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Petro_4The other day a television show my husband Kirk, and I were watching reminded me yet again why Joseph Smith’s golden plates were anything but authentic. The show had a group of guys out site seeing in the rugged canyons of Colorado, and at one point they stopped to check out a large outcropping of rocks well known for the Petroglyphs on one side of them.

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Yesterday I received an e-mail from my Google-alerts on Mormonism.  This time it alerted me to an article in MormonTimes written by Michael Ash who is on the management board for FAIR (Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) which is obviously a pro-Mormon site.

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600 BC

     ezekials-tomb-at-kifel-wikimediaIt’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 Jeremiah 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.

 The following references were taken from http://www.answers.com/topic/6th-century-bc

 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 one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, with exotic shrubs and flowers irrigated by water pumped from the Euphrates.”

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, who will defend his southern borders against the kingdom of Cush in his 6-year reign as Psamtik II.”

BC 568 – “The former Egyptian king Apries invades his former realm with support from Babylon’s Nebuchadnezzar II (Nebuchadrezzar II), but he is defeated and imprisoned; although he escapes, he is later murdered by the usurper Ahmose II, who has him buried with full military honors.”

Also see some of the other links for sources of historical events circa BC 600 – 550

http://www.art-and-archaeology.com/timelines/greece/archaic/archaic.html

http://www.wilsonmar.com/1history.htm#Moses

http://www.packrat-pro.com/600BC.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/600_BC

http://www.bible-history.com/links.php?cat=16&sub=104&cat_name=Ancient+Documents&subcat_name=Josephus

http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/religion/jews/captivity.htm

http://www.thenagain.info/WebChron/MiddleEast/RevMesopot.html

http://www.transformativedesigns.com/archaeology/Artifactsisrael.html

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Approach to the Book of Mormon, p. 16; The Book of Mormon can and should be tested. It invites criticism, and the best possible test for its authenticity is provided by its own oft-proclaimed provenance in the Old World.” – Hugh Nibley

I wrote an article a few months ago giving a synopsis on the Book of Mormon that you can read here http://www.lifeafter.org/cametopass.asp 

My purpose in this article is to look at each of the claims I made in the in the previous one and provide the reader with the references of each. As the quote above says, the Book of Mormon should be tested, so that’s what we’re doing here.

Archaeology

     Over all I’d have to say the Book of Mormon is a compilation of incomplete stories of fictional wars filled with fictional names of people and places.

Even the LDS Church agrees with this and to date there hasn’t been one single shred of any archaeological evidence found regarding the Book of Mormon. The quote below is only one of dozens of references from Mormon experts who’ve made the same public confession.

Dialogue, op. cit. Summer 1969, pp. 77-78; “The first myth we need to eliminate is that the Book of Mormon archaeology exists…If one is to study the Book of Mormon archaeology, then one must have a corpus of data with which to deal with. We do not…no Book of Mormon location is known with reference to modern topography. Biblical archaeology can be studied because we do know where Jerusalem and Jericho were and are, but we do not know where Zarahemla and Bountiful (nor any location for that matter) were and are…a concentration on geography would be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty handed.” Mormon Archaeologist Professor Dee. F. Green

Grammar

     Whoever wrote the Book of Mormon had horrible grammar and didn’t know how to spell correctly.  Proof of this can be found in the following examples.  For the sake of brevity I’ve only listed nine verses.

1 N 22:4; “…the more part of all the tribes have been led away…”

2 N 4:14; “…for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.”

Jacob 5:47; “…I have digged about it…”

Alma 51:33; “…sleep had overpowered them because of their much fatigue…”

Helaman 2:4; “…who was exceedingly expert in many words…”

3 N 7:26; “…thus the more part of the year did pass away.”

4 N 1:27; “…they did deny the more parts of his gospel…”

Mormon 6:11; “…and we having survived the dead of our people…”

Ether 14:7; “…which he did receive great strength to his army.”

Timeframe

     The only reliable timeframe with real people in a real situation is at the beginning when Jerusalem was under siege c. 600 BC. Notice how this is diametrically opposed to what God said in Jeremiah 42:10-18.

1 Nephi 7:15; “Now behold, I say unto you that if ye will return unto Jerusalem ye shall also perish with them. And now, if ye have choice, go up to the land, and remember the words which I speak unto you, that if ye go ye will also perish; for thus the Spirit of the Lord constraineth me that I should speak.

Conditional love

     Sadly, this is a story of a god who only provides based on conditions and his conditional, short lived love is evidence he has no patience.

Alma 36:30; “But behold, my son, this is not all; for ye ought to know as I do know, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land; and ye ought to know also, that inasmuch as ye will not keep the commandments of God ye shall be cut off from his presence. Now this is according to his word.

Broken Promises

     The Book of Mormon habitually gives the reader a quick thrill of hope for the good guy only to be let down by the end of the chapter that their faith and works were all for naught.  It seems no one knows how to keep a promise.  (Alma 50:21)

The “Jesus” of the Book of Mormon promises that his church will always survive.  This is obviously a lie since it died out by 421 AD.

Alma 34:10; “For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice.

Alma 45:22-23; “Therefore, Helaman and his brethren went forth to establish the church again in all the land, yea, in every city throughout all the land which was possessed by the people of Nephi. And it came to pass that they did appoint priests and teachers throughout all the land, over all the churches.23 And now it came to pass that after Helaman and his brethren had appointed priests and teachers over the churches that there arose a dissension among them, and they would not give heed to the words of Helaman and his brethren.

3 Nephi 11:39; “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

Holy Spirit’s departure

     The authors (Joseph Smith and friends) seem obsessed by giving repetitive, simplistic accounts of murderous bloodshed and venomous hatred between two sets of people groups who can’t seem to behave more than a half dozen verses.  Each war is more violent than before and the promise of the Holy Spirit being with them vanishes into thin air on several occasions.

Moroni 9:4; “Behold, I am laboring with them continually; and when I speak the word of God with sharpness they tremble and anger against me; and when I use no sharpness they harden their hearts against it; wherefore, I fear lest the Spirit of the Lord hath ceased striving with them.

And it came to pass…

     Just when you think you might gain further insight into one of the wars or travels by the Nephites or Lamanites, you’re met with the overused phrase “And it came to pass”; meaning no further light will be shed on that subject.

Mormon 2:25-26; “And it came to pass that we did contend with an army of thirty thousand against an army of fifty thousand. And it came to pass that we did stand before them with such firmness that they did flee from before us.  26 And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren.

Sin is necessary

     One of Mormonism’s biggest lies is taught in the second book of Nephi.  It is here you will find the damnable heresy that the fall of man was a necessary step in the life of mankind.

2 Nephi 2:25; “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

Man is from dust of the earth

     Another lie can be found in the book of Mosiah which contradicts the Mormon philosophy that man is an eternal being.

Mosiah 2:25; “And now I ask, can ye say aught of yourselves? I answer you, Nay. Ye cannot say that ye are even as much as the dust of the earth; yet ye were created of the dust of the earth; but behold, it belongeth to him who created you.

Ship building

     One of their prophets had to remind God how to build a ship properly so they could sail here to the Jewish “promised land” of America.  This supposedly took place c. 2240 BC, which is the same timeframe of the Tower of Babel.  Mind you this was before the Israelites were in existence.  Abraham was born around 1800 BC.

Ether 2:20; “And the Lord said unto the brother of Jared: Behold, thou shalt make a hole in the top, and also in the bottom; and when thou shalt suffer for air thou shalt unstop the hole and receive air. And if it be so that the water come in upon thee, behold, ye shall stop the hole, that ye may not perish in the flood.

River Sidon, dead bodies and baptisms

     There are times when the authors give you cryptic insights as to their location without divulging any geographical clues.  Bodies were dumped “into the river” more than once.

Alma 2:34; “And thus he cleared the ground, or rather the bank, which was on the west of the river Sidon, throwing the bodies of the Lamanites who had been slain into the waters of Sidon, that thereby his people might have room to cross and contend with the Lamanites and the Amlicites on the west side of the river Sidon.

Alma 4:4; “And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church of God…

God stops communications

     Many times one of the “authors” of a book will tell the reader that what God has shared with them is too holy or sacred to share with others, or they’ll let us know that someday maybe someone will be able to share the great things of their god with everyone.

2 Nephi 32:7; “And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be.

Told to write because of his father – not inspired

     On numerous occasions one of the “prophets” from the Book of Mormon will tell everyone it is through his own insight or the insight of his father he is writing the story he’s about to share.  Obviously if it’s the idea of the author, it is not God-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.

Omni 1:1; “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—”

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.

Jacob 1:2; “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…

Moroni 10:1; “Now I, Moroni, write somewhat as seemeth me good; and I write unto my brethren, the Lamanites…

Mormon 8:5; “Behold, my father hath made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and ore I have none, for I am alone.

Not enough materials available to write “scripture”

     Sometimes they’ll explain they don’t have the space to write what they should or they can’t write everything because they’ve changed the language – don’t laugh, I’m serious.  How is this inspired?

Jarom 1:2; “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.

Mormon 9:32-33; “And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.  33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

Bereft of details

     Unlike many bibles, there are no reputable concordances or dictionaries provided that could shed light on the meaning of names or places.  Missing are the important stories of Jewish traditions of feasts or festivals in the Book of Mormon.  Detailed accounts of how the priests performed sacrifices in any of the synagogues or temples are glaringly non-existent.  Passover is nowhere to be found in the Book of Mormon.  The sound of chirping crickets comes to mind when I think about detailed information in the Book of Mormon.

There is nothing to suggest anyone was keeping an orthodox covenant relationship with the One True God of the Bible. You will not read of one single account where the righteous Nephites were offering an animal sacrifice to God to cover for anyone’s sins.

Names

     Most of the fictional names for its cast of characters are not Hebrew.  One has a Yankee name of Sam, at least two have Greek names (Timothy and John) and the rest are the product of Joseph Smith’s wild imagination.

Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, Mormon, Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, Ether, Moroni, Seth, Sam, Samuel, Laman…for a complete list of names see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Book_of_Mormon_people

Words/phrases used at inappropriate times

Words and phrases are used inappropriately for the timeframe they’re supposedly living in, or they’re used excessively.  An example of the latter is the word “exceedingly” being used 327 times and the Greek word Christ being used in the BC era 191 times. http://www.lifeafter.org/greeklatin.asp

2 Nephi 31:10; “And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father?” – BC 559 

Mosiah 5:9; “And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.” – BC 124

Not a god of comfort

     I would have to say the demeanor of the god of Mormonism can be safely portrayed in Helaman 12:3;

“And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him.”

     That verse my friend, is a reflection of the kind of god they are worshipping.  He’s a vindictive, malcontent, legalistic, brute of a god.  The longer I’m out of Mormonism the more grateful I am for the One True God who saved me!  I can’t see where any Mormon could find hope for themselves in any of the books, nor am I convinced they could stay awake while reading it.

Don’t worry about accuracy or history

     The Church will tell you this is not a book about historical accuracy or figures.

Ensign, Jan. 1997, pgs 38; “Our primary focus in studying the Book of Mormon should be on the principles of the gospel anyway, not on the process by which the book came forth.”  – Neal A. Maxwell

Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect”, 1981, BYU Studies, Vol. 21, No. 3, pp. 259-271; “Church history can be so interesting and so inspiring as to be a very powerful tool indeed for building faith. If not properly written or properly taught, it may be a faith destroyer… “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not…Some things that are true are not very useful.

     They’ll tell you it’s a book that points more to the message of believing in Christ.  If you can’t trust or believe in the historical aspect of this writing, how in the world could anyone believe in its message of redemption from the sinless, perfect God of the Bible?

“And it came to pass”

     Below you’ll find a list of each time the phrase “and it came to pass” occurs.

See the article here http://www.lifeafter.org/cametopass.asp

We found it was used 1,384 times in 1,341 verses.  And in case you’re wondering…there are 6,604 verses in the Book of Mormon*.  Yeah, that means twenty percent of the verses in the Book of Mormon contains the phrase “and it came to pass”.  Maybe Mark Twain was on to something…

For more interesting facts on words used in the Book of Mormon, see our article on Greek and Latin words, demonic names in the Book of Mormon and archaeological evidences in the Book of Mormon here:

http://www.lifeafter.org/greeklatin.asp

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names.asp

http://www.lifeafter.org/artifacts.asp

With Love in Christ;

Michelle Grim

1 Cor. 1:18 …

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