QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE vs. THE BOOK OF MORMON
What is the main thrust of this video?
The video “The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon” is a comparison and contrast of the two volumes using archaeology, history, textual criticism, and other disciplines. The Bible has a very significant historical corroboration with other sources and disciplines, whereas the Book of Mormon has none. The point of the video is to demonstrate that while the Bible is clearly a historical book, grounded in historical reality, and therefore can at least be up for consideration as the Word of God, as it claims to be. By contrast, the Book of Mormon’s history is false and has no basis whatsoever in reality, as demonstrated by historical, archaeological, and textual evidence (both a lack of supporting evidence, and an abundance of data that contradict the Book of Mormon outright). Therefore The Book of Mormon cannot be considered scripture.
Has there been any LDS response to the “Bible vs.” video?
As with the DNA video, there has been no official response from the LDS Church leadership that we are aware of. And as with the DNA video, FAIR and FARMS (the better-known academic apologists for Mormonism) have published articles on the issues, and can be viewed on their respective websites.
The response from LDS members who have seen the video has been varied, as it was with the DNA video. Some have vented their outrage in abusive and sarcastic letters and e-mails. Others have put forth challenges, some of which are addressed in this section. Still others have said that it has caused a lot of internal wrestling and struggle. And—to our joy and delight—some have come to know the true Jesus Christ personally. And that is why we made the video in the first place!
Why did you title your video “The Bible versus The Book of Mormon”? Doesn’t that set it up as being contentious?
We occasionally get asked why we used “versus” (as opposed to “and”) in the titles of both DNA vs. The Book of Mormon and The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon. This is a question that we wrestled with, but in the end, our conclusion was that we needed to be up-front and clear about what the end premise of the video was going to be—that the Bible and the Book of Mormon are in opposition to one another, and not comparable.
There is a Mormon concept that the so-called “anti-Mormons” are simply lying in wait to deceive, and so to put a deceptively banal and unassuming title such as “The Bible and the Book of Mormon” would potentially set us up as trying to trick Mormons into watching the video. We don’t want to trick anyone. We want Mormons to watch it of their own accord, and not through any deception or trickery.
Are you not being hypocritical when you point at evidence against the Book of Mormon, and ignore the evidence against the Bible?
This is an accusation that we frequently get, however, it generally focuses on the miraculous or supernatural claims of the Bible, or the evolution versus creation debate, and not the straightforward historical account, which is precisely the area in which the Book of Mormon falls short. The supposition, therefore, that the Bible and the Book of Mormon suffer from the same evidence problems, is not true.
The Bible has a significant degree of archaeological, historical, textual, and extra-biblical corroboration in terms of people, places, events, empires, cultures, etc. The Book of Mormon has none of this; and in fact, the abundant archaeological and historical data that does exist contradicts the history, people, and culture as presented in the Book of Mormon account.
The problems with the Book of Mormon are far more fundamental than a lack of evidence for the supernatural or miraculous claims. This question cannot even be addressed if there is no historical foundation for it. In fact, if the Book of Mormon did have the historical and archaeological support, then it would be far easier to accept the supernatural and miraculous claims, which (as many Mormons have pointed out) might not leave much in the way of archaeological evidence.
As for the evolution-creation debate, it should also be noted there is a growing secular, scientific (not biblical) challenge to many long-held suppositions about evolution. Discoveries in the field of genetics, among others, have been at the forefront of these challenges. Obviously this currently a huge topic of study that cannot be done justice in a few lines; we have several links to websites that you might find helpful in understanding these issues more thoroughly. (Click here.)
I’ve heard that there actually is archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. What do you say about that?
You will find such claims and rumors on websites of well-meaning LDS apologists, and a number of books published by LDS academic institutions. These claims often cite no sources, and when they do, it is often unverifiable or non-existent. The “Tree of Life” carving found at Ixapa, Mexico, and the “Las Lunas inscriptions” found in New Mexico have made the rounds a number of times as archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon. Both of these findings (or alleged findings, in the case of the inscriptions) have not only been dismissed by secular archaeologists as evidence of any old-world contact in ancient times, but interestingly enough have also been rejected by BYU and FARMS as lending any support to the Book of Mormon. Another common tactic is to take existing data and evidence and attempt to force it to somehow conform to the Book of Mormon. This generally requires a gross re-interpretation of the Book of Mormon itself (often excluding problematic passages), or it requires a convoluted and illogical reinterpretation of the data itself.
The Smithsonian Institute some time ago was forced to issue a statement that it does not in any way consider the Book of Mormon an authoritative historical record, in response to LDS-generated rumors that the Book of Mormon was being used by the Institute. (Read the Smithsonian's statement here, courtesy Institute for Religious Research.)
I’ve noticed that you do not use the King James Version exclusively in your video(s). Considering that the LDS people use it exclusively, shouldn’t you as well?
Interestingly enough, we are rarely if ever challenged by LDS folks on this point. Most of the challenge comes from Christians, particularly those who favor the “King James only” viewpoint. While Main Street Church maintains a high regard for the King James translation, we do not believe that it is the only authoritative English translation of the Bible, nor do we hold one translation above another. In fact, the very same arguments that uphold the authenticity of the Bible, also uphold the integrity of modern translations. The arguments that Mormons use to discredit the authenticity of the Bible in general are closely related to the arguments that those of the “King James Only” persuasion use to discredit non-KJV translations, and these arguments are shown to be unfounded for the same reasons. The upshot is, we want to steer Mormons away from the Book of Mormon, and toward a faith in the Bible alone as God’s word; and we want them to be able to understand the Bible clearly, regardless of which translation they use.
For more information on the King James issue, we recommend the following link: www.godandscience.org/doctrine/kingjames.html