THE CROSS UNVEILED
Last Update: 1/2014
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Is the Bible Corrupted?
The entire belief system and premise of Mormonism is based on a claim the Bible was corrupted and "plain and precious parts" were removed by early Christian translators sometime after the apostles had all died. This is a very dangerous claim to make against the word of God, especially since God promised us his word would never pass away and would be with us forever (Isaiah 40:8; Psalms 100:5; Matthew 16:18, 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
Book of Mormon Superior to Bible
Here are some quotes from LDS leadership regarding the unreliability of the Bible and the superiority of the Book of Mormon:
8th Article of Faith states: " We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."
"You believe Adam was made of the dust of this earth. This I do not believe...I have publicly declared that I do not believe that portion of the Bible as the Christian world do. I never did, and I never want to. What is the reason I do not? Because I have come to understanding, and banished from my mind all the baby stories my mother taught me when I was a child" (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol.2, p.6).
"...and who, in his right mind, could for one moment, suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? No one can tell whether even one verse of either the Old or New Testament conveys the ideas of the original author" (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 28).
"Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors, many plain and precious things were deleted, in consequence of which error and falsehood poured into the churches. One of the great heresies of modern Christendom is the unfounded assumption that the Bible contains all of the inspired teachings now extant among men" (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 82-83).
"Unlike the Bible, which passed through generations of copyists, translators, and corrupt religionists who tampered with the text, the Book of Mormon came from writer to reader in just one inspired step of translation" (Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, "The Keystone of Our Religion," Ensign, January 1992).
"[Quoting Apostle Bruce R. McConkie and Prophet Brigham Young] Men can get nearer to the Lord, can have more of the spirit of conversion and conformity in their hearts...can gain a better understanding of the doctrines of salvation through the Book of Mormon than they can through the Bible...there will be more people saved in the kingdom of God - ten thousand times over - because of the Book of Mormon than there will be because of the Bible" (Prophet Ezra Taft Benson, "A New Witness for Christ," Ensign, November 1984).
You would expect the LDS church in making these bold claims would provide some guidance as to what books or verses in the Bible have been corrupted, right? Wrong. They have never published anything which reveals what parts of the Bible have been corrupted or any of the "plain and precious parts" which were allegedly removed.
Trusting Man and Doubting the Word of God
Would you not agree if the Bible were true, it would be in the best interest of a false prophet to first get you to doubt and not trust the word of God, but to trust in your feelings (a burning of the bosom)? By doing this a false prophet is able to get people to transfer their trust in the Bible to trust in the prophet. The prophet then becomes the ultimate authority, is unaccountable and untestable. Has Joseph Smith not exactly done this? Not only does he try to get you to not trust the Bible by saying it is corrupt, but he really hammers the point home as his agenda is made clear with 2 Nephi 29:6 which says, "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible." It is clear in this verse Joseph Smith is attempting to convey God would suggest only a fool would say the Bible is the only inspired scripture. But since this completely contradicts the inspired and tested words of the Bible we know it is false teaching.
Even if you look at the most significant doctrines in Mormonism not in the Bible you will find none of them within the Book of Mormon, which according to the introduction contains "the fullness of the everlasting gospel." So if we have evidence which proves there is no corruption or missing "plain and precious parts," we can definitively show this claim to be false, and therefore, the entire Mormon religion to be false.
An Objective Test of the Bible and Book of Mormon
The Claim: In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Nephi has a vision the Bible was corrupted after the 12 apostles preached it and after the formation of the “great and abominable church” (1 Nephi 13:26-29). Most Mormons believe this to be the Catholic Church which was formed early in the 4th century. Nephi claims this church was founded by the Devil to lead souls to hell (1 Nephi 14:3). So let’s objectively examine both the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be fair and test if any have errors.
Bible: Today roughly 40,000 combinations of manuscripts exist of the Old and New Testaments proving them to be by far the most verifiable and trusted documents of antiquity. Many of these Old Testament manuscripts are decades and centuries before the birth of Jesus. Namely, the Dead Sea Scrolls, one of the most significant discoveries since antiquity, were discovered in 1947, over 100 years after the Book of Mormon was accusing the Bible of being corrupted. This discovery is remarkably important, especially for the Mormon, because prior to this discovery, the oldest known complete Old Testament manuscript in existence was the Masoretic Text from around 980 AD. Since 980 AD is well after the Book of Mormon claims when the corruption of the Bible occurred, it was impossible to prove the perfect preservation of the Bible and to test the claims of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that the Bible was corrupted.
The earliest Dead Sea Scrolls have been historically dated by three different dating techniques to as early as 350 BC. Included in this discovery was the Great Isaiah Scroll, which is the oldest known complete copy of the Book of Isaiah and is dated to approximately 200 BC.
(The Great Isaiah Scroll pictured below)
This discovery now allows us to test the claims of the Book of Mormon to see if any corruption of the Bible has taken place because the pertinent manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are undoubtedly several centuries older than when the Book of Mormon claims the corruption occurred. When these manuscripts were compared to our modern Bibles today, they were found to be in perfect harmony with one another. Most important to understand is the Dead Sea Scrolls were not around when Joseph Smith composed the Book of Mormon so there was no way to prove the corruption claims of the Bible the Book of Mormon proclaims. We now have the scrolls and can without a doubt confirm our Bibles today have been perfectly preserved over time.
There are also manuscripts of prophecies from the Old Testament which date before the birth of Jesus which reveal Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2). This prophecy is important because it also tells the reader which Bethlehem Jesus was born in because there were two Bethlehems in the area, Bethlehem Ephratah in the south in the territory of Judah and Bethlehem near Nazareth in the north in the territory of Zebulun. Where was Jesus born? In Bethlehem Ephratah!
In addition to the abundance of textual evidence, there is plenty of archaeological, anthropological and prophetical evidence. The Bible also provides scientific evidences which were not proven until more than 1,500 years later! There are also over 300 Old Testament prophecies Jesus fulfilled.
The New Testament is by far the most trusted and well-known book from antiquity. A comparison of our modern Bibles today vs. the more than 24,000 New Testament manuscripts proves the New Testament has been perfectly preserved over time as well.
The Bible has this to say about lost or hidden parts in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
The overwhelming facts do not support the claim that “plain and precious parts” have been removed from our Bibles as the Book of Mormon prophet Nephi prophesied.
Book of Mormon: There is not a single manuscript dating prior to 1830 as evidence when the Book of Mormon was published. There is zero archaeological, anthropological, topological, linguistic, or DNA evidence to support the Book of Mormon. It would be impossible for highly advanced civilizations (Jaredites, Nephites) with millions of people to have vanished off the face of the earth without leaving a single coin, peace of armor, sword, bone, or shred of evidence behind! The Book of Mormon claims a temple was built after the manner of Solomon’s temple, which took over 180,000 workers seven years to build. If this were true, there would be evidence left behind of such a massive structure. The population growth claims in the Book of Mormon during specific periods (by 187 BC) are 30 times the population growths of the world during the same era1.
Other facts regarding the Book of Mormon:
- The King James Version (KJV) of the Bible was completed in 1611 in Europe and was written in Elizabethan form English, which is an archaic language which was not around anymore in the early 1800's, and especially not in America. How is it possible the Book of Mormon, which was supposedly written over 1,000 years earlier, was written in the same Elizabethan form English neither Joseph Smith nor the Nephites spoke or had access to?
- During the seven year translation process of the KJV, words were added which did not appear in the original text to make the text flow and for readability in English. These words were written in italics to denote they were not in the original manuscripts. How could it be possible these same italicized words, which were added in 1611, appear in the Book of Mormon as if Joseph Smith translated directly from golden plates written over 1,000 years prior to the KJV Bible? For example, please compare Isaiah 53 to Mosiah 14.
Furthermore, roughly 25% of the Book of Mormon contains almost a verbatim copy of the 1769 KJV of the Bible along with the exact same errors. The 1769 version of the KJ Bible just happens to be the exact version Joseph Smith owned. Is this just a mere coincidence? Is this really inspired from God and "the most correct book of any on earth" if the errors were not corrected by Joseph Smith?
- Why would the Nephites write down their historical record in the language of their enemies (Egyptians)?
- Impossible population growth: You have less than 100 people coming over from Israel and their population explodes while in the Book of Mormon lands (wherever that is). This all happens at the same time the many battles throughout the Book of Mormon occur, which kill tens of thousands within certain battles and around 230,000 Nephites alone in the final battle at the Hill Cumorah. This growth rate in total would be more than double the Roman Empire by comparison1. This would lead to a population of over 8,000 Romans vs. a population of over 1,800,000 for the Nephites/Lamanites. These growth rates are impossible and unheard of without modern medicines.
1 http://www.mormoninfographics.com/2012/10/population-growth-in-book-ofmormon.html; http://20truths.info/mormon/bompop.html
- The phrase "it came to pass" occurs in the Book of Mormon in 1,297 verses2 alone (1,424 total times) and in the Bible 452 times. The Book of Mormon has 6,553 verses and the Bible has 31,102 verses. This means for every 100 verses, this phase occurs 21.7 times in the Book of Mormon and only 1.45 times in the Bible3. These numbers are only based on the recent Book of Mormon, which the original 1830 edition had the phrase written far more times and many have since been edited out. Does it make any sense God would really want to have this phrase over and over again in the Book of Mormon? This also occurs with other words which are extremely overused in the Book of Mormon. For example, the word "exceedingly" occurs in 247 verses in the Book of Mormon4, many times it occurs at least two times in the same verse. Don't you think Moroni got tired of etching these phrases in reformed Egyptian over and over?
Additionally, the prophet Alma in 7:10 prophesies Jesus would be born in Jerusalem. Obviously, this is unbiblical and not inspired of the Lord. LDS apologists try to claim Bethlehem is essentially a suburb of Jerusalem. It is six miles away and there are cities in between the two (e.g. Bethany). There is not a single non-LDS expert who will state any such thing. Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah and Bethlehem is in the territory of Judah. Jerusalem is in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin, which would make Jesus having been born of the tribe of Benjamin! The prophecy of Alma could not possible be inspired by God because God is not in the habit of being close, He is perfect as what is recorded in the Bible.
The Book of Mormon has a prophecy in it about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 27:6-12). That is circular reasoning and logic! Without something much older to show as proof like a manuscript or papyrus that the Book of Mormon would come forth other than the 1830 published Book of Mormon, would be absurd to call this prophecy.
The score is 40,000 to 0 in terms of textual evidence. The 40,000 is magnified when you add in all the archaeological and anthropological evidence which supports the Bible. Also I have detailed dozens of other significant issues with the Book of Mormon within five sections starting with the section "Inspired."
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 states, “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
The Book of Mormon prophets Nephi and Alma have been shown to be false prophets based on the biblical standard of testing a prophet. We should not follow their teaching because it does not hold up to the perfect standard of God and his word.
Can we Trust the Bible since it has been translated over and over?
Mormons have been taught the Bible cannot be completely trusted because it has been translated over and over and truths have been left out and errors have crept in over time. The missionaries told me it’s like when you were in grade school and the teacher whispers in the ear of a student some statement and that student whispers the statement in the ear of another student and so on until it gets all the way around the class to the last student. The last student then says out loud what was transmitted to him and lo and behold, it is very different from the original message. This is consistently the way Mormon missionaries teach prospective converts - the Bible has been corrupted and cannot be trusted. They effectively state when the Bible was originally written in Hebrew/Greek it was then translated into German, then to Italian, then to Spanish, then to French, then to Japanese, then to Chinese, then to English and so on (the order is not particular), which created the opportunity for translation errors to come in.
The first issue to clear up is translation vs. transmission. The example the missionaries provide would be a potential issue of transmission, not translation. The Dead Sea Scrolls and thousands of other Old and New Testament manuscripts from varying centuries prove the transmission of the Bible has been virtually perfect. If errors had crept in, they would stick out like a sore thumb from the thousands of ancient manuscripts available today. There are very few differences, all of which are incidental (i.e. slips of the pen or using something like "however" instead of "but") and none of which would be considered material or doctrinal. This goes to show you how important these scribes thought the preservation of God’s word was, not to mention God promised His word would always be with us (Isaiah 40:8; Psalms 100:5; Matthew 16:18, 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23-25).
Now to clear up the purported translation issues with the Bible Mormons claim. The translation of the Bible from one language to another has always been the same, from the original manuscripts in Hebrew/Greek and into the translated language. As an example, the Bible was translated from the original Hebrew/Greek into German, from Hebrew/Greek into English, from Hebrew/Greek into Spanish, etc. It has never been translated in the manner the Mormon Church teaches. It is completely and totally false to say the translation process has ever been done in any other manner.
Well aren't there books missing from the Bible?
It is interesting to note when discussing the accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible Mormons will try to use this argument against the completeness of the Bible not knowing there are many missing books from the Book of Mormon. The very book they consider to be God’s word and part of their canon of scriptures, they try hard to poke holes in. The simple fact is God’s word is complete in the 66 books within the Bible today. These are the inspired writings of God and just because rumors or stories of other lost books are mentioned do not mean they are accurate. You cannot just assume what you hear is true without careful study and examination.
All of these supposed missing books are missing from the Bible because they are not inspired writings of God. Some contain true historical events (1 Maccabees), or wise spiritual teaching (Wisdom of Solomon), but are clearly not inspired or inerrant. Many of these and other supposed missing books were originally authored centuries later than what was claimed. The Gospel of Thomas is a good example. This book contained many false teachings of Jesus and was universally rejected by virtually all the church fathers as heretical. It was found out this book was a forgery and not authored by the Apostle Thomas, but written around the 3rd century. The writings of the apocalypse of Peter, the epistle of Barnabas, and the gospel of Philip were all found to be written by impostors claiming to be these Apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ.
All of the books of the Bible are there for a reason; they all unpack the plan of God to redeem mankind. They reveal God’s uniqueness and character, the original sin and God’s wrath and judgment against sin, Jesus Christ as the perfect sacrifice and propitiation for our sin, the gift of grace through faith, and our eternal destination.
The book of Revelation ends with a warning about adding to the words of God. Revelation 22:18-19 states, "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: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book."
I must point out here the missionaries have been taught when someone uses this verse to question the additional word declared by the Book of Mormon, they will usually state one of two things. First, they will point you to Deuteronomy 4:2 which also provides a warning about adding to the words God commanded the Israelites to follow. The issue here is, in context, God is commanding them not to add or subtract to the law/commandments they had just been given. The other issue they might bring up is Revelation 22:18-19 is only speaking of adding to or taking away from the book of Revelation. Though this is very likely true, they say this without knowing Joseph Smith now has added unto him the plagues written in the book of Revelations. This is because his Inspired Version of the Bible, which the LDS church stated was an accurate representation of the original Smith manuscripts according to church leadership in the April 1977 New Era magazine, adds, removes or alters hundreds of words in the book of Revelation.
The Bible is complete and sufficient for any situation life may challenge you with. There is nothing left unanswered or unsaid the Book of Mormon sheds new light on. The Bible begins with the creation and ends with salvation for believers with answers to everything we need to know so we are sufficiently guided to eternity with the Lord. John 20:30-31 says even though we don't have all the words of Jesus, we are assured we have all we need to know in order to receive the gift of eternal life by believing on Jesus Christ.
Which Version of the Bible?
Mormons will only use the KJV of the Bible, which is interesting because Elizabethan English is a style of language which no longer exists. It was the style spoken 400 to 500 years ago in England. I believe the reasons they use this version is because the Book of Mormon is written in the exact same Elizabethan English style (although neither Joseph Smith nor Moroni spoke) and the fact it's a little more difficult to read. If it were more readable, I believe Mormons would read the Bible more, which would make the true gospel of Jesus Christ more easily revealed to them. Don't get me wrong, I think the KJV is a very good Bible, though it does have its known transmission errors and it's difficult for many to read.
Since the KJV of the Bible has been completed, there have been thousands more manuscripts discovered and the Hebrew/Greek language is even more studied, which can create even more accurate translations. These translations have also been written in a modern style of English that is more understandable. Now over the next 500 years the English language will probably slowly transform, which will usher in new translations of the Bible making them more readable for future generations. The key will be although there will be new translations, the message and meaning will be identical to today's Bible translations.
Well, which versions are good translations? With a little research and going to any Christian book store you can find out the answers. Most Christian bookstores have posters hanging by the Bibles which show the equivalent reading grade level and how literal the translation is among other information provided. Everyone is different and it's simply a matter of preference. Some people need a more readable translation which does not take away from the message and some want a more literal translation that will be for a higher level reader. Two fine examples of each would be the New International Version (NIV), which is easier to read, and the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which is a more literal translation. I personally own all three as I like to compare the words and sentence structure the translators use. Let's compare an example:
KJV: "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath [whereof] to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
NASB: "For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness,"
NIV: "If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness."
If you read each of the three translations, you will notice some differences in word selection and sentence structure, but the message and meaning of the verses is obviously the same. The message of the Bible is the exact same in each translation though there are these subtle differences; its just up to each individual as to which translation they find more readable and understandable.
Let's look at another quick example:
|Names of the Holy Spirit|
John 14:16, 15:26, 16:7
|Role of the Holy Spirit||Romans 8:16; Hebrews 2:4 ||Witnesses||Testifies||Testifies|
Are any of these translations more accurate than the other? Would you not agree the Holy Spirit is a Comforter, an Advocate and a Helper? Do we loose any meaning in the various versions when one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to "witness" versus "testify"? This is precisely the reason why it can be beneficial to read the various translations and compare how each is different, yet inspired. Depending on word usage and structure, you may personally find one translation more powerful or understandable.