Around Easter 2004, National Geographic produced a documentary titled In Search of Easter. The producers interviewed a wide range of scholars about the Resurrection story of the Easter celebration. It is an interesting insight into various Resurrection stories found in the Bible. I am always interested in scholarly opinions on religious topics, and nearly fell off the couch when I heard the following on the DVD.
“Could yet another possibility exist that explains Jesus sporadic appearances. Is it possible that he did not limit his visits to ancient Israel? This is the intriguing scenario described in the Book of Mormon. The book which emerged in 19th century America is revered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as God’s Holy Word.”
Kathleen Flake, Assistant Professor of American Religious History, Vanderbilt University, “The Book of Mormon is an account of a civilization that lived in the Americas between about 600 years before Jesus was born, until about 400 years after he died. The centerpiece of this story is Jesus’ appearance to them, after he died, and was resurrected. He comes to the Americas with business in mind. Jesus will say to these people in the Americas, ‘now I said to the Jews in Palestine “other sheep I have which are not of this fold”, and they misunderstood me. They thought I meant the gentiles, but no. I meant you. I meant you’re the other sheep; I must come visit you, I must manifest myself unto you’ so that you can bear witness to the world about the nature of God, and how to receive a forgiveness of sin, or more to the point, how you can overcome the circumstances of the world and be made one with God.'”
According to the Book of Mormon, the risen Jesus remains with America’s ancient tribes for 3 or 4 days. He then vanishes and then makes sporadic appearances for an unspecified period of time. Meanwhile, according to the New Testament, Jesus continues to embrace his disciples in Israel.
The DVD then goes on to talk about a small reference where Paul mentions in passing a visit where Jesus visits 500 people after his resurrection in 1 Corinthians 13. Has the Book of Mormon gained mainstream acceptance? (For more info about Easter on this DVD, check out this post.)