Leaders of integrity or infamy found in The Book of Mormon provide the fodder for spiritual growth and self-improvement. It was made for us.
This is in no way any attempt at apologetic scholarship in the least and completely subjective. I give no pretense in the least to authority, just opinion. This is a deeply intimate article, yet instructive in nature.
Everyone familiar with The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ is also aware of the two-thirds portion of the Golden Plates sealed and not allowed to be translated by Joseph Smith II, assuming so anyway...
I came across one of the most interesting and compelling records by accident. I heard tell of a woman who read the sealed portion of the record of Nephi and how it changed her life to the point that she had outgrown the Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!
Immediately a red flag flashed in my head about that leaving the Church part.
I decided however that her claim was too intriguing to pay any attention to that red flag.
I wanted to know about this "Sealed Portion" bit.
I immediately searched online for the book.
I had never heard of such a thing, and I consider myself an "in-the-know" kind of person when it comes to my religion. I kept wondering why I had not heard about it from the general leadership of the Church at all.
This person who claims to have translated the sealed portion of the plates also claims to have translated The 116 Pages lost by Martin Harris during the original translation into English by Joseph Smith II. His name is Christopher Nemelka.
The first thoughts that I recall after reading Christopher's claims seemed to be centered around disbelief and prejudice.
It made no sense that he would be called to translate the sealed portion of the plates seeing as how there are 15 prophets who have not made mention of such things, in other words, the Quorums of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles in The Church of Jesus Christ. (red flag)
I fought back my initial responses and decided to give the Sealed Portion the same attention and respect I gave the unsealed portion, The Book of Mormon.
I started reading the book and confusion entered into my heart as I saw things there that I had wanted to believe but had no basis to do so. I wanted to believe the things in the book and found myself believing those words as I read out of force of desire.
I read enough of the book to be satisfied that I believed it, just as I did with The Book of Mormon. The only difference with this new record is that I had already accepted Christ. With the Book of Mormon, I was converted to Christ.
I put aside anything that caused me to doubt it.
I did not believe the things written about the heavenly mothers, but I decided that it made sense. Such a belief fit together with my political leanings and spiritual opinions to some degree, though lesser.
I did not believe the thing about reincarnation, but I figured I would understand it later.
Satisfied with what I had decided about the book, I remember the test given by my missionary Elder Russell Sheridan. He told me to pray and ask God if He was real instead of just believing.
I figured there would be no harm in praying to God about something like this to get confirmation in what I believed, for it was in truth my heart's desire and purpose.
In the very act of praying to Father, the Spirit of the Lord overcame me and revealed to me with no uncertainty that the book was a fraud.
I was shocked!
I had deceived myself into believing the book! If I did not know that I could pray to God about its truthfulness, I could have been a victim of this new deception!
I was hurt that I was so easily tricked. I also was sure that God knew my susceptibility to being led astray and He answered my prayer to Him forcefully and thoroughly that I should have no lingering suspicions that I may have misinterpreted His inspiration to me.
I stopped reading further and started doing research about this book. I was just unwilling to let go of this fake record, though God had told me it was a fraud.
I started reading again the claims of Ida Smith, a great- great-granddaughter of Hyrum Smith, a woman I did not know of before the red flag from her testimony as having outgrown the Church for which her great-grandfather gave his life as a martyr.
Just like the father of Lamoni thought upon the things that he witnessed before Ammon smote his arm so that he could not use it to hurt his son, I used my 20/20 hindsight to review my red flags that should have warded off my heartfelt investigation:
- Ida Smith had left the Church!
- I know the Church is true by His, God's own words!
- Being true, why would God tell one of His children the Church is not necessary anymore!?
- This Christopher guy had spoken ill of the Book of Mormon, the book that had converted me to Jesus Christ in the first place!
- Why would God reveal a book, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, to me then send another prophet, Christopher, to disparage it?
- I was offended by this personally because I know this book saved my soul and converted me to Christ! I still am a bit offended, and I will tell you why later.
- This group of people said the Biblewas not the word of God!
- The Book of Mormon, which I know to be true, testifies that the record of the Jews, The BIBLE!!, is the word of God.
- I have prayed to God about the Bible, and it has been revealed to me that it is the word of GOD!
Prayer Will Fix It! Anytime!
I realized that the power of prayer had helped me dodge a psychologically damaging bullet. I could have been the next Ida Smith! One thing that I can say about her is that she is fully committed to her newfound belief.
I also must say after listening to her testimonial that she never mentioned the Spirit of God revealed to her that what she was doing is His will. I have noticed that with many who have defected from the Church. Not all, but most never mention the spirit in their decision.
I wondered what would occur with this new record? I decided to petition the Lord in prayer about this book. It sounded true. It answered some questions that I thought should be answered in my mind. It was a deception to gratify my curiosity and pride.
A Voice of Warning
(Doctrine & Covenants 89:4)
Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days....
Now, the reference above was referring to the evils related to the mental, spiritual, and physical health of humanity, and my mental health counts to me. I take liberty in taking the above verse in different context.
Even the very elect will be deceived in the last days. I am a true follower of my Savior and consider myself elect as in faithful and willing to listen to the Lord. I was deceived.
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)
I was duped; and my prayer to God saved me from my ignorance. I was mad at everything and offended because I was deceived and my pride led me to believe that such deception was impossible for me!
Just because I agree with something does not make it correct. Just because I like something does not mean it is from God.
I pondered why Christopher would do such a thing. This verse came to mind:
And thou seest that we know that thy plan was a very subtle plan, as to the subtlety of the devil, for to lie and to deceive this people that thou mightest set them against us, to revile us.... (Alma 12:4)
I discovered that Christopher had an agenda to tear down the Church. He was once a member of the Church and then started to preach against the things that he believed. I also remembered Korihor's experience and how he came to terms following an interview with the prophet Alma.
But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true.... (Alma 30:53)
I can attest that nothing is surer than personal prayer in discerning the truth. Of this, I warn those who would instruct others not to pay attention to answers to prayer that feel good. I will stick with my warm fuzzy feelings as I always have because they lead to greater manifestations of God's power.
Mock the simple things and how can God give us greater?
© 2014 Rodric Anthony Johnson
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on October 27, 2019:
Isn't it interesting that when the facts are picked out of the book it loses its fake shine? That goes with everything. That is why I love the Book of Mormon, Mark. It shines in the dark as a testimony of Jesus Christ and passes the finetooth examination of any person.
Mark Richardson from Utah on October 27, 2019:
From Allen Richardson:
on Chris Nemelka's so-called translation of the the 116 pages:
FATAL FLAWS IN CHRIS NEMELKA’S SO-CALLED BOOK OF LEHI
1. Chris Nemelka’s so-called Book of Lehi claims that Lehi was a high priest after the order of Aaron (Lehi 1:7). There were high priests in the Levitical order, but not in the Aaronic.
2. Chris Nemelka’s so-called Book of Lehi claims that Lehi was a descendant of Ephraim (Lehi 1:11). This contradicts the non-sealed portion of the Book of Mormon which says Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh (Alma 10:3), the brother of Ephraim.
3. Chris Nemelka’s so-called Book of Lehi claims that Sariah offered sacrifice (Lehi 4: 41). This contradicts the Bible, which says that only men who held the priesthood were allowed to offer sacrifice and that anyone else must suffer death (Deut.21:5).
4. Chris Nemelka’s so-called Book of Lehi claims that Lehi was a priest (Lehi 3:49). This contradicts the non-sealed portion which says Lehi was a descendant of Joseph (Alma 10:3), and not of the tribe of Levi. In that dispensation, only descendants of Levi could be priests.
5. Chris Nemelka’s so-called Book of Lehi claims that
Mosiah was a direct descendent of Zoram, the servant of Laban who delivered the brass plates unto Nephi and his brethren." (8:25).
This contradicts the non-sealed portion which says that Mosiah is a Nephi descendant, and only Nephi descendants are eligible for the kingship. (Mosiah 25:13-14.)
Mark Richardson from Utah on October 23, 2019:
Yes, he is crazy. I'll have to ask my dad what the latest is on him.
Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on October 23, 2019:
Wow! Mark, this is a small world. I am glad someone else I know knows about Chris. I have yet to meet anyone who experienced his work besides your reference. I felt violated that I was excited about the things he wrote for even a second.
Mark Richardson from Utah on October 16, 2019:
Man, it is a small world. My father met Chris Nemelka and has talked to him and also read it. He refuted a lot of it. In fact, my cousin married him, but they are now divorced. Chris got into polygamy. He tried to say that he had a magic stone that would light up when he held it, but he had to have a glove on. He is crazy. He has a cemetery plot at the SLC cemetery next to the Smith family graves. He claims to be Hyrum Smith reincarnated.
My father has been a missionary ever since he went on a mission to New Zealand. His name is Allen Richardson. He knows more than anyone I know about the gospel. You could see a lot of videos on Youtube with him in it. He used to go talk to antis at temple square for fun.