Problems with the Book of Mormon
Under the heading, "What intractable problems face the Book of Mormon?," John
Ankerberg and John
Dr. Hugh Nibley of Brigham Young University (who
some Mormons feel is one of the greatest scholars in the Church)
declares: "The Book of Mormon can and should be tested. It invites
criticism." Tenth president Joseph Fielding Smith things that the
evidence for it "internally and externally is overwhelming."
But the only evidence is overwhelmingly negative.
First, although the Church denies it, there is little doubt that,
given Smith's claims, the Book of Mormon was translated byoccult means.
Smith put a magical "seer" stone into a hat, and then buried his face
in the hat to exclude the light. Next, words in "reformed Egyptian"
(no such language is known to exist) magically appeared with their
translation, and Smith spoke the translation to a scribe who wrote it
In addition, the very content of the Book of Mormon makes it
impossible to accept it as divine revelation. The Book of Mormon
claims to be a translation of
ancient writing on gold plates. These plates were supposedly written
1,400 years ago and detailed the history of the Jewish "Nephites" from
600 B.C. through A.D. 421. But it is virtually impossible that records
written 1,400 prior to the time of Joseph Smith should detail specific
social, political, and religious concerens unique to
In a scholarly work for which she was excommunicated from
theMormon Church (No
Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith),
Fawn Brody discusses the reasons supporting a ninenteenth-century
origin for the Book of Mormon. In a similar fashion, one of the first
able reviews of the Book of Mormon concluded:
This Prophet Smith, through his stone spectacles, wrote on the
plates of Nephi in his Book of Mormon every error and almost every
truth discussed in New York for the last ten years.
But the content of the Book of Mormon presents further difficulties.
For example, there are many clearly demonstrated plagiarisms. Material
has been taken from Ethan Smith's View
of the Hebrews (1823),
a book that was available to Joseph Smith, as well as from the King
James Bible. Some 27,000 words from the King James Bible are found in
the book of Mormon.
But if the Book of Mormon was first written between 600 B.C. and A.D.
421, how could it possibly contain such extensive quotations from the
King James Bible, not to be written for another 12,00 to 2000 years?
The Tanners have
listed, one by one, 400 verses and portions of verses quoted from the
New Testament in the Book of Mormon in their book, The
Case Against Mormonism.
The Book of Mormon even contains King James Bible translation
Another major problem for the Book of Mormon is archeology, a major
embarrassment for the Mormon Church. Mormon missionaries continue to
claim that the science of archeology substantiates the Book of Mormon,
but whether we consider the alleged cities, persons, animals, fabrics,
metals, wars and war implements, kings, palaces, or crops, all the
evidence points to their nonexistence.
By contrast, the archeological evidence for the Bible is so
overwhelming that even a former skeptic such as the great archeologist
Sir William Ramsey became converted to Christian belief. But the
archeological evidence against Mormon claims is so devastating that
prominent Mormon archeologist Thomas Stewart Ferguson quit the Mormon
Church and repudiated its prophet.
In conclusion, anyone who wishes can prove to their own satisfaction
that the Book of Mormon cannot possibly be divinely inspired. Its
occult method of translation, plagiarisms, internal inconsistencies,
archeological disproof, and many other problems reveal that the Mormon
Church is in serious error when it claims otherwise.