Bait and Switch

by Taylor Joyce

The Mormons are up to their old tricks. They are once again running a television ad in which they offer a free copy of the Book of Mormon. This is almost a classic example of the fraudulent retail scheme known as "bait and switch." It is a strategy in which the product advertised is not the product delivered.

In this case the product, the Book of Mormon, is being promoted as a "companion to the Bible" and "another testament of Jesus Christ." Respondents will of course receive the free copy of the Book of Mormon hand delivered by two Mormon "elders." But the claim that in receiving the Book of Mormon one is receiving a "companion to the Bible" and "another testament of Jesus Christ" is demonstrably false.

If it is a "companion to the Bible" why does it contain so many assertions that contradict the Bible? Why does it say Jesus was to be born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10), when the Bible clearly states he was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1)? Why does the Book of Mormon refer to people as Christians in 73 B.C. (Alma 46:13-16), more than 100 years before the Bible says, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch" (Acts 11:26)? Why does this "companion to the Bible" declare that the crucifixion of Jesus was accompanied by three days of darkness? "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, (emphasis mine) to the time that he shall rise again from the dead" (Helaman 14:20, 27; 1 Nephi 19:10). This of course contradicts the Bible that says the darkness lasted three hours—not three days (Luke 23 :44).

Numerous other contradictions of this type make it clear that the Book of Mormon is not a companion to the Bible. And the claim that the Book of Mormon is "another testament of Jesus Christ" if equally unfounded. Such a claim flies in the face of Jude 3 that shows that the faith—the thing believed—was "once for all delivered to the saints" (RSV). This statement, coming as it does at the end of the first century, leaves no room for a subsequent delivery 1800 years later by Joseph Smith. Smith proudly concedes that it was through the instrumentality an angel named Moroni that he was able to produce this book. This circumvents the warning of the apostle Paul, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8).

The reference to the Bible in the Mormon TV ad is for advertising purposes only. They want to leave the impression that they have a high regard for the Bible. The "elders" who deliver the book will come back periodically to study with the recipient. And they will begin immediately to try to undermine faith in the Bible. They will cite a passage from the Book of Mormon which says, "Thou fool, that shall say, A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no other Bible. . .Ye need not suppose that I have not caused more to be written" (2 Nephi 29:6, 10). They will refer to another passage that indicates that "the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record" is no longer reliable because it has been modified by "a great and abominable church." "For behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord, that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men. Wherefore, thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God" (1 Nephi 13:26-28).

The "elders" will eventually show their disdain for the Bible by quoting from one of their original "apostles," Orson Pratt: "Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?" (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, 218).

This is an incredible statement in view of the fact that fully one-third of the Book of Mormon (some 10,000 words) is quoted verbatim from the King James Version of the Bible. This raises an additional doubt as to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. The preface states, "The period covered by Book of Mormon annals extends from B.C. 600 to A.D. 421." If that is true, how does it manage to use so much of the exact language of the King James Bible that was not published until 1611.

And if it is true that we cannot know but that every verse of the Bible has been corrupted as Pratt says, then how do they explain the statement of Jesus, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matt. 24:35)?

The original edition of the Book of Mormon was published in 1830. Subsequent editions have contained a cumulative total of more than 3,000 changes in the text. In spite of all the corrections that have been made the book is still not free from grammatical, historical and literary errors. In light of its own imperfections it is ludicrous for its adherents to allege that it is a revelation from God, much less that it is a revelation superior to the Bible.

Truth in advertising would require the Book of Mormon to be listed as a work of fiction. A more accurate title would be Book of Myths. The young lady who is promoting the book in the TV ad tells her friend that she feels so peaceful when she is reading it. Fairy tales have that kind of effect on many people.