by Stan Barker with additional comments by Malin Jacobs
Critics of the Book of Mormon seem to feel that unless one can show that it is supported by archaeological evidence, it can’t be true. But are the critics really the ones who are being disingenuous? I think so, and here’s why.
Most critics think little of the efforts by FARMS. Some will say, those “FARMSboys” are so mean and nasty that you can’t trust anything they write, “their work isn’t peer-reviewed” and “they are not world-recognized scholars.” Such statements are not arguments, but are merely attempts to ”save” people from dealing with the facts. Few, if any, of the critics themselves have the academic credentials to peer review the work of, or to pass judgment on, the academic status and abilities of the FARMS authors. This is sort of like having Simon Southerton pass judgment on the academic background and abilities of the late Pierre Grassé of whom Theodosius Dobzhansky said “Now one can disagree with Grassé but not ignore him. He is the most distinguished of French zoologists, the editor of the 28 volumes of Traite de Zoologie, author of numerous original investigations, and ex-president of the Academie des Sciences. His knowledge of the living world is encyclopedic.”
I’ve read virtually everything in FARMS Reviews that so-called Mormon intellectuals or “cultural Mormons” consider to be mean and nasty. By making these outlandish claims, those “intellectual” folks avoid having to deal with the issues. Very rarely have I seen a critic actually address an issue, and quite often critics brag that they don’t even read the FARMS stuff! In my opinion, that is the pinnacle of hypocrisy, and such critics ought to just slink away in shame. This situation would be hilarious, except that many people are fooled into thinking the critics have presented evidence and analysis, when in reality they have provided nothing but smoke and mirrors.
There is plenty of excellent material available to truth-seekers dealing with archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon. For a starting point, let me recommend the article by John E. Clark, “Archaeology, Relics, and Book of Mormon Belief,” in the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, 14/2: 38-49 (FARMS, 2005), which may be accessed online by clicking here (for Adobe .pdf format) or here (.html format). This article goes a long way toward addressing the critics’ silly claims and ludicrous stipulations on the subject. To Bro. Clark, we say “KUDOS!”
Originally posted July 1, 2006. Reposted 18 March 2009 due to changing Internet hosts.