officially known as 'The church of Jesus Christ of the latter day saints''
Introduction | Joseph Smith | Brigham Young | The book of Mormon | The Pearl of great price | False prophecies | Temple Mormonism | False salvation | False Father | False Son | False Holy Spirit | Miscellaneous | Links |
book of Mormon
Joseph Smith believed that the Bible translations were greatly flawed and claimed that the book of Mormon ' was the most correct of any book on earth' (Introduction of the 1981 edition)
The book of Mormon came about when Smith claimed that an angel called 'Moroni' visited him and told him of the existence of gold plates buried in a hill called Cumorah.
At first he was not allowed to dig up these golden plates, but eventually he was given divine permission and - in the autumn of 1827 - he finally unearthed the mysterious plates.
Despite these being pure gold and 'divinely given', they were not guarded or even hidden from any potential thieves. According to his wife Emma, they lay in a box under the bed for months and sometimes were left upon the living room table wrapped in a small linen cloth. She claimed to have felt them through the cloth and said that they were like thick paper and 'would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb' However by her own admission she never actually saw them.
Smith made an initial translation and lent it to a friend and benefactor Martin Harris who lost it, and so Smith had to begin again.
However Moroni the angel explained that he was not to translate the same material but use a second account. This ensured that if the first translation re-appeared it would explain away any inconsistencies between the two translations.
On the second translation he had the help of Oliver Cowdrey whom, Smith said, 'claimed some prophetic and divining powers of his own, and had brought with him 'a rod of nature', perhaps acquired while he was among his father's religious group in Vermont, who believed that certain rods had spiritual properties and could be used for diving'
Any reservations that Cowdrey might have harboured about using his divination powers and rod were put at rest when Smith gave him 'a word from the Lord' saying ..'You shall receive a knowledge concerning concerning the engravings of old records.. Yea behold, I will tell you in your mind and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost, which shall come upon you'
However Cowdrey failed to produce the goods and Smith handled this failure with another divine word. 'It is not expedient that you should translate now'
This would not be the last time that Smith's 'God' changed his mind. In fact to date there have been more than 3,900 changes made to the book of Mormon [see 'The changes']
Smith produced the translation from the plates while sitting behind a curtain using special glasses and then a seer's stone. His appointed 'scribe' sat outside the curtains writing down what he called out.
It tells the story of Lehi and his family, who migrated from Jerusalem in 600 BC to Central America. The migration which consisted of no more than twenty people immediately began to 'prosper exceedingly and to multiply in the land'. Very soon after they arrived, Nephi says that he taught his people to 'build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores which were in great abundance'
Then he reports that 'he did build a temple; and..did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon'
This all happened in less than thirty years after they left Jerusalem. By way of comparison, Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer has pointed out that it took more than one hundred and fifty thousand people over eight years to build Solomon's temple. "It is difficult to see" he writes, "how a few dozen unskilled workers (most of whom would have been children) could have duplicated this feat even in the nineteen years they allegedly did the work. Nor is it clear how all kinds of iron, copper, brass, silver and gold could have been found in abundance (2 Nephi 5:15) for the erection of this structure back in sixth century B.C America"
After the temple was built , Nephi's authority began to be challenged, and God cursed those who were in defiance by causing 'a skin of blackness to come over them' - people who had been white, and 'exceedingly fair and delightsome' now became 'loathsome'. (additional note: these dark skinned people - the Lamanites - continued to populate the continent and became the American indian race )
The book of Mormon is a narrative of military conflict and political affairs. Some five hundred years after after the migration from Jerusalem King Mosiah decided that henceforth judges should rule his people instead of kings, and Alma became the first judge. Many battles and rebellions follow.
The most significant event of all - prophesied and then fulfilled- is the appearance of Christ in America. "For behold Nephi was baptizing and prophesying, and preaching, crying repentance unto the people, showing signs and wonders, working miracles among the people, that they might know that the Christ would surely come"
When he did come, he commissioned twelve apostles and repeated the Sermon on the Mount.
The majority of the book of Mormon was written by 'Mormon' - if the book of Mormon is to be taken at face value. Portions were written by Nephi, a first generation immigrant from Palestine to America in the seventh century B.C and by Moroni, the son of Mormon and the last Nephite chronicler to survive.
Mormon himself was the military leader of the Nephites for nearly sixty years during the fourth century when that civilization was waning. He was chosen by God at fifteen, and he led his people through battles until he himself was killed at the age of seventy three - always admonishing his followers that they would not prosper unless they kept the commandments of the Lord.
- 'Strange Gospels' Ruth Tucker, page 55-56
Joseph Smith needed witnesses who would support his claim. But their testimony was not that Smith had in fact shown them the gold plates, but rather, that while they were 'in the woods' the plates were shown to them 'by the power of God, and not of men'. Indeed according to the testimony, 'an angel of God came down from heaven and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereupon' - 'The testimony of three witnesses', Book of Mormon,
The Smithsonian Institute - the world's leading authority on the ancient history of America - has said in its form letter SIL-76,1979
Also, the Book of Mormon teaches that three groups of ancient Hebrews came from Israel to the Americas -- the first in 2247 BCE. Their descendants separated into two nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites. Eventually, all but the Lamanites died off. The Book of Mormon clearly states that the Lamanites are the ancestors of the modern-day Native Americans. In recent years, 7,500 native American Indians were DNA tested and not one trace of Hebrew ancestry was detected. In fact the results showed that 99% were of Asian descent. The genetic and blood testing studies to show that Native Americans are related closely to the inhabitants of Siberia. The Book of Mormon, recently subtitled 'another testament of Jesus Christ' has proved to be 100% fiction in both archaeological and scientific studies.
'Many of the stories in the Book of Mormon were, as Fawn Brodie and many others have shown, borrowed from the Bible. The daughter of Jared like Salome danced before the king and a decapitation followed. Aminadi, like Daniel, deciphered handwriting on a wall, and Alma was converted after the exact fashion of St. Paul. The daughters of the Lamanites were abducted like the dancing daughters of Shiloh; and Ammon, the American counterpart of David, for want of a Goliath slew six sheep-rustlers with his sling' - 'Strange Gospels' Ruth Tucker, page 55
The Book of Mormon..'while it aspires to be an additional revelation to the Bible, contains verbatim references in King James English, though it was supposedly written many centuries before the 1611 Authorized version. These analogous passages even include some seventeenth-century translators errors, a strange coincidence for a book supposedly predating the KJV scholar's efforts. In addition, the Book of Mormon credits these New World immigrants with metal producing capabilities, a claim not confirmed by archaeological research. Mormon even described elephants roaming the Western hemisphere, though no skeletons have been found' - Larson's new book of cults page 311