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First things first, let’s establish where your knowledge of The Book of Mormon’s truthfulness is at. Do you “know” that it’s true with or without knowing about the book’s many anachronisms (inclusion of things that didn’t exist at that time and absence of things that did)? Do you love it with your whole heart with or without being aware that Joseph plagiarized some of it from his version of the King James Bible, as illustrated by the presence of mistakes that were also in the copy he owned? Does it make you a better person with or without you understanding that Joseph Smith told stories about Native American people years before he ever claimed to have found gold plates? Does it make your soul sing with or without you having read View of the Hebrews, or The Late War? (Books available at Joseph’s time and in his area that are remarkably similar to The Book of Mormon you know is true.)

 

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https://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

 

You say that The Book of Mormon was written for our day. Did I miss the chapters about global warming, polygamy in this life and the next (oh yeah—it was forbidden), gay people trying their hardest to be active Latter-day Saints, Heavenly Mother, the President Packer-condemned movement of feminism, or coping with the church building a 1.5 billion dollar mall despite what the rest of the book says about building fine sanctuaries? Did I miss the part that told us when it is ok for the church to go against scripture and when it isn’t? Did I miss the part where it says the prophet can never lead you astray except when he teaches false doctrine about blood atonement and polyandry and Adam-God theory? Did I miss the part where eternal families are explicitly mentioned as the whole point of life and the restoration? Did I miss the part where it says my salvation depends on me being able to accept a man who married impressionable 14-year-old girls as a prophet? Does it say I’m a bad person for refusing to accept that Joseph was commanded to practice polygamy but every other cult leader in history who did the exact same thing wasn’t?

Of course, modern-day prophets have talked about some of those things. Like gay people and feminists and stuff. Sure, it hasn’t been very helpful and they continually disavow what they said before because it was too offensive and off-brand now, and sure, they’ve opposed basically every civil rights movement for the last 100 years, but they still tell us some good things. Like… food storage. (#Doomsday) And spending one night a week as a family. Those are good things!

The Book of Mormon makes you a better person, I get it. You can’t find any other books that tell you to love and serve people. There are no other books that do it as well as this one, which also gives you a free dose of racism, sexism, and historical lies. You need the promise of a divine reward in order to care enough about your fellow human beings to feed them and clothe them and give them medicine. Except… you don’t exactly do those things, you just donate money to a church that you hope does those things. For the most part. I know that some of you contribute more to the human race than tithing, of your own accord, and to you guys—I sincerely thank and applaud you. I imagine you don’t need a fraudulent book to be wonderful people.

You see, Mormons, you’ve been taught how to interpret the world, probably from birth. You’ve been taught to equate belief with knowledge, regardless of the evidence that utterly disproves your so-called knowledge. The evidence you’re told to avoid reading because Satan might deceive you. You’ve been told from a young age that you must come to “know” that The Book of Mormon is true, despite the unreliability of your method, which is used in many religions, even those with completely contrasting doctrines, to achieve the same results.

Let’s be real here, guys. I’ve read The Book of Mormon, multiple times. I know how it feels to have a verse strike you. (“Encircled about eternally in the arms of his love”? That’s beautiful.) I also know how it feels to slog through a war chapter or two because you know that daily scripture study will bless you, and duh—those guys in the book worked really hard to get this record to us! I know how easy it is to equate old-fashioned language (that Mark Twain saw right through) with the divine. But unless you’ve never read another book in your life, I highly doubt that you think The Book of Mormon is THE best out there, at least from a literary or even inspiration standpoint. Ever read The Alchemist? You should. 🙂

Sure, you can cherry pick the good stuff in The Book of Mormon and tough out the tedious stuff and the part where it condemns polygamy (a good part, but one that you apparently misunderstood with your weak human brain because it was obviously fine that JOSEPH did it). Did you know Joseph constantly denied that he practiced polygamy and had a printing press destroyed for exposing him? That’s why he was killed. Of course, if Thomas S. Monson declared infant baptism to be necessary starting tomorrow, you’d do it. Or would you?

The Book of Mormon doesn’t teach us “eternal truth”. It teaches us Joseph’s (or Oliver or Sidney or whoever else was involved) ideas about how Christianity issues of his time could be solved. It’s the story of a theocracy and huge, violent wars that archeologists have found absolutely no evidence for despite them being the largest in human history and us being able to excavate tiny bones from 80 million years ago. (BYU doesn’t even bother trying to find Book of Mormon archeology anymore.) It’s a book of pseudo-biblical language saturated with phrases like “And it came to pass” that are the written equivalent of modern verbal fillers such as “like” and “um”, or you trying to bulk up your English paper to meet the word count. The Book of Mormon plays almost entirely to the common rhetoric of the 1800s. Even its witnesses were completely immersed in folk magic and the occult. (You should read some of the crazy stuff Martin Harris testified of other than The Book of Mormon!) Did you know that people in Joseph’s time were worried about Masons infiltrating the government? Gadianton robbers. Did you know that the LDS temple ceremony is almost completely identical to the Masonic one Joseph was initiated into just seven weeks before instituting the endowment? That’s not mentioned in The Book of Mormon, but it’s all part of the same fraud.

I can gladly show you archeological evidence, historical accounts, and scientific findings that back up my knowledge. You can offer me your testimony of how you felt. I’ve felt that too. I’ve also felt the joy of “Santa” delivering me presents in the middle of the night as a child, before I had any legitimate reason to believe he wasn’t.

It’s hard to swallow the red pill. Especially when you’ve been taught to believe it’s from Satan. Or that there isn’t one. Believe me, I’ve been there. And what I found was that it’s ok to be humble and admit that you don’t know things.

 

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Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.
  • Shem

    I saw you used the Word Tree Foundation as a source with your screenshot of some of their work (The Late War Versus The Book of Mormon), but I don’t see it referenced in your article. So for those who are wondering, here is the link to it:

    https://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

    • Justin

      And for anyone actually interested in reading The Late War, which reads remarkably like the Book of Mormon, here’s the link for that too: https://archive.org/details/latewarbetween_00hunt

    • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

      Hey, thank you! I had that screen grab on my computer from a while ago, so I’ll add that in!

  • Dee

    Zelph, this is your best piece IMO. It reads well, the argument are strong. Great job.

    • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

      Wow, good to hear! 🙂

  • Rebecca

    Are you a Mormon. And what is writing this blog about putting Mormons down about there belief .. Do you write other blogs about other religions. You must be moved by the wrong spirit obviously. I never read anything of yours but by the caption of your mis leading story it seems you have a small mind. God loves you and hopefully one day you will see the truth in it. Prayer works. I know the book of Mormon to be true and have had prayer for certain things that have blessed me and my family only for the good. So what’s so wrong with that. We don’t go teaching to bring harm to people we want to show them joy. What’s so wrong with that. And comparing Santa to Jesus Christ is a total shame 🙁 boo on you and your article.

    • Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young

      Three of us run this site, and we’re all former Mormons, two of us RMs. We don’t write blogs about other religions because we haven’t spent the thousands of hours studying them that we have with Mormonism.
      There are certainly habits like family prayer that can bring a family together. But what’s wrong is that Mormons are being taught a false version of history and are praising a known conman and adulterer as “the prophet of the restoration”.
      All the best.

    • Spencer

      It’s not a misleading story, it calls into question the use of the “spirit” as your standard for truth. Feeling the spirit is an incredibly subjective standard that can be felt anywhere and any time. The last time I felt the spirit really strongly was while I was listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”, an album replete with themes and language that I have been taught should drive the spirit away. Making a bit of a jump here, on what does it even mean for something to be “true”? What does it even mean to “know” anything? Those are both pre-requisite questions that must be answered before you can proclaim the truth of any given belief. I understand that you only want to bring people joy, but as the saying goes, “The way to Hell is paved with good intentions.” You need to understand that for some people, the Church has brought only pain. I spent much of my life desperately trying to believe, and the entire time the Church continually told me I wasn’t good enough because I didn’t have a testimony. I, and the author, feel the need to point out the flaws in Mormonism because the flaws wreak havoc on people and their mental health. What’s so wrong with the Mormon Church claims to ultimate truth is this spiritual supremacy that you espouse in your comment. In your narrow worldview, because you’ve had a positive subjective experience with the Book of Mormon, any contradictory experience is invalid. So in conclusion, boo on your comment and poor grammar. (Also, I think if you re-read the article you’ll find that the author never compares Jesus to Santa. She compares that magical feeling of Santa bringing you toys to the feeling of the spirit.)

      • Rebecca

        LoL. 😉 Dear Mormons you DONT know the book of Mormon to be true. Yes I do. Thank u sorry for your experiences 😉

        • Michael Anderson

          I was hoping for a scintillating intellectual exchange. Could you address the points that Spencer was trying to make? I’d love to hear your deeper opinion.

        • Summer S.

          What evidence do you have to prove its truthfulness? That is what the author is trying to point out. The church teaches to you to equate belief with knowledge, when they are two very separate things.

          • Joseph Fonseca

            I dont think that is true at all. Do you believe in love? Do you have faith in mankind’s ability to correct itself? Do you believe that your family loves you? Are those things not things that come from initially having faith in such even during times of Trial? Are you a Christian? Do you have faith in Jesus Christ? If so then you should understand what we as members of the LDS Church are trying to say.

          • Summer S.

            I do believe in love, it’s a result of chemicals that are released in your brain. I believe that my family loves me, because they have shown me through words and actions, so there is evidence of their love. I don’t have to have faith since faith is belief without evidence. I am no longer a Christian, nor do I believe in the historicity of Jesus Christ. I no longer believe without evidence and haven’t for the last 4 years. That means over 30 years as a believer. I finally woke up and am happier now that all of my beliefs are based on actual knowledge and have facts and evidence to back them up. That’s the difference. Can you back yours with evidence? That is why beliefs are separate from knowledge. You can’t have knowledge without evidence and facts.

        • charles rivera

          Of course you do, dear. You were told how to think and feel about it, therefore it’s “true”. Tadaa!

      • Joseph Fonseca

        I would like to point out here that you can find something wrong with Everything. A question to your comment, do you do this same thing to people who have the Scientology faith? Why or why not? If you dont, then i would like to point out all the people who have been hurt mentally, physically, and Economically because of that Church. So why not protest against something that actually has some sort of reason to be protested against? We claim to be the Spiritual Supremacy because we believe that we have the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With that being said if someone such as I believes that wouldnt i share it? Mind you also that when the Apostles were killed we lost a lot of the Gospel with them. Why couldnt this be that renewed Gospel? I dont think it makes sense to try and destroy the faith because you dont believe in it. That Doesn’t make sense. Thats like saying that I’m going to ruin everyones love life because I dont believe in Love. Or I am gonna ruin everyones faith in Humanity because I am an ass. Pardon the terrible language there but its true. that doesnt make sense!

        • Spencer

          Scientology is horrible, I agree. However, Scientology has not impacted my life on a personal level like Mormonism has. I think you misinterpret my comment. I have no problem with people believing in Mormonism, provided that those same people don’t arrogantly tell me my entire belief system is invalid. Religious belief is entirely metaphysical. There’s not really any way to objectively prove that one belief is superior to another, it all comes down to subjective experiences and I find it insulting when people tell me my experiences are invalid because they don’t line up with the Church.

    • Joshua Smith

      Rebecca,

      There are many wonderful things about Mormonism. The author is pointing out some very damaging things about the faith–dogmatic truth claims, fundamentalism, and literalism. These are encouraged by the LDS faith at every turn. The author does an excellent job of showing how these claims are completely unfounded. Rather than people saying “I know this, that, and the other,” Mormons should talk about their beliefs in much, much more modest terms. Humility. Just a bit of tolerance for others and some good ol’ fashioned intellectual humility.

      Great article.

      • Joseph Fonseca

        Hi Joshua, I would love to point out that there is gonna be persecution in the Church and about the Book of Mormon and what not. But here is what I know. I know that Jesus is my Savior, and I know that God loves all his Children. With that being said I Love everyone on this page whether you dis my religion or not. All i have to say is this. We get that you dont believe it. We understand that you may not be in the same Wagon that we are about the Book of Mormon. And we understand that you are entitled to your opinions and choices. However, with all that being said, we do not need you guys to tell us what you can point out is wrong in the Book of Mormon. We know youre gonna find something, but we are trying to be good people. We love helping, and we love being able to share what we love with others. If you were a Christian with true values like Christ you would understand that the Spirit comes and teaches and shows that Christ is the Savior. If it testifies of that it is of God. am i not right? SO what is so bad! We will all find out on Judgment day who was right and who was wrong. But as for now. Ill serve God the way i want to, and you can do it the way you want to.

    • marelin

      Rebecca “We don’t go teaching to bring harm to people we want to show them joy.”
      And just coincidentally take all of their money too while you’re at it …
      I was raised mormon, and trust me on this, the darkest day of my life was when my dad first opened the door to the mormon missionaries when I was six years old. It led to me being given to a man (whom I despised) just because he was a ‘return missionary’ just nine years later. Mormonism is EVIL.

  • Barjona C. Malan

    Fantastic article! Well done.

  • Son of Nun

    One day you’ll find out for yourself, and you won’t be able to say you did not had a chance to find out for yourself. I can tell you I know for myself the Book of Mormon is true. I prayed about it, asked for an answer that I could not mistake, and I was visited by 2 angels who shook my hand each. After each left, another angel showed up, but it was not one from God, and he did not have a body. You can fight it all you want, but at the end, all that will remain is the testimony of many concerning the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the current prophet and apostles, and the Plan of Salvation. Be my guest, you can email me and ask questions if you want.

  • Sylvia Hilmarsdottir

    I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know it is the word of God. I know, because I received an answer through my prayers from the Holy Ghost. You can say what you want, but it won’t change the fact that I know and I can not deny it <3

    • dunkonyerhed

      I too know the church is true. Knowledge of the spirit, when nurtured, cannot be denied. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. The Book of Mormon was revealed through the prophet Joseph Smith. The church is led by living prophets today. Simplistic questions such as those asked in this article are easily answered but those presenting the questions are not really interested in answers.

  • dunkonyerhed

    I learned long ago that whenever and wherever truth exists, opposition will also exist to attempt to destroy or mute it. Such is the case with the critics of the truth today. Ironically, they themselves (collectively) become strong witnesses IN FAVOR of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. Of course they won’t see it that way, but nevertheless, that’s how it is. Every criticism presented herein has been amply, adequately or at least plausibly answered. If someone wants to know the truth, study, ponder and pray about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. If sincere, the answer will come. It really is true folks!

  • Errik Svoboda

    You might consider the document posted at this site.

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