Why I Cannot Accept the “Inspired Fiction” Theory of The Book of Mormon
By Ken K. Gourdin
Some, who, apparently, are of a decidedly empirical bent, cannot accept the proffered account of the coming forth of The Book of Mormon. That account’s supernatural elements are, to them, a bridge too far. Purportedly, an angel appeared to Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1823, and told him of an ancient record written on metal plates and deposited in a nearby hill.
Joseph later retrieved those plates and, purportedly by the gift and power of God, translated the engravings found thereon and published the resulting text to the world as The Book of Mormon in 1830. However, some in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have attempted to “save” The Book of Mormon from its supernatural milieu for those who cannot accept the supernatural elements of its coming forth by contending that, although Smith fashioned the thing from whole cloth by dint of his fertile imagination (thus making it “fictional”), nonetheless, it is “inspired.”.
I, by contrast, contend that such attempts to “save” The Book of Mormon render its coming forth even more preposterous than that offered by the official account. In response to proponents of the “inspired fiction” theory at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion, I write: