Thursday, March 19, 2015

Why I Believe: Evidence Thirty-one: Despite Opposition the Book of Mormon Fulfills Prophecy

101 Reasons Why I Believe Joseph Smith is a Prophet

Evidence Thirty-One: 
Despite Opposition the Book of Mormon Fulfills Prophecy© 

The Book of Mormon contains a remarkable prophecy about itself which under the best of circumstances would be difficult to fulfill. However, the circumstances have not been the best. At every turn, from the beginning opposition in Palymra to ongoing attacks against it by anti-Mormons and other critics this very day, the Book of Mormon has been under constant siege for 185 years.(1) Therefore, the audacious nature of the prophecy and its remarkable ongoing fulfillment constitutes another not-so-little gem of evidence that Joseph Smith did not write the Book of Mormon, but translated it by the gift and power of God. 

An angel speaking to Nephi about the fate of certain religious records said:
These last records [the Book of Mormon], which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first [Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.(2)
In the October General Conference in 1945, President George Albert Smith spoke about this prophecy and its fulfillment.
There had been written in that book at the time of its compilation the statement that the book would be received by many people. Joseph Smith didn't eliminate that statement when it came to publication.  When the people said, "we'll not read it," he did not take it out and say, "Well, I can't fulfill this." If he had been writing the book himself, he probably would have changed the script, but it was not his script, and so it went to the world. I was present a few years ago when the Smith farm near the Hill Cumorah was purchased, and as I went through the neighborhood I found only one copy of the Book of Mormon. That was owned by a man named Pliny T. Sexton, who was chancellor of the University of New York and the banker at Palmyra. He had a copy of the first edition of the Book of Mormon as it came from the press. The leaves had never been cut, and he kept it in the safe in the bank. I asked him, "Is there any place here were I can find another copy of the Book of Mormon?" He said, "I do not know." I then began to inquire among the people and found that the people of Palmyra had kept their word. They had neither bought nor would they read it. At that time Palmyra was a village and is still a village, but the Book of Mormon that was discredited then has since been read and accepted by people in all parts of the earth, people from many nations, numbering hundreds of thousands, and the work is still going forward, fulfilling the prediction that it was made...known to all kindreds, tongues, and people...."(3)
Does anyone really believe that Joseph Smith on his own authority and foresight could have confidently made such a prediction about the fate of the book he published in 1830 at age 24? What earthly power did he possess in order to fulfill it? Last night I watched Julie Andrews explain, on the 50th anniversary of her hit movie "The Sound of Music," that nobody in the cast and crew at the time had any idea of the success it would enjoy, and that despite the money spent on advertisement--something Joseph Smith did not have. The angel's prediction in the Book of Mormon is as remarkable as another angel’s prophecy that Joseph's “name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people.”(4) In 2011 the Church published the 150 millionth copy of the Book of Mormon! It is now available in 82 languages in its onward march of fulfilling the declarations of both angels.(5)

Thank God for Joseph Smith!

Lets think together again, soon.


1.   Below is an annotated list of a few articles discussing opposition to the Book of Mormon at various times.  See especially the Kirkham article for problems in Palmyra at the time the Book was published.  This list was culled from, Donald W. Parry, Jeanette Miller, and Sandra A. Thorne, eds., A Comprehensive Annotated Book of Mormon Bibliography, available for search online at the Maxwell Institute, here:

Doxey, Roy W. "Satan's Opposition to the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon." Relief Society Magazine 44 (November 1957): 760-64.
In opposition to the Lord's great work of saving the souls of mankind, Satan has sought to destroy the same. Joseph Smith was cautioned that temptations would arise concerning the gold plates.The loss of the manuscript was not a frustration to God's work, it was an important lesson.

"Impact of Book Is Dynamic, Lasting." Church News 58 (31 December 1988): 6-7.
Shows how the Book of Mormon has fared from its first printing to the present, in spite of intense opposition. 

Kirkham, Francis W. "What Is the Book of Mormon?" Deseret News Church Section (21 October 1933): 5. The citizens of Palmyra covenanted not to buy a single Book of Mormon from Joseph Smith who claimed a divine origin of the book. It was denounced by Alexander Campbell in the Millennial Harbinger in February 1831. In spite of opposition the Book of Mormon has been carried to the world. Parley P. Pratt's testimony and Joseph Smith's letter to John Wentworth are included.

McGavin, E. Cecil. "The Book of Mormon Survives." Deseret  News Church Section (18 June 1938): 1, 8. 
The Book of Mormon was published in an environment of intense opposition. The enemies of the book published strange stories concerning its origin. Newspapers printed numerous articles (some reprinted in this article) prejudicing the public, claiming that the "next generation" would not remember the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon survived the opposition and has been published in foreign languages.

Newquist, Jerreld L. "The Western Standard." Improvement Era 62 (April 1959): 238-39, 274-82. 
George Q. Cannon, who established The Western Standard (newspaper) for the purpose of publishing items of interest to Latter-day Saints, tells of publishing the Book of Mormon in the Hawaiian language, which received a great deal of opposition from members of the Church in San Francisco.

Smith, Joseph Fielding. The Restoration of All Things: A Series of Radio Talks. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1944. 
Since the day of publication of the Book of Mormon, the flood of opposition towards it has increased. The Book of Mormon answers the critics successfully, fulfills biblical prophecy, and is a testimony against the world. Since not all believe, special witnesses had to be chosen. The Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon remained true to their testimonies.

Talmage, James E.  "Scriptures of the American Continent."  Liahona 14 (1917): 611-12.  
Summarizes the Book of Mormon and the story of its coming forth, and explains that much of the opposition to the book was due to Joseph's claim that he had been visited by an angel and received divine help in its translation.  This claim was an affront to the dogma that miracles had ceased. 

2.  1 Ne. 13:40.

3. George Albert Smith, Conference Report, October 1945, pp. 19-20. 

4.  JS-History: 1:33.

5.  These statistics are available at Church’s website, here:

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