Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BoM: The title page 1

"I wish to mention here that the title-page of the Book of Mormon is a literal translation, taken from the very last leaf, on the left hand side of the collection or book of plates, which contained the record which has been translated; …and that said title-page is not…a modern composition, either of mine or of any other man who has lived or does live in this generation" -- Joseph Smith (HC 1:71.). 

The Book of Mormon has been a source of controversy since before it was even made available for sale back in 1830. There are numerous theories which attempt to explain its origin. Did Sydney Rigdon help Joseph write it? Did Joseph fabricate the entire thing, pulling it figuratively out of a hat while literally doing the same? Did he just plain plagiarize its content, borrowing heavily from the Old Testament, the contemporary text, The View of the Hebrews, and/or others? Ask the man himself and he would have told you that he was lead to a collection of plates, buried in the side of hill near his home in Palmyra New York, by an angel named Moroni, and that those plates were translated into what we know as the Book of Mormon today (with a thousand or so minor changes). 

As origin stories go it is certainly fantastical, and skepticism is understandable. For those who believe in the bible, dismissing the BoM because of the miraculous circumstances surrounding its  translation/creation are probably less warranted. There were plenty of angels floating around during biblical times, why can't they do the same now? Before I expertly eviscerate any further arguments against the truth claims of the Book of Mormon I will move on to the text itself which is the whole point of this study anyway, leaving the apologetics to more qualified organisations and individuals, the attacks are too vast and varied to address in this post. Suffice it to say, wow, an angel and gold plates, you just don't see that kind of thing everyday. 

The angel in question is the resurrected version of the final contributor and assistant compiler of the Book of Mormon: Moroni himself, who was the son of the book's name sake, one Mormon of ancient America. Let's get into what Mormon says the Book of Mormon is about, examining the title page: The Book of Mormon's mission statement, if you will...

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