Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2010, June 23

“How Could *Anyone* Believe in the Book of Mormon??” by grego

“How Could ANYONE Believe in the Book of Mormon??”

grego
(c) 2010

“You’ve got to be kidding! That book is so WRONG!”

Years ago, I talked religion with a co-worker and shared a Book of Mormon with him. He liked it, then about a week later returned it to me, with a sour look on his face. “My minister says I can’t read it.” I thought, “No doubt.”

Unfortunately/ fortunately, what seems to be true, is not always true. Even if someone you usually trust for important things says so.

First, clearing up a few misunderstandings would help tremendously.

1. For Christians especially: please, shall we get rid of the double-standard? Most every translation of the Bible (OT, NT, from the Hebrew or Greek or whatever…) shows plenty of mistakes– either from the translation or from what seems to be the original.
Look at the difference between the original King James version, the later King James version, and the New International version–big differences!
Then, look at the four gospels–you’ll be hard-pressed to find the same account of any event in even two of them, much less three or four. How about one of the most important events in the New Testament–the Resurrection?
Compare:
Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

and:
Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.
5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

and:
Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.
3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
8 And they remembered his words,
9 And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
10 It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles.
11 And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.
12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

and:
John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

Wow, are those even talking about the same event?? What *really* happened? If the Holy Spirit-inspired writers can’t even get one of the most important gospel events right, then that has to mean the New Testament is wrong, right? Not really, huh?

I have no desire to prove that the Bible is wrong; can we just say, let’s drop the double standard, that the Book of Mormon has to be perfect in every way—because the Bible isn’t perfect in every way, either.

2. The original authors of the Book of Mormon material; the editor of the Book of Mormon (named Mormon); Joseph Smith the translator; his scribes; and the printer never claimed perfection for themselves or the book they were writing; in fact, many times they say the opposite, especially the original authors and the editor. Nor do Book of Mormon apologists (pro-Book of Mormon writers) claim perfection in their writings (minus a few ;) ).
Then, add to that the fact that the Book of Mormon is not a full record but just an edited manuscript (see my other post on that—search “hundredth part”), and that adds up to a lot.

3. Most arguments brought up against the Book of Mormon are ridiculous, and have been from the start. They have been shown to be lacking in logic or procedure—be it from one small crucial part to being full of holes.

4. What’s worse is that some problems have been shown to be wrong for many years, but the critics can’t seem to get over it, and keep telling others… who put it on their website or in their *new* anti-Mormon book… :(

5. What *seemed* in the past to be *real* problems (unlike those in #3), have now, in fact, been shown to be extremely strong evidences. There used to be many potential problems with the Book of Mormon, but that list of problems has been whittled down—often first by exploring the true meaning of the text, and second by research (done and reported by both Mormons and non-Mormons). The more we learn, the more we see that what seemed to be a strikeout, is often a home run. Here are many examples:
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/transcripts/?id=1
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=71
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?bookid=8

6. Like green eggs and ham, not much is to be said for one who has never tried it, nor even tried to understand it. Or even read it. (I’ve met more than one critic who has never even opened the book! much less read a good part of it, much less read it all.) Some critics then go on to write lengthy articles against the Book of Mormon. Not cool.

Here’s a typical example of anti-Mormonism that has almost all of the above in it:
answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20101229065410AAjjmxb
“How can Latter Day Saints believe in the book of Mormon?
I can almost understand how christians can believe the bible, but the Book of Mormon is so ridiculous. How can anyone even come close to believing it. It’s literally insane to believe it. I can’t even wrap my head around the fantastical claims in that book. How can anyone with any grasp on reality fall for it?”

grego: How can someone believe in the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon? That’s a good question, as they’re pretty similar. So, what are the fantasical claims?

“Additional Details
@ mosskopf: The claims in that book are to many to even write on here. Ill just name a few.
1. That the native americans are descendants of the hebrew people and they fought eachother ,when dna evidence proves BEYOND A DOUBT that there is no link whatsoever between the hebrew people and the native americans.
2. That blacks were angels who didnt side with god or the devil and that is why their skin is dark.
3. Joseph Smith found gold plates in new york but the seemed to magically disappear.
4. That when mormons die they get their own planet and become gods themselves.
5. That Joseph Smith looked in a hat and translated the golden plates.
6. That the book of momon was translated in 17th century english in the 19th century.
7. That polygamy was a revelation from god, but when confronted with the option of refuting polygamy for statehood, the church had another revelation that polygamy shouldnt be practiced. How convenient.”

grego: I could go on.
Mormons only “proof” is SPECULATION. No solid historical evidence whatsoever. NONE. Ask a mormon to show you any historical or archeological evidence. They can’t present anything except speculation. It’s all lies. Morth america is the promised land for Israelites? COME ON! You indocrinated fools need to grow up.”

Let’s look at this.

So what’s the big difference in believability between the two books? Hmmm… Probably not much. What proof is there that the Bible records what really happened? Hmmm… Not much, eh.

What about those seven Book of Mormon questions? Most follow the six problems I outlined. In fact, most of them fall under #1, #3, #4, and #6. As a few people responded:
“It sounds like you are the one who needs to grow up and learn a bit more. You have taken the assumptions of another critic and regurgitated it as your own. To draft a constructive arguement you should learn the other’s perspective.”
“Do some research before humiliating yourself any further… read the Book of Mormon so I wouldnt embarass myself like you just did.”
“You do realize that a lot of your claims are not even written in the Book of Mormon. Sorry man, you just did a lame copy paste from an Anti-Mormon site. I thought you were going to talk about The Book of Mormon.”

I have hundreds of posts here on this blog—that’s just me, one person. Most of those posts are about discoveries that are, for the most part, original. (There are a few where I give my own perspective, a few that I write only to find out later that others had already written about, etc.) Most of what I have found supports the Book of Mormon as not just a deep book, but a book that a man/ group of learned men would have an extremely high unlikelihood of being able to write. There are many more writings out there that show insight into the Book of Mormon as a book from God. A few of those are highly-researched and even peer-reviewed by non-Mormons. Pro-Book of Mormon writers have brought up points that have yet to be refuted or discussed, and some of them are from 50+ years ago! Where are the critics? Trying to find easier things to condemn, I guess.

All the above six points are just a few things I wanted to mention. However, they don’t persuade me that the Book of Mormon is true. The Holy Ghost has done that. (For those of you who protest, please check your Bibles! And I ask, on what basis do you believe in the Bible as the true word of God–philosophy? logic? tradition? someone told you so? or maybe something more than all that, something you might only be able to describe as… godly?)

Did you love your spouse/ romantic partner at first sight, and everything was fine? Did anything change after spending time together? Feelings different? What happened? Discovering the Book of Mormon is often like love—and the rewards are even deeper.

In closing, here are some words from http://www.bible.org’s Daniel B. Wallace, who teaches at Dallas Theological Seminary (I’m guessing he’s *not* a Mormon, and doesn’t believe in the Book of Mormon):
“Mark Noll has recently written a masterful book entitled, ‘The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind’. In it he speaks about how American evangelicals have decided to chuck their brains for the sake of the party line, or for experience, or for emotionalism, etc. But the history of Christianity up through last century was of a different ilk. The Church felt that at least some of its number should be scholars–men and women who dedicated their minds to God, who cultivated the life of the mind. The fact that conspiracy theories about Bible translations are getting readily accepted in several circles indicts evangelicalism. To be blunt, this trend is symptomatic of the dumbing down of Christians in this country. Evangelicals are increasingly holding down the anti-intellectual fort, without engaging in serious debate with others.”

If you have doubt about that, go to an anti-Mormon website, copy a short piece of text, put that into a search engine, and see how many thousands of websites you get… Then write me, and I’ll find you a few articles that answer those problems, and when those articles were written. Then you decide.

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1 Comment »

  1. Nicely done. Thanks!

    Comment by Craig — 2010, June 23 @ 11:58 am


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