Admittedly, I realize that my dichotomy is a bit simplistic, being that all humans are complex creatures (there are no simple men no matter what Lynyrd Skynyrd has to say on the matter). With that said, hear me out for a second.
In the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 31: 15 we read:
Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.The verse is essentially a commentary on the suffering that the Jews would experience down the road, but this is not what I am interested in. What is interesting is that the word "Ramah", a word used throughout the Bible, is spelled in a different way in the Book of Matthew. Look at Chapter 2, verse 18:
In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.As you can see, the New Testament version omits the letter H in its spelling of "Ramah." Is this an error? Not at all. It is actually, a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word. "Ramah", in Hebrew, means "Hill" or "High place". The word is also used several times throughout the Bible as a name for various locations.
Now look at the Joseph Smith translation of Matthew (see chapter 3):
In Ramah there was a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning; Rachael weeping for the loss of her children, and would not be comforted because they were not.Interesting that Smith elected to go with the Old Testament (more correct Hebrew) version rather than the Greek that is found in the original Book of Matthew. Either this reveals some serious skills in understanding Hebrew/Greek or Smith really was inspired (or for you critics it was just luck).
But the saga doesn't stop there.
From the Book of Mormon, in Ether 15: 11 we read:
And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred.What is interesting to note here is the fact that nowhere in the King James Version of the Bible is there any hint that "Ramah" means "Hill or high place." Again, Smith was either incredibly familiar with Hebrew or really was inspired.
And there's more.
In the Book of Alma, chapter 31 (again, from the Book of Mormon) we learn about the Zoramites, who due to their pride, built a giant "place for standing, which was high above the head" (chapter 31: 13). And what did they call this large and tall "place for standing"? Verse 21 has the answer:
Now the place was called by them Rameumptom, which, being interpreted, is the holy stand.Notice that the prefix "Rame" appears to be a variant of "Ramah." Interestingly enough, the word "Ramah", as a Hebrew object-noun, also means "a high place of illicit worship". Again, what impressive Hebrew skills on the part of Joseph Smith! Or maybe he really did translate what he said he translated?!?
All of this is further proof (for me personally) that Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are either one hell of a great fraud or the real deal. And yes, The Book of Mormon (and all scripture for that matter) deserve sincere scholarly inquiry and analysis.
But no level of scholarly insight would or could conclusively prove anything. Matters of faith are just that: matters of faith. There will always be supporters and detractors to all holy books. The only true way to know the validity of scripture is through sincere prayer (Moroni 10: 3-5).
But the scholarly doesn't hurt either. =)
Major hat tip: S. Faux.