I would appreciate the name of just one secular encyclopediaa and page which provides supporting information that:
1. “Reformed Egyptian” was really an ancient language.
2. “Domesticated” horses existed in the America’s prior to Columbus.
3. That ancient languages can be translated by looking at a rock in a hat. See: (Ensign » 1993 » July A Treasured Testament By Elder Russell M. Nelson)
Of course there isn’t any secular encyclopedia that provides supporting information, but here are some explanations of perhaps why:
1. Reformed Egyptian was a language perhaps known by no one else but the people of the Book of Mormon, which appears to have been a relatively small group of people limited to a specific geographic area most likely in Central America. If so, how would anybody know about their language unless there were an archaeological discovery? And since there are literally thousands and thousands of sites in Central America that have yet to be excavated, and major discoveries are being made all the time, is it completely implausible that there might yet, at some future date 10, 20, or 50 years in the future, be the discovery of the same language the plates were originally written in?
2. No, but again, there are important discoveries being made all the time so we don’t know what we haven’t discovered yet. People used to say there were never any horses at all, not they admit there were horses, but no domesticated horses. But there’s even the question of whether Joseph Smith really meant “horses” when he wrote “horses”. There’s some good stuff on this over at Jeff Linsay’s site under the post “Plants and Animals in the Book of Mormon“.
3. Well, of course that’s just silly. There’s also no secular encyclopedia that explains how a man can die and then come back to life three days later, so if we’re in trouble on that point so is the rest of Christianity. Now, perhaps that’s not an issue for you, and if not, then the question I would ask is whether the scientific community can prove that such a thing is impossible. If they can’t prove that it is impossible, how can you claim it is? If you had put the question to the scientific community of 150 years ago as to whether it was possible to cook food without a flame, they could have racked their brains and they would have come back and have said it was impossible, and yet every one of us can purchase that technology for $50 at Wal-Mart.
Science doesn’t have all the answers. It doesn’t even have most of the answers. Chances are we know less than 1% of 1% of all there is to know about our own world, physics, etc., let alone the rest of the universe. To say something is impossible because modern science doesn’t know it is to assume we have all the answers, and such a viewpoint could only be held by someone who is virtually ignorant of the scientific world and how much there is yet to be discovered.
Actually, now that I think about it, we are getting pretty good with translation technology these days, so I’m not sure it is completely unbelievable that within a few decades we might be able to produce a device that would look like a clear rock or piece of glass, and which might be able to show us an English translation of any text placed on the other side of it. If we, as mere men, can create such a thing, I’m guessing it was probably even easier for God, and I bet it worked better too. Of course if you don’t believe in God, then that explanation doesn’t work, but if there is no God then none of the above questions really matter anyway.