A further point,
briefly made here, but which should be of particular interest to many Mormons, is that Mormon teachings are not principally derived from the Book of Mormon
. Mormon doctrine is derived primarily from another Mormon scripture, Doctrine and Covenants.
The dilemma that this poses for the Mormon church is a serious one because D&C emphasizes that the Book of Mormon contains basic, or fundamental, Mormon teachings. For example, according to D&C, the Book of Mormon
contains "the truth and the Word of God" (D&:C, 19:26); "the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ" (that is, Mormon teachings, D&C, 20:9); and the "fullness
of the everlasting
gospel" (D&C, 135:3). Doctrine and Covenants
also has Jesus claiming that the Book of Mormon
has "the principles of my gospel" (D&C, 42:12) and "all things written
concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock" (D&C, 18:4, cf. 17:1-6; emphasis added [...]).
According to the Doctrine and Covenants
then, the Book of Mormon
must contain at the very least some of the central doctrines of the Mormon faith. But the Book of Mormon
contains few major Mormon doctrines. It does not teach any of the following central Mormon principles, which form the foundation of the Mormon church and its "gospel": polytheism; God as the product of an eternal progression; eternal marriage; polygamy; human deification; the Trinity as three separate Gods; baptism for the dead; maintaining genealogical records; universalism; God has a physical body and was once a man; God organized, not created, the world; mother gods (heavenly mothers); temple marriage as a requirement for exaltation; the concept of eternal intelligences; three degrees of heavenly glory (telestial, terrestial, celestial); salvation after death in the spirit world; a New Testament era of Mormon organizational offices and functions such as the Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthoods; stake presidents and first presidency.
All this is why some Mormon writers have noted the theological irrelevance of the Book of Mormon
All this is why Mormon leaders tell potential converts to ignore criticism of the Book of Mormon and rely entirely upon subjective (completely personal) "confirmation."
Nevertheless, the church's appeal to subjectivity does nothing to convince a rational person why he or she should believe in the Book of Mormon
. To believe without any evidence is troublesome enough; to believe in spite of the evidence is folly.