The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ The Book of Mormon discussion

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message 1: by Karey (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Karey This is the book I wake up to read and read before i go to bed. We all need something that is steady and sure in our lives, and for me, this book is one of them.

message 2: by Rayni (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rayni Wow! I did a double take when I saw this as a topic. I wasn't sure whether to open it or not. You are right, we do need something that is steady in our lives. If I could only have 1 book to read, it would be a quadruple combination w/the Bible & the Book of Mormon in one book.

message 3: by Rayni (last edited Aug 30, 2008 11:36PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rayni Do you date the back of your BOM when you finish reading it? I just heard that hint & thought I'd start doing it.

message 4: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam We started reading this book as a family this year and we are amazed at how much more peaceful our home is. We have three girls ages 12, 9, and 3 and there is usually always someone crying...but, since reading this book as a family the girls get along better and our family is a lot more loving to each other. If you don't believe me, try it for 30 days and see what it does to your home.

Sunny thanks Pam, I think I will. :D

Sunny Well, I said I would do this and I did today. Thank you for the challenge, it was great, and hopefully we will do this again tomorrow.

message 7: by Pam (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pam That's great, Sunny. Let me know what you think after 30 days. It's the long-term habit that makes the difference, I've found.

Rachel Vidmar this book amazes me. i've grown a stronger love for my family and the lord every time i read it. it makes my life seem less stressful and my trials seem easier to overcome. i recommend underlining passages that really hit you hard, and then keeping a journal to write about how you felt. I always enjoy reading back over those and remembering those moments.

message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily Rule I have severe mental anxioty, and this book is one of the few things that always calms me down. No matter how troubled my life is, I can always turn to my Book of Mormon and it gives me peace and the assurance that the Savior is there for me. I love it with everything it me! I also keep a journal when I read it and it not only helps me to remember what I feel, but helps me to articulate those feelings and really understand what I need to do in my life. If you have not read it yet, begin! It's amazing!

message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm trying to read it in 85 days, since that's how long it took Joseph Smith to translate it, but I'm way behind right now.

Matthew Carlson Actually, it only took Joseph about 63 days. He did not work on it during the entire time due to lack of the plates and the interpreters (they were of course removed from his care in consequence of the lost 116 pages) and other intervening events. If you think about it, it is really quite an amazing feat. If, as is alleged (which I do not believe) Joseph really did write this book, he was an absolute genius. Of course, everthing about him militates against such a theory. Joseph's erudity came later in life. Emma noted that he was utterly ignorant of even basic biblical facts such as a wall about Jerusalem. This book is simply amazing in both its ability to draw one closer to God and in its internal complexity and doctrine. I strive to make is a daily part of my reading.

message 12: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth I'm sorry, as I read all of your reviews I can't help feeling sorry for all of you. Do you ever read the Bible? or just the Book of Mormom?

Matthew Carlson I see no reason for you to feel sorry for any of us individually or all of us collectively Elisabeth. Perhaps you would care to elaborate on the reasons for your lamentations?

I read both the Book of Mormon and the Bible (King James Version) on a daily basis. Although I love the Book of Mormon I was converted to Christianity through the Bible; specifically the gospels. I consider both to be of equal value and I dare say that most LDS Christians would share that sentiment.

Sunny I'm okay, really. But thanks for your comment. I do read the Book of Mormon more often I think, because as a religion we have been instructed to study from it every day.

message 15: by Faith (new)

Faith Quick elisabeth why are you bringing the reading of bible into the discussion if the book discussion topic is the book of mormon. how can you feel sorry for the reviews people have given on the specific book of topic. do they need to make a list of every book they have ever read or do read in order for you to value their opinions about this one book? do you feel that if these people only give reviews on the book of topic that they have in some way in need of your pity. are you saddened by the ability that people have shown to read the book of topic. i am sorry but your discussion matter leaves me in question of what books you have read?

Rayni Elisabeth, your comment disturbs me. I think you are commenting more on our religion than on the book we choose to read & discuss. If you will read my first comment in this thread, #2, you will see that I would choose a collection of books bound into one or a quadruple combination, LDS speak for a book with 4 books of scripture. Two of those books are the BIBLE and The Book of Mormon. It's easier to carry one bound book than a stack of books. This thread is a discussion of The Book of Mormon.

message 17: by Elisabeth (last edited Aug 28, 2008 04:24PM) (new) - added it

Elisabeth MwCarlson: I am glad to here that you are a Christian because of the Bible, but I'm not sure that I consider both the Bible and the Book of Mormom to be of equal value. Could you tell me why? I am really actually interested to know.

Faith: I do not in pity you guys just because you read this book and am not saddened by your "ability" to read this book. I have read the Bible almost in its entirety and have read portions of the BOM and am working on reading the whole thing. I pity you guys because I don't believe the truth of the BOM so if you have anything to say that might help me understand why you believe it, I would be glad to hear.

Rayni: For you I would like to ask the same question as MwCarlson. I would truly like to understand. And I think I am commenting on the religion, and I am kinda sorry I did take it to that level instead of just questioning the book for its literary value. I have a hard time seeing its literary value at all and would love to be enlightened.

message 18: by Meh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meh Huh, I find the Bible harder to believe than the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon just feels...clearer to me. Probably because I was raised with it. I was raised with the Bible too, but since the Book of Mormon is easier to read, I've been reading that for a longer time. But the thing is, the Book of Mormon and the Bible say essentially the same thing. They're the same message by the same God, in my belief. The Book of Mormon is just a bit clearer on the particulars. It has some great stories too. It even quotes Isaiah multiple times. I feel that it's true.

Matthew Carlson Ah, an excellent question and one I might add which I am mandated to respond to (1 Peter 3:15). I have found that both volumes have drawn me closer to Christ and therefore find them of equal value in that regard. Obviously the Bible is superior in its detailing of the life of the Master (i.e. it recounts Jesus' mortal ministry more fully than the Book of Mormon) however the Book of Mormon is superior in its invitation to emulate that life and even in the reasons one should do so. It persuades one to "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him" (Moroni 10:32), for "ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do; Therefore, if ye do these things blessed are ye, for ye shall be lifted up at the last day." (3 Nephi 27:21-22). Indeed, this emulation of one so worthy is encouraged both in word and in deed "And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!" (2 Nephi 31:5) The title page makes clear the purpose of the volume "to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations." The first of its authors writes that "the fulness of mine intent is that I may apersuade men to come unto the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved." (1 Nephi 6:4) Indeed, "we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins." (2 Nephi 25:26)

The book is truly "Another Testament of Jesus Christ." Not only does it encourage us in our emulation of Jesus but provides us with examples of those who struggled in their efforts to follow Jesus that we might know "that whosoever shall put their atrust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions, and shall be lifted up at the last day." (Alma 36:3) It speaks of those who fail to endure as well as those who endure faithfully. It encourages us and also warns us.

I would encourage you to do as the book itself invites:

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts. 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. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:3-5)

Now I think it important to emphasize the three things Moroni states are requisite with God "manifest[ing:] the truth of it unto you":

1. "a sincere heart"

Don't read it and ask God of its truthfulness because I invited you to or because you want to be able to tell those of us who have found value it in that you did not. And if you have already decided due to your exposure to anti-Mormon progaganda that it is not true do not ask either for God cannot answer a question which you have already decided. Rather, in sincerity "with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God" ask "if these things are not true."

2. "with real intent"

Your intent must be genuine, i.e. you must be prepared to act upon that which you receive from God. Remember that "faith" (Gr. pistis) is not merely belief, but constancy in that belief. We must not merely believe but DO for "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the dwill of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21)

Are you truly prepared, with God confirming to you the truth of this volume, to embrace it? If you are not, if intellectual objections to the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ or social constraints such as ridicule or castigation would prevent you from making good on your response perhaps it would be better to resolve such before you seek God's answer.

3. "having faith in Christ"

To me this is the most essential. Obviously the atheist would care little for the answer to the question even if s/he felt the need to ask it. The issue of God's existence has already been decided by the atheist as well as anything related thereto. But having faith in Christ is not merely an intellectual accent to the existence of Christ, but a commitment to Him: "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?" (Mosiah 5:13) Faith may not be a "perfect knowledge" but it is knowledge (Alma 32), usually knowledge we have gained through methods other than the purely empirical. I may be able to prove that Jesus lived but who can prove that He was who He said He was? Can we prove He rose from the dead? Can we prove His miracles? No, we have faith. "Now faith is the substance of things choped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) This does not mean that faith is not substantive nor that faith is not evidence, it merely states that its substance and value as evidence is individual.

So, in essence I believe in the equal value of the Book of Mormon and the Bible due to the fact that both have brought me to exclaim, as those who heard the speech of King Benjamin regarding Jesus Christ "Yea, we believe all the words which thou hast spoken unto us; and also, we know of their surety and truth, because of the Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually." (Mosiah 5:2)

Indeed, I believe it because I took Jesus' challenge "If any man will ado his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." (John 7:17) I read it, I strived to live as it directed and it changed me. As Joseph Smith once stated (although in a slightly different context yet related nevertheless to an asnwer from God) "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." (Joseph Smith-History 1:25)

message 20: by Rayni (last edited Aug 30, 2008 11:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rayni Elisabeth, I hope you don't feel bombarded or attacked. I think your small comment felt like an attack to us, yet was very innocent as opposed to some of the remarks I have read elsewhere on the web. In the remarks directed at me, you said, "I think I am commenting on the religion, and I am kinda sorry I did take it to that level instead of just questioning the book for its literary value. I have a hard time seeing its literary value at all and would love to be enlightened."

I came in earlier in the day, read your comments & decided to ponder on them for a while before I answered you. I don't know if this will enlighten you or not, but the thought that kept coming to mind was Moroni's challenge (Moroni 10:4) that Mwcarlson has quoted & explained. This book must be read "with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ." If not, it is truly "chloroform in print." Mark Twain wrote that in, "Roughing It."

The BOM is not meant to be read lightly, but then neither is the Bible. One of the hardest parts of the BOM to get through is the part lifted from Isaiah.

Ok, here's another bit of LDS speak that is rooted in the Bible, some LDS people call their scriptures "sticks." Which is taken from Ezekial 37:16-20. In that reference we believe the stick of Judah is the Bible & the stick of Joseph is The Book of Mormon.

Which leads us to a one of the basic tenets of our belief which is also known as The Articles of Faith. AofF 8: We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Even if one is LDS & does not read the BOM w/a sincere heart & real intent, it becomes a chore just to get through your daily quota to be able to follow along in Sunday School the following Sunday. But then the Bible is the same way. In our Sunday School classes on Sunday, we spend a year studying the Book of Mormon, a year studying the New Testament, a year studying the Old Testament, a year studying church history & 2 volumes known as The Doctrine & Covenants & The Pearl of Great Price. Then we start all over again. The high school students have a 4-year course of study called seminary where they follow the same schedule, BOM, NT, OT, CH. Only they have to go in the early morning before regular school starts.

Sorry, if we've overwhelmed you.

message 21: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth Mwcarlson and Rayni:

Thank you for your comments. I will be reading them again and will get back to you on their substance, and probably some more questions because I need to ponder this some more. You are not overwhelming me because I know some of this already. I took a comparative religion class in high school and have some Mormom friends who I have talked to a little bit. Please wait for my next post.

Thanks, and sorry if my comment felt like an attack because I didn't mean to do that because that's not how I was raised. My comment does indeed sound a little bitter as I re-read it and I probably should have taken more time in thinking of a way to bring up this discussion rather than doing it this way. Sorry again and thanks for your patience.

message 22: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate I love reading the book of mormon. It's such a help to my life, and it really gives me peace to know the care Heavenly Father has for all of us if we are just willing to read it.
Elisabeth: I think it's great that you are putting in the time to sincerely find out why we value it so much. I know a lot of people who aren't willing to consider the reasons why we love it, but instead ridicule us for it, so I appreciate your attitude about it. I love both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, because both of them teach the doctrines of Christ; they complement each other, and in many cases, the Book of Mormon reveals principles that aren't touched on in the Bible.
Oh, and it is really cool to mark the date at the end of the Book of Mormon each time you finish. It's a boost when you get bogged down on the Isaiah chapters to know that you got through it that many times before.

message 23: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Allen with all due respect, the Book of Mormon is like a bad Steven Segal sequel. It holds none of the beauty or richness (not to mention truth) that the ancient holy Scriptures hold.

message 24: by Meh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meh I'm interested to hear you say that, Jeffrey. Please expound on that, compare examples from both books, etc. I look forward to your view.

message 25: by Matthew (last edited Sep 02, 2008 07:50AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Well Jeffrey, with such an obvious statement of opinion (lacking any substative argument whatsoever to support your allegation) I could simply respond de gustibus non est disputandum. I do not share your opinion.

But I have never been one for short responses. Your reference to "ancient holy Scriptures" is equivocal. To which "ancient holy Scriptures" are you referring? The Qu'ran? Perhaps the Vedas? Oh wait, how about the Tipitaka? Or did you have the Tanakh in mind? Perhaps the Bible? Which version? The Protestant or maybe the version used by Roman Catholocism (which includes large portions of the Apocrypha)? Some other? If Protestant, which translation? Be careful of ambiguity, it's a slippery slope.

As is no doubt evident, merely stating that "ancient holy Scriptures" are somehow superior to the Book of Mormon on grounds of "beauty or richness" or even "truth" is nothing but a statement of belief. Obviously Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Protestants of all colors, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Coptic, and even "Mormons" could make the claim that their pet "ancient holy Scriptures" were posessed of greater "beauty and richness" and "truth" than some other groups. And these other groups could then claim otherwise.

I am pleased that you have found "beauty and richness" and "truth" in your particular "ancient holy Scriptures." I would invite you to embrace and live according to that "beauty," "richness," and "truth" which you have discovered therein. However, please extend to us the (God-given) right to find the same in our own. Thank you.

message 26: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Allen Well, my humorous quip was meant to express two key ideas. First, that the original is better than the sequel (in this case, the only Holy Scriptures, the Bible), and that both are works of fiction. It doesn't take much digging to realize that Joe Smith was a charlatan. I know he's your hero, but the dude's a con-man, and so was his homeboy Brig. Young. They were cheats and liars. Their source texts have never been discovered, selections of the Bible were plagiarized, and there is scant historical evidence to support the claims of the BOM. Latter-Day Saints are misled (not being able to question what the Elders say (I've been there first-hand), and relying on rote answers to respond to serious inquiry. Question what you believe. Do some historical research and realize that the faith is not all its cracked up to be.

message 27: by Wayne (new)

I love Emily Dickinson's poem on the Bible which begins:

The Bible is an antique Volume
Written by faded Men
At the suggestion of Holy Spectres-

and concludes:

Orpheus' Sermon captivated-
It did not condemn-

I guess she would have applied this opinion to the Book of Mormon as well, which makes her twice as annoying as Elisabeth!!
Fond regards from Wayne.

message 28: by Meh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meh Heh heh, Jeffrey, you're going to have to do better than that to convince me. Do some more research, this time without bias. First, the BOM doesn't plagiarize the Bible because they always give credit to the original authors. That's not plagiarism, that's quoting. And of course their source texts were never discovered. That's the point. The Bible and the Book of Mormon ARE the source texts. If you believe, given by God. If you don't, made up whole out of people's minds. It is true that there isn't much historical evidence for the existence of Nephites and Lamanites, but there is some. For instance, there's a Mayan temple that has almost the exact layout of Solomon's temple and has carvings of three gods. One is depicted as empty space, the other as descending, and the other as a father. I believe it's in Chichen Itza. I do question what the Apostles and Prophet say, but since it always make sense to me, I do it. Of course, none of my answers will convince you, because I'm blinded by my faith and only you can see the truth cleary.

message 29: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth Umm...Jeffrey I think what you said is pretty funny and I agree with you (at least about the Joseph Smith part because I don't know very much about Brigham Young) but I don't think you needed to be so rude about what you said. I do agree with you though that it is strange the source texts have never been discovered and yes, the Bible and BOM are the texts themselves, but they were written a while ago and yes even Homer's writings are the "source" as you put it but does that make them true? The Bible has copies (the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc) that date back relatively close to the actually writing of the Bible and are pretty accurate with what the Bible says today. The Bible (or the BOM for that matter) cannot be the source text itself because it is not the original piece of papyrus or whatever that say Moses wrote the Pentateuch on, or on which Paul wrote his epistles. For the BOM, without having the original plates they were translated from, whose to say Joseph Smith didn't just make up the whole thing?

And another thing, no your right MEH, the Bible is not plagiarized in the BOM because credit is giving, but I believe you do misinterpret it. Take what Rayni said for example about the "two sticks" of the Mormon faith. She refers to Ezekiel 37:16-20 as the source text so I looked it up in my Bible. As I read this passage I was a little confused as to where LDS got the idea that the 2 sticks were the Bible and BOM and that they were combined to be together the God's Word. Upon reading this passage I discovered that the 2 sticks are instead referring to the 2 Kingdoms of Israel at the time, The Southern Kingdom (upon one stick was written "belonging to Judah" vs.16 NIV Bible) and the Northern Kingdom (upon one of the sticks was written "Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph" also in vs. 16) and how some time in the future the two kingdoms will be once again united forever under David (since David was long gone, we know that this refers to Jesus Christ because he is descended from David through his son Nathan- via Jesus' Mother Mary). To say that the Joseph mentioned here somehow refers to Joseph Smith and the BOM is kinda ridiculous in my opinion. The Old Testament in the Bible (in Numbers along with other places) mentions how Joseph (the coat of many colors guy who became 2nd in Command to Pharaoh toward the end of Genesis and saved his family) had two son's: Manasseh and Ephraim, who both became a head of one of the later Northern tribes of Israel. In alot of the OT Ephraim is used to mean the whole Northern Kingdom of Israel, which gives my comments about how vs. 16-20 referring to the 2 kingdoms more clout.

Another problem I have with The BOM and how it is the restored Gospel and word of God is the question of why God would wait 18 centuries, from the time of Jesus' ministry on Earth and the start of the Christian church until Joseph Smith to finally let us know that what we believed about the Bible was wrong because we had translated it incorrectly? Why would God let so many people perish due to a lie that he could've fixed way earlier? It confuses me.

And Rayni, sorry I think I have taken this toward more of a religious discussion than a literary one, but these 2 books are religious texts so I think it had to go here sometime in this discussion. And MEH, if my comment (about feeling sorry) bothers you and you think I'm annoying, I can delete it. Any answers to my questions raised and comments would be appreciated of course. I have more to say still but will save it for a later post.

Oh, one last question: where in the BOM can I find the passages lifted from Isaiah? I keep hearing them mentioned and can't find them! Thanks, and sorry ahead of time for anyone who takes offense at what I've said.

Laura Elisabeth - I appreciate your honesty and your openness in seeking for answers.
First the quick one - the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon are mostly found in 2 Nephi, although there are some other passages in 3 Nephi as well.
Also about the two sticks - to clarify the idea of the Book of Mormon being the Stick of Joseph. It's not because of Joseph Smith although I see where that could have come across as such. It's because the people who wrote the Book of Mormon (basically the Nephites) were descendants of Joseph of Egypt - Manassah in particular. (You find Lehi's geneology in the beginning of 2 Nephi.) And your interpretation of Ezekiel is also valid - just remember that there are often multiple interpretations of the Bible that can be had because of the symbolic or metaphoric nature of the language.

message 31: by Matthew (last edited Sep 05, 2008 08:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson All,

First, Jeffrey’s “humorous quip.” I find little humor in what you wrote. Regardless, if indeed the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be it is no “sequel” but a simultaneous account of God’s dealings amongst others of His children. Obviously you’re a priori assumptions and attitudes are betrayed here. It is fallacious to merely assume a conclusion in that regard, you must prove that the Book of Mormon is not what it claims to be before you can claim that it is a “sequel.”

As to the Bible’s superiority, your claim that it is “better,” this is an assertion. What evidence do you have for such a claim?

You claim that “both are works of fiction.” So then are you claiming that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are fictitious, i.e. ahistorical?

You allege that “Joe Smith” was “a con-man” and that both he and “his homeboy Brig. Young” were “con-m[e]n,” and “cheats and liars.” All of this is a fascinating foray into ad hominem and poisoning the well but little more than that. It expresses your deep-seated and abiding distaste for these men but does not establish that what you have to say has any substance. Flinging about disparaging epithets does little more than establish that you do not like them.

Now, as to “source texts,” this I do find a bit humorous. First, you use the plural adjective “Their” as opposed to the singular pronoun “his.” Brigham had no hand in the translation of the Book of Mormon. Which of us is really lacking in the area of “historical research?” As to the discovery of “source texts,” please be so kind as to produce for me the “source texts” of the Bible. Do you have a copy of John's epistle, penned by John or his scribe in support of that account of the life of Jesus? The fact is, there is not a single copy of the “source text” or original autographs of the New Testament which can be traced to their alleged authors. Their authorship must be accepted on faith. I think that another respondent replied amply to your allegations of plagiarism.

As to “scant historical evidence to support the claims of the BOM” I thought you felt “both” the Bible and the Book of Mormon were “works of fiction?” Why would “historical evidence” have any bearing on the matter if both texts are “fiction?” Nevertheless, I believe there is a large amount of “historical evidence to support the claims of the BOM” but each of us determines what evidence we will determine to be admissible within our personal court of inquiry. A recent publication you might consider reading to this end is _Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon_ (ISBN 0934893721). There are quite a few others.

You’re just oozing unsupported allegations. “Latter-Day Saints are misled,” they are “not… able to question what the Elders say” (this apparently gained “first-hand”). Thank you for your opinion on the matter; I soundly reject it as false. I am not misled nor do I think that collectively “Latter-Day Saints are misled.” I am perfectly able to “question what the Elders say” and have done so regularly. There is no prohibition against such and there are quite a few statements encouraging such. Whatever “first-hand” experience you gained was either superficial or erroneous. I have been “question[ing] what [I] believe” for over 11 years including doing some very in-depth “historical research.” Have you done similarly? Have you really delved into the history of Christian belief overall? Into the Protestant and Catholic past? If you are so obsessed with the skeletons in the closet perhaps you should look to the mote in your own eye before you counsel me about the beam in mine.

Let me be perfectly clear here if I have not been so already. I believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be historical for the most part. I believe both to be scripture and therefore authoritative guides in faith and conduct. However, I do not believe that the men through whom these sacred writings were revealed were infallible nor was the byproduct of their interactions with the divine inerrant or sufficient. I do not expect perfection from anyone to whom it cannot reasonably be imputed. It cannot be reasonably imputed to Joseph Smith or Brigham Young. Owing to the fact that I have realistic expectations of these men my forays into the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not result in as shocking an experience as you would infer it should.

I think that what a given “faith” is “cracked up to be” is determined by the individual adherent. I have found great value in LDS Christianity. It is unfortunate that you have not.

Now, Elisabeth. I appreciate your continued candor and the respectful tone with which you are approaching the matter. You are correct that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain copies of most of the books of the Old Testament however these are still copies and are still separate from the original autographs by hundreds of years. Although they provide excellent evidence for the careful manner in which the texts have been copied and recopied in the intervening centuries they do not establish that the texts themselves accurately represent the originals. The originals simply are not extant so there is no way to determine how faithful any copy might be to the original.

So the Bible and the Book of Mormon are in much the same boat here. Neither can be traced back to the original records or authors from which they are alleged to have been derived. Of course, the manuscripts of the translation of the Book of Mormon are still extant, but the gold plates themselves are not.

As to Ezekiel 37:15-17 a “stick” was a written record. The LDS interpretation of this passage not only refers to the joining of “Judah” and “Ephraim” and any associated “companions” but a lot to the written records or “sticks” which Ezekiel was to make. As these groups would be rejoined at some future time so too would their records; the record of “Judah” being interpreted to be the Bible and the record of “Ephraim” being interpreted to be the Book of Mormon. Of course, you are free to disagree with such an interpretation but it could be understood in such a context.

As to the amount of time transpiring between the apostasy and the restoration I do not think that such a period of time would result in anyone perishing. The LDS belief in vicarious ordinances and post-mortal evangelization provides for the opportunity for all to receive the gospel in its fullness if they were not provided that opportunity while in mortality. And although Joseph had his doubts about the accuracy of the Bible he did not believe that those errors had necessarily led to the apostasy but rather that the loss of divine approbation and guidance had resulted in an incorrect and even erroneous understanding of the Bible. He was specifically critical of creeds.

I am not sure how useful such responses might be to you personally. If you would like to discuss the matter further, please feel free to respond.

message 32: by Renae (last edited Sep 06, 2008 08:37AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Renae Jeff- I'm sorry you feel so strongly that Joseph Smith Jr. was a charlatan. I'm sure that is what you have been taught by people you felt you could trust and believe. It's probable that those people are in the same boat. Their parent or pastor or minister told them it was so and so it must be, right? There are lots of lies in print about J. Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's sad that so much is just passed on over and over again without people checking out the truth of it for themselves. I hope you and Elizabeth will check out the church and the Book of Mormon for yourself. I Believe that if you do you will find out that there are only a few things that really make us any different than any other christian church. One of the major differences is that the church is patterned after Christ's church which he established while on the earth, complete with a living prophet and 12 apostles. But back to the B. of M.- I disagree with all the comments that it is boring reading, though I felt that way as a child/early teen. I found when I was about 20 and read it quickly that it had stories as interesting as any action novel. You don't get that when you only read a few verses at a time or jump around in the book. When you realize that the BOM was written in under 3 months by a man who only had 1/2 an elementary school education and his own wife said that when they married he didn't know how to write a formal letter, he either has to be the most brilliant person who ever lived or he really was an inspired prophet of God who only translated an ancient record. I believe it was the latter.

Rayni Wow! There are some great responses. Of course, I want to jump in right now. But, at this point in time, my response would be ramblings. I want to ponder the direction this discussion has taken & check my facts before I do respond.

That is one thing that the members of the Church are encouraged to do, "search it out in your own minds."

As far as the "elders," to which elders are we referring? The young elders who are on proselyting missions or the body of men known as general authorities of the LDS Church?

message 34: by Meh (new) - rated it 5 stars

Meh Wow. Mwcarlson. Good job with the in-depth answers. I appreciate that you quote sources and maintain a professional atmosphere. It's so easy for this kind of discussion to degenerate into name calling and completely unsupported allegations. You too, Elisabeth. I think your interpretation of Ezekiel 37 to be as valid as mine, just in a different context. It's quite possible it could be both. And um, sorry Jeffrey. I think you got a little more than you asked for. I'm not trying to sound all superior here, I'm really not. But Mwcarlson here has got every single base covered with a library of work.

message 35: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth Renae- I would like to let you know that I am currently reading the BOM as well as with my regular reading of the Bible and this is one of the reasons (though not the only reason) I have come to question the Mormom faith. And along with Rayni, I don't want to respond right now cause I don't want to "ramble" lol. But I am learning alot from this discussion and thank you. Mwcarlson- I can tell from your writing that you are very intelligent and it is interesting to read what you have to say!

message 36: by Matthew (last edited Sep 08, 2008 08:17AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson All,

I do not want any of you to think that I am overtly intelligent nor that I am immune to the emotionally charged nature of the topic. Religion and politics are topics which often degenerate into emotive responses, laced with invective that can at times become acerbic. My education is nominal at best (although I read a great deal) and I have a bad habit of lapsing into sarcasm at times.

I have been involved in religious dialogue and especially in a field known as apologetics (from the Greek apologia, meaning “systematic argumentative discourse in defense”) for over 11 years and the necessary knowledge of logic, fallacies of logic, and basic reasoning involved in such endeavors has certainly improved my ability to restrain emotional outbursts. I have also read a great deal written by those who defend the Church and its doctrines and so I find the more facile arguments to not only be unconvincing but easily dismissed.

This is not to say that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not have its problems (few of which I find problematic for most are easily dealt with by developing more reasonable expectations). However, I find that critics of the restored Gospel all too often emphasize that which they find abhorrent within my own faith and ignore parallels (or even more egregious issues) within their own. Since I have no desire to injure anyone’s faith I will leave it at that. Suffice it to say that it will not do to tell me the Book of Mormon is horrible on this or that basis if I can find the same or similar problems within the Bible. The issue is equity and it seems to be the Achilles heel of many critics. To press too forcefully for a rejection of the Book of Mormon on grounds which would similarly lead me to question to validity of the Bible is to me an absurd double-standard that advocates atheism.

That said, I am a firm believer in the words of Joseph Smith, written to John Wentworth in response to a request for information on the Church, that “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” Members will recognize this as eleventh Article of Faith. Yet I am quite fond of Joseph’s words on July 9, 1843:

“If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way. Do you believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation which he revealed? So do I. Christians should cease wrangling and contending with each other, and cultivate the principles of union and friendship in their midst…”

This is why I have encouraged all of those we have conversed with so far to pursue what truth they have found. However, I vehemently cling to my right to worship “Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience.” If you love the Bible (consequently, so do I), fine, I encourage you to read it and live according to the truth you find therein.

message 37: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth I am little confused Mwcarlson on your last comment. I feel like you are attacking me with your comment, "To press too forcefully for a rejection of the Book of Mormon on grounds which would similarly lead me to question to validity of the Bible is to me an absurd double-standard that advocates atheism," and I thought we were trying to advoid this. Whatever you might think, I just grew up in a non-denominational Christian church and am fully aware of the differences and similarities between both the BOM and the Bible and simply wanted to hear what LDS had to say regarding the matter. I am in no way advocating atheism. I simply question the differences between what the Bible teaches about God and salvation, and that which the BOM teaches because I know they vary slightly. Maybe I am just being "emotional" and taking something personal when it really has nothing to do with me, but I am one of the only people on here who has brought up problems I see with the BOM and want to know what has brought this on with you? I thought that we were all doing a good job staying away from the emotional side, but maybe not.

message 38: by Rayni (last edited Sep 09, 2008 11:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rayni Elisabeth, I don't think Mwcarlson was attacking you.

You said, I simply question the differences between what the Bible teaches about God and salvation, and that which the BOM teaches because I know they vary slightly.

Renae responded in her reply that the LDS church is based on Christ's ancient church. The differences between what the Bible teaches & the BOM teaches is simply in the way the Bible is interpreted.

The Book of Mormon came to light in the early 1800s AFTER the printing press. It was translated & returned & was printed, all within a very short time. There have been very few changes. Maybe some punctuation. Whereas the the Bible came down through the Dark Ages where the common people did not have access to it & there were no printing presses. The only way to get another copy of it was to write it out. It was copied & recopied. Passages were lost & maybe a 't' wasn't crossed or an 'i' wasn't dotted, and words were misinterpreted.

The point I'm trying to make there is that the BOM has only been translated once & was then printed.

Let me give you MY witness that I KNOW the Bible is the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. I also KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

This is my testimony & refute it as you may, I know & God knows that I know.

Now, as far as it is translated correctly. I have a son that is on the autistic spectrum. I can say something to him & he will interpret it literally or not comprehend the word I used. When he was a teenager I called him an adolescent. He would rage that he was not an adolescent. Finally, I asked him his definition of adolescent. He said I was calling him a juvenile delinquent. I told him no, adolescent was another term for teenager. We even looked it up in the dictionary.

Even though I waited to research the Renaissance & have time to put some thought into my reply, I'm afraid I rambled anyway.

Rayni I touched briefly on the 18 centuries of darkness. I feel very strongly that I need to give you my thoughts on this.

In the 4th century the first counsel of Nicaea was convened. By this time the apostles had died away & we are almost 400 years from the time of Christ. Yet the debate still raged. The church had become corrupted. In my previous post I mentioned how the Bible was copied over & over. The common people did not have access to the Bible. If they did, could they have read it?

By the 12th century we have men who are trying to remove some of the corruption, like Martin Luther. We finally make it through the Renaissance & still religion of almost any sort was persecuted. The Catholics are persecuted, then the protestants. Whoever was in power was the ultimate authority. There had to be freedom.

The US was founded on freedom. To me it makes perfect sense that God waited until his church could be brought back to the earth in a free country.

Even then he chose a young, uneducated boy that had no previous bias to doubt him. Joseph was confused at all the different religions. He read a verse in James 1:5 that told him to ask & it shall be given him. He believed that. He had been raised in a home where it was ok to question. His whole family was caught up in this religious upheaval. Why did he go to a grove of trees? Where would you go? They lived in a tiny cabin & there was lots of people around. I've prayed many times in the bathroom because it was the only place I could have privacy. Go in, lock the door & kneel down. I wouldn't have been praying in any privy. Man, they stink. Go in, do your business & get out of there as fast as you can.

Anyway, in those 18 centuries there were a lot of people, but not all the lands on the earth were populated. We believe that those people will have a chance to be taught & redeemed.

So, I've now opened myself to all sorts of ridicule, but I feel at peace with myself & can go to bed. It's late my time.

Laura Elisabeth,
I don't think the comment was an attack either - just a thought reasoned out to a conclusion that was not directed at any one in particular.
And I understand that you have questions and I'm impressed you're looking for your own answers - isn't this what we're all supposed to do?
That said, I can tell you that testimony of anything (the Bible, the Book of Mormon, even of God and Jesus Christ) can't ever come through reasoning. It takes faith and hope - even a desire to believe. Which is why your personal experience with the book itself is important.

message 41: by Wayne (new)

Dear Rayni,

Being heavily involved in languages and translation, I was very concerned re the fact that your faith in the Bible depends on its having been correctly translated.
How do you know it was?

I recall chatting with the authoress Shirley Hazzard about the translation of her last novel, "The Great Fire" , from English into Italian, a language in which she herself happens to be fluent.The Italian translator in dealing with a section where old friends used to regularly gather together for a chat and a drink ie. where they would pass around the port,had translated it as the old friends getting together to chat and take a stroll around the harbour!!
This from a competent translator.

One of my good Japanese students in an exercise about translating common expressions, came up with: "Invisible, insane!" for that good old chestnut:"Out of sight, out of mind."

Unfortunately the best translators and the best intentions do not necessarily result in a valid product.

Your assurance that you KNOW the Bible to be true as far as it has been translated correctly, smacks of a private revelation that gives me cold comfort indeed in the light of hard concrete reality...shoddy translations!!!
Sincerely yours, Wayne.

message 42: by Matthew (last edited Sep 11, 2008 10:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Elisabeth,

Ranyi and Laura are correct, it was not my intention to attack anyone in stating “To press too forcefully for a rejection of the Book of Mormon on grounds which would similarly lead me to question to validity of the Bible is to me an absurd double-standard that advocates atheism.” Rather, it was a general observation in regards to criticisms of the Book of Mormon which could be just as easily leveled against the Bible.

Of course, I might ask that you keep that observation in mind though as we discuss the matter further. It is not that I am accusing you of advocating atheism but observing that those who “press too forcefully for a rejection of the Book of Mormon on grounds which would similarly lead me to question to validity of the Bible” are in my opinion advocating atheism. I simply think that such individuals fail to realize that LDS Christians view the Book of Mormon no differently in regards to its source than they do the Bible; both are scripture to us. Therefore, to ask us to question one is to ask us to question both and where both share the same weakness and that weakness is used for justification of rejecting one, it would also logically lead to a reassessment of both. I hope that clarification helps.


Regarding the issue of “Dark Ages,” which has been mentioned previously, as well as the LDS conception of an apostasy I would suggest that one take into consideration the recent volume offered by emeritus General Authority Alexander B. Morrison, “Turning from Truth: A New Look At the Great Apostasy” (ISBN 1590383958). Although this is perhaps not the best LDS publication on the topic and certainly not the most comprehensive it is an excellent companion to
James E. Talmage’s “The Great Apostasy” (ISBN 0875798438) which unfortunately has some rather outdated and erroneous conclusions within its pages and which governs most members’ knowledge of the topic. Morrison corrects such misconceptions, in essence updating Talmage.

I found one section in particular quite salient. Morrison quotes with obvious approval C. Warren Hollister’s “Medieval Europe: A Short History” to the effect:

“A few generations ago the medieval centuries of European history were widely regarded as ‘The Dark Ages.’ Western man was thought o have dropped into a deep slumber at the fall of the Western Roman Empire in A.D. 476, awakening at length, like Rip Van Winkle, in the bright dawn of the Italian Renaissance... Today this ungenerous point of view stands discredited, although it persists amongst the half-educated.” (p. 3)

It was this last sentence that gave me pause. Do we really want to be viewed as “half-educated” by those outside of our faith by clinging to outdated and inaccurate monikers like “Dark Ages?” I would think not. The “Dark Ages” were anything but “Dark.”

Of course, Morrison hastens to add that although this particular designation may be outdated and invalidated, “none of the recent advances in knowledge about earlier times has any impact on the validity of Elder Talmage’s basic conclusion that a great apostasy from Christ’s church occurred as the Church departed from its apostolic roots. Indeed, what we now know only underlines the validity of Elder Talmage’s assertions.” (Ibid.)

A final comment on Wayne’s response to Rayni, who objected to her comment “Let me give you MY witness that I KNOW the Bible is the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly. I also KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.” Obviously this has reference to Article of Faith 1:8 wherein it is asserted “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” This is of course one of the 13 points outlined by Joseph in a letter to John Wentworth who requested from Joseph information on the Church and its belief on behalf of a friend who “who [was] writing a history of New Hampshire.” It is important to understand that in relaying such a sentiment Joseph did not believe the Bible to be free from error:

“I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” (TPJS, p. 327)

Whether such a statement is entirely accurate is immaterial. Obviously Joseph did not believe the Bible had been “translated correctly.” However, Article of Faith 1:8 is clear, if “we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” we do indeed believe “the Bible to be the word of God.” Absolutely accurate? No. Nevertheless, the “word of God.”

However, I want to be sure there are no unrealistic expectations of the Book of Mormon. I recall seeing the statement “There have been very few changes. Maybe some punctuation.” Actually, according to Royal Skousen, who is in charge of the Critical Text Project, there have been over 100,000 changes. He had the following to say in a FAIR Conference presentation in 2002:

“Now we come to the big topic that so many people are exercised over: how many changes are there in the Book of Mormon text? I don't know and I'll tell you why it's hard to count them. In my computerized collation of the two manuscripts and 20 significant editions of the Book of Mormon, I can count the number of places of variation. These are places where in some place in the text there's a variant, whether it's spelling, punctuation, words missing, added, grammatical change. There are 105,000 places of variation.”

Skousen notes:

“In the original manuscript we only find evidence for a few dashes in the book summaries, otherwise there is no punctuation. The original text itself probably had no punctuation at all. Most of it was added by the 1830 printer…”

If the “original text itself probably had no punctuation at all” then any instance of punctuation is a change. Skousen estimates that such changed amount to only 4,000 or so of the 105,000. Spelling of common words and capitalization also are big ones.

Now, why do I mention this when most (note I use most, not all) of the changes seem rather trivial? Well, transparency is good justification but I also want to stress that our consideration of the present text of the Book of Mormon (1981 edition) should be tempered by the same consideration mentioned in Article of Faith 1:8 in regards to the Bible, namely that the Book of Mormon is also “the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” Errors in the text have crept in over time through the reprinting of the book and this should be considered. This is not to say the present text is so riddled with error as to be unreliable or that the changes are so substantial as to alter its doctrinal content but it should be taken into account.

I would suggest Skousen’s presentation:

And the results of the Critical Text Project are available to all. “The Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon,” (1 volume) “The Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon” (2 volumes) and “Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon” (4 volumes) are available for purchase at the BYU bookstore. They are pricey and perhaps no one save a scholar would consider owning them all but I would heartily recommend them (I personally own the first three).

I hope this information is useful.


message 43: by Elisabeth (new) - added it

Elisabeth To all-

I just want to apologize for my response to Matt. I was just being irrational I guess and took offense to a general statement. I didn't take time to think through it clearly. I'm sorry about that.

Once again, I am planning on writing another post, but I have not been currently afforded the time to do so without letting emotion become involved.

message 44: by Matthew (last edited Sep 12, 2008 09:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Elisabeth,

Feel free to take you time. I accept your apology but it is completely unnecessary as I took no offense. I would like to apologize for any unintentional offense you experienced as a result of my statements. I do not think you were “being irrational” nor that you were not thinking clearly.

Let me explain. When I state “To press too forcefully for a rejection of the Book of Mormon on grounds which would similarly lead me to question to validity of the Bible is to me an absurd double-standard that advocates atheism” I am making an argument. Not argument in the sense of a quarrel or a disagreement, but a coherent series of statements leading from a premise to a conclusion. The statements and conclusions derive from a multitude of other arguments the conclusions of which are assumed rather than demonstrated. Let me use a simpler argument in syllogistic form to demonstrate what I am saying:

Premise 1: The Book of Mormon is Scripture.
Premise 2: The Bible is Scripture.
Conclusion: Both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are scripture.

How much is being assumed in just this simple syllogism? Are the terms defined appropriately so as to avoid confusion? Well it is obvious that it is being assumed that the Book of Mormon is Scripture. It is also being assumed that the Bible is scripture. Further, the term “scripture” is left undefined, leading one to ask precisely what “scripture” is.

I believe I made some of the same errors with my argument which could easily lead to confusion. I think one could conclude, quite rationally, that if they had been championing the rejection of the Book of Mormon on a particular issue and had demonstrated to them that their objection could be applied to the Bible as well that my argument then applied to them. Of course, I did not apply my argument to you specifically as I did not think that you had done so. However, perhaps you felt you had. So, again, my apologies.


Shaumbra ... one word comes to my mind, "Wow." I just found this thread and I am thoroughly impressed!
I admire the way everyone is striving to help Elisabeth with answers to her questions and the mutual respect shown throughout the thread.
Most of all I feel enlightened by Matt's or Mwcarlson's replies! Your answers have been so deep and thoughtful. Each paragraph was logical and well-phrased! Is there a chance of you being or becoming a writer?
Thank you for reaffirming my own beliefs about the Book of Mormon, which I also know to be a true testament of Jesus Christ.
I also thank you, Elisabeth, for how well you phrase your questions and keep a civil tongue throughout! I hope that you will recognize the truth in these replies and also be able to recieve your own witness of the Book of Mormon when you have completed it. I know that if you read, ponder and pray with an open mind and sincere heart, to know of the truthfulness of its teachings, that you will be answered.
I wish you the best of luck and look forward to this discussion being continued!

message 46: by Matthew (last edited Sep 12, 2008 01:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Shaumbra,

Although I am flattered by your compliments I really do not deserve such praise. To steal Joseph’s words “I do not calculate to please your ears which superfluity of words, with oratory, or with much learning, but I calculate to edify you with the simple truths of heaven.” Unfortunately I think that all too often I end up with merely “superfluity of words” and a touch of “learning” with little in the way of edifying others "with the simple truths of heaven.”

As to “a chance of… being or becoming a writer” I am a writer of sorts although unpublished at present. Most of my writing is relegated to internet message boards. As I noted previously I am an apologist, or “one who speaks or writes in defense of someone or something.” I write in defense of the restored Gospel. Who knows, perhaps someday I will get around to writing a book (Mike Ash did).


message 47: by Rayni (last edited Sep 12, 2008 09:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rayni Dear Wayne,

I laughed out loud when I read your examples of translations. I am a copy editor & love a play on words, port as a drink or as a walk around the harbor :)

However, I might ask whose reality? Interestingly enough, Laura answered that in the post just before yours:

I can tell you that testimony of anything (the Bible, the Book of Mormon, even of God and Jesus Christ) can't ever come through reasoning. It takes faith and hope - even a desire to believe.

So, there you have it. If you want to call my testimony of the Bible and the Book of Mormon personal revelation, you may do so.

Shaumbra says in her post: ... and the mutual respect shown throughout the thread. Let's keep it that way.

So, with that said, I had printed the comments off this morning because they were so long. I took them to work to read, if I had a slow minute. I didn't until quitting time. So, I clocked out, read the comments & thought that I'd look at the book by Elder Morrison. I work in a business connected to an LDS bookstore. I walked up to the bookstore & found the book. I try to stay out of the bookstore as much as possible. Otherwise, I would not have a paycheck to take home.

I am learning so much as I participate & read this thread. I'm not taking offense, but rather feel like I'm "half-educated." As I truly did believe, “There have been very few changes. Maybe some punctuation.”

So, Matt, your answer, "Errors in the text have crept in over time through the reprinting of the book and this should be considered." Working in the publishing industry for many years, this makes perfect sense. However, this information still does not alter my testimony.

Thanks to all & I hope I haven't offended anyone.

message 48: by Wayne (new)

Wayne Dear RAYNI,
So glad you got a laugh from those examples of mine.As they say :She/He who laughs, lasts.
(Gosh, I wonder how many ways my students could mangle that one!!!)
I see you are a real booklover, as well.
Me too!!
I think we have found the perfect website.
Cheers, Wayne, Australia

message 49: by Matthew (last edited Sep 15, 2008 07:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Matthew Carlson Rayni,

You wrote that “this information still does not alter my testimony.” Excellent, as I did not intend that it should do so. I mentioned it in order to highlight two points with an important caveat: when I use the word “translation” I use it in much the same manner Joseph Smith must have, as Robert J. Matthews observed in relation to what is now Article of Faith 1:8:

“By using the word translated he apparently meant to convey the meaning that is generally assigned to the term transmitted, for, as the Prophet’s own statements on the matter show, there is more involved in the history of the Bible than mere translation of languages. There was transmission of materials, such as copying, adding to, taking from, and interpreting, in addition to the translation of languages. All these are included in the broader term transmission, and all have contributed to the present condition of the Bible.” (_“A Plainer Translation”: Jospeh Smith’s Translation of the Bible, A History and Commentary_ [Provo, UT: Brigham Young University Press, 1985], p. 7)

With this understanding, and with the information I have provided on the Critical Text Project, it is clear that the same caution can and I believe should be applied to the present text of the Book of Mormon; that it is “the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.” Or, consistent with the above it is “the word of God as far as it is [transmitted] correctly.” This is of course the first of my two points.

The second it quite simple and quite obvious, and that is that with such an understanding it would be unwise to assert that the present text of the Book of Mormon is somehow exempt from some (not all) of the same errors alleged to have crept into the biblical text through “translation.” Obviously the transmission history of the Book of Mormon has been shorter and the circumstances under which errors have crept into the text quite innocent (whereas the opposite is posited as being true of the biblical text by both Joseph and the Book of Mormon text) and certainly not the result of a desire to remove “plain and precious things” yet nevertheless it should be taken into account.

I hope that clarification helps. It is not my intention to alter anyone’s testimony.


message 50: by Shaumbra (last edited Sep 14, 2008 09:28PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Shaumbra Matt,
I do not find your writing to be overly superflous, and I do find that you edify the simple truths of heaven. At least for me you have, and I feel confident that others might feel the same as well! I find words to be beautiful, especially when people manipulate them to illustrate a point, which I find you have. So if you have not edified me, you have certainly inspired me.
We need more apologists defending the Lord's church, we can certainly never have enough. If you ever do publish anything I would be more than happy to read it! So if you do, drop me a line!
Good luck!


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