founder of Mormonism
2 Timothy 3:16 - "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." (ESV)
2 Timothy 4:3-4 "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths."
In our day and age, the Bible is not the only book in the world claiming to be the word of God or as a collection of writings revealed by God. It is one thing to make the claim of something being revealed from God, and quite another to make good on such claims. In today's post we will be consider one such book that claims to be a book revealed from God - the Book of Mormon. In the course of our investigation, we will put forth a valid test for determining the claims of Divine revelation and inspiration of a given book.
Moreover, if the same document gives accurate details of events that were prior to the date of the author or which are contemporary to their day and past to our own, then the reliability of the document is confirmed and thus the reality of the Deity giving the information is confirmed. Philosophers such as Richard Swinburne have laid out similar such tests as the ones outlined above and such tests are mentioned in the philosophical literature that deals specifically with such matters. The Bible itself lays out the three tests in two main texts:
22 Let them bring them, and tell us
what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome." Despite the numerous peoples and place names mentioned in the Book of Mormon, there is not one archaeological or geographical confirmation of evidence. Conspicuously absent from the Book of Mormon are maps of any of the locations mentioned in the book or in any of Joseph's Smith's other writings. For example, on the Mormon's official website, one can actually view what are called "The Joseph Smith Papers", where Smith identified Daviess County, Missouri as the place where Adam blessed his posterity after he had fled from the Garden of Eden. No (reputable) archaeological evidence nor map (produced outside the context of Mormon scholarship) can trace the connection between the ground in Daviess County, Missouri to the Garden of Eden in the Fertile Crescent near the Euphrates River Valley on the other side of the globe!
When you look in a Bible, there is always accompanying maps that one can use to trace the journeys of Abraham or the ministry journeys of Jesus or Paul. However, whenever you look at the Book of Mormon, there are no maps, indicating that there is no evidence of any migration of Jews from Israel to America nor any of the details of lost tribes as recorded in the Book of Mormon. The Bible on the other hand has hundreds of confirmations of its historical details in both archaeology and geography. When the Bible has been used to reconstruct history, it has always been accurate. So on this test, the Book of Mormon is shown wanting.
The God of the Bible is first of all One in existence. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Isaiah 43:10-11). Secondly, the God of the Bible is Three in identity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:18-20; 1 Cor 8:6; 2 Cor 13:14) Thirdly, this One God, existing as Three Persons, has revealed His words and purposes in the Bible alone. (Exodus 24:4; Isaiah 41:22; Luke 24:44; 1 Tiim 5:18; 1 Cor 15:3-4; 2 Pet 3:16; Matt 16:18; John 1:1)
So is Joseph Smith a true prophet? Is his teachings and the Book of Mormon a book of God the same as the Bible? The Old and New Testaments teach that God in the Person of the Father does not have a body of flesh and bones, but is a Spirit (John 4:24) and is not a man that he should lie (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2). The Person of the Son shares in the same nature with the Father and is not a separate God or exalted being as taught in Mormonism. Moreover, only the Son came and incarnated Himself in human flesh (Philippians 2:5-11) and thus is deemed God in human flesh (John 1:14). Thirdly, along with the Holy Spirit, the Father and Son exist as One God from all eternity (Psalm 90:2) in contrast to Joseph Smith's denial of God's eternality. So on that score we would have to say Joseph Smith is not a true prophet.
This brief survey of comparing the Bible and the Book of Mormon and other Mormon literature reveals two different deities spoken by the Bible vs the Book of Mormon. The Bible has been shown consistent in its claims to be the Word of God, and thus the Deity revealed in its pages is the True and Living God. The deity spoken of in the Book of Mormon cannot be the true and living God nor then, can the Book of Mormon be a revealed book worthy of the title: "Word of God".
Today's post aimed to discover whether the Book of Mormon, with its claims of being the Word of God as revealed to Joseph Smith, is worthy of such claims. Three tests were put forth to evaluate the claims of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as revealed, Divinely inspired pieces of literature:
In all three tests, the Book of Mormon and Mormonism's founder, Joseph Smith, failed to demonstrate either claims to Divine inspiration or prophethood. The Bible on the other hand consistently passed all three tests and thus demonstrated itself to be the only Divinely revealed and inspired Book. Hence, the Bible alone is the Word of God.