Brief Summary

Science

In attempting to rebut the issues I raised regarding conflicts between the LDS Church and science, FairMormon wisely chose not to discount science. Instead, FairMormon attempts to minimize or reinterpret the teachings that conflict with science. FairMormon’s attempts fail, however, because those teachings are fundamental to LDS doctrine and are not open to reasonable reinterpretation. The facts remain that science flatly rejects many core and literal LDS Church teachings, such as the no-death-before-the-fall teaching, the doctrine that Adam and Eve were the first humans, the flood of Noah, and the Tower of Babel.

Donut Chart

Science

The above donut chart shows percentages of the Science section of Letter to a CES Director that FairMormon is in agreement, disagreement, and neutral on.

If one assumes that FairMormon's undisputed silence is acceptance of the facts, FairMormon agrees with 82% of the CES Letter's Science section.

Breakdown can be found here.

Detailed Response

Science

No death of any kind (humans, animals,
dinosaurs, etc.) on this earth until the ‘Fall of Adam’

CES Letter says...

"2 Nephi 2:22 and Alma 12:23-24 state there was no death of any kind (humans, all animals, birds, fish, dinosaurs, etc.) on this earth until the “Fall of Adam”, which according to D&C 77:6-7 occurred 7,000 years ago. It is scientifically established there has been life and death on this planet for billions of years. How does the Church reconcile this?"

FairMormon Neutral
  • FairMormon is neutral and latches onto the 2010 Gospel Principles Manual while acknowledging that the Church “takes a cautionary approach to interpreting 2 Nephi 2:22”.

FairMormon says...
  • Current Church manuals take a cautionary approach to interpreting 2 Nephi 2:22 by considering only how it affected Adam and Eve. For example, the following is from the 2010 Gospel Principles manual, page 28:

‘When Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, they were not yet mortal. In this state, “they would have had no children” (2 Nephi 2:23). There was no death. They had physical life because their spirits were housed in physical bodies made from the dust of the earth (see Moses 6:59; Abraham 5:7). They had spiritual life because they were in the presence of God. They had not yet made a choice between good and evil.’

  • Note that the current Gospel Doctrine manual does not explicitly mention the "entire earth," but simply states that there was "no death" prior to the Fall. Adam and Eve were not yet mortal. In this state, "they would have had no children" (2 Nephi 2:23). The statement "there was no death" applies to the Garden of Eden, which is what the paragraph is describing. There is no statement in the manual that there had been no death anywhere in the entire world.
  • There has been a difference of opinion among Church leaders on the extent to which immortality affected God's creations before the Fall. The interpretation that "no death" applied to the entire earth has been shared by many Church authors, including President Joseph Fielding Smith and Elder Bruce R. McConkie. For example, McConkie's Bible Dictionary states that "Latter-day revelation teaches that there was no death on this earth for any forms of life before the fall of Adam. Indeed, death entered the world as a direct result of the fall (2 Nephi 2:22; Moses 6:48).

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

It is understandable that the Church would take “a cautionary approach to interpreting 2 Nephi 2:22”. The very doctrine of “there was no death before the fall” 7,000 years ago directly conflicts with the massive archaeological, fossil, biological, and DNA record that there has been life and death going on on this planet for billions of years.

Nevertheless, FairMormon’s interpretation is a stretch and is, in any event, contradicted by decades of well-established doctrine. FairMormon’s interpretation is a stretch because the 2010 Gospel Principles manual doesn’t foreclose the possibility that the death never occurred before the fall. In other words, the manual doesn’t state (or even imply) that death occurred before the Fall. It is FairMormon – not the manual – which makes that implication.

I wouldn’t expect the 2010 manual to make any such implication, because such a teaching would contradict well established doctrine. Most importantly, the teaching that death occurred on the earth before the Fall is contradicted by the scriptures themselves, as I noted in my Letter. Specifically, Alma 12:24 states that temporal death came upon “mankind” as a result of the fall. Further, 2 Nephi 2:22 states that “all things which were created must have remained in the same state….” This is further clarified by the surrounding scriptures (see 2 Nephi 2:14-25), which state that Adam and Eve were our “first parents” and that they “brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth.” It is clear that the scope of these events is much broader than the Garden of Eden.

The 1981 Bible dictionary likewise supports this interpretation (as does the Bible dictionary passage quoted by FairMormon itself):

Before the fall, Adam and Eve had physical bodies but no blood. There was no sin, no death, and no children among any of the earthly creations…After Adam fell, the whole creation fell and became mortal.

The doctrine that the fall introduced death to not just Adam and Eve but to “all things which were created” is widely accepted in the Church to mean just that. “Prophets, seers, and revelators” in the Church have interpreted the fall to mean “all things”. This is what I believed the fall to mean as a believing member. This is what every other member whom I’ve ever discussed the fall with believed it to mean as well.

This bizarre FairMormon idea where basically the Garden of Eden was a Celestial island in a fallen Telestial world already filled with death for billions of years and that “there was no death” only applied to Adam and Eve in the garden and “not the entire earth” is a very strange and bizarre version of Mormonism indeed. It flies in the face of everything in not just correlated Mormonism but especially the Endowment ceremony in the Temple. Indeed, FairMormon cites no sources whatsoever in support of their novel interpretation.

Are not ancient animals/dinosaurs/Hominins/Denisovans/Neanderthals a part of the “whole creation” and “earthly creations” and “all things which were created” as well? Why do we have an abundant fossil record of all kinds of species dating millions of years before the fall of Adam 7,000 years ago?

No answer or explanation about not just all of the animal death but also the deaths of at least 14 different Hominin species who lived and died 35,000 – 250,000 years before Adam. When did those beings stop being human?

Apparently the only “answer” that FairMormon has to my question is that a 2010 Gospel Principles Manual does not “explicitly mention the ‘entire earth,’ but simply states that there was ‘no death’ prior to the fall.” The weakness of this answer suggests that there is no good answer to this problem.

Moreover, to the extent FairMormon is correct that the Church is backtracking, or taking a “cautionary approach,” the Church could do little more than it has done with other thorny issues: ignore them and pretend like they were never taught to begin with. The Church could not repudiate earlier teachings without contradicting the scriptures themselves and many decades of Church teachings.

...there was no death of any living creature before the fall of Adam!...Anything contradictory to this doctrine is diametrically opposed to the doctrines revealed to the Church! IF there was any creature increasing by propagation before the fall, then throw away the Book of Mormon, deny your faith, the Book of Abraham and the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants! Our scriptures most emphatically tell us that death came through the fall and has been passed upon all creatures including the earth itself.
- President Joseph Fielding Smith, The Improvement Era, Abstracted from Answers to Gospel Questions, Vol. 5, p.112, 116

Pretty strong words from a "prophet, seer, and revelator." According to President Joseph Fielding Smith, Latter-day Saints must "throw away the Book of Mormon, deny your faith, the Book of Abraham and the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants!" if they accept the fact that life and death of species have been occurring on this planet for billions of years before the fall of Adam 7,000 years ago.

Excellent brief video that outlines the problems with Adam and Eve within the LDS context:



If Adam and Eve are the first humans, how do we
explain the 14 other Hominin species…before Adam?

CES Letter says...

"If Adam and Eve are the first humans, how do we explain the 14 other Hominin species who lived and died 35,000 – 250,000 years before Adam?"

FairMormon Neutral

FairMormon says...

FairMormon has chosen to not provide a response.

FairMormon listed this as “Work in Progress” until FairMormon removed the entire response on October 2, 2013.



Science has proven that there
was no worldwide flood 4,500 years ago

CES Letter says...

"Science has proven that there was no worldwide flood 4,500 years ago....There are a bunch of other problems with the global flood and Noah’s ark story but I find it incredible that this is supposed to be taken literally considering the abundance of evidence against it." and “Other events/claims that science has discredited: Humans and animals having their origins from Noah’s family and the animals contained in the ark 4,500 years ago.”

FairMormon Agrees

FairMormon says...
  • A good question. The dimensions of the ark as described in the Bible are clearly insufficient to have sustained and produced the diversity of plant and animal life that is present on the earth today. One might also ask how, if it took God millions of years to form the earth and populate it with plant and animal life, how such biodiversity was re-established in only a few thousand years.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Exactly.

FairMormon says...
  • The issue of a global flood appears to place not only the Church, but any religion which accepts the Bible, at variance with science. Fortunately, Latter-day Saints appear to allow much more flexibility in reconciling science with religious belief.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

The issue here is not whether or not this places other religions at variance with science. The issue here is that it places the LDS Church at variance with science. We’re not just any Church.

The LDS Church is supposed to be the “one and only true Church upon the face of the earth” which is guided by modern revelation directly from God. We’re the restored gospel of Jesus Christ – with the real priesthood, of course. We’re the only true Church being led by “prophets, seers, and revelators.”

Since the global flood and Noah’s ark – as FairMormon concedes – is an impossibility, why did Joseph Smith translate it as a real literal story and event in his translation of the bible in Moses 8?

Why does the Book of Mormon refer to the global flood as a literal and real event?

…for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; – Ether 13:2

Why does the Church confirm the authenticity of the flood in its Bible Dictionary under “Noah”? “The authenticity of the Genesis account of the Flood is confirmed by latter-day revelation as recorded in Moses 7:34, 42-43; 8:8-30 and Ether 13:2”.

Why does a 20th-century latter-day prophet, Joseph F. Smith, and Doctrine & Covenants 138 teach Noah and the flood as a literal event?

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.D&C 138:9

Why does the Church present the Flood and the Tower of Babel as literal and historical events in the January 1998 Ensign?

Why is the Church teaching something that is fictional as literal and true on LDS.org?

An excellent brief video which outlines the problems of Noah and the flood within the LDS context:



Other events/claims that science has discredited

CES Letter says...

"Other events/claims that science has discredited"

FairMormon Neutral

FairMormon says...
  • Latter-day Saints believe that God is, in essence, the greatest scientist of all. We also acknowledge that we are continually learning. To assume that we now have all the answers is simply naive. The 9th Article of Faith states:

    “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

This doesn’t stop FairMormon from acknowledging and admitting to the impossibility of Noah’s Ark and the global flood. What causes FairMormon to deviate from Chapel Mormonism on that topic? Science.

If today’s science is good enough for FairMormon to give up Noah’s Ark and the global flood, why is it not good enough in debunking the Tower of Babel and Adam and Eve (14 different hominin species hundreds of thousands of years before Adam and Eve)?

The answer is likely that the Tower of Babel and Adam and Eve are more foundational to Mormonism.

The Tower of Babel is a staple story in the Book of Mormon and the Jaredite civilization. If the Tower of Babel is debunked, the Book of Mormon is debunked as it is the foundational part of the Brother of Jared and his people leaving for the Promised Land.

Similarly, if the Adam and Eve story is bogus, Mormon theology implodes as it's the foundational story for the fall and the Atonement. No Adam/Eve = No fall = No need for Atonement = No need for Jesus Christ.

Adam fell that men might be…and the Messiah cometh…that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. – 2 Nephi 2:25-26

Unlike other religions that can take a figurative approach to Adam and Eve and the creation story, the Pearl of Great Price does not afford Mormonism the luxury of liberalization. Here in the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham, we find a personal tutorial from God to Joseph Smith describing the earth’s formation and the creation of life. No millennia of translations. No corruption from the “great and abominable church”. Just pure revelation from god to the Prophet Joseph Smith. If Mormonism is true, then the creation account in the Pearl of Great Price should be verified by science. That Joseph’s creation account is diametrically opposed to the best physical evidence and science is a serious direct challenge to Mormonism’s truth claims.

Faith is believing and hoping when there is little evidence for or against something. Delusion is believing when there is an abundance of evidence against something.


The sun gets its light from Kolob

CES Letter says...

"Facsimile 2, Figure #5 states the sun gets its light from Kolob. We now know that the process of nuclear fusion is what makes the stars and suns shine. With the discovery of quantum mechanics, scientists learned that the sun’s source of energy is internal, and not external. The sun shines because of thermonuclear fusion; not because it gets its light from any other star as claimed by the Book of Abraham."

FairMormon Agrees
  • FairMormon presents as if they disagree but my argument and FairMormon’s argument is as follows:
  • CES Letter: “The sun gets its light from Kolob”
  • FairMormon: “The sun borrows its light from Kolob”

FairMormon says...
  • Joseph did not say that "the sun gets its light from Kolob," he said "this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash." This is not a statement that "the sun gets its light from Kolob."

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Letter to a CES Director: “The sun gets its light from Kolob”

FairMormon: “The sun borrows its light from Kolob

This is yet another example of FairMormon’s attempting to obfuscate and complicate the issues.

Let’s review the entire paragraph, which includes an important passage that FairMormon omitted from its readers:

Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob. – Facsimile 2, number 5 (Emphasis added)

There are two errors in this passage, the first being the identification of the sun as a “planet,” which we know it is not. In fact, the Book of Abraham 3:5 describes the moon as a “planet,” another astronomical error in the supposedly “inspired” translation of Joseph Smith.

Note the bolded underlined sentence in the above passage. The sun, according to the “inspired” Book of Abraham, receives its light from the revolutions of Kolob. According to the Book of Abraham 3:3, Kolob is the “great” star which governs (or governed) the earth. It is from this star that the sun – according to Joseph Smith – receives its light.

As mentioned in CES Letter, the sun generates its own light and energy through the process of nuclear fusion. It has nothing whatsoever to do with “borrowing light” from some other star. It certainly has nothing to do with borrowing or receiving its light from “the revolutions of Kolob.”

I stand correct with my statement that “the sun gets its light from Kolob.” However, I’ve decided to clarify my statement in the letter by adding that the sun receives its “light from the revolutions of Kolob” to align further with Facsimile #2 number 5’s wording.

FairMormon says...
  • The suggestion that Abraham taught that the photons leaving the surface of the sun originally came from Kolob is incorrect. There are many scriptures or statements by the prophets that seem to have scientific implications. Unfortunately, they are never couched in modern scientific terms and their meanings are often very obscure.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

By FairMormon’s own concession, Joseph states that the sun “borrows” its light from Kolob. In the next section, FairMormon states, “We simply do not know precisely what Joseph meant by this interpretation.”

If FairMormon “simply does not know precisely what Joseph meant,” how can FairMormon claim that “photons leaving the surface of the sun originally came from Kolob is incorrect”?

FairMormon says...
  • We simply do not know precisely what Joseph meant by this interpretation. However, it is possible to speculate on some possible interpretations and note some of the questions that it raises:

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

FairMormon sounds confident in their response just prior to this one. Now, however, FairMormon claims “we simply do not know precisely what Joseph meant by his interpretation.”

It is unclear how FairMormon can be so certain that Joseph’s “interpretation,” which has been debunked by science, means that we’re misinterpreting what Joseph really meant. When one asks FairMormon what Joseph really meant, FairMormon cannot provide an answer as to what Joseph’s “real” interpretation was because FairMormon simply does not know.

FairMormon says...
  • First, to “borrow” means to receive with the intention of returning, especially said of a material object or substance. It may also mean to take and adopt as one’s own, especially said of abstractions or ideas, as in “the composer borrowed his harmonic structure from Bach’s Fugue in D Major.” So what does it mean for the sun to “borrow” its light from Kolob? Is light a material or an abstraction? Does the Sun intend to repay the light it borrowed?

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

It is unclear what FairMormon is getting at here. Is FairMormon saying that “light” in this case is an abstraction, not a material? Regardless, this speculation is irrelevant in light of Facsimile 2, which states that the sun receives its light from the revolutions of Kolob. FairMormon’s argument here addresses the verb ‘borrow,’ not the verb ‘receive.’

FairMormon says...
  • What, in fact, is meant by 'light' in this context? Doctrine & Covenants 88:7–13, in wording strongly reminiscent of our Book of Abraham quote, states “7 ...this is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. 8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; 9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made; 10 And the earth also, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. 11 And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings; 12 Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space — 13 The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things (emphasis added).” These verses are clearly NOT talking about electromagnetic radiation. Does anyone have a convincing explanation of what they ARE talking about?

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Does anyone have a convincing explanation of what they ARE talking about?

Sure. It’s just a bunch of nonsense disguised as revelation. Of course, this is an unacceptable answer for “Critical questions. Faithful answers” FairMormon.

In any event, FairMormon faces an uphill battle if it intends to come up with its own “convincing explanation,” which perhaps explains why it advances none here. What need, for example, would the sun have to “borrow” or “receive” some form of non-electromagnetic light from Kolob (or its revolutions)?

FairMormon says...
  • A “medium” can mean a material through which some signal propagates or a means or channel through which something is achieved. What does it mean here? Does it refer to a material or a means?

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Egyptologists state that “Kae-e-vanrash” is not even a word found in any Egyptian language, texts, culture, and mythology. In other words, it is a made up word without anything.

So, “what does it mean here”? Nothing. Respected Egyptologists state that “Kae-e-vanrash” is a fabrication of Joseph Smith.

FairMormon says...
  • What is Kae-e-vanrash? The Book of Abraham says that it is a “grand Key,” or “governing power.” What does that mean? Is Kae-e-vanrash a term for nuclear reactions, gravitation, cosmic rays? Or is it a more spiritual medium such as priesthood or faith, or an organizational structure, or a means used for administrative communications?

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

Again, the most likely answer is that Kae-e-vanrash is simply an uninspired figment of Joseph Smith's imagination.

In any event, in order for us to put any credit into the suggestion that Kae-e-vanrash is a “more spiritual medium,” FairMormon would have to explain why the sun would need to borrow or receive it.

FairMormon…”Critical questions. Faithful answers.” Indeed.

FairMormon says...
  • Finally, what are we to understand about the nature of Book of Abraham astronomy? Is it a revelation from God to Abraham explaining the structure of the universe as it would be seen by the astronomers of our day? Or should we remember that “The Lord said unto me: Abraham, I show these things unto thee before ye go into Egypt, that ye may declare all these words.” Abraham 3:15, so that, as John Gee has suggested ("The Larger Issue"), this is simply the teaching that would be easiest for the Egyptians to understand — one that would teach them that Elohim, who dwells near Kolob, rules over than the sun-god, Amen-Re?

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

It’s obviously not for “explaining the structure of the universe as it would be seen by the astronomers of our day” because the astronomy of the Book of Abraham is Newtonian and obsolete, which has been replaced by 20th century Einstenian physics. The “astronomers of our day” see the astronomy in the Book of Abraham the same way respected Egyptologists see the egyptology in the book: totally incorrect.

The idea that God revealed to Abraham incorrect revelation on astronomy principles and facts so that “the teaching would be easiest for the Egyptians to understand” is not supported by the evidence.

That you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fashion of them in the figures at the beginning… – Abraham 1:14

Abraham is talking to a modern audience unfamiliar with the Egyptian gods.

…therefore a knowledge of the beginning of the creation, and also of the planets, and of the stars, as they were made known unto the fathers, have I kept even unto this day, and I shall endeavor to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity that shall come after me.Abraham 1:31

And the Lord said unto me: Now, Abraham, these two facts exist” – Abraham 2:6

These “facts” that the Lord tells Abraham comprise the basis and the foundation for Mormon theology of the pre-Mortal existence. So, if the Lord was just lying and giving Abraham inaccurate information for the sake of “teaching the Egyptians,” then the very concept of the pre-Mortal existence as contained in the same book is in jeopardy.


They carried honey bees across the ocean? Swarms of them?

CES Letter says...

“They carried honey bees across the ocean? Swarms of them? All manner of them which was upon the face of the land? (Ether 2:3). Putting a hole on the bottom and on the top of a submarine like vessel that is tight like a dish so that when you’re in need of air, you unplug one hole but make sure to plug it back in when you go back in the water (Ether 2:19-20).”

FairMormon Disagrees

FairMormon says...
  • The Book of Mormon does not claim that the Jaredites carried honey bees to the New World. It does state that they carried swarms of honeybees with them to their encampment on the sea shore, where they spent the next four years as they built barges.
  • There is only one reference to honeybees in the Book of Ether (Ether 2:3-4), and it talks of them being among the provisions that the people of Jared took with them as they traveled to the land of Moriancumer, where they spent the next four years. (Ether 2:13)
  1. And they did also carry with them deseret, which, by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they did carry with them swarms of bees, and all manner of that which was upon the face of the land, seeds of every kind.
  2. And it came to pass that when they had come down into the valley of Nimrod the Lord came down and talked with the brother of Jared; and he was in a cloud, and the brother of Jared saw him not.
  3. And it came to pass that the Lord commanded them that they should ago forth into the wilderness, yea, into that quarter where there never had man been. And it came to pass that the Lord did go before them, and did talk with them as he stood in a cloud, and gave directions whither they should travel.
  4. And it came to pass that they did travel in the wilderness, and did build barges, in which they did cross many waters, being directed continually by the hand of the Lord.
  1. And now I proceed with my record; for behold, it came to pass that the Lord did bring Jared and his brethren forth even to that great sea which divideth the lands. And as they came to the sea they pitched their tents; and they called the name of the place Moriancumer; and they dwelt in tents, and dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years.
  • So, the Jaredites definitely carried swarms of bees with them to the place of the "great sea which divideth the lands," where they "dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years." Does this mean that the Jaredites carried the swarms of honey bees to the New World with them? The Book of Mormon does not state this. This does not preclude the possibility that they did.
  • It is currently generally believed that honeybees were brought to the New World by Europeans.

FairMormon's above response can be found on FairMormon's website here.



Jeremy's Response to FairMormon

"So, the Jaredites definitely carried swarms of bees with them to the place of the "great sea which divideth the lands," where they "dwelt in tents upon the seashore for the space of four years." Does this mean that the Jaredites carried the swarms of honey bees to the New World with them? The Book of Mormon does not state this. This does not preclude the possibility that they did."

FairMormon is correct that the Book of Mormon does not explicitly state that the Jaredites carried honey bees across the ocean. FairMormon is also correct that the Book of Mormon does not preclude the possibility that they did.

However, the Jaredites regarded their bees very highly, giving them a special name (Deseret), which Moroni considered important and relevant enough to include in his very short history. Does the lack of an explicit statement that they took their prized bees onboard their submarines to the Promised Land necessarily mean they didn't? I'm of the interpretation that they took their prized bees with them. They had already carried their bees for many years in their travels in the wilderness. They carried their swarms of bees to the seashore. When they arrived at the seashore, they were there with their prized bees for four additional years.

Why would the Jaredites jettison their cherished bees, which were obviously very special and important to them, when they left to the Promised land? They were already taking "flocks and herds" and "whatsoever beast or animal or fowl" with them. They went through all that trouble of dealing with flocks, herds and "whatsoever" beast, animal, and fowls but not their precious bees? And even if the Jaredites jettisoned their bees? The Noah's Ark-like story of taking all of the flocks, herds, beasts, animals, and fowl in submarine-like barges that were "tight like unto a dish" for 344 days is even more ridiculous.

"Putting a hole on the bottom and on the top of a submarine like vessel that is tight like a dish so that when you’re in need of air, you unplug one hole but make sure to plug it back in when you go back in the water (Ether 2:19-20)."

FairMormon is neutral on this. Note that FairMormon does not dispute the absurdity of this.

In addition to the above Jaredite problems, other Jaredite problems and absurdities include:

  1. There was no literal tower or linguistic scattering. Multiple written languages existed before 2200 B.C. This alone would disprove their existence. However, let's delve deeper. Assuming there was also a global flood as claimed by the LDS church, the world would have had only 200 years to repopulate itself, build a great tower, have the tower destroyed, and start this migration. It seems unreasonable for 3 families (all of Noah's children) to create such a large civilization in the time allowed.

  2. Anachronisms, anachronisms everywhere. While bee keeping was not new, movable hives wouldn’t be created for another 3000 years. Transporting colonies was another 2000 years away (not to mention dangerous, and still destructive to the hive upon harvesting). Aquariums were another 2000 years off. Drying would have been an option, but you wouldn’t need a specialized, water tight bowl for this as claimed. Sheep were not introduced to America until the late 1400s. Likewise for european plants and other animals, especially the staples of the day such as European wheat and barley. So, bringing every kind of seed and herds of animals across the water in a barge likely never happened.

  3. These ships didn’t exist. It would be about 1500 years until sea faring barges showed up in history. It was also 3500 years earlier than the first known submarine. It’s also the only wooden boat in history that is made with several water tight and usable doors, water tight corks in the top and bottom, and doubles as a submarine. That’s not even mentioning how it can be propelled by a wind that never stops; seeing as it has no sails, but would have significant drag from the weight and shape.

  4. The timing doesn’t work. Coriantumr was found and lived with the People of Zarahemla, who came over at 587 BC. The average generation length is in the upper 20 years, with some nations reaching 30. Let’s go with 30 as it’s more favorable to the LDS side. That gives us a maximum timeline of (28 * 30 + 100) = 940 years. The Tower of Babel was said to have fallen in 2200 BC. This puts the final battle where Coriantumr kills Shiz at 1260 BC, and it bumps Coriantumr’s life span to an unrealistic ~800+ years. The other option is to say that the generation gap was far higher than normal (~58 years); however, such a late start for children would severely decrease birth rates and put the 4 million+ population into question.

  5. The population number doesn't make sense. The book of mormon claims at least 2 million individuals, and an implication of at least 4 million. The 6 days of warfare imply a much larger number they do not state. That means in a span of 840 to 1613 years, this population (starting with at most 11 couples) was able to produce more humans than the entire world of 1 million people between 10,000 and 5,000 BC. Here’s another estimation to consider. So again, not impossible, but improbable with our current knowledge.

  6. Lacking basic necessities. How much water would you need for 24+ people to survive 344 days on the ocean? According to the MayoClinic, each person needs 2.2-3.0 liters of water per day. Minimum. That's 756.8 liters per person per year, or 16649.6 liters for the entire trip for 24+. That's just for the sedentary adult. Now add the flocks and herds that they're also bringing. There's at least three sheep per flock. Multiple flocks, so even if we only add 6 sheep to the mix, that's another 12-24 liters per day or an additional 4128 liters of water per 3 sheep. If the herds are made of cattle, then you're now adding 40-70 liters per head per day. That comes to 13,760 - 24,080 liters per head. Now also ask how you're going to store these 40,729.6+ liters of water (40.7 meters, 1445 ft)? You're in a ship that can flip over any moment. You can't use pottery, barrels, or bowls. Any leaks would mean death. Animal skins would introduce bacteria. It's just not going to happen. And that's just water. Livestock, sanitation, scurvy/health, and food for everyone is another matter entirely. It's also worth mentioning that the WHO confirms these numbers will go up by 3-10x with even moderate activity or pregnancy/lactation. Higher salt intake (as it's the only means of preserving food at this time) would also increase water needs.

  7. Doctrinal inconsistencies. Apparently Joseph forgot that he claimed Adam saw God face to face (God of the OT being Jesus). It’s also implied that Seth, Cain, and Enoch did as well. All of this contradicts the claim that the Brother of Jared is the first person to see the spirit body of Christ.

  8. Warfare is wrong. Native Americans around this time did not have steel swords. Millions of dead natives would have left a trace. And according to historians, hand to hand engagements did not last that long. We’re talking about a maximum of hours, not several days. Routing, sieges, and hunting down enemies would extend it, but that is not the story being told here. And the final one-on-one battle is so incredibly unlikely, especially when you get to the means of death. A beheaded man doing a pushup and trying to breathe? Not likely.

List Credit: Reddit user curious_mormon

The following video goes into some more details on the Jaredite problems:




Debunking FairMormon Table of Contents





Important Note

Science Last Updated: 4.6.14

My above response is based on FairMormon's 10.3.2013 Science answers.



About the Author

Born and raised in Southern California, Jeremy is a seventh generation Mormon of Pioneer heritage who reached every Mormon youth milestone. An Eagle Scout, Returned Missionary, BYU alumnus, Jeremy was married in the San Diego Temple with expectations and plans of living Mormonism for the rest of his life.

In February 2012, Jeremy experienced an awakening to the LDS Church's truth crisis, which subsequently led to a faith transition that summer. In the spring of 2013, Jeremy was approached and asked by a CES Director to share his questions and concerns about the LDS Church's origins, history, and current practices. In response, Jeremy wrote what later became publicly known as the CES Letter (originally titled Letter to a CES Director).

The CES Director responded that he read the "very well written" letter and that he would provide Jeremy with a response. No response ever came.

“I believe that members and investigators deserve to have all of the facts and information on the table, to be able to make a fully-informed and balanced decision as to whether or not they want to commit their hearts, minds, time, talents, income, and lives to Mormonism.”

Jeremy T. Runnells


Interview with Mormon Stories

Part 1 On Growing Up Mormon and the Genesis of the CES Letter 
Part 2 Jeremy Discusses the CES Letter in Detail 
Part 3 Rapid Firing Round, Reaction to the Letter 

Debunking

Several unofficial Mormon apologists, including FairMormon, have provided responses to CES Letter:

Jeremy's response to FairMormon:

The only official response, to date, is the series of recent essays by the LDS Church, which is available on the Church’s own lds.org website.

A comprehensive critique of each essay is available here on MormonThink.com.

Jeremy’s rebuttals to other Mormon apologist arguments:

A Zombie’s Reflections on That Mormon Apologist’s Reflections

Jeremy’s rebuttal to Daniel C. Peterson’s FairMormon Some Reflections on That Letter to a CES Director presentation.

The Book of Abraham: “Except for Those Willfully Blind, the Case is Closed”

Jeremy’s rebuttal to Brian M. Hauglid’s Jeremy Runnells and the Book of Abraham essay.

The Sky is Falling – Part 1

Jeremy’s rebuttal to FairMormon’s Kevin Christensen’s Eye of the Beholder essay.