All religions are founded in myth. Belief in whether or not these myths are true is the basis of faith in religion. Most people have heard of the Mormon Church (formally known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) and the Book of Mormon, its foundational scripture. But few have any idea what the contents or origin of the Book of Mormon really is. The Mormon religion is premised on two myths – one regarding the Book of Mormon’s discovery by Joseph Smith, and another concerning the story it tells. The purpose of this book is not to determine whether these myths are true or not, but to describe what they are, as succinctly and clearly as possible.
PART ONE of this book describes the 19th-century myth involving the life and times of the contemporary American prophet Joseph Smith, his discovery and magical translation of golden plates on which the Book of Mormon was inscribed, his reported visitation by Jesus Christ, God, and angels, and the historical origins of the Mormon religion.
PART TWO summarizes the Book of Mormon’s contents, a mythical tale of Jewish emigrants from ancient Jerusalem who journey across land and sea to the American Hemisphere; establish a continent-spanning, city-building, steel-making, horse-and-chariot-driven, literate civilization that worships Jesus Christ by name hundreds of years before he’s even born, and the eventual destruction of this civilization by hostile factions.
PART THREE assesses and evaluates the Book of Mormon’s claims in light of contemporary knowledge of human history and science.