Monday, September 1, 2014

Ask: How could God have inspired it?

All Mormon children one time or another get this lesson. As you read the Book of Mormon, ask yourself: How could an uneducated young man, practically a boy, have written the Book of Mormon? 

Then they are given something like this list:

  • 1. Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages in a few short months?
  • 2. Could that boy understand ancient Hebrew literary writing styles?
  • 3. Could that boy know so much about the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula?
  • 4. Could that boy come up with about 180 new names in the Book of Mormon?
  • 5. Could a boy be deceived by the Devil to write a volume that inspires morality?
  • 6. Could that boy have accounted for the “Lost Sheep” mentioned in the bible?
  • 7. How could that boy know decades before that non-LDS scholars would agree that Christ visited America?
  • 8. Could that boy have accounted for the “sticks” referenced in Ezekiel 37:15-20?
  • 9. Why would the other 12 witnesses of the gold plates lie or be part of an uncovered conspiracy?
  • 10. Could that boy write a complex volume that doesn’t ever contradict itself?
  • 11. Could a boy have conceived of the marvelous Moroni 10 promise?
  • 12. Would tens of thousands of learned intellectuals follow the book written by that boy?
  • 13. Could that boy have convinced an older man to finance the printing of that book?
  • 14. Why would that boy, as a man, suffer persecution and eventually die for the book?

These questions give the illusion that Joseph Smith couldn't have written the Book of Mormon by himself without inspiration or God's help, therefore you are constrained to accept that it is a miracle and given by God.

Lists like this have been floating around Mormondom for decades or longer.  You can find arguments like these on many blogs (like this, or this).

Most of these are answered in one place; all of them have been addressed in various places.

I want to turn the tables on this Go-Fish game.

How could the supreme intelligence, God, have inspired prophets to write something as erroneous the Book of Mormon? 

If it were actually God-inspired, consider the following:

  • 1. Would God have inspired ancient writers to waste so many engravings of 1,381 “it came to pass” phrases and other wordy words on gold plates swelling the book well past 500 pages when the main part of the story would actually fit in about 60-70% that space if edited by skilled or thoughtful editors, redactors and writers?

  • 5. Would God have inspired ancient writers of 3 Nephi to contradict so much archaeology yet to be discovered (but known by God), leaving no evidence of the 3-day darkness, and the deaths of so many with the destruction of dozens of cities that God angrily smashed, drowned or burned when his son Jesus was crucified an ocean away?

  • 6. Would God have inspired ancient writers to confuse the meaning of ‘horse’, ‘sheep’, ‘wheat’, ‘barely’, ‘elephants’, ‘cow/cattle’, ‘goats’, ‘honey bees’, ‘steel’, ‘coins’, the ‘wheel’, ‘silk’, ‘chariots’, ‘cimeters’, ‘bellows’,  and more from 2000 years ago in America?

  • 9. Would God have inspired ancient writers to put so many erroneous claims, anachronistic mistakes, and miscalculations about ancient America that dozens of Mesoamerican and Amerindian scholars come forward to witness that it is just imaginative fiction with no basis in real science?

  • 11. Would God have inspired ancient writers to introduce so many linguistic issues into an ancient America text, including adding Deutero and Trito Isaiah texts into plates purported to be about 2600 years old, when the Deutero and Trito Isaiah texts weren’t actually written until 100-200 years later (2400y.a. (trito) or 2500y.a. (deutero))?

  • 12. Would God have inspired ancient writers to create an ancient American work so dull that one of modern America’s foremost writers (Mark Twain) would call it “chloroform in print”?

  • 13. Would God have inspired the “translator” of the ancient record to endeavor to sell its copyright and all rights to the book in Canada, yet fail to get anyone truly interested in the book because it was fraught with grammar issues and boring stories?

Anyone giving me their list of "Could a boy have written it" needs to explain away my list.

You can also ask, how could an educated person have made so many mistakes writing the Book of Mormon and attempt to pass it off as a true history?

And so the argument falls...


  1. I really like this list with the exception of 14.
    Smith didn't use the gun against his imprisoners. He used it against the mob that stormed the jail. Might want to edit for clarity. A TBM will see that and claim the list is bogus when it indeed is not.

  2. ...and the 4,096 character limit vexes me, or I would have written a damn site more.

  3. Excelente advise, I use the basics of your advise, and I do ad and tell them that I believe the bom was indeed inspired. Inspired by Luci he is the father of lies 2Cor 4:4

  4. David T., exactly...why? If the BofM is fake why write it? What was the purpose of writing a book that basically agrees with the Bible?