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The Book of Mormon: Another Witness of Jesus Christ

 

 

What is the Book of Mormon?

   The Book of Mormon is scripture, the word of God.  The Book of Mormon was translated from several golden plates by Joseph Smith, Jr. and first published in 1830.  Joseph Smith, Jr. is considered by the Mormons to be a prophet, seer and revelator and at times is referred to as The Prophet.  

    The Book of Mormon contains the writings of several ancient prophets who lived upon the American Continent.  The timeframe of these civilizations ranges from approximately 2500 B.C. to 421 A.D.  The golden plates from which it was translated was edited by a prophet named Mormon (approximately between 300 and 400 A.D.), hence the name, The Book of Mormon.  Believers of the book and members of the religion are known as Mormons, a nickname given to them during the early years of the church, which is a nickname that continues today.  However, the church is actually named The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Moroni, son of the ancient prophet Mormon, wrote that the purpose of The Book of Mormon was to "show unto the remnant of the House of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off forever - And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations." (Title page).

    Additional information can be found at http://www.xmission.com/~health/mormon/intro.html .

(The figure above illustrates the make-up of the gold plates and their translation into the Book of Mormon)

    This article will make references to verses in the Book of Mormon.  To read these verses online go to http://www.hti.umich.edu/m/mormon/browse.html  .  

    Also visit this site: http://www.xmission.com/~health/mormon/index.html regarding 23 questions that the Book of Mormon answers.

Receiving a Witness of the Book of Mormon

   The only way for anyone to find out whether The Book of Mormon is truly a book of God is to follow the advice of Moroni:   

"Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.  And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.  And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:3-5)

    All who have come to know that these things are true have made their first steps here....to (1) read the Book of Mormon, (2) ponder it, (3) and ask God in prayer with a sincere heart and by having faith.  All who have received a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon have done so by following this challenge, known as Moroni's challenge.  Joseph Smith, Jr. once said, "I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book."  The Book of Mormon is the keystone of the Mormon religion.  It is the most basic part of the Mormon faith and it makes them unique.  As a Mormon myself, having a strong testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon, I would suggest that if a member of the Mormon faith is at any time struggling with a certain principle of the gospel, that they revisit their testimony and faith in the Book of Mormon.  Whether a person struggles with tithing, the Word of Wisdom, or their testimony of the church in general, they must re-read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  If The Book of Mormon is true, than all that follows would also be true...Joseph Smith, Jr. was a prophet of God, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints would be the true church of Jesus Christ restored to the Earth.  A keystone is the central stone in an arch that holds all the other stones in place, and if it is removed the arch will fall.  So is The Book of Mormon the keystone of the Mormon religion.  Joseph Smith, Jr. also said, "Take away the Book of Mormon and the revelations, and where is our religion?  We have none."  

    There is a reason why nobody but The Prophet and 11 witnesses have been privileged to view or handle the golden plates.  Our testimony of The Book of Mormon must be based on faith, as this life is a test of our faith.  To see them would be to know that they exist and are real.  In The Book of Mormon, a man known as the brother of Jared, saw the finger of God and in seeing this, "he had faith no longer, for he knew, nothing doubting." (Ether 3:19).  To those that say, "I'll only believe it when I see it", I would ask them to think if they have ever received a sure knowledge through their senses of whether or not they have a brain.  Everybody knows they have a brain, and it's ridiculous to think otherwise, but has anyone ever seen, touched, heard, smelled, or tasted their own brain....No!...yet somehow they know it exists.  Alma, a prophet of The Book of Mormon taught, "And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." (Alma 32:21).  If we were to receive such a perfect knowledge, we would have a greater responsibility to keep God's commandments because as the saying goes, "Where much is given, much is expected."  Perhaps many of us are not prepared for such a great responsibility or receiving a perfect knowledge of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon because it means we would have to give up all of our sins.

The Book of Mormon and The Holy Bible

    The Book of Mormon does not replace the Holy Bible but is a second witness of Jesus Christ "that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established" (Matthew 18:16).  Some people would argue that the Bible is sufficient, and that adding to it is sinful.  They will quote Revelations 22:18 which says "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book."  This particular verse refers only to the Book of Revelations.  The Bible was canonized a few hundred years after John wrote that verse.  Moreover, the Book of Mormon is not an addition to the Holy Bible, but rather like unto it.  In the Bible, Christ made reference to "other sheep": "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd."  In part, this refers to the inhabitants of the Americas, in which their account is contained in the Book of Mormon.  In 3 Nephi 11 of the Book of Mormon, it begins an account of how Jesus Christ visited the Americas, which is further discussed below.  In 2 Nephi 29 of the Book of Mormon, it plainly disputes the argument that "we don't need another Bible"...

But behold, there shall be many—at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel;  And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel;  And because my words shall hiss forth—many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.  But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?  O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people.
Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?  Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?  Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also.  And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.  Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.  For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.  For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.  And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.  And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever."

    The Book of Mormon is also referred to as the Stick of Joseph, and The Bible has been referred to as the Stick of Judah, meaning these are the records of those two tribes of Israel.  We know that there are 10 "lost tribes" of Israel, each of which must also have a record.  In the last few verses of the passage above, it mentions that at some future time we will have records from all 12 tribes of Israel.

The Apostasy and The Restoration

    Some have also argued that we do not need any more revelation of modern-day prophets, that all we need is written in the Bible.  This does not make sense logically, especially during these days of great turmoil and despair.  One friend of mine gave a good example of the need of modern-day prophets.  Let's suppose I had 4 children, and I spent a great deal of time teaching and rearing the first, writing it all down in a manual as I went.  To say that all we need is the Bible is the same to say to the younger 3 children, "Read the manual and figure it out yourselves".  We all need direct intervention from God.  We, as the human race, were left alone to figure it out for ourselves for many hundreds of years, and the result was many different opinions and practices.  What the world calls the Dark Ages, we call the Apostacy.  Young Joseph Smith, at the age of 15, was greatly confused as to which sect was true when he said, "During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was right and who was wrong....In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done?  If any one of them be right, which is it, and how shall I know it?" (Joseph Smith History 1:8,10)

    When Christ came to the Earth, he established a religion....the religion.  He appointed 12 apostles to lead it.

As time went on, most of the apostles were killed with the exception of John the Revelator.  And with these events, the Church of Jesus Christ was lost and corrupted, without guidance of the apostles, without direct revelation from God.  This was an event also foretold by the apostles: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of out Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).  This time period in which the Church of Jesus Christ was taken from the Earth is known as the Apostasy.  With the Spirit of God gone from the Earth, the world fell into the Dark Ages.  Then the Spirit of God became more influential in order to prepare the world for The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.  The invention of the printing press, the Renaissance, Martin Luther, the voyage of Christopher Columbus and the later settlements of the American Continent, the American Revolution...all were events inspired of God and prepared this world for the Restoration.  The Book of Mormon also mentions these events foretold nearly 2600 years ago: "And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.  And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.  And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes of the Gentiles upon the land of promise; and I beheld the wrath of God, that it was upon the seed of my brethren; and they were scattered before the Gentiles and were smitten. And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance; and I beheld that they were white, and exceedingly fair and beautiful, like unto my people before they were slain."  (1 Nephi 13:12-15)  The previous quote makes reference to Christopher Columbus, the settlement of the American Continent, and the scattering of the American Indians who are believed to be direct descendents of the people of the Book of Mormon.  Moreover, the Book of Mormon mentions the American Revolution: "And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them.  And I beheld that their mother Gentiles were gathered together upon the waters, and upon the land also, to battle against them.
And I beheld that the power of God was with them, and also that the wrath of God was upon all those that were gathered together against them to battle.  And I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles that had gone out of captivity were delivered by the power of God out of the hands of all other nations."
(1 Nephi 13:16-19).

    The Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ occurred on April 6, 1830.  However 10 years prior to this, Joseph Smith, Jr. had a vision, called The First Vision, where in answer to his prayer saw and spoke with God the Father and Jesus Christ.  He later was visited by the angel Moroni who instructed him on where to find the gold plates, and helped prepare him for the sacred duty of its translation into the Book of Mormon.  For more information on this read The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith which can be found at http://www.lds.org.

                                              

    Currently, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is led by a prophet named Gordon B. Hinckley.  He has 2 counselors and following them are the 12 apostles.  Here they are as of May 2000:

    Visit http://www.xmission.com/~health/mormon/apostasy.html for for information on this topic.

The Book of Mormon Geography and Archaeology

    Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D. stated, "Book of Mormon scholars do not usually perform their research in order to prove the Book of Mormon true.  They don't need to - most Book of Mormon scholars do their research for fellow Latter-day Saints.  Book of Mormon scholarship is not generally focused proving the divine origin of the Book of Mormon, but to increasing a believer's understanding by providing additional insights about the historical, geographical, archaeological, cultural, or linguistic setting in which a Book of Mormon event may have occurred."

   There are many books dedicated to the geography of the Book of Mormon.  Three of the books I've read include  (1) Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon by Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D., (2) Images of Ancient America: Visualizing Book of Mormon Life by John L. Sorenson, and The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni by Jerry L. Ainsworth.  Most authors conclude that the Book of Mormon events took place in what is referred to as MesoAmerica which includes lands north of Mexico City southward through Guatemala.  The Book of Mormon time periods range from the time of Tower of Babel (2500 B.C.?) till around 421 A.D.  Modern archaeology supports ruins of these dates to be located within MesoAmerica.  Click this link to download a map of Mesoamerica (http://ronniesim.tripod.com/mesoamericamap.jpg ) which  includes sites that existed during the Book of Mormon times.

 

    For more information, I recommend you read the books mentioned above or others that are available.  Here I hope to mention some of the most compelling evidence that supports the Book of Mormon.  Personally, I have taken great interest in Book of Mormon geography because I served 2 years as a Mormon missionary in Southern Mexico, specifically the states of Chiapas, Tabasco, and Oaxaca.  Many archaeological findings that support the Book of Mormon are in these areas.

    The Mayan civilization, by some scholars, is thought to include both the Lamanites and Nephites of the Book of Mormon, but mostly the Lamanites.  The Izapa civilization is thought to refer to the Nephites mostly, and the Olmec civilization is thought to refer to the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon.  The Zapotec civilization is thought to refer to the Mulekite civilization mentioned in the Book of Mormon also.  The Aztecs and Incas are two well-known civilizations, however, they thrived after the time period of the Book of Mormon but were most likely related to the people of the Book of Mormon.

(Explorations in the Book of Mormon, Volume 1, Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D)

     There is much debate among Book of Mormon scholars and archaeologists regarding locations and artifacts.  However, most tend to agree that the Olmec culture is mostly likely the Jaredite culture of the Book of Mormon.  With information taken from archaeological findings and ancient texts both cultures have striking similarities.

(The list above was taken from Explorations in the Book of Mormon, Volume 1, Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D)

                                        

(The photographs above are remnants of the Olmec Civilization which lived near the Southern Gulf of Mexico)

    Another interesting finding pertains to Mayan heiroglyphics.  "The phrase 'and it came to pass' occurs in the English translation of the Book of Mormon 1,381 times...Apparently, the Maya people, who lived in southeast Mexico and Guatemala, may have adopted the phrase 'and it came to pass.'  Recent discoveries in the translation of the glyphs of the 7th century A.D. Maya ruins of Palenque manifest the phrase 'and then it came to pass' and 'it had come to pass.'  Recently, another glyph has been interpreted as 'and it shall come to pass.'" (Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D.)

    A well known archaeological finding among Mormons is that of Stella 5 found at Izapa, Chiapas.  As I served as a missionary in Southern Mexico, I was able to see a replica of this stone carving being 45 mintues north of Izapa, Chiapas.  The interpretation of the carving is also debated but all seem to conclude that the central figure is the tree.  This stone is believed by many to have reference to the Tree of Life vision mentioned in 1 Nephi 8 of the Book of Mormon.  The following is one interpretation, however, it may be biased.

    Another archaeological site I was fortunate to visit twice was Monte Alban located in Oaxaca, Oaxaca.  The time period of Monte Alban is categorized according to cultural manifestations, but in all it ranged from 500 B.C. to 750 A.D.  Joseph L. Allen, Ph.D. made several interesting notes in relation to the Book of Mormon: "Mound J of Monte Alban is labeled an observatory and dates back to the time of Christ.  We are certainly safe in assuming that whoever the scientists were who occupied the observatory, they probably recorded both the astrological events that occurred at the birth of Christ and the catastrophic events the occurred at the time of his death....The ending of Monte Alban period II is dated at 350 A.D.  This is the precise time that the Nephite period was coming to a close.  Mormon 2:28-29 tells us of the treaty wherein the Nephites gave up, to the Lamanites, the Land Southward all the way to the Narrow Pass that led into the Land Southward....The date of the Nephite-Lamanite treaty is the same date as the archaeological dating at Monte Alban when a culture change began to occur - 350 A.D....A cultural setting like we experience at the ruins of Monte Alban gives us an idea of how Benjamin must have addressed his people.  The walls of the city form a natural acoustic setting.  The temple platforms in Mesoamerica are consistent with Book of Mormon statements such as 'I come UP INTO the temple.'  The large central plaza at Monte Alban, the size of seven football fields, is adequate for people to gather with their tents."  (Exploring the Land of the Book of Mormon)

(The photograph above was taken by the author at Monte Alban)

Christ in America

 

   Beginning in 3 Nephi 11 of the Book of Mormon, an account of the visitation of Jesus Christ to the Americas following his ministry in Jerusalem is recorded.  An interesting historical parallel exists between this account and the traditions of many ancient cultures of Latin American and other Pacific islands.  Perhaps the most well-known story refers to the god Quetzalcoatl of the Aztecs.  When Hernando Cortez arrived to Mexico in 1520, he was greeted by Montezuma, the Aztec ruler, with precious gifts and the riches of this civilization were opened to him.  When the coastal natives saw that he was white, a leader among his men, and that he came in a large ship with white sails, they thought he was the Great White God (Quetzalcoatl) that had promised to return.  Joseph L. Allen in his book Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon lists the similarities between Christ and Quetzalcoatl:

    When the Spanish Conquistador's reached South America, one of Pizzaro's lieutenants strode ashore wearing his helmet and breastplate and carrying a shining musket.  As Pedro de Candia strode towards the natives on the shore, they knelt before him and began to say, "Viracocha, Viracocha", which was their returning white god.

    Likewise, when Captain Cook sailed into the Hawaiian Islands, he too was mistaken for the White God.  The natives there had also awaited the second coming of their Great White God.  Seeing Captain Cook, a white man of high command, sailing in a large ship with great white sails such as the natives had never before seen, the Hawaiians received and worshipped him as their golden-haired god Lono.  Interestingly, Captain Cook had landed during the makahiuki festival, which is the celebration that kept alive the traditions of the white god Lono.

   The apostle Mark E. Peterson  wrote an article on Christ in America which can be found at http://www.xmission.com/~health/mormon/america.html .

 

A Prophecy of Isaiah Fulfilled

   The following is an excerpt from The Anthon Transcript: People, Primary Sources, and Problems by Stanley B. Kimball:

    By late 1827 the story of Joseph Smith and the "gold plates" was sufficiently well known in and around Palmyra, New York to have caused great curiosity and cupidity among some of his contemporaries.  In order to protect the plates and to have sufficient time and peace of mind to commence the translation of the plates, Joseph and Emma moved to Harmony, Pennsylvania, about 150 miles away, where Emma's parents lived.  Shortly thereafter, a friend of the Smith family, Martin Harris of Palmyra, visited him, secured a handwritten copy of some of the characters on the plates, took them to New York City for the evaluation of men of learning, and returned to related the following to Joseph Smith:

    I went to the city of New York and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Anthony, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments; -- Professor Anthony stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from Egyptian.  I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldeac, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters.  He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.  I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthony called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them.  I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him.  He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.'  I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him, he would translate them.  I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them.  He replied, 'I cannot read a sealed book.'  I left him and wen to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthony had said respecting both the characters and the translation

.

(The above photograph is the Anthon transcript used by Martin Harris mentioned above)

    It was unbeknownst to  Professor Anthony that he was fulfilling a prophesy of Isaiah as it states in Isaiah 29:11, "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed."

    Isaiah, in the following verses, prophesies of the Restoration of the Church of Christ, which is commonly referred to "a marvelous work and a wonder"... "And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.  Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?...Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?  And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness." (Isaiah 29:13-15, 17-18).

    During Joseph Smith's first vision, Christ quoted Isaiah from verse 13 when he said: "My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.  I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.'" (Joseph Smith History 1:18-19)

Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon

    Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon is a writing style that was used among prophetic writings of the Old Testament.  A good description of what chiasmus is can be found at http://www.jefflindsay.com/chiasmus.shtml .  The discussion of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon supports that the Book of Mormon is authentic and that a young, unlearned man could not have fabricated such a writing style.

My Testimony

    The evidences of the Book of Mormon mentioned above only further strengthen my belief in the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, however, the basis of my belief is based on faith.  I have read the Book of Mormon and I have prayed to God asking him if it be true, and I have received that confirmation through the power of the Holy Ghost.  That experience, and many others,  were manifestations of God that I cannot deny nor will I ever deny that they happened.  I am inspired by the testimony of Joseph Smith, particularly when he said:  "It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.  However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.  So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation." (Joseph Smith History 1:23-25).  While I have never had a vision as the one mentioned by Joseph Smith, the feelings and experiences I have had throughout my life are undeniable and I feel to do so would "offend God" and bring me "under condemnation".  The Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.  This is my testimony.

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