Part 5 Book of Mormon’s make-believe history

The last few posts focused on Joseph Smith and why he was a deceiver, an occultist, and his “first vision” was a lie that grew over time.  Now I will take a look at the Book Mormon missionaries will tell you is comparable to the Bible.

ASSESSING THE BOOK OF MORMON

After God supposedly commissioned Joseph Smith, he was visited by the angel Moroni and told about some golden plates. These plates were the recorded history of the plight of the Jewish people as they came to North America and were visited by Jesus Christ.  The golden plates were then translated by Joseph Smith as he peered into a hat with the sides drawn around his head and using two stones, Urim and Thummim.  This work today is known as the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is the history of two people groups who came to the Americas.  The first group left just after the tower of Babel in Genesis 11.  They were called the Jaredites.  They became a powerful nation in America.  However, after many centuries’ of wickedness they annihilated themselves.

Hundreds of years later, a second group of people of Hebrew decent arrived in the Americas led by Lehi.  God had told him to flee Jerusalem just prior to the Babylonian captivity (around 600 BC).  After Lehi’s death two of his sons, Nephi and Laman, took over.  Some people gave their allegiance to Nephi, others to Laman.  The Book of Mormon describes these two Hebrew people groups as the Nephites and the Lamanites.  After many battles between the two groups, by the 5th century A.D., the Laminates finally destroyed the Nephites at the battle of the Hill Cumorah.  According to Mormon belief, the descendants of the Lamanites are the Native Americans.

Moroni, who was the son of Mormon, was the last living Nephite.  He recorded the events of this time period and buried the record of his people in the Hill Cumorah, which is located near present-day Palmyra in upstate New York.  This record was written on golden plates and was later discovered and translated into the Book of Mormon by Joseph Smith[1].

Is the Book of Mormon a true account of an ancient group of Hebrews who inhabited North America and were visited by Jesus Christ?  If a Mormon was asked this question the standard answer is for you to pray over the Book of Mormon to see if it is true.  Maybe you’ve been asked to do that by a Mormon.  They believe God will give confirmation of its truthfulness by a burning in the bosom.

Is this how we should test the accuracy and the truthfulness of the Book or Mormon?  Actually the Bible says differently.  In 1 Thess. 5:21(NIV) the Apostle Paul writes, “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” To test something is to look for verification or evidence for whether something is true or false.  Paul says when we find something is true and good, we are to hold onto it.  Essentially, the Bible says instead of praying over the Book of Mormon, we need to look for evidence.  So what is the proof the Book of Mormon is from God?  My next series of posts will deal with this question.

Go to part 6 here


[1] McKeever & Johnson, “Mormonism 101,” Baker Books, Michigan, 2002, pg. 106

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Tom Wright August 23, 2010, 9:07 pm

    Steve;
    I’ve read a bit about the beginnings of the Mormon Church, and many/most of what I’ve read is hard to believe.
    There was an article in Time about Mormonism about a year ago and one point struck in my mind…..If Christianity was less than 200 years old, the Resurrection would be equally incredible.

  • Steve August 27, 2010, 6:08 am

    Tom,
    I am not sure what you mean when you wrote, “if Christianity was less than 200 years old, the resurrection would be equally incredible.” Either the resurrection of Jesus is a fact or fiction. What does the truth of the resurrection have to do with how many years ago it occurred?

  • Jared Passmore September 6, 2010, 2:58 pm

    Praying over something to know the truth or Gods will concerning it is a perfectly biblical method. It’s what Joseph Smith did to answer his question about which church to join. James 1:5

  • Tom Wright September 6, 2010, 9:55 pm

    Steve;
    My point was that the resurrection and the concept of the “lost tribes of Israel”, (Native Americans) are equally incredible to the lay person.

  • Steve September 9, 2010, 9:21 am

    Tom,
    My point on the Mormon “lost tribes of Israel” was based on the fact there is no evidence for this viewpoint. Why should anyone believe a story with no support?

    However, the resurrection has multiple lines of evidence. Debates on the resurrection take place all over the world because there is so much evidence and is worthy of discussion. If you could, read my series on the resurrection found at: http://biblicalworldviewacademy.org/date/2010/01/page/2/ In my series I present an argument for the resurrection based on evidence.

    Therefore, there is no comparison; one viewpoint has no evidence and the resurrection has multiple lines of evidence, worthy of further discussion.

  • Steve September 11, 2010, 9:27 am

    Jared,
    Here is the passage in question; James 1:2-5 (NASB) “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” When we are suffering in this life we are to pray to God for wisdom in handling difficult situations. What does this have to do with confirming the truth of a document? When it comes to examining the truthfulness of a claim, Paul writes 1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV) “Test everything. Hold on to the good.” Instead of praying over controversial teachings we are to test them to see if they are true. Then if they prove true, hold on to them.

    Another relevant passage comes from 1 John 4:1-3 (NIV) “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God,
    3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.”
    Again we are to test the truth to see if it is from God.

    Please give me a Biblical passage that says we are to test to see if something is true by prayer. The reason you want to pray over the Book of Mormon and not test it is because we both know the Book of Mormon does not stand up to testing; it fails miserably.

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