To my dear loved ones,
These statements are not to challenge any individual or individual beliefs but are simply a statement of where I am today. I was raised in the Restoration movement and have believed in the divinity of the Book of Mormon for 67 years. I'm not trying to start a debate; I just want my loved ones to know where I stand today concerning the Gospel of Christ.
I've been a lot of years arriving at the place where I find myself today. I've had the Book of Mormon kind of setting on the shelf and kind of waiting to see what God would do with it. I've always found that I can prove and reprove the doctrines I believe directly from the Bible and since most people I'm dealing with don't believe the BM, there isn't much use in quoting it to them.
I have felt pretty much as Dad says that the only good thing to come out of the Restoration movement was the Book of Mormon. As time goes by and I learn more and more about the errors and mistakes of Joseph Smith, it has become harder and harder to keep telling myself that God will bring the BM to the knowledge of the world and use it to convince the Indian and Mexican peoples of their heritage.
I've always had questions about minor things in the BM but nothing that would make me change my opinion of the book. Now I'm adding things that make me question the authorship of the BM. I'd like to spell some of them out to you. Not to start a debate or discussion but just too simply say that this is where I am today and this is what I believe.
The first verse that I have for years questioned is about the building of the temple in Nephi's day.
2 Nephi 5  And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.  And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.
I don't know what he means by precious things but usually that would refer to gold and silver and the previous verse says that these were found in great abundance.
Secondly, I find that the Nephites had horses. Geologists and scientists have said that the horse was introduced by the Spanish in the 1500's. They have been wrong before so that didn't bother me too much. I always did question why if they had horses that the horses weren't used in their battles. The BM if full of wars from one end to the other and horses and chariots are mentioned occasionally but never that I am aware of in connection with battles or transportation of troops.
I know you've read Dad's testimony that Joseph Smith added the words to the BM concerning how God could command people to have polygamy if He choose to. I don't really believe that his experience was from God, but I don't know. I think it was more from Dad's heart because he carried such a burden for his family that he felt like he had to do something to answer the question. It really opens up a huge question if we say that Joseph Smith made changes to the BM before the Palmyra edition. Then we have a book like the Book of Commandments or the Messages where we have to question and re-question every word that is in it.
This is a scripture that Dad pointed out to me that sure sounds like another addition to the BM that Joseph Smith could have added.
Mosiah 8  Now Ammon said unto him: I can assuredly tell thee, O king, of a man that can translate the records; for he has wherewith that he can look, and translate all records that are of ancient date; and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters, and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he ought not and he should perish. And whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer.  And behold, the king of the people who are in the land of Zarahemla is the man that is commanded to do these things, and who has this high gift from God.  And the king said that a seer is greater than a prophet.  And Ammon said that a seer is a revelator and a prophet also; and a gift which is greater can no man have, except he should possess the power of God, which no man can; yet a man may have great power given him from God.  But a seer can know of things which are past, and also of things which are to come, and by them shall all things be revealed, or, rather, shall secret things be made manifest, and hidden things shall come to light, and things which are not known shall be made known by them, and also things shall be made known by them which otherwise could not be known.
It sure sounds like Joseph Smith and I don't think it is born out anywhere else in the scriptures. The Bible says a prophet and seer are the same thing.
1 Samuel 9:9 9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.) KJV
2 Samuel 24:11 11 For when David was up in the morning, the word of the LORD came unto the prophet Gad, David's seer, saying, KJV
Then the most obvious to me is the reference in the BM about Joseph the son of Joseph and the great work that he will do. Of course most of the restoration believes that this is talking about Joseph Smith but there are too many things that it promises that didn't happen. It cannot be referring to Joseph Smith. Yes, it could be talking about someone else but it sure seems to be tied to the Book of Mormon.
Who was Joseph's spokesman? Yes, the Book of Mormon could fulfill many of these things in the future and we have to be careful not to judge too quickly but it's hard for me to put any part of these scriptures as applying to Joseph Smith.
2 Nephi 3  For behold, thou art the fruit of my loins; and I am a descendant of Joseph who was carried captive into Egypt. And great were the covenants of the Lord which he made unto Joseph.  Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord that the Messiah should be made manifest unto them in the latter days, in the spirit of power, unto the bringing of them out of darkness unto light -- yea, out of hidden darkness and out of captivity unto freedom.  For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins.  Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers.  And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work.  And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel.  And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt.  But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins -- and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them.  Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord.  And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.  And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise;  And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation.  Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever.  And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him.  And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it.  And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith.  And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words.  Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers.  And now, behold, my son Joseph, after this manner did my father of old prophesy.  Wherefore, because of this covenant thou art blessed; for thy seed shall not be destroyed, for they shall hearken unto the words of the book.  And there shall rise up one mighty among them, who shall do much good, both in word and in deed, being an instrument in the hands of God, with exceeding faith, to work mighty wonders, and do that thing which is great in the sight of God, unto the bringing to pass much restoration unto the house of Israel, and unto the seed of thy brethren.  And now, blessed art thou, Joseph. Behold, thou art little; wherefore hearken unto the words of thy brother, Nephi, and it shall be done unto thee even according to the words which I have spoken. Remember the words of thy dying father. Amen.
Hardly any of these things prophesied have come to pass and in many cases it would be impossible for them to be fulfilled today or in the future, as applying to Joseph Smith.
Thirdly, I look at the life of Joseph Smith and wonder how God could have allowed so much error and misinformation. God has always been very strict about His laws and rules of operation. When the young man reached out his hand to steady the Ark that was rocking on the wagon, God killed him instantly. The same thing would have happened if anyone other than the High Priest had entered the Holy of Holies. When Israel was rebellious and walking in sin, God even allowed the Philistines to take the Ark but there were drastic results for the Philistines being around the Ark.
How could He allow the manuscript to fall into the wrong hands? Why did He take away the Urim and Thummim? Most restorationists believe that the majority of the BM was translated using the seer stone in a hat with Joseph's face buried in the hat. He wouldn't even have had to have the gold plates if that is the way the translation occurred.
The later translation of the papyrus that Joseph Smith bought with the Egyptian mummies, which became part of the Pearl of Great Price and specifically the Book of Abraham, is another example of Joseph Smith making false records.
The papyrus that he used to translate the records was later sold to someone in Chicago and was thought for over a 100 years to have been destroyed in the Chicago fire. Then low and behold, the Smithsonian Institute just in the last few years contacted the Mormon Church and asked them if they wanted the papyrus which they had in their museum. Naturally the Mormon Church said yes but in this day and age, they made photographic copies of the papyrus before they sent it to Utah.
We have scientists today who are capable of translating the inscriptions on the papyrus and the translations don't say anything about Abraham and the drawings which Joseph Smith completed are totally inaccurate.
You can see the full video at:
The translation of the Book of Abraham is so blatantly in error that it is hard to comprehend how people can still claim it talks about Abraham. Why hasn't the Mormon Church even tried to use their own modern day experts to show that the translation of the Egyptian characters made by Joseph Smith was correct? This is an example of how people are deceived and will believe anything. It's another example of the errors of Joseph Smith and his arrogance in promoting his own personal beliefs.
Do we have any other men recorded in scripture, who God used for such a great work as the BM, who so completely failed in every other facet of their ministry? There are only two men that I have been able to compare Joseph Smith to and they are Saul, who God gave a new heart and who was the prophet to the nation of Israel, but who turned against God in the end and then of course Judas.
In our day we have Joseph Smith, who we know failed in many things and similarly, Otto Fetting and Oley Draves. I believe that Satan sent an angel of light to the last two with the messages that we believed for so many years and that the same thing happened probably to Joseph Smith too.
Are you aware that even the experience in the woods where Joseph prayed and God appeared and told him that none of the churches were right, wasn't recorded anywhere until about 1938 when Joseph wrote the church history. It is not referred to in recorded sermons or in any church publications prior to that time. Even the recorded story of the experience itself was written and re-written over and over again until they finally added two personages and much more. Every time the story was told, it was changed and changed again and again.
I guess the one thing that has convinced me of the error of the Book of Mormon, is the coming of the New Jerusalem down out of Heaven and being somewhere in the America's.
We've had a special interest in the Temple lot in Independence for many years but I've always felt that the building of the Temple took second place to the preaching of the gospel. Now as time goes on and the more I look at Joseph Smith and his works and prophecies, I don't believe the temple will be built in Independence.
It is hard for me to even conceive of a city called New Jerusalem, built by the Lamanites being in America. Then to also have the New Jerusalem which comes down from Heaven being in America too is just too much.
The Bible doesn't have a lot to say about the New Jerusalem that will come down from Heaven, but it's pretty hard for me to picture God forsaking His Holy City. He is coming back to Jerusalem and will set His foot on the Mount of Olives. Then it talks about the mount splitting into and part moving North and part South and part East and part West. That will leave a huge square hole just about right for the New Jerusalem. Of course I can't prove that from scripture but Christ will return to Jerusalem to fight the battle of Armageddon and stand on the Mount of Olives and will bring His kingdom to earth, where He will reign for 1000 years and I believe He will reign from Jerusalem.
The building of the Temple in Independence and the two New Jerusalemswith one in America is another typical example of things that show how Joseph Smith would have added to the written word. He proved his errors over and over again in rewriting history and in rewriting the Book of Commandments.
The New Jerusalem is the one main thing that has pushed me to the point where I no longer consider the Book of Mormon to be scripture and it sure leaves me hanging out on a limb with no where to go. No church, no priesthood and no organization of any kind that I can support. I am more and more convinced that we are living in the time of the famine spoken of in Amos 8:11.
I do believe that God is working with people all over the world and trying to teach them the truth but will we know His voice well enough to answer Him and follow His voice.
Christ says that He will cut the time short or there would no flesh be saved. Does that mean the tribulation is shortened from 7 years to 3.5 years?
Revelation 21:1-5 21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. KJV
3 Nephi 20  And behold, this people will I establish in this land, unto the fulfilling of the covenant which I made with your father Jacob; and it shall be a New Jerusalem. And the powers of heaven shall be in the midst of this people; yea, even I will be in the midst of you.
3 Nephi 21  And verily I say unto you, I give unto you a sign, that ye may know the time when these things shall be about to take place -- that I shall gather in, from their long dispersion, my people, O house of Israel, and shall establish again among them my Zion;  And behold, this is the thing which I will give unto you for a sign -- for verily I say unto you that when these things which I declare unto you, and which I shall declare unto you hereafter of myself, and by the power of the Holy Ghost which shall be given unto you of the Father, shall be made known unto the Gentiles that they may know concerning this people who are a remnant of the house of Jacob, and concerning this my people who shall be scattered by them;  Verily, verily, I say unto you, when these things shall be made known unto them of the Father, and shall come forth of the Father, from them unto you;  For it is wisdom in the Father that they should be established in this land, and be set up as a free people by the power of the Father, that these things might come forth from them unto a remnant of your seed, that the covenant of the Father may be fulfilled which he hath covenanted with his people, O house of Israel;  Therefore, when these works and the works which shall be wrought among you hereafter shall come forth from the Gentiles, unto your seed which shall dwindle in unbelief because of iniquity;  For thus it behooveth the Father that it should come forth from the Gentiles, that he may show forth his power unto the Gentiles, for this cause that the Gentiles, if they will not harden their hearts, that they may repent and come unto me and be baptized in my name and know of the true points of my doctrine, that they may be numbered among my people, O house of Israel;  And when these things come to pass that thy seed shall begin to know these things -- it shall be a sign unto them, that they may know that the work of the Father hath already commenced unto the fulfilling of the covenant which he hath made unto the people who are of the house of Israel.  And when that day shall come, it shall come to pass that kings shall shut their mouths; for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.  For in that day, for my sake shall the Father work a work, which shall be a great and a marvelous work among them; and there shall be among them those who will not believe it, although a man shall declare it unto them.  But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore they shall not hurt him, although he shall be marred because of them. Yet I will heal him, for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.  Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him to bring forth unto the Gentiles, and shall give unto him power that he shall bring them forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant.  And my people who are a remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles, yea, in the midst of them as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep, who, if he go through both treadeth down and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.  Their hand shall be lifted up upon their adversaries, and all their enemies shall be cut off.  Yea, wo be unto the Gentiles except they repent; for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;  And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strongholds;  And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thy land, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers;  Thy graven images I will also cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee, and thou shalt no more worship the works of thy hands;  And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee; so will I destroy thy cities.  And it shall come to pass that all lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms, shall be done away.  For it shall come to pass, saith the Father, that at that day whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off from among my people, O house of Israel;  And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them, even as upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.  But if they will repent and hearken unto my words, and harden not their hearts, I will establish my church among them, and they shall come in unto the covenant and be numbered among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance;  And they shall assist my people, the remnant of Jacob, and also as many of the house of Israel as shall come, that they may build a city, which shall be called the New Jerusalem.  And then shall they assist my people that they may be gathered in, who are scattered upon all the face of the land, in unto the New Jerusalem.  And then shall the power of heaven come down among them; and I also will be in the midst.  And then shall the work of the Father commence at that day, even when this gospel shall be preached among the remnant of this people. Verily I say unto you, at that day shall the work of the Father commence among all the dispersed of my people, yea, even the tribes which have been lost, which the Father hath led away out of Jerusalem.  Yea, the work shall commence among all the dispersed of my people, with the Father to prepare the way whereby they may come unto me, that they may call on the Father in my name.  Yea, and then shall the work commence, with the Father among all nations in preparing the way whereby his people may be gathered home to the land of their inheritance.  And they shall go out from all nations; and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.
Ether 13  For behold, they rejected all the words of Ether; for he truly told them of all things, from the beginning of man; and that after the waters had receded from off the face of this land it became a choice land above all other lands, a chosen land of the Lord; wherefore the Lord would have that all men should serve him who dwell upon the face thereof;  And that it was the place of the New Jerusalem, which should come down out of heaven, and the holy sanctuary of the Lord.  Behold, Ether saw the days of Christ, and he spake concerning a New Jerusalem upon this land.  And he spake also concerning the house of Israel, and the Jerusalem from whence Lehi should come -- after it should be destroyed it should be built up again, a holy city unto the Lord; wherefore, it could not be a new Jerusalem for it had been in a time of old; but it should be built up again, and become a holy city of the Lord; and it should be built unto the house of Israel.  And that a New Jerusalem should be built upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph, for which things there has been a type.  For as Joseph brought his father down into the land of Egypt, even so he died there; wherefore, the Lord brought a remnant of the seed of Joseph out of the land of Jerusalem, that he might be merciful unto the seed of Joseph that they should perish not, even as he was merciful unto the father of Joseph that he should perish not.  Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away.  And there shall be a new heaven and a new earth; and they shall be like unto the old save the old have passed away, and all things have become new.  And then cometh the New Jerusalem; and blessed are they who dwell therein, for it is they whose garments are white through the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who are numbered among the remnant of the seed of Joseph, who were of the house of Israel.  And then also cometh the Jerusalem of old; and the inhabitants thereof, blessed are they, for they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb; and they are they who were scattered and gathered in from the four quarters of the earth, and from the north countries, and are partakers of the fulfilling of the covenant which God made with their father, Abraham.
Lastly, I have been heavily involved in genealogy work for the last 10 years, tracing my ancestry and using DNA testing to make connections to family members and tracing countries of origin. My great grandparents came from Denmark and Norway. DNA testing should prove the relationship of the Lamanites and the Jews but it doesn't. There seems to be no connection at all between the Jews and the Lamanites. It's true that the world doesn't know who the lost ten tribes are and is pretty much confused about the words Jew and Israel but a link between the Lamanites and the Jew of Israel today would have been pretty conclusive proof of the Book of Mormon. It's just not there and I have been pretty disappointed about that.
I feel like such a failure. I'm not even sure I want to have eternal life because all my loved ones have walked and are now walking in different paths. I'm not sure I would want to be with Jesus and know that all my family and loved ones didn't make it. What is our life worth if we can't help our kids and parents and loved ones see the truth? I personally would feel that my life was a complete failure if I did not influence my wife and children to choose to walk in the straight and narrow way.
I don't know what God wants me to do and I'm kind of like my Dad was 25 years ago when he gave me all his church books and said he didn't need them anymore. He said if God had something for him to do, God knew where he lived.
I love God with all my heart or at least I say I do but our actions will prove the truth or lie of that statement. I desire to walk in the straight and narrow path and finish the course but I want to take my family and loved ones along with me.
I feel like a soldier that has been trained for battle but there is no war! Evil is everywhere but there is no place for a soldier to stand and hold high the banner of Truth!
Not all of us are intended to be ministers or preachers. Some of us are only here to maybe someday give our lives as martyrs for the cause of Christ. Some have only the responsibility to support those who do preach the gospel. Will we even be strong enough for that?
I know this is kind of long but it's been coming on for many years and the New Jerusalem thing just kind of pushed me over the edge.
What really scares me is knowing that it's only a few more steps to saying that the Bible is not true and God doesn't exist.
Pray for me that I can find some place to serve Him and that I will have my heart in tune with His will.
God bless you and yours.