Monday, June 22, 2009

Where are the golden plates?

A question for anyone who adheres to the Book of Mormon. Why was God so secretive in the translation and preservation of the Book of Mormon? Why did He work so differently in the way He preserved the Bible for 1900 years, but hid the Book of Mormon for at least 1600 years?

The New Testament alone has over 20,000 ancient manuscripts that date to within 150 years of the originals (50 if you include a fragment of the Gospel of John) that attest to its historical reliability. In other words we can take what we have today and compare it to manuscript copies that were written by third generation Christians. The chances of the text being corrupted within that time span are zero. Not to mention that if you compare all of the copies with each other, they are 99.5% similar. The majority of the differences are in spelling and grammar. Of the 20,000 lines that make up the New Testament, only 40 are disputed by scholars (none of which jeopardize any orthodox Christian doctrine).

Compare that to the manuscript evidence that the Book of Mormon The only known manuscript, the Golden Plates, were never seen by the general public and only attested to by a scant few individuals, some of whose pasts are pretty sketchy. To add to that, they were returned to an angel and are now inaccessible according to Mormon theologians. Hmmmmm... Why would God do that? He provides endless evidence for one of His holy books, but the other, which is the "fullness of the Gospel," He provides nothing but the testimony of one guy whom He hopes we'll all believe (and what in the world is "reformed Egyptian"?).

So to put this in perspective, one book has more evidence than any other book of antiquity ever; the other has absolutely no evidence that it ever existed until 1830.

This is an honest inquiry. I have no desire to attack or make any of my friends who use this book angry. I enjoy thinking and I want to encourage others to think as well. Subject your beliefs to scrutiny. I have done so with mine and am more convinced than ever that the Bible is God's word and is sufficient for what we need to know to be saved, that Christ is God who became man to die for our sins, and that He sent the person of the Holy Spirit to dwell with His people.

A good book to check out about the reliability of Christianity is Josh McDowell's New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. Check it out.


Kevin Jackson said...

The obvious answer is that there are no plates. Most LDS have strong feelings on the matter, and are not open to discussion on anything relating to the quality and character of Joseph Smith.

BTW, Reclaiming the mind has an excellent audio series on LDS (and JWs). Listening to it helped me gain a little insight into the LDS mind.

bossmanham said...

Thanks for the link, Kevin. I have been listening to the Theology Program podcasts available on iTunes. I have learned more about theology from those than I ever have in church.

My dad's side of the family are all very conservative RLDS. Consequently, my cousins, who are very good friends as well, are RLDS. I have become friends with many of their friends as well, so I have a lot of access to RLDS people. This blog was somewhat of an attempt to reach out in civil dialog.

Kevin Jackson said...

Interesting. It can get touchy with family, can't it? I don't know too much about the RLDS distinctives.

Bob Brewer said...

I had never heard that the illusive golden plates had been returned to an angel. Very interesting.

I really should know more about the LDS's and the JW's. How sad it is that they will attempt to live a moral life, believeing that they are pleasing God only to find out at judgment day that thay have been deceived and to hear on that day the dreadful words from Jesus mouth "Depart from me I never knew you."

Jonathan Jason Woodward said...

I have a Mormon friend who will not talk about his faith at all. I have "Bible VS. Book of Mormon" DVD, and "DNA VS. Book of Mormon," both from CRI (Hank Haneggraff).

It's funny, if you have ever seen those videos (especially the first one), how these mormon scholars have no apologetic to their "scriptures."

I'm amazed that Mormons willingly continue in their faith when there is no evidence whatsoEVER to it. At least us within the Christian Church can agree in the Scriptures, even if we differ a bit in theology (which are secondary issues anyway).