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Ezra Taft Benson, you are ridiculous

I promised when I first heard this, I'd provide a partial transcript so I can make fun of it.

We believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God. God has so declared it. So have its writers. So have it's witnesses. So have all those who have read it and received a personal revelation from God as to its truthfulness.

"God has so declared it", huh? And when was that? Through the lips of his "prophet"? If it's writers are made up, does that count as a hearsay objection?

...says that he gave Joseph Smith 'power from on high' to translate the Book of Mormon, which contains the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ which was given by ispiration. Nephi, one of the prophet writers of the Book of Mormon, testifies that the Book contains the words of Christ, and Moroni, the last writers in the Book of Mormon, testifies that these things are true.

Now wait a sec. The Book of Mormon is predominantly a 'history' of a Jewish tribe and their descendants in the New World, supposedly. How is history an 'inspiration'? Isn't that like admitting that Joseph Smith (or someone) made the whole thing up? And even if Mormon and Moroni were real people, Joseph Smith testifying about their testimony from magical gold plates no one is allowed to see (and which have not been taken up to heaven), isn't that at best hearsay? If it's not good enough for the legal system, why should it be good enough for the extraordinary claim that Joseph Smith has a direct line to God?

Their testimony of the records is given at the front of the Book of Mormon. They state: 'We also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice has declared it unto us, wherefore we know of assurity that the work is true.'

So, is it more likely they were all testifying on direct evidence from God, that they were all mass hallucinating, or that they were all lying (or just easily duped). Somehow, I don't think the former is the most likely scenario on that list.

As Joseph Smith... testified, that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on Earth.

It's the "most correct" of any book on Earth, huh? So, if I write a book on the Moon, it could be more true? And suppose it denies your book? But seriously, we *know* the Book of Mormon is false. Definitively and conclusively. Native Americans are NOT Jewish and never were. So, I don't think that leaves a whole lot of room for "most correct". Even the Old Testament is more accurate than the Book of Mormon! I mean seriously. Should me one Native American convert who ever changed "back" to white again.

God is the author of the Book.

So Joseph Smith is claiming to be God now?

The purpose of the Book of Mormon is stated on the title page. It is to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the eternal God.

It's not doing a great job. Interesting, though, all those people that are apparently excluded. I didn't think the Chinese were Gentiles; they aren't Jews, and unless I'm misunderstanding, they certainly aren't Laemonites.

The Book of Mormon brings men to Christ through two basic means. First, it tells in a plain manner of Christ and his gospel. It testifies of his divinity and of the necessity for a redeemer, and the need of our putting trust in him. It bears witness of the fall and the atonement, and the first principles of the gospel and our need for a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and a spiritual rebirth. It proclaims we must endure to the end and live the moral life of a saint. Second, the Book of Mormon exposes the enemies of Christ; it confounds false doctrines and lays down contention; it fortifies the humble followers of Christ against the evil designs and strategies of the devil in our day. The type of apostates in the Book of Mormon are similar to the type we have today. God with his infinite wisdom foreknowledge so moted the Book of Mormon that we might see the error and know how to combat false educational, political, religious and philosophical concepts of our time.

There are so many things wrong with this paragraph, I hardly know where to begin. Why is a redeemer necessary? Clearly, if it was necessary, it should be patently obvious, don't you think. I wouldn't have to have to have this explained it me if it was really that necessary, would I?

And what is this business about the "need for a broken heart"? I really don't get that one at all. Does some former Mormon want to explain to me where that comes from?

There was one atheist in the whole book so far as I could see. Most of the "apostates" in the story were just plain non-descript wicked people. Most of the time it was not even clear what they were doing that was so wicked, except that they didn't agree with the prophets.

And pray tell, what "false educational, political, religious and philosophical concepts" could you be so offended by? I wonder?

Now God expects us to use the Book of Mormon in several ways. We are read it ourselves, carefully, prayerfully, and ponder as we read as to whether this work is the work of God or an unlearned youth. And when we are finished reading the things in the book, Moroni exhorts us to put it to the test in these words: "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you to ask God the eternal Father if these things are not true. And if you shall ask with a sincere heart with real intent having faith in Christ, he shall manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost.

So, I've read the Book of Mormon... well, listened to it. And I say it was written by an unlearned youth and it is SOOOOOO obvious. The writing is terrible. The fake archaic English is dreadful. Surely, God has better writers than that. It's boring. There's no character development. But, if I'm to take his exhortation seriously, if I don't believe in God, how am I supposed to discern the truth of the text if I can't ask someone I don't believe exists? Surely, God should be clever enough to put something in the text that would at least make me suspect I might get an answer? And I just don't get the Holy Spirit, I mean, isn't the Holy Spirit God? Christian theology is just so confusing.

We are to use the Book of Mormon as the basis for our teaching.

Geez, that's scary!

We are to use the Book of Mormon in handling objections to the Church.

Oh, this should be rich!

Joseph Smith told a minister about it. Joseph was surprised to hear the minister say that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days. This remark symbolizes practically all the objections that have ever been made against non-members and dissident members alike, namely that they don't believe that God reveals his will to the Church through prophets of God. All objections whether they be on abortion, plural marriage, seventh-day worship, etc. basically hinge on whether Joseph Smith and his successors were and are prophets of God receiving divine revelation.

Okay, so set aside that revelations are ALL figments of our imagination to begin with. If I have to assume that Joseph Smith was receiving divine revelation, you're gonna have to do a lot better to convince me than you've been doing so far. Hearsay evidence just doesn't cut it... and frankly, half the "important" testimony in the Book of Mormon itself is hearsay heaped upon hearsay. You gotta do better than that.

Here then is a procedure to handle most objections through the use of the Book of Mormon. First, understand the objection. Second, give the answer from revelation. Third, show how the correctness of the answer depends on whether we have modern revelation through modern prophets. Fourth, explain that whether or not we have modern prophets and revelation really depends on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true. The only problem the ojector has--has to resolve--is whether the Book of Mormon is true. For if the Book of Mormon is true, then Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith was his prophet, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true and it is being led today by a prophet receiving revelation.

All objections come down to whether the Book of Mormon is true? Yeah, sure, okay. But you don't REALLY want me to have to spell that out again for you, do you, Ezra? The Book of Mormon true? Please. Never mind that this logic is completely circular.

We are not obligated to answer every objection. Every man is backed up the wall of faith, and there he must make his stand.

No, if you want me to believe your drivel, you do have to answer every question. If you are relying on blind faith, you are living on fear.

The Book of Mormon is to be used as a standard until all people which are of the House of Israel.

There that is again. What do they have against the Japanese?

It's great mission is to bring men to Christ and all other things are secondary.

Keep this statement in mind when you vote for Mitt Romney. Either he's a bad Mormon, or this is what he's taking to the White House. Personally, I find the latter frightening.

Anyone who has diligently sought to know the doctrines and teachings of the Book of Mormon... knows within his soul that this is the instrument which God has given to the missionaries to convince the Jew, the Gentile and Laemonite of the truthfulness of our message.

And how exactly are you definining "diligent"? If I know them and still disagree with them, is that evidence of my lack of diligence? But if I accept them and have never read the book, am I diligent then? In that case I'd think you don't know the meaning of the word.

We have not been using the Book of Mormon as we should. Our homes are not as strong unless we are using it to bring our children to Christ. Our families may be corrupted by the worldy trends and teachings, unless we know how to the book to expose and combat the falsehoods in socialism, organic evolution, rationalism, humanism, etc.

That line about using it to bring the children to Christ gives me the creeps. I mean, this is a blatant advocation of brainwashing, so far as I'm concerned. And this list of "falsehoods" is marvelous. Socialism? Why should Mormons be offended by socialism? Organic evolution? Oh, I see, so since evolution (and biology in general) clearly negates the Book of Mormon and proves it's false, therefore, evolution is a falsehood... aren't we back to that weird circular reasoning again? Rationalism? Humanism? Caring about humanity in this life rather than the next is a bad thing? This is what they call moral?

Our nation will continue to degenerate unless we read and heed the words of the God of this land, Jesus Christ, and quit building up and upholding the secret combinations which the Book of Mormon tells us proved the downfall of both previous American civilizations.

I don't understand this reference to "secret combinations", but I'll set that aside. It must be some kind of code word. But this bit about Jesus Christ being the "God of this land"... um, really? I mean, we're talking about God, right? Isn't God supposed to be the God of every land? I mean, there's supposedly only one of them, right? Why does that sound freakishly Dominionist?

Some of the early missionaries on returning home were reproved of the Lord... because they had treated lightly the Book of Mormon. As a result, their minds had been darkened. The Lord said this kind of treatment of the Book of Mormon brought the whole church under condemnation, even all the Children of Zion. ...and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the Book of Mormon.

The whole Church is under condemnation? So, what motivation do I have to join? I'm condemned now, what possible advantage is there to be to join a condemned church? And how exactly is it just to condemn the entire church because a few people dissed the Book? Does that seem like a proportional response to you?

...the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on Earth.

There is that claim again. And this is so patently false, there is hardly anything else to be said except that the Book of Mormon is possibly one of the LEAST correct books on Earth!

I have a cousin who converted to Mormonism when she got married, and frankly, I hope she never talks to me about her religion, because I somehow doubt she would be too pleased with me new-found "appreciation" for her beliefs.

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