Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Industries needed for Nephi to make a Transoceanic Ship

In a recent Mormon Expression podcast, John Larsen and his guests dive into the question of Nephi’s ship and the industries Nephi would have needed to either initiate or invent to build a ship capable of transoceanic travel

Smelting Ovens /Blast Furnaces

01. Charcoal Ovens to make charcoal for fire to make blast Furnace since there was no coal for making coke.
02. Acres of forests to get the wood needed to make the charcoal for blast furnace
03. Thousands of Nails, metal strapping, hand tools i.e. hammers, all’s, saws, sheep sheers etc.
Question: Where did he get tools to access Iron Ore in the first place?

Dry Dock

01. Excavation of earth below water line
02. Gates that hold water back
03. Pumps to keep water out

This alone would take months if not years to complete.


01. Skins needed for bellows
Make a Keel Capable of surviving an Oceanic voyage
01. Forest with trees suitable for making a keel
02. Steam to bend the Keel


01. To make the ship water tight
02. How long would it take and how many trees would one require to collect enough sap to boil down into resin to water proof Nephi's ship?

Rope Production

01. Hemp
02. Flax
03. Animal skin or
04. Wool
05. And all the specialized tools to make rope

Where did any of these materials come from? Did they grow the hemp or flax? This would require seeds and time to grow

Sheep Farming

01. Transoceanic Viking ships had a 100 square meter sail. For every square meter of sail it required 2 sheep fleeces per meter of sail clothe. So a 100 square meter of sail would require a herd of at least 200 sheep. This excludes thread. Note that sheep can only be sheered once per year. So assuming Nephi had reserve sails in case of rough weather, he had to have multiple sails in storage which double or triples the number of sheep needed or extends the time necessary to manufacture multiple sails. If Nephi’s sail was larger…then it would add to these numbers accordingly.
02. Land available for sheep grazing

Did they heard this herd of 200 + sheep from Jerusalem for 8 years through the desert just so they could make sails? If not where did these sheep come from?


01. Needed to create the clothe necessary for make a sale.
The invention of a Rudder with all of its intricacies (something that wasn’t invented 200 years after Lehi)
01. Pullies
02. Ropes
03. Gears

Food Preservation Techniques

01. Pickling
02. Food drying etc.

Water Storage

01. 02. Assuming a total of 30 people in Lehi’s party 15 men and 15 woman this would equal
02. On average a human male or female requires a minimum of 4 liters of water per day. Assuming a group of only 30 people this would require at least 120 liters of water storage per day. If I reduce this to an average need of 100 liters per day for a 200 day journey this would require 20,000 liters of water stored on the boat. There is 1,000 liters of water per square meter. 20,000 meters would barely fit in a 32’ x 64’ area. In a 30 meter ship that would take up 2/3’s of the boats holding area. This assumes they use none of it for washing, bathing or cooking. So more than likely were this boat real, it would have to be larger than 30 meters in length. This reality would increase the size of the boat to allow for more storage capacity and increases all other factors and assumptions needed to make this claimed oceanic voyage possible such as increased sail size, increased number of sheep needed, more time to manufacture ship etc.

If a 30 meter long Viking ship required over 40,000 man work hours to build and this assumes that all of the needed building materials are on site, how long would have taken Nephi?

The FAIR Wiki claims that the boat was built in 1-2 years. Really?

Raw materials needed to build a boat:

01. A forest of trees…but not just any trees tree’s capable of turning into charcoal, trees large enough for both a keep and masts (Nephi was tied to a mast)
02. Iron Ore
03. Animal skins
04. A heard of at least 200-400 sheep
05. Access to hemp or flax
06. Pasture land for grassing
07. Fresh water
08. A heard of goats for their leather needs
09. Land for farming their seeds

One panelist makes an interesting observation…if today you had to go out and make a hammer…a single hammer … on your own…from raw materials…think of all that you would have to do to support the creation of that single hammer. Now turn that thought experiment to the building of an entire transoceanic ship. Yet we are to believe that Nephi and company was able to do build this ship and make the transoceanic voyage within a few short years + maintain food gathering needs and the other random necessities of maintaining life? Ummmm…OK

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

F.A.I.R. to release **NEW THEORY** for Book of Mormon Setting

With the disappointment of the Hemispheric model ,the Limited Geography theory and the Heartland theories to produce any supporting evidence for the setting of the Book of Mormon… apologists at F.A.I.R. ,who know the conclusions before the questions are even asked, have scrambled to come up with some theory to explain where exactly Book of Mormon people actually existed. After going back to the drawing board they have come up with a brilliant new geographical theory to settle once and for all where the Book of Mormon actually took place.

The new theory, which has already produce evidentiary results, is called the “Head of Pin” theory or HOP theory for short. Knowing how difficult it is to find a pin or needles in a haystack, church apologists predict that it will take generations of searching haystacks throughout both North and South America before any pins will be found that could potentially disqualify the HOP as a viable theory for the setting of Book of Mormon people. This, they predict, will serve a dual purpose 01.) It will give the church enough time to indoctrinate multiple generations of Mormon’s with this new theory….thus giving the church continued and sustained growth for the foreseeable future and 02.) It will give the church ammunition against its critics…LDS apologists will now be able to ask…”Yes but have you searched all of the hay stacks in the Americas? And ”just because you can’t find those pins in those haystacks is not evidence that they did not exist or didn’t exist in another haystack.”

Initial results with the new theory have already shown promise… for the first time in recorded history actual evidence has been found that supports Book of Mormon claims. In what has been up to this time an embarrassing anachronism in the Book of Mormon actual evidence of Book of Mormon elephants has been found. “Evidently, …we just weren't asking the right questions, but elephants have been on the heads of pins all along…we were looking in the wrong hay stacks all this time” said FAIR spokesperson Heber C. Scoldfield, “they have been living on the heads of pins just as the Book of Mormon claims". With this new evidence Apologist now have confirmation to support the Book of Mormon claim that Elephants did in fact exist during the Book of Mormon time line. This new evidence supports Book of Mormon claims and gives reason to expect that support will be found to dismiss other Book of Mormon anachronisms in the near future with the search of enough hay stacks. “I have no doubt now that Horses also lived on pin heads in ancient Book of Mormon times.” said Scoldfield.


Excitement in the Latter-day Saint community is reaching a fever pitch with this new announcement. Already tour groups are being formed that will allow Mormon’s to actually go on hay stack pin searches throughout North and South America. Even Rodney Meldrum is rethinking his Heartland Theory saying…” Why didn’t I think of this first?…Searching for pins in hay stacks is so much more profitable then my heartland expedition tours.”

**BREAKING NEWS** New evidence found in a South American Haystack confirms that the Book of Mormon took place inside the eye of a needle

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Planting Seeds of Doubt

I love walking through the gardens at Temple Square during the spring season particularly when the daffodils and tulips are at their prime. The volunteers that plant and maintain these gardens do a masterful job in creating a beautiful patchwork of color with their placement of different varieties of flower combinations throughout the flower beds around the church office building compound and Temple Square.

Yesterday as I was walking through the gardens enjoying the volunteers work I was approached by two sister missionaries, one from France and the other from Mexico. Not wanting to get into a religious conversation, I greeted them with a smile, said hello then began to walk away when the French Sister started to engage me in a conversation. I explained that I was merely here to enjoy the flowers when she asked me if I were a member of the church.

I took a deep breath and said “no I am not”. She then asked if I was familiar with the LDS Church. I gave a slight smile again and said, “OH yes, I am quite familiar with the teachings of LDS church” She then asked if I had ever read the Book of Mormon and been able to put Moroni’s promise to the test. I replied that not only had I read the Book of Mormon many times and had put Moroni’s promise of asking God if it was not true to the test, I used to be a member of the church.

This revelation seemed to confuse her and she asked “You used to be a member of the church and left? Why would you do that?”

I took another deep breath and simple said “…well because the church is not what it claims to be…you see…the church presents itself as the one true church on the earth, holding all the authority to offer eternal life to its adherents…but that is simply a claim that is not based in reality. The church teaches fiction as reality…but its truth claims don’t sync with reality. She said what do you mean? I then said, “You’re from France, a beautiful country, France is the sight of multiple pre-historic caves containing drawings made by pre historic humans dating back 40,000 years yet the church teaches that human existence began a mere 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve. So here we have a hard evidence example where your religions truth claims clearly conflict with reality. The church is passing off fiction as if it were the truth…which it is not.

I then turned to the Mexican sister and said “You come from a great and noble people, the Mayan civilization. The church would have you believe that you descended from a people that immigrated to the Americas from Jerusalem in 600 BC, but we know through, archeology, genetics and anthropology that your ancestors arrived in the America’s at least 14,000 years ago if not earlier via a land bridge that linked the Americas with Asia. So again church truth claims conflict with reality”

By this time the sisters seems to be somewhat flustered so I decided to double down. The church teaches that there was no death in the world prior to Adam is this correct? To which they agreed, so I pointed out all of the hard evidence proving this claim to be blatantly false. I told them that the seeds of my doubts were planted on my mission when people just like me asked hard questions that the church could not answer satisfactorily, I told them that I was once a bishopric member, had been on the high council, married in the temple and that yes even I had once born testimony that I knew with every fiber in my being that the church was true…but when I had said those words I knew in my heart that I was lying to myself, trying to make its truth fit with the reality I also knew existed…it was only when I finally put my doubts aside and made the decision to test the truth claims of the church against the empirical evidence that I came to the conclusion that despite having some good in the church its claims just did not stand up to scrutiny.

The Mexican sister then said…”wow you’re a very logical person”. I smiled and said “yes”. If the truth claims don’t sync with reality…then I reject those claims as being false truth claims.”

I then apologized for being so forthright stating that I had merely come to temple square to enjoy the flowers and not to engage in a religious conversation, but the French sister said no I asked you so it is ok. I wished them all the best on their missions but closed by saying…despite your knowing that the church is true, I believe that you also know that there is something that just doesn’t add up…Don’t be afraid to ask your religion the hard questions. Your faith must be built on a firm foundation of reality not fiction. I’ve meet with bishops, stake presidents and yes even with General Authorities …and none of them have satisfactory answers to these questions. Their only solution is to have you ignore reality…which can only cause metal conflict.

I wished them the best…and walked off. While I don’t know if what I said made any difference…perhaps, just maybe I planted that same seed that was planted in me by some forgotten person I too had met on my own mission so many years ago.

Friday, April 04, 2014

My Thoughts on John Dehlin Leaving the Church

Throughout history there have been cultural agitators who have dared to speak "truth to power", who stand unafraid, without the filter of anonymity before that power and expose the raw truth to the world. Luther, Gandhi, King and Chaves come to mind. While the Mormon world is much smaller and the hoped change of little importance in the grand scale of human history it is important to those who are affected inside this culture.

John’s agitation of Mormon hierarchy, his exposure of institutional historical whitewashing and its lack of accountability and transparency, his fearless open questioning of authority completely blindsided Mormonism’s so called prophets, seers and revelators. He caught them completely unprepared in a new internet world where some random guy from Logan could start a podcast that had the audacity to actually ask questions and expect an answer.

John became the voice for those within Mormonism’s spire who had no voice; the disaffected, the LDS- LGBQT’s, its feminists and those struggling within mix religion marriages. Not only was he their voice, he became their therapist someone who actually “got it”, who understood the struggle within the culture. He was the voice that made us feel that we weren’t crazy after all for questioning the church.

Did he do it perfectly? No. Has he accomplished every change he’s hoped? Of course not…but he has made a difference…how many of us or those who are so quick to criticize him can say that we’ve made a difference on so great a scale within the small closed world of Mormon society. John has been that voice prodding the corporate church to carve out a small place within their tent for allow for cultural Mormonism to exist side by side with faithful believing Mormons as one grand culture of Mormon's both believers and non-believers, both orthodox and unorthodox, gay and together in peace with each other.

I for one will be forever thankful that I found Mormon Stories and John Dehlin that one day some 12 years ago when I was struggling to make sense of the fractured world of Mormonism. John was real, he was unafraid to challenge, to ask the difficult questions and demand truth from power.

Does anyone really think that if not for people like John the church would be making the subtle changes that it is making today? Would woman really be offering prayers in General Conference? Would the church have shifted its stance of homosexuality acknowledging nature over nurture? Would GA’s really be out conducting recue meeting in far flung corners of Mormonism if not for people like John?

John has been that annoying mosquito pestering church authorities, demanding accountability from an institution that demands unquestioning devotion and obedience of it's male hierarchy. He was the right man at the right time.

Thank you John…for all you have done for our community I personally wish you peace where ever your life path take you.