Yes, the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or “Mormons”) claim that, along with the Bible, the Book of Mormon1 is a revelation from God. However, the Book of Mormon fails the tests that the Bible gives to identify genuine revelations from God; e.g.:

Deut. 13:1-3
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and …  says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Isa. 8:19-20
when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? … To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

Someone might claim a revelation has come from God, but if that “revelation” contradicts what God has said before then the “revelation” is false, it is not from God. This is true of the Book of Mormon (and the other Mormon texts): they contradict the Bible so they are not from God.

Examples of the Book of Mormon contradicting the Bible.

There are various “minor”  contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Bible; e.g.:

Book of Mormon The Bible
1Nephi 4:2 (also 17:26)
…Moses…spake unto the waters of the Red Sea and they divided…
Ex.14:21
…Moses stretched out his hand over the sea…and the waters were divided.
Mosiah 18:5,17
…in Mormon…they were called the church of God, or the church of Christ, from that time forward… [c. 148—145 B.C]
Mat.16:18
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church… [1stC AD]
Alma 46:13-16
{15} …all those who were true believers in Christ took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians as they were called… [c. 73-72 B.C]
Acts 11:26
…For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians. [1stC AD]
Alma 7:9-10
…the Son of God…shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem…
Mat. 2:1
…Jesus was born in Bethlehem…
Helaman 14:20
…in that day that he [Jesus] shall suffer death the sun shall be darkened and refuse to give his blight unto you; and also the moon and the stars; and there shall be no light upon the face of this land, even from the time that he shall suffer death, for the space of three days, to the time that he shall rise again from the dead
Luke 23:44
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. [i.e. 3 hours of darkness]

These “minor” contradictions aren’t so minor when we realise that even they mean that the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible, and therefore the Book of Mormon isn’t a revelation from God.

There are more serious contradictions, too, between the Book of Mormon and the Bible. For example:

  • the Book of Mormon says the devil is a “fallen angel” (2Nephi 2:17-18),
  • the Book of Mormon and other Mormon texts say that Jesus pre-existed before his birth (1Neph.10:17;13:33-6 has Jesus talking c. 600-592 BC; Mormons say Jesus is Jehovah — or Yahweh — of the OT),
    • but the Bible says that Jesus, the son of God, came into being when he was conceived in Mary’s womb (Mat.1:18; Luke 1:31-32,35);
  • the Book of Mormon says America is the Promised Land (1Neph. 13 — see chapter summary),
    • but the Bible says Canaan (i.e. Israel) is the Promised Land (Gen.17:8; Deut.27:3-4).
  • the Book of Mormon says people carry on living as spirits after they die (Alma 40:11-14),

These are major contradictions with what the Bible teaches, which shows that the Book of Mormon is not a revelation from God (Deut. 13:1-3; Isa. 8:19-20).

These contradictions are all we need to see the Book of Mormon isn’t from God. However, there is other evidence, too. One further example of this evidence follows (for more, see Further reading):

Weakness of Mormonism’s foundation “vision”

The basis of the Mormon faith is a vision that a man called Joseph Smith claimed to receive in 1820.2 This authority is weak when you compare the various accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision — the accounts differ vastly. For a full comparison of the various “First Vision” accounts see Comparison of Mormon First Vision accounts; a summary is given below:

Smith’s official account of 1838 contradicts his earlier, first recorded written account of the “First Vision” (1832) in regard to how he discovered that all Christian denominations were astray from Jesus Christ and from the gospel:

  • In the official 1838 account, Smith says that before his “First Vision” he didn’t know all denominations were wrong (it had ‘never enter my heart that all were wrong’ — v18). In fact, it was impossible for him to know, he says (v8), and the information was revealed to him for the first time during the “First Vision” (also see v10);3
  • But, contrary to this, in his first written record of the “First Vision” (1832) Smith says that he discovered before the “First Vision” that all denominations were astray from the gospel — he discovered it by studying the Bible, he says.4 This contradiction between the two accounts makes the authenticity of Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” highly questionable.

Smith’s official account of 1838 also contradicts his own earlier accounts (Nov. 9th & 14th, 1835) in regard to who appeared to him in the “First Vision”: –

  • In the official 1838 account, Smith says that two personages appeared to him: One of the personages identified the Other personage as His own Son – the Father and Son here appearing to Joseph themselves (v17);3
  • But contrary to this, in the 1835 accounts it is angels who appear to Smith, not the Father and the Son.4 This contradiction between the two accounts makes the authenticity of Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” account highly questionable.

Joseph Smith’s own accounts of his “First Vision” contradict each other. At best, this shows that Smith’s words and writings are unreliable and cannot be relied upon for accuracy. At worst, this shows that Smith fabricated the “First Vision” altogether and he cannot be trusted. Either way, the foundation “experience” of Mormonism is unstable, which brings the rest of the religion into question.

Further reading

Mormons in Transition website.

Comparison of Mormon First Vision accounts

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Footnotes

  1. And other Mormon texts, e.g. Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price.
  2. ‘The truthfulness of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rests on the truthfulness of the First Vision and the other revelations the Lord gave to the Prophet Joseph.’ Gospel Topic: Joseph Smith (accessed 17/11/09)
  3. Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith — History, 1:7-20; online here. Also see here.
  4. History, 1832, Joseph Smith Letterbook 1, p. 2-3; online here.
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