Zelph on the Shelf Can’t Read Hebrew (or English, Apparently)

The apocryphal story is told of the freshman who storms up to the reference desk at his university library flustered and frustrated. “What seems to be the problem?” the kind librarian asks him. “I’m trying to do research,” he replies, “and I keep seeing references to a book called “Ibid.”, but I can’t find it … Read more

Top 20 Evils You’re Responsible For By Believing the Book of Mormon

John Hamer, a Community of Christ pastor and cartographer, recently went on John Dehlin’s podcast Mormon Stories and made the following observation: It’s not only that it’s academically impossible to justify arguing that the Book of Mormon is an ancient text, it’s actually an ongoing contribution to the injustice, the racism, imperialism, and genocide that … Read more

Yes, Joseph Smith Really Did Use a Seer Stone in the Translation of the Book of Mormon

Last week I attended part of the 22nd International Book of Mormon Evidences Conference hosted by the FIRM Foundation. One of the presentations on Friday morning was delivered by James F. and L. Hannah Stoddard of the Joseph Smith Foundation. The title of the presentation was “Urim & Thummim or the Seer Stone & Hat?” … Read more

Seven Reasons Why Letter VII Is Not A Heartlander Silver Bullet

The so-called Heartland model for the geography of the Book of Mormon is built on a foundation of fraud. Fraudulent artifacts, fraudulent science, fraudulent theology, and fraudulent history secured in place by racist ethno-nationalism are the four cornerstones of Heartlanderism. (By Heartlanderism I do not mean general belief in a North American setting for the … Read more

Fun Fact: Zelph on the Shelf Doesn’t Know What They Are Talking About

Zelph on the Shelf is the name of a blog run by Samantha Shelley and Tanner Gilliland, two millennial ex-Mormons who are, sadly, afflicted with the handicap of thinking that Twitter hot takes and edgy memes are suitable substitutes for sound historical scholarship and critical thinking. Take, for instance, the “fun facts” which Zelph recently … Read more

A Note on Book of Mormon “Trinitarianism”

One exercise I have found interesting is looking at the criticisms Joseph Smith’s contemporaries made against the Book of Mormon. The granddaddy of Book of Mormon skeptics is without a doubt Alexander Campbell (1788–1866), the learned Christian divine who spearheaded, along with his father Thomas, the Restorationist movement of Christianity. Campbell published the first substantive … Read more

What do the Scriptures Say about “Mocking” Sacred Things?

Over on Twitter my friend Kwaku El tweeted his dissatisfaction with those who “mock” Mormonism. The ensuing discussion centered around what exactly is meant by “mocking” and when or if it is ever appropriate when it comes to sacred things (e.g. religious doctrines). Mocking Mormonism and “participating in a dialogue” are not the same & … Read more

Gadiantonism as a Counterfeit Temple Priesthood

A depiction of Cain slaying Abel by Gustave Doré. The Gadianton Robbers are infamous among readers of the Book of Mormon. The phrase “secret combination(s),” now synonymous among Latter-day Saints for conspiracy, was used by Mormon to describe them (Helaman 2:8; 3:23; 6:38). They are introduced in the book of Helaman during “the fortieth year of … Read more