For years the general public has been bombarded by commercials extolling the virtues of the Book of Mormon. “Personal” testimonies by well-groomed actors and actresses, along with Bible verses taken out of context, entice listeners to call the toll free number in order to have a copy of Joseph Smith’s novel hand-delivered to their door.
Using the Book of Mormon to lure people into joining the LDS Church is a classic example of the ole “bait and switch.” In a bait and switch, a consumer is convinced to buy one product, only to find upon delivery that he has been given another. Such is true with the Book of Mormon. An investigator may assume that modern Latter-day Saints believe and practice just like the Nephites they read about in the Book of Mormon. It is not until after they join that they begin to learn teachings which do not reflect that in the book they saw advertised.
Nowhere in the Book of Mormon will you find righteous “Nephites” believing they can become Gods or baptizing for their dead. Nowhere within the pages of the Book of Mormon does it ever hint that the God of the Nephites was once a man who inhabits a body of flesh and bones. Never would one suspect that Nephites believed that Jesus and Lucifer were spirit-brothers or that all humans are literal children of a polygamist God who is eternally progressing.
Despite the fact that Joseph Smith and several LDS leaders said the Book of Mormon is the keystone of the Mormon religion, it fails to teach any of the unique doctrines which clearly separate Mormonism from Christianity.
Recently the LDS Church has carried its bait and switch campaign to new heights. New television ads now offer listeners a free copy of a King James Bible. This too will be hand-delivered simply by calling a toll-free number.
Homage to the Bible is certainly nothing more than LDS lip-service. Unless it is for the purpose of lifting a “proof-text,” Mormon leaders have made it clear that the Bible is inferior to the other books included in the LDS “standard works.”
Consider this: Both the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants have seen numerous revisions and corrections. No ancient manuscripts support Joseph Smith’s Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price and Joseph Smith’s “translation” of the Book of Abraham has been proven to be a terrible fraud. Despite this, only the Bible is accepted among LDS scripture with qualification. Unfortunately, a great majority of people viewing these new ads will assume that the Mormon Church has a high opinion of the Bible when past pronouncements prove otherwise.
For instance, 13th LDS President Ezra Taft Benson wrote, “All scripture is not of equal value. The book that is the ‘keystone of our religion’ and that will get a man ‘nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book’ needs to be studied constantly” (A Witness and Warning, pg.vii).
LDS Apologist Hugh Nibley noted, “Nephi’s view of the New Testament, then, rests on two basic propositions. Proposition number one is that the Bible has come down to the world in a mutilated form” (Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol.7, Ch.2, p.27) Dr. Nibley is referring to 1 Nephi 13:26, 29. These passages in the Book of Mormon read, “And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away…Because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble.”
LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie described this “great and abominable church” as,” all churches or organizations of whatever name or nature — whether political, philosophical, educational, economic social, fraternal, civic, or religious — which are designed to take men on a course that leads away from God and his laws and thus from salvation in the kingdom of God” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 137-138). Naturally this includes all but the LDS Church. Following this statement McConkie makes it clear that “There is no salvation outside this one true Church, the Church of Jesus Christ.”
George Q. Cannon, First Counselor to Brigham Young, stated, “There are many precious parts of the Bible which have been taken from it. It has passed through a great many hands and has been mutilated to a very great extent…” (Collected Discourses, Vol.3, September 24th, 1893).
Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt said only a person who is not in his “right mind” would accept the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide. Pratt wrote, “What shall we say then, concerning the Bible’s being a sufficient guide? Can we rely upon it in its present known corrupted state, as being a faithful record of God’s word? We all know that but a few of the inspired writings have descended to our times, which few quote the names of some twenty other books which are lost, and it is quite certain that there were many other inspired books that even the names have not reached us. What few have come down to our day, have been mutilated, changed and corrupted, in such a shameful manner that no two manuscripts agree. Verses and even whole chapters have been added by unknown persons; and even we do not know the authors of some whole books; and we are not certain that all those which we do know, were written by inspiration. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who, in his right mind, could, for one moment, suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? Who knows how many important doctrines and ordinances necessary to salvation may be buried in oblivion in some of the lost books? Who knows that even the ordinances and doctrine that seem to be set forth in the present English Bible, are anything like the original?” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, pg.47.)
Mormon Apostle Mark E. Petersen accused manuscript copyists of deliberately tampering with the Bible. He wrote, “Many insertions were made, some of them slanted for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, pg.4).
Naturally, none of the above accusations can be supported with evidence. Unless a Mormon can produce a “correct” manuscript which supports LDS views, he does nothing more than argue from silence. The best the Mormons have to offer on this subject is Joseph Smith’s 1883 “Inspired Version” of the Bible (known also as the Joseph Smith Translation). However, this work neither clarifies many LDS positions nor does it add those books which were supposedly lost. It should also be noted that no ancient manuscript supports the corrections Smith made in his 1833 “translation.”
I’ll never forget a comment made to me by an LDS man who said that in light of all the pressure he had received from his leaders to read the Book of Mormon, he actually felt guilty for wanting to read the Bible. God forbid that such impressions should ever come from a truly Christian church!
One ex-Mormon told me he was reading “A General Introduction to the Bible” by Christian scholars Norm Geisler and William Nix. He said he was doing this in an attempt to undo all the negative comments he heard while he was a member in the LDS Church.
I can’t begin to count all of the times I have pressured Mormons to justify their teachings from the Bible only to be told it cannot be trusted. In light of the above, we feel the LDS Church is acting very hypocritically and even deceitfully by offering the Bible in its ads.