Another Testament? of Jesus Christ — Rich Kelsey

Another testament?
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Another Testament?

“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)

Book of Mormon Inconsistencies:

Unlike the Bible, the Book of Mormon describes New Testament life in America hundreds of years before Jesus 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[1] 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 Christ’s death, resurrection, and exaltation.[2] 

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:[3]

“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 about 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[4] 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 a true record of early American life. One thing is certain: It doesn’t come close to representing Biblical Christianity, because there were contentions[5] in the early church, as well as accounts of people lying.[6]

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 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).

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[7] 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 Jesus Christ’s coming ministry, including his death on the cross, yet people living in Israel did not? Something seems very wrong![8]

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 …”

Jesus Christ clearly said that his words,

shall not pass away,”

so, there was no need for another testament 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)

Other articles of interest:

■ Book of Moses Changes — Rich Kelsey

■ Book of Moses Anachronisms — Rich Kelsey

Full Article Index / LDS SERIES

[1] “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

[2] “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) 

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

[4] “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) 

[5] “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) 

[6] “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) 

[7] “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)

[8] “… 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)