Book of Mormon; Fullness of the Gospel?
Book of Mormon: The Fullness of the Gospel?
“Lord Increase Our Faith”, page 64; “The real focus on the Book of Mormon should be on the details of the book itself, not on the details of the process by which it came forth. Although we do not know everything about the process of its coming forth or its translation, the Book of Mormon is open to full scrutiny.” – Neal A. Maxwell
Ensign, May 2007, pg. 88; “This ancient volume of holy scriptures is a sacred companion to the Bible, containing the fulness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.” – L. Tom Perry
My objective in this article is for members of the LDS Church to ponder the information presented here and honestly ask themselves if it makes sense the Book of Mormon is from God. While I don’t agree with Mr. Maxwell’s opinion on how people should view the Book of Mormon (Galatians 1:6-9), we’re going to take him up on what he said about it being open to full scrutiny.
All right, so I have an obsession with the book of Jeremiah; I’ll be the first to admit it! If you’re a Mormon, have you ever read the book of Jeremiah? There’s an important lesson to be learned in Jeremiah 36:20-32. King Jehoiakim had decided he didn’t like God’s written word so he cut it up and burned it thinking that would take care of God, but he was sorely mistaken.
I believe it was Matthew Henry who said “Those who hate it always seem to do things like this in life” …they either try to destroy or discredit God’s very words.
It was 600 BC and the prophet Jeremiah had been warning the Israelites for forty years that danger was lurking. He told them God had an important message He wanted for them to hear and if they obeyed Him they wouldn’t lose their lives. Times would be tough, but if they fled for Egypt on their own seeking safety, they would die by sword, famine or pestilence. If they stayed put in Jerusalem (Jer. 42:10) God would protect their lives in the upcoming onslaught of the Babylonian takeover. While they were in captivity for a time, there was a small remnant that was allowed to remain seventy years later.
The certifiably insane King Nebuchadnezzar (descendant of Queen of Sheba and Solomon) marched the Israelites out of Jerusalem, chained some of them nude alongside a river while partying on a boat nearby and eventually went totally mad, living with animals. He too hated God and turned the sacred scrolls into sacks filled with sand for the captive Israelites to carry into Egypt. No one escaped his wrath. (Eventually Nebuchadnezzar repented and worshipped God.)
Now some 2,400 years later we have the story of Joseph Smith and the “golden plates” which he said contains the “fullness of the gospel”, otherwise known as the Book of Mormon. I have wondered more than once what Smith was looking at inside the hat he stared into for the messages from God. Was there ever a prophet in the Bible that did such a thing?
One of the remarkable events about this story is the timeline. It’s the story of a lost tribe of Israelites fleeing Jerusalem in 600 BC and guess what? Yep, they’re headin’ for Egypt, seeking safety from the fall of Jerusalem.
Okay, foregoing the arguments, let’s say God told everyone but this lost tribe of “Nephites” to stay put in Jerusalem; what about Joseph Smith’s other assertion about the Book of Mormon?
He said a lot of things about this work so his claims should be investigated as Mr. Maxwell suggests. It’d be amazing if anyone escaped the wrath of Nebuchadnezzar, so these plates should be of significant value if true, right?
What do these brass plates tell us? Does the Book of Mormon contain the “fullness of the gospel”? Remember, parts of these plates are supposedly what the Nephites hauled over to the States when they sailed here.
Let’s begin with what Doctrine and Covenants 19:26, 27:5 and 135:3 says:
“And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God—”
“Behold, this is wisdom in me; wherefore, marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth, and with Moroni, whom I have sent unto you to reveal the Book of Mormon, containing the fulness of my everlasting gospel, to whom I have committed the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim.”
“Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth…”
As you can see, we have confirmation through the prophecies above; the Church does believe it’s the “fullness of the gospel”. Now in light of those prophecies by Smith, we need to compare them with what the Bible says about prophets and prophecies, in addition to looking at a few core Mormon doctrines and see if they’re in the Book of Mormon. If they’re not found on those plates, we ask in all sincerity – how can this be the fullness of the gospel if it doesn’t contain all the requirements for salvation?
What the Bible Says:
Deuteronomy 18:20-22; “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. 21 And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? 22 When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
Deuteronomy 13:1-5; “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”
Mormons believe a true and full salvation can only be attained in the highest kingdom of heaven which they call the “Celestial Kingdom”. The Celestial Kingdom is reserved solely for those who have been found worthy enough to become a god themselves after they have accomplished a number of works here on earth. Below are a handful of requirements and beliefs each Mormon needs for a true salvation in the Mormon Church.
What the Mormon Church Says:
3 Nephi 12 says the twelve Nephite apostles received power to share the gospel, baptize and give the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the closest we come to anything resembling the hierarchy we see in the Mormon Church today.
There is no “first presidency”, no quorum of the seventies, no bishops, no bishopric, no wards, no branches, no stakes and no stake presidents, no area presidency…compare it with what the Bible says about church structure:
1 Corinthians 10:32, 12:9-10, 18, 29, 30; Acts 13:1, Romans 12:8, Ephesians 2:20, 3:5, 4:11
Father God has a body of flesh and bones – D&C 130:22
God was once a man. – HC 6:305, Gospel through the Ages, pg. 105
God has many wives/Mother gods – Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pg. 25
God has a father – Gospel Truth, pg. 101; The Seer by Orson Pratt, pg. 132; Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 38
God had sex with Mary – Journal of Discourses 4:218 – Brigham Young, February 8, 1857; Journal of Discourses 1:50-51, 8:115, 11:268
God progresses/Eternal progression – Distinct Doctrines and Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price, pg. 76; Gospel through the Ages, pgs. 114-115; Articles of Faith, pg. 390
Three Separate Personages in Godhead – Mormon Doctrine, pg. 576; D&C 130:22-23; Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 552; Mormon Doctrine of Deity, pgs. 9-10; History of the Church 6:474, June 16, 1844
Many gods and councils of gods – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 348; Abraham 4:25
Man may become a god – Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pgs. 136-137; Gospel through the Ages, pgs. 105-106; D&C 76:58, TPJS 342-345
Man is a god in embryo – Miracle/Forgiveness, pg. 3
Three levels of heaven. – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 367; D&C 131:1-4
Jesus chosen to become a god – Mormon Doctrine, pg. 129, Abraham 3:27-28
Jesus and Lucifer are brothers – Jesus the Christ, pg. 8; Gospel through the Ages, pg. 15
Jesus was Married – Journal of Discourses 2:82, 2:210, 4:259-260
Jesus was a polygamist – Jesus was Married by Ogden Kraut, pg. 27; Journal of Discourses 13:309
Jesus Crucified for Polygamy – Journal of Discourses 1:346
Polygamy is true salvation – D&C 131:1-4, 132:4-6, 20-21; Journal of Discourses 5:204 & 282, 11:269, 12:262, 13:167-168, 13:189, 17:225; Doctrines of Salvation 2:67; Mormon Doctrine, pg. 219; Evidences and Reconciliations, pg. 390; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 332…
Elohim populating earth through sexually begotten spirit children –
Discourses of Brigham Young, pg. 24;
D&C 49:17, 93:23-29, 138:55-56;
Mormon Doctrine, pg. 516;
Journal of Discourses 4:216;
Melvin Joseph Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services, page 247;
Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel Questions, pgs. 5-6;
Life Before, pg. 91;
For Behold Ye are Free, pg. 42;
Ensign, November 1997, pg. 65;
Way to Perfection, pg. 29…
Temple marriage a requirement for exaltation – Teens, Temple Marriage and Eternity, pg. 1; Doctrines of Salvation 2:62; D&C 131:1-4
President of Church Holds Keys to – Mormon Doctrine, pg. 591
Salvation after Death
Book of Mormon – none is available after death – 2 Nephi 9:15, 38; Alma 12:13-14, 34:31-34, 42:22-23
Other LDS teachings say it is necessary
Baptism for the dead – D&C 124:29-30, 128:15; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 191; History of the Church 4:568-569; Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 1258; Are Mormons Christians? pg. 19; Doctrines of Salvation 2:175…
As the reader can plainly see, not one of those core doctrinal teachings is in the Book of Mormon. The list here is brief in comparison to the hordes of all their teachings. What we’ve presented here is enough to show the Book of Mormon certainly doesn’t stand up to the claims Joseph Smith and other Church leaders have made.
How can the Book of Mormon contain the “fullness of the gospel” if their teachings are not to be found in the Book of Mormon?
If you’re LDS we want you to know that we pray diligently for you each and every day. We hope you’ll investigate these claims for yourself and see that God is not a God of confusion as it says in 1 Cor. 14:33. Ask yourself and your leaders why there is such a huge contradiction in what D&C says and what the Book of Mormon doesn’t say.
Above all that, whether you know it or not, God truly does love you my friend. My prayer for you as a Mormon is for you to accept His unending love and wrap yourself in His truth.
With Love in Christ;
1 Cor. 1:18
“The Book of Mormon contains the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation.” – Ezra Taft Benson.
This is what we mean. The fulness of the Gospel from our perspective does not entail all doctrines. Rather it explains what Christ did for us through His atonement, and all things He has said we must do regularly in mortality to receive salvation and eternal life through His grace and mercy. We believe that as we are Saints in His Church and we focus our lives on achieving salvation in the kingdom of God, that the things required for exaltation, which happen less often (such as washing and anointing, endowment, sealings, etc.) will fall into place as we are faithfully living the Gospel and following the teachings contained in the Book of Mormon.