Are the Books of Mormonism from God?

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

In the days of Moses, God told His people that prophets would come to tell them what He wanted His people to do. Yet, how would the people know that a person who claimed to be from God really was from God? God pointed out two straight-forward tests:

"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' -which you have not known-'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice, and you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him" (Deuteronomy 13:1-4).

If a message comes from God, then it will be a message consistent with everything else that God has said before. God cannot lie (Titus 1:2); therefore, He cannot contradict Himself. Even if there is the apperance of miracles, the message will always be consistent with what God has alrady revealed.

"And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?' - when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

The second test is related. Again, God cannot lie, so any thing stated about the future will always come to pass. Not some of the time or most of the time -- all of the time.

Mormonism claims that their books: The Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price are inspired of God. They also accept that the Bible is the Word of God; therefore, there should be no contradictions between the information in the Mormon books and the Bible.

Birthplace of Jesus

The Bible The Book of Mormon
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him" (Matthew 2:1-3). "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God" (Alama 7:10)

The usual explanation of this difference in birthplace is to claim that Bethlehem, six miles from Jerusalem, was really a suburb of the Jerusalem and there really is no difference in calling Bethlehem Jerusalem.

However, the walled city of Jerusalem had distinct boundaries. Its name was never used to refer to the surrounding territory. Jesus left Jerusalem to go to Bethany, a town less than two miles from Jerusalem (Matthew 21:17-18). If Jerusalem and Bethany were distinct, then clearly Bethlehem was distinct from Jerusalem.

Origin of the name "Christian"

The Bible The Book of Mormon
"And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch." (Acts 11:26). "And those who did belong to the church were faithful; yea, all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called, because of their belief in Christ who should come. " (Alama 46:15).

The chapter note for Alma 46 states, "Amalickiah conspires to be king—Moroni raises the title of liberty—He rallies the people to defend their religion—True believers are called Christians—A remnant of Joseph shall be preserved—Amalickiah and the dissenters flee to the land of Nephi—Those who will not support the cause of freedom are put to death. Between 73 and 72 B.C." Thus, the Book of Mormon claims there were people called Christians about 100 years before disciples were first called Christians according to the Bible.

The nature of God

The Bible Doctrine and Covenants

"God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth" (John 4:24).

"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have" (Luke 24:39).

"The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us." (D&C 130:22).

Jesus did not state that God has a spirit. Jesus stated that God is a spirit, and spirits do not have physical bodies.

How long was the darkness at the crucifixon?

The Bible The Book of Mormon
"Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour." (Luke 23:44). "But behold, as I said unto you concerning another sign, a sign of his death, behold, in that day that he shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his light unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead." (Helaman 14:20; also Helaman 14:27; I Nephi 19:10).

There is a significant difference between three hours and three days.

Is the Bible complete and sufficient?

The Bible The Book of Mormon

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17).

"as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue" (II Peter 1:3).

"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).

"Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you" (I Peter 1:22-25).

"And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles? ... Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?" (II Nephi 29:3-4,6).

"And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God. And after these plain and precious things were taken away it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles; and after it goeth forth unto all the nations of the Gentiles, yea, even across the many waters which thou hast seen with the Gentiles which have gone forth out of captivity, thou seest—because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them" (I Nephi 13:26-29).

The Bible claims to be the complete and enduring revelation of God's will. The Book of Mormon claims the Bible isn't enough and that it was missing parts before it was spread to the Gentiles. Both statements cannot be true.

The duration of spiritual gifts

The Bible The Book of Mormon
"Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away" (I Corinthians 13:8-10). "And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren, that ye remember that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that all these gifts of which I have spoken, which are spiritual, never will be done away, even as long as the world shall stand, only according to the unbelief of the children of men." (Moroni 10:19).

The Bible teaches that the spiritual gifts were a temporary measure which would end when no longer needed. The Book of Mormon claims the spiritual gifts would last for the duration of the world. Both statements cannot be true.

When was the church established?

The Bible The Book of Mormon

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

"And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:48).

"And it came to pass *after many days there were a goodly number gathered together at the place of Mormon, to hear the words of Alma. Yea, all were gathered together that believed on his word, to hear him. And he did teach them, and did preach unto them repentance, and redemption, and faith on the Lord. ... And after this manner he did baptize every one that went forth to the place of Mormon; and they were in number about two hundred and four souls; yea, and they were baptized in the waters of Mormon, and were filled with the grace of God. And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church." (Mosiah 18:7, 16-17).

Jesus spoke of establishing his church in the future, we we see fulfilled in Acts 2, fifty days after Jesus' death. The chapter note for Mosiah 18 claims it took place about 180 years before Jesus' death; yet, it states that a church was established before Jesus lived. The establishment of the church could not have been a future event to Jesus if it had already taken place in the past.

The priesthood

Under Jewish law, only the descendants of Aaron could be priests (Numbers 3:10; 16:40; 18:1). If there was any doubt as to a person's lineage, he could not be a priest (Ezra 2:62-63; Nehemiah 7:64-65). It was because of this law that the writer of Hebrews pointed out that we cannot be under the Law of Moses. Jesus is our High Priest, yet he was of the tribe of Judah (Hebrews 8:4). The only way this can be possible is if we are not under the Law of Moses.

In the Book of Mormon, Lehi's sons, descendants of Joseph, were consecrated as priests (1 Nephi 5:14; 18:7; 2 Nephi 5:26). Yet, they also claimed to be followers of the law of Moses (2 Nephi 5:10; 25:24). Such cannot be true according to Moses' law.

Mormonism Fails God's Test

The books of the Mormon religion make claims that are different from what God stated in the Bible. God does not contradict Himself; therefore, the books of Mormonism are not from God.