Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Questions Regarding the Book of Mormon - Part 1

Three thoughts to start with:

1.  The translation of the Book Of Mormon was purportedly done by revelation, and therefore no error of man should have been involved; no wrong names, no wrong words or grammatical errors, nothing to delete or add to the original translation.  If any additions or corrections are made, there is no way that the new editor can know what the original manuscript [the plates] actually said, and therefore no change to the original translation should be made.  Another problem throughout is the use of New Testament doctrine, which would be anachronistic before Christ died.

2.  Hebrews and Egyptians of the same period of time as the people in the Book of Mormon used prepared animal skins or papyrus for writing; why would the people of this Mormon record engrave on brass and gold plates?  Engraving is a slow process, even slower if the engraver casts his own plates, so one would expect the engravers to be very concise!  Yet the Book of Mormon is very wordy.

3.  Orson Pratt stated, about the Book of Mormon, "This book must be either true or false.  If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God...If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions who would sincerely receive it as the word of God, and will suppose themselves securely built upon the rock of truth until they are plunged with their families into hopeless despair.  The nature of the message in the Book Of Mormon is such, that if true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it; if false, no one can possibly be saved and receive it."

So the question I will be asking in this series of posts I’m beginning today is, “Can the Book of Mormon be true?”  Lets’ begin looking at my questions, addressing the book of 1 Nephi.

1.  1 Nephi 1:  Why is the record made in Egyptian by a Jew?  Especially since he lived his whole life in Jerusalem?  Hebrews hated Egyptians, and considered the Hebrew language to be sacred.  Besides this, why has no one ever found evidence of a “Reformed Egyptian” language from which the Book of Mormon was purportedly translated?

2.  1 Nephi 1:4, 13-14; 2:2:  The LDS claim that there can only be one prophet of God on earth at a time.  Lehi is said to have dwelt in Jerusalem during the first year of the reign of King Zedekiah, but according to Jer. 1:1-3; 37:1-2, Jeremiah was the prophet of God in Jerusalem at that time.  So according to LDS, Lehi could not have been a true prophet of God.

Another problem with Lehi being a prophet of God is that he prophesied that many inhabitants of Jerusalem would perish and that he and his family should depart from the Babylonian captivity.  But Jer. 27:6-17; 29:4-9 says this was the message of the false prophets.  God said that none of the captives were to be free, and they were to live and serve the king of Babylon in peace.  False prophets claiming otherwise would perish!  How do you solve this contradiction between the Bible and the BOM?

3.  1 Nephi 2:  Lehi, in 600 BC, takes his family out of Jerusalem during Nebuchadnezzar's siege, traveled on foot for three days in the wilderness, and came to a valley through which flowed a river that ran into the Red Sea.  According to 1 Nephi 16:12-13, they were traveling in a south-southeast direction.  Historical details of the siege tell us that anyone breaking out of Jerusalem was chased down and killed.  Even if Lehi's family did escape, travel under good conditions would be about three miles per hour, and the three days travel would take them about 75 miles, to the southern tip of the Dead Sea.  It would have taken them 7 days of favorable travel to reach the closest tip of the Red Sea.  There are no rivers in that part of the world.  After reaching "Bountiful" on the Persian Gulf, Nephi was commanded to go to the mountains for instruction on building the ship. There are no mountains for several hundred miles from the Persian Gulf.  How is this geographic problem solved?

4.  1 Nephi 2:5 has Lehi naming his son "Sam".  Isn't this an American nickname for "Samuel"?

5.  1 Nephi 4:9 has Laban with a steel sword.  Nephi himself claims to have had a steel bow (the word translated as steel in KJV Psalms 18:34 is more properly rendered as bronze).  How is this explained since steel did not exist until well over 1000 years after the Book of Mormon was completed?

6.  1 Nephi 8 Lehi has a dream wherein a river of water (8:13) and a fountain (8:20) are major symbolic factors.  In Chapter 11, the dream is interpreted for Nephi by an angel, and  he is told that the waters represent the love of God (11:25).  However, when the angel gives further counsel (12:16), we find the "love of God" has become "filthy water", and in chapter 15:26-29, the water is called "filthiness", because it represents the "awful hell" prepared for the wicked.  Isn’t there inconsistency in God's message?

7.  1 Nephi 10:  Uses the word "baptize".  This is a Greek word, the meaning of which is to wash or immerse in water.  Why is the Greek word here

8.  1 Nephi 11:18 originally stated in the 1830 Book of Mormon, "Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God."  This verse now reads, "Behold, the virgin whom thou seest, is the mother of the son of God."  How is this change explained since there were no plates to refer to?

9.  1 Nephi 11:21.  Page 25 of the 1830 edition says, "And the angel said unto me, Behold the Lamb of God, yea even the eternal father".  In later editions, and reads, "And the angel said unto me: Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the son of the eternal Father!"  How is this change explained?

10.  1 Nephi 11:32 in the 1830 version said, "And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God...yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world."  The passage now reads, "...yea, the Son of the everlasting God…"  Why the change?

11.  1 Nephi 18:25:  How did domestic animals, such as horses, pigs, sheep, cattle and donkeys, come to be found in about 590 BC when evidence confirms these animals did not exist in the New World until after the time of Columbus?  In addition to this error, the Nephites produce wheat and barley (Mosiah 9:9) rather than the indigenous maize and potatoes.  Ether 9:19 even has elephants in the New World!  How are these things explained?

12.  1 Nephi 19:10 mentions crucifixion.  This method of punishment was unknown at this period of time. (This word shows up again in many other places.)  Also, the prophecy is that there would be three days of darkness at Jesus' death, yet there is nothing about this in the Bible.

13.  1 Nephi 20 is virtually word-for-word KJV Isaiah 48, even down to the same verse numbers; chapter divisions first appeared in the Latin Vulgate in the 11th century and verse numbers first appeared in the 1500s!  Verse two contradicts Isaiah by saying they "do not stay", while Isaiah says they do “stay".  Another problem is the use of italicized words from KJV - they were inserted by the KJV translators!  This is the same problem in all the following KJV quotes throughout the Book of Mormon.  So aside from explaining how chapter and verse divisions could show up in a book written almost 2000 years before these divisions were first made, how can you explain “Reformed Egyptian” being translated into English and ending up word-for-word identical to 1611 English translation of Hebrew?  Why would Joseph Smith translate into obsolete English to begin with?  This problem runs throughout the Book of Mormon.

14.  1 Nephi 21 has the same problem as above; it is Isaiah 49 with a longer introduction and a few deletions and changes.  Verse 1 uses the word "pastors", which is anachronistic.  The word pastor simply means shepherd.

How are these oddities explained?

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