All holy books have truth and wisdom in them. Yet, we do not accept all holy books the same way we do the Bible and Book of Mormon. We claim the Book of Mormon is “true.” We say the Church is “true.” We say that the Gospel is “true.” But what does that even mean? What is “truth?”
A math text book is more correct than the Book of Mormon. Don’t believe me? There are math books out there with little to no errors. They teach correct mathematical principles. Compare that to the Book of Mormon.
“Wherefore, the word of the Lord was fulfilled which he spake unto me, saying that: Inasmuch as they will not hearken unto thy words they shall be cut off from the presence of the Lord. And behold, they were cut off from his presence. And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them. And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loath some unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.” – 2 Nephi 5: 20-22
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“And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.” – Alma 3:6
. . .
“And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites; And their curse was taken from them, and their skin becamewhite like unto the Nephites; And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair” – 3 Nephi 2: 14-16
To be clear, at no time does the Lord state He cursed the Lamanites. So what really happened? The Lamanites started wearing less clothing, had less protection from the sun and thus got tan. Go to any community with people going mostly naked in the sun and you will see that they tan. If you think about it, as a European American, I am whiter than a Nephite would have been. Does that make me less cursed or somehow more “fair and delightsome?” No. This is a human making a human error. And, it is in the Scriptures, the Word of God. And, it is wrong. You will not see this kind of prejudiced or error in a math book.
Does this make the Book of Mormon not true? No.
To understand why the Book of Mormon is “true” we have to say why it is true, what makes it true. When we say it has wisdom we have to explain what that wisdom is. Atheists have wisdom, They know murdering and stealing is wrong. They understand it is better to be a good person than a bad one. That doesn’t mean anything in the context of the Mormon idea of “truth.”
The Book of Mormon is true because it testifies of Jesus Christ. In reality, that is all it ever claimed to be. It’s not a history or a tool to aid or guide archaeologists. In this sense, all things that testify of Christ are true. Other things may be correct, but not “true.” That is what is meant when Mormons say “true.” The same is true of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church isn’t “true” when it stops blacks from having the priesthood. It isn’t “true” when it petitions the government to tell other churches how to define marriage (insisting they worship as we do). It isn’t “true” when it lies about God’s laws and polygamy. But it is true when it testifies of Christ.
This is what makes the Church, the Bible, the Book of Mormon and any other true thing true. This is what can make other churches true in their own way. But, when they deny things like the physical Resurrection, they deny truth and are not “true” like our church is. When they claim that Jesus and Elohim are the same person they are not “true” like ours is. Etc… Truth is relevant and truth is about the true Jesus Christ. All other reasons for the Book of Mormon or the Church being true are rationalizes.
People read the Book of Mormon and know it is true the same way Stephen could not be rebuked (Acts 6: 9-10). And when they cannot refute it, they do the same to it as they did with Stephen (Acts 6: 11-13). Why? Because they both preached the same truth: that Jesus IS the Christ. (Book of Mormon, Title Page). This is why people fight against the Book of Mormon, the Bible and the Church. Because Satan’s war is with the Living Christ, and there are no fence-sitters.
This doesn’t mean that we should not stop trying to make things better. The Church is true, but it is not always correct and it is never perfect. The Church is made up of people. It needs us just as much as we need it. Just as we humans are made up of cells and bacteria and a plethora of other things, the Church is made up of us. Some of us are good, some of us are bad. Only Christ is perfect.
“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” – Paul (1 Corinthians 1: 22-25)