Defending the Faith: 'Throne vision' motif points to Book of Mormon authenticity

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  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Jan. 17, 2012 9:19 a.m.


    If you go to dictionary (can't list the URL here), we find the following definition of plagiarism:

    ...the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work, as by not crediting the author...

    As 2 Nephi, parts of 1 Nephi and some of 3rd Nephi are nearly or entirely the same as what we find in Isaiah or from the New Testament and since many stories in the Book of Mormon mirror very closely what we find in the KJV, then I still say that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarized work.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 17, 2012 8:18 a.m.

    @Jeff That's an issue of translation, not original text.

    JS mis-understood Isaiah. Therefore behold I will proceed to remove this people, and I will remove them: and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will hide the understanding of the prudent. (Is 29:14)

    I will Destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent,in(1Cor 1:19) Paul quotes the Septuagint, from where God denounces the policy of the Wise in Judah seeking an alliance with Egypt against Assyria
    A paraphrase gives a good view of Isaiahs prophecy. Therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these hypocrites, and make their wisest counselors as fools. (Is 29:14 LB).

    The inspired version.(Is 29:14 JST), But the book (BoM)shall be delivered unto a man(JS).verse 16 by the power of Christ, verse 17,..the three witnesses. Not supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls ,Septuagint or KJV.

    J S was wrong about(Is 29:14 )is not a prophecy about the BoM But God will punish the Jews for spiritual wickedness; He will remove their discernment from their hearts... . Fulfilled in that they rejected Christ.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 10:23 p.m.


    Yeah, "proto" was a curious choice for prefix. "Pseudo" would have fit better. Can we pretend that's what I wrote?

    Basing the similarity of the BoM on the brass plates is also curious, especially considering that thematically it is more similar to the New Testament than the Old Testament.

    Word choice for translation is an interesting topic. First, if we consider that it was a traditional translation, it's strange that he would choose King James style wording that obscures the message more than his contemporary language would have. If we assume that the translation was given through revelation, again we have to question why God would give him a poor version of King James English with grammatical errors. It points more to someone trying to invoke religious sympathy through familiar religious language.

    Finally, history does produce some surprises, so I don't like to fling around absolutes. I'm still waiting for some discovery that suggests that the Hopewell or Maya were concerned at all with infant baptism, or baptism at all.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Jan. 16, 2012 2:46 p.m.

    @ Searching: Are you speaking of the translation of the Book of Mormon, or the actual book? "Proto-King James language" is an interesting description for Joseph Smith's diction in the translation. There is no dispute about that: the translation uses (not "proto" but) King James diction. That's an issue of translation, not original text.

    One of the earliest narratives at the beginning of the Book of Mormon is how Nephi and his brothers got the Bible from Jerusalem and the family read it together. It would be astounding if the Bible were not a major influence on the Book, since the Bible's influence is said to be indispensable in the Book of Mormon's earliest chapters.

    While it's true that some doctrinal issues (like infant baptism) were disputed in the 19th Century, it hardly precludes their being an issue in the 6th. There are also many doctrinal issues that were seldom if ever in dispute in the 19th Century that are prominent in the Book of Mormon (the nature and behavior of Christ before He was born, for example, or the Abrahamic covenant and the House of Joseph).

    "What we know of" something is always by very nature incomplete evidence.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Jan. 16, 2012 9:07 a.m.


    I agree that "plagiarism" is not the correct term for what is being expressed. However, the influence of the Bible on the BoM is readily apparent, from the proto-King James language to the themes, to the parallels between the stories. What doesn't fit the ancient manuscript theory is that the doctrinal issues match much better with 19th century theological debates than with 6th century BC beliefs, 1st century AD beliefs, or what we know of 3rd century Mesoamerican or Hopewell beliefs. For example, very time I read Mormon's discourse on infant baptism, I have to scratch my head. Could the theological though on original sin and redemptive baptism really evolve independently on two continents to come up with the same misguided policy? If so, than the original instruction must have been delivered poorly in both cases.

    No, I wouldn't call it plagiarism; more of a historical fiction based on the bible using 19th century theological philosophy.

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    Jan. 16, 2012 7:53 a.m.

    @Kazbert "Anyone who denies Jesus as Redeemer (didn't die for us) cannot be called prophetic or inspired"

    i think the only requirement to be called "prophetic" is that one's specific predictions about future events consistently "come true".

  • nick humphrey kent, WA
    Jan. 16, 2012 3:29 a.m.

    @Kazbert "I take issue with portraying Mohammed as being a prophet or as being inspired. The Quran emphatically states that Jesus was not crucified. They consider Jesus to be just a man (though they believe in His miraculous virgin birth). Anyone who denies Jesus as Redeemer (didn't die for us) cannot be called prophetic or inspired"

    and christians say the same thing about joseph smith and mormonism introducing "heretical" doctrine concerning bible "truths", e.g. jesus and satan are brothers, heavenly mother, god was once a man, etc.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Jan. 16, 2012 1:09 a.m.

    This accusation that the Book of Mormon plagiarizes is interesting. To explore it fully would take more than my 200-word allotment, but it might be worth a shot.

    First, the accusation cannot be made using 21st Century standards. If so, both Jesus and Apostle Paul (for religious examples) would be guilty of it.

    It is a well-established custom in Judaism and Christianity to quote from, comment on, and even alter previously existing texts. The Book of Mormon maintains this custom. In fact, it would be strange for a book professing to be religious to avoid referencing other texts it names as sacred.

    It is interesting to read the Isaiah portions of 1st and 2nd Nephi in light of Nephi's stated objectives and unstated subtext. The chapters cited are exactly germane to what would have been on Nephi's mind, and his commentary (hardly plagiarized) shows that.

    The idea that, because such things as Lehi's dream and (for example) Jacob's allegory of the olive tree are ideas that are present in the Bible constitutes plagiarism is absurd. They are exactly what one would expect from an ancient text like the Book of Mormon.

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Jan. 15, 2012 10:08 p.m.

    Cowboy I only make broken record comments when I keep reading the same sorry arguments post after post by certain commenter you point a finger at me I just point it back

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    The fact that there are at least 3 other similar accounts in the Bible to Lehi's in 1 Nephi seems to strengthen the argument that the Book of Mormon is a work of plagiarism by Joseph Smith.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 8:33 a.m.

    @Bill said, Sharrona is no more Christian than I am Muslim by her own actions.

    My actions are to speak the truth in love(Eph 4:15).

    JS said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct book of any book on earth, and the keystone to our religion.

    Mt 6:13 KJV and 3Nephi 13:13 Both have the doxology: For thine is he Kingdom and power and the glory forever amen. The KJV is based on 9th to 12th century texts. Earlier and better manuscripts do not contain the doxology. Only One example. JS was unaware he copied the errors.

    The Bible makes no distinction between the Holy Spirit and the gift of the Holy Spirit as JS did. Spirit/Ghost same Greek word(Pneuma).

    While Peter was still speaking these words,the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the GIFT of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. (Acts 10:44-45 NIV)
    The Spirit falls upon men without any ordinances(including baptism)in Mosiah 4:2-3,also see Titus 3:5.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:26 p.m.

    Woooooow Bill:

    Hold your horses! I have never claimed to be a "victim", or any such thing. Quite to the contrary. By pointing out your ad hominem I am making no efforts to gain sympathy, only to point out the purposes for which it is used. Ad hominem is most often used when a critic is unable to articulate objections to an opposing position. When they are unable to locate errors of logic, they direct their criticisms against their opponents person or character rather than their argument.

    As for your insinuations about me, Bill, your comment speaks so much to your thinking. Accepting for the sake argument, that the Holy Ghost exists, you are still in no position to know anything about me. In particular you claim that I have lost the Holy Ghost, yet, how you would know such a thing is beyond me. Perhaps I never had it, even if such a thing exists. That isn't very humble Bill, yet is a clear indicator of how you think. It is an empty claim, I'm afraid.

    Stay the Course:

    You also are beginning to sound like a broken record. How about showing what is wrong with the argument.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:08 p.m.

    To Mormoncowboy: This is the problem with so many when they are so called attacked they play the victim quite well and want to have sympathy. Sharrona is another who once was a member and continues to belittle the faith as non-Christian all though there is quite a bit of proof to the contrary. She is no more Christian than I am Muslim by her own actions. She may feel she is but her own actions beleaguer her. Just as your comments where you have gone from a LDS Member to an atheist thus in my opinion turning your back to the Holy Ghost which you both had the gift of. No I'm quite sure of my testimony and where I stand. I've been where you are and have stood the test so far. Hopefully, I will continue to do so. As one once said, those who are former members left the Church but can't leave the Church alone. You have a choice and that is repentance. I too must repent and I try daily. No personal attack, just fact.

  • Stay the Course Salt Lake City, utah
    Jan. 14, 2012 6:42 p.m.

    ad hominen over used by various commenters

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 14, 2012 12:10 p.m.


    I'll let Sharrona's comment above count for a response to the amount of biblical content in the Book of Mormon. Still, this is hardly a controversial point, just an acknowledgement that the Book of Mormon copies a good portion from the Bible. But as I said, even Nephi acknowledges this, so where is the debate?

    Your second paragraph is quite puzzling? In your paradigm Bill, can a person not change their views, even religious views? You bring up my mission quite a bit, I happened to serve in the mid-western U.S., where almost everybody is some form of a Christian. Most of them are quite devout. As per your argument, if any of those people ever convert to Mormonism, they would have no credibility because of how Mormonism conflicts with their prior belief system.

    As for your question, you may be partially right that those who were once active become the most "belligerent" towards Mormonism, but not for the reasons you assume. In any case Bill, as always the personal attacks against my character are reassurances to me of the instability of your certainty. This time your fallacy isn't circular, it's ad hominem.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 14, 2012 11:01 a.m.

    @Bill,3 chapters of Matthew which includes the sermon on the mount.
    The KJV/3Nephi Sermon on the Mount.
    LDS Scholar Dr. Stan Larson finds 12 examples where JS copied the 1769 KJV errors.
    Stan Larson, A great portion of 3 Nephi seems to be "borrowed and lifted" from the KJV Bible. He also found that 3 Nephi holds exactly the same sort of errors that are unique to the 1769 version of the KJV Bible Joseph Smith owned.
    Stan Larson, The MS discoveries since the KJV have provided a much better understanding of the Sermon on the Mount. Greek MS 200 A.D. thru Latin, Syriac, Coptic and patristic early support, which leads to the original text. These are earlier and better texts of Matthews Sermon on the Mount. There is unanimity support by modern scholars, but The BoM never takes us to a verifiable text in antiquity.

    Bill said ,Those who once were active members and are no longer are the most beligierent to the beliefs of the Book of Mormon. I wonder why?
    In my case I became a Christian.

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Jan. 14, 2012 9:59 a.m.

    Mormoncowboy: There are 19 chapters of Isaiah and 3 Chapters of Matthew that are in the Book of Mormon. In 2 Nephie there are 33 Chapters of which 16 are quoted from Isaiah. 3 Nephi cites 3 chapters of Matthew which includes the sermon on the mount. There are other areas that quote the Bible but in much less than these do. However, this doesn't even come close to saying MOST of the Book of Mormon is quoted from the Bible. That is false and misleading, but what else is new from you and others like you.

    You've read the Book of Mormon. You've studied the Book of Mormon and you have even TESTIFIED of the truth of the Book of Mormon at what time. Now you come in complete defiance of that and say I've changed my mind. That in and of itself belittles your credence of the matter. It is evident that others who say such HAVE NEVER read or even studied the Book of Mormon. Those who once were active members and are no longer are the most beligierent to the beliefs of the Book of Mormon. I wonder why!!!!!!!!

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:42 a.m.

    %TerrieBittner, Well put, it is all about the salesmanship of the art of manipulation. That is why I drive a Lexus , the only true car.

  • Terrie Bittner Warminster, PA
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    @Whos Life RU Living?: Mormons believe that God gave us our intellengence and expects us to use it. While our final decision is one of faith, Mormons also believes God expects us to do something towards getting faith and not just sit around hoping it will happen. When we have a problem to solve--and learning which church to join or if the Book of Mormon is true counts as a problem--we are taught to first study and think it through. This is one reason prospective converts are required to meet with missionaries prior to baptism. Once we've done that, we make a decision. We take that decision to God in the form of a yes or no question. He confirms or rejects our decision and we then accept His answer in faith. We don't base our testimonies on facts, but we do enjoy learning them. We're intelligent creatures. These bits of proof can help the person just starting his study be motivated to continue.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 13, 2012 12:10 a.m.

    New Yorker:

    Only someone who has failed to even casually study the Book of Mormon would make the claim that:

    "No one who has even casually studied both the Book of Mormon and and the Bible can come to the conclusion you reach that "much of the text of the Book of Mormon was taken directly from the King James version of the Bible."

    Your only real grounds for this argument must rest in a dispute over how much constitutues "much". Seriously, this should be the least debatable point we could have about the Book of Mormon. Nephi makes no pretense over his enthusiasm for quoting Isaiah. In fact, you could argue that "much" of the book of 2nd Nephi is composed of Nephi quoting KJV Isaiah. Jesus re-delivers the sermon on the mount, and we could go on. Suffice it to say, even the alleged Book of Mormon authors admit that they are quoting the, how do you figure otherwise?

  • Gregg Weber SEATTLE, WA
    Jan. 12, 2012 10:20 p.m.

    These disputes, disagreements, etc. should be discussed and with prayer (for those that accept it) debated. Each "church" or "belief group" has the right and obligation to put forth why they believe such. Mormon, Islam, Atheist, or any other one can name. There should be a proper, meaning with form and civil discussion, a logical, meaning pointing out errors or fallacies of logic, and a debate, meaning back and forth search for the truth with all able to write questions and answers.

    This won't happen when one side, knowing deep down that they will lose, cowers in silence. Many debates on many subjects won't happen unless the fearful general is forced to the battlefield.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 5:36 p.m.

    RE: The Throne vision points to Christ. Theophanies of Christ(YHWH).

    "For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD(YHWH) Almighty." (Isaiah 6:5 NIV)
    Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus'glory and spoke about him.(John 12:41 NIV)
    Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces,(Isaiah 6:2)
    The seraphim are not sinful men burdened with impure hearts. Yet as angelic beings they are still creatures, They are equipped by the creator with a special pair of wings to cover their faces in His majestic presence.

    Jesus taught in the Beatitudes, Blessed are the pure in heart ,for they shall see God, None of us of us in this world is pure of heart. The problem is not our eyes but our hearts. Only after we are purified and totally sanctified in heaven will we have the capacity.
    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?( Jer 17:3); for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). JS saw the KJV.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    Jan. 12, 2012 5:36 p.m.

    I would like to write in defense of both Dr. Petersen and Mohammed.

    Petersen's thesis that a "throne vision" is one element that one might expect in an ancient text such as the Book of Mormon is certainly worth considering. There are a large number of such elements in the Book of Mormon, and each is worth considering at length. Added together they make a reasonable argument that the book is what it claims to be and is worthy of spiritual consideration.

    Latter-day Saints may justly consider that Mohammed was an inspired man. It is true that we do not consider him inspired in anything he wrote about Christ, but there is much in the Quran that is beautiful, worthy, and inspiring, and much of it certainly may have originated from divine sources. Is it possible that Mohammed encountered an angel from God? Yes. Is it possible that an angel from God told Mohammed that Jesus was a mortal prophet only, and not the Son of God? No, not from a Mormon perspective. That still doesn't preclude God's using Mohammed for worthy and even heavenly purposes, though.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 5:07 p.m.

    @ Enola,

    No one who has even casually studied both the Book of Mormon and and the Bible can come to the conclusion you reach that "much of the text of the Book of Mormon was taken directly from the King James version of the Bible."

    Some similarities exist. The BOM's translation is cast in a language somewhat similar to the Bible. The limited parallel accounts of the ten commandments, Isaiah, the Sermon on the Mount, etc. are necessarily somewhat similar. They would be left the way people were already familiar with them unless a change was needful (and some were). All of this parallelism by no stretch can called "much of the text."

    Otherwise, the BOM and the Bible reflect two very different accounts and world-views. The Bible only hints at the antiquity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The BOM account tells of an entirely different Hebrew stream of consciousness--as different as the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenees were from each other--but altogether consistent with hints in the Bible and even other non-scriptural accepted historical documents that Joseph Smith had no access to.

    Jan. 12, 2012 3:20 p.m.

    I never understand how anybody can find this type of apologetics useful. We already know that much of the text of the Book of Mormon was taken directly from the King James version of the Bible, so why would we be surprised find other motifs from Isaiah or revelations in the book? To call it evidence of authenticity is a stretch in my opinion. In fact, the reverse argument is just as compelling, that the throne motif is evidence that the Book of Mormon was simply manufactured using ideas and sources available in the early 1800s.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 2:59 p.m.

    @ Kazbert,

    Alma 29:8 states: "For behold, the Lord doth grant unto all nations, of their own nation and tongue, to teach his word, yea, in wisdom, all that he seeth fit that they should have; therefore we see that the Lord doth counsel in wisdom, according to that which is just and true." Trying to hold Mohammed to the same definition of "prophet" that we use in the LDS view of a restored church, is not fair. Mohammed was and is a prophet to his people. Out of respect to the Muslim faith, we are certainly justified in calling him the Prophet Mohammed just like someone of the Roman Catholic faith might refer to Thomas Monson as the LDS prophet.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Jan. 12, 2012 2:43 p.m.

    The image of God sitting on a Throne is scattered throughout both the Old and New Testament. References to Kingdoms, Crowns, Courts, Judges, Books of Life, Gates, dominions, Thrones, Concourses of Angels, etc, are the most common motifs associated with Christian thought on the setting of heaven. It would have been odd if Nephi had envisioned the Kingdom more as a family unit, rather than a Kingdom???

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 12:40 p.m.

    Defending the faith? This is certainly not a strong defense. Isaiah's vision would have served as a wonderful template for creating a new throne vision. Angels? Check. God on a throne? Check. Book of Prophecy? Check. It's easy to see how Joseph Smith or others would have access to that. Any narrative needs an opening conflict to engage the reader. The BoM also needed a rationale to move a portion of the House of Israel to America, and the destruction of Jerusalem answers both. I fail to see how Mr. Petersen's article is either a proof or a defense of his faith.

  • Kazbert VAIL, AZ
    Jan. 12, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    I take issue with portraying Mohammed as being a prophet or as being inspired. The Quran emphatically states that Jesus was not crucified. They consider Jesus to be just a man (though they believe in His miraculous virgin birth). Anyone who denies Jesus as Redeemer (didn't die for us) cannot be called prophetic or inspired. All genuine prophets testify of Christ, and the spirit of prophecy is a witness of Christ. I support efforts to build bridges of understanding with Muslims, but the Quran was not inspired by God and should not be acknowledged as such for the sake of building those bridges. The Muslim belief that Mohammed was a prophet should be respected, but that respect does not require us to join with them in believing that he was a prophet.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 12, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    "The Quran is replete with killing all infidels and or subjecting them to unwillful subjugation. "

    Just to add to what atl134 stated; So is the Book of Mormon, it gives accounts of so many killings that the rivers run blood red and dead bodies jam the river. Of course there will be those who will say those are the killed of the other's side so they don't count and they needed to be killed.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 9:31 a.m.

    "The Quran is replete with killing all infidels and or subjecting them to unwillful subjugation. "

    So is the Old Testament or did you sleep through those lessons?

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Jan. 12, 2012 8:05 a.m.

    Dr. Peterson's defense of Islam, the Prophet Mohammed and the Quran in the same regard as Mormonism and the Book of Mormon is interesting and perhaps productive for Mormon thought and growth. There do seem to be more similarities than differences.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 7:40 a.m.

    Why is it that many amateur apologists (fellow commentors) will say that the only way to believe in the bom is through a supernatural witness? But Mr Peterson is continually trying to give a rational reason to believe.

  • RBN Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 7:21 a.m.

    Recovering Mormon,

    Dr. Peterson's account is not being offered to prove the truth of the Book of Mormon. Rather, it is being offered to prove the era during which it was written.

  • Whos Life RU Living? Ogden, UT
    Jan. 12, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    Why do the LDS continue to try to show "authenticity" or "evidence" to something that they are required to have faith in?

    Many people use doubting Thomas and the BOM Witnesses to drive people away from finding evidence.

    I guess I am just concerned about the LDS because they are not showing true faith to their God.

    The LDS have the priesthood right? Show that you have FAITH and rely on the lord by not going to the hospital right after the priesthood blessing. Seems like the priesthood blessing is a show and that faith isn't really executed. If "god gave us a brain" is your response to this lack of faith, then maybe god expects people to also rely on evidence to have faith.

    I would agree that the BoM is just as authentic as the Quaran.

  • sg newhall, CA
    Jan. 12, 2012 1:08 a.m.

    Nice to read the comparisons. But I don't believe in the account by Mohammed. His account is nothing more than a copy of what he already knew. There is nothing prophetic or angelic about Mohammed and Islam. The Quran is replete with killing all infidels and or subjecting them to unwillful subjugation. I don't buy into Islam as a peaceful religion. Sharia law...need more be said?

  • Commonman HENDERSON, NV
    Jan. 11, 2012 10:51 p.m.

    Pretty good guess for a young semi-educated young man from up-state New York to "fabricate" a record that fits so snugly into the ancient prophetic tradition. And, dear Recovering Mormon, if that were the only one maybe your comment might hold some water.

    Isn't it great that we live in a country that allows us to express our beliefs freely?

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Jan. 11, 2012 10:38 p.m.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that Dr. Peterson would have no difficulty admitting that the Quran comes from the ancient Near East.