Orthodox Mormonism is traditional Mormonism. This would include the belief that the Book of Mormon is a literal historical record, depicting the Nephites and Lamanites as real civilizations.
Since DNA has proved that the Native Americans are not descended from ancient Israelites, there is also no linguistic, archaeological, or monetary evidence that anything from the Book of Mormon story actually happened.
Same goes with the Book of Abraham, which is in the Pearl of Great Price, one of the 4 Standard Works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Supposed “anti-Mormons” for decades have said that the Book of Abraham has nothing to do with the papyri Joseph Smith had. Well, they were right.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted an official Gospel Topics Essay entitled: “Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham.” Here is the link: Click Here. Mormons, I recommend you read through it.
Below is a snapshot of what the official LDS Gospel Topics Essay says:
“None of the characters on the papyrus fragments mentioned Abraham’s name or any of the events recorded in the book of Abraham. Mormon and non-Mormon Egyptologists agree that the characters on the fragments do not match the translation given in the book of Abraham, though there is not unanimity, even among non-Mormon scholars, about the proper interpretation of the vignettes on these fragments.27 Scholars have identified the papyrus fragments as parts of standard funerary texts that were deposited with mummified bodies. These fragments date to between the third century B.C.E. and the first century C.E., long after Abraham lived.
Of course, the fragments do not have to be as old as Abraham for the book of Abraham and its illustrations to be authentic. Ancient records are often transmitted as copies or as copies of copies.”
It is clear that the original documents Joseph Smith had really had nothing to do with the Book of Abraham, making it a fraud.
Above is a snapshot of the preface to the Book of Abraham. It says that the papyri were the writings of Abraham, written by his own hand. Clearly, this is not the case.
The LDS Church announced recently that Joseph Smith used a seer stone in his translation process of the Book of Mormon. Mormons who were active members in the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s may remember so-called ‘Anti-Mormons’ saying that Joseph Smith using a seer stone was just made up and not true. However, turns out that it was true. Why is it that non-Mormons knew the true LDS Church history and many active LDS members did not? This is especially true with LDS members who are outside of the United States and may not have access to all the documents.
Since Orthodox Mormonism has crumbled, Progressive Mormonism is not only on the horizon, but here in full-swing. This is the Mormon brand that believes the Book of Mormon is a giant allegory. Progressive Mormons may believe that the Book of Mormon is not real history, but is full of faith-promoting, allegorical stories that can help someone out. Progressive Mormonism also says that the Book of Abraham is still scripture, even though what Joseph Smith wrote was not from a document actually written by Abraham. It was just an ‘inspired’ translation. Following everything that modern-day LDS prophets say is not necessary in Progressive Mormonism. A desire to see women included in the all-male Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods is another facet of Progressive Mormonism.
The reason why Progressive Mormonism cannot stand is because of what Joseph Smith said. Several members in the Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints – RLDS) believe the Book of Mormon is an allegory and not literal. If you’re a Mormon, or part of another Latter-day Saint restoration denomination, you may know what Joseph Smith himself said of the Book of Mormon. He said that it was the most correct book.
The VERY Introduction to the Book of Mormon says:
“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.
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.'”
Think about that. Joseph Smith himself said it was a literal record. He believed it. If you, as a progressive Mormon, believe the Book of Mormon to be an allegory of great moral stories, you’re missing a big point. What the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon say about the Book of Mormon is that it is a true, literal record. If you believe it’s an allegory, then what you believe is in contrast with what your founding prophet, Joseph Smith taught. That creates a problem.
Either Mormonism is 100% true, or 100% false. There is no middle ground. LDS Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said of Joseph Smith: “He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground.” (see Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, Pages 188-189)
President Gordon B. Hinckley said: “Each of us has to face the matter — either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the church and kingdom of God, or it is nothing.”
An important quote for Mormon members to take a look at, LDS Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland said the following:
“Either Joseph Smith was the prophet he said he was, who, after seeing the Father and the Son, later beheld the angel Moroni, repeatedly heard counsel from his lips, eventually receiving at his hands a set of ancient gold plates which he then translated according to the gift and power of God—or else he did not. And if he did not, in the spirit of President Benson’s comment, he is not entitled to retain even the reputation of New England folk hero or well-meaning young man or writer of remarkable fiction. No, and he is not entitled to be considered a great teacher or a quintessential American prophet or the creator of great wisdom literature. If he lied about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, he is certainly none of those.
“I am suggesting that we make exactly that same kind of do-or-die, bold assertion about the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the divine origins of the Book of Mormon. We have to. Reason and rightness require it. Accept Joseph Smith as a prophet and the book as the miraculously revealed and revered word of the Lord it is or else consign both man and book to Hades for the devastating deception of it all, but let’s not have any bizarre middle ground about the wonderful contours of a young boy’s imagination or his remarkable facility for turning a literary phrase. That is an unacceptable position to take—morally, literarily, historically, or theologically.” (“True or False,” Liahona, June 1996)
To deny the Book of Mormon as literal, historical scripture is to deny the words of Joseph Smith. Yet the evidence against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes against the LDS religion, making the LDS Church false.
Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is false, I boldly proclaim that Jesus Christ alone is necessary for salvation. Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and he deceived millions of people. I pray for Elder Holland, as he is aware that it’s either true or false. He acknowledges the gravity and implications of what it could mean if his church is false, if Joseph Smith was wrong.
I was once deceived by Joseph Smith’s false gospel. I found my identity in Jesus Christ, and in Him alone.
Since Mormonism is not 100% true, it is 100% false.
Mormons, I implore you to ‘count the cost.’ Eternity is at stake.