line decor
  "And they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the mighty one of Israel." 1 Nephi 7:25
line decor

The Book of Mormon Challenge

Occasionally, you hear someone say, "I could believe your doctrine if I just didn't have to swallow the story about Joseph Smith being a prophet of God and that he translated the Book of Mormon from some golden plates which he claimed he found in a hillside." Let us consider some facts or conditions that must be complied with in order for you to produce a similar record under comparable conditions.

1. You must not be older than 23 or 24 years of age.

2. You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling and you must have spent your life in backwoods farming communities.

3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research. Remember, there were no libraries in the backwoods of New York state that held the information needed to write the Book of Mormon.

4. You must write a history of two separate ancient countries, such as Iran, covering a period of 600 B.C. to 421 A.D. and Tibet covering a period of 2300 B.C. to 200 B.C. You must know very little about the countries of which you choose to write.

5. Your history or record must be long, containing more than 250,000 words.

6. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language. (William Shakespeare added only 30).

7. You must write a book with 102 chapters, 25 of them about wars, 10 about history, 21 about prophecy, 32 about doctrines, 5 about missionaries, and 9 about the mission of Christ.

8. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.

9. You must describe the religious, economic, social and political cultures and institutions of these two nations, including the names of their weights, measures and mediums of exchange.

10. You must describe the physical geography of the lands in your record with enough detail that decades later when these lost cultures are discovered, the lands in which they lived can be identified.

11. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern for Christian living.

12. You must write your record using a number of ancient Hebrew poetry and writing styles which will not be rediscovered and announced to the English speaking world until years after you publish your record.

13. You must alter your own style of writing so as to convince even computer analysts years later that many different authors wrote portions of your record without any computer evidence that your own personal writing style (or word print) is in the record.

14. When you start to produce this record, covering a period of over 2700 years, you must finish it in approximately 80 days.

15. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition as you have dictated it to your secretary must stand forever.

16. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you.

17. You must announce that your "smooth narrative" is not fiction, but true. Yes a sacred history similar to that of the Bible.

18. In fact your narrative must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purposes and accomplishments.

19. You must use properly, figures of speech, similes, metaphors, narrations, exposition, description oratory, epic lyrics and parables.

20. You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.

21. You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise: "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."

22. Millions of people must bear record to the world for the next 172 years that they know the record to be true. Because they put the promise to the test, the truth was manifest to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.

23. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants and scholars, must subscribe discipleship to the record of its movement, even to the point of laying down their lives.

24. There can be no flaw, whatever, in the entire book. (Except in grammar, or other errors of man in transcribing, printing, etc.)

25. Only limited descriptions of some of the cultures of these civilizations of which you will write about can be known when you publish your manuscript. And they only exist in another language and are not in print in your country. Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements. Even so, many of the facts, ideas and statements given us as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent with, even the direct opposite of, the prevailing belief of the world. Yet very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their 2,700 years of history at the time you write your book.

26. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care. You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaws in it.

27. After 172 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in your book can be disproven, but all are vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin, rise and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible explanation.

28. Thorough investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 172 years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true.

29. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 172 years.

30. Three honest, credible witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record was translated.

31. You must call out of heaven the voice of the Lord to declare to the three witnesses that your record is true and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony of the divine nature of the book.

32. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight and that they handled them and felt the engraving thereon.

33. The first three witnesses and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their death.

34. You must find someone to finance your book with the understanding that neither he or you will ever receive any monetary gain from it. You must sell the book at cost or less.

35. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for 20 years in the process of producing and defending this book, you must give, willingly, your own life for your testimony that the record is of God and that it contains another testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, even the Savior of the world who was born of a virgin, died on a cross, raised from the dead, ascended into heaven and promised to return.

36. Do you really believe that it is possible the the Book of Mormon was made up and written by a man?


  Back to Study Helps