I’ve heard it said that when confronted with anachronisms or historical problems in the Book of Mormon, all I need to do instead is look at its spiritual truths to realize the book is true. This is very misleading and is a convenient trail, because if the book itself is not what it claims to be, that brings into question what the book says it is, and what its author (Joseph Smith) says it is.
In dealing with the surface-level or deep issues of Mormonism and Christianity, people like to argue and make personal attacks. Most have straw man arguments and even go so far as to use ad hominem attacks. The funny thing is, when people throw dirt at someone, they lose ground beneath them. Pun intended.
A straw man argument can be defined below in the picture.
The Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 2:1 (NIV): “And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.”
So, when I write an article or share the gospel with LDS people, I do not feel the need to sound King Jamesy or to sound like I know all there is to know about Mormonism. I don’t even like to use big words, or speak in “eloquence or human wisdom” when I talk about the true Jesus Christ and the errors in Mormonism. I do not know everything there is to know about Mormonism; to delve into Mormonism is a labyrinth of confusion that can lead even the simple astray. We need to speak the truth in love to Mormons and realize that Mormons are precious gifts from God.
It is best to keep it simple. People will get offended when the Church they’ve spent their entire life in gets challenged. Some LDS people and internet trolls have sent me threatening emails, giving diatribes and filibusters, declaring all sorts of gibberish to me. All of that is pointless! It is not even distracting. When they think they are accomplishing a goal, they really get me more excited that I serve the One True God, not a God who became a God like a God before him did. I serve the Most High God, the only God in existence. I am resting in the arms of a loving God who saved me by His grace, and whom shall I fear? What man can shake my foundation, which is in the true Jesus Christ? None!
That is why I do not get offended by these kinds of emails, because it happens to so many Christian ministers I know. Those kind of attacks come with a territory. It is spiritual warfare, not a persecution complex. When someone gets to new levels, there are new devils to face. I will present the truth, but I won’t debate the Truth in articles, blogs, or go on and on trying to cut down someone’s argument in the form of senseless arguing, because the Truth will defend itself. Yes, we need to give a reason for the hope that is in us, but we don’t need to just endlessly debate something. Even if I give someone information on the truth of Mormonism, it does not mean that that person has a revelation on that information.
You won’t save someone simply based on information. They are saved through revelation given by the Holy Spirit ON information. That is why someone could give all the most detailed, deep, ground-breaking information and research to an active, temple-worthy Mormon and it would be like talking to a brick wall, because that Mormon will need to get a revelation on that information before that wall can crumble and they can see the truth with their own eyes!
1 Peter 3:5 (NIV) says, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Notice the last sentence, the one most of us tend to forget. We need to do this out of gentleness and respect. Not by holding up obnoxious signs to picket General Conference in April or October, not to use a speakerphone to blast ‘Joseph Smith lied!’ into someone’s ear, but by being approachable and by being ‘all things to all people.’ (see 1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
As to people’s rants to me through email, I don’t waste my time with people who have a motive to try to get me frustrated, because their goal is to cut me down and distract me. I will sadly disappoint them, because they are not accomplishing what their goal is. 🙂
LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said this,
To consider that everything of saving significance in the Church stands or falls on the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and, by implication, the Prophet Joseph Smith’s account of how it came forth is as sobering as it is true. It is a ‘sudden death’ proposition. Either the Book of Mormon is what Joseph Smith said it is, or this Church and its founder are false, a deception from the first instance onward.” (Christ and the New Covenant, 345)
How did Joseph Smith say the account of the Book of Mormon came forward? Literally by an angel who was the last of the human civilization of the Nephites, the latter of whom dwelt on this continent from approximately 600 B.C. until around 421 A.D. Well, this might be earth shattering to 15 million LDS members, but the Nephites never existed. A Latter-day Saint may come up with the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is not real history, but still have a testimony of it because of the ‘spiritual truths’ in the book. This is what many in the Community of Christ believe (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). LDS Apostle Holland says that this is not an option. Either the book was what Joseph Smith said it was, i.e. a real story of a real people, or it is a work of fiction.
The Book of Mormon is a work of fiction. There are some truths in the Book of Mormon. This does not make the book as a whole true, that means that there are some beneficial verses, including whole chapters from the Bible that have been plagiarized into the Book of Mormon.
Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry (mrm.org) presents a great question for Mormons when he says the following:
Your leaders have taught that exaltation requires works, such as temple marriage and enduring to the end. If this is true, then why did Joseph Smith insert the word alone into Romans 3:28 of his Inspired Version (also known as the Joseph Smith Translation) of the Bible? (It reads, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith alone without the deeds of the law.”) (Answering Mormons’ Questions, 286)
Why all the required New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage talk? Jesus Christ HIMSELF is the new and everlasting covenant! There was not something that Jesus left out when He came to this earth. Eternal marriage was set up 1800 years after Christ came? No, if it was that important of a salvific ordinance, He would have established it. But He alone is the one who is the New Covenant!!!! In faith ALONE we are saved! Funny how Joseph Smith’s translation is so ironic.
If I were to describe something wrong with the historicity in the Book of Mormon to a Latter-day Saint, they could easily beat around the bush and say, “Well, you have to just pray about whether the Book of Mormon is true, then you will have a testimony about it. You have to know that it is full of spiritual truths.” It is all subjective reasoning based on one’s feelings.
The Bible stands up to the test of time. We can visit places today that were mentioned in the Bible. We have thousands of artifacts, manuscripts, metallurgy, scrolls, tablets, coins, cities, towns, lakes, rivers, etc. At least I know that if there is anything that might sound far-fetched in any of the Bible’s stories, I know that the book itself is completely true. Obviously everything in the Bible happened the way it says it did, but the Book of Mormon story isn’t even true. I would much rather put my trust in God’s Word, not in a 19th century religious novel.
The Bible says this about itself,
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NKJV)
The Apostle Paul says,
If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord. But if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant. (1 Corinthians 14:37-38, NKJV)
The truth is out there, it really is.
If someone keeps on believing in the Book of Mormon in the face of all the information that has been out there that proves the Book of Mormon false, they believe the book in ignorance. Again, as the Apostle Paul stated, “if anyone is ignorant, let him be ignorant.”
Don’t let this be you.
Trust in God.
Know that His grace is enough to save you!
It is a beautiful revelation.