The Book of Mormon professes to be the record of the original inhabitants of the Americas who are descended from the Jews in Israel. These Jews migrated from Jerusalem in approximately 600 B.C., shortly before its destruction.
After arriving in the Americas, this small group of individuals became divided due to strife. Those desiring to follow the ways of God became known as the Nephites. Those who rebelled became known as the Lamanites and were cursed with dark skin so that they might not be an enticement to the people of Nephi (2 Nephi 5:21).
These two groups would eventually become two great nations who filled the land of the Americas. They became involved in an epic struggle lasting for hundreds of years, eventually resulting in the total annihilation of the Nephite people. Thus the primary ancestry of the American Indian is the Lamanite race.
The crowning event in the Book of Mormon is the ministry of Jesus Christ among the Nephite people. This occurred after His resurrection from the dead in Jerusalem. Jesus established His church in the Americas by appointing apostles and prophets just as He had in Israel.
The Book of Mormon claims to be an additional revelation to Jesus Christ. It is said to contain "the fullness of the everlasting gospel." Joseph Smith stated, concerning the Book, "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."
Elder James Talmage wrote concerning the Book of Mormon, "This book is entitled to the most thorough and impartial examination. Not only does the Book of Mormon merit such consideration, it claims, even demands the same."
We wholeheartedly agree with Elder Talmage's assessment. The purpose of this manual will be to do precisely that and evaluate the claims concerning the Book of Mormon to see if they are true. Throughout the manual, suggestions will be given to assist the Christian desiring to witness to those within the Mormon faith.
Testing the Claim
The Mormon Test
Moroni 10:4-5 says, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."
Based on this passage, the potential convert is instructed to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. If this is done with a sincere heart, the seeker will receive a testimony, supposedly from God, assuring them of the truthfulness of the document. This testimony, sometimes referred to as the "burning in the bosom", becomes the basis for the person's faith that the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet. Joseph Smith, himself wrote, "Search the scriptures—search the revelations which we publish, and ask your Heavenly Father, in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, to manifest the truth unto you, and if you do it with an eye single to His glory nothing doubting, He will answer you by the power of His Holy Spirit." It is important to note that the entire Mormon religion is built upon a subjective religious experience.
Problems with the Test
A. It is a form of circular reasoning. The conclusion is presumed before the investigation begins. Notice again the way the question is worded. A negative answer is not possible unless the person is not sincere. A person who does not receive a testimony, or who has a negative testimony, is often instructed to read the book and pray again. We have been told on several occasions that what we need to do is put our questions aside and read the book again and pray. But is this the right way to test for truth? Consider the following.
Say to your Mormon friend, "The test of the book is given within the book itself. Now I know that you are convinced the Book of Mormon is true but let's assume just for the sake of argument that it is not from God. If the book is not from God then isn't it true that the test would not be from God? If the test is not from God, then isn't it true that any confirmation received would not be from God?"
This can be an interesting dilemma to present to a Mormon friend.
B. The Mormon is somewhat disingenuous in proposing this test because they would never use it to determine the truth of anything else. For instance, would they be willing to read the Koran and pray about its truthfulness? Why not? Their answer should be interesting. But if this is the test to determine truth, it should work in all circumstances.
C. This is not the biblical means for examining a teaching. Acts 17:11 says, "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so." (ESV) Notice that the bible commends these Jews because they examined Paul's teaching in the light of what they knew God had already said to determine if Paul was bringing the truth. In 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 we read, "Do not despise prophecies but test everything; hold fast what is good." (ESV) We are never told to determine spiritual truth by a subjective experience because the possibility of being deceived is too great. Jeremiah 17:9 warns, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (ESV)
One of the arguments that Mormons will sometimes make at this point is that if a person sincerely prays to Heavenly Father, he will not be deceived. But the bible never gives this assurance. Remind them that 1Timothy 4:1 warns us of seducing spirits and 2 Cor. 11:14 says that Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. It is possible for a person to sincerely pray and still end up sincerely wrong. The following dialogue might be helpful in approaching a Mormon friend.
Christian: "I know of people who have prayed about the Book of Mormon and they received an answer that the Book of Mormon wasn't true. What would you say to them?"
Mormon: "They shouldn't follow that instruction. They should read the book and pray again."
Christian: "Where would you say the answer these people received came from?"
Mormon: "It may have come from the devil. Remember that he desires to deceive."
Christian: "Oh, so it is possible for Satan to give a false answer to a prayer that is prayed to Heavenly Father?"
Mormon: "Well, maybe in certain circumstances."
Christian: "Since people can have conflicting responses to this test, and we can't be completely positive about where the answer is coming from, can we put this test aside for a little while?"
In doing this the Christian has effectively removed the major platform on which the Mormon stands; their personal testimony. Mormons mistakenly hold to two contradictory beliefs. First they believe that if a person sincerely prays to the Heavenly Father, they cannot be deceived by Satan. But secondly, they believe that anyone who receives a negative response to the prayer about the Book of Mormon was deceived by Satan or wasn't sincere in their prayer.
We need a stronger basis for belief than just an experience. Every religion can point to experiences. Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses and Buddhists are equally sincere about their beliefs but they are sincerely wrong.
Truth is objective. That is, it has a reality outside of the individual and is true for all people whether or not they accept it. For instance, gravity is true whether or not an individual believes it. So the question remains, how does one determine truth?
A. Conformity- Something is true when it conforms to reality or, in other words, fits the facts. The bible records the history of God's activity among the nations of the Middle East in general and Israel in particular. The cities can be located. The events can be confirmed from outside sources. Archeology reveals the truthfulness of the account. The customs recorded in scripture match those found in outside sources concerning the people living in the specific period in question. All of these things and many more, assure us that the Bible is true.
B. Consistency- Truth does not contradict other truths. The Law of Non-contradiction states that two opposing ideas can not both be true. If the Mormons believe, as they claim, that the bible is the word of God (insofar as it is translated correctly), then the Book of Mormon should be consistent with the teachings found in the bible.
As shall be demonstrated shortly, when these tests are applied to the Book of Mormon, it fares poorly.
Conformity- Does the Book of Mormon conform to reality?
A. Archeology- There is no archeological support for the Book of Mormon. In spite of the fact that the Nephites and Lamanites are said to fill the land for hundreds of years building incredible structures and fighting huge wars, not one place spoken of in the Book of Mormon, not one coin, not one person has ever positively been identified and confirmed by any outside source. This is why there are no maps in the Book of Mormon. Mormons will often point to the Indian cities and edifices of Central America but when they are pressed they will concede that these nations and ruins cannot be positively correlated with any of the characters or locations in the Book of Mormon.
Additionally, there are numerous anachronisms in the Book of Mormon that archeology tells us should not be there. In other words, not only isn't the book supported by archeology, it is actually contradicted by archeology.
1 Nephi 2:8 speaks of a river that empties into the Red Sea. No river has ever been found to have emptied into the Red Sea. This demonstrates that the author of the book was not familiar with Middle Eastern geography. If the author of the Book of Mormon was truly from the land of Israel this mistake would not have been made.
2 Nephi 5:15 and several other references speak of the people working with steel. The methods used for producing steel were not discovered until hundreds of years later and were unknown in the America's until its discovery by the Europeans. This passage is also interesting because this small band of people which may have contained 20 individuals built a temple "like unto Solomon's". According to 1 Kings 5:13-18 Solomon employed 30,000 laborers, 70,000 carriers, 80,000 stone cutters and 3,300 foremen, a total of 183,300 workers, to build the temple and it took them approximately seven years to finish the work. But amazingly Nephi builds a similar structure in no time with just his family members.
Enos 1:21 and other references mention horses. However, horses were not introduced on the American continents until the Spanish invasion.
Mosiah 21:27 says that the people possessed plates of ore. Ore is the rock from which metal is extracted. It is not a material from which anything can be made.
Alma 1:29 and other references speak of silk. Once again silk is unknown in the Americas until the coming of Europeans.
2 Nephi 10:3 mentions crucifixion. Crucifixion was developed by the Romans. It was completely unknown on the American continent. The word would have had no meaning to the people hearing it.
This is just a sampling of the many archeological problems within the Book of Mormon. In addition to these, the book of Mormon speaks of chariots, cement, armor, swords, synagogues and a variety of other items and customs completely unknown among the American Indians. Not only this, but the customs, tools and manners of the American Indian show remarkable similarity to those of the inhabitants of Asia, but absolutely no relationship to the inhabitants of Israel. In short, the Book of Mormon fails to conform to what is known to be true from archeology.
B. DNA Evidence.
DNA research has conclusively proven the Book of Mormon to be false. Remember that according to the Book of Mormon, the primary ancestry of the American Indian is Jewish. Mitochondrial DNA research has demonstrated that the American Indians are related to the inhabitants of Asia who probably crossed over into this continent across the Bering Strait into Alaska. DNA research, conducted on over 150 tribes to date, has found absolutely no link between the American Indians and Israelites. The results of the study show that 99.4% of the DNA is from Asian sources and .6% is from European and African sources. None of the DNA correlates to Jewish or Semitic origins. Additionally, methods have been developed to extract DNA from skeletons which enable scientists to test the ancient inhabitants of America. Once again, the results are the same. The inhabitants of the American continents came from Asia. Consider the following statements from leading researchers in the field of DNA research:
"If you look at those genes most commonly found in Native American populations and those genes most commonly found in Jewish populations, they don't coincide at all."
(David Glen Smith Ph.D. Molecular Anthropologist, Univ. of Calif., Davis)
"The DNA data indicate the closest affinities of contemporary Native American populations are with populations in East Asia and Central Asia." (Dennis O'Rourke, Ph.D. Molecular Anthropologist, University of Utah)
"Archeologists and physical anthropologists have not found any evidence of Hebrew origins for the people of North, South and Central America.... The origin of the people in North, South, and Central America....was North Asia."
(Dr. Stephen L. Whittington, Anthropologist, Univ. of Maine)
" We are in a dilemma now. The DNA evidence shows clearly that the American Indians are not Hebrews, not Israelites. (Thomas Murphy. Mormon Scholar, Chair of Anthropology, Edwards Community College, Doctoral candidate)
"The genetic evidence shows that the American Indian came from Asia."
(Randall Shortridge, Ph.D. Molecular Biology, Univ. of N.Y., Buffalo)
C. Linguistic Evidence. Linguistic analysis shows that the language of the American Indian is related to the inhabitants of Asia. There is no relationship between the language of the American Indians and the Israelites. Commenting on the possibility that the American Indians are descendants of Israelites, Dr. John McLaughlin, after studying over 900 languages, made the following comment:
" All the evidence we have ....points against it." (Dr. John McLaughlin, Linguist, Utah State University)
It's beginning to appear that the Indians came from Asia and not Israel.
D. Logical problems. There are many items in the Book of Mormon that simply don't make sense from a historical, rational perspective.
• The Book of Mormon was supposedly written in Reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics. Egypt was the land of slavery. Why would a Jew write in the language of an avowed enemy? 1 Nephi 3:19 says that it was in the wisdom of God that they "preserve unto our chidren the language of our fathers." Remember that Nephi and his family were Jews. How does writing in Reformed Egyptian assist in the preservation of the Jewish language?
• The presence of Greek words and New Testament concepts. Remember that the Book of Mormon was written primarily by Old Testament era Jews, supposedly in Reformed Egyptian. How then does one explain the numerous appearances of words that are translations of Greek words and which contain New Testament ideas? These include the words; Christ (a Jew would have used the word Messiah), church, bible, speaking in tongues [occurs prior to the resurrection of Jesus in the BOM], crucifixion, epistle, disciple, apostle, martyr, anti-Christ, gospel, baptism, baptize, carnal, elected, type and Alpha and Omega. Are we now supposed to believe that a Hebrew man wrote in Reformed Egyptian using Greek words? Modern Mormon defenders will sometimes reply that Joseph Smith had to translate in the words of his day, but this simply doesn't work. Do we really believe that Joseph had to use the word "epistle", which means letter, because another word wasn't available? It seems like an intentional effort to make the Book of Mormon sound like the Bible.
• 2 Nephi 22:2 says "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also has become my salvation." Aside from this being a plagiarism from Isaiah 12, the word Jehovah is a problem. Jehovah is a mistranslation of the Hebrew tetragrammaton, YHWH. This word first appeared in the 13th century A.D. long after the plates were buried. How does this word find its way into the Book of Mormon, especially considering Joseph was given the book phrase by phrase through the gift and power of God?
• The presence of other non-Hebrew words and phrases. Words like sally forth, methought, liquors, cement, headplates, machinery, depressed, faculties, priestcrafts and extinct are strangely out of place in this book.
• Jacob 7:27 ends with the statement, "Brethren, adieu." Now the reader is supposed to believe that a Hebrew man wrote in Reformed Egyptian and spoke French???
• Alma 56:56 tells us that Helaman and his soldiers have just finished a twelve year war in which thousands of Lamanites were destroyed but Helaman did not lose a single man. Is this reasonable?
• 3 Nephi 8 describes a tremendous tumult that occurs to mark the crucifixion of Christ. The bible mentions several miraculous events taking place in the land of Israel including the darkening of the sun. However people in the Americas, according to the Book of Mormon, are subject to severe judgments. Entire cities were burned with fire or sank into the sea. Thousands of people are killed (3 Nephi 8-9). Why?? God didn't even judge the people who participated in the death of Christ in this manner. Why would all of this happen in America?
• Ether 6:5 says that the Lord caused a furious wind to blow toward the Promised Land (America in this story). Yet the trip ends up taking 344 days. It is estimated that the boat would have only traveled 10 miles a day for the trip to have taken so long.
The Book of Mormon is replete with plagiarisms from the King James Version of the Bible. There are literally thousands of verses that are copied directly; however space will only allow us to demonstrate a few of these. Consider the following:
Mark 10:16-18 (KJV)
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned; and these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.
Consider another short example:
Galatians 5:1 (KJV)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.
...standeth fast in that liberty in the which God hath made us free.
The most dramatic examples are found in 2 Nephi 12-24. This entire section is copied from Isaiah 2-14. The author of this section, Jacob, informs us that he is including the words of Isaiah. What is most amazing is that the translation is nearly word for word from the KJV Bible including the italicized words and the chapter and verse breaks. This is vital because the italicized words were added by the King James translators for clarity but are not in the original language. Chapter and verse divisions were also added much later than the original writing. This is truly devastating to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. For the Book of Mormon to be true, one must believe that a Hebrew man took the words of Isaiah and translated them into Reformed Egyptian around 550 B.C. These words were then translated into English by an American man in the nineteenth century and the word choices he used were exactly the same as a team of English translators from the seventeenth century translating a document from the original Hebrew, including the italicized words. Anyone familiar with the task of translating one language into another will realize this stretches believability to the breaking point.
Another large section can be found in 3 Nephi 12-14 which is taken from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, although in this section some of the material has been rearranged and a few quotes from the writings of the apostle Paul have also made their way in.
Intellectually honest Mormon scholars are aware of the problem. Grant Palmer, commenting on the similarity between 3 Nephi 28 and 1 Cor. 15:51-53 and 2 Cor. 12:2-4 writes, "What is obvious about this section of the Book of Mormon is that it was borrowed from the KJV and placed in an ancient American context."
F. Evangelical Protestantism in the Book of Mormon
For a book written by the descendants of Hebrews from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D., the author of the book of Mormon has an amazing understanding of debates and practices occurring in the Evangelical community in nineteenth century America. Mormon author, Grant Palmer, recognizes the evangelical influence on the Book of Mormon stating, "We have not taken Joseph Smith seriously enough when he said that he had an "intimate acquaintance" with evangelical religion and that he was "somewhat partial" to the Methodists." Examples of this evangelical influence include:
• Calvinism. In Alma 31:12-17, Alma encounters a group of people called the Zoramites with whom he will contend. Notice carefully their belief in a perverted form of predestination. "Holy, holy God; we believe that thou art God, and we believe that thou art holy, and that thou wast a spirit, and that thou art a spirit, and that thou wilt be a spirit forever. Holy God, we believe that thou hast separated us from our brethren; and we do not believe in the tradition of our brethren, which was handed down to them by the childishness of their fathers; but we believe that thou hast elected us to be thy holy children; and also thou hast made it known unto us that there shall be no Christ. But thou art the same, yesterday, today, and forever (plagiarized from Heb. 13:8); and thou hast elected us that we shall be saved, whilst all around us are elected to be cast by thy wrath down to hell;" Since it is known that Joseph Smith was an exhorter in the Methodist church for a time and was partial to the Arminian doctrine , it is not surprising that he would make his Calvinists anti-Christian heretics. It is, however, difficult to believe that a group of Indians was holding to a form of double predestination in 74 B.C.
IPS Note: See Section on Calvinism
• Dispensationalism. In 3 Nephi 29:6 we read, "Yea, wo unto him that shall deny the revelations of the Lord, and that shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation, or by prophecy, or by gifts, or by tongues, or by healings, or by the power of the Holy Ghost!" This passage was supposedly written in A.D. 34-35. Would this really have been a debate at that time when the apostles were still alive both in Israel and supposedly in America as well? While it seems out of place in this context, it fits well into the context of Joseph Smith's day.
• Brush Arbor Camp Meetings and Crusade evangelism. Grant Palmer documents that a Methodist camp meeting took place one mile from Joseph Smith's hometown of Palmyra, New York, on June 7, 1826. Preparation for the meeting included consecrating the ground, which was then called the "temple" or the "house of God". This meeting in Palmyra attracted 10,000 people. This particular gathering was privileged to hear the farewell speech of the beloved Bishop McKendree. The speakers stood on a raised platform. The scene, as described by those in attendance, is remarkably similar to the scene described in Mosiah 2-4 when the people gathered to hear the farewell speech of King Benjamin. Notice especially, the revival style of response found in Mosiah 4:1-3, "And now it came to pass that when king Benjamin had made an end of speaking the words which had been delivered unto him by the angel of the Lord, that he cast his eyes round about on the multitude, and behold they had fallen to the earth, for the fear of the Lord had come upon them. And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying; O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ [this is occurring in 124 B.C.] that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men. And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they were filled with joy, having received a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ who should come, according to the words which king Benjamin had spoken unto them." Once again, it is difficult to picture a revival meeting of this nature taking place in the historical setting of American Indians living prior to the birth of Christ but not at all difficult to reconcile with the time period in which Joseph Smith translated [or wrote] the Book of Mormon.
• Universalism. Alma 1:4 tells of a man named Gideon who "testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved in the last day, and they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and, in the end, all men should have eternal life." Universalism was another of the great debates of Joseph Smith's era when much of the church was deeply influenced by liberalism.
G. Poor Literary Value
The Book of Mormon is inferior literature. Mark Twain is quoted as calling it "chloroform in print." There are no books of praise comparable to Psalms. Nor is there wisdom literature of the likes of Proverbs. Whereas even non-Christian professors of literature agree the Bible contains some of the greatest writing in the ancient world, the Book of Mormon pales in comparison.
• "It came to pass". This phrase or a form thereof, occurs over 1,600 times in the 239 chapters of the Book of Mormon. While this is bad enough, it becomes even more dramatic if one removes the entire chapters plagiarized from the KJV Bible from the text and considers only what is left. It appears 31 times in the 39 verses of 1 Nephi 16 alone. Surely, God could write a better book. This over-use of a particular phrase throughout the entire Book of Mormon also testifies to the book having a single human author as opposed to the multiple authors it claims. Compare this to the bible. The writings of Paul are markedly different from those of John or Peter or Isaiah, etc. Other worn out phrases are inasmuch, insomuch, behold and exceedingly. Incidentally, in the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, in which Joseph claimed to have corrected the errors in the King James Bible, the first phrase in the Bible in Genesis 1:1 is, "And it came to pass..."
• Meaningless passages. Consider this gem of revelation from 4 Nephi 1:6, "And thus did the thirty and eighth year pass away, and also the thirty and ninth, and forty, and first, and the forty and second, yea, even until the forty and nine years had passed away, and also the fifty and first, and the fifty and second; yea, and even until the fifty and nine years had passed away." Feel inspired? Mormons may respond that the numerous genealogies in the Bible have similar irrelevance but this would not be true. In Israel, under the covenant, one's ancestry was extremely important in determining property rights as well as one's ability to serve in the temple. Upon returning from captivity, those who were unable to prove their ancestry were denied such opportunities. Another meaningless section in the Book of Mormon is the first eleven verses of the book of Omni.
There are passages in the Book of Mormon that would be laughable were it not for the millions of people living in deception because of this fraud. Space will allow us to reference only a few.
• Ether 2:20. God has commanded and given instructions for the construction of a boat to sail across the ocean. The boat could travel above or beneath the water. Unfortunately, God forgot to leave the people a way to breathe in the boat because it is air tight. So God gives the following instruction, "And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood." Can anyone explain the value of the hole in the bottom of the boat?
• Alma 44:12-16. This passage records one of the many large battles in the book. It contains the following humorous passage, "and he also smote Zerahemnah that he took off his scalp and it fell to the earth. And Zerahemnah withdrew from before them into the midst of his soldiers. And it came to pass that the soldier who stood by, who smote off the scalp of Zerahemnah, took up the scalp from off the ground by the hair, and laid it upon the point of his sword, and stretched it forth unto them... Now it came to pass that Zerahemnah was exceedingly wroth, and he did stir up the remainder of his soldiers to anger, to contend more powerfully against the Nephites." One is asked to believe that Zerahemnah has a section of his scalp removed by the blow of a sword to his skull. This piece of scalp is large enough that a man can place it on the tip of his sword for all to see. Zerahemnah retreats into the middle of his soldiers, does not die but rather becomes angry and stirs up his soldiers to battle more fiercely against the Nephites. In fact Zerahemna is still alive at the end of the battle and surrenders to Moroni.
• Ether 15:30-31. A great battle has taken place leaving only two men alive, one from each of the armies. "And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz. And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died." These verses, obviously, require no comment.
• Helamen 9:6 reads, "Now, immediately when the judge had been murdered—he being stabbed by his brother by a garb of secrecy..." How does one stab someone by a garb of secrecy?
I. Poor Grammar
This may seem like a small issue but it would seem that if God wrote a book, He would be able to do so with proper grammar. Yet in the Book of Mormon one consistently comes across phrases such as, "he was exceedingly rejoiced", "more part", "cite your minds forward", "the more idle part", "so dearly beloved us", "unwearyingness" and many others. 3 Nephi 21:2-7 is all one sentence, containing 344 words. Imagine trying to diagram that in English class. These can not be passed off as being the result of Joseph Smith's lack of education because the Book of Mormon was supposedly given to him phrase by phrase. Each phrase was said to remain in front of his eyes (which were looking in his hat at a seer stone) until it had been copied correctly. (It should also be noted that Joseph was far more educated than is at first admitted by many Mormons. Though he may have only had a third grade formal education, his father was a school teacher and Joseph was home-schooled. His writings, including the charter for the city of Nauvoo, demonstrate a grasp of the English language sufficient for him to have been the author of the Book of Mormon.)
Conclusion: It is very difficult to see how the Book of Mormon passes the test of conformity. It has problems archeologically, linguistically, scientifically and logically. Furthermore, the book is full of outright plagiarisms from the King James Bible and many of its events have more in common with nineteenth century evangelicalism than with the period around the time of Christ. Lastly, some of the stories and events in the writing are patently ridiculous. For these reasons, the Book of Mormon is not true and cannot be the word of God.
Consistency- Is the Book of Mormon consistent with other scriptures?
This section will demonstrate that the Book of Mormon fails the test of consistency. In fact, the Book of Mormon is inconsistent with what God has revealed in the Bible, is inconsistent with modern Mormon doctrine and is inconsistent with the Book of Mormon itself. Once again, space only permits a few examples of each.
2 Nephi 5:15-16 states, "And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance. And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land." So which is it? Were the precious ores in great abundance or were they not to be found upon the land?
2 Nephi 3:3 contains a false prophecy. Lehi tells his son Joseph that his descendants will not be utterly destroyed. Yet the end of the book of Mormon tells that all the Nephite people were completely destroyed.
Inconsistency with the Bible
Moroni 10:32 gives the conditions for receiving the grace of God and they not only contradict scripture, they are impossible. It states, "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by His grace ye may be perfect in Christ;". This passage should make every Christian thankful for the simplicity of the gospel of Christ.
Alma 45:13-15 states that the believers began to be called Christians before the birth of Christ (73 B.C.). But Acts 11:26 says the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
1 Nephi 22:20 is actually humorous. The author tells us that he is quoting Moses. The passage should come from Deuteronomy 18:15-18. This would have been possible since the scriptures up to that time were brought with the travelers from Jerusalem to America. However, the author actually quotes Peter's paraphrase of the words of Moses found in Acts 3:22!! Obviously, Acts was not available to Nephi.
Alma 7:10 prophecies that Jesus will be born of Mary at Jerusalem. However, Micah prophesied, and the New Testament confirms, that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
2 Nephi 10:3 says that Christ "should be his name". Christ is a title and corresponds to the Hebrew word messiah. It is not a name.
2 Nephi 2:22-25 effectively makes God the author of sin since God had commanded Adam and Eve to multiply before commanding them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet here we find that they were unable to multiply until they sinned by eating the forbidden tree. This means that God placed Adam in a catch 22. Either Adam would sin by eating of the forbidden fruit or by default he would sin in his inability to multiply as God had commanded.
2 Nephi 25:23 states that we are saved by grace after all we can do. Compare this with Ephesians 2:8-9 among other verses. At this point it is important to distinguish between Mormon folk doctrine and official doctrine. The average Mormon believes essentially, "I must do my best and God will do the rest." This is not, however, what the Book of Mormon nor the Mormon Church teaches. It is good to remind the Mormon that "all" is not a 50% word or even a 90% word. It is a 100% word. How does one know when one has done "all you can do"? Is it even possible for fallen man to do "all you can do"? When the Mormon lays their head down at night could they have prayed ten more minutes? Could they have found one more person who needs to hear the gospel? Could they have read the scriptures a little more? To do "all we can do" is impossible. Praise God that Jesus Christ has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.
1 Nephi 14:3 indicates hell was prepared for wicked men. Compare Matthew 25:41 which states that hell was created for the devil and his angels.
Mosiah 23:16 states that Alma was the founder of their church. In Matthew 16:18 Christ claims that He will establish His church. Who is the true founder of the church?
Inconsistency with Mormon Doctrine
Jacob 1:15, 2:24,27,31,33 all teach against having more than one wife. Verse 24 calls it an abomination. Compare this with Doctrine and Covenants 132:34-35,37,39,52,54,61-63, which command a plurality of wives.
2 Nephi 31:21 states, "And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen." This verse seems to teach the doctrine of the Trinity which Mormons reject.
Alma 7:10 states that Jesus would be conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost. This disagrees with current Mormon teaching as stated by Bruce McConkie in his book, Mormon Doctrine, that Jesus was conceived by a sexual union between Heavenly Father and Mary. James Talmage, former prophet and Mormon president, also states that Jesus was conceived in this way.
Alma 11:28-29 plainly teaches that there is not more than one God. This contradicts Mormon teaching found in the "King Follet Discourse", "Pearl of Great Price", and "Doctrine and Covenants 132", among others, that there are many gods and man can become a god.
Alma 34:34-35 teaches that there is no opportunity for repentance after death which stands in opposition to Mormon teachings of spirit prison and baptism for the dead. Spirit prison is the place where persons go who did not accept the Mormon gospel in their lifetime. If a Mormon is baptized for them after they are dead, Mormon missionaries will come to them in spirit prison and offer them the chance to accept this baptism. If they accept this baptism performed in their behalf by a living Mormon, they will be released from spirit prison and enter spirit paradise to continue their progression. This Mormon doctrine also directly contradicts passages in the Bible like Hebrews 9:27 which states, "It is appointed unto man once to die and after this, the judgment." (KJV).
Mosiah 3:5 teaches that God was and is from all eternity to all eternity. This negates Mormon doctrine that God was once a man.
3 Nephi 28 tells of three Nephite apostles who were promised by Jesus that they would never endure the pains of death but would live to behold all the doings of the Father and would be changed in the twinkling of an eye at the second coming of Christ. This does not square with the teaching in the Book of Mormon that all the Nephites died or with the Mormon doctrine that the church endured a total apostasy and had to be restored by Joseph Smith. If these three apostles never died, how can the church have endured a total apostasy? Incidentally, Doctrines and Covenants 7 teaches that the apostle John also never died. This is one more problem for the teaching of total apostasy.
Once again, the book of Mormon fails the test of truth. The Bible and the Book of Mormon cannot both contain the fullness of the everlasting gospel as Mormons claim, for they are contradictory. Additionally, the Book of Mormon is in opposition to current Mormon theology.
The Book of Mormon fails every attempt to evaluate it objectively. Biblical faith is not blind. God left Himself a witness for the truth of the Old and New Testament in history and archeology. Why is the same not true for the Book of Mormon?
Final Question for Our Mormon Friends
There is another issue that should be considered in evaluating the Book of Mormon and LDS doctrine. Think again about Joseph Smith's claim, "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."
If this is true, then why are so many Mormon doctrines that are essential to salvation and exaltation, such as the law of eternal progression, God having a body of flesh and bones, pre-existence as spirit children, celestial marriage, temple endowments, baptism for the dead, Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods, spirit prison and spirit paradise, missing from within the Book of Mormon?
We have never heard an adequate answer from any LDS representative to this question.
Rev. Keith Gibson