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The Book of Mormon
An Incredible Story
by Rich Kelsey
Rich Kelsey's new series:
Chapter 1 An Incredible Story - The Book of Mormon
Chapter 4 An Incredible Story -The Book of Moses
The Book of Mormon
What comes to mind when people think of Mormons? Many of us envision clean-cut young adults riding bicycles or knocking on doors. That's because Mormons between the ages of 19 to 25 are encouraged to go on a fulltime, two year mission. Over the course of this mission, these young adults follow a rigid schedule of evangelizing which includes "bearing testimony."
The most common testimony Mormon missionaries share is called the "burning in the bosom." Mormons are taught that if people ask if something is true, with a sincere heart, with real intent, and having faith in Christ, God will cause their bosom to burn as a confirming sign. Mormons often encourage potential converts to ask God about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and to look for this sign confirming it. The implication is, if the seeker does not get the burning bosom experience, then he or she was not sincere, lacked faith, or possibly did not show real intent.
Mormons are taught that God will give them a personal witness, or revelation, as to what is true. The Book of Mormon substantiates this:
And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things (Moroni, 10:5).
The Mormon Church teaches that:
"Feelings from the Holy Ghost are personal revelation to you that confirm the truth of the Book of Mormon and the gospel of Jesus Christ as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith."
New converts are assured that they don't need to try to prove the Book of Mormon, intellectually, or on paper, because the Holy Ghost will lead them in matters of truth. The following transcript from a Mormon video further demonstrates this teaching:
A young woman named Jennifer is bearing testimony; she was baptized into the Mormon Church in 1993:
"It was not a decision I made with my head, it wasn't. That was what was so odd about it, was that I was raised in academia, everything made sense. I studied. I was a math brain, a science brain, everything had to make sense and this was the first time in my life, that I was making the biggest decision that I had ever made, based on something that I didn't feel that I could or had to prove on paper.
I knew that God told me this was true, I knew that I'd read the Book of Mormon and that I had prayed, and that I had done everything the Missionaries told me to do and that I, without any question, knew that this 14 year old boy in New York &emdash; Joseph Smith &emdash; was actually a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon was actually the word of God and that the truth had been restored, and I couldn't prove it, I didn't, I didn't have any proof, and, and so it wasn't, it wasn't anything that was logical, to ask me what I was thinking, I wasn't thinking. I was feeling. And, I hadn't ever really been in touch with my emotions before, and, I didn't realize how much more powerful that would be." (Narrative from, The Restoration of Truth &endash; How Can I Know This Is True, 2008, video, @ Mormon.org)
Dallin H. Oaks, one of the Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church, said:
"Our individual, personal testimonies are based on the witness of the Spirit, not on any combination or accumulation of historical facts."
Possibly the reason Mormons have such strong testimonies is because from the first moment they encounter the Mormon Church, they are taught, and also encouraged, to give such testimonies. Usually once a month, on the first Sunday of each month, a Fast and Testimony Meeting is held. During these meetings, faithful members of the Mormon Church are invited to bear a verbal witness of their feelings. New converts are often encouraged to give a pure testimony, such as:
"'I know the church is true.' 'I know Joseph Smith is a prophet of God.' And, or, 'I know the Book of Mormon is true.'"
In Mormon ideology, if one doesn't have a testimony yet, one can get a testimony by bearing one. Mormons often find that their testimony gets stronger each time they bear it; but, is confessing faith in something over and over again, until people firmly believe in it, really the way to determine truth? This Mormon principle has encouraged untold numbers of new converts and other faithful Mormons to testify that they are strong in the Mormon faith, when in reality, they still have doubts. The very fact that Mormons get together, bearing and listening to testimonies, such as, "I know the Book of Mormon is true," points to the possibility that they still need more convincing themselves.
Reasons for Doubt
One might wonder why the Mormon Church downplays the need to prove the Book of Mormon. Maybe, it's because there isn't any tangible evidence available to indicate the book's truthfulness. The golden plates, along with the special glasses used for translation, were allegedly taken from the Mormon Prophet, Joseph Smith, by a divine messenger, and nothing from the ancient civilizations mentioned in the Book of Mormon has ever been discovered.
The National Geographic Society,
"does not know of anything found so far that has substantiated the Book of Mormon."
The Smithsonian Institution reports,
"Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book."
It's not just the lack of evidence that makes the Book of Mormon difficult to prove; there are also a number of things that appear wrong with the book:
"the terminologies and the language used and the methods of explaining and putting things down are 19th century literary concepts and cultural experiences one would expect Joseph Smith and his colleagues would experience" (Dr. Ray T. Matheny, Mormon professor of Anthropology, Brigham Young University).
Scholar, Seeker of Truth, and Regrettably, Finder of Truth
Thomas Stuart Ferguson, a distinguished and devout Mormon archeologist, set out to prove to the world that the Book of Mormon was true. Ferguson thought it would be possible to find artifacts from archaeological digs that would confirm its truthfulness. All he had to do was use the Book of Mormon as a guide because it spells out a time when a people called the Nephites lived in the New World, and it mentions several Nephite cities by name, along with Nephite lands and villages. The Book of Mormon records that the Nephites constructed houses of cement, as well as temples, synagogues and sanctuaries throughout their territories.
Yet, with all of the digs and research Ferguson and his team undertook, they failed to find a single artifact to prove that Book of Mormon Nephite cities, villages, or territories ever existed.
After twenty-five years of research, Ferguson concluded:
" you can't set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere, because it is fictional what is in the ground will never conform to what is in the book."
Ferguson, whose original goal was to prove to the world that the Book of Mormon was true, eventually lost faith in the Book of Mormon. Yet Ferguson had reasons why he never left the Mormon Church. Here is a letter he wrote to an associate about his decision to stay with Mormonism:
"Perhaps you and I have been spoofed by Joseph Smith. Now that we have the inside dope&emdash;why not spoof a little back and stay aboard? Please consider this letter confidential&emdash;for obvious reasons. I want to stay aboard the good ship, Mormonism&emdash;for various reasons that I think valid. First, several of my dearly loved family members want desperately to believe and do believe it and they each need it. It does them far more good than harm. Belonging, with my eyes wide open is actually fun I never get up and bear testimony... You might give my suggestions a trial run."
Ferguson felt that revealing the truth about the Book of Mormon to his dearly beloved family would be bad for them. This type of reasoning reminds me of a quote from Herbert Spencer, who was a 19th Century philosopher:
"The greatest of all infidelities is the fear that the truth will be bad."
The word infidelities means: "absence of religious belief." What greater "absence of religious belief" could one possibly have, than to fear that "the truth will be bad?" True religion is all about truth. If the truth might, or will be bad for people, then something is seriously wrong with their faith!
Book of Mormon Story
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, claimed that he obtained golden plates upon which were written an account of the former inhabitants of America; this alleged history of America is recorded in the Book of Mormon.
Smith claimed that in 1823 he experienced a heavenly visitation in which he was directed by God to a hill in Western New York to uncover a box containing golden plates. Four years later, in 1827, an angel allegedly allowed Joseph Smith to take possession of the plates, along with a special set of glasses, so he could translate the language on the plates into English. The language written on the plates was said to be a form of Egyptian called "reformed Egyptian." Mormonism teaches that America's former inhabitants were white and had sailed to America from the Holy Land, speaking both Hebrew as well as Egyptian.
Problems with the Story
There is no evidence that people in ancient America ever spoke or wrote in Hebrew or Egyptian. How is it possible that civilizations mentioned in the Book of Mormon left "absolutely nothing" to point to their existence? One looking into the people and lands of the Bible, as well as other ancient civilizations, including those in North, Central, and South America, can find plenty of evidence that those civilizations existed, including pre-Columbian, Mesoamerican civilizations dating back to the same period mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
The Book of Mormon states:
The whole face of the land had become covered with buildings, and the people were as numerous almost, as it were the sand of the sea (Mormon 1:7).
If the Book of Mormon were true, we should expect to find remnants of these buildings across the American Continent. Yet, there is no archeological evidence to show that about 1,700 years ago, buildings covered America. Also, strictly from a logistical point of view, it would be impossible to cover the whole face of the land due to America's diverse mountain terrains; desert regions, and forests.
Neither is there evidence that people once inhabited all of America like this passage claims:
And it came to pass that they did multiply and spread, and did go forth from the land southward to the land northward, and did spread insomuch that they began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east (Helaman 3:8).
Zelph the Lamanite?
In 1834, after some Mormons unearthed a skeleton from an Indian burial mound in Illinois, Joseph Smith claimed that God showed him that the Indian bones were from "an officer who fell in battle, in the last destruction among the Lamanites, and his name was Zelph."
Because the buried man's skeleton was almost intact, Joseph Smith indicated that descendants of Book of Mormon peoples were living, battling, and dying in Illinois in recent history. Instead of Smith solving the mystery of this Indian man's origin, Smith's revelation only adds to the ongoing puzzle.
On this subject, a noted Mormon Anthropologist maintains:
"I have serious problems with the Book of Mormon's representations of American Indians. Not only does it claim that Lamanites are the principle ancestors of American Indians, but throughout the text it repeatedly refers to them as Israelites, as descendants of Joseph; of descendants of the Biblical Patriarchs of Abraham. Those repeated references to an ancient Israelite connection have been clearly invalidated by scientific research " (Thomas Murphy).
Lehi's Voyage to America
In the Book of Mormon, a story is told of a Hebrew family that flees the city of Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Their father's name is Lehi, an alleged descendant of the Bible's Joseph. Lehi's son Nephi was his most righteous son. Nephi became the leader over his rebellious brothers. God instructed Lehi and his family to sail across the ocean to the American continent at about 589 B.C. After arriving, Nephi and his oldest brother Laman had a conflict and separated. This conflict created two nations; the Nephites and the Lamanites.
The Nephites had God's favor, they are described as being:
white and exceedingly fair and delightsome (2 Nephi 5:21).
The Lamanites supposedly were cursed to have black skin and were primitive compared to the Nephites. These two nations fought against each other, on and off, for centuries. Eventually, the prophet, Mormon became the leader of the Nephites and he proposed that the entire Nephite nation should gather at the hill Cumorah in western New York to battle the Lamanites.
In this battle, the Nephite nation was destroyed. Yet, Mormon's son Moroni lived. Moroni then engraved an account of the battle on golden plates and buried those plates, along with other plates, which his father had passed onto him, in the hill Cumorah, in present day western New York.
Several things seem wrong with this story:
· In the first place: It's hard to imagine how an entire population of Nephites, which had migrated throughout the entire Northern American Continent, could be summoned to battle. For example: How would all the Nephites get the message?
· Logistically, it would seem impossible for every Nephite family in America to battle the Lamanites, on, and around, that small hill in New York. If these peoples were as numerous as the Book of Mormon claims they were, they could not have fit in that small section of western New York.
· There is the story itself: of an entire nation being destroyed in a single battle. It provides readers with an answer as to why only the primitive dark-skinned Lamanites (American Indians) were found in America when Columbus set foot on the Continent. Yet, this Book of Mormon story raises more questions than it answers; like, why would Mormon have the Nephites bring their wives and children to battle?
The Book of Mormon records:
And it came to pass that my people, with their wives and their children, did now behold the armies of the Lamanites marching towards them; and with that awful fear of death which fills the breasts of all the wicked, did they await to receive them.
And it came to pass that they came to battle against us, and every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers.
And it came to pass that they did fall upon my people with the sword, and with the bow, and with the arrow, and with the ax, and with all manner of weapons of war. (Words of Mormon, 6:7-9)
According to the Book of Mormon, this was not the first time an entire nation fought in a single battle. About a thousand years earlier there was another battle on that same hill. In this battle the Jaredite nation consisting of the people of Coriantumr and the people of Shiz was utterly destroyed:
Millions of the Jaredites are slain in battle&emdash;Shiz and Coriantumr assemble all the people to mortal combat&emdash;The Spirit of the Lord ceases to strive with them&emdash;The Jaredite nation is utterly destroyed&emdash;Only Coriantumr remains (Introduction to Ether 15).
Once again, gathering millions of Americans from every corner of the continent would have been nearly impossible. Obviously 2,600 years ago people couldn't turn on the nightly news and learn about the call to go to war. There were no televisions; phones, or any other type of device that could have provided long distance communication.
Because horses weren't present in America until Cortes brought them over in 1519 A.D., messengers would have needed to traverse the whole face of the land on foot in order to summon all the people:
Wherefore, they were for the space of four years gathering together the people, that they might get all who were upon the face of the land, and that they might receive all the strength which it was possible that they could receive. (Ether 15:14)
Then everyone would have needed to walk to get to the battleground. Why would every family in America decide to go on such a laborious journey? The supposed influence which Coriantumr and Shiz had upon people seems far fetched. Why would families living hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from these two monarchs have such strong political ties to them?
Furthermore, there's the food and supplies people would have required to travel the distance. Can you imagine all of the families of America walking to New York, carrying with them extra clothes, cooking implements, food, and possibly weapons, etc. for the great battle they were summoned to:
And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children&emdash;both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war&emdash;they did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not. (Ether 15:15)
Again, wives and children were involved in this battle. This would answer why the entire Jaredite nation was destroyed. Yet, it doesn't make much sense: can you imagine five-year-old boys and girls wearing body armor and being armed with weapons of war?
Then, there is the battle itself, which would have been a bloodbath, seeing that millions were supposedly slaughtered on and around a hill. Walking to that scene would have meant that families waded through blood and stepped over countless dead bodies. It seems hard to believe, that none of these families, seeing that huge bloody mess didn't make a decision to turn around and go home. Instead, they all decided to fight and die for the cause.
If the gathering of every American family, and also the slaughter of every person gathered was not too hard to believe, what also seems strange is that out of the millions of people dying on the battlefield, the two monarchs who summoned the people to battle in the first place ended up being the only two people left standing.
Then there is the account of how the monarch Shiz died:
And it came to pass that after he (Coriantumr) had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he struggled for breath, he died. (Ether 15:31)
Brigham Henry Roberts, who was an LDS General Authority and Assistant Church Historian, examined the literary style within the Book of Mormon and concluded:
"The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency."
Then, there is the unbelievable account of every single person from both the Nephites and the Lamanites converting to the Church of Christ:
And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. (4 Nephi 1:2)
The Book of Mormon goes on to explain:
there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.
And there were no envying, nor strife, nor tulmults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.
There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.
And how blessed were they! and there was no contention in all the land. (4 Nephi 1:15-18)
Can you imagine two entire nations &emdash; consisting of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions &emdash; living sinless lives, year after year for 74 years in a row? How is it possible that in all those years no one told a lie? Why didn't anyone envy what another person had, or lust after another person's spouse, or steal a single thing? Or, contend with anyone about anything? This sounds more like a fairytale rather than the true record of early American life.
Book of Mormon Prophecy
Consider the ease in which holy men from the book of Book of Mormon prophesied:
And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.
And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men (Mosiah 3:8-10).
In the Book of Mormon we find that our ancient American ancestors had a good understanding of Christ's future ministry hundreds of years before Jesus lived. The Book of Mormon has prophets in America teaching men to believe in Christ; teaching about Christ's kingdom; teaching about Christ's suffering and death on the cross; and, persuading people to come unto Christ, a whopping 500 years before Jesus was born:
And we also had many revelations, and the spirit of much prophecy; wherefore, we knew of Christ and his kingdom, which should come.
Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God
Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world... (Jacob 1:6-8)
The Book of Mormon paints a picture of New Testament times in America hundreds of years before Christ instituted the New Covenant:
Nephi tells why Christ was baptized&emdash;Men must follow Christ, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end to be saved&emdash;Repentance and baptism are the gate to the strait and narrow path&emdash;Eternal life comes to those who keep the commandments after baptism. Between 559 and 545 B.C. (Introduction to 2 Nephi 31)
Christ's Baptism Foretold
According to the Book of Mormon, over 545 years before Jesus was born, people knew that after Christ's baptism the Holy Ghost would descend upon him in the form of a dove:
Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. (2 Nephi 31:8)
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: (Matthew 3:16, KJV)
The Book of Mormon also contains the sayings of Jesus Christ supposedly 500 years before Christ spoke them:
And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen (Enos 1:27).
In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you (King James Version, John 14:2).
The Book of Mormon also records that the Nephites knew Christ's name, well over 500 years before Christ was born:
And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God (2 Nephi, 26:12)
That 2 Nephi text also spoke of the gentiles needing to be convinced that Jesus is the Christ. This is noteworthy because Christ's Apostles learned that the gospel was open to the gentiles only after the New Testament Church was established. Yet, holy men in the Book of Mormon supposedly understood that the gospel would be open to the gentiles a whopping 577 years before Christ's own apostles did.
The Book of Mormon also spells out that believers in Christ were called Christians, 72 years before Jesus was born:
And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come (Alma 46:15).
In the Bible, believers weren't called Christians until after the New Testament Church was established.
Holy Ghost Poured Out Before Pentecost
The Book of Mormon even has believers receiving the Holy Ghost, with evidence of speaking in tongues, about 578 years before the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem:
And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism&emdash;yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel. (2 Nephi 31:12-13)
In contrast, the Bible records that Jesus told his disciples:
For John truly baptized with water: but yea shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. (Acts 1:5, KJV)
Christ's own disciples did not have the Holy Ghost when he spoke those words. They received the Holy Spirit in 34 A.D. &emdash; on the day of Pentecost. Not in 545 B.C. like Book of Mormon peoples supposedly did.
Let's do some math: The King James Version of the Bible was published over 200 years before the Book of Mormon. All of the New Testament concepts found in the Book of Mormon were also recorded in the King James Version, which was popular at Smith's time. It would have certainly been possible for Joseph Smith to reproduce portions of the Book of Mormon storyline from the King James Version. But was Smith really the type of person who would plagiarize the Bible? The answer to this question can be found in Smith's own work, called the Joseph Smith Translation.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, which is official Mormon dogma, we find that section 73 mentions a Bible: In the introduction to that section it reads:
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are to continue to translate the Bible until it is finished.
Then, it's recorded:
Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again; it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.
What Smith and Rigdon were working on is called the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, also known as the Inspired Version. Please note: this alleged command from the Lord could not be about translating the Book of Mormon because this revelation was said to be given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in January of 1832. The Book of Mormon was already published when this revelation was received.
Let's take a look at the beginning of the Joseph Smith Translation to get an understanding of what this Bible is all about:
Joseph Smith Translation
Genesis: Chapter One:
1 And it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Behold, I reveal unto you concerning this heaven and this earth; write the words which I speak.
2 I am the Beginning and the End; the Almighty God. By mine Only Begotten I created these things.
3 Yea, in the beginning I created the heaven, and the earth upon which thou standest.
King James Version
Genesis: Chapter One:
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
It may only seem appropriate that the phrase, "And it came to pass" starts off the Joseph Smith Translation. This phrase is used throughout the Book of Mormon. But one might wonder: Is there any textual evidence available to support a different beginning to Genesis than what is found in Bibles penned before the Joseph Smith Translation?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) explains that Smith's Translation of the Bible is more revelation than literal translation:
The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore truths to the Bible text that had become lost or changed since the original words were written. These restored truths clarified doctrine and improved scriptural understanding... Because the Lord revealed to Joseph certain truths that the original authors had once recorded, the Joseph Smith Translation is unlike any other Bible translation in the world. In this sense, the word translation is used in a broader and different way than usual, for Joseph's translation was more revelation than literal translation from one language into another. (LDS.org, The Scriptures Internet Edition: introduction to Joseph Smith Translation).
Smith maintained that, "Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests" had introduced many errors into the Bible. This Inspired Version was meant to correct what the ignorant, corrupt, and or, careless transcribers, had done. But what's so obvious about Smith's version of the bible is that he is the one who has added to, and also changed, God's word.
Prophecy about Joseph Smith in Genesis
And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation. (Genesis 50:33, Joseph Smith Translation)
Not one Bible manuscript has ever been found which contains this prophecy. The manuscripts we do have end at Genesis 50:26.
The Inspired Version, by Joseph Smith, contains twelve more verses ending at Genesis 50:38. These 12 extra verses from Genesis touting Joseph Smith himself as a "seer" in and of themselves indicate that Smith has corrupted God's Word. If Smith was capable of dictating to his scribes a false record within his own translation of the bible, it only stands to reason that the Book of Mormon could contain a false record as well.
Changes to the Book of Mormon
When the Book of Mormon was still in the manuscript stage, its spelling was different than the first printed edition. For example, in what is now I Nephi 7:20, ware sorraful in the manuscript was changed to were sorrowful in the first printed edition. Plaits in the manuscript (1 Nephi 13:23) became plates in the printed edition. These and similar changes show why editing was necessary to make the manuscript more understandable.
Another way to explain this is to say: The manuscript that became the Book of Mormon was somewhat crude and difficult to understand because of extensive spelling and grammatical errors. Then, even after the initial printed version of 1830, the Book of Mormon still had enough spelling errors and problems with grammar to warrant thousands of more changes to the text. The suggestion that Smith dictated a God-inspired-record to his scribes would imply that God had trouble with grammar. This is a real problem for Mormons, because Mormons insist the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
One thing we can be sure of: Smith made changes to the Book of Mormon. In Smith's lifetime, under his direction, words were added, words were deleted;even the name of a king was changed:
king Benjamin had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings (Mosiah 21:28, 1830 edition)
king Mosiah had a gift from God, whereby he could interpret such engravings (Mosiah 21:28, 1837 edition)
and for this cause did king Benjamin keep them (Ether 4:1, 1830 edition)
and for this cause did king Mosiah keep them (Ether 4:1, 1837 edition)
Starting with the second edition of the Book of Mormon; and all subsequent editions, what king Benjamin once did, in those passages, was now attributed to king Mosiah.
Changes to Christ's Divinity
And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!... (1 Nephi 11:21, 1830 edition)
And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!... (1 Nephi 11:21, 1837 edition)
In the 1837 edition, Smith added the words: "the Son of" to this verse. One might wonder, "Did Smith not read the words 'the Son of' to his scribe as he dictated 1 Nephi 11:21 from the golden plates? Or, did Smith's scribe fail to pen the words 'the Son of' as Smith was dictating?"
The problem with trying to justify this change is that neither of these possibilities can explain why the Book of Mormon's three witnesses said that God's voice declared to them, the work is true:
"And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true." (Excerpt from 1830 Testimony of Three Witnesses)
If the work were true, then changing the words would make the changed words false! One might think this is an isolated case? Perhaps the typesetter made a mistake? After all, the Book of Mormon itself points out:
And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire. (Mormon 8:17)
Any notion that faults in the 1830 Book of Mormon were the faults of a man will not solve this mystery, because Smith also added the words "the Son of" to other verses in the 1837 version:
...And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God, was judged of the world... (I Nephi 11:32, 1830 edition)
...And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the son of the Everlasting God, was judged of the world... (I Nephi 11:32, 1837 edition)
...that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world... (I Nephi 13:40, 1830 edition)
...that the Lamb of God is the son of the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world... (I Nephi 13:40, 1837 edition)
The early reader of the Book of Mormon was led to believe that Jesus Christ was "the Eternal Father" and "the Everlasting God." Later versions, where the words, "the son of" were inserted before titles of God, clearly changed the meaning of the text.
With the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon, some of the language was changed, which gave that edition a more modern writing style. For example: the words "saith" and "sayeth" were changed to "said" 229 times.
Here is one example:
For behold it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and sayeth unto him, (1 Nephi 2:1, 1830 edition)
For behold, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto my father, yea, even in a dream, and said unto him:.. (1 Nephi 2:1, 1837 edition)
And the spirit saith unto me again, behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands; yea, (1 Nephi 4:11, 1830 edition)
And the Spirit said unto me again: Behold the Lord hath delivered him into thy hands. Yea, (1 Nephi 4:11, 1837 edition)
Smith also changed the word "which" to "who" 707 times.
Here is one example:
and my elder brothers, which were Laman, Lemuel and Sam. (1 Nephi 2:5, 1830 edition)
and my elder brothers, who were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam. (1 Nephi 2:5, 1837 edition)
These 936 changes seem typical of an author polishing his work. With the next edition, printed in 1840, more polishing is documented:
Two words were deleted in Ether 13:31:
all the people upon all the face of the land were a shedding blood, (Ether 13:31, 1830 edition)
all the people upon the face of the land were shedding blood, (Ether 13:31, 1840 edition)
The original wording:
were a shedding blood
seemed like a poorly educated farmer was speaking. It hardly sounds like divine prose, nor does it appear to be the writing or speech one would expect from ancient peoples.
One more example:
to remove the cause of diseases which was subsequent to man, by the nature of the climate. (Alma 46:40, 1830 and 1837 edition)
to remove the cause of diseases to which men were subject by the nature of the climate. (Alma 46:40, 1840 edition)
The possibility that an error was found and corrected here is slim, because no typesetting mistake can explain how Alma 46:40 was changed in the manner it was. This change blows the lid off of the idea that the Book of Mormon is a word for word translation from an ancient record, because here the word-order was changed. Once again the changed text corrects bad grammar found in the original version; which is noteworthy.
And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come unto me. (I Nephi 8:18, 1830 and 1837 edition)
And it came to pass that I saw them, but they would not come to me and partake of the fruit. (I Nephi 8:18, 1840 and 1852 edition)
The problem is: the words "and partake of the fruit" were not found in the original Book of Mormon; and neither the printer's manuscript or any other pre-publication manuscript has ever been brought into evidence to show that these words should have been included in the original 1830 edition.
The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious. (2 Nephi 7:5, 1830 and 1837 editions)
The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 2 Nephi 7:5, 1840 edition)
No documentation has been made known to support adding these words to 2 Nephi 7:5. What compounds the problem is that Mormons say the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth:
"I told the brethren, [the twelve Apostles] that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book of any on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."
Obviously, if the Book of Mormon needed revision to make it correct, then it was not correct to start with:
therefore it supposeth me that I tell you that two thousand of these young men hath taken their weapons of war (Alma 56:5, 1830 edition)
therefore it sufficeth me that I tell you that two thousand of these young men have taken their weapons of war (Alma 56:5, 1840 edition)
The words suppose and suffice have different meanings "suffice" means "be sufficient" or in other words to "meet requirements." While "suppose" means to "reason" or "guess."
Removing and Re-inserting Words
Here is an example:
for he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him; (1 Nephi 10:18, 1830 edition)
for he is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world. (1 Nephi 10:18, 1840 and 1879 edition)
The eleven deleted words reappear in modern editions.
and it is I that granteth unto him that believe in the end, a place at my right hand. (Mosiah 26:23, 1830 edition)
and it is I that granteth unto him that believeth until the end, a place at my right hand. (Mosiah 26:23, 1840 edition)
him that believe in the end
once again sounds like something a poorly educated farmer would say. And, once again, the changed text corrects bad grammar.
Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise that inasmuch as they which the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem (2 Nephi 1:9, 1830 edition)
Wherefore, I, Lehi, have obtained a promise, that inasmuch as those whom the Lord God shall bring out of the land of Jerusalem (2 Nephi 1:9, 1840 edition)
The Change of 2 Nephi 30:6
The Mormon Church did not allow the fullness of the everlasting gospel to blacks until 1978. The reason for this racial discrimination had its roots in Mormon scripture, which spells out why certain peoples have black skin: the Book of Abraham connects the black skin of the Egyptians to the curse of Ham; the Book of Mormon explains the dark skin of the American Indians:
And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. (2 Nephi 5:21)
According to the Book of Mormon, the Lamanites (American Indians) were, at one time:
white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, (2 Nephi 5:21)
With the words "white and delightsome" in mind, let's consider a change made to 2 Nephi 30:6, which once also contained those same words:
white, and delightsome
And then shall they rejoice, and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white and a delightsome people. (2 Nephi 30:6, 1830, 1837, 1841, 1852, 1879, 1920 and 1977 editions)
And then shall they rejoice, and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people. (2 Nephi 30:6, 1840, 1981 and 2006 editions)
One Mormon President gave the following reasons for the change:
" with the Third Edition of the Book of Mormon, the word 'white' was changed to 'pure' (in 2 Nephi 30:6) by Joseph Smith, Jr. to more closely reflect the original intent of the Nephite authors."
Other Mormon dogma spells out:
"Joseph Smith has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God " (Doctrine and Covenants 135:3)
If Mormon's record was really translated by the gift and power of God, then why would Smith change the translation?
With the 1981 Book of Mormon, a different reason for the change of 2 Nephi 30:6 was offered. The new explanation was that the word "white" should have been "pure" all along, and that by changing the word "white" to "pure" actually corrected an error; bringing the text into conformity with prepublication manuscripts:
"About this (1981) edition: Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith."
No documentation for this change has ever been made known. Can you imagine Joseph Smith reading the word "pure" to his scribe and his scribe writing down "white" instead? Or, that the printer mistakenly inserted the word "white" into the book instead of "pure?"
If an error was made in 2 Nephi 30:6 where the word "white" was supposedly wrongly inserted instead of "pure," then what about other verses in the Book of Mormon where the same wording is found:
· they shall be a white and a delightsome people. (Original wording of 2 Nephi 30:6)
· wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, (2 Nephi 5:21)
· And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites. (3 Nephi 2:15)
· O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God. (Jacob 3:8)
This verse in Jacob 3:8 along with the original reading of 2 Nephi 30:6 implies that when black people repent of their wickedness, their curse will be lifted, and their skins will once again become white.
In defense of this subject, Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball, claimed:
"For years they (American Indians) have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised..."
Kimball was wrong! Dark skinned Mormons, including Native American Indians, were not turning white! The storyline within the Book of Mormon was becoming unbelievable. So, evidently, in 1981, the leadership looked for a reason to change a word to make the Book of Mormon record more acceptable.
1830 Edition verses 2006 Edition
Speaking of Jesus Christ, it was once claimed that he was:
the Son of the only begotten of the Father (Alma 5:48, 1830 edition.
Now Jesus is said to be:
the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father (Alma 5:48, 2006 edition)
The meaning of that verse was changed when the word "of" was removed. This is important because Alma 5:48 is used as a proof text about Christ's divinity. Christ cannot be both the "Son of the only begotten" and also "The Only Begotten."
Originally Alma 32:30 read:
But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, and then ye must needs say, That the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. (Alma 32:30, 1830 edition)
The 2006 edition reads:
But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow. (Alma 32:30, 2006 edition)
Thirty-five words were added. Again, no textual proof is offered to support this addition.
yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness, and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these directors. (Alma 37:24, 1830 edition)
yea, all their murders, and robbings, and their plunderings, and all their wickedness and abominations, may be made manifest unto this people; yea, and that ye preserve these interpreters. (Alma 37:24, 2006 edition)
And now my son, these directors were prepared, that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake saying: (Alma 37:24, 1830 edition)
And now, my son, these interpreters were prepared that the word of God might be fulfilled, which he spake, saying: (Alma 37:24, 2006 edition)
The word "directors" is changed to "interpreters" in both of these verses. Why?
waving the rent of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had wrote upon the rent (Alma 46:19, 1830 edition)
waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part (Alma 46:19, 2006 edition)
By adding the word "part" twice and changing the word wrote to "written" now the text makes more sense, and it is also now grammatically correct.
The Record Gets Worse
For behold, Ammon had sent to their support a new supply of provisions (Alma 57:17, 1830 edition)
For behold, Ammoron had sent to their support a new supply of provisions (Alma 57:17, 2006 edition)
The letters "or" were added to the name "Ammon" in later editions changing the name "Ammon" to "Ammoron." These names belong to two different Book of Mormon characters. What Ammon did is now attributed to Ammoron.
With all of the changes to the text, Mormon leaders, including Joseph Smith, have not treated the Book of Mormon like sacred scripture! Why should anyone else consider it sacred? Also; the Book of Mormon is not another Testament of Jesus Christ like the Mormon Church claims. Its changing storyline doesn't keep details straight about who Jesus is.
In conclusion, the Book of Mormon has all the markings of a made up story &emdash; a story that falls short of any semblance of truth. Yet, Mormons are selling it as truth. The good news is, people do not have to buy into this false gospel. Jesus Christ is found outside of Mormonism everyday.
If you have not accepted Christ as your Savior yet, pray this simple prayer:
Jesus, my sins were placed upon you, as you were put to death on the cross. I believe in and accept your sacrifice, and this day I acknowledge you as my personal Lord and Savior.
Then, find a good Bible-believing-church to attend so that you can grow in the knowledge of Christ.
An Incredible Story Part II &emdash; Joseph Smith's First Vision
An Incredible Story Part III &emdash; Joseph Smith on Trial
An Incredible Story Part IV&emdash; The Book of Moses
For a free PDF of this treatise please email the author: firstname.lastname@example.org
"Latter-day Saints often bear testimony when teaching in Church services, when explaining gospel principles to members of other faiths, and in the fast and testimony meeting, held monthly in each congregation Latter-day Saint missionaries, in particular, rely on testimony bearing, rather than on logic or artifice, to reach their listeners. The impact of this faith and practice is illustrated by Brigham Young's account of his own conversion to the gospel when as LDS missionary, Eleazar Miller, bore his testimony: If all the talent, tact, wisdom and refinement of the world had been sent to me with the Book of Mormon, and had declared, in the most exalted of earthly eloquence, the truth of it, undertaking to prove it by learning, and worldly wisdom, they would have been to me like the smoke which arises only to vanish away. But when I saw a man without eloquence, or talents for public speaking, who could only say, 'I know, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that the Book of Mormon is true, that Joseph Smith is a prophet of the Lord," the Holy Ghost proceeding from that individual illuminated my understanding, and light, glory, and immortality were before me. I was encircled by them, filled with them, and I knew for myself that the testimony of the man was true.'"[JD 1:90]. (About Mormons, by Clayton Christensen)
 "But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right" (Doctrine and Covenants, 9:8).
 "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost" (Book of Mormon, Moroni, 10:4).
 (The Restoration of Truth &endash; How Can I Know This Is True, 2008 , text @ Mormon.org)
 (Doctrine and Covenants Conference, Brigham Young University, Aug. 16, 1985)
 "But by the wisdom of God, they (the golden plates) remained safe in my hands, until I had accomplished by them what was required at my hand. When according to arrangements, the messenger called for them, I delivered them up to him: and he has them in his charge until this day, being the second day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty eight." (Origin of the Book of Mormon, p.3, 1977 edition, Book of Mormon preface, also found in The Pearl of Great Price) "After affixing the magical spectacles to his eyes, Smith would take the plates and translate the characters one at a time. The graven characters would appear in succession to the seer, and directly under the character, when viewed through the glasses, would be the translation in English." (Statement by David Whitmer, Deseret Evening News, December 24, 1885)
 "The first myth we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists 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 were or are. It would seem then that a concentration on geography should be the first order of business, but we have already seen that twenty years of such an approach has left us empty-handed." (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1969, pp. 77-78 by Dee F. Green, editor of the University Archaeological Society Newsletter, published at the Mormon church's Brigham Young University)
 "Thank you for contacting the National Geographic Society. Our position on the Book of Mormon has not changed, nor have we retracted any statements made previously. The National Geographic Society has not examined the historical claims of the Book of Mormon. We know of no archaeological evidence that corroborates the ancient history of the Western Hemisphere as presented in the Book of Mormon, nor are we aware of empirical verification of the places named in the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is clearly a work of great spiritual power; millions have read and revered its words, first published by Joseph Smith in 1830. Yet Smith's narration is not generally taken as a scientific source for the history of the Americas. Archaeologists and other scholars have long probed the hemisphere's past, and the Society does not know of anything found so far that has substantiated the Book of Mormon. In fact, students of prehistoric America by and large conclude that the New World's earliest inhabitants arrived from Asia via the Bering land bridge. (Lower sea levels during ice ages exposed the continental shelf beneath Bering Strait, allowing generations of ancient Siberians to migrate east.) National Geographic carried "The First Americans" in its September 1979 issue, perhaps on your library's shelf Sincerely, Lisa Walker" (Research Correspondence (The National Geographic's Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon Received via Email 1/21/2001)
 (The Smithsonian Institution statement on The Book of Mormon)
 In a paper entitled, "Thomas Stuart Ferguson, 1915-83," Fred W. Nelson wrote the following: "Thomas Ferguson has either directly or indirectly influenced thousands of people's thinking on archaeology.... He has had a great influence on professional archaeology through the Department of Archaeology at Brigham Young University, the Gates Collection, and the New World Archaeological Foundation.... Ferguson's legacy in the founding of the Archaeology Department at Brigham Young University, the obtaining of the Gates Collection, and as founder of the New World Archaeology Foundation stands as a shining example to us all." (As cited in The Messiah in Ancient America, pp. 282-83)
City of Ammonihah, Wicked Nephite City, 'Desolation of Nehors'
City of Bountiful, Major Nephite city in the northeastern quadrant
City by the Sea, Nephite city on the west coast
City of Cumeni, Nephite city fought for by Helaman
City of Desolation, Northern Nephite City
City of Jordan, Nephite retreat maintained by Mormon
City of Judea, Nephite city
City of and Land of Moroni, In southeast of Nephite lands
City of Moronihah, Iniquitous Nephite city
City of Mulek, Nephite city south of Bountiful
City of Nephihah, Nephite refuge captured and lost by the Lamanites
City of Omner, Nephite city by seashore on east borders
City of and Land of Shem2, Nephite land north of Antum and Jashon
City of Zarahemla, Major capital of Nephites from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 200
City of Zeezrom, Nephite city on southwest frontier
 "Many Nephites migrate to the land northward&emdash;They build houses of cement and keep many records&emdash;Tens of thousands are converted and baptized&emdash;The word of God leads men to salvation&emdash;Nephi the son of Helaman fills the judgment seat. Between 49 and 39 B.C." (Introduction to the Book of Helaman 3).
 "But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of temples, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries, and their righteousness, and their wickedness, and their murders, and their robbings, and their plundering, and all manner of abominations and whoredoms, cannot be contained in this work." (Helaman 3:14)
 Thomas Stuart Ferguson was, at one time, of the most noted defenders of Book of Mormon archaeology. Mr. Ferguson planned the New World Archaeological Foundation which he hoped would prove the Book of Mormon through archaeological research. The Mormon Church granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to this organization, but in the end, Thomas Stuart Ferguson admitted that although the Foundation made some important contributions to New World archaeology, all his work with regard to the Book of Mormon was in vain. He admitted, in fact, that he had wasted twenty-five years of his life trying to prove the Book of Mormon. In 1975 Ferguson prepared a 29-page paper in which he wrote: "I'm afraid that up to this point, I must agree with Dee Green, who has told us that to date there is no Book-of-Mormon geography." In a letter to Mr. & Mrs. H.W. Lawrence, dated Feb. 20, 1976, Thomas Stuart Ferguson plainly stated: " you can't set Book of Mormon geography down anywhere - because it is fictional and will never meet the requirements of the dirt-archeology."
 In a letter to Mormon President David O. McKay, dated Dec. 14, 1951, Ferguson wrote: "If the anticipated evidences confirming the Book of Mormon are found, worldwide notice will be given to the restored gospel through the Book of Mormon. The artifacts will speak eloquently from the dust." (The Messiah in Ancient America, p. 257)
 (Letter from Thomas Stuart Ferguson to Mr. & Mrs. H. W. Lawrence, dated Feb. 20, 1976)
 "No reputable Egyptologist or other specialist on Old World archeology, and no expert on New World prehistory, has discovered or confirmed any relationship between archeological remains in Mexico and archeological remains in Egypt. Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 " (The Smithsonian Institution statement on The Book of Mormon)
 In 1973, Michael Coe, one of the best known authorities on archaeology of the New World, wrote an article for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1973. After telling of the Mormon belief in Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, he frankly stated: "Let me now state uncategorically that as far as I know there is not one professionally trained archaeologist, who is not a Mormon, who sees any scientific justification for believing the foregoing to be true,... nothing, absolutely nothing, has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon... is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere." (pp.42, 46)
 The Olmec civilization &emdash; 1,200 &endash; 400 BC &emdash; flourished on the gulf coast of Mexico, and constructed the first pyramids in the North American continent as well as the big stone 'baby-faced' head monuments.The ancient Maya Civilization occupied much of the central North American continent based on the gulf coast of what is now Mexico between 2500 BC and AD 1500, and are known for their amazing complex artwork, particularly murals, and graceful pyramids.The capital city of the Zapotec Civilization &emdash; 500 BC &endash; 750 AD is Monte Alban in the valley of Oaxaca in central Mexico. Monte Alban is one of the most intensively studied archaeological sites in the Americas,The Inca civilization was the largest civilization in the Americas when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the early 16th century.The Mississippian culture is a term used by archaeologists to refer to cultures inhabiting the length of the Mississippi River,The Aztec civilization was at the height of their power and influence when the Spanish arrived. Warlike, intractable, and aggressive, the Aztecs conquered much of Central America.
 Pre-Classic&emdash;Maya, Olmec and Zapotec civilizations flourished during the approximate period that events spoken of in the Book of Mormon are said to have occurred.
 Kimball 1841
 "At about one foot deep we discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire; and between two of his ribs we found an Indian arrow, which had evidently been the cause of his death. We took the leg and thigh bones and carried them along with us to Clay county. All four appeared sound."(Kimbal 1841)
 In an interview on Jan. 14, 2003, Murphy acknowledged that he's not an active member of the church anymore. "I'm a cultural Mormon," he explained. "I prefer to be called a latter-day skeptic."
 ""And I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired." (Words of Mormon, 6:2-3)
 "The Nephites gather to the land of Cumorah for the final battles&emdash;Mormon hides the sacred records in the hill Cumorah&emdash;The Lamanites are victorious, and the Nephite nation is destroyed&emdash;Hundreds of thousands are slain with the sword. [A.D. 385]" (Introduction to Words of Mormon, Chapter 6)
 "And behold, ye shall take the plates of Nephi unto yourself, and the remainder shall ye leave in the place where they are; and ye shall engrave on the plates of Nephi all the things that ye have observed concerning this people." (Words of Mormon 1:4).
 "And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred." (Ether 15:11)
 He saw that there had been slain by the sword already nearly two millions of his people, and he began to sorrow in his heart; yea, there had been slain two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and their children. (Ether 15:2)
 Some Mormon apologists speculate that horses mentioned in the Book of Mormon may have actually been the Central American Tapir, or maybe deer: Alma 18: 9, Alma 18: 12, Alma 20: 6, 3 Ne. 3: 22
 (Roberts 1985, p. 251: From Robert's own writings in his landmark work: Studies of the Book of Mormon; which remained unpublished until decades after his death).
 "The Nephites and the Lamanites are all converted to the Church of Christ " Introduction to 4 Nephi 1)
 "And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land." (4 Nephi 1:2 and 18)
"Jacob and Joseph seek to persuade men to believe in Christ and keep his commandments&emdash;Nephi dies&emdash;Wickedness prevails among the Nephites. Between 544 and 421 B.C." (Introduction to Jacob 1)
 Nephi tells why Christ was baptized&emdash;Men must follow Christ, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end to be saved&emdash;Repentance and baptism are the gate to the strait and narrow path&emdash;Eternal life comes to those who keep the commandments after baptism. Between 559 and 545 B.C. (Introduction to 2nd Nephi: 31)
 "Enos prays mightily and gains a remission of his sins&emdash;The voice of the Lord comes into his mind promising salvation for the Lamanites in a future day&emdash;Nephites sought to reclaim the Lamanites in their day&emdash;Enos rejoices in his Redeemer. Between 544 and 420 B.C " (Introduction to Enos).
 "Christ shall minister to the Nephites&emdash;Nephi foresees the destruction of his people&emdash;They shall speak from the dust&emdash;The gentiles shall build up false churches and secret combinations&emdash;The Lord forbids men to practice priestcrafts. Between 559 and 545 B.C." (Introduction to 2 Nephi 26)
 "Amalickiah conspires to be king&emdash;Moroni raises the title of liberty&emdash;He rallies the people to defend their religion&emdash;True believers are called Christians&emdash;A remnant of Joseph shall be preserved&emdash;Amalickiah and the dissenters flee to the land of Nephi&emdash;Those who will not support the cause of freedom are put to death. Between 73 and 72 B.C." (Introduction to Alma 46)
 Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, at Hiram, Ohio, January 10, 1832. (Introduction to Doctrine and Covenants Section 73)
 Joseph Smith explained, "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors....From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled" (TPJS, pp. 9, 10, 327).
 (About Mormons, article: Changes to the Book of Mormon, by Robert L. Matthews. Lightplanet.com, Mormonism)
 "As we stated earlier, most of the 3,913 changes which we found were related to the correction of grammatical and spelling errors and do not really change the basic meaning of the text." (Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism, Chicago: Moody Pres., 1980, p 131)
 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. (Articles of Faith # 8)
 The original text of I Nephi 20:1 reads: "Hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, which are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, which swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel; yet they swear not in truth, nor righteousness." The phrase 'or out of the waters of baptism' was inserted in the 1840 edition.
 1830 Book of Mormon: " yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills " (Alma 29:4)1840 Book of Mormon: " Yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, according to their wills... (Alma 29:4)Note: LDS leaders re-inserted the omitted words into all editions since 1981.
 (An Analysis of Selected Changes in Major Editions of the Book of Mormon&emdash;1830-1920, A thesis by Jeffrey R. Holland, Brigham Young University, Aug. 1966).
 (An Analysis of Selected Changes in Major Editions of the Book of Mormon&emdash;1830-1920, A thesis by Jeffrey R. Holland, Brigham Young University, Aug. 1966).
 Excerpt from the 1830 Book of Mormon preface: BY JOSEPH SMITH, JUNIOR,
AUTHOR AND PROPRIETOR. PALMYRA;
PRINTED BY E.B. GRANDIN FOR THE AUTHOR.
 JSHC 7 Vol., 4:461
 (Priesthood, Spencer W. Kimball, Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1981, pp. 127&endash;128.)
 June 8, 1978
To all general and local priesthood officers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world:
As we have witnessed the expansion of the work of the Lord over the earth, we have been grateful that people of many nations have responded to the message of the restored gospel, and have joined the Church in ever-increasing numbers. This, in turn, has inspired us with a desire to extend to every worthy member of the Church all of the privileges and blessings which the gospel affords.
Aware of the promises made by the prophets and presidents of the Church who have preceded us that at some time, in God's eternal plan, all of our brethren who are worthy may receive the priesthood, and witnessing the faithfulness of those from whom the priesthood has been withheld, we have pleaded long and earnestly in behalf of these, our faithful brethren, spending many hours in the Upper Room of the Temple supplicating the Lord for divine guidance.
He has heard our prayers, and by revelation has confirmed that the long-promised day has come when every faithful, worthy man in the Church may receive the holy priesthood, with power to exercise its divine authority, and enjoy with his loved ones every blessing that flows there from, including the blessings of the temple. Accordingly, all worthy male members of the Church may be ordained to the priesthood without regard for race or color. Priesthood leaders are instructed to follow the policy of carefully interviewing all candidates for ordination to either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood to insure that they meet the established standards for worthiness.
We declare with soberness that the Lord has now made known his will for the blessing of all his children throughout the earth who will hearken to the voice of his authorized servants, and prepare themselves to receive every blessing of the gospel.
SPENCER W. KIMBALL
N. ELDON TANNER
MARION G. ROMNEY
The First Presidency
 The dark skin of the Negro and the dark skin of the native Americans are not the same in Mormon doctrine, and they had different origins. The Negro had dark skin because he was a descendant of Cain, and bore the "curse of Cain" (the dark skin). He was born as a descendant of Cain as punishment for his lack of valiancy in the "War in Heaven" in the pre-mortal existence. The dark skin of the Lamanites came upon them solely because of their (or their ancestors') unrighteousness in this life, and could be removed by becoming righteous. The priesthood ban applied only to Negro blacks. Dark-skinned people of non-Negro races (native Americans, Maoris, etc.) were never barred from the priesthood.
 "When this woman discovered the land it was under water, who afterward settled her sons in it; and thus, from Ham, sprang that race which preserved the curse in the land. Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal. Pharaoh, being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessing of the earth, and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the Priesthood. Now, Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the right of Priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry; " (Book of Abraham 1:24-27)
 The Nephites separate themselves from the Lamanites, keep the law of Moses, and build a temple&emdash;Because of their unbelief, the Lamanites are cursed, receive a skin of blackness, and become a scourge unto the Nephites. Between 588 and 559 B.C. (Introduction to 2 Nephi 5)
 ( Answers to Gospel Questions, Smith, Joseph Fielding, Vol. 3. p. 122 Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1959-1961).
 "THE BOOK OF MORMON: AN ACCOUNT WRITTEN BY THE HAND OF MORMON UPON PLATES TAKEN FROM THE PLATES OF NEPHI." (Title of 1830 Book of Mormon)
 Notice found in the 1981 version of the Book of Mormon.
 "And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." (2 Nephi 5-21)
 "I saw a striking contrast in the progress of the Indian people today as against that of only fifteen years ago. Truly the scales of darkness are falling from their eyes, and they are fast becoming a white and delightsome people....For years they have been growing delightsome, and they are now becoming white and delightsome, as they were promised..." (Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, Dec. 1960, pp.922-3)
 The 1981 version of the Book of Mormon was born on the heels of one of the biggest revelations the Mormon Church received in the last 130 years. Just three years earlier, in 1978, God allegedly showed leaders of the Mormon Church that black people were now to be allowed in temple ceremonies: This revelation came at the perfect time; because in the 1970s the Mormon Church stood to lose millions of dollars due to lawsuits claiming racial discrimination. Also, in 1975 LDS President: Spencer W. Kimball announced plans to build a temple in São Paulo Brazil. After the Brazilian temple plan was announced, church leaders realized the difficultly of restricting black people from attending. And, problems determining priesthood eligibility in Brazil were thought to be almost impossible, because of widespread integration: "And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done." (2 Nephi 5:23 )In the 1970s there was every reason for Mormon leaders to see if the time had come to accept blacks into the priesthood.
 "And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred." (Ether 15:11)
 "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God." (Articles of Faith # 8)
BOOK OF MORMON
ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST (The title of the 2006 edition)
 "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints &endash; Truth Restored" (The title page @Mormon.org, under all headings)
 Jn 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.'"