Greg Trimble gave a list of 10 reasons he believed the Book of Mormon was not a fraud. This is my personal response:
1. Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages of ancient scripture on his own that was historically accurate and prophetic in nature?
This presumes a) that Joseph was uneducated, b) that the Book of Mormon was ancient scripture, c) that it was historically accurate, and d) that it is prophetic.
Joseph Smith was 23 when he wrote the Book of Mormon. Letters he wrote at the time show he was well educated, he had been a member of the local debate club, two of his family had been teachers (and so was Oliver Cowdery). According to his mother he had been rehearsing aspects of the Book for years, and parts of it are remarkably similar to his father’s dreams, parts of the Bible and books like “The Late War” and “A View of the Hebrews”.
The Book of Mormon certainly claims to be ancient scripture but it is full of uniquely modern phraseology. There is no independent ancient American historian or archeologist who would consider any of the Book of Mormon to be historical in any sense. It is only accurately prophetic in events that happened before Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, after that it is very vague.
2. Would it be possible for that boy to understand and include ancient Hebrew literary writing styles such as idioms and Chiasmus, some of which weren’t even discovered until long after Joseph Smith was gone?
The Book of Mormon isn’t alone in having chiasmus. In one survey of literature written around the period of the 1830s the Book of Mormon contained less chiasmus than many other fictional books. As far as other idioms go, the majority of those Hebrew-like ones the Book of Mormon uses are also present in the Bible which Joseph Smith knew well.
3. How would Joseph Smith have been able to know so much about the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula where Lehi and his family traveled? The book includes findings in that region that no one had discovered yet.
If Joseph Smith guessed at the geography of the region (some of which is described in the Bible) he may have got a detail right. However, any archeologist will tell you that the river that Lehi pitched his tent near the red sea, doesn’t exist and never did
4. How could Joseph Smith come up with roughly 200 new names in the Book of Mormon and then have them turn out to be Semitic in nature?
There are actually only 104 truly unique words – once you take those already in the King James Bible out. Many of these names are variations of personal or geographical names of those people or areas Joseph knew.
5. If you think Joseph Smith couldn’t have written this book, then where did it come from? If one says the devil put him up to it…then why would Satan want to publish another testament of Jesus Christ and a book that does nothing but promote righteousness. Jesus said that a house divided against itself would fall.
Why couldn’t Joseph have written this book? A similar book titled “The Book of Napoleon” which was written in pseudo-scriptural language was written by a fourteen year old boy a few years beforehand and it was available in Joseph’s local library.
6. Who were the “other sheep” that would hear Jesus’s voice in John 10:16?
Why wouldn’t these be the Gentiles who had to wait to hear Jesus’ voice until after his death? Why must the Nephite interpretation be the only one?
7. Why are there volumes of books written by non-LDS authors stating that Christ came and visited the America’s a couple thousand years ago just like it says in 3rd Nephi? (See Example “He Walked The America’s”) How would Joseph Smith have known this when at the time no one even considered it?
The particular example given was a book written by a fiction author. Similar books have been written about Jesus purportedly visiting India and Japan. Are there any peer reviewed historians who selectively quote myths that way, who interprets them to refer to Jesus, or who consider such myths credible history?
8. If we have the stick of Judah (record of the Jews or the Bible), then where is the stick of Joseph that is referenced in Ezekiel 37:15-20? The Book of Mormon is the only explanation for this scripture. Lehi was a descendant of Joseph. Think Joseph Smith could have gotten that right by sheer chance?
This presumes that the modern Mormon interpretation of those verses are right – but no ancient Jewish or historical Biblical scholar agrees with that. No modern scholars do either. Of course the modern Mormon interpretation fits with their preconceived notions of the purpose of the Book of Mormon. It would be strange if it didn’t.
9. How could there be so many witnesses of the Book of Mormon and the plates and not one of them deny their testimony even when some of them became bitter toward Joseph Smith? With so many people involved … a hoax of this magnitude could never go uncovered.
[As someone else commented:] Oliver Cowdery signed the testimonies of the 8 witnesses. For the three, all three are purported as having denied their testimony of physical plates. So many people involved? You mean two families and one other man. The Whitmers and Smiths, plus one man who jumped from religion to religion afterwards.
10. How could the Book of Mormon never contradict itself while being an extremely complex book? After all these years … someone would have found something … but no.
Really? There are dozens of examples of internal contradictions, hundreds of examples of contradictions with history, archeology, and science, and thousands of examples of changes. A better list of the issues with the Book of Mormon can be found here.
The majority of members of the LDS Church are no longer active – according to census reports the majority of them no longer consider themselves Mormons at all, and so undoubtedly no longer believe in the Book of Mormon. The majority of people missionaries introduce the Book of Mormon to never accept it as an ancient scriptural document. More people have rejected the Book of Mormon after studying and praying about it than have ever accepted it.