Mormon Scripture – The Book of Mormon/Part 4
|By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2000|
|When the LDS call their Book of Mormon “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” are they being honest? Or is it an attempt to deceive Christians? Marvin Cowan explains why Christians need to be discerning!|
“The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd” is the title of an article in the September 2000 Ensign magazine published for LDS adults by the Mormon Church. It is also the name of the new 70 millimeter LDS film shown nine times every day for proselyting purposes in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building’s Legacy Theater. The film tries to convince visitors that the Book of Mormon teaches the same thing as the Bible and that Mormons really do believe that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of their theology. It combines biblical accounts of Jesus with the Book of Mormon story of Jesus’ visit to America after His resurrection and stories of fictional people who prophesy in America during Christ’s earthly ministry in the Holy Land. By fictional people we mean that the people in the film aren’t even people in the Book of Mormon even though they have Book of Mormon names. Of course, the Book of Mormon itself is not a historical book, since the people described in it can’t be found in any authentic historical document, nor does archeological evidence support anything in it.
Mormon missionary or proselyting material assumes that most “Christians” don’t know very much about the Bible. So, such “Christians” will view this film and not be able to discern what is biblical and what is not. Thus, films like this will impresses many “Christians” so much that they take the Mormon missionary lessons and become Mormons. The same issue of Ensign reported that the LDS Church will have more than 11 million members in September this year. According to an article in the Salt Lake Tribune, 90 % of all living Mormons are converts. If that is true, nearly 10 million of the current LDS membership are converts and most of them were converted from Christian churches! Since Mormons claim to be Christians, that raises an interesting question: “Why are Mormons converting Christians to be Mormons, if Mormons are Christians like they claim they are?” The answer is obvious. Mormons would not spend the time, effort, and money they spend to convert people to what they already believe! So, Mormons obviously believe something very different from Christianity!
In 1981 the Mormon Church added a sub-title to the cover of the Book of Mormon. It is: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. That sub-title was added to try to help convince the world that the Book of Mormon and Mormonism proclaim Christ as Savior. A couple of years ago every LDS Ward enlarged the words “Jesus Christ” in their official name on their buildings so that it now reads: “The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.” Mormons also conclude every prayer and testimony “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Christians often assume that Mormons are Christians because of the way they use the name of Christ. We will discuss the Mormon view of Christ in a future article. But, now let’s consider the LDS claim that the Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” In that sub-title they have used the word “Testament” to mean testimony. But there are at least 27 testimonies about Jesus Christ in the 27 books of the New Testament. If the Book of Mormon is really another scriptural testimony about Jesus Christ, as LDS claim it is, what does it reveal about Christ that is necessary to know in order to have eternal life with God? When asked that question, Mormons usually reply that the Book of Mormon tells about the resurrected Christ coming to America and preaching the same message here that He preached in Palestine. But, even if that story were true, it is not essential to know it in order to have eternal life with God!
However, the Book of Mormon story of Christ’s visit to America is questionable because it was unknown until 1830 when Joseph Smith claimed he translated it from Reformed Egyptian records he found on gold plates near his home in New York. But no historical or archaeological data support such a visit by Christ. Smith claimed that he translated the Reformed Egyptian record by the gift and power of God into English. If that is true, why didn’t God help him translate it into the English spoken in 1830 instead of the English used in the King James Version of the Bible in 1611? Christ’s messages in the Book of Mormon are in 1611 English and most are plagiarized verbatim from the King James Bible, including the words supplied by the 1611 translators! Why did Christ come to America to preach His gospel after He gave His disciples in Palestine the Great Commission to preach the gospel in all the world? Didn’t He trust them to do as He asked? If Christ came to America to deliver His message, why didn’t He also go to Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, etc.? Mormons have no records of Christ going to those places. So, was Christ discriminating against everyone except Israelites and Americans?
The sub-title on the Book of Mormon is misleading when it says it is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” A good Bible dictionary will show that the words “Testament” and “Covenant” are often used interchangeably in the Bible and by Christians. Thus, the Old Testament is the Old Covenant given through Moses. And the New Testament is the New Covenant Jesus Christ Authored and Finished (Hebrews 12:2). God never promised any other “testament or covenant” about Christ. Furthermore, there is no other testament or covenant about Christ in the Book of Mormon, so to call it “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” is erroneous. Virtually all of the doctrines in the Book of Mormon are based upon the Old Testament or the New Testament, so it is it is not “Another Testament (or Covenant) of Jesus Christ.” If the Book of Mormon contains the same message as the Bible, we don’t need it because we already have the Bible. But, if it doesn’t contain the same gospel message found in the New Testament, it falls under the condemnation stated in Galatians 1:8- 9. Either way, the Book of Mormon is unnecessary!
For those who would like to read more about the Book of Mormon, I would recommend The Case Against Mormonism, vol. 2, by Jerald and Sandra Tanner. It can be purchased from Utah Lighthouse Ministry, P. O. Box 1884, Salt Lake City, UT 84110. In our next article we will discuss another Mormon scripture, the Doctrine and Covenants.