Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Could You Write the Book of Mormon?

A few years ago I responded to a news article in which the author stated that Joseph was a polygamist. My response generated other responses, one of which indicated Joseph was a fraud and wrote the Book of Mormon himself, which was an easy task to do. In my response I challenged him to write another book just like it—since it was so easy to do. He never replied and I have not seen a book published by him to date. When I discussed this event with a friend, he candidly quipped, "If Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon himself, he must have been a pretty smart fella." After studying the Book of Mormon for over 48 years, I could not agree more with my friend's off-the-cuff observation. With all of its plots, sub-plots, interwoven story lines, and Christian doctrines aligning with the Bible but contrary to the teachings of the day, the book is brilliant. If it was not of divine origin and did not come forth just as Joseph testified, then Joseph, with less than a forth grade education, was the most brilliant author the world has ever known.

Price Publishing Company publishes a tract entitled, "Could You Write the Book of Mormon?" While many of you may have read this or something similar to it, since this blog is about defending Joseph, I thought it would be good to reproduce here the contents of that tract. It lists 33 criteria necessary to write a book like the Book of Mormon under similar conditions as did Joseph. Its intent is to show how impossible it was for Joseph to write the Book of Mormon himself, thus confirming its divinity. The points it makes are probably not all inclusive. So, if you can come up with additional points of your own to show that Joseph could not have written the Book of Mormon himself, please share them with us in your comments.

Before I begin reciting the points of the tract, I need to say a few things about it. According to this Price Publishing Company publication, "the author of this article is unknown. The article was circulated in the Independence area in 1948. Dates and numbers relating to how many years have passed since the Book of Mormon was printed, have been changed to correspond with the year 2008." In addition, the references to the number of chapters, the length of the book, the number of words per page, etc. correspond to the RLDS 1908 version of the Book of Mormon. These references are different in other Book of Mormons such as those published by the LDS and the Church of Christ (Temple Lot).

Now to the points of the tract. Review the list below to see if you could write a book similar to the Book of Mormon under conditions comparable to those experienced by Joseph.

  1. You must be between twenty-three and twenty-four years of age.
  2. You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling.
  3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research.
  4. You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet, covering a period from 2200 B.C. to 421 A.D.
  5. You must write a book with 102 chapters, twenty-five of them about wars, ten about history, twenty-one about prophecy, thirty-two about doctrines, five about missionaries, and nine about the mission of Christ.
  6. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
  7. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
  8. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern for Christian living.
  9. When you start to produce this record covering a period of over twenty-six hundred years, you must finish in approximately eighty days.
  10. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever (this does not include grammatical errors, etc).
  11. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you. You must start right where you stopped previously.
  12. Your history or record must be long, approximately 777 pages with over 500 words per page.
  13. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language (William Shakespeare added thirty).
  14. You must announce that your "smooth narrative" is not fiction, but true—yes, a sacred history.
  15. In fact, your narrative must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purpose and accomplishments.
  16. You must publish  it to  every nation,  kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
  17. You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise:  "And when ye shall receive these 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."
  18. Tens of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 178 years that they know the record to be true. Because they put the promise to the test, the truth is manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  19. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars, must subscribe discipleship to the record of its movement, even to the point of laying down their lives.
  20. There can be no flaw, whatever, in the entire book (except in grammar, or other errors of man in transcribing, etc.).
  21. Your descriptions of the cultures in these civilizations, of which you will write about, is not known when you publish your manuscript.
  22. Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements.
  23. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent with, even the direct opposite of, the prevailing belief of the world. Yet very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their thousands of years of history.
  24. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care.   You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaws in it.
  25. After 178 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproven, but all are vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin rise and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible ones.
  26. Thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 178 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true.
  27. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 178 years.
  28. Three honest, accreditable witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record was translated.
  29. You must hear out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer declaring to you and those three witnesses that your record is true, and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony of it—and that they do.
  30. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight, and that they handled them and felt the engravings thereon.
  31. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their deaths.
  32. You must talk a friend into financing your book with the understanding that he or you will never receive any monetary remuneration from it. This person must mortgage his farm to have it printed. You must sell the book at cost or less.
  33. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for twenty-four years in the process of producing and defending this book, you must give, willingly, your own life for your testimony that the record is of God.

So, what do you think? Could you write the Book of Mormon? If you could not, how could Joseph do so with less than a fourth grade education? I know I could not do so and I have had 18 years of formal education. The thing I like about this list is that it gives an everyday perspective to writing such a book and helps me relate to just how difficult it would be to do this on my own without direction from God. This list confirms to me that the book is of divine origin and could not have come about in any other way than was described by Joseph.

After reading the list, I have a couple of additional observations about the Book of Mormon that confirm to me that Joseph did not write it himself. First, for all you readers out there that have higher than a third grade education, what is the direction you travel going away from Jerusalem along the eastern shore of the Red Sea? No fair peaking at a globe or using Google Earth. Time is ticking—what is your answer? Do you know it off the top of your head or do you give up? For those that do not know, the answer is found in 1 Nephi 5:15-16, 18 (RLDS) or 1 Nephi 16:12-14 (LDS). With less than a fourth grade education, how could Joseph have known this to be true when some of us with a much better education do not know it and the rest of us that did know it certainly did not know it in the fourth grade. While this is a small thing, to me it is further testimony that Joseph did not write the Book of Mormon in any other way than he claimed.

The second observation I have about the Book of Mormon is the use of first-person and third-person writing styles. As we know, Martin Harris lost the first 119 pages of Joseph's translation. According to Joseph, this translation was of Mormon's abridgement of the large plates of Nephi (a third-person narrative with quotes from first-person narrative). The Lord told Joseph not to re-translate it but to translate the small plates of Nephi instead (a first-person narrative only). The small plates of Nephi covered the same period of time as did the first 119 pages of Joseph's translation. If Joseph's account is true, then the first part of the published Book of Mormon should be strictly a first-person narrative and the remaining part should be mainly a third-person narrative with quotes from first-person narrative. And that is exactly what occurs in the published Book of Mormon.

By my calculations, the translation of the small plates of Nephi ends somewhere in the middle of the "Words of Mormon" chapter where Mormon's abridgement picks up regarding King Benjamin. The first part of the published Book of Mormon is written in first-person narrative by the original authors of the plates—Nephi, Jacob, Enos, etc. The second part of the published Book of Mormon from Mosiah to Mormon is Mormon's abridgement of the large plates of Nephi. As such, it is written in third-person narrative by Mormon with quotes from the original text in first-person narrative plus Mormon's own comments in first-person narrative. Thus, the first-person and third-person writing styles of the published Book of Mormon supports Joseph's account of the translation and is further testimony that the book is exactly what Joseph said it was.

So these are my two additions to this list. What are yours? If you have any, please add them through comments. I am anxious to hear what you have to say.


  1. How about the chiasmuses of the Book of Mormon (e.g., Alma 36)?

    a) My son give ear to my words (v 1)

    b) Keep the commandments and ye shall prosper in the land (v 1)

    c) Do as I have done (v 2)

    d) Remember the captivity of our fathers (v 2)

    e) They were in bondage (v 2)

    f) He surely did deliver them (v 2)

    g) Trust in God (v 3)

    h) Supported in trials, troubles and afflictions (v 3)

    i) I know this not of myself but of God (v 4)

    j) Born of God (v 5)

    k) I sought to destroy the church (v 6-9)

    l) My limbs were paralyzed (v 10)

    m) Fear of the presence of God (v 14-15)

    n) Pains of a damned soul (v 16)

    o) Harrowed up by memory of sins (v 17)

    p) I remembered Jesus Christ, a son of God (v 17)

    p) I cried, Jesus, son of God (v 18)

    o) Harrowed up by memory of sins no more (v 19)

    n) Joy as exceeding as was the pain (v 20)

    m) Long to be in the presence of God (v 22)

    l) My limbs received strength again (v 23)

    k) I labored to bring souls to repentance (v 24)

    j) Born of God (v 26)

    i) Therefore my knowledge is of God (26)

    h) Supported under trials and troubles and afflictions (v 27)

    g) Trust in him (v 27)

    f) He will deliver me (v 27)

    e) As God brought our fathers out of bondage and captivity (v 28-29)

    d) Retain in remembrance their captivity (v 28-29)

    c) Know as I do know (v 30)

    b) Keep the commandments and ye shall prosper in the land (v 30)

    a) This according to his word (v 30)

    1. Where was Jesus born? Bethlehem ( Mic.5.2) or Jerusalem Alma 7.10. They both can't be right. Nobody is right if everybody is wrong.

    2. President Joseph Fielding Smith explained the location of the Savior’s birth as declared by Alma:“There is no conflict or contradiction in the Book of Mormon with any truth recorded in the Bible. A careful reading of what Alma said will show that he had no intention of declaring that Jesus would be born in Jerusalem. Alma knew better. So did Joseph Smith and those who were associated with him in the bringing forth of the Book of Mormon. Had Alma said, ‘born in Jerusalem, the city of our fathers,’ it would have made all the difference in the world. Then we would have said he made an error. Alma made no mistake, and what he said is true.“Dr. Hugh Nibley, in his course of study for the priesthood for 1957, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, in Lesson 8, page 85, has this to say on this point:“‘… One of the favorite points of attack on the Book of Mormon has been the statement in Alma 7:10 that the Savior would be born “at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers.” Here Jerusalem is not the city “in the land of our forefathers,” it is the land. Christ was born in a village some six miles from the city of Jerusalem; it was not in the city, but it was in what we now know the ancients themselves designated as “the land of Jerusalem”’” (Answers to Gospel Questions, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., 5 vols. [1957–66],

    3. I have been to Jerusalem--in addition to the previous explanation, Bethlehem is literally a suburb of Jerusalem. Making reference to its location as such is logical and not contradictory in any way. It would be similar to saying "Los Angeles" and the location being Hollywood.

  2. Thank you very much for the time you took to create this blog, I have been a member of the LDS church for 27yrs and have a testimony of Joseph Smith & The Book of Mormon. I also saw the discrepancies between the Book of Mormon, Bible, The Times & Seasons, the words of Hyrum Smith, the words of Emma Smith & the words of Joseph do not match up with Polygamy or D&C 132.

    Before I saw your blog, I this very day decided to pray about it. I asked God if Joseph married anyone other than Emma & I received the answer No, with a warmth in my heart too. I also asked if Emma told the truth about not having been shown D&C 132 by Hyrum Smith and I received the answer Yes with warmth in my heart. And so I began my search to prove this to be the case & came across firstly the DNA evidence coming forth of 6 cases of suspected children NOT of Joseph.

    I am displeased with the accounts I am reading about how unkind Brigham Young was to Emma & to her sons. I do not believe his actions have been those of a spiritual guy or christianlike. He breaks the words of the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon as well as the words of Joseph Smith himself. (Deut + Jacob + Times & Seasons +testimony of Emma etc etc).

    Joseph risked death and imprisonment often, if he could declare truth without trying to protect his life, why would he suddenly try to protect his life? Makes no sense, also, a woman is not stupid, if Joseph had secretively married anyone she would have got wind of it through suspicion. This is an unfair association of polygamy with Joseph for the gain & acceptance of polygamy for & behalf of Brigham Young! Brigham Young has tried to create this slander so he could get away with his ungodly life.

    Why would God say in Jacob that a man should only have one wife? It is in complete contrast, and if Joseph was fake and made up the book of mormon himself, if he wanted more wives, he could would not have added these verses to the Book of Mormon!He could quite easily have put a whole section in about polygamy instead. It makes NO sense.

    The only thing that makes sense is that Joseph Smith Emma Smith told the truth and that in actual fact the second prophet of the LDS church was a liar & ungodly.

    A brave statement for me to make, but I am close to the Spirit and often have my prayers answered, I am very glad to have found the LDS church, I was converted by the Spirit by the teachings of Joseph Smith & by the Book of Mormon.

    I hope that all is revealed soon. I believe that people can do amazing things when inspired of the Spirit, but Brigham Young spoke many things that I do not agree with as Spirit, I believe them to be his own mind & unfortunately that goes for polygamy too. What a shame! But most people are converted by Joseph Smith & The Book of Mormon, so many have the Spirit with them & I really hope they wake up to this. I denounce section 132 and wish to rip it out of my scriptures as an insult to Joseph & to God and to Emma.

    Thankyou once again. My son and I would like to draw attention to your words too. I want truth to be revealed :-)

    Keep up the good work,

    yours sincerely


    1. Yolanda,

      Thank you for your kind words and beautiful testimony. I encourage anyone seeking the truth about Joseph and polygamy to ask the Lord as you have done. And if they ask with a sincere heart, they will receive confirmation of his innocence as you have.

      Have you ever read Joseph Smith Fought Polygamy at http://restorationbookstore.org/jsfp-index.htm? If not, I think you would really enjoy it.

    2. Yolanda,

      THANK YOU for your words. You say everything I feel, and I mean EVERYTHING. Thank you!!


    3. Beware the man whom smiles at you,
      Whom act's like your brother,
      But whom from behind veiled eyes and nice smile
      Your enemy like no other.

      Beware the man who's ye means no,
      And No means yes,
      And "I'll think about it" means he's planning your demise.

      Beware the man whom deals with you,
      Who's conversation changes like the wind,
      Appearances external, a show for all,
      to garner influence, pre-eminence, to draw away,
      to cause a great divide,
      While he looks, nay smiles, no warmly grasps your hand,
      He looks at you through veiled eyes!

      No worse friend, no greater an enemy
      than they whom have veiled eyes.

      Besides our sins, our pride, our worldly ways
      The great detriment to our church,
      To trust in the arm of man,
      And it's left us in a lurch,

      Our church divided, dissected, resected,
      And no less remodelled, because of lying men,

      Why they lie, only God knows,
      Not for you and I to judge,
      We are only to judge ourselves, in relationship,
      With our brother,

      They may be sincere, one way or other,
      Some friends, some not, it's hard to know,
      The heart and who's our brother,
      Which is why I trust God, before I trust the least,
      My brother.

      I've been smiled at, lied to, cheated, attacked and stolen,
      From men who have veiled eyes, whom masquerade Christianity
      While working my demise.

      Interesting thought, Satan's servants, in word or deed,
      Are masters of the put down. By this they divide away,
      Destroy, add to and take away simple truths,
      Given us by God, for our inspiration,

      All of which are taken away, When Saints start contention,
      We have been taught, steeped, brewed, since childhood,
      the idea of holy war,
      To fight for the right, will all our mights,
      Like God's "saints marching as to war"

      The painful truth, which I missed, for many many year,
      The fight, the war, all within me, never with my brother,
      Not one man told me this, not even one of my brothers,

      The war, the fight, it's all to distraction,
      causing Saint's to miss the mark,
      A smoke screen to draw us all away from the noble work,
      Of personal repentance

      Trust no more, no run away, from veiled eyes of men.
      For they are everywhere, where power, influence and money abound,
      To keep, to stop, to control, the minds of sincere noble men,
      Who's noble intent, to manifest God's kingdom
      stopping charades of pretence within.

    4. I think you could add this material to your collection.

  3. Could I write the Book of Mormon? Not as well as Solomon Spalding. That's for sure.

    1. Thank you for your post. As I am sure you are aware, the allegations are that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. used the Spaulding manuscript to write the Book of Mormon. However, there is no evidence that Sidney and Joseph had any connection with each other until several months after the Book of Mormon was published. According to Rigdon's son, John, in an 1865 interview with his father:

      "My father, after I had finished saying what I have repeated above, looked at me a moment, raised his hand above his head and slowly said, with tears glistening in his eyes: 'My son, I can swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of [the Book of Mormon] is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever knew about the origin of [the Book of Mormon] was what Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told me, and in all of my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but one story.'" (Spaulding, Solomon (1996), Reeve, Rex C, ed., Manuscript Found: The Complete Original "Spaulding" Manuscript, Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, ISBN 1-57008-297-9, page xxvi)

      However, for me the most compelling reason to believe Joseph did not use the Spaulding manuscript as a basis for the Book of Mormon is to read the manuscript itself. Having read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover several times in my life, I find few comparisons between it and the Spaulding manuscript. However, read the manuscript for yourself at http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/rsc,13807. You be the judge.

  4. Go JS defender! I love the church and know it's true!

    There are many reasons I know the church is true:

    No other church has fruits that come even close to these. I don't boast, but do speak the truth and I'm so grateful the Lord helped me to have an open heart while investigating. I pray that many others will as well. They will also enjoy blessings they have never imagined or experienced. There are no words in any language to describe how amazing the blessings are from Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and their church. The church is not perfect of course, because only Christ was. An important point to make is that just because imperfections exist, it doesn't mean the church isn't true. The New Testament apostles and the church had imperfections, but the fruits existent incredibly overshadowed the imperfections.

    Here is a list of the amazing LDS fruits!!!!!!!

    Family History
    Our missionary program
    Incredible organization of the church
    Seminary and Institutes
    Humanitarian outreach in world
    Families (good, healthy and prosperous & many talented in public sphere)
    Youth programs
    Church growth in the world
    Doctrines (consistent with Bible and sublime 'new' revelations)
    Special Witnesses to Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon
    The Spirit is so abundant in our church gatherings
    Book of Mormon
    Unpaid leaders & Finances
    Evidences (Book of Mormon (scriptural and geographical and more)
    Welfare program
    Emergency Preparedness
    Apostles and Prophets today
    Media education-the church is amazing at this

  5. Silly Mormons!The BoM is a bad copy of the Bible.If it's the restored church-why does it's doctrine keep changing?Ever think of that.Even JS said it was the most "perfect" book but it is full of errors.Hopefully,that conman,poygimist,sex addict is burning in Hell as we speak.

    1. I appreciate your coming to my site and making comment. I’m not sure, though, you understood the purpose of this article. But before I get into that, I want to clarify that I’m not Mormon. As my profile indicates, I was raised in the RLDS Church and am presently associated with the Restoration Branches Movement of that Church.

      The purpose of this article was to show how hard it would have been for a man, without the intervention of God, to write the Book of Mormon on his own. A friend of mine said once, if Joseph wrote the Book of Mormon on his own, he must have been a very smart man. Obviously you feel the Book of Mormon would have been easy to write because it “is a bad copy of the Bible.” So my challenge to you is, if it is so easy, write one just like it that meets the above criteria. Let me know when it is done. I would like to read it.

      You make a good point that if the church restored through Joseph Smith is the true church, why does its doctrine keep changing? From my experience and study within the RLDS Church, this occurs when men take the pure doctrines of Christ established by Him and change them to suit their own purposes. This happened to the church which Christ established at Jerusalem when it morphed into the Catholic Church. Even the reformers acknowledged they could not restore the original church—only try to make reforms to a corrupt church. When Christ restored His church through Joseph Smith, it was pure and the same church which He had established in Jerusalem and continued through the apostles. In my opinion, after Joseph’s death, doctrines were changed by men and the church split up into several factions—all having some different doctrines than the original church. When the RLDS Church was established in 1860, it was strictly based on the original doctrines of the church established through Joseph Smith, Jr. This was proven in the findings of the Temple Lot Case in the 1890s. However, beginning in the late 1950s, the leadership of the RLDS Church began to change the doctrines of that church to move it into mainstream Christianity. As a result, the RLDS Church morphed into the Community of Christ, whose doctrines are presently very dissimilar to the doctrines of the original church established through Joseph Smith, Jr. My point in explaining all of this is that doctrinal changes made to Christ’s true church are always made by men—not God—to suit their own purposes. And even though this happens, it does not negate the truthfulness of the doctrines of the original church.

      Joseph never claimed that the Book of Mormon was perfect. However, a voice from heaven declared to the three witnessed that the translation was correct. He certainly would have been aware that there may have been imperfections in the book because the preface written by Mormon states that if the book contains mistakes, they are the mistakes of men, not God.

      It is ironic that your very last sentence is a fulfillment of prophecy that Joseph’s name would be had for both good and evil. Evidently, you are choosing to do the latter.

    2. To answer the question as to why the Restoration doctrine changed, men in the Utah LDS Church, and in the RLDS Church both, began to deny the power of the Holy Ghost. When men prize their traditions, the praise of men and personal comfort over where God would take them, they must change church doctrine. If you read the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants, God was commanding Joseph Smith to prepare His people for the great tribulation.

      It wasn't Joseph Smiths fault He was falsely accused by Brigham Young of Polygamy. The same way Christ was falsely accused of priest craft, blasphemy, and crimes he never committed.

      Why not ask the question why Protestant or Catholic doctrine cannot be found in the Old or New Testament texts?

      We can accuse "Silly Mormons" all day long, but everybody is guilty of wresting God's Word, and denying the Holy Ghost. Not just "the Mormon's"

    3. Joseph Smith blatantly lied in the JS papers about 2 different people. Also there is no proof the guy even existed.

    4. Anonymous 2/9/18--

      Can you be more specific in your statement so we know what you are referencing?

  6. So JSDefender what branch of the Latter-Day / Restoration movement are you a part of if you are not RLDS or LDS?

    1. Hi Cameron,

      Thanks for your question. I am RLDS but associated with the Restoration Branches Movement of that church. So, what does that mean? Beginning about 1958, the RLDS leadership began to liberalize church doctrines by moving our beliefs away from the Gospel restored by Joseph Smith, Jr. and toward mainstream Christian theology. By 1984 this liberalization had progressed to the point of authorizing the ordination of women to the priesthood. At that point many who maintained the original RLDS beliefs refused to accept the policy of ordaining women. Many priesthood were silenced for not accepting the new priesthood policy as well as other liberal doctrines, many members were literally locked out of their congregations, and other members just left the institutional church because they could no longer worship according to the original RLDS beliefs. The exiled members and priesthood formed Independent Restoration Branches. (The use of “Restoration” in the name indicates that these branches adhere to the Gospel restored through Joseph Smith, Jr. as continued through the Reorganization and the use of “Independent” in the name indicates that they are independent from the leadership of the institutional RLDS Church.) They still considered themselves members of the RLDS Church because they had not deviated from the original beliefs of that church. Thus, the Restoration Branches Movement of the RLDS Church was born. Since that time, the institutional RLDS Church has become even more liberal changing its name to Community of Christ which they feel better represents their mission and beliefs. The Independent Restoration Branches have continued to maintain the original beliefs of the RLDS Church.

  7. I am curious, what is your position on why the BOM has been changed so many times? In this article #20 says "There can be no flaw, whatever, in the entire book (except in grammar, or other errors of man in transcribing, etc.)." If this were the case, the BOM wouldn't need any changes. For example it was changed from saying "white and delightsome" to "pure and delightsome" and that is just one example there are many more. How do you explain that away?

    1. I use the RLDS 1908 edition. It was made by comparing the Palmyra and Kirtland editions with the original manuscript to get the purest copy. It hasn't changed since 1908.


    2. anonymous 2-20-14
      sweet moses on a skateboard!!
      u r either xtremely daft or jus a troll or both
      cuz jsdefender had responded 2 yer fello daft troll, anonymous 4-5-13, in regards 2 the xact same kwestion
      not only that but he replied 2 cameron that he was not lds
      i bring this up cuz its the lds copy of the BofM that made that change
      made by men that were tryin 2 save face not cuz it was directed by God
      like u, they also read this outta contxt
      thinkin it meant the descendants of the lamanites would instantly mystically magically b made white
      but heres xactly wut it said..
      "and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people"
      & thats xactly wuts slowly happenin due 2 interacial descendants of nativ americans n gentiles
      pardon me 4 not bein as nice n tolerant 2 daft trolls, as jsdefender is but im not hosting the blog

    3. I'm always surprised at the sound and fury brought up by textual variations in the Book of Mormon (most of which are punctuation anyway). Most good Christian folks who bring this up do not seem to have the least concern in the much more overwhelmingly varied textual variations in the Bible - especially the New Testament. Between the various Ancient Greek versions of the New Testament (the most attested Greek book from the ancient world, by the way) there are more variations in the text than there are words in any one version of it. We are talking 200,000+ changes. BUT IT IS INERRANT WORD OF GOD! Meanwhile, Book of Mormon with a few thousand maybe is obviously fake. Especially when the mainstream Salt Lake City church undoes a number of the unneeded changes and the critics increase the count instead of decreasing it. Please. Give me a break.

  8. wow!!
    another gr8 faith strengthenin blog..thnx
    i startd re-readin the BofM w the approach of jus how tuff would it of been 4 j.smith 2 fabricate the BofM?
    so when i read the 4th vrse in chptr 1, of 1nephi bout king zed, i remembered that 3nephi said the birth of Christ was 600yrs afta lehi left jerusalem
    i of course wondered if deed king zeds reign began 600bc so i lookd it up in wikipedia
    well it said 597bc so i thought 3yrs dif was still astonishingly good
    plus mormon couldve jus rounded up 597 to 600bc when he was abridging that book
    so my nex kwestion was how tuff would it b4 me 2 figure out the time span from king zed 2 the birth of Christ, jus using the kjv bible?
    since thats the only record j.smith had available 2 him
    yeah, no its impossible cuz the OT jus contains time spans of certain kings reigns w huge gaps between when they did give'm
    so i wondered how wikipedia knew the date?
    turns out that tablets were xcavated in babylonia, in the late 19th cntry
    these contained the astronomical dates that correlated w nebuchadnezzar n king zeds reign
    yet they werent translated n pblshd til over a cntry afta j.smiths martydom
    so my conclusion is that j.smith got the time span rite cuz he actually translated ancient records concerning those times
    this of course blew me away cuz this is solid evidence 4 the authenticity of the BofM
    so i wrote a note on it, on a fb note but got very lil feedback on it
    heres the note..

    1. Great comment, Lance. Another evidence of the truth of the Book of Mormon and Joseph as a true prophet. Thanks.

  9. Could I write the Book of Mormon? Yes, it would be real easy. All I would have to do is copy the bible word for word and change some of the titles like take Moses and Isaiah to make the book of Mosiah. And take the s from the book of Esther and change it to Either (just a few examples)- add more and it came to pass phrases, change the birthplace of Jesus from Bethelem to Jerusalem, and wahla- you got yourself a BOM- pease of cake. Jesus Saves!

    1. Anonymous 6/30/15--

      Obviously, if you think the Book of Mormon is a word for word copy of the Bible, you haven't read it and certainly missed the point of this article. Nevertheless, if you think you can write it, go for it. Let me know when your done, I'd like to read it. Don't forget, you have to meet the criteria listed above. Good luck.

  10. Let's say that I were to write a paper for a class, that is good and perfect in every way, and turn it in to the teacher. Shortly thereafter, I see you turning in a paper and I take a look at it. It is the EXACT SAME as mine except with bits and pieces that you added yourself; a couple of phrases changed here and there.

    This is exactly the relationship that the Book of Mormon has to The Bible. And it is the reason that Mormonism angers many of us and gets us mad. Joseph Smith simply requoted much of the KJV of the Bible, just using his own words on some things, fooled and misled the people of his day, and unfortunately, is still apparently fooling many of you. You'd be mad too if you were plagiarized!

    Don't believe me? Think about this:

    Supposedly, the Book of Mormon was originally written in around 400 AD by the angel Moroni right? So then answer this....why then, when Smith translates it, does it come out in the EXACT same vernacular as the KJV, which was written in the early 1600s. If he had truly transcribed anything, it would've been in what was modern 19th century English...not the same as a Book already written which was written in the early 1600s.

    Here's another proof. Just take a look at some of Mormonisms own writings and newsletters, etc. Many times when a certain principle or ideal is written out, not only is the Book of Mormon verse mentioned but a quote from the KJV! Why is this so? (Hint: It was written by a boy who grew up listening to many different faiths and religions, with some American Folk Magic and tall tales of his own added as a product of his Yankee environment.)

    I know this doesn't answer your Mormon book question but I was just pointing out one of MANY reasons that Mormonism doesn't hold up to the test of scrutiny....its ruled out as being true long before we would ever address your question of speculation.

    1. Anonymous 12/6/15—

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you understand that the question I posed for this blog is mainly rhetorical. I raised the question in order to get people—like yourself—who are not very familiar with the Book of Mormon to appreciate what it would take to write such a book on their own. Realizing it would be impossible to do so hopefully brings one to the conclusion that it came forth by the power of God as Joseph indicated.

      I can’t help you with your perception that the wording of the Book of Mormon sounds like that of the King James Version of the Bible. I have read the Book of Mormon several times as I have the Bible and to me they do not use “the EXACT same vernacular” as you indicate. In my opinion, the writing style of the Book of Mormon is very dissimilar from that of the Bible. Even within the Bible there are different writing styles because there were different authors. The same is true of in the Book of Mormon. About the first ¼ of the Book of Mormon was written by Nephi. The rest of the book (except for Mormon, Ether, and Moroni) was written by several men but abridged by Mormon and thus the writing style of the original writers is intertwined with Mormon’s writing style when he summarizes events or makes his own comments in the abridgment. The last three books in the Book of Mormon—Mormon, Ether, Moroni—were written by those men and unabridged.

      What you wrote makes me wonder if you have ever really read the Book of Mormon. If not, I challenge you to do so with a prayer in your heart asking God to show you whether or not it is true. If you read it, you will find that the Book of Mormon does not contradict the Bible but in fact compliments it and works with it to give a fuller understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. While you may think this is plagiarism, it actually testifies that God is unchangeable and no respecter of persons—He speaks the same words to one nation as He does to another. As you read the book, remember what the Lord told Joseph and the Three Witness, which testimony they faithfully took to their graves—the plates were translated by the power of God and the translation is correct. If you do these things I believe you will come to the conclusion that neither you nor a 21-year-old farmer with less than a fourth-grade education could write the Book of Mormon except by the power of God.

    2. Although to be perfectly fair, there are some portions that are copied directly out of the version of the Bible available to Nephi: the Isaiah chapters. But they are not as precisely copied from KJV Bible as you may at first think and do exhibit many textual variations that actually line up favorably with the nearly complete copy of Isaiah found with the Dead Sea Scrolls and in contrast to the Masoretic text found in the KJV.

      If you had ever in your life spent more than a few seconds reading the Book of Mormon, you wouldn't need me to tell you this. It is rather like a Buddhist condemning the words of Christ without ever actually reading them because he heard somewhere they are copied from Krishna. Would you not earnestly urge such a one to read them for himself and see if they do not possess a grace, power and majesty unequaled by all others in the history of the world? How can he ever come to know the truth without reading them? I can speak to it. I've read the words of Krishna. Some of them are good. But they in no way engender the wisdom and mercy found in Christ. Read the Book of Mormon if you wish to really know something about it. Or continue to believe your fairy-tale version of what it is - much easier to take other people's word for things than to find out for yourself.

  11. On point 12.-Your history or record must be long, approximately 777 pages with over 500 words per page. The BOM is only 531 pages long and 150 words per page. Where did you get the numbers from?

  12. Hi Anonymous 2-14-16 --

    Thanks for your comment. Hope you didn't spend a lot of time counting words per page in your version of the Book of Mormon because there is a paragraph in the post that covers this. It states: "According to this Price Publishing Company publication, 'the author of this article is unknown. The article was circulated in the Independence area in 1948. Dates and numbers relating to how many years have passed since the Book of Mormon was printed, have been changed to correspond with the year 2008.' In addition, the references to the number of chapters, the length of the book, the number of words per page, etc. correspond to the RLDS 1908 version of the Book of Mormon. These references are different in other Book of Mormons such as those published by the LDS and the Church of Christ (Temple Lot)."

    But whether the Book of Mormon is "777 pages with over 500 words per page" or "531 pages long and 150 words per page" is no matter for the point of this post. The point is that the BOM is a large book and with all the other listed criteria would be impossible to write in any other way than that which was described by Joseph.

  13. I'm not here to argue, just want to see an opinion on my response.
    1. Age doesn’t always mean an increased knowledge or intelligence, there are plenty of young geniuses and old retards.
    2. I’ll argue that intelligence isn’t purely gained from school, or college. Evident everywhere.
    3. There isn’t evidence that he did research doesn’t mean that he didn’t do it.
    4. So make up some fiction, done.
    5. Oddly specific but ok I’ll bite.
    6. Sure thing, take some fiction, add some info from the bible and other history.
    7. Because religion, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions are new? This is building a good fiction novel 101. Build your world.
    8. Duh, otherwise what spiritual truth would I have to go off of.
    9. Wait, why. There isn’t tangible proof that I need to do that. You’re trying to stop me from believing that joseph smith was a fake. Well if he was, why would I go off the timeline for writing this book that he and his helpers gave?
    10. # 9
    11. # 9
    12. To be honest I don’t know what you’re asking for on this one. 1 point you.
    13. Really… Ok let me make up names, places, things, and modify words. DR SUESS!!!
    14. Well if I were doing it for statues, power, and maybe even a bit of trying to do the right thing, then yes. Yes I will do that.
    15. You mean retell things that have happened or will happen according to the Bible, right?
    16. Google translate. No but really, joseph smith didn’t personally publish it to every nation in every language, so neither would I.
    17. jeremiah 17:9-10, Oh and 1 John 4:1.
    18. So like how other religions testify to their belief, some with more zealous and numbers than yours? It’ll take time, but I believe! Do you believe?
    19. Good thing humans don’t know everything, and are often ruled by emotion, belief, and so many others.
    20. # 9
    21. And still isn’t! Oh the greatness!
    22. Right. Wait yeah no exactly, that’s my point. I’m giving myself a point here. He does make absurd, impossible, contradictory statements, in case you didn’t know why I gave myself a point.
    23. I mean, it still has the basis of Christianity, so not exactly inconsistent with the world. It was even during a time when many new types of Christianity were popping up.
    24. People did that, tore it apart, showed its inconsistencies and flaws. Elder B. H. Roberts (1857–1933) of the Seventy said: “… No arrangement of evidence, however skillfully ordered; no argument, however adroitly made, can ever take its place.” Nice.
    25. They haven’t been vindicated and many claims and facts have been contended, down to the integrity of Joseph smith. Also it’s hard to disprove something you can’t find….
    26. Why, this didn’t happen for the book of Mormon. And don’t give me that lost civilizations of north America stuff. Also DNA shows no middle eastern in Indians.
    27. Please explain this number to me, because I just see confirmation bias.
    28. Money, promise of power, statues, or just strong friendship and boom I’ll have my three. I don’t know how he got his, but then again, neither do you. Not truthfully anyway.
    29. See both 9 and 28 please.
    30. Ok also, what about the ones who backed out of that and published their statements in a newspaper I believe it was.
    31. Just how politicians and businesses always tell the truth…
    32. The thing is, putting a mortgage on your home isn’t the end of the world, and if he’s helping launch a new religion that people are jumping on, then that type of statues could really pay off. Statues was and is important, also it could’ve been like advertising. You can keep the point though
    33. Ok so there are plenty of leaders, countries, colts, religions, that die for what they believe in. Assuming he didn’t trick himself into believing his own lie (its totally psychologically possible to start believing your own lie) then he simply didn’t want to lose his control over this congregation he had developed. It might not be glamorous, especially not all the time, but Joseph was in for the long haul. Admirable to say the least.

    1. regarding yer #26 jus google dna haplogroup x2
      they found the x2 strain in only 2 regions
      the palestine region n the gr8 lakes region among hopewell indians
      xcept scientists r baffld on how dna got from jerusalem clear over 2 the hopewells w/out leavin any dna in east asia nor the land bridge
      of course yer not here 2 argue which is a good thing cuz youd b on the losing end of that 1

    2. Your repartée is amusing. Truly some of the things being asserted in 1948 were barely true then and are clearly not true now. Many current theories of the peopling of the new world that are at complete odds with the Book of Mormon, so it can be argued that there are "findings" against it. Of course, these theories are subject to change over time and may yet prove to be childhood bedtime stories when compared to what is decided to be true next.
      That said, there are voices that speak of Joseph knowing things he could not have known.
      Not willing to read the Book of Mormon and experience its message first hand? Maybe you will find something of interest in an alternate reading list that help you challenge your preconceived notions about things?
      "America BC" by Barry Fell. Talks about many cultural influences in pre-Columbian America that are at odds with the generally accepted view. Note for example the Decalogue stone on the side of a mountain in Los Lunas, NM that has been known to exist prior to the knowledge of the language used on it being in this country. It is an inscription of the ten commandments in Proto-Hebraic characters. Does that fit with any land bridge theories?
      "He Walked the Americas" by Lucile Taylor Hansen. After 25 years of research by this archaeologist she determined that Jesus must have made it to this continent at some point during his life to preach his gospel. In the book, she has it happening during the so called "lost years." She came to this conclusion on her own while researching for 25 years among the artifacts left by extinct people. How would Joseph know it with no such research or artifacts available to him?
      "Written by the Finger of God" by Joe Sampson. This offers a brilliant exposé of the unexpected presence of Sepher Yetzirah Kabbalah in the Book of Mormon and Joseph's other prophetic writings. Somehow this young frontier boy managed to also be able to encode in his writings ancient Jewish Kabbalah at the level of a master when no one in the New World had the knowledge how to in 1830. His take on the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar is life altering.

    3. Continued from above...

      I'm a writer. I take years of honing and polishing and smoothing and working out kinks and inconsistencies to complete a project. My projects are readable in a few hours’ times, not the two or three days it takes to read the Book of Mormon straight through if it is all you do. I've added maybe 4 names to the world. You glibly say "Ok let me make [it[ up..." OK. You're on. Do it. Make up just 50 new names not previously known to exist and which somehow remain consistent with real world cultures from which they are drawn. They can't break any obvious rules of naming or language for any of a number of languages that you DO NOT SPEAK. They must include cognates for actual words from those languages that, again, you DO NOT SPEAK. Let us know when you’re done. Won’t be holding my breath.
      All the reports and evidentiary support from those who were contemporaneous to Joseph Smith spoke of him not being nearly smart enough to have written the book. They all saw him clearly incapable of doing it by himself. It took several generations for the world to decide that he possessed super-human intelligence and could do it on his own. Why not take the word of those who were actually there and knew him? He couldn't make it up himself and have it look the way it looks.
      And the glory of having statues made of yourself... did it ever even occurred to him that might someday happen? He sure didn't live to see it. What are you personally willing to do and give up today to do it that might in a hundred years get you a statue? That's what I thought. Go back to playing your video games.
      But if you ever do want to have more than a veneer of sneering intelligence to present to the world, get past the easy headlines and dig into some of these things on your own and see what you find. Open minds and open hearts never leave empty. All are invited. Will you accept the invitation? If there is something here for you, wouldn't that be pretty important to know?

  14. Anonymous 6-2-2016—

    Thank you for your comment. As you know, many people believe that the Book of Mormon was not translated by the power of God but that Joseph wrote it himself. The purpose of this article is to help people understand that the circumstances surrounding the nature and writing and publishing of this book indicate that no man could do this by himself. It supports Joseph’s testimony of how the Book of Mormon came into being.

    The way I read your rebuttal to this article is that you do not believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God, but that Joseph wrote it himself as any other author writes a book. So, if it is easy to do, then do it. Take the challenge and write a book adhering to the above criteria. Please send it to my email (jsdefender1@gmail.com) in about 3 months. I’ll be happy to read it. As my dad used to say, “Put your money where your mouth is.”

    1. What impressed me even before I joined the church were the tremendous number of scriptural cross-references linking passages of the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Old Testament, and the New Testament with each other. How could anyone of such a young age and of such little education accomplish such a feat in such a short mortal life without contradictions or mistakes? The only reason I can think of for anyone to even attempt to undertake such a daunting task is this - the First Vision was real! He did see our Savior and God the Father! Only with Godly assistance could Joseph Smith's achievements have been possible as they were truly super-human.

  15. Joseph Smith could have written the Book of Mormon. I believe if he had the natural talent for story telling, then he could have done so. He also had other people helping him out with the supposed translating, which means he had other people and their ideas to help him out.
    The 'Joseph only had a limited education' Mormons go on with is not as good of an argument as you guys make it out to be. All Joseph would have really have needed was a good idea, some names, natural story writing talent. By the LDS churches own claims, Joseph was reasonably well acquaint with the bible, making it very plausible that Joseph would have been able to write the Book of Mormon in such a way that it would appear in line with the Bible.

    1. Anonymous 2-14-2016--

      So I say to you as I have to many, if it is easy to write such a book, go ahead and do so. I would love to read it.

    2. well 2b fair, anonymous 2-14-17 was speculating that j.smith had a natural talent 4 story tellin as theres no other books ascribed 2 him
      yet the lil go getter writes in the nex paragraph as if it was a fact (bless his/her heart)
      then he/she says it was a collective work, which is yet again speculation
      xcept then he/she throws in a bonafide fact by stating, smith was reasonably well acquaintd w the bible
      of course this wasnt til years after smith had pblshd the BofM n was livin in kirtland
      but all those facts get in the way of this dudes/chicks narrativ
      of course the part that slays me is his/her mention of "some" names cuz clearly this chico/chica has never even read the BofM
      so he/she is jus regurgitating anti-j.smith retoric
      & not 4 nuthin but researchers hav found the landmarks the BofM described, along the red sea 2 the "characters" departure from the coast of yemen
      of course in the 19th cntry there was no literature nor maps regardin this area so im goin 2 speculate on behalf of anonymous n say that mystically magically smith had access 2 google earth
      so amid all this, u betcha that smith could write the BofM..its jus a shame that this "natural story teller" was murderd b4 he could write the lord of the rings trilogy

  16. Most of the "criteria" you listed here are not actually criteria, but a serious of decisions Joseph made while writing his now famous work of fiction.

    Additionally, the book of mormon reads like it was written by a college freshman trying to write like Cormac McCarthy. I definitely could have written this. I will stop you before you say it - I am not going to spend time writing a fake religious text to prove it can be done. I have better shit to do. Sadly, Joseph Smith did not.

    One other thought for you: have you noticed that the BOM is written (poorly) in the style of English around the time of the King James translation (17th century)? If it was written in "Reformed Egyptian" (or any other REAL language) and then translated to english, it would be translated to the english of the time (the 19th century). It would not make use of words such as "Yea", "Spake", and "Hath". Why would God choose to write in a manner that would be so foreign to the intended audience? The answer is that he wouldn't. However, someone trying to pass their homegrown religious text off as legitimate might.

    Does this sound like the writing of an intelligent being?

    , Nephi, having been a born
    of goodly parents, therefore I
    was  taught somewhat in all the
    learning of my father; and having
    seen many  afflictions in the course
    of my days, nevertheless, having
    been highly favored of the Lord in all
    my days; yea, having had a great
    knowledge of the goodness and
    the mysteries of God, therefore I
    make a record

    ^ This is the worst sentence ever written in english.

    Contrast that with:

    In the beginning God created the heaven and the
    earth. {1:2} And the earth was without form, and void; and
    darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of
    God moved upon the face of the waters.
    {1:3} And God said, Let there be light: and there was
    light. {1:4} And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and
    God divided the light from the darkness. {1:5} And God
    called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And
    the evening and the morning were the first day.

    Does that sound like the same author to you? The first is a giant run on sentence that basically says: Hi, I'm Nephi. My parents raised me well and I know about God so I am going to tell you things." The second describes creation and the nature of the universe in less than 50 words.

    Anyway, this list you published was hilarious. A few of my favorites from your list (and my rebuttals) below:

    1) You must be between twenty-three and twenty-four years of age.
    2) You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling.
    A) Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook at 19 without a college degree

    3) Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research.
    A) Joseph got to decide what the content of his fiction would be, and you have no proof he did not conduct research

    1. its funny that u think "goodly parents" means parents who raised me well
      when it actually means wealthy parents
      look how it was used in ild testament times, smarty pants
      its also funny how u kno how reformd egyptian should b translated
      yer self perceivd gr8 intellect truly astounds us all
      we bow 2 the imperical authority that u solely posses, chief

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. lol you literally can't formulate a sentence in english, so I think it's safe to say that I have better grip on this than you do. It might be a good idea to learn basic english before trying to debate someone in that language.

      I don't know how you think I was referring to the "goodly parents" line. I was referring to: "therefore I
      was  taught somewhat in all the
      learning of my father" (parents raised me well)... Also, if you want to assert that goodly means wealthy, you may want to provide some evidence of that. If you had passed high school english composition, you'd know that.

      Also, no one knows how to translate "reformed egyptian" because it is a made up language. However, no one would translate ANY language into english from 200 years before the time of the translation. Only someone trying to (gasp) convince people his made up book is old would do that.

      But hey, keep being a sheep. It is very entertaining for the rest of us... also, I am very much hoping for a response to this. Reading your attempts to write in english is really funny.

    5. its calld 21st century txtng, sport
      it cot on well over a decade ago 4 us that hav devices
      yuh kno 4 ppl who really hav things 2 do
      & dont pretend its 2 simple that u cant undrstnd wut im txtng
      even tho now youve estblshd that yer a pretentious elitist
      btw i hav the emails of yer other 2 replys n its obvious y u deleted them
      englosh lit professor u r not
      ummm cuz nephis parents raisd him well n he knew bout God, he was tot in the learnin of his dad?
      that dont even make sense
      see, wut it goes on2 say is his dad knew the learning of the jews & the language of the egyptians
      which is a stellar edu n suddenly it makes sense as..
      i nephi being born of wealthy folks, there4 i receivd a stellar edu
      heres yer lil evidence of that, slick

      Joshua 7:21
      When I saw among the spoils a GOODLY Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I bcoveted them....

      Joel 3:5
      Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my GOODLY pleasant things:

      hmmm goodly seems 2b pertaining 2 riches n wealth
      hope yuh enjoyd bein proven wrong in 21st century txt, mr peabody

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