Gary Smith wrote:

> Elder McConkie wrote that Eve really wasn't created from the rib of Adam,
> that it was symbolic of their equality. I guess that means it isn't a
> secular history, eh?

SWK also said this.  BY was much, much harsher on the 'secular history' of the
Bible. I assume most here on this list are familiar enough with his writings that
I don't have to use his very strong language on the subject?

> There is history in the Bible and BoM. However, they weren't written to
> be secular histories. They were written primarily to be books of holy
> writings, with history intermingled. A secular history concentrates on
> the historical side. Had the Bible and BoM been secular histories, we
> would have very little on the religious information except as it fit into
> the regular history. Instead, Nephi tells us that his book of secular
> history was contained on the large plates (history of kings, wars, etc),
> and the small plates (BoM) were to concentrate primarily on spiritual
> issues.
> Is Isaiah a secular history? No. Are there historical issues in it? Yes.
> But it concentrates on spiritual themes, not on secular history. Same
> with most of the writings in the Bible, with few exceptions (like Esther
> or Chronicles).

Isaiah isn't even a *sacred* history. It is a book of prophecy, and has to be
read in an entirely different way. It is not easy to learn, but let's not dismiss
people's attempts to do so (I'm not speaking to you, Gary, on this).  For those
interested in a discussion of the difference, let me recommend Northrop Frye's
explanation. He wasn't LDS, but what he wrote on this topic makes a lot of sense
to me:

> So, Marc is right. There is history, and these are historical people. But
> since the Bible wasn't written as a secular history, we don't know how
> much is actual history and how much is propaganda to make Israel look
> bigger and more important than it originally was among the other nations.

The Bible itself is contradictory. There are two stories of the Creation
interwoven, two traditions of God's dealings with Israel, one using "El" or
"Elohim" and the other using "Yahweh" -- plus a priestly account, and all this
was redacted, or reconstructed during Josiah's time. This was known as the Josian
reform and is explicitly mentioned in the Bible -- it is the incident where
Huldah finds the "new law" (a prototype of Deuteronomy, most likely) in the
desecrated temple. We know this because others have also produced "new laws" --
the Temple Scroll, one of the DSS, contains an alternate Deuteronomy, for
instance. And Deuteronomy tends to tell the laws differently, or repeat them --
besides the well-known account of the 10 commandments in Exodus, they are
repeated in Deuteronomy. Why?

One account shows David to be a scoundrel of the worst order, the other praises
him as the mightiest king that ever lived (yet we have no archaeological record
of him, with the exception of an arguable piece of inscription from Tell Dan).
One account says Noah took 2 of every kind on board the ark, the other says he
took 7 of each kind, but only of the kosher kinds. Well, which is it?

This alone shouldn't lead us to discount the Bible, but it should re-direct our
approach to it from the way we read modern history (a concept that wasn't even
invented until Herodotus, a Greek who lived around 500 BC), to how to read
scripture. And they are not the same approaches.

That is a circumlocutory way of re-expressing what Pres. Young said on the

> The BoM also isn't a secular history, as I said above. There are hundreds
> of years covered in just a few pages (Omni, Jarom), which isn't usually
> done in a secular history. A secular history also wouldn't cover so much
> preaching. Also, it would concentrate on the kings' activities, rather
> than the chief priests. It is a spiritual history with historical events
> included.  BTW, had it been a secular history, it would probably be
> easier to find where the Nephites and Lamanites really were on the
> American continent, because it would have described their cities, rivers,
> and events better.

Note, too, that the redaction process is explicit in the BoM: we have the Large
Plates of Nephi, the Small Plates of Nephi, the record of the Jaredites, the
Mulekites, and we have a whole line of keepers of the records, some of whom only
added a token item such as "Behold, I Garyihah, have received these plates and
have verily not the foggiest notion what do with them, so I bequeath them unto my
bright nephew, Johnihah and hope he hath better luck...." [tongue-in-cheek,
naturally] to the great redactors of Nephi, Mormon and Moroni, some of whom
claimed that they could only record "a hundredth part" of what they wanted to.
Some History 101.

Fortunately, I'm not called upon to have a testimony of History 101. I do have a
testimony that the Bible, the Book of Mormon and the other scriptures we accept
as canonical, are the Word of God. But mastery of them is not handed to us on a
silver platter. Even though I sympathize with the difficulty many people have
with the Jacobean language of the KJV, I usually tell them that "practice makes
perfect." Read it more, and you'll come to understand it more, one way or

> K'aya K'ama,
> Gerald/gary  Smith    gszion1    http://www
> "No one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he's free."  -
> Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
> Paul:
> If this was so, the apostles and prophets from Joseph Smith on would have
> told us so. everything I have ever heard from modern prophets teaches
> that the old history of the world is true and historical unless you
> choose to believe that our religion is based upon lies, fairy tales, and
> faith promoting nonsense. I suppose you might also think Moses was a myth
> because there is not one scrap of credible evidence of Moses or the
> Israelites in Egypt and I hope you don't choose to argue this point with
> me because you will loose big time. So beware!
> ________________________________________________________________
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Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland

“The first duty of a university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not
technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we don’t want
a world of engineers.” – Sir Winston Churchill (1950)

Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author
solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer,
nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated.

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