Monday, April 6, 2009

As far as it is translated correctly


Those seven words make a world of difference. Ask a mormon and they will say that they believe in the Bible. In fact, it is right in their 13 Articles of Faith that they believe in the Bible. But those seven words after that assertion change the whole meaning of the 8th Article: As far as it is translated correctly. That really makes all the difference because it gives them an "out". When faced with something problematic, you just shrug it off as being translated incorrectly.

Mormons only believe the Bible as as far it is translated correctly. As far as what that means? Well that is a little vague. I am all for accurate translation from the manuscript evience we have into English. But that is not really what mormons mean when they say: As far as it is translated correctly. What that really means is that the Bible is accurate where verses can be taken out of context but when it clearly denies mormon doctrines, you are free to ignore it.

Notice what the AoF say about the "Book of Mormon": we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

No qualifier there. Which is really odd because we have no way of knowing if the Book of Mormon, assuming for a second that there were ever plates or a person named Mormon to begin with, is translated correctly. Why not? Because all we have are Joseph Smith's multiple accounts of how he translated the plates but no plates to examine. With the Bible we have thousands of records to examine in real languages that can be verified. With the Book of Mormon we have no originals to examine, and even if we did they are supposedly written in a language that never existed, making verification impossible.

The Bible is viewed with suspicion by mormons, but the Book of Mormon is accepted as true and accuate based on a "burning in the bosom". The Bible contains accounts of people and places that are historically verifiable, the Book of Mormon records people and events that not only have no evidence of existing, but the evidence would seem to refute that they ever lived. All we have to go on with the Book of Mormon is the word of a known scoundrel and the affadavits of a handful of his family members and cronies. With the Bible we have the most studied work in history with thousands of manuscripts to examine in real languages that are translatable. I would be willing to bet that not a single one of the top mormon leaders could translate even one line of the Bible from Greek or Hebrew, and yet these men deign to sit in judgment of the Word of God.

Why is it that mormons put such faith in the Book of Mormon but are so distrustful of the Bible? The only real explanation is that the Bible refutes so much of what mormon leaders have taught that it must have doubt cast on it, it must be questioned and claimed to be less authoritative. Otherwise mormons reading the Bible and seeing the jarring disconnect between what it says about sin, God, Christ, man, etc. and what mormonism teaches will come to question their leaders.

1 comment:

gloria said...

Arthur,
I wrote extensively about this on my musings on mormoninism blog recently. You are spot on, most LDS view the Bible with some degree of hestitance or suspicion. While they embrace the bofm as the "most correct" of all books. Interestinly enough the BofM does not contain the core doctrines or teachings of the LDS that really define them differently than Christendom( temple ordinances, priesthood, exaltation, etc).

I praise God that both of our families have been released from the bondage of religion into a personal relationship with our blessed Lord!
gloria