Since I’ve been a Christian one of the coolest things I’ve discovered and will never get tired from is the way God places people and situations together. Case in point is Bible studies. I don’t know about you, but every time I sit to do my Bible study, the Lord will invariably use what I’ve learned to share it with a Mormon or someone in my life whether it is work or at home. The women’s ministry at my church studied the book of Jeremiah this year. When I signed up I was excited because I didn’t really know much at all about Jeremiah other than he was a prophet in the Old Testament.
It’ll be 14 years ago this month (March 20007) that I accepted the Lord into my life and you’d think I’d have studied him by now, but it was always something else that came up. I love studies because I am able to keep the focus off of me and as I said, He will always use it for His glory!
This particular study has to be one of my very favorites. I feel as if I’m a brand new Christian again with all that I’m learning and know just how blessed I am while I soak up His provision in the Word. There have been many times it has brought back the memories of what it was like growing up in Utah a sixth generation Mormon.
I don’t recall how many times that I would sit on my bed at night and try to line up parts of the Old Testament with the Book of Mormon. I remember each time I tried this and then asked someone to help me sort out the confusion; I was repeatedly told that we’ll figure that out when we come before the Lord. When I’d etch out the times to be alone and read again, I would get lost and more confused with the stories of Nephi leaving the fold and getting on that boat to cross the ocean.
Now here it is some thirty years later and I’m finally getting it! Thank you Lord! The stories from the Book of Mormon and the Bible aren’t ever going to match up and it doesn’t matter how long you study it or from what angle, it doesn’t fit.
I know this sounds like it’s over simplifying the events, but for those of us who aren’t qualified to be in the discussion boards of FARMS or FAIR, indulge me for a moment if you will.
When we open up the Book of Mormon we can see from the very first page that it is describing how the “prophet Lehi” was called by God to escape the impending doom of His wrath upon Israel. At the bottom of the first page the date of BC 600 tells us when the events of the Book of Mormon supposedly took place.
There are several problems with this scenario when you compare it to the Bible and the historical aspect of that time period. In Jeremiah we are given several examples of when events took place like the three different stages of when Babylon took Israel and Judah into captivity. It began in BC 605 and continued on until about BC 586, but the nation of Israel was finally let out of captivity after they had been exiled for seventy years.
We have dates of when Egypt fell to Babylon at Battle of Carchemish in BC 605 and dates of when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD. These things are documented, verified and obviously true, factual events in history. We have ample evidence of communities that existed and were then destroyed all throughout the Middle East during history. The wells from where Jacob offered sacrifices to God, down to the location of the Garden of Gethsemane can all be verified.
There are two immediate reasons why we can’t trust the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.
The first problem that raises suspicion is the date. In BC 600 Israel had just experienced it’s first of three stages of being taken into captivity by the Babylonians. The Lord God had given the Israelites specific guidelines as to what they should do during the sieges, whom to listen to and how to behave; then He gave them a choice.
The children of God could submit themselves willingly to the yoke of slavery or they would die by one of three ways; famine, pestilence or sword. In other words, God never gave the tribes a choice of fleeing the continent! You either chose to submit, be obedient and He would bless you and prosper you while in captivity; or you became food for the vultures.
The other problem is why. Why would you worship a god who doesn’t keep his promises? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob promised His children they would be punished for their sin of idol worship. The Bible specifically declares what happened to the Israelites. Yet Joseph Smith introduces a “lost tribe” that claims they fled the scene.
Why should you believe those people are holy?
Why should you believe a group of people that kept going back to retrieve the plates and writings of their people if they thought their people were behaving ungodly? Remember how Nephi made a few attempts at going back to retrieve the plates and ran into continuous trouble until he finally beheaded Laban in 1 Nephi 4:18?
Both kingdoms of Israel and Judah were definitely living in sin, that’s why God punished them by sending them into captivity. Both Israel and Judah had their own set of problems and neither of them was any better than the other nations (Gentiles) that surrounded them. So when the missionary tells you they “escaped” because of the sin around them, you can now say that God provided a way out and they obviously rejected it. IF in fact they were even a “real tribe” to begin with!
The rest of First Nephi chapter four goes on to tell the reader that they were afraid the Jew would find out what they were doing. They spoke of “the Jews” as if they weren’t one of them. Did they or did they not come from the God of Israel? 1 Nephi 18:1-8 is the story of the ship being packed and how they sailed for the Promised Land.
The examples are taken from the entire book of Jeremiah. The majority of the book of Jeremiah is filled with prophecy, so if I listed all the scriptures about the subjects I’d basically be writing down the entire book of Jeremiah. The promise of forgiveness and redemption by God, the remnant He will leave here on earth and the punishment God deals out to His people is intermixed with future prophecy. Also note, the book of Jeremiah is not in chronological order.
Below is a chart that contains the basics; timeline, God’s instructions, behavior of people, and the results.
|Bible||Book of Mormon|
|Timeline/dates||BC 627-585* – Jer. 1:1-3||Circa BC 6001 Nephi 1|
|Behavior of people||Idol worship/listening to false prophets who proclaim no punishment from God||Jews hated prophet Lehi for denouncing their sin. 1 Nephi 1:19.|
|God’s instructions to people||Repent and return||Start packing to leave for wilderness. 1 Nephi 2:2|
|Behavior of people||Some obeyed/most did not||They left for Promised Land on ship 1 Nephi 18:1-23; sailed for two years BC 591-89.|
|Consequences of sin||Judgment/Punishment||None, according to BoM.|
|Immediate results||Death by sword, famine or pestilence if stayed in Jerusalem. If obeyed; 70 yrs. captivity.||Lived in the Americas for 1,100 yrs. Circa BC 589 to 421 AD.|
|Future results||God welcomed them back, Messiah is delivered 500+ yrs. later||All Nephites die. Moroni 10:34.|
|Historical, factual evidences of Jerusalem in circa BC 600||Letters, seal w/ name Gedaliah, ration tablets w/ name of Jehoiacin, king of Judah, found near Ishtar Gate. **||No evidence found/Result of the exodus of Lehi and Nephi was BoM.|
*Time of Jeremiah’s ministry.
**Notes from Ryrie Study Bible, NASB, 1995
Because it’s impossible to write anything about Jeremiah and not mention Daniel or Ezekiel you will notice if you study anything further about Jeremiah, you will be referring back to their books in addition to 1st and 2nd Kings. Jeremiah served from BC 627 to BC 585. Ezekiel’s and Daniel’s ministry took place in BC 592-570 and BC 605-536 respectively. So as you can see these three power houses were contemporaries. Their books provide a comprehensive view of rulers, people, countries and God’s dealings with mankind.
I would like to encourage and challenge the members of the LDS Church to not just take my word for this Biblical truth, but also to look at these events from an historical outlook as well. The following is a short list of what was going on historically worldwide from BC 600 – 570.
BC 600 – “The Persian religious leader Zoroaster in this century will found a faith whose sacred literature will be the Zend-Avesta. The teachings of Zoroaster (Zarathustra) will dominate Persian religious thought for centuries.”
BC 597 – The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are built and become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, irrigated by water pumped from the Euphrates. (You need to put this on your bucket list! Ishtar’s Gate – one of the inner gates inside the city of Babylon – excavated in the late nineteenth century and given as a gift to Germany. It’s now located in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. At 47 ft tall it’s an impressive structure you’ll never forget! It puts things into perspective and makes you wonder about that story of Nephi.)
BC 597 – “Jerusalem falls March 16 to Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar II (Nebuchadrezzar II), who plunders the city and has Judah’s king Jehoiachin taken to Babylon, where he will be imprisoned for years (see 587 B.C.).”
BC 595 – Egypt’s 26th dynasty king Necho II dies after a 15-year reign and is succeeded by his son.
BC 568 – The former Egyptian king Apries invades his former realm with support from Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar II (Nebuchadrezzar II), is defeated and imprisoned; although he escapes, he is later murdered by the usurper Ahmose II.
Also see some of the other links for sources of historical events circa BC 600 – 550