Read the Book of Mormon???

Wait, why would I, a so-called amateur Catholic apologist, call for other Catholic apologists to read the Book of Mormon?  Clearly it isn’t profitable, right???  That is correct.  As a firm believer and follower of the Catholic Faith, I know that Joseph Smith was not a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is not true scripture.  So why should a Catholic apologist read it?

I firmly believe that if one is to critique a belief, they should have some basis in the realities of the belief system.  Therefore, if one is to critique Mormonism, they should be somewhat familiar with the Book of Mormon, or at least the major “problem verses” and the surrounding verses that critics commonly cite.  Now, the main point here is the surrounding verses.  It isn’t enough to just rely on the usual anti or ex-Mormon websites for source material.  I don’t believe there is anything wrong in reading them, but I don’t think that they should be the basis of Catholic critique of Mormonism.  Just like how I would tell a Catholic critic to at least read the Catechism to see our major doctrines spelled out, one should read  Latter-day Saint sources to see their beliefs spelled out.

Some may say “Why would you want to read the Book of Mormon?  You might fall for it!”.  Latter-day Saints would of course believe that they weren’t “falling” for anything, save for the Holy Spirit telling them the truth about the Book of Mormon.  However, if one is strong and steadfast in their Catholic Faith, there is nothing to worry about.  I have studied the Bhagavad Gita, excerpts from the Devi Mahatmyam and the Ramayana, and yet I am not Hindu.  I have read excerpts from Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health and Scientology: Fundamentals of Thought, yet I am not a Scientologist.  These books are not going to “trick” you into becoming a Mormon, a Hindu, or a Scientologist.  

Therefore, I call all Catholic apologists that are also Mormon critics to at least attempt to quickly go through the Book of Mormon.  You don’t have to purchase it or contact the LDS Church to receive a free one.  You can read it right on their own website, as well as numerous other websites.  If you get bogged down by the language and repetitive text, that’s okay, many do.  The least you should do is, when citing a “problem text” from the Book of Mormon, at least read the surrounding verses so that you aren’t missing any additional information.  This is something we should do in all citing, including that of Catholic sources.  You don’t want to be the one to be ridiculed for missing the next sentence that changes the meaning of the entire passage you cited.

What prompted this entry?  Well, I was browsing the Mormon Apologetics and Discussion Board, and someone showed the verse from the Book of Mormon that many critics cite as evidence of God in the BoM saying that polygamy is abominable.  And yes, the passage (Jacob 2:24-29) does say that having multiple wives is abominable to God.  Therefore, Mormon critics will cite this as evidence of a contradiction within Mormonism’s own “most correct book”.  however, the following verse, Jacob 2:30, seems to say (and this is what Mormons say themselves) that God can give a commandment on this matter (as in, He can allow polygamy at a time), and that if there is no commandment on polygamy, then everyone should continue to be monogamous.  Now, I’m not sure why God would call something abominable and then allow that abominable practice, but this does give an example of  how reading the surrounding verses changes the meaning of a passage.

So, Catholic apologists, please don’t blindly post “proof texts” from anti-Mormon websites!  Read them yourselves and the surrounding verses to make sure that you aren’t setting yourself up to be embarrassed.

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~ by onecatholic on September 8, 2009.

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