Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Book of Mormon: The Most Correct Book

When I ask my devoted and faithful Christian friends to characterize their faith and beliefs in comparison to the beliefs of others, they invariably give 2 answers: (1) I don't believe 100%, everything that my preacher or religion teaches, (2) I believe the Bible 100% while everyone else picks and chooses what they want to believe from the Bible.

Those responses illustrated a very significant weakness of the Bible. Through ages of mis-translation and mis-interpretation, the Bible has become rather ambiguous. Consequently, it can too easily be mis-interpreted to justify just about any belief. That is exactly why the Bible (in its current form), has to be given the responsible for so many denominations and non-denominations who claim to believe in the Bible 100%.

Now, please do not be angry with me for being critical of the Bible. I love the Bible. It is the word of God as far as it has been translated correctly. I have felt the power and beauty in its words and teachings. I will be ever grateful that the Bible has been preserved throughout these many centuries. That said, many would argue that it's the Bible that is perfect, and the people who are imperfect. But those same people who argue for the unambiguity of the Bible are the same ones who think they follow the Bible 100% while everyone else is a picker and chooser. All, I know is I have met hundreds of devoted, faithful Christians of many religions and faiths who are all striving to live 100% of the teachings of the Bible and who all have very different beliefs.

Therefore, the Bible really has failed in it's stated purpose to bring all believers to "a unity of the faith." The ambiguity of the Bible is exactly why the Book of Mormon as well as modern and personal revelation is so important. Joseph Smith considered the Book of Mormon "the most correct book" of any book on Earth. I have pondered for many years about what Joseph Smith meant when he said that for many years. And now I think I have finally realized (in part) what aspect of the Book of Mormon qualifies it as "the most correct."

The Book of Mormon is the most correct because it is doctrinally unambiguous. Many critics criticize the book over its historicity but they miss the boat when it comes to the purpose of the book. The greatness of the Book of Mormon is that is so very difficult to misunderstand and misinterpret. The Book of Mormon itself says that together, the Book of Mormon and Bible: "shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord" (2 Ne. 3: 12, ).

The Bible itself contains the a powerful prophecy of the Book of Mormon recorded in Ezekiel 37:

"Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore (Ezek. 37: 16-28).

What is this ambiguous prophecy saying? It is saying that in the Last Days, the 12 tribes of Israel would be restored. The Northern 10 tribes had been conquered and scattered by Assyria while the remaining Southern Kingdom of Judah and its 2 tribes had been conquered and brought into captivity into Babylon. Ezekiel says that at some future date the lost tribe of Ephraim and the tribe of Judah (both leading tribes) would be reunited under one doctrine, one covenant, one temple, and one God.

Is Ezekiel simply talking about the return of the Jews from Babylon and the building of the temple of Zerubbabel and later Herod? No, because the Samaritans (remnant of Ephraim), had their own temple (Mount Gerizim) and religion. And the Herod's temple did not last. It was destroyed by the Romans. Therefore, this prophecy must have to apply to some future date when all the tribes of Israel and God's temple will be restored. That restoration will be accompanied by the coming together of two sacred records called "the stick of Joseph" and "the stick of Judah." The stick of Judah is the Bible and the stick of Joseph is the Book of Mormon.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God. The Book of Mormon is the stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim. God has given us this sacred record as prophesied in the Bible to finally establish peace and bring all true believers to Christ so that, at last, there will be "One Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4: 5). The saying goes, "To be great is to be misunderstood." I disagree. I think its far greater to both understand and to be understood. The Book of Mormon is therefore both the greatest and most correct book God has ever caused to be written.

No comments: