Sunday, February 5, 2012

Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon

I am reading a new book. Well, new to me - not exactly new, although published in 2009 is not exactly old. This book came highly recommended to me by more than one student of the gospel who's opinion I hold in the highest esteem. Nevertheless, it has taken me this long to find the time to sit down to it.

First, let me go on record as saying "I completely concur with their high recommedation."
EXECELLENT BOOK. Written in layman's terms, by someone who doesn't make his living teaching the gospel. The author Bob Bennett, for those of us who don't know him ( like us Canadians) - is (or was) a United States Senator, and although he has many other interesting details in his portfolio, the most important one to me, is that he is a Latter-day Saint who loves the gospel, and is an avid student of the Book of Mormon. He is intelligent, well read, and has an interesting outlook on the Book of Mormon - shaped no doubt by his unique life and career experiences. He has a lot to offer those of us who also love the Book of Mormon. 
"Is the Book of Mormon a Forgery?"

This is the question that Bob Bennett addresses. Its detractors of course, dismiss it as such. And those of us who believe it, often fail to ponder its origins deeply enough to respond effectively to such criticisms. The author writes "For anyone truly interested in the Church and its claims, a thorough examination of the Book of Mormon as a possible forgery is a requirement. Instead of being just a footnote in an overall review of current Church activities, discussion of the book should be a primary focal point of the investigation." In actual fact - the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ sets on the fact that the Book of Mormon IS exactly what it proports to be. It IS the keystone of our religion, as Joseph Smith told us. But it is more than that. Everything else we believe rests on it. IF it is true, then Joseph Smith really was a prophet of God, called from boyhood, prepared from the foundations of the world for his unique latter day task, which means that the church he established really IS the Church of Jesus Christ restored in these latter days. That means that each prophet who succeeded him was also called of God to do exactly that, which means that Thomas S. Monson IS in fact, the mouthpiece of God the Eternal Father in our day. Which means that everything he says - as prophet, is instruction from God to His children. It is critical that we put the question of the Book of Mormon to rest.

quote from the book:
"In the fall of 1829, two young men went to a printer in Palmyra, in upstate New York, with a manuscript they said they wanted printed und the title "Book of Mormon". It was in the handwriting of one of them, Oliver Cowdery, but they said that it had been dictated to Oliver and a few other scribes by the other - Joseph Smith, known to his neighbours as a local farmer. 
The printer was understandably dubious. A book written by a man who lived inteh 4th century, talking about an appearance by Jesus Christ in the Western Hemisphere in the 1st century, translated into English by a twenty-five year old farmer in the 19th century? 
Very curious. Where did Joseph claim to have gotten it? 
From an angel. 
Even more curious. How did it happen? 
Joseph said that the angel's name was Moroni, the last person to have possession of the plates in life. Joseph claimed that Moroni appeared to him in 1823 and led him to the place where the plates were buried and then came back again, several times through several years, to give Joseph additional instructions and to prepare him for the time when the plates would be turned over to him for translation. That supposedly happened in September 1827, when Joseph began translating the writing on them into English. 
He said he was able to do this because, along with the plates, which had "the appearance of gold", Moroni had given him a set of interpreters, a unique instrument called the Urim and Thummim, words which appear in the Old Testament. This instrument enabled him to receive by divine revelation an understnding of the meaning of the engravings on the plates. In addition to the Urim and Thummim, he said, he also possessesd a seer stone that emitted light and provided additional informatoin when it was needed. 
No wonder the printer refused to go forward with the job unless he saw the money up front.

No matter how preposterous this story sounds, however, the manuscript exist, so there had to have been some source for its creation." pg 35, 36 of the book

The author has unique and fascinating experiences with the world of forgery - gleaned from his career, which he brings to bear in his careful and objective examination of the Book of Mormon, and its claims. Through three of the most successful forgeries in American history, he became acquainted with several tests commonly used to help identify a forgery. He applies these tests to the Book of Mormon.

A springboard for meaningful discussion by people of all faiths. 

Click Image below to watch Interview with Author Bob Bennett about his book Leap of Faith.

additonal reviews on the book you might interesting:

Book available at Generations LDS Bookstore
about current price and availability 

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