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Responses to a critic’s questions regarding the Book of Mormon

A critic of the Church, whom I will refer to as RN, posed the following questions, “…in an effort to release sincere people from the straits of useless rules, regulations, and ordinances imposed by the LDS Church.”  He further stated that his only hope was that LDS members “… might come to know of the freedom given thruogh a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, rather than through a man-made church.”  As a member of the LDS Church who enjoys a close, wonderful relationship with my Savior, I am glad to give simple and truthful answers to RN’s queries.

  • Question:  How did Nephi, with a few men on a new continent, build a temple like Solomon’s while Solomon needed 163,000 workmen and seven years to build his temple?  (1 Kings 5:13-18 and 2 Nephi 5:15-17)?  Response:  A close reading of the 2 Nephi verses mentioned gives the obvious answer to this question.  Nephi states that his temple was built ‘after the manner of’ Solomon’s temple.  He points out that the did not have the resources or precious things available to Solomon.  They did the best they could with the available man-power and resources.  It was well-built with fine workmanship, but it was obviously not a duplicate of Solomon’s temple.  The size and intricate workmanship were suited to the Nephite resources and manpower.
  • Question:  If the Book of Mormon is true, why hasn’t a valid geography been established for the book?  Response:  The Book of Mormon was never meant to be a geography text.  The book is the product of numerous authors, all of whom were focused on declaring the doctrine of Christ, not on describing the lands or areas or locales in which they lived.  The reading of the Book of Mormon as a true scriptural record that testifies of Christ will beautifully reveal the true purpose of the book.
  • Question:  The major river of the Book of Mormon (Sidon) supposedly flowed northward.  Where is there a major river in the Western Hemisphere that flows northward?  Response:  Again, the Book of Mormon is a scriptural text, not an atlas.  Almost all major rivers in Central and South America have portions which flow in a northerly direction, even if for just a short distance, although not the entire length of the river.  The book itself as states that there were changes in the face of the earth upon the crucifixion and death of the Savior.  The reading of the Book of Mormon as a true scriptural record that testifies of Christ will beautifully reveal the true purpose of the book.
  • Question:  If Lehi left Jerusalem before 600 B.C., how did he learn about synagogues?  (2 Nephi 26:26)  Response:  This question can be answered with one word — revelation.  Chapters 25 to 31 of 2 Nephi are filled with prophecies and revelations of Christ, His mortal mission, and His teachings.  How could Nephi (and Lehi) have seen and known so much about the Son of God and His mortal mission almost 500 years before Christ’s ministry on earth began?  Through revelation and inspiration!  How could he have known about synagogues?  Through revelation and inspiration!
  • Question:  What kind of chariots did the Nephites have in 90 B.C., some 1500 years before the introduction of the wheel in the Western Hemisphere?  (Alma 18:9)  Response:  This question is beautifully answered at the following link.  As described on that Book of Mormon Central publication, chariots could have been non-wheeled forms of transport on which a rider was carried by servants.
  • Question:  Why does the word ‘church’ appear in the Book of Mormon about 600 B.C., which was centuries before the beginning of the Christian Church on the day of Pentecost?  Response:  It is presumptuous to state that the Christian Church ‘began’ on the day of Pentecost.  In Matthew 16 the Lord declared that He would build his church on the rock of revelation.  The Lord organized His Church among His followers in Israel, and He certainly would have organized His church among His followers in the Americas.  Consider these verses from the Book of Mormon:  1)  “…there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil…”  (1 Nephi 14:10)  2) “…And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward…”  (Mosiah 18 17, about 147 B.C.).
  • Question:  How did the French word ‘adieu’ get into the Book of Mormon?  Response:  The answer to this question can be seen by clicking here.

Tad R. Callister, October 2011, General Conference talk, “A Case for the Book of Mormon”

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