(Continued from page 185)Book of Mormon vs. The Bible
In line with Mormon tradition, you attack the Bible unremittingly while concluding that the Book of Mormon is 'a more perfect Book then the Bible'. It is one thing to make a claim, but quite another to actually prove it to be true by bringing forward facts to support your argument. We do not deceive ourselves for a moment in believing that you, or any other Mormon in the history of the world, could be capable of defending this position. We are also perfectly well aware that the Mormons do not really believe in the absolute truth of any Scripture - for it is always possible that another revelation will come along to replace the 'old revelation' that failed. The fact that these contradictions have to be accepted as the Word of God from 'His' prophet simply means that anyone who believes in this way has no 'absolutes' and will be repeatedly deceived - as we will prove in the following text. You have also proven this in your opening statement:Quotes by Brigham Young
'I don't trust human testimony in this matter I trust what God himself has told me, and God's voice has more validity than even the Bible, for he wrote the Bible by the hands of others, so he commands it, it says what he wants it to say.'
If you believe this is true then you will have to accept that the same is true for every other person on the face of the planet! Any revelation from 'God' is then a matter of personal experience and no one has any right to criticize those received by others - for they are as just as valid as those you claim for yourself. Is this really what you believe? Or is it rather a fact that you have 'trust[ed] human testimony' by accepting Joseph Smith's own test of 'a burning in the bosom'?
We will now examine part of the record of the Book of Mormon and compare this with selected Mormon 'revelations':
Abbreviations used for References:
AoF = Articles of Faith
AtGQ = Answers to Gospel Questions
BOOK OF MORMON = Book of Mormon
D&C = Doctrine and Covenants
DAJoMT = Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought
DN = Deseret News
DoS = Doctrines of Salvation
HotC = History of the Church
JofD = Journal of Discourses
JST = Joseph Smith's Translation (of the Bible)
MD = Mormon Doctrine
Q = Quotes (from LDS spokesmen)
TaS = Times and Seasons
TotPJS = Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Mormons have made various claims for the Book of Mormon, but what did Joseph Smith actually claim for the book? These are the main claims of the early Mormon church:
Q1: the Book of Mormon contains 'the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ' ... 'the fulness of my everlasting gospel' (D&C 20:8-9; 27:5) 'the fulness of my gospel which I have sent forth unto this generation' ... 'And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith: and in weakness have I blessed him.' (D&C 35:12,17) 'the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel' (D&C 42:12)
Q2: 'I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the Keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.' (TotPJS p.194 and HotC, Vol. 4, p.461)
If it was true that the Book of Mormon was only a portion of the golden plates originally given to Smith -and there are still plates in God's safekeeping that have not been translated - then it is impossible to believe that these statements are true. But these statements still claim that the 'full and everlasting gospel' is supposed to be in the Bible and Book of Mormon - so nothing needs adding! It is noticeable that (as we see later) Brigham Young agreed with our view.
The clear meaning of the English language is that the 'full' and 'everlasting gospel' was to be found in the Bible and Book of Mormon. But, as is clear, the Mormon Church simply plays games with words and tries to teach that these words refer to the 'basic' teachings of the gospel, but the 'strong meat' of the church can only be learned after you have become a baptized member of the organisation. There are many doctrines which are not even in the Bible or the Book of Mormon and we must ask why the Nephites, et al, did not possess the supposedly vital 'revelations' about:
1. Celestial marriage is for time and eternity ('the crowning gospel ordinance requisite for Godhood')
2. Baptism for the dead ('this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel')
3. God was once a man as we are now and progressed to become an exalted man (see Book of Mormon quotes in 6);
4. God has a body of flesh and bones (contradicts D&C 130:22 & Alma 18:28 & see quotes under 6);
5. men may become Gods (contradicting the Bible and the Book of Mormon);
6. doctrine of the plurality of Gods (contradicts Alma 11:22-44; 18:24-30; 31:15; 2 Nephi 2:14; 26:12; 31:21);
7. doctrine that the Trinity - the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost - are three Gods (contradicted in Mosiah 16v15; Alma 11:38-39; Ether 3:14 - and see other quotes from Book of Mormon in 6);
8. doctrine of plurality of wives (contradiction between D&C 132:1 & Book of Mormon at Jacob 1:15; 2:24; 3:5; 1 Nephi 16:7; Mosiah 11:2-14; cf. Genesis 2:24; Matthew 5:32; 19:4-6; Luke 16:18; 1 Timothy 3:2);
9. doctrine of Pre-existence (not found in Bible or Book of Mormon);
10. doctrine of the 'Three Degrees of Glory' (not found in Bible or Book of Mormon - despite attempts to 'wrest the Scriptures' - 1 Corinthians 15:39-41 - to drag it into the Bible);
11. doctrine of a 'heavenly Mother' (not found in the Bible or the Book of Mormon);
There are many people who would never have become involved with the Mormon Church if they had known the true history and full doctrines of the church. Some have even admitted to us that they returned from their first temple visit after the embarrassing (blood-curdling Freemasonic) ceremonies and donning of the 'temple clothing' and wondered what they had bought into!
We have already addressed the unparalleled accuracy of the Bible at:
and we will make a brief examination of the Bible against the Book of Mormon.
The God of the Bible made clear claims for His Word:
'The Word of our God shall stand forever' (Isaiah 40v8; 1 Peter 1v23-25)
Why did Jesus say: 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away' (Matthew 24v35; Mark 14v30) if the Bible was really corrupted?
Mormon leaders have contradicted themselves in their claims for the books they consider 'sacred' as is shown by the following quotes:
Q3: 'when his sermons were corrected they were Scripture' (JoD. Vol. 13, p.95) Why is Joseph Smith's 'translation' an embarrassment?
His sermons were recorded and corrected, for scribes followed him everywhere to record his sermons and this statement and others still appear unchanged - so it is fruitless for Mormons to claim that he was misquoted!
Q4: 'Now let me say to you, my hearers, to saints and sinners: there is the New Testament; you may leave out the Book of Mormon, and the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and follow the precepts of that book faithfully, and I will warrant you to arrive at salvation' (JoD 1:244)
Q5: 'In all my public administration as a minister of truth I have never yet been under the necessity of preaching, believing or practicing doctrines that are not fully and clearly set forth in the Old and New Testaments, Book of Doctrine and Covenants, and Book of Mormon.' (JoD 11:121)
Q6: 'I was brought up a Christian, very strictly, and was taught to read the Bible, consequently it is natural for me to believe it - it is according to my traditions, and also from the spirit of revelation from God to myself. In all my teachings, I have taught the gospel from the Old and New Testaments. I found therein every doctrine, and the proof of every doctrine, the Latter-Day Saints believe in, as far as I know, therefore I do not refer to the Book of Mormon as I otherwise should. There may some doctrines about which little is said in the Bible, but they are all couched therein, and I believe the doctrines because they are true, and I have taught them because they are calculated to save the children of men.' (JoD. 16:73)
However, 'apostle' Orson Pratt had a different, contradictory, view:
Q7: 'What shall we say then, concerning the Bible's being a sufficient guide? Can we rely upon it in its present known corrupted state, as being a faithful record of God's word? We all know that but a few of the inspired writings have descended to our times, which few quote the names of some twenty other books which are lost...What few have come down to our day have been mutilated, changed and corrupted in such a shameful manner that no two manuscripts agree. Verses and even whole chapters have been added by unknown persons; and even we do not know the authors of some whole books; and we are not certain that all those which we do know were written by inspiration. Add to all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who, in his right mind, could, for even one moment, suppose the Bible in its present from to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?....there can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire someone to rewrite all those books over again....no reflecting man can deny the necessity of such a new revelation.' (Orson Pratt's Works, The Bible Alone an Insufficient Guide, p.44-47).
Brigham Young was obviously used to such remarks by Pratt. Consider this reply:
Q8: '....why I make this particular remark is because this congregation heard brother O. Pratt scan the validity of the Bible, and I thought by the time he got through, that you would hardly think a Bible worth picking up and carrying home, should you find one in the streets....The Bible is good enough as it is, to point out the way we should walk, and to teach us how to come to the Lord of whom we can receive for ourselves.' (JoD, 3:116, 10th August 1855)
Notice the difference in the JoD numbers - quote 6 includes the statement: '....In all my teachings, I have taught the gospel from the Old and New Testaments. I found therein every doctrine, and the proof of every doctrine, the Latter-Day Saints believe in....', from JoD. 16:73, and is much later than quote 8 - but Young does not change his mind on this point.
Mormon scholar James Talmage is equally reticent to join Orson Pratt and states:
Q9: 'an impartial investigator has cause to wonder more at the paucity of errors than that mistakes are to be found at all.' (Articles of Faith, p.236-237). Speaking of the New Testament he admitted '...though, perhaps, many precious parts have been suppressed or lost, while some corruptions of the text may have crept in, and errors have been inadvertently introduced through the incapacity of translators, the volume as a whole must be admitted as authentic and credible, and as an essential part of the Holy Scriptures.' (AoF, p.248)
Either you know or you don't know - writing 'perhaps' and 'may' makes it difficult to call something 'authentic and credible' - one negates the other. If Talmage's house was on fire and we told him to jump into a blanket and we 'may, perhaps' catch him - how much confidence would he have in our ability to save his life? That is how much confidence we - 'may, perhaps' - put in his opinion!
1. If Orson Pratt had ever become President and Prophet of the LDS would you believe his view of the Bible - or the previous views held by President Young?
2. How can successive leaders of a church - or even the prophet and his apostles teaching the church at the same time - contradict themselves on such important matters?
3. Joseph Smith completed his 'translation' of the Bible before his death thus surely fulfilling Pratt's hopes - '....there can be no certainty as to the contents of the inspired writings until God shall inspire someone to rewrite all those books over again.....'
D&C 73v4 supposedly contains the instruction from God for Smith to commence a new translation of the Bible and he began this work in the spring of 1831 and, on July 2, 1833, the History of the Church (1:368) records: 'We this day finished the translating of the Scriptures.' Plans were made to publish the translation (D&C, 94:10) and D&C 124v89 tells us that Smith was commanded by God to publish this new 'Bible.'
So, why wasn't it published when 1 Nephi 3v7 tells us:
'The Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.'
It failed to see the presses until 1867, when the Reorganised Church published it.
However, not one manuscript of the Old and New Testaments supports Smith's translation! Since you can buy Smith's 'Inspired Version' today, why do some Mormons cast doubt on the accuracy of the Bible when Smith supposedly corrected it?
What major changes did he make to it - and why is there no manuscript evidence for even one of his changes?
There is also no point in claiming that the true LDS church couldn't publish it in case the Reorganised Church had corrupted the text, for the mainline Mormon Church supposedly has a 'living prophet and Seer and Revelator' who can translate ancient languages!
So why did the tenth President of the LDS, Joseph Fielding Smith, claim:
Q10: 'The reason that it has not been published by the Church is due to the fact that this revision was not completed...Due to persecution and mobbing this opportunity never came, so that the manuscript was left with only a partial revision.' (AtGQ, 2:207)
This is another contradiction when Joseph Smith is quoted as saying he did finish it (and the evidence shows that he had plenty of time to indulge himself with women and other matters):
Q11: 'I [Joseph Smith] completed the translation of the New Testament, on the 2nd February, 1833 and sealed it up, no more to be opened until it arrived in Zion.' (HotC, 1:324)
Then we have the aforementioned quote from July 2, 1833:
Q12: 'We this day finished the translating of the Scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father.' (HotC, 1:368)
This letter was addressed to 'the Brethren in Zion' and signed by witnesses - Sidney Rigdon, F.G. Williams - and Joseph Smith.
These two dates in 1833 agree with those found in the Church Chronology, complied by Mormon historian Andrew Jensen - so J.F. Smith, tenth president, either needs to do his homework or to be honest. The LDS also need to explain why none of the successive 'Authorities' following Joseph Smith had the ability or inclination to translate and correct ancient manuscripts. It is also pointless trying to claim that God has not authorised them to do so since it was supposedly His command that began and completed the work.
In Joseph Smith's discourse at the funeral of King Follett on April 6th, 1844, he proclaimed to about 20,000 listeners that Matthew 4v21 in the English New Testament was in error:Anachronisms etc.
Q13: 'I have an old edition of the New Testament in the Hebrew, Latin, German, and Greek languages. I have been reading the German, and find it to be the most correct translation, and to correspond nearest to the revelations which God has given to me for the last fourteen years. It tells about Jachoby, the son of Zebedee. It means Jacob...In the 21st verse of the fourth chapter of Matthew, my old German edition gives the word Jacob instead of James.' (JoD, 6v5)
However, when we read Smith's 'translation' written 11 years earlier we find it reads 'James' and not 'Jachoby' or 'Jacob'!'
This inconsistency is found repeatedly in Smith's works where he ignores his own 'translation' most of the time. Even the Bible verses he altered in the Book of Mormon - when he clearly copied over 27,000 words directly from the King James Version - are not quoted the same in his supposed revision. It is tragic that all serious liars are caught out by their bad memories.
Could the real reason for Smith's 'translation' be to insert a prophecy concerning his own birth in his version?:
Q14: 'And his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people salvation.' (Genesis 50v33, JST)
By adding substantially to Genesis 50 he inserts a supposed 'prophecy' about himself in a book that was written about 3,000 years earlier? Obviously anyone could do this once they had a vehicle for acceptance!
If Smith really had the gifts he claimed he would have cleared up all the obvious contradictions in the Mormon 'Scriptures' which don't tally with the Bible. Reading through the development of Mormon doctrine it is clear that he changed his doctrines between 1830 and 1844 and this is the real reason why there are contradictions and discrepancies in Smith's works - he really didn't know where he was going with his theology! But if God was inspiring the work there would be no contradictions or errors!
While Smith developed polytheism (the belief in many gods) his supposedly inspired translation reads exactly the same as the KING JAMES VERSION at Isaiah 44v8:
'Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.'
It is pointless trying to claim that verses such as this are talking about this universe only, and that 'God' or 'Gods' exist in other universes, for the Bible does not allow for such a possibility even in this verse. God is answering the question - 'Is there a God besides me?' - fully. When He causes His Word to show that 'there is no God', He is declaring that He does 'not know any [God]' and that means anywhere! It is revealing to see that the Mormon Church has to go along with the many universes hypothesis to try and explain away doctrinal errors. The utter speculation (for there is no evidence to support the actual existence of other universes) has been broached by scientists in an attempt to explain the fine-tuned nature of our universe which could not have come about by simplistic means such as from an explosion (the 'Big Bang'!). That the LDS would align themselves with atheists, rather than accept the Biblical record, shows the spiritual nature of its founders, for cosmologists and astronomers use a thinly disguised rationalization to avoid the necessity of admitting that there is an intelligent 'Creator' in the universe. When scientists proclaim that the facts argue against God, they are usually simply showing their own bias and refusal to consider the mountain of evidence in favour of His existence, but that is no reason for those claiming to be Christian to use unprovable hypotheses to try and explain away the refutation of their doctrine.
The clear weakness of the claims for the Book of Mormon include the fact that Smith copied around 27,000 words directly from the King James Version, although Mormon 'theologian' Bruce McConkie tries to explain this away by claiming that Smith used the KING JAMES VERSION as the basis of his work:
Q15: 'While acting under the spirit of revelation, the Prophet corrected, revised, altered, added to, and deleted from the King James Version of the Bible.' (MD, p.383)
Again, this shows that there is no substance in the Mormon claims that the Bible is inaccurate or mistranslated for you do not copy from a work that you claim to be polluted any more than you would drink from a polluted stream!
If Smith changed relatively little in the Bible, why do the LDS not use this version in their proselytizing?
Note: Young clearly believed in the accuracy of the Bible - so what would believers having only the Bible miss out on? What does the Book of Mormon add that the Bible doesn't have? It only adds confusion over such doctrines as the godhead - teaching heretical modalism instead of the Trinity, while forbidding polygamy which was later commended as 'an everlasting covenant' in D&C 132, but which now is only practiced by splinter group 'fundamentalists'. It is clear that Mormons cannot understand or explain the clear meaning of 'everlasting' in the revelation on polygamy, which didn't even approach 'eternity' in its practice but was rapidly overturned by the government of the USA! Do Mormons really expect us to believe that the laws of human authorities take precedence over the commandments of God? In the centuries following the New Covenant made by Christ, thousands died to uphold their beliefs in Him and His commandments. How come the braggarts (we will see examples of their foolish boasting during the course of this exposé) of the Mormon Church folded like wimps before the legal authorities?
Again, only if every believing Mormon - living between Christ's day and Smith's era - had access to all of the teachings, now claimed to be essential for 'progression to godhood' by the Mormon Church, could Mormon claims stand up to logic. This obviously makes a mockery of the Mormon doctrines of progression to god-hood since not everyone has the same opportunities - or even knew of the supposed existence of such doctrines!
The Bible clearly asserts the accuracy and inspiration of God's Word contained in it - see 2 Timothy 3v16-17 and 2 Peter 1v20-21. What evidence is there that the Bible has lost material since Jesus was able to say to the Jews:
'But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.'?' (Matthew 22v31-32).
Jesus was able to refer to the words of Scripture as the very words of God Himself and you never find Jesus correcting the Old Testament Scriptures. The Dead Sea Scrolls show that we have the Old Testament essentially as it existed in Jesus' time - there is absolutely no evidence that there are major differences between the Old Testament of Jesus' day and ours! As Jesus said:
'18For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.' (Matthew 5:18).
Proverbs 13v13 and 30v5-6 cannot be true if the Word of God was easily polluted:
13Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.
5'Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 6Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.'
It is clear that Smith taught the Mormon Church to despise the Bible - he added to its Words - and he will be destroyed at the final judgement.
Isaiah 40v8 tells us that 'The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever'.
Since the meaning of the text is clearly directed towards the accuracy and integrity of God's Word preserved here on earth, why should we take the word of Joseph Smith above that of God?
In the same way, Jesus made a clear statement which Smith has contradicted for believing Mormons, when He said: 'Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away' (Matthew 24v35);
How did the Bereans check out the gospel brought to them by Paul and Silas (Acts 17v11)? By (a) praying about it - seeking some feeling to help them know; or (b) by 'searching the Scriptures daily'? Do we have any evidence that this test has been changed? Clearly not - for the Mormon example proves that the result is doctrinal and spiritual chaos.
How can we make sure of all things (1 Thessalonians 5v19-22)? The Scriptural tests for prophets and their prophecies are given in Deuteronomy 13 and 18v15-22, Jeremiah 23v23-40, and Matthew 7v15-23 and they all rely on observing the factual evidence - not by taking note of our feelings and emotions. If we apply the Biblical tests to Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or any LDS 'prophet' we find they have not produced one correct prophecy!
Mormons have to concede that they really have no need for any Scriptures when all their previous revelations can be made null and void by the current prophet. Do you believe Mormon President & 'Prophet' Ezra Taft Benson was correct when he made this speech:
Q16: 'Beware of those who would pit the dead prophets against living prophets, for the living prophets always take precedence.' (Ezra Taft Benson, '14 Fundamentals in Following the Prophet.' Press Copy, p.5)
It is obvious that if prophets of the God of the Bible were to constantly contradict each other it would be impossible to know when a prophet is a false prophet. It would contradict God's tests for a prophet and also make the statements - '....not a God of confusion' (D&C, 132:8) and 'God doth not vary' (D&C, 3:2 - cf. Alma 29:4 [1830 version]; Alma 41:8; 1 Corinthians 14:33; James 1:17) - a total nonsense.
If the record is examined it is clear that, once Smith completed his 're-translation' of the Bible, and works such as the Book of Abraham, he had plenty of time to carry out any other corrections or replacements if they were really necessary. But what did he really do with the last 11 years of his life? It is pointless trying to claim he was too busy fighting persecution to complete the work when we have the records of his 'extra-ecclesiastical' activity, such as his adultery disguised as polygamy and despite the commandments of God which we will examine after dealing with the inadequacy of the Book of Mormon.
Mormons make much of the supposed missing books of the Bible, such as:
the book of the covenant (Exodus 24:7)
the book of the wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14)
the book of Jashar (Joshua 10:13)
the book of the acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41)
the chronicles of Samuel, Gad, and Nathan (1 Chronicles 29:29)
records of Nathan the prophet, prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, visions of Ido the seer (2 Chronicles 9:29)
records of the Hozai (2 Chronicles 33:19)
the letter to the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16)
What is the answer? Simply that, just because they are mentioned in the Bible does not mean that they were ever part of the Biblical record. The fact that a book is mentioned in another work - and this is true even today - does not mean that it is part of that book! Why do Mormons making the allegation that the Bible is missing books think that the Bible cannot mention the existence of any other writing without making that writing a part of the canon of Scripture? Many of the books mentioned in the list drawn up were obviously secular in nature or part of public or royal records. There is no evidence that these books were supposed to be part of Scripture and were probably merely part of court records in the case of 'the acts of Solomon' and possibly 'trivial' prophetic records in the cases of Nathan and Ahijah. The 'epistle to Laodicea' may be the circular letter written to the churches which came to be known as the book of Ephesians.
Since 'the words of Zenos' - and others - are also missing in the Book of Mormon it is clear that references to supposedly missing books in the Bible are made merely to deflect criticism onto the Bible (ref. 1 Nephi 19:10 and elsewhere):
And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage, and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.
We also have the clear Biblical record of God causing Jeremiah to rewrite a scroll destroyed by king Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36:22-26), but also to add further revelations at His will (Jeremiah 36:32:
32 Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the instruction of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And besides, there were added to them many similar words.
So, clearly, God could replace his work at any time in history if it was important to do so but, since we have no record of his Word ever being permanently lost or destroyed - and it is easy to refute the claims of the enemies of the God of the Bible that this could ever happen - we know that this has not been necessary again. It is clear that the supposed presence of a 'Seer and Revelator' in the LDS church negates any attempt to explain away missing records - and it also fails to explain the changed revelations which at times have obliterated complete pages from the Mormon doctrinal works! Thanks to the sterling work of the Tanner's we can supply examples if requested!
Mormons also forget that, when Smith completed his 'translation' of the Bible he also failed to include these supposedly missing books - not one of them is mentioned any differently from their reference in the KING JAMES VERSION. Worse than this he also managed to lose the 'Song of Solomon' in his 'inspired version' and his revisions of the KJ text fails to agree with the same passages as quoted in the Book of Mormon, and other portions contradict current Mormon doctrine!
If the LDS really believed these writings were missing and important Scripture then God would have included them either in the Book of Mormon or had his 'seer and revelator' reproduce them during the last 11 years of his life. Or the successive presidents (who supposedly inherited these gifts) could have written them by now! Strange that the present-day Mormon leaders don't attempt to use the 'gifts' they supposedly inherited from Smith? Or is it simply that they don't have the gall to attempt the deceptions they suspect he practiced, and which have been proved to be fraudulent far beyond reasonable doubt by experts who have totally debunked the Book of Mormon as well as the 'Book of Abraham'.
If it was true that the Book of Mormon was only a portion of the golden plates originally given to Smith -and there are still plates in God's safekeeping that have not been translated - then it is impossible to believe that this statement in the D&C is true:
'And I have sent forth the fulness of my gospel by the hand of Joseph Smith: and in weakness have I blessed him.' (35:17)
Additional statements in D&C 20:9; 27:5; and 42:12 make it clear that the 'full and everlasting gospel' is supposedly in the Book of Mormon - so nothing needs adding!
'I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the Keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book.' (TotPJS p.194 and HotC, Vol. 4, p.461)
It is noticeable that Brigham Young contradicted this statement in his sermons!
Let us have a closer look at the errors in the Book of Mormon.
The areas of land and cities described in the Book of Mormon have never been found to tie up with archaeological discoveries, but Mormons have repeatedly made unsupported claims such that the Smithsonian Institute in America made a public rebuttal of the suggestion that they were using the Book of Mormon in research:
'Permit me to say that the mistaken idea that the Book of Mormon has been used by scientific organisations in conducting archaeological explorations has become quite current in recent years. It can be stated definitely that there is no connection between the archaeology of the New World and the subject matter of the Book of Mormon.
There is no correspondence whatever between archaeological sites and cultures as revealed by scientific investigations and as recorded in the Book of Mormon, hence the book cannot be regarded as having any historical value from the standpoint of the aboriginal peoples of the New World.
The Smithsonian Institution has never officially recognised the Book of Mormon as a record of value on scientific matters, and the Book has never been used as a guide or source of information for discovering ruined cities.
Although anthropologically a race stemming from Jews in Palestine would have the characteristics of Mediterranean Caucasoid, the physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid. It is believed that the ancestors of the present Indians came into the New World - probably over a land bridge known to have existed in the Bering Strait region during the last Ice Age - in a continuing series of migrations beginning about 30,000 years ago.
Extensive archaeological researches in southern Mexico and Central America clearly indicate that the civilizations of these regions developed locally from simple beginnings without the aid of outside stimulus.
Present evidence indicates that the first people to reach America from the East were Norsemen who arrived in the northeastern part of North America around 1000 A.D.
We know of no authentic cases of ancient Egyptian or Hebrew writing having been found in the New World. Reports of findings of Egyptian influence in the Mexican and Central American area have been published in newspapers and magazines from time to time, but thus far no reputable Egyptologist has been able to discover any relationship between remains and those in Egypt.' (ref. Dr. Frank H.H. Roberts, Jr., 'Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon,' Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Washington 25, D.C. July 22nd, 1960)
Interestingly, recent DNA research totally supports the view stated by the Smithsonian Institute that 'the physical type of the American Indian is basically Mongoloid'.
In the summer 1973 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Dr Michael Coe, Professor of Anthropology and Curator in the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University (author of many books on Meso-American archaeology and history) made the following comments:
'Mormon archaeologists over the years have almost unanimously accepted the Book of Mormon as an accurate, historical account of the New World peoples between about 2000BC and AD421. They believe that Smith could translate hieroglyph, whether 'Reformed Egyptian' or ancient American...Let me now state un-categorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true, and I would like to state that there are quite a few Mormon archaeologists who join this group....The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of the early migrants to our hemisphere.' (p. 41-42, 46)
Do Mormon authorities support these conclusions? Having spoken to members of the Mormon church for many years we have become used to the unsubstantiated claims that the cities and cultures of the Book of Mormon have been discovered in America - but what do qualified Mormon scientists and researchers say:
'It must be confessed that some members of the 'Mormon' or Latter-day Saint Church are prone, in their enthusiasm for the Book of Mormon, to make claims for it that cannot be supported. So far is as known to the writer, no non-Mormon archaeologist at the present time is using the Book of Mormon as a guide in archaeological research. Nor does he know of any non-Mormon archaeologist who holds that the American Indians are descendants of the Jews, or that Christianity was known in America in the first century of our era.' (The Changing World of Mormonism, by Mormon anthropologist M. Wells Jakeman)
'Various individuals unconnected with these institutionalised activities have also wrestled with the archaeological problems. Few of the writings they have produced are of genuine consequence in archaeological terms. Some are clearly on the oddball fringe; others have credible qualifications. Two of the most prolific are Professor Hugh Nibley and Milton R. Hunter; however, they are not qualified to handle the archaeological materials their works involve...As long as Mormons generally are willing to be followed by (and pay for) the uninformed, uncritical drivel about archaeology and the scriptures which predominates, the few LDS experts are reluctant even to be identified with the topic.' (Mormon archaeologist John L. Sorenson in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1966, pp. 145, 149)
It is really concerning to read these kind of thoughts (from the Deseret News, July 29, 1978):
'The geography of the Book of Mormon has intrigued some readers of that volume since its publication. But why worry about it?....To guess where Zarahemla stood can in no wise add to anyone's faith. But to raise doubts in people's minds about the location of the Hill Cumorah, and thus challenge the words of the prophets concerning the place where Moroni buried the records, is most certainly harmful. And who has the right to raise doubts in anyone's mind?'
'Why worry about it?' Because God never instructs us to throw our brain out of the window! He asks us to examine the evidence, which is why Jesus appeared to the disciples and showed them His body, and the Apostle Paul appealed to the evidence - to the facts of history verified by over 500 witnesses in 1 Corinthians 15. We have no evidence that any of these witnesses apostatized in the way that Whitmer and seven other witnesses did for the Book of Mormon! The difference is this: Peter 'deserted' Christ - as prophesied - and was restored (John 21v15-19).
The difference is this: Peter 'deserted' Christ - as prophesied - and was restored (John 21v15-19) while Joseph Smith openly bragged that not even Jesus had done what he had done in holding the church together:
"I have more to boast about than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet. You know my daily walk and conversation." (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409; 1844)
Smith's successors were equally bold in their boasting for the 'prophet':
Examine the character of the Savior, and those who wrote the Old and New Testaments and compare them with the character of Joseph Smith. Joseph's character stands as fair as any man's mentioned in the Bible. (Brigham Young in Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, p. 203; 1871)
"Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. ..." (John Taylor - Doctrine and Covenants, 135:3, 1844)
But no amount of bragging can alter the fact that the historical and archaeological evidence for the Bible is rock solid (read Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart) while this is clearly not true for the Book of Mormon.
'Who has the right to raise doubts in anyone's mind?' Unfortunately we can read the writings of the early LDS 'prophets' and 'apostles' from the past 170 years and see just what their attacks on 'Christendom' and the Bible were designed to achieve.
The DN article went on to say:
'Our position is to build faith not to weaken it, and concerning the geography of the Book of Mormon can most certainly undermine faith if allowed to run rampant. Why not leave hidden the things that the Lord has hidden? If he wants the geography of the Book of Mormon revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point.'
Unfortunately these things are not hidden - they are available to anyone who wishes to spend a few hours researching the facts! When people allow the 'feelings' of a testimony to over-ride the facts then they can be deceived. Any Christian would be concerned to see that the methods of the LDS church remain the same - rely on the tests the 'prophet' gave you, and will continue to give you, and do not attempt to challenge his thoughts and his 'facts.'
Finally we read:
'Some authors have felt 'called upon' to inform the world about Book of Mormon geography and have published writings about their views. These books, however, are strictly private works and represent only their personal speculations.'
The problem is that the data relevant to the Book of Mormon representation of life on the American continent between about 600 B.C. and 421 A.D. is extremely contradictory to the Book of Mormon and clearly represents the mind of someone living in upstate New York around the year 1830 (as even Mark Twain detected in his account of reading the book)! The description of the material culture concerning the Lamanites and Nephites is clearly a depiction of an Old World Culture and contradictory in many important points to the facts we know of the New World Cultures.
Has there been any genuine unbiased Mormon research into the claims of the Book of Mormon? Possibly! Mormon scholar and General Authority, B.H. Roberts, found some very interesting parallels when comparing the book, View of the Hebrews (author Ethan Smith - published in 1823 and reprinted in 1825), with the Book of Mormon. Roberts noted that this book suggested, years before the Book of Mormon existed, such things as:
the concept of American Indians being the offspring of the Hebrews;
utilised the book of Isaiah to seek to establish the story's basis (over 17 chapters of Isaiah are copied into the Book of Mormon!);
it spoke of a book preserved by the Indians for a long period of time and then buried;
Roberts noted eighteen clear parallels between the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews. Whereas Mormons today often claim Joseph Smith was inadequately schooled to write the Book of Mormon, Roberts wrote:
'...was Joseph Smith possessed of a sufficiently vivid and creative imagination to produce such a work as the Book of Mormon from such materials as have been indicated in the preceding chapters - from such common knowledge as was extant in the communities where he lived in his boyhood and young manhood; from the Bible, and more especially from the View of the Hebrews, by Ethan Smith? That such power of imagination would have to be of a high order is conceded; that Joseph Smith possessed such a gift of mind there can be no question.
In the light of this evidence, there can be no doubt as to the possession of a vividly strong, creative imagination by Joseph Smith, the Prophet, an imagination, it could with reason be urged, which, given the suggestions that are to be found in the 'common knowledge' of accepted antiquities of the times, supplemented by such a work as Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews, would make it possible for him to create a book such as the Book of Mormon is.
There were other Anti-Christs among the Nephites, but they were more military leaders than religious innovators, yet much of the same kidney in spirit with these dissenters here passed in review; but I shall hold that what is here presented illustrates sufficiently the matter taken in hand by referring to them, namely that they are all of one breed and brand; so nearly alike that one mind is the author of them, and that a young and undeveloped, but piously inclined mind. The evidence I sorrowfully submit, points to Joseph Smith as their creator. It is difficult to believe that they are the products of history, that they come upon the scene separated by long periods of time, and among a race which was the ancestral race of the red man of America.' (B.H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, University of Illinois Press, 1985, p.243, 250, 271)
We have a copy of the 1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon and inside the front cover you can read: 'Author and Proprietor Joseph Smith'! Clearly, Smith had not yet made up his mind how to present the book - as fiction or religion -when it was prepared for print! L. Ron Hubbard (the founder of Scientology) began life as the author of Sci-fi works and actually predicted that 'if anyone really wanted to make money they should start a religion' - and, as they say, 'the rest is history'. A familiar story ensues, for a billion dollar empire resulted.
(Continued on page 368)