How should Christians view the Book of Mormon? (2023)

Answer

When Mormon missionaries (properly called Latter Day Saints or simply "LDS") come to your door, they will often offer a free copy of the Book of Mormon and tell you about its author, Joseph Smith. Smith, they will say, translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates he dug up in a hill in New York in the early 1800s. This is supposed to confirm his calling from God as the new prophet on the earth in these latter days. Further, they will tell you that the Holy Ghost will confirm the truth of the Book of Mormon by producing good feelings in you. Next will come the invitation to "read the Book of Mormon, pray, and ask God to show you it is true." Of course you must do this with sincerity, or it won’t work.

Before you fall to your knees, there are some things you need to know that they are not telling you (and won’t unless you ask). The first concerns many LDS beliefs that separate them from historical, orthodox Christianity. These are not found in the Book of Mormon. In fact, there is really very little in that book that is doctrinally disagreeable to orthodox Christians. The real meat of Mormonism is found in their other scriptures, The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price. These books, however, Mormons do not hand out at the door—and for good reason. If people knew up front what they were really going to be asked to believe (things such as God once being a man, denial of the Trinity, Satan being Jesus’ brother, pre-existence of souls, etc.), they may not be quite so willing to put aside their skepticism.

(Video) An Evangelical Christian Reads the Book of Mormon–How does it Compare?

The second thing to realize is that in accepting the Book of Mormon, one is, in fact, accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet. So what about this test of a prophet? Isn’t it legitimate to "give this question up to God?" No, it isn’t. This is because God has already revealed His test for would-be prophets, and it has nothing to do with prayer or feelings, and God has no obligation to answer prayers that He has already answered! We do not have to ask God whether or not we should rob a bank or murder someone. Rather, James 1:5 says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it will be given to him." Wisdom is applied knowledge, not lack of it.

God never tells us to pray about what is true. When we want to know how tall a wall is, we don’t pray about it; we get something that we know is true (a ruler) and compare it to the wall. The Bible, God’s Word, is true. That is our measuring stick for truth. See Acts 17:11, for example, which describes a group of people who were considered noble because when Paul came to them with the Christian message they "received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so."

Feelings are unreliable because they are subjective, easy to produce, and are not meant to discover facts but to tell us how we feel about facts. Psychological persuasion techniques, intensity, eye contact, or mere desire can produce feelings that feel real because they are real! But real feelings are still just letting us know how we are reacting to something, not the truthfulness of that thing. The Mormon missionary handbook specifically details these techniques, and missionaries go through training on how to persuade people before they ever leave the house.

(Video) What is the Book of Mormon? Christian Pastor Reacts

What are the biblical tests for a prophet? They are in God’s Word: Deuteronomy 18:21-22 says, "You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’ If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Did Joseph Smith ever claim "in the name of the LORD" that something would happen when it did not? Yes—many times, in fact.

Joseph Smith prophesied that New York would be destroyed if they rejected the [Mormon] gospel (D&C 84:114-115). He also prophesied that the rebellion of South Carolina and the War Between the States would result in war being poured out upon all nations; slaves would revolt; the inhabitants of the earth would mourn; famine, plague, earthquake, thunder, lightning, and a full end of all nations would result (D&C 87). Oddly, this prophecy is the one most often cited by Mormons to prove Joseph Smith’s prophetic power!

Further, Deuteronomy 13:5 says that "if a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods’ (gods you have not known) ‘and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul." Did Joseph Smith lead his followers to other gods? Yes.

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Joseph Smith was a polytheist. History of the Church 6:474 records Smith stating, "I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods." Joseph Smith declared that "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345). This is clearly not the biblical God.

Galatians 1:6-7 says that people may be "turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all . . . trying to pervert the gospel of Christ." And Paul pronounced a curse upon them for doing so. In Romans 1:16 Paul tells us that the gospel is "the power of God unto salvation"—that’s pretty important. Did Joseph Smith teach a "different gospel"? Yes.

Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon contains the "fullness of the gospel." The Book of Mormon says so itself in its introduction (see also Doctrines and Covenants 20:9; 27:5; 42:12; and 135:3). So what is the gospel according to Mormonism? It’s a tough question for many LDS to answer. According to Mormon apostle Bruce McConkie, author of the book Mormon Doctrine, the gospel is "the plan of salvation [that] embraces all of the laws, principles, doctrines, rites, ordinances, acts, powers, authorities, and keys necessary to save and exalt men." In other words, the whole of Mormon theology. In the Mormon gospel we see belief + repentance + baptism + laying on of hands + temple work + mission work + church ministry + tithing + ceasing from sin + abstaining from the use of intoxicants and strong drinks and tobacco and caffeine + confessing Joseph Smith as Prophet + temple marriage + baptism for the dead + genealogy research . . . the list could go on and on and on. Only upon completion of all these things may Mormons attain to the third and highest level of heaven, thus achieving the ultimate goal of the Mormon gospel—godhood (see McConkie, Mormon Doctrine 116-117; Book of Mormon [3 Nephi 27:13-21]; Doctrines of Salvation 1:268; 18:213; The 4th Article of Faith; Smith, Gospel Doctrine pg. 107; Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:93; 3:247; 9:312; Gospel Principles 290; Doctrine and Covenants 39:5-6; 132:19-20). In essence, Christ’s death means nothing more to a Mormon than the gaining of the ability to be resurrected so that his works may be judged.

(Video) Mormon Religion in a nutshell - John MacArthur

While we cannot judge another person’s motives, we can and must judge what a person does or says. Joseph Smith, and hence the Book of Mormon, fails the twin tests of Deuteronomy 13 and 18. God takes false prophets very seriously. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 says, "That prophet or dreamer must be put to death, because he preached rebellion against the LORD your God...; he has tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you." Deuteronomy 18:19-21 says, "If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account. But a prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death..." And Galatians 1:8-9 says, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!"

The gospel is God’s power to bring us to Him. He will not stand for those who pervert it. He has given us the ability and the responsibility to discern whether or not the gospel is being tampered with. We must carefully investigate the claims of the LDS if we are to follow what God has commanded. In fact, Mormons invite non-Mormons to examine their claims: "Convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any" (LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, p.15).

(Editor’s note: many of the references in our articles on Mormonism are Mormon publications, such as Mormon Doctrine, Articles of Faith, Doctrines of Salvation, History of the Church, Doctrine and Covenants, and so forth. Others are from the Book of Mormon itself, e.g., books such as 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, and Alma.)

(Video) Should we read the Book of Mormon?

FAQs

What do Christians think about Mormons? ›

Mormon doctrine differs from orthodox Christian views with respect to salvation. Protestant Christians believe in “Faith Alone” for salvation and criticise the LDS for a belief in salvation through good works. Mormons, however, feel that they are misunderstood.

What does the Bible say about the Book of Mormon? ›

“For behold, this [the Book of Mormon] is written for the intent that ye may believe that [the Bible]; and if ye believe that ye will believe this also; and if ye believe this ye will know concerning your fathers, and also the marvelous works which were wrought by the power of God among them (Mormon 7:8–9).”

Why should I believe the Book of Mormon? ›

The Book of Mormon clarifies Christ's doctrine and brings the fulness of the gospel to the earth once again (see 1 Nephi 13:38–41). For example, the Book of Mormon helps us know that baptism must be performed by immersion (see 3 Nephi 11:26) and that little children do not need to be baptized (see Moroni 8:4–26).

How does the Book of Mormon differ from the Bible? ›

How Are They Different? The significant difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon is the period and place of writing. The Bible is the works of the prophets and historians based in the Middle East, and it covers ancient years of history starting from God's creation of the world until about AD100.

Are Mormons truly Christians? ›

Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unequivocally affirm themselves to be Christians. They worship God the Eternal Father in the name of Jesus Christ.

Who do the Mormons say Jesus is? ›

We believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh (John 3:16). We accept the prophetic declarations in the Old Testament that refer directly and powerfully to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of all humankind. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the fulfillment of those prophecies.

Does the Holy Bible mention the Book of Mormon? ›

Ask a student to read 2 Nephi 3:11–12. (It may be helpful to clarify that these verses are part of a prophecy by Joseph of Egypt. In these verses Joseph mentioned two books—the book written by the descendants of Joseph is the Book of Mormon, and the book written by the descendants of Judah is the Bible.)

How truthful is the Book of Mormon? ›

The dominant and widely accepted view among Latter Day Saints is that the Book of Mormon is a true and accurate account of these ancient American civilizations whose religious history it documents.

Does the Bible testify of the Book of Mormon? ›

In harmony with the biblical law that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians 13:1), both the Book of Mormon and the Bible testify of Jesus Christ and teach the principles of His gospel. Elder Russell M.

What is the main message of the Book of Mormon? ›

The central message of the Book of Mormon is to restore the true knowledge of the essential role of Jesus Christ in the salvation and exaltation of mankind.

What does the Book of Mormon teach? ›

A central purpose of the Book of Mormon is to convince all people that Jesus is the Christ (see title page of the Book of Mormon). It testifies of Christ by affirming the reality of His life, mission, and power. It teaches true doctrine concerning Christ's Atonement—the foundation for the plan of salvation.

What does the Book of Mormon teach about God? ›

The Book of Mormon teaches that God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are "one", with Jesus appearing with a body of spirit before his birth, and with a tangible body after his resurrection. The book describes the "Spirit of the Lord" "in the form of a man" and speaking as a man would.

Why is the Book of Mormon very controversial? ›

Critics challenge the viability of the population size and growth of the Book of Mormon people using the parameter that there was no incorporation of existing populations. M. T. Lamb may have been the very first critic to suggest that the Book of Mormon has an unrealistic population growth rate.

Is there any evidence to support the Book of Mormon? ›

Modern approach and conclusions. There is a broad consensus among archaeologists that the archaeological record does not substantiate the Book of Mormon account, and in most ways directly contradicts it.

Is the Lord God or Jesus in the Book of Mormon? ›

In the Book of Mormon, the word Lord generally refers to Christ, but there are other times when it seems to refer to God the Father.

What religion is closest to Mormon? ›

Islam and Mormonism have been compared to one another ever since the earliest origins of the latter in the nineteenth century, often by detractors of one religion or the other—or both.

Do Mormons believe in the cross? ›

Is the cross important to our faith? The answer is an unequivocal yes! The Redeemer's suffering on the cross is vitally important to us and is an inseparable part of the Atonement, through which He suffered and died for our sins and thereby provided us with a clear path to salvation and exaltation.

What churches believe in the Book of Mormon? ›

Book of Mormon, work accepted as holy scripture, in addition to the Bible, in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and other Mormon churches.

Is the Book of Mormon Fact or Fiction? ›

To the LDS faithful, the Book of Mormon is the true historical account of a group of ancient Israelites who fled Jerusalem prior to the Babylonian captivity (600 B.C.E.) and later journeyed to the Americas to establish a new civilization.

Is Nephi in the Bible? ›

Exodus. In the narrative of the Book of Nephi, Nephi and his family left Jerusalem, traveled to the Red Sea, and then journeyed three days further into the wilderness, stopping in a valley by a river near the Red Sea. Lehi then sent his four sons (Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi) back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates.

What is forbidden in the Mormon Church? ›

Alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and drugs

These are all specifically banned in the Word of Wisdom, except for drugs. The prophets have made it clear that drugs, other than for medical use, are also banned. Mormons are also strongly discouraged from drinking soft drinks containing caffeine.

Where is the Book of Mormon mentioned in the Bible? ›

Other scriptures that refer to the Book of Mormon and its people include Genesis 11:8; Psalm 85:11; and Revelation 14:6–7.

What parts of the Book of Mormon are copied from the Bible? ›

In total, approximately 30 percent of the Book of Isaiah is quoted in the Book of Mormon (one source counts 478 verses in the Book of Mormon which are quoted from Isaiah). The Book of Mormon also quotes from the KJV of other books.

Does the Mormon Church teach the Bible? ›

The Latter-day Saints have a great reverence and love for the Bible. They study it and try to live its teachings. They treasure its witness of the life and mission of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Prophet Joseph Smith studied the Bible all his life, and he taught its precepts.

Do Mormons worship Jesus? ›

Like many other Christians around the world, Mormons, also known as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, look to Jesus Christ as their Lord and worship Him as their Savior. Many Mormon beliefs about Jesus Christ are similar to other Christian beliefs about Him.

Who is God according to Mormon? ›

Mormons believe that God the Father is the all powerful and all knowing supreme being who created the world. God the Father is a being called Elohim, who was once a man like present day human beings, but who lived on another planet.

Does the Book of Mormon teach God is a spirit? ›

Some passages in the Book of Mormon seem to indicate that there is only one God and that he is a spirit only.

Why do Mormons not believe in the Trinity? ›

Like many Christians, we believe in God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. However, we don't believe in the traditional concept of the Trinity. We believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings who are one in purpose.

How inappropriate is Book of Mormon? ›

“The Book of Mormon” isn't for everyone. It's R-rated and profane.

Is the Mormon church declining? ›

While the church enjoyed small gains in membership growth the past two years globally (up 0.8%) and nationally (up 0.6%) amid a worldwide pandemic, more than 40% of U.S. states (21 plus the District of Columbia) saw their numbers decrease during that time frame.

What happens if you leave the Mormon church? ›

Outright apostasy of members will lead to a church disciplinary council, which may result in disfellowshipment or excommunication. However, members who ask for their names to be removed from church records or who have joined another church are not subject to a disciplinary council.

What Bible does the Mormon religion use? ›

The Holy Bible

They believe that most versions of the Bible are full of mistakes or deliberate changes to the original text. These changes are thought to be the cause of many of the errors into which traditional Christianity has fallen. Mormons use the Authorised King James Version of the Bible.

Is the Book of Mormon inspired by God? ›

The Book of Mormon was written for us today. God is the author of the book. It is a record of a fallen people, compiled by inspired men for our blessing. Those people never had the book—it was meant for us.

Why do LDS not drink caffeine? ›

Why Don't Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Drink Coffee? Latter-day Saints have been counseled by their leaders and by God not to drink coffee. This inspired counsel is part of a health code members follow in order to live healthier, happier lives.

Do Mormons practice Christianity? ›

A large majority of Mormons say religion is very important in their lives, more than four-in-five pray at least once a day and three-quarters attend religious services weekly or more. Almost all Mormons (98%) accept the traditional Christian teaching that Jesus rose from the dead.

What religion is most like Mormon? ›

Islam and Mormonism have been compared to one another ever since the earliest origins of the latter in the nineteenth century, often by detractors of one religion or the other—or both.

What type of Christianity is Mormonism? ›

Mormonism is the religious tradition and theology of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 1830s.

Do Mormons believe in the God of the Bible? ›

Latter-day Saints revere the Bible. They study it and believe it to be the word of God. However, they do not believe the Bible, as it is currently available, is without error.

What part of the Bible do Mormons not believe? ›

Nevertheless, most Mormons do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity as codified in the Nicene Creed of 325 and the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed of 381. Although Mormons consider the Protestant Bible to be holy scripture, they do not believe in biblical inerrancy.

What is forbidden in Mormonism? ›

Alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee and drugs

These are all specifically banned in the Word of Wisdom, except for drugs. The prophets have made it clear that drugs, other than for medical use, are also banned. Mormons are also strongly discouraged from drinking soft drinks containing caffeine.

Do Mormons respect other religions? ›

Mormons do not believe that they are the only people inspired by God and so have a tolerant attitude to other faiths. Although Mormons are certain that their Church teaches the true doctrines of salvation, they don't see it as the only teacher of truth.

What is the fastest growing religion Mormon? ›

In a study updated every 10 years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was named the fastest growing denomination in the United States for the years 1990 to 2000.

Do Mormons see Jesus as God? ›

Mormons regard Jesus Christ as the central figure of their faith, and the perfect example of how they should live their lives. Jesus Christ is the second person of the Godhead and a separate being from God the Father and the Holy Ghost. Mormons believe that: Jesus Christ is the first-born spirit child of God.

Do Mormons pray to Jesus? ›

Prayers are not offered to anyone other than God the Father. Other than addressing God the Father and praying in the name of Jesus Christ, what is said during prayer depends on the individual's needs, wants, or desires. Prayers may be of any length in duration.

Do Mormons read the Bible or just the Book of Mormon? ›

Mormons use the Book of Mormon alongside the Bible in teaching and study. They believe that the Book of Mormon tells the story of God's dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the American Continent, including a visit by the risen Jesus to the people of the New World.

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