I’ll admit up front, this chat was basically just an attempt to show that Mormon missionaries are ignorant. Â I wanted to know what they knew about the origins of the Bible. Â Here we go:
Bailey: hi how are you?
Bart (me): I’m good. How are you?
Bailey: what can we do for you?
Bart: I have a question.
Bailey: ok. go ahead.
Bart: What can you tell me about the origins of the bible – particularly the New Testament?
Bailey: Well we know that the new testament testifies of Christ’s life in Jerusalem. It was in that part of the world. The middle east.
Bart: Right. But how did those specific writings come to be considered canonical books in the Bible?
Bailey: Christ’s apostles where with him all the time and so they wrote the things that Christ did. They were special witnesses of Him.
Bart: And do you know who finally compiled them into the modern Bible.
Bailey: It was a man by the name of William Tyndale. It was in the early 1500’s I believe. He translated the Bible.
Bart: Okay. Thanks.
Bailey: Do you have any other questions?
Bart: Nope. That was it. Thanks for your help.
So, Bailey is clearly unaware of the fact that the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John – were not written by apostles of Jesus. Â Of the books that bear the names of apostles, the authorship is in question for most of them (e.g., epistles of Peter, James, and John). Â Bailey also didn’t answer my actual question but instead told me who translated the Bible into English, William Tyndale. This probably means that Bailey, like so many of my students, has no idea where the New Testament actually came from other than believing erroneously something like: the apostles wrote what they saw then bound it together in a nice little book when they were done, oh, around 32 CE – you know, right after Jesus was crucified. Â I know this is kind of mean to do, but I think it’s interesting to note that Mormon missionaries are pretty oblivious about the origins of Christianity and the Bible that they are trying to convince people to believe in.