Jeffrey R. Holland's General Conference Talk

Post Author: Darrell

In the most recent LDS General Conference, Jeffrey R. Holland gave an impassioned talk regarding The Book Of Mormon.  As defense for the truthfulness of The Book Of Mormon, Holland cites the fact that he has yet to hear of any acceptable explanation for its origin aside from God.  First of all, I vehemently disagree with this position.  There are many reasonable explanations aside from God for the rise of The Book of Mormon.  Nevertheless, I would like to assume for a moment that Holland is right.  What if we could not explain the origin of The Book of Mormon?  Would this prove its truthfulness?  Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “No”.

In order to examine this question, one must understand that Holland’s challenge demonstrates a serious error: the conflating of 1) making an argument that something is true/false with 2) providing an explanation for how it did/did not happen.  When we seek to demonstrate the truthfulness/falseness of something we use arguments to show that it is true or false.  However, these arguments do not need to demonstrate how the subject does/does not work.  For example, I know that the sun provides heat: I walk out in the sunshine everyday, and it warms my body.  People have known this truth about the sun for thousands of years, and this knowledge does not depend upon demonstrating how the sun provides its heat.  I can know that it is true without knowing how it does it.  In fact, the search for how it does this is seeking an explanation for a truth that has already been established.

The same can be said for The Book of Mormon.  While it might be fun to speculate as to exactly how it came about, I do not need to know this in order to know that it is not true or from God.  God has told us several things about Himself in The Bible.  Paramount among these is the fact that He and His Word are eternal and unchanging.  Therefore, we have a sound basis for judging The Book of Mormon to be false, for its teachings and the church(s) which follow it lead people to follow a God and Gospel that contradict the God and Gospel of The Bible.  As a result, if I were to hold the Book of Mormon as true, I would have to discard what God has told me in The Bible. 

For information regarding how the teachings of the Book of Mormon and LDS Church contradict The Bible, you can see my posts here, here, here, and here.  In addition, stick around… there will be more to come.

  • Boz

    “The same can be said for The Book of Mormon. While it might be fun to speculate as to exactly how it came about, I do not need to know this in order to know that it is not true or from God. God has told us several things about Himself in The Bible. Paramount among these is the fact that He and His Word are eternal and unchanging. Therefore, we have a sound basis for judging The Book of Mormon to be false, for its teachings and the church(s) which follow it lead people to follow a God and Gospel that contradict the God and Gospel of The Bible. As a result, if I were to hold the Book of Mormon as true, I would have to discard what God has told me in The Bible.”

    A mormon could similarly say that “I know that the bible is not true, or from god. god told us about himself in the book of mormon, and this contradicts the bible, therefore the bible is wrong”

    Your argument works well for convincing christians that the book of mormon is false, but they generally don’t need much convincing.

  • Boz,

    Thanks for coming onto the blog. You are correct, a Mormon could assert as much. Bear in mind, however, that we are then entering into another discussion: which book (Bible or BOM) is what it professes to be… the Word of God? Bottom line… they cannot both be.


  • Eddie

    It’s plain to see that you have not read the Book of Mormon with an open mind. Neither did you pray to your God nor mine, to determine, spiritually, that the Book of Mormon was true. Until you can testify to your readers that you have done this, you are not worth reading. Your followers should require the same from you. They should also read, pray and testify. Finally, you have not even started your research.

  • Eddie,

    Thank you for your comments. I was a member of the LDS Church for nearly 15 years. While a member, I read the BOM numerous times, prayed about it, was sealed in the Temple, and I served in numerous church callings: Sunday School Teacher, Stake Missionary, Ward Mission Leader, Elders Quorum President, Counselor in the Bishopric, Member of the Stake High Council, and early Morning Seminary Teacher.

    I have thoroughly researched the Church… I have read the views and arguments of FARMS, FAIR, as well as the views of those opposing the Church. In addition, I have scoured the Bible and compared the teachings of the LDS Church with its teachings.

    After all of this, I have come to the conclusion that the BOM is false and the LDS Church is not of God. If you are interested, I would be happy to discuss the details. In the meantime, I would caution you from so quickly jumping to unfounded and uninformed positions as to what I know and have done.

    God Bless!


  • favour

    we want to share with u in one of your confrence program pls reply us thanks

  • I thought you might be interested in reading a reference to Elder Holland’s Apostolic Witness.

  • Greg,

    Thanks for the link. I assume from this post that you believe that Jeffrey Holland has actually seen the resurrrected Christ in person. If this is the case, I can’t help but wonder, “Why all the secretiveness about it?” To claim that the experience of seeing Him is simply too holy to talk about flies in the face of the very purpose for being an apostle.

    When I look at the New Testament, the apostles were very open about seeing the resurrected Lord. Jesus Himself appeared to over 500 people at once. He ate with the apostles and allowed them to touch Him. Not once did the apostles ever say, “Well, we can’t really talk about it.” Quite the contrary. The screamed about their experiences from the roof tops. While they may not give us every excrutiating detail of their encounters, they are very open about saying, “Yeah, we saw Him, spoke with Him, ate with Him, and even felt His wounds.”

    In my experience the Mormon apostles choose their words in this area very carefully. They leave themselves an aweful lot of wiggle room. Notice he actually never said, “I have seen Christ.” Compare this with the New Testament witnesses, and you find a stark difference.


  • Anthony

    If ye fools had all of the Bible you would need a motor vehicle to carry it around with you. Moreover, you would have other words predicting the coming forth of the Stick of Ephraim, or the Book of Mormon. Ask God if it’s true, that is, if you dare do something without your preacher’s advice! O, ye fools 🙁

  • Ken


    I was just browsing through and read your summary of your experience with the LDS church.

    It seems like the internet causes people to often jump to conclusions without knowing the whole story (in response to Eddie). This is unfortunate, though I presume Eddie did not mean to come off quite so offensively and would not have acted so in person.

    That said, I was wondering if I may ask – what happened Darrell?


  • Ken,

    Thanks for coming on the blog and commenting. I completely agree with you in that the internet medium can easily lead people to jump to conlcusions. Not seeing the body language of the individual to whom one is speaking is a recipe for misunderstandings and miscommunications.

    I would be happy to address your question, but I want to make sure I understand what you are asking and where you are coming from. Therefore, would you mind answering a couple of questions for me?

    Are you a member of the LDS Church? If so, how long have you been a member?

    When you ask, “What happened?” what are you referring to? Are you asking for the specific reason I lost faith in the Mormon Church?

    Have a blessed day!


  • Ken


    Sorry, I was referring to how you lost your faith in the church, as you indicated.

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 22 years old, and recently returned from a mission.

    Regardless of the events, it must have been hard to walk away from what sounds like fifteen years of devoted service to the church (in reference to your post above).

    God bless, Darrell.

    Happy New Years!


  • Darrell


    Happy New Year! I hope the year is starting off right for you this morning!

    Congratulations on finishing your mission. I am sure that is a momentous occasion for you and your family. I trust you are headed back to school now and hope all goes well for you.

    Leaving the Church was very tough for my wife and I. However, probably not in the way you would think. After our loss in faith in the Church, leaving the theology, doctrine, and practices of the church was very easy. However, leaving our friends and the resulting shunning that occured was very difficult. We have lost many friendships that we thought we would have for a lifetime. That has been very difficult.

    As for what specifically caused my loss of faith, the short answer would be that God opened my eyes. Through much prayer, reading, research, and study, I came to realize that many of the historical claims of the church are not completely accurate. Not to sound too harsh, but in many ways the Church whitewashes its history. During this time I also began to read the Bible through a different set of eyes, and when I did, I began to realize that many of Mormonism’s central doctrinal claims are unbiblical. While all this was going on, I also had several profound spiritual experiences which helped to reenforce my thoughts and feelings.

    To make a long story short, God took my and my wife’s hands and walked us right out of the Church and to Himself. It was a difficult experience, yet profoundly wonderful and peaceful at the same time.

    I hope that helps.

    God Bless!!