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Before mom had her stroke, she loved to cook and invite the missionaries over for dinner. This was before they had sign up sheets to feed the missionaries. I remember every Sunday, it was such a treat fixing a nice a dinner for the missionaries. On one occasion, one of the missionaries brought a really awesome talk entitled "Why I am a Mormon" by Douglas Brian. When we read it, mom had to have a copy of it and so she proceeded to type it on her computer. She always put things that she truly enjoyed on the computer, because it was easier to find. I want to share that talk with you here. Click Here to learn more about being a Mormon. By the way, "Mormon" is a nickname for Latter-day Saints. Mom always treasured all of the lessons that she learned from "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".
WHY I AM A MORMON
A talk given by Douglas Brian – Grandfather of Michael Brian
I would like to tell you why I am a Mormon, from the standpoint of pure logic. I realize that it takes prayer and faith and many things to get us into the church and keep us there. But my faith is much stronger if it is backed up by some good, sound logic.
To begin with I am a Christian. I believe in the mission of Christ. I believe the story of Christ in all its details as told in the Bible. But I can’t prove it. So far as I have been able to learn, the regular historians who wrote in the actual day in which Christ lived, didn’t even mention His name. There are those who challenge this and cite the writings of Josephus. But Josephus didn’t live at the time of Christ. He was born several years after Christ was crucified. So, if I lay aside Christian writings and Christian theology I can’t really prove that He was ever born.
I have here a copy of the Book of Mormon. If I can prove that Joseph Smith was a prophet; if I can prove that he got this book the way he said he got it; if I can prove that this book is true; I will not only prove that we have the true gospel, but I will prove the story of Christ because this book contains the story of Christ.
At the time Joseph Smith brought forth this book he was just twenty-three years old. In order to get the true picture, try to think of some young man you know who is twenty-three years old. He had been to school just three years. Try to think of some lad who has been to school three years. Now, when a man writes a book of this type, he usually travels thousands of miles and spends years in research before he attempts it. The man who wrote THE ROBE spent ten years in research before starting and it didn’t even need to be true. It just had to sound like it was true.
Joseph Smith didn’t travel anywhere except around the neighborhood with a horse and buggy. He didn’t do any research at all. In the first place, he wouldn’t have known how. And in the second place, he had no books. In his day there were no books containing this material.
When a man writes a large book like this he has hundreds and sometimes thousands of little revisions. A word deleted here and a phrase or sentence changed there, etc. Sometimes the entire book must be rewritten several times before it is ready for publication.
Joseph Smith couldn’t do that. The first draft had to stand. He couldn’t change one single word once it was written down. And yet the language is quite perfect. You will find no discrepancy between names and dates and places. Famous attorneys have declared that, in this respect, the whole book is as perfect as the finest legal document. Any author will tell you that for even the greatest scholar to write such a thing in one draft would be absolutely and utterly impossible.
This book contains not only the fullness of the everlasting gospel, but many other wonderful things that were not known at the time it was published; things that were discovered many years later. You will find principles of social science and political science more advanced than was taught in the universities of Joseph Smith’s day. You will find in this book approximately one hundred and eighty new proper names. I think that no author in all history ever created one hundred and eighty new names. The mighty Shakespeare created about fifty in his lifetime. Joseph Smith didn’t take a lifetime. This book from beginning to end required slightly more than ten weeks. From the time the first word was written down until the book was complete and perfect was about seventy-one days. You would find it a formidable task to even copy it in seventy-one days, to say nothing of composing it. The very manner in which it was produced is proof enough for me of its authenticity. But if I am to risk my eternal salvation on it, I must be very sure. So I will lay aside these points for the moment.
He said he got this book from some gold plates that were shown to him by an angel. Gold, no less. Now, if he had said brass or stone or something, it would have been easier to believe. But solid gold! However, upon investigation, I find that gold was a common commodity in the place where the plates were written. That is what the Spanish Conquistadors were after in the early days. You perhaps remember the old chieftain who was captured. Standing in a large room he placed his hand high on the wall and said, "I will fill this room up to there with gold if you will release me." It took him only a few days. Gold is malleable and easily pounded into thin sheets. It is easy to write upon and doesn’t corrode. I can’t imagine a more perfect material upon which to make a permanent record.
He said he translated these plates by means of a Urim and Thummim. That is an instrument mentioned in the Bible. It consists of two clear stones held together in a frame somewhat like our eyeglasses. When he looked through these stones he could read this ancient language. As a schoolboy would probably express it, "That was a big hairy story if there ever was one." But did you ever hear a physicist explain the Urim and Thummim? He says it is not unscientific in any way. He expects the time will soon come when we can actually make one. In fact, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology right now they are perfecting an electronic instrument that will translate one language into another.
He said that the language of the plates was Egyptian. Egyptian stuff in America? People hooted at the idea. But since that time they have found Egyptian artifacts by the thousands. All the way from obsidian stone coins to pyramids as large or larger than those in Egypt. Did you ever see a diagram of the inside of a pyramid? It is the most complex labyrinth of halls and ramps and stairs, etc. that you can imagine. There is a strange thing. The pyramids in America and those in Egypt are built just alike ... outside and inside. Joseph Smith couldn’t have known a thing like that.
There were sixty-three gold plates. The original copy of the Book of Mormon contained five hundred and eighty-eight pages. Some editions with larger print contain more than seven hundred and fifty pages. How could he get seven hundred and fifty pages from sixty-three plates? Some of our scientists, Sojal for instance, have made a gold plate of the same size, and with the cuneiform writing, written twelve pages of the Book of Mormon on one gold plate. If you will multiply sixty-three by twelve, the answer will startle you.
When the book was ready to be published, they asked some of the brethren to furnish money for its publication. Among them was a man named Martin Harris. He was a practical, clear thinking man. He said that he would not furnish one dime unless he could prove to himself that the book was true. So, he took a line of the writing and its translation and went to New York City. At the Columbia University he found a Professor Anthon who was one of the world’s great Egyptologist. The professor told him that the language was Egyptian and that the translation was correct. He gave Brother Harris a letter to that effect. But before Martin Harris left the campus, the professor called him back. When he asked where the writings came from, he was told that it came from those gold plates in the possession of Joseph Smith. That was a controversial thing at the time and the professor seemed hesitant to get himself and his school involved so he took the letter and tore it up. There are those who say that Martin Harris just "cooked up" that story to tell when he got home. I have some good reasons to believe that he didn’t. When he went with the avowed objective of proving the matter to himself, what possible reason could he have for "cooking up" a story of any kind? Besides, I have seen the Photostat copies of two letters written by the professor to his friends about that letter. So he must have written the letter Martin Harris, having declared that he would not give one dime unless he could prove that the book was true, came home and mortgaged his property and gave all the money to publish the Book of Mormon.
Now, these points are perfect. I feel sure that they would stand up under the scrutiny of a court of law. But I think I will lay them aside also. I think we can find a better one.
In this book it mentions horses several times. At the time it was published all historians agreed that there were no horses in early America, only those that had been brought over a few years before by the Spaniards. But many years after the book was published, they began to find, in the tar pits of California and the quarries of the Dakotas, etc., evidence of horses. Skeletons of horses - pictures of horses - hunters on horses - armies on horses - lots of horses. Joseph Smith couldn’t have known that.
In this book it says that because of a dearth of timber in certain areas that many things were made of fine cement. Now, at the time this book was published, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, there was no workable cement in the world anywhere. But since that time, they have found forty-five hundred miles of cement roads. They have found aqueducts and temples and, in fact, whole cities made of the finest kind of cement. Joseph Smith couldn’t possibly have known that.
In this book it says that at the time Christ was crucified there was a great upheaval similar to the one in the Holy Land. So great was the disturbance that many whole cities sank beneath the sea. In Joseph Smith’s day you couldn’t prove a thing like that. There was no way to know. But when we learned to fly, we could see things in the ocean that we could never see before. Just as late as our war in Korea some of our pilots spotted the sixteenth city lying beneath the sea. Joseph Smith certainly couldn’t have known that.
These points are perfect. They are un-debatable. They can’t be explained away. But I believe I can find a still better one.
This book tells a story of some people who landed in America about where Chile is today. They came up across a narrow neck of land and built a mighty civilization. They built roads and cities. They had wars and contentions and all the things that go with the struggles of a civilization. As the people of the Lord traveled farther and farther north, they gradually dwindled out until their last record was buried in a hill called Cumorah.
At the time this book was published, historians were quite in agreement that the civilization on this continent started in the north where they came across the Bering Strait. But since that time, they have discovered that they did land about where Chile is. They have recently been floating rafts across to show how the people got here. They did come up across a narrow neck of land. They did build a mighty civilization. We have found the roads. We have found the cities. We have found the great battlegrounds. The people did dwindle out as they came farther north right up to the hill Cumorah. And what do you think we find just beyond the hill Cumorah? Nothing.
Could a man guess two thousand years of detailed history and get it right? One woman in her book said that Joseph Smith started to write a history of the Indians and just by chance wrote the Book of Mormon. Now she may know a lot of things, but the law of chance certainly isn’t one of them. Here’s the way the law of chance works. If I number ten little discs and stir them up in my pocket and then draw them out one at a time, my chance of getting number one first is one in ten. My chance of getting one and two in their order would be one in a hundred, etc. until my chance of drawing those ten little discs out in their order would be only one in ten billion. and yet she calmly states that all those thousands of details of history just fell into place by chance. That is the most fantastic, preposterous statement I ever heard.
If Joseph Smith could have written a book this size in one second, just one tick of the clock, and if he could have continued to write one every second, day and night-never stopping - and if he had begun a thousand years before Christ was born, he still couldn’t have written this book by chance. So we have our point. We have found our perfect proof. He couldn’t have written this book by chance in countless billions of tries. And he couldn’t have written it by knowledge at all. Because the knowledge it contains was not yet in the world - except in those gold plates.
That’s how I know he was a prophet and that’s why I am a Mormon. And that’s why I am going to stay a Mormon. Some people give up the church too easily. A student goes to school and some psychologist or anthropologist tells them that science and religion don’t agree. Right away he begins dropping his religion. That is utter foolishness. I have spent fifty years trying to find someone who can give me one point where true religion and true science disagree. And in fifty years I have failed to find one single point. I know some of them have theories that seem to disagree. But don’t forget, that’s exactly what they are - just theories. They don’t prove anything.
Some people give up the church because someone offends them. They’ll not get me out of the church that way. If the Bishop or Stake President offends me, they will have to answer for it. If I begin staying away from church, then I will have to answer for that. I knew a man who began missing church because a brother in the ward offended him. I said to him, "It is true that this man did you a great injustice, but did it ever occur to you that there are two million others in the church that didn’t?" "Why let all of them down and spoil your own activity because of this one man - that you don’t like in the first place?" I think he got the message.
Some people give up the church because other people don’t live the gospel to suit them - hypocrites. They’ll not get me out of the church that way either. They know the rules as well as I do. If they want to violate them that is their affair. If President McKay and the whole quorum of the twelve apostles would abandon the church, that shouldn’t affect my standing. If every other man in the church should apostatize, it would still be my job to stick to my post and preach this gospel to the last day of my life. And that is exactly what I intend to do.
I don’t know what you intend to do about it. But the book is here. You can see it and feel it and read it but you can’t ignore it. Since it has been presented to you, there is just one of three things you can do. Either accept it - or explain it away, if you think you can - or admit that you are unwilling to accept the whole truth and deliberately reject it. For that you, personally, will be held responsible.
May the Lord help us to understand His great and beautiful gospel I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen
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