Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Our Great God": Simple Evidences of the Book of Mormon's Authenticity

Update:  I came across another insight this morning that I think you'll enjoy.  In the Book of Mormon, the phrase "redeeming love" is used only three times.  In every instance, it refers to the "song" of redeeming love or "singing" redeeming love and is spoken of by two contemporaries, Alma and Ammon.  Again, what remarkable, sophisticated, and unique character and background development for a mere (yet incredibly scheming and conniving(?)) farm boy!  [end update]

Some people disregard the Book of Mormon because they insist upon seeing the gold plates from which it was translated.  In reality, 11 people did see the plates and gave their names as a witness to the world that they saw them.  Of these witness, though many were excommunicated and some became very hostile to Joseph Smith, none of them ever denied what they saw.

As I have read and pondered the Book of Mormon, again and again and prayed to know its truthfulness, I have relished one challenge in particular:  On every page, the reader is asked to question whether Joseph Smith merely made up what's on the page or whether he actually translated it through the power and authority of God.

The other day, I came across such an instance I'd like to share with you:  Character development.

The Prophet Joseph Smith received little more formal education than an elementary school student, or perhaps even less.  In spite of this deficiency, he translated a work of 531 pages via dictation in only sixty-five to seventy-five days(!) (How Long Did It Take to Translate the Book of Mormon?).

Setting aside the Book of Mormon's length, the sincere reader is invited to consider its content, which brings us to the thrust of this post:  Unique individuals have unique manners of speaking.  Some speak with an accent or use characteristic words or phrases.  The other day, I came across the latter while reading in Alma 24.

In this chapter, a people who had violently opposed another (the Lamanites opposing the Nephites) for many years, accepted the doctrine of Christ and repented of their sins.  As part of their sincere repentance, they decided to physically bury their weapons of war, deep in the earth, as a witness of their conversion and sincerity (illustrated below).

The king of this group, in encouraging his people to bury their weapons, gave an uplifting sermon, and used the unique phrase "great God" five times in only eight verses.  I thought about how often I'd read that phrase in the Book of Mormon and performed a search of "great god" to check.  The search returned only five hits in all 531 pages of the Book of Mormon -- all five instances spoken by this same king, in a span of eight verses.

I was astounded.  I assumed this would be a more common phrase in a book that uses the word "God" in something around 1,300 verses.  What an ingenious touch from a mere farm boy!  Right?

The Lamanites burying their weapons of war as a witness of their repentance.
I leave you with another challenge, given by the late Hugh B. Brown:
I believe the Prophet Joseph Smith was a prophet because he did many superhuman things. One was translating the Book of Mormon. Some people will not agree, but I submit to you that the Prophet Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon did a superhuman work. I ask you … to undertake to write a story on the ancient inhabitants of America. Write as he did without any source of material. Include in your story 54 chapters dealing with wars, 21 historical chapters, 55 chapters on visions and prophecies, and, remember, when you begin to write on visions and prophecies you must have your record agree meticulously with the Bible. You write 71 chapters on doctrine and exhortation, and, here too, you must check every statement with the scriptures or you will be proven to be a fraud. You must write 21 chapters on the ministry of Christ, and everything you claim He said and did and every testimony you write in your book about Him must agree absolutely with the New Testament. 
I ask you, would you like to undertake such a task? I would suggest to you too that you must employ figures of speech, similes, metaphors, narrations, exposition, description, oratory, epic, lyric, logic, and parables. Undertake that, will you? I ask you to remember that the man that translated the Book of Mormon was a young man who hadn’t had the opportunity of schooling that you have had, and yet he dictated that book in just over two months and made very few, if any, corrections. For over 100 years, some of the best students and scholars of the world have been trying to prove from the Bible that the Book of Mormon is false, but not one of them has been able to prove that anything he wrote was not in strict harmony with the scriptures. …

1 comment:

mfletcher said...

I LOVE what you have just written here!

I find the BoM to be the WORD OF GOD and the great light of my life!

Thank you, Daniel, for taking the time to share these precious insights with all who will read these words you have posted.