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a man, therefore you will have to be watchful and faithful to your trust, or you will be overpowered by wicked men; for they will lay every plan and scheme that is possible to get it away from you, and if you do not take heed continually, they will succeed. While it was in my hands, I could keep it, and no man had power to take it away! but now I give it up to you. Beware, and look well to your ways, and you shall have power to retain it, until the time for it to be translated.
That of which I spoke, which Joseph termed a key, was, indeed, nothing more nor less than the Urim and Thummim, and it was by this that the angel showed him many things which he saw in vision; by which also he could ascertain, at any time, the approach of danger, either to himself or the Record, and on account of which he always kept the Urim and Thummim about his person.
(To be continued.)
READ SLOWLY, AND THINK.
Does my life please God?
- Presbyterian Endeavorer.
SOME OBJECTIONS TO THE BOOK OF
BY H. B. ROBERTS.
Elder J. A. Glazier, writing from Auckland, New Zealand, under date of December 20, 1901, says:
A gentleman of this city has been studying the Book of Mormon, and has brought up some passages which evidently do not agree with the known facts. Any light on these passages which will enable me to make them harmonize with the Bible will be appreciated.
First, Alma 7: 10, says, Jesus would be born at Jerusalem.
Second, in Helaman 14: 20-27, and in I Nephi 19: 10, we read about three days of darkness which should cover "all the earth” and the isles of the sea at the crucifixion of the Savior. Neither the Bible nor history speaks of three days of darkness on the eastern hemisphere. Hence, it did not cover "all the earth,” as we understand it.
Third, Outlines of Ecclesiastical History, by Elder B. H. Roberts, states on page 17, in the notes, that Jesus must have been born April 6. We learn from the Book of Mormon, III Nephi 2: 8, that the Nephites reckoned time from the appearance of the sign of the birth of Jesus; and in III Nephi 8: 5, we find he was crucified thirty-three years and four days after his birth, which would make the date of his crucifixion April 10, instead of April 6, as stated.
The gentleman referred to above is working on one of the daily papers here, and has it within his power to do us harm by publishing these statements from our books, which I do not feel competent to answer in a plain and satisfactory manner. Therefore, I trust it will not inconvenience you to favor me with a reply in the columns of the ERA or by letter.
The letter from which the foregoing excerpts are taken was
handed to me to answer through the ERA, and to that request I cheerfully respond.
In the first place, let me remark in passing, that the gentleman in Auckland who, in studying the Book of Mormon, has come upon these supposed contradictions, has made no new discovery in the way of objections to the Book of Mormon. They are so old and have so often been repeated by objectors to the Book of Mormon, that they have about them a familiarity not unlike the refrain of some old song. Those objections have been made almost from the time the Book of Mormon was first published to the world. Take the first item, for instance, about Jesus being born wat Jerusalem." Alexander Campbell, the founder of the sect of the "Disciples," or "Christians," more commonly called “Campbellites," as early as February 10, 1831, before the Book of Mormon had been in print quite one year, made this same objection, only he charged that the Book of Mormon said that Jesus was born “in Jerusalem.” And as it is well known that Jesus was born at Bethlehem, a village some four miles south of Jerusalem, there is supposed to be a contradiction between the Book of Mormon and the known facts. As as a matter of fact, however, the Book of Mormon neither says that Jesus was born "in Jerusalem” nor "at Jerusalem.” What it does say is—and I quote the passage cited in the communication here under consideration, viz., Alma 7: 10—"Behold he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers." Not the city of our fathers, mark you, but the "land of our forefathers." There can be no question in the world but what the Nephite historian is. stating the “land” of Messiah's birth, not the city of his nativity; and that being conceded -as it must be by every fair-minded critic—the supposed contradiction between the Book of Mormon statement and the known facts in the case disappear at once.
This explanation of the supposed difficulty is further strengthened when it is remembered that it was a custom of the Nephites to name large districts of country-such districts as might correspond to provinces and principalities in other nation-alities-after the chief city of the land:
Now it was the custom of the people of Nephi, to call their lands, and their cities, and their villages, yea, even all their small villages, after the name of him who first possessed them; and thus it was with the land of Ammonihah.—Alma 8: 7.
And hence, too, came the practice of calling large districts of country after the chief city therein; and in this same book of Alma-as throughout the Book of Mormon-we have the city named after the man who founded it, and the district of country named from the chief city, thus: “The land of Zarahemla;" "the land of Melek;" "the land of Ammonihah;" "the land of Gideon;" "the land of Lehi-Nephi, or the city of Lehi-Nephi;" and so on ad infinitum. It became a habit of speech with them, especially with reference to Jerusalem, from whence their forefathers came, as witness the following few out of many such quotations that could be given:
I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may be distinguished above all the people which the Lord God hath brought out of the land of Jerusalem.- Mosiah 1: 11.
That same God has brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem.-Mosiah 7: 20.
Why will he not show himself in this land, as well as in the land of Jerusalem?--Helaman 16: 19.
Hence when it is said that Jesus should be born “at Jerusalem, which is the land of our forefathers,” the Nephite writer merely conformed to a habit of speech, and meant the land of Jerusalem, not the city.
What is said on the objection just considered, will show the importance of carefully examining the language of the Book of Mormon objected to in any case; for it is seldom treated fairly by those who make the eụceptions to it. This holds with equal force to the second objection here to be considered. The objection as stated by our correspondent, in brief, and pointedly, is—The Book of Mormon says that at the crucifixion of Messiah there will be three days of darkness that will cover all the face of the earth and the isles of the sea. History and the Bible are silent about such an event;
therefore, the Book of Mormon makes a false statement and must itself be untrue, and, consequently, uninspired, and is not at all what it claims to be-viz., a record of the ancient inhabitants of America, and brought forth by the power of God for the enlightenment and instruction of the world.
This objection, as put by our correspondent, differs a little from the ordinary manner in which it is stated by objectors. They usually try to make it appear that the Book of Mormon's statement that there were three days darkness at the crucifixion, is in conflict with the New Testament statement that there were three hours darkness only, at that time; but the fact that the New Testament statement refers to an event that took place while Jesus hung upon the cross in Judea, and the Book of Mormon's statement refers to an event that took place after his crucifixion, and in the western hemisphere, it must be apparent that there is no conflict of statments in this regard between the two records.
But now to meet the objection as presented by the gentleman of New Zealand. All that is necessary is to present just exactly what the Book of Mormon does say with reference to the three days of darkness:
The God of our fathers
yieldeth himself, according to the words of the angel, as a man into the hands of wicked men to be lifted up according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified according to the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words of Zenos, which he spake, concerning the three days of darkness which should be a sign given of his death, unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea; more especially given unto those who are of the House of Israel.-I Nephi 19: 10.
This is one of the passages quoted respecting the three days of darkness; but, mark you, there is nothing here about the three days of darkness extending over the whole face of the earth. It speaks of it as extending to the isles of the sea; to those more especially inhabited by the house of Israel; clearly intimating that it would not extend to all the isles of the sea. In passing, and merely by the way, it may be interesting to call attention to the fact that here are three