Inspired of God? Difficulties in the Book of Mormon
“All scripturei s given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16.
The key word here is inspiration. This word in the Greek is theopneustos. It means God breathed. Look anywhere in the Bible, there is nothing in it that contradicts itself, there are no mistakes, and it is all one hundred percent perfect! Archaeologists will sometimes use the Bible to search for the spots they want to investigate. There are hundreds of documents which prove the Bible to be true, from Josephus of the first century to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Each time they find something new, it validates what the Bible says!
Now with this small introduction to the Bible, let’s look at some facts in the “Standard Works”. The Standard Works are the basic books the Mormons deem “scripture”. This includes the Book of Mormon (BoM), Doctrine & Covenants (D&C), Pearl of Great Price (PofGP) and the Bible (as far as it is translated correctly).
If you’re a Mormon reading this I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart I want for this article to work for you. My prayer is that you will see the LDS writings for what they are, inspired of Joseph Smith’s imagination, not theopneustos; God-breathed.
THE RED SEA
1 Nephi 2:8; “And it came to pass that he called the name of the river, Laman, and it emptied into the Red Sea; and the valley was in the borders near the mouth thereof.”
If you go to any book, any map, anywhere in the world, old and new maps from any time in history you will find there has NEVER been a river that has emptied into the Red Sea. Not now, not ever. Now with this being the case, how could this possibly be inspired of God? If God is omniscient (all knowing) wouldn’t He know this has never happened? Why does the BoM say this?
Ether 15:30-31 says; “And it came to pass that when Coriantumr had leaned upon his sword, that he rested a little, he smote off the head of Shiz. And it came to pass that after he had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he had struggled for breath, he died.”
Now in reality it is highly suggested that you read all things in context, this is no exception, but for the sake of brevity here I have chosen not to include the entire story but you can; the story actually begins back in chapter fourteen. So please, by all means I encourage you to read all of this in context. With that being said, even by reading the whole account of this particular battle, it doesn’t change the meaning of the two verses in question.
Think about this for a moment if you will. When has God ever let anyone live after their head has been chopped off? Chickens yes, humans no. How would anyone be able to get up on their hands, struggle for breath, and fall if there was no brain to dictate your movements? If you have no head, you have no brain.
How is this inspired? God is not a God of confusion and He will not be mocked, so how does this qualify as theopneustos, God-breathed? Now I truly believe that God can and will do anything He wants to do, He is God after all! I believe that He has performed miracles beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations; however, this is just unbelievable!
SECRET OR SACRED?
The next subject to look at are secrets in the dark. The BoM is full of verses warning the people not to take oaths in secret, not to perform secret ceremonies and not to keep secrets from God. I am only going to have one example written out here.
Ether 8:22; “And whatsoever nation shall uphold such secret combinations, to get power and gain, until they shall spread over the nation, behold, they shall be destroyed…”
The oaths taken in the temples by the Latter-day Saints are not “sacred” as they purport them to be; they are secret. According to www.dictionary.com the word sacred means set apart for worship. Secret means kept hidden from knowledge.
No one is allowed into the temple without a temple recommend. I receive dozens of letters from distraught parents of active LDS people, crying because they cannot go to their own child’s wedding! This is secretive, not sacred.
Just a few of the other verses listed in the BoM about this subject are: 1 Nephi 21:16; 2 Nephi 9:9; 2 Nephi 28:9; Alma 37:23, 25, 27, 29, 31; Mormon 8:40; Ether 8:18; and Ether 14:8 and 10. I’m certain I’ve missed some so this is a partial list.
Why would God want this to be kept from his people if this was so important?
Wouldn’t he want everyone to know exactly how to gain salvation?
What about God not wanting any to perish?
Uninspired Prophets and Writers
D&C 68:4; “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”
Never mind the last part of the verse above was lifted from Romans 1:16, the main concern here is the claim they’ve made regarding what is and isn’t scripture. If what they say is scripture, then why don’t they hold the same standards for the real inspired Word of God?
Now let’s take a look at a few passages from the Book of Mormon and D&C to determine whether or not this could really be from the Lord. Do these people sound inspired?
1 Nephi 6:3; “And it mattereth not to me that I am particular to give a full account of all the things of my father, for they cannot be written upon these plates, for I desire the room that I may write of the things of God.”
Jarom 1:1-2; “Now behold, I, Jarom, write a few words according to the commandment of my father, Enos, that our genealogy may be kept. 2 And as these plates are small, and as these things are written for the intent of the benefit of our brethren the Lamanites, wherefore, it must needs be that I write a little; but I shall not write the things of my prophesying, nor of my revelations. For what could I write more than my fathers have written? For have not they revealed the plan of salvation? I say unto you, Yea; and this sufficeth me.”
Jacob 1:1-2; “…wherefore, Nephi gave me, Jacob, a commandment concerning the small plates, upon which these things are engraven. And he gave me, Jacob, a commandment that I should write upon these plates a few of the things which I considered to be most precious…”
Omni 1:1-2; “Behold, it came to pass that I, Omni, being commanded by my father, Jarom, that I should write somewhat upon these plates, to preserve our genealogy—2 Wherefore, in my days, I would that ye should know that I fought much with the sword to preserve my people, the Nephites, from falling into the hands of their enemies, the Lamanites. But behold, I of myself am a wicked man, and I have not kept the statutes and the commandments of the Lord as I ought to have done.”
Moroni 10:1; “Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites; and I would that they should know that more than four hundred and twenty years have passed away since the sign was given of the coming of Christ.”
D&C 41:8; “And again, it is meet that my servant Sidney Rigdon should live as seemeth him good, inasmuch as he keepeth my commandments.”
Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants 1:18; “What is Scripture The question might be asked, Have any sections been added to the Doctrine and Covenants since the death of the Prophet Joseph Smith except for sections 135, 136, and the Manifesto? The answer is, Yes. Sections 2, 13, 77, 85, 87, 103, 105, 108-32 were not published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (some of them had not even been received at that time), but were published in later editions after being accepted by the Church as canonized scripture.”
Since when did God need people to vote on whether or not He has inspired someone to speak for Him?
The Holman Bible dictionary says this about the inspiration of scripture; “As indicated in the biblical explanation, inspiration is a divine-human encounter whereby God reveals truth. It is a message from God and of God, as well as through persons and for persons.” From this understanding we can therefore ask ourselves if it is an inspired work of God. (1)
To the Mormon; ask yourself if you can find the original text of the work and if not then why? Can you trust it? That takes more faith than believing in the simple fact the Bible (both Old & New Testaments) has been translated correctly and can be proven to be so.
Know that we’re praying and hope to hear from you!
With Love in
God’s Word, Final, Infallible, and Forever by Floyd McElveen
Easton’s Bible Dictionary by M.G. Easton
Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell
Also see our article Interesting Facts of the 3-in-1.