What Is The Book of Mormon?

Ah, you thought I was done with the last article.  This article is all mine.  I’m going to concentrate on exhibit A, the Book of Mormon:  Another Testament of Jesus Christ.  What’s all the fuss about?  Why not just be satisfied and content with the Holy Bible?  Where did it come from?  Who wrote it?  Did I leave the iron on?…

Book Of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ

The Book of Mormon, is “The Stick of Joseph” mentioned in the Old Testament Bible verses Ezekiel 37:15-20.  Where as the Bible is “The Stick of Judah.”  It is a compliment to the Holy Bible and is intended to be a second witness and testament to the divinity and purpose of Jesus Christ.

It is an ancient record of two societies led from the old world, one of which being descendants of Manasseh (who were sons of Joseph who was sold into Egypt).  It is the record of their history and dealings with God and prophets, much like the Old Testament in the Bible.  The majority of the record is about the society that came from Jerusalem at the time Zedekiah was king, and arriving in America, split into two opposing societies.

The word “Mormon” is a name of a prophet that took hundreds of years of ancient records of these people, and took the most important parts people in our day would need.  In the simplest of terms, Mormon was an ancient prophet/historian that put together a “Readers Digest” version of historical and religious records he felt inspired would be of great worth to those in the last days.  Mormon’s son Moroni, wrote the title page, which says:

Wherefore, it is an abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites—Written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel; and also to Jew and Gentile—Written by way of commandment, and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation—Written and sealed up, and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed—To come forth by the gift and power of God unto the interpretation thereof—Sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by way of the Gentile—The interpretation thereof by the gift of God.

 An abridgment taken from the Book of Ether also, which is a record of the people of Jared, who were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, when they were building a tower to get to heaven—Which is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever—And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations—And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.

Coincidentally, the Holy Bible, as it exists today, is also an abridgement of many religious and historical records, the majority of the rest being lost to history.  In fact the word “Bible” comes from the Latin “Biblia,” which means “Library.”  It is a collection of many ancient records, not necessarily in absolute chronological order, but are precious records of the Jews and Jesus Christ’s ministry.  Each “book” in the Bible is literally a BOOK, and when verses in them mention “this book,” they refer to the book they were writing, as the Bible didn’t exist at that time.

Mormon, was commanded to put ancient records together for our modern-day benefit.  Mormon was witnessing the destruction (self-destruction) of his people, and the record of his people needed to be preserved.  When Mormon was killed in a battle, his son Moroni, finished the work, but the book still carries his father’s name.

The Book of Mormon also contains an account of the visit of Jesus Christ after his resurrection and ascension in Jerusalem.  He told those in Jerusalem he had other sheep to visit (John 10:16), but they didn’t understand what he meant.  Jesus tells the people in the ancient Americas this in the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 15).  Jesus teaches the people there the same things he taught in Jerusalem, he healed the sick and lame, and called twelve disciples and gave them authority to minister to the people and organize his church.  The only difference here is he is already a resurrected and glorified being who already suffered for our sins.

Jesus taught them how to pray by giving them the Lord’s prayer, instituted the sacrament and taught them the proper method of baptism, and told them the Law of Moses is fulfilled in him and that he gives a new and greater law, the gospel.

The Book of Mormon gives an account of governmental corruption and how to protect from it, by learning from their mistakes.  It shows the methods evil uses to usurp power and gain control over people, and demonstrates the need to eliminate such things quickly.  It demonstrates the importance of liberty and the need to fight for it, to protect your life and family.  The greatest account of good government is the account of King Benjamin and how he did not want the people to continue to have kings.  So he institutes a republic with judges and a voting system.  It wasn’t perfect, but it shows what those in government need to be like.

It teaches the importance of educating children about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and prayer.  It emphasizes the importance of freedom of religious worship, and loving all mankind, regardless of ancestry and beliefs.  It shows the best way to teach about God and Jesus Christ is through love and service by building upon the good instead of tearing down or bashing false beliefs.  The Book of Mormon settles confusion in the Bible about disputed practices of baptism, sacarment (communion), prayer, authority from God, and the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ and his grace.

Joseph Smith Jr. was very young when he was commanded to translate these records.  They were buried on a hill in New York State under a large bolder in a box made of stones held together with cement.  The record was engraved on plates composed of a gold alloy.  It was written in characters called by Joseph “Reformed Egyptian.”  Basically a shorthand better suited by these people for writing in such texts instead of characters and language used in every-day writing.

Reprint of the 1830 edition of The Book of Mor...

Book of Mormon First Edition

Joseph translated the work in a relatively short time and with only a three year school education.  He had help of a few scribes to write down as he translated.  He then asked for financial help from friends and got the book published and never ever wanted to nor ever made a profit off its publishing.  He was murdered for his claims and people tried every scheme imaginable to get Joseph’s “golden bible”.  They never succeeded.

Now, here’s the kicker.  Either this is all completely true, or is the biggest scam perpetrated on mankind.  There really cannot be a middle ground here.  Everything in “Mormonism” rests on this.  So, let’s examine a few requirements that must be complied with to produce a similar record under comparable conditions that existed then:

  1. You must be between 23 and 24 years of age.
  2. You cannot be a college graduate, in fact, you can have only three years of schooling in the early 1800’s.
  3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you now know; no research to be done.
  4. You must write a book with 239 chapters, 54 of them about wars, 21 about history, 55 about prophecy, 71 about doctrine, 17 about missionaries and 21 about the mission of Jesus Christ.
  5. You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet, covering a period from 600BC to 421AD.
  6. You must include in your writing the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with the histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people, of which no one ever knew existed.
  7. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
  8. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern of Christian living.
  9. When you start to produce this record, covering a period over 1,000 years, you must finish it in approximately 80 days.
  10. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever.
  11. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you.
  12. Your record must be about 522 pages with over 510 words per page. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language. William Shakespeare added only 30.
  13. You must announce that your “smooth narrative” is not fiction but true, yes, even that it is a sacred record of history.
  14. In fact, it must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, its purpose and accomplishments (respectively – Psalms 85:10-11, Isaiah 29:2-4, Isaiah 29:11-14, Ezekiel 37:18-21, etc.).
  15. You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
  16. You must include with the record itself, this marvelous promise: “And when you 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.
  17. Tens and hundreds of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 185 years that they know the record to be true.  Because they put the “promise” to the test and found it to be true, the truth manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  18. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars must subscribe discipleship to the record and its movement even to the point of laying down their lives for it.
  19. Your descriptions of the culture and people in these civilizations of which you will write include the manner of their written and spoken languages, types of buildings, geographical locations, governmental types, monetary system, types of tools and materials used, and many other facts completely unknown to the rest of the world.
  20. There can be no flaw whatsoever in the entire record.
  21. Yet, you must not make an absurd, impossible, or contradictory statement.
  22. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given us as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent, even the direct opposite of the prevailing beliefs of the world where very little is claimed to be known about these civilizations and their 1,000 years of history.
  23. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care.  You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaw in it.
  24. Thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 186 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true, even to the types of roads they built.
  25. After 186 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproved, but all is vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin, rise, and fall, leaving your claim as the only possible ones.
  26. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 187+ years.
  27. Three honest, accreditable witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record is translated.
  28. You must call out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer (keeping in mind this is the early 1800’s) to declare to the three witnesses that your record is true and that it is their responsibility to bear their testimony.  And they do it.  They must handle and feel the engravings on the record.
  29. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight and they handled them and felt the engravings on the record.
  30. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even in their death.
  31. You must find someone to finance your book with the understanding that neither he nor you will ever receive any monetary renumeration from it.  You must sell the book at cost or at less than its production value.  Note:  It is now free.
  32. You must tell the world that the written record you have translated from was engraved on gold plates, even though up until the time you make this claim, no one has ever found anywhere in the past history any civilization using gold as a method of keeping records, and not until about 100 years later were any similar engraved gold plates found.
  33. Many of the chapters and verses must be written in a chaistic style, characteristic of the Hebrew style of writing.  This style of writing was discovered very recently, long after the publication of the Book of Mormon.
  34. You must be able to write your record in over 36 different writing styles along with two different narrative styles by two abridgment authors.
  35. Finally, after persecution and revilement for 20 years after you finish the book, you must willingly give your own life for your testimony that the record is from God.

Let me tell you folks.  There is no way the Book of Mormon was written by Joseph Smith.  It was translated by him through the power of God, plain and simple.

The Testimony of Three Witnesses

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come:  That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes.  Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things.  And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens.  And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God.  Amen.

Oliver Cowdery

David Whitmer

Martin Harris

The Testimony of Eight Witnesses

Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come:  That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship.  And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen.  And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.

Christian Whitmer
Jacob Whitmer
Peter Whitmer, Jun.
Hiram Page

John Whitmer

Joseph Smith Sr.

Hyrum smith

Samuel Smith

Final Thoughts

I am going to make some bold statements.  I know the Holy Bible to be the word of God, as it was penned from the original writers.  I know it to be true.  I also know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God and that it proves the Bible to be true and it proves that Jesus is the Christ, the prophesied messiah.  I know Jesus is the son of God and that he suffered for our sins and died on the cross for all of us.  I know Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the gift and power of God.  I know he was chosen by God to be a prophet and a restorer of truth to the world.  I know these things because I asked God if they are true.  God gave me an affirmative answer that is personal and meaningful to me, and I will never deny it.  Though I am ridiculed and persecuted for this knowledge and my beliefs, I know them to be true, not because “experts” and “scholars” told me, but God told me to my heart and mind.  It was an answer to sincere prayer.

I do not ask you to take my word for it.  For doing so would be absurd.  I just ask you to find out for yourself, and put the challenge to the test with a REAL desire to know the truth.

I have no doubts the flamers and nay-Sayers will say I am an idiot or delusional.  Let them.  They said the same thing to Jesus and his Apostles and disciples too.

Related

  • Want a free copy of the Book of Mormon?  Go to Mormon.org
  • Want to read it online?  Go to LDS.org/scriptures.  An audio version is also available online.

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