Written and directed by Brian Godawa.
Watch and listen carefully.
Written and directed by Brian Godawa.
Watch and listen carefully.
Discussion Questions (from a Christian to a Mormon)
1) There have been thousands of minor and major changes made to the original 1830-edition of The Book of Mormon when compared to the current edition. If the records of how Joseph Smith reportedly translated The Book of Mormon are to be believed, then would errors exist that would need to be corrected in later editions? Why or why not?
2) If one edition has errors that are corrected in a later edition, which one do (you) Mormons accept as “official” and/or “binding”?
3) Where is the “official Mormon doctrine” which supports your answer to question 2 above?
4) Why does The Book of Mormon contain massive sections copied word-for-word out of the 1611 edition of the King James Bible?
5) On the title page of the 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith is credited as “author and proprietor”. (It was changed to “translated by” in all subsequent editions.) Mormon apologists state that the reason for the original 1830 credits is copyright regulations of the time. However, why does Joseph Smith call himself “The Author” on page IV of the very odd “Preface” (see below) in the same 1830 edition?
6) I have a replica of the 1830 edition (for research purposes only) and it contains a copy of the copyright notice as the first page. (A bizarre thing to file in any genuine attempt at “restoration,” if you ask me.) Is this in the original?
Constructive replies related to the cartoon or the questions are welcomed and appreciated!
Preface to 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon:
TO THE READER—
As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by the evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again—and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the Devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario county, New-York.
Noteworthy about the Preface:
1) Remember: The 1830 edition was the first edition. Yet “the author” complains that even before the first edition has reached print “many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work”.
2) “The author” then goes on to say “some person or persons have stolen and kept from me” the first 116 pages of The Book of Mormon. (It was Lucy Harris, wife of the first scribe and “patron” of Joseph Smith who mortgaged his farm to pay for the publishing of The Book of Mormon. The whole ordeal cost him his farm and his wife.)
Now, you know you’ve got a problem when people are already slamming your book before it’s even published and you’ve lost the first 116 pages of it.
Something to think about…
1) Is either the existence of extraterrestrial life or belief in it unbiblical?
2) If they are real, are extraterrestrials from other planets or other dimensions?
3) In light of the limited amount of
verified information we have about extraterrestrial entities, are they really benevolent? Why or why not?
4) Does the Bible appear to predict an intimate and widespread encounter with extraterrestials? (Revelation chapter 9 and 12) And could the events described in Revelation (chapters 9 and 12) be misinterpreted as the second coming of Christ?
5) If they are real, are aliens actually demons?
6) Aside from them being a side effect of prolonged drug use, what other explanations are there for legitimate, unexplained extraterrestrial sightings and encounters?
7) What explanation can account for the mass of reported alien messages that are evolution-tinged and heavily anti-theistic?
Never forget that alien begins with “a lie”!
1) Is pure gold a good medium for preserving historical records? Why or why not?
2) A cubic centimeter of gold weighs about 19.3 grams. How much would a “book” of pure gold that was 6″ X 8″ X 6″ weigh? (Do the math and be amazed.)
3) Could a guy run at full speed, fight off three would-be thieves, and do it all while holding said gold book?
4) If the records were really made of gold and very small, would the author waste space constantly repeating his name (reference Nephi), phrases (like “and it came to pass”), and recording superfluous information (read 1 Nephi 6)?
5) How easy it to inscribe things on solid gold AND preserve them, especially if they are laying flat in a book format?
6) Documentation shows that Joseph Smith lied about being able to locate hidden treasures. Why should be believe him just this one time?
7) Did anyone actually see the literal gold plates in reality?
Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon?
by Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A. Davis, and Arthur Vanick
Paperback: 558 pages
Publisher: Concordia Publishing House (July 30, 2005)
Explore letters, personal testimonies, and historical documents to discover who really wrote The Book of Mormon. Was it given to Joseph Smith by an angel or created from a work of fiction originally written by Solomon Spalding, a former Congregationalist minister? As the evidence unfolds, the authors of Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? The Spalding Enigma reveal a mystery that challenges the history of the Mormon church. Who was Solomon Spalding? Was his novel connected to Joseph Smith? Explore these questions and the conspiracy surrounding the Spalding manuscript and the origins of Mormonism.
except from the Introduction
In Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon? readers will become aware of a fascinating body of evidence that has continued to accumulate over the years and, despite efforts by pro-Mormon scholars to deny or dismiss it, has grown to such proportion that it now poses a significant challenge to history itself. At stake is nothing less than the Church’s most sacred text, The Book of Mormon. At issue is whether this long-revered book is actually a valuable, historical record of pre-Columbian North America or a deception of the first order, perpetrated upon the gullible and credulous by the very founder of the Church himself, Prophet Joseph Smith.
Not Just a Mere Book — It’s Like an Encyclopedia!
I just put down the book this afternoon and thought long and hard about how to write a worthwhile review; something that would showcase how exceptional this book is and what a valuable reference it is. Not only is it an essential tool for we Christian apologists who engage Mormons, it should also be required reading for Mormons, too, and anyone researching 19th century American literature for that matter. It isn’t just a book — it’s like an encyclopedia of Who’s Who at the core of the birth of Mormonism and the history of its deceptive “Bible”, The Book of Mormon. And since I’ve concluded that there’s no way I could write a concise review and relay all the important details of this fascinating record, I hope to at least spark your interest in it enough to make you want to buy it (see below).
558 Pages AND Concise
Even at a length of 558 pages, Who Really Wrote The Book of Mormon? is concise. Yes, “concise”. The authors didn’t waste space on unsubstantiated opinions or rhetoric or anything else that might be construed as “anti-Mormon”, a tactic that more and more Mormons are using in place of honest inquiry or considerate answers. (And even at the rare times when the authors do venture into speculation, they are clear at labeling it as such.) They went to the trouble of referencing all sorts of records of varying levels of obscurity and even legibility — tax records, census records, family histories and so on — to reconstruct the events leading up to the initial 1830 printing of the Book of Mormon and a few years thereafter. The amount of references is just incredible. I mean that. And let me be perfectly clear: I’ve never actually read a book with such an abundance of references. All summed up, there are around 130 pages of notes and references alone! And the sad fact is that in all likelihood, the majority of Mormons would relegate this incredible work of research to the “anti-Mormon” bin without once putting a crease in a page.
Detail After Detail After Detail After — You Get the Point
The sheer amount of detail that forms the content of this book is to the extent that it makes the authors seem obsessive-compulsive — and that’s a compliment! It’s rich and fully referenced.
To give you an idea of the amount of detail in this book, take a look at the section labeled “A Chronology of Elder Sidney Rigdon’s Activities: 1822 ~ 1830″ which begins on page 334. There, you will find a month-by-month record over an eight-year span of time listing the whereabouts of the infamous Sidney Rigdon. (This is important because Mormons claim that Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith did not know each other until around 1830 or 1831.)
I’m really at a loss for a worthy enough compliment to give this book. It was a fascinating read that forced me to stay up many late nights because I just could not put it down. (And I mean that in the most literal sense.)
As I closed the final page of the appendix, I was actually sad that this literary journey that was the reading of this amazing piece of research had come to an end. The authors set out to demonstrate that, at the very least, The Book of Mormon is the mere product of a man. They not only succeeded, but, in my opinion, they went beyond that and gave ample evidence enough to show who that man might have been. It may very well have been Solomon Spalding and his manuscript, Manuscript Found. Sidney Rigdon had the opportunity to steal it, as he was accused of by Solomon Spalding himself before he died (!), and the twisted motive to do so. In Oliver Cowdery, he found a willing “scribe” who could copy out the text with Sidney’s “doctrines” input therein. And in Joseph Smith, he found a fall guy — or so he thought.
So very well done, Wayne, Howard, and Arthur!
Next up, I’ve finally gotten a replica of the 1830 edition of The Book of Mormon. I’m anxious to see this work of fiction in all its original “splendor”, since there are about 70,000 differences between it and the current version. How interesting that there on the first page is, “Joseph Smith, Author and Proprietor.” Telling indeed!
Get the book for HALF-OFF the cover price (just $9) at the Concordia Publishing House here: http://www.cph.org/p-443-who-really-wrote-the-book-of-mormon.aspx?SearchTerm=who%20really%20wrote%20the%20book%20of%20mormon
Or at Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Who-Really-Wrote-Book-Mormon/dp/0758605277
Read a 14-page sample here: http://www.cph.org/pdf/124195.pdf