The Essence Of Mormon Epistemology
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that tries to make sense out of knowledge, rationality, and justified or unjustified beliefs.2 In other words, its about what we know and how we know it. This is important because Mormons frequently appeal to subjective experience as important evidence for determining truth. They view it as an adequate means of gaining and grounding knowledge. The Book of Mormon states,
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.
Mormon missionaries regularly quote this verse and accompany it with heartfelt personal testimony about how the Holy Ghost bore witness to them of the truth of the Book of Mormon. They encourage potential converts to follow suit so that they, too, may know the Book of Mormon is from God. This is the essence of Mormon epistemology. Bruce McConkie, a doctrinal authority and former apostle within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote, But the great and conclusive evidence of the divinity of the Book of Mormon is the testimony of the Spirit to the honest truth seeker. While praying about the truth of a book may seem innocent, there are many inherent problems with this type of subjective test.
Branches Run Over The Wall
Jacob, also known as Israel, had 12 sons, whose descendants are collectively known as the house of Israel. One of those sons, Joseph, who inherited the birthright , had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh , and Ishmael was a descendent of Ephraim.1 Thus, these two families that composed the first generation of the Nephite-Lamanite civilization were direct descendants of Joseph . Why is this important? Because the Bible prophesies that descendants of Josephreferring to Lehi, Ishmael, and perhaps others would leave their homeland of Jerusalem, cross the ocean, come to a blessed land, have a great posterity, and record their history into a book that would be given to one who is unlearned. This book would come forth in our day and be another witness of Jesus Christ.
Common Phrases Originally From Shakespeare
- See also: Specific examples from Tanners
Would we accuse someone who used these phrases of “plagiarizing” Shakespeare? Hardly, for they are common expressions in our languagemost people are probably unaware that they even come from Shakespeare, and most have probably not read the plays at all. In a similar way, some biblical phrases and vocabulary were likely part of Joseph Smith’s subconscious verbal world. It would be strange if it were otherwise.
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Quotation Of Kjv In The Book Of Mormon
The Book of Mormon explicitly quotes the prophet Isaiah, containing 19 chapters of the KJV of Isaiah in their entirety, along with parts of a few other chapters. In total, approximately 30 percent of the Book of Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Mormon .
The Book of Mormon also quotes from the KJV of other books.
|Moroni||And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.|
The Book of Mormon contains a version of the Sermon on the Mount, which some authors have claimed to be “the Achilles heel of the Book of Mormon.” One author makes the point that certain portions of the Greek manuscripts of Matthew 5â7 do not agree with the KJV of the text, and concludes that the Book of Mormon version of the sermon should not contain text similar to the KJV.
Quotation Of Ancient Sources
The quotation of Isaiah2:16 by 2 Nephi12:16, “And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures” is sometimes used as evidence of an ancient source for the Book of Mormon. The KJV contains only half the phrase, while the contains the other half. Some Book of Mormon scholars conclude that an ancient text contained the phrase intact, which the Book of Mormon used as a source, while the Septuagint and the KJV each lost a different half. However, modern scholarship suggests that Isaiah 2:16 is part of a poetic section and is a rhyming couplet the Book of Mormon contains three phrases at this section where the meter dictates there should be only two, though which of the two is still debated.
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The Bible Plus: The Four Books Of Mormonism
A Latter-day Saint friend of mine once invited an evangelical coworker to church. The coworker found much that was familiar in the LDS service: hymn singing, an informal sermon style, robust fellowshiping and scripture-driven Sunday school. But then came the moment when the Sunday school teacher, after beginning with Genesis, said Lets now turn to the Book of Moses and began reading: The presence of God withdrew from Moses . . . and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. I am told that the visitor reflexively searched through his Bible before he realized that hed never heard of such a book, though of course the story of the burning bush was familiar. And while he didnt mind the sentiments expressed in the words hed heard, he knew that they were not in his Bible.
Ways The Bible Prophesies Of The Book Of Mormon
A number of years ago, someone asked me, If the Book of Mormon is such a critical witness of the Savior, why isnt the Book of Mormon prophesied of by name in the Bible?
I replied, If Jesus Christ is our Saviorthe very foundation of ChristianityI assume He would be prophesied of in the Old Testament.
He is, the man replied.
I then asked, Can you find the name of Jesus Christ specifically mentioned anywhere in the Old Testament?
He replied, in essence, Well, the Old Testament does not mention the name of Jesus ChristI admit thatbut it does prophesy of Him in such a way that any reasonable person should know that its referring to Jesus Christ.
He was rightthe Old Testament does not mention Jesus Christ by name, but it does prophesy of Him with such specificity that we ought to recognize those prophecies as speaking of Him. For example, it prophesies that He would be born in Bethlehem of a virgin , that He would suffer the sins of the world , and that He would be crucified . But even with all these specific references, many, if not most, of the people in the meridian of time could not accept that Jesus Christ was the literal fulfillment of those prophecies. Nonetheless, the prophecies were there to be discerned by the spiritually enlightened.
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Greater Latter Day Saint Movement
Since the death of Joseph Smith in 1844, there have been approximately 70 different churches that have been part of the Latter Day Saint movement, fifty of which were extant as of 2012. Religious studies scholar Paul Gutjahr explains that “each of these sects developed its own special relationship with the Book of Mormon”. For example James Strang, who led a denomination in the nineteenth century, reenacted Smith’s production of the Book of Mormon by claiming in the 1840s and 1850s to receive and translate new scriptures engraved on metal plates, which became the Voree Plates and the Book of the Law of the Lord.William Bickerton led another denomination, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints ” rel=”nofollow”> The Church of Jesus Christ), which accepted the Book of Mormon as scripture alongside the Bible but rejected the Pearl of Great Price, though Bickerton himself sometimes referred to the Doctrine and Covenants. Separate editions of the Book of Mormon have been published by a number of churches in the Latter Day Saint movement, along with private individuals and foundations not endorsed by any specific denomination.
Resources That Help Respond To This Criticism In Depth
This argument is one that is long, detailed, and hard to summarize easily. The reader will simply have to be directed to resources that will help them in evaluating this criticism as they read from scholars. At another point in the future, perhaps a clearer summary can be presented up front. But, for now, we direct the reader elsewhere.
John A. Tvedtnes Review of Wrights Book Chapter
John Tvedtnes was one of the first to respond to Wrights contentions in the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon back in 1994. Tvedtnes argues that the parallels do not come from Joseph Smith reading Hebrews 7 but instead that both Hebrews 7 and Alma 13 share in thought from an earlier source discussing Melchizedek. Readers can find a link to his paper at the citation below.
John W. Welch 1990 Book Chapter on the Melchizedek Material in Alma 13
Three years before Wright published on this topic, John W. Welch had written a paper on the Melchizedek material in Alma 12-13. While not giving a direct treatment of Wrights argument nor having consciousness of it, Welch provides insightful comparisons between Alma 13, Hebrews 7, Genesis 12, and extrabiblical lore about Melchizedek to elucidate how Alma interprets Genesis and frames concepts of priesthood and thus how it differs from Hebrews 7. Readers are strongly encouraged to read Welchs paper. Link is in the footnotes below.
Book of Mormon Central KnoWhy on Alma and Melchizedek
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The Birthright Was Josephs
The foregoing prophecies of the Book of Mormon are further confirmed by the fact that Judah, a son of Jacob, received great blessings, but the birthright was Josephs . This becomes significant when one realizes that Judah received the following blessings:
· A great posteritythe Jewish race
· A promised landthe country of Israel
· The Saviorborn through Judahs lineage
· A bookthe Bible, which is the record of Gods dealings with the house of Israel, particularly the Jews, and Christs ministry among them
Did Joseph, who received the birthright, receive blessings equal to or greater than Judahs? He did. He received the following:
· A great posterityincluding the Nephite and Lamanite civilizations
· A promised landthe Americas
· The Saviorwho personally visited Josephs descendants and guided their chosen prophets
· A bookthe Book of Mormon, which is the record of Gods dealings with Josephs descendants in the Americas and the resurrected Christs personal ministry among them
And so, just as the Savior was prophesied of in the Biblenot by name but by events and descriptionsso too the Book of Mormon was prophesied of in the Biblenot by name but by events and descriptions. To those who are familiar with the Book of Mormon, these prophecies are clear and convincing.6
1. See Ludlow, Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, 199.
4. Horn, Lebanon in the Holy Scriptures.
5. See Jewish National Fund, We Are JNF.
Nephi 1: 2329 3536 3841
Plain and precious truths have been restored
Remind students that the Prophet Joseph Smith was commanded by the Lord to make an inspired revision of the King James Version of the Bible. This revision is known as the Joseph Smith Translation. Display and read the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith :
âI believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errorsâ .
Why was an inspired revision of the Bible needed?
Remind students that Nephi had a vision of the coming forth of the Bible. Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:23â25 aloud. Ask the class to look for Nephiâs description of the Bible when it was originally written.
What did the angel teach Nephi about the Bible when it was first created?
Invite students to read 1 Nephi 13:26â28, looking for what Nephi learned would happen to the Bible and for what reasons.
What did the great and abominable church do to the Bible?
According to verse 27, why were these plain and precious parts removed?
Invite a student to read 1 Nephi 13:29 aloud while the class looks for the results of the plain and precious parts being removed from the Bible.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Nephi 13:35â36, 38â41 while the class looks for the Lordâs solution to this problem.
Interpreter: A Journal Of Latter
Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship
The brass plates version of Isaiah 2:2, as contained in 2 Nephi 12:2, contains a small difference, not attested in any other pre-1830 Isaiah witness, that not only helps clarify the meaning but also ties the verse to events of the Restoration. The change does so by introducing a Hebraism that would have been impossible for Joseph Smith, the Prophet, to have produced on his own.
Gain A Better Understanding With Both Books
For starters, read verses on the topics below from both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and see how you can gain additional insights by using both texts.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
He is despised and rejected of men a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:35
The Book of Mormon
And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. Alma 7:1112
Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13
The Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon
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Does The Book Of Mormon Contradict The Bible
- 3 minute read
3-The Book of Mormon teaches that salvation is by both grace and works . But the Bible teaches that salvation is by grace alone .
4-The Book of Mormon teaches that black skin is a sign of Gods curse . In contrast, the Bible teaches that God made of one blood all nations of men , there is no distinction between people , and that God condemns favoritism .
5-The Book of Mormon says that at the tower of Babel the language of Jared, the brother of the first jaredite prophet and family members were not confounded . But the Bible says that God confused the language of all the earth .
6-The book of Mormon says that the priesthood did not need to be Levites . But the Bible says the priesthood could only be carried through the lineage of Aaron, a Levite .
7-The Book of Mormon teaches that about 600 years before Christ, a Nephite prophet predicted that many plain and precious parts would be removed from the Bible. In contrast, Jesus exhibited full confidence in the scriptures completeness and preservation down to His time .
In His service,
Why Do We Need Both The Bible And The Book Of Mormon
The best reason why we need the Bible and the Book of Mormon is that they complement each other, which means they bond and strengthen each other. This simple illustration can significantly explain the idea.
How many straight lines one can draw starting from a single point on a piece of paper? Definitely, it will be thousands, more so its infinite. If the point referred to is the Bible, and the lines drawn are the different interpretations of its contents, then it will result into different faith and beliefs. This is the main cause why different Christian churches exist.
Now if another point is drawn on the paper, how many lines will it need to connect both points? The answer will be: only one. This second point represents the Book of Mormon so it just shows that both the Bible and the Book of Mormon are interconnected.
A good example to figure out is baptismwhat it means, its essence and importance. This can be a subject for different interpretations, as many of the present Christian churches cant come up with a single understanding, from which disagreements may arise. The Bible teaches about baptism, and it says: one Lord, one faith, one baptism , and Jesus told his Apostles to teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost .
When the Bible and Book of Mormon are read together, it collaborates to clearly state that baptism is a commandment and that it is part of repentance.