The Book of Mormon Chapter 8 Critique
Setting: The Lamanites seek out
and destroy the Nephites—The Book of Mormon will come forth by the
power of God—Woes pronounced upon those who breathe out wrath and
strife against the work of the Lord—The Nephite record will come forth
in a day of wickedness, degeneracy, and apostasy. About A.D. 400–421.
Verses 1-5: Behold I, Moroni,
do finish the record of my father, Mormon. Behold, I have but few
things to write, which things I have been commanded by my father. And
now it came to pass that after the great and tremendous battle at
Cumorah, behold, the Nephites who had escaped into the country
southward were hunted by the Lamanites, until they were all destroyed.
And my father also was killed by them, and I even remain alone to write
the sad tale of the destruction of my people. But behold, they are
gone, and I fulfil the commandment of my father. And whether they will
slay me, I know not. Therefore I will write and hide up the records in
the earth; and whither I go it mattereth not. Behold, my father hath
made this record, and he hath written the intent thereof. And behold, I
would write it also if I had room upon the plates, but I have not; and
ore I have none, for I am alone. My father hath been slain in battle,
and all my kinsfolk, and I have not friends nor whither to go; and how
long the Lord will suffer that I may live I know not.
Note: Writing did not exist north of present day Mexico in Pre-Columbian America.
The traditions of indigenous Mesoamerican literature extend back to the
oldest-attested forms of early writing in the Mesoamerican region,
which date from around the mid-1st millennium BCE. Many of the
pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica are known to have been literate
societies, who produced a number of Mesoamerican writing systems of
varying degrees of complexity and completeness. Mesoamerican writing
systems arose independently from other writing systems in the world,
and their development represents one of the very few such origins in
the history of writing. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 6-8: Behold, four
hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior.
And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down
from city to city and from place to place, even until they are no more;
and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the
destruction of my people, the Nephites. And behold, it is the hand of
the Lord which hath done it. And behold also, the Lamanites are at war
one with another; and the whole face of this land is one continual
round of murder and bloodshed; and no one knoweth the end of the war.
Note: When did Pre-Columbian natives have time to build the pyramids?
Many pre-Columbian civilizations established hallmarks which included
permanent settlements, cities, agriculture, civic and monumental
architecture, major earthworks, and complex societal hierarchies.
Verses 9-11: And now, behold, I
say no more concerning them, for there are none save it be the
Lamanites and robbers that do exist upon the face of the land. And
there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of
Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was
so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people;
and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth. But
behold, my father and I have seen them, and they have ministered unto
Note: Jesus Christ was never known in Pre-Columbian America.
Mayan writing consisted of a relatively elaborate set of glyphs, which
were laboriously painted on ceramics, walls or bark-paper codices,
carved in wood or stone, or molded in stucco. Carved and molded glyphs
were painted, but the paint has rarely survived. About 90% of Mayan
writing can now be read with varying degrees of certainty, enough to
give a comprehensive idea of its structure. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 12: And whoso receiveth
this record, and shall not condemn it because of the imperfections
which are in it, the same shall know of greater things than these.
Behold, I am Moroni; and were it possible, I would make all things
known unto you.
Note: The Book of Mormon is imperfect except portions copied from the Holy Bible.
The archaeological, historical and scientific communities are generally
skeptical of the claims that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record of
actual historical events. This skepticism tends to focus on four main
areas: 1) The lack of correlation between locations described in the
Book of Mormon and known, intact American archaeological sites.
2) References to animals, plants, metals and technologies in the Book
of Mormon that archaeological or scientific studies have found no
evidence of in post-Pleistocene, pre-Columbian America, frequently
referred to as anachronisms. Items typically listed include cattle,
horses, asses, oxen, sheep, swine, goats, elephants, wheat, steel,
brass, chains, iron, scimitars, and chariots. 3) The lack of linguistic
connection between any Native American languages and Near Eastern
languages. 4) The lack of DNA evidence linking any Native American
group to the ancient Near East. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 13-14: Behold, I make an
end of speaking concerning this people. I am the son of Mormon, and my
father was a descendant of Nephi. And I am the same who hideth up this
record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of
the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have
them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso
shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless.
Note: Martin Harris was defrauded into paying the BOM publishing costs.
The translation was completed in June 1829. By August, Smith contracted
with publisher E. B. Grandin of Palmyra to print the Book of Mormon.
Harris mortgaged his farm to Grandin to ensure payment of the printing
costs, and he later sold 151 acres of his farm to pay off the mortgage.
In March 1830, Smith announced a revelation to Harris saying "I command
you, that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart freely to
the printing of the book of Mormon", warning that "Misery thou shalt
receive, if thou wilt slight these counsels: Yea, even destruction of
thyself and property. Impart a portion of thy property; Yea, even a
part of thy lands and all save the support of thy family. Pay the
printer's debt." Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 15-16: For none can have
power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills
that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare
of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord. And
blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be
brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea,
it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of
darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be
done by the power of God.
Note: Martin Harris was defrauded into paying the BOM publishing costs.
In 1828, this paper was delivered to Charles Anthon, a well-known
classical scholar of Columbia College, Columbia University, for an
expert opinion on the authenticity of the characters and the
translation. Critics of Smith claim that Anthon believed any idea of
reformed Egyptian was a hoax all along and that Harris was being
deceived. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 17: And if there be
faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault;
nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let
him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.
Note: Note: The Book of Mormon is imperfect except portions copied from the Holy Bible.
The Book of Mormon mentions several animals, plants, and technologies
for which there is no evidence in pre-Columbian America. These include
asses, cattle, milk, horses, oxen, sheep, swine, goats, elephants,
wheat, barley, figs, silk, steel, bellows, brass, breast plates,
chains, iron working, plows, swords, scimitars, and chariots. The
Smithsonian Institution has stated that "none of the principal food
plants and domestic animals of the Old World (except the dog) were
present in the New World before Columbus." Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 18-20: And he that
saith: Show unto me, or ye shall be smitten—let him beware lest he
commandeth that which is forbidden of the Lord. For behold, the same
that judgeth rashly shall be judged rashly again; for according to his
works shall his wages be; therefore, he that smiteth shall be smitten
again, of the Lord. Behold what the scripture says—man shall not smite,
neither shall he judge; for judgment is mine, saith the Lord, and
vengeance is mine also, and I will repay.
Note: Sidney Rigdon plagiarized the Holy Bible.
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the
Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” Hebrews 10:30
Verses 21-23: And he that shall
breathe out wrath and strifes against the work of the Lord, and against
the covenant people of the Lord who are the house of Israel, and shall
say: We will destroy the work of the Lord, and the Lord will not
remember his covenant which he hath made unto the house of Israel—the
same is in danger to be hewn down and cast into the fire; For the
eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises
shall be fulfilled. Search the prophecies of Isaiah. Behold, I cannot
write them. Yea, behold I say unto you, that those saints who have gone
before me, who have possessed this land, shall cry, yea, even from the
dust will they cry unto the Lord; and as the Lord liveth he will
remember the covenant which he hath made with them.
Note: The Jews will be preaching to the Gentiles in the Middle East.
I will set a sign among them; and those among them who escape I will
send to the nations: to Tarshish and Pul and Lud, who draw the bow, and
Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off who have not heard My fame
nor seen My glory. And they shall declare My glory among the Gentiles.
Then they shall bring all your brethren for an offering to the Lord out
of all nations, on horses and in chariots and in litters, on mules and
on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “as the
children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house
of the Lord. Israel 66:19-20.
Verses 24-25: And he knoweth
their prayers, that they were in behalf of their brethren. And he
knoweth their faith, for in his name could they remove mountains; and
in his name could they cause the earth to shake; and by the power of
his word did they cause prisons to tumble to the earth; yea, even the
fiery furnace could not harm them, neither wild beasts nor poisonous
serpents, because of the power of his word. And behold, their prayers
were also in behalf of him that the Lord should suffer to bring these
Note: Sidney Rigdon hated those who opposed him.
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do
good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you
and persecute you, 45that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for
He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on
the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45.
Verses 26-28: And no one need
say they shall not come, for they surely shall, for the Lord hath
spoken it; for out of the earth shall they come, by the hand of the
Lord, and none can stay it; and it shall come in a day when it shall be
said that miracles are done away; and it shall come even as if one
should speak from the dead. And it shall come in a day when the blood
of saints shall cry unto the Lord, because of secret combinations and
the works of darkness. Yea, it shall come in a day when the power of
God shall be denied, and churches become defiled and be lifted up in
the pride of their hearts; yea, even in a day when leaders of churches
and teachers shall rise in the pride of their hearts, even to the
envying of them who belong to their churches.
Note: There was no complete apostasy from the Christian Gospel.
The Awakenings all resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners
a sense of personal guilt and of their need of salvation by Christ.
Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made
religion intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep
sense of spiritual guilt and redemption, and by encouraging
introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality.
Verses 29-30: Yea, it shall
come in a day when there shall be heard of fires, and tempests, and
vapors of smoke in foreign lands; And there shall also be heard of
wars, rumors of wars, and earthquakes in divers places.
Note: No major earthquakes occurred in 1830 New York.
The Ramapo Fault zone, spanning more than 185 miles (300 kilometers) in
New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, is a system of faults between
the northern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont areas to the east. This
fault is perhaps the best known fault zone in the Mid-Atlantic region,
and some small earthquakes have been known to occur in its vicinity.
Recently, public knowledge about the fault has increased, especially
after the 1970s, when the fault's proximity to the Indian Point nuclear
plant in New York was noticed. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 31: Yea, it shall come in
a day when there shall be great pollutions upon the face of the earth;
there shall be murders, and robbing, and lying, and deceivings, and
whoredoms, and all manner of abominations; when there shall be many who
will say, Do this, or do that, and it mattereth not, for the Lord will
uphold such at the last day. But wo unto such, for they are in the gall
of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.
Note: Almost all people in central and western New York were Christians.
The term was coined by Charles Grandison Finney, who in his 1876 book
Autobiography of Charles G. Finney, referred to a "burnt district" to
denote an area in central and western New York State during the Second
Great Awakening. He felt that the area had been so heavily evangelized
as to have no "fuel" (unconverted population) left over to "burn"
(convert). Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 32-33: Yea, it shall
come in a day when there shall be churches built up that shall say:
Come unto me, and for your money you shall be forgiven of your sins. O
ye wicked and perverse and stiffnecked people, why have ye built up
churches unto yourselves to get gain? Why have ye transfigured the holy
word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Behold,
look ye unto the revelations of God; for behold, the time cometh at
that day when all these things must be fulfilled.
Note: The Protestant Reformation began in 1517 not 1830.
By the late Middle Ages, the abuse of indulgences, mainly through
commercialization, had become a serious problem which the Church
recognized but was unable to restrain effectively. Indulgences were
from the beginning of the Protestant Reformation a target of attacks by
Martin Luther and all other Protestant theologians. Eventually the
Catholic Counter-Reformation curbed the excesses, and indulgences
continue to play a role in modern Catholic religious life. Wikipedia
Verses 34-35: Behold, the Lord
hath shown unto me great and marvelous things concerning that which
must shortly come, at that day when these things shall come forth among
you. Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are
not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your
Note: Jesus Christ was unknown in pagan Pre-Columbian America.
Native American religions are the spiritual practices of the indigenous
peoples of the Americas. Traditional Native American ceremonial ways
can vary widely, and are based on the differing histories and beliefs
of individual tribes, clans and bands. Early European explorers
describe individual Native American tribes and even small bands as each
having their own religious practices. Theology may be monotheistic,
polytheistic, henotheistic, animistic, or some combination thereof.
Traditional beliefs are usually passed down in the forms of oral
histories, stories, allegories and principles, and rely on face to face
teaching in one's family and community. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 36: And I know that ye do
walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only
who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the
wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice,
and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea,
even every one, have become polluted because of the pride of your
Note: Sidney Rigdon did not describe the Methodist churches of 1830.
Early Methodists were drawn from all levels of society, including the
aristocracy, but the Methodist preachers took the message to labourers
and criminals who tended to be left outside organized religion at that
time. In Britain, the Methodist Church had a major effect in the early
decades of the making of the working class (1760–1820). In the United
States it became the religion of many slaves who later formed "black
churches" in the Methodist tradition. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 37: For behold, ye do
love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning
of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick
and the afflicted.
Note: Sidney Rigdon did not describe the Baptist churches of 1830.
The Great Awakening energized the Baptist movement, and the Baptist
community experienced spectacular growth. Baptists became the largest
Christian community in many southern states, including among the black
population. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 38: O ye pollutions, ye
hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will
canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed
to take upon you the name of Christ? Why do ye not think that greater
is the value of an endless happiness than that misery which never
dies—because of the praise of the world?
Note: Sidney Rigdon did not describe Evangelicalism of 1830.
Evangelicalism, Evangelical Christianity, or Evangelical Protestantism
is a worldwide, transdenominational movement within Protestant
Christianity maintaining that the essence of the gospel consists in the
doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ's
atonement. Evangelicals believe in the centrality of the conversion or
"born again" experience in receiving salvation, in the authority of the
Bible as God's revelation to humanity, and spreading the Christian
message. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verses 39-40: Why do ye adorn
yourselves with that which hath no life, and yet suffer the hungry, and
the needy, and the naked, and the sick and the afflicted to pass by
you, and notice them not? Yea, why do ye build up your secret
abominations to get gain, and cause that widows should mourn before the
Lord, and also orphans to mourn before the Lord, and also the blood of
their fathers and their husbands to cry unto the Lord from the ground,
for vengeance upon your heads?
Note: Sidney Rigdon did not describe Christian charities of 1830.
In 1739, Whitefield returned to England to raise funds to establish the
Bethesda Orphanage, now the Bethany Academy. It is the oldest extant
charity in North America. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Verse 41: Behold, the sword of
vengeance hangeth over you; and the time soon cometh that he avengeth
the blood of the saints upon you, for he will not suffer their cries
Note: Mormon hatefilled inflammatory sermons led to numerous conflicts.
The Mormon War is a name sometimes given to the 1838 conflict which
occurred between Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and their neighbors in the
northwestern region of the US state of Missouri. This conflict is also
sometimes referred to as the Missouri Mormon War to differentiate it
from the Utah Mormon War (also known as the "Utah War") and the lesser
known Illinois Mormon War. Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Note: Mormon scriptures still consider people from Missouri as enemies.
And thus, even as I have said, if ye are faithful ye shall assemble
yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the
land of your inheritance, which is now the land of your enemies.
Doctrines and Covenants, Section 52, Verse 42.
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