Arguments Against Denver Snuffer (Part II)

This article is a response to Denver Snuffer Jr.’s talk entitled “Other Sheep Indeed” presented at the Salt Lake City Sunstone Symposium (2017, click here for full article). Snuffer argues that the LDS church’s doctrine is incomplete and that the way to receive the full truth of the gospel is to seek out other religions and see if they have truths to add to our own. Since Snuffer makes many arguments in his talk, I find it best to respond to some of his quotes individually:

Snuffer Quotes #1:

  • “The “keystone” of Mormonism is the Book of Mormon. That book alerts its readers that there are many others from vastly different places with vastly different scriptures who are nonetheless Christ’s sheep. Book of Mormon readers are expected to search for, welcome and learn from them. In contrast, institutional Mormonism of all stripes confine trustworthy new religious ideas to their authorized leaders. Early in the text we learn that our faith, like our scriptures, is unfinished, and to anticipate a flood of additional sacred texts to help remove our ignorance.”
  • “What if the “fullness of the mysteries of God” have been scattered, like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, worldwide among remnants of believers who have received truths in different times and places?” (p. 21)

Response: Throughout the talk, Snuffer makes several assertions that are not found anywhere in the Book of Mormon. He says that there are many other people who have written God’s word. That is true. Mormons believe that and we believe that these writings will be revealed to us in the last days (2 Nephi 29:11-13/3 Nephi 16:1-3). We do not believe, however, that the truth has been scattered across many religions and it’s each individual member’s job to go out and find other religions and see if they have additional truth. Neither is it true that these scriptures which will be revealed are “vastly different” than what we have now. Quite the opposite. The Lord said “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” (2 Nephi 29:8). In other words, the purpose of the “flood of additional sacred texts” is to show that God speaks the same words to all nations who hear his voice. The prophesied texts will serve to support the doctrine of the Book of Mormon and the Bible, not “remove our ignorance” by providing some completely new doctrine we did not anticipate.

He also says that we “are expected to search for, welcome and learn from them” (or other religious texts, regardless of whether they teach the doctrine of Christ). I agree that we should learn about other religions. I myself have read the Koran in its entirety. However, not once did Christ ever say “put down the scriptures and find truths in other religions.” On the contrary, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the creator of Heaven and Earth and all that in them is, commanded the Nephites and the readers of the Book of Mormon not to look for more scriptures, but instead search and feast upon the words of the prophets that they already had:

  • “And now, behold, I say unto you, that ye ought to search these things. Yea, a commandment I give unto you that ye search these things diligently; for great are the words of Isaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1)
  • “And whosoever will hearken unto my words and repenteth and is baptized, the same shall be saved. Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things” (3 Nephi 23:5)
  • “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3)

Snuffer Quote #2:

  • “Why aren’t people from around the world eager to teach Mormons? What would it be like if Mormons sent out missionaries to inquire if others had any great truths to share with us?” (p. 11)

 

Response: Missionaries should be respectful of other religions and be willing to listen to other people, but the reason why we don’t send out missionaries “to inquire if others had any great truths to share with us” is because Christ commanded us to follow his gospel as contained in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and to preach it to all the world.

  • “For behold, thus said Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto his disciples who should tarry, yea, and also to all his disciples, in the hearing of the multitude: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mormon 9:22-23)
  • “And now it came to pass that when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written, he commanded them that they should teach the things which he had expounded unto them” (3 Nephi 23:14)

Snuffer Quotes #3:

  • Mormonism announced in its founding book of scripture that it is an incomplete, markedly unfinished religion searching for more truth to achieve its destiny” (p. 1)
  • Mormonism is only a “starter” religion based on an incipient planting by the Gods. It remains wanting. We Mormons should be people of wit and religion, willing to consider and value all truth from whatever source it springs. The greatness of Mormonism has not been realized in any of its past, and those who have managed to profit from organizing institutions based on its mere beginning are threatened by the idea that there is yet much more to be added” (p. 28)

Response: Once again, Snuffer makes claims that just aren’t true. Yes, Mormons believe that we will receive more words of the Lord such as the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon (Ether 3:27). However, we believe that the Book of Mormon and other standard works provide the Gospel of Christ necessary for salvation.

  • Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me” (3 Nephi 27:13)
  • “Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life. And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ (2 Nephi 31:20)
  • “I must speak concerning the doctrine of Christ…Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel” (2 Nephi 31:2, 13)
  • “Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3)
  • “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock…Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth” (3 Nephi 11:39-41)

Snuffer Quote #4

  • “Institutional forms of Mormonism want to claim that God has finished His work for our day and given His authority to a select group of professional clergy. Their jealousy and envy keep them out of the kingdom, and those under their control are prevented from entering God’s kingdom. What an odd outcome this is for institutional Mormonism when the religion was founded on the relentless search for truth, anywhere it may be found.”

Response: The LDS church/religion is not “founded upon the relentless search for truth, anywhere it may be found.” Nowhere does the Book of Mormon say this. Yes, it is important for us to learn as much as we can about the world. If we find truth in other places, then yes, we should accept it. The LDS religion is founded upon the gospel of Jesus Christ; not on the aimless searching for other truths when the plainness of the gospel of Christ is right in front of you.

  • “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock…Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth” (3 Nephi 11:39-41)
  • “But if it be called by my name then it is my church, if it so be that they are built upon my gospel” (3 Nephi 27:8)

The Lesser Portion of the Word

Snuffer criticizes members of the LDS church for being prideful because they do not learn from other religions to see what hidden truths they hold that we do not have. He bases this on scriptures that say there are other books written that will eventually come forth (1 Nephi 13:39-42/2 Nephi 29:11-13/3 Nephi 16:1-3). The fact that they haven’t yet come forth must mean that the LDS church is wicked.

Snuffer likens the LDS church to the people of Ammonihah when Alma said:

  • he that will harden his heart, the same receiveth the lesser portion of the word; and he that will not harden his heart, to him is given the greater portion of the word, until it is given unto him to know the mysteries of God until he know them in full. And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil…” (Alma 12:10-11).

Snuffer makes a false equivalency between the people of Ammonihah not obeying the commandments and the LDS church not adopting Buddhist texts as canon. Alma is not advocating that the people of Ammonihah travel to the ends of the earth to read all other sacred texts and try to piece together all the lost truths of the gospel. He is advocating that they follow the commandments of God as found in the Holy Scriptures.

Snuffer compares the LDS church to the people of Ammonihah, but I think a more accurate comparison is to liken Snuffer to the Jews in Jerusalem, whom Jacob criticizes in Jacob 4:13-14:

  • These things are manifested unto us plainly, for the salvation of our souls. But behold, we are not witnesses alone in these things; for God also spake them unto prophets of old. But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble”

Snuffer and his followers are not satisfied with the revelations and scriptures they have been given. They want God to give them more and they want to receive these promised scriptures on their own time table. Because they cannot see the plainness of the gospel in front of them, they are looking beyond the mark and will receive the lesser portion of the word.

 

A Sample of Biblical Motifs in the Book of Mormon (Part II)

The following is a list of Biblical motifs and phrases found in the Book of Mormon.

  1. If you do not preach, the blood of the wicked will be on you (Jacob1:19)/(Ezekiel 3:18-20)
  2. Set a mark on their foreheads (Alma 3:18)/(Ezekiel 9:4)
  3. Genealogies written in books (1 Nephi 5:14)/(1 Chronicles 9:1)
  4. The tribe of Manasseh lives in Jerusalem (Alma 10:3)/(1 Chronicles 9:3)
  5. Make it after the pattern shown thee in the mount (1 Nephi 17:7-8)/(Exodus 25:40)/(Hebrews 8:5)
  6. White as snow (1 Nephi 11:8)/(Mark 9:3)/(Isaiah 1:18)
  7. True and living God (Alma 11:27)/(Jeremiah 10:10)
  8. They are the gods among us (Alma 18:4)/(Acts 14:11)
  9. 3 days of darkness/vapor of darkness (3 Nephi 8:20/10:10)/(Exodus 10:21-23)
  10. Land will be desolate (Alma 22:30)/(Jeremiah 6:8)
  11. Child of hell/devil (Alma 11:23)/(Acts 13:10)
  12. Seen and heard (Mormon 1:1)/(Acts 4:20)
  13. Spirit which giveth utterance (2 Nephi 28:4)/(Acts 2:4)
  14. Bond and free, male and female (Alma 11:44)/(Galatians 3:28)
  15. With our might (Mormon 2:4)/(Ecclesiastes 9:10)
  16. Taste of the goodness of the Lord (Mormon 1:15)/(Psalm 34:8)
  17. As dung on the face of the earth (Mormon 2:15)/(Jeremiah 8:2)
  18. Perverted the way (2 Nephi 28:15)/(Jeremiah 3:21)
  19. Burst their bands (1 Nephi 7:17)/(Jeremiah 2:20)
  20. 4th Generation (2 Nephi 26:9)/(Genesis 15:16)
  21. Built an altar to the Lord (1 Nephi 2:7)/(Genesis 8:20)
  22. My Spirit shall not always strive with man (2 Nephi 26:11)/(Genesis 6:3)
  23. Cursed is the land for your sakes (Mormon 1:17)/(Genesis 3:17)
  24. Be as gods, knowing good and evil (2 Nephi 2:18)/(Genesis 3:4)
  25. Stars in the firmament (1 Nephi 1:10)/(Genesis 3:4)
  26. Type and a shadow (Mosiah 13:10)/(Hebrews 8:5)
  27. No hair of the head will be lost (Alma 40:23)/(Acts 27:34)
  28. Swallowed up (2 Nephi 26:5)/(Lamentations 2:2)
  29. Blot out their name (Mosiah 5:11)/(Deuteronomy 9:14)
  30. Prophet given a book to read (1 Nephi 1:11-12)/(Ezekiel 2:8-9)
  31. Jerusalem, I have seen thy abominations (1 Nephi 1:13)/(Ezekiel 8:6)
  32. Left hand of God (Mosiah 5:10)/(Matthew 25:23)
  33. Same yesterday, today, and forever (2 Nephi 2:4)/(Hebrews 13:8)
  34. Sins which easily beset me (2 Nephi 4:18)/(Hebrews 12:1)
  35. Armor of righteousness (2 Nephi 1:23)/(II Corinthians 6:7)
  36. God cannot lie (Enos 1:6)/(Hebrews 6:18)
  37. Fight a good fight/warfare (Alma 1:1)/(I Timothy 6:12)
  38. Trump of God (Alma 29:1)/(I Thessalonians 4:16)
  39. Every knee shall bow (Mosiah 27:31)/(Philippians 2:10-11)
  40. Fiery darts (1 Nephi 15:24)/(Ephesians 6:16)
  41. Awake from deep sleep (2 Nephi 25:2)/(Ephesians 5:14)
  42. Ye were past feeling (1 Nephi 17:25)/(Ephesians 4:19)
  43. Works of darkness (2 Nephi 1:13)/(Ephesians 5:14)
  44. According to his will and pleasure (Jacob 5:14)/(Ephesians 1:5)
  45. Strength in weakness (Ether 12:26-27)/(II Corinthians 12:9-10)
  46. Whether they be good or evil (Mosiah 3:24)/(II Corinthians 5:10)
  47. Gone out of the way (2 Nephi 28:11)/(Hebrews 5:2)
  48. Writing on wall written by the finger of God (Alma 10:2)/(Daniel 5:5)
  49. Called with a holy calling (Alma 13:3)/(II Timothy 1:9)
  50. Water my couch/pillow with tears (2 Nephi 33:3)/(Psalm 6:6)
  51. Judgments and statutes of the law (2 Nephi 5:10)/(Deuteronomy 4:8)
  52. Trial of your faith (Ether 12:6)/(I Peter 1:7)
  53. Stir you up to remembrance (1 Nephi 2:24)/(II Peter 3:1)
  54. Pollutions (Mormon 8:31)/(Jeremiah 3:2)
  55. Elements will melt with fervent heat (Mormon 9:2)/(II Peter 3:12)
  56. Everlasting chains (2 Nephi 28:19)/(Jude 1:6)
  57. Fell as though he was dead (Alma 22:18)/(Revelation 1:17)
  58. As a scroll rolled together (Mormon 9:2)/(Revelation 6:14)
  59. Rocks and mountains fall on us to hide us from the Lord (Alma 12:14)/(Revelation 6:16)/(Hosea 10:8)
  60. The harvest is ripe (Alma 26:5)/(Revelation 14:15)
  61. Make my path straight before me (2 Nephi 4:33)/(Psalm 5:8)
  62. Bow of steel (1 Nephi 16:18)/(Psalm 18:34)
  63. Grievous to be borne (Mosiah 7:23)/(Matthew 23:4)
  64. The residue of men (Moroni 7:32)/(Acts 15:17)
  65. Lord will hide your sins from his face (3 Nephi 9:5)/(Psalm 51:9)
  66. Gates of righteousness (2 Nephi 4:32)/(Psalm 118:19)
  67. Fill up the garners (Alma 26:5)/(Psalm 144:13)
  68. Apply your heart to understanding; be wise (Mosiah 12:27)/(Proverbs 2:2)
  69. Cords of sin (2 Nephi 26:22)/(Proverbs 5:22)
  70. Ordained elders in the church (Alma 6:1)/(Acts 14:23)

Scriptural References to Events of the Allegory of the Olive Tree

The following is a list of metaphorical and linguistic references in the Bible that can be compared to Chapter 5 of the Book of Jacob (The Book of Mormon), commonly referred to as the “Allegory of the Olive Tree.” This list is meant to illustrate to the reader the vastness of the allegory and how it is deeply rooted in Old Testament and New Testament prophecies.

  1. The Jews Will Reject the Cornerstone
  • Jacob 4:15-16 = “by the stumbling of the Jews they will reject the stone upon which they might build and have safe foundation. But behold, according to the scriptures, this stone shall become the great, and the last, and the only sure foundation, upon which the Jews can build.”
  • Matthew 21:42 = “Did ye never read the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?”
  • Psalm 118:22 = “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes”

2. The Vineyard of the Lord

  • Jacob 5:3 = “I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.”
  • Isaiah 5:7 = “For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant”
  • Jeremiah 12:10 = “Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot…”
  • Matt 20:1 = “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard
  • Luke 20:9 = “Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time”

3. The House of Israel is an Olive Tree

  • Jacob 5:3 = “For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree
  • Romans 11:24 = “For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree…”
  • Psalm 52:8 = “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God”
  • Jeremiah 11:16-17 = “The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For the Lord of hosts, that planted thee, hath pronounced evil against thee”

4. Pruning, Digging, and Nourishing

  • Jacob 5:4,64 = “he saw that his olive tree began to decay; and he said: I will prune it, and dig about it, and nourish it, that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not…dig about them, and prune them, and dung them once more”
  • Luke 13:8 = “And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it
  • Isaiah 5:6 = “And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns”

5. Shoot Forth Branches

  • Jacob 5:4 = “that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not.”
  • Luke 21:29-30 = “Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand”
  • Ezekiel 17:6 = “so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs
  • Ezekiel 36:8 = “But ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel; for they are at hand to come”
  • Isaiah 27:6,8 = “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit…In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind”

6. Young and Tender Branches

  • Jacob 5:4,6 = “that perhaps it may shoot forth young and tender branches, and it perish not…And it came to pass that after many days it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches”
  • Matt 24:32 = “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh”
  • Ezekiel 17:3-4 = “and took the highest branch of the cedar: He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick”
  • Ezekiel 17:22 = “Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent”
  • 1 Chronicles 29:1 = “Solomon my son, whom alone God hath chosen, is yet young and tender, and the work is great…”
  • 1 Chronicles 22:1 = “Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical…”

7. Wild Olive Branches Grafted into the Tame Olive Tree

  • Jacob 5:7,9 = “It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, go and pluck the branches from a wild olive tree, and bring them hither unto me…Take thou the branches of the wild olive tree, and graft them in, in the stead thereof”
  • Matt 21:43 = “The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof”
  • Romans 11:17,24 = “And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree…For thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree”

8. The Main Top Begins to Perish and Will be Destroyed

  • Jacob 5:6-7 = “it began to put forth somewhat a little, young and tender branches; but behold, the main top thereof began to perish…we will pluck off those main branches which are beginning to wither away, and we will cast them into the fire that they may be burned
  • Jeremiah 2:21 = “Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?
  • Jeremiah 19:15/20:4 = “I will bring upon this city and upon all her towns all the evil that I have pronounced against it, because they have hardened their necks, that they might not hear my words…and I will give all Judah into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall carry them captive into Babylon, and shall slay them with the sword

9. Cumber the Ground of the Vineyard

  • Jacob 5:9 = “these which I have plucked off I will cast into the fire and burn them, that they may not cumber the ground of my vineyard.
  • Luke 13:7 = “Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

10. Corrupt Trees Bring Evil Fruit

  • Jacob 5:38-39 = “Let us go down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard, and behold if the natural branches have also brought forth evil fruit the fruit of the natural branches had become corrupt also; yea, the first and the second and also the last; and they had all become corrupt.
  • “Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit…Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matt 7:17,19)

11. Roots of the Tree

  • Jacob 5:11,34 = “It grieveth me that I should lose this tree; wherefore, that perhaps I might preserve the roots thereof that they perish not, that I might preserve them unto myself, I have done this thing… I know that the roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them; and because of their much strength they have hitherto brought forth, from the wild branches, good fruit.”
  • Romans 11:16-18 = “and if the root be holy, so are the branches…and thou…wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree…but if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee

12. Let the Good and the Bad Grow Together

  • Jacob 5:65 = “And as they begin to grow ye shall clear away the branches which bring forth bitter fruit, according to the strength of the good and the size thereof; and ye shall not clear away the bad thereof all at once, lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the trees of my vineyard.”
  • Matt 13:30 = “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn”

13. What More Could I Have Done for my Vineyard?

  • Jacob 5:40-41 = “And the wild fruit of the last had overcome that part of the tree which brought forth good fruit, even that the branch had withered away and died. And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?
  • Isaiah 5:3-4 = “And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?”

14. Stretched forth my hand all the day long

  • Jacob 5:47 = “Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh.”
  • Isaiah 65:2 = “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts.”
  • Romans 10:20-21 = “But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people

15. Laborers are Few

  • Jacob 5:70 = “And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants; and they were few.”
  • Matt 9:37 = “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his vineyard

16. Graft the First Last, and the Last First

  • Jacob 5:63 = “Graft in the branches; begin at the last that they may be first, and that the first may be last, and dig about the trees, both old and young, the first and the last; and the last and the first, that all may be nourished once again for the last time.”
  • Matt 20:8 = “So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (see also Matt 19:30/Mark 10:31/Luke 13:30)

17. Planted in Good Soil

  • Jacob 5:43 = “And behold this last, whose branch hath withered away, I did plant in a good spot of ground; yea, even that which was choice unto me above all other parts of the land of my vineyard.”
  • Ezekiel 17:8 = “It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine”

18. Spare it a Little Longer

  • Jacob 5:49-51 =  “Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard? But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer. And the Lord said: Yea, I will spare it a little longer, for it grieveth me that I should lose the trees of my vineyard.”
  • Psalm 106:23 = “Therefore he said that he would destroy them, had not Moses his chosen stood before him in the breach, to turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them
  • Luke 13:7-9 = “I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down

19. Who has corrupted my vineyard?

  • Jacob 5:47 = “And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?
  • Matt 13:24-26,28 = “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also…He said unto them, An enemy hath done this

20. Loftiness of the Trees

  • Jacob 5:48 = “Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?”
  • Isaiah 2:12,17 = “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low…And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low”
  • Ezekiel 31:10-11 = (Note: This is a prophecy referring to the fall of Egypt. However, the metaphor is similar to that in Jacob 5) “Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness”

21. The Lord Will Gather His People Again

  • Jacob 5:67-68 = “And the branches of the natural tree will I graft in again into the natural tree; And the branches of the natural tree will I graft into the natural branches of the tree; and thus will I bring them together again, that they shall bring forth the natural fruit, and they shall be one.”
  • Isaiah 11:11-12 = “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people…and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth”

22. Satan Will Be Bound But Will Return for a Short Time

  • Jacob 5:76-7 = “For behold, for a long time will I lay up of the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season, which speedily cometh…And when the time cometh that evil fruit shall again come into my vineyard, then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered…and my vineyard will I cause to be burned with fire.”
  • Revelation 20:2-3 = “And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season” (Revelation 20:2-3)

23. Good and Evil Will Be Separated in the Last Days

  • Jacob 5:77 = “then will I cause the good and the bad to be gathered; and the good will I preserve unto myself, and the bad will I cast away into its own place. And then cometh the season and the end”
  • Matt 25:32 = “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats

Unique Language of the Prophet Zenos

The prophet Nephi recounts the prophecies of several prophets whose words are said to be written on the plates of brass but are not contained in the Bible. Such prophets mentioned in the Book of Mormon but not found in the Bible include Zenock, Neum, and Zenos (1 Nephi 19:10). The prophet Zenos is the most quoted of all the prophets whose words are contained exclusively on the plates of brass. It is unknown when the prophet Zenos was supposed to have existed, except that we know he existed before 600 A.D., when Lehi and his family departed from the land of Jerusalem.

If the prophet Zenos existed before Lehi left Jerusalem, and his words were written according to the traditions and language of the Jews, then it would make sense for his language to be somewhat unique compared to the rest of the Book of Mormon. For instance, a casual reader will notice a stark difference in the style of Isaiah’s prophecies quoted in the Book of Mormon compared to the words of Nephi, Jacob, or Mormon. These differences may be the result of the Nephites writing in a language other than Hebrew (assuming Zenos wrote in Hebrew), the natural change of language over the progression of time, or simply the difference in style between authors. Differences in the language used by the prophet Zenos compared to other Book of Mormon prophets are almost as apparent as the differences as between Isaiah and Book of Mormon Prophets.

A phrase used liberally throughout the Book of Mormon refers to people “hardening their hearts” against God and his commandments. This phrase is used consistently and with more frequency in the Book of Mormon compared to the rest of the Bible (this was discovered by searching “hard heart(s),” “harden(ing) heart(s)” in the scriptures section of lds.org/scriptures, which revealed 62 instances of the phrase in the Book of Mormon, 28 instances in the Old Testament, and 6 in the New Testament. It should be noted that these results are dependent upon the accuracy of the websites search engine). Below are some examples of the phrase in the Book of Mormon:

  • “Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned” (Alma 12:10).
  • “Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God.” (1 Nephi 14:6).
  • “And I did cry unto this people, but it was in vain; and they did not realize that it was the Lord that had spared them, and granted unto them a chance for repentance. And behold they did harden their hearts against the Lord their God.” (Mormon 3:3)

The phrase is also common in the Bible, with the phrase appearing in both the Old and New Testaments, as found in the following examples:

  • “And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, he refuseth to let the people go.” (Exodus 7:14)
  • “And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.” (Exodus 7:22)
  • “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.” (Exodus 10:20)
  • “Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? when he had wrought wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed?” (1 Samuel 6:6)

What is interesting is that when Nephi quotes Zenos prophesying about the gathering of Israel and the crucifixion of Christ, Zenos does not use the phrase “harden their hearts” when describing the wickedness of the House of Israel (1 Nephi 19:13-15). Instead, he uses the phrase “turn their hearts aside” or “turn aside their hearts against.” Below are examples of the writings of Zenos taken from 1 Nephi 19:

  • “they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God of Israel.” (1 Nephi 19:13)
  • “And because they turn their hearts aside, saith the prophet, and have despised the Holy One of Israel, they shall wander in the flesh, and perish…” (1 Nephi 19:14)
  • “Nevertheless, when that day cometh, saith the prophet, that they no more turn aside their hearts against the Holy One of Israel, then will he remember the covenants which he made to their fathers.” (1 Nephi 19:15).

This phrase is unique to this particular section of the Book of Mormon. According to a “lds.org/scripture” search and my personal reading, never is the phrase “turn their hearts aside” or similar renditions used in the Book of Mormon. It should also be noted that Nephi uses the phrase “harden their hearts” two chapters before quoting Zenos (1 Nephi 17:42), and three chapters afterward (1 Nephi 22:5). Similar renditions of the phrase “turn their hearts aside“, however, are found in the Old Testament (but not the New Testament, with exception of the phrase “have turned aside unto vain jangling” in 1 Timothy 1:6 and “for some are already turned aside after Satan” in 1 Timothy 5:15), such as in the following examples:

  • “Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them” (Deuteronomy 11:16)
  • “He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:20)
  • “And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart…” (1 Samuel 12:20)
  • “That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:20)
  • “And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image.” (Deuteronomy 9:12)

If Zenos existed before 600 A.D., then it would make sense he would use language similar to those who wrote in the Old Testament. It also makes sense that if Zenos did exist, that his language would differ somewhat from the language of other Book of Mormon prophets. What makes this information significant is that it is entirely unique to Zenos in the Book of Mormon, and accurately reflects the language used in the times in which he would have written his prophecies.

(SIDE NOTE) While I am not sure of its significance, here is some additional information on the phrase “turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” The following is a common phrase used in the Old Testament which is not found in the New Testament nor anywhere else in the Book of Mormon, except in Alma 24 (please remember that all of this information is based on the accuracy of the “lds.org/scripture” search engine):

  • “Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword” (Alma 24:23)
  • “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:2)
  • “And Abner said to him, Turn thee aside to thy right hand or to thy left, and lay thee hold on one of the young men, and take thee his armour. But Asahel would not turn aside from following of him.” (2 Samuel 2:21)
  • “Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left” (Joshua 23:6)
  • “And the kine took the straight way to the way of Beth-shemesh, and went along the highway, lowing as they went, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them unto the border of Beth-shemesh.” (1 Samuel 6:12)
  • “That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.” (Deuteronomy 17:20)

An Argument in Favor of the Divinity of the Book of Mormon Translation (Part I)

The following is an examination of the hypothesis that Joseph Smith was able to produce the Book of Mormon by dictating it to his scribes by either making it up as he went along, or by using an outline (which all witnesses say Joseph never had). It is hypothesized that if he were able to use a story outline to produce the Book of Mormon (while hiding it from his translators), then the production of the Book of Mormon would be a plausible undertaking. In this post and in subsequent posts, I will attempt to prove this hypothesis false, and in turn giving greater support for the veracity of the Book of Mormon as a divine translation of an ancient record. For Part 1 of this examination, I will look at how the complex meta-narrative makes it unlikely that Joseph dictated the Book of Mormon from his memory, beginning his dictation with the Book of Mosiah after having lost the 116 original first pages of the manuscript (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705384845/Scholars-Corner-The-stolen-chapters-of-Mosiah.html?pg=all). In future posts, I will add upon this first post by suggesting that additional outlines needed for individual books and chapters of the Book of Mormon suggest a level of complexity that is not characteristic of a fraudulent record dictated to scribes without the use of manuscripts.

1. The use of a meta-outline: After Joseph Smith and Martin Harris had the first 116 pages of the original manuscript stolen from them, it is believed by both members of the LDS faith and most critics alike that Joseph Smith resumed his translation from the Book of Mosiah, rather than going back and translating the story from the beginning with 1 Nephi (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/705384845/Scholars-Corner-The-stolen-chapters-of-Mosiah.html?pg=all). No doubt it would have been easier for Joseph to go back and rewrite the story from the beginning, especially since the events of the Book of Lehi would have been fresh in his mind. However, it seems that if Joseph did invent the Book of Mormon, then he performed the translation in the most difficult fashion possible by writing the rest of the Book of Mormon from the Book of Mosiah and back-referencing specific events that happened earlier in the narrative. Here are several examples of references from the latter half of the Book of Mormon (Mosiah-Moroni), referencing events in the first half of the Book of Mormon (1st Nephi-Words of Mormon) that had not yet been written. The number and detail of the references suggest that Joseph did not use his memory from what he translated of the 116 pages to reference in the latter half of the Book of Mormon, and providing detailed enough outlines would have been difficult to both produce and hide from his scribes.

a) THE VISION OF LEHI AND ALMA: Since Alma 36 was written by Joseph and Oliver before 1 Nephi 1, it would be unusual to have Joseph have Alma reference an exact quote from the prophet Lehi found in 1 Nephi 1 had Joseph Smith dictated the Book of Mormon. Alma, however, in telling the story of his repentance, makes a specific reference to 1 Nephi 1.

Alma states: “Yea, methought I saw, even as our father Lehi saw, God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels, in the attitude of singing and praising their God; yea, and my soul to long to be there” (Alma 36:22).

Nephi, in abridging the account of his father Lehi, states: “And being thus overcome with the Spirit, he was carried away in a vision, even that he saw the heavens open, and he thought he saw God sitting upon his throne, surrounded with numberless concourses of angels in the attitude of singing and praising their God” (1 Nephi 1:8).

These two quotes are found nearly 234 pages apart if compared chronologically to the times they were translated.

b) THE PROPHECY OF THE BRASS PLATES: The content of the brass plates, as well as the prophecies surrounding their purpose are consistently found throughout the Book of Mormon. The prophet Alma references the prophecies made surrounding the purpose and the preservation of the brass plates found in material that was not translated by Joseph until after he had already referenced it:

Nephi states: “And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers” (1 Nephi 5:14)

And these plates of brass, which contain these engravings, which have the records of the holy scriptures upon them, which have the genealogy of our forefathers, even from the beginning” (Alma 37:3).

And now when my father saw all these things, he was filled with the Spirit, and began to prophesy concerning his seed-That these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people who were of his seed”  (1 Nephi 5:17-18)

Behold, it has been prophesied by our fathers, that they should be kept and handed down from one generation to another, and be kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord until they should go forth unto every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, that they shall know of the mysteries contained thereon” (Alma 37:4)

Wherefore, he said that these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed any more by time” (1 Nephi 5:19)

And now behold, if they are kept they must retain their brightness; yea, and also shall all the plates which do contain that which is holy writ” (Alma 37:35)

c) THE LIAHONA: Here is sacred object that was used by Lehi and his family to navigate the more fertile parts of the wilderness while they traveled from Jerusalem to the promised land. It is also interesting to note that the term “Liahona” is never used to name the “ball, or director” until Alma 37:38. The passage suggests that the word Liahona means compass. The language by this time may have been significantly altered by the Nephites, so Alma needs to clarify that the word “compass” was different to Lehi (between 600 B.C. and 580 B.C.) than it was to the people during Alma’s time (73 B.C.)

And it came to pass that as my father arose in the morning, and went forth to the tent door, to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship; and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness” (1 Nephi 16:10)

And behold, there cannot any man work after the manner of so curious a workmanship. And behold, it was prepared to show unto our fathers the course which they should travel in the wilderness” (Alma 37:39)

And now, my son, I have somewhat to say concerning the thing which our fathers call a ball, or director-or our fathers called it Liahona, which is, being interpreted, a compass; and the Lord prepared it” (Alma 37:38)

And it came to pass that after they had bound me insomuch that I could not move, the compass, which had been prepared of the Lord, did cease to work” (1 Nephi 18:12)

And the ball or director, which led our fathers through the wilderness, which was prepared by he hand of the Lord that thereby they might be led, every one according to the heed and diligence which they gave unto him” (Mosiah 1:16)

And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the pointers which were in the ball, that they did work according to the faith and diligence and heed which we did give unto them” (1 Nephi 16:28)

d) CORIANTUMR AND THE BOOK OF ETHER:

The following are references to characters, events and prophecies found in the first half of the Book of Mormon (The Book of Omni) that were mentioned in the latter-half of the Book of Mormon (the Book of Ether).

And it came to pass in the days of Mosiah, there was a large stone brought unto him with engravings on it; and he did interpret the engravings by the gift and power of God. And they gave an account of one Coriantumr, and the slain of his people. And Coriantumr was discovered by the people of Zarahemla; and he dwelt with them for the space of nine moons. It also spake a few words concerning his fathers. And his first parents came out from the tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people; and the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward” (Omni 1:20-22)

Otherwise they should be destroyed, and all his household save it were himself. And he should only live to see the fulfilling of the prophecies which had been spoken concerning another people receiving the land for their inheritance; and Coriantumr should receive a burial by them; and every soul should be destroyed save it were Coriantumr” (Ether 13:21)

e) ZORAM (AND ZORAMITES, JACOBITES, JOSEPHITES): References to the origin of Zoram as well as the use of the name “Zoramites,” “Josephites”, etc.

I am Ammoron, and a descendant of Zoram, whom your fathers pressed and brought out of Jerusalem” (Alma 54:23)

And it came to pass that Zoram did take courage at the words which I spake. Now Zoram was the name of the servant; and he promised that he would go down into the wilderness unto our father. Yea, and he also made an oath unto us that he would tarry with us from that time forth” (1 Nephi 4:35)

Therefore the true believers in Christ, and the true worshipers of Christ, (among whom were the three disciples of Jesus who should tarry) were called Nephites, and Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites” (4 Nephi 1:37)

And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites…” (4 Nephi 1:39)

Now the people which were not Lamanites were Nephites; nevertheless, they were called Nephites, Jacobites, Josephites, Zoramites, Lamanites, Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites” (Jacob 1:13)

f) THE SWORD OF LAMAN: Another object that is mentioned briefly in the latter half of the Book of Mormon, but then has its origin revealed in the first half, which was translated last.

And I, Nephi, did take the sword of Laban, and after the manner of it did make many swords, lest by any means the people who were now called Lamanites should come upon us and destroy us” (2 Nephi 5:14)

and also the plates of Nephi: and also, the sword of Laban, and the ball or director…” (Mosiah 1:16)

g) ZARAHEMLA AND THE MULEKITES: There is a lot of significant material found in the following passages. First, the people of Mosiah, upon fleeing from the land of Nephi, find the people of Zarahemla, who were descendants of Mulek, a son of King Zedekiah. These people lived northward of the original landing of Lehi. There is remarkable consistency found throughout the Book of Mormon of the identity of the people of Zarahemla, the identity of Mulek, and the location of which they landed.

and they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla. And they discovered a people, who were called the people of Zarahemla…Behold, it came to pass that Mosiah discovered that the people of Zarahemla came out from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon” (Omni 1:13-15)

My son, I would that ye should make a proclamation throughout all this land among all this people, or the people of Zarahemla, and the people of Mosiah who dwell in the land, that thereby they may be gathered together…” (Mosiah 1:10)

Now there were not so many of the children of Nephi, or so many of those that were descendants of Nephi, as there were of the people of Zarahemla, who was a descendant of Mulek, and those who came with him into the wilderness” (Mosiah 25:2)

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of who bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing” (Alma 22:30)

Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land north was callled Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah, for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south” (Helaman 6:10)

And now will you dispute that Jerusalem was destroyed? Will ye say that the sons of Zedekiah were not slain, all except it were Mulek? Yea, and do ye not behold that the seed of Zedekiah are with us, and they were driven out of the land of Jerusalem?” (Helaman 8:21)

h) GEOGRAPHY: It is remarkable that the geography of the Book of Mormon is so well-established, especially since the initial translation of the latter half of the Book of Mormon (Book of Mosiah) begins after the Nephites have already left the land of Nephi and merged with those of the land of Zarahemla, which was northward. In Mosiah 7 the people decide to travel back to the land of Nephi to see what happened to those who traveled there under the command of Zeniff.

Land of Nephi:

And my people would that we should call the name of the place Nephi; wherefore, we did call it Nephi” (2 Nephi 5:8, after separating from the Lamanites)

“Mosiah, who was made king over the land of Zarahemla; for behold, he being warned of the Lord that he should flee out of the land of Nephi, and as many as would hearken unto the voice of the Lord…“(Omni 1:12)

And Ammon took three of his brethren, and their names were Amaleki, Helem, and Hem, and they went down into the land of Nephi” (Mosiah 7:6)

Land of Zarahemla/Land Northward:

And they were led by the power of his arm, through the wilderness until they came down into the land which is called the land of Zarahemla” (Omni 1:14)

And the severity of the Lord fell upon them according to his judgments, which are just; and their bones lay scattered in the land northward” (Omni 1:22)

And it bordered upon the land which they called Desolation, it being so far northward that it came into the land which had been peopled and been destroyed, of whose bones we have spoken, which was discovered by the people of Zarahemla, it being the place of their first landing” (Alma 22:30)

Now the land south was called Lehi, and the land north was called Mulek, which was after the son of Zedekiah; for the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south” (Helaman 6:10) This may also suggest that the original place of landing by the Nephites was called the Land of Lehi, then after the death of Lehi and the separation of the Nephites and the Lamanites, the people named the land Nephi, after Nephi, their current leader (see Alma 8:7)

i) SEED OF JOSEPH: 

Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob, yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces” (Alma 46:23)

And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of his fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph; yea, even that Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt…” (1 Nephi 5:14)

These are just a few examples of the narrative consistency between the latter portion of the Book of Mormon (Mosiah-Moroni) and the first portion (1 Nephi-Words of Mormon). These suggest a detailed and well-thought narrative was made in order to write the Book of Mormon half-way into the narrative and then back-reference events and quotes that had not yet been written. Of course, I believe that this provides evidence that the Book of Mormon was a divine translation of an ancient record.