Occasionally you hear someone say, "I could believe your Mormon Doctrine if I just didn't have to swallow the story about Joseph Smith being a man of God and that he translated the Book of Mormon from some golden plates which he claimed he had found on a hill side." It is even possible that you, yourself, have doubted his story. Well, let us consider some facts or conditions that must be complied with in order for you or someone else to produce a similar record under comparable conditions.
1. You must be 23-24 years of age.
2. You cannot be a college graduate, in fact, you can have only three years of schooling.
3. You must write a book with 239 Chapters, 54 of them about wars, 21 about history, 55 about prophecy, 71 about doctrine, 17 about missionaries, and 21 about the mission of Jesus Christ.
4. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you now know; no research can be done.
5. You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet, covering a period from 600 BC to 421 AD. Why? Cause you know nothing about Tibet.
6. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and seperate nations, along with histories of different contemperary nations or groups of people, of which no one ever knew existed.
7. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
8. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern of Christian living.
9. When you start to produce this record, covering a period of over 1,000 years, you must finish it in approximatly 80 days.
10. When you have finished you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever.
11. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you.
12. Your record must be about 522 pages with over 510 word per page. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language. William Shakespeare only added 20.
13. You must announce that your "smooth narrative" is not fiction, but truth, yes, even that it is a sacred record of history.
14. In fact, your book must fulfill Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, its purpose and accomplishments (Respectively-Psalms 85:10-11, Isaih 29:11-14, Ezekial 37:18-21, etc.)
15. You must publish it to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
16. You must include with the record itself, the marvelous promise; "And when ye shall recieve these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Enternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, He will manifest the truth of it unto you by the power of the Holy Ghost" -Mor 3:5
17. Tens and hundreds of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 145 years that they know the record to be true, because they put the "promise" to the test and found it to be true, the truth manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
18. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars must subscribe discipleship to the record and its movement even to the point of laying down their own lives for it.
19. Your descriptions of the culture and people in these civilizations of which you will write include, the manner of their written and spoken languages, type of buildings, geographic locations, governmental types, monetary system, types of tools and materials used, and many other facts completely unknown to the rest of the world.
20. There can be no flaw whatsoever in the entire record.
21. Yet, you must not make an absurd, impossible, or contradictory statement.
22. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given us as truth in your record must be entirely inconsistent, even the direct opposite of the prevailing beliefs of the world where very little is claimed to be known about these civilizations and their 1000 years of history.
23. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care. You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose and flaw in it.
24. Through investigation, scientific evidence, and archaeological discoveries for the next 150+ years must verify your claims and prove even the minutest details of your history to be perfectly true, even to the types of roads they built.
25. After 150+ years of analysis, no claim or fact in the book is disproven, but all is vindicated. Other theories and ideas as to its origin, rise, and fall, leaving your claims as the only possible ones.
26. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 150 years.
27. Three honest, accreditable witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record is translated. These three witnesses must never deny their testimony, not even upon their death bed.
28. You must call out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer to declare to the three witnesses that your record is true and that it is their responsibility to hear the testimony. They must handle and feel the engravings on the plates, and bear record of it. Again, they can never deny their testimony.
29. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight and they that handled them and felt the engravings on the record.
30. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrafice and severe persecution, even to their death.
31. You must find someone to finance your book with the understanding that neither he nor you will ever receive and monetary renumeration from it. You must sell the book at the cost of, or less than the cost of, its production value.
32. You must tell the world that the written record you have translated from was engraven gold plates, even though up until the time you make the claim, no one has ever found anywhere in past history any civilization using gold as a method of keeping records, and not until about 100 years later were any similar engraven gold plates found.
33. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for 20 years after you finish the book, you must willingly give your own life for your testimony that the record is from God. All the time you never make a profit or any other type of personal gain save it be your testimony of the work you brought forth.
Surely, no one without God's help could produce a similar record and comply with all of the above conditions. Wouldn't you say that Joseph Smith was indeed a man of good and that he was an instrument in God's hands to bring forth such a record?
©Copyrighted by Peter C. Covino, Jr. 1974
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