Mormonism's eighth article of faith reads: "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."1 Even though this initially appears to be a relatively straightforward statement, when its actual meaning is carefully examined it soon becomes evident that its implications are very far reaching. This paper will therefore seek to expound and evaluate the meanings inherent to this statement and provide a fair analysis and response primarily from a Christian perspective, utilising both Mormon and Christian sources. In addition, where possible, this paper will also seek to take into account the counter-points raised by contemporary Mormon apologists in defence of Christian objections.
Understanding the Eighth Article of Faith
When one examines what Mormons actually mean when they speak of the Bible being "translated correctly", it eventually becomes apparent that there is a difference in terminology from the usual understanding of the word 'translated'. Standard dictionary definitions of the word are: "To turn into one's own or another language"2 and "To change (something spoken or written in one language) into another".3 However, as will be seen, when one closely examines the comments that Mormon leaders have made when speaking of the Bible being translated correctly it is evident that their words tend to go beyond the usual meaning of this word. This present writer has observed that whenever the Bible is discussed in the light of the eighth article of faith Mormons have consistently implied that 'translation' is synonymous with poor transmission, leading to textual corruption's, lost books and general untrustworthiness.4 All of these issues will be examined in greater depth in the first section of this paper. In addition, Mormonism's answer to a more accurate biblical text in Joseph Smith's 'Inspired Version' of the Bible will also be examined. On account of the general untrustworthiness with which the Bible is viewed, greater faith is placed in the Book of Mormon. The position of Latter-day Saints5 on the Book of Mormon therefore proceeds out of their understanding of the Bible. The second part of the Church's eighth article declares the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God without the same reservation that is applied to the Bible. But as the second section of this paper will demonstrate, the Book of Mormon is not in the position to make such a judgement since the evidence indicates that rather than being the "Word of God", it is actually of questionable origin, consists of significant textual alterations since its first edition, and has failed to bring forward anything valid from field of archaeology that can sustain the Mormon Church's claim that it is an historical document.
Section 1. The Bible ("We believe the Bible to be the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly...")
Corrupt Manuscripts Coming from a Faulty Transmission
As was briefly noted above, Mormons believe that through the process of transmission the Bible accumulated many errors. Although most Christian scholars will generally admit that there are a number of variants when one compares the various biblical manuscripts,6 Mormonism, throughout its history, has greatly exaggerated this to indicate that the Bible is hopelessly unreliable. For example, making reference to the eighth article of faith the LDS Bible Dictionary asserts: "The Church reveres and respects the Bible, but recognises that it is not a complete nor entirely accurate record..."7 Joseph Smith is also quoted as stating that many important things were lost from the Bible and that through the process of transmission many errors were committed.8 Speaking of the eighth article of faith McConkie states that "the various versions of the Bible do not accurately record or perfectly preserve the words, thoughts, and interests of the original inspired authors."9 Petersen, in his study on translation, also states that the Bible, as known today, is a different volume to that which originally was.10 He then goes on to cast a shadow of doubt on the personal integrity of those responsible for handling the ancient manuscripts by asserting: "Many insertions were made, some of them slanted for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated."11 In the early days of Mormonism's history some leaders went so far as to suggest that the New Testament had become so corrupted, through the transmission process, that it was doubtful if there was even one verse that has not escaped pollution and conveyed the same sense that was originally intended.12
It should be pointed out that there exists some intrinsic fundamental difficulties for both Mormon doctrine and scripture if the view is to be maintained that the Bible is in error. The present writer has pointed out to members of the Mormon Church the complications involved in trying to reconcile the belief that the Bible has not been accurately preserved in the transmission process, while at the same time, professing to base ones doctrine on it. For example, this may be illustrated by Mormonism's unique doctrine of 'baptism for the dead'. For support of this belief the primary passages that the Church cites is 1 Corinthians 15:29.13 But to believe that the Bible is a corrupted document and yet build a doctrine on this verse could leave the possibility open that this part of the Bible may be in error, or is an interpolation. If this is the case, a person would have no doctrinal justification for the above practice, especially in the light of the fact that the Book of Mormon has no mention of this belief. Similarly, if the charge that the Bible is so untrustworthy that there may not even be one verse that has not been preserved correctly were true, then Mormons would have to reject the Book of Mormon as well because, as will be seen later, it quotes hundreds of words from the King James Version.14 Mormons cannot, therefore, discredit the Bible without casting considerable doubt on both their own doctrinal foundations and the substance material of the Book of Mormon.
Although McConkie feels that the Bible, as it exists in its present form, does not accurately record or preserve the words, thoughts, and interests of the original inspired authors,15 there is abundant manuscript evidence to the contrary. There is simply no evidence to support Mormonism's exaggerated claim that the Bible in its present form is a distorted document bearing little resemblance to the original autographs. Stuart, in his study of inerrancy and textual criticism, observes that those who suggest that the various ancient texts of the Bible are in hopeless disagreement with one another, or that whole sections of the Bible are in question, are simply incorrect in their assertions.16 It is true that variant readings do exist when one compares the many thousands of biblical manuscript; however, from these manuscripts textual critics are able to reconstruct, with fairly certain accuracy, what the original writers intended.17 Even though in some instances, there may be uncertainty about the accuracy of a particular reading in the original text, when the many thousands of biblical manuscripts are compared, it is possible to be 100 percent certain about the truth of what is preserved in the texts that exist.18
In response to Petersen's charge that the Bible contains 'deliberate falsifications' made for 'selfish purposes',19 although it is certainly possible that some changes may have been made this way, it seems more reasonable to suggest that a scribe's intention was for clarification rather than deliberate deception. Metzger notes that in most cases, it appears that rather than being the vessels of intentional alterations, many scribes evidently believed that any changes that they introduced were done in good faith.20 For example, many of the changes would occur because a scribe genuinely felt that he was correcting an error that had previously found its way into the text from which he was copying and therefore needed to be rectified.21 Scribes that were copying from older manuscripts that contained notes in the margin were at times unsure what to do with such notes. To resolve any doubt, it would be safer for the scribe to include the note into the copy that he was making rather than risk the possibility of excluding the genuine reading.22 Deliberate and malicious tampering with the text of either the Old or New Testaments would be practically impossible on account of the vast amount of existing copies. Just one deliberately corrupted text would stand out in stark contrast to the rest.23
Petersen and McConkie echo the sentiments of Mormons in general when they claim that the Bible is a different book than what it originally was after it went through the hands of corrupt religionists.24 However, with regard to the Old Testament and the modern discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, it has become increasingly difficult for Mormons to make such statements. Before the discovery of the scrolls the earliest biblical manuscripts, the Masoretic text, dated from about A.D. 900.25 But now scholars have access to Old Testament documents dating from 100 B.C.26 Thompson explains that "...in the main these ancient texts agree fairly closely with the text with which we are familiar. Where they do diverge they do not infrequently follow the Septuagint text ..."27 Likewise, Burrows also observes that the scrolls serve as a testimony of the overwhelming accuracy of the Masoretic text: "It is a matter of wonder that through something like a thousand years the text underwent so little alteration."28 Commenting on the Dead Sea Isaiah scroll, Mormon writer, Robinson, has to admit that comparisons between the present text of Isaiah and the Dead Sea Isaiah show that the two are remarkably similar and that any variations are primarily only in spelling and grammar.29 Robinson concludes his comments on the Dead Sea Isaiah by stating: "...scholars have as yet found no important variations in the contents of these scrolls as compared with the Biblical Isaiah. This fact adds important testimony to the authenticity and accuracy of the version as it exists in the King James Version of the Bible."30 Although the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls serve as a testimony to the preservation of the Old Testament they do not furnish any evidence for the accuracy of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith's own translation of the Bible (The Inspired Version). On the contrary, the Dead Sea Scrolls and in particular the Isaiah scroll, appear to be strong evidence against the authenticity of these two books.31 This is seen in the fact that both the Book of Mormon and The Inspired Version contain sections of the Book of Isaiah in an altered and 'restored' form, neither of which can look to the Dead Sea Isaiah for textual support.32 Mormon apologist, Dr. Sperry, after making a detailed study of the Scrolls and their value as to the Book of Mormon, came to the conclusion that it appeared that there is no evidence whatsoever that the writers of the scrolls knew anything of the restored Gospel as understood by the LDS Church.33 Concerning the Isaiah scroll Sperry comments "I have compared in some detail the text of the scroll with its parallels in the Book of Mormon text. This tedious task has revealed that the scroll seldom agrees with the departures of the Book of Mormon text from the conventional Masoretic of Isaiah and consequently the Authorised Version..."34
With regard to the New Testament, it is true that in the many thousands of manuscript copies that are known at present, there are over 200,000 variants.35 Mormons often delight in pointing out such statistics to give the impression that the Bible is untrustworthy.36 Although the above number does indeed appear to be staggering, when one considers how the variants are counted the number is better understood. Geisler and Nix point out how the variants are counted: "There is an ambiguity in saying that there are 200,000 variants in the existing manuscripts of the New Testament because those represent only 10,000 places in the New Testament. If one single word is misspelled in 3,000 different manuscripts, it is counted as 3,000 different variants or readings. Once this counting procedure is understood, and the mechanical (orthographic) variants have been eliminated, the remaining significant variants are surprisingly few in number."37 It should also be noted that the vast majority of textual variations hold virtually no significance whatsoever since many of them fall into the category of a missing letter in a word, reversing the order of two words (such as "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ"), or the absence of one or two unimportant words.38 Of the variants that are of any significant concern no doctrine or moral commandment of the Christian faith is affected.39 Even Mormon apologists have to admit that many of the variants are only minor in nature.40 Dr, Anderson, a Mormon scholar and authority in the LDS Church on biblical manuscripts, also recognises that the variations in the New Testament manuscripts are essentially insignificant.41 Anderson notes the overwhelming agreement between the thousands of manuscripts; he explains that "...all manuscripts agree on the essential correctness of 99% of the verses in the New Testament..."42 In addition to the biblical manuscripts that exist with which to reconstruct a text faithful to the original, further manuscript support for the reliability of the New Testament is affirmed from the writings of the early Church Fathers who quote the New Testament prolifically in their writings. 43
The Bible's 'Lost Books'
Since its beginning Mormonism has asserted that the Bible is an incomplete record. This idea originates from the Book of Mormon, where in 1 Nephi 13:26-32, it claims that a complete apostasy swept through all Christendom after the time of the apostles and that a 'great and abominable Church' was formed. It is claimed that this apostate organisation deliberately conspired to corrupt the Scriptures and take away "Many plain and precious things" for the purpose of "perverting the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men."44 Mormons therefore often argue that the Bible is not a complete book because many inspired books were lost and cite references mentioned in the Bible that appear to support this hypothesis. Representative of the LDS view, Talmage, in his study of the Mormon articles of faith and in specific relation to the eighth article in particular, lists eighteen biblical references as evidence of missing Scripture: "The Book of the Covenant (Exodus 24:7); Book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13); Book of the Statutes (1 Sam. 10:25); Book of Enoch (Jude 14); Book of the Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41); Book of Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer (1 Chron 29:29); Book of Ahijah the Shilonite and Visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chron. 9:29); Book of Semaiah (2 Chron 12:15); Story of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22); Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34); The Acts of Uzziah, by Isaiah, the son of Amoz (2 Chron. 26:22); Sayings of the Seers (2 Chron 33:19); a missing Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5:9); a missing Epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 3:3); a missing Epistle to the Colossians, written from Laodicea (Col. 4:16); a missing Epistle of Jude (Jude 3); a declaration of belief mentioned by Luke (Luke 1:1)."45
It can generally be said that even though Mormons argue that the above cited references refer to the 'lost books of the Bible' there is actually no evidence at all that they were intended to be considered as authoritative canonical writings.46 Just because a book is referred to in the Bible does not necessarily indicate that it should be included as God inspired Scripture.47 Concerning the particular books that have been accepted as canonical, the basic criteria appears to have been one of recognition of authority, rather than the imposition of an arbitrary authority imposed upon them through the decision of an ecclesiastical council.48 That is, the authority is already inherent in the books themselves rather than the books being declared authoritative by either Jewish or Christian councils.49 Canonisation is therefore ultimately determined by God and the reason why there are only sixty six books in the Bible is because that is the number of books that God has inspired.50 It is possible that although some books were undoubtedly written by prophets that these writings were not inspired. There appeared to be two primary factors that determined what writings were to be considered as prophetically inspired writings. Firstly, the prophetic writings were public and not private writings. In other words, a writing had to be offered to the people of God and not merely retained by the writer as a private record.51 Secondly, any written account had to be teaching something to the people of God.52 Therefore, the Bible does not guarantee that everything that a prophet writes or says is from God.53 In connection with this it is interesting to observe that even though Mormons boast of having a living prophet, who is supposed to speak prophetic God inspired utterances, which should be considered as Scripture,54 they are also careful to point out that not everything uttered or written by the president, prophet, seer and revelator of the Mormon Church is to be considered as inspired.55 The LDS Church therefore appears to be unwilling to accept that biblical prophets could write and say words that were not intended to be inspired, yet at the same time, this is exactly what is claimed of their own present day prophet.
With specific reference to the numerous books that Talmage cites above as lost books, a number of things can be said.56 Concerning the "Book of the Wars of the Lord" (Num. 21:14) and the "Book of Jasher" (Joshua 10:13), such books were evidently part of the abundant Hebrew literature that existed in ancient times, but were not considered as canonical.57 The later "Book of Enoch" (Jude 14), can also be considered in this category. Both Old and New Testaments often utilise human sources for its material to convey a truth.58 It should be remembered that the Bible also quotes from the heathen poets Aratus (Acts 17:28); Menander (1 Cor. 15:33); and Epimenides (Titus 1:12). If truth is being communicated, whether it is uttered by a heathen poet, a pagan prophet (Num. 24:17), or even a dumb animal (Num. 22:28), this in no way detracts from the truthfulness of the statement.59
With regard to the "Book of the Acts of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:41), this book needs to be understood in the context of the wider purpose of the writer. Bruce notes that because the author of 1 and 2 Kings writes with a specific religious intention he is not necessarily concerned with matters of secular history. Therefore, when the writer concludes his treatment of a kings reign, (cf. also 1 Kings 14:19, 29; 2 Kings 15:6 etc.) he is in effect saying that if an individual wants to know more about that kings government then they should consult the secular records.60
With regard to the lost books mentioned in 1 and 2 Chronicles (1 Chron 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29; 12:15; 13:22; 20:34; 33:19), generally speaking, it can be said that although the Chronicler used many sources in his account there is nothing to suggest that these were inspired biblical books now lost to the Church.61 These sources merely indicate the honest research that the Chronicler conducted when he wrote his inspired account.62 With this taken into account some of these books can be briefly examined in more detail, beginning with the "Story of the Prophet Iddo" (2 Chron. 13:22). Dillard describes these writings as being in the same category as a midrash (cf. also 24:27) and therefore may have been a commentary that simply elaborated and commented on Scripture.63 If this is what this work was, although written by a prophet, it is not likely that such commentary would be prophetic. Geisler and Nix address the book the "Book of Semaiah" (2 Chron 12:15) and remark how it seems certain that it is not identical to any of the existing books in the Old Testament. It also appears that the book was certainly written by a prophet. But it is likely that the book was not actually prophetic because it is referred to as a "record." It is therefore possible that this book was merely a genealogical enrolment without any implied or stated religious instruction or exhortation.64 As for the records of Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer (1 Chron 29:29), there is a possibility that these books may have been mere uninspired records and used later as a factual basis for the inspired books of Samuel. But because these books do correspond so closely to 1 and 2 Samuel in their content and coverage (1 Chron. 29:29-30), and if indeed their contents were prophetic, then it is likely that they are already contained within the confines of the canonical books of 1 and 2 Samuel.65 Concerning the possibility that some 'lost books' may already be contained in the canon, even the LDS Bible dictionary, using 2 Chronicles 26:22; Exodus 24:7; and 1 Samuel 10:25 as examples (three of the books that Talmage declares as lost66), recognises the possibility that some writings "may or may not be contained in our present text, but may perhaps be known by a different title." 67
Bruce believes that the documents written by the "many", who Luke refers to as having drawn up accounts of the Gospel events in Luke 1:1f, were simply summaries of the life and teaching of Jesus compiled for private use or for evangelistic or teaching purposes.68 Consequently, these writings should not necessarily be considered as lost documents because in due course they were gathered and incorporated into the New Testament.69 Although the early Church could have written more prolifically (John 20:30; 21:25), it is evident that no more was needed because it was recognised that the New Testament record already contains everything needed for life in Christ's name (John 20:31; 2 Pet. 1:3). Standing in stark contrast to this biblical testimony Joseph Smith stated: "Many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled."70
Several theories and explanations exist among scholars regarding the missing epistle of Paul (1Cor. 5:9) and therefore this issue demands closer attention. Geisler and Nix believe that it is possible that this missing letter could well be preserved in 2 Corinthians 10-13. They arrive at this conclusion by observing that there is a significant difference in tone between chapters 1-9 and 10-13, which could well be indication that they were written at different times.71 Another theory is put forth by Morris, who on the other hand, feels that this letter from Paul has indeed been lost. But he further points out that this should not be surprising in this particular instance and that there is a good reason for its loss. Morris explains that it was obvious that the Corinthians had misunderstood Paul's letter (1 Cor. 5:9-10) and that the apostle only makes mention of it to clear up a misconception. Therefore, the newer letter actually superseded the older letter and consequently there was no point in preserving it.72 Blomberg also feels that the first letter was superseded by the canonical 1 Corinthians and adds a reminder that the writers of the New Testament were not inspired in everything that they wrote or said.73 They were only inspired when they wrote those books what now form the New Testament.74
As for what Talmage calls 'a missing Epistle to the Ephesians' (Eph. 3:3)75, the evidence seems to clearly indicate that Paul is simply referring his readers back to something he said earlier in the same letter. In this passage, Paul is describing how Christ, by revelation, made known to him "the mystery" and then mentions how he already wrote briefly on this. Bruce notes that in the light of such earlier brief references to "the mystery" (Eph. 1:9ff.) in the same epistle, it is most probable that Paul is simply referring his readers back to this statement.76
Commenting on the letter to the Laodiceans (Col. 4:16) Wright has observed that J.B. Lightfoot's discussion remains standard. According to Lightfoot, the Laodicean letter is actually the canonical letter of Ephesians, which shows itself to be a general circular epistle intended for other churches of Asia Minor.77 Even though this position has not gained widespread support among scholars Wright has noticed that no significant arguments have been specifically set against it.78 This particular view may be outlined as follows: While in prison at Ephesus Paul wrote Ephesians as a general letter to the churches in the surrounding area, as well as the area of Ephesus itself. Tychicus, apparently the bearer of the letter (Eph. 6:21), who is also mentioned in the same way that he is spoken of in Colossians (Eph. 6:21-22 cf. Col. 4:7-8), was sent with both the Colossian letter and the Ephesian letter. But before visiting Colosse Tychicus takes Ephesians to the churches in the area of the Lycus valley, Laodicea being situated in this vicinity.79 Wright admits that although it is true that the above supposition cannot be proven, he feels that it covers the data well especially in the light of the close relationship between Colossians and Ephesians.80 Also in favour of Lightfoot's hypothesis is the fact that no 'epistle of the Laodiceans' is ever quoted or referred to in any of the writings of the early church fathers.81
Regarding the so called missing "Epistle of Jude" (Jude 3), this present writer observes that Talmage has probably come to the conclusion that such an epistle is missing due to the way the passage reads in the KJV.82 Modern Bible versions give the clearer sense that the author had originally intended to write on the theme of common salvation shared by God's people, but had instead been compelled to write on a different theme because of the presence and activities of false teachers among them. His new theme was therefore "contend for the faith" (v.3). Jude is therefore not referring back to some former letter but is rather simply telling his readers of his change of mind for the present letter.
Joseph Smith's 'Inspired Version ' of the Bible
It was inevitable that Joseph Smith would eventually attempt to rewrite the Bible because of his convictions that its transmission throughout the ages had left it with a corrupted text and lost books. The task was therefore undertaken to restore the Bible to its original condition which resulted in what is commonly referred to as The Inspired Version of the Bible, or the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). Matthews explains how Joseph Smith spent many hours restoring the original meaning to many biblical passages, altering an estimated 3,400 verses.83 Concerning Smith's work Jackson, a professor at the Mormon owned Brigham Young University (BYU) stated: "With the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible, the Prophet restored truth lost through the corruption of ancient texts and gave us the scriptures even as they are in [God's] own bosom, to the salvation of [his] own elect..."84 Hoekema has observed that according to the eighth article of faith and its emphasis on translation, one would assume that Smith's revision of the Bible would involve nothing more than making improvements in existing English Bible translations.85 As was discussed earlier, this is the sense in which most people would understand the word 'translation'. However, Hoekema further points out that Smith's revision of the Bible was nothing at all to do with the usual methods employed in Bible translation and neither did he engage in any kind of textual criticism.86 What Joseph Smith actually did do was to completely rewrite certain passages of the Bible as and where he felt needed correcting.87 Matthews admits that The Inspired Version cannot be supported by any ancient biblical manuscripts but rather came to Smith by direct revelation from God.88
The most exhaustive changes that Smith made to the Bible appear in the book of Genesis. From the opening verse at Genesis 1:1, one is immediately struck by the unfamiliar words of God speaking to Moses in the first person and commanding him to write down what is being said: "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."89 Interestingly, many of Mormonism's doctrines are found in the Genesis account of The Inspired Version. For example, the unique Mormon doctrine of the pre-existence of all humanity is spoken of.90 "Priesthood" is emphasised as an important and eternal office.91 Water baptism is also emphasised with the baptism of Adam by full immersion after which he is "born of the Spirit".92 The Mormon belief that a black skin is a sign of God's curse is also contained within Smith's Genesis account.93 One of the most notable additions that Joseph Smith made in his revision of the Bible is found in Genesis 50:24 where he asserts that the original account contained a prophecy that contained his own name. About eight hundred words have been added to this verse.94
There were some passages in The Inspired Version that were evidently so problematic to the origins of Mormon history that they simply had to be changed. For example, Joseph Smith claimed to have seen God the Father and Jesus Christ when he had his First Vision in 1820, an event of monumental importance to the Mormon Church.95 However, the Bible makes it clear that the Father cannot be seen in the manner that Smith claims to have seen Him (Exodus 33:20; John 1:18; 1 John 4:12 ). This difficulty was overcome by simply changing the necessary passages to bring them into conformity with Smith's claim. Exodus 33:20 was changed to read: "Thou canst not see my face at this time";96 John 1:18 was changed to read "...no man hath seen God at any time, except he hath borne record of the Son";97 and 1 John 4:12 became: "No man hath seen God at any time except them who believe."98
Incredibly, even though the Bible underwent so much change at the hands of Joseph Smith, the Mormon Church does not officially accept his work in its entirety. Despite their continual assaults against the trustworthiness of the Bible, the Church continues to use the KJV, with only excerpts of the JST in the footnotes and appendix. The standard answer to any inquiry into why the Mormon Church has not published the JST is that it was never completed. J.F. Smith, the tenth president of the Church explains: "The Church uses the King James Version of the Bible because it is the best version translated by the power of man. The revision of the Bible which was done by Joseph Smith at the command of the Lord was not a complete version of the Bible. There are many parts of the Bible which the Prophet did not change the meaning where is incorrect. He revised as far as the Lord permitted him at the time, and it was his intention to do more, but because of persecution this was not accomplished. However, all that he did is very helpful for the major errors have been corrected."99 Despite the reluctance of the Utah Mormons to print the new Bible the largest of the splinter groups, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Independence Missouri, felt that it was complete, first printing it in 1867, and have continued printing it to this day.100
There are many reasons why it is more beneficial to the Mormon Church to claim that the new Bible was never completed.101 For example, when the angel Moroni appeared to Smith in 1823 the angel quoted several passages of Scripture which differed from the KJV102 Among these differences was an extended version of Malachi 4:1-6 which in due time was canonised as Mormon Scripture in the Pearl of Great Price.103 Although differing considerably with the KJV of Malachi one would expect the version given by the angel, and later accepted as Scripture, to be in agreement with Smith's inspired revision of the Scriptures. However, an examination of the text of Malachi 4:1-6 in The Inspired Version shows that it reads exactly like the KJV.104 Another example of a difficulty that the JST is burdened with relates to biblical textual criticism. As was discussed earlier, a comparison of the many New Testament manuscripts reveals that there are numerous variants in the text. Some of these variants appear as a result of later, less reliable manuscripts. The KJV of the Bible relies heavily on such later manuscripts.105 For example, the KJV of 1 John 5:7-8 reads: "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one."106 The majority of scholars agree that this passage is a later scribal addition.107 Dodd observes that the above passage is found in no Greek manuscripts earlier than the fourteenth century and concludes: "There is no doubt whatever that the words are a spurious interpolation, made first in the Latin version..."108 The Tanners point out that if Joseph Smith was really acting under divine inspiration when he revised the Bible one would expect this interpolation to have been removed.109 However, instead, The Inspired Version reads exactly like the KJV.110 Such problems as the two examples discussed above, however, are side-stepped by insisting that Smith never actually completed his work on the new Bible and therefore never altered all the passages that were in need of being restored.111
Despite the claim by the present day Mormon Church that Joseph Smith's Bible was never completed there appears to be strong evidence that the early Mormons did consider it to be complete. For example, in the Doctrines and Covenants under the date of January 10th 1832, Smith is commanded by God to continue the work of translation on the new Bible until it was finished.112 Further revelations also indicate that the work should continue until the book was finally complete. For example, on May 6th 1833 Smith and his associates are instructed by God to build a house for the purpose of printing the new translation of the Scriptures.113 Another revelation given to Smith on January 1841 records God's command to publish the new Bible to the inhabitants of the entire earth.114 As well as the revelations that Smith claimed to have received from God there are also numerous historical statements that reveal that the new Bible was completed. In a letter under the date of July 2nd 1833, signed by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and F.G. Williams, the following statement is recorded: "We this day finished the translation of the Scriptures, for which we return gratitude to our Heavenly Father..."115 Also under the same date of July 2nd, 1833 the following statement by Jensen, an early Mormon writer, has been recorded: "Joseph Smith the Prophet finished the translation of the Bible."116 In addition to the testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants, historical statements, and the fact that the Reorganized Mormon Church has actually published The Inspired Version, the present writer feels that further evidence that the new Bible was completed is seen simply in the fact that the changes Joseph Smith made begin in Genesis and end in Revelation.
Section 2. The Book of Mormon ("...we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.") Origins of the Book of Mormon
Under the heading of the eighth article of faith, Talmage describes the Book of Mormon as a divinely inspired account of an ancient people who inhabited America prior to and after the time of Christ.117 The principal story line of the Book of Mormon spans from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. and follows the descendants of a man named Lehi, a 6th century B.C. prophet, who lived in Jerusalem but was warned by God to migrate from the area with his family and several other people to the New World. The descendants of Lehi eventually divide into two nations, the righteous Nephites and the unrighteous Lamanites who engage in continual warfare.118 The most important occurrence during this period is the appearance of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ among the Nephites and His ministry among them.119 Moroni, the last prophet of the Nephite people, buried a record of the above events, written on golden plates, in a hill called Cumorah. In 1823 Joseph Smith claimed that this same Moroni appeared to him as a resurrected angelic being who eventually led him to the plates.120 Smith translated the plates into English through supernatural means and called the record the Book of Mormon.121
The Book of Mormon - A Product of the Nineteenth Century
Despite its claim to be an ancient account of the former inhabitants of the Americas, there is conclusive evidence to prove that the Book of Mormon is actually the result of plagiarism from various books that Joseph Smith had access to during his day. This is evident by comparing certain words, phrases, and notable themes from these books with the contents of the Book of Mormon. The following section will therefore examine just some of the striking similarities that exist between the Book of Mormon and other popular works of the early nineteenth century.
Plagiarism from the King James Version of the Bible
The first example of the unacknowledged sources that Smith used when writing the Book of Mormon is found in the KJV of the Bible. The opinion that the author of the Book of Mormon plagiarised from the Bible is not new. In 1872 Mark Twain, the American writer and humorist, made this observation concerning the Book of Mormon: "The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament."122 More recent writers have gone further than Twain and have listed many notable parallels between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Martin provides forty striking parallels between various texts of the KJV of the Bible and the Book of Mormon where any unbiased reader can clearly see that Joseph Smith plagiarised extensively from the New Testament.123 In a more recent work the Tanners provide ninety pages of conclusive evidence that Joseph Smith plagiarised from the KJV.124
Space does not permit an exhaustive analysis of plagiarism between the KJV and the Book of Mormon in this present work, therefore two examples will be presented. Firstly, the story of the raising of Lazarus (John 11) and the Book of Mormon account of the raising of king Lamoni (Alma 19) will be presented. Both stories speak of a man dying and a period of time passing by (Alma 19:1 cf. John 11:17). Both Martha in John and the unnamed queen in the Book of Mormon story speak of a stench concerning the one who is dead. The following very distinctive words are used with regard to the man in the two accounts: "...stinketh..." (Alma 19:5 cf. John 11:39 ); "...sleepeth..." (Alma 19:8 cf. John 11:11); and "...shall rise again..." (Alma 19:8 cf. John 11:23). The outcome of both stories is that Lazarus rises (John 11:44) and king Lamoni "arose" (Alma 19:12). As well as the similarities between Lazarus and king Lamoni, the conversation that Jesus and Martha have in John 11 and the conversation between Ammon and the queen in Alma 19 is remarkably similar. Alma 19:9 reads: "...Ammon said unto her: Believest thou this?...she said unto him...I believe that..." John 11:25-27 reads: "...Jesus said unto her: Believest thou this? She saith unto Him...I believe that..."125
The second example of plagiarism from the KJV is based on a study by Mormon researcher Dr. Larson. Larson compares Jesus' Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 with the almost identical sermon in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 12-14, and points out that if 3 Nephi is a translation of an ancient account of Jesus appearing to ancient American Hebrews, as the Mormon Church claims, it would not copy the minor variants in the KJV that are the result of later, less reliable Greek manuscripts.126 While these variants do not affect any doctrine in the biblical text, they do provide a basis to examine the claim that the Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient scripture.127 Larson notes that "... if the Book of Mormon text sides with the later Greek text as seen in the KJV, this dependence would be strong evidence against its historicity. The reason for this is that the Book of Mormon on the American continent should know nothing of changes and additions to the Sermon on the Mount made centuries after the original sermon, but should be a direct link to the real words of Jesus"128 Larson demonstrates that 3 Nephi consistently follows the King James text and never agrees with the earliest Greek manuscripts; he concludes: "The Book of Mormon account of Jesus' sermon in 3 Nephi 12-14 originated in the nineteenth century, derived from unacknowledged plagiarism of the KJV"129
Bowman, also focusing on Jesus' sermon on the mount and its relation to the Book of Mormon has pointed out a further, fundamental problem. Bowman notes that it would be unlikely that Jesus would deliver almost the exact same sermon to the Nephites in America as He had to the Jews in Palestine because Jesus' words are set in the very context of the Judaism of Palestine in the first century.130 Jesus was specifically criticising the hypocritical practices of the Pharisees who originated as a religious body four centuries after the Nephites were supposed to have left Palestine! For example, in the statement, "thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy" (3 Nephi 12:43), taken from Matthew 5:43, the phrase "and hate thine enemy" was a Pharisaic addition to the Old Testament command to love one's neighbour.131 The evidence, therefore, clearly points to the fact that Smith blatantly plagiarised whole chapters from the KJV of the Bible.
Further evidence of the many King James plagiarism's in the Book of Mormon can be seen by the number of italicised words from that version in the Book of Mormon. This is relevant because whenever the King James translators added a clarifying word or phrase to the text, they placed it in italics to distinguish it from the original languages. It is therefore absurd that the Book of Mormon, which was supposed to have been written on gold plates, long before the KJV, would also include inserted clarifying words from the King James translators.132 Attempting an explanation for the similarities between the two books, Mormon apologist, Gibson, states that because "17 thousand" words in the Book of Mormon are "close parallels to the King James translation ...Joseph Smith must have noted the parallels and used the King James Bible to guide him in his use of words".133 In recent years this explanation has been a popular defence by Mormon apologists against the charge of plagiarism from the KJV. However, several problems exist with this theory. Only the extensive quotes that the Book of Mormon acknowledges from Isaiah and Malachi can be pointed to for this position.134 Even if this theory was to be accepted it still fails to explain why Joseph Smith allowed himself, supposedly under divine inspiration, to quote the minor variants in the King James Bible that are the result of later, less reliable Greek manuscripts translation errors as discussed above by Larson.135 This modern explanation also fails to explain why there is a vast amount of unacknowledged material from the KJV as documented by Martin136 and the Tanners.137
Plagiarism From the Apocrypha
As well as the many parallels between the KJV of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, there is also evidence of plagiarism from the Apocrypha.138 The Tanners point out that the Apocrypha appears to solve the mystery of the origin of the appearance of the name 'Nephi' throughout the Book of Mormon.139 Although Mormon scholars have searched in vain for the origin of this name, it is reasonable to suggest that Joseph Smith simply took the name from the Apocrypha. Research has revealed that the Bible Joseph Smith purchased in the late 1820's actually contained the Apocrypha and was located between the Old and New testaments.141 Both the Book of Mormon and the Apocrypha use the name Nephi at 1 Nephi 1:1; 2 Nephi 5:8 and 2 Maccabees 1:34, 36. What is particularly interesting regarding the reference to this name in the opening verse of 1 Nephi, and its mention twice in 2 Maccabee 1, is that both books use the name in their opening chapter.142 In addition to this, both the first chapter of 1 Nephi and the first chapter of 2 Maccabees speak of a fire that was kindled on a rock (2 Maccabees 1:19-36).143
Plagiarism From Popular Works of the Nineteenth Century
Many LDS are unaware that Roberts, the highly respected Mormon historian and defender of the Church, toward the latter part of his life expressed serious doubts about the Book of Mormon being a translation of ancient scripture. Roberts reached this conclusion after his research uncovered extensive evidence that Joseph Smith borrowed the basic groundwork and various details from two books, Josiah Priest's Wonders of Nature and Providence and, most notably, Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews.144 Although Mormon apologists often argue that the contents of the Book of Mormon, the American Indians as descendants of Hebrew immigrants, could never possibly have been invented by Joseph Smith,145 Roberts discovered from Priest's book, published in 1824, six years before the first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830), that it was almost the universal opinion of people living in New England and the Middle States, that the Indians were the descendants of the Hebrews.146 After examining View of the Hebrews, first published in 1823, seven years before the Book of Mormon, Roberts was forced to admit that "The material in Ethan Smith's book is of a character and quantity to make a ground plan for the Book of Mormon."147 Roberts devotes nearly a hundred pages analysing the parallels between the two books.148 For example, both books present the America natives as Hebrews who journeyed here from the Old World. Both claim that a segment separated from the civilised group and became aggressive and warlike. This latter group completely destroyed the civilised group after periods of prolonged and violent warfare. Both claim that the civilised group used Iron. Both present these settlers as once having had a sacred book of God, a comprehension of the Gospel, and a white messianic figure who visited them. Furthermore, both books point to American Gentiles as prophetically called to preach the Gospel to the Indians, the remnant of the ancient American Hebrews.149
Mormon apologists tend to deny that Joseph Smith used Ethan Smith's book by arguing that there are only a few superficial similarities and many dissimilarities between the two books.150 But Bowman shows how such reasoning is somewhat misleading since all that is being claimed by those who speak of plagiarism in this area is that View of the Hebrews is a major source of the Book of Mormon, not that it is the only source.151 As was seen earlier from the parallels between the Book of Mormon, the KJV, and the Apocrypha, it is clear that Joseph Smith used many sources when he wrote the Book of Mormon. In addition to the use of these sources, Roberts felt that there was no question that Joseph Smith was able to produce such a work as the Book of Mormon because, in his opinion, there was no question that he was an individual who possessed a highly gifted and creative imagination.152
The World's Most Correct Book
As was seen in the first section of this study on Mormonism's eighth article, Latter-day Saints view the Book of Mormon as significantly more reliable than the Bible. This conviction originates in the translation process of the book, as Benson states: "Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation."153 It would therefore appear that, in contrast to the Bible, the Book of Mormon is considered to be the pure word of God. Joseph Smith himself believed that the Book of Mormon was translated so accurately that he spoke of it as being "...the most correct of any book on earth..."154
Changes Since 1830
Despite the claims of LDS leaders the Book of Mormon is not without textual difficulties. In 1965 the Tanners published a photographic reproduction of the first printed edition of the Book of Mormon and drew attention to the fact that since its first printing, there had been 3, 913 changes made.155 Although the majority of these changes are primarily concerned with the correcting of grammatical and spelling errors, it will be seen later that there are some that do alter the meaning of the text. Even Gibson has to admit that several thousand changes were made since its first printing.156 Although many of these changes are relatively minor, there are "other changes" as well.157 It is doubtful whether Christians would be particularly concerned with minor changes in a book, but because of the claim of divine authenticity for the Book of Mormon, its internal claims that seek to throw doubt on the reliability of the Bible (eg. 1 Nephi 13:23-32), and the fact that Mormon writers continually assert its greater perfection and superiority in contrast to the Bible 'errors', the changes and translation process of this book need to be examined carefully.
According to Joseph Smith's own admission there appeared to be no room for even minor grammatical or spelling errors in the Book of Mormon because following the translation of the book he claimed to have heard a voice that stated: "These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct..."158 The very process of translation itself would also indicate that there should be no room for errors. David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon159 gives insight into this: "I will now give you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man."160
In the light of the difficulty of there being even minor grammatical errors in the Book of Mormon, LDS apologists have sought to explain this problem by putting blame on the inexperience of the printers of the first printed edition of the book.161 However, Roberts, the noted Mormon Church historian, feels that this view is untenable.162 Roberts recognises that many grammatical and dictation faults exist in the Book of Mormon and that the nature of the errors are of a type that are so interwoven throughout the book that they simply cannot be disposed of by putting blame on the printer.163 Roberts goes as far as to declare that "the first edition of the Book of Mormon is singularly free from typographical errors."164 It would therefore appear that the majority of errors originated with Joseph Smith himself. This is further seen in the fact that the style and type of mistakes that appear in the Book of Mormon bear startling resemblance to those found in a document written by Joseph Smith in the early 1830's165. The most important changes that were introduced into later editions of the Book of Mormon relate to Joseph Smith's evolving concept of the Godhead from a monotheistic perspective to a gradual plurality of gods.166 For the purpose of space restrictions this present work will therefore focus on these particular changes.167 In the context of discussing Mary, and her relationship to Jesus, the first printed edition of the Book of Mormon reads: "Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh."168 Present editions are changed to read: "...is the mother of the Son of God..." [emphasis added].169 The same kind of change where "the Son of" is added to later editions can also be seen in 1 Nephi 11:21;1 Nephi 11:32 and 1 Nephi 13:40.170 Discussing the changes made in the later editions of the Book of Mormon Nibley argues that the insertion of "the Son of " is simply a clarification put in to make it clear that the second person of the Godhead is meant, and thereby avoid confusion.171 Nevertheless, the fact remains that these words did not appear in the original edition and that evidence would indicate that Joseph Smith introduced the changes to conform to his later belief in a plurality of gods. In 1830 there appears to be no doubt that Joseph Smith believed in just one God. The Book of Mormon makes no mention of a plurality of gods and recognises only one true God (Alma 11:26-29). In fact Smith originally held to such a singularity in God that he often fell into the modalistic error of calling Jesus the Father and the Son (Mosiah 15:1-3; 16; Heleman 14:12; Ether 4:7,12). However, it appears that Smith had a change of mind in later years which would account for the attempts to separate Jesus from God by inserting the words "the Son of" in later editions of the Book of Mormon, as discussed above. One of the best ways to illustrate this change of mind is by comparing two of Smith's revelations, one from the Book of Moses, complete in 1831, and the other from the Book of Abraham, first published in 1842.172 Both revelations are somewhat reminiscent to the creation account in the biblical book of Genesis. The earlier work, the Book of Moses describes God as acting alone in creation as one God. For example: "And I God, said: Let there be light; and there was light...And I, God, called the dry land earth..." (Moses 2:3, 10).173 But by 1842, the similar account of creation in the Book of Abraham had progressed to a plurality of gods. For example: "And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light...And the Gods pronounced the dry land earth..." (Abraham 4:3, 10).174 It is evident however, that Joseph Smith never made the jump straight from a monotheistic view of Deity to a plurality of gods. In 1837, with the second printed edition of the Book of Mormon, and all subsequent editions since then, attempts were made to separate God the Son from God the Father with the addition of the words "the Son of". This interpolation indicates the beginning of Joseph Smith's change of mind concerning the Godhead, from a monotheistic viewpoint in 1830, as reflected in the first edition of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Moses, and a change of mind in 1837 with the second edition of the Book of Mormon, which eventually led to a plurality of gods in 1842 with the Book of Abraham. It is therefore apparent that the changes concerning the Godhead in the Book of Mormon were not introduced to bring mere clarification, as argued earlier by Nibley,175 but rather were introduced by Joseph Smith to accommodate his changing views of God.
The Historicity of the Book of Mormon
Over the years archaeology has been of great value to the testimony of the historicity of the Bible, a fact that Mormon scholars will not dispute.176 But in addition to their recognition of the basic historicity of the Bible LDS believers have sought to strengthen their position in the Book of Mormon by attempting to demonstrate its historical claims in a similar way to that of biblical archaeology.177 Nevertheless, despite these attempts, most of the claims for Book of Mormon archaeology are not officially recognised by the Mormon Church. Many of those who speak of archaeological support are actually acting independently from the Church, a fact that they are careful to point out.178 Both the Bible and the book of Mormon, as well as claiming to be the Word of God, profess to be set in specific historical milieu's and consequently give various implicit historical assertions. It should therefore not be unreasonable to expect some sort of external evidences in support of such claims.
The Book of Mormon makes numerous statements that one would expect to find some sort of archaeological support for. For example, in the New World setting it mentions the existence of iron (2 Nephi 5:15, 20:34; Jarom 1:8; Mosiah 11:8); steel (1 Nephi 4:9, 16:18; 2 Nephi 5:15); asses (1 Nephi 18:25; Mosiah 5:14, 12:5); horses (Alma 18:9; 3 Nephi 3:22; 1 Nephi 18:25; Enos 1:21); cattle, cows, oxen (Enos 1:21; 3 Nephi 3:22; 1 Nephi 18:25); pig (3 Nephi 7:8); grain and wheat (Mosiah 9:9; Helaman 11:17); silk (1 Nephi 13:7; Alma 1:29). But with regard to all of the above, it is the conclusion of the prestigious Smithsonian Institute that none of these were to be found in the New World before 1492, hundreds of years after the time of the alleged Book of Mormon civilisations.179 Realising that such a fact poses a significant problem Mormon apologists have invented various ways of explaining this. Due to the restrictions of space just one example, the horse, will be briefly examined. Although it is true that horses had once lived in ancient America, they died out around 10,000 B.C and did not reappear until 1492 A.D.180 Yet the Book of Mormon is filled with references of this animal being in existence between 589 B.C. and 18-19 A.D. (1 Nephi 18:25; Enos 1:21; Alma 18:9; 3 Nephi 3:22). Sorenson argues that the Book of Mormon people may have simply used the name 'horse' as another name for the common deer.181 To further back up his argument Sorensen also presents an incense burner (discovered in Guatemala) which appears to depict an anthropomorphic figure riding a deer as one would ride a horse.182 Matheny, however, points out the difficulties with Sorenson's explanations with the following observations. He explains that it would be highly unlikely that the Book of Mormon people with their background and experience in the Old World, where horses were common, would lead them to confuse the small New World deer with the horse.183 Matheny also specifically addresses the incense burner with the figure riding the deer presented by Sorenson. He feels that rather than the figure (who is possibly a hunter) riding the deer it appears that the deer is actually dead which is suggested by its unnatural posture and protruding tongue.184 This is further suggested by the observance that the figure, who's feet touch either side of the ground, holds the head of the deer up by its ears.185
Talmage, expanding the eighth article of faith, feels that the issue of the divine authenticity of the Book of Mormon is one with which the world is concerned.186 For this reason he speaks of "proofs...furnished by archaeology and ethnology."187 Talmage asserts that among the most significant discoveries are that America was populated soon after the building of the Tower of Babel; the continent has been successively occupied by different peoples, most notably two races separated by wide time periods; the original inhabitants of the land came from the East and that the later occupants were closely related, if not identical with the Israelites; and that present native Americans are of a common stock.188 Although Talmage believes that ancient Israelites migrated to America the consensus of scholarly opinion is against this view. For example, the Bureau of American Ethnology states: "There is no evidence whatever of any migration from Israel to America, and likewise no evidence that pre-Columbian Indians had any knowledge of Christianity or the Bible."189 Similarly, Dr. Coe, who is widely recognised as a highly respected Mesoamerican archaeologist, also stresses that there is no evidence that can be gleaned from any archaeological excavation to support the theory of this ancient migration. In 1973 he wrote the following: "The bare facts of the matter are that nothing, absolutely nothing has ever shown up in any New World excavation which would suggest to a dispassionate observer that the Book of Mormon, as claimed by Joseph Smith, is a historical document relating to the history of early migrants to our hemisphere"190 As for the above claim that the present native Americans are of common stock,191 the Book of Mormon, in its introductory page, clarifies Talmage's words more plainly by asserting that the Lamanites are "the principle ancestors of the American Indians."192 Despite these claims, anthropologists at the Smithsonian Institute deny any link between ancient Israelites and ancient Americans and recognise that the American Indians are physically Mongoloid and most closely related to the peoples of eastern, central, and Northeast Asia.193
As for the specific proofs that Talmage offers to support the claim of the historicity of the Book of Mormon it is claimed that the book can be verified archaeologically and speaks of a very popular belief in LDS circles that concerns the appearance of Christ to the Nephites and links this with a belief that the ancient native Americans had in a mythical deity called Quetzalcoatl (pronounced: ket-sahl-koh-aht'-ul).194 It is claimed that the appearance of Jesus in the New World can be substantiated by the existence of this deity.195 Quetzalcoatl and Jesus are therefore believed to be one and the same being.196 One of the first things that should be pointed out regarding this belief is that a number of somewhat disputed and confused stories exist regarding the origins of this deity as the name 'Quetzalcoatl' is applied to several men, gods and legends.197 Sorenson explains that on account of this confusion it is probable that a great deal of mythology, standing outside the realm of historical fact, has arisen concerning the many beings who took the Quetzalcoatl name.198 The most common and ancient representation of this deity among the primitive Americans is that of the 'feathered serpent' (from which the name Quetzalcoatl is derived).199 Unlike Christ, this deity was only one of a fearsome pantheon of gods all of whom demanded human sacrifice.200 Another more common, and very popular representation of Quetzalcoatl among LDS believers is that of a white man with long yellow hair and beard,201 often referred to as "the great white God".202 It is argued that since the South American Indians were not white and did not grow beards then this figure must have been Christ.203 But Johnson points out that the most obvious problem with this attempted association is that Jesus, being of Semitic descent, and from an Asian region, would not be a white man with yellow hair and beard.204 Matters are further complicated by the fact that many ancient codices depict Quetzalcoatl to be neither white nor Semitic in appearance but rather black. Talmage attempts to draw parallels with Quetzalcoatl and Jesus by speaking of paintings that appear to depict this deity as being crucified on a cross, being buried, and descending into hell.206 He further points out that the Mexicans believed that Quetzalcoatl took on human nature and atoned for the sins of humanity through voluntary suffering.207 But despite the parallels that Talmage presents other Mormon scholars have expressed hesitation. For example, FARMS researcher, Dr. Hamblin, on the one hand finds the parallels between Christ and Quetzalcoatl interesting, but on the other hand he does not find them convincing and feels that any proposed relationship between the two must only be seen as "speculative".208 Furthermore, Hamblin also observes that LDS writers who seek to connect Christ to this deity often ignore the differences that he feels are evident between the two.209 As for the actual apparent similarities between Christ and Quetzalcoatl, Gardner, a Mormon researcher who has made a detailed study of the history of Quetzalcoatl and his association with Christ, has observed that with the coming of the Spanish Conquest legends concerning this deity were subsequently distorted and then purposely 'Christianised' by the Spaniards for their own purposes.210 Gardner discovered that legends suggesting that Christ and Quetzalcoatl were one and the same being were all Spanish elaboration's on native legends, which tended to distort the original beliefs.211
In summary and conclusion it can be said that although the Mormon eighth article of faith initially appears to be an uncomplicated statement, when the words of Mormon leaders, writers, and scholars are examined in relation to this article it becomes evident that it has deeper meaning and implications than is first assumed. When it is claimed that the Bible is the Word of God, "as far as it is translated correctly", it is evident from the statements of LDS leaders that Mormonism in general interprets this to mean that the Bible has become utterly corrupted throughout its transmission and has suffered the omission of inspired books. Most Mormons consequently arrive at the conclusion that the Bible is a hopelessly unreliable book. But as was discussed, although it is true that there are some textual difficulties in the Bible, such as the existence of variants in different manuscripts, it is an exaggeration to suggest that the Bible is not trustworthy, or that its message has been obscured and that certain inspired books have been lost. Mormons are in a very peculiar position with regard to the Bible. On the one hand they will attack its reliability in the same way that atheists and other critics of Christianity do, but on the other hand they quote from it, base many of their doctrines on it, and recognise its historical value. Mormonism's answer to a more reliable Bible, in The Inspired Version has been shown to be very much a product of Joseph Smith with no support from any ancient biblical manuscripts. Rather than restoring the Bible to its original condition it appears that Smith simply changed the Bible to accommodate his own unique ideas. When internal difficulties are pointed out within The Inspired Version it has been seen that the Utah Mormons claim that these difficulties only exist because Smith never completed his revision. However, from the statements in the Doctrines and Covenants and various historical statements the evidence indicates that the early Mormons considered it as being complete.
The second part of the eighth article of faith asserts that the Book of Mormon is "the Word of God" without the same qualification that is applied to the Bible. Statements by LDS leaders, speaking in the context of the eighth article, claim that the book is a divinely inspired writing and an historical account of an ancient people who migrated to America and are later visited by the resurrected Jesus. But despite these claims it has been seen that the evidence would suggest that the Book of Mormon actually has its origins in numerous sources in existence in the nineteenth century. It is evident that the Book of Mormon is the result of a process of plagiarism from these sources coupled with the creativity and active imagination of Joseph Smith. Although it has been seen that the Book of Mormon is considered by Mormons to be more pure and reliable than the Bible, upon examination the book is not without textual changes since its first printing, a fact that is especially interesting in the light of the criticism directed against the Bible. The most significant changes within the Book of Mormon concern the Godhead and appear to have been introduced into later editions of the text to accommodate a change of mind by Joseph Smith on this subject. Even the less significant grammatical changes prove to be difficult because of the claims of the correctness of the book and the alleged supernatural way in which the book was translated. As for the implicit historical claims in the Book of Mormon itself, and the explicit claims by LDS leaders like Talmage, who speak of its historicity in the context of the Mormon eighth article, it appears that the Mormon Church stands alone in its conviction that the book is a record of an ancient migration to the New World. The failure of LDS scholars to provide any convincing archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon and the fact that the consensus of the scholarly world does not support the claims of the book clearly support this conclusion.
1 J. Smith, The Articles of Faith, The Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985), 60-61 (For the sake of space the Mormon Church's full title will be abbreviated to CJCLDS). It is interesting to note that this eighth article of faith has been changed from how it originally appeared: "We believe in the Word of God recorded in the Bible; we also believe in the Word of God recorded in the Book of Mormon, and in all other good books." See W.C. Wood Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. II (n.p. Wilford C. Wood Publisher, 1962), n.p. The first obvious thing about the original article is that the Bible appears to have had equal status with the Book of Mormon. Secondly, the statement about "other good books" has been omitted.
2 n.n. Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. III, S-Z (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 1993), 2429.
3 n.n. Collins Large Print Dictionary (Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996), 885. 4 For example: R.J. Matthews, "The Bible and its Role in the Restoration," The Ensign. July, 1979, 41.
5 Abbreviated to LDS. 6 B. M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3rd. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 186-206. The position that this present writer takes regarding the inerrancy/errancy debate is that the original biblical autographs, were inerrant and that the present Bible, although taken from copies, by applying the practice of textual criticism, can also be considered as inerrant in all matters of faith and practice, science and history.
7 Holy Bible, King James Version (Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1992). This source has been taken from the Bible dictionary located at the back of the LDS KJV of the Bible, 624.
8 J. Smith, History of the Church, 1:245; 6:57. As quoted in the LDS KJV, Bible dictionary, 624.
9 B.R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979), 383.
10 M. E. Petersen, As Translated Correctly (Salt Lake City: Deseret Books, 1966), 4.
12 O. Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, 45, 47. As quoted by M.W. Cowan, Mormon Claims Answered (Utah: Marvin W. Cowan, 1975), 21-22.
13 McConkie, 71. See also: n.n. The Mission of the Church: Redeeming the Dead, discussion 5, discussions for new members (Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1987), discussion 5-5. Other less popular passages, requiring somewhat of a more strained interpretation to allow for this practice, are: John 5:25; 1 Peter 3:18-19; 4:6.
14 References to the King James Version will be abbreviated to KJV.
15 McConkie, 383.
16 D. Stuart, (eds. R.R. Nicole and J.R. Ramsey) Inerrancy and Common Sense (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980), 98.
17 A thorough study of the extensive manuscript evidence for both the Old and New Testament is beyond the scope of this essay. The reader is therefore referred to N. Geisler and W.E. Nix; A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986); F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (London: Pickering & Inglis Ltd, 1971) and F.F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents Are They Reliable? (London: IVP, 1943).
18 Geisler and Nix, 44. This present writer refers to Geisler and Nix as a source numerously throughout section one of this paper as it covers (albeit indirectly), many of the criticisms that Mormonism brings against the Bible. This present writer also personally feels, after examining other books on biblical authority and reliability etc., that Geisler and Nix present the most thorough single volume covering almost every area and issue relating to the Bible.
19 Petersen, 4.
20 Metzger, 193-194.
21 Ibid., 195.
22 Ibid., 194. Metzger believes that this would account for such later manuscript additions as the story of the angel that stirred up the waters of the pool at Bethesda in John 5:3b-4.
23 Geisler and Nix, 44.
24 Petersen, 4 and McConkie, 383.
25 J.A. Thomson, The Bible and Archaeology (Grand Rapids: The Paternoster Press, 1962), 264.
28 M. Burrows, The Dead Sea Scrolls (New York: Viking, 1958), 304.
29 O.P. Robinson, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Original Christianity (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1958), 29.
30 Ibid., 30.
31 J. and S. Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism, 3rd printing (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 372. Various works by the Tanners will be drawn upon for this present paper. As ex-Mormons themselves, the Tanners have written prolifically on Mormonism since the early 1960's and have gained the reputation of being authorities on the subject.
33 S.B. Sperry, Progress in Archaeology, 52-54. As quoted by Tanner, 373.
35 Geisler and Nix, 468.
36 S.R. Gibson, One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions (Utah: Horizon Publishers, 1995), 45.
37 Geisler and Nix, 468.
38 R. Rhodes and M. Bodine, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons (Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1995), 164.
39 Stuart, 98.
40 Gibson, 61.
41 R.L. Anderson, Fourteenth Annual Symposium of the Archaeology of the Scriptures, Brigham Young University, 1963, 52-59. As quoted by Tanner, 381.
43 Regarding the New Testament citations by the early Fathers J. H. Greenlee said: "These quotations are so extensive that the New Testament could virtually be reconstructed from them without the New Testament manuscripts." See: J. H. Greenlee, An Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism, 54. Likewise, D. Dalryma discovered that it is possible to reconstruct the entire New Testament, except for eleven verses, by using the writings of the Fathers of the second and third centuries. See: Charles Leach, Our Bible: How We Got It, 35-36. Both these works are quoted by Geisler and Nix, 430.
44 The Book of Mormon (Utah: CJCLDS, 1991), 25. References to the text of the Book of Mormon will be cited in the main body of this paper in the same way as biblical passages are cited.
45 J.E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 52th ed. (Utah: CJCLDS, 1976), 501. See also McConkie, Doctrine, 453-455.
46 Rhodes and Bodine, 140.
47 Ibid., 141.
48 A.E. McGrath, Christian Theology An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1994), 15. A thorough study of the canonisation process of the Old and New Testament is beyond the scope of this essay. The reader is therefore referred to: B. Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament, (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987) and Bruce, The Books and the Parchments.
50 GeisIer and Nix, 211.
51 Ibid., 214.
54 n.n., Gospel Principles (Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1992), 55.
55 Gibson, 96. For example, Gibson states: "Prophets, express personal and private views on many topics, including doctrine."
56 In the discussion that follows in response to Talmages' list of lost books, it should be noted that this present writer has not followed the list in the same order that Talmage presents; neither do the responses always strictly follow in biblical canonical order (although where this has been possible this has been adhered to). The reason for this is that a number of the so called lost books, although being cited in different biblical canonical books, usually tend to share a particular similarity by which they may be categorised.
57 Geisler and Nix, 236.
58 Ibid., 187; 262.
59 Ibid., 262.
60 Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, 255.
61 J.B. Payne (F.E. Gaebelein ed.), The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 4 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988), 309-310, 439.
62 Ibid., 439.
63 R.B. Dillard, 2 Chronicles (Waco: Word Books, 1987), 109-110.
64 Geisler and Nix, 214-215. Despite the conclusions of Geisler and Nix concerning this book as a mere genealogical record they are careful to stress that it is unlike the canonical books of Chronicles, in which even the genealogical sections contain religious instructions and redemptive material, such as the messianic lineage (1 Chron. 5:25; 9:1, 22).
65 Ibid., 215.
66 Talmage, 453-455.
67 LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, 726.
68 Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, 256.
69 Ibid., 257.
70 J. Smith, History of the Church, 1:245. As quoted in the LDS KJV, Bible Dictionary, 624.
71 Geisler and Nix, 215.
72 L. Morris, 1 Corinthians, rev. ed. (Leicester: IVP Press, 1995), 22-23.
73 C. Blomberg, The NIV Application Commentary: 1 Corinthians (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1994), 22.
75 Talmage, 455.
76 F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Ephesians (London: Pickering & Inglis Ltd., 1973),60.
77 N.T. Wright, Colossians and Philemon (Leicester: IVP,1986), 160.
79 Ibid., 161.
81 Although the apostolic Church did not recognise an 'epistle to the Laodicians' Metzger notes how a spurious epistle bearing this title, written around the close of the 3rd. century, was in circulation among the churches. Metzger, Canon, 182-183.
82 Talmage, 455. Jude 3 in the LDS KJV reads: "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort you that ye should contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
83 R. J. Matthews, A Plainer Translation: Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible (Provo: BYU University Press, 1975), 242-245.
84 K.P. Jackson, The Ensign, February 1995, 63.
85 A.A. Hoekema, Mormonism (Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1984), 20.
88 R.J. Matthews, "A Bible! A Bible!" Ensign. January, 1987, 27.
89 J. Smith, The Holy Scriptures � Inspired Version (Joseph Smith Translation) Containing the Old and New Testaments An Inspired Revision of the Authorized Version. (Independence, Missouri: Herald Publishing House, Reorganized CJCLDS, 1991), Genesis 1:1.
90 Ibid., Genesis 2:6, 9.
91 Ibid., Genesis 6:7.
92 Ibid., Genesis 6:52-53, 67-68.
93 Ibid., Gen. 7:9-10, 14, 29-30.
94 Ibid., Gen. 50:24. As quoted by Tanner, 391-392.
95 J. Smith, The Prophet Joseph Smith's Testimony (Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1984), 2-5.
96 J. Smith, Inspired Version, Exodus 33:20. As quoted by Cowan, 26.
97 Ibid., John 1:19 (v. 18 in the King James Version). In some instances verse numbers in The Inspired Version tend to differ from that of the King James Version.
98 Ibid., 1 John 4:12.
99 J.F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation Vol. III (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956), 191.
100 J. and S. Tanner, Mormon Scriptures and the Bible (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1970), 27. Interestingly, a recent Mormon magazine reported on a "joint LDS-RLDS effort" to restore the original yellow paged document [the original JST] which was "washed, cleaned, and deacidified." n.n. "LDS, RLDS Churches Restore J.S. Bible," Sunstone. September, 1997, 71.
101 For a thorough examination of this issue see Tanner, Mormon Scriptures, 27-46.
102 Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith, 2:36-39. As quoted by Tanner, Mormon Scriptures, 32.
104 Tanner, Mormon Scriptures, 32-33. Interestingly, Smith marked the entire book of Malachi as "correct".
105 G. Fee and D. Stuart, How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth, 2nd. ed. (London: Scripture Union, 1994), 34.
106 Modern Bible translations, based on earlier, more reliable manuscripts, read "For there are three that bear witness, the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three are in agreement." (1 John 5:8, NASB).
107 For example see: I.H. Marshall, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids Eerdmann's Publishing Company, 1978), 235-236; and D. Jackman The Message of John's Letters (Leicester: IVP, 1992), 151.
108 C.H. Dodd, The Johannine Epistles (London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1947), 127-128.
109 Tanner, Mormon Scriptures, 35.
111 J.F. Smith, 191.
112 The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price (Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1985), Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), 73:3, 4.
113 Ibid., 94:10.
114 Ibid., 124:89.
115 History of the Church, Vol 1, 368. As quoted by Tanner, Mormon Scriptures, 30.
116 A. Jenson, Church Chronology, n.p. As quoted by Tanner, Mormon Scriptures, 30.
117 Talmage, 255.
118 The Book of Mormon, Introduction page. The Book of Mormon also tells of an earlier migration by a group of people called the Jaredites who came to the Americas after the Lord scattered those who were gathered at the Tower of Babel. This account is found in the book of Ether.
122 M. Twain, Roughing It, 110. As quoted by Tanner, Changing World, 116.
123 W. Martin, The Maze of Mormonism (California: Vision House Publishers, 1978), 329-332.
124 J. and S. Tanner, Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1990), 75-164. For more examples of plagiarism from the KJV in the Book of Mormon see also: J and S Tanner, Answering Mormon Scholars Vol. 1: A Response to Criticism of the Book "Covering Up The Black Hole In the Book of Mormon" (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1994), 145-155, 159 and the Tanners Changing World, 115-122.
125 Tanners, Answering, Vol. 1. , 145-149.
126 S. Larson, (B. Metcalfe, ed.), New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993), 117. This book brings together the work of ten scholars, most of whom are Mormons of the more liberal wing of the Church, who evaluate challenges to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The principal theme of the book is whether the Book of Mormon is a translation of ancient scripture, or a nineteenth-century creation.
129 Ibid., 131-132. All of the scholars who contributed to New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, many of whom are experts in their particular field, also place the Book of Mormon as a nineteenth century work by Joseph Smith.
130 R.M. Bowman, "How Mormons Are Defending the Book of Mormon" part three, Christian Research Journal. Summer, 1989, 29.
132 Rhodes and Bodine, 125.
133 Gibson, 21.
134 The chapters that parallel Isaiah and Malachi are acknowledged in modern editions of the Book of Mormon in the introduction to each chapter (see index in modern editions of Book of Mormon under Isaiah and Malachi to locate the extensive chapters that parallel the KJV). But in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, as Joseph Smith originally intended, these acknowledgements are not found. See W. C. Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1958).
135 Larson, 115-156.
136 Martin, 329-332.
137 Tanners, Answering, Vol. 1. , 145-149.
138 J. and S. Tanner, "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha," Salt Lake City Messenger. December 1995, issue 89, 1-14.
139 Tanner, Changing World, 114. The name Nephi is of great significance in the Book of Mormon. At least four men go by this name, as do several books in the Book of Mormon, as well as a city, a land and a people.
141 R.C. Durham, "A History of Joseph Smith's Revision of the Bible" (Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham Young University), 1965, 25. As quoted by Tanner, Apocrypha, 1.
142 Ibid., 2, 6.
143 Ibid., 3.
144 B. H. Roberts, Studies of the Book of Mormon, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992), 152-153. Josiah Priest's Wonders of Nature and Providence was published in New York state, within twenty miles from where Joseph Smith and his family lived from about 1815 to 1830, and Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews was published in Poultney, Vermont, only a few miles from Windsor, Vermont where the Smith family lived until Joseph was ten years of age. Roberts therefore considered it "probable" that the above mentioned books "...were either possessed by Joseph Smith or certainly known by him...", 153.
145 H.W. Nibley, The Prophetic Book of Mormon, vol. 8 of The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1989), 221-222. 146 Roberts, 153.
147 Ibid., 240.
148 Ibid., 151-242.
149 Ibid., 240-242.
150 J. W. Welch, Finding Answers to B. H. Roberts' Questions, and an Unparallel, FARMS Preliminary Report, No. WEL-85d (Provo: FARMS, 1985), 32-60. As quoted by Bowman, 29. See also Gibson, 30-31. Bowman feels that Mormon scholars have generally underestimated the number of parallels in View of the Hebrews and notes how one study by D. Persuitte lists some 61 parallels between the two books, many of which can hardly be explained on any other basis than literary dependence. See the index under "Parallels, Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews" in D. Persuitte, Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon, 292. As quoted by Bowman, 29.
151 Bowman, 29.
152 Roberts, 243.-250.
153 E.T. Benson, "The Keystone of Our Religion", Ensign, January 1992, 5.
154 J. Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , vol. 4, 461. As quoted by Gibson, 40.
155 Tanner, Changing World, 128-129. It has been the experience of this present writer to observe that apart from Mormon scholars and apologists, the majority of Mormons, while being constantly told that the Bible has been changed, are completely unaware that the Book of Mormon has undergone any change at all.
156 Gibson, 41.
157 Ibid. This present author finds it incredible that while Gibson spends six pages explaining why there are so many changes in the Book of Mormon he does not go into any detail regarding the most serious changes.
158 J. Smith, Testimony, 18.
159 See "The Testimony of the Three Witnesses" in the Book of Mormon, n.p.
160 D. Whitmer, An Address to all Believers in Christ (Richmond: n.p.,1887), 12. This particular material was obtained from Mormons in Transition Internet web-site at the following address: http://www.irr.org/mit/ Although Whitmer's account of the method of translation of the Book of Mormon is an early and reliable source, it should be noted that in Mormon scholarly circles there exists some ambiguity concerning the full details of the translation process. For example, Ricks observes that as well as the seer stone Joseph Smith also employed the 'Nephite interpreters' or 'spectacles' and that accounts vary as to when the seer stone or spectacles were used. S. D. Ricks, The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon (Utah: FARMS, 1994), 2, 4.
161 Gibson 40-45.
162 B.H. Roberts, Defence of the Faith, 280-281. As quoted by F.W. Kirkham, A New Witness for Christ in America, Vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Utah Printing, 1960), 200-201.
165 Tanner, Changing World, 133.
166 Ibid., 129.
167 For a good presentation of more changes in modern editions of the Book of Mormon see the Tanners, Changing World, 128-131.
168 Wood, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. I, The First Book of Nephi, 25.
169 Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 11:18.
170 Compare present day editions with 1830 edition reprinted in Wood's Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol 1, The First Book of Nephi, 25, 26, 32.
171 H. Nibley, Since Cumorah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988), 6.
172 Tanner, Changing World, 173. Both the Book of Moses and the Book of Abraham are printed in the Pearl of Great Price and considered as Scripture by the LDS Church.
175 Nibley, Cumorah, 6.
176 The present writer has not felt it necessary to include a study on Bible archaeology because of the lack of contention between Mormon scholars and Christian scholars in this area. As can be seen in the below cited articles Mormon scholars will generally agree with Christians concerning the reliability and basic historicity of the Bible in the light of archaeology. See: J.A. Tvedtnes, "Recent Archaeological Discoveries Support the Bible," Insights: An Ancient Window. June 1997, 2; J.A. Tvedtnes, "More on Recent Archaeological Discoveries," Insights: An Ancient Window. August, 1997, 2.; R.T. Christiansen and R. R. Christiansen, "Archaeology Reveals Old Testament History: Digging for Truth," Ensign. February 1974, 60-66., and Talmage, 500-501.
177 At this point it should be noted that several Mormon organisations have been founded in order to give Mormon archaeological research an air of scholarly credibility, promote the Book of Mormon as an authentic and historical document, and counter the charges of critics. By far the most prominent is the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, popularly known as FARMS.
178 n.n. FARMS Catalogue (Provo: FARMS, Fall 1996), introduction page: "The Foundation is independent of all other organisations and does not speak for any other organisation." This present writer has observed that most Mormon apologetic organisations (both in literature and on the internet) carry similar 'disclaimers'. Jerald and Sandra Tanner have observed the growing relationship between FARMS and the Mormon Church owned Brigham Young University (BYU) with the expansion of FARMS offices and research centres on the campus of the university. The Tanners note the following concerning the unique BYU-FARMS relationship: "The Mormon Church is apparently very happy with the work done by FARMS. The Church seems to be in a no-lose situation. If, on the one hand, the Foundation should make serious mistakes, the Church would not be held responsible. On the other hand, if Mormon scholars present material that convinces people of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the Church will benefit from the work." J. and S. Tanner, "Mormon FARMS: Battling the Antimormonoids", Salt Lake City Messenger, May 1996, Issue 90, 4-5.
179 n.n., Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon (Washington: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 1996), 2. The prestigious Smithsonian Institution has often been asked whether it uses the Book of Mormon in its archaeological research, because rumours were evidently being circulated that it did. On account of the magnitude of the inquiries that the Institute has received it has printed a two-page detailed statement to the effect that many of the metals, crops, animals and fabrics etc. mentioned in the Book of Mormon simply did not exist in the New World in pre-Columbian times. FARMS scholars have apparently been so troubled by this that they have attempted to rebut the Smithsonian's statements and cast doubt on the competence of those responsible for its contents. See J. L. Sorenson, A New Evaluation of the Smithsonian Institution "Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon" (Provo: FARMS, 1993). For example Sorenson states: "Even the few non-religious scholars, like those on the SI staff, who purport to have looked at the scripture in the light of archaeology sufficiently to make statement about it have failed to investigate this complex record more than superficially." [emphasis added], 3. On pages 22-25 Sorenson 'rearranges' the Smithsonian's statement to his own requirements. Sorenson's attempt to persuade the Smithsonian Institute to change their position on the Book of Mormon in his 1993 work has apparently had no effect on the opinions of the Institute. This is evident because this present writer has written to the Institute and received a letter dated 8/1/98 along with their 'Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon' which appears in the same way that it did so before Sorenson's evaluation of it in 1993.
180 Smithsonian Statement, 2.
181 J.L. Sorenson, "Digging Into the Book of Mormon", part 2 The Ensign. October, 1984, 20.
182 Ibid. 22.
183 Matheny, in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, 306.
184 Ibid., 307.
186 Talmage, 273.
187 Ibid., 274.
188 Ibid., 283.
189 Quoted in J. Ankerberg and J. Weldon, Cult Watch: What you Need to Know About Spiritual Deception (Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1991), 38.
190 M. Coe, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1973, 46. As quoted by J. and S. Tanner, Answering Mormon Scholars Vol. 2: A Response to Criticism Raised by Mormon Defenders (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1996), 164. Bill McKeever, of Mormonism Research Ministry, has noticed that because Dr. Coe's statement was made in 1973 some Mormons have claimed that his observations are outdated. McKeever wondered if any new evidence had arisen that has caused Dr. Coe to change his mind and therefore wrote to him asking if he still stood by his 1973 comments. On 20/8/93 McKeever received a letter from Coe which states that he retains his original comments and has still not seen any convincing archaeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon. B. McKeever, "Dr. Coe Continues to Stand by his 1973 Assessment of the Book of Mormon", Mormonism Researched, Winter, 1993, 6. See appendix 4 for a photograph of this letter.
191 Talmage, 283.
192 The Book of Mormon, Introduction page.
193 n.n. Origin of the American Indians (Washington: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 1996), 1.
194 Talmage, 289. Most careful Mormon scholars point out that the alleged link between Jesus Christ and Quetzalcoatl is not meant to be official Church doctrine but merely the opinion of writers who adhere to a connection between the two. However, it is clear that prominent Church leaders, such as Talmage, are inclined to propagate this belief. Other Church leaders who see a strong resemblance between Christ and Quetzalcoatl include: J. Taylor, the third president of the Church in Meditation and Atonement, quoted by Talmage, 289; and McConkie, in Mormon Doctrine, 614. In addition to the words of prominent Church leaders, this present writer has noticed how LDS missionaries and bishops continue to circulate this belief. For example: Elders Tenhave and Thomson, Interview by author, 12th May 1997; tape recording made at Matthew Henry Evangelical Church, Chester, Blacon; and Bishop Pattenden, Interview by author at the Chester chapel of CJCLDS, Clifton Drive, Chester, 22 June 1997.
195 Talmage, 289.
196 Ibid. See also McConkie, 614.
197 E. Johnson, Quetzalcoatl - Jesus in the Americas? (California: Mormonism Research Ministry, 1993), 25- 29.
198 J.L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon, 326-328. As quoted by Tanner, Answering, Vol. 2., 146.
199 Johnson, 13.
200 Ibid., 16-19.
201 S.D. Marble, Before Columbus, 166. Quoted by Johnson, 9.
202 Elders Tenhave and Thomson and Bishop Pattenden in tape recorded interviews with this author all spoke of Christ as the "great white God" who appeared to the early Americans. Interviews by author, 12th May 1997; tape recording made at Matthew Henry Evangelical Church, Chester, Blacon; and Bishop Pattenden, Interview by author at the Chester chapel of CJCLDS, Clifton Drive, Chester, 22 June 1997.
203 Marble, 166. As quoted by Johnson, 9.
204 Johnson, 9-10.
205 Ibid., 10.
206 Talmage, 289.
207 Ibid., 289-290. 208 W. Hamblin, Review of Books, Vol. 5, 266-277. As quoted by Tanner, Answering, Vol. 2, 146.
210 B. Gardner, "The Christianization of Quetzalcoatl." Sunstone. Vol. 10, No. 11, 7-10. As quoted by Tanner, Answering, Vol. 2, 146-148.
Benson, E.T. "The Keystone of Our Religion." Ensign, January 1992.
Christiansen, R.T. and R. R. "Archaeology Reveals Old Testament History: Digging for Truth." Ensign. February 1974.
FARMS Catalogue. Provo: FARMS, Fall 1996.
Gibson, S.R. One Minute Answers to Anti-Mormon Questions. Utah: Horizon Publishers, 1995.
Gospel Principles. Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1992.
Holy Bible, King James Version. Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1992.
Jackson, K.P. The Ensign. February 1995.
Kirkham, F.W. A New Witness for Christ in America, Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Utah Printing, 1960.
"LDS, RLDS Churches Restore J.S. Bible." Sunstone. September, 1997.
Matthews, R.J. "A Bible! A Bible!" Ensign. January, 1987.
Matthews, R.J. A Plainer Translation: Joseph Smith's Translation of the Bible (Provo, Utah: BYU University Press, 1975.
Matthews, R.J. "The Bible and its Role in the Restoration." The Ensign. July, 1979.
McConkie, B.R. Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1979.
Metcalfe, B. (ed.), New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1993.
Nibley, H.W. Since Cumorah. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1988.
Nibley, H.W. The Prophetic Book of Mormon, vol. 8 of The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1989.
Pattenden (Bishop), Interview by author at the Chester chapel of CJCLDS, Clifton Drive, Chester, 22 June 1997.
Petersen, M.E. As Translated Correctly. Salt Lake City: Deseret Books, 1966.
Ricks, S.D. The Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon. Utah: FARMS, 1994.
Roberts, B.H. Studies of the Book of Mormon, 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992.
Robinson, O.P. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Original Christianity. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1958.
Smith, J. "The Articles of Faith." The Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1985.
Smith, J. The Holy Scriptures � Inspired Version (Joseph Smith Translation) Containing the Old and New Testaments An Inspired Revision of the Authorized Version. Independence, Missouri: Herald Publishing House, Reorganized CJCLDS, 1991.
Smith, J. The Prophet Joseph Smith's Testimony. Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1984.
Smith, J.F. Doctrines of Salvation Vol. III. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1956.
Sorenson, J.L. A New Evaluation of the Smithsonian Institution "Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon". Provo: FARMS, 1993.
Sorenson, J.L. "Digging Into the Book of Mormon", part 2. The Ensign. October, 1984.
Talmage, J.E. Articles of Faith, 52th ed. Utah: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1976.
Tenhave and Thomson (Elders), Interview by author, 12th May 1997; tape recording made at Matthew Henry Evangelical Church, Chester, Blacon.
The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1985.
The Book of Mormon. Utah: CJCLDS, 1991.
The Mission of the Church: Redeeming the Dead, discussion 5, discussions for new members. Salt Lake City: CJCLDS, 1987.
Tvedtnes, J.A. "More on Recent Archaeological Discoveries." Insights: An Ancient Window. August, 1997.
Tvedtnes, J.A. "Recent Archaeological Discoveries Support the Bible." Insights: An Ancient Window. June 1997.
Whitmer, D. An Address to all Believers in Christ. Richmond: n.p., 1887.
Wood, W. C. Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1958.
Wood, W. C. Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. II. n.p. Wilford C. Wood Publisher, 1962.
NON-MORMON CRITICAL WORKS
Ankerberg, J. and Weldon, J. Cult Watch: What you Need to Know About Spiritual Deception. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 1991.
Bowman, R.M. "How Mormons Are Defending the Book of Mormon", part three. Christian Research Journal. Summer, 1989.
Cowan, M.W. Mormon Claims Answered. Utah: Marvin W. Cowan, 1975.
Hoekema, A.A. Mormonism. Exeter: The Paternoster Press, 1984.
Johnson, E. Quetzalcoatl - Jesus in the Americas? California: Mormonism Research Ministry, 1993.
Martin, W. The Maze of Mormonism. California: Vision House Publishers, 1978.
McKeever, B. "Dr. Coe Continues to Stand by his 1973 Assessment of the Book of Mormon." Mormonism Researched. Winter, 1993.
Rhodes, R. and Bodine, M. Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons. Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 1995.
Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon. Washington: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 1996.
Tanner, J. and S. Answering Mormon Scholars Vol. 1: A Response to Criticism of the Book "Covering Up The Black Hole In the Book of Mormon." Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1994.
Tanner, J. and S. Answering Mormon Scholars Vol. 2: A Response to Criticism Raised by Mormon Defenders. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1996.
Tanner, J. and S. The Changing World of Mormonism, 3rd printing. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980.
Tanner, J. and S. Mormon Scriptures and the Bible. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1970.
Tanner, J. and S. Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1990.
Tanner, J. and S. "Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha." Salt Lake City Messenger. December 1995, issue 89.
Tanner, J. and S. "Mormon FARMS: Battling the Antimormonoids." Salt Lake City Messenger. May 1996, Issue 90, 4-5.
OTHER WORKS CITED
Blomberg, C. The NIV Application Commentary: 1 Corinthians. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Company, 1994.
Bruce, F.F. The Books and the Parchments. London: Pickering & Inglis Ltd, 1971.
Bruce, F.F. The Epistle to the Ephesians. London: Pickering & Inglis Ltd., 1973.
Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents Are They Reliable? London: IVP, 1943.
Burrows, M. The Dead Sea Scrolls. New York: Viking, 1958.
Collins Large Print Dictionary. Glasgow: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996.
Dillard, R.B. 2 Chronicles. Waco: Word Books, 1987.
Dodd, C.H. The Johannine Epistles. London: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1947.
Fee, G. and Stuart, D. How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth, 2nd. ed. London: Scripture Union, 1994.
Geisler, N. and Nix, W. E. A General Introduction to the Bible. Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.
Jackman, D. The Message of John's Letters. Leicester: IVP, 1992.
Marshall, I.H. The Epistles of John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmann's Publishing Company, 1978.
McGrath, A.E. Christian Theology An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. 1994.
Metzger, B.M. The Canon of the New Testament. New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1987.
Metzger, B. M. The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, 3rd. ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
Morris, L. 1 Corinthians, rev. ed. Leicester: IVP Press, 1995.
Origin of the American Indians. Washington: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, 1996.
Payne, J.B. (F.E. Gaebelein ed.) The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 4. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988.
Stuart, D. (eds. R.R. Nicole and J.R. Ramsey) Inerrancy and Common Sense. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980.
Thomson, J.A. The Bible and Archaeology. Grand Rapids: The Paternoster Press, 1962.
Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. III, S-Z. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 1993.
Wright, N.T. Colossians and Philemon. Leicester: IVP,1986.
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