Sometimes, when I am enjoying an announcement, in an article on the internet, of further growth in my church, there comes a comment from one who would throw cold water on my enjoyment. There are some dedicated individuals, who desire to bring down this House of God (I know, such a dramatic statement). I could view this activity in a discouraging light, if I didn’t fully realize that the fact of their persistent existence is a testament in itself, to the truthfulness, and importance of this organization.
“How so!” you ask? I would answer you thus; Because, if this organization were not important, no one would bother for so long, and with such vehemence, to persist in trying to destroy it. The Church would simply be laughed off, momentarily, and then ignored. Additionally, if it were not true, it would not have survived for so long, let alone, grown to it’s current size, without ever being a political tool of a sovereign nation, as the Catholic church, or the religion of Islam became. Both of those churches used politics, and forced conversion to grow their numbers. The religion of Islam, even currently, uses force and the politics of nation states, to grow their religion.
But the size and age of this religion is still not enough to provide a full testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. That requires personal study, and thought, and personal prayer, to discover for oneself, whether or not it is worth believing in. The personal study will come through reading, or listening to others read (such as on tapes or cd’s) the scriptures. Both the Holy Bible, and the Book of Mormon, which are companion volumes in testimony of the existence, and divinity of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all of us, for the sins of the world.
As to one of the questions currently being raised by these individuals, I’ll give some space for an answer here. One accusation, and question being raised, has to do with a story book that was supposedly written prior to the translation of the Book of Mormon. The accusation being leveled is about a similarity between a short story book and the Book of Mormon. According to the theory being proposed, Joseph would have had access to this story book, and simply made up the Book of Mormon, based on this short story book.
So, to address the questions raised here… If one has read the accounts of the translating of the Book of Mormon, one realizes that a short, 116 page section, which was a condensed version of the whole book, was given to someone who was learned, to provide corroborative proof to this gentleman, that there was a book of plates being translated. This gentleman, to whom the condensed version was given, promptly lost them, or hid them, and claimed not to have received them at all.
Joseph was devastated that his trust was betrayed, but even more devastated that he had himself betrayed a trust, as he had been instructed Not to share those pages, and had done it anyway. After the loss, he was further instructed not to retranslate them, as the lost pages would be used against him and the restoration of the gospel.
Now, some of you know that I am currently enrolled in school again. I am a student at the University of Louisville, in Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. I am studying fine art, as a studio artist. One of my areas of study has been in printmaking. As you might be aware, printing presses of old made use of moveable type. You set up the letters in trays (backwards) and ran pages, with ink over them, to create printed pages. You could make any kind of written words, and images that could be duplicated, including printing dates. They could be anything you could set the type to reflect, even if it wasn’t accurate (much like things on the internet today).
So, if a person had a condensed version of a book coming out, someone could, if they so chose, create another story, based on that condensed version, and set a type-set date previous to the date of the creation of the full version of the book, thus making it seem as though the person who was creating the full version had stolen their idea from someone else. Why does this sound so particularly plausible? Oh, because this sort of thing still happens today, all the time; Copy right laws, notwithstanding.
So, even if the story that someone is touting actually exists, which I wonder about, due to stories of that nature being printed on wood pulp, and not surviving to this day and age, due to acid, and browning, and cracking up into little tiny fragments… No, I don’t believe the story of the story that someone is pushing on the internet, as a plausible reason for denying the testimony I have received, of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He exists, and still teaches us today, if we will ask in faith, and Listen to his response.