Sunday, February 13, 2005

Is the Book of Mormon the Inspired Word of God? Part 3

In my first post regarding the Book of Mormon I looked at problems with the nature of the book. In the second post I looked at problems with the consistency of the text and some of the changes that have been made. In this post I want to look at what I feel are some ethical problems with the book.

The first problem I have is that the Book of Mormon has some parts that have clearly been plagiarized from the King James Version of the Bible. There are extensive quotes, including whole chapters from the book of Isaiah that are taken directly from the King James Version of the Bible. In fact, some Scholars believe there are approximately 27,000 words in the Book of Mormon that have been directly copied from the King James Bible. Plagiarism is nothing knew, just ask any college student. However here is my problem. If the Book of Mormon was written sometime between 600 BC and 421 AD as it claims, how can it have direct quotes from the King James Version of the Bible which was written over 1000 years later, on a different continent, from a different language? Golly that sure is one heck of a coincidence isn’t it? I can’t say for sure, but I would be willing to bet that any professor who had a student turn in a work with 27,000 words copied from another publication and yet still claimed them to be his own would probably get kicked out of school (or in this case start his own religion).

The second problem I have with the Book of Mormon is its obvious errors. Mormonism claims to accept the Bible as the word of God (as long as it is translated correctly [whatever that means]). The Bible clearly states in Matthew 2:1 and Micah 5:2 that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. However, the Book of Mormon states in Alma 7:10 that Jesus was born in Jerusalem. Bethlehem and Jerusalem were two distinct cities over 6 miles apart. Both cannot be correct. It may seem like a minor point to you but for me to accept a book as the word of God, simple mistakes just should not be there. Furthermore, in the book of Jacob 7:27 it states, ”and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu." Now, correct me if I’m wrong but the French language wasn’t really a language until about 800 AD. So what is a French word doing in a document supposedly written by a Hebrew in America around 600 BC? It just doesn’t fit.

The final problem that I have with the Book of Mormon is its completeness. If you remember the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the “most complete book on earth.” Now if it is so complete why doesn’t it address issues that are central to Mormon doctrine? I have compiled a list of 12 issues that are at the core of the Mormon belief system. Not one of these is explicitly or thoroughly addressed in the Book of Mormon. Those doctrines are: Church organization, Plurality of Gods, Plurality of wives, Word of Wisdom, God is an exalted man, Celestial marriage, Men may become Gods, Three degrees of glory (heaven), Baptism for the dead, Eternal progression, The Aaronic Priesthood, and The Melchizedek Priesthood. It seems that such a complete book that was designed by God as his correction for the lost church should address such issues.

As I finish my third and final post on the issue of the Book of Mormon I hope you have been learning some important truths about this book. To quickly recap we learned that the there were only a few witnesses to the existence of the original tablets, many of whom later changed their mind about whether or not they saw them. We learned that there is no historical archeological evidence for claims made by the Book of Mormon and leading scientific institutions clearly say so. We took a look at a few of the thousands of examples of the Book of Mormon being changed over the passage of time. We then saw that the Book of Mormon has been plagiarized, contains obvious errors, and doesn’t address many of the essential doctrines of Mormonism. All of this from a book that Joseph Smith claimed was the “most correct of any book on earth.”

I’d like to end this analysis on the Book of Mormon with some words the Apostle Paul left for the Galatians. In verse 8 he writes:
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”

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