When Mormon Missionaries Come Knocking, Part 2

Recently, two Mormon missionaries came to my parent’s house while I was in town visiting. We couldn’t finish our heated discussion at the door, so we decided to continue the conversation over email. Here’s what I sent to them:

My Email to Mormon Missionaries

One of the things your partner said to me (or asked) was to read the Book of Mormon. This is a great intro into my context and thought process. I know your goal is to see if I get the “burning of the bosom,” and that’s how I know it’s the lost book and, therefore, the only true Christianity or religion (not sure if you consider yourselves Christians, to be honest). This troubles me for a few reasons:

  1. The Book of Mormon is not a theology book, from what I understand, but a historical book. Totally correct me where I’m wrong, I’m sure I am wrong in some ways here. Yes, there are SOME theological statements in there, but it’s not controversial, per se. You have other books of theology you adhere to. So the book of Mormon isn’t even the heart of Mormonism. I find this to be misleading.
  2. As a historical book, which many books in the Bible are, I would expect the same level of accuracy as the bible (written by God). For example, everything historically written in the bible has been proven to have happened or been true (like civilizations and people that existed). To this day- archeologists continue to find things that confirm the bible’s historical account of events and people. (wowza, our God is so good!)

God is Unchanging

My Reply To a Mormon Missionary About the Book of Mormon

The reason I expect the Book of Mormon to have the same level of accuracy is actually because of something I think we agree on- that God is unchanging (see verses below). Because God is unchanging, I can trust that the same God that wrote the bible, wrote the Book of Mormon (through Joseph Smith?), and your other books of theology. Since that’s the case, there should be the same level of perfection and accuracy- right?

Your own books confirm this in the Book of Mormon 9:19 and Moroni. 8:18

Malachi 3:6 states:

“For I am the Lord, I change not; Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

And Hebrews 13:8 states:

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”

Something we agree on, woot!

The Book of Mormon Must Be Fully True or Fully a Lie

In a nutshell- the Book of Mormon is exactly what Joseph Smith claims it is, or he made it up. There are no in-betweens; it’s either or. If it’s true, everything will be accurate and hold up. If not, it won’t be, and it’s evident he made it up. It can’t be a half-true and half-lie.

Let’s look at this some more:

Joseph Smith said he translated the Book of Mormon from a language called reformed Egyptian. Archaeologists and Egyptologists have found no evidence that this language ever existed. I know Hugh Nibley, a Mormon apologist, argues that reformed Egyptian is actually Meroitic, but that contradicts what Joseph Smith stated.

And if Joseph Smith can be wrong about that, what else is he wrong about? Hugh Nibley in essence just proved how unreliable Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are all while trying to defend it.

See my problem here?

No Evidence of Claims Made in the Book of Mormon

Furthermore, official LDS Church commentary on the Book of Mormon says that at least some ancestors of Native Americans came from the Jerusalem area; however, Native American linguistic specialists have not found any Native American language that appears to be related to languages of the ancient Near East. When there are claims like this in the Bible about the origin of anything, it’s proven true by outside historical texts and artifacts.

The Book of Mormon claims to be the original writings of Nephite leaders in ancient America, yet it contains paraphrased quotations from the 17th-century edition of the King James Bible (KJV) and the deuterocanonical books, which Joseph Smith’s bible had as well. How can this be?

Furthermore, the language of the Book of Mormon closely mimics the Elizabethan English used in the KJV, with 19th-century English mixed into it.

The Book of Mormon quotes 25,000 words from the KJV Old Testament and over 2,000 words from the KJV New Testament.

There are numerous cases where the Nephite writers mimic wording from the New Testament, a document to which they would have had no access if Joseph Smith and the BOM are accurate and truth. This is troubling.

Let’s look at examples:

“the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world (2 Nephi 9:18)

“the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34)

“he judgeth, and his judgment is just” (Mosiah 3:18)

“I judge: and my judgment is just” (John 5:30)

“he who is filthy shall remain in his filthiness” (Alma 7:21)

“he which is filthy, let him be filthy still” (Revelation 22:11)

“that one man should perish than that a nation should … perish in unbelief (1 Nephi 4:13)

“that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not” (John 11:50)

“the dog to his vomit, or like the sow to her wallowing in the mire” (3 Nephi 7:8)

“the dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:22)

“But There Are So Many Translations of the Bible, It Must Be Wrong”

Something else your mission partner brought up that I wanted to cover was the idea of different translations and how we can’t trust the bible because of that.

There are 24,000 original textual manuscripts of the bible, and 5000 of those manuscripts are in the original language, greek.

All of these can be studied, held (carefully lol), and scrutinized (and have been).

When compared- all the manuscripts matched up. The only discrepancies were things like saying. “Jesus Christ,” and another manuscript saying “Christ, Jesus.” Clearly, we can safely assume that difference doesn’t change who they are referring to.

From my understanding, there’s one “manuscript” of the Book of Mormon (something about gold tablets, you’re free to educate me here) yet nobody has actually ever seen it.

I Choose Truth

If I had to choose which to believe- the Bible or the Book of Mormon, I would go with the book that has 24,000 manuscripts that we can scrutinize and see with our own eyes. It’s purely logical at this point.

Burning of the Bosom

This is why I believe you have to ask people how they FEEL when reading the BOM, if they get the burning of the bosom. Because there’s no factual basis in reality in the book of Mormon and no way to confirm it as truth, so all you have left are feelings.

This brings us to my other issue:

In Jeremiah 17:9 it states:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

James 1:14:

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”

And there are many other verses about the flesh and not giving into the desires of our hearts- I’m sure you know many of them.

Why, then, would the God of perfection and accuracy that said our hearts deceive us ask us to rely on our hearts to know if the BOM is true?

He wouldn’t.

So Close But So Far

You mentioned how grace is free, which yes it is, but what you failed to mention was the rest of what you believe.

2 nephi 2: 23 states

“For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

It’s SO CLOSE to the truth, but where it differs is so important.

Ephesians 2:8-9 states: For by grace you have been saved athrough faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

See the difference? Where did the…”after all we can do” come from? That contradicts the bible. Both can’t be true. And back to my original point about truth and accuracy, if I have to choose, I’m going with the Bible.

Further- 2 Nephi 2:24 states: And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ until the law shall be fulfilled.

Jesus Fulfilled the Law of Moses

Jesus is the law- it’s been fulfilled. That’s what Christ meant on the cross when He said, “it is finished.” It’s finished. The jews no longer need to sacrifice, the temple is no longer needed, and all our sins are forgiven. There are no more works or sacrifices we can make to atone for our sins.

Both the Bible and the BOM Can’t Be True at the Same Time

BECAUSE there are so many contradictions between the Bible and the BOM (and your other texts), as a follower of truth, I am FORCED to pick. You cannot believe the Bible to be true, and Mormon texts to be true at the same time.

Let’s compare Moroni and Romans:

Moroni 10: 32:

“Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.”

Romans 5:8:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How can both these texts be true if they come from the same, perfect and holy God?

Further, Moroni 10:32 contradicts 2 Nephi 2:3-4 which you mentioned:

2 Nephi 2:3-4

“Wherefore, I know that thou art redeemed, because of the righteousness of thy Redeemer; for thou hast beheld that in the fulness of time he cometh to bring salvation unto men. 4 And thou hast beheld in thy youth his glory; wherefore, thou art blessed even as they unto whom he shall minister in the flesh; for the Spirit is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. And the way is prepared from the fall of man, and salvation is free.”

Which one is true? How can both verses from these texts both be true? It’s either free or earned.

I Cannot Trust the Book of Mormon

I do not intend to convince you of anything. I do, however, intend to show you WHY I have chosen to believe the Bible over religious Mormon texts. They both cannot factually be true at the same time. They cannot be written by the same perfect God, who makes no mistakes.

When I look into these texts of Mormonism, I don’t just take the verse and run with it, I read the entire context- I study it- and none of it adds up.

And again, if I have to choose a religious text, I’m going with the one that has been proven over and over in accuracy and prophecies. And the one that has over 24,000 manuscripts we can see and read and look at.

Whew- I have so much more I want to say!! But, you’re probably asleep over there lol! Again, take your time and thank you for reading this. I know it’s a lot. Pray….and….

To keep things light- do you have any pets at home you miss? We have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and a dragon over here (bearded dragon). It’s a zoo!

In Christ.

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