Why is this?? There are two possible explanations for the origin of the Book of Mormon. It is either of divine or human origin, and if it is of human origin that means that Joseph Smith concocted the Book. If this is true, then the Book of Mormon should b
Well, I get the impression that I missed most of your question. So… apologies again for that. I didn’t even get the part of your question that was a question. So all I can do is respond to the premise you’re trying to establish here.
The premise you’ve suggested is one I’ve heard before – basically that there are only two possible explanations for the origins of the Book of Mormon. Speaking not necessarily of the BOM, but of Mormonism as a whole, Gordon B. Hinckley summed it up as follows:
…it’s either true or false. If it’s false, we’re engaged in a great fraud. If it’s true, it’s the most important thing in the world. Now, that’s the whole picture. It is either right or wrong, true or false, fraudulent or true.
I won’t outright disagree with this statement, but I will suggest that this black-and-white view of right and wrong is a pretty simplistic method of approaching the Book of Mormon. In my experience, I have not found it useful or meaningful to apply labels like “true” or “false” to the Book of Mormon (or any other religious text…). The practical application of religion requires nuance and subtlety, and I’m not comfortable with anything that implies that I’ve got God all figured out. To take a substantial text like the Book of Mormon, or the complex historical events surrounding it’s creation, and ramming it into a box labeled “true” or “false” is to strip faith of the beautiful subtleties that make it worthwhile and uplifting.
Rather than neatly applying labels to the Book of Mormon, instead, let’s ask the following questions:
- How is the text useful? (How is it not useful?)
- How is it inspiring? (How is it disappointing?)
- How does the text influence your relationship with God?
- What type of person does the text inspire you to become?
- How does the text mesh with your understanding of God?
The way we answer these questions will be far more meaningful than simply answering the question “Is it true?” Once we’ve answered these (and other?) more substantive questions about the Book of Mormon, applying the label “true” or “false” won’t change anything about how we use the text.