With this blog entry, I will continue with my focus on dispelling many of the misunderstandings and myths that a number of Christians have or believe about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (Mormons). There are a number of topics and issues that I could choose to look at (and will look at in time) however, for this post I have chosen to focus on the Book of Mormon.
This is a vast topic, and I have no intention on making an in-depth assessment here…. however, I will put together a simplified overview that I hope will be helpful for readers to understand the key issues. Due to the extent of the topic and the issues that will need to be clarified, I will present my comments over a number of blog entries – with each set out as a separate part.
Part 1 – this post – will provide a simple overview of the Book of Mormon in comparison with the Bible.
The Bible & the Book of Mormon: A Brief Comparison
The Book of Mormon
|What is it?||The English word “Bible” comes from the Latin “Biblia”, and earlier the Greek “τὰ βιβλία” meaning ‘the Books’.The Bible is simply a collection of books. These books were written by many authors over a period of time. The Bible is scripture.||The Book of Mormon is a collection of books. These books were written by many authors over a period of time. The Book of Mormon is scripture.|
|Who wrote it?||The authors of the book were prophets of God. These prophets were chosen by God to be his spokespersons to the world. They wrote the revelations received to them, and these inspired writings – ‘the words of God’ – have been retained through this book. Prophets like Moses, Jeremiah, Malachi and Isaiah were authors.||The authors of the book were prophets of God. These prophets were chosen by God to be his spokespersons to the world. They wrote the revelations received to them, and these inspired writings – ‘the words of God’ – have been retained through this book. Prophets like Nephi, Alma, Mormon and Moroni were authors.|
|What is it about?||The Bible is a record of God’s dealings with mankind. Prophets chosen by him taught his teachings and commandments. They revealed his truth.Prophets before Jesus Christ prophesied that he would be born. They taught about his mission – that he would be the Saviour of the world. Prophets after his death taught that he lived.||The Book of Mormon is a record of God’s dealings with mankind. Prophets chosen by him taught his teachings and commandments. They revealed his truth.Prophets before Jesus Christ prophesied that he would be born. They taught about his mission – that he would be the Saviour of the world. Prophets after his death taught that he lived.|
|When was it written?||The Bible provides us with a record and genealogy from the first man – Adam – to the first and second century AD (approx).||The Book of Mormon provides us with a record and genealogy from 600 BC through to 424 AD (approx)|
|How did we receive it?||The writings were passed down through the generations. Scrolls and papyri containing the words of the Prophets were translated to English by learned men and church authorities throughout the early centuries AD.||The writings were passed down through the generations. A prophet named Mormon compiled the writings together to form a record on metal plates. These metal plates were subsequently revealed to a prophet of God – Joseph Smith – and were translated to English by him through inspiration between 1827 and 1830.|
You will see from the above comparison table that I have – quite intentionally – identified that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are very similar! Of course, this is merely a simplified comparison, but that’s just it.. in simple terms, the books are alike. They are separate records – but they are both the word of God! They were both written by prophets! They both provide a record of God’s dealings with his children throughout history. Essentially (in its most basic form), there is no difference between the two.
Many people ask me why it is called the “Book of Mormon”. What you need to understand from the above table is that we could very well have called it the “Bible II”. What does the Bible mean? – a collection of books. What is the Book of Mormon? – a collection of books. These books were written through the same divine means in both records – through prophets chosen by God to reveal his truth.
The “Book of Mormon” is just a name. It is a means of identifying the book… as surely calling it “Bible II” would be a little confusing.
Whilst you may not believe that the Book of Mormon is from God, you need to understand what it claims to be: It is merely a record of his dealings with his people, written through his prophets. These people lived on a separate continent to the people recorded in the Bible, and thus the prophets who wrote their history had different names to the prophets we find in the Bible.. but the Book of Mormon in simple terms is the same thing!
The Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible, but rather, they go hand in hand. It is another testament of Jesus Christ, to strengthen the claims of the old testament and new testament. The Book of Mormon is evidence that the message of the Bible is the truth – that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and the Saviour of the world.
As I always say.. an atheist can accept the Bible – and yet deny the spiritual truths within. An atheist cannot however accept the Book of Mormon – without accepting the spiritual truths within. If the Book of Mormon is truly record of a real people… then God lives, and Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Simple! It is that powerful a witness. Do not reject it before you at least understand what it is.
Do not assume you understand it – without reading the commentary that I will provide through separate parts on this blog. In my experience, I have found that many people who thought they understood the book actually had major misunderstandings!! They wondered why it wasn’t included in the Bible, why the prophets of the Book of Mormon have unusual names…
The Book of Mormon can be very easy to misunderstand. It can be confusing! I know! Please give it time…