BoM Issues
Book of Mormon


Book of Mormon Issues
Was Jesus Born in Jerusalem or Bethlehem?

In response to the question of whether Jesus was born at Jerusalem, Oliver Cowdery wrote the following, which has been excerpted from his article "Trouble in the West," which appeared in The Latter Day Saint's Messenger and Advocate, Vol. 1, No. 7 (April 1835), p. 105.  This excerpt is important because it illustrates three points:

1.  At least as early as 1835 reason-challenged anti-Mormons were trying to use the "born at Jerusalem" non-issue against the LDS church.  Note that Cowdery shows that the critic has misquoted the Book of Mormon to create the supposed problem.

2.  At least as early as 1835 the LDS church was responding to this issue.  Furthermore, despite the lack of archeological evidence which has since become available, the 1835 response was the correct response, and is the same as that provided by modern LDS scholars (for example, see Sperry and Farms).  As Cowdery pointed out in 1835, the Book of Mormon (Alma 7:10) refers to the Land of Jerusalem, not the city.

3.  Anti-Mormons as a class never seem to learn.  Despite the correctness of Cowdery's response, as demonstrated by the proliferation of evidence unavailable in 1835, this non-issue is still being raised by critics who are either thought-process challenged (they can't seem to understand the evidence, despite its 1+1=2 simplicity), or who simply aren't interested in evidence.

Excerpt from
"Trouble in the West"

This "friend of truth" says: "The book states that Christ was born in Jerusalem (p. 240), whereas every child that has read the testament, knows that Christ was born in Bethlehem."

Since this writer has been so kind as to note the page we will look at it: it says, "For behold, the kingdom of heaven is at hand, and the Son of God cometh upon the face of the earth.  And behold, he shall be born of Mary AT JERUSALEM, which is the land of our forefathers."

So much for this "friend of truth" on this subject:  instead of its saying in Jerusalem, as this man would be glad to make his readers believe, it says "AT JERUSALEM, the LAND of their forefathers."  And any man of common sense, cannot but see that this writer had a perfect understanding of the matter, for he says the land of, &c. which is sufficient to show that he meant to be understood, as he said, "at" or in the region of Jerusalem.  --  This is enough, however, to show the design of this "friend of truth."