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What is the purpose of the Book of Mormon?  It is not needed  — Section 23

Representative of a Christian church:

I have a question.  What does the Book of Mormon actually contain?  It does not contain the ‘missing books’, ‘the plain and precious things’, or any doctrine that the Bible does not contain.  There is nothing new found in it at all.  It does not teach a thing about baptism for the dead or the Mormon concept of three heavens, and if sanctification was taught in the Bible and the people were sanctified by the word in the Bible, what need have we for a Book of Mormon?  What does the book teach us that the Bible does not?

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

I would like to answer your question using the words of one of the recognized founders of the Church of Christ, Alexander Campbell.  Speaking of the Book of Mormon, Mr. Campbell said, “It decides all the great controversies: 1) infant baptism  2) the nature of the Trinity  3) regeneration  4) the true nature of repentance  5) justification  6) the Fall of Man  7) the Atonement of Christ  8) transubstantiation  9) fasting  10) penance  11) church government  12) the call to the ministry   13) the general resurrection  14) eternal punishment  15) who may baptize  16) Free Masonry  17) republican government  18) the rights of man.”  As implied by Mr. Campbell, the Book of Mormon clears up the confusion of the Bible, and it testifies to the world that Christ is the Son of God.  It is a new witness for Christ, and the only book on earth that testifies that God is just and that He will reveal his words to all people.  Sir, you know that my companion and I have been baffled by some of your questions today.  At times you seem to “strain at a gnat but swallow a camel”, as Christ Himself said to unbelievers.  You have expressed your belief today that the Book of Mormon is a false book, and your reasoning is that it contradicts the Bible.  It might be because you feel that some words appear to be out of place.  Lord Bacon once said, “Read not to contradict and refute, nor to believe and take for granted; read to weigh and consider.”  The Book of Mormon is meant to be read sincerely, front to back, and then to ask God if it is a true book of scripture.  The Book of Mormon has withstood scrutiny and attempted ‘exposures’ over many decades.  You say that the Book of Mormon is false because Alma 7:10 refers to Christ as being born “at” Jerusalem, where the Bible says that He was born “in” Bethlehem.  That question is very adequately answered by referring to 2 Kings 14;19-20, which states that Amaziah “…was buried at Jerusalem with his fathers in the city of David.”  It is apparent that Bethlehem, the city of David, was in the LAND of Jerusalem.  We would point out that there is a contradiction in the Bible itself, with Acts 9:7 stating that certain men heard a voice, but saw no man; yet in Acts 22:9 Paul recounts that these same men saw the light but heard not the voice.  There are also Bible contradictions wherein the different writers reported differing inscriptions above Christ on the cross, and Luke 23:44 refers to three hours of darkness between the 6th and 9th hours as Christ hung on the cross, yet Mark’s account states that Christ was crucified at the 3rd hour.  Also, John 19:14 informs us that Jesus was still with Pilate at the 6th hour, but according to Mark Jesus had been on the cross for three hours at that point in time.  We also read in Matthew 27:9-10 of Matthew quoting Jeremiah concerning the prophecy of the thirty pieces of silver, and the Old Testament proves that it was not Jeremiah who made the prophecy, but Zechariah.  We would also mention the martyr Stephen’s testimony in Acts 7:22 wherein he states, “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deed”, yet Moses said in Exodus 4:10 “O my Lord, I am not eloquent…but I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue”.  Thus, the Lord provided Aaron as his spokesman.  So either Stephen or the translators of the Bible were mistaken.

The Book of Mormon is criticized because it is supposed to contain grammatical errors, and yet we have grammatical errors in the Bible as well.  The sentence attributed to the Savior, “Whom do men say that I, the son of man, am?”  is grammatically incorrect.  In this sentence, the verb ‘am’ is a ‘be’ verb, making the sentence intransitive, and an intransitive sentence never takes an object.  A sentence like that would rank as a ‘D’ on any college term paper.  People attack the Book of Mormon because in 2 Nephi 28 it states that if you accept only the Bible, you are foolish.  In John 16:13, however, we are told that the Spirit will guide us into ALL truth, and the Savior Himself told us in Matthew 4:4 that we are to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.  The Book of Mormon contains truth and the words of God, and thus we should accept it, and not be ‘foolish’.  It should be obvious to all that when you criticize the Book of Mormon, you can usually level the same criticism at the Bible.  We as Latter-day Saints make the bold claim that there are no contradictions in the Book of Mormon, but we can easily point out at least 10 contradictions in the Bible.  Many of Christ’s quotations of ancient prophets do not contain exactly the same wording.  Yet here is Joseph Smith, who in less than 60 days wrote a 552-page book, containing more that 300,000 words, about ancient America without the assistance of any outside information and with only 3 years of formal education, and you want a grammatically perfect copy.  It took 54 scholars from Oxford, Cambridge, and Westminster four years to write and translate the King James version of the Bible, and there are still grammatical errors and contradictions in it.  People have criticized the Book of Mormon for its poor English, yet they ignore the poor English of Genesis 18:2, Genesis 43:25, Leviticus 11:21, 2 Kings 19:35, and John 4:2.  They find punctuation errors in the Book of Mormon, and yet they ignore the errors that still exist in the Bible found in Luke 23:32 and Acts 19:12.  How interesting that the Lord Himself, in the Lord’s prayer, prayed that God would not lead us into temptation, yet James wrote, “God is neither tempted, neither tempteth he any man.”  The Book of Mormon is a testimony of Jesus Christ, written by a humble servant, a prophet of God, and is a book that is miraculous in both origin and doctrine.  Gentlemen, the book is true, and I declare it with God as my witness.

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