Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: The Book of Mormon was very carefully written’

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Published: Thursday, June 20 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Roy, UT

Proving the reality of the BoM, as the same "intertextuality" exists in our day, the same real world use of available text or scripture, including current Apostolic declarations, as well as proving God is the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow. Valid & Ponder-worthy article, thanks,

Richland, WA

Anyone who has written articles for publication knows how difficult internal consistency can be. Composing an internally consistent narrative over 500 pages long without an outline or notes is inconceivable. For someone to do it who had never published a single essay, who was not trained in the tradition of literature, is incomprehensible. And nearly 200 years of examination have shown that the book is always more information rich than the society around it.

Mormon Wookiee
Riverton, UT

Dan, I always look forward to your articles. I had never considered that Alma's desire to have the voice of an angel and shake the earth to repentance came from his own experience being shaken to repentance by an angel, but of course, that makes perfect sense. I love the Book of Mormon!

Clatskanie, OR

Now if we could only get the MesoAmerican theorist's to be as honest and forth coming. Lehi never saw MesoAmerica... but those who left on Hagoth's ships.. did.

GK Willington
Salt Lake City, UT

per MrNirom1...

Oddity 1 of the BoM; Why journey down the Arabian Peninsula? Israel is right next to the Mediterranean.

Taylorsville, UT

Minor problem: that Alma (36) has 1Ne 1 in mind is complicated by the fact that like Mormon (till near the end of his life--WofM 1-3), he and all were unacquainted with the Small Plates, as born out by such passages as Al 45:9ff (cf. 1Ne 12:19, 15:5; cf. En 13--unlike Alma, Enos does know about Nephi's prophecy) and Al 1:12 (cf. Jac 7). All pointing to the conclusion that the order of dictation corresponded precisely to the order of textual formulation. --AGF

sandy, ut


The Book of Mormon isn't consistant. Neither is the D & C or the Pearl of Great Price. 0 for 3 isn't bad, but hey, who's counting.

West Jordan, UT

To Brahmabull

I can appreciate your opinion, but I respectfully and completely disagree. These books of scripture are consistent; consistent with each other and consistent with the Bible. I invite you to study them and find out for yourself, then ask God if they are true and consistent. God does everything with purpose. I know these are inspired writings from God and are not only records of historical significance, but inspired works to teach all human-kind the true nature of God, his eternal plan, and his Son, Jesus Christ, who died, who lives, who is the only one who can save us from our carnal state as we exercise faith in Him. Each of these works of scripture including the Holy Bible, help us to understand that and help us know how to work out our own salvation. The fact that this author is pointing out literary consistencies that most of us (including me) have not seen or understood before, should only propel us to research these divinely inspired works on a greater scale.

sandy, ut


No problems with differences of opinion - I can respect that. Problem is, I have done all of that. It was only by studying them in depth that I discovered the vast problems that they have. I am in no was trying to change your opinion, just pointing out why I have come to that conclusion. The Pearl of Great Price has NOTHING to do with the translations Joseph Smith gave them. They are not what he claims they are. Every part of his translation of them was wrong. Egyptologists have looked at them, and they are simple funerary texts, and have nothing to do with Abraham and all of the other things Joseph Said. Regarding the Doctrine and Covenants - I lost faith in that book when I discovered that earlier editions were different - and revelations changed. They were written into later editions as if they were included in the originals. That kind of dishonesty I cannot look past. The restoration of the priesthood, for example - it wasn't even mentioned until 5 years after it supposedly took place. It isn't in diaries, or in the original D and C. If it happened, certainly it would have been in there??

Winchester, VA

The Book of Mormon is far too complex a document for the time it was brought forth, even conceding a genius intellect for Joseph Smith. It is a product of an accomplished writer, though not of our culture or time. That the teachings add a layer of clarity to the New Testament, as well as reflecting a new interpretation on the Old Testament more in line with the New Testament should give anyone cause to reconsider what this book means to us.


Another in a line of great articles. Consider the phrase found in Alma 28:2, Helaman 14:5, 3 Nephi 8:5, Ether 11:6 and Ether 11:7 "such an one as never had been known". This appears in English to be a little bit of a clumsy translation from another language. Yet each time it is translated from the Nephite language it is translated the same. This phrase is used five times to refer to something extraordinary that had never been seen before.

A portion of the phrase (such an one) is found a number of times in the New Testament and Old Testament but the entire phrase as quoted above is found only in the Book of Mormon. I believe John Welch and others have pointed out many examples of Hebraisms that are evident in the Book of Mormon text.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT


I'd love your hear your reply to Brahmabull from his 10:39 comment.

And by reply is it too much to ask you address the points he brings out?

I guess I'd love for any Mormon to reply. If you disagree with him, then please present the facts.

If you don't argue what he brings up, then why would the original DC not have included important things until many versions and 5 years after such important events supposedly took place?

"I believe" doesn't hold up unless counterarguments can be refuted.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

The oddity of seeing Mormon scholars now probing textual interdependence within the Book of Mormon as evidence of authenticity is that right from the start, skepticism of its historicity stemmed from immediate suspicion that Joseph Smith used the Bible as a creative model.

That’s anything but unprecedented whether or not Joseph Smith was trying to perpetrate a fraud. The books of the Bible built on earlier efforts they tried to outdo. Chronicles covers the same ground as Kings. It may have begun as an attempt to rewrite history but to those who believe in the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles and Kings go hand in hand. Interdependence of the synoptic Gospels has been analyzed to no end although much of the traditions material originated from common sources. But where did the Book of Mormon come from?

Only one Christian religion regards the Book of Mormon as historical. With the weight of independent evidence being against it, that’s not likely to change.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

I have no opinion about the BoM one way or another so this is not meant as an insult, but the article did raise a question for me – should we be similarly impressed when the Lord of the Rings shows internal consistency?

And I have often had a similar thought regarding how the NT apparently confirms prophecies spelled out in the OT - should we also be astonished when the Return of the King (3rd book in series) fulfills the “prophetic” statements found in The Fellowship of the Ring (1st book in series)?

Weber State Graduate
Clearfield, UT

The intertextuality argument in favor of BoM authenticity is interesting, but must be viewed in context with the many other problems that exist with the BoM claim. Although it's understandable why members might easily latch onto anything remotely resembling favorable evidence, one simply cannot ignore the controversial evidence against BoM historicity.

With all due respect, the BoM quotes extensively from the Bible and shared vocabulary is not necessarily a good measure of intertextuality. It's also just as likely the BoM could have been plagiarized from a contemporary source with parallels and so called "intertextuality" being nothing more than plagiarism parallels of those particular sources.

Unfortunately, scholars will never know. Without the plates or an original BoM text available for scholarly examination, one is left to playing word games to defend the faith.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Tyler D

A great point. But, as I understand it, Tolkien spent a dozen or so years between The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings getting all of the back story together.

He was a professor of ancient languages and had the advantage not only of education (and age) but of time.

Dallas, TX

@Chris B

I'm a "Mormon", and I think I can answer your question.

"The editing and modification of the revelations was never a secret; it was well known to
the Church of Joseph's day, and it has been discussed repeatedly in modern Church
publications, as well as extensive studies in Masters' and PhD theses at BYU.

If Joseph could receive the Doctrine and Covenants by revelation, then he could also
receive revelation to improve, modify, revise, and expand his revelatory product. The
question remains the same—was Joseph Smith a prophet? If he was, then his action is
completely legitimate. If he was not, then it makes little difference whether his pretended
revelations were altered or not."

Mesa, AZ


"I lost faith in that book when I discovered that earlier editions were different - and revelations changed. They were written into later editions as if they were included in the originals. That kind of dishonesty I cannot look past."

It makes one wonder about the authenticity of the new testament then especially since the oldest manuscripts supporting it date only to the third century A.D. But you probably did not know that.

layton, UT

Twin Lights, RE: Intertextualit: allusion, quotation, plagiarism. “methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God” (Alma 36:22)

… I saw also the LORD(*YHWH) sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. .., Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD(*YHWH)…..(Isaiah 6:1-3)
Isaiah said this because he saw *Jesus' glory and spoke about him.(John 12:41 NIV)

@ The second proposed example suggests reliance upon the O.T. [KJV] story of Elijah.

i.e. (D&C 110: 1-16) Elias and Elijah appear to JS, but in the Bible they are the same person. The KJV translators attempted to transliterate Elijah to Elias because there isn’t a Greek character for the English letter J.
To avoid confusion, modern translations: NIV,NET and the NASB have Elijah instead of Elias in(Mt 11:14; Luke 1:17) .

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO


"....The question remains the same—was Joseph Smith a prophet?...."

Is the Pope the vicar of Jesus Christ? Every individual can decide such claims as a matter of faith. I'll never fully understand Joseph Smith but I don't devalue him as an original religious thinker. He founded a vital and vibrant religion that now speaks to the hearts of millions. I don't think that need be dependent on the 100% veracity of Joseph Smith on all matters he spoke to. He was a flawed human being as we all are.

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