The Book of Mormon’s Credibility

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In the early 1800s, 1823 to be exact, the angel Moroni allegedly visited Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and divulged the location of some golden plates which contained the “fullness of the everlasting gospel.” The plates abridged by Moroni and his father, Mormon, 1400 years earlier were written in “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics.” Along with the plates, Smith said he found a pair of magical eyeglasses that he used to translate the cryptic writing into English. The result, of course, was a new revelation called the Book of Mormon and a brand new religion called Mormonism. Now how millions can take the Book of Mormon seriously is almost beyond comprehension.

While Smith referred to the Book of Mormon as “the most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion,” its flaws run the gamut from the serious to the silly. In the category of serious, the Book of Mormon contains modalistic language that militates against the biblical doctrine of the Trinity and in the category of silly there’s a man that struggles to catch his breath after having his head cut off.

While archaeology is a powerful testimony to the accuracy of the Word of God, the same cannot be said for the Book of Mormon. Not only is there no archaeological evidence for a language such as “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics,” there is no archaeological support for lands such as the “land of Moron,” which you find in Ether 7:6. Nor is there any archaeological evidence to buttress the notion that Jaredites, Nephites,  and Lamanites all migrated from Israel to the Americas. On the contrary, both archaeology and anthropology demonstrate conclusively that the people and places that are chronicled in the Book of Mormon are little more than the product of a fertile imagination.

Joseph Smith asserted that the golden plates were translated “by the power of God” and produced “the most correct of any book on earth.” And Joseph F. Smith, by the way, the sixth president of the Mormon church, went so far as to say that the words were not only correct but that “every letter was given to [Joseph Smith] by the gift and power of God.” But the reality is this: the Book of Mormon has had to be corrected thousands of times to compensate for Smith’s poor grammar and spelling. The Book of Mormon is fraught with all kinds of other errors as well. For example, “Benjamin” was changed to “Mosiah” after Mormon leaders finally realized that in the chronology of the Book of Mormon King Benjamin had already died so he would have been hard pressed to “interpret” the engravings mentioned in Mosiah 21:28. Perhaps the greatest crack in the credibility of the Book of Mormon is that whole sections were derived directly from the King James Version of the Bible and that despite the fact that according to Mormon chronology, the Book of Mormon predates the King James Version by more than a thousand years.

Little wonder that Mormons accept the Book of Mormon based on an esoteric feeling, on a “burning in the bosom” rather than on history and evidence. Whenever I think of Mormonism my mind goes back to the words of the Apostle Paul in Galatians 1 where he says:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

More Questions and Answers with Hank

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Corrupted Flood Accounts, and Q&A

Old Testament Servanthood, and Q&A

Is God a Moral Monster? with Paul Copan – Part 2