Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 13, 1957

Letters To A Mormon No. 2

My Dear Friend:

In my former letter I tried to point out to you the absolutely irreconcilable claims of the Book of Mormon and the Bible. They simply cannot be harmonized. If the Bible is true, the Book of Mormon is false; if the latter be true, the Bible is false. No amount of explanation, definition, apology, or defense can remove or even mitigate that solid fact. It meets one at every turn. It looms like a mountain out of the plains when one first begins to compare the two volumes; and the further the study progresses, the more obvious it is — and the more incredible and preposterous the claim that they can be harmonized.

I believe many sincere people have been inclined toward Mormonism far more by their wonderful achievements in the fields of sociology and community life than they have by any examination of their doctrines. That the Mormon people have had a glorious history in their long trek across the plains and their pioneering in Utah and the west is beyond question. The imposing story of their phenomenal growth in the wilderness of the west, their self-sufficiency in caring for their own without any help from the government, the almost non-existence of any "juvenile delinquency", their thrift, industry, high level of family life, zeal for their cause, mutual help to one another, together with their persecution, opposition, and the brutality of their early antagonists — all these things cause many people to say, "This must be of God; for look how it has grown and prospered under such adverse circumstances!"

But let us take a closer look. Mormonism, as you know, began with Joseph Smith, Jr. He was born in Sharon, Vermont, on December 23, 1805. As a youth his life was filled with ignorance, poverty, and superstition. In common with hundreds of others of his day he claimed to "hear voices" and "see visions." He even gained some small notoriety in his community as a fortune-teller while still in his teens, and discovered the "Golden Plates" on September 22, 1823, while in his seventeenth year. Smith declared that these plates were written in the "reformed-Egyptian caracters" (he undoubtedly meant characters, but the "divine revelation" he claimed did not extend to such mundane things as spelling and grammar). The "plates" are claimed to have been buried in the "Hill of Cumorah" in the year 420 A. D., and to have remained there until Smith discovered them — yet the Book of Mormon, being a faithful translation of the plates, contains literally hundreds of quotations taken verbatim from the King James Version of the Bible, which version was not produced until 1611 A. D., nearly 1200 years after the plates are said to have been buried!

Of course later versions of the Book of Mormon have been considerably cleaned up and improved, but the original version of 1830, bearing on its fly-leaf the statement that Joseph Smith, Jr. is the "Author and Proprietor", and claiming to be the exact words — letter by letter, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure — revealed to Smith by inspiration, is so filled with mis-spelled words, monstrosities of grammar and syntax, as to make its claims preposterous to the point of being ludicrous. Take a look, for instance, at just a few (or thousands) which have even survived all efforts at correction, and are still found in the Book of Mormon.

(Seventh Independence Edition)

"And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it...; and he fastened it upon the end of a pole thereof. (page 370.)

These our dearly beloved brethren, who have so dearly beloved us. (page 311.)

Yea, if my days could have been in them days ... But behold, I am consigned that these are my days. (page 449.)

I am a jew, because I mean them, from which I came. (page 127.)

And they having been waxed strong in battle, that they might not be destroyed. (page 260.)

We did not arrive to the promised land. (page 43.)

Even until they had arriven to the land of Middoni. (page 297.)

There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of ites; but they were in one, the children of Christ. (page 545.)

Now immediately when the Judge had been murdered; he being stabbed by his brother by a garb of secrecy; and he fled, and the servants ran and told the people. (page 454.)

Now, my dear friend, who is willing to attribute such monstrosities to the Holy Spirit? — "in them days," "having been waxed strong in battle," "arriven to the land of Middoni," "any manner of ites," "stabbed. . .by a garb of secrecy"! These are the expressions of an illiterate person; to attribute such grammar to a divine being is little short of blasphemy.

The "history" the Book of Mormon purports to give of the early settlement of the American continent is pure fiction. It simply did not happen like that. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that the origin of the Book of Mormon must be sought in the unpublished novel of one Solomon Spaulding, "The Manuscript Found." I am aware of the efforts of Mormon apologists to obliterate this evidence by referring to another manuscript, "The Manuscript Story," by the same Samuel Spaulding, and to point out that the Book of Mormon is NOT a revised and embellished version of that manuscript. Certainly it is not; but it IS a revision of the earlier novel, "The Manuscript Found", which was never published, and the copy of which mysteriously disappeared. This novel claimed simply to be that — a novel. It was revised by Sidney Higdon and Joseph Smith, put into stilted and pompous "Biblical" language, and became the "Golden Bible" of Mormonism. But its "history" of the settling of America is contradicted by known, established, demonstrable FACT. There is NO evidence of the settlement claimed by Mormons; there is overwhelming evidence of a far earlier settlement and from a different source.

That the Mormons have had a thrilling history none will deny; that they are to be greatly admired for their pioneering spirit, for their zeal, industry, and general community life we all agree. But their doctrine is false; the movement is built on a tissue of fabrications deploring and deprecating their false religion!

But this is enough for this time. My next letter will deal more with the teachings of Mormonism which are false and contrary to the Bible.

Sincerely Yours, F. Y. T.