The Book of Mormon: Divine or Deceptive?

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The Latter Day Saint’s publication, “Improvement Era,” Oct. 1961, p. 716 stated that “most of them (Mormon missionaries) have never read the Book of Mormon” and “a great part of them, if not the greater part, have never read the New Testament.”

This is really an amazing and startling revelation, especially when we see that these two books make up one half of the “scriptures” of the Mormon church. Furthermore, if the majority of their church leaders are unfamiliar with these books what about the mere average Mormon? From a Christian standpoint this is a real shame because a good study in either of these books would completely destroy any thinking person’s faith in Joseph Smith, his books and his “Gods.”

THE BOOK OF MORMON

According to Mormon theology the original manuscripts of the Book of Mormon were written about 600 years before Christ then “translated” with a special technique and power of God to be published in English in 1830. This translation by Smith was claimed to have been perfect, “every word and every letter was given to him by the power of God” (Oliver B. Huntington). In the beginning, this book was the key to Mormon thinking and was the first basis for the church.

Little do modern Mormons realize that between 1830 and 1977 there have been 3,913 changes in their “inspired” book. The first copies of Joseph Smith’s book contained so many grammatical, doctrinal and polemical errors that present day Mormon leaders refuse to permit their own people to see early copies of their own scriptures. I challenge any seeking Mormon to make this comparison, if they can locate any photostatic copies of the first. These changes alone should be enough to drive anyone to the truth of God. God’s word is true from the beginning: and every one of His righteous judgments endureth for ever. (Psalm 119:160)

LOGICAL OBSERVATION

Mark Twain was no Christian, but he was basically intelligent and a keen student of human nature. He once remarked that the Book of Mormon “seems to be a mere prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model, followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament.” Is this a baseless slander or a provable fact? Let’s see.

The last book of the Old Testament, Malachi, was written in about 440 BC, some 150 years after the Book of Mormon was purportedly penned. How then is it possible that the older book (Mormon) quotes and paraphrases the younger? Read Malachi 4:1-2; 1 Nephi 22:15; 2 Nephi 25:15; 26:4,6,9, etc. Why does the Book of Mormon borrow more than 18 chapters from the book of Isaiah? Why does the story of Nephi parallel so closely the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis? Is it because God has so little to say that He must often repeat Himself or is it an act of plagiarism?

How is it that the Book of Mormon quotes the New Testament in over 400 places even before the New Testament was written? Why is it that Lazarus seems to be raised from the dead under the name of Lamoni in Alma 19:1-12 (John 11:1-44)? Why is it that 1 Nephi 18 sounds strangely like Mark 4? How can it be that Omer (Ether 8:10-12) was nearly beheaded in exactly the same gory fashion as was the Baptist, John? It might not be unusual to read of two or three coincidental details, but when they number in the hundreds, there is justifiable reason to question things just a bit further.

CONFUSION MULTIPLIED

Things get a bit more confusing when in the Book of Mormon Jesus quotes Revelation 21:6 (yet unwritten) in the Greek language.

One of the most interesting aspects of Joseph’s book is the commentary that it gives us of life in the middle 1800s. That was a unique era in human history and the Book of Mormon describes many aspects of it in surprising accuracy. For instance, it describes religious revival meetings exactly as they were reported in 1830 newspapers; it has a discourse on the baptism of infants in a day when that was a really hot issue; it touches on the controversy of whether ministers should be paid or not; it speaks out on Freemasonry which, again, was a current hot topic in the 1800s. Either God, centuries beforehand, spoke out on issues to arise in Joseph’s day or the Book of Mormon was actually written in that very day. If it be claimed that it was the forethought of God, then we must also ask why the Lord has not clearly done the same for today’s topics of controversy; abortion, euthanasia, transcendental meditation, women ministers, etc.

IT IS HARD TO EXPLAIN

There is more. Mormon leaders have a difficult time explaining how their ancient book can quote the well-known Westminster Confession of Faith (Alma 40:11-20). And then why does Joe Smith permit William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1) to be quoted in 2 Nephi 1:14?

To say that this was the miraculous hand of God, is not sufficient to answer the problem because the Lord has not done this with the 66 books of the Bible. The only “God” to take part in the writing of the Book of Mormon was a “God” of plagiarism and deception. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:4).

My friend, if you are caught up in Mormonism, I urge you to examine the facts in the light of the Bible, then repent of your sins and trust Christ as your Savior.