Hey, I'm Tom
I was a mormon.
I have a two year technical degree from Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. I work in the ammonia refrigeration industry and hold a national certification in that field. I'm also the author of Book of Mormon Tories part 1: web.archive.org/web/20161022051430/http://www.postmormon.org/exp_e/index.php/magazine/pmm_article_full_text/… and part 2: youtube.com/… which documents early American influences on the production of the Book of Mormon. See also my writings about "Early American Influences on the Book of Mormon" at the mormon think website: mormonthink.com/…
On my shelf
# Why I left More stories of 'Why I left' the Mormon church
I have a two year technical degree from Gateway Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. I work in the ammonia refrigeration industry and hold a national certification in that field.
It does not qualify me as a Book of Mormon scholar. Then again, it does not take a scholar to defeat the Book of Mormon, or the believers and apologists that support it.
Even the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defeat their own scholars by making no official endorsement of any of the contrived "evidence" offered by LDS apologists that infer the Book of Mormon is valid. Any apologist organization of the Church, official or arm chair, hedges their articles and contributions with disclaimers that the opinion stated is that of the author alone.
The hesitant lack of an official endorsement is the worst indictment of all.
The Brethren, as they are sometimes referred to, appeal rather to faith and prayer over real world evidence (or lack thereof) as the ultimate authority to determine the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. In actuality, they really don't have much of a choice. In this they are safe since subjective methods of faith and prayer cannot be scientifically scrutinized.
Which begs the question; why have Book of Mormon apologists in the first place? If the Brethren trump BYU scholars then of what use are BYU scholars? They do serve a purpose. They serve as human shields for the Brethren, running a game of interference when faith and prayer fail. They give new meaning to the term "college try". They can try to bolster the faith of the questioning Saint. "Hey, if those smart college guys believe it, then they must be on to something! Look at all the evidence they have come up with!" At least, they can give the impression of working on the problem.
And a problem it is. There are no Book of Mormon gold plates or reformed Egyptian language in existence from which a comparative analysis can be made. Mormon scholars cannot adequately describe the actual translation method (a generous term when applied to Joseph Smith). Translating by "the gift and power of God" has a much more appealing sound than the method of looking at a magic stone in a hat. Mormon scholars cannot even agree to the geography of where in the Americas the story took place.
Ironically, absent of the most crucial of evidence we are then asked by them to consider their peripheral evidence. Perhaps this works for believers. However, when the need to believe in the Book of Mormon is removed it is easily seen as a product of its time. The fact that it speaks of divinity does not make it divine. When read in context of the 19th century social landscape the Book of Mormon story becomes a melodrama of the era. When compared to verbiage and text of contemporary works the Book of Mormon emerges as an amalgam of political and religious sermon.
It's simple really.