The Book of Mormon, the most correct book, or is it?
Joseph Smith said about the Book of Mormon that it is “the most correct book on earth and that a man would get closer to God by abiding by its precepts than any other book.” I think it goes without saying that if the first part of that claim, that it is the most correct book, is not true than it naturally follows that the second part of the claim is false as well, which is that it will bring you closer to God than any other book. Before we even examine the Book of Mormon and what it is all about, a major issue I have with the claim Smith made is that it places The Book of Mormon higher in importance that the Holy Bible. When anyone claims to have importance that supersedes the Bible, or when they try to denigrate the Bible in any way, they are immediately suspect in my book.
As a disclaimer, I have nothing agains the Latter Day Saint people and you would be hard pressed to find a more descent, moral, honest and hard working people, and I have many LDS friends and some family. My issue is not with the people but with the church and its false and blasphemous doctrine that cannot and will not lead to salvation! I love the LDS people and my greatest desire is that they would all find the true Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible and be saved. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free," and once the LDS people know the truth they will be free from the false doctrines of the LDS Church and free to follow Jesus who is waiting for them with open arms.
There have been hundreds of books and videos made that show the problems with The Book of Mormon and many of them puts forth compelling evidence that it can’t be true, much less what it is claiming to be, but the problem with any world view, whether it is religious, political or otherwise, is that some people will choose to believe it, regardless of how much evidence there is that it is wrong because it is easier than admitting they are wrong and accepting a new belief structure. I will add links to some of the videos and books that show compelling evidence that The Book of Mormon is nothing more than a creation of Joseph Smith and his close associates. I am not, however, going to put a link to support every claim I make as most of those sources can be easily found, and most, if not all of them, are mentioned in the videos and or books I will link to in the foot notes of the blog and the show notes of the podcast.
We don't even get past the introduction before we find a demonstrably false claim, which is that the Lamanites, a supposed Semitic people, are the principle ancestors of the indigenous peoples of America. The title page of The Book of Mormon claims that the indigenous peoples of America "are a remnant of the house of Israel." Extensive DNA tests have shown conclusively that he indigenous peoples of North, South and Central America are not descended from Jews or any other people from the Middle East but are from Asia, (1). Some Mormon apologist try to get around this particularly thorny issue by claiming that Lehi, the father of both major people groups in The Book of Mormon, is not from the tribe of Judah and therefore not Jewish. Of course, the title page says they are from the house of Israel, and the Book of Mormon says Lehi was descended from Manasseh, so he was supposed to be from the line of Abraham, clearly a Middle Eastern people. The DNA tests show no Middle Eastern blood in any of the indigenous peoples of North, South or Central America.
Also, in the title page it says that Jesus Christ is the Eternal God, but that conflicts with later official LDS doctrine that Jesus was created by the father and did not eternally exist. Eternal is defined as being without beginning or end and valid or existing at all times, so if there was ever a time that Jesus did not exist or that he was not God, as is the claim by LDS doctrine, than the Book of Mormon fails the "most correct book" claim before you even get past the title page. Of course, according to the Bible, the ultimate resource on God, Jesus is eternal and was and is God eternally.
The Introduction says that The Book of Mormon "contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel." Either the claim that the Bible and Book of Mormon contain the fullness of the everlasting gospel is false or else Joseph Smith had no idea what "fullness" meant when he wrote the title page, otherwise there would be no need for the Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price or other canonized LDS scriptures. If the Bible and Book of Mormon contain the fullness of the everlasting gospel than there is no need for more, and if anything else that claims to be the gospel must therefore be a lie.
The Book of Mormon title page claims the golden plates were "translated by the power of God," but what it doesn't say is that Joseph Smith did not look at the plates to translate them and did not use the urim and thummim, instead he put a special rock in his hat and stuck his face into the hat and claimed to have the characters and the translation show up on the rock and he would dictate the english translation to his scribe.
The title page also says that everyone who obeys the laws and ordinances of the gospel will be saved, but the problem is, The Book of Mormon is said to contain the fulness of the gospel and yet does not contain most of what the LDS Church considers saving ordinances such as baptism for the dead, temple initiatory and endowment, work for the dead, etc.
The Title page also mentions "God the Eternal Father," but if LDS doctrine by Joseph Smith and other leaders is to be believed, than the God they serve was not always God and was once a man like us who, through obedience to his god, became a god and is now doing what his god did. A god that has a beginning is not an eternal god, and certainly not the Eternal God.
The next problematic text we get to is the testimony of the three and the eight witnesses. Joseph Smith and not the witnesses wrote the testimony and then the witnesses were coerced into signing it. All of the three witnesses fell away from the Church, and while it it true that Oliver Cowdrey and Martin Harris eventually came back to the Church, David Whitmer never did. None of the three witnesses ever outright denied their testimony of the gold plats, Martin Harris said that he did not see the plates or the angel with his earthly eyes, just his spiritual eyes and those who were familiar with him said he alway had fanciful tales and was given to visions and imaginations.
Out of the eight witnesses, three of them fell away and three of the ones who remained faithful were Smiths, immediate family members of Joseph Smith’s family.
The next section is the Joseph Smith testimony, and one of the things that critics bring up about the origin of The Book of Mormon is that it seams suspect at best that the golden plates would just happen to be buried close to where Joseph Smith lived, but of course, if the book had actually come forth by divine means, as is the claim, than I see no logical reason why God could not have worked things out to get Smith to the right area at the right time. Full disclosure though, I don't believe anything to do with the origin of The Book of Mormon or the LDS Church was divine or anything other than a fraud.
Early on in Smith's testimony he says that The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel, which means that anything that came later can't be part of the gospel, including all of the later writings by Smith himself. Besides the claim that The Book of Mormon contains the fullness of the gospel, I have a few other issues with Joseph Smith's testimony, including how important he made the urim and thummim sound, despite them never being used in the translation process, not even once.
In Smith's testimony he says that he was told by the angel that if he showed the plates to anyone besides who he was commanded to show them to that he would be destroyed, which to some might sound divine, but to me it sounds like a clever plan to hide the fact that he didn't actually have any golden plates. Joseph Smith claimed that the angel Moroni visited his room three times and each time the room was lit up brighter than noon day, and each time the angel repeated the same thing to him. My issue with this story is that I have been to the house that these heavenly visitations supposedly took place, and the room Joseph slept in was small and cramped, and he shared it with his brothers, and the light would have shone downstairs as well. I have a difficult time believing that an angel lit up the house for the entire night and everyone else just slept through it, especially Joseph's brothers who shared the room with him.
Joseph claimed that after he translated the plates the angel took them back, and I have several issues with this. First, God is not a God of confusion and would not go out of his way to hide evidence of his existence or proof of his gospel. With the Bible we have massive amounts of evidence outside of the Bible itself to corroborate the Bible, but with the LDS Church we have nothing. It would give an astounding amount of credibility to The Book of Mormon to have the plates, and if Jospeh Smith never had the plates or made some plates to fool people, as many historians believe, than it would make sense for him to claim that the angel took them. It also doesn't make sense that after the plates were taken that the stone box that they were supposedly hidden in is no where to be found. There is no logical reason to believe the angel would have to take a stone box to heaven to protect the plates.
When I visited the Hill Cumorah in New York I asked if the church had ever looked for evidence there to support The Book of Mormon, including the battles, and they said they did but found nothing. Many LDS apologist try to cover this by saying there were two hill Cumorah's, one where the battles took place and the other where Moroni buried the plates. A careful reading of the book of Moroni though strongly suggests Moroni hid the plates in the area where the last big battle between the Nephites and Lamenites took place.
Mormons say that there is no way Joseph Smith could have written The Book of Mormon in such a short time if he made it up, but if you consider his story about the timeline when he first claims to have told people about his visions, than that would have given Joseph Smith from 1820 to 1830, ten years to come up with the story, and that is more than enough time, especially if his close associates helped him with it, and there is a lot of evidence that at least some of them did help above just writing down what he said. There have also been many books written is a shorter time span, many of which were authored by people with credentials no greater than what Smith had.
I have a lot of issues with the LDS Church, including many about the origins of The Book of Mormon, but I will stick to only things that are written in the Book of Mormon. Even before getting into the actual book I found a lot of problems in the introduction, testimonies, etc. but there are also multitudes of problems with the actual book.
One of the first issues I have with The Book of Mormon is there is a man named Lehi and he is preaching that there will be a Messiah and the Jews mocked him for it. Let me be clear in this, no Jew would mock anyone for saying there will be a messiah as that is a central belief in Judaism and is found throughout the Torah. When Jesus came along the Jews did not hate him because they did not believe there would be a messiah, but rather because they did not believe that he was the messiah. Even today, Jews believe there will be a messiah, they just believe he has not come yet.
In 1 Nephi 2:7 it talks of Lehi offering sacrifices to God, and there is a major problem with this. Lehi was not a levite and therefore had no right to offer sacrifice and Dueteronomy 12:4-6, 8-11 and 13-14 says explicitly that sacrifices are ONLY acceptable if they are offered at the temple.
Other than what is written in The Book of Mormon, I have an issue with how it was written; for a book that was supposedly written in Hebrew and then rewritten in reformed Egyptian before being translate into English in the 1830s, it makes absolutely no sense for it to be written in old English instead of the common English that was spoken at that time. I personally think that one of the reasons for The Book of Mormon to be written in Old English was to so the plagiarized sections from the King James version of the Bible would not be so obvious. Another reason for the Old English was to make it appear more scriptural as the King James version of the Bible was the only Bible that most people had in the 1800s.
In 1 Nephi 2:20 it talks about America being choice above all other lands, and while I am the most patriotic person most people will ever meet and I personally think America is the greatest, God does not favor one nation above another and the only place the Bible ever talks of as being the chosen land is the Holy Land and Jerusalem.
A little later in the 1 Nephi, Lehi and his family flee from Jerusalem because the Jews are trying to kill them as a result of being upset about Lehi's preaching, but Lehi decided that before they headed out to their new promised land they must get the scriptures that are written on brass plates that a fellow named Laban had. I am sure I will mention it in detail later, but a lot of the scriptures the Book of Mormon people supposedly had from the brass plates had not yet been written at the time Lehi and his family supposedly left the Holy Land for the Americas.
After a few failed attempts by Lehi's sons at getting the brass plates, Nephi sneaks into the city and finds Laban laying on the street passed out drunk. God tells Nephi to cut Laban's head off with Laban's own sword, which is described as being made out of precious steel, and of course, iron swords were not even invented yet and would not be until around 1400 BC and steel was not invented until the 8th century. No steel of any kind, especially swords, was to be found in the Holy Land until the Roman invasion and occupation many years later. Lehi supposedly left Jerusalem around 600 BC and the Roman occupation started in 63 BC, so steel was not around until a little over five hundred years later. I also have trouble believing that a man of stature and power would just be lying in the alley passed out drunk by himself in the middle of the night.
After Lehi and his family fled from the city and were in the wilderness, and throughout the book, they offered sacrifices to God, and The Book of Mormon says they were descendants of Jospeh, but according to Jewish law, only Levites could offer sacrifices, and only at the temple, so Lehi and his family offered illegal sacrifices. From several places in the Torah and the Old Testament we learn that God was not happy with unauthorized sacrifices and punished the people for them, sometimes severely.
My next issue is in 1 Nephi 7 where Lehi tells his family about a vision he had, and the vision is almost identical to one Joseph Smith's father claimed to have had many years before Jospeh Smith ever mentioned any visions or heavenly visitations. Many people, including myself, believe that Jospeh Smith added his father's story of his claimed vision to The Book of Mormon. Anyhow, in the story, once people partake of the tree of life a lot of them are ashamed because other people make fun of them. My problem with that is the tree of life is supposed to be the pure love of God, and if someone were to experience the pure love of God I doubt they would be ashamed of it.
In 1st Nephi 10:17 it talks about the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Ghost, also known as the helper, was not present until after the death of Christ as we read in John 16:7 “ But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you,” (NIV). Clearly, the Holy Ghost or the Advocate was not on the scene as he is today until after Jesus died.
1 Nephi 11:33 says that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, but from the Bible we know that he was born in Bethlehem. Some Mormon apologist will say that “Bethlehem is in the land of Jerusalem,” but that idea is foreign to Jewish people and they would never refer to it that way. Also, Bethlehem is not right next to Jerusalem and there are many other town in between the two.
In 1 Nephi 13 it talks about the Native Americans, whose skin supposedly turned dark because of sin and became savages because of sin, were punished by the white people later because of their sins, which is not a very charitable view of the indigenous peoples of the American continent. The claim that the indigenous peoples of America are in any way from the lineage of Abraham is not supported by science, and in fact, is proven to be false by genetic tests.
Also in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of 1st Nephi we find what the LDS Church actually thinks of the Bible and other churches. If you were to ask an LDS person he or she would say, “All churches have truth but we have all the truth,” and “We believe in the Bible, so long as it is translated correctly.” However, The Book of Mormon says that all other churches are the church of the devil and that the Bible is unreliable because it has been corrupted and changed by evil men and, as we have it today, the Bible leads people astray. Mormons believe the Book of Mormon to be far superior to the Bible, so of course they believe what it teaches about the Bible and other churches. I have mentioned it before, but when I was on my mission another missionary threatened to kill me because I told him not to tell people in other churches that their church was the church of the devil.
There is overwhelming compelling evidence that the Bible was not corrupted or changed and that what we have was what the original writers said, and we have thousands of ancient manuscripts of the Bible, but we have no ancient manuscripts from The Book of Mormon, just what Jospeh Smith wrote. In this light, the Bible is infinitely more reliable than a book that was written in the 1800s by a young man who was believed to be a conman.
There are a lot of places in The Book of Mormon where it prophecies of Joseph Smith, and faithful LDS take that as proof that the book was divine, but those on the outside see it as evidence that Smith wrote himself into the book to appear more important to his followers and as a way to support his claims with self-fulfilling prophecies. If I wrote a book and the book mentioned me that would not be divine assurance that I was a prophet but rather proof that I had an over inflated ego.
In 1 Nephi 14 it speaks of a “hell that hath no end” but current LDS doctrine does not support the traditional views of hell and it teaches that almost everyone to ever be born will go to some degree of glory and only a few go to outer darkness, which is similar to the traditional hell. In fact, the only people believed to go to outer darkness are people who know for certain that the LDS Church is true and still fight against it, and of course, the devil and his angels. So, under that view, even Hitler and those like him were given some glory when they died and did not go to hell.
Also in the fourteenth chapter in the book of 1st Nephi, there is a lot to unpack in this chapter, it says Nephi was shown all John saw and wrote for the book of Revelations but that Nephi was forbidden to write it, and it also says that people don’t understand the writings of John because they were corrupted. Since it says that what John wrote was important and sacred, and since it was known that it would be corrupted, why was Nephi forbidden to write it. If we assume The Book of Mormon is true than God knew the Bible, and specifically the book of Revelations, would confuse people and cause them to go astray, and he allowed it. However, the Bible tells us that “God is not the author of confusion,” (1 Corinthians 14:33), so that is not something he would have done.
A lot of LDS leaders and people have compared Lehi and his family leaving Jerusalem and heading to the Americas to the Exodus out or Egypt, but where the children of Israel were led by a cloud by day and led by a pillar of fire by night, Lehi and his family were given a “brass ball of curious workmanship” that was basically like a compass that worked like a magic eight ball where you ask it a question and it gives the answer or points you to the direction you should go. Why would God provide the children of Israel a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night and lead the people of Lehi by giving them a magic compass? That story makes no sense at all.
Later in 1st Nephi (16:18), it says that Nephi broke his fine steel bow and could obtain no food, and I have several issues with this, first, there is a zero possibility that anyone, especially someone from the Holy land, had anything made of steel in 600 BC. Even if we are to assume that it was iron and not steel it would not be possible. Secondly, there is no reason why Nephi or one of the others could not have made snares, traps, slings or come up with other methods of hunting that people had done long before this time. In verse 15 it mentions that Nephi had stones and a sling, so why didn’t he use those?
In chapter seventeen it mentions that they ate raw meet, and the book claims they were living the law of Moses. The problem with this is, the law of Moses specifically prohibits eating raw meat, ( see Genesis 9:4).
It is interesting that in 1 Nephi 17:41 it talks about the children of Israel and the serpents that were sent among them and how many of the people refused to look upon the brass serpent that Moses held up because they thought that it was too easy, and as a result they died, the basic point being not to overlook the gospel because it appears to be too easy; the interesting thing about that is the LDS church spurns traditional Christianity because they say it is too easy and that we are not saved by grace alone but have to work out our own salvation by our works and by following ordinances and rules. Ephesians 2: 8-9 teaches us that, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast," (NIV).
1 Nephi 18: 25 says, "And it came to pass that we did find upon the land of promise, as we journeyed in the wilderness, that there were beasts in the forests of every kind, both the cow and the ox, and the ass and the horse, and the goat and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals, which were for the use of men. And we did find all manner of ore, both of gold, and of silver, and of copper."
There are a lot of problems with the above mentioned verse, not least among them are the wild animals that they supposedly found on the American continent. No cattle were in the Americas before the European settlers brought them over (2), and about the wild ox, an ox is a castrated bull! There is no possibility that ox would be found in the wild. Goats are also not native to the Americas and were brought over by the Europeans, and before anyone points out mountain goats, Nephi made the distinction between what we would think of as farm animals and mountain goats by saying, "the goat and the wild goat" so, while mountain goats are native to North America, no other type of goats are. Horses and donkeys were also not native to the Americas and were brought over by Europeans.
There is also the issue of all of the ore such as gold, silver and copper that was mentioned. According to the book of Nephi it was a fairly small group of people who came over on the ship, and most of them were women children and elderly, so it is not feasible that as soon as they arrived they would undertake a massive mining operation. If you have ever seen a copper mine you would immediately know that it is not something such a small group of people with such limited means could have accomplished.
In 1 Nephi 19:10 it says that the sign of the death of the messiah would be three days of darkness, a prophecy that was supposedly fulfilled later in The Book of Mormon, but the problem is, when Jesus died it was only dark for three hours in the Holy Land, so there is no logical reason why it would be dark for three days on the other side of the world, and there is no Biblical justification for this. In almost every aspect Joseph Smith tried to make The Book of Mormon one up the Bible, like an annoying cousin. If you climbed the local mountain your cousin climbed Mt. Everest. If you dated the home coming queen your cousin claimed to have dated a super model. All through The Book of Mormon, the people are supposedly given information that the writers of the Bible would not have many years, sometimes for hundreds of years.
Around this time in the narrative, The Book of Mormon starts quoting Isaiah, and what makes it apparent that Joseph Smith just copied verses out of the King James version of the Bible here and throughout The Book of Mormon is that many of the Isaiah verses that are quoted could not have been known by Lehi and his family as they were written after the Jewish exile into Babylon, and that occurred at least forty years after Lehi and his family left Jerusalem! Another problem is some of the Bible verses quoted in The Book of Mormon have errors that are unique to the 1769 King James version of the Bible (3), which is the version that most people had in America in the 1800s, and is the version Smith had.
Toward the end of 1 Nephi it claims that some of the verses from Isaiah were spoken to the Lamenite descendants of Lehi, believed by the Mormons to be the principle ancestors of the American Indians. However, there is no way these verses were spoken to the American Indians because they were for the children of Israel and science has proven that the Native Americans are not in any way related to any of the Israelite people or any Middle Eastern people.
There are many, many more problems with the Book of Mormon, but I only have time in this episode to cover a few of the multitudes of errors in the introduction, title page and 1st Nephi. I plan on covering the errors in the entire Book of Mormon, but it will have to be done is segments as there is so much to cover.
References and suggested reading and watching:
-The Bible vs Joseph Smith https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7tyCH3rBtU&index=2&t=1981s&list=PLU49fVKFYHepeOUVJeoGNFijm-6X5KXvG
-The Collapse of Mormonism: Why Millions Are No Longer Mormons https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn1iGvXU0dI&index=4&t=755s&list=PLU49fVKFYHepeOUVJeoGNFijm-6X5KXvG
-Top 10 Mormon Problems Explained https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ac_fLUHiBw&index=5&t=0s&list=PLU49fVKFYHepeOUVJeoGNFijm-6X5KXvG
-From Mormonism to Christianity https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEdVBzrYy00
-No Man Knows My History https://www.amazon.com/No-Man-Knows-History-Arkosh-ebook/dp/B07467NQDF/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540297562&sr=8-1&keywords=no+man+knows+my+history