message: I'm not a Mormon, but I'm looking, and I have a question. Is not the key issue about Mormonism to determine the truthfullness of what Joseph Smith said happened to him in the grove, and later his translation of the Book of Mormon? If these events really happened, they are the two greatest events since the resurrection of Christ. In my mind the only way, and I mean only, to find the truthfullness of this is to read the Book of Mormon, and the numerous versions of Joseph Smith's testimony; then read and listen to people such as yourself, and then take it to the Lord for an answer. Is this not the way? Did you rely on the assumptions and scriptural interpretations of other men or did you earnestly and sincerely go through this process when you left the LDS Church?   Paul,

Thanks for a very insightful letter. I would like to respond in two parts.

1. "Is not the key issue about Mormonism to determine the truthfullness of what Joseph Smith said happened to him in the grove, and later his translation of the Book of Mormon? If these events really happened, they are the two greatest events since the resurrection of Christ."

Yes, it is not too much an exaggeration to say that.

2. "In my mind the only way, and I mean only, to find the truthfullness of this is to read the Book of Mormon, and the numerous versions of Joseph Smith's testimony; then read and listen to people such as yourself, and then take it to the Lord for an answer. Is this not the way?"

Not quite. I want to introduce the idea of subjective vs. objective information here. How do we determine the truth of anything? First, some things cannot be determined through objective proofs. The existence of God is one such example. I can line up evidences for the existence of God, but I can't ever really _prove_ his existence. Other things, however, can be proved objectively. For example I do not have to rely on the testimony of others and my "feelings" to decide if Paris actually exists as a city in France. I can go there. Or I can send someone there whom I trust to take a picture of the Eiffel Tower. Mormonism offers us the opportunity to disprove it through objective means. In fact, today, Mormons have to believe a whole host of absolutely impossible ideas to remain faithful. They have to believe that Native Americans are descended from Jews, a central claim of the Book of Mormon, while DNA evidence _proves_ that is not true. I hope you will go to this site and watch this video:

http://www.mormonchallenge.com/dna/dna.htm

If you have trouble viewing that, I will send you a copy free.

Archaeology refutes the Book of Mormon:

http://www.mazeministry.com/mormonism/archaeology/archaeology.htm

While at the same time, archaeology repeatedly sustains the Bible.

The bottom line is that, while it may be impossilble to come to faith in God and His Christ solely through reason, it is very possible to reject Mormonism through that process.

Thanks for your interest in Through the Maze Ministry.

If you send me your postal mailing address, I will send you an information pack, a couple of tracts, and a couple of pamphlets.

Jim Spencer