When missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints come knocking on doors, they present the Book of Mormon, which is one of their four Standard Works. This means that Mormons consider four books to be scriptural canon: The Bible (King James Version), the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Many people throw around the phrase, “Oh yeah, they use their Mormon Bible.” This is often misleading, as Mormons use the same Authorized King James Bibles that many Southern Baptists and Pentecostals use in their churches. Mormons do use the Bible (the scriptural text is unaltered, but LDS footnotes with cross-references to their other Standard Works are at the bottom of the pages). However, they have three other books they consider scripture. Because the Book of Mormon reads much like the Bible, it is easy for converts to understand, making a smoother transition for Protestants and evangelicals to enter into the LDS Church.
But what does the Book of Mormon teach? Here is a copy of the Introduction to the Book of Mormon:
The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible. It is a record of God’s dealings with ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains the fulness of the everlasting gospel.
The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indians.
The crowning event recorded in the Book of Mormon is the personal ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites soon after His resurrection. It puts forth the doctrines of the gospel, outlines the plan of salvation, and tells men what they must do to gain peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come.
After Mormon completed his writings, he delivered the account to his son Moroni, who added a few words of his own and hid up the plates in the Hill Cumorah. On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.
In due course the plates were delivered to Joseph Smith, who translated them by the gift and power of God. The record is now published in many languages as a new and additional witness that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that all who will come unto Him and obey the laws and ordinances of His gospel may be saved.
Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
In addition to Joseph Smith, the Lord provided for eleven others to see the gold plates for themselves and to be special witnesses of the truth and divinity of the Book of Mormon. Their written testimonies are included herewith as “The Testimony of Three Witnesses” and “The Testimony of Eight Witnesses.”
We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)
Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah. (Introduction to the Book of Mormon)
Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel.” But what is the everlasting gospel, according to Mormons? Many Christians would be surprised to find out that all of the central Mormon doctrines do not even come from the Book of Mormon, but rather, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, the other two books of Mormon scripture.
For example, the Book of Mormon teaches that God’s Word does not change:
Now, the decrees of God are unalterable; therefore, the way is prepared that whosoever will may walk therein and be saved. (Alma 41:8)
Mormonism teaches that God’s Word can change:
Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord. Wherefore, I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servants Thomas B. Marsh and Ezra Thayre, and give a new commandment unto my servant Thomas, that he shall take up his journey speedily to the land of Missouri, and my servant Selah J. Griffin shall also go with him. (Doctrine and Covenants 56:4-5)
The Book of Mormon FORBIDS polygamy:
And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son. (Jacob 1:15)
Mormonism teaches polygamy as a principle (even though the Utah-based LDS Church gave up polygamy as a practice in 1890 (see Wilford Woodruff’s Manifesto and Doctrine and Covenants–Official Declaration–1). This mandated doctrine is presented:
Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Joseph, that inasmuch as you have inquired of my hand to know and understand wherein I, the Lord, justified my servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as also Moses, David and Solomon, my servants, as touching the principle and doctrine of their having many wives and concubines— (Doctrine and Covenants 132:1)
Here are some examples of the major Mormon doctrines, none of which can be found in the Book of Mormon: baptism for the dead, plurality of gods, eternal temple marriage, endowment ceremonies, God is an exalted man, eternal progression, pre-existence of spirits, Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers, Christ not begotten of the Holy Ghost, three degrees of heaven, temple ordinances, etc.
Here is a link as to more details on Mormon doctrines not in the Book of Mormon, including the references: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2706272/posts
The Book of Mormon teaches that there is one God (Alma 11), but Mormonism teaches a plurality of gods (Abraham 4). The chart below shows how confusing the Mormon doctrine of God has been throughout the ages, according to Mormonism. Does Joseph Smith’s changing view of God conflict with the non-contradictory nature of God? Uh, I really think so. This is why Mormonism is wrong. Confusion is at the heart of Mormonism, for the teachings of God’s true Church could not be wound in this thick of a spider web.
The Bible alone is what Christians use. Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, which is mostly orthodox in its view of God. Joseph Smith’s gutsy, progressive LDS theology became more poisoned during his Nauvoo years and the last four years of his life, and the strange doctrines began to infiltrate into his Church. This is why the Book of Mormon is given when missionaries knock on doors. The Book of Mormon is the gateway drug. Once a person becomes a member, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are introduced, which have the heavier non-biblical teachings.
The Book of Mormon, while heralded by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the “keystone” of the religion, is really placed on the back-burner, theologically speaking. The Book of Mormon does not really have the “fulness of the everlasting gospel,” as Mormons contend, as so many essential Mormon doctrines are not included in the book.
The Book of Mormon simply cannot be trusted.