Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.
The LDS points their finger at the fact that there are differences in ancient manuscripts. They say that this accounts for the differences between their own teachings and those of the Bible.
But their claim is nothing more than a red herring. Their teachings aren’t in any of the manuscripts or in any other ancient records. Nobody had ever heard of Mormonism until Joseph Smith came on the scene. Nevertheless we will discuss their claims to prove that they are unfounded.
There are minor variations in some of the ancient manuscripts. But because of the thousands of documents in our possession it is an easy matter to sort out those that vary. And both Mormon and non-Mormon scholars have concluded that the differences are not of any significance.
“A careful study of the variants of the various
earliest manuscripts reveals that none of them affects a
single doctrine of Scripture. The system of spiritual truth
contained in the standard Hebrew text of the Old Testament
is not in the slightest altered or compromised by any of
the variant readings found in the Hebrew manuscripts
…. It is very evident that the vast majority of them
are so inconsequential as to leave the meaning of each
clause doctrinally unaffected.” (Gleason Archer,
A Survey of the Old Testament, page
“Only about one-eighth of all the variants had any weight, as most of them are merely mechanical matters such as spelling or style. Of the whole, then, only about one-sixtieth [of the variants] rise above ‘trivialities,’ or can in any sense be called substantial ‘variations’. Mathematically this would compute to a Text that is 98.33 percent pure.” (Norman Geisler and William Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, page 365).
Professor Richard L. Anderson, of the LDS’s own Brigham Young University, maintained:
“For a book to undergo progressive uncovering of its manuscript history and come out with so little debatable in its text is a great tribute to its essential authenticity. First, no new manuscript discovery has produced serious differences in the essential story. This survey has disclosed the leading textual controversies, and together they would be well within one percent of the text. Stated differently, all manuscripts agree on the essential correctness of 99 percent of all the verses in the New Testament.”
Another reason the LDS gives for their teachings not lining up with those of the Bible, is that there are books missing from the Bible.
Christ accepted the canon of the Old Testament as it was, as did the primitive church.
When it comes to the New Testament, not all of the available documents met the strict criteria laid down for inclusion in the canon. For instance, some of the apocryphal books taught the heresy of gnosticism. Others claimed to have been written by Christ’s disciples or their close associates but were proved not to have been; and so on. Suffice it to say that there were valid reasons for the exclusion of every single one of the so called missing or lost books.
There were no Mormon doctrines or practices recorded in any of the excluded literature.
Joseph Smith insisted that the Christian church had originally followed Mormonism. But if this was the case the only way that all evidence of this could have been obliterated would have been if every single section of the Christian church (from every area in the world where there had been Christians), had all become apostate simultaneously. And at the same time as apostatizing they would all have had, once again simultaneously, to have rejected their previous Mormon doctrines and adopted an entirely different belief system. They would also have had to ensure that every single manuscript of the New Testament had been destroyed, and that new manuscripts were written to reflect non-Mormon doctrines and practices.
This idea is too far fetched to warrant consideration.
The teachings of the apostles were written down and widely distributed during the early days of the primitive church. So if they had taught Mormonism there would have been a record of this somewhere.
Mormon teachings and practices were unknown prior to the establishment of the LDS church. And some of their present major doctrines, including those on deity and their priesthood, were only introduced a good few years after the LDS church had come into being. Mormonism is an evolving religion. But truth never changes.
Neither archeological evidence nor the information contained in ancient documents have ever revealed any error in our modern Bibles. On the contrary, they have provided proof of its accuracy and reliability.
The following article is relevant to what we have been discussing:
Is the Bible Trustworthy?
This site is dedicated to helping Mormons understand the Bible.
Copyright © 2013 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.