Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, has spent time on and off for the last seven years building a defense of the Book of Mormon, one of the key tomes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Religion News Service reports.
The three-term senator — A former missionary and bishop and the grandson of a past president of the church — has now delved into a different debate: whether the book Mormons believe was revealed by an angel to their founder Joseph Smith in the 1820s is authentic.
Bennett says “Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon,” was sparked by the “shallow treatment of a serious subject” by media who covered the church and its scripture around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Scholars outside the Mormon faith also have strong doubts about the Book of Mormon’s historical accuracy because they find scant evidence of the large groups of people it says roamed the earth centuries ago.
Jan Shipps, a non-Mormon scholar who has studied Latter-day Saints for half a century, said she hasn’t assessed the veracity of the Book of Mormon but said it certainly has its critics.
“They say it was either a copy of something or that it was a forgery of some kind, that a man without any kind of education could not have written this book,” said Shipps, former professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
And that while Joseph Smith, who founded the Mormon Church, claimed that the Book of Mormon was “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”
Small problem… The Book of Mormon fails to teach the unique doctrine Latter-day Saints feel is necessary to believe and practice in order to become Gods.