Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

The Anti-Mormon Plea: PLEASE Don't Pray about the Book of Mormon

On my Mormon Answers Page of Facetious Questions, I've recently updated my answer to the question, "Why should people pray to know the Book of Mormon is true? That's like praying to know if they should commit adultery." Here is a partial excerpt from my response:

It's amazing how often anti-Mormons beg people NOT to pray about the message of the restored Gospel and our other testament of Jesus Christ, the Book of Mormon. Here's one example from a page at Catholic.com, brought to my attention by a sincere investigator who later joined the Church:

In these "latter days," there are few people who haven't been visited at least once by Mormon missionaries. At some point in your doorstep dialogue, these earnest young men will ask you to accept a copy of the Book of Mormon, read it, and pray about it, asking the Lord to "send the Holy Ghost to witness that it is true." . . .

Tell the Mormon missionaries: "Look, it is foolish to pray about things you know are not God's will. It would be wrong of me to pray about whether adultery is right, when the Bible clearly says it is not. Similarly, it would be wrong of me to pray about the Book of Mormon when one can so easily show that it is not the word of God."

That Web page offers two sure-fire reasons to discard the Book of Mormon without any further study and certainly without any further prayer:
  • First, Alma 7:10 says that Christ was born in Jerusalem, when we all know it's Bethlehem - such a blunder! In fact, Alma 7:10 offers serious evidence of authenticity for the Book of Mormon, as I discuss on my page about alleged Book of Mormon problems and a page about the term "land of Jerusalem." One simple point to remember: Bethlehem is virtually a suburb of Jerusalem, just 5 miles away. To people long removed from the Old World, knowing of ancient Jerusalem but probably not the details of other places, it's exactly how a Book of Mormon writer would refer to the area of Christ's birth. It's not how Joseph Smith would have described it if he made it up, for he and every school child of his day knew Christ was born in Bethlehem, but probably didn't know how close it is to Jerusalem.
  • As a second killer argument, we are told that the Book of Mormon speaks of honeybees being brought to the Americas in Ether 2:3, when scientists supposedly know they were introduced to the New World after Columbus. This issue is discussed on my page about Book of Mormon problems with plants and animals. Ether 2:3 refers to honeybees during travels in the Old World only; the list of things they brought to the New World in Ether 6:4 does not include bees. So the Book of Mormon does not explicitly say that honeybees were introduced to the Americas. What's the problem? But in fact, honeybees were known to the ancient Mayans. In Michael D. Coe's excellent book, The Maya (4th ed., London: Thames and Hudson, 1987), Coe discusses Mayan life based on the Spanish missionaries' "first-class anthropological accounts of native culture as it was just before they came" (p. 155) and states that "the Maya farmer raised the native stingless bees . . . but wild honey was also much appreciated" (p. 156). For further information, you can also read that ancient Mesomaericas traded honey at regentsprep.org/Regents/global/themes/economic/mes.cfm and read another note on honey from stingless bees in Mesoamerica at ancientsites.com/aw/post/384974. Also see a Dutch page on stingless beekeeping that states, "Since pre-Hispanic times the Mayan and Nahua ethnic groups of Central America bred stingless bees for their honey and wax." (Thanks to Joseph Barbados for pointing out the last two URLs.) Talk about an attack lacking sting!

So what about the issue of prayer concerning the Book of Mormon? Do we trust our salvation to warm, fuzzy feelings while putting our mind into deep freeze? No! (See my page on testimony for a more complete discussion.) The Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5) doesn't simply say to pray about the Book, but to ponder it, to study it, and then with faith in Christ to seek divine understanding of it through the power of the Holy Ghost. It's sad to see fellow Christians demeaning the quest for revelation from God through the power of the Holy Ghost as a "warm fuzzy feeling" that can lead to great deception. How can anyone have a testimony of Christ as the Son of God unless the Father reveals it? (See Matthew 16:15-17; Rev. 19:10; 1 Cor. 2:10-11.) Such prayer and inquiry is part of what all Christians should do in their quest to understand the truth. Relying on human logic and reasoning alone is guaranteed to be fallible, for people get things completely wrong, like the multiple errors in the rather silly attack about honeybees in the Book of Mormon. Those who seek revelation from the Father, combining thought and study with faith in Christ and the influence of God's Spirit, will be able to know the divinity of Jesus Christ in spite of all the arguments against Him, and just might be able to withstand the many human arguments against the divinity of the Bible - and the Book of Mormon.

Do you remember what Christ said when he praised Peter for his testimony of the Savior? It's in Matthew 16: 15-17:

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Peter's knowledge of Christ as the Son of God was not based on a factual analysis of Old Testament scriptures; it was not based on archaeology or genetic science or the opinions of learned scholars of his day; he did not survey the rabbis to find of there was consensus among leading authority figures about the divine status of Christ; it was not based on impressive miracles or other tangible evidences. Flesh and blood had not revealed the divinity of Christ to Peter. Then where did Peter gain that testimony? Through REVELATION from God the Father.

The critics of Christ during His ministry demanded "flesh and blood" evidence, refusing to listen to he Spirit - and ultimately sought the very flesh and blood of Christ Himself. Today our critics ask their victims to rely only on flesh and blood and NOT to seek revelation from God the Father to know if the Book of Mormon is true. Whose voice are they echoing?

Some anti-Mormons sometimes go so far in their efforts to stop prayer as to say that we open ourselves to demonic influence if we pray about the Book of Mormon. But Christ, who is faithful and true, tells us to "Ask and it shall be given" (Matt. 7:7) and assures us that since we, "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?" (Matt. 7:11). Please, have faith in God, not in the unreliable analysis of anti-Mormon critics, who would have you trust them more than the Father. If people tell you there is no need to pray because the Book of Mormon mentions honeybees, tell them to buzz off.


T said...

Man, I love reading your posts! Always uplifts my spirit. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I recently read an anti-morman site that said it was wrong to pray about the BoM and if you did you would get that warm feeling but it would be from the devil. How can this web site suggest that God would punish you for praying about somthing you don't know?? Even if the BoM wasn't true they are saying that the lord will let the Devil decieve you into thinking it was true!!! That web site had the complete oppisite affect on me than what was intended

Anonymous said...

how does one get out of the church? i am scared

Lorie said...

I was recently visited by these gentleman wanting me to pray about the book to find this warm fuzzy feeling in my heart. They say they KNOW for certain that this is true. I, being a christian do pray, but I feel I shouldn't have to belong to any one church for salvation. Salvation was given to me by my lord and I will never let anybody take it from me. So.. thank you for your words. I have something to say now next time they arrive at my door.

Anonymous said...

You're doing a good thing putting good informatio on here- because there is so much false information out there now. Good Work. Keep it up.

χριστόσ οπαδόσ said...

As a follower of Christ I believe in the power of prayer however regardless of wither or not the Book of Mormon is true, much less a correct translation(we don't have any manuscript of it so how can we test it) But assuming it was a correct translation God also says that "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9), "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed."(Gal. 1:6-8) and "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 John 4:1)
Therefore while I am not saying do not pray about the Book of Mormon, what I am saying is that we need to test it's source for even if it contains truth such as the Greek poem "Phenomena" which the Apostle Paul uses in Acts 17 it can not be considered Scripture unless it is true in its entirety, this includes its source. Therefore we are not to test the spirit that comes directly but the Prophet who brought this book into being. Deuteronomy chapters 13 and 18 deal with testing false prophets. Summed up there are two main conditions of a false prophet:
1)They preach a different gods than God
2) While speaking in the name of the Lord they prophecy something that does not come to pass.
Since we are also questioning the validity of the Bible we will work entirely off of the second principle of a false prophet.
For this I look to D&C 57 about the building of a temple in Joseph Smith's generation which still hasn't come to pass and D&C 114 about David W. Patten serving a mission the following spring yet this also did not come to pass since David W. Patten died in October of that very year.
Hence according to Deuteronomy 18 Joseph Smith is a false prophet and as such while there may be truth threaded in his works they are not Truth itself and as such must not be taken as scripture. Now if I ponder the Book of Mormon in light of these things and receive the same answer from the God who washed me in the blood he shed for me I am accused of not praying with a broken heart, contrite spirit, and sincere desire. In my understanding that would be why the Catholic church warns it's members from praying about the Book of Mormon because no matter what answer they get it is false biblically one way or another.

I am in no way or shape associated with any anti-Mormon affiliation nor am I a Catholic, I simply follow the God of yesterday, today, and forever, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jesus Christ. I know that Mormons love their testimonies so I will leave you with one, that is if you are first washed in the blood of the Redeemer, Jesus the Christ, examine the evidence, ponder it, and pray, He will make your path straight. For God is not a God of one dimension he does not simply use emotion to convey his message, he created all things to point to his glory, do not let man twist them to point to the deceiver.

"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 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 will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 7:21-23

Anonymous said...

For more information on the
building of the temple -- consider that the word "generation" is used in the bible similarly.

Also review the reference on David Patten -- that he was to prepare so "that he may perform a mission unto me". The details of the "twelve" and their mission was clarified in D&C 118 ( about 2 months later ).

André said...

So.... some say that god is not capable to create a direct link with us? That he does not help us when we ask for guidance? Not much faith left I guess....

Anonymous said...

your the devil himself

Anonymous said...

When I stop laughing BOM's do burn nice in my fireplace -Thanx

Anonymous said...

Type in prayer on the biblegateway.com(online bible) and the many ways to pray come up. God's ways are true and lead to satisfaction and I don't care which book it is written in (the ten commandents still bring fulfillment.) ALso, I find it interesting to note that in the bible baptism is always in the name of Jesus. And in full immersion. Peace in Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that is how to identify a false prophet I agree I read that in the bible. And remeber to keep are eyes on the commandments GOd wants us to follow (in the bible.) And who ever decided that the bible was not sufficent enough? is going against GOd's word which tells us to not add to his word. Peace in Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Jaredite ships are described as built following the direct personal instructions of God himself

the Brother of Jared looked at the finished boats and wondered for the first time, Whoa! How will we breathe in these things? He also noticed they were totally dark inside: "O Lord, in them there is no light; whither shall we steer?"

windows were not invented until thousands of years later, by a different civilization

Can you visualize adults, children, flocks and herds, rocking, tossing and flipping over, traveling that way for a year? Could you ride for 344 days and nights with your children on a boat, repeatedly buried in the depths of the sea with flocks and herds crashing over each other, with urine-soaked "litter box" material spilling into their food as the ship flopped upside down?

Kolo (means: one who seeks light) said...

I first heard about the "Don't pray about the Book of Mormon" thing from Walter Martin, "The Bible Answer Man" on the radio in California. I was a new "Christian" then and a member of The Jesus People. "One Way" and all that. Anyway Dr. Martain said there are three rules for handling Mormons. First: Never let one into your house. Ok, close your door. But if your trying to be a good Christian and you happen to let one in... then the Second Rule is: do not take, or more especially read, the Book of Mormon. Ok, close your mind. Now if for some stupid reason you grab hold and read the book... What ever you do... DON'T PRAY ABOUT IT.

I was shocked. It is one thing to close your door or even your mind. But to be told to close your heart, especially to God,,, Well that was just too much for me. How did Walter think I became a Christian in the first place.

I could not find a biblical reference to not pray about anything. It smacks in the face of "if any man lacks wisdom let him ask of God who gives to ALL men liberally". No matter who you are or what your circumstances might be. [New Testament]

That's right... after hearing that I prayed about the Book of Mormon even before I read it... as I prayed about the Bible, the Koran, the bhagavad gita , the Apocrypha the Psuedopigrapha and various other archaic books and gospels considered Holy by one people or another. Some things are right some things are not. What is the standard for testing??? Prayer!!! What else could it be.

Out of 11,000 religions in the world it is impossible to find out which, or which parts, of any of them are correct with the knowledge accrued by men. There is no worldly proof for any of them. There are no original manuscripts. Paper doesn't last long enough. And archaeologists change their tune with every new generation. Dinosaurs are no longer lizards. And even if there is proof, what did Jesus say to Thomas bout those who have to see to believe? If you don't know you should look it up.

I personally believe that God reserves the right to impart spiritual knowledge to each of his children on an individual and personal basis... So that we do not have to trust in "the Arm of Flesh". We are God's children. He loves us and wants us to talk to him as much as he wants to talk to us.

There is no other recourse but to pray SINCERELY to "The Father of our Spirits" in the name of his Son Jesus Christ for the light of the Holy Ghost to give us knowledge and wisdom. He promises not to let us down. He said "Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door shall be opened unto you. I don't know about "Warm and Fuzzy". But I can tell you about Calming Peace and a feeling of absolute Love. I just can't buy that the devil can speak that way. The devil speaks to intellect. God speaks to the heart.

"By their fruits you may know them"[New Testament] doesn't just apply to books. It applies to feelings and to people as well.

Qui Chang King said "what you think may not be what is." Look at the fruit of Mormons. Books, history and all they have brought out of it. They are human and not perfect. And just because a doctrine or practice does not agree with our learning, doesn't mean it is invalid. That is the thinking that murdered Jesus.

And he WAS Perfect!!!

Anonymous said...

How does one know that God exists? There is no scientific proof or logic behind it. It is by faith that we come to know God. Sometimes, faith can be enough.

Anonymous said...

The Bible says there's ONE God. Mormonism says there's many Gods. Do I need to pray to see if Mormonism is true when God already said there's only one? (Isa 43:10)

Love God with all your heart, MIND, soul, and strength. Use your head, Mormons!

Walrus said...

Matthew 3:
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Here you have an example of God the Father, the Holy Ghost, and Jesus Christ all being at the same place, same time, but as three separate beings..unless the Bible is lying.
The counter is that they are One...but what makes them One? The Son only does that which the Father commands..the Holy Ghost conveys the will of the Father and the Son after Christ ascended.

John 17:21
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Now, I'm just going off of the Bible here, but seems like Christ is praying to the Father that the disciples (what we all should be) should be one, just as the Son is One with the Father. The Son, is God, because he is One with the Father. If we can then be One with the Father and the Son..then we can share of the glory which the Father gave to the Son, which the Son gave unto the disciples.
"Oh but you cannot be like God..you can't be THAT perfect" Is the Atonement of Christ unable to make us perfected? Are we unable to be perfected in Christ? Unable to become one with Christ? Are we too sinful? Doesn't Christ's atonement purify us? If we can be perfected in Christ, we then can be glorified in him as well...unless Christ atonement is limited somehow.

Anonymous said...

but, there is a problem. Would you like to pray on the book Quran? och Bahagavad Gita? So it isn't strange at all!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so there's some grey-areas concerning the bees. Fair enough... However the elephants (!!!) and the horses that are mentioned in the BOM, are a little harder to explain away.