Joseph Smith and the Historicity of the Book of Mormon
Hoskisson, Paul Y.
Historicity and the Latter-day Saint Scriptures
BYU Religious Studies Center
Latter-day Saints accept the fact that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, brought to light through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Yet some writers claim that while the Book of Mormon is “true,” it is not historical, meaning that the events it describes never took place and the people described in it never existed. But relegating the Book of Mormon to inspired parable or morally uplifting allegory presents serious problems of logic. The book itself announces its historicity repeatedly. Can it really be true in any sense if it consistently misrepresents its origin? Joseph Smith also was consistent in maintaining that the book describes real events and real people. And the voice of God in the Doctrine and Covenants adds the clear and unambiguous witness of the Book of Mormon’s historicity. Can these sources be relied on for anything if they unfailingly misrepresent the nature of the “keystone” of the Latter-day Saint faith? In the end, the Book of Mormon can only be what it claims to be, or it is a delusion or a fraud. History and reason leave no other viable options.