Two items appear below:

1    Mormons Refuse to Defend Their Book!

2    Notes on The Book of Mormon



(Investigator 46, 1996 January)

Repeated efforts to get Mormons to answer a typed essay titled NOTES ON THE BOOK OF MORMON failed!

Various pairs of Mormon missionaries agreed to respond to the essay for Investigator but returned it without response.

Several gave an address or phone number of their public relations office. The essay was sent with a covering letter but no reply came.

Elders Matthew Milne (from near Wagga Wagga, NSW) and Gabriel Yanez (who grew up in Brazil) were among missionaries consulted.

Another pair were elders Alger (from Salt Lake City, Utah) and Bronson (Monticello, Utah).

The origin of the essay could not be traced. It was obtained in 1970 as four typed foolscap pages; then used as a bookmark for about 23 years.

Mormonism began in 1830 after Joseph Smith (1805-1844) wrote The Book of Mormon and said it was a translation of hieroglyphics on gold plates, the location of which were announced by a ghost.

After getting an orphan girl pregnant in 1835, Smith announced God ordered him to be a polygamist. He acquired between 27 and 49 wives – historians lost count.

Mormons number about 9 million world wide.





Students of the Book of Mormon have found in excess of 3,000 changes made since the book first made its appearance in 1830.

These consist of the correction of the 1830 edition’s faulty grammar and punctuation, correction of spelling, re-arranging sentences, and the addition or deletion of words and entire phrases. Inevitably, some of these changes have made differences in the meanings of certain portions of the book.

The important thing to remember however, when studying changes in the Book of Mormon, is that the translation was declared to be a perfect one. If this is true, why did changes need to be made? James E. Talmadge, one of the most authoritative writers on Mormon doctrine, and author of the Mormon doctrinal work, A Study of the Articles of Faith, said this:

It is noticeable that we make no reservation respecting the Book of Mormon on the ground of incorrect translation. To do so would be to ignore attested facts as to the bringing forth of that book. Joseph Smith the prophet, seer, and revelator, through whom the ancient record has been translated into our modern tongue, expressly avers that the translation was effected through the gift and power of God, and is in no sense the product of linguistic scholarship.
Martin Harris, one of the three witnesses who appear in the "Testimony of the Three Witnesses" in every Book of Mormon, related the manner of translation in a quote by B. H. Roberts, another Mormon author:

By the aid of the seer stone, sentences would appear and were read by the prophet and written by Martin, and when finished he would say, ‘Written,’ that sentence would disappear and another would appear in its place, but if not written correctly it remained until corrected, so that the translation was just as it was engraven on the plates, precisely in the language then used.
(B. H. Roberts, New Witness for God: Deseret Book Co. 1950, 11, p. 133) (Underlining added for emphasis)


And so we see that any change at all is serious cause for questioning the validity of the book.

Notice these examples:

I Nephi 11:21 The 1830 edition reads: "And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!"

In the present edition it reads "Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!" The same change is made several other places in I Nephi, notably 11:18, 30; 13:40. These are deliberate and intentional changes in a translation that was supposed to already be perfect.

I Nephi 15:30 The 1830 edition reads: "…for the space of many years, and many generations after the Messiah hath manifested himself in body unto the children of men…"

The present edition reads: "…and many generations after the Messiah shall be manifested in the body…" The words "shall be" are added, and "hath," and "himself" are deleted.

I Nephi 20:1 "…or out of the waters of baptism" is not found in the 1830 edition, but has been added in the present edition. Promulgation of the Mormon doctrine on baptism appears to be the motive here.

Alma 29:10 The 1830 edition reads, "for I know that he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, I know that he alloteth unto men, yea, decreeth them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills..."

Here then, is an entire phrase (underlined) which has been deleted from the original translation. An imperfection in a perfect translation?

Alma 46:19 The 1830 edition reads: "And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had wrote upon the rent…"

For obvious reasons the sentence has been changed to read: "…waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part…"

I Nephi 11:18 The 1830 edition reads: "Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh." This unfortunate allusion to Roman Catholic doctrine was changed to read "Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh."

Alma 56:10 The 1830 edition reads: "…his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because of the numerority of their forces…"

The underlined phrase has been deleted from the present edition again for obvious reasons.

It would be impossible to survey all of the changes which have been made in the "perfect" translation because of the huge number which have occurred. But these few examples should be enough to point out the serious discrepancy between what the book is purported to be, and the actual facts.


Mormons claim that the Book of Mormon in an accurate record of not only the origin of the American Indian, but also of their culture. As we shall see, eminent institutions of learning disagree that this is the case.

The following letter was addressed to the pastor of the Hillcrest Methodist Church in Fredericksburg, Virginia, an ardent student of Mormonism and its claims. It is from the Department of Anthropology at Colombia University in New York City.

Dear Sir:

Pardon my delay in answering your letter of January 14, 1957. The question which you ask concerning the Book of Mormon in one that comes up quite frequently... However...I may say that I do not believe that there is a single thing of value concerning the prehistory of the American Indian in the BOOK of MORMON and I believe that the great majority of American archaeologists would agree with me. The book is untrue Biblically, historically, and scientifically.

Very Sincerely yours,
Nm. Duncan Strong

The Smithsonian Institution, recognized world-wide for its store of historical and scientific knowledge, is also quite emphatic. The following letter leaves no doubt as to this institution’s position:
There is no correspondence whatever between archeological sites and cultures as revealed by scientific investigations, and as recorded in the Book of Mormon. Interpretations of archeological and ethnographic data, moreover, are quite unlike the American prehistory which the Book of Mormon describes... It can be stated definitely that there is no connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the Book of Mormon.

With respect to some of the questions which you have raised pertaining to the story in the Book of Mormon relating to aboriginal occupation in the New World, I may say that thus far no iron, steel, brass, gold and silver coins, metal swords, breast-plates, arm shields, armor, horses and chariots, or silk have ever been found in pre-colonial archeological sites.

It is not until after the conquest of the New World by Europeans that material in those categories appear in association with aboriginal artifacts. As a matter of fact, there are not many such objects occurring in historical sites. Furthermore, cattle, sheep, swine, horses and asses, such as we know them, were introduced in the Americas by Europeans in post-Columbian times. No actual elephants have been found in any archeological site.

…I do not know any case where an archeological site has been identified with any of the names of the cities mentioned in the Book of Mormon… It is possible that some of the anthropologists at Brigham Young University (Mormon) who have done some work in the Maya area may have attempted such a correlation, but if so I have not seen it reported. None of the main workers in the field have made any reference to the possibility of one of the well-known ruins being those of a city mentioned in the Book of Mormon.

(Letters from Smithsonian Institution as recorded in, "The Book of Mormon Examined" by Arthur Budvarson, Utah Christian Tract Society, 1959, p. 35, 36)

Both of the above letters were taken from The Maze of Mormonism by Walter B. Knight, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1962, pp. 46, 47


Those who have made a careful survey of the Book of Mormon estimate that at least 25,000 words from the King James Version of 1611 have been employed in its writing. In fact, there are many verbatim quotations of considerable length.

Now the question is, "Why would a book translated in 1830, be translated into the form of English spoken in 1611?"

Note the following examples:

1. Moroni, chapter 10 contains much of the language of 1 Cor. 12:1-11

2. 11 Nephi 14 is a parody upon Isaiah 4, and II Nephi 12 compared with Isaiah 2 reveals that "Joseph Smith made free use of his Bible to supplement the alleged revelation of the golden plates." (Ibid, pp. 51, 52)

3. III Nephi 13:1-18 is a parody upon Matt. 6:1-23.

Mormons claim that the reason for these similarities lies in the fact that when Christ spoke to the Now World, He used much the same language that he did in Palestine. There is only one problem with such allegation, and that is that the Book of Mormon utilises passages from the King James Version that are now recognized by most textual critics to be additions to the original text or erroneous translations from the original language. For example:


The text of our Bible in supported by over 4,500 Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek manuscripts. When a translation is prepared, these manuscripts can be compared with one another, resulting in a high degree of accuracy.

When we consider the Book of Mormon however, it is quite a different story. This book was supposed to have been originally written in the "Reformed Egyptian tongue" a language they cannot prove over existed! No literature or ancient writing of any kind exists in this language and there are certainly no manuscripts of the Book of Mormon available in this language.

Examples of the Reformed Egyptian language ware alleged to have been taken to a professor Charles Anthon of New York for examination. In the Pearl Of Great Price (another source of Mormon doctrine) Anthon is supposed to have said (in Smith’s words), "…that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian." (Pearl Of Great Price, chap.2 vss. 62, 63, 64).

Anthon, however, in a letter to E. D. Howe in 1834, said:

The whole story about my having pronounced the Mormonite inscription to be "reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics" is perfectly false…

Upon examining the paper in question, I soon came to the conclusion that it was all a trick, perhaps a hoax! ... This paper was in fact a singular scrawl. It consisted of crooked characters disposed in columns and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns...

I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject, since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else by "Egyptian Hieroglyphics."

We see the weakness of any argument in favor of the "Reformed Egyptian" language when the Book of Mormon itself declares the tongue to be unknown to any other people. The language must have thus died when the people did. The translation was accomplished by a "prepared means" (Mormon 9:32) because of this fact. Reformed Egyptian then, is not a known language. There are no documents or inscriptions or any sort of literature in this language.

Question: "How could Prof. Anthon declare the "translation" was correct when the Book of Mormon declares that no one on earth knew the language? If Prof. Anthon understood the characters on the "plates" and knew the ones he saw had been correctly translated why did Joseph Smith have to have a "prepared means" of translation? Why not let Anthon do the work?


One thing the Bible expressly forbids is adding to the body of Revelation (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:19)

Paul says:

But though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you let him be accursed. As we said before, so may I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, lot him be accursed. (Gal. 1:8, 9)

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