Yale Student Gets An Amazing Answer by an LDS Scholar



Yale student: Where is the original Book of Mormon today? Where are the gold plates?

Taylor: They are gone.

Yale student: What do you mean that the original plates are gone?

Taylor: When Joseph Smith completed the translation of the gold plates into the Book of Mormon, he returned the plates to the angel Moroni. So we no longer have access to them. All that remains is Joseph Smith’s translation of the plates.

Yale student: I mean no disrespect, but this sounds both incredible and convenient for the story of the Book of Mormon. (Remember that the word “incredible” means unbelievable.) We have no way of source checking Joseph Smith’s story because the plates he claims to have worked with are no longer available. How can anyone even believe Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon?

Taylor: Great questions. I have several questions for you.

Yale student: Sure.

Taylor: Are you a Christian?

Yale student: Yes.

Taylor: Do you believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ?


Yale student: Of course. That is the fundamental foundation of Christianity! Without the belief in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ there is nothing for Christianity.

Taylor: OK, then show me Jesus’ body.

Yale student: (Pausing to think with dawning comprehension) Oh, I see.

Taylor: What is more implausible: That someone claims to have translated a book and now the original book is missing, or that a physically dead body is now alive again? Just as Christians throughout the centuries have exercised faith in the claim that Jesus Christ died and rose again, so too members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints exercise faith in that original claim as well as in the claim that God has brought forth additional scriptural witnesses, such as the Book of Mormon, for the life and mission of Jesus Christ.

Read the full story at the Deseret News

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36 Replies to “Yale Student Gets An Amazing Answer by an LDS Scholar”

  1. I
    believe that what Taylor did was great, as he helped explain his
    beliefs and do so in a way that the Yale student could understand, but
    to consider it “owning” only brews hatred and fuels the spirit of
    contention between the LDS church and other Christians or other theists.

  2. By comparing one unaccredited account to another, we have learned both accounts must have happened…??? What kinda dumbasses they letting into Yale these days?

  3. Would it be possible to change the title of this article? I get the point, but I think it is unfair to the Yale student to say that he was “owned” by Taylor. Taylor responded to the student’s question in a respectful and appropriate manner, not to shut down the student or to humiliate him, but to teach him and all the others who were in the room. When I read the full article in Deseret News it seemed that given the setting the student was asking an appropriate question. I would hate to think that when someone is asking thoughtful questions (even if they are based in sceptical nature) that teaching them and edifying them would be seen as “owning” them. It makes it seem that this is an “us vs. them” story, when I see it as a great teaching moment that can bring more souls unto the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite my one critique, I love the story. Thanks for posting it.

    1. I agree that the student didn’t owned exactly and while it’s not the best way of describing the situation it gets people to read the great reply by the scholar. When we do headlines we actually A/B test our headlines and the headline that draws the most readers is the one that is automatically chosen for the course of the post. We have added some explanation in the beginning to soften up the headline.

  4. This argument doesn’t bold well for asking a Latter Day Saint why they would reject any other religion that is based on unseen evidence.

  5. Taylor’s simply playing the old mormon fake logic game. The question isn’t about Taylor’s belief, it’s about the source. The bible is based on ancient sources whose existence can be verified through actual documents and archaeology. The book of mormon can provide NONE of these, PERIOD. There is simply NO verifiable source of ANY kind. But, in their desperation to appear smarter than everyone else, the mormon will twist the question, change it’s intent, and then use their arrogance to try to appear to have the upper hand in a discussion. Nice try at making yourselves feel better though.

    1. Have you seen the words written in stone by God’s own hand? If not are the ten commandments false? You say “verified through actual documents” but weren’t most if not all of the books of the canonized bible copies of the original letters and also handed down from oral traditions? Then bound together by man. How many books were mentioned in the bible that are not included in it? Do they not matter? Even the ones Jesus mentioned?

      I believe in the bible. I also believe in the book of Mormon.

      Your disbelief in the book of Mormon is fine because one day you shall know the truth in Paradise. Or in your view I will in Hell.

      What is offensive is the intellectual dishonesty that you have displayed. If you need to lie to argue against another’s faith how strongly do you really believe in yours?

      1. What is actually offensive is your arrogance in assuming you have even the slightest clue what I may or may not believe. On the other hand, I know what you HAVE to believe to defend your faith. I began the discussion by identifying a logical fallacy rooted in the established beliefs of an organization. You presumed to mystically discern some knowledge about me based on your own assumptions. Were you given divine guidance or did you use a stone in a hat ?

        1. Nicely put momonomo. What a waste of time, this site and its beclouding click-stream revenue generating religiosity.

        2. By your post I took it you don’t belive in the book of Mormon. Was I wrong? The anger in your post about Mormons on a LDS Web site led me to lump you in with those who think that if others don’t think as they do they are bound for Hell. I’m glad you don’t take the place of God in deciding my fate. After all only a fool would do that.

          You haven’t answered the questions concerning the bible though. Why not? I’m not asking you to agree with me. But wouldn’t it be nice to have a honest conversation without the hate.

          Now please go enjoy more of this website. You never know you might just learn something.

    2. Faith is Faith… it does not matter. If the Bible is true only based on ancient sources through actual documents and archaeology.. then everyone should be flocking to it as there would be no need to go anywhere else. But unfortunately that is not what converts people. Nice try to make yourself feel better though.

    3. I agree with your statement that Taylor redirected the question but I must disagree on the fact that there is no evidence of the book of Mormon. If you care to do a tiny bit of digging you will find a lot of articles that cross reference claims made in the text to the real world. http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/ is a good place if you don’t have a lot of time.

      I think Taylor’s answer was a way of getting out of a long answer where he would have to redirect the entire lecture to reading scientific proofs which would then be disputed. I think it was a clever way out of a argument and was not arrogant at all. Perhaps you missed the link to the original post. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865621899/In-the-gospel-faith-must-come-first.html

  6. O.M.G-less. Is it possible both are stupid? Extraordinary claims require merely ordinary evidence. Show the plates. Or show the body. I don’t care which. Just give us something – anything – to work with. Only there is nothing.

    1. That’s not quite a true statement… there is plenty of Testimonial Evidence, Anecdotal/Analogical Evidence. There is even some Statistical Evidence mixed in.

      Lots of people will testify that the plates are real, and that Christ died and came back.
      Many books have been translated and then the original lost. -why couldn’t it happen again?
      The fact that the book of Mormon exists is a type of evidence. It did not just write itself.

      What do you want? a video tape of some angel? perhaps a time machine? People have been convicted to live in prison for life on less evidence than both of these “story’s” have. It would seem you are ignoring a wide range of sources.

        1. I’m afraid that video recording was in 1951 so I do not think that the news got any angels or miracles on tape. –not that that is a very interesting reason.

          I read through several pages of that website and I disagree with the premise. It claims, repeatedly, that no amputee has ever been healed thus this proves that God does not exist. And in the same breath they say that God is unafraid of parting the red sea and other such actions. So they use God to disprove him. By them admitting that He parted the sea their argument is done. –Or perhaps I misunderstand what they are trying to say.

          1. John: you said “I’m afraid that video recording was invented in 1951 so I do not think that the news got any angels or miracles on tape. –not that that is a very interesting reason.”

            You are the one who suggested video. But now video isn’t interesting? I find interesting the idea that in the age of ubiquitous video (e.g. via smart cellphone) that if God, Jesus, angels – or the rest of the pantheon of gods, angels or demons from Islam to Hindu to Wiccan or New Age – that there doesn’t seem to be a single instance of any of these beings, or any of these miracles caught on tape. Not. One.

            Don’t you find that interesting? I think it speaks volumes about the quality of the assertion that such things are _real_. Don’t you?

            In other words, the LDS church teaches the principle of “laying on of hands for the healing of the sick” and the “power of the Melchizedek Priesthood” as if these are things. Instead, we see they are certainly assertions – but upon inspection we find no evidence other than “feelings” that there is any outcome in the physical world.

            Why do you think that upon inspection everything asserted as a spiritual reality vanishes into someones opinion – but without basis in fact? Why do you think that upon inspection of the character of Joseph Smith it appears that he was involved in some con to get gain – and get women – and yet members revere him as a “Prophet” but the rest of the world think he’s a charlatan – with a legal rap sheet to prove it. What is up with that? Why does this god-thing or this spirituality-thing flee to the shadows upon the merest casting of light?

            Why should I believe the LDS proposition? What is compelling about it? Care to examine it with me? Tell me what is compelling about the LDS’s claim to truth?

          2. The compelling reason is that you can experience a touch from God whenever you just pray. I know because this has happened to me in my life.

          3. John – that is no evidence. You know that, right? If you have such feelings when you pray, that is simply a self-induced confirmation bias. It’s the mind’s mechanism to resolve the discomfort of the unknown or unfamiliar.

            Do you know that Muslims report the same sweet assurance from prayer? And Catholics? And Hindus? So assertions that you are getting communication from God are just … your assertions.

            What does God have to say? What would the Creator of the Universe have to say to John? Other than “don’t touch yourself.” Because if God is out there, and it’s a He, and it’s a personal God – then how does God explain the idea that His most important message to Mormons is “Don’t touch yourself” while leaving children to starve in Africa?

            I don’t get this comforting feeling from God when I pray. I get… nothing. After I’ve filtered out all the wishful thinking I have in my head about what I think God ought to say.

            Experience a touch from God… Hmmm… Really? Sorry. I don’t believe it. Can you prove it? Which God? How do you know? And can you say that if you were born in Jerusalem you’d be talking to the same God? Or if you were born in New Delhi, India – still same God? Or Beijing?

          4. At this point, I ask how you pray. It’s one thing to go through the motions of closing your eyes and folding your hands and thinking or saying your prayer, it’s another thing entirely to believe that God exists and that you’re talking with your Heavenly Father. Yes, there may be scientific proof of a chemical reaction to true prayer. But how can you prove that God didn’t build us to get that feeling from prayer?

            I am an ordinary Christian. Not LDS, but I have a lot of friends who are. They’re great people, and I believe God is working with and through them, even if I also think that the Book of Mormon is incorrect. And, like some have said already said, we’ll all know the truth in Paradise. And if the Book of Mormon is true, I suppose it’ll be too late for me to reach the Celestial Kingdom, but i hope that the rest of us Christians (and non-believers) and I can at least make it to the Terrestrial Kingdom.

          5. Generic_Christian: you said “I asked how you pray…”

            I don’t. At least not anymore. Because I spent my youth praying, studying, preparing and serving. However after the trial of my faith I, like Mother Theresa, found that there was a profound silence from the heavens.

            I then spent my college years trying to understand why. And this is why I no longer accept the idea that there is a god-thing in charge. I reject magical thinking and realized that everything is spiritual is actually emotional.

            I’ve also come to terms with the idea that all of us are actually atheist. At least, I believe in one less God than you. And I ask this question of you: do you believe in Zeus? If not why not? and if you don’t doesn’t that make you atheist to Zeus? Similarly the assertion of the Christian God fails upon investigation.

            No disrespect intended. But take a look at this video and then ask yourself: do you believe in Zeus?

          6. Funny thing, i asked myself this same question in college. You can laugh at this story if you want. I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series throughout my college years, and i started asking myself, “what if this IS true? What if the Olympian gods are real??” And i am somewhat ashamed to say I legitimately wrestled with that for a bit. But then I realized. Our God, the one who sent our Lord and Saviour Jesus, was the only one to give us testament to his existence through many thousands upon millions of people. You might say that we just invented God to explain creation, like men invented Zeus to explain lightning. But Zeus didn’t give testaments. So, to answer your question, i suppose that does make me atheist to Zeus.
            In addition, I personally have experienced too many miracles that can only come from prayer. Why do I say it can’t be luck? It’s happened too many times. Not only is it spiritually significant, but it’s also statistically improbable that miracles in my life would continue to happen after prayer so frequently.

            Also, not judging, or limiting your freedoms of opinion and speech, but perhaps an LDS site isn’t the best place to try and convince people that their Heavenly Father isn’t real.

          7. Thanks, for both support and reassurance about the next life. I really need that kind of reassurance about the next life (or continuation of this life), even though death is most likely a distant event for me.

            Dave, know that you are in our prayers at my household, these people’s households, and many others. I pray that God will show you the truth, as well as help you to not harden your heart against Him.

          8. I have heard that “too late” theory before, but I don’t know that it is doctrine that those who accept the full restored gospel in the Spirit World will find it is too late to inherit the Celestial Kingdom. I do not believe it to be rooted in scripture. Some “LDS” sources such as “General Discourses” are not considered scriptural nor doctrinal. I do not believe that a loving Father in Heaven is going to arbitrarily, or bureaucratically, consign someone to a lower kingdom who is willing to live a Celestial Law once they have accepted it and know it to be true. He wants as many as possible to make it, to enjoy eternal growth and progress, and not “only” life everlasting in a very nice and uplifting place to live.

          9. I agree with Generic_Christian and I would also cite that from a LDS perspective, the basic tenets of faith are that you are to have a trial of faith, or a period were there is no evidence, for you to gain a personal witness/evidence.

            Pray, have faith, act, then know.

          10. John: you said “I believe with Generic_Christian…”

            It doesn’t matter how many hold a fallacious position – the argument of popularity doesn’t make it more true. That’s the thing about “truth.” It doesn’t matter what you believe.

            likewise the basic tenants of Mormonism that you don’t understand until after the trial of your faith: but of course! The other basic tenant is “pray, obey and pay.”

            Mormonism is no church. It’s a commercial real estate enterprise. Built upon the backs of the gullible. They sell their signs and tokens for money. For you cannot gain access to their temples unless you pay 10 percent of your income annually. It’s the perfect priest craft scheme.

          11. Please do not misquote me.

            Of course truth is absolute, that’s why your disbelief in God does not make Him any less real.

            You do not seem to have a very firm grasp on how the church works (along with many others) but as far as tithing goes there is no check system. I could say that I pay and go to the temple and never pay a dime. Now your going to start off ranting about how if you lie you will go to hell. Well if its just a commercial enterprise then how can they determine who goes to heaven or hell? Do you even know if you are ‘required’ to pay on net or gross income?

            You said “Mormonism is no church.”
            The dictionary states that a church is ” a body or organization of religious believers”

            Now I am not sure if you are trying to slander and lie or if you actually had no idea that ‘Mormonism’ is indeed a church. But it seems to me that you have very little idea about this subject and are just spouting off the same trash that I have encountered on many Anti-LDS websites.

            If you actually want to learn more about what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes then please do some research.
            Some sites that I like are

            And if you must have some type of scholarly articles to defend faith this website should fill that void although I have never looked very deep into this.

  7. Awesome! Being a convert, i’ve had issues with people criticizing my decision to be a member of the church and as i explain to them and share what i know so far i get this question too.. Thanks ldssmile. 🙂

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