The Book of Mormon
The Mormon Church (or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830. He founded the church after purported revelations from God, Who said that all churches were corrupt (what Mormons call "The Great Apostasy") and that he was to restore the true church. Smith, who claimed that he could write inspired scripture, authored the "Book of Mormon", "Doctrines and Covenants", and "Pearl of Great Price", all, he said, were inspired. However, according to Smith, the "Book of Mormon" was not written by him, but was an ancient testament given by God to His faithful in the New World centuries ago. Apparently, Christ appeared there shortly after His resurrection. The revelations were written on golden tablets, and Smith interpreted them by means of the Urim and Thummim and the seer stone. Far from being inspired, though, the Book of Mormon is full of many errors.
According to the Book of Mormon, certain Jews came to the New World in 600 B.C. and established the Nephite and Lamanite nations. They were great nations, built huge cities, and had huge wars, the last of which destroyed the Nephite nation in 421 A.D. However, not a shread of historical or archaeological evidence has ever been discovered to support the existence of these nations. The fifth century is very recent when it comes to archaeological finds, and it is unthinkable that such a large battle, with so many thousands and thousands of men and animals dead, so much armor and weaponry left lying around, would not be discovered. In fact, there is archaeological evidence for battles, even as recorded in the Bible, that took place centuries before this alleged war, but none for these great civilizations. In fact, there is no evidence whatsoever of extra-biblical people and places named in the Book of Mormon.
Joseph Smith used the King James Version of the Bible exclusively, and it was from this translation that Smith wrote the Book of Mormon. One proof for this lies in the fact that there are many translation errors in the KJV of the Bible, and those very same errors appear in the Book of Mormon (such as the Sermon on the Mount in 3 Nephi 12-14 and Matthew 5-7). Mormons explain this by saying that translating the texts were exhausting work, and when Smith came upon passages that were similar to the Bible, he copied them straight from the Bible. However, among these passages are discrepancies, which would not be the case if he had copied them straight from the Bible. The fact is, entire stories and passages were copied from the Bible (whole chapters were taken from Isaiah [1 Nephi 21-22 and Isaiah 49-50; 2 Nephi 12-24 with Isaiah 2-14]; 1 Nephi 18 parallels the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4; Ether 8 is almost identical to the beheading of John the Baptist in Matthew 14), and did not originate in this other testament that was reputedly given to Americans centuries before. Smith was guilty of plagiarizing the KJV Bible.
The gold plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon are nowhere to be found. There exists a document that some early Mormons signed, attesting to the fact that they saw the tablets. However, this is suspicious since no one has seen the tablets since, and it is hard to say exactly what these early Mormons really did see, or how much they were really shown. It would be more believable if the tablets were on display for all to see. The only evidence in existence today is the "Anthon Transcript" on which Smith recorded some of the characters found on the tablets. Smith allegedly translated some of the text, but not all of it, and sent the transcript to a professor by the name of Charles Anthon, who apparently said that the translation was correct. However, Anthon later denied translating the document, and no one else has ever been able to interpret the transcript.
Joseph Smith claimed that "We heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, ‘These plates ... have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct'" (History of the Church, 1:54-55) and that he "told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth" (History of the Church, 4:461). However, in comparing the first edition of the Book of Mormon and later editions, almost 4,000 changes appear. For instance, "were" was often used in stead of "was", and vice versa: "Adam and Eve . . . was our first parents"(p. 15); "the bands which was upon my wrists" (49); "those that was with him" (195); "and I were forbidden that I should preach unto them" (519). The same occurred with "is" and "are": "But great is the promises of the Lord" (85); "things which is not seen" (315). "No" was changed to "any": "they did not fight against God no more" (290). The phrase "some have arrested the Scriptures" (336) was replaced with "some have wrested the Scriptures" (297). The verse, "My soul was wrecked with eternal torment" (214) was changed to read, "My soul was racked . . . " (188) True, these only have to do with grammar and punctuation, but if the book was "translated by the power of God", and "the most correct of any book", these errors should not have occurred–Smith's lack of education should not have had an effect on the book. Furthermore, some changes correspond in a change of doctrine or facts. In Mosiah 21:28 (p. 200 in original), "king Benjamin" is replaced with "king Mosiah", probably because according to chronology (Mosiah 6:3-7; 7:1), Benjamin should have probably been dead. 2 Nephi 30:6 used to read that the Nephites would become "white [caucasian] and delightsome", but now it reads, "pure and delightsome".
The Book of Mormon is also host to numerous geographical, logical, and historical errors. History nowhere records a river in Arabia emptying in the Red Sea (1 Nephi 2:8). Bees were brought over after the European discovery of America–they were not there before the time of Christ (Ether 2:3). Steel was not used in America before the time of Columbus (1 Nephi 16:18), although gold, silver, and copper were. "Adieu" is a French term (Jacob 7:27), while "methought" is a middle English term (1 Nephi 8:4) Alma 7:10 said that Jesus was born in Jerusalem, but he was actually born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4). Alma 46:15 says that the term "Christian" was first used before the time of Christ, but Acts 11:26 said that the term "Christian" was first used in Antioch after the ascension of Christ. The Sermon on the Mount, given in both the Bible and Book of Mormon, was given in response to the Pharisees, but the Nephites, who received the same sermon, left Palestine and came to the New World four centuries before the party of the Pharisees was started. The phrase "you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy" (3 Nephi 12:43) did not come from the Old Testament, but was a saying of the Pharisees. And in Ether 15:30-31, after his head was cut off, Shiz gasped for air.