Is the Book of Mormon one-sided?

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In 1 Nephi 1:3, Nephi says: I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

By saying “according to my knowledge”, is he suggesting that there are other points of view and perhaps the history in the Book of Mormon is one-sided?

43 thoughts on “Is the Book of Mormon one-sided?

  1. Yes, the Book of Mormon is one-sided. It was not designed to be a comparison of the points of view of Nephi vs Laman on whether to build a ship. The Lord wanted to send a message to our day that in the end compliance with the Lord was more important than our own points of view.

  2. “…in the end compliance with the Lord was more important than our own points of view…”

    Yet another statement that gives me chills…

  3. Rick,

    the Lord will never force you to do something you don’t want to do, but if you choose to follow the Lord, don’t do it half-heartedly because he will require you sacrifice your will for his own. This is what the Savior showed in the Garden of Gethsemane when he proclaimed, “not my will, but thine be done.” The will of the Son was swallowed up in the will of the Father.

    So yes, if you choose to follow the Lord, then compliance with the Lord is more important than our own points of view. if you choose not to follow the Lord, then you’ll never get the blessings he has in store for you.

    God’s work and glory is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. He has no malice in store towards us, but only that which improves our lives. We may not recognize this, and sometimes we will be questioning greatly what the Lord may be thinking. But if we see things from his point of view we will understand better.

    Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. It brought the Savior all the Father hath. We’re promised in Romans 8:17 the same.

  4. “I guess the followup question would be, who else’s knowledge would he write the book according to?”

    Rick shoots and scores.

  5. Perhaps it had something to do with the same story that he father told in the Book of Lehi and Nephi was worried that maybe all the details wouldn’t match up, so that was his disclaimer.

  6. Jeff. That’s impossible. My anti friends tell me that JSmith made up that whole story about the lost plates.

  7. “He has no malice in store towards us, but only that which improves our lives.”

    Unless you count separating me from my wife and family in a multi-tiered hereafter…

  8. Dan said “So yes, if you choose to follow the Lord, then compliance with the Lord is more important than our own points of view.”

    So how do you know when you are following the Lord and not something a man made up?

    Regarding the BOM – Assuming it is a collection of history written by different men, how would it have a point of view? Should it not be viewed as a History Book?

    Is there any physical evidence anywhere that anything in the BOM is true?

    How can there be a point of view if there is nothing to gauge it by?

  9. tortdog, I’m not sure where you’re coming from:

    My anti friends tell me that JSmith made up that whole story about the lost plates.

    Whether or not he (Joseph Smith Jr.) made up the story is irrelevant to my point that possibly Nephi was explaining why his account of the same story his father told may have been different. Even if the Book of Lehi never existed, (a theory that I have never heard before nor do I subscribe to it) if Joseph Smith “made it up” then Nephi’s account would still “cover” that story.

    Or were you just trying to get me going?

  10. Most people aren’t sharp enough to cover up lies with more lies. One lie gets its cover blown by the liar’s failure to document evidence of the original lie (or document the natural result).

    You could argue that JSmith was a particularly clever liar, I suppose. But in my view that’s a stretch.

  11. Rick,

    Unless you count separating me from my wife and family in a multi-tiered hereafter

    again, this is based on your choice, and it is YOU who has to accept the consequences of your choices. If your wife chooses to follow Christ and you don’t, don’t blame Christ or your wife.

  12. George,

    So how do you know when you are following the Lord and not something a man made up?

    You ask the Lord.

    Regarding the BOM – Assuming it is a collection of history written by different men, how would it have a point of view? Should it not be viewed as a History Book?

    Generally yes. The quoted section deals with Nephi’s writings. First and Second Nephi are written in Nephi’s own words, and are in his own point of view. The rest of the Book of Mormon, with the exception of Jacob, Enos, The Words of Mormon, are all written in the point of view of Mormon, the second to last prophet in the Book of Mormon. What Mormon did was compile the history of his people into one large collection of golden plates. He chose gold because gold does not rust. What he wrote was the whole story from Lehi down to his day. The Lord had also commanded him to add in Nephi’s personal journal, which we know as 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi. The reason for this was because of Martin Harris. Joseph Smith was translating the plates with the story of Lehi in Mormon’s words. Martin Harris was helping. Martin Harris’s wife kept tempting him to show her the translation. She had in her heart the desire to steal the transcript and forge the translation, so that when Joseph Smith began translating again the same section, she would release the stolen, yet altered transcript and the work of Joseph Smith would be frustrated. To counter Martin Harris’s weakness, the Lord commanded Nephi to make a personal journal of his experiences, and then commanded Mormon to include Nephi’s personal account so the final version of the Book of Mormon would have two accounts of the beginning of their story. Because of Martin Harris’s weakness, we get only one, Nephi’s personal journal, written in from his point of view.

    Is there any physical evidence anywhere that anything in the BOM is true?

    There’s a bunch, but it is all circumstantial. The point of the Book of Mormon is not the physical evidence, but it acting as a second testimony of Jesus Christ. Read the Book of Mormon and then challenge the Lord in prayer to prove its accuracy. Go to the source of Truth: God.

  13. Once again Dan, you completely missed my point.

    You said “He has no malice in store towards us, but *only* that which improves our lives.”

    If separating me from my family is part of God’s plan, then He doesn’t have *only* that which improves our lives in mind for us.

    He has things in mind for us that *don’t* improve our lives – if we don’t follow His plan.

  14. Rick,
    God’s plan is for you to get there too. You not getting there is not his intention, but your choice. I think the point you are missing is Dan’s. We do not hold that God wants anything less than the Celestial Kingdom for any of us. In the end, he can only take us as far as we let him. This is not malice, it is allowing choice.

  15. “You not getting there is not his intention, but your choice.”

    It is His intention since it’s going to happen, and He knows it, and he is supposed to be the Almighty after all. Can God make a covenent so strong that even He can’t break it?

  16. But that doesn’t mean that’s what he wants, Rick.

    Malice means a desire to harm others or to see others suffer. For eternal punishment to be malice means that God desires you to be away from your family. I think it goes without saying that Christianity believes God’s desire is for us to be in heaven.

  17. Good post. What scripture isn’t one sided? Anyone not reading it in that spirit is missing a lot. Although, I’m well aware that many LDS read scripture as if it was some unbiased independent account.

    Onan is a classic. Onan probably died happy of natural causes. His wife screamed. People ran into the tent and seeing his semen, said “Look, G-d struck him down for……………” We don’t get Onan’s side of the story. Then we get into a theater of the absurd where masturphobes write their own scripture and twist the story into something that’s not even in the biased one sided text.

  18. “…God’s desire is for us to be in heaven.”

    If that’s his desire then why aren’t we all in Heaven by default?

    Why the arbitrary ruleset?

  19. Rick

    Because He gave us something else, the right to make our own choices. He won’t force us to do His will. We don’t get there just because we want to. There are rules, there are commandments. If there weren’t we would not be able to be in His presence. It’s the refiner’s fire for a reason. We have to work to get there, not just for kicks, but in order to be fit to live there. But the rules aren’t arbitrary. It’s exactly the same for everyone.

  20. Right Mary, he gave us choices and if He wanted to , he could allow us all to go to the same place in the hereafter … but he doesn’t. That’s the arbitrary part I’m talking about.

  21. He could, but then He wouldn’t be God. The laws apply to Him as well as us. If He made it so everyone could go the the highest kingdom no matter what they do, then what would be the point of requiring obedience?

    And yes, He could allow everything, but He is a consistent Father and He has His reasons which even now make sense. If your children disobey you, and the consequence say was, if they didn’t they would not be allowed to say, go to a movie with the rest of the family (and ok I know your children are teenagers and maybe a family togetherness activity may not be the most exciting thing in the world for them, but if not, let’s pretend it is for this point :) ) and one disobeys you (sneaks out at night or something) and you say “Well ok, you can come anyway”. then what would be the point of good behaviour? Now, maybe that point doesn’t illustrate it properly, but like I said already, we are here to learn, grow and go through a refiner’s fire, become fit to live with Him. If we do not get to that point, we are actually physically unable to.

  22. “…what would be the point of requiring obedience?”

    “What would be the point in having choices if they weren’t tied to consequences?”

    These are two sides of the same coin, to me.

    This is not like disciplining a child. If you get these choices wrong, you pay for all eternity.

    If you were to say to your 5 year old, if you do not make your bed EVERY morning, I will not let you see your mother/father again. Ever. That might be deemed as a bit extreme.

    But this is exactly how you are describing God’s attitude toward we mortals who, by God’s estimation, should be less than a 5 year old in comparison intellectually/spiritually.

    He could just say,”Well based on the incredibly limited foresight you possessed as a mortal, I’m going to do the Christian thing and let you all into the highest degree of glory anyway.”

    But that is not apparently how God works, right?

  23. But we aren’t just being asked to make our beds. and like I said, the things we are asked to do aren’t just for kicks, there is a very good reason for each and every one. If we don’t understand every detail exactly, then it is because we cannot yet understand. Some thing we have to take on faith.

    If we were as smart or smarter then Heavenly Father then we wouldn’t need Him. Obviously we aren’t, so we do need Him. :)

  24. So Kim, who are the winners if there are no losers? Is that your point?

    Mary, my point was that we are obviously not anywhere near as enlightened as Heavenly Father, so why would He blame us for making decisions based on our admittedly limited perceptions?

    Can you blame a dog for acting like a dog?

  25. No, the point is that there’s no point in having a heaven if everyone gets to go there. Or rather there’s no point in having heaven separated from hell if everyone goes there.

    “why would He blame us for making decisions based on our admittedly limited perceptions?”

    Personally, I don’t think he will. I believe whatever judgements he makes will not only be based on our actions, but also on our intent, our thoughts, our knowledge, and so forth.

    For example, I think someone who was Mormon and went to church each week, but did it out of a sense of duty, would get a different judgement than someone who was Mormon and went to church each week, but did it because s/he sincerely wanted to.

  26. “But this is exactly how you are describing God’s attitude toward we mortals ”

    Rick,

    I believe your anaogy of making a bed is accurate. God would indeed say that just missing once, you would be grounded for eternity.

    This is where Christ comes into the picture. We believe his is saying “Look, I know you aren’t able to make your bed all the time. I’ll fill in for you when you can’t. In return, all I ask is that you…”

    I think you get the idea.

    With God, it’s pretty much impossible, with Christ it is possible. God won’t allow for any mistakes, Christ does.

  27. “Mary, my point was that we are obviously not anywhere near as enlightened as Heavenly Father, so why would He blame us for making decisions based on our admittedly limited perceptions?”

    He isn’t blaming us. He is hoping we will keep our second estate. And trying to help us the best He can, without doing it for us.

    The thing is, we aren’t dogs. We aren’t animals who mainly act on instinct. We are able to think for ourselves, to reason things out. We aren’t victims of our base natures. We are able to be better than we think we can. For example, if I gave into my base nature, I wouldn’t be having any more children (I mean this physically) because my base nature would love nothing more than to indulge in all my favourite tasty things and forget exercise (although it is more often than not, very enjoyable), but I wanted babies more, so I have to take charge of my health. So I overcame that basal desire to just indulge my physical tastes. And look! The results, beautiful children :) And most especially (since this was the where the true learning and the hardest one to achieve) my baby girl. If I hadn’t overcome the “natural woman” I wouldn’t have her.

  28. As JM said. Justice and Mercy. So the Saviour makes up the rest, while we do the best we can. We aren’t expected to be perfect YET. Just to try our best while we are here.

  29. “so why would He blame us for making decisions based on our admittedly limited perceptions?”

    We believe that God deals in absolutes. Black and White. Right and Wrong. The perfect and absolute definition of justice. One small error makes us guilty.

    If God is unable to accept any degree of sin, then the smallest imperfection will keep us away from him, regardless if it was intentional or not.

    Personally, that seems logical to me and I accept it as gospel truth.

    That’s also what I love about the gospel, Christ, and the plan of redemption. It allows for me to make mistakes, figure things out for myself, and change who I am. Christ will fill in the blanks created by my sins if I do my best to obey his commandments. That way I get a clean slate and make it back to HF.

  30. Well in a world of black and white, I choose the gray.

    If that makes me blacker than I am white…so be it. =)

  31. It should be made clear that it is not God that says one won’t live with Him. It is justice, which is the opposite of mercy offered through the atonement.

    The atonement is the Father’s plan (an eternal plan) and we should not lose sight of it.

    We should also be clear that you and I don’t set the dimensions of the atonement. God does. And His mercy will extend further, and run deeper, than any of us can imagine.

    It is a moot point to argue scripture to one who does not believe in God. Rick can argue that there is no god, and be fine with that, ven in God’s eyes. It’s my hope he doesn’t close his mind to the possibility that God might exist.

    “Why postponed was Saul’s conversion?” (read “Love and the Light” p117, by Orson F. Whitney)

    I respect Rick’s right to question.

    We need to come up with better answers than “because”. Remember Paul’s point about being able to defend the truth.

    That point holds true for any point of view on any subject any of us hold.

    In the end, as Orson F. Whitney said: “truth doth itself defend”.

  32. Yes, I respect Rick’s right to question too, just to make it clear. The nice thing is, he is able to debate in an intelligent way, always refreshing, when talking with those who don’t have the same beliefs.

  33. “Well in a world of black and white, I choose the gray.

    If that makes me blacker than I am white…so be it. =) ”

    Perhaps that explains why you could always come up with killer bass lines and drum patterns! ;-)

  34. Hey, is there a band out there I haven’t been included in?
    Just because I have no musical talent is no reason to exclude me from beating the drums.
    LOL…

  35. There was… and if I have anything to do with it, it may be resurrected, although we didn’t beat drums, we programmed them.

  36. Here an answer beyond because. Heaven is about what we become. God does give us a way to keep improving through the savior. He gives us the information we need to become Celestial beings. We are all going to fall short. Hence the need for a savior. However, the point of the atonement is not to cover our misdeeds as much as make it possible to lift us beyond them.
    Whether or not we embark on the path or continue on the path when it gets difficult is our choice. God wants us there. He shows us the way. He gave us the savior to cover our shortcomings. The act of moving forward on the path itself transforms us into more Godlike beings. We become something Celestial.

    But can God really force us to become something better? No.

    Can we become this without the use of faith? Apparently not. It is the first principle of this path. I think even in the next world if we tend to see his plan as capricious, we still aren’t going to trust him enough to be transformed.

    Rick, the world is Gray, by design, in fact. We need an opposition, and a fact of opposition is that we will succumb. The miracle of the gospel to me is that because of Jesus Christ, we can have the best of both worlds.

    We learn through our experience. We make mistakes. We pick up, repent, and keep going. Through experience and through spiritual cleansing we become something greater, our understanding increases, our power to do good increases, continuing on ad infinitum. It really has a beautiful symmetry to it.

  37. I believe it is one sided, I believe that the Bible is the book of truth, and truthfully there are a lot of his thoughts that do not line up with what the bible has to say.

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