Hey guys, so as I’ve said many times before, the Book of Mormon is the keystone of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you remove that keystone, the rest of our truth claims come tumbling down. Thus, the Book of Mormon has been the target of antagonists for almost 200 years now. In this series, we’ve addressed many of those critical arguments.
But one thing is for sure—IF Joseph was a fraud, IF he just made the Book of Mormon up—in many instances he was an extremely lucky guesser and in this video, we’re going to look at just a few examples of that. To be clear, these things do not prove that the Book of Mormon is true. These are just some thought-provoking details that are fun to look at. Let’s begin.
You might have heard this one before, but at the beginning of the Book of Mormon, a prophet named Lehi travels with his family to a place near the Red Sea called Nahom, where they bury the recently-deceased Ishmael. Researchers have since discovered, shockingly, an ancient burial site right where it should be, called in Hebrew, NHM (remember, vowels aren’t written as letters in Hebrew). Even the most detailed maps of Joseph’s day did not include this location. He must have just gotten extremely lucky.
On a related note, just a little later in the story, Lehi’s group arrives at a place on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula that they called “Bountiful.” The scriptures make several claims about this place: There were fruit and honey, they had access to a shoreline, but also a prominent mountain, as well as cliffs. There was wood for shipbuilding, as well as metal ore for tools. And it was “nearly eastward” of Nahom. Keep in mind—the Book of Mormon claims that this place exists on the Arabian Peninsula. It’s a gutsy claim, and miraculously, once again, there’s at least one candidate that checks all the boxes. Another lucky guess!
One thing people made fun of for a long time was the fact that the name “Alma” appears in the Book of Mormon as a boy’s name. Even as recently as 2016 Pastor Gabriel Hughes wrote, “…Alma, for whom the book of Alma is named, is a Hebrew name which means ‘Betrothed Virgin.’ It would not have been the name of a man.”
He was obviously unaware of the Bar Kokhba Papyrus found among the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1960s, which reads in part, “…both of Ein Gedi and Tehinah son of Simeon and Alma son of Judah…” According to BiblicalReproductions.com, “One of the men mentioned in this historical record is Alma son of Judah. This certainly provides evidence that the name Alma was used as a male name and not exclusively female, as it was earlier assumed.” Once again, Joseph catches an extremely lucky break.
The Book of Mormon talks about a group of Lamanite converts called the Anti-Nephi-Lehies who repent of their sins and bury their weapons of war. In Alma 27:22 the Nephites say, “This land Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance.” The Nephites arrange their armies to protect them in Jershon, and then two verses later we read again, “…this we will do unto our brethren, that they may inherit the land Jershon…” A few verses later, the converts “took possession of the land of Jershon.”
According to researchers at Book of Mormon Central, “the name Jershon and the attending detail that it was a land of ‘inheritance’ for the Anti-Nephi-Lehies is a fairly obvious Hebrew pun. The Hebrew verb yrshh … means ‘to take possession of’ or ‘to inherit.’ …Quite literally, then, Alma 27 depicts the Anti-Nephi-Lehies ‘inheriting’ or ‘taking possession’ of the ‘place of possession/inheritance.’” Of course, the kicker is that Joseph Smith didn’t start studying Hebrew until well after this was recorded, and he never even brings this detail up, suggesting he was never aware of it. That’s a pretty lucky guess for someone just making names up.
The list goes on, and I’ve done a couple of other episodes that bring up some other fun things, but you get the point. Again, these things don’t prove anything. Maybe Joseph had an Arabian Bedouin neighbor who was like, “let me tell you about this place called Nahom…” but as these things pile up and you start to think about the odds, it leads to some important questions. If Joseph was a fraud, did he just get lucky? Or did this uneducated farm boy have outside help? If so, who? And how? Or maybe he’s not as ignorant as we thought.
Maybe he’s actually an extremely well-read religious evil genius! But again, where is he getting some of this information? And after all this super-meticulous secret research, why doesn’t he ever point this stuff out as evidence for his prophetic nature? Or could it be that there’s something else going on here? Like… maybe he was just telling the truth. I’ll let you and God figure that one out. Check out the links in the description for more on this subject, and have a great day!
- More on Nahom: https://bit.ly/2X616xT
- More on the land “Bountiful”: https://bit.ly/2ZeiBhZ
- More on the name, “Alma”: https://bit.ly/2Zs5v11
- More on Jershon: https://bit.ly/369kRZi
- More on Joseph’s torn coat: https://bit.ly/2Tegbfy