Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

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Everybody Wang Chung
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Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Everybody Wang Chung »

Greetings!

If any of you have perused FAIRMORMON for more than a few minutes, you've probably noticed many obvious falsehoods, blatant misrepresentations and flat-out lies. Every Wednesday I intend to address a FAIRMORMON claim that is easily falsifiable by anyone (even the old widow in Parowan).

With this in mind I humbly give you this week's number 10 Easily Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claim:

FALSIFIABLE CLAIM NUMBER 10

--Joseph Smith would not have known that the name Alma was a male name.

This claim by FAIRMORMON is easily falsifiable as there were many males in Palmyra who were named Alma.
FAIRMORMON wrote:[T]wo male characters named Alma appear in the Book of Mormon. And, of course, this seems to run counter to what we might have expected: If Joseph Smith knew the name Alma at all from his environment, it is highly likely that he would have known it as a Latinate woman's name rather than as a masculine one. (Many will recognize the Latin phrase alma mater, which means "beneficent mother.") Recent documentary finds demonstrate, however, that Alma also occurs as a Semitic masculine personal name in the ancient Near East—just as it does in the Book of Mormon. How did Joseph know this? How could he have learned it? Quite simply, so far as modern scholarship has been able to determine, he could not have known it from any source existing in his frontier American environment.

The Book of Mormon's use of Alma as a man's name has occasioned considerable amusement among uninformed critics of the book.
https://www.fairmormon.org/evidences/So ... _male_name

All one has to do to easily disprove this FAIRMORMON claim is go to familysearch.org, create a free account and enter the search terms for a male born in Wayne County, New York or any other nearby town/county. Here are a few men the Smith family could have easily known:

Alma Waters, born 1827, Palmyra, NY
Alma Synder, born 1822, Palmyra, NY
Alma C. Messinger born 1826, Palmyra NY
Alma Wilson, born 1807, Palmyra, NY
Alma Warren, born 1806, Palmyra NY

Here's a real interesting one: Alma L. Fuller, born 1816 in Palmyra NY, but died in 1880 in Providence, UT. It looks like this guy joined the Church in Palmyra and followed the pioneers to Utah? Interesting.

There are more. Go and give familysearch.org a try.

As FAIRMORMON asks, "How could he have learned it?" The honest answer is simply that Joseph would have known males named Alma that lived in and around Palmyra.

Stay tuned for next Wednesday when I will bring you Number 9 Easily Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claim
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Philo Sofee
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Philo Sofee »

Ha! Dude you gots em by the short hairs!
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Shulem
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Shulem »

FAIRMORMON wrote:Two male characters named Alma appear in the Book of Mormon.

There are dozens of Book of Mormon names which Smith used to tell stories. Some are complicated and some are not. Several are recycled names from the Old Testament, and many seem totally foreign as if they came from an unknown tongue. The name "Alma", is one of the simple names that Smith incorporated into his novel. The question remains, was Smith familiar with the name prior to writing the Book of Mormon? The answer is either: yes or no. If yes, then the one may wonder whether he associated the name with masculine, feminine, or both. Now, considering the evidence presented by Everybody Wang Chung, it appears that Smith may actually heard the name "Alma" as a masculine name for boys who lived in his very vicinity:

(Boys, boys, boys, everywhere, boys! Smith loved the boys. And 14 year old girls.)
familysearch.org wrote:Alma Waters, born 1827, Palmyra, NY
Alma Synder, born 1822, Palmyra, NY
Alma C. Messinger born 1826, Palmyra NY
Alma Wilson, born 1807, Palmyra, NY
Alma Warren, born 1806, Palmyra NY
Alma L. Fuller, born 1816, Palmyra NY

Although Smith was born in Sharon Vermont in 1805, the Smith family moved to Palmyra in 1817 and purchased a 100 acre farm. Although Joseph was merely 12 years old, his family would have known a lot of people after settling into their new locality.

There are six Almas listed above, all born in Palmyra. Assuming the 3 boys were still living in Palmyra when the Smith family arrived, the ages of the boys would have been: 10, 11, 1.

Now, what are the odds that young Joseph (age 12) would have heard or met any of those boys or the ones born later?

I'll take that bet!


PS. How about that, DCP? Do you suppose that young Joseph knew the boys?
Last edited by Shulem on Thu Dec 31, 2020 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Kishkumen »

This is a devastating find, Everybody Wang Chung. I would put your discovery among the very most valuable refutations of Mopologetics for the year, if not the most valuable. And one has to wonder, for all the time this claim has been put forward, did no one think to check it? We have had FamilySearch and other online genealogy resources for over a decade. In all that time, no one looked?

Well, I sure didn't!

Hopefully the Mopologists will do the right thing and quietly remove this silly argument from the public eye. Now they know for a fact that it has no merit whatsoever. To allow it to stand as though it had value would be most dishonest at this point. I think they will do the right thing. They must!

And one wonders: was it an Alma whose real-life story inspired the Alma of the Book of Mormon? Mayhap it was none other than Alma Fuller himself!
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Res Ipsa »

People will recite the words "you can't prove a negative" reflexively. But I don't think most understand at an intuitive level how weak an argument of the form "X couldn't have known Y through normal human channels" really is. It's just a subset of the "God of the gaps" argument that has been asserted and later refuted over and over and over.

Reading up on the departed James Randi is an excellent lesson on how easily the brain will conclude that events are miraculous when, in fact, what is going on is quite mundane. Somehow, I think that classes in how con men and magicians do there thing should be part of the high school curriculum.
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Rick Grunder »

Mormon scholar Mike Reed explored this same approach ten years ago. He listed 47 examples of pre-Book of Mormon male Almas on his blog, "Cultural Mormon Cafeteria." Here is a link to his interesting comments posted January 23, 2010:

https://culturalmormoncafeteria.blogspo ... +name+male
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Shulem »

Kishkumen wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:16 pm
And one wonders: was it an Alma whose real-life story inspired the Alma of the Book of Mormon? Mayhap it was none other than Alma Fuller himself!
Which gives me reason to pause and consider another point. Both characters in the Book of Mormon named Alma were considered to be some of the more highly esteemed participants within the historic content of the book. This leads me to believe that Smith subconsciously associated the name "Alma" with someone of high regard and a person of religious fortitude. Hence, I'm willing to bet that Smith tapped into one of the Palmyra Alma boys having eyes on the father who was probably a preacher or a religious man of great repute and known widely for his traveling about.

If someone searches the records they might just find that Palmyra's Alma really has something in common with the Book of Mormon Alma.

Someone please make the effort and claim the discovery!

;)
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Shulem
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Shulem »

Rick Grunder wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:49 pm
Mormon scholar Mike Reed explored this same approach ten years ago. He listed 47 examples of pre-Book of Mormon male Almas on his blog, "Cultural Mormon Cafeteria." Here is a link to his interesting comments posted January 23, 2010:

https://culturalmormoncafeteria.blogspo ... +name+male
Perhaps one of those older Almas may have been a famous traveling preacher?

I'm feeling confident that Smith tied the name Alma with that of a preacher!
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Kishkumen
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Kishkumen »

Rick Grunder wrote:
Thu Oct 29, 2020 4:49 pm
Mormon scholar Mike Reed explored this same approach ten years ago. He listed 47 examples of pre-Book of Mormon male Almas on his blog, "Cultural Mormon Cafeteria." Here is a link to his interesting comments posted January 23, 2010:

https://culturalmormoncafeteria.blogspo ... +name+male
Thanks, Rick! I was unaware of this, and I consider Mike a friend!
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Re: Top 10 Falsifiable FAIRMORMON Claims

Post by Tom »

I recall Kevin Barney acknowledging the issue back in 2003 in "A More Responsible Critique," The FARMS Review 15/1:
[T]he name Alma, though rare, is attested as a male given name in New England and elsewhere prior to the appearance of the Book of Mormon, as the following examples show:54

Alma Smith
Gender: M
Christening: 27 May 1798, First Church of Christ, Northampton,
Hampshire, Massachusetts

Alma Smith
Gender: M
Birth: 1799, Danby, Rutland, Vermont

Alma Smith
Gender: M
Birth: About 1811, Providence, Rhode Island

Alma A. Smith
Gender: M
Birth: 1823, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Footnote 54:
This information derives from a partial search of the name “Alma Smith” on www.familysearch.org. My thanks to Alma Allred (a male, by the way) for this information. We should note, however, that the male gender of these individuals has not yet been independently verified. As one of them was married to someone with the given name “Amasa” (usually a male name, as in “Amasa Lyman”), more research needs to be undertaken to verify that the database correctly reflects the gender of these individuals.
(p. 128)

[Insert irrelevant and pedantic notes lifted from Wikipedia about the etymology and history of the surname Smith]
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