What of the
Defending the Truth
Editor's Note: This is a quote from Bruce R. McConkie's book, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith.
There are those who disbelieve the Bible, of course, but this does not cause them to put to death others who do not believe. Neither the atheists nor the communists have any use for the Bible, but they wage no open warfare against the book, per se; they do not wear, out their lives trying to show that it is false. Even those in lslam whose whole religion is Koran-based, find no especial fault with the Bible. It is true that they · pointedly deny the divinity of Christ and rank him as a prophet like Moses or Abraham., but they do not devote their lives to belittling the book that speaks of Jesus and his ministry. Liberal theologians manage to spiritualize away the plain meaning of many biblical passages, but their assaults are intellectual, and they simply view with contempt and disdain those who are so unlearned as to believe the biblical fables, as they assume the scriptural recitations to be. Many Christians are prone to view the Bible as one-sided history or great literature, but not as inspired writing. Again there is no open warfare on their part against the people who think otherwise.
There is, however, one great difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon that shows why some people can disbelieve the Bible and let the matter drop, but disbelieving the Book of Mormon, they find themselves compelled to arise in wrath and defame the Nephite record. It is that people who believe the Bible, as they suppose, can also believe my creed of their choice and belong to any church t hat suits them. But belief in the Book of Mormon presupposes the acceptance of Joseph Smith as a prophet as well as membership in the church organized by him. Such believers accept no creed except the creed of the scriptures and are bound by no code except the code of righteousness.
Further, the Bible is difficult to interpret and understand, and reasonable men, approaching it wholly from an intellectual standpoint, can reach divergent conclusions on almost all doctrines-hence, the many contending sects in Christendom. The Bible is indeed the perfect tool to support every conceivable doctrinal view. But the Book of Mormon is otherwise; this American scripture sets forth the doctrines of salvation in simplicity ·and plainness so that reasonable men, even from an intellectual standpoint, can scarcely disagree; This leaves religionists in the position where · they must freely accept or openly oppose the Nephite scripture. There is no middle ground, no readily available gray area, no room for compromise. Either the Book of Mormon is true or it is false; either it was translated by the gift and power of God or it was not; either Moroni delivered the ancient record to Joseph Smith or he did not. This brings us to the heart and core of the matter, which is: either Joseph Smith was a prophet or he was not. He and the Book of Mormon go together. Why do men oppose the Book of Mormon? For precisely the same reason they oppose Joseph Smith. The issue is not limited to a book; it embraces the great latter-day work of the Lord in all its parts. If the Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith was a prophet; if he was sent of God, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he organized is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth; if this church, and this church only, is the Lord's earthly kingdom, then all other churches are false. Hence all who contend for some other way of life and salvation must, of necessity, oppose that which would destroy their system.
This, as it happens, was the identical reasoning of those who opposed and crucified Christ. Either the man Jesus, the carpenter 's son as they contended, was the Promised Messiah or he was not . And if he was the Son of God, then his words were t rue, and the whole Mosaic system of worship, with its sacrifices and formalities, was fulfilled in him; and if the day of the law was over and t he day of Christ was at hand, then men must accept the new order or be damned. There was no middle ground. If t hey chose to stand by the traditions of their fathers, they rejected Jesus and his apostles.
Thus, those who oppose Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are in the same position as were those who fought and imprisoned and sought to slay the ancient apostles. They must contend against all that has been revealed in our day or admit their system of religion is false. Oh, that they would take the wise advice of Gamaliel, given when those in the Great Sanhedrin "took counsel to slay" the apostles. Said he: ' 'Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. " (Acts 5:33, '.38-39.) But such fairmindedness is not to be. Satan lives; the devil is not dead; and he has and does and everlastingly shall oppose the Lordfs work. And as we have heretofore shown: gNo man will be angryh at the Book of Mormon gsave he shall be of the spirit of the devil.h (2 Nephi 33:5)
In truth and in fact, the violent opposition to the Book of Mormon is one of the great evidences of its divinity. If it were not of God, Lucifer would not be overly concerned with it. What is other book about religion to him, unless it:teaches the truth and leads men to love and serve Christ and to prepare for an eternal inheritance with him in the kingdom of his Father?
Let us, then, hear what the Lord has to say about those who reject and oppose the Book of Mormon. "My words"-- as set forth in the Nephite record -"shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth," saith the Lord, "for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel." Scattered Israel in all the nations of the earth shall be guided and governed and gathered by the Book of Mormon. It is the standard around which they shall rally' in the last days.
"And because my words shall hiss forth-many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible , " They refer to the Book of Mormon as the Mormon Bible, and they write in their creeds and stipulate in their articles of religion that the Bible is all sufficient, that it contain all things necessary to salvation, that no doctrine is to be believed unless -it is found therein, and--this almost above all --that there will be no new and added revelations to append to those given of old.
''But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible; which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?" (2 Nephi 29:2-4.) If the hearts of the Christians of the world were truly centered on the Bible, as they profess, would they not have an entirely different feeling toward the Jews? Did not Jesus say that "salvation is of the Jews''? (John 4 :22.)Was not Jesus a Jew, and did not the Bible come to us through Jewish hands? Can anyone truly believe and reverence the Bible without honoring: and thank ing the Jews? .''O ye . Gentiles, · have ye remembered the Jews mine ancient covenant people·? ·Nay ye have cursed · ··them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover 'them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own, heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people." The true gospel is for all men, Jew and Gentile alike. Those who obey the true gospel love all men, Jew and Gentile alike. That love impels true believers to offer the gospel and all of its blessings, without money and without price, to all of our Fatherfs children. Has this been done through the ages by those who profess to glory in the Jewish Bible and who say that it, and it alone, suffices to bring salvation? Rather, as we view Jewish history during the Christian era, we see little but ill will and hate and bloodshed heaped by Christians upon Jews .
"Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?" When the Lord God calls a man a fool, we rat her suppose he is a fool; let us remember that what the Lord has spoken, he has spoken, and neither he nor we need make any excuse for it. "Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth?'' This is one of those grand occasions in which the Lord reasons with men after the manner of their understanding. And to the questions he asks, there are no sensible answers except those that support and sustain the giving of scripture to receptive people everywhere .
At this point the Lord asks a question that should be an end to all controversy: "Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word?" (2 Nephi' 29:5-8.) What a plaque these words would make to hang on the door of every cathedral in Christendom! Would any but a fool close the mouth of God and say his words should cease? Speaking of receiving the word of God, Jesus said: ''For whosoever receiveth, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance;