The Books Of Mormonism
One day a mother went into her kitchen to prepare supper. She noticed that the cookie jar was moved out of place and there were crumbs circling its bottom. She had specifically told her two young boys that they were not to have any cookies before supper so she knew that at least one of them had disobeyed her wishes. The problem was which one. She approached the oldest boy first, asking him if he was the culprit. "No," he responded, "I was upstairs doing homework all afternoon." "But I think I saw my brother with some cookies in his hand when he playing with his friends." The mother then went to the younger boy and asked him if he had been in the cookie jar. He simply replied that he hadn't. Which of the boys was telling the truth and how could Mom find out? Without sufficient information to reach a conclusion she decided that she would ask the boys again later. When she asked the oldest again, he responded again that he hadn't, he had been in his room all afternoon listening to music. Then mom remembered that the youngest boy was not outside at all in the afternoon either. The jig was up, the oldest boy's sin had found him out. His two stories did not agree with each other nor with the facts of the day.
When it comes to extra-biblical revelation, many cultists believe that they have some additional information given by God to their group that should be believed by all. Mary Baker Eddy believes God spoke to her, Ellen G. White believes God gave her revelation, and most famous of all, Joseph Smith reports that God led him to uncover golden plates of divine revelation which would restore the fullness of the gospel to the modern day church. The question we all must ask ourselves is are these revelations truly from God and to be believed. The second question is how can we find out if this is so.
The Church of Jesus Christ, Latter Day Saints hold that there are four books of inspired revelation. The first is the King James version of the Scriptures. That is as long as it is interpreted correctly. The second is the Book of Mormon. This is a book of history recorded between the years 600 B.C.. and 400 A.D. It tells the stories of voyages from the old world to the new world beginning with a man named Lehi around 600 B.C.. The book was written in gold plates around 400 A.D. It was compiled and abridged by a prophet named Mormon and consequently the book bears his name. His son, Moroni, added a few concluding comments and then buried the plates in a hill in upstate New York until the angel Moroni, in 1823 told Joseph Smith were these plates may be found. In a short time, he translated these plates from their "reformed Egyptian writing" into English and the book was published in 1830.
Mormons also include as inspired the book Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price. Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of inspired revelations given to Joseph Smith and other prophets of the Mormon church. Pearl of Great Price is the biblical book of Genesis rewritten with additional material added that was originally omitted by the church. These two books provide most of the doctrinal statements of the Mormon church today.
In order to ascertain the veracity of these books, I propose 4 tests. They are the tests of Internal Consistency, the test of Biblical Consistency, the test of Historical Consistency, and the test of Revelational Consistency. Any revelation that truly comes from God will pass all of these tests for the tests are based upon the unchangeable character of God.
The first test is the test of Internal Consistency. Since it is impossible for God to lie, the writings of God's revelation must be consistent with themselves. One writing can not say one thing, and another writing say something different or opposite. Therefore, any statement made in the Book of Mormon must not be contradicted in either Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price. If there is any contradiction, then at least one of the writings can not be inspired.
In the tables below, we compare just a couple of subjects to show that there are discrepancies within the books of Mormonism.
|Book of Mormon||Doctrine and Covenants|
|"...wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon his son..." (Jacob 1:15)"Behold David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord." (Jacob 2:24)||"David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, ... and David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan... and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife." (132)|
The Book of Mormon clearly calls polygamy wicked and abominable but the book of Doctrine and Covenants says that David and Solomon did not sin in practicing it, in fact, God was responsible for giving them multiple wives. Both can not be true.
A second subject for comparison is the elements of creation. As we see below, the Book of Mormon clearly states that everything including the elements are created by God. However, Doctrine and Covenants and the Articles of Faith both indicate that the elements were not created.
|Book of Mormon||Doctrine and Covenants|
|"... he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon." (2 Nephi 2:14) "Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are..." (Alma 11:39)||"The elements are eternal." (93:33) Articles of Faith "[God]certainly did not create, in the sense of bringing in primal existence, the ultimate elements of the materials of which the earth consists." (p.466)|
Now which is it, did God create the elements or are they eternal?
A third area of examination would be the Godhead. The Book of Mormon sounds pretty Trinitarian to me, but Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price are polytheistic.
|Book of Mormon||Doctrine and Covenants|
|"...Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God." (Alma 11:44) "Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are..." (Alma 11:39) "... the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end." (2 Nephi 31:21)||"... a time to come in the which, nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest." (121:32)|
|Peal of Great Price|
|"And the Gods said among themselves, On the seventh time we will end our work which we have counseled; and we will rest on the seventh time from all our work ... And thus were their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth." (Abraham, p.44)|
In the test of internal consistency, the books of Mormonism have failed. At least some of these writings can not be from God.
A second test of veracity is very similar to the first test. Since the Mormons consider the Bible as inspired, then any revelation of theirs must be consistent with the Bible's teaching. A couple of quick comparisons shows some inconsistencies. For example, the Bible clearly teaches that God is a spirit (John 4:24) and as such, He does not possess a corporeal body ("...for a spirit hath not flesh and bones..." Luke 24:39). The book of Doctrine and Covenants, however, states that, "[God has] a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's" (130:22). These are two mutually exclusive statements. Both can not be true. One must be false. Guess which one.
Another area of comparison is the teaching on the doctrine of salvation. The Bible teaches that salvation is by the grace of God received through faith alone. Salvation is not merited by personal acts of "righteousness" or through the reception of grace in the "sacraments". The Bible states though in Mark 16:16, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not, shall be damned." This verse has brought some controversy of interpretation, unfortunately, all of it unnecessarily. Some have said that this verse teaches that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. In fact, the Mormon book of Doctrine and Covenants has changed the rendering of the verse to make it clear that a person can not be saved without being baptized. Their rendering of the verse is, "And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not, and is not baptized, shall be damned." (112:29). The confusion over Mark 16:16 can be easily solved with the following illustration. Suppose the next sentence is true.
"Everyone who is reading this article and is left-handed is a Christian." Does that mean that right-handed people are not Christians? Not, necessarily. All the statement says is that all the people who are reading this article and are left-handed are Christians, there may also be right-handed people who are reading this article who are Christians and there may also be people who are not reading this article that are Christians. But all who are reading it and are left-handed are Christians.
Now let's add a second clause to the statement. "Everyone who is reading this article and is left-handed is a Christian, but everyone who is not reading this article is not a Christian."
Now, the determining factor as to whether a person is a Christian or not is stated as whether they are reading this article. The fact of them being left-handed or right-handed is inconsequential to them being a Christian or not. The only determining factor is whether they read this article. Now in the Biblical declaration, the determining factor as to whether a person shall be saved is not whether they are baptized, but whether they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Mormon addition in Doctrine and Covenants is a invalid addition.
We now move to the third test of veracity, the test of historical consistency. Here we ask if the writings of Mormonism agree with the facts of history. Once again we run into a number of significant problems. One major problem is the supposed "reformed Egyptian" writing of the gold plates of the Book of Mormon. There simply is no record of such a language existing anywhere. But even if it did exist, would it be logical for the writers of the sacred writing to use such a language? Mormon defenders claim that Hebrew was the oral and written language of the people that came from the Old World to the New for many generations. But the writers of the text chose this "reformed Egyptian" language to record their history. My question would be, "Why in the world would they do that?". How could they know "reformed Egyptian" if it had not be in use for many generations. And since we know of no expeditions from Egypt to the new World to bring its culture, how could the later generations have learned of it, if it even exists?
Mormon defenders also claim that the Indians of the Americas are descendants of these early travelers from Israel. But how can that be anthropologically? The natives of the western hemisphere are basically Mongoloid, but those from the area of Israel are Mediterranean Caucasoid. Anthropologically, there is no evidence to support the claims of Mormonism, only to refute it.
Other factual errors include the mention of Laban wielding a sword of the "most precious steel" before 592. B.C. while it is believed that steel was not used until the 1800's A.D. Nephi used a compass to travel to the New World, but compasses seem to have originated around 1000 A.D. Jacob bids "adieu" to his brethren in Jacob 7:27 (dated sometime before 500 B.C.) but the French word adieu was not in existence until about 700 A.D. for French was not spoken until then. Once again, the writings of Mormonism receive a failing grade in this test.
The final test is the test of revelational consistency. By this test we seek to identify if the manner of the revelations given to the Mormon prophets is consistent with the manner of God's revelation given in Scripture. Once again we find that the writings of Mormonism are inconsistent with Biblical revelation. The following chart illustrates the differences.
|Book of Mormon||Biblical Revelation|
|The revelation was written on gold plates||The revelation was written on scrolls of vellum and papyri|
|The plates were buried for future generations||The manuscripts were copied for present generations and future|
|The plates have altogether disappeared||Copies of fragments of the New Testament originals dating back to as early as the second century A.D. are still existent today|
|The plates are nowhere to be found||Copies of the New Testament are plenteous, about 5000 exist|
|The revelation was compiled by Mormon and Moroni about 1400 years before it was "needed" because of the "apostasy of the church"||The revelation was given as it was needed in order to keep the church from going into apostasy.|
|Because of the church's apostasy, and the fullness of the Gospel being corrupted, all who did not know the Gospel message must perish. All who lived from 400 A.D. to 1830, when the Book of Mormon was published, must have gone into eternity as unbelievers since they could not have known the "fullness of the Gospel" until Joseph Smith resurrected it.||2 Peter 3:9 states that God is not willing that any should perish. This necessitates that God's will in salvation must be available at all times. never has there been a time when there was not some record of God's plan of salvation on this earth.|
As you can see, there are a number of discrepancies between the manner of revelation in the Book of Mormon and the Bible, and this list is not exhaustive. There is no other conclusion than the revelation of Mormonism fails this test also.
Mormon defenders have tried to answer the arguments above, recognizing that there are at least apparent problems with their revelations. I do not believe that they have done an adequate job in solving the dilemmas. However, we must also look at what Scripture says about future revelations in order to determine the genuiness of Mormon writings. Two questions need to be asked and answered in order to reach a final conclusion: Does the Bible prohibit or promote additional revelations? and Is the Bible sufficient for the needs of people which would exclude the need for additional revelation?
I am convinced by my study of the Scriptures that the Bible prohibits additional revelation. My conclusion is based primarily on two passages of Scripture. The first is Ephesians 2:20. There the Church is said to be built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone. There is but one chief cornerstone. Jesus said, "I will build my church ..." His church is built upon the declaration of those that believe that He is the Christ, the Son of the living God. While the church emanates from Jesus Christ, it rests upon the revelational ministry of the apostles and prophets. It is clear from Acts 1 that the qualifications of becoming an apostle preclude the possibility of anyone being an apostle today. An apostle must have been an eyewitness to the resurrection and unless someone is about 2000 years old, they are disqualified. But there still is the possibility of modern-day prophets. Well, not really. Notice the analogy of the church is a building. A building is begun by setting a chief cornerstone. Once this stone is laid, the foundation of the building is constructed. But the whole of the building is not foundation, in fact most of the building is superstructure. The materials used in making the foundation are not found in the building of the superstructure. You do not use concrete blocks to make a roof, nor cement for windows. If prophets are to exist until the completion of the church, then the building of the church is nothing more than a foundation without a superstructure. Funny looking building! Like the apostles, the prophets of the New Testament Church were only around for a short time.
Some may object to a conclusion being drawn upon an analogy and therefore I offer a second passage of Scripture to support my claim. In 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, the apostle Paul speaks of the cessation of some spiritual gifts. Specifically, the gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues are stated as gifts that will at some time no longer be extant. The gifts of knowledge and prophecy are defined as being in part. That is, there was not one person to whom was revealed all of the New Testament at once, bits and pieces of were given at various times in the first century. As time passed though, all of the New Testament was revealed and finally collected and compiled in our Bibles. Verse 10 states that the exercise of the partial gifts would continue until the complete ("perfect") would come. I am convinced that the perfect thing of 1 Cor. 13:10 is the conclusion of the New Testament revelation with the writings of the apostle John. For arguments to support my conclusion see my article What Is The Perfect Thing Of 1 Cor. 13:10. Therefore, when John concluded his writing, the gift of prophecy came to a conclusion. With the cessation of the gift of the gift of prophecy came the cessation of prophets. With the cessation of prophets being taught in the Scriptures, the idea that the Book of Mormon and the other writings of Mormonism are inspired is declared to be false. Joseph Smith and the prophets of Mormonism are simply stating the "visions of their own heart" (Jeremiah 23:16-21).
Finally, is the Bible sufficient that the writings of Mormonism are not needed. In the title page of the Book of Mormon, Moroni wrote that there were three purposes to his book. the first is that it was written to convince both Gentiles and Jews that Jesus is The Christ, the eternal God. But doesn't Scripture already do that. John 20:30-31 states that although there were many other things that could be written about the ministry of Jesus, what was written was sufficient to prove that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing in Him a person might have eternal life. The Book of Mormon is not needed for purpose #1. The second purpose is that the book was to show the remnants of the House of Israel the great things that the Lord had done for their ancestors. But hold the bus! Remember that these remnants were those people who supposedly left Israel around 600 B.C. It was at that time that the nation was taken into captivity by the Babylonians. After the 70 years of captivity, God raised up Cyrus, who allowed the Jews to return to their homeland. But of the Jews that remained behind God also provided protection for them. When wicked Haman sought to wipe them out, God worked providentially through Esther and Mordecai to protect His people. 500 years later He would send His Son to die for their sins. Can anything more be done that the Bible does not record to show all Israel the great things that the Lord has done for them? The third purpose of the Book of Mormon is to teach the remnants of the house of Israel the covenants of God. Once again there is a significant problem. The Bible already listed the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Sinatic and Davidic covenants which the people who left for the New World would have been familiar with before they left Israel. But there is also one other covenant that was pronounced by God before their departure which precludes any other covenants that the writings of Mormonism offer. That is the New Covenant. God said in Jer. 31:31, that there is a time coming in the future where He will make a new covenant with Israel. He does not say new covenants, but a new covenant. Until that time there can not be any other covenants given. Those that Mormonism offers are simply not of God.
Here is what we then must conclude. The Mormons have been in the cookie jar. Their writings can not be of God for they fail the test of internal, Biblical, historical and revelational consistency. Scripture declares that prophecy has ceased and the revelations can provide nothing that the Bible has not already provided. With the Mormon revelations revealed as false, we will then find that their doctrines are also.