Monday, September 28, 2015

I Wish We Understood the Book of Mormon Better

A church member said the following a while ago, and my response is below what he said: 

The Book of Mormon claims to be the word of God - every sentence, every verse, every page.

No, it doesn't make that claim - and, in fact, it says exactly the opposite. 

It claims to be a tiny abridgment complied exclusively by four people (Ether, Nephi, Mormon and Moroni) from a massive collection of various records written by mortal, imperfect people - with mistakes and "deletions" admitted openly and directly throughout the text. ("What I've chosen to include is not even a hundredth of what I could have chosen," means lots of stuff was deleted from the other records, if you will, in the writing of the summary.) It's not the Mormon version of the inerrant Bible - even though that's how many members view it.

This is a great example of what I've said for many years - that the biggest problem in the LDS Church right now with regard to the Book of Mormon is that many members (including many leaders at all levels) don't understand what the Book of Mormon itself actually says in a lot of cases. (I'm not saying I do totally, but I've spent lots of time and effort trying to parse and understand it - and it simply doesn't say or teach LOTS of things many members think it does.)

So, at the most fundamental level, I'm much more concerned about the church membership understanding what the Book of Mormon actually says than about exactly how individual members view it.  I believe it is the word of God; I just don't believe that means it is the inerrant (mistake-free) word of God, straight from his mouth to prophets to the page.  That isn't what it claims within its pages. 

No comments: