Saturday, 2 April 2016

Book of Mormon

This is one post in an A-Z series of 26 where I am writing about living as a Mormon in the wilderness of Kuantan




We have this remarkable book, an ancient record of scriptural proportions. The Book of Mormon confirms our Biblical link to the Jews. The opening of the Book of Mormon occurs in Jerusalem around 600BC with a group of Jews going on an epic voyage through desert and sea which went unknown to the general population of Jerusalem, and unrecorded in the Holy Bible.

The Book of Mormon, therefore, would be of particular interest to Jews and Christians alike. To Jews due to this particular migration to the ancient Americas. To Christians as this record makes continuous mention of Jesus Christ throughout its 1,000 years of history, including a ministration of the Saviour on the ancient American continent after his resurrection.

Content aside, the Book of Mormon carries additional value as a testament to Joseph Smith's seership skills as the translator of an ancient document, and not the author of a fictional work. Don't get me wrong, there are many who cling to the belief that Mr. Smith made the whole thing up. Even if that was the case, it would still be an incredibly amazing feat to produce a 500-page, 1,000-year story in around 65 days! At worst, he is a master author; at best, an instrument in the hands of God.

Former BYU Professor, Hugh Nibley, offered this challenge to his students:

"Since Joseph Smith was younger than most of you and not nearly so experienced or well-educated as any of you at the time he copyrighted the Book of Mormon, it should not be too much to ask you to hand in by the end of the semester (which will give you more time than he had) a paper of, say, five to six hundred pages in length. Call it a sacred book if you will, and give it the form of a history. Tell of a community of wandering Jews in ancient times; have all sorts of characters in your story, and involve them in all sorts of public and private vicissitudes; give them names--hundreds of them--pretending that they are real Hebrew and Egyptian names of circa 600 b.c.; be lavish with cultural and technical details--manners and customs, arts and industries, political and religious institutions, rites, and traditions, include long and complicated military and economic histories; have your narrative cover a thousand years without any large gaps; keep a number of interrelated local histories going at once; feel free to introduce religious controversy and philosophical discussion, but always in a plausible setting; observe the appropriate literary conventions and explain the derivation and transmission of your varied historical materials.
"Above all, do not ever contradict yourself! For now we come to the really hard part of this little assignment. You and I know that you are making this all up--we have our little joke--but just the same you are going to be required to have your paper published when you finish it, not as fiction or romance, but as a true history! After you have handed it in you may make no changes in it (in this class we always use the first edition of the Book of Mormon); what is more, you are to invite any and all scholars to read and criticize your work freely, explaining to them that it is a sacred book on a par with the Bible. If they seem over-skeptical, you might tell them that you translated the book from original records by the aid of the Urim and Thummim--they will love that! Further to allay their misgivings, you might tell them that the original manuscript was on golden plates, and that you got the plates from an angel. Now go to work and good luck!
"To date no student has carried out this assignment, which, of course, was not meant seriously. But why not? If anybody could write the Book of Mormon, as we have been so often assured, it is high time that somebody, some devoted and learned minister of the gospel, let us say, performed the invaluable public service of showing the world that it can be done."


The Book of Mormon vindicates Joseph Smith's Prophethood. I have read it thoroughly over a dozen times and find no objection with adding it to the canon of sacred scripture.



What have you gained from the Book of Mormon? If you are not of the Mormon faith, would you consider reading it, if not for a spiritual conversion, at least for captivating religious history?

29 comments:

  1. I'd definitely consider reading it. I'm open to anything that will broaden my horizon.

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  2. Not sure if I would read it; I think if I did I would be doing a lot of research on events listed that I might not be familiar with to see how authentic the history is in there.

    betty

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    1. You would not be the first, and so far no archaeological evidence has ever been found to support the existence of either the Lay-man-ite or Neophyte (sorry Lamanite and Nephite) civilisations.
      Not one scrap ever.
      There is also a distinct lack of correlation between the DNA of Israelites and Lamanites (what Mormons call indigenous Native Americans)in fact they are totally dissimilar with lamanites having a much closer genetic links to to Mongols and native siberians.
      Most Mormons cannot even decide where abouts the BOM stories take place, for though Joseph claimed the hill Cumorah was in New York State and that there the final cataclysmic battle between the two peoples occurred, and where thousands of years later he discovered the gold plates, no one has ever found so much as a spear head, let alone a great city. So most mormons now claim the BOM was an account of the Mayans or Toltecs or other Mesoamerican peoples, who for some unknown reason chose to hide the record of their history some thousands of miles north.
      None of this however explains how the BOM people claim to have had horses, silks, chariots, wheel technology and about one hundred other impossible anachronisms of which there has been surprisingly NO archeological evidence what so ever

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  3. JL Campbell, thanks for your comment. I have the same attitude, not one that I've always had, but one that I have learned is so much more beneficial to have.

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  4. Betty, thanks for visiting. A lot of people do precisely that. There is currently an archaeological expedition going on in Oman where they believe a group of ancient people built a ship to cross the sea to the americas. Fascinating stuff. I sit there with popcorn following along :)

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    1. Forgive me if I am wrong but isn't that expedition to try and find the lost ships from vasco Da Gama's fleet from the 14th century?

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    2. I am quite certain it is Book of Mormon-related, Henry. I read about the meeting with the Omani rulers prior to receiving permission to investigate.

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  5. I would really love to give this assignment to students to see how they do with it... :D

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

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  6. A TarkabarkaHolgy, it would be funny to see their reactions to such an assignment!

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  7. Not sure I would read the Book of Mormon, but the history is fascinating. Thanks for sharing your knowledge so we don't have to write the paper :)
    www.lorihenriksen.com/blog

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  8. I've known a few Mormon over they years. Amish. Mennonites too. Good people all around.

    I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings during the #AtoZChallenge at Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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  9. I've never read the Book of Mormon... you convinced me to do just so.
    Write What Inspires You Blog

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  10. Very interesting. And yes I would read it if I could find the time - which won't happen this month :)

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  11. Lori, thanks for your visit! There is so much stuff we don't yet know. I wonder how many other writings of ancient date there are, which bring more history to light?

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  12. Hello Stephen, I did enjoy your B post on dreams - a fascinating topic! Thanks for your visit here

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  13. Donna, I appreciate you coming over and I hope you enjoy reading the Book of Mormon. You can read online at www.lds.org under the 'scriptures' heading or you can pick up a free copy at any Mormon church near you.

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  14. Right Rhonda, I understand this month is pretty occupied for us A-Zers! Hope you enjoy the Book of Mormon when you get round to it.

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  15. Hi, Duncan,

    Interesting post. And, yes, although I'm not Mormon, I have the Book of Mormon packed away somewhere. I always intended to read it, but just never got around to it. But you've motivated me to read it now. Thanks.

    And thanks for dropping by Yoganudge as part of the challenge.

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    1. Suzanne, thanks for the visit! I really hope you follow that fresh motivation and give the Book of Mormon a try :)

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  16. I have read it multiple times. Thanks Duncan.

    Betty - I would suggest that in addition to researching the historical events, compare the teachings and testimony of Jesus Christ to the Bible. The Book of Mormon is a second testament of Jesus Christ. I believe you will enjoy this as I read your thoughts about Jesus.

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    1. Lianne, thank you for your visit and attempting to interact with others in this thread. Discovering Book of Mormon parallels with the Holy Bible would be of great importance to Christians. Having studied the book for over 20 years, I believe it is genuine and valuable to the Christian canon of scripture

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  17. What a complex history! And, as a writer, I wish I could write 500 pages in 65 days!

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    1. I know right? That translation task was nothing short of remarkable!

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    2. Have you heard of the annual competition to write a novel in a month, I've entered twice, but have never won as there are usually over 14,000 entries every year.

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    3. By the way the Book of Mormon has 268,163 words (grant the word count has changed between editions as it keeps being edited by the church), This of course is including several large passages lifted and copied directly from the Bible. So that is just over 4000 words a day of original material on average, if one assumes Smith was the sole author or translator. However linguistic style analysis has compared the book of Mormon with other writings by Orson Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Ethan Smith (author of a view of the Hebrews and Joseph's second cousin), Solomon spaulding (Ethan smith's pupil and author of manuscript found) and Oliver Cowdrey (Solomon Spaulding's scribe and Lucy Mack Smith's cousin)
      It is interesting to note Manuscript found and A view of the Hebrews were both about groups of Jews who traveled to the America's during the time of Nebuchadnezzar and settle colonies there.

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  18. However you have ommited to say how the Book of Mormon was really written, a fact the Mormon church hid for the better part of two centuries until the LDS church was forced to admit the truth in the gospel topics essays on LDS.org last year.
    All the pictures of Joseph reading and translating from the golden plates using the urim and thummim are completely misleading.
    Joseph actually "translated" the BOM by placing a seer stone (the same stone he used for paid treasure hunting, a crime he had been prosecuted for only a year or so earlier, court records still exist)in his hat, hiding his face in the said hat and dictating to a variety of scribes, most of who he was related to or was borrowing money off (Emma Smith his wife, Oliver Cowdery his mother's cousin, Martin Harris who financed the first printing of the BOM, but lost the first 111 pages of the manuscript, when his wife burned them claiming Joseph would undoubtedly be able to translate them again, which Joseph was unable to do, forcing him to replace the book of Lihi with first Nephi.)

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    1. Hi Henry, thank you for pointing this out. I did, however, include the actual details of the translation in another post here entitled "Joseph Smith."

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    2. Sorry Henry, the post I shared that information in, is titled "Mormon."

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I welcome comments and discussion on all perspectives relating to Mormonism and Christianity and the personal quest for acquiring truth and developing a relationship with Deity.

Go ahead!