Sunday, June 30, 2013
Evidentiary, My Dear Monson
The character Sherlock Holmes once stated, 'There is nothing like first-hand evidence.' Indeed, first hand evidence clears up much.
For decades, critics raised increasing doubts about the Book of Mormon. In ancient America, there's no Hebraic DNA, no piles of advanced steel weaponry, no vast Christian utopian societies. It's a real choker in the LDS church's craw.
If the LDS church could point to evidence that would quiet critics, why wouldn't they?
Would they hide evidence because it's more important to test faith? The usual excuses given: Nephi and Alma were too long ago, genes dilute, swords rust, buildings erode, etc. It was just too long ago, so you can discount evidence that has disappeared in time...
However, if the church all to itself did come across evidence that Joseph Smith claimed he made it up or that there were never Nephites, would you expect them to release an apology? Or would they hide that counter evidence in their vault? They'd probably ignore it; pretend the problem doesn't exist; hope it just goes away on its own.
Critics are raising doubts about the trustworthiness of the apostles. Documents show suspicious activities--property taxes bills sent to church offices, property transferred from church to apostles, men who had low pay become wealthy as apostles. The Mission President's Handbook outlines the many perks worth up to a hundred thousand dollars. These would only increase at the promoted office of apostle. Faithful LDS members have complained at these criticisms, saying the evidence is weak. Perhaps, but they're not as weak as the evidence the faithful use to justify belief in the Book of Mormon or Book of Abraham.
The church can silence critics of apostle finances and lavish business interests by showing the first hand evidence of their financials. Politicians release their taxes and business activities for public scrutiny. Even Mitt Romney finally did after a lot of hassle. The acclaimed highly integerous apostles could dispel the suspicions in a heartbeat. Should they? Will they?
Honest emissaries of Christ who are believed closest to him as special witnesses have nothing to fear if their acts are pure and noble. However, if the evidence isn't in their favor, one can understand they will feel they shouldn't release it. After all, members covenant to never speak evil against the Lord's anointed. The apostles are banking on it. Perhaps literally.