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Jesus Christ -Josepth Smith
Lifting the Veil of
The Bible and the Book of Mormon
Called to be Free
DNA and the Book of Mormon
The Temple of the Godmakers
Has Mormonism Changed?
For more details
The Book of Mormon Challenge,
via Rob Sivulka. firstname.lastname@example.org
Mormon leaders have challeged the world to prove how the Book of Mormon
was written if it wasn't with divine help.
Here is the challenge: can you accept it?
1. Write a history of ancient America covering a period of from 2200 B.C.E. to 400 A.D.? Why ancient America? Because that's what the Book of Mormon was about silly.
2. You must start telling tales that resemble this book to your family at least ten years before you write it and at least 5 years before you claim to have even seen the golden plates upon which you will base your "translation."
3. You must be primarily self-educated. If you are formally educated, it may or may not make it more difficult to write, that will obviously depend on your individual "education," but don't worry about learning how to spell, since . . .
4. You must include at least 3000 grammatical and spelling errors, even if you use a secretary to transcribe your dictation. Now this is going to be really hard, because where are you going to find such an ignorant secretary?
Good luck on that one.
5. Your "history" must be 531 pages long, and must use the phrase "and it came to pass" 3,856 times.
6. You must come up with a good explanation as to why filler such as "and it came to pass" would be so frequently repeated if your history is supposed to have come from gold plates where space was at a premium.
7. Once your book is published you are only allowed to change it 3500 times for grammatical and spelling errors and 500 times for doctrinal, historical or other substantive inconsistencies.
8. Your "history" must replace the actual millions of inhabitants of the ancient Americas during this time period with fictitious nations, including one nation founded by refugees from the mythical tower of Babylon who came to the Americas on a barge with holes in the top and the bottom and two other nations founded by "Jews" who know next to nothing about Jewish dietary or religious practices. (I told you this was going to be harder than Nibley's challenge.)
9. You must describe the inhabitants of America and their religious, economic, political and social and cultural institutions in such way that they don't in any way represent the religious, political, social and cultural institutions of the actual inhabitants of ancient America. Even make up some names of coins that were never used by the actual inhabitants of America.
Throw in some animals that are only in the Americas post-Columbus and make up some funny names of non-existent animals too, like Cureloms.
10. Make sure you plagiarize from more than one section of the Bible, and from various other sources, so that your claim that many ancient authors contributed to the book can later be trumpeted by apologists.
11. Make up a story about a dead guy coming to America and killing millions of inhabitants and burying cities in the ocean and under the earth. You must call him Jesus.
12. Claim that your inconsistent and grammatically awkward prose (except for the plagiarized parts which are a little bit better written) is not fiction, but a true and sacred history.
13. Include in your book 54 chapters dealing with wars that bear no resemblance to the actual wars that took place in the ancient Americas. Make sure that at least some of these wars include the nonsensical accounts of million man armies, ignoring logistical support for such a large army, and million man armies fighting to the last man and their bones and steel weapons disappearing from the face of the earth. Include 21 historical chapters which bear no resemblance to actual history, try and include some inconsistencies here too, like people reappearing in the narrative after they have already died.
14. You must include 55 chapters on visions and prophesies. At least one of the "visions" must be an almost verbatim recital of a dream that some member of your family, preferably your father, told to you as a boy. Some of the prophesies must be plagiarized directly from the Bible, but others must be "prophecies" about things that have already happened between the time of the supposed prophesy and the present, so that you can show how accurate the "prophecies" of your book are. Except for the "prophecies" about events that have already taken place, which must be laden with details, all prophecies should be very vague. Never do anything stupid like prophesy that Christ will come in 1891, the civil war would start in the 1830's or that people live on Venus or the moon and dress like Quakers, that would be quite a problem.
15. Included in your narrative will be bogus modes of travel that were never used in ancient America, bogus descriptions of clothing and clothing materials that were never used in ancient America, bogus descriptions of crops that never existed in ancient America and bogus types of government as well.
16. You must invent 280 names. Well, not really invent, you can take some from the bible, some from the apocrypha, some from maps, etc. Some should be inside jokes (Moron, Ether), some should be silly (anti-nephi-lehite, Curelom), some should be so forgettable that you refer to them obliquely (brother of jared) and some should come from the occult practices you were taught by your parents (Laman).
17. Every objective scholar who looks at your work and examines its claims to be a history of the ancient Americas must denounce it as a fraud. (OK, this one was easy, but you deserve a break after so many hard ones in a row.)
18. Claim that your book is the word of God and the most perfect book ever written. Then start a religion with doctrines contrary to the book. (This is actually easier than it sounds, don't worry.)
19. Throw in all kinds of absurd, impossible and contradictory statements. (If you need help with this see Ether 15:31, Mosiah 21:28 and 2 Nephi 19:1 for some examples to get you started.)
20. No one but you or the members of the religion you founded must believe your claims that the book is of divine origin from gold plates. Make up a story about the gold plates upon which the record came being "taken up into heaven" and get 11 people (mostly related) with a financial interest in your book to say that they saw the plates before the plates disappeared. Make sure that you refer to this dead guy that takes the plates back by at least two different names.
21. Get four dishonest shifty characters to claim that they too had a magical dead guy come down from "heaven" to "testify" to them about your book. Each of these witnesses must have a financial stake in the book.
22. Make sure that something in your book fulfills some vague biblical prophesy. Yes, I know vague and biblical prophesies are redundant and repetitive.
23. Thousands of men with a vested financial interest in the religion you founded, including many who are criminals and who lie to congress, must accept your book (and your teachings that contradict the book) for over 100 years. In fact, you must make sure that every man who leads your church for the first 100 years must be a criminal. Make sure they commit at least 8 of the following crimes: treason, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, bigamy, statutory rape, fraud, counterfeiting, illegal banking, assault, and bribery.
24. Since your book is filled with inconsistencies which easily demonstrate it as fraudulent, you must include an appeal to magical thinking at the end of the book, or no one will follow you.
25. You've got to then get a bunch of believers in your fraudulent history to, a few of them gladly, but most of them under some form of coercion, give up two years of their life to con others into believing your bogus history.
26. Some of these salesmen must even pay their own way. Now some of them will, over the course of these two years, come to the realization that your book is a fraud, but over half of them must stay in your church.
27. You must derive your financial riches from the book and the religion which you found upon its teachings (and no we must not forget about the doctrines that contradict the teachings of the book). Despite making several fortunes over the course of your life by conning the money of the believers of your book out of their hard-earned money, you will waste it all and flee at least two states due to your financial improprieties and declare bankruptcy at least once. And along the same financial vein, you must also steal money from your foster daughters. And while you're at it, have sex with at least some of them too.
28. When your financial cons cause problems for your family and followers, you must blame everything on religious persecution and leave town. You must ingrain this into your followers so that they carry this false persecution complex with them unto the third and the fourth generations. You must teach all the leaders of your movement to have sex with the wives and the daughters of those with lower callings in your church. You must secretly have sex with 14 year-old-girls and cause that any follower of yours that does not want to have sex with 14 year-old-girls to be removed from any leadership position in your church.
29. Your book must result in a people whose unlawful practices will be referred to as barbaric by both the Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States of America. (If you currently live somewhere other than the US, similar organizations of the country where you live will suffice) You must include in your religion covenants that require your people to blindly obey orders to murder non-Mormons. Your book must result in a people that will kill and steal from any who dare visit territory controlled by your followers. Your people must murder at least 20 children in cold blood and then leave the corpses on the open range for wild animals to mutilate the corpses.
30. Start right now, and spend a year writing the first draft of this book. Then complete the second draft in three months, BUT YOUR SECOND DRAFT MUST BE WRITTEN WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE FIRST DRAFT. Before starting on the second draft, you must let the only copy of the first draft go to someone who does not believe you saw God, or that you saw any dead guys, or that dead guys gave you any gold plates. Then come up with a good explanation as to why God didn't just help you write the same words over again.
31. Then have someone who is in the pay of the religion you founded for over 50 years write a nonsensical challenge filled with invalid and dishonest assumptions and flawed reasoning. Then have someone born more than one hundred years after you die waste almost two hours writing a stupid parody of that challenge.