Congratulations! If you are a believing member of the LDS Church, I don’t think you’d be here unless you had a confident faith and a firm belief that truth can stand up to scrutiny. If you’re here because of doubts or disbelief, I don’t think you’d be here unless you were trying to work through the disruption that may have caused in your life. Regardless of where you’re coming from, hopefully my Annotated Book of Mormon will help you have a better appreciation for some of the difficulties some have with the Book of Mormon.
When I found I could no longer believe the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be, I discovered that I had never received full disclosure about the book. This is my attempt to provide that disclosure for those who may be interested. I have no delusion that I have listed every aspect of information related to the founding or contents of the Book of Mormon. By full disclosure I mean to be truthful and forthcoming about all issues regarding the book that seem relevant to making a reasonable conclusion about Book of Mormon truth claims. That’s what I’ve tried to do, based on what I find relevant and what I wish I had been told when I first studied the book.
What I find relevant are what seem to be glaring Book of Mormon contradictions with other LDS teachings, canon, science, history, etc. The Book of Mormon passages that match passages in the Bible are interesting, but since I am not a biblical scholar, and since others have compiled lists of these matches (here for example), I have only focused on those in the Book of Mormon that seem to create the greatest problems to the truth claims of the book, as I see it. You’ll find that I’ve even defended certain Book of Mormon passages that others critique in cases where I think the critical argument is weak or flawed. In addition, I do not claim to know much of anything, but I value reason, critical thinking, logic, and evidence. I have tried to align my observations and comments about the book with these values in mind.
Obviously I am biased. Having been a devout, believing Mormon for more than two decades, I’m very familiar with the Book of Mormon and its significance to believers. On the other hand I no longer believe in the truth claims of the Book of Mormon. However, I’ve tried to temper my biases with honesty and the admission that I could be wrong about any one of my observations.
Understanding the challenges to figuring out what is correct, accurate, or right, I try to make sure my beliefs are justified when it comes to things that have any important impact on my life. The Book of Mormon claims to have important impact and offers evidence and ways to go about determining whether or not its claims are true. If you’re interested in the some of the challenges to things in the book that are supposed to help you understand the truthfulness of the book, I’d suggest starting with my annotations about:
My observations are based on my understanding of the information I’ve gathered. I don’t think these observations are original, but I hope it is useful to have them gathered in one place. I invite correction from anyone who takes issue with any of my annotations, whether the issue is with the accuracy, validity, sources, or tone of my annotations.
If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.
~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations