A Second Witness

The Book of Mormon is something that is often misunderstood. I’ve met a lot of people that refer to it as the “Mormon Bible”. Some people don’t think that Latter-day Saints even believe in the Bible, or that we don’t put the Bible into any high regard.

Here’s the truth: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.” ~ Joseph Smith (Articles of Faith 8)

The Holy Bible is the word of God. Mormons firmly believe this. We love the Bible for what it contains, especially concerning Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry and the dealings of His original twelve apostles. Through the centuries it has gone through numerous translations and unfortunately has been, to a degree, altered by man. It is a miracle that it has survived throughout the years. No doubt God has preserved it. But corruption has entered in. Many precious truths that it once contained have been changed or removed by those under the influence of Satan.

The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, is exactly what the subtitle suggests. It is another testament. The Bible contains the Old and New Testaments; the Book of Mormon contains Another Testament. It does not add to or take away from the Bible, but is simply more of God’s word. The Book of Mormon serves to support and complement the Bible, and it gives important and necessary doctrines that the Bible lacks. Together they go hand in hand to testify and teach of Jesus Christ.

If you don’t believe me, read the Book of Mormon. See for yourself what it contains.

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. (2 Corinthians 13:1)

The Book of Mormon is a second witness of Jesus Christ. Read it and, by the power of the Holy Spirit, find out for yourself. I can promise you that if you do so sincerely, wanting to know if it is true, and having faith in Jesus Christ, you will receive your answer.

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (1 John 21:25)

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10 responses

  1. Could I ask you to please define the “numerous translations” that the Bible has gone through? I find this to be a place the Bible is very misunderstood.

    You also state, “Many precious truths that it once contained have been changed or removed by those under the influence of Satan.” Can you give me some examples of these truths that have been changed or removed?

    Also, hasn’t the Book of Mormon gone through changes since its first printing? There are over 3900 documented changes made to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon. Wouldn’t this mean that either the 1830 edition was corrupt or that the Book of Mormon has also fallen prey to corruption over the years?

    • Changes to the Book of Mormon have been grammatical and spelling changes.

      Unlike the Bible, the Book of Mormon has had the advantage of the printing press to make copies to send throughout the world. The Bible has been translated and copied over and over by very primitive means. i.e. by hand. Accidental and deliberate changes would obviously result. Some examples: infant baptism. It is a common practice, yet Christ Himself said to suffer the little children to come unto Him, for such is the kingdom of heaven. The Book of Mormon clearly teaches that infant baptism is an abomination, for it makes an assumption that an infant that dies would go to Hell.

      The Book of Mormon teaches about the state of the spirit after it is separated from the body, before it is once again reunited with its body as an immortal being, to be judged. Modern revelation, i.e. the Doctrine and Covenants, explains the kingdoms of glory. For Christ said that in His Father’s house there are many mansions. Paul also tells us that there is one glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars, and that he was also caught up into the “third heaven”.

      Baptism for the dead is also something one can find in modern revelation. The Bible barely touches on it in 1 Corinthians 15:29, when Paul asks “what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?”

      We know that the Old Testament is essentially a foreshadowing of the Savior Jesus Christ, i.e. the Mosaic Law and symbolic stories such as Abraham offering Isaac and Joseph of Egypt, yet Christ’s name is never mentioned. Certainly there has been some tampering involved there. And many books are mentioned in the Bible that are not actually present:

      Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer. (1 Chronicles 29:29).

      Please don’t misunderstand. Just as I stated in my blog post, Mormons love the Bible. It is indeed the word of God. It is holy scripture, but it is not infallible. The Book of Mormon and the Bible support each other. And the Bible has many things that aren’t found in the Book of Mormon, obviously. Like Jesus Christ’s ministry and the acts of the apostles, as well as the creation of the world, the history of the children of Israel, etc. etc.

      The Book of Mormon isn’t perfect. The prophet Moroni in the Book of Mormon stated, “And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.” (Mormon 8:17). There may be some technical errors, but the doctrine is sound and perfect. Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon is the most correct book on earth. He wasn’t referring to the ink on the pages, he was referring to the message the book contains.

      Hope that was all… well… easy to read and stuff. I’m not very good at organizing thoughts and such.

      • As it would take a fair bit of space to reply to all that was said a will do it in a few sections.

        First

        You said, “Changes to the Book of Mormon have been grammatical and spelling changes.”

        Do these examples fall under “grammatical changes”?

        1Nephi 11:18 changed “mother of God” to “mother of the Son of God”.

        Or verse 21 changed “behold the Lamb of God, yea even the Eternal Father” to “Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father”.

        Or verse 32 changed “the Everlasting God” to “the Son of the everlasting God”

        Or Mosiah 21:38 changed “King Benjamin” to “King Mosiah”.

        There are many others, but these give you some examples. I’m sure you can see how the first three have great impact on doctrine and the fourth greatly effects history. These have further bearing on the “inspiration” of the Book of Mormon translation when you take into account the following information:

        Joseph F. Smith stated, “Joseph did not render the writing on the gold plates into the English language in his own style of language as many people believe, but every word and every letter was given to him by the gift and power of God. . . . The Lord caused each word spelled as it is in the book to appear on the stones in short sentences or words, and when Joseph had uttered the sentence or word before him and the scribe had written it properly, that sentence would disappear and another appear. And if there was a word wrongly written or even a letter incorrect the writing on the stones would remain there . . . and when corrected the sentence would disappear as usual.”

        And David Whitmer said, “I shall now give to you a description of the manner in which the Book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.”

        Although some of the original manuscript is gone, the handwritten manuscript of the Book of Mormon exists for 1 Nephi 11:32, and it reads just as the 1830 edition as opposed to the modern editions. Do you see the ramifications of this? Joseph Smith “translated” 1Nephi 11 in a way that was later edited to match LDS doctrine. Joseph Smiths translation was supposed to be not only word for word, but letter for letter. So did God get some things wrong during translation, or did God’s Word change over time? There really is no other explanation.

        If you would like to reply to these things outside of your blog, me email address is folwm@hotmail.com

        I hope to hear from you soon.

      • I’d rather not use my missionary email to converse with you on this matter. Nothing personal, but I use it to talk with my family and some friends and I’d just like to keep it at that. Plus I only log into it once a week.

        In response to those changes: There isn’t a Mosiah 21:38. Just… pointing that out. I’ll assume you made a typo or something. Those other changes really don’t affect doctrine all that much. There are verses in the Book of Mormon even now that state Christ is God or that He is the Father and so forth. The fact is that Christ is indeed the Father, but He is not Eloheim. Christ is the “Father” in the sense that He has created this world, and us. And through baptism we are spiritually born of Him, and therefore He is our Father in a metaphorical sense, but He is not Heavenly Father, the ultimate creator of the universe and the actual and literal Father of our spirits.

        Not to sound completely obvious, but I don’t know everything. So I won’t act like I have an answer to your concerns, nor will I try and just think of something that sounds intelligent to cover up for my lack of knowledge. And to be completely honest, none of your concerns really bother me. I can see why they would bother you, and they are certainly things worth bringing up. But the fact is, I have read the Book of Mormon, and I have prayed, asking my Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, if it is true. I did this later in my teenage years…about. 17 years old. You know what my answer was? My answer was a rather rebuking “You already know it’s true.” Nevertheless, I have experienced remarkable (to me) feelings that have testified to me that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.

        Of course, this doesn’t help you much. I don’t expect you to take my word for it. But I fear that you’re taking too much notice upon technicalities. Truly, I understand, being somewhat of a logical thinker myself. But… you see… I know the Book of Mormon is true. It’s a knowledge that I cannot deny. Therefore… any argument placed against it has no effect. Sure, there are many things that I don’t know how to explain, but if the Book of Mormon is true, it doesn’t matter. I have faith that there are answers. I exhort you, with every feeling that can possibly be felt through an online message, to nurture your faith, and trust that God knows better than we do.

      • My mistake–you were right it was a typo. The correct reference is Mosiah 21:28.

        I do see a HUGE difference in doctrine there, but even if you don’t, can you please explain how, if it was translated letter for letter and word for word, that there had to be later edits and changes done to that manuscript? Remember that the original manuscript agreed with the 1830 edition and disagrees with modern editions.

        There have also been other changes (even in my lifetime) such as 2 Nephi 30:6.

        1979 reads:
        they shall be a white and delightsome people.

        1981 reads:
        pure and a delightsome people.

        This is particularly interesting considering that in 1978, the priesthood was given to the blacks.

        Both Bruce R. McConkie and Spencer W. Kimball referred to the passage (before being changed) and applied it to the literal color of skin.

      • I am aware of the change from “white” to “pure”. I still believe the meaning is the same, that the skin color is what is being referred to. The curse upon the Lamanites could easily be seen as an ‘impurity’ in their skin. The issue with blacks is a little more touchy (I’m sure you’re fully aware of the things one can read in “Mormon Doctrine”). Ultimately it’s all the same though. The Book of Mormon makes other mention of white skin. When Jesus Christ comes to the Americas, their skin is changed to white. So… I mean… this is just me talking here, but I would figure if they were trying to cover up something they would make such a change to all of the references, and not just one or two.

        As for the word for word thing, again, I don’t know everything. At the moment, I don’t have a definite answer for you. I don’t see it as a flaw in the Book of Mormon, or an error on God’s part. For whatever reason, God had it translated and has seen fit to make alterations to better suit His purposes. And again, I know the Book of Mormon is true. Therefore… I honestly can’t say I’m concerned with these things. I know there are answers. I just don’t know what they are.

        As a former/inactive member of the Church, you should be well aware of what a missionary is for. We aren’t here to explain away every little technicality. We are here to testify of Jesus Christ, to testify of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, and to testify that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.

        “Our main task is to declare the gospel and do it effectively. We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man eventually is backed up to the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand.” – Ezra Taft Benson

      • I have never asked you to “explain away every little technicality”. Evidence that the Book of Mormon is hardly the divine scripture that it claims to be is hardly a “little technicality”. There are so many other things that show this, but I will not bother you with them. I would, however like to point out that you said many things in the post that are inaccurate. This is another problem, because to proclaim the gospel of the God of Truth cannot be done with untrue information (for the record, I do not mean by untrue that you are lying—only misinformed)

        The method of translation/transmission of the Bible is obviously highly misunderstood by you—as it was by me before I started to really investigate this. This is a very long topic, but an extremely short (and, unfortunately, not very thorough) explanation would be that there was not, for example, one copy of the original Bible (we will call it manuscript A), which was then copied to make manuscript B, which was copied to make manuscript C, etc. Each book would have been copied multiple times (and each book would have been copied at separate times and in separate places). Copies of the manuscripts spread all over the world. There was never a time when any group had control of the Biblical manuscripts and would have been capable of making changes to suit their doctrine. Yes, some variants showed up through copyist errors, but, because of such a large number of manuscripts, those variants are usually quite easy to spot. There are a few areas that cannot be 100% guaranteed of what the original said, but there is no area of Christian doctrine that rests on those variants. As more ancient manuscripts are discovered (we are to about 6000 now) we see all that much more clearly that God’s Word has not changed. Each new discovery only adds to the confidence that we can put into the Bible.

        With your “list of changes” you mentioned infant baptism. Could you please show me where in the Bible is commands infant baptism? It is not there—infant baptism is not based on a Bible verse—it is based on the understanding of a group of Christians that baptism replaced circumcision as the sign of the covenant, and therefore should be applied to infants like circumcision was. For the record, I am not one of those—I believe in believers baptism—not infant baptism.

        You also mentioned that Christ’s name was never mentioned in the OT. This is quite interesting for a couple of reasons. First, why does His name have to be given for prophecy about Him to be true? I think that the most interesting part of this is that “Christ” is mentioned in the OT. “Christ is the English version of the Greek word (Christos) for “Messiah” (or anointed one). The reason why this is so interesting is that the Book of Mormon people would have had no way to understand Greek, so the term “Christ” would have been utter nonsense (the same would go for the term “Alpha and Omega”)

        You also mentioned that “many books are mentioned in the Bible that are not actually present”. The fact that the Bible would mention that there are other books with information regarding certain events in no way means that those other books are meant to be part of Scripture. It would be like mentioning a newspaper article or a book from a well known author. There is no reason whatsoever to believe that the Bible is “missing” books that God intended to be in Scripture.

        I see my reply is getting quite long, so I will stop here.

      • Sorry, as far as infant baptism is concerned, I didn’t mean to make it sound like the Bible commands it or anything. I meant to say that it’s something that is commonly practiced (depending on the are), and that the Bible really doesn’t hold any information on the topic in general, but the Book of Mormon does.

        As far as the Bible translation goes, I’m no historian. In fact, I hate history. It’s necessary, but I find it rather boring. So I can’t say I’ve delved into my Biblical research. But I do know the Bible is missing things. The Joseph Smith translations point out many things that have been taken out, and there are things that the Book of Mormon explains much more thoroughly, which leads me to believe that such things must have once been included in the early manuscripts.

        Yes, Messiah is mentioned in the OT. “Jesus Christ”, however, is not mentioned at all. I mean… this is strictly opinion, but that just seems strange to me. One would assume that it would at least appear once, but it never does. Yes, “Christ” is in the Book of Mormon, multiple times. “Christian” is also mentioned. Most likely it was another word that was, you could say, an impossible word to translate. So it was put into a word that we would understand. That’s how good translation works. But again, I don’t really know. Maybe the term “Christ” really was used among the Book of Mormon people, and they simply understood it as the title that it is. The same could be said about Alpha and Omega. But once again, I don’t know for sure. It really doesn’t concern me at all.

        Your comment on the lost books could certainly be true. It’s a very logical point. I don’t see it that way, but that’s just my opinion.

        The thing is… is that this is just… a debate. I’m not sure quite how to say what I’m trying to get at here. But… all these little points that you’re trying to make are all based upon man’s reasoning. I hope that isn’t insulting. I don’t mean it to be, and I truly understand your concerns. Like I said, I’m a very logical thinker. I like to see and understand for myself why things are what they are. But you can’t throw away faith.

        For we walk by faith, not by sight ~ 2 Corinthians 5:7

        I know the Book of Mormon is true. It’s a fact that the Book of Mormon is true. And I honestly don’t know what else to tell you. I’ve had it confirmed to me by the Holy Spirit, and nothing you bring forth is going to change that fact. You have my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and you can take it or leave it. I don’t have all the answers. I barely have a few. How does one explain eternity? How can God be everywhere? How can he have all power? How did Jesus walk on water, or multiply bread, or walk through a wall? How are we to know? Does it matter? Not really. That’s the way I see this entire thing. I know the Book of Mormon is true, and therefore Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and therefore the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church. The fact that I don’t know the answers to all these things doesn’t matter, because there are answers… they’re just not important. I urge you to stop listening to the natural man in your head and start listening to the Holy Ghost in your heart.

      • You ended your last reply with, “I urge you to stop listening to the natural man in your head and start listening to the Holy Ghost in your heart.” I am sure that you are aware that I would say the same thing to you. This is where we run into trouble with this idea. I have no doubt that you are completely sincere in your belief, and I can assure you that I am equally sincere in my belief. Both of us would say that we have faith in what we believe because the Holy Spirit has opened our eyes and our hearts to the truth of those beliefs. We can compound the problem by looking at the fact that there are people of other religions that are equally convinced and equally sincere. Don’t get me wrong—I am not saying that faith is unimportant. I don’t believe you can be saved without faith. What I am saying is that there is an important place for the factual/historical side of the coin as well. All other things being equal, if historical facts support one belief and do not support the other, these facts become crucial in determining truth. If, for example, Joseph Smith claimed to translate the Book of Mormon in a manner that historical facts show was not the case (as in the need to edit/change later editions to read differently than his manuscripts), this causes great need for concern. There is a vast difference between understanding how Jesus performed miracles and understanding blatant contradiction to fact. Furthermore, if we both agree that the Bible is the Word of God (although I recognize the fact that you would say that it is corrupted—which I would say makes it NOT the Word of God), and we both agree that God is a God of truth—and that that truth does not change, then we should both be able to agree that our faith should be based on something that does not contradict God’s Word.

        On a side note.
        In reference to your statement that the Bible is obviously missing things–such as Jesus’ name in the OT. Did you ever notice that Jesus didn’t seem to thing that this was an issue? He often quoted Scripture. He recognized it as God’s Word. He never corrected it, and He never said something was missing. If there was supposed to be a direct reference to Jesus–as in that His name would be Jesus, He would be the son of Mary, and Joseph would be her husband, etc., don’t you think Jesus would have maybe mentioned that? It would have made his case so much easier, but, instead, He spent much of His ministry not even wanting the general public to know that he was the Christ. Just something to think about.

        God bless.

      • The fact is, when I receive a witness from the Holy Ghost that something is true, I don’t worry about the other “facts” that people present. Not anymore at least. I used to. I used to doubt a lot. In fact, there was a point in my life when I had decided I wouldn’t go on a mission, because my testimony was empty. As I have said before, I know the Book of Mormon is true. I understand that others in the world have a firm, sincere belief in their own faiths, Christian or not. I won’t argue with their faith, because there is truth in many things. Their good feelings are indeed the Spirit testifying of truth in their lives, but it’s only pieces of truth. It’s not the complete truth. Truth indeed does not change, but is not revealed to us all at once. When more truth is revealed, we may often see that as a change. It’s simply because our perspective is limited, whereas God’s is not.

        In response to your last paragraph. You’re right, it would’ve been easier for Jesus to be like “Hey… see my name their in your scrolls? Yeah, there ya go…” It would’ve been much easier. He purposely chose the more difficult path. Just like when Satan tempted Him to throw himself off the pinnacle and have the angels help Him up. That would’ve been a pretty easy way to get some converts, but He chose the better way. He didn’t make any corrections because He didn’t need to. I didn’t say it was a huge issue, it’s just something I felt like bringing up.

        Being a pastor, I’m sure you understand that the Bible is not a book, but a collection of books. It’s not a set thing, ya know? When those manuscripts were being written, they didn’t know they would later be compiled, placed in a specific order, and called the New Testament. I’m sure I’ve already mentioned this scripture somewhere: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” – John 21:25

        Who are we to say that God and Jesus Christ have ceased speaking? Do you honestly think that all that God has, is, and ever will speak can be found in one little book? I doubt it. I can’t imagine why God would just say “Here’s this book. It’s got everything you need. . . . There you go, have fun.” No, of course not. He would continue to give us His word through prophets and apostles, through modern revelation.

        I’ll leave you, once again, with my testimony. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I invite you to read it (again) and pray about it. The prophet Moroni has promised you that if you ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost. Perhaps you have allowed that witness to escape your conscience. I have no idea. I don’t know you. I don’t know what you’ve been through or what has made you think the way you do. But I urge you to read the Book of Mormon, without bias or prejudice, without preconceived notions. You must sincerely want to know if it is true. That is the only way.

        God bless you as well, my friend.

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