Thursday, January 10, 2013

2 Nephi 29: A Bible! A Bible!

To further bolster his rep as a legitimate prophet of God, Joseph Smith decided to devote these fourteen verses to an explanation of the Book of Mormon's divine authenticity.  Hilarity ensues.

Okay, maybe not hilarity, but there's definitely some amusingly bad logic involved.

A Bible!  A Bible!
The single most entertaining use of punctuation in the entirety of Mormon scripture is probably verse 3:
And because [God's] words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible!  We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible.
Probably because of the bizarre wording and the rare use of  multiple exclamation points, I've always found this verse to be entertaining.  I've always envisioned some Southern Baptist throwing up his hands in confusion and hysterically shrieking, "A Bible! A Bible!  We have got a Bible!" when the missionaries try to give him a Book of Mormon.

But of course, Smith's point here is that the claim that there shouldn't be an additional book of holy scripture is some kind of devil-inspired coping mechanism for poor, misled souls who can't face the truth that they're in the wrong religion.  Because a secondary volume of divine text appearing unexpectedly after hundreds of years of sole reliance on the Bible is a completely logical idea.

Remembering What Isles of the Sea Now?
During this chapter, God/Nephi/Smith tries to make the point that multiple books of scripture make sense because multiple civilizations exist around the world.  The Bible was for the Jews and the Eurasia crowd, and the Book of Mormon was for the Nephites and the New World crowd.  Take a look at verses 7 and 8:
Know ye not that there are more nations than one?  Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?
Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?  Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another?  Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another.  And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. 
So if God remembers those who are upon the isles of the sea and speaks the same words unto one nation like unto another, why don't we have books of LDS scripture from every part of the world?  What about places that largely escaped intervention from Christian nations until relatively later in history, like Hawaii, Madagascar and Papua New Guinea?  According to verse 12, we should have scripture from those places and all others:
For behold, I [God] shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.
So if all nations of the earth have written down revelation from the same god that Mormonism worships...where are these writings?

God Secures His Right to Creative License
In verse 9, God sounds kind of snippy as he asserts his right to say whatever the hell he wants:
And I do this [allow more scripture] that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure.  And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
So the Book of Mormon is supposed to prove that God is the same yesterday, today and forever?  The fact that there are large chunks of the Book of Mormon that mirror the Bible isn't proof of anything.  A more likely explanation is that Joseph Smith copied parts of the Bible.  And what about the things from the Book of Mormon that directly contradict established scriptures?  "Thou shalt not kill--Nephi, chop that guy's head off?"

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