By Ronald D. Howes
James E. Talmadge’s Articles of Faith (p. 273) gives the reasons why Mormons accept the Book of Mormon and in reality the rest of Smith’s works as the authentic Word of God. Reason number 3 at the bottom of the page is:
“3. The strict agreement and consistency of the Book of Mormon with itself.”
We find that the book fails miserably to measure up to Talmadge’s fine requirements. Mormons are not about to scoff at Talmadge’s requirements; James E. Talmadge was one of their 12 apostles, and faithful to the cult till death.
Does the Book of Mormon Agree With Itself?
This section will compare not only Book of Mormon references but also Doctrine and Covenant statements. Perhaps the worst witness for the internal consistency of the book is poor old Nephi, .supposedly the author of much of the first part. (Book of Mormon references are to page and verse.)
“And now I know that the record which I made is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge (B.M., page 1, v. 3).”
A little later he wasn’t so sure ….
“Nevertheless I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think (emphasis mine, rdh) it be sacred. And now if I do err, even did they err of old . . . because of the weakness which is in me,, according to the flesh (B. M., page 41, v. 6).”
Fortunately, he picked up confidence toward the end of his efforts.
“But behold, I proceed with mine own prophecy, according to my plainness; in the which I know (emphasis mine, rdh) that no man can err . . . (B. M., page 90, v. 7)”
So far, the Book of Mormon has proven to be about as consistent as a case of frostbite in Florida. The picture grows worse, not better. How can a prophet of God like poor old Nephi make an inspirational boo-boo like that? First he’s positive; then he is not so sure; then he has it all together again. It makes for fun psychoanalysis, but very poor scripture. Read 1 Cor. 14:33, over and over and over again. We must not knock old Nephi too much, for now we would like to quote him as an authority.
“I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (B. M, page 5, v. 7).
On September 22 and 23 of 1832, Joseph Smith, Jr., self-proclaimed “seer,” “revelator,” and “prophet” of the Latter Day Saints, gave this commandment from God in section 84, v. 5 of the Doctrine and Covenants. He said, ” . this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it” (see v. 3, the house to be built in Missouri, and v. 4, to be erected in that generation). The “prophet” gives the Mormons one generation in which to erect the house, about 1832 to 1842, and during the lifetimes of those alive then. All those have long since died and the house was never reared. As a matter of historical embarrassment, the Mormons were chased out of Missouri not too long after this. Did God guide Nephi? Did God guide Joseph Smith, Jr., the “prophet?” Was the “commandment of the Lord” accomplished? No! This is not the only commandment the Lord supposedly gave the Mormons, which He did not prepare a way for them to fulfill.
A Marriage Counselor’s Nightmare!
“Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. For behold, I reveal unto you a new and everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant then are ye damned” (Doctrine and Covenants section 132, vs. 3-4). Mormons are commanded to listen to the instructions, rear, and obey those things. The alternative to obeying these directives is a front row seat on the next fast plane to Hell! Sounds a little like Nephi was in one of his more confident moods. Well, what was this covenant? Read verse 1.
” . . the principle and doctrine of their having many wives” (also verses 37-39). Do Mormons have many wives today? Has God provided a way for them to keep this commandment and covenant of His? Remember that those who do not, cannot be saved, but are looking forward to damnation!
Woodruff and Snow Recant
The official declaration of Wilford Woodruff and Lorenzo Snow on the doctrine of polygamy is now law. These past Presidents of the Mormon Church lent their consent to the ban on polygamy on pages 256 and 257 of the Doctrine and Covenants. It seems that in 1890, Utah wanted Statehood more than they wanted concubines and wives ad infinitum. So, in the last analysis “political expediency” won out over damnation and anathema.
Righteous-Unrighteous, Good-Bad, Sins
Concerning plural marriages, especially those contracted by David, the Book of Mormon said,
“And now it came to pass the people of Nephi under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines and also Solomon, his son” (Book of Mormon, pp. 108-109, v. 15).
How ridiculous can a person get? This totally contradicts everything Joe said in Doctrine and Covenants; section 132, about the righteous practice of plural marriages by Mormon men.
“David also received many wives .and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me” (Doctrine and Covenants, section 132, v. 38).
In one place it’s a wicked abominable practice, and in another place it is said “and in nothing did they sin.” Will the real Joseph Smith, Junior, seer, prophet, arid revelator please stand up?! Does the Book of Mormon have strict consistency with itself and with the truly inspired writings of the prophets of God? Not at all!
Truth Magazine XVIII: 4, pp. 54-55
November 28, 1974