Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Testing the Book of Mormon

The following is an excerpt from the article by Keith Gibson, “The Book of Mormon: History or Fiction?”  It was in the September-October 2004 edition of the Areopagus Journal, from the Apologetics Resource Center.  Just something to think about the next time a Mormon “missionary” comes to your door.


Moroni 10:4-5 says,
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall 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.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.”

Based on this passage, the potential convert to Mormonism is instructed to read the BOM and pray about it.  If done with a sincere heart, the seeker will receive a testimony, supposedly from God, assuring them of the truthfulness of the document.  This testimony becomes the basis for the person’s faith that the book is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet.

The test is a form of circular reasoning.  The conclusion is presumed before the investigation begins.  A negative answer is not possible unless the person is not sincere.  A person who does not receive a testimony, or who has a negative testimony, is often instructed to read the book and pray again. But is this the right way to test for truth?

Secondly, the Mormon is somewhat disingenuous in proposing this test because he would never use it to determine the truth of anything else.  For instance, would he be willing to read the Koran and pray about its truthfulness?  Why not?  The answer should be interesting.

Lastly, this is not the biblical means for examining a teaching.  Acts 17:11 says, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (ESV).  Notice that the Bible commends these Jews because they examined Paul’s teachings in the light of what they knew God had already said to determine if Paul was bringing the truth.  We are never told to determine truth by a subjective experience because the possibility of being deceived is too great.

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