Leap of Faith: Confronting the Origins of the Book of Mormon

by Bob Bennett

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Is the Book of Mormon a forgery?

Its detractors dismiss it as such. And its defenders too often fail to ponder it deeply enough to respond effectively to such criticisms.

But, as author Bob Bennett writes, “For anyone truly interested in the Church and its claims, a thorough examination of the Book of Mormon as a possible forgery is a requirement. Instead of being just a footnote in an overall review of current Church activities, discussion of the book should be a primary focal point of the investigation.” with that in mind, he brings to bear his own fascinating experiences with the world of forgery in this careful examination of the Book of Mormon and its claims.

In his role at billionaire Howard Hughes's company, Bennett had opportunities to help disprove two significant attempts at forgery: Clifford Irving's supposedly authorized biography of Hughes and later the fake Hughes “will.” In the process, he became acquainted with several tests commonly used to help identify a forgery. Leap of Faith chronicles the discoveries he made as he applied those tests to the Book of Mormon.

Though Bennett concludes that “no final answer can be drawn about the authorship of the Book of Mormon on the basis of analysis alone,” his exploration of the book and explanation of its contents will be invaluable to anyone interested in understanding it more clearly. His own leap of faith provides a springboard for meaningful discussion by people of all faiths.

This compellingly written work offers a unique perspective about a book beloved by tens of millions. It is made even more interesting by the author’s experiences working for the reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, the victim of more than one attempted forgery.

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About the Author

Bob Bennett

Bob Bennett was first elected as a United States senator from Utah in 1992. Before that time, he earned many distinctions in business and government activities. As chief executive officer of the Franklin International Institute, he was named Inc. magazine's "Entrepreneur of the Year" for the Rocky Mountain Region. He worked as chief congressional liaison at the U.S. Department of Transportation and as public relations director for billionaire Howard Hughes's holding company, Summa Corporation. He is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senate Banking Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has served as a missionary and as a bishop. He and his wife, Joyce, are the parents of six children and grandparents of twenty.

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Average rating:

(based upon 9 reviews)

Leap of Faith
By , Submitted on 2015-03-04

Bob Bennett does a masterful job of clearly outlining some of the issues and handling them in a balanced/even-handed approach. He is fair and says, when he finds positions that have no clear-cut resolution that he comes down on the side of the Book Of Mormon since he believes the book to be inspired. He is also honest on how he came to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon is inspired - he got that assurance on his knees. So did I. And a burning witness it is. He does, however, present a spirited defense of the Book of Mormon all the while keeping the book interesting and eminently readable.

This is a masterpiece that should be read by all who want an honest review of issues surrounding the Book of Mormon

I love this book
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Very spiritual, great for people that have questions about the book of Mormon! I know I can share this book with friends.

A book I'd gladly recommend to soon-to-be missionaries and any other person interested.
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This is an excellent book in my opinion, and for a couple of different reasons.
He states that members shouldn't just shrug off these challenges, but to actually consider them. After reading this book, I can understand why he says this, because there was a lot of views that I had never considered. Had I been confronted with some of the questions before, I would have no idea what to say. Now, I have a little bit of a better understanding. For this reason, i'm glad I had the chance to read this before going on a mission, and I've given it to a friend who's going to leave in a month.
Along with a better grasp of arguments for and against the Book, I gained a better knowledge of the Book of Mormon in general. The way that the author structures the comparisons as Story 1, 2, and 3 not only made this book easy to follow, but it's helped me to see parts of the Book of Mormon clearer. Throughout this book, things just "clicked", and the new (to me) information just made the BoM easier to understand as a whole.
This book was easy to read and hard to set down. It has both tested what I know and given me valuable things to learn. It will be easy to understand for both members and non-members alike.
But what I like most about this book is at the end; a true missionary conclusion - to decide who wrote the Book of Mormon, it ultimately requires, you guessed it, a leap of faith.

Great Book
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I enjoyed reading this book. I learn a few points I never thought.

in love
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

This book was thought-provoking and very well done. Bob Bennett is thorough in the research he puts into this book. My favorite thing about Leap of Faith is that it brings forth equal dialogue from both sides - critics and believers. Bob Bennett lets the reader decide on their own.
I would definitely recommend this book to Mormons and non-Mormons. It was an amazing book and I will probably end up reading it over and over again.

A book I will read more than once and recommend to anyone!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

I learned so much that it was hard to stop reading. It helped me connect all the parts of The Book of Mormon and see the overall picture rather than each story as a separate event. I think this book is insightful and easy to understand no matter what your previous knowledge is of The Book of Mormon.

I couldn't put it down!
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

My wife gave me this book for Christmas. It is the 26th of December and I just finished it. I hadn’t planned on spending the day reading, but I couldn’t put the book down. Not only was it a good review of the Book of Mormon research presented in an accessible and readable way, but Senator Bennett provided me with a few new insights and evidences that I had not yet considered. This stretched my mind and ultimately has uplifted me. His personal touches throughout the book gave me cause to reflect more deeply on my own similar experiences.

A thoughtful approach
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

Critics who sneer at what they see as a silly romance full of anachronisms and other contemporary commentators who feel the book is something of an embarrassment that should not be prominently featured by the Church, are also invited to give stricter heed. Bennett wants these readers to take the book seriously because for him, the book came from someone, and our obligation to the book depends largely upon who that "someone" is.

He makes a few other minor blunders, like describing the Nephite monetary system as using "coins," and claiming Mark Hofmann planted a bomb in his own trunk to throw off police when eyewitness testimony make it clear the explosion occurred in Hofmann's front seat (p. 30). In addition, while it is likely not Bennett's fault, the index is pretty weak (several important discussions on "Reformed Egyptian" don't find a reference point there for example) and the footnotes are much too sparse for my taste. The book is clearly written for general readership, so the picky reader should take that into consideration while reading.

Bennett's balanced treatment is a thoughtful study that provides a fruitful example of how one should weigh claims about the Book of Mormon's origins, whether or not the reader agrees with each particular points Bennett makes. As the title suggests, Bennett believes that whether a person is friend or foe, believer or critic, everyone must ultimately make a "leap of faith" in their decision as to the authenticity of the book. He hopes sincere investigators will invite God to help them make the leap by reading it carefully and asking God if it is true, as the final Book of Mormon chapter urges. This, Bennett says, is what sustained his own leap of faith.

Non apologetic apologetics
By , Submitted on 2015-02-25

While Mormons are used the shallow treatment and quick dismissal the Book of Mormon usually receives from unbelievers, any honest person who spends time studying it will have to admit that it is much more complicated and profound than the world gives it credit for. In his book Leap of Faith, U.S. Senator Bob Bennett uses his experience in helping expose 2 famous forgeries about his former employer, Howard Hughs, to demonstrate how difficult it would be for Joseph Smith, or any other 19th century “3rd party”, to have forged the Book of Mormon. Unlike most Mormon apologetic works, Senator Bennett acknowledges that there are several things about the origins and content of the Book of Mormon that would cause a reasonable person to be skeptical and suspicious of its forgery. After all, however improbable it is that an uneducated farm boy could write a complicated 700+ page manuscript in 65 days, without any internal inconsistencies, containing a complex and little known mid-eastern writing style called chiasmus, a detailed description of geography of the Arabian Peninsula no westerner had until the 20th century, descriptions of Asiatic style warfare, Egyptian names ext, ext... we have to admit that it is still more probable than an angel giving Joseph Smith some golden plates which he translated using the power of God. Bennett concludes that either conclusion about the Book of Mormon - the most elaborate and masterful forgery of all time or inspired ancient record - requires a “leap of faith”. He leaves it to the reader to decide in which direction to leap.

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