Blogalogue

Blogalogue


Let’s Call Mormons ‘Nontraditional Christians’

posted by prothfuss

By Orson Scott Card
It has truly been a pleasure to converse — or at least take turns speaking — with Dr. Mohler. His attitude of quiet analysis is a refreshing change from the vitriol and slander that I’ve seen from so many of his denomination when they talk about my religion.
His final message is reassuring in many ways. First, his assurance that Mormons can be good citizens and should not be deprived of their right to an equal place in the American political scene should be adopted as the guideline for people of all denominations.
It is hard to think of any religion that is not persecuted somewhere. The world is full of religions because people do not agree about the nature or even the existence of divinity; yet America was founded on a commitment to the idea that differing opinions about God should not be factored into a person’s eligibility for public office.
When Dr. Mohler quotes Paul’s warning that the Church of Christ should reject “a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,” we Mormons wholeheartedly agree. We believe, and history supports, that the “traditional Christianity” that Dr. Mohler so able explicates is remote indeed from the gospel that Paul taught.
So I am happy to accept the formulation suggested by Dr. Mohler’s last sentence: “Mormonism is not just another form of Christianity — it is incompatible with ‘traditional Christian orthodoxy.’”
Amen! Absolutely correct! We send out missionaries to every country that will allow them to enter precisely because we believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ is incompatible with “traditional Christian orthodoxy.”


At the same time, we recognize that “traditional Christian orthodoxy” represents a sincere desire and effort, on the part of millions of believers throughout the world, to teach and live by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Despite our deep differences of belief over the nature of God and his plans for his children, we recognize that those who believe in the other Christian faiths have taken a giant step closer to fulfilling the intentions of our Lord. They are, in heart and mind, Christians.
We ask only the same favor in return. Let’s take that word “traditional” and make use of it. Instead of saying that we are “not Christian,” which is an obvious falsehood by any rational, widely accepted definition of the word Christian, let us agree that Mormons are “nontraditional Christians.”
We’ll live with that label quite happily, because it’s true. We are Christians, but nontraditional ones. And if we ever become traditional, we’ll have no reason to exist as a separate religion!
Meanwhile, history provides reason for optimism. The pope, while proclaiming that the Catholic Church and, despite defects, the Orthodox churches, represent the only authoritative Church of Christ, he still allows room for the “nonapostolic” Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Pentacostalists, and others that proclaim the name of Christ to be considered “Christian communities” and to have value.
It took less than 500 years for Protestantism to graduate to a “tradition” instead of a “reformation” or, in the former Catholic view, a “heresy.”
Baptists, who were once viewed as a wild-eyed sect of the American lower classes, have now been around long enough to be “traditional” right along with the older Protestant denominations.
Now we live in a world where all believers in Christ — traditional or non — are assailed and persecuted. There is no shortage of atheists in foreign countries and in America who would like to limit the ability of any believer in a revelatory religion to achieve full participation and leadership in American politics.
The intense criticism, both public and whispered, focused on President Bush precisely because he believes that God has intervened and continues to intervene in his life should be the wakeup call to all of us.
Born-again Christians and Mormons agree on this: God is alive and working in the world, and his Spirit touches the lives of the faithful, offering guidance, comfort, and even miraculous intervention. This earns Baptists and Mormons the ridicule or hatred of the anti-religious extremists, who declare that our beliefs are a form of madness and proof that we are unfit for public trust.
Call us “nontraditional Christians” and continue to encourage your communicants not to believe our doctrines; we’ll happily continue to call you “traditional Christians” and teach people why they should believe our doctrines.
But when it comes to politics, let’s make common cause to maintain the full participation in American political life of believers in a living, active God whose Spirit touches the lives of all his children.
Let’s work together to try to end the persecution of Christians throughout the world, for the enemies of Christ make no distinction between “traditional” and “nontraditional” Christians when they’re looking for targets of their fear and hatred.
On these issues, we are on the same side.
And every “traditional Christian” who, like Dr. Mohler, will include us nontraditional Christians as equally entitled to participation in all aspects of American public life, without encouraging people to vote against Mormon candidates because of their faith alone, will find that we Mormons are good friends to have in a world that is increasingly perilous for followers of Christ.



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Nathan Mayfield

posted July 26, 2007 at 1:51 pm


Regardless of your use of “traditional” and “non-traditional” you continue to run from the original question. Mormonism is not Christianity by any definition other than the one that Mormons want to give it. Mormonism does not believe that Jesus Christ has always been God, rather that He was “created” and that this planet and universe are simply his domain. Mormons also believe that some will eventually achieve the same deity level as Jesus and that they will, in effect, become a God over their own little universe.
As Dr. Mohler has stated, this is a gospel contrary to what Jesus taught his disciples and to what they preached when starting the church, it is contrary even to the Roman Church, the Greek Church, the Russian Church, and all the churches of the Reformation, i.e. Protestants.
You have continually refused to keep on track and the only thing I can conclude from this is that you are afraid, for whatever reason, to simply state that Mormons believe they have the “real” truth and that it is what Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and those since have taught.
The final conclusion I have is that you believe that Mormonism cannot stand on its own without binding itself to the Christian Church, therefore you believe that you must connect yourself to the Christian Church in order to deceive others. If that is not the case, then why the desire to be connected.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted July 26, 2007 at 1:55 pm


Well said! ‘Nontraditional Christians’ is an excellent compromise.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted July 26, 2007 at 2:17 pm


NM: Regardless of your use of “traditional” and “non-traditional” you
NM: continue to run from the original question.
GS: Does he? It seems clear to me that his answer to the question of
GS: “Are Mormons Christian” is yes, but not orthodox ones. And there
GS: doesn’t seem to be any honest way one can disagree with this
GS: without involving circular logic.
NM: Mormonism is not Christianity by any definition other than the one
NM: that Mormons want to give it.
GS: I don’t think Mormons were the first or only ones to define
GS: Christianity as the worship of Jesus Christ as our savior.
NM: Mormonism does not believe that Jesus Christ has always been God,
NM: rather that He was “created” and that this planet and universe are
NM: simply his domain. Mormons also believe that some will eventually
NM: achieve the same deity level as Jesus and that they will, in
NM: effect, become a God over their own little universe.
GS: Indeed! And this makes our beliefs “nontraditional” if one were
GS: to judge it by orthodoxy.
NM: As Dr. Mohler has stated, this is a gospel contrary to what Jesus
NM: taught his disciples
GS: I don’t think that is correct.
NM: and to what they preached when starting the church, it is contrary
NM: even to the Roman Church, the Greek Church, the Russian Church, and
NM: all the churches of the Reformation, i.e. Protestants.
GS: Possibly but beside the point.
NM: You have continually refused to keep on track
GS: You’d have to have a pretty tortured reading of Orson’s essays to
GS: come to this rather bizarre conclusion.
NM: and the only thing I can conclude from this is that you are afraid,
NM: for whatever reason, to simply state that Mormons believe they have
NM: the “real” truth and that it is what Joseph Smith, Brigham Young,
NM: and those since have taught.
GS: I don’t think that Mr. Card is “afraid” of stating that. More to
GS: the point is that it is tangential to the issue being discussed.
NM: The final conclusion I have is that you believe that Mormonism
NM: cannot stand on its own without binding itself to the Christian
NM: Church
GS: Again tangential. There is no need to “bind” or “stand alone”,
GS: merely the need for clarification and edification.
NM: therefore you believe that you must connect yourself to the
NM: Christian Church in order to deceive others.
GS: There is no deception involved on the Mormon end.
NM: If that is not the case, then why the desire to be connected.
GS: I’m not sure how you are inferring a “desire to be connected” out
GS: a simple desire to have truth-in-advertising as it were.



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Mike

posted July 26, 2007 at 3:08 pm


Traditional Christians versus Nontraditional Christians is an excellent way to address this nit-picking debate of whether Latter-day Saints are Christians. Another good description is Creedal Christians versus Non-Creedal Christian.



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Bubba

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:05 pm


Or maybe monotheistic Christians and polytheistic Christians, except for the really minor point that the former is redundant and the latter is internally inconsistent.



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Tim

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:18 pm


Non-traditional Christians was a great way to describe us. Perhaps peculiar Christians would work too.



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Jim Kinnebrew

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:59 pm


Bubba: Christians are monotheistic, not polytheistic. Trinitarianism is not tritheism. Try out John 17.3, 1 Cor 8.4, and James 2.19 for the views of Jesus and His followers. Mormons are admittedly polytheists.
Mike: There is no such thing as a non-creedal Christian, nor a non-creedal Mormon. Everybody has a creed. At least that’s what “I believe.”



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GB

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:32 pm


Jim,
The term polytheist implies the worship of multiple gods. Mormons, as Apostle Paul did, recognize the existence of multiple gods but like Paul they only worship God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now if you Jim believe that God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are two separate persons then you can call Mormons polytheistic, but then other Christians would also be polytheistic. But if you Jim believe that God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are the same person then you must call Mormons monotheistic. Otherwise you are being deceptive.



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Raymond Takashi Swenson

posted July 26, 2007 at 9:02 pm


The Orthodox and Catholic Churches split over the question of whether the Son “proceeds from” the Father or is eternally co-equal with Him. The condemnation of Mormons for believing God the Father has precedence over God the Son is a similar disagreement. It doesn’t make Greek, Russian and Armenian Christians any less Christian.
The attack on Mormons for believing that God through the grace of Christ has the power to elevate some of His children to become like his Son in many ways is based on ignorance of the fact that divinization or theosis was the understanding of many early Christians about the nature of salvation and eternal life, and is still a central doctrine of the Orthodox Churches even today!
The claim that Mormons are “polytheists” because they worship the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as three separate persons is silly, because the Nicene Creed says exactly that. It insists that they are three separate persons. Jews and Muslims call the Christian belief in the Trinity “polytheism”, since it is clearly different from their belief that God is a single entity. If you think the Father and the Holy Ghost were identical with the Jesus who hung on the cross, you are committing a heresy that the Nicene Creed was specifically designed to oppose. If you think Jesus does not have a body, even though he was born of Mary and died and was physically resurrected, you are likewise taking a position contrary to the Nicene Creed.
It is in fact amazing how people who condemn Mormon beliefs as “non-Christian” don’t really understand the full breadth of what is accepted as “traditional Christianity.”
What is even more ludicrous is that so many Evangelical Christians assert that all they need to do to be saved is make a one-time declaration of faith in Christ. They believe that anyone who believes the Bible has all the authority that anyone can get to be a preacher and to baptise. Yet when it comes to Mormons, they suddenly start making up extra requirements for salvation that they don’t apply to themselves. Nobody stands up at a Billy Graham crusade and tells people “You must be able to recite the Nicene Creed before you can be received as saved or be baptized”. If Evangelical Christians’ salvation depended on their ability to correctly explain what the Nicene Creed says, and what it means and does not mean, most of them would flunk.
For that matter, why accept the Nicene and Chalcedon Creeds, but reject so many others that were enacted by the Catholic Church before the Reformation? Is the theory that the Catholic Church was valid and authoritative in the 4th Century, but lost its way and its authority after that? If so, you basically agree with Mormons that Christianity got off track sometime before the Reformation. Furthermore, it is hypocritical of Protestants to claim that they somehow inherited the mantle of legitimacy from the Catholic Church, even though it was off track, and that Protestants are now in position to anathematize other later reform movements. If the Catholic Church is not completely authoritative, where does Protestant authority come from? How can legitimate authority derive from an illegitimate source? If anyone with a Bible can assert authority, then how can Protestants tell later formed churches who also embrace the Bible that they have no authority?
If Southern Baptists want to excommunicate Mormons from Christianity, what about Catholics? Orthodox? Coptics? Methodists? Presbyterians? Congregationalists? United Church of Christ? Episcopalians? Unitarians? Dr. Mohler recently said that Baptists should respond to Pope Benedict’s affirmation of Catholic primacy by asserting Catholic illegitimacy. Dr. Mohler has such a narrow definition of even “traditional orthodox Christian” that it excludes all the pre-Reformation churches as well as the post-Reformation churches, as well as many of the Reformation churches!
What about the Evangelical theologians who are now asserting the simple truth that the Neo-Platonic, pagan concept about a God without emotions (e.g. LOVE) is simply contrary to the Bible and a man-made doctrine that distorts the message of the Gospel? Through simple logic and study of the Bible they have come to the conclusion that the Catholic church had already lost its way in 325, which is exactly what Mormons believe. Those theologians are teaching at Evangelical seminaries and universities, and are “Christians” in good standing, so why should that be a reason to deChristianize Mormons?
A more fundamental issue is whether the entire idea of depriving someone of their rights as citizens, including the right to be elected to office, is a legitimate position for a true Christian to take. the rulers of the world in which Jesus and the early Church operated were pagans, not Christians, yet Christ did not call the government illegitimate and oppose its ruler over that. He did not even call for the ouster of the corrupt high priests who led the Jews. Nor did Peter, Paul or John or James after him. The early Christian church was established and grew for three hundred years under a non-Christian government system. It was not a stated goal of Christians to replace the rulers with Christians. Christians have lived for millenia in countries not ruled by Christians, and did not seek revolutions because of that. When Britain and France and Italy conquered nations, they did not do so in an effort to establish Christian rule, per se. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s” is Christ’s call to have dual loyalties, one to God in our religious beliefs and the other to the rulers of the nation in which we live. There is simply no imperative in the Gospel to seek to place Christians in power. That was Constantine’s idea, and the mixing of religious office with political power was the root of the corruption that propelled the Reformation in response.
Christians, even if they don’t think Mitt Romney is Christian, have no charter in the Bible to keep him from being elected. When the question is simply stated, Will I be free to be the Christian I want to be under this man as president, the answer is clearly Yes! On every political issue affecting Christians as Christians, Mitt Romney supports their views on how society should be structured and the laws enforced.
Conclusion: The notion that only “Christians” should be elected to office is NOT a Christian teaching rooted in the Old or New Testaments, nor in any of the Creeds. That is a wholly man-made conceit, that is NOT Biblical and therefore should be rejected by Christians as a doctrine they owe any allegiance to.



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Will Shin

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:38 am


If you have not already, I highly recommend you take a Logic class at a local college. Also, taking a debate class or visiting any high school or college debate team would also be helpful. I say this to recommend polishing your debate style because, quite frankly, you don’t have one. And if you think you do, it needs improvement – vast improvement. You do not even argue logically the points that Dr. Mohler makes nor argue from the topic at hand. Instead, your argument is, “Well, ok, Dr. Mohler is correct. I concur that Mormons are not traditional Christians. But who cares. I’m tired of this debate. Let’s just all go to Chucky Cheese and just get along. Oh, by the way, how about Mitt Romney?”



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nowandlater

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:07 am


Umm…Orson Scott Card is doing well in this debate because he is talking about the big picture while Dr. Mohler is going for the trees. It is clear that OSC is not a Theological Technocrat. He is, however, an excellent life commentator. If want Theological nuances and toe to toe scriptural references then probably you are looking for a debate with Religion Professor like Dr. Robert Millet or Dr. Richard Bushman.



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nowandlater

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:32 am


If a Mormon or a Orthodox believer were somehow barred from claiming the word Christian and were forced to us a different word our phrase from the Bible, then what would it be?
My Proposal:
Mormons – Saint, Apostolic, Holy Ghost indweller; Christ within us dwells, The Way, or Gospel.
Orthodox – Trinitarian (sorry can’t use that; not in the Bible), Depravists (can’t use that word either), Biblist (can’t use that word either), The Way, or Gospel.
Perhaps we can both agree that lay claim to the phrase The Way, and the Gospel. We can ignore that within Orthodoxy there are many claimed ways and different versions of the Gospel. If we can agree on the term Christian, then maybe we should call each other Gospelists or Wayists.
If we can’t agree to those terms then how about refer to Mormons as, Universal Charityists, and Orthodox believers as Limited Gracists.



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Gigi

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:19 am


I’m kind of coming in to this late, but I’ve read over the blog entries and comments. I think something non-Mormons may not realize (maybe it was mentioned?) is that Mormons believe in continually progressing and learning. That’s why they believe in a new dispensation (beginning with Joseph Smith) that brought more knowledge and truth to common knowledge on the earth. Mormons believe that God has not revealed all there is to reveal (yep, there’s even more – a lot more). Perhaps this is a big difference? Do other Christians believe all the truth and knowledge we get to have has already been given? This seems like a big difference to me that hasn’t been highlighted. Mormons believe there is a lot more truth to learn other than what was revealed in the past or than has been revealed today. That is why a living prophet and new revelation and more scripture is so important – to learn more of the stuff there is to learn. Mormons believe that God’s plan for his children involves more than what has been revealed – that it involves constant progression in righteousness and understanding of truth.
I’m not really sure what people are expecting from Mr. Card. If you want him to prove all his beliefs with only the Bible and some traditions, that seems pretty silly to me when Mormons believe they need more than the Bible to learn all truth. Why have a Book of Mormon or a prophet if you can get it all from the Bible or some traditions? The Book of Mormon speaks often, and not kindly, about following blindly in traditions, and I think Christ shattered a few traditions in his time on earth as well. Christ was anything but traditional – no tradition was safe around him.
Reading through the comments on the blog I think the biggest misunderstanding is that most Christians think when Christ died, everything was finished. Everything anyone needed to know would be in the Bible. If that is the case, they may not understand that Mormons don’t believe that. That’s the main reason I’m posting a comment. That might clear things up, because I just realized this big difference, so maybe non-Mormons don’t know it yet. I hadn’t really realized (correct me if I’m wrong) that other Christians thought that everything they would ever need is in the Bible. Oh, and in traditions, too, apparently. Although I’m foggy on that.
So maybe that will help. Maybe not.



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ted

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:43 am


If Southern Baptists want to excommunicate Mormons from Christianity, what about Catholics? Orthodox? Coptics? Methodists? Presbyterians? Congregationalists? United Church of Christ? Episcopalians? Unitarians?
Raymond Do you even know of what you speak or are you just as against Evangelical Christianity as you suppose it is against Mormonism.
you silly silly person.



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haytch

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:23 pm


To all you who want there to be a dark cloud over Mormonism. Observe the wagon train yonder, see how it goes! The cloud picking up at the feet of the wagons, the cloud forming behind!
You are merely placing a cloud behind the great church. The church rolls on with the destination as its drive. The stage and eveyone in it dont give two farthings about the cloud.
So said Joseph Smith, the great man ..’The standard of truth has been erected, and no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing..’
Bless this great man’s life and purpose!



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Gigi

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:48 pm


haytch,
Thanks for proving that Mormons can be just as good as anybody at the hell-with-you mentality.



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Bubba

posted July 27, 2007 at 7:52 pm


Jim:
“Christians are monotheistic, not polytheistic. Trinitarianism is not tritheism. Try out John 17.3, 1 Cor 8.4, and James 2.19 for the views of Jesus and His followers. Mormons are admittedly polytheists.”
THAT’S RIGHT. You have misread me or I may have miswrote, but I was trying to make that point.
Christians ARE monotheistic, so calling us monotheistic Christians would be accurate, but redundant.
I do believe that Mormons are polytheistic, but calling them polytheistic Christians would be a contradiction in terms.



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GB

posted July 27, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Perhaps I should have addressed my comments to Bubba instead of Jim.
BUBBA,
The term polytheist implies the worship of multiple gods. Mormons, as Apostle Paul did, recognize the existence of multiple gods but like Paul they only worship God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 8:5 For though there be that are called gods, whether IN HEAVEN or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (emphasis mine)
Now if you BUBBA believe that God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are two separate persons then you can call Mormons polytheistic, but then other Christians would also be polytheistic.
But if you BUBBA believe that God, the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are the same person then you must call Mormons monotheistic. Otherwise you are being deceptive.



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Micah

posted July 28, 2007 at 12:14 am


I found this on another website as a response to the “10 Amazing facts about Mormons” that has been going around. I found #1 particularly interesting. As a Jew I find it amusing that 2 Christian sects are arguing about whether one is polytheistic. In Judaism we consider all Christians polytheistic because of their belief in a trinity. I think I’m going to start referring to my Christian friends as “closet polytheists”.
Ten Amazing Facts about Christians
1. They are, for all intents and purposes, polytheistic, believing in one big God they call Jehovah, and many demigods called angels, who fly around doing Jehovah’s bidding. There is also an evil demigod named Satan who goes around whispering in peoples ears trying to make them do naughty things.
2. Jehovah ordered the genocide of the Canaanites because he promised their land to his worshipers. He became angry with his worshiper when this genocide was not performed completely.
3. Jehovah became a human (blasphemy) by magically, without sex, impregnating an innocent virgin girl with himself.
4. They worship a magician named Jesus who they believe could walk on water, turn water into wine, multiply bread and fish out of thin air, and raise people from the dead in zombie like fashion.
5. This Jesus also had magic spit and could cure blindness by applying his saliva to the eyes.
6. Jesus was killed by crucifixion but came back to life after 3 days in zombie like fashion and showed himself to his worshipers and allowed them to feel the gory holes in his hands, feet and side.
7. They participate in a cannibalistic practice where they eat bread and drink wine that they believe actually turns into Jesus the Zombie God’s flesh and blood.
8. Jehovah/Jesus often takes on another form, “the Holy Ghost,” which sometimes possesses his followers and makes them speak in strange languages or babble incoherently.
9. They believe something called the “rapture” will someday occur where all worshipers of the Zombie-God-Jesus will suddenly, without warning, fly up into the clouds and play harps for all eternity. The non-believers will stay on earth to be punished.
10. They believe that a majority of the people who have ever inhabited the earth will spend all eternity burning in a lake of fire and brimstone because they either did not get a chance or refused to worship the Zombie-God-Jesus. All Pagans, Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians who have ever lived will burn in this lake, no matter what kind of lives they have lead. A special place will be reserved for Mormons in this Hell because they misunderstood the nature of the Trinity.



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kyle

posted July 28, 2007 at 8:53 am


Nice one Micah! But if your going to go there, I’m afraid I’m going to have to call all Judeo-Christians polytheists (or at least henotheists), since the 4th word in the Hebrew Bible is Elohim, which is plural, meaning “the Gods”. You should know that from Hebrew School buddy. In fact, almost everywhere in the King James Bible’s Old Testament where the word “God” is used it is translated from “Elohim”. (“Lord” is from “Jehovah”.) Thus, “in the beginning ‘the Gods’ created the heaven and the earth…..’the Gods’ said, Let there be light……’the Gods’ created man in their own image…..”ext. ext…. So you Jews are just as polytheistic as we Christians are.
Actually, none of us have a complete understanding of the true nature of God. I know I don’t. It appears that many of you want to hold Mormons to a different standard than we as “traditional Christians” hold ourselves. You seem to believe that Mormons must not only believe in Jesus Christ, but also have a perfectly correct doctrine and a perfectly correct understanding of God’s nature in order to call themselves Christians and to be saved. If that’s the standard, than none of us are Christians and we’re all in trouble.



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rotorhead

posted July 28, 2007 at 2:33 pm


Micah,
You’re sick buddy. You seem to know a lot of Biblical facts, yet you know nothing of God; kinda like the blind man studying the eye and yet never able to actually see.
Faith my friend is beyond the tangible, scientific realm and until you exercise a particle of desire to find spiritual truth, you will forever remain in your physical ignorance.
With millions upon millions proclaiming the Diety of Jesus Christ, I would suggest you just try an experiment and start reading the Bible, but this time instead of looking for mere facts, stories, and fables with your mind, ask God to open your heart for spiritual understanding…you just might get the surprise of your life…



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micah

posted July 28, 2007 at 3:17 pm


Kyle,
Actually, Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew Bible. And although the word Elohim is clearly the plural form of Eloah (God), the Hebrew Bible uses singular verbs with Elohim. But your point is well taken. There is enough ambiguity about God’s singularity or plurality from the very beginning of Jewish and Christian scriptures to make anyone scratch their head. I still think I’m more monotheistic than you are though. No matter how Christians dance around the issue, the Trinity is completely inconsistent with the One God of the Tanakh, and the idea of God taking on human form and coming to earth sounds completely pagan to me.
But I don’t think any of this is going to keep you out of God’s good graces. I agree with you that none of us have a perfect understanding of God’s nature and none of us have a monopoly on the truth. I would add that I don’t believe in a God that would punish his children for guessing wrong when it comes to religions since He Himself has made perfect understanding of His scriptures so elusive. I would never be so bold as to condemn my Mormon or Christian friends to Hell (if there is such a place) just because they have a different understanding of God than I do. As far as I’m concerned, a persons religious beliefs are only as useful as the type of life they help him or her lead. In other words, I don’t judge people by what they say they believe, but by how they live what they believe. I think God will be at least as fair as I am.



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micah

posted July 28, 2007 at 3:33 pm


rotorhead,
The 10 amazing facts about Christians above weren’t my words. I found them at another blog:
papamarcsblog.blogspot.com/2007/06/more-on-10-amazing-facts-of-mormonism_14.html
It looks like the person who wrote it is a Christian himself who was trying to make the point that Mormonism is not the only religion that has weird beliefs. You can believe whatever you want and I respect that. Just don’t condemn Jews, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moslems, or anyone else for having a different bizarre belief system than your own.



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Larry W. Chavis

posted July 28, 2007 at 4:41 pm


I am a Baptist, and theologically I am in agreement with Dr. Mohler. But I am also in agreement with Mr. Card when he says that the anti-religious forces of the world exhibit “…ridicule or hatred … [and] declare that our beliefs are a form of madness and proof that we are unfit for public trust.”
This is a fact, folks. I remember once, long ago, when I was under fire for my Calvinistic beliefs from the small Baptist association with which I was then affiliated. At a meeting called to, in essence, “drum me out,” one very wise speaker warned the assembled warriors that if we didn’t wake up to the dangers to religious liberty even then growing in our country, “we won’t be around to fight over Calvinism and Arminianism.”
Well, the same principle is in effect here: I am a theological opponent to Mr. Card’s Mormonism, but I am as much an opponent to those who will impose religious restrictions on full participation in civil life. On that, I am his ally.



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rotorhead

posted July 28, 2007 at 5:22 pm


Micah,
Bravo…well said!



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kyle

posted July 28, 2007 at 7:23 pm


Micah,
I’m sure you’re right about the Elohim thing. I’m sure my Hebrew is much more limited than yours. Touche’.
Larry,
It is refreshing to hear another Baptist admit they are on the same side as a Mormon in our battle with the anti-religious forces in our country. I’m an Evangelical and live in the Southwest and have many Mormon friends and neighbors. They are overwhelmingly Republican and conservative. If we Evangelicals continue this unhealthy debate of semantics on whether or not Mormons are Christians and continue to dismiss them as a cult we run the risk of alienating one of our most powerful and influential allies (especially here in the West) in the fight against secularism and militant atheism. I haven’t yet decided who I will support in the Republican primary, but if conservative Christians decide not to vote for Mitt Romney just because he’s a Mormon and instead nominate an adulterer-abortionist, then we deserve to have Hillary Clinton as president.



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Rev. Michael Green

posted July 29, 2007 at 12:25 pm


Let me point this out. Even at the basic level for being considered Christian, mormonism fails. Basically there needs to be a agreement with the Apostles Creed, and also the belief that the canon of scripture is what is essentially needed as far as information for salvation. Mormonism fails these tests completely. The book of mormon is more that a book of Doctrine that other denominations have, and also the incompatibility of thier beliefs with the tenants set forth in the Apostles Creed disqualify mormonism as being a part of the Christian family. Many faiths, even Islam could be called non traditionally Christian by the premise set forth by Mr. Card. Muslims believe in Christ, they believe also that he preached salvation, but the Koran supersedes the Old Testament and the Gospels to them, and alters Christianity. They also believe that Mohamed was the true last prophet, after Jesus. Incorporating Christian beliefs or having similarites in values does not make someone Christian. It is accepting the gift of salvation, which was paid for on the Cross by Jesus Christ, and accepting that Jesus was the one who could give that gift to you. In order to fully accept this gift from the father, you must know who the giver is, and accept the sacrifice of the son, and the Apostle’s creed basically is the churches answer to that. There have been various historical heresies, and thus that is why this specific creed or statement of belief was developed centuries ago to boil down the faith to the minmum requirements:
believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
The third day He arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.



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Bryan

posted July 29, 2007 at 2:49 pm


I’ve been following these debates since the beginning. I’ve read all the comments. All 900 of them. (I did skim over a few of the long ones however ;) ) Anyways, it seems like most of the people who have been in it for the long run are starting to understand each other. Then we get some newcomers who appear to not have read the whole thing and say the same thing and bring up the same issues that were resolved 850 comments ago. Please read and understand both sides of the debate that has gone on before repeating issues that have already been resolved. I have learned a great deal from this debate. I have added my 2 cents here and there… but mostly just read. So, please don’t accuse the Mormons of being not Christian in a certain way when someone did the same thing 859 posts ago… and 750 and 650 and 550 and 450… when that has already been explained and everything. This forum is going around in circles now.
Rev. Michael Green. Just for the sake of irony and hypocrisy ;) I will send this circle around one more time. You said that Mormons aren’t Christian because they don’t believe in certain fundamentals of Christianity. Then you went on to list those fundamentals and I imagine your goal was to “oust” Mormons with that list. The only problem is that Mormons believe every single thing in that criteria that you put forth. So by your definition, Mormons are Christians.
So Yes, Mormons believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Yes Mormons believe he was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
Yes Mormons believe that on the third day He arose again from the dead.
Yes Mormons believe he ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
Yes Mormons believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy (ok here is the one thing Mormons don’t believe in. The catholic church, but neither do Baptists or any protestant religion… so I don’t see what the point here was.) *catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
Thinking about it… maybe I am mistaken, but I thought that a Reverend was a Protestant thing. Not a Catholic thing. I thought they had Priests. I think I am obviously missing something in the typing. My apologies.



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Bryan

posted July 29, 2007 at 3:01 pm


Now in hopes to more further the debate and prevent it from going in circles. I have a truly honest question about the Protestant religions. From my experience talking to Protestant religions, they don’t believe that there is one true church. But rather all the Protestant religions are true, and even Catholicism seemed to be in their list as well. (Mormons, Jehova’s Witnesses, Muslims, etc… however are not included for some reason) Now I could just have been getting false concepts from these members, and I understand that. I also understand the notion that just because someone who isn’t in a religion but truly believes in Jesus Christ and has faith will receive just as much mercy as anyone else. I am a firm believer of that too. However, I also believe that God has one set of commandments, and one way of doing things. This leads me to believe that two churches who argue over a doctrine cannot both be right. God would be contradicting himself in that case. I know that Protestant churches, at least over history had many issues over doctrine, that’s why there are so many Protestant religions. So how can they be all right? And how can there not be “one” religion established by God?
I’m not asking this as a debate question really. I am honestly asking this for an answer to understand better. I apologize if my tone comes off wrong. You never know how someone is going to interpret your what you say when they can’t hear your inflection of voice. Only interpret their own tone.
Bryan
P.S. I have grown to respect many people on this board through their responses and have learned a lot. I thank you all for that. Evangelicals and Mormons alike. I hope that if we met someday we would feel a brotherhood together and not have a rift of religious differences.



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rotorhead

posted July 29, 2007 at 5:52 pm


I, like Bryan, weary of these interjections already dealt with.
For Rev. Michael Green, and so many others, to argue that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)are not Christians and have not had spiritual experiences of the authenticity of the Book Of Mormon, just because they themselves haven’t is like arguing that we cannot feel good because you don’t. If you want to try to prove that the Book of Mormon is false, you may try, it doesn’t change the fact that millions have proved for themselves, independent of all the countless scoffers, that it is of God…and we (I) hardly need to assume the obligation to prove that it is true…only to so declare…
After all is said and done, it is the Spirit that reveals truth, not man.
If you only want to drink shallowly of the ‘waters of life’ that’s your God given right…as for me I want a deep draft, for “I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation…”!!



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Kathy

posted July 30, 2007 at 12:09 am


I am not a Mormon, but I attended BYU for 2 years. I was required to take a Mormon religion class every semester I was there. I aced every class. So, Mormons believe that if they are “good enough” in this life, they will become a god capable of starting their own universe. What part of this belief is Christian?



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:11 am


Can someone please explain the difference between general salvation and individual salvation, and where exactly did Christ atone for the sins of mankind?



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:17 am


To all,
The question put forth on this thread is “Are Mormons Christians?” I think the answer to that question is up to God Himself, because He alone knows our hearts. I would not for one second put myself in a place to judge someone else who states that they follow Christ.
However, the real question is whether the doctrines of the LDS church are compatible with orthodox Christian doctrine. The answer to that question is no. Here is an example of Mormon doctrine that is definitely not Scriptural:
IS THERE MORE THAN ONE TRUE GOD?
The Bible teaches and orthodox Christians through the ages have believed that there is only one True and Living God and apart from Him there are no other Gods (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10,11; 44:6,8; 45:21,22; 46:9; Mark 12:29-34).
By contrast, the Mormon Church teaches that there are many Gods (Book of Abraham 4:3ff), and that we can become gods and goddesses in the celestial kingdom (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20; Gospel Principles, p. 245; Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p. 130). It also teaches that those who achieve godhood will have spirit children who will worship and pray to them, just as we worship and pray to God the Father (Gospel Principles, p. 302).
Having children that ‘worship and pray’ to their parents is blasphemy, for only God is worthy of worship and praise.
I hope that clears this up.



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:38 am


rotorhead,
You say that millions have proved that the BoM is true to themselves. Let me ask you a question: in Mormon 9:9, the angel Moroni “reads” Heb 13:8 and James 1:17, but how could he when the NT never reached America? Remember, the BoM is supposed to fill in the years between Malachi and Matthew, but the NT hadn’t even been written yet and Moroni is reading it?
Also, Helaman 12:25-26, written 6 B.C. says, “we read,” quoting 2 Thess. 1:9 and John 5:29, 90 years too early. Again, the Scripture passages cited were not even written yet.
Again, I cannot put credence in a book that is not historically or theologically accurate.



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 12:56 pm


Chief,
Come on…if God can inspire one prophet with scripture, why can’t He inspire two on separate ends of the earth? If I call up my African friend and tell him that the shiny orb in the night sky is called the moon and he writes it down, in his own language, and passes that knowledge on to his son, etc. Then years later I call my friend in Indonesia and tell him the same thing and he writes it down in his own language and passes it on from his son to son, etc., and then some day in the future by some chance the two meet and compare notes…?? Do you see where I’m going here?
The Book of Mormon covers a period of from around 600 B.C. to just after 400 A.D., a long time to be separated from the “Chosen” Israelites and their prophets preceding the New Testament…Fortunately, they had with them the available “scriptures of the day” up to 600 B.C. to build upon, and yes, further revelation from God was given! Remember this all started by two families who were separated out by God just before the land of Israel was overrun and its people scattered by invading armies.



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GB

posted July 30, 2007 at 1:03 pm


Chief: You say that millions have proved that the BoM is true to themselves. Let me ask you a question: in Mormon 9:9, the angel Moroni “reads” Heb 13:8 and James 1:17, but how could he when the NT never reached America?
GB: You embarrass yourself here. Moroni wasn’t reading Hebrews. He wasn’t reading anything. See Mormon 9:1 and Mormon 8:1 He was speaking and writing by the power of the Holy Ghost. You know that same Spirit that revealed the same truth to Paul and James.
Mormon9:9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
Heb 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Chief: Remember, the BoM is supposed to fill in the years between Malachi and Matthew, but the NT hadn’t even been written yet and Moroni is reading it?
GB: Again you expose your ignorance about the Book of Mormon. You obviously haven’t read it and therefore shouldn’t comment on it. It is a separate record of separate peoples. It doesn’t “fill in” any years of anything associated with the Bible.
Chief: Also, Helaman 12:25-26, written 6 B.C. says, “we read,” quoting 2 Thess. 1:9 and John 5:29, 90 years too early.
GB: Helaman12: 25 And I would that all men might be saved. But we read that in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord;
26 Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation. And thus it is. Amen.
Nowhere does it say he is reading the Bible or any portion of the New Testament. It is obvious he isn’t reading from the verses you assert. Your scholarship is lacking here.
2 Thess. 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
So the Book of Mormon teaches the same truth that is taught in the Bible and you have a problem with that. Go figure.
Chief: Again, I cannot put credence in a book that is not historically or theologically accurate.
GB: You haven’t even read it and are ignorant about what it is and what is in it. I suggest you spend less time with your favorite anti-mormon sources and do your own research.



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 1:59 pm


Sorry, GB, but I am not buying what you are selling. It all begins, continues, and ends with the fact that the god that you worship is not the same God or the same Spirit revealed in the pages of Scripture. Why do I say this? God is a spirit, an ‘unquenchable fire’ who lives in ‘unapproachable light.’ Not someone who was once a man on another planet. He is the only God in the universe (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6,8), there are no other gods up there. I know that the missionaries I talked to liked to use I Cor 8 to justify belief in other gods, but notice that Paul says ‘so-called gods.’ They are not really gods at all, but people worshipped them just the same. Just like a golden calf in the desert; just because you call it a ‘god’ does not make it one.
Also, I can never become like God, no matter how hard I try, what commandments I keep, and how much money I give the church. The idea that we can ‘become just like God’ is the oldest lie Satan ever told, and men and women have been falling for it ever since. How do I know this? Isaiah 55: 8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The idea that all people can be saved is also patently man-made; Scripture teaches plainly that the wicked will be cast into outer darkness, and even some who profess to believe in Jesus will be sent away (Matt 7). “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” It is a nice idea to believe that no one goes to hell, but that clearly is not what the Bible teaches.
Matt 7: 13-14
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Joseph Smith was many things, but he was not a prophet, definitely not cut from the same cloth as Moses, Elijah, Isaiah et al. Placing faith in him is placing faith in the wrong person, because
Acts 4: 8-12
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is
” ‘the stone you builders rejected,
which has become the capstone. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
The LDS also teaches that it was a glorious thing that Adam and Eve sinned, to lay the groundwork for the salvation yet to come. Yet to the Lord it grieved His heart, and it was not all just a part of the plan. Also, nowhere in Scripture does it talk about Adam being the archangel Michael, yet this is also taught by the LDS.
All that I can tell you, GB, is that when you look at the facts and doctrines of faith, Mormonism and Christianity are not the same, not even remotely. We use similar-sounding terms, but even the terms we use, like ‘atonement’ and ‘salvation’ do not mean the same thing for you and me. And those are not just errors or peculiarities of interpretation, but those definitions have eternal significance. Again, I am saying this in the spirit of love and bringing people back from the brink, because sincerely believing in a gospel that cannot save will not save. It’s that simple. Again, many Mormons may have never heard of some of the peculiar doctrines espoused by the church headquarters, but they are there nonetheless, and I fear for the eternal salvation for any person who holds to them. Castigate me for that if you will, but I am motivated not by a spirit of ‘you have to join my club to be saved’ or ‘i’m just anti-Mormon. I’m not, but I am opposed to teaching that is not scripturally sound, because it confuses the issues at hand and leads people out of saving relationship with the risen Christ. I don’t care what church you belong to, just be sure of your salvation by believing in the One who can give it, not in ‘gods’ that cannot save.



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JoelCannon

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:31 pm


Chief1989 – Mormon is not “quoting” from Hebrews and/or James in verse 9:9. He makes no reference to the source – so it is a leap to assume that it is to a reference which he has no access and then argue that this is somehow a proof that the Book of Mormon is therefore false. I suspect you did not actually take the time to compare the actual verses yourself, or else you would not have made such a statement.
Likewise, Helaman does not name his sources – so you are making an illogical assumption that he was “reading” Thess or John.
Note that the Book of Mormon is an abridgement of ancient scriptures – and portions of the Golden Plates were not included in the Book of Mormon.
It is interesting that when the Book of Mormon is consistent with the Bible it is evidence of plagiarisms and when it supplements the Bible it is also found at fault.
Secular scholars make the same kinds of arguments to show that the Bible is unreliable. I don’t find your examples any more convincing.



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:46 pm


Chief1989,
If you are sincere in your efforts of “…bringing people back from the brink”…then I say, read the Book of Mormon, then talk from a position of knowledge, not from a few talking points of anti-Mormon propaganda.
If you REALLY cared, I don’t think you do, you would not be afraid of this challenge…
I’ve read the Bible, over and over and over and have found it wanting, beautiful, incomplete, peaceful, inconsistent, and I value it more than words can describe…I think I know what’s there and I will drink mightily from it until I am no longer capable…God bless those whose sacrifice brought it to us!



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GB

posted July 30, 2007 at 3:09 pm


Chief1989: The LDS also teaches that it was a glorious thing that Adam and Eve sinned, to lay the groundwork for the salvation yet to come.
GB: You again expose your ignorance about things Mormon. Article of Faith #2 We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
I don’t know about you but a transgression is a violation of God’s council.
BTW could you provide a reference that clearly calls the partaking of the forbidden fruit a “sin” rather than a “transgression”?
Chief: Yet to the Lord it grieved His heart, and it was not all just a part of the plan.
GB: You provide no reference here, Why? Are you saying that God did’t know it was going to happen. Why did God place the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden? Wasn’t that part of the plan?
Chief: Also, nowhere in Scripture does it talk about Adam being the archangel Michael, yet this is also taught by the LDS.
GB: Nowhere in the Bible does it say the Adam isn’t the Archangel Michael, yet this is also taught by you.



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 3:53 pm


GB,
I apologize for the tone of my last post. I do not want to get into a mud-slinging match. How I wish that we were in a position to discuss non-doctrinal issues like ‘should we dance’ or ‘should we go to movies’ or ‘what kind of music should we play during worship service.’ I also apologize if I have mis-stated anything about the book of Mormon. I want this to be an exchange of the truth, so I will be the first person to admit if I wrote something that was not accurate.
My purpose in reciting the BoM verses was not to discuss it’s accuracy relative to the Bible. Interestingly, if all we were talking about was the Book of Mormon we might be having the discussions I pointed to above, because the BoM is more Christian than anything. The only doctrinal thing that I can really complain about is that the doctrine of works is set out in 2 Nephi 25, where the grace of God saves us “after all that we can do.” I can’t agree with that in light of Eph 2: 8-9. No, my purpose was to say that it speaks about things that were supposedly happening in North America that had not happened yet.
Now as I understand it, the Book of Mormon covers a time period from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. Yet it talks about scimitars in Mosiah 9:16 (curved swords did not appear anywhere in the world until 500 A.D.), horses in I Nephi 18:25 (horses did not appear in North America until the early 1500′s), elephants in Ether 9:19 (elephants were also brought over from Europe and Asia in the 1600s-1700s), honey bees and swarms of bees in Ether 2:3 (honeybees were introduced into North America by the Spanish in the 1500s), and it also talks about the people having things made of steel and silk, which the Jews did not have at that time.
It is also peculiar that the book of Mormon sets forth some doctrines that Christians would find familiar but which later Mormon doctrine would refute:
There is only one God – Mosiah 15:1,5; Alma 11:28; 2 Nephi 31:21
God indwells the righteous – Alma 34:36
The Trinity is one God – Alma 11:44; Mosiah 15:5; 2 Nephi 31:21
God is unchanging – Mormon 9:9,19; Moroni 8:18; Alma 41:8; 3 Nephi 24:6
God is spirit – Alma 18:24,28; 22:9,11
Hell is eternal – Jacob 3:11; 6:10; 2 Nephi 19:16; 28:21-23.
Again, the above doctrines are taught by the Book of Mormon, but they have been changed by later discourses from Mormon prophets, apostles, and other leaders into the doctrines that we are talking about now:
There are many gods – Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 5
The Trinity is 3 separate gods – James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 35. 1985.
God is increasing in knowledge – Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 120.
God has the form of a man – Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 3.
Hell is not eternal – James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 55.
That is why we are having the discussion we are, GB. Instead of talking about should we baptize by sprinkling or immersion, or what color should the pulpit backdrop be, we are talking about issues that impact where we will spend eternity:
–Who is God, and what is He like?
–Who is Jesus, and what relationship does He have to God?
–Was Jesus Christ God come in the flesh?
–What do we believe about the Trinity?
–What does salvation mean?
–Where do works fit into the salvation question?
It breaks my heart, GB, that these issues divide us, not because I want them to, but because they do according to the Scriptures. And they are such pivotal issues when it comes to eternal destiny. According to the latest poll, 87% of Americans stated that they believe in god. Does this mean 87% of Americans will go to heaven? Do they believe in the same god, or are there all kinds of different ‘gods’ that people are holding onto? You see, that is such a vital question. To believe in God does not save you. James made that clear when he said “so you believe in one God? Good! Even the demons believe that-and tremble.” You have to figure out who people mean when they say “God”, and how does that belief impact or change the way they live their lives.
You are in my prayers, my friend, as are all people on this board. It says in Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
May that be the legacy of this board, that it encourages people to earnestly seek Him and his gift of grace and eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 4:09 pm


Bottom line Chief,
If the Book of Mormon is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet…end of challenge and debate of whether Mormons are Christians.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints lives or dies based upon that one fact. Hence the need for LDS Missionaries to cross the globe inviting others to read, ponder and study the Book of Mormon, then to pray and follow the promptings of the Spirit as to its authenticity. It is always left for YOU to decide…and if you do this, with a sincere heart for finding the truth…God promises in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon that you will receive an answer…
God bless my friend.



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GB

posted July 30, 2007 at 4:44 pm


Chief1989,
If you would like to have a reasonable conversation with me, I would like nothing less. I would have thought by now that you would have realized that your anti-mormon sources are unreliable.
I don’t have a lot of time to continually point out the error of your ways, as it seems you are doing an anti-mormon data dump. It is an old debate tactic to distract from the fact that one is losing.
We can have a reasonable conversation and still agree to disagree.
As far as “The idea that we can ‘become just like God’ is the oldest lie Satan ever told, and men and women have been falling for it ever since.”
I disagree and here is why.
Gen 3:4 “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:”
That was the first lie. And then, as the devil is wont to do, he covered his lie with a truth.
Gen 3:5 “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
This part is true. We know this because of
Gen3:22 ¶ And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Notice that Adam and Eve were not condemned because they wanted to be as the gods, only because they transgressed the council of God.
Also notice that the plural “us” is used by God here to describe God. This is not the only place where the plural is used in the Bible to describe God.



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 5:03 pm


rotorhead,
Agreed.
Again, I would answer the question “Are Mormons Christian?” the same way I would if the phrase was changed to Catholics, Presbyterians, Anglicans, or even “Are Christians Christians?”
My answer would be, “Some of them.” Salvation is a personal issue, one that God handles on a one-to-one basis. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, then I will enter in, and I will dine with him and he with Me.” No one is saved, in my opinion, by an affiliation with a religious organization or their presence inside an auditorium. It is what is in the heart that either saves or condemns.
Have a fantastic evening…



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B

posted July 30, 2007 at 6:36 pm


I think a more fundamental question is this:
Does the Book of Mormon bring one closer to Jesus Christ or further?
Anyone who has read the book knows the amswer, and Chief clearly hasn’t and doesn’t.



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Paul

posted July 30, 2007 at 7:12 pm


The question begs to Be asked, what is the evidence for the book of Mormon to be true?
Where is the archeological evidence?
Are there any manuscripts dating back anywhere close to the the time when these events supposedly took place?
The entirety of the the Bible is meta-narrative meaning that it has one central theme from beginning to end one purpose one goal, and everything in the Bible points to that one person, that person is God.
Does the book of Mormon agree with the Bible in all respects?
If not only one of them can be right.
Jude 1:3Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.



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GB

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:51 pm


Paul: The question begs to Be asked, what is the evidence for the book of Mormon to be true?
GB: What evidence do you have that Christ was resurrected? Do you believe the Bible because of “evidence” or because of the witness of the Holy Ghost? Some very good evidence for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is the effect it has on the lives of people who study it and live by its principles. The only way for you to really know if it is true is you must; 1) read it, 2) ponder it in your heart, 3) ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if it is true. If you will ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, then he will manifest the truth of it to you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost you may know the truth of all things.
Paul: Where is the archeological evidence?
GB: It is a religious book not a history book. Its purpose is for the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, manifesting himself unto all nations. It also says that if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.
Here is some archeological evidence. http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=255
Paul: Are there any manuscripts dating back anywhere close to the the time when these events supposedly took place?
GB: We only have the original “printer’s” manuscripts and portions of the original translation manuscript as far as I know.
Paul: The entirety of the the Bible is meta-narrative meaning that it has one central theme from beginning to end one purpose one goal, and everything in the Bible points to that one person, that person is God.
GB: I stated above the purpose of the Book of Mormon.
Paul: Does the book of Mormon agree with the Bible in all respects?
GB: It agrees with the correct interpretation of the Bible in all respects.



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:53 pm


Paul,
READ THE BOOK, then come back with your questions…otherwise, stop being dishonest by commenting on what you know little to nothing about!
I don’t understand why it is so hard for you so called “Christians” who proudly strut around proclaiming to be seekers of God’s truth to the world…why it is so hard for you to just pick up the Book of Mormon, read it in it’s entirety (it is only 531 pages), so that you could stop being hypocrites and speak from a position of knowledge rather than always parroting someone else’s review of it, who probably themselves never read it.
I challenge you to quote to me a passage from the Book of Mormon that demeans, belittles, or takes away from, in any way, the divine Sonship of Jesus Christ, His mission, Grace and message of Salvation to mankind…or are you all so insecure in your own beliefs and understanding of the Bible, that you fear doing so would shake your world because it just might be God’s word?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:12 pm


Paul, I covered such questions form Chief over on the following thread:
http://blog.beliefnet.com/blogalogue/2007/07/the-church-of-the-devil.html
This is also covered in detail at the following blogs and links:
http://www.truthrestored.townhall.com
http://www.fairlds.org
http://www.mormon.org



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GB

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:32 pm


Chief1989,
I owe you an apology and some corrections. In my post of 4:44 pm I said “I would like nothing less.” I actually meant the opposite. I meant to say “I would like nothing more.” I hope you will forgive me for this grevious mistake.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:49 pm


Chief,
Blogs I author or contribute to:
http://truthrestored.townhall.com/Default.aspx
http://angelslanding.townhall.com/Default.aspx
You are welcome to discuss these issues further there.



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Paul

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Do you believe that Jesus is God?
What Does It Mean That Jesus Is the Son of God?
1. Jesus Is God
It means that he is God.
Paul said in Colossians 2:9, “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (cf. 1:13, 19). He said in Philippians 2:6, “Though he was in the form of God he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but emptied himself.” Hebrews 1:2–3 says, “In these last days God has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of [God's] glory and the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.” Hebrews 1:8–9 says, “Of the Son [God] he says, “Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” And John writes, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14).
When Paul said that Jesus is the Son of God, we understand him to mean that Jesus is God. He is not a mere man or a high-ranking angel in human form. He is truly man and truly God.
When we call him Son of God, we mean that he is of the same nature as God. Fathers create things unlike themselves, but they beget sons like themselves. C. S. Lewis puts it like this:
When you beget, you beget something of the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers, and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make (or create), you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, and man makes a wireless set (or a computer) . . .
So when we say that Jesus is the Son of God, we mean that God has begotten his Son in his very same divine nature, nothing less, from all eternity. Begetting is a metaphor, a picture, that tries to hold two truths together: (1) God the Father is not God the Son and God the Son is not God the Father; they are distinct persons, distinct centers of consciousness, and can relate to each other. But (2) the Father and the Son are one God not two Gods, one essence, one divine nature. From all eternity, without any beginning, the Father has always had a perfect image of himself and a divine reflection or radiance equal to himself, namely, the Son.
So the first thing we mean when we say, “Jesus is the Son of God,” is that he is God.
It is a blasphemy to think that you can become like unto a god



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Paul

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:39 pm


A wealth of evidence could be brought forth to prove
Mormonism is a man made religion, but one basic
premise stands out which is the very foundation of Mormonism,
the “apostasy.
Mormonism has its roots in the claim that a lone 14 year old boy, in search of truth, hikes into the woods near his home and is informed personally by Jesus Christ that there had been a universal apostasy and that God had chosen him to restore the true church.
The Mormon Church is built upon the idea there was a
total, complete apostasy from the truth taught by Christ and
His Apostles, and the true church along with any authority
from God had ceased to exist.
Mormon Scripture proclaims the LDS position by stating
that every church on the face of the earth is “wrong”; all their
creeds are an “abomination” in the sight of God; and all their
professors are “corrupt” (see Pearl of Great Price, Joseph
Smith History 1:19).”“I was answered that I must join none of them, for
they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed
me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his
sight; that those professors were all corrupt;…” (Joseph
Smith-History 1:19)
Apostle Orson Pratt, one of the original apostles of the
LDS church, defended the position of the Mormon Church
and said that worldly forces “prevailed” against the kingdom
of God and it ceased to exist:
“Jesus made his appearance on the earth in the
meridian of time, and he established his kingdom on the
earth. But to fulfill ancient prophecies the Lord suffered
that kingdom to be uprooted; in other words, the kingdoms of this world made war against the kingdom of
God, established eighteen centuries ago, and they prevailed
against it, and the kingdom ceased to exist.”
(Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p.125)
This un-Biblical concept is refuted by the proclamation
and promise of the Lord Jesus Himself when he boldly
asserted, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell
SHALL NOT PREVAIL against it” (Math. 16:18).
I Corinthians 3:11 says, “For other foundation can no man
lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Can this foundation
collapse? Did Jesus tell the truth when He said He would
build His church?
Following Pentecost we find Jesus doing exactly what He
said He would do when 3,000 souls were saved after a single
sermon recorded in Acts, chapter 2. As the word spread, the
Lord “added to the church daily such as should be saved”
(Acts 2:47).
Although “some” would depart from the faith, the Apostle
Paul wrote, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ
Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians
3:21).
The problem with Mormonism, is that the system teaches
that favor with God is only found in an organization. Membership,
baptism, etc., must be in this organization which is
the only one God endorses. The sad fact is that this encourages
people to seek the “true church” rather than to seek being right
with God.
The “true church” is not some denomination or organization,
but rather an organism, made up of Christians from all
ages. Those who have placed their trust in Christ and the
finished work at the cross are the ones who belong to the true
Church, which is the body of Christ. Only the Lord can add
to this Church and He is the one who builds and cares for it
(I Cor. 12:18, Eph. 1:22-23, & Eph. 5:29).
Since the very foundation of the Mormonism is in error,
it must be considered a man made religion and not from God.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:48 pm


Paul said:
It is a blasphemy to think that you can become like unto a god
Mike’s response:
These are selected quotes a Book called Mormonism 201. (This is a rebuttal of LDS Critics Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson and Their Book, Mormonism 101.) The quotes here are from Chapter three of Mormonism 201 entitled “Trinity” by by René Alexander Krywult (It is found at the following link):
http://www.fairlds.org/Mormonism_201/m20103.html
Let’s see what the Bible has to say about the concept of deification:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.19
What does the Protestant commentator Matthew Henry, quoted for his expertise on 2 Corinthians by McKeever and Johnson in another chapter, have to say about this verse?
The sons of God will be known and be made manifest by their likeness to their head: They shall be like him-like him in honour, and power, and glory. Their vile bodies shall be made like his glorious body; they shall be filled with life, light, and bliss from him.20
Wow! To be like God in honour, power and glory is a wonderful thing. That means to be placed above the angels. To be above anything, besides God, who will still be the “God of Gods.” But it is not only Henry who teaches thus, and others have been far more blunt about our eternal destiny. Read the following quotes:
God on the one hand is Very God (Autotheos, God of Himself); and so the Saviour says in His prayer to the Father, “That they may know Thee the only true God; “but that all beyond the Very God is made God by participation in His divinity, and is not to be called simply God (with the article), but rather God (without article). And thus the first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God, and to attract to Himself divinity, is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, “The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth.” It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew from God in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. The true God, then, is “The God,” and those who are formed after Him are gods, images, as it were, of Him the prototype. But the archetypal image, again, of all these images is the Word of God, who was in the beginning, and who by being with God is at all times God, not possessing that of Himself, but by His being with the Father, and not continuing to be God, if we should think of this, except by remaining always in uninterrupted contemplation of the depths of the Father.21
And Origen is not alone in this solemn claim.22 Jordan Vajda, OP, a Dominican Catholic priest (“OP” stands for Ordo Praedicatorum-Order of Preachers-the official title of the Dominican order) even writes:
It seems that if one’s soteriology cannot accommodate a doctrine of human divinization, then it has at least implicitly, if not explicitly, rejected the heritage of the early Christian church and departed from the faith of first millennium Christianity. However, if that is the case, those who would espouse such a soteriology also believe, in fact, that Christianity, from about the second century on, has apostatized and “gotten it wrong” on this core issue of human salvation. Thus, ironically, those who would excoriate Mormons for believing in the doctrine of exaltation actually agree with them that the early church experienced a “great apostasy” on fundamental doctrinal questions. And the supreme irony is that such persons should probably investigate the claims of the LDS Church, which proclaims that within itself is to be found the “restoration of all things.23
Those who reject deification, such as LDS Critcs Johnson and McKeever, have-according to Vajda-proven the LDS teaching about the “Great Apostasy.” Further, the above proves that either such people are ignorant of the fully Christian doctrine of deification, or they ignore it wilfully to deceive others. Either way, they are dead wrong in the following assumption:
“Why does the LDS Church reject the historic church’s concept of the Trinity? Because not only does the Trinity remove any hope of a Mormon ever achieving godhood, but it also undermines Smith’s first vision and subsequent teachings regarding a multiplicity of deities. If it can be demonstrated that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost/Spirit are God, and at the same time be shown that there exists only one God, it would definitely place the integrity of the first Mormon prophet on the line” Johnson and McKeever
It is the integrity of McKeever and Johnson that is placed on the line by such unfounded statements, not that of Joseph Smith. As proven, neither the hope of achieving godhood, nor the First Vision are undermined by the Latin or the Greek Trinity. Before writing this paragraph, they should have studied the topics at hand.
But they did not do that. In fact, if they had, they may have discovered that the most important argument Athanasius provided against the Arian teaching that Jesus was not really God was, “If he was not really god, how could he MAKE us gods? How should he be able to make us, what he himself is not?”25 It was the well-established doctrine of deification that made clear that Jesus was deus verus de deo vero (true god from true God), as the Nicene Creed states, and if not for deification, our Protestant brothers could well believe in Arianism now, because without that argument Athanasius may have lost the dispute. To claim that the LDS dislike the Latin and the Greek Trinity because of deification doctrine shows an absolute ignorance of the real facts of history and theology.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 11:52 pm


References for the above quoted Chapter:
19 1 John 3:2.
20 “1 John,” Matthew Henry’s Commentary On The Whole Bible, Vol. VI, (Chester, 1721), as found at http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/matthew-henry/mh-complete/MHC00000.HTM
21 Origen, “Commentary on the Gospel of John, Book II, Chapter I,” The Anti-Nicene Church Fathers.
22 St. Irenaeus, “Adv Haer III IV:38:4,” The Anti-Nicene Church Fathers: “We are not made gods from the beginning; first we are mere humans, then we become gods.” St. Maximus the Confessor : “Let us become the image of the one whole God, bearing nothing earthly in ourselves, so that we may consort with God and become gods, receiving from God our existence as gods.” St. Athanasius, De inc.: “For the Son of God became man, that we might become God.” St. Augustine: “He has called men gods that are deified of His Grace, not born of His Substance.” St. Irenaeus, Adv Haer III: “The Word became flesh and the Son of God became the Son of Man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” St. Augustine of Hippo: “Let us applaud and give thanks that we have become not only Christians but Christ himself. Do you understand, my brothers, the grace that God our head has given us? Be filled with wonder and joy–we have become veritable Christs!” St. Thomas Aquinas: “The Only-begotten Son of God, wanting us to be partakers of his divinity, assumed our human nature so that, having become man, he might make men gods.” St Basil the Great: “The highest of all things desired is to become God.”
23 Jordan Vajda, “‘Partakers of the Divine Nature’: A Comparative Analysis of Patristic and Mormon Doctrines of Divinization” (master’s thesis, Graduate Theological Union, 1998), 14
24 McKeever and Johnson, Mormonism 101, 54.
25 Hans Küng, “Das Christentum, Wesen und Geschichte,” C.II.6 (München: R. Piper GmbH & Co. KG, 1994): “Ja, wie soll die Erlösung des Menschen zu göttlichem Leben und die Gewissheit des Heils in Jesus gewährleistet sein, wenn Jesus nur ein Geschöpf [..] war? [..] Durch die Menschwerdung Gottes und die Gottwerdung des Menschen unterschied sich für Athanasios das Christentum sowohl vom Judentum wie vom Heidentum.”



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:13 am


Paul,
I’m not asking you to take my word that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today, although it is.
What I am again saying to you is…it doesn’t matter what you can quote from Brigham Young or Orson Pratt or the Bible or any other of the LDS church leaders, past or present…Mormonism lives or dies on whether or not the Book of Mormon is from God. Did a 14 year old boy from 1820′s backwoods New York perpetuate this fraud or not? You have to READ it to find out. No one can tell you. You can’t know it from another’s writings. There are no shortcuts…you have to:
READ THE BOOK ****READ THE BOOK *** READ THE BOOK***
You can find it at http://www.lds.org if you don’t have a copy.
PS. The foundation of Mormonism is Jesus Christ, plain and simple. And if you had read the Book Of Mormon, you would have known this.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:16 am


Paul said: This un-Biblical concept [the Apostasy] is refuted by the proclamation
and promise of the Lord Jesus Himself when he boldly
asserted, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell
SHALL NOT PREVAIL against it” (Math. 16:18).
I Corinthians 3:11 says, “For other foundation can no man
lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Can this foundation
collapse? Did Jesus tell the truth when He said He would
build His church?
Mike’s response: Here are a few Scriptures that support the concept of an apostasy of the church after Jesus ascent into Heaven.
Apostasy of the Early Christian Church
Isa. 24: 5 changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
Isa. 29: 13 this people draw near me with their mouth.
Isa. 60: 2 darkness shall cover the earth.
Amos 8: 11 a famine . . . of hearing the words of the Lord.
Matt. 13: 25 his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat.
Matt. 24: 5 saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many.
Matt. 24: 24 shall arise false Christs, and false prophets.
John 6: 66 his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Acts 20: 29 shall grievous wolves enter in among you.
1 Cor. 11: 18 there be divisions among you.
Gal. 1: 6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him.
Gal. 3: 1 who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey.
2 Thes. 2: 3 shall not come, except there come a falling away first.
1 Tim. 1: 6 some having swerved have turned aside.
1 Tim. 4: 1 giving heed to seducing spirits.
2 Tim. 1: 15 all they which are in Asia be turned away from me.
2 Tim. 2: 18 Who concerning the truth have erred.
2 Tim. 3: 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power.
2 Tim. 4: 4 turn away their ears from the truth . . . unto fables.
Titus 1: 16 profess that they know God, but in works they deny him.
James 4: 1 From whence came wars and fightings among you.
2 Pet. 2: 1 false prophets also among the people.
2 Pet. 3: 17 being led away with the error of the wicked.
1 Jn. 2: 18 now are there many antichrists.
1 Jn. 4: 1 many false prophets are gone out into the world.
Jude 1: 4 certain men crept in . . . denying the only Lord God.
Rev. 2: 2 which say they are apostles, and are not.
Rev. 3: 16 thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot.
Rev. 13: 7 to make war with the saints.
In addition:
The link below is the table of contents of a Book on the Apostasy.
If you go to the link you can access each chapter of the Book. This outlines the reasons that Mormons believe that there was an apostasy.
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/booksmain.php?bookid=42
Maxwell Institute Books
• Early Christians in Disarray: Contemporary LDS Perspectives on the Christian Apostasy, by Noel B. Reynolds
Acknowledgments, by Noel B. Reynolds
About the Authors
Introduction: What Went Wrong for the Early Christians?, by Noel B. Reynolds
Inheriting the “Great Apostasy”: The Evolution of Latter-day Saint Views on the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, by Eric R. Dursteler
“A World in Darkness”: Early Latter-day Saint Understanding of the Apostasy, 1830–1834, by Richard E. Bennett, Amber J. Seidel
Modern Revelation: A Guide to Research about the Apostasy, by John W. Welch
The Concept of Apostasy in the New Testament, by James E. Faulconer
The Corruption of Scripture in Early Christianity, by John Gee
The Introduction of Philosophy into Early Christianity, by Daniel W. Graham, James L. Siebach
Divine Embodiment: The Earliest Christain Understanding of God, by David L. Paulsen
The Decline of Covenant in Early Christian Thought, by Noel B. Reynolds
Appendix A: Guide to Important Christian Documents and Writers for the Early Christian Church to the Reformation, by Barry R. Bickmore
Appendix B: Christian Councils, by Barry R. Bickmore, Adam W. Bentley
Appendix C: New Testament Evidences and Prophecies of Apostasy in the First-Century Church, by Noel B. Reynolds
Appendix D: Bibliographical Note on Latter-day Saint Writings on the Apostasy, by Ryan Christensen
Citation Index
Subject Index



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:51 am


“The foundation of Mormonism is Jesus Christ, plain and simple”??????
THE JESUS OF MORMONISM
One of the most frequent responses given by the sincere
LDS in an attempt to defend the Mormon faith as Christian,
is:
“But we believe in Jesus….the name of Jesus Christ is in
our Church—Surely we are Christians?”
Although the Mormon Church “today” bears the name
of Jesus Christ, this wasn’t always so. When the Church
began in 1830 the official name was, “The Church of Christ.”
(see Doctrine and Covenants 20:1).
But then in 1834, a unanimous vote was given by the
leaders and members of the Church to REMOVE the name
of Christ completely. The official name was changed to, “The
Church of the Latter Day Saints” (see History of the Church,
vol. 2, p. 63).
After almost four years of existence without the name of
Christ, Joseph Smith gave a revelation to reinsert Christ’s
name into the Church which it is still known by today, i.e.,
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (see Doctrine
and Covenants, section 115).
WHICH JESUS?
While the devout Mormon would indicate he believes in
Jesus, the question which must be asked is, In “which Jesus”
are you putting your trust?
The Apostle Paul warned that there would be those who
would come and preach “another Jesus” and “another gospel”:
“For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus,
who we have not preached,…or another gospel, which
ye have not accepted,…For such are false apostles,
deceitful workers,…” (II Corinthians 11:4,13)
Paul further indicated that those who would teach about
“another Jesus” would deceive by coming as “ministers of
righteousness” (see II Corinthians 11:15).
To believe basic teachings about Christ which are not
true, is in effect believing about “another Jesus,” who in fact
does not exist and has no power to save.
Let’s take a closer look at some major differences between
“the Jesus of Mormonism” and the Jesus of the Bible.
JESUS, THE BROTHER OF LUCIFER
A very basic teaching in Mormonism is, Jesus was born
in a so-called pre-existence to a “heavenly Mother” and is
literally the brother of Lucifer.
Milton R. Hunter, who was one of the General Authorities
of the Mormon Church, makes these illuminating statements:
“The appointment of Jesus to be Savior of the
world was contested by one of the other sons of God.
He was called Lucifer,…this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately
tried to become the Savior of mankind.” (The
Gospel Through the Ages, 1945, p. 15)
The Bible nowhere indicates that Jesus was born in a
pre-existence to a “heavenly Mother” or that Lucifer submitted
a plan to become Savior of the world. In fact, the Bible
teaches Jesus created ALL things visible and invisible, in
heaven or earth, which includes even Lucifer and the angels,
so they cannot possible be brothers.
The New Testament declares in Colossians 1:16:
“For by him [Jesus] were all things created, that are
in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities,
or powers: all things were created by him, and for
him.”
JESUS, NOT BEGGOTTEN OF A VIRGIN BIRTH
The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ is a fundamental
doctrine of the Christian faith, and yet Mormonism has chosen
to take a radically different view. Mormons believe
that God the Father is a “glorified, exalted, immortal,
resurrected man” with a body of “flesh and bones.” They
further believe that today, God the Father is married and
continues to populate this world as well as other worlds with
children that he procreates with his wife, or wives, in heaven.
From this same type of thinking, Mormon leaders have
completely redefined what is meant by “virgin birth.”
In a well circulated Mormon doctrinal book, the late and
outspoken Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, wrote this
under the heading of “VIRGIN BIRTH”:
“Our Lord is the only mortal person ever born to a
virgin, because he is the only person who ever had an
immortal Father.” (Mormon Doctrine, 26th printing,
1979, p.822)
This teaching is presented even clearer in the same volume
under the title, “ONLY BEGOTTEN SON”:
“These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the
only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words
is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten
means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten
by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal
men are begotten by mortal fathers.” (Mormon Doctrine,
p. 546,547)
When Apostle McConkie states “in the same way”,
knowledgeable Mormons admit, (although frequently under
protest), that this means through the sexual act.
Because this doctrine is so offensive to orthodox Christians,
modern Mormon leaders are extremely guarded in the
language they use when referring to the virgin birth, so much
so, that many Mormons are kept in the dark as to the official
teaching of the Mormon Church concerning this.
However, when examining older LDS publications that
are less protective, there can be no doubt that this can only
mean that Mary could NOT have been a virgin when she gave
birth to Jesus.
One of the original Apostles, Orson Pratt, uses unbelievable
reasoning to call this fleshly act, “lawful”, even though
Mary was espoused to another and, according to Mormon
doctrine, God the Father was already married. The following
teaching is found in an early Mormon publication entitled,
The Seer:
“The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as
well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of
Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated
together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence
the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the
lawful wife of God the Father:… He had a lawful right
to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a
husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused
to another;… (The Seer, 1853, p. 158)
Even without instruction from the Bible, it seems it would
be difficult indeed to escape ones’ own conscience if such a
detestable doctrine was willfully embraced. If Mormonism
were true, this would mean that God the Father is engaging
in a sexual act with his own daughter, since the LDS church
teaches that all of us, including Mary, are literally children of
God and his wife.
Not only this, but God and Mary are both being unfaithful;
God to his wife, and Mary to Joseph, to whom she is engaged.
Wonderfully, God has revealed a Holy, miraculous rather
than natural view of the conception of Christ. This record is
given in the New Testament:
“…Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto
thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her
is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his
people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it
might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the
prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child,
and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name
Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
(Matthew 1:20-23)
JESUS, THE POLYGAMIST
Modern Mormons still embrace polygamy as a righteous
principle, and if it were not against the law, they would still
practice it today.
This doctrine has its roots in the teaching and life style of
the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. Polygamy became
so ingrained in early Mormonism, that the leaders of the
church were unashamed to teach that even Jesus was a
polygamist.
In his zeal to condone polygamy, Jedediah M. Grant,
second counselor to Brigham Young, made these statements:
“The grand reason of the burst of public sentiment
in anathemas upon Christ and his disciples, causing his
crucifixion, was evidently based upon polygamy,… A
belief in the doctrine of a plurality of wives caused the
persecution of Jesus, and his followers. We might almost
think they were ‘Mormons.’” (Journal of Discourses,
vol. 1, p. 346)
Apostle Orson Hyde even indicated who some of Jesus’
wives were:
“…Jesus Christ was married at Cana of Galilee, that
Mary, Martha, and others were his wives, and that he
begat children.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p.. 210)
When “Christendom” spoke out against polygamy and
called it one of the “relics of barbarism,” Brigham Young
replied:
“Yes, one of the relics of Adam,…of Jesus, and his
Apostles.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 328)
MORMON DOCTRINE vs. CHRISTIANITY 29
Apostle Orson Pratt taught both God the Father and the
Lord Jesus Christ were married and polygamist and will
spend eternity with their wives:
“…the great Messiah who was the founder of the
Christian religion, was a polygamist,… the Messiah
chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying
many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations
that he approbated the plurality of
Wives….God the father had a plurality of wives,…the
Son followed the example of his Father, and became the
great Bridegroom to whom kings’ daughters and many
honorable Wives were to be married. We have also
proved that both God the Father and our Lord Jesus
Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in
time;…” (The Seer, p. 172)
Nowhere in the Bible does God command polygamy or
indicate that the Father and Son are polygamists.
Although some people in the Old Testament did enter into
polygamy as well as divorce, this was never commanded or
preferred by God. The Lord indicated His displeasure of
many wives in Deuteronomy 17:17:
“Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that
his heart turn not away:…”
With the coming of Christ, New Testament believers were
instructed to be the “husband of one wife”:
“A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of
ONE WIFE,…Let the deacons be the husbands of ONE
WIFE,…” (I Timothy 3:2,12)
Although Mormon leaders have taught God the Father
and Jesus are polygamists, some Mormons may raise the
objection that these teachings do not represent the “official
doctrine” of the Church today.
Whether these teachings are accepted now or not, the
inescapable conclusion is; they were taught and “accepted”
as Church doctrine by men who represent the highest authorities
of the Mormon Church who are supposed to be guided
by God Himself.
The New Testament warns of those who will not be
satisfied with “sound doctrine”:
“For the time will come when they will not endure
sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap
to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they
shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be
turned unto fables.” (II Timothy 4:3,4)
JESUS, “A GOD”
From the days of Joseph Smith to the present, Mormonism
has taught that God the Father was once a man and men
may become Gods. Because of this teaching the leaders of the
Mormon Church have likewise taught that Jesus progressed
to become “a God.”
Milton R. Hunter, who was one of the General Authorities
of the Mormon Church, gives this information:
“Jesus became a God and reached His great state
of understanding through consistent effort and continuous
obedience to all the Gospel truths and universal
laws.” (The Gospel Through the Ages, 1945, p. 51)
Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes it plain that Jesus is
only one of 3 Gods that is to be worshipped:
“Father, Son, and Holy Ghost- comprise the Godhead….
To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these
three are the only Gods we worship.” (Mormon Doctrine,
p. 576,577)
MORMON DOCTRINE vs. CHRISTIANITY 31
To teach that Jesus is one of many Gods is to deny the
most fundamental teaching in the Bible.
The Bible emphatically declares there is only one true and
living God. In Isaiah 44:6, the Lord Himself pronounces:
“…I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me
there is no God.”
Even though the Bible does not explain how God exists
in three persons and yet is “one God,” it is nevertheless taught
in scripture. To say that they are 3 Gods, one in purpose, as
Mormons frequently say, is definitely opposed to Biblical
teaching. Although Jesus is not the Father, he does share the
same ‘nature’ with the Father as well as the Holy Ghost which
we refer to as deity, or God. God has always been God and
knows of no other Gods (Psalms 90:1,2 & Isaiah 44:8). These
three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not simply one
in purpose, but are truly the “One God.”
A glimpse of the triune nature of God can be partially
understood by considering the states of water. Solid, Liquid,
and Gas. Each different, yet all share the same nature. Likewise,
Jesus is not “a God” but he is the “true God” (see John
1:1).
There can be no doubt that the Jesus of Mormonism is
“another Jesus” and is certainly not the Jesus of the Bible.
PS….No I have not read the entire book of Mormon , but I have read enough to gather that it is not from God.



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Georgia L. Hamblin

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:20 am


Pau wrote:”A glimpse of the triune nature of God can be partially
understood by considering the states of water. Solid, Liquid,
and Gas. Each different, yet all share the same nature.” Likewise,
Jesus is not “a God” but he is the “true God” (see John
1:1).
Read on in John, where he explains how we are to become “one” with God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost! We all share the same nature, yet we are all different! But to become like our Father, in attitude, understanding and behavior, is what our very purpose upon this earth is because of that divine nature born within each of us!



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Mike

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:57 am


Gigi…certainly all that you will ever need is the Bible to learn all about God that He wants you to know…God revealed Himself and His plan of salvation through the Bible…there is no way that man could ever learn all there is to know about God…no amount of books could ever contain all there is to know about God…but this one thing we can know about God, He will never contradict Himself. This fact alone shows that mormonism is simply another in a long line of false cults that satan uses to try and deceive people so that they will not learn of God’s love for them demonstrated on the cross and spend eternity in hell.
To believe that Jesus and satan are spiritual brothers is blasphemy of the highest order…to believe that God was once a man and has risen to God status is blasphemy of the highest order…no matter how you slice it, dice it, rename it, proclaim it, mormonism will lead to spiritual death and eternal seperation from God…PERIOD!



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nowandlater

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:03 am


The Son is subservient to the Father. The Holy Ghost is subservient to the Father and the Son.
Never does the Son pray to the Holy Ghost or submit his will to the Holy Ghost. The Son however says he will send the 2nd comforter. The Son prays to the Father and no one else. It is clear that perfect triune nature is a fabrication.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:11 am


Paul,
I agreed with your July 30, 2007 11:07 PM until you got to this.
“. . . (2) the Father and the Son are one God not two Gods, one essence, one divine nature. From all eternity, . . . ”
I am not sure what you mean by “one essence”.
But then you drop the bald assertion. “It is a blasphemy to think that you can become like unto a god”
That is the same line the Pharisees took. Can you provide any references to support your assertion?



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:25 am


Paul,
Wow !!! You can cut and paste from anti-mormon sources.
Paul: . . . Joseph Smith gave a revelation . . . .
GB:SECTION 115
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Far West, Missouri, April 26, 1838,
JS didn’t “gave” the revelation, the LORD “gave” the revelation “through” Joseph Smith the Prophet.
Why do anti-mormons always have to distort things?



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:29 am


Paul: In a well circulated Mormon doctrinal book, the late and
outspoken Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, wrote this
under the heading of “VIRGIN BIRTH”:
“Our Lord is the only mortal person ever born to a
virgin, because he is the only person who ever had an
immortal Father.
GB: Is there anything in that statement that is contradicted by the Bible?



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:34 am


Paul: A very basic teaching in Mormonism is, Jesus was born
in a so-called pre-existence to a “heavenly Mother” . . . .
GB: I challenge you to show me the phrase “heavenly Mother” in any LDS canon of scripture. If it isn’t in our canon then it isn’t “a very basic teaching”.



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:41 am


Wow,
Although I am not “stunned” by all this doublespeak, I am sensing the same spirit that was present among the Protestant leaders of 1844 when they not only sanctioned but led the murderous mob attack against Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum…the same spirit that crucified our Lord. Both, who were only guilty of declaring the true nature of God. Both killed by the religious leaders of their day.
I am convinced that if Jesus were here today, declaring the same things, and performing the same miracles of the New Testament era…modern day Christians would claim Him a false prophet and call once again for His blood, stating He was not the Jesus of the Bible.
God help us all.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:01 am


Paul: However, when examining older LDS publications that
are less protective, there can be no doubt that this can only
mean that Mary could NOT have been a virgin when she gave
birth to Jesus.
GB: Oh really? How about the oldest LDS publication, the Book of Mormon.
1 Nephi 11:13 And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white.
14 And it came to pass that I saw the heavens open; and an angel came down and stood before me; and he said unto me: Nephi, what beholdest thou?
15 And I said unto him: A virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins.
17 And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.
18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.
Alma 7:10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
I think that these scriptures agree with what the Bible says about the matter.
Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Any thing more or less than this is strictly OPINION, nothing more. So anti-mormons take OPINION and try to twist it into official doctrine. Anything they can use to make us look bad. Which you basically admit with the following.
Paul: Because this doctrine is so offensive to orthodox Christians,. . . .Even without instruction from the Bible, it seems it would
be difficult indeed to escape ones’ own conscience if such a
detestable doctrine was willfully embraced.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:22 am


Paul: The Lord indicated His displeasure of many wives in Deuteronomy 17:17: “Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away:…”
With the coming of Christ, New Testament believers were instructed to be the “husband of one wife”: “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of ONE WIFE,…Let the deacons be the husbands of ONE WIFE,…” (I Timothy 3:2,12)
GB: You Bible scholarship it sadly lacking and you haven’t been paying attention to the posts in this debate. I will first address the Old Testament part.
Deu. 17:15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
. . . .
17 Neither shall HE multiply wives to HIMSELF, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. (emphasis mine).
Hanegraaff’s reading of the scripture is incomplete. Only four chapters later, the Lord gives instructions on how to equitably treat plural wives and children.
Deu. 21: 15 ¶ If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:
16 Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn:
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.
Why does He not simply forbid plural marriage, if that is the intent of chapter 17? Why does He instruct the Israelites on how to conduct themselves in plural households, if all such households are forbidden?
So, rather than opposing plural marriage, the command to kings is that they:
1. not multiply wives to themselves (i.e., only those who hold proper priesthood keys may approve plural marriage—2 Samuel 12:8 And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things.);
2. that these wives not be those who turn his heart away from God (1 Kings 11:3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 4 For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.);
3. not take excessive numbers of wives.
David and Solomon are excellent examples of violating one or more of these biblical principles (See 2 Samuel 11:1-27 and 2 Samuel 12:7-10).
Nathan tells David that the Lord “gave thee…thy master’s wives.” And, the Lord says, through His prophet, that He would have given even more than He has already given of political power, wives, and wealth.
But, David then sinned and did evil in the matter of Uriah. If plural marriage is always a sin to God, then why did Nathan not take the opportunity to condemn David for all his plural marriages? Or, why did the prophet not come earlier, when David was righteous and hearkening to the Lord?
Solomon’s problem is described in 1 Kings 1-2,7-8. Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from God, as Deuteronomy cautioned. Nothing is said against the plurality of wives, but merely of wives taken without authority that turn his heart away from the Lord.
There are other examples of legitimate Biblical plural marriages. Certainly—examples include:
• Abraham married Hagar (Genesis 16:3), Keturah (Genesis 25:1) and other unnamed concubines (Genesis 25:6).
• Jacob (Genesis 29:21-30, Genesis 30:3-4, Genesis 30:9).
• Abijah had fourteen wives (2 Chronicles 13:21) and yet he is described as a righteous king of Judah who honored the Lord (2 Chronicles 13:8-12) and prospered in battle because of the Lord’s blessing (2 Chronicles 13:16-18).
• Jehoiada, priest under King Joash “took for him two wives” (2 Chronicles 24:3). Jehoiada is clearly approved of, for he is described at his death as one who “had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house. [i.e. family]” (2 Chronicles 24:16).
If a righteous king, a righteous priest, Jacob the father of the twelve tribes, and Abraham—the pre-eminent figure of the entire Old Testament—are not condemned or corrected for legitimate plural marriages, it is untenable to claim that a biblical prohibition exists in Deuteronomy.
Now I will address the New Testament part.
Hanegraaff’s quote of the scripture is in error. The only scriptures that I could find that he could be referring to is (1 Timothy 3:2,12)”A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;”
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
And (Titus 1:6-7) If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Now this passage does not prove that a man should have “but” one wife. It only proves that a bishop should be a married man. Notice that there is no reference to elders in any of these versus. Also notice that there is no explicit requirement for the deacons to be married only the suggestive term “Let” is used.



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:26 am


“Our Lord is the only mortal person ever born to a
virgin, because he is the only person who ever had an
immortal Father.” (Mormon Doctrine, 26th printing,
1979, p.822)
This teaching is presented even clearer in the same volume
under the title, “ONLY BEGOTTEN SON”:
“These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the
only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words
is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten
means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten
by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal
men are begotten by mortal fathers.” (Mormon Doctrine,
p. 546,547)
When Apostle McConkie states “in the same way”,
knowledgeable Mormons admit, (although frequently under
protest), that this means through the sexual act.



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:37 am


A comment on Joseph Smith
Joseph’s death patterned after that of Jesus. He went to his death like a lamb to the slaughter. (Doctrines&Covenants 135:4)
Truth Be told
Joseph died after shooting two or three people.
John Taylor – Recounts final minutes of Joseph Smith’s life and how he shot and wounded two or three people, two of whom died, before Joseph himself was murdered. History of the Church, vol. 7, pp. 102-103 (1844)
Account of Joseph Smith’s death describing his returning fire with a six shooter. History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 618 (1844)



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:49 am


Paul: PS….No I have not read the entire book of Mormon ,
GB: Isn’t it hypocritical to condemn a book you haven’t read through. You apparently found no obvious contradictions or I am sure you would have let us know.
Paul: but I have read enough to gather that it is not from God.
GB: IF that were true, THEN you should be encouraging everyone to read it so that they can come to the same conclusion as you. After all His sheep will know His voice.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:52 am


Paul: When Apostle McConkie states “in the same way”,
knowledgeable Mormons admit, (although frequently under
protest), that this means through the sexual act.
GB: Straw man argument. You attribute words to him that aren’t there and then you refute your own words. Deceitful, very deceitful!



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:57 am


To All,
We are back where we started. The whole crux of the matter, as to whether Mormonism can be considered a Christian faith, is the Book of Mormon and whether Joseph Smith is a prophet or not. The whole of the matter resides there.
We have discussed those points, ad nauseum, and gotten nowhere, as far as I can see. We both can pull out verses from Scripture to support our views, and the differences between us lies in the context and interpretation that we give those verses.
I have to say it is encouraging to see so many people who are passionate about their beliefs. We live, I believe, in the last age of the church before the Rapture, and that is the Laodecean age. Christ said of that church in Rev 3 “15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” The hallmark of the church during this age is apathy, so it is good to see people who have passion and have the ability to defend their beliefs.
I wish all of you well. I do have a copy of the Book of Mormon on my bookshelf, and I have read parts of it, though not all of it. Suffice it to say that there are too many inconsistencies for me to put any trust into it. I listed some of those inconsistencies above, and no one answered me as to why this was. Here is a recap:
“Now as I understand it, the Book of Mormon covers a time period from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. Yet it talks about scimitars in Mosiah 9:16 (curved swords did not appear anywhere in the world until 500 A.D.), horses in I Nephi 18:25 (horses did not appear in North America until the early 1500′s), elephants in Ether 9:19 (elephants were also brought over from Europe and Asia in the 1600s-1700s), honey bees and swarms of bees in Ether 2:3 (honeybees were introduced into North America by the Spanish in the 1500s), the Nephites had chariots in Alma 18:9 (over 1000 years before the wheel was introduced into the Western hemisphere), the word ‘church’ is used in 1 Nephi 4:26 in 600 B.C. ( about 650 years before the Day of Pentecost sermon by Peter), and it also talks about the people having things made of steel and silk, which the Jews did not have at that time.”
If I have misrepresented any of these things, please let me know and I will issue a full public apology. There are other perplexing questions that I have (and I am not cutting-and-pasting from anti-Mormon sites, either!):
If the Book of Mormon is the ‘restoration of the gospel’, why does it not contain most of modern Mormon doctrine in it?
Why, indeed, is the BoM contradicted by Doctrines & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, and how do you reconcile those differences?
[For instance, the BoM declares that there is one God, that the polygamy of David and Solomon was an abomination to God, that God indwells the righteous, that hell is eternal, that God is a spirit, and that the Triune God is one God. All of these statements, which agree with the Bible, have been changed over the years into what is now accepted modern Mormon doctrine; there are many gods, man can become a god, that God does not indwell us, that hell is temporal, that God was once a man and has a body of flesh and bones like we do, and that there is not one god in the godhead but three separate gods).
You see, if we were just talking about the Book of Mormon, our differences would probably be fairly minor. It is what has been added to the BoM that sets us so very far apart. The god that your presidents/apostles/council of 12 has espoused over the past 100 years is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who declared in Isaiah 43:10 that there were no gods before Him or after Him, that He alone is God. The Jesus that the LDS church teaches is not the Jesus of the Bible, who claimed deity for Himself and that "the Father and I are one" and "I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I AM." The salvation that the LDS church teaches is not the salvation spoken of in the Scriptures, which is a free gift of God and is accomplished by grace through faith in Christ alone. In Galatians 3 Paul writes, "All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." 11Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, "The righteous will live by faith."[d] 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” Yet modern Mormon apostles have continued to promulgate the idea of ‘we are saved by grace through faith, after all that we can do.’ In Isaiah 64 it states that all of our righteousness is like “filthy rags” before the Lord. I can try to obey the Law with all of my being, and it will not bring me one iota closer to God. Without faith in Christ, it is impossible to please God.
That is the whole point from the beginning of this thread. “Are Mormons Christians?” Some are, who do not hold to the later teachings of the church and are following Christ alone for their salvation. If the later teachings and allegiance to Joseph Smith come into play, then I would have to answer in the negative. But because we disagree so plainly on the nature of God, the nature of Jesus, and the way of salvation, I cannot call the Mormon church a Christian church. Am I happy about that? Not in the least. Do I rejoice over that fact? No, it really breaks my heart, quite frankly. There are many things that we can agree on and work together on, but that is one where the Scriptures will not allow me any leeway. I know that will anger some, offend some, and for that I am profoundly sorry. There was a poster above who said he or she doubted that I cared, and that is not the case at all. I simply cannot reconcile the Bible with what the LDS church teaches doctrinally; they are not the same gospel, and there is nothing I can do about that but speak the truth and pray for people’s hearts and minds to be touched.
May God grant each of us wisdom and discernment in finding and following His will for us.



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Sonia

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:57 am


I am a Latter-Day Saint who has followed the debate regarding whether Mormons are Christians with great interest. Here in this forum I have read quoted scriptures from the Bible that supposedly proves beyond doubt that so-called Mormonism is a false religion and therefore not Christian. (Interestingly enough, my take on some of those very same scriptures “prove” that we are indeed Christians). I take umbridge at the comments that go so far as to state we are going to Hell. How can any reasonable person believe that people who love and worship Jesus Christ,accept Him as the only begotten Son of God and their personal Savior and do their best to live by their understanding of His teachings are going to be consigned to Eternal Damnation just for getting some doctrinal points wrong? Would a loving Father really do that to his children? There has to be a way to redeem ourselves if we get a bit confused down here on Earth. We believe that a loving Father in Heaven will eventually provide correct instruction to ALL of His children and provide a way, even in the next life to do all that is necessary to be saved; ie baptism, etc… Nothing less would be fair.
Some commentators have claimed that we are not Christians based on what leaders of our church have stated from time to time. I would like to submit that we accept the Bible, the Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Articles of Faith as canonized scripture. We also accept the talks given at General Conference every six months to be true revelation from God. Nothing else. What so and so said about such and such a couple of hundred years ago, unless it comes from one of those sources is not considered to be scripture to our people.
To clarify what I believe a good definition of Christian is, I would like to quote one of my favorite passages from the Book of Mormon. Moroni Chapter 7, wherein Mormon instructed his people about how to judge righteously and what is required of a true follower of Christ. Here are some of my favorite verses from that chapter:
3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ, and that have obtained a sufficient hope by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord, from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.
4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men.
5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.
6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing.
7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.
8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God.
9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.
10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift.
11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil.
12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is bevil cometh of the devil; for the evil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.
13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.
15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night.
16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.
17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.
18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge, which light is the light of Christ, see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged.
19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ.
41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.
42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.
43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart.
44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity.
45 And charity suffereth long, and is kind, and envieth not, and is not puffed up, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil, and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail—
47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.
48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.”
Before becoming a Mormon,I investigated many other religious sects and denominations. My experience with the L.D.S. church has reaped much “good fruit” for me and my family and brought us closer to Christ than any other church ever has. It is extremely offensive to be cast out by the other Christian denominations and classified as a cult. I suppose some of our doctrine about being the true church of Christ once again restored upon the earth and the only one with priesthood authority is quite offensive to them, but at least we do not say we are the only Christians! Sigh. Thus it has always been. When Jesus was upon this earth he was mocked by the religious leaders of his day and called a child of Satan. The fact that our church gets so much negative attention when all that we preach is in complete alighnment with Christ’s teachings and all that we do is good and beneficial to our neighbors, tells me that we must be rocking Satan’s boat if he is so set on discrediting us.
It is sad that so many who profess to be followers of Christ throw “rotten fruit” at us. In the past, they incited mobs of lawless men to rape our women, murder us and steal our property. These days they exclude us from the Christian society, show up at our religious functions to rail and hand out anti-Mormon literature. They call out mean-spirited things and even curse at newly wedded brides, calling them “Mormon whores” as they leave our sacred temples. They tell their parishoners not to vote for certain people, based soley on the fact that they are Mormons…. May we never, never follow their bad examples!



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:44 pm


Chief: “Now as I understand it, the Book of Mormon covers a time period from 600 B.C. to 400 A.D. Yet it talks about scimitars in Mosiah 9:16 (curved swords did not appear anywhere in the world until 500 A.D.),
GB: Mosiah 9:16 And it came to pass that I did arm them with bows, and with arrows, with swords, and with cimeters, and with clubs, and with slings, and with all manner of weapons which we could invent, and I and my people did go forth against the Lamanites to battle.
Sorry no scimitars there. Nothing in the text indicates that “curved swords” were used.
Chief: horses in I Nephi 18:25 (horses did not appear in North America until the early 1500′s),
GB: Horses in the Book of Mormon
The Book of Mormon mentions horses, yet these animals seem not to have been known to native Americans who greeted the Spaniards upon their arrival in the New World in the sixteenth century. Moreover, archaeological evidence for the presence of the horse in the pre-Columbian Americas is presently scant and inconclusive. How can this be explained? Careful consideration of this question begins with an examination of what the Book of Mormon says and does not say about horses.
Horses are mentioned only once in the land northward during the Jaredite period—that is, during the prosperous reign of King Emer around 2500 B.C. and before the great drought sometime in the third millennium B.C. (see Ether 9:19, 30–35). Since horses are not mentioned again in the Jaredite record, it is possible that they became extinct in the region north of the narrow neck of land following that time.
Horses were known to some Nephites and Lamanites from about 600 B.C. to the time of the Savior. They were found in the “land of first inheritance” during the time of Nephi, son of Lehi (see 1 Nephi 18:25), and in the land of Nephi during the days of Enos (see Enos 1:21). They were also utilized by at least some of the Lamanite elite during the days of King Lamoni in the same general region during the first century B.C. (see Alma 18:9–12). The text does not mention horses in the land of Nephi after that time. The only other region associated with horses was the general land of Zarahemla at the time of the war with the Gadianton robbers, just prior to the birth of Jesus Christ (see 3 Nephi 3:22; 4:4; 6:1). There is no indication in the text that horses were indigenous to that region. The Savior’s reference to horses in 3 Nephi 21:14 is a prophecy of the latter days and need not be interpreted as referring to Nephite horses. In the Book of Mormon, horses are never mentioned after the time of Christ.
In short, the Book of Mormon claims only that horses were known to some New World peoples before the time of Christ in certain limited regions of the New World. Thus we need not conclude from the text that horses were universally known in the Americas throughout pre-Columbian history. Moreover, the Book of Mormon never says that horses were ridden or used in battle, although some passages suggest that at times they may have been used by the elite as a draft animal (see, for example, Alma 18:9; 3 Nephi 3:22).
Archaeological Considerations
Small herds of animals in a limited region sometimes leave no archaeological remains. We know that the Norsemen probably introduced horses, cows, sheep, goats, and pigs into Eastern North America during the eleventh century A.D., yet these animals did not spread throughout the continent and have left no archaeological remains.1 “It is probable,” writes Jacques Soustelle, an authority on the Olmec, “that the Olmecs kept dogs and turkeys, animals domesticated in very early times on the American continent, but the destruction of any sort of bone remains, both human and animal, by the dampness and the acidity of the soil keeps us from being certain of this.”2
Even if horses had been abundantly used and had been a vital element in the culture of Book of Mormon people (a claim never made by Book of Mormon writers), one cannot assume that evidence for this would be plentiful or obvious from the current archaeological record.
The study of fossilized animal remains from archaeological sites is known today as “zoo-archaeology.” Zoo-archaeologist Simon J. M. Davis notes that the majority of bones found in archaeological sites are those of animals that were killed for food or other slaughter products by ancient peoples. It is rare to find remains of other animals in such locations. “Animals exploited, say, for traction or riding [such as horses], may not necessarily have been consumed and may only be represented by an occasional bone introduced by scavenging dogs.” Thus “the problem of correlating between excavated bones and the economic importance of the animals in antiquity is far from being resolved.”3 In fact, “One sometimes wonders whether there is any similarity between a published bone report and the animals exploited by ancient humans.”4
The horse was the basis of the wealth and military power of the Huns of central Asia (fourth and fifth centuries A.D.). Nonetheless, according to S. Bokonyi, a leading authority on the zoological record for central Asia, “We know very little of the Huns’ horses. It is interesting that not a single usable horse bone has been found in the territory of the whole empire of the Huns. This is all the more deplorable as contemporary sources mention these horses with high appreciation.”5
The lack of archaeological evidence for the Hunnic horse is rather significant in terms of references to horses in the Book of Mormon. During the two centuries of their dominance, the Huns must have possessed hundreds of thousands of horses. If Hunnic horse bones are so rare, notwithstanding the abundance of horses during the Hunnic empire, how can we expect abundant archaeological evidence for pre-Columbian horses in the New World, especially given the scant and comparatively conservative references to horses by Book of Mormon writers?
A parallel example from the Bible is instructive. The biblical narrative mentions lions, yet it was not until very recently that the only other evidence for lions in Palestine was pictographic or literary. Before the announcement in a 1988 publication of two bone samples, there was no archaeological evidence to confirm the existence of lions in that region.6 Thus there is often a gap between what historical records such as the Book of Mormon claim existed and what the limited archaeological record may yield. In addition, archaeological excavations in Bible lands have been under way for decades longer and on a much larger scale than those in proposed Book of Mormon lands.
Possible Late Survival of Prehistoric Horses
Some native Mexican traditions suggest memory of the late survival of some species of horse in the New World. When Mexican peoples first encountered Spanish horses they compared them to deer. American Historian Hugh Thomas, in his seminal study of the conquest of Mexico, suggests that this association may have been partly based on native ancestral traditions that mentioned deer with tails and manes of hair. According to Thomas, “The Mexicans may have continued to think of these animals as deer. But perhaps some folk memory may have reminded them that there had once been horses in the Americas.”7
Naming by Analogy
It is also possible that some Book of Mormon peoples coming from the Old World may have decided to call some New World animal species a “horse” or an “ass.” This practice, known as “loanshift” or “loan-extension,” is well known to historians and anthropologists who study cross-cultural contact. For example, when the Greeks first visited the Nile in Egypt, they encountered a large animal they had never seen before and gave it the name hippopotamus, meaning “horse of the river.” When the Roman armies first encountered the elephant, they called it Lucca bos, a “Lucanian cow.” In the New World the Spanish called Mesoamerican jaguars leones, “lions,” or tigres, “tigers.”
Similarly, members of Lehi’s family may have applied loanwords to certain animal species that they encountered for the first time in the New World, such as the Mesoamerican tapir. While some species of tapir are rather small, the Mesoamerican variety (tapiris bairdii) can grow to be nearly six and a half feet in length and can weigh more than six hundred pounds. Many zoologists and anthropologists have compared the tapir’s features to those of a horse or a donkey. “Whenever I saw a tapir,” notes zoologist Hans Krieg, “it reminded me of an animal similar to a horse or a donkey. The movements as well as the shape of the animal, especially the high neck with the small brush mane, even the expression on the face, are much more like a horse’s than a pig’s [to which some have compared the smaller species]. When watching a tapir on the alert . . . as he picks himself up when recognizing danger, taking off in a gallop, almost nothing remains of the similarity to a pig.”8
Other zoologists have made similar observations. “At first glance,” note Hans Frädrich and Erich Thenius, “the tapirs’ movements also are not similar to those of their relatives, the rhinoceros and the horses. In a slow walk, they usually keep the head lowered.” However, when a tapir runs, its movement becomes quite horselike: “In a trot, they lift their heads and move their legs in an elastic manner. The amazingly fast gallop is seen only when the animals are in flight, playing, or when they are extremely excited.” In addition, tapirs can “climb quite well, even though one would not expect this because of their bulky figure. Even steep slopes do not present obstacles. They jump vertical fences or walls, rising on their hind legs and leaping up.”9 Tapirs can be domesticated quite easily if they are captured when young. Young tapirs who have lost their mothers are easily tamed and will eat from a bowl, and they like to be petted and will often allow children to ride on their backs.10
One could hardly fault Old World visitors to the New World for choosing to classify the Mesoamerican tapir as a horse or an ass, if that is what happened. Given the limitations of zoo-archaeology, and also those of other potentially helpful disciplines when probing many centuries into the forgotten past, it is unwise to dismiss the references in the Book of Mormon to horses as erroneous.
This Research Report was prepared by the FARMS Research Department and is based on the latest available scholarly research. It is subject to revision as more information on the subject becomes available. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the position of FARMS, Brigham Young University, or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Report last updated August 2000
Recommended Readings
Hamblin, William J. “Animals.” In Hamblin, “Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon.” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 2/1 (1993): 193–95.
Sorenson, John L. “Animals in the Book of Mormon.” In Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1985, 288–99.
——— “Plants and Animals.” In “Viva Zapato! Hurray for the Shoe!” Review of “Does the Shoe Fit? A Critique of the Limited Tehuantepec Geography,” by Deanne G. Matheny. Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/1 (1994): 342–48.
——— “Once More: The Horse.” In Reexploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, 98-100. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992.
Notes
1. See Gwyn Jones, The Norse Atlantic Saga: Being the Norse Voyages of Discovery and Settlement to Iceland, Greenland, America, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 119; see also Erik Wahlgren, The Vikings in America (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1986), 124.
2. Jaques Soustelle, The Olmecs: The Oldest Civilization in Mexico (Garden City: Doubleday, 1984), 23.
3. Simon J. M. Davis, The Archaeology of Animals (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1987), 24.
4. Ibid., 23.
5. S. Bokonyi, History of Domestic Mammals in Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest: Akademiai Kiado, 1974), 267.
6. L. Martin. “The Faunal Remains from Tell es Saidiyeh,” Levant 20 (1988): 83–84.
7. Hugh Thomas, Conquest: Montezuma, Cortés, and the Fall of Old Mexico (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993), 178; see also Eugene R. Craine and Reginald C. Reindorp, eds. and trans., The Chronicles of Michoacán (Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970, 63–64.
8. Quoted in Hans Frädrich and Erich Thenius, “Tapirs,” Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia, ed. Bernhard Grzimek (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company), 13:19–20.
9. Ibid., 20.
10. Ibid., 28–30.
Chief: elephants in Ether 9:19 (elephants were also brought over from Europe and Asia in the 1600s-1700s),
GB: The only place that elephants are mentioned in the Book of Mormon is in Ether 9:19 in approximately 2500 B.C. Thus any elephants existing upon the American continents need not have survived past about 2400 B.C. The critics, however, assure that the “elephant is not a native of America and never was its inhabitant” (Hyde, 226). In my paper regarding the Book of Mormon’s use of the term “ horse,” I presented evidence that sometimes animals disappear without a trace even though they are attested to in written documents. I add to this evidence the observation of Dr. Nibley:
Any naturalist would assume that the elephant has been extinct in western Asia for hundreds of thousands of years, for all the evidence the creature has left of itself: it is from written history alone that we receive the assurances that large herds of elephants roamed the temperate lands of Syria and the upper Euphrates as late as the XVIII Egyptian dynasty, when the Pharaohs hunted them for sport, and that elephants were used by the war-lords of central Asia well into the Middle Ages. In late antiquity the wild variety disappeared without a trace, due perhaps to a change in world climate. (Nibley, 1980, p. 217.)
There is at least some support for the Book of Mormon’s usage of the term “elephants.” First we have traditions. Sorenson explains that some “North American Indians have recounted legends of ‘great stiff-legged beasts who could not lie down’ and of an animal with a fifth appendage, which came out of its head. Possibly, tribes transmitted through oral tradition some vague remembrance of encounters with these ‘elephants’” (Sorenson, 1985, p. 298). Other Indian stories have been preserved as well.
Strong… reproduced a Naskapi account concerning a creature called Katcheetohuskw…. “When asked to describe the Katcheetohuskw, the informants said he was very large, had a big head, large ears and teeth, and a long nose with which he hit people” (italics supplied). “His tracks in the snow were described in their stories as large and round.” (Johnson, 4.)
Even as late as 1560 “the Italian cartographer Paula de Furlani drew a map, which is preserved in the British Museum, depicting elephants in the region of the Mississippi Valley…. On the way to the New World, Columbus stopped at the Canary Islands and observed: ‘Other Canarieans also inhabit the wild regions extending from Mount Atlas through the sands of Lybia, places covered with black dust and filled with serpents and elephants’” (Cheesman, 1984, 55).
Besides the traditions, five elephant effigies have been found in ancient Mexico (Wirth, 51). Dr. Verrill, a well-known (non-Mormon) archaeologist describes one of these figures as “‘so strikingly and obviously elephantine that it cannot be explained away by any of the ordinary theories of being a conventionalized or exaggerated tapir, ant-eater or macaw. Not only does this figure show a trunk, but in addition it has the big leaf-like ears and the forward-bending knees peculiar to the elephants. Moreover, it shows a load or burden strapped upon its back. It is inconceivable that any man could have imagined a creature with the flapping ears and peculiar hind knees of an elephant, or that any human being could have conventionalized a tapir to this extent’” (ibid). In the early 1900s two stone slabs were found at a ruin in Arizona which dated to approximately 1100 A.D. These tablets contained a pictograph of an elephant (Cheesman, 1984, 144-5).
The oral traditions, written records, and artwork depicting elephants lends strong support for the claim that the elephant existed in ancient America. Even more substantial support– actual remains– have also been discovered. Today all scholars agree that mastodons and mammoths (which are unquestionably elephants to zoologists) once lived in the Americas. The dispute today is how late they lived. According to the Book of Mormon they need not have lived later than 2400 B.C. Within recent years archaeological evidence has demonstrated that the elephant could very well have survived to such a late date. Butchered mastodon bones were recently discovered at one archaeological site which dates to shortly after the time of Christ. Another site, dating to approximately 100 B.C. has yielded the remains of a mammoth, a mastodon, as well as a horse (Sorenson, 1985, pgs., 297-8).
Some scholars have suggested that the elephant (mammoth or mastodon) lived later than hitherto believed. Ludwell Johnson, in an article entitled “Men and Elephants in America” published in Scientific Monthly, wrote that “Discoveries of associations of human and proboscidean remains [Elephantine mammals, including, elephants, mammoths, and mastodons] are by no means uncommon. As of 1950, MacCowan listed no less than twenty-seven” including, as noted by Hugo Gross, a “partly burned mastodon skeleton and numerous potsherds at Alangasi, Ecuador” (Johnson, 1).
Johnson goes on to explain that “There can no longer be any doubt that man and elephant coexisted in America…. Probably it is safe to say that American Proboscidea have been extinct for a minimum of 3000 years” (Johnson, 2). If the elephants had died off at least 3000 years ago, they would still have been well within range of the Jaredite era. And as noted above, some evidence indicates that the elephant may have survived in limited numbers for centuries later.
Chief: honey bees and swarms of bees in Ether 2:3 (honeybees were introduced into North America by the Spanish in the 1500s),
GB: Among the supposed Book of Mormon anachronisms is the mention of “bees” (Ether 2:3). One critic claims that bees “were first introduced [in the New World] by Europeans” (Key, 1). It should be noted firstly that the Book of Mormons use of the term “bees” occurs in an Old World (Jaredite) setting, it is never used in connection with the New World, therefore the argument could simply end here. Did the Jaredites bring bees to the New World? We may never know. Some studies suggest, however, that bees were known in the ancient New World. Bruce Warren, for instance notes that there “are many references in the Maya region to honey bees in ancient times, and these references occur in ritual contexts, i.e., are of native or pre-Spanish origin” (Warren 1963, 94). Other New World scholars have observed that “not only was the domesticated bee in ancient America but that there were gods of bees and beekeepers . . . Honey was considered a real treat for the Indians. Equally important was black wax taken from the hives which was often traded for other commodities” (Wirth, pgs. 56-57).
Chief: the Nephites had chariots in Alma 18:9 (over 1000 years before the wheel was introduced into the Western hemisphere),
GB: So, you are saying that the wheel was “introduced” around 900 A.D. Who introduced it and what evidence do you have to support you assertion? Since Lehi and his family left Jerusalem in 600 B.C. (about the time of Jeremiah) they would have known about the wheel and chariots. After all they had large portions of the Old Testament including Isaiah.
Exodus 14:25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
Jer 4:13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.
Isa 5:28 Whose arrows are sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses’ hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind:
Chief: , and it also talks about the people having things made of steel and silk, which the Jews did not have at that time.”
GB: Since there has been a lot of criticism by some anti-Mormons about the steel-using Nephites, it might be useful to see what the Book of Mormon actually says about iron and steel.
There are two major fallacies in discussions on this topic. First is the problem of the hermeneutics of hyper-skepticism. Applying the same hermeneutical standard to other ancient texts creates some obvious absurdities I will describe shortly. Second is the semantic fallacy, which consists of arguing about the meaning of words rather than the reality the words are trying to depict. A single ancient reality can be described in a number of different ways. Ancient peoples often described their perceptions of reality differently than we do. These fallacies are omnipresent among many anti-Mormons.
Steel in the Text
Steel is mentioned only five times in the Book of Mormon, once in the Book of Ether (7.9), and four times in the Nephite records (1 Ne 4.9, 1 Ne 16.18, 2 Ne 5.15 and Jar 1.8). Of these, two refer to Near Eastern weapons of the early sixth century B.C. 1 Ne 4.9 states that the blade of Laban’s sword was “of most precious steel.” Nephi’s Near Eastern bow was “made of fine steel” (1 Ne 16.18). The next two references are to steel among generic metal lists. The first is to the time of Nephi, around 580 B.C.:
“work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores” (2 Ne 5.15)
The second is from Jarom 1.8, around 400 B.C.:
“workmanship of wood, in buildings, and in machinery, and also in iron and copper, and brass and steel, making all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground, and weapons of war–yea, the sharp pointed arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin, and all preparations for war”
Notice that these two texts are what is called a “literary topos,” meaning a stylized literary description which repeats the same ideas, events, or items in a standardized way in the same order and form.
• Nephi: “wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel”
• Jarom: “wood, …iron and copper, and brass and steel”
The use of literary topoi is a fairly common ancient literary device found extensively in the Book of Mormon (and, incidentally, an evidence for the antiquity of the text). Scholars are often skeptical about the actuality behind a literary topos; it is often unclear if it is merely a literary device or is intended to describe specific unique circumstances.
Note, also, that although Jarom mentions a number of “weapons of war,” this list notably leaves off swords. Rather, it includes “arrow, and the quiver, and the dart, and the javelin.” If iron/steel swords were extensively used by Book of Mormon armies, why are they notably absent from this list of weapons, the only weapon-list that specifically mentions steel?
Significantly, there are no references to Nephite steel after 400 B.C.
Putting all this together, we find the following:
• The steel sword is a Near Eastern weapon. It is imitated by Nephi in the first generation-although we are not sure if this imitation is of function, form or material-or all three.
• Steel swords are never again mentioned in the Book of Mormon after this first generation.
• Steel is mentioned once more, in 400 B.C., in a literary topos list, which is notable also for its failure to mention swords, steel or otherwise.
The minimalist and tightest reading of this evidence is that Nephi had a steel weapon from the Near East. He attempted to imitate this weapon-whether in function, form, or material is unclear. His descendants apparently abandoned this technology by no later than 400 B.C. Based on a careful reading of the text of the Book of Mormon, there are no grounds for claiming-as anti-Mormons repeatedly do-that the Book of Mormon describes a massive steel industry with thousands of soldiers carrying steel swords in the New World.
Linguistics Layers and Steel
An historical Book of Mormon would have at least seven different linguistic layers:
1. early nineteenth century American English;
2. Jacobean English of the KJV Bible;
3. Fourth century A.D. language of Moroni (Morm 9.33-34);
4. Mesoamerican language(s);
5. Hebrew of the sixth century B.C.;
6. Egyptian of the sixth century B.C.;
7. Jaredite language.
Even a person who rejects the historicity of the Book of Mormon must agree that linguistic levels one and two are found in the Book of Mormon. The one linguistic category we know was not used in the production of the Book of Mormon English text is twenty-first century scientific terminology, since this version of English did not exist in the 1820s.
A fundamental fallacy of critics of the Book of Mormon is that they ignore this linguistic complexity, conflating twenty-first century English categories and concepts with those of these other linguistic layers. If you want to make a serious argument against the Book of Mormon you must argue from pre-twenty-first century linguistic categories, or you are begging the question. It is quite pointless to argue that because the Book of Mormon does not correlate with early twenty-first century linguistic categories, that is somehow evidence that the Book of Mormon is ahistorical.
An important question is what, precisely, is meant by “steel” in the Book of Mormon. Based on linguistic layer two (Jacobean English of the KJV Bible), “steel” translates “nechushah/nechosheth” which is copper or bronze (often “brass” in KJV). Certainly the Book of Mormon does not refer to twenty-first century “steel,” since the Bessemer steel process upon which modern steel-making is based was not invented until 1846.
By the time of Joseph Smith there was already serious linguistic disjunction between Hebrew, Jacobean English, and early nineteenth-century American English. In the KJV, the Hebrew nechosheth (and various cognates) translates into brass (or cognates) 144 times, fetters or chains 8 times (i.e to be “placed in copper” is a Hebrew idiom to be placed in fetters of nechosheth), steel 4 times, and copper once. The Hebrew term nechushah/nechosheth can describe copper or any largely copper-based alloy (Baumgartner, Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament [Brill, 2001] 1:691). Note-and this is important-there is no single English term that can accurately translate Hebrew nechushah/nechosheth; furthermore, the Hebrew term covers at least three distinct categories in modern English: copper, bronze (copper and tin alloy) and brass (copper and zinc alloy). Note, finally, that in Joseph Smith’s day there is a conflation between brass and bronze.
An interesting key to the problem is Nephi’s steel bow (1 Ne 16.18). My assumption here is that this phrase is meant to describe the same weapon that is called a “steel bow” in the KJV Bible. (I think this is obvious whether Joseph Smith invented the text or it is ancient.) The phrase “bow of steel” occurs three times in the KJV: 2 Sam 22.35, Job 20.24, and Ps 18.34. In all cases it translates the Hebrew phrase qeshet nechushah, which modern translations consistently, and correctly, translate as “bronze.” There is one other reference to “steel” in the KJV at Jer 15.12, also referring to bronze. The metal is apparently called “steel” in the KJV because bronze is “steeled” (strengthened) copper through alloying it with tin or through some other process. Likewise steel did not necessarily mean an iron-making process in Joseph Smith’s day; its base meaning is hard or strong. Among the meanings of “steel” in Webster’s 1828 dictionary is “extreme hardness.” For the verbal form, one of the meanings is “to make hard or extremely hard,” while one of the meanings of “steeled” is “hardened,” “steeliness” means “great hardness,” one of the meanings of “steeling” is “hardening,” and one of the meanings of “steely” is “hard, firm.” The term steel is still used this way in modern English, such as saying someone has “steely eyes” or a “will of steel.” The concept of “steel” (the metal) seems to derive from “steel” meaning hard or strong, not the other way around.
At any rate, it is clear we should not necessarily presume that Book of Mormon steel is related to modern steel. Once again, it is necessary to examine these issues in their original linguistic, textual and cultural context to understand what the text is saying.
Steel in the Near East
According to R. Maddin1 there were two forms of ancient “steeling” iron:
• quenching
• carburizing through taking heated iron and hammering it and folding it so carbon molecules from the charcoals were beaten into the iron.
“By quenching, a process in which hot [note: not melted] iron is plunged into cold water, the iron could be made hard.”2
Anciently, iron was never melted or cast in the Near East. The earliest known examples of casting liquefied iron are from China in the fourth century B.C. “Due to its high melting point (1540 degrees C), iron was never worked as a molten metal during the [Near Eastern] Iron Age… Iron had to be hammered, the blacksmith first having to consolidate a hot, spongy bloom of iron mixed with slag. By hammering out the slag he was able to produce a usable lump of iron. In order to use that iron, however, it was necessary to reheat the lump of iron and forge the hot metal to the desired shape.”3
Note that the term “smelt” is never used in the Book of Mormon. This, again, is a modern conflation of ancient and modern concepts and practices.
Steel Among the Jaredites
Ether mentions making “steel” only once (Ether 7.9), only a few generations after Jared. It does not say how many swords were made. Anti-Mormons often assert that this necessitates a large-scale iron and steel industry. This interpretation is not required by the text. Ether does not make this claim in any explicit form. This is a classic example of the fallacy of hyper-skepticism. Considering a counter-example will help to illustrate the absurdity of this fallacy.
In the royal shaft graves at Alaca Hoyuk (Turkey) {circa 2500-2200 B.C.), a roughly nine-inch iron dagger with a gold handle was discovered.4 Tutankhamun (fourteenth century B.C.) had an iron dagger in his tomb. Applying the anti-Mormon fallacy (that insists a single example necessitates universal use) we would be required to insist that all Near Eastern soldiers from 2300 B.C. to 1300 B.C. had iron daggers.
The reality, however, is that these two daggers are unique before the eighth century B.C.5 Furthermore, “iron does not appear to have been produced in Egypt on a large scale until the end of the Third Intermediate Period.”6
Thus, the assumption that a single reference to “steel swords” in Ether necessitates that all Jaredite soldiers in all ages had “steel swords” would, if consistently applied to the Near East, likewise require that these two examples of iron daggers mean that all soldiers in the Near East in all ages would have to also have iron daggers. But this was not the case. Critics employing the hyper-skepticism fallacy ignore the concept of elite weapons vs. common weapons and the issue of transformation of weapon types through time.
Imagine if we had not discovered the tomb of Alaca Hoyuk in Turkey, where an iron dagger from the twenty-third century B.C. was found. Imagine, further, that Tut’s tomb had been plundered in antiquity, as had nearly all other pharaonic tombs. The result would be that there would be no archaeological evidence for iron/steel weapons before the eighth century B.C. Yet this would clearly be wrong. There is a single known Bronze Age royal iron dagger in Egypt when all other soldiers had weapons of bronze or flint, and that was discovered by sheer luck. Why should we reject the possibility of the existence of similarly unique or very rare royal metal weapons in Book of Mormon times when most of the commoners used stone weapons? To reject this possibility is blatant anti-Mormon special pleading.
Furthermore, Near Eastern peoples used hematite, magnetite and meteoritic iron, along with other types of iron ore. Did they have different words for what we in modern scientific English would consider different types of iron? As far as I am aware, they did not. Indeed, the earliest Egyptian word for iron was: “bi3 m pet” or “copper from heaven.” That is to say, in archaic times they didn’t even distinguish between copper and iron. For the early Egyptians, iron was a type of copper! Later they used the word “banpi” or “benpi” (which are probably contractions of “bi3 m pet”), and this term lasts until Coptic times in the word “benipe.” Hebrew and other Near Eastern languages are precisely the same. There is only one term for all types of iron in the entire Bible, “barzal,” which is cognate with Aramaic “parzal.” Both of these are derived from the Akkadian “parzillu.”
Thus, anti-Mormons insist that the Book of Mormon must be evaluated on the basis of modern metallurgical terminology and science, which has categories and distinctions completely foreign to ancient peoples such as the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews, who had a single term covering what now is divided into many different categories. If the failure of the Book of Mormon to match modern semantic categories on types of iron proves there were no Nephites, shouldn’t the failure of the Hebrews and Egyptians to match modern semantic categories likewise demonstrate there were not Hebrews or Egyptians? Or is there a better alternative?
Another possibility is that Ether 7.9 is a “mythical” text, a recollection of an ancient heroic “golden age” when men had weapons of steel or iron. An example of this type of phenomenon is found in the Pyramid Texts (PT) of Egypt (circa 2400 B.C.) that describe thrones and implements of iron, which no pharaoh ever actually had. According to these texts, gods in heaven sit upon an “iron throne” which the king shares in the afterlife,7 the king receives an “iron scepter,”8 and the god Horus wears “iron bands on [his] arms.”9 In the resurrection the king’s bones will be made of iron,10 strong and everlasting, and the gates to the gods’ celestial castle are protected by “doors of iron.”11 Since we know the Egyptians in 2400 B.C. lived over a thousand years before the Iron Age, what are we to make of this? Should we insist, following anti-Mormon hyper-skeptical methodology, that the Egyptians didn’t exist because they describe the widespread use of iron which archaeologically we know they did not possess? Or is this a tale of a great cultural hero miraculously making a unique weapon out of celestial materials-the “metal from heaven” (meteoric iron)?
Note, finally, that the Olmecs did, indeed, work iron. Several tons of worked iron have been discovered.12
Notes
1 R. Madden, “How the Iron Age Began,” Scientific American 237 (October 1977): 131.
2 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 2000): 182.
3 Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, 3:1514-1515.
4 Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, 83 #111.
5 There may be an iron dagger from Tell Asmar (Eshnunna) in central Iraq that may be from this period, but I haven’t been able to track down the precise data yet.
6 Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, Vol. 2 (Oxford University Press, 2000): 183.
7 PT 21, 424, 461, 483, 509, 536, 610, 667, 667A, 669, 689.
8 PT 665C.
9 PT 214.
10 PT 570, 684, 724.
11 PT 469.
12 See Richard A. Diehl, The Olmecs: America’s First Civilization (Thames & Hudson, 2004), 93-94.
See I can cut and paste too.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:56 pm


Chief: Why, indeed, is the BoM contradicted by Doctrines & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, and how do you reconcile those differences?
[For instance, the BoM declares that there is one God, that the polygamy of David and Solomon was an abomination to God, that God indwells the righteous, that hell is eternal, that God is a spirit, and that the Triune God is one God. All of these statements, which agree with the Bible, have been changed over the years into what is now accepted modern Mormon doctrine; there are many gods, man can become a god, that God does not indwell us, that hell is temporal, that God was once a man and has a body of flesh and bones like we do, and that there is not one god in the godhead but three separate gods).
GB: Chief, these issues have already been addressed in the threads of this debate. I suggest that you do a little home work to get up to speed.



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Mike

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:09 pm


What I find to be the most intriguing facet of this whole debate (I will admit I haven’t read all 900 and some odd posts) is this:
WHAT IS AT STAKE IF MORMONISM ISN’T CHRISTIANITY?
Or to say it positively:
WHY DO MORMONS INSIST ON IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS?
This seems to be a fundatmental question, which nobody is discussing. We can argue all day long about whether or not “we are saved by grace after all we can do” (2 Nephi), or whether we are saved by grace apart from works (Ephesians 2).
The most important thing to me is answering the questions above because in it, it explains what in fact is at stake. If Christianity is TRUE then of course any deviation from the truth is now a false religion. If Christianity is NOT TRUE, then who gives a rip, right?
What I find fascinating is that both Mormons and Orthodox Christians start with the presumption that Christianity is the TRUE religion. The problem, however, is that both have very different sets of beliefs (and yes, I am an evangelical and have talked extensively with Mormon missionaries…they always agree with you on everything you say but always with a twist…ALWAYS).
I don’t beleive any rational person would claim that Mormonism is not a deviation from Orthodox Christianity. Most thinking Christians and Mormons would also challenge their claims of the scriptures (which there are plenty of deviations from this as well). A deviation from the truth is no longer truth…it no longer serves as an exact representation and as such cannot be held up as a proponet of its teaching.
Now, this shouldn’t matter to the Mormon but if in fact they want to classify themselves as Peculiar Christians, this is futile. The fact is, they continue to INSIST that they are Christians, instead of Mormons who believe in Jesus…WHY???
In the name of scholarship, we cannot discount that Orthodox Christianity IS Christianity…there is no other form of Christianity. It is organic and has grown from infancy and had its pains but its truth’s have been stated over and over again here, namely that the Old Testament was the Old Covenant, the New Testament, the New Covenant, a continuation. After which there were apostles and churches and creeds and councils, THIS IS CHRISTIANITY, there was never another form of Christianity that didn’t contain these elements.
I will use a very practical analogy to explain what I am talking about. Christianity is a continuation of Judeaism (some may say a cult, spin off, whatever word you want to use, it doesn’t make a difference). The reality is…I AM NOT CLAIMING TO BE A JEW, I AM CLAIMING TO BE A CHRISTIAN. The apostles weren’t trying to make themselves Jews, in fact dying at the hands of Jews for claiming something other than Judeaism.
It is important to understand this paradigm…I am sold out that Christianity is true and not Judaeism, which makes me a Christian. I beleive that what Jesus said was true, in fulfilling the Old Testament. I do not follow the Laws of Moses, I follow the law of Grace as expressed through Jesus. I am sold out that Christianity is the TRUE religion.
Why doesn’t Mormonism have this same conviction? Why do they continually insist on being Christians (with a different set of beliefs). The reality is they are Mormons, not Christians and they SHOULD be proud of that fact. But they are not, they continually try and reason how they can claim to be Christians. This is beyond me, as a sold out Christian, I don’t understand this futility.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:52 pm


Paul said: When Apostle McConkie states “in the same way”,
knowledgeable Mormons admit, (although frequently under
protest), that this means through the sexual act.
Mike’s response:
As usual Paul makes a generalized statement with no documentation.
Which “knowledgeable mormons?”
I would classify Harold B. Lee, Prophet and President of the Church as knowledgeable. Here is what he said:
As for those who try to read sexual implications into statements about the Savior’s divine paternity, President Harold B. Lee helped to clarify any confusion on this issue (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, ed. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996, p. 14, as cited by Barry Bickmore, FARMS Review of Books, Vol. 13, No. 2, 2001, pp. 247-248):
You asked about . . . the birth of the Savior. Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior. If teachers were wise in speaking of this matter about which the Lord has said but very little, they would rest their discussion on this subject with merely the word which are recorded on this subject in Luke 1:34-35:
“Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”
Remember that the being who was brought about by [Mary's] conception was a divine personage. We need not question His method to accomplish His purposes. Perhaps we would do well to remember the words of Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Let the Lord rest His case with this declaration and wait until He sees fit to tell us more.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 2:23 pm


Mike,
From dictionary.com
Chris·tian
–adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: a Christian faith.
2. of, pertaining to, believing in, or belonging to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ: Spain is a Christian country.
3. of or pertaining to Christians: many Christian deaths in the Crusades.
4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: She displayed true Christian charity.
5. decent; respectable: They gave him a good Christian burial.
6. human; not brutal; humane: Such behavior isn’t Christian.
–noun
7. a person who believes in Jesus Christ; adherent of Christianity.
8. a person who exemplifies in his or her life the teachings of Christ: He died like a true Christian.
Since Mormons by these definitions are Christians, why do you want to exclude them? To do so is a distortion of the language and a deception on your part. Why do you want to do that?



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Bob Woodbury

posted July 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm


Mike,
Your question, “WHY DO MORMONS INSIST ON IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS?,” is answered simply. It’s because we are followers of Jesus Christ. We don’t identify ourselves as Christians because we want to be considered Catholics, Baptists, or any other Christian denomination. We consider ourselves Christians because we personally and collectively accept him as Lord and Savior, Redeemer of all mankind. We have faith in Christ, based not on archeological evidence, but on the witness of those who have seen him. Religion is a witness based knowledge, we believe in the resurection of Christ because His apostles and disciples saw the Risen Lord and bore witness to it, and the Holy Ghost–whose role is to testify of the Father and the Son–witnessed to our souls the truth of His witnesses words, that is, the reality of Jesus Christ’s life, atonement and resurrection. How else do Christians know these things are true except by the Spirit of God? There are no proofs or evidences except those we feel and recognize in the depths of our own hearts.
I’ve had that witness, Jesus is the Christ, the very Son of God, Savior and Redeemer, risen from the grave, alive today. I know it’s true and for that reason I am a Christian.
Let God judge my faith in Christ, for only He knows my heart, not men. God will judge our faith based acts when we stand before the judgement bar of Christ. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I am a Christian because of my profound faith in Him.
BW



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 3:53 pm


Sonia,
As I understand it, there are 4 canons that you have pointed out to the Mormon faith. What I find puzzling is why doctrines laid down in the ‘main’ canon, the book of Mormon, have been changed in the later canons, the D & C, pearl of great price, or articles of faith. Also, some of the core teachings of the church cannot even be found in the BoM. Maybe someone can explain it to me, but it is very peculiar to say the least.
As for the question Is Mormonism Christianity, let me use this analogy. I am a white male, as caucasian as they come. Let’s say one day I want to be known as an African-American, perhaps to get access to a minority loan or grant, or to get a scholarship for one of my kids that is open to minority students only. So I call myself something that I’m inherently not. Now why can’t I classify myself as an African-American? Because fundamentally, in my genetic makeup, I am not one. No matter how badly I want to be one, to tanning myself or painting myself with dark pigment, no matter how I act or where I go, nothing I do can change the fact that I am not an African-American, nor will I ever be.
Mormonism and Christianity are different fundamentally at their core. Now, as I have said before, salvation is a personal matter that is decided one-on-one with God. So if you, Sonia, as an individual person, ask me if you are a Christian or not because of your beliefs, I would say, ‘you know, you certainly seem to be one to me. The Lord knows your heart, so He knows if you are or not.’ If you can say in your heart of hearts that you believe He is Lord, you have confessed His name before men, and you believe that God raised Him up from the dead, then you are saved according to the Scriptures. Now you say, ‘OK, then why can’t you admit that Mormons are Christians?’ And the reason is precisely this: the god and the jesus that the historical church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints worships are NOT the same God and Jesus that Paul is talking about in Romans 10 here. No matter how badly they want to be called Christians, they are not because of the doctrines held and studied and worshipped by the LDS church, which are far different that the doctrines held by Christians the world over, as to the nature of God, the nature and divinity of Jesus, the meaning and attainment of salvation, and the concept of sin and punishment. Those doctrinal differences are so great that we cannot say we worship, praise, and seek after the same things. Also, nowhere in the Bible is allegiance to Joseph Smith vital for salvation, but it is in the LDS teachings.
Now, most of the Mormon members who have been blogging will object to this. The several pairs of missionaries that I have spoken to over the last year certainly did (they keep sending new ones out; I wonder why the same guys don’t come back?). They insisted that we were all talking about the same things. After all, don’t we use the same terminology? Except they got very flustered when I said, OK, let’s discuss what we mean by words and phrases like ‘salvation’, ‘grace’, ‘atonement’, ‘deity of Jesus’, ‘is God man or spirit’, ‘heaven and hell’, ‘prophet’, ‘apostle’, ‘authority’, ‘priesthood’, and what do things like justice, mercy, and judgment mean to believers. When we first start talking, and I identify myself as a Christian, they go right along and say things like ‘we agree with everything you just said.’ However, when we start talking about heavier doctrines, they go back to Moroni 10: 3-5 – it’s like home base, I guess – and just ask if I would read the BoM and pray to see if it’s the truth. When I start talking about Joseph Smith and let’s examine his record, they go back to Moroni 10 – read, pray, and if the BoM is true, then obviously JS is a prophet, no matter how his personal history reads. Well, I have examined the callings of a number of the OT prophets, and I encourage all of you to do the same. Look at Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, Samuel, Amos, Obadiah, Habbakuk, Joel, Jonah, Daniel, David, Zechariah, Malachi, Joshua, et al. Look at how they were called into service by the Lord. They either start their books out “In such and such a year, when so and so was king of Judah, the word of the Lord came to me, son of so and so.” In Moses case, God spoke to him through a burning bush, which was unusual, but the reality is that GOD SPOKE TO HIM. He did NOT tell him to wait a few years then go dig up some plates that will be written in a language (‘reformed Egyptian’, of which no Biblical or secular scholar has EVER found an example of, by the way) you do not know. Translate them and restore my church and my priesthood. That is a totally peculiar calling from how the Lord called ALL OF HIS OTHER PROPHETS over the 4,000 years of recorded religious history. When God wants someone to accomplish His purposes, especially when you look at prophet history, He uses more direct methods than what occurred in the life of JS. Also, another one of JS’s translations, the Book of Abraham, has been proven, by the recovery of the papyrii sheets and subsequent translation by Egyptian heiroglyphics experts, to not be a book inspired by God but some text from a Book of Breathing, which is a modernised version of the Book of the Dead, a pagan document. Yet, it is still included in the Pearl of Great Price as a canon of Mormon scripture.
In any case, I do not care what the Mormon church calls itself, really, as long as it does not call itself a Christian church, because it most decidely is not. Why do I care about making this point? Because if someone wants to know the pathway to life, I share the Gospel with them, then tell them to get involved with a Bible-believing church so that their faith can be fed and grow and bear fruit for the kingdom. If they say, ‘Hey, I’ll go to this church, it says it’s Christian’ but it preaches a false gospel, I have done harm, maybe irreparable harm, to that person. So if that person asked me if it was OK to go to the Mormon church, I would have to point him to another church, because to me the Mormon church is not a Christian church. It uses the same words and some of the same scriptures as Christian churches, but the words and deities are different in their meanings, and those changes are significant enough to cause Christians to have to deny that Mormonism equals Christianity. It simply isn’t so.
And GB, people were first called Christians because they were “Christ followers.” That is the historical definition. But if the Christ I proclaim and the Christ you proclaim are fundamentally different, as the Jesus’ of Christianity and Mormonism are, then that definition loses meaning. Again, I can call myself an African-American, and if I color myself darker, I can actually look more like one. But fundamentally, in the core of my being, I am not one. You can look and sound like a Christian, but if the Jesus worshipped is not the Christ revealed in Scripture the definition becomes meaningless.
[A footnote – if you look at the early presidents and apostles of the Mormon church, the word “Christian” was a dirty word to them, one that they wanted no part of:
Journal of Discourses 5:73–”When the light came to me I saw that all the so-called Christian world was groveling in darkness.”
Journal of Discourses 8:99–”With a regard to true theology, a more ignorant people never lived than the present so-called Christian world.”
Journal of Discourses 6:25–”What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast.”
Orson Pratt (Mormon Apostle)–”..all other churches are entirely destitute of all authority from God; and any person who receives baptism of the Lord’s supper from their hands highly offend God, for he looks upon them as the most corrupt of all people” (The Seer, pg 255)
Heber C. Kimball (First Counselor to Brigham Young)–”Christians – those poor, miserable priests Brother Brigham was speaking about – some of them are the biggest whoremasters there are on the earth…” (Journal of Discourses 5:39)
————————–
Again, I truly wish we were talking about cosmetic differences, and that in doctrine and beliefs we had unity. But if you study Mormonism for long, you will find that its beliefs are not compatible with orthodox Christianity, or with being called ‘Christian’ at all. They just do not worship the same deities, no matter how hard they protest. Mormonism actually has more in common with Islam than it does with Christianity:
-Only one God
-Salvation by works
-Founder visited by an angel to receive the ‘scriptures’
Joseph Smith – the angel Moroni
Mohammed – the angel Jabreel
-Followers believe in Jesus, but the latest prophet is the most important.
-Have the Bible as one of their scriptures, but both believe scriptures have been corrupted and later book (BoM and Quran) are more ‘accurate’
I know that no one likes to have their beliefs questioned or assailed. I have been on the receiving end as well, and it is normally not a pleasant experience. In the end, all I can say is this; there is only one person who will sit in judgement of us all, and it is not me. I only ask that people look at all of the facts and evidence, search the scriptures for answers, and don’t rely on a ‘testimony’ to see if what they are following is true. Our feelings can lie, and just because something seems right to me doesn’t mean it is. Truth is found in the words of Scripture and in the person and works of Jesus Christ, and nowhere else.
May God bless us, every one…



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Mike

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:09 pm


Well…I find it quite interesting that in order to define Christianity we turn to a dictionary? A dictionary definition has nothing theological to offer. What I am positing is a theological repose not a semantic challenge. Under your definition of a Christian, Hitler was one (that is until the Mormons baptized from the dead), and Hitler was anything but Christian (he claimed to be a protestant beleiver).
My contention is that you say you beleive in Jesus, but not the Christian tradition, you believe in the Mormon tradition. Again, that is equivalent of me saying I believe in the Jewish tradition through Christ (I am not a Jew, rather a Christian). You believe in Christ, through Joseph Smith (you are not a Christian, rather a Mormon). There is a dramatic difference in history and tradition.
There is no question in the minds of educated Evangelicals that you claim to believe in Christ. It is a question of what Christ you believe in…He from the Orthodox Christian or He from the Mormon tradition. If it is the former, then there are thousands of years of history as the foundation of your Christiany, if it is the latter, you cease to build on that foundation and substitute another, that of Joseph Smith.
This whole argument has been based on this semantic challenge, brought about by a ubiquitous definition that has nothing theological or historical to offer. It is not that easy, and I wouldn’t want it to be. I don’t want to be associated with the crazy David Koresh, who claimed to be Jesus (and plenty of people believed him), just as you wouldn’t want to be associated with Warren Jeffries for instance (these people PERVERT the truth). For this reason the dictionary definition doesn’t hold up and must be adjusted.
Christianity cannot be put into a box, just as Mormonism can’t be. The issue is not whether you believe in Jesus, it is the historic/theological tradition from which it developed. It is in this vein that we must filter our ideas and again, what is wrong with being associated as a Mormon, coming from the Mormon tradition?
If the problem is that of acceptance, I would ask why you attempt to convert “Christians” TO “Christianity”. Is this not logical suicide? It is completely and utterly self-defeating.
If you charge that we too evangelize Mormons, my response (would be the same as yours), namely that which has been stated above, there is a profound difference in traditions, and we do not recognize (just as you don’t) that our traditions are the same.
If you want to claim that you don’t try to convert “Christians” TO “Christianity” I would question why, when I talk with your missionaries, they try and prove me wrong, with the final exhortation to read the Book of Mormon (not the Bible) and pray that the Holy Spirit would show me that I am wrong about my tradition. They are always so confident that I will be seen that I am wrong about my “Christianity” and thus be converted to “Christianity”. WOW…that is deep.
I think the old saying goes that you can’t have your cake and eat it too.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:01 pm


Chief: What I find puzzling is why doctrines laid down in the ‘main’ canon, the book of Mormon, have been changed in the later canons, the D & C, pearl of great price, or articles of faith.
GB: That is a bald assertion. You should provide examples so that they can be discussed.
Chief: And the reason is precisely this: the god and the jesus that the historical church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints worships are NOT the same God and Jesus that Paul is talking about in Romans 10 here.
GB: That is a bald assertion. You should provide examples so that they can be discussed.
Chief: When God wants someone to accomplish His purposes, especially when you look at prophet history, He uses more direct methods than what occurred in the life of JS.
GB: Do you even know how God made the initial contact with Joseph Smith? Apparently not.
Chief: Also, another one of JS’s translations, the Book of Abraham, has been proven, by the recovery of the papyrii sheets and subsequent translation by Egyptian heiroglyphics experts, to not be a book inspired by God but some text from a Book of Breathing, which is a modernised version of the Book of the Dead, a pagan document. Yet, it is still included in the Pearl of Great Price as a canon of Mormon scripture.
GB: You source for this is way behind. This canard was refuted back in 1968.
Chief: In any case, I do not care what the Mormon church calls itself, really, as long as it does not call itself a Christian church, because it most decidely is not.
GB: So what do you say one must do/say/believe to be Christian? Since you apparently have usurped the throne of God and become the judge in this matter.
Chief: Because if someone wants to know the pathway to life, I share the Gospel with them, then tell them to get involved with a Bible-believing church so that their faith can be fed and grow and bear fruit for the kingdom.
GB: The LDS church meets that criterion.
Chief: And GB, people were first called Christians because they were “Christ followers.”
GB: The LDS church meets that criterion.
Chief: They just do not worship the same deities,
GB: You have yet to show that we don’t believe in and only worship God, the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost, which is One Eternal God (One as in united in purpose and perfection, see John 17).
Just because we, like Paul of old recognize the existence of lesser gods doesn’t mean that we worship them, because we don’t. And nowhere in our canon of scripture (that includes the Bible) does it say or indicate that we do.
Chief: I only ask that people look at all of the facts and evidence, search the scriptures for answers, and don’t rely on a ‘testimony’ to see if what they are following is true.
GB: I only ask that people look at all of the facts and evidence, search the scriptures, ponder them, and pray for the witness of the Holy Ghost, the Testator of truth.



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Billy

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:29 pm


dictionary.com is not the source for defining who can be a Christian. That authority belongs to the Scriptures and by Scriptures, I mean the Holy Bible (the sole authority, as it self-testifies). Dr. Mohler has done an outstanding job of defining who Christians are based upon what the Bible teaches. While Mormons are certainly very ethical and moral people, with whom conservative evangelical Christians will find much common ground, to say we are the same is to deny one or the other’s teachings. For all of the rhetoric that has passed back and forth on these blogs, surely we can honestly see that the differences are irreconcilable because many of the doctrines stand in stark contradiction to one another. No honest “orthodox Christian” can justly refer to a Mormon as a “Christian”; to do so would be unloving for it would jettison the motivation for introducing Mormons to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.



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RD

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:48 pm


Billy,
Why don’t YOU ‘jettison’ the idea that “…the Holy Bible self-testifies as sole authority…” or at least have the courage to show where it says it is infallible…



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:52 pm


Billy,
Please provide the Biblical definition of a Christian. Chapter and verse please.



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Bob Woodbury

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:54 pm


Mike,
The dictionary is certainly a valid means of defining the term Christian, a group of learned men looking at traditional as well as current usage of the word. You’re defining it by a traditional Christian creed, a group of learned men determining the meaning via debate and the use of philosophic language. The point of Joseph Smith’s epiphany was for God to reveal to modern man knowledge that had been lost, especially the nature of He and His Son. To get the nature of God completely wrong was an abomination, because it is necessary to know God in order to follow his edict of becoming perfect as He is.
In Joseph Smith’s time there were numerous, “restorationists,” those who were seeking to restore Christianity to its former truths, authority and ordinances. Joseph Smith, at the age of 14, was not seeking to restore Christianity, he wanted to know for himself which of the denominations he should join. His vision was a remarkable answer to a prayer of faith, a vision he recounted simply a number of times over the ensuing years, and was treated with derision by some, acceptance by others and ignored by most. He was not seeking to become a prophet, but was called to it by God, just like prophets in the OT.
The real question here is not whether the LDS can be lumped together with other Christian denominations, but did Joseph have his first and subsequent visions restoring truth, authority and ordinances in the modern era. Was he directed to an ancient record by another heavenly messenger and were those plates translated by the gift and power of God into what is known as the Book of Mormon. If these things are true then traditional Christianity does not contain the fullness of the gospel and Christians everywhere need to re-think there belief systems. It’s a hard thing and hence the resistance we see here.
When I read the posts of Mike and Chief1989, among others, I see the same things that have been written for 180 years about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the LDS church, the same tired things I heard regularly in southern California 30+ years ago when I served my mission there. In the meantime the LDS church continues to grow and move forward. I’ve often asked myself the question, “Why can’t the Christian churches leave the LDS alone and go about promoting there own faith in a positive manner?” It has occured to me that the answer to that may be economic. Mike and Chief have formed their opinions about the LDS church, not from the LDS church, but from those who earn a part, if not all, their income by attacking the LDS faith. A cottage industry has grown up around anti-Mormonism, and it’s often fed by pastors, ministers, etc. who stand to lose members of their flocks to the active proselyting by LDS missionaries. Each member of a congregation lost to the LDS church is a drop in income for that church and minister. Thus, the long-held tradition of anti-Mormonism among many Christian denominations, but especially the Evangelicals.
And what has been the response to the ongoing anti-Mormonism by the leadership of the LDS church? Silence. There are no official rebuttals from Salt Lake City, no organized debates or other forums to bash the attackers.
Just the continued, consistant growth of the church worldwide by delivering the message of the restoration. That message is, God speaks again to man through prophets, His authority is restored, a church has been organized to administer the ordinances, and at the heart of all this is a testimony of Jesus Christ, that He lives and invites all who choose to come to Him. We don’t worship Joseph Smith anymore than you worship the apostle Paul, we worship God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We recognise Joseph as the instrument God used to restore lost truth and authority.
Do we have differences with traditional Christian dogma, absolutely, the basic disagreement is the truths we hold to be correct with regards to the nature of God and Jesus Christ have come to man in our time by revelation, not debate.
Regards,
BW



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:06 pm


Bob,
Very well said.



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:26 pm


I have another question:
A large part of this blog has been spent trying to say who or what is a Christian. Fine. I get that. Mormons accuse Christians of trying to disenfranchise them from the moniker “Christian.” However, if all Mormons want to be known as Christians, why do the missionaries continue to attempt to proselytize even after you’ve identified yourself as a Christian? If you are Christians and we are Christians, once we’ve identified ourselves, shouldn’t your missionaries say, “Amen, brother! Keep spreading the faith, and we will, too. See you later!”? Why do they continue to try and get me to read the Book of Mormon if we are all Christians, and I have already indicated to them that I follow Jesus?
I think some of you are going overboard with the ‘persecute the poor Mormons’ complex.



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:51 pm


RD
if you only knew how many people died to get us the Bible that we have today. I found this online so I’ll share it with you
Always Singing One Note—A Vernacular Bible
Why William Tyndale Lived and Died
What Was the “One Note” He Always Sang?
Stephen Vaughn was an English merchant commissioned by Thomas Cromwell, the king’s adviser, to find William Tyndale and inform him that King Henry VIII desired him to come back to England out of hiding on the continent. In a letter to Cromwell from Vaughan dated June 19, 1531, Vaughan wrote about Tyndale (1494-1536) these simple words: “I find him always singing one note.1 That one note was this: Will the King of England give his official endorsement to a vernacular Bible for all his English subjects? If not, Tyndale will not come. If so, Tyndale will give himself up to the king and never write another book.
This was the driving passion of his life—to see the Bible translated from the Greek and Hebrew into ordinary English available for every person in England to read.
Henry VIII was angry with Tyndale for believing and promoting Martin Luther’s Reformation teachings. In particular he was angry because of Tyndale’s book, Answer to Sir Thomas More. Thomas More (famous for his book Utopia and the movie A Man for All Seasons) was the Lord Chancellor who helped Henry VIII write his repudiation of Luther called Defense of the Seven Sacraments. Thomas More was thoroughly Roman Catholic and radically anti-Reformation, anti-Luther, and anti-Tyndale. So Tyndale had come under the same excoriating criticism by Thomas More.2 In fact More had a “near-rabid hatred”3 for Tyndale and published three long responses to him totaling near three-quarters of a million words.4
But in spite of this high court anger against Tyndale, the king’s message to Tyndale, carried by Vaughan, was mercy: “The kings’ royal majesty is . . . inclined to mercy, pity, and compassion.”5
The thirty-seven-year-old Tyndale was moved to tears by this offer of mercy. He had been an exile from his homeland for seven years. But then he sounds his “one note” again: Will the king authorize a vernacular English Bible from the original languages? Vaughan gives us Tyndale’s words from May, 1531:
I assure you, if it would stand with the King’s most gracious pleasure to grant only a bare text of the Scripture [that is, without explanatory notes] to be put forth among his people, like as is put forth among the subjects of the emperor in these parts, and of other Christian princes, be it of the translation of what person soever shall please his Majesty, I shall immediately make faithful promise never to write more, not abide two days in these parts after the same: but immediately to repair unto his realm, and there most humbly submit myself at the feet of his royal majesty, offering my body to suffer what pain or torture, yea, what death his grace will, so this [translation] be obtained. Until that time, I will abide the asperity of all chances, whatsoever shall come, and endure my life in as many pains as it is able to bear and suffer.6
In other words, Tyndale will give himself up to the king on one condition—that the king authorize an English Bible translated from the Greek and Hebrew in the common language of the people.
The king refused. And Tyndale never went to his homeland again. Instead, if the king and the Roman Catholic Church would not provide a printed Bible in English for the common man to read, Tyndale would, even if it cost him his life—which it did five years later.
The Great Achievement: New Testament and Reformation
When he was twenty-eight years old in 1522, he was serving as a tutor in the home of John Walsh in Gloucestershire spending most of his time studying Erasmus’ Greek New Testament which had just been printed six years before in 1516. And we should pause here and make clear what an incendiary thing this Greek New Testament was in history. David Daniell describes the magnitude of this event:
This was the first time that the Greek New Testament had been printed. It is no exaggeration to say that it set fire to Europe. Luther [1483-1546] translated it into his famous German version of 1522. In a few years there appeared translations from the Greek into most European vernaculars. They were the true basis of the popular reformation.7
Every day William Tyndale was seeing these Reformation truths more clearly in the Greek New Testament as an ordained Catholic priest. Increasingly he was making himself suspect in this Catholic house of John Walsh. Learned men would come for dinner, and Tyndale would discuss the things he was seeing in the New Testament. John Foxe tells us that one day an exasperated Catholic scholar at dinner with Tyndale said, “We were better be without God’s law than the pope’s.” In response Tyndale spoke his famous words, “I defy the Pope and all his laws. . . . If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plow, shall know more of the Scripture than thou dost.”8
Four years later Tyndale finished the English translation of the Greek New Testament in Worms, Germany, and began to smuggle it into England in bails of cloth. He had grown up in Gloucestershire, the cloth-working county, and now we see what that turn of providence was about.9 By October of 1526 the book had been banned by Bishop Tunstall in London, but the print run was at least three thousand. And the books were getting to the people. Over the next eight years, five pirated editions were printed as well.10
In 1534 Tyndale published a revised New Testament, having learned Hebrew in the meantime, probably in Germany, which helped him better understand the connections between the Old and New Testaments. Daniell calls this 1534 New Testament “the glory of his life’s work.”11 If Tyndale was “always singing one note,” this was the crescendo of the song of his life—the finished and refined New Testament in English.
For the first time ever in history, the Greek New Testament was translated into English. And for the first time ever the New Testament in English was available in a printed form. Before Tyndale there were only hand-written manuscripts of the Bible in English. These manuscripts we owe to the work and inspiration of John Wyclif and the Lollards12 from a hundred-thirty years earlier.13 For a thousand years the only translation of the Greek and Hebrew Bible was the Latin Vulgate, and few people could understand it, even if they had access to it.
Before he was martyred in 1536 Tyndale had translated into clear, common English14 not only the New Testament15 but also the Pentateuch, Joshua to 2 Chronicles, and Jonah.16 All this material became the basis of the Great Bible issued by Miles Coverdale in England in 153917 and the basis for the Geneva Bible published in 1557—“the Bible of the nation,”18 which sold over a million copies between 1560 and 1640.
We do not get a clear sense of Tyndale’s achievement without some comparisons. We think of the dominant King James Version as giving us the pervasive language of the English Bible. But Daniell clarifies the situation:
William Tyndale gave us our English Bible. The sages assembled by King James to prepare the Authorized Version of 1611, so often praised for unlikely corporate inspiration, took over Tyndale’s work. Nine-tenths of the Authorized Version’s New Testament is Tyndale’s. The same is true of the first half of the Old Testament, which was as far as he was able to get before he was executed outside Brussels in 1536.19
Here is a sampling of the English phrases we owe to Tyndale:
“Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).
“Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)
“The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine upon thee and be merciful unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
“There were shepherds abiding in the field” (Luke 2:8).
“Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).
“Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9).
“The signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3)
“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
“He went out . . . and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:75). Those two words are still used by almost all modern translations (NIV, NASB, ESV, NKJV). It has not been improved on for five hundred years in spite of weak efforts like one recent translation: “cried hard.” Unlike that phrase, “the rhythm of his two words carries the experience.”20
“A law unto themselves” (Romans 2:14)
“In him we live, move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
“Fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12).
According to Daniell, “The list of such near-proverbial phrases is endless.”21 Five hundred years after his great work “newspaper headlines still quote Tyndale, though unknowingly, and he has reached more people than even Shakespeare.”22
Luther’s translation of 1522 is often praised for “having given a language to the emerging German nation.” Daniell claims the same for Tyndale in English:
In his Bible translations, Tyndale’s conscious use of everyday words, without inversions, in a neutral word-order, and his wonderful ear for rhythmic patterns, gave to English not only a Bible language, but a new prose. England was blessed as a nation in that the language of its principal book, as the Bible in English rapidly became, was the fountain from which flowed the lucidity, suppleness and expressive range of the greatest prose thereafter.23
His craftsmanship with the English language amounted to genius.24
He translated two-thirds of the Bible so well that his translations endured until today.25
This was not merely a literary phenomenon; it was a spiritual explosion. Tyndale’s Bible and writings were the kindling that set the Reformation on fire in England.
How Did Tyndale Accomplish This?
The question arises: How did William Tyndale accomplish this historic achievement? We can answer this in Tyndale’s case by remembering two ways that a pastor must die in the ministry. We must die to the notion that we do not have to think hard or work hard to achieve spiritual goals. And we must die to the notion that our thinking and our working is decisive in achieving spiritual goals.
Paul said in 2 Timothy 2:7, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” First, think. Work. Don’t bypass the hard work of thinking about apostolic truth. But second, remember this: “the Lord will give you understanding.” You work. He gives. If he withholds, all our working is in vain. But he ordains that we use our minds and that we work in achieving spiritual ends. So Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” The key to spiritual achievement is to work hard, and to know and believe and feel and be happy that God’s sovereign grace is the decisive cause of all the good that comes.
The way these two truths come together in Tyndale’s life explains how he could accomplish what he did. And one of the best ways to see it is to compare him with Erasmus, the Roman Catholic humanist scholar who was famous for his books Enchiridion and The Praise of Folly and for his printed Greek New Testament.
Erasmus was twenty-eight years older than Tyndale, but they both died in 1536—Tyndale martyred by the Roman Catholic Church, Erasmus a respected member of that church. Erasmus had spent time in Oxford and Cambridge, but we don’t know if he and Tyndale ever met.
On the surface, one sees remarkable similarities between Tyndale and Erasmus. Both were great linguists. Erasmus was a Latin scholar and produced the first printed Greek New Testament. Tyndale knew eight languages: Latin, Greek, German, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, and English. Both men loved the natural power of language and were part of a rebirth of interest in the way language works.
For example, Erasmus wrote a book called De copia that Tyndale no doubt used as a student at Oxford.26 It helped students increase their abilities to exploit the “copious” potential of language. This was hugely influential in the early 1500s in England and was used to train students in the infinite possibilities of varied verbal expression. The aim was to keep that language from sinking down to mere jargon and worn-out slang and uncreative, unimaginative, prosaic, colorless, boring speech.
One practice lesson for students from De copia was to give “no fewer than one hundred fifty ways of saying ‘Your letter has delighted me very much.’” The point was to force students “to use of all the verbal muscles in order to avoid any hint of flabbiness.”27 It is not surprising that this is the kind of educational world that gave rise to William Shakespeare (who was born in 1564). Shakespeare is renown for his unparalleled use of copiousness in language. One critic wrote, “Without Erasmus, no Shakespeare.”28
So both Erasmus and Tyndale were educated in an atmosphere of conscious craftsmanship.29 That is, they both believed in hard work to say things clearly and creatively and compellingly when they spoke for Christ.
Not only that, but they both believed the Bible should be translated into the vernacular of every language. Erasmus wrote in the preface to his Greek New Testament,
Christ wishes his mysteries to be published as widely as possible. I would wish even all women to read the gospel and the epistles of St. Paul, and I wish that they were translated into all languages of all Christian people, that they might be read and known, not merely by the Scotch and the Irish, but even by the Turks and the Saracens. I wish that the husbandman may sing parts of them at his plow, that the weaver may warble them at his shuttle, that the traveler may with their narratives beguile the weariness of the way.30
Tyndale could not have said it better.
Both were concerned with the corruption and abuses in the Catholic Church, and both wrote about Christ and the Christian life. Tyndale even translated Erasmus’ Enchiridion, a kind of spiritual handbook for the Christian life—what Erasmus called philosophia Christi.
But there was a massive difference between these men, and it had directly to do with the other half of the paradox, namely, that we must die not just to intellectual and linguistic laziness, but also to human presumption—human self-exaltation and self-sufficiency. Erasmus and Luther had clashed in the 1520s over the freedom of the will—Erasmus defending human self-determination and Luther arguing for the depravity and bondage of the will.31 Tyndale was firmly with Luther here.
Our will is locked and knit faster under the will of the devil than could an hundred thousand chains bind a man unto a post.32
Because . . . [by] nature we are evil, therefore we both think and do evil, and are under vengeance under the law, convict to eternal damnation by the law, and are contrary to the will of God in all our will and in all things consent to the will of the fiend.33
It is not possible for a natural man to consent to the law, that it should be good, or that God should be righteous which maketh the law.34
This view of human sinfulness set the stage for Tyndale’s grasp of the glory of God’s sovereign grace in the gospel. Erasmus—and Thomas More with him—did not see the depth of the human condition, their own condition, and so did not see the glory and explosive power of what the reformers saw in the New Testament. What the reformers like Tyndale and Luther saw was not a philosophia Christi but the massive work of God in the death and resurrection of Christ to save hopelessly enslaved and hell-bound sinners.
Erasmus does not live or write in this realm of horrible condition and gracious blood-bought salvation. He has the appearance of reform in the Enchiridion, but something is missing. To walk from Erasmus into Tyndale is to move (to paraphrase Mark Twain) from a lightning bug to a lightning bolt.
Daniell puts it like this:
Something in the Enchiridion is missing. . . . It is a masterpiece of humanist piety. . . . [But] the activity of Christ in the Gospels, his special work of salvation so strongly detailed there and in the epistles of Paul, is largely missing. Christologically, where Luther thunders, Erasmus makes a sweet sound: what to Tyndale was an impregnable stronghold feels in the Enchiridion like a summer pavilion.35
Where Luther and Tyndale were blood-earnest about our dreadful human condition and the glory of salvation in Christ, Erasmus and Thomas More joked and bantered. When Luther published his 95 theses in 1517, Erasmus sent a copy of them to More—along with a “jocular letter including the anti-papal games, and witty satirical diatribes against abuses within the church, which both of them loved to make.”36
I linger here with this difference between Tyndale and Erasmus because I am trying to penetrate to how Tyndale accomplished what he did through translating the New Testament. Explosive reformation is what he accomplished in England. This was not the effect of Erasmus’ highbrow, elitist, layered nuancing of Christ and church tradition. Erasmus and Thomas More may have satirized the monasteries and clerical abuses, but they were always playing games compared to Tyndale.
And in this they were very much like notable Christian writers in our own day. Listen to this remarkable assessment from Daniell, and see if you do not hear a description of certain emergent church writers and New Perspective champions:
Not only is there no fully realized Christ or Devil in Erasmus’s book . . . : there is a touch of irony about it all, with a feeling of the writer cultivating a faintly superior ambiguity: as if to be dogmatic, for example about the full theology of the work of Christ, was to be rather distasteful, below the best, elite, humanist heights. . . . By contrast Tyndale . . . is ferociously single-minded [“always singing one note”]; the matter in hand, the immediate access of the soul to God without intermediary, is far too important for hints of faintly ironic superiority. . . . Tyndale is as four-square as a carpenter’s tool. But in Erasmus’s account of the origins of his book there is a touch of the sort of layering of ironies found in the games with personae.37
It is ironic and sad that today supposedly avant-garde Christian writers can strike this cool, evasive, imprecise, artistic, superficially reformist pose of Erasmus and call it “post-modern” and capture a generation of unwitting, historically naïve, emergent people who don’t know they are being duped by the same old verbal tactics used by the elitist humanist writers in past generations. We saw them last year in Athanasius’ day (the slippery Arians at Nicaea), and we see them now in Tyndale’s day. It’s not post-modern. It’s pre-modern—because it is perpetual.
What drove Tyndale to sing “one note” all his life was the rock-solid conviction that all humans were in bondage to sin, blind, dead, damned, and helpless, and that God had acted in Christ to provide salvation by grace through faith. This is what lay hidden in the Latin Scriptures and the church system of penance and merit. The Bible must be translated for the sake of the liberating, life-giving gospel.38
There is only one hope for our liberation from the bonds of sin and eternal condemnation, Tyndale said: “Neither can any creature loose the bonds, save the blood of Christ only.”39
By grace . . . we are plucked out of Adam the ground of all evil and graffed [sic] in Christ, the root of all goodness. In Christ God loved us, his elect and chosen, before the world began and reserved us unto the knowledge of his Son and of his holy gospel: and when the gospel40 is preached to us openeth our hearts and giveth us grace to believe, and putteth the spirit of Christ in us: and we know him as our Father most merciful, and consent to the law and love it inwardly in our heart and desire to fulfill it and sorrow because we do not.41
This massive dose of bondage to sin and deliverance by blood-bought sovereign grace42 is missing in Erasmus. This is why there is an elitist lightness to his religion—just like there is to so much of evangelicalism today. Hell and sin and atonement and sovereign grace were not weighty realities for him. But for Tyndale they were everything. And in the middle of these great realities was the doctrine of justification by faith alone. This is why the Bible had to be translated, and ultimately this is why Tyndale was martyred.
By faith are we saved only in believing the promises. And though faith be never without love and good works, yet is our saving imputed neither to love nor unto good works but unto faith only.43
Faith the mother of all good works justifieth us, before we can bring forth any good work: as the husband marryeth his wife before he can have any lawful children by her.44
This is the answer to how William Tyndale accomplished what he did in translating the New Testament and writing books that set England on fire with the reformed faith. He worked assiduously like the most skilled artist in the craft of compelling translation, and he was deeply passionate about the great doctrinal truths of the gospel of sovereign grace. Man is lost, spiritually dead, condemned. God is sovereign; Christ is sufficient. Faith is all. Bible translation and Bible truth were inseparable for Tyndale, and in the end it was the truth—especially the truth of justification by faith—that ignited Britain with reformed fire and then brought the death sentence to this Bible translator.
The Implacable Opposition to the Bible
It is almost incomprehensible to us how viciously opposed the Roman Catholic Church was to the translation of the Scriptures into English. John Wyclif and his followers called “Lollards”45 had spread written manuscripts of English translations from the Latin in the late 1300s. In 1401 Parliament passed the law de Haeretico Comburendo—“on the burning of heretics”—to make heresy punishable by burning people alive at the stake. The Bible translators were in view.
Then in 1408 the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundell, created the Constitutions of Oxford which said,
It is a dangerous thing, as witnesseth blessed St. Jerome to translate the text of the Holy Scripture out of one tongue into another, for in the translation the same sense is not always easily kept. . . . We therefore decree and ordain, that no man, hereafter, by his own authority translate any text of the Scripture into English or any other tongue . . . and that no man can read any such book . . . in part or in whole.46
Together these statutes meant that you could be burned alive by the Catholic Church for simply reading the Bible in English. The dramatist John Bale (1495-1563) “as a boy of 11 watched the burning of a young man in Norwich for possessing the Lord’s prayer in English. . . . John Foxe records . . . seven Lollards burned at Coventry in 1519 for teaching their children the Lord’s Prayer in English.”47
Tyndale hoped to escape this condemnation by getting official authorization for his translation in 1524. But he found just the opposite and had to escape from London to the continent where he did all his translating and writing for the next twelve years. He lived as a fugitive the entire time until his death near Brussels in 1536.
He watched a rising tide of persecution and felt the pain of seeing young men burned alive who were converted by reading his translation and his books. His closest friend, John Frith, was arrested in London and tried by Thomas More and burned alive July 4, 1531, at the age of twenty-eight. Richard Bayfield ran the ships that took Tyndale’s books to England. He was betrayed and arrested, and Thomas More wrote on December 4, 1531, that Bayfield “the monk and apostate [was] well and worthily burned in Smythfelde.”48
Three weeks later the same end came to John Tewkesbury. He was converted by reading Tyndale’s Parable of the Wicked Mammon which defended justification by faith alone. He was whipped in Thomas More’s garden and had his brow squeezed with small ropes till blood came out of his eyes. Then he was sent to the Tower where he was racked till he was lame. Then at last they burned him alive. Thomas More “rejoiced that his victim was now in hell, where Tyndale ‘is like to find him when they come together.’”49
Four months later James Bainham followed in the flames in April of 1532. He had stood up during the mass at St. Augustine’s Church in London and lifted a copy of Tyndale’s New Testament and pleaded with the people to die rather than deny the word of God. That virtually was to sign his own death warrant. Add to these Thomas Bilney, Thomas Dusgate, John Bent, Thomas Harding, Andrew Hewet, Elizabeth Barton and others, all burned alive for sharing the views of William Tyndale about the Scriptures and the reformed faith.50
Why this extraordinary hostility against the English New Testament, especially from Thomas More who vilified Tyndale repeatedly in his denunciation of the reformers he burned? Some would say that the New Testament in English was rejected because it was accompanied with Reformation notes that the church regarded as heretical. That was true of later versions, but not the first 1526 edition. It did not have notes, and this is the edition that Bishop Tunstall had burned in London.51 The church burned the word of God. It shocked Tyndale.
There were surface reasons and deeper reasons why the church opposed an English Bible. The surface reasons were that the English language is rude and unworthy of the exalted language of God’s word; and when one translates, errors can creep in, so it is safer not to translate; moreover, if the Bible is in English, then each man will become his own interpreter, and many will go astray into heresy and be condemned; and it was church tradition that only priests are given the divine grace to understand the Scriptures; and what’s more, there is a special sacramental value to the Latin service in which people cannot understand, but grace is given. Such were the kinds of things being said on the surface.
But there were deeper reasons why the church opposed the English Bible: one doctrinal and one ecclesiastical. The church realized that they would not be able to sustain certain doctrines biblically because the people would see that they are not in the Bible. And the church realized that their power and control over the people, and even over the state, would be lost if certain doctrines were exposed as unbiblical—especially the priesthood and purgatory and penance.
Thomas More’s criticism of Tyndale boils down mainly to the way Tyndale translated five words. He translated presbuteros as elder instead of priest. He translated ekklesia as congregation instead of church. He translated metanoeo as repent instead of do penance. He translated exomologeo as acknowledge or admit instead of confess. And he translated agape as love rather than charity.
Daniell comments, “He cannot possibly have been unaware that those words in particular undercut the entire sacramental structure of the thousand year church throughout Europe, Asia and North Africa. It was the Greek New Testament that was doing the undercutting.”52 And with the doctrinal undermining of these ecclesiastical pillars of priesthood and penance and confession, the pervasive power and control of the church collapsed. England would not be a Catholic nation. The reformed faith would flourish there in due time.
What It Cost Tyndale to Translate the Bible
What did it cost William Tyndale under these hostile circumstances to stay faithful to his calling as a translator of the Bible and a writer of the reformed faith?
He fled his homeland in 1524 and was killed in 1536. He gives us some glimpse of those twelve years as a fugitive in Germany and the Netherlands in one of the very few personal descriptions we have from Stephen Vaughan’s letter in 1531. He refers to
. . . my pains . . . my poverty . . . my exile out of mine natural country, and bitter absence from my friends . . . my hunger, my thirst, my cold, the great danger wherewith I am everywhere encompassed, and finally . . . innumerable other hard and sharp fightings which I endure.53
All these sufferings came to a climax on May 21, 1535, in the midst of Tyndale’s great Old Testament translation labors. We can feel some of the ugliness of what happened in the words of David Daniell: “Malice, self-pity, villainy and deceit were about to destroy everything. These evils came to the English House [in Antwerp], wholly uninvited, in the form of an egregious Englishman, Henry Philips.”54 Philips had won Tyndale’s trust over some months and then betrayed him. John Foxe tells how it happened:
So when it was dinner-time, Master Tyndale went forth with Philips, and at the going forth of Poyntz’s house, was a long narrow entry, so that two could not go in a front. Mr. Tyndale would have put Philips before him, but Philips would in no wise, but put Master Tyndale before, for that he pretended to show great humanity. So Master Tyndale, being a man of no great stature, went before, and Philips, a tall comely person, followed behind him: who had set officers on either side of the door upon two seats, who, being there, might see who came in the entry: and coming through the same entry, Philips pointed with his finger over Master Tyndale’s head down to him, that the officers who sat at the door might see that it was he whom they should take. . . . Then they took him, and brought him to the emperor’s attorney, or procurer-general, where he dined. Then came the procurer General to the house of Poyntz, and sent away all that was there of Master Tyndale’s, as well his books as other things: and from thence Tyndale was had to the castle of Filford, eighteen English miles from Antwerp, and there he remained until he was put to death.55
Vilvorde Castle is six miles north of Brussels and about the same distance from Louvain. Here Tyndale stayed for 18 months. “The charge was heresy, with not agreeing with the holy Roman Emperor—in a nutshell, being Lutheran.”56 A four-man commission from the Catholic center of Louvain was authorized to prove that Tyndale was a heretic. One of them named Latomus filled three books with his interactions with Tyndale and said that Tyndale himself wrote a “book” in prison to defend his chief doctrinal standard: Sola fides justificat apud Deum—Faith Alone Justifies Before God. This was the key issue in the end. The evil of translating the Bible came down to this: are we justified by faith alone?
These months in prison were not easy. They were a long dying leading to death. We get one glimpse into the prison to see Tyndale’s condition and his passion. He wrote a letter to in September, 1535, when there seems to have been a lull in the examinations. It was addressed to an unnamed officer of the castle. Here is a condensed version of Mozley’s translation of the Latin:
I beg your lordship, and that of the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me, from the goods of mine which he has, a warmer cap; for I suffer greatly from cold in the head, and am afflicted by a perpetual catarrh, which is much increased in this cell; a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth too to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth to put on above; he has also warmer night-caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain what you most desire, so only that it be for the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me, to be carried out before winter, I will be patient, abiding the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ: whose spirit (I pray) may ever direct your heart. Amen W. Tindalus57
We don’t know if his requests were granted. He did stay in that prison through the winter. His verdict was sealed in August, 1536. He was formally condemned as a heretic and degraded from the priesthood. Then in early October (traditionally October 6), he was tied to the stake and then strangled by the executioner, then afterward consumed in the fire. Foxe reports that his last words were, “Lord! Open the King of England’s eyes!”58 He was forty-two years old, never married and never buried.
Tyndale’s Closing Words to Pastors
His closing words to us in this conference on the theme “How Must a Pastor Die” are clear from his life and from his writings. I will let him speak them in his own words from his book The Obedience of a Christian Man:
If God promise riches, the way thereto is poverty. Whom he loveth he chasteneth, whom he exalteth, he casteth down, whom he saveth he damneth first, he bringeth no man to heaven except he send him to hell first. If he promise life he slayeth it first, when he buildeth, he casteth all down first. He is no patcher, he cannot build on another man’s foundation. He will not work until all be past remedy and brought unto such a case, that men may see how that his hand, his power, his mercy, his goodness and truth hath wrought all together. He will let no man be partaker with him of his praise and glory.59
Let us therefore look diligently whereunto we are called, that we deceive not ourselves. We are called, not to dispute as the pope’s disciples do, but to die with Christ that we may live with him, and to suffer with him that we may reign with him.60
For if God be on our side: what matter maketh it who be against us, be they bishops, cardinals, popes or whatsoever names they will.61
So let Tyndale’s very last word to us be the last word he sent to his best friend, John Frith, in a letter just before he was burned alive for believing and speaking the truth of Scripture:
Your cause is Christ’s gospel, a light that must be fed with the blood of faith. . . . If when we be buffeted for well-doing, we suffer patiently and endure, that is thankful with God; for to that end we are called. For Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps, who did no sin. Hereby have we perceived love that he laid down his life for us: therefore we ought to be able to lay down our lives for the brethren. . . . Let not your body faint. If the pain be above your strength, remember: “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, I will give it you.” And pray to our Father in that name, and he will ease your pain, or shorten it. . . . Amen.
1 David Daniell, William Tyndale: A Biography (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), p. 217.
2 For example, in More’s 1529 book, Dialogue Concerning Heresies.
3 Daniell, Tyndale, p. 4.
4 Thomas More wrote vastly more to condemn Tyndale than Tyndale wrote in his defense. After one book called An Answer Unto Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue (1531), Tyndale was done. For Thomas More, however, there were “close on three quarters of a million words against Tyndale . . . [compared to] Tyndale’s eighty thousand in his Answer.” Ibid., p. 277.
5 Ibid., p. 216.
6 Ibid.
7 William Tyndale, Selected Writings, edited with an introduction by David Daniell (New York: Routledge, 2003), p. ix. “Modern champions of the Catholic position like to support a view of the Reformation, that it was entirely a political imposition by a ruthless minority in power against both the traditions and the wishes of the pious people of England. . . . The energy which affected every human life in northern Europe, however, came from a different place. It was not the result of political imposition. It came from the discovery of the Word of God as originally written . . . in the language of the people. Moreover, it could be read and understood, without censorship by the Church or mediation through the Church. . . . Such reading produced a totally different view of everyday Christianity: the weekly, daily, even hourly ceremonies so lovingly catalogued by some Catholic revisionists are not there; purgatory is not there; there is no aural confession and penance. Two supports of the Church’s wealth and power collapsed. Instead there was simply individual faith in Christ the Saviour, found in Scripture. That and only that ‘justified’ the sinner, whose root failings were now in the face of God, not the bishops or the pope.” Daniell, Tyndale, p. 58.
8 Daniell, Tyndale, p. 79.
9 “Not for nothing did William Tyndale, exiled in Cologne, Worms and Antwerp use the international trade routes of the cloth merchants to get his books into England, smuggled in bales of cloth.” Ibid., p. 15.
10 Ibid., p. 188.
11 Ibid., p. 316.
12 “In the summer of 1382, Wyclif was attacked in a sermon preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, and his followers were for the first time denounced as ‘Lollards’—a loose and suitably meaningless term of abuse (‘mutterers’) current in the Low Countries for Bible students, and thus heretics.” David Daniell, The Bible in English: Its History and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 73.
13Gutenberg’s printing press came in 1450.
14“Tyndale transmitted an English strength which is the opposite of Latin, seen in the difference between ‘high’ and ‘elevated’, ‘gift’ and ‘donation’, ‘many’ and ‘multitudinous.’” Daniell, Tyndale, p. 3.
15Tyndale did not follow Luther in putting Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation in a special section of the New Testament set apart as inferior. “Tyndale, as shown later by his preface to James in his 1534 New Testament, is not only wiser and more generous—he is more true to the New Testament.” Ibid., p. 120.
16This is available now in print with all its original notes and introductions: Tyndale’s Old Testament, translated by William Tyndale (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992); as is Tyndale’s New Testament, translated by William Tyndale (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
17How could it be that Tyndale was martyred in 1536 for translating the Bible into English, and that his New Testament could be burned in London by Bishop Tunstall, and yet an entire printed Bible, essentially Tyndale’s, The Great Bible, could be published in England three years later officially endorsed by this Bible-burning bishop? Daniell explains: “Tunstall, whose name would shortly appear on the title pages approving two editions of the Great Bible, was playing politics, being a puppet of the Pope through Wolsey and the king, betraying his Christian humanist learning at the direction of the church, needing to be receiving [Thomas] Wolsey’s favor. . . . To burn God’s word for politics was to Tyndale barbarous.” Tyndale, p. 93.
18 Tyndale, Selected Writings, p. xi.
19Tyndale, p. 1. Daniell speaks with more precision elsewhere and says that the Authorized Version is 83 percent Tyndale’s (Tyndale, Selected Writings, p. vii). Brian Moynahan, in God’s Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible—A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2002, p. 1), confirms this with his estimates: Tyndale’s words “account for 84 percent of the [King James Version] New Testament and 75.8 percent of the Old Testament books that he translated.” Daniell also points out how remarkable the Old Testament translations were: “These opening chapters of Genesis are the first translations—not just the first printed, but the first translations—from Hebrew into English. This needs to be emphasized. Not only was the Hebrew language only known in England in 1529 and 1530 by, at the most, a tiny handful of scholars in Oxford and Cambridge, and quite possibly by none; that there was a language called Hebrew at all, or that it had any connection whatsoever with the Bible, would have been news to most of the ordinary population.” Tyndale, p. 287.
20 Tyndale, Selected Writings, p. xv.
21 Tyndale, p. 142.
22Ibid., p. 2.
23Ibid., p. 116.
24Tyndale, Selected Writings, p. xv.
25 Daniell, Tyndale, p. 121. “Tyndale gave the nation a Bible language that was English in words, word-order and lilt. He invented some words (for example, ‘scapegoat’) and the great Oxford English Dictionary has mis-attributed, and thus also mis-dated a number of his first uses.” (Ibid., p. 3)
26 “Tyndale could hardly have missed De copia.” Daniell, Tyndale, p. 43. This book went through 150 additions by 1572.
27 Ibid., p. 42.
28 Emrys Jones, The Origins of Shakespeare (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977), p. 13.
29 “Tyndale as conscious craftsman has been not just neglected, but denied: yet the evidence of the book that follows makes it beyond challenge that he used, as a master, the skill in the selection and arrangement of words which he partly learned at school and university, and partly developed from pioneering work by Erasmus.” Daniell, Tyndale, p. 2.
30 Ibid., p. 67.
31 Erasmus’ book was titled On the Freedom of the Will, and Luther’s was The Bondage of the Will.
32 Tyndale, Selected Writings, p. 39.
33 Ibid., p. 37.
34 Ibid., p. 40.
35 Daniell, Tyndale, pp. 68-69.
36 Ibid., p. 254.
37 Ibid., pp. 69-70.
38 “Central to Tyndale’s insistence on the need for the Scriptures in English was his grasp that Paul had to be understood in relation to each reader’s salvation, and he needed there, above all, to be clear.” Ibid., p. 139.
39Tyndale, Selected Writings, p. 40.
40 Here is Tyndale’s definition of the “gospel” that rings with exuberant joy: “Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy. . . . [This gospel is] all of Christ the right David, how that he hath fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them: whereby all men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the devil are without their own merits or deservings loosed, justified, restored to life and saved, brought to liberty and reconciled unto the favor of God and set at one with him again: which tidings as many as believe laud, praise and thank God, are glad, sing and dance for joy.” Ibid., p. 33.
41 Ibid., p. 37.
42 “Tyndale was more than a mildly theological thinker. He is at last being understood as, theologically as well as linguistically, well ahead of his time. For him, as several decades later for Calvin princes and in the 20th century Karl Barth) is the overriding message of the New Testament is the sovereignty of God. Everything is contained in that. It must never, as he wrote, be lost from sight. . . . Tyndale, we are now being shown, was original and new—except that he was also old, demonstrating the understanding of God as revealed in the whole New Testament. For Tyndale, God is, above all, sovereign, active in the individual and in history. He is the one as he put it, in whom alone is found salvation and flourishing.” Ibid., p. ix.
43 Ibid., p. 38.
44 Daniell, Tyndale, pp. 156-157.
45 See note 12.
46 Moynahan, God’s Bestseller, p. xxii.
47 William Tyndale, The Obedience of A Christian Man, edited with an introduction by David Daniell (London: Penguin Books, 2000), p. 202.
48 Moynahan, God’s Bestseller, p. 260.
49 Ibid., p. 261.
50 The list and details are given in Daniell, Tyndale, pp. 183-184.
51 Daniell, Tyndale, pp. 192-193.
52 Ibid., p. 149.
53 Ibid., p. 213.
54 Ibid., p. 361.
55 Ibid., p. 364.
56 Ibid., p. 365.
57 Ibid., p. 379.
58 Ibid., pp. 382-383. “Contemporaries noted no such words, however, only that the strangling was bungled and that he suffered terribly.” Moynahan, God’s Bestseller, p. 377.
59 Tyndale, The Obedience of a Christian Man, p. 6.
60 Ibid., p. 8.
61 Ibid., p. 6.



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RD

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:13 pm


Paul,
Thanks! I enjoyed that. I and all Christians owe an unpayable debt of gratitude to these hero’s. I am sure there are countless others, unknown, who likewise gave their all for the “cause of Christ”! I honor their memories and pray daily to live worthy of their legacy of faith, and hope I too will have the courage of conviction to stand for truth in my lowly sphere of influence.
The fact remains, neither Tindale, Wycliff, Bede, Erasmus, Coverdale, nor Cromwell, et al, nor the Bible itself, declared the Bible infallible. That is a modern day Christian dogma designed to close the heavens.



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:52 pm


What Does “Without Error” Mean?
The Bible is “without error” in the sense that all that the Biblical authors intended to teach is true and does not conflict with reality or with the will of God.
Explanation:
“…intended to teach…”
I use this phrase for two reasons:
1) A writer should not be accused of error because someone construes their words in a way the writer does not “intend.” The meaning of a text is not whatever anyone can construe from the words, but what the writer intends for the language to teach. For example, if I say to a friend in Detroit, “I’ll be there at 10 A.M.,” meaning Eastern Standard Time; and he construes the words to mean 10 A.M. Central Standard Time, I have not erred if I arrive an hour earlier than he expects. I may have been unclear, but I was not wrong. So the meaning of a writer should not be considered false just because the words could be used to express error.
2) The word “teach” reinforces this point by implying that a writer might say things which he is not teaching. For example, I may say to my son, “Pick your mother up at the town square.” My teaching is that he should get his mother at the place known as the “town square.” I am not teaching that he should lift her off the ground in his arms, nor am I teaching that the town square is the same length on all four sides. If the “town square” is 100’ by 105’ I have not erred, and if my son never touches his mother, but brings her home from there, he has not disobeyed. Both the word “intended” and the word “teach” are meant to protect a writer from accusation of error when there is none.
John Calvin affirms Scripture to be self-authenticating through the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. What is this “inner witness”? Not a special quality of experience, nor a new, private revelation, nor an existential “decision”, but a work of enlightenment whereby, through the medium of verbal testimony, the blind eyes of the spirit are opened, and divine realities come to be recognized and embraced for what they are. This recognition Calvin says, is as immediate and un-analyzable as the perceiving of a color, or a taste, by physical sense – an event about which no more can be said than that when appropriate stimuli were present it happened, and when it happened we know it had happened.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:33 pm


Paul,
That is all very interesting but the fact remains, the Bible doesn’t declared itself to be infallible. And Calvin isn’t infallible either.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:40 am


Let’s try an experiment. Let’s paraphrase Chief’s words. Let’s pretend that he is a 1st century Jewish person, and see how it sounds:
Chief says: I have another question:
A large part of this blog has been spent trying to say who or what is a Jew. Fine. I get that. Nazarenes accuse Jews of trying to disenfranchise them from the moniker “Jews.” However, if all Nazarenes want to be known as Jews, why do the missionaries continue to attempt to proselytize even after you’ve identified yourself as a Jew? If you are Jewish and we are Jewish, once we’ve identified ourselves, shouldn’t your missionaries say, “Amen, brother! Keep spreading the faith, and we will, too. See you later!”? Why do they continue to try and get me to read the Words of Jesus of Nazareth if we are all Jews, and I have already indicated to them that I follow Moses?
I think some of you are going overboard with the ‘persecute the poor Nazarenes’ complex.
So Chief, how would you answer that 1st Century Jew if you were a 1st Century follower of Jesus of Nazareth?



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Paul

posted August 1, 2007 at 6:02 am


Apparently Joseph Smith isn’t infallible either. Because Joseph gave varying and conflicting versions of his First Vision experience.
I guess the fact that the Bible claims to be the Word Of God means nothing 2 Timothy 3:16
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”
Inspiration in the mean original Hebrew literally means God Breathed.
There are some things in this world that require faith in the the Living God who is Jesus Christ



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 9:38 am


Paul,
No one has ever expressed or implied that Joseph Smith was infallible. So what is your point.
Criticism
Joseph Smith gave several accounts of the First Vision. Critics charge that differences in the accounts show that he changed and embellished his story over time, and that he therefore didn’t have any such vision.
Source(s) of the Criticism
* Richard Abanes, Becoming Gods: A Closer Look at 21st-Century Mormonism (Harvest House Publishers: 2005).
* Isaiah Bennett, Inside Mormonism: What Mormons Really Believe (Catholic Answers: 1999).
* Grant Palmer, An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins (Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, 2002).
* Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Case Against Mormonism, 2 vols., (Salt Lake City, 1967), 1:120–128.
* Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Changing World of Mormonism (Salt Lake City: 1980), 164.
* Search for the Truth DVD (2007) Resources
Response
Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints often seek to point out differences between the various accounts which Joseph Smith gave of his First Vision. In defense of their position that the Prophet changed his story over a six year period (1832 to 1838) they claim that the earliest followers of Joseph Smith either didn’t know about the First Vision, or seem to have been confused about it.
Comparison to Paul’s vision
Paul the apostle gave several accounts of his vision of the resurrected Lord while on the road to Damascus. Like Joseph Smith’s account of the First Vision, Paul’s accounts differ in some details but agree in the overall message. Richard Lloyd Anderson made the following comparisons.
Many Christians who comfortably accept Paul’s vision reject Joseph Smith’s. However, they aren’t consistent in their criticisms, for most arguments against Joseph Smith’s first vision would detract from Paul’s Damascus experience with equal force.
For instance, Joseph Smith’s credibility is attacked because the earliest known description of his vision wasn’t given until a dozen years after it happened. But Paul’s earliest known description of the Damascus appearance, found in 1 Corinthians 9:1, was recorded about two dozen years after his experience.
Critics love to dwell on supposed inconsistencies in Joseph Smith’s spontaneous accounts of his first vision. But people normally give shorter and longer accounts of their own vivid experiences when retelling them more than once. Joseph Smith was cautious about public explanations of his sacred experiences until the Church grew strong and could properly publicize what God had given him. Thus, his most detailed first vision account came after several others—when he began his formal history.
This, too, parallels Paul’s experience. His most detailed account of the vision on the road to Damascus is the last of several recorded. (See Acts 26:9–20.) And this is the only known instance in which he related the detail about the glorified Savior prophesying Paul’s work among the Gentiles. (See Acts 26:16–18.) Why would Paul include this previously unmentioned detail only on that occasion? Probably because he was speaking to a Gentile audience, rather than to a group of Jewish Christians. Both Paul and Joseph Smith had reasons for delaying full details of their visions until the proper time and place.[1]
The articles below are designed to help readers to see some of the weaknesses that are found in arguments that are made against Joseph Smith’s First Vision accounts. Some of these arguments are currently being advocated in anti-Mormon literature that is handed out near the Sacred Grove in Palmyra, New York.
Specific First Vision Issues
See; http://www.fairwiki.org/index.php/First_Vision_accounts
Conclusion
Joseph Smith’s various accounts of the First Vision were targeted at different audiences, and had different purposes. They, however, show a remarkable degree of harmony between them. There is no evidence that the early leaders of the LDS Church did not understand that the Prophet saw two Divine Personages during his inaugural theophany.
Endnotes
1. [back] Richard L. Anderson, “Parallel Prophets: Paul and Joseph Smith,” Ensign (April 1985).
Paul, You really should get out more and do a little research on your own. Your anti-mormon “friend’s” scholarship is so shoddy, it is an embarrassment that you are swallowing it hook, line and sinker.



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rotorhead

posted August 1, 2007 at 9:50 am


Paul,
You seem to be lost in a never ending loop…
Of course Joseph Smith was infallible…he was a man. Only Jesus Christ was (is) infallible.
2Tim 3:16. If that’s the best you can come up with to show the Bible is infallible, then I rest my case. The Bible, unfortunately has some error in it, missing scripture as originally given and yes, through whatever intent, it has some “changed” doctrine.
1. I refer you to Genesis 6:6. Why would an all knowing (Omnipotent) God ever have need to “Repent”? Did He not know man was going to become evil and corrupt and therefore He would need to destroy the earth with a flood? Or was He just winging it?
2. If the “Trinity” (a word not found in the Bible) were a true doctrine, then I would have to ask, Who was minding the universe when Jesus was a little baby in Mary’s arms? Did your “three in one” (solid, gas and liquid) separate?
3. Luke 3: 21-22 “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the HOLY GHOST descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” Can you explain this manifestation of THREE separate beings all at the same time as being “ONE” God? In your world can God appear together as three separate entities and still be ONE?



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kyle

posted August 1, 2007 at 11:21 am


Boy, has this string degenerated since my computer went in the shop 3 days ago. Let me summerize.
First, we “traditional Christians” decided long ago that we were never going to allow ourselves to be affiliated with Mormonism because it is really, really weird. It was easy to make people believe Mormons weren’t Christians when they were just an obscure sect in the Rocky Mountains, but when people started to find out that they actually did worship Christ, we changed tactics and started insisting that Mormons believe in a “different Jesus” than we do. I’m sorry Mormons, but we’re going to keep changing the definition of Christianity to keep you out, so there’s no way you can win this one. But you have to understand why you get this special treatment. You see, we equate Christianity with salvation, and we don’t want to admit that Mormons can be saved. You’re just too strange to share Heaven with. As a “traditional Christian” I can have all sorts of weird beliefs and still go to heaven. I can believe in Bigfoot, UFOs, a literal 7 day creation, or that Sam Brownback will be our next president, and I still get to go to heaven. Mormons, on the other hand, will all go to Hell no matter what they say they believe and no matter what they do because they misunderstood the exact nature of God. That is the “Mormons aren’t Christians” argument in a nutshell.



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Mike

posted August 1, 2007 at 11:22 am


Again, we are suffering from a lack of logic and a desire to be contentious. I find it startling that I have been accused of so many things personally, I haven’t gotten into personal attacks on this blog, the problem is that everyone here is overtaken with emotion and can’t comprehend the LOGIC.
To Mike Bennion who claims that because the Nazarenes wanted to be known as Jews, they are therefore Jews (to be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to say in these statements but am quite confident that they are not Jews because they simply want to be), I say again that Judaeism is defined by the thousands of years of tradition and history associated with it. If there is a deviation from these facts, they no longer can claim to be building on what has been laid as the “foundation” of Judeaism.
The real problem is, Mormons seem to have a problem with this! I am not being viscious in my reasoning here, read these postings and you will see that it is not enough to believe in the Mormon tradition. All I am trying to explain is that by associating yourself as a Christian, it NECESSARILY entails that you are building on the foundation of those who have gone before you, who are ALSO Christian (this is where the term Orthodoxy is relevant).
The question is again, Does Mormonism Build on This Same Foundation? The answer is NO. As an Orthodox Christian, do I care, YES. The reason is that your doctrines are a deviation from traditional Christianity. This is a matter of tradition and history and theology for that matter. You believe in Christ through the Mormon tradition NOT the Christian tradition. That is a simple fact.
I will use another anology (and try not to talk in circles like other anologies I have read, which seem to not have a definitive POINT). If I all of a sudden decide I want to be and Arab Muslim but decide not to pray 5 times a day, don’t learn Arabic, don’t face Mecca (I am not praying anyway), decide not to travel to Mecca (Haj). Can I really claim to be an Arab Muslim? By what standard are we as a people supposed to evaluate my claim? On the basis of tradition, culture, the Qu’ran, etc…
I will say again, there is nothing with my personal belief that I am in fact and Arab Muslim, but I should not react indignant when someone who was raised in that tradition decides to question my claims.
What is more, to the gentleman who claims that there is an economical facet to this argument I will simply say, as a layperson, I have no stake in the economy of the church, and especially (since I attend a non-denominational church) have no stake in my church “losing money”. This is absolutely absurd to make a general statement like this. My motivation is purely theological and soteriological. I genuinely believe (as you do), that you are wrong in your theology.
I should also ask the question, is your motivation for doing mission economical in nature? Are you simply trying to win people for the sake of money? If so, you should reevaluate whether that is Biblical and Book of Mormonical. If not, why the charge that all we care about is money, while you too are suffering from the same desires, namely to spread what you perceive to be the truth irregardless of economical concerns (which is absurd). If economical concerns were true, why is the gospel growing in the most poor places in the world? (you must be able to substantiate your claims…just for the future…it doesn’t work to make assertions, that is what they call “drive-by”, and while it gets people on here to say AMEN, YEAH, WHOOHOO, it really doesn’t add to the intelligent conversation).



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:07 pm


Mike,
You still didn’t ask the question “Why do you want to exclude believers in Jesus Christ from claiming the title of Christian?” What is YOUR motive?



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:08 pm


Sorry that should read “You still didn’t answer the question . . ”



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:50 pm


GB,
You can’t have it both ways. Mormons for years did not want to be associated with the word ‘Christian.’ Now, in the past few decades, they want to be classified as ‘Christians.’ I believe that the words “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” was not added to the cover page of the Book of Mormon until 1981.
You want to be called Christians even though you discount some of the scripture that true Christians hold dear. If I say that I don’t believe in the Doctrines & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, or the Book of Mormon, can I still call myself a Mormon, seeing that I worship Christ as my savior?
Mormons have and still feel that they are unfairly persecuted and that the LDS church never criticizes other religions. I can agree with some of that. However, if you read about very early Mormon church history, you will see that Joseph Smith was reviled and hated by non-Mormons, not because he was saying Mormonism was the one true church (even the Roman Catholics and the Baptists were doing and still do that) but because he was ranting and raving about the other denominations and saying hateful things and stirring up violence, such that the people of the towns he was living in up and threw him and his followers out. Joseph was not one for spreading the love of Christ to people who rejected his message (remember, he was jailed for ordering that the printing press at the Nauvoo newspaper destroyed after it starting printing articles that showed Mormonism in an unfavorable light). So Mormons gave as good as they got.
Several people on this board have expressed exasperation that evangelicals keep trying to ‘save’ Mormons, when they feel like they are saved already. Again, I am fine with that. If you feel you are following Christ and obeying His commands, Amen and keep on soldiering! However, when I have talked to Mormons, and express that I in fact have received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior, they keep trying to convert me to Mormonism! Why? If we are all Christians, why should you care if I hold to the doctrines of your church or not? If the bottom line is to follow Christ, and I say I do, why try to get me to convert to the LDS church? I read my Bible, pray every day and night, try to live out my faith in what I say and do and think, and give my tithe to the church and do whatever I can to help those in need. James says this in his epistle: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I think some of you are trying to have your cake and eat it, too. And that you think, like Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and James Talmedge and Bruce McConkie et al. that non-Mormon Christians are not really ‘saved’ at all. Evangelicals have a mission to the Mormon church to preach the truth and have them repent from what we believe is a false gospel. Mormons do the same to us; that is why Christians do not call themselves Mormons, and why Mormons should not call themselves Christians. We both try to proslytize each other, so obviously neither of our faiths really believes that the other is very similar to ourselves.
Just my opinion….



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Mike

posted August 1, 2007 at 1:11 pm


GB,
In fact I have answered that question OVER and OVER again. My motivation is that I perceive the Mormon view of Christ as a perversion of the traditional/foundational/historical/theological and is subsequently deficient in its claims to be “Christian”. In life there are unfortunate realities, one of them as that there are “absolutes” when it comes to determining and evaluating claims. They must be based on every one of those tenets I mentioned above and more. A claim is made, fine, we must back it up. My contention is that Christianity is not simply believing in some FORM of Christ, it is an adherence to the faith tradition upon which his church was built (not Church traditions, faith traditions, and all the mess that went with it, just as any growing organism has its trials).
My motivation (I will say it again) is theological and soteriological (I get the feeling you don’t read the posts with any scholarship as I have made this abundantly clear many times). If salvation differs in one from another (which we would agree that they do, otherwise we will fall back into the “Mormons” trying to convert “Christians” TO “Christianity”, which is a self-defeating approach), then there has to be a distinction made in terms of order to avoid confusion, this seems to me a basic principle.
What is more, since there is a difference in SUBSTANTIVE teachings between the traditions, this is where I am confused on the insistance of Mormons to be identified as Christians. In the same way, my substance is different than that of the Jews and therefore will not desire to be associated as a Jew.
Further, the practical reasons abound for wanting a distinction and my whole argument is that BOTH SIDES ALREADY HAVE ONE but the Mormons maintain that Christians are just persecuting them. It is never occured that THIS IS THE REASON. The persecution is in scholarship, and if it is carried out any differently, I cannot condone that, however, I will continue to fight the scholarly battle of logic for the sake of educated reasoning and a desire for standards to be upheld so as to not confuse truth with perversity (on all levels, not just in this argument).



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 1:30 pm


Comparing LDS Beliefs With First–Century Christianity
by Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks
Since the inception of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many critics have denied that it is Christian. Surprisingly, the basis for the claim has little to do with the standard definition of Christian: anyone or any group that believes in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Son of God. Rather, it has to do with Latter-day Saint doctrines that some feel are alien to “traditional Christianity,” where “traditional Christianity” means that body of beliefs held by most present-day Christian churches. The argument essentially goes that if the LDS church believes in certain doctrines not believed in by most present-day Christian churches, then the LDS church cannot be Christian.
The problem with this argument is that the major doctrines under attack are amazingly similar to Christian beliefs held during the New Testament period and the generations immediately following.
Does the New Testament define Christianity?
The Gospels lack any explicit treatment of the word Christian. Indeed, the word appears only three times in the New Testament, and never from the mouth of Christ himself. The word Christianity is entirely absent from the New Testament.
Acts 11:26 tells us that “the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Here, the passive construction “were called Christians” suggests that the term was first used not by Christians, but by non-Christians. (Similarly, the names Yankee and Mormon were first used by outsiders.)
The term was probably modeled on such words as Herodian and Caesarian, already in circulation at that time, and meant nothing more complicated than Christ’s people or, perhaps, partisans of Christ. Note that the Christian congregation at Antioch represented a wide range of backgrounds, including Jews and non-Jews. These believers displayed the whole spectrum of attitudes toward the Jewish law—from continued adherence to the traditions of Judaism to rejection of all things Jewish.
The next mention of the term Christian is in Acts 26:28, where Agrippa makes his famous reply to Paul: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” The Apostle had related to Agrippa and Festus the story of his conversion. The doctrinal content of Paul’s speech is simple and straightforward: Paul bears witness that Jesus had been foretold by the Jewish prophets, that he suffered and rose from the dead, and that forgiveness may be obtained through him. Paul described Christ’s mission as summoning people to “repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” (Acts 26:20.) The scriptural account gives no indication that Paul had to correct Agrippa’s use of the word Christian to describe one who believes in these basic doctrines.
First Peter 4:16 is the last instance of the word’s appearance in the New Testament. This verse is virtually without doctrinal definition, merely assuring the believer that he need not be ashamed if he suffer as a “Christian.” Even here, the term may be one that persecuting outsiders were using. It may have derived from current Roman, that is, non-Christian, legal usage.
In each of these instances, the term appears to originate from someone outside the community of believers themselves. In neither of the two passages from Acts does Paul use the word himself; it is non-Christians who use it. Where the term is used, the stated and implied beliefs of the Christians are far different from the present-day beliefs used to deny that Latter-day Saints are Christians, as can be clearly shown.
Is it true that because Latter-day Saints reject the traditional doctrine of the Trinity, they are not Christians?
The Church’s first Article of Faith is “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” This is a straightforward statement of belief that there are three members in the Godhead. However, Latter-day Saints do reject the doctrines of the Trinity as taught by most Christian churches today. For the most part, these creeds—the most famous of which is the Nicene Creed—were canonized in the fourth and fifth centuries A.D. following centuries of debate about the nature of the Godhead. Consequently, it is highly questionable whether these creeds reflect the thinking or beliefs of the New Testament church.
“The exact theological definition of the doctrine of the Trinity,” notes J. R. Durnmelow, “was the result of a long process of development, which was not complete until the fifth century, or maybe even later.”1 As Bill Forrest remarks, “To insist that a belief in the Trinity is requisite to being Christian, is to acknowledge that for centuries after the New Testament was completed thousands of Jesus’ followers were in fact not really ‘Christian.’”2 Certainly the revelatory manner by which Joseph Smith learned of the doctrine of the Godhead pierces through the centuries-old debate on the subject.
Is it true that because Latter-day Saints believe that human beings can eventually become like God, they are not Christian?
As even a cursory glance at early Christian thought reveals, the idea that man might become as God—known in Greek as theosis or theopoiesis —may be found virtually everywhere, from the New Testament through the writings of the first four centuries.3 Church members take seriously such passages as Psalm 82:6, John 10:33–36, and Philippians 2:5–6, in which a plurality of gods and the idea of becoming like God are mentioned.
The notion of theosis is characteristic of church fathers Irenaeus (second century A.D.), Clement of Alexandria (third century A.D.), and Athanasius (fourth century A.D.). Indeed, so pervasive was the doctrine in the fourth century that Athanasius’s archenemies, the Arians, also held the belief and the Origenist monks at Jerusalem heatedly debated “whether all men would finally become like Christ or whether Christ was really a different creature.”4
According to an ancient formula, “God became man that man might become God.” Early Christians “were invited to ‘study’ to become gods” (note the plural).5
Though the idea of human deification waned in the Western church in the Middle Ages, it remained very much alive in the Eastern Orthodox faith, which includes such Christian sects today as the Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches.6 Jaroslav Pelikan notes, “The chief idea of St. Maximus, as of all Eastern theology, [was] the idea of deification.”7
Is the subject of deification truly a closed question? After all, echoes of man becoming like God are still found in the work of later and modem writers in the West. For instance, C. S. Lewis’s writings are full of the language of human deification.8 Even Martin Luther was capable of speaking of the “deification of human nature,” although in what sense it is not clear.9
Related to the claim that Latter-day Saints are not Christians because of their belief in deification is the assertion that if they hold to some kind of belief in deification then it must be that Church members do not view Jesus as uniquely divine. Such an assertion is totally erroneous. The phrase “Only Begotten Son” occurs with its variants at least ten times in the Book of Mormon, fourteen times in the Doctrine and Covenants, and nineteen times in the Pearl of Great Price. Basic to Latter-day Saint theology is the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of the Father in the flesh.
Is it true that because Latter-day Saints practice baptism for the dead, they are not Christian?
The argument that Latter-day Saints cannot be Christians because they practice baptism for the dead presumes that it has been definitely established that 1 Corinthians 15:29 has nothing to do with an early Christian practice of baptism for the dead. The argument ignores the fact that such second-century groups as the Montanists and Marcionites—who are invariably referred to as Christians—practiced a similar rite. The practice was condemned in A.D. 393 by the Council of Hippo, which certainly implies that it was still a vital issue.10 As Hugh Nibley has shown in great detail, many of the Church Fathers understood this verse literally, even when they did not always know what to make of it.11
Mormon temple ritual in general is another source of controversy, largely because many think that the reticence to talk about it is not Christian. But the New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias has shown that “the desire to keep the most sacred things from profanation”—a concern shared by the Latter-day Saints—is widely found in the New Testament and in the early Christian community.12
The second-century church father Ignatius of Antioch was known to have held “secret” doctrines. The historian Tertullian (second century A.D.) even takes the heretics to task because they provide access to their services to everyone without distinction. As a result, the demeanor of these heretics becomes frivolous, merely human, without seriousness and without authority.13
The pagan critic Celsus (second century A.D.) probably referred to Christianity as a “secret system of belief” because access to the various ordinances of the church—baptism and the sacrament—was available only to the initiated. In his response to Celsus, Origen (third century A.D.) readily admitted that many practices and doctrines were not available to everyone, but he argues that this was not unique to Christianity.14 As late as the fourth century, some groups were making efforts to return to an earlier Christian tradition of preserving certain doctrines and practices for the initiated only.15
Is it true that because Latter-day Saints do not accept the Bible as their sole authority in faith and doctrine, they are not Christians?
Latter-day Saints accept the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price as scriptural, in addition to the Bible. But the whole question of canon—which writings are sacred, inspired, and binding on disciples—has always been a complicated one in the history of traditional Christianity.
In the earliest period of the Christian church, it is difficult to see a distinction being made between canonical writings and some books not in the present Protestant canon. For example, the Epistle of Jude draws heavily on noncanonical books such as 1 Enoch and The Assumption of Moses. As E. Isaac says of 1 Enoch, “It influenced Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, 1 John, Jude (which quotes it directly) and Revelation (with numerous points of contact)…in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, the final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism.”16
The so-called Muratorian Fragment, dating from the late second century A.D., shows that some Christians of the period accepted the Apocalypse of Peter as scripture. Clement of Alexandria, writing around A.D. 200, seems to admit a New Testament canon of thirty books, including the Epistle of Barnabas, the Epistle of Clement, and the Preaching of Peter. Origen recognized the Epistle of Barnabas and the letter from the Shepherd of Hermas.17
Even in more recent times, the question of canon has not been unanimously resolved. Martin Luther characterized the Epistle of James as “an epistle of straw”—largely because it seemed to disagree with his teaching of justification by faith alone—and mistrusted the book of Revelation.18 Roman Catholics and the Orthodox churches tend to accept the Apocrypha as canonical—books included in their Bibles but left out of most Protestant Bibles, including the current King James Version. In fact, Eastern Orthodox churches have never settled the question of canon. A number of scholars have pointed out that the church has priority, both logically and historically, over the Bible—that is, a group of believers existed before a certain body of texts, such as the books of the Old and New Testament, were declared canonical.19
Is it true that because Latter-day Saints deny the doctrine of original sin, they are not Christian?
The notion of original sin as it is usually understood today in traditional Christianity is a distinctly late invention that evolved from the controversies of the fourth and fifth centuries. Tertullian (second century A.D.), who was very concerned with the idea of sin, says nothing of the doctrine of original sin. Indeed, very few of the Church Fathers up to the fourth century show any interest in it at all. It was not clearly enunciated until Augustine (fourth/fifth century) needed it in his battle with the Christian Pelagians, who denied the doctrine, and it came to be associated with the Council of Carthage in A.D. 418.20
As Norbert Brox points out, “Pelagian theology was the traditional one, especially in Rome. But the Africans, under the theological leadership of Augustine, managed to make their charge of heresy stick within the church, thereby establishing the Augustinian theology of grace as the basis of the Western tradition.”21 Some modern scholars now raise the issue that Augustine, and not Pelagius, was the real heretic.22
Is it true that because Latter-day Saints reject the doctrine of salvation by grace alone, they are not Christians?
Perhaps the most famous statement of the Latter-day Saint understanding of the relation between grace and works is in 2 Nephi 25:23: “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” This idea is sometimes called synergism —a term Van A. Harvey has used to describe Roman Catholicism.23
The doctrine that salvation depends both on God’s grace and man’s good works is very old in Catholic theology. One of the canons at the Council of Trent specifically repudiates the notion of grace alone: “If anyone saith that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sin for Christ’s sake alone; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified, let him be anathema.”24 Are we to say, then, that Roman Catholicism is not Christian because it does not subscribe to the doctrine of salvation by grace alone?
The doctrine of salvation through faith alone, sometimes called solafidianism, is not a biblical doctrine: there are no instances in the New Testament of the phrases “grace alone” or “faith alone.” The philosopher-theologian Frederick Sontag argues that Jesus himself was interested not in words, and not even in theological dogma, but in action: For the Jesus in Matthew, he says, “Action is more important than definition.”25 Richard Lloyd Anderson shows that even in Paul’s major treatments of the doctrine of grace, particularly in Romans and Ephesians, there is a balancing element of works as well.26 Other New Testament writers, most notably James, make it clear that saving faith can only be recognized through works: “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17.)
The generations immediately following the New Testament period also recognized the need for both grace and works for salvation. The famous Didache—The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles—which dates back to before A.D. 70, is conspicuous for its moralism and legalism.27 It is also significant that “the oldest datable literary document of Christian religion soon after the time of the Apostles”—the letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, written in the last decade of the first century—emphasizes “good works, as it is in the Epistle of James, which may belong to the same time.”28 The second-century document Shepherd of Hermas contains twelve commandments. J. L. Gonzales writes that they “are a summary of the duties of a Christian, and Hermas affirms that in obeying them there is eternal life.”29
Even F. F. Bruce, who contends that Paul taught a doctrine of salvation by grace alone, concurs sadly that the doctrine was not a part of the early Christian church: “The Biblical doctrine of divine grace, God’s favour shown to sinful humanity, …seems almost, in the post-apostolic age, to reappear only with Augustine. Certainly the majority of Christian writers who flourished between the apostles and Augustine do not seem to have grasped what Paul was really getting at…Marcion has been called the only one of these writers who understood Paul.”30
Marcion, incidentally, was a second-century gnostic Christian who distinguished between the gods of the Old and New Testament. He felt that the Old Testament deity was a lesser deity than the God of the New Testament and rejected the Old Testament entirely, as well as any New Testament writing “tainted” with Old Testament ideas. Marcion produced a canon of scripture that recognized no Apostle of Jesus except Paul. He considered the other Apostles falsifiers of God.
By contrast, in the fourth century, one prominent Christian bishop was teaching the necessity of rituals. “If any man receive not Baptism,” wrote Cyril of Jerusalem, “he hath not salvation.” He also wrote about an ordinance of anointing, which he called “chrism”: “Having been counted worthy of this Holy Chrism, ye are called Christians… For before you were deemed worthy of this grace, ye had no proper claim to that title.”31
The Eastern Orthodox churches also do not accept solafidianism, the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. “Eastern Orthodox Christians emphasize a unity of faith and works. For the Orthodox, being conformed to the image of Christ…includes a response of our faith and works.”32 Sensing the danger that a “grace alone” position could become “cheap grace” (to borrow an expression from the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer) or “a theologically thin, no-sweat Christianity,” some modern Protestant writers have adopted a similar position, recognizing that works also play a vital role in salvation.33
With so many other past and present Christians rejecting the position that grace alone brings salvation, excluding the Latter-day Saints from “Christianity” for their belief in faith and works is not justified.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints easily meet the definition of a Christian as implicitly defined in the New Testament: they believe that ancient prophets foretold Christ’s coming, that Jesus Christ suffered for our transgressions, that he was put to death but rose from the dead, that through him we may obtain forgiveness of our sins, and that he will come again in glory.
The doctrinal reasons some Christians give for excluding the Latter-day Saints from Christianity make little sense, because many of the doctrines used by traditional Christianity are late developments, reflective of creeds formulated in the fourth and fifth century or developed during the Reformation.
Given the wide variety of beliefs among the various Christian churches, it is better to take persons claiming to be Christians at their word and to let the Lord be the judge.
Daniel C. Peterson, an instructor of Arabic at Brigham Young University, serves on the Church Curriculum Gospel Doctrine Writing Committee. Stephen D. Ricks is an associate professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at BYU. He is currently accompanying faculty in the university’s travel study program in Israel.
Notes
1. Cited by Bill Forrest, “Are Mormons Christians?” Mormon Miscellaneous Response Series (Salt Lake City: Mormon Miscellaneous, n.d.).
2. Ibid.
3. See appropriate index entries in Jaroslav Pelikan, The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100–600): The Christian Tradition (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1971) and the index entry “Salvation —defined as deification,” in The Spirit of Eastern Christendom (600–1700): The Christian Tradition (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1974). See also K, E. Norman, Deification: The Content of Athanasian Soteriology, Ph.D. dissertation, Duke Univ., 1980.
4. Clyde L. Manschreck, A History of Christianity in the World, 2d. ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 1985), p. 52.
5. P. Barlow, “Unorthodox Orthodoxy: The Idea of Deification in Christian History,” Sunstone 8 (Sep./Oct. 1983):16–17.
6. See G. I. Mantzarides, The Deification of Man: Saint Gregory Palamas and Orthodox Tradition, trans. Liadain Sherrard (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1984).
7. The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, p. 10.
8. A Grief Observed (New York: Bantam Books, 1963), pp. 84–85; Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan, 1960), pp. 138–40,174,187.
9. Jack R. Pressau, I’m Saved, You’re Saved…Maybe (Atlanta: John Knox, 1977), p. 57; A. Nygren, Agape and Eros, trans. Philip S. Watson (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982), p. 734.
10. Samuel M. Gilimour, “Baptism for the Dead,” in An Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. V. Ferm (New York: The Philosophical Library, 1945), p. 54.
11. “Baptism for the Dead in Ancient Times,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1948, pp. 786–88, 836; Jan. 1949, pp. 24–26, 60; Feb. 1949, pp. 90– 91, 109–10, 112; Mar. 1949, pp. 146–48, 180–83; Apr. 1949, pp. 212–14.
12. The Eucharistic Words of Jesus (New York: Scribner’s, 1966), p. 130.
13. Tertullianus, Apologia 7–8; De praescriptionibus adversus haereticos 41.
14. Ongen, Contra Celsum 1:7.
15. Norbert Brox, Kirchengeschichte des Altertums (Düsseldorf, West Germany: Patmos Verlag, 1983), p. 134.
16. E. Isaac, “1 (Ethiopic Apocalypse of) Enoch,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, ed. J. H. Charlesworth, 2 vols, (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1983), 1:10. See also “Apocrypha,” in The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. G. A. Buttrick (Nashville. Abingdon, 1953), 1:161–69.
17. Manschreck, p. 33.
18. R. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville: Abingdon–Cokesbury Press, 1950), pp. 177, 331–32; Max Lackmann, Sola Fide: Eine exegetische Studie über Jakobus 2 zur reformatorischen Rechtfertigurigslehre (Gutersloh, West Germany: C. Bertelsmann Verlag, 1949).
19. H. Holzapfel, Die Sekten in Deutschland (Regensburg, West Germany: Verlag Josef Kuesel & Friedrich Pustet A. G., 1923), pp. 20, 23–27; P. Johnson, A History of Christianity (New, York: Atheneum, 1983), p. 22.
20. K. Rahner, “Original Sin,” in Sacramentum Mundi: An Encyclopedia of Theology, ed. Rahner et al., 6 vols. (London: Burns and Oates, 1969), 4:329.
21. Kirchengeschichte, p. 141 (authors’ translation).
22. W. E. Phipps, “The Heresiarch: Pelagius or Augustine?” Anglican Theological Review 62 (1980):124–33.
23. A Handbook of Theological Terms (London: George Allen Unwin, 1966), p. 199.
24. Session V1, Canon 12, cited in L. Boettner, Roman Catholicism (Phillipsburg, N.J.: The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1986), p. 261.
25. “The Once and Future Christian,” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 19 (1986):116–18.
26. Understanding Paul (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983), pp. 185–86, 272–76, 355–62.
27. Justo L. Gonzales, A History of Christian Thought, 3 vols (Nashville: Abingdon, 1970), 1:69, 94–96.
28. Werner Jaeger, Early Christianity and Greek Paideia (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1961), pp 12, 15–16.
29. Gonzales, p. 89.
30. The Spreading Flame (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979), p. 334.
31. Catechetical Lectures 3:10; 21:5.
32. W. G. Rusch, “Getting to Know the Orthodox,” The Lutheran, 2 Apr. 1986, p. 12.
33. Pressau, p. 38. See also J. Macquarrie, An Existentialist Theology (Harmondsworth, England: Penguin Books, 1973), pp. 144–49.
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.php?table=transcripts&id=93



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TwentyFirstCenturyPuritan

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:03 pm


Very Interesting Arguments Indeed; however, The major points concerning the Trinity, Faith Alone, and so forth are very misrepresented here.
1/ Do the mormons believe in the Trinity the way the Bible teaches it?
The answer would have to be no, since mormons do not believe in the Deity of Christ. They believe that Jesus is a God, but not The God. This statement goes back way before Christians, but back to the Jews. “Here O Israel, The Lord our God is One Lord.” There are numerous verses in the bible to support the fact that Jesus is The God, not just a god. The issue goes deeper and shows a misunderstanding of what man is and his nature. If Jesus was not God, but a created being He could not have died and paid for the sins of His people (True Christains not just professing.) If Jesus is not God, we are still damned. Only God himself can fulfill His own Law, and pay the price for it. God’s law demands eternal punishment, therefore only an eternal being could pay for it on behalf of others. The mormon misinterpretation of the Bible in John 1 is on purpose, and no reputable Greek Scholar would back up the position. The same in Matthew when Christ is tsalking to the Pharisees about Abraham rejoicing to see His day. “Before Abraham was, I AM” is the correct interpretation. The tense and verbage that the mormon church uses has been stated by Greek Scholars as Non-existent. to say “Before Abraham Was, I have Been” is a major twisting of scripture, and the words “ego eimi” have been translated in all other instances to I AM, but in this one case is not is foolishness.
The whole biblical narrative of the Jews and Christ also support the fact the Jesus is God. The whole reason they crucified Him was because according to the preceeding passage in Matthew, when He made that statement, they knew what He meant, they knew He was saying that He was the same God who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. That is why they crucified Him, for blasphemy.
2/ The mormon doctrine of 2 Nephi 25:23: “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” is not what Christ taught.
Works has never been, nor ever will be a way of salvation, whether it be fully works, or Christ and works. Eph 2:8 “By grace you have been saved by faith, not of works unless any man shall boast.” so what should I believe? The Bible or Joseph Smith? a proven liar and cheat.
First. What work could I do? Second. When Isaiah says all of my work are like filthy rags, how can I then rely on my works? Third. Working for salvation makes God my debtor.
Romans 4:4 “Now to him who works, his wages are not counted as a gift, but his due.” God is debtor to no man. God owes no man anything. Man deserves Hell, but has been given a gift by the grace of God, how can he then work for it. Ten thousand eternities could never pay it off. It even states that if we work for it we will get our wage. The wage could never repay the debt of one sin. So God will not be owing to any man and the man who works will get the reward of his works, and the works are filthiness, what good are they? They have their place which I will show later.
Romans 4:5 “And to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness.” By these two scriptures alone I am to believe that I cannot work to be justified, but must believe, and the alone added 6to faith alone, simply states Nothing else, not works, not good living, not not doing anything wrong.
Romans 3:10-18 would also disprove “after all we can do” because it plainly says we can’t do anything anyway.
Rom 3:10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Rom 3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
Rom 3:13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
Rom 3:14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
Rom 3:15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
Rom 3:17 and the way of peace they have not known.”,
Rom 3:18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This no-one and all means everyone, you, me, everyone. 3:12 “no one does good, not even one.” So what is the all I can do?
3/ Having disproved works as a base for salvation, do they have their place? Yes – How?
Good works are only done by True Christians, not just those who say they are Christians. What is a True Christian? Ah the crux of the matter. A True Christian is a regenerated person, led by the Holy Spirit to become a child of God. A Christian is not someone who says they are a Christian, but exhibits the characterstics the Bible says a True Christian is.
What good is a profession of “I am a Christian?” Nothing!!!! It is the actions that are the proof of Christianity, but not just all actions. not the actions made in the flesh, but with the fruits of the Spirit. Galatians 5 lists them, Love, Joy, Peace….. The mormon doctrine (and some others) that we are all God’s Children is not biblically correct either. Rom 8:14 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Most so-called Christians today (my term Christian is what the bible says a Christian is)
Rom 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6 To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Rom 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
Rom 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Rom 8:12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
Rom 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Rom 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
Rom 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Rom 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
Rom 8:17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Most people who call themselves Christian today, are not Christians in the sense of this passage. The profess, but don’t confess. If 75% of Americans are Christian, why do we have abortion on demand? Why do we not have the death penalty for murderers? Why do we have the gay marriage debate? Why do we not allow prayer in schools? Why do we not allow the ten commandments in schools? why are Christian beliefs excluded while muslim and other beliefs are allowed reign? Simple, What the people call Christian today is not Christian! but even more important than moral, is if mormons are Christians in the true sense of the word, why do they not believe in the deity of Christ? why do they believe you can work for your salvation? Why do they believe in polygamy? why do they misinterpret and publish scripture to fit their beliefs? Why do they add a new testament or covenant to Jesus Christ who in Hebrews is the mediator of one covenant, a new covenant, a new covenant in His blood.
The cantradictions are numerous between the Bible and the book of mormon. Which can you believe. the Bible has been around longer, and every day more of its statements are proven true historical fact. The satetemtns of Joseph Smith himself contradict what God says about certain things. Joseph Smith said He had a vision of the Father and the Son; however, John 1 says no man hath seen the Father at any time, save the Son who declares Him. Not even Moses could see God, only his hindparts, and he glowed so that he had to cover his face, how then should I believe Joseph Smith? The mormon church even says that they are the true church after the church had been corrupted. Yet Christ himself say the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, so how could it have been corrupted?
4/ Hebrews says that “God in times past and in various ways spoke to us through the prophets, but in these last days has spoken to us by His Son.” If God’s Son has spoken, who can speak after Him? Who can bring out something new after God? Why would God use all of the prophets then spoken himself, why would He go back to using prophets after He spoke himself?
Conclusion:
The mormon religion can not be called Christian because they do not hold to what the bible simply and plainly says about what we are to believe concerning God. How Salvation is accomplished and applied. Who God is.
Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel (MARONI) from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone (Jospeh Smith)is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
It is a different Gospel and is not Christian, and should not be called Christian even if they try to use the same terminology Christians use.
CRI.org
Final, I have no doubt in my mind that some are decieved by the teachings of the mormon church and are sincere in their beliefs, but to be sincere in what is wrong is to be sincerely wrong. I will pray for myself that I am not deceived, and for those that are.”
TwentyFirstCenturyPuritan
I am open to talk or converse with anyone on this or any other Theological matter. My only rule is if you cannot support your beliefs by the Holy Bible, I would not waste yours or my time.
robertdhall3@hotmail.com



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Al Sigman

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:29 pm


I have read both articles written by Card and Mohler. They are well written and both contain great logic. However, the argumentive question that fostered the articles will never be satisfactorily answered in a forum of this nature or perhaps in any other man conceived forum.
The answer to the question of Mormonism being a false gospel lies within the grasp of every individual who sincerely wants an honest answer that one can “put in the bank”. By this I mean each individual must find the answer for himself through study and prayer and assistance of the Holy Spirit. If you are a non-believer in God, these steps will be essentially meaningless and a different tack would need to be taken. But, if you are a beliver in God, the answer is available. You need not be privy to all the background that these two writers have given, because when all is said and done, the answer comes to you as a result of your persistence to know the truth as you can understand it.
The admonition that I keep remembering is that the “Lord’s way is not man’s way” and that the Lord “hears things we do not hear and sees things that we do not see”. We are mistaken when we try to use man’s logic in determining the affairs of godhood. Trust me when I say if you open yourself to our Father in Heaven and to the Holy Spirit you will be successful. God speed!



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RD

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm


Twentyfirstcenturypuritan,
You need to “read” all that has been written in this trail of postings, then you will see that your major points have already been addressed, ad nauseum…
I also suggest that if you want to “Preach to the Choir” because you choose not to converse with others who believe the Bible fallible, you’ve come to the wrong forum…you need to go back to your Sunday school class and have them admire your profound knowledge of theological demagoguery…
Otherwise, buck up and take your lumps with the rest of us!



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:29 pm


When talking about canons of Scripture, it is obligatory for me to bring up the parallels between Solomon Spaulding’s 1812 book “Manuscript Found” and the book of Mormon. Spaulding’s cast of characters included the names “Mormon”, “Maroni”, “Lamenite”, and “Nephi.” Spaulding’s book was about a Roman from the old world who was blown off course and landed on the new world. Smith’s book is about Jews from the old world sailing out and finding the new world. There are other interesting parallels between the plot contrivances in Spaulding’s book (a search for buried treasure, the find written in an ancient language, buried on a high hill in a stone enclosure, of a people who became highly civilized and fought bloody battles, etc.) Of course, it is impossible today to know if the Spaulding text put ideas in the fertile young mind of Joseph, whose family (and numerous other families in the New England area) were living in a time where numerous stories of the genesis of Native Americans and buried treasure abounded. The Smith family seemed to be especially keen on finding the treasure of Captain Kidd, rumored at the time to have been buried along the northeastern coast. So a story about buried treasure and finding ancient artifacts would seem to naturally appeal to Smith.
Just stirring the gray matter…



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Mike

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:49 pm


RD,
I notice that you are quick to point out how Puritan’s points have been discussed ad nauseum, however, nobody has even attempted a criticism of my points. Perhaps you can enlighten me with your wisdom on these matters, or at least address the issues I have brought to light over the last 2 days.
Everyone seems to argue that those who bring up the same points should take time to read but then they too regurgitate the same points over and over again. My goal was to come at it from another angle, and nobody seems to want to have a civilized argument on these points.
Just want to get some dialogue going on logical matters instead of emotional ones.



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RD

posted August 1, 2007 at 5:42 pm


Sorry Mike,
It’s hard keeping up with who said what? Particularly difficult reading these lengthy expositions that seem more of a ‘cut & paste’ diatribe of others works than personal opinion and comment…I especially weary of the circumlocution that has crept in to the discussions…



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nowandlater

posted August 1, 2007 at 5:57 pm


The Spaulding Theory Debunked
By: Russell Anderson
Many Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have
claimed that Joseph Smith used a manuscript written by Solomon Spalding
as the basis for the Book of Mormon. In making this claim, these Critics
have resorted to the wrongful use of parallels in
historic analysis
, thus undermining their credibility as serious, and
objective, analyzers of history and religion. In fact, Fawn
Brodie
, an avowed critic of the LDS Church, in her book, “No
Man Knows my History
“, gives several good reasons why
she thinks the theory has no basis
.
The theory was originally given credance by “Doctor”
Philastus Hurlbut
who collected affidavits from residents of Ohio who
had heard Spaulding read his manuscript and they thought the Book of Mormon
sounded similar. When Spalding’s manuscript was shown to them, they could
see that there were major differences, so then they claimed that Spalding
wrote a later manuscript. Spalding’s manuscript was lost for many years.
When it was found and published in 1884 it was obvious that the only way
the theory could be maintained was to maintain that there was a second
manuscript.
Dr. Walter Martin, another avowed critic of
the LDS Church, takes the Spaulding theory one step further. He was so
convinced that the Spalding manuscript was the source of the Book of Mormon
that he has supported the outlandish effort to prove that an unknown scribe
of the Book of Mormon was actually Spalding. His assertion will also be
dealt with below.
I will review the theory in 8 areas:

The Original affidavits

Non-Hurlbut affidavits

Spalding’s Manuscript

“Second” Manuscript and connection
to Book of Mormon

Manuscript found in Hawaii

Conclusive Proof that 1884 find is the “Second”
manuscript

Handwriting Analysis Blind Alley

Appendix B from No Man Knows My History

The Original Affidavits
The Spaulding theory for the source of the Book of Mormon was started by
“Doctor” Philastus Hurlbut. He heard that citizens of Ohio thought they
recognized similarities between the Book of Mormon and an earlier manuscript
prepared by Dr. Solomon Spaulding. Affidavits from these residents were
published in Mormonism Unvailed in 1835. Fawn Brodie and Lester
Bush have commented about those statements.

It can clearly be seen that the affidavits were written by
Hurlbut, since the style is the same throughout. It may be noted also that
although five out of the eight had heard Spaulding’s story only once, there
was a surprising uniformity in the details they remembered after twenty-two
years. Six recalled the names Nephi, Lamanite, etc.; six held that the
manuscript described the Indians as descendants of the lost ten tribes;
four mentioned that the great wars caused the erection of the Indian mounds;
and four noted the ancient scriptural style. The very tightness with which
Hurlbut here was implementing his theory rouses an immediate suspicion
that he did a little judicious prompting. (Brodie
1963, 423-4
)
The most striking aspect of the early claims unquestionably related
to the proper names. Here, however, the coincidence of memory was even
more suspect. Of some 300 potential names, Hurlbut’s witnesses all used
the same handful of specific examples. Most cited “Nephi” and “Lehi.” Two
witnesses (John and Martha Spalding) added “Nephites” and “Lamanites,”
and only three additional names were mentioned even once-”Laban,” “Zarahemla”
and “Moroni,” (The last two by the witness who remembered the humorous
passages). Despite the elapsed decades, all recalled identical spellings
for these odd-sounding names, spellings which matched exactly those found
in the Book of Mormon. A corollary claim that Spalding wrote in a “scripture
style” was illustrated with the same unanimity. Everyone who recalled specific
wording cited “and it came to pass,” with “now it came to pass” a distant
second. Not surprisingly, nearly everyone acknowledged that his memory
had been refreshed by a recent reading of the Book of Mormon.(Bush
1977, 44
)

Non-Hurlbut Affidavits
If these sources where influenced by Hurlbut, what about statements from
people who had seen or heard the manuscript who were not interviewed by
Hurlbut. What do they say?

The Mormons replied with books and pamphlets of their own,
such as Parley P. Pratt’s Mormonism Unveiled in 1838 and Benjamin
Winchester’s
The Origin of the Spaulding Story in 1840. Winchester
quoted another of Spaulding’s neighbors, one Jackson, who had read Spaulding’s
manuscript and maintained “that there was no agreement between them; for,
said he, Mr. Spaulding’s manuscript was a very small work, in the form
of a novel, saying not one word about the children of Israel, but professed
to give an account of a race of people who originated from the Romans,
which Mr. Spaulding said he had translated from a Latin parchment that
he had found.” (Brodie 1963, 427)
And an early historian of western New York, writing in 1851, said: “It
is believed by all those best acquainted with the Smith family and most
conversant with all the Gold Bible movements, that there is no foundation
for the statement that the original manuscript was written by a Mr. Spaulding
of Ohio.” (Brodie 1963, 430)

Spalding’s Manuscript
Hurlbut obtained the manuscript and showed it to Spaulding’s neighbors.
“This old M.S. has been shown to several of the foregoing witnesses, who
recognize it as Spalding’s, he having told them that he had altered his
first plan of writing, by going farther back with dates, and writing in
the old scripture style, in order that it might appear more ancient. They
say that it bears no resemblance to the “Manuscript Found.” (Howe
1834, 288
)
Brodie comments, “This surmise may have been true, though there was
no signed statement swearing to it. But it seems more likely that these
witnesses had so come to identify the Book of Mormon with the Spaulding
manuscript that they could not concede having made an error without admitting
to a case of memory substitution which they did not themselves recognize.”
(Brodie 1963, 424-425)

“Second” Manuscript and connection
to Book of Mormon
The solution to a correct understanding is contained in the fact that Spalding
moved to Pennsylvania in 1812. If Solomon started another manuscript he
would have had to started it before he left Ohio, since they claim to have
heard a different story than was contained in the manuscript which Hurlbut
found. In fact Rev. Abner Jackson goes so far as to say, “about the beginning
of the year 1812, commenced to write his famous romance called by him the
Manuscript Found.” (Cowdrey,
Davis, Scales 1977, 61
) We can also be assured that anyone who was
acquainted with the manuscript in Pennsylvania would be dealing with this
“second” manuscript.
Two people closely associated with Spaulding in Pennsylvania have supplied
affidavits about the similarities between his manuscript and the Book of
Mormon. They made some latter statements which are suspect because they
greatly enlarged their memory of the manuscript. However, if we ignore
those statements and stick with what they first reported we can be more
sure that they are not influenced by continued association with the Book
of Mormon and the Spaulding controversy. First of all from Joseph Miller
who spent “spent many evenings in the Spalding home (tavern), often listening
to the retired preacher read his novel.” (Cowdrey,
Davis, Scales 1977, 67
)

These papers were detached sheets of foolscap. He said he wrote
the papers as a novel. He called it the “Manuscript Found,” or “The Lost
Manuscript Found.” He said he wrote it to pass away the time when he was
unwell; and after it was written he thought he would publish it as a novel,
as a means to support his family.
Some time since, a copy of the book of Mormon came into my hands. My
son read it for me, as I have a nervous shaking of the head that prevents
me from reading. I noticed several passages which I recollect having heard
Mr. Spaulding read from his “Manuscript.” One passage on the 148th page
(the copy I have is published by J. 0. Wright & Co., New York) I remember
distinctly. He speaks of a battle, and says the Amalekites had marked themselves
with red on the foreheads to distinguish them from the Nephites. The thought
of being marked on the “forehead with red was so strange, it fixed itself
in my memory. This together with other passages I remember to have heard
Mr. Spaulding read from his “Manuscript.”
Those who knew Mr. Spaulding will soon all be gone, and I among the
rest. I write that what I knew may become a matter of history; and that
it may prevent people from being led into Mormonism, that most seductive
delusion of the devil. From what I know of Mr. Spaulding’s “Manuscript”
and the book of Mormon, I firmly believe that Joseph Smith, by some means,
got possession of Mr. Spaulding’s “Manuscript,” and possibly made some
changes in it and called it the “Book of Mormon.” (Cowdrey,
Davis, Scales 1977, 67-69
)

Here we have Mr. Miller relating to us his strongest recollection of what
he remembered was in both the Book of Mormon and the Spalding manuscript.
And what is that? That the Amlekites marked themselves with a red mark.
If we found the real Spalding manuscript we would expect to find a passage
somewhere that describes a warring people that marked themselves with a
red. Redick McKee who also lived in Amity, Pennsylvania had a similar remembrance
about the Spalding manuscript.

I recollect quite well Mr. Spalding spending much time in writing
on sheets of paper torn out of an 0ld book, what purported to be a veritable
history of the nations or tribes, who inhabited Canaan when, or before
that country was invaded by the Israelites under Joshua. He described with
great particularity, their numbers, customs, modes of life, their wars,
strategems, victories, and defeats, &c. His style was flowing and grammatical,
though gaunt and abrupt; very like the story of the ‘ Maccabees” and other
apochryphal books in the old bibles. He called it “Lost History Found,”
– “Lost Manuscript,” or some such name; not disguising that it was wholly
a work of the imagination, written to amuse himself, and without any immediate
view to publication. I read, or heard him read, many wonderful and amusing
passages from different parts of his professed historical records; aud
was struck with the minutences of his details, and the apparent truthfulness
and sincerity of the author. Defoe’s veritable Robinson Crusoe, was not
more reliable! I have an indistinct recollection of the passage referred
to by Mr. Miller, about the Amelekites making a cross with red paint on
their foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in the confusion of battle,
but the manuscript was full of equally ludicrous descriptions. After my
removal to Wheeling in 1818, 1 understood, that Mr. Spalding had died,
and his widow had resorted to her friends in northern Ohio, or western
New York. She would naturally take the manuscript with her. Now it was
in northern Ohio, probably in Lake or Ashtabula county, that the first
Mormon prophet, or imposter Jo. Smith lived, and published what he called
the “Book of Mormon,” or the “Mormon Bible.” It is quite probable therefore,
that with some alterations, the “Book of Mormon was in fact the “Lost Book,”
or “Lost History Found,” of my old landlord, Solomon Spalding, of Amity,
Washington County, Pennsylvania. (Cowdrey,
Davis, Scales 1977, 77-78
)

Here again we have a witness and the best detail he can remember about
the Spalding manuscript was “making a cross with red paint on their foreheads.”
These two witnesses would definitely have heard the correct Spalding manuscript,
but their affidavits don’t have the benefit of judicious prompting from
someone like Hurlbut.
Manuscript found in Hawaii
The Spalding manuscript was found among the paper of L. L. Rice in Hawaii
in 1884. Hurlbut had given the manuscript to Howe who described it in “Mormonism
Unvailed.” It was among his papers when he sold his business to Rice and
followed him to Hawaii. On a blank page was the following statement which
refers to the Hurlbut’s original witnesses.

The writings of Solomon Spalding, proved by Aaron Wright, Oliver
Smith, John N. Miller and others. The testimonies of the above gentlemen
are now in my possession. D. P. Hurlbut (Spalding
1885, 9
)

The critics of the Book of Mormon have maintained that this manuscript
was not the “second” manuscript which is more similar to the Book of Mormon.
But we can examine the contents. Does it contain the information that Miller
and M’Kee remembered in Pennsylvania? We find the following in chapter
III of the published Spalding Manuscript: “Their clothing consisted of
skins dressed with the hair on, but in warm weather only the middle part
of their bodies were incumbered with any covering. The one half of the
head of the men were shaved & painted with red and the one half of
the face was painted with black.” This manuscript has the very characteristic
required by the actual Spalding manuscript.
Conclusive Proof that 1884 find is the “Second”
manuscript
This by itself would not be enough to proclaim for certain that there was
only one Spalding manuscript. However the manuscript provides one other
piece of irrefutable evidence that the manuscript that has been found and
publish was the only manuscript and the one that was being worked on in
Pennsylvania. Remember that Solomon supposedly started working on the second
manuscript in 1812 before he moved to Pittsburgh. About three-fourths of
the way through this manuscript Solomon used the back of a letter for a
page of the manuscript. That letter is as follows:

Fond Parents
I have received two letters the 10th jan 1812 the last mentioned
Mr. Kings dismission from you, which no doubt is great trial to you Christian
Minister is great loss to any to any people – - – - teaches us the uncertainty
of all sublinary enjoyments & where to place our better trust &
happiness (Spalding 1885, 105)

This letter’s placement within the manuscript firmly establishes that the
part of the manuscript which comes after this was written after 1812. This
in combination with the witnesses from Pennsylvania confirms that there
was only one Spalding manuscript. This manuscript bears only a slight resemblance
to the Book of Mormon. Mr. Rice commented on this manuscript:

This Manuscript does not purport to be “a story of the Indians
formerly occupying this continent’” but is a history of the wars between
the Indians of Ohio and Kentucky, and their progress in civilization, &c.
It is certain that this Manuscript is not the origin of the Mormon Bible,
whatever some other manuscript may have been. The only similarity between
them, is, in the manner in which each purports to have been found — one
in a cave on Conneaut Creek — the other in a hill in Ontario county, New
York. There is no similarity of style between them. As I told Mr. Deming,
I should as soon think the Book of Revelations was written by the author
of Don Quixotte, as that the writer of this Manuscript was the author of
the Book of Mormon. (Spalding 1885,
7
)

Handwriting Analysis Blind Alley
Dr. Walter Martin who never wanted to give up on the idea of Spalding as
the source for the Book of Mormon, supported Wayne L. Cowdrey, Howard A.
Davis & Donald R. Scales in resurrecting the theory with an even more
unfounded claim that one of the authors of the Book of Mormon manuscript
was Solomon Spalding. This is a really crazy because that same unknown
author also wrote the 56th section of the Doctrine and Covenants
in 1831. That would be hard for a man who died in 1818. Of the three handwriting
experts employed to examine the handwriting, two of them concluded that
Solomon Spalding definitely did not write the manuscript page of the Book
of Mormon.

From Henry W. Silver: “Based upon that examination, it is my
conclusion that the handwriting of the twelve pages from I Nephi of the
Book of Mormon (the unknown scribe) is definitely not the same as that
of Solomon Spaulding.” (Brown 1984, 20)
From Howard C. Doudler: “As I stated in my report dated March 4, 1977
of some writing similarities and letter charateristics appeared both in
the manuscript and the Book of Mormon. I now contribute these similarities
to the writing style of that century. I have found writing and letter dis-similarities
that are unexplainable and are not attributed to individual writing variations
of the same writer. It is my conclusion the handwriting in the name of
Solomon Spalding is NOT the author of the unidentified pages, listed as
Q-1 thru Q-9 in this report of the Book of Mormon” (Brown
1984, 37
)

Gerald Tanner, a Mormon critic also viewed the original documents and stated,
“After looking carefully at the revelation [D&C 56], I became convinced
that it was probably written by the same scribe who wrote the 12 contested
pages in the Book of Mormon manuscript. Both manuscripts in turn differed
from Spalding’s work in important features.” (Brown
1984, 32
)
The Spalding theory will probably never die. It has no basis in fact
and will be discarded by anyone who seriously examines the issue. Fawn
Brodie made a study of the theory and concluded that it had no basis. She
listed the whereabouts of Sidney Rigdon during the period before the Book
of Mormon was published. But, because she didn’t account for every single
month, some authors have used this as a pretense to give the theory some
life. I am including the following appendix from Brodie’s book, No Man
Knows My History
.

Appendix B from No
Man Knows My History

APPENDIX B
THE SPAULDING-RIGDON THEORY
THE SPAULDING RIGDON theory of the authorship of the Book of
Mormon is based on a heterogeneous assortment of letters and affidavits
collected between 1833 and 1900. When heaped together without regard
to chronology, as in Charles A. Shook’s True Origin of the Book of Mormon,
and
without any consideration of the character of either Joseph Smith or Sidney
Rigdon, they seem impressive. But the theory is based first of all on the
untenable assumption that Joseph Smith had neither the wit nor the learning
to write the Book of Mormon, and it disregards the fact that the style
of the Book of Mormon is identical with that of the Mormon prophet’s later
writings, such as the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great
Price,
but is completely alien to the turgid rhetoric of Rigdon’s sermons.
Protagonists of the theory do not explain why, if Rigdon wrote the Book
of Mormon, he was content to let Joseph Smith found the Mormon Church and
hold absolute dominion over it throughout the years, so secure in his position
that he several times threatened Rigdon with excommunication when Rigdon
opposed his policies. But most important, there is no good evidence to
show that Rigdon and Smith ever met before Rigdon’s conversion late in
1830.There is, on the contrary, abundant proof that between September 1827and
June 1829, when the Book of Mormon was being written, Rigdon was
a successful Campbellite preacher in northern Ohio, who if conniving secretly
with Joseph Smith, three hundred miles east, was so accomplished a deceiver
that none of his intimate friends ever entertained the slightest suspicion
of it.
The Spaulding theory was not born until 1833, four years after
the Book of Mormon was completed. In June 1833 Philastus Hurlbut
was excommunicated from the Mormon Church in Kirtland, Ohio. Shortly afterward
he learned that some citizens of Conneaut, Ohio, had detected in the Book
of Mormon a resemblance to an old manuscript written more than twenty years
earlier by Solomon Spaulding, a Dartmouth College graduate and ex-preacher,
who had hoped to publish it and solve his financial embarrassments. Huribut
interviewed these people in August and September 1833. They told him that
Spaulding, now deceased, had lived in Conneaut from 1809 to 1812, and that
he had written a historical novel about the American abcrigines from which
he had occasionally read them extracts. Spaulding had moved to Pennsylvania,
where he died in 1816.
From Solomon Spaulding’s brother, John, Hurlbut obtained an affidavit,
of which the significant portion read as follows:

I made him a visit [in 1813)... and found that he had failed,
and was considerably involved in debt. He told me that he had been writing
a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought
would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the "Manuscript
Pound," of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance
of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American
Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a
detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till
they arrived in America, under the command of NEPHI and LEHI. They afterwards
had quarrels and contentions, and separated into two distinct nations,
one of which he denominated Nephites and the other Lamanites. Cruel and
bloody wars ensued, in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their
dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so com\mon in this country.
Their arts, sciences and civilization were brought 'into view, in order
to account for all the curious antiquities, found various parts of North
and South America. I have recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great
surprise I find nearly the same historical matter, names, etc. as they
were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old
style, and commenced about every other sentence with "and it came to pass"
or "now it came to pass;' the same as in the Book of Mormon, and according
to the best of my recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother
Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means
it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr. I am unable to determine.
JOHN SPAULDING

Martha, wife of John Spaulding, corroborated her husband's account:

I was personally acquainted with Solomon Spaulding, about twenty
years ago. It was at his house a short time before he left Conneaut; he
was then writing a historical novel founded upon the first settlers of
America. He represented them as an enlightened and warlike people. He had
for many years contended that the aborigines of America were the descendants
of some of the lost tribes of Israel, and this idea he carried out in the
book in question. The lapse of time which has intervened, prevents my recollecting
but few of the leading incidents of his writings; but the names of Nephi,
and Lehi are yet fresh in my' memory, as being the principal heroes of
his tale. They were officers of the company which first came off from Jerusalem.
He gave a particular account of their journey by land and sea, till they
arrived in America, after which, disputes arose between the chiefs, which
caused them to separate into different bands, one of which was called Lamanites
and the other Nephites. Between these were recounted tremendous battles,
which frequently covered the ground with the slain; and their being buried
in large heaps was the cause of the numerous mounds in the country. Some
of these people he represented as being very large. I have read the hook
of Mormon, which has brought fresh to my recollection the writings of Solomon
Spaulding; and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it,
is the same that I read and heard read, more than twenty years ago. The
old obsolete style, and the phrases of "and it came to pass," etc., are
the same. MARTHA SPAULDING

Six of Spaulding's neighbors made additional statements, of which the most
important extracts are given below:

I formed a co-partnership with Solomon Spaulding for the purpose
of rebuilding a forge. . . . He very frequently read to me from a manuscript
which he was writing, which was entitled the "Manuscript Found.". . . This
book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes,
gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars,
which were many and great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic
account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency,
which he promised to correct; but by referring to the Book of Mormon, I
find to my surprise that it stands there just as he read it to me then.
Some months ago I borrowed the Golden Bible. . . . I was astonished to
find the same passages in it that Spaulding had read to me more than twenty
years before, from his "Manuscript Found." Since that time, I have more
fully examined the said Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying
that the historical part of it is principally, if not wholly taken from
the "Manuscript Found." I well recollect telling Mr. Spaulding that the
so frequent use of the words "And it came to pass," "Now it came to pass,"
rendered it ridiculous. HENRY LAKE
I boarded and lodged in the family of said Spaulding for several months.
I was soon introduced to the manuscripts of Spaulding, and perused them
as often as I had leisure. He had written two or three books or pamphlets,
on different subjects; but that which more particularly drew my attention,
was one which he called the "Manuscript Found." From this he would frequently
read some humorous passages to the company present. It purported to be
the history of the first settlement of America, before discovered by Columbus.
He brought them off from Jerusalem, under their leaders, detailing their
travels by land and water, their manners, customs, laws, wars, etc. He
said that he designed it as an historical novel. . . . I have recently
examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solcmon Spaulding,
from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious
matter, which I did not meet with in the "Manuscript Found." Many of the
passages in the Mormon book are verbatim from Spaulding, and others in
part. The names of Nephi, Lehi, Moroni, and in fact all the principal names
are brought fresh to my recollection by the Gold Bible. When Spaulding
divested his history of its fabulous names, by a verbal explanation, he
landed his people near the Straits of Darien, which I am very confident
he called Zarahemla. They were marched about the country for a length
of time, in which great wars and great bloodshed ensued, he brought them
across North America in a northeast direction. JOHN N. MILLER
I first became acquainted with Solomon Spaulding in 1809 or 10, when
he commenced building a forge on Conneaut Creek. When at his house, one
day, he showed and read to me a history he was writing of the lost tribes
of Israel, purporting that they were the first settlers of America, and
that the Indians were their descendants. Upon this subject we had frequent
conversations. He traced their journey from Jerusalem to America, as it
is given in the Book of Mormon, excepting the religious matter. The historical
part of the Book of Mormon, I know to be the same as I read and heard read
from the writings of Spaulding, more than twenty years ago; the names more
especially are the same without any alteration. . . . Spaulding had many
other manuscripts, which I expect to see when Smith translates his other
plate. In conclusion, I will observe, that the names of, and most of the
historical part of the Book of Mormon, were as familiar to me before I
read it as most modern history. AARON WRIGHT
All his leisure hours were occupied in writing a historical novel, founded
upon the first settlers of this country. He said he intended to trace their
journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till their arrival in America,
give an account of their arts, sciences, civilization, wars and contentions.
In this way, he would give a satisfactory account of all of the old mounds,
so common to this country. During the time he was at my house, I read and
heard read one hundred pages or more. Nephi and Lehi were by him represented
as leading characters, when they first started for America. Their main
object was to escape the judgments which they supposed were coming upon
the old world. But no religious matter was introduced as I now recollect.
. . When I heard the historical part of it [the Book of Mormon] related,
I at once said it was the writings of old Solomon Spaulding. Soon after,
I obtained the book, and on reading it, found much of it the same as Spaulding
had written, more than twenty years before. OLIVER SMITH
I have lately read the Book of Mormon, and believe it to be the same
as Spaulding wrote, except the religious part. He told me that he intended
to get his writings published in Pittsburgh. NAHUM HOWARD

The following is from the unsigned statement of Artemus Cunningham:

Before showing me his manuscripts, he went into a verbal relation
of its outlines, saying that it was a fabulous or romantic history of the
first settlement of this country, and as it purported to have been a record
found buried in the earth, or in a cave, he had adopted the ancient or
scripture style of writing. He then presented his manuscripts, when we
sat down and spent a good share of the night in reading them, and conversing
upon them. I well remember the name of Nephi, which appeared to be the
principal hero of the story. The frequent repetition of the phrase, “I
Nephi,” I recollect as distinctly as though it was hut yesterday, although
the general features of the story have passed from my memory, through the
lapse of 22 years. He ~attempted to account for the numerous antiquities
which are found upon this continent, and remarked that, after this generation
had passed away, his account of the first inhabitants of America would
be considered as authentic as any other history. The Mormon Bible I have
partially examined, and am fully of the opinion that Solomon Spaulding
had written its outlines before he left Conneaut.*

It can clearly be seen that the affidavits were written by Hurlbut, since
the style is the same throughout. It may be noted also that although five
out of the eight had heard Spaulding’s story only once, there was a surprising
uniformity in the details they remembered after twenty-two years. Six recalled
the names Nephi, Lamanite, etc.; six hcld that the manuscript described
the Indians as descendants of the lost ten tribes; four mentioned that
the great wars caused the erection of the Indian mounds; and four noted
the ancient scriptural style. The very tightness with which Huribut here
was implementing his theory rouses an immediate suspicion that he did a
little judicious prompting.
However, the affidavits were arresting, and Huribut knew it. He visited
Spaulding’s widow in Massachusetts and offered her half the profits for
permission to publish the manuscript. She told him that “Spaulding had
a great variety of manuscripts” and recollected that one was entitled the
“Manuscript Found,” but of its contents she “had no distinct knowledge.”
During the two ears she had lived in Pittsburgh, Spaulding had taken the
manuscript to the office of Patterson and Lambdin, she said but whether
or not it had been returned was uncertain.
She gave Hurlbut permission to examine Spaulding’s papers in the attic
of a farmhouse in Otsego County, New York; but he found there only one
manuscript, which was clearly not the source for the Book of Mormon. This
was a romance supposedly translated from twenty-four rolls of parchment
covered with Latin, found in a cave on the banks of Conneaut Creek. It
was written in modern English and was about 45,000 words long, one sixth
the length of the Book of Mormon. It was an adventure story of some Romans
sailing to Britain before the Christian era, who had been blown to America
during a violent storm.
Hurlbut showed this manuscript to Spaulding’s neighbors, who, he said,
recognized it as Spaulding’s, but stated that it was not the “Manuscript
Found.” Spaulding “had altered his first plan of writing, by going farther
back with dates and writing in the Old Scripture style, in order that it
might appear more ancient.” This surmise may have been true, though there
was no signed statement swearing to it. But it seems more likely that these
witnesses had so come to identify the Book of Mormon with the Spaulding
manuscript that they could not concede having made an error without admitting
to a case of memory substitution which they did not themselves recognize.
Hurlbut, at least, was certain that Spaulding had written a second manuscript.
Eber D. Howe, Hurlbut’s collaborator, now wrote to Robert Patterson, the
Pittsburgh printer mentioned by Spaulding’s widow. He replied “that he
had no recollection of any manuscript being brought there for publication,
neither would he have been likely to have seen it, as the business of printing
was conducted wholly by Lambdin at that time.” The partnership of Patterson
and Lambdin had not in fact been formed until January 1, 1818, two years
after Spaulding’s death.
Disappointed in this source, and unable to get any confirming evidence
from Joseph’s neighbors in western New York, Hurlbut had to be content
with insinuating that Sidney Rigdon, who had once lived in Pittsburgh,
was somehow responsi ble for getting the Spaulding manuscript into Joseph
Smith’s hands.
Howe now purchased Hurlbut’s affidavits for five hundred dollars and
published them in his Mormonism Unvailed. At once the Mormons challenged
Howe to produce the Spaulding manuscript, but he did not even produce the
one Hurlbut had uncovered, which shortly disappeared. Some writers insinuated
that Hurlbut had sold it to the Mormons for a fabulous sum; actually it
lay buried in Howe’s files, which were later inherited by L. L. Rice, who
followed Howe as editor of the Painesville Telegraph. Rice eventually went
to Honolulu and there discovered the manuscript among his papers. He forwarded
it to Joseph H. Fairchild, president of Oberlin College, who placed it
in the college library. The manuscript contained a certificate of its identity
signed by Hurlbut, Wright, Miller, and others, and bore the penciled inscription
“Manuscript Story” on the outside. Its discovery was jubilantly hailed
by the Mormons, who held that the Spaulding theory was now proved groundless.
The manuscript was first published by the Reorganized Church in Lamoni,
Iowa, in 1885.
Many writers, however still believed that a second Spaulding manuscript
was the true source of the Book of Mormon, and labored indefatigably to
prove it. Before examining their evidence, it should be noted that if,
as seems most likely, there was only one Spaulding manuscript, there were
certain similarities between it and the Book of Mormon which, though not
sufficient to justify the thesis of common authorship, might have given
rise to the conviction of Spaulding’s ncighbors that one was a plagiarism
of the other. Both were said to have come from out of the earth; both were
stories of colonists sailing from the Old World to the New; both explained
the earthworks and mounds common to western New York and Ohio as the result
of savage wars. John Miller had spoken of “humorous passages” in Spaulding’s
work, which would certainly apply to the “Manuscript Story,” but not to
the utterly humorless Book of Mormon.
Other features, like the scriptural style, the expression “it came to
pass,” and the proper names, seem too definite to be questioned. But it
should be remembered, as President Fair-child pointed out in his analysis
of the problem, that “the Book of Mormon was fresh in their minds, and
their recollections of the ‘Manuscript Found’ were very remote and dim.
That under the pressure and suggestion of Hurlbut and Howe, they should
put the ideas at hand in place of those remote and forgotten, and imagine
that they remembered what they had recently read, would be only an ordinary
example of the frailty of memory.
It is significant that five of Hurlbut’s witnesses were careful to except
the “religious” matter of the Book of Mormon as not contained in the Spaulding
manuscript, and the others stated that “the historical parts” were derived
from the Spaulding story. The narrative Hurlbut found had no religious
matter whatever, but the Book of Mormon was permeated with religious ideas.
It was first and foremost a religious book. The theology could not have
been wrought by interpolation, since practically every historical event
was motivated either by Satan or the Lord.
If, on the other hand, Hurlbut was right and there were actually two
Spaulding manuscripts, one might reasonably expect stylistic similarities
between the Book of Mormon and the extant manuscript, since the latter
was full of unmistakable literary mannerisms of the kind that are more
easily acquired than shed. Spaulding was heir to all the florid sentiment
and grandiose rhetoric of the English Gothic romance. He used all the stereotyped
patterns – villainy versus innocent maidenhood, thwarted love, and heroic
valor – thickly encrusted with the tradition of the noble savage. The Book
of Mormon had but one scant reference to a love affair, and its rhythmical,
monotonous style bore no resemblance to the cheap cliches’ and purple metaphors
abounding in the Spaulding story.
After the publication of Howe’s book, affidavits popped up here and
there, usually solicited by preachers anxious to discredit Joseph Smith.
The Mormons replied with books and pamphlets of their own, such as Parley
P. Pratt’s Mormonism Unveiled in 1838 and Benjamin Winchester’s The Origin
of the Spaulding Story in 1840. Winchester quoted another of Spaulding’s
neighbors, one Jackson, who had read Spaulding’s manuscript and maintained
“that there was no agreement between them; for, said he, Mr. Spaulding’s
manuscript was a very small work, in the form of a novel, saying not one
word about the children of Israel, but professed to give an account of
a race of people who originated from the Romans, which Mr. Spaulding said
he had translated from a Latin parchment that he had found.”
Spaulding’s widow was visited again in 1839, when she was seventy years
old, by a preacher named D. R. Austin, who published her signed statement
in the Boston Recorder on April 19 of that year. She showed an astonishing
enlargement of memory over her previous statement to Hurlbut, relating
that the historical romance written by her husband had been given to his
“acquaintance and friend” Robert Patterson, who was “very much pleased
with it” and promised to print it. She stated also that Sidney Rigdon was
connected with the press at this time and had every opportunity to copy
the manuscript.
Rigdon’s angry denial was published in the Boston Recorder on May 27,
1839: “If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding
and his hopeful wife, until Dr. P. Hurlbut wrote his lie about me, I should
be a liar like unto themselves. Why was not the testimony of Mr. Patterson
obtained to give force to this shameful tale of lies? The only reason is,
that he was not a fit tool for them to work with. . .
Two Mormons, Jesse and John Haven, now interviewed Spaulding’s widow,
who denied having written the letter and stated that Austin had merely
asked her a few questions, taken notes, and apparently written the letter
himself. Both Spaulding’s widow and daughter admitted in this interview
that the manuscript they knew was an “idolatrous” not a religious story.
When Spaulding’s daughter was seventy-four years old, she was interviewed,
and stated that she remembered vividly hearing her father read his manuscript
aloud, although she was only six years old at the time. “Some of the names
that he mentioned while reading to these people I have never forgotten.
They are as fresh to me as though I heard them yesterday. They were ‘Mormon,’
‘Maroni,’ ‘Lamenite,’ ‘Nephi.’” One is led to doubt the reliability of
this memory, however, by another statement in this interview: “In that
city [Pittsburgh] my father had an intimate friend named Patterson, and
I frequently visited Mr. Patterson’s library with him, and heard my father
talk about books with him.” Patterson, it will be remembered, denied knowing
Spaulding at all.
Spaulding’s daughter remembered seeing the manuscript in her father’s
trunk after his death, and stated that she had handled it and seen the
names she had heard read to her at the age of six. She admitted, however,
that she had not read it.
If the evidence pointing to the existence of a second Spaulding manuscript
is dubious, the affidavits trying to prove that Rigdon stole it, or copied
it, are all unconvincing and frequently preposterous.
First there is no evidence that Rigdon ever lived in Pittsburgh until
1822, when he became pastor of the First Baptist Church. Robert Patterson,
Jr., son of the Pittsburgh printer, conducted an exhaustive research among
the old settlers of the vicinity to try to establish the truth of the Spaulding
theory. This was in 1882, sixty-six years after Spaulding’s death. Many
were familiar with the theory and believed it, he said, but few could give
first-hand information. Rigdon’s brother-in-law, not a Mormon, and Isaac
King, an old neighbor, swore to him that Rigdon did not go to Pittsburgh
before 1822. Mrs. Lambdin, widow of Patterson’s partner, denied any knowledge
of Rigdon, as did Robert P. DuBois, who had worked in the printing shop
between 1818 and 1820.
One woman, who had worked as mail clerk in Patterson’s office between
1811 and 1816, stated that she knew Rigdon and that he was an intimate
friend of Lambdin’s, but that this was clearly untrue is evidenced by the
statement of Lambdin’s widow that she had never heard of Rigdon. Another
old settler claimed that Spaulding told him the manuscript had been spirited
away and that Rigdon was suspect, but this statement is in conffict not
only with the facts of Rigdon’s life, but also with the accounts of Spaulding’s
wife and daughter, who made no mention of a lost manuscript and held that
the “Manuscript Found” had been carefully preserved in the trunk.*
Patterson senior never left any statement that incriminated Rigdon,
although the two men knew each other casually in Pittsburgh after 1822.
In the 1870′s and 1880′s, when anti-Mormonism was most bitter in the United
States, there was a great outcropping of affidavits such as those solicited
by the younger Patterson. All were from citizens who vaguely remembered
meeting Spaulding or Rigdon some fifty, sixty, or seventy years earlier.
All are suspect because they corroborate only the details of the first
handful of documents collected by Hurlbut and frequently use the very same
language. Some are outright perjury.
James Jeifries wrote on January 20, 1884: “Forty years ago I was in
business in St. Louis. . . . I knew Sidney Rigdon. He told me several times
that there was in the office with which he was connected, in Ohio, a manuscript
of the Reverend Spaulding, tracing the origin of the Indians from the lost
tribes of Israel. The manuscript was in the office several years. He was
familiar with it. Spaulding wanted it published, but had not the means
to pay for the printing. He (Rigdon) said Joe (Joseph) Smith used to look
over the manuscript and read it on Sundays. Rigdon said Smith took the
manuscript and said, ‘I’ll print it,’ and went off to Palmyra, New York.”
(Wyl: Mormon Portraits, p. 241) Forty years previous to 1884 would have
been the year of Smith’s assassination. Rigdon never lived in St. Louis,
nor did Joseph Smith ever visit Ohio before 1831.
The tenuous chain of evidence accumulated to support the Spaulding-Rigdon
theory breaks altogether when it tries to prove that Rigdon met Joseph
Smith before 1830. There are ambiguous references to a “mysterious stranger”
said to have visited the Smiths between 1827 and 1830. But only two men
ever claimed that this was actually Rigdon. Abel Chase on May 2, 1879 (fifty-two
years after the event) stated that in 1827

– “as near as I can recollect” — when he was a boy of twelve
or thirteen, he saw a stranger at the Smith home who was said to be Rigdon.
And Lorenzo Saunders on January 28, 1885 (fifty-eight years after the event)
stated that he had seen him in the spring of 1827 and again in the summer
of 1828.: Yet Saunders himself admitted his recollection came only after
thirty years of puzzling over the matter and hunting for evidence. And
it is highly probable that both men were actually remembering Rigdon’s
first appearance in Palmyra in late 1830. No other of Joseph’s neighbors
ever made any effort to connect the Ohio preacher with the Book of Mormon
events. And an early historian of western New York, writing in 1851, said:
“It is believed by all those best acquainted with the Smith family and
most conversant with all the Gold Bible movements, that there is no foundation
for the statement that the original manuscript was written by a Mr. Spaulding
of Ohio.”

Rigdon’s life between 1826 and 1829 has been carefully documented from
non-Mormon sources. It is clear from the following chronology that he was
a busy and successful preacher and one of the leading figures in the Campbellite
movement in Ohio. Until August 1830, when he broke with Alexander Campbell
over the question of introducing communism into the Campbellite Church,
he was orie of the four key men of that church. It cannot be held that
Rigdon rewrote the Spaulding manuscript before 1827, since the anti-Masonry
permeating the book clearly stemmed from the Morgan excitement beginning
late in 1826.
ACTIVITIES OF RIGDON, NOVEMBER 2, 1826-NOVEMBER 14,1830
 

1826
November 2
Marriage of Smith and Giles (performed by Rigdon
December 13
Above marriage recorded.
1827
January
Held meeting at Mantua, Ohio.
February
Funeral of Hannah Tanner, Chester, Ohio.
March
Held meeting at Mentor, Ohio.
April
Held meeting at Mentor, Ohio.
 
(gap of possibly one month and half)
June 5
Marriage of Freeman and Waterman.
June 7
Above marriage recorded
June 15
baptized Thomas Clapp at Mentor, Ohio.
July 3
Marriage of Gray and Kerr
July 12
Above marriage recorded
August 10
Above marriage recorded.
August 23
Met with Mahoning Association, New Lisbon, Ohio.
 
(gap of one month and a half)
October 9
Marriage of Sherman and Methews.
October 20
At Minsiterial Council, Warren, Ohio.
November
Held meeting at New Lisbon, Ohio.
December 6
Marriage of Wait and Gunn
December 12
Above marriage recorded.
December 13
Marriage of Cottrell and Olds.
1828
January 8
Above marriage recorded
February 14
Marriage of Herrington and Corning.
March 31
Above marriage recorded.
March
Instructed theological class, Mentor, Ohio.
March
Visited Walter Scott at Warren, Ohio.
April
Conducted revival at Kirtland, Ohio.
May
Met Campbell at Shalersville, Ohio.
June
Baptized H. H. Clapp, Mentor, Ohio.
 
(gap of possibly two months)
August
At Association, Warren, Ohio.
September 7
Marriage of Dille and Kent,.
September 18
Marriage of Corning and Wilson
October 13
Above marriages recorded.
 
(gap of possibly two months and a hlf)
1829
January 1
Marriage of Churchill and Fosdick.
February 1
Marriage of Root and Tuttle.
February 12
Above marriages recorded.
March
Meeting at Mentor, Ohio.
April 12
Meeting at Kirtland, Ohio.
May
Baptized Lyman Wight.
 
(gap of possibly one month and a half)
July 1
Organized church at Perry, Ohio.
August
Baptized Mrs. Lyman Wight.
August 7
Met with church in Perry, Ohio.
August 13
Marriage of Strong and More.
September 14
Above marriage recorded.
September 14
Marriage of Atwater and Clapp.
September
Held meeting at Mentor, Ohio.
October 1
Marriage of Roberts and bates.
October 7
Last two marriages recorded.
October
At Perry, Ohio.
November
Held Meeting at Wite Hill, Ohio.
December 31
Marriage of Chandler and Johnson.
1830
January 12
Above marriage recorded.
 
(gap of possible two months)
March
At Mentor, Ohio.
 
(gap of two months)
June
At Mentor, Ohio.
July
Held meeting at Pleasant Valley, Ohio.
August
Met Campbell at Austintown, Ohio.
 
(gap of two and one half months)
November 4
Marriage of Wood and Cleaveland.
November 11
Above marriage recorded.
November 14
Rigdon baptized by Oliver Cowdery.
The above chronology is a rearrangement of one compiled by the Reorganized
Church and appearing in the Journal of History, Vol. III, pp. 16-20,
with additional information from Hayden: Early History of the Disciples
in the Western Reserve
.
Alexander Campbell, who knew Rigdon intimately, described his conversion
to Mormonism with great regret in the Millennial Harbinger, attributing
it to his nervous spasms and swoonings and to his passionate belief in
the imminent gathering of Israel. But of the authorship of the Book of
Mormon he wrote bluntly: “It is as certainly Smith’s fabrication as Satan
is the father of lies or darkness is the offspring of night.”
Rigdon denied the Spaulding story throughout his life. When his son
John questioned him shortly before his death, he replied: “My son, I can
swear before high heaven that what I have told you about the origin of
that book is true. Your mother and sister, Mrs. Athalia Robinson, were
present when that book was handed to me in Mentor, Ohio, and all I ever
knew about the origin of that book was that Parley P. Pratt, Oliver Cowdery,
Joseph Smith and the witnesses who claimed they saw the plates have told
me, and in all my intimacy with Joseph Smith he never told me but one story,
and that was that he found it engraved upon gold plates in a hill near
Palmyra, New York, and that an angel had appeared to him and directed him
where to find it. . . .”



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mike

posted August 1, 2007 at 11:04 pm


RD,
I agree! All I want is a reasoned debate on the issues that were laid out to the two scholars. I can give a rip about what the book of Mormon says, etc… There is a place for that debate too but those people in here cutting and pasting the works the dig up on the internet are not thinking out for themselves the reasons for and against their positions. I want to have a logical conversation.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:24 am


Chief said:
You say that millions have proved that the BoM is true to themselves. Let me ask you a question: in Mormon 9:9, the angel Moroni “reads” Heb 13:8 and James 1:17, but how could he when the NT never reached America? Remember, the BoM is supposed to fill in the years between Malachi and Matthew, but the NT hadn’t even been written yet and Moroni is reading it?
Also, Helaman 12:25-26, written 6 B.C. says, “we read,” quoting 2 Thess. 1:9 and John 5:29, 90 years too early. Again, the Scripture passages cited were not even written yet.
Again, I cannot put credence in a book that is not historically or theologically accurate
Mike’s Response: Several Possibilities
1. The Spirit of God can speak the same words to people in different locations.
2. Jesus himself brought New Testament concepts and language to the Nephites when he appeared to them. (see 3rd Nephi) The New Testament writers would have heard these things from Jesus and so would the Nephites.
3. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi manuscriprts have shown that many of the phrases and themes that were thought to be original to Paul and the other apostles cmae from older sources, that would have been available to Book of Mormon writers throught the Brass Plates that they took with them.
Support for this is in the link below:
http://www.mormonfortress.com/bible5.html
“Matthew Roper who reviewed the Tanner’s list of so-called New Testament plagiarism concludes that most of the Book of Mormon texts cited by the Tanners could just as easily be drawn from the Old Testament by the Nephites. In fact many of these citations are equal to or closer to Old Testament passages than New Testament passages. (Roper, 1991, 174-81.)”
“Several years ago the critics claimed that the phrase “faith, hope, and charity” from Moroni 7:44-46 was lifted from 1 Corinthians 13:13. Dr. Nibley, however, demonstrated that THE WHOLE PASSAGE, which scholars have labeled “the Hymn to Charity,” was shown early in this century by a number of first-rate investigators working independently (A. Harnack, J. Weiss, R. Reizenstein) TO HAVE ORIGINATED NOT WITH PAUL AT ALL, BUT TO GO BACK TO SOME OLDER BUT UNKNOWN SOURCE: Paul is merely quoting from the record. (Nibley, 1989, 216.)”
Eyewitness accounts by many of those who scribed for Joseph or watched the process state that JOSEPH HAD NO WRITTEN MATERIALS OR NOTES IN THE ROOM when he translated. When one considers the feat of Joseph Smith writing 534 pages of material without notes, his memory would have had to be more than phenominal indeed. See a quote form the same link as above:
“The scholars at FARMS have observed the “extensive, intricate consistencies within the Book of Mormon. Passages tie together precisely and accurately though separated from each other by hundreds of pages of text and dictated weeks apart.” (FARMS Updates, Oct. 1987.) FARMS notes for example that Alma 36 quotes 21 words verbatim from 1 Nephi 1:8, and that Helaman 14:12 quotes 20 words from Mosiah 3:8. And of course as many a critic has noted, the Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah at length. SUCH INTERNAL CONSISTENCY AND LENGTHY QUOTES WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITH QUICK MEMORIZATIONS OF SELECTED BIBLE VERSES, such a feat would require either inspiration or a fantastic memory.”
and this:
It is a well-known fact that 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon quotes virtually the same teachings of Isaiah as recorded in the Bible. The TWO RECORD ARE NOT EXACT MATCHES, however, the Book of Mormon does have some variant readings of the Isaiah text. If Joseph Smith was simply copying from the KJV, then when the alterations? Hebrew scholar, John Tvedtnes, has studied these changes and has demonstrated that the BOOK OF MORMON VARIENTS ACCORDS WELL WITH OTHER ANCIENT ISAIAH TEXTS, and often provide a superior reading to our KJV Bible (Tvedtnes, 1984, 165-77). Tvedtnes notes, for instance, that the longer 1QIsa, scroll from Qumran (DEAD SEA SCROLL) “SUPPORTS THE BOOK OD MORMON ISAIAH TEXT IN A NUMBER OF CASES.”



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:33 am


“Logical Conversations” involved with assertions that are unsupported by documentation sometimes become illogical or grossly untrue.
I could say, for instance, (STUPID ALERT: THIS IS A HYPOTHETICAL CLAIM!) that “Evangelical Christians eat their young.” Therefore, since the Bible says “Thou shalt not kill” Evangelical Christians are not Christian.
Since the first statement is false and undocumented, the assertion falls.
This, unfortunatley, is what we are seeing a great deal of.
The rule should be: Before an assertion is made about what someone believes, ask the person if that is in factr, an accurate staemetn of his or her beliefs. If the answer is no let it go.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 1:34 am


Too bad I can’t spell



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mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 6:15 am


Precisely one of the points I make. Are you charging me of this…if so where and what detriment is that to my overall points?



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 10:06 am


Mike,
I went back a ways on this thread and found what I think is your first post and you asked the question: WHY DO MORMONS INSIST ON IDENTIFYING THEMSELVES AS CHRISTIANS?
GB: The simple answer is because we believe in Jesus Christ and to claim that we are not Christians gives the false impression to the world that we don’t believe in Jesus Christ. I for one, don’t like to give that false impression.
You go on for a bit then you state this;”In the name of scholarship, we cannot discount that Orthodox Christianity IS Christianity…there is no other form of Christianity.” I think this could be classified as an assertion.
And what about this one; “After which there were apostles and churches and creeds and councils, THIS IS CHRISTIANITY, there was never another form of Christianity that didn’t contain these elements.” This also is an assertion.
Then there is this one;”Christianity is a continuation of Judeaism.” That is your opinion. But I disagree.
Mike: The apostles weren’t trying to make themselves Jews, . . .
GB: They didn’t need to because they were already Jews.
Mike: . . . in fact dying at the hands of Jews for claiming something other than Judeaism.
GB: I disagree. They were being killed because they claimed that Judeaism had fallen into apostasy and that Christ not only restored true Judeaism but was also the fulfillment of messianic prophesies.
Mike: I beleive that what Jesus said was true, in fulfilling the Old Testament. I do not follow the Laws of Moses, I follow the law of Grace as expressed through Jesus. I am sold out that Christianity is the TRUE religion.
GB: I agree (with a minor caveat that our understand of the “law of grace” may be different).
Mike: Why doesn’t Mormonism have this same conviction?
GB: We do (again with a minor caveat that our understand of the “law of grace” may be different).
Mike: Why do they continually insist on being Christians (with a different set of beliefs).
GB: We believe that we have the true “Christianity” as taught by Jesus Christ. We understand that you believe in Jesus Christ as you understand him, so we would never try to deny you the title of “Christian”. We expect the same courtesy from you.



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 10:37 am


GB,
Let me ask you a question. Suppose you have a co-worker that lives in a different city than you do. He states that he recently has become interested in God, but is confused about what church to go to to figure things out. What would be your advice to him?



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 10:48 am


Mike,
I have started reading the book of Mormon cover to cover, and I will be finished with it in a few days. I will attempt to do this with an open mind.
I am intrigued by a couple of things that are said right off the bat. In the introduction, it is said that both the Nephites and Lamanites are part of the civilization that came over from Jerusalem in 600 B.C. The Lamanites survived, and became the ‘principal’ ancestors of the American Indians.
Then, Moroni, who was a man and the son of Mormon, appeared to Joseph Smith as a ‘glorified and resurrected being.’ Several people on this thread have identified Moroni as an ‘angel.’ What is he, exactly? In the Scriptures, angels are created beings, the ‘heavenly host’ that is separate from the creation of man.
Questions that a scholar more intelligent than I would think of in reading this introduction are these: Is there DNA evidence to link Jews to Native Americans? (This would be necessary if the Lamanites, who came over from Jerusalem, were principal ancestors.) And why would the plates be inscribed by Moroni, a Nephite and a Jew, in ancient Egyptian heiroglphics? Wouldn’t he have used Aramaic or Hebrew as the language?



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 11:35 am


Chief,
The introduction is not part of the original text and was written without the benefit of our current understanding of ancient America. The word “principal” as used here may or may not be accurate. No claim about the accuracy of the “introduction” has ever been made. Keep in mind the warning written Mormon on the Title page, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.”
An angel is a messenger from God. You say that “angels are created beings, the ‘heavenly host’ that is separate from the creation of man”, that may be your understanding of what angel is, but there is plenty of room for a different interpretation. We could discuss this now but it would distract from more important things.
As far as DNA evidence is concerned, there has been some research in this area. And it is a rather complicated to discuss on this site. Again this is another topic that could be discussed now (perhaps somewhere else) but would distract from more important things.
They did use Hebrew as the spoken language, but over 1000 years there were likely to be some changes. Just think about how much English has changed in your lifetime let alone the last 400 years. The Egyptian characters used to write the spoken Hebrew, also would have been modified over the 1000 years, that is why they were called reformed Egyptian.



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 12:02 pm


Chief: . . . . What would be your advice to him?
GB: I would advise him (and help him) to find the closest LDS congregation and their meeting time. I would recommend he attend a service, and after which request to be put in contact with the missionaries. I would also make myself available to answer questions and to help in any way possible.



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Mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:27 pm


GB,
I appreciate finally somebody actually engaging the content of the posts! I think you make some good points but again your are missing the progression of my logic. I will use the same format you like to use in your posts:
Mike: Why do you insist on being identified as a Chrstian.
GB: Because I am one
Mike: Well but your Christianity is different than mine
GB: I see that but I believe in Christ therefore I am a Christian
Mike: On what basis
GB: Because I say so
Unfortunately, this sort of thinking doesn’t work (unless you talking to children). You can’t just be a Christian because you say so. My whole point in bring up the discussion about the Apostles not trying to identify themselves as Jews (ANY LONGER) was that they were NOT the same religion, they had differing doctrines and histories (the Christian history was just beginning). Your answer to that proves my point (they thought that Judaism had become an apostate religion). Fine, I agree, however, they weren’t trying to claim Judaism Reformation, no, in fact, they followed Jesus and his claims and started a new religion altogether.
This is VERY VERY SIMILAR to the situation at hand, however, Mormonism beleives us Christians are apostate and they are the true Christian church. Fine, you may have that belief, however, as I have said, this belief is the reason for your perceived persecution. You cannot simply assert that the Church which has been established for two thousand years is not the true Christian church but rather that one which is only 200 years old. Again, this is historic lunacy. I can go back one century older than Mormonism and show you writings that prove there were Christians before Joseph Smith.
Now, if your assertion is that Christianity has somehow ceased to be Christianity (from how it has been percieved throughout history), then we need to judge that, not on the basis of Mormon belief but rather on the historical/theological foundation which has been laid for all these years.
Again, I don’t question your supposed belief in some form of Christ, this is not the issue. Again, you believe in Christ through the Mormon tradition, I in what the WORLD at large would identify as the “Christian” tradition because of the foundation upon which my beliefs are built.
I would suspect that if I just decided today that in fact Christianity is the true sense of Judaism and decided to proclaim myself and my beleifs as the true reading and theology of Judaism that I would be challenged in my thinking. I could respond by saying,
“but I believe in Moses and Abraham”
This is not enough, just because I say so, doesn’t mean I am. It certainly doesn’t mean that those who have followed the tradition from its inception should accept what I say, “because I said so”.



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Paul

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:41 pm


Let me ask you a question. Suppose you have a co-worker that lives in a different city than you do. He states that he recently has become interested in God, but is confused about what church to go to to figure things out. What would be your advice to him?
This question wasn’t to me but I felt like answering anyway
The first thing I would do is tell him to go to the Bible.
The next thing I would do is share with him my personal testimony about how Jesus died on the cross for my sin, so that I could have a personal relationship with God. I would also tell him that God desires a personal relationship with him but sin prevents that, but God out of the abundance of his love for him died on the cross to pay the price for his sin and then rose three days later, and in order to have that personal relationship with God you must place your faith and trust
in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross.



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Mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:42 pm


I do also want to address what you are characterizing as assertions on my part.
Mike: there were creeds and councils, etc… THIS IS CHRISTIANITY
GB: hold on, that is an assertion
Mike: no, its not, Christianity is not defined by who claims to beleive in some form of Christ (at least NOT ONLY ON THIS BASIS), but rather the tradition from which their beleifs are formed.
GB: but you are asserting that Christianity IS based on these creeds and councils, etc…
MIke: Yes, in fact that WAS Christianity until Joseph Smith (or Brigham Young or whoever it was) claimed that they were the true Christians.
GB: But they are only stating what God told them was true.
Mike: Fine, but Christianity isn’t defined by what we percieve God tells us (at least not on this alone) but on the foundation of the Church/theology/history
GB: But then we don’t stand a chance at being classified as Christians because we don’t beleive in any of that.
Mike: precisely, which is why you are classified as a Mormon
GB: but what about that assertion you made.
Mike: didn’t you read the context of the logic, that the assertion was made on the idea that until Mormonism came along (for 1,800 years), Christianity had been defined by all of those things I mentioned.
GB: Yeah, but that is not Christianity, because I can’t claim that and I am a Christian
Mike: because I said so, is not a logical proof



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:44 pm


Hi Other Mike,
Actually, knowing GB as I do, he wouldn’t say, “Cause I say so”
He would asy that he asked God and God told him it was that way.
I would say the same thing. James 1:5 would say the same thing
Jesus says the same thing, “seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you, Waht man is there who if his son doth ask for bread will give him a stone, how much more will the Father in Heaven give unto them that ask him.”
We asked. God answered. We know. You can ask too. You don’t have to take our word for it. You don’t have to ask. You can go on claiming that we are wrong. You can say and do anything you like. that doesn’t change the fact that GB and I and others like us have asked God and God has answered us. Do what you want.



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:59 pm


Mike,
They say imitation is a form of flattery. So I appreciate you using my format. However when I use
Mike: @#^&*^&(%&)
I am quoting you directly. You, on the other hand, are attributing words to me that aren’t mine. Kind of a straw man approach don’t you think?



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Mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 3:47 pm


GB,
If by straw man you mean a summation of the logic of your comments, then yes, it is a straw man.
Forget that I put GB:, in front of the comments, mine was supposed to be a mock discussion, much in the form of Plato’s writings. It was illustrative of what you were saying in your post.
For what it is worth, I appreciate that you must attack my methods and not the contect because:
there is no arguing on the point that Mormonism is not built on the foundation of Christianity as it has been established over thousands of years.
there is no arguing that Christianity proper and Mormonism have differing beleif systems
there is no arguing that the traditions of each establishment are different
there is no arguing that the interpretation of Biblical doctrines differ
there is no arguing that Christianity is not Judaism, nor does it want to be and serves to illustrate the same difference between Mormonism and Christianity
there is no arguing that merely claiming to be a Christian does not make you one
there is no arguing that Christianity was established for 1,800 some odd years before this supposed truth was revealed to Joseph Smith
It is on these points, and many many others, that an argument can very easily be posited and won that Mormonism is NOT Christianity.
I am fairly confident that we can have a theological argument as well, but since everyone in here continues to try and fight out those ideas, I wanted to discuss these issues and nobody here has a defense other than to say,
Mike: WHY DO MORMONS INSIST ON BEING CALLED CHRISTIANS
Everyone else: Because I am one and because I believe that my form of Christianity is the true form, even though it goes agaist all historical/theological and foundational evidence to the contrary, I still believe in the Jesus of the Bible (and subsequent books, oh and the Bible is not accurate)
You have not convinced me otherwise, and I like you will continue to try and convert those people I have interaction with, to the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you sat down at the dinner table and had butter and margarine sitting in front of you, you may think they are one in the same. Until you taste them, one is the original and the other is fake, passing itself off as the other. And only one has the buttery goodness that you are seeking. Margarine may look like butter but it is is nothing but a bunch of scrap, formulated by an industry trying to market it as the next best thing. I prefer the goodness of butter. And I won’t ever conclude that they are the same because they look like it.



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 3:57 pm


Mike,
That logic is circular in the extreme. It lets you off the hook when faced with facts that perhaps some things are not what they say they are. When faced with those prospects, it is way to easy to say, ‘I asked God, he answered, and that’s that.’ The apostle Paul reasoned with people logically from the Scriptures (he went to the Synagogues every week and reasoned with both the Jews and the Greeks from the Scriptures), and so did the other apostles. What was their answer when people questioned them. ‘These things were not done in a vacuum, but your yourselves were witnesses to what we testify about.’ They could prove their points because their accusers could not refute their FACTS. Getting a ‘feeling’ that something is true is not FACT. If you take a look at your belief system and find it is untenable in the light of the evidence, you may have to shift your beliefs. However, this ‘testimony’ issue is what makes it difficult to talk to Mormons, because once evidence is presented they ‘go home to mama’ which is Moroni 10: 3-5. Or James 1:5, which is about seeking WISDOM and not TRUTH, but it suits your purpose anyway, I guess.
Anyway, to each his own I guess. I feel sad for you in a way, because in some of your conventions you are clinging to a covenant that was swept away by a much sweeter, more glorious covenant. No matter; if you are clinging to the one true Christ, we will see each other in paradise, and we will probably be both totally embarassed and laughing all over ourselves over the many errors in theology we made along the way.
Paul said this in I Corinthians 13: “but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
We can only see some of God’s mysteries now; when we are called home, then we will know in full. I look forward to that glorious day.
May God bless you this day, my brothers and sisters in Christ.



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 4:32 pm


Mike: there is no arguing on the point that Mormonism is not built on the foundation of Christianity
GB: an assertion.
Mike: there is no arguing that Christianity is not Judaism, nor does it want to be and serves to illustrate the same difference between Mormonism and Christianity
GB: another assertion.
Mike: there is no arguing that merely claiming to be a Christian does not make you one
GB: Not sure what you mean there.
Mike: there is no arguing that Christianity was established for 1,800 some odd years before this supposed truth was revealed to Joseph Smith
GB: another assertion.
It sounds like your mind is closed. So why would I want to engage you in conversation?



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GB

posted August 2, 2007 at 4:57 pm


Mike,
I have thought about your “there is no arguing that merely claiming to be a Christian does not make you one” and concluded that it is an assertion too.



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Matt crackback

posted August 2, 2007 at 5:04 pm


This is one long blog, fun, exciting, frustrating, no one answers questions even when they think they do. Here’s my opinion (and yes, I’ve read the blog and dredged through the cut and paste, re-cut and paste, re-re-cut and paste, 70 X 7, but I forgive you), all religions that believe in Christ are christian, except one. That of the Church of Joseph (oops, sorry) Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And the only reason they are not christian is obvious, it makes them too much like real christians. Real christians go about their business quietly, saving themselves quietly until a false christian (mormon) comes up, then they can rant and rave and announce their impending doom without letting them get a word in edgewise (to do that would be disasterous, do you know how long dem mormons can talk?!) But I digress. Only one thing, I read in here, from both sides, that God is unchanging. So, unchanging means one truth. I’m pretty sure one truth means one gospel. One gospel means one church. In the old and new testament God gave gospel and lead his church through prophets and apostles. So, let’s find the church that preaches an unchanging God, one with apostles and prophets. Oh yeah, and that church has to accept Christ as the only one who can save. There is only one truth, so let’s all pray, as James admonishes, that we can find His truth and His church, so we can be true followers of Christ. I am a nontraditional christian.
-Matt crackback



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 5:27 pm


Matt,
Very amusing post. Sad and misguided, but amusing.
I tell you what – if my church gets some apostles and prophets, can we be the REAL church, too?
I know that sounds snide, but, and stick with me here, the definition of an apostle is “ONE WHO HAS BEEN WITH JESUS CHRIST IN THE FLESH.” Thus, people like John, Peter, James, and Paul qualify. People like Brigham Young, Spencer Kimball, Orson Pratt, and Hinckley DO NOT. Why? They were not with Jesus and did not see Jesus in the flesh. Therefore, to claim apostleship for them is ludicrous.
About Prophets, the Biblical standard is when you claim to speak in the name of the Lord, one false prophecy gets you stoned to death. You can look in the historical record and see many failed or false prophecies given by LDS “prophets.” Therefore, I reject the claim to be the true church based on prophets, as well.
So where does that leave us? Back at the beginning – “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him up from the dead, you will be saved.” That is Scripture, so when I say Jesus and God I mean the ones revealed in the pages of Scripture. If you hold to any gods other than those, well, God help you my friend.
Does that clear it up for you?



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Mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 5:28 pm


Those are not assertion, what it is with you and this assertion bit…I have been asking all along for somebody to ASSERT a viable argument against my assertions, without which, I claim them to be facts. You see the problem is when one makes assertions, which of course that is what I am doing, you are making assertions when you argue points, the difference is I am doing it in a context of a LOGICAL PROGRESSION. You seem not to like the logic because it proves you wrong.
I would like for you discount any one of those points, with a logical argument and then we will debate on whether my ASSERTIONS are right or not, the thing is, nobody has yet, everyone just keeps playing the “because I said so” card.
And what am I close minded about? The idea that Mormons are Christians? Of course I am…that is why they call this a debate, I am not here to preach tolerance of perverse thought and inclusion of all ideas in order to make people feel warm and fuzzy. I am here to debate why I think Mormonism is a perversion from Christianity and shouldn’t referred to as Christians.
If you have a problem with this idea, I guess that is the first step in saying we can’t have a debate. I don’t mind, however, I thought the purpose of this interaction was to have a dialogue on why you should be referred to as a Christian. The problem is there is something called the ‘burden of proof’, you may have heard of this, it is a philosophical term. It means that if you are making a claim (that goes against what the standard assumption of whatever truth claim you are positing) then you must PROVE that your position is true. I haven’t seen that being done, in fact, you haven’t even engaged the content of these assertions, you just keep saying that you either agree or disagree. You have the burden of proof, I am simply waiting for someone to refute the things that you keep saying I am asserting, with something other than, “I don’t agree”.
How do you debate without making assertions? I am making a claim, and asking you to respond. Your responses have been lacking, that is my whole point, I have rebutted you each time you have responded to my claims, and never has their been a substantive answer. Again, I take that as a victory, you see it as being assertive, I take that as a compliment.



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Mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 5:38 pm


the first sentence should read, “those are not mere assertions”



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rotorhead

posted August 2, 2007 at 6:20 pm


Mike,
You’re digging yourself in a hole buddy…
You have made the BOLD assumption that the Bible is true…PROVE it?
If you take away the element of “Faith” you missed the boat! Paul says, “Now faith is the substance [assurance] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1
And Faith in Jesus Christ, my friend, is what this is all about! That He came to earth, atoned for the sins of mankind, was crucified, and rose on the third day a glorified and victorious Savior…Can I PROVE it, nope, but I know it with all my heart!



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Matt crackback

posted August 2, 2007 at 7:12 pm


Chief,
No, you cannot be the REAL church, too, because you do not have the authoriTAY (I say….). Oh, and I am happy you found my sad, misguided post amusing. My goal is to bring laughter to those who are charging around and around and around and around in circles, in the hopes, perchance, that they will stop for a moment and relax before their hardwood floors burst into flames (That’s fricTION, folks, and an asserTION!….alright, probably not, but it rhymed). Oh, by the way, there is eternal hell (a blog point that has not been addressed, I couldn’t believe my eyes!!), for those thrown into outer darkness. Just don’t go there, OK.
Matt Crackback



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Matt crackback

posted August 2, 2007 at 7:19 pm


Chief,
I’m sorry, I wasn’t going to post again, but I just couldn’t keep away. You see, it would be absurd for Hinckley, Kimball, Young and the others to NOT claim to be prophets, because God called them. No, no, not on the phone, silly (though that would be something, wouldn’t it, to get a call on the phone from…. oh, sorry, just reminiscing…), called them through revelation (that thing that those prophets received a long time ago, remember, God=no change). Sorry, I’m way off topic, that’s why this is my last post. Ummm, GO CHRISTIANS!!!!
Matt Crackback



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mike

posted August 2, 2007 at 7:22 pm


Rotorhead,
This is precisely the reason why we argue that you are not Christians! You start claiming things about the Bible not being true…that would qualify as a perversion from the Christian Tradition.
I am confused, however, how this has any bearing on the argument I have been setting forth…I never once alluded to Mormonism being false because the Bible is true (I have mentioned the Bible but…).
People here keep on posting that we are so close minded…how about you OPEN your mind, read the Bible and pray to God to show you the truth (doesn’t this just seem creepy to say to people?). Perhaps that will help.



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rotorhead

posted August 2, 2007 at 8:03 pm


Mike,
Ok…you got me! I guess I was a bit confused by your earlier posting that YOU wanted only to talk points that could be PROVEN…like the Bible? (Sorry for being facetious here).
Anyway, unless someone from the “orthodox Christian” community can answer the “infallibility of the Bible” question…there really is nothing more to discuss and I will end my postings. You are quick to condemn Mormons belief in continuing revelation from God because it is unprovable, yet hold tenaciously to the unproven presumption of the Bible’s infallibility, in fact, you MUST believe it infallible to maintain your orthodoxy, otherwise, your entire world would crumble!
Fianlly, the sum total difference between YOU and US is that WE do not depend entirely upon the Bible for God’s teachings, although We appeal to it to prove that the truths received through the restoration of the gospel are the same yesterday, today, and forever. YOU believe in a God that WAS, and WE believe in a God that IS!!
Stay well my friends…



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 10:11 pm


rotorhead,
I have no problem in believing in modern revelation. The problem I have with Mormonism’s is that it is totally lacking in scholarly defense. There are huge problems with Joseph Smith and the way he was called (was any other prophet in the entirety of Scripture called in such a weird way?), the Spaulding manuscript, there being no historical or archaelogical evidence supporting the book of Mormon, the fact that doctrines established in the BoM, of which most closely relate to the Bible, have been changed over the years by the other Mormon canons.
If the Nephites and Lamanites had indeed come to this land and built the great civilization and waged the massive, bloody battles described in the BoM, there would be evidence somewhere. I mean, there are chariots and elephants and scimitars and other things like this, but none of them have ever been found. That, to me, is a huge contrast to the piles of artifacts, manuscripts, and other documents, both Biblical and extra-biblical in origin, that support the details of the Scriptures. For me, it just doesn’t add up.
If you are happy with it, so be it, and God bless. If someone asks me about Mormonism on the street, I will tell them what I think of it. That is the real problem. I don’t care what you believe; you are free to believe anything you wish. But if you PREACH and TEACH what you believe, and it is a false gospel, like I and millions of other Christians believe it is, then you are fulfilling one of the seven woes Jesus gave to the Pharisees when He said, “You travel over land and sea to make one convert to your religion, and when you do you make him twice the child of hell that you are.”
That is the reason that I resist the push to call Mormonism Christianity, not because of esoteric reasons but because I believe deeply that there are souls in the balance.



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Josh Knight

posted August 2, 2007 at 11:58 pm


Chief1989 posted:
“There are huge problems with Joseph Smith and the way he was called (was any other prophet in the entirety of Scripture called in such a weird way?)”
Hmmm. I can think of several. Moses out tending his flocks and the Lord appears to him in a “burning bush.” Zacharias seeing an angel in the temple and being struck dumb. Or maybe when Saul sees the Lord on the road to Damascas, and those with Saul do not see Him. What about events in the lives of prophets that may have had little to do with the way they were “called,” but that they claimed happened to them? Jonah getting swallowed by a big fish, the Lord telling Noah to build an ark. The list goes on.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 4:35 am


Chief, I wrote you a response that was “held for approval” and dnag it was good too. And it is 1:34 AM amd I have to be to work at 8. It’ll have to wait.
Mike



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Chief1989

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:09 am


Josh Knight,
Thanks for you comments, Josh. I made the comment a number of posts ago that, while some prophet’s callings were unusual, the Lord spoke directly to them (out of the burning bush came the Lord’s voice, Jesus appeared directly to Saul and gave Him the gospel, angels appeared to Gideon and Zacharias and gave them the word of the Lord, etc.). He never asked them to go find His word and dig it up. He did not ask them to come back once a year for four years while He delivered the same message to them, then deliver some plates written in an unfamiliar language that would need translating, and then those plates were to be given back and taken out of this world. The Lord spoke to Moses, to Abraham, to Noah, to Samuel, to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, to Amos, to Jonah, etc. directly, without using such a roundabout way to deliver His message. That was why I was confused by the circumstances surrounding the events regarding Smith. It just seems so much more secretive and circuitous than the Lord revealed in the Bible normally operated.
Anyway, I come to this thread today with a little different perspective than before. My wife was diagnosed with cancer, so when something like that happens, it kind of changes the way you look at things, and things you thought were important do not seem so pressing now. I find that I don’t want to get caught up in things like priesthood and authority and things that, in the greater cosmic scheme of things, probably don’t matter that much to God nowadays and won’t really determine whether someone goes to heaven or not. I find that I want to think about these kinds of things:
Hebrews 10: 19-23
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
James 4: 8a
8Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.
James 4: 10-12
10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
11Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. 12There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?
Philippians 4: 6-8
6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Ephesians 6: 18
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Romans 8: 26-28
26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. 28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Everyone here on this board is in my prayers, and I ask that you include me and my wife Jill in yours. May God bless you all and keep you this day, sealed by His Spirit until the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ.



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Mike

posted August 3, 2007 at 1:01 pm


It is unfortunate that people like Rotorhead come into this forum and spout the same propaganda that they accuse the other side. He gives no reasoning why “the other side” needs to prove the Bible is true in order to have a conversation, especially since not one point in my argument was dependant upon this supposed truth. While I do agree that the Bible is infallible, the issue at hand is whether or not, in light of the tradition, that is Christianity, that Mormonism can be recognized as Christian. And again, no response.
I can very easily ask the same question to Rotorhead, prove to me that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Prophets actually speak the word of God. He can’t, there is no way to do this. This is why, as I have said all along, that we cannot judge “Christianity” solely on this basis but rather the long tradition of Faith which supercedes any other argument the Mormons can offer.
Again, I find it quite obvious that if you have two different objects with different properties, looks, colors, etc…and continue to insist they are the same you will get people who question your logic. The only real response is to deal outside of logic because you can’t win the fight within it. You can continue to say the same, dogged remarks, over and over and over again until they became so monotonous that people give up but the end result is the same, you can’t fight the logical battle. Your throw up your hands and say “well, you can’t prove to me that that thing is what you say and therefore we can both be classified as “insert your claim here”.” I will say, you may be correct but for the last 1800 years mine has been recognized as “insert claim”, yours seems to be some sort of imposter.
The burden of proof is a heavy thing, and one in which I understand you wouldn’t want to address because, you simply cannot and shouldn’t want to, it is a losing battle. In the meantime, us Evangelicals will continue to refer to you are you truly are, Mormons, because you beleive in Christ through the Mormon tradition and there is a difference. If you continue to be ashamed of being Mormons, you must resolve that in your own conscience.
I will not confuse the facts, I understand you claim to believe in Jesus, just in a different way than I, as a Christian, from the traditional 2000 year old tradition of theological and historical foundation. You beleive in Christ through Joseph Smith, and yes while I have questions about his life, calling, and many other elements of Mormonism, I don’t question that you claim to be a “Christian”. I question your reasoning for coming to that conclusion and your reasoning for not simply being reasonable in understanding that there is a difference and for the sake of classification, the two cannot mesh.
I am frustrated by this continued logical suicide evident in these arguments and an insistence on circling the issues with emotional arguments and unsubstanitiated attacks and reasoning. My hope was to have a dialog and while you charge us “evangelicals” of being so hateful and stubborn, I have had no real dialogue but rather continued attack, not dealing with the issues.
Good luck fighting this fight in this manner, I don’t think you will ever win.



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Joseph

posted August 3, 2007 at 1:56 pm


Question for Mormons
Does special revelation from God have greater authority than written Scripture or do they have the same authority?
Because it seems to me that if you have to have special revelation from God to know whether the Book Mormon is true or not, then that special revelation from God has greater authority than the Scripture itself.
After all you do believe in continuing revelation right?



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Mike

posted August 3, 2007 at 2:31 pm


I got a revelation from God just 3 minutes ago that Mormonism is false and shouldn’t be referred to as Christianity. So there you go, you can’t dispute this claim.



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Chief1989

posted August 3, 2007 at 2:46 pm


A friend of mine has seven children, and he is always admonishing them “do not do anything that will soil the family name. Wear our name with pride, and do not do anything that would bring it shame.”
Believers in Christ wear the name “Christian”, and are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, let us make sure that we are not and won’t be doing anything that will bring dishonor to that name.
I leave you with this:
Revelation 22
18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Amen and amen



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George Dougherty

posted August 3, 2007 at 6:37 pm


The fundamental difference in the Catholic/Protestant example Card provides is that traditional Catholics and Protestants start from the same underlying belief in the nature of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Catholics and Protestants alike reject the claim of revisionist “Christians” who espouse a belief that Jesus was just a good moral teacher and that the Bible is not entirely the infallible word of God.
The obviously fabricated historical and prophetic claims made by Mormonism since its founding (Quakers on the moon, ancient trans-Atlantic traveling Jews) are enough to convince me that Mormonism is a man-made religion and in no way a new and special revelation from God as Joseph Smith claimed.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 10:19 pm


Chief, My prayers are with you and your wife. I understand the gravity of the situation. My son-in-law is undergoing open heart surgery next Thursday to repair or replace two valves. He is 22 and he and my daughter were married last December.
I am comforted by the knowledge God has given me that families are forever.
God bless you,
Mike



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Revelation 22
John the Revelator quoted by Chief: 18For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Amen and amen
Mike:
Critics claim that the Book of Mormon cannot be true because the nothing should be “added to” or “taken away from” the Holy Bible.
Source(s) of the criticism
“[Joseph] Smith apparently was either oblivious to the expressed warning about adding to or substracting from the Word of God, or willfully disobedient to it (see Rev. 22:18,19).” – “Dr.” Walter Martin, Mormonism (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1984), 29.
[edit]Response
The verse often cited (as by Martin, above) is Revelation 22:18-19:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Critics claim that this verse states that the Bible is complete, and no other scripture exists or will be forthcoming.
However, the critics ignore that:
The book of Revelation was written prior to some of the other biblical books, and prior the the Bible being assembled into a collection of texts. Therefore, this verse can only apply to the Book of Revelation, and not the Bible as a whole (some of which was unwritten and none of which was yet assembled together into ‘the Bible’). While the traditional date of the book of Revelation is A.D. 95 or 96 (primarily based on a statement by Irenaeus), most scholars now date it as early as A.D. 68 or 69. The Gospel of John is generally dated A.D. 95-100. (For more information on the dating of Revelation, see Thomas B. Slater’s Biblica article).
The book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible only because it was placed there centuries later. Therefore, John cannot have intended the last few sentences of Revelation to apply to the entire Bible, since he was not writing a ‘final chapter’.
Other scriptures (such as Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, and Proverbs 30:6) likewise forbid additions; were the critics’ arguments to be self-consistent, they would have to then discard everything in the New Testament and much of the Old, since these verses predate “other scripture” added by God through later prophets.
The Bible forbids men to add to the Word of God; it does not forbid that God may, through a prophet, add to the Word of God. If this were not possible, then the Bible could never have come into existence.
Noted Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman (a non-Mormon) wrote:
The very real danger that [New Testament] texts could be modified at will, by scribes who did not approve of their wording, is evident in other ways as well. We need always to remember that the copyists of the early Christian writings were reproducing their texts in a world in which there were not only no printing presses or publishing houses but also no such thing as copyright law. How could authors guarantee that their texts were not modified once put into circulation? The short answer is that they could not. That explains why authors would sometimes call curses down on any copyists who modified their texts without permission. We find this kind of imprecation already in one early Christian writing that made it into the New Testament, the book of Revelation, whose author, near the end of his text, utters a dire warning [quotes Revelation 22:18–19].
This is not a threat that the reader has to accept or believe everything written in this book of prophecy, as it is sometimes interpreted; rather, it is a typical threat to copyists of the book, that they are not to add to or remove any of its words. Similar imprecations can be found scattered throughout the range of early Christian writings.[1]
Conclusion
The critics misuse Revelation, misunderstand the process by which the Bible cannon was formed, and must ignore other, earlier scriptures to maintain their position. Their use of this argument is a form of begging the question whereby they presume at the outset that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures are not the Word of God, which is precisely the point under debate. If they are the work of uninspired men, then of course one ought not to trust them. If, however, they are indeed the word of the Lord to prophets, then all ought to heed them.
Endnotes
Bart D.Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperSanFrancisco, [2005]2007), 54–55. ISBN 0060859512. ISBN 0060738170.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 10:38 pm


Question for Mormons
Does special revelation from God have greater authority than written Scripture or do they have the same authority?
Because it seems to me that if you have to have special revelation from God to know whether the Book Mormon is true or not, then that special revelation from God has greater authority than the Scripture itself.
After all you do believe in continuing revelation right?
Mike’s response: Yes we do. The Bible is in accord with this as in James 1:5.
http://fairwiki.org/index.php/Open_canon_vs._closed_canon
God is superior even to His Word
The Bible is an important record of God’s message to humanity. However, the Bible—or any other written text—cannot be the focus of the Christian’s life or faith. Only One deserves that place: God.
One non-LDS Christian author cautioned believers from placing the Bible ‘ahead’ of God:
It is possible, however, to stress the Bible so much and give it so central a place that the sensitive Christian conscience must rebel. We may illustrate such overstress on the Bible by the often-used (and perhaps misused) quotation from Chillingworth: “The Bible alone is the religion of Protestantism.” Or we may recall how often it has been said that the Bible is the final authority for the Christian. If it will not seem too facetious, I would like to put in a good word for God. It is God and not the Bible who is the central fact for the Christian. When we speak of “the Word of God” we use a phrase which, properly used, may apply to the Bible, but it has a deeper primary meaning. It is God who speaks to man. But he does not do so only through the Bible. He speaks through prophets and apostles. He speaks through specific events. And while his unique message to the Church finds its central record and written expression in the Bible, this very reference to the Bible reminds us that Christ is the Word of God in a living, personal way which surpasses what we have even in this unique book. Even the Bible proves to be the Word of God only when the Holy Spirit working within us attests the truth and divine authority of what the Scripture says. Faith must not give to the aids that God provides the reverence and attention that Belong only to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope is in God; our life is in Christ; our power is in the Spirit. The Bible speaks to us of the divine center of all life and help and power, but it is not the center. The Christian teaching about the canon must not deify the Scripture.[1]
To argue that the canon is closed effectively seeks to place God’s written word (the Bible) above God Himself. Some have even called this practice “bibolatry” or “bibliolatry.” Critics are effectively ordering God not to reveal anything further, or refusing to even consider that He might choose to speak again.
Closed canon is not a Biblical doctrine
The idea of a closed canon is not a Biblical doctrine. The Bible bears record that God called prophets in the past. Why could He not—indeed, why would He not—continue to do so?
Ironically, it would seem that the only way to know that there can be no extra-Biblical revelation is via revelation: otherwise, decisions about God’s Word are being made by human intellect alone. Yet, since the Bible does not claim that it is the sole source of revealed truth, the only potential source of a revelation to close the canon would be extra-Biblical. Thus, those who insist on a closed canon are in the uncomfortable position of requiring extra-Biblical revelation to rule out extra-Biblical revelation![2]
Throughout Biblical history, the canon was clearly not closed. New prophets were called, and new authoritative writing was made. It would seem strange for this to cease without revelatory notice being given that God’s practices were about to change.
Scriptural interpretation requires revelation
Even if one were to grant that the Bible contains all necessary teachings, it is clear from Christian history that the Bible can be interpreted in many different ways by sincere readers. What else but additional, on-going revelation can settle legitimate questions of interpretation and application of God’s word? Are we to rely on human reason alone to do so? Does this not in essence turn to an extra-Biblical source for information about divine matters?
Conclusion
The doctrine of a closed canon and the end of authoritative revelation is not found in the Bible. To insist upon this doctrine is to place a non-Biblical doctrine in a place of pre-eminence, and insist that God must be bound by it. Such a doctrine would require the very revelation it denies to be authoritative. Even the proper interpretation of Biblical teachings requires authoritative revelation, which are necessarily extra-Biblical.
Critics are free to hold these beliefs if they wish, but they ought not to criticize the LDS for believing extra-Biblical doctrines when they themselves insist upon the non-Biblical closed canon.
Endnotes
Floyd V. Filson, Which Books Belong in the Bible? (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1957), 20–21.
Joseph Smith made this observation in Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 61. ISBN 087579243X.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 10:44 pm


Non-Mormon Mike:
I got a revelation from God just 3 minutes ago that Mormonism is false and shouldn’t be referred to as Christianity. So there you go, you can’t dispute this claim.
Mike Bennion:
I have a witness from God that the Book of Mormon is true. that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, that the Church of Jesus Christ is the Restored Church, having authority of God to bring all those who will back to the presence of God.
As to your claim: I don’t have to dispute it. Anyone who sincerely wants to know which of this revelations is right, can ask God as James 1:5 directs and God will be the tie breaker.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 10:59 pm


non-Mormon Mike:
It is unfortunate that people like Rotorhead come into this forum and spout the same propaganda that they accuse the other side. He gives no reasoning why “the other side” needs to prove the Bible is true in order to have a conversation, especially since not one point in my argument was dependant upon this supposed truth. While I do agree that the Bible is infallible, the issue at hand is whether or not, in light of the tradition, that is Christianity, that Mormonism can be recognized as Christian. And again, no response.
Mike Bennion:
Rotorhead is simply suggesting that the same difficulty in proving the Book of Mormon is true, cna be demonstrated by attempting to prove the bible true. After all is said and done, there must still be a leap of faith in both cases. There has been enough written by the LDS posters here to demonstrate the “plausibility” that the Book of Mormon could be true. If we have missed something, and I’m sure we have, the links we listed cover those assertions. We are happy to show the evidence. But in the final analysis. Whether one wishes to learn the truth of the Bible or the Book of Mormon, or the lack thereof, One must still consult a higher power, the author of the Book, God. You can ridicule this. You can call it “running to Mama” as Chief did. But the gift of Faith is not proof to anyone but the person who receives it.
The Bible tells us to ask, to seek, to knock, to pray, and promises answers.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:07 pm


Non-Mormon Mike:
I can very easily ask the same question to Rotorhead, prove to me that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Prophets actually speak the word of God. He can’t, there is no way to do this. This is why, as I have said all along, that we cannot judge “Christianity” solely on this basis but rather the long tradition of Faith which supercedes any other argument the Mormons can offer.
I will say, you may be correct, but for the last 1800 years mine has been recognized as “insert claim”, yours seems to be some sort of imposter.
Mike Bennion:
When Jesus walked the earth and taught the truths of the Gospel to them, it was the Jews who had thousands of years of tradition on their side, and they made the same argument to the Christians then. Since when does logic dictate that the longer a concept has been around the more true it becomes? Using this logic we could say that what Satan teaches is getting truer evry day. Mike, if you pride yourself on logic you may not want to go there. I’m sure that to the Jews, Jesus seemed “to be some sort of imposter”.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:16 pm


non-Mormon Mike:
The burden of proof is a heavy thing, and one in which I understand you wouldn’t want to address because, you simply cannot and shouldn’t want to, it is a losing battle.
Mike Bennion:
I don’t need to. I only need to present the evidence the best I can. Testify that I have been given the truth, and then ask you to Ask God about it. If you choose not to, then it is your responsibility and not mine.
Non-Mormon Mike:
In the meantime, us Evangelicals will continue to refer to you are you truly are, Mormons, because you beleive in Christ through the Mormon tradition and there is a difference. If you continue to be ashamed of being Mormons, you must resolve that in your own conscience.
Mike Bennion:
Oh I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored through Joseph Smith. It is the power of God unto Salvation. Yes there is a difference. But I will not denigrate your belief by saying that you are not a Christian. You believe that Jesus Christ is God and that he died for our sins, and that we are saved by his mighty works. I call htat Christian. You call me whatever you want. It doens’t change my love for or personal relationship with my Savior.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:30 pm


non-Mormon Mike:
I will not confuse the facts, I understand you claim to believe in Jesus, just in a different way than I, as a Christian, from the traditional 2000 year old tradition of theological and historical foundation.
Mike Bennion:
I would say that you believe parts of the Bible. (Apparently not James 1:5) and that you overlay the Creedal traditions of Orthodoxy over the top of the Biblical truths. I find this ironic, as Evangelicals defend Bible innerrancy while interpreting Bible verse by the Creeds.
Non-Mormon Mike:
You believe in Christ through Joseph Smith, and yes while I have questions about his life, calling, and many other elements of Mormonism,
Mike Bennion:
Ancient Christians believed in Christ through Peter, James, John and Paul, each of whom say and conversed with angels and resurrected beings. The Jews questioned their lives and calling as well, and many other elements of the New Testament doctrine. Did that make the Apostles and the doctrine untrue?
Non-Mormon Mike:
I don’t question that you claim to be a “Christian”.
Mike Bennion:
Thank you.
Non-Mormon Mike: I question your reasoning for coming to that conclusion
Mike Bennion:
And I question whether you have done sufficint “homework” to come to grips with the complexity and power of Mormon Christian doctrine and history, and am somewhat frustrated with that.
non-Mormon Mike:
and your reasoning for not simply being reasonable in understanding that there is a difference and for the sake of classification, the two cannot mesh.
Mike Bennion: I will not speak for others, only for myself: Yes there is a difference. The difference is that more light and truth is available for the asking, but “yagottawanna” ask to find out.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:46 pm


non-Mormon Mike:
I am frustrated by this continued logical suicide evident in these arguments and an insistence on circling the issues with emotional arguments and unsubstanitiated attacks and reasoning.
Mike Bennion:
Oh Pulease! I don’t think that I have made one post that isn’t documented. And substantiated by multiple sources. If I recall, you wanted Mormons to stop quoting the same things over and over. And use ” logic”. And then when Mormons stopped quoting and used “logic” you complained that their post were “unsubstantiated” and emotional. Maybe if you would answer and acknowledge the assertions and the sources we would stop quoting them. And telling you that the Bible tells us to Pray and ask God for answers is not emotional. It is a fact that the Bible recommends asking God when we seek wisdom.
Non-Mormon Mike:
My hope was to have a dialog and while you charge us “evangelicals” of being so hateful and stubborn,
Mike Bennion: Show me where I have charged you or any evangelical of any such things. If you make assertions that challenge my beliefs I will defend them. I will not hestitate to tell you that I disagree with you, but I will not call your character into question.
Non-Mormon Mike: I have had no real dialogue but rather continued attack, not dealing with the issues.
Mike Bennion: and I have had no real replies to the many lengthy posts and links that I have posted, so you want dialogue?. Please be my guest. We can do it here, or at my Blogs.
www/truthrestored.townhall.com or http://www.angelslanding.townhall.com
non-Mormon Mike:
Good luck fighting this fight in this manner, I don’t think you will ever win.
Mike Bennion:
I’m not fighting to win. I am testifying as I have been commanded to do. You can do whatever you want with what I tell you.



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mike

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:50 pm


Mike Bennion:
When Jesus walked the earth and taught the truths of the Gospel to them, it was the Jews who had thousands of years of tradition on their side, and they made the same argument to the Christians then. Since when does logic dictate that the longer a concept has been around the more true it becomes? Using this logic we could say that what Satan teaches is getting truer evry day. Mike, if you pride yourself on logic you may not want to go there. I’m sure that to the Jews, Jesus seemed “to be some sort of imposter”.
OTHER MIKE: Exactly my point all along, Jesus didn’t claim a “new” religion but the the Apostles and subsequent founders of the faith did not insist and calling themselves JEWS! That would be absurd, they are clearly not Jews EVEN THOUGH they beleived in many things in the Jewish religion. They claimed to be Christians, or at least followers of Christ, Christian was a term given by the Romans.
You have so perfectly illustrated why this logic doesn’t hold up. Christians didn’t want to be associated as Jews, rather followers of Christ (and actually if you 1 Corinthians 3, they referred to themselves as disciples of whichever apostles they were taught by, this was before the term “Christian” was applied). I will say again, you seem to not understand the logical leap you are making in making this statement, Mormonism is claiming to be Christian, without the tradition, just as the Christians of their day DIDN’T DO, they knew better.



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GB

posted August 4, 2007 at 12:56 am


Mike: Exactly my point all along, Jesus didn’t claim a “new” religion but the the Apostles and subsequent founders of the faith did not insist and calling themselves JEWS!
GB: Did you really mean that?



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paul

posted August 4, 2007 at 2:45 pm


Why I am A Christian and not a Mormon!
Mormons say that salvation is by grace after all that we can do. Was the Cross of Jesus of Jesus not enough to pay the price for our sin? That somehow the death of God was not enough, that we also must obey all the commandments of the law in order to be saved. In other words the Cross does not have any saving power but simply enables me to save myself by obeying the law. Sounds like legalism to me. How do you know when you done enough works to attain salvation what about all the bad things you did before you became a Mormon do you have to pay for those to.
As a Christian I believe that Jesus literally paid the price for my sin by absorbing the wrath of God on my behalf. All I must do to attain salvation is to believe in Jesus and who He says He is. My salvation is not determined by anything I can do but by what was already accomplished on the Cross. I desire salvation not that I can become a god. But so that I can know the Living God, I desire God above all else not as a means to something else but an end in and of itself.
Mormons desire salvation so that one day they may become gods and rule the heavens with God. How arrogant to even assume that God would even share His power , after all He alone is infinite, we are finite. He is the Creator we are the created. Satan was thrown out of heaven for trying to become like God. Yet you say we will become gods ourselves
I say that Mormons are non traditional Christians in fact they are non-Christians



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Joe

posted August 4, 2007 at 5:16 pm


Without Grace we cannot be saved. I don’t think there are any Mormons who would disagree to this. To say that we can live our lives in any way shape or form without regard to laws and commandments makes a mockery of everything Jesus taught.
If we don’t live our lives the way that Jesus taught (i.e. obeying his commandments) would we be comfortable in his presense after this life?
I feel if a person truly has faith in God and in the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, he would live his life according to “Christian Principles.”
What sense would there be if a terrible person who has “faith” makes it to heaven, when a truly charitable one goes to hell? Where’s God’s mercy in that?



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paul

posted August 4, 2007 at 6:30 pm


Joe
Only someone who does not understand what it means to be Christian would say that. Just because my salvation is not dependent upon works does not mean that I am not going to obey God’s commandments. What I am saying is that Mormons put extra requirements upon you saying you must do certain things in order to be saved and if you don’t then you are not saved. That kind of teaching enslaves us to serving a religion rather than serving the Living God.
A true christian will I repeat will obey the commands of God, but they are a not a requirement for salvation, because salvation is of the Lord not of ourselves.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 7:59 pm


Paul,
Read John Chapters 14= 17 carefully, paying particular attention to those who are Branches of the Vine (Christ) If they do not do his will they are cut off from the vine and have no life in and of themselves. Jesus and his Apostles spend much of their time teaching what is necessary to abide in the vine. These are works that are the fruit of faith. They are centered in the vine, Christ, because it is he who commands them and his will and the Father’s which we pray to do.
A true Christian will obey the commands of God.
God has said that those who do not his will shall be cut off of the vine by the Father. It is very clear that the works are necessary, Centered in Jesus and our Fatih in Him, yes, but one does not remain on the vine (i.e. Christian and able to draw nourishing Salvation form Christ) without them. This seems like a clearly stated requirement
by Jesus himself.
Jesus teaches how we are saved
1″I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:1-4 NIV)
Jesus says that the branches that are cut off are those that “bear no fruit” that is, they do not do the works Jesus commands. Even those disciples that do his works will be tried and tested to allow them to grow and do even more. Once a branch is cut off from Christ, due to a lack of faith manifested by failing to keep his commandments, it cannot live or bear fruit apart from him.
5″I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5-8 NIV)



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paul

posted August 4, 2007 at 8:41 pm


John 15:5 Without me you can do nothing. This is the conclusion and application of the whole parable. So long as we are separate from him, we bear no fruit that is good and acceptable to God, for we are unable to do anything good. You not only extenuate this statement, but destroy its substance, and, indeed, altogether evade it; for, though in words you acknowledge that we can do nothing without Christ, you foolishly imagine you possess some power, which is not sufficient in itself, but, being aided by the grace of God, co-operates that is, works along with it; you cannot endure that man should be so much annihilated as to do nothing of himself. But these words of Christ are too plain to be evaded so easily as they suppose. Your doctrine is, that we can do nothing without Christ, but that, aided by him, we have something of ourselves in addition to his grace. But Christ, on the other hand, declares that we can do nothing of ourselves. The branch, he says, beareth not fruit of itself; and, therefore, he not only extols the aid of his co-operating grace, but deprives us entirely of all power but what he imparts to us. Accordingly, this phrase, without me, must be explained as meaning, except from me.
These verses just prove what I stated earlier



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 9:33 pm


The Bible: John 15:5 Without me you can do nothing.
Mike Bennion: Agreed
Paul:This is the conclusion and application of the whole parable.
Mike Bennion: Yes
Paul: So long as we are separate from him, we bear no fruit that is good and acceptable to God, for we are unable to do anything good.
Mike Bennion: The key words “without him” Jesus says:
4REMAIN in me, and I will REMAIN in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 NIV)
You not only extenuate this statement, but destroy its substance, and, indeed, altogether evade it; for, though in words you acknowledge that we can do nothing without Christ, you foolishly imagine you possess some power, which is not sufficient in itself, but, being aided by the grace of God, co-operates that is, works along with it; you cannot endure that man should be so much annihilated as to do nothing of himself. But these words of Christ are too plain to be evaded so easily as they suppose. Your doctrine is, that we can do nothing without Christ, but that, aided by him, we have something of ourselves in addition to his grace. But Christ, on the other hand, declares that we can do nothing of ourselves. The branch, he says, beareth not fruit of itself; and, therefore, he not only extols the aid of his co-operating grace, but deprives us entirely of all power but what he imparts to us. Accordingly, this phrase, without me, must be explained as meaning, except from me.
These verses just prove what I stated earlier



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mike

posted August 4, 2007 at 10:15 pm


GB,
Of course you would find some sort of semantical challenge AGAIN rather than address the issues. This is insanity at this point…do you know one of the definitions of insanity? Doing the same thing OVER AND OVER again. You should be concerned that you lack logic and can only argue the mundane peripheral points rather than the issues.
I will say, yes I meant what I said, however, and this is goes to further my point all along, the Apostles didn’t have to claim to be Jews, they were NATIONALLY because they were raised in the tradition. They were not ,however, Jews religiously ANYMORE. Again, this is a distinction which is very true, however, you will find something to argue concerning these semantics as well because you can’t face the fact that by arguing that they were Jews, religiously, even though they didn’t follow those things that would be associated with Judaism, it serves as a perfect corollary to the issue at hand. They knew, as did the Romans who classified these people, that this religion was different, at least in so far as they realized that Christ was the fulfillment of prophecies and it ceased to be Judaism when the Jews rejected them.
This is the same situation we have here. You are fighting for us to recognize you but we won’t because of all the other reasons you can read about here. Because we have rejected you, you are not Christians, you are Mormons. This is because ultimately WE have this authority being from the traditional Christian community.
You will not accept this or any of the other logic presented. You will continue to make ridiculous statements about semantics because facing the issues is a losing battle and you know this.
I hope, for your sake, that you are able to accept the facts in the future. Living in this tension is not worth it. Ultimately I hope that you realize the error of your theology and the outlandish claims it makes and the perversion it has from the Truth. I have complete faith in an omnipotent God who calls people to himself, not by their free will but by his own choosing. Again, in the meantime I will continue to share the Truth with those whom I believe have perverted it, including the Mormons.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 11:05 pm


Half of my comments went missing in my last post.
Jesus didn’t say “I will cause you to remain in me” He said. “Remain in me” Jesus is using the imperative form of the verb remain. The imperative requires action on the part of those being commanded. Jesus use of the imperative, assumes th epower to act on our part.
Paul: You not only extenuate this statement, but destroy its substance, and, indeed, altogether evade it; for, though in words you acknowledge that we can do nothing without Christ, you foolishly imagine you possess some power, which is not sufficient in itself, but, being aided by the grace of God, co-operates that is, works along with it;
MIke Bennion: So does Jesus State and So does Paul:
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth agood bfruit; but a ccorrupt tree bringeth forth devil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is bhewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, bLord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but HE THAT DOETH THE WILL of my Father which is in eheaven.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 THOSE THINGS WHICH YE HAVE both LEARNED , and RECEIVED, and HEARD, and SEEN in me, DO: and the God of peace shall be with you.
• • •
12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to bound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13 I CAN DO ALL THINGS IN CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH ME.
Rom. 2: 13 doers of the law shall be justified.
James 1: 22 be ye doers of the word.
I feel comfortable with the scriptural support parovided fo rmy beliefs.
Paul: you cannot endure that man should be so much annihilated as to do nothing of himself.
Mike Bennion: Paul is trying to read my mind. I think no such thing. But as noted above the Bible supports the capacity of men to do righteousness.
Paul: But these words of Christ are too plain to be evaded so easily as they suppose.
Mike Bennion: It appears that the plainess of Scripture supports me rather than you. It may be you who are being selective and evasive.
Paul: Your doctrine is, that we can do nothing without Christ, but that, aided by him, we have something of ourselves in addition to his grace.
Mike Bennion: As shown above this is bible doctrine. We have power to act, as a result of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Paul: But Christ, on the other hand, declares that we can do nothing of ourselves. The branch, he says, beareth not fruit of itself; and, therefore, he not only extols the aid of his co-operating grace, but deprives us entirely of all power but what he imparts to us.
Mike Bennion: Paul’s assertion is not supported by the Bible.
Luke 10: 19
19 Behold, I GIVE UNTO YOU POWER to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Acts 8: 19
Rev. 2: 26
26 And HE THAT OVERCOMETH, and KEEPETH MY WORKS unto the end, TO HIM WILL I GIVE POWER over the nations:
Note that Jesus does not say, “Him that I cause to Overcome” or “him that I cause to keep my works” Jesus says “Him that overcometh” him that “keepeth my works”. This presupposes agency on the part of men.
Paul: Accordingly, this phrase, without me, must be explained as meaning, except from me.
Mike Bennion: Either phrase is about the same. We are all agreed that Jesus is the moving cause that allows men to do good that counts.
But Jesus still commands men to do good. If men were incapable of doing good and thus exercising agency, there would be no need for Jesus to issue commands. He would save or damn who he wills. And there would be nothing men could do. There would be no choice.
The Bible, however, says that just the opposite is true. Men can choose.
Deut. 30: 19
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
Josh. 24: 15
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, CHOOSE you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Philip. 1: 22
22 But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall CHOOSE I wot not.
Heb. 11: 25
25 CHOOSING rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
It is obvious that Paul the Apostle could decide for himself whether to be saved or not. Paul chooses whether to “remain” on the vine.
Jesus gave him power to choose. this power is granted unto men because of Jesus great sacrifice.
Paul: These verses just prove what I stated earlier
Mike Bennion: The Bible verses above, when taken in context with John chapters 14 and 15, do not support your assertion.



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paul

posted August 4, 2007 at 11:51 pm


Mike Bennion
Yes I’m A Calvinist and I know that my works are not my own but Christs’ who lives in me.
The issue at hand here is whether salvation is completely an act of God and not of our own doing, or it is our choices that enable us to attain salvation.
What Does “Salvation” Mean?
In Matthew 19:16-30 the issue is salvation. And that’s the issue for us. We want to pray toward 1500 people who are now lost being saved. So let’s notice, first, six different ways that salvation is described in this text.
1. Verse 16: “And someone came to Him and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?’” That’s the first description: “obtain [or have] eternal life.”
2. Verse 17b: Jesus says, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The second way to express “salvation” is “enter into life.”
3. Verse 23: “Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Third, you can describe salvation as “entering the kingdom of heaven.”
4. Verse 24: Again Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The fourth way to say it is “enter the kingdom of God.” There is no substantial difference between “kingdom of heaven” (verse 23) and “kingdom of God” (verse 24).
5. Verse 25: “When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’” There is the familiar word “saved.” So now we know “being saved” means here having eternal life and entering the kingdom of God. The opposite would be eternal death and separation from God – a place and a condition which Jesus more than anyone else in the Bible calls “Hell,” a place of great torment.
6. Verse 29: Jesus says to Peter, “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.” Here the future orientation of the passage becomes clear. “Salvation” means “inheriting eternal life” in the age to come.
This is what the rich young man was after. And it is what we are after. And it is what we want others to have through our lives and ministries. That is the goal of the “harvesting” half of 2000 by 2000. We believe eternal life is at stake in how people respond to Jesus. We want them to be saved and have eternal life and enter the kingdom of God and not be condemned on the Day of Judgment.
So now what does Jesus tell us about this salvation?
Humanly Impossible
The most striking thing he tells us is that the conversion that leads to this salvation is humanly impossible. And this is all the more striking because the question he is answering when he says this could easily have been answered without bringing up the issue of the impossibility of conversion.
Let’s look at this in the text. This young man, who wants eternal life, claims in verse 20 to keep the whole law that Jesus had summed up with “Love your neighbor as yourself” in verse 19: “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” I don’t think Jesus agrees with this man’s self-assessment – namely that he loves his neighbor as himself.
And so, to expose the man’s love of money and his dependence on money, Jesus says in verse 21, “If you wish to be complete [or perfect], go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” If you want to be what you need to be and inherit eternal life, 1) unshackle your heart from your possessions, 2) have a heart for the poor, 3) treasure God in heaven, and 4) follow me (see also John 10:26-27).
But verse 22 says the young man “went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.” Jesus responded to this departure in verses 23-24: “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. (24) Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” One thing is crystal clear: a camel cannot go through the eye of a needle. It is impossible. And if you have ever heard anyone say that this is a reference to a gate in the wall around Jerusalem which was so small that a camel had to get down low and take the load off its back, there is no such gate and the context will not allow such an interpretation.
Jesus interprets his own meaning in his response to what the disciples ask next. They are astonished and ask in verse 25, “Then who can be saved?” Now at this point Jesus has the golden opportunity to answer with something like: “The poor can be saved.” Or: “Believers can be saved.” Or: “Those who follow me can be saved.” But he does not say any of those. He follows through with the meaning of what he had just said about the camel and the needle’s eye. He says in verse 26, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
What is Jesus referring to when he says, “This is impossible”? The rich young man had just been unwilling to leave his possessions, and care for the poor and treasure God and follow Jesus. Jesus had said, See how hard it is for a rich man to be converted into a follower of mine. It’s as hard as a camel going through a needle’s eye. But then the disciples broaden the issue to everybody: “Who then can be saved?” And Jesus in essence says, “The point I am making about the rich is true for everybody. This is not a problem with money. It’s a problem with the human heart.” So he makes the broad general statement: “With people this is impossible.” That is, conversion for everyone is humanly impossible. Who then can be saved? Answer: No one -unless God intervenes to do what is humanly impossible.
But Can’t a Person Just Decide?
This is what Jesus meant in John 6:65, “No one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” It’s what Paul meant in Romans 8:7 where he said, “The mind of the flesh. . . does not submit to the law of God, for indeed it cannot.” And 1 Corinthians 2:14, “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” And Ephesians 2:5, “We were dead in our trespasses and sins.” It is impossible for a dead man to be converted – unless God does the humanly impossible.
Now there is a kind of theology that says, Yes, with man conversion is impossible apart from God’s grace, but God makes it possible for everyone by a universal work of grace which he gives to all people everywhere. So, this view says, God overcomes the deadness of our fallen nature and makes all men able to believe.* So it would be impossible without this grace, but with this grace it is possible. And God has given it to everyone. And now the decisive act of conversion is our work, apart from any added work on God’s part.
But that interpretation won’t work in this text. Here is a rich man who loves his riches so much that he chooses to have them rather than to help the poor or have treasure in heaven or follow Jesus. When Jesus explains this tragic choice, what does he say? Does he say: God’s universal grace had overcome the hardness and rebellion of the man’s heart and made it possible for him to leave his riches and love the poor and treasure heaven and trust Jesus, but the man still did not do it? Is that his explanation for the man’ s not leaving his riches and following Jesus? No. That is not his explanation. His explanation of the man’s unwillingness to leave his riches and follow Christ is: With humans it is impossible.
It’s irrelevant in this text to argue that God makes faith possible for all men, and that the reason some don’t believe is merely their own independent liberty. It’s irrelevant because the issue here is why this one particular man does not use his so-called “liberty” to leave his riches and follow Christ. And what is Jesus’ explanation that this particular man, in this moment, would not leave his riches and follow Jesus? His answer is: With humans it is impossible. In other words, even if there is a universal grace that enlightens every man that comes into the world, what Jesus is explaining here is one particular man’s refusal to leave money and follow Jesus, even with such a universal grace. And his explanation for this man, even with such universal grace, is: He did not follow me because “with humans it is impossible.”
Therefore what Jesus means when he says in verse 26, “With God all things are possible,” is that God can and does effectually enable people to leave their riches and follow Christ. He does grant repentance, as Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:25. He does grant that we come to Christ (John 6:65). He does work in us the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8). He does the humanly impossible to convert sinners and bring them to eternal life.
What Will We Do With This Impossibility?
Who can be saved? Are you going to stop with the words, “With man this is impossible”? Or will you go on and rejoice over the words, “But all things are possible with God.” Think of the hardest unbeliever you know – and then say with Jesus, “All things are possible with God.” Nobody is too hard for God to save. Therefore let us ask him to do it, and let us boldly fill our mouths with the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation.



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ChooseLife

posted August 5, 2007 at 12:13 am


Paul,
You and Non-Mormon Mike are both Hypocrites.
You condemn Mormons for substantiating their position with “Modern Day Scripture” as being unprovable and not of God, and then you quote Bible Scripture to substantiate your positions, without proving its legitimacy.
What gives YOU the right to claim the title Christian, determine its definition, decide who fits that definition and claim sole authority for validating what is and what isn’t written communication from God?
How dare you challenge another’s Faith simply because you lack it yourself.



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John

posted August 5, 2007 at 12:33 am


Chooselife
You said: You condemn Mormons for substantiating their position with “Modern Day Scripture” as being unprovable and not of God, and then you quote Bible Scripture to substantiate your positions, without proving its legitimacy.
But you haven’t proven the book of Mormons legitimacy either have you
By the way mormons quote Bible Scripture which they believe to be wrong as truth, to try and substantiate their position even though THEY BELIEVE IT TO BE WRONG.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:43 am


John oh John,
Which Scripture from the Bible do I a Mormon believe is wrong?
I challenge you to subsantiate this totally false and outrageous statement.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:54 am


Paul,
We can both strongly support our position form Bible scripture. and so can Catholics and Various non-Calvinist Christians. And Atheists and Agnostics can find arguments for there being no God out of the Bible.
Aye and there’s the rub. Without God telling us what he thinks we will never know who is right.
That is why revelation is crucial.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:57 am


Using the scripture, “with God nothing is impossible” I can maintain that it is not impossible for God to speak again to a 14 year old boy and restore His kingdom agian on the earth.
It is a very good all purpose scripture.



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mike

posted August 5, 2007 at 9:36 am


I just had another revelation, the Bible is inerrant and the Book of Mormon is false (Except for the picture story at the beginning. Man them some good pictures of Joseph Smith, extremely unflattering, you think they would have gotten his “good side”).



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ChooseLife

posted August 5, 2007 at 11:17 am


I see that at least ‘Mike’s’ true Anti-Mormon colors are finally showing…
If you can’t win the argument based on the strength of your position, then resort to ridiculing past and present LDS leaders to deflect the reader attention away from sound doctrine.
Examples: Do you people really believe Joe Smith was for real?….
Reading about his background, he sounded like a real
loser.
or, To “The Joe Smith follower…” The reader will note that
the flippant use of the familiar Joe is a rather nice
touch, especially since Joseph Smith ALWAYS went by the
name Joseph.
Mike’s Example: “Man them some good pictures of Joseph Smith,
extremely unflattering, you think they would have gotten his
‘good side’”.
I challenge ANY supposed “traditional Christian” to post an example of Mormons resorting to ridicule to any of their Bible beliefs, or church leaders they hold in high regard…Can’t do it can you…so much for your definition of a “True Christian”! As for you Mike, now that you have been unmasked…time to move on.



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JMason

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:55 pm


Both Testaments instruct how life should be lived in regard to ourselves and those around us and since the beginning of those teachings, people have interpreted them in different ways. Who cares how anyone worships the one true God if they live according to His Commandments. Some of my best friends are Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Protestants (and a couple of atheists). They are all very active, good Americans. Stop debating the insignificant differences of Christian Doctrine and defend it instead from “Wrath of Islam”. My son is Episcopalian and I have a blue star in my window!



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Elizabeth Ford

posted August 5, 2007 at 6:31 pm


No, I definitely do NOT believe that Mormons are Christians. In my opinion, this religion was based upon the man who founded it and not the real Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that many shall come in



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ChooseLife

posted August 5, 2007 at 7:07 pm


Thank you Elizabeth…that was profound!



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Donna Johnson

posted August 5, 2007 at 9:12 pm


I once was a Morman, they are wonderful people, just misguided.
On a Sunday morning while attending”Sunday School” the Bishop reading from the great Pearls of Price, announced that “Save Joseph Smith no one could come closer than Jesus Christ”. He was saying Joseph Smith was better than Christ!
They are very secretative about how they go around with the Book of Morman, and are EXTREMELY well versed in the Christen Bible.They use scriptures from the Bible to ensure you that they are believers in Christ. Not as Christens believe, but as the Mormans believe.
To make a very long story short, I left before that session was over, and have never been back. I was excumucated after a very long attempt to redeem me.
They have their own bible, and anyone knows that in the last chapter of Revelation, last verse chapter 22, it reads that ” if anyone takes
away or adds anything
to this book of prophsey God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and the holey city which are described in this book.”
That is a very clear statement to me that the book of Morman is in this catagory. So just take heed to these words, they are frin “God”
Thank You,
Donna Johnson



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The Bryan who came first.

posted August 6, 2007 at 1:48 am


Donna Johnson: “On a Sunday morning while attending”Sunday School” the Bishop reading from the great Pearls of Price, announced that “Save Joseph Smith no one could come closer than Jesus Christ”. He was saying Joseph Smith was better than Christ!”
Bryan: Well there are two things that could have happened here. Either the bishop was greatly misquoted or misunderstood, or the bishop is off his rocker and preaching false doctrine left and right. If it’s the latter then the bishop has probably been sacked and either repented and changed his ways, or no longer a bishop and possibly no longer a member of the church. I’m sorry that such a wild statement drove you away from the truth, but let it be known, (and it has been said over and over even on this board) Joseph Smith was just a man. That’s it. He was imperfect like the rest of us. He holds no more ground compared to Jesus Christ than the rest of us do. Was he a prophet? Yes. But imperfect. And anything he did was a result of God’s hand, NOT Joseph’s hand. It seems that you didn’t know much about real doctrine if you allowed one bogus statement to drive you away forever.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:24 am


Dear Donna,
I wonder how long you were actually in the Church.
There are a number of things that suggest that your stay was rather short.
Donna:
I once was a Morman, they are wonderful people, just misguided.
Mike Bennion:
I am a Mormon. the Mormons around me are wonderful people.
I’m afraid you may be a bit misguided.
Donna:
On a Sunday morning while attending”Sunday School” the Bishop reading from the great Pearls of Price, announced that “Save Joseph Smith no one could come closer than Jesus Christ”. He was saying Joseph Smith was better than Christ!
Mike Bennion: Now here, Donna, we have several problems:
1) There is no such verse in the Pearl of Great Price.
If you had been a Mormon longer than say a few months you would know this.
2) There is a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants that is probably the one you are referring to. You put quotes around the following words:
“Save Joseph Smith no one could come closer than Jesus Christ”. You don’t put quotes around something if it is not a direct and exact quotation. That leads people who read what you put quotes around as being genuine. That is not what the verse says. Here is the real quote:
D&C 135:3 “JOSEPH SMITH, THE PROPHET AND SEER OF THE LORD, HAS DONE MORE, SAVE JESUS ONLY, FOR THE SALVATION OF MEN IN THIS WORLD, THAN ANY OTHER MAN THAT EVER LIVED IN IT. In the short space of twenty years, he has brought forth the Book of Mormon, which he translated by the gift and power of God, and has been the means of publishing it on two continents; has sent the fulness of the everlasting gospel, which it contained, to the four quarters of the earth; has brought forth the revelations and commandments which compose this book of Doctrine and Covenants, and many other wise documents and instructions for the benefit of the children of men; gathered many thousands of the Latter-day Saints, founded a great city, and left a fame and name that cannot be slain. He lived great, and he died great in the eyes of God and his people; and like most of the Lord’s anointed in ancient times, has sealed his mission and his works with his own blood; and so has his brother Hyrum. In life they were not divided, and in death they were not separated!” (emphasis mine)
3) the verse says that ONLY JESUS has done more for men on the earth than Joseph, not that Joseph is greater than God.
You make it sound like Mormons worship Joseph Smith and don’t believe in and worship Christ. This is absolutley, completerly and totally false. Did I mention that it’s not true?
You are either guilty of not getting your facts straight in ignorance, (and you better get them right so you don’y look foolish), or you knoew that the verse didn’t say what was in your quotation marks, and you are deliberately mis-representing the Church. If this is the case,you don’t represent your cause well by lying.
Donna:
They are very secretative about how they go around with the Book of Morman,
Mike Bennion:
Actually if you read this blog you will notice that we challenge all those on the blog and everywhere to read the Book. The problem is that most of those opposed to the Church would rather criticize the Book than read it. I think they would like to keep the Book secret.
Donna: and are EXTREMELY well versed in the Christen Bible.They use scriptures from the Bible to ensure you that they are believers in Christ.
Mike Bennion:
I believe the word you are looking for is, assure, rather than ensure.
Yes we are well versed on the Bible. We wonder why many of the Christians who oppose us and say thgat the Bible is all we need, don’t quote from it as widely, extensively and completely as we do. We find that the Bible supports the things that we believe. Yes we do believe in Christ.
Donna: Not as Christens believe, but as the Mormans believe.
Mike Bennion: I would make the statement this way:
Mormons believe the scriptures in the bible and in the Book of Mormon that teach that Jesus Christ is our Savior and redeemer. We do not believe the additional Creeds written later that modify the plain meaning of The Bible. We wonder why Traditional Christians accept extra-biblical Creeds when they claim that the Bible is all that is needed.
Donna: To make a very long story short, I left before that session was over, and have never been back. I was excumucated after a very long attempt to redeem me.
Mike Bennion: The word is spelled, excommunicated.
I would guess that you asked to have your name removed form the records of the Church. This would have the same effect of removing you from membership. People are “excommunicated” when they break some of the basic commandments of the church, these are usually moral rules or apostasy.
Donna: They have their own bible,
Mike Bennion: We have the Bible that the Christian world accepts as scriture. We also believe the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price to be scripture. We also know enough about them to quote them correctly.
Donna:
and anyone knows that in the last chapter of Revelation, last verse chapter 22, it reads that ” if anyone takes
away or adds anything
to this book of prophsey God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and the holey city which are described in this book.”
Mike Bennion: Then most of the original Apostles were cursed. Because they wrote some of the Books of the Bible after John listed this curse in Revelation. Also the Entire Old and New Testaments after Deuteronomy fall under the curse because Moses said basically the same thing there.
Deut. 4: 2
2 Ye shall not aadd unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Also I note with interest that Neither the Deuteronomy or Revelations
verses say anything about God not adding to or taking from his word. God can do whatever he wants. Since Mormons claim that god spoke these things there is no problem logically. The curse donesn’t cover God adding to or taking from. Now the Creeds of Christianity, which are not in the Bible and are used by Christians who claim the Bible is al;l that we need, could fall under the curse.
Donna: That is a very clear statement to me that the book of Morman is in this catagory.
Mike Bennion: It is crystal clear that the Book of Mormon, being revealed by God is not under the curse mentioned, and is thus nowhere near the category.
Donna: So just take heed to these words, they are frin “God”
Mike Bennion: Does Donna mean the words in Revelation or her words?
We already showed how Revelation does not curse the Words of God.
If Donna meant her own words, then she is in trouble. the curse is on her.
Thank You,
Donna Johnson
You’re quite welcome.
Mike Bennion



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:19 am


I don’t mean to be rude, and I recognize that all of God’s children are at different points along the spectrum of spiritual progression…
however, I take umbrage when the “obviously spiritually ignorant” jump into conversations with clearly inane statements, without taking the time to “READ” the 180+ postings preceding theirs…like both Elizabeth Ford and Donna Johnson.
I have to believe they are sincere, else why remove the veil covering their foolishness; perhaps they have never heard that “It is often better to be thought a fool, than to speak [or put words to pen] and remove all doubt!”
Please folks…at least pretend to be somewhat schooled in scriptural doctrine when presenting your opposition to The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, then I will at least “consider” your position…



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Lonnie

posted August 6, 2007 at 12:09 pm


My ? is why so many mormans speak so much about J Smith, where is JESUS ?



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AgnosticForSure

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:00 pm


Lonnie,
Are you even reading this blog? or, is it just too complicated?



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:12 pm


Lonnie,
If your question is sincere, then reading this below will answer it; it’s from the Book Of Mormon, central scripture of the Mormons (Mormon is spelled with an “o” not an “a”):
“Nephi’s words are true—They testify of Christ—Those who believe in Christ will believe Nephi’s words—They shall stand as a witness before the judgment bar. Between 559 and 545 B.C.
1 And now I, Nephi, cannot write all the things which were taught among my people; neither am I mighty in writing, like unto speaking; for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.
2 But behold, there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit, that it hath no place in them; wherefore, they cast many things away which are written and esteem them as things of naught.
3 But I, Nephi, have written what I have written, and I esteem it as of great worth, and especially unto my people. For I pray continually for them by day, and mine eyes water my pillow by night, because of them; and I cry unto my God in faith, and I know that he will hear my cry.
4 And I know that the Lord God will consecrate my prayers for the gain of my people. And the words which I have written in weakness will be made strong unto them; for it persuadeth them to do good; it maketh known unto them of their fathers; and it speaketh of Jesus, and persuadeth them to believe in him, and to endure to the end, which is life eternal.
5 And it speaketh harshly against sin, according to the plainness of the truth; wherefore, no man will be angry at the words which I have written save he shall be of the spirit of the devil.
6 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
7 I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
8 I have charity for the Jew—I say Jew, because I mean them from whence I came.
9 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, for none of these can I hope except they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, and continue in the path until the end of the day of probation.
10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.
13 And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come.
14 And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, for these words shall condemn you at the last day.
15 For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen.”



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Paul

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:09 pm


ChooseLife
Once again You cannot prove that Book of Mormon is true other than to tell me to pray to God and He will show me whether it true or not.
I have several problems with that first of all your own Scripture contradicts itself let me explain:
William A. Morton wrote in an Mormon pamphlet, “Now, once we become thoroughly convinced that the Book of Mormon is true, it will, as I have said solve any theological problem that may confront us. Do we want knowledge concerning God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost? We can get it in the Book of Mormon. Would we know concerning the pre-existence of spirits – the fall of man and the atonement – the principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Christ – the state in which spirits of men live between the time of death and the resurrection – we can find it in the Book of Mormon” (Why I Believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, pp. 4-5).
But, the Book of Mormon does not solve the theological issues Morton mentioned! It either contradicts those Mormon doctrines or it says nothing at all about them! For example:
1. Mormons teach that God the Father has a tangible body of flesh and bones (Doctrines & Covenants 130:22). But, Alma 18:26-28 in the Book of Mormon says God is “a Great Spirit.”
2. Mormons teach that Christ was born of Mary and “an immortal, or resurrected and glorified Father” God (Articles of Faith, pp. 472-473). But Alma 7:10 in the Book of Mormon says that Mary was “overshadowed and conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
3. Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three different Gods (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370). But II Nephi 31:21 in the Book of Mormon says that these three are one God!
4. Mormons believe that men can become gods and that God was once a man (Articles of Faith, p.430). But, Mormon 9:9 and 19 in the Book of Mormon say, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever – an unchangeable being.” The Book of Mormon never says that God was once a man or that men can become gods.
5. Mormons believe there are innumerable gods (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 4-5). But in Alma 11:26-31 in the Book of Mormon, Amulek claims an angel told him there was only one God! The Book of Mormon teaches only one God.!
6. Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “I never speak of the part Eve took in the fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. I, p. 114). But Mosiah 3:19 in the Book of Mormon says, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit…” Isn’t an enemy of God guilty of sin? II Nephi 2:21 also says, ” All men… were lost because of the transgression of their parents” (Adam and Eve).
7. Milton R. Hunter wrote, “The atoning blood of the man of Galilee washes away the sins of all mortals who through faith, repentance, and baptism, and through living every other Gospel principle to the best of their ability, have done everything within their power to bring about their own redemption” (Gospel Through Ages, p. 178).
But, Mosiah 4:2-3 in the Book of Mormon shows that all the people who cried, “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins – received a remission of their sins” without baptism or any other personal effort being put forth! Verse 8 says that there are no other conditions whereby man can be saved. Thus, the Book of Mormon does not solve nor clarify Mormon doctrine.
On other important Mormon doctrines, such as the pre-existence of spirits, the Book of Mormon says nothing at all (except pertaining to Christ and Satan). Nor does the Book of Mormon say anything about the great Mormon doctrines of eternal progression, eternal intelligences, authority or priesthood necessary to act for God, dark skinned individuals having dark skin because they were not valiant in pre-existence and therefore cursed as to the Mormon Priesthood (until 1978), genealogies, baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, wearing of sacred underwear, three heavens, a temporary hell, men becoming gods or that God was once a man, a plurality of gods, and so on. Yet, the Book of Mormon is repeatedly called the “fulness of the everlasting gospel” (Doctrines & Covenants 20:9; 27:5; 42:12). Thus, these doctrines cannot be part of the “fulness of the gospel,” or else “fulness” does not mean “fulness”!
The Book of Mormon is called the “fulness of the gospel” even though only one-third of the “gold plates” were translated by Joseph Smith (Journal of Discourses, Vol.III, p. 347). Did God inspire men to keep a sacred record which was two-thirds irrelevant? Even the prophet Mormon said in III Nephi 26:6-8, “And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did teach unto the people. But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which He taught the people. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things He taught the people.”
Notice the 99/100 of what Jesus taught was not recorded on all the gold plates abridged by Mormon (vs. 11). If this is true, could one-third of the plates translated into the Book of Mormon contain the “fulness of the gospel”?
The Book of Mormon gives no new information concerning Christ or His gospel – except that He personally came to America to preach the gospel after telling His disciples “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). If there is no new information in the Book of Mormon, why do we need it? But if it does contain a new or different gospel, it falls under the curse of Gal. 1:8-9! Thus, if the Bible is the word of God, there is no need for the Book of Mormon
Do you have any credible (external) evidence for why I should believe the Book of Mormon to be true?



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GB

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:12 pm


Posted by: Mike | July 31, 2007 1:09 PM “Christianity is a continuation of Judeaism (some may say a cult, spin off, whatever word you want to use, it doesn’t make a difference). “
Posted by: Mike | August 2, 2007 2:27 PM “My whole point in bring up the discussion about the Apostles not trying to identify themselves as Jews (ANY LONGER) was that they were NOT the same religion, they had differing doctrines and histories (the Christian history was just beginning). . . .they weren’t trying to claim Judaism Reformation, no, in fact, they followed Jesus and his claims and started a new religion altogether. there is no arguing that Christianity is not Judaism, nor does it want to be . . .”
Posted by: mike | August 3, 2007 11:50 PM “Exactly my point all along, Jesus didn’t claim a “new” religion but the the Apostles and subsequent founders of the faith did not insist and calling themselves JEWS!”
Posted by: mike | August 4, 2007 10:15 PM “I will say, yes I meant what I said, however, and this is goes to further my point all along, the Apostles didn’t have to claim to be Jews, they were NATIONALLY because they were raised in the tradition. They were not ,however, Jews religiously ANYMORE. . . . . They knew, as did the Romans who classified these people, that this religion was different, at least in so far as they realized that Christ was the fulfillment of prophecies and it ceased to be Judaism when the Jews rejected them.”
Posted by: Mike | August 3, 2007 1:01 PM “I am frustrated by this continued logical suicide evident in these arguments and an insistence on circling the issues with emotional arguments and unsubstanitiated attacks and reasoning.”



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Paul,
You continue to use subterfuge to try and confuse the uneducated…
90% of Mormons recognize the fallacy of your arguments because we believe in “living” prophets as more authoritative, yes, even than ‘written’ scripture. Even the Book of Mormon can be appended in our belief system. In fact, the Doctrine and Covenants has had several additions since it was first written. It is the “Basic” principles of Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism for the remission of sins, and the reception of the Holy Ghost that is unchanging…everything else, well, we better let God decide, after all, it is His Gospel, not Paul’s, Peter’s, John’s, or even YOURS…
You continue to follow only the ‘dead’ prophets of bygone millennia, and I will follow them, as well as those “upgraded” to our unique day and age and allow the Holy Ghost to guide me through any “seemingly” confusion between the two…it is most delicious!



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Paul

posted August 6, 2007 at 4:39 pm


ChooseLife
Very ingenious way of saying that your prophets can make up Scripture as they go even if it disagrees with your Book of Mormon.
But why would God reveal something to one of your prophets, and then turn around and reveal something to another one of your prophets that disagrees with what He told the first prophet?
Apparently your god can’t make up his mind.



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 5:13 pm


Paul,
Using your logic then the law of sacrifice, burnt offerings and circumcision should still be in effect…God never changes His mind!
In fact, maybe we should still be stoning sinners…
You need to stop trying to “…put new wine into old bottles…” and come up to date here brother…



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Paul

posted August 6, 2007 at 6:34 pm


Repost!!!
CHOOSELIFE
ONCE AGAIN You cannot prove that Book of Mormon is true other than to tell me to pray to God and He will show me whether it true or not.
I have several problems with that first of all your own Scripture contradicts itself let me explain:
William A. Morton wrote in an Mormon pamphlet, “Now, once we become thoroughly convinced that the Book of Mormon is true, it will, as I have said solve any theological problem that may confront us. Do we want knowledge concerning God, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost? We can get it in the Book of Mormon. Would we know concerning the pre-existence of spirits – the fall of man and the atonement – the
principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Christ – the state in which spirits of men live between the time of death and the resurrection – we can find it in the Book of Mormon” (Why I Believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God, pp. 4-5).
But, the Book of Mormon does not solve the theological issues Morton mentioned! It either contradicts those Mormon doctrines or it says nothing at all about them! For example:
1. Mormons teach that God the Father has a tangible body of flesh and bones (Doctrines & Covenants 130:22). But, Alma 18:26-28 in the Book of Mormon says God is “a Great Spirit.”
2. Mormons teach that Christ was born of Mary and “an immortal, or resurrected and glorified Father” God (Articles of Faith, pp. 472-473). But Alma 7:10 in the Book of Mormon says that Mary was “overshadowed and conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
3. Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three different Gods (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370). But II Nephi 31:21 in the Book of Mormon says that these three are one God!
4. Mormons believe that men can become gods and that God was once a man (Articles of Faith, p.430). But, Mormon 9:9 and 19 in the Book of Mormon say, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever – an unchangeable being.” The Book of Mormon never says that God was once a man or that men can become gods.
5. Mormons believe there are innumerable gods (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 4-5). But in Alma 11:26-31 in the Book of Mormon, Amulek claims an angel told him there was only one God! The Book of Mormon teaches only one God.!
6. Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “I never speak of the part Eve took in the fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. I, p. 114). But Mosiah 3:19 in the Book of Mormon says, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit…” Isn’t an enemy of God guilty of sin? II Nephi 2:21 also says, ” All men… were lost because of the transgression of their parents” (Adam and Eve).
7. Milton R. Hunter wrote, “The atoning blood of the man of Galilee washes away the sins of all mortals who through faith, repentance, and baptism, and through living every other Gospel principle to the best of their ability, have done everything within their power to bring about their own redemption” (Gospel Through Ages, p. 178).
But, Mosiah 4:2-3 in the Book of Mormon shows that all the people who cried, “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins – received a remission of their sins” without baptism or any other personal effort being put forth! Verse 8 says that there are no other conditions whereby man can be saved. Thus, the Book of Mormon does not solve nor clarify Mormon doctrine.
On other important Mormon doctrines, such as the pre-existence of spirits, the Book of Mormon says nothing at all (except pertaining to Christ and Satan). Nor does the Book of Mormon say anything about the great Mormon doctrines of eternal progression, eternal intelligences, authority or priesthood necessary to act for God, dark skinned individuals having dark skin because they were not valiant in pre-existence and therefore cursed as to the Mormon Priesthood (until 1978), genealogies, baptism for the dead, celestial marriage, wearing of sacred underwear, three heavens, a temporary hell, men becoming gods or that God was once a man, a plurality of gods, and so on. Yet, the Book of Mormon is repeatedly called the “fulness of the everlasting gospel” (Doctrines & Covenants 20:9; 27:5; 42:12). Thus, these doctrines cannot be part of the “fulness of the gospel,” or else “fulness” does not mean “fulness”!
The Book of Mormon is called the “fulness of the gospel” even though only one-third of the “gold plates” were translated by Joseph Smith (Journal of Discourses, Vol.III, p. 347). Did God inspire men to keep a sacred record which was two-thirds irrelevant? Even the prophet Mormon said in III Nephi 26:6-8, “And now there cannot be written in this book even a hundredth part of the things which Jesus did teach unto the people. But behold the plates of Nephi do contain the more part of the things which He taught the people. And these things have I written, which are a lesser part of the things He taught the people.”
Notice the 99/100 of what Jesus taught was not recorded on all the gold plates abridged by Mormon (vs. 11). If this is true, could one-third of the plates translated into the Book of Mormon contain the “fulness of the gospel”?
The Book of Mormon gives no new information concerning Christ or His gospel – except that He personally came to America to preach the gospel after telling His disciples “go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). If there is no new information in the Book of Mormon, why do we need it? But if it does contain a new or different gospel, it falls under the curse of Gal. 1:8-9! Thus, if the Bible is the word of God, there is no need for the Book of Mormon
Do you have any credible (external) evidence for why I should believe the Book of Mormon to be true?
Either your book of Mormon is contradicted by the words of your prophets and The doctrine & Covenants and The Pearl Of Great Price and
The Bible or it isn’t.
It seems to me that it that your book of is not true
You said “90% of Mormons recognize the fallacy of your arguments because we believe in “living” prophets as more authoritative, yes, even than ‘written’ scripture”
OH REALLY since when is the words of a prophet more authoritative than the Word Of God, excuse but I think I’ll take the Word of God(The Bible not the book of Mormon because you can’t prove the Book of Mormon to be true)
Apparently you do have a changing belief system
You are one who follows dead prophets namely Joseph Smith, While I on the other hand follow the Word of God.
If you can’t answer my questions I can understand that, but please don’t insult my intelligence



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 8:16 pm


Your questions make NO sense!
Paul: “OH REALLY since when is the words of a prophet more authoritative than the Word Of God, excuse but I think I’ll take the Word of God(The Bible not the book of Mormon because you can’t prove the Book of Mormon to be true)”
By this reasoning, you are saying the created is greater than the Creator. When Moses led the children of Israel, did He SPEAK for God or simply WRITE for God? How about Peter? John? Paul? If you were alive in say, 52 A.D. and Paul came over for dinner and while there turned to you and said, “Thus saith the Lord…” would you take that as AUTHORITATIVE from God? Or would you run to the local synagogue, pull out the scrolls and see if it conformed with what God told Elijah before you could accept it as from God? In your world, When Noah, Abraham, Issac, or Jacob said, “Thus saith the Lord…” was that considered “The Word of God?” or did “The Word of God” only exist when the Bible was selectively put together? You see, you make no sense…



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Joseph

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:30 pm


ChooseLife
I make more sense than what you understand
When the words of your prophets go against what is already written in Scripture there is cause for concern.Because something has to be wrong something has to be right. The book of Mormon and your prophets cannot both be right because they contradict each other in what they teach. The book of Mormon says one thing your prophets say another either the book of Mormon is wrong or your prophets are wrong. And yet this what you claim how can this be?
Can a square be a square and a circle at the same time I don’t think so
It’s a simple law of nature two things cannot contradict each other and both be right.
There is only truth!!!



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Joseph

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:56 pm


ChooseLife
One more thing!!
You said:If you were alive in say, 52 A.D. and Paul came over for dinner and while there turned to you and said, “Thus saith the Lord…” would you take that as AUTHORITATIVE from God? Or would you run to the local synagogue, pull out the scrolls and see if it conformed with what God told Elijah before you could accept it as from God
I would check to make sure that what he said agreed with Scripture after all it prudent to make sure that what he says agrees with is already written. This is to prevent being led astray by false prophets and teachers. If your prophet came over for dinner and told you to kill someone would you?



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Paul

posted August 7, 2007 at 12:02 am


I’m sorry my brother Joseph And I share the same computer those last 2 comments were from me.
Goodnight everyone, Paul



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GB

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:25 am


Paul: 1. Mormons teach that God the Father has a tangible body of flesh and bones (Doctrines & Covenants 130:22). But, Alma 18:26-28 in the Book of Mormon says God is “a Great Spirit.”
GB: God is a Great Spirit that has a body of flesh and bones. You Paul are a spirit that is currently housed in a body of flesh and blood. Jesus Christ has a body of flesh and bones is he not God?
Paul: 2. Mormons teach that Christ was born of Mary and “an immortal, or resurrected and glorified Father” God (Articles of Faith, pp. 472-473). But Alma 7:10 in the Book of Mormon says that Mary was “overshadowed and conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
GB: Paul, this has already been addressed.
Luke 1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
You misquote Alma 7:10.
Alma 7: 10 . . . she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.
Sorry Paul, no conflict there.
Paul: 3. Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three different Gods (Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370). But II Nephi 31:21 in the Book of Mormon says that these three are one God!
GB: This has already been addressed. Read John 17 to learn how the three separate Them are One. Think one in purpose and perfection not one in body.
Paul: 4. Mormons believe that men can become gods and that God was once a man (Articles of Faith, p.430). But, Mormon 9:9 and 19 in the Book of Mormon say, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever – an unchangeable being.” The Book of Mormon never says that God was once a man or that men can become gods.
GB: The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ was a man and is now God. And that if we follow Him, He will place us on His throne and we will be like Him.
Paul: 5. Mormons believe there are innumerable gods (Pearl of Great Price Abraham 4-5). But in Alma 11:26-31 in the Book of Mormon, Amulek claims an angel told him there was only one God! The Book of Mormon teaches only one God.!
GB: Sorry Paul you are fabricating again. Why do you feel the need to do that? Nowhere does it say in our canon that there are “innumerable gods”. Why are you trying to deceive people about what we believe?
Again read John 17 to understand how the gods are one.
Paul: 6. Mormon Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith wrote, “I never speak of the part Eve took in the fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. I, p. 114). But Mosiah 3:19 in the Book of Mormon says, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit…” Isn’t an enemy of God guilty of sin? II Nephi 2:21 also says, ” All men… were lost because of the transgression of their parents” (Adam and Eve).
GB: More word games from Paul. Nowhere in scripture (including the Bible) does it call the partaking of the forbidden fruit (which caused the fall) a “sin”, it calls it a “transgression”. A transgression is a violation of Gods council; a sin is a violation of Gods commandments.
Paul: 7. Milton R. Hunter wrote, “The atoning blood of the man of Galilee washes away the sins of all mortals who through faith, repentance, and baptism, and through living every other Gospel principle to the best of their ability, have done everything within their power to bring about their own redemption” (Gospel Through Ages, p. 178).
But, Mosiah 4:2-3 in the Book of Mormon shows that all the people who cried, “O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins – received a remission of their sins” without baptism or any other personal effort being put forth! Verse 8 says that there are no other conditions whereby man can be saved. Thus, the Book of Mormon does not solve nor clarify Mormon doctrine.
GB: Again more word games from Paul. Nowhere does it say “without baptism or any other personal effort”. King Benjamin is speaking to his people most of which had already been baptized; therefore he didn’t need to mention it. But he certainly didn’t exclude it.
2 Nephi 9:23 And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
2 Nephi 31:5 And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!
Why didn’t you add verses 9 and 10?
Mosiah 4:8 And this is the means whereby salvation cometh. And there is none other salvation save this which hath been spoken of; neither are there any conditions whereby man can be saved except the conditions which I have told you.
9 Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.
10 And again, believe that ye must repent of your sins and forsake them, and humble yourselves before God; and ask in sincerity of heart that he would forgive you; and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them.
“SEE THAT YE DO THEM”. Looks like personal effort to me.



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Chief1989

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:28 am


An interesting article concerning Biblical Inerrancy and Infallibility:
It is long, for which I apologize, but it is good reading!!
——————————-
Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible
Editor’s Note
Inerrancy regarding the Bible is rather different than what a lot of people think it is! Skeptics can easily show many differences in wording between different (English translations of) Bibles. They also seem to know a list of Verses in the (modern English language) Bible that seem to contradict otherwise known details or even itself. Therefore, they claim that Inerrancy is not true of the Bible.
If the actual subject at hand was the modern English-language Bible, they might be right. But scholars never really claim that ANY modern Bible is absolutely inerrant. They claim that the Original Manuscripts were! If it is accepted that God Inspired the writing of the Books of the Bible, then to claim otherwise would imply that either He made or permitted mistakes in the Bible or that He is nowhere near as all-knowing as we believe He is. So, the claim of Inerrancy in the Bible is only made regarding the Original Manuscripts. As far as anyone knows, all of those Original Manuscripts have long since disintegrated, and only Scribe-made copies of any of them still exist, so the claim of Inerrancy regarding the Original Manuscripts is probably beyond any possible proof.
Massive scientific research on around 20,000 old Scribe copied Manuscripts, has resulted in a number of tiny refinements regarding the source Greek and Ancient Hebrew texts. See the BELIEVE presentation on Bible for more on that. The current texts are believed to be extremely close to what the Original must have been.
The Original Greek or Ancient Hebrew words often have a number of different translations into English, which is the central reason why there are a large number of English Versions of the Bible. All of them are translated from the very same Greek and Ancient Hebrew texts. See the BELIEVE presentations on Literal Translation and on History of the Bible for more on that.
No formatting existed in the Original texts. Even though some modern Ministers insist that their Bible is Inerrant perfectly, regarding every punctuation mark, that is not true. Until at least 900 AD, no punctuation marks were included in the Scriptural texts. There were no Verse or Chapter numbers until centuries after that. Actually, prior to about 900 AD, the texts were written in Scriptua continua, where there were no spaces between words or sentences, no capitalization and no punctuation. It must have been extremely hard to read. See the BELIEVE presentation on Translating the Bible to get some idea about all that.
In any event, skeptics and critics might be correct regarding some minor errors about details in modern English Bibles, but their criticism is claimed to not apply to the Original Manuscripts.
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Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible
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The question of authority is central for any theology. Since Protestant theology has located authority in the Bible, the nature of biblical authority has been a fundamental concern. The Reformation passed to its heirs the belief that ultimate authority rests not in reason or a pope, but in an inspired Scripture. Thus, within conservative Protestantism the question of inerrancy has been much debated.
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The two words most often used to express the nature of scriptural authority are “inerrant” and “infallible.” Though these two terms are, on etymological grounds, approximately synonymous, they are used differently. In Roman Catholic theology “inerrant” is applied to the Bible, “infallible” to the church, particularly the teaching function of pope and magisterium. Since Protestants reject the infallibility of both the pope and the church, the word has been used increasingly of the Scriptures. More recently “infallible” has been championed by those who hold to what B B Warfield called limited inspiration but what today is better called limited inerrancy. They limit the Bible’s inerrancy to matters of faith and practice, particularly soteriological issues. Stephen T Davis reflects this tendency when he gives a stipulative definition for infallibility: the Bible makes no false or misleading statements about matters of faith and practice. In this article the two terms shall be used as virtually synonymous.
Definition of Inerrancy
Inerrancy is the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relates to doctrine or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences.
A number of points in this definition deserve discussion. Inerrancy is not presently demonstrable. Human knowledge is limited in two ways. First, because of our finitude and sinfulness, human beings misinterpret the data that exist. For instance, wrong conclusions can be drawn from inscriptions or texts. Second, we do not possess all the data that bear on the Bible. Some of that data may be lost forever, or they may be awaiting discovery by archaeologists. By claiming that inerrancy will be shown to be true after all the facts are known, one recognizes this. The defender of inerrancy argues only that there will be no conflict in the end.
Further, inerrancy applies equally to all parts of the Bible as originally written. This means that no present manuscript or copy of Scripture, no matter how accurate, can be called inerrant.
This definition also relates inerrancy to hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is the science of biblical interpretation. It is necessary to interpret a text properly, to know its correct meaning, before asserting that what a text says is false. Moreover, a key hermeneutical principle taught by the Reformers is the analogy of faith, which demands that apparent contradictions be harmonized if possible. If a passage appears to permit two interpretations, one of which conflicts with another passage and one of which does not, the latter must be adopted.
Probably the most important aspect of this definition is its definition of inerrancy in terms of truth and falsity rather than in terms of error. It has been far more common to define inerrancy as “without error,” but a number of reasons argue for relating inerrancy to truth and falsity. To use “error” is to negate a negative idea.
Truth, moreover, is a property of sentences, not words. Certain problems are commonly associated with views related to “error.” Finally, “error” has been defined by some in the contemporary debate in such a way that almost every book ever written will qualify as inerrant. Error, they say, is willful deception; since the Bible never willfully deceives its readers, it is inerrant. This would mean that almost all other books are also inerrant, since few authors intentionally deceive their readers.
Some have suggested that the Bible itself might help in settling the meaning of error. At first this appears to be a good suggestion, but there are reasons to reject it. First, “inerrancy” and “error” are theological rather than biblical terms. This means that the Bible applies neither word to itself. This does not mean that it is inappropriate to use these words of the Bible. Another theological term is “trinity.” It is, however, more difficult to define such words. Second, a study of the Hebrew and Greek words for error may be classified into three groups: cases of error where intentionality cannot be involved (e.g., Job 6:24; 19:4), cases of error where intentionality may or may not be involved (e.g., 2 Sam. 6:7), and cases where intentionality must be involved (e.g., Judg. 16:10 – 12). Error, then, has nothing to do with intentionality.
Admittedly, precision of statement and measurement will not be up to modern standards, but as long as what is said is true, inerrancy is not in doubt.
Finally, the definition states that inerrancy covers all areas of knowledge. Inerrancy is not limited to matters of soteriological or ethical concern. It should be clear that biblical affirmations about faith and ethics are based upon God’s action in history. No neat dichotomy can be made between the theological and factual.
Arguments for Inerrancy
The primary arguments for inerrancy are biblical, historical, and epistemological in nature.
The Biblical Argument
At the heart of the belief in an inerrant, infallible Bible is the testimony of Scripture itself. There is some disagreement as to whether Scripture teaches this doctrine explicitly or implicitly. The consensus today is that inerrancy is taught implicitly.
First, the Bible teaches its own inspiration, and this requires inerrancy. The Scriptures are the breath of God (2 Tim. 3:16), which guarantees they are without error.
Second, in Deut. 13:1 – 5 and 18:20 – 22 Israel is given criteria for distinguishing God’s message and messenger from false prophecies and prophets. One mark of a divine message is total and absolute truthfulness. A valid parallel can be made between the prophet and the Bible. The prophet’s word was usually oral, although it might be recorded and included in a book; the writers of Scripture communicated God’s word in written form. Both were instruments of divine communication, and in both cases the human element was an essential ingredient.
Third, the Bible teaches its own authority, and this requires inerrancy. The two most commonly cited passages are Matt. 5:17 – 20 and John 10: 34 – 35. Both record the words of Jesus. In the former Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away before the smallest detail of the law fails to be fulfilled. The law’s authority rests on the fact that every minute detail will be fulfilled. In John 10:34 – 35 Jesus says that Scripture cannot be broken and so is absolutely binding. While it is true that both passages emphasize the Bible’s authority, this authority can only be justified by or grounded in inerrancy. Something that contains errors cannot be absolutely authoritative.
Fourth, Scripture uses Scripture in a way that supports its inerrancy. At times an entire argument rests on a single word (e.g., John 10:34 – 35 and “God” in Ps. 82:6), the tense of a verb (e.g., the present tense in Matt. 22:32), and the difference between a singular and a plural noun (e.g., “seed” in Gal. 3:16). If the Bible’s inerrancy does not extend to every detail, these arguments lose their force. The use of any word may be a matter of whim and may even be an error. It might be objected that the NT does not always cite OT texts with precision, that as a matter of fact precision is the exception rather than the rule. This is a fair response, and an adequate answer requires more space than is available here. A careful study of the way in which the OT is used in the NT, however, demonstrates that the NT writers quoted the OT not cavalierly but quite carefully.
Finally, inerrancy follows from what the Bible says about God’s character. Repeatedly, the Scriptures teach that God cannot lie (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18). If, then, the Bible is from God and his character is behind it, it must be inerrant and infallible.
The Historical Argument
A second argument for biblical inerrancy is that this has been the view of the church throughout its history. One must remember that if inerrancy was part of the corpus of orthodox doctrine, then in many discussions it was assumed rather than defended. Further, the term “inerrancy” may be a more modern way of expressing the belief in the English language. Nevertheless, in each period of the church’s history one can cite clear examples of those who affirm inerrancy.
In the early church Augustine writes, “I have learned to yield this respect and honour only to the canonical books of Scripture: of these alone do I most firmly believe that the authors were completely free from error.”
The two great Reformers, Luther and Calvin, bear testimony to biblical infallibility. Luther says, “But everyone, indeed, knows that at times they (the fathers) have erred as men will; therefore I am ready to trust them only when they prove their opinions from Scripture, which has never erred.” While Calvin does not use the phrase “without error,” there can be little question that he embraced inerrancy. Of the writers of the Gospels he comments, “The Spirit of God . . . appears purposely to have regulated their style in such a manner, that they all wrote one and the same history, with the most perfect agreement, but in different ways.”
In modern times one could cite the works of Princeton theologians Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, A A Hodge, and B B Warfield as modern formulators and defenders of the full inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture.
The biblical and historical arguments are clearly more important than the two that follow. Should they be shown to be false, inerrancy would suffer a mortal blow.
The Epistemological Argument
Because epistemologies differ, this argument has been formulated in at least two very different ways. For some, knowledge claims must, to be justified, be indubitable or incorrigible. It is not enough that a belief is true and is believed on good grounds. It must be beyond doubt and question. For such an epistemology inerrancy is essential. Inerrancy guarantees the incorrigibility of every statement of Scripture. Therefore, the contents of Scripture can be objects of knowledge.
Epistemologies that do not require such a high standard of certitude result in this argument for inerrancy: If the Bible is not inerrant, then any claim it makes may be false. This means not that all claims are false, but that some might be. But so much of the Bible is beyond direct verification. Thus, only its inerrancy assures the knower that his or her claim is justified.
The Slippery Slope Argument
Finally, some see inerrancy as so fundamental that those who give it up will soon surrender other central Christian doctrines. A denial of inerrancy starts one down a slope that is slippery and ends in even greater error.
Objections to Inerrancy
The arguments for inerrancy have not gone unchallenged. In what follows, responses by those who object to each argument will be given and answers will be offered.
The Slippery Slope Argument
This argument is both the least important and most disliked by those who do not hold to inerrancy. What kind of relationship exists between the doctrine of inerrancy and other central Christian doctrines, they ask, that the denial of all inerrancy will of necessity lead to a denial of other doctrines? Is it a logical relationship? Is it a causal or psychological relationship? On close examination, none of these seems to be the case. Many people who do not affirm inerrancy are quite clearly orthodox on other matters of doctrine.
What has been said to this point is true. It should be noted, however, that numerous cases do support the slippery slope argument. For many individuals and institutions the surrender of their commitment to inerrancy has been a first step to greater error.
The Epistemological Argument
The epistemological argument has been characterized by some as an example of overbelief. A single error in the Bible should not lead one to conclude that it contains no truth. If one finds one’s spouse wrong on some matter, one would be wrong to conclude that one’s spouse can never be trusted on any matter.
This objection, however, overlooks two very important matters. First, while it is true that one error in Scripture would not justify the conclusion that everything in it is false, it would call everything in Scripture into question. We could not be sure that everything in it is true. Since the theological is based on the historical and since the historical is open to error, how can one be sure that the theological is true? There is no direct means for verification. Second, while the case of the errant spouse is true as far as it goes, it does not account for all the issues involved in inerrancy. One’s spouse does not claim to be inerrant; the Bible does. One’s spouse is not omniscient and omnipotent; the God of the Bible is. God knows everything, and he can communicate with man.
The Historical Argument
Those who reject inerrancy argue that this doctrine is an innovation, primarily of the Princeton theologians in the nineteenth century. Throughout the centuries the church believed in the Bible’s authority but not its total inerrancy. The doctrine of inerrancy grew out of an apologetic need. Classical liberalism and its growing commitment to an increasingly radical biblical criticism made the orthodox view of Scripture vulnerable. Therefore, the Princeton theologians devised the doctrine of total inerrancy to stem the rising tide of liberalism. This represented a departure from the views of their predecessors in the orthodox tradition.
Calvin, for example, speaks of God “accommodating” himself to man in the communication of his revelation. Calvin also says that the Bible’s teaching does not need to be harmonized with science, and that anyone who wishes to prove to the unbeliever that the Bible is God’s Word is foolish.
These objections to the historical argument do not do justice to the evidence. They fail to reckon with the host of clear affirmations of inerrancy by Christian theologians throughout the church’s history, only a few of which were given above.
Moreover, the treatment of figures like Calvin is unfair. While Calvin talks about accommodation, he does not mean accommodation to human error. He means that God condescended to speak in language that finite human beings could understand. In one place he says that God spoke only baby talk. He never implies that what God said is in error. On matters of science and proof, the same sort of thing is true. Calvin nowhere says that the Scriptures cannot be harmonized with science or that they cannot be proven to be the Word of God. He felt rather that such an exercise is futile in itself because of man’s sin. Hence, he relied on the testimony of the Holy Spirit to the unbeliever. The problem is in man, not in the Scriptures or the evidence for their origin. The theologians of the church may have been wrong in their belief, but they did believe in an inerrant Bible.
The Biblical Argument
A common objection to the biblical argument is that the Bible nowhere teaches its own inerrancy. The point seems to be a subtle one. Those who make this point mean that the Bible nowhere says “all Scripture is inerrant” in the way that it teaches “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” (11 Tim. 3:16). While it is true that no verse says explicitly that Scripture is inerrant, biblical inerrancy is implied by or follows from a number of things the Bible does teach explicitly.
Another objection is that inerrancy is unfalsifiable. Either the standard for error is so high that nothing can qualify (e.g., even contradictions have difficulty in qualifying), or the falsity or truth of scriptural statements cannot be demonstrated until all the facts are known. The doctrine of inerrancy is not, however, unfalsifiable in principle; it is unfalsifiable only at present. Not everything that bears on the truth and falsity of the Bible is yet available. How then is it possible to affirm so strongly the doctrine of inerrancy now? Should one be more cautious or even suspend judgment? The inerrantist wants to be true to what he or she thinks the Bible teaches. And as independent data have become available (e.g., from archaeology), they have shown the Bible to be trustworthy.
Another criticism is that inerrancy fails to recognize sufficiently the human element in the writing of Scripture. The Bible teaches that it is a product of human as well as divine authorship. This objection, though, underestimates the divine element. The Bible is a divine – human book. To de-emphasize either side of its authorship is a mistake. Furthermore, this criticism misunderstands man, implying that humanity requires error. This is false. The spokesmen of God were human, but inspiration kept them from error.
The objection has been raised that if one uses the methods of biblical criticism, one must accept its conclusions. But why? One need accept only the methods that are valid and the conclusions that are true.
Finally, it has been objected that since the original autographs no longer exist and since the doctrine applies only to them, inerrancy is meaningless. The identification of inerrancy with the original autographs is a neat hedge against disproof. Whenever an “error” is pointed out, the inerrantist can say that it must not have existed in the original autographs.
Limiting inerrancy to the original autographs could be such a hedge, but it need not be. This qualification of inerrancy grows out of the recognition that errors crop up in the transmission of any text. There is, however, a great difference between a text that is initially inerrant and one that is not. The former, through textual criticism, can be restored to a state very near the inerrant original; the latter leaves far more doubt as to what was really said.
It might be argued that the doctrine of inerrant originals directs attention away from the authority of our present texts. Perhaps inerrantists sometimes fail to emphasize the authority of our present texts and versions as they should. Is the remedy, however, to undercut the base for their authority? To deny the authority of the original is to undermine the authority of the Bible the Christian has today.
P D Feinberg
(Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)
Bibliography
For inerrancy
D A Carson and J D Woodbridge, eds., Scripture and Truth; N L Geisler, ed., Inerrancy; J W Montgomery, ed., God’s Inerrant Word: An International Symposium on the Trustworthiness of Scripture; B B Warfield, The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible; J D Woodbridge, Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers / McKim Proposal.
Against inerrancy
D M Beegle, Scripture, Tradition and Infallibility; S A Davis, The Debate About the Bible; J Rogers, ed., Biblical Authority; J Rogers and D McKim, The Interpretation and Authority of the Bible.
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Also, see:
Infallibility
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The individual articles presented here were generally first published in the early 1980s. This subject presentation was first placed on the Internet in May 1997.
This page – - Inerrancy and Infallibility of the Bible – - is at http://mb-soft.com/believe/text/inerranc.htm
This subject presentation was last updated on 12/31/2006 15:10:25
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GB

posted August 7, 2007 at 11:14 am


Chief: Inerrancy is the view that when all the facts become known, they will demonstrate that the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true and never false in all it affirms, whether that relates to doctrine or ethics or to the social, physical, or life sciences.
GB: We can all agree that ” . . . the Bible in its original autographs and correctly interpreted is entirely true . . .”
BUT we don’t have a single original autograph. And who is to say what the correct interpretation is?



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juanell

posted August 7, 2007 at 1:06 pm


I thought the article was well written and factual. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and I am extremely happy to be a member of Jesus Christ’s church here on this earth. It means so very much to me to have the gospel of Jesus in my life. I truly believe that He came to earth to atone for our sins,because we are all sinners, and needed a redeemer to save us. He is my personal Savior, and I am not ashamed to say it to anyone. I love him for saving my soul. Without Him, we would all be doomed to death and hell for eternity,and that would be a horrible state to be in for eternity. The love of God in giving us his son to atone for us shows me and the world that God truly does love us. God is love. I hope those of you who do not have the Lord in your life, will realize that you have an emptiness in your soul that only the Lord God,Jesus Christ can fill. I say this in love to my fellowman.Amen.



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ChooseLife

posted August 7, 2007 at 1:46 pm


Thank you CHIEF! Finally, someone of your religious persuasion had the courage to state the obvious concerning the Bible.
“As far as anyone knows, all of those Original Manuscripts have long since disintegrated, and only Scribe-made copies of any of them still exist, so the claim of Inerrancy regarding the Original Manuscripts is probably beyond any possible proof.”
“But scholars never really claim that ANY modern Bible is absolutely inerrant. They claim that the Original Manuscripts were! If it is accepted that God Inspired the writing of the Books of the Bible, then to claim otherwise would imply that either He made or permitted mistakes in the Bible or that He is nowhere near as all-knowing as we believe He is.”
That sounds a lot like the Mormon claim, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly…” 8th Article of Faith.
I am merely suggesting that “Scribe-made” (your words) copies can not be 100% reliable without the intervention of the Holy Ghost. Sure, the Bible leaves much intact of God’s word, but if not 100% reliable, it becomes debatable as to which part IS and which part ISN’T the Word of God! And if it’s not so easily discernible as to which part IS, many will turn to post-biblical creeds, for validation of their own interpretation; while others are way too quick to quote as “authoritative” their own favorite passages that “seem” to defend their position, however right or wrong it may or may not be. Hence, the need for a “living” Prophet, to lead and guide us through the shoals of uncertainty…”Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…” Ephesians 4:13 I don’t think that has happened yet, do you?



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Paul

posted August 7, 2007 at 7:45 pm


Accept Joseph Smith and His Successors as “God’s Mouthpiece”???
President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. I, p. 188). Note that it is Joseph Smith, not Jesus Christ, upon which Mormonism stands or falls. Joseph Fielding Smith also said that there is “no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith… No man can reject that testimony without incurring the most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (Ibid., pp. 189-190). Mormon scripture commands, “Give heed unto all his (Joseph Smith’s) words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me. For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (Doctrine & Covenants 21:4-5).
LDS scripture also says, “Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world than any other man that ever lived in it” (Doctrine & Covenants 135:3). And Brigham Young said, “No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith. From the day that the priesthood was taken from the earth to the winding-up scene of all things, every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith Junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are – I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent. He holds the keys of that kingdom for the last dispensation” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 289). Also, the Mormon “Church News” declared, “No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith” (Deseret News, “Church News,” November 2, 1968, p. 14).
Many Mormons believe that Joseph Smith will even come again! Brigham Young said, “Joseph Smith, Junior, will again be on this earth dictating plans and calling forth his brethren to be baptized” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. VII, p. 289). President Heber C. Kimball also said, “When Joseph comes again, will brother Brigham be removed? No, never. Brother Joseph is ahead; brother Brigham is after him” (Journal of Discourses, Vol. V, p. 19).
Thus, Joseph Smith is indispensable to the Mormons. But the Bible warns: “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the Lord” (Jer. 17:5). And Paul declared, “There is one God and One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5). Was Joseph Smith a man? If Joseph Smith was a man, to trust in him is to be accursed! If Jesus Christ is the only Mediator, Joseph Smith cannot also be a mediator who grants consent or a passport to those entering the celestial glory.
But, Doctrine & Covenants 43:3-4 declares that Joseph Smith had power to appoint his successors in the prophetic office. Doctrine & Covenants 68:4 says, “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”
General Authority Theodore A. Tuttle said, “Our salvation is contingent upon our belief in a living prophet and adherence to his word. He alone has the right to revelation for the whole church… the greatest of all scripture which we have in the world today is current scripture. What the mouthpiece of God says to His children is scripture” (Deseret News, “Church News,” April 7, 1973, p. 11).
President Harold B. Lee quoted Mormon Prophet Heber J. Grant, saying, “Brethren, keep your eye on the President of this church. If he tells you to do anything and it is wrong, and you do it, the Lord will bless you for it. But you don’t need to worry: the Lord will never let His mouthpiece lead this people astray” (Ensign, October, 1972, p. 7). If that statement is true, then why wasn’t is also true of the church Jesus established which Mormons claim went into apostasy? Mormons claim their church is a “restoration” of the church just like it was in the New Testament. If it is, then the New Testament church could not be led astray either!
Why did the Lord warn about false prophets if the Mormons do not need to be concerned about them? A ward teacher’s lesson by President J. Ruben Clark said, “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction it should mark the end of controversy” (Improvement Era, June, 1945, p. 354). If the thinking has been done when Mormon leaders speak, God should have given them all the brains, since the other Mormons do not need to think! Jesus warns about “blind leaders of the blind” and says, “if the blind lead the blind both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14).
For note: yes I know that some of the sources quoted are part of the LDS canon, but they are the words of your prophets are they not. Your Doctrine & Covenants is part of your LDS canon this is what it says concerning prophets. Doctrine & Covenants 68:4 says, “And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.”



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Matt

posted August 7, 2007 at 8:03 pm


Are Mormons Christians? by Stephen E. Robinson
A Book Review by Gordon R. Lewis
from the Christian Research Journal, Fall 1992, page 33. The Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal is Elliot Miller. “Are Mormons Christians?” by Stephen E. Robinson (Bookcraft, 1991)
A Summary Critique
Although a god allegedly told Joseph Smith in his first vision that he should join none of the Christian denominations, Stephen Robinson now wants “to show that the arguments used to exclude Latter-day Saints from the ‘Christian’ world are flawed” (p. vii). Robinson, chairman of the Department of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University, has taught religion at Presbyterian and Methodist-related schools. He may be the only Latter-day Saint (LDS) to earn tenure in a non-LDS college. Among a host of recent efforts by Mormons to gain acceptance for their church as Christian, Robinson’s book is surely the most important and sophisticated.
WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN?
Crucial to Robinson’s argument is his understanding of the nature of Christianity and what a Christian is. In chapter 1 he proposes a generic definition of Christianity that fits all who are usually classed as “Christian”: Protestants — from liberal to evangelical, Roman Catholics, and Eastern Orthodox. With such an inclusive definition, Robinson succeeds in showing that LDS may be regarded Christian.
But this approach to legitimizing Mormonism can only succeed if a Christian does not need to believe in one personal, transcendent God, one incarnate Christ, the completed atonement, and one gospel of grace through faith alone. For mere descriptive purposes, historians may classify every group that calls itself Christian as Christian. Jesus Christ, however, did not do this. Jesus taught that “the way” was narrow and that we should not assume that all who call Jesus “Lord” are really Christians (Matt. 5:20; 7:13-23).
In defining the one true church, would Robinson be satisfied with a generic definition that includes all churches calling themselves Christian? Not if the LDS is the one true church — with baptism accompanied with the laying on of hands by those in authority in the “restored priesthood.” Robinson’s generic pattern of defining terms like “church” or “Christian” is too broad to be useful for purposes of normative Christian doctrine.
Robinson’s generic definition of a Christian from Webster’s Third New International Dictionary is: “One who believes or professes or is assumed to believe in Jesus Christ and the truth as taught by him; an adherent of Christianity; one who has accepted the Christian religious and moral principles of life; one who has faith in and has pledged allegiance to God thought of as revealed in Christ; one whose life is conformed to the doctrines of Christ” (1). The second most common meaning of “Christian” in Robinson’s book is: “A member of a church or group professing Christian doctrine or belief” (1).
Having raised the issue of the nature of Christianity, Robinson fails to interact with the relevant literature. For example, he does not deal with evangelical literature such as J. Gresham Machen’s What Is Christianity? (Eerdmans, 1950), What Is Faith? (Eerdmans, 1948), and Christianity and Liberalism (Eerdmans, 1946). Nor does he consider Samuel J. Craig’s Christianity Rightly So Called (Presbyterian and Reformed, 1957). These writers show why liberalism — as represented in Ludwig Feuerbach’s The Essence of Christianity (Harper & Brothers, 1957), Adolph Harnack’s What Is Christianity? (Harper & Brothers, 1957), and William Hamilton’s The New Essence of Christianity (Association Press, 1961) — cannot be regarded as genuine Christianity.
Robinson’s chapter on “The Exclusion by Name-Calling” correctly shows the difficulty of defining a “cult” on psychological and sociological criteria, and points to the need for objective doctrinal criteria for determining what a cult is. He wrongly concludes, however, that “there are simply no objective criteria for distinguishing religions from ‘cults”‘ (29). Such a sweeping generalization is uncharacteristic of responsible scholarship and fails to take account of my proposal in a 1966 publication, Confronting the Cults: “The term cult here designates a religious group which claims authorization by Christ and the Bible but neglects or distorts the gospel, the central message of the Savior and the Scriptures.”[1] In this same book, I list seven questions drawn from explicit New Testament statements — all dealing with what one must believe to be saved — that enable one to distinguish authentic Christian faith from inauthentic faiths. Several of these questions are concerned with the person of Christ.
AN ISSUE THAT “REALLY MATTERS” — ONE’S VIEW OF CHRIST
After attempting to answer many charges and alleged misrepresentations, Robinson thinks he gets down to the core issue in his “Conclusions” (111-14): “Surely by now it will have dawned on the discerning reader that of all the various arguments against Latter-day Saints being considered Christians, not one — not a single one — claims that Latter-day Saints don’t acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord. Consider the enormous implications of this fact. The only issue that really matters is the only issue that is carefully avoided!” (111)
The error in this sweeping statement becomes evident upon examining what Mormons mean when they say “Jesus is Lord.” In 1966 my chapter on “The Bible, the Christian and Latter-day Saints” asked: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ (the anointed Messiah) who was God (John 1:1) and became flesh (1:14)?”[2] All of these beliefs are entailed in the biblical affirmation that Jesus is Lord. Mormons holding official church doctrine do not exclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).
For Robinson, the fact that Mormons have an exalted view of Christ is sufficient for classifying them as Christians:
In fact, to use the terminology of biblical scholars, the Latter-day Saints have a very high Christology. That is, for the Latter-day Saints Jesus is not merely a good man, a teacher, or even a prophet; he is not merely a human being; he is not the son of Joseph and Mary who later became God’s Son. In common with other Bible-oriented Christians, the Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus is the pre-existent Word of the Father who became the literal, physical, genetic Son of God. As the pre-existent Word he was the agent of the Father in the creation of all things. As the glorified Son he is the agent of the Father in the salvation of all humanity. We believe he was conceived of a virgin by the power of the Holy Ghost. We believe he led a sinless life, that he was morally and ethically perfect, that he healed the sick and raised the dead, that he walked on the water and multiplied the loaves and the fishes. We believe he set a perfect example for human beings to imitate and that humans have an obligation to follow his example in all things. Most important of all, we believe that he suffered and died on the cross as a volunteer sacrifice for humanity in order to bring about an atonement through the shedding of his blood. We believe that he was physically resurrected and that he ascended into the heavens, from which he will come at the end of this world to establish his kingdom upon the earth and eventually to judge both the living and the dead (113).
This “high Christology” may be impressive, but it is more like that of the ancient Arians who believed there was a time when the Word was not (a view similar to that of contemporary Jehovah’s Witnesses), than the view espoused by historic Christianity. Robinson’s Jesus remains a creature with a beginning in time and not the Creator who is worthy of worship as God.
Jesus’ oneness with God the Father and His distinctness from the Father are best accounted for by the Trinitarian teaching of oneness in essence and distinctness in persons. It is true, as Robinson points out, that affirmations of Jesus’ oneness in purpose with God (as opposed to oneness in nature with God) account for some passages on the functional unity of Father and Son (e.g., John 17:11). But this is not the case with other passages, such as John 1:1: “The Word was with God and the Word was God”. Only if Jesus was of the same nature and being as God could the same divine attributes apply. Jesus said, “No one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27), and “No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (v. 30). When Jesus explains that “I and the Father are one” in this context, He teaches more than mere agreement of purpose; He makes clear their oneness in sovereign power. The later creeds did not “invent” the concepts of Christ’s divine and human natures, as Robinson argues (86); they found the Bible teaching His human and divine characteristics and integrated that teaching coherently.
If the Christ of a Mormon is not the one true God (John 17:3) who is eternal (John 1:1; Heb. 1:8-12; 5:6; 13:8), the object of worship is a creature and worship itself becomes idolatry. If the Christ of a Mormon is a spirit-child who has been procreated — like countless other spirit children by the flesh-and-bone Father and one of his wives — then he is not uniquely of the same nature as the Father, as the Bible and the historic church teach. If the LDS Christ is our finite brother, not different in kind from us, he is therefore not uniquely Immanuel — “God with us” (Matt. 1:23). The Christ of the Bible is the unique God-man — incarnate, crucified, and risen once-for-all. Only if He was infinite God in human flesh could His blood have infinite value for the justification of all the billions of people who have ever sinned.
IS A “HIGH” CHRISTOLOGY SUFFICIENT?
The first Christians believed that Jesus was Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). They also believed in one God, and Jesus was included in the Godhead. A “high Christology” is not necessarily enough to fit the evidence that He was far more than the first or highest being in creation; He is the God-man.
Robinson claims that the Nicene Creed “not only differs from, but adds new concepts to, the biblical view” (73). He admits that the Bible teaches oneness and threeness, but maintains that “the scriptures themselves do not offer any explanation of how the threeness and the oneness are related” (72).
Here Robinson fails to appreciate the careful reasoning behind the creed. Certainly the Scriptures do not explain how God can be three persons in one being, but they do lead us to the conclusion that He is. Both the Old and New Testaments deny polytheism (the belief in many gods) and teach that there is one God. Thus the Bible’s teaching forbids a view of the threeness that leads to more than one God. However, a word study of “one” in Scripture shows that in any one family, nation, or church, we may expect a plurality of persons. Husband and wife are “one” flesh; Israel is “one” nation with many people; the church is “one” body with many personal members. The Bible’s teaching on God’s oneness excludes polytheism but includes the possibility of diversity in unity. The Bible also makes clear that within the unity of the Godhead are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It further teaches that each of the three is God and each thinks, feels, wills, and relates in personal ways.[3]
Three types of passages need to be accounted for in one’s Christology. (1) Some passages speak of the limitations Christ assumed when He took on a human nature in order to purchase man’s redemption. From this human perspective Christ could say, “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). (2) Some passages refer to His eternal personal distinctness from the Father as Son (John 3:16), Word (John 1:1), radiance (Heb. 1:3), and so forth. (3) Some passages speak of His essential oneness with the Father in being and attributes (John 10:30). The conclusion that the three persons are one in both purpose and in essence best accounts for the Bible’s teaching that there is one divine Being and that the fellowshiping Father, Son, and Spirit subsist as distinguishable personal consciousnesses within that oneness.
A Trinitarian statement such as we have in the Nicene Creed on oneness of being and threeness of co-equal persons is not something foreign to Scripture, but derived from it. The Trinitarian doctrine most coherently integrates the varied lines of teaching about God’s oneness and threeness in Scripture. We ask Mormons to believe the doctrine on scriptural authority alone. As B. B. Warfield said, “The formulation of the doctrine, although not made in Scripture, is not opposed to Scripture. When we assemble the…[separate parts of Scripture] into their organic unity, we are not passing from Scripture, but entering more thoroughly into the meaning of Scripture.”[4] These “separate parts” of Scripture include the New Testament teaching that (1) there is but one God; (2) the personality of Jesus Christ is God manifested in the flesh at Bethlehem, and the personality of the Holy Spirit is God manifested at Pentecost. “What we mean by the doctrine of the Trinity is nothing but the formulation in exact language of the conception of God presupposed in the religion of the incarnate Son and outpoured Spirit.”
The doctrine that Jesus Christ is one person with two natures — one truly divine and the other truly human — is a more coherent account of the biblical data than a Mormon formulation in which he is not essentially God. Similarly, the doctrine that God is one in essence and subsists in three persons — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — is more coherent with the teaching on the oneness and threeness of God than a committee of two separate flesh-and-bone gods. (Although Mormons argue that to be persons the first two needed flesh-and-bone bodies, the third “personage” in this triumvirate, the Holy Ghost, is not flesh and bone.)
New concepts are added to Scripture, not by the creeds of Nicea and Chalcedon, but by Joseph Smith’s doctrine of a flesh-and-bone God (see, for example, Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). Robinson’s uncritical acceptance of Joseph Smith’s interpretation of an alleged vision makes it impossible for him to accept the Trinitarian teaching of the Bible. Is one young man’s interpretation of a poorly substantiated vision a reliable base on which to challenge the Bible’s consistent refutation of polytheism and support of one God who is spirit? If God’s eternal being includes a flesh-and-bone body, Solomon could not have said, “The heaven, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27). The eternal Word added a human nature (made up of a human body and spirit) for purposes of incarnation and redemption in space and time; but remained truly divine. The body is the material aspect of His human nature, the divine nature forever remains spirit. So long as Mormons contradict Scripture by affirming more than one God they are not worshiping the one God whom Christians worship and serve.
It is not anti-Mormon argumentation that excludes the LDS from the Christian faith, but their own disbelief of the biblical teaching about Jesus. The Scriptures grant the right to be called “Christian” to all who receive Jesus (John 1:12) as the eternal (not just pre-existent) Word who was continuously and personally with the one true God (v. 1) and was the one true God (v. 1) who became flesh (v. 14).



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ChooseLife

posted August 7, 2007 at 9:25 pm


First to Paul or Joseph or whomever you are,
I agree with mostly everything your wrote…what’s the question? If my assertion that we believe in “living” prophets is correct…it stands to reason, we believe what they say when “…moved upon by the Holy Ghost.”
If you read my earlier posting to Chief1989, it is quite clear that since there are no “Original Manuscripts” of any of the Bible writings to turn to for any scholarly examination…then to proclaim it as inerrant is to be folly in deed. But, if on the other hand, God provided us a prophet to discern what was and what wasn’t true in the Bible, now that sheds a whole new light on its incredible spiritual value…we continue to go in circles here…either Joseph Smith is who he claimed he is, a man inspired by God to restore “original” truths, or he isn’t…because I and millions of others accept that he is doesn’t men you have to…believe who, how or what you may! As Gamaliel, a celebrated Jewish teacher of Saul once said, “…Refrain from these men [Mormons], and let them alone: for if this [their] counsel or this [their] work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-9).
Next to Matt,
You presume that Mormons accept the writings of Stephen E. Robins as anything more than his own scholarly opinion…no where that I can find, did he claim to have been “…moved upon by the Holy Ghost…” when writing this…so, all that he has stated may or may not be accurate. It would be no different if I put all these postings I’ve recently written here in a book form and then you quoted from them as though they were statements ALL Mormons believed in…simply to substantiate your position that “…this is what Mormons believe!”…absurd don’t you agree?



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Paul

posted August 7, 2007 at 9:58 pm


ChooseLife
It was apparent from the beginning that you did not know what you’re talking about but alas I persisted when I shouldn’t have, I am not educated in the teachings of Joseph Smith or any of your other prophets. I have read a little of the Book of Mormon but it disagrees with the Bible therefore it cannot be true. I believe Mormonism to be an assault on the Sovereignty of God because it takes away from who God is.
Since you won’t answer any of the claims, assertions or questions I posted I cannot continue to post here. I am sorry that you may never know of the true nature of God’s Saving Grace, but I sincerely hope that one day you will.



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Matt

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:07 pm


No where did I state that Stephen E. Robinson was a prophet, but what he say does reflect an accurate statement about what Mormons believe about the Godhead does it not, if I am wrong please correct me.



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ChooseLife

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:09 pm


Paul,
repost!!
Believe who, how or what you may! As Gamaliel, a celebrated Jewish teacher of Saul once said, “…Refrain from these men [Mormons], and let them alone: for if this [their] counsel or this [their] work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” (Acts 5:38-9).
Have a nice life…



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Paul

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:31 pm


Oh I will
be praying for ya that maybe one day God will open your eyes!!



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joe

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:38 pm


I know it’s been a while since my post…
But Paul, what’s the big deal about the “extra things” that Mormons have to do? I can’t think of too many churches that don’t ask for a tithe. Being honest with your fellow men doesn’t seem like a stretch. Not committing adultery is easier than the world makes it. Sustaining the leaders of the church is pretty common across the board. These along with believing in God are pretty much all that’s asked of Mormon’s to get in the Temple. These are all the things we have to do, live honest lives. Grace takes it from there. There is no magical cut-off for who gets grace and who doesn’t. I’m really trying to point out that this is a non-issue really, just a lot of saying the same thing slightly differently, but at the core it’s the same.
that’s all I wanted to say. God bless.



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ChooseLife

posted August 7, 2007 at 11:37 pm


Matt,
Since so many of your kind insist on telling me and other Mormons just what we believe, I will open up a window for you to peek into just what we REALLY believe…and I think I can safely say that I speak for ALL Mormons when I say this…
The first statement will answer your question as to OUR belief of the Godhead…the others might provide you other insights.
Here is what ALL Mormons truly believe:
1. We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
2. We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.
3. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
4. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.
5. We believe that a man must be called of God, by prophecy, and by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority, to preach the Gospel and administer in the ordinances thereof.
6. We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church, namely, apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists, and so forth.
7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth.
8. We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.
9. We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
10. We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory.
11. We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
12. We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
13. We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.
Well, now you’ve seen our “dirty little secret beliefs”. Feel free to spread them around to all your friends at parties, little league games, and even over you pulpits…the truth is finally out!



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ray

posted August 8, 2007 at 3:04 am


The question should be, why do other “Christian” groups even bother to insist that members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints aren’t Christian?
Believing in Christ should be enough of a qualification.



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Matt

posted August 8, 2007 at 5:58 am


Ray
Because the Christ that Mormons profess and the Christ that Christians profess are not the same. They may look like it on the surface but underneath they are completely different. Read some of my earlier posts.
ChooseLife
Is this what you believe about your prophets?
First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.
Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.
Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the —follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.
Those are all nice, but that is not all you believe. Do you not also believe in baptism for the dead. Do you believe in a literal Hell?
Also did Joseph Smith not say “I have more to boast about than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.”



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ChooseLife

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:11 am


Matt, thanks for at least the courtesy of asking for a response rather than again, ‘telling’ me what I believe. I will do my best to answer what I believe:
First: The prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything.
Answer: Every person is “entitled” to communicate and receive answers from our Heavenly Father. But only ONE person, God’s prophet, can receive revelation concerning the “entire” body collective we call the Church; and speak to them and the world with the words, “Thus saith the Lord…”
Second: The living prophet is more vital to us than the standard works.
Answer: YES. Again, only when He says, “Thus saith the Lord…”
Third: The living prophet is more important to us than a dead prophet.
Answer: YES. Again, only when He says, “Thus saith the Lord…”
Fourth: The prophet will never lead the Church astray.
Short Answer: True. He will be taken of the Lord before allowed to do such and another placed in his stead.
Longer Answer: In the rare instance this would ever occur…I don’t believe it would because the Lord knows the end from the beginning…but for the sake of discussion, let’s say The Prophet, exercising his own ‘free will’ does something contrary to the mind and will of God acting in his ‘official’ capacity as The Prophet (remember, these are after all ordinary men called to extraordinary circumstances); The Lord has in his ‘Restored’ church certain checks and balances, in this case, The Quorum of Twelve Apostles. From this Quorum will always come The Prophets successor and in his absence, The mind and will of The Lord.
Fifth: The prophet is not required to have any particular earthly training or credentials to speak on any subject or act on any matter at any time.
Answer: True. Is anything too complicated for the Lord to accomplish…again, The Prophet is just a man in and of himself, but when moved upon by the Holy Ghost…all things are possible.
Sixth: The prophet does not have to say “Thus saith the Lord” to give us scripture.
Answer: “Thus saith the Lord…” is simply an expression that what The Prophet is about to tell us comes from the Lord. It can happen in several ways,i.e., letters, articles, over the pulpit, in sanctioned instruction manuals, etc. The choice is always ours as too whether or not we accept and/or heed those words, which brings me back to your 1st question, we too are entitled to personal revelation that will confirm to us individually, the words of The Prophet through the same medium, the Holy Ghost.
Seventh: The prophet tells us what we need to know, not always what we want to know.
Answer: I partly agree with that, because, The Prophet’s words are for ALL peoples…He is The Prophet for the entire world and speaks God’s will to ALL of God’s children, whether or not they BELIEVE it or not.
Eighth: The prophet is not limited by men’s reasoning.
Answer: I think I have already answered that.
Ninth: The prophet can receive revelation on any matter, temporal or spiritual.
Answer: CAN is the operative word here, It’s up to The Lord.
Tenth: The prophet may be involved in civic matters.
Answer: Do you mean he may be pulled over and get a speeding ticket? Or, do you mean he may be elected a judge? Not sure where you are going with this one but, yes, he is a Man and entitled to VOTE like the rest of us.
Eleventh: The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophet are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich. Answer: They could certainly qualify as non-believers, but others do as well.
Twelfth: The prophet will not necessarily be popular with the world or the worldly.
Answer: I believe that.
Thirteenth: The prophet and his counselors make up the First Presidency—the highest quorum in the Church.
Answer: True.
Fourteenth: The prophet and the presidency—the living prophet and the —follow them and be blessed; reject them and suffer.
Answer: When we follow The Prophet, we believe we are following the Lord, you can deduce the blessings that come from that.
Those are all nice, but that is not all you believe. Do you not also believe in baptism for the dead. Do you believe in a literal Hell?
Answer: Yes, I believe that ALL of God’s children are entitled to have access to the ‘saving ordinances’ of the Gospel…Baptism is one of those. We have built temples for just this purpose…in part, to grant access for those who otherwise were not in a position to do for themselves what must be done. Hell, can be defined on several levels. If you mean, Do I believe in Eternal punishment? Yes. How exactly is that administered? I don’t know, but there are scriptures that give us a ‘peek’ into that miserable condition.
Also did Joseph Smith not say “I have more to boast about than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.”
Answer: I don’t know, but I doubt it…if history holds accurate, he probably said something similar then had his words somehow twisted, or taken out of context…



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The Bryan who came first.

posted August 8, 2007 at 3:30 pm


Also did Joseph Smith not say “I have more to boast about than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.”
I think he did somewhere along the line. But Paul in the bible also said something very similar to that. When read it context we know that Paul was boasting of the things that the Lord had done through him. Not the things that Paul had done himself. Joseph Smith was doing the same thing. He even mentioned Paul’s speech when he said that quote. Joseph Smith was using it to prove a point that the Lord did these things through him in my opinion. That said, even if Joseph Smith was boasting and is guilty of pride, then it just goes to prove what we’ve been saying all along. Joseph Smith was just a man. And an imperfect man at that. He was not lying in that quote either. I’m not sure what there is to reproach with that actually. But anti-mormons love to use it.



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Matt

posted August 8, 2007 at 3:40 pm


Joseph Smith’s statement can be found in “History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 408-409 (1844)” “I have more to boast about than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I.”



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The Bryan who came first.

posted August 8, 2007 at 3:43 pm


I researched and found the sources to what I have referred to. Paul was boasting the many different things that he suffered in 2 Corinthians 11. Joseph Smith read these scriptures and said “As Paul boasted, I have suffered more than Paul did. I should be like a fish out of water, if I were out of persecution.” Then he went on after some other stuff to say the above quote. This is found in History of the Church vol. 6 Page 408-409.
Again, even if you don’t believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, you cannot contend with history and all the accounts of the persecution he went through. He was not lying. So I’m not sure how this quote is supposed to reproach him.



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Matt

posted August 8, 2007 at 4:04 pm


That doesn’t explain the last half of his saying “Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I”.



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The Bryan who came first.

posted August 8, 2007 at 4:15 pm


Try reading the whole speech that he gave in the history of the church instead of copying an out of context quote from a website and maybe it will be explained to you.



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GB

posted August 8, 2007 at 4:25 pm


Matt,
I take it that this is the best evidence you have against the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith. Otherwise you would have presented better evidence than this.
In a court of law you should always present the best evidence you have. To do otherwise is risky and stupid.
If this is the best you have, then you have no case.
p.s. now we will see if you are a typical anti-mormon and run off to some anti-mormon source and cut and paste more (already debunked) load of tripe to entertain us with.



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Matt

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:29 pm


Well, it’s been fun but high school starts tomorrow so I gotta go
I’ll leave you with this:
If you would ask me why I don’t believe in Mormonism, I would have to say
they place faith in the words of their prophets over their scripture, and their prophets tend to contradict each other and change their views on doctrines because of cultural issues. Culture tends to dictate their beliefs on some doctrines not all but some. Their belief in works for salvation takes away from what was accomplished on the Cross, as if God dying on the Cross for my sins was not enough. Their belief that God was once a man and became a God and we to can become gods if we adhere to all the laws of Mormonism. Don’t let them fool you on this they won’t tell you they believe this but they do.
A little Word about what I believe about God
The Foundation of All Redemptive History
The foundation of all redemptive history is this sentence: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Therefore, we confess at the beginning of our creed: “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” By this we mean that God created out of nothing everything that is not God. Nothing but God the Son and God the Spirit is co-eternal with God. There is one God and therefore one ultimate origin of all that is. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever!” (Romans 11:36). But since he is one God in three persons we also believe—as the Scriptures teach—that “Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (Colossians 1:15, 16; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:1; Hebrews 1:2). God the Father through the Son created out of nothing everything that is not God. The great mystery of creation is how something can come from nothing. Yet Paul writes in Romans 4:17 that “God calls into being things that are not as though they were.” “God commanded and they were created,” the psalmist says (Psalm 148:5). God addresses his command to nothingness, and even nothingness obeys his voice and becomes something (cf. Hebrews 11:3). If you ever start to doubt the Word of God think on this: God can issue a command that is so powerful that if nothing is there to obey, the word itself brings forth its own obedience through creation out of nothing.
If all that is not God came into being at the word of God, then it follows that every second of our existence is owing to the word of God. The biblical teaching is that no creature has a principle of ongoing existence in itself apart from God’s perpetual preservation. Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ “reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power.” If God should ever cease to address your body and soul with the command, “Be!” you would cease to be. The only barrier between you and nothingness is the word of God. Have we even begun to plumb the depths of that saying, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3)!
Since the same divine word that brought all things into being also holds them in being moment by moment, the Scriptures do not treat creation as a finished act. But the appearance of every new life is seen as God’s creation. Psalm 104:29, 30 says of the animals, “When thou (God) hidest thy face, they are dismayed; when thou takest away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created and thou renewest the face of the ground.” The same thing is implied about every human, too, when Ecclesiastes 12:1 says, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth,” and when Isaiah says, “Woe to him who strives with his Maker, an earthen vessel with the potter! Does the clay say to him who fashions it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles?’” (45:9). In other words, we all relate to God as creator just as much as if we had been the first person made from the dust of the ground. It does not matter that we have come largely from the union of sperm and egg and the multiplication of cells through nutrition and molecular activity, because all these processes are so completely governed by the all-preserving word of God that we are as much clay in the potter’s hand as was Adam.
So the biblical doctrine (or if you prefer the biblical picture of God) before us is this: God the Father, through the agency of his eternal Son, created out of nothing all that is not God by his word of command, and by that same word he upholds all things, so that the emergence of every new being is his peculiar creation.
God Owns All Things Absolutely
Now what are the implications for our life today of this amazing picture of God. I will mention only three. First, if God is the creator of all things out of nothing, then he owns all things and all people absolutely. The Scripture infers ownership from creation. Psalm 95:5, “The sea is his for he made it.” Psalm 89:11, “The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine; the world and all that is in it, thou hast founded them.” Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein.” God owns all things absolutely. We may think of ourselves as owners only in relation to other people. That is, they have no right to take certain things from us without compensation. But in relation to God we own nothing, absolutely nothing, and he has every right to dispose of us all our so-called possessions exactly as he pleases. This means that with regard to our possessions we are stewards or trustees of God’s estate, and with regard to ourselves we are slaves of the Almighty. It is very wrong to think that a tithe of our income belongs to God and 90% belongs to us. It is all God’s absolutely, and we have no rights to dispense it in any way but what pleases its Owner. The doctrine of creation implies that we should ask of every expenditure: Am I by this purchase achieving the purposes of my Creator?
Not only does God own our possessions, he also owns us absolutely. We are the clay and he is the potter and he may do with us exactly as he pleases (Psalm 29:16; 45:9). “Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me thus?’ Has the potter no right over the clay?” (Romans 9:20–21). The answer is: Yes, the potter has absolute right over the clay. Take your spiritual temperature here. If this is sweet to you and you readily submit to God’s ownership, it is the mark of grace and maturity in your life. But if this is offensive to you and you resent the thought of God having an absolute right to do with you as he pleases, it is a mark of the flesh and of need for repentance. For the very essence of the flesh is brazen self-assertion, the will to be autonomous, the desire to assert one’s rights over against God and determine one’s own life. But the rise of saving faith is markedly the collapse of our rebellion against the rights of our Owner. The marrow of saving faith is the laying down of the arms of self-determination; it is total surrender to the will of our Creator, our owner.
Everything Exists for the Glory of God
A second implication of the doctrine of creation is that everything that exists has a purpose, a goal, a reason for being. If God did not create the world, then any man’s goal is as good as another. There are no absolutes and everything is aimless and absurd. The only meaning in life is what you arbitrarily create by doing your own thing. But if God did create the world, then it has an absolute purpose and goal, for God is not whimsical or frivolous. Nor is his purpose ever in jeopardy, for he says in Isaiah 46:10, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”
The ultimate purpose of God in creation was and is to display his glory in all its fullness. According to Numbers 14:21, God’s intention to fill the earth with the glory of the Lord is as certain as his very existence. He says in Isaiah 43:7, “I created Israel for my glory.” And in Ephesians 1:12 rebellious creatures are brought back to God for this purpose: “to live for the praise of his glory.”
Since God created everything, he owns everything; everything we have and are belongs to God. Therefore, we must ask of every expenditure and every act, “Does this achieve the purpose of my Owner?” And now we know what this purpose is and so we must ask, “Does this purchase or this act or this attitude display God’s glory?” Thus the second implication of the doctrine of creation is that God has a purpose in creation, to display his glory, and therefore the purpose of all his creatures is to join him in that aim. That’s why we exist.
We Are Dependent on Our Creator for Everything
The final implication of this doctrine that I want to mention is simply this: If we are creatures, we are totally and utterly dependent on our Creator for everything. We are weaker than the weakest baby apart from him, because apart from him we fly into nothingness. Every breath we take, every calorie of energy we expend, every good intention we fulfill is a gift from our merciful Creator, who owes us nothing. So the lesson is clear: you can’t glorify God as the all-sufficient Creator and Sustainer unless you turn and become like little children who gladly depend on their Father for everything.
And with that we close this circle. The foundation of all redemptive history is that God the Father, through the agency of his eternal Son, created out of nothing all that is not God by his word of command, and by that same word he upholds all things so that the emergence of every new being is his peculiar creation. Therefore, God owns everything that exists. We and all our so-called possessions are his to do with as he pleases. What pleases him is the achievement of his ultimate purpose to fill the earth with his glory. Therefore, the all encompassing life-goal of every creature should be to display the value of God’s glory. But since we are helpless and absolutely dependent on God for everything, the only way this can be done is by becoming like little children who are not anxious for anything, but entrust their souls to the faithful Creator (1 Peter 4:19).
Mormonism takes away from the God of the universe and instead gives us a cheap imitation, If you want know your purpose in life it’s this you were created for the Glory of God. I would suggest you read the Bible and see what God says for yourself. A good translation I would suggest is the ESV. Don’t let Mormons tell you that you need a prophet to reveal to you the Word of God. God has given us His Word so that we can see for ourselves what He says.
Respond however you like…..



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ChooseLife

posted August 9, 2007 at 12:44 am


Matt,
I hope you have a good year in High School…you need additional training.
I will only comment on your first statement, since I don’t believe you are reading more that the first couple of sentences of these “blog” answers to your questions anyway.
If God created the heavens and the earth (and most creationists would argue he did it in roughly 6000 years, hence 6 days of creation) and He created everything outside of himself because He has always existed, what do you believe He was doing in the eons of time BEFORE He got the idea to create the heavens and the earth? And further, by your own admission, shouldn’t the Bible be able to answer that question since it contains ALL the truth of God and is inerrant and infallible? Just curious of your opinion, or any other orthodox christian who might be brave enough to take these questions on…



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Starchild

posted August 9, 2007 at 5:09 am


Just a quick comment, if God was the Son and the Holy Ghost and himself at the same time, when the Son went back to the Father did he cease to be? Was he absorbed back into the Original Father, being an offshoot. And was the Son a man? Then went back to being God, so could a man be God?



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ChooseLife

posted August 9, 2007 at 10:21 am


Starchild,
I think these questions are exposing Orthodox Christianity for what it truly is: incomplete, archaic, by-done, decayed & depleted…a form of godliness but without His authority, power & complete backing…drawing close to God with their lips, but having hearts hardened to truth (much the same as the children of Israel in Moses’ day).
I know this will ire many, but it really saddens me to see so many otherwise, intelligent, honest, honorable and good people, settling for crumbs when they could have the entire loaf…freely available to ALL, IF they would just open their hearts to the Spirit and drop the pride so they could be taught as a little child…
This ends it for me…God speed to all!!
And by all means…Choose Life Eternal!!



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AstroStewart

posted August 9, 2007 at 5:57 pm


As an astrophysicist, I can’t help but respond to Matt’s post:
“If God created the heavens and the earth (and most creationists would argue he did it in roughly 6000 years, hence 6 days of creation) and He created everything outside of himself because He has always existed, what do you believe He was doing in the eons of time BEFORE He got the idea to create the heavens and the earth?”
First of all, I firmly believe that the earth is much much older than 6000 years, but that’s not the aspect I will to reply to, as it is a long and completely separate discussion from the point I wish to explain. (Besides, your tone suggests to me that you do not believe in a 6000 year old earth either, and there is no point in “preaching to the choir” so to speak.)
It is a misconception, pure and simple, to believe that there were “eons of time” before God created the universe. Time is a construct of the universe itself, and is not immutable or unchangeable. Science has shown us that the flow of time can be altered by strong gravitational fields, or by very high velocities (approaching the speed of light, which is a universal constant). To say that God exists outside of our universe (which is a necessity, if He created it to begin with) is, thus, to say that God exists outside of the confines of space, time, mass, energy, or any of the physical constructs of our universe.
It is difficult for our limited brains to conceive of existence without time, but at the very least, please try not to limit God by the confines of our universe. In other words, God was not, say, sitting around watching time go by second by second, eon by eon, and suddenly got bored and thought “hey, why don’t I create a universe?” Time is not a limitation of God. It did not exist until he created the universe. So asking “what was God doing before he created the universe?” (Or, in my mind as a physicist, “what was God doing before the Big Bang?”) is a meaningless question. “Before” implies a previous moment in time, but time did not exist before the Big Bang.
Incidentally, this has always been one of the things that has always rung true for me about the God of the Bible, who defines Himself as “I AM.” Even before science came to the conclusion that time itself is simply a construct of the universe, God defined himself as a self-existing entity that exists outside of the limitations of space or time. God doesn’t even define himself to say “I existed back then, I exist now, and I’ll exist in the future” because that would imply that He experiences the passage of time, just as we do. But any God who created the universe must exist outside it. So, to paraphrase very very loosely (I apologize I don’t remember the verse) God said something like “back then, right now, and in the future, I AM” defining Himself to exist at all times at once, or, in other words, to exist outside of the confines of time.
So God is not sitting in heaven watching the world unfold moment by moment. That too would require Him to be confined by the passage of time. Even now he knows everything that happened, everything that is happening now, and everything that will ever happen, because the limitation of time is meaningless to Him. It is this very nature of God that makes him God.
So what would you have the Bible say about God before the universe? How can we possibly imagine existence without time? It is hard-wired too deeply into our feeble human brains. The clearest, most concise explanation that can be given is simply “in the Beginning,” that is, “back before God created time, an epoch which our brains cannot possibly comprehend…”
Sorry for the long rant. It happens sometimes when I get talking about common misconceptions about the laws of physics, and the truly glorious interconnections between findings of modern science and ancient Biblical understanding.



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mike

posted August 9, 2007 at 7:03 pm


GB,
As is typical of your posts, you simply get on here and say “because I said so” like scolding a young child. Joseph Smith isn’t recognized as a prophet because we don’t beleive in the idea of Prophetical Revelation outside of scripture.
Why don’t you try and have a substantive answer instead of treating people like children. In fact, I still challenge you to address any one of my posts.
Finally, in a court of law, there is a such thing as a burden of proof (you may remember this from my earlier posts), YOU HAVE IT, not us…our faith tradition goes back 2007 years, your is only 200 years old. If something NEW comes up, it is your burden to prove the previous 2007 years to be wrong, not ours to contend why it hasn’t changed.
Good luck.



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EnlightenMe

posted August 9, 2007 at 7:41 pm


To the astrophysicist,
I think your analogy is as non-sensical as an inerrant Bible; granted entertaining…
“Jesus Christ, the same Yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Heb 13:8
You may think you know a lot about “laws” governing the universe…but, in the grand scheme of spiritual things…you’re just a babe in diapers, like the rest of us!
Now, use your brain and explain Heb. 13:8 for me. If He is the same “always”…how does He turn into God the Father and God the Spirit in the Triune? Doesn’t that mean He has to NOT be something else during that time? Oh, this time thing is so…limiting.
Lastly, if there was a creation…and there was…then there had to be something before that…and before that…and before that…if that’s not a form of “time”, well…



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Mark

posted August 9, 2007 at 8:23 pm


EnlightenMe
You said: Now, use your brain and explain Heb. 13:8 for me. If He is the same “always”…how does He turn into God the Father and God the Spirit in the Triune? Doesn’t that mean He has to NOT be something else during that time? Oh, this time thing is so…limiting.
Lastly, if there was a creation…and there was…then there had to be something before that…and before that…and before that…if that’s not a form of “time”, well…
Uniting the Three
Does the doctrine of trinitarianism demand that the Christian perform some sort of special spiritual arithmetic? After all, how can 1 + 1 + 1 = 1? To answer this, we begin by giving full weight to three lines of evidence in the Bible.
1. Monotheism – That there is but one God is an assertion at the very heart of the Judeo-Christian tradition. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut. 6:4). The apostle Paul is unequivocal in his monotheism: “We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4b; see also 8:5-6). Again, he insists that “there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). See also Exod. 3:13-15; 15:11; 20:2-3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6; 45:5-6; 45:14,18,21-22; 46:9; Zech. 14:9; John 17:3; James 2:19; Rom. 3:30. In summary, there is but one and one God only.
2. The Deity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit – We have a problem. There is only one God. But the Father is God. So also is the Son; likewise, the Holy Spirit. How can three be God and yet God be one? There is no escaping the fact that the biblical authors assert both truths. Clearly the Godhead is not an undifferentiated solitary oneness, but a oneness that subsists in multiplicity.
· The Deity of the Father
· The Deity of the Son
· The Deity of the Holy Spirit
[We will examine the evidence for the deity of both Son and Spirit in subsequent lessons. For now we will simply take for granted that the evidence is persuasive.]
3. Triunity – Alongside of the biblical testimony that God is one and that three are God is the multitude of texts which in some fashion unite the three who are God, hence our term triunity.
a. Matthew 28:19 – Jesus does not say “baptizing them in the names” (plural), as if there were three Gods, but “in the name” (singular). Neither does he say “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,” as if there were one being passing himself off under a threefold name. Rather, the definite article is repeated before each: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus, while Jesus distinguishes the three, with equal care he unites them under one name.
b. 2 Corinthians 13:14
c. Ephesians 4:4-6
d. On several occasions the Father, Son, and HS are mentioned together in united activity or purpose relating to the life and ministry of Jesus: at his conception (Lk. 1:35), baptism (Mt. 3:16-17; John 1:33-34), miracles (Mt. 12:28), and ascension (Lk. 24:49).
e. On several occasions the Three are portrayed as united in the work of revelation and redemption: Acts 2:38-39; Rom. 14:17-18; 15:16,30; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; Gal. 4:6; Eph. 2:18-22; 3:14-19; Col. 1:6-8; 2 Thess. 2:13-14; Titus 3:4-6; Heb. 10:29; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 John 4:2,13-14; Jude 20-21; Rev. 1:4-5.
Therefore, God is one and three are God – Triunity! None of these three lines of evidence can be dismissed nor any one elevated above another. We must embrace them all. But how can they be reconciled?
Although the concept of the Trinity is not explicit in the OT, there are texts in the OT that may allude to the idea of plurality in the Godhead. (1) The standard word for God is elohim (plural). (2) Often a plural verb is used with elohim. See Gen. 20:13; 35:7; 2 Sam. 7:23. (3) There are also texts where plural pronouns are used of God. See Gen. 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isa. 6:8. (4) A few OT texts appear to speak of Yahweh having a “son”. See Prov. 30 and Psalm 2. (5) Also relevant are texts that refer to the Messiah. See Isa. 9:6-7; Jer. 32:5-6; Micah 5:2. (6) There are numerous texts which speak about the “Spirit” of God. See Gen. 1:1-2; 6:3; Exod. 31:2-3; Num. 24:2; 27:18; Ps. 51; 139:7. These are but a few of the countless texts mentioning the Spirit. (7) There are a few passages where either the name of God or the concept of deity is applied to more than one person. See Isa. 48:16; 61:1; 63:7-14; Haggai 2:4-7.
B. Unity of Essence, Trinity of Personhood
There are only three possible ways to respond to this evidence.
1. The first alternative is to stress the unity of the one God to the exclusion of the full and co-equal deity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This doctrine exists today in two somewhat differing forms:
a. Unitarianism – a liberal perspective that denies the deity of Jesus and the Spirit (the Unity School espouses this view).
b. Oneness Pentecostalism (the United Pentecostal Church) – a conservative perspective that argues for the deity of Jesus. Indeed, Jesus “only” is God. Or again, there is only one person in the Godhead and his name is Jesus. The “Father” and “Spirit” are only different names appropriate for different manifestations of the one God, Jesus.
2. The second alternative is to stress the distinctiveness of the Father, Son, and Spirit to such a degree that the result is Tritheism, a form of Polytheism. The only link among the three is that they share a common purpose or will. Stress is placed on the personhood of each, the essence of which is autonomy and independent self-consciousness. Mormons embrace this view.
3. The third and, I believe, only legitimate alternative is to accept without alteration both the oneness of God and the full deity of Father, Son, and Spirit. This is done by saying that God is one in essence and three in person. Historic trinitarianism does not assert that God is one and three in the same sense. Rather, that in respect to which God is one is essence (or substance), and that in respect to which God is three is person. In affirming triunity in God we are saying that God is one in a sense different from the sense in which he is three. We may thus speak about Father, Son, and Spirit both in terms of what is common to all (essence) and what is proper or peculiar to each (person). The Father is the same God as the Son and Spirit but not the same person. The Son is the same God as the Father and Spirit but not the same person. The Spirit is the same God as the Father and Son but not the same person. Or again, relative to deity, Father, Son, and Spirit are the same. Relative to person, they are distinct.
Be it noted, however, that divine “threeness” is not merely a matter of our perception or experience of God. Threeness belongs to the eternal essence of God no less than divine oneness.
Thus whereas all three persons are God, none of the three has its own essence separate from or independent of the other two. Rather, each person shares equally the numerically one divine substance or essence. Numerically speaking there is only one divine essence and each of the three divine persons coinhere in that one nature. There is, therefore, no ontological subordination within the Godhead. The Father, Son, and Spirit are coequally God in terms of the divine essence. Each person is as fully God as the other. From this, and as a corrective to modalism, John Feinberg concludes that:
“the three persons coinhering in the one divine nature exist simultaneously with one another as distinct subsistences or persons. This means that the divine essence is not at one time entirely manifest as the Father (but not in or as the Son or Spirit), and then at another moment manifest exclusively as the Son, and yet again at another time solely as the Spirit. Rather, all three persons . . . exist simultaneously” (No One Like Him [Crossway, 2001], 488).
Thus, the Trinitarian relationships as believed in the church may be summarized as follows:
The Father begets the Son and is He from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds. But, the Father is neither begotten nor does He proceed.
The Son is begotten and is He from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds. But, He neither begets nor proceeds.
The Holy Spirit proceeds from both Father and Son. But, He neither begets nor is He one from whom any proceed.
Another way of expressing the same thought:
The Father is not God from God. The Father is God from whom God exists.
The Son is God from God. The Son is God from whom God exists.
The Spirit is God from God. The Spirit is not God from whom God exists.
Several different analogies have been put forth as descriptive of the Trinity.
“the three dimensions of space; the three measurements of time; the three kingdoms of nature: matter, spirit, and the union of the two in man; the solid, fluid, and gaseous state; the power of attraction, repulsion, and equilibrium; the three functions of the human soul: reasoning, feeling, and desiring; the three capacities of the soul: mind, will, and moral nature; the three factors that constitute a family: husband, wife, and child; the three classes in society: teachers, soldiery, and peasantry . . . the three tones in music: key-tone, tierce-tone, and quint-tone; the rainbow and its many colors; the sun with its quickening, illumining, and warming energy; the three basic colors: yellow, red, and blue, etc.” (The Doctrine of God, 323).
As someone once said of the doctrine of the Trinity: “Try to explain it, and you’ll lose your mind. But try to deny it, and you’ll lose your soul!”
D. Conclusion
What we are saying, then, is that there is a sense in which God is one (essence) and a sense in which God is three (person). The one God exists eternally in three distinct but not independent persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is neither logically contradictory nor inconsistent with Scripture.
And as for your question about time. The idea that God created time and exists outside of time is implied in Scripture in that God created the universe and everything in it. What was God doing before time existed I do not know but I do know He wasn’t a man on another world.(as God created all worlds) If we are to truly understand the concept of what it means for there to be no time then we must exist outside time but only God does that so it remains one the mysteries of God
there wasn’t eons and eons of time before the Creation there was just simply God there was no time there were other pre-existent spirits with God there was just God.



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EnlightenMe

posted August 9, 2007 at 9:19 pm


Well,
There is nothing to say to that kind of logic…”it remains one the mysteries of God…”
If it is a “Mystery” then how do you affirm, he wasn’t a man on another world?



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Mark

posted August 9, 2007 at 10:28 pm


Sorry my last comment should read “before the Creation there was just simply God there was no time there were NO other pre-existent spirits with God there was just God.”



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Mark

posted August 9, 2007 at 10:32 pm


Because He created the entire universe. Sense He was already God He had no need to go live on a world so that he could become God. If He was a man who became God, who created Him and why aren’t we worshiping that other being. Because to tell you the truth I would rather worship the One True God who was, who is, and who is to come, than a creature who became a God. Or are you implying that God didn’t create the universe?



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AgnosticForSure

posted August 9, 2007 at 11:47 pm


Mark,
Your comments remain obfuscatory at best…
You said, “…before the Creation there was just simply God there was no time there were NO other pre-existent spirits with God there was just God.” Is that Biblical? or, simply your “belief” because your little mind (as compared to God’s) can’t reconcile anything else?
You say God is all powerful & all Knowing, yet you deny His power and knowledge. If God operates outside of the realm of time, then by physical laws, He must also operate outside of the universe since most scientists agree there are bounds to the universe. Where would other dimensions fit into God’s all-powerful, all-knowing plan? I think you and others want to make a nice little understandable package of God all wrapped in a pretty little bow so your FINITE minds can deal with the unknowable…
You still haven’t turned this Agnostic…bottom line, you are all arguing something you know very, very little about.



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Mark

posted August 10, 2007 at 5:29 am


AgnosticForSure
You said: If God operates outside of the realm of time, then by physical laws, He must also operate outside of the universe since most scientists agree there are bounds to the universe. Where would other dimensions fit into God’s all-powerful, all-knowing plan?
Can God be bound by the rules of His own Creation? I thought the whole idea of God being God Is that there are no limits to to his power or to His ability, He created physical laws so why is He bound by them? He’s not.



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GB

posted August 10, 2007 at 10:24 am


Mike: Finally, in a court of law, there is a such thing as a burden of proof (you may remember this from my earlier posts), YOU HAVE IT,. . .
GB: Sorry but just because you said so doesn’t make it so. In matters of faith there is very little “proof” available, only evidence. You can’t even prove to our “AgnosticForSure” friend that God exists. And you expect anyone to be able to prove their doctrine is true. How naive you are.
Mike: not us…
GB: I never said that you had the burden of proof. I said that the case that was presented was without merit.
Mike: our faith tradition goes back 2007 years,
GB: Because you say so, right? Would that be the Protestant faith tradition or the Roman Catholic faith tradition or the Greek Orthodox faith tradition or some other? You apparently are ignorant when it comes to Christian religious history.
Mike: your is only 200 years old
GB: Again, you expose your ignorance about my faith.
BTW If you stopped acting like a child, then I could stop scolding you like a child.



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Chief1989

posted August 10, 2007 at 12:49 pm


This is a question that I posted a couple of weeks ago that no one ever answered:
“A large part of this blog has been spent trying to say who or what is a Christian. Fine. I get that. Mormons accuse Christians of trying to disenfranchise them from the moniker “Christian.” However, if all Mormons want to be known as Christians, why do the missionaries continue to attempt to proselytize even after you’ve identified yourself as a Christian? If you are Christians and we are Christians, once we’ve identified ourselves, shouldn’t your missionaries say, “Amen, brother! Keep spreading the faith, and we will, too. See you later!”? Why do they continue to try and get me to read the Book of Mormon if we are all Christians, and I have already indicated to them that I follow Jesus?”
If someone tells me they are Baptist, or a Methodist, or a Presbyterian etc. etc. and that he or she believes in Jesus and is saved, I don’t try to convert them over to my particular belief system. In the same way, if our doctrinal differences are not that great, which has been a consistent message from LDS members on this thread, then why are you attempting to proselytize “fellow” believers? If we are members of the same religion, then we should have unity and join together to fight for causes that are dear to both of us.
I think the root of that is that Mormons want to be called “Christians” to gain a better standing in mainstream America. After all, Christian (although that is losing ground year after year) is a nicer word to most Americans than Mormon. So to gain better acceptance, I can understand completely that Mormons would want to be called Christians. However, the thing that strikes me is that I don’t know if Mormons really consider orthodox Christians, who have held to the traditions and teachings of the church down through the years, really Christian or not. It is an interesting paradox: you want to be included in the conversation when ‘Christian churches’ are discussed, but you don’t really consider those other churches to be ‘Christian’ because they don’t have the authority or apostolic succession that the LDS claims for itself, so they can’t really be considered to be Christian in the view of the LDS.
Interesting…



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 10, 2007 at 3:37 pm


> I think the root of that is that Mormons want to be called
> “Christians” to gain a better standing in mainstream America.
And I think you are far off. Mormons know that they are “Christians”
and find it ludicrous that anyone would think otherwise. It’s not so
much that we “want to be called Christians” as it is that we don’t
want to be called “Non-Christians”, which we know to be a lie.
> After all, Christian (although that is losing ground year after year)
> is a nicer word to most Americans than Mormon.
Um, okay.
> So to gain better acceptance, I can understand completely that
> Mormons would want to be called Christians.
Again, we don’t care about “acceptance”. We care that we are truthfully portrayed.
> However, the thing that strikes me is that I don’t know if Mormons
> really consider orthodox Christians, who have held to the traditions
> and teachings of the church down through the years, really Christian
> or not.
Christian != saved. We have no doubt that the vast majority of
Baptists, Lutherans, etc. and other evangelicals are Christians
because we know that they have accepted Jesus Christ as their lord and
saviour.
> It is an interesting paradox: you want to be included in the
> conversation when ‘Christian churches’ are discussed, but you don’t
> really consider those other churches to be ‘Christian’ because they
> don’t have the authority or apostolic succession that the LDS claims
> for itself, so they can’t really be considered to be Christian in the
> view of the LDS.
So, yes, this would have to be considered a strawman argument. We *do*
consider those other churches to be Christian. Authority or apostolic
succession are not required to accept Jesus Christ as one’s lord and
saviour. Do they have the fullness of the gospel? No. Will they be
saved? I honestly don’t know. Are they Christians? Without a doubt.
Greg



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Chief1989

posted August 10, 2007 at 6:28 pm


Greg,
Thanks for your comments. They are heartfelt and I appreciate them. The one question that I really want answered hasn’t been answered. If Mormons are Christians, and orthodox Christians are Christians, why do Mormon missionaries keep trying to proselytize? I don’t know why, and I would really like to hear from anyone who thinks they do.
I found your last paragraph very interesting. I’d like to think that someone who is a Christian at heart will be saved, regardless of what membership in a church body he or she has. If I’m right, I’ll be in heaven with my Savior and all of the saints who have gone on before. If Mormonism is right, I should still be in Terrestrial heaven, and the Son’s presence is there. So I’m good with that.
P.S. I was going to ask you what you consider the ‘fulness of the Gospel’ to be, but it’s Friday night, let’s let that one lie.
Have a great weekend…



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B

posted August 10, 2007 at 7:33 pm


Chief, you are exactly correct. By LDS theology, you will be with the savior in heaven, but for Mormons there is the potential for exhaultation. Blessings come from covenants and obedience to the commandments. Just as Christ’s resurrection opened the door for all mankind to be raised from the dead, and faith in Jesus Christ opens the door for salvation and terrestrial glory, so baptism and temple ordinances open the door for a higher level or glory. See 1 Cor 15.
This is why Mormon prosleytize. That and they are commanded to do so by Jesus Christ. See Mark 16



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John

posted August 10, 2007 at 10:11 pm


Greg
Your statements are confusing: you say that being a christian means you are saved and you do consider other churches to be christian, but then you don’t know if they are saved or not
Your statements: Christian != saved. We have no doubt that the vast majority of Baptists, Lutherans, etc. and other evangelicals are Christians
:We *do* consider those other churches to be Christian.
:Will they be saved? I honestly don’t know. Are they Christians? Without a doubt
Perhaps we need to discuss what being Christian really means since you seem to think there are so many ways to God.



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Chief1989

posted August 10, 2007 at 10:27 pm


B,
Thanks for the clarification on one point. On the point that Mormon missionaries proselytize, maybe I wasn’t clear. I had some missionaries come to my house, I identified myself as a Christian saved by the blood of Christ, and they still wanted me to read the Book of Mormon and pray about whether it was true or not and whether Smith was a prophet. In the lines of our last discussion about Christian churches, why wouldn’t they move on to people who were unchurched and not Christians? Why continue to try and convert a person who had already identified himself as a Christian?
That is the question that I am looking for an answer to.



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mormonater

posted August 11, 2007 at 6:22 am


Chief,
We are apostate that is why, some goliath (must have been to carry around 8×7 golden tablets, which would be in excess of 200 lbs) walking around in holy undergarments (well I don’t know if he was actually considered a priest) declared that God (who according to Joseph and Brigham was actually Adam) was a MAN (a physical one) who walked the ‘earth’ and became God (“God” is actually from the planet Kolob). He also declared that he found some scrolls in a language never before seen or documented, and contained within them was the revelation that Jesus (who is a product of God having sex with Mary and actually atoned for sins in the Garden of Gethsemane, oh and is also the brother of Lucifer) came to America and visited the native americans who were actually jews (even though there is DNA evidence to prove otherwise) who left on a big boat (actually more like a clam) 4 thousand years ago (though there is no historical record of this either).
There actually is no heaven as you beleive it, instead you populate your own planet upon glorification , but this doctrine may have been changed, I am not current on the infallible prophets who continually change church doctrines (over 65,000 changes to Book of Commandments/Doctrine of Covenants, 3000 to book of Mormon, which would seem to indicate they are very much fallible). You may even get to go to the moon where people live for up to one thousand years (whatever happened to Neil Armstrong…he must be OLD).
You also don’t believe in all of the non-evidence of places, people, animals and cities from the Book of Mormon which have never been substantiated by any archaeological evidence or all of the prophecies of Joseph Smith which never happened. I wouldn’t worry though, if you don’t believe in Mormonism they will baptize you from the dead into the Mormon church when you die.
The one thing I wouldn’t do if I were you is become a Mormon and then leave the church, you will turn black and wrinkly, with gray hair, just like the devil…I would NOT do this if I were you.
So…you may want go home and read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to show you that it is right, that way you can believe in all of these outlandish claims. Then you can come on here and declare to be a Christian, even if Mormon church leaders throughout history declared the opposite. It doesn’t matter what history says, obviously, you just need to have faith, and ALOT of it to believe in all of this, but I am confident that God will show you if you just read the Book of Mormon and pray to God.
Did I mention that you should read the Book of Mormon and pray that Adam/God (whatever you want to call him) shows you the truth about Satan’s brother? If not you should do so because the truth about the Jesus who only beat out Satan as being the Savior of us is because he was so righteous while living on earth(good thing too, i wouldn’t want that black, wrinkly thing to be my savior) is found in believing in the Book of Mormon. So read it and pray. Read the Book of Mormon and pray. That’s all I can say.



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Mike

posted August 11, 2007 at 9:58 am


GB: Sorry but just because you said so doesn’t make it so. In matters of faith there is very little “proof” available, only evidence. You can’t even prove to our “AgnosticForSure” friend that God exists. And you expect anyone to be able to prove their doctrine is true. How naive you are.
Mike: You’re the one who brought up the court of law analogy, don’t get mad at me if you can’t defend your own imagery.
What is more, I am not telling you that you have the burden of proof to show that your religion is the correct one, that indeed is impossible. What I said was, you have the burden of proof to show that Mormonism is Christianity because of what has been held as traditional Christian beliefs being challenged.
Mike: our faith tradition goes back 2007 years,
GB: Because you say so, right? Would that be the Protestant faith tradition or the Roman Catholic faith tradition or the Greek Orthodox faith tradition or some other? You apparently are ignorant when it comes to Christian religious history.
Mike: Again, you are always trying to find some sort of semantical challenge rather than dealing with the issue, I have already discussed this in a previous post, the “church” tradition and “faith” tradition are separate. The main tenets of the Christian church have been held for thousands of years and within that time there have been heretics and apostates, just as there always will be. Loons who claim to have finally realized the truth. The reality is that if you look at the Christian faith today and judge it based on the creeds and words of the New Testament they better line up and for the most part they do, if they don’t then I consider them in error or “not Christian” depending on what the error is. But all that aside, the “faith” tradition is completely separate and mine is documented to be 2007 years old.
GB: Again, you expose your ignorance about my faith.
Well, I guess if you are referring to the undocumented, unsubstantiated claims of writings and cities and boats etc… You do have a very long faith tradition, the problem is…it has never been corroborated. I can show you a book written by St. Augustine from 300 A.D. I can actually take you to the city of Corinth where there have been ruins corroborated by scientists who don’t believe a thing about the Bible, it is merely historical. When is your earliest (tangible) manuscript? Where are your archaeological ruins? I can prove that Christianity existed for 1800 years before Joseph Smith (who along with many of the founding fathers didn’t want to be referred as Christians).
GB: BTW if you stopped acting like I a child I wouldn’t scold you like a child.
Mike: Actually I was responding to your scolding of another person, not me, you actually haven’t engaged me one bit with serious conversation. Your remarks show your complete immaturity whether it be logical/theological/philosophical/historical/personal. They have no substance.



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B

posted August 11, 2007 at 2:23 pm


If faith is based on archaeology, then we are all doomed. Where is Noah’s Ark? Where is any historical record of Moses? Where is one single word written by Jesus Christ? There are plenty of historians who will debate you on the validity on the very existance of Jesus, or if the Gospels were really authored by who they are claimed to be authored by. I have faith. I would hope you would too, because if not, when someone finds the “bones of Jesus”, you can either believe or dismiss, but regardless faith will take you to heaven.



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EnlightenMe

posted August 11, 2007 at 4:21 pm


Mormonhater,
Your vitriolic smear is staining this blog…why don’t you just move along…



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Mike

posted August 11, 2007 at 10:33 pm


B,
Please tell me that you are kidding? Where is there any historical record of Moses? Do you know anything about archeology and historical evidence (be it internal or external)? I won’t even bother to get into many specifics, though I could very easily, suffice it to say this…you will be hard pressed to find historians who will not teach what is commonly referred to as the Old Testament (and New Testament) as historical fact (they doubt the miracles and theological claims but there has never been one example of contradictory evidence against the geological/societal claims of the New Testament). The Old Testament has been corroborated by archaeological evidence and the dead sea scrolls among other things. Both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the best documented historical books EVER.
I would ask you if you believe in Ancient Greece and if so on what basis. If not, we can lock you up in a loony farm because no thinking person would ever doubt based on archaeological evidence (such as the Parthenon) and the fact that there are writings and manuscripts that verify this that Ancient Greece is a figment of our historical imaginations. I wonder if you realize the disparity between manuscripts between Ancient Greece and Ancient Israel. I would hate to tell you about the disparity between those and the New Testament (plent of people doubt the truth, there are nuts all over the place who say the holocaust didn’t happen, rational people who know how investigate historical evidence know the difference and there are no valid claims against the New Testament on its historical accuracy of people and places). If you want specifics on numbers I would be happy to provide those.
Moving on, I cannot even believe you could make such a claim about Jesus:
Where is one word written by Jesus? Have you ever read the New Testament? If not, there are many words in there, I suggest you check them out. Now you will say Jesus didn’t write them himself, I am sure, that is the next logical response. That is true, however, Jesus doesn’t have to write words in order for them to be his, this is why there are “tests” historians use to verify claims of “followers” and on this basis there is substantial evidence that the words of Jesus are his words (you don’t have to believe what they say, but you must believe they are his. In fact, most ancient writings about kings and leaders are never written by their “hand”, this is why they had scribes).
On this point, most religions all of the world corroborate this very fact. Hindu’s, Buddhists and Muslims are believe that Jesus existed and was a great teacher, the only real ‘skeptics’ are the Humanists, Materialists, Secularists because Jesus’ words speak against there very way of life and much the same as you see in modern politics and theology, these people are militant against anything that goes against their “way of life”.
What is more, I don’t know what kind of faith you have, obviously not in the Jesus of the Bible. This is based on the fact that you don’t believe Jesus’ words in the Bible and you don’t believe in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Christ rose from the dead therefore there are no “bones”. They will never find them. Faith will get you to heaven (as you say) if you believe in the Truth. I don’t have confidence that a general faith is enough. I am sold out that the scriptures are true and that Jesus is what the historical words claim.
Is my faith in archeology? Of course not. And I would never claim such a thing. You actually have gone off on a tangent of my previous comments. The point I was making was that MY FAITH TRADITION is corroborated by archaeological evidence unlike the Mormon tradition. For 2000 years, there have been documented theologians, churches, cities, artifacts which show that my faith tradition is the true Christian tradition, on this point, it is the burden of proof of the Mormon tradition to show that those 2000 years were a mere apparition.



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B

posted August 12, 2007 at 12:53 am


Wow, Mike, can you try to be a little more condescending. You rely too heavily on Christian apologists. I have no doubt of the existance and divinity of Jesus Christ but not because of archaeological evidence. There is no record of Moses in any of the Egyptian records. There is no archaeolicical or geological evidence of a great flood 3000 years or so ago. There is no burden of proof in any theological debate. But I can give you evidence.
For example. Although often called “gold plates” the plates were described by Smith as having “the appearance of gold.” So the weight of actual Gold is a false assumption. Martin Harris said he hefted tha plates many times and said they weighed about 40 or 50 pounds, not the 150-300 pounds that anti-Mormons like to claim. What is interesting is there is evidence of an alloy that was common in rep-Colombian Mesoamerica. The Spaniards called it Tumbaga. Fascinating that this “lack of proof” exists.



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Mike

posted August 12, 2007 at 9:52 am


B,
You are mistaken,there is much evidence for a great flood about 4000 years ago, it actually is a better explanation for the geologic record than evolution can explain. That and to mention that over 80% of ancient civilizations on this earth have a similar story.
Concerning the history of Moses, I have no doubt that the Old Testament speaks of him and we have the record of the Old Testament. Who knows what Moses would have been called in the Egyptian household? And why would they name him in the first place? Just because there is a gap in Egyptian literature not naming Moses we shouldn’t conclude that he wasn’t real.
You call me condescending, I call you cynical. We are not called to have faith in a God who doesn’t rule the earth and all history. I believe in the historical record of the Bible and my faith is strengthened by the fact the archeology backs up my claims. We should rely on Christian apologists, who spend their lives fighting the up hill battle of scholarship in an environment with people who hate Christianity and who’ only goal is to disprove them, not strive for the Truth. Evolution is the biggest lie of all time, to which there has never been a shred of evidence. You may have heard in the news, just a few days ago that there was yet another set back. There were bones of two species of man (previously thought to be and evolutionary jump), next to each other dated at the same time. So these supposed “men” lived next to each other at the same time period, this shows that evolution’s theory is struggling, yet we continue to teach it as fact. It actually sounds very familiar to…FAITH! Well at least that is settled, both world views must rely on faith, and I have it in the God who rules, who ruled over history and will continue to rule and be strengthened by any findings which verify that.
I apologize if I came across as condescending, my goal was simply to uphold the true findings of archeology and how it serves to strengthen the faith of the Saints, as we live in a world who are consistently trying to suppress the truth.



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John

posted August 12, 2007 at 9:59 pm


It seems to me that if you cannot prove the Book of Mormon. There ought to be some proof right? It contradicts the Bible and is contradicted by the Doctrine & Covenants. But yet we are told to ignore all that and pray to God and ask Him to reveal to you that whether it is true or not and have faith. Faith is only as strong as the object in which place it.
If the object in which you place your faith in is not true then your faith is worthless. Mormons say trust the prophets but the prophets change their mind about what God says I thought that God’s word stand true and He doesn’t change. Not all of their prophesies come true
1. Joseph Smith – A city shall be built, New Jerusalem [State of Missouri], in which a temple shall be reared in this generation — Doctrine and Covenants 84:3-5 (September 22 & 23, 1832)
2. Joseph Smith – Joseph’s father’s prophecy that Joseph would continue in the Priest’s office until Christ comes. — History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 323 (January 23, 1833)
3. Joseph Smith – Made known to him in vision and by the Spirit that the coming of the Lord was nigh, 56 years should wind up the scene. — History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182 (February 14, 1835)
4. Joseph Smith – “I prophesy in the name of the Lord god of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed … in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left” — History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 394 (May 18, 1843)
5. Brigham Young – For Congress to demand relinquishment of polygamy is to ask for renunciation of entire faith. All talk of another revelation is childish babble. Mormonism is in its entirety revelation from God or nothing at all. Millennial Star, vol. 27, p. 675-676
How many false prophecies does it take to make a false prophet



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 13, 2007 at 11:07 am


> Your statements are confusing: you say that being a christian means you
> are saved
No, I did not say that. I apologize for using programming conventions.
!= means “not equal”.
Greg



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GB

posted August 13, 2007 at 7:24 pm


John: It contradicts the Bible and is contradicted by the Doctrine & Covenants.
GB: That is what you guys keep saying but I have yet to see an example.
John:1. Joseph Smith – A city shall be built, New Jerusalem [State of Missouri], in which a temple shall be reared in this generation — Doctrine and Covenants 84:3-5 (September 22 & 23, 1832)
GB: D&C 84:3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.
Jesus said in Matt 24:29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
John by your definition Jesus Christ would be a false prophet.
John: 2. Joseph Smith – Joseph’s father’s prophecy that Joseph would continue in the Priest’s office until Christ comes. — History of the Church, vol. 1, p. 323 (January 23, 1833)
GB: Joseph Smith’s father wasn’t a prophet. The accuracy of any of Joseph Smith’s father’s statements do not have any bearing on Joseph Smiths prophetic calling. John, so much for your red herring.
John: 3. Joseph Smith – Made known to him in vision and by the Spirit that the coming of the Lord was nigh, 56 years should wind up the scene. — History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 182 (February 14, 1835)
GB: John why don’t you quote from LDS canon?
D&C 130:14 I was once praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man, when I heard a voice repeat the following:
15 Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.
16 I was left thus, without being able to decide whether this coming referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face.
17 I believe the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.
Sorry no false prophecy there.
IF you quoted from History of the Church accurately then “Made known to him in vision and by the Spirit that the coming of the Lord was nigh, 56 years SHOULD wind up the scene.” (emphasis mine)
Sorry but “should” is not the same as “will” so again no false prophecy there.
John: 4. Joseph Smith – “I prophesy in the name of the Lord god of Israel, unless the United States redress the wrongs committed … in a few years the government will be utterly overthrown and wasted, and there will not be so much as a potsherd left” — History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 394 (May 18, 1843)
GB: No time frame was given for the fulfillment of this prophecy. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean the it isn’t going to happen in the future. Perhaps you should consider the many prophecies in the Old Testament that are yet to be fulfilled.
John: 5. Brigham Young – For Congress to demand relinquishment of polygamy is to ask for renunciation of entire faith. All talk of another revelation is childish babble. Mormonism is in its entirety revelation from God or nothing at all. Millennial Star, vol. 27, p. 675-676
GB: Sorry John but that was no prophecy. That statement doesn’t meet any of the requirements the Bible sets forth to be a prophecy.
John: How many false prophecies does it take to make a false prophet
GB: It only takes one and you can’t provide one example.



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Scott

posted August 13, 2007 at 7:58 pm


I have lived in Salt Lake City for over 15 years and I have to say that the Mormon Church is one of the finestwell organized churches in the World. The People in the church are well intentioned and generally very good people. That said, they believe in mono-theism, the belief in more than one God. In fact they teach that they will become Gods of their own worlds. They will play on words and tell you that they will become a God but that one God will still rule over all the other Gods. They tend to try and back off and deny things like “Mother God” which is published in earlier home study guides printed by the LDS church. They have huge genealogy libraries that are for them to pray and baptize the dead into heaven. This is in direct conflict with what the Bible teaches about the dead. They are to be left alone. They believe that Lucifer was Jesus brother when the bible teaches that he was a fallen angel. They don’t believe in a literal Hell, just different levels of heaven. No worry…someone will just pray you into a higher heaven. They believe there are certain sins that can’t be forgiven, murder for instance, which is contradictory to Bible teachings. Several archeologists have left the church because they could not find anything backing up the ancient civilizations written about specifically in the book of Mormon. In fact,there are no third party records or writings that record or prove these civilizations ever existed yet the LDS faithful blindly follow. The Mormon church is doing wonderful things helping people in this life and leading many to the church. Satan is the father of lies , he creates many seemingly good church organizations so as to deceive many. The Mormon church tries to convince the public that they are Christian but their Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Bible and they are certainly not even close to basic tenants held by the Christian churches around the world. Yes, vary good people with vary bad doctrines. I pray that many people in the Mormon church will look for impartial third party sources and be honest in their conclusions. Sadly, they wont, they will cling to these demon doctrines until death. Pray for the Mormons they really are good people that deserve better.



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 13, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Scott: “they believe in mono-theism, the belief in more than one God …”
Okay, you lost me there. So, does that mean that people in other churches believe in “poly-theism, the belief in one God?” Just sayin’ …
Scott: “This is in direct conflict with what the Bible teaches about the dead. They are to be left alone.”
Cite, please?



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James

posted August 13, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Scott:
I agree we need to pray for them that they would meet the God of the Bible



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Mike Bennion

posted August 14, 2007 at 12:23 am


Scott said:
I pray that many people in the Mormon church will look for impartial third party sources and be honest in their conclusions.
Mike Bennion responds:
I’ve looked at some of your sources. If those are “impartial third party sources” I’m the Pope.



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Chief1989

posted August 14, 2007 at 11:59 pm


GB,
From the Watchman Expositor (this is not chief saying it is so, so please do not attribute this to me):
“Joseph Smith and the Biblical Test of a Prophet
written by James Walker
Millions of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pray to receive a “testimony” of the truthfulness of the Church and believe that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. They base this knowledge largely on a Book of Mormon passage, Moroni 10:4, that if you ask sincerely ask God “if these things are not true he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Mormons reason that the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, the LDS Church, and Joseph Smith can be “tested” according to Moroni 10:4. In fact, verse five indicates by this test, “ye may know the truth of all things.”The problem with a subjective test of this sort is that many religions have followers that are sincere and pray.The Moslems pray five times a day facing Mecca and they have a sincere testimony that Mohammed was a true prophet and the Koran the word of God. Likewise, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in prayer and their “anointed” followers are convinced that they have the testimony of God’s Spirit that their organization is true.
The Bible makes it clear that there are other spirits besides the Holy Spirit who can be very “seducing” and even teach “doctrines” (1 Timothy 4:1). This is why 1 John 4:1 warns: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [Greek dokimazo "test"] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Testing the spirits is necessary because of “many false prophets” in the world. What is the test for a prophet?
Biblical Test for a Prophet
The test for a prophet is found in Deuteronomy 18:20-22. This scripture teaches that a prophet must be tested by checking his prophecies. Also. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”This is not telling us to examine a prophet’s good works. Many false prophets have led moral lives. The fruit of a fig tree is its figs. The fruit of a prophet is his prophecies. One false prophecy (even if some true prophecies are given) and that person is a false prophet. It does not matter how sincere he or his followers are. It does not matter how often his followers pray or what feelings they seem to receive in answer to their prayers. He is a false prophet.
This is one way a person can decide if Jeane Dixon is a true prophet not by praying about her, but checking her prophecies. Many of them have not come true. A false prophet never says to you, “I am a false prophet. Follow me!” He will appear to be a true prophet. This is part of the “sheep’s clothing.”
Does Joseph Smith Pass the Test?
The fruit of a prophet is his prophecy. Before testing some of Joseph Smith’s prophecies, it is important that we classify types of prophetic statements dealing with future events.
First, there are open-dated predictions. These are prophecies that are given no certain time frame in which to be fulfilled. An example is found in History of the Church, Vol. 2 p. 182. In this prophecy Joseph Smith predicts in 1835 that, “the coming of the Lord, which was nigh–even fifty-six years should wind up the scene.” Although the Lord did not return by 1891, it should be noted that Joseph Smith said fifty-six years should wind up the scene. Something could have happened to upset the original time schedule. Therefore this prophecy alone does not make Joseph Smith a false prophet.
A second type of prediction that is quite common is the self-fulfilling prophecy. One sample is located in Doctrine and Covenants 37:1. In this revelation, the Lord instructs Joseph not to translate any more until he goes to Ohio. To make this prophecy come true, Joseph Smith had only to cease translating for a few months.
A third type of prophecy Joseph Smith gave is the conditional prophecy. One such prediction is preserved in Doctrine and Covenants 40:16-18. Here it is foretold that if the people of Ohio repent, they will not be severely judged of the Lord. This is conditional upon their repentance. If Ohio is severely judged, they did not sufficiently repent. If they are not judged, they must have repented before God.
Although most of Joseph Smith’s prophecies are of the first three types, there is a fourth type of prediction that can be found. This is the close-dated unconditional prophecy. Although relatively few of Joseph Smith’s prophecies are of this type, they are extremely important because they make it possible to put Joseph Smith to the Biblical test of a prophet.
One such prophecy is found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 114. This two-verse prophecy, given April 17, 1838, is a set of instructions to David W. Patten, then one of the LDS twelve Apostles. He was to prepare to go on a mission with the other eleven (Apostles) into “all the world.” According to the revelation, the mission was to take place “next spring” which would give the prophecy a “closed-date” somewhere around April or May of 1839. Less than three months later, the “twelve” were given a specific date to leave (April 26, 1839) and one of the apostles, Thomas Marsh, was instructed to stay behind to “publish my word.” (Doctrine and Covenants Sectiono 118).
The date of April 26, 1839 came and, as History of the Church records, “The Brethren arrived at Far West, and proceeded to transact the business of their mission.” (Vol. 3 p.336). However, David W. Patten was not part of that mission. David Patten was not present because he had died in October of 1838.
History of the Church reports: “Captain Patten was carried some of the way in a litter, but it caused so much distress that he begged to be left by the way side. he died that night” (Vol. 3, p. 171). Rather than going on a mission with the Twelve next spring, as Joseph Smith had prophesied in 1838, Patten died before the next year even came. This could not be a reference to a “mission” in the spirit world after death because Joseph Smith was specific that he was to go “unto all the world” (not the Spirit World) and he was to be with the “twelve.” (Doctrine and Covenants 114 emphasis added).
Some have suggested that David Patten could have apostatized from his calling. In other words, God called him to go on the mission but because of sin or faithlessness he fell from the calling. There are two problems with this explanation. The God of the Bible is all-knowing and He knew that Patten was going to die (Acts 1:18). Also, Patten did not fall away from the Church. After Patten’s death, Joseph Smith wrote, “Brother David Patten was a very worthy man, beloved by all good men who know him. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection.” (History of the Church Vol. 3, p. 171).
TEMPLE IN INDEPENDENCE
A second example of a close-dated unconditional prophecy is preserved in Doctrine and Covenants Section 84. In this revelation given on September 22 and 23, 1832, Joseph Smith foretold of an LDS temple to be built in Independence, Missouri. The prophecy specifies that the city of “New Jerusalem” including the temple was to be constructed, “beginning at the temple lot which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri” (verse 3). Joseph Smith placed a time limit on the new temple saying, “which temple shall be reared in this generation. For verily this generation shall not all pass away.” (verses 4 and 5). The generation of 1832 has passed away. Obviously there is no one who was alive in 1832 which is still alive today. The temple was never built. At this time there are still no LDS temples in the entire State of Missouri, much less Independence. Shortly after Joseph Smith gave this prophecy while in Kirtland, Ohio, the Mormons in Independence were being driven out of the state (History of the Church Vol. 1, chapter 31). Later, a splinter group called The Church of Christ (or Hedrickites) claiming to be the “true” followers of Joseph Smith, came into possession of the actual site on which the temple was to be built.
In the prophecy this site was called the “temple lot.” Granville Hedrick, the first leader of this group, received a revelation to return to Independence where by 1869 they purchased the original “temple lot.” (see Divergent Paths of the Restoration, by Steven L. Shields). Both the Latter-day Saints and the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) have attempted unsuccessfully to obtain the property. Currently, the Hedrickites have about 3,000 members, but they have been unable to or unwilling to build the temple. The RLDS are in the process of completing a temple across the street from the temple lot within sight of the spot where the corner stone was laid. Nonetheless, even if Hedrickites or the LDS were to build the temple today, the prophecy would be false because the generation that was alive in 1832 has all died.
Some Mormons have attempted to stretch the meaning of “this generation” to include more than those that were alive in 1832 when the revelation was given. They try to make the word generation mean an era possibly centuries long. What Joseph Smith meant by “generation” was clearly explained by Apostle Orson Pratt. In a lecture given in Salt Lake City during General Conference, Apostle Pratt attempted to play down the claims of some that Doctrine and Covenants section 84 was a false prophecy. This sermon was delivered in 1871 just two years after the Hedrickites gained possession of the “temple lot.”
Apparently, there were some who already believed this was a false prophecy as early as 1871. After all, it had been thirty-nine years since the revelation was given and hopes were beginning to fade. To silence these “objectors,” Apostle Pratt delivered this sermon in which he specifically explained what Joseph Smith meant by the term “generation.” He first quotes the prophecy (Doctrine and Covenants 84) then he explains: “Here then we see a prediction, and we believe it. “Yes! The Latter-day Saints have as firm faith and rely upon this promise as much as they rely upon the promise of forgiveness of sins. a temple will be reared on the spot that has been selected, and the corner-stone of which has been laid, in the generation when this revelation was given.” Then Apostle Pratt rebukes the doubters saying, “But says the objector, `thirty-nine years have passed away.’ What of that? “The generation has not passed away; all the people that were living thirty-nine years ago have not passed away; but before they do pass away this will be fulfilled.” (Journal of Discourses Vol. 14 p. 275).
Orson Pratt had no idea that over 100 years after he was to make this bold claim that the “temple lot” would still stand empty. He said he and his hearers could be as sure of this as their own salvation. He was wrong.
His statements do, however, clarify what was meant by Joseph Smith when he said “generation.” Rather than guessing at what was meant, here is a definitive explanation by a General Authority who was alive when Joseph Smith made the prediction. Because this sermon was delivered from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City in General Conference by an Apostle, it can be counted as trustworthy.
Latter-day Saints are sincere when they testify that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. Unfortunately, one can be sincerely wrong. Doctrine and Covenants 114 and 84 are false prophecies and, according to Deuteronomy 18, this makes Joseph Smith a false prophet.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:08 am


According the criteria used by the author of the above article, apparently some Bible Prophets were false, including Isaiah and Jonah.
http://www.lightplanet.com/response/answers/independence-temple.htm
Did Joseph Smith Falsely Prophesy Of a Temple In Independence?
Question: If Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, how could the lord tell him that the temple would be built in Independence, Missouri before this generation shall pass away (D & C 84:5)? Surely people aren’t still alive who were living in 1832.
——————————————————————————–
The point most detractors are trying to make with this prophecy is that the generation Joseph Smith spoke of must have passed away by now. Therefore, they would have us believe that makes Joseph Smith a false prophet. But their assertion depends entirely on definition of the word “generation.”
Through the length of a literal generation has occasionally been discussed by scholars and has been described as between 25 years to 120 years, in the larger sense, “generation” is often used to describe a gospel dispensation or era. Therefore, no one can be certain how long it will be before the temple is to be completed.
In D & C 124:49, 51 the Lord explains why the temple wasn’t built earlier. He said that if
their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings . . .
Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God.
The Lord did not require the Saints of the 1830s to build the temple in Missouri, but he also did not retract his declaration that it would “be reared in this generation” (D & C 84:4). We simply do not know the length of that generation, and we have good reason to assume that this temple will yet be built.
However, the prophecy in (D & C 84:5-6) came to pass less than four years after Joseph Smith received it. Verse 5 states that “this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord.” The use of words “an house” indicate that the Lord is not necessarily referring to “the temple” mentioned in verse 4. Additionally, the last mention of a temple in Missouri is in verse 4, with the remaining 116 verses making no mention of it. Anti-Mornion critics are apparently unaware that by verses 5 and 6, the Lord had begun talking about temples and priesthood in general. The “house” mentioned in verse 5 was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1836. “A bright light like a pillar of fire” rested upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple, manifested by the abundant presence of the Spirit (History of the Church, vol.2, p.428) and many journals of the Saints who were in the Kirtland area during the weeks surrounding the temple dedication show that this prophecy was fulfilled in every sense with repeated visitations of the Savior and of angelic beings, and the receipt of numerous visions and other spiritual gifts.
So in reality, D & C 84 is further proof that Joseph Smith was speaking for the Lord, not prophesying falsely as some would accuse. The remaining question, then, isn’t really whether a generation has passed, but whether the Lord can say something will happen that doesn’t, or more accurately, whether the Lord ever commands something and then revokes that command. The Doctrine & Covenants records the Lord’s warning that “I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord” (D & C 56:4).
One Biblical example of the Lord telling a prophet that something would happen that didn’t come to pass can be found in 2 Kings 20:1-7. Here the prophet Isaiah visited Hezekiah, who was “sick unto death,” and said to him, “Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.” Hezekiah, in prayer, reminded the Lord of all of his good works. The Lord, then, responded mercifully to his plea. He changed his mind and instructed Isaiah to go back to Hezekiah and tell him that his prayers had been heard; the Lord would heal him and he would live for fifteen more years. Was Isaiah any less a prophet of God because the Lord told him something would happen, and it didn’t, for whatever reason?
Another example of the fulfillment of a revealed prophecy being changed is found in Jonah, chapter 3. Here the Lord told Jonah to inform the people of Nineveh that the city would be overthrown in forty days. Then God, it is recorded in verse 10, “Saw their works, that they turned ftom their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not (Jonah 3:10).



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Mike Bennion

posted August 15, 2007 at 3:13 am


So I guess that Jesus was a false prophet for calling Judas Iscariot to be an Apostle and promising that he would “sit on twelve thrones with the twelve judging the house of Israel” (Matt chap 19)
http://www.lightplanet.com/response/answers/patten.htm
Did Joseph Smith Prophesy Falsely Regarding David Patten?
Question: Why did Joseph Smith prophesy that David Patten would go on a mission (D & C 114:1), yet six months later Patten was dead? Isn’t this just another example of a false prophet making a false prophecy?
——————————————————————————–
D & C 114 was not a prophecy, it was a mission call. Joseph Smith, under the inspiration of the Lord, issued a call for David Patten to go on a mission the following spring. This call by revelation is not a prophecy that David would serve a mission, but an admonition to set all his affairs in order so that he may perform a mission. Although Patten was killed, his affairs were in order when he died so that his family could endure his absence. This alone indicates the Lord’s foreknowledge of Patten’s death. And who knows but that Patten served that mission call on the other side of the veil?
In any event, Patten’s death would not change the instructional nature of that call. Joseph Smith declared that: To the “great Jehovah . . . the past, present, and future were and are, with Him, one eternal ‘now’” (History of the Church, Vol.4, p. 597). The Savior does know all that will happen to us individually, but he still gives agency to us and to others who impact on our lives, which usage often precludes what would have happened if the Lord’s will were done on earth as it is in heaven.
There are several Biblical parallels to David Patten’s mission call, such as the calling of Judas as an Apostle. As one of the Twelve Apostles, Judas was promised by the Lord that he would sit on twelve thrones with the others and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28). Judas, of his own choice (unlike David Patten) never fulfilled this promise of the Lord. This doesn’t make the Lord a false prophet in the case of Judas. Nor were the Lord and His prophet, Joseph Smith, mistaken in the case of David Patten.
The Lord knocks at the door and gives the promise or opportunity. Whether we open the door and respond in a way to reap the potential blessing is up to us, and in many cases, up to the righteousness of others. In David Pallen’s case, extenuating circumstances prevented him from serving an earthly mission: a mob killed him. To understand the case of David Patten, one might study D & C 124:49, which states if “their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.”



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curious

posted August 15, 2007 at 9:05 am


What do mormons beleive about Jehovah’s Witnesses? If extra-biblical prophets are possible, they must be right too.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:47 am


> What do mormons beleive about Jehovah’s Witnesses? If extra-biblical
> prophets are possible, they must be right too.
Uh, no. That is specious reasoning at best.



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Chief1989

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:33 am


Greg,
I am curious as to why you just dismissed curious’s question out of hand. What made it specious reasoning? Are your prophets to be trusted more than the Watchtower Society’s?
And I am curious to know what you think about the Muslims. They have a great prophet, Mohammed, who was visited by an angel (Gabriel, who I think outranks Moroni in the heavenly host) and they have continuing revelations through the imams. I don’t know if you have met any Muslims, but I worked with several Sunnis a few years ago. They were very nice people, very devout, and did not smoke, drink, or use profanity in any way. I sent one guy who was my international freight expert on a sales call with our rep. He drove separately because it was against Islamic law for a married man to travel in the same car with a woman. They went to the mosque every Friday for an hour of devotion and prayer, and they prayed five times a day towards Mecca. They studied the Quran daily, and did their best to follow all of its commandments. Is Mohammed any less of a prophet than yours? He established a restoration of sorts, cleaning out Medina and Mecca of polytheism and establishing a monotheistic religion.
I do not ask these questions flippantly or snidely. They are questions that need to be answered, for there are 1.2 billion muslims on this planet.



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Chief1989

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:37 am


Mike,
I appreciate your comments. However, I have to question D&C 124, because it makes it sound like men can foil the plans of God. If God wills something to happen, can you or I disrupt His plans? If so, your God is too small. The God I worship says this, “I will send my word out, and it will not return to me void, but will accomplish the purposes for which I set it.”



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 15, 2007 at 12:22 pm


> Are your prophets to be trusted more than the Watchtower Society’s?
> Is Mohammed any less of a prophet than yours?
The difference is people who claim to be prophets vs. those who actually are. The Holy Ghost has witnessed to me which are true prophets.
Greg



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GB

posted August 15, 2007 at 12:31 pm


Chief,
This is another example of your behavior that makes me question whether you are reading and understanding my post. Your response was interesting and agreed with my position for the most part but on the one part that it disagreed with me it failed to address the issue I raised. So again I wonder if you have read and understand my position.
To help you out here I will repost the unaddressed portion.
GB: Jesus said in Matt 24:29 ¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33 So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34 Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS, TILL ALL THESE THINGS BE FULFILLED.
By the standard you are putting forth Jesus Christ is a false prophet.



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:22 pm


GB, I really appreciate your tenacity (And your direct, point by point refutations). But I have come to realize that Chief is now in full guerrilla “hit and run” mode.
There is no dialogue with him. He copies and pastes, and/or repeats obvious anti-Mormon material with no thought to how it applies to previous comments. I have challenged his position on a couple of points and asked him to provide support if he can. So far, just more specious arguments from Chief …



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GB

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:54 pm


No more specious arguments,
I think Chief has gone the way of some of the non-mormon christians I have encountered lately when they confront an informed Latter-Day Saint. I think it is because they have been so mis-informed about us by those they had trusted. The pattern is 1)talks Bible scripture, 2)gets shown that their Bible knowledge is lacking, 3)sees belief structure has very week foundation, 4)panics, 5)goes on anti-mormon attack, 6)loses sense of reason (if it existed in the first place), 7)and becomes contentious while denying it. I question his sincerity. He use to continually say how sincere he was (I think mostly to convince himself because in his heart he knew his actions spoke otherwise). But I have sensed a slight improvement in his attitude of late. I only hope it is real and continues.
Only if you are unafraid of truth can you really find it. Right now he is being ruled by his fear.



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Chief1989

posted August 15, 2007 at 4:47 pm


GB,
I had a chuckle when reading your last posts. I had no idea that my reason did not exist now (if it ever existed), and that I was now ruled by fear. I have no fear of anything that you post on here, because I am confident in my faith and quite aware of what the truth is. I have immensely enjoyed our reparte, and I will be the first to admit that I have learned a lot of new things, and I have a deep respect for the scholarliness (if that is not a real word, it is now) of the dialogue.
But, GB, there is a difference in how you and I are debating. I am talking about beliefs and historicity, while you are attacking my character. I have never called you an anti-orthodox Christian for posting material that contradicts historic Christianity, but you have called me an anti-Mormon several times. I have never questioned your motives for posting such material. I have gone out of my way to differentiate between Mormon individuals and the idealogy of the LDS church. I have stated to any LDS member on this thread that I didn’t believe they were a Christian. I said that modern LDS theology is incompatible with the Christian tradition we see laid down in the Book of Acts. I have never impugned your character. The only thing that I said to you personally was to quit being so legalistic.
I think, though, that when the debate includes items that disagree with your beliefs, you go into “anti-Mormon” mode, as if anything that disagrees with your LDS views is categorically wrong and just an attack on your church and your person. And the fact that certain claims have been refuted by FAIR or FARMs does not make their position right. They have excellent cites from the Bible and Mormon scriptures, but they never directly answer the critical questions, giving round-about reasoning and using circular logic. There are a lot of things going on underneath the surface, and I think you will have to admit that the LDS church is not the best at putting all of their cards on the table. From my discussions with Mormons and ex-Mormons, a lot of LDS theology and doctrine is not discussed until people have been absorbed into the church and the culture. That is why there are many people who have been Mormons for years and then leave the church because they get exposed to theology that they are not comfortable with.
I will issue you a case in point: the Spaulding theory. Well, on the official LDS website and on the FARMs site, they delight in pointing out that the manuscript was found in Hawaii in 1884, and when examined had very, very little in common with the BoM. Case solved, and claims of plagiarism dismissed. What they DON’T say is that the manuscript found in 1884 is of a novel called “Manuscript Story”, and that Spaulding’s relatives gave testimony that he had written several different books. The story in question, “Manuscript Found”, has been lost so that further scrutiny is impossible. Several Mormons and non-Mormons, when read from the book of Mormon, did remark how similar it sounded to the Spaulding book that they had seen. So we are really talking about two entirely different manuscripts, but you would not know that from the LDS side unless you dug much deeper into the issue.
Anyway, I do enjoy these exhanges, but let’s try to keep it impersonal, shall we?



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:29 pm


Chief, it is not my intention to “impungn your character.” It is merely my intention to point out how your attempt at dialogue has slipped into a pattern that many have become familiar with when discussing these matters with Evangelical Christians. If pointing out this pattern impugns your character, perhaps you should adopt a different tack when witnessing to those whose beliefs differ from yours.
Again, you attack from tired, old anti-Mormon saws without: a) reading previous refutations on this board of your attacks, and b) reading any of the historical material offered to guide you in your independent analysis.
“I will issue you a case in point: the Spaulding theory,” or rather, your continued attack from that shaky ground and retreat without considering the evidence against.
Chief: “What they DON’T say is that the manuscript found in 1884 is of a novel called ‘Manuscript Story’, and that Spaulding’s relatives gave testimony that he had written several different books. The story in question, ‘Manuscript Found’, has been lost so that further scrutiny is impossible.”
Please refer to the post above by nowandlater | August 1, 2007 5:57 PM
which has the unfortunuate copy/paste of “The Spaulding Theory Debunked,” by Russell Anderson.
I will specifically draw your attention to what recorded history has to say about the original affidavits Dr. Hurlbut elicited, and the “second manuscript” theory that you put forward, namely that “Manuscript Story,” is not the same as “Manuscript Found.”
IF you read these passages, you will find that the theory that the Book of Mormon was originated by Spaulding has been handily disposed of by historians (even those with a grudge against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) without the deception that you attribute to FARMS and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Chief: “So we are really talking about two entirely different manuscripts, but you would not know that from the LDS side unless you dug much deeper into the issue.”
Actually, that argument was implicit in your bringing up the Spaulding connection, and it was dealt with the first time you mentioned it (see referenced post above).
But, you would have known that from the LDS side if YOU had dug past the surface into the issue…



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Chief1989

posted August 15, 2007 at 7:55 pm


NMSA,
I have enjoyed reading your posts. GB has presented good arguments, as well, but I find most of his posts are too legalistic to be of value.
We can sit here and argue all day about the Spaulding theory, Scripture references, polygamy, light skin/dark skin, archaelogy, but those are just dances around the real issue.
The core issue to all of these threads is: Is Joseph Smith a prophet, and is the book of Mormon true? If the answer is yes, then Mormons are Christians and we can all gather around and sing a couple choruses of kumbaya.
If not, then we have serious issues. And it takes more than a “testimony” to settle them.



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 15, 2007 at 8:47 pm


Chief: “I have enjoyed reading your posts.”
And I have enjoyed reading yours.
Chief: “GB has presented good arguments, as well, but I find most of his posts are too legalistic to be of value.”
Legalistic? Do you perhaps mean logical? Just sayin’…
Chief: “We can sit here and argue all day about the Spaulding theory, Scripture references, polygamy, light skin/dark skin, archaelogy, but those are just dances around the real issue.”
And it appears that’s what’s been going on for days. :-)
Chief: “The core issue to all of these threads is: Is Joseph Smith a prophet, and is the book of Mormon true?”
I agree that those are questions that each of us need to address individually. But the core issue of these threads is: “Are Mormons Christians,” or to put it another way, “Do Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of mankind?”
Mormons say, “Yes. He is our Redeemer and Savior. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the foundation of our religion.”
Other Christians say, “No. They believe in more than is taught in the Bible. Therefore they cannot believe in the same Jesus Christ.”
What does it take to bridge this difference in definition? An open, honest, factual look at the issues you bring up is a good start. I often find that much of what is preached against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is neither open, nor honest, nor factual.
Chief: “If the answer is yes, then Mormons are Christians and we can all gather around and sing a couple choruses of kumbaya.”
I posit that Mormons are Christians because of Jesus Christ, not Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. But that just takes us back to the definitional dispute.
Chief: “If not, then we have serious issues. And it takes more than a ‘testimony’ to settle them.”
Issues of salvation? Doesn’t that take Jesus Christ to settle them? Isn’t that what traditional and non-traditional Christians believe?
And we’re back to the definitional dispute…



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GB

posted August 15, 2007 at 9:19 pm


Chief,
So again you fail to address or even acknowledge the point I presented.
Chief: I had no idea that my reason did not exist now (if it ever existed),
GB: I was only stating my opinion but since you have acknowledged its accuracy then I guess it is a good thing that I pointed it out.
Chief: I have no fear of anything that you post on here, because I am confident in my faith and quite aware of what the truth is.
GB: Ah but your actions speak otherwise. If it isn’t fear then what motivates you to post all of the anti-mormon drivel that has been well refuted long ago? Was it the sincere search for truth? No, otherwise you would have posted along with it the LDS response.
Chief: But, GB, there is a difference in how you and I are debating.
GB: Ah yes, you have been attacking my faith and my Christianity and I have been defending it.
Chief: . . . while you are attacking my character.
GB: I questioned your sincerity and your ability to reason well. You have questioned my honesty.
Chief: I have never called you an anti-orthodox Christian for posting material that contradicts historic Christianity,
GB: Please provide and example of my postings contradicting historic Christianity. I believe I have posted a lot more quotes from historic Christians in support of my position than you have in support of yours. And I have yet to see a posting from you with factual information showing where I was inaccurate.
Chief: I have stated to any LDS member on this thread that I didn’t believe they were a Christian.
GB: You make my point.
Chief: I said that modern LDS theology is incompatible with the Christian tradition we see laid down in the Book of Acts.
GB: I may have missed that posting; could you point it out to me or repost it?
Chief: I have never impugned your character.
GB: Just questioned my honesty for calling myself a Christian.
Chief: I think, though, that when the debate includes items that disagree with your beliefs, you go into “anti-Mormon” mode, as if anything that disagrees with your LDS views is categorically wrong and just an attack on your church and your person.
GB: Actually, I was thinking that when the debate includes items that disagree with your beliefs, you go into “anti-Mormon” mode, as if anything that disagrees with your traditional orthodox views is categorically wrong and just an attack on your church and your person.
Chief: And the fact that certain claims have been refuted by FAIR or FARMs does not make their position right.
GB: And you wondered why I questioned your sense of reason.
Chief: . . . but they never directly answer the critical questions, giving round-about reasoning and using circular logic.
GB: More unsubstantiated assertions. And when ever someone uses words like “never” in a discussion like this you know they are exaggerating.
Chief: There are a lot of things going on underneath the surface, and I think you will have to admit that the LDS church is not the best at putting all of their cards on the table.
GB: You mean by making the church archives materials available to even our most ardent critics? And making our canon of scripture available to everyone. And other such nefarious behavior?
Chief: From my discussions with Mormons and ex-Mormons, a lot of LDS theology and doctrine is not discussed until people have been absorbed into the church and the culture.
GB: I have been a member for over 40 years and am still learning. You know as the scripture says line upon line, precept upon precept. The Doctrine of God is so rich in its depth and breadth that this life is to short to learn it all.
Chief: That is why there are many people who have been Mormons for years and then leave the church because they get exposed to theology that they are not comfortable with.
GB: Ah the infamous “there are many people”. Yet no one has made a count or a list of names. Can you even name one by name? From my experience, extremely rarely do people who have been active “for years” actually leave the church. And, on the very rare occasion that it does occur, it is usually because of personal sin and the unwillingness to repent.
Chef: I will . . . The story in question, “Manuscript Found”, has been lost so that further scrutiny is impossible.
GB: “No more specious arguments” has already addressed this. But it is interesting to me that Spaulding would write two different manuscripts one called “Manuscript Story”, and “Manuscript Found”.
Maybe he wrote a third called “Manuscript lost” and a fourth called “Manuscript tale”.
I am sure that it is logical to some that if a writer wanted to sell a lot of different books of different stories he should give them all similar names so no one will be confused over whether they had already read a given book or not. I’m just saying. And how very convenient that no verification can be made because of lose, that is of course assuming that it existed in the first place.



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GB

posted August 15, 2007 at 9:24 pm


Chief: If the answer is yes, then Mormons are Christians and we can all gather around and sing a couple choruses of kumbaya.
GB: Actually I was thinking along the lines of “Come come ye saints”.



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Mr. Logic

posted August 15, 2007 at 9:55 pm


Chief,
You should have stopped posting on here a few days back (or never started at all). You cannot have a substantive argument with these people. They pay lip service to the “truth” but don’t know the truth. I have had conversations with “informed” missionaries and have reasoned through the scriptures with them and the conversation have been fruitful. They also reasoned through the scriptures their position. You can’t do that on here, most of these people are “informed” and are not good debaters.
I still just think it is funny that at least they know that Christianity is the “true” religion and want to associate themselves with it. It is sad that they are ashamed of being Mormons, I will never understand this dichotomy. I don’t persecute Mormons for not being Christians…I debate them because they are in error theologically. (Interestingly I am watching this special on ABC about Mormons…a few quotes, “I believe I should be married to my husband with many wives because by it I will be saved”…”Jesus was married and many wives”…”the blacks are the descendants from Cain and the “darkness” was placed upon them”).
Chief, I know you understand that these conversations are futile, I have actually made it a point to talk with Mormon missionaries (mostly so they don’t go and try to talk with someone else, if I take their time for 1 hour, I am saving somebody from being solicited with this perverse gospel). I would encourage you to do the same. We can’t win this argument with them on this forum because an argument is based on “logic” and they deal outside of it. Any rational person must deal with issues presented over and over again in this forum and in the academic works which continue to be published (in their perception out of persecution).



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Chief1989

posted August 16, 2007 at 7:45 am


GB,
“Well-refuted” and “disproved” are two different terms, and whether or not the claims have been well-refuted is often-times in the eye of the beholder. We each bring our own suppositions and biases to the discussion. Of course the LDS church is going to object to any analyses that contradict its positions. I have read some of the refutations, and they don’t hold water. Why? Because of definition of terms, for one. It’s very interesting that you cling to extreme literal translations of certain Bible passages (ye are gods, let us make man in OUR image, sitteth at the RIGHT HAND of God, what of those who are baptized for the dead, etc.) but then ignore others (God is spirit, there are no other gods yea I know not one, even if we or an angel preach another gospel to you let him be accursed, in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, do not add or take away anything from this book, etc.).
I have never questioned your honesty or your character. But even you would have to admit, I think, that someone can honestly and sincerely hold beliefs that are not the truth. It doesn’t matter how sincere you are if what you hold to is false.
As of 2006, there are an estimated 15 million Mormons. Those are 15 million souls who are precious to God, but who I believe have been deceived by the preaching of a false gospel. Jesus Christ is the central issue, and it is my belief that the LDS teaches a different Jesus than the Jesus who has revealed Himself through the Holy Bible. If that is in fact true, then the Jesus you hold to cannot save. THAT is why I post on this board. Not to attack or to ridicule, but to proclaim the Jesus that is the one who can redeem you through the shedding of His precious blood on the cross. If that offends you, I am sincerely sorry, but I cannot and will not suppress the truth just to save someone’s feelings, not when I believe that person’s eternal salvation is at stake.
May the grace and peace of the one true God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, be with you and keep you this day.



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Acts 28:22

posted August 16, 2007 at 7:50 am


Has anyone on the Evangelical side been addressing the accusation of NEOPLATONISM influencing their view of the Trinity? For a non-Mormon source see:
http://www.cornerstone1.org/trin-gp.htm
or
http://www.cogcg.org/articles/articles.php?trinity_gp
Evangelicals who claim that the Bible is their ONLY source of doctrine lose credibility with Mormons for not addressing this when they condemn us for “adding unto Scripture.”
Catholics who have no problems with the real origins of this doctrine can see the fallacy in the Evangelical logic. Karl Keating, in his book CATHOLISM AND FUNDAMENTALISM: THE ATTACK ON “ROMANINSM” BY “BIBLE CHRISTIANS” hits the nail right on the head. Keating writes, Fundamentalists “don’t really “find” their doctrines through the literal reading of the Bible. They approach the Bible with already-held views, their own tradition, one might say, and the use the Bible to substanantiate those views.”
Evangelicals are going to have to address this issue IN REAL DEPTH when they attack our doctrines.
….Their silence speaks volumes.



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GB

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:06 am


Chief: Of course the LDS church is going to object to any analyses that contradict its positions.
GB: Actually the LDS church is so busy focused on the three fold mission of the Church, that it doesn’t waste time worrying to much about what mischief its detractors are up to. It is individual members or groups of members that provide the apologetics and the scholarly research to support it.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:33 am


Mr. Logic: I will never understand this dichotomy
Greg: Read my post on this thread dated August 10, 2007 3:37 PM



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 16, 2007 at 11:51 am


Chief: it is my belief that the LDS teaches a different Jesus than the
Jesus who has revealed Himself through the Holy Bible. If that is in fact true, then the Jesus you hold to cannot save.
Of course it is the same Jesus. We may believe different things about
Him, but it is the same being. Our Jesus, your Jesus, the only Jesus,
is who we worship, regardless of your spin.
My guess is that anti-Mormons, such as yourself, are so vociferous for
one main reason. In the evangelical view, both they and us are saved
because of both of our acceptance of Jesus Christ as lord and savior
and the grace he has granted us. However, in the Mormon view,
evangelicals are lacking the fullness of the gospel and may not be saved.
So, faithful Mormons are saved regardless of whether the Mormon view is correct, while non-Mormons may not be. The niggling doubts you have, though will never admit, make you worried that maybe, just maybe, the
Mormons have it right. You want to believe with all your heart that
they are wrong, but you can’t fully. You hope that they will present
an argument one day that you can acknowledge as leading to the truth
of Mormonism, or that someone like you will one day present an argument
that Mormons will acknowledge as leading to the falsehood of Mormonism.
You wan’t those niggling doubts removed, one way or the other, so that
you can know if you are saved.
Mormons know that even if Mormonism was somehow wrong that we are saved
anyway because our faith in the lord Jesus Christ and his grace. I
think non-Mormons find this very frustrating.
What I have outlined above is what I firmly believe is the reason that
anti-Mormons are so vociferous. Does it apply to you, personally
Chief? Probably, though I don’t expect you to admit it.



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James

posted August 16, 2007 at 12:29 pm


Gregory A. Swarthout
Questions
1. So it does not matter what you believe about Jesus so long as you believe in Him?
2. If Jesus Himself is our High priest forever what do we need another priest for?
3. Is Jesus not capable of fulfilling all the duties of High priest?
4. Were there Christians in the supposed Great Apostasy?
5. Are you saying that for 1800 years there were no Christians on the earth?



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