|Reformed Egyptian scribbles|
They are failing, of course. After all, their founder, Joseph Smith, once told a colleague that “a novel got out of hand.” In addition, scholars in his day and ours have repudiated the hieroglyphics Smith is said to have translated as mere gibberish. Mormons call them “Reformed Egyptian,” a language unheard of by Egyptologists and certainly unknown in this country.
My point is not that the theology of the LDS church is wrong. I don’t know that. No one does. That’s true for all religions. I am more concerned about the repeated efforts to distort known history for religious effect. Such desperate measures are not limited to the church based in Utah.
Every religion does it.
|Ancient image of Roman court|
Just for starters, no tradition existed for a criminal (Barabbas in the Bible) to be release on Passover; Roman judges were not seen, and Roman governors definitely did not consult with crowds or other rulers before making decisions; the traditional dates for the crucifixion do not match up with known events; and the original followers of Jesus knew nothing of a risen god.
In addition, no pharaoh ever drowned; no slaves in Egypt built any buildings; and the Red Sea is in the wrong direction for an escape.
Believers stretch meanings beyond breaking points, twist facts, ignore valid research and generally do everything they can to buttress religious claims against facts.
Eventually, that’s a losing proposition. That time may be here.
Recent published surveys now show as many Americans claiming no religious affiliation, “nones,” now matches the number of people who call themselves Roman Catholic. That is unprecedented in American history.
|Pope Benedict XVI|
In that vein, retired Pope Benedict XVI recently blamed the internet, lax enforcement of church laws and the sexual freedom movements of the 1960s for the widespread priestly abuse of children, blithely ignoring the long history of such malfeasance, dating back centuries. Unfortunately, as history has shown, priests in the Catholic Church are not the only perpetrators of such crimes.
|DNA findings for American Indians|
Empty claims by religion-bought "historians" will continue to be heard, but the drumbeat of history is slowly muffling them.
Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history with an occasional foray into American culture. He holds an ABD in American Studies from Case Western Reserve University. He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is the author of the recently published novel The Great Seer Nostradamus Tells All as well as a variety of nonfiction books, including The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion. His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. His website is wlazarus.com, which is still under construction. He can also be followed on Twitter.