Saturday, November 1, 2008

Top 5 Arguments Evangelical Anti-Mormons Can't Use Against the Book of Mormon

Evangelical critics of the Book of Mormon use many arguments to call into question the validity of the Book of Mormon. However, many of them are double standards. Evangelical critics usually throw out these arguments against the Book of Mormon while they ignore the fact that these same arguments can and have been used against the Bible. Here is a sampling:

5. The Book of Mormon has textual changes.
While this is true, it is even truer for the Bible, which, over the centuries of transmission and translation, has accumulated hundreds of thousands of textual variations in between manuscripts.

4. We Don't Have the Gold Plates to the Book of Mormon

Neither do we have the original manuscripts to the supposedly inerrant, complete, perfect Bible. 

3.  DNA Disproves the Book of Mormon

Many genetic scientists have also been using the exact same DNA data and methods to call into question the veracity of the fundamentalist Protestant interpretation of the opening stories of the Book of Genesis, such as Adam and Eve and Noah's Flood covering the entire world.

2. Archaeology Disproves the Book of Mormon

There is a popular, albeit false, notion amongst some Evangelical critics of the Book of Mormon that the Bible has been proven by archaeology and that the Book of Mormon has been disproven by archaeology. However, many of the historical claims of the Bible (such as the Israelite captivity in Egypt, the exodus from Egypt in the wilderness for 40 years and the Israelite conquest of Canaan, to name only a few) have been questioned by top biblical archaeologists. 

1. The Bible is Sufficient and Disqualifies the Book of Mormon as being Scripture.

The current Bible as we have it now did not spring up automatically but was compiled and edited over a course of many years. The passages used by Evangelicals to somehow prove that the Book of Mormon cannot be scripture because there cannot be anymore scripture could easily be applied to the Bible in its current form. For example, the Gospel of John is believed by many biblical textual critics to have been written after the Book of Revelation. If Evangelicals insist on using those verses from Revelation 22:18-19 and apply it to the Book of Mormon because the Book of Mormon came after the Book of Revelation, then, for the sake of consistency, they too would have to use it against the Gospel of John because it too postdates the Book of Revelation.

Please note that I do not bring up these points because I am "bashing" the Bible. I affirm the Bible as the Word of God as far as it is translated correctly. I love the Bible and its teachings have had a deep impact on my life. However, I do bring up these points to show that the Evangelical critics of the Book of Mormon should be careful in their criticisms of the Book of Mormon because many of their arguments could be used against the Bible. In other words, I am trying to show that these arguments are double standards and cannot be used by Evangelical critics.


  1. It also ignores the fact that none of the Bible's FAITH claims have been proven.

    The mere fact that a fellow named Jesus wandered about the Palestinian countryside, preached and was executed doesn't prove he was the Son of God any more than the fact that a guy named Joseph Smith actually existed in upstate New York proves he was a prophet.

    Even if you accept the supposed "eyewitness accounts" of Jesus' death and ascension (which is not hard evidence of the resurrection, no matter what the Evangelicals say), it does not prove that Jesus is a God.

    The faith claims of the Bible are on just as shaky ground as the Book of Mormon's.

  2. Steve,
    I think you are right in that there are many arguments that Evangelicals really need to just let go of.

    That being said, the arguments that you address here, in my experience, usually aren't as simplistic as you have stated them.

    But overall, I agree with you assessment.


  3. Hey James -

    I was kind of in a hurry when I wrote this post, so, yeah, I might seem kind of superfifical. However, I wasn't trying to go in depth or anything, just give a general overview.

  4. Greetings Steve. I am pleased to see, in the video version of this post, that you are willing to have an honest discussion on the real facts. As an Evangelical Christian belonging to the other side, I admit that we (i.e. everybodY) ought to be consistent in their "arguments". Further, you have asked for the position of those of us on the other side as a vital part of the honest dicussion mentioned above. So here is my side of the story. Thanks again for this oppurtunity.

    The first thing I'd like to point out is the title of this post. "Evagelical Anti-Mormon" is more or less a contradiction in terms. For all Evangelicals (ideally) love the Mormons and are so concerned for their souls that they are willing to continue to point out to Mormons where they have gone astray. In other words, there is nobody more Pro-Mormon than the Evangelical. To label concerned Evangelicals as "Anti-Mormon," it seems to me, is perhaps just a way to make (what I consider to be) our valid points easier to ignore.

    Next, in your conclusion, you say that you believe the Bible is the word of God insofar as it is translated correctly. This expression, of course, is in the Articles of Faith within the Pearl of Great Price. There are at least two problems, potentially, with such a statement. The first is that it seems to almost explicitly presuppose that the Bible has not been correctly translated in all cases. This could always be used as a way of escape when a passage in the Bible contradicts a passage in, say, the Book of Mormon (if this is possible). So it appears that perhaps that it is a way to say that one does not take the Bible seriously while sounding on the surface that it is an endorsement of the Bible. The second potential problem is in the word "translated" itself. Translation is the process of taking the message of one language and expressing it in a different language. However, in the Articles of Faith, it seems that the main idea is not translation at all but, instead, transmission of the Bible. Various scribes, for example, may have been careless in transmitting the manuscripts. So if "translation" primarily means "transmission" then I would see this as an example of sleight of linguistics-or bait and switch, if you prefer- which is often used to decieve people.

    Now, onto your points.

    5. The Bible does have many textual variants as you rightly mention. However, the Bible was written at a time much earlier than the Book of Mormon which means there was more time for such accumulation. In addition, the Bible was written before the modern technology available in Joseph's day and our own. The two books are not similar enough for your double standard charge to hold. In addition, Joseph Smith, as I understand it, got the translation for the Book of Mormon directly from God. In contrast, neither the transmitters nor the translators of the Bible are thought to have been inspired in their efforts. The direct inspiration of the English translation of the Book of Mormon together with Joseph's claim that it was the most perfect of all books ever written, together with the other remarks above, make significant changes in the Book of Mormon harder to understand.

    4. We do not have the autographs of the Bible because they have been lost to history like most or all ancient manuscripts. Nothing suspicious about this. But what, I presume, Evangelicals are concerned about with the Book of Mormon is not that the gold plates are missing per se, but why they are missing. Joseph had these gold plates, he said, and apparently nobody was able to see them besides himself. The possible acception to this are the 11 witnesses but they were primarily all relatives of one another. Then, as soon as the translation procedure is over, for the only time in history, the gold plates went to where nobody could see them. I think you can appreciate that this might smell a bit fishy to people who don’t already believe in the Book of Mormon. Now, a secular part of this book, in process of translation turned up missing, and Joseph was instructed to forget about it and translate only the religious parts. This increases my doubt in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. That doubt is further strengthened by issues surrounding the Book of Abraham. That is the only uniquely Mormon Scripture which can be tested against an original and was found to be inauthentic. The two common defenses of the Book of Abraham against this charge are not very convincing (at least to me). First, it is sometimes suggested that there may be two legitimate translations and the Egyptologists only had access to the Necronomicon one. Second, the more plausible suggestion is that the surviving fragments of Smith’s collection may be part of a larger manuscript which did contain the actual Book of Abraham. It seems strange (to me) that part of “the Bible” would be added to a pagan Egyptian manuscript, though. And, the most natural explanation of the Kirtland papers is that it was a rosetta stone of the Necronomicon into the erroneous Book of Abraham translation. So then, if the only testable uniquely Mormon scripture is found to fail, what does that tell us about Smith’s trustworthiness as an inspired translator? Even if the autographs are available, that does not help the Mormon view.

    3. Apparently you view “fundamentalist Protestants” as different from Evangelicals. If so, then this point should not be raised in connection with double standards of Evangelicals.

    2. Certain aspects of the Bible narrative have not yet been confirmed by archaeology but other aspects have. However, it is my understanding that no parts of the Book of Mormon have been confirmed by archaeology. While absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it seems to me that the total silence of the archaeological record should be troubling for the Book of Mormon is more recent than much of the Old Testament. In your video you say that FARMS has found a lot of stuff. I have not examined this claim so I may have to revise my comments under point 2 after more study. Consider them a mere suggestion, if you will.

    1. Whether the Bible allows for additional scripture or not, it surely must be the case that revelation must not contradict other revelation. And the Mormon faith is in direct and clear contradiction to New Testament Christianity. So if Mormonism is taken directly from the other standard works then we simply cannot accept it as true when we have first accepted the Bible as true. There are several major differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity but one example shall suffice. From beginning to end the Bible is extremely monotheistic, whereas, in marked contrast, Mormonism is polytheistic. Apparently Mormons do not like being called polytheists. But you cannot deny that you believe in the existence of more than one God only (e.g. Jehovah and Elohim) and that is precisely what polytheism means. In the Bible we do read about other gods-with a little “g”-but these are false gods. Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. Here oh Israel, the Lord our God is One. I will not share my glory with another. Though their be lords many and gods many [in the delusional perspective of the pagans] yet for us [who know the truth] there is one God. Those are a few passages that teach monotheism or the view that there is only one God.

    In conclusion, I would like to point out that while Mormons are apparently very sensitive about being misrepresented by Evangelicals, I have found very often that Mormons misrepresent Evangelicals instead (or, perhaps, in addition). The five points you raised in this post, for example, do not seem to be accurate representations of Evangelical views. I hope this dialogue shall continue between us, and, I thank you one last time for being willing to listen to polite-adult disagreement.


We are happy to discuss any and every topic and question. We will give wide berth to a variety of opinions and ideas. The only thing we ask is that you return the favor by respecting our right to believe as we do and by not issuing lengthy, inflammatory diatribes meant to shock and confuse anyone not familiar with LDS teachings. They can certainly get that elsewhere. :)