If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone
THE BOOK OF MORMON IS NOT FROM GOD
Smith claimed that God gave him power to translate golden plates into English. When Smith translated 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, these pages were lost and were never recovered. He says in the above that God told him not to translate the same over again as the words would differ. The explanation is that the enemies would change the words in the lost manuscript. This indicates that Smith was claiming to make a verbally inspired translation of the Book of Mormon. It is important that Smith merely says they will change the wording - he says nothing about them changing anything else: stories, character names etc. Smith was just making an excuse for being unable to come up with the exact words if he allegedly retranslated.
If the manuscript turned up altered surely it would be easy to see where it was interfered with!
A Witness to the Book of Mormon plates stated that it was indeed a verbally inspired translation.
The Book of Mormon was allegedly translated from golden plates containing Reformed Egyptian by the gift and power of God by Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. First published in 1830, it is the only sacred volume that claims to have been a divinely inspired translation. None of the myriad sects of Mormonism can be the true Church when the Book of Mormon is a hoax.
The Church itself would admit that its hard to defend the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. It would point to the fact that every faith has the same problem. The Catholic Church for example when it tries to verify that miracles of healing happened at Lourdes finds it far from easy. But ordinary people have the right to see the evidence before believing and do not have the time for examining all that. A true miracle would be straightforward. Otherwise people are going to get conned and fall into error.
The evidence for the existence of the Golden Plates consists of a testimony by three witnesses and another by eight. They all agreed however that they did not see much of them. They were not looking at them day in and day out.
Smith got three witnesses and then eight to testify that the golden plates existed. This shows he was a hoaxer for it was more important that the translation be verified than that the existence of the plates be verified. Yet God seems to be only concerned about the plates. There is no evidence that the translation was right. The man who falsely claimed to be Smith’s successor and forged a letter to help him along James Jesse Strang is dismissed by Mormons as a fraud though he chose reputable men to be the witnesses to the plates he translated. Smith’s were all notoriously gullible and he said that they were wicked men. Cowdery one of the three witnesses was known to be a conman.
What really makes the testimony of the witnesses worthless is that Smith inserted changes into the Book of Mormon after its publication. This action of his was a plain testimony that he didn’t believe in it himself. Adjustments were made to fit changing Mormon dogma. When the prime witness testified by his actions and actions are louder than words why bother with the rest?
The Book of Mormon says that three witnesses are needed before any charge against an elder can be listened to (Moroni 6:7). Ether 5:3,4 requires three witnesses to see the Golden Plates. But we have only Mormon and Moroni’s word for the Book of Mormon if we assume that Smith was telling the truth (which really just leaves one witness, Smith). Mormon died in battle and who knows what Moroni was doing after that? So we really have one witness, Moroni! Perhaps they made the whole thing up or Moroni alone did it? Worse, perhaps Joseph Smith did get gold plates and the commission to translate them but he decided not to bother and faked the translation. Mormon scriptures admit that Smith disobeyed God and was chastised by him after he received the plates. The point is, we have only Smith’s word for it that the Book of Mormon is what is on the plates. Mormons answer that God told the three witnesses that the translation was true but we are not given God’s exact words. Maybe he only said, “These are the plates of Mormon and my translation of them is to be believed”, meaning he wanted them to believe his translation which may or may not have been effected properly by Smith. Even Mormons now say that prophets can get things wrong because they misinterpret things. How do they know then that the apostles misunderstood the resurrection of Jesus and that what they saw was not Jesus at all?
Smith claimed that Professor Charles Anthon authenticated his translation of a bit of the plates. The characters and translation were written down by Smith on some paper and Martin Harris took it to him. Anthon always denied this claim. Yet Mormons use Smith's claim as evidence for the Book of Mormon. But the whole point of bringing in the Professor was to back Smith up and all we have is Smith’s testimony!
Mormons may point out that Smith could have been lied to by Harris and that Smith was only recording what Harris said. But Smith took Harris' version very seriously. And it was Smith who reported what Harris said so was it reported correctly and truthfully? Smith is trying to get us to take hearsay as verification. If Smith had been a genuine man of God and his story was true, he would have done better than that. And its a strange way of proving something to say, "The professor said the translation is correct and the characters a real language and if he now says different he is lying."
The Book of Mormon and the revelations that accompanied it make it clear that the work in producing it could only be carried out and the plates seen only by faith. The Book of Mormon teaches that that only when faith is totally strong will God work to do miracles (1 Nephi 7:12; Moroni 7:34-38; Ether 12:12). Ether 4:11 says that he who believes in the gospel will receive supernatural manifestations from the Holy Spirit and know that the record is true. There is no evidence that there was anything special about the faith of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon or even Smith’s own faith so the Book of Mormon says that their visions and revelations were dubious. They are not of the calibre of some of the Catholic Saints and they should be. The prophecy of the three witnesses in the Book of Mormon though fulfilled fails in that the witnesses did not have good enough faith and committed terrible actions later – they were not even half-decent human beings.
Martin Harris was one of the three witnesses to the Golden Bible but God would not have chosen him though Smith said he did. Harris was famous for having ludicrous visions and revelations even before he became associated with Smith.
Smith supposedly translated 116 pages of the Book of Lehi, a part of the Book of Mormon. They were lost and never recovered or re-translated. Smith claimed a revelation not to re-translate Lehi’s writings but to use a part of the plates that covered much the same period. The Lord told Smith this had to be done for if he re-translated Lehi, Smith’s enemies would change the 116 pages and then use them as proof that Smith’s new translation did not match the old one so thereby seeming to prove that he was not translating at all. It is obvious that Smith was making it all up for his enemies could not change the pages that much. They could have forged a new 116 pages and still did that to contradict Smith’s account of what happened. The episode certainly indicates that no testimony however good could salvage Smith’s story of the plates and the miracle translation.
So Smith said he could not retranslate for some would see differences between the new and old one if the old turned up. This is an admission that the whole thing was a hoax. Why couldn’t God tell him if the old one still existed? It was believed that Martin Harris’s wife burned them in her fireplace. God would not let the precious pages be lost after enabling Smith to miraculously translate the Plates.
The witnesses said they saw the Plates inside their heads and after Smith manipulated and tormented them to think they could see them (page 37, Are the Mormon Scriptures Reliable?).
The Book of Mormon contains prophecies that were made after the events and any that are still to be fulfilled are unimpressive. This is a sure indication that God was not involved because any allegedly inspired book could manage these things. Deuteronomy 18 says that even a prophet who is right nearly all the time is still a false prophet which implies that anybody who makes unimpressive predictions is to be dismissed as a crank.
The blunders made in the Book of Mormon are truly dreadful.
2 Nephi 2:23 states that if Adam and Eve had not sinned they would have had no children and would not have known any joy for they knew no misery and being unable to do good for they did not know what sin was. This is utter rubbish. Sinlessness was no bar to making babies. And you can have joy when you forget about misery and do good when you forget about sin so you don’t have to know what sin is to be happy.
Joy is caused by chemicals in the brain. You never create your joy. The chemicals do. You might do certain things to trigger joy off but you do not cause the chemicals to react this way.
In 2 Nephi 11:7 we read that if there is no Christ there is no God. This seems to mean that if there is no Christ to die to satisfy the justice of God and atone for sins there can be no God for God does not care about us to save us (see 2 Nephi 9:26). But one person cannot atone for another. John going to jail for my sins is not going to change the fact that I haven't paid for my sins. If I would give myself up, that would show my heart has changed and if you do evil your heart must change as a matter of justice. Our good works should be infinitely pleasing to God for God likes them infinitely and should be able to atone. Jesus could not atone if we are already atoned. The Christian gospel says that we do not deserve to be saved so God would be perfect right and just not to bother saving anybody if he didn’t want to.
It gets worse. 2 Nephi 2:13 argues that if there is no law there is no sin and if there is no sin there is no righteousness and if there is no righteousness there is no happiness and if there is no happiness there is no unhappiness and if there is no happiness or righteousness there is no punishment or sadness and if they do not exist there is no God and if there is no God there is no earth or creation.
These arguments are outrageously silly. Happiness can exist without us freely doing what is right. Rewards and punishment do not infer that God exists. And the teaching that heaven and earth must have been made by God is childish for who made God? If they had to have been made then what about God? The Mormon God is a material being and is not a being that has a chance of having to exist like 2+2=4 like the Christian one. Heaven and earth could have been made by an impersonal spiritual intelligence that is not a person and is not entitled to be believed to be God or worshipped.
The Mormon Church cannot say that these arguments are just part of what the speaker in the Book was saying and not necessarily endorsed by God or the inspired author of the Book. The Book of Mormon makes it clear that it is an abridgment of the Nephite scriptures meaning that Mormon the abridger was going to use only material that was doctrinally correct for it would be madness to put stuff like that in when the space could be used for divinely approved teaching. Moreover, once you start using that excuse that the text might be inspired but what it says might not be endorsed by God, you could come to the epistles of Paul in the New Testament with the same approach. Scripture is no good to you if you accept the excuse. You could say that God inspired the four gospels and that he does not approve of everything in them. So unless a teaching in a scripture is specifically stated to be just the opinion of the speaker it has to be taken to be the word of God and the teaching of God. You could say that when the Old Testament reports God as having commanded something that you don’t like you could say the author was only on about what he thought God was saying and was not claiming to be always right.
Moroni 8:13 says that if little children could not be saved without baptism they must go to Hell forever and ever. But God could do something else with them or reincarnate them so to say they must go to Hell is stupid and simplistic. Verse 15 claims that there is no wickedness more awful than to suppose a child goes to Heaven for being baptised while another child does not for it was not baptised. But what about adults some of whom repent and are baptised and saved and others who repent and can’t get baptised and who go to Hell? It is clear that this verse destroys the Book of Mormon doctrine that baptism is essential for the salvation of adults for the principle in it undermines it. The Book of Mormon threatens eternal damnation on those who hold that infant baptism is necessary for the salvation of children while it is no better itself and verse 16 has Moroni claim divine inspiration for his assertion!
The recording of miracles in the Book of Mormon prove that it is inauthentic. This was a book that was allegedly revised and abridged and edited by Mormon and then by his son Moroni. Nobody saw the result of their work so they could have lied all they wanted. Would God base his revelation of miracles on such a weak foundation? You only believe in miracles as a last resort for they are so unnatural and uncommon and can be faked so it is wrong to say that these men wrote the truth only for there is no evidence that they wrote lies. You can’t believe in every unrefuted miracle. Miracles prevent one from being sure if a book is from God. They make you agnostic especially when they can’t be proved. For example, God can find a way to have one person in two bodies at the same time. So once miracles are accepted you could say that a scripture that says that somebody was killed and then forgets this and speaks of them as living is still inspired despite the contradiction for a miracle solves the conflict.
The Book of Mormon says that Satan appears like a good angel (Mosiah 30:53) and miraculously appeared and spoke to Eve from a serpent (2 Nephi 2:17, 18) and supernaturally supervised the people who set up the abominable Church (1 Nephi 13). When Satan has such powers that millions think are good miracles from God and which are clever deceptions in ways we cannot see it follows that the only thing that gives us the right to believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God is its ability to foretell the future. But there is no evidence for that. Any prophecy that was fulfilled could have been written after the event or was going to happen anyway by human deliberation. Though the Devil can make a prophecy and then force secretly possessed people to fulfil the prophecy meaning that even fulfilled prophecy does not prove that anybody or God can see the future we know that no believer can accept this and will have to put down prophecy as evidence. Anybody can write a pack of religious lies and say it is the word of God so God has to put some mark of authenticity on his real book. Had the Book of Mormon not attributed supernatural powers to Satan there might have been some hope for it. Smith then made the mistake of thinking that visions of angels and golden plates and feeling that the Book of Mormon was true would be enough which contradicts his book and makes it contradict itself for it promises these things.
Moroni 10:3-5 promises that those who sincerely pray about whether or not the Book of Mormon is true will find that it is true. Mormons interpret that to say that they will get a burning feeling that it is true from God which tells them that it is true. It mentions knowing and not feelings and the Book says that feelings can mislead so it means that the Book will be credible which is completely untrue. It is saying that there will be plenty of archaeological evidence for its claims. This is untrue.
The real test of a true prophet according to Deuteronomy 18 is that the prophet must not be sinless but that he must be extremely honest and truthful for God wouldn’t speak through anybody that would tell or tells something even only the once that is supposed to be from God and which is not from God at all. This implies that we will be able to know if the prophet was this kind of man. But we do not know this of Moses or even Jesus for we are missing the favourable first-hand witness of those who knew them best and intimately and the testimony from Smith’s neighbours and friends was that Smith was born liar. Deuteronomy 18 also implies that a false prophet can make loads of predictions that come true but error shows that he is not speaking for God at all so miracles prove nothing according to this chapter. But at the same time, it is better to do miracles for it shows you should get attention but not necessarily faith. A real prophet will always do miracles. Smith did none. He made no predictions of the future that are convincing evidence that he was able to see the future by the power of God. When a prophet has to be accurate in everything he says that is supposed to be inspired by God it follows that it is only right that the prophet make predictions and not be accepted until the prophecies have all come true (this automatically excludes Isaiah and Ezekiel who made prophecies that have not been all fulfilled yet from the Bible canon). For if a man making one false prophecy in the name of God is enough to take away any right to authority from him then a man who makes none and claims to be God’s mouthpiece is worse. The Jews and Christians did not insert Deuteronomy 18 for it makes good sense. It would only have made it harder for their false prophets who allegedly rewrote the Bible and added to it to succeed. If anything they would have taken it out.
The Book of Mormon is the only evidence that Smith was a prophet of God and we have found it wanting. He made many prophecies that never came to pass. In one prophecy, God says that he will reject the Church with its baptisms for the dead if a Temple is not built in Nauvoo in Smith’s generation (Doctrine and Covenants, 124). Evidently, God would not reject the Church if it could not build it so God is saying it will build it but it did not.
Some breakaways from the Mormons say that Smith was indeed a false prophet but the Book of Mormon is still true and the work of God for it is only an inspired translation. They say God authorised Smith to dictate what he saw on his magic stones which did the translating but not to prophesy. But would a God trust Smith just to say what was on the stones when he could not be trusted in the more serious matter of claiming to be a prophet? Jesus said that a man who cannot be trusted in big things cannot be trusted in less.
Joseph Smith made false prophecies and so failed the test God supposedly gave in the Bible in Deuteronomy 18 which says that one false prophecy is enough to show a prophet is not from God even if his other predictions are all right. Smith said he was able to re-translate the Bible and restore the true text after the apostate Christians changed it. The result is known as the Inspired Version of the Bible. Smith left Deuteronomy untouched in his revised - rewritten Bible - so it is the word of God according to him.
None of the coins or cities described in the Book of Mormon as being in ancient America have ever been found. Yes Mormons say they think they have found them but secular archaeologists disagree. I would believe the professionals.
Mormons rationalise that the ancient peoples did not use coins but used pieces of precious metal to make transactions. The way the Book of Mormon describes those pieces makes it reasonable to suppose they were coins. Alma 11 says of the reckoning of value that a senum of silver was equal to a senum of gold and either was used for a measure of barley. Silver cannot be equal to gold in itself. It is only if it is it stamped and shaped as a coin. And even if these items were not, why are we not finding loads of them considering the big population of users mentioned in the Book of Mormon?
The Book says that the Nephites and the Lamanites met for one final battle that exterminated the Nephites at the Hill Cumorah where Smith found the plates. But where are the bones and the armour and the swords that should be abundant there?
The Book of Mormon claims to be an abridgement made by Mormon a prophet. But is a very long book and it is impossible to believe that it could have been written on a set of plates about the thickness of tin and together made a pile six inches high and which were eight by six inches in size. It gets worse when one learns that Joseph said he did not translate all the plates but only one third of them. Chapters 1 and 2 of The Case Against Mormonism, Volume 2, do a thorough job of exposing the lies Smith told about the plates. Joseph Smith and Money-digging ends with a copy of affidavits that cast further doubt on his story and show that if any miracles happened they were satanic miracles.
The Book of Mormon contains huge verbatim chunks out of the Old Testament and especially the Book of Isaiah. One would expect Mormon to have abridged these chunks too when they appeared in the longer version of the Golden Plates. And what were they doing on these Plates when they bemoaned the lack of space on them when they were already written on the brass plates of Laban?
Believers in the Book of Mormon make the same mistake as believers in the resurrection of Christ. They listen to twelve men who testified of the Gold Bible whereas there were more witnesses who said that it was a hoax and the prophet could not be trusted. The Christians listen to thirteen men nearly all of whom were theologically uneducated despite the thousands of Jewish scholars who believed that Jesus was untrustworthy and did not rise. The rule is that whatever the largest group of witnesses says must be accepted as the most probable.
The Book of Mormon is a hoax and it is illogical to believe that it is really the word of God.