One more thing:
Jesus said: "The Truth Will Make You Free."
"So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.'" (John 8: 31-32)
Since this thread is about the Book of Mormon, let's see if the Book of Mormon lines up with the Truth:
Book of Mormon Story:
Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, claimed that in 1823 he experienced a heavenly visitation in which he was directed to a hill in Western New York to uncover a stone box containing,
“a sacred record which was written on plates of gold.”
Four years later, according to the story, an angel allowed Joseph Smith to take possession of the plates, along with some special glasses to translate the mysterious ancient language into English. Smith claimed that what he unearthed from the hill Cumorah was a record written by the former inhabitants of America entitled the Book of Mormon.
In the Book of Mormon, a story is told of a Hebrew family that flees the city of Jerusalem about 600 B.C. Their father's name is Lehi, an alleged descendant of the Bible’s Joseph. Lehi's son Nephi was his most righteous son. Nephi became the leader over his rebellious brothers. God instructed Lehi and his family to sail across the ocean to the American continent about 589 B.C. After arriving, Nephi and his oldest brother Laman had a conflict and separated. This conflict created two nations; the Nephites and the Lamanites.
The Nephites had God's favor, they are described as being:
“white and exceedingly fair and delightsome” (2 Nephi 5:21).
The Lamanites supposedly were cursed to have black skin and were primitive compared to the Nephites. These two nations fought against each other, on and off, for centuries. Eventually, the prophet Mormon became the leader of the Nephites.
Mormon desired that the entire Nephite nation should gather near the hill Cumorah in Western New York to battle the Lamanites:
"… I, Mormon, wrote an epistle unto the king of the Lamanites, and desired of him that he would grant unto us that we might gather together our people unto the land of Cumorah, by a hill which was called Cumorah, and there we could give them battle. And it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites did grant unto me the thing which I desired." (Mormon, 6:2-3)
In this battle, the Nephite nation was destroyed. Yet, Mormon’s son Moroni lived. Moroni then engraved an account of the battle on gold plates and buried those plates, along with other plates, which his father had previously buried in the hill.
Several things seem wrong with this story:
● Mormon desired to have every single one of his subjects (men, women, and children) fight, in what becomes a final battle. His request brought about the annihilation of the entire Nephite nation. If this story were true, Mormon's call to battle would be one of the biggest military blunders of all time. Let's try to imagine the Bible's King Solomon requesting a battle which ends up wiping out the nation of Israel; if Solomon had done so, how many people would consider him a wise man?
● Also, it’s hard to imagine how the Nephites, who had migrated throughout America, could be summoned to battle. For example: How would all the Nephites get the message?
● Logistically, it would seem impossible for every Nephite family in America to battle the Lamanites, on, and around, that small hill in New York. If these peoples were as numerous as the Book of Mormon claims they were, they could not have fit in that small section of New York.
● There is the story itself: of the Nephite nation being destroyed in a final battle. It provides readers with an answer as to why the primitive dark-skinned Lamanites (American Indians) were found in America when Columbus set foot on the Continent. Yet, this Book of Mormon story raises more questions than it answers:
Envision an American family living about 1,625 years ago in what is now called the State of California. In order to survive, they have a large farm including fields of wheat and corn and much livestock. The wife had just given birth to a baby girl a few days earlier when a representative of the prophet Mormon approaches her and her husband explaining that they, along with their extended family, are needed by Mormon to fight in a battle he was arranging to take place a few years from now and some 2,950 miles away.
Envision the husband asking Mormon's representative if his wife and their newborn baby girl could stay behind; and, if her elderly parents could also stay and maintain the farm while he and all the able bodied men go to battle, only to hear the man reply:
"No, Mormon needs 'all the remainder of our people.'"
The husband responds:
"But the baby will only be two or three years old by the time the battle starts; and, I'm afraid that my wife and her parents may be too frail to survive the journey."
Even if the husband were sympathetic to the idea of forsaking the crops, abandoning the livestock, and having every member of the family young and old set out on a trek across the nation; one might wonder how Mormon's representative could explain to them how to get to Cumorah? Obviously, back in the day, people could not drive down the Interstate and follow the signs. And, the mountain passes and desert terrains were formidable. Also, let's consider the hardship the family would face traveling during the winter months. And, since every single Nephite in America was supposedly involved in the battle, we could paint a similar picture of families all across America forsaking everything upon hearing Mormon's request; but, is this a realistic picture?
There are more problems with the story: According to the Book of Mormon, this was not the first time all the people in North America were gathered to Cumorah for battle. About 515 years earlier there was another battle on that same hill:
“And it came to pass that the army of Coriantumr did pitch their tents by the hill Ramah; and it was that same hill where my father Mormon did hide up the records unto the Lord, which were sacred.” (Ether 15:11)
On this subject LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie said,
"both the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations fought their final great wars of extinction at and near the Hill Cumorah (or Ramah as the Jaredites termed it), which hill is located between Palmyra and Manchester in the western part of the state of New York. It was here that Moroni hid up the gold plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated." (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 175)
In the earlier battle, the Jaredite nation consisting of the people of Coriantumr and the people of Shiz, was utterly destroyed:
"Millions of the Jaredites are slain in battle—Shiz and Coriantumr assemble all the people to mortal combat—The Spirit of the Lord ceases to strive with them—The Jaredite nation is utterly destroyed—Only Coriantumr remains"
ntroduction to Ether 15).
Once again, gathering millions of Americans from every corner of the North American continent would have been nearly impossible. Obviously 2,600 years ago people couldn’t turn on the nightly news and learn about the call to go to war. There were no televisions; phones, or any other type of device that could have provided long distance communication.
Because horses weren't present in America until Cortes brought them over in 1519 A.D., messengers would have needed to traverse the American continent on foot in order to
“get all who were upon the face of the land.”
Then, everyone would have needed to walk to get to the battleground. Again, why would every family in America decide to go on such a laborious journey? The supposed influence which Coriantumr and Shiz had upon people seems far-fetched. Why would families living thousands of miles away from these two monarchs have such strong political ties with them?
Furthermore, there’s the food and supplies people would have needed for the trip. Can you imagine every family in North America walking to New York, carrying with them extra clothes, cooking implements, food, and possibly weapons, for the great battle they were summoned to:
“And it came to pass that when they were all gathered together, every one to the army which he would, with their wives and their children—both men, women and children being armed with weapons of war, having shields, and breastplates, and head-plates, and being clothed after the manner of war—they did march forth one against another to battle; and they fought all that day, and conquered not.” (Ether 15:15)
Wives and children were also involved in this battle. This would answer why the entire Jaredite nation was destroyed. Yet, it doesn’t make much sense: Can you imagine children wearing body armor and being armed with weapons of war? Or, blind men and women involved in battle? And, what about people with a missing arm or leg? Or, those who are old and frail; one might wonder if the story of Shiz and Coriantumr assembling:
"all the people to mortal combat"
has any basis in reality?
Another question: Where did all this body armor come from?
More Things To Consider:
During the four years it supposedly took to gather everyone to combat, what if Coriantumr and Shiz had accidently started the battle a week or two too soon; leaving thousands of families still on the way. As far as the story goes, the timing of the battle was crucial. A four year build up to war would create some obvious problems: Why would families that showed up a few years, or even months early, wait around? Didn’t they have anything better to do? Also, what about the food and provisions needed to support all the people during the time this gathering was taking place?
Then, there is the battle itself, which would have been a bloodbath, seeing that millions were supposedly slaughtered on and around a hill. Walking to that scene would have meant that families waded through blood and stepped over countless dead bodies. It seems hard to believe, that no one, seeing that huge bloody mess didn’t make a decision to turn around and go home. Instead, every one of them decided to fight for the cause.
If the gathering over a span of four years of every family in America, and also the slaughter of every person gathered was not too hard to believe, what also seems strange is that out of the millions of people dying on the battlefield, the two monarchs who summoned the people to battle in the first place ended up being the only two left standing.
Then there is the account of how the monarch Shiz died:
“And it came to pass that after he [Coriantumr] had smitten off the head of Shiz, that Shiz raised up on his hands and fell; and after that he struggled for breath, he died.” (Ether 15:31)
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."
From my article "The Book of Mormon"