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

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"If Only 10% of These Charges, Are True, The Church is False" - The Fallacy of Quantity Versus Quality

In one of my first experiences in helping to teach the Gospel out here in Wisconsin, we had a new convert in our home who had been given volumes of anti-Mormon literature by her former pastor. She came in with a stack of books, relying especially upon a thick tome that I think was written by the Tanners. She asked one pointed question after another, all of which had reasonable answers, in my opinion. We dealt with them one at a time, turning to answers from the scriptures, when appropriate, or making points based on logic or other sources of information. After about 40 minutes of this, she grew impatient and said something like, "Look, maybe you'’ve got answers for the questions I'’ve raised, but there are hundreds more arguments in this book. How can the Church be true when there are so many arguments against it?" I said that itÂ’s easy to make arguments against anything. I reminded her of the days of early Christianity when there were numerous false witnesses against Christ, when there were paid witnesses who said that the tomb had been raided by Christians to fake the Resurrection, when all the elite religious leaders of the Jews spoke against Christ, and when the whole Roman world seemed to speak against Christ and the Christians. There were volumes and volumes of arguments against the Church back then, too. "If you were living them, how could you see past the massive arguments and recognize the divinity of the Son of God and the truth of Christianity?"

Unwilling to acknowledge the importance of a spiritual witness, she returned to her anti-Mormon books. I pointed out that while we had examined only a few of the arguments, the ones she had raised had reasonable answers, and some even demonstrated a lack of integrity on the part of the authors. Her answer surprised me: "I don'’t care. Even if only 10% of that book is true, that'’s enough to prove the Church is false."

Ah, the fallacy of quantity versus quality, a key tool in the Adversary'’s arsenal. Impress them with shear volume, wear them out with endless attacks, and many will succumb, overwhelmed by the image and impression of strength.

I recently received a letter from a former LDS member explaining why he and his wife were leaving the Church. In that letter, he acknowledged that there may be "excuses" to deal with each anti-Mormon argument when taken individually, but that taken together as a whole, the case against the Church is overwhelming. He then lists a barrage of arguments, mentioning DNA and the Book of Mormon, anachronisms, 4,000 changes in the Book of Mormon, racism, polygamy, the Temple and masonry, etc. -- problems that each can be dealt with if one takes the time to understand the issues and examines the assumptions behind them. Even then, one must be willing to recognize that there always will be some gaps in our understanding and that no amount of evidence and study will remove the need for faith or replace the power of a witness from the Holy Ghost. But there are answers, sometimes powerful answers that turn apparent weaknesses in the Book of Mormon, for example, into strong evidence for authenticity. But such insights do not come from a superficial glance at the text and related literature. Sadly, he has become another victim of the fallacy of quantity versus quality.

There are tough arguments, indeed. DNA and the Book of Mormon is a great example of this. And for a meaningful understanding of the issues, one must identify assumptions and evaluate information from a variety of perspectives. In so doing, one can come away with a better understanding of what the Book of Mormon is and what it is not. But the Adversary would have us just fold based upon a superficial examination: "Yikes, a guy with a Ph.D. says the Book of Mormon is phooey. Indians are Jews -- oh my!"

The Gospel is true, and the Book of Mormon is a divine, authentic book of scripture, in spite of whatever mountains of books and brochures against it the enemy can mount. And Jesus is the Son of God, no matter how many false witnesses and Ph.D.s and celebrities take a stand against Him. It'’s not about who can shout the loudest and longest, but Whose gentle voice we listen for amidst the senseless shouting of men.

128 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is pretty interesting to me. Six years ago I got married to my girlfriend of 4 years who was a member of the church. I always figured I would probably join the church.

While dating I had taken the discussions on and off. After we got married I started taking them again. I would go online and read quite a bit of anti-Mormon literature. Then I would always go check your lds faq site for the alternate side to all the attacks.

Eventually I came to look at the problem of the volumes of anti-Mormon literature in the opposite way as this person you are describing. Because once you investigate 10, 20, 30 claims against Mormons and find that they are all wrong you realize that all of the claims are going to be wrong and it is not worth a ton of time and energy to look into each spurious claim.

Thank goodness for the LDS FAQ site you created though. Otherwise it may have been hard for me to realize there is another side to the arguments.

Timothy said...

Of course you have identified a logical fallacy. The first comment on this posting shows the flip-side of the coin.

Here's to hoping that you continue to evenly apply your logical analysis not only to the arguments against the Church, but to the arguments for the church as well.

Brando said...

I agree with what you are saying. My parents are in the process of having their names removed from the records of the church. They site areas of church history & what they think is a problem with DNA & the Book of Mormon, as their reasons for desiring to leave the church. I find it very interesting how easy it is for someone to lose the presence of the hold ghost, when your thoughts are dwelling on the supposed problems with the church and the teachings of the church. Everyone has a different perspective on everything, but I've come to learn from personal experinces that those people that write anti materical about the church and the leaders of the church are usally only telling half the story & aren't explaing the whole idea that the person was talking about. I would ask all people that are having problems or issues with the church to reflect upon the personal real expierences that they have had with the priesthood power and in church that their testimonies were built upon.

This morning in my scripture study, my wife and I read the vision of the tree of life in 1st Nephi. The part at the end were Lehi and Nephi saw the people who had partken of the fruit and then falt ashamed and felt their way to the great and spacious building has particular reference to this topic.

Floyd the Wonderdog said...

How do you suppose the people feel that left the church because of Mark Hoffman’s forged Joseph Smith III patriarchal blessing? Do you think that they came back to the church when it was revealed that the blessing was a forgery? Probably not. They found (or fabricated) another reason.

How was it put in father Lehi’s vision? Some are blinded by mists, others gave up, and still others were ashamed.

What I’ve found is that some people are looking for a reason to leave the church or to never accept the truth. If you run into a really honest person they will admit that they don’t want to live the covenants. But they don’t want to admit to themselves or others that they don’t want to be good people; they want to put the blame on someone or something else. So, they latch onto American Indian DNA or the bishop’s personality as an excuse rather than admit that it’s actually their own choice.

But that’s just my own opinion. Although I seem to remember a quote from the Brothers Karamazov about how some people actually like to be offended.

annegb said...

I'm with Floyd, some people feel important coming into the church, then they feel important leaving. It's all about them for them and they totally miss the point of existence.

Doug Forbes said...

I suspect that niether Southerton or any other person has ever left the Church because the were convinced by evidence of any sort. Science simply does not offer surety and finality. If Southerton really lost his testimony because of MtDNA, then he would at the very least be having serious thoughts about reversing that decision Behar found that some Ashkenazi Jews have the Q-P36 lineage deemed to be a founder lineag in Native Americans. He would also have been swayed by Shen who found Q-P36 in 5% of Iraqi Jews. None of this sways Southerton. No scientific finding would ever sway Southerton's current anti-Mormon posture. The DNA issue and his book were all about money.

AlexG said...

The most important witness that we need to strive is the witness of the Holy Ghost. I have read some criticisms against the Church, some quite laughable, some a bit more serious. In the end, most of them are patently false. The sheer volume speaks nothing, especially when the commonality lacks credibility or presents half-truths.

I also have benefited from Jeff's FAQ pages. They strike me with the right amount of humour/seriousness. The information is presented with a well researched progression.

Bookslinger said...

Anon at 10:11,
My reasoning was more along the lines of yours. Every claim of the anti's that I researched was debunked, so the "shortcut" I took was that the rest were debunkable.

And the fact that the anti's keep recycling debunked arguments says something about their motives.

John said...

*Somewhat irrelevant (and yes, I know this and am posting it anyway.)*

The funniest anti accusation I've ever seen was Decker's claim that the spires on the DC temple are positioned so as to impale the descending Savior at the 2nd coming.

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but can anyone trump that one?

Walker said...

Did you hear that we worship Italian angels?

Would you like-a some-a Moroni noodles for dinner?

Ryan said...

My favorite:

The reason Mormons have so many kids is so that we'll have plenty of people to seed new planets when the Church commands us to begin interplanetary colonization.

(I always wondered what they use all those floors of the Church Office building for -- its a secret space program).

Mormanity said...

Ah, that explains food storage! Why a one-year supply? Because Mormon space ships will need lots of food for the interstellar voyage. Any good planets to populate within one light-year? As for me and my house, we're sticking with Mars.

ambarwarrior said...

Ha ha ha!! That is funny. I have heard those things too. On a more serious note, someone real close to me was "antied". It hurt that they believed nonsense rather than just simply reading the scriptures. After two years of watching me faithfully attend church, he no longer thinks we are some weird cult. He has decided we are good people who are confused about theology. Hey, it is a step up!

That One Guy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
That One Guy said...

Floyd, do I have to be a member of the Church in order to be a good person?

For my whole life, except for the last five, I've felt like I was being a good person in spite of the Church.

I say that with all due respect, but with no less weight.

leeuniverse said...

What's funny is that the anti's don't realize that barely .01% of their charges are even true. They ALL use various levels of truth to tell various levels of lie.

If the anti only knew that there is in fact SO MUCH evidence showing that the Church is literally True, that it is FAR beyond a shadow of a doubt. In truth, the only "shadows" are those created by the anti-mind and spirit.

They think the evidence swings on their side, we know it swings on ours. However, not simply swings, it's the Fullness. Likely the only religion on the planet in which it's members as a whole unequivically proclaim every aspect of it Gods.

Anyway, an objective study of both sides will alway's result in the Church as the winner. All who say otherwise, aren't in fact objective when they do their study for their minds and hearts are already set elsewhere, not fully humble, meek, and teachable as a little child. I know this from experience and my own observation of human behavior, attitudes and thinking patterns. It's a clear fact, but of course only seeable by those who have the eyes to see. Telling an anti this would be talking to a wall, like telling a liberal that Bush is actually a good guy and doing almost the best that can be done in the circumstance as a leader of a Republic rather than a dictator. If he was a dictator, I'm sure he would have done more that is needed to be done to solve Americas problems. But, when you live in the real world, there has to sometimes be compromise.

Anonymous said...

i find it hard to believe that this would be a discussion on lds faith if the auther removes comments... could you please summarize or paraphrase what 'that one guy' said that was removed? I am curious

Mormanity said...

The author of the comment removed it, not me. What's so hard to believe? People write things, then change their mind. When I remove something, it can either vanish completely or say "removed by administrator" as I recall. I remove comments that use profanity, that provide links to sites I feel are inappropriate, that are just spam, that are attempts to hijack the thread to a completely unrelated topic like politics, or that are especially nasty. That shouldn't be unbelievable, either. Discussion of a post does not entitle people to say anything at all without bounds or propriety. As the proprietor, I can impose some rules here, and I do.

Anonymous said...

I keep a list of reasons why I should go inactive. The list is quite long and at any time I can pick a reason to give up on the church. Almost any reason will work, I have seen most of them in other people. Having converted from protestantism, where would I go once I have give up on the endurance thing. The church offers the only system of answers to life's questions and the only one that bestows the spirit almost every week saying it is true.

Anonymous said...

The DNA argument is senseless to me, too, because:
The Book of Mormon is only an abridgement of a hundreth of the writings of some of what was written by a few people over a relativley short span of time in a (probably) small geographical area, etc etc, and the anti's know that.
For all we know others were here before or since (lost tribes, anyone?); anyone with Jewish DNA could have been hopelessly out-bred or killed off.
We also know God can apparently change the color of your skin to suit his covenant keeping, and I'll bet he'd do it with a logical physical changing of the body's chemistry, like (gasp) alter one's DNA.
And of course, man's science could be, dare I say it, less than perfect.
It's kind of like the dinosaur argument. Maybe they're millions of years old, maybe not. Maybe they originated here (creation practice Earth?), maybe from an "old earth", maybe they came from somewhere else completely.
"Here is matter unorganized, Michael. Don't worry about a few bones in the dirt. Let's go make a world for us"

Love this blog, BTW

Anonymous said...

I would just like to point out that the Q gene (and it's decendants eg Q-p36)came from the Altay mountains. True it is a Preamerican gene, it is still an ASIAN gene. I would put the occasional popping up of the gene in a few Jews (and quite likely a few other ethnicities) down to them being neighbors to the area of origin for this gene.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, you said "The Gospel is true, and the Book of Mormon is a divine, authentic book of scripture,". The thing i dont understand, why so many people are questioning it. How come? You are calling them anti-mormon. I think these people are not members of satan clan. Probably they are telling something, maybe they are angels of God. A divine Book that is like a big 747 plane that engineers or people are questioning it. After reading your sites, it tells me something, a Book that is leading to nowhere or a plane that has no place to land. Note: I am not from USA, I am not a member, I try to find a BoM which i could not find nor buy.

Wow...a divine book which you cannot find nor buy. Amazing, God made a divine book that is not available to a very poor, a very ordinary person not from USA. Does God really want a divine book not to be available. One more thing, why Joseph is selling a divine book? So this book is only for affleunt person the time Joseph was selling it. A divine book that is not for everybody.

Anonymous said...

I imagine that God himself could come to Jeff and tell him that he was wrong and Jeff wouldn't accept it.

Anonymous said...

are there any strawmen left here for me to throw on the fire?

Anonymous said...

So what are these solid arguments that we have against the anti's? I've been doing a lot of reading at the FARMS site and am having great difficulty finding specific evidence to combat the anti's. Could someone please share their ideas on this, specific, not general. I need help so I can intelligently discuss the issues with those who attack.

HB said...

At 7:13 PM, May 09, 2006, Doug Forbes said...
I suspect that niether Southerton or any other person has ever left the Church because the were convinced by evidence of any sort. Science simply does not offer surety and finality. If Southerton really lost his testimony because of MtDNA, then he would at the very least be having serious thoughts about reversing that decision Behar found that some Ashkenazi Jews have the Q-P36 lineage deemed to be a founder lineag in Native Americans. He would also have been swayed by Shen who found Q-P36 in 5% of Iraqi Jews. None of this sways Southerton. No scientific finding would ever sway Southerton's current anti-Mormon posture. The DNA issue and his book were all about money.

His book was all about money? Must we stoop to such menial assumptions? I would also like to see the projected time for divergence on these Q-P36 alleles. I am not the expert on DNA. But I'm savvy enough to realize that the simple fact of finding these alleles doesn't mean much without further understanding. Take for example a recent argument that X haplogroups show evidence of other influences in native american genetics. The most recent estimate I have seen for this divergence is 12,000 years.
I am just simply trying to defend the heritage and history of the Native American people.

Anonymous said...

People migrate. Genetics is an exact science in some ways, very imprecise in others. Tracing of a particular gene to a place on earth is iffy at best. People migrate, intermarry, become extinct, etc. All that genetics can affirm is that there is a common gene, and that they think (give what they DO know about migrations, etc.) that it might have originated in a particular place.

As has been said before: science, like religion, requires faith at its foundation. In the case of religion, it is a faith in God or Jesus Christ; in the case of science, it is faith in method, and in a handful of axioms, but it is faith none the less.

Anonymous said...

If 10 % of the anti-morman charges are true then that raises serious concerns about the veracity of joseph smith and the BOM. That's really the answer to the question. As a catholic married to a mormon, the fundamental truth that faces me daily is which of us is right. Me the catholic, or her the mormon. The answer to that is that we are both right.

To preface some of my response, let me first say that I have taken the discussions on three occasions. Twice with my wife, once on my own. I have prayed at length about which direction is right for me. The answer has always been to stay catholic.

I've read some of the anti-mormon stuff, I've read some of the pro-mormon stuff. I've tried to read the BOM but have always felt I was reading a poorly re-written version of the old testament everytime I've picked the book up.

I've read a great deal of catholic literature and have always felt God in the writings. I've tried to play mormon hymns for my wife on the piano, but always struggle to find the peace in the music, it just isn't there for me. I play catholic music, and there's a peace and calm for me in the playing, the notes always sound right and peaceful.

I spend a great many hours pondering faith and God, and what is truth. I find peace in the writings of the catholic church.

For our home, there's always some discord about religion. To try and keep peace, I go to my wife's service every Sunday but find no comfort or peace in the mormon service. Its empty and lacking for me. I also go to mass on Sundays, and there I find peace and comfort, I hear God speak and feel his presence.

With all these things in mind, I would add to this discussion a few observations I've come to realize about God's truth.

First, God can make all things possible, he's God and nothing is impossible for him.

Second, God does reveal different truths to different people. As a catholic, I hear all kinds of anti-mormon talk the basic gyst of which is that you guys aren't christian and you're polytheists and racist. I have my concerns about those things, but knowing my wife the way that I know her, I highly doubt that she is any less christian than I am just because she's mormon and I'm catholic. She actually is one of the role models I look to in trying to be a good christian. I struggle with christian behaviour as I'm sure we all do, but I don't question my faith. God's truth for me is that the catholic church is the right path.

That brings me to the third truth I've learned. God puts us on the paths he wants us to follow. Free agency is an idea and a concept, but ultimately, God does steer the ship. Look at St. Paul's life. He spent it persecuting christians until one day God knocked him off his horse (literally)and put him back on the path of Christ. St. Paul became one of the strongest advocates of christianity ever as a result of God knocking sense into him.

Jonah is another example, he didn't want to go to Ninevah, God made him go. Jonah ultimately did not have a choice. If we are called by God, he will keep at us until we follow him.

I'm diverging a bit here, but I think you get my point. God has a plan for each of us, he does everything he can to get us to follow that plan, sometimes even knocking us down to get our attention.

In my journey I have found that my truths are not the same as my wife's, but that said, it does not mean either of us are wrong. It just means God is giving us each a different truth. Our role as christians, isn't to criticize each other's faith. As was pointed out to me in another posting I submitted, there's enough dirt to throw around on every church. We really have to work on tolerance.

I rely heavily on St. Paul's teachings in Romans when I think about our roles and tolerance. Incidentally, part of why I don't find truth in the BOM is that there are a great many contradictions to St. Paul's teachings in there. That said, St. Paul really gives great guidance about supporting each other in our development as christians. Read Romans 14, 15, and 16. For some reason, these books and teachings of St. Paul's seem to get over looked by most christian faiths and I've never figured out why. Maybe because tolerance is too hard for most people.

The general synopsis of those books is that it doesn't matter that I don't eat meat on Fridays during lent and you do. St Paul tells us to that if I don't eat meat on Friday as part of my faith, then a true christian will help me to keep true to that part of my faith by their actions. The same holds true to me, meaning if you eat meat on friday as part of your faith, then I as a christian should be helping you keep true to your christian faith.

I'm using the meat as an example because its a pretty well understood custom of catholics during lent. It isn't meant as a literal example. The bigger global picture is that as christians we are called upon to support each other in developing and following the tenents of our faith, not beat each other over the head with the doctrines of our respective churches claiming one is truer than the other.

In the end, if we don't follow Christ's example, and try as hard as we possibly can to live as he did, we won't get back to God regardless of what our respective religion is. The converse of that is true too. If we do try as hard as we possibly can to follow Christ's path, and live as he did, and believe in him, then regardless of what the name of our church is we will return to God. That's the promise made to us by Christ when he says, I am the way the truth and the life, no man can come to the father except my me. Enjoy your spiritual journey and stop bashing each other over the head with doctrine.

Anonymous said...

please disregard the above typo, that should be "by me" not "my me." :-)

Mormanity said...

Anon @ 11:17, thanks for your viewpoint. I appreciate your perspective and your faith. Yes, ultimately, it all depends on our willingness to follow Christ. May our paths converge at His feet.

Thanks for dropping by!

Nigel said...

Respectfully:

If 10% of a prophet's words are false then you have a false prophet.

All other debate after this is meaningless.

Don't forget, it only takes a very small amount of poison to ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly good meal.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and your FAQ site. forgive the vernacular, but it rocks. ^_^.

I'm 19 and preparing to serve a mission, I'm the mission leader in my small branch and I explain to people who have arguements against the church after answering some of their questions. What is faith?

Faith is the EVIDENCE of things not seen.

Faith is the evidence of the truthfullness of this work. You bear a testimony of things you hope to be true, and the spirit confirms this witness to you.

There are some things man can just not teach, the spirit much replace the evidence of men. And just as a sparrow will never understand the intracacies and details of politics on Capitol Hill (though i'm sure many on that hill don't understand either) we will not understand some things in this life.

Anonymous said...

One question that I've had recently about being a member or leaving the church. Why is a "testimony" of the church's truthfulness a good enough reason to join and stay in the church, but not good enough a reason to leave?

I hear members say all the time that they just KNOW the church is true because the "feel" it, and everyone oohs and ahhs and agrees. But when I say that I left the church, I'm expected to give a million reasons, all of which are refuted and countered?

Why can't my own testimony, my own feeling that the church ISN'T true, be good enough?

James said...

anon, I would hope that they ask you why because they care about you and your salvation. I will not ask you why. But wish you luck on your journey to find the truth, I have found mine in The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous of May 10, 2007,

The fact of the matter is, your testimony that the Book of Mormon isn't true, and that what the LDS church teaches is false, is actually good enough. The reality is, no member of the mormon church who really believes what their church teaches can let you exercise your own testimony or revelation that the LDS church isn't true.

Entrenched in the very teachings of the LDS Church is a directive to convert everyone because only the LDS Church has the truth. Its an arrogant entitlement that runs to the very core of the value system of the LDS Members. The idea, conceptually is, from an LDS perspective, we are the only ones who have the truth, why would anyone leave except that they've done something wrong or lack faith. God doesn't actually work that way, doesn't like that kind of entitlment, has been known to humble the haughty, and does in fact answer everyone's prayers whether they be LDS or a christian faith. God does bestow blessing on us all, regardless of what the LDS church teaches. But the LDS Church from a doctrinal perspective, can't leave you alone to exercise your free will.

Hope that answers your question. In terms of this blog site, if 10% of what the LDS Church teaches isn't true, then the church itself isn't true. In fact, more than 25% of what the LDS Church teaches has actually been proven false.

Here's how I reach that conclusion. The LDS Church recognizes 4 sacred texts: the Bible (King James Version), the BOM, D & C, and the Pearl of Great Price. As a matter of proven fact and history, the Pearl of Great Price has been proven to be false, and nothing more than an Egyptian Burial Scroll from a time frame somewhere in the vicinty of Christ's time. That's one whole sacred text, 25 % of the LDS Churches teachings that have been proven false. Yet people still believe.

Following that reasoning though, the only one of the mormon texts that can actually be verified to be true, is the one the LDS Church claims has been mistranslated and distorted over the years, the Bible. Every place in the bible has been verified to have existed; some of those places still exist even today. There's documentation to show that Peter, Paul, the prophets, King David, and a plethora of other folk in the bible actually existed. There's even documentation to support a conclusion that Jesus existed. Yet the LDS Church says this book is mistranslated. There's not one shred of evidence that any of the people or places in the BOM ever existed. There's is ample evidence that none of those people or places ever existed, yet people still believe.

I suspect that part of the problem the LDS Church is having, is they are starting with the proposition that the King James Version of the bible is the most accurately translated. It is probably one of the versions of the bible most used, but that doesn't mean its the most accurately translated. The LDS Church ignores the Douay Reims Bible that was translated at roughly the same time as the King James Bible. The Douay Reims version though was translated directly from the Latin texts, the King James Bible was not. But interestingly enough, when you compare the language and text side by side, there's virtually no difference in the writing style and the context of what is said. In fact, comparitively, the substance of each of the various bibles does not significantly change in a side by side comparison. The LDS Church doesn't let that information get out.

Another problem is that the LDS Church says the bible isn't accurately translated, but the BOM is. Well if that's true, then why use the bible at all. Aren't you just misleading people?

This whole blog spot starts with the proposition that the LDS Church is true, and that if you investigate the anti-mormon claims against the mormons, you'll find that these claims are false. The problem with that reasoning is that some of the claims aren't false. Some of them are true and proven true. But an even bigger problem with mormon teachings and doctrine, is there is just too much explaining that needs to be done.

One must explain away polygamy. Then one must explain away the mark of Cain doctrine. Then you have to explain why Joseph Smith hid hid multiple marriages, yet the LDS Church proudly documents and displays every one of them on its website. One explanation after the other, until there are so many, all one could do is question.

God actually defies explanation, and withstands all scrutiny. The LDS Church does not. That is the biggest problem. Joseph Smith can not withstand scrutiny when his behavior is looked at closely. He was an adulterer, a racist, a fabricator, a master conman, and he has duped millions of people. Yet people still believe in spite of at minimum 1/4 of his teachings being proven false.

Faith is the evidence of the unseen. But faith in a book that has been proven to be false, and a prophet that has been proven to be little more than a liar, is misplaced faith. Jesus has never been proven to be a liar, he is incapable of lying. The bible has never been proven to be false, in fact, much of what is in there has been proven to true. The Book of Mormon, D & C, and the Pearl of Great Price can not make the same claims...much of these have been proven false.

I've rambled for quite sometime now, this is a passionate issue for everyone on all sides, but back to May 10, 2007 anonymous' question. Your testimony about what is true or not true, is in fact good enough. You don't have to explain yourself to anyone, you don't have to say why you've left the LDS Church, they have no right to ask, they aren't the only ones who receive answers to prayers or blessings from God. LDS Church members are just as unworthy of God's love as the rest of us. Its by his grace, and his grace alone that any of us has hope. That is the ultimate truth.

Good Day.

Anonymous said...

If you dont believe that is fine, it doesnt have to be justified. I have many inactive friends and yet they are still my friends and I do not question their reasons.
Prove BOM isnt true. Dont just stay it is proven not to be true, justify your arguments with facts please.
I do believe the bible is true, why because of faith as I believe the BOM etc are true, why because of faith.
There are many who argue the Bible isnt true and if you read these books alone and watch these programmes alone you would almost feel convinced but there are always two sides and any such issues should be balanced otherwise people can be mislead.
So saying the Bible is proven (and yes I agree as I disagree with your comments that BOM etc is proven as untrue)some would argue isnt so.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

You are absolutely correct, if one looks only at the negative literature on the bible or the BOM, or for that matter, anything, one's viewpoint can easily become slanted. You issue the challenge of proving the Bible true, well I say prove the BOM true. You can no more do that than I can prove the Bible true. But, what can be shown, and its actually the point I was making, is that there is factual support for the bible. The cities in the bible actually exist, some even still exist. The people in the bible, actually existed...Peter, Paul, Moses, Pilate, Barabas, Herod, etc. The fact that there are substantiated facts in the bible is what lends credibility to the bible. Where is your factual evidence with the BOM? I realize its about faith, and trust, but, when there are no facts to show some credibility in the BOM, how could you trust it to be true.

That's even more problematic when you consider that the prophet you follow, Joseph Smith's life was frought with examples of how not to live as a christian. He used seerstones, an occult practise. He told stories, and was charged with frauding people. He claimed he could locate buried treasure. He instituted polygamy claiming it was an edict from God. He instituted racism claiming it was an edict from God. These are facts documented in history books.

You say there are two sides to every story. You are correct, and in fact in many cases there are more than two sides to consider. When I say that 25 percent of your church's teaching have been proven false, its from a consideration of both the good and the bad materials put out there about your church. Its from a careful, and prayerful consideration of the BOM, and from a taking of the missionary discussions, and attending your services as well as my own, and ultimately from listening to the answers I have recieved from the Holy Spirit.

I suggest to you that if you choose to believe the BOM, and put your faith it in, then that is great. You're not going to go too wrong trying to live that lifestyle. But, don't do so without reading and considering all the literature put out from both sides. What you will find if you do that, is that your church slants the literature just as much as those who put out what is considered anti-mormon literature. Ask yourself why that is? Why does your church, if it truly Christ's church, engage in the same practise of slanting, and misrepresenting, and distorting of the facts just as much as those opposed to your church?

catholic defender

Anonymous said...

Catholic Defender-

Name one piece of evidence for the Book of Exodus.

Anonymous said...

Shall I start with the Red Sea, I believe its still there. How about the Sinai Peninsula, seems like that's still around. How about Eygpt, ever hear of it? Or better yet, how about the entire population of Jews that are talked about from Exodus on through the New Testatment. Ever see any evidence of Nephites or Lamanites documented throughout history outside your references to them in the Book of Mormon.

Catholic Defender

Freshman said...

Catholic defender -- as a freshman college student of philosophy who stumbled across this website, I would like to point out that you are relying on a logical fallacy.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

For hundreds of years no evidence of the planet Pluto existed. Yet, it did exist even though no one realized it was there.

In order to convince me, it is not enough to point out a lack of evidence. You must point out a strong evidence against the existence of Nephites and Lamanites.

One of the simpler atheist arguments is that there is no concrete evidence supporting the existence of God. Since you seem to be a Catholic, you might answer that argument the same way -- "I cannot prove that God exists, but you cannot disprove HIS existence either."

Having an enemy without weapons is very different from having a weapon yourself. If you really want to strike a telling blow, please arm yourself and do so. If you cannot provide a weapon for yourself, then you and your opponent are equally poorly prepared.

Anonymous said...

Good Day Freshman,

You surmise correctly that I am catholic. That's probably obvious from the psuedonymn I use. What may not be obvious is the point I was making in my last response. I'll try to explain without offending or condescending. If I do, I apologize in advance.

The question as posed to me regarding proving the events in Exodus doesn't hinge on evidence so much as it hinges on credibility. Evidence doesn't prove or disprove a fact, but what it does do is lend credibility to the existence of a fact, therefore allowing one to believe a fact to be true or untrue, depending on what the question is. I don't disagree with your postulation that a lack of evidence does not mean the facts aren't true. As I stated, evidence only lends credibility. So, when the question posed to me is to identify evidence of the events documented in Exodus, then the response is, this is the evidence.

Let me explain further. We can only know the events in Exodus to be true by praying and having faith. But, the existence of evidence, lends credibility to our belief. For example, its much easier to have faith in the events in Exodus having occurred because we have documented, independent evidence outside the bible to draw on. We know that Eygpt existed at the time when Moses was to have walked the earth. We know that the Jewish people existed because the Old Testament, among other things is a history of the Jewish people. We also know the Jewish people existed because we still have Jewish people in this world today. We know that the Red Sea exists, and we know that the Red Sea was around at the time of Moses. There is in fact a Mount Sinai, and a desert in the area. We know that the Phillistines, and the Persians, and the Samaritans existed. These are all facts documented not just by the Jewish Peoples, but by the Arabic peoples as well. Look at the Talman and the Koran. Both are history books as well as religious texts. Look at the records kept by the Romans, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Persians. All of these are independent sources of information to draw upon that document evidence of the events that occurred in Exodus. Ultimately it still comes down to faith, but our faith in the events of Exodus is justified by the existence of tangible evidence. Its about credibility.

So lets analyze the same facts as it pertains to the BOM. Outside Joseph Smith saying the Lamanites and Nephites and the Jaredites existed, there's no independent documentation of such peoples ever walking the face of the earth. Only Joseph Smith documents the Hill Cumorough and the cities identified in the BOM. No one independent does. Frankly there should be ruins, or records documented by the Incas, or the Aztecs, or the Mayans. But there's nothing. All we have is Joseph Smith's say so. So in order to believe in the BOM you necessarily have to consider Joseph Smith's credibility and your own experience with faith to draw the conclusion that its true. From my vantage point, its Joseph's lack of credibility that leads to a disbelief in the BOM.

You're talking about a man who is immortalized and martyrized by the Mormon faith, but who history documents was anything but an upstanding member of society known for his veracity. His own mother says Joseph Smith had problems telling the truth. There are court records documenting Joseph's arrests for lying to people. Additionally, the ways in which Joseph Smith is said to have translated the BOM aren't consistent with the ways God has always provided revelation to his prophets. You don't see Isiah or Elijah using seer stones. You do however see Egyptian Mystics using seerstones. None of that proves the BOM to be untrue, but, it sure calls into question the credibility of the document as well as the source.

So just as I can not prove the Bible true, you can not prove the BOM to be true. But, what I can do, that you can not, is point to credible tangible evidence that lends credibility to the truth of the Bible. Ultimately both of us must pray and follow our hearts on the matter since the ultimate answer is a question of faith. But I'll trust my faith and belief in the Bible, a book I know to be true, over any trust in the BOM, a book with dubious and questionable credibility and no tangible evidence to the events contained therein.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

What is Truth?

Physical Evidence = Credibility? To a very small degree in spiritual matters. Maybe it helps remove doubt. However, the historicity of the Bible does not in any way prove its authenticity, much less its truth. For example, the verification of people or places mentioned in the Bible (from other sources), such as the Red Sea or Egypt or Jerusalem or Moses or Paul, in no way proves the supernatural incidents recorded about them. Existence does not prove truth. Ruins of Egyptian temples don't prove that Egyptian gods are real. Prove the Burning Bush or Paul's visions. It can't be done. Archeological "evidence" is not proof of truth and is certainly not a solid basis for a testimony of the truth. God uses witnesses, not evidence. The only way to know spiritual truth is through the medium that God the Father has appointed, The Holy Ghost. And He will bear witness of His Son and the truth. You hear or read the words of a witness of the truth and then you have to get your own personal witness. You have to exercise some faith. Listening, reading, studying/seeking, pondering, praying/asking, humbling yourself, changing your life to live what you learn, putting the truth to the test by living it (this is "knocking"). Too many people want the Truth but are unwilling to pay the price for it. The Lord said:

Matt 7:7-8
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.

John 7:16-18
16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.
18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

John 16:13
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.

Belief coupled with spiritual effort, faith, is required. The truth is not relative either. I'm not talking about people's feelings and perspectives about issues. I'm talking about eternal, spiritual realities. True doctrine, not opinion. God is real and lives. He is Our Father in Heaven. Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son. God sent Jesus Christ to redeem us. He is the only way to return to the Father. We are free to choose: to follow Him and believe in Him or not. Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. You must be baptized in water and receive the Holy Ghost by God's priesthood authority in order to enter His Kingdom. The Kingdom of God on the earth today is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The President of this Church is a living prophet of God on the earth today. As of this writing it is Gordon B. Hinckley.

These are simple statements of truth. You can't prove or disprove them. They can only be verified by a spiritual witness, the witness of the Holy Ghost. It is the only sure witness. He will confirm the words of the Lord's servants. But there are many false witnesses too. Can you quote a bunch of people who think Joseph Smith was a charlatan? Sure. You can even find signed affidavits that accuse him of all kinds of terrible things. Some of those signees were members of the mobs who murdered Mormons, trampled on the Constitution, and forced our people to flee to Utah. Explain that. Romans and Jews opposed the Lord Jesus Christ very similarly. They were wrong; they lied; and they killed, too. The spiritual reality is that there is an Enemy, the Devil, Satan, and he stirs up the hearts of men to anger against the truth.

The Book of Mormon contains its own test of truth:
Moro 10:3-7
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 hearts.
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.
6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true; wherefore, nothing that is good denieth the Christ, but acknowledgeth that he is.
7 And ye may know that he is, by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God; for he worketh by power, according to the faith of the children of men, the same today and tomorrow, and forever.

I paid the price and have received this witness for myself by the power of Holy Ghost. I know it is true. The witness of the Holy Ghost is not just an emotional feeling. It is powerful, unmistakable, undeniable, incontrovertible, cannot be counterfeited - Love, Light, Joy, Peace, Goodness. When you experience it, you will know it.

DNA has not disproven The Book of Mormon. There are ruins in North, Central, and South America that coincide with Book of Mormon timeframes.

Here are some interesting articles on the topic:

http://www.the-book-of-mormon.com/photos-page3.html

http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?id=1&table=transcripts

http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=25&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9ib29rb2Ztb3Jtb252aWV3LnBocA==

Anonymous said...

Jesef,

You're correct that the fact that there is tangible evidence that the peoples listed in the Bible existed doesn't prove the Supernatural events in the Bible to be true. But, they do make them more likely to be true. Let me use this example.

Does a man holding a smoking gun over a dead body mean that the man killed the dead person? No, not by itself. All you have here in this example is credible, circumstantial evidence that the man committed the murder. To prove he killed the person you need more information. So you must ask the next questions to reach the truth. For example, you need to know how the person died, when did the man with the gun arrive, were there other people there....you need to ask more questions to reach the truth. The same holds true when one is examining the truth of the Bible.

To know the events in the Bible to be true, ultimately requires faith. But that faith has to be founded upon something credible we can believe in. When you're talking about the events in the Bible, the only credible facts you have to work with are those that I've previously mentioned. It still comes down to faith, do you believe it to be true or not? Do you believe in God or don't you? Do you believe Christ died for our sins or don't you? Those questions can only be answered by faith.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit will provide answers regarding the truth however, in order for that to happen, one must first have faith and trust that the Holy Spirit actually exists. Without that faith as a starting point, no one would ask the necessary questions.

I happen to agree with you on some points. I absolutely believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. There's no question that all three exist and are acting in our lives. Of that I have no doubt. I absolutely agree that we can all find our answers through thoughtful prayer and exploration of our faith. Where I whole heartedly disagree with you is in the truth of the Book of Mormon, the prophecy of Joseph Smith, the prophetic nature of Gordon Hinckley, and the various other Book of Mormon teachings and standard works.

None of those things are true. I say that with respect for your faith and the revelations you have recieved. But, before you go suggesting that I read Moroni, and James, and meet with the missionaries and pray with an open heart and mind, you should consider whether or not I have done those things. The truth is, I have. I've taken the discussions on three occasions, I've prayed with an open mind and heart many times over. In my circumstances being married to a mormon, but being catholic myself, the easiest path to adopt would be to simply convert and follow the LDS Faith. The problem with that is that I would be lying to God and myself to say that I believe the BOM to be true, that JS was a prophet, and that this church is true, because I do not believe that it is. I won't lie to God, nor should anyone.

In praying, and seeking my answers, I have reached a few revelations that I know to be true. First, God answers all of our prayers regardless of where we say our prayers. He is part of all of our lives. He is with us at all times in all things. This is a believe I have come to know by experience, not just faith. But, some of that belief is actually in direct contradiction to mormon teachings. Therefore, mormon teachings can not be true.

Second, the Holy Spirit is with us in all things at all times. I believe that to be true because I have always felt his presence both in times of trouble and in times of peace. So, since I know from experience and faith that the Holy Spirit is always with me, and I am not mormon, it stands to reason that the mormon teachings can not be true.

Third, there are too many Saints throughout the history of Christianity who have given their lives in support of Christianity to say that any form of apostacy occurred. Many of those persons died so that the faith could survive. Belief in an apostacy would mean those folks died in vain. Therefore, to me, no apostacy occurred.

Fourth, all of us can return to God if we follow Christ's path regardless of what we call our faith. Mormons I think have this arrogant view that they offer something not found in other christian faiths because the mormon faith offers "us families for time and all eternity." Consider that doctrine as it relates to other faiths. In order for that teaching to come true, there's still a need for our family members to follow Christ's path; if they do not, then we won't spend eternity with them. So what the mormon faith offers with the promise that we are sealed to our families for time and all eternity amounts to little more than an illusory promise. That promise is contingent upon each of us following Christ's, which is essentially something all the other Christian faiths offer. What that means from this perspective is that you're not offering anything I don't already have, except for the BOM and other standard works which have dubious origins.

I could actually go on for many pages about why I find your church to hold false doctrine's and teachings, but to do so would serve little purpose in building up either of our faith. Suffice to say that when I have prayed about the truth, and when I have examined my faith and what I have come to believe from my experiences with God, the answers I have recieved about your faith are that it is not true. Your church holds no truth for me. Its wonderful that it holds truth for you, but my path lies on a different route.

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Catholic Defender,

Thanks for your response. I believe you are sincere. I hope you took time to follow some of the links I left. At least go check out the first one, which is Photographic Evidence for the Authenticity of The Book of Mormon. You may have to paste them into your browser.

1. Photographic Evidence for the Authenticity of The Book of Mormon (look at the links at the top, there are actually several pages of photos): http://www.the-book-of-mormon.com/photos-page3.html
2. An article from the Maxwell Institute "Evidences of the Book of Mormon": http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?id=1&table=transcripts
3. Another Maxwell Institute article "Basic Methodological Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology of the Book of Mormon": http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/display.php?table=jbms&id=25&previous=L3B1YmxpY2F0aW9ucy9ib29rb2Ztb3Jtb252aWV3LnBocA==

The Neal A. Maxwell Institute of Religious Scholarship at BYU (used to be called FARMS) reviews and responds to many Anti-Mormon publications. A lot of their research is on The Book of Mormon and The Pearl of Great Price. I encourage you to browse their research using the "Browse Our Research" link on the left. They have provided much scholarly evidence in favor of these unique books of scripture. I think you will find some credible evidence. Selectively ignoring evidence, as well as witnesses, seems to be a common problem when it comes to seeing and accepting the truth.

I certainly hope I did not give you the impression that I don't believe the Bible (for lack of physical evidence of the spiritual and supernatural events). I know it is true by the same witness of the Holy Ghost. I simply use the Bible as an example because it is common ground for us. As an interesting aside on our conversation about evidence and faith, have you been to Israel, Egypt, the Red Sea, etc.? If you haven't, then you still believe (the witnesses, photographs, etc.) that they exist. If you've been to those places and seen, heard, touched, smelled, and tasted them (I have), then you know that they are real. I still have to believe the witnesses (teachers, locals, etc.) who told me that the places we were visiting/experiencing were actually the places mentioned in the Biblical record. There's no getting around faith. We have to choose which witnesses we are going to believe. Ruins and artifacts, and other archeological evidence, don't prove spiritual truth. Otherwise Greek Mythology or Egyptian Mythology are as credible as the Bible.

I'm thankful that Our Father in Heaven has prepared a way for us to discern truth from error. Otherwise how would we know who to believe when two men's testimonies conflict? As in our case! I testified that these things are true. You testified that "none of these things are true": the Book of Mormon, the prophecy of Joseph Smith, the prophetic nature of Gordon Hinckley, and the various other Book of Mormon teachings and standard works. Both of our witnesses can't be true. I believe God has deliberately withheld physical evidence, for the same reason that he does not unveil Himself for all mankind to see. Because one of the major purposes of this life is to test our faith. Some people scoff at The Book of Mormon because the plates of gold are not available for examination; neither is the Ark of the Covenant.

I assume you base your testimony (on the LDS Church and its teachings) on your not receiving a direct answer to your prayer, a personal revelation, about these things. Or do you actually feel that you received an answer, a personal revelation, that they were not true? The latter, a direct answer in the negative, not just the logic of your next 4 points, would be required to honestly bear such a testimony. To avoid bearing false witness, it would be better to say that you do not know that these things are true, or that you don't believe that they are true, rather than stating things as fact that you don't know for sure.

You said that you have met with the missionaries and prayed with an open mind and heart many times over. It sounds like you've been to LDS Church services with your wife many times too. Let me ask you a few more questions about your investigation. Did you read the entire Book of Mormon ("read these things")? Did you humble yourself before the Lord ("remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men")? Did you ponder it in your heart? After doing this, did you then pray and ask God the Eternal Father in the name of His Son Jesus Christ whether or not these things (The Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, The Restoration, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) are true? Did you ask with a sincere heart? Did you ask with real intent (ready to let go of your own traditions/notions/beliefs, ready to make any necessary changes in your personal life, ready to live the commandments, to commit, to covenant)? Did you ask having faith in Christ? If you answered no to any of these questions, then you did not qualify for the promised answer of "he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." Every person I have ever met who has paid this price has received the answer (had the truth of these things manifested unto them by the power of the Holy Ghost). And, in contrast, every person I have ever met who has complained about not receiving an answer has failed in some way to meet these conditions. If you don't want something to be true, that hardly qualifies as an open mind or heart.

Please don't mistake certainty for arrogance. And please don't mistake cultural Mormons, or other bad examples who claim membership in our Church, for the truth of the Gospel.

You went on to list 4 points that I want to address, at least in part, because they show clearly that you have been misinformed about our Church's doctrine about these things. I don't know how you got these impressions. I speak for myself, obviously, but I have a sound understanding of the Church's doctrine from official publications, General Conferences, etc. I will also quote from Preach My Gospel, which is what the missionaries are authorized to teach with the scriptures.

You first point seemed to assert that you think Mormons believe that God only answers their prayers and anyone outside our Faith must be talking to the ceiling; you know, from your own experience, that He does hear and answer other people's prayers; therefore The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is false. Your premise is false. I don't believe that assertion. I don't know a single Church member personally who beleives that either. The true doctrine of the Church is that "God is Our Heavenly Father. We are His children. He loves us. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer." Why would we be exhorting every person who is not a Mormon to pray if we believed their non-Mormon prayers are not heard or answered?

Your second point seemed to assert that you think Mormons don't believe that anyone outside our Faith can feel the Holy Spirit; your own experience contradicts this; therefore the Church is false. Again, your premise is false. We believe that every person is born with the Light of Christ. Here is an official description: [A person is capable of receiving spiritual guidance before being baptized and confirmed. This spiritual influence begins with the Light of Christ, which “is given to every man, that he may know good from evil” (Moroni 7:16; see also verses 14–19).
“The light of Christ is just what the words imply: enlightenment, knowledge, and an uplifting, ennobling, persevering influence that comes upon mankind because of Jesus Christ. . . .The light of Christ should not be confused with the personage of the Holy Ghost, for the light of Christ is not a personage at all. Its influence is preliminary to and preparatory to one’s receiving the Holy Ghost. The light of Christ will lead the honest soul who ‘hearkeneth to the voice’ to find the true gospel and the true Church and thereby receive the Holy Ghost” (Bible Dictionary, “Light of Christ,” 725; see also D&C 84:46–47). President Boyd K. Packer said, “It is important for a . . . missionary . . . to know that the Holy Ghost can work through the Light of Christ. A teacher of gospel truths is not planting something foreign or even new into an adult or a child. Rather, the missionary or teacher is making contact with the Spirit of Christ already there. The gospel will have a familiar ‘ring’ to them” (“The Light of Christ,” address delivered at the seminar for new mission presidents, 22 June 2004, 2).]

In your third point, you assert that there was no apostasy. But there is a lot of evidence to the contrary, as well as many prophecies about it. I think the deaths of the Apostles, the Biblical record ending with John exiled on the Isle of Patmos, the ensuing confusion and debate at the many councils and the un-Biblical creeds which resulted, as well as the period commonly termed The Dark Ages, are adequate proof in themselves. But here's a few scriptures that foretold it:

Apostasy of the Early Christian Church
Isa. 24:5 changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant
Isa. 29:13 this people draw near me with their mouth
Isa. 60:2 darkness shall cover the earth
Amos 8:11 a famine ... of hearing the words of the Lord
Matt. 13:25 his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat
Matt. 24:5 saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many
Matt. 24:24 shall arise false Christs, and false prophets
John 6:66 his disciples went back, and walked no more with him
Acts 20:29 shall grievous wolves enter in among you
1 Cor. 11:18 there be divisions among you
Gal. 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him
Gal. 3:1 who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey
2 Thes. 2:3 shall not come, except there come a falling away first
1 Tim. 1:6 some having swerved have turned aside
1 Tim. 4:1 giving heed to seducing spirits
2 Tim. 1:15 all they which are in Asia be turned away from me
2 Tim. 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred
2 Tim. 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power
2 Tim. 4:4 turn away their ears from the truth ... unto fables
Titus 1:16 profess that they know God, but in works they deny him
James 4:1 From whence came wars and fightings among you
2 Pet. 2:1 false prophets also among the people
2 Pet. 3:17 being led away with the error of the wicked
1 Jn. 2:18 now are there many antichrists
1 Jn. 4:1 many false prophets are gone out into the world
Jude 1:4 certain men crept in ... denying the only Lord God
Rev. 2:2 which say they are apostles, and are not
Rev. 3:16 thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot
Rev. 13:7 to make war with the saints
1 Ne. 13:26 foundation of a great and abominable church
2 Ne. 26:20 the Gentiles ... have stumbled
2 Ne. 27:1 Gentiles ... will be drunken with iniquity
Morm. 8:33 transfigured the holy word of God
D&C 1:15 strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant
D&C 86:3 Satan ... soweth the tares
D&C 112:23 darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people
JS-H 1:19 they were all wrong, ... their hearts are far from me
See also Matt. 24:9-11; Rom. 11:21; 1 Cor. 1:11; 3:3; Col. 2:22; 1 Tim. 1:19; Titus 1:10; 2 Pet. 2:22; 3 Jn. 1:9; Rev. 2:5; 1 Ne. 11:34.

None of these people lived or died in vain.

Your fourth point doesn't sound like Catholic doctrine at all, more Universalist (many roads lead to the same place). Your third and fourth assertions seem to neglect one our greatest doctrines, which is Salvation for the Dead. "The Savior loves all people and desires their salvation. Yet millions of people have died without having any opportunity to hear the message of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ or receive saving ordinances. Through His loving grace and mercy the Lord makes salvation possible for everyone who did not have the opportunity to receive, understand, and obey the gospel during their mortal lives. The gospel is preached to these deceased people in the spirit world. Members of the Church on earth perform the saving ordinances in behalf of their deceased ancestors and others. Deceased persons living in the spirit world have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel and the ordinances performed in their behalf."

Salvation for the Dead (see also Baptism; Baptism for the Dead; Genealogy and Temple Work; Salvation)
Isa. 24:22 in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited
Isa. 42:7 bring out the prisoners from the prison
Isa. 49:9 (1 Ne. 21:9) say to the prisoners, Go forth
Isa. 61:1 (Luke 4:18) proclaim liberty to the captives
Obad. 1:21 saviours shall come up on mount Zion
Zech. 9:11 sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit
Mal. 4:6 (Luke 1:17; 3 Ne. 25:6; D&C 2:2; 110:15; JS-H 1:39) turn ... the heart of the children to their fathers
Matt. 16:19 (D&C 128:8) bind on earth shall be bound in heaven
Luke 4:18 preach deliverance to the captives
John 5:25 dead shall hear the voice of the Son
Rom. 14:9 Lord both of the dead and living
1 Cor. 15:19 if in this life only we have hope in Christ
1 Cor. 15:29 why are they then baptized for the dead
Heb. 11:40 (D&C 128:15) that they without us should not be made perfect
1 Pet. 3:19 preached unto the spirits in prison
1 Pet. 4:6 gospel preached also to them that are dead
D&C 2:2 (JS-H 1:39) plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to the fathers
D&C 76:73 spirits ... in prison, whom the Son visited
D&C 76:74 received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh
D&C 88:99 redemption of those who ... have received their part in that prison
D&C 124:29 baptized for those who are dead
D&C 127:5 in relation to the baptism for your dead
D&C 128:5 s. of the d. who should die without a knowledge of the gospel
D&C 128:11 s. for the d. as for the living
D&C 128:24 book containing the records of our dead
D&C 137:7 died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it ... shall be heirs
D&C 138:18 Son of God appeared declaring liberty to the captives
D&C 138:54 ordinances therein for the redemption of the dead
Moses 7:38 prison have I prepared for them
Moses 7:57 many of the spirits as were in prison came forth.

We also believe in several degrees of glory in the hereafter, the lowest of which is much like the heaven that most other Christian religions describe.

This response is already too long, but I would be happy to respond to any specific concerns you might have about the doctrine of the Church.

Jesef said...

If you're interested, I would like to discuss the need for authority and ordinances in order to obtain salvation.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jesef

To answer your question, I actually believe that I recieved a direct answer to my question regarding the truthfulness of the BOM. My answer was that it is not true. That was revealed to me after much prayerful consideration, and it is the personal revelation that I have recieved. It is still my answer after several years of attendence at both my wife's LDS services as well as my own Catholic Services. To me the LDS Service is devoid of spirituality. It feels hollow and lacking in substance. You obviously feel very differently; that's actually okay.

I have read much of the BOM, parts of the Pearl of Great Price, and parts of D & C. I have also read parts of the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible. The impression I have been left with from reading the BOM is that it is a poorly rewritten copy of the Old Testament. With regard to D & C, I feel nothing spiritual in the text of that book, the same holds true for the Pearl of Great Price. With regard to the JS Translation of the Bible, it find it very troubling that the parts of the Bible that seem to mistranslated, seem to all be parts that contradict the BOM. That just seems rather convenient to me. Mind you, I've only read portions of some of those texts, but because of the feelings I get from reading them, I feel no compulsion to read further. That to me is the Holy Spirit testifying to the lack of truthfulness in the LDS Texts.

Much of what I have learned I have learned from listening to your members, reading Gospel Doctrines, and sitting in priesthood sessions reviewing your priesthood manuals. So whatever misconceptions I may have reached, I would assure you that I've drawn those conclusions from listening to members of your own church espouse those views. I believe these are generally well intentioned, and well meaning people, albeit misguided.

As for priesthood authority. I'll certainly discuss the topic with you, but who I recognize as being priests and having authority really does differ from your point of view.

I would feel much better about your sources for tangible evidence of the BOM, if they came from objective persons. To be truthful, I don't trust LDS scholars anymore than I'd trust anti-mormon scholars. From what I can tell, both sides have motive to skew the truth, and both sides seem to take the opportunity to do so. What I trust far more is my own faith, and my own experiences with God. I trust the sense of comfort I get from practising my faith. I will admit, I do take a more universal view of salvation than my catholic doctrine might teach. I've come to realize over time that God loves all of us regardless of what we name our church. That is one of the great truths that we both probably share. If that is true, which I believe it is, then God has a plan for all of us to return to him. He isn't going to let my belief in the trinity versus your belief in 3 personages get in the way.

The point is, much of the doctrine you believe in, as well as much of the doctrine I believe in, is man's best interpretation of what God meant. Because we're men (I mean that in the generic pronoun sense) we're fallible. We're all prone to getting what God said wrong. JS was just as prone to that as any Pope. God accounts for that fallibility. He doesn't sweat the details, he looks at the bigger picture of what's in our hearts and souls. So ultimately it really is going to come down to did we follow Christ's commandments to love each other, and treat each other as we'd want to be treated. Where we say our prayers won't be as meaningful as how did we live our lives.

That said though, we still need to pray and decide which faith has the most of the truth. None of the christian faiths, including the Catholics and LDS faiths have the whole truth. But for me, catholicism holds more of the truth than any of the others.

Catholic Defender

Elijah said...

I was baptized a Mormon in 1994. I renounced Mormonism in 2005 & joined the Orthodox Church.

Christ himself said, "Upon this rock will I build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." To state that Christ is a liar, and that there was a 1st Century apostasy is absurd.

As far as Moroni,

Galatians 1:8 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.

Honestly, I do believe that Joseph Smith was visited by an angel of light. However . . .

The problem is that so many people have invested so must time, faith, and money in this organization. A person had rather die a member "Just in case."

Also, please take time to compare KJV with JST even just in footnotes. About 75% of the time the passage is not clarified, but turned completely on its head.

One last thing . . . Everyone have a year's supply of food?

"Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?"

A prophet can not directly contradict Christ and be a prophet.

May GOD have mercy.

Jesef said...

Elijah, you have quoted out of context and misinterpreted many things to support your points.

Moroni is the angel referenced in Revelations 14:6 and the everlasting gospel which he brought was not any other gospel but the Gospel of: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, the same Gospel which Jesus Christ established.

As for a falling away or apostasy, there is ample scriptural and historical evidence. Look earlier in this thread and you will see many references under the heading Apostacy of the Early Christian Church, but I'll just highlight one: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 which says that before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, there would be a falling away first. The deaths of the Apostles, the Biblical record ending with John exiled on the Isle of Patmos, the ensuing confusion and debate at the many councils and the un-Biblical creeds which resulted, as well as the period commonly termed The Dark Ages, are adequate proof in themselves. The gates of hell have not prevailed against the Lord's Church. He restored it (Acts 3:19-23) and it is thriving. He foresaw and prophesied all this. The gates of hell have never prevailed against Him or his disciples, whether living or being persecuted to death.

You're entitled to your own opinion and interpretation about JST verses as well as anything else, but it doesn't make it true. I totally disagree. They clarify and restore meaning. How about contradictory accounts of Paul's vision as he journeyed to Damascus, which the JST's bring into conformity: Acts 9:3-9 (JST Acts 9:7 corrects that the men with Paul saw a light but heard not the voice, instead of hearing a voice and seeing no man); and Acts 22:6-11 (see verse 9 which says that those that were with Paul saw the light but heard not the voice). The mistranslated Acts 9:7 contradicts Acts 22:9.

Take no thought for the morrow was the Lord's counsel to his disciples, in His time, as they prepared to go out spreading the gospel full time. He did not mean for us, in our time, not to prepare for the future (like saving money for retirement or being prepared for a disaster or sudden unemployment). Are you going to attack our prophet's counsel, in our time, to get out of debt too? You'll be thankful you have a Mormon neighbor willing to share some of his year's supply if you ever get hit by a Hurricane Katrina or the like.

I suggest you reread this whole thread. If you really want to know the truth about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, The Book of Mormon, and the Prophet Joseph Smith, then read The Book of Mormon (in its entirety) and put God's promise in Moroni 10:3-5 to the test. I did. You can't argue with a personal revelation of the truth from our Father in Heaven through the power of the Holy Ghost. And this is the rock (revelation) upon which the Lord Jesus Christ said His Church would be built in Matt. 16:13-20 (verse 17). It is the only way to really know the truth.

24601 said...

One of the reasons that is difficult to dialogue with dedicated members of the Church is because there is an automatic assumption that when someone brought up in the church with an intimate knowledge of its teachings says something opposing the Church, that such a person is deceived and apostate, and needs correction. Listeners tend to not listen, while choosing -- not constructing -- the pre-canned arguments algoritmically determined appropriate for this situation.

I am a sinner. I acknowledge that, and always specifically acknowledged that to the Church authorities I had to. As such, I ended up with a lot of people talking to me who were afraid to talk to their bishops -- which is what I encouraged them to do instead. Those days are past. I just stay away so that they can go on in their own ways.

The Book of Mormon promise never states that you can read it, ask if it's true, and God will tell you it is. It says to ask "if these things are NOT true", which is a self-defeating proposition as it attempts to prove a negative thesis, and therefore no basis for a promise at all. Were it a valid basis for a promise, even then it says God "will reveal the truth of it unto you." This is far from stating God will reveal the book is true. it means he will reveal what part is true.

The Book of Mormon testifies many true things about Christ, so of course the Holy Spirit will testify of its general truth. When I went over it detail by detail, I learned a few things:

There are many parts the testimony of the Holy Spirit does not sustain individually, primarily the overriding structural story. 2) The Church today does not follow many of its important teachings.

The fact is Mormonism teaches that there is nothing inviolably sacred about any scripture. It can all be overridden by later revelation, of which many important things in "the most correct book" already have.

Mormons believe that God can control events so that a perfect scripture can emerge after having been continually maintained for 1,000 years through direct intervention. They do not believe that he has the power to use men as his writing pieces indirectly over a period of 4,000 years to produce a volume of scripture saying exactly what he wants it to say. Isn't there something about "a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof"?

Even then, they believe that anything in it can be overridden by later revelation. Nothing is therefore sacred and dependable.

I began studying the Douay-Rheims and NAB a year ago, and learned more about what is really in the Bible in a year than in 47 years believing Mormonism. The Bible is the direct result of Cathoilic tradition, and you can never understand it unless you learn about the Catholic traditions which produced it. You can't learn about from the Mormon church, because it lies to you about what other churches believe -- I know. I believed what it told me about other faiths for decades. When I learned the truth as opposed to what Mormon curriculum and publications had taught me, I was appaled at how deceptive the teachings I'd received were. The words from the D&C rang in my head, "It is contrary to the law and order of heaven for a just man to deceive."

Every place I've attended Church I could go a whole Sunday without hearing atalk about Jesus. I counted six weeks in a row once when the only actual preaching about Christ was one of the testimonies in testimony meeting. It is not what I would expect from the only Chirch Jesus is supposed to acknowledge as his own.

Members being honest about their sinfulness get ostracized, while those who lie about it become elders quorum presidents and counselors in stake presidencies? (When you tell the truth about tyour own sins, others are honest with you about theirs, even if they lie to the bishop). Of course, in those situations -- since the honest ones are paying the penalties for their sins -- they are left in a position where they have no right or responsibility before the church to bring sins of others to the church's attention.

That's a digression -on quality versus quantity, neither matter. If even one Mormon doctrinal claim is wrong, the Church is wrong altogether according to its own doctrine.

Consider whqat happens when someone who has been concealing sin for a long-time repents and confesses. Does the Church consider any of the ordiances he has performed in the time he covered his sin invalid? No, and why not, since the D&C declares unequivocally that when anyone undertakes to cover their sins "Amen to the priesthood and to the authority of that man."? according to this they have performed ordinances for years without the proper authority, yet these ordinances are still considered valid.

If the church can consider that the Lord still recognizes the ordinances performed by these priesthood holders despite their unworthiness, than why would he not have done the same 15 or 20 centuries ago? Therefore, by Mormonisms own practice it confirms their could have been no total apostasy.

Anonymous said...

Dear 24601,

You share a great many of my sentiments regarding the LDS faith and its teachings. By the way, the Les Miserables reference isn't lost on me...that's Jean Val Jean's prisoner number. Interesting choice to post with.

Back to my point in writing. One point you hit upon was the angel Moroni and his appearance. I think that you are correct in that an angel perhaps appeared to JS, that doesn't mean the angel was working for the right team.

Another point you hit upon was that of the apostacy. This is a huge sticking point with me, and a major problem with LDS teachings in my opinion. The very idea of the apostacy is inconsistent with Jesus' words to Peter in Matthew. Those words were essentially that Peter would be the rock upon which the church would be built and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. If that's true, and if that's really what Jesus promised, then the idea of an apostacy is unfathomable. After all Jesus would not lie to us, he actually has no reason to lie to us. Therein lies a great inconsistency in the LDS teachings.

I believe, at least from reading the BOM and listening to members in LDS church meetings, that Jesus' words to Peter are being misinterpreted by LDS members. If you look at all of the work done in the past 2000 years to preserve Christ's church, what you will see is that it has prevailed and grown. That in and of itself would deny the existence of an apostacy.

Now I believe I'm about to be criticized here...its happened before, but let me explain a point or two. Christ's church is not the literal building that each of us worship in. Christ's church is not the LDS temple. It's not all of the doctrines that have been put out by the LDS church or the other Christian faiths, or even my own Catholic Faith. Christ's church is much more than all of those tangible man made entities.

Christ's church is a metaphor. Its actually the very teachings that Christ put forth that we strive to follow. Christ's church is what we carry in our hearts. Its how we approach service to others, its how we approach God when we sin, its how we approach faith and trust in God. Christ's church has prevailed in spite of men and the gates of hell because Christ's church is value's we carry within us. That I believe is the point being missed by the LDS faith.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Andrew Miller said...

Elijah,

You wrote:

As far as Moroni,

Galatians 1:8 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.


Of course, LDS accept this passage of scripture as being true. The problem is one of interpretation. You seem to think, if I understand your correctly, that any angel who preaches "the gospel" must, in fact, be preaching a different gospel. Your interpretation presupposes that there could have been no apostasy or need for a restoration.

When we turn to the Book of Revelation, however, we learn that John saw a day when an angel would come and preach the everlasting gospel.

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." (Revelation 14:6).

This verse clearly assumes a few things.
First, an apostasy. There must have been a need for the everlasting gospel to be preached to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. If the everlasting gospel had remained on earth since the time of Christ, surely the angel would not have to preach it to every nation, kindred, tongue and people!

Second, the everlasting gospel cannot be the same thing as the different gospel Paul spoke about in Galatians 1:8.

The prophesy of Revelation 14:6 has in fact been fulfilled in part by the coming of Moroni and other angels to the prophet Joseph Smith to bring forth the fullness of the everlasting gospel, including the Book of Mormon, to be preached in all the world.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

"Another point you hit upon was that of the apostacy. This is a huge sticking point with me, and a major problem with LDS teachings in my opinion. The very idea of the apostacy is inconsistent with Jesus' words to Peter in Matthew. Those words were essentially that Peter would be the rock upon which the church would be built and the gates of hell would not prevail against it."

Revelation 14:6
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."

What does the Catholic church have to say about this? Also I count at least 6 other angles in that chapter. What is the Catholic church to do with these?

Anonymous said...

Is there a bible catholic study manual that covers the bible, book by book?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous of January 3, 2008,

There are a great many study bibles, both Catholic and Protestant. I believe in terms of Catholic Bibles the St. Joseph translation as well as the Jerusalem Bible come with in a study format. You might also find one with the Douay Rheims Bible, but I think you'll have to search quite hard to find that since the Douay Rheims Bible isn't the standard Catholic Bible anymore. Personally I like the Douay Rheims translation better since it follows the original Latin and Greek much more closely than any of the other translation, regardless of Catholic or Protestant.

In terms of Protestant Bibles, I believe the KJV and the NKJV both are available with a study guide. I'm pretty sure the NIV Bible can be found with a study guide as well. Hope that helps.

Catholic Defender

gwrigh said...

This is a response to Catholic misinterpretations precluding a Great Apostasy:

This first one comes from a response to Decker's Complete Handbook on Mormonism, in which Decker quotes some of the same Catholic arguments precluding apostasy.


[Peterson's Review of Decker's Complete Handbook on Mormonism, FARMS Review of Books, vol. 7, no. 2 (1995),, p.99-100, An Apostate Denies the Apostasy]
Decker maintains, on page 343, that "the Mormon doctrine of a great apostasy contradicts the Bible where Jesus said that He would be 'with you alway, even unto the end of the world' (Matt. 28:20) and that 'upon this rock will I build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it' (Matt. 16:18)."
Peterson's Review of Decker's Complete Handbook on Mormonism, FARMS Review of Books, vol. 7, no. 2 (1995),, p.99
I'll take the two cited scriptures in order. Matt. 28:20 features the Savior promising his disciples that he would be with them "unto the end of the aionos." The King James Version of the Bible renders aionos as "world," but this is not necessarily correct. Our word "eon" or "aeon" comes from aionos, and it is not surprising, therefore, that the word's meanings include "lifetime," "age," "generation," "era," "epoch," and "period." Thus a Latter-day Saint could easily interpret Jesus's promise as extending "to the end of the age" (as many if not most contemporary translations do) or, even, "to the end of the dispensation." Matt. 28:20 definitely does not rule out the possibility of a "great apostasy." In fact, if this verse is problematic for anybody, it would seem to be problematic for those who, like Decker, want to use it to rule out the possibility of a massive apostasy of the early church.

Those who want to use Matt. 16:18 as a prooftext against the Latter-day Saint teaching of a universal apostasy like to take the word "Hell" in the King James phrase "the gates of Hell" in a typically fundamentalist Protestant sense, decked out with all the conventional paraphernalia of diabolical torture. But there is no justification in the text for doing so. The Greek word underlying "Hell" (in this verse) is "Hades." Now, anyone who knows anything about ancient Greek concepts surely knows that Hades is not Hell, but simply the general destination of (all) the dead. It is precisely equivalent to the Hebrew "Sheol," and means something like "the spirit world." It is not evil, nor is it, as a whole, under the control of evil. So the promise is not that the powers of evil will not overcome the Church, since the spirit world is all-inclusive and, thus, morally neutral, but that the powers of death will not overcome the Church. And this promise is wholly appropriate to the context of Matt. 16:18, which prominently features the granting of priesthood sealing keys to Peter. Thus, far from being an argument against Mormon belief in the Great Apostasy, Matt. 16 is a charter for the great work of redeeming the dead.


That part of verse 18 might be translated thus "and the portals of the spirit world shall not overpower (prevent or stop) it (the church)" which gives it an entirely different meaning. Latter-Day Saints believe that the spirit world, or realm of departed spirits (meaning of the Greek hades), has two divisions: paradise for faithful members of Christ's authorized Church, and prison for everyone else (a graded hell depending on individual sins - see Luke 16:19-31, esp. v.26 - prior to Christ's resurrection, there was a great gulf fixed between paradise and prison). We believe that while Christ was dead (before the 3rd day of His bodily resurrection), he went and organized his servants, the faithful spirits in paradise, to preach the Gospel to the disobedient spirits in prison, as in 1 Pet. 3:19 preached unto the spirits in prison; 1 Pet. 4:6 gospel preached also to them that are dead. Search back in this thread for Salvation for the Dead and Apostasy of the Early Christian Church for additional references.

This next citation is from the Improvement Era 1898, Vol. I. July 1898, showing how old these arguments are and giving more detail in some aspects.


To be the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, then, is the claim which "Mormonism" makes for itself. The re-established Church of Jesus Christ, or THE CHURCH, is the claim made for what men call the "Mormon Church." We know the claim is a bold one. It is our pride that it is so. If its claim was less, it would have no right to exist. And while it is bold, and likely to give offense, and has often given offense to those wedded by tradition and the social forces which cluster in time about religious institutions, it is a strong claim, one easily maintained, and one well worthy the attention of mankind. It challenges the position of all religions and sects. It calls for a re-examination of the foundations upon which they all rest. The church bears a message from God to all men, to the so-called Christian as well as to the Jew and the Pagan. It proclaims the whole world in sin and calls upon all men to repent. It is a message, however, fraught with good will to mankind and its mission is one of peace and love. Its object the moral, temporal, and spiritual up-lifting of mankind. Its achievements are to be brought about by teaching the truth, by persuasion, by reason, by patience, by long suffering, by love unfeigned. Truth is its only weapon; love its shield. In a land where religious freedom is guaranteed to all men of whatsoever religious faith, or of no religious faith, it hopes to win its bloodless but glorious victories for the Lord Jesus Christ, by preparing the way for his reign on earth in glory.

Our limited space does not permit extensive argument on the questions involved by reason of the attitude of The Church to the "Christian sects," and yet mention at least should be made of the groups of facts and the lines of argument by which the position of The Church may be reasonably maintained.

That the Church of Christ, founded by Jesus and the apostles, was destroyed in the earth; that men departed from the gospel, changed and mis-applied its sacraments or ordinances, and lost divine authority, thus making a new dispensation of that gospel necessary, is proven:-

I. By the effect of the early persecutions of the Christians which constantly aimed at the destruction of the leading spirits of the church, and which did practically destroy them, and left but weak and timorous men to grapple with the in-flowing heresies and changes that surged in upon the church and resulted in a departure from the religion of Christ:-

II. By the effect of what are generally considered the prosperous events in the history of the church, those events which culminated in making the "Christian religion" the established religion of the Roman Empire; which led to the elevation of the leading orders of the ministry of the church to the estate of princes and temporal governors, resulting in pride and its attendant evils-rivalries and contentions, which but too truly reveal the absence of all true Christian principle and spirit, as soon as this change was affected:-

III. By the changes that were made in the forms of worship in the church, the multiplication of rites and ceremonies by which the religion of Jesus, with its few and simple rites and ceremonies, distinguished for its lack of ostentation and formulas-was converted by compromises with paganism into the gorgeous ceremonies and worldly splendid ritual of the Roman Catholic Church, but by which both as to form and spirit Christianity was thoroughly paganized:-

IV. Lastly, the position of The Church is proven by the numerous predictions of the Old and New Testament writers, who clearly prophecy the apostasy of men from the gospel, and the destruction of the church in the earth as in their time being established. Among the more notable of which prophecies are the twenty-fourth chapter of Isaiah; the second chapter of second Thessalonians; the thirteenth chapter of Revelations. In the fourteenth chapter of Revelations (sixth and seventh verses), both the apostasy and the restoration are predicted. The former by implication, the latter by direct assertion.

It has already been stated that the logical position of the Protestant churches is that there was an apostasy in early times from true Christianity-as asserted by Mr. Wesley and the authoritative declaration of the Church of England already quoted-or else why their separation from the Roman Church? But if there has been such an apostasy as their position asserts, and as by some of them specifically declared, how could there possibly be a return to primitive Christianity and a regaining of divine authority without a new dispensation of the gospel-a new revelation from God? The usual method of meeting this perplexing point on the part of Protestants is to affirmthe existence of a line of Christian men through all generations since Christ, and in all sects, and lands where Christianity obtained, who constitute the "invisible church of Christ." The device, however-one can call it nothing short of that-is worthless. The church of Christ is visible. It does not consist merely of good men separately existing here and there, without organization, without union of purpose, agreement in doctrine and a fullness of the truth. The church of Christ is an institution, with regularly appointed officers, with laws and rites to which its members must subscribe and practice. It consists of prophets, apostles, elders, teachers, deacons. Its members are united in the bond of one covenant, accept the doctrine of Christ whole and entire, and its parts beautifully blended together form a complete whole (see I Cor. XII.) So that the "invisible church" argument may be dismissed without further consideration and with it the whole Protestant position.

At first glance the Catholic claim presents a more difficult proposition, but a brief examination of the basic principles on which it rests dispells that impression. The Catholic exposition of their position begins with the following scripture:
Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. * * * * And lo! I am with you to the end of the world.
[Since the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is recognized by its members as the only true Church of Jesus Christ on earth, in this and the succeeding articles, it will be called The Church, by which it will be understood as the true and only Church of Jesus Christ, in contradistinction to all other organizations claiming to be such church. The writer might go further and say that in such manner the term will be quite generally used in this publication, and he hopes the time will come when in all our literature the words, The Church, will always be known to mean the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This in the interest of brevity.]

On this, as I have said elsewhere, Catholic writers remark [The writer has in mind Leo's encyclical on the reunion of the Christian Church issued in June, 1896; and the encyclical concerning Anglican Orders from the same authority in September, 1896.]:
"Now the event has proved * * * that the apostles themselves were only to live the ordinary term of man's life; therefore the commission of preaching and ministering, together with the promise of the divine assistance, regards the successors of the apostles, no less than the apostles themselves. This proves that there must have been an uninterrupted series of such successors of the apostles, in every age since their time; that is to say, successors to their doctrines, to their jurisdiction, to their orders, and to their mission." [Matt. 28:19,20.]

Cardinal Gibbons, commenting on the same passage says:
"This sentence contains three important declarations: 1st, the presence of Christ with his Church, 'behold, I am with you;' 2nd, his constant presence without an interval of one day's absence, 'I am with you all days;' 3rd, his perpetual presence to the end of the world, and consequently the perpetual duration of the church, 'even to the consummation of the world.' Hence it follows that the true church must have existed from the beginning; it must have had not one day's interval of suspended animation, or separation from Christ, and must live to the end of time." [The paragraphs which follow are from the writer's work "New Witness for God" Ch.7., where the subject is more extensively treated.]
Of the conclusion here arrived at, it is only necessary to say that it is founded upon an assumption. Look again at the passage upon which the argument is based, in connection with its context:
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying: All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations; * * * and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." [End of Religious Controversy (Rev. John Milner), p.281.]

It will be seen that the promise was to the eleven apostles, not to the church. To say that this promise "regards the successors of the apostles no less than the apostles themselves," is an assumption unwarranted by the text; and it is upon that assumption that the Rev. John Milner and other Catholic writers, base their conclusions that the word of Jesus is pledged to an uninterrupted continuation of his church in the earth.

The argument of Cardinal Gibbons is still worse than that of Dr. Milner. He says the promise of Jesus to the apostles contains three important declarations, the first of which is: "The presence of Christ with his church." This is worse than assumption. The learned Cardinal has written "Church," where he should have written "apostles;" and therefore the conclusion he reached, namely, the perpetual duration of the church, is based upon a misstatement; and as the premises upon which the argument is based are untrue, the conclusion is false.

The argument by Catholics is thought to be invulnerable,because the promise of Jesus to be with the apostles to the end of the world is impossible of fulfillment, unless it "regarded the successors of the apostles no less than the apostles themselves." But to be with their successors is not being with the apostles. Hence the device arranged by Catholics for the fulfillment of this promise of the Lord, misses its purpose altogether. Moreover, there is no need of such device to explain how the promise of Jesus could be fulfilled. "In my Father's house," said he, addressing these same men, "are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, * * * that where I am there ye may be also;" [Faith of Our Fathers, p.72.] And there they are with Jesus in the place he prepared for them, and they will continue to be with him even unto the end of the world.

No less erroneous is the Catholic argument for the uninterrupted continuation of the church of Christ on earth, based on the passage in the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, when Jesus in the course of a conversation with Peter says to him: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. "By this promise," says a foot-note on this passage in the Douay Bible-the version accepted by the Catholic Church,-"we are fully assured that neither idolatry, heresy, nor any pernicious error, whatever, shall at any time prevail over the church of Christ." "Our blessed Lord clearly intimates here," says Cardinal Gibbons, "that the church is destined to be assailed always but to be overcome never." [Matt. 28:16-20.] The argument of Catholics is, that if the great apostasy took place which is clearly predicted in the scriptures, and, as I believe, confirmed by the facts already alluded to in this writing, then the express promise of Jesus Christ that the gates of hell should not prevail against his church has failed. "If the prediction of our Savior about the preservation of his church from error be false, then Jesus Christ is not God, since God cannot lie. He is not even a prophet, since he predicted falsehood. Nay,he is an imposter, and all Christianity is a miserable failure, and a huge deception, since it rests on a false prophet." [John 14:2.]

This argument and its conclusion is based upon too narrow a conception of the church of Christ. That church exists not only on earth, but in heaven; not only in time, but in eternity. It has not been prevailed against, because men on earth have departed from it; corrupted its doctrines, changed its ordinances, transgressed its laws. The church of Christ in heaven, consisting of an innumerable company of angels-the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven-" [Faith of Our Fathers, p.72.] the church there has been far beyond the reach of the powers of hell; and ultimately here on earth it shall be triumphant. Truth may lose a single battle, it may lose two or three, and yet be victorious in the war. So with the church of Christ: many of those enrolled as its members may be stricken down by cruel persecution; those remaining may capitulate with the enemy, and by compromises betray the cause of Christ, and put him to an open shame. Repose and luxury, the reward of the above perfidy, may bring in such floods of wickedness that virtue can scarce be found among men, and no abiding place found on earth for the church of the Redeemer. That church, however, still exists in heaven, in all the glory of the general assembly of the firstborn; and from time to time dispensation after dispensation of the gospel will be sent from thence to the children of men, until a people shall be found who will remain true to all its doctrines, accept its ordinances, obey its precepts, preserve its institutions, and the church of Christ everywhere become triumphant as well on earth as in heaven. The promise of the Lord Jesus will not fail-the gates of hell will not finally prevail against his church.

It might be further argued that the whole Catholic contention concerning Peter being the rock on which Messiah promised to build his church, is astray. The context clearly proves it to be so. Let the passage in which the quotation occurs be read from the 13th to the 20th verses inclusive [Matt. 16:13-20], and it will be seen that the principle of revelation and not Peter is the "Rock" on which Christ promises to build his church, but as this involves a controversy not necessarily germane to the argument concerning the continuous existence of the church, it is passed with this remark.

Sam said...

Orson Scott Card makes this point well too.

In his "Alvin Maker" books, a fictionalization of Joseph Smith's life, the protagonist Alvin is put on trial on some made-up charges, and his opponents drag him through the mud. Though he gets off, he worried that it will hurt his project of building and attracting people to the Crystal City because "some folks will think, where there's smoke there's fire."

Anonymous said...

Dear GWRIGH,


You make some interesting points, however, your argument is flawed in that it relies solely on an assumption that the Book of Mormon is true. The question posed here is what if only 10% of these charges are true, meaning what if 10% of the claims against the Mormon church are true. The fact would still remain that if 10% of those claims are true, then your church can not be the true church of Christ.

I've seen a great many claims against the Catholic faith in my short lifetime. But in spite of all those claims, the truth that has remained constant is that the Catholic faith is far closer to what Christ taught than any other faith. I won't sit here and argue that point since I doubt it would serve any purpose in swaying you, just as your claims won't sway me in my conviction. But answering the question posed by this blog, if any portion of the claims against the Mormon church are actually true, then the reality is you have a false prophet that you are following, and a false church.

What you base your whole argument on is a flawed interpretation of the Bible. I would find your argument considerably more compelling if you found sources independent from LDS Scholars and apologists to support it. The problem is you won't because the camps are divided into two biased factions: the LDS Church, and the rest of Christianity.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

"What you base your whole argument on is a flawed interpretation of the Bible. I would find your argument considerably more compelling if you found sources independent from LDS Scholars and apologists to support it."

I am speechless. Jeff has posted many topics that use sources of independent documents of the Early Church Fathers and the Bible and non LDS Scholars. How could you have missed this?

Jesef said...

Catholic Defender, (btw, jesef and gwrigh are the same person)

So far I haven't seen any charges presented in this blog against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that are true. It just started with the crazy assumption that "if only 10% of [all] these charges are true, the Church is false." That's like saying, if only 10% of all the lies the enemies of the Lord Jesus Christ told about Him in His day (or since) were true, then Jesus was a false prophet/messiah. It's not only false, it's ridiculous. From my perspective, the devil incites a lot of opposition against the truth. Number/quantity of charges doesn't mean anything. The fact that there are so many false charges weakens the plausibility of all the charges. In other words, "if 90% of these charges are proven false, then the people making these charges are 100% liars" - what does that say about the other 10% of their unproven or unprovable charges? Their reliability and credibility is already shot.

I think it is blindness to set aside over a thousand years of history in which the corruption and oppression of the Catholic Church is manifest, including the Dark Ages, Inquisitions, heresies, murders, sale of indulgences, etc., all the reasons the Reformers were outraged. As for quoting apologists to make a point or defend a charge, I think it is fine. Whether you consider an argument compelling or not should be based on its innate soundness, regardless of the source. Catholics, Protestants, and atheists certainly aren't going to answer a charge against the Church (they're the ones making the charges). And in many cases, I'm not quoting anyone. I'm speaking for myself, like the commentary on Matt. 16:18 and the meaning of the phrase "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." So let's talk about that.

First, here's the KJV English of verses 13-20 for context (the Douay Rheims is not significantly different):
(New Testament | Matthew 16:13-20)
13 ¶ When Jesus came into the coasts of Cæsarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
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.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Now let's take a closer look at verses 17 & 18. Here is the transliterated Greek/English:

(New Testament | Matthew 16:17-18)
17
apokritheis answered and
de And
ho Iesous Jesus
eipen said
auto, unto him,
Makarios Blessed
ei, art thou,
Simon Simon
Bariona, Bar-jona:
hoti for
sarx flesh
kai and
haima blood
ouk not
apekalypsen hath revealed
[it]
soi unto thee,
all but
ho pater Father
mou my
ho en [tois] ouranois. which is in heaven.
18
kago I also
de And
soi unto thee,
lego say
hoti That
su thou
ei art
Petros, Peter,
kai and
epi taute upon this
te petra rock
oikodomeso I will build
mou my
ten ekklesian, church;
kai and
pylai the gates
hadou of hell
ou not
katischysousin shall prevail against
autes. it.

First, notice that the "rock" upon which Christ will build his church comes from "petra" (transliterated, of course - I can't paste the Greek font here), which is a feminine noun, whereas "Peter" from "Petros" is a masculine noun. The word "revealed" from "apekalypsen" is a form of the word "apokalupsis" ("revelation") which is also a feminine noun. This parallel construction supports the interpretation (i.e. this is a strong, plausible argument on its own, regardless of apologetics) that the rock to which Jesus was referring in "upon this rock I will build my church" is the revelation of His divinity ("Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God") about which he had just spoken in "for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." The word "church" from "ekklesian" (or ekklesia) is also a feminine noun (the Church is often symbolized as the Bride, where Christ is the Bridegroom). Also, if Jesus had meant to say that He would build the Church on Peter, he probably would have said "upon you" or "upon thee" ("epi se"), instead of distinctly using different forms (genders) of the word "rock." All of the conversion accounts which follow, constituting the building up of the Church as it were, involve the Holy Ghost manifesting the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people. I'm not arguing that Peter wasn't of great importance. He was the leader, the prophet, after Christ's ascension. Christ gave him and the Apostles the keys of authority. But Peter was a man and he died. It doesn't even make sense that the Church would be built up on him. Christ is the Rock, the stone of Israel, the foundation of the Church. Just as the Restored Church is not built on Joseph Smith, but on Christ, whose name it bears. It doesn't make sense that Christ's Church would not bear his name either, Catholic ("katholikos" which means "universal" or "general").

Second, notice that the word "hell" in verse 18 is translated from the Greek word "hadou" another form of "hades". This word is a lot like the Hebrew word "sheol" and more generally refers to the realm of the dead, or the place where spirits go after death, and is sometimes translated even as "death" or the "grave". Latter-Day Saints call this the spirit world. The "hell" that means the place/state of eternal torment is usually translated from the Greek words "geenna" (derived from the Hebrew word "gehenna" or "Ge-Hinnom") and "tartaroo" (a form of Tartaros, the deepest abyss of Hades). The word "gates" comes from the plural word "pylai" (singular "pyle" "pylon") and means "gates/gateways/doors/door-ways/entrances/portals." The phrase "prevail against" comes from "katischysousin" (a form of "katischyo") which means "overpower/overcome/to-be-superior-in-strength". So a rendering of "the portals of death (or the spirit world) shall not overpower (or prevent) it" is accurate and plausible. This, too, is a considerable argument.

Latter-Day Saints distinguish between the pre-resurrection/pre-final-judgment paradise and prison of the spirit world and the post-resurrection/post-final-judgment heaven (by degrees, three heavens) and hell (outer darkness). These are New Testament references. The New Testament supports these LDS doctrines, which clearly explain 1 Peter 3:19 and 1 Peter 4:6, as well as 1 Corinthians 15:29. I would be interested in your Catholic explanations.

Anonymous said...

Dear Jesef,

I've been mulling over how to answer some of your posting. You have stated that you haven't seen any charges in this blog against the church that have been true. The answer to that is a matter of perspective I believe. I have never seen diffinitive proof that the BOM is untrue. I'll give you that. But I've also never seen diffinitive proof that the bible is true either. I, like you, have to draw upon my faith and experience with the Holy Spirit to discern what is true, and what is not.

When I do that, I find about 25% of the charges against your church to be accurate. You don't have to agree with me, and I surmise that you do not. But, to respond further let me say that the BOM does contain some truths. But those truths, at least to me, are the truths that are taken from the bible and placed into the BOM.

When I read the BOM I am left with the distinct impression that the entire document has been plagarized and re-drafted with new, hebrew sounding names to give it some credence. So, starting with that impression, yes there are truths in the BOM, but they are truths that have been stolen from the bible by JS.

I find credible some of the charges that the Pearl of Great Price was written from documents that were not what JS purported them to be. Again you don't have to agree with me, but if the Pearl of Great Price was not written from the documents that JS said it was written from, then there is a problem with a great many of the Mormon teachings since the Mormon faith gives equal weight to the POP, the BOM, D & C, and the Bible.

Regarding your Greek, Latin, and Hebrew translations, I'll take your word on those being accurate. I've never studied greek or hebrew and am too young to have delved much into Latin even as a Catholic. As for a Catholic perspective, the teachings are that Jesus is talking about Hell not Hades, which means he's talking about the Jewish concept of Gehenna.

You do raise some interesting points about what Christ is talking about when he is saying that Peter is the Rock upon which he will build his church.

I've always been taught that the church Christ is talking about is not the structural building. Its also not the infrastructure of the various tenants of faith. The Church that Christ is talking about is the foundation of our faith that is found in our hearts. Its a metaphorical church that is being discussed, not a physical one with all these doctrines and human concepts.

The idea that Christ's name has to be in the name of the church is a human concept, not an eternal one. Just as are the concepts that God dwells in the various cathedrals, temples, chapels or what have you. God dwells in our hearts, not the building we erect to him. So my understanding, and the understanding I have been given from my Catholic upbringing in Catholic Schools, as well as my mother's upbringing in Catholic Schools is that Christ is not talking about a literal church when he's discussing the matter with Peter.

Its a figurative church based upon faith. If you start with that perspective, then what you find is no apostacy has occurred because Christ's church has prevailed throughout the last 2000 years in spite of all the efforts of Satan to destroy it. Christ is still found in the hearts of Christians everywhere. Faith in God is growing and flourishing and has been doing so for the past 2000 years.

As for the New Testament supporting LDS Doctrine, yes I would agree that a certain reading of the New Testament would lead one to believe that its talking about a restored gospel and church. But, I have also seen the New Testament and Old Testament used to justify poligamy, bigotry, slavery, incest, gender discrimination, out right hate of certain ethinic groups. The very Christian faith we both hold near and dear has been used to justify the genocide of the Native American population that was here in this country when Christopher Columbus arrived. The point I'm making is that how you interpret the Bible, and how I or another person may interpret the Bible is all matter of perspective. You can pull scriptures out that support your position, I can pull scriptures out that support mine.

For example, the LDS Church's interpretations of Revelations is not the same as the Catholic Church's. If I understand it correctly, the LDS church teaches that Revelations is talking about the great apostacy and the restoration of the gospel by JS. The Catholic interpretation is that John is talking about the end of the world. The four horsemen of the apocalypse are death, war, pestilence, and one other thing that I can't recall under Catholic teachings. That is not how they are interpreted in LDS doctrine.

Isais under LDS doctrine seems to be used to say that the Apostacy was foretold, and that JS coming was foretold. In Catholic teachings, Isais is prophesying about the coming of Christ, not some apostacy and JS coming to restore that which was lost.

Part of what I'm saying is that you and I are coming from two different and diametrically opposed perspectives on this topic without either of us having a full understanding of the otherside. It still comes down to an exploration of our own faith and prayer. I hope that I've answered a somewhat difficult question that you posed, given you a bit more insight into what I believe, encouraged you to go about your own spiritual journey without offending.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Carbon Cedits said...
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Carbon Cedits said...
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Jesef said...

Try to prove that any of these charges against the LDS Church are true. Try to prove that The Book of Mormon is not true. And all the while the Holy Spirit testifies that they are true to those who seek the truth with faith and repentance.

Joseph Smith, as a 14-year old young man, went into a grove of trees seeking through prayer the truth about religion with faith and pure intent and was answered with a glorious vision of the Godhead. He walked away (eventually) from that experience with a sure knowledge of the true nature of God the Father, His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, unlike every other Christian religion in his day (or ours, for that matter). It was revealed to him firsthand that the trinitarian creeds were false. The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost are not one (multifaceted) being. John 17 describes their one-ness and it is not in being. They want us to be one with Them in the very same sense that They are one. This was the first truth revealed in this last dispensation of the Gospel, what we call the dispensation of the fullness of times. God the Father is actually our Father, the father of our spirits (all mankind); we have a Parent/child relationship, not just Creator/creation, with all the love and glorious possibilities that entails (to be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ); the creeds describe the trinitarian deity to be impersonal, unknowable, and unrelated. Our Father in Heaven knew the Fall was going to happen and planned for it, it's called The Plan of Redemption, and this mortal life has great purpose - it is a test of faith & obedience, as well as to obtain a physical body, which will experience death and resurrection/immortality, and then be raised to inherit that degree of glory for which the person is made fit according to his works. The Father sent His Firstborn spirit Son, Jesus Christ, who became His Only Begotten Son in the flesh, to accomplish this perfect Atonement. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of the only true and living God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent. The Book of Mormon is true, another Testament of Jesus Christ. It's all true and you can know it for yourself by a manifestation of the power of the Holy Ghost if you will read it, ponder it, and then pray to God the Eternal Father with faith and real intent, in the name of Jesus Christ. You have to be ready and willing to change though. If you're completely satisfied with what truth you have and will not open your mind or your heart to more, then you have all that you are willing to receive. Don't let a few bad Mormons spoil your personal search for the truth. We've got wheat and tares in the Church. I would point to the leaders of the Church as wonderful examples - President Monson, his counselors, the Twelve Apostles - living examples of disciples of Christ.

Have you seen the latest DNA evidence linking Algonquin North American (Indians) to populations in the Middle-East/Europe? Look up Haplogroup X (sub-group X2A specifically). "DNA vs The Book of Mormon" has just become "DNA supports The Book of Mormon." The Nephites/Lamanites were most probably the Hopewell culture (aka Mound Builders) and the Jaredites (previous civilization) were most probably the Adena culture - ancestors of Algonquins and others. This is the One Cumorah theory and now there is preliminary DNA evidence to support it (all DNA evidence for ancient population migration is preliminary pending more ancient DNA to corroborate the theories). And what do you know there are literally mounds of archeological evidence for these pre-Columbian cultures being as sophisticated as The Book of Mormon describes, as well as Christian - meaning they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and that He visited them after His resurrection.

Be careful what you mock - if it be of God - you will incur His displeasure.

4simpsons said...

I think you missed the point above re. Galatians 1.

Is the Mormon gospel the same as the Gospel of the Bible?

Before answering, consider Galatians 1:8-9 very carefully, even noting the part about the angel: But 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! As 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!

If the gospel according to the Book of Mormon is the same as what Paul preached, then it is redundant and I don’t need any new revelations (unless you are claiming that the Bible doesn’t contain the Gospel Paul preached but that the Book of Mormon does, which would be an interesting argument).

If the gospel according to the Book of Mormon is different then I shouldn’t trust it and you shouldn’t teach it.

Either way, if you say you believe the Bible then you can’t make a case for the necessity of the Book of Mormon without denying Galatians 1:8-9.

Jesef said...

(New Testament | Galatians 1:8 - 9)
8 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.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

I think what you have stated is a misinterpretation of Galatians 1:8-9, which does not preclude the coming forth of any more scripture or God continuing to reveal His will to His children using His divine pattern of Prophets and Apostles. This is the same type of misinterpretation that is frequently quoted in relation to Revelations (Rev. 22:18-19), which also does not preclude God adding to His own words (through an authorized servant, as He has throughout the ages). This indicates a misunderstanding of the gospel which Paul was preaching, which many think they have received but in fact have not. Paul preached the gospel of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by water immersion (Rom. 6:3-5; Col. 2:12), and the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, all administered by authorized servants (not imposters). I am curious how so many can read the Bible and not see the doctrine of divine authority, the necessity of certain divinely mandated ordinances, and the apparent order of the Kingdom of God which the Lord Jesus Christ set up (One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism - Eph. 4:5), led by chosen Apostles (Eph. 2:19-22; till we all come in the unity of the faith - Eph. 4:11-14).

The Book of Mormon, which is another continent's testament of Jesus Christ, testimonial proof to non-Christians that the Bible is true and that Jesus is the Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God the Eternal Father. It's coming forth was prophesied by John the Beloved in Revelations 14:6. That angel was Moroni and that everlasting gospel was contained in The Book of Mormon. Jesus had other sheep not of the Palestinian fold whom he visited and taught. You should read 3 Nephi - it is a fifth Gospel.

Ps. 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth
Isa. 29:4 voice shall be ... familiar spirit, out of the ground
Isa. 29:11 vision of all ... as the words of a book that is sealed
Isa. 29:18 shall the deaf hear the words of the book
Ezek. 37:15-20 stick of Joseph ... of Judah ... shall be one in mine hand
John 10:16 other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
Rev. 14:6 I saw another angel ... having the everlasting gospel

Misinterpretation of scriptures weakens your case. The proof is in the pudding. Study The Book of Mormon.

The Nicean/Athanasian creeds were introductions by men as are many of the precepts being taught in the disunity of the faith that is modern mainstream Christianity.

Jesef said...

The Book of Mormon is either true and what it claims to be, the word of God to some of the ancient inhabitants of America (other sheep not of the Palestinian fold), or it is false and fictional with irrelevant truth value (i.e. from the mind of Joseph Smith, teaches more falsehood than truth, does more evil than good, was intended to deceive and misdirect, and was in no way inspired by the God of truth). The manner in which it is claimed to have come forth, its origins, its deliverance to the Prophet Joseph Smith, the angelic visitations and instructions, the process of its translation by the gift and power of God, etc., forces this conclusion. This is not like mistranslations in various editions of the Bible. The origin of The Book of Mormon is much more firsthand. Joseph Smith was either a true prophet, divinely called and inspired, or he was a charlatan. The manner in which he received and delivered the teachings and revelations of God to the people, which was corroborated in many cases by many other witnesses, was such that he could not be both sincere and deluded (or crazy). It would have required great collusion and intent to deceive. Sincerely misguided doesn't hold up. To me either The Book of Mormon is authentic or Joseph Smith made it up and he knew it. So I think Joseph Smith hit the nail on the head when he said that The Book of Mormon is the keystone of the religion and all its claims, which are too unequivocal to be partially true. Because of what it claims to be and what it testifies itself to be, The Book of Mormon as a volume of scripture is either true or false, with certain implications.

If The Book of Mormon is true, then:
1. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the Atoning Savior and Redeemer of mankind. (I don't think Christians would disagree with this one. Read it, though - The Book of Mormon testifies of the divinity and majesty of Jesus Christ as Lord, Savior, Redeemer, and Only Begotten Son of God even more so than the New Testament.)
2. God works through holy Prophets/Apostles to whom he dispenses divine power and authority. (We don't worship prophets. We follow them because the Lord appointed them. It is out of reverence for Him that we follow His servants. And we have the Holy Ghost to confirm the truth of their words - checks and balances - not blind obedience.)
3. Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, not a charlatan, and not merely a sincere misinterpreter of God's will. (If Joseph Smith was such an egomaniac, as Anti-LDS claim, why didn't he name the church after himself and claim himself Messiah reborn or something? Ridiculous and ignorant accusations.)
4. Jesus Christ visited the Americas after his resurrection and ascension. Many American tribal legends support this.
5. The Holy Bible is also true, as far as it has been translated correctly, etc.
6. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true and is the kingdom of God on earth, is led today by living Prophets/Apostles of God, holds the Holy Priesthood and all its keys, powers, and ordinances, etc. (I realize here that there are succession claims by small splinter groups, but this can be addressed and established separately, i.e. it is not relevant if The Book of Mormon is false.)
7. The historical sketches of Joseph Smith and early Church leaders should be interpreted faithfully and graciously.
8. It should be held as a standard of truth against which we should measure our thoughts, ideas, feelings, opinions, preferences, beliefs, and behavior, as well as that of anyone else, not vice-versa. It then becomes our duty to try to learn and understand the mind, will, and wisdom of God as He has revealed it through His authorized servants, and to conform our lives to it, submitting our wills to His.
9. God the Eternal Father will manifest the truth of it to anyone who meets His conditions by the power of the Holy Ghost.

So I invite you to reexamine The Book of Mormon and investigate the body of research available. There are many powerful evidences, some recently discovered, and some never refuted. Here are just a few you could explore. Taken individually some of them may just be supporting evidence, but taken collectively they constitute a degree of proof of its authenticity and the other claims of the Restoration:
1. Firsthand Witnesses: 12+, many of whom witnessed supernatural events, all who testified of its truth, six of whom became disassociated from Joseph Smith and the Church but never denied their testimonies.
2. Martyrdom: Joseph, Hyrum, and Samuel Smith were all martyred, sealing their testimonies with their blood.
3. Multiple Authorship: Wordprints and textual analysis constitute statistical proof that it was authored by multiple people, all with different writing styles; that Joseph Smith did not write it, neither Oliver Cowdery or Solomon Spaulding.
4. Hebraisms and Chiasmus: many instances
5. Anachronisms: things detractors thought proved the falsehood of the book, but now support it
6. Internal Consistency and Coherency: history, people, places, doctrine, etc.
7. Doctrinal Depth: layer upon layer, even hidden treasures of knowledge
8. Translation time and process: very unlikely
9. External Consistency: with Bible and other Latter-Day scriptures
10. Prophecies and fulfillment: for our day even

If Joseph Smith made up The Book of Mormon, then I would like to hear a reasonable alternative explanation for these evidences. As for myself, I agree with President Hinckley when he said recently:

"First came Moroni with the plates from which was translated the Book of Mormon. What a singular and remarkable thing this was. Joseph’s story of the gold plates was fantastic. It was hard to believe and easy to challenge. Could he have written it of his own capacity? It is here, my brothers and sisters, for everyone to see, to handle, to read. Every attempt to explain its origin, other than that which he gave, has fallen of its own weight. He was largely unschooled; and yet, in a very brief time, he brought forth the translation which in published form comes to more than 500 pages."

These attempts to explain the origin of The Book of Mormon, like the Sydney-Rigdon-wrote-it one (or the Oliver-Cowdery-wrote-it one), completely fail to explain many, many pieces of physical evidence that are available today which were not available when Mormonism Unveiled was written in 1834 (the original anti-Mormon 'expose' that presented most of these theories). The Sydney Rigdon, Solomon Spaulding, and View of the Hebrews (as well as Oliver Cowdery) authorship theories are laughable in light of the current research of internal and external evidences supporting The Book of Mormon's authenticity, evidences which these theories completely fail to address. THe "alternate psychology" and "epilepsy" authorship theories are my favorites as far as comedy and absurdity go. Have you researched these evidences? I mentioned a few of the many possible categories previously. Anti-Mormons continue to regurgitate the same frail cases against The Book of Mormon, which have been soundly refuted. Are you willing to suspend your disbelief and really research the fruit by which you may know if the Prophet Joseph Smith was true or false? If The Book of Mormon is true, then your accusations are wrong. Well I could retype all my implications of "if The Book of Mormon is true" here but I'll just refer you back to my previous list. Research The Book of Mormon for yourself.

You can start here:

http://en.fairmormon.org/FAIRwiki:Table_of_contents#The_Book_of_Mormon

http://www.jefflindsay.com/BMEvidences.shtml#scrolls

If Joseph Smith (or Sydney Rigdon or Oliver Cowdery or Solomon Spaulding or Ethan Smith) or any man from the pre-1830's made up The Book of Mormon, then please give a reasonable answer to the following:
1. Why are none of their wordprints in it?
2. How did he include so many Hebraisms (evidences that it is an English translation of Hebrew), as well as suffixes, prefixes, writing style, sentence structure, and phraseology that match ancient Egyptian and Hebrew languages? And not know it or vaunt it as evidence?
3. How did he successfully embed so many instances of Chiasmus? And not know it or vaunt it as evidence?
4. How did he include so many quotes of Isaiah that vary from the King James Version of the Bible but which match older versions of Isaiah found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, which weren't even discovered until 1947?
5. How did he guess so many anachronisms (out of time historical references) that turned out to be true many years later?
6. Why isn't it riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies, or even just a few?
7. How did he guess that one of Zedekiah's sons, Mulek, escaped execution in Babylon, a recently discovered probability?
8. How did he make up over 180 names of people and places which have since been discovered in ancient Jewish documents found in Egypt?
9. How did he write the Allegory of the Olive Tree (Jacob 5), quoting a prophet named Zenos, who is not mentioned in the Bible, and have it strikingly match Hymn J (or 10) in the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947, author not mentioned). Hugh Nibly says this same allegory is contained in an ancient document that was published in 1893, the author translated as "Zenez." How did he correctly guess all the olive grafting/gardening methods mentioned in Jacob 5, only recently discovered to be accurate?
10. How did he guess rightly so many parallels between Lehi's exodus and the "Lachish letters" (written by a general in Israel around 600 B.C. to the king - he was sent by the king to find some families who left Jerusalem and went toward Egypt taking with them some ancient records)?
11. How did he describe Lehi's Middle-Eastern journey to the sea so accurately?
12. When describing Zemnarihah's execution (3 Nephi 4:28), the tree from which he is hanged is ritually cut down. How did he guess that this bizarre ritual is part of ancient Jewish law, a recently discovered fact?
13. How did he manage to correctly guess the time zone (hours) difference for Christ's crucifixion between Israel and the New World?
14. How did he guess that Reformed Egyptian (writing Hebrew using Egyptian characters) was a real writing form, a fact confirmed by recent discoveries?
15. How did he know to claim that The Book of Mormon was translated from metal plates placed in a stone box, a fact laughed at 178 years ago but since corroborated by multiple discoveries?

You would think after 178 years of diligent and desperate research on the part of Anti-Mormons that they would have come up with some solid piece of internal or external evidence to disprove The Book of Mormon (if it were untrue). But no.

Anonymous said...

Jesef,

I think you've missed a critical third possibility with Joseph Smith's translation of the BOM. It is inherently possible that Joseph Smith did translate a book from brass plates. But what you're assuming is that the messenger delivering the those plates was a messenger of God? What if he wasn't. What if the messenger was from the other team? It would be a masterful deception on the part of Satan, to create an alternate form of scriptures with just enough truth in it to sound correct, but full of nothing but lies and misdirections. Consider that Satan is the master of lies. He is such because he is the master of the half-truth, a brilliant form of deciet. So, while its very plausible that Joseph Smith did translate a book, it is also very plausible he translated a book meant to mislead and decieve and distract Christ's followers from the truth path. If that is true, then the point 4Simpsons is making is a valid one.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

The evidence for the authenticity of The Book of Mormon is otherwise inexplicable. This theory of "If Joseph Smith didn't write it, then the devil did!" is an example of "otherwise." Could The Book of Mormon be authentic but still be a total deception authored by the devil himself to mislead unwary truth-seekers toward Mormonism, a counterfeit form of Christianity that takes its adherents on a one-way trip to Hades? Well, if one is suggesting that the devil physically created the gold plates and engraved them himself, that is just downright absurd. This flimsy possibility loses plausibility as one considers certain factors. First of all, it's a conspiracy theory and sounds a little crazy. Second, there is no historical precedent of God allowing the devil to do such a thing - supernaturally fabricate material evidence in physical reality, that is. The whole test of faith and the plan of our mortal lives would be frustrated, not to mention completely unfair, if the devil were permitted to just run amok in such a manner. God, according to His infinite wisdom and purposes, has set bounds on the adversary that he cannot violate. The devil is a liar, a tempter, and an illusionist, not a blacksmith. So, alternatively, if he possessed someone or inspired them to do it, why didn't he just leave the plates themselves behind as further evidence to support the authenticity of his deception? If you want a real example of how the devil works, do a little research on the Kinderhook plates - a real fabrication of metal plates by a human blacksmith, inspired by the devil with the intent of deceiving Joseph Smith the 'supposed' seer/translator. Joseph didn't fall for it. "It's okay to lie/deceive to catch someone you think is a liar/deceiver." Now that's one of the devil's rationales. And he has employed it against the Latter-Day Saints on several occasions.

In addition to these absurdities, to further defend this theory one would have to explain why the devil would fabricate a record which so clearly and powerfully testifies of the power, truth, and divinity of his enemy, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, as well as His eternal Atonement - sufferings, victory over sin, and resurrection, victory over death - and His Gospel of faith, repentance, baptism by water, baptism by fire and the Holy Ghost, etc.; and which accurately testifies of the truth of the Bible, the record of the Jews. The devil hates these things. The teachings of The Book of Mormon strengthen faith in Jesus Christ as the Only Begotten Son of the Eternal Father. If one claims The Book of Mormon is full of half-truths, give some examples. I have thoroughly studied the book and found it to be full of truth and virtue. In this light one would do well to apply these Biblical truths to the evaluation of the theory (i.e. whether the devil is the author of The Book of Mormon or whether it is of God):

3 John 1:11
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

1 John 4:1 - 6
1 BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Hereby know ye the Spirit 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 not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, 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 world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us (i.e. the authorized/ordained Apostles); he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - 18
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (Incidentally, the Joseph Smith Translation gives the first phrase of this verse as "And receiveth all the things of God,..." - which certainly clarifies the intent/meaning.)

1 Corinthians 2:10 - 14
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.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Acts 5:39
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.

John 8:47
47 He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

John 7:17
17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

One might also consider how The Book of Mormon fulfills these Biblical prophecies from my earlier post:
Ps. 85:11 Truth shall spring out of the earth
Isa. 29:4 voice shall be ... familiar spirit, out of the ground
Isa. 29:11 vision of all ... as the words of a book that is sealed
Isa. 29:18 shall the deaf hear the words of the book
Ezek. 37:15-20 stick of Joseph ... of Judah ... shall be one in mine hand
John 10:16 other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
Rev. 14:6 I saw another angel ... having the everlasting gospel:

This "devil wrote it" theory sounds more like anti-Mormon gibberish designed to justify rejection of the implications of the truth of The Book of Mormon (listed previously). If The Book of Mormon is true, then God has restored His truth and true system of religion to the earth. It's uncomfortable, and even offensive, to many people to consider that their traditions or the traditions of their fathers are not correct. It's a natural human reaction (fallen nature) to want to be right and to get defensive (or offensive), even when we're wrong. In such a position, for those who choose to take offense, rather than humbly reconsider their positions in favor of revealed truth, such anti-LDS theories are comfort food. It's more comfortable to believe that Latter-Day Saints aren't Christian, are all deceived, or better yet, are deliberately conspiring, and are all knowingly or ignorantly following the devil down to hell. What can I say more? If someone would rather grasp onto ludicrous theories that bind their minds and harden their hearts, they are free to choose.

Anonymous said...

Jesef,

I would like to correct a few things that you said, or perhaps implied. First off, I'm very much aware of the idea that's been put out there that Mormons are not Christians. I don't happen to subscribe to that theory, even though my own church is one that promotes the idea. I know too many Mormons who lead Christian lives to believe that Mormons are not Christian.

Second, I never said the Devil wrote the BOM. I said that I think you failed to consider the possibility. Whether you agree with me or not, it is still a possibility that bears consideration. I may very well be wrong about that theory, but in light of what we know about Satan, this is exactly the type of deception he would attempt. In answer to you question about why Satan would create a book that so powerfully testifies about the power of Christ, I would point you to the very devisiveness that the BOM stirs up in Christianity. Your faith is considered a pariah by the mainstream Christian faiths. The teachings of your church can, and often does divide families. One member of a family converts to your faith and becomes an outsider to the rest of their family because of it. The temple ceremony, while designed to join families for time and eternity is at the same time devisive because non-members can never enter the temple. You may disagree with me on every point, but there are some very significant elements of your faith that on the surface appear from God, but deep down contradict Christian principles.

Third, I don't believe LDS are all conspiring to decieve. I do believe most are genuine in thier beliefs, and most are genuine in their desire to spread Christ's love to the masses. I don't at all agree that you haven't been decieved or misled by Joseph Smith. Maybe he started out with good intentions, but ultimately looking at where he ended up, I believe he lost his way.

I'll grant you the Kinderhook Plates. But, that said, how do you explain the Book of Abraham? Are you saying that the scientific evidence that indicates the papyrus JS translated that from was not what he said it was? If that's the case then I'd have to say you're the one who is defensive.

Lastly, I want to clarify something. I don't have to be right for you. I do have to be right for me, as you must be right for you. You appear to be quite content being Mormon. Enjoy, you probably will reach heaven if you follow those teachings. But, I believe that I will reach heaven on my own path. That path leads through the only Church that can claim a direct lineage to Christ and was established in 33 AD. Now I know you will say that your church traces its lineage to Christ through the BOM. But, there is a significant difference in the two. If I am right, then no apostacy ever occurred which is a fundamental difference in the teachings of the two faiths. And if no apostacy ever occurred then one of the very tenants of your church's faith is shattered. In looking at Christian history I believe that no apostacy ever occurred, this shatters my ability to believe in the teachings of your church. I don't mean that to be offensive, or defensive as the case may be. I just look at all the saints who died to preserve Christianity and Christ's teachings. If an apostacy occurred, their sacrifices would be, in my opinion, in vain. I don't believe in a God who would allow that. And I don't believe in a God who would tell Peter that he would be the rock of the church and that the gates of hell would never prevail against it, unless God meant it. Your church's teaching on the apostacy would indicate to me that God didn't mean it when he said that. Hope that clarifies. Enjoy your journey in faith.

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Hi CD,

First, I just want to say that in my last post I was addressing the "devil wrote it" theory and those who might believe it, not you personally. However, you are the one who suggested and then expounded on this possibility, in support of 4Simpsons's Galatians 1:8-9 point. Perhaps you should not promulgate assailing ideas, especially absurd ones, which you don't actually endorse. A hypothetical attack is still an attack, especially on a blog where our only medium of representation is the words we post. It's irresponsible and just too easy to concoct such ridiculous accusations against any faith claim, including Catholicism's.

You obviously do subscribe to some of the more unfriendly and conspiratorial "anti" theories about the Church, not as they apply to its 'unwary' members per se, by saying things like "it is still a possibility that bears consideration", "there are some very significant elements of your faith that on the surface appear from God, but deep down contradict Christian principles", and "I don't at all agree that you haven't been deceived or misled by Joseph Smith." Those are all fair belief statements, but they are reasonably antagonistic.

I think we do disagree on many points, but I can still respect your perspective and live peacefully with you.

On the point of my church dividing families, from my perspective the division comes from some members of a family accepting the truth and others rejecting it and then reacting in an malevolent way. The Lord foresaw this kind of division when he said:

(New Testament | Luke 12:49 - 53)
49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?
50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!
51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.
53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

This isn't a commentary on His intent in sending forth the truth, it's a commentary on fallen human nature and its reactions to the truth, which He knew would happen. The truth can divide, but it isn't the truth's fault. Some family members choose to ostracize rather than love, accept, and support. In most of the cases with which I am familiar, it has been the "mainstream" Christian family members guilty of the unchristianly conduct toward the family member choosing to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This was the case with both sets of my grandparents (and Aunts and Uncles, too) when my parents joined the Church. They were belligerently opposed and unsupportive. They didn't even try to understand. Their reactions were full of ignorance and prejudice. It took years, and my dad's untimely death, for them to soften towards us religiously and see the good fruits of the Restored Gospel in our lives and family. Today, a generation later (the great-grandchildren), the LDS side of the family is the majority (23-14, counting my generation and my children's). Posterity isn't the only fruit either. Family solidarity and faithfulness on the LDS side is 100% while the "mainstream" side has had all kinds of problems, divorces, substance abuse, spiritual inactivity, etc. They marvel at our LDS extended family and are always asking my mother what was her secret. They have softened considerably towards the Church, too. I have one grandmother left alive and she left the church/congregation in which she was raised (and that her dad pastored) because they wouldn't stop their anti-Mormon seminars (casting LDS as anti-Christians). We are decidedly Christian in my extended family's eyes, but they still aren't interested in the Restored Gospel for themselves. They love the fruit, they praise the fruit, they want the fruit, but they won't pluck it from the tree, they won't acknowledge the source of the fruit. At least they don't want to cut the tree down anymore. In my view that's progress.

The Temple is a sacred and holy place, just as it has always been throughout Judeo-Christian history. Not everyone was then or is today permitted to enter. God sets the requirements for entering His Holy House, every one of which bears the inscription, "Holiness to the Lord, The House of the Lord." Anyone can choose to meet these requirements (conversion, worthiness, etc.), but it is each individual's choice. What if everyone were permitted to enter the Temple(which is purpose for regular Church buildings/chapels)? A murderer, or a rapist, or a child molester could just walk into the House of the Lord. It would be polluted. It would lose its sanctity.

As far as the Great Apostasy goes, I respectfully disagree with your interpretation of Matt. 16:18. Peter is not the Rock to which Christ was referring. Christ was referring to personal revelation to an individual from Our Father in Heaven, through His Holy Spirit ("flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee...", that He, Jesus, was indeed the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior and Redeemer, and Son of the living God, and the Rock upon which the Church is built. A foretold earthly aspostasy (e.g. 2 Thes. 2:3) did not constitute "the gates of death (Hades)" prevailing against the Church. I'll refer any readers back to my previous posts on January 8 & 9, 2008, and November 10, 2007, where I addressed these points at length. History clearly demonstrates that there was an apostasy. But no true-of-heart person has ever died in vain, from an LDS perspective. We believe in salvation for the dead made possible by the atonement and intercession of the Lord Jesus Christ. This subject is treated in my earlier posts as well.

The few fragments of the papyrii that survived the Chicago fire of 1871 do not match the descriptions of the complete set of papyrii scrolls from which the Prophet Joseph Smith translated the Book of Abraham. Scholars estimate that as much as 90% of the papyrii are unrecovered, presumably lost in that great fire. I invite you to consider some of the evidences which debunk the criticism and support the authenticity of the Book of Abraham as an inspired scriptural text. You can start here (anyone who is open to further truth, light, and knowledge, that is): http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_Abraham.shtml

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does not claim divine authority through The Book of Mormon. Peter, James, and John visited Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in May of 1829 and conferred the authority, power, and keys of the Holy Priesthood upon them. Peter, James, and John were ordained by Jesus Christ. The Catholic claim that Peter ordained the Roman Bishop to be the first pope is unprovable. Doctrinally, I see the LDS Church conforming to more Biblical teachings than any other Christian sect. You can disqualify 90% of the sects (as conforming), including Catholicism, by just observing the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. I could cite many examples from just the New Testament on these principles and ordinances.

I have yet to encounter an anti-Mormon charge that does not have a good rebuttal from the perspective of the Fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ as restored in these last days through the Prophet Joseph Smith. While I have encountered mountains of supportive evidence which critics fail utterly to address or explain.

CD, while we obviously don't see eye to eye on these things, I wish you well in your journey of faith, too. I believe almost everyone is going to a heaven, or in other words, a degree of glory, after this life. Many will have to go through some hell (i.e. suffer for their sins) to get there, but I believe people are pretty much going to end up where they really want (i.e. as indicated by their choices) to be. In Our Father's kingdom, there are many mansions, many degrees of glory. It's really a question of: which glory are you aiming for? I believe the highest heaven, or highest degree of glory, also called celestial (i.e. like the sun), is where we can become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:17). But only those who truthfully seek and do the will of the Father, who truly follow His Son and walk in His path, will be worthy to receive it and dwell there (Matt. 7:21).

I am curious. Why do you participate on a Mormon blog when you're so set in your Catholic ways?

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Jesef,

I'll answer your last question first. I have asked myself the same question. Frankly I don't have a good answer as to why I participate on a mormon site so much when I am Catholic, and pretty confirmed to be. I initially started writing I think to understand more about my wife's beliefs. Now, I find that writing seems more divisive than I'd hoped it would be. Part of writing is that I do love debate, and here I can safely debate. I've been trying to be less antagonistic with my commentary of late, but am not always successful. I do respect your faith quite a bit, but there is so much that I disagree with. I have actually thought about just not writing anymore, but there are times I see postings here that are interesting. I have been trying to find more things that I do agree with of late.

With regard to your comments on the temple, I do agree that it is a holy and sacred place. I disagree that it should be closed off to sinners such as murderers and rapists. Perhaps that's because I see the house of God as a sanctuary of forgiveness. See I look at it from this perspective, those who need God's love and intercessions the most are the murderers and rapists of the world. They need to feel of God, and be loved by God. I also look at Christ's ministry while here on earth. He didn't minister to the holy and righteous, he ministered to the adulterers, the tax collectors, the true sinners and the truly downtrodden. God's house is supposed to be open to these people. But in your religion, God's house is closed to those who need to be in his house the most. That's my belief on the subject. I'm certain, as I said, that the belief stems from an entirely different perspective on what is God's house for. I believe God's house is a refuge for sinners to find solace and forgiveness, you believe it to be a place for the baptism of the dead and endowments and holy covenants.

You are right, 90% of all Christian religions can be disqualified by evidence of one kind or another. Even yours. That's why faith is so important, and that is likely a point we agree on. Your interpretation of the sacraments is just that to me. No where does in the bible are we actually commanded to be baptized by immersion. That is an interpretation of the example set by Jesus in the first part of John. The command was to be baptized, the immersion part was added by your faith and a number of the other Christian faiths. What I see is a symbolic act taken too literally. Baptism is a symbolic washing away of our sins, a symbolic rebirth. Why does it matter if one is completely dunked under water as opposed to just having water poured over one's head. It doesn't to me, because the washing is what takes place in the heart, not what takes place on the outside.

Another thing I might add, and is one of the reasons that I struggle so much with your faith, is that I actually have experienced all of the things that your faith says aren't possible unless one follows the BOM. I have experienced and do experience the Holy Spirit act in my life on a daily basis. There has never been a time that I haven't felt God with me. So if I consider my experiences, I necessarily consider why join your church, when I already have what your church professes to offer. This probably sounds a bit convoluted; that's because its very hard for me to put into words. Much like you trying to describe a temple experience. The best I can tell you is that when I draw on all my life experiences and all I've been taught as a Catholic, and all I've come to learn about God along the way, your church feels very very wrong.

There are some of the anti-mormon teachings that I do agree with. There are some though that I think contain a great deal of distortion and need to be looked into further. But even things with distortion have some basis in fact, otherwise there'd be nothing to distort. Its the underlying facts that cause concern. I've actually reviewed both sides of the argument on the Book of Abraham. I've drawn the conclusion that the evidence indicates that the Book of Abraham isn't what it professes to be. But I actually have taken time to look at both sides.

Before I go, I want to share a bit of my experiences with faith. In Catholic teachings, St. Jude is the patron saint of the hopeless cause. Its said that if you ask for his intercession, a whole other subject, then help will come. What I would share with you is that I actually have felt that intercession work at the times when I've felt the lowest in life, and have felt all was lost and hopeless. No other faith has this to offer, most don't even understand it. And converting to any other faith, yours included would lose this aspect of belief for me. This is something your church can't offer, doesn't believe, and won't ever understand, and it is a reason I don't join.

Perhaps I've clarified some of my points with you, perhaps I haven't. In either case, we're both going to have to walk our own spiritual journey. I wish you well in yours.

Catholic Defender

Anonymous said...

"I've actually reviewed both sides of the argument on the Book of Abraham. I've drawn the conclusion that the evidence indicates that the Book of Abraham isn't what it professes to be. But I actually have taken time to look at both sides."

Have you really reviewed the best scholarsly sides of both?? Because those defences for the boa clearly proove that you can't proove the boa false with current data available, but many things actually establish it more as authentic, or plausable for athentic book. John Gee's tragedy of errors demonstrated it so clearly that there's no room for doubt that larsons claims, that are copy pasted by all the antis, were completely false and not scholarly at all.
U are a catholic, so offcourse you would aproach it in such a way, but that is hardly any proof.

Generally speaking of the anti-mormons, I find it hillarious that some people think that because they have so much stuff, it must be true, or even if 10% of it wastrue, it would proove church false.
First of all, 10% isn't true, maybe 1-2%m, second, I see it this way, that if some one or some group takes so much pains to create so much bad things to say, and can't say anything positive about something, their claims must be strongly biased, and they must have some fixed agenda behind their crusade, that isn't really objective in any way.
I have learned that too much bad talk turnes the tables and one becomes sceptical if the hater is actually the bad one himself, and this is how I see the anti-mormon literature. If they would cut their crap even with half, I would give them more merit, and if they could actually find some virtues from aswell, I could aproach them differently, but this way they are ultimately allways unreliable because of the reasons afore mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous of June 9, 2008,

You make an interesting point regarding the anti-mormons being so active at trying to discredit your church. But, I have to ask, couldn't the same be said for the LDS Church. For example, the LDS Church goes to such great lengths to say wonderful things about itself, to the extent that it doesn't acknowledge its flaws. Does that not, using your same logic, show a strong bias and agenda. This is the problem that I see from both sides of the debate. Both the anti's and the LDS use the same tactic of overkill and distortion to the extent that both appear overly biased and discredited. Neither side is willing to acknowledge virtues in the other side's arguments. Just a thought.

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Hi CD,

I agree with you on the point of there being overzealous behavior exhibited by both Anti-Mormons and some LDS Apologists. The apologists who are "fighting fire with fire" tend to muddy the waters a bit, making it difficult sometimes to recognize the really good scholarship. But, in my opinion, there is still a fundamental difference between an attacker and a defender. Your tag is an example. You consider yourself a defender of Catholicism. You did not name yourself Mormon Attacker, thankfully. I think, as a Catholic, you have a right to defend your faith in good conscience, especially if it is being caustically maligned. Latter-Day Saints have the same right. My purpose in defending my faith is not to disillusion or undermine someone else's faith, as seems to be the case with almost every Anti-Mormon I've encountered, but rather to counteract the attacks against my faith by showing a faithful perspective on whatever the issue might be. I have had enough experience with these attacks by now to see that they are generally deceptive. "It's okay to lie to convince someone else that they believe a lie," seems to be one of their modus operandi. If this approach is deliberate, then their motive is certainly evil. If it is unintentional, then it still appears to me that they are obliviously being inspired by the wrong source. The difference between the Anti-Mormon and the LDS Apologist is not just bias or belief. Anti-Mormons characteristically demonstrate an aggressive, offensive, and malevolent tone or spirit in their approach, while often claiming paradoxically to be motivated by love and concern for the Latter-Day Saint soul. Their methods undermine their stated purpose. Who's going to believe that their objective is to lovingly "reclaim" LDS people to the truth (as they see it) when their approach screams "destroy!" In so many cases that I've seen, they are basing their attacks on maliciously interpreted evidence that is itself questionable. I defend in hopes of strengthening the faith of someone, perhaps young in the faith, to be able to endure the constant bombardment of distortions being spewed by the addicted Anti-Mormon.

Anonymous said...

Its likely been already said, but I came to the conclusion years ago that if 90% of the anti-Mormon charges were false, then thats a pretty good indicator of the other 10%.

Nathan Sorenson said...

Jeff and Catholic Defender,

the 1-2%m that is spoke of as possibly true of what anti's say of mormonism - what's the 1-2%m? I know. That's not your purpose in the blog, Jeff, to out our religion in any way. That's fine. Let me:

1. We believe in the New Testament. Yep! Specific beliefs in the NT are very bad according to Anti's. For example, believing that we can become like Jesus! Blashpame! "Ooops!?," an Anti should ask. "Maybe it's blaspheme to not believe it? - since it is in the NT"

okay. so that's one "Anti" charge against mormonism that's true.

2. Mormons have another book! Ooops! That was too easy. Maybe that's obvious. Maybe Mormons aren't hiding that fact. Oh well. It's out. And it's true!

It's also very scriptural for us to have another book according to God in Ezekiel 37 of the Old Testament. But to see that, one would have to consider the scriptures, desiring to know the truth.

3. LDS have prophets! Ouch! How could "they?" (Oh, yeah. It's "us" - but I'm giving it from an "Anti" perspective and thus the "they".) And the NT says to watch out for false ones. Yep.

Why would Jesus say to determine whether a prophet is true by their fruits? Did he know there be true ones and false ones? If not, why wouldn't he just tell us not to believe any prophet? Ant's might well consider that Jesus loves us well enough to not imply a need to judge whether a prophet is true or false if the truth is knowable without any consideration. Or do the "Anti's" think Jesus suggested such just to confuse and ruin us?

Ummm. Could it be that the other true statements by "Anti's" are also so horrible? Ooops! - so good?

No.

Not all are.

Many are rather neutral rather than good.

And one is bad. Yep. One. There was a location where some local authorities got some bad information and were persuaded to do some things that shouldn't have been done. And Brigham Young showed his displeasure at it, and as the territorial governor, had someone executed for it.

One very tragic incident where the central authority of The Church was in a position to do something about it and did. That's what the "Anti's" have.

Jesus and John the Beloved, John the Revelator had some bad things against the NT church as well. One can read about that in the NT book Revelations. But do the "Anti's rail against the New Testament church? Was it also false? The same standard should be applied accross the board.

If errors on a local level disqualify a religion, oops!, there goes our LDS and the New Testament churches together. Each stands or falls on the same merits or demerits - central correctness or local error.

I guess you were too busy to out us Jeff. I did it for you.

Thanks for your blog.



Nathan Sorenson

Anonymous said...

HI Nathan,

I think you misunderstand the question posed. If only 10% of the charges against your church are true, does that mean the church is false...that's my understanding of the question posed. My opinion is yes it does, could be that I'm wrong, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

I would tend to agree with you in spirit at least, that some of the antis out there are jaded and out to discredit your church by any means necessary. But some are able to discredit your church, simply by relying on the facts provided by your church leaders.

We both believe in the New Testament...we do not interpret its teachings the same however, and that is the crux of the disagreement. You suggest there are specific portions of the NT that anti's find objectionable. What sections are those? How about specifics, since there are specifics, so that one can respond.

You church interprets Ezekial's teachings differently, and finds scriptural support for another book. That doesn't mean your church is right...it just means that's what your church teaches that Ezekial said.

Has it occurred to you that Jesus was given the people of the time a measuring stick by which to determine that he was who he said he was, and not a measuring stick to determine if future prophets were who they said they are. Its very possible that's what is occurring.

The point is, and this goes back to the original question, is that if 10% of what the anti's say is true, it causes some serious concerns for the validity and veracity of your church's teachings.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Hi Catholic Defender & All,

I'm surprised this thread is still alive. I hope people posting today have read all the posts.

Show me the "10%" of the charges that are "true" and then show me how they implicate that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is false (and not just that its leaders or members are imperfect, which we freely proclaim). Assuming that some of the charges must be true just because of the shear volume is ridiculous. Our perspective is that the devil stirs people up against the truth, against that which is good, and against true divine authority. I don't know of another church that is the target of as much unjustified and unreasonable opposition as ours. Throughout my life I have been impressed by the character of the majority of the anti-Mormons I've encountered. Even those who claim they are motivated by love and concern for our poor, damned Mormon souls, seem possessed of a bitter, angry, hateful, judgmental, or proud spirit. Characterize the anti-Mormon movement in general and it is anything but Christlike, benevolent, or inspired by love. And it often tries to characterize the Church, its leaders, and its members as sinister and conspiratorial, like we are spiritual terrorists. This is something that I, and millions of others, LDS and non-LDS alike, know to be absolutely false and calumnious. Do you really want to put your trust in information sources that employ such devilish spin?

This is an unrealistic standard of judgment anyway. It's akin to saying, "If anything in the Bible is false (i.e. mistranslated or mistranscribed, innocently or otherwise), then throw the whole book out - it is false and cannot be the word of the Lord." Ridiculous and unrealistic. Nothing is perfect in this world. The Lord Jesus Christ was perfect and many people did not even recognize Him for who He was. They judged Him by their own skewed standards and expectations. Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all their successors have never claimed to be perfect in any way, but that certainly doesn't mean they weren't truly inspired and authorized by God. That's a sign they were genuine and honest, actually. "In the Catholic church everyone says the pope is infallible but nobody believes it; and in the Mormon church everybody says the prophet is fallible but nobody believes it (Ulrich, Wendy PhD)."

(Book of Mormon | Moroni 7:14)
14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

In looking at the evidence, don't assume that something isn't true just because you don't understand it. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9). Take polygamy, just for one example. The Church catches so much flack because of this practice, but it's origin is the Bible! Just because it goes against our current cultural moorings (which are shifting!), doesn't mean it isn't true, right, good, or of the Lord. And before you proudly think those people were so unsophisticated and unenlightened, or out of line with the will of the Lord, read Hebrews 11 and Revelations 21, which testify of the righteousness and faithfulness of these men. The 12 gates of the holy city, the heavenly city, the new Jerusalem, will be inscribed with the names of 12 polygamists, the 12 tribes of Israel. Some truths really are spiritual meat and not milk and thus not everyone is ready or qualified for such. A spouse or child abuser certainly isn't qualified to love and care for more than one wife or children, let alone the one he may already have.

Anyway, my point is don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and don't throw the truth away because you don't understand it or because it goes against your own traditions or preconceived notions. Some truths are difficult to understand, be they temporal or spiritual. You don't start out with Calculus, Differential Equations, and Imaginary Numbers. Such "truths" would be incomprehensible without first learning the basics. Then you build on that understanding and grow and move up a little higher. Humble yourself and seek diligently in the light of Christ to open your heart and mind to learn, understand, and accept the truth. Spiritual education requires effort and study, just like temporal education. You must add faith, prayer, and obedience to the principles as you learn them. Peter exhorted us (2 Peter 1) to humbly and diligently add faith, virtue, knowledge, temperence, patience, kindness, godliness (reverence), and above all charity to our characters. These are Christlike attributes. As we become true disciples/followers of Jesus Christ, trying to be like Him in whom we profess belief (1 John 3:2-3), Peter also promised that we "shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." No man cometh unto the Father but by Him (John 14:6). And to know Him and Our Father in Heaven is eternal life (John 17:3).

I'll stop there for now.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesef,

I'm surprised this thread is still alive too. Let me try to explain this way, 10% is a fairly large percentage of something. Its one in ten. So put that into perspective. If 1 in 10 of the things the anti's say about the LDS Church are true, then there is a large percentage of facts which support the proposition that your church is untrue. That is a huge problem, if 10% is true. I'm not saying that 10% is true, though admittedly I believe that is likely the case.

For example, you have 4 books that you consider to be scriptural works. If one of those books were completely false, then 25% of what your church teaches to be true, would be based on false information. That could be a very big problem. It still comes down to prayer and faith, but if one were to know that 10 % of what is being taught is false, what is there to pray about, and why would you?

As far as other churches being persecuted, have you looked at the media treatment of the Catholic Church. For many years now, Catholics when something goes wrong, we're attacked for it...and all the good things done are overlooked. I know how the persecution feels, so I try not to do the same to your faith.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Hi Catholic Defender,

Nice to "hear your voice" again. It's funny that this thread has largely been a conversation between us. I hope and pray the best for you and your loved ones.

On the subject of persecution, I think people naturally focus on the bad and often overlook the good which isn't fair. But I think some of the scrutiny is healthy for an organization and sometimes even justified. What persecution of Catholicism are you referring to specifically? I hope it's not the pedophilia of so many Catholic clergymen which is an awful, sinful thing. Homosexuality and more especially child abuse are condemned most vehemently by the Lord in scripture (Matt. 18:3-6). Persecution is unjustified punishment for one's beliefs (that don't encroach on the rights of others). But justice is still justice. Cleansing your church completely of such vileness, however localized or widespread, is a good thing, don't you think? Now assuming that every Catholic priest is a pedophile because of the relatively few bad apples is unfair.

As a non-Catholic, to me this evil seems to stem from forbidding to marry, which scripture also contradicts (1 Tim. 4:1-6) the way I read it. I believe marriage is ordained of God for every man (from the beginning, starting with Genesis 2:24-25). Not just scripturally, it seems to me to be the way He designed and created us, male and female.

As for the 10% charges hypothesis, I repeat:
Show me the "10%" of the charges that are "true" and then show me how they implicate that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is false (and not just that its leaders or members are imperfect, which we freely proclaim).

Whether you're referring to The Book of Mormon or The Pearl of Great Price (Book of Abraham) in your 25% (false scripture) implication, it's still just your interpretation of inconclusive evidence, not a fair weighing of all the evidence, in my opinion. If you judged them based on the burden of proof, they both pass. The weight of evidence is also in favor of their authenticity. For instance the textual evidence supports both books of scripture as authentic. If they are false, then Joseph Smith made them up and his wordprints would be all over them. But they aren't. The strongest evidence "against" the Book of Abraham is the assumption that the papyrus fragments recovered from the Chicago fire were the source of translation. But that assumption doesn't prove anything since the historical descriptions of all the papyrus indicate that roughly 90% were not recovered, which means that it is highly likely that the source was not the recovered portion.

Just my two-cents.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesef,

Good to hear from you too. We do seem to be keeping this thread alive. I hope you didn't misunderstand what I was saying, in terms of using your four books as an example. I do hold the Pearl of Great Price in great suspicion, but I was actually speaking hypothetically, as in hypothetically speaking if one of the four books your church relies on as scripture were found to be false, then 25% of what your church relies on in its teachings would be based upon false information. That would be a huge chunk of your beliefs to have based upon false doctrine, and would render your church highly suspect. Additionally, if 10% of your churches teachings were found to be false, that would also be a fairly high percentage causing serious credibility problems for your church.

As for persecution, part of what I was referencing was in fact the pedophilia scandals in the media. Its a horrible offense, and its something the Catholic Church has always, at least until recently, handled very poorly. I've always believed the best way the Church should have handled these things was to contact the authorities and let justice, and proper investigations be done. But the media has compounded the Church's approach.

I say that because the majority of Catholic Priests out there though, are very good, devout Christian men. The way the media attention has handled these scandals though would is to portray every priest out there to be a raging pervert. Add to that, the fact that any time one of these events surfaces, it recieves national media attention...all of which is highly anti-catholic attention. Have you ever seen mainstream media attention devoted to anything good the catholic church has done. Very little, if any. Enough ranting though. I'm sure the media in Salt Lake sits in wait for LDS Scandals to arise too. The point I was making though is that catholics have recieved a great deal of persecution over the years, some of it deserved, but not the majority of it.

As far as for homosexuals, I may be misunderstanding what you're saying. Last time I checked, catholics still took a hardline stand on homosexuallity. I don't see that changing much in the future, much to the chagrine of California. Homosexuality, does not equate to pedophilia...in some cases both may exist, but one does not lead to the other.

Celibacy does not lead to pedophilia either. Pedophilia is a serious mental disorder whereby the person is turned on by children...it has nothing to do with the fact that someone is married or non-heterosexual, it has to do with a serious distortion of the boundaries one is supposed to learn while growing up. Pedophiles have actually learned that its normal to engage in adult activities with children, that's why its near impossible to treat them, and there is a high recidivism rate. So to say its a result of one churches teachings and intepretation of the bible that leads to that conduct, is highly inaccurate. Priests that have engaged in this conduct, have learned long before becoming priests that it was normal conduct...all the priesthood has done is given them an opportunity to act. The conduct is still unacceptable, and should be punished, but to combat the conduct, we all need to understand where the conduct arises. I think this is where the media really distorts the truth about catholic priests. Celibacy didn't cause the problem, the problem existed long before the vow of celibacy was taken.

As far as your opinion that Timothy counsels against the celibacy of priests, how does that gel with Paul's counsel toward the single and celibate life. Paul talks at great length about the virtues of remaining single for God so that one can devout one's whole life to serving the Father and Son. This is an area I think your church really misses the mark on. Not all are called to marry, and not all should marry. Not all are called to have children, and not all of us should have children. Paul talks at length about the gifts we are all given in 2 Corinthians 10. Not all of us have or are supposed to have all of those gifts.

Thank you for the kind words and thoughts about my family. I wish you the same. Take care.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Markc said...

Jesef,
What is truth?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for two completely divergent and opposite statements to be true?

Example,

Consider the statements "The Book of Mormon is true"

and

"The Book of Mormon is not true"

Can both of these statement both be right? Is it all relative?

ronge said...

I just discovered this thread and stayed up all night reading it. Something has kept it going three years and I think it it was not by coincidence. The ongoing discussion from Catholic Defender and Jesef has been respectful and a credit both writers and the other comments were interesting as well. I get Catholic Defender's point about some LDS being overbearing about being the only true church. If its true, then its something to be very humble about. But CD, if it's true, then you can understand why "Mormons" spend so much time proselyting about it. I think you have learned enough about the church that you know that belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior and Redeemer is the center of the church and nobody in any Christian faith can really claim any stronger belief. My wife, who is a former Catholic and now belongs to no religion, listened to all kinds the nitpicking criticisms from others and has decided that no church is completely true, so she now doesn't need to bother. By now you can probably tell that I am LDS. I just want to bring up something that didn't get discussed too much in the threads. I'm no great student of the B of M. I share some of your criticism of the book of Mormon because of all the parts you have to slog through with the quotations from the old testament. But reading Isaiah from the KJV or the Douay or even worse from one the modern so called simplifications of the Bible is hard, mind wrenching work. But he book that gets me is Third Nephi. It is nothing like the old testament. It is so spiritually moving and really is what one of the writers called the fifth gospel. That little book alone has cuased me has caused me to believe that the whole B of M is true. The other scholarly information about how Joseph Smith and his friends just couldn't have fabricated the B of M is interesting but the story of Christ's visit to the Americas just stands on its on as something truly unique and especially sacred. There's more to be said but that's the only point I want to raise now. I think it's something important that only people who believe in the Book of Mormon teach, not something to brag about or beat other religions over the head with, but just something special that you can't know about from anywhere else.

catholic defender said...

Good Morning Ronge,

This has been an interesting debate, that's one reason why I keep coming back. I generally disagree with the LDS teachings, but don't see any reason to be hostile or persecutory about it. Also, my wife is LDS, so I've learned some things.

I do agree with you that LDS generally do claim a strong faith in Christ, and do try very hard to live that faith. I would disagree however that Mormons are the only ones who can claim such strong faith. Over the years, I've travelled in many different Christian circles. While I am a Catholic, and find the Catholic Church to hold most of the truth, I have still seen many devout christians of other denominations, actually living their faith. They have the same strong devotion to Christ as their redeemer and saviour that Mormons have. They also have the same spiritual support that Mormons claim to be theirs exclusively through the belief in the BOM and the power of the priesthood.

What that tells me is that Christ belongs to all of us, and his spirit will be with all of us regardless of where we say our prayers. It really isn't about the words written in scripture, its really about putting into practise those words, and exercising enough trust in God to turn our lives over completely to him. Borrowing from a song..."Abba, father, you are the potter, we are the clay." God molds us, christianity is about having enough faith and trust in God, to allow him to mold us. I'm not always good at this, but I'm a work in progress as we all are.

That you find strength of conviction from 3 Nephi, is great. I do not find the same comfort, and have read it. It feels wrong to me...it feels false. Could Joseph Smith have collaborated with friends to write 3 Nephi. I believe that he could have. I am aware that Mormon scholars do not believe that JS could do such a thing. But, it is possible, if one has the right assistance. There is some information out there, that JS may have borrowed much of the BOM from a contemporary fiction writer of the time. That info is out there, I've not really followed enough of it to decide whether that info is factual or not; I do not discount the plausibility of fabrication from another contemporary writer though.

Reading the bible is supposed to be work. I once read a commentary on the Douay Rheims Bible that explained that scripture study is not supposed to be easy, its something that should be inspriring us to think and pray about what we've read. That's one of the reasons I sought out a Douay Rhiems Bible, to get a translation that was not so watered down. Previously I was using the St. Joseph Bible, which is translated into Americanized English. Its an easy read, but loses much of the spirit of what was said. The other reason was that the Douay Rhiems is a contemporary of the King James Bible, and the translation doesn't stand out so much when I attend Sunday school with my wife.

I've talked off topic a bit here, but I thought your posting deserved a response. Much of the contention that I see from the anti-side, is that there is not really a need for the BOM in Christianity; therefore the fact that the BOM might be the only place you can find those teachings, is lost on the anti's. I don't see myself as an anti, or as someone who is pro-lds. I'm more pro-Catholic than anything else, and I see the Mormons and the Christian Anti-LDS as being protestants. Perhaps thats why I see the arguments for both sides. In any event, I do can understand why LDS need the BOM, and teach it as scripture. I just don't agree that it is, and see it as more of a suggestion, and containing some wisdom, but not wisdom that could not be obtained from other sources. I do wish you well on your spiritual journey though.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

NathanSorenson said...

Hi CD,
I don't come by here often but today I read your response to my comment in January.
The NT doctrines that anti's get us for include baptism for the dead, 1Cor15:29; God judging us according to our works, (Rev 20 starting with verse 12)but the list goes on and and on.
Jeff does a good job of addressing perhaps most (maybe all?) of the issues in a spoof blog that takes the position that mormons are either not Christian or are a cult (I don't recall which) based on LDS beliefs referenced in "LDS" scripture and each reference is in the old KJV Bible. Each of these biblical beliefs are in fact matters that LDS are accused of. Several of them are in the N.T.
I stumbled upon his spoof after following the link on his blogroll that asks if mormonism is a cult. And I suppose I found it from that site.
I do credit the Catholic faith for believing something a little bit a kin to the LDS belief in "spirit prison." Although LDS spirit prison and Caltholic pergatory are very different, whatever faint or moderately faint similarity that does exist is evidence to me that the Catholic Church has held on to a remnant of the ancient Church and is evidence that the protestants, whether or not they have gained anything by leaving their mother, have definitely lost some remnant of the original teachings in their departure.
Much blessing to you. May peace be yours,
Nathan Sorenson

MacLouie said...

Hi CD,

You're right, Christians, and even the Mormons, don't need the Book of Mormon.

It's the modern revelation and the priesthood authority that everyone needs.

Jesef said...

Hi All,

I like to keep this thread alive. I've had a couple of thoughts recently that are relevant to our ongoing discussion of the charges against the Restored Church.

First is this: even if some small percentage of the charges are true - I think 10% might be high, but I've never seen a definitive list and gone through each one to classify them as true or false - but let's hypothesize that somewhere between 1-10% of them are "true", meaning they've charged us with something and they are correct. We then have to examine that charge carefully to see what the implications of it really are. I'll use some real examples here in a minute to illustrate my point. Part of the assumption here is that finding a "true" charge against the Church proves that it is not what it claims to be; that if the Church isn't 100% perfect (by what standard?) then it is "false". This is an invalid logical argument based on impossible expectations, in my opinion, and I don't buy it. We don't claim that the Restored Church or Gospel, or its leaders, or its people, are in any way 100% perfect. We just claim that we are legitimately and exclusively authorized by Heaven. Divine Authority and legitimacy are the sticking points that offend most people who don't accept these claims. But we don't have to live up to anybody's or everybody's expectations. The Lord doesn't have to meet our expectations or yours. Many people in this mortal life might say they are disappointed by the Lord and list real gripes (handicaps, sufferings, accidents, diseases, death, or whatever might be hard or that they don't like about their lives), but that doesn't make them "right" or "true" - meaning that they've successfully "charged" or judged the Lord with wrongdoing. It's just their imperfect perspective on the situation, and in this case they are wrong. The Lord is perfectly just and merciful, whether they agree or understand or not. His thoughts and ways are higher than ours and we very often don't see the "big picture".

Jesef said...

So now to an example of a real or true charge against the Church. Let's take Joseph Smith, since the angel Moroni prophesied "that [his] name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people (Pearl of Great Price | JS-History 1:33)." Let's say one of the charges was that Joseph Smith said people lived on the Moon, dressed like Quakers, and lived to be a 1000 years old (this is a real one). The following comes from: http://www.lightplanet.com/response/answers/moon.htm

[ The idea that Joseph taught the moon is inhabited comes from the writing of Oliver B. Huntington in 1881 (his journal) and in 1892 (the Young Woman's Journal). Huntington claimed that Joseph Smith's father had given him a patriarchal blessing in 1837 which promised that he would preach the gospel to the moon inhabitants.

Close examination reveals that Huntington was only ten years old when he was given this blessing and that his recollections were made over fifty years later. Also, it turns out that the blessing was given by his own father, not Joseph Smith's father.

According to a copy of the blessing in the Church archives (Blessing Book, vol.9, pp.294-95), it was only one of many given the same day at the same meeting, and none were recorded in detail at the time. Orson Pratt took sketchy notes as the blessings were given, then filled in details later by consulting those who were there. An examination of the blessing shows that the recorded blessing was much more vague than Huntington remembered.

It also appears that Huntington may have picked up on a rumor that Joseph Smith had given a description of the inhabitants of the moon. This description, which Huntington recorded in his journal, is the original source of the anti-Mormon claim that Joseph described the moon inhabitants. Because his journal is also cited in a Young Woman's publication of the Church, it supposedly gives more credibility to the critics. The statement, which appeared in a two-page article by Oliver B. Huntington entitled "The Inhabitants of the Moon" in the Young Woman's Journal, is as follows:

Jesef said...

As far back as 1837, I know that he [Joseph SmithJ said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we d~that they live generally to near the age of a 1,000 years.
He described the men as averaging nearly six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style (Young Woman's Journal, Vol.3, p.263).

From what is quoted here, the most we can conclude is that 0. B. Huntington was familiar with rumors of statements that were attributed to Joseph Smith. However, there is nothing in the writings of Joseph Smith or those who recorded his words prior to his death that even hints of any these views about inhabitants on the moon. This earliest recollection was recorded in 1881, 37 years after the prophet's death.
Even if it turned out that the prophet held these views, nowhere does scripture suggest that a prophet is not allowed to speculate about things that haven't been revealed. Many people during the Nineteenth Century, both the learned and not-so-learned, were speculating on this subject. Joseph Smith's personal opinions and what he taught as revealed doctrine, however, are two entirely different things. The idea that he taught it as a revealed doctrine is based upon Oliver B. Huntington's fifty-year-old, correct or incorrect memory of his blessing, and a rumor that was current in 1881.

Another aspect of the matter needs to be considered. At the present time, man has no scientific or revealed knowledge of whether or not there are inhabitants on the earth's moon. The fact that a handful of astronauts didn't see any inhabitants in the tiny area they viewed when they landed on the moon decades ago certainly gives no definitive information, any more than visitors to earth who might land in barren Death Valley would have any idea of the billions of inhabitants elsewhere.

John the Revelator "saw an angel standing in the sun" (Rev. 19:17). Perhaps we have much to learn about inhabitants of other heavenly spheres. ]

Jesef said...

Okay, so that one seems pretty vaporous, so let's take another one. Let's say, hypothetically, that many members, including Church leaders and even Apostles, lied under oath (perjury) when the U.S. government was prosecuting members of the Church for practicing plural marriage (polygamy, a clearly biblical practice, which we claim was restored by the Lord in our day for a period of time). I've looked at some of the evidence behind this charge and I think the charge is "true" or correct, i.e. that many members and leaders did commit perjury in this circumstance. I also strongly believe that, while disobeying the "law of the land", they were obeying the higher law of conscience. These people had made sacred religious oaths and covenants to their families and the Lord, which then became "illegal" because of unconstitutional laws restricting religious freedoms and freedom of conscience. They chose to practice civil disobedience and even to flee the body of the United States to be free from oppression and persecution (including unconstitutional and immoral extermination orders in Missouri, which "legalized" murder). In every way that matters, the more closely one examines the history of this situation, the more clearly the federal and state governments of the U.S. involved become the criminals. There are examples of several of the then Apostles, in this situation, who chose to lied to protect their brethren and families, but did not protect themselves. This was a hostile sovereign government prosecuting people and demanding that they incriminate and identify their loved ones with the threat of incarceration. It was and still is despicable. An equivalent situation would be the hostile and genocidal Nazi regime. It was illegal to hide Jews, under threat of death. But many good people, obeying conscience over unjust laws, hid Jews and lied to protect themselves and the innocent. It was the right thing to do and I believe the Lord approved of it.

So there might be better examples of charges for things that are more flat-out wrong. But this doesn't invalidate the Church's claims of divine authenticity. Accusations that the Church isn't perfect, or its teachings or programs or organizations, or its leaders, or especially its people, now or historically? The answer is yes, coupled with unrealistic expectations that don't invalidate or de-ligitimize the organization as a whole. There's plenty of speculation in the Journal of Discourses and all that has ever been published. We don't have to accept anything that isn't true in the end. We don't expect the Prophet or the Apostles or the Stake Presidents or Bishops or the members to be perfect. We're not offended when they express an opinion that turns out to be wrong, or if they display human foibles.

Jesef said...

My second thought for this post has to do with evidence, specifically evidence of authenticity. The claims of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are extraordinary, especially the prophetic fruits (translations and revelations) of his ministry like The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price (The Book of Abraham). These things are either true or false, authentic or fake, good or evil, by the very nature of their supernatural origins. Speaking of true or false prophets, the Savior Himself said, "by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-20)." The evidences that continue to pile up for The Book of Mormon and The Book of Abraham are truly amazing. A person can choose to ignore the truth and look the other way, but it doesn't change reality. Anti-Mormon arguments against these two texts is evaporating like dew from the rising sun. Do a little research and see what LDS scholars and scientists have uncovered. Hebraisms in The Book of Mormon, more and more and more of them being discovered as time goes on. People didn't even know what Hebraisms were in 1830. Look at the positive evidence. Joseph Smith could not have made this up. There are simple too many things that he would have had to "guess" right out of nothing like his day. The Book of Mormon is an authentic ancient record of tribes of the House of Israel whom the Lord led away from Jerusalem. Their language was Hebraic one of their writing systems used Egyptian script.

The Book of Mormon took place in North America, people, not Mesoamerica. There's even a DNA connection (Haplogroup X) between Algonquin tribes in North America and European/Middle-Eastern DNA. All the DNA samples from Central/South America connect to Asia. These discoveries are blowing up the scientific consensus for the peopling of North America. The Hopewell and Adena cultures of North America parallel the timeframes for Nephite/Lamanite and Jaredite cultures of The Book of Mormon perfectly. The Hill Cumorah near Palymra, NY, is THE Hill Cumorah/Ramah. The United States of America is the promised land where Lehi, Mulek, and Jared and their families landed and lived. There are a couple very interensting books by FIRM (Foundation for Indigenous Research and Mormonism) that detail these discoveries: Prophecies and Promises, and Rediscovering the Book of Mormon Remnant through DNA.

http://www.thefirmfoundationonline.org/
http://www.bookofmormonevidence.org/

Jesef said...

I recently acquired an exciting book by FARMS (Maxwell Institute) called Traditions About the Early Life of Abraham. These LDS scholars found unique elements of the Book of Abraham (elements not found in the biblical accounts of Abraham) that are supported by extrabiblical traditions (Jewish, Early Christian, and Islamic), none of which were available to Joseph Smith when he translated the papyrii. This is amazing corroborating evidence for authenticity of The Book of Abraham. Here's a brief list of the "hits" that The Book of Abraham scored:
1. Abraham's fathers, including his father Terah, worshiped idols
2. Idols were made of wood and stone
3. Terah repented of idolatry but later returned to it
4. Abraham connected to Egyptian idols
5. Children were sacrificed to idols
6. Those who would not worship idols were killed/sacrificed
7. Abraham was brought to be killed/sacrificed because he would not worship idols
8. Terah was behind the attempt to kill Abraham
9. Abraham was fastened or bound
10. Abraham prayed for deliverance
11. An angel came to rescue Abraham
12. God rescued Abraham from death
13. The altar/furnace and the idols were destroyed
14. The priest/leader was smitten and died
15. Abraham was heir to the Priesthood of his fathers
16. Abraham held the Priesthood
17. Abraham was linked/related to Noah
18. Believers are the seed of Abraham and are blessed through him
19. Abraham sought God earnestly
20. Abraham made covenants in Haran
21. Abraham possessed the Urim and Thummim, by means of which he received revelations from God
22. Abraham was knowledgeable about astronomy, which he learned from ancient records and from God
23. Abraham taught astronomy to the Egyptians
24. Earth has four quarters
25. Abraham knew about creation
26. There was advance planning for the creation
27. The elements obeyed God
28. Abraham saw the premortal spirits
29. The Lord instructed Abraham to say that Sarah was his sister
30. Abraham possessed records from the fathers
31. Abraham left a record of his own
32. The founding of Egypt
33. Pharaoh was a descendant of Ham but also of Canaan
34. The first pharaoh, a good man, was blessed by Noah
35. Abraham was allowed to sit on a king's throne
36. There was a famine in Abraham's homeland
37. Abraham prayed that God would end the famine in Chaldea
38. Haran died in the famine
39. Abraham was sixty-two years of age when he left Haran, not seventy-five
40. Abraham became like God

Jesef said...

The statistical probability of someone guessing these many things right, not in the Bible, later to be corroborated by extrabiblical sources, is beyond imagination. It is simply prophetic. The most logical conclusion is that He was a prophet of God. The evidence supporting their authenticity/genuineness, particularly the textual evidence (the evidence within the text, words, phrases, content) is impressive, if one really takes the time to consider it. Ther is no such thing as a clever forgery, and definitely no such thing as a long one. The Book of Mormon is 530+ pages. The deeper one digs into a fake, the more apparent the deception becomes. Not so with The Book of Mormon or The Book of Abraham after over 150 years of such scrutiny (even scientific). Time after time things that were once thought to be "nails in the coffin" (like things mentioned that had not been discovered yet, like pre-Columbian horses) have eventually been vindicated. There's a great book by Michael R. Ash (mormonfortress.com) called Of Faith And Reason: 80 Evidences Supporting The Prophet Joseph Smith (I think the Mesoamerican evidences can be explained by cultural diffusion and the post-resurrection visits of Christ to other, non-Israelite peoples, but most of it is great stuff - like the parallels between Lehi's and Nephi's visions of the Tree of Life and the Narrative of Zosimus, or Zenos's Allegory of the Olive Tree, from Jacob 5, compared with what we now know about ancient olive culture - check it out). Remember, evidence that supports a certain argument or conclusion must be addressed first in order to disprove it. Arguments based on accusations of lack of evidence are weak (like "that can't be true because there isn't archeological evidence" - well, it may just be a matter of time before archeological evidence is found.) - lack of evidence proves nothing.

Now Catholic Defender has toyed with the notion that Joseph Smith was inspired, just not by God, meaning the devil or some other false source (a feat without precedent, in all my experience and exposure). Each must judge for himself the content of these records. I don't believe the devil would have anything to do with scripture that testifies of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, Their great plan for the human family, the Atonement of Jesus Christ, obeying and following Them, choosing good over evil, praying, exercising faith, repenting from sin, baptism, etc., etc., etc. Consider the messages of these books of scripture, honestly, and the Holy Spirit of the one true God, the Supreme Being of light and truth, will speak to you spirit to spirit and tell you they are true, from Him. This has been my experience and testimony.

catholic defender said...

Good Morning All,

Its been few weeks since I've checked this posting, so I've not responded in a while. I'd like to clarify a few things.

First, MacLouie, I think you assume an awful lot. I realize Mormons claim to have modern revelation, and the priesthood authority. What I would submit to you is that Mormons do not have an exclusive on modern revelation. While it is not said in those terms, Catholics have been recieving continuing revelations for centuries. We haven't always been good at listening to those revelations, but we have recieved them. Mary and various other saints have been bringing revelations to the masses, and to individuals for a long time. The difference is LDS don't recognize those as sources of continuing revelation, and catholics do, but don't call it that.

The other thing I would point out, is that your definition of priesthood authority, and mine are not the same. A priest is a very specific person, with a very specific role in Catholic tradition. LDS believe that the priesthood authority was passed down through John the Baptist, and the Apostles, and that any worthy male can hold that authority. Catholic priests are very different, in that they study for years in the seminary, to learn the tenants of the catholic faith, and pray about those tenants. A catholic priest is someone who has studied about God, and made a decision to devote every moment of everyday of their lives to serving God.

When you're talking about the priesthood authority, to someone like me, you and I really aren't talking about the same thing because conceptually I see priests in a different light than you. Consequently, when we're talking about authority given by Christ, I'm more willing to recognize a Catholic Priest as having that authority than I am a Mormon priesthood holder, because I have a different perspective of what it takes to be a priest. That's my own bias I realize, but it is something you have to understand when you're talking about priesthood authority. Following the idea that one must have the priesthood authority as part of thier live, I would tell you that I do, but that means something entirely different to me than it does to you.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

catholic defender said...

Hi Jesef,

I did in fact suggest that JS may have been visited by a member of the other team. What I believe I said on the subject was that it was plausible. I don't believe that I said I agreed with that proposition. I tend to think its more plausible that JS collaborated with several other men to develop his teachings, and as a result, the BOM and the LDS church was born. There is some support out there for such a possibility. Do I know that to be the case, no. But is it possible that things happened this way, yes.

This passage of scripture is a double edged sword for your church "Speaking of true or false prophets, the Savior Himself said, 'by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:15-20)'." If you look at some of the things JS did during his lifetime, there is a enough fruit there to suggest that maybe he wasn't a true prophet.

Polygamy is one example. D & C 132 was adopted somewhere around 1842 or 1843. However, it appears that JS was practising polygamy for several years before that doctrine came into being. That makes the whole idea of polygamy suspect. It could be as the preface to D & C 132 suggests, and that JS knew about the doctrine for several years, but didn't make it official until 1842. Or it could be that JS wrote the doctrine in 1842 to justify committing adultery. I wasn't there, but I do think there is cause for concern because that doctrine is suspect. This type of action, does not seem consistent with the way God does things. Does that make all the teachings untrue, no, but it does make them subject to suspicion. And I don't think you can just dismiss that suspicion. There are other suspicious doctrines of a similar nature, that by themselves probably amount to very little. But when you start putting them together, there is cause for concern regarding the veracity of JS and the truthfulness of the BOM. God generally in my understanding of him, has always been above reproach. JS though seems not to be, which I think is problematic. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Hi CD, glad to see you're still out there.

Many of your comments/suggestions fall under the category of "anything is possible." The possibilities and theories are truly endless, but mostly untrue. Truth is a strait and narrow path, a pearl of great price worth searching for until found. Is it possible that the Restoration (I'll just use that term to encompass Joseph Smith, the revelations, the translations, the priesthood authority, the ordinances, the organization, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, etc.) could be explained by Joseph conniving with a group of scoundrels? Is this a valid theory? Atheistically, it is certainly the most reasonable theory (because there is way too much of the supernatural in the claims). But a good theory needs to explain all the evidence supporting a claim. To disprove a claim, you have to disprove the evidence supporting it. Collaboration by scoundrels doesn't hold up. For instance, it does not explain the growing mountain of solid textual (and other) evidences which validate the authenticity of both The Book of Mormon (too many to list here without losing the train of thought) and The Book of Abraham (like the 42 unique elements I mentioned previously which are validated by extrabiblical sources not available when the BoA was published). If the collaboration of scoundrels theory were true, then these translations would really be fabrications and would quickly unravel under scrutiny and ongoing research, rather than be vindicated and become evermore plausible over time (now 150+ years). I invite all reading this thread to do a little more reading and open and honest consideration of the supportive evidences - I've given plenty of references. The best explanation, particularly for the impossible, is God. And in the cases of the BoM and the BoA, revelation from God to a real prophet. Guessing 42 numbers right would be statistically impossible, much less 42 things from history later to be validated after you died. All the examples of Hebraisms, including chiasmus, in the BoM would be even more impossible. Collaboration by a bunch of scoundrels would increase the probability of inconsistency and error (web of lies), not make the forgery more authentic.

CD, you're obviously a steadfast Catholic who is not open to accepting the Restoration. It seems to me like you are only processing the pieces you want to challenge and ignoring the meat of my posts. I don't think you've adequately addressed any of the supportive evidences I've presented. The "evidences" against the Restoration claims, to which you refer as "out there", and I've read a lot of them, seem more like pure speculation to me. They aren't really evidence at all, in my opinion, just speculative accusation. The antagonistic theories don't come close to explaining the supportive evidences, and therefore they are invalid theories. It's so easy to accuse someone or something that is based on supernatural claims. The resurrection of Christ isn't "plausible" to many, but it happened (I'm building on common ground here hopefully). We accept the testimony of witnesses and the spiritual witness of the Holy Spirit. The Jewish leaders who crucified the Lord rejected both and constantly assailed the character of those witnesses. In any case I'm glad you participate here and welcome your comments, whatever you choose to address or ignore. If our dialog doesn't help you, perhaps it will help others who follow this thread.

Jesef said...

Character assassinations based on historical analyses are pretty weak. It's like trying to convict someone of a heinous crime based on an out-of-focus photograph that has been cut into a 1000-piece puzzle, and you only have 500 of the pieces. It's a little bit better than archeology, but not much. I've read quite a bit of Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman, a premier historian, and marvel at the supposition, storytelling, and guessing that goes into trying to fill in the blanks when trying to reconstruct a person based solely on what was written by or about them. History is his-story. The pharisees accused the perfect Lord Jesus Christ of being a winebibber (Matt. 11:19), but that doesn't make their assessment or interpretation of Him true.

You accuse Joseph of adultery under the guise of polygamy like you're stating facts and say it is just one example. I've read all the "facts" and disagree. I have yet to see evidence of Joseph's "dishonesty." There's historical evidence that Joseph did not want to do this (because of his cultural mores). Emma, a very strong and independent woman, accepted him as a prophet in spite of her volatile feelings on the subject. There is no evidence that Joseph was not completely honest with her in every respect, obtaining her permission as outlined in the revelation (D&C 132). There is evidence that at some point she gave him blanket permission (meaning she didn't want to know about it, case by case, anymore).

Guarding sacred things from the profane public is not dishonesty in the Lord's eyes, and that is how He often works and even commands His prophets, at least that's what He says. Here are a few scriptures that demonstrate this truth:

Amos 3:7
7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Matt 13:10-11
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Matt 7:6
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Who are we to judge how God works? He works in mysterious ways that are beyond man's understanding or judgement. There was apparently good reason "hide" this from the public. Once they found out, they started killing Mormons and driving them out, the Constitution be trampled. Why couldn't they just let the Latter-Day Saints be? Their religion and practices did not infringe upon anyone else's rights or privileges, freedom of religion, or freedom of conscience. Polygamy is a biblical practice, approved by God in many cases, as culturally unpalatable as it might be to many of us. It was restored for a time as part of the prophesied "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:21). Abraham (James 2:23), Isaac, Jacob/Israel and his twelve sons (whose names will be written on the twelve gates of the holy city - see Revelations 21:12), all had several wives, and were approved by God.

What are your other examples of Joseph's "dishonesty," if you care to share?

The Book of Mormon and The Book of Abraham are solid fruit/proof that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. Address the evidence that supports them as authentic. Refute it if you can. I think much of it is irrefutable.

Jesef said...

The best alternative theory I've seen, and I think it is absurd, to the claim of the Restoration which is revelation from God, is revelation from the other supernatural source, the devil. This theory, however, crumbles under the weight of its own assumptions and implications. In the words of Jesus,

Mark 3:22-26
22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
23 And he called them [unto him], and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
24 And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
25 And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
26 And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.

Satan doesn't testify of Jesus Christ or His divine Sonship, or lead people to do good or to keep the commandments of God, or teach them to exercise faith in God, or to pray to Him, or to develop faith, hope, and charity, or to avoid evil, or teach that we are the sons and daughters of God. He doesn't work against himself or his evil objectives to bring misery, destruction, and death to all men. He certainly doesn't produce authentic historical records that verify the Bible and fulfill biblical prophecies.

2 Ne 29:7-9
7 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?
8 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.
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.

Ezek 37:16-19
16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and [for] all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
18 And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou [meanest] by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which [is] in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, [even] with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

I realize this is our interpretation of these passages, but what a powerful concept! The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, a recorded witness that He revealed Himself to people on the other side of the world (before intercontinental travel became common) and that He truly was/is the resurrected Son of God and Savior and Redeemer of the world. Those implications are glorious!

catholic defender said...

Hi Jesef,

I'd like to respectfully correct you, so please don't be offended. It isn't that I'm not open to the possibility of a restoration of the church. I do think all things are possible. But, that said, all the evidence, and all that I've learned about God in my lifetime, tells me that there was no need for the restoration of Christ's church, because it was never lost in the first place. Your church places a great deal of emphasis on the fact that JS restored Christ's true church to the earth. To accept JS' claim, one would necessarily have to believe that Christ's church was lost to earth.

From my perspective, coming from a background whereby I don't believe we ever lost the church, it is very difficult for me to even consider JS claims as being true. Understand that I don't believe anything ever needed to be restored., Nothing was lost, so from my point of view, there's no need for JS or the BOM in the first place.

The other thing you should understand, is that from my vantage point, the KJV version of the bible is considered inaccurate to begin with. There are clear errors in the translation of the Bible that your theologians consider to be the most accurate of the translations. Those errors do lead to substantive difference in the interpretation of scripture, which have been adopted by LDS theology. The fact that the LDS church would adopt an inaccurate translation of the Bible as the most accurate, causes me to suspect the validity of your church.

I admit that I don't always follow view all of the evidence. But, from my vantage point, much of what you are pointing to as evidence supporting the restoration, is negated by my own experiences in faith which tells me there was no need for a restoration to occur. If there is no apostacy, then there is no need for JS or the BOM. I don't believe there ever was an apostacy. Because I hold that belief, very strongly in my heart, if is very difficult for me to read the BOM, or other LDS scriptures as being anything other than works of fiction. I'm really not trying to be attacking here. I'm just making the point that in order for me to be able to consider your evidence, I would have to first believe that there is a need for your evidence. The problem is that I don't see the need for a restoration to have occurred. Does that make sense.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

CD, no problem. Not offended and your position makes sense to me. If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that you are satisfied with your faith and don't feel the need or the interest to really consider evidence that (indirectly, in this case) contradicts it (meaning, evidence supporting the Restoration, incumbent apostasy, etc., indirectly refutes the Catholic claims of unbroken succession). "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. (Pearl of Great Price | Articles of Faith 1:11)." I respect your freedoms of choice, conscience, religion, and speech. That doesn't mean I won't try to convince you to change your mind, as long as you're open to discussion. As I said before, I hope our discussion aids anyone who might be reading it, too.

As far as the KJV of the Bible goes, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly (I think this goes for any version); we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God (because it is translated correctly). (Pearl of Great Price | Articles of Faith 1:8)." Perhaps I will quote the Douay Rheims for your benefit from now on in our exchanges. Unless a translation is produced by the gift and power of God, I think it will suffer from mistranslations. The Joseph Smith (Inspired) Translation clarifies many obscurities, corrects many errors, and restores many deletions.

At this point I would just submit this crucial idea, which I believe to be true and self-evident (and this goes for all of us): believing in something that is false, no matter how strongly, doesn't make it true. Truth is not perception. Truth is things as they really are, really were, and really will be. Truth is real. Truth is of God. If you believe the Earth is flat (to use an oldie but a goody), it does not make it so. Refusing to consider the abundant and growing evidence to the contrary, simply because one is satisfied with the flat paradigm, is closed-minded and ignorant. Now when enough evidence is presented, and the logic/reason sound to those in general, we call it "proof." We have proof that the Earth is a globe. We have witnesses who circumnavigated the earth, and others who went to space, orbited it, and brought back photographic evidence. There still might be some flat-earthers who choose to ignore the evidence, or accuse it or the witnesses of being falsified or deceptive. But the truth remains, no matter how strong the conviction of the flat-earthers, that the Earth is not flat. They are choosing to be blind and ignorant, to ignore the truth. At this point we will not be inclined to believe that a flat-earther is primarily concerned about the truth, but rather tradition or something else. They have lost trust and credibility with us. So if they came to us with advice not to go exploring on the seas because we would "fall off the edge," we would be inclined to ignore them.

Jesef said...

Now given the claims of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there are really only two logical possibilies: Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God or he was a charlatan. If he was a true prophet, then the other claims, which originated with him, are also true: the truth of The Book of Mormon, the Restoration of the fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, priesthood authority and ordinances, new revelations and scriptures, heavenly visitations, etc., etc. (what I sum up as the Restoration). If he was a charlatan, then there could be several variations: he was an uninspired liar and a scoundrel; he was sincere but simply delusional or crazy; or, he was inspired by the devil (knowingly or unknowingly) - all of these variations still amount to "false." Because of the supernatural nature of the claims, it is a polar issue, one or the other, true or false. In other words, Joseph Smith did not claim that this system of religion was just his best guess at what was right and he might be right or wrong. Authoritative claims demand polarity. Not to say that if it were false, it wouldn't contain some truth. I think we can all agree that the Enemy is clever enough to mix truth with error to make it more credible.

Given these two hypotheses, that Joseph was a true prophet, or that he was a charlatan, what tests would confirm the one or the other. What experiments would we conduct and what results would we expect to find? Well, according to the the Lord, the test for a prophet is his "fruit" (what he produces, his works, his life, his words, etc.):

Douay Rheims Matt. 7:15-20
15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.

Two of the major fruits of Joseph Smith, particularly since they are rooted in claims of divine gifts and powers of translation, are The Book of Mormon and the The Book of Abraham. Let's experiment upon and test these fruits using our two hypotheses.

Which hypothesis explains the evidence? Does the charlatan hypothesis explain the fact/truth that The Book of Mormon contains hundreds of instances of authentic Hebrew writing stylistic elements (that miraculously survive the translation process into English!), such as chiasmus (an inverted parallelism device), some of which are very complex (see all of Alma chapter 36 for a great example), and which were unknown in 1830 when the book was published, and were not discovered or shown until at least 133 years after the Joseph's death (by mob violence)? No. Does the true prophet hypothesis explain it? Yes. Time vindicates the prophets and leaves their critics standing dumbfounded. In fact, The Book of Mormon claims to have been written using Hebrew language style with Egyptian script, or Reformed Egyptian:

(Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 1:2 - 3)
2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.
3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

Jesef said...

(Book of Mormon | Mormon 9:30 - 35)
30 Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.
31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.
35 And these things are written that we may rid our garments of the blood of our brethren, who have dwindled in unbelief.

So we would expect to find elements of both Hebrew and Egyptian in it. That is exactly what scholars are finding. Oh, but maybe he just got lucky. Statistically speaking, the number of "lucky" right guesses involved here is impossible (much greater than 1 in a Trillion). Here's a couple links to some of the examples of chiasmus in the BoM (just one of the Hebraic elements). CD, I invite you to learn a little more about what we're debating here. You can't debate intelligently if you don't know the arguments and counter-arguments. You can't argue against something, and certainly can't judge it, if you won't consider and weigh the evidence.

http://www.cometozarahemla.org/chiasmus/chiasmus.html

http://www.jefflindsay.com/chiasmus.shtml

Does the charlatan hypothesis explain the fact/truth that The Book of Abraham contains at least 42 (discovered to date) elements or details about the life of Abraham that are not included in the Bible but which are supported by outside (extrabiblical) sources, none of which were available when the BoA was published, and all of which were not discovered or shown until within the last few years (over 150 years after Joseph's death)? No. Does the true prophet hypothesis explain it? Yes. Time vindicates the prophets and leaves their critics standing dumbfounded. Think about these things for a moment. Guessing that many things right out of thin air is statistically impossible. I don't believe in gambling, but to use a comparison, this is like winning the PowerBall 6 times in a row. How many people do you know who have one it even once? Has anyone ever won it twice? 6 times! 42 bullseyes validated by later historical discoveries. Again, much greater than 1 in a Trillion. Joseph Smith did it 2 different and distinct times, BoM and BoA!

The best and simplest explanation of all the evidence is that the claims are true. Don't close your eyes to the truth. Don't be afraid of it (meaning afraid to change your life to conform to it).

Does this prove these things are spiritually true? No, it only proves that they are authentic. Their messages and the implications of those messages must be determined spiritually. But hopefully it will create a climate of plausibility that will inspire some of you to consider them prayerfully with open minds and hearts, and the Holy Spirit will testify of the truth. That has been my experience.

Doug said...

Mormonism is a sham, that sucks the money and life out of good hard-working people, and brainwashes children. It's a shame, really.

catholic defender said...

Good Morning

This response goes out to Doug. Doug, I realize that opinions will differ, and beliefs will differ as well. I also realize that I too do not believe the BOM to be true, and do not believe that Joseph Smith was all he says that he was. However, that said, it really is unhelpful to use words such as sham and brainwashing. It is entirely possible to disagree with someone's belief system, and still be polite and courteous. Accusing someone's church of being a sham, and brainwashing folks, that's really a tactic used by the anti-mormon movement The end result of such tactics is a loss of credibility, and little else accomplished. Its okay to be critical, but draw upon facts, not opinions and inflammatory remarks.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Oz said...

Sir, if only 1% of these charges are true, the church is false!

Mormons claim their faith is the only true church on Earth. They claim it is the fullness of the gospel. They claim their leaders communicate with God.

God's organization on Earth would not be so full of holes. God would not restrict his people from researching claims made by detractors. He would not have a banned book list, or lie about people who have left his church, or suppress those people's response to this type of treatment.

If Christ came to Utah, and acted how he did in the Bible - opposing the Sanhedrin's interpretation of the gospel, mixing with "undesirables" such as the gays, or the Tanners or others who are marginalized, wearing a beard(!), calling for a return to the Golden Rule and an end to time wasting ritual and formality - how would your so-called Church of Jesus Christ treat him?

Would Christ in Utah end up on Prozac? Would he find himself in a YSA ward constantly pressured to marry and breed? Would Christ feel so miserable that he might even consider suicide?

You have to ask yourself, if the church is of God, why are so many young men killing themselves in UT? Why are housewives in record numbers doped up on drugs that take their feelings of guilt and emptiness away? Why does the church act like Lucifer - forcing conformity, punishing difference, ignoring individuality, discouraging intellectual debate, punishing those who publish FACTS and TRUTH!?

Even if your church has some truths (even the Nazis taught nature conservation), that does not make it Gods truth. It does not have all the truths, clearly. Where is the revelation on stem cells? Why would God ignore this issue to advise women to have one set of earrings? If your church was of God, it would be organized as such from the start. It didn't. It evolved, just as all man made institutions do. As it evolved it made huge and embarrassing mistakes that God's church wouldn't make. This is why your leaders hate history, and excommunicate those who bring it to light, even if it is TRUTH!

Your church is not God's. God would not establish such a thing. God's church would not create so much misery that his children need to drug themselves to switch off their human emotions that scream to them "I AM NOT HAPPY!" "STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING". Your church might make some people happy and content, but the numbers of miserable or dead people in UT shout that there is something very, very wrong with Mormonism. Why are the "Gentiles" happier? Why does "God's plan" make people so sad?

catholic defender said...

Hi Jesef,

Its been awhile since I've written. I've had limited access to this blog sight in the past couple months, due to a new firewall at my office. In reviewing your response to my earlier post, I get the sense that you generally understand my position, but not entirely.

You said: "If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that you are satisfied with your faith and don't feel the need or the interest to really consider evidence that (indirectly, in this case) contradicts it (meaning, evidence supporting the Restoration, incumbent apostasy, etc., indirectly refutes the Catholic claims of unbroken succession). " This is in part true. I am quite satisfied with being a catholic. However, the evidence you suggests contradicts catholicism, I don't see the same way you do. From my vantage point, all the evidence contradicts your church's teachings, not mine.

Catholics have 2000 years of history. Some of that history is good, some of it is not so good and could be considered pretty bad. But, when I look past that history, and just look at the theology as it relates to what Christ taught, the evidence to me is that catholics are far closer to the truth of Christ's teachings, than any other faith.

It comes down to a question of the apostacy. Did Christ's teachings really leave the earth, or did they live on in the followers and believers that came after. If you look at all of the people who died to preserve those teachings...to preserve that ideal...I believe that the greater weight of the evidence, weighs in favour of no apostacy ever having occurred. What did all those people die for, if God was just going to let his church leave the earth, only to be restored 1800 years later? This makes no sense to me at all, and it contradicts everything I've come to know about God and the way he works.

I'm not talking about the popes, and bishops necessarily, though what I'm talking about does apply to some of them. I'm talking about the common ordinary people who died for their faith...Saint Mary Goretti, St Agnes...folks like these who kept the church alive. The evidence to me is that there was no apostacy because Christ church lived on through these sacrifices; this means there was no need for Joseph Smith to restore anything to begin with. That's the vantage point I'm coming from in terms of your restored gospel. There was nothing to restore as I see it, so there's no reason to follow Joseph Smith's teachings. Hope that makes more sense. Take care, hope you're doing well.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

First to Oz, if you're even listening. You seem very bitter. You make many blanket accusations and generalize them without making a real case. You don't have any solid statistics and it really just sounds like your own perceptions projected onto reality. Are there some unhappy Mormons? You bet. Are there some hypocritical Mormons? Of course. Are Mormons perfect? Not a single one, including the Apostles and Prophets, past and present. Does this make your generalizations or accusations true? Again, no. It's like encountering a 3-legged dog and drawing the conclusion that dogs are mutating instead of the truth that the one dog had an accident.

As an active, believing member of the Church currently serving as a Bishop, I can tell you that we have all kinds of members with all kinds of problems. I get to know and try to serve all the members of my Ward (who will allow us). A solid 40% of my 400 members (160) are not active and a good portion of those don't want us to contact them. 60% active is actually pretty high. I'm giving you some real statistics here. Some places in the world have below 50%. I've heard reports from church leaders who have access to church-wide statistics that globally we are at about 50% activity. Before you get the wrong impression, like I'm trying to arm you or validate your position, let me relate this to some scripture:

(New Testament | Matthew 25:1 - 13)
1 THEN shall the kingdom of heaven [i.e. the Church] be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

This helps govern my expectations on church activity, worthiness, etc., which is around the 50% mark. My desire is to be counted among the 50% wise. Disappointments are governed by expectations. If you harbor unrealistic and/or untrue expectations, you will be disappointed. I think your expectations of how God deals with humans is not based in truth. You expect that if He had an authorized an organization on the earth that He would somehow enforce perfection. I don't believe that is how He works with us and I'm certain that He does not have to abide by your expectations or your simplistic reasoning. He gave us and respects our free will, or agency, and He works with us according to our faith, willingness, obedience, and readiness to receive more.

Jesef said...

Here are some facts/truths: God is perfect; mortal men (and when I say men, I mean mankind/humans, including women) are imperfect. So I know firsthand that many of my active members have problems: physical, financial, emotional, and spiritual. Many of those problems, I see, stemming from degrees of unwillingness or inability to live certain true principles of the Gospel. But I also see the Lord blessing them, strengthening them, and working in their lives to try to help them improve and overcome. What I see in the lives of the inactive is much worse. I see so many bitter, angry, and lost people who are unwilling to forgive, unwilling to give or serve, and plagued by immorality, selfishness, materialism, and sin, to one degree or another.

When believing members testify that the Church is "true," we don't mean that the organization, its history, or any of its people are perfect. We mean that it is divinely authorized, guided, and empowered. What this really boils down to, in my opinion, according to my observation and experience, is whether a person is willing to exercise faith, to believe, enough to change their lives, or repent, is such a way as to stop thinking/doing/saying evil, or that which is contrary to the will of God, and start thinking/doing/saying good, or that which is the will of God. The teachings, covenants, and ordinances of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ I find to be pristine and leading to spiritual perfection. I have personally witnessed so many examples in my life, both positive and negative, of living or not living the Gospel. And more importantly I have witnessed and experienced it in my own life. I know it is true. Living it brings blessings and spiritual growth and light, and not living it leads to less.

Jesef said...

Hi CD,

Glad to hear you're still there. I respect your beliefs and your position. Your clarifications confirms my understanding of where you stand. What you stated is what I thought you thought.

I think we still have a slight misunderstanding, though. First let me quote you quoting me, just for fun :)

[You said: "If I interpret you correctly, you are saying that you are satisfied with your faith and don't feel the need or the interest to really consider evidence that (indirectly, in this case) contradicts it (meaning, evidence supporting the Restoration, incumbent apostasy, etc., indirectly refutes the Catholic claims of unbroken succession). " This is in part true. I am quite satisfied with being a catholic. However, the evidence you suggests contradicts catholicism, I don't see the same way you do. From my vantage point, all the evidence contradicts your church's teachings, not mine.]

The evidence to which I was and am referring does not contradict my church's teachings. It really does support it. But before I rehash that, I have to establish a logical argument:

I really do think Catholicism and Mormonism hold opposing claims. Don't get me wrong, I think we are more similar in our beliefs than we are different. And I know we can peacefully coexist, work together, love each other, and be great neighbors. What I mean is the claims of authority and the stories. I think you agree, based on what you've said. If there was no Apostasy and loss of divine authority; if it was passed from Peter to the Bishop of Rome, as the Catholics claim; then, I agree, a Restoration would have been unnecessary, and the Reformation was probably really a rebellion. So if your story is true, then my story is false. If my story is false: then Joseph Smith was a false prophet (he was either a charlatan or delusional or inspired by the devil); The Book of Mormon and The Book of Abraham, and the other books of scripture produced by Joseph Smith, are false (fabricated by Joseph Smith possibly with some of his cohorts, and/or inspired by the devil), and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is built on a false foundation. Likewise, if the Apostasy did occur, then the Catholic church's claim of a continuation of divine authority is false, with all that that would imply. If that is the truth, I think you would agree that a human Reformation of something corrupt would be insufficient. A Restoration from Heaven would be required. In other words if divine authority were lost, only the Divine could restore it. Men could not reform that into existence.

Let me know if you follow and agree with that last paragraph. My point is that our stories are mutually exclusive. And both our stories exclude the Protestants, who ignore the need for divine authority. Some claim no need for authority; some claim it is common or universal (which might as well be none); some claim it is born of faith or from the Bible itself (again, equally vaporous and ambiguous). So Catholics and Mormons at least agree on the necessity for divine authorization. We probably also agree that that does not imply or necessitate perfection in those who hold that authority. But if you have it, then we don't; and if we have it, then you don't.

Jesef said...

Now we come back to the evidence to which I have been referring. You said, "However, the evidence you suggests contradicts catholicism, I don't see the same way you do. From my vantage point, all the evidence contradicts your church's teachings, not mine." I'll agree that your interpretation of the evidence you are willing to consider may contradict my church's claim, but that is not the evidence I'm suggesting. You went on to talk about your interpretation of the history between the death of the Apostles and now and what you think God would or would not do or allow to happen. I'm really referring to the evidence you must choose to ignore in order to continue believing your story and disbelieve mine. Specifically, I am talking about the many pieces of evidence discovered, mostly within the past century, that support the authenticity of The Book of Mormon and The Book of Abraham. It's the logic from two paragraphs ago, taken in reverse. If these two books, both claimed to be divinely inspired and translated, were fabricated by 19th century fakers, then they would not be authentic and decades/centuries of study and analysis would reveal that. The opposite is true though, without any doubt. Over 180 years of scrutiny and scientific study (the bulk and depth of it within the past 70 years, well over a 100 years after Joseph Smith's death) have authenticated these translations. In fact, the more we dig the more we find that they are what they claim to be to a statistically undeniable degree. This simply would not be the case if they were fiction. The first rule of textual analysis is: there are no clever forgeries. With enough time and scrutiny, the truth comes out and they are exposed.

Over the past couple of years, I have presented a few of these pieces of authenticating evidence in this blog. I won't repeat myself here. But I would invite you and anyone to seriously consider and start with just one piece of evidence for The Book of Mormon: chiasmus. If The Book of Mormon is true and what it claims to be, which is "a record in the language of my father [Lehi, i.e. Hebrew], which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language [script] of the Egyptians (1 Nephi 1:2)," then it should have Hebraisms, or characteristics of Hebrew, in it. And guess what? It does. Many of them are very sophisticated and all of them were discovered over 100 years after Joseph Smith's death. Start with chiasmus and open your eyes. Honestly ask yourself and your Heavenly Father how any 19th century human, even if he were a genius, could have produced this record. Here are a few links:

http://www.jefflindsay.com/chiasmus.shtml

http://www.cometozarahemla.org/chiasmus/chiasmus.html

Patrick G said...

A message to those contributing to this blog. I have been reading for the past 8 hours, and am thrilled to have been able to listen to both sides. I have nothing to add but a hearty thank you for spending the time to post such detail. You have done, and will do much good for all those who read this in the future. Please keep it up. May God bless America, and all nations that provide for freedom of speach, and religion. Although, it think that the nations that don't allow this may need Gods blessings more.

Anonymous said...

Just to keep the fire on...

I'm from Brazil and don't speak English that much, so I apologize in advance for my poor English.


DC (and all the others), we do know the Mount Ararat exist but, where is the Ark? If there was one Ark, there were place for, at least, a couple of all the "kinds" of animals we do know today?

Or where is the Tower of Babel?
Or where are the great amounts of bones from the wars the Israelites fought (Exodus, Numbers)?

How could Peter, James and John receive authority if they had little or no time to study the scriptures?

How could all mankind "flourish" there has been no incest involved?
Even in the post flood restart?

All these questions are just to make you think of the positions taken during this 3 years (I guess)...

I believe there was a flood, with or without an Ark to prove it!
(Also believed the whole earth was imersed in water even though science "proves" it couldn't have been so!)

I believe the Tower of Babel did exist, even without any ruins of it! (And the Book of Mormon corroborates the Bible account!)

I also believe the Israelites fought all those battles, and I don't need to see any single bone!

I believe God can use whatever means He wants to make His work and glory go forth!

Can one blame poligamy? Can one blame incest? Can one blame the God of War to order the killing of so many people, in order to fulfill His promise to the Israelites that they would possess a promissed land?

You talk about your "vantage point".

I say we (the LDS people) are in a vantage point. If all beliefs(well lived of coursed) lead to Christ, so we are heirs of the same universal salvation.
But if our claims be true (and I believe they are!) all the rest have a big problem! I hope you get the point!

For now, my opinion (not my accusation) is that even if you could see the gold plates, that wouldn't be sufficient proof that the Book of Mormon is true.

May God bless all of us!


Your friend,

Paragua Junior.

Anonymous said...

Hi, all


Some say they don't accept the Book of Mormon because it seems a plagiarism of the Bible. How could it be different if the Author is the same? What was the need to have four gospels written? Was it plagiarism? Or who can "prove" (that word again) they didn't commune to forge that story?

Again I say, I know the four gospels are true, as truly as I know the "other sheep" received the same revelations.

Your friend,


Paragua Junior.
From Brazil

catholic defender said...

Good Morning Paragua,

I hope that I understood everything correctly. I'll apologize in advance, just in case I may not have. You and I, as well as most of the folks on this sight, likely agree as to the validity, and truthfulness of the Old and New Testament. With the exception of the few true Atheists that post on this sight, it would seem that all of us are starting with that basic truth.

The question posed here though, has to do with the truthfulness of the BOM. That question really and truly hangs on the veracity of Joseph Smith. If he is being truthful, then the BOM is likely true, if he isn't then everything falls like a house of cards in the wind. My perspective, after many years of considering the question, and listening to missionaries on more than one occasion, and reading pro and anti mormon information, and praying extensively about the question, is that Joseph Smith did not tell the truth. And if he did not tell the truth, then what flows from that information, is not the truth. Your perspective is very different, as is most of the folks who write here.

Could Peter, James, and John have authority when they had no time to read scriptures? I don't know that they didn't have time to read scriptures, I'm not that old though some days I feel it. But I do know they had authority given to them. All four of the gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles document the fact that Jesus gave them that authority. The relevance of the BOM has to do with whether that authority was lost to the Earth. I don't believe it was, therefore, there's no need for the restored gospel, because there's nothing to restore.

Polygamy and other contraversial doctrines of the LDS Church by themselves would amount to very little fervor, were it not for the question of Joseph Smith's veracity. This world has had those things, and will likely continue to have them, without regard to the christian teachings. But if Joseph Smith was lying about those things, when he preached them. Then they were not from God. That would be problematic to me.

One can not prove the Bible, or the BOM. One has to take it on faith. That is one point we all agree on. My faith tells me something very different than yours. I've seen the Dead Sea Scrolls, but that isn't why I believe the Bible to be true. On the same token, it would make little difference to me if I saw the gold plates, because it isn't about seeing the plates that causes me to disbelieve the BOM. The fact is, I see no need for the gold plates in the first place, because nothing was ever lost. That's what I believe.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

CD, glad to see you're still alive and typing.

Royal Skousen, PhD in Linguistics and professor of Linguistics and English at BYU, has been working on a critical text project for the Book of Mormon since 1988, which was just recently completed. The Book of Mormon: The Earliest Text is the fruit of this 20+ years of labor, published recently by Yale Press. His findings are fascinating. I quote from a recent article:

http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2009/10/royal-skousens-12-questions-the-critical-text-version/

4. What are some of the major findings of this project?
(a) The original manuscript supports the hypothesis that the text was given to Joseph Smith word for word and that he could see the spelling of the names (in support of what witnesses of the translation process claimed about Joseph's translation - namely, that he spelled out the Book of Mormon names, at least when the name first appeared).
(b) The original text is much more consistent and systematic in expression than has ever been realized.
(c) There are a number of errors in the text that have never been corrected in any LDS or RLDS edition, although none of them fundamentally alter the text.
(d) There are occasional errors in the original manuscript itself (see, for instance, the reading "Ishmael and also his hole hole" in 1 Nephi 7:5); errors could enter the text from its very earliest transmission; many of the errors in the original manuscript show that this manuscript was written down from oral dictation.
(e) Errors in the printer's manuscript clearly show that this manuscript was produced by visual copying from another text, not by oral dictation.
(f) Joseph Smith's editing for the second and third editions (1837 and 1840) represents human editing, not a revealed revision of the text.
(g) The original text includes unique kinds of expression that appear to be uncharacteristic of English in any time and place; some of these expressions are Hebraistic in nature.
(h) The early transmission of the Book of Mormon text does not in general support the traditional assumptions of textual criticism - namely, the assumptions that the transmitted text tends to remove difficult readings and lengthen the text; instead, the early transmission of the Book of Mormon text tends to introduce more difficult readings and to omit words and phrases.
(i) The vocabulary of the Book of Mormon text appears to derive from the 1500s and the 1600s, not from the 1800s.
This last finding is quite remarkable. Lexical evidence suggests that the original text contained a number of expressions and words with meanings that were lost from the English language by 1700, including the following (with the date of their last citation in the Oxford English Dictionary given in parentheses):
to require 'to request' (1665)
Enos 1:18 reads "thy fathers have also required of me this thing"
[Ezra 8:22: "for I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way"]
sermon 'talk, discourse, speech' (1594) [conjectural emendation]
Mosiah 19:24 should read "after they had ended the sermon"
(not the current reading "after they had ended the ceremony")
to cast arrows 'to shoot arrows' (1609)
Alma 49:4 reads "the Lamanites could not cast their stones and their arrows at them"
[Proverbs 26:18: "as a mad man who casteth firebrands arrows and death"]
to counsel 'to counsel with' (1547)
Alma 37:37 originally read "counsel the Lord in all thy doings"
[similarly in Alma 39:10]
but if 'unless' (1596)
Mosiah 3:19 originally read "for the natural man is an enemy to God …
and will be forever and ever but if he yieldeth to the enticings of the Holy Spirit"
to depart 'to part' (1677)
Helaman 8:11 originally read "to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea
and they departed hither and thither"

Jesef said...

extinct: in reference to an individual's death (1675)
Alma 44:7 reads "and inflect the wounds of death in your bodies
that ye may become extinct" [similarly in several other places]
the pleading bar of God (not in the Oxford English Dictionary, but three early 1600 citations have been found, including one in a legal context) [conjectural emendation]
Jacob 6:13 should read "until I shall meet you before the pleading bar of God", not "the pleasing bar of God" [similarly in Moroni 10:34]
As noted, only two of these instances of archaic vocabulary (dating from Early Modern English) are found in the 1611 King James Bible.

None of these examples are biblical quotes within the BoM and 6/8 of them don't even have a biblical parallel. Skousen said he will be publishing those findings more completely in his Vol. 3 of the Critical Text project, which is The History of the Text of the Book of Mormon. He also said that a lot of what we consider to be ungrammatical in 1800's or present English may not have been in the older English. How could Joseph Smith, or any of his contemporaries, have authored a 600-page volume of scripture in a version of English that predates their own by 200 years? Who would even think of such a thing? Any alternative authorship theory needs to be able to explain this. The author's does not.

Additionally, the Book of Mormon itself claims that it was engraved on metal plates/leaves in the "language of [Lehi]", consisting of the learning of the Jews (possibly meaning Hebrew writing structure) and the language of the Egyptians (some kind of Egyptian script), or Reformed Egyptian, as follows:

(Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 1:1 - 3)
1 I, NEPHI, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father; and having seen many afflictions in the course of my days, nevertheless, having been highly favored of the Lord in all my days; yea, having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days.
2 Yea, I make a record in the language of my father, which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians.
3 And I know that the record which I make is true; and I make it with mine own hand; and I make it according to my knowledge.

(Book of Mormon | Mormon 9:31 - 34)
31 Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.
32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.

Jesef said...

Some people really misinterpret Joseph Smith's "most correct book" quote and pass over so many humble testimonies from the Book of Mormon prophets themselves, starting on the Title page, which admit mistakes and imperfections. Anyway, so it seems pretty obvious that Reformed Egyptian is some kind of shorthand or abbreviated script. Well, one would expect that a translation or transmission of such a record, regardless of its length, into another language such as English to reflect a relatively limited vocabulary. And that is precisely what they have found. See:

http://www.mine-control.com/zack/guttenberg/index.html

(be careful not to type mind-control ;)

The Book of Mormon has the least dense vocabulary of any book over 30K words that they've tested thus far, with a vocabulary of only 5,612 different words in its 275,887 word length (in 1500's/1600's English no less). Fascinating.

I just used a computer program to do a a quick word frequency analysis on the Book of Mormon, Solomon Spaulding's "Manuscript Found", and Ethan Smith's "A View of the Hebrews" - the contemporary works that critics, including Lyndon, still claim are the "real" source(s) for the BoM. These were the results:

The Book of Mormon:
Analysis based on the whole vocabulary
Total vocabulary = 6024 types
Project wordcount = 274838 tokens
Types/tokens = 0.02191837

A View of the Hebrews:
Analysis based on the whole vocabulary
Total vocabulary = 5742 types
Project wordcount = 54772 tokens
Types/tokens = 0.10483459

Manuscript Found:
Analysis based on the whole vocabulary
Total vocabulary = 6062 types
Project wordcount = 39441 tokens
Types/tokens = 0.15369793

So, just mathematically, without any text cleanup, like eliminating articles, prepositions, etc. (which would reduce each type count by a few hundred words), figuring those types probably balance out for each work, The Book of Mormon vocabulary (6,024 types or distinct words) compared to its entire length (274,838 wordcount), or vocabulary density, is 0.0219. That is only 21% the vocabulary density of "A View of the Hebrews" (0.1048) and only 14% the density of "Manuscript Found" (0.1537). This piece of evidence supports that the Book of Mormon came from a limited vocabulary script.

Jesef said...

All of us have biases. We develop them as we are raised and learn in our familial, religious, and cultural environments. One of the characteristics of humble and open-minded intelligence is the ability and willingness to evaluate and assimilate new information, especially if it contradicts previously held notions. Thesis is what we believe. Antithesis is something that contradicts that belief. Synthesis is the combining of seemingly opposed ideas, which upon deeper examination are actually both partially true, and combining them into a more complex, but realistic, whole, a multi-dimensional idea that lets the false parts fall away. When dealing with people, history, science, and religion, I have found synthesis to be the best approach for seeking true understanding, or finding the truth. I believe the opposite to be true as well: ignorant, close-minded people often see things in a simplified, one-dimensional way which stubbornly refuses to accept anything which challenges their concrete position. Synthesis allows for a lot more gray, more ambiguity, and for faith and reason to coexist more peacefully, in my opinion.

Jesef said...

Well, I've been doing some reading lately about the alternate authorship theories for the Book of Mormon. The most oft-quoted one is plagiarism of Ethan Smith's "A View of the Hebrews", mainly because of its publication time (1823), place (Vermont), and several generic similarities in theme and structure. The critics focus on the similarities, which they see as beyond coincidental - in fact, they often quote B.H. Roberts who was one of the first to publish the parallels. The apologists, of course, focus on the dissimilarities, particularly the significant details which would have been most likely to have been plagiarized but weren't. Here's what I've synthesized so far. "A View of the Hebrews" was not intended to be fiction, but an essay of a real theory connecting Algonquin tribes with Hebrew ancestry. Why did Ethan Smith try to draw these connections? Because he and many other European Americans saw parallels between the beliefs and practices of these North American tribes and Old-Testament/Israelite religion, too many to be coincidental (in their minds). This was a common view of that era (17th-19th century) which was based on their observations. What modern critics have so often missed, and Hugh Nibley and others didn't let it pass either, was that Joseph Smith didn't need to plagiarize from Ethan Smith - these ideas, legends, parallels, etc. were part of the New England culture at that time. In fact, Joseph Smith referenced VotH as supporting evidence in a Times & Seasons issue - not the usual method of a plagiarist (critics just say he was so overconfident he did it as some kind of audacious inside joke - not very realistic, imo, but they try to paint the picture of a megalomaniac). It gets more interesting, in my opinion, because the Book of Mormon doesn't borrow some of the most tantalizing details from VotH or the prevailing ideas of the time (things that would have been familiar and made it more believable to readers of at that time). Plagiarism also doesn't explain the authenticating ancient markers in the BoM (too many to be coincidental or fabricated, from my view). But the recently discovered DNA connection between Algonquins and Europe/Middle-East (Haplogroup X/X2a - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haplogroup_X_%28mtDNA%29 ) could explain the Israelite parallels the early Americans saw in some of the North Eastern American Indian tribes, which inspired works like VotH. Phylogenetic-based dates (mtDNA dating based on hypothetical, evolution-based assumptions) put the migration way too early (~35K BCA), but pedigree-based dates (mtDNA dating based on laboratory experiments using real multi-generational genetic samples of stable populations, like Icelandic people) put it well within BoM and Old Testament timeframes. Anyway, the scientific consensus eventually shifted and these Algonquin/Hebrew parallels faded into history as evolution and the prehistoric Asiatic Bering Strait migration theory took over. But our current genetic information now challenges that, at least for North Eastern America. If the Heartland BoM geography model is correct or close, this could get even more interesting. The VotH and Spaulding Manuscript plagiarism hypotheses may actually backfire on their proponents. From my perspective, as a believer of The Book of Mormon, this could show both the wisdom and humor of the Lord.

Jesef said...

If you read that wikipedia article about Haplogroup X, notice the phylogenetic-based dates, i.e. based on evolutionary assumptions of human/ape common ancestry, divergence hypothesized at 5-6 Million years ago, they use, e.g. 30,000BP and 21,000BP. Then see this article, an abstract of laboratory experiments and observations for pedigree mutation rates for mitochondrial (maternal) DNA, ot mtDNA:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12571803?dopt=AbstractPlus&holding=f1000,f1000m,isrctn

I quote from the abstract: "Taken together, the cumulative results support the original conclusion that the pedigree divergence rate for the control region is approximately 10-fold higher than that obtained with phylogenetic analyses."

This means you could divide those phylogenetically-derived dates mentioned by 10 (keep in mind phylogenetically-derived dates are very rough estimates because they use an unsubstantiated and extremely slow rate of mutation - remember, evolution theory is based on slow and steady divergence via mutation), hence 3,000BP and 2,100BP roughly. Those are in the Book of Mormon ballpark, folks.

catholic defender said...

HI Jesef,

Interesting stuff you've posted. I'm curious if you've heard this explanation for the BOM. One theory I've heard posed, is that Joseph Smith got his idea for the BOM from a contemporary fiction writer of the time. I've not traced this down to any great length, but what I was able to gather suggests that the BOM is based on a fantasy novel that came out around the same time that Joseph Smith allegedly translated the BOM. It is suggested that most of the people in the BOM, as well as many of the stories in the BOM are actually stories taken from this novel. As I said, I haven't researched this to any great length, but it could be a very plausible explanation. Just wondering if you've come across this account. Hope you are well.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

Jesef said...

Hi CD,

Good to hear from you. I and my family are well and I hope you are, too.

The closest thing I've heard to the authorship theory you mentioned is the Spalding's other manuscript (i.e. not "Manuscript Found"), a.k.a. "Manuscript Lost", theory. Note that Spalding's manuscript was intended to be fictional, while Ethan Smith's "A View of the Hebrews" was intended to be a non-fictional essay attempting to explain Native American origins. Here are a couple of one-pager explanations of the Spalding theory (I recommend reading the footnotes, too):

http://www.fairlds.org/Book_of_Mormon/Solomon_Spaulding_and_the_Book_of_Mormon.html

http://en.fairmormon.org/Book_of_Mormon/Authorship_theories/Spalding_manuscript

Spalding's "Manuscript Found" is the only real manuscript. The "lost" one is hypothetical/non-existent. It was imagined by an ex/anti-Mormon, Philastus Hurlbut, without any real evidence. Hurlbut asked some other anti-Mormons some loaded questions (meaning he supplied the details, not them) and even got them to sign some affidavits, but they don't agree with the evidence. It is highly unlikely that Spalding wrote another manuscript after not even publishing the first. You can read the entire Spalding manuscript here:

http://www.archive.org/stream/themanuscriptsto00spauuoft/themanuscriptsto00spauuoft_djvu.txt

In essence, this is another flunked attempt to explain the authorship of the Book of Mormon. It doesn't fit the historical evidence, the textual evidence, or any evidence, but rather is just sour hearsay mixed with desperate conjecture.

On a different note, I've mentioned the Heartland Model for Book of Mormon geography before. They propose, not Mesoamerica, but North America as the geographic setting of the record. There is some very interesting new evidence which supports their theory, (I've mentioned Haplogroup X2/X2a) included in this new documentary called "The Lost Civilizations of North America". Check out the trailer and spot by Glenn Beck:

http://www.lostcivilizationdvd.com/trailer.html

-Jesef

Jesef said...

For those reading this thread, I want to tell you, after synthesizing tons of literature presenting evidence for and against, the Book of Mormon is solidly authentic. What LDS scholars and researchers have accumulated is a mountain of evidence which supports the authenticity of the Book of Mormon - it is what the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and Martin Harris and David Whitmer and dozens of other firsthand witnesses claimed. And this evidence absolutely would not exist if it was simply a fabrication from the 19th century.

I really just invite you all to do some in-depth research on the positive side. Learn and consider what has been discovered by those who have searched for real verification. I'm not talking about parallels that depend on a particular theory of Book of Mormon geography. At this point I don't even subscribe to the Mesoamerican theory, which is where most Mormon scholarship has focused for archaeological verification. Based on my research, I think the Heartland Model is much more likely. I think most of the Mesoamerican parallels can be explained by cultural diffusion.

What do the critics have on their side of the scale? After 180 years the best they have got is a grab-bag of plagiarism of Ethan Smith's "A View of the Hebrews", plagiarism of Solomon Spalding's "Manuscript Found", or the uttlerly absurd hypothesis of Joseph Smith possessing the gift of Automatic Writing. So which is it, anti-Mormons? None of these authorship theories even comes close to adequately explaining the textual evidences authenticating The Book of Mormon as a transmission of an ancient text with Hebraic/Egyptian roots. The anti/ex/post-Mormon view is really not an honest view at all. It does not present the whole story, in context, with all the evidence. I have yet to find someone from this paradigm who will honestly weigh the supporting evidences, particularly that "stone of stumbling" and "rock of offense", to the apostate, namely The Book of Mormon (read Elder Holland's October 2009 General Conference talk "Safety for the Soul" - he is an honest man, and so were Joseph, Hyrum, and their family). There is no "ironclad" evidence against the Book of Mormon. It's all vaporous speculation, conspiracy theory, negatively biased and religiously-bigoted hearsay, and superficial ignorance of the positive evidence. After 180 years, this is all they've got? It is pitiful. Dig a little deeper. Open your minds and your hearts. These propositions don't explain the educated picture. They are ignorant half-truths and half-stories in rapid-fire, but none of them hit the target. I invite you to reconsider the Book of Mormon, the witness, the testament which God has given, from the other side of the world from the Bible, confirming the divinity, atonement, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Honestly consider the evidence.

Rotorhead said...

It has always been an odd thing to me that those who "know" best that the Book of Mormon is false, are those who admittedly have never read it! "yes, I've read parts of it" or "I don't need to read very far to know it's false!"is their mantra. Perhaps that is why we pray for our missionaries to reach those honest in heart searching for truth...for only they will have the integrity to investigate in an objective, and unbiased fashion... then the Holy Ghost can perform the miracle of revealing truth. Faith truly does precede the miracle, therefore, divine truth (The Book of Mormon) can only be had upon the principles of Faith.

catholic defender said...

Dear Rotorhead,

You seem to be taking a rather arrogant position with your comments. How can you assume that someone who has only read the BOM in part, or has not read it, but finds it to be false, is making such a finding with an insincere heart? How can you take a position that such a person is biased or lacks the integrity to investigate objectively, when taking such a position is in and of itself biased and lacking in objectivity? I realize that many folks approached by your missionaries never even give them the chance simply because of their own preconcieved notions about the LDS faith; however, not all those who say no to your church are insincere in their efforts.

Some, like myself have listened objectively, and have prayed sincerely about what your missionaries have said. And the Holy Spirit has said its not true. It isn't necessary to read the entire BOM to figure out it isn't true, when one recieves the strong impression in one's heart that the words there are not what they appear to be. I have explained this before, but will again. When I read the BOM I am left with the strong impression that I am reading a poorly re-written version of the old testament. To read further only solidifies that impression for me. Praying further solidifies that impression for me. My experience with faith and my experiences with the Holy Spirit tell me that what the LDS faith offers, is not at all what God intended, and it is therefore Christ's church.

Your position seems to be one that the Holy Spirit only speaks to the LDS faithful. This contradicts much of what your own missionaries talk about in their proselytizing. God speaks to us all, he loves us all, and he will welcome us all home regardless of the place in which we say our prayers. That is the divine truth about God...he loves us in spite of our own human failings and preconcieved notions about what faith is.

Consider what you are saying in your posting. You can not assume that all folks are of a false heart, when in fact not all are. Doing so is arrogant, and not at all in keeping with the Christian teachings which you espouse to have the entirety of.

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

catholic defender said...

"My experience with faith and my experiences with the Holy Spirit tell me that what the LDS faith offers, is not at all what God intended, and it is therefore Christ's church."

This sentence should have read:

"My experience with faith and my experiences with the Holy Spirit tell me that what the LDS faith offers, is not at all what God intended, and therefore isn't Christ's church."

Sincerely

Catholic Defender

RHurst said...

Thanks for the information, that was certainly interesting! My friend has been trying to convert me for a while now, she gave me some lds books to read, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. She did convince me to go to church with her this Sunday, so we will see how that goes.