A few weeks ago I had a chat with a neighbour who is a Mormon who kindly gave me a bit of a run-down on the Mormon faith. I made some notes on our conversation
Here are some reasons to become a Mormon:
- Traditional Christianity Has Splintered Into Dozens Of Competing Sects
You mentioned that traditional Christianity has splintered into dozens of competing sects whereas the Mormon Church has remained one church. The continuity of Mormonism as a single church with a single doctrine proves that it is the true Christian Church.
Unfortunately Mormonism has also splintered into dozens of competing sects.
Wikipedia currently lists 86 Mormon sects. (Google Article List Of Denominations In The Latter-Day Saints Movement).
If traditional Christianity is discredited and unreliable because of the proliferation of sects then so is Mormonism and there is no reason to become a Mormon.
- The Bible Has Become Corrupted
You mentioned that there are many different Bibles and therefore no-one can be really sure which Bible is the real one whereas the Book Of Mormon has remained the same ever since it was written and will never change. The unchanging nature of the Book Of Mormon proves that Mormonism is the true Christian Church.
Unfortunately the Book Of Mormon has indeed changed over time. Even Mormon websites acknowledge this, simply noting that the changes are merely clarifications and do not affect Mormon doctrine. See For example Fair Mormon here
Since the Book Of Mormon exhibits minor changes in different editions, it is no different to The Bible which also exhibits minor changes in different editions. Hence The Book Of Mormon does not exhibit any special textual purity and therefore does not provide any compelling reason to become a Mormon.
The Pearl Of Great Price is another book of Mormon Scripture which has undergone changes, significant changes occurring in 1878, 1900 and 1976. These changes are freely admitted by LDS leaders and members (Google the BYU Masters Thesis ‘An Analysis Of Textual Changes In The Pearl Of Great Price). While fully accepted as a divine work by the major LDS denomination significant parts of it are rejected by various LDS branches, especially the Book Of Abraham, which professional Egyptologists reject as a blatant fraud. Please compare this to The Bible in which all of its translations from Greek and Hebrew are regarded by impartial professionals as academically honest.
A third Mormon Book Of Scripture Doctrine and Covenants has undergone extensive and continuous revision. Mormon Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of The Quorum Of the so-called Twelve Apostles of the LDS from 2008-2015 discussed the changes to Doctrine And Covenants in a general conference:
Of course there have been changes and corrections. Anyone who has done even limited research knows that. (See the article at Fair Mormon ‘Doctrine and Covenants’).
Mormons accept The King James Version of The Bible as Scripture whilst simultaneously considering it to be corrupted and unreliable. I suspect Mormonism stands as unique in canonising works as Holy and Sacred whilst simultaneously considering them corrupted and unreliable.
Of course, Joseph Smith also produced his own version of The Bible called The Joseph Smith Translation. This is accepted by some, but not all, LDS branches. The major LDS denomination accepts only some parts of the JST and incorporates those into The Pearl Of Great Price. A somewhat ambiguous view of the JST appears to exist within the main LDS denomination with Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles 1972-1985 saying, “The Joseph Smith Translation, or Inspired Version, is a thousand times over the best Bible now existing on earth”, yet remaining doctrinally-bound by his church to accept only parts of the JST whilst fully affirming the inferior and more-or-less corrupted King James Version as sacred scripture.(Google Wikipedia article on The Joseph Smith Translation)
In summary, all the LDS Holy Books exhibit changes in their various editions. These changes are freely admitted and endorsed by LDS leadership.. Logically then there is no reason to become a Mormon based on the supposed textual purity of their sacred texts. The LDS have no requirement for textual purity in their sacred scripture, so there is none.
In addition, the Mormons have a highly ambiguous and contradictory attitude to The Bible, stating that it is sacred scripture but regarding it as unreliable whilst simultaneously rejecting most of a further version of The Bible produced by their own prophet even though highly senior leadership considers the Mormon version of The Bible the best version yet written by a factor of one thousand.
Furthermore, independent experts in Egyptology have cross-checked Smith’s translation of Mormon scriptural sources cand consider them to be blatantly fraudulent. Surely no other faith has had to endure such direct embarrassment to their prophetic and scriptural basis.
Overall, it is plain that the Mormon scriptural basis is hopelessly degraded and provides no incentive for anyone to become a Mormon.