In this video, I share my favorite, most compelling evidences of the Book of Mormon
Okay, for the first video, in the Evidences section of this YouTube channel, I wanted to do on the Book of Mormon. It is absolutely the witness of the Restoration, and it just blows my mind every time I think about it. I love reading from it on a daily basis and remembering the miracle that it is, how it came about.
I wanted to talk about it some of the miracles I view in this process. Joseph had a third grade education and was able to translate this book. The best estimate is in 63 working days. Absolutely phenomenal, and when you hear about some of the ways that the translation happened, Emma Smith, his wife who helped with the translation is one of the, actually the first scribe, described Joseph at that age as not being able to “write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictate a book like the Book of Mormon…
The larger part of this labor of translation was done in my presence and where I could see and know what was being done. During no part of it did Joseph Smith have any manuscripts or book of any kind to read or dictate, except the metallic plates which I knew he had. If he had anything of the kind, he could not have concealed it from me.” And later she wrote to her son that “when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me hour after hour, and when returning after meals or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him. This was a usual thing for him to do. It would’ve been improbable that a learned man could do this, and for one so ignorant and unlearned as he was, it was simply impossible.”
Can you imagine not having to take breaks and not having even read back to where you left off? It’s miraculous.
Interesting story. Martin Harris was involved as a scribe, and Joseph began the process using the Urim and Thummim, these spectacles, here’s a little quick picture of that there, what those looked like, but later he moved more to using the seer stone, and he would put it in a bottom of a hat to block out the the light and be able to see it better.
Through the process, Martin Harris swapped out a different seer stone to test Joseph, and when Joseph sat down, he couldn’t translate a word, and he said, “Martin, I don’t know what’s happening. All is as dark as Egypt. Can’t see anything.” So Martin ‘fessed up to what he did. But, interesting experience.
Martin also took, at this very early stage, some of the characters on the plates to two professors, one at Rutgers, one at Columbia University to investigate the linguistics, understand the language. I’ll do a separate video on this, but it was interesting. The result of this was that Martin mortgaged his farm to help pay for the printing costs of the Book of Mormon, after having that experience with those two different professors.
I think it’s amazing that we have these witnesses of the plates. We had the three witnesses and the eight witnesses. The three witnesses actually saw the angel Moroni as well, and it blows my mind that those three witnesses, all three of them fell away from the church but never denied their testimony. Both Oliver and Martin came back to the church, but David Whitmer did not, and even on his death bed, he reiterated his testimony of the Book of Mormon. Very powerful witness of that.
I think it’s phenomenal that Joseph came up with 280 new names added to to our dictionary. I also like the fascinating aspects of some of the translation. The words, we call them Hebraisms, where you’ve got something like, we call it the iron rod, that’s how we say it, but in the Book of Mormon it never says “iron rod,” it says “the rod of iron,” which is how you would say it in Hebrew.
Also, technology has given us word print analysis to show how there were all these different authors of the Book of Mormon. There was so much internal consistency with the book of Mormon, it’s phenomenal, especially when you even think about the fact that we have the lost 116 pages, and so the beginning of the translation process really after that was the book of Mosiah, and so 1 Nephi, we read that as the beginning. That was what was translated at the end was 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, up through Mosiah. That was the ending of the translation process. So, it’s kind of crazy to see all the internal consistency in the book, considering all that.
Archaeological evidence when the Book of Mormon first came out, about 13% of items had been identified in ancient America relating to the Book of Mormon. At this point, it’s 75%. I love something … just as this last year, there’s a new, in fact it’s on National Geographic, this new technology called LiDAR that’s a laser imaging that they can do, and they were doing this over the jungles in Guatemala, the Guatemalan highlands, which many … in fact, Joseph Smith thought that was probably one of the best candidates for where the book of Mormon took place. But they found these massive cities under the jungles. You can’t see anything. It looks just like jungle now, but it looks like these massive civilizations. They think they may rival some of the greatest civilizations in all history, 15 to 20 million people, possibly. The one that I loved was raised highways that they found, and we’re told in 3 Nephi 6 of the raised highways that they had in ancient America in the Book of Mormon, so they could use it during the wet rainy season.
So, lots of fun stuff. I love this quote from Elder Holland that he shared in General Conference. He said, “For 179 years, this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history, perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands. There is no other answer than the one Joseph gave as its young unlearned translator. In this, I stand with my own great-grandfather who said, simply enough, no wicked man could write such a book as this, and no good man would write it unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so.”
I remember Hugh Nibley would give his classes a challenge to try and write the book of Mormon and give them all the criteria they had to follow, and it was never achieved, obviously. It’s never been attempted by anybody, because of the challenges that it would impose.
A couple of last things I wanted to share. President Hinckley shared a comment about where we go to really find the source of truth for the Book of Mormon. Lots of fascinating things that appeal to me, to the rational logic mind in that respect, but the heart is critical and key to this in your testimony. President Hinckley said in 1984, “The evidence for its validity in a world that is prone to demand evidence lies not in archaeology or anthropology, though these may be helpful to some. It lies not in word research or historical analysis, though these may be confirmatory. The evidence for its truth and validity lies within the covers of the book itself. The test of its truth lies in reading it. It is a book of God. Reasonable men may sincerely question its origin, but those who have read it prayerfully have come to know by a power beyond their natural senses that it is true, that it contains the word of God. It is here. It must be explained. It can be explained only as the translator himself explained its origin. Hand in hand with the Bible, whose companion volume it is, it stands as another witness to a doubting generation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. It is an unassailable cornerstone of our faith.”
I love Hugh Nibley said, there will be a coming day where the Book of Mormon would be like dynamite. As we’ve gotten into a more secular society today and doubting everything, including the scriptures, I love having this miracle of the Book of Mormon, and the witness that we can get as we seek answers through prayer of its divinity as the challenge at the very end of the Book of Mormon. This challenges us to pray for the truthfulness of the book. I’ve done that. I know that it is true. I’m grateful I can share that testimony with you and do it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Elder Holland’s Talk – Safety for the Soul (Oct 2009): https://www.lds.org/general-conferenc…
Tad Callister BYU Devotional on the Book of Mormon: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/tad-r-…
The Book of Mormon Miracle: 25 Reasons to Believe (Randal Wright)
From Darkness unto Light – Joseph Smith’s Translation and Publication of the Book of Mormon (Michael MacKay & Gerrit Dirkmaat)
Latter-day Saints’ Q&A is a video series not produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but by me, an ordinary member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an independent voice, with a passion for studying Church history and defending the faith. In this series, I provide evidences for the restoration, and address tough questions posed by critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, offering faithful answers based on accurate research and historical references which will be posted at the end of each video.