The book of Mormon is 531 pages long, and like the bible each page is divided into two columns, understandably when questioned about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Mormon Missionaries will say how could Joseph Smith the one that translated and then dictated the contents of this book to those that wrote it down for him have made this up?
In this and one or two more articles I am going to show that Joseph Smith did not at all make the contents of the Book of Mormon up out of his own mind. What Smith did was copy contents and ideas from a variety of sources and put them together in the Book of Mormon. No source was used more in this process than the Bible. It is Estimated around a third of the Book of Mormon is content taken from the King James version of the bible.
Understandably people in the Mormon church will say that it is a good thing and a sign of the Authenticity of the book of Mormon that so much of its themes and teachings are the same as the bible, even much of the theology is so much closer to biblical theology than the Mormon church of today, there is much less fault to find with it than there is the religion of Mormonism. However the Book of Mormon is the tool used to convert people to Mormonism and it is claimed it is a historical account of actual people and is all inspired scripture taken from the gold plates revealed to Joseph Smith. In light of how clear it is that Joseph Smith used various sources to create the book of Mormon, this belief cannot go unchallenged.
So for those who don’t know the Mormon belief is that Most of the Book of Mormon was wrote before Christ came to Earth and certainly before the New Testament was written, in the bottom right of every page in the Book of Mormon it tells you the year that particular page is believed to have been wrote in.
So 3 Nephi 15:17 in the Book of Mormon says this:
That other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
John 10:16 In the King James version says this:
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.
This one could make sense as the Book of Mormon says this was wrote in the time of Jesus, however the problem is the almost exact wording to go with the King James version of the bible, the very version Joseph Smith had.
This is a very regular occurrence within the Book of Mormon, a significant example is the parallels between Lazarus rising from the dead and Alma 19.
One — In both stories a man seems to die and a period of time elapses:
- “And it came to pass that after two days and two nights they were about to take his body and lay it in a sepulchre…” (Book of Mormon, Alma 19:1)
- “Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.” (Bible, John 11:17)
Two — Both Martha and an unnamed queen use the words “he stinketh”:
- “…others say that he is dead and that “he stinketh…” (Alma 19:5)
- “…by this time he stinketh…” (John 11:39)
Three — Both Ammon and Jesus use the word “sleepeth” with regard to the man:
- “…he sleepeth… ” (Alma 19:8)
- “…Lazarus sleepeth… “(John 11:11)
Four — Both Ammon and Jesus say that the man will rise again:
- “…he shall rise again…” (Alma 19:8)
- “Thy brother shall rise again.” (John 11:23)
Five — As we will show below, the conversation between Ammon and the queen contains phrases that are strangely similar to those used by Jesus and Martha.
Six — In both cases the man arose:
- “…he arose…” (Alma 19:12)
- “…he that was dead came forth…” (John 11:44)
(http://www.utlm.org/newsletters/no86.htm#Plagiarism From John
The similarities between these two is unbelievable and shows that Smith did not just copy texts from the Bible he copied story lines too.
One of the claims of the Mormon Church about the bible is that parts have been added or taken away to water down the original meaning, while I do not think this is the case I do accept there are times when things may have been added, however due to the many texts that we have from all over the world of the bible we can soon see which parts may have been added as they are not in other texts.
An example of this is Mark 16:15-18
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
This does not appear in many manuscripts and is believed to have been wrote in the 2nd Century. Interestingly however we see this in the book of Mormon.
22 For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature;
23 And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned;
24 And these signs shall follow them that believe—in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover;
Consider just how similar these are and that the text shown in Mark will have been in the King James Bible Joseph Smith was in possession of.
As well as the bible there are cases within the Apocrypha where we see alarming similarities between this and the Book of Mormon. The Apocrypha is a set of books wrote around bible times that contains things not considered by Most Christians and the Mormon church to be scripture, but still gives a useful context to bible times.
In 2 Maccabees we see a very familiar name.
2 Maccabees 1:36 And Neemias called this thing Naphthar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.
Even the name of the most famous Mormon angel was not original, Smith seems to have taken it from this Apocryphal book, the reference to the name here is not of an angel but seems to be about a place of some kind.
As this goes on we see a parallel of the use of the Name Nephi.
2 Nephi 5:8 “And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi.
2 Maccabees 1:34, 36 “Then the king, inclosing the place, made it holy… many men call it Nephi.”
There is a long list of comparisons between the two, to save space here please check out this site
So going back to the Bible, as well as content we have doctrinal things taken from the bible to the book of Mormon, again this should be the case if both are from the same God, however a Mormon belief is that the same gospel has been preached through all the ages both Old and New Testament. This leads to these verse in an Old Testament context.
2 Nephi 25:23 ….”For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
This is believed to have been wrote between B.C 559 and 545, nowhere in the Old Testament do we see the discussion of being saved by Grace and Works, this was not an issue in the Old Testament Covenant, as God’s people were the Jews and those alone and this discussion never comes up in that context.
Again in 2 Nephi 26:12 it says this
12 And as I spake concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God;
Many times in the Book of Mormon we see the name clearly said of Jesus Christ identifying Him as the saviour, again this is believed to be wrote around 500 years before Christ came and this was Old Testament Jewish people just in the location of America. No where in the biblical Old Testament do we see the name of Jesus Christ.
Now think about this for a minute, the Old Testament is full of prophecies about Christ, not naming Him but saying who He is and what He will do. Many of the Jewish people did not believe in Him as they had different ideas in mind as to what those prophecies meant, and their view that Jesus was blasphemous in His claims. Now if you ask a Mormon they will say these things are not in the Old Testament as it has been corrupted by the various councils etc after the Apostles died. So by implication Jesus must also mentioned in the Original old Testament so therefore why did the Jews not know this and just accept Him?
The reason is that Joseph Smith in a way took the Old Testament and the New Testament and made them into one testament and one gospel in the Book of Mormon. So in the book of Mormon in an Old Testament context we masses of New Testament terminologies and concepts. In a way it is a fascinating exercise to see how He did this, and although He wrote this in the early 1800’s he could claim this was miraculous prophecy down to the claim that the plates containing these texts had been buried for such a long time.
But this falls down when we compare the bible with the book of Mormon and we see a clear distinction between the covenants of the Old Testament and the New. God dealt with people in different ways, in the Old testament He had one set of people for Himself, due to their apostasy and wrong doing He opens His love to the whole world, Jew and gentile in the New testament and we see this distinction made.
10For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
We have a new covenant replacing the Old where the law is wrote on our hearts freeing us from the Law, this bondage of having to perform and keep a written law is what the Mormon church today still keeps it’s members in. Although the purpose of this article is to show how Joseph Smith used outside sources to create the book of Mormon, the main purpose is always to show people something of the goodness of Christ and the message coming from these verse in Hebrews is that those in the new Covenant are now free from the written law, are you free from this law?
John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.