Saturday, September 27, 2008


Having gone through the Mormon Church on my way to the Catholic, and having discovered many of the same inconsistencies -- which hastened my withdrawl from it -- as noted in this article from First Things, I was particularly interested in the arguments.

An excerpt.

“In contrast, there is only one voice testifying to the authenticity of the American Jesus—the translator of the gold plates that comprise the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith. To be sure, the Book of Mormon purports to be the testimony of more than several ancient prophets, and eleven witnesses say they saw the golden plates. But while there are many extant manuscripts from the ancient world attesting the existence of four gospels that arose independently—hence at least four independent voices—there is no other record from the ancient world outside the Book of Mormon that speaks of this Jesus, and none of the eleven witnesses claimed to be able to translate the writing on the plates.

“Second, the testimonies we have to the Palestinian Jesus date from the same century as that Jesus, but the single testimony to the American Jesus comes eighteen centuries later. Not only do we have manuscripts containing one or more gospels that date to within just a few centuries of the Palestinian Jesus, but we have evidence within those gospels and some epistles that goes back to within just a few decades (and for some units of the tradition, years) of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. But for the American Jesus, the first public record we can find is not until the nineteenth century.

“Third, there are inconsistencies between the Palestinian Jesus and the American Jesus. For example, while the American Jesus promises the land of America to the new Israel as a “new Jerusalem” (3 Nephi 20:22, Ether 13:3), the Palestinian Jesus speaks only of a kingdom of God that is open to people of every land. His promise to the meek is that “they shall inherit the earth” (Matt. 5:5). His apostles write that Jesus’ followers still seek a country (Heb. 11:14) and “should be the heir of the world” (Rom. 4:13). People will bring into the New Jerusalem “the glory and honor” not of a single nation but of all the “nations” (Rev. 21:26). So the Palestinian Jesus seems to think of the coming Kingdom as a worldwide phenomenon not limited to one geographical part of the earth, while the American Jesus is fixated on America. “