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Another Testament of Jesus Christ

Rich Kelsey

The Restoration of The Gospel of Jesus Christ

 

"If, after a rigid examination, it [The Book of Mormon] be found an imposition, it should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments on which the imposture was detected, should be clearly and logically stated, that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived, may perceive the nature of the deception, and be reclaimed, and that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced, not by physical force, neither by persecutions, bare assertions, nor ridicule, but by strong and powerful arguments—by evidences adduced from scripture and reason." (LDS Apostle, Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 1)

In 1827, the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith claimed that he unearthed a record[1] written on golden plates.  In 1830, that "sacred record"[2] was published in English as the Book of Mormon. Today, the Book of Mormon is published in its entirety in over 90 different languages.

Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), mostly rely[3] upon the Book of Mormon,[4] as well as Joseph Smith’s revelations, for doctrine. They do so because Smith claimed,

“Many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled." (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume 1, p. 245)

Latter Day Saints envision God as having a back up plan; ensuring that after the Bible was supposedly corrupted, another testament would be found to restore it. The glaring problem with this thinking is: shortly after the Book of Mormon was published, God supposedly commanded Joseph Smith to restore the Bible to its ancient purity; which Smith supposedly did:[5] 

"The Lord inspired the Prophet Joseph Smith to restore truths to the Bible text that had become lost or changed since the original words were written. These restored truths clarified doctrine and improved scriptural understanding... Because the Lord revealed to Joseph certain truths that the original authors had once recorded, the Joseph Smith Translation is unlike any other Bible translation in the world." (LDS.org, The Scriptures Internet Edition: Introduction to Joseph Smith Translation)

Doesn’t it only make sense that after the Bible was corrected; and, important truths concerning the salvation of men[6] had been restored, God’s children would no longer need[7] “another testament”[8] to restore[9] what was lost? Also, one would think Latter-day Saints (Mormons) would switch over to the Joseph Smith Translation and quit using the Bible which Smith claimed was corrupted by dishonest scribes. However, they have not!  Today Latter-day Saints use the King James Version of the Bible, with references to the JST in it.  Perhaps the reason the JST is not widely accepted among Latter-day Saints has to do with its questionable content?

Lost Prophecies About Joseph Smith Found

Envision Moses from Old Testament fame, writing an introduction to Genesis, (Moses One) only to have dishonest scribes remove that work from the biblical canon. Envision corrupt scribes also going through the remaining chapters of Genesis and removing thousands of other words which Moses had written.  Then, envision God raising up a seer in the latter-days; who, under divine inspiration, restored Moses’ lost words to their ancient purity:

“And that seer will I bless, and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise I give unto you; for I will remember you from generation to generation; and his name shall be called Joseph, and it shall be after the name of his father; and he shall be like unto you; [Moses] for the thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring my people unto salvation.” (Genesis 50:33)

Out of all the bibles in the world, only the Joseph Smith Translation contains this prophecy; conventional versions end at Genesis 50:26. The JST contains an extra twelve verses ending at Genesis 50:38. The “seer” mentioned in the text is referring to Joseph Smith. His father’s name was also Joseph; and, there are other details in this prophecy that fit with another supposed lost prophecy about Smith:

“And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe.” (Moses 1:41)

God is supposedly speaking to Moses about a book Moses shall write, and how men will take many words away from it; yet God will raise up another like unto Moses and the missing words shall be

“had again.”

When Joseph Smith uttered Moses’ lost words to his scribe, and then realized he was the very person spoken of in the prophecy, this was possibly one of the greatest events in the history of religion!  Or, perhaps it was a bald faced lie of grandiose proportions?

Details from the Prophecies:

1.   Words shall be taken from God’s record which Moses is yet to write.

2.  The lost words shall be restored by Joseph Smith.

3.  Joseph Smith is compared to Moses.

4.  The thing which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand shall bring God’s people unto salvation.

According to the prophecy in Moses 1:41, Moses had yet to write the book; so, why would God say 18 verses earlier:

“And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men.” (Moses 1:23)

The time key in Moses 1 is established in verse (41) where God supposedly speaks to Moses about a book which he shall write:

“And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which you shall write…” (Moses 1:41)

The words of Moses could not have been lost before they were written! It sounds like someone could not keep their story straight!

One can also find inconsistencies in the Book of Mormon and they are glaring! 

Book of Mormon Inconsistencies:

Unlike the Bible, the Book of Mormon paints a picture of New Testament life in America hundreds of years before Christ instituted the New Covenant: 

"Nephi tells why Christ was baptized—Men must follow Christ, be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure to the end to be saved—Repentance and baptism are the gate to the strait and narrow path—Eternal life comes to those who keep the commandments after baptism. Between 559 and 545 B.C." (Introduction to 2 Nephi 31)

The Book of Mormon also records that the Gentiles need to be convinced that Jesus is the Christ: 

“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.” (2 Nephi, 26:12)

That 2 Nephi text is noteworthy because Christ’s Apostles learned that the gospel was open to the Gentiles only after the New Testament Church was established. Holy men in the Book of Mormon understood that the gospel would be open to the Gentiles a whopping 577 years before Christ’s apostles did!

Also, the Book of Mormon claims that believers in Christ were called Christians, 72 years[10] before Jesus was born: 

“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.” (Alma 46:15)

In the Bible, believers weren’t called Christians until after the New Testament Church was established.

Holy Ghost Poured Out Before Pentecost:

The Book of Mormon even has believers receiving the Holy Ghost, with evidence of speaking in tongues, about 578 years before the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem:

“And also, the voice of the Son came unto me, saying: He that is baptized in my name, to him will the Father give the Holy Ghost, like unto me; wherefore, follow me, and do the things which ye have seen me do.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.” (2 Nephi 31:12-13)

In contrast, the Bible records that Jesus told his disciples:

“For John truly baptized with water: but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.” (Acts 1:5, KJV)

Christ’s own disciples did not have the Holy Ghost when he spoke those words. They received the Holy Spirit in 34 A.D. — on the day of Pentecost. Not in 545 B.C. like Book of Mormon peoples supposedly did. According to the Bible, Christ’s disciples could not receive the Holy Spirit before[11] Christ’s death, resurrection, and exaltation.[12] 

It doesn’t help matters that the Joseph Smith Translation reads exactly the same as the King James Version in both key passages which speak of the Holy Spirit only being given after Christ’s resurrection: John 16:7 and Acts 2:32.

The Record Gets Worse:

There is the unbelievable account of every single person from both the Nephites and the Lamanites converting to the Church of Christ:[13]

“And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.” (4 Nephi 1:2)

According to the story, over the span of one to two years, every single person in both North and South America converted unto the Lord.  Orson Pratt, one of the founding Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, explained it this way:

"For after He [Christ] arose from the dead, and finished his ministry at Jerusalem, and ascended to heaven, he descended in the presence of the Nephites, who were assembled round about their temple in the northern parts of South America. ...  The Nephites and Lamanites were all converted unto the Lord, both in South and North America: and they dwelt in righteousness above three hundred years; but towards the close of the fourth century of the Christian era, they had so far apostatized from God, that he suffered great judgments to fall upon them. The Lamanites, at that time, dwelt in South America, and the Nephites in North America." (A INTERESTING ACCOUNT OF SEVERAL REMARKABLE VISIONS... , Pratt 1840, 1st ed. Edinburgh Scotland pp. 20-21)

One might wonder why the gospel of Christ spread faster in America than it did in Palestine?  And, why it was so much more effective in America?

The Book of Mormon goes on to explain:

“…there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people.

And there were no envying, nor strife, nor tulmults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.

There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God.

And how blessed were they! …and there was no contention in all the land.” (4 Nephi 1:15-18)

Can you imagine two entire nations — consisting of hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions — living year after year, for one hundred and seventy four years straight[14] without anyone envying what another person had, or lusting after another person’s spouse, or contending with anyone about anything? This sounds more like a fairytale rather than the true record of early American life. One thing is certain: It doesn’t come close to representing Biblical Christianity, because there were contentions[15] in the early church, as well as accounts of people lying.[16]

Also, in 35 A.D., evangelizing every corner of the North and South American continent in less than two years would have been nearly impossible.  Obviously people couldn’t turn on the nightly news and learn about Jesus Christ's appearance to the Nephites. There were no televisions; radios, phones, or any other type of device which could have provided long distance communication. Brigham Henry Roberts, who was an LDS General Authority and Assistant Church Historian, examined the literary style within the Book of Mormon and concluded:

“The narrative proceeds in characteristic disregard of conditions necessary to its reasonableness, as if it were a tale told by a child, with utter disregard for consistency." (Studies of the Book of Mormon, Roberts 1985, p. 251)

Book of Mormon Prophecy:

Consider the ease in which holy men from the book of Book of Mormon prophesied:

“And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.

And he shall rise the third day from the dead; and behold, he standeth to judge the world; and behold, all these things are done that a righteous judgment might come upon the children of men” (Mosiah 3:8-10).

In the Book of Mormon we find that our ancient American ancestors had a good understanding of Christ’s future ministry hundreds of years before Jesus lived. The Book of Mormon has prophets in America teaching men to believe in Christ; teaching about Christ’s kingdom; teaching about Christ’s suffering and death on the cross; and, persuading people to come unto Christ, a whopping 500[17] years before Jesus was born:

“And we also had many revelations, and the spirit of much prophecy; wherefore, we knew of Christ and his kingdom, which should come.

Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God…

Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men not to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world...” (Jacob 1:6-8)

Contrast the Book of Mormon peoples understanding of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross with Christ’s own disciples understanding of the same events:

“From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. ‘Never, Lord!’ he said. ‘This shall never happen to you!’” (Matthew 16:21-22)

Why is it that people from the Book of Mormon, who were living in America, knew all about Christ’s coming ministry, yet people living in Israel did not? Something seems very wrong![18]

Let’s Do Some Math

The King James Version of the Bible was published over 200 years before the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith had access to the King James Version during the very time the Book of Mormon was supposedly translated. It certainly would have been possible for Smith and his associates to reproduce portions of the Book of Mormon storyline from the KJV. That would explain how the supposed Book of Mormon peoples knew so much more about Christ’s ministry than peoples from the Bible.

Also, Jesus Christ promised:

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35 KJV)

Identical passages are found in Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33. In the Joseph Smith Translation, the same reading is given in Mark and Luke:

“…my words shall not pass away…”

Yet, Matthew’s gospel was altered slightly to read:

“…my word shall not pass away…”

If what Jesus Christ said is true, that his words or word

“shall not pass away,”

 then there would be no need for another testament to be found, to restore Christ’s gospel.

Daniel C. Peterson, who is a professor at the LDS Brigham Young University, said,

“…if the Book of Mormon were false, little or nothing that is distinctive to our faith would stand. Joseph Smith's prophetic mission and all of the other revelations that came through him would be called into question.” (The Keystone of Our Religion, Daniel C. Peterson)

 

Conclusion:

For some of us, letting go of the LDS faith may be the key to spiritual growth: Cutting out the untruths, removing what Joseph Smith added to God's word; and, disregarding what he changed. Envision stepping back in time to the day the New Testament Church was born. Peter was addressing a crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39). The world was just beginning to hear about salvation through Jesus Christ. Envision walking among the early saints and listening to the words of Paul. This was long before Joseph Smith's time. These were the days when the saints were embracing pure Christian faith.  That faith is still available today; it can be found through a personal relationship with the savior: Jesus Christ.

■  Through The Door and Into His Image

 

Other articles of interest:

■  Ask a Mormon: Cognitive Dissonance and the LDS Faith
■  Preach My Gospel — A Guide to Missionary Service

 

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                                  Endnotes:

[1] “Joseph there is a record for you and you must get it one day… the record is on a side hill on the Hill of Cumorah 3 miles from this place remove the Grass and moss and you will find a large flat stone pry that up and you will find the record under it laying on 4 pillars—<of cement> then the angel left him…” (First draft of Lucy Smith's History, p. 46, LDS Church Archives/Early Mormon Documents, Vol. 1, p. 290)

[2] “He told me of a sacred record which was written on plates of gold, I saw in the vision the place where they were deposited, he said the indians were the literal descendants of Abraham…” (Joseph Smith Journal, November 9, 1835; cited in Dean C. Jesse, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals Volume 1:1832-1839 (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2008, pp. 88-89) 

[3] "... who in his right mind could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?" (LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Page 47.) 

[4] “The Book of Mormon is a convincing evidence of the Restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith.” (The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, p. 15)

[5] “Beginning in June 1830, Joseph Smith began a careful reading of the Bible to revise and make corrections in accordance with the inspiration he would receive…  In a process that took about three years, the Prophet made changes, additions, and corrections as were given him by divine inspiration while he filled his calling to provide a more correct translation for the Church…” (Statement from Kent P. Jackson, who was a professor of ancient scripture at BYU, How We Got the Book of Moses, Kent P. Jackson, in Religious Educator 3, no. 1, 2002, p. 127) 

[6] "… 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 blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men" (1 Nephi 13:26-27)

[7] “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God” (Articles of Faith 1:8). 

[8] (THE BOOK OF MORMON ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST - title of the 2006 edition) 

[9] “As part of the Restoration of the gospel, God brought forth the Book of Mormon” (The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, p. 15) 

[10] "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." (Introduction to Alma 46) 

[11] “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7, KJV / JST) 

[12] “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.” (Acts 2:32-33 KJV / JST) 

[13] “The Nephites and the Lamanites are all converted to the Church of Christ “ (Book of Mormon, Introduction to  4 Nephi) 

[14] “And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another. And how blessed were they! For the Lord did bless them in all their doings; yea, even they were blessed and prospered until an hundred and ten years had passed away; and the first generation from Christ had passed away, and there was no contention in all the land.” (Book of Mormon, 4 Nephi 1:2 and 18) 

[15] “When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong.

Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.” (Galatians 2:11-13, NIV) 

[16] “Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?” (Acts, 5:3, NIV) 

[17] “Jacob and Joseph seek to persuade men to believe in Christ and keep his commandments—Nephi dies—Wickedness prevails among the Nephites. Between 544 and 421 B.C.”  (Book of Mormon, Introduction to Jacob) 

[18] "...the terminologies [of the Book of Mormon] and the language used and the methods of explaining and putting things down are 19th century literary concepts and cultural experiences one would expect Joseph Smith and his colleagues would experience…  It seems like there are anachronisms. It seems like the items are out of time and place…" (Book of Mormon Archeology, Sunstone Symposium, August 25, 1984, Dr. Ray T. Matheny, professor of Anthropology at BYU, typed copy transcribed from a tape-recording, pp. 30-31)