by Jack H. Williams
As one looks to the Bible he is struck by many things which testify to its inspiration – prophetic accuracy, historical accuracy, scientific accuracy, unity. This brief tract will examine another book which claims inspiration, the Book of Mormon and how it measures up to the test of unity. If the Book of Mormon is from God as it claims, then it too should bear the marks of inspiration, but instead of unity the Book of Mormon has many contradictions within its pages. Let’s notice a few of these.
I. By Prophecy or not?
- On the title page of the Book of Mormon we find the claim that it was “Written by way of commandment and also by the spirit of prophecy and of revelation”, and even “the interpretation thereof by the gift of God.” Unbelievably in the very next paragraph we find the statement, “And now if there are faults they are the mistakes of men”! It even gets worse after that.
- One cannot read past verse 3 of the first book without finding a like problem. Instead of upholding the claim of prophecy and inspiration we find the following statement in regard to the record contained in the Book of Mormon: “…I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge” (1 Nephi 1:3) (emphasis mine – JHW).
- Again in the same book in chapter 19 we find Nephi told to make a record. Of his ability to do this he says, “Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it be sacred. And now, if I do err, even did they err of old . . .” (1 Nephi 19:6) (emphasis mine – JHW).
- Also look to Jacob 2:26; Ether 5:1; Mormon 8:12. All these passages and more make the claim that the record found in the Book of Mormon is in error!
- In spite of the claim of being interpreted “by the gift of God” there have been well over 3,000 changes in the book. Is this the “spirit of prophecy and of revelation” of which we are told in the title page?
II. Baptism essential or not?
- In 3 Nephi 11:33,3 we find the teaching that baptism is essential to one’s salvation, “…whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.”
- But just a few chapters earlier we read of those that “should be baptized with water, and this as a witness and a testimony before God, and unto the people, that they had repented and received remission of their sins” (3 Nephi 7:25) (emphasis mine – JHW).
III. Flesh and blood or Spirit?
- Alma 22:9-11 teaches that God is a Spirit.
- But Ether 3:9 (and also Doctrine and Covenants 130:22) teaches that He is flesh and blood!
IV. All powerful, or idiot?
- Many are the references in the Book of Mormon to the greatness and power of God. For example, the brother of Jared exclaims at one point, “..I know, O Lord, that thou hast all power, and can do whatsoever thou wilt for the benefit of man…” (Ether 3:4).
- In the same context we find God tells the Jaredites to build football shaped barges like they have built before (2:16). He even tells them the length . . . “the length of a tree”! After they build them just like God tells them, they find they can’t see, nor breath in them, and can’t even steer them (2:18-19)! What happened to the all powerful “God”, could He not communicate a plan to build barges that could be of use to man? But it gets worse as you think of it – remember that these aren’t even the first ones, they had built them before! One wonders how many people had died in the previous crafts because of such blunders on the part of their “God”! The concept of the God of Mormonism continues to degrade as this great “God” has to ask the brother of Jared how to solve the problem (2:23,25). Of course God was able to solve one of the problems Himself. In order for them to get air, He tells them to put a hole in the top and bottom. If they need air, pull it out, but if water comes in, stop it up again (2:20)! We suppose they find out which is best to pull by trial and error. And this is supposed to be the great and powerful God?
As we consider the Book of Mormon we come away truly discouraged at this book which claims to be the work of God. Instead of bearing the characteristic of unity it is found to be replete with contradictions. The title page says, “if there are faults they are the mistakes of men.” There are faults and indeed they are the work of men. The Book of Mormon is the product of man, not the work of God as is the Bible.
Mormonism – Book of Mormon Against Itself by Jack H. Williams © 2002