Within Mormonism, it is quite easy to believe the Book of Mormon is of divine origin.
There are two reasons why this happens:
One: The storyline of the BOM begins in 600 BCE with a small band of Israelites needing to obtain a copy of the Bible – which incorporates everything through mid-Isaiah. They plan to make a journey to the Western Hemisphere and want to carry these sacred writings with them. These writings were etched into “Brass Plates” and were ultimately obtained through theft and murder. Since Mormons believe the Brass Plates traveled with them, it is acceptable to believe that when portions of these etchings are quoted in the BOM, it builds the testimonies of the faithful to know that the text mostly matches the current King James Bible – A handy conversion tool incorporated by Joseph Smith. His 20/20 hindsight allowed him to not only incorporate large swaths of the Old Testament into his creation, but it also tempts the faithful to FAVOR them over the Bible – thanks to things like the eighth Article of Faith – which throws shade on the Bible while holding up the BOM as a better translation. When chapter after chapter of Isaiah appears in the BOM, the faithful say, “Isn’t it convincing how mostly accurate the Brass Plates are to the Bible?” Never contemplating the fact that the Brass Plates never existed, nor explaining why so many passages from the post-Isaiah Bible (601 BCE+) appear generously throughout the Book of Mormon.
Two: Although it is quickly denied by apologists, it is nonetheless true that the membership prefers the BOM to the Bible. This is because 1) they feel it is “modern” scripture meant for our time, and 2) that Joseph built in his disclaimer in Articles of Faith #8. Twentieth century (and beyond) General Conferences emphatically counseled the saints to focus on the BOM. Although they don’t discourage Biblical scripture study, the church prefers the BOM because it is modern, it clarifies Biblical issues, and it is unique to Mormonism. Anyone who wants a free copy of the book is welcome to one.
Within such a setting, as Mormons read the BOM, they mistakenly (and unintentionally) feel that the Prophet Joseph Smith, Jr. was a spiritual genius. He certainly was gifted, but he cannot take credit for most of the text in the book, since it was lifted directly from the King James Bible.
Here are a few lesser-known examples of his infractions…
Moroni 7:18 reads in part, “[F]or with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.” If you were not a student of the Bible, and grew up with an emphasis on the BOM, you would immediately read this verse and feel it was inspired by God, and it adds yet another reason to prove that Joseph was a prophet, and that the BOM is true. Unfortunately for Joseph, those familiar with the New Testament understand that these words are hauntingly familiar. Matthew 7:2 begins with, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.” It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to understand the origin of Moroni 7:18 comes directly from Matthew 7:2, yet the average Mormon would be hard pressed to recognize this parallel on their own, because more time is spent in the BOM than the NT.
See the PIC above for 1 Nephi 10:8. Joseph often incorporates several Biblical verses into one of his own. You can see many glaring examples of this in First Nephi by watching this video: The Bible to Book of Mormon Comparative.
One final example. Upon facing a decision to murder Laban and steal the plates, Nephi makes one of the more famous statements in Mormonism, “It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief” (1 Nephi 4:13). Again, if you didn’t spend as much time in the Bible, you would not only attribute this to the BOM, it would also bolster your testimony of Joseph Smith. The average LDS has no idea this often-quoted passage did NOT originate in the BOM. John 11:50 reads in part, “[I]t is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.”
If you’re interested in seeing more of the thousands of parallels, there are more than 1,500 pages of examples (in order from 1 Nephi-Moroni) on the free website BOMsource.com, in the Bible to Book of Mormon Comparative portal.
Go to the site and look-up any of your favorite verses in the Book of Mormon to realize that many of them originated with the King James Bible.