Everyday, in countless countries, someone is being introduced to the Book of Mormon. The book of Mormon title already gives to the reader a sense that you are either a Christian or Mormon. Most people to this day still do not consider Mormons to be Christian even though the apex of the book is when Christ visits the loyal members of his church that have migrated to the Americas. I was actually one of the most negative people as far as the idea of one day being a “Mormon”. I remember quite vividly putting my middle finger out to the temples whenever I would visit Utah. I was offered the Book of Mormon by my aunt and due to peer pressure my friend and I threw it away in the trash bin. My friend even asked me if we should burn it! This is where I WAS.
Since 2006, I have noticed all different types of readers who would grab hold of the Book of Mormon. I want to address one of them and since we have three groups I decided to use 3 blind mice to prove the point. I am in no way saying that anyone who reads the Book of Mormon is blind before and now sees after gaining a testimony of the validity of the book. When something is new to us or foreign, I will assume we are blind to what it could mean to us. We also intake all types of information, but it’s our subconscious programming that holds us from seeing something at face value. In that manner, we have blind spots even though we think we see everything clearly. We have our own interpretations and “mind filters” before we engage in any type of interaction. How you were raised, rumors, natural skepticism, and much more baggage arrives with you before you examine anything. Which baggage did I bring ?I brought a whole Samsonite store myself. I feel like most people fall into these categories.
** 1st Mouse ** You refuse to read the Book of Mormon, but you have the audacity to comment on the book like you read it. In fact, you believe the book had to have been fabricated by Joseph Smith Jr. Your beliefs tell you to not even spend the time to read a con-mans book.
** 2nd Mouse ** You have read a few chapters in the book. However, you are missing the most amazing element of adding prayer and asking Heavenly Father if it is true. The Book has a Promise at the end of the book. It is either a book proven to be false or it is truly the Word of God. You Decide.
** 3rd Mouse ** People who are reading and putting the Moroni Promise to the test while reading it. For those who are not familiar with the Book of Mormon promise I will state it below. The missionaries of the church ask you to get your own answer to see if the book is true. It is our spiritual birth-right to know for ourselves.
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
How comforting to know that this is the only church in the world to give such a bold test. If you don’t get an answer from God that this is the true word of God, then Joseph Smith is a Fraud and the Church is a huge scam. On the other hand, if you read humbly and pray to ask for an answer…then get ready!
I wanted to address the people in the first category. You are those who believe this book is a fraudulent book and that Joseph Smith did not TRANSLATE this book with the power of God. First of all, don’t believe my words completely. If you ever want to seek light on this subject, you must be like the 3rd mouse and prayerfully read the book yourself. . But I don’t want to talk to you in spiritual terms. We live in a society where if your spiritual, then you must be deluded. You would probably agree with that statement right? You must have blind faith to actually believe this stuff ( you probably concur with that statement as well) . I want to bring it down to an earthly and logical level. My first question to Mouse #1 would be: Do you know if it is possible to do what Joseph Smith did at the age of 23? If he didn’t translate it through the power of God, then who wrote it?
Let me introduce you to Hugh Nibley. He is one of the greatest scholars of our church and he is considered the Stephen Hawkings of our faith. He was one of the brightest minds of our generation and was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
For those who read this whole challenge he wrote; I have a gift for you at the end of this blog.
The Book of Mormon Challenge by Hugh Nibley
(Lehi in the Desert, in Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, ed. John W. Welch, Darrell L. Matthews, Stephen R. Callister, 13 vols. (1986-94), 5:119).
If one scoffs at the missionary’s explanation of the Book of Mormon, he is in so many words claiming it to be false: That it is a deceiving fraud formulated through the efforts and talents of a common man. What is produced by one man can always be duplicated by another. The challenge that the Book of Mormon makes to the world is that of duplication. Because the book complies with every one of the following conditions, in order to produce a similar record, one must comply with the same condition.
Here is the challenge: Can you accept it?
- Write a history of ancient Tibet covering a period from 600 B.C. to 450 A.D.
Why ancient Tibet? Because you know no more about Tibet than Joseph Smith (or anyone else) knew about ancient America.
- You are 23 years of age.
- You have had no more than three years of formal school education, and have spent your life in backwoods farming communities.
- Your history must be written on the basis of what you now know. There was no library that held information for Joseph Smith. You must use none. There is to be no research of any kind.
- Your history must be 531 pages and over 300,000 words in length.
- Other than a few grammatical corrections, you must have no changes in the text. The first edition as you dictate it to your secretary must stand forever.
- This record is to contain the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
- You must describe their religious, economic, political, and social cultures and institutions. Cover every phase of their society, including the names of their coins.
- Change your style of writing many times. Many ancient authors contributed to the Book of Mormon, each with his own style.
- Weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern of Christian living.
- You must claim that your smooth narrative is not fiction with moral value, but true and sacred history.
- You must include in you book fifty-four chapters dealing with wars, twenty-one historical chapters, fifty-five chapters on visions and prophecies. Remember, when you begin to write visions and prophecies, you must have your record agree meticulously with the Bible. You must write seventy-one chapters on doctrine and exhortation, and you must check every statement with the scriptures or you will be proven a fraud. You must write twenty-one chapters on the ministry of Christ, and every thing you claim he said and every testimony you write in your book about Him must agree absolutely with the New Testament.
- Many of the facts, claims, ideas, and statements given as absolute truth in your writing must be entirely inconsistent with the prevailing beliefs of the world. Some of these worldly beliefs must be the direct opposite of your claims.
- Included in your narrations will be authentic modes of travel; whether or not those ancient people used fire; description of their clothing, crops, mourning customs, and types of government. You must invent about 280 new names that will stand up under scrutiny through the years as to their proper application and derivation.
- You will have to properly use figures of speech, similes, metaphors, narrations, exposition, descriptions, oratory, epic lyric, and parables.
- You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care, and you must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of those eager to prove it a forgery, and who are most competent to expose every flaw in it.
- Thorough investigation, scientific and historical evidence, and archeological discovery for the next 125 years must verify its claims and prove detail after detail to be true, for many of the details you put in your history are still buried beneath the soil of Tibet.
- You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people declaring it to be the word of God and another witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The book must not contain any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements. Your history must not contain any statement that will contradict any other statement elsewhere in the volume.
- Many theories and ideas as to its origin must arise, and after discovering and examining the facts, they must fail. You have claimed that your knowledge had come from divine origin, and this claim continues to stand as the only possible explanation. The strength of this explanation must not decrease as time passes, but actually increases to the point where it becomes the only logical explanation.
- Your record is to fulfill many Bible prophecies, even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom delivered, its purposes, and its accomplishments.
- Call down an angel from heaven in the middle of the day and have him bear testimony to four honest, dignified citizens of your community that the record is the word of God. These witnesses must bear the angel’s testimony to the world, not for profit or gain, but under great sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their death beds. You must put that testimony to the test by becoming an enemy to these men.
- Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, national and international personalities, and scholars for 165 years must accept your history and its teachings even to the point of laying down their life rather than deny their testimony of it.
- You must include with within the record this promise: “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
- Missionaries must bear record to the world for the next 165 years that they know the record to be true because they put the promise to the test and found it to be true. The truth of it was manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
- Over 52,900 plus competent salesman must be so sold on your book that they gladly give up two or more years of their lives to take it to all parts of the world for distribution. They not only pay their own way during these years, but return bearing testimony that the time spent will remain as one of the highlights of their lives. They receive nothing in return for their efforts but the joy of having shared your book with others.
- Your book must not only raise the standards of millions of people but do it in such a way that they become one of the great moral, ethical, and dynamic marvels of the day. They must become world-renowned for this.
- For the next 20 years you must watch those that follow and you, your family, and the dearest of your loved ones persecuted, driven time after time from their homes, beaten, tortured, starved, frozen and killed. Tens of thousands must undergo the most extreme hardships in your presence just because they believe your claims concerning the origin and content of what you have written on ancient Tibet.
- You must gain no wealth from your work, but many times lose all that you have. Like those that believe you, you must submit yourself to the most vile persecution. And finally after 20 years of this, give your own life in a very savage and brutal manner, for your testimony concerning your history book. This must be done willingly on your part.
- Start right now and produce this record which covers 1,000 years of history, doing it, not in the peaceful atmosphere of your community, but under the most trying of circumstances which include being driven from your home several times, and receiving constant threats upon your life. Please have your book completed, talk a friend into mortgaging his farm to raise money to have it printed – all in 60 days.
There is only one answer: The Book of Mormon is a divine record. If not, its origin must be stated and its claims must be explained by the critic. It isn’t enough to merely discard it as false and forget about it! The first thing to do in examining any ancient text is to consider it in the light of the origin and background there is no need to look farther, since historical forgery is virtually impossible.
Mouse Number 1 is now on the witness stand as the Book of Mormon continues to challenge their readers to seek truth from Heaven. If you are a visual person; then you would really appreciate this video. This video sums up the same idea but has a great illustration through images. Which mouse are you? I believe I had three lives where I was the first mouse initially and then I progressed to the 2nd mouse mindset. It took me at least a year to be the third mouse. Whichever mouse you are; Heavenly Father loves you. I would love to hear your feedback on this. Have you heard of this Hugh Nibley challenge? Have you helped anyone go from the first to the third mouse mindset? Do you have a testimony of the Book of Mormon? Share your comments below.