If you are just now tuning in, you might want to recap Part 1 and Part 2 First. This is my response to the email an Mormon missionary sent back to me with questions I had etc. I hope this helps you if a Mormon missionary ever knocks on your door, or I guess if they send you an email. I will mark his response and then mine.
Part 3 of When a Mormon Missionary Comes Knocking (via email)
Mormon Missionary Response:
The Book of Mormon and the Bible are essentially the same, books on history that give a godly view of events that take place and how God guided and directed His people through prophets and angels and the Spirit, etc.
This is not entirely true, and the difference matters. YES- there are different styles of writing (historical, poetry, prophetic, etc) in both. However, Christians like myself believe it’s not just a Godly view of events, but DIVINELY inspired and infallible. Meaning- everything is from God and true.
Just like the Bible tells about certain kings in history that existed, the Book of Mormon tells of people that actually existed, and there’s archeological evidence for both.
Me: Truth Must Be Supported By Evidence
Yes! And there is evidence for these Kings and people in other religious texts (the Koran, for example) and physical objects that prove these people existed. Nobody, historians or archeologists, denies their existence.
The Smithsonian Institution, the most respected archeological/historical institution in the world, confirm the people mentioned in the bible, and the places, that existed- and they do this with thousands of pieces of evidence.
However, according to archeologists from the same Smithsonian Institution, the highest-regarded archeological institution in the world- archaeologists see no archaeological support for the historical events in the Book of Mormon or for a migration from Israel to America.
Can you show me where this archeological evidence is apart from LDS documents?
Reformed Egyptian is not a language that Joseph Smith claimed; it’s actually straight from the Book of Mormon, you can read about it in Mormon 9:32-34 (this should clear up the linguist issue too).
That’s the thing- reformed Egyptian has no evidence of ever existing. Can you show me proof of its existence outside the Book of Mormon?
As far as I know, reformed Egyptian is similar to the block Hebrew that has been found in the Americas which wasn’t discovered when the book was translated.
Me: If There’s No Evidence, Joseph Smith Lied
There’s no linguist or historian that can find evidence of reformed Egyptian existence outside of the BOMs claim. Whereas every language in the Bible can be proven as existing without the Bible.
Can you show me evidence of this outside of LDS documents? If it’s true, there should be ample evidence of it throughout historical documents.
Also, Hugh Nibley wasn’t ever the prophet; there’s a list you can find online of the whole lineage.
He was an apologist, not a prophet- an apologist is just someone that defends their beliefs. ;o)
There are plenty of times the New Testament quotes the Old Testament, if anything I would think that all the similarities would be evidence that the prophets all over the world received revelation from the same God.
Me: Test The Spirits and Prophets
Oh yes, this is very true! And yes, many prophets spoke on behalf of God for His people in the old testament. However, once Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins, there was no more need for prophets. We didn’t need to have an “in-between” because the law of Moses and the prophecies had been fulfilled. (that’s what Christians believe). In fact, the bible warns against false prophets and prophesies that many will come claiming to be a prophet, and they are not so.
Jeremiah 14:13–14 “Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ ” And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.”
Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
Matthew 24:24–25 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.”
Mark 13:22–23 “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.”
2 Corinthians 11:13–15 “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”
Colossians 2:8–10 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
1 Timothy 4:1–3 “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”
2 Peter 2:1–3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.”
1 John 4:1–3 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
2 John 9 “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.”
Revelation 2:2–3 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.”
Not to mention the number of connections that Joseph Smith would have had to look up would have made the whole process take way longer than 65 days, not to mention the stories, poetry, details about war, doctrine, etc. It had to have been received by revelation from the same God who helped orchestrate the Old and New Testaments.
Me: It’s Not Hard To Make Untrue Things Up
I disagree with this- it’s also very easy to make stuff up in 65 days. I’m a writer for my work, and I can write 100,000 words in two weeks. All while raising kids and being a wife.
Additionally, the bible tell us that if the things the prophet talks about do not come to pass, we can know they are not of God. Joseph Smith made claims that have been proven to be false (the Egyptian language for example, and civilizations he mentions in the BOM have no evidence of ever existing).
Deuteronomy 18:21–22 “And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.”
The questions about the translation of the Bible can be answered in 1 Nephi 13 which is a vision that Nephi has about the events in Jerusalem. It explains that the pure truths that were removed from the Bible were removed before it was spread to the world and copied by scribes and such.
Me: The Dead Sea Scrolls for The Win
Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea Scrolls? The Dead Sea Scrolls—comprising more than 800 documents made of animal skin, papyrus, and even forged copper—deepened our understanding of the Bible and shed light on the histories of Judaism and Christianity. They were discovered in Palenstine in 1946. We can see them and look at them to this day.
Among the texts are parts of every book of the Hebrew canon. Most were written between 200 B.C. and the period prior to the failed Jewish revolt to gain political and religious independence from Rome that lasted from A.D. 66 to 70—predating by 8 to 11 centuries the oldest previously known Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible.
They also illuminate the Bible’s composition. Prior to their discovery, the earliest surviving copies of the Hebrew Bible dated to around 1000 C.E. The scrolls are a millennium earlier. Scholars are able to see continuity between the scrolls and later biblical manuscripts.
The reason these are important is that they confirmed the accuracy of the old testament. There were no missing books. There were no additional books.
Not sure how else God confirms truth to us. Obviously, our faith in the Bible shouldn’t be based on historical accuracy, it should be based on the Holy Ghost confirming it to us, the Bible talks about us receiving truth from the spirit all the time. James 1:5 is one that is used fairly often, Roman’s 8:16, although one could argue that we can’t receive our own spiritual confirmation because they say scripture isn’t up for private interpretation. Point being, I hope that you believe the Bible to be true because the Holy Ghost has testified of it, not because of the archeological evidence. We believe the Book of Mormon to be true because the Holy Ghost testifies of the events therein.
We are told to TEST the spirits – 1st John 4 is a great example:
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. 4 Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”
Acts is great too-
Acts 17:11 “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
I’ll respond to the last part of your email next week- there’s a lot there, and I want to be able to read the passages you refer to and make sure I do a good study of what your faith teaches and what mine does. And I think I have probably already gone overboard here hahahahaha!
Thank you so much for responding, teaching me more about what you believe, and being so kind. I’m loving digging into the bible more, and yes, even the BOM (though I find it incredibly problematic still lol).