Blogalogue

Blogalogue


Mormonism Is a Sincerely False Gospel

posted by albertmohler

By Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
I am pleased to have engaged in this discussion with Orson Scott Card. I will hope to meet him more personally in the future. It appears that we are not really discussing the same question, however.
My response to the question posed to me remains as it was from the start. Mormonism is not compatible with “traditional Christian orthodoxy.” As a matter of fact, this is the essence of Mormon identity, and Mormon authorities going back to Joseph Smith were quick to separate Mormonism from “traditional Christian orthodoxy” as accepted by the Christian churches.
Indeed, the subtitle printed on The Book of Mormon is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” A “testament,” that is, other than that accepted by the historic Christian churches.
The debate has never been about whether Mormons are good Americans or would make good neighbors. I dare say that most American Evangelicals and traditional Roman Catholics would find more in common with Mormons in terms of child-rearing, sexual morality, the protection of marriage and family, and a host of other issues, than they would with liberal Catholics or liberal Protestants. No argument there.
The debate is not over Mitt Romney or his right to run for President of the United States. That is a settled constitutional fact – and a fact for which we should all be thankful. Nor is it about whether Evangelicals should vote for Mitt Romney. There is so much to admire in the man’s marriage and family and leadership ability. This question is very complicated – as is the case with almost all political questions.
The debate is not over the right of Mormons to hold their faith, promote their faith, and spread their faith. That, too, is a constitutional right – the same right that protects the religious liberty of all persons of all faiths and no faith.
For me, and as the question was posed to me, the issue is theological. That is why I cannot answer the question except as I have from the start.
Here is the bottom line. As an Evangelical Christian – a Christian who holds to the “traditional Christian orthodoxy” of the Church – I do not believe that Mormonism leads to salvation. To the contrary, I believe that it is a false gospel that, however sincere and kind its adherents may be, leads to eternal death rather than to eternal life.
Indeed, I believe that Mormonism is a prime example of what the Apostle Paul warned the Church to reject – “a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you” [Galatians 1:8-9].
And thus I must end where I began. Mormonism is not just another form of Christianity – it is incompatible with “traditional Christian orthodoxy.”



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Jonathan

posted July 26, 2007 at 7:03 am


Dr. Mohler,
Thank you for standing up for the Word of God and for being willing to say what needs to be said with grace.



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don

posted July 26, 2007 at 9:44 am


Dr. Mohler, I can only echo the sentiments of the previous two comments. Thank you for having and exhibiting both courage and grace.



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jweaks

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:12 am


Dr. Mohler has hit the nail squarely on the head. By specifically addressing the question (Are Mormons Christian?) and avoiding strawmen and other distractions he has shown that the answer is a definitive “no.”
Mormons are wonderful people and I pray for God’s light to shine on them. -jweaks



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J. Ricks

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:23 am


The way I see it, either the Catholics are right, or the Mormons are right. They are the only two faiths that claim the priesthood authority… authority does not come from going to school and learning about the Bible and getting a degree in theology, (how can an institution of man bestow authority to act in God’s name?) the authority to act in the name of God comes from those who have been given it, (Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and yes, even Christ, the Son of God) there is no other way. The Catholics claim to have their authority passed down from Christ through Peter. The Mormons claim there was an apostasy after the time of Christ (a falling away from truth), the authority was lost, and then it was restored to the earth from Christ (and those in authority given by him) through Joseph Smith. You can not baptize without priesthood authority, you cannot heal without priesthood authority (and fatih), and you cannot preach without priesthood authority. Like I said, it’s either the Catholics or the Mormons that have gotten it right. Protostants, Evangelicals, Born agains, and all the others sprang it to being because of the reformation of the Catholic church; people didn’t like what the Popes were doing, so they broke away and changed doctrines to better suit them. Sounds like scripture mingled the the philosophies of man to me. This is just something to think about…



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Daryl

posted July 26, 2007 at 11:10 am


Dr. Mohler’s clear and resonate voice is in steadfast obedience “to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” His “bottom line” rightly focuses the issue upon the salvation of sinners, which is why we must preach The Word with mercy and grace to all, including the adherents of Mormonism.



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Michael R

posted July 26, 2007 at 11:12 am


Thanks to Dr. Mohler for keeping this debate “on topic” and to the point. This topic was really about “truth in advertising”, you can’t call a soft drink a “Coke” unless it’s made by Coca Cola. You can call it what ever you want to call it, but unless it’s made by Coca Cola, it’s not a Coke.
As for the comment above, I think if you would look at the New Testament you would find that JESUS IS our High Priest and we ourselves are now allowed to go “boldly” and with confidence and freedom before the Throne of God. And if you look into religous history, you will find that not all Christian Churches were founded based on the reformation movementt and that “other” Christian Churches (the Baptist) have existed since the time of the Apostles and are not directly connected to the Catholic Church. Of course there is only one true Church, and it has no buildings, pews, or steeples, and it’s leader is Jesus Christ himself and the only rules are listed in his Holy Word. Anyone can join, there is only one requirement: Faith.



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Barb

posted July 26, 2007 at 11:36 am


Mormonism contradicts Christianity in that they have their own bible which is in contradiction to the Holy Bible. I do not consider them Christian in their beliefs.



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Barb

posted July 26, 2007 at 11:38 am


The mormon beliefs are in contradiction to the Christian beliefs. I do not consider their faith true Christian faith.



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Chief1989

posted July 26, 2007 at 11:52 am


Dear J. Ricks,
Thank you for you comments. I have a couple of points to make about the content of your message:
1. All authority under heaven and earth was given to Jesus (Matt 28:18). In the beginning of His ministry, Jesus gave this authority to His disciples to perform miracles (Matt 10:1). This authority has now been passed on to all believers (Titus 2:11-15). Also, Jesus told us that “apart from me you can do nothing,” and “12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14)
2. The authority that the Pope claims and one of the authorities that Joseph Smith claims to have restored is the Aaronic priesthood. A couple of points: first, to have the Aaronic priesthood, you had to be a JEW and had to be of the tribe of LEVI. Neither the pope nor Smith qualifies. Second, the Aaronic line of priests were mediators between God and man, offering sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. When Christ died on the cross, the veil in the temple was rent in two, signifying that for ever more the gulf between God and man had been bridged, by a priest greater than Aaron, a priest after the order of Melchizadek:
“5Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
6with burnt offerings and sin offerings
you were not pleased.
7Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll—
I have come to do your will, O God.’ “[a] 8First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
15The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16″This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b] 17Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c] 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. 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. [Hebrews 10]
Now, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, interceding for us and being the mediator between God and man that the priests once did (I Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6, Heb 9:15, Heb 12:24, I John 2:1). We do not need the Aaronic priesthood any longer, and the only man who is worthy to fulfill the office of Melchizadek is Christ Himself. That authority is ours to claim if we trust in Him and come to Him in faith.
3. The Reformation was started because people like Martin Luther were opposed to the practice of selling absolutions, meaning you could (according to the priests and the pope) in effect “buy” yourself a stairway to heaven by giving the church more money. That is when Luther reaffirmed the Gospel message that saving grace is by faith in Christ and nothing else – you could not acquire grace by offerings, sacraments, or praying to saints or Mary. The Reformers most certainly did not “change doctrines to better suit them;” they simply were rejecting the false doctrines that church traditions and papal authority carried the same weight as sacred Scripture.
So I would say in conclusion that, to answer your question in terms of looking at the Holy Scriptures for truth and clarity, neither the Catholics nor the Mormons have “got it right.” To my reading of the Bible, both religions are holding on to an office that was abolished nearly 2,000 years ago by Christ’s death and resurrection. He did not concern Himself with such things, but said the Law and the Prophets were summed up with “Love the Lord your God with all of your mind, soul, and heart” and Love your neighbor as yourself.”
We muddy the waters up so much sometimes when the answers often are so simple. Paul wrote in Romans 10 that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Jesus said in Mark 16 that “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” His Great Commission to go into all the world, making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is not just for those with “authority” but is a call for all believers. In Rev 1:6, 5:10, and 20:6, all who have believed in the Lord Jesus are called ‘priests’, so it is not just a chosen few.
I hope this brings some clarification to the matter.



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GB

posted July 26, 2007 at 1:25 pm


Chief1989: 1. All authority under heaven and earth was given to Jesus (Matt 28:18).
GB: Agreed. And He can share it with whom He will.
Chief1989: In the beginning of His ministry, Jesus gave this authority to His disciples to perform miracles (Matt 10:1).
GB: That would be “His twelve disciples”. Agreed.
Chief1989: This authority has now been passed on to all believers (Titus 2:11-15).
GB: WRONG! Paul writing to Titus says (Titus 2:11-15) “11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
Nothing in there supports your assertion. The doctrine of the priesthood of all believers was dreamed up by Martin Luther to justify his starting his own church. He understood that by being excommunicated from the Catholic Church that he couldn’t claim to have any authority from it. He couldn’t claim an unbroken line of authority from anybody. But he had to claim authority somehow, so he made up the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. (BTW by that doctrine Mormons and Catholics would also be authorized.)
Chief1989: Also, Jesus told us that “apart from me you can do nothing,” and “12I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14)
GB: Agreed. But again nothing there supports your assertion. Well that is all I have time for right now.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted July 26, 2007 at 2:29 pm


MR: Thanks to Dr. Mohler for keeping this debate “on topic” and to the
MR: point.
GS: Yes, that is gratifying.
MR: This topic was really about “truth in advertising”
GS: Agreed!
MR: you can’t call a soft drink a “Coke” unless it’s made by Coca Cola.
MR: You can call it what ever you want to call it, but unless it’s made
MR: by Coca Cola, it’s not a Coke.
GS: Unfortunately, this is a false analogy. A more correct one is
GS: trying to call another soft drink a “cola” and the makers of other
GS: colas crying foul by defining a cola as only and exactly what their
GS: products are.



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Bubba

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:11 pm


What if the soft drink isn’t even carbonated, Gregory? The drink may rightly be called “soft” because it isn’t hard (i.e., containing alcohol), but it would probably be inaccurate and arguably deceptive to call your flat drink a cola.
A cola may be defined by its fizziness, and perhaps by more than that, so a non-fizzy cola would be a contradiction in terms.
Christianity is, among other things, a monotheistic faith. A polytheistic faith that claims to be Christian might be claiming a descriptive label that doesn’t apply.



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GB

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Mormons are polytheistic like the Apostle Paul was 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)



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Chief1989

posted July 26, 2007 at 4:58 pm


GB,
So if the Aaronic priesthood continues on, as the Catholic and Mormom faiths claim, why was the curtain hiding the Holy of Holies torn in two, and in front of the Pharisees and priests? Read Hebrews chapters 7 and 8; the writer expounds on what the earthly priests were doing and how what Christ did on the cross changed that.
Again, priests were instituted to be go-betweens or mediators between God and man. Only the high priest had access to the Holy of Holies; only priests could present the sacrifices, sprinkle the mercy seat, and lay hands on the “scapegoat” for the atonement of sins. The Holy Spirit had not been given to anyone at that time, save for a precious few. After Christ’s death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit now comes upon anyone who confesses, repents, and is baptized. The Holy Spirit then gifts each believer, gifting some to be prophets, some to speak in tongues, some to be healers, some to be preachers, some to be teachers, some to offer hospitality, etc. The Holy Spirit now gifts believers to perform most of the functions of the OT priests. Of course, Christ’s sacrifice once for all settled the atonement and forgiveness of sins issues.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:13 pm


B: A cola may be defined by its fizziness, and perhaps by more than that,
B: so a non-fizzy cola would be a contradiction in terms.
GS: Ok, let’s say that fizziness is one requirement for a drink to be a
GS: cola. I now have a product that meets all the requirements for
GS: being a cola but that one. Would it be deceptive to term my drink
GS: a non-fizzy cola?



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GB

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:20 pm


Chief: So if the Aaronic priesthood continues on, as the Catholic and Mormom faiths claim, why was the curtain hiding the Holy of Holies torn in two, and in front of the Pharisees and priests?
GB: What does the tearing of the veil have to do with eliminating the office of priest in the Aaronic Priesthood? Answer = Nothing. By your own admission “what Christ did on the cross changed” what to role of a priest would be. And as you have said before all authority was given to Christ so he clearly could change the role. What do you think He was teaching all those days He spent with His disciples after His resurrection and before His ascension?
Also by your own admission the office of priest continues as you quoted from Revelation



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:21 pm


Put another way:
Websters Dictionary defines a butterfly thusly:
> any of numerous slender-bodied diurnal lepidopteran insects including
> one superfamily (Papilionoidea) with broad often brightly colored wings
> and usually another superfamily comprising the skippers
If I pull the wings off of a butterfly, would it be wrong to then call
it a wingless butterfly? Clearly from the definition wings are a
requirement of a butterfly. Is wingless butterfly a contradiction in
terms or is “wingless”, like all other adjectives, acting as a modifier
to its noun?



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dab

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:26 pm


Dr. Mohler, please define what a Christian is. Orson Scott Card has given several good possibilities, but you continue to avoid this question. You have told us what it is not, but not what it is. If it is not those who do not believe traditional Christian orthodoxy, then you would be excluding nearly all Christians in the pre-Nicean era. Certainly the Jewish Christians in Christ’s day would be excluded since neither they nor any Jew ever believed in the metaphysical God of “orthodox” trinitarianism. It is certainly understandable that you take the politically correct stance of avoiding the very question asked in this debate, since, in your zeal to exclude Mormons, it would probably exclude many other prominent Christians, including Christ himself.



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Michael

posted July 26, 2007 at 5:57 pm


I have to reflect on one of your comments GB. I believe that you correctly mentioned that the scripture reference from Titus does not support the priesthood of all believers, but 2 Peter 2:9 does support such a notion. If Martin Luther “dreamed this up”…he did so only insofar as he was basing that dream upon the writings of the Apostle Peter himself.
In 2 Peter, the Apostle is directly addressing the believers (2 Peter 1:1-2) of no particular distinction, so the letter is applicable to all believers.
The same reference to a “priesthood of believers” is in 1 Peter 2:5, as once again this letter is written by the Apostle directly to believers.



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Carter

posted July 26, 2007 at 6:08 pm


I agree with your argument but wish you would provide more of an explanation for why you believe that Mormonism is a false gospel. Could you explain more about the Mormon teachings that directly conflict with the teachings of the Christian church?



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greg

posted July 26, 2007 at 7:35 pm


you know, as i was reading all of this; i realized that the pharisees and other sects, thought they were historically correct. by new revelations, we now have a new cannon of scriptures( the new testament). i believe christ is living, and i also believe he will continue to reveal things to us, according to our faith (john 14:23),(just as he did so many in the new testament, and joseph smith). i dont see how one can believe in the new testament and not believe the lord can come to man; thomas doubted as well, but that didnt make him right, he learned the hard way. i dont see why orthodoxy has anything to do with mormons being christians. some believe the new testament is adding to, just as you claim about mormons. to me traditional christianity is by revelations! this is the rock on which the gospel is built. this is the way i see it. i believe most catholics, protestants, and mormons are christians. we are of different faiths, but as the scriptures say:” he that is not against us, is on our part “(james 1:5)



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J. Ricks

posted July 26, 2007 at 7:41 pm


I tell you all that despite our differences we do in fact share the same belief that Jesus Christ suffered and atoned for our sins in the Garden of Gathseme, where he bled from every pore, and then died on the cross. He did this so that we can repent and return to live with him. Repentance is conditional… we must sincerly turn away from our wrong doings and try to be a better person. We must have faith in Christ that his grace will be sufficient enough to save us. I believe this. I also believe that he was ressurected and still lives, with a celestial body, not just as some spirit. yes, our beliefs differ, and we can argue forever about them, but the fact remains that Christ’s atonement is suffient to save if we have faith, and do our best to live a Christ like life. Dr. Mohler, you are wrong. Mormons are Christians, no matter how you deny it… Christ is my savior just as he is yours. I do believe the Mormons have something to offer to Christianity, but I don’t believe you are all damed if you choose to ignore it. God lets us choose, and in the end if we all have pure hearts and true faith in Christ I think it will all work out.



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GB

posted July 26, 2007 at 9:05 pm


Michael: I have to reflect on one of your comments GB. I believe that you correctly mentioned that the scripture reference from Titus does not support the priesthood of all believers, but 2 Peter 2:9 does support such a notion.
GB: 2 Peter 2:9 “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:”
I looked over this more than once and have concluded that you are referring to 1 Peter 2:9 ”But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”
Boy, if that doesn’t describe Mormons I don’t know what does. Perhaps you are unaware that the LDS (Mormon) Church makes the priesthood available to “every faithful, worthy man in the Church”. Still there is nothing there that would reject the concept of a ministerial priesthood. Unless you were desperate to find someway to rationalize your claim of authority when you have none.
Michael: If Martin Luther “dreamed this up”…he did so only insofar as he was basing that dream upon the writings of the Apostle Peter himself.
GB: From wikipedia “The priesthood of all believers is a Christian doctrine based on several passages of the New Testament. It is most stressed in Protestantism and was introduced by Martin Luther to reject any concept of ministerial priesthood, as found in the Orthodox and Catholic traditions.”
So this was a doctrine that was hidden from the Christian world for 1500 years but was suddenly and conveniently “discovered” by an apostate. So without authority to change the organization of the priesthood Martin Luther changed the organization of the priesthood. How very convenient.
Michael: In 2 Peter, the Apostle is directly addressing the believers (2 Peter 1:1-2) of no particular distinction, so the letter is applicable to all believers.
GB: Interesting but this has no relevance to the rejection of a ministerial priesthood.
Michael: The same reference to a “priesthood of believers” is in 1 Peter 2:5, as once again this letter is written by the Apostle directly to believers.
GB: 1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
Interesting but this has no relevance to the rejection of a ministerial priesthood.



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Daryl

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:02 pm


Is wikipedia a newer testament replacing the book of mormon? Was it too given by special revelation to Bill Gates somewhere over the internet? Hey, while you are at it, why not argue scientology as the newest enlightened revelation from god to L. Ron Hubbard. I’m going to go read better things, like the Truth in 14th chapter of The Gospel According to John. (someone who learned from Jesus personally). Good night, and would someone please turn on the Light.



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richard ward

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:07 pm


I think that the book of Psalms mentions the book of Mormon when it talks about not adding to God’s word.I recently spent time with a young Mormon missionary at my home and I couldn’t help but feel sad for him as I became aware of his lonliness.



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GB

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:12 pm


Chief : 2. The authority that the Pope claims and one of the authorities that Joseph Smith claims to have restored is the Aaronic priesthood.
GB: I can’t speak for the Pope, but you failed to mention that the other authority that Joseph Smith claims to have restored is the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Chef: A couple of points: first, to have the Aaronic priesthood, you had to be a JEW and had to be of the tribe of LEVI. Neither the pope nor Smith qualifies.
GB: And as you have said before all authority was given to Christ so he clearly could change the qualifications for hold either priesthood. Again, what do you think He was teaching all those days He spent with His disciples after His resurrection and before His ascension?
Chef: Second, the Aaronic line of priests were mediators between God and man, offering sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. When Christ died on the cross, the veil in the temple was rent in two, signifying that for ever more the gulf between God and man had been bridged, by a priest greater than Aaron, a priest after the order of Melchizadek:
. . . .
Now, Jesus is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, interceding for us and being the mediator between God and man that the priests once did (I Tim 2:5, Heb 8:6, Heb 9:15, Heb 12:24, I John 2:1).
GB: All that is interesting, but I don’t see the relevance to your supposition.
Chief: We do not need the Aaronic priesthood any longer,
GB: That may be true but you are still failing to show that it was eliminated. And yet the Bible says (Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.)
So the Aaronic Priesthood (with the office of Priest) continued in the Church of Jesus Christ after His resurrection and ascension.
BTW the Aaronic Priesthood (or lesser Priesthood) is an appendage to the Melchizedek Priesthood. So whenever the Melchizedek Priesthood is present, the Aaronic by default is also present.
Chief: and the only man who is worthy to fulfill the office of Melchizadek is Christ Himself.
GB: That is an interesting interpretation you have there. And yet the Bible tells us that the ordaining of High Priests was a continuing practice (Heb 5:1 “FOR every high priest taken from among men IS ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:”
And Heb 8:3 For every high priest IS ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it IS of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.) (emphasis mine)
Chief: That authority is ours to claim if we trust in Him and come to Him in faith.
GB: IF that is true then Mormons and Catholics can also “claim” that authority. But your statement is in conflict with the Bible. Heb 5:4 “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”
And how was Aaron called? God spoke to His prophet Moses and commanded him to call Aaron. Exodus 28:1 “AND take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.”



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Sulustu

posted July 26, 2007 at 10:41 pm


I’m sincerely disappointed by Dr. Mohler’s critique of Mormonism. While I also disagree with Mormonism on a wide range of topics, after years of association with members of the LDS Church, I know most faithful Mormons sincerely call upon Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Ironically, Dr. Mohler would seem to employ a theological double standard when identifying “true” Christians. For example, I have no doubt Dr. Mohler would criticize Mormonism for relying on extra-biblical works, like the Book of Mormon or the Doctrine and Covenants, as though this fact conclusively proves Mormonism is a “sincerely false Gospel.” And yet, in the very next breath Dr. Mohler promotes his own authority based on a rather nebulous, esoteric, and decidedly extra-biblical standard he refers to as “traditional Christian orthodoxy.” If Mormons be damned for basing salvation on post-biblical texts like the Book of Mormon, why should Dr. Mohler’s version of Christianity get a free pass for basing salvation on post-biblical creeds?
By making this kind of argument, Dr. Mohler creates a false illusion of unity and “orthodoxy” among the various branches of Christianity, even while he equally condemns other Christian groups, as his recent comments on the Roman Catholic Church exemplify.
I grew up in the Christian tradition, but regrettably, Dr. Mohler’s view does not resonate with the Christianity of my youth. I was taught to believe that ANYONE who calls upon the Lord will be saved. I’m sincerely confused about the seemingly additional requirements of dogmatic creeds, “traditional orthodoxy,” and historic confessions. In fact, the Jesus of my youth was frequently shown smashing rigid orthodoxies in favor of a dynamic spiritual RELATIONSHIP with the divine, as provided by Christ the Risen Lord.
And if that saving relationship is so deeply PERSONAL, as all my pastors led me to believe, how can Dr. Mohler or anyone think to judge which of those professing to know Christ are really saved?
As I mentioned before, I disagree with Mormonism on many points, and maybe even some of the same ones identified by Dr. Mohler. However, I dare not tread upon the sovereign right of Almighty God by deciding in advance, who will enter the Gates of Heaven, and who will not. Even the wisest cannot tell.
If Christians disagree on points of doctrine, let them disagree, but let us not place ourselves in a position to judge whose faith is genuine, and whose faith is a “sincerely false Gospel.”



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Anonymous

posted July 26, 2007 at 11:19 pm


[quote]I think that the book of Psalms mentions the book of Mormon when it talks about not adding to God’s word.I recently spent time with a young Mormon missionary at my home and I couldn’t help but feel sad for him as I became aware of his lonliness.[/quote]Yet the book of Duet 4 says the same thing and the Psalms were added to it, and here we are 60+ books later. Go Figure?!



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nowandlater

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:25 am


Question, whose view of grace of Jesus Christ is “more” amazing?
Evangelicals generally state that declaring you faith in Jesus Christ will save you. But isn’t that a work? In the Evangelical view, less than 1% of the world would be saved, because there have been many generations who have died before the coming of Jesus Christ and have not heard his message and thus are damned to hell. Also, there continues to be billions of souls on this Earth who do not find themselves in the right faith and thus are damned to Hell. So 99% of God’s Children are damned to Hell and are not saved? Is that a loving God? Is that a merciful God? That doesn’t sound like the Jesus whom Peter spoke of?
Mormons state that Jesus will save ALL. Unlike the Evangelicals his grace is FREE, FREE, FREE, FREE to all who have died. The Mormon view is that Salvation through Jesus Christ 99% of God’s children will be saved including those who have perished in the wrong faith.
I know that critics of Mormonism will say that we believe in works for Salvation, but you don’t understand our theology. We view that “Rewards” are give to us based on works and faith in Jesus Christ. His mercy helps us to grow.
Again, ask yourself. Whose view of God represents on of total and complete love? Damning nearly 99% of all humanity to Hell? Is that fair is that loving God which the Bible speaks of? So we can say that Mormons believe in a more loving and more Jesus than Evangelicals.



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Daryl

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:58 am


Sulustu’s inquiry deserves a response. “Why should Dr. Mohler’s version of Christianity get a free pass for basing salvation on post-biblical creeds?”
First, the martyrs of the Reformation hardly received anything resembling a free pass. Second, and most importantly, “Dr. Mohler’s version of Christianity” does not base salvation on post-biblical creeds, but soley upon the Grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Third, “post-biblical creeds” are statements of agreement on doctrinal issues found in Biblical Scripture, not an alleged post-biblical revelation.
Language can be easily deceptive and vague in its meaning. Definition and understanding of terminology are vital before one should consider agreement.
Case in point: The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. One would be hard pressed to argue that the People of North Korea legitimately participate in any democratic process or that the government is truly a republic by American definition. For the US to base mutual acceptance and relationship by mere terminology would of course be foolish and potentially diasterous.
Simply because Mormons say they are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and even use “acceptable” Christian language in expressing their basic beliefs, does not make them a Christian faith. Likewise, to assume mutual faith and relationships by mere terminology is unwise.
I am not equating LDS with Communist North Korea. Neither is anyone advocating persecution of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. But do not forget; The Freedom of Religion and the Freedom of Association are inseparable.
Dr. Mohler and the Southern Baptist Convention do not stand alone on this issue. The Luthern Church, The Presbyterian Church, The United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church all have made public statements that the Mormon religion is not orthodox Christianity, and have every right to do so.



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Daryl

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:17 am


Nowandlater:
The Right Question: Whose understanding of God’s Grace is more Biblical?
“Mormons state that Jesus will save ALL. Unlike the Evangelicals his grace is FREE, FREE.”
Universial atonement is NOT supported by the Words of Jesus, and I’ll take His over Joe Smith.
John 3:16-18 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever BELIEVES in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever BELIEVES in him is not condemned, but WHOEVERE DOES NOT BELIEVE IS CONDEMNED ALREADY, because he has not BELIEVED in the name of the only Son of God.
And by the way, Thank you for proving my early point on language.



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nowandlater

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:23 am


Orthodox Christianity by definition of the New Testament is a different Gospel. The standard of the New Testament is One Faith, One Church, and One Baptism. History has shown that Orthodox Christianity has tolerated many faiths, many churches, and many baptism.
Why would a true believe Christian want to be associated with that Chaos and Confusion which clearly not authored by God? The historical diviseness in the Orthodox is one of many proofs that the many Creeds, traditions, and poly-Churches are not the One Church which Paul refers to.
While traditional Christians may believe in some of the same symbolic teachings of Jesus and may borrow many of the Biblical themes they are anti-thetical to Paul’s standard. They believe that Jesus is limited and that Grace is limited to only less than 1% of all humanity that has ever been which is contrary to a view of an unlimited Jesus and unlimited Grace held by the explicitly Biblical view of the Mormons.
So I ask you. Is Orthodox Christianity really Christian enough?



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nowandlater

posted July 27, 2007 at 2:37 am


It is! Universal Grace and universal atonement! It is FREE! FREE! You may wrongly believe in a limited Jesus, but I believe in an unlimited loving Jesus! I believe that ALL will confess that Jesus is the Christ and will be saved! Evangelicals do not believe this and it is entirely unBiblical! This is a different Jesus they believe in. A limited and cruel Jesus. We believe in being ransomed universally and yet being rewarded based on our faithfullness in Jesus Christ. Come back when you can show me that your Jesus loves just as much as my Jesus.
————–
1 Cor. 15: 22
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Phillips 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Isa. 45: 23.
23 I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.
Rom. 14: 11.
11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall bconfess to God.
Rom. 10: 9
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.



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Bryan Stout

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:03 am


What a missed opportunity this debate has been! Dr. Mohler and Mr. Card quickly agree on the answer to the question as framed:
“Is Mormonism part of the historical Christian tradition?” No.
“Do Mormons believe orthodox doctrine as defined by the ecumenical creeds?” No.
But they both had different beliefs about what these answers implied, and were really addressing different questions behind the questions:
Dr. Mohler: “Are Mormons saved?”
Mr. Card: “Can Mormons and mainstream Christians respect each other and work together?”
So of course most of the exchange consisted of them talking past each other.
Dr. Mohler concluded his last post by stating that Mormonism leads to damnation. How I wish he had made that clear in his first post, rather than in his final one! This exchange might have led to a more helpful attempt to understand each other, including such issues as:
- The Mormon view of salvation. Mormons do not believe that non-Mormons (or non-Christians in general) are necessarily damned. It seems like Dr. Mohler believes we do, from the way he kept emphasizing his view of our view of the Christian tradition.
- The Evangelical view of salvation. It also seems to me that Dr. Mohler was treating “orthodox Christian” and “saved Christian” as synonomous. Does he truly think that the definition of orthodox belief and the scriptural definition of salvation are equivalent? I’d like to understand his thinking about this.
I hope the example of this debate inspires readers to show true respect for those with different beliefs, and that it also shows that more than respect is required to achieve a true understanding of the differences.
For future debates, I also hope the Beliefnet folks allow responses to be made into separate threads, rather than have a single thread of hundreds of responses. It would make it much more useful for people to browse, and pick the portions of the discussion that matter to them.



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Aaron

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:58 am


“Dr. Mohler’s version of Christianity” does not base salvation on post-biblical creeds, but soley upon the Grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Third, “post-biblical creeds” are statements of agreement on doctrinal issues found in Biblical Scripture, not an alleged post-biblical revelation.”
Where we may term ‘traditional’ Christianity as synonymous with salvation, I find this quite telling. The interpretations of the NT by which “traditional” Christian orthodoxy is defined are based on the ecumenical counsels of previous centuries, organized and held by Catholics and Pagans alike. That being said, the inherit definitions tandem with the term “Christianity” bases salvation wholly and completely on post-biblical creeds. There is simply no way to get around it.
Aaron



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Aaron

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:00 am


In other words, ‘traditional Christian salvation’ is entirely anachronistic and certainly not authentic.



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Mrs. Owen

posted July 27, 2007 at 8:14 am


Mormonism is a complete and total cult. I was married to a Mormon for eight long tortuous years, found the Lord through this horrifying expeience, and I can certify that Mormonism is a cult and it is vicious. God help those who are trapped in this mindless maze of confusion and evil.



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Daryl

posted July 27, 2007 at 10:45 am


Dear friend, I’m back.
You state; “Mormons state that Jesus will save ALL. Unlike the Evangelicals his grace is FREE, FREE, FREE, FREE to all who have died. I believe in an unlimited loving Jesus! I believe that ALL will confess that Jesus is the Christ and will be saved! … We believe in being ransomed universally and yet being rewarded based on our faithfullness in Jesus Christ.”
May I ask why you believe anything since universalism has everyone saved in the end? Why do people die, what is death?
A law without punishment attached, if broken is not a crime. There can be no enforcement, no accountability. Choices in this life without eternal consequence and judgment can not be sin, and salvation is no longer necessary. What then is salvation in the Mormon faith?
Why not believe in an unlimited loving god who does not judge anyone or anything and stop the pretense of needing Jesus as a savior.
YOU have left the Mormon faith really all about being obtaining rewards….it’s really all about YOU.
The Christian faith is all about Jesus Christ. His salvation is from real sin with real eternal consequences, both in this life and throughout eternity. His is a salvation to living relationship, a life, a love worth finding. And that is the better love my Jesus offers to you.



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Edwin Moelder

posted July 27, 2007 at 11:46 am


Many posters here and in related threads this past month continue to miss the salient point of difference : Jesus The Christ is True God and True Man, perfect God and perfect man, fully God and fully man, The Grand Architect Of The Universe, The Light of The World, the preexisting everlasting eternal creator redeemer and sustainer of the cosmos.
Contrary to popular teachers, the doctrine of The Holy Trinity did not originate with Constantine or even Rome; the earliest disciples of Jesus The Christ discussed the concept in well documented manuscripts.
With the love of The Holy Trinity of the ancient Catholic faith.
http://moelder.freeservers.com/TheHolyTrinityandTheDeityofJesusTheChrist.html



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rotorhead

posted July 27, 2007 at 11:59 am


This entire debate misses the “key” central point…that is, did the Christian orthodoxy established by Jesus Christ remain intact, pure and infallible following His Crucifixtion and resurrection to modern day Christiandom? And, secondly, who has the God given authority to so delcare?
It is a pious act indeed to declare the Bible infallible. Do we really suppose that God who once opened the heavens, poured out His spirit in revelations, and provided “living” prophets to shepherd us to Him, has now drawn the curtains to shield out heaven’s light while we sit in the dark and rave over the accounts of how warm and brilliant that light was anciently? NO!! To believe there is no need for a living God because he gave us the bible (which version?) and then disappeared into some corner of the universe is simply the devil’s clever way of sealing the heavens and denying the spirit of revelation. Turn off the true source and it eventually becomes corrupted.
I say follow the money! Who will gain from this Bible fraud? The Mormons and their NOT paid lay clergy, or the Protestant ministers whose very livelihoods depend on the perpetuation of this fraud? You decide.



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Chief1989

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:00 pm


Folks, we are truly just spinning our wheels here. We will never come to an end to this debate, so the best we can do is to share our viewpoints and gently agree to disagree, because there are too many differences between orthodox Christianity and Mormonism to be reconciled. We should be able to do this, however, without attacking one another or name calling. Peter called us to always be ready to give an account for the hope we have, “But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” I Peter 3: 15b-16. We can agree to work together to promote family harmony, battle addictions, promote moral self-control, right-to-life, and other important social issues that confront us. That is the right thing to do.
You know, I hear a lot of people ask questions like, “How do you know your religion is the RIGHT religion, or BEST religion?” I tell them thank you for asking, but you are asking the wrong question. The real question is WHAT IS THE TRUTH? There are no good, better, and best religions, because most religions make claims that contradict other religions, so not all religions can be true. Therefore, there is truth and there is falsehood, and it is up to every individual person to find out which is which.
As for me personally, truth is found in one source and one source only: the Word of God. This includes the written Word ["All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Tim 3; "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." - John 17:17; "Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" - Matt 4:4; "And you also were included in Christ when you heard the WORD OF TRUTH, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." - Ephesians 1:13-14], and the living Word of God, Jesus Christ ["Jesus answered, "I am the way and the TRUTH and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6; "I tell you the TRUTH," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" - John 8:58; "For there is ONE God and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time." - I Tim 2: 5-6; "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and TRUTH."- John 1:14; "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." - John 1:17]. That is the TRUTH as I see it; to believe in Jesus Christ, put my trust in Him, and believe in the One that sent Him.
To answer a previous poster’s question on salvation, I do not know where the “less than 1% of humankind will ever be saved” came from. Here is what Paul says about the matter in Romans 3: 21-26:
“Righteousness Through Faith
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
So past saints who did not have the Gospel at the time are still saved by it – because God is merciful and gracious. So when we walk on the streets of gold, Daniel, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, David, et al will be walking there as well, as will all of the other righteous men and women who lived in ancient times.
In closing, I will say this: Jesus NEVER EVER EVER said that everybody would someday be saved. The passage used in Philippians where “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” does not mean everyone will be under grace. At the end times, the majesty of Christ will be revealed at His Second Coming to a watching world, and even the vilest evildoers will be forced to confess that Jesus is who He says He is. This will not SAVE them. Remember that passage in James 2:19? “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” Remember that little passage in Matt 8: 28-30? ‘When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[a] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”‘
Do you think that the demons’ knowledge that Jesus is the Christ saved them? No. And in His earthly ministry, Jesus spent more time talking about hell and outer darkness than He did about heaven. Why? As a warning that faith is not something to be taken lightly, and that the punishment for disbelief is real and horrible. Would a loving God condemn someone to hell? In a real sense, no, because everyone has a choice to make, to choose either life or death. So by denying that Jesus is the Son of God and our Savior, a person condemns himself. The TRUTH is there, but every person has to choose it for himself/herself.
I think that wraps up what I wanted to say. In the end, I do not believe we should be asking the question “Are Mormons Christians?” Who is and is not a Christian is based on an individual’s heart, not a church affiliation, and only God and that person truly know what’s in his or her’s heart. The question should be, “Are some Mormons Christians?”, and I believe that answer is yes. It would be just the same if you asked “Are Baptists Christians?” or “Are Methodists Christians?” It depends entirely on the individual and not on the church itself. I am a member of an independent Christian church, and I know full well that there are a number of people who walk through the doors every Sunday who live like pagans during the week. They do not understand that Worship is not something that you do for just a couple of hours on a Sunday morning, but it is something you are supposed to be doing 24/7/365. David in Psalm 1 calls a righteous man someone who “delights in the Law of the Lord; on His law he meditates day and night.” Just walking through the doors of a church or belonging to a particular denomination does not save you; it is what you believe and trust in your heart about who Jesus is and what He has done and is still doing for us that does.
Thanks for taking the time to read this admittedly long-winded post.



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Chief1989

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:19 pm


To rotorhead,
I am curious. If the Bible is not infallible, who gets to correct the errors? That is an extremely dangerous path to go down.
Let me give you an example: the Constitution of the United States. It is either one of two things: an ironclad framework for the construction of the Republic, detailing the rights and duties of citizens and their government, or it is, as Al Gore likes to say, “a living, breathing document.” To interpret the Constitution as a judge, you would have to hold to one of those two viewpoints. Either you rule according to what it says, and it means what it says yesterday, today, and forever, or you rule based on the fact that American society is changing and getting more cosmopolitan and sophisticated, so the Constitution ought to roll with the changes and be ‘modernized.’ Once you say it can be interpreted in the latter light, you can basically make it say whatever you want, because you are now in the realm of making law and not just interpreting it. So the standards of formation and conduct framed in the original become transient, and the absolutes become ‘relative truths.’ We see this happening now, as judges all over the land have started interpreting the Constitution based on laws being passed in Europe, or on public opinion, or anything else that has nothing to do with the Constitution itself. That was never the intent of the Founding Fathers, and you see the slide in the morality of the nation.
The same goes for the Bible. Paul says all Scripture is God-breathed, and the Nicean council and councils after them did not alter what the books said. These were godly men doing a task of enormous proportions that has stood the test of time. God always preserves His Word. Now either the Bible is the inspired Word of God, profitable for teaching, correction, and instruction on how to live a godly life, or it is incomplete or not entirely accurate or incorrectly translated, which then gives men the opportunity to pull out those parts that are “incorrectly translated” and insert whatever they want. These are the people that Paul warned his readers about, the men who would pervert and subvert the gospel for earthly gains. James gives a very solemn warning to anyone who teaches, saying in James 3:1 “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Anyone who teaches unsound or false doctrine will be in danger of hellfire, and the sins of those people led astray will be added to that person. So be very careful about declaring what you purport to be the truth. God protects His truth very jealously.



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GB

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:31 pm


Chief1989,
I read your “admittedly long-winded post” and agreed with it, with a little clarification. As I see it, the Bible doesn’t have a clear and exacting definition of “salvation”. And the usage of the term is inconsistent. This results in confusion and debate about the subject.
Mormons define salvation as being saved from death and hell. Not that the wicked will not spent time in hell, for surely they will. Only that after they have been justly punished they will be released from hell.
You, of course, are free to have a different definition.
Other than that clarification I agree with your post.



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GB

posted July 27, 2007 at 12:32 pm


Typo
Should read “spend time in hell”



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GB

posted July 27, 2007 at 1:54 pm


Chief: I am curious. If the Bible is not infallible, who gets to correct the errors? That is an extremely dangerous path to go down.
GB: The Bible itself tells us “who gets to correct the errors”.
Amos 3:7 “Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 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:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Chief: Let me give you an example: the Constitution of the United States. . . . That was never the intent of the Founding Fathers, and you see the slide in the morality of the nation.
GB: The Constitution has within itself the method by which it can be “corrected” or changed. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution by this method. Other Amendments changing the Constitution were “added” using this method.
Chief: The same goes for the Bible. Paul says all Scripture is God-breathed,
GB: But that doesn’t prevent men from making errors in the transcription and translation of scripture.
Chief: and the Nicean council and councils after them did not alter what the books said. These were godly men doing a task of enormous proportions that has stood the test of time.
GB: There is no way for you to validate those statements.
Chief: God always preserves His Word.
GB: There is no way for you to validate that statement. How do you resolve that statement with the lost books of the Bible? The so-called lost books of the Bible are those documents that are mentioned in the Bible in such a way that it is evident they are considered authentic and valuable, but that are not found in the Bible today. Sometimes called missing scripture, they consist of at least the following: book of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21: 14); book of Jasher (Josh. 10: 13; 2 Sam. 1: 18); book of the acts of Solomon (1 Kgs. 11: 41); book of Samuel the seer (1 Chr. 29: 29); book of Gad the seer (1 Chr. 29: 29); book of Nathan the prophet (1 Chr. 29: 29; 2 Chr. 9: 29); prophecy of Ahijah (2 Chr. 9: 29); visions of Iddo the seer (2 Chr. 9: 29; 2 Chr. 12: 15; 2 Chr. 13: 22); book of Shemaiah (2 Chr. 12: 15); book of Jehu (2 Chr. 20: 34); sayings of the seers (2 Chr. 33: 19); an epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, earlier than our present 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 5: 9); possibly an earlier epistle to the Ephesians (Eph. 3: 3); an epistle to the Church at Laodicea (Col. 4: 16); and some prophecies of Enoch, known to Jude (Jude 1: 14). To these rather clear references to inspired writings other than our current Bible may be added another list that has allusions to writings that may or may not be contained within our present text, but may perhaps be known by a different title; for example, the book of the covenant (Ex. 24: 7), which may or may not be included in the current book of Exodus; the manner of the kingdom, written by Samuel (1 Sam. 10: 25); the rest of the acts of Uzziah written by Isaiah (2 Chr. 26: 22).
The foregoing items attest to the fact that our present Bible does not contain all of the word of the Lord that he gave to his people in former times, and remind us that the Bible, in its present form, is rather incomplete.
Chief: Now either the Bible is the inspired Word of God, profitable for teaching, correction, and instruction on how to live a godly life, or it is incomplete or not entirely accurate or incorrectly translated, which then gives men the opportunity to pull out those parts that are “incorrectly translated” and insert whatever they want.
GB: You are presenting a “False Dichotomy”. Your two statements are not mutually exclusive.
Chief: These are the people that Paul warned his readers about, the men who would pervert and subvert the gospel for earthly gains.
GB: Like a paid ministry?
Chief: James gives a very solemn warning to anyone who teaches, saying in James 3:1 “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” Anyone who teaches unsound or false doctrine will be in danger of hellfire, and the sins of those people led astray will be added to that person. So be very careful about declaring what you purport to be the truth.
GB: Agreed.
Chief: God protects His truth very jealously.
GB: The truth is what it is. It needs no protection because it can’t be changed. So I am finding that statement to be silly.



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Sulustu

posted July 27, 2007 at 3:21 pm


Daryl – Admittedly, my position is somewhat “unorthodox.” Likewise, many beliefs in Mormonism are also unorthodox, and surely do not fall under the historical traditions of Christianity; however I really don’t understand how or when orthodoxy became a requirement for salvation. Furthermore, I don’t really care about arguments of historicity, but on the more essential question of salvation vs. damnation.
If salvation is based “solely on the Grace of God,” as you suggest, then why would Mormons fall outside that abounding grace? Even if a man sincerely believes a thousand lies, and yet calls upon Jesus Christ for a forgiveness of sins, will he still be damned? Is Jesus unable to forgive our misconceptions?
Frankly, it would seem many Christians preach “grace alone” but are then quick to condemn those who don’t profess a “correct knowledge,” thus effectively creating an additional requirement beyond original grace. It would seem it’s not enough for me to simply call upon Jesus, but now I have to decide who holds the “correct” view of the Bible. Since Christians don’t even agree on that, we’re in for a long haul.
Thankfully, I don’t believe God holds such a stingy view of grace.



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Kyle

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:45 pm


The question is not “Is Mormonism compatible with traditional Christian orthodoxy?” The question is “Are Mormons Christians?”
Dr. Mohler says (in short): “No, Mormons do not fall in line with the traditional Christain orthodoxy.”
Orson Scott Card says (in short): “It’s absurd to classify Christians strictly under that term. Clearly we have a different opinion of the definition of Christian. You are being unreasonable in your definition.”
Dr. Mohler says (in short): “Nope, there is no question as to whether I’m right. My definition of Christianity is correct. Because in my opinion, you are going to hell.”
Orson Scott Card says (in short): “Okay, well in the Pope’s opinion, you are going to hell, but he still calls you Christians. Why can’t you call us Non-traditional Christians?”
Dr. Mohler says/(or thinks) (in short): “Because although you have good values, I think your beliefs are corrupt and evil to the point of not having a rational discussion as to how Christian you are, because in my opinion I think your beliefs are evil. Therefore I venture not into any discussion of the big picture for fear of defeat. I will comfortably stick to not even considering the definition of Christian outside what I’ve already defined it as. Therefore I won the discussion from the beginning when I proclaimed my definition.”
______________________________________________
Okay, so I don’t know for sure, but I’m, betting Dr. Mohler won’t like the idea of “non-traditional Christian”.



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Daryl

posted July 27, 2007 at 4:59 pm


Sulustu,
I pray that we may not be that far apart. Let me attempt to answer to your questions as best I can.
Some level of orthodoxy has always been required for salvation. There must be a source of authority otherwise, we might believe salvation comes from just whomever, including Budda, Muhammand or even Al Mohler and Reformed Theology.
Most evangelical Christians accept as that sole authority, the Scripture, including the Old and New Testament, by accepting It by faith as the Word of God. If we don’t start there, by believing the Word as the inerrent complete authority, then upon what do we base our faith in Jesus? He is known from nowhere else. If the Word is wrong, or incomplete, if we can add to or subtract from it, then it is totally unreliable, and not worthy of our faith. Others would include Church councils and the papacy. I do not. I believe in Scripture alone.
It’s God’s Grace that saves. I am incapable of saving myself. God chose to do so by coming in flesh as the Man Jesus and dying in my place for my sins. I am not worthy of that love, no one is. But His invitation is to all who would place their faith in Him.
I believe in soul competency insomuch that I am responsible to God for my soul’s salvation by accepting God’s Grace by faith in Jesus Christ as revealed in God’s Word. If I reject Him, that does not make God stingy, only me accountable.
So, “Even if a man sincerely believes a thousand lies, and yet calls upon Jesus Christ for a forgiveness of sins, will he still be damned?
Who is this “Jesus Christ” they may call upon? If he is someone other than whom the Scriptures has revealed, the answer is yes. No one else is capable of forgiveness of sin. They may call him Jesus Christ, and even call him Lord, but that does not make him so. I believe that the Mormon religion and Christianity will agree that they disagree on the person and diety of Jesus Christ.



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Michael

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:02 pm


First, let me thank you GB for correcting my reference back to 1 Peter when I stated 2 Peter. I’m still human after all ;-)
[GB wrote earlier in reference to 1 Peter 2:9 and the priesthood of believers]: Still there is nothing there that would reject the concept of a ministerial priesthood.
Actually, Hebrews 8:13 clearly states that the priesthood of Christ creates a new covenant, and makes the first on obsolete (or useless). It goes on to say that what is being made obsolete is not only growing old, but is ready to vanish away (ESV).
To grasp the context of this statement, and understand what is included in this “obsolete covenant”, one needs to go back to at least the beginning of Hebrews chapter 7. This new covenant not only dispensed with the Levitical priesthood (and Tithing in my opinion….but that’s another topic entirely), but established an eternal priesthood which will never require replacement.
I believe the NT is clear that we (all born-again believers in Christ) are a royal and holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5 & 1 Peter 2:9), that each of us are priests (Rev 1:6), and the Christ himself is our eternal High Priest (Heb 7:24). There is no mention of a “middle ground”-level of priest termed a “ministerial priesthood” that I have found. Only believers at one level of the Kingdom, and Christ as its head.
As such, while there are certainly ministerial functionaries (elders and the like) that are essential to the body, I’m not certain we could (or should) classify these individuals in a unique strata of the Body of Christ.



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Michael

posted July 27, 2007 at 5:42 pm


GB,
You went to great lengths to mention an exhaustive list of what you believe to be “lost books of the Bible”, so it is clear that you do not view the Bible most Christian’s recognize as the full and complete word of God to be such. Concerning these books, you state that “…it is evident they are considered authentic and valuable…”. I can see that they are referenced as being authentic, and I can see that where they are referenced, the parts expounded upon are deemed to be valuable to us via the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the authors, but I don’t see how one can make the leap in logic that these books were “valuable” in their entirety. Certainly just because a thing is mentioned in the Bible does not, in and of itself, make it valuable in its entirety.
You later strengthened this by stating that “To these rather clear references to inspired writings…”. What indication do you have, other than the fact that these writings are mentioned in the Bible, that they were inspired, or even considered to be scripture?
You finalized your post by stating that “The foregoing items attest to the fact that our present Bible does not contain all of the word of the Lord that he gave to his people in former times, and remind us that the Bible, in its present form, is rather incomplete.” It’s interesting that in the writings of the Apostles, it is never mentioned that these “missing books” robbed us in any way of necessary revelation, although many of them (if not most of them) were “missing” at the time the Apostles penned their letters.
It is my personal belief that the scriptures as they stand are all we NEED to know from God in order to trust in Him, know Him to the extent required by Him, and obey Him.
I pray that you’ll be able to find peace and fulfillment in Jesus Christ through his revealed word as it is available to us today, and that the uncertainty in the completeness of God’s revealed word as we know it today that you believe exists will not prevent you from repenting of your sins (whatever they may be), and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior if you have not already done so.
Be blessed brother,
Michael



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rotorhead

posted July 27, 2007 at 6:10 pm


No one has yet shown me that the Bible, as we have it today, is infallible.
Why is it such a stretch to think God, who talked with His children in antiquity, can and does talk with His children today? Did he not care about the people of the America’s BEFORE Europeans brought them the “Bible”?
Come on…I think you so called “orthodox Christians” think way too highly of yourselves. God really is no respector of persons and will reveal Himself to all his children, because He loves them equally, with no exclusionary clause…



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Sulustu

posted July 27, 2007 at 7:19 pm


Daryl, I appreciate your response, but I’m still struggling to see your point. If we are truly saved by grace alone, what need does Christ have for orthodoxy? As I understand it, you’re telling me people are saved by grace BUT, they need “some level of orthodoxy.” How much orthodoxy? Who gets to decide? Even those who believe in the sole authority of scripture do not agree on many points. Who decides authoritatively which interpretations are correct? And if someone doesn’t share MY interpretation of scripture, will Christ damn them to hell?
Almost all churches and institutions, including the ones named as “orthodox” churches, experience a change in belief over time. The Southern Baptist Convention is a case in point, as they once believed the notion that God condones the enslavement of their our human beings. By your argument, couldn’t we then say the Southern Baptists were not truly Christians because they denied the fundamental scriptural command of Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves? I hate the idea of slavery, but even then I can’t say who among them was truly Christian.
I’m reminded of Luke chapter 18. The topic is somewhat different, but many of the underlying issues are similar. The Pharisees were also attached to notions of orthodoxy, and saw themselves within the grace of Almighty God because they believed all the right doctrines and correct practices. “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” The publican was an example of unorthodox living and belief. I sincerely doubt the publican knew anything about the Trinity, or “correct” doctrines, and yet he found grace simply by calling upon God with humility. The very next verse says, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Correct doctrines are all well and good, but I fear they too can become an obstacle to truly knowing God. For without charity we are nothing.
My brother, I don’t wish to attack you or your beliefs. If you feel you have obtained correct doctrine, then praise be to God. My request of you is simply this: that you not limit the saving power of Christ to those who conform to any particular notion of orthodoxy. I’ve known so many Mormons in my life, and some of them are just as arrogant as the Pharisees of scripture by holding rigidly to rituals or strange beliefs, but many others have been sincere followers of Christ. In my heart of hearts, I cannot believe Christ would turn away ANYONE who sincerely calls upon him, as the publican in Luke.
In my view, your are correct to say Mormonism falls outside traditional Christianity, but to suggest Mormons cannot know Christ is beyond my ability to accept. It doesn’t fit my experience of Mormons or of God. Mormonism may not guarantee salvation, but it doesn’t necessarily prevent it either. God is more powerful than our sense of orthodoxy or doctrinal correctness.



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Chief1989

posted July 27, 2007 at 7:21 pm


rotorhead,
1) Is the Bible infallible – it either is what it says it is, the inspired Word of God, or it is what the world says it is, a bunch of stories and myths dreamed up by men as a way of attaining and keeping whatever power and wealth that they could. Jesus said “you are either for me or against me; there is no middle ground.” Similarly, there is no middle ground here. If you believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God, you will do what it says and believe what it says. If you think it is incomplete, incorrectly translated, or corrupted (as both the Mormons and the Muslims believe), then it is totally robbed of it’s pwoer and there is room for men to come in and fill in the blanks with their own ‘gospel’. You can’t say “I follow the Bible, except here where it’s wrong, here where it contradicts itself, and here where it’s incorrectly translated.” If it is not totally, 100% the pure-D truth, then God is a liar and the Bible is good for nothing else than kindling. There is no middle ground. Jesus said of the Bible – sanctify them by your word; your word is truth. Also, whenever Jesus was faced with questions, He normally answered them with OT Scripture.
2) Does God still speak to and through people today. I don’t think anyone disagreed with you when you asked if God still speaks to people today. Of course He does. He speaks through visions, dreams, ministers of the Gospel, Sunday school teachers, et al, but most of all through His Spirit. That is undeniable. Where we are getting the waters muddied is are there prophets as of old on the earth today, and were the keys of the kingdom lost and then restored to John Smith. I will not get into a big juxtaposition on the validity of John Smith’s work and the veracity of the other Mormon scriptures. If anyone really wants to know if the BoM is truth, or about the Book of Abraham, there is plenty of info available from both Mormon and Christian sources for you to get the evidence, weigh the evidence, and make your own decisions. As for myself, I have studied these books, compared them against Holy Scripture, and found them wanting. That’s all I will say about that. The idea that Jesus, knowing that all of His apostles would soon die out, would not leave that authority in the hands of someone else is patently absurd. That would be almost assuring that the church, about which Jesus Himself said “the gates of hell will not overcome it”, would die out within 60 years of it’s inception. I do not believe that the Lord would leave His holy bride to founder about and not leave it in the hands of faithful servants. Early church history confirms that the church, indeed did go on, grow, and reach out to the lost even in the “dark ages.”
As for “God will speak to all of His children”, I do not find that Europeans, or Asians, or Eskimos, or South American Indians, or Australians have produced records that Jesus visited them also during the 400 years from Malachi to Matthew. Were they not as worthy as North American Indians to not have a visit, and not have someone over there get some golden tablets and laying on of hands from James, Peter, and John? The Lord Jesus has appeared in history one time, in the land of Palestine, and when He comes again every one will know what is happening and there will be no doubt. “You will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds in power and great glory.” That is the SECOND COMING, not the 3rd as it would be if the BoM were true.
As for prophets, we are in the final stages of church history, the fulness of the Gentiles. Those gifts, especially of tongues, prophesying, and healing, have been taken from the earth. Those gifts served to validate the Apostles’ message, that they were witnesses to the one and only Christ. Also, with the veil in the temple torn in two, the office of High Priest in the Aaronic line was completed, and that authority was transferred to every believer who worships the Lord in spirit and in truth.
We will of course disagree on those 2 points, and that is fine. As I said, each person must search these things out for himself. I have to go now, so my prayer is that everyone who reads this will earnestly seek His face. As James said, “Draw near to the Lord, and the Lord will draw near to you.”
Have a great weekend, and God Bless!



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GB

posted July 27, 2007 at 10:16 pm


Michael: . . . . Hebrews chapter 7. This new covenant not only dispensed with the Levitical priesthood (and Tithing in my opinion….but that’s another topic entirely), but established an eternal priesthood which will never require replacement.
GB: I don’t find anything in chapter 7 or 8 that indicates that the Levitical Priesthood was “dispensed with”. As I said earlier you are still failing to show that it was eliminated. The Bible says (Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.)
So the Aaronic Priesthood (with the office of Priest) continued in the Church of Jesus Christ after His resurrection and ascension.
One of the ministerial functions or saving ordinances that can be performed by the Aaronic Priesthood is the ordinance of Baptism; another one is the preaching of the Gospel. Jesus went to John the Baptist to be baptized. I think we can agree that John didn’t have the Melchizedek Priesthood, yet he was undoubtedly authorized to baptize. I think we can also agree that the ordinance of Baptism continued after the ascension of Jesus.
Another saving ordinance, available in His church was the Gift of the Holy Ghost (see John 20:22). The bestowal of the Gift of the Holy Ghost is a ministerial function of the Melchizedek Priesthood. Jesus ordained His Apostles to the Melchizedek Priesthood (see Mark 3:14 & John 15:16). Peter summarizes the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Acts 2:38 “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Obviously Faith although not mentioned here comes before repentance.)
Philip (chosen in Acts 6:5, and ordained in Acts 6:6) held the Aaronic Priesthood with other Priests (see Acts 6:7). While preaching the Gospel was instrumental in the conversion of several in Acts 8:12 “But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.”
But Philip not being authorized to bestow the Gift of the Holy Ghost sent word to the Apostles,
Acts 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
You might find the rest of the chapter 8 interesting.
Michael: I believe the NT is clear that we (all born-again believers in Christ) are a royal and holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5 & 1 Peter 2:9), that each of us are priests (Rev 1:6), and the Christ himself is our eternal High Priest (Heb 7:24).
GB: I believe that the Bible is clear that to receive the Priesthood (either Aaronic or Melchizedek) one must be called and ordained. Heb 5:4 “And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”
And how was Aaron called? God spoke to His prophet Moses and commanded him to call Aaron. Exodus 28:1 “AND take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.”
I also believe that the Priesthood is available to every worthy man in the true church of Jesus Christ. So in this sense I agree with you.
Michael: There is no mention of a “middle ground”-level of priest termed a “ministerial priesthood” that I have found.
GB: I was using the term “ministerial priesthood” in a generic sense.
Michael: Only believers at one level of the Kingdom, and Christ as its head.
GB: I think I can agree with that.
Michael: As such, while there are certainly ministerial functionaries (elders and the like) that are essential to the body, I’m not certain we could (or should) classify these individuals in a unique strata of the Body of Christ.
GB: I have presented a few cases of what I meant by “ministerial priesthood/functions” to help clarify my position. I find it interesting that the Bible doesn’t clearly define the functions of all of the different offices mentioned in it and yet the Apostles seemed to clearly understand and teach them.
Michael: You went to great lengths to mention an exhaustive list of what you believe to be “lost books of the Bible”, so it is clear that you do not view the Bible most Christian’s recognize as the full and complete word of God to be such. Concerning these books, you state that “…it is evident they are considered authentic and valuable…”. I can see that they are referenced as being authentic, and I can see that where they are referenced, the parts expounded upon are deemed to be valuable to us via the Holy Spirit’s guidance to the authors, but I don’t see how one can make the leap in logic that these books were “valuable” in their entirety.
GB: It is impossible to make such a judgment about their value (or lack thereof) without actually having and studying them. Clearly the current contents of the Bible are insufficient (either in volume or clarity) to unit the Christian world in doctrine and faith.
Michael: Certainly just because a thing is mentioned in the Bible does not, in and of itself, make it valuable in its entirety.
GB: I can agree with that. Yet how do we decide what is more valuable and what is less valuable without direction from God?
Michael: You later strengthened this by stating that “To these rather clear references to inspired writings…”. What indication do you have, other than the fact that these writings are mentioned in the Bible, that they were inspired, or even considered to be scripture?
GB: What indication do you have, other than the fact that these writings are not currently in the Bible, that they were not inspired, or not considered to be scripture?
Michael: You finalized your post by stating that “The foregoing items attest to the fact that our present Bible does not contain all of the word of the Lord that he gave to his people in former times, and remind us that the Bible, in its present form, is rather incomplete.” It’s interesting that in the writings of the Apostles, it is never mentioned that these “missing books” robbed us in any way of necessary revelation, although many of them (if not most of them) were “missing” at the time the Apostles penned their letters.
GB: Since the compilation of the Bible occurred at least 200 years after the disappearance of the last Apostle how would any of them know what was missing?
Michael: It is my personal belief that the scriptures as they stand are all we NEED to know from God in order to trust in Him, know Him to the extent required by Him, and obey Him.
GB: You of course are free to believe what you want. I disagree.
Michael: I pray that you’ll be able to find peace and fulfillment in Jesus Christ through his revealed word as it is available to us today,
GB: Thank you. I have already found peace and fulfillment. I also believe that God has revealed a lot more of His word than is currently found in the Bible. And since I believe in a living prophet, I believe that God continues to reveal more of His word in our day. I believe He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the His Kingdom.
Michael: and that the uncertainty in the completeness of God’s revealed word as we know it today that you believe exists
GB: I only said that the Bible didn’t contain all of Gods word, not that what we have available is insufficient for our current needs. You forget that we Mormons also have The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price which add greatly to our understand of the Kingdom of God.
Michael: and that the uncertainty . . . . will not prevent you from repenting of your sins (whatever they may be), and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior if you have not already done so.
GB: It hasn’t as my faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ isn’t based on the Bible but upon the witness of the Holy Ghost.
Michael: Be blessed brother,
GB: Thank you and right back at you.



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Arthur Sido

posted July 27, 2007 at 10:45 pm


Thank you Dr. Mohler for sticking to the question, and addressing the real issues despite Mr. Card’s attempts to confuse the issue at hand by chasing side issues.
As a former mormon who has been saved by the sovereign grace of God, I can attest that what Dr. Mohler states is true: the mormon “gospel” is not Gospel at all, but a false belief that leads not to salvation but destruction. In spite of the efforts of Mr. Card and other mormon apologists to confuse the issues, the differences between Christianity and mormonism could hardly be more stark. We cannot, as Mr. Card craves, refer to mormons as “non-traditional” Christians. We must point out that mormonism deviates from Biblical Christianity at every turn, declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them, call on them to repent and let God’s will be done.



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Daryl

posted July 27, 2007 at 11:15 pm


Sulustu,
Scripture teaches us that Jesus damns no one to hell. That issue is clearly settled already by our sin nature. Jesus has come to reverse the curse of sin: including the penalty, the power and eventually the very presence of sin.
(Jesus speaking) John 3:16-19 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
By God’s Grace, salvation is available, but only in Jesus Christ alone through faith in Him. Jesus again speaking clearly states, John 14:6 “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is the Person, Jesus Christ that saves.
Your relation of Luke 18 is interesting, however my understanding is a bit different.
The Pharisees, a new sect which had developed in the inter-testamental period, were attached to their oral customs,and strict adherence to the Law and rules which they had added to the Scripture.
Although well intended to assure obedience by the Israelites to God, their religious system was never in agreement with God’s Word. Salvation does not come through obedience to the Law. The Law was given for the knowledge of sin.
“The publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” The publican was not an example of unorthodox living and belief, he was a perfect example of what Scripture says God requires, the acknowledgement of sin, repentance and faith in His salvation.
What the Pharisees created outside of the Scripture left them totally blind to the Truth,even though He (the person Jesus) stood right before them. The Pharisees had made their Messiah someone other than who God’s Word said He was. They were anything but “orthodox.” Indeed, Jesus called them the children of Satan.
I do not believe the God revealed through Scripture is the same Person Islam calls Allah. Allah is revealed in their post-biblical special revelation known as the Koran. Islam may acknowledge Abraham, Jacob, Issac and Ishmael. It even recognize the person Moses and the person Jesus. Those individuals as revealed in the Koran are not the same revelation according to Scripture.
I do not believe there are many who would think of Islam as an unorthodox but acceptable form of Judeo-Christianity (especially Muslims). Nor would you find too many Christians who would believe true salvation is found Islam.
Simiarly, Mormons base their understanding and beliefs of the person of Jesus upon extra-Scriptural and special revelations. The Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus revealed through the Scripture.
Jesus will not turn anyone away who calls upon Him. But the question remains, “Who do you say that I am?” (Jesus). Who are you calling to for salvation?
Lest we forget Jesus’ own words:
” Many will say to me in that day; Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7: 22-23.
May God bless you as you journey. My prayer is that you come to know the real Jesus, the One found in God’s Word. Seek Him with all of your heart.



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rotorhead

posted July 28, 2007 at 12:13 am


Chief1989,
You seem an intelligent individual, albeit, blinded by your own religious zeal, something for which I don’t blame you personally. There is nothing so unsettling to the unillumined intellect and the sterile soul than to change…indeed, spiritual inertia is and has been the malady of millennia, a disease which feeds upon ignorance and is spread most effectively among the complacent. Those who rejected Jesus as the Christ during his earthly reign, did so while professing a great love for the scriptures and a loyalty to prophets of ages past.
By the way I believe his name was “Joseph Smith” not “John Smith.” But I suppose small details like this don’t matter to one who believes the transcribers of the Bible to be meticulously infallible.
Perhaps you have forgotten Christian history…let me highlight the situation in which YOU say the Bible came thru unscathed, unchanged and pure as if dictated in our day from God’s own lips…
Following the death and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ and the death of His apostles, the church floundered under constant assault by the Roman empire. It wasn’t until AD 306 when Emperor Constantine I became co-ruler that the seeds of Christendom were laid. He issued the Edict of Milan in 313 to order the government to stop the persecution of Christians, and convoked the First Council of Nicaea in 325 whose Nicene Creed included belief in “one holy catholic and apostolic Church”, possibly an interpretation of the Great Commission, see also Constantine I and Christianity. Christianity became the STATE RELIGION of the Empire in 392 when Theodosius I passed legislation prohibiting the practice of pagan religions (anything other than the STATE approved Christianity). The orthodox Church gradually became a defining institution of the Empire. (Are you seeing anything akin to separation of church and state here?).
As the Western Roman Empire disintegrated into smaller feudal kingdoms and principalities, the concept of Christendom became less defined in the West and the Eastern Romans, or Byzantines, came to see their nation as the last bastion of Christendom. The concept continued to have a tenuous existence in the West as the Church attempted to maintain and expand its following there. The vision would eventually take a radical turn with the rise of the Franks, a Germanic tribe that converted to the orthodox Christian faith and entered into communion with Rome. On Christmas day, AD 800, Pope Leo III made the fateful decision to switch his allegiance from the emperors in Constantinople and crowned Charlemagne, then the king of the Franks, as the emperor of what came to be known as the Holy Roman Empire. This empire created a competing definition of Christendom in contrast to the Byzantine Empire. The question of what constituted true Christendom would occupy political and religious leaders for centuries.
After the collapse of Charlemagne’s empire, the Holy Roman Empire became a collection of states loosely connected to the Holy See of Rome. Tensions between the Popes and secular rulers ran high, as the pontiffs attempted to exert control over their temporal counterparts and vice versa. The idea of Christendom in the West was already greatly discredited by the time of the Renaissance Popes because of the moral laxity of the pontiffs and their willingness to seek and rely on temporal power as secular rulers did.
In the East Christendom, by contrast, became increasingly well defined as Byzantine Empire over centuries gradually lost territory to Muslim invaders causing Christianity to become ever more important to Byzantine identity. Although even after the East-West Schism which divided the Church there had always been some vague notion of a universal Christendom that included the East and the West, this unity was finally destroyed by the Fourth Crusade in which Western Christian mercenaries conquered the Byzantine capital and set the Empire on a path to annihilation. Byzantine Christians would never again feel unity with their Western counterparts.
So…a few questions:
Who(m) might I ask was the keeper and protector of the Bible during this period when the world was propelled into the “dark ages” (it wasn’t called “dark” because of all the heavenly manifestations taking place)? The State? You can always trust the government.
When it was punishable by death to possess any form of holy writ, how did the Bible manage to slip thru unscathed? Surely it is not too much to suppose that those who have the blood of Saints on their hands might find it within their conscience to tamper with what the Apostles had written.
When and how did the Reformers (Protestants) get a hold of this inerrant doctrine of scripture and further how did they VERIFY that it was in fact the very “Original” word of God as given directly to the prophets of Millennia past?



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Sulustu

posted July 28, 2007 at 3:07 am


Well Daryl, I see I’ve gone from disagreeing with you to believing in false gods, at least in your mind. Since you already know the condition of my heart and my relationship to the Living God, I suppose there is no need for me to say any more. I simply thank you for your prayers and wish you well.
Goodbye.



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Paul

posted July 28, 2007 at 9:44 am


GB,
I’m afraid you don’t know what “priesthood of the believer” means. So let me tell you, it means that every believer has access to God through the Blood of Jesus Christ, without having to go through an earthly priest. We no longer have to have someone to speak to God on our behalf we can go straight to the source.
If you don’t believe in the priesthood of the believer how do you have confident access to God?



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rotorhead

posted July 28, 2007 at 11:43 am


Paul,
“Priesthood of the believer” sounds like a convenient excuse to do anything you want and who can question it…using your reasoning Charles Manson, could start his own “Christian” (because he claims an infallible bible interpretation) church, collect offerings and preach any twisted doctrine mingled with some truth and not you nor anyone else could challenge him based upon your definition of “priesthood of the believer”…
Oh, that’s right I forgot, the Protestant reformation did just that didn’t they…claim personal authority to act for God…wow, how presumptuously pious!!



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GB

posted July 28, 2007 at 1:24 pm


Paul: I’m afraid you don’t know what “priesthood of the believer” means.
GB: That is most likely true. After all it is a false doctrine dreamed up by Martin Luther to rationalize his claim of authority when he had none, and he based it on scripture that he had to wrest quite badly.
Paul: So let me tell you, it means that every believer has access to God through the Blood of Jesus Christ, without having to go through an earthly priest.
GB: And I disagree. Every person has access to the “Blood of Jesus Christ” by obedience to the laws and ordinances of His Gospel. You know; Faith, Repentance, Baptism (by immersion for the remission of sin) and the Gift of the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), by those who are in authority (have been called and ordained to the priesthood) to administer those ordinances.
Paul: We no longer have to have someone to speak to God on our behalf we can go straight to the source.
GB: That technically isn’t true. Jesus Christ is the Mediator between God, the Eternal Father and mankind. If you want Him to speak positively about you, I suggest that you obey all of His commandments and follow His Gospel.
Paul: If you don’t believe in the priesthood of the believer how do you have confident access to God?
GB: I have received those saving ordinances that I mentioned from authorized men. And I work daily to be obedient to all of His commandments and I repent as quickly as I can when I fall short.
BTW
Rotorhead,
Thanks for your support.



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Clare

posted July 28, 2007 at 9:04 pm


Mormans are not Christians – nontraditional or any other label. They have changed the scriptures dramatically. The Bible makes it clear it is not to be added to or have anything taken out of it. Well the Morman people have added their own Book of Morman and then some.
I was under the impression Jesus would not return to the earth until the second coming. They say He fratenized with Joseph Smith along with God himself, and I believe the third person in attendance was Abraham. I can’t quote a scripture but I seem to remembr that no man could look upon the face of God. Also, check into how the Arc Angels became some of the prophets, made into men like Noah and others.
I got a bit fightened after spending an afternoon listening to a few Morman church members. The conversation rang true of false religion, and I know how God feels about that.
The last point bothering me is why the debate keeps turning around to politics. It tells me they must be using religion for the purposes of governing. In true Christianity we do not use our religion for political reasons like getting the necessary attention to run a campaign.
There is only one kingdom, the kingdom of God, of which Jesus is King. This is the belief of true christians. Separation of church and state, give to Rome that which is Rome’s, and deliver unto God…



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rotorhead

posted July 28, 2007 at 9:40 pm


To Clare and Mrs Owens, (et al)
Both of your rantings that “Mormonism is a cult” and that “Mormans are not Christian” have become boring, dull and way over used…
You need to READ the blog if you are going to post to it and at least pretend you have an intellect. Your laziness is blocking any opportunities for you to learn something. But, you are both classic examples of the spiritual inertia of millennia past…a disease which feeds upon ones own ignorance and is spread most effectively among the complacent. I apologize for being so blunt, but you are exactly like those who rejected Jesus as the Christ during his earthly reign, while at the same time professing a great love for the scriptures and a loyalty to prophets of ages past.
Time to awake from your spiritual slumber, stretch your minds a little and and write something new and worth reading…and please, at least learn how to spell Mormons correctly!!



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kyle

posted July 28, 2007 at 11:23 pm


“I do not believe that Mormonism leads to salvation. To the contrary, I believe that it is a false gospel that, however sincere and kind its adherents may be, leads to eternal death rather than to eternal life.”
What kind of draconian god does Dr. Mohler worship? The belief that God only saves those who were lucky enough to be born into or guess the right religion is completely abhorrent to me. If what Dr. Mohler implies is true than most of the people who have every inhabited the earth will go to Hell, not because they were bad people, but because they did not get the opportunity to accept Christ or just simply misunderstood Christ’s nature. Is God so sadistic that he went to all the trouble of creating us, then allowing most of us to be fooled, just so he could watch us suffer for all eternity? Keep in mind that if we are now requiring not only acceptance of Christ, but also a perfect understanding of his nature and perfectly correct doctrine for salvation than all of us are in trouble, not just the Mormons, since none of us can aspire to this. Although I am a Christian, I’m starting to think that I don’t worship the same God as Dr. Mohler either.



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Paul

posted July 29, 2007 at 9:50 am


GB,
This is why I believe in the priesthood of the believer.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Verse 9 “But you are… a royal priesthood” The point here is first that you have immediate access to God—you don’t need another human priest as a mediator. God himself provided the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. You have direct access to God, through God. And, second, you have an exalted, active role in God’s presence. You are not chosen just to fritter away your time doing nothing. You are called now to minister in the presence of God. All your life is priestly service. You are never out of God’s presence. You are never in a neutral zone. You are always in the court of the temple. And your life is either a spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1–2), or it is out of character.



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rotorhead

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:38 am


Paul,
Do you even know what is meant by Priesthood?
A “Priest” in its most common definition refers to a clergyman in Christian churches who has the authority to perform or administer various religious rites; one of the Holy Orders…, this in itself sets a Priest apart from the body of believers.
And “-hood” is a native English suffix denoting state, condition, character, nature, etc., or a body of persons of a particular character or class, formerly used in the formation of nouns: childhood; likelihood; knighthood; Neighborhood and Brotherhood.
Put together Priesthood is literally a body of persons who have ‘special ordained authority’ to perform or administer in ‘holy’ and sacred ordinances. A “Brotherhood of Priests” if you will.
The scripture you mis-quote, gives clear understanding that Peter recognized this God-given authority and was addressing a body of priesthood members, not just those who believed, and was giving further instruction as to their duties…
Can you imagine a gathering of law enforcement officers (duly authorized to enforce the laws) receiving instruction in their legal authority by their leadership, having those instructions written down and then for someone to get a copy and assume the right to enforce those instructions simply because they had good intentions, felt that law enforcement was under-represented, and fully believed in the enforcement of laws? How would the magistrate look upon those good intentions?
Can you imagine God’s sacred instructions given to His duly appointed representatives, falling into unauthorized hands only to have them act on their own, and start performing ‘sacred acts and rites’ in His Holy name, without His permission (Priesthood), despite good intentions.
You presume authority where none is given.



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Paul

posted July 29, 2007 at 3:25 pm


This is going to be quite long so bear with me,
Concerning priesthood,
Let’s ask what relevance this has for us. Who are the priests today? Or are there any? The New Testament never uses the term priest to describe a pastor or elder in the church. There is no official priesthood in the New Testament church. The reason for this is very clear: Jesus Christ himself has become a permanent priest for us and the Old Testament priesthood is now obsolete. Hebrews 7:23–25,
“The priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them”.
Christ is now the one and only priest between us and God. The reason for this is that his sacrifice was final and his life is indestructible (7:16).
“When Christ appeared as a high priest . . . he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption”. (Hebrews 9:11–12)
So the Old Testament priesthood is replaced once and for all by the priestly ministry of Jesus—the offering of himself as the final sacrifice for sin, and the interceding for us today in heaven. There is no official priesthood in the New Testament church.
Minimizing the Once-for-All Sacrifice of Christ
Therefore wherever you find today an emphasis on the priesthood of the clergy, there you also find minimizing of the once-for-allness of the sacrifice of Christ. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church the official priesthood is extremely important because the mass is a real sacrifice. The bread and cup are really transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ and are offered up to God for the forgiveness of sins. This repeated sacrifice in the church necessitated an official priesthood to administer the sacrifices just like the Old Testament had an official priesthood to offer the animal sacrifices.
But both the mass and the clerical priesthood minimize and distort the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The truth is lost or minimized that there are no more sacrifices for sin; the death of Christ once for all is sufficient to forgive all who believe; and that’s why there is no more official priesthood in the New Testament; the priestly offering of sacrifices is done. Christ ended it.
The Whole Church as a Holy Priesthood
Instead, Peter calls the whole church a “holy priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5) and a “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9); and John says that Christ made the whole church a kingdom, priests to his God and Father (Revelation 1:6). This means that Christ has opened the way for all of us to come directly to God through him. We do not need any human mediator. We can walk with Christ—our high priest—right into the Holiest Place where God dwells and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
So there is no official priesthood in the New Testament church. No church leaders are called priests because of their office in the church. But this raises the question: Were there other duties that priests had in the Old Testament besides offering sacrifices for the sake of the people—duties that may indeed be continued in the New Testament?
The Priestly Duty of Teaching and Guiding
The answer is a clear yes. Notice Malachi 2:7, “For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and men should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”
In other words the priests were teachers. This part of their ministry is continued in the church of the New Testament. Ephesians 4:11 says that Christ gave to the church some pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. First Timothy says that there are to be overseers who are able in teaching (3:2), and that some elders in the church are to labor in preaching and teaching (5:17; cf. Titus 1:9).
So this part of the priests’ duties in Israel is continued in the elders of the New Testament church—they are responsible to teach and guide the church. But they are never called “priests,” because that would imply too much likeness to the Old Testament office. Pastors do not offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins—not in the mass or any other way. We do not offer people Jesus Christ in the mass, we point people to the finished, all-sufficient work of the cross and directly to the living, interceding Jesus Christ, by the Word of God. We are teachers and preachers above all else.



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GB

posted July 29, 2007 at 3:53 pm


Paul: This is why I believe in the priesthood of the believer.
GB: You are free to believe anything you want regardless of its truthfulness.
Paul: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Verse 9 “But you are… a royal priesthood”
GB: And yet, nowhere in those versus does the phrase “the priesthood of the believer” (or anything like it) show up. Nowhere in those versus does it indicate that no ordination or authority (priesthood) from God is required.
Paul: The point here is first that you have immediate access to God—you don’t need another human priest as a mediator. God himself provided the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. You have direct access to God, through God.
GB: So then you agree with me that Jesus Christ is the Mediator. If you want Him to speak positively about you to God the Eternal Father, I suggest that you obey all of His commandments and follow His Gospel.
Paul: And, second, you have an exalted, active role in God’s presence. You are not chosen just to fritter away your time doing nothing. You are called now to minister in the presence of God. All your life is priestly service. You are never out of God’s presence. You are never in a neutral zone. You are always in the court of the temple. And your life is either a spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1–2), or it is out of character.
GB: It is entirely unclear to me what you mean by those statements. Can you provide Bible references?
Romans 12:1 I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Nothing in there about talks about “You are called now to minister in the presence of God” or “All your life is priestly service” or “You are never out of God’s presence” or “You are never in a neutral zone” or “You are always in the court of the temple”.
It does mention “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” That does relate to obeying His commandments and following His Gospel.
So far your argument for “the priesthood of the believer” is without foundation. But you are certainly free to continue to believe in an extra Biblical doctrine.
BTW
Rotorhead
Again thanks for your support. And ditto to what you said.



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rotorhead

posted July 29, 2007 at 5:24 pm


Paul,
You confuse offices (differing functions) within the Priesthood as being the same as Priesthood.
I don’t like to “Bible bash” because I know for every scripture to support my position there is one to counter it (supporting my position that the Bible is fallible, incomplete and today being subject to “private interpretation”). You say in so many words there is no need of “Priests”, and that the Old Testament is no longer valid. If so, then why did Jesus Christ quote from it so much? Or maybe you meant just some of the Old Testament is obsolete…?
Ephesians 4: 11-12 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we ALL come in the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man…” Has that happened? If so, then we have no need of a church, teachers, pastors, prophets or even scriptures since we’ve “Arrived”.
I say you are honestly wrong, misguided and using a subtle, tricky, superficially plausible, but generally fallacious method of reasoning.



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Paul

posted July 29, 2007 at 6:15 pm


Rotorhead
I only said that the Old Testament priesthood is obsolete not the Old Testament itself



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rotorhead

posted July 29, 2007 at 6:41 pm


Paul,
I suppose your statement that “the Old Testament priesthood is obsolete” is as biblical as “the rapture”; both convenient phrases unique to modern day Christiandom with no foundation, even in your infallible bible.
So I guess it’s ok to make things up so long as you are in the mainstream of so called “accepted” Christianity?
For some odd reason, I thought God was the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever…I guess yesterday meant only as far back as New Testament times.
Come on, Why would God talk through Prophets in the Old Testament and then all of a sudden STOP? Did Jesus’ coming to earth negate the need for further communication with God because someone wrote every truth God wanted us to know down? Do you believe that the “common” folks prior to Christ could never receive answers to prayers, but instead had to seek out a prophet? Help me understand this illogical reasoning. Either the Bible is infallible or it isn’t. And if it isn’t, doesn’t mean it’s not valuable, truthful and inspiring…just incomplete.



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GB

posted July 29, 2007 at 7:05 pm


To keep the length down I will pick and choose things to respond to.
Paul: The New Testament never uses the term priest to describe a pastor or elder in the church.
GB: That seems obvious. Pastors and Elders are called Pastors and Elders.
Paul: There is no official priesthood in the New Testament church.
GB: Except you can’t prove that.
Paul: The reason for this is very clear: Jesus Christ himself has become a permanent priest for us and the Old Testament priesthood is now obsolete. Hebrews 7:23–25,
GB: Well let’s see Hebrews 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death:
24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.
25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Nothing in there about “Old Testament priesthood” or that it (what ever it is) “is now obsolete”. You really should stop reading things into the scriptures that aren’t there.
Mark 3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:
John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
And what did he ordain them to if it wasn’t the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek?
Matt 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
If that isn’t the authority to act in God’s name I don’t know what is. And the priesthood is the authority to act in God’s name.
Paul: Christ is now the one and only priest between us and God. The reason for this is that his sacrifice was final and his life is indestructible (7:16).
GB: Hebrews 7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
Nothing in there about “one and only” or “priest between us and God”. It is true that Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice by the shedding of blood, but that didn’t necessarily eliminate all offerings.
Soon after Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden, the Lord gave them the law of sacrifices, which included offering the firstlings of their flocks in a similitude of the sacrifice that would be made of the Only Begotten Son of God. Thereafter, whenever there were true believers on the earth, with priesthood authority, sacrifices were offered in that manner and for that purpose. This continued until the death of Jesus Christ, which ended the shedding of blood as a gospel ordinance. It was then replaced in the Church by the sacrament of the bread and the cup, in remembrance of the offering of Jesus Christ.
John 6:53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
But then we have this; Hebrews 5:1 FOR every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:
The verbs “taken”, “is” and “offer” in this sentence indicate that the ordaining of “high priests” is an on going occurrence in the New Testament church. This blows away your “one and only” assertion.
Hebrews 5:3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.
Obviously he is talking about men because Christ wouldn’t need to make an offering for His own sins.
Hebrews 5:4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
Again “is called” indicates present and future occurrences.
Paul: So the Old Testament priesthood is replaced once and for all by the priestly ministry of Jesus—the offering of himself as the final sacrifice for sin, and the interceding for us today in heaven. There is no official priesthood in the New Testament church.
GB: Again you are reading things into the scriptures that aren’t there.
Paul: Therefore wherever you find today an emphasis on the priesthood of the clergy, there you also find minimizing of the once-for-allness of the sacrifice of Christ. . . . But both the mass and the clerical priesthood minimize and distort the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. The truth is lost or minimized that there are no more sacrifices for sin; the death of Christ once for all is sufficient to forgive all who believe; and that’s why there is no more official priesthood in the New Testament; the priestly offering of sacrifices is done. Christ ended it.
GB: That is your opinion. And I disagree.
Paul: Ephesians 4:11 says that Christ gave to the church some pastors and teachers to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
GB: Well let’s quote it in context. Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 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:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
So the true Church of Jesus Christ is to have Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Does your church have them? And why did these ordained offices exist? Answer; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: So the ministerial function of the priesthood continued.
How long were these offices to exist? Answer; 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:
Now I ask you, are we “in the unity of the faith”? No. So we still need Apostles, prophets, etc.
Paul: But they are never called “priests,” because that would imply too much likeness to the Old Testament office.
GB: You are making an assertion about something you can’t possible know.
Paul: We are teachers and preachers above all else.
GB: And who ordained you and where did they get their authority?



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Paul

posted July 29, 2007 at 9:39 pm


GB,
I believe in as Luther would say SOLA Scriptura, Scripture alone, which is not meant to say that there is no other religious authority, but that there is no higher religious authority
I also believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture or complete inerrancy of the Bible: As Luther said “It is impossible that Scripture should contradict itself; it only appears so to senseless and obstinate hypocrites”.
What do you believe about the Bible?



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Paul

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:03 pm


Rotorhead
You said “For some odd reason, I thought God was the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever…I guess yesterday meant only as far back as New Testament times”.
God Himself does not change only His methods do. We see this throughout the Scripture, in the Old Testament God spoke primarily through the prophets. In the New Testament, first God spoke in Human form meaning Jesus Christ, then second through His Word meaning “The Bible.” God’s Word is the standard by which all other things are judged whether they are true or not. Does What we say agree with Scripture?
If the Bible is fallible as you say how you possibly believe it to be true?



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rotorhead

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:52 pm


Paul,
Thanks for the question.
I think you like so many have drifted away from worshiping the One and only True God to worshiping the Bible!
Yes, I believe the Bible is fallible…it makes no claim to infallibility, or to having been supernaturally dictated letter by letter, or to everything in it being of equal worth, or to the infallibility of its prophets, or to having all necessary answers, or to its being the composite of ALL revelation. The Bible makes no announcement as to what books were to be contained within it, nor does it contain a definition of what scripture is or give any suggested safeguards or warnings to protect us against grievous mistranslations.
Today, we have almost numberless variations of Bible texts, the current New Testament alone being a reconstruction of over five thousand separate texts, no two of which are exactly the same. The spirit of revelation, NOT the Bible, was the constitution of the church Christ organized. The life-giving force of that church was the Holy Ghost, not twenty-seven books known to us as the New Testament that were not even agreed upon until the end of the fourth century, nor translated into English until 1535, out of “Douche” (i.e. German) and Latin.
Here is just one example of an obvious mistranslation:
Genesis 6:6 KJV “And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Tell me how an all knowing, sinless God would ever need to repent?
Does this mean it is all false? Of course not! But to claim for the Bible what it does not claim for itself is to misuse the Bible. The purpose and spirit of the Bible is to OPEN the heavens, not seal them.



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Chief1989

posted July 29, 2007 at 11:54 pm


This issue will not be settled by us, and probably not in our lifetimes. I only have a couple of points to make, and then I am going to bow out of this discussion:
1) As for the infallibility of the Bible – In Jesus’ day, they had the Old Testament pretty much in it’s entirety. The only canon to sort out was what was to be included in the NT. Paul says in I Tim that “all Scripture is God-breathed”, and we know that understanding of Scripture only comes from the Holy Spirit. Was the canon put together by mere men? Yes, but under the Spirit’s direction. I don’t think God would go to the trouble of inspiring these men to write and then allow it to be usurped and corrupted. If He did, then He really is not God at all. How big does God have to be to make sure all of the elements in the Scriptures are His word and not someone else’s? Can He directly intervene into history or not? To say that the councils and emperors and such played loose and free with the canon of Scripture is to say that God really didn’t have control of the situation, in which case He is not worthy to be worshipped as God.
2) Infallibility of Mormon scriptures – we have already had some discussion of this. To people who study things like this, approx 1/3 of the BoM passages were copied straight from the Bible. The other 2/3 are “fillers” from the golden tablets. 3 men signed documents saying that they saw Joseph get the tablets, but they recanted just before they died. And no one knows where the tablets went. Also, the Book of Abraham, supposedly translated by Joseph Smith from a ‘reformed’ Egyptian document, was found in 1967 to be excerpts from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a wholly pagan book. And in-depth study into the texts of Doctrines & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, the other Mormon main scripture references, reveals numerous times when they contradict the BoM and each other. Also, as has already been said before on this thread and bears repeating, the BoM is not corraborated by any external documentation or archaelogical finds. No one has ever found one piece of paper, one book, one plate or cup or basilisk or clay jar or scroll that indicates any of the peoples named in the BoM ever existed. And believe me, Mormon scholars have looked for the past 120 years to try and find some evidence. Plenty of evidences have been found naming people, places, and events named in the Bible. Again, NOT ONE HAS EVER BEEN FOUND that names a person, tribe, or place listed in the BoM. No credible archaelogist outside of the LDS church believes that the BoM has any New World archaelogical value. The BoM has also undergone almost 4,000 changes to its text since 1830, and this is the book that Joseph Smith bragged was the “most correct of any book on earth.” I think not.
Here are some unique teachings of Joseph Smith:
GOD WAS NOT ALWAYS GOD
“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345; also cited in Gospel Principles, p.305).
In contrast to this, Psalm 90:2 states, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you have formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.”
———————
GOD HAD A BODY OF FLESH AND BONES
Smith teaches:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret, if the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345. Also cited in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p.129).
The Doctrines of Covenants, considered to be scripture by Latter-day Saints, teaches, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (130:22).
Jesus taught that God the Father was not a man at all. In fact, John 4:24 records Jesus saying, “God is spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”
——————–
HUMANS CAN BECOME GODS THEMSELVES
According to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism,
“Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term ‘godhood’ denotes the attainment of such a state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is” (2:553).
Brigham Young declared,
“The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself; when we have been proved in our present capacity, and been faithful with all things He puts into our possession. We are created, we are born for the express purpose of growing up from the low estate of manhood, to become Gods like unto our Father in heaven. That is the truth about it, just as it is” (Brigham Young, August 8, 1852, Journal of Discourses 3:93).
Historically, such a notion has been considered blasphemous by Christians. Never have Christians taught that mankind has the capacity to become ontologically like God. As God Himself said through the prophet Isaiah, “Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isaiah 43:10).
——————–
JESUS AND LUCIFER WERE SPIRIT BROTHERS
12th Mormon President Spencer W. Kimball wrote,
“Long before you were born a program was developed by your creators … The principal personalities in this great drama were a Father Elohim, perfect in wisdom, judgment, and person, and two sons, Lucifer and Jehovah.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 32-33).
Since The New Testament claims that it was through Jesus all things were created (John 1:3; Colossian 1:16, 17), it is difficult to assume such a familial relationship. Lucifer is described as an angel and angels, according to Psalm 148:1-5, are created beings, not pro-created beings in a sexual sense.
———————–
GOD IS ONLY ONE OF MANY GODS IN THE UNIVERSE
Joseph Smith said, “I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the elders for fifteen years” (Discourses of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.35).
Brigham Young, the second president of the LDS Church, once stated,
“How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity. You cannot comprehend this; but when you can, it will be to you a matter of great consolation” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 7:334, October 8, 1859).
However, Isaiah 44:6,8 tells us that the God of the Bible knows of no other Gods. “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God…Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.”
————————-
CHRISTIANS ARE SAVED BY WORKS PLUS FAITH, NOT GRACE THROUGH FAITH
The Book of Mormon teaches in 2 Nephi 25:23, “For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
President Spencer W. Kimball said,
“One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation” (12th Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p.206; also cited in The Book of Mormon Student Manual, religion 121 and 122, 1996, p.36).
Though Christians are saved “unto good works” (Ephesians 2:10), the good works of a Christians do not justify (or make right) the believer before God. The apostle Paul made this very clear when he wrote, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
———————-
THE APOSTLE JOHN IS STILL ALIVE TODAY
Doctrine and Covenants 7:1-3 states,
“AND the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you. And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee. And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people”
BYU Professor Robert Millet noted that not only was the Apostle John still alive, but that “Three “Nephites” mentioned in the Book of Mormon were also living today in a translated state.
“We know from the Book of Mormon (see 3 Nephi 28:6) and from modern revelation (see D&C 7) that John was translated-changed to a terrestrial state so as to no longer be subject to the effects of the Fall, including physical suffering, bodily decay, and death. Like the three Nephites, he is still ministering among the peoples of the earth and will do so until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, at which time he and they will be changed from mortality to immortality (see 3 Nephi 28:8, 27-30)” (Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series, p.85).
Jesus never made such a promise. Clearly such a conclusion is based on a misunderstanding that the Gospel of John corrects in John 21:22, 23.
——————
And here is a teaching of the LDS that we have not heard on this board:
MANKIND MUST BELIEVE JOSEPH SMITH WAS A PROPHET TO GET INTO HEAVEN
“There is no greater prophet in any dispensation than Joseph Smith… Joseph Smith was a prophet, and all the calumny and aspirations to the contrary cannot controvert that fact. Anyone who has concern for the welfare of his eternal soul should give attention to this message. Every man who has lived since the days of Joseph Smith is subject to accepting him as a prophet of God in order to enter into our Heavenly father’s presence” (A. Theodore Tuttle, “Joseph Smith re-established fullness of true gospel, Church,” Church News, March 17, 2001, p.14).
This concurs with what Brigham Young said in 1859:
“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” (Brigham Young, October 9, 1859, Journal of Discourses 7:289).
Clearly, these are not teachings that are consistent or compatible with the Christian faith.
3) Priestly authority – I will only say this once more; to be in the line for the AARONIC PRIESTHOOD, you have to be Jewish and of the TRIBE OF LEVI. A LEVITE COULD NOT TRANSFER THIS AUTHORITY TO ANYONE OUTSIDE OF HIS TRIBE. Therefore, even if Peter, James, and John visited Joseph Smith, it would be impossible for them to give him the keys to the priesthood authority. If they had come back to earth to do that, they would have gone to a Jewish settlement and conferred that authority on someone who could trace their line back to the Levites, and not someone from Palmyra, NY. And they certainly did not come back to transfer the Melchisadek priesthood, because only Christ can fulfill that role. When the temple veil was torn in two, laying bare the Holy of Holies, the need for an intercessor priest was DONE AWAY WITH. We now have a mediator who sits at the right hand of God, the man Christ Jesus. He fulfills all of the duties of the high priest.
4) Apostles on the earth – the title apostle was given to those who had actually seen Jesus in the flesh. The Twelve who were with Jesus, and then the Apostle Paul, who saw Him face to face on the road to Damascus. After John died, the last living apostle, the apostles were NO MORE. I believe that Joseph Smith indeed had an encounter with some beings, but they were definitely not God the Father and Jesus the Son. Paul tells us in Corinthians that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light”, and is able to deceive many. Someone asked the question earlier about why God would go to the trouble of creating us and then ‘allow us to be fooled, just so he could watch us suffer for all eternity?’ That was not His purpose, but He did give us free will, and we are free to believe what we will. I believe that He sends situations and people into our lives to get our attention and try to lead us to the truth, but in the end we must choose what we follow and what we allow to rule in our lives. In Matt 24 Jesus says at the end times the deception of false prophets will be so great as to deceive even the elect, if that were possible. Paul tells the elders at the church at Ephesus that ravening wolves will come upon them, some from even their own congregation, as soon as he leaves them. Do you realize that about 1/3 of the NT epistles warn about false prophets, false teaching, and falling away from the faith? That is why Peter cautions us to be self-controlled and alert, “for your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” The apostles are GONE; what is left are believers who are gifted by the Holy Spirit to carry the church forward until Christ comes again.
5) Our position in heaven – There are 4 possibilities, as I see it. Either Christianity and Mormonism are both right, or one is right and the other wrong, or they are both wrong. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” That is truth, so I will throw out the last possibility of both being wrong. As we have discussed on here ad nauseum, on the surface LDS and Christianity share some similarities, but get into the deep core doctrines and they are fairly far apart. The things I discussed above on unique Mormon doctrines shows that the two faiths are not similar, but in fact are very divergent in their theology. Therefore, as 2 opposing truths can’t both logically be true, we can throw out that they are both right. That leaves 2 possibilities: Mormonism is right and Christianity is wrong, or vice versa.
Now as I understand it, Mormons believe in 3 heavens – the Celestial, Terrestrial, and Telestial. Only Mormons in good standing in the LDS church can reach the Celestial heaven, and the highest of the three levels, there to be with their family forever (until the sons and daughters go off to their respective planets, anyway), and it is there that the Father, Son, and Spirit reside. Admittedly, however, many Mormons living today will not be able to reach this level because they do not have valid temple recommends. Christians, however, still come off pretty good in this scenario, as good people with good morals and sincere hearts should be able to make it up to the second heaven, the Telestial heaven. God does not live there, but the presence of the Son is evident at this level. So we are still in relative paradise. So for the first option, that Mormonism is right, both Mormons and Christians win and get to spend eternity in paradise, albeit on different levels, and no one has much to lose.
If, however, Christianity is right and Mormonism is wrong, then it becomes evident that one party has everything to lose. The reward for true believers in Christ is eternity with Him in heaven. For those who don’t believe, however, their destiny is to spend eternity in separation from God, consigned to the lake of fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels. Rev 21 states that everyone’s name who was not found in the Lamb’s Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire – that is the second death. So for this scenario, the Christian has everything to gain and the Mormon has everything to lose. In effect, too many Mormons risk losing an eternal existence with God simply because they have blindly based their eternal destinies upon the reputation of Joseph Smith. Too few Mormons have done adequate research into the possibility that they might be wrong. I urge you to read these things and decide who are you going to trust for your eternal destiny – the Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the Bible, or the false Jesus revealed by Joseph Smith? The facts and research are all there, and my prayer is that every person who takes the time to read through my post would examine him or herself and seek the truth.
That may seem a little harsh, but look at Noah’s ark for an analogy – it was a boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 35 feet tall, yet it possessed only one door. One huge vessel, but only one way of getting in. That is just like heaven; it is huge, and “in my father’s mansion are many rooms,” but there is just one door, the Lord Jesus Christ. Make sure you enter by the right door.
Peace



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 12:12 am


rotorhead,
If you look up the word “repent” in Webster’s, the second definition means to 2A to feel regret or contrition, 2B to change one’s mind.
Therefore, the word ‘repented’ as used in Gen 6:6 in the KJV does not mean that God had to turn from His sin, but that he felt regret at having made man because of all of the wickedness going on. So there is no contradiction or mistake there.
And yes, the life-giving force for the early church, and for the church now, continues to be the Spirit. But what was the church doing? Devoting themselves to the Apostle’s teaching, breaking bread together, and praying. What were the Apostle’s teaching them? Acts 8: 26-35 gives us the answer:
26Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a]eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. 29The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”
30Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.
31″How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
32The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before the shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
33In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”[b]
34The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” 35Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
THEN PHILIP BEGAN WITH THAT VERY PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE AND TOLD HIM THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT JESUS.
I hope that clears it up for you.



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Paul

posted July 30, 2007 at 5:28 am


Rotorhead
Genesis 6:6 is not a mistranslation. But a misunderstanding about how we view God if we do not seek to understand the Bible properly
This will be my last post I think
God Does Not Repent Like a Man
After Saul disobeys Samuel, God says, “I regret [= repent] that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not carried out My commands” (1 Samuel 15:11). Some have argued that since God “repents” of things he has done, therefore he could not have foreseen what was coming. Else why would he repent or regret, if he knew in advance the consequence of his decision?
However, this is not a compelling argument against God’s foreknowledge. First of all, the argument assumes that God could not, or would not, lament over a state of affairs he himself chose to bring about. That not true to human experience; and more importantly, God’s heart is capable of complex combinations of emotions infinitely more remarkable that ours. He may well be capable of lamenting over something he chose to bring about.
Not only that, God may also be capable of looking back on the very act of bringing something about and lamenting that act in one regard, while affirming it as best in another regard. For example, if I spank my son for blatant disobedience and he runs away from home because I spanked him, I may feel some remorse over the spanking – not in the sense that I disapprove of what I did, but in the sense that I feel some sorrow that spanking was a necessary part of a wise way of dealing with this situation, and that it led to his running away. If I had it to do over again, I would still spank him. It was the right thing to do. Even knowing that one consequence would be alienation for a season, I approve the spanking, and at the same time regret the spanking. If such a combination of emotions can accompany my own decisions, it is not hard to imagine that God’s infinite mind may be capable of something similar.
Now the question is: Does the Bible teach that God laments some of his decisions in the sense that I have described above (which does not imply that He is ignorant of their future consequences), or does the Bible teach that God laments some of his decisions because he did not see what was coming?
The answer is given later in 1 Samuel 15. After God says in verse 11, “I repent that I have made Saul king,” Samuel says in verse 29, as if to clarify, “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent” (KJV). The point of this verse seems to be that, even though there is a sense in which God does repent (verse 11), there is another sense in which he does not repent (verse 29). The difference would naturally be that God’s repentance happens in spite of perfect foreknowledge, while most human repentance happens because we lack foreknowledge. God’s way of “repenting” is unique to God: “God is not a man that he should repent” (the way a man repents in his ignorance of the future).
For God to say, “I feel sorrow that I made Saul king,” is not the same as saying, “I would not make him king if I had it to do over.” God is able to feel sorrow for an act in view of foreknown evil and pain, and yet go ahead and will to do it for wise reasons. And so later, when he looks back on the act, he can feel the sorrow for the act that was leading to the sad conditions, such as Saul’s disobedience.
Hence we have our precious fighter verse in Numbers 23:19 – “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” I say it is precious, because here God’s commitment to his promises hangs on his not repenting like a man. In other words, God’s promises are not in jeopardy, because God can foresee all circumstances, he knows that nothing will occur that will cause him to take them back.
Resting in the confidence of God’s all-knowing promises,



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Bob Turlington

posted July 30, 2007 at 6:25 am


Dear Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
My name is Bob Turlington. I read your info on the Mormons(LDS). I believe they are a false group too. Being an born-again evangelist I deal with such groups all the time. I hear the same thing all the time, the Bible is corrupt and now we have the truth. The BOM is a joke. First I ask Mormons which version do they have? the Re-organised Church has the 1830 version. the Mormons on bikes have the much over-hauled one. Secondly, which Mormon church? There is over 200 types in the USA hiding practicing polyogamy.
The next big issue and this is the key is who is Jesus? Every group outside of Christianity does not believe he is God in the flesh. Even the SDAs they believe he is Michael the Archangel like JWs.
In short, the LDS have no ground to stand on. They are not Christian they are really New Age and I think Paul said it right in Gal 1:8.
Bob Turlington
ps I believe the Bible is infallible in the ORIGINAL LANGUAGES. All today’s translations are what they are translations. That is why we study the Greek and Hebrew.



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:52 am


Well, I must say it has been…interesting! Since God is not the author of confusion…then one must conclude by all this difference that someone else is.
I appreciate everyone’s points of view, albeit, Chief1989 has his Mormon facts really screwed up, indicating he is simply parroting some “Anti-mormon” literature whose authors skewed and twisted facts. Had he checked the original sources, he would easily have seen that all this fallacious slander against the Mormons has already been addressed. This of course negates any credibility that he might have otherwise had and I would otherwise have considered his points of view.
As for Paul, at least he seemed honest in his posting, although sorely misguided in his reasoning, but alas, what a great time we live to even be able to discuss religion this way…
I wish you all well and ultimately if not before, certainly at the ‘bar of God’ we will finally know the whole truth and nothing but the truth…stay well.
deep regards



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 12:34 pm


To Bob Turlington (self-proclaimed harbinger of all truth),
You say “the BOM, (and I assume you mean Book of Mormon) is a joke.”
By “Joke” did you mean, wisecrack, gag, jape, prank, quip, quirk, sally, raillery, or jest as something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement, as a witticism, a short and amusing anecdote, or a prankish act? Or did I mis-translate your meaning?
I want to be clear here and talk in the ORIGINAL LANGUAGE so there is no misunderstanding of your intent to ridicule, mock, twit, deride, or make fun of in any unkind, jeering way another persons faith or belief system.
Oh by the way, is it biblical (orthodox Christian) to “Joke” another’s religious beliefs…? Maybe you better review what “born-again” means ’cause that’s NOT how the Jesus Christ I worship acts.



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 1:13 pm


rotorhead,
The only interest that I have in this thread is to come to an understanding of the truth. That is it. I am not here to bash one religion or another, and I am not here to promulgate false information just to prove my point. However, as a Christian I am called to encourage others with sound doctrine and refute unsound doctrine, those teachings that may lead people astray and cost them an opportunity to inherit eternal life.
I do not doubt for a moment that you are a good person, that you are sincere in your beliefs, and that you believe what you believe with passion. It is also evident that you are intelligent and very well-written, and you have laid out your talking points clearly. However, the Bible makes clear that sincerity, good intentions, and the best efforts to keep the law do not lead to salvation, and that is the message that I want to resound on this board. I also am very thankful that we can come on a forum like this and exchange ideas. The wonderful thing about Christianity is that it is not exclusive, as some would say. God wants all people to come to a saving knowledge of the truth (I Tim 3:16).
There are 3 main points that I want to make clear:
1) Salvation – it is a free gift from God to man, accomplished in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and available to anyone who believes in Christ and what He did for us at the cross.
Romans 1: 16-17 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
What is the gospel?
Romans 1: 1-5
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
I Cor 15: 1-8
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
2) No one knows truly who is a Christian – I leave that up to God, and I will never, ever tell a person, whether they are Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Jehovah’s Witness, et al that they are going to hell because of their church affiliation. Salvation is a matter between them and the Lord.
That being said, I will tell them about the good news of Jesus Christ, and answer doctrinal questions when asked. I will also research the positions held by the church they belong to, to see if they are consitent with the Scriptures, which is the one and only standard that I use. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what saves a person, and only God knows if a person truly believes in that gospel and its author and finisher, Jesus. All that I can do is to tell you what the Bible says, because that is the standard of truth, whether people want to believe it or not. You can tell people, especially false prophets and false teachers, by their fruits. How do you know if they are not telling the truth? You don’t pray about it and see if your ‘feelings’ agree with the situation, but you diligently search the Scriptures to see whether or not they speak the truth. If what they are saying or teaching contradicts the Bible, they are guilty of proclaiming a false gospel.
3) I have laid out some Mormon teachings that are not in harmony with the doctrines laid down in Scripture. I did not make those things up, but they come right out of Mormon literature and scriptures. The LDS church has in the past distanced itself from some of the teachings laid down by Brigham Young and others, but other doctrines that I have spoken about have been re-affirmed in very modern writings in the Ensign and through presidential proclamations, from just a few years ago. Among those are:
There are many gods in the universe; Elohim is only one of them.
God was once a man on another planet, had a father and a mother, became a god by following the laws and ordinances of that god, took one of his wives to this planet and had spirit children to inhabit this world. Jesus and Lucifer are part of those spirit children. God came down to the earth to have sexual relations with Mary to produce the fleshly body of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit also has a body of flesh, and cannot be in more than one place at a time.
Every Mormon man in good standing in the LDS church with a valid temple recommend has the chance to obtain godhood, rule their own planet with their goddess wife, and produce spiritual children who will worship and pray to them just as we do to our heavenly Father.
Every person will eventually be saved from hell through general salvation that Jesus won for mankind through his suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane. The wicked will be temporarily punished, but will not be punished for all eternity. They will not reach a level of heaven where God resides, though. Individual salvation is attained through following the ordinances and practices of the LDS church.
Acknowledging that Joseph Smith is a prophet is essential to gaining this individual salvation.
Mormons are to strive to be perfect by obeying all of God’s commands and statutes. Spencer Kimball viewed perfection as ‘an obtainable goal.’ He also stated that only those who are “living out all of the commandments” are guaranteed “total forgiveness of sins” and assured of “exaltation.” Doctrines & Covenants 25:15 says that unless a person keeps the commandments “continually,” he cannot go where God is. That is doctrine of grace through works, not the Biblical doctrine of grace through faith (Eph 2: 8,9)
Again, I did not make any of the above up, they were all spoken or written by Mormons in good standing with the church, and most of these doctrines are given by those who were presidents or apostles of the LDS. Not every Mormon may be familiar with these doctrines, but they are doctrines held in high regard by the LDS church and its leadership.
There are those who would say that forgiveness of sins through the doctrine of grace through faith in Christ alone is too easy, too pat, and doesn’t put enough onus on the individual to live a good life. I admit that I struggled with that at first as well. But, a closer look reveals that forgiveness is not easy at all; at least, not for Jesus. It was He who suffered and died for our sins. This was very costly. But, for us, it is easy to become Christians because we are justified by faith:
“nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified,” (Gal. 2:16).
After we are then made right before God, we are changed in our hearts and then desire to do that which is right before God from within because we are new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). We then are able to freely serve God, love Him, and keep His commandments out of appreciation and gratitude to God, not to please God so we can be saved.
After salvation/justification, God works in us to bring us more into the image of His Son Jesus. This is called sanctification and this process of sanctification is very difficult because it involves our repentance and submission to God’s will. But, whether or not we do well or not in sanctification, it does not affect our justification. We are made right in God’s eyes by faith in Christ (justification) and made more like Jesus in our lives afterwards (sanctification).
So, the good news is that we do not have to keep the Law in any way to be right with God. The good news is that Jesus has done all that needs to be done and we can, by faith, trust in Him and be made righteous in His sight. Good works will then be the fruit of the faith that we have in Christ, and the love of Christ manifested in each of us by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is true salvation, and it is available to anyone who believes in the Christ revealed in the Scriptures.
Again, peace and may the Lord bless you this day…



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rotorhead

posted July 30, 2007 at 2:30 pm


Chief1989,
I appreciate your last introductory comments, and feel I may have been quick to judge your overarching intent, however, I do think it’s telling when so many who profess allegiance to Jesus Christ can not agree on His and that of His Apostle’s simple teachings as outlined in the Bible. If the Spirit speaks to all sincere seekers of truth, and I believe it does, then why so many diverse Christian religions? This is important to me. My faith rises or falls on the concept of a “living, caring, involved, God who “IS,” NOT “Who was”!
No doubt the Bible has lead countless numbers to the ONE and only true God (yes a Mormon said that). But to believe that God with His infinite knowledge has given us ALL there is to give is ludicrous and plays into the hands of secular progressives who think all Christians are loons.
We have a lot more in common than you and many like you are willing to accept or admit. “Be not Afraid, only believe.” (Mark 5:35-36)
I Believe in God our Eternal Father, He who is greatest of all, who stands ever ready to help us and who has the power to do so. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Savior and the Redeemer of mankind, the worker of miracles, the greatest who ever walked the earth, the intercessor with our Father. I believe in the power of the Holy Ghost to lead, to inspire, to comfort, to protect. I believe in the sacred word of God, the Holy Bible, with its treasury of inspirations and sacred truth; and I also believe in continuing revelation, the Book of Mormon and other recorded utterances of Deity as being sacred, and inspired of God for the benefit of mankind. I challenge anyone to find a contradictory teaching of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon! And emphatically claim that if the Book of Mormon is true scripture, and I know it is, then Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. His complete and living church has been established to prepare for the King of King’s return and subsequent millennial reign…
And so, here we must agreeably disagree and pray for one another and for all honest seekers of truth and for a very troubled world vexed by contention and evil. My hope is that despite our differences, that are sometimes fun to debate, that they may NOT keep us from uniting as Christians, fellow saints with God, and allow us to publish peace, freedom and love in whatever circle of influence we might find ourselves.
Shalom



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Chief1989

posted July 30, 2007 at 4:30 pm


rotorhead,
Thank you, and I apologize if anything that I have said on this board has sounded mean-spirited or overly pious. That is certainly not the way I want to come across. I also apologize for anything that I have mis-stated about your beliefs. I will be the first one to admit I am wrong if I put forth something here that is proven to be false. I do not want to add to the confusion over beliefs and doctrines; there already is more than enough of that to go around. As I said before, my only interest is in getting to the truth, nothing more and nothing less. I told a poster on another thread that I dearly wish that our differences were on the order of ‘should we go dancing’ or ‘should we dress up for church.’ It breaks my heart to consider that our differences are of a more severe nature than that when it comes to doctrinal points like the nature of God and salvation, and the person and ministry of Jesus.
Nonetheless, rotorhead, that certainly does not and should not keep us from joining forces to combat anti-religious forces here and abroad, and to keep pushing for adherence to strong moral and familial values. I can’t think of a better compatriot in that war than the LDS.
My prayers are with you and everyone on this thread. I’ll finish up with 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.”
My prayer is that everyone on this thread does just this.



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GB

posted July 30, 2007 at 9:06 pm


I looked back in the thread and found that Paul and addressed this to me. So I will respond.
Paul: I believe in as Luther would say SOLA Scriptura, Scripture alone, which is not meant to say that there is no other religious authority, but that there is no higher religious authority.
GB: You of course can believe what ever you want. As I understand it Sola scriptura “by scripture alone” is the ASSERTION that the Bible as God’s written word is self-authenticating, clear to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.
It is also internally inconsistent. This doctrine is not found in the Bible so to get this doctrine one must go outside the Bible. If one has to go outside the Bible to get the doctrine of sola scriptura, it violates its own rule. Also if it were true there would be no disagreement in the Christian world.
Paul: I also believe in the Inerrancy of Scripture or complete inerrancy of the Bible: As Luther said “It is impossible that Scripture should contradict itself; it only appears so to senseless and obstinate hypocrites”.
GB: Is the New World Translation of the Bible inerrant? Are all translations inerrant? Is it possible for a translator to purposely change the meaning of you inerrant Bible? And yet the Bible never makes such a claim for itself. And how could it, when it was assembled more than 200 years after the disappearance of the last Apostle. Also, Luther’s doctrine of sola scriptura does contradict itself. I do agree that if someone has the correct understanding and interpretation of the scriptures there will be no contradictions.
Paul: What do you believe about the Bible?
GB: I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.



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Sam

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:22 pm


Chief
I’d check your sources before naming LDS doctrine. Does it make sense to tell ME what I believe? or for you to outline LDS doctrine when you are not a member? It does not to me.
Specific points I noticed at a simple glance:
D&C states that the Holy Ghost has NOT a body of flesh.
Latter-day Saints believe wholeheartedly and without question that we are saved through the grace of Jesus Christ. President Kimball calls perfection an attainable goal but ONLY through the Savior. If you find many Mormons trying to be PERFECT, it is simply their attempt to follow Christ’s commandment and “be ye therefore perfect… even as I am”
you said
“”So, the good news is that we do not have to keep the Law in any way to be right with God”"
The entire gospel of Christ is given in LAWS. The universe is governed by God’s laws. For you to say that you don’t HAVE to keep those laws is blasphemy. In addition, Christ gives commandments to be followed- not disregarded as a good idea.
Now a series of questions:
How do we obtain Grace?
-Through faith
How do we prove to ourselves and to the Lord we have REAL Faith and not just wishing?
-Obedience to the Laws
and WHEN we fall short, which we all do, the Atonement of Christ has claim to us BECAUSE of our faith that it will save us. No man can do anything to escape this dependency upon the Savior of the world, and therefore no man is “justified”. However, the Atonement of Christ is given in full power to those who EXERCISE faith in the Savior who performed it. The way faith is gained, grown, and exercised is through obedience to that same Savior, and the way we obey is through the law. Even the commandment to be perfect has place for the believing man to strive for, no matter how short he falls.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:26 pm


ANOTHER GOSPEL?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As members of that church we are often taken to task by the ministers and members of other churches who are critical of that claim. They say that we worship a “different Jesus” than they worship. They say that our doctrine is not “Biblical Christianity”. They often quote the following Bible passage as support:
Galatians 1:6-8 NIV 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
Now when this scripture is quoted, the critics of the LDS church, use it to maintain that Mormons are accursed, and are “going to hell”. (As Dr. Mohler maintains in this article)
This blog article is written to examine the “gospel” preached by Jesus, his Apostles, and other Prophets in the Bible to determine what doctrines were originally taught that may be missing today. As we do this it should become clear what the gospel contains and what is missing from the doctrines of Creedal or traditional Orthodoxy.
1. GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, MALE AND FEMALE
Genesis 1:26-27 NIV 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
2. GOD HAS A BODY
Genesis 32:30 NIV 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, [f] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
Exodus 24:9-11 NIV 9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, [b] clear as the sky itself. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.
Luke 24:36-42 NIV 36While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
37They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. 38He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” 42They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43and he took it and ate it in their presence.
3. MEN CAN BECOME LIKE JESUS AND BE ONE WITH HIM AND THE FATHER
Jesus Prays for All Believers
John 17:20-24 NIV 20″My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24″Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Philippians 3:20-21 NIV 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
1st John 3:1-2 NIV 1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears,[a]we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
Romans 8:16-17 NIV 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Revelation 3:20-22 NIV 20Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. 21To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
LET US SUMMARIZE POINTS 1,2 & 3: A BIBLE CHURCH WILL TEACH THAT GOD HAS A BODY, THAT MAN AND WOMAN ARE CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF THAT BODY AND THAT THOSE WHO OVERCOME WILL BE LIKE GOD, WILL BE ONE WITH GOD, WILL BE HEIRS OF GOD, WILL SIT WITH HIM ON HIS THRONE.
What else does the Bible teach?
4. FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MANIFESTED BY KEEPING HIS COMMANDMENTS
John 14:15 NIV “If you love me, you will obey what I command.
John14:21 NIV Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
John 15:14 NIV You are my friends if you do what I command.
Hebres 11:4-40 NIV 4 BY FAITH ABEL OFFERED GOD A BETTER SACRIFICE than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
5 BY FAITH ENOCH was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6And 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.
7 BY FAITH NOAH, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear BUILT AN ARK to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
8 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, OBEYED AND WENT, even though he did not know where he was going. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, even though he was past age—and Sarah herself was barren—was enabled to BECOME A FATHER because he[a]considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
13All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
17 BY FAITH ABRAHAM, when God tested him, OFFERED ISAAC as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring[b] will be reckoned.”[c] 19Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.
20 BY FAITH JACOB BLESSED ISAAC AND ESAU in regard to their future.
21 BY FAITH JACOB, when he was dying, BLESSED EACH OF JOSEPH’S SONS, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.
22 BY FAITH JOSEPH, when his end was near, SPOKE ABOUT THE EXODUS of the Israelites from Egypt and gave instructions about his bones.
23 BY FAITH MOSES’ PARENTS HID HIM for three months after he was born, because they saw he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.
24 BY FAITH MOSES, when he had grown up, REFUSED to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 HE CHOSE TO BE MISTREATED along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. 27 BY FAITH HE LEFT EGYPT, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible. 28 BY FAITH HE KEPT THE PASSOVER and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
29 BY FAITH THE PEOPLE PASSED THROUGH THE RED SEA[d] as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.
30 BY FAITH the walls of Jericho fell, after the PEOPLE HAD MARCHED around them for seven days.
31 BY FAITH THE PROSTITUTE RAHAB, because she WELCOMED THE SPIES, was not killed with those who were disobedient.[e]
32 AND WHAT MORE SHALL I SAY I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33 who THROUGH FAITH CONQUERED KINGDOMS, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. 37They were stoned[f]; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
39 THESE WERE ALL COMMENDED FOR THEIR FAITH, yet none of them received what had been promised. 40God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
James2:14-19 NIV 14 WHAT GOOD IS IT, my brothers, IF A MAN CLAIMS TO HAVE FAITH BUT HAS NO DEEDS? Can such faith save him? 15 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
19You believe that there is one God. Good! EVEN THE DEMONS BELIEVE that—and shudder.
5. REPENTENCE BY THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH
Matt 3:8 NIV Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Mark 1:4 NIV And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Luke 13:2-3 NIV 2Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.
Acts 17:30 NIV In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
Acts 26:20 NIV First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their REPENTENCE BY THEIR DEEDS.
6. BAPTISM NECESSARY FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS BY THOSE WHO BELIEVE TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Matt 3:13-15 NIV 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Matt 28:19-20 NIV 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. . .
Mark 16:16 NIV Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
Luke 7:30 NIV But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John)
John 3:5 NIV Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
Acts 2:37-38 NIV 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:48 NIV 48 So he (Peter) ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Acts 22:13-15 NIV 13 He (Ananias) stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, (Paul) receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him.
14″Then he said: ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
1st Peter 3:21 NIV and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge[e] of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
7. GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST BY THE LAYING ON OF HANDS BY THOSE WITH AUTHORITY
Acts 8:17-17 NIV 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into[c] the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
LET US SUMMARIZE POINTS 4-7. A BIBLE CHURCH WILL TEACH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST MANIFESTED BY WORKS OF REPENTENCE, BAPTISM AS A NECESSARY ORDINANCE TO ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD, AND LAYING ON OF HANDS BY THOSE IN AUTHORITY FOR THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
DOES YOUR CHURCH TEACH THESE DOCTRINES AS PLAINLY EXPRESSED IN THE BIBLE? IF NOT, DOES THE CONDEMNATION EXPRESSED BY THE BIBLE IN GALATIANS APPLY TO THOSE WHO TEACH IN THAT CHURCH?



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Mike Bennion

posted July 30, 2007 at 10:46 pm


Chief said:
So if the Aaronic priesthood continues on, as the Catholic and Mormom faiths claim, why was the curtain hiding the Holy of Holies torn in two, and in front of the Pharisees and priests? Read Hebrews chapters 7 and 8; the writer expounds on what the earthly priests were doing and how what Christ did on the cross changed that.
Mike’s response:
The article below is at the listed link:
http://www.fairwiki.org/index.php/Priesthood_non-transferable
One of the things that people who are opposed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints criticize us for is our belief in the Priesthood. Latter-day Saints believe the Priesthood is the authority God has given man to perform the ordinances (e.g. baptism, sacrament, sealing, etc.) that Jesus has declared to be necessary, in order that the atonement may have full effect in our lives.
Our critics oppose the Priesthood, claiming it does not exist among mortals, as Jesus Christ is the only one with the Priesthood. Unfortunately for them, the Bible contradicts them.
Why the opposition to priesthood?
It is understandable that creedal Christians desperately need the priesthood, as understood by Latter-day Saints, to be non-existent today. The whole idea of authority, direct from God, being necessary for the saving ordinances of mankind, completely undermines and destroys the traditionally accepted doctrine that one is “saved by faith alone.” It also completely destroys their own claims to authority, since they are the result of a break-off from the Roman Catholic faith.
If the Catholics did not have the priesthood authority, then the Protestants cannot have taken it with them. Hence, they are anxious to claim a “priesthood of all believers,” or claim priesthood isn’t needed at all.
If the Catholics did have the authority, then Protestants were wrong to leave in the first place.
Jesus Christ establishes His Church
When Christ was on the earth during His mortal ministry, He set up a specific organization (called the Church).
Does it make sense that if Jesus Christ organized a Church, that the true Church would have the same positions today? What are some of the offices or positions in the church Christ established?
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.(1 Timothy 3:13)(emphasis added)
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:(James 5:14)(emphasis added)
11 And he [Jesus Christ]gave some, apostles; (12) and some, prophets;
(12 Apostles collectively, and the one leading the church with his counselors — Peter, James, and John)
and some, evangelists; (Patriarchs) and some, pastors (Bishop, Stake President) and teachers;
12 For the perfecting
(“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48)
of the saints
(the members of the Church — interesting that they are called Saints, just as we are called Latter-day Saints today.),
for the work of the ministry
(The administration and performing the ordinances of the Church),
for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith
(Even though all Christians claim to believe in Christ, and the Bible, there certainly is no unity of faith or doctrine, therefore these offices are still needed.)
and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
(unto a perfect man—NOT some incomprehensible being as the creeds declare.)
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine
(The creeds came by councils of men, not a singular pronouncement of revelation by a prophet of God, as all other scripturally based doctrines are. The creeds directly contradict scripture. The creeds are not declared to be scripture. The creeds have not been declared to have been given by revelation. The creeds came about by political power struggles. Hence, the creeds are a wind of doctrine.),
by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;(Ephesians 4:11-14)(emphasis added)
[edit]Priesthood authority from God
So how can we tell true teachers? First, they will have authority (priesthood) directly from God. Christ was given the priesthood authority from God the Father.
For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son
to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. (John 5:26-27.)(emphasis added)
The works that Christ performed were by this priesthood authority:
And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. (Mark 1:27)(emphasis added)
Christ passed on this very same authority to His apostles.
Luke 9:1-2
1 THEN he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2)(emphasis added)
This authority is necessary in order to preach the gospel.
And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach (Mark 3:14)(emphasis added)
Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (Acts 1:22)(emphasis added)
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. (1 Timothy 2:7)(emphasis added)
The apostles ordained others with this authority:
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee…{Titus 1:5)(emphasis added)
And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.(Acts 14:23)(emphasis added)
This authority was passed directly from God the Father, to Jesus Christ, to the Apostles, to the Elders, and to others. It was a priesthood which any worthy man could have, if called. It was also necessary for the stablishment of the Church. Christ left this priesthood authority on he earth when He left, so that the Church could still function.
Mark 13:34
For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.(Mark 13:34) (emphasis added)
In fact, the church would be known as the true church because of the priesthood, for so the church is described in scripture.
This priesthood authority is sacred and cannot be bought.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he
may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.(Acts 8:18-20) (emphasis added)
We cannot choose this priesthood authority for ourselves.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.(John 15:16) (emphasis added)
[edit]How to obtain the priesthood
As shown above, you can’t buy it, you can’t take it upon yourself, and you can’t choose for yourself to have it. So how can we obtain the priesthood?
And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. (Hebrews 5:4)
How was Aaron called? He was called by Moses—as God instructed Moses—in other words, Aaron did not decide to accept this for himself, but was called by Moses, who was instructed by the Lord, who has authority over him.
13 And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 14 And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: 15 And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations. 16 Thus did Moses: according to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he. (Exodus 40:13-16)
[edit]An “unchangeable” Priesthood?
Most critics of the LDS Church rest most of their argument against the LDS doctrine of priesthood on Hebrews 7:24:
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.(emphasis added)
The critics of the LDS Church interpret the word “unchangeable” as meaning non-transferable. Therefore, they say, the Priesthood that Christ held (the Melchizedek Priesthood) could not be transferred to anyone. In fact, a look at Strong’s would indicate this is true:
unchangable — aparabatos {ap-ar-ab’-at-os}
1) unviolated, not to be violated, inviolable, unchangeable and therefore not liable to pass to a successor[citation needed]
But is this the correct interpretation? If so, there is a glaring contradiction within this very chapter, for verse twelve says the priesthood has changed:
For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.(Hebrews 7:12) (emphasis added)
Either the priesthood is transferable (changeable), from Christ to others, or it is not. Which verse are we to believe? Let’s take a closer look at this “unchangeable” priesthood in Hebrews 7:11-24:
11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical (Aaronic) priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,)
(under the Aaronic priesthood, the people received the law of Moses — an eye for an eye)
what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
(Those that hold the authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, also hold the authority of the lessor, or the Aaronic Priesthood)
12 For the priesthood being changed,
(Here is a glaring contradiction to what the critics claim, for it clearly says the priesthood “changed.” Let’s continue to examine just what changed, and what the term means in context.)
there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
(The Law of Moses changed, not the priesthood. In other words, when Christ came, he gave a higher law. For example, the law was no longer an “eye for an eye,” it was “turn the other cheek.” Along with this higher law, came a higher priesthood, which is what is meant by “changed.”)
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe
Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
(Moses did not speak about the Melchizedek Priesthood and the higher law, which the Lord had, but he did speak of the Aaronic Priesthood, or the lower law.)
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
(This priest is Jesus Christ)
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment,
(The Law of Moses—An Eye for an Eye)
but after the power of an endless life.
(The higher law, which Christ brought, which will lead us to eternal life.)
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
(Christ, and the priesthood authority He holds — the Melchizedek Priesthood — is eternal — without end.)
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
(The Law of Moses was abolished with the institution of the higher Law brought by Christ.)
19 For the law [Mosaic Law] made nothing perfect
(We could not become perfect as our Father in Heaven commanded us to be by obedience to the Mosaic Law, for it does not contain the authority for the saving ordinances of salvation—the “keys” to bind in heaven and on earth, or in today’s terminology, temple ordinances)
but the bringing in of a better hope did;
(A better hope, or a higher law, which brought the authority for the saving ordinances)
by the which we draw nigh unto God.
(It is through this higher law, by partaking of the temple ordinances, that we can “draw nigh” unto God, or become like Him, which is to “be perfect” {as God is perfect} as He commanded us—Matthew 5:48.)
20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
(This is in reference to the oath and covenant of the priesthood.)
21 (For those priests
(The priests of the Aaronic, or Levitical, priesthood)
were made without an oath;
(The Aaronic, or lessor, priesthood, does not require an oath or covenant.)
but this [This = Higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood] with an oath
“When a priesthood holder takes upon himself the Melchizedek Priesthood, he does so by oath
and covenant. This is not so with the Aaronic Priesthood. The covenant of the Melchizedek Priesthood is that a priesthood holder will magnify his calling in the priesthood, will give diligent heed to the commandments of God, and will live by every word which proceeds “from the mouth of God” (see D&C 84:33-44). The oath of the Melchizedek Priesthood is an irrevocable promise by God to faithful priesthood holders. “All that my Father hath shall be given unto them” (seeDC 84:38). This oath by Deity, coupled with the covenant by faithful priesthood holders, is referred to as the oath and covenant of the priesthood.”[1]
by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
(The Melchizedek Priesthood is eternal)
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man (Jesus Christ), because he continueth ever, [Eternal] hath an unchangeable [Eternal] priesthood.
(In context, this verse (24) that critics use to try to argue against the priesthood, is saying that since Jesus Christ is eternal, so is the authority He has. It is this same authority that Christ passed on to his Apostles, and they, passed on to others in the Church.)
This explanation should make it plain that the law, or schoolmaster (see Galatians 3:24), to lead the people unto Christ was administered by the Aaronic, or Levitical, Priesthood. However, perfection cannot be obtained through this priesthood alone, as Paul explained. Therefore, it was necessary for the Lord to send another priest after the order of Melchizedek. The priesthood thus being changed, there was “of necessity a change also of the law.”[2]
The fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, therefore, was introduced by him to take the place of the law of Moses.
In a review of Walter Martin’s book, The Maze of Mormonism, in which Martin bases his argument against the Melchizedek Priesthood on the interpretation of “unchangeable” being “non-transferable, Richard Lloyd Anderson informs us that:
Instead of treating descriptions in the Acts or Pastoral Letters concerning the bestowal of apostolic authority on others, Martin prefers to base his case on a dubious translation of Hebrews 7:24, maintaining that Christ’s priesthood is “untransferable.” But his vintage 1889 citation from Thayer’s lexicon for this use is squarely contradicted by the best authorities in the field. The lexicon of Arndt-Gingrich (in agreement with Moulton-Milligan) gives more than a dozen secular uses of the period to show that the term in question (aparabatos) “rather has
the sense permanent, unchangeable.” The point of the passage is not that Christ’s priesthood cannot be transferred, but that it permanently remains superior, as does he, to all other authority.[3]
So we see that it is incorrect to interpret “unchangeable” as “nontransferable” as further evidence also suggests.
Additional evidence
The rather late Christian understanding that Jesus would be the last High Priest of the Melchizedek order (see Hebrew 7:24, marginal reading no. 5 in most King James Version translations) is based on an erroneous interpretation of the Greek word aparabaton which does not mean “intransmissible” but means “unchangeable” when referring to Jesus’ priesthood.[4]
And:
God’s promises to Abraham are extended to all who come unto Christ: Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchizedek, who was the priest who blessed Abraham, in whose loins was Levi. The superiority of Christ’s Melchizedek Priesthood over the Levitical priesthood and the Law of Moses is developed in chapter 7. Melchizedek was a type of Christ. His priesthood was more enduring than the Levitical priesthood, which was limited to blood lines and was not given with an oath and whose priests did not continue because of death and needed daily renewal (Heb. 7:3, 21, 23, 27). The Melchizedek order of priesthood, however, was directed by Jesus Christ, who, unlike the high priest under the Law of Moses on the annual Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:4), did not need to “offer sacrifice for his own sins, for he knew no sins” (JST Heb. 7:26). His priesthood was aparabatosmeaning “permanent, unchangeable, and incomparable” (Heb. 7:24). No other priesthood will succeed it. It will be the permanent power of salvation and eternal lives within Christ’s church forever more (see TPJS, 166, 322)[5]
Modern Bible translations
More modern versions of the Bible agree with this interpretation.
Hebrews 7
24 (NIV)
but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. (emphasis added)
Hebrews 7
24 (NASB)
but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. (emphasis added)
Hebrews 7
24 (RSV)
but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. (emphasis added)
The critics’ interpretation of “unchangeable” to mean “non-transferable” does not stand up to scripture, correct doctrine, Biblical scholarship, terminology, or truth.
From whence comes your authority?
Finally, the question must be asked of anyone who claims to preach the gospel and proclaim its doctrines, where do you get your authority to speak and act in the name of God? Many people claim that they receive their authority from the Bible. However, that cannot be, for the Bible has no priesthood authority, it is a book and cannot perform any ordinance, it cannot choose you as it cannot make decisions, nor can it ordain you as it can not perform any actions. Seminaries and Universities have no priesthood authority, for their purpose is to grant educational degrees, whose requirements are developed and designed by men. Priesthood Authority comes only from God.
LET every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.{Romans 13:1)
[edit]Conclusion
There is much more about the priesthood that is contained in the scriptures. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints observes all the Biblical principles taught about priesthood, including:
1. That the Priesthood is the authority for man to act in God’s name.
2. The priesthood is given directly from God, though Jesus Christ.
3. That Christ was not the only one to have the higher priesthood.
4. Christ ordained the 12 Apostles with the priesthood.
5. The Apostles ordained others with the priesthood.
6. The church is identified as having the priesthood.
7. The priesthood is necessary to act in God’s name.
Endnotes
Ezra Taft Benson, Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988), 223. ISBN 0884946398. GospeLink
LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Ch.9, p.84
Richard Lloyd Anderson, “NEEDED,” Brigham Young University Studies 6:10: 60.[citation needed] (needs URL / links)
S. Kent Brown, “NEED,” Brigham Young University Studies 23:1: 56.
“Epistle to the Hebrews,” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow, (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1992), 2:ISBN 002904040X.



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:27 am


Mike,
I agree with everything you stated, but wow, way too long for a blog posting if you want anyone non-LDS to read it; milk before meat brother…



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Mike Bennion

posted July 31, 2007 at 2:15 am


I know. However I did a few of these on purpose. Critics of the church think they can simply make an assertion and we have no answers.
Obviously from these links posted, that is totally false.
Also. Notice the amount of scripture and documentation they provide.
Truth’s on our side.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 31, 2007 at 2:50 am


A second thing to note:
Critics of the Church like to make long strings of unsubstantiated assertions. An example of this is Chief’s post of July 27 1:11 P.M.
at the fllowing link
http://blog.beliefnet.com/blogalogue/2007/07/the-church-of-the-devil.html.comments.html
Chief made 10 unsupported assertions in three or four paragraphs.
By shotgunning us like this they assume that we won’t have the energy or will to answer. That’s why I took the time to answer all 10 at length.
I also use fairlds.org and Maxwell istitute links, but I quote them because Critics of the Churchtry to “poison the well” by saying that such LDS websites are: 1. Simplistic 2. Untrue 3. Poorly researched. Quoting some of the articles at length gives the lie to this tactic.



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Georgia L. Hamblin

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:40 am


As Mr. Card rightfully stated, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is not compatable with “traditional christianity”! We cannot be, and be the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
The fragments of truth held by “traditional christianity” can never bring exaltation in the Kingdom of God! Without the power and authority of the Priesthood of God present in the Church, the laws and ordinances of the Church as taught by Jesus Christ, cannot be operative and or performed, and acceptable to Him! By revelation from God, the Church, today, is fully operational and functional and all ordinances and performances are accomplished by the power of the Preisthood of God, restored to the earth! We make no claim, as others, do that all authority in the church is vested in the Bible, and can be taken from the Bible! Christ taught otherwise, for the Bible was not yet in existence. He called, and ordained His Apostles, and gave them power to heal the sick, to baptize, to ordain others, and to carry on the work of the ministry! No one can take upon himself this power and authority, and must receive it by the laying on of hands by those with the same authroity, as did Peter, James and John!
Peter, James and John were instrumental in the restoring of the Melchizedek Priesthood to the earth, as was John the Baptist in restoring the Aaronic Priesthood.
No, we cannot be called or included with the “traditional christians” for we are not a branch of the apostates, or those who protested the “original” Church that fell into apostasy, which caused the protestant movement and Reformation! The laws and ordinances of the gospel were changed; concepts and perceptions were changed when revelation from God was denied, and men were forced to move into Councils at Nicea and Orange etc, to determine doctrine which became tradition….and now held as truth….fragmented though it may be!
As Christ among the Pagans and idol worshippers of his time, was rejected for teaching “non-traditional” doctrines, even so, today, His gospel, as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, is rejected because the people cannot get past the teachings of their fathers and the traditions of the reformation and apostasy! The hatred continues, the lies the same, since the very beginning of the restoration, perpetrated by Satan, to persuade those who are seeking truth, to shun and fear what the Gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to the earth, has to offer them…..exaltation and eternal life in the Kingdom of God!
Satan desires only that all men should be miserable like unto himself, and he offers no hope of eternal life with God!



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 11:59 am


Mike,
Good points. When I was in “public affairs” training my instructor once said, and this was in regard to the slanderous press corps, that:
“Never wrestle with a pig; you only get dirty, and he has all the fun.”
These “sincere” orthodox Christians are not interested in truth, only in promulgating their warped and desiccated version of it. I can’t get one to read the Book of Mormon, they are so blinded by their own self-righteous crusade to save the Mormons…
But, I can’t blame them ALL…some are “sincerely”…wrong.



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 12:03 pm


Bravo Georgia…you understand better than many priesthood holders and all of orthodox Christianity!



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 1:30 pm


Georgia,
That is so good you should repost it on the latest thread.



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Mike Bennion

posted July 31, 2007 at 2:14 pm


Thanks Georgia for your succinct and powerful post.
Rotorhead, there is one other thing in regard to our previous conversation that might be of interest.
I fear for the world if it becomes addicted to “sound bites” and “blog entries” People often aren’t interested in paying the price for understanding. This is true of Mormons and non-Mormons alike. It is those who fail to search, ponder and question who fall prey to the anti-Mormon diatribes. Unless someone takes the time to research the footnotes, and follow up on the assertions, they can waver.
I am looking for the people who really want to know. Who take time to study things out before they act. Brigham young took two years to study the Church before he joined it. Those who want to know will take the time and pay the price.
If there are those who are reading now. The best text there is to understand Mormonism is the Book of Mormon.
The entire text is online at http://www.lds.org under “gospel library” and “scriptures”.
http://www.mormon.org is another excellent site for gathering information. There is even a chat site there to chat with authorized representatives of the Church, live.



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Jeff

posted July 31, 2007 at 4:57 pm


Mike, you said
“If there are those who are reading now. The best text there is to understand Mormonism is the Book of Mormon.”
How is this the best text to understand Mormonism. I would contend that the best text with the broadest information to understand Mormonism would be the doctrine and covenants. The only things that came from the BoM is a bunch of stories.
Mormonism is a religious faith founded upon specific doctrines… Read the following carefully -
Does the Book of Mormon teach the doctrines of Mormonism?
No. Many people assume that if they read the Book of Mormon they will get a good idea of LDS beliefs. However, the Book of Mormon teaches one God, not plural gods as in Mormonism. It mentions heaven and hell, not three degrees of glory, no temple marriage or secret temple ceremonies. It does not teach baptism for the dead, pre-existence of man, eternal progression or polygamy (see comparison chart). One of the most objectionable doctrines in the Book of Mormon is its view of skin color. White skin is seen as desirable, dark skin is seen as a mark of God’s displeasure (see chart on racial statements). Smith wrote the Book of Mormon in the late 1820′s. Over the next fifteen years his doctrines underwent radical changes which are seen in his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price.
It’s very sad that the LDS missionary’s tell people to read the Book of Mormon, and then pray about it to receive confirmation of its truth by the power of the Holy Ghost. Why is that sad? Because your not even praying about the central core doctrine that IS the LDS church. Thats what the LDS church has done over the past century and a half, is try and make itself look like a more and more Christian like organization, giving just a little information (a book full of stories about indians), and holding back from plain view the real doctrinal beliefs of Mormonism, because that would be harder for someone to accept. What investigators should do is look at the REAL history of Joseph Smith, of plural (and a couple times underage *Helen Mar Kimball) marriage, racism, folk-magic (glass looking, treasure-seeking), made up scripture (book of abraham), occultic rituals (Free-mason originated endowment ceremonies)…
But nooooo, lets not be upfront with the History of the LDS church, or else it might look kind of dirty to the investigators.
I don’t expect you to change your beliefs off of the stuff I just wrote, but I pray that you would at least do your due diligence on investigating. I’m not asking you to listen to made up stuff from people who don’t know any better, but just look at the history of your church.
One thing I suggest you check out is go to http://www.goodnewsforlds.org and watch the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith clips… You may view it as anti-mormon but its all stuff that has extensive evidence to back it up, its not made up.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:12 pm


Jeff: One thing I suggest you check out is go to http://www.goodnewsforlds.org and watch the Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith clips… You may view it as anti-mormon but its all stuff that has extensive evidence to back it up, its not made up.
GB: And I suggest that after (or before)you check out Jeff’s site that you see the Mormon response to that video here: http://www.fairwiki.org/index.php/Search_for_the_Truth_DVD
Just to make sure that “has extensive evidence to back it up, its not made up.”



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:37 pm


Excellent post, Jeff!
That is the problem with Mormonism; all of the missionaries carried copies of the Book of Mormon, but none wanted to talk about doctrines central to Mormon beliefs not contained in the BoM. I tried this twice, and the answer was “that stuff comes later. Right now, can I read to you out of the book of Mormon?” When I talk about my faith to others, I first start out with my personal testimony and then talk about the central tenets of my faith, all based solely on Scripture. There is nothing to hide and nothing to be evasive or deceptive about.
No Mormon on this thread has ever tried to address the fact of why different canons of Mormon scripture contradict one another. Why many Biblical doctrines espoused in the BoM have been changed in the other scriptures to mean something totally un-Christian. Thus, Mike Bennion is totally wrong when he says that the best text to understand Mormonism is the book of Mormon. You have to read Doctrines and Covenants and the Journal of Discourses to get a feel for real Mormon doctrine.
God bless…



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:40 pm


Why does every so called “born-again” Christian feel it their duty to convince the Mormons of the err of their ways?
Is this the “modern day crusades”?
Why not let the Mormons believe what they want and let it be. It has already been shown they are God-fearing, family oriented, patriots who make wonderful neighbors.
Here’s an idea…let the Mormons be, and put your energies in bringing peace, harmony, and love to the world…you know, like Jesus did!



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 5:49 pm


Chief: No Mormon on this thread has ever tried to address the fact of why different canons of Mormon scripture contradict one another.
GB: Another bald assertion. Why don’t you provide one of these so-called contradictions for discussion. It is impossible “to address” something that hasn’t been presented.



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:13 pm


I have a question. Anyone who has spoken with Mormon missionaries knows that we are asked to read the Book of Mormon and pray to God to see if it is true.
Question: There are 4 canons of scripture in Mormonism. The BoM is only one of them. Why are we not asked to see if the Bible, the D&C, or the Pearl of Great Price are true?
I’m not trying to be snide, this is a sincere question.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:29 pm


Chief,
To answer your question.
Read the Book of Mormon cover to cover (without commentary from your favorite anti-mormon source), then apply the challenge in Moroni chapter 10 (all of it, especially the “sincere heart, with real intent” part). IF you will do this THEN you will know.
If you really are sincere then you will do it.



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:34 pm


Contradiction #1
Adam not made of the dust of this earth.
Brigham Young — Adam not made of the dust of this earth. Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 6 (1853)and I Quote “Look for instance at Adam. Listen, ye Latter Day Saints! Supposing that Adam was formed actually out of clay out of the same material from which are formed; that with this matter God made the pattern of man, and breathed into it the breath of life, and left it there, in that state of supposed perfection, he would have been an adobie to this day. He would not have known anything.
Some of you may doubt the truth of what I now say, and argue that the Lord could teach him. This is a mistake. The Lord could not have have taught him in any other way than the the way in which he did teach him. You believe Adam was made of the dust of the earth. This I do not believe though it is supposed that it so written in the Bible But it is not to my understanding”
Adam made of the dust of this earth.
Joseph Fielding Smith – “Adam created from dust of this earth.” Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 90-91 (1954)



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 6:55 pm


Paul: Contradiction #1
GB: Yet neither one of your quotes are from any LDS canon.
You guys keep quoting from the Journal of discourses which is not LDS canon. The official LDS church position on the Journal of discourses is “The Journal of discourses is not an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is a compilation of sermons and other materials from the early years of the Church, which were transcribed and then published. It includes practical advice as well as doctrinal discussion, some of which is speculative in nature and some of which is only of historical interest.”
Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith is not published by the Church either.



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 7:16 pm


GB,
Thank you for answering, but that is not an answer. Again, you are looking for me to have a ‘testimony’ from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I cannot trust my ‘feelings’ to decide what is truth and what is not. If I did that, then Ding-Dongs, Ho-Hos, and Coke would be the most nutritious meal ever.
Again, if all 4 of these things are scripture, why pray only about 1 of them? Are the other 3 not worthy of being prayed about?
Again, a sincere question, not a snide one.



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 7:37 pm


Chief,
Line upon line, precept upon precept, milk before meat.
I am not sure why you are even asking the question, since you are unwilling to read any of the LDS canon(other than the Bible of course).



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GB

posted July 31, 2007 at 8:02 pm


Chief: Again, you are looking for me to have a ‘testimony’ from the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I cannot trust my ‘feelings’ to decide what is truth and what is not.
GB: That is very unfortunate.
Neh 9:20 Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.
John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 15: 26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Acts 5: 32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
1 Cor 2: 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
So I don’t understand your fear of having a witness or testimony from the Holy Ghost. It makes me wonder if you have ever felt the witness of the Holy Ghost, because it is a glorious experience.



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:30 pm


GB,
I think you may have finally hit upon something here!
Perhaps Chief and others have never had the Holy Ghost witness TRUTH to them before and therefore they “can’t” distinguish between God speaking to the heart and Ding Dong’s speaking to the gut!
I am beginning to understand now the cause of the rift between orthodox Christians and the Restored message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Personal revelation is so foreign a concept to them that the idea of reading the Book of Mormon and praying for a spiritual witness is way outside their own reality…kind of like most of the Jews in Christ’s day who were unable to think outside of their infallible “dead prophets” paradigm…



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Paul

posted July 31, 2007 at 9:39 pm


Rotorhead
You said For some odd reason, I thought God was the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
If Mormons believe that God was once a man. How can you say that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
If Mormons believe that one day we will become gods. How do you explain Isaiah 43:10 “10Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me”.



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Chief1989

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:33 pm


Well folks, time to call it a night.
GB, I think you misunderstood me. I have felt the palpable prescence of the Holy Spirit many times, guiding me, giving me understanding to what I’ve read, prompting me to pray for someone in the middle of the night. So that is not an issue. However, if you read the Scriptures you cited above more closely, Jesus always said that the Spirit would testify about Himself. He never asks the Spirit to testify about Joseph Smith. The truth is found no where else but in the person of Jesus, and Jesus has been FULLY and COMPLETELY revealed to us in Scripture. I, speaking for myself, need no other testament to the fact the Jesus is the Messiah promised to the world in the OT and delivered to the world in the NT. So no, I don’t fear any encounter with the Holy Spirit, not at all.
rotorhead, in response to your question of ‘why do born-again Christians always feel like it is their duty to convince Mormons of the error of their ways?’. I am sorry that it feels like that way for you. Maybe even I have come off as sounding like that. I apologize if that is the case. I heard it put this way once; “Too many Christians are soft-headed and hard-hearted, soft-headed in the fact that they can’t defend their faith logically, but hard-hearted in the fact that they view all non-believers as heathens or pagans, and feel compelled to deliver the bad news that they are going to hell with glee. Rather, we should be hard-headed and soft-hearted; hard-headed in that we know why we believe what we believe, but soft-hearted in realizing that we are talking to other people also created in God’s image that He loves just as much as He does us, and He wants nothing more than to prepare a place for them in His heavenly mansion as well.” Too often compassion and mercy get left at the door, and we need to learn how to speak to each other in the love of Christ rather than trying to prove how much we know. We do have some common ground together, so we should build on that. I will never agree doctrinally with the other Mormon scriptures, and you will probably always hold to them, so I see no point in trying to bicker about that. We should pray God’s blessing and wisdom over the whole affair, and let Him guide us onward on our sanctification journey.
I don’t want to keep beating a dead horse, and that is what we are doing. I have said pretty much all I want to say, so I bid you good night and God bless all of my brothers and sisters in Christ out there, regardless of what church you hang your hat in.



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rotorhead

posted July 31, 2007 at 10:51 pm


Ditto…



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GB

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:38 am


Chief: However, if you read the Scriptures you cited above more closely, Jesus always said that the Spirit would testify about Himself. He never asks the Spirit to testify about Joseph Smith. The truth is found no where else but in the person of Jesus,
GB: It appears you didn’t really read all of the scriptures I posted.
John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into ALL TRUTH: . . . (emphasis mine)
Chief: and Jesus has been FULLY and COMPLETELY revealed to us in Scripture.
GB: Another BALD assertion. Also contradicted by the Bible 1 Cor 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
It is the Holy Ghost that reveals Jesus.
Chief: I, speaking for myself, need no other testament to the fact the Jesus is the Messiah promised to the world in the OT and delivered to the world in the NT.
GB:The Lord speaking in 2 Nephi 29:9 And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.
10 Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:11 am


Jeff Said:
How is this the best text to understand Mormonism. I would contend that the best text with the broadest information to understand Mormonism would be the doctrine and covenants. The only things that came from the BoM is a bunch of stories
Mike’s response:
I know that you haven’t read the whole Book of Mormon based on this comment alone. The Book of Mormon is doctrinally rich.
These are just a few of the best doctrinal chapters.
1st Nephi Chapters 8-14
2nd Nephi Chapters 1-4
2nd Nephi Chapters 25-32
Mosiah Chapters 3-5
Alma Chapters 5-7
Alma Chapters 8-14
Alma Chapters 17-20
Helaman Chapters 3 and 5
3rd Nephi Chapters 11-25
Mormon Chapters 7-8
Ether Chapters 2,
Moroni Chapter 10
There is no way you have read the Book if you think it’s “just a bunch of stories”.



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rotorhead

posted August 1, 2007 at 11:01 am


To Jeff, Paul and Chief1989,
You all seem to be lost in a never ending loop defending the indefensible; that the Bible as we have it today is infallible…
Unfortunately it has some error, including 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? Does that happen often?
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? Perhaps the Mormons polytheistic position of three SEPARATE and distinct entities, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, all united as ONE in purpose to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man, really does make more sense, than say,
“…one living and true God, who is…invisible, without body, parts or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible…” (Presbyterian Church Confession of Faith, Chap. 2, art. 1).
Or “There is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom and goodness, the maker and preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power and eternity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” (Methodist Discipline, published in Toronto, 1886.)
When Jesus was resurrected and came back to show himself to thousands, did he have a body? What did he then do with it after ascending into heaven? And please don’t insult my intelligence by saying he changed from a solid into a liquid into a gas…



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 11:54 am


Here is an interesting thread from a pamphlet titled:
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR AUTHORITY?
It is a little long, but makes for interesting reading.
A. The Jews Asked Jesus and the Apostles This Question – Matt. 21:23-27; Acts 4:7-12
Jesus and the Apostles did not need, nor did they produce, credentials from the priesthood to show their authority. So neither will we.
LDS have the same misconception that the Jews had: that authority passes from one to another through some ceremony or ordination. The very fact that the priesthood questioned their authority shows that Jesus and the Apostles completely ignored those ceremonies or ordinations. The Jews were wrong, and since the LDS believe as the Jews did, they are wrong, too.
When Jesus was questioned about his authority, He examined the questioners to see if they were competent judges. Therefore, we shall do the same: We ask, “The authority of Joseph Smith, whence was it? From heaven, or of men?”
B. Was There a Total Apostasy, Making a Restoration of Authority Necessary?
LDS believe that there was a total apostasy, and therefore a complete loss of authority to baptize, etc. This, they believe, made necessary the restoration of authority (or priesthood) by a heavenly messenger to Joseph Smith.
That there was a general apostasy, we agree. That it was universal, we deny.
Mormons contradict Christ and say the gates of hades did prevail against the church – Matt. 16:18
God receives glory in the church “throughout all ages” Ephesians 3:21
Daniel said the kingdom would never be destroyed Daniel 2:44
We have received a kingdom that cannot be moved or shaken – Hebrews 12:28
There were 7,000 faithful in Elijah’s day, but he did not know who or where they were (I Kings 19:13-18). Likewise, there were people faithful to God throughout all ages, though we do not know their names and addresses.
3. Joseph Smith’s angel usurped authority, since Mormon doctrine teaches that men with authority have always been present on the earth.
The Apostle John and three Nephite disciples are still tarrying on the earth until Christ returns (D&C 7 U,R; 3 Nephi 28:6-32 U; 13:17-44 R; pp. 510-512). These all have authority; therefore, the authority has never been lost from the earth, and a restoration through an angel is unnecessary.
“As long as there are apostles on the earth, true to their callings, the true church will exist on the face of the earth.” (Letter to the writer by Mormon Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, April 17,1956.)
LDS would brand as a heretic any person who claimed to have received the priesthood from an angel. They say God does not work that way; that if the authority is on the earth, God will not give it through an angel. If this is so, the angel who gave the priesthood to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery was not from God, since John and the three Nephites are still on the earth!
C. Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Authority?
“While we (Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery) were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light and having laid his hands upon us, he ordained us saying: ‘Upon you my fellow servants in the name of Messiah, I confer the Priesthood of Aaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of Levi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in righteousness.’ He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me. Accordingly we went and were baptized. I baptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me-after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood-for so we were commanded.” (PGP 56:68-71 U; Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story)
LDS believe: One who is not baptized is unsaved, does not have the remission of sins, and is not in the kingdom (D&C 84:74U; 83:12 R; 3 Nephi 1 1:33-34, 38 U; 5:34-35, 40 R; PGP Moses 6:52ff). LDS believe an unbaptized person may not baptize others, nor may the priesthood be conferred by him, or upon him. One must have the priesthood before he can confer it on others, or baptize others.
The angel conferred the priesthood on unbaptized persons, and is therefore anathema – Galatians I : 8
Since Joseph and Oliver were unbaptized, the priesthood was conferred on men who were unsaved and still in their sins.
Why did not the angel baptize Joseph and Oliver first? Surely he had the authority, since he could confer the priesthood He was John the Baptist, who certainly could baptize them, if anyone could. Heavenly beings may administer baptism (PGP Moses 6:64-66 U).
Instead of baptizing Joseph as he should have done, the heavenly messenger then told them to baptize each other-a thing LDS will ridicule in any other church.
Joseph, who had never been baptized, baptized Oliver, so Oliver’s baptism was invalid.
Then Oliver baptized Joseph, but since Oliver’s baptism was invalid, so was Joseph’s.
Joseph, improperly baptized, conferred the Aaronic priesthood on Oliver, contrary to Mormon teaching.
Then Oliver, ordained improperly, conferred the Aaronic priesthood on Joseph; therefore, Joseph’s ordination was worthless.
The heavenly messenger conferred the Priesthood of Aaron on Joseph and Oliver before they baptized each other. Yet, Joseph and Oliver conferred the Aaronic priesthood on each other after they baptized each other. Therefore, the Priesthood of Aaron conferred by the angel must have been washed away with their sins when they were baptized!
Since Joseph and Oliver conferred the Aaronic priesthood on each other after their baptism, they must have known that something was faulty about the priesthood the angel conferred on them. Therefore, they did not have the priesthood before they baptized each other, and this is still another reason for objecting to their baptizing each other.
Since Joseph and Oliver had to confer the priesthood on each other after they were baptized, they must have lost it, and therefore had no authority to confer it on each other!
Neither Joseph nor Oliver had the priesthood after they were baptized, but the heavenly messenger did have it. Therefore, the angel should have conferred it on them again after their baptism!
This story sounds like two children playing that they have a million dollars. Each says he will give the other a million, and they go through the acts of giving the money, but neither has any money when they finish, because neither had any money at the start.
This absurd and contradictory account could have been completely avoided if Joseph Smith had simply said that the angel first baptized them, and then conferred the priesthood on them. And this is what he would have said if the story were true. Why, then, did he give us the account we have? It seems likely that the part about the angel is simply an embellishment later added to what actually occurred. Joseph and Oliver were about to start a church. In order to get the people to listen to their claims, it would be advisable for them to be baptized and ordained. Since they did not want to go to any existing church for these credentials, they proceeded to give them to each other. Read the account, leaving out the part about the angel, and one has a believable narrative of what two men might do to create credentials for themselves as ministers of God.
There is some evidence supporting this suggestion in the first published account of the restoration of the priesthood by the angel, in the Messenger and Advocate of October 1834, pages 15-16. In this account Oliver Cowdery tells us that “the angel of God came down clothed with glory” and delivered to himself and Joseph Smith the authority to administer the ordinances of the gospel. Cowdery says,
“. . .we received under his hand the holy priesthood, as he said, ‘upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I confer this priesthood and this authority, which shall remain on earth, that the sons of Levi may yet offer an offering unto the Lord in righteousness!’ ”
This account differs from the better known account, which was first published eight years later in 1842, in that the angel is unidentified, there is no mention of Aaron, there is no mention of Smith and Cowdery baptizing and ordaining each other, and the wording of the angel’s statement is significantly different, especially in regard to the meaning of the last clause concerning the sons of Levi, which the reader will note by comparing the two. It would appear from this, that the visitation by the angel was first regarded as a separate event, and the baptism and ordination of the two men by each other distinct from it. The two were joined in the 1842 account, however, with the contradictory result we have noted above.
D. Latter-day Saints Have No Authority, Since They Are Not Called of God “As Was Aaron” – Hebrews 5:4
1. Qualifications for the Aaronic Priesthood:
Limited to Aaron and his sons only Ex 28:1; 29:9; 29:44; Num 18:1-7; Lev 6:19-23; Ex 28:43; Neh 7:61-65
(1) The Levites helped – Num 3:5-6, 9-10; Heb 7:5
(2) Punishment for non-Levites who tried to become priests:
(a) Dathan and Abiram Num 16: 1-35
(b) King Uzziah – 2 Chron 26:1-3, 16-21
(c) Jeroboam’s priests- I Kings 13:33-34
(3) But Joseph Smith, of English stock, was not a Jew, a Levite, or a son of Aaron
(4) The Aaronic priesthood was hereditary, but not so in the LDS church
Physical qualifications – Lev 21:16-23
(1) LDS ignore these qualifications today
(2) Joseph Smith had a leg operation when he was young, in which part of the bone was removed. He was, therefore, physically disqualified to be a priest (Lucy Mack Smith: Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith and His Progenitors for Many Generations Liverpool: 1853, p. 65)
Other qualifications which LDS ignore: Lev 21:1-15: Num 4:35
2. How Were the Aaronic Priests Ordained in the Bible? – Exodus 29; Lev. 8
Were washed with water v. 4
Were dressed in the priestly robes – v. 5-6 (These robes were for “glory and beauty”-Ex 28:2-but the holy garments of the LDS are neither glorious nor beautiful.)
Were anointed with oilv. 7
Laid hands on the head of a bullock – v. 10
The bullock was killed, and its blood was poured out at the altar, while the fat and the kidneys were placed on the altar, and the rest was burned outside the camp, as a sin- offering v. 11-14
Laid hands on the head of a ram V.I 5
The ram was killed, its blood was sprinkled about the altar, and the body was offered as a burnt offering on the altar-v. 16-18
Laid hands on the head of another ram v. 19
This second ram was killed, and some of the blood was put on the tip of the right ear, right thumb, and right great toe of Aaron and his sons, while the rest of the blood was sprinkled upon the altar v. 20
Some of the blood on the altar and some anointing oil was then sprinkled on the priests and their garments – v. 21
Were given parts of the ram and three kinds of bread, and these were waved as a wave offering, then they were burnt on the altar – v. 22-25
The breast of the ram was given to the one who ordained them v. 26
The shoulder was given to them v. 27
They were to eat of the ram and the bread, but no one else was allowed to do so-v. 30-33
For the next seven days, one bullock and two lambs were offered daily v. 35-44
3. How Do LDS Ordain to the Aaronic Priesthood?
They lay hands on the priests being ordained and speak the words that are specified by the LDS church to confer the priesthood
Nowhere in the Bible account do we find hands laid on the priests hands were laid only on the bullock and the rams!
The LDS ignore completely the Biblical method of ordain- ing Aaronic priests
It will not do to say these ordinances do not apply today; if the Aaronic priesthood exists today, the method for ordaining priests into that priesthood apply today
LDS often apply Hebrews 5:4, “. . .as was Aaron,” to refer to the ceremony by which one is ordained to the priesthood, but they do not follow that ceremony in any way
E. If Mormons Ever Had Authority, It Has Long Since Been Lost
1. The Authority May Be Lost:
Byapostasy- D&C85:11-12U
By unrighteous living – D&C 121:37 U;J of D 21:284 U
By neglect of duty – John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government, p. 67 U
By excommunication – D&C 85: 1 1-12 U
By hypocrisy – D&C 121:37 U
Bypride- D&C 121:37 U
By vain ambition – D&C 121:37 U
By exercising unrighteous dominion over others D&C 121:37U
2. No Mormon Can Know If He Has the Authority
“. . .the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” (D&C 121:36-39 U) Note:
(1) One loses the authority when he exercises any degree of unrighteous dominion
(2) This will happen “ere he is aware”
(3) Almost all men, as soon as they get authority, will immediately exercise unrighteous dominion
In view of these statements, how can any LDS be confident of the authority he claims to have, or thinks he may have received from another?
In many communities where Mormons are the large majority of the population, it would mean the end of a man’s livelihood to admit publicly he no longer believed in Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. How many apostates may there have been, and are now, who pretend to believe in Mormonism, and perform baptisms, etc., in order to protect their financial security or social standing? Thus, all who have been baptized or ordained by such men are deluded into believing they are in good standing.
In order for one to be sure of his authority, he would have to know the hearts of every person in the chain of succession back to Joseph Smith. Yet, none can know the hearts of all men. One broken link in the chain of succession separates all below that break from their source of authority.
To insist that the heart of the man who baptizes or ordains must be right, in order for the baptism or ordination to be valid, is to make God unjust. For, although a man is responding sincerely from his heart to do God’s will, he cannot know if he is right before God since he cannot know the heart of the one who baptized or ordained him. It is not the spiritual condition of the one performing the ordinance, but the heart of the one responding to God’s will that is important!
3. There Are Several Recorded Instances in Mormon History in Which the Authority Was Lost
In the beginning, after the angel conferred the priesthood on Smith and Cowdery, they conferred it on each other again after their baptism. They obviously thought they needed to be re-ordained, so must have believed that it was lost.
They lost it when coming west with Brigham Young. They entered Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, and “On the 6th of August, 1847, the twelve were baptized. This we considered a privilege and a duty. . . We soon repaired to the water, and President Young went down into the water and baptized all his brethren of the twelve present. He then confirmed us and sealed upon us our apostleship and all the keys, powers, and blessings belonging to that office . . . Brother Heber C. Kimball baptized and confirmed President Brigham Young. During the same evening the twelve went to City Creek, and Heber C. Young baptized fifty-five members of the camp, for the remission of sins . , . On the next day (Sunday, Aug. 8th) the whole camp of Israel renewed their covenants before the Lord by baptism” (Life of Brigham Young, p. 180. See also Church Chronology, p. 31; Joseph Fielding Smith: Doctrines of Salvation, II., p. 333). Note that these re-baptisms were “for the remission of sins.” This means Brigham Young and the others had sinned, and thus apostatized. Instead of rebaptizing each other, the authority should have been restored by an angel. If an angel was not needed here, why was one needed to restore authority to Joseph Smith?
All LDS who entered Salt Lake Valley were required to be rebaptized for a number of years: “After the arrival of the Pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley, and subsequently for a considerable period, all those who entered the valley were baptized anew at the request of President Brigham Young” (Joseph Fielding Smith: Doctrines of Salvation, II., p. 333. See also Temple Lot Case, p. 341, and discourse by Apostle Orson Pratt in Journal of Discourses, XVIII., p. 160).
The authority must have been lost again during the Mormon reformation of 1856-1857 when rebaptism was carried out. “A general reformation took place throughout the Church, most of the Saints renewing their covenants by baptism” (Church Chronology, p. 55). “After this, the church had another reformation, and under that we were baptized the second time and were baptized for the same thing. You can call it what you please; but suppose it was for the remission of sins. I do not know whether we had got out of Christ then or not. . . I do not remember that I was baptized into Christ any more than three times” (Testimony of Joseph C. Kingsbury in Temple Lot Case, p. 341). “February 4.A reformation meeting was held in No. 42 Islington, Liverpool, England, and on the following day the presiding brethren of the British Mission, including Apostles 0. Pratt and E. T. Benson, renewed their covenants by baptism” (Church Chronology, p. 53).
It was lost in 1875. On July 17, 1875, “President B. Young, his Counselors and others renewed their covenants by baptism. This example was subsequently followed by the Saints generally” (Church Chronology, p. 92).
Rebaptism is no longer practiced by the LDS
It was apparently abandoned in 1898, according to testimony of August W. Lundstrom in the Reed Smoot investigation: “[My point] was in regard to the discontinuance of rebaptizing, which previously had been customary, when cases came up and rebaptizing was requested by parties; and at that time we received instructions not to rebaptize any more” (Reed Smoot Case, II., p. 159).
Yet, Brigham Young claimed it had come by revelation: “At this time came a revelation, that the Saints could be baptized and re-baptized when they chose, and then that we could be baptized for our dear friends” (Journal of Discourses, XVIII., p. 241).
In spite of this, Joseph Fielding Smith, Mormon church historian and member of the First Presidency, wrote: “It is unnecessary, however, to rebaptize persons merely as a renewal of their covenants every time they transgress in order that they may obtain forgiveness, for this would greatly cheapen this sacred ordinance and weaken its effectiveness. One baptism by water for the remission of sins should be enough. . .” (Doctrines of Salvation, II., p. 335).
It was lost again when President Wilford Woodruff apostatized by trading polygamy (an everlasting covenant – D&C 132) for statehood in 1890.
It was lost again when the ordinances of the church were changed by the removal of the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants. These lectures had been canonized as a part of D&C in 1880.
It was lost again when President Heber J. Grant changed the method of conferring the priesthood in 1921. Under his direction, officers were ordained before the priesthood was conferred. In 1957 President David 0. McKay changed the method of conferring the priesthood back to the manner in which it was done prior to 1921. What about all the priests ordained during those 36 years? Since they were not properly ordained, the baptisms, grave dedications, baby blessings, sacraments, proxy baptisms, endowment work, marriages (including celestial marriages) they performed were invalid.
It was lost again on June 9, 1978, when President Spencer Kimball, with the approval of the general authorities, gave the priesthood to the blacks. Brigham Young said:
“. . .the first presidency, the twelve, the high council, the bishoprick, and all the elders of Israel, suppose we summon them to appear here, and here declare that it is right to mingle our seed, with the black race of Cain, that they shall come in with us and be partakers with us of all the blessings God has given to us. On that very day and hour we should do so, the priesthood is taken from this Church and kingdom and God leaves us to our fate. The moment we consent to mingle with the seed of Cain the Church must go to destruction, . . -we should receive the curse which has been placed upon the seed of Cain, and never more be numbered with the children of Adam who are heirs to the Priesthood until that curse be removed.” (Brigham Young Addresses, February 5, 1852, Ms d. 1234, Box 48, Folder 3, LDS Historical Dept., Salt Lake City, Utah)
Finally, in March 1981, the discovery of the original text of the Blessing that Joseph Smith, Junior, gave to his son, Joseph Smith, III, on January 17, 1844, revealed the true successor to the presidency:
“Blessed of the Lord is my son Joseph, who is called the third, . . .that the promises made to the fathers might be fulfilled, even that the anointing of the progenitor shall be upon the head of my son, and his seed after him, from generation to generation. For he shall be my successor to the Presidency of the High Priesthood: a Seer, and a Revelator, and a Prophet, unto the Church; which appointment belongeth to him by blessing, and also by right.
“Verily, thus saith the Lord: if he abides in me, his days shall be lengthened upon the earth, but, if he abides not in me, I, the Lord, will receive him, in an instant, unto myself….”
Since Joseph Smith, III, was President of the Reorganized church for 54 years and lived till the age of 82, it is clear that he must have continued to abide in God. This can mean only that the Utah church under the leadership of Brigham Young and his successors is an apostate church, and never had the authority in the first place!



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rotorhead

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:26 pm


Chief,
Thanks for being the one and true authority for determining how God’s authority is or isn’t properly passed along…I was confused by the scripture found in Hebrew 5:4-6:
4″And NO man taketh this honour unto HIMSELF, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.” (I’ll let you research how Aaron was called).
5″So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.”
6″As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Huh…, even Christ was made a high priest by God in the same order as Melchisedec?
Well for one who states he believes in following Christ…how do you justify assuming authority in a “very different” way than He did? or Aaron did?



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rotorhead

posted August 1, 2007 at 12:27 pm


PS. You still haven’t addressed my questions regarding Genesis 6:6 or the false teachings of the “Trinity”?



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:10 pm


rotorhead,
I think you missed the point. In Joseph Smith’s own personal account of the transferral of authority, published in 1842, he stated that the angel conferred the authority on both he and Oliver. Smith and Cowdery then proceeded to baptize each other and confer on each other the Aaronic priesthood. However, according to the doctrine of the Mormon faith, an unbaptized person cannot baptize another person, or confer on him the priestly authority. What the angel should have done, in keeping with the Biblical statutes of ordaining priests, was to baptize both of them BEFORE conferring on them the priesthood, or he should have RE-CONFERRED the authority after they had baptized one another. Either way, if we are to believe Joseph Smith’s own account of the episode, THERE IS NO WAY THAT THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD WAS PASSED ON TO HE AND OLIVER COWDERY. If this was to happen nowadays in and LDS church, and an unbaptized person was to baptize someone else, would you recognize the validity of that baptism?
Also, another interesting point. According to the LDS, the church was in apostasy and the keys to the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were both taken from the earth. However, according to LDS teachings (the sources are cited in my above post, so please do not come back with ‘your claims are unsubstantiated, chief!’ If you can read, you can see the LDS source) the apostle John and 3 Nephite apostles were left alive and will continue to live on the earth until Christ returns. Did John, an apostle who had seen Jesus in the flesh, not have any authority during 300AD-1830AD? What was he doing all this time if he could not act with authority?
Rotorhead, that is why I do not put my faith and trust in Mormon dogma, because it shifts and changes to suit the times. The beauty of Christianity is that it has held its own over 2,000 years, and against all who would try to stamp it out. You think Mormons have been unfairly persecuted over the last 160 years? It is estimated that 5 million Christians were killed from 100AD-321AD, before it was made the official religion of the Roman Empire. As many as 100 million have been martyred over the last 2 millenia, and they continue to be heavily persecuted in the Middle East, Asia, and some parts of muslim Africa. Were there times when the number of true believers waned? Of course. But there is always a remnant. Remember Elijah? He despaired when Jezebel found and killed the 100 other prophets of God, and he was all that remained. Yet, God did wonderful acts through him, and the number of the faithful in Israel grew as a result. In Ezekiel there were 7,000 faithful Jews scattered throughout the land. He didn’t know where they were, but they were there.
Nobody has ever answered the question on how the Aaronic priesthood, which was hereditary and passed down by Aaron to his sons and descendants, could be conferred on a non-Jew who is not in Aaron’s line. That has always puzzled me.
Anyway, peace out…



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:19 pm


Genesis 6:6 “The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain.”
I fail to see what there is to explain, unless you are using the KJV version and are still hung up on ‘God repented’. We covered that, the word repented has different meanings. Go back to the original text and you will find your answer. The KJV repented and the NIV grieved are in perfect harmony.



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:31 pm


rotorhead,
Hebrews 5 is a beautiful chapter where a Father bestows glory and honor on His only begotten Son, an honor the Son did not claim for Himself, but His Father gives it to Him out of love. It also cites Psalm 110, which reads:
Psalm 110
Of David. A psalm.
1 The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion;
you will rule in the midst of your enemies.
3 Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy majesty,
from the womb of the dawn
you will receive the dew of your youth. [a]
4 The LORD has sworn
and will not change his mind:
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”
Of Melchizedek, that name appears 10 times in the Scriptures, twice in the Old Testament and eight times in the New. Here is what Hebrews 7 says about Melchizedek:
Hebrews 7
Melchizedek the Priest
1This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, 2and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” 3Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever.
Who was Melchizedek? Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life? Does that sound like a mere man to you? Also, who else has been established “in the order of Melchizedek?” No one other than Jesus himself. The Aaronic line contained thousands of men, but only two people are ever listed in the Melchizedek line, the man himself (or was it God or Jesus?) and Jesus. No one, not me, not you, not Joseph Smith, and not the Pope, can claim the Melchizedek priesthood for ourselves. The line goes – Melchizedek – Jesus, with no one in between or after.
I am sorry, rotorhead, but the Melchizedek priesthood was never ‘returned’ or ‘restored’ to this earth. It resides in the person of Christ alone, and anyone who claims to have it blasphemes the Lord whom God said “Sit at my right hand”.
Peace…



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:43 pm


One last thought. If we read the whole text from Hebrews 5, it will give some insight on what the writer is trying to get across:
Hebrews 5
1Every high priest is selected from among men and is appointed to represent them in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. 3This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
4No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was. 5So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father.[a]“[b] 6And he says in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.”[c]
7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Why were high priests called? In part so that they could offer sacrifices, both for the sins of the people and for their own. A high priest did not assume the position by himself and on his own authority, but was called by God. I think we can all agree on that point. Here, it says that Jesus also did not presume to become a high priest at His own whim. But God the Father, talking to Christ, said “You are my Son” and “you are a high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” God gave Him the priesthood forever and ever. Why? Because Jesus made the sacrifice for our sins that stands for all time. That is why He is our High Priest forever, because He offered up to God the sacrifice that satisfied God’s wrath and reconciled those who believe in His Son to Him forever.
It is in no way talking about priesthood authority here on earth today, or that we are to be ‘called, like Aaron.’ The Aaronic priesthood is no longer necessary, now that we have a high priest who made the sacrifice for sins once and for all.



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:49 pm


It is interesting to note that the Aaronic priesthood WILL return to earth sometime in our future. When? When the Jews rebuild the temple in Jerusalem and reinstitute the system of sacrifices. Then and only then will the Aaronic priesthood be revived. It was not revived in 1830, as you can see from the accounts above. Smith and Cowdery violated Scripture (they were not sons or descendants of Aaron) and they violated tenets of the church they were founding (no unbaptized person can baptize another person, nor can they infer any priestly authority upon anyone else).



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 3:55 pm


To summarize, I am not putting forth this information to belittle anyone’s beliefs or to say I am holier than thou. If anyone reading these posts is truly seeking the face of the risen Christ, God bless you and Godspeed on your spiritual journey. My only wish is that you look to the truth for your answers, and truth is found in the words of Scripture (“Sanctify them by the truth; Thy word is truth.”) The point of my previous posts is that dogma initiated by Joseph Smith is not scripture, and it is not truth, even by the standards of his own church. The sincere God-seeker thus cannot and should not put their trust for eternal salvation in things that will not lead to saving grace.



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Paul

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:21 pm


Rotorhead,
What is the doctrine of the Trinity?
The doctrine of the Trinity is foundational to the Christian faith. It is crucial for properly understanding what God is like, how He relates to us, and how we should relate to Him. But it also raises many difficult questions. How can God be both one and three? Is the Trinity a contradiction? If Jesus is God, why do the Gospels record instances where He prayed to God?
While we cannot fully understand everything about the Trinity (or anything else), it is possible to answer questions like these and come to a solid grasp of what it means for God to be three in one.
What Does it Mean That God is a Trinity?
The doctrine of the Trinity means that there is one God who eternally exists as three distinct Persons–the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Stated differently, God is one in essence and three in person. These definitions express three crucial truths: (1) The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, (2) each Person is fully God, (3) there is only one God.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. The Bible speaks of the Father as God (Phil. 1:2), Jesus as God (Titus 2:13), and the Holy Spirit as God (Acts 5:3-4). Are these just three different ways of looking at God, or simply ways of referring to three different roles that God plays?
The answer must be no, because the Bible also indicates that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons. For example, since the Father sent the Son into the world (John 3:16), He cannot be the same person as the Son. Likewise, after the Son returned to the Father (John 16:10), the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit into the world (John 14:26; Acts 2:33). Therefore, the Holy Spirit must be distinct from the Father and the Son.
In the baptism of Jesus, we see the Father speaking from heaven and the Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove as Jesus comes out of the water (Mark 1:10-11). In John 1:1 it is affirmed that Jesus is God and, at the same time, that He was “with God”-thereby indicating that Jesus is a distinct Person from God the Father (cf. also 1:18). And in John 16:13-15 we see that although there is a close unity between them all, the Holy Spirit is also distinct from the Father and the Son.
The fact that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinct Persons means, in other words, that the Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father. Jesus is God, but He is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, but He is not the Son or the Father. They are different Persons, not three different ways of looking at God.
The personhood of each member of the Trinity means that each Person has a distinct center of consciousness. Thus, they relate to each other personally–the Father regards Himself as “I,” while He regards the Son and Holy Spirit as “You.” Likewise the Son regards Himself as “I,” but the Father and the Holy Spirit as “You.”
Often it is objected that “If Jesus is God, then he must have prayed to himself while he was on earth.” But the answer to this objection lies in simply applying what we have already seen. While Jesus and the Father are both God, they are different Persons. Thus, Jesus prayed to God the Father without praying to Himself. In fact, it is precisely the continuing dialog between the Father and the Son (Matthew 3:17; 17:5; John 5:19; 11:41-42; 17:1ff) which furnishes the best evidence that they are distinct Persons with distinct centers of consciousness.
Sometimes the Personhood of the Father and Son is appreciated, but the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is neglected. Sometimes the Spirit is treated more like a “force” than a Person. But the Holy Spirit is not an it, but a He (see John 14:26; 16:7-15; Acts 8:16). The fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person, not an impersonal force (like gravity), is also shown by the fact that He speaks (Hebrews 3:7), reasons (Acts 15:28), thinks and understands (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), wills (1 Corinthians 12:11), feels (Ephesians 4:30), and gives personal fellowship (2 Corinthians 13:14). These are all qualities of personhood. In addition to these texts, the others we mentioned above make clear that the Personhood of the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Personhood of the Son and the Father. They are three real persons, not three roles God plays.
Another serious error people have made is to think that the Father became the Son, who then became the Holy Spirit. Contrary to this, the passages we have seen imply that God always was and always will be three Persons. There was never a time when one of the Persons of the Godhead did not exist. They are all eternal.
While the three members of the Trinity are distinct, this does not mean that any is inferior to the other. Instead, they are all identical in attributes. They are equal in power, love, mercy, justice, holiness, knowledge, and all other qualities.
Each Person is fully God. If God is three Persons, does this mean that each Person is “one-third” of God? Does the Trinity mean that God is divided into three parts?
The Trinity does not divide God into three parts. The Bible is clear that all three Persons are each one hundred percent God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all fully God. For example, it says of Christ that “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). We should not think of God as like a “pie” cut into three pieces, each piece representing a Person. This would make each Person less than fully God and thus not God at all. Rather, “the being of each Person is equal to the whole being of God.”[1] The divine essence is not something that is divided between the three persons, but is fully in all three persons without being divided into “parts.”
Thus, the Son is not one-third of the being of God, He is all of the being of God. The Father is not one-third of the being of God, He is all of the being of God. And likewise with the Holy Spirit. Thus, as Wayne Grudem writes, “When we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit together we are not speaking of any greater being than when we speak of the Father alone, the Son alone, or the Holy Spirit alone.”[2]
There is only one God. If each Person of the Trinity is distinct and yet fully God, then should we conclude that there is more than one God? Obviously we cannot, for Scripture is clear that there is only one God: “There is no other God besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me. Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:21-22; see also 44:6-8; Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 4:35; 6:4-5; 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:2; 1 Kings 8:60).
Having seen that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct Persons, that they are each fully God, and that there is nonetheless only one God, we must conclude that all three Persons are the same God. In other words, there is one God who exists as three distinct Persons.
If there is one passage which most clearly brings all of this together, it is Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” First, notice that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished as distinct Persons. We baptize into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Second, notice that each Person must be deity because they are all placed on the same level. In fact, would Jesus have us baptize in the name of a mere creature? Surely not. Therefore each of the Persons into whose name we are to be baptized must be deity. Third, notice that although the three divine Persons are distinct, we are baptized into their name (singular), not names (plural). The three Persons are distinct, yet only constitute one name. This can only be if they share one essence.
Is the Trinity Contradictory?
This leads us to investigate more closely a very helpful definition of the Trinity which I mentioned earlier: God is one in essence, but three in Person. This formulation can show us why there are not three Gods, and why the Trinity is not a contradiction.
In order for something to be contradictory, it must violate the law of noncontradiction. This law states that A cannot be both A (what it is) and non-A (what it is not) at the same time and in the same relationship. In other words, you have contradicted yourself if you affirm and deny the same statement. For example, if I say that the moon is made entirely of cheese but then also say that the moon is not made entirely of cheese, I have contradicted myself.
Other statements may at first seem contradictory but are really not. Theologian R.C. Sproul cites as an example Dickens’ famous line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Obviously this is a contradiction if Dickens means that it was the best of times in the same way that it was the worst of times. But he avoids contradiction with this statement because he means that in one sense it was the best of times, but in another sense it was the worst of times.
Carrying this concept over to the Trinity, it is not a contradiction for God to be both three and one because He is not three and one in the same way. He is three in a different way than He is one. Thus, we are not speaking with a forked tongue-we are not saying that God is one and then denying that He is one by saying that He is three. This is very important: God is one and three at the same time, but not in the same way.
How is God one? He is one in essence. How is God three? He is three in Person. Essence and person are not the same thing. God is one in a certain way (essence) and three in a different way (person). Since God is one in a different way than He is three, the Trinity is not a contradiction. There would only be a contradiction if we said that God is three in the same way that He is one.
So a closer look at the fact that God is one in essence but three in person has helped to show why the Trinity is not a contradiction. But how does it show us why there is only one God instead of three? It is very simple: All three Persons are one God because, as we saw above, they are all the same essence. Essence means the same thing as “being.” Thus, since God is only one essence, He is only one being-not three. This should make it clear why it is so important to understand that all three Persons are the same essence. For if we deny this, we have denied God’s unity and affirmed that there is more than one being of God (i.e., that there is more than one God).
What we have seen so far provides a good basic understanding of the Trinity. But it is possible to go deeper. If we can understand more precisely what is meant by essence and person, how these two terms differ, and how they relate, we will then have a more complete understanding of the Trinity.
Essence and Person
Essence. What does essence mean? As I said earlier, it means the same thing as being. God’s essence is His being. To be even more precise, essence is what you are. At the risk of sounding too physical, essence can be understood as the “stuff” that you “consist of.” Of course we are speaking by analogy here, for we cannot understand this in a physical way about God. “God is spirit” (John 4:24). Further, we clearly should not think of God as “consisting of” anything other than divinity. The “substance” of God is God, not a bunch of “ingredients” that taken together yield deity.
Person. In regards to the Trinity, we use the term “Person” differently than we generally use it in everyday life. Therefore it is often difficult to have a concrete definition of Person as we use it in regards to the Trinity. What we do not mean by Person is an “independent individual” in the sense that both I and another human are separate, independent individuals who can exist apart from one another.
What we do mean by Person is something that regards himself as “I” and others as “You.” So the Father, for example, is a different Person from the Son because He regards the Son as a “You,” even though He regards Himself as “I.” Thus, in regards to the Trinity, we can say that “Person” means a distinct subject which regards Himself as an “I” and the other two as a “You.” These distinct subjects are not a division within the being of God, but “a form of personal existence other than a difference in being.”[3]
How do they relate? The relationship between essence and Person, then, is as follows. Within God’s one, undivided being is an “unfolding” into three personal distinctions. These personal distinctions are modes of existence within the divine being, but are not divisions of the divine being. They are personal forms of existence other than a difference in being. The late theologian Herman Bavinck has stated something very helpful at this point: “The persons are modes of existence within the being; accordingly, the Persons differ among themselves as the one mode of existence differs from the other, and-using a common illustration-as the open palm differs from a closed fist.”[4]
Because each of these “forms of existence” are relational (and thus are Persons), they are each a distinct center of consciousness, with each center of consciousness regarding Himself as “I” and the others as “You.” Nonetheless, these three Persons all “consist of” the same “stuff” (that is, the same “what,” or essence). As theologian and apologist Norman Geisler has explained it, while essence is what you are, person is who you are. So God is one “what” but three “whos.”
The divine essence is thus not something that exists “above” or “separate from” the three Persons, but the divine essence is the being of the three Persons. Neither should we think of the Persons as being defined by attributes added on to the being of God. Wayne Grudem explains:
But if each person is fully God and has all of God’s being, then we also should not think that the personal distinctions are any kind of additional attributes added on to the being of God . . . Rather, each person of the Trinity has all of the attributes of God, and no one Person has any attributes that are not possessed by the others. On the other hand, we must say that the Persons are real, that they are not just different ways of looking at the one being of God…the only way it seems possible to do this is to say that the distinction between the persons is not a difference of `being’ but a difference of `relationships.’ This is something far removed from our human experience, where every different human `person’ is a different being as well. Somehow God’s being is so much greater than ours that within his one undivided being there can be an unfolding into interpersonal relationships, so that there can be three distinct persons.[5]
Trinitarian Illustrations?
There are many illustrations which have been offered to help us understand the Trinity. While there are some illustrations which are helpful, we should recognize that no illustration is perfect. Unfortunately, there are many illustrations which are not simply imperfect, but in error. One illustration to beware of is the one which says “I am one person, but I am a student, son, and brother. This explains how God can be both one and three.” The problem with this is that it reflects a heresy called modalism. God is not one person who plays three different roles, as this illustration suggests. He is one Being in three Persons (centers of consciousness), not merely three roles. This analogy ignores the personal distinctions within God and mitigates them to mere roles.
Summary
Let us quickly review what we have seen.
1. The Trinity is not belief in three gods. There is only one God, and we must never stray from this.
2. This one God exists as three Persons.
3. The three Persons are not each part of God, but are each fully God and equally God. Within God’s one undivided being there is an unfolding into three interpersonal relationships such that there are three Persons. The distinctions within the Godhead are not distinctions of His essence and neither are they something added on to His essence, but they are the unfolding of God’s one, undivided being into three interpersonal relationships such that there are three real Persons.
4. God is not one person who took three consecutive roles. That is the heresy of modalism. The Father did not become the Son and then the Holy Spirit. Instead, there have always been and always will be three distinct persons in the Godhead.
5. The Trinity is not a contradiction because God is not three in the same way that He is one. God is one in essence, three in Person.
Application
The Trinity is first of all important because God is important. To understand more fully what God is like is a way of honoring God. Further, we should allow the fact that God is triune to deepen our worship. We exist to worship God. And God seeks people to worship Him in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). Therefore we must always endeavor to deepen our worship of God-in truth as well as in our hearts.
The Trinity has a very significant application to prayer. The general pattern of prayer in the Bible is to pray to the Father through the Son and in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:18). Our fellowship with God should be enhanced by consciously knowing that we are relating to a tri-personal God!
Awareness of the distinct role that each Person of the Trinity has in our salvation can especially serve to give us greater comfort and appreciation for God in our prayers, as well as helping us to be specific in directing our prayers. Nonetheless, while recognizing the distinct roles that each Person has, we should never think of their roles as so separate that the other Persons are not involved. Rather, everything that one Person is involved in, the other two are also involved in, one way or another.
Notes
1.Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, (InterVarsity Press and Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), p. 255, emphasis added.
2. Ibid, 252.
3. Ibid, p. 255. While I believe that this is a helpful definition, it should be recognized that Grudem himself is offering this as more of an explanation than definition of Person.
4. Herman Bavinck, The Doctrine of God, (Great Britain: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991 edition), p. 303.
5. Grudem, pp. 253-254.
Further Resources
Augustine, On the Trinity
Herman Bavinck, The Doctrine of God, pp. 255-334
Edward Bickersteth, The Trinity.
Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, chapter 14
Donald Macleod, Shared Life: The Trinity and the Fellowship of God’s People
R.C. Sproul, The Mystery of the Holy Spirit
R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith, pp. 35-36
J.I. Packer, Knowing God, pp. 57-63.
John Piper, The Pleasures of God, chapter 1
James White, The Forgotten Trinity
The thing we have to remember about God, is that He is not constrained by this world and our view of it for He is God. He can do anything He so desires. God is not limited by anything for He created all things



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rotorhead

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:31 pm


Chief,
You present a very interesting perspective, I’ll give you that. It tells me the opponents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints have evolved in deed.
Even if I concede, and I don’t, that the KJV using the word “Repent” is really “Grieved”, it still presents the Dichotomy of God being All knowing and yet caught in disappointment of His creation.
I suppose other places in the Bible that use the word “Repent” could also be changed to “grieve” and when Jesus and His Apostles call mankind to Repentance they were really calling us to “grieve”, i.e., …[grieve] ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 3:2); “I baptize you with water unto [grieving]…(Ibid vs. 11); “…they went out, and preached that men should [grieve]…” (Mark 6:12)…Are you seeing the absurdity of this yet?
You “seem” well versed and schooled in the LDS faith, but have a “chip” on your shoulder against them for some reason. You obviously accept the Bible on faith, despite the fact its spiritual content can never scientifically be proven, yet you refuse to acknowledge that He who gave us the writings and teachings found withing the Bible, can do anything He wants…even give us more scripture!
“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea,that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world…” (Book of Mormon pg. 110).
You have to admit that if nothing more…this is an incredible statement for a mere boy of back woods 1820′s New York to just make up!
READ THE BOOK. It’s True. It’s from God. It will bring you closer to God than any other book…It is Another Testament of Jesus Christ!!



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Chief1989

posted August 1, 2007 at 4:46 pm


Rotorhead,
I am not an ‘opponent’ of Mormonism. On the contrary, I am an advocate of the truth. I have said on this board before, I believe i will see many of my Mormon brothers and sisters in heaven, and that is reason for rejoicing.
Regarding the “truth” of the book of Mormon, please consider the following article, and please note that it is not from an “anti-Mormon” website:
Mostly about Books
___________
SOLOMON SPAULDING’S MANUSCRIPT
BY JOHN LAKMORD WAYNE
ONE of the greatest curiosities of American literature was the Rev. Solomon Spaulding’s “Manuscript Found.” No copy of this curious romance of a prehistoric American race is now known to exist. The discovery of the manuscript would mean a fortune to the person discovering it, providing he knew its history and value, but there is great reason to believe that this curious romance inspired by the great mounds of Ohio will never be found. There is no positive proof that the Spaulding manuscript was destroyed by agents of the Church of Christ [of] Latter Day Saints but it would have been policy for that sect to see that it was destroyed as a diplomatic measure. The reason for the Mormon interest in Spaulding’s “Manuscript Found” lay in the fact that while written prior to the calling of Joseph Smith, to be a prophet of the new faith, the Spaulding romance included in its cast of characters such names as “Mormon,” “Maroni,” “Lamenite,” and “Nephi.” There were people in the early days of Mormonism who believed that the Prophet Smith not only stole the plot of his “Book of Mormon” from the Spaulding Manuscript but that he even lacked the wit to change the names of its principal characters. I believe it was the late Elbert Hubbard who said Edgar Allen Poe could have made a more interesting book on the same foundation if he had given some time to the idea. The “Book of Mormon,” while considered a work of divine revelation by the followers of Smith, is far from a literary classic. It would be interesting to have the lost Spaulding manuscript for the purposes of comparison. From what we know of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding we are inclined to believe that for interesting reading his work would be of more literary value than the translation of the plates made by Smith. If the “Book of Mormon” was inspired perhaps Spaulding was the first prophet called, but he failed to answer. The coincidence of names in the “Manuscript Found” and “The Book of Mormon” inclines to the belief that Smith was a plagiarist if not a prophet.
Solomon Spaulding was born at Ashford, Connecticut, in 1761, was graduated from Dartmouth College in 1785, studied divinity, preached a few years and then, from ill health, gave up the ministry. Spaulding was a peculiar man, of fine education, especially devoted to historical study, and with a great fondness for writing romances. In 1812 he resided in Conneaut, Ashtabula county, Ohio. The great mounds in the vicinity aroused the curiosity of Spaulding who caused excavations to be made and it is said his workers found skeletons and other relics of a prehistoric race. On these discoveries and with a good imagination Spaulding wrote his “Manuscript Found,” which he called a translation from some hieroglypgical writing exhumed from the mound. This romance purported to be a history of the peopling of America by the lost tribes of Israel, the tribes and their leaders having very singular names among which were Mormon, Maroni, Lamenite, and Nephi. The work of Spaulding’s was written in 1812, and the manuscript was read to a circle of admiring friends. They thought it was good and he decided to publish it and carried it for this purpose to Patterson, a printer at Pittsburgh, Pa. After keeping it for a time Patterson returned it to Spaulding with the advice to polish it up, finish it, and make some money out of it. At the time the manuscript was in the possession of Patterson he had in his employ Sidney Rigdon, who twenty years later was a well known preacher among the Mormons.
In 1823, Joseph Smith, the possessor of a seer stone, made his living by wandering from place to place professing to discover gold and silver and lost articles by means of this remarkable possession. In that year he announced that he had been directed in a vision to unearth some gold plates from a hill near Palmyra, N. Y. These plates were curiously inscribed.
In 1825, Mr. Thurlow Weed was publishing the “Rochester Telegraph” and Smith came to him to have a book published. Weed thought the inspired work of Smith’s was “incomprehensible jargon” and refused to publish it. A few days later Smith returned with a farmer named Harris who offered to finance the publishing of the book. The book was afterwards published in Palmyra, in 1830 to be exact, by E. B. Grandin. Two years later the Mormon religion began to gain ground. The history of the rise of Mormonism can be found in standard reference works. We shall return to the Spaulding manuscript and its history.
Spaulding died at Amity, Pa. in 1816. His wife then went to reside with her brother, William H. Sabine at Onondaga Valley, Onondaga county, N. Y. The manuscript concerning the lost tribes of Israel and other unpublished works of the deceased author were carried to Sabine’s place in an old trunk. While there his daughter had occasion to glance over the manuscripts. In 1820, Mrs. Spaulding remarried and took up her residence at Hartwicks, N. Y., and the trunk with its manuscripts sent to her at that place. About 1830, the author’s widow went to Monson, Mass. to reside with her daughter. The trunk was left in the care of Mr. Jerome Clark of Hartwicks.
A Mormon meeting at Conneaut, where the “Book of Mormon” was read reminded John Spaulding of his brother’s work of years previous. Other friends commented on the similarity of the works and the Mormons had a dispute on their hands.
In 1834, a man named Hurlburt arrived at Monson, Mass., in search of the Spaulding manuscript. He had a letter from Sabine requesting his sister to loan the manuscript to Hurlburt in order to help uproot the “Mormon case.” She consented to loan the manuscript and gave Hurlburt a letter to Clarke authorizing the opening of the trunk. Hurlburt obtained the manuscript but never returned it to the Spaulding family. It was rumored that he sold it to the Mormons for $300 and that they destroyed it.
Another coincidence in the history of the “Manuscript Found” is that it was in the trunk at Sabine’s house during a period when Joseph Smith was employed on the Sabine farm. The trunk was unlocked and Smith could have had an opportunity to read the manuscript. This seems very probable for both stories are alike and the peculiar names occur nowhere but in these two books.
In 1880, M. S. McKinstry, the daughter of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding made an affidavit telling what she knew of the facts in the history of the manuscript. On this affidavit Ellen E. Dickinson based her story entitled “The Book of Mormon” which was published in Scribner’s Monthly in the number for August, 1880. At that time the Mormons were quite a political problem and the subject was of current interest. On her facts we have based the present article which we offer as one of the curiosities of American literature.
—————————-
I am sure that you have heard this before. Of course, none of us were there so there is no way to settle the claim of ‘did Smith or did he not receive a visitation from heavenly personages, or did he copy the plot for the Book of Mormon from Spaulding’s manuscript?’
But I find fascinating that Spaulding’s manuscript was about the lost tribes of Israel coming to America, building a highly civilized society, fighting bloody battles, and having names like Mormon, Maroni, Nephi, and Lamenite. The parallels are too similar to be discounted or thrown out. Methinks personally that Joseph Smith had a very active imagination, happened upon Spaulding’s manuscript in the trunk, and took it for himself to create his own religion, for the purpose of making it rich. He did not realize that dream, but Brigham Young sure did.
Anyway, interesting food for thought, and one more reason that I have READ THE BOOK (partway through, anyway) and I cannot affirm it as anything more than a story of events that did not happen and of people who never existed. The whole crux of Mormonism rests on the truth of the story and the veracity of the prophet, and I cannot give credence to either one.
However, rotorhead, if you are seeking to grow in your relationship with Christ and you leave the other questionable doctrines behind, amen and more power to you! True salvation is found in no other name than Jesus. If you believe that, rock on!
Peace…



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Mike Bennion

posted August 1, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Paul, Chief et.al.
Let me ask you to answer these questions:
How do you know that Jesus is God?
How do you know that he was resurrected?
How do you know that he walked on the water, healed the sick, suffered for our sins, and overcame death?
How do you know that Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus?
How do you know that Peter and John healed the lame man at the Gate Beautiful?
What is the pattern that the Bible sets for knowing any of these things?
Chief, you know that I can respond to every point that you bring up. I replied with documentation to each of your 10 ubdocumented assertions over on the other thread. I can show that my assertions are as plausible as yours and Paul’s.
In the end, the only way to know who is right is to go to the wource.
The Bible is not the only source of truth on the earth. The Bible does not even contain all the words of Christ. The Bible even says that this is true. I treasure the Bible but I do not worship it.
I use the truths and patterns in the Bible to learn of the True and Living God. Him I worship.
The Bible says we are to go to the source of all truth to learn the truth. James 1:5 in the Bible that you claim to believe sets the pattern. Many other scriptures in the Bible support the pattern listed in James. If you believe the Bible, then believe all of the Bible.
I cannot and would not desire to force you to believe or know as I do.
Believe any way that you want. But the way to know for sure is available.
It is possible to know if an angel visited Joseph Smith. If that angel was in fact John who is called the Baptist and if he was sent by God. You can know if the Spaulding manuscript is the source of the Book of Mormon or if it came as Joseph says it did. You can know that God lives and Jesus is the Christ. The way that you can know will not be by reading copmments for or against the LDS Church. the way will not be by reading the Word of God in the Bible and then failing to do as the Bible directs, any more than a man in a deep pit will get out unless someone throws him a rope and he grasps it and hangs on until he is out.
The Bible says that you must read, pray, seek, ask, search and knock. then the promise of God as written in the Bible is that God will answer instruct and open to you by the power fo the Holy Ghost.
1 Thes. 1: 5
5 For our GOSPEL CAME NOT unto you IN WORD ONLY, BUT ALSO IN POWER, AND IN THE HOLY GHOST, and IN MUCH ASSURANCE; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
Gen. 4: 26 (Gen. 21: 33; Rom. 10: 3; Mosiah 4: 11; Ether 2: 14; Moses 6: 4) then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.
Gen. 12: 8 builded an altar . . . called upon the name of the Lord.
Gen. 20: 7 he shall pray for thee.
Gen. 25: 22 (1 Sam. 10: 22; 1 Ne. 16: 24; Alma 27: 7) went to inquire of the Lord.
1 Sam. 12: 23 I should sin . . . in ceasing to pray.
2 Kgs. 19: 4 lift up thy prayer for the remnant.
2 Kgs. 19: 20 That which thou hast prayed to me . . . I have heard.
2 Kgs. 20: 2 turned his face to the wall, and prayed.
2 Chr. 7: 14 pray, and seek my face.
2 Chr. 15: 4 when they . . . sought him, he was found.
Ps. 55: 17 Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray.
Prov. 15: 29 he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Isa. 56: 7 (Matt. 21: 13; Mark 11: 17; Luke 19: 46) make them joyful in my house of prayer.
Jer. 29: 13 find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Dan. 6: 10 prayed, and gave thanks.
Joel 2: 32 whosoever shall call on . . . the Lord shall be delivered.
Jonah 2: 7 my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
Matt. 5: 44 (Luke 6: 28; 3 Ne. 12: 44) pray for them which despitefully use you.
Matt. 6: 6 pray to thy Father which is in secret.
Matt. 6: 8 Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask.
Matt. 7: 7 (3 Ne. 14: 7; D&C 4: 7; D&C 6: 5; D&C 66: 9) Ask, and it shall be given you.
Matt. 14: 23 (Mark 6: 46) he went up into a mountain apart to pray.
Matt. 17: 21 (Mark 9: 29) this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Matt. 21: 13 My house shall be called the house of prayer.
Matt. 21: 22 (Mark 11: 24) whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing.
Matt. 26: 39 fell on his face, and prayed.
Matt. 26: 41 (Mark 14: 38; Luke 22: 40, 46; 3 Ne. 18: 15; D&C 31: 12) Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation.
Mark 11: 25 when ye stand praying, forgive.
Mark 13: 33 Take ye heed, watch and pray.
Luke 2: 37 served God with fastings and prayers.
Luke 5: 33 disciples of John fast often, and make prayers.
Luke 9: 29 as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered.
Luke 11: 1 Lord, teach us to pray.
Luke 18: 1 (D&C 88: 126; D&C 101: 81) men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
Luke 21: 36 watch ye therefore, and pray always.
Luke 22: 32 prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.
John 14: 13 (John 16: 23; D&C 88: 64) whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.
John 15: 7 ask what ye will, and it shall be.
John 17: 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world.
John 17: 20 Neither pray I for these alone.
Acts 6: 4 we will give ourselves continually to prayer.
Acts 6: 6 when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
Acts 13: 3 fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them.
Rom. 8: 26 know not what we should pray for . . . but the Spirit.
Rom. 12: 12 in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer.
1 Cor. 14: 15 I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding.
Eph. 6: 18 Praying always with all prayer.
Philip. 4: 6 by prayer . . . let your requests be made known.
Col. 3: 17 do all in the name of . . . Jesus, giving thanks to God.
Col. 4: 12 labouring fervently for you in prayers.
1 Thes. 5: 17 (Alma 34: 27) Pray without ceasing.
1 Tim. 2: 8 I will therefore that men pray every where.
James 1: 6 (D&C 42: 68; D&C 46: 7) let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.
James 4: 3 ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss.
James 5: 14 let them pray over him, anointing him with oil.
James 5: 16 fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
1 Pet. 3: 12 his ears are open unto their prayers.
1 Pet. 4: 7 be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
1 Jn. 3: 22 whatsoever we ask, we receive.
1 Jn. 5: 15 whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions.
Rev. 5: 8 full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.



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posted August 1, 2007 at 6:01 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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RD

posted August 1, 2007 at 6:07 pm


Chief,
In stead of trying to refute something that admittedly you haven’t read, except for snippets, perhaps our time could be more useful if you would do a more in-depth reading and then point out to me any passages and doctrines found “within” the Book of Mormon that you disagree with or that is inconsistent with your inerrant Bible and Christian theology…then we might have a productive discussion that others can join.
Remember…this Book came from an unschooled backwoods boy…surely it can’t compare to the pure collection of canon brought about through hundreds of years of careful protection and prepared by the world’s best religious scholars…unless of course…a divine hand had something to do with it…
I’ll address the “Spaulding” document putrescence later if no other comes forward to debunk this recycled fraud…at least for those unfamiliar with the story…



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RD

posted August 1, 2007 at 6:13 pm


Thanks nowandlater…you saved me the trouble…



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 12:36 am


Chief,
Mike’s Response to Your “where do you get your authority” thread:
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1
http://www.fairlds.org search under restoration of the priesthood.
Those who really want to know will go there. I’m not taking the space to cut and paste over 100 pages.



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 11:26 am


Mike,
I went to the site you mentioned in your last post. Here is a thread from it:
We still continued the work of translation, when, in the ensuing month (May, 1829), we on a certain day went into the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting abaptism for the bremission of sins, that we found mentioned in the translation of the plates. While we were thus employed, praying and calling upon the Lord, a messenger from heaven descended in a ccloud of light, and having laid his dhands upon us, he eordained us, saying:
69 Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah, I confer the aPriesthood of bAaron, which holds the keys of the ministering of angels, and of the gospel of repentance, and of cbaptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth until the sons of dLevi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in erighteousness.
70 He said this Aaronic Priesthood had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, but that this should be conferred on us hereafter; and he commanded us to go and be baptized, and gave us directions that I should baptize Oliver Cowdery, and that afterwards he should baptize me.
71 Accordingly we went and were baptized. I abaptized him first, and afterwards he baptized me—after which I laid my hands upon his head and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood, and afterwards he laid his hands on me and ordained me to the same Priesthood—for so we were commanded.*
72 The amessenger who visited us on this occasion and conferred this Priesthood upon us, said that his name was John, the same that is called bJohn the Baptist in the New Testament, and that he acted under the direction of cPeter, James and John, who held the keys of the Priesthood of Melchizedek, which Priesthood, he said, would in due time be conferred on us, and that I should be called the first dElder of the Church, and he (Oliver Cowdery) the second. It was on the fifteenth day of May, 1829, that we were ordained under the hand of this messenger, and baptized.
73 Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father. No sooner had I baptized Oliver Cowdery, than the Holy Ghost fell upon him, and he stood up and aprophesied many things which should shortly come to pass. And again, so soon as I had been baptized by him, I also had the spirit of prophecy, when, standing up, I prophesied concerning the rise of this Church, and many other things connected with the Church, and this generation of the children of men. We were filled with the Holy Ghost, and rejoiced in the God of our salvation.
——————–
A couple of questions:
1) Peter, James, and John never held the ‘keys’ to the Melchizedek priesthood. God the Father calls Jesus the Son “Thou are a priest in the order of Melchizedek.” As I pointed out yesterday, this priestly order had 2 members: Melchizedek and Jesus. How could Peter, James, and John then hold and transfer that authority, authority they never possessed themselves? None of the 3 is ever mentioned next to the name Melchizedek in all of the Scriptures. Look it up for yourself.
2) Is it or is it not against the ordinances of the Mormon church for an unbaptized person to baptize another person? If it is against the ordinances, then Smith’s baptism of Cowdery is invalid. Cowdery, thus having an invalid baptism, could not then baptize Smith. Both baptisms would be invalid, since by Mormon teaching neither one had the ‘authority’ to baptize the other. That ‘authority’, according to the Mormon missionaries i have talked to, can only be conferred on persons who have ALREADY been baptized. Your citing does nothing to authenticate Smith’s calling, since the above is his own account of what happened.
3) It is also curious that, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, when an angel is sent to proclaim a message and is named that name is always Gabriel, the supreme messenger. Why would God use Gabriel to appear to Zacharias and Mary proclaiming the coming of His salvation, and then use someone else for a ‘restoration’ of that glory? God is consistent in His dealings with men throughout history, so this does not make sense to me. Yes, God can do whatever He wants to do however He wants to do it. I am not debating that point. However, He has remained eternally consistent and faithful in how He has interacted with man, so a deviation here throws up a red flag as to whether this really happened at all, or at least as to whether the angel ‘Moroni’ is of heavenly origin.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 2, 2007 at 2:35 pm


And if Joseph is telling the truth. Then God sent John from heaven to give him authority. And once authority is on earth we go to that authority for baptism. It wasn’t there and then it was. Go pray about it Chief. Ask the Source of all knowledge James 1:5 I did. I know. You better find out at your peril.
Question 1
Failure to mention something is not proof that it isn’t so. That is why there is need for additional truth and light from God. If it were not so, God would not tell us to ask seek and pray for wisdom and understanding.
Questions 2
It is now that the priesthood is restored. But if the priesthood is not on the earth we do what God tells us to get it here, then the rest of us go to those with the authority. And if you think that God never gives a commandment that does not universally apply then you better go out in your back yard and build an ark. You say that Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses, so you admit that God changes the way he deals with people in diferent ages depending upon their needs. If you don’t beleive that then start making burnt offerings back there too.
Question 3
Same as question 1 Many of the angels are not named by the scriptures. Using two scriptures and claiming that every other instance of a messenger visiting men must be Gabriel is very shaky logic.



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 3:33 pm


Mike,
Thanks for you comments. You still did not answer my question. Are Joseph and Oliver’s baptisms valid, according to the sequence of events Smith catalogues? I know that you have to answer, yes of course they are, because if you don’t then all of their testimony is invalidated.
But I believe if you look at the ordinances of the LDS church, if I gave that scenario to elders or the council or the president of the church (omitting the names so they wouldn’t know i was speaking about Cowdery and Smith) I would bet my bottom dollar that they would say that an unbaptized person CANNOT baptize another person, or confer any authority on them.
And why would that authority be given by John the Baptist? He was not an apostle of Christ, but was a prophet in the manner of Elijah. Too many things about that account do not ring true. I would say you put faith in Joseph Smith to your peril.
Finally, how does Jesus fulfilling the Law of Moses point to the fact that God changes the way He deals with people down through the ages? Jesus said “do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”
How did Jesus fulfill the Law? Look at the original covenant. It had a preamble (I am the Lord thy God), identified the parties, had stipulations (Ten Commandments, the other laws and statutes), blessings and curses (If you obey, you will be blessed; if you disobey, you will be cursed), and was sealed with a blood oath (the sacrifice of bulls and goats). This Law was perfect and good, but no one could follow it because you would have to be perfect to do it. Therefore, Israel transgressed, as do we all, and fell under the curse of the Law. Jesus lived a sinless life to win the blessings of the old covenant, and he died as the perfect sacrificial lamb to remove from us the curses of the Law. Thus, by his life and death he fulfilled the Mosaic covenant in it’s entirety. And by fulfilling Old Testament Messianic prophecies, he fulfilled the Prophets.
Paul puts it this way in Ephesians 2:
One in Christ
11Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.
14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
——————-
We have been released from the Law by God’s power through the shedding of Jesus’ blood. Paul says in Romans 7:
1Do you not know, brothers—for I am speaking to men who know the law—that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? 2For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. 3So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.
4So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. 5For when we were controlled by the sinful nature,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
———————
And Paul finishes that logic in Colossians 2:
13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature,[a] God made you[b] alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.[c]
——————–
You see, Mike, the Old Testament is not gone, it is not forgotten, but we are heirs of the New Covenant, a much better and richer covenant than those under the Law. Christ has replaced the Law on stone tablets with the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are thus ‘circumsised’ or set apart by the indwelling of that Holy Spirit.
After Christ’s resurrection, some Jewish Christians went around telling new converts that they were damned if they did not get circumsised. Paul was appalled at this, and put the kabosh on that practice. “They have been circumsised in their hearts” was his answer. You see, anyone who wants us to go back to old practices has not really grasped the totality of what Christ accomplished on the cross.
I would say this; anyone who insists that we have to go back to practices of the Aaronic priesthood is just like those early Jewish believers who insisted on circumsion. They are both things that were demanded under the old covenant (circumsion was the blood oath, the outward physical sign of the Abrahamic covenant, and the priestly sacrifices were stipulations of the Mosaic covenant), but neither one is necessary under the new. To preach that either circumsion or adhering to the Aaronic priesthood is dishonest and confuses the issue for new believers.
If you claim this priesthood authority for yourself, can you trace your geneology back to Aaron? I would highly doubt that you could. The Bible carried solemn warnings for people who tried to take on the mantle of Aaron in the OT; no such warnings are given in the NT, because the priesthood was fulfilled and satisfied by the death of Christ. You can cling to that authority if you want, but it is neither here on the earth any more or necessary. Jesus is the one who intercedes for us (read I John 2:1 – “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”), acknowledges us before the Father and the holy angels, and through His life, death, and resurrection our sins were forgiven, and our hope is now for eternal life with Him.
You will disagree with this, I know, but remember that it was the Pharisees who turned legalism into an art form, and Jesus took them to task because their religion was external and not internal. Insisting on things like priestly authority rob the cross of some of its power. Grace and truth beget good works and obedience, not the other way around.



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RD

posted August 2, 2007 at 6:07 pm


Chief,
I think if you look a little closer at this you will see that Christ didn’t “replace” the law but instead “fulfilled” the law. And by “law” we are talking about The Law of Moses, a whole collection of written laws given through Moses to the house of Israel, as a replacement of the higher law that they had failed to obey. This law consisted of many ceremonies, rituals, and symbols, to remind the people frequently of their duties and responsibilities. It included a law of carnal commandments and performances, added to the basic laws of the gospel. Faith, repentance, baptism in water, and remission of sins were part of the law, as were also the Ten Commandments. This “Law” of carnal commandments and much of the ceremonial law was “fulfilled” not “replaced” at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The law functioned under the Aaronic Priesthood and was a PREPARATORY gospel to bring its adherents to Christ. As a student of the New Testament, you may recall that one of the major questions the early Church in Palestine had to decide was about the obligation of Christians to the ceremonial law of Moses. The matter was partially solved by the conference held in Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts 15 and Galatians 2.
Remember, the law as given through Moses was a good law, although adapted to a lower spiritual capacity than is required for obedience to the gospel in its fullness. Still, the Jewish leaders “added” many unauthorized provisions, ceremonies, and prohibitions to the original law, until it became extremely burdensome. These of course were known as “the traditions of the elders.” By New Testament times among the Jews the law had become so altered it had lost much of its spiritual meaning almost to the point that the law was worshipped more than the Lord, and it was this perversion of the law that was so condemned by Jesus and Paul. The Law, not the Aaronic Priesthood was condemned. John the Baptist held the Aaronic priesthood and with this proper authority baptized…even the Son of God. Others held this priesthood and performed authorized ordinances but it did not have the authority to administer the gift of the Holy Ghost, that required the Higher Priesthood authority…Paul who held this higher priesthood had to follow up with those baptized by others to give them the Holy Ghost, see John 7:39 (The Holy Ghost had not yet been given…) and Acts 19:2-6 renders a clear description of “how” the Gift of the Holy Ghost is given and clearly shows it is not something automatically received following ones baptism, but required proper authority, in this case from Paul (not that he was the only one having this authority but clearly those who were baptized were done so by one have only the Aaronic priesthood).
Whew…now digest that and we’ll talk again.



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Chief1989

posted August 2, 2007 at 9:59 pm


RD,
Good comments, but as you can see in my earlier post, I addressed the ‘fulfilled’ versus ‘abolished’ question.
Who laid their hands on John the Baptist, to give him the Aaronic priesthood? Nobody that I know in Scripture. He was set apart while still in the womb that he would be great in the sight of the Lord. However, from what we know of him he was not a direct descendent of Aaron, and he was not called to be a priest. Instead, he was called in the manner of Elijah “as one whose voice calls in the wilderness, make straight your paths before the Lord!” He had no Aaronic priesthood, so he certainly would not have been the one to come back and bestow it on someone else.
Again, the Aaronic priesthood was brought to its fulfillment by the death of Christ. We know longer need this priesthood, and that is made clear in the Scriptures. Harking back to it is, like I said before, telling new converts they must be circumsised to be truly saved. It is an unnecessary and burdensome construct.
Likewise, Paul was called to be an apostle, not a priest. He was not of the higher priesthood of Melchizedek, because there are only two people mentioned in Scripture who are of that order, and Paul, and none of the other apostles for that matter, are not of that order.



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Kyle

posted August 2, 2007 at 11:29 pm


Hey Chief1989,
I’ve been reading this thread for over an hour now. Lots of fun stuff. I like what you had to say earlier in this thread. About how we need to stop being at odds with each other just because we’re different religions and how we should stick together because of common moral ground. Sure, I’m Mormon and you’re not. But I like what you’ve said about how we should agree to disagree and leave it at that. Everything already been said on both sides as far as the stances we take. I’ve seen lots of great comments from mostly everyone. So you’re right. We should get along for the greater good rather than letting personal beliefs divide us.
I guess I’m saying this because I’m afraid that anymore of us trying to convince you against your beliefs will only worsten your opinion of us and just annoy you, which is a shame because you seem like a fairly reasonable guy. I don’t see you as a Mormon hater, and I’m thankful your not one.



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RD

posted August 3, 2007 at 1:46 am


Chief,
I guess most have tired of this blog and moved on since we seem to have hit an impasse.
Thanks for your thoughts…you seem genuinely fulfilled with your bygone version of orthodox Christianity…rock on!



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 3:55 am


Chief:
Thanks for you comments. You still did not answer my question. Are Joseph and Oliver’s baptisms valid, according to the sequence of events Smith catalogues?
Mike:
Yes I did. James 1:5 Ask God. You do bwliwcw the Bible don’t you?
Look. I’ve got as many replies as you have assertions. and they are just as plausible. We disagree. there is only one way for you to know for sure. Follow the bible pattern. Ask God.
Chief:
And why would that authority be given by John the Baptist? He was not an apostle of Christ, but was a prophet in the manner of Elijah. Too many things about that account do not ring true. I would say you put faith in Joseph Smith to your peril.
Mike:
Why did Jesus go to John to be baptized? If it’s good enough for Jesus it surely should be good enough. I don’t put my faith in Joseph Smith. I put my faith in God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. I asked God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ. He answered me by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Chief:
You see, Mike, the Old Testament is not gone, it is not forgotten, but we are heirs of the New Covenant, a much better and richer covenant than those under the Law. Christ has replaced the Law on stone tablets with the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We are thus ‘circumsised’ or set apart by the indwelling of that Holy Spirit.
Mike:
1. The Ten Commandments preceeded the Law of Moses, which was institured after Moses came down off the Mount to find Israel in rebellion.
2. So you think it’s OK to Kill, Steal and committ adultery?
3. The Holy Ghost is given by the laying on of hands by those who have Authority. That is the higher priesthood. The Aaronic can baptize but not confer the Holy Ghost. See Acts 8. Thus John the Bsptist, who apparently had power to Baptize because he baptized Jesus, returned the keys of baptism. Peter, James and John who had the authority to confer the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, Acts 8.
Returned the keys of that power to Joseph Smith.
This happened as surely as the sun came up this morning. I know. I asked. God told me. He can tell you too, but you have to ask.



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Joseph

posted August 3, 2007 at 7:24 am


Question?
Can Mormonism explain why there is suffering and tragedy in the world?



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GB

posted August 3, 2007 at 9:39 am


Joseph,
Yes, we can. I invite you over to http://truthrestored.townhall.com/
or http://angelslanding.townhall.com/
for discussion of this or any other question you may have.



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ChooseLife

posted August 3, 2007 at 9:44 am


Joseph asked, “Can Mormonism explain why there is suffering and tragedy in the world?”
Since you asked for “Mormonism” to explain this…the following was written “to Mormons”, and clearly addresses your question…
“We live in a world of constant change. Changes are often packaged as improvements, with the word “new” used as a positive label, often in contrast to the truth. In this country we have encountered terms such as the New Deal, the New Morality, the New Covenant, and the New World Order, each describing some major change. Some politicians, once elected, claim that their mandate is change, almost as if change by itself were always desirable. According to prophecies for these latter days, we know that many more changes will take place around us, though many of these will not be pleasant.
In fact, unless change is carefully organized and directed, it tends to be negative, leading to degradation and disorder. This observation is related to a fundamental principle of science known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Thermodynamics refers to the interaction of mass and energy and is an important field for scientists and engineers. The numerous concepts and equations of thermodynamics are ultimately based on a few grand laws of nature.
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that energy (along with mass) is conserved. You can change its form, but energy cannot be created out of nothing nor can it disappear. Some of the radiation energy of sunlight captured long ago by plants is now available to us as chemical energy in the form of gasoline. When we burn it in our cars, some of that energy is converted to mechanical energy as the car moves, and some is converted to thermal energy (heat) or other forms of chemical energy. If we carefully account for all the energy forms, we see that none is created or destroyed, it all goes somewhere. This is the First Law of Thermodynamics, and all other principles and equations used in science and engineering must comply with it. This principle, which seems fairly obvious to us today, was rejected by the scientific community when first introduced in the mid 1800s. It took a lot of evidence to finally convince the learned authorities, but now we accept this principle as truth, until someone can refute it or come up with a counterexample.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics puts limits on what can be done as energy is applied or as it is transformed from one form to another. In layman’s terms, the Second Law states that things tend to get worse – to go from order to disorder – if left alone. The only way for something to become more ordered is if external energy is applied properly. For example, a car will tend to fall apart unless you maintain it – and car maintenance becomes the external work that must be applied to reverse the natural decay that would otherwise occur. A human body will quit working unless you constantly supply external energy in the form of food. Put a two-year old in a room, come back in a few hours, and you will see a substantial increase in disorder (technically speaking, the entropy of the room will have increased). To prevent or reverse such disorder, external energy is required, usually in the form of a frustrated mother.
The Second Law is really the governing principle of mortality. We can’t expect natural changes to be ones that we like. Things tend to decay and degenerate if left to themselves. Here in mortality, we can expect to become ill, to age, to suffer changes in the form of afflictions and tribulations, and to eventually die. Change is guaranteed in mortality, and not all of the changes are pleasant.
Many Saints make the mistake of thinking that the righteous will always be blessed in temporal matters – that they will be or at least ought to be blessed so as to be financially independent, healthy, delivered from all tragedy, and spared from IRS audits.
We know that the Lord blesses and prospers groups that are righteous, but we know that there are many ways in which the righteous are blessed – ways which typically do not show up in your checking account. Indeed, much of the scriptures deals with the trials and afflictions that are given to the righteous. We learn that we will certainly be blessed if we keep our covenants, but we may not escape bitter trials in this mortal existence. Viewed from a temporal perspective, the scriptures provide many striking contrasts that some might even call inconsistencies. These are contrasts between the blessings that the Lord gives the righteous and the afflictions that He gives the righteous.
In the Old Testament, we read of the rich blessings the Lord gave to Joseph, who rose to the second highest position in Egypt and was given wealth and power beyond his wildest dreams. He was temporally blessed, but we also read of Joseph cast out by his brothers, sold into slavery, and unjustly thrown into prison. Also in the Old Testament, we read of the divine protection given to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they were cast into the fire for their commitment to God. Although the fire was so hot that several of the guards who tossed them in themselves died from the heat, the three righteous men were spared. Indeed, the evil king who sought their lives saw a fourth Being with them in the fire, one like the Son of Man. They were unharmed, not even singed in the least. What an incredible blessing! Yet in the Book of Mormon we read of righteous Abinadi burned at the stake, and of dozens of believing women and children cast into a flaming pit by the wicked inhabitants of the city of Ammonihah. These women and children were not spared.
We read of glorious victories against enemies, such as that of Gideon and only three hundred men against a huge army. Yet in this dispensation, hundreds of Saints were massacred by mobs, and the prophet Joseph [LDS Prophet] himself was killed. We read of the golden age of prosperity and righteousness that followed the visit of Christ to the Americas [Book of Mormon], yet in our day thousands of Latter-day Saints struggle in the search for employment.
The ultimate example of all is the Savior himself, the only perfectly righteous man ever, who suffered more intensely than any other human being ever suffered.
What are the promises made to us in mortality? Will we be spared cancer, unemployment, theft, or IRS audits? Perhaps – but remember, this is the world, a place of wickedness, a time of probation, a crucible for separating the gold from the sand. This is a battlefield with real casualties – agony and death, both spiritual and physical. The promise to us is that we can have peace in this life – even in the midst of war and other unpleasant changes, the peace that the Gospel brings, not the peace that the world gives – and most importantly, that we can have eternal life, eternal joy in the next life (D&C 59:23).
We can expect trials as a prelude to the glory and blessings that God yearns to gives us. In D&C 58:3-4, we read:
3. Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. 4. For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
We must remember that no matter what we are asked to go through, it does not mean that God has ceased loving us, that he has changed in any way in his love for us. Paul makes this point in Romans 8: 35-39:
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
God does not change in his love for us. His constancy – part of His eternal nature – is a key characteristic, as we read in Mormon 9: 9-13:
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?
10. And now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not God of miracles.
11. But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.
12. Behold he created Adam, and by Adam came the fall of man. And because of the fall of man came Jesus Christ, even the Father and the Son; and because of Jesus Christ came the redemption of man.
13. And because of the redemption of man, which came by Jesus Christ, they are brought back into the presence of the Lord; yea, this is wherein all men are redeemed, because the death of Christ bringeth to pass the resurrection, which bringeth to pass a redemption from an endless sleep, from which sleep all men shall be awakened by the power of God when the trump shall sound; and they shall come forth, both small and great, and all shall stand before his bar, being redeemed and loosed from this eternal band of death, which death is a temporal death.
The above passage is worthy of study from a thermodynamic perspective. It links God’s constancy to His conquest of our physical and spiritual death (death being the ultimate result of entropy).
The main point for now, though, is that when afflictions come, the question is not whether God has changed, but whether we will change. Can we remain constant in our commitment to the Gospel? This is the real challenge: how to remain constant in the midst of change.
Satan tries to exploit the Second Law of Thermodynamics to let change around us bring change in us- degenerative, negative, “natural” change, change such as a weakening of testimony, a loss of faith, and yielding to sin. There are many ways in which he exploits external change for his negative purposes. For example, changes in the Church itself such as changes in ward boundaries, changes in leadership, changes in policies, changes in meeting times – can all be used to tempt us to change in our commitment to the Gospel. Do we criticize our leaders for a change we do not like? Do we quit coming when it is less convenient?
External change in the form of persecution or peer pressure can be a powerful tool to induce some to give up the Gospel to remove pressure from the world or to get the praise of the world. Tragedy and suffering can be exploited to make us doubt God and his love or to question his existence. This happened to Ted Turner, a famous media magnate in Atlanta, where we were living a couple months ago. Ted Turner’s sister had been a devout Christian, but she died of cancer at an early age. His death was very troubling to Mr. Turner, and he decided that a loving God could not possibly have allowed her death, so God must not exist. (This argument can be restated: God does not do things the way I think they should be done, therefore He must not exist.) Suffering is a two-edged sword in the changes it promotes, as we read in Alma 62: 41:
But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility.
Suffering humbles some, bringing them closer to God, while others are hardened by it. Satan’s goal is to harden as many as possible.
Perhaps Satan’s most clever and powerful tool for negative change is money. He teaches us that we can have anything in this world for money – all we have to do is make a slight change in our hearts by making money our god rather than our Heavenly Father. This tool is so powerful that it – or the love of it – is called the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). Shakespeare showed money as a powerful agent for negative change in the play Timon of Athens. Timon was a wealthy and generous Greek who freely gave of his substance to those around him. Soon he had given it all away, whereupon his former friends and relatives ignored him and refused to even recognize him. As an outcast, he left the city to survive by digging up roots in the countryside. One day, while digging, he came upon a treasure with much gold. When he saw the wealth he had found, he wanted to get rid of it, for he knew how dangerous it could be. Timon says that this money will “make black white, foul fair, wring right, base noble, coward valiant….This yellow slave will knit and break religion, bless the accursed, place thieves and give them title, knee, and approbation with Senators on the bench.”
Turning black to white, good to evil is exactly what money does. One example is the tobacco industry, which helps kill over 400,000 thousand Americans every year for the sake of money. This industry goes to enormous lengths to deny the evil it causes and to shroud itself with respectability. The same with the alcohol industry. The abortion industry is a related example. The slaughter of the unborn brings tremendous profits to the doctors, clinics, and organizations that support it. These profits buy great influence and cause great corruption of values, turning good and evil upside down. Abortion is now hailed as a right, as a victory for the progress of women, when in truth it is a despicable holocaust that slays 1.5 million innocent beings in our nation every year.
In the midst of Satan’s onslaught, in the midst of constant change that threatens to change our hearts, how do we remain constant and stay on course? The Second Law of Thermodynamics provides some insight, an analogy at least. The Second Law states that things degenerate or become less ordered on their own unless an external source of energy is applied to reverse the natural disorder. For example, to keep a house clean, you must clean it. To keep a car running, you must add gas and do maintenance work. With respect to our testimonies and our eternal souls, the external energy needed comes from God. A major channel for this energy is the priesthood, directed through leaders whom God calls and directs. This is how God overcomes negative change in the Church and keeps this organization on course.
During World War II, communication was cut off between Church headquarters and several countries such as Germany. After the war, Church leaders found that the local branches in Germany and other places had undergone significant transformations. Robes were worn, candles were lit, and other practices from non-LDS churches were adopted. Without constant direction through apostles and prophets, apostasy can occur with great speed. The word of the Lord, through his chosen leaders, resists all external change. Indeed, as we read in D&C 1: 38, though the heavens and the earth may pass away – a most dramatic change – his word will not pass away, “but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”
In addition to following the word of God, both through living prophets and as found in the scriptures – which we should study daily to stay on course – we also tap into God’s energy through prayer and through the guidance of the Holy Ghost as we live worthy for that companionship.
I must also mention one specific commandment, that of tithing, for it is a powerful defense against Satan’s most clever tool for change, money. Through paying tithing, we learn to set our priorities properly,making God first rather than the things of the world. We learn to focus on that which is eternal and unchanging rather than on treasures which may perish or change daily (stocks, for example).
The divine energy we need to resist the decay that occurs in the world ultimately is derived from that most marvelous eternal powerhouse, the Atonement of Christ. The Atonement of Christ is God’s answer to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Through the miracle of His atonement, Christ offers us the power to reverse death, to remove sin and all manner of degeneration, to heal spiritual wounds and change our hearts for good, to make all that is bad and painful become good, to cause us to become new creatures, born again, immortal, eternal. His way of life, which he has made available to all who will repent and follow Him – is eternal life, endless life, unchanging, perfect life – in marvelous violation of mortality’s Second Law. He offers more than just the energy or the external help we need to avoid degeneration – he offers us limitless energy for positive change, energy that can exalt us and help us become like him. This is what Alma the Younger spoke of after he experienced the miraculous power of the Atonement in his life (Mosiah 27: 24-26):
24. For, said he, I have repented of my sins, and have been redeemed of the Lord; behold I am born of the Spirit.
25. And the Lord said unto me: Marvel not that all mankind, yea, men and women, all nations, kindreds, tongues and people, must be born again; yea, born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen state, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters;
26. And thus they become new creatures; and unless they do this, they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.
It is what King Benjamin spoke of in Mosiah 5: 7-9:
7. And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters.
8. And under this head ye are made free, and there is no other head whereby ye can be made free. There is no other name given whereby salvation cometh; therefore, I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives.
9. And it shall come to pass that whosoever doeth this shall be found at the right hand of God, for he shall know the name by which he is called; for he shall be called by the name of Christ.
It is what Paul spoke of in Philippians 3:20-21
20. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
It is the powerful yet calming power that hundreds of Lamanites experienced in the prison where Nephi and Lehi were imprisoned around 30 B.C., as we read in Helaman 5: 42-48.
It is impossible to think of the Atonement of Christ without thinking of his pure love, his unchanging charity, and a major part of following Christ and receiving the blessings of the Atonement is seeking to obtain this Christlike quality of charity. Indeed, charity – the pure love of Christ – is a great key to obtaining constancy amidst change. In Moroni 7:45-48, that beautiful discourse by Mormon on charity, we read that everything around us will ultimately fail, just as the Second Law predicts – but charity never fails but endures forever. We are exhorted to pray to the Father with all the energy of our heart that we might receive this divine energy – charity -from God, which will make us true sons of Jesus Christ, that when He appears, we will be like Him – free from the changes of mortality, purified, eternal. “Wherefore cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all … and it endureth forever.”
We are sons and daughters of God in this painful crucible of mortality, an existence of guaranteed changes, many of them difficulty, an existence dominated by the constraints of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. May we resist the external forces and temptations that might lead us to change for the worse, and may we remain constant in our testimonies as we follow the prophets and seek the energizing companionship of the Spirit through obedience, scripture study and prayer. May we turn our hearts to Christ, seeking the endless power of his love, of his Atonement, which frees us from sins and gives us power to be born again, to rise again, and to live with him in the unimaginable joy of eternal life. May we seek after charity with all our hearts, that we may remain constant in the midst of change, cleaving to charity as the foundation for all we do. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.” Quoted from JeffLindsey.com



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Brian

posted August 3, 2007 at 7:10 pm


Where is the doctrine of Hell in Mormon theology?



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Robert

posted August 3, 2007 at 7:35 pm


The Book of Mormon
Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Such is the modern subtitle of The Book of Mormon, a book first published in 1830 but purporting to be a translation of an ancient Scripture penned in the Western Hemisphere between 600 B.C. and A.D. 421. The main story line of the Book of Mormon tells of a migration of an Israelite family from Jerusalem shortly before the Babylonian Exile to a land across the ocean (somewhere in the Americas), and of the history of two peoples, the Nephites and the Lamanites, descended from that family. The most famous part of the Book of Mormon story is of the appearance of Jesus Christ after His resurrection to preach to the Nephites.
The Book of Mormon was produced by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have been led by an angel to the spot where the golden plates on which the Book of Mormon had been written were buried. It is considered Scripture and one of the four standard works (along with the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church. It is also accepted as Scripture by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and dozens of other LDS splinter sects. Some ten million people worldwide accept the Book of Mormon as Scripture — the only modern book to gain such acceptance.
Is the Book of Mormon the word of God, an ancient collection of Scriptures restored to the world through Joseph Smith? Or is it a 19th-century fiction created to lead people away from the God of the Bible? I will try to show that even the most sophisticated and seemingly convincing arguments offered by Mormons today in defense of the Book of Mormon are unsound. Such arguments simply are unable to overcome some very easy-to-understand objections to regarding it as an authentic ancient text or placing one’s faith in it as God’s word.
The critical question to be answered about the Book of Mormon is whether it is true. There are several levels on which this question can be entertained.
I. The Book of Mormon Lacks Inerrancy
First, we can ask whether the Book of Mormon is inerrant. That is, we can ask if it is completely free of historical, scientific, and other factual errors. The answer to this question is simply No. Most Mormons will readily admit that the Book of Mormon is not inerrant. The preface to the Book of Mormon states, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men….” This is, of course, a truism — one is tempted to say, “No kidding!” — but its point is that the Book of Mormon should be accepted as divinely inspired despite the presence of human error: “…wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.” This means for Mormons that the Book of Mormon cannot be rejected wholesale on the basis of minor discrepancies or inaccuracies. From a Mormon perspective, the Book of Mormon can have such mistakes and still be what it claims to be, an ancient collection of scriptural writings translated for the modern world by the prophet Joseph Smith.
II. The Book of Mormon Lacks Inspiration
The second way in which we can put the question of truth is to ask if the Book of Mormon is inspired by God. Now, from an evangelical perspective — and, I would add, from a biblical point of view — the fact that the Book of Mormon is errant is enough to disqualify it immediately as inspired. If “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), then Scripture cannot err, since God cannot breathe or speak error. If, as Jesus Himself taught, not the smallest letter or part of a letter will pass away from the OT until it has all been fulfilled (Matt. 5:18), then the OT at least must be without error. And if the OT is inerrant, any future Scripture will have to meet that standard of truth.
A. The Mormon Test
The very last chapter of the Book of Mormon contains its own suggested test for confirming its inspiration. The reader is encouraged to “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4). Mormons routinely cite this passage and urge prospective converts to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. They “bear their testimony” to having done so themselves and knowing that the Book of Mormon is true.
There are some serious objections to this approach to validating the inspiration of the Book of Mormon. First of all, some people have followed this prescription of Moroni 10:4 and concluded that the Book of Mormon is not true. That is, they have read the Book of Mormon, asking God to show them whether it is true or not, and have not received a testimony of its truth but have instead become convinced that it is false. All a Mormon can really say to such persons is that they must not have prayed “with a sincere heart” or “real intent.” But on what basis can this judgment be made? Only on the assumption that the Book of Mormon is true — that is, only by assuming the very thing in question.
Second, the Moroni 10:4 prescription is not supported by the Bible and in fact contradicts the Bible. Sometimes Mormons cite James 1:5 in support. However, James 1:5 is speaking about believers asking God for wisdom to overcome temptation (James 1:2-18), not about unbelievers asking God to reveal to them whether a particular book is Scripture. The Bible tells us to apply objective tests to alleged revelations (Deut. 13:1-5; Matt. 7:15-23; 1 John 4:1-6), not to seek a purely subjective revelation of the truth of a written revelation.
B. The Biblical Tests
C. The Closed-Canon Test
This leads us to ask what biblical tests can be applied to the question of the inspiration of the Book of Mormon. We must first recognize that one of the most commonly used arguments against the inspiration of the Book of Mormon, while based on a true premise, is probably invalid. It is often urged that the Book of Mormon cannot be Scripture because the canon of Scripture was closed upon the death of the apostles. While I do believe that the canon was closed then and that only the Old and New Testaments can constitute Scripture until Christ returns, this belief is notoriously difficult to prove by simply citing biblical proof texts. But the more telling point here is that about 96 per cent of the Book of Mormon is alleged to have been written prior to the end of the first century A.D. The closed-canon test, then, is probably unhelpful in this case, especially from a Mormon perspective.
I do think, however, that the closed-canon argument can be reconstructed to show a serious problem with the LDS doctrine of continuing revelation. In the LDS view, the lack of continuing revelation after the passing of the first-century apostles is evidence of an apostasy. They claim that the canon should never have been regarded as closed. But this claim ignores a crucial aspect of the LDS doctrine of the apostasy. Mormons believe that God restored the church in the nineteenth century through Joseph Smith. What was to prevent him from restoring the church in the second century, or in the third? Nothing, so far as I can see. If the Mormons are right, God could have restored the church and reopened the canon at any time. Since he did not, it seems reasonable to conclude that for about eighteen centuries the canon of Scripture was de facto closed, and that God approved of that situation.
For all their criticism of the concept of a closed canon, the Mormons actually operate with several closed canons and one or two open canons. Mormons have not added anything to the canons of the Old Testament or the New Testament. Nor have they added anything to the canon of the Book of Mormon since Smith originally published it. These canons appear to be permanently closed, even in LDS thought and practice. Nor have they added anything to Pearl of Great Price since it was first published, although I suppose that in theory they might choose to add new books to it in the future. They have added just a little to Doctrine & Covenants since Smith died, and have added virtually nothing to it for over a century.
The question, then, does not seem to be the closure of the canon, but the unity of the canon. For orthodox Christians, the OT and NT have always functioned as two parts of one complete canon of Scripture, used by one people of God. Never, from our perspective, has a major canon or portion of the canon been created for and used by a people completely cut off from the mainstream of God’s people in the earth. But this is precisely what the Book of Mormon purports to be.
D. The Coherency Tests
Although the close-canon test may be inconclusive when applied to the Book of Mormon, there are a number of other biblical tests that can be applied. These tests may be grouped together in general and labeled the coherency test: does the Book of Mormon agree with the Bible? Clearly, in some very important matters, it does not.
1. The Gospel Test
An obvious and crucial test of coherency that may be applied is to ask whether the Book of Mormon presents the same gospel as the New Testament. We are explicitly told to apply such a test by the apostle Paul (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Cor. 11:4).
Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon is all too clear on this score. It flatly asserts that the Bible as we have it was corrupted by the Gentiles, who “have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious… that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord,” so that the gospel had to be restored through the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:26-27, cf. 13:20-42). This statement forces the issue. The gospel that we have received, that we find in the New Testament, is supposedly one that has been stripped and perverted. If this is so, then the New Testament is unreliable and we must accept the gospel of the Book of Mormon as expounded by the latter-day restored church. On the other hand, if we assume that the New Testament contains the whole gospel of salvation and that any new or different gospel is to be rejected, then the Book of Mormon cannot be accepted as inspired.
Note that we do not need to argue with a Mormon about what the true gospel is or is not. It is enough that the Book of Mormon itself says that traditional Christianity and Mormonism have two different and incompatible versions of the gospel of Christ. So, whatever the Mormon gospel, it cannot be the same gospel as we find in the Bible. If it were, Mormonism would have no reason to exist.
2. The God Test
Another key test set forth in Scripture is that any revelation from God must reveal the same God as the one already revealed to us. Even anyone performing miracles or making successful predictions must be rejected if he does so in the name of a different god (Deut. 13:1-5).
The Book of Mormon, of course, does not overtly present a different God than that of the Bible. It does not claim to reveal Zeus or Baal or even Allah. However, the conception of God does differ somewhat from that of the Bible. The New Testament reveals the one God (1 Cor. 8:4-6; James 2:19; etc.) to exist eternally in three persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; John 1:1-18; John 14-16; 2 Peter 1:1; etc.). In the New Testament the Father and the Son are distinct persons (e.g., John 8:16-18; 14:23; Rom. 1:7; 2 John 3). The Book of Mormon, by contrast, presents the Father and the Son as two modes of the one person of God — the Father as God in heaven, and the Son as God manifested on the earth (e.g., Mosiah 15:1-4). In theological language, the Bible view of God is trinitarian, while that of the Book of Mormon is monarchian.
If the Book of Mormon doctrine of God differs somewhat from the biblical doctrine, it is radically different from what since about 1916 has been the standard Mormon doctrine of God. In this standard doctrine the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three Gods; God the Father has not always been God but attained Godhood by a process of exaltation; the Father and Son each have separate bodies of flesh and bones; and human beings can attain Godhood by following the same path to exaltation as that of the Father. The Book of Mormon doctrine of God is so different from current Mormon church doctrine that we may legitimately conclude that at least one of these two sources of doctrine — the Book of Mormon or the Mormon church — misrepresents God and teaches blatant falsehood about God. Either way, the Book of Mormon fails to past the God test.
E. The Authenticity Test
Besides the consistency test, there is another, even more basic test that can be applied. Call it the authenticity test: Is the Book of Mormon authentic? That is, is it essentially what it purports to be, and is it therefore basically reliable? Jesus, speaking in the Bible, indicated that such a test is appropriate when he said, “I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?” (John 3:12). In other words, a source that cannot be trusted in mundane matters cannot be trusted in spiritual, transcendent matters. This leads us to the final level on which the question of truth can be raised.
III. The Book of Mormon Lacks Integrity
A. The Validity of This Test
The third level on which the question of the truth of the Book of Mormon can be asked has to do with the integrity of the work. The issue on this level is neither its factual inerrancy nor its divine inspiration. Rather, the issue is whether the work is at all what it claims to be.
Let us imagine two scenarios. In the first, the Book of Mormon is in fact a translation from golden plates of an ancient collection of writings penned by Nephite prophets in the Americas between 600 B.C. and A.D. 421. Let us further suppose that they do indeed belong to the genre of historical records, as they generally purport, and that in the main the records are to be treated as serious efforts to record actual events. In this case the Book of Mormon may be pronounced authentic and possessing documentary integrity. It would not follow necessarily that the documents are inspired, but they might be — were it not for its failure to past tests of inspiration as discussed previously.
In the second scenario, the Book of Mormon is in fact a work of fiction originating from Joseph Smith (with or without plagiarizing of other writings). It owes nothing to ancient Nephite prophets (whether or not transatlantic voyages from the Middle East to the Americas ever occurred). Its existence begins in the early nineteenth century. Yet Joseph Smith and his early followers unanimously claimed that the Book of Mormon was an ancient work as imagined in the first scenario. In this case the Book of Mormon must be judged inauthentic and lacking integrity. It would then follow necessarily that the Book of Mormon is not inspired, even if we did not have the other tests for inspiration discussed earlier. Again, this is because a source that lacks integrity in the mundane matter of being what it claims to be certainly cannot be trusted to reveal truth from God.
The evidence for the inauthenticity of the Book of Mormon is actually quite overwhelming, as we shall try to make clear.
B. Sources of the Book of Mormon
1. Could Joseph Smith Have Produced the Book Himself?
The standard approach of Mormons in defending the authenticity of the Book of Mormon is to argue that Joseph Smith could not have written it himself. His lack of education, the short amount of time involved in the “translating” of the book, and its sheer length and apparent complexity, are regarded as together indicating the virtual impossibility of his having created the book from his own imagination.
To these stock arguments Christians have made a number of important responses. The Book of Mormon in many ways reflects Joseph Smith’s lack of education. At the same time its stories are consistent with Joseph’s reputation, reported by family and friends, to have been a skilled story-teller even in his youth. At least one-tenth, and possibly one-fifth, of the Book of Mormon is substantially identical to portions of the Bible (including whole chapters from Isaiah). Joseph may have been preparing to produce the Book of Mormon for months before he actually dictated it, and in fact the number of pages dictated per day was not great. He also appears to have utilized sources, notably Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews (on which I shall have more to say shortly), and possibly others as well.
Thus, it is possible that Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon himself. However, some have argued that he plagiarized most of it from a novel by Solomon Spalding, with passages of the Bible thrown in for good measure. Admittedly, there are serious problems with this theory as a complete explanation of the book’s origin, and valid objections to some of the arguments recently put forth in favor of the theory. Still, it is plausible that Joseph Smith did get ideas or even material directly or indirectly from one or another manuscript by Spalding.
The most likely explanation is that Joseph Smith produced the Book of Mormon by combining ideas from various sources with his own imagination and some plagiarism from the Bible and other sources. This is a more complicated theory, but it is able to account for the totality of the Book of Mormon in a way that simpler theories cannot. What is really beyond serious dispute is the conclusion that the Book of Mormon makes use of various sources that reflect an origin in the nineteenth century.
2. View of the Hebrews
a. B. H. Roberts’s Analysis
The most important source used by Joseph Smith, other than the Bible, appears to have been Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews. Written by a Vermont minister in 1823 (with a second edition in 1825), this book argued that the American Indians were descendants of the “lost tribes of Israel” and urged Christians to evangelize the Indians in fulfillment of biblical prophecies, particularly prophecies found in the book of Isaiah. Numerous parallels between View of the Hebrews and the Book of Mormon have been identified by various writers, most notably the Mormon scholar B. H. Roberts.
Mormon apologists have sought to deny the evidence for Joseph Smith’s dependence on Ethan Smith’s book in various ways. They have argued that B. H. Roberts listed the parallels with the belief that a careful study would prove that the parallels did not indicate literary dependence. Of course, what Roberts thought about the parallels is really irrelevant to whether or not they actually indicate such dependence.
b. The Extent of the Parallels
More to the point, Mormons have frequently argued that there are only a few similarities and many dissimilarities between the two books, disproving literary dependence. But such reasoning is fallacious, since all that is being claimed is that View of the Hebrews is a major source of the Book of Mormon, not that it is the only source. It should also be noted that the number of parallels has generally been underestimated. David Persuitte lists some 61 parallels between the two books, many of which can hardly be explained on any other basis than literary dependence.
c. The Use of Isaiah in the Two Books
In one interesting article, two Mormon scholars argued that Joseph Smith did not plagiarize the Isaiah chapters of the Book of Mormon from View of the Hebrews. They claimed that if the two books were produced independently, one would still expect (on the basis of a complicated statistical analysis that need not be discussed here) that about 8 of the 66 chapters of Isaiah would appear in both books. Since actually 9 of the 66 chapters appear in both books, they conclude that the number of chapters common to both is not statistically significant, and therefore that Joseph Smith did not plagiarize these chapters from View of the Hebrews.
However, this very sophisticated argument assumes that both books will quote extensively from Isaiah. Only on the basis of this assumption can they claim that “the odds are approximately one in a million against there being no common chapters in the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews.” There are, of course, millions of books which do not copy from Isaiah at all! This simple point completely invalidates the mathematical argumentation in this article. The more relevant statistic is that of the 20 chapters of Isaiah which Smith copied into the Book of Mormon, nine of them (or 45%) also appeared in View of the Hebrews.
Of course, even if it could be shown that Joseph Smith did not plagiarize Ethan Smith’s use of Isaiah, that would not change the fact that he plagiarized Isaiah itself! This leads us to consider in more detail the use of the Bible in the Book of Mormon.
3. The Use of the Bible
a. Summary of the Evidence
As is well known, the Book of Mormon contains numerous sentences and paragraphs and in many cases whole chapters repeated from the Bible, usually duplicating the King James Version nearly word-for-word. A whopping 16 out of 55 chapters in the first two books of the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 20-21; 2 Nephi 12-24, 27) are acknowledged duplications of 20 chapters from Isaiah in the Bible (Isaiah 48-52; 2-14, 29, 53). In the remainder of the Book of Mormon a full 7 chapters are repeated from the Bible (Mosiah 14 = Isaiah 53; 3 Nephi 12-14 = Matthew 5-7; 3 Nephi 22 = Isaiah 54; 3 Nephi 24-25 = Malachi 3-4). In all, over one-tenth of the chapters in the Book of Mormon are repetitions of chapters in the Bible. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg, since biblical statements are found scattered throughout the Book of Mormon. It is probably fair to say that at least one-fifth of the Book of Mormon is taken from the Bible.
b. The LDS Explanation
Mormon apologists generally do not now deny that Joseph Smith copied whole chapters from Isaiah and other books of the Bible in the King James Version into the Book of Mormon. It is simply too obvious. They explain this copying by saying that the work of translating the Book of Mormon from the plates was such spiritually and mentally draining work that when Smith came to passages virtually identical to the Bible he simply used the KJV as “a reasonably good translation already existing.”
c. Smith’s Use of Isaiah
This explanation is difficult to square with the fact that the biblical chapters copied into the Book of Mormon contain numerous minor variations. If Joseph Smith used the King James Version to simplify his translation task, why the minor changes? Some Mormons have claimed that these changes can be shown in the case of the Isaiah chapters to reflect a more accurate original text of Isaiah. This claim depends on selecting just those ancient variations of the biblical Isaiah text that disagree with the Hebrew text and that agree with the Book of Mormon. Since there are many ancient variant readings to choose from, it is rather easy to compile a list of readings favorable to the Book of Mormon; thus, there is some reason to doubt the validity of this claim. But more important, the claim conflicts with the explanation that Joseph Smith simply used the King James Version to make his translation work easier.
d. Smith’s Use of the Sermon on the Mount
Worse still, one Mormon scholar tried to prove that the section of the Book of Mormon which parallels the Sermon on the Mount (3 Nephi 12-14, cf. Matt. 5-7) reflects an accurate text, and ended up proving instead that the Book of Mormon followed the King James Version in various translation errors.
A more fundamental problem is why Jesus would deliver virtually the exact same sermon to the Nephites as he had to the Jews. According to the Book of Mormon, the Jews in Palestine and the Nephites in America were separated by six centuries and by thousands of miles. Yet in this sermon Jesus’ teaching presupposes the context of the Jewish nation in first-century Palestine. Specifically, he was criticizing the Pharisees, a religious group originating in Palestine four centuries after the Nephites supposedly left Palestine! For example, in the statement, “thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy” (3 Nephi 12:43), “and hate thine enemy” was a Pharisaic interpretive addition to the Old Testament command to love one’s neighbor. The Sermon also refers to synagogues, a Jewish institution that did not originate until after the supposed journey of Lehi and his family from Jerusalem just before the Babylonian captivity. Such examples could be multiplied.
The best explanation of the presence of whole chapters from the King James Version in the Book of Mormon, then, remains that Joseph Smith used these chapters to “pad” the Book of Mormon.
C. No Physical Evidence for the Book of Mormon
The positive evidence for a nineteenth century origin of the Book of Mormon based on a source analysis is matched by the negative lack of evidence for its originating in the ancient world. One of the most striking problems for the Book of Mormon is the absolute lack of physical evidence that the book ever existed prior to the 1820s. We do not mean evidence that the Book of Mormon is true in all or even most of its details; we mean evidence that the Book of Mormon so much as existed prior to its publication by Joseph Smith. This is an important distinction, because we are not denying a place for “faith” in the sense of believing things that go beyond what we can verify empirically. We are simply saying that faith must be based on something with a decent measure of credibility, something totally lacking in the case of the Book of Mormon.
1. No Bibliographical Evidence
a. Absolute Lack of Pre-19th Century Copies
The most direct sort of proof for the existence of the Book of Mormon before the 1820s would be copies that can be dated as having been produced before that time. Such evidence is absolutely lacking, as all Mormons admit. The golden plates have been conveniently taken into custody by an angel. No ancient document duplicating or quoting from any portion of the Book of Mormon has ever been found anywhere — except, of course, for those portions of the Book of Mormon quoting from the Bible! By contrast, hundreds of manuscript copies of the Bible dating between the first century B.C. and the third century A.D., and thousands more dating from the fourth century on, can be viewed by the public in museums and university libraries all over the world. For this reason no one, Christian or not, can rationally doubt that the books of the Bible were written in the ancient past. By contrast, only Mormons regard the Book of Mormon as an ancient document. As one Mormon scholar put it: “The Book of Mormon exists. It was first published in the state of New York in 1830 by Joseph Smith. On these facts all men seem to agree. What is not generally agreed upon is an explanation for the book’s existence.”
b. The Anthon Transcript
The only physical evidence for the Book of Mormon as an ancient document that is known to exist is the “Anthon transcript,” a piece of paper (rediscovered recently) on which Joseph Smith wrote down some of the characters allegedly found on the gold plates. Even this evidence would have to be regarded as indirect since it was written in the 1820s by Smith. According to Joseph Smith’s account in Pearl of Great Price, he gave Martin Harris (one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon) this paper with some of the characters translated and some not. Harris took this “transcript” to a Columbia professor named Charles Anthon, who “stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I [Harris] then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters” (Joseph Smith–History 1:64). When Harris stated that the characters were copied from gold plates revealed by an angel and that he could not bring them to Anthon because they “were sealed,” Anthon replied, “I cannot read a sealed book” (1:65).
Of the many problems associated with this story, two call for special attention. Anthon is said to have praised the translation as the best he had ever seen. Yet no one has been able to translate any of the characters on the Anthon transcript (which still exists ). The second problem is that it is unthinkable that characters from the four languages mentioned would be combined in one running text, especially since some of them use alphabets and some hieroglyphics (pictures standing for words). Such a text would be about as bizarre as one combining English lettering with, say, pictorial representations of sign language, or braille!
Recent scholarly treatments of the Anthon transcript by Mormons have compared its characters to Egyptian and certain American Indian scripts, but such comparisons have not confirmed the genuineness of the Book of Mormon script nor produced any translation of the transcript. Mormon scholars have also argued that Anthon was lying when he later denied authenticating the transcript, while ignoring the problem of how Anthon could have authenticated what Mormon scriptures say was an undecipherable text. The same objection must be raised to efforts by Mormon scholars to explain in great detail how Egyptian might have evolved into “Reformed Egyptian.”
2. No Linguistic Evidence
The problem of Reformed Egyptian leads us to discuss the first of many kinds of indirect physical evidence of which none has yet to be found supporting the historical claims of the Book of Mormon. There is no evidence for such a language as “Reformed Egyptian,” the language in which the Book of Mormon was supposedly written. Nor is there any evidence that languages of the Native American peoples in the Western Hemisphere were influenced by the Egyptian or Hebrew languages. By contrast, of course, we have abundant evidence of the existence of the biblical languages not only from ancient copies of the biblical writings themselves but also from archaeological finds such as scrolls, papyri, and other objects on which writing in those languages appear.
As with many of the problems associated with the Book of Mormon, this problem goes deeper than a mere lack of evidence. It is, to put it mildly, odd to learn that the descendants of Lehi wrote all of their sacred writings in a language of Egypt. Lehi would have lived nearly a millennium after the Israelites left Egypt. All of the Jewish Scriptures were written in Hebrew or in Aramaic, a closely related language using the same basic alphabet.
3. No Anthropological Evidence
There is no evidence for the introduction of a Semitic ethnic people into the Western Hemisphere at any time prior to the second millennium A.D. By contrast, of course, the basic history of the Semitic peoples in the Middle East, including that of the Israelites in Old Testament times and the Jews in New Testament times, is beyond dispute.
On the other hand, there is abundant evidence to show that the idea that the American Indians were Israelites was a popular conception in Joseph Smith’s area and time. This was, in fact, the basic premise of View of the Hebrews, the book discussed earlier as a likely source of much of the Book of Mormon. Hence, we have a perfectly natural explanation for how such an idea found its way into the Book of Mormon.
4. No Geographical Evidence
a. Not Even Mormons Are Sure
One of the most interesting ways in which Mormons are trying to defend the Book of Mormon is by claiming that the geography of the Book of Mormon fits with great precision the geography of some portion of Central America. Unfortunately, Mormon scholars are currently debating which part of Central America it fits! In fact, the situation is even more complicated. The Book of Mormon lands have also been said to encompass either the entire Western Hemisphere (the traditional view) or the western regions of South America. Actually, the traditional view would seem to be the best interpretation of the Book of Mormon, since it was “discovered” buried in a hill in upstate New York! Still, most Mormons have abandoned this theory in favor of a Central American theory. In Central America there are at least three or four different areas claimed to be the Book of Mormon lands — the Costa Rica area, the Yucatan peninsula, and the Tehuantepec area including Guatemala and southern Mexico.
b. The Two Lands and the “Narrow Neck of Land”
Still, in recent years something approaching a consensus has developed among Mormon scholars that the Tehuantepec theory is correct. John L. Sorenson’s An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon is the standard reference here. But even here serious problems remain. The Book of Mormon references to a “narrow neck of land” between the “land northward” and “land southward” have until recently always been interpreted to refer to an isthmus, and on the Sorenson theory this is the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. One difficulty with this view (there are several) is that the isthmus is not particularly narrow in comparison with the lands on either side of it. But a recent book by Richard Hauck argues that the “narrow neck” is a coastal strip along the Pacific connecting Mexico and Guatemala. This view conflicts with the Book of Mormon itself: It states that “the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward” (Alma 22:32). Here the statement that the lands of Nephi and Zarahemla were “nearly surrounded by water” is explained by the statement that a “small neck of land” connected them to the lands northward (note Hauck’s artificial separation of these two statements ). What both views have difficulty explaining is that on this view the land “northward” is actually northwest of the land “southward.”
c. The Four Seas
An even more troublesome feature of Book of Mormon “geography” is its clear reference to four seas — north, south, east, and west (Helaman 3:8). On Sorenson’s view the east sea is the Gulf of Mexico and the west sea is the Gulf of Tehuantepec on the Pacific side. But this view places the east and west seas due north and south of each other! Hauck therefore makes these two gulfs the north and south seas. But both views must strain to come up with four seas. Hauck argues that the east sea is the Caribbean, which is not impossible, but then must identify the west sea as a part of the Gulf of Tehuantepec, that is, as part of the south sea. Thus in effect Hauck can only come up with three seas, not four. This is one of the most glaring difficulties for any Central American theory of the Book of Mormon.
d. Assumptions of Mormon Archaeologists
In evaluating these attempts to correlate the Book of Mormon with the geography of Central America, it is important to note the assumptions made by the authors. Both Sorenson and Hauck, for example, make it clear that they are assuming that the Book of Mormon is both internally consistent and historically authentic. Both writers also try to argue that Book of Mormon archaeology is basically at the same stage as was biblical archaeology in its infancy, and Hauck makes much of the fact that biblical scholars do not regard archaeology as “proving” the Bible but only confirming its historicity.
On this last point it is necessary to point out that the basic historicity of the Bible as an ancient document referring to real places never needed proving by archaeology because it was never in doubt. We have always known where Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River, Egypt, Syria, Babylon, Rome, Athens, Corinth, Crete, and many other such biblical places are located. Biblical archaeology has not “proved” the Bible in this sense because the facts were undeniable even to unbelievers. The usefulness of archaeology has been in filling in some of the details, not in authenticating the Bible as an ancient collection of basically historical books. The situation is much different with the Book of Mormon. No one had ever heard of Zarahemla, Nephi, Manti, Cumorah, or Mormon until 1830, and still none of the Book of Mormon place names can be positively identified.
5. No Biographical Evidence
There is no evidence for the existence of any of the Book of Mormon characters other than those who appear in the Bible (Isaiah, Malachi, Christ). Lehi, Nephi, Omni, Mosiah, Alma, Mormon, and all of the other distinctive Book of Mormon characters are completely unattested figures. By contrast, many of the figures of the Bible, from the Pharoahs to Nebuchadnezzar to Herod and Pontius Pilate, are known from extrabiblical sources. Even John the Baptist and Jesus are mentioned in extrabiblical, non-Christian sources (both Jewish and Roman) from the first century. Most of these figures have been known to us all along — we did not need modern archaeology to verify their existence.
6. No Historical Evidence
There is no evidence for the many specific events described in the Book of Mormon. In particular, there is no evidence for a transatlantic voyage of Israelites in the sixth century B.C., and no evidence for the occurrence of the massive wars said to have been fought by Lehi’s descendants in the New World. By contrast, many of the biblical events are directly corroborated by external records or archaeological evidence (e.g., the expansion of Israelite military power in the reigns of David and Solomon; the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests of Israel and Judah; and the ministries and deaths of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ).
7. Conclusion: No Evidence, Many Problems
Thus in every respect the evidence — bibliographical, linguistical, anthropological, geographical, biographical, and historical — is sorely lacking for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. In every way the evidence for the basic authenticity of the Bible is direct, tangible, and undisputed even by unbelievers. By contrast, the alleged “evidence” for the Book of Mormon is all indirect, abstract, and convincing only to Mormons. In this light, honest persons have no choice but to conclude that the Book of Mormon is not authentic ancient literature. It is therefore lacking in that basic documentary integrity required of any book that would be taken seriously at all, let alone accepted as revelation from God.
IV. Faith or Credulity and the Book of Mormon
If the Book of Mormon were the word of God, then of course faith would be needed for a person to acknowledge it as such. But faith is not the same thing as credulity. Faith is believing in God and His word on the basis of His clear revelation in history. Credulity is believing something merely on the basis of its claiming to be true.
In one sense the Mormon believer surpasses credulity to the point of believing the Book of Mormon because he or she wants it to be true. Thus it is quite common for Mormons to encourage prospective converts, as one Mormon writer put it, to “desire to know that the Book of Mormon is true” and “hope the Book of Mormon is true.” Clearly, seeking a “testimony” of the truth of the Book of Mormon by first ardently desiring and hoping that it is true, and then reading it and asking God if it is true, is bound to result often in persons gaining a strong subjective impression that the book is true.
The definitive test of the Book of Mormon and of Mormonism as a whole must in the end be its faithfulness to the teachings of the Bible. Mormons cannot consistently call the Book of Mormon “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” alongside the Bible and then denigrate the Bible’s “testimony” to Jesus Christ. But criticize the Bible they must, because it contradicts the doctrines of Mormonism.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 3, 2007 at 11:56 pm


Robert,
There is way too much here to answer in a way that will do justice to the assertions that you make. I have read your lengthy post and I have answered every charge here at some point in blogging this past six or seven months.
I suspect the reason that you posted this wa in the hope that Mormons would simply be overwhelmed by verbiage and throw up thier hands in horror and leave you in “posession of the field” so to speak.
I have to get up and go to work in six and a half hours, so I will not be able tocover everything tonight. but I have copied your post to word and will begin to address each topic in turn.
If you would rather do it here we can. Or we can discuss this at http://www.truthrestored.townhall.com or at http://www.angelslanding.townhall.com
Mike



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 12:09 am


Roberts Summary of the Book of Mormon:
Another Testament of Jesus Christ.” Such is the modern subtitle of The Book of Mormon, a book first published in 1830 but purporting to be a translation of an ancient Scripture penned in the Western Hemisphere between 600 B.C. and A.D. 421. The main story line of the Book of Mormon tells of a migration of an Israelite family from Jerusalem shortly before the Babylonian Exile to a land across the ocean (somewhere in the Americas), and of the history of two peoples, the Nephites and the Lamanites, descended from that family. The most famous part of the Book of Mormon story is of the appearance of Jesus Christ after His resurrection to preach to the Nephites.
Mike Bennion’s response:
I find nothing to contest here, except that The Book of Mormon is much more than the history of two peoples. Indeed the history is only there as a vehicle to showcase the doctrine. Other major cultural groups spoken of in the Book of Mormon are the Jaredites, and the Mulekites. Other ethnic groups and tribes that have no initial connection to the four groups mentioned are also inferred in the text.
Robert:
The Book of Mormon was produced by Joseph Smith, who claimed to have been led by an angel to the spot where the golden plates on which the Book of Mormon had been written were buried. It is considered Scripture and one of the four standard works (along with the Bible, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon church. It is also accepted as Scripture by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and dozens of other LDS splinter sects. Some ten million people worldwide accept the Book of Mormon as Scripture —— the only modern book to gain such acceptance.
Mike Bennion: The Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph smith who was led to the record by an angel. There are now 13 million members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide. The
remainder of this paragraph is accurate.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 12:14 am


Robert:
Is the Book of Mormon the word of God, an ancient collection of Scriptures restored to the world through Joseph Smith? Or is it a 19th-century fiction created to lead people away from the God of the Bible? I will try to show that even the most sophisticated and seemingly convincing arguments offered by Mormons today in defense of the Book of Mormon are unsound. Such arguments simply are unable to overcome some very easy-to-understand objections to regarding it as an authentic ancient text or placing one’’s faith in it as God’’s word.
Mike Bennion:
I think Robert will have a more difficult time than he thinks, accomplishing his self assigned task. My experience is that the response to the types of assertions he has made in this blog have been well answered by a number of LDS apologists. I will respond in like manner.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 12:38 am


Robert:
The critical question to be answered about the Book of Mormon is whether it is true.
Mike Bennion:
We both are in agreement here.
Robert:
There are several levels on which this question can be entertained.
I. The Book of Mormon Lacks Inerrancy
First, we can ask whether the Book of Mormon is inerrant. That is, we can ask if it is completely free of historical, scientific, and other factual errors. The answer to this question is simply No. Most Mormons will readily admit that the Book of Mormon is not inerrant. The preface to the Book of Mormon states, “And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men….” This is, of course, a truism —— one is tempted to say, “No kidding!” —— but its point is that the Book of Mormon should be accepted as divinely inspired despite the presence of human error: “…wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment-seat of Christ.” This means for Mormons that the Book of Mormon cannot be rejected wholesale on the basis of minor discrepancies or inaccuracies. From a Mormon perspective, the Book of Mormon can have such mistakes and still be what it claims to be, an ancient collection of scriptural writings translated for the modern world by the prophet Joseph Smith.
Mike Bennion:
For this assertion to hold water, Robert will need to prove, form the Bible text that God claims that the Bible is Inerrant. Documentation will be required. If the Bible does not claim inerrancy and yet is still the Word of God, (and Mormons accept it as such), then it will not matter that the Book of Mormon may have errors. Robert will also need to justify the many versions, revisions and translations of the Holy Bible, in light of his claim that it is inerrant. He may also try to explain why an inerrant Bible text would require a number of extra-biblical Creedal statements to define the “inerrant” doctrine contained therein, or why there are thousands of religions that claim the Bible as a foundational text while disagreeing on basic doctrines.
Robert:
II. The Book of Mormon Lacks Inspiration
The second way in which we can put the question of truth is to ask if the Book of Mormon is inspired by God. Now, from an evangelical perspective —— and, I would add, from a biblical point of view —— the fact that the Book of Mormon is errant is enough to disqualify it immediately as inspired. If “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), then Scripture cannot err, since God cannot breathe or speak error. If, as Jesus Himself taught, not the smallest letter or part of a letter will pass away from the OT until it has all been fulfilled (Matt. 5:18), then the OT at least must be without error. And if the OT is inerrant, any future Scripture will have to meet that standard of truth.
Mike Bennion:
The following is an exerpt from an article by Michael T. Griffith at the link listed below there are many other points at the link besides this one:
http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/bible_inerrant_griffith.htm
Does 2 Timothy 3:16 Support the Doctrine of Biblical Inerrancy?
In 2 Timothy 3:16, the apostle Paul wrote:
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.
Strangely enough, fundamentalists cite this verse to support the idea of biblical inerrancy. However, this passage merely says that “all scripture” is “profitable” for doctrine, reproof, etc. It says nothing about scripture being “perfect,” or “inerrant,” or “infallible,” or “all-sufficient.” If anything, Paul’s words constitute a refutation of the idea of scriptural inerrancy, as Oxford University’s James Barr (a non-Mormon) has pointed out:
The striking thing about 2 Tim. 3: 16 is not its declaration of scriptural inspiration but its unstressed and low-key application of it. It is not remarkable that it says nothing about inerrancy or historical accuracy, which were not an issue at the time or until many centuries later; but, more important, it says nothing about scripture being the foundation of the Christian faith, or the ultimate criterion of its genuineness, or the decisive factor above all others in the understanding of it. What it does say is that scripture is useful, profitable for the needs of the pastoral ministry. (1983:20, original emphasis)
In 2 Timothy 3:15 Paul tells Timothy that “from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (vs. 15). The only “holy scriptures” Timothy could have known from childhood were the Hebrew scriptures, the Old Testament. Yet, would any Christian assert that in Paul’s view the Old Testament was the final and complete word of God to man? Of course not.
Verse 15 makes it clear that in speaking of “all scripture” Paul was referring to the Jewish scriptures and perhaps to some of his own epistles. The New Testament as we know it did not exist yet. Furthermore, there is no doubt that Paul’s canon included some Jewish scriptures that are no longer found in the Old Testament, such as the book of Enoch (Barr 1983:25; 1984:4). In fact, notes Catholic scholar Richard F. Smith, “The entire Church of the first centuries accepted the LXX [the Greek Old Testament, also called the Septuagint] as an inspired work, and therewith accepted what are now called the deuterocanonical [apocryphal] books” (in Brown, Fitzmyer, and Murphy 2:511).
I will continue this discussion tomorrow.
Mike



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jkw

posted August 4, 2007 at 2:30 am


I believe the bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly? What religion has the proven perfect unfetterred translation? I have met in my life many people who I believe radiate goodness and I believe are truly inspired. They have taught me many great things about God and religion that isn’t directly in the Bible or any translation of the Bible. I know these inspired people to be great individuals. I am thankful for these individuals. I have listened to people argue about truth or untruth of Mormonism my whole life. To what end? In my life I have learned there is modern day inspiration, just as their was in the olden days. Revelation or inspiration, I don’t care what you call it, it is scipture to me! I don’t think any religion has the corner on the market. I haven’t read the Book of Mormon but I am going to read it. If there is good stuff in it and I learn good stuff from it and I feel I am inspired then as far as I am concerned, it to is the word of God, just like the bible. Maybe it is evil to some, but there is so much beauty in this world, if this doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for someone else. Let’s promote all inspiration that helps our world become more loving and caring and accepting. I think this is what Christ would promote.



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Joseph

posted August 4, 2007 at 1:54 pm


Why Don’t Mormons believe in the trinity?
Yes I know the word trinity does not exist in the Bible but is an extra-biblical word used to define something that is in the Bible.
Mormons believe that there is God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, they all three Gods but not one in Being.
If Mormons believe this why does the testimony of the three witnesses
say this”And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Oliver Cowdery
David Whitmer
Martin Harris



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Kyle

posted August 4, 2007 at 3:25 pm


Joseph, good questions. Forgive me, I’m really not good at answering questions. I don’t know why they worded it like that (“which is one God”) but I can assure you that they were well informed of their own religion in the sense that they believed that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are 3 seperate beings. Generally we interpret the term “one” to mean “one in purpose.”
You also asked “Can Mormonism explain why there is suffering and tragedy in the world?” Well, we believe we were sent here to be tried and tested. And depending on what kind of person we chose to be amidst all the hardships and trials is how we’ll be judged at the last day. We’re here to practice agency (our free will). Which means there will be lot of evil jerks in the world and terrible things going on all the time. Usually God doesn’t intervene (despite how terrible people sometimes are) because then that would be like Him controlling us. Of course most suffering probably comes from sickness and hunger. And I don’t know the answer to this. Maybe He doesn’t think it’ll make us any better people if He simply says, “OK, you’re physically and mentally healthy now” for every person that suffers this way.” Although I do believe miracles like this have and do happen for those who are faithful, mormon and non-mormon. No, I don’t think, suffering is a punishment. Sometimes I think it’s a way to keep us humble, and sometimes it’s just God letting the cruel world play out it’s role. But we believe that in the end God will sort everything out and justice will be served, as well as mercy.



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Kyle

posted August 4, 2007 at 3:36 pm


Joseph, also if you’re interested, Orson Scott Card here wrote a really good book that deals with the nature of pain. It’s called “The Worthing Saga”. And C. S. Lewis wrote something called “The Problem of Pain” which I hear is supposed to be really good. They talk about it some on this page:
http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0032.html
This Worthing Saga is science fiction. You can even read the first chapter on OSC’s site:
http://www.hatrack.com/osc/books/worthingsaga.shtml



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 7:43 pm


Joseph’s question:
If Mormons believe this why does the testimony of the three witnesses
say this”And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Oliver Cowdery
David Whitmer
Martin Harris
Mike Bennion’s response:
God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost enjoy a unity of love, will, understanding, knowledge and power. They are “one” in all these things. If you read John, Chapters 14 to 17 you will see the Savior explain the unity that they posess, as well as the unity available to all those who believe in Him and do his will. There is nowhere in these verses the concept of a unity of substance.
The link below is a blog article about this unity.
http://truthrestored.townhall.com/Default.aspx



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ChooseLife

posted August 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm


Mike Bennion,
You have the patience of Job…Never give up! Never Surrender!



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Mike Bennion

posted August 4, 2007 at 11:14 pm


Dear ChooseLife,
To paraphrase a great and good man: I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as restored through living prophets and apostles, by revelation and the ministering of angels sent from God, for it is the power of god unto Salvation.
I will never stop bearing witness of the glorious Gospel and the Power of God in our own day.
As soon as I have some dinner, I will proceed with the next part of Robert’s very long post. I will not let the truth be assailed without making a defense.



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AgnosticForSure

posted August 4, 2007 at 11:58 pm


I have painstakingly followed this and the other Blog “Nontraditional Christians” because of my interest in watching two self-proclaimed Christian belief systems at odds! So far, Mormons 10, Traditional Christians 0.
I have read the Mormons (Nontrad’s) rationale of “God spoke to man” , man writes down, “God speaks to man”, man once again writes down…sounds logical.
I have read the traditional Christians (Trad’s) argue logically an illogical presumption, “God spoke” man wrote down, “God will never speak again”.
The Nontrad’s claim legitimacy through communication with God. “I prayed, and God answered.”
The Trad’s need no such confirmation…God will never speak again.
If I were a believing man…I would have to follow the Nontrad’s, at least they remain consistent. Would like to read why the Trad’s believe God ever talked to man? Independent of quoting from “the Bible” that is!



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 1:33 am


Robert:
A. The Mormon Test
The very last chapter of the Book of Mormon contains its own suggested test for confirming its inspiration. The reader is encouraged to “ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 10:4).
Mike Bennion:
God will. God does. God did for me.
Robert:
Mormons routinely cite this passage and urge prospective converts to read the Book of Mormon and ask God if it is true. They “bear their testimony” to having done so themselves and knowing that the Book of Mormon is true.
Mike Bennion: Having both recieved a witness and bearing that witness to others I can indeed testify that God does answer prayers. There is nothing “routine” about the wonder and glory of the answer. Can I make you feel the same way, or experience what I did without you doing it yourself? No. But now you have read the promise. You are aware of it. You are responsible for the knowledge thus recieved. the ball is in your court.
Robert:
There are some serious objections to this approach to validating the inspiration of the Book of Mormon.
Mike Bennion:
The readers may judge how “serious” these objections are.
As our agnostic friend pointed out above, the logic of traditional Christianity in claiming the Bible to be the Word of God, while denying that God will speak again is problematic. When I have asked Orthodox Christians how they know the Bible is the Word of God, they have told me that the Archaeology that supports the Bible tells them it is true. I can understand that having “debunked” prayer as a method for finding truth, they are forced to rely on such meager fare.
Robert:
First of all, some people have followed this prescription of Moroni 10:4 and concluded that the Book of Mormon is not true. That is, they have read the Book of Mormon, asking God to show them whether it is true or not, and have not received a testimony of its truth but have instead become convinced that it is false. All a Mormon can really say to such persons is that they must not have prayed “with a sincere heart” or “real intent.” But on what basis can this judgment be made? Only on the assumption that the Book of Mormon is true — that is, only by assuming the very thing in question.
Mike Bennion:
And traditional Christians are not assuming th equestion in the other direction. Why is it objective for a critic of the Book of Mormon to decide the Book is untrue with no study of prayer, but it is sujective for a seeker of truth to decide there might be truth here and pray about it? Where is the scripture in the Bible that says “don’t pray to get answers”?
Gene R. Cook tells a story of a minister of another church who came to know that the Book of Mormon is true:
http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1994.htm/ensign%20april%201994.htm/moronis%20promise.htm?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0
The Changing of a Life
Personal experience has taught me the importance of this process (Reading Moroni 10:3-5 and pondering and praying about it) by which the Lord confirms truth. As one example, I will relate the story of a Protestant minister I met when I spoke at a non–Latter-day Saint symposium in California in 1983.
Brother Smith (I have not used his real name) was touched by what he felt in that San Diego meeting, and somewhat taken aback by the fact that “even Mormons have the Spirit.” I was impressed with him when we first met; I felt a great spirit in him.
He had congregations in California and in several places in Latin America where he preached, but he accepted my invitation to take time to attend general conference in October 1983. He seemed deeply touched by the fulness of the doctrine of Jesus Christ that he heard in the conference sessions. Over the next four years, we had a number of encounters on the telephone and in person. His married daughter and her husband received the gospel and joined the Church in Germany. I challenged him to receive the missionary lessons also, and he did. He became converted to many of the truths he found in the Book of Mormon and taught them to his congregations without disclosing their source.
Then, after four years of Brother Smith’s struggle to obtain sufficient testimony and faith to be baptized, something happened that changed his life. It followed a telephone conversation in which I told him, basically, that the Lord would not wait on him much longer. He had been given a number of witnesses that the Book of Mormon was true, and he needed to act on this knowledge. I challenged him to seek a final confirmation and then to be baptized.
In the course of our conversation, I asked him to explain to me once again how he was reading the Book of Mormon. He said he was reading it to find out if it were true. While we were talking, it dawned on him that HE HAD NEVER READ THE BIBLE THAT WAY; HE HAD ALWAY READ IT IN FAITH THAT IT WAS FROM THE LORD, and then he had sought confirmation of its truths. He had a change of spiritual perspective as he realized that the process for reading the Book of Mormon should be exactly the same. He promised me that he would honestly ask God in the same manner; he would treat the Book of Mormon as truth—as the word of God, like the Bible—and would humbly and receptively seek a confirmation.
Three Witnesses
A day or so later, Brother Smith called to tell me that he had had a tremendous spiritual experience in which the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon was confirmed to him, and he was now ready to be baptized. He said that after confirmation of the truth had come to him by the Spirit, he had received added assurance through a familiar means—inspiration to turn to specific scriptural references.
This had happened to him before. In times past when he had been studying the Bible or preaching, he had found that a particular biblical reference—such as Isaiah 6:7—might suddenly come into his mind. When he looked up the scripture, he would find that it dealt with the very topic or problem at hand. Because this had worked for him so frequently, he determined to try the same test with latter-day scriptures.
He prayed, “Father, if this book is true—and I’m feeling these feelings confirming that it is—then help me know that it is, talking with me through the scriptures the way thou hast done in the Bible.” Immediately flashed into his mind D&C 17:3. He looked up the scripture: “And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them [the Book of Mormon plates or, in his instance, the printed Book of Mormon] with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God.”
Deeply moved by that response, he nevertheless asked, “Lord, wouldst thou do it one more time, as thou hast said that ‘in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established’ ” (2 Cor. 13:1). Immediately Alma 13:6 came to his mind: “And thus being called by this holy calling, and ordained unto the high priesthood of the holy order of God, to teach his commandments unto the children of men, that they also might enter into his rest. …” He then felt a strong witness that the Lord was calling him to a holy calling in the true Church and that he would be ordained to the high priesthood in order to teach the Lord’s commandments to the children of men.
Then he prayed again humbly, as did Gideon, “Let not thine anger be hot against me” (Judg. 6:39), and asked the Lord to give him just one more witness that he was truly deciding correctly. As he prayed, a reference came into his mind—Moro. 6:3: “And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end.” That verse and the verses immediately surrounding it pressed heavily upon him and convinced him that he must be baptized and be “cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost” (Moro. 6:4).
I had the privilege of baptizing him, his wife, and all of his children but one. A number of members of his old church were also baptized. A year later, I had the privilege of sealing him and his wife and children in the Los Angeles Temple.
Brother Smith’s experience taught me again how generous our Father in Heaven is in giving us the opportunity to find truth through the spiritual process prescribed in Moroni 10:3–5 [Moro. 10:3–5]. The principles taught there are powerful, and they can be employed by all people who seek truth.
Relative to the Book of Mormon, when we follow the process outlined by Moroni, remembering the mercy of God to us all since Creation, humbling ourselves as we read and ponder the book, exercising our faith in Christ, and being receptive to the Spirit, we will receive an answer, and we will become more fully converted.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:07 am


Robert:
Second, the Moroni 10:4 prescription is not supported by the Bible and in fact contradicts the Bible.
Mike Bennion:
Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?
10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?
11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
I see no contradiction with the Bible in these verses as compared with Moroni 10:3-5
Robert:
Sometimes Mormons cite James 1:5 in support. However, James 1:5 is speaking about believers asking God for wisdom to overcome temptation (James 1:2-18), not about unbelievers asking God to reveal to them whether a particular book is Scripture.
Mike Bennion:
1) Since Matthew 7 and Hebrews 11 quoted above also cover this concept but do not contain the “temptation” passages we may assume that Mormoni 10 i ssupported by more than 1 Bible scripture.
2) If someone asks “with a sincere heart and real intent having faith in Christ” as Moroni says. They are no longer “unbelievers”
3) James and the other Bible scriptures quoted not mentioning asking about a Book is not proof that one cannot ask. One does not prove a positive witha negative.
4) Let’s quote James and see what we find:
James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ASK IN FAITH, NOTHING WAVERING. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For LET NOT THAT MAN THINK that HE SHALL RECEIVE ANY THING OF THE LORD.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways
Let’s compare the wording of James and Moroni:
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your chearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ASK WITH A SINCERE HEART, WITH REAL INTENT, HAVING FAITH IN CHRIST, HE WILL MANIFEST THE TRUTH of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things
James: Nothing wavering, in Faith No Faith, no answer.
Moroni: Sincere heart, real intent Faith in Christ Truth Manifest
So Robert, how is this contradictory?
It looks like the same concept to me.
Robert:
The Bible tells us to apply objective tests to alleged revelations (Deut. 13:1-5; Matt. 7:15-23; 1 John 4:1-6), not to seek a purely subjective revelation of the truth of a written revelation.
Mike Bennion:
Let us look at these three scriptures:
Deut13:1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let US GO AFTER OTHER GODS WHOM WE HAVE NOT KNOWN, and let us serve them;



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:33 am


(Continuing the above post)
Now look at another verse form Deuteronomy:
26 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed.
27 And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number bamong the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
28 And THERE YE SHALL SERVE GODS, THE WORK OF MENS’ HANDS, WOOD AND STONE , WHICH NEITHER SEE, NOR HEAR, NOR EAT, NOR SMELL.
29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Robert wants to say Joseph smith is a false prophet because the concept of God he received is different from that of traditional Christianity.
So here is a question?
Which most resembles the false Gods’ spoken of by Moses?
These false God’s cannot see or hear or eat or smell–they have no body, They are made by the hands of men.
God as seen by traditional Christianity is a product of the Nicene and Athanasian councils these are post Biblical. They are not in the Bible which the fundamentalist Chrsitians say is all that is needed.
So they are man made. The God of these creeds has no body parts or passions.
God in LDS doctrine has a body of flesh and bone. Man is created in his image. God and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph smith and restored the true concept and nature of God.
Matthew 7:15 ¶ Beware of afalse prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening dwolves.
16 Ye shall KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth agood fruit; 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 hewn 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 HEAVEN.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: bdepart from me, ye that work iniquity.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 2:39 am


So the followers of the true God will be known by their fruits, and the indication of those fruits will be that they do the will of God.
Throughout this discussion Mormons have been hammered by tradeitional Christians for stressing works of righteousness. And even the critics of the Church talk about the honesty and good moral character of the Mormons.
1 Beloved, believe not every aspirit, but btry the cspirits whether they are of God: because many dfalse prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby aknow ye the bSpirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN THE FLESH IS OF GOD:
3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is anot of God: and this is that spirit of bantichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the aworld: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God aheareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby bknow we the cspirit of truth, and the spirit of derror.
And which Church stresses the physical nature of God. Jesus come in the flesh?
I thank Robert for these objective measures. The Mormons compare quite favorably with the standard.



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Matt

posted August 5, 2007 at 9:06 am


Why I believe Mormonism is wrong
Concerning the nature of God
Do Mormons believe that God was once a man and became God, if so who created Him and why aren’t we worshiping that being. The Bible doesn’t
say where God came from only that He is. The Bible says that God is a spirit and that some people saw his face. Is not possible for a spirit to have a face and yet the same time remain a spirit.
I believe God is infinite meaning that He has no beginning and no end He simply is. I believe He created time along with everything else in Creation therefore He exists outside of time. Which is why He is able to know all things. Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit have always existed with God they are not just equals to God but all three are one in Being. This is hard to understand for some because the supernatural is hard to understand.
Just remember the God I worship created the entire universe, not just earth.
Second by your own admissions the Book of Mormon is true based upon a subjective feeling not a objective fact. You cannot prove to me the Book of Mormon is true other than to say ask God to reveal it to you, and if God reveals it to be false you assume that I wasn’t sincere enough in my prayers. Did God reveal this to you too. How do you know I wasn’t sincere in my prayers.
Joseph Smith said:
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book upon the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”.
Yet the book Mormon has undergone literally thousands of changes to it not only in grammar and spelling but also in additions and subtractions to its words from the original text
Just an observation, What do I know after all I’m only 15



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Mike Bennion

posted August 5, 2007 at 11:45 am


Matt,
If you have followed the posts on these threads at all you will know that all these assertions have been covered..
It is the same sad old litany of things from the rag bag of Eber Howe, John C. Bennett, walter Martin, Ed Decker and Bill McKeever and others.
You are 15. How wonderful that you have your whold life before you. You have the opporetunity to read all sides of an issue, and think about it. I would guess that the only parts of the Book of Mormon you have read are those parts you have seen here or in the work of those critical to the LDS Church.
I am 53, I have been around the block. I know that things aren’t always lightly and glibly explained away. I have read a lot of literature against the Church. I have read extensively from literature about the Church. I have tried to read primary documents about ancient Church history, including the post Apostolic proponents of the Church, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi Manuscripts, and the Pseudopigrapha, as well as the works of the Protestant reformers.
I have searced, poondered and prayed. I have worried and wondered. I have struggled. I have been warmed and lifted and answered and comforted and assured.
As such I have made an informed choice. I choose to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
You will have to make your own choices in life. Be sure that when it all comes down to what is important, you are for something instead of against something.



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Matt

posted August 5, 2007 at 3:53 pm


Mike
I can’t find where my questions where answered so why don’t you tell me
By the way do you read any Jonathan Edwards



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Matt

posted August 5, 2007 at 3:56 pm


Mike
I cant find where my questions were answered so why don’t you tell me.
By the way I already what I am for and against.



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Matt

posted August 5, 2007 at 3:58 pm


Sorry had computer problems
Last statement should read I already Know what I am for and what I am against.



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ChooseLife

posted August 5, 2007 at 4:37 pm


Matt,
If you “already know” what you are for and what you are against…you are either one precocious 15 year old or misrepresenting yourself on this forum…
And since you already know…why ask questions, unless for “mere rhetorical frippery”?



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Kari

posted August 5, 2007 at 7:25 pm


Mike Bennion,
Very good posting — and I can say “Amen” to most of what you wrote, except for the fact that I am not as well-read as you in your listings.. but Kudos to you, and I hope to catch up someday!
I have spent the past 23 years being a mom to 7 terrific, wonderful, incredibly great children, whom God chose to send to this Earth through me, their mother. Lots of things went on during those 23 years, most especially growing closer to God and knowing that He is indeed, our Heavenly Father, who loves us and wants us to know Him.
However, God Himself has said that He will force no man to Heaven, it is up to us to chose to return to Him, and by our actions and personal repentance and trusting in the Lord our Savior this is to be accomplished.
These people who fight against the Spirit will only harm their own spiritual connection to God, because God is NOT a God of contention — He is a God of Love. Any contention comes from the Devil, who wants us to fight, quarrel, and bicker among one another.
Not what God wants us to spend our time doing…… but sharing our testimonies of the truthfulness of His Gospel, testifying that the Priesthood that was on the Earth at the time of Christ and His 12 Apostles, who ALSO testified in THEIR time that there would come an apostacy, a time when the Priesthood would be no longer on the earth (when the Apostles were all killed, this happened) and since they had their apostacy foretold, they also foretold a time when it would be necessary for Christ’s Priesthood power to be restored before He cold come again in all His glory — this world needs the Priesthood to prepare the way for His return, for man to act in His name, YES, the restoration was also foretold in ancient scripture, and I am grateful to know that those scriptures have come to pass.
Amos 8:11-12 “Behold, the days come… that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And people shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.”
Martin Luther and John Calvin recognized these truths in their times, even, and were inspired in their time to seek God, but they, too, were lacking the Priesthood Christ had established in His time.
The LDS Church does NOT worship a dead Christ, but a resurrected glorified Being, and we know Jesus lives today, as He lived in days of old, only He does not reside in Jerusalem any longer, but in Heaven on High, with God the Father of us all — and someday, as the prophets have all spoken, He will return here to take His rightful place as Lord, once again, of this earth, only this time, He won’t be wearing dust-embedded sandals.
We know God and Christ showed themselves to a boy of 14, who was as honest throughout his life as the sun is a ball of fire – it is impossible to even look at the sun without possibly harming our eyes, depending on the intensity of the sun, and it was impossible to Joseph to lie about what he saw — he lived his testimony out through his days here, and sealed his testimony with his blood, as did other prophets throughout history.
We know that God still speaks to a Prophet today, who also is guided and assisted by 12 Apostles as Christ restored all He had established in His day. These men today, are living, breathing, witnesses of Christ, as were Peter, James, John, Matthew, and the others when they walked with Christ in Judea.
It is a priviledge and honor to know that God loves His children just as much today as He did 2,000 years ago, and that He does have a prophet on the earth today, as He did 2,000+ years ago. The heavens are no longer sealed, never to be sealed again after the Vision in 1820 to a boy who grew to be a mouthpiece for God.



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ChooseLife

posted August 5, 2007 at 8:51 pm


Bravo Kari…I love pure testimony of truth as revealed only by the Spirit. God bless…
This is a perfect postscript to all the demagoguery we’ve read on this blog…
God IS, not was…



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Matt

posted August 5, 2007 at 9:37 pm


I ask questions because my mom recently became a mormon and wants me to convert to mormonism, but I know in my heart that mormonism is wrong.
I am curious as to what you believe about certain things especially pertaining to God.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 6, 2007 at 12:33 am


Matt, Then ask questions instead of making blanket statements, that assume what Mormons believe without their input.



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Matt

posted August 6, 2007 at 5:38 am


If you don’t want to answer my “assertions” as you call them I can accept that that. I already Know what the Bible says I was just curious as to what mormons believe about God.
Those weren’t my assumptions but those of your prophets
Again “Do Mormons believe that God was once a man and became God, if so who created Him and why aren’t we worshiping that being. The Bible doesn’t
say where God came from only that He is. The Bible says that God is a spirit and that some people saw his face. Is not possible for a spirit to have a face and yet the same time remain a spirit”.
“Second by your own admissions the Book of Mormon is true based upon a subjective feeling not a objective fact. You cannot prove to me the Book of Mormon is true other than to say ask God to reveal it to you, and if God reveals it to be false you assume that I wasn’t sincere enough in my prayers. Did God reveal this to you too. How do you know I wasn’t sincere in my prayers”.
“Joseph Smith said:
“I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book upon the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book”.
Yet the book Mormon has undergone literally thousands of changes to it not only in grammar and spelling but also in additions and subtractions to its words from the original text”



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Matt

posted August 6, 2007 at 7:28 am


Question
Why if Mormons believe the Bible to correct insofar as it is correctly translated have they made so many changes to the book of mormon but haven’t made any changes to the Bible?



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paul

posted August 6, 2007 at 7:40 am


Misguided Kari
Perhaps you made a spelling error when you wrote “…and it was impossible to Joseph to lie about what he saw…”
It is not beyond the reach of anyone to lie save God Himself(please note I believe Jesus Christ to be God)because all men are born with a sin nature
Ephesians 2:1-5
1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
It is entirely possible for anyone to lie.



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Edwin Moelder

posted August 6, 2007 at 10:03 am


Dear Matt.
Your heart is leading you to the truth. Do not be deceived.
I salute you with love in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus The Christ. I serve no man or denomination, nor for gain. I serve Jesus the Christ alone. Jehovah Sabaoth the Lord God of Hosts Jesus the Christ True God and True Man, perfect God and perfect man, fully God and fully man, The Grand Architect Of The Universe, The Light of The World, the preexisting everlasting eternal creator redeemer and sustainer of the cosmos.
I pray in the name of Jehovah Sabaoth the Lord God of Hosts Jesus the Christ that He rebuke the powers of darkness that are interfering with my family and friends and command the evil to depart and go where He wants them to be and send Michael His Arch-Angel to fight Satan. Come quickly Thou Lord Jesus.
Sh’ma Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad; Yeshua Ha’Mashicha. Isa Al Masih. el-Masseh, Iesous ho Kristos.
With love of the Holy Trinity of the Ancient Catholic faith, separate from Rome, trusting in the everlasting Blood Atonement of Christ alone, whom through His infinite, merciful, full, perfect, sufficient, complete and continuous atoning makes us just. In His Service.
Edwin Joseph Moelder +
Evangelist
United States of America Air Force Veteran
Great Grand Son of CSA Veterans
Descendant of Zipporah Murray, Christopher Gist, Shem, Heber, Abraham, Judah and Joseph.
E-mail address “moelder@usa.net”
http://moelder.freeservers.com/TheHolyTrinityandTheDeityofJesusTheChrist.html



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AgnosticForSure

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:32 am


Edwin Joseph Moelder +,
“I’m curious Edwin, what does the “+” at the end of your name mean?
And thanks for all the descriptive credentials…I’m sure they mean something to someONE…like yourself for instance.



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Edwin Moelder

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:58 am


Dear AgnosticForSure:
I am glad you asked about that “+” which I began to add to my signature years ago so that others would ask the meaning. I want to take every opportunity to identify myself as a Christian.
I have a question for you. Are you truly agnostic?
http://moelder.freeservers.com/TheHolyTrinityandTheDeityofJesusTheChrist.html



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AgnosticForSure

posted August 6, 2007 at 1:46 pm


Edwin Joseph Moelder +,
I am waiting for people like you to “convince” me, not of your so called Christian credentials, but rather, WHY you are Christian, vice Buddist, Muslim, Hindu, etc. And to do so “independent of what is declared in the Bible” a book, written by many different Men (maybe Women too).
I “read” a lot, including posts like these and am amazed by the illogical arguments, particularly from self-proclaimed orthodox christians, lost in their own self-righteousness. Take away your Bible and you are empty husks…yet when asked to “prove” your Bible you cower in the corner of “secular tangibility”, i.e., There is a town called Jerusalem; Jesus was known to the old world people; there are thousands of years of ‘traditional believers’; etc. ad nauseum…
So claim the Hare Krishna’s, Scientologists, and Druids…
By the way, why do you possessors of ALL TRUTH (the Bible) insist on offending others for differing beliefs? Is that a doctrine of true believers? Case in point…read several of the previous blogs of those who “Know” Mormons are wrong and see how they all misspell the name as Mormans…For your type, the end always justifies the means. From what I’ve read so far, you are all hypocrites who worship paper and ink (isn’t that Idolatry)…the God of your heaven must be real proud of your religious bigotry and intolerance! My experience with Mormons is that they really are NOT like you…and although I don’t necessarily agree with their position…they certainly ‘live’ what they preach, unlike your ilk…



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Edwin Moelder

posted August 6, 2007 at 2:12 pm


Take time to give honest consideration to what I and others say in:
http://moelder.freeservers.com/TheHolyTrinityandTheDeityofJesusTheChrist.html
I can not convince you of anything nor do I desire to do so, only the Holy Spirit og God can lead you to the truth.
Feel free to contact me privately if you desire to.
With Love.



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AgnosticForSure

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:25 pm


I went to your site and found much of the same…
Post-biblical creedal-ism, despite the infallibility claim of your Bible…which is it? Infallibility or post-biblical creedal interpretation? You can’t have it both ways…
Why, I wonder, do you accept the writings of man, passed down through corrupt ages, as authoritative, absolute, and entirely Deific? I might be persuaded to concede that many of the ideas, values, and honorable teachings in the Bible were “inspired” by a higher, Supreme Being if not for yours and modern day Christianity’s unbending infallibility of it all! Please, I don’t claim to be a Bible scholar, but even my limited exposure to it shows it has some serious contradictions, irrelevant statements, and numerous modern day interpretations…compare NIV with KJV with Catholic versions…wow, infallibility, I don’t think so!!



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 3:58 pm


AgnosticForSure,
You seem one lost in your search for “Truth”. May I suggest the Bible IS the Inspired Word of God, albeit, with some interpretation errors due to corrupt & evil men who took it upon themselves to change or remove many (not all) of the precious and holy truths God originally placed there. But God, being the Omnipotent God He is, ensured His truth would endure and be available in its entirety WHEN His children exercised sufficient faith to receive it so as to prepare them for the the eventual second coming of Jesus Christ. The writings of the Bible came through God’s chosen “Prophets” who, in ancient days, when moved upon by the Holy Spirit, recorded His mind and will onto papyrus, metal plates, et al., and at some point in time (it is arguable exactly when) “Some” of these writings were gathered into a book form that we now call The Holy Bible. I personally believe it to be the word of God, in so far, as it is translated correctly! My religion claims that because of Satan’s desire to corrupt every honorable and holy thing, he reached into the church of old that was established by Jesus Christ and His Apostles and wreaked havoc…what came out the other end, after the Apostles and Prophets were destroyed, had a form of godliness, but closed the heavens and denied the power and authority of God’s Priesthood…hence, the “dark ages” came into being. Without the Holy Spirit to inspire and lift, man left to himself will degrade…and he did! But after ages of wallowing in darkness, the time became ripe for not only a renaissance of thought and action, but for the “Restoration” of holy truths…hence, we claim that God, using the same pattern of old, once again called upon a man to be His spokesperson and to declare His mind and will…The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price are all products of this restoration, as is continuing revelation and living prophets and apostles today…Our proof is in the “fruit”! “By their fruits, ye shall no them!” Go to http://www.LDS.Org and you will see for yourself some of these “fruits”. No one is forced to accept this, only invited to investigate on their own and then decide…it really is left up to you!
If you are an honest seeker of truth, & maintain an open mind, God will inspire you through the Holy Ghost to properly discern truth from error…I know that, because I have experienced it myself, and God is no respecter of persons, He will inspire old and young, rich and poor, any honest seeker of truth. God Bless.



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Joseph

posted August 6, 2007 at 6:45 pm


Even a poison apple looks good from the outside.
They claim to believe in the Jesus of the Bible but deny key aspects about Him written in the Bible
They claim to believe to in God of the Bible but once again deny key aspects about Him written in the Bible, and they do it based on revelation from the prophets. Would someone please present me with some evidence for the Book of Mormon?



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ChooseLife

posted August 6, 2007 at 8:41 pm


Joseph,
“Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling…But ye have not so learned Christ…” Eph 4:18-20.
This discussion has become pointless…I get more positive response talking to a rock than I do to you and your kind.
You and those like you have become the epitome of “ignorance is bliss”, “don’t confuse me with the facts”, and fit perfectly the group Jesus was speaking to when He said, “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” (John 4:48).
I wish you well, and am fine knowing your happy pecking with the chickens, while I choose to soar with the Eagles…
No need to respond…this discussion is over!



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Kyle

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:09 pm


Alright everyone, you want the truth? Here’s the REAL truth:
http://www.ufophil.com/media/coast2coast2.mp3



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Acts 28:22

posted August 6, 2007 at 11:11 pm


Joseph,
You asked for some evidence for the Book of Mormon; a good place to start studying might be at farms.byu.edu . You can browse their research and read many of their publications on-line. I think you’ll find their JOURNAL OF BOOK OF MORMON STUDIES most helpful.
Also Orson Scott Card presents a great essay, THE BOOK OF MORMON – ARTIFACT OR ARTFICE? in a book of collected essays and speeches called A STORYTELLER IN ZION. I think it’s published by Bookcraft.



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Acts 28:22

posted August 7, 2007 at 6:38 am


Joseph,
I found the Orson Scott Card essay on-line; you can read it at:
http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-bookofmormon.html
( I misspelled ARTIFICE in my last post}



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Kyle

posted August 7, 2007 at 8:46 pm


I have read this article by OSC and I think it’s really interesting.



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Joseph

posted August 7, 2007 at 9:35 pm


I read this article and also found it interesting.
Am I supposed to my faith entirely on a subjective feeling without any bit of objective reality?
Also please let me know if there are any non biased sources to back up the credibility of the book of Mormon.



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Joseph

posted August 7, 2007 at 10:01 pm


Should read “base my faith” Sorry



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Acts 28:22

posted August 7, 2007 at 11:12 pm


Joseph,
What you found as interesting, I found as compelling, deeply thought provoking.
I’m trying to imagine an article from any source that “backed up the credibility of the Book of Mormon” that wouldn’t be considered biased by some folks in the evangelical community. It’s to much of a hot button.



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Acts 28:22

posted August 8, 2007 at 8:03 am


Joseph,
You wrote “Am I supposed to [base] my faith entirely on a subjective feeling without any objective reality?”
You are pretty much describing mustard seed faith which most of us are required to start with. (Hey! I didn’t make up rules here, the Lord did!) But I do mean “start.” Most of us are required to start with milk but I promise you there is meat(objective reality)out there for everyone who is patient and willing to wait upon the Lord.



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Kyle

posted August 8, 2007 at 8:10 pm


Joseph,
Where does it say in OSC’s article, that you found interesting, suggest that you should base you faith on a subjective feeling?
You wrote, “Also please let me know if there are any non biased sources to back up the credibility of the book of Mormon.”
If you felt his essay was so biased, would you give a few examples and explain how the material is misrepresented?
I mean, I know he’s not writing a scholarly essay, or being perfectly unbiased. He is however using his own life and professional experience and knowledge to give us his version of how real and impossible-to-fake-artifact that the Book of Mormon is.
And isn’t it biased to be strongly against something you don’t know much about?
And do you really think the essay is all THAT biased? Here’s a small paragraph.:
“At the language and word-choice level, of course, the Book of Mormon, as a translated document, should be pure Joseph Smith. It should reflect what a man of his level of education in 1820s America thinks scripture should sound like. And of course we have exactly the ersatz King James version voice that the Prophet knew the translation would have to have if it were to be taken as scripture by the people he was going to offer it to. Fake or genuine, the Book of Mormon would need that. And, fake or genuine, the Prophet’s attempt at old-fashioned formal English should reveal his lack of education — which it does, with numerous grammatical errors and misuses of archaic forms, many of which survive even in current editions of the Book of Mormon.”



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Joseph

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:34 pm


Sorry I should have directed my statements to different people
“Also please let me know if there are any non biased sources to back up the credibility of the book of Mormon.”
was directed towards the farms.byu.edu website



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Joseph

posted August 8, 2007 at 10:41 pm


I leave you with this:
When Not to Believe an Angel
Galatians 1:6-10
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed. Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.
The truth that underlies this passage is that there is only one gospel. Growing up out of this truth are three statements which are very crucial for us to hear and believe, because nothing has happened to change them between Paul’s day and ours. The first is that it is astonishing when a person hears and believes the gospel but afterward turns away from it (1:6–7). The second is that if a person rejects the gospel, he stands under God’s curse, whether he is an angel or an apostle (1:8, 9). The third statement is that the servant of the gospel seeks to please God alone, not men.
Only One Gospel
The text does not define the gospel. The rest of the book does. So our focus today will not be on the content of the gospel but on its cruciality. First of all, the underlying truth of the passage: There is only one gospel. In verse 6 Paul says that the Galatians are starting to turn away to a “different gospel.” Then in verse 7 he corrects a false impression. He did not mean to say that there are several possible gospels and that they have simply chosen another of several options. In verse 7 he carefully says, “Not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel.” This verse is very clear: There is no other gospel than the one he preached to them and which they received. To be sure, as verses 6 and 7 make plain, there are people presenting their ideas as gospel, but these are perversions.
The implications of this text for our day are very important. The text is a radical and forthright denial of a pluralism which says that we are all on different roads to heaven, but our destination is the same. There are popular forms of this universalism, and there are technical, scholarly forms of it, but there is no biblical universalism—that is, no biblical teaching that a person can go on rejecting the gospel of Christ and still be saved. There are other religions besides Christianity, and there are other leaders besides Jesus Christ, but there is no other gospel, no other good news of salvation.
And what makes that underlying truth in the text so powerful is that the “different gospel” in the churches of Galatia was not a religion from a foreign land. It was a close counterfeit to the real thing. The people in verse 7 who were perverting the gospel were professing Christians. They probably belonged to the church in Jerusalem and knew its leaders (2:12). This “different gospel” was not on the order of Buddhism or Hinduism or Islam. It was an in-house distortion. It was promoted by men who called themselves Christian “brothers” (2:4).
So another implication of verses 6 and 7 for us is that doctrinal maturity is not a luxury at Bethlehem. It is a necessity. If a “different gospel,” which is no gospel but only a perversion, can spring up inside the church, then surely we must make it our aim to become rigorous and discriminating in our doctrinal knowledge. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:20, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.” Galatians is one of the best books in the Bible for helping us refine and clarify what the heart of the gospel is, which can’t be replaced or altered. There is a tragic pattern in churches and in history, I think. Renewal breaks forth on a church or on an age through a fresh encounter with the gospel and the Spirit. Hearts are filled with the love of Christ, and mouths are filled with praise. The concern for evangelism and justice rises. But in all the glorious stirrings of heart there begins to be an impatience with doctrinal refinements. Clear doctrine requires thought, and thought is seen to be the enemy of feeling, so it is resisted. There is the widespread sense that the Holy Spirit will guard the church from all error, and so rigorous study and thought about the gospel are felt to be not only a threat to joy but a failure of faith. The result over a generation is the emergence of a people whose understanding of biblical teaching is so hazy and imprecise that they are sitting ducks for the Galatian heresy. It arises right in their midst. Paul said to the elders of Ephesus in Acts 20:30, “From among your own selves will arise men speaking distorted things to draw away the disciples after them.” He says in verse 27 that he has done his part to prepare them by “declaring the whole counsel of God.” I hope to be able to say the same thing some day about Bethlehem: “I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
So the underlying truth of the passage (Galatians 1:6–10) is that there is no other gospel. And the two implications we need to hear from that are that universalism is wrong (there are not many roads to heaven, but only one) and that rigorous attention to doctrinal clarity and faithfulness is crucial in the long run of church life.
To Turn Away Is Astonishing
The first of three statements now that grow up out of this underlying truth is that it is astonishing when a person first believes the true gospel and then turns away from it. In verse 6 Paul says, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel.” In this verse there are two reasons implied why turning to a different gospel is so astonishing.
First, it is a turning from a calling God. “You are deserting him who called you.” They are not just turning from a doctrine, or an idea. Don’t fall prey to the notion that a concern for doctrine is impersonal. The gospel is the very personal good news of God’s call to you. If you turn to a different gospel, you turn away from God, and that is astonishing. The second reason turning to a different gospel is astonishing is that it is a turning away from grace. In Galatians 5:4 Paul describes what is happening like this: “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.” Paul is simply stunned that so soon after his beautiful portrayal of Christ crucified for their sin they would begin to turn to another gospel. He says in 3:1, “O foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” You can picture Paul back in Antioch listening in stunned silence to the reports that the churches of Galatia are turning away from God and away from the grace of Christ. And he puts his head in his hands and wonders if his work was in vain. It was astonishing then, and it is astonishing today that anyone hearing the best news in all the world (God offers you full and free forgiveness and hope) would turn to a different gospel, which is no gospel at all.
To Turn Away Brings God’s Curse
The second statement that grows out of the underlying truth that there is no other gospel is that rejection of that gospel leaves a person under God’s curse. Verses 8 and 9: “Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you the gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.” The word repeated here is anathema (accursed). When a person is anathema, he is cut off from Christ (Romans 9:3) and doomed to eternal punishment. In 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Paul said that those who don’t obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus “shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” When a person rejects the gospel, the free, gracious gift of God’s forgiveness and kingship, then he remains under the divine curse for his sin—a terrifying prospect because of its torment and unending length. The reason I say this curse abides on anyone who rejects the gospel and not just on the false teachers in these verses is that Paul uses the same word in 1 Corinthians 16:22, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed.”
Paul does not have a cotton candy concern for the gospel. He does not offer sugary smiles in controversy and say, “To each his own.” For Paul the gospel of Christ is the point at which the awesome life of God touches the life of this foul world of sin. And when that offer of eternal grace to utterly unworthy creatures like us is rejected or perverted to satisfy our pride, somewhere someone must rage at the heinousness of the crime. O, how we need to meditate on the horror of rejecting the gospel. Satan does his best with television and radio to create in us a mind that is so trivial and banal and petty and earthly that we find ourselves incapable of feeling what terrifying truth is in this word anathema. O, how we need to guard ourselves from the barrage of eternity-denying entertainment. We need to cultivate a pure and childlike imagination that hears a word like anathema the way a child hears his first peal of thunder, or feels his first earthquake, or suffers his first storm at sea. The Bible does not reveal to us the eternal curse of God that we may yawn and turn the page. The wrath of God is revealed to shake unbelievers out of their stupor, and to take the swagger out of the Christian’s walk and the cocky twang out of his voice. Don’t skim over verses 8 and 9 quickly. There is much humbling and sobering and sanctifying to be had here. Ponder these things in quietness.
Seeking to Please God, Not Man
Finally, the third statement that grows out of the underlying truth of only one gospel is that the servant of the gospel seeks to please God alone and not men. Verse 10: “Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.” In verses 8 and 9 Paul had just said something that will not win him many friends. It doesn’t please most people to hear someone pronounce the sentence of eternal damnation. And so what Paul does in verse 10 is give an account of why he is willing to talk this way. He is willing to talk this way because pleasing people is much lower on his list of priorities than serving Christ. Two things are at stake when the gospel is perverted: one is the glory of Christ; the other is the salvation of sinners. If the gospel is twisted, the all-sufficiency of Christ’s work is dishonored, and the way to salvation for sinners is blocked. Therefore, in order to serve Christ—to advance his glory and achieve his saving purpose—Paul must oppose the perversion of the gospel with all his might, whether it pleases people or not. For the glory of Christ (6:14) and for the good of those who may yet believe the gospel (2:5), Paul is willing to speak unpleasant truth.
The lesson to learn from verse 10 is not that the more people you can displease the more spiritual you are. It was never Paul’s aim to alienate people. On the contrary, in 1 Corinthians 10:31f. he says, “Do all to the glory of God. Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please all men in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage but that of many, that they may be saved.” And in Romans 15:2f. he says, “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good to edify him; for Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, ‘The reproaches of those who reproached thee fell on me.’” In other words, it is good to please people provided that pleasing them is a means to their salvation and their edification and to God’s glory. This calls for a heart of deep spiritual wisdom to know when to be angry and say, “Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees!” and when to weep and say, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how oft would I have gathered you like a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not.” “Let your speech be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone” (Colossians 4:6).
The most thrilling implication of verse 10 for me personally is this: The absoluteness of Christ’s lordship is gloriously liberating. It frees me from having to worry about pleasing one person here and another person there. It brings unity and integrity to my life. When you live to please only one person, everything you do is integrated because it relates to that one person. Shall I go to this movie? Read this book? Make this purchase? Take this job? Go out on this date? Marry this person? What a freeing thing it is to know that there is one person who is to be pleased in every decision of life—Jesus. Sometimes pleasing him will please others. Sometimes it won’t, and that will hurt. But the deep joy of a single-minded life is worth it all.
In summary: The underlying truth of this passage is that there is one, and only one, gospel. It is therefore astonishing to turn away from it—away from God who calls, and away from grace in Christ. It is not only astonishing, it is tragic, because the person who rejects the gospel is anathema, accursed and cut off from God. But on the other hand, if you embrace the one true gospel, not only are all your sins forgiven by God, but a thrilling unity and integrity and liberty come into your life because there is only one person to please, Jesus Christ, and he only wills what is best for you.
The Book of Mormon does contradict the Bible and only one can be right.
Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
p.s. read matt’s last post on the other thread Let’s Call Mormons ‘Nontraditional Christians’



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ChooseLife

posted August 9, 2007 at 12:51 am


It appears to me that Paul, Joseph, and Matt are all ONE and the same, maybe even Triune?



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Mark

posted August 9, 2007 at 6:39 am


Facts: Seen and Unseen
Jesus Christ died. He was buried. He rose the third day.
He was seen by many and diverse witnesses.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now. (1 Corinthians 15:3-7)
When the Bible says, “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7), it does not mean that there never were any visible evidences. Nor does it mean that there are no visible evidences today.
The heavens are telling of the glory of God [today!]; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. (Psalm 19:1)
Since the creation of the world [even to this day!] His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made. (Romans 1:20)
In the first generation of believers, God did not think he was contradicting the grounds of faith by giving visible appearances of the risen Christ, and then later by confirmations of the word of truth in signs and wonders.
To [the apostles] He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)
After [our great salvation] was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders. (Hebrews 2:3-4)
What then does Paul mean when he says, “We walk by faith and not by sight”? As usual, the context is the key.
While we are in this tent [that is, the body], we groan . . . [longing for] what is mortal [to] be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:4-7)
Yes, Christ was seen once, with physical eyes. Yes, he did signs and wonders infallibly with a single word or touch. Yes, he died, and rose, and appeared to many. But NOW he is gone from sight. We do not see him that way now. As Paul says, “[When we are] at home in the body, [we are] absent from the Lord!” That is, we don’t see him now. Not only that, in this body of ours, we groan. That is, we do not even see the full effect of his power in our lives now. Rather, Paul says, we have his Spirit as a pledge. The Spirit is an unseen, but experienced, downpayment, in advance of the sight of Christ in glory.
So in what sense then do we walk by faith and not sight? We walk by faith and not sight, because on the basis of the past, visible acts of God in Christ, and because of the compelling testimonies to these acts in the apostles, we now trust in this living Christ and what he promises to be for us, though we do not now see him. Paul says it like this in Romans 8:24-25: “In hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”
Peter puts it like this: “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8). I have never seen the risen Christ in the flesh. But his Spirit has enabled me to see his self-authenticating glory in the Biblical witnesses. The Christ that I see there, has won over my mind and my heart. So I say with Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I live by faith [not sight] in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”



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ChooseLife

posted August 9, 2007 at 11:29 am


Good for you Mark…keep going & you’ll eventually get there. You’ve got it mostly right. Just be careful of sweeping statements like, “But NOW he is gone from sight. We do not see him that way now”, because neither you nor anyone else has the authority to direct what, when, or how God will or will not present Himself to man, woman, or child…after all, He is God!
Pleasant journey my friend…



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Mark

posted August 9, 2007 at 3:04 pm


The Sovereignty of God and the Sin of the Believer
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you but what is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will make with the temptation also the escape so that you can endure. (I Cor. 10:13, my translation)
Would it be correct to argue from this text, as some do, that since believers do in fact sometimes succumb to temptation, it is solely due to their own self-determination and not at all due to God’s sovereign disposal of events? If this were a valid argument at least two things would follow which in my judgment are contrary to other New Testament teaching.
1) Believers can no longer have confidence that they will persevere to the end in faith and so be saved. One must persevere in faith if he is to be saved (I Cor. 15:2; Col. 1:23; Mk. 13:13). But many temptations arise in life that threaten faith and call the reality of God and of redemption into question. What assurance does the believer have that he will endure and so be saved? Ac­cording to the above argument he can have scarcely any assurance because the point of that argument is to limit the influence of God on the believer to the extent that whether the believer yields to temptation or not is finally determined by the believer and not God. The point of the argument is to make God wholly an offerer of power, not an efficient executor of that power in the believer. Therefore, since the believer is ultimately self­-determining, his perseverance in faith and consequently his sal­vation is ultimately determined by himself. That results in the decline of confidence, since for all he knows he may encounter some temptation tomorrow that he will not endure; he may make a shipwreck of faith and be lost.
All this follows, I think, from the consideration that every temptation is an allurement to forsake our reliance upon and joy in the mercy of God and to rely upon and find more pleasure in other things. The argument for self-determination asserts that what the believer delights in most is determined not by the Holy Spirit who dwells within him but somehow by the believer’s own sovereign will. As fickle as our desires are from day to day and year to year, how do I know whether in a few weeks I might desire something else more than thepure milk of God’s kindness (I Pet. 2:2-3)? That the believer should have greater confidence than this follows from the second implication of the argument I stated at the beginning.
2) The second implication of the argument for the believer’s self-determination is that Philippians 2:13 then becomes false. Paul says there that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” This bold declaration of God’s sovereign control of the believer leads Paul to say two other things. It leads him to an expression of confidence: “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). And secondly the sovereign control of God over believers leads Paul to command the believers to work out their salvation (Phil. 2:12). Note well, it is not the believer’s work which grounds and initiates God’s work. The very opposite is the case: you work, for God is already at work in you to accomplish what he wishes.
The desires of the believer for righteousness are due to God’s openingthe eyes of his heart (Eph. 1:18) so that he can see its irresistible glory. Every act of Christian obedience is a gift of God (Gal. 2:20; I Cor. 15:10). Every act of love is caused by the Lord (I Thess. 3:12). We are his workmanship, his pot of clay, his poem, and all our good deeds have been prepared for ages (Eph. 2:10). This is just another way of saying that all enduring of temptation is the result of God working in us to will and to do his good pleasure.
Given the natural condition of man apart from the Holy Spirit, he will yield to sin invariably; he is the slave of sin (Rom. 6:17,20; 8:3-8). Therefore every instance of turning from sin to righteousness is due to the irresistible work of God, who transforms the mind and heart so that the believer prefers righteousness over sin. I conclude, therefore, that no Christian determines ultimately whether he will overcome a temptation to sin. God determines that.
It follows that when a believer gives in to temptation, desiring sin more than God, it is because God has allowed sin or the flesh to gain the ascendancy for the moment. He does not cause the sin in the same way that he causes the obedience. The obedience he brings about by a positive influence of renewal because he delights in holiness for its own sake. Sin comes about in the believer’s life only by God’s permitting man’s natural tendencies to reassert themselves temporarily. And he does this not out of any delight in sin but out of a delight in the greater end which will be achieved. We may not always understand his designs but we need not doubt his wisdom and power and mercy to bring us through to glory in the end. It is very probable that if God did not allow us to taste the power of sin from time to time we would start to feel self-confident and would not appreciate so intensely our redemption. Thus thanksgiving and praise will abound to God in greater measure because he has brought his people through struggles and failures to perfect victory in the end.
Now we may return to I Corinthians 10:13 to see if it comes into conflict with these things. If we analyze what is really happening in temptation it will become evident, I believe, that there is only one thing that provides “escape” from or endurance of temp­tation, namely, some kind of evidence that God is preferable to the sin we are being tempted with. Perhaps some promise or threat or command comes to our mind from the Bible, as it did with Jesus when he was tempted. Or perhaps we recall an experience we have had of God’s kindness. Maybe a friend will speak a word of encouragement about God’s glory and beauty. In any of these ways, and many others, evidence comes to us that God is to be desired more than sin. This evidence is the escape available to us.
I Corinthians 10:13 declares that God will never leave himself without a witness to his superiority over all sinful allurements. But the text does not promise that God will in fact keep a Christian from yielding to temptation. It promises that the sufficient cause of obedience will always be given in the hour of temptation, namely some evidence that God is more to be desired than sin. Whether a Christian will own up to the truth of this evidence, that is, whether the evidence will move him in fact to prefer God in this trial is not discussed in this text. The promise has an implicit if-clause: You can endure any temptation if you want to badly enough. You will not be tempted beyond your ability if you are relying upon and delighting in God more than what you are being tempted toward.”
The important thing to notice is that this text does not deal with the more basic theological question concerning why I choose to rely on God at one time and on something else at another time. Therefore, the text cannot be used to prove that the reason I do this is my own inalienable power of self-determination. Romans 12:3 would, on the contrary, suggest that God regulates how much reliance on him I have. But that we can save for another time



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GB

posted August 9, 2007 at 4:31 pm


2 Nephi 2:26 And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.



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Anonymous

posted August 9, 2007 at 4:32 pm


From Daryl’s post of 7/27:
“Most evangelical Christians accept as that sole authority, the Scripture, including the Old and New Testament, by accepting It by faith as the Word of God. If we don’t start there, by believing the Word as the inerrent complete authority, then upon what do we base our faith in Jesus? He is known from nowhere else.”
Consider this: I am currently rereading the book of Acts of the Apostles (one of my favorite books of the N.T.). I keep reading about thousands of people being converted to Jesus Christ. How did that happen? It wasn’t from reading the New Testament. Few, if any of the books of today’s N.T. had been written yet (certainly not in the early part of Acts). The book of Acts obviously hadn’t been written yet; the events described therein were still taking place. So, how did all those people come to have faith in Christ? It was from hearing the testimony of the special witnesses of Christ, the apostles. And, there was another element to it. Acts many times speaks of people “being filled with the Holy Ghost”. Thus, there are other ways that we can develop faith in Christ besides the scriptures: the testimony of living witnesses and inspiration from the Holy Ghost.
CB



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Mark

posted August 9, 2007 at 7:28 pm


CB
You said: Consider this: I am currently rereading the book of Acts of the Apostles (one of my favorite books of the N.T.). I keep reading about thousands of people being converted to Jesus Christ. How did that happen? It wasn’t from reading the New Testament. Few, if any of the books of today’s N.T. had been written yet (certainly not in the early part of Acts). The book of Acts obviously hadn’t been written yet; the events described therein were still taking place. So, how did all those people come to have faith in Christ? It was from hearing the testimony of the special witnesses of Christ, the apostles. And, there was another element to it. Acts many times speaks of people “being filled with the Holy Ghost”. Thus, there are other ways that we can develop faith in Christ besides the scriptures: the testimony of living witnesses and inspiration from the Holy Ghost”.
One of many problems with your statement First; it is through the scriptures we learn about Jesus If you will pay more attention to the Book of Acts you will notice the Apostles quoted from the Old Testament
which had been written. they were indeed living witnesses to the testimony of Jesus because they were with Him, but today we do not have any living witnesses who were with Jesus while He was here on earth to testify about what He did. But we do have the account from The Bible



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Kyle

posted August 9, 2007 at 8:53 pm


I’m sorry, but when you guys make posts that are like 3 pages long or longer, I refuse to read them. I get bored because most of it is quoting. I prefer short and concise posts.
Joseph you said:
“Sorry I should have directed my statements to different people
“Also please let me know if there are any non biased sources to back up the credibility of the book of Mormon.”
was directed towards the farms.byu.edu website”
In that case, what DID you think of OSC’s article on the Book of Mormon?
Once again here it is: http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-bookofmormon.html



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nordy

posted August 9, 2007 at 10:54 pm


I will not use any scriptural or historical reference to embellish my post. Satan himself is able to use the word of God for his own purposes. The only resource useful in this particular setting is common sense, and even that still won’t do much.
As I understand it, the term Christian refers to all those who believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. If this is true, members of the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints, “Mormons”, are Christians without a doubt.
The term “traditional Christian” also needs clarification. Does it include today’s most prominent Christian religions, or does it imply those who believe in the same church that Christ organized on the earth? Believe me, they are not the same thing. Christ ordained twelve apostles to continue his works after He was gone. What religion today has twelve apostles who “claim” to have the priesthood? Answer: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Also, anyone who has read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon knows that they do not contradict each other. Isaiah, a prophet from the old testament, is quoted many different times in the Book of Mormon.
As OSC states, albeit in different terms: for anyone trying to insult or discredit us by telling us we’re not “traditional Christians”, at least not in the most widely accepted sense of the term, understand that we know, and we are proud.



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John

posted August 10, 2007 at 5:36 am


Even Satan believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ does that make him a Christian? Just because something quotes from the Bible does not mean that it agrees with the Bible.



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GB

posted August 10, 2007 at 10:35 am


John: Even Satan believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ does that make him a Christian?
GB: Sorry John, but technically that is inaccurate. Satan doesn’t believe, he knows, that Jesus Christ is divine. So then technically by the definition presented Satan would not be a Christian.
John: Just because something quotes from the Bible does not mean that it agrees with the Bible.
GB: Boy, have you got that right.



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just a thought

posted August 10, 2007 at 12:06 pm


“Even Satan believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ does that make him a Christian? Just because something quotes from the Bible does not mean that it agrees with the Bible.”
According to Christian theology would that mean that Satan is saved? He believes right? Why doesn’t the doctrine of grace apply here if all you have to do is believe?



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Chief1989

posted August 10, 2007 at 12:10 pm


nordy,
You wrote: “Christ ordained twelve apostles to continue his works after He was gone. What religion today has twelve apostles who “claim” to have the priesthood? Answer: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.”
That is not entirely true, if you believe in Mormon doctrine. Joseph Smith taught in D&C #7 that Jesus told the apostle John to ‘tarry’ until He came again. That means John, an original apostle, is still on the earth. Also, in 3 Nephi 28 Jesus promises the 3 Nephite priests that they too would tarry until He came again. The introduction to this chapter reads “Nine of the twelve desire and are promised an inheritance in Christ’s kingdom when they die – The Three Nephites desire and are given power over death so as to remain on the earth until Jesus comes again – They are translated and see things not lawful to utter, and they are now ministering among men.” So by my count, the LDS now has sixteen apostles on the earth, not the twelve that you claim.
It is my understanding that the LDS Church claims two priesthoods – the Aaronic Priesthood and Melchizedek Priesthood. The Aaronic Priesthood is a lesser priesthood, typically held by the young men in the Church. At a later age, a faithful, ‘temple-worthy’ Mormon will receive the Melchizedek Priesthood blessing. The LDS teaches that the “keys of the kingdom”, which were given by Jesus to His apostles (Matthew 16:19), represent the priesthood authority. Even though I have had this discussion before, let’s examine the Aaronic (or Levitical) Priesthood, which has the most mention in Scripture and history.
The Aaronic Priesthood is so named for Aaron, the brother of Moses. It is also known as the Levitical Priesthood after Levi, the great-grandfather of Moses and Aaron (they were sons of Amram, son of Kohath, son of Levi). The descendents of Levi, known as the Levites, were God’s handpicked lineage of priests. This role was amplified in the person of Aaron. There are several rules in the Old Testament with regards to this priesthood, but one primary qualifier for holding the Aaronic Priesthood is that the candidate MUST be descended from Aaron. Lineage is of such importance in this regard that it cannot be cast aside. I believe that when Mormons receive a patriarchal blessing, they are told to which Israelite tribe they allegedly belong. Now, in most cases (with the exception of Jewish converts) this information is probably as wrong as wrong can be, but with regards to the priesthood, it presents another problem. Not all Mormons are told they’re from the tribe of Levi through Aaron. This would disqualify such a person from holding the Aaronic Priesthood, but that doesn’t seem to be much of an obstacle within the LDS Church. Moreover, those from the correct lineage must have no physical defect (Leviticus 21:17-23), and serve their priesthood commencing at age 25 and retiring at age 50 (Numbers 8:24-25). As an aside, didn’t Joseph Smith have an operation on his leg when he was 7? This would have automatically removed him from consideration for the Aaronic priesthood back in the OT.
The functions of a Levitical priest were quite different from the Aaronic Priesthood of Mormonism. The job description included: offering the sacrifices (Leviticus 9), the teaching of the Law (Leviticus 10:11), officiating in the Holy Place (Exodus 30:7-10), maintaining the Tabernacle and the Temple (Numbers 18:3), inspecting ceremonially unclean persons (Leviticus 13 and 14), adjudicating disputes (Deuteronomy 17:8-13), and even functioning as tax collectors (Numbers 18:21,26; Hebrews 7:5). The Aaronic priests were assisted in many of their duties by the Levites. In the LDS Church, to my understanding, those in the Aaronic Priesthood collect fast offerings on the first Sunday of each month, prepare and clear the sacrament elements, and pass the sacrament. Worthy priests in the Aaronic order may also perform baptism. While some of the duties may seem analogous, most are not. The biblical duties of the Aaronic priests kept them at work in the temple, not outside of it. One of the primary functions of the true Aaronic priesthood, that of animal sacrifice, has no corollary in Mormonism.
As LDS boys become men, they receive the Melchizedek Priesthood, and are known as Elders. Biblically, there are only two people who have ever held (or will ever hold) the Melchizedek Priesthood – Melchizedek and Jesus. Melchizedek is a person of whom very little is written in the Bible. Genesis 14:18-20 says, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” This is the only direct mention of Melchizedek in the Old Testament. He is a person who seemingly came out of nowhere, blessed Abraham, accepted his tithe, and then dropped out of the scene. Since he blessed Abraham, who then gave him a tithe, it is clear that Melchizedek held a station higher than Abraham. There is an indirect mention of Melchizedek in a Messianic prophecy in Psalm 110:4, which says of the coming Messiah, “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.’” This can seem a little puzzling if you interpret “order” as being analogous to the Levitical order of priests. However, this usage does not imply lineage. Rather, it should be read as “in the manner of…” In what manner would the Messiah be a priest like Melchizedek? The answer is given in the book of Hebrews. I really hesitate to copy long passages of Scripture, because it makes the post so long, but in this case, the explanation provided by Paul is too clear and compelling. Therefore, let’s see what Paul said in Hebrews 6:19b-7:28:
“It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him, and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, his name means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace.” Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever. Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder! Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people–that is, their brothers–even though their brothers are descended from Abraham. This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises. And without doubt the lesser person is blessed by the greater. In the one case, the tenth is collected by men who die; but in the other case, by him who is declared to be living. One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the law was given to the people), why was there still need for another priest to come–one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? For when there is a change of the priesthood, there must also be a change of the law. He of whom these things are said belonged to a different tribe, and no one from that tribe has ever served at the altar. For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears, one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life. For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.”
The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.’ ” Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.
Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever.”
Friends, this passage is so powerful, and you will no doubt see why I felt it necessary to paste this lengthy passage. Paul explains clearly to us what it means to be a priest “in the order of Melchizedek.” The Aaronic Priesthood, which was necessary under the law, has been set aside under the new covenant. In this new covenant, we have no priesthood of men, because men are imperfect and they die. Our Melchizedek priesthood is composed of one person – Jesus Christ, who remains the only priest of this order because He never dies. Because He never dies, there is no need to transfer this priesthood on to a successor. Biblically, a priest is a mediator who presents sacrifices to God on behalf of men. Under the law of the old covenant, this function was filled by the Aaronic priesthood. Under the new covenant, Jesus became our one and only high priest by sacrificing Himself “once for all” for the forgiveness of sin. We need no other mediator (2 Timothy 2:5). Christians believe in the universal priesthood of believers (1 Peter 2:5,9). This by no means negates the belief that Jesus is our one and only high priest. Rather, it metaphorically refers to our ability to approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), presenting ourselves as spiritual sacrifices to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is logical to suppose that had Jesus conferred the Melchizedek priesthood onto His Apostles, Paul would most certainly have mentioned that. However, not only do none of the Apostles make such a claim in their writings, the Apostle Paul actually contradicts that claim in the seventh chapter of Hebrews. Paul also in Romans 12 tells us to present our bodies to God “as living sacrifices.” How could we do this if we didn’t have the authority?
To the subject of apostles, let me say this. I want to look at the historical and Scripture role of the office of “apostle”, and the reasons why that office did not continue out of the first century church. After all, Mormons place a great deal of importance on the idea that the LDS Church is structured like the church of the first century.
“Apostle” is derived from the Greek word apostolos, which Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines as “A messenger, delegate, one who is sent forth with orders.” The Apostles of the first century church were Christ’s commissioned messengers of the gospel. Their job was to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the lands, and to build up the Christian Church. The Apostles were not only evangelists, but they were also church planters. They would go to a city to preach the gospel. As a number of people converted to Christianity, The Apostles would organize them into house churches, and train up leaders from within. Many cities or provinces would have multiple small house churches. In order to maintain unity and integrity of the doctrinal teaching among the various churches, the Apostles would raise up leaders to fill the role of overseer (also known as bishop or elder), who would oversee the various house churches in the particular area. When the churches were in capable hands, the Apostles would move on to continue this work. Most of Paul’s epistles were letters sent to churches he had planted, in order to give them guidance and straighten out doctrinal errors. When we read Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we must remember that there were actually several congregations in Galatia. Paul’s letter was no doubt delivered to the presbyter(s) in Galatia, who would then share Paul’s teachings and admonitions with the various congregations.
Jesus did not send his Apostles out empty-handed. Paul tells us that there were three “things that mark an apostle–signs, wonders and miracles…” Jesus knew the Apostles would be fighting an uphill battle in winning souls for the kingdom, so He gifted the Apostles with the supernatural ability to work miracles. He had given to them “keys of the kingdom” to act on His behalf. In Acts 5:1-11, we find Peter pronouncing sentence on Ananias and Sapphira, who lied to God. The Holy Spirit used Peter, giving him the words to use when he pronounced death on Ananias and Sapphira. The sentence was carried out immediately and supernaturally. Paul displayed his gift of miraculous powers by raising Eutychus from the dead (Acts 20:7-12). It was a worthy use of this God-given power, as it was Paul’s speaking that had lulled Eutychus to sleep in the first place, causing him to plummet out the window. In this case, actions were far more persuasive than words. No doubt there were many more displays of these gifts than were recorded in Scripture. Such signs and wonders went far in a skeptical world in which Christianity was viewed as a new and bothersome Jewish sect by the Gentiles, and a blasphemous abomination by the Jews.
After the replacement of Judas and the addition of Paul, there were no inductions of new apostles. As a result, the number of the apostles dwindled through the first persecutions as each met a martyr’s fate or died a more peaceful death. With the passing of the Apostle John around the turn of the century, the last of the apostles had died. No successors were given the role or title of Apostle. Some of you are objecting, “But I though apostolic succession was a big deal in the early church!” This is quite right, but the successor of an apostle was not an apostle. Apostolic succession was claimed when a presbyter/bishop had studied and been trained up under one of the Apostles. Tradition indicates that Peter trained up leaders in the church at Antioch, to include the bishop of Antioch. By this right, the church at Antioch could claim apostolic succession, even though the bishop (Evodrius) never claimed the role or title of Apostle.[3] Apostolic succession therefore refers to a succession of doctrinal teaching and not to the transference of a role or title. Evodrius was trained by Peter, an Apostle. Therefore Evodrius was considered credible and worthy to pass along apostolic teachings to the Church in Antioch. Evodrius’ successor had studied under Evodrius, who had studied under Peter. This is what apostolic succession was really all about. We need not reconstitute the role and function served by the first century apostles. They bravely and faithfully fulfilled their duties as messengers of Christ. They spread the gospel and trained up new leaders. They used the keys of the kingdom and miraculous powers to open doors and cause the truth of the gospel to spread like wildfire.
When people today claim a priesthood or a body of apostles, they are resurrecting offices that are dead and unnecessary in the eyes of God. There was a mission for Apostles in the first century, but that mission is complete and that office is now superfluous. There was a time in God’s plan for the Aaronic priesthood, but it is long since past. Jesus was sacrificed once for all for the forgiveness of sins, and where these sins are forgiven, no further sacrifice is required (Hebrews 10:10-18). There were only two occasions in history for a priest in the order of Melchizedek. The first was Melchizedek, and the second (and final) is Jesus Christ. He alone is our mediator. He alone allows us to approach the throne of grace with confidence. We enter the Most Holy Place as part of a universal priesthood by His grace and the sufficiency of His sacrifice (Hebrews 10:19-22). To claim a modern need for a priesthood is to reject Scripture and deny the sufficiency of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God. To claim a modern need for Apostolic authority is to be ignorant of both Scripture and history. To require people to operate through them is to bind them up with unneeded rules and regulations, much like the Pharisees did to the Jews in Jesus’ time here on earth. The priesthood and the Apostles had a definite place and mission in God’s plan; those places are not needed now with the spread of the Gospel and with Jesus’ ascension into heaven as our High Priest, and their missions have been completed. We can certainly hold these two things in high regard, and say that the men who held them were heroes of the faith, but we now need to move on and realize that Jesus is sufficient to meet all of our needs in this day and age.
Sorry this was sooooo looooong, but it needed to be said. May God bless to our minds and hearts understanding of His will for believers and His church.
Amen



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EnlightenMe

posted August 10, 2007 at 8:25 pm


Chief,
You seem to believe that when the truth can’t be confirmed…make it up!
Where there’s a void…fill it, besides who will really check its veracity!



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Chief1989

posted August 10, 2007 at 9:44 pm


EnlightenMe,
Perhaps you can enlighten ME. What exactly do you believe that I made up? If there is anything in my post that is not absolutely true, let me know and I will be the first to renounce it. I don’t think there is, but go ahead and give it a shot.
I really enjoy a good debate, but your post gives no talking points or items for discussion. Not a good argument – please tell me you are not a lawyer.



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John

posted August 11, 2007 at 10:36 am


EnlightenMe,
Perhaps you can enlighten me as well, because I read Chief’s post and found nothing that was made up. If you feel something was made up please let me know.



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Kyle

posted August 11, 2007 at 2:04 pm


Chief1989:
Okay, 16 Apostles, 12 which are visibly present and in authority within the structure of our church, and 4 whom wished to tarry, doing good until Christ came again. But no, actually we have 15 apostles in the structure of our church. The presiding 12 apostles, plus the prophet and his 2 councilors. We sustain them all as prophets seers and revelators. So 15 in Latter-Day authority, plus 4 roaming the earth doing good. So really 19 if you want to be technical. But only 15 in the structural authority.
About the priesthood. We believe the priesthood is the authority for man to act in the name of God here upon the earth. Now the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood are the same priesthood. We’re given a portion of it when we’re younger and a greater portion when we’re older. The greater simply encompasses more duties and responsibilities. Since you know that the animal sacrifices among other rites in the OT were done away with in the NT, you really can’t make an argument referring to the OT in that sense. Many other things were done away with in the OT as well. The Law of Moses (The Ten Commandments) was done away with in the sense that it was no longer good enough to live by only those 10 commandments alone (although you were and are still required to live by them.) The new commandment Christ gave us was to love thy neighbor and to love the Lord.
We believe that it is Ephraim and Mannaseh that have the birthright and are the blessed tribes. Here’s a link the chart: http://www.ensignmessage.com/images/chart.gif
You’re making assumptions about the interpretations of the Bible’s use of the word Melchizedek. And because your not a prophet and have no proof as to which way it should be interpreted, then you really have no say in that. I’m not using it as an argument for me, and you really can’t either.
As for the need for apostles, it is so easy to explain everything away to fit your own views. Practically every claim that guy made (whom you quoted) could be debated or refuted. I’m just saying that, long as the post was, it wasn’t terribly convincing at all. It’s usually like this:
An anti-Mormon scholar tries to refute the Mormon beliefs and writes a lot of stuff that sounds believable. And they all claim that what they have written proves that the Mormon beliefs cannot possibly be true. But THEN if you compare what they all had to say, you’ll see that they all disagree with many of their beliefs between each other and even the reasoning they used to refute Mormonism has contradictions between their arguments. But since the means they each used to reach that conclusion contradicts each others means, it shows that they’re willing to be dishonest in their pursuits.
So the question is “Who do you trust?”



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B

posted August 11, 2007 at 3:00 pm


To be accurate, the counselors of the prophet only have to be High Priests. They do not have to be ordained Apostles. Apostle a position in the Prietshood, but the Quarum of the 12 is a specific group of apostles. Collectively this quarum holds all the keys of the kingdom of God, and the prophet himself also holds all these keys himself.
Also, God can establish multiple sets of apostles and prophets, as he did in the NT and in the Book of Mormon. Both peoples had their own 12 apostles and their own first presidency.



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John

posted August 11, 2007 at 4:39 pm


Since there are only TWO priests in the order of Melchizedek, Melchizedek
and Jesus and Jesus who still holds this office today. What do Mormons need another priest for?
Then again Joseph did say: There will be an eventual restoration of sacrifices as part of the restitution of all things. Those who say that sacrifice was entirely done away with by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ “are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets.”
Apparently Joseph Smith thought that animal sacrifices were not to be done away with maybe that’s why you still need priests because that was there duty.
Oh and you really didn’t answer anything, you simply stated what you believe without backing up anything of what you said



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GB

posted August 11, 2007 at 8:36 pm


John,
More bait and switch?
You say that Joseph Smith said that “There will be an eventual restoration of sacrifices as part of the restitution of all things. Those who say that sacrifice was entirely done away with by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ “are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets.”"
Yet the only part in quotes is “are certainly not acquainted with the duties, privileges and authority of the priesthood, or with the Prophets.”
Then you say that “. . .Joseph Smith thought that animal sacrifices were not to be done away with . . .”
Are you a mind reader?
I think not!
Sorry but “animal sacrifice” is not found in the quote you provided. Nothing in that quote dictates that animal sacrifices will be done again.
Sorry but no straw for your strawman.



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GB

posted August 11, 2007 at 8:49 pm


John,
It is true that Melchizedek and Jesus are High Priests after the order of Melchizedek.
But NO WHERE does it say that there are “ONLY” two.
An order is a group. A group is more than two people.



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Edwin Moelder

posted August 12, 2007 at 12:39 pm


Jesus The Christ should be foremost in our discussions rather than endless debate about mankinds doctirnes of “priesthood”, “prophets”, “bishops”, “baptism” and a plethora of man made doctrines.
Jesus The Christ is Perfect God and Perfect Man.
Jesus The Christ is Fully God and Fully Man.
Jesus The Christ is the eternally pre-existing God.
With the love of The Holy Trinity of The Ancient Catholic Faith.
http://moelder.freeservers.com/TheHolyTrinityandTheDeityofJesusTheChrist.html



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Kyle

posted August 12, 2007 at 9:20 pm


Edwin:
You said:
“Jesus The Christ should be foremost in our discussions rather than endless debate about mankinds doctirnes of “priesthood”, “prophets”, “bishops”, “baptism” and a plethora of man made doctrines.”
None of those are man-made doctrines. They are all in the Bible. Are you really calling baptism a man-made doctrine?



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Jack Fuller

posted August 12, 2007 at 11:53 pm


One cannot know enough about LDS doctrine to objectively offer opinions until and unless he has read the Book of Mormon in its entirety. It is not enough to skim through the book cherry picking passages. One must approach the book with an open mind, sincere heart and belief that he will get an answer about its truthfulness if he just asks God. But God can’t teach a closed mind. The Book of Mormon is the most complete book about Jesus Christ available today. It talks about His mission, the atonement, who we really are and testifies that Jesus is the Christ. It lays out our relationship to God our Eternal Father, and tells the reader more about Christ than any other book extant today. The Book of Mormon is the birthright of every living person on the earth and it will speak to the sincere reader about things he never before supposed. Satan attacks Christ’s restored church through his worldly minions because the message of the Book of Mormon strikes home to the honest of heart. It provides a method for God’s children to return to him. It disputes the current worldly notions that draw people away from God. It talks about authority, baptism, the opportunity to have an eternal marriage and have your earthly family with you for ever. It says that the those who never heard of Christ will have an opportunity to hear the gospel and be baptised and that they are not doomed to eternal damnation through no fault of their own. Maybe the most powerful aspect of this book is that this message does not need anyone to interpret it for you. You can ask God directly through prayer about it and the Holy Ghost will give you a testimony of its truthfulness. After you have read the book, you can then decide for yourself whether Mormons are Christian.



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James

posted August 13, 2007 at 5:35 am


Jack,
No Thanks, I,ve read the Book of Mormon and I did not find it truthful in the least. Maybe that’s because I believe in the Bible. The Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible and it’s own teaching is contradicted by another Mormon Scripture the Doctrines & Covenants. If the Book of Mormon is true then it should agree with all the other Mormon Scriptures should it not? The Bible is part of accepted Mormon scripture is it not?
Why do they disagree with each other? The Book of Mormon is called another Testament of Jesus Christ, Maybe you should rename it the only testimony of Jesus Christ.
HMMM! The Bible or Book of Mormon.
I’ll take the Bible because it’s the Word of God, whereas the Book of Mormon is the word of a prophet and is not true nor can it be proven by any physical facts.
Hebrews1:1Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.



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BringItOn

posted August 13, 2007 at 11:10 am


James,
I know YOUR Bible condemns liars just as mine does. To say, “I,ve read the Book of Mormon and I did not find it truthful in the least.” Is a bold face lie on your part.
Had you REALLY read the Book of Mormon, you would have “in the least” acknowledged that it contained “some” truth since it is full of proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.
You also claim it contradicts other Mormon scripture, yet offer no evidence for your specious charges.
You appear to be nothing but a blow-hard full of hot air and no substance! Next time try to show “some” intellectual honesty or just keep your ignorance hidden…better to be thought a fool, than to write and remove all doubt!



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Chief1989

posted August 13, 2007 at 11:27 am


Jack Fuller,
I have to disagree with you here. Putting your trust in something dictates that that thing be trustworthy. The Bible has proven to be very trustworthy, through both internal and external tests. Very little has been changed from the original manuscripts [the original texts did not have capitalizations, punctuation, chapter and verse notations], and the scribes down through the years did a remarkable job staying true to the original manuscripts. Christians of course believe that God guided all of the translations and councils down through the ages, and what we have today [except for those people who tried to come up with things like "gender-neutral" translations and the like] is a trustworthy document that has stood the test of time. Have there been esoteric changes? Yes, but no change has ever been made to Scripture to change the truth of the message or the power of the doctrines. No text was added that changed or reversed stated doctrine, and the message has remained clear and vibrant.
Mormon “scriptures”, on the other hand, have undergone wholesale changes to the text and doctrines have been changed or reversed over the years. Doctrines & Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price have undergone some 65,000 changes over the years, and several doctrines that were core doctrines of the church have been reversed, such as plural marriage and eligibility of dark-skinned people for the priesthood. The Book of Mormon itself has undergone over 3,900 changes, and that is not counting the cosmetic changes for punctuation and grammar. The most complete book about Jesus Christ available today? No, but certainly the one with the most fluid doctrines. And many of the core teachings of the LDS church [celestial marriage, baptism for the dead, exaltation to godhood, temple ceremonies, the nature of God, Jesus, and man] are not even found in the BoM, and many are contradicted by what IS found in the BoM. Again, it just shows you what can happen when you have “living apostles” and “modern revelation”; you can make up new doctrines and convince people that they were revelations from God, when nothing is further from the real truths revealed in the pages of the Bible.
——————————
GB: “John, it is true that Melchizedek and Jesus are High Priests after the order of Melchizedek. But NO WHERE does it say that there are “ONLY” two. An order is a group. A group is more than two people.”
Actually, that is not the whole truth. There are multiple meanings to Greek and Hebrew words, and one of the definitions of “order” is “in the manner of” or “after the pattern of.” Therefore, when Scripture says that Christ is a High Priest ‘in the order of’ Melchizedek, it is saying that He follows the pattern of Melchizedek, not that He is the latest in the line of him. None of the apostles ever claimed to have that priesthood, the Bible never mentions anyone else in the order, and no one but Christ could ever pass that on. So even if Peter, James, and John appeared to you, GB, and said, ‘Here, take the authority of the higher priesthood of Melchizedek’, they would be passing on to you absolutely nothing, because they never had it and they can’t give it. A warning for you: anyone who claims to have the Melchizedek priesthood is guilty of blasphemy, because you are saying that you are Jesus. If I were you, I would be very, VERY careful about claiming that priesthood, if I were you. God takes blasphemy very seriously – blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the one unforgivable sin listed in Scripture.
Take care…



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BringItOn

posted August 13, 2007 at 12:25 pm


Chief1989,
Saul too thought he was doing the work of God, persecuting the church, calling evil good, and good evil.
In Acts 8, one who wants to, can clearly see “God’s Authority” or Priesthood working. Philip preached, and baptized those who believed (Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys to Baptism); but Philip knew the limits of his authority and waited upon the arrival of Peter and John to come and exercise their authority (Melchizedek Priesthood) by prayer and by the “laying on of hands” for these newly baptized believers to now receive the Holy Ghost.
Simon the supposed “reformed” sorcerer, now a baptized believer, not understanding Priesthood authority, offered money to Peter for the ability to confer the Holy Ghost has he witnessed Peter do and you know the outcome of that action…
My question to you is…How does a uneducated mere boy (Joseph Smith) of 1820, put together such consistent ideas, teachings and doctrines from the Bible that 175+ years later, scholars still debate as to its authenticity? Why, if this is some grand fraud, hoax or conspiracy has the great religious minds of today been unable to unequivocally, debunk The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and watch it die as all other man-made institutions invariably do!!??
I say to you and all others of your kind, “kicking against the pricks”…trifle not carelessly with the things of God which you know little about! “…let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: [it hasn't, but is in fact spreading to cover the entire earth] “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” Acts 5
I caution you sir, do not be as Saul, who required a personal visitation of Deity to change course…because in your own “kicking against the pricks”, you may be surprised when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is the Christ, to find yourself on the wrong side of the aisle! I hope not.



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James

posted August 13, 2007 at 12:43 pm


BringItOn:
Can you prove that the Book of Mormon is trustworthy?
A work of fiction usually has some basis in something that is true but that does not make it true. Based on its own merits the Book of Mormon cannot be found trustworthy. Therefore regardless of whether you believe it to be true it cannot be true. If someone sincerely believes that 2+2=5
that does mean that they are right, because 2+2 has been proven to equal 4. If I am wrong I am welcome to the idea of discussing where you think I am wrong.



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Chief1989

posted August 13, 2007 at 1:07 pm


BringItOn,
Thanks for you comments. I have heard the “how could an uneducated man with a 3rd grade education” argument before, and it just doesn’t hold water. Smith was not operating in a vacuum; there were several men around him who “helped” with the translation. He also had the ideas from “View of the Hebrews” and “Manuscript Found” to help him, as well as the KJV Bible and his own past of being an adept storyteller. So that argument, in my mind, is not valid. How did Mohammed come up with the Quran? How did L. Ron Hubbard come up with Dianetics? Where there is a will (and I’m NOT talking about the will of God here!) there is a way.
As for the debunking statement, Mormonism has for all practical purposes been debunked. Let me put it this way: ask people of other faiths about Abraham, Moses, Elijah, or Jesus. Most of them will affirm that the first 3 were great prophets, and Jesus was at least a great teacher who taught many truths. Even if they don’t put their faith in them, they will acknowledge them and even follow some of their teachings. In contrast, the only people who think Joseph Smith was a prophet are Mormons. Ask non-Mormons about Nephi, Aminadi, Lehi, or Moroni, and you will get a “who?” Ask someone where Jerusalem is, or the Sea of Galilee, or Damascus or Egypt or Greece or Rome, and people know (although they might not be able to point them out on a map; geography is a lost art today!). Then ask them where Zarahemla is, or Jacobugath, , or Onihah or Mocum or Moronihah. These are all called “great cities” in the Book of Mormon. How about the city of Laman, or Josh, or Kishkumen, or Mulek? No one but Mormons believe that these cities ever existed, because there is no record of them. Where did the Zoramites live? Where is the land of Jershon? Where are the written records of the Amulonites or the Amlicites? No one knows, for they have not been found.
I find it interesting that the authority of the Aaronic priesthood includes baptism. Did Aaron or his sons baptize anyone? And who laid their hands on John the Baptist to transfer this priesthood to him?
As for the Melchizedek priesthood, I told a poster on another thread that you had better be VERY careful about claiming this priesthood. It resides in the person of Jesus Christ ONLY, now and forever, and anyone who claims it is claiming to be the incarnate Son of God, which is blasphemy. Be very careful, my friends, about trying to “lay your hands” on this priesthood. I don’t believe God has ever testified that anyone else in recorded history is a “priest in the order of Melchizedek” other than Jesus Himself.



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Larry Lynch

posted August 13, 2007 at 2:01 pm


I have read some of the comments and agree that we are non traditional Christians. We are a religion that is based on a testimony. We are considered odd in our beliefs. There are many truths that others believe are odd. That is alright. It is not a negative connotation. Einstein was considered odd. No man on earth has given me my testimony, yet I believe that Joseph Smith is a true Prophet and that he was called to restore the true church. Please note I said “restore” as it had already been on earth before the plates were found. I know the prophets that have followed Joseph are true Prophets of God. You may ask how I know this. You may wonder how the Prophets know this. Joseph Smith once said if the events had not happened to him he would probably not believe them also. The Book of Mormon is the only book on earth that is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I am a non traditional Christian and I am happy I am because as a traditional Christian I learned very little and therefore, I had never been set free. The truth is evasive and it takes action to receive it. If there is anyone who truly is lacking or have a lowly spirit and contrite heart he will find it. The ones who are thinking they have all they need will never be blessed with the knowledge of the true church.



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 13, 2007 at 3:07 pm


> In contrast, the only people who think Joseph Smith was a prophet are
> Mormons.
Circular logic. Cool!



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Gregory A. Swarthout

posted August 13, 2007 at 3:08 pm


> As for the Melchizedek priesthood, I told a poster on another thread
> that you had better be VERY careful about claiming this priesthood. It
> resides in the person of Jesus Christ ONLY, now and forever, and anyone
> who claims it is claiming to be the incarnate Son of God, which is
> blasphemy.
*I* hold the Melchizedek priesthood. I am not Jesus Christ.
Greg



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 13, 2007 at 4:30 pm


Chief1989 wrote: “As for the Melchizedek priesthood, I told a poster on another thread that you had better be VERY careful about claiming this priesthood. It resides in the person of Jesus Christ ONLY, now and forever …”
Cite, please?
At the beginning of this dialogue, you admirably relied heavily on scriptural citation to support your positions, as you should. Now, as that support has proven unsteady in the face of countervailing Biblical passages, you appear to have fallen back on regurgitated anti-Mormon sentiments with little or no basis in Biblical teaching other than your own interpretation or that of the supposed scholar whose ideas you are parroting without independent research.
So, please provide the Biblical cite that the priesthood held by Melchizidek, and which was rightfully claimed by Jesus Christ “ONLY” resides in Jesus Christ “now and forever.”



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BringItOn

posted August 13, 2007 at 5:05 pm


First in reply to James, then to Chief1989…
Can you PROVE it isn’t. Not my job or desire to convince anyone of the Book of Mormon’s authenticity. But because YOU James asked, here are some personal testimonies of its authenticity, if you have the guts to read them?:
THE TESTIMONY OF THREE WITNESSES
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. And it is marvelous in our eyes. Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.
Oliver Cowdery
David Whitmer
Martin Harris
THE TESTIMONY OF EIGHT WITNESSES
Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That Joseph Smith, Jun., the translator of this work, has shown unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engravings thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work, and of curious workmanship. And this we bear record with words of soberness, that the said Smith has shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen. And we lie not, God bearing witness of it.
Christian Whitmer
Jacob Whitmer
Peter Whitmer, Jun
John Whitmer
Hiram Page
Joseph Smith, Sen
Hyrum Smith
Samuel H. Smith
Chief,
To believe your position is to admit that “Many” not just a few, conspired with a BOY to write a book that can’t even be imitated today in its doctrine, prose, style, characters (now remember this was 1823, NOT the 20th century)or culture, etc…???
I ask you, For what purpose? He (nor the supposed conspirators) certainly never gained any monetary wealth only constant ridicule and persecution from the very onset of announcement that he had the Book, culminating in his own murder…now that’s a conspiracy, any one would join don’t you agree!!



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Steve Pipenger

posted August 13, 2007 at 5:43 pm


Not only are Mormons just not Christians, but Protestantism is deficient in and of itself. There is one Church. It is the first Church, the Roman Catholic Church. If one reads the ancient writings of the Church Fathers (which predate the Bible), one will see that the term “Catholic” goes back to the first century (the Bible as we know it dates to the 4th Century (see the Council of Nicaea and the Nicene Creed). So the notion of a Church, with Bishops, believing in Apostolic Succession, the Real Presence in the Eucharist predate the canonization of Scripture. These things are known as Sacred Tradition. They go hand in hand with Scripture. Finally, as I said, the Roman Church is the first Church. Jesus said in Matthew that the Gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church. By stating that the Roman Church, which predates any Protestant Church, somehow “erred” or “fell off the track” calls Christ a liar when He told Peter that it would be protected in Matthew. Any debate must take place within the confines of the Roman Catholic Church, which has existed in one form or another for nearly 2,000 years. Any Protestant Church that post-dates Catholicism (and they all do) are not truly legitimate Churches.



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BringItOn

posted August 13, 2007 at 7:20 pm


Way to go Steve Pipenger…at least you have said the first intelligent argument for legitimacy I’ve heard in this entire blog from fundamental protestants.
It boils down to only ONE of two options.
The following is taken from “A Catholic Utterance”
“You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don’t even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that’s all there is to it. The Protestants haven’t a leg to stand on. For, if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were a part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism’s attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient time, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.”
So there you have it…either Catholic or Mormon, NOT Protestant!
“Protestant churches founded by reformers who contend that the original church fell into apostasy, and who, therefore, through a study of the Bible, have attempted to return to the original teachings and practices of the church. The number of these churches is evidence of how impossible it is to agree upon the teachings of the Bible when left to the wisdom of man to interpret and understand them. Because of this lack of unity, churches have continued to multiply in a further effort to return to what they consider the original teachings of Christ.” Marvelous Work and A Wonder pg. 2.
Further, “If heavenly messengers (prophets who have lived upon this earth) have visited this earth in this dispensation, bringing messages from God, as claimed by the Prophet Joseph Smith, then we have the most important message that can go out to the world today,which invites investigation. If such messengers really came, they must have contributed that which is worthy of a divine messenger and which was not already in the possession of mortal man.” Ibid, pg. 4.



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 13, 2007 at 7:37 pm


Steve, interestingly, the historical accounts (including the jealousy between the Holy Sees of Rome ["First among Equals"] and Constantinople) indicate that the early post-apostolic Church was orginally divided among five sees with Rome holding prominence but not sovereignty, “hence First among Equals.”
By the fifth century, after the capital of the empire had been established in Constantinople, the Bishop of Rome, probably fearing that power would shift from Rome to Constantinople also, declared that Rome was the seat of the Christian Church, and sovereign over all Christendom. Of course, this did not set well with the other Equals, who did not acknowledge this declaration.
Thus, the Holy Roman Catholic Church was actually a derivate of the post-apostolic Church structure, but certainly not the first Church.
Steve: “… the Roman Catholic Church, which has existed in one form or another for nearly 2,000 years.”
Does the form really not matter?? If Christ organized his Church among apostles, but the apostles died off, leaving bishops as successors who were to work together as a council, then one bishop declared himself sovereign Father of the Church, doesn’t that change in form from what Christ established to the current Papacy matter?



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Kyle

posted August 13, 2007 at 7:38 pm


Steve Pipenger:
Doesn’t it say in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that “there shall be a falling away first”? Referring to the apostasy?
And wasn’t the Nicene Creed written by a bunch of men who debated over how to interpret the Bible?
Yes and yes.
Surely you know that the Roman Catholic Church has had tons and tons of of corruption during the Middle ages. It’s documented in history as not just a small blip here and there, but as the majority of the church ruled by power hungry men.
Chief1989:
Of course everyone’s heard of all those places. That’s because the Bible’s been around forever. And it’s a good thing! We don’t criticize the Bible. In fact it’s part of our main scriptures. We believe the Bible. And the Book of Mormon has been around for only 175 years! And since the Book of Mormon is considered to be Mormon scripture, who else has read it but Mormons, and a few others? And sure those cities in the BoM don’t still exist because for one, all the Nephites in the BoM were destroyed, and that was 1500 years ago. The rest of the Worl didn’t even start to really connect with America until 1000 years later. Who knows what happened in that time! The rest of the world was more developed and the Americas were still a tribal people.
You’ve been parroting your information off of anti-Mormon websites haven’t you? Even I can’t remember all those cites names.



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Anonymous

posted August 13, 2007 at 9:28 pm


Chief1989: He also had the ideas from “View of the Hebrews” and “Manuscript Found” to help him
Oh, PLEASE, do you even know what you are talking about? Have you ever read Solomon Spaulding’s Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon? I have read the Book of Mormon cover to cover many times. I also read “Manuscript Found” about a year ago out of curiosity. I did this before I read any commentaries comparing the two. I took notes while I was reading it of any similarities I found. It was a very short list. I found a couple of curious similarities which are about the only similarities big enough to be worth mentioning.
1) Both books claim to be translations of an ancient document found in a stone box.
2) Manuscript Found mentions some priests who had a stone that they could look into and see things. Sounds a little like the “seer stones” mentioned in the Book of Mormon.
On the other hand, there are HUGE, GIGANTIC, ENORMOUS differences between the two books. One extremely obvious, glaring one: Near the beginning of Manuscript Found it talks about some Roman sailors who were taking some supplies to an outpost in Britain. It mentions that they were Christians. Other than that, it never mentions Jesus Christ at all. The Book of Mormon speaks of Christ on almost every page of the entire book.
There is a fellow who lives in Ogden, Utah, who has written a book in which he claims there are more similarities between the two books than is readily apparent. He has posted his entire book on a web site. I have read a few chapters of his book and skimmed over the rest. I think he is being deceptive and dishonest. He even goes so far as to claim that Solomon Spaulding was the real auther of the Book of Mormon. Ridiculous! Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon have about as much in common as the Gospel of John and the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.
I’ve also read a few chapters of View of the Hebrews but haven’t finished so I can’t comment on that yet.
CB



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Chief1989

posted August 14, 2007 at 12:01 am


Kyle,
Actually, I ‘parroted’ those names and cities directly from the Book of Mormon in my office. I opened it up and those names were all in there. I won’t bother you to cite the specific passages; you can flip through the entire book and those names and places occur about every chapter.
Who cares how long the BoM has been around? Wouldn’t people have heard of Damascus and Jerusalem and Greece and Rome and Mesopatamia without ever having read the Bible? If the BoM civilizations have been around since 600BC, someone would have run into them before now. Waht about the Spaniards? Or the Vikings? Or the Dutch, or French, or British? What about the Native Americans? Supposedly they are the descendents of the Nephites and Lamanites, but they’ve never heard of them, either. And go ask the Cherokees, or the Iroquois if they’ve ever heard of Zarahemla, or even know where it’s supposed to be. I’ll let you in on a secret: they don’t. Know why? Because Native Americans are fundamentally different in their DNA than Jews – there is NO WAY scientifically that the Native American tribes descended from the lost tribes of Israel. Probably the reason for that is that no Israelites made it over to the New World. The only people at that time who had anywhere near ocean-going vessels were not in the eastern Mediteranean.
But, you can still visit the ruins at Ephesus and Corinth, at Phillipi and Philadelphia and Smyrna and Laodecia. You can see the ruins of the temple in Jerusalem where the Romans destroyed it in 70AD. You can go to the various tells in Israel and find the ancient remains and artifacts from people and cities long since dead. The Hittites, Canaanites, Moabites, Philistines, Carthagenians, the history is there, Kyle. That same history is lacking in the Mormon church. Yes, the Nephites were destroyed, but the Lamanites lived on, didn’t they? And didn’t converted Lamanites change from dark skin to light skin? Where are there records? Again, they don’t exist because the Lamanites never existed.
The Bible is considered to be Scripture by Christians, but a whole lot of other people read it. You would be surprised at the number of supposed atheists and agnostics who have more than a beginner’s knowledge of Bible passages. This is because, I believe, the Bible still speaks to the human condition today, and the topics it covers are still relevant to modern-day people, even if many of those people don’t put their faith in Jesus. They still know about Him and know about His words and some of things He taught.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 14, 2007 at 1:01 am


Let’s talk about a few BOOK OF MORMON NAMES shall we?
As you read about these ask yourself, “how did Joseph Smith score so many direct hits”? Those of you who don’t believe that the Book of Mormon is what it claims to be…You need to provide plausible alternative ways that Joseph could have been provided with these names.
ALMA:
Critics have occasionally had fun at Latter-day Saint expense since the Book of Mormon has several prophets known as Alma. Here are a few comments that are typical:
Alma is supposed to be a prophet of God and of Jewish ancestry in the Book of Mormon. In Hebrew Alma means a betrothed virgin maiden-hardly a fitting name for a man.24
In most of the United States Alma is a woman’s name. However, in Utah, only the men are named Alma… Thus we see that even in peoples names, Mormonism redefines Christian words to suit its meanings.25
So Mormons who name their sons Alma have actually named them ‘lass’ or ‘virgin’ or a young woman. Interesting!26
We still find it interesting that so many Mormons saddle their sons with a word that means ‘lass’ or ‘damsel.’ It reminds us of the ‘boy named Sue.’ Again, Mormonism has redefined a word. …Typical of the strange definitions that Mormonism gives familiar terms, perhaps we should not think it strange that Mormonism gives boys a girl’s name.27
As can be seen, critics have had a lot of fun with the name Alma, however, in the 1960s Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin discovered a land deed near the Dead Sea dating to the early second century A.D. and rendered the name of a Jew mentioned therein as “Alma ben Yehuda” showing for the first time in modern history that the name Alma was an authentic Hebrew male name.28 Additional research in Ebla, in what is modern Syria, has also turned up this name showing that it goes back to nearly 2200 B.C.29
JERSHON:
The Book of Mormon name Jershon can be traced to a Hebrew root meaning “to inherit.” In the Book of Mormon we read “Behold, we will give up the land of Jershon, which is on the east by the sea…and this land of Jershon is the land which we will give unto our brethren for an inheritance” (Alma 27:22).
SHILUM:
Alma 11:5-15 describes various monetary units which the Nephites used at one point in their history. Alma 11:16 in our current edition of the Book of Mormon states that one of these units was a “shiblum.” However, both the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon and the Printer’s manuscript indicate that this originally read “shilum.” Significantly, Shilum is a perfectly good Hebrew word. It literally means “retribution…a fee: recompense, reward.” That makes sense in a monetary context doesn’t it?
NAHOM:
Nephi recorded, “And it came to pass that Ishmael died, and was buried in the place which was called Nahom. And it came to pass that the daughters of Ishmael did mourn exceedingly, because of the loss of their father” (1 Nephi 16:34-35). Biblical scholars point to the root NHM meaning to “comfort” or “console.” In some forms the word “comes simply to mean ‘suffer emotional pain’. The sense ‘be comforted’ is retained in context of mourning for the dead.”30 Damrosch notes that all references to NHM in the Hebrew Bible are associated with death. “In family settings, it is applied in instances involving death of an immediate family member (parent, sibling, or child); in national settings, it has to do with the survival or impending extermination of an entire people. At heart, naham means ‘to mourn,’ to come to terms with a death; these usages are usually translated…by the verb ‘to comfort,’ as when Jacob’s children try to comfort their father after the reported death of Joseph.”31 The events in 1 Nephi 16:34-35 fit this context quite well since we are told that Ishmael, a close family member, died and his daughters mourn and murmur.
Alan Goff was written a important article on the meaning of NHM as it relates to 1 Nephi 16:34-39).32 Goff was apparently the first to note that the significance of this term may go beyond the obvious context of mourning for the dead. Nephi related, “And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi….And it came to pass that the Lord was with us, yea even the voice of the Lord came and did speak many words unto them, and did chasten them exceedingly; and after they were chastened by the voice of the Lord they did turn away their anger, and did repent of their sins, insomuch that the Lord did bless us again with food, that we did not perish” (1 Nephi 16:37, 39). According to one scholar, the term NHM can also be “extended to describe the release of emotional tension involved in performing a declared action (executing wrath), or retracting a declared action (such as sin, punishment or blessing).”33 Damarosch notes that the Hebrew term naham is sometimes applied to contexts involving “cases of regret or change of heart” frequently “when the repenter is meditating murder. ‘Repentance’ [or change of heart] then involves either the decision to kill, or conversely, the decision to stop killing. The term can then be used in quite ignoble circumstances, as when Esau comforts himself for the loss of his birthright by deciding to kill Jacob (Gen. 27:42), but usually it is God who repents, either negatively or positively; negatively, by deciding to destroy his people; positively, by commuting a sentence of destruction.”34 Again, this explanation clearly fits the context of 1 Nephi 16:34-39 where Laman and Lemuel and the sons of Ishmael contemplate the murder of their father Lehi and their brother Nephi and where the Lord is angry with them and where after being chastened by the Lord they turn away their anger and repent of their sins and the Lord also apparently turns away his wrath and does not destroy them with hunger. It is also interesting that while they had up until this time been traveling southward (1 Nephi 16:13) they now turn and travel eastward (1 Nephi 17:1).
SHEUM:
According to Zeniff’s record in the Book of Mormon account, “And we began to till the ground, yea, even with all manner of seeds of corn, and of wheat, and of barley, and with neas, and with sheum” (Mosiah 9:9). “Pray tell me what kinds of grain neas and sheum are? Joseph Smith’s translation needs another translation, to render it intelligible.”35 “We must reluctantly pass on denying the existence of neas and sheum, and put them into the same category as the unidentifiable cureloms and cumoms.”36 As it turns out sheum is a perfectly good Akkadian (ancient northern Mesopotamian) name for a grain dating to the third millennium B.C.37 This term, se um, (the s is pronounced sh in semitic languages) was a term by which these ancient Near Eastern peoples referred to barley, although it could also be applied to other kinds of grains. Book of Mormon peoples seem to have applied this Old World name to some New World crop. Could Joseph Smith have derived this name from some nineteenth century book? Impossible. Akkadian could not be read until 1857, twenty-seven years after the Book of Mormon was published and thirteen years after the Prophet was dead. This raises an interesting question. If Joseph Smith was really the author of the Book of Mormon, how did he come up with the word sheum? How did he just happen to choose this particular name and just happen to use it in an agricultural context?
PAANCHI & PAH0RAN:
There are many examples of critics making fun of the names. One critic went so far as to check with William F. Albright, a scholar from Johns Hopkins University. The critic described him as someone who is “renowned in ancient Semitic studies.” Dr. Albright explained that he was Protestant and therefore not a believer in the Book of Mormon. He also expressed doubts that Joseph Smith could have learned Egyptian from any 19th century sources. He said that it is surprising that two
Egyptian names, “Paanchi” and “Pahoran” appear in the book of Mormon in close connection with the reference of the original language being reformed Egyptian. He thought that Joseph Smith must be some kind of “religious genius.”
From: Men of the East
from Lehi in the Desert; The World of the Jaredites; There Were Jaredites
by Hugh W. Nibley
Aha (BM), son of Nephite commander in chief.
Aha (OW), a name of the first Pharaoh; it means “warrior” and is a common word.
Aminadab (BM), Nephite missionary in time of the judges.
Amanathabi (OW), chief of a Canaanite city under Egyptian domination. The name is “reformed” Egyptian.
Ammon (BM), the commonest name in the Book of Mormon.
Ammon (Amon, Amun) (OW), the commonest name in the Egyptian Empire: the great universal God of the Empire.
Ammoni-hah (BM), name of a country and city.
Ammuni-ra (OW), prince of Beyrut under Egyptian rule. The above might stand the same relationship to this name as
Cameni-hah (BM), a Nephite general, does to
Khamuni-ra (OW), Amarna personal name, perhaps equivalent of Ammuni-ra.2
Cezoram (BM), Nephite chief judge.
Chiziri (OW), Egyptian governor of a Syrian city.
Giddonah (BM), a) high priest who judge Korihor, b) father of Amulek.
Dji-dw-na (OW), the Egyptian name for Sidon.
Gidgiddoni and Gidgiddonah (BM), Nephite generals.
Djed-djhwt-iw-f and Djed-djhwti-iw-s plus ankh (OW), Egyptian proper names meaning “Thoth hath said: he shall live,” and “Thoth hath said: she shall live,” respectively.3 On this pattern the two Nephite names mean “Thoth hath said I shall live,” and “Thoth hath said: we shall live,” respectively.
Giddianhi (BM), robber chief and general.
Djhwti-ankhi (OW), “Thoth is my life”; see above.
Gimgim-no (BM), city of Gimgim, compare Biblical No-Amon, “City of Amon.”
Kenkeme (OW), Egyptian city, cf. Kipkip, seat of the Egyptian dynasty in Nubia.
Hem (BM), brother of the earlier Ammon.
Hem (OW), means “servant,” specifically of Ammon, as in the title Hem tp n ‘Imn, “chief servant of Ammon” held by the high priest of Thebes.
Helaman (BM), great Nephite prophet.
Her-amon (OW), “in the presence of Amon,” as in the Egyptian proper name Heri-i-her-imn.4 Semitic “l” is always written “r” in Egyptian, which has no “l.” Conversely, the Egyptian “r” is often written “l” in Semitic languages.
Himni (BM), a son of King Mosiah.
Hmn (OW), a name of the Egyptian hawk-god, symbol of the emperor.
Korihor (BM), a political agitator who was seized by the people of Ammon.
Kherihor (also written Khurhor, etc.) (OW), great high priest of Ammon who seized the throne of Egypt at Thebes, cir. 1085 B.C.
Manti (BM), the name of a Nephite soldier, a land, a city, and a hill.
Manti (OW), Semitic form of an Egyptian proper name, e.g., Manti-mankhi, a prince in Upper Egypt cir. 650 B.C. It is a late form of Month, god of Hermonthis.
Mathoni (BM), a Nephite disciple.
Maitena, Mattenos, etc. (OW), two judges of Tyre, who at different times made themselves king, possibly under the Egyptian auspices.
Morianton (BM), the name of a Nephite city and its founder, cf. the Nephite province Moriantum.
Meriaton and Meriamon (OW), names of Egyptian princes, “Beloved of Aton” and “Beloved of Amon” respectively.
Nephi (BM), founder of the Nephite nation.
Nehi, Nehri (OW), famous Egyptian noblemen. Nfy was the name of an Egyptian captain. Since BM insists on “ph,” Nephi is closer to Nihpi, original name of the god Pa-nepi, which may even have been Nephi.5
Paanchi (BM), son of Pahoran, Sr., and pretender to the chief-judgeship.
Paanchi (OW), son of Kherihor, a) chief high priest of Amon, b) ruler of the south who conquered all of Egypt and was high priest of Amon at Thebes.
Pahoran (BM), a) great chief judge, b) son of the same.
Pa-her-an (OW), ambassador of Egypt in Palestine, where his name has the “reformed” reading Pahura; in Egyptian as Pa-her-y it means “the Syrian” or Asiatic.
Pacumeni (BM), son of Pahoran.
Pakamen (OW), Egyptian proper name meaning “blind man”; also Pamenches (Gk. Pachomios), commander of the south and high priest of Horus.
Pachus (BM), revolutionary leader and usurper of the throne.
Pa-ks and Pach-qs (OW), Egyptian proper name. Compare Pa-ches-i, “he is praised.”
Sam (BM), brother of Nephi.
Sam Tawi (OW), Egyptian “uniter of the lands,” title taken by the brother of Nehri upon mounting the throne.
Seezor-am and Zeezr-om (BM), a depraved judge, and a lawyer, resp., the latter also the name of a city.
Zoser, Zeser, etc. (OW), Third Dynasty ruler, one of the greatest Pharaohs.
Zemna-ri-hah (BM), robber chief.
Zmn-ha-re (OW), Egyptian proper name: the same elements as the above in different order—a common Egyptian practice.
Zeniff (BM), ruler of Nephite colony.
Znb, Snb (OW), very common elements in Egyptian proper names, cf. Senep-ta.
Zenoch (BM), according to various Nephite writers, an ancient Hebrew prophet.
Zenekh (OW), Egyptian proper name; once a serpent-god.
It will be noted that the names compared are rarely exactly alike, except in the case of the monosyllables Sam and Hem. This, strangely enough, is strong confirmation of their common origin, since names are bound to undergo some change with time and distance, whereas if the resemblance were perfect, we should be forced to attribute it, however fantastic it might seem, to mere coincidence. There must be differences; and what is more, those differences should not be haphazard but display definite tendencies. This brings us to a most impressive aspect of Book of Mormon names.
Let us take for example the case of Ammon. Being so very popular a name, one would expect it to occur in compounds as well as alone, and sure enough, it is the commonest element in compound names, in the West as in Egypt. But in compound names Amon or Amun changes form following a general rule. Gardiner in his Egyptian Grammar states:
A very important class of personal names is that containing the names known as theophorous, i.e. compound names in which one element is the name of a deity. Now in Graeco-Roman transcriptions it is the rule that when such a divine name stands at the beginning of a compound [the italics are Gardiner's], it is less heavily vocalized than when it stands independently or at the end of a compound.6
The author then goes on to show that in such cases Amon or Amun regularly becomes Amen, while in some cases the vowel may disappear entirely. One need only consider the Book of Mormon Aminidab, Aminadi, Amminihu, Amnor, etc., to see how neatly the rule applies in the West. In the name Helaman, on the other hand, the strong vocalization remains, since the “divine name” is not “stated at the beginning” of the compound. Since the Semitic “l” must always be rendered as “r” in Egyptian (which has no “l”) Helaman would in “unreformed” Egyptian necessarily appear as the typically Egyptian Heramon.
The great frequency of the element Mor- in Book of Mormon proper names is in striking agreement with the fact that in the lists of Egyptian names compiled by Lieblein and Ranke the element Mr is, next to Nfr alone, by far the commonest.
In an article in The Improvement Era for April 1948, the author drew attention to the peculiar tendency of Book of Mormon names to concentrate in Upper Egypt, in and south of Thebes. At the time he was at a loss to explain such a strange phenomenon, but the answer is now clear.7 When Jerusalem fell, most of Lehi’s contemporaries who escaped went to Egypt, where their principal settlement seems to have been at Elephantine or Yeb, south of Thebes. It would seem, in fact, that the main colonization of Elephantine was at that time, and from Jerusalem.8 What then could be more natural than that the refugees who fled to Egypt from Lehi’s Jerusalem should have Book of Mormon names, since Lehi’s people took their names from the same source?
One serious objection to using Book of Mormon names as philological evidence must not be passed by without an answer. Upon seeing these strange words before him, how could the illiterate Joseph Smith have known how to pronounce them? And upon hearing them, how could his half-educated scribe have known how to write them down phonetically? Remember, these names are not translations into English like the rest of the book but remain bits of the authentic Nephite language. Between them, the guesses of the prophet as to pronunciation and the guesses of Oliver Cowdery as to transcription would be bound to make complete havoc of the original titles. Only there was no guessing. According to David Whitmer and Emma Smith in interviews appearing in The Saints Herald and pointed out to the author by Preston Nibley, Joseph never pronounced the proper names he came upon in the plates during the translation but always spelled them out.9 Hence there can be no doubt that they are meant as they stand to be as accurate and authentic as it is possible to render them in our alphabet.
But Egypt was not everything. Palestine was always a melting pot and more so than ever in Lehi’s day, when the whole Near East was being thoroughly mixed by the operations of commerce and war. Lists of skilled workmen living at Babylon immediately after the fall of Jerusalem show an almost unbelievable mixture of types.10
Since the Old Testament was available to Joseph Smith, there is no point in listing Hebrew names, but their Book of Mormon forms are significant. The strong tendency to end in -iah is very striking, since the vast majority of Hebrew names found at Lachish end the same way, indicating that iah names were very fashionable in Lehi’s time.11 Hebrew names turned up on ancient jar handles from other places also have a familiar Book of Mormon ring: Hezron, Memshath, Ziph (BM Ziff), Jether, Epher, Jalon, Ezer, Menahem, Lecah, Amnon (BM Amnor), Zoheth, etc.,12 would never be suspected if inserted into a list of Book of Mormon names. The Book of Mormon does give the right type of Hebrew name.
What comes as a surprise is that a number of Book of Mormon names are possibly Hittite, and some of them are undoubtedly so. Thus while Manti suggests Egyptian Mont, Manti, Menedi, etc., it also recalls the Egyptian name of a Hittite city, Manda, and a characteristic element of Hurrian names (much of Hittite is really Hurrian, as Professor Goetze has shown) -anti, -andi, likewise fairly common in the Book of Mormon.13 So likewise Cumeni, Kumen-onhi, Kisk-kumen (Eg.-Hitt. Kumani, an important city), Seantum (Eg.-Hitt. Sandon, Sandas), Akish (Eg.-Hitt. Achish, a name of Cyprus), Gadiandi (Eg. for a Hittite city, Cadyanda).14 Their Egyptian form implies that these names reached the people of Lehi not directly but through normal routes, though it has recently been shown that some of Lehi’s important contemporaries were Hittites, and that Hittite settlements and names still survived in the hill country of Judah in his time.15
The occurrence of the names Timothy and Lachoneus in the Book of Mormon is strictly in order, however odd it may seem at first glance. Since the fourteenth century B.C. at latest, Syria and Palestine had been in constant contact with the Aegean world, and since the middle of the seventh century Greek mercenaries and merchants, closely bound to Egyptian interests (the best Egyptian mercenaries were Greeks), swarmed throughout the Near East.16 Lehi’s people, even apart from their mercantile activities, could not have avoided considerable contact with these people in Egypt and especially in Sidon, which Greek poets even in that day were celebrating as the great world center of trade. It is interesting to note in passing that Timothy is an Ionian name, since the Greeks in Palestine were Ionians (hence the Hebrew name for Greeks: “Sons of Javanim”), and—since “Lachoneus” means “a Laconian”—that the oldest Greek traders were Laconians, who had colonies in Cyprus (BM Akish) and of course traded with Palestine.17
The compiler of these studies was once greatly puzzled over the complete absence of Baal names from the Book of Mormon. By what unfortunate oversight had the authors of that work failed to include a single name containing the element Baal, which thrives among the personal names of the Old Testament? Having discovered, as we thought, that the book was in error, we spared no criticism at the time, and indeed had its neglect of Baal names not been strikingly vindicated in recent years it would be a black mark against it. Now we learn, however, that the stubborn prejudice of our text against Baal names is really the only correct attitude it could have taken, and this discovery, flying in the face of all our calculation and preconceptions, should in all fairness weigh at least as heavily in the book’s favor as the supposed error did against it.
It happens that for some reason or other the Jews at the beginning of the sixth century B.C. would have nothing to do with Baal names. An examination of Elephantine name lists shows that “the change of Baal names, by substitution, is in agreement with Hosea’s foretelling that they should be no more used by the Israelites, and consequently it is most interesting to find how the latest archaeological discoveries confirm the Prophet, for out of some four hundred personal names among the Elephantine papyri not one is compounded of Baal.”18
Since Elephantine was settled largely by Israelites who fled from Jerusalem after its destruction, their personal names should show the same tendencies as those in the Book of Mormon. Though the translator of that book might by the exercise of superhuman cunning have been warned by Hosea 2:17 to eschew Baal names, yet the meaning of that passage is so far from obvious that Albright as late as 1942 finds it “very significant that seals and inscriptions from Judah, which . . . are very numerous in the seventh and early sixth [centuries], seem never to contain any Baal names.”19 It is very significant indeed, but hardly more so than the uncanny acumen which the Book of Mormon displays on this point.
Speaking of the occurrence of a few Arabic names in the Old Testament, Margoliouth observes, “Considering . . . that the recorded names are those of an infinitesimal fraction of the population, the coincidence is extraordinary.” 20 This consideration applies with multiple force to the Book of Mormon, where the many names coinciding with Old World forms represent “but an infinitesimal fraction” of the Nephite population.



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Chief1989

posted August 14, 2007 at 12:00 pm


Mike,
Very impressive post. It goes to show you the great lengths Satan will go to deceive people. Smith knew in 1820 that no one could read Egyptian. Had he said the plates were in Aramaic or Hebrew (wouldn’t it have made more sense for the ‘lost tribes’ of Israel to record their history in their own language, rather than adopt Egyptian? The Exodus was long over when Lehi left for the new world), he would have invited much closer scrutiny because there were many scholars here in America who could read those languages at the time.
What you DID NOT establish was the existence of any of those names or cities here in the western hemisphere. Kyle stated that, since the events happened 1500 years ago, all of the places listed in the BoM are gone. Really? Aren’t there still Mayan and Aztec and Incan ruins that we can see from thousands of years ago? And there still is no written records or artifacts recovered from any of the ‘great cities’ and epic battles listed in the BoM.
Secular scholars and Egyptologists concluded long ago there was no such language as “reformed” Egyptian. There are no examples of this “language” to be found anywhere in the world, except perhaps the “Anthon Transcript”, which is a mish-mash of different symbols and characters that scholars have deemed undecipherable.
This is from Wikipedia:
Inside the Book of Mormon Moroni states that the record is written in “reformed Egyptian” both because it took less space on the plates than Hebrew and because of the evolution of his language since his ancestors had left Jerusalem. That statement is problematic since Hebrew is actually more compact than Egyptian, according to linguist Richard Packham. Critics of Mormonism who believe that Smith and/or his associates authored the Book of Mormon argue that reformed Egyptian was chosen as the putative language of the book because scholars at the time could not read Egyptian whereas they could read Hebrew, thus making it more difficult for an academic to question the veracity of the Book of Mormon.
According to an account attributed to Harris by Smith, Anthon “stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct.” Anthon denied ever making such a certification. Joseph Smith claimed Anthon tore up the certificate after Harris told him the golden plates had come from an angel.
Anthon would not have been able to read Egyptian hieroglyphs in the late 1820s when Harris brought him the writing specimen because during this period Egyptology was in its infancy. Anthon’s report was that the transcript “consisted of all kinds of crooked characters disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets. Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes, Roman letters inverted or placed sideways, were arranged in perpendicular columns, and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican Calender given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject, since the Mormonite excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained any thing else but ‘Egyptian Hieroglyphics.’” Because Anthon’s description seems inconsistent with the “caractors document,” his description of the transcript as having been written in long “perpendicular columns” may be inaccurate, the “carators document” may not have been the one taken to Anthon, or the Whitmer transcription (now in custody of the Community of Christ) may be only a portion of the material that Harris took to Anthon.
——————
If one has a faith that is based on something tangible and real, one need not fear investigation into the claims of the faith. However, one thing about Smith and the early leaders was that they did not tolerate dissent or investigation of Smith’s claims. Conveniently, all source documents from the Book of Mormon have been lost, so again scholars cannot examine the veracity of the book. And again, although Spaulding’s book and the BoM have more differences than commonalities, they share a plot line (lost tribes of Israel make it to America, build a great civilization, and become the ancestors of the Indians), names (Nephi, Moroni, Mormon, etc.), and plot devices (written records hidden in a hill, translation of those records). And yes, Spaulding’s book was written first, so Smith evidently copied those ideas into his book.
Mike, here’s the bottom line for me: if you can find me a shred of scientific or archaelogical evidence to back up the BoM, I’ll take a serious look at it. Otherwise, it goes on the shelf along with L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics, which started out life as a science fiction novel in 1956 and somehow has made it to be the “scripture” backing for Scientology. Hubbard was overheard to tell a colleague at a party after Dianetics became a best-seller, “You want to get rich? Start your own religion!” Certainly we don’t base our beliefs on archaelogical finds, but in the arena of apologetics it gives the faithful real, tangible evidence that their faith is based on something more than “I just know it’s true!” As a Bible-believing Christian, it is very encouraging to me to look around at the evidence that has been compiled that agrees with the Biblical record. Many, many non-believing scientists have made treks to the Middle East to “disprove” Christianity by unearthing documents or artifacts that refute the Bible, and they have come away with a new understanding and respect for the accuracy of the Bibical records.
Check this article out, from Apologetics Press:
INTRODUCTION—THE NEW TESTAMENT IS THE MOST
HISTORICALLY ACCURATE BOOK OF ANTIQUITY
Dismissing the miracles documented in the New Testament is a favorite pastime of many skeptics, and even some religious leaders. However, this “dismissal” game gets extremely complicated, because the miracles are so closely blended with historical facts that separating the two soon becomes like trying to separate two different colors of modeling clay. Take, for instance, the plight of Sir William Ramsay. His extensive education had engrained within him the keenest sense of scholarship. Along with that sense of scholarship came a built-in prejudice about the supposed inaccuracy of the Bible (especially the book of Acts). Ramsay noted: “… [A]bout 1880 to 1890 the book of the Acts was regarded as the weakest part of the New Testament. No one that had any regard for his reputation as a scholar cared to say a word in its defence. The most conservative of theological scholars, as a rule, thought the wisest plan of defence for the New Testament as a whole was to say as little as possible about the Acts” (1915, p. 38).
As might be expected of a person trained by such “scholars,” Ramsay held the same view—for a little while. He held the view for only a brief time, because he decided to do what few people of his time dared to do. He decided to explore the actual Bible lands with an open Bible—with the intention of proving the inaccuracy of Luke’s history in the book of Acts. However, much to his surprise, the book of Acts passed every test that any historical narrative could be asked to pass. After his investigation of the Bible lands, he was forced to conclude:
The more I have studied the narrative of the Acts, and the more I have learned year after year about Graeco-Roman society and thoughts and fashions, and organization in those provinces, the more I admire and the better I understand. I set out to look for truth on the borderland where Greece and Asia meet, and found it here [in the Book of Acts—KB]. You may press the words of Luke in a degree beyond any other historian’s, and they stand the keenest scrutiny and the hardest treatment, provided always that the critic knows the subject and does not go beyond the limits of science and of justice (1915, p. 89).
Renowned archaeologist Nelson Glueck put it like this: “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which conform in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible” (1959, p. 31).
———————
Now that is a testament to the truth of God’s word. The book of Mormon has no such leg to stand on. That is why I cannot accept it as the word of God, because God has always left evidence for people to inspect and come to their own conclusions. Even Jesus did the same, appearing to the Eleven a week after the resurrection, while Thomas was there, and told Thomas to come forward and trace the nail prints on His hands and to take his hand and thrust it into His side, so he would not be “faithless, but believing.” And for us, He said “blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe.” But we have the testimony of the Scriptures, backed up by archaelogical findings and extra-biblical historical records, which affirm that the Bible is the true word of God. That is something tangible and real on which to base your faith.



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BringItOn

posted August 14, 2007 at 12:49 pm


Chief1989,
If it is true, as Paul says, FAITH is to hope for things which are NOT seen, but which are true [Heb.11:2] and that JESUS said, “…Have faith in God.” [Mark 11:22]; and again from Paul, “…for whatsoever is NOT of faith is Sin.” [Romans 14:23]; then…
How exactly does that reconcile with your statement, “…if you can find me a shred of scientific or archaelogical evidence to back up the BoM, I’ll take a serious look at it. Otherwise, it goes on the shelf…”?
Which is it for you? Evidence or Faith before you will accept truth? I think if you truly examine your statements you will find you are LESS a man of FAITH and more a man seeking for a SIGN, for, “Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe…” [John 4:48]. God’s way is that “..signs shall follow them that believe…” not the opposite.



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No more specious arguments ...

posted August 14, 2007 at 12:50 pm


Ready for geometry class? Here’s how you contstruct a circle:
Chief1989: “God has always left evidence for people to inspect and come to their own conclusions.”
Always? Okay, let’s test your proof.
Chief1989: “Even Jesus did the same, appearing to the Eleven a week after the resurrection, while Thomas was there, and told Thomas to come forward and trace the nail prints on His hands and to take his hand and thrust it into His side, so he would not be ‘faithless, but believing.’”
His evidence of his resurrected body is the testimony of Thomas and the others he appeared to. But, where are the “achaeological findings” you require? Nowhere. Why? You got it right when you said:
Chief1989: “And for us, He said ‘blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe.’”
So, the Lord Jesus Christ does not ask us to rely on physical proof of his resurrection and divinity. We do not need to “see” to believe. And in fact we are blessed when we believe without requiring proof as did Thomas.
But as any good circle turns, with Chief1989, we go back to the beginning:
Chief1989: “we have the testimony of the Scriptures, backed up by archaelogical findings and extra-biblical historical records, which affirm that the Bible is the true word of God. That is something TANGIBLE and REAL on which to base your faith.” emphasis added.
If there weren’t the “tangible” and “real” on which to base your faith, would you be faithless as Thomas was?
After all, John concluded his account of this by stating, “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” He did not say, “Archaeological evidence was left that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ.”



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Mike Bennion

posted August 14, 2007 at 1:07 pm


Chief said:
Very impressive post. It goes to show you the great lengths Satan will go to deceive people.
Mike Bennion:
So Chief, how did he do it? How did he score so many “bulseyes? You need to come up with a plausible way that this occurred outside of Joseph’s own explanation. It goes to show what great lengths you will go to to aviod coming to grips with the main tangible evidence that Joseph left, the Book of Mormon itself. Simply saying that it wasn’t as Joseph said, does not supply a logical explanation for how the Book came to be. Critics admit that the Book has had immense influence by taking the time to gainsay it, but then dismiss it with a contemptuous wave of the hand. You will get no credibility with Mormons until you take the time to know the Book itself. The Book IS the primary document.
Chief:
Smith knew in 1820 that no one could read Egyptian.
Mike Bennion:
Oh did he now? And you know this because? The critics of the Book of Momon seem to be torn over whether Joseph Smith was a cunning forger, posessed of incredible knowledge, (they don’t say how he got it all),
or that he was such a credulous fool that he made childish mistakes.
None of them read the Book, except those portions used to furnish ammunition for argument. If Joseph knew this then he would indeed have claimed the Book written in Hebrew or Aramaic, because that is what everyone, in Joseph’s day assumed a Hebrew prophet would use. The coming forth of archaeolgical evidence in the form of Egyptian, Coptic, Syriac and Hebrew languages has strengthened rather than weaken Joseph’s claim. (See Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, Deseret Book)
Chief said:
Had he said the plates were in Aramaic or Hebrew (wouldn’t it have made more sense for the ‘lost tribes’ of Israel to record their history in their own language, rather than adopt Egyptian?
Mike Bennion:
Yet the newest arcaeological and phililogical evidance supports the use of Reformed Egyptian. As in the Demotic and Meroitic versions of Egyptian and the training that many of the Hebrews received as Judah aligned herself politicaly with Egypt in the Days of Jeremiah. (See the Lachish Letters, for example)
Chief said:
The Exodus was long over when Lehi left for the new world),
Mike Bennion:
Yet the influence of Egypt as to education and language had not only remained but increased if we are to believe the discoveries of the past revealed since The Book of Mormon came forth.
Chief said:
he (Joseph) would have invited much closer scrutiny because there were many scholars here in America who could read those languages at the time.
Mike Bennion:
And as the knowledgeable forger that you say he was, Joseph would not have been so foolish as to fall into this trap. If he was smart enough to come up with the wealth of detail, including all the manes above, he would have been smart enough to doge people like Charles Anthon, rather than courting his opinion.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 14, 2007 at 2:34 pm


Chief said:
Secular scholars and Egyptologists concluded long ago there was no such language as “reformed” Egyptian. There are no examples of this “language” to be found anywhere in the world, except perhaps the “Anthon Transcript”, which is a mish-mash of different symbols and characters that scholars have deemed undecipherable.
Mike Bennion:
I respectfully submit that you are wrong. There are indeed many examples of Egyptian heiroglyphics that have been altered for use by other language systems. And as you will see below, there is even an example of the characters from the Anthon manuscript existing on ancient archaeological finds, dating from 400 BC in Mexico.
Chief said: Mike, here’s the bottom line for me: if you can find me a shred of scientific or archaelogical evidence to back up the BoM, I’ll take a serious look at it.
Mike Bennion:
Characters in the authentic Anthon transcript(s) have been reported on two “Mexican seals made of baked clay” dating from no later than 400 B.C. Non-LDS archaelogists have remarked on this “hitherto unknown writing system” which “closely resemble various oriental scripts ranging from Burma and China to the rim of the Mediterranean,” which if authentic “would almost surely be…an instance of transpacific contact during the Preclassic [pre-A.D. 400].” Other examples of the same script may also have been found between 1921 and 1932. Millennial Star 44:87; quotation from Kenneth W. Godfrey, “A New Prophet and a New Scripture: The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign (January 1988): 6.
There is your shred. Start reading.
http://fairwiki.org/index.php/Book_of_Mormon_anachronisms:Reformed_Egyptia
Critics claim that Jews or Israelites (like the Nephites) would not have used the language of their slave period — Egyptian — to write sacred records, and that there is no evidence in Egyptology of something called “Reformed Egyptian,” and that the Book of Mormon’s claim to have been written in this language is therefore suspect.
Source(s) of the Criticism
John Ankerberg and John Weldon, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992), 294-5.
Francis J. Beckwith, Carl Mosser, et al., The New Mormon Challenge: Responding to the Latest Defenses of a Fast-Growing Movement (Grand Rapids, Mich. : Zondervan, 2002). ISBN 0310231949.
Marvin W. Cowan, Mormon Claims Answered, (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1997), chapter 4.
Latayne Colvett Scott, The Mormon Mirage : a former Mormon tells why she left the church (Grand Rapids : Zondervan Pub. House, 1979),63-4.
Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Archaelogy and the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, UT: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1969; reprinted with second appendix, 1972), 17–19.
Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Changing World of Mormonism (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), 141-145.
Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, 5th ed., (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1987), 97–125, 125A, 125G.
Kurt Van Gorden, Mormonism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 8, footnote 7.
Response
Would an Israelite use Egyptian?
The claim that Israelites would not use Egyptian is clearly false. By the ninth to sixth centuries before Christ, Israelites used Egyptian numerals mingled with Hebrew text. The Papyrus Amherst 63 contains a text of Psalms 20:2-6 written in Aramaic (the language of Jesus) using Egyptian characters. This text was originally dated to the second century B.C., but this has since been extended to the 4th century B.C.[1]
More significant, however, was an ostracon uncovered at Arad in 1967. Dating “toward the end of the seventh century B.C.,” it reflects usage from shortly before 600 B.C., the time of Lehi. The text on the ostracon is written in a combination of Egyptian hieratic and Hebrew characters, but can be read entirely as Egyptian. Of the seventeen words in the text, ten are written in [Egyptian] hieratic and seven in Hebrew. However, all the words written in Hebrew can be read as Egyptian words, while one of them, which occurs twice, has the same meaning in both Egyptian and Hebrew.19 Of the ten words written in hieratic script, four are numerals (one occurring in each line).20 One symbol, denoting a measure of capacity, occurs four times (once in each of the four lines), and the remaining Egyptian word occurs twice. Thus, while seventeen words appear on the ostracon, if one discounts the recurrence of words, only six words are written in hieratic (of which four are numerals), and six in Hebrew.[2]
Anti-Mormon authors Ankerberg and Weldon claim:
Mormonism has never explained how godly Jews [sic] of A.D. 400 allegedly knew Egyptian, nor why they would have written their sacred records entirely in the language of their pagan, idolatrous enemies” (p. 284). “How likely is it that the allegedly Jewish [sic] Nephites would have used the Egyptian language to write their sacred scriptures? Their strong antipathy to the Egyptians and their culture makes this difficult to accept. When modern Jews copy their scripture, they use Hebrew. They do not use Egyptian or Arabic, the language of their historic enemies” (pp. 294-95). “[N]o such language [as reformed Egyptian] exists and Egyptologists declare this unequivocally.[3]
They are, however, spectacularly wrong, and “Mormonism” has explained why repeatedly:
The statement “When modern Jews copy their scripture, they use Hebrew. They do not use Egyptian or Arabic, the language of their historic enemies” is quite an astonishing display of ignorance. Since the Egyptian language has been dead for centuries, it is hardly remarkable that modern Jews do not read the Bible in Egyptian. On the other hand, “the first and most important rendering [of the Old Testament] from Hebrew [into Arabic] was made by Sa’adya the Ga’on, a learned Jew who was head of the rabbinic school at Sura in Babylon (died 942)” (George A. Buttrick, ed., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible [hereafter IDB], 4 vols. and supplement [Nashville: Abingdon, 1962–1976], 4:758b). Thus, Jews have indeed translated the Bible into “Arabic, the language of their historic enemies.” They also have translated it into the language of their “historic enemies” the Greeks (IDB 4:750b on the Septuagint) and Aramaeans (IDB 1:185-93; 4:749-50, on the Aramaic Targums).[4]
What is “Reformed Egyptian”?
Moroni makes it clear that “reformed Egyptian” is the name which the Nephites have given to a script based upon Egyptian characters, and modified over the course of a thousand years (See Mormon 9:32). So, it is no surprise that Egyptians or Jews have no script called “reformed Egyptian,” as this was a Nephite term.
There are, however, several variant Egyptian scrips which are “reformed” or altered from their earlier form. Hugh Nibley and others have pointed out that the change from Egyptian hieroglyphics, to hieratic, to demotic is a good description of Egyptian being “reformed.” By 600 BC, hieratic was used primarily for religious texts, while demotic was used for daily use. off-site
Hieroglyphics: Hieroglyphs from the Black Schist sarcophagus of Ankhnesneferibre. Twenty-Sixth Dynasty, about 530 BC, Thebes. off-site
Hieratic: A section of the Prisse papyrus from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, containing the Precepts of Kakemna and the Precepts of Ptahhotep in hieratic. Enlarge Source: Plate IV. The S.S. Teacher’s Edition: The Holy Bible, (New York: Henry Frowde, Publisher to the University of Oxford, 1896). off-site
Demotic: Inscription from the Rosetta Stone in demotic. off-site
One can see how hieroglphics developed into the more stylized hieratic, and this process continued with the demotic: (Note: Go to the link listed to see the examples of the reformed characters MB)
Development of hieratic script from hieroglyphs; after Jean-François Champollion.
What could be a better term for this than an Egyptian script that has been “reformed”?
Further examples
William Hamblin provides additional example of such reformation of Egyptian, including:
Byblos Syllabic texts
Cretan hieroglyphics
Meroitic
Psalm 20 in demotic Egyptian
Proto-Sinaitic and the alphabet[5]
Conclusion
There was a clear evolution of Egyptian script in the Old World, and these modified scripts were in use in Lehi’s day. People of Lehi’s time and place did use both Hebrew and Egyptian, just as Nephi claimed (See 1 Nephi 1:2).
Given that Moroni says the Nephites then modified the scripts further, “reformed Egyptian” is an elegant description of both the Old World phenomenon, and what Moroni says happened among the Nephites.
Endnotes
John Gee and John A. Tvedtnes, “Ancient Manuscripts Fit Book of Mormon Pattern,” Insights 19:2 (February 1999): 4–5. off-site
John A. Tvedtnes, “Jewish and Other Semitic Texts Written in Egyptian Characters,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/2 (1996): 156–163. off-site PDF link wiki
Ankerberg and Weldon, 294.
Daniel C. Peterson, “Chattanooga Cheapshot, or The Gall of Bitterness (Review of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Mormonism by John Ankerberg and John Weldon),” FARMS Review of Books 5/1 (1993): 1–86. off-site PDF link
William J. Hamblin, “Reformed Egyptian,” FARMS Review 19/1 (2007): 31–35.
Best articles to read next
The best article(s) to read next on this topic is/are:
William J. Hamblin, “Reformed Egyptian,” FARMS Review 19/1 (2007): 31–35.
William J. Hamblin, “Review of Archaeology and the Book of Mormon by Jerald and Sandra Tanner,” FARMS Review of Books 5/1 (1993): 250–272.
John A. Tvedtnes, “Jewish and Other Semitic Texts Written in Egyptian Characters,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/2 (1996): 156–163.
http://fairwiki.org/index.php/Anthon_transcript
What do we know about the Anthon transcript and the translation of the Book of Mormon?
Answer
A copy of what may be the Anthon Transcript—not to be confused with a Hofmann forgery which was later produced. Original in Library Archives, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, The Auditorium, Independence, Missouri.More than one copy of the “Anthon transcript” exists. The oldest known copy (pictured here) is in the possession of the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). The paper seems to be of the same age and type as that used by Joseph Smith for the Book of Mormon translation.[1]
Joseph describes how between December 1827 and February 1828,
I commenced copying the characters off the plates. I copied a considerable number of them, and by means of the Urim and Thummim I translated some of them, which I did between the time I arrived at the house of my wife’s father, in the month of December, and the February following. (Joseph Smith History 1:62).
Joseph then described how Martin Harris carried the transcripts to experts in the east.
Where Martin Harris went, whom he saw, and what happened are clouded in contradictory reports. He stopped at Albany, probably to see Luther Brandish, a New York state assemblyman with a reputation for knowledge of the Middle East. Someone referred Harris to the illustrious philomath Samuel Latham Mitchill, then vice president of Rutgers Medical College in New York City and famed as a “living encyclopedia,” a “chaos of knowledge.” Accounts vary as to whether he saw Mitchill or Charles Anthon, another scholar, first, or if he saw Mitchill before and after Anthon, but the Mitchell episode was of slight importance. According to Harris, Mitchill encouraged him and referred him to Anthon, where a more important exchange took place.[2]
Martin Harris’ account of the visit to Charles Anthon was included in Joseph Smith’s 1838 history:
64 I went to the city of New York, and presented the characters which had been translated, with the translation thereof, to Professor Charles Anthon, a gentleman celebrated for his literary attainments. Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen translated from the Egyptian. I then showed him those which were not yet translated, and he said that they were Egyptian, Chaldaic, Assyriac, and Arabic; and he said they were true characters. He gave me a certificate, certifying to the people of Palmyra that they were true characters, and that the translation of such of them as had been translated was also correct. I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. 65 He then said to me, ‘Let me see that certificate.’ I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, ‘I cannot read a sealed book.’ I left him and went to Dr. Mitchell, who sanctioned what Professor Anthon had said respecting both the characters and the translation.(Joseph Smith History 1:64–65).
Anthon denied that he had ever validated either the characters or Joseph’s translation, though his two written accounts contradict each other on key points.[3]
A clue as to what Anthon said may be found in Martin Harris’ reaction. Martin was a shrewd farmer and businessman, and a man of some property. He often warred between belief and doubt. For example, Martin put Joseph to the test during the translation of the 116 pages with the seer stone:
Once Martin found a rock closely resembling the seerstone Joseph sometimes used in place of the interpreters and substituted it without the Prophet’s knowledge. When the translation resumed, Joseph paused for a long time and then exclaimed, “Martin, what is the matter, all is as dark as Egypt.” Martin then confessed that he wished to “stop the mouths of fools” who told him that the Prophet memorized sentences and merely repeated them.[4]
If Charles Anthon really did tell Martin that the characters and translation were bogus, it would therefore be very strange for Martin Harris to immediately return home, help Joseph translate the Book of Mormon, provide funds, and eventually mortgage his farm to help print it.
On the other hand, Anthon clearly had no desire to have his name associated with “Mormonism,” and so he has clear motives to alter the story after the fact.
Characters in the authentic Anthon transcript(s) have been reported on two “Mexican seals made of baked clay” dating from no later than 400 B.C. Non-LDS archaelogists have remarked on this “hitherto unknown writing system” which “closely resemble various oriental scripts ranging from Burma and China to the rim of the Mediterranean,” which if authentic “would almost surely be…an instance of transpacific contact during the Preclassic [pre-A.D. 400].” Other examples of the same script may also have been found between 1921 and 1932.[6] This is currently an area requiring more research.
Endnotes
David E. Sloan, “The Anthon Transcripts and the Translation of the Book of Mormon: Studying It Out in the Mind of Joseph Smith,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/2 (1996): 57–81. off-site PDF link wiki
Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 65. ISBN 1400042704
Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling (New York: Knopf, 2005), 65–66. ISBN 1400042704
Anonymous, “New Light: “Anthon Transcript” Writing Found?,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8/1 (1999): 68–69. ; citing David H. Kelley, “Cylinder Seal from Tlatilco,” American Antiquity 31 (July 1966): 744–746 and John A. Graham’s comments on Hanns J. Premm, “Calendrics and Writing,” in Observations on the Emergence of Civilization in Mesoamerica, ed. Robert F. Heizer and John A. Graham (Berkeley: University of California Archaeological Research Facility, 1971), 133.
Millennial Star 44:87; quotation from Kenneth W. Godfrey, “A New Prophet and a New Scripture: The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon,” Ensign (January 1988): 6.



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Mike Bennion

posted August 14, 2007 at 3:11 pm


Chief said:
Spaulding’s book and the BoM have more differences than commonalities, they share a plot line (lost tribes of Israel make it to America, build a great civilization, and become the ancestors of the Indians), names (Nephi, Moroni, Mormon, etc.), and plot devices (written records hidden in a hill, translation of those records). And yes, Spaulding’s book was written first, so Smith evidently copied those ideas into his book.
Mike Bennion:
So Joseph got the Book of Mormon from the Spaulding Manuscript? Is that your story? and will you stick to it? You can honestly say that this is a plausible alternative? Wow. As you can read below this theory has been discredited even by critics of the Book.
While most critics suddenly became willing to imagine a conspiracy of considerable size that may or may not have included Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer and Parley Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, an experienced clergyman and Bible student, a Campbellite preacher before his conversion to Mormonism, was the favored candidate for the role of chief facilitator of what they devoutly believed to be a fraud. The hypothesis received its debut in the granddaddy of all anti-Mormon books, Eber D. Howe’s 1834 cult classic, Mormonism Unvailed. But Rigdon was not the absolute author of the Book of Mormon, according to this explanation. He was merely “the Iago, the prime mover, of the whole conspiracy”21-the transmitter, to Joseph Smith, of a manuscript originally authored by one SOLOMON SPAULDING, a Dartmouth College educated former clergyman who had expressly declared his disbelief in the Bible before his death in 1816.
Howe described the Book of Mormon as
unquestionably one of the meanest in the English, or any other language. It is more devoid of interest than any we have ever seen. It must have been written by an atheist, to make an experiment upon the human understanding and credulity. The author, although evidently a man of learning, studied barrenness of style and expression, without an equal. … The real author, notwithstanding his studied ignorance, was well acquainted with the classics… The sameness is such, and the tautology of phrases from the beginning to the end of the work, that no one can be left in doubt in identifying the whole with one individual author.
But that author, of course, was no longer “that spindle shanked ignoramus Jo Smith.” Now it was the classically educated SOLOMON SPALDING. Howe thought he might even be able to discern in the Book of Mormon the hand of “a fearless infidel” who had “attempted a ridicule upon the Holy Bible,” perhaps in a bid “to bring down contempt upon the inspired writers, and the religion of Jesus Christ.”22
Howe seems to have been aware, however, that he did not have in his possession the evidence that would establish his case beyond reasonable doubt. So he hedged his bets. “That there has been, from the beginning of the imposture, a more talented knave behind the curtain, is evident to our mind, at least; but whether he will ever be clearly, fully and positively unveiled and brought into open day-light, may of course be doubted.”23 His modesty was compelled by the striking lack of evidence that, today, has led most critics ultimately to drop the Spalding manuscript theory of Book of Mormon origins.
None of this stopped some CRITICS from actually MANUFACTURING ERSATZ EVIDENCE. In his 1855 book The Prophets; or Mormonism Unvailed, O.S. Belisle is able to furnish his readers with the transcript of the conversation in which the Book of Mormon plot was hatched. Permit me to read from this invaluable document:
A conversation between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in which they decided upon a plan to print the “Book of Mormon.”
“Easily obviated,” returned Smith coolly [using the kind of vocabulary, no doubt, that had lead everyone around him to regard him as an illiterate blockhead and ignoramus]. “You know I have the ‘seer stones,’ and I can make them believe I divined it by them, or what is better still, say a ‘urium and thumin’ of which Spaulding speaks, was discovered with it.’
RIGDON: “Nothing could be better, if we could evade discovery. Spaulding, Patterson and I, have read it to numbers of different people, and I am almost sure they would detect us.”
SMITH: “You tell me Spaulding and Patterson are both dead, as well as several others who saw it in their possession?”
RIGDON: “Yes, but Spaulding’s wife still lives, and she knew its contents perfectly, she could not be deceived.”
SMITH: “Perhaps she might,” returned the Prophet musingly. “I tell you, Rigdon, the more I think of it, the more possible it appears. We must be cautious, but vigorous and I am sure we shall at least create an excitement that will fill our pockets at last, and raise us above those who have scorned us all our lives.”
RIGDON: “Here is the manuscript, but use it carefully, and as you value the success of our schemes let no one see it or know it was ever in your or my possession. And be wary, and not have a vision too often, or you will, by your over zeal, drawn down contempt from even the most ignorant.”
Long these two worthies communed over this scheme for deception, and when the hours had waned and they had set on a firm basis a train of duplicity that should startle the world, even then, from the depth of their corrupted hearts, gloated over the consternation one day’s work had done at their impious fraud… Their only object at that time was to play upon the credulous, earn applause from the debased, and extort money from the simple, under the plea of a divine mission, and thus deceive and rob in a mode of which no law could arraign them for the offense. Pride, ambition and an overweening thirst for power led Smith to concoct the scheme while the most consummate hypocrisy which he had played off on several denominations of Christians, with the hope of rising with the tide, was Rigdon’s motive. Honor, integrity and all the nobler passions of the human heart, had been stilled in the breasts of both and now nought remained to stem the new-born crime which should drag their own names to the depths of infamy and enslave in vice thousands of their fellows.24
Clearly, we’ve come some distance from the Joseph Smith whose only expression was one of “dullness,” whose mental capacities were “extremely limited,” whose family was known only for their general “stupidity.” Now, he is a consummate schemer, a fiendishly clever deviser of hellish plots.
The Hurlbut-Howe-Spalding theory dominated skeptical explanations of the Book of Mormon for fifty years, from the publication of Mormonism Unvailed in 1834 until 1884. Even the Rev. Alexander Campbell, he who had proclaimed the obvious fact that the book had been composed in one ignorant cranium, soon proclaimed the obvious fact that Spalding of Dartmouth was the author. The theory was not always consistently held, of course. J. B. Turner, for example, wrote that the Book of Mormon was characterized by “uniformity of style…in the highest degree. It is all Joe Smith, from preface to finis, testimonials and all. Joe Smith is sole author and proprietor, as he himself claimed on the title-page of the first edition.”25 Within just a few paragraphs, however, Turner remarks that “Although any blunderhead, with the Bible at his side, might have written the book, and the greater the blunderhead the better, still there are some reasons to believe that Smith is not the original author even of the gibberish that constitutes the plot of the comedy.”26
That U-turn was too blatant even for Turner’s fellow anti-Mormon Daniel Kidder. “It appears to us,” Kidder wrote, “that Professor T. has involved himself in a species of self-contradiction, by maintaining that Joe Smith is the real and sole author of the Book of Mormon, while, at the same time, he proves the identity of that book with the Spaulding manuscript.” Moreover, he commented, in direct contradiction to both Professor Turner and the Rev. Alexander Campbell,
We are…far from assenting to the position that unity, either of style or sentiment, prevail throughout the Mormon Bible. Those who had seen Spaulding’s MANUSCRIPT say that the religious parts of the Book of Mormon have been added. [Mary Zingleman and Richard Feynman story.] Now, these parts bear a distinctive character, (that of Campbellism,) which Smith was utterly unqualified to give them until after his connection with Rigdon. This shows that there were at least three parties to the real authorship; and we think it would be sheer injustice not to put Oliver Cowdery, the schoolmaster, upon as good (literary) footing as his more ambitious pupil, Joseph Smith, Jr.27
That no copy of Spalding’s manuscript was available for inspection did no more to dampen enthusiasm for the theory than did such inconsistencies. After all, there seemed no alternative that was both realistic and palatable. The manuscript, devotees of the theory said, had been lost. Or it had been destroyed. Or it had been purchased by the Mormons and suppressed-a plot motif that is still very popular among certain critics today. (Think of the Salt Lake Tribune, which, I’m told, disappeared into the First Presidency vault almost two weeks ago, and will never be seen again.) That Spalding’s manuscript was said to have contained a secular romance, designed merely to entertain and perhaps to make a little money, while the Book of Mormon purported to be a solemn religious history, was also dismissed as a trifle. Perhaps Sidney Rigdon, the Campbellite scriptorian, had been more than just a conveyor. It scarcely mattered. If it had to be so, it must have been so.
UNFORTUNATELY FOR THE ADVOCATES OF THE SPALDING THEORY, HIS MANUSCRIPT STORY WAS RECOVERED FROM A STEAMER TRUNK IN HONOLULU IN 1884. It turned out to be a relatively short yarn-roughly 125 pages long-about a group of Romans who set sail for Britain but were driven onto the coast of America by storms at sea. L. L. Rice, the rather surprised owner of the steamer trunk, remarked of the Manuscript Story and the Book of Mormon that “THERE IS NO IDENTITY OF NAMES, OF PERSONS, OR PLACES, AND THERE IS NO SIMILARITY OF STYLE BETWEEN THEM… I SHOULD AS SOON THINK THAT THE BOOK OF REVELATIONS [sic] WAS WRITTEN BY THE AUTHOR OF DON QUIXOTE, AS THAT THE WRITER OF THIS MANUSCRIPT WAS THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.”28
Faithful adherents of the Spaulding Theory now claimed that a second work, Manuscript Found, was the real source of the Book of Mormon. Fortunately or unfortunately, it could not be examined because nobody knew where it was. Nor whether it ever was.
Today
Fawn M. Brodie, though a devout disbeliever in the Book of Mormon and the claims of Joseph Smith, effectively sounded the death knell of the Spalding Theory in her 1945 biography of the Prophet, entitled No Man Knows My History. She argued, instead, that Joseph Smith was the consciously fraudulent author of the book, which reflected his own personality and environment. The dull village idiot was now “a mythmaker of prodigious talents.” She was, of course, following more or less in the footsteps of I. Woodbridge Riley, whose 1902 profile of The Founder of Mormonism explained the Book of Mormon on the basis of a psychological analysis of Joseph Smith, who was, he said, subject to epileptic fits that somehow were supposed to account for his “visions.” But Brodie and most everybody else discounted the claim of epilepsy. The trail had also been blazed for her by Harry M. Beardsley’s 1931 Joseph Smith and His Mormon Empire, in which Joseph was a paranoiac. In 1948, the Reverend James Black also explained Joseph Smith as mentally ill, a “dissociated personality.”
“Thus,” says F. W. Kirkham, surveying the scene in the early 1950s, “Joseph Smith is first a money digger, then an ignoramus, then a deluded fanatic, then a vile deceiver, a fraud, then an epileptic, a paranoiac, then a myth maker of prodigious talents. Finally he is not an ignoramus, he is not a deceiver, rather a person with a dissociated personality.”29
Kirkham predicted that, in an age of greater ecumenism and-though he could not have used the phrase-of “political correctness,” the hateful assaults on Joseph Smith that had been so acceptable in the nineteenth century would virtually disappear from favor among mainstream critics. The growing respectability of Mormonism would lead to a more civil, though no less determined critique. And the collapse of the Spalding Theory would bring explanations full circle, back to Joseph Smith as sole or primary author of the Book of Mormon.
The personality of Joseph Smith, his learning, his environment, will be assumed and described by various writers to meet the requirements of his ability to produce the book and to organize the Church. Historical facts that must be accepted in the actual writing and printing of the Book of Mormon will be interpreted by the coming writers to meet their various theses explaining the contents of the Book of Mormon. These writers will disagree concerning important assumed facts but they will all deny the possibility of divine aid in the translation of the ancient record.30



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Mike Bennion

posted August 14, 2007 at 3:19 pm


Chief, based on your approach to criticism of the LDS church and the Book of Mormon you may do well to read this article by tow evangelical scholars, which I linked below:
http://www.meridianmagazine.com/voices/020529winning.html
In 1997, two evangelical scholars published an article in a scholarly journal entitled: “Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?”. In it they examined anti-Mormon literature and Mormon apologetics. What did they find? Well, in their own words:
Mormonism, has, in recent years, produced a substantial body of literature defending their beliefs… In this battle the Mormons are fighting valiantly. And the evangelicals? It appears that we may be losing the battle and not knowing it.
Their purpose in publishing the article was hardly to concede the battle. Indeed, their efforts were “to serve to awaken members of the evangelical community to the important task at hand.”
With this article, these two scholars, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen, walked away from traditional anti-Mormon approaches, namely: belittling, ignorance, and flat-out lying. Instead, the authors actually visited FARMS at BYU and met with many prominent scholars of the church. They read the major works on both sides of the debate and presented their findings openly and honestly. Their approach was seen by many in the LDS community as a fresh step in a lengthy debate.
“Their scholars are qualified, ambitious, and prolific.”
Owen and Mosser start their article by disbanding several myths that have been persistent among evangelicals regarding the church:
MYTHS:
1. “There are few, if any, traditional Mormon scholars with training in fields pertinent to evangelical-Mormon debates”
2. “When Mormons receive training in historiography, biblical languages, theology and philosophy they invariably abandon traditional LDS beliefs in the historicity of the Book of Mormon and the prophethood of Joseph Smith”
3. “Liberal Mormons have so shaken the foundations of LDS belief that Mormonism is crumbling apart”
4. “Neo-orthodox Mormons have influenced the theology of their Church to such a degree that it will soon abandon traditional emphases and follow a path similar to the RLDS or the World-Wide Church of God”
From their research, Mosser and Owen come to several conclusions:
CONCLUSIONS:
1. “There are, contrary to popular evangelical perceptions, legitimate Mormon scholars.”
2.”Mormon scholars and apologists… have, with varying degrees of success, answered most of the usual evangelical criticisms.”
3. “There are no books from an evangelical perspective that responsibly interact with contemporary LDS scholarly and apologetic writings”
4. “The sophistication and erudition of LDS apologetics has risen considerably while evangelical responses have not… We are losing the battle and do not know it.”
5. “Most involved in the counter-cult movement lack the skills and training necessary to answer Mormon scholarly apologetic”
From the Mormon perspective these are unprecedented and stunning admissions. Many members (including myself) can speak to the frustrations involved in defending the church from debunked attacks that are more than a century old. Modern-day anti-Mormon literature will frequently insert whole tracts from 19th century criticisms and call it a day. Still others will dabble in psycho-analytics around Joseph Smith and early church members. Up until Owen and Mosser, there have been very few critiques that had addressed Mormon scholarship at all.
The article goes on to briefly examine many Mormon apologetic works. From Hugh Nibley to David Paulsen, from C. Wilfred Griggs to Stephen Robinson, their conclusion is reiterated: “Mormons have the training and skills to produce robust defenses of their faith.”
Still, further in the piece, Owen and Mosser examine some prominent anti-Mormon works and find: “…a refusal to do serious scholarly investigation. It is either the result of apathy or inability.”[6] In response to this vacuous space they exclaim: “The silence has become deafening. And it is getting louder.”
These musings have led to a series of interesting and worthwhile exchanges.
Note: All quotes and citations are taken from “Mormon Scholarship, Apologetics, and Evangelical Neglect: Losing the Battle and Not Knowing It?”. Trinity Journal Fall ’98, p179-205.



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Anonymous

posted August 14, 2007 at 4:16 pm


Chief1989: “And again, although Spaulding’s book and the BoM have more differences than commonalities, they share a plot line (lost tribes of Israel make it to America, build a great civilization, and become the ancestors of the Indians), names (Nephi, Moroni, Mormon, etc.), and plot devices (written records hidden in a hill, translation of those records). And yes, Spaulding’s book was written first, so Smith evidently copied those ideas into his book.”
Chief, you really ought to read Spaulding’s book before you make assertions like that. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about. Spaulding’s book Manuscript Found (or Manuscript Story) does NOT share a plot line with the Book of Mormon. It says NOTHING about the lost tribes of Israel coming to America. It does talk about a tribe of Indians that built a great civilization but it doesn’t say they were descended from Israelites. When I read Spaulding’s book I made a list of all the proper names I found. There are NO Book of Mormon names in the book or even BofM-sounding names. (Why, oh why do people keep bringing up this Spaulding manuscript nonsense?… sigh..)
CB



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Chief1989

posted August 14, 2007 at 11:42 pm


Here is a counter-view, from Walter Martin’s Kingdom of the Cults:
“The question quite naturally arises in summing up the background of the Book of Mormon: Where did the book come from, since it obviously did not come from God? The answer to this has been propounded at great length by numerous students of Mormonism, particularly E. D. Howe, Pomeroy Tucker, and William A. Linn.
All the aforementioned concur that the Book of Mormon is probably an expansion upon the writings of Solomon Spaulding, a retired minister who was known to have written a number of “romances” with biblical backgrounds similar to those of the Book of Mormon. The Mormons delight to point out that one of Spaulding’s manuscripts, entitled “Manuscript Story,” was discovered in Hawaii more than 100 years ago, and it differed in many respects from the Book of Mormon.
But in his excellent volume The Book of Mormon, Dr. James D. Bales makes the following observation, which is of great importance and agrees in every detail with my research:
It has long been contended that there is a connection between the Book of Mormon and one of Solomon Spaulding’s historical romances. The Latter-day Saints, of course, deny such a connection.
What if the Latter-day Saints are right and there is no relationship between the Book of Mormon and Spaulding’s writings? It simply means that those who so contend are wrong, but it proves nothing with reference to the question as to whether or not the Book of Mormon is of divine origin.
One could be wrong as to what man, or men, wrote the Book of Mormon, and still know that it was not written by men inspired of God. One can easily prove that the Book of Mormon is of human origin. And, after all, this is the main issue. The fundamental issue is not what man or men wrote it, but whether it was written by men who were guided by God. We know that men wrote it, and that these men, whoever they were, did not have God’s guidance. This may be illustrated by Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures—the textbook of Christian Science churches. Mrs. Eddy claims to have been its author, under God’s direction. There are others who claim she reworked and enlarged a manuscript of Mr. Quimby and the evidence seems to prove that such is the case. But what if those who so maintained failed to prove their case? Would that prove that it was inspired of God? Not at all. It would prove only that Quimby’s manuscript had nothing to do with it. But it would not prove that some other uninspired being did not write it. Regardless of what human being or beings wrote Science and Health, it is of human, not divine origin. Just so the Book of Mormon is of human origin and uninspired, even though it were impossible to prove what particular man wrote it.
It has not been maintained that all the Book of Mormon was written by Spaulding. Thus, it has not been claimed that the theological portions were put in by him. Those portions bear the imprint of Smith, Cowdery, and Sidney Rigdon (see the proof offered in Shook’s The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, pages 126ff.). It is maintained, however, that some things, including a great deal of Scripture, were added to one of Spaulding’s manuscripts and that his work was thus transferred into the Book of Mormon (see the testimony of John Spaulding, Solomon’s brother; Martha Spaulding, John’s wife): They maintained that the historical portion was Spaulding’s. (E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unveiled, 1834, 278ff; Shook, The True Origin of the Book of Mormon, 94ff).
The Mormons contend that the discovery of one of Spaulding’s manuscripts demonstrates that it was not the basis of the Book of Mormon.
“I will here state that the Spaulding manuscript was discovered in 1884, and is at present in the library of Oberlin College, Ohio. On examination it was found to bear no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon. The theory that Solomon Spaulding was the author of the Book of Mormon should never be mentioned again—outside a museum.” (William A. Morton, op. cit., 6.)
There are three errors in the above paragraph: viz., that Spaulding wrote but one manuscript; that the manuscript discovered in 1884 is the one that non-Mormons have claimed constituted the basis of the Book of Mormon; that the manuscript in Oberlin bears no resemblance whatever to the Book of Mormon.
(a) Spaulding wrote more than one manuscript. This was maintained by D. P. Harlburt [Hurlbut] and Clark Braden before the Honolulu manuscript was found (Charles A. Shook, op. cit., 77). Spaulding’s daughter also testified that her father had written “other romances.” (Elder George Reynolds, The Myth of the “Manuscript Found,” Utah, 1833, 104). The present manuscript story looks like a rough, unfinished, first draft.
(b) The manuscript found in Honolulu was called a “Manuscript Story” and not the “Manuscript Found.” This Honolulu manuscript, The Manuscript Story, was in the hands of anti-Mormons in 1854. However, they did not claim that it was the manuscript which was the basis of the Book of Mormon. It was claimed that another manuscript of Spaulding was the basis of the Book of Mormon, (Charles A. Shook, op. cit., 77, 15, 185. The “Manuscript Found or Manuscript Stop” of the late Rev. Solomon Spaulding, Lamoni, Iowa: Printed and Published by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1885, 10).
(c) Although the Manuscript Story has not been regarded as the Manuscript Found, which constituted the basis of the Book of Mormon, there is a great deal of resemblance between the Manuscript and the Book of Mormon. These points of similarity can be accounted for on the basis that the Manuscript Story was the first, and rough draft of one of Spaulding’s works, which he reworked into the Manuscript Found.
“Howe, in 1854, published a fair synopsis of the Oberlin manuscript now at Oberlin (Howe’s Mormonism Unveiled, 288) and submitted the original to the witnesses who testified to the many points of identity between Spaulding’s Manuscript Found and the Book of Mormon. These witnesses then (in 1834) recognized the manuscript secured by Harlburt and now at Oberlin as being one of Spaulding’s, but not the one that they asserted was similar to the Book of Mormon. They further said that Spaulding had told them that he had altered his original plan of writing by going farther back with his dates and writing in the old scripture style, in order that his story might appear more ancient” (Howe’s Mormonism Unveiled, 288; Theodore Schroeder, The Origin of the Book of Mormon, Re-Examined in Its Relation to Spaulding’s “Manuscript Found,” 5).
This testimony is borne out by the fact that there are many points of similarity between the manuscript in Oberlin College and the Book of Mormon.
It is fairly well established historically, then, that the Mormons have attempted to use a manuscript that is admittedly not the one from which Smith later copied and amplified the text of what is now known as the Book of Mormon as the basis for denying what eye witnesses have affirmed: that it was another Spaulding manuscript (Manuscript Found) that Smith drew upon to fabricate the Book of Mormon.
Dr. Bales is right when he states:
There are too many points of similarity for them to be without significance. Thus, the internal evidence, combined with the testimony of witnesses, as presented in Howe’s book and reproduced in Shook’s, shows that Spaulding revised the Manuscript Story. The revision was known as the Manuscript Found, and it became the basis of the Book of Mormon in at least its historical parts. Also its religious references furnished in part the germs of the religious portions of the Book of Mormon.
However, in ordinary conversation, and in public debate on the Book of Mormon, it is unnecessary to go into the question of who wrote the Book of Mormon. The really important issue is whether or not the Book of Mormon is of divine origin. There are some Mormons who seem to think that if they can prove that Spaulding’s manuscript had nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, they have made great progress toward proving its divine origin. Such, however, is not the case. And one should show, from an appeal to the Bible and to the Book of Mormon itself, that the Book of Mormon is not of divine origin.
Let us not forget that the Manuscript Story itself contains at least seventy-five similarities to what is now the Book of Mormon and this is not to be easily explained away.”
——————–
Just another perspective, and an answer to your question on why this issue keeps popping up – because new evidence is continually being uncovered. It is a debate that will probably not be resolved in our lifetimes.



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Kyle

posted August 15, 2007 at 12:44 am


Chief1989 quoted from some document: “Where did the book come from, since it obviously did not come from God?”
Wow, what an open-minded unbiased way to present a question.
I find it interesting that you still admit that you don’t even think the BoM will truly be explained in our lifetime since it’s such an enigma.
Just out of curiosity, do you like the Harry Potter books? I think they’re great.



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Anonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 1:47 am


Chief1989: “Just another perspective, and an answer to your question on why this issue keeps popping up – because new evidence is continually being uncovered.”
CB: New evidence??? Hah! Bales and Martin are simply regurgitating garbage that was printed in E.D. Howe’s book clear back in 1834.
Bales: “There are too many points of similarity for them to be without significance. Thus, the internal evidence, combined with the testimony of witnesses, as presented in Howe’s book and reproduced in Shook’s, shows that Spaulding revised the Manuscript Story. The revision was known as the Manuscript Found, and it became the basis of the Book of Mormon in at least its historical parts. Also its religious references furnished in part the germs of the religious portions of the Book of Mormon.”
CB: Utter nonsense, especially the part about “religious references”. What “religious references”? As I mentioned in a previous post, MF contains the word “christian” a few times near the beginning. It never mentions Jesus Christ even once. The Book of Mormon speaks of Christ on almost every page.
All of this has been debunked, refuted, and discarded over and over again even my many anti-Mormons.
CB



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Anonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:00 am


Chief, you seem to accept the Bible as a true, reliable document because it mentions geographical names such as Jerusalem, Corinth, Galilee, Egypt, Rome, etc, that are well known today.
Here are some other geographical names you might recognize: Deliwah (the name of a river, could pass for Delaware), Ohio, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, Lake Ontario, Mississippi River.
Guess where those names are found. In Spaulding’s Manuscript Found/Story! Would you accept it as a true, reliable document?
CB



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Mike Bennion

posted August 15, 2007 at 2:52 am


Even educated anti-Mormons have discounted the Spaulding theory as seen below. Chief is beating a dead horse.
http://www.mormonfortress.com/spauld2.html
Solomon Spaulding
Sometime between 1809 and 1812 (about twenty years before the Book of Mormon came to press) a Reverend Solomon Spaulding wrote a novel about a group of ancient Roman sailors who were blown of course and landed in America. Spaulding died in 1816 and his manuscript was never published. In 1833, Dr. Philastus Hurlburt, who had recently been excommunicated from the LDS Church for “unchristian-like” conduct toward some young ladies, heard of this manuscript and endeavored to show that Joseph Smith had plagiarized Spaulding’s work by turning it into the Book of Mormon. Originally, Hurlburt wished to publish the manuscript, thereby demonstrating that the Book of Mormon was a fraud, but when he read the manuscript, he decided instead to passed the project on to another anti-Mormon, E.D. Howe. Howe published an anti-Mormon book in which he claimed that Joseph Smith plagiarized Spalding when creating the Book of Mormon. According to so-called “witnesses” who had read the manuscript, Spaulding had written about Nephi, Lehi, the Lamanites, and Nephites nearly twenty years before the publication of the Book of Mormon.
The critics claimed that Sidney Rigdon, a convert to the Church, had copied the manuscript and then gave it to Joseph Smith who turned it into the Book of Mormon. The problem, however, is that Rigdon had never heard of the Book of Mormon or its contents until he became a Mormon after 1830. Even many years later, after Rigdon had apostatized from the Church, he denied ever having seen the Book of Mormon until in was introduced to him by the Mormon missionary Parley P. Pratt. In addition, Rigdon had not even been in the vicinity of Spaulding’s home until after Spaulding had died and his manuscript hidden away in a trunk where Hurlburt found it.
Somehow the Spaulding manuscript was lost, but nevertheless the enemies of the Church (as well as non-Mormon histories of the LDS Church) continued to claim (for nearly fifty years thereafter) that Spaulding was the real author of the Book of Mormon. Then, in 1884, the manuscript resurfaced in a pile of papers belonging to a man who had bought Howe’s business. The Mormons had been right all along, any similarities between Spaulding’s manuscript and the Book of Mormon were superficial. Still the critics have not let up, now they claim that Spaulding must have had another manuscript from which the Book of Mormon was taken. Contemporaries of Spaulding, however, mention only one manuscript, and that manuscript has been found (see Bush, 40-69). It’s interesting to note that Spaulding’s great-granddaughter joined the LDS Church, and has testified her belief that the Book of Mormon is of God (Brown & Brown, 1984, 456).
Most educated anti-Mormons agree that the Spaulding theory is untenable. “‘The usual debater,’ noted the nineteenth-century anti-Mormon writer Davis H. Bays, ‘undertakes to trace the Book of Mormon to the Spaulding romance through Sidney Rigdon. Nothing can be more erroneous, and it will lead to almost certain defeat. The well-informed advocate of Mormonism wants no better amusement than to vanquish an opponent in discussion who takes this ground. The facts are all opposed to this view, and the defenders of the Mormon dogma have the facts well in hand. I speak from experience…. The Spaulding story is a failure. Do not attempt to rely upon it– it will let you down.’” (Roper, 1992, 85.)
Edward E. Plowman, writer for Christianity Today Magazine: “‘…Mormon archivists have assembled a large amount of evidence– some of it impressive– to rebut the Spalding theory. They scored a coup of sorts when they discovered that a manuscript page from another Mormon book, Doctrine and Covenants, is apparently in the same handwriting as that of the Unidentified Scribe in the Book of Mormon manuscript. It is dated June, 1831– fifteen years after Spalding’s death…. The average layman can readily note the striking dissimilarities between Spalding’s specimens and the others….’” (Christianity Today, October 21, 1977, pp. 38-39; quoted by Brown & Brown, 1984, 271-2.) Likewise, Jerald & Sandra Tanner (the King & Queen of anti-Mormons) believe that the Spaulding theory is full of holes (Tanner & Tanner, 1977.)
Michael R. Ash



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Edwin Moelder

posted August 15, 2007 at 8:26 am


Who is Jesus The Christ is a priori of the faith?
With the love of The Holy Trinity of The Ancieent Catholic faith.
http://moelder.freeservers.com/TheHolyTrinityandTheDeityofJesusTheChrist.html



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Anonymous

posted August 15, 2007 at 10:01 am


From my own analysis:
Words in Spaulding’s Manuscript Found but not in Book of Mormon:
deer, elk, toad, beans, squash, frog, snail, quagmire, wampum, wigwam, declevity, corpulent, sweetheart, gravity, feet (measure of length), inches, lass, damsel, orangutan, perpendicular, teraqueous, mammoon (some kind of large animal, description sounds a bit like a mammoth), carrots, peticoat, cotton, turkey, tornadoes, shovel, mathook, wheel barrow, sassy, vivacity, porcupine, opossum, junto, punctilious, stage, pencil, volcano, flagitiuos, pusilanimous, dastard, sculking, warts, pimples, poltroons, umbrage, flagicious, nigardly, tomahawk
Words or phrases commonly used in BofM, but not in MF:
“and it came to pass” : this phrase is used so often (hundreds and hundreds of times) in the BofM that it becomes a little monotonous.
It never occurs in MF.
“yea, behold” : used about as often as “and it came to pass”. Never occurs in MF. (The word “behold” is used a few times in MF, but not in the same sense as in the phrase “yea, behold”.)
“verily” : never used in MF
“and thus we see”
“all manner of ____”
“____ of every kind” : more phrases that are very common in the BofM but not used at all in MF.
“did + present tense of verb” (instead of plain past tense of a verb) : this construction is used extremely often in the BofM. Never used in MF.
“exceedingly” (instead of “very”) : I don’t think the BofM ever uses the adverb “very”; it always says “exceeding” or “exceedingly”. “exceeding” occurs once in MF; “exceedingly” 0.
And, here’s a quote directly from Spaulding’s MF:
“Delawan to chahee poloo
Manegango farwah teloo
Chanepanh, lawango chapahto
Quinebogan hamboo gowah.”
(I’m not making that up. Just read the book!)
So, you can easily see that Spaulding was the real author of the Book of Mormon or that Joseph Smith just copied from Spaulding. Yeah, sure…
CB



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BringItOn

posted August 15, 2007 at 11:05 am


Edwin,
Your making no sense…it’s like your mumbling as some penitent “monk” or something…



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Chief1989

posted August 15, 2007 at 5:47 pm


CB,
That’s kind of a ridiculous analogy, because Spaulding’s book doesn’t purport to be the word of God, and the Bible does. Do you want to list every fiction novel ever written that has real names, places, and events listed in them and hold them up as we should accept them, too?
I also never claimed that Smith COPIED Spaulding’s book. What I said was that he examined the manuscript (which was in a trunk in a house that Smith was staying at, so he had access to the story) and took ideas from it, not that he copied it word for word.



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GB

posted August 15, 2007 at 6:44 pm


Lets see, an uneducated backwoods redneck farm boy writes a book that exceeds 500 pages in length (regardless where he gets the idea). He does it in a short time without the aid of a computer. Does very little editing of the original manuscript. Gets it published. And it is heralded as scripture by millions. All before his 25th birthday.
Yea right.



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Chief1989

posted August 15, 2007 at 7:45 pm


GB,
I know! Sounds downright miraculous, doesn’t it? One question: how much play will you get out of the “uneducated backwoods farmboy” story? Have you not known people who did not have a fine diploma or degree but were the shrewdest, cleverest people you ever met? Does a genius for something necessitate education? We have stories of people like Steven Jobs and Bill Gates starting humongous companies (Apple and Microsoft for any “uneducated backwoods farmpeople” reading this thread) from their garages or basements? Einstein flunked a high school math class. History is full of examples of ordinary people who did extraordinary things.
Read on for a description of Joseph, Oliver, and Martin from E.D. Howe, a contemporary of theirs and someone who had actually spoken to Smith and some of his early “converts”:
———————-
WITH the exception of their natural and peculiar habits of life, there is nothingin the character of the Smith family worthy of being recorded, previous to the time of their plot to impose upon the world by a pretended discovery of a new Bible, in the bowels of the earth. They emigrated from the town of Royalton, in the state of Vermont, about the year 1820, when Joseph, Jun. was, it is supposed, about 16 years of age. We find them in the town of Manchester, Ontario county, N.Y. which was the principal scene of their operations, till the
year 1830. All who became intimate with them during this period, unite in representing the general character of old Joseph and wife, the parents of the pretended Prophet, as lazy, indolent, ignorant and superstitious — having a firm belief in ghosts and witches; the telling of fortunes; pretending to believe that the earth was filled with hidden treasures, buried there by Kid or the Spaniards.
Being miserably poor, and not much disposed to obtain an honorable livlihood by labor, the energies of their minds seemed to be mostly directed towards finding where these treasures were concealed, and the best mode of acquiring their possession. Joseph. Jun. in the mean time, had become very expert in the arts of necromancy, jugling, the use of the divining rod, and looking into what they termed a “peep-stone,” by which means he soon collected about him a gang of idle, credulous young men, to perform the labor of digging into the hills and
mountains, and other lonly places, in that vicinity, in search of gold. In process of time many pits were dug in the neighborhood, which were afterwards pointed out as the place from whence the plates were excavated. But we do not learn that the young impostor ever entered these excavations for the purpose of assisting his sturdy dupes in their labors. His business was to point out the locations of the treasures, which he did by looking at a stone placed in a hat.
Whenever the diggers became dissatisfied at not finding the object of their desires, his inventive and fertile genius would generally contrive a story to satisfy them. For instance, he would tell them that the treasure was removed by a spirit just before they came to it, or that it sunk down deeper into the earth. The extreme ignorance and apparent stupidity of this modern prophet, were, by his early followers, looked upon as his greatest merit, and as furnishing the most incontestable proof of his divine mission. These have ever been the ward-robe of impostors. They were even thrown upon the shoulders of the great prince of deceivers, Mohammed, in order to carry in his train the host of ignorant and superstitious of his time; although he afterwards became a ruler of Nations. That the common advantages of education were denied to our prophet, or that they were much neglected, we believe to be a fact. His followers have told us, that
he could not at the time he was “chosen of the Lord,” even write his own name.
But it is obvious that all these deficiencies are fully supplied by a natural genius, strong inventive powers of mind, a deep study, and an unusually correct estimate of human passions and feelings. In short, he is now endowed with all the requisite traits of character to pursue most successfully the humbug which he has introduced. His address is easy, rather facinating and winning, of a mild and sober deportment, when not irritated. But he frequently becomes biosterous by the
impertinence or curiosity of the skeptical, and assumes the bravado, instead of adhering to the meekness which he professes. His followers, of course, can discover in his very countenance all the certain indications of a divine mission. For further illustrations of the character of the Smith family, the reader is referred to the numerous depositions and certificates attached to this work.
MARTIN HARRIS is the next personage of note in the Golden Bible speculation. He is one of the three witnesses to the truth of the book, having been shown the plates through the agency of an Angel, instead of the Prophet Joseph, who always had them in possession. Before his acquaintance with the Smith family, he was considered an honest, industrious citizen, by his neighbors. His residence was
in the town of Palmyra, where he had accumulated a handsome property. He was naturally of a very visionary turn of mind on the subjects of religion, holding one sentiment but a short time. He engaged in the new Bible business with a view of making a handsome sum of money from the sale of the books, as he was frequently heard to say. The whole expense of publishing an edition of 5000 copies, which was borne by Martin, to secure the payment of which, he mortgaged his farm for $3000. Having failed in his anticipations about the sale of
the books, (the retail price of which they said was fixed by an Angel at $1.75, but afterwards reduced to $1.25, and from that down to any price they could obtain) he adopted Smith as his Prophet, Priest and King. Since that time, the frequent demands upon Martin’s purse have reduced it to a very low state. He seems to have been the soul and body of the whole imposition, and now carries the most incontestible proofs of a religious maniac. He frequently declares that he has conversed with Jesus Christ, Angels and the Devil. Christ he says is the handsomest man he ever saw; and the Devil looks very much like a jack-ass, with very short, smooth hair, similar to that of a
mouse. He says he wrote a considerable part of the book, as Smith dictated, and at one time the presence of the Lord was so great, that a screen was hung up between him and the Prophet; at other times the Prophet would sit in a different room, or up stairs, while the Lord was communicating to him the contents of the plates. He does not pretend that he ever saw the wonderful plates but once, although he and Smith were engaged for months in deciphering their contents. He
has left his wife to follow the fortunes of Smith. He has frequent fits of phrophecying, although they are not held in very high repute among his brethren.
A specimen of his prophetic powers we subjoin. They were written for the special information of a friend of his who placed them upon the wall of his office, and are in these words:
“Within four years from September 1832, there will not be one
wicked person left in the United States; that the righteous will be
gathered to Zion, (Missouri) and that there will be no President
over these United States after that time.
MARTIN HARRIS
I do hereby assert and declare that in four years from the date
hereof, every sectarian and religious denomination in the United
States, shall be broken down, and every Christian shall be
gathered unto the Mormonites, and the rest of the human race
shall perish. If these things do not take place, I will hereby
consent to have my hand separated from my body.
MARTIN HARRIS
Martin is an exceedingly fast talker. He frequently gathers a crowd around him in bar-rooms and in the streets. — Here he appears to be in his element, answering and explaining all manner of dark and abstruse theological questions, from Genesis to Revelations; declaring that every thing has been revealed to him by the “power of God.” During these flights of fancy, he frequently prophecies the coming of
Christ, the destruction of the world, and the damnation of certain individuals. At one time he declared that Christ would be on earth within fifteen years, and all who did not believe in the book of Mormon would be destroyed. He is the source of much trouble and perplexity to the honest portion of his brethren, and would undoubtedly long since have been cast off by Smith, were it not for his money, and the fact that he is one of the main pillars of the Mormon fabric. Martin is generally believed, by intelligent people, to be laboring under a partial derangement; and that any respectable jury would receive his testimony, in any case, of ever so trifling a nature, we do not believe; yet, the subjects of the delusion think him a competent witness to establish miracles of the most unreasonable kind. But we leave him for the present.
OLIVER COWDERY comes next in the catalogue. He was also a chief scribe to the prophet, while transcribing, after Martin had lost 116 pages of the precious document, by interference of the Devil. An Angel also has shown him the plates, from which the book of Mormon proceeded, as he says. He is a blacksmith by
trade, and sustained a fair reputation until his intimacy commenced with the money-diggers. He was one of the many in the world who always find time to study out ways and means to live without work. He accordingly quit the blacksmithing business, and is now the editor of a small monthly publication issued under the direction of the prophet, and principally filled with accounts of the spread of Mormonism, their persecutions, and the fabled visions and commands of Smith.
DAVID WHITMER is the third special witness who signed the certificate with Harris and Cowdery, testifying to having seen plates. He is
one of five of the same name and family who have been used as witnesses to establish the imposition, and who are now head men and leaders in the Mormonite camp. They were noted in their neighborhood for credulity and a general belief in witches, and perhaps were fit subjects for the juggling arts of Smith. David relates that he was led by Smith into an open field, on his father’s farm, where they found the Book of plates lying upon the ground. Smith took it up and
requested him to examine it, which he did for the space of half an hour or more, when he returned it to Smith, who placed it in its former position, alledging that it was in the custody of an Angel. He discribes the plates as being about eight inches square, the leaves being metal of a whitish yellow color, and of the thickness of tin plates. The back was secured with three small rings of the same
metal, passing through each leaf in succession; that the leaves were divided equidistant between the back and the edge, by cutting the plates in two parts and again united with solder, so that the front might be opened, while the back part remained stationary and immovable, and was consequently a sealed book, which would not be revealed for ages to come, and which Smith himself was not
permitted to understand. On opening that part of the book which was not secured by seals, he discovered inscribed on the aforesaid plates, divers and wonderful characters, some large and some small, but beyond the wisdom of man to understand without supernatural aid; this account is sometimes partly contradicted by Harris.
THE GOLDEN BIBLE AND ITS CONTENTS.
The various verbal accounts, all contradictory, vague, and inconsistent, which were given out by the Smith family respecting the finding of certain Gold or brazen plates, will be hereafter presented in numerous depositions which have
been taken in the neighborhood of the plot. — Since the publication of the book they have been generally more uniform in their relations respecting it. They say that some two years previous to the event taking place, Joseph, Jun., began his interviews with Angels, or spirits, who informed him of the wonderful plates, and the manner and time of obtaining them. This was to be done in the presence of his wife and first child, which was to be a son. In the month of
September, 1827, Joseph got possession of the plates, after a considerable struggle with a spirit. The remarkable event was soon noised abroad, and the Smith family commenced making proselytes among the credulous, and lovers of the marvelous, to the belief that Joseph had found a record of the first settlers in America. Many profound calculations were made about the amount of their profits on the
sale of such a book. A. religious speculation does not seem to have seriously entered into their heads at that time. The plates in the mean time were concealed from human view, the prophet declaring that no man could look upon them and live. They at the same time gave out that, along with the plates, was found a huge pair of silver spectacles, altogether too large for the present race of men, but which were to be used, neverthe less, in translating the plates. The translation finally commenced. They were found to contain a language not now known upon the earth which they termed “reformed Egyptian characters.” The plates, therefore, which had been so much talked of, were found to be of no manner of use. After all, the Lord showed and communicated to him every word and letter of the Book. Instead of looking at the characters inscribed upon the plates, the prophet was obliged to resort to the old “peep stone,” which he formerly used in money-digging. This he placed in a hat, or box, into which he
also thrust his face. Through the stone he could then discover a single word at a time, which he repeated aloud to his amanuensis, who committed it to paper, when another word would immediately appear, and thus the performance continued to the end of the book. Another account they give of the translation, is, that it was performed with the big spectacles before mentioned, and which were in fact, the identical Urim and Thumim mentioned in Exodus 28 – 30, and were brought away from Jerusalem by the heroes of the book, handed down from one generation to another, and finally buried up in Ontario county, some fifteen centuries since, to enable Smith to translate the plates without looking at them! Before the work was completed, under the pretense that some persons were endeavoring to destroy the plates and prophet, they relate that the Lord commanded them to depart into Pennsylvania, where they could proceed unmolested. Smith, accordingly, removed his family thither; but it appears that it was at the request of his father-in-law, instead of the command of the Lord. A box, which he said contained the plates, was conveyed in a barrel of beans,
while on the journey. Soon after this, his father-in-law, Mr. Isaac Hale, on account of his daughter, agreed to sell Smith a part of his farm, provided he would go to work and quit his impositions. He said he had given up his former occupation, and concluded to labor for a living. But, in a few weeks Harris made his appearance there, and soon after Cowdery, and Smith again commenced looking into the hat, and telling off his bible. In the mean time, Satan had made an assault upon Harris, and robbed him of one hundred and sixteen pages of the bible, which had been translated. Cowdery was the chosen scribe to complete the work; after which the plates were again buried up by the command of the Lord, in a place unknown to the prophet or any other person.
The Golden Bible was finally got ready for the press, and issued in the summer of 1830, nearly three years from the time of its being dug up. It is a book of nearly six hundred pages, and is unquestionably one of the meanest in the English, or any other language. It is more devoid of interest than any we have ever seen. It must have been written by an atheist, to make an experiment upon the human
understanding and credulity. The author, although evidently a man of learning, studied barrenness of style and expression, without an equal. It carries condemnation on every page. The God of Heaven, that all-wise Being, could never have delivered such a farrago of nonsense to the world. But we must proceed to examine it more in detail. The title page says:
“The Book of Mormon, an account written by the hand of Mormon,
upon plates taken from the plates of Nephi; wherefore it is an
abridgment of the record of the people of Nephi; and also of the
Lamanites, which are a remnant of the House of Israel; and also
to Jew and Gentile; written by way of commandment, and also by
the spirit of prophesy and of revelation: written, and sealed up,
and hid up unto the Lord, that they might not be destroyed; to
come forth by the gift and power of God, unto the interpretation thereof; sealed by the hand of Moroni, and hid up unto the Lord, to come forth in due time by the way of Gentiles; the interpretation thereof, by the gift of God; an abridgment taken from the Book of Ether.
Also, which is a record of the people of Jared, which were
scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the
people when they were building a tower to get to Heaven, which
is to show unto the remnant of the house of Israel, how great
things the Lord has done for their fathers; and that they may
know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off
forever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentiles, that
Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself to all
nations. And now if there be fault, it be the mistake of men;
wherefore condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found
spotless at the judgment seat of Christ.
By Joseph Smith, Jun. Author and proprietor.”
It is necessary that the reader should constantly bear in mind, that the impostor is held out to be a very ignorant person, so much so, that he can write nothing except it be dictated to him, word by word, by the mouth of the Lord. Here then we have a specimen of a title page according to infinite wisdom: constituting Joseph Smith, Jun. “Author and proprietor,” in order that he may have the sole profit of the work. Although the Mormon may have a faculty of pointing out
examples, and proving every thing by scripture, we think it will trouble them to find an instance where the Great Jehovah has ever sent a message to fallen man, and that in the most miraculous way; and constituted any individual its retailer, and sole sharer of its profits! But we are told that “the ways of God are past finding out,” and he has therefore given to Joseph Smith a “copy right” to sell this
last message, and that too from under the hand and seal of “R. R. Lansing, clerk of the Northern District of New
York.”
But a saving clause is inserted in the title page, and several times repeated in the book. It seems that neither the Lord or Smith, were willing to avow themselves the authors of the whole fable: “and now if there be fault, it be in the mistake of men”!!! Here then we have an acknowledgment that there may be faults, a bundle of truths and
falsehoods, sent forth to imperfect man, without a single rule being given to distinguish one from the other!!! Oh! the credulity of man!
The real author, notwithstanding his studied ignorance, was well acquainted with the classics. The names of most of his heroes have the Latin termination of i, such as Nephi, Lehi, and Moroni. The word Mormon, the name given to his book, is the English termination of the Greek word “Mormoo,” which we find defined in an old, obsolete Dictionary, to mean “bug-bear, hob-goblin, raw head and bloody
bones.” It seems, therefore, that the writer gave his book not only a very appropriate, but classical name. His experiment upon the human mind, he thought, would be more perfect, by giving it a name, in addition to its contents, which would carry upon its face the nature of its true character — a fiction of hob-goblins and bug-bears.
Next comes the “Preface,” signed “the Author,” which shows that the Lord was willing to approve and adopt the most modern plan of making books, by inserting a title page, copy right, and a preface. The substance of the preface is, that the author had translated one hundred and sixteen pages from the plates of Lehi, written by the hand of Mormon, which were stolen by some person: “and being commanded by the Lord, that I should not translate the same over again, for
Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and
Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer tha