A Closer Look at Some Biblical References Found in the Book of Mormon

The following are some Biblical references found in the Book of Mormon that illustrate the complexity of the Book of Mormon and how subtle Biblical references are masterfully woven into the narrative beyond direct quotes.

  1. Captain of fifty = (Isaiah 3:3)/(1 Nephi 3:31)

This quote from 1 Nephi seems to be a reference to a passage in Isaiah, and yet it is significantly modified to become a subtle part of the Book of Mormon narrative.

  • “How is it possible that the Lord will deliver Laban into our hands? Behold, he is a mighty man, and he can command fifty, yea, even he can slay fifty; then why not us?” (1 Nephi 3:31)
  • The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator” (Isaiah 3:3)

 

  1. Let good and bad grow together = (Jacob 5:65)/(Matt 13:29-30)

The allegory of the olive tree refers to doctrine found in Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares by stating that the Lord’s servants should let both good and bad olives to grow together until the last day. Jesus says that they should let the wheat and tares grow together to prevent ripping out the wheat. Jacob 5 says to let wild and tame fruit grow together so that the roots of the olive tree do not overpower the branches and kill the tame fruit.

  • “But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 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” (Matthew 13:29-30)
  • “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 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” (Jacob 5:65)

 

  1. Jacob/the Nephites have I loved; Esau/the Lamanites have I hated = (Romans 9:13)/(Helaman 15:3-4)/(Malachi 1:2-3)

The author of the Book of Mormon uses the Biblical reference of the Lord hating Esau and loving Jacob but changes the subjects to the Nephites and Lamanites.

  • “They have been a chosen people of the Lord; yea, the people of Nephi hath he loved, and also hath he chastened them…But behold my brethren, the Lamanites hath he hated because their deeds have been evil continually” (Helaman 15:3-4)
  • “yet I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste” (Malachi 1:2-3)
  • “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13)

 

  1. Make it after the pattern shown thee in the mount = (1 Nephi 17:7-8)/(Exodus 25:40)/(Hebrews 8:5)

The Lord tells Nephi to get into the mountain and construct a ship after the manner which was shown to him. This is a reference to Moses who constructed the tabernacle after being shown its construction in the mount.

  • “Arise, and get thee into the mountain…Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee” (1 Nephi 17:7-8)
  • “And look that thou make them after the pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount” (Exodus 25:40)
  • “Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount” (Hebrews 8:5)

 

  1. Man/Nations are nothing; less than nothing/dust (Helaman 12:7)/(Isaiah 40:15-17)

The language has been changed significantly but the reference is nonetheless explicit. This is another example where a doctrine is preached that has been significantly modified by the author of the Book of Mormon but is nonetheless a reference to ancient scripture

  • “O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth” (Helaman 12:7)
  • “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance…All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity” (Isaiah 40:15-17)

 

  1. Setting a mark on their foreheads = (Alma 3:13, 18)/(Ezekiel 9:4)

This is another modified reference where the Lord gives a mark to the righteous on their foreheads, but the wicked Amlicites mark themselves on their foreheads to separate themselves from the righteous.

  • “they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads…Now the Amlicites knew not that they were fulfilling the words of God when they began to mark themselves in their foreheads”
  • “Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof” (Ezekiel 9:4)

 

  1. Not be afraid of tens of thousands = (1 Nephi 4:1)/(Psalm 3:5-6)

David in this Psalm declares that the Lord will protect him and that he will not be afraid of tens of thousands of his enemies. When Laman and Lemuel are fearful because Laban can command fifty men, Nephi subtily references this Psalm by saying that the Lord will protect them from fifty men, and even tens of thousands of men, therefore they should not be afraid.

  • “let us be faithful in keeping the commandments of the Lord; for behold he is mightier than all the earth, then why not mightier than Laban, and his fifty, yea, or even than his tens of thousands” (1 Nephi 4:1)
  • “I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about” (Psalm 3:5-6)

 

  1. Oath and a curse = (Nehemiah 5:13/10:29)/(Alma 46:22)

Various examples of prophets making a symbolic oath which will result in death if they do not fulfill it are found throughout the Bible. The people who choose to follow Captain Moroni into battle make a unique oath and curse by ripping their cloaks and casting them at the feet of Moroni

  • “Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not his promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise” (Nehemiah 5:13)
  • “They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God’s law” (Nehemiah 10:29)
  • “Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression” (Alma 46:22)

 

  1. Curse God and die = (Job 2:9)/(Mormon 2:14)

Job’s wife tells him that he has been cursed by God, so that he might as well curse God and die. Mormon uses similar language to describe the state of his soldiers who cursed God and wished to die but would still fight for their lives.

  • “And they did not come unto Jesus with broken hearts and contrite spirits, but they did curse God, and wish to die. Nevertheless they would struggle with the sword and their lives” (Mormon 2:14)
  • “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die” (Job 2:9)

 

  1. Dwelt in tents = (Judges 8:11)/(Jeremiah 35:7)/(1 Nephi 2:15)

A very clear distinction is given to people in the Bible who dwell in tents. Nephi also makes this clear distinction, possibly to show that they were strangers in their own lands and they did not cease being strangers until they arrived to the promised land.

  • “And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host” (Judges 8:11)
  • “Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers” (Jeremiah 35:7)
  • “And my father dwelt in a tent” (1 Nephi 2:15)

 

  1. God speaks once, twice, yet men do not perceive it = (Job 33:14)/(3 Nephi 11:3, 6)

This connection may be a bit of a stretch, but it is interesting how Elihu, the friend of Job, tells him that God speaks once or twice and people do not perceive it. The people of Nephi, when Christ first appears to them after his resurrection, twice hear a voice and do not understand it. Only on the third time the voice appears do they understand the words being spoken to them.

  • “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not” (Job 33:14)
  • “they heard a voice as if it came out of haven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard…And it came to pass that again they heard the voice, and they understood it not….And behold, the third time they did understand the voice which they heard” (3 Nephi 11:3, 6)

 

  1. Great and marvelous are they works = (1 Nephi 1:14)/(Revelation 15:3)

Upon receiving a revelation from the Lord regarding the destruction of Jerusalem, Lehi praises God in a phrase that is similar to Revelation 15:3, which is possibly a reference the “song of Moses” or “song of the Lamb.”

  • “And it came to pass that when my father had read and seen many great and marvelous things, he did exclaim many things unto the Lord; such as: Great and marvelous are they works, O Lord God Almighty!” (1 Nephi 1:14)
  • “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of god, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty” (Revelation 15:3)

 

  1. Great gulf dividing the righteous and the wicked = (1 Nephi 12:18)/(Luke 16:26)

Nephi and Lehi’s visions of the tree of life are full of symbolism found within the Bible. One such example is the great gulf dividing the righteous and the wicked.

  • “And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence” (Luke 16:26)
  • “And the large and spacious building, which my father saw, is vain imaginations and the pride of the children of men. And a great and terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God” (1 Nephi 12:18)

 

  1. Loftiness of man = (Isaiah 2:17)/(Jacob 5:48)

On several occasions the prophets in the Bible refer to those who are proud as being “lofty” and that they must be brought down in humility. Zenos’ allegory of the Olive Tree notes that the fruit in the vineyard is becoming corrupted because the branches are too lofty and must be cut down.

  • “And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches therefore 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” (Jacob 5:48)
  • “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:17)

 

  1. A righteous branch = (Jeremiah 23:5)/(Genesis 49:22)/(2 Nephi 3:5/9:53)

Prophets have referred to Jesus Christ as a righteous branch coming forth from the family line of King David. Joseph, the son of Jacob/Israel, gives a prophecy cited in the brass plates in the Book of Mormon, stating that a righteous branch will be raised among his own seed, which is not Jesus Christ, but instead the Nephites on the American continent. In Genesis, Joseph is referred to as a fruitful bough.

  • “Wherefore, Joseph truly saw our day. And he obtained a promise of the Lord, that out of the fruit of his loins the Lord God would raise up a righteous branch unto the house of Israel; not the Messiah, but a branch which was to be broken off, nevertheless, to be remembered in the covenants of the Lord…” (2 Nephi 3:5)
  • “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper” (Jeremiah 23:5)
  • Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” (Genesis 49:22)

 

  1. Rod of Iron = (1 Nephi 11:25)/(Revelation 7:17/19:13, 15)

Nephi sees a vision of a rod of iron leading to the tree of life. He is told that the rod of iron represents the word of God. The Apostle John sees a vision of the Lamb of God leading his followers to the tree of life. The symbolism is very accurate since Jesus is also referred to by John as “the Word of God.”

  • “And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life, which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25)
  • For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters…” (Revelation 7:17)
  • “and his name is called The Word of God…and he shall rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelation 19:13, 15)

 

  1. They have become like a rock/flint = (2 Nephi 5:21)/(Jeremiah 5:3)/(Ezekiel 3:9)

The Bible refers to people becoming hardened or having their faces becoming hard like a rock or flint. In the Book of Mormon, this symbolism in the Bible is expanded to include the color of flint, serving as an outward curse against the Lamanites to symbolize how they hardened their hearts against the Lord.

  • “And he had caused the cursing to come upon them…they had become like unto a flint…the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them” (2 Nephi 5:21)
  • “As an adamant harder than flint have I made my forehead” (Ezekiel 3:9)
  • “they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return” (Jeremiah 5:3)

 

  1. A tree/well springing up unto everlasting life  = (John 4:14)/(Alma 32:41)/(1 Nephi 11:25)

Nephi uses the “fountain of living waters” and the “tree of life” interchangeably. Surprisingly, this synonymous relationship is subtly referenced when Alma teaches that gaining a testimony is like planting and nourishing a seed until it becomes a tree “springing up unto everlasting life.” Alma words are similar to those of Jesus when he spoke with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, referring to himself as a well of living waters.

  • “And it came to pass that I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life, which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25)
  • “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life” (John 4:14)
  • “But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patients, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life” (Alma 32:41)

 

  1. Describing women as tender and delicate = (Isaiah 47:1)/(Jacob 2:7)

The author of the Book of Mormon makes sure to use obscure adjectives found in Isaiah, describing women as “tender and delicate” in Jacob’s discourse to his people.

  • “O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate” (Isaiah 47:1)
  • “your wives and your children, many of whose feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate before God, which thing is pleasing unto God” (Jacob 2:7)

 

  1. Using “Wisdom” as a feminine noun = (Luke 7:35)/(Mosiah 8:20)

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Book of Mormon refers to gendered nouns on a few occasions (Alma 42:24) but it is interesting to me that wisdom is consistently a feminine noun in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon

  • “for they will not seek wisdom, neither do they desire that she should rule over them!” (Mosiah 8:20)
  • “But wisdom is justified of all her children” (Luke 7:35)

 

Comparing Names in the Book of Mormon and the Bible

Much has been said about the origin of the unique names found in the Book of Mormon (BOM). Mormon apologists identify ancient correlates to these names that are not found in the Bible and suggest it is evidence of the BOM’s authenticity (see https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Book_of_Mormon/Names), while critics argue that Joseph Smith simply stole names from the Bible and made a few minor changes to make them sound unique. For me, either argument isn’t particularly important. It could be argued that Joseph simply borrowed names from the Bible and changed them, but the fact that the names in the BOM are similar to other Semitic names is exactly what you would expect from an ancient record written by a people whose entire civilization is built upon the words contained in the brass plates. It would be easier to prove Joseph’s fraud if the names found in the BOM had no Semitic roots whatsoever.

I argue that it would have been easier for Joseph to either copy all names from the Bible or to make them up off the top of his head than to create some of the very creative names in the BOM which utilize various roots of other Biblical names. The following are some examples of BOM names and their Biblical correlates, based on my perusal of the Old and New Testaments. This is not intended to be a thorough review of all names found in the scriptures:

  1. Aaron (Mosiah 27:34)/(1 Chronicles 20:1)
  2. Abish (Alma 19:16)
    • Abishai (2 Samuel 19:21)
    • Achish (1 Samuel 29:2)
  3. Abinadi (Mosiah 12:1)
    • Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3)
  4. Abinadom (Omni 1:10)
    • Abinadab (2 Samuel 6:3)
  5. Agosh (Ether 14:15)
    • Abishai (2 Samuel 19:21)
    • Goshen (Joshua 10:41)
  6. Ahah (Ether 1:9)
    • Ahi (1 Chronicles 7:34)
    • Aharah (1 Chronicles 8:1)
    • Ahava (Ezra 8:21)
    • Ahiah (1 Samuel 14:3)
  7. Akish (Ether 8:17)
    • Achish (1 Samuel 29:2)
    • Kish (1 Samuel 14:51)
  8. Alma (Alma 1:2)
    • Almon (Joshua 21:18)
  9. Amaleki (Omni 1:12)
    • Amalek (Exodus 17:8)
  10. Amalickiah (Alma 46:3)
    • Amalek (Exodus 17:8)
    • Zedekiah (Jeremiah 21:1)
  11. Amaron (Omni 1:3) / Ammaron (4 Nephi 1:49)
    • Amariah (Nehemiah 10:3)
    • Ammah (2 Samuel 2:24)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
  12. Amgid (Ether 10:32)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
    • Giddalti (1 Chronicles 25:29)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
  13. Aminadab (Helaman 5:39)/(Numbers 7:12)
  14. Ammon (Mosiah 7:6)/(Joshua 13:25)
  15. Ammonihah (Alma 8:7)
    • Ammon (Joshua 13:25)
    • Ahiah (1 Samuel 14:3)
  16. Ammoron (Alma 52:3)
    • Ammon (Joshua 13:25)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
  17. Amnigaddah (Ether 1:15)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
    • Gad (2 Samuel 24:5)
    • Ammihud (1 Chronicles 7:26)
  18. Amnihu (Alma 2:15)
    • Ammihud (1 Chronicles 7:26)
    • Abihu (Exodus 24:1)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
  19. Amnor (Alma 11:6)
    • Amnon (2 Samuel 3:2)
    • Amorites (Exodus 3:17)
  20. Amos (4 Nephi 1:19)/(Amos 1:1)
  21. Amulek (Alma 10:2)
    • Amalek (Exodus 17:8)
  22. Amulon (Mosiah 23:31)
    • Ammon (Joshua 13:25)
    • Helon (Numbers 7:24)
  23. Antiparah (Alma 56:14)
    • Antioch (Acts 6:5)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
  24. Archeantus (Moroni 9:2)
    • Archturus (Job 38:32)
    • Archite (2 Samuel 17:14)
  25. Boaz (Mormon 4:20)/(Ruth 4:13)
  26. Cezoram (Helaman 5:1)
    • Jehoram (2 Chroinicles 21:4)
    • Zorah (Judges 18:11)
  27. Chemish (Omni 1:9)
    • Carchemish (2 Chronicles 35:20)
  28. Cohor (Ether 7:20)
    • Kohath (1 Chronicles 23:6)
    • Hor (Numbers 20:22)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  29. Com (Ether 1:13)
    • Milcom (2 Kings 23:13)
    • Coz (1 Chronicles 4:8)
  30. Corihor (Ether 7:3)
    1. Korah (Genesis 36:5)
    2. Hor (Numbers 20:22)
    3. Sihor (Jeremiah 2:18)
  31. Corom (Ether 1:20)
    • Horam (Joshua 10:33)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
  32. Cumeni (Alma 56:14)
    • Cuth (2 Kings 17:30)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
  33. Cumorah (Mormon 6:2)
    • Gomorrah (Zephaniah 2:9)
    • Cuth (2 Kings 17:30)
    • Cushi (Zephaniah 1:1)
    • Cushan (Habukkuk 3:7)
    • Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)
  34. Emron (Moroni 9:2)
    • Shimron (Joshua 11:1)
  35. Etham (Ether 1:8)
    • Ethem (Numbers 33:6)
  36. Ezias (Helaman 8:20)
    • Ezion-Geber (1 Kings 22:48)
    • Esaias (Romans 10:16)
  37. Ezrom (Alma 11:6)
    • Ezra (Ezra 7:1)
    • Hezron (Genesis 46:9)
  38. Gad (3 Nephi 9:10)/(Joshua 13:24)
  39. Gadiandi (3 Nephi 9:8)
    • Gad (Joshua 22:9)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Giddalti (1 Chronicles 25:29)
  40. Gadianton (4 Nephi 1:42)
    • Gad (Joshua 22:9)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Eshton (1 Chronicles 4:12)
  41. Gadiomnah (3 Nephi 9:8)
    • Gad (Joshua 22:9)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Dimnah (Joshua 21:35)
  42. Gazelem (Alma 37:23)
    • Gazez (1 Chronicles 2:46)
    • Jerusalem (Matthew 2:1)
    • Gerizim (Judges 9:7)
  43. Gidgiddoni (3 Nephi 3:20) / Gidgiddonah (Mormon 6:13)
    • Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
    • Megiddo (1 Kings 9:15)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
    • Gudgodah (Deuteronomy 10:7)
  44. Giddianhi (3 Nephi 3:12)
    • Giddalti (1 Chronicles 25:29)
    • Gideon (Judges 7:1)
  45. Gilgah (Ether 6:14)
    • Bilgah (1 Chronicles 24:14)
    • Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:4)
  46. Gilgal (3 Nephi 9:7)/(Deuteronomy 11:30)
  47. Gimgimno (3 Nephi 9:8)
    • Nimrim (Isaiah 15:6)
  48. Hagoth (Alma 63:5)
    • Havoth (Numbers 32:41)
    • Haggith (1 Kings 1:11)
  49. Hearthom (Ether 10:30)
    • Hotham (1 Chronicles 7:32)
  50. Helam (Mosiah 18:12)/(2 Samuel 10:16)
  51. Helaman (Alma 36:3)
    • Heman (1 Chronicles 2:6)
    • Helam (2 Samuel 10:16)
  52. Hermounts (Alma 2:37)
    • Mount Hermon (Psalm 133:3)/(Deuteronomy 3:8)
  53. Heshlon (Ether 13:28)
    • Heshbon (Deuteronomy 3:6)
    • Helon (Numbers 7:24)
  54. Himni (Alma 23:1)
    • Hinnom (Joshua 17:2)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
    • Timnah (Joshua 15:57)
  55. Jacobugath (3 Nephi 9:9) (I find this one funny because some critics point to city names in the region where Joseph grew up such as “Jacobsburg” as evidence that the Book of Mormon was made up based on his personal experience. Jacobugath’s connection to the Bible, however, is much more compelling than believing Joseph based the name “Jacobugath” on the name “Jacobsburg”)
    • Jacob (Genesis 25:26)
    • Gath (2 Chronicles 11:8)
    • Jotbath (Deuteronomy 10:7)
  56. Jacom (Ether 6:14)
    • Jacob (Genesis 25:26)
    • Milcom (2 Kings 23:13)
  57. Jared (Ether 1:32)/(Genesis 5:15)
  58. Jashon (Mormon 2:16)
    • Jashen (2 Samuel 23:32)
    • Jasher (Joshua 10:13)
  59. Jershon (Alma 27:22) (My Speculation: It is interesting to me that Gershom is the name given to Moses’ son because he said “I have been a stranger in a strange land.” The Anti-Nephi-Lehis were also strangers when they were forced out of their own lands and came as refugees to inherit the land given to them by the Nephites, which was called Jershon. Other speculation on the name Jershon can be found here: https://www.mormoninterpreter.com/a-nickname-and-a-slam-dunk-notes-on-the-book-of-mormon-names-zeezrom-and-jershon/)
    • Gershom (Exodus 2:22)
    • Gershon (1 Chronicles 6:1)
  60. Jordan (1 Nephi 10:9)/(Joshua 4:16)
  61. Judah (1 Nephi 1:4)/(2 Chronicles 25:10)
  62. Kib (Ether 7:3)
    • Kibzaim (Joshua 21:22)
    • Kibroth-hataavah (Numbers 3:16)
  63. Kishkumen (Helaman 2:3)
    • Kish (1 Samuel 14:51)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6) (See “Cumeni”)
  64. Korihor (Alma 30:12)
    • Korah (Genesis 36:5)
    • Shihor (1 Chronicles 13:5)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  65. Laban (1 Nephi 3:3)/(Genesis 24:29)
  66. Lachoneus (3 Nephi 6:6)
    • Lachish (Joshua 10:3)
  67. Lamoni (Alma 19:33)
    • Lamech (Genesis 5:28)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
    • Hamonah (Ezekiel 39:16)
  68. Leah (Alma 11:17)/(Genesis 29:24)
  69. Levi (Ether 1:20)/(Genesis 46:11)
  70. Lib (Ether 1:18)
    • Libni (1 Chronicles 6:17)
    • Libnah (Joshua 15:42)
  71. Limhi (Mosiah 7:9)
    • Libni (1 Chronicles 6:17)
  72. Limnah (Alma 11:10)
    • Libnah (Joshua 15:42)
    • Dimnah (Joshua 21:35)
  73. Luram (Moroni 9:2)
    • Ludim (Genesis 10:13)
  74. Mahah (Ether 6:14)
    • Mahath (1 Chronicles 6:35)
    • Mahazioth (1 Chronicles 25:4)
    • Mahalaleel (Genesis 5:12)
  75. Mathonihah (3 Nephi 19:4)
    • Mattaniah (1 Chronicles 9:15)
    • Matthias (Acts 1:23)
  76. Melek (Alma 8:3)
    • Melech (1 Chronicles 8:35)
    • Helek (Joshua 17:2)
  77. Middoni (Alma 22:1)
    • Middin (Joshua 15:61)
    • Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
  78. Minon (Alma 2:24)
    • Pinon (Genesis 36:41)
  79. Mocum (3 Nephi 9:7)
    • Milcom (2 Kings 23:13)
    • Memucan (Esther 1:16)
  80. Morianton (Alma 59:5) / Moriancumer (Ether 2:13) (Morianton is another name critics like to point to, claiming it sounds similar to a place in the region where Joseph lived called Moravian Town. Once again, the Biblical connection seems much more plausible
    • Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)
    • Eshton (1 Chronicles 4:12)
  81. Moron (Ether 11:14)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
    • Merom (Joshua 11:5)
    • Shimron-meron (Joshua 12:20)
  82. Moroni (3 Nephi 8:9)
    • Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1)
    • Hachmoni (1 Chronicles 27:32)
    • Beth-horon (Joshua 16:3)
    • Shiloni (Nehemiah 11:5)
    • Gideoni (Numbers 10:24)
  83. Mosiah (Omni 1:18)
    • Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:1)
  84. Neas (Mosiah 9:9)
    • Neah (Joshua 19:13)
  85. Nehor (Alma 1:15) / Nahom (1 Nephi 16:34)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  86. Nimrah (Ether 9:8)/(Numbers 32:3)
  87. Nimrod (Ether 2:1)/(Genesis 10:8)
  88. Ogath (Ether 15:10)
    • Oboth (Numbers 33:43)
    • Gath (1 Chronicles 7:21)
  89. Omer (Ether 1:30)/(Exodus 16:36)
  90. Omner (Mosiah 27:34)
    • Omer (Exodus 16:32)
  91. Omni (Omni 1:1)
    • Omri (2 Chronicles 22:2)
  92. Paanchi (Helaman 1:3)
    • Maachah (1 Chronicles 9:35)
    • Malchi-shua (1 Chronicles 9:39)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
  93. Pacumeni (Helaman 1:3)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
  94. Pagag (Ether 6:25)
    • Agag (1 Samuel 15:32)
    • Magog (1 Chronicles 1:5)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
  95. Pahoran (Alma 60:1)
    • Paran (Numbers 10:12)
    • Nahor (Genesis 11:22)
  96. Rabbanah (Alma 18:13) (The Book of Mormon says this name means “powerful or great king.” The name “Rabbah” in the Bible means “great,” and Rabboni means “Master.” This connection is identified in the footnotes of Alma 18:13) 
    • Rabboni (John 20:16)
    • Rabbah (1 Chronicles 20:1)
  97. Rameumptom (Alma 31:21) [abarim-publications.com states the following about the name “Ram:” “The name Ram comes from the verb רום (rum), meaning to be high.” The name Rameumptom is the name given to a stand which is described as “high above the head” (Alma 31:13). See also https://onoma.lib.byu.edu/index.php/RAMEUMPTOM for a deeper analysis)
    • Ram (1 Chronicles 2:9)
  98. Riplah (Alma 43:35)
    • Riblah (Numbers 34:11)
  99. Riplakish (Ether 1:23) (Once again, critics point to Riplakish and Ripliancum (Ether 15:8) as being similar to a place near Joseph called Ripple Lake. The Biblical basis of the name is much more plausible
    • Riblah (Numbers 34:11)
    • Kish (1 Samuel 14:51)
  100. Sam (1 Nephi 2:5)
    • Samson (Judges 15:16)
    • Samuel (1 Samuel 4:1)
    • Samlah (1 Chronicles 1:47)
  101. Sariah (1 Nephi 5:1)
    • Seraiah (Nehemiah 10:2)
  102. Senum (Alma 11:3)
    • Senuah (Nehemiah 11:9)
    • Shunem (Joshua 19:18)
  103. Seth (Ether 1:10)/(Genesis 4:25)
  104. Shazer (1 Nephi 16:13)
    • Jazer (Numbers 32:1)
    • Shamer (1 Chronicles 6:46)
  105. Shelem (Ether 3:1)
    • Helem (1 Chronicles 7:35)
    • Shelah (Genesis 46:12)
    • Shechem (Judges 21:19)
  106. Shem (Mormon 2:20)/(Genesis 9:18)
  107. Shemlon (Mosiah 10:7)
    • Shem (Genesis 9:18)
    • Helon (Numbers 7:24)
  108. Shemnon (3 Nephi 19:4)
    • Shem (Genesis 9:18)
    • Amnon (1 Chronicles 3:1)
  109. Sherem (Jacob 7:1)
    • Sherebiah (Nehemiah 10:12)
    • Sheresh (1 Chronicles 7:16)
    • Shechem (Judges 21:19)
  110. Sherrizah (Moroni 9:7)
    • Sheresh (1 Chronicles 7:16)
    • Mizzah (Genesis 36:13)
  111. Sheum (Mosiah 9:9)
    • Shunem (Joshua 19:18)
  112. Shez (Ether 1:25)
    • Shem (1 Chronicles 1:4)
  113. Shilom (Mosiah 9:6)
    • Shiloh (Judges 21:12)
    • Shillem (Genesis 46:24)
  114. Shim (Mormon 1:3)
    • Shimeath (2 Chronicles 24:26)
    • Shimi (Exodus 6:17)
    • Shimrith (2 Chronicles 24:26)
  115. Shiz (Ether 14:17)
    • Shiza (1 Chronicles 11:42)
  116. Sidom (Alma 15:1)
    • Sodom (Genesis 19:24)
    • Sidon (Genesis 10:15)
  117. Sidon (Alma 2:15)/(Genesis 10:15)
  118. Siron (Alma 39:3)
    • Sihon (Joshua 9:10)
    • Sirah (2 Samuel 3:26)
    • Sirion (Deuteronomy 3:9)
  119. Teomner (Alma 58:16)
    • Temeni (1 Chronicles 4:6)
    • Omer (Exodus 16:32)
  120. Tubaloth (Helaman 1:16)
    • Tubal (1 Chronicles 1:5)
    • Geliloth (Joshua 18:17)
    • Mikloth (1 Chronicles 9:37)
  121. Zarahemla (Omni 1:14)
    • Zerah (1 Chronicles 4:24)
    • Imla (2 Chronicles 18:8)
  122. Zeezrom (Alma 10:31)
    • Zeeb (Judges 7:25)
    • Hezron (Genesis 46:9)
    • See “Ezrom”
  123. Zemnarihah (3 Nephi 4:17)
    • Zemaraim (Joshua 18:22)
    • Ahiah (1 Samuel 14:3)
  124. Zenock (Alma 33:15)
    • Zadok (Ezekiel 44:15)
    • Enoch (Genesis 5:19)
  125. Zenos (Jacob 5:1)
    • Enos (Genesis 5:7)
  126. Zenephi (Moroni 9:16)
    • Zepheniah (Zepheniah 1:1)
  127. Zerahemnah (Alma 43:5)
    • Zerah (1 Chronicles 1:44)
    • Imnah (1 Chronicles 7:30)
  128. Zeram (Alma 2:22)
    • Zerah (1 Chronicles 1:44)
  129. Zerin (Ether 12:30)
    • Zeri (1 Chronicles 23:10)
  130. Ziff (Mosiah 11:3) = (What is interesting about this word is that it is an unknown substance that is part of a list of valuable metals such as gold, silver, and copper, that were taxed by King Noah. Alma says that metal plates upon which historical records were written must “retain their brightness” (Alma 37:5). The Biblical correlate “Zif” means “brightness” (biblehub.com). This connection is mentioned in the Topical Guide of the Book of Mormon)
    • Ziph (Joshua 15:24)
    • Zif (1 Kings 6:1)
  131. Zoram (1 Nephi 4:35)
    • Zorah (Judges 13:25)
    • Joram (1 Chronicles 26:25)
    • Horam (Joshua 10:33)

Internal Consistency in the Book of Mormon: The Tree of Life and the Fountain of Living Waters

In the Book of Mormon, the prophet Lehi is shown a vision where he sees people holding to a rod of iron while trying to reach the tree of life (1 Nephi 8). Lehi’s son, Nephi, desires to see his father’s vision, and while pondering what he heard he is shown the same vision and an interpretation of its symbolism (1 Nephi 11-14).

Nephi is shown the tree of life and describes the following:

  • And I looked and beheld a tree; and it was like unto the tree which my father had seen; and the beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all beauty” (1 Nephi 11:8)

Nephi sees a vision of Mary giving birth to Jesus Christ, and then the angel who is guiding Nephi in the vision asks if he knows the meaning of the tree:

  • Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw?” (1 Nephi 11:21)
  • And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 11:22)

For some reason, however, a few verses later he refers to the tree of life as “the fountain of living waters”:

  • I beheld that the rod of iron, which my father had seen, was the word of God, which led to the fountain of living waters, or to the tree of life; which waters are a representation of the love of God; and I also beheld that the tree of life was a representation of the love of God” (1 Nephi 11:25)

This reference to the “fountain of living waters” seems to come out of nowhere since it is not mentioned explicitly in the description of the vision. While I do not know the significance of using the symbols of the fountain of living waters and the tree of life interchangeably, what is most interesting to me is that this casually alluded to relationship may also be found hundreds of pages later in Alma 32.

Alma explains to the Zoramites that if they exercise faith and experiment upon his words, their faith in the gospel can grow into knowledge which will become a tree of life from which fruit they will be able to partake.

Alma states:

  • And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life. But if ye will nourish the word, yea, nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life” (Alma 32:40-41)

Here, there is no mention of the fountain of living waters. However, the phrase “a tree springing up unto everlasting life” is strikingly similar to a phrase used by Jesus Christ when talking with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well and he tells her that he can give her living waters, from which if she drinks she will never thirst again:

  • But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14)

Alma, making no overt reference comparing the tree of life to the fountain of living waters, uses the same phrase to describe the “tree of life” as the Savior does in describing “living waters.” While this connection between Nephi, Alma, and Jesus Christ may have occurred by chance, I believe it is nonetheless an extremely small chance that Joseph Smith arbitrarily used the Savior’s words for Alma’s discourse on faith to support Nephi’s comparison of the fountain of living waters and the tree of life.

To me, it is rather incredible that this synonymous relationship between the tree of life and the fountain of living waters, described almost in passing in 1 Nephi 11, is also found hundreds of pages away in Alma 32. For me, this is one more piece of a larger body of evidence confirming the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

How Joseph Smith faked the Book of Mormon (A Satirical Essay)

The creation of the Book of Mormon was a simple process. First, Sidney Rigdon was motivated to start a new religion and decided to base this new religion’s authoritative text on a historical fiction manuscript about the ancient Americas entitled “The Book of Mormon” written by Solomon Spaulding (died in 1816) who had a similar writing style to his classmate Ethan Smith (who lived in the same town as Oliver Cowdery) who wrote “View of the Hebrews” in 1823 which served as source material for Sidney’s future revisions of the manuscript. Sidney stole the Spaulding manuscript, used “View of the Hebrews,” “the Late War,” “the Golden Pot,” “the Koran,” “the Pilgrim’s Progress,” “the Wonders of Nature,” and many other written works to modify the text and then decided to have someone else print the manuscript and start his new religion for him and so that he could join it later. He sought out Joseph Smith who claimed to see angels, used seer stones, and had been relating stories to his family about the ancient Americas since he was 14.  Sidney convinced Joseph to pretend to be a prophet who could translate ancient gold plates because Sidney decided it would be more believable that the manuscript were produced by a convicted con-man rather than if it were to come through him and he added Joseph’s stories of gold plates and seer stones into the Spaulding manuscript to make it consistent with Joseph’s hokey back-story. Joseph then convinced his family that he had found gold plates and would translate them by hiring the village idiot Martin Harris to write down what Joseph dictated from the manuscript by putting a rock in a hat, cutting a hole in the hat so he could see through and then hid the modified 500+ page Spaulding manuscript between his legs or under a table so he could dictate 30 words at a time and pretend like he was receiving visions from a magic rock because this would be the best way to prove to the world he was a prophet. Harris then lost 116 pages of the manuscript and Joseph couldn’t reproduce them because he would burn a page of the Spaulding manuscript every time he finished dictating a page so that no one would be able to trace the Book of Mormon to the original source. Joseph then waited a year for Sidney to write a new beginning to the Book of Mormon based on the manuscript that he stole from Spaulding who was classmates with Ethan Smith who wrote “View of the Hebrews” who lived in the same town as Oliver Cowdery who Sidney and Joseph eventually sought out to be a replacement scribe because of his knowledge of Ethan Smith who was the source for Sidney’s modifications (and Joseph had also checked out “View of the Hebrews” from his local library). Joseph then began the process of dictating again but not before Joseph further modified the manuscript so it couldn’t be traced back to someone smart like Sydney or Spaulding, so he included grammatical errors such as a superfluous “a” before verbs (i.e., “he was a walking”) and incorrectly using “was” for plural subjects (i.e., “they was”) and also included stories such as the vision of the tree of life which matches a dream had by Joseph Smith Sr. and 19th century treasure-seeker folklore about evil spirits who could move buried treasures to avoid detection. After dictating the Book of Mormon in front of dozens of witnesses (who claimed he had no manuscripts) from a hat with a hole in it to read a manuscript hidden under a table or between his legs which he had modified from a manuscript written by Spaulding who was influenced by his classmate Ethan Smith and which was revised by Sidney, Joseph, and Oliver, Joseph found eight or nine more village idiots to use the psychological concept of “the power of suggestion” to convince them they saw gold plates that never existed. Joseph then tried to betray Sidney by selling the copyright for money, but when no one would buy it he decided to print it and go back to Sidney’s original plan and started his own church which Sidney joined 9 months later and gave Sidney power as his adviser so Sidney could eventually obtain his goal of running the church after Joseph was inevitably martyred.

(Yes, this essay is critical of the many theories critics have come up with to explain the origin of the Book of Mormon)

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.

 

Do Prophets Know Everything?

This may seem like a silly question with an obvious answer, but nevertheless many members of the LDS church find it a trial of their faith to discover that leaders of the church have been deceived (e.g., Mark Hofmann selling forged historical documents to the church) or that LDS leaders engage in what seem like typical business meetings to discuss church affairs (e.g., MormonLeaks releasing video of the twelve apostles discussing church affairs via PowerPoint).  If the leaders of the church have the spirit of prophecy and revelation, how come there are instances where they don’t have all the answers?

The following is a list of examples in the Book of Mormon that suggest the prophets of God are not omnipresent beings who know what any given member of the church ate for breakfast two weeks ago. While they do receive revelation from the Lord when he sees fit, the prophets, like any other human beings, face the same challenges of mortality:

  1. Alma, the high priest of the church, had to send men to spy on the camp of the rebellious Amlicites, and were surprised to know that they had joined forces with the Lamanites. This is interesting because at a future date Alma was able to predict where the Lamanites were headed when Captain Moroni asked him for help.
  • “And Alma sent spies to follow the remnant of the Amlicites, that he might know of their plans and their plots, whereby he might guard himself against them, that he might preserve his people from being destroyed” (Alma 2:21)
  • “Moroni sent spies into the wilderness to watch their camp; and Moroni, also, knowing of the prophecies of Alma, sent certain men unto him desiring him that he should inquire of the Lord whither the armies of the Nephites should go to defend themselves against the Lamanites. And it came to pass that the word of the Lord came unto Alma, and Alma informed the messengers of Moroni, that the armies of the Lamanites were marching round about in the wilderness, that they might come over into the land of Manti” (Alma 43:23-24)

 

  1. There are some mysteries which no human knows. For example, no one knows when the second coming and the final resurrection will happen.
  • “Now, I unfold unto you a mystery; nevertheless, there are many mysteries which are kept, that no one knoweth them save God himself. But I show unto you one thing which I have inquired diligently of God that I might know—that is concerning the resurrection. Behold, there is a time appointed that all shall come forth from the dead. Now when this time cometh no one knows; but God knoweth the time which is appointed” (Alma 40:3-4)

 

  1. Alma does not know whether the resurrection will happen all at once. He is therefore left to theorize that he believes that many righteous people will be resurrected at the time Jesus is resurrected.
  • Now, whether the souls and the bodies of those of whom has been spoken shall all be reunited at once, the wicked as well as the righteous, I do not say; let it suffice, that I say that they all come forth; or in other words, their resurrection cometh to pass before the resurrection of those who die after the resurrection of Christ. Now, my son, I do not say that their resurrection cometh at the resurrection of Christ; but behold, I give it as my opinion, that the souls and the bodies are reunited, of the righteous, at the resurrection of Christ, and his ascension into heaven” (Alma 40:19-20)

 

  1. King Mosiah, Alma, and the priests consulted with each other over the affairs of the church.
  • “And now it came to pass that the persecutions which were inflicted on the church by the unbelievers became so great that the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before their king, Mosiah. And Mosiah consulted with his priests.” (Mosiah 27:1)

 

  1. Nephi and Mormon did not know why they should include the small plates of Nephi into the Book of Mormon record. They only knew that the Lord commanded them.
  • “But behold, I shall take these plates, which contain these prophesyings and revelations, and put them with the remainder of my record, for they are choice unto me; and I know they will be choice unto my brethren. And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will” (Words of Mormon 1:6-7)
  • “And I knew not at the time when I made them that I should be commanded of the Lord to make these plates…and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and also for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord” (1 Nephi 19:2-3)

 

  1. The Brother of Jared, who had conversed with the Lord many times before, did not know that the Lord had a spiritual body.
  • “And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood” (Ether 3:8)

 

  1. Nephi forgot to write about the dead rising from the grave after Christ’s resurrection. 
  • “And when Nephi had brought forth the records, and laid them before him, he cast his eyes upon them and said: Verily I say unto you, I commanded my servant Samuel, the Lamanite, that he should testify…that there were many saints who should arise from the dead, and should appear unto many…And Jesus said unto them: How be it that ye have not written this thing, that many saints did arise and appear unto many and did minister unto them? And it came to pass that Nephi remembered that this thing had not been written” (3 Nephi 23:8-9, 11-12)

 

  1. Mosiah did not know the location or the status of those who went to repossess the land of Lehi-Nephi.
  • “And now, it came to pass that after king Mosiah had had continual peace for the space of three years, he was desirous to know concerning the people who went up to dwell in the land of Lehi-Nephi, or in the city of Lehi-Nephi; for his people had heard nothing from them…And now, they knew not the course they should travel in the wilderness to go up to the land of Lehi-Nephi; therefore they wandered many days in the wilderness, even forty days did they wander” (Mosiah 7:1, 3)

 

  1. Moroni and Helaman did not know the fate of Pahoran, the governor of Zarahemla during the war with the Lamanites. Moroni assumed that the government was lazy and run by sinners. 
  • Now we do not know the cause that the government does not grant us more strength; neither do those men who came up unto us know why we have not received greater strength…And it came to pass that Moroni was angry with the government, because of their indifference concerning the freedom of their country…I, Pahoran…say unto you, Moroni, that I do not joy in your great afflictions, yea, it grieves my soul. But behold, there are those who do joy in your afflictions, yea, insomuch that they have risen up in rebellion against me, and also those of my people who are freemen” (Alma 58:34/59:13/61:2-3)

 

  1. Nobody knows where the ten tribes of Israel are.
  • “And behold, there are many who are already lost from the knowledge of those who are at Jerusalem. Yea, the more part of all the tribes have been led away; and they are scattered to and fro upon the isles of the sea; and whither they are none of us knoweth, save that we know that they have been led away” (1 Nephi 22:4)

 

11. Lehi, and presumably other prophets that existed before, did not know the that “Jesus Christ” would be the name of the Messiah. The name of the Messiah was not known until it was revealed to Jacob by an angel.

  • “Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God” (2 Nephi 10:3)

Arguments against Denver Snuffer Jr. according to the Book of Mormon (Part I)

Once again, there is a new sect within the LDS church receiving some attention in the media, inspired by the teachings and revelations of a man named Denver Snuffer Jr. Like most apostate leaders, Denver Snuffer has many grievances against the LDS church, which include its pride, its financial investments, its violent history, and its corporate leadership.

Snuffer makes the following assertions against the current LDS Church (the articles referenced can be found at http://www.denversnuffer.com):

  1. The “church” should not have a hierarchical organization of priesthood authority who command its members. There is no single prophet or leader of Christ’s church.
  2. The church should not be a single institution, but rather a collection of small groups whose members have local autonomy over doctrines and principles.
  3. All members of the church should be equal in their ability to receive revelation or teach. We do not look to authoritative prophets or priests to command us what to preach or believe.
  4. The church should not build chapels or temples or try to assemble large groups of people in a single location. It should instead follow the model of the early Christian church where small groups met in members’ homes.
  5. An evidence of the LDS Church’s wickedness is its wealth and corporate efficiency. Christ’s church should be poor.
  6. All members of the church should come together and participate in writing or proposing new doctrines and scriptures.

Snuffer justifies many of his arguments by appealing to the Book of Mormon. He suggests that the Book of Mormon “gives a blueprint of the necessary steps for the gentiles to take for them to become numbered with the remnant and entitled to possess the promised land as their inheritance” (Things to Keep us Awake at Night, p. 28). According to Snuffer, the Lord agrees, stating “The Book of Mormon was given as my covenant for this day and contains my gospel, which came forth to allow people to understand my work and then obtain my salvation” (Answer to the Prayer for Covenant, p. 3)

For this reason I will refer to the Book of Mormon to respond to Snuffer’s assertions:

SNUFFER ARGUMENT #1: The “church” should not be a single institution, but rather small groups of members who are only bound spiritually. These fellowships should be unique to meet the individual needs of their members.

  • We don’t need to create yet another institutional opportunity to abuse one another. We don’t need to repeat the terrible mistakes that hijacked the opportunity offered by the Lord through Joseph Smith. We should learn from the corrupt institutions claiming Joseph as their founder. I don’t care who thinks they are awake to our awful situation, or how soft their heart is, or how inclined they are to follow God, the Mormon institutions are the perfect mouse trap” (Things to Keep us Awake at Night, p. 27)
  • We seek to belong to that spiritual body, not an institution created by men on earth, subject to the laws of man, and capable of interfering with faith in God. The presiding leader of that congregation is Christ. Seek for a spiritual “Church” as defined by the Lord in the revelations. (D&C 10:67) We want to find that group of believers who will accept and abide covenants from God. Those who are spiritually connected, not institutionally connected. “Church” as defined by the Lord in the revelations (D&C 10:67), not “church” as defined by filing with the corporate Secretary of State creating an institution that owns property” (Things to Keep us Awake at Night, p. 27)

ANSWER: Christ’s church is a single entity. Even though all members meet in different places, they are all subject to a single church organization and all follow the same doctrine.

  • “King Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church. Now this was done because there were so many people that they could not all be governed by one teacher; neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly; Therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches; every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma. And thus, notwithstanding there being many churches they were all one church, yea, even the church of God; for there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God” (Mosiah 25:19-22)

SNUFFER ARGUMENT #2: We can all receive revelation, prophecy, authority, etc. Therefore, anyone should be able to teach or preach doctrines in the church.

  • “While I claim no right to control, manage or command any other person, I do claim the right to teach. Like any other person who believes in something greater than him or herself, we all have the right to teach what is important to us and have others consider” (Things to Keep us Awake at Night, p. 23)
  • “But I require a statement of principles to be adopted by the mutual agreement of my people, for if you cannot do so you will be unable to accomplish other works that I will require at your hands. When you have an agreed statement of principles I require it to also be added as a guide and standard for my people to follow” (Answer to a Prayer for Covenant, p. 8)

ANSWER: Alma, when he established the church of Christ, specifically ordained people to teach and preach. No one else had authority to teach the doctrines of the church.

  • “And now, Alma was their high priest, he being the founder of their church. And it came to pass that none received authority to preach or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers, and none were consecrated except they were just men” (Mosiah 23:16-17)
  • “every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma” (Mosiah 25:21)

SNUFFER ARGUMENT #3: There should be no hierarchical order in the church. There should be no prophet who claims to have power to command the church and pass that authority down to others. Local groups of saints should have autonomy to deal with their own issues.

  • “I would ask that we not be required to provide a statement of principles, but the people be left to govern themselves according to their varying circumstances, needs and desires” (Prayer for Covenant, p. 5)
  • “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” (Other Sheep Indeed, p. 1)
  • “But even the concept of “continuing revelation” has been institutionally curtailed. The only institutionally authorized source for revelation is a single leader. When he is not gifted with that capacity, the concept of “continuing revelation” is given lip service without any substantive proof” (Other Sheep Indeed, p. 1)

 ANSWER #1: Alma and Alma the younger were given authority over the entire church in all its many locations.

  • “Now king Mosiah had given Alma the authority over the church” (Mosiah 26:7-8)
  • “And it came to pass that Alma did regulate all the affairs of the church; and they began again to have peace and to prosper exceedingly in the affairs of the church” (Mosiah 26:37)
  • “And it came to pass that Alma was appointed to be the first chief judge, he being also the high priest, his father having conferred the office upon him, and having given him the charge concerning all the affairs of the church” (Mosiah 29:42)
  • “And they began to establish the church more fully; yea, and many were baptized in the waters of Sidon and were joined to the church or God; yea, they were baptized by the hand of Alma, who had been consecrated the high priest over the people of the church, by the hand of his father Alma” (Alma 4:4)
  • “I, Alma, having been consecrated by my father, Alma, to be a high priest over the church of God, he having power and authority from God to do these things, behold, I say unto you that he began to establish a church in the land which was in the borders of Nephi” (Alma 5:3)
  • “And now it came to pass that when Alma had made these regulations he departed from them, yea, from the church which was in the city of Zarahemla…and Alma went and began to declare the word of God unto the church which was established in the valley of Gideon” (Alma 6:7-8)
  • “And now it came to pass that Alma returned from the land of Gideon, after having taught the people of Gideon many things which cannot be written, having established the order of the church, according as he had before done in the land of Zarahemla…And he began to teach the people in the land of Melek according to the holy order of God, by which he had been called” (Alma 8:1, 4)
  • “I am Alma, and am the high priest over the church of God throughout the land” (Alma 8:23)

ANSWER #2: Alma and Alma the younger gave commandments to the church for what they could preach and who could be baptized.

  • “And he commanded them that they should teach nothing save it were the things which he had taught, and which had been spoken by the mouth of the holy prophets. Yea, even he commanded them that they should preach nothing save it were repentance and faith on the Lord…And he commanded them that there should be no contention…And thus he commanded them to preach…And he commanded them that they should observe the Sabbath day…And he also commanded them that the priests he had ordained should labor with their own hands…And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance…And this he said unto them, having been commanded by God…” (Mosiah 18:19-24, 27, 29)
  • “Now there was a strict law among the people of the church, that there should not any man belonging to the church, arise and persecute those that did not belong to the church…” (Alma 1:21)
  • I speak by way of command unto you that belong to the church; and unto those who do not belong to the church I speak by way of invitation, saying: Come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye also may be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life” (Alma 5:62)
  • “And now we know that because we are not of thy church we know that thou has no power over us; and thou hast delivered up the judgment seat unto Nephihah; therefore thou art not the chief judge over us” (Alma 8:12)

ANSWER #3: There was a hierarchical organization of priesthood power in the Book of Mormon churches. If there were disputes among members, they appealed to the higher authorities in the church, with the high priest having the final say. Teachers reported to priests, and priests reported to the high priest or king (Alma, Alma the younger, and Mosiah).

  • “the church began to murmur, and complain to their leaders concerning the matter; and they did complain to Alma. And Alma laid the case before the king, Mosiah. And Mosiah consulted with his priests” (Mosiah 27:1)
  • “For it came to pass that they did deceive many with their flattering words, who were in the church, and did cause them to commit many sins; therefore it became expedient that those who committed sin, that were in the church, should be admonished by the church. And it came to pass that they were brought before the priests, and delivered up unto the priests by the teachers; and the priests brought them before Alma, who was the high priest. Now king Mosiah had given Alma the authority over the church” (Mosiah 26:6-9)

ANSWER #4: The church organization as described previously is approved by the Lord himself.

  1. “And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people” (Mosiah 26:17)
  2. “For behold, this is my church; whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance…” (Mosiah 26:22)

ANSWER #5: Even Jesus Christ, after his resurrection, organized a church with twelve disciples who were given special authority according to their calling. The calling of Priests and Elders continued until the days of Moroni.

  1. “(now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 12:1)
  2. “Behold, there shall one be ordained among you, and to him will I give power that he shall break bread and bless it and give it unto the people of my church” (3 Nephi 18:5)
  3. “the disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 18:37)
  4. “The manner which the disciples, who were called the elders of the church, ordained priests and teachers” (Moroni 3:1)

SNUFFER ARGUMENT #4: If we really want to create a unified society like those of Enoch and Melchizedek, then all members of the church should be “equal.” This means there are no prophets or high priests, just people of one heart and one mind.

  • The only examples we have of Zion are the two I have by-passed. Those two, Enoch and Melchizedek, did not follow the pattern of the others. They did one thing that escapes most people’s notice. They took disorganized people and assembled them into a unified body that was equal, of one heart and one mind, without any poor among them. There is no mention anywhere in scripture of a structure or hierarchy among either of these people. It is clear these two were both ranked among history’s most towering spiritual figures. But they led two communities of equals. They assumed no authority other than that of a teacher and preacher of repentance” (Things to Keep us Awake at Night, p. 27)

ANSWER: Having a hierarchy of priesthood authority within the church and being equal in the eyes of God are not mutually exclusive.

  • “And they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward. And it came to pass that whosoever was baptized by the power and authority of God was added to his church. And it came to pass that Alma, having authority from God, ordained priests, even one priest to every fifty of their number did he ordain to preach unto them, and to teach them concerning the things pertaining to the kingdom of God…And he commanded them that there should be no contention one with another, but that they should look forward with one eye, having one faith and one baptism, having their hearts knit together in unity and in love one towards another” (Mosiah 18:17-18, 21)
  • “And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers…and thus they were all equal, every man according to his strength” (Alma 1:26)

SNUFFER ARGUMENT #5: The LDS Church is wicked because it has money, land investments, and nice corporate office buildings. The true church of God should be poor.

  • “Mormonism has been a dismal underachiever. Its most wealthy sect is riddled with errors, controlled by an oligarchy of priestcraft, jealous of their power, wealth and influence. It has a criminal past, an unstable present, and an insecure future. That empire is diversifying its portfolio into land development, banking and business enterprises to replace the now diminishing tithing cashstream upon which the empire was built” (Things to Keep us Awake at Night, p. 8)

ANSWER: In the Book of Mormon, the righteous saints are blessed with riches AND they impart of their substance to the needy and poor.

  • “And thus they did established the affairs of the church; and thus they began to have continual peace again, notwithstanding all their persecutions. And now, because of the steadiness of the church they began to be exceedingly rich, having abundance of all things whatsoever they stood in need—an abundance of flocks and herds, and fatlings of every kind, and also abundance of grain, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious things, and abundance of silk and fine-twined linen, and all manner of good homely cloth. And thus, in their prosperous circumstances, they did not send away any who were naked, or that were hungry, or that were athirst, or that were sick, or that had not been nourished; and they did not set their hearts upon riches; therefore they were liberal to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, whether out of the church or in the church, having no respect to persons as to those who stood in need. And thus they did prosper and become far more wealthy than those who did not belong to their church” (Alma 1:28-31)