written by Melissa Birkholz, May 1998 (Updated Oct. 15, 1998)
There is a document on the Web, written by Beaufort C. Addison III (Br. Clif), claiming he found problems with the Book of Mormon. Br. Clif, who states he is a returned missionary, encourages others to copy and distribute his web page. Thus, there may be hundreds, possibly thousands, who have read his claims.
Unfortunately, there are people who will read his document and take it at face value. This is especially true for people who are already anti-Mormon, eagerly looking for new fuel for their fires. They probably won’t bother to investigate his claims.
However, I took the time to investigate Br. Clif’s charges. I found solutions to his problems, which I have posted on this web page. [...Thank you, Br. Clif, for strengthening my testimony of the Book of Mormon...] I found many of his problems came from not following the events of the Book of Mormon and from taking things out of context. One was falsehood. Anyone who uses Br. Clif’s claims as fact will be spreading false witness (Ex. 20:16; Prov. 6:16-19; 19:5; Rev. 21:8). Don’t do it -- Please read this page first. ...Compare and contrast. In fact, don’t take anyone’s word for it -- Objectively study, investigate and research the Book of Mormon for yourself.
I invited Br. Clif to link his page problem by problem to each of my solutions. He received my invitation on June 23, 1998 and replied promptly. Currently, he is working on a project about Paul of the New Testament and does not have a working Internet connection. He did write, quote: “...you can state my intention to link to your solutions as soon as I get a working internet connection...”
I extend an open invitation for everyone to search the Book of Mormon. Don’t just breeze through it--study it as you read it. See for yourself if Br. Clif’s problem’s are really problems...or merely the result of not thoroughly studying and searching the text and related literature. Don’t just sit there. Take the challenge! I did, and here’s what I found....
These address Br. Clif’s problems with the Book of Mormon as they were stated in early May 1998. When writing my own comments, I will use names like Yeshua (Hebrew) or YHWH (Hebrew) in place of names like Jesus (Greek) and LORD. [For anyone who questions that-- I don’t have anything against the name Jesus. The Father and His Son, and the scriptures They have given us, recognize the variety of languages spoken throughout nations (Isa. 66:18; Dan. 7:14; Acts 2:8-11; Rev. 5:9;7:9). Since Jesus was born a Jew, I have chosen to use his Hebrew name for these pages. (See Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage, p. 35)] When quoting or paraphrasing other sources, I will use the names they use.
On these pages, I have paraphrased Br. Clif’s problems, included the pertinent quotes from the Book of Mormon, and presented my research. Consider this a free booklet. Feel free to reproduce and distribute these pages any way possible--as long as you do not change the words and do not charge money for them. For more information about printing these pages, zip files, and free booklets by postal mail, click here.
In my opinion, one can not conclusively physically prove nor disprove the Book of Mormon. The anti-campaign will continue to show their evidence against it, and Mormons will continue to show their evidence for it. Nevertheless, a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon can not be founded upon physical evidence alone, but stems from faith.
One last note-- These pages are not an official publication of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are Solutions I’ve found as a lay-member of the LDS Church and I take responsibility for them. It’s possible these pages contain type-errors--If so please e-mail about them.
You can search the Book of Mormon on the Web at http://www.hti.umich.edu/relig/mormo n/ For a free copy of the Book of Mormon, either visit http://www.lds.org/FreeBOM/FreeBOM.html or call 1-888-537-7111 (within the United States and Canada) (links and number correct as of May 1998).
“...On September 21, 1823, the same Moroni, then a glorified, resurrected being, appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and instructed him relative to the ancient record and its destined translation into the English language.”
The problem Br. Clif finds is: How could the angel Moroni be a resurrected being, since Moroni died after the time of Christ’s resurrection (after which many of the saints who had died went into the holy city and appeared unto many--Matt. 27:52-53). (date: 5/98)
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Moroni can be a resurrected being because he was resurrected after Yeshua was resurrected. Yeshua was the firstfruits of the resurrection. After that, Almighty Father is free to resurrect anyone He chooses.
Christ was the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23). After Jesus was resurrected (on the third day after his death) the graves were opened. Many saints, who had been dead, arose, went into the holy city, and appeared to many (Matt. 27:52-53). Furthermore, those who die in Christ -- and who are dead when he returns at his Second Coming -- will rise when he returns (example, 1 Thess. 4:16).
This still leaves open the possibility for Father to resurrect whomever He chooses, for whatever purpose He sees fit, between Yeshua’s resurrection and Yeshua’s Second Coming. Here is how-- If Elohim chooses to resurrect someone, they are no longer dead. Therefore, they are not dead during Yeshua’s Second Coming. They are already risen, alive and forever immortal. [I have read various opinions that Yeshua was the firstfruits of the resurrection, and that the first resurrection has just barely begun-- While the bulk of the righteous will rise after Yeshua returns, Father can and has resurrected select others after Yeshua’s resurrection.] Furthermore, I find nothing in the Bible which says Father can’t resurrect people between Yeshua’s resurrection and Yeshua’s Second Coming.
The Son has preeminence in all things (Col. 1:18). After Yeshua was risen from the dead, it opened the way for Father to resurrect others. Indeed, people who have died in Yeshua --who are dead when Yeshua returns-- will rise when he returns. But if Father chooses to resurrect someone (to fulfill whatever purpose He chooses), so that they are already alive during the Second Coming, what is that to me? It is not up to me to put limits on Almighty Elohim.
“(9) And it came to pass that he saw One descending out of the midst of heaven, and he beheld that his luster was above that of the sun at noon-day. (10) And he also saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament.” (1 Nephi 1:9-10)
“And I also beheld twelve others following him. And it came to pass that they were carried away in the Spirit from before my face, and I saw them not.” (1 Nephi 11:29)
“And they must come according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is on God and one Shepherd over all the earth.” (1 Nephi 13:41)
The problem Br. Clif finds is: The LDS Church has a perpetual succession of 12 offices. Also: Mormonism tells its missionaries they belong to the same priesthood as the Quorum of Twelve, but are not authorized to give orders to the Mormon church members. (date: 5/98)
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I will: (1) Examine apostleship; (2) Look at delegation of responsibility with a corresponding delegation of authority.
(1) The visions of Lehi and Nephi, wherein they saw 12 others (apostles), were prophetic. They foretold that the Messiah would have 12 apostles with him during his earthly ministry, and that those apostles would make records about the Messiah’s ministry. Nephi also saw the 12 Nephite disciples in a prophetic vision.
The Bible states that Judas fell from apostleship through transgression: “...apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell...” (Acts 1:25). Note that the apostleship didn’t fall. Judas fell. In other words, Judas’ office was not forfeited--Judas forfeited his office. There’s a difference. The remaining apostles (through prayer and lots) chose Matthias to fill the empty spot-- to take part of the ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell. Thus, Matthais was numbered with the eleven...making 12 apostles again. (See Acts 1:21-26) If the apostleships were not supposed to continue, the 11 would not have made a point to choose another to fill the empty spot left by Judas. The fact that they did meet together to choose another, so that there would be 12 of them again, shows that the apostleship was meant to be successive. Because of this, I have no problem with a perpetual succession of apostles.
After Matthias was numbered among the twelve apostles, the core 12 presided over the Church as a body, as in Acts 6:2-7 The core 12, as the presiding body, meet together, called disciples to them, and delegated authority and responsibility to others.
Paul called himself an apostle (Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1). He also called James, the Lord’s brother, an apostle (Gal. 1:19). Yeshua (Jesus) is referred to as an Apostle (Heb. 3:1-2). It appears the title “apostle” was used for others (missionaries) who weren’t necessarily members of the “core 12”.
[BTW--Having a presiding presidency of 3, with a core 12, and a group of Seventy, is not a new idea dreamed up by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Evidence of such a system is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. Consider the leadership of the children of Israel with Moses, Aaron & Hur (Ex. 17:10; 24:14), and Twelve Leaders (Num. 1:44; 34:18) and a body of Seventy (Ex. 24:1,9; Num. 11:16; Ezek. 8:11). Note that the Twelve Leaders were continued after Moses (Josh. 3:12). Compare that with how Y’shua’s Church was organized (Matt. 10:1; 16:18; 17:1; 26:37; Mark 3:14; 5:37; 9:2; 14:33; Luke 6:13; 9:28; 10:1,17; Acts 1:22,26; 1 Cor. 12:28; Gal. 2:9 + John 1:42; Eph. 2:20). It is comparable to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, organized with a First Presidency (of 3), a Quorum of Twelve and a Council of Seventy.]
[As for the LDS apostles having bodyguards-- LDS apostles are leaders and prominent people who travel. The world has no shortage of “crazies” who like to shoot and otherwise do bodily harm to prominent persons. I would rather that the LDS apostles --and especially their families-- rest a little easier knowing precautions have been taken. According to my knowledge, LDS apostles also travel comfortably. Anyone who does a lot of traveling knows how uncomfortable and tiring hours and hours of traveling can be. I would rather have a church representative comfortable during a long journey, and well rested, so he can get his assignment done to the best of his ability...Instead of being worn, ragged, and dragging.]
(2) Any organization that wants to operate successfully often has a system of graded leadership (i.e. delegation of responsibility, with authority suitable for that responsibility). Examples of this include the military, government, businesses and corporations, school districts, and even the family. “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians” causes confusion and doesn’t accomplish much. (By the way, I’m part “Indian”, so don’t think I’m trying to be cute or racist by using that cliché.) For Example-- A school superintendent has a greater overall responsibility (in that he/she is responsible for the well-being of the thousands of students in a school district), than a classroom teacher (who has the responsibility for the well-being of , say, 20 to 30 students). Therefore, the superintendent has the greater authority to carry out the greater responsibility. Similarly-- The Quorum of the Twelve has a greater leadership responsibility in leading the worldwide Church, than does a missionary who is assigned to preach the gospel in a city or area. With greater leadership responsibility comes greater leadership authority to carry out those responsibilities.
Hierarchies exist in priesthoods. All the priests in it belong to the same priesthood. However, there are “high priests” who have more leadership responsibility and authority than the “lesser priests”. (Examples: Lev. 21:10; 2 Kings 23:4; Luke 3:2; Heb. 5:1) There was a system of hierarchy for the Levitical Priesthood, with the High Priest, the “sons of Aaron”, and the Levites who helped them in various capacities. There must be an organized delegation of leadership responsibility (and therefore a delegation of leadership authority). Elohim is organized and orderly, not haphazard and confusing. (See also Solution 8.)
“And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.” (1 Nephi 11:13)
The problem Br. Clif finds is: Nephi specifically mentions Nazareth, yet was not as specific in his other prophecies. (date: 5/98)
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The birth of the Messiah was a wondrous event of great importance. It makes sense that Nephi would be specific about details surrounding the glorious birth of the Messiah, Savior of all mankind, the greatest being ever born upon the earth.
Nephi did give specific prophecy in other parts of his vision as well. Example: Toward the end of the vision Nephi sees, “...one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Behold, he shall write the remainder of these things; yea, and also many things which have been. And he shall also write concerning the end of the world...(1 Nephi 14:20-22)” A few verses later, Nephi is quite specific about the name of this apostle: “And I, Nephi, heard and bear record, that the name of the apostle of the Lamb was John, according to the word of the angel (1 Nephi 14:27).” (Bold added by me.)
Nephi knew he had not written every specific detail in his prophecies. He clearly stated he didn’t write every specific detail of what he saw: “...and I have written but a small part of the things which I saw (1 Nephi 14:28)” In that same verse, Nephi states: “...I, Nephi, am forbidden to write the remainder of the things which I saw...” Therefore, while Nephi saw and knew many specifics, he wrote only a few of them. We have only a general summary of what he saw, with a few important details given for our benefit...And even that general summary is incomplete, because he was forbidden to write about some of it.
“(3) And after I had made these plates by way of commandment, I , Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should posses the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord. (4) Wherefore, I, Nephi, did make a record upon the other plates, which gives a greater account, or which gives a greater account of the wars and contentions and destructions of my people. And this have I done, and commanded my people what they should do after I was gone; and that these plates should be handed down from one generation to another, or from one prophet to another, until further commandments of the Lord.” (1 Nephi 19:3-4; Bold added by me.)
The problem Br. Clif finds is, quote: “If ‘Nephi’ wrote about these wars on his other plates before they even transpired, then we wonder why ‘Mormon’ did not use this as a source when working on the abridgement.” If Mormon would have referred to those other plates (in verse 4 above) for prophecy about various wars, it would have been faith-promoting. (Quote correct as of mid May, 1998.)
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The reason Mormon did not refer to Nephi’s “other plates” for prophecy is because Nephi’s “other plates” weren’t prophecy. They weren’t written before the events transpired. The “other plates” were a history--Nephi even wrote they were.
1 Nephi 19:3-4 above discusses two separate sets of plates: One set was for “ministries and prophecies” (v. 3). Then, “the other plates” gave a more detailed “account” of the wars and contentions and destructions (v. 4). (An account = a narrative = a chronological sequence of events.) Therefore-- The set of plates in v. 4, which Br. Clif refers to, is NOT the set for prophecy. It is the set giving the chronological account of wars, contentions, etc. That is why Mormon did not use the 1 Nephi 19:4 set as a prophecy reference. They were not prophecy written before the wars transpired. They were a narrative written during or after.
There is more evidence the “other plates” in 1 Nephi 19:4 was a narrative account, not prophecy. Nephi wrote they were a history. Cross-referencing 1 Nephi 19:1-5 with 2 Nephi 5:28-34:
Summary of 1 Nephi 19:1-5 (I already quoted verses 3 and 4 above)-- (1) Nephi says the Lord commanded him to make a record of his people, so he did. (2) But when Nephi made that record, he did not know that later he would be commanded to make a second set of plates (“these plates”). The most detailed account of his people is written on his first set of plates (the other set). (3) Nephi says that his second set of plates, “these plates”, are for recording ministry and prophecy. (4) So, on his first set of plates, “the other plates”, Nephi keeps the detailed account (narrative) of the wars and contentions that occur among his people. (5) “And an account of my making these plates (the second set) shall be given hereafter...” (Bold added by me.) The account “hereafter” is found in 2 Nephi 5:28-33...
2 Nephi 5:28-34 -- quote: “(28) And thirty years had passed away from the time we left Jerusalem. (29) And I, Nephi, had kept the records upon my plates, which I had made, of my people thus far. (30) And it came to pass that the Lord God said unto me: Make other plates; and thou shalt engraven many things upon them which are good in my sight, for the profit of thy people. (31) Wherefore, I, Nephi, to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord, went and made these plates upon which I have engraven these things. (32) And I engraved that which is pleasing unto God. And if my people are pleased with the things of God they will be pleased with mine engravings which are upon these plates. (33) And if my people desire to know the more particular part of the history of my people they must search mine other plates. (34) And it sufficeth me to say that forty years had passed away, and we had already had wars and contentions with our brethren.” (Bold and underlining added by me.)
Examining 1 Nephi 19:1-5 and 2 Nephi 5:28-34 shows that Nephi had been keeping a first set of plates --a “journal”-- recording their travels and various events. Then, at least thirty years after leaving Jerusalem, Nephi was commanded to make a second set of plates. The second set was to center around ministry and prophecies, for the instruction of the people. The second set (“these plates”) is what became part of the Book of Mormon. However, Nephi continued to keep his first set of plates (the “other plates”), keeping them mainly a history of the people. In 2 Nephi 5:33 above, Nephi states the “other plates” contain the history.
A history = a chronological record of past events; A prophecy = a prediction. A history is very different from a prophecy. That’s why Mormon did not use “the other plates” of 1 Nephi 19:4 as a prophecy reference --Because it wasn’t prophecy. It was a history record and Mormon knew it.
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