Mosiah 2:3 says that the Nephites followed the Law of Moses in offering firstlings of flocks as burnt offerings, yet firstlings were never used for burnt offerings or sacrifices in the Mosaic Law.
While it is true that firstlings were not used for the burnt offering, critics are mistaken in claiming that firstlings were never sacrificed. Under Mosaic law the firstlings (firstborn animals) of flocks and herds were dedicated to the Lord (Exodus 13:12,15) and were given to the Levites. The Israelites were forbidden to use them for work or gain (Deuteronomy 15:19-20). On appointed occassions they were to take these firstlings to the temple (Deuteronomy 12:5-6), where they would be sacrificed. Their blood was sprinkled upon the altar and their fat was burned (Deuteronomy 18:17-18). What was left then was given to the individual and his family to eat in a specified place (Deuteronomy 15:19-20). Thus, the Book of Mormon is correct in stating that firstlings were brought to the temple and sacrificed, for they certainly were. (Read More)
The Book of Mormon (Mosiah 3:8; Alma7:10) twice calls Jesus’ mother Mary, which is the Greek form of Hebrew Miriam. Since the Nephites came from Jerusalem, shouldn’t we expect the Hebrew form in their record?
The Hebrew name Miriam became Mariam and Maria in Greek and Maria in Latin, though the Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote in Greek, rendered it Mariamne. The Latin name was formed as if the final a were the feminine suffix, so the French, taking it to be such, made it a silent e (as almost always in the case of names with the feminine suffix a), giving us Marie. The English form Mary comes from the French. But they all trace back to the Hebrew. (Read More)
The Book of Mormon mentions dogs (Mosiah 12:2; Alma 16:10; Helaman 7:19), but there were no dogs in the New World until after the arrival of Europeans.
This assertion, though made by a critic who is a biologist, is incorrect. It is a well-established fact that dogs have been present in the New World since the first inhabitants arrived. Dogs were domesticated in Mesoamerica during the Olmec period. DNA tests have confirmed that the Carolina dogs living in the wild in the southeastern United States are descendants of the dogs that accompanied the first humans to the New World thousands of years ago. (Read More)
Two Book of Mormon passages speak of soldiers fighting “like dragons” (Mosiah 20:11; Alma 43:44). Since the dragon is a mythological beast, why is this term used in a book that purports to be an historical record?
The term “dragon” appears 47 times in the King James version (KJV) of the Bible. Of these, 34 are in nine books of the Old Testament and are translations of the Hebrew word tannin. In the prophecies of Jeremiah, a contemporary of Lehi and Nephi, it probably refers to jackals, while other passages suggest that it denotes a poisonous serpent (in Deuteronomy 32:33, it parallels “asps”). In still others, it may refer to the crocodile, and is mentioned in connection with water (Psalm 74:13; Isaiah 27:1). (Read More)
King Benjamin’s death is recorded in Mosiah 6:5, so why does the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon have him living at a later time (see Mosiah 21:28 and Ether 4:1), while subsequent editions changed the name to Mosiah in the later references?
King Benjamin lived three years after his son Mosiah2 was made king. It was at the end of these three years that the expedition was sent to the Land of Nephi, where the plates of Ether were found. After relinquishing his kingship, Benjamin may have continued to act as a seer for the three year interval. The chronology in this part of the Book is not all that clear. We do not know how long Ammon and his party were in the Land of Nephi. It could have been only a matter of weeks or months. It is not inconceivable then, that Benjamin passed away shortly before or after their return, which still would have been “after three years” (Mosiah 6:5). Though this is the most likely explanation (in view of the occurrence of the name Benjamin in both places), it is also possible that the keeper of the record or the abridgers, Mormon and Moroni (Ether 4:1), may have erred in compiling the records. After all, they were mortals, capable of making mistakes (which both Mormon and Moroni admitted). Such mistakes are not uncommon in historical records, including the Bible. (Read More)
The story of Alma’s conversion when the angel appeared to stop him from persecuting the church (Mosiah 27:10-20) seems to be Joseph Smith’s reworking of the story of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1-22, when Christ appeared to stop him from persecuting the Christians.
The similarity of the stories, rather than implying that the Book of Mormon borrowed from the Bible, shows that God works in the same way in different places and at different times. In fact, two Old Testament stories bear similarities to those of Paul and Alma. The prophet Balaam, en route to pronounce a curse against Israel, was stopped by an angel (Numbers 22:21-35). Moses, on his way to Egypt, was likewise stopped by the Lord, who threatened to kill him until Zipporah circumcised their son (Exodus 4:20-27). (Read More)