The Truth About Mormonism (Part 3): The Internal Test
In the last part of this essay, we analyzed the accuracy of The Book of Mormon using the external test. In this next part, we will move on to examine the Mormon scriptures through the second test: the internal test. We will use this test to determine whether or not the Mormon scriptures* agree with each other. After all, if they contradict each other, at least one, and possibly all, of them lose much of their credibility.
The first contradiction among Mormon scriptures which we will examine is found in their teachings on polygamy. In the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:24, we are told, “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” And yet, in Doctrine and Covenants, section 132:37-39, we see that:
“Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.
“David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me.
“David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion; and he shall not inherit them out of the world, for I gave them unto another, saith the Lord.”
So which is it? Did David sin by his taking of many wives, or didn’t he? Such blatant contradictions should cause us to question the credibility and accuracy of the Mormon Scriptures.
Another contradiction we find is over whether those in the ministry ought to be paid or not. The Book of Mormon teaches not. As 2 Nephi 26:31 says, “But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.”
Doctrines and Covenants, however, commands the paying of ministers and church officials: “And the elders or high priests who are appointed to assist the bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned; Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and bishop. And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just remuneration for all his services in the church.”
These are only a couple examples of the numerous contradictions found throughout the Mormon scriptures. With so many, it is perfectly reasonable to doubt the accuracy and authenticity of the Mormon scriptures. Just as The Book of Mormon failed in the external test, so has it failed in the internal test.
Yet despite these failings on the part of The Book of Mormon, LDS Apostle Orson Pratt once wrote, “If we compare the historical, prophetical, and doctrinal parts of the Book of Mormon with the great truths of science and nature, we find no contradictions — no absurdities — nothing unreasonable”
Regardless of Pratt’s bold claim, there are, as we have already seen, numerous contradictions between science and the Book of Mormon. There are also quite a few statements that the Book of Mormon makes which can only be described as ludicrous absurdities, departing from all common sense. Here we will quickly look at just a few of these.
1 Nephi describes to us the departure of Lehi’s and Ishmael’s families from Jerusalem for the New World around 600 B.C., specifically naming 17 people. If we take into account the fact Ishmael’s sons each had families, we can bring this up to 35, though this is extremely generous. In 2 Nephi, we are told of how these same people divided into two nations within under 30 years. Even at the most rapid rate of reproduction, only a few dozen could have been added to the original 30, most of which would have still been children. This would have resulted in rather small nations – as well as a rather uncomfortable situation for those that cling to the divine inspiration of the Book of Mormon. This is only one of numerous examples.
In 2 Nephi 5:16, Nephi writes, “And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon.” This occurs a mere 19 years after Lehi arrived in the New World. When we look at the work and time that went into Solomon’s temple, we can begin to see just how ludicrous this statement is. 180,000 levied Israelites and Canaanites along with 550 chiefs and 3300 subordinates were required in order to build Solomon’s temple, taking a total of seven years. Even if Nephi had begun work on his temple immediately after arrival in the New World, it is still preposterous to imagine 35 people building a temple of the magnitude of Solomon’s temple within such a short amount of time.
In the end, when we compare the written Mormon scriptures with reality, the two just do not fit. Once we examine the evidence, it quickly becomes clear that the Book of Mormon could not be authentic, inerrant, or divinely inspired. Yet sadly, there are so many that have been deceived into believing in the divine inspiration of the Mormon written scriptures. It is our task, as Christians, to point out the flaws in the Mormon scriptures and lovingly guide Mormons to the true Word of God.