The Unauthorized Investigator's Guide to
The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints

Lesson 1

The True Church of the Book of Mormon

Many people do believe that the statement "If the Book of Mormon is true then The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the true church" is a true statement.  I don't believe that is true--if the Book of Mormon were true, that would be further evidence that the LDS Church is false. 

The beliefs of the church were in harmony with the Book of Mormon in the early 1830's, but since then the church has been continuously evolving and mutating, and its beliefs are now only loosely correlated with the Book of Mormon.  If churches go into apostasy for teaching false doctrine, then it is probable that the Mormon Church has fallen into apostasy.

For an example of how belief in the Book of Mormon condemns the Mormon Church, consider the story of Alma Senior.  He was one of evil King Noah's false priests.  He hears Abinadi preach that Jesus is "God himself" and other ideas that make the most sense if you accept that Abinadi was a Trinitarian.  Alma's heart is pricked, and he begins teaching in the wilderness, and baptizes himself and then a whole bunch of people.  He then leads his people to Zarahemla where he establishes churches that are only loosely associated with each other.  These various churches were collectively "the church of God" not because they were established by the priesthood authority--something that was never conferred upon Alma--but rather because "there was nothing preached in all the churches except it were repentance and faith in God."  This is the first mention of a church being established in the Book of Mormon, and it doesn't happen until 480 years after Lehi left Jerusalem.  They preached Trinitarian ideas, and the church was established without priesthood authority (Mosiah 17-25).

The concept of churches and priesthood authority as taught in the Book of Mormon is fundamentally different than the way it is understood in the contemporary LDS Church.  In Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, Michael Quinn demonstrates that authority in Mormonism has mutated from being something that was possessed by anybody who was moved by the spirit to being something that was totally controlled by the hierarchy of the church without regard to the spirit.  When you understand this, conviction that the Book of Mormon is true would tend to condemn the LDS Church rather than validate it.  I believe that this is a true statement regarding the implications of the Book of Mormon: "if the Book of Mormon is true, then the true church is a splinter church such as the RLDS or Strangites that has teachings that more closely resemble what is taught in the Book of Mormon, or the true Church isn't upon the face of the earth, or the whole concept of a 'true church' is a misnomer because God doesn't establish churches."

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If you have a question or would like to discuss these topics, I suggest that you go to a Mormon-related bulletin board (here are some recommendations). If you'd like to contact me with comments or feedback, you may send an email to