The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon compares the word of God to a seed and observes that if planted in fertile soil and carefully tended and nourished it would grow up into a healthy tree that bears lots of life-giving fruit.
If we were to extend the analogy to the entire text of the Book of Mormon and planted it, seed-like, into fertile academic soil, what might the result look like?
Well, the people at FairMormon.org have, in essence, examined that very question and the results are staggering. Their Book of Mormon study aids page "is designed to help those who are studying the Book of Mormon locate articles that relate to the passages they are studying," and it's chock-full of enlightening, faith-building information.
The seed, now a mature tree, has borne, is bearing, and no doubt will continue to bear prolifically.
Now Joseph Smith, purported translator of the Book of Mormon, also claimed that an angel named Moroni visited him in 1823 and told him, among many other things, that his name would be both good and evil spoken of throughout the world. That prophecy has come true, of course, but the same could be said of the Book of Mormon. It has its own detractors who no doubt have produced a large corpus of writings critical of this foundational book of scripture, making the Book of Mormon one of the most talked about books of all time.
Latter-day Saints aren't left without answers to said criticisms, however. A large portion of the work by LDS scholars has been produced in response to those very criticisms, providing, to use Peter's phrase, a reason for the hope that is in us.
Ultimately, the Book of Mormon itself demands that its veracity be a matter of faith borne of revelation:
. . . Ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things [i.e., the Book of Mormon] are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. (Moroni 10:4)With the beginning of a new year, perhaps you'd like to find out for yourself whether the Book of Mormon is all that it's cracked up to be. It's my own experience that a careful, prayerful study of the Book of Mormon is richly rewarding, producing, as it were, delicious fruit for a lifetime.