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 Post subject: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:46 pm 
B.H. Roberts Chair of Mopologetic Studies
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After announcing recently that if the old-school Mopologists were still in power at the MI, they would be plotting out a "systematic" attack on Jenkins, Bill Hamblin has decided to go it alone on his blog, "Enigmatic Mirror," via a series of "throw-down"-style posts. The most recent one is rather intriguing, since he compares Mormons to Jews, and suggests that Jenkin's argument is akin to anti-semitic prejudice:

Hamblin wrote:
It seems clear that Jenkins is engaging in rhetorical posturing in order to marginalize LDS scholars, and thereby relieve himself of any obligation to actually read what they have to say, and respond to their actual arguments. If is not published by secular journals, it can be safely ignored.

Of course, it is still within living memory that Jews have been marginalized or even ostracized from scholarly circles precisely and only because they were Jewish.


Hamblin also tries to make the case that, because LDS MesoAmericanists have degrees from accredited universities, that they publish in secular peer-reviewed journals, and they are respected as colleagues in the field, that their Book of Mormon work therefore must be "respected":

Quote:
There are about a dozen professional LDS Mesoamericanists who accept the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

[...]

I maintain that these LDS Mesoamericanists are authentic scholars, not cranks as Jenkins implies. As evidence for my argument I note the following:

1- They all have received Ph.D degrees from accredited non-Mormon universities in Mesoamerican studies.
2- Most teach Mesoamerican studies at accredited universities—some at BYU, but others at secular schools.
3- They regularly attend and present papers at the professional meetings in the field.
4- Some lead—not just participate in—major archaeological digs in Mesoamerica.
5- They publish peer reviewed articles in the standard academic journals, edit books and journals, and publish university press books in their field.

These are all objective criteria by which we can determine that LDS Mesoamericanists are accepted and well respected in the discipline. (This does not mean, of course, that their views on the historicity of the Book of Mormon are accepted.) While the Book of Mormon may not be accepted as authentic history by non-Mormon Mesoamericanists, Book-of-Mormon-believing scholars are routinely accepted as authentic scholars by non-Mormon Mesoamericanists. Because these LDS Mesoamericanists are accepted as authentic scholars in their field, their views on historicity of the Book of Mormon at least merit some degree of attention, if not respect.


The problem is transparently obvious, though. Sure: the Mesoamericanists are 'scholars in their field,' but the Book of Mormon is not accepted as part of the field. Hamblin's argument is akin to saying that a neurosurgeon's views on alien brain surgery should be taken seriously, or that a zoologist's views on big foot ought to be treated seriously.

In the Comments section, Hamblin says to someone--it's not clear who--:

Quote:
I understand. However, doesn't the obvious expertise of LDS scholars in Mesoamerican studies imply their views on the historicity of the Book of Mormon should at least be given a serious examination? Or do they suddenly become incompetent when dealing with the Book of Mormon?


It'll be interesting to see how this develops.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 3:57 pm 
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If a world-class scholar of genetics believes in aliens, do we have to take belief in aliens seriously? Such a view is the very definition of argument from authority. It is the argument that should demonstrate the validity of a hypothesis, not the credentials of the person who forwards the hypothesis.


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:06 pm 
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Aaaaand this is why the PAC-12 took a pass on BYU.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:07 pm 
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Hamblin commits the classic fallacy of the excluded middle: one can be both an "authentic scholar" and a "crank." Lynn Margulis was a brilliant biologist and a crank on the subject of AIDS. See also Linus Pauling and Vitamin C; Freeman Dyson and Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Every crank thinks he's a bona fide authority.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:21 pm 
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Jenkins responds:

Quote:
I think people have an amazing ability to juggle differing world views. I encounter Mormon apologists who are suberbly educated, in professions that demand immense critical skill, yet that seems to abandon them when they move into the religious realm. The same is true, to varying degrees of other faiths.

Isaac Newton, one of the greatest geniuses who ever lived, spent a large amount of his time writing total garbage on apocalyptic and religious themes (Garbage not because it was religious or Christian: it was just out and out nutty). That dissociation again.

But perhaps you are asking the wrong person. Why is it that these fine archaeologists, who publish in flagship academic journals on mainstream topics, do not try to place work supporting the Book of Mormon in those same outlets? Let's ask them.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 4:44 pm 
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This may be one of those times when the best strategy is to go after any double standards Jenkins may hold for the Bible. Unfortunately, that's not possible anymore as Hamblin has declared the Bible to be infallible based on its own declaration of itself as the word of God. That was in response to David Bokovoy, who questions the historical underpinnings of the Bible.

So the only avenue of defense now is to sledge along the hard ground of Book of Mormon evidence. I participated a little in the thread with Jenkins to translate apologetics to him and his readers, because there were a lot of junior apologists showing up and coming up with the most bizarre arguments for the Book of Mormon based on Mopologetics and Jenkins had no idea what was going on. One apologist even brought up the Skousen 16th century English study to be rock-solid proof of the Book of Mormon divinity whereas any archeology he declared shaky and untrustworthy.

Well, I tried to explain that the apologists don't offer the kinds of evidence he's looking for. It's not just a matter of supporting extraordinary claims. Alien neuroscience and Bigfoot studies could find a respectable champion if the right kinds of evidence were brought to the table. Of course, on that day, there may be a chance to get published in a peer-reviewed journal. A big issue with the apologists is their methodology. Mostly, they've created this world that they alone occupy of "internal evidence". Well, we've seen how Darth J found Rome in the Book of Mormon when we can't find the Book of Mormon in Rome.

Is it possible that some of this internal evidence could be of value? Sure, I guess. But are there any standards for evaluating that kind of evidence? When was the last time a document in English with no extant source text was placed as a translation of an ancient language that may only exist in shadowy speculative connections to other known ancient languages, and based on internal evidence alone? It seems like on textual grounds the KJV and the Late War would dominate anything the apologists have produced.

If the apologists have developed some game-changing methods, then my suggestion is to apply these same methods to a historical puzzle without any religious or political controversy and first convince the world of that, and then move on to the Book of Mormon.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:03 pm 
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Jenkins is actually responding?

What a coup for this old FARMSian! His existence as an apologist is finally being recognized by an established scholar, and to top it off he gets to defend the faith with curmudgeonly abandon.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:22 pm 
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Of course, it is still within living memory that Jews have been marginalized or even ostracized from scholarly circles precisely and only because they were Jewish.


What an odd argument. Jews were excluded not because of what they believed but because of who they were.

Mormon scholars aren't being ignored because other scholars are prejiduced against Mormons (and won't golf at the same clubs with them, or allow their children to marry them etc.). They ignore Mormon scholars on the subject of the Book of Mormon because they find the arguments themselves to be foolish.

It would be fascinating to see a Kerry Muhlstein or other Mormon scholar actually try to publish an article in a scholarly non-LDS journal about unique LDS beliefs. Do they even try?

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Wed Jun 17, 2015 8:28 pm 
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Quote:
Or do they suddenly become incompetent when dealing with the Book of Mormon?


The short answer to this question, of course, is yes, yes they do. It is not uncommon for scholars who are otherwise competent and well-respected to engage in shoddy scholarship in areas where they have ideological commitments. Several famous examples have been listed. Such is the nature of bias. That religious commitments has this corrupting influence on them speaks poorly to the influence of their religion, though.

I think we are witnessing the offensive prong I referenced in this post:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=38323


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:39 am 
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Thanks for the update.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:54 am 
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Wild Bill Hamblin from "Jenkins Response 4: Scholarship"

Quote:
In my view there is only one this that is important in this discussion. What is the evidence, interpretation, arguments and analysis brought to bear on the question of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.


I have no idea what the first sentence means.
And the second sentence should really end with a question mark, not a full stop.
Ironic given the blog post title.

However...Hamblin is actually asking the right question.
But he fails miserably to recognise that Jenkins answered it....in spades.

In the comments section Bill posts this little teaser...
Quote:
I'll deal with the issue of the lack of Book of Mormon publications in mainstream Mesoamerican journals in a future blog.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/enigmaticm ... qus_thread

Of course you will Will...of course you will.....

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:17 am 
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I have a question wrote:
Wild Bill Hamblin from "Jenkins Response 4: Scholarship"

Quote:
In my view there is only one this that is important in this discussion. What is the evidence, interpretation, arguments and analysis brought to bear on the question of the historicity of the Book of Mormon.



Yep, and the evidence is sadly lacking.


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:42 am 
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If any of you would like to see one huge, glaring problem with LDS "scholarship" just look at this article:
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/8656 ... id=Email-4


Professor Muhlestein wrote, "I start out with an assumption that the Book of Abraham and the Book of Mormon, and anything else that we get from the restored gospel, is true,” he said. “Therefore, any evidence I find, I will try to fit into that paradigm."

So, no evidence anyone provides to the contrary, will ever change his mind. It's already made up. Believing something, in spite of evidence, or in the face of evidence, is what causes people to be flat-earthers, believers of the Limited Geography Theory and in fairies. Kerry Muhlestein and the old FARM'S approach has no place in scholarship and is intellectually dishonest.

It's one of the reasons for the purge, and why DCP has been relegated to the outer fringe of the internet.

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Last edited by Everybody Wang Chung on Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:48 am 
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EAllusion wrote:
Quote:
Or do they suddenly become incompetent when dealing with the Book of Mormon?


The short answer to this question, of course, is yes, yes they do.


A perfect example is what Brue Dale, professor of Chemical Engineering and Michigan State, says in a comment on one of the Jenkins blogs:

Dale wrote:
So I am going to ask you one more time directly: where is the scientific study that tells me what Central Asian DNA was like around the time of the tower (Jaredite DNA)?


To which Jenkins replies:

Jenkins wrote:
You ask "where is the scientific study that tells me what Central Asian DNA was like around the time of the tower". Um, you believe in the Tower of Babel, really? And you are asking me questions about science?...

This is utterly meaningless to me, as it assumes a literalist/fundamentalist reading of history which is from a parallel universe unconnected with any known reality. Seriously, it makes as much sense to me as invoking fairyland. So how can I address it, or anything you write on a related subject?


https://disqus.com/home/discussion/anxi ... 2082512326

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:35 am 
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Analytics wrote:

A perfect example is what Brue Dale, professor of Chemical Engineering and Michigan State, says in a comment on one of the Jenkins blogs:

Dale wrote:
So I am going to ask you one more time directly: where is the scientific study that tells me what Central Asian DNA was like around the time of the tower (Jaredite DNA)?


To which Jenkins replies:

Jenkins wrote:
You ask "where is the scientific study that tells me what Central Asian DNA was like around the time of the tower". Um, you believe in the Tower of Babel, really? And you are asking me questions about science?...

This is utterly meaningless to me, as it assumes a literalist/fundamentalist reading of history which is from a parallel universe unconnected with any known reality. Seriously, it makes as much sense to me as invoking fairyland. So how can I address it, or anything you write on a related subject?


https://disqus.com/home/discussion/anxi ... 2082512326


Check out this recent post from Dale:

Bruce Dale wrote:
Fred Kratz wrote:
f the Lamanite/Nephite cultures were distinct based on religious/political influence only, then why was one culture dark skinned and the other light skinned?


Probably because one group (Lamanites) was a hunting culture and followed a more nomadic lifestyle that kept them outside more and thus more weather beaten and generally darker. The other group (Nephites) was more settled and agricultural, and therefore less weather beaten. Thus it was lifestyle and not genetics that determined the skin color.


"Settled and agricultural" is now synonymous with "white and delightsome."

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:45 am 
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Bruce Dale wrote:
Fred Kratz wrote:
If the Lamanite/Nephite cultures were distinct based on religious/political influence only, then why was one culture dark skinned and the other light skinned?


Probably because one group (Lamanites) was a hunting culture and followed a more nomadic lifestyle that kept them outside more and thus more weather beaten and generally darker. The other group (Nephites) was more settled and agricultural, and therefore less weather beaten. Thus it was lifestyle and not genetics that determined the skin color.



Good thing that Dale explained this. I did not realize that most agriculture was practiced indoors, safely out of sunlight.


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:00 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
If a world-class scholar of genetics believes in aliens, do we have to take belief in aliens seriously? Such a view is the very definition of argument from authority. It is the argument that should demonstrate the validity of a hypothesis, not the credentials of the person who forwards the hypothesis.


Beautifully stated...

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:40 pm 
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There have been some noteworthy new developments. First and foremost, it seems that Hamblin managed to "accidentally" delete on of Jenkins's comments:

Hamblin wrote:
I’m not sure what happened, but this comment from Prof. Jenkins did [not - sic] get posted yesterday. It is a comment that should immediately follow my fourth response on scholarship. The subsequent comment won’t make a lot of sense if you don’t read this one first.
Sorry about the inconvenience and confusions this might cause. Here is Dr. Jenkins’ comment first comment


Jenkins wrote:
My original comment is still not up, unless there is some technical reason why I am not seeing it. I would like that up, please, as it is an important response to your post.

My main point in that comment is that I never said that LDS scholars are any less reputable than those of other faiths. As I said in my column, “By the way, there are outstanding archaeologists of Mormon faith, and some do indeed publish in such stellar outlets. They do not do so, though, on the Book of Mormon schema.”

My main issue is this. There are, as you say, terrific Mormon Mesoamericanists – world class people. Why don’t they publish in mainstream outlets on Book of Mormon themes? The answer is simple. They would dearly love to, but they have nothing vaguely convincing, plausible or respectable that would support that text, and they can’t make bricks without straw. If they did have anything plausible to play with, their professional reputation and clout would mean that it would appear in a flagship journal almost instantly. And that is given all their knowledge, experience and background. It sort of suggests that there is nothing there to find, doesn’t it?

You misconstrue my comment. I said people, all people, have a great ability to juggle competing world views. I never suggested any form of dissociation in a psychological or medical sense, nor that LDS people are more or less likely to suffer from such attitudes. I accuse them of suffering from human nature, much as you and I do.

Perhaps you missed my comment that “The same is true, to varying degrees of other faiths.” I should have added: or people of no faith.


And Hamblin's rather garbled response, in the Comments section:

Quote:
I agree that everyone--Mormons, Evangelicals, Mesoamericanists, atheist--are human and subject to having their presuppositions, prejudices and personal beliefs create "confirmation bias." While it is legitimate to say that a particular professor in making a specific argument about a topic might exhibit confirmation bias that is something that has to be demonstrated, not merely asserted. However, it is never legitimate to say that all Mormons (or atheists, or Evangelicals) always have confirmation bias on all topics related to the Book of Mormon. That is a classic ad hominem fallacy. I would argue that it is just as likely that professor Jenkins has confirmation bias against the Book of Mormon as that all LDS Mesoamericanists always exhibit confirmation bias in the favor of the Book of Mormon.


No: not "all Mormons" have "confirmation bias on all topics related to the Book of Mormon." Rather, *some* Mormons have "confirmation bias" on the historicity of the Book of Mormon. And it's probably not accurate to label Jenkins as having "confirmation bias," since, as he's indicated pretty clearly, he and all kinds of other people would be more than happy to entertain arguments about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon's stories, provided that someone would pony up some good and convincing evidence--that's been his point all along: that there just isn't any good evidence. If there were, Mormon scholars would be publishing that info in the reputable academic journals.

Elsewhere, DCP is angry about John Dehlin's praise of Gerald Bradford:

Sic et non wrote:
It was recently announced that M. Gerald Bradford is stepping down as director of BYU’s Maxwell Institute.

I was struck by a Facebook comment that John Dehlin made on the matter two days ago:

“Tons of respect to Gerald Bradford as he leaves the Maxwell Institute. Mormonism is significantly better off because of his courage and integrity. I can’t wait to see who gets this job!!!!!!”

And what is it that’s so much better?

Phillip Jenkins, a non-Mormon academic who has recently launched a series of online attacks on the Book of Mormon, can answer that question: He writes approvingly of the “subsuming” of FARMS into the “highly respectable Maxwell Institute.” And how has the Institute become “highly respectable” in Jenkins’s view? That’s easy. It no longer includes “literal-minded apologists.”


So, the apologists are willing to attack the 'New MI' for not defending the historical truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, but for me this underscores the fact that they have always tended to be wishy-washy and vague on this issue as well. Do they think, for example, that the skins of the Lamanites literally turned darker? We know that some of the Mopologetic endeavors attempting to engage with questions like this have had rather hilarious outcomes--e.g., John Tvedtnes's attempt to explain the description of Shiz's death-throes.

And Analytics's quoting of Bruce Dale underscores yet another issue: Do the Mopologists believe in a literal Tower of Babel? Do Hamblin, Gee, and Midgley believe this? DCP is complaining about being labeled a "literal-minded apologist." Well, why? Does he not think that claims from the Book of Mormon are to be taken literally? Or, instead, does he really and truly believe in a literal Tower of Babel (and the story from the Bible that goes along with it)?

This is reminding me a bit about the series of questions that Dr. Shades laid out in his famous "Chapel Mormon / Internet Mormon" dichotomy. What if, instead of asking about the flood, he asked about the Tower of Babel?

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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 9:02 pm 
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You know, it is almost poignant--the tragic incoherence of Mopologetics. A science professor who talks about DNA from the time of the Tower of Babel. It's the kind of thing you can't believe you've read. I hope someone grabs a screen cap.

And it is even more bizarre to see Dr. Peterson astounded that anyone would rejoice over the Maxwell Institute becoming respectable because of its abandonment of fundamentalist readings of scripture. But, as he tells us, he is no fundamentalist. He is just the kind of guy who insists it is either literally true or a Satanic deception. It's an important distinction, I suppose.


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:12 pm 
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Bill Hamblin needs to "out" those 10- 12 meso-american expert/scholar Mormons who believe in the historicity of the book or Mormon-let's him get their permission to publish their names and let's judge both their erudition as it pertains to Mesoamerica and their writings if any on why they believe the Book of Mormon to be real history.

And while he is at it , dare prof Hamblin "out" the one or two or more expert Mormon meso-american scholars who do NOT believe the Book of Mormon to be real history.

just hopin
k


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 Post subject: Re: Hamblin Accuses Jenkins of Anti-Mormon Prejudice
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 10:58 pm 
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kairos wrote:
Bill Hamblin needs to "out" those 10- 12 meso-american expert/scholar Mormons who believe in the historicity of the book or Mormon-let's him get their permission to publish their names and let's judge both their erudition as it pertains to Mesoamerica and their writings if any on why they believe the Book of Mormon to be real history.

And while he is at it , dare prof Hamblin "out" the one or two or more expert Mormon meso-american scholars who do NOT believe the Book of Mormon to be real history.

just hopin
k


Why aren't these 10- 12 meso-american expert/scholar Mormons out of their own volition, shouldn't they be out, loud and proud? Apologists (of all stripes) like to use "well known/respected scholars" but they rarely name them.


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