Disbelieving Joseph Smith: A Foolish Attempt

If I were a farm boy in the early 1800s with the equivalent of a third grade education—if I wanted to make up a religion and found a church to intentionally deceive people—I would keep my lie as simple as possible.

I wouldn’t have the education or the insight to write a historical narrative that synthesizes dozens of religious narratives spanning over a thousand years. I wouldn’t be able to create a record full of Semitic complexity, consistent in its language and content with ancient Jewish culture. And I certainly wouldn’t make up a book that leads--no, commands--people to a deeper study of the Bible, especially not the prophecies of Isaiah. If I were a liar, it’d be too easy to see it in comparison to such a powerful witness of Jesus Christ. And under no circumstances whatsoever would I teach people about the Holy Ghost. It would cause people to ask of God if my teachings were true. God would reveal the truth of it unto them, and if I were a liar I would be out of a job.

If I were Joseph Smith and I were trying to deceive people, I wouldn’t have written anything like the Book of Mormon. Not because it is a lie and my conscience would compel me against it—but because it is too true, too historically complex, too focused on bringing people to Jesus Christ through the combined testimonies of too many honest men. The Book of Mormon teaches too much of revelation—a volatile force that depends on truth and communication with the Source of all truth—to be a reliable source of manipulation and control.

If anything, this book—which encourages its readers to seek a testimony of it exclusively from God Himself—is the antithesis of manipulation and control.

The only thing more foolish than disbelieving the Book of Mormon because of Joseph Smith is to disbelieve Joseph Smith because of the Book of Mormon.

Quite frankly there are simpler, more dishonest ways to tell a lie.

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