  83. Rod,

    Just a couple of items regarding post 77…

    First, you say “Who do you suppose is ‘founding their baptism’ on my research? I know of no one.” This seems a bit disingenuous on your part.

    In Section 17 of your DVD you recount the story of Jason, who used to be an anti-Mormon. You show him and you at his baptism on June 23, 2007. You state “About five months ago I did this presentation and he was the last one to leave. He came up to me afterwards and he said, ‘Whoa, this is for the first time, I get the feeling that the Book of Mormon is real. And that Joseph Smith was really a prophet.'”

    You choked up at that point (obviously you feel strongly about Jason’s conversion and baptism). You implicitly tie that baptism to the presentation of your research in your DVD. So, how do you now say that you “know of no one” whose baptism wasn’t founded on your research? Did your research have nothing to do with this person’s baptism?

    Second thing, I have never attacked you. Not once. So for you to reproduce my blog post here and say I am the “same guy who attacked [you] on the FAIR website” is bizarre. I have no desire to attack you, Rod. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I do have a desire to discuss your research, as you requested in your DVD and as you requested in the presentation I attended. I find it frustrating that you characterize such discussion, in open forums, as somehow attacking you.

    Third, I find your misrepresentation of FAIR’s position, using my blog post as evidence, to be disappointing. You say “FAIR condones practically every ‘theory of men’ from evolution, Adam not being the first man…to the earth being billions of years old…to Noah’s flood being only figurative or local in scope. They even ‘brag’ about it on their blog site…”

    FAIR condones none of these positions, yet you state we do. Read my blog post again: I said that critics are amazed at “the things that FAIR is willing to discuss and consider” and then provided examples of some of those issues.

    I know you don’t believe in evolution, that is your right (and you may be right). I know you believe that Adam was the first man, that is your right (and you may be right). I know you believe the earth is not billions of year old, that is your right (and you may be right). I know you believe Noah’s flood covered the whole earth, that is your right (and you may be right).

    FAIR (and the Church) allow belief in all of these things–it is OK with me if you believe in them. FAIR (and the Church) allow contrary beliefs in all these things–it is OK with me if someone doesn’t believe in them. The Church does not require a certain mindset on any of these issues in order to be a member. In fact, the Church has not taken any position on these matters. That you try to limit belief to a certain narrow view on all these things puts YOU (not FAIR) out of step with the Church’s position. Are you sure that is where you want to be?

    My best to you, Rod.

    -Allen

    Comment by Allen Wyatt — September 19, 2008 @ 10:45 pm | Reply

  84. Allen,
    Are you kidding me? The church has made CLEAR statements about evolution. In fact they have done it twice!! You need to do some research.

    Comment by Dan — September 20, 2008 @ 5:01 am | Reply

  85. Robert White wrote: (White), Rod Meldrum wrote: (Rod)
    White: “What distinguished your business from others is that you claim that it is based upon revelations given on the subject to Joseph Smith…”
    Rod: Read the Wentworth letter and then tell me that Joseph Smith didn’t have any revelation on this matter. I posted it previously, and you read it to me once on the phone. I know you’ve seen it, do you still deny that Joseph had that vision, as he, himself said, Robert?

    White: “So, are teaching false doctrine”
    Rod: One of many, many ASSUMPTIONS by you, with no solid foundation in fact.

    White: “But you intend people to draw the conclusions.”
    Rod: Another ASSUMPTION by you. How to you presume to know what I intend? Do you think you have received revelation about what I think?

    White: “you publish “testimonials” that that happens”
    Rod: I don’t alter other peoples testimonials, and I have only put about 5% of them on my website, just to give people an idea of the response. I didn’t ‘pick and choose’ what each person had to say. You are ASSUMING that I am being disingenuous with these peoples testimonials.

    White: “As you know full well, you believe, and I know you believe, and you have told a select few, that God has revealed your theory to you, that you have a divinely appointed mission to spread it,revelatory validation of what you are doing and that it will bring “millions” to the truth.”
    Rod: Is this some slick attorney trick you are trying to pull, Robert? You are now telling me what I believe? You’re gall is amazing. This is the same personal character assassination and attack that everyone who reads this should be aware of with FAIR. It is false, pure and simple. I have not ever claimed to have had my theory revealed to me by God, and not you, nor anyone else has ever heard such a thing from me because it has never been said, nor thought by me. You are, in your slick attorney way, trying again to make claims against my character that are unfounded. Shame on you, Brother White, your attempts at deception will get you nowhere.

    White: ” You have expressed your rage that we were so fortunate as to find that out–to the point of going, you say, to three lawyers about it because it blows your cover.”
    Rod: Rage? Come now, that is another ASSUMPTION on your part. I was appalled that FAIR would publish a personal-private email, especially after telling your board members that it was. The email had nothing to do with the three lawyers. That was done because of your libelous attacks in the first review posted to the FAIR website. Each of them said your review was ‘actionable’ and that I have a case for false light, invasion of privacy, publication of private facts, and potentially libel. I chose not to pursue it because it would only exacerbate the problem, not help it. As an attorney, you must have seen that you were across the line because your final reviews were nothing like the originally scathing ones you sent me.

    Just a note: How did you know about the three attorneys that reviewed your work? I only sent that to Scott Gordon, President of FAIR with my Confidentiality Notice and Disclaimer: in tact. Congratulations, now I know that FAIR has absolutely no regard for privacy, as Scott was the only one that I divulged that information to. He must have shared it with the FAIR brotherhood against the strongest legal notice one can have in an email. Another fine example of FAIR acting as if they are above the law. FAIR should be disbanded. Scott Gordon’s doing so may again be actionable.

    White: “Such a mission as you claim is yours, were there one, would have been appointed by the Brethren.”
    Rod: True. Unless one makes ANOTHER false ASSUMPTION that I believe I am on some kind of ‘mission’. Lets see how many false ASSUMPTIONS you can make in one posting, Robert. Do they let you get away with this in court?

    White: “Next, you are promoting your mission, theory, and product to Latter-day Saints in an unmistakable package of spiritual, doctrinal and revealed truth, for money. You have moved on from selling over 10,000 of your DVDs (which, at about $20.00 each has grossed $200,000 in the last several months), to a bus tour of the lands you theorize are those of the Book of Mormon”
    Rod: For Money? That is laughable! I have taken a huge risk and left a 6-figure income job to do this for a time. You are making a load of false ASSUMPTIONS, again, Robert. First, the vast majority of the DVD’s go out with my website offer of 10, which goes for less than wholesale (half of the retail price) to individuals. Then there were and are filming, editing, and production costs (about 4 months work), then travel expenses, shipping expenses, taxes and equipment costs. You seem to forget the fact that I did FREE presentations for almost a year before I even had a DVD, and have still never charged a dime for my presentations. It was only after so many begged me to record it so that they could review the information again that I finally recorded it. What was my motivation then, Robert? What about the three years of research without any compensation whatsoever? I will likely never recoup the costs associated with this project, and that is fine with me. I am not doing this for money, I am doing it to share what I think is a strong case for this geography and to address the anti-Mormon claims of there being no evidence for the Book of Mormon. As I mentioned in the DVD, I’ve lost two personal friends over this issue, and I would like to see some resolution. How do you know that I don’t have some other forms of income, Robert? Do you? If so, how do you know my financial situation? Also, you are again ASSUMING that I plan to do this for the rest of my life. How do you know that, Robert? You don’t. I may be taking a few months to work on the project, and then go back into the work force again. Writers and researchers commonly do this Robert. Some call it a sabbatical. Have you never heard of this term? You don’t know anything about my financial situation, and frankly, it is none of your business, so your continued insinuations without facts is appalling to say the least.

    How much do you make a year as a trial attorney, Robert? I tell you what, I’ll swap you straight across! Just let me know and I’ll turn over my DVD sales to you and trade you for your attorney income, FAIR enough? Did you not go into law because of the money you could make, or was it purely altruistic? Shall we post our incomes online for a comparison?

    ps. I’m not doing like most of the Mesoamerican tour leaders who make their living from selling ‘Book of Mormon tours’ with my tour, I am simply sharing information while there.

    White: “I assume that the profits will be good.”
    Rod: See my note above. I won’t make a dime for two weeks of my time. Another false ASSUMPTION by Robert White: What I get from the deal is room and board and a wonderful chance to get to know some marvelous people. The travel agency makes the money, not me. And they are making practically nil. That is one of your serious problems, Robert, you ASSUME way too much. This is in stark contrast with your Mesoamerican friends who make their living from selling ‘Book of Mormon Lands’ tours.

    White: “you have combined the two and promote them for money”
    Rod: Yet another ASSUMPTION by Robert White. How do you presume to know why I am doing what I do? You don’t know my motivation, so you are ASSUMING.

    White: “Priestcraft”?
    Rod: Do you know even know what Priestcraft is Robert? Look it up, do some research and then tell me what part of ‘Priestcraft’ it is that I am guilty of, Robert. Then see if that doesn’t apply to every single LDS artist, musician, Mesoamerican book author, LDS products manufacturers, etc. At the LDS bookseller convention there were thousands of people who supply products to the LDS market, and I’d dare bet that the vast majority of them are doing it full time. Are you saying that Sheri Dew is practising priestcraft Robert because she sells books to church members full time? Or what about all your Mesoamerican tour guides and companies. For that matter, what about Seminary and Institute teachers who are paid to teach? You apparently have never taken the time to understand what priestcraft is before hurling your ongoing character assassinations against me. None of these good people are practising priestcraft and neither am I. You need to do your homework, Robert. I have.

    White: “You refused to publish it”
    Rod: Another ASSUMPTION without facts. I haven’t refused to publish whatever it is you mistakenly think you sent. Funny how both you and Tyler complained about that at nearly the same time. Is this another slick lawyer trick to cast blame where none exists?

    White: “Now, as for “denigrating the “good feelings” others have felt…”: When a Latter-day Saint believes he is safely within a Church context, and hears something that could make him feel glad, it is common although not wise to think that the feeling is a witness of the Holy Ghost.”
    Rod: Said like a trial attorney (or slick politician). Just come out and say what you mean here, Robert. You are saying that you think members of the church are incapable of understanding the difference between the whisperings of the spirit (Holy Ghost) and a happy thought. Then you go on to say that even you, a former 70 of the Church, couldn’t tell the difference? Admit it Robert, you said you ‘felt’ it was right until your pals at FAIR talked you out of your ‘feelings’ with their ‘intellectual’ arguments, and then you denied those feelings. So now you and FAIR are going to clear it all up for these poor misguided souls who aren’t able to discern the spirit for themselves? So you believe you are now commissioned to ‘save’ them? What can I say? Again, Robert, you are ASSUMING that members can’t discern the truth for themselves.

    White: “moved to the bottom of your home page, in the smallest possible print, and not included on a paper shipped with your DVDs.”
    Rod: I did move it to the bottom of the page, right in the same location where FAIR discloses that it is not in any way associated with the Church. Oh, I know your website color scheme and the use of the Christus is meant to make your website LOOK like the official Church website, in fact, the first time I went to your site, I thought you WERE actually part of the church. It wasn’t until after I finally noticed the tiny print at the bottom of your site that FAIR is nothing but a group of individuals who like arguing with people about gospel related subjects. Your retractions for your DNA DVD mistakes are hardly ‘front and center’ on your homepage either, in fact, it is not even on your home page. How about putting your retractions on your home page as I have done? Your arguments are without merit, Robert.

    PS, the DVD’s going out now ARE sticker-ed with the change. Robert, you have made another false ASSUMPTION. The font for the retraction is not the ‘smallest possible print’, there is a smaller size I could have used. Another ASSUMPTION without fact by Robert White. Is anyone seeing a pattern here?

    White: “when a presentation is opened by prayer”
    Rod: Robert, did you happen to watch the FAIR DNA DVD? Guess what? You have most of your ‘experts’ at the end ‘bearing down in pure testimony’ of the truthfulness of the FAIR research. Don’t you remember the scriptures about prayer? “pray always” comes to mind. It is not a sin to open a meeting with a prayer, even a secular one, and to think that is would be so is acrimonious. Robert, you are ASSUMING that having a prayer before a meeting is some kind of sinister thing. I don’t see it that way.

    White: “presentation is made to appear to be revelations to the Church from the Prophet Joseph Smith”
    Rod: Joseph wrote what he wrote, I am only a messenger. Look it up.

    White: “You got the transcript, you had the time, and you sent us nothing. I can think of only three reasons for that: you couldn’t find any errors; you didn’t know enough about your own work to understand FAIR’s evaluation; or you didn’t bother.”
    Rod: Robert, you need to think again. I had 21 working days to produce a response to an originally 160 page ‘review’. The good brethren at FARMS have been working out their Mesoamerican theories for 40 years and still don’t all agree. Again you are ASSUMING something without ascertaining the facts. I tried to communicate with Scott Gordon several times, and got stonewalled. Another ASSUMPTION by Robert White is that his ‘options’ are the only possible answers. How about this one, Robert? I knew that FAIR was going to scrutinize every single letter and word in anything I produced, so I knew that it had to be right, or the good brethren at FAIR are going to twist my words in every way they can in their continued attempts to tear down my research. I could not submit an incomplete, or poorly done work and to produce a scholarly work takes time. How many months did the combined resources of FAIR take in producing their reviews? FAIR has many resources, I am one individual. Failure to accomplish the impossible is hardly a reason to assassinate someones character as you continue to attempt to do.

    White: “it was something that had to be done”
    Rod: Question. How many people have left the church so far because of my research that has caused FAIR to feel so compelled that they had to so quickly ‘rush’ to judgement? NO ONE that I am aware of, do you know of someone? If so, what is their name? Again, Robert, you are ASSUMING that ‘something had to be done’ right now. That was not the case.

    White: “And you are right, I don’t know, no one knows that FAIR’s review is “gospel truth”.”
    Rod: Yet you ASSUME that FAIRs review is the truth before seeing my response. Thank you for admitting that FAIR’s work is not ‘gospel’, now if you can only convince the rest of the FAIR board. You certainly do try to make yourselves up to be the final word in truth, setting yourselves up as the judge of all research with your reviews and blogs. Aren’t you usurping to yourselves what the Church is surely capable of doing? Who authorized FAIR to ‘Defend the Church’ and why should your collective opinions carry any weight at all?

    Thank you Robert White for taking your time to post your thoughts on this blog. I have counted the number of assumptions in your last comment and it comes to about 19. It was more than that in your complete post. Unfortunately for FAIR, that is not a new record.

    Have you ever heard of the old saying about what ASSUME-ing does, Robert? If not, look it up, or maybe someone else will let you know.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 20, 2008 @ 7:21 am | Reply

  86. Allen Wyatt = Allen, Rod Meldrum = Rod
    Allen: First, you say “Who do you suppose is ‘founding their baptism’ on my research? I know of no one.” This seems a bit disingenuous on your part.

    In Section 17 of your DVD you recount the story of Jason, who used to be an anti-Mormon. You show him and you at his baptism on June 23, 2007. You state “About five months ago I did this presentation and he was the last one to leave. He came up to me afterwards and he said, ‘Whoa, this is for the first time, I get the feeling that the Book of Mormon is real. And that Joseph Smith was really a prophet.’”

    You choked up at that point (obviously you feel strongly about Jason’s conversion and baptism). You implicitly tie that baptism to the presentation of your research in your DVD. So, how do you now say that you “know of no one” whose baptism wasn’t founded on your research? Did your research have nothing to do with this person’s baptism?

    Rod: Jason’s seeing my presentation caused him to finally read the Book of Mormon with ‘real intent’ which he could never bring himself to do previously because he had never seen any potential evidence of its truthfulness. Once he saw that there may actually be evidence, he finally determined to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. What happens, Allen, when someone sincerely prays about the Book of Mormon? They get answers (unless Robert White’s assertion is true that members of the church generally mistake a happy thought for confirmation of the Holy Ghost). Jason received his testimony in the same way as you or I most likely did. His testimony is not based on my research. The research only opened the door to allow a little faith as indicated in Alma 32. Was the research an influence in getting him to read the Book of Mormon? Certainly, but it did not form the ‘foundation’ of his testimony. If a non-member is impressed by the example of his LDS friend, and as a result of that friendship the non-member determines to read the Book of Mormon and then gains a testimony of it (because of the fine example of his friend), does that indicate to you, Allen, that the persons testimony is ‘founded’ on the good example of his friend, rather than the Book of Mormon? Of course not. Similar situation here. I hope you can understand. Nice try to make that connection though. Sorry.

    Second thing, I have never attacked you. Not once. So for you to reproduce my blog post here and say I am the “same guy who attacked [you] on the FAIR website” is bizarre. I have no desire to attack you, Rod. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I do have a desire to discuss your research, as you requested in your DVD and as you requested in the presentation I attended. I find it frustrating that you characterize such discussion, in open forums, as somehow attacking you.

    Rod: So Allen, are you saying that if I substitute your name for mine in your opening salvo against me, that you would not consider it a personal attack and you would relish these remarks about your personal character to be published on the internet? Please try on your own words for size. They are your exact words with only the name changed. Don’t kid yourself, Allen, this was a mean-spirited and vicious attack. Any member of the church in good standing as I am, would feel you are directly attacking his or her character, intelligence, understanding of the gospel, motivation, as well as personal integrity, honesty, knowledge, and questionable membership in the church. Every one of these are personal attacks against my character, you know it, and everyone can see and read it, so stop trying to act like this is all about discussing my research. You have never ever reached out to me to ‘discuss’ my research, not even once. We all can testify your assertion is not true by reading the following quotes from your hand.

    Mr. Wyatt has attempted to assert revelation for those outside of his stewardship, and has used that revelation as a substitute for solid scholarship.
    Mr. Wyatt’s DVD contains much material that is misrepresented because he is unfamiliar with the large body of work
    Mr. Wyatt’s DVD plants erroneous information, concepts, and expectations in the minds of viewers
    …material by Mr. Wyatt is presented–in a sincere but naïve attempt to support the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ–based on his invalid or misunderstood data and reasoning. The problem is significantly compounded when those who make such attempts believe and claim they are inspired by God to do so.
    Mr. Wyatt therefore takes it upon himself to correct the Church and our leaders
    FAIR is troubled by Mr. Wyatt’s public claims to divine guidance and revelation to fortify his theories.
    We are also disturbed by the fact that Mr. Wyatt’s claims are outside the normal revelatory channels for the Church, and yet Mr. Wyatt seeks to apply them to the Church as a whole.
    Mr. Wyatt repeatedly demonstrates that either he does not understand or he is not aware of all of the earlier, competent work on the subject. Mr. Wyatt presents his conclusions as blessed by God,…
    Mr. Wyatt avoids scholarly dialogue by claiming that his ideas are approved by God.
    Mr. Wyatt also implicitly charges Church leaders with wasting Church funds
    When Mr. Wyatt says God told him
    The implication from such a statement is that Mr. Wyatt is saying that God told him, by revelation, what to do…
    …Mr. Wyatt feels that his belief is confirmed by revelation.
    The Saints have long been cautioned about seeking signs; that Mr. Wyatt would do so is problematic.
    It is even more troubling that Mr. Wyatt would document his sign-seeking and share it with his supporters.

    Kind of makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it Allen, seeing your name associated with such wonderfully positive comments and associations, doesn’t it? Now are you going to, with a straight face, tell me again the you have never attacked me, not even once? We’ll see how honest you really are. The worst part of it is the fact that these are all blatantly not true! Yet every one of these false statements were put on the internet by you and FAIR. You all should be ashamed of yourselves for your despicable attacks against my personal character. If you had any honor, you’d remove these falsehoods from your website, but they are still there right now.

    Allen: Third, I find your misrepresentation of FAIR’s position, using my blog post as evidence, to be disappointing. You say “FAIR condones practically every ‘theory of men’ from evolution, Adam not being the first man…to the earth being billions of years old…to Noah’s flood being only figurative or local in scope. They even ‘brag’ about it on their blog site…”

    Rod: I understand your disappointment at my ‘exposing’ folks to your positions, but the nice thing is that they are there for anyone to read, so I’ll let them make up their own minds. I trust people to be able to do so. I just thought that people should be alerted to your positions, kind of like how FAIR is ‘concerned’ about my research and feels the need to ‘alert’ the world about the ‘dangers’ of my research. The primary difference, as I see it, is that rather than trying to squelch others from going to your sites and finding out for themselves, I actually encourage it, whereas FAIR’s approach is to discourage anyone from seeing my research by discrediting both me and it through your ‘network’ of websites and blogs your group works within. Where have you encouraged people to see for themselves the DVD before coming to judgment about it? Why is FAIR so afraid that people might see it? Are you all like Robert White, who feels that members are not capable of discerning what is truth from error, and therefore need the help of FAIR to ‘save’ them from seeing some new information that may be persuasive should they see and study it? To me this is tantamount to book burning practices done in the dark ages. Keep the people uninformed, so you can control them!…this is what FAIR’s actions remind me of. What if the people see something and then they throw off the long held dogma’s that have held sway for so long? “We can’t have that! Burn the books!” becomes your rallying cry!

    Why not encourage people to see for themselves and then make their own informed decisions? You are desperately trying to discourage people from seeing the information because, as Robert White so aptly put it, “When a Latter-day Saint believes he is safely within a Church context, and hears something that could make him feel glad, it is common although not wise to think that the feeling is a witness of the Holy Ghost.” Allen, you need to have greater faith in people and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide people in their lives. Who are you to decide for them?

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 20, 2008 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  87. Rod: Robert, did you happen to watch the FAIR DNA DVD? Guess what? You have most of your ‘experts’ at the end ‘bearing down in pure testimony’ of the truthfulness of the FAIR research.

    Tyler: They did not bear testimony of FAIR as you assume Rod, they bear testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, etc… I don’t think it would be appropriate (and I’m sure you will agree) for someone to bear testimony about secular things that cannot be known until the Lord reveals it.
    I thought it would be good to show that despite what the critics say, and despite the evidence for The Book of Mormon, that scholars still rely on a spiritual witness to know The Book of Mormon is true, that it is absolutely necessary. What a better way to end a DVD than to hear the testimonies of the experts you have just been hearing from for the last hour explaining the issues and evidences? The previous section was on evidences and possible evidences, then came the testimonies of the scholars section. I thought it good to end on a high note.
    Tyler

    Comment by Tyler — September 20, 2008 @ 3:51 pm | Reply

  88. Rod:Funny how both you and Tyler complained about that at nearly the same time. Is this another slick lawyer trick to cast blame where none exists?

    Tyler: No slick Lawyer tricks. I attempted to post twice without success. Perhaps there were some temporary problems with the blog itself. I brought it up because there was a problem and wanted to know what was going on. I assumed I was banned. Maybe others experienced the same problem.

    Comment by Tyler — September 20, 2008 @ 3:56 pm | Reply

  89. Since this is an open forum and suggestions and questions are allowed, just what is the official LDS opinion on the Theory of Evolution? Although I am a former missionary, I don’t recall anyone ever bringing up the subject, nor hearing anything of it in Sunday School. It would seem the church would deem it a mystery that is currently not revealed to mankind. Ergo, anything we say would be speculation on our part and not hard facts.

    Brother Meldrum brought up issues in his DVD that questioned current evolutionary thought. For example, he used Czar (Nicholas?) as an example. Using mitochondrial DNA as a milepost, Czar Nicholas’ progeny has only existed for about 6 thousand years. According to Brother Meldrum, other scientific studies found similar results. Rather than using the data on mitochondrial DNA, science threw out mitochondrial data in favor of data that supported evolution. Is that good science? Brother Meldrum made an excellent point in his DVD lecture.

    Having attended BYU, I can say that evolution is taught. I would not be surprised if many scholars believe evolution happened. The bible is vague on the origin of man other than Adam was formed on this Earth. I might remind the readers that the time element of 6 days refers to the spiritual creation of the Earth; not the physical creation which may have taken longer according to our reckoning of time (See Book of Moses.) Sometime after God rested on the 7th day, Adam was created from the dust of this Earth. Now…how long would it take God, or anyone else, to create a man from the dust of the Earth? The bible DOES NOT SAY! Because evolution was not mentioned, does that mean it God did not use it? Maybe there was an intermediate level in our creation. For many of you, that would be borderline heresy, but I posit that no definitive statement regarding evolution has been made. Otherwise, where is the official declaration against it?

    It amazes me how close science and our standard works are coming together like pieces of a puzzle. We claim that God lives in a world of light; and that His world is timeless. Well…that would dovetail with current scientific thought. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity states that time is undefined at the speed of light. Ergo…there is no time where God dwells (in a world of light.) I won’t burden the reader with Time Dilation according to the Theory of Relativity. Suffice it to say that as we accelerate to the speed of light, time dilates (ticks slower, and slower until we reach the speed of light where it is undefined.)

    When we leave this world, we return to the world of light where God dwells and there is no time. Near Death Experiences suggest a feeling of speed when one enters the conduit that leads to the world of spirits. That whoosh of speed is our spirits, unencumbered by an earthly body going back to the world where there is no time. Now…when speaking about time, our reckoning of time is different than God’s! Using that theory as a basis, God could have used evolution, but we don’t know. The Big Bang could be true (maybe, or maybe not.) Science keeps trying to find what started the Big Bang (maybe God?)

    I believe the Book of Mormon to be true. I believe that Joseph Smith knew the people in this country were Lamanites – directly related to Lehi. I believe Brother Meldrum has given us valuable information that will help validate the Book of Mormon to skeptics. The Mesoamerican models don’t ring true. All pertinent information suggests that the Nephites lived in North America. This is my final word on the subject, but I would like to thank brother Meldrum for all his hard work! I believe he is more correct on this matter than anyone else. I saw his DVD and he EARNED my respect. I pray he does not become discouraged by many of these negative viewpoints. I live in the McLean, Virginia area and hope he comes out our way someday.

    Comment by Al — September 20, 2008 @ 7:05 pm | Reply

  90. Rod,

    In reference to #87…

    Thanks for clarifying what happened with Jason. You didn’t do that in your DVD, and the impression left with me (and, I presume, most other viewers) is that Jason joined because of your research. Now you say it wasn’t because of your research, and I will accept your statement on that. I would suggest that in your next DVD you clarify the basis of Jason’s joining the Church as you did here.

    As to attacking you, you say “Now are you going to, with a straight face, tell me again the you have never attacked me, not even once? We’ll see how honest you really are.” You imply that the only way I can be honest is to agree that I attacked you. I don’t agree, however. You did all the things the introductory review says you did; they are documented. How, pray tell, would you prefer that your approach and manner of presentation be critiqued, if not with your own words? That is not an attack, Rod, but I can understand why you want to characterize it as an attack. (It precludes you from having to deal with the root cause of the problem.)

    I also have no problem with people seeing my blog post and your reaction to it. I trust they will be able to determine that your reaction does, in reality, amount to misrepresentation. You continue to do it in your comment #87.

    (I enjoyed your little hyperbole about FAIR’s approach being similar to promoting the burning of books so we can stop people from “throw[ing] off the long held dogma’s that have held sway for so long.” Priceless.)

    Finally, I appreciate your admonition that I “need to have greater faith in people and the power of the Holy Spirit to guide people in their lives.” I do have that, and hope they will exercise their faith. You ask “Who are you to decide for them?” I am not deciding for them, Rod. I do, however, think that a better decision can be made with more information. Had you *really* provided information to people in your presentation and DVD, there wouldn’t be so much need for FAIR to do it with their reviews.

    Again, my best.

    -Allen

    Comment by Allen Wyatt — September 20, 2008 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  91. I can see where Rod gets the idea that Joseph Smith received “revelation” or lets call it “information” about many things that he did not share with us. The Lord has done that before in the meridian of time when upon the Mount of Transfiguration.. after the Apostles seeing the vision they did.. Jesus told them to tell no man that he was the Christ. I am sure they were not allowed to speak of other things as well… IE.. redemption of the dead.

    I can see that Joseph possibly had the information.. but was not able to reveal it. And so.. all the prophets since then can say that they have received no revelation about it.. and as far as they are concerned.. neither has Joseph Smith because nothing was ever said.

    So standing on the statement.. God never revealed anything to Joseph about the geography of the Book of Mormon seems rather presumptuous to me as no prophet as ever stated that they received revelation saying Joseph did not receive any revelation.. which if I am correct… they have never done. (Please let me know if one of our Prophets has received a revelation from God saying that Joesph has no information about the geography of the Book of Mormon). It seems to me that as far as they are concerned.. they don’t know what he knows. As the prophets have said many time.. the Lord has not spoke about it.. or clarified it… or revealed it.. he is silent on the matter… along with many other things.

    As time goes on.. I feel more and more will be discovered.. and things will start to all come together.

    As I have told many “Christians” questioning me about the archeology or geography of the Book of Mormon.. “The Lord doesn’t want believers who have seen the Gold Plates.” He doesn’t want followers who “need” to walk through Zarahemla first before they believe.. (I mean.. people walk through Jerusalem all the time and they are not converted by the bible any quicker).. but for those of us who already believe.. it is nice to have our testimonies strengthen by a little proof. I can say that for me.. I don’t base my testimony on either location. I can feel and understand both sides. One day.. someone will find the piece that makes everything click. That piece just might be a revelation from God to the Prophet. And afterward he could say.. “To find out if what I am saying is true.. ask the Lord.”

    Just my two cents.

    I think Joseph knew much more about many things that either he was not allowed to speak about.. or.. did not have time to speak about. And these “things” were not imperative to our salvation but was just one of those “added” bonuses of knowledge. It doesn’t matter how the atonement works.. it does… but the more you find out about it.. the more interesting it is. But one does not need to know how to build a computer to use it.

    Comment by MrNirom — September 21, 2008 @ 3:25 am | Reply

  92. Allen: Thanks for clarifying what happened with Jason.
    Rod: No problem, see, communication can work. I will try to make it clearer when I update the DVD.

    Allen: As to attacking you, you say “Now are you going to, with a straight face, tell me again the you have never attacked me, not even once? We’ll see how honest you really are.” You imply that the only way I can be honest is to agree that I attacked you. I don’t agree, however. You did all the things the introductory review says you did; they are documented. How, pray tell, would you prefer that your approach and manner of presentation be critiqued, if not with your own words?
    Rod: Allen, I would have no problem if you would have actually used by own words in context. But you and FAIR did not use my words, but rather the words you ASSUMED I meant. For example, where are my words that I
    1. “asserted revelation” for someone else?
    2. “believe and claim that I am inspired of God”?
    3. am taking upon by self to “correct the church and its leaders”?
    4. have made “public claims to divine guidance and revelation”?
    5. “seek to apply” my supposed “revelations” to the “Church as a whole”?
    6. present my “conclusions as blessed by God”?
    7. “claim my ideas are approved by God”?
    8. “charge church leaders with wasting funds”?
    9. said that “God told me”?
    10. said that “God told me by revelation”?
    11. said that my “belief is confirmed by revelation”?
    Now, Allen, you know full well that I did not ever use any of these terms, not once in anything I have written or said in any presentatin or in the DVD. These were manufactured by FAIR in an attempt to damage my credibility and character. I defy you to show my one single instance of my words stating the words you used. They don’t exist, Allen, because they are false. Blatently false. If I were actually doing some of the things you are judging me for, I’d be in trouble with my leaders. But Allen, I am not in trouble with my leaders and I support them. So your false statements can be construed as nothing more than FAIR’s trying to put words into my mouth that I did not say, nor intend to say. FAIR has a very vivid imagination when it comes to what was actually said, and what you ‘think’ I meant. This is not Christ-like, it is character assasination, and even though you will probably not admit these were attacks, nearly everyone who is not blinded by the falsehoods pertetrated by FAIR can clearly see that it was a plain and simple attack on my character. The fact that you continue to deny your attack, to me is reprehensible. FAIR should have no credibility whatsoever to anyone who becomes familiar with the story of how FAIR attacked a fellow brother in the church.

    Allen: (I enjoyed your little hyperbole about FAIR’s approach being similar to promoting the burning of books so we can stop people from “throw[ing] off the long held dogma’s that have held sway for so long.” Priceless.)
    Rod: I’m glad you enjoyed that. I enjoyed it myself.

    Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — September 23, 2008 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  93. First time poster. I started a post a few minutes ago but lost it. I hope the uncompleted comment did not get sent. I’ll try again.

    I have seen the DVD. Since then I recently read this blog starting with the initial post. My first response was curiosity, and I was going to ask for a transcript of the DVD for some closer study. I am sure that such transcript will highlight any corrections of errors or misstatements that admittedly occur in unscripted presentations.

    I changed my mind. Instead a few things occurred to me regarding this blog and the animosity that is evident. Here are my thoughts:

    1. This seems to be turning into a who’s right rather than a what’s right issue. One says that Joseph Smith KNEW by revelation the geography of the BofM. The other says he did not. Bottom line as I see it is that we don’t know. There is nothing in the enumeration of topics revealed to JS by Moroni that indicates BofM geography. It is an assumption by extrapolation to say he did. That is also not to say he didn’t know. Without JS here confirm for us one way or the other we have to review the evidence and reach our own conclusion. Therefore there can be no EMPHATIC YES. Neither can there be an EMPHATIC NO. To emphatically endorse either is to imply revelation as that is the only way we could know if JS KNEW. To propound either without room for reconsideration on additional evidence makes it a who’s right issue, which by its very nature creates vested interests based on pride.

    2. What is the truth revealed by this blog post and its commentary? A lot of misunderstanding of the nature of revelation in general and Priesthood lines of authority. Watching the DVD I got the impression that a significant impetus behind the project was divine direction. Do I believe in personal revelation? Absolutely! But here is the rub: I used to believe that truth was like an onion, revealed layer by layer. It was the same for everyone, so if I received a glimpse of the next layer there should be no impediment to me sharing it with others. Such would enlighten them, and if it didn’t, then they weren’t ready.

    I now realize that this is incorrect. No two people share the same background or experience, so the layers do not have the same meaning to both. Instead eternal truth is more like a diamond, the facets revealed one at a time, each enhancing and enlightening the perception of the whole for the benefit of the viewer from the viewer’s unique perspective. These revelations of the truth are deeply personal and are for the sole (or soul, if you prefer) benefit of the receiver.

    Truths revealed for the whole church become doctrine only through proper Priesthood channels and only after being reviewed and endorsed by the Brethren. If Joseph Smith KNEW the BofM geography he didn’t reveal it. It was therefore likely for his sole benefit. If he didn’t reveal it then we cannot know that he did receive it and can only speculate about the hints he may have left. Also, since we do not see his visions from his perspective, we can only speculate on the nature or meaning of what he saw.

    Anyone can receive revelation on any subject at any time. However, the receipt of revelation does not, by itself, justify the receiver to publish it or teach it. Here is where the lines of Priesthood authority come in. There is order in the Kingdom of God. I believe that there are thousands to whom the heavens have been opened, many likely sitting in the pew next to you, or teaching Sunday School, but they will never admit it because it is contrary to the conditions on which the blessing was given and the order of God.

    Is Mr. Meldrum’s theory a valid theory? Yes, just as the Meso American theory is valid. The proponents of either are at perfect liberty to expound on the evidences for their theory. However, if at any time the theorist puts himself above correction, he loses his status as an honest searcher for truth.

    As I indicated, my impression was that divine direction was the primary impetus for this project. If that is not Mr. Meldrum’s claim, then that fact needs to be clearly emphasized in the presentation.

    3. Finally, I wholeheartedly ascribe to the scriptures referred to in the initial post regarding the truth. Unfortunately, they are often used as stand alone scriptures without recognition for the context or the prerequisites necessary. The best example is Moroni 10:5 “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Even when paired with its immediate antecedent, verse 4, it is not enough.

    Moroni 10:3 is the key to unlocking the truth of all things. “Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye shall read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.”

    Just asking God for an understanding of the truth of something does not necessarily qualify one for an answer. We must remember the mercy of God in the lives of all mankind as evidence of His mercy for you, as an individual child of God, and ponder it deeply. Why ponder God’s mercy? So you can start to understand His character, attributes and perfections and incorporate them into your life. This is such an intensely personal endeavour that it must be experienced individually. Without it there is no faith in Christ required by verse 4 and the promises of verse 5 are void.

    Asking God where the BofM events took place cannot convert. Relying of evidences of questionable relevance from either North America or Meso America cannot prove the BofM true. Asking people to base their faith on evidences of the BofM is also dangerous territory as the strengths and weaknesses of evidence can fluctuate. That doesn’t mean the truth will not out, but it is not the firm foundation referred to in the beginning of the DVD. Not even satellite recordings of the BofM events can be the foundation of faith or conversion.

    The only firm foundation for a living faith that will open up the windows of heaven and allow the Holy Ghost to reveal the truth of all things, is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ built on a solid understanding of His mercy and the true effect of the atonement in your life.

    Richard Garside

    Comment by Richard Garside — October 10, 2008 @ 8:56 am | Reply

  94. I’m just here to stand up for the lawyers and object to calling things “slick lawyer tricks.”

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — October 10, 2008 @ 12:33 pm | Reply

  95. FROM THE FAIR BLOG:

    THIS DISCUSSION SHOULD BE OVER. IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED, PURCHASE AND WATCH RODNEY MELDRUM’S DVD, AND GO TO FAIR’S WEB SITE AND READ FAIR’S REVIEWS. KEEP YOUR OPINIONS OFF THE INTERNET AND THESE BLOGS BECAUSE RECENT EXPERIENCE SHOWS THAT THEY ADD LITTLE OF VALUE, TEND TO CAUSE HARD AND HURT FEELINGS, AND ARE NOT BECOMING OF LDS. MANY IF NOT ALL OF US HAVE APOLOGIZED TO EACH OTHER. I HAVE. NO FURTHER CONTRIBUTIONS ARE NEEDED.”

    Comment by midnight00 — October 11, 2008 @ 4:18 am | Reply

  96. First time to comment. I have seen the Meldrum materials and read the FAIR articles. I also have gone on my own to see some of the moundbuilder sites, and have studied the moundbuilders extensively on my own over the last several months. My opinion of the FAIR articles is that they are more interested in attacking every point, no matter how trivial, than actually focusing on the handful of key points that are important to consider. Criticisms of the individuals involved are irrelevant; the focus should be on the actual facts. I’m embarrassed for FAIR; they can do better than this. They should retract their articles, apologize, and then just stick to facts and the theories, not the people or motives. Rod, if you read this, I really appreciate the work you have done. I think you may be on to something, although there do appear to be some flaws once we start speculating on particular locations. Gradually, the details and theories will get worked out and refined, and greater truth and light will eventually come from this.

    Comment by David R — October 13, 2008 @ 9:01 pm | Reply

  97. THIS DISCUSSION SHOULD BE OVER. IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED, PURCHASE AND WATCH RODNEY MELDRUM’S DVD, AND GO TO FAIR’S WEB SITE AND READ FAIR’S REVIEWS. KEEP YOUR OPINIONS OFF THE INTERNET AND THESE BLOGS BECAUSE RECENT EXPERIENCE SHOWS THAT THEY ADD LITTLE OF VALUE, TEND TO CAUSE HARD AND HURT FEELINGS, AND ARE NOT BECOMING OF LDS. MANY IF NOT ALL OF US HAVE APOLOGIZED TO EACH OTHER. I HAVE. NO FURTHER CONTRIBUTIONS ARE NEEDED.”

    Comment by midnight00 — October 15, 2008 @ 2:36 am | Reply

  98. I agree with the previous two posts. I agree with David that FAIR seems to attack Rod – which isn’t fair. Midnight says go and buy the DVD if you are curious. I agree with both statements. My mother gave me the DVD, and she will probably give out more. She bought a whole stack of them. I will probably loan my DVD out to friends at church. This is valuable information – and if proven true, means a lot to the church.

    As far as testamony goes, I get a better testamony from reading the D&C and the BOM than this DVD. What the DVD gives me is a renewed way of thinking. Just maybe…the location of the Land of Nephi was in North America. Just maybe…Sorenson was wrong. A PhD could be wrong! Just because you have a PhD behind your name does not imply perfection. I think the Central America theorist should be excided about Meldrum’s work!

    Meldrum used science against science! The guy is a genius. GOOD WORK, Rod! Let the anti-Mormons put this evidence in their pipe and smoke it. IMAGINE, North Americans related to people from Israel!

    Comment by Allen — December 29, 2008 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

  99. I just finished watching Bro. Meldrums DNA video and found it to be fascinating. In the past I always considered the meso-american theory to be the way it is, even though there were questions about what I have learned. But after viewing this new research I am embarassed that I did not pay closer attention to the obvious. Bro Meldrums work and presentation have answered and filled many voids in my knowledge base regarding this subject. But the beautiful thing is I dont need that knowledge base to know that the Book of Mormon is true. So bottom line it doesnt matter to me.

    Regarding the issue of FAIR. My question is why is FAIR even involved in this issue. They come across as a whiny, affected, immature child that is jealous, not getting their way, and are offended because someone smarter and more insightful hit the nail on the head. Keep up the good work Rod. Even though FAIR is a “non-profit” organization people are still making money “running” the organization. Money is a powerful motivator and if someone is losing “market share” that can motivate people to do some interesting things.

    Comment by William — February 9, 2009 @ 3:29 am | Reply

    • William,
      You are free to believe what you will concerning Book of Mormon geography, but I must correct you on one point you bring up. No one at FAIR makes *any* money at what we do. As a matter of fact, personally speaking, we actually pay out of our own pocket to get books, DVD’s published, and 100% of the proceeds go towards maintaining websites, future projects, etc… No one is making a dime I assure you. If that was the case, I wouldn’t be working two jobs.

      Comment by Tyler — May 11, 2010 @ 5:09 pm | Reply

  100. I’m sure the extensive hours devoted to research on locating the geography of the Book of Mormon by ALL involved is motivated by a desire to lead others to Christ.

    May I suggest that neither Brother Meldrum nor those at FAIR are accomplishing their objective of bringing others to Christ in the exchanges posted here. The fruits of the Spirit are noticeably absent in the posts from both parties. Mightnight00’s posting suggests that hurtful statements have ceased, and amends have taken place in a private arena.

    May I also suggest that the public postings here be followed by public postings of forgiveness and apology? I’m sure that God cares much less about whether you followed the right evidence concerning where the Book of Mormon occurred than that you followed the teachings and example of Jesus.

    After reading this, those not of our faith may just find your demonstration of faith through a public apology and statement of forgiveness more convincing and edifying than your research.

    – Your Brother in the Faith.

    Comment by Brother Jared Bulloch — March 1, 2009 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

    • Brother Bulloch has a good point. Midnight00 (aka Robert White) is correct in that the hurtful statements have almost ceased. No apology from FAIR in any form has been received by me, yet several times in these posts themselves I have apologized and have not gone on the offensive as FAIR did with their attacks and scathing reviews. The reason why it settled back down is because I stopped responding to FAIR’s continuous barrage of hurtful blogs from their many board members and members. I stopped responding to them on their blog site and still they continued for many days to badger and bad mouth me. I did not make further comment. So they came over to my blog and I had to ban several of them because of their hateful comments and continued attacks. Others complained that even FAIR’s supporter’s language was getting so bad as to cause me to be forced to ban them.

      For the record, I apologize for causing FAIR so much concern that they felt it needful to react to my research in the way they did. I am honestly not sure what I could have done differently, as it appears that they were out to discredit me from the start. Nevertheless, I do appreciate all the time and effort that FAIR put into their ‘review’ of my research because it has helped me know how to better address certain aspects of my research. I apologize if I gave some members of FAIR the impression that I had received some type of revelation from the Lord as a result of my confidence in my research. I admit to being somewhat inexperienced in the scholarly presentation of research and some may have had the wrong impression that my confidence was a result of some kind of divine intervention. Although I have stated this dozens of times, FAIR continues in their claiming that I ‘believed’ I had received a revelation, despite all my efforts and statements to the contrary, and to date they have still never retracted nor apologized for the myriad insinuations leveled against me. At this point I would not expect an apology from FAIR. I would graciously accept such and would like to put this whole episode behind me, but it matters not to me at this point.

      I apologize if there are those in the scholarly community that were offended and felt that I was singling them out for their written and published statements in regard to Joseph Smith’s knowledge. Please note that I deliberately left their names off of their quoted statements and specifically stated that I held no animosity toward these fine brethren, but it was because of their belief in the Mesoamerican setting of the Book of Mormon that caused them to make the statements. It was not personal in any way. Every one of them are upstanding brothers in the gospel and I meant no malice whatever toward them. Contrast my treatment of them with FAIR’s treatment of me. They singled me out and called my research faulty, questioned my integrity and motives, questioned my status in the church, and proceeded to be the prosecution, judge, jury and even passed their sentance against me.

      Their review was anything but objective. Every real review I have ever seen has sections for both the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed theory. Nowhere in their reviews did they state a single positive thing or strength for my research, which indicates that it was either completely devoid of anything of value, or that their review was not unbiased, but rather a witch hunt or hatchet job. The FAIR reviewers were falling all over each other to ‘take a shot’ at my presentation and did their utmost to make me out as a charlatan, a deceiver, or at best completely uninformed of the subject material. I have never responded in kind, but have done my best not to respond in an attacking fashion, without disparaging their words even while they were disparaging me. I know I am not perfect in doing so, and for this I also apologize.

      I realized early on that in attempting to address all FAIR’s questions it was only ratcheting up the animosity toward me and causing contention that I was hoping to avoid. This blog is the only place where I determined to attempt to address FAIR’s accusations, unlike FAIR who’s board members went on dozens of other LDS websites to bad mouth me in any way they could. FAIR’s president, Scott Gordon, going so far as to say that I think I am the next prophet! see: http:www.mormonapologetics.org/lofiversion/index.php/t37656.html . Yet I have had no apology, nor have I responded in kind. FAIR had at least a dozen of their board and regular members who then actively went out and began persecuting other people who had posted positive reviews of my research on their own sites, trying to get them to take their comments down. It is really hard for one single individual to address and reply to dozens of organized people who are determined to discredit and destroy you on multiple webblogs and websites. I could have enlisted the many thousands of supporters of my research to respond to FAIR, but I never made phone calls nor emailed asking them to do so. In fact many asked me if they should engage FAIR, and always my advice was not to do so. This would have escalated a war of words that would have been defamatory of all of us as brethren in the church.

      Meanwhile FAIR kept up their blog attacks all across the internet, telling everyone to go to their website ‘reviews’ for ‘the truth’ about Rod Meldrum. Again, I did not go after FAIR, nor ask those who support my research to engage FAIR, nor contend with FAIR, to the best of my ability. Finally, FAIR relinquished their attacks, figuring that they had caused enough damage to my character that I was now cowering in a corner because of my lack of response. Their assumptions were again ill advised.

      The new foundation is up and running and moving forward with thousands of volunteers. I do not intend to address FAIR directly in any of our publications nor presentations. Who is FAIR to demand that I address them? They are not the authorities of the church and have no authority to make such demands. They are a group of self-appointed brethren with the worthy desire to ‘defend Mormonism’ which I applaud.

      When they began attacking a fellow brother of the church, they violated their own mission statement. I am sorry that they felt so threatened by my research that they felt they had to launch their attacks against me. I wish there was something else I could have done to avoid it, but they were determined to go public with this. It was their decision, not mine. There was no emergency that they had to respond to, it could have been handled completely differently and should have been. I know I have learned valuable lessons from the experience, and I hope FAIR has as well. Only time will tell.

      I hope to someday shake hands with Scott Gordon or any of the FAIR board or members, look them in the eye, and express my forgiveness, love and gratitude to them for all the good things they have accomplished and for doing their best to defend the church we all love. I hold no animosity toward them, but will remain cautious in anything I say or do as relating to them. Until then, I pray that as brethren we may strive to act according to the teachings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, our exemplar.

      Comment by The FIRM Foundation Blog — March 2, 2009 @ 1:18 am | Reply

  101. All this fighting. As a regular member of the church who has looked into both sides- the North American setting just makes more sense. How did this whole Meso American setting come to be so accepted when I really think about it is beyond me- Tradition IS JUST TRADITION- it is not doctrine.

    Comment by Mark Brusstar — March 10, 2010 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  102. I would like to make a few points based on my observations on this whole topic of Book of Mormon geography. Though I have read much on the topic, and am partial to the limited Mesoamerican model (Sorenson’s model), I believe strongly in the following points:
    1) First and foremost we should always maintain the proper perspective that a spiritual testimony is what really matters, as it is the only kind of proof that will change our hearts towards desiring to follow the strait and narrow path which will return us to God’s presence.
    2) Regarding the different theories of Book of Mormon geography and the evidences which support them, since there is no definitive theory to which all can agree, we need to remain open minded and flexible, willing at any time to abandon or to re-think any theory that we may espouse.
    3) Point #2 also applies to any other facet of earth’s and man’s physical history, where there exist many different opinions and theories regarding any given period of earth’s and man’s history, about which little is known, and we are left to speculate. We need to keep an open mind. Science doesn’t yet have all the answers, and neither does any religion at this point in time, as far as all the intricate details of earth’s and man’s long history.
    4) The obscurity of the exact location of the Book of Mormon geographical locations is part of God’s purpose for that book. It forces us to look to God for proof of what is meant first and foremost to be a document that was meant to change people’s hearts. It’s primary purpose is not to instruct people regarding all the details of the location and cultural aspects of that ancient society and culture, but to know that the book is from God to help them draw closer to Him. So I feel that we may never know for certain the exact location of all the events in that book until Christ’s return, when all things will be revealed.
    5) This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to find physical evidences and locations of Book of Mormon lands, but as in any scientific endeavor of this nature, we should make sure that we use sound scientific principles and techniques, and that we keep an open mind to the theories of others. Too many religious adherents and scientists are too close-minded to accept or consider any theory other than their own, which is unfortunate, considering that we are left in the dark at this point regarding so much pertaining to earth’s full history. This flexibility needn’t apply to the basic tenets of our faith (such as the basics of the Gospel and the way we should live our lives), as these are based on spiritual testimony. This flexibility should only apply to temporal knowledge, such as the details of natural history (earth’s history and the history of mankind). Science and religion can be compatible if we are flexible in the area of temporal knowledge. Some day it will all make sense, but now is not the time, and we may be surprised when we find out the way things really came to be through all of history. I feel that the picture is much bigger and much broader than most are inclined to believe based on narrow interpretations of what little records and information there is that we have access to.

    Comment by Phil — August 3, 2010 @ 7:37 pm | Reply

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