The Facts on The Mormon Church (Harvest House, 1991) pp. 28-29
What intractable problems face the Book of Mormon?
Dr. Hugh Nibley of Brigham Young University (who some Mormons feel is one of the greatest scholars in the Church) declares: “The Book of Mormon can and should be tested. It invites criticism.”* Tenth president Joseph Fielding Smith thinks that the evidence for it “internally and externally is overwhelming.”*
But the only evidence is overwhelmingly negative.
First, although the Church denies it, there is little doubt that, given Smith’s claims, the Book of Mormon was translated by occult means.* Smith put a magical “seer” stone into a hat, and then buried his face in the hat to exclude the light. Next, words in “reformed Egyptian” (no such language is known to exist) magically appeared with their translation, and Smith spoke the translation to a scribe who wrote it down. One of Smith’s many wives, Emma Smith, confesses: “In writing for your father, I frequently wrote day after day….He sitting with his face buried in his hat, with a stone in it, and dictating hour after hour….”*
In addition, the very content of the Book of Mormon makes it impossible to accept it as a divine revelation. The Book of Mormon claims to be a translation of ancient writings on gold plates. These plates were supposedly written at least 1,400 years ago and detailed the history of the Jewish “Nephites” from 600 B.C. through A. D. 421. But it is virtually impossible that records written 1,400 years prior to the time of Joseph Smith should detail specific social, political, and religious concerns unique to nineteenth-century America
*For full documentation, please see The Facts on The Mormon Church.