The Moroni Challenge

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Can we trust in our feelings when it comes to proving that the Book of Mormon is true?

Have you ever read and prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true? This is a common phrase used by the Latter-day Saint.

The “Moroni Challenge.” Is recorded in the Book of Moroni 10:4-5. 

“And when ye shall receive theses 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.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

How does God manifest the truth by the Holy Ghost?

“You will feel a burning in your bosom or, a peaceful feeling will come over you.”

So, to prove if anything is true we are to put all our trust in our feelings?  Don’t you think that’s a little dangerous?

Cause God doesn’t use feelings to testify of truth.  Feelings in Scripture are often spoken of as untrustworthy.  Let’s read Proverbs 28:26.

“He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” 

Is it proper to use feelings as a test for truth?  Our feelings can be influenced by many outside sources which may not be reliable. 

Honestly, I’m convinced the Book of Mormon is not the Word of God.  And it’s not because of anything I felt or failed to feel.  It’s because of what is true and what is not true. 

What do you believe is not true about it?

Okay, “Author and Proprietor Joseph Smith.” is printed and stated in the original 1830 Book of Mormon.  He owned the copyright, and he intended to make money from that.  It is obvious that Joseph knew nothing about the ancient American world or ancient Jewish culture, because he makes some horrible errors and oversights in the Book of Mormon. 

Such as:

The complete lack of archaeological support for the Book of Mormon.
The numerous historical anachronisms in the Book of Mormon.
Racism taught and displayed in the Book of Mormon.
Plagiarism of the King James Version passages in the Book of Mormon. 

So, you see with a logical rational mind I can reason that the Book of Mormon is not what it claims to be.  Certainly not the Word of God.

Elder Young

We realize you have doubts and concerns, but only God can answer them for you.

 

Chris

Elders do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon?

 

Elder Smith

Of course.  We believe it is inspired Scripture from God.

 

Chris

Do you believe everything the Book of Mormon teaches?

 

Elder Smith

Yes.

 

Chris

Is there anything in the Book of Mormon that you question?

 

Elder Smith

No.  What is there to question?

 

Chris

As I read the Book of Mormon I found that it reflects 19th century American Christianity more than it does current LDS doctrine and teaching. 

When I put the Book of Mormon down and I picked up the Bible and started devouring it.  I started to see God’s word change my life and testify to its truthfulness in ways incomprehensible to me.  I know beyond the shadow of a doubt the Bible is the Word of God, and it’s not because of anything I’ve felt.  It was knowledge and realization in my mind that it had to be the Word of God. 

Elder, please read Jeremiah 17:9

 

Elder Young

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”   

 

Chris

That is what the Bible teaches about trusting the heart.  Our heart, our feelings, our emotions can fool us into believing things that aren’t true or good for us.

Instead of the Bible telling us to pray about it – It teaches us to “search the Scriptures.” 

In our next visit about the Book of Mormon, I’d like to take you to some passages that teach orthodox Christian doctrine.  These will be doctrines the LDS Church currently does not teach, and in some cases would label as false doctrine. 

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Book of Abraham – Part 3

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The original claim that the Book of Abraham had been translated from ancient egyptian papyri scrolls has been proven false when it was clearly shown that the scrolls where funeral text.

The Church allowed photographs of the papyrus to be published in the February 1968 edition of the Improvement Era magazine, along with an article explaining them.  Now that over a hundred years had passed since the book’s translation, there were many educated people both in and out of the LDS faith who understood the Egyptian language.

During this time, many articles ran in the Improvement Era from 1968 through 1970 regarding the translation.  However, the LDS experts completed work revealed – that not only did the papyri NOT contain the Book of Abraham – there was not even the slightest connection between their contents and Abraham. 

What was on them?

They were simply ordinary Egyptian funeral texts – prayers to pagan Egyptian gods – that had been buried with the mummies.

Unsatisfied with the outcome, LDS leaders extended the opportunity to several other non-LDS Egyptologists to examine and comment on the papyri.  Each one of them arrived at the same conclusion: the papyri were common funeral texts, all clearly dating 1500 years later than Abraham’s time – having no connection whatever with the biblical patriarch Abraham. 

What Joseph Smith claimed to be the Book of Abraham, was actually the Book of Breathings.  And, what was supposed to be the Book of Joseph of Egypt, was the Book of the Dead.  

Paul warns us that when we die, we will be judged not only by our actions and words – He will judge the secrets of men and women.  Romans 2:16 “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”    He’s talking about the hidden desires, secret lusts, unspoken passions, thoughts, and motives of all people.  The thoughts of the hearts.  And, only God through Jesus Christ can determine the human heart. 

Then Paul declares the status of all men, women and children.  Romans 3:10-12 “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.”  Wow!  How does that make you feel?  He is simply saying that man is universally evil.  Unprofitable – corrupt.  No one naturally seeks after God.  Our tendency is to seek our own interest.  We are born selfish.  The message is clear here – There has not been, nor will there ever be, anyone who is justified before God due to their good lives or their obedience to religious laws.  From Mother Teresa, to Ghandi, or the Dali Lama.  None!  Human corruption is universal.   Compared to the incomprehensible holiness of God who is eternal and unchangeable – how could any created human being ever be considered righteous for anything – especially when we consider the elements that hide within the human heart?  We are “unprofitable – there is none that doeth good – not one.”  This speaks of the failure of Man to DO good. 

This is the state of every person who lives and dies by laws, ordinances, and covenants.  We are totally screwed by our attempt to please God by any external approach – especially through religion.  And this is why Jesus was born, which allows Paul to describe the only solution to such a hopeless state.  Romans 3:23-24 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”   Paul tells us in Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  There by the deeds (works) of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  Paul is describing here the state of all men and women when they each stand before God and attempt to justify their lives by virtue of having done good.  There is no justification before Holy God through our works of righteousness and obedience to laws and ordinances.  That is why my friends, we need to completely understand that you can not have salvation by anything other than through grace.  Salvation comes only by and through God’s goodness, His righteousness, and His shed blood, and nothing from us.  We can’t go to the foot of the Cross and tell Jesus “Thank you for what you’ve done for me by paying for my sins – but it wasn’t enough.  I need to add my good works to the atonement.”  Try justifying yourselves before God on judgment day.  I repeat what he said in verse 20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh be justified in his sight.”  God’s Law is good, is righteous, is perfect.  We cannot get angry at God’s Law – for it comes from Him.  But the Law was a way for us to examine our hearts and to understand that we can’t keep the law perfectly.  The last part of verse 20 “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”  It should be reasonably understood by believers that we are not saved by obedience to Law.  Gravitating towards the law, limits our freedom in Christ and puts us back into bondage under the law. 

Paul continues in Romans 3:21 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;”  It’s important to know that when Paul writes the sentence, “the righteousness of God” he is not speaking of an attribute of God – but instead how God makes Man righteous.  In other words we could read it this way, “But now, the way God makes man righteous without the law is made known.”  It was going to take a plan from God without including the law to save mankind.  That plan mentioned in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  How does that happen?  Jesus came and both fulfilled the law through perfect adherence to it and then magnified it in the lives of those who trusted and believed on Him.  Romans 3:22 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.”  But faith is a matter of choice on our part.  Nobody can be saved by works; and all are dependent on the mercy of God found through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  Why in this way only?  Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” 

Now Paul goes into greater detail saying, Romans 3:24-26 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”  That is the good news of the gospel – that we are “justified freely by his grace.”  It is an absolute, totally free, unconditional and underserved gift.  Free to us through believing.  But the cost and price, was the highest of anything to ever be purchased in eternity.  Christ redeemed us – He paid the ransom for us. 

Paul then adds, Romans 3:27 “Where is boasting then?  Is it excluded.  By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.”   Where is the boasting? Jews? Mormons? Christians?  If it was by any works, at all, boasting would be in order.  But Paul adds “but by the law of faith” in the Son of God.  Then he concludes with this amazing statement in verse 28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  There is no other way.  To trifle with this doctrine is to truly present another Gospel – contrary to the biblical Gospel Paul is talking about.  A false gospel teaches that “people ought to do good works then saving faith will come.”  Doing good works in order to bring about salvation or saving faith is a tool centered in the flesh, not in faith.   

Then Paul ends chapter three by bringing us all the way back around full circle by saying, Romans 3:31 “Do we make void the law through faith?  God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”  By what means does the justification of someone by faith establish the Law?  Here’s a great saying “Grace teaches us to say no to sin.”  Where the law reveals and exposes each of us to sin – grace teaches us to say no to it.  The moral law is embraced by those who are justified.  The Law is established in those who have been saved by grace through faith.  Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”  When Jesus was on earth he was approached by a lawyer, as recorded in Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  To love – God and others – is the result of those who have come to faith.  It is by and through this action – love – that the Law is established in the lives of those who’ve experienced God’s mercy. 

There are Latter-day Saints who go to James chapter 2 to say, “faith without works is dead.”  But If we go to James chapter 2 beginning in verse 14, we can put it all into context.  I think we’ll find that James is talking about this very point that Paul makes here in Romans 3:31. James 2:14 “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?  Can faith save him?”  He is saying, “What good is it if a man SAYS he has faith, but has not the works of LOVE?”  Then James goes on and gives us some illustrations in Verses 15 and 16.  Love is a verb.  God so LOVED the world He gave us His Son.  Jesus so LOVED the world He gave us His very life.  Then in verse 17 “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”  James is saying the same thing as Paul is saying.  James continues in chapter 2:18-20 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”  Just as love without action or application is dead – so is faith without works.  There is no difference.

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Mormonism vs. Book of Mormon

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Didn’t
Joseph Smith claim the Book of Mormon to be “the most
correct book on earth”?

That quote
is found in Joseph Smith’s, History of the Church vol.4
p.461 “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any
book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to
God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

I find it
interesting that today’s Mormonism has “precepts” and teachings that are not
found in the Book of Mormon.  In fact,
many of today’s Mormon doctrines contradicts the Book of Mormon.

Doesn’t
today’s Mormonism teach that there are, a plurality of Gods in the universe?  Not just the three separate God’s that
Mormons worship? 

Latter-day
Saints believe that there are innumerable God’s who have created their own
worlds and who are worshiped by their creations.

Yet, the
Book of Mormon teaches differently. 

2
Nephi 31:21

“And
now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way
nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of
God.  And now, behold, this is the
doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end.  Amen.”

Alma
11: 26 and 29

“And
Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?”  “And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and
living God.”  “Now Zeezrom said: Is there
more than one God?”  “And he answered,
No.”

Pretty clear
what the teaching is – there is only one God.

Nowhere is a
plurality of gods supported by the Book of Mormon. 

Doesn’t
modern Mormonism teach that God was once a mortal man who became God, just like
all men have the capability to become?

The LDS call
this the plan of eternal progression.

This is an
excerpt from the book, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph
Smith, p. 345, “I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show
what kind of being God is.  What sort of
being was God in the beginning?  God
himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in
yonder heavens!”

The Book of
Mormon like the Bible, teaches that God is unchangeable.  Look at Mormon 9:9, 19

“For
do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him
there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?  And if there were miracles wrought then, why
has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being?  And behold, I say unto you he changeth not;
if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.”

That must
mean that SINCE he has become God, he is unchangeable and will always be God.

Moroni
7:22

“For
behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting.”

Moroni
8:18

“For
I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is
unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.”

It all boils
down to whether or, not the Book of Mormon really is – “The
most correct book on earth.”  If
it is, then current Mormonism disagrees with its essential teachings. 

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Did Joseph Smith Write Himself into Scripture?

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2 Nephi 3:14-15

“And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled.  Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father.  And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.”

 

Who is that prophesy referring to?

Latter-Day Saints believe it was speaking into the future of Joseph Smith.

This passage is from the Book of Mormon for which we know there are no ancient documents or records to verify. 

And what’s the correlation?

You’ll need to read from the Joseph Smith Translation Genesis 50:33

“And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I given unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.”

Do you notice the similarities?

That reference to Joseph and his father is obviously, Joseph Smith Jr. and Joseph Smith Sr. 

Those corrections that Joseph Smith made do not appear in any of the numerous ancient Old Testament manuscripts.

So, what’s your point?

It’s apparent to me that both scriptural passages came through one man.  And it’s the same man who is the object of those prophecies – Joseph Smith. 

Doesn’t that seem self-serving and arrogant of Joseph Smith to write himself into the narrative of what is called Mormon scripture?


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Testing the Book of Mormon – Part 4

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As the third test for the Book of Mormon, let us use the Test of Inspiration. If the Book of Mormon is congruent with the Bible, the words of the Book of Mormon should only confirm what the Bible says, not go against it.  Would you agree?

As an
example: The Bible teaches in Matthew 2:1 that
Jesus was “born in Bethlehem of Judea.”

In the Book of Mormon, Alma 7:10 prophesied about 83 BC that Christ would be “born at Jerusalem.” 

Aren’t Bethlehem and Jerusalem close to each other?

Yes, but the Bible prophets knew the difference.  Bible prophesies are always accurate, not “close.”

Concerning
Jesus’ time on the cross, the Bible says in Mark 15:33 that
there was three hours of darkness. 

In the Book
of Helaman 14:20, Samuel the Lamanite prophesied
that the earth would be dark the entire time Jesus was dead.  That’s three days, not three hours. 

3rd
Nephi 8:33 records that
these three days of darkness supposedly happened around 33 AD, while people
living on the other side of the world experienced only three hours of
darkness. 

Another
clear contradiction is on Melchizedek’s priesthood.

The Bible in
Hebrews 7:3 teaches that Melchizedek reigned “without father, without mother, without genealogy.”

On the
contrary, the Book of Mormon in Alma 13:18 claims
Melchizedek “did reign under his father.” 

More
significantly, the Book of Mormon is not concerned with accurately representing
the Law of Moses. 

According to
Numbers 3:6-7, only those from the tribe of Levi
were permitted to serve in the Aaronic Priesthood.

However, The
Book of Mormon claims in Alma 10:3 that those
people descendant from Manasseh offered “sacrifice and
burnt offerings according to the Law of Moses.” (Mosiah 2:3)

This is just
a sample of the contradictions the Book of Mormon makes with the Bible.  With so many we have to concluded that either
the author of these two books was not perfect, Or the one true God is not the
author of both books.

Elder Smith

As far as
inspiration goes, Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon is “the most correct of any book on earth.” 

Chris

Elders, I understand that is what you have to teach in order to be obedient missionaries.  But, would you please read 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto good works.”

As far as the inspiration goes, the Book of Mormon fails the test to measure up to scripture.  Therefore, it should NOT be used for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness or any good work. 

When one
reads the Bible, he or she begins to understand the character of a perfect,
loving God.  The evidence confirms that
the only explanation of the Bible is that it must have come from a truly good,
perfect, and inspiring God.

Elder Young

We think you
can get the same feeling about God when reading the Book of Mormon.

Chris

Before Christ ascended back to Heaven, He commissioned His apostles to go everywhere, preaching the gospel.  They did, and they paid for it with their lives.  This is a testament to the Bible’s authenticity.  These men who witnessed the life, miracles, death, and resurrection of Christ were willing to preach about Him, even when it meant they would lose their lives.  Under threat of execution not a single witness of Christ was willing to renounce Him. 

The Book of Mormon had three “witnesses” who signed their names claiming to have heard the voice of God, seen an angel and even seen the Gold Plates. 

And before
their deaths, all three of them – Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin
Harris renounced Mormonism and were condemned as reprobates by the Mormon
Church. (Apostle George A. Smith, JOD 7:114-115)

Remember
what it says in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the
substance of things hoped for, the EVIDENCE of things not seen.”  Shouldn’t that cause you concerned
about a book that is destroyed by the evidence?   

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Testing the Book of Mormon – Part 3

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Another test we should put to the Book of Mormon is the Test of Archaeology.  This would be a test against history. 

The Book of Mormon is full of supposed history – civilizations that lived in and populated cities in what is known as the Americas. 

Though the Bible wasn’t written as a history book, it also contains much history.  When we read of great cities and battles in the Bible, archaeology continues to prove that the Bible is an accurate representation of history.

What about the Book of Mormon?

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Latter-Day Saints use Ether 15, where “two million” of the Jaredites were slain in battle.  In this battle, “men, women and children were armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head plates.” 

The previous chapter says, that “so swift and speedy was the war that there was none left to bury the dead.”  Bodies were “strewn upon the face of the land.”

2 Nephi 5:15 “to work in all manner of wood, and of 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.”

In Alma 11:5-6, it explains how the people had their own monetary system, including unique coins and measurements of gold and silver.

Considering the cities and millions upon millions of people (Nephites, Lamanites, People of Zarahemla, Jaredites, Jacobites, Josephbites, Zoramites, Ishmaelites, People of Zeniff, People of Alma, Amlicites, Amalekites, and others) who had metal weapons, armor, and currency, one would expect the Americas to be littered with archaeological confirmation. 

Is, there any historical evidences that prove these civilizations existed at all?

Not so far.
As of today, there is zero evidence of any of the groups of the Book of Mormon. 

On the other hand, every year in the Holy Land, archaeologists are discovering weapons, coins, animals, cities, and civilizations mentioned in the Bible. 

By the way, where are the gold plates the Book of Mormon was reported to be translated from?

They were returned to the angel Moroni by Joseph Smith, when he was finished with the translation.

In comparison – the Bible is the most attested book of all antiquity.  There is an abundance of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts that helps us place the Bible in history and show that even though the Bible is 2,000 years old, we have every reason to believe what we have now is complete. 

How many Book of Mormon plates do we have access to?  Zero!

Why would God allow us to find thousands of manuscripts for the Bible, but then claim the plates for the Book of Mormon were too precious to be kept on earth?

Maybe, because God wanted us to believe in the Book of Mormon based on faith alone. They say.

Without a trace of evidence of its history?  Doesn’t seem logical to me.

One more thing – the Book of Mormon claims to have originally been written in what language?

It says in Mormon 9:32 “reformed Egyptian.”  

And, no historian or language expert has ever found evidence of such a language.                                           

You see Elders, Christians are happy for historians to put the Bible on trial.  In fact, the more that happens, the more the Bible is proven. 

However, every time that historians put the Book of Mormon to the test, it always fails.

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Can the Word of God Pass Away?

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I see a conflict with the Book of Mormon I’d like to discuss.

“And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.”

2 Nephi 9:16

Did you notice the conflict in that passage?

The verse says God’s “eternal word, which cannot pass away.”

Let’s read 1 Nephi 13:26 to see if you can notice the apparent conflict or contradiction to what we just read in 2 Nephi.

“And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.”

1 Nephi 13:26

The Book of Mormon teaches on the one hand “plain and precious” truths were “taken away”, but then it also says God’s “eternal word cannot pass away”

So, my question is – which passage do you believe, 1 Nephi or 2 Nephi? Obviously, you cannot believe both to be true. BUT both are found in the Book of Mormon.

Unfortunately, most Latter-day Saints do not see the contradiction.
This is just one of the many contradictions I’ve come across in my reading of the Book of Mormon. I hope we can discuss more of them in, the near future.

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Can We Trust Our Feelings?

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Latter-day Saint missionaries are trained to challenge people to read the Book of Mormon and then to ask God in prayer if, it is true. Moroni 10:4-5 “And when ye shall receive these things [the Book of Mormon], 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. And by the power of the Holy Ghost, ye may know the truth of all things.”
Another scripture used is from:

“But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.”

Doctrine and Covenants 9:8 

I see some problems with those challenges.

First, of all there is no provision made in case the Book of Mormon is false.
What if I don’t get a supernatural witness of some kind?
Latter-day Saints believe it would probably be because you didn’t ask with a “sincere heart” or “real intent”, or you didn’t have “faith in Christ”?
In other words, there is something wrong with me, not the Book of Mormon? I was not being sincere with God?

LDS believers will argue that if you DO get a burning in the bosom or a special feeling when reading the Book of Mormon, that this feeling would confirm that the Book of Mormon is true?

Not necessarily. It could be that we were being influenced by deceitful spirits or demons. Paul warns of this deception in 2 Thessalonians 2:9. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

1 John 4:1
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: Because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
Is it wrong to trust in our heart that God is speaking to us.
God warns us about trusting our hearts. Deuteronomy 11:16
“Take head to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them.”
Jeremiah 17:9
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
You see there are dangers when we rely on our hearts too much. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Our feelings and emotions that stem from our hearts can be very misleading – even though it seems that they are right.
So, how can we know for certain about anything then, if we can’t trust our, hearts?
When it comes to truth, The Bible gives us a great example of what one is to do when confronted with the possibility of whether a message is from God or not. In Acts 17:10-11 Paul taught the people of Berea in their synagogue.
But rather than rely on mere subjective feelings or what their hearts were telling them, those Bereans had the objective evidence of the Old Testament Scriptures by which to judge Paul’s words. Paul even compliments them “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
It is good practice to check Scripture with Scripture.
It should be no different for us today – for it is our Bible that will keep us from being, as it says in Ephesians 4:14
“tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.”
Rather than pray about the Book of Mormon and risk being deceived by my feelings – I will reconcile it with the proven Word of God – the Bible.

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Prediction of the Book of Mormon – Part 2

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In a, devotional address to LDS college students in September 2017, President Nelson said in, reference to Ezekiel 37,“When the bible and the triple combination were first bound in one book, we felt that this amazing prophecy had been fulfilled.  Now, most of you have all of those scriptures ‘bound as one’ in your telephone.”

He said, “My beloved brothers and sisters, we love the Holy Bible,” “It’s the word of God.  And we love the Book of Mormon… Indeed, it is ‘another testament of Jesus Christ.’  These two books are companions.  We hold them together – bound as one – as foretold long ago by prophets of God.”

President Nelson is referring specifically to Ezekiel 37:16-17, which says, “Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”

The LDS teach that these verses are speaking of two sticks which are the Bible or the stick of Judah, and the Book of Mormon or the stick of Joseph.  They believe these two records have now been joined together, constituting a complete fulfillment of a great prophecy spoken of in 2 Nephi 3:12.

Because Scripture interprets Scripture, we can learn what the “sticks” are.  The idea that the two sticks in Ezekiel 37:22 refer to the Bible and the Book of Mormon is made impossible by the verses that follow.  Verse 22 states, “I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.”   Obviously the “sticks” are not the Bible and the Book of Mormon; they are two nations, or two kingdoms.

If the LDS prophets, are going to use specific verses as a proof text they had better know the background, setting and circumstances.

After Solomon died the nation of Israel split in two.  The Southern Kingdom was known as Judah and the Northern Kingdom was called Israel, or sometimes Ephraim.  In 722 B.C. Israel was taken into captivity by Assyria, and in 605 Judah was taken into exile by Babylon.

Ezekiel 37:18-28 clearly shows that the uniting of the “sticks” pictures God’s restoring and reuniting His people, once again, in the land as a single nation (Hosea 1:11).

Besides, wasn’t the Book of Mormon supposedly written on golden plates?  You can’t bind metal plates around a stick!

The Lord told Ezekiel precisely what to write on the two sticks, and it was not “the Bible” on one and the “Book of Mormon” on the other. If that was the case, then Ezekiel would be the author of the Book of Mormon.  Rather, he only wrote a few words.  He was told in Verse 16, to write upon the stick, for Judah, then take another and write upon it, for Joseph, the stick of Ephraim.

Many times, in Old Testament history, sticks, rods, and staffs were used by the children of Israel to write their tribe names and genealogy upon.  That is likely the case in Ezekiel 37.

Oh, and another problem: the Book of Mormon in Alma 10:3 claims to be the record of the descendants of Manasseh, NOT Ephraim.

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Prediction of the Book of Mormon – Part 1

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In a Deseret News article the Mormon prophet, President Russell M. Nelson invited young adults to study the Bible with Him.

Nelson said to those at the devotional that he is seeking to learn how the inspired Bible predicted the coming of the Book of Mormon.  He shared an experience he had with a Protestant minister who asked him if he believes in the Bible ?

Nelson said the minister expected him to say, “ ‘yes, as far as it is translated correctly,’ ”  but he didn’t.   Nelson said, “Yes, especially Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37.  Because they each foretell the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.”

LDS teach that Isaiah 29:1-4 is predicting the coming of the Book of Mormon, which was translated from plates hidden in the ground by Moroni – coming as it did “out of the ground” to “whisper out of the dust” to people of our day.

But Isaiah isn’t talking about a literal book, much less one that would come forth in the future. If you read the entire chapter, it is obvious that God is speaking of the spiritual blindness of the people resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem. And being brought down to the ground, as if buried – Jerusalem would whisper.

Actually, Isaiah Chapter 29, verses 1 through 4, is a pronouncement of horrific judgment against Jerusalem in an attempt to get the nation of Judah to repent and return to God. This judgment was fulfilled in 700 B.C. Jerusalem had been humbled such that their speech was “out of the ground” or “low out of the dust.”

Mormons believe that Isaiah 29:4, where it talks about a “familiar spirit,” is a reference to the Book of Mormon being another witness of Jesus Christ.

It’s important to note: There are at least 15 Old Testament references to “familiar spirits” and all of them deal with

witchcraft

or

necromancy

  • Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27
  • 1 Samuel 28:3-9
  • 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24
  • 1 Chronicles 10:13-14
  • Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; 29:4

Therefore, when the Book of Mormon claims it has a familiar spirit, it is inadvertently claiming a relationship with the demonic. Familiar spirits are clearly rooted in occultism, and that’s why God condemns anything related to familiar spirits (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

If the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the word of God, why would God associate it with demonic forces?

The LDS strongly emphasize the “marvelous work and a wonder” spoken of in verse 14. They believe the Book of Mormon fits that description.

But, when read in context, the “marvelous work and a wonder” refers to God’s work of vengeance on the ungodly, not his blessing of the righteous. It will be a “wonder” because the wisdom of the wise will perish. God’s wonderful and marvelous works are not always positive in nature. Moses called God’s plagues in Deuteronomy Chapter 28 verse 59 “wonderful” and “great.” And those didn’t turn out so well for them.

I’m taken back by the remarks of President Nelson, who like many LDS leaders before him, ignore the key passages in Isaiah 29 that set the historical stage for what follows. No biblical scholar see’s Isaiah’s warning as a prediction regarding a future book.

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