Mormon doubts Bible preserved - 01/26/2009

You really believe the Bible is fully correct in all that it says? Is it really so illogical to believe that over the course of nearly 2,000 years, there weren't some things that got changed in some way? Maybe some things were accidentally left out. Maybe other things were intentionally left out by corrupt men who didn't believe them. Ever heard of the term 'lost in translation'? It applies. There are naturally things that won't be translated correctly from the original language the Bible was written in to what it's now in today. Just look at how many different versions there are you can buy. Hundreds. Each one basically the same, but with subtle differences. Sometimes it's the smallest things that make the biggest difference.

Wouldn't it help to have a second book that gives clarity to the first? Take, for example, a research paper. Let's say it was written by student John. John makes a copy and gives it to everyone in class to read. Some people don't agree with it. Others don't understand it. They each make notes to make it easier for them to understand, or to change it in a way that fits their belief better. Over the course of time, you have dozens of different versions of the original, perhaps hundreds. The original gets lost and now all you have are the interpretations of it. Is it safe to believe that any one of them is completely correct? Would it not help to have a new copy, written by John once again, but kept from being retranslated over and over? That way you can compare and contrast. This is truth. This was error.

So it is with the Book of Mormon and the Bible. They're companion scriptures. The Bible was translated hundreds of times by men. The Book of Mormon was translated once, by a man of God. The Bible has all of the truths you need to obtain salvation, but the Book of Mormon clarifies it because it's not always clear in the Bible.

Is it so dumb to believe that Jesus Christ, Savior of THE WORLD, with the power of God, would visit other parts of the world? Or is He only the God of the Jews? I reason that He visited other parts of the world, not just the Americas. I reason there are even more books of scripture that we do not have. The world isn't ready for them. They can't even grasp the Book of Mormon. The Bible is not all of God's word, for even a hundreth part could not be contained in it. It's foolish to believe the Bible is all God will give us.





CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:


Hi, and thanks for writing us.  I understand why you want to believe that the Bible is different now than it was when it was written - corrupted, even.  LDS beliefs rely on the Bible being incorrect or incomplete.  Whenever I ask a Mormon to explain where the Bible has been mistranslated and provide evidence for that assertion, I usually get silence in reply.  Yes, I've heard the term "lost in translation".  Fortunately, archeology has provided us with nearly 25,000 ancient biblical manuscripts containing all or part of the New Testament.  This is in addition to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls which contain the bulk of the Old Testament.  The end effect is that we don't have to trust an 18th century translation, or a 16th century translation, or even a 10th century translation.  We have manuscript evidence that dates to the second century.  These biblical manuscripts have been found in various locations and in various languages.  While there are small differences among them, most of the differences have no bearing on translation.  The word order might be different, but in Greek, the word order is irrelevant.  The fact is that we are provided with enough documentary evidence to establish confidently that the Bible we have communicates to us what the author's wrote.  This shouldn't be a surprise, because God promised He would preserve His Word.  And He has - with remarkable accuracy!  We have more documentary support for the Bible than for any other ancient writing!  To assume that the Bible would be corrupted over time is not only erroneous, it also makes God out to be weak or a liar.  The textual variants among the ancient manuscripts amount to a fraction of a percentage point of the text, and none of which impacts a key doctrine of Christianity!  Interestingly, the Bible is so widely quoted in the early church, that even if we had no manuscript evidence, we could assemble all but a few verses of the New Testament from these early quotations alone!  The Bible was not transcribed, transmitted, and translated in a vacuum.  God's hand was on its preservation.  We have a brief article on our website about this, and we intend to do a series on this in the not-too-distant future.  However, until we do, if you want more information than can be found in our article, I encourage you to read Taking a Stand for the Bible by John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs, and The Text of the New Testament by Dr. Bruce M. Metzger. 

Next you claim that the Book of Mormon is a natural supplement to the Bible because the Bible is not always clear.  First, I would ask what in the Bible isn't clear that the Book of Mormon clarifies?  I submit to you that the Bible is very clear, especially when the reader has the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:14).  Second, if the Book of Mormon was made to clarify the Bible, why did it lift (plagiarize) whole sections of the Bible?  Also, how does the LDS doctrines of eternal progression and an eternal marriage covenant including plurality of wives clarify the Bible which distinctly condemns such teachings? Third, while you say the Book of Mormon was translated only once, there is good reason to be wary of the translation.  The plethora of ancient Biblical manuscripts have been studied and reviewed by scholars.  There is nothing hidden.  In the case of the Book of Mormon, the gold plates from which Joseph Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Mormon were allegedly taken away, never to be seen again.  Even Smith didn't really see much, as he had his face in his hat. We can't verify Smith's "translation" of the "reformed Egyptian" writing on the plates.  However, his credibility can be tested by his translation of the Book of Abraham.  The source document for this "translation" was available for review.  Unfortunately, when this document was translated by Egyptologists, we find that Smith's translation was absolutely and totally false!  This document turned out to be an Egyptian funeral papyrus, and was not at all what Smith's "translation" represented it to be!  So rather than put your faith in the Bible, the documentary evidence for which is widespread and available for translation, you put your faith in Joseph Smith, whose only tested translation turned out to be fake.  Faith is a good and noble virtue, but blind faith is dangerous.  Blind faith is what frauds and hucksters count on.  One final note about the Book of Mormon: read Galatians 1:6-9.

Finally, you suggest that Jesus must have visited other parts of the world, based on your belief that it simply makes sense.  There is no evidence for this assertion; you just like it.  The Bible is clear that Jesus was born, lived, taught, crucified and was resurrected in Israel.  And it was from there that He ascended into heaven.  The Bible makes it clear that the next time the world sees Him, we will see Him come down the way He left at His ascension (Acts 1:11).  This will be when He returns to defeat the Antichrist and establish his thousand-year reign on earth.  The Bible is used extensively as a historical and archaeological guide.  Its accuracy is constantly being affirmed through archaeological discoveries.  The Book of Mormon is different.  The story it tells is not substantiated by archeology or history.  In fact, the director of the Smithsonian was once asked if any archaeological discoveries support the accuracy of the Book of Mormon.  The answer was a definitive "no".  Before Jesus left for heaven, He told us He would leave us with a Counselor - the Holy Spirit.  He did not visit the Americas.  The Book of Mormon has no archaeological support.  It was "translated" from plates that no longer exist, even if they once did.  The "translator" has been revealed as a fraud by his "translation" of an Egyptian funeral papyrus into the completely false Book of Abraham.  Not only does continued devotion to Smith constitute blind faith, it also violates every rule of logic.  Faith in the accuracy and sufficiency of the Bible is a well-grounded faith.  I encourage you to approach this issue with just such a faith. God hopes you will.

In Christ,

Ben Rast
Contender Ministries