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Proof that the Book of Mormon is fraudulent?  Not so fast.  — Section 30

A fraudulent Book of Mormon?

Representative of a Christian church:

Missionaries, I have evidence here that the Book of Mormon is fraudulent.  The Book of Mormon was to have covered a period of history from 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. and was to have been buried until 1823 and delivered to Joseph Smith, the supposed prophet, by an angel Moroni.  In 1611 we had 54 great scholars translate a book we revere and hold sacred, which we know as the King James version of the Holy Bible.  Until the time of Joseph Smith, the Bible had been in print for 212 years, while the Book of Mormon was supposedly to have been completed for 1190 years before this King James version of the Bible, and yet we have definite proof that there is a fraud between the two, and it is not the Bible that is a fraud.  We find 500 years before the birth of Christ, in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 26:33), a verse that was quoted verbatim in Galatians 3:28.  We go on to find that the Sermon on the Mount in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 12 is none other than Matthew’s version from the King James’ Bible, word for word.  We have Matthew 6:5 and Luke 18:11 as almost identical with Alma 38:13-14.  Also, remarkable copies of the King James wording are found in comparing Alma 10:2 with Daniel 5, Alma 19:5 with John 11:39, Mosiah 20 with Judges 21, Ether 8:10 with Matthew 14:6, 2 Nephi 9:9 with 2 Corinthians 11:14, and Alma 18:13 with John 20:16.  Also, we have Joseph Smith quoting in 2 Nephi 1:14 none other than William Shakespeare.  This verse reads, “Whose limbs ye must soon lay down in the cold and silent grave, from which no traveller can return.”  Gentlemen, all of these examples prove fraudulence.  I would also state that in 2 Nephi 29:3 it says that “many of the Gentiles shall say, a Bible, a Bible!  We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.”  The name of the Bible was not even coined until the second century when the word “Bible” was given to the book.

Representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

It is interesting, gentlemen, that you initially criticized the Book of Mormon because it contradicted the Bible.  Now you are criticizing the book because it corresponds with Bible teachings.  When the Bible was translated, the translators didn’t just sit down and toll of the words, but hey had to deal with strange marking, symbols, pictures, and translate many different styles and types of writings.  It took years of preparation, study, and examination.  The 54 scholars of the King James translation even had difficulty in trying to word the translation so that they would agree.  You will notice that all the words in italics in the Bible are words that all of the scholars could not agree upon.  A majority vote was used to make the final decision on such words.  These writers had to convey, as best they could, the meaning tha tthe inspired writers attempted to place in their writings, and in doing this, had to convert it from other languages.  Often time they would come across two identical ideas put over by writers, so they would, word for word, have different Gospel writers agree.  (Compare Matthew 22:23-30 with Luke 20:27-35).  Undoubtedly, all four writers wrote different reactions to Christ’s blessing of the little children, yet all the writers in the King James version record almost word for word the same event.  By doing this, the translators would not have to create new sentences, but merely put over the idea that the original writers were teaching.  You have stated that the Book of Mormon must be false because it resembles the King James version, but I must add that not always is the wording identical.  By criticizing the Book of Mormon in this way, you are also criticizing the Bible.  By the same accusation, you are robbing many of the prophets of their identity in their writings.  For example, we have Micah, who lived hundreds and hundreds of years after Isaiah, prophesying word for word in Micah 4:1-3 what Isaiah had prophesied in Isaiah 2:2-4.  Thereby, according to your reasoning, Micah copied Isaiah’s writings.  You see, however, that a large problem arises from this line of thought.  Isaiah, when he made the prophecy, had a verse that preceded the prophecy and a verse that followed it, that were quite irreverent to the prophecy, but such was not the case with Micah.  The entire third chapter and a large portion of the fourth chapter dealt with Michael 4:1-3, and so your line of reasoning against the Book of Mormon undermines the third and fourth chapters of Micah, because we find the same situation in his writings.

Let us address further your doubts against the Book of Mormon.  If you feel the Book of Mormon is false because its writers resembled writers in the Bible, we find that Isaiah copied word for word a prophecy made in 2 Kings 19:35, but by doing so, copied also the grammatical errors as well.  See Isaiah 37:36 and 2 Kings 19:35.  It is evident that writers could speak and prophecy of certain events, and when the translators got their writings and saw that the two writers were referring to the same event, they merely copied down almost without translating.  It is very unlikely that Isaiah would have copied the 2 Kings account word for word, with grammatical errors included.  The golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated did not contain English sentences, but had inscriptions of Assyrian, Chaldaic, and Egyptian.  When joseph looked through the Urim and Thummim, the words did not roll off in English, but merely his understanding of them.  He had to record the words in English, and with three years of formal education, that was quite an undertaking.  That is why the original had so many punctuation and spelling errors.  That is why when he saw from the inscription that Christ taught the people on the American Continent the same teachings as were taught in the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible, the Prophet found that Matthew’s account of the Sermon was very exact and correct, so he took Matthew’s account from the Bible and applied the same words to the incidents from the American continent.  It was done for the benefit of the future readers of the book.  It would not make it false because another could put it in better words that he could.  You might also compare the two sermons and find that in parts they are quite different.  It doesn’t’ prove something fraudulent if you have similar events happen on two different continents.  History bears record that men at different places can do the same things and still not be fraudulent.  Many of our discoveries in the field of science were discovered almost simultaneously, yet that didn’t mean that one of the scientists copied the other.  In 2 Nephi 1:14, Lehi could have uttered these words, or Joseph Smith could have learned of them from studies in Shakespeare and put them down because they identified what the writer was trying to put forth.  The reason the Book of Mormon is non-contradictory was not because of its grammar, but because of its precepts and doctrine.  The Urim and Thummim gave Joseph the correct interpretation of the figures on the plates so that he would be infallible in interpretation while the scholars were extremely fallible.  Hence, our many contradictions within the Bible.  You mentioned that the word ‘Bible’ was used around 600 years before it was coined.  Did you know that in Job 31:35 we have the quotation “Oh, that one would hear me; behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book”.  The word ‘book’ placed in the translation as the word of Job, could not have been stated as such by Job as the word ‘book’ was not even coined for hundreds of years later.  There was no such thing as a ‘book’ in those days.  What the writers of the King James version did was to decipher the meaning and place the word ‘book’ in the translation so that readers would know what Job was referring to in his writings.  Joseph Smith from the gold plates knew that a record was to come forth as seen by Nephi, and though Nephi did not know what the record would be called, Joseph Smith knew that what Nephi had seen was the Bible, so he placed the word ‘Bible’ in the Book of Mormon so the reader would understand what Nephi had reference to.  He did nothing more in either falsehood or ignorance than did the authors of our own King James Bible.  I suggest, gentlemen, that you give the Book of Mormon a constructive analysis, and consider seriously its doctrine and testimony of the Savior, rather than focus on minor questions of authenticity.

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