Published by the Price Publishing Company by an unknown author in the late 1940’s in the Independence, Mo, area, the first version of Could you write the Book of Mormon?” has since circulated through Mormon congregations, gospel doctrine classes, missionary scriptures, and seminary classes the world over. Since that time, many authors have added to this list (some better than others). The original list included references to the RLDS version of the Book of Mormon (e.g., numbers of chapters, specific scripture references, etc.,) that differ from the standard LDS version. As such, where necessary, changes have been made to reflect the standard LDS works.

Could you have written the Book of Mormon?

  1. You must be between twenty-three and twenty-four years of age.
  2. You cannot be a college graduate. In fact, you can have only three years of formal schooling.
  3. Whatever you write must be on the basis of what you know and not what you learn through research.
  4. You must write a history of an ancient country, such as Tibet, covering a period from 2200 B.C. to 421 A.D.
  5. You must include in your book fifty-four chapters dealing with wars, twenty-one historical chapters, fifty-five chapters on visions and prophecies. Remember, when you begin to write visions and prophecies, you must have your record agree meticulously with the Bible. You must write seventy-one chapters on doctrine and exhortation, and you must check every statement with the scriptures. You must write twenty-one chapters on the ministry of Christ, and everything you claim he said and every testimony you write in your book about Him must agree absolutely with the New Testament.
  6. You must include in your writings the history of two distinct and separate nations, along with histories of different contemporary nations or groups of people.
  7. Your writings must describe the religious, economic, social, and political cultures and institutions of these two nations.
  8. You must weave into your history the religion of Jesus Christ and the pattern for Christian living.
  9. Start right now and produce this record which covers 1,000 years of history, doing it, not in the peaceful atmosphere of your community, but under the most trying of circumstances which include being driven from your home several times, and receiving constant threats upon your life. Please have your book completed, talk a friend into mortgaging his farm to raise money to have it printed – all in 60 days.
  10. When you have finished, you must not make any changes in the text. The first edition must stand forever (this does not include grammatical errors, etc).
  11. After pauses for sleep and food, if you are dictating to a stenographer, you must never ask to have the last paragraph or last sentence read back to you. You must start right where you stopped previously.
  12. Your history or record must be long, approximately 531 pages with approximately 300,000 words.
  13. You must add 180 proper nouns to the English language (William Shakespeare added thirty).
  14. You must announce that your “smooth narrative” is not fiction, but true—yes, a sacred history.
  15. In fact, your narrative must fulfill the Bible prophecies; even in the exact manner in which it shall come forth, to whom given, and its purpose and accomplishments.
  16. You must publish  it to  every nation,  kindred, tongue, and people, declaring it to be the Word of God.
  17. You must include with the record itself this marvelous promise:  “And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
  18. Tens of thousands must bear record to the world for the next 186 years that they know the record to be true. Because they put the promise to the test, the truth is manifested to them by the power of the Holy Ghost.
  19. Thousands of great men, intellectual giants, and scholars, must subscribe discipleship to the record of its movement, even to the point of laying down their lives.Thorough investigation, scientific and historical evidence, and archaeological discovery for the next 186 years must verify its claims and prove detail after detail to be true, for many of the details you put in your history are still buried beneath the soil of Tibet.
  20. Your descriptions of the cultures in these civilizations, of which you will write about, is not known when you publish your manuscript.
  21. Yet, you must not make any absurd, impossible, or contradictory statements.
  22. Even so, many of the facts, ideas, and statements given as true in your record must be entirely inconsistent with, even the direct opposite of, the prevailing belief of the world. Yet very little is even claimed to be known about these civilizations and their thousands of years of history.
  23. You must invite the ablest scholars and experts to examine the text with care. You must strive diligently to see that your book gets into the hands of all those most eager to prove it a forgery and who are most competent to expose any flaws in it.
  24. After 186 years of extensive analysis, no claim or fact in the book is fundamentally disproven.
  25. Many theories and ideas as to its origin must arise, and after discovering and examining the facts, they must fail. You have claimed that your knowledge had come from divine origin, and this claim continues to stand as the only possible explanation. The strength of this explanation must not decrease as time passes but actually increase to the point where it becomes the only logical explanation.
  26. Internal and external prophecies must be confirmed and fulfilled in the next 178 years.
  27. Three honest, credible witnesses must testify to the whole world that an angel from heaven appeared to them and showed them the ancient records from which you claim your record was translated.
  28. You must hear out of heaven the voice of the Redeemer declaring to you and those three witnesses that your record is true, and that it is their responsibility to bear testimony of it—and that they do.
  29. Missionaries must bear record to the world for the next 186 years that they know your record is true because they put the promise in the book of use and the Holy Ghost witnessed its truth.
  30. Eight other witnesses must testify to the world that they saw the ancient records in broad daylight, and that they handled them and felt the engravings thereon.
  31. The first three and the second eight witnesses must bear their testimony, not for profit or gain, but under great personal sacrifice and severe persecution, even to their deaths. Some of these people must leave your association and be mad at you, but they must never deny what they saw.
  32. You must talk a friend into financing your book with the understanding that he or you will never receive any monetary remuneration from it. This person must mortgage his farm to have it printed. You must sell the book at cost or less.
  33. For the next 20 years, you must watch those that follow and you, your family, and the dearest of your loved ones persecuted, driven time after time from their homes, beaten, tortured, starved, frozen and killed. Tens of thousands must undergo the most extreme hardships in your presence just because they believe your claims concerning the origin and content of what you have written on ancient Tibet.
  34. Finally, after suffering persecution and revilement for twenty-four years in the process of producing and defending this book, you must give, willingly, your own life for your testimony that the record is of God.

So, what do you think? Could you write and defend the Book of Mormon? Certainly the validity and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is not proven through these few points. The true validity and truthfulness of the Book of Mormon comes byand is made known through a witness of the Holy Ghost (Moroni 10:3–5) — a relationship and gift that the Saints must absolutely understand and have on a daily basis in order to have the faith necessary to weather the storm of fiery darts that the adversary will sling at them. 

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