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

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Rejecting Prophets for Apparently Bad Behavior: What Tapestry Do You Look At?

I have often explained that prophets are fallible, like all mortals, and that making a mistake or doing something that strikes us as objectionable is not necessarily a reason for rejecting someone God has called. One ex-Mormon asked me how much bad behavior I am willing to accept before finally giving up on the Church altogether, for there are long lists of objections and complaints that can be crafted for Joseph Smith and other modern prophets. It's a fair question, but one that might be missing some important considerations. The discussion was in the context of the numerous anti-Mormon arguments against the Church that might be refutable or answerable on their own, but which together allegedly create a "tapestry" that weighs against the truthfulness of the Church.

In response, let me ask this question: If you currently accept the Bible as true, how much apparently bad behavior on the part of Abraham would it take to reject him as a prophet? How much would it take to reject the Old Testament? How much would it take to reject someone who taught as official doctrine that Abraham was a great prophet who should be considered the “friend of God” (which is what Christ called him)?

The record from the pro-Abraham writers in the Old Testament – those loony Abrahamic apologists – admits (warning: anti-Abrahamic spin follows) that he was guilty of polygamy and shacking up with concubines. It admits that he sent one of his women and his unwanted son out into the desert where they would have died were it not for miraculous help. It admits that he tried to kill his own son in a pagan human sacrifice. It admits that he was a bloody man of war and a greedy profiteer rolling in wealth and seeking more. Now what if we dug up additional evidence from his critics and victims? Can you imagine what a tapestry we’d have then? So at what point do you reject Abraham, the Old Testament, and even Christ because of the vast tapestry one can create by picking out the ugliest threads and discarding everything else?

One can seek to understand the big picture, the real tapestry, or one can seek to craft objections and weave their own new tapestry to tell an ugly story from a flawed but, at many times, divinely inspired life.

For me, the tapestry that needs to be considered has a rich and repeating pattern of a divine gift, the Book of Mormon, with power and rich internal and external evidences for authenticity. It has repeating patterns in many other areas indicating divine authority and majesty in the revealed and restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. There are rich experiences, intellectually stimulating and fulfilling journeys involving the Temple, the scriptures, the Priesthood, the relation to ancient Christianity, and many other elements, that together form a joyous tapestry – with some ugly threads in there as well that come from mortal fallibility. When examined, the ugly threads do not destroy the value of the whole, though they do raise some problems and require examination of assumptions and, most often, more careful readings of texts and more complex interpretations of events.

So let me ask one illustrative question along these lines. If you know, really know, as I do, that the Book of Mormon is simply too powerful, beautiful, and authentic as an ancient text for Joseph Smith to have fabricated or any scholar in his day to have concocted, at what point does your trouble with polygamy or the Kirtland bank disaster or Brigham Young’s views on minorities lead you to conclude that the Book of Mormon is a fraud and all the witnesses who went to their graves affirming the reality of the gold plates must have been pathological liars? If the Book of Mormon is true, if the First Vision really happened, would that make a difference in how you approach a puzzling issue like polygamy or other problems later on?

Critics want us to see only some ugly threads and throw away the whole cloth, but there is much more the picture that needs to be considered.

162 comments:

Mormanity said...

Oops - spellchecking in Windows 7 doesn't seem to work in IE 8, unlike behavior in XP. Corrected a couple of typos with the help of one of you. Thanks!

BeforeYouSurf said...

Great post. I always hated having to use this type of reasoning with my non-mormon-loving friends (Okay, Anti-Mormon-Friends)because I don't enjoy picking on the men I consider prophets of the Bible. However, its about the only way to get the point across! Peter denied knowing Christ, Moses received a literal "come to Jesus meeting" for not following what he was asked to do! Do I now throw away all the good they did? Nope. If anything these mistakes give me hope.
Great Post.

Tony said...

How interesting. I was just making such an argument for JS and the Book of Mormon with some critics of the Church.

Very well said.

Dan said...

"If you know, really know, as I do, that the Book of Mormon is simply too powerful, beautiful, and authentic as an ancient text for Joseph Smith to have fabricated or any scholar in his day to have concocted, at what point does your trouble with polygamy or the Kirtland bank disaster or Brigham Young’s views on minorities lead you to conclude that the Book of Mormon is a fraud and all the witnesses who went to their graves affirming the reality of the gold plates must have been pathological liars?"

It doesn't, because they are not connected. Many people are under some odd impression that the moment one becomes a prophet, somehow that individual transcends the petty politics and social environments that surround that prophet, as if his words and actions are not in any way shape or form molded and influenced by the events, beliefs, thoughts, and prejudices of the day.

Andrew S said...

I guess as a faithful member, you really have to start from this point (based on personal experiences, etc.,), but the problem is that "the Book of Mormon being true" is not established. This is the question up for debate. The prophetic nature of Joseph Smith (or Abraham, or anyone else) is not established. This is up for debate. So, your argument seems to beg the question a bit.

The question is not "how much would it take for you to reject...?" it is more..."What is it that is getting you to accept it in the first place?" and "Can this thing, whatever it is, be lost/diminished?"

I think your argumentation style, if completely effective, would not make non-LDS Christians into Mormons...but rather, would probably make non-LDS Christians into non-Christians (or at best, solidify this idea that Mormons are un-Christian...*gasp*?! Mormons argue against traditional Christian figures. Etc.,). Your questions, I think, are great, but I think the eventual conclusion would more likely be, "Maybe Abraham isn't a prophet. Maybe the Bible isn't true," etc., etc., than "Oh, I see...Joseph Smith was inspired." I hope you realize, of course, that if the people you are talking to are, say, atheists, then your argumentation won't do much. They will take your points about Abraham and say, "Of course! That's why we know his religion was flawed," etc.,

The issue is that, for a person of faith, the faith *provides* that "whole cloth" that you say the critics throw away. But what is really the case is that the critics lack faith in your particular cloth...so the ugly threads that they point out are the most glaring to them.

Mormanity said...

I agree that no matter of faith is established for the world, but may be established for an individual through a variety of means. My comments were largely directed to critics who take the Bible as the established word of God, and I agree that it is. But it poses challenges and complexities as serious as the uniquely LDS puzzles we face. Understanding that there may be another side to the spin of critics and more to the story than we realize is a necessary step. Avoiding unrealistic expectations of mortals is another. Our faith rests in Christ more than in His mortal representatives, as wonderful asthey often are.

Stephen said...

I always thought that having read the Old Testament several times really gave me a better perspective on the humanity of prophets.

Andrew S said...

I agree that no matter of faith is established for the world, but may be established for an individual through a variety of means.

I think the issue here is that the variety of means that faith may be established for an individual are quite subjective...so it is entirely possible (and this is kinda the issue) that one can be "persuaded" by one mean for Biblical prophets, etc., but not be "persuaded" similarly for Book of Mormon prophets or latter day revelation.

I understand that you're responding to critics who mostly believe the Bible is the word of God, but I don't think it follows that if one believes the Bible to be the word of God, the Book of Mormon should get a free pass along the same lines.

I dunno. I still think there needs to be a better answer -- a more positive answer -- than simply pointing out the deficiencies and defects of OT figures.

FishFly said...

Andrew,

Mormanity is not saying that if you believe in the Bible you should automatically believe in the Book of Mormon. He is not speaking about all those who say they do not believe the Book of Mormon to be true. He is only saying that those who say "the Book of Mormon CAN'T be true because of A, B, and C" (replace A, B, and C with just about any criticism of the Book or the Church) should reject the Bible by the same "logic".

Thus, if you do not agree with the reasoning behind these attacks (I don't), you should at least give the Book of Mormon a chance and accept it or reject it based on other means. If you agree with the reasoning, then you should probably reject the Book of Mormon, the Bible, and perhaps all religious belief.

Paul said...

If, because accepted Old Testament prophets were imperfect, one ought not reject modern prophets for their perceived imperfections, then what are we to make of the imperfections of various Bishops of Rome? When do those imperfections rise to The Great Apostasy and necessitate the restoration?

LuckyMatt said...

Jeff, great post.

FishFly, you boiled down the logic to its raw substance and stated it very nicely. Jeff's intent was probably only to rebut those professed believers in the Bible who assume out of ignorance that every Bible "hero" lived a flawless life and choose to nitpick a few instances in Joseph Smith's life as "evidence" that he couldn't have been a prophet. It was not so much to logically "prove" that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but to disprove another flawed line of logic.

The fact that we have many times more pages of teachings of modern prophets (Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and others) than are contained in the entire Bible, yet critics of the LDS faith can only recycle the same handful of tired old arguments, is a testament to the modern prophets' divine callings.

Paul, the point when any member (or professed member) of Christ's church enters apostasy is when they start believing, teaching, or practicing incorrect doctrines or practices. This is exacerbated when the person professes to have divine authority (priesthood) that they do not have. It was the loss of priesthood authority due to the deaths of the church leaders, and church members' individual apostasy as they mixed correct Christian beliefs and practices with incorrect Roman and other philosophies, that overtook the early Christian church as a whole. When the last legitimate holder of true priesthood authority died, I suppose you could say that a restoration was needed at that point.

LuckyMatt said...

More accurately, I should say that when the last person holding all necessary priesthood keys--with the authority to pass those keys onto others--died, then a restoration of authority became necessary.

Mormography said...

The ultimate proof against Mormonism is not its concept of prophets, but its concept of God. For example, in the bible Abraham alone is responsible for telling the half truth that Sarah was his sister, whereas Mormonism makes God responsible for this half truth.

The whole lost 116 pages anecdote is a good example of this. In this example the Mormon God engages in a ridiculously intricate, complex scheme to thwart conspirators because the Holy Spirit was not strong enough to overcome the plans of mortals and the Mormon God was very concerned about what people might think of Him. Not only this, but the Mormon God engages in flawed logic. The Mormon God assumes that creating the Book of Nephi would prevent conspirators from changing the lost 116 pages (the Book of Lehi). However, this is not true.

I hesitate to say that this flaw is obvious, because I missed it first until someone pointed it out to me and apparently there are millions of Mormons who know this anecdote from birth and never catch the flaw in the Mormon God’s thinking.

I am no expert in the Bible, but I have yet to find such odd behavior on the part of God in the Bible. My challenge for the faithful and apologist out there is where in the Bible does God behave in similarly flawed ways?

Mormanity said...

Mormography, be careful when you start challenging the logic of God because you can create alternative scenarios. Numerous events of the Bible can be criticized for such things, even the big, most basic things. Like why couldn't God forgive us for our sins without making Christ suffer? Why would God need cherubim AND a flaming sword to keep Adam and Eve away from the tree of life, when he could simply remove it or put a fence around it or move them far from it or use just one extra buff cherub versus a whole team - and why was a tree of life needed if they were already immortal and so on? Why was an ark needed to save Noah from the flood, when God could have just picked him up or kept his spot dry? Why a flood at all - why not just selectively wipe out the really wicked instantly with a divine blast of power? Why this, why that - for every story.

God does many things for His own purposes. Sometimes the unnecessarily difficult paths are there to teach and train us, or create opportunities in the future, or to be symbols for the benefit of later generations.

Tony said...

Well said Jeff. And good rebuttal against Mormography's double standard.

That, and it appears you have a spammer on this thread.

Mormography said...

Mormanity, Tony,

Neither one of you were able to provide a single example of the Biblical God engaging in a similar logical fallacy as the Mormon God with the 116 pages. In case you are confused, the fallacy is that the Mormon God assumed that the Book of Nephi some how prevents conspirators from changing the book of Lehi. This is a fallacy. If conspirators were truly trying to discredit Joseph Smith, the book of Nephi does not prevent them from changing the book Lehi to contradict the book of Nephi. After all, this was Mark Hofmann's state goal, to have forged the lost 116 pages and have them contradict the book of Mormon.

Tony - It is not a double standard, it is the same standard. I do not doubt that there may exist a instances of God engaging flawed logic in the hundreds of pages in the Bible ... I have yet to find an apparent one.

Mormanity - Be careful in reading a challenge.

My challenge stills goes unanswered .....

Mormography said...

I can tell my challenge needs some explanation of my perspective to avoid straw men rebuttals and tangents. A God that engages in the bizarrely sadistic test of blind faith the Biblical Abraham is required to go through is not a God the Spirit leads to believe in. However, the God of Mormonism takes it up a notch. With in the first few chapters of the Book of Mormon God uses the ends justifies the means reasoning with Nephi to instruct him to execute Laban. It is the Mormon God that instructs Abraham to tell a half truth. Of course I understand there are stretches to explain these. If I was a Mormon apologist I would explain these by the analogy of spying on a forgien nation usually allowed, but on ones own nation usually disallowed.

Hank said...

Mormo, stay with the post of this topic which states if a faithful servant of Christ can reject a prophet for doing silly, stupid things.

Your faulty logic about the Mormon god is not well thought out. The Book of Mormon is a gem on explaning how mercy can appease the law of justice though the repentence process. That however is the topic of another thread.

Reed Winters said...

Really good points Mormanity. You've created an excellent counter-argument.

Thank you.

Mormography said...

Hank,

If my logic was so faulty and poorly thought out you would be able to explain how I have erred. The truth frustrates you so much that you what to shut me up my telling me to stay on topic.

Mormography said...

So far neither Hank, Tony, Mormanity, nor myself have been able to find an instance in which the Biblical God engages in a similarly flawed reasoning as the Mormon God with regards to the 116 pages. Of course, just because we have not found one does not mean one does not exist .... Lets keep hunting

LET US RECAP WHERE WE STAND: The devout LDS claim that the Book of Mormon is the result of divine inspiration and translation of some perfect entity has been debunked. We have demonstrated that this supposed perfect entity has engaged in imperfect reasoning, and hence can not be perfect. The next step is for apologists to assert that this must have never been official doctrine. It is still possible that the Book of Mormon is the result of some sort of supernatural influence of some extra-terrestrial entity, but nonetheless a flawed entity. The only evidence we have of this theory is voodoo statistics where in only certain statisticians can see evidence of linguistic patterns in the Book of Mormon that could only be the result of super-human powers. The fantastic LDS claim is that all other religions are wrong (Strangites and RLDS included) and that non-LDS persons may experience happiness, but will never experience true joy until they accept that the LDS church is God's designated gate keeper to heaven.

Where we stand now, the Bible may be still be the result of divination inspiration of a perfect being or divine inspiration of some super-human entity. However, to maintain consistency (comparable) with the Book of Mormon it is best for the apologists to assume it is the result of some imperfect super-human entity and to hunt for evidence of such. Just as apologists continue to hunt for evidence that the Book of Mormon is archeologically comparable to the Bible.

Anonymous said...

Jeff, I look forward to your continued answering of Mormography's questions. As a long time reader of yours and someone who has been on the fence and unable to fully commit to the church I enjoy your answers and insight.

Hank said...

Mormo, if one believes in the bible they will also believe in the Book of Mormon. If one believes in Christ they will also believe in the Book of Mormon. It's a strange thing for one to not be critical of the Bible, yet be super sensitive of the Book of Mormon.

Mormography said...

Hank,

“It's a strange thing for one to not be critical of the Bible, yet be super sensitive of the Book of Mormon.”

I agree, that Bible has plenty of room for criticism. I am not sure why this comment is directed out me.

“if one believes in the bible they will also believe in the Book of Mormon. If one believes in Christ they will also believe in the Book of Mormon.”

You are going to have to explain these statements. I know of plenty of people that believe in Christ that do not believe in the Book of Mormon. Furthermore, this reasoning would require a believer in the Book of Mormon to believe in the Voree plates http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voree_plates which the LDS church dosen’t appear to.

The Mormon apologist rebuttal to criticism is that Mormonism follows Biblical patterns and hence is immune from criticism. There are several issues with this reasoning. For example, this reasoning violates a concept known as the principle of falsifiability. This article is about the criteria for rejecting prophets. This article indicates unbiblical methods to reject a prophet, but fails to state what are the biblical methods of rejecting a prophet. The implication is that it is impossible prove a prophet false. However there are biblical methods for rejecting a false prophet. Hence, even the bible recognizes the need to not violate the principle of falsifiability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_prophet

According to these Biblical verses, a false prophet can perform miracles, can prophesy the future, and can have men speak well of them. The test of a false prophet then is a false teaching (a single false teaching, a single ugly thread). For this reason Jesus’ critics were constantly trying to catch him in a false teaching (ex: what is the greatest commandment, should we pay taxes etc.) Jesus could have had a beautiful cloth of hundreds of threads of true teaching, but a single false teaching would have made him a false prophet.

The problem for us at this junction is defining what a false teaching is. There really is no need to get into that spirit of contention because we have the anecdote of the 116 pages as told my Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. In it the Mormon God engages in false reasoning.

George J. said...

Dear Mormonography -

To hopefully correctly summarize your point: Prove to me that the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet. It - and he - fall short in the following areas (your list), including not following biblical precedent. If you can't refute my list of assertions, the Book of Mormon is false and Joseph Smith is not a prophet. You are therefore non-Christian Mormon apologists, and hypocrites, who have created a false god ("the Mormon God").

What was it Jesus said - can we agree that Jesus lived, that he is the Son of God, and that the Bible is the word of God? Is the King James Version valid enough a version of the Bible? -

"Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas" Matthew 12:38
- which was the resurrection of Christ (v.40)

Dear Mormonography, neither man nor method nor science can prove either matters of faith or matters of God. Rather than seeking empirical proof from members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who are wholly unable to prove, may I respectfully ask that you seek the proof you are asking for from God? I'm really worried that your questions and approach have become Pharisee-like, who demanded signs and proofs of the Master. Please, please, please take your complaints against the Mormons up with God in your prayers, talk to Him and see what His advise is! I beg you. Please please oh please let's not engage in a shoving match (on both sides) but let us instead remember the Master and ask the question - how would He have spoken here on this blog? I do love you, Mormanogrphy, for your wit and intellect and learning but am afraid so many demands for empirical proof may not be pleasing to the Lord. I do not dismiss your arguments, but respect your questions, and in the end am rooting for that Truth, Peace, Happiness which comes from the true and living God. May He bless you - and me - as we seek Him and the ways of the Master, His Son.
Sincerely,

lover_of_wisdom said...

Very true. Sometimes we forget that Christ was the only one who lived without sin. Should we reject his gospel because he chose imperfect men to proclaim it? I think the ad hominem fallacy is one of the easiest to commit.

Tony said...

Mormography, by your logic, I could accuse your Biblical God for being a mass murderer and commiting genocide for seemingly no other reason than that he promised certain lands to his people, like many atheists have done I'm sure.

Also, God never said that the Book of Nephi would stop them from altering the book of Lehi. Actually, he says: D&C 10
And, behold, Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands.
11 And behold, I say unto you, that because THEY HAVE ALTERED the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written;
12 And, on this wise, the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work;
(forgive the caps, no other way to add emphasis)

He said that they had altered it. God said to go forth with the rest of the Book of Mormon, and not bother with the 116 pages at that time since they would be used to refute the book of Lehi had Joseph been able to bring it about again.

So, I don't see your argument, unless I'm missing something here. It just seems to me to be another straw-man.

Tony said...

Mormo said:
"A God that engages in the bizarrely sadistic test of blind faith the Biblical Abraham is required to go through is not a God the Spirit leads to believe in."

I don't get it. Did you just argue against your own conception of God?
It's as if you just argued against God as presented in the Bible because of the account of Abraham and Issac.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable!!! I guess the worst bit of behavior of JS's part was getting all of his followers to mistrust the bible...even though Jesus promised that the gates of hell will not come against his word.

However, the answer to the question posed is so simple for any real Christian because God gave us the answer in His word (the bible) Deut 13:1-3 offers how to spot a false prophet:
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,'you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul."

Do you notice how it says men can do great things and still be a false prophet? The key to understanding whether a prophet is true or false is to understand God's word (the bible)...and conveniently enough--it's the first thing Joseph took from Mormon's when he wrote his new book... interestingly enough-- Mohammed did the exact same thing with the Quran..first got people to mistrust the bible, then replaced it with another book. Satan does love to recycle his best tricks!

Andrew S said...

While I guess I'll have to wait to see if the people hear know more about Mormography than I do, I am chuckling to myself.

These responses are as I said. They don't really do much to raise up Mormonism's case. Rather, they try to defend Mormonism by trashing the rest of Judeo-Christianity. If someone doesn't accept the Judeo-Christian god, then what effect will these arguments be?

Do you really want to pursue an argumentation that relies on showing the "dark sides" of predecessor religions?

Mormography said...

George J. - You have completely mis-characterized all my points. I have not asked for anyone to prove to me that the LDS church is "true". If I was to do something like this, I would not request that an apologist provide empirical evidence or to strike me deaf or any other sign. I would request that a Mormon Apologist prove that all other Christian interpretations are wrong, because this is the fantastic LDS claim.

Tony - I do not ever recall stating what my conceptions of God are. I have not claimed to be Christian or a believer in the Old Testament. Whether I am or not is not pertinent. If you have assumed otherwise you should apologize. I have merely focused on the reasoning by Mormon apologist and faithful. You have in deed missed something with regards to the 116 pages. 1. If translation happen the way Joseph claimed, Satan's plan would not be successful and there not be a need on Gods part to try and thwart it. 2. Continuing on with the Book of Mormon translation does not prevent conspirators from presenting the Book of Lehi with contradictions in it. This was master forger Mark Hofmann's ultimate goal, to forge the book of Lehi with contradictions to the rest of the Book of Mormon in it. Because the Book of Lehi presumably contained the key details on how the Israelites arrive at the New World, more or less the same story had to be told in different words - the Book of Nephi. The Tanners have done analysis showing that the first books of the Book of Mormon are vague on details compare to the later parts of the Book of Mormon. That is details do not pick up again until to after the part where the Book of Lehi would have left off. 3. If the translation did not happen the way Joseph claim the lsot 116 pages anecdote would have happen more less the way it did. This does not necessary prove fraud. To explain, if someone showed up late to an important meeting and claimed that their car broke down, it is both possible that the person is lying or telling the truth. However, in this case the fact that it looks so much like fraud is extremely suspect. Not re-translating the 116 pages looks worse than re-translating them

All these show erred reasoning on the part of the Mormon God. This means the Mormon God is an imperfect flawed entity, though it does not prohibit the Mormon God is some sort of super-human entity.

As other commentators have pointed out, the Mormon apologists continued insistence that if the certain criticism are valid then the Bible isn't "true" either, does more to attack Christianity than defend Mormonism. It also implies that the Bible is the keystone to the Mormon religion as opposed to the Holy Spirit and that Mormonism is only for pre-Christianized cultures.

Hank said...

Mormo, so silly to intellectualize the Book of Mormon away. You have access to the actual book. Why not read it and test it for yourself? It's very, very powerful with explaining about the atonement. Try 2 Nephi 7,8,9; Mosiah 12-16; Alma 34, 40-42

Andrew S said...

I think that arguments to make emotional the LDS experience (or any religious experience) are a bit better than arguments that seek to undercut predecessor religions, but these too fail.

What happens when you have someone who indeed has read the BoM, etc., several times, but either gets the ominous "stupor of thought" or gets a testimony of its untruth and spiritual destructiveness? Oops, I guess the argument kinda backfires there.

It turns out that there are plenty of people, too, who "desire to believe." After all, being in a community where the rest of your family and friends believe and you feel alienated and deficient because you don't can give you an awfully good incentive to believe and desire to do so. But it turns out again that a desire to believe doesn't quite pay the bills.

Hank said...

Andrew, come buy milk and honey without price. Salvation is free. We only need to daily repent to make a claim on mercy. This all fits with the grace of God.

Andrew S said...

The problem is the milk and honey are tasteless, they come at great price, and they save us from a problem that is only possible from that framework. You only need the grace of God *because* of the God you've posited.

Tony said...

Mormo said:

"1. If translation happen the way Joseph claimed, Satan's plan would not be successful and there not be a need on Gods part to try and thwart it."

Not if God does not interfere with the agency of man, and lets fallible men learn from their mistakes. The Bible shows us that he respects the agency of man.

You should not be so quick to counsel the Lord or judge His ways. As it says in Isaiah 55:8-9 His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

Satan still has yet to triumph over the plan of God in relation to the 116 pages. Hoffman tried, but he was exposed for the fraud he was. You can continue to harp on one man's imperfections while denying any other evidence in support of the Book of Mormon and go to the Tanners for "scholarship."

Tony said...

"What happens when you have someone who indeed has read the BoM, etc., several times, but either gets the ominous "stupor of thought" or gets a testimony of its untruth and spiritual destructiveness? Oops, I guess the argument kinda backfires there."

What happens? Someone is wrong. Either they were decieved, they did not perhaps apply fully the promise of Moroni in the BOM, or they did get a testimony of it's untruthfullness and they are right and we are wrong. There is no in-between, no relativity when it comes to truth.

Andrew S said...

Tony

What happens? Someone is wrong. Either they were decieved, they did not perhaps apply fully the promise of Moroni in the BOM, or they did get a testimony of it's untruthfullness and they are right and we are wrong. There is no in-between, no relativity when it comes to truth.

Uh, right. The problem is even if one side is wrong (or perhaps even both...consider if *both* sides were deceived by their "answers"), both sides will fully believe in the righteousness of their causes.

We can consider this too with every other religion (so turn "both sides" into thousands...millions). And every other philosophy, worldview, etc., We could posit that everyone else is deceived and we are right, and those others could posit that we are deceived and they are right, and none of us would be any closer to what is actually true.

What really is the case is that we are not even actually addressing whatever the truth is with this argument. This method is insufficient precisely because of the room for deception, misinterpretation, misapplication. Instead, what this method is good for is feeding our biases, our inclinations, what seems and feels right to us. For while both people can't have the ultimate "truth," they *can* both be authentic to their own experiences.

Tony said...

Both sides could not be conceivably deceived.

The Church does not claim a monopoly on truth, as in we realize there are things in other religions that are true. We do not possess all the truth and knowledge that is to be had in the world, but we claim to have what is necessary for salvation. Thus, there can only be one true Church if there is a true Church of Christ on the earth.

"We can consider this too with every other religion (so turn "both sides" into thousands...millions). And every other philosophy, worldview, etc., We could posit that everyone else is deceived and we are right, and those others could posit that we are deceived and they are right, and none of us would be any closer to what is actually true."

I don't necessarily agree. If either of the claims happen to be true, and they are mutually exclusive, than one has to be wrong.

How you arrive at the knowledge of that truth, especially when it has to do with spiritual means, is up for debate and will no doubt be discredited by those who do not believe in Deity.

Of course, I see much evidence in the Book of Mormon for its antiquity, and so such things lead me intellectually to believe strongly in it. And then there is the spiritual confirmation, and again we may have that dilemna. One of the things that seems to set LDS apart, however, is that our way to coming to know that the book of scripture we call the Book of Mormon is true is not to be found, as far as I know, in any other religion or religious text.

As one blogger put:
"A constant criticism from the skeptic, religious or otherwise, is that spiritual experiences occur in almost all religions. How can we be sure that our spiritual experience confirms the truthfulness of the LDS Church? How can we possibly choose a religion without researching all of them thoroughly?...Our questioners should ask themselves, "Do other religions provide a way for me to know it is true? In what way can I test their veracity? Does the Qu'ran invite me to pray about it?" The LDS religion does provide a way. It does provide a test. And that test is found at the end of the Book of Mormon."
(walkstar.blogspot.com)

Mormography said...

Hank,

Your response is what is known as a copout, admitting that you are wrong with admitting it. You essentially admitting that I have a solid argument.

However, in the process you engage in further poor Mormon reasoning. The burning in the bosom experiment also has flaws to it. According to the experiment, just because a person has a stupor of thought does not mean something is not true. That is, the experiment can only “prove” something true, it cannot prove something false. As such it has little value.

Furthermore, the experiment does little to prove that the LDS Church is the official/authorized religion of God, because it would be possible to receive a burning in the bosom from any number of books that contradict each other. A person could feel the burning in the bosom with regards to the Book of Mormon and not think to perform the same experiment with regards to the Quran. This person could then perform the experiment with Quran feel a burning in the bosom. This person as then received a yes answer on two things that contradict each other. To complicate things even more the burning in the bosom is an analog communication channel and does not have the communication capacity to indicate if every item in the Book of Mormon is true or just the moral of certain parts of it are true. So Satan can tell half truths mixed with lies and person could feel a burning in the bosom of the truths and falsely assume the lies are also true.

The burning in the bosom appears to be something that is part of the human experience and not at all unique to Mormons. People report feeling the burning of the bosom with regards to the sacred texts of their non-Mormon faiths. Mormonism is built on the premise that there is one official/authorized religion. Mormons usually take this as a given and are usually confuse by people who wish that this premise be proven first.

The Mormon reasoning is that there is one God and that God would not create multiple religions to confuse his children and God does not change. After all Jesus created one religious organization. When asked why if God does not change why did he have a religious organization of patriarchs, then the Law of Moses, then the church formed by Jesus, the response is that man changed, not God. Under this reasoning then, God could create unique religious organizations for each of his unique children. Therefore, the premise that there is only one official/authorize church for all of humanity goes unproven.

Mormography said...

Tony – God would not need to violate agency. Also, your interpretation of Isaiah indicates that trying to think about, reasoning about, or have a conversation about is God is futile. Yet here you are doing just that.

Tony said...

The book of Mormon and Moroni's promise is quite clear and specific as to how that answer is come to.

Tony said...

"Also, your interpretation of Isaiah indicates that trying to think about, reasoning about, or have a conversation about is God is futile. Yet here you are doing just that."

Sorry, I did not mean to imply that. I am simply saying that we can't know what God's thought processes were about the whole deal except for what he has revealed to us.

In any case, I suppose I have come off as rash again. Have a good day.

But I'm not about to leave the Church or doubt what I know because of imperfect men who may or may not have acted in good faith, or the doubting of spiritual experiences simply because all religions claim them, though as I pointed out, Mormonism seems to be more unique in that regard, at least the process that should lead to the answer. People can argue all they want on whether we can trust whether we were feeling the Spirit or just some emotion. Suffice it to say from here that I know what I know.

Andrew S said...

Tony,

What if lurking underneath is some cosmic space rat that neither the Mormon or the non-Mormon recognized because of the cosmic space rat's psychic distortion abilities?

In such a fantastic case, both sides would be incorrect, regardless of what their claims were about the issue at hand. Both sides don't have the absolute truth; they are really quibbling about something inconseqeuential.

For all the universalist musings there are, at the end of the day, the church does claim to have something special. Even if the church gives table scraps of truth to other entities (where and when they may exist), the church *does* claim to be authorized with the priesthood...to be authorized to perform saving ordinances, and so forth. Exaltation is something the church reserves.

"Do other religions provide a way for me to know it is true?"

Maybe the blogger is misinformed, but generally, the other religions do. They may appeal to different things than spiritual experiences (under the recognition that spiritual experiences don't actually discern truth...only what one *feels* -- which can be deceptive). That the LDS approach isn't used elsewhere just highlights that it is different, not that it is better/worse/correct/incorrect. Similarly, that other religions have different approaches show the same thing. These are insufficient.

Hank said...

Mormo, no, there isn't a copout on my part. The Book of Mormon is very clear on how the atonement works.

Andrew, the milk and honey is not tasteless since it is not meant to be real food. It also does not have an actual price since it is free. We are freely given grace. That means God made a way for man to have hope without man doing a single thing. We do have a part in our own repentence, but the salvation is still free. Nothing we do makes our repentence valid; only the atonement does that.

Both of your intellectual reasoning is based on faulty assumptions. It is only good to be learned if one relies on God for their learning.

Mormography said...

Hank,

There you go again. Failing to provide a single explanation of faulty assumptions and copping out by changing the subject to the atonement.

Shawn said...

No Mormography… there you go again trying to debate something that is not even a debate.

Your recap is incorrect and very misleading. Let’s go back to one of your original posts. You have not demonstrated that Mormons believe in a “supposed perfect entity” that “hence can not be perfect”. The root of your argument is faulty and everything collapses thereafter.

We believe in God, not a Mormon God. He is perfect and infallible. The only point apologist have been making in recent posts to illustrate the dangers of anti-Mormons who try to use logic to debunk the BoM while holding up the Bible.

Your faith or religion doesn’t matter because you are applying logical questions that Mormons can’t defend? Right. Ok. Whatever. But I’m not buying that. With one hand you state you are a bystander and with the other you draw comparisons with the Bible.

I’m a convert to the Church. Prior to that, I gave up on religion in general because it failed to answer the basic questions about God. You are asking a basic question and insisting on an answer that can please you. Your answer lies within all of the other unanswered questions that I asked throughout my life. Why are there over 5000 different translations of the Bible, some with different Canon? Why do “traditional” Christian beliefs vary so much from church to church? Why are all Muslims, Hindus, other children of God damned to hell because of where they were born and their culture?

You want a rebuttal? So here goes my take as a convert to the LDS Church...

God took it DOWN a notch with the BoM. God, in His perfect wisdom, is helping the fallible while simultaneously not trampling our agency. This means He may have several options to achieve His purposes because we have the agency to mess things up… the agency to fail.

The “bizarrely sadistic” test of the execution of Laban you cite does not even compare, does not even register on a scale, when one looks at the prophet-prescribe GENOCIDE enacted in the Book of Joshua. Women and children eradicated. Have fun rereading that. You have a problem with the “logic” of a perfect God having to work with imperfect humans when He already knows the future? You don’t like the idea of 116 lost pages? What about God writing the Ten Commandment twice? Guess He had no idea the chosen people were making a golden calf when he authored the Commandments the first go around. Guess He didn’t know Moses would smash the first set of stone tablets that had been “written with the finger of God”.

Why would God justify the execution of the innocent or not know what His people were doing while speaking to Moses? Only answer I ever got prior to becoming LDS was “it’s one of the (many) mysteries of God”.

You are making a claim that Mormons don’t worship God, but a Mormon God who is imperfect. You are wrong. God is working with us while respecting our agency knowing full well that Prophets are fallible.

Look. If you expect God, Prophets, and Scripture to all be perfect, you will be inevitable let down. Only God is perfect. Everything else is stained by humanity. And it’s OK. Because He loves us and respects the gift of agency He gave to us. He loves giving us the opportunity to be participants in His work, even when we can’t do the job as well as He can. No Prophet, save Jesus Christ, was or will be perfect. They will fail at times in their life. But if designated as a mouthpiece of God, their word can and will be true… in most cases. Faith and a close relationship with the Holy Ghost are the required next step. Armed with that we can change our lives and be followers of Jesus Christ. We can understand scripture and apply it to our lives even when it is thousands of years old. We can make the world a better place.

That being said, my life is better as a convert to the Church and I am overjoyed to participate in a lay ministry that has one of the only all-inclusive Christian doctrines on the face of the earth.

-Shawn

Hank said...

Mormo, I sense that you are more in this for entertainment sake rather than sincerity. The Book of Mormon is very simple to find truth in since it states in the last chapter how to find truth. If it's true, then Moroni Ch. 10 is a correct way to test it. How hard can it be? Go ahead and test it.

Anonymous said...

my own faith grew when I realized that prophets (ancient and modern) weren't perfect.

I think my parents and teachers did me a disservice to teach me to 'honor' prophets so much.

I am grateful that at least one of my children does not 'revere' prophets. This child does BELIEVE in their prophetic calling, but without the celebritization that is so common among us.

And, I agree, the Book of Mormon is wonderful.

Once I established that for myself Joseph Smith could be a human being and even make mistakes the Book of Mormon became much more priceless to me--

is this odd?

if so, I'm odd.

:)

My prophet-cautious child made that point about Abraham as well and smilingly said, "God works with what He can get!"

Hank said...

Your child has the right idea.

Mormography said...

Shawn,

You also seem to be misreading all my all my posts. The “bizarrely sadistic” test was in reference to the Bible not the Book of Mormon. The reason you are misreading my posts is because subconsciously you known that you also do not have an answer to the challenge I posed. It is standard practice amongst Mormons to argue that if Mormonism is false then so is the Bible. Therefore you needed to misread my posts to suppose that I am arguing from a Biblical comparison in order to return to your comfort zone of argument. But has many commentators have already pointed out, all you have done is trashed the Bible not defended Mormonism.

I can tell you and Tony are not as familiar with the lost 116 pages as most Mormons. I invite you to watch the South Park episode All About The Mormons. The episode is not an exaggeration. Mormons are taught in childhood that the lost 116 pages anecdote PROVES Mormons RIGHT. Even on this thread Mormons are distancing themselves from this stance and moderating that to a position that the anecdote neither proves them right or wrong.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_About_the_Mormons%3F
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plates_of_Nephi#Book_of_Lehi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_116_pages#Resumed_translation_and_the_witnesses
http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/10

Please have a little grace to understand that I know that there were two sets of commandments that were given to Moses. This was not the challenge I posed, so in case you missed it let me spell it out to you one more time.

God’s wise purpose was to prepare the small plates to prevent Satan inspired conspirators from altering the lost pages to discredit further attempts at translation. This is not disputed and by trying to pretend this is disputed you are admitting this problematic.

It is problematic because the truth is the small plates do nothing to prevent conspirators from altering the lost pages to contradict further translation of the book. The reasoning is flawed. Unless God ordered Joseph Smith or one of his followers to execute the conspirators so that a nation would not dwindle in unbelief, the conspirators could have just as easily alter the lost pages to contradict the Book of Nephi.

Without even retranslating the alternation was already predicted. Therefore the potential retranslation contradiction was already predicted to be two groups each accusing the other of fraud. Therefore, the Small Plates did nothing to resolve the accusation of fraud.

Mormanity started the thread with Biblical comparisons. I continued it with suggesting we look for a situation in the Bible where God engages in similar reasoning. Neither Shawn, Tony, Hank, Mormanity, nor myself have found one yet.

Furthermore, neither Shawn, Tony, Hank, nor Mormanity have given the Mormon standard for identifying a false prophet. This suggests that Mormonism does not have a standard for identifying false prophets.

Shawn, you have also ignored all the reasons as to why the burning in the bosom experiment is flawed. This is pertinent to this discuss, because the burning bosom can tell someone that the Mormon prophet is a true prophet and the same experiment can tell someone that the Pope is a true prophet. However, the fantastic LDS claim is that the Pope is a nice guy, but not a prophet of God. Therefore it is necessary to have an experiment to determine that the Pope is a false prophet.

Mormography said...

Hank,

Once again you have ignored all the reasons I gave that the test is flawed. I have a feeling you have no desire to think about things rationally and you are just trying to be tiresome. I did apply the test you are fond of to the Avatar story that has come out recently. I received a burning in the bosom witness that it is true.

Hank said...

Mormo, South Park? Really? You prove my point about your interest only for entertainment value. Avatar? Really? Haven't seen the movie yet, but I will make a guess that it does not claim to be written by God. It probably does have a good message about war.

You don't bring anything to the table that shakes our foundation in Christ. The lost 116 pages are not a concern since we have other passages from the golden plates. I suggest you read the passages I posted, and then take the promise in Moroni Ch. 10. Again, how hard can it be?

Mormography said...

Hank,

Again, how hard is it to acknowledge the points I have made? You prove my point about you being only interested in being tiresome. I am glad I have not brought anything to the table that has shaken your foundation in Christ. That has not been my purpose and nor I have I stated such. I understand that when reason confronts ones ideology it is natural to feel threatened. I hope the only thing that I bring to Mormons is a desire for humility and the courage to reform the arrogant stance that God has only one official/authorized religion for all of humanity.

Hank said...

Mormo, you can't be serious in your search for truth. To quote an adult cartoon show is way past the line. Christ did establish a way for salvation. How hard is it to accept that fact? Alma and Amukek taught the poor Zoramites that one does not need to worship in a building to feel close to God. They also made it clear that the atonement is applied through our repentence. I don't find you to be serious in your statements. You lost me at SouthPark.

Shawn said...

Wrong again Mormography. No one is misreading your posts. You stated biblical scripture as bizarrely sadistic and then state that the “God of Mormonism takes it up a notch.” That means you are stating your arguments against the LDS Church are more than “bizarrely sadistic”. Can’t help it if you can’t construct logical arguments.

As to your second point about trashing the Bible, you are the one misreading posts. I stated God is perfect and respects our agency to the extent that He works around our imperfections and the imperfections of the Prophets. That is my rebuttal. I did not ignore your challenge as you eagerly state.

The Biblical comparison is only in reference to your “bizarre” statement that the “God of Mormonism takes it up a notch”. I believe I have illustrated that the two “flaws” you point out (execution of Laban and the 116 missing pages) are a step DOWN from prophet-ordered Genocide and Moses “losing” (aka breaking) the first set of stone tablets in anger. Was there a cover up of an attempt of fraud? No, only the illustration that (from your perspective of a falliable “Mormon God”) the Lord and Moses basically had no idea what Aaron and the people were doing. My point (which does not bash the Bible)… only Moses was out of the loop and the Lord helped him be a Prophet and lead his people in spite of his shortcomings. Joseph Smith was the same.



Ahhh, South Park. Since I don’t live in Utah, friends like you have shoved many episodes in my face. Although you may find Stan as a beacon of truth and logic, I do not subscribe to your conclusion that people would have aligned themselves with Joseph the Prophet if he fully recreated the lost pages. Saving months of retranslating and avoiding a “he said, she said” clash seems pretty smart to me. Your assumption is that Joseph could have never reproduced the 116 pages. Glad you and the critics are so bright. I can’t make that conclusion because Joseph didn’t trip himself up through the other 600+ pages. Go write your own 600 page compliment to the Bible about places you’ve never been and lets see how it turns out. By the way, the South Park episode concludes with the illustration that Mormons focus on families and being great people with Christ centered lives. You should stop watching that despicable trash especially since another South Park episode states only the Mormons were right about Heaven and God.

You ask for a standard for identifying false Prophets? That’s easy… James 2:21 and John 25 and 32-38. Our modern day Prophets have not only brought millions to Christ through their works, they have done so without sacrificing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have a lay ministry and tens of thousands of missionaries who pay money and time to work for free. We still believe in keeping the Sabbath Day holy. We pay tithes. We believe in chastity and reject adultery. We work, and pray, and help our communities with a complete focus on Christ. Every prayer and ordinance ends in His name. I’m not saying we’re better than others. What I am saying is our Church is led by true Prophets. The Church and the Prophets are an amazing force for good.

Regarding the “burning”… it’s why this convert is a member of the Church. Can’t speak for anybody else. My life has been full and blessed over the last 15 years so I’m only prepared to say it worked for me.

On a side note, and I know you realize this, you reference to “Mormon God” is inflammatory. Makes it very difficult for many to even be interested in what you have to say. What “God” do you worship so I can return the favor when making posts? Not that I would do that because it’s inherently rude.

-Shawn

John Jackson said...

Just how old is that phrase, "a burning in your bosom"? I do not know. But obviously it is common in our church. It may well have originated in this church.

There are two tie-ins from the New Testament to this phrase. In Luke 24, certain disciples had walked with the resurrected Lord without realizing until later it was the Savior. "Did not our heart burn within, while he talked to us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?" they ask (Luke 24:32).

The second tie-in can be found in Luke 3:16, where John the Baptist says, "I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire."

Do John the Baptist's words indicate the Holy Ghost can bring a feeling of fire, a burning in the bosom? It seems to me, that is so.

I doubt those in other religions use the term "burning in the bosom." I do not know and can only wonder if any of them have any experiences in which they have a "fire" burning within them, telling them something was true.

But, these modern-day Saints, they are right in line with New Testament teaching and practice as they speak of being converted through a "burning in the bosom."

John said...

P.S. --
In what form and what manner does the Holy Ghost tell us of truth? Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9 does indeed speak of a burning in the bosom and a stupor of thought. But maybe other feelings also apply. Doctrine and Covenants 6:22-23 speak of a peace in the mind. Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3 say the Lord will tell us in our hearts and in our minds, by the Holy Ghost.
My understanding of that, then, is that thoughts simply coming into our hearts and minds can be a form of the Holy Ghost working upon us. Now, I have a lot of thoughts which come into my heart and into my mind. The trick, for me, is to learn to discern which are from the Holy Ghost and which are not.

Anonymous said...

I have a question:

Why do people even respond to Mormography? There is no coherence behind his/her arguments. (Oh wait! Did I just confess that I can't address any of them?!? Oh my...)

George J said...

Dear Anonymous 6:42 AM, Dec. 24. 2009

Why? Personally, because I care. I care about Mormography, I care about truth, I care about you, I care about the Father, I care about Jesus Christ whose birth we in the western world have the privilege of celebrating today/tonight/tomorrow. I care about the vastness of God's plan. I am pleased and thrilled whenever anyone cares to discuss the things of life and death and the eternal. Maybe Mormography is a bit rough - but I see that as caused by internal fires which have brought more burning heat into his life than into mine. Which of us can judge our brother? Do you remember what Jesus said about judging? Mormography, don't quit this blog because you feel unwelcome. I see that you have a purpose, a valid and worthwhile objective. While I don't see it the same as you do, I do love you and that you feel you are doing this with good intention. God bless you! God bless us all, every one, on this blog and the world over.

With my love and in sincerity,

==George=

Mormography said...

Shawn,

Good response, very refreshing compared to Hank.

You fail to explain why my “recap is incorrect and very misleading”

You say “The root of your argument is faulty and everything collapses thereafter.” But never explain, so it is only natural to assume that you are misreading. If you explain yourself I will gladly apologize.

Since you claim that you are not misreading my post please explain to me what “basic question” that I am asking and what pleasing answer I am seeking. Just to make sure you are not misreading. From my perspective the Spirit does not lead me to believe in a God that plays sadistic head games that are suppose to help his children learn something about themselves.

What I was claiming being taken up a notch was God’s reasoning, not his acts. My bad for not being clearer, but after all my challenge was based on God’s reasoning and erroneous thinking. The execution of Laban came with end justifies the means reasoning. If I was an apologist I would explain this as Nephi declaring national independence and hence God was instructing Nephi that executing and impersonating a foreign dignitary was necessary to ensure the survival his new nation. As you point out Mormon’s believe that God allows for agency in solving problems. So under the international ends justify the means laid out by the Mormon God, if Mormons can convince themselves that rape and torture would protect their nation it would be justified.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Joshua#Ethical_issues
“No explicit justification is given in the book for these commands.” Though one is implied in Deuteronomy. I think you make a great point. This anecdote in Josua could be used to justify abortion, killing the innocent children of idolaters. Though Abraham was unable to find anyone but Lot's family that deserved to be spared in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, it would be reasonable that innocent children under the age 8 were also killed in that destruction.

.......

Mormography said...

......

“your conclusion that people would have aligned themselves with Joseph the Prophet if he fully recreated the lost pages” Sigghh, I did not claim this.

“Saving months of retranslating and avoiding a “he said, she said” clash seems pretty smart to me.” No, the “he said, she said” was not avoided. That is if one believes in the prediction, the accusators are accusing Joseph via the prediction and via the prediction the he said she said became permanent, not avoided.

“Your assumption is that Joseph could have never reproduced the 116 pages.” Kinda of. The implication is that in truth there were no conspiring men and common believe is that the 116 pages were burned. But yes the assumption is that the lost 116 and the re-translation would not match, the same assumption you make. But as establish by the prediction, this is a merely a he said she said and proves nothing on the a part of supposed conspirators. Part of the error in reasoning on God's part.

....

As for “Only answer I ever got prior to becoming LDS was “it’s one of the (many) mysteries of God”.” I am surprise no one suggested to you that the Bible is a piece of archeology (Occam’s Razor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor) “

I’m not saying we’re better than others. “ “Can’t speak for anybody else. My life has been full and blessed over the last 15 years so I’m only prepared to say it worked for me” These statements are quantum leaps forward, but as you say, you are a convert. These statements make you great in my eyes and innocent. Hopefully people such as yourself will be a force to reform the LDS religion.

I am sorry you chose to exercise your agency to be offended by the term Mormon God. This is a comparative religion thread and hence it is necessary to distinguish when comparing. I am more than willing to use more politically correct language. All you had to do is ask. However, if “Biblical God” verses “Mormon God” offends you, you will have to provide me with alternate terminology in order to continue the comparative discussion with objectivity.

Despite all the tangents, you failed to provide responses to my two challenges. You fail to demonstrate how conspirators would be unable to contradict the continued translation of the Book of Mormon, as God claimed or where in the Bible God makes a similar error. I am not finding the scriptures you reference in regards to how Mormons determine a false prophet. I can’t help it if you can’t construct logical and pertinent responses.

Mormography said...

At 6:42 AM, December 24, 2009, Anonymous said...

Right on anonymous. It is easy to name call without backing. Claiming “There is no coherence behind his/her arguments” without any coherent explanation makes me rubber and you glue.

Mormography said...

Hank,

The South Park episode has some minor historical flaws, but was one of the more accurate depictions, hardly way past the line. But I understand focusing on it being a cartoon and a comedy is a convenient copout.

You lost me when you began your continued copping out. How hard is it to acknowledge the points that I have made? Your continued willful and tiresome ignorance of reason shows that you can’t be serious in your search for truth. If the Mormon’s are right about judgment day, you will not be able to ignore reason for much longer and this thread here will testify against you.

Hank said...

Boring. This thread will not be a testament for any of us. It is our thoughts, words, and deeds which stand as a testament to how we lived our lives.

Mormography said...

Hank,

Your thoughts and words are recorded in this thread and testify to how you live your life dodging reason and truth. So yes, according to your own statements this thread will testify against you.

Tony said...

The fact that we have a way to know of true prophets shows that anything that does not come in line with that would be what we would call a false prophet. Perhaps if you familiarized yourself with the Bible and LDS doctrine you would come to see what Christ and the Church teaches about false prophets.
Even if I were to list such things, you would just argue against them anyways.

Merry Christmas.

Mormography said...

You are right, I would. There is no need to list such things, just give an example. So if you were to give me a Mormon example of how to know the Pope is a false prophet, I would just turn around and claim that same method is usable against the Mormons. When you complain and claim the method does not apply to Mormons, I would then claim the same double standard in this Blogs original entry by Mormanity. But of course you know this inevitable conclusion and that is why you will not even try.

Your implication that not proven true then false is not necessarily true. The burning in the bosom has all the flaws I previous mentioned. If someone does not receive a burning in the bosom about the Pope whatever was wanted to be known remains unknown, if that person does receive the burning, what exactly is proven true remains unclear.

Perhaps if you familiarized yourself with the Bible and LDS doctrine you would come to see that the Mormons do not have a method for verifying the premise that there is only one God authorized/official religion for all of humanity. If not for this premise few people would have a problem with Mormonism. This premise justifies the criticism heap upon Mormonism.

Happy Holidays

John said...

Mormography, and others,
Happy holidays to all of you, and to those of you who worship the Savior, O Holy Night, for I write on Christmas night.
I remembered President Boyd K. Packer spoke once of 3 Nephi 9:20, which is a Book of Mormon scripture that equates fire with the Holy Ghost. Elder Packer's talk might have some quotes and scriptures and thoughts that will be worth reflecting on.
Joseph Smith is quoted as saying, “When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas."
I liken this to thoughts coming into my mind.
Paul, in 1 Corinthians 2:13, said, “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him."
Does that means the chiasmus in Alma 36 will mean nothing to them? Or. Mormogrpahy - do not take offense - but does it mean a burning in the bosom might be foolishness to some?
President Packer said: "The voice of the Spirit is described in the scriptures as being neither 'loud' nor 'harsh' (3 Nephi 11:3). It is not a voice of thunder, neither 'a voice of a great tumultuous noise,' but rather, 'a still voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper,' and it can 'pierce even to the very soul' (Helaman 5:30) and 'cause [the heart] to burn' (3 Nephi 11:3). Remember, Elijah found the voice of the Lord was not in the wind, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but was a 'still small voice' (1 Kings 19:12)"
I think, on this point, of God speaking peace to the mind of Oliver Cowdery in the story in Doctrine and Covenants 6. Peace in the mind is similar to a still small voice.
Here's the part of the talk I was looking for:
"There may be more power in your testimony than even you realize. The Lord said to the Nephites:
'Whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not' (3 Nephi 9:20)."
If faith were a certainty, it wouldn't be faith. Perhaps, Mormograpy, instead of asking us to give you an undeniable witness as to why we believe, allow us to give you those things which make sense to us. Then, perhaps you might say, "Well, then, it may not carry enough weight with me, but I can see why that might lead you to believe."
There will be no proof, Mormograpy, but there is reason.

Mormography said...

John,

Why would I take offense? It appears that you and I have very similar feelings regarding the Spirit and the faulty premise of Mormonism – that there is only one authorized/official church for all of humanity. It appears that you disagree with Shawn and Tony that there exists a method for proving this flawed premise.

I have no problem saying, “Well, then, it may not carry enough weight with me, but I can see why that might lead you to believe” if we are talking about why Mormonism may be right for one individual, but I do have a problem if you are claiming Mormonism is right for all of humanity.

Of course there is a reason that Shawn, Tony, and Mormanity choose to be Mormon. They did not just wake up one morning and flip a coin and decide to be Mormon. Despite whatever Mormanity my say, he is Mormon for two reasons only, 1. He was born Mormon, 2. It has been good enough for him or he has not found reason to leave it. More power to him on this point.

However, the claim that the rest of humanity only thinks they are happy and need to accept the power and authority of the LDS Church over their lives in order to experience true joy is just plain wrong. You do well recognizing the power of faith in people’s lives and I encouraging you to reform Mormonism to recognize this also. However, you do not do well in quoting Boyd K. Packer. He has argued against you John. Candle of the Lord (click here)

This is one of the greatest Mormon contradictions. One cannot simultaneous have faith and a sure knowledge of something. Even Mormanity falls into this trap. In this original blog entry he states “If you know, really know, as I do” about his faith in the Book of Mormon.

Mormanity, Shawn, Tony, Hank, etc thought they could rationalize something irrational (faith). I stood up to them and proved that they could not. In the end their burning in the bosom is no better than anyone else’s.

Granny said...

Why do so many of you let Mormo yank your chains? It seems like he's having way too much fun. As much time as he spends writing these much-too-long missives (or maybe they're intended as missiles), I wonder if he needs to get a life?
G-ma

Mormography said...

What can I say Granny, it is fun being in the right. They let me yank their chains due to phenomena know as cognitive dissonance. They have been taught by their religion that all other religions are wrong. Then someone like me comes along and frustrates them in this false believe. If you notice, I have a very reflexive style, so if my responses were long, it was usually a rejoinder to long nonsense rebuttals.

But yes I do need to get a life. I usually limit my time, but this one was just too easy. When I think of the time I have wasted with this Mormon pornography, I can’t help but feel sorry for Mormanity and the massive amounts of time he spends with it.

Tony said...

Mormo, with all due respect, you have not frustrated my beliefs in any way, and I thank you for challenging them. In a way, it serves to strengthen what I know to be true.

The Bible and early Christianity continues to lead me to acknowledge that Mormonism comes closer to what is found in the Bible and the early Christian doctrines than any other Church that I have come across ( I was a convert to the Church, after having been Catholic and baptist, and continue to have an interest in other faiths).

You are free to disagree, on many points I'm sure, and I likewise see the veracity of the LDS Church and the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith due to many points.

In any case, God bless and a Merry Christmas.

Mormography said...

Tony,

Now suddenly you want to show respect. You have falsely accused me of a double standard, claim I claimed things that I never claimed, and implied that I am unfamiliar with the Bible and LDS doctrine. You never apologized. Only the frustrated make ungrounded assessments. As you know I did not claim that I caused you to stop believing in the LDS Church. You began with the arrogant attitude that you could rationalize the irrational. By frustrated I mean, humbled you in this respect.

“we claim to have what is necessary for salvation. Thus, there can only be one true Church if there is a true Church of Christ on the earth.” When you could not back up this statement you began to moderate to a position that your religion is for you distancing yourself for claiming it is for everyone else. “I know what I know” also. However, I never claimed that what I know is true for everyone else as LDS faithful do. As I pointed out to you in another thread, I do not claim that the Mormon prophet is a false prophet. I claim that he is no more of a prophet than the Pope. You were frustrated in your ability to response to this just as you have been frustrated here.

Hank said...

Mormo, I spent most of my Christmas day without a thought of you. That is the best compliment I can leave. I feel very comfortable with the understanding that I will receive mercy at judgment day with my repentence. All glory for that be given to the Lord.

John said...

Mormography,
Thanks for the kind tone in what you wrote me. I read it earlier today, and thought to write you back, wishing you the best of days, but didn't.
We may, indeed, share some feelings in regard to testimonies perhaps being more a matter of faith, than of knowledge.
Mormography, as for the one authorized religion for all humanity? There is a way to understand why we believe that. Man down on earth, reading the Bible, has created a number of churches as they attempt to practice what is taught in the Bible. That is good. It is good to seek Christ and to seek to follow Him.
Then, in these last days, along comes God and, seeing all the churches built up unto Him, decides He also is going to start a church. That should be His prerogative. The other churches are fine, in however much they bring people toward Christ, but there is only one church God Himself has established.
So, Mormography, I and the other Latter-day Saints believe ours is the church God established, and that is all we mean by the term "true church."
We do not want to offend, but if offending means not believing God established this church, no, we cannot say God didn't establish it. We simply do believe God did established it.
May we remain friends, Mormography, with what I have just said.

Mormography said...

Hank,

Part of the repentance process is admitting one is wrong. As I understand LDS reasoning, repentance is easier in this life than in the hereafter.

Mormography said...

John,

In your response you used the premise to explain the premise. You assumed that all other Christian religions were creations of men as oppose to created by God via flawed men. You failed to explain why the other religions are enlightened, by not divinely inspired. Why is not possible that at least a handful of them are divinely inspired as well as the LDS Church?

Mormography said...

It looks like we lost Shawn. Could someone help me understand what he meant by

"a standard for identifying false Prophets? That’s easy… James 2:21 and John 25 and 32-38."

I can not find the John references

http://scriptures.lds.org/en/john/contents

and what does

"Was not Abraham our father ajustified by works, when he had boffered Isaac his son upon the altar?"

have to do with false prophets.

John said...

Thank you, Mormography. I think not to belabor the point. Perhaps we will meet again on another thread.

Mormography said...

Not to worry John. A valid point needs to be made before it can be belabored.

Mormanity said...

Links to anti-Mormon sites are usually deleted as soon as I see them, FYI.

Mormography said...

Why do you considered my blog an anti-Mormon site?

The new definition of anti-Mormon must be someone who has stumped the apologists.

Mormography said...

To the Anon At 5:44 AM, December 20, 2009, Anonymous

A summary of the issues in this thread is located on my blog.

Mormography said...

Apparently some apologist define an anti-Mormon as someone that believes people can find peace, meaning, Joy and happiness outside the LDS Church. This of course makes the apologist anti every other non LDS religion. Talk about a double standard.

Anonymous said...

Wow... Mormo's posts are getting shorter all the time! I take it as a sign that he finally admits that his arguments have no weight. It's ok to admit you're wrong, Mormo; we all have to do it from time-to-time :)

Mormography said...

At 3:16 PM, December 27, 2009, Anonymous

I have a reflexive style from time to time. Short rebuttals, short responses. Of course the length of a response is not a sign of one’s belief in reason. However, that you believe that it is, is a sign that you are incapable of being rational.

I admit I am wrong all the time, but only when I am wrong. It is not OK to admit one is wrong when they are not. In my moral universe it is a sin to plea guilty to a charge when one is innocent.

George J said...

Hi, Mormography,

Hmmm - in hopes of getting this discussion recalibrated back to doctrine:

Proof for / against "Mormonism" #1: 116 pages.

Story source: "Doctrine and Covenants" (a book claiming to be a series of revelations from God to 19th century prophets, mostly Joseph Smith) Chapter 10.

Story in brief: As Joseph Smith translated into English from ancient plates in another language, 116 pages comprising "The Book of Lehi" were stolen. God told Joseph not to retranslate them, but to continue with the rest of what was to become "The Book of Mormon".

Some assumptions for the sake of the logic of the argument:

Assumption 0: There really is a God, He is our Father, and he gave His son, who gave his life in the sacrifice called the atonement so his children could return to Him via the law of Mercy, being unable to return via the law of Justice. There really is a fallen angel, Satan, who with his forces opposes God. This for the sake of the argument, reader need not believe this is true.

Assumption 1: The 116 pages existed. If not we have a different discussion. We have 531 pages existing, so another 116 could be possible, and for the sake of this argument the assumption is that they indeed existed. This for the sake of the argument, reader need not believe this is true.

Assumption 2: After the crucification of Jesus Christ and the deaths of the Apostles (except John?), the great apostasy occurred, and the original true church of Jesus Christ collapsed. No more church, no more authority from God. This for the sake of the argument, reader need not believe this is true.

Assumption 3: In Joseph Smith's day God was effecting a Restoration of the original church of Jesus Christ and Satan was opposing. This for the sake of the argument, reader need not believe this is true.

Assumption 4: 116 translated pages were stolen, plan was made to discredit Book of Mormon & the restoration by producing 2 versions of the Book of Lehi. This for the sake of the argument, reader need not believe this is true.

Assumption 5: God chose a method of stopping this discrediting attempt. He chose to not have the plates of the Book of Lehi retranslated, but to continue translation of other material. This for the sake of the argument, reader need not believe this is true.

------------------

Argument against 1: This is not the kind of thing God would do, if He were really involved in a restoration and faced with a theft of 116 translated pages.

Conclusion: The story shows Joseph Smith is a false prophet.

-----------------

Argument for 1: All the circumstances regarding the alleged discrediting plan may not be known, so we may lack data to judge the wisdom of God's plan.

Argument for 2: No Book of Lehi contradicting the Book of Mormon or Book of Mormon doctrine has been set forth. Had it been it would have been highly effective in discrediting both the Book of Mormon and its translator. If God's plan had not worked, it would have been set forth.

Conclusion: God's plan worked.

---------------

Overall Conclusion: The 116 pages story neither proves nor disproves "Mormonism".

Respectfully,

George J

Tony said...

I second that, George.

Though I'm sure Mormo is just going to argue against me for that. S'ok. I don't mind the condescension. Just take it in stride.

Tony said...

Oh, and Mormo, I'm sorry for any offense I may have caused you. Really.

I'm not frustrated about what I know to be true though. To be honest, maybe a little frustrated with what you seem to think to be the case, whereas I disagree. You've already made your points as to why, and I'll respect that. Not going to argue it any further I guess.

Mormography said...

Hi George J,

I do not see “Mormonism” define in Assumptions 0-5 so it is hard to say if I agree with the overall conclusion. For the most I AGREE with the overall conclusion. The lost-116-pages-anecdote does prove that Mormonism is not the result of divine inspiration of some PERFECT and flawless entity. The lost-116-pages-anecdote DOES NOT prohibit Mormonism from being the result of some sort of super human entity. However, your conclusion is a dramatic moderation from what Mormons have been taught. Mormons are taught that the 116 proves their religion “true”. Not long ago your overall conclusion would have made you an anti-Mormon, as Mormanity has decided to label me out of frustration.

Story source: LDS history and traditional interpretation of LDS cannon such as the "Doctrine and Covenants" sections 3 and 10, 1 Nephi 19:3, Words of Mormon 1:3-7.

Story in brief: As Joseph Smith translated into English from seer stones in a hat an ancient record from an unheard language, 116 pages comprising "The Book of Lehi" were taken by “wicked men” inspired by Satan to “Deceive and lie in wait to catch”. “Satan hath put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written” D&C 3, D&C 10 state that the loss of the Book of Lehi was foreseen by the Lord. It was for this “wise purpose” that the Small Plates were inserted into the Book of Mormon. DC 3:38-44, 1 Nephi 19:3, Words of Mormon 1:3-7 Smith did not retranslate the material that Harris had lost because he said that if he did, evil men would alter the manuscript in an effort to discredit him. Smith said that instead, he had been divinely ordered to replace the lost material with Nephi's account of the same events. When he got to the end of the book, Smith was told that God had foreseen the loss of the early manuscript and had prepared the same history in an abridged format that emphasized religious history, the "Small Plates of Nephi." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_116_pages

Some assumptions for the sake of the logic of the argument:

Assumption 0: The story brief is true

Assumption 1: Neither Satan nor his wicked followers are idiot savants capable of master forgery, but incapable of seeing obvious opportunities as they lie in wait.

------------------

Argument against 1: Had retranslation occurred, according to the story, the immediate effect would have been that the Spirit would not have been strong enough to overcome a simple he-said-she-said allegation. The long term effect would have been that retranslation would fail under eventually rigorous examination.

Conclusion: Both the original translation and the Spirit are flawed (though not necessarily uninspired or not super human derived).

Argument against 2: Instead of retranslating the Book of Lehi, God inserts the Small Plates hundreds of years before the Book of Lehi was lost in order to tell the same story in more of less the same words so that forgers could not lie in wait to deceive. However, the Small Plates do nothing to prevent the original plan. Conspirators do no follow through with their plan, despite the fact they were motivate to lie in wait to deceive.

Conclusion: God is super human, but is nonetheless imperfect because his plan accomplishes nothing and his predict conspirators are either idiot savants (see Assumption 1) or do not exist.

------------------

Overall Conclusion: God is imperfect, though super human.

George J said...

Mormography,

Thanks for the reply, you bring up an extremely interesting point in your conclusion "God is imperfect, though super human". I think we are in full agreement, and would like to set forth reasoning to replace the word "imperfect" with the word "limited":

Assertion: God is limited, though super human.

-----

Assumption 1: There is a God, He is our Father, author of a plan for the spirits He created, who sent Jesus Christ to atone for our sins so we could return to Him if we chose to by the way we lived our brief lives on earth to love and obey Him, by keeping His commandments. Reader need not believe this, it is set forth for the sake of the argument's logic.

Assumption 2: God agreed as part of His plan that we would be free to choose what we wanted without Him dominating us here in our earth life. Reader need not believe this, it is set forth for the sake of the argument's logic.

-----

Argument against 1: If God is perfect and all-powerful, He can do anything He wants to do. Even if He had a plan in which He agreed to limit His power, that doesn't mean He can't find a way around it if He wants to because he can do anything. If He can't do anything He wants He isn't perfect.

Argument against 2: God has interfered with free agency in the past, so He can do so whenever He wants. For example, didn't he change Saul to Paul (Acts 9:1-6) and didn't he change Alma (Mosiah 27: 11-16) when he wanted to? And doesn't the Bible say He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah?

Conclusion: God is neither imperfect nor limited in any way, including to His own word.

-----

Argument for 1: If God broke his own word, He would be imperfect and would cease to be God. God gave his word that He would not coerce us to choose the way He wants us to choose, but rather that He'd offer us a chance to freely choose for or against His way. He therefore is limited to what He said, no exceptions, or is at risk of losing His mighty power and ceasing to be God. In the cases of Saul and Alma, He was asked by others in mighty prayer to change things, and this gave Him license to exercise his power to do so. In the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he didn't force anyone to change their mind, he only eradicated those who had fully and finally chosen evil. The story of King Darius and his heart-wrenching quandary when he had to just stand by as his best friend Daniel was thrown into the lion's den (Daniel chapter 6) is instructive in showing the quandary God is in with respect to his own children on earth. He has limited Himself to trying to persuade us to choose good instead of coercing us, and has allowed opposition of equal persuasive power to try to persuade us against good. So the battle between good and evil predominate unabated on earth.

Conclusion: God is perfect but can limit himself perfectly by giving His word.

-------

Overall Conclusion:

God is limited, though super human.

Mormography said...

George J,

I missed the part where the reasoning I used to conclude that God is imperfect, but super human was in error.

You introduced separate reasoning indicating that God is limited, but leave open the question of perfection. For the most part I agree. That is God plays the game perfectly with in the limits of the rules of the game. That is if God was to play checkers against himself, just because the side that begins will win, does not mean that the side that goes second is imperfect. When the game is played perfectly by both sides that is the result.

Via this reasoning you appear to be implying that the error in reasoning on God's part with regards to the lost-116-pages-anecdote was not an imperfection on God's part, but rather a limitation to the rules of the game of humanity's free will. Furthermore, there may be multiple options with identical optimal results, leaving the option to take up to God's own unique personality, anarchy, or a random number generator.

To argue that this is what happend with regards to the 116-lost-pages anecdote you will need to explain how God's reasoning was either necessary according to the rules of something like free will or how the anecdote violated no rules, but was entirely optional.

Hank said...

Mormo, again how hard is it to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it? Your reasoning is illogical since the Book of Mormon is very clear how one can know if it is indeed from God. Any intellectual reasoning from man is a case of being unwise. None of us can out-reason God at the Judgement Bar. I wouldn't recommend that you try bringing up the 116 pages with God.

Anonymous said...

Millions of people pray every day about their religion. They are comforted and blessed by the Spirit and that Spirit does not tell them their church is wrong.
The test you use for knowing if the BOM is true, is the same test others use to know if their path is correct and they are given the same answer all Mormons get when they pray about the BOM. True!
So is the Spirit leading them astray? No way to distinguish between LDS's confirmation and Babtist's burning in the bosom.

Hank said...

The difference is that when a baptists learns the Book of Mormon is true, they need to change their church membership.

Anonymous said...

Yes, right, the point being that there is no cause to change when they are getting filled with the Spirit at their own church service. Why would they ever consider it when they are filled with the Spirit? How would a Baptist learn the BOM is true when he is happy, blessed and filled with the Spirit every Sunday at his own church.
The test used to know if the BOM is true is the same test he uses each week. And each week he gets an affirmation that he is in the correct place where God wants him to be.
No catalyst to seek another church.

Mormography said...

Again, Hank, how hard is it to recognize the points I have made? What irony. Here you are trying to use what little “intellectual reasoning” that you have in order to try and persuade people not to use “intellectual reasoning”. It is not at all unwise to use ones God given “intellectual reasoning”. To the contrary my God wants me to use my “intellectual reasoning”. More importantly my God wants me to learn balance between all the faculties that he has given me.

Your reasoning is illogical Hank since I have not claimed that the Book of Mormon is not from God, but rather that if it is from God then God is imperfect. The fact that you are afraid to address the issue of the 116 pages just shows that you know that you have false interpretation of the anecdote.

Anonymous said...

I sincerely believe that Hank does not understand. Belief trumps logic with people so immersed in their religion, so I don't think that he understands he is being illogical. Logic for him does not fit into the equation.
Also, this is a battle for people like Hank. And as such, it is win at all costs. Which means, do not concede points and even lie if you have to. What is at stake is an entire existence, as that is what this religion is. A 24/7 religion that is lived and not just believed.
I don't mean Hank specifically, he is just a good example here of this type of individual.
Coming on blogs and posting messages to them does not really do much in terms of helping people understand where they err. Pretty soon, you will hear you are filled with the devil and Satan is strong enough to cloud your judgement etc. They will say almost anything to not have to question their religion.
It is fun to watch though. :) Carry on.

Hank said...

Again, the promise is written in Moroni Chapther 10. Read, ponder, and pray. It's not hard to understand the promise. Why bury your head in the sand with intellect that only comes from man? Again, how hard is it to read, ponder, and pray? If a baptist were to follow this promise with the Book of Mormon they would know that the earth has another testament of Jesus Christ. Good news indeed!

George J said...

Hi again, Momography

You said

"To argue that this is what happend with regards to the 116-lost-pages anecdote you will need to explain how God's reasoning was either necessary according to the rules of something like free will or how the anecdote violated no rules, but was entirely optional."

Assumption 0: God's plan was and is for His children to be able to be happy, and to do so we must according to eternal law choose right over wrong. To effect this He created earth where we could be born having forgotten our pre-mortal life, and grow up under trying circumstances, being enticed toward good and evil more or less equally by God and His forces and Satan and his forces. This for the sake of logic in the argument, reader need not accept it as fact.

Assumption 1: God spoke to the Prophet Joseph Smith as recorded in Doctrine & Covenants chapter 10. This for the sake of logic in the argument, reader need not accept it as fact.

Assumption 2: God has pledged equal persuasive power to Satan as He has limited himself to in dealing with his offspring, us, as we live our lives on earth. This for the sake of logic in the argument, reader need not accept it as fact. This for the sake of logic in the argument, reader need not accept it as fact.

Assumption 3: The conspirators did have the original 116 pages, and had altered them (D&C 20:11) and were ready to publish them when they were retranslated to destroy God's work, the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ after almost two millennia since the original Church of Jesus Christ was driven off the earth because of the wickedness of man. This for the sake of logic in the argument, reader need not accept it as fact.
-------
Assertion: God's reasoning in the way he handled the 116 page problem was sufficient, given His pledge to not violate the free agency of man by using His power arbitrarily.
-------
Argument against 1: If God were perfect and all-powerful, He would have simply used His power to destroy the conspirators instead of tip-toeing around the problem in the impotent convoluted shaky approach He is claimed to have taken in D&C 10.

Conclusion: If this is God talking at all in D&C 10, he is an imperfect although superhuman being.
-------
Argument for 1:
During the 116 pages events as recorded in D&C 10, after the 116 pages were stolen, God states the problem as
"...they will publish this (the changed version of the 116 pages), and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words. Thus Satan thinketh to overpower your testimony in this generation, that the work may not come forth in this generation." -D&C 20:32-33. He then proceeded with a plan that did not violate the free agency of the conspirators by not retranslating the stolen 116 pages. Should they come forth with the 116 pages they apparently had concerns God understood, because His plan as outlined in D&C 10 worked perfectly. The altered 116 pages never came forth, and God's plan for the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ continued.

Conclusion: God handled the 116 pages in an elegant and highly successful way given His self-imposed limitation, and this story does not lead to any conclusion of his imperfection, rather it illustrates His self-imposed limitation of allowing man freedom to choose while on the earth.

-------

Overall conclusion: Since God's plan to counter the 116 pages threat to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ worked, it was a good plan, although the whole 116 plates episode neither proves nor disproves God to be imperfect but superhuman, or self-limited and superhuman.

Mormography said...

George J.,

Your assertion is wrong. The way God handled it may have been sufficient, but his reasoning is a different issue. Neither the argument-for or the argument-against addresses the issue of reasoning. You failed to explain how retranslating the Book of Lehi would interfere with “free agency” or not inserting the small plates would interfere with “free agency”. Redo with a correct assertion and arguments for and against focusing on the reasoning involved.

Mormography said...

Hank,

Write "Again, " followed by a sentence with either, promise, ponder, or pray in it 100 more times and something magical will happen, I promise. If you don't believe me, ponder and pray about it.

Hank said...

Somw of the children of Isreal would not look at the brazen serpent to live because they did not believe it would heal them. You don't believe in Read, ponder and pray because you don't believe it will heal you.

Mormography said...

Hank,

"You don't believe in Read, ponder and pray because you don't believe it will heal you." When did I ever claim this? You just assumed. Whatever your assumptions, the easy is the way idea does not bode well for Mormonism - with its strict emphasis on works and institutional obedience.

Mormography said...

George J.

I forgot to point out that in the case of perfection I do not think the word “sufficient” is sufficient. The word optimal should be used. For example, the institution of polygamy is easily argued as not optimal to bring members into the LDS Church. Those LDS faithful that believe in a perfect God must then argue that God must have optimally fulfilling orthogonal goals, perfecting the saints and proclaiming the gospel. For example, the prohibition of alcohol helps in perfecting those “active” LDS members, while the numbers of converts is hurt. The problem here is there is no way of knowing what is optimal. However, with the lost-116-pages-anecdote this is not a problem because we have the reasoning to focus on.

Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...

Hank,

I forgot to point out that if the way so easy, then the way would NOT conflict with reason. Also, how sre the 100 sentences coming?

Hank said...

Mormo, it's not works that saves us. We must show repentance at the Judgement Bar to have claim on mercy, but it is the grace of God that saves us. You see, our repentance is not valid without the atonement of Christ.

Mormography said...

Oh. So in your interpretation of Mormonism one only needs repentance and the atonement. Baptism, temple ordinances, tithing, obedience to the LDS geriacracy, etc is optional.
---------

Southpark is what is known as social satire. They lampoon every religion, political party, and ideology – even atheist. Why? Because people tend to think their believe structure is better than other peoples. The fact that Southpark has the Mormon’s as the only people going to heaven is a subtle commentary, that Mormons are particularly egregious in thinking they are the only ones that are right.

Hank, I do not think you or others are lying when they say that have prayed about the Book ofMormon and felt something special. The problem is Hank, we have reports of this from human beings all over the world with regards to their believe structures that contradict Mormonism. I am sure the Strangites prayed about the Voree plates. Good for you if Mormonism works for you Hank, but the fact is we have ample evidence that it does not work for everyone.

Mormons do not have exclusive ownership of the Spirit. It is universal to the human condition and it leads different people to different traditions of faith. Again, how hard is that to understand?

George J said...

Mormography,

On how God handled the 116 pages issue (Doctrine & Covenants 10, etc.), in your 12/31/09 3:30 PM note, you said
"...explain how retranslating the Book of Lehi would interfere with "free agency"..."

Hmmmm - this could have been better done, I agree. The unstated but intended point was that God could have pounded the conspirators into submission once and for all without regard for their free agency, and so their intent to discredit His work of the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ would have been stopped. But instead of pounding them God chose a way in which they were still free to do whatever they wanted - He chose to simply not have His servant Joseph retranslate the stolen 116 pages. This seems to have achieved God's objective while not limiting their free agency like pounding them into submission would have.

(Aside - please pardon the digression - Hmmm - I wonder if God is also limited because when He exercises power Satan is permitted to exercise equal power? If He had pounded the conspirators into submission, could Satan have power to pound Joseph into submission? But this is unsubstantiated speculation, and probably not defensible.)

I think I missed the point on the concern about God's reasoning, would you reiterate?

Thanks,

Mormography said...

George J.

Could you explain how inserting the Small Plates was necessary? For that matter how did the Small Plates achieve anything to stop the conspirators? That has been my focus from the beginning. The issue of reasoning is important because God could have told Joseph to continue translating and make no mention of why. God could have made no mention of a “wise purpose” for inserting the small plates in the Book of Mormon itself. That act would have been the same, but the why left up entirely to speculation.

However, in this case we have the reasoning God used and the reasoning is flawed. 1. The Small Plates do nothing to thwart would be conspirators as suggested by God. 2. The Small Plates do nothing to resolve the he-said-she-said accusations of fraud. 3. The prediction that the would be conspirators plan would work is questionable –why would it work if everything else is true, the conspirators plan should not work.
“God’s reasoning”, “the way [H]e handle” it, and the word “sufficient” are separate items in your assertion that need to be modified. Your suggestion that the work continued so it must have been true also has problems. It implies Islam continues strong, so it must be true?

George J said...

Dear Mormography,

To the point, let's review the chronology and events regarding these 116 pages comprising the Book of Lehi.

1. Circa 385 AD, the "Words of Mormon"
Mormon inserts a "small account" (v.3) of the prophets from Jacob to Benjamin, and many of the words of Nephi, for "a wise purpose...according to the Spirit of the Lord" into his abridgment of the records of the Nephites.

2. July 1828, D&C 3:
The Prophet Joseph Smith is rebuked by God for having transgressed the commandments and the laws of God, which resulted in the loss of 116 pages of manuscript comprising the "Book of Lehi", and is called to repent.

3. Summer 1828, D&C 10:
v. 1-3
The Prophet Joseph Smith's power to translate by means of the Urim and Thummim is restored to him on condition of his faithfulness.
v. 10-31
In a plan to destroy God's work (of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ) Satan caused the wicked men who possessed the 116 page Book of Lehi to alter it.
v. 32
The result of this alteration, should it come forth in disagreement with a re-translated Book of Lehi, would be to give Satan the tool he needs to "harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe (God's) words."
v. 38
God tells Joseph that an account containing the information in the stolen Book of Lehi manuscript is contained on the plates of Nephi which Mormon had inserted into his abridgment in 385 AD.
v. 45
God tells Joseph that "there are many things engraven upon the plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this (The Book of Mormon) work."
v. 62-63
God tells Joseph that He is doing this "that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine..."
v. 42
"and thus I will confound those who have altered my words."

I don't find anything that leads me to believe God's reasoning is flawed. The approach worked - the 116 pages never came forward to cause the relatively righteous people of the time to harden their hearts against God's work of bringing forth the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Honestly, I'd say in the balance the assumption that God is limited and superhuman seems to be the simplest explanation.

George J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George J said...

Mormography, (continued)

ASIDE: v. 67
Interestingly, lest anyone in or out of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints boast, God says in D&C 10:67 "Behold, this is my doctrine - whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church." I recall a missionary friend who once said "There are jerks who are Mormon and there are jerks who are not Mormon." Joseph Smith made it clear that many of the members of the Church may not qualify as being members of God's church (v. 67). This is not to say The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not His Church - it is - but to say that if a member, including a leader or prophet or general authority - acts in the least degree of unrighteousness, "when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man." God adds "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by GENTLENESS and MEEKNESS, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile..." - D&C 121. Whew! How far short I fall! This is actually part of another topic, infallibility of prophets, priesthood leaders and members of the Church, which we can discuss as a follow-on to the topic we are on, the 116 pages and the veracity or lack thereof of God's reasoning in dealing with them. I will say that the sin of Uzzah (2 Samuel 6:6-7) in steadying the arc is a sin not unknown among members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Utah as well as in New Mexico as well as almost anywhere the Church is found, which does not mean the Church is not true, only that the members are capable of being far from perfect.

ASIDE: With apology, I'm not capable of arguing that God took a course which showed "optimally fulfilling orthogonal goals" because I lack the data to prove or disprove such an assertion. That's why "sufficient" is about as much as I can do in the context of logic. In the context of faith, it's different, but our discussion is not about faith, its about God's logic, which if at least "sufficient" does not preclude the possibility that God's reasoning was - perfect.

ASIDE: If (name any institution, how about Coca-Cola) Islam continues strong, it must be true, is different than finding out that God set out to do "A" (thwart conspirators trying to stifle the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ et. al.) and instead "B" happened. This would have been a smoking gun showing that that god was imperfect. But God set out to do "A" and accomplished exactly "A". No Book of Lehi ever materialized to contradict the Book of Mormon, and the 116 pages never came forward to cause the relatively righteous people of the time to harden their hearts against God's work. From my perspective, that's enough to preclude an imperfect god running a flawed line of reasoning.

Gregory said...

Hank said "Again, the promise is written in Moroni Chapther 10. Read, ponder, and pray. It's not hard to understand the promise."

Hank, this is the process of gaining a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

Mormography is not interested in a spiritual witness. He believes there are errors in the logic and reasoning of Mormons and doesn't see the need to ask God.

He is not here to gain an understanding of LDS concepts or doctrines. He is here in an attempt to point out our "faulty" logic. That his own reasoning is flawed seems to escape him.

Mormography said...

George J.,

I am going to have to agree with about "sufficient" being enough to say that a flaw remains unknown. After all, you are taking the anti-Mormon (by Mormanity’s standard) stance that the 116 anecdote is not a demonstration of validity of the JS story.

However, you failed to answer my key questions: “in this case we have the reasoning God used and the reasoning is flawed. 1. The Small Plates do nothing to thwart would be conspirators as suggested by God. 2. The Small Plates do nothing to resolve the he-said-she-said accusations of fraud. 3. The prediction that the would be conspirators plan would work is questionable –why would it work if everything else is true, the conspirators plan should not work.”

1. You failed to explain what the Small Plates had to do with preventing the conspirators. You only say that the conspirators never presented themselves, ergo the Small Plates must have had something to with it. The fact the conspirators never presented themselves argues more in favor of the argument that they never existed. The fact they did not present themselves does not mean they did not exist. However, the Small Plates do nothing to stop the conspirators from presenting themselves as suggested by God. That is, their lack of presence is not explained by the Small Plates. The only answer I can see is that the conspirators and Satan himself are idiot savants, which really doesn’t make any sense and has its own problems with consistency of the universe. This essentially states that Satan and his inspired conspirators were better forgers than master forger Mark Hofmann, but could not figured out what Hofmann figured out. Just put yourself in the conspirator’s shoes for a second. You have the 116 pages and now JS is going to translate more or less the same story, but in different words. Really? You are just going to throw up your hands, give up, and say God is so clever. Of course not, you are going to think God is must be slipping up, because that does nothing to stop your plan, it just modifies it slightly.

2. Whether one believes in the prediction or does not believe in the prediction, the believed outcome is the same. The retranslation would not match the original. Ergo, the Small Plates do not confound the supposed conspirators. However, long term, rigorous analysis of the two versions would. Reasoning that the Small Plates confound the conspirators is flawed.

3. God implies that he has interfered with “free agency” via the optimal Small Plates solution. Somehow people who would otherwise harden their hearts do not. This is one of the constraints you have placed on God. That is if you could even prove such a thing as “free agency” exists. I have not quite convinced myself this one is a solid flaw in reasoning, but a matter of faith that “free agency” exists and it was not violated. For that matter your defense is essentially that, a matter of faith -- God said the Small Plates confounded the conspirators, therefore the Small Plates must of done something mystical to confound the conspirators. This leads to another contradiction. Most religions state the need to live by faith, but yet in this anecdote God is suggesting that faith is not enough. God wants people to have by faith, but not too much faith. So if people like Gregory were really interested in LDS concepts and doctrines they would realize how profound this anecdote is.

Mormography said...

Gregory,

You failed to point out how my reasoning is flawed. Though Boyd K. Packer has taught you otherwise, merely stating something so does not in reality make it so. The spiritual witness test of the Book of Mormon is also flawed. According to Mormonism's own reasoning one can received a spiritual witness of the Bible, but Mormon’s admit that the Bible is full of problems with interpretations, numerous key missing verses, and uninspired added verses. So even by Mormonism’s own reasoning the spiritual witness of truthfulness is only capable of testifying to a moral of a story, not to its overall truthfulness. Furthermore, much of what comprises Mormonism is not even found in the Book of Mormon, so the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon has little to do with the truthfulness of LDS concepts and doctrine. If you were truly interested in LDS concepts and doctrines you would understand this.

Mormography said...

George J.,

The way you interpret DC 10 to suggest that the Smalls Plates contain some part of the gospel unknown at the time. However, when I read in DC 10 what this gospel is “whosoever repenteth and acometh unto me, the same is my bchurch” and I am not convinced this is the reason. When I read DC 10 the purpose of the Smalls Plates appears to be to answer faithful prayers of holy prophets. Answering such prayers appears to be one of the many constraints God operates under.

Our major disconnect appears to be what is meant by confounding the conspirators and how that is accomplished. As the thread demonstrates, LDS faithful have often believed and taught that the Small Plates were for the “wise purpose” of confounding conspirators. This must not have been official doctrine, a misconstruction, misinterpretation, and an erroneous teaching. The conspirators were confounded, but the reason they were confounded is unknown. Why the conspirators would have successfully harden everyone’s (Martin Harris, all JS family, etc) heart is equally unknown. Why Satan and his conspirators abandon their plans is unknown. What, if anything, the Small Plates had to do with confounding the conspirators is unknown. These are, as Shawn says, one of the many mysteries of God. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe what you are saying is that the belief that the Small Plates is the reason the conspirators were confound is in error. In truth cosmic supernatural forces were at play and cosmic supernatural forces are what confounded the conspirators.

Here is an analogy to help explain how this misinterpretation may have happened. JS mishandle the 116 pages. God told JS that purple dragons would successfully devour everyone JS knew if the 116 pages were retranslated. God had a wise purpose for the Small Plates. The purple dragons never appear, but may have devoured some, though not everyone.

Because of the sequential order, LDS faithful misconstrued that the Small Plates were the reason the conspirators were confounded. Ergo God did not error in reasoning, but the members of his Church erred in understanding the brief glimpse he gave them into the cosmic constraints he has to deal with daily.

If this accurately articulates the disconnect, then I will happily concede that I my original conclusion is in error because it is based on unofficial doctrine that is itself was in error. After all, the that-was-never-offical doctrine apology is very much in vogue.

I am still interested in finding a comparable anecdote in the Bible, not that I think one does not exist.

Mormography said...

Via this exercise I have found a very interesting scripture. DC 10:28 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, wo be unto him that alieth to bdeceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive, for such are not exempt from the cjustice of God.” As my blog demonstrates I first gave Mormanity the benefit of the doubt. I did not assume that he was deliberating lying to deceive. At no point in my many postings have I resorted to deception. However, this has not been the case with Mormanty. We have seen how he has labeled me anti-Mormon, hence he supposeth that I lieth to deceive. Though I have asked him not too, he has either mis-quoted or mis-paraphased me in another posting. A deception I imagine he justifies because he supposeth falsely about me.

George J said...

Dear Mormography,

I'm glad for this discussion for a number of reasons, one of them is that it has been enlightening thanks to your thinking and questions, and another is my growing appreciation for D&C 10. I had not previously appreciated the power of the revelation.

So, I'd like to leave the logic on the shelf for this post and pause for a moment to share my appreciation - and pain.

To the point of the power of D&C 10 - to continue on the summary started in the 12:36 PM, January 4 2010 post, after the part about God's holy prophets and disciples desiring in their prayers should come forth unto this people (V46), because of their faith "in their prayers was that this gospel* should be made known also, if it were possible that other nations should possess this land; And they did leave a blessing upon this land in their prayers, that whosoever should believe in this gospel in this land might have eternal life" v.49-50

v 53- "If this generation will not harden their hearts" (ASIDE: this is what the non-retranslation of the Book of Lehi battle was said to be about) "I will establish my church among them."

v 55 Whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.

v 57-58 "Behold I am Jesus Christ the Son of God...I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not"

v 59-61 Jesus Christ will show to us in our day ("this people") other sheep, a branch of the house of Jacob**, and bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in His name

v 62-64 And I will bring to light and establish my gospel and the only true points of my doctrine(Christ says), that there may not be so much contention. "yea Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine...they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them"; "I will unfold unto them this great mystery." (of the true gospel and doctrine of Christ)

v 65-66 I will gather them if they will not harden their hearts; and they may partake of the waters of life freely.

v 67 "This is my doctrine - whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church", and whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church. and whosoever is of my church, and endureth of my church to the end, him will I establish upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them."

v 70 - and the crowning verse, "And now, remember the words of him who is the life and light of the world, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Amen."

(continued next post)

George J said...

Mormography - continued from previous post

Whew! If Joseph Smith was a liar he was a good one, if deluded his delusion was mighty powerful. What I hear so strongly coming through, Mormography, are the words of the actual, living Christ. Of course I can't prove that. In my thoughts to date, the hope was to show that D&C 10 might or could possibly be what it claims to be - the words of the Master of winds, waves and the Universe to us in our day. I know it is so, because of the whisperings of the Holy Ghost to me, and I reach out to you Mormography with the love and caring of my heart, weak though I am, because we see such different pictures. Have you ever seen one of those pictures where you can see it two different ways depending on your point of view? That's how I feel this is. You see one picture and I see another. Yet I'm powerless to do more that deal with descriptions and sufficiencies and possibles. How painful! I guess everyone has to walk their own path. May the God of Heaven bless you - and me - as we feel our way forward, towards Him. Know this for sure - I do care, a lot.

If you'd like, I'll try to stick more to hopefully good logic in future posts. This one just kind of hit me. Oh - while I'm being a loose cannon - might you consider forgiving Mormanity?

-------

*Gospel of Jesus Christ is "The good news that Jesus Christ has made a perfect atonement for mankind that will redeem all mankind from the grave and reward each individual according to his/her works." "This atonement was begun by his appointment in the premortal world but was worked out by Jesus during his mortal sojourn." "Therefore, the records of his mortal life and the events pertaining to his ministry are called the Gospels." --Bible Dictionary

**Reference to The Book of Mormon

Mormanity said...

Hey, folks, try to remember that there are only a limited number of electrons we all have to share to make the Internet possible. Using too many of them in any one comment could contribute to catastrophic melting of the icecaps or something.

Gregory said...

Momography said

"You failed to point out how my reasoning is flawed. Though Boyd K. Packer has taught you otherwise, merely stating something so does not in reality make it so."

I'm glad to see you write that merely stating something does not make is so. After reading many of your posts I was beginning to wonder if you understood this concept. Also, I don't recall Elder Packer ever teaching that saying something makes it true but maybe I missed that conference talk.

As to my failure to point out how your reasoning was flawed, clearly that was not the intent of my comments. My comments were an attempt to help Hank understand that you are not interested in applying Moroni's challenge. You are not seeking a spiritual witness or understanding of the LDS point of view.

You are here to argue, to try and prove Mormons wrong, and to try and catch Mormanity in some error. I find it remarkable that you seem to be offended at the label anti-Mormon. Your posts here and on your blog go beyond someone with disagreements in doctrine and are attacks on Mormanity specifically and LDS apologists in general. I think this qualifies you as anti.

Gregory said...

“The spiritual witness test of the Book of Mormon is also flawed. According to Mormonism's own reasoning one can received a spiritual witness of the Bible, but Mormon’s admit that the Bible is full of problems with interpretations, numerous key missing verses, and uninspired added verses.”

That the Bible is imperfect does not prevent one from obtaining a spiritual witness of the truths that it does contain. Here’s a tip, while Mormons believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, we don’t believe it to be perfect either. The introduction even states that there may be errors. We believe in revelation that testifies of the truth regardless of the imperfections of men.

“Furthermore, much of what comprises Mormonism is not even found in the Book of Mormon, so the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon has little to do with the truthfulness of LDS concepts and doctrine. If you were truly interested in LDS concepts and doctrines you would understand this.”

That there are LDS doctrines that are not contained in the Book of Mormon is not in dispute and given our belief in continuing revelation is not surprising. The truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is critical to understanding LDS concepts and doctrines because it is the foundational document of Mormonism. Many of the subsequent revelations are the result of questions asked during the translation period and build upon the core doctrines of faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the gift of the Holy Ghost.

But you’re not really interested in this are you; you’re just trying to expand the argument to a new front.

Mormography said...

George J,

If we are in agreement that the interpretation that God claimed that the Small Plates was the REASON that Satan’s plan was frustrated is unofficial doctrine that is in error, then you and I are seeing things the same way. From this point of view what frustrated Satan’s plan was something supernatural and is something believed in by faith alone. Under this interpretation there is not sufficient evidence that God has committed an error in reasoning.

Mormography said...

Gregory,

I am surprise that you have not heard Packer teach this. His sermon Candle of the Lord is probably the most defining work on modern Mormonism. I hear it quoted just about every time I visit a Mormon service.

If you look at my profile you will find ”Discussions of Mormanity and other Mormon Apologists reasoning, academic honesty, and intellectual integrity, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics. “. I have never claimed anything else, so I do see your point in stating I am not here for a spiritual witness, nobody is. What makes you think that I have not applied Moroni's challenge? If I have or have not is not pertinent to my stated purpose for being here.

>>“You are here to argue, to try and prove Mormons wrong, and to try and catch Mormanity in some error.” << If you make that assessment of me then intellectual honesty would require you to make a similar assessment of yourself, Hank, and Mormanity. But to correct you, I am not here to prove Mormon’s are wrong, I am here to prove that Mormon’s are no more right than any other religion. Most non-Mormons understand this difference. Unfortunately, for most Mormons, not being more right than any other religion is equivalent to being wrong. As the post that began this thread demonstrates, a common Mormon apologist technique is to argue if Mormon’s are wrong, then so are other religions. My technique is usually, if Mormon’s are right then so are other religions. If JS was a prophet, then the Popes and Mohammed were also.

You are most right that my assessment of Mormanity has grown more aggressive, but it is well deserved, hence it is not an attack. I have not resorted to false rhetorical techniques, sophistry, or deception in my postings. If I have mis-quote or mis-paraphased him and he made me aware of this I would gladly correct myself. Furthermore, when I err in reasoning I look to correct it, for example when George J. correctly points out that “sufficient” may be an adequate word to prove something may not be in error. So far my postings are neither attacks nor anti because 1. I have not resorted to lies, deception, or deliberate sophistry 2. They are all in response to gauntlets thrown down by others, such as Mormanity and your self. This entire blog is a gauntlet by Mormanity. A non-gauntlet response to Mormon critics would be this, “Yes, you are right, it does sound improbable. That is why it is called faith.” Just that easy, no need to challenge critics with a blog.

>>“That the Bible is imperfect does not prevent one from obtaining a spiritual witness of the truths that it does contain.”<< So whether or not the BOM is divinely inspired or not one will obtain a spiritual witness of it? The Mormon claim is that one can know that the Mormon’s are right by obtaining a spiritual witness of the BOM. But now you are suggesting that I can receive a spiritual witness of the BOM regardless if it is divinely inspired. I am purchasing a Koran so I can study it more. Am I not capable of receiving a spiritual witness of it? If I do, do I have to become Muslim in order to experience true joy? If after I receive a spiritual witness of the Koran and I refuse to become Muslim will I be deny entry in to heaven?

>>“But you’re not really interested in this are you; you’re just trying to expand the argument to a new front.”<< Just like you.

Mormanity said...

...

Mormanity said...

Mormography, my eyes glaze over. You are welcome to your opinions which you have endlessly expressed over the past few months, but it's time to show a little respect. This blog is for discussion, not attack. I don't read what you post for the most part because it's clear you're not interested in understanding, learning, or genuine dialog. You've made your complaint and your boasts - dozens of times. I grow weary.

The Book of Mormon is a second witness of Christ. It confirms the Bible. Both have human error in the them - anything printed by man has that limitation - but both are divinely inspired witnesses of a perfect Being. It is not enough to find things that, after a superficial reflection, you decide would have done differently and then claim that the "Mormon God" or the Jewish God is not as smart as you and therefore must be fake. The Mormon God, the Jewish God, and the Christian God all happen to be the same Being and he's a whole lot smarter than any of us.

George J said...

Dear Anthony and Mormanity,

I see you are giving at least as good as you are getting with Mormography.

The question: didn't the Master teach something about gentleness, meekness, humility, long-suffering (even if it stresses the number of electrons used) charity and especially brotherly love?

Being a defender of the faith is fine, when done by the power of the Holy Ghost. Done any other way, it can lead to contention, which is not of Christ.

Sincerely,

George J

George J said...

Mormography -

I saw your post, and will ponder it on the way to the Albuquerque Temple, which is today's destination. I hadn't really blogged before this and one other, and am unsure about proper etiquette, Mormanity who owns the blog feels the discussion is too lengthy (Jeff?), if this gets interrupted or if it seems inappropriately lengthy, please feel free to continue the discussion via email (on my profile). Personally, the discussion has been very good for me and taught me plenty about humility, and a real love for D&C 10. Thanks.

George J

Jeff said...

Sorry, George, for being a tad harsh. But there are times when people really aren't interested in understanding or genuine discourse, and their repeated assertions and accusations become a waste of time and bandwidth. I appreciate your williingness to engage Mormography, and hope you two will have a meaningful dialog, but I am bothered by his tactics, his condescending tone (e.g., calling this blog "Mormon pornography" and "feeling sorry" for me and us), and his unwillingness to listen and consider.

Anonymous said...

Did you notice that he is calling you a deliberate liar? I'm surprised he gets away with such rudeness on your own blog.

Mormography said...

Mormanity,

I have shown as much respect as been shown to me. Any perceived condescending tone, unwillingness to listen, or consider was in response to other posters on your blog who have been treating me in these ways. You go about accusing critics of double standards, when you yourself are full of them. I believe this called hypocrisy. If anything that I have stated annoys you it is only because the truth hurts sometimes.

Mormography said...

Mormanity,

God means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, so whenever talking about God one needs to clarify what exactly they are talking about. If all the different Gods are the same God, then being full of contradictions must be part of being perfect.

To clarify, you are saying it IS official doctrine that God reasoned that the Small Plates confounded the conspirators? I can follow the reasoning that conspirators were confounded somehow, but not that the Small Plates had anything to do with it. The source of the confounding would have to be something mystical. The reasoning used has nothing to with an alternative course of action. I think I have made that pretty clear, but if it is not I expound some more.

Mormography said...

At 10:07 AM, January 08, 2010, Anonymous,

I was not accusing him of deliberately lying. I was saying DC10:28 does not apply to me because I did not suppose him to be deliberating lying to deceive. I supposed he was not familiar with the historical details of the Hofmann episode and I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But as I stated, in the end he resorted to a form of deception (mis-quoting me). I suppose he justified this deception as describe in DC10:28. His latest comments prove that the points that I have posed are so difficult for him to answer that in the end he can only resort to personal attacks. The more he reveals himself, the more I can no longer give him the benefit of the doubt. His behavior would indicate that he values intellectual honesty only so long as it is convenient for him and that he is not truly interest in dialogue or a pursuit of truth. I on the other hand have not resorted to deception or deliberating mis-quoting him.

George J said...

Jeff,
Thanks for the reply.

Remember: 2 wrongs don't make a right.

George J

Mormanity said...

George, I thought I just had one wrong here - guess I lost track.

Mormography, I'm puzzled by statement that you are not anti-Mormon. Sure hasn't looked very pro- or neutral, and the tone and accusations sure seem to fall in the anti-camp. If we're as bad as you say, maybe being anti-Mormon is something to be proud of. But I think it's best to level all those charges and criticisms elsewhere where it won't offend webmasters and bloggers trying to be patient and accepting but coming too close to losing it. For example, the stuff about "the Mormon God" - as if we don't worship God the Father and Jesus Christ - is among the many "anti-Mormon" symptoms that are unwelcome here. Just seems clear that dialog toward respectful, mutual understanding is not your goal - or have I completely misread you?

Mormanity said...

And can you remind me privately via email (jeff at jefflindsay dot com)- this post is not the place - what you are talking about when you keep raising the misquoting charge? What quote and how did I get it wrong? Is this about soomething from months ago? I remember you were making some accusations of that nature, but I thought we resolved that issue (well, thought I successfully rebutted the charges). Sounds like a lot of lasting pain here - sorry about whatever is eating you. Remind me of the offense and I'll see if I can quote you properly.

George J said...

Hi, Mormography

Your said

“If we are in agreement that the interpretation that God claimed that the Small Plates was the REASON that Satan’s plan was frustrated is unofficial doctrine that is in error, then you and I are seeing things the same way. From this point of view what frustrated Satan’s plan was something supernatural and is something believed in by faith alone. Under this interpretation there is not sufficient evidence that God has committed an error in reasoning.”

Interesting. I'm not sure where to look for Official Church Doctrine (shall we call it “OCD”?) – The Ency. Of Mormonism (smiles) or (source deleted to avoid controversy) (smiles)? For an authoritarian Church, have you noticed everyone sure has an opinion, including general authorities, and the opinions don't always agree and the political spectrum is fairly broad*?

In the Navy they have this way of dealing with orders, they say, “...what the Captain MEANT to say was...” (smiles).

The guy who gave me the copy of the Book of Mormon I read, prayed about and received my answer from God about once said said that if the First Presidency and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles all sign something, that's Official Church Doctrine. However historically I'm not sure they always got it right! Anyway, maybe somewhere there is a book called “Official Church Doctrine” - and if you know where, please (don't) tell me.

My opinion (smiles, yes I have one too!) probably is somewhat the same as yours – God had a plan, had Mormon insert small text references into his writings which Joseph inherited and which God in D&C 10 instructed him to use to replace the 116 page Book of Lehi once the original translated pages were stolen and altered...and for some reason(s) or other, we know not what, could be supernatural but not free-agency stealing I don't think, the psychological drama in the conspirators minds shut down their attempt to discredit the imperfect, rebuked prophet Joseph Smith, and God's work to bring forth the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ.
(continued)

George J said...

Mormography, (continued)
Interestingly, God's and Satan's plans generally seem to depend on the maddeningly mercurial state of the minds and wills of – men. How difficult! They seem to be constrained in just steamrollering us like we'd like to think we'd do if we were as powerful as they are. How many times have God's plans been frustrated? How many times have His hopes been dashed? Countless. He had to watch as Sodom and Gomorrah went down the drain. He had to watch as His son was brutalized and crucified, and as the Church of Jesus Christ crumbled and the world descended into apostasy. So He does not win every battle, and neither does Satan, as in this case his servants for unknown reasons backed down – maybe their testimonies in wickedness weren't strong enough and they were shaken when Joseph didn't retranslate, maybe they argued about approach, whatever happened happened and God outwitted Satan this time. The Church isn't perfect, not by a long way, but it is awesome as a cradle for developing faith, hope and (hopefully) charity, for developing testimonies in God, in teaching correct principles, etc. It is the best thing we have. To borrow Mormanity's metaphor there are some ugly threads in the cloth, but the whole cloth sparkles and shines. In the end, the only problem with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is that the Saints aren't always as saintly as they (we) ought to be. The Lord hit it right on the head when He said in D&C 121 “We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authoriry...they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” In Church positions of authority that temptation is particularly high, commensurate with the importance of the position. Historically we see this too, especially in the history of Christianity.

Enough electrons burned for one (two) post! God bless you for caring so much, and may he help us all in decreasing contention and seeking truth.

*Did you ever read the Iron Rod vs Liahona Mormons article by (“What the Church means to people like me” by Richard Poll?) You probably have, it is a “must-read” for anyone who hasn't!

George J said...

(see http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/history/chapter2.htm#iron
for Poll's review of the article - very interesting!)

Mormography said...

Mormanity,

Can a person be Mormon and believe that other people are better off not being Mormon? That is, God does not want everyone to be Mormon, only some people. Can a Mormon believe that other religions were created by God for other people? Can a Mormon stand up to bear their testimony and say, I do NOT KNOW that he LDS church is “true”, but I have FAITH in it? I am very much pro-Mormons with this attitude. If you are telling me this attitude is anathema to the LDS Church, then I will have to rethink whether or not I am anti-Mormon.

As I have already pointed out to another commenter, there was no reason for me to known that Mormon God would offend anyone. I used Biblical God just as well, but no one appeared to be offended. The Bible is full of references clarifying which God is being spoken of, ex. God of Abraham, etc. If I am going to have a comparative religion discussion is it offensive to say the Biblical Abraham, the Mormon Abraham, and the Islamic Abraham?

Andrew S said...

Mormography:

Maybe I just hang out around liberal heathen apostate bloggers too often, but I think that, YES, a person can be Mormon and believe that that other people are better off being Mormon. I think that church culture doesn't make this belief widespread, but I think that there are some people who are becoming more universalistic in their belief while maintaining a solidly faithful LDS identity.

I think a Mormon CAN stand up to bear his or her testimony, say, "I do NOT know that the LDS church is true, but I have FAITH that it is." I think that the reason most people overwhelmingly say they "know" is not because of a 'necessity' -- as if, if you are a good, faithful mormon, you know, but if not, you will be shunned -- no...I think that this is simply cultural lingo (however harmful) that people socialized in the church pick up.

*back to the scheduled discussion*

Madelene said...

Re Andrew S:

"I think a Mormon CAN stand up to bear his or her testimony, say, 'I do NOT know that the LDS church is true, but I have FAITH that it is.'"

About two fast and testimony meetings ago, a woman got up in our ward and said these exact words, pretty much verbatim. I have also heard similar phrases from ward pulpits before and actually find it refreshing. I think Andrew is right-- saying "I know" is church lingo for "I believe very strongly, based on previous experience" -- just as I wake up everyday with faith (knowledge?) that the sun will rise just like every other day. I don't really KNOW before I go to bed that the sun will rise the next day but my faith is so strong that it is as *if* I know. At least this is how I interpret it :)

Alma in the Book of Mormon actually teaches that it is better to have faith than to have an absolute knowledge:

"17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.
19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?" (Alma 32:17-19)

Not that we shouldn't seek as much spiritual and temporal knowledge as possible-- but I think this scripture points to the emphasis God puts on faith-- it implies trust in Him.

Anyway, I think you'll find that the "I don't *know* but I *believe*" attitude among Mormons to be more prevalent than you might think.

(Aside: I have been a reader for years, thank you everyone for such though-provoking ideas!)

Roxy said...

I love this post : )

Mormography said...

Mormanity provided an updated response to his FAQ in response to a thread on a previous blog entry. I emailed him some concerns with no response. Given our history I assumed the worse. This thread brought those concerns to his attention. He has since addressed my concerns and I now give him the benefit of the doubt in assuming he had no intention of misquoting me.

Mormography said...

Since it has been a while I thought I would recap.

1. Unlike the Bible, Mormonism does not have a method to prove prophets false.

2. In Mormonism, God commits a logical fallacy (a la 1+1=3) in claiming it was the small plates that confounded the supposed conspirators.

Mormanity’s response has been to play dumb and pretend like he thought the point was God engaging intricate schemes, not the associated logical fallacy. Mormanity’s cronies only response has been to state that the other religions are morally flawed because their God ordered genocide. To date neither Mormanity nor his cronies have been able to explain the fallacy, essentially admitting it exists and is problematic by default.

Mormanity said...

Mormography, I think you mean we don't accept your means for proving true prophets false. The single mistake rule (or single accusation rule, which is what it boils down to) is not what the Bible means and is inconsistent with the obvious human errors that many legitimate prophets have made.

We absolutely do offer methods for discerning truth and error, and a very specific method for evaluating Joseph Smith's claims to be a prophet. It's taught by nearly every missionary to almost every investigator who will listen for more than a few minutes. This involves the famous passage in Moroni 10: 3-5 about determining the truth of the Book of Mormon. As you've surely heard from us 10,000 times, if the Book of Mormon is not true, then Joseph Smith was not a prophet. If it is true, then he at least acted as a prophet long enough to get this divine book out, and that's a powerful starting place for further discussion, exploration, and truth seeking.

So Mormography, how are you doing on sincerely studying and pondering the Book of Mormon as part of putting the claims of the Church to the test?

Mormanity said...

Mormography's trouble with the 116 pages reminds me of some of the loss as well as flexibility and change that has been occurred in the biblical record.

Consider the writings of Jeremiah as recorded by Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch. See Jeremiah 36, where we learn that Baruch wrote all the words from Jeremiah that were recorded in a book (vss. 4, 17, 18) Unfortunately, King Jehoiakim of Judah burned the book that contained the words of Jeremiah (vss. 21-25). The Lord commanded Jeremiah to prepare his document again, writing "all the former words that were in the first roll" (vs. 28). In verse 32, Jeremiah then commanded his scribe, Baruch, to write on another roll the words of Jeremiah, "and there were added besides unto them many like words." Many like words added? This doesn't sound like original dictation straight from the mouth of God, perfectly preserved and unchangeable. Prophets speak or dictate by inspiration, but there can be later changes and additions. Does this kind of change and flexibility in Jeremiah's work pose any trouble for you?

Can you at least imagine--come on, give it a try!--how a critic of Jeremiah or the Bible might twist that event into some kind of evidence that God is illogical and weak, or that Jeremiah was not a true prophet since he could not reproduce verbatim the words of God?

Mormography said...

RE: At 9:35 PM, May 05, 2010, Mormanity

I am doing great with regards to the sincere study and pondering the Book of Mormon. Your implication is because my experiences and interpretations are different from yours I must be insincere. I believe the Book of Mormon to be true if the interpretation of true is contains transcendental concepts such as self discipline and self sacrifice for the good of the group. By implying only those that have experiences and interpretations of those experiences similar to yours are sincere or honest, you are for the 10,000th time reinforcing my claim that your methodology lacks what are known as the principle of falsifiablity.

I have not argued the “single mistake rule”, but rather “single false teaching”. What I have argued is that a single false teaching makes a false prophet. What follows is a cut and paste of what I have argued. “The Mormon apologist rebuttal to criticism is that Mormonism follows Biblical patterns and hence is immune from criticism. There are several issues with this reasoning. For example, this reasoning violates a concept known as the principle of falsifiability. This article is about the criteria for rejecting prophets. This article indicates unbiblical methods to reject a prophet, but fails to state what are the biblical methods of rejecting a prophet. The implication is that it is impossible prove a prophet false. However there are biblical methods for rejecting a false prophet. Hence, even the bible recognizes the need to not violate the principle of falsifiability. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_prophet

According to these Biblical verses, a false prophet can perform miracles, can prophesy the future, and can have men speak well of them. The test of a false prophet then is a false teaching (a single false teaching, a single ugly thread). For this reason Jesus’ critics were constantly trying to catch him in a false teaching (ex: what is the greatest commandment, should we pay taxes etc.) Jesus could have had a beautiful cloth of hundreds of threads of true teaching, but a single false teaching would have made him a false prophet.

The problem for us at this junction is defining what a false teaching is. There really is no need to get into that spirit of contention because we have the anecdote of the 116 pages as told my Mormon prophet Joseph Smith. In it the Mormon God engages in false reasoning.”


To further repeat what I have already written “In case you are confused, the fallacy is that the Mormon God assumed that the Book of Nephi some how prevents conspirators from changing the book of Lehi. This is a fallacy. If conspirators were truly trying to discredit Joseph Smith, the book of Nephi does not prevent them from changing the book Lehi to contradict the book of Nephi. After all, this was Mark Hofmann's state goal, to have forged the lost 116 pages and have them contradict the book of Mormon.”

Mormography said...

RE: At 9:41 PM, May 05, 2010, Mormanity

Your interpretation of Jereimiah gives the false implication that Jeremiah was unable to reproduce the original scroll word for word. This is not the case. Jeremiah 36:32 New Living Translation: “Only this time he added much more” So in the 116 pages analogy this would be akin to Joseph Smith retranslating the 116 pages and then translating another 100 pages in addition. Though, if the original Jeremiah scroll was burned, in truth there is little way of knowing that he reproduced it verbatim or not. Reproducing verbatim is a common theme in the Bible culture/legends (see Septuagint).

By using the Jeremiah analogy it seems that you are recognizing another great Mormon confusion. Joseph Smith is improperly claimed to be a translator. Rather, Joseph Smith would be a human vessel via which the translation was dictated. Would this not be akin to claiming Noah designed the ark? Does not the story go that God designed the ark and Noah only built it following God’s instruction?

Mormography said...

A frequent critical assessment of Joseph Smith is “he was just another David Koresh.” Mormanity has presented such a dim view of prophet-hood he has practically validated this assessment. It appears that Mormanity’s interpretation of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 is a false prophet being someone that teaches something other than monotheism and of 1 John 4:1-3 a false prophet being someone that denies that Jesus Christ is the incarnation of that monotheist God. Given this interpretation John Wesley, John Calvin, and David Koresh do not fit the definition of a false prophet. However, from Joseph Smith History we get a very different point of view. John Wesley’s and John Calvin’s creeds are considered abominations by God and Presbyterianism (Calvinist theological tradition) is declared “not true.”

Joseph Smith History only recognizes two possibilities of the sects Joseph Smith was interested in. A. one and only one of them is “right” or B. they are all wrong. The option that they all might be “right” never occurs in Joseph Smith History. This is the premise of Mormonism , that human beings are morally obligated from birth to actively search for the one and only one institution that is not an abomination. Without believe in this premise Mormonism falls flat. Mormanity’s apologist methodology of reducing to the lowest common denominator breaks this fundamental premise of Mormonism. This makes him more of a reformer than an apologist. Moroni 10: 3-5 and stupor-of-thought verses burning-of-the-bossom hypothesis testing does not help because they can only testify of truth universal to the human experience. That is the “experiment” will testify that institutions in error are “true” given they possess a portion of “truth” and as such cannot inform one if the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, the LDS Church, or Mormonism are in the set of things deemed abominable according to the premise.

Mormanity said...

Joseph Smith as just another David Koresh? Ouch. What is it that makes you so hostile about the Latter-day Saint faith?

The fact that prophets are mortal does not present a "dim view of prophethood" as you claim. It's the biblical view, sir, a bright view that recognizes that God can do great things through imperfect human tools. Infallible prophets with easy-to-verify prophecies and clear-cut always-correct behavior is not what we find except in Jesus Christ.

You're looking for easy ways to paint Joseph Smith as a false prophet, but the problem with your approach is that the big hammer you want to swing will equally well invalidate other prophets in the Bible.

Deut. 13 is a good tool - if someone is leading people to worship other gods, then they are wrong - but Joseph taught people to worship God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Ditto for 1 John 4. What is the problem here? As for the more commonly used and abused test of Deut. 18:20-22, it is important to understand what this really means and how it is meant to be applied, otherwise it will eliminate many biblical prophets as well. This requires a bit of thinking rather than prooftexting; it requires consideration rather than looking for an excuse to justify our biases. Please read this analysis of Deut. 18 to see what non-LDS scholars have said about this passage, and to understand how the hair-trigger approach will easily blast valid prophets with it.

There are tests to evaluate prophets, and Joseph Smith has given us hundreds of miles of rope to hang him with (in the form of the Book of Mormon, for example) if he is a false prophet. With properly applied biblical tests, Joseph as well as Ezekiel, Jonah, Nathan, Paul, and Moses get passes.

Any meaningful application of a test to discern if a prophet is false must also allow for the possibility that a prophet is in fact true. So what is the right test to prove that a true prophet is false? Serious question. Anyone can prove a true prophet is false, just as the religious scholars of Christ's day had no trouble in finding numerous biblical tools to reject Him. Rejecting true prophets has been a big problem throughout biblical and modern history.

Be careful about the preconceived (or predeceived?) notions that you bring to the table. I suggest you spend a little more time studying and pondering the Book of Mormon with an open mind. That's what led to my personal conviction that something divine is actually behind this Church, and that it is in fact a Restoration inspired and led by Jesus Christ of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, complete with the original understanding of the nature of God, our relationship to Him, the covenant relationship we are to have with Him, and the need for modern prophets and apostles to lead the Church as in days of old.

Your nitpicking over details of what God chose to include in the Book of Mormon and your disagreement with God's reasons for this or that hardly provides compelling reasons to reject the Restoration. There will always be things we don't understand or find puzzling - but that doesn't mean we can reject God or His messengers as false. It more likely means we have incomplete understanding. But that incomplete understanding becomes more full as we accept and act upon the truths He has given us -- and then learn for ourselves that they are real truths, as Christ taught in John 8:31-32 and John 7:17.

By acting in faith and experimenting with the Word, by doing and obeying, we learn more profoundly of the beauty of the Gospel, of the power of the Atonement, and of the reality of the Restoration.

Mormography said...

The “dim view of prophethood” is that anyone who claims to be a prophet cannot be proven false if that prophet believes in Monotheism and Jesus's Divinity, but of course you knew that this is what I was describing. As you well know, I have never claimed that Bibilical prophets are infallible or immortal or that Joseph Smith is a false prophet. I have argued that the Bible understands the concept of the principle of falsifiablity, but as you point out, most of the Bible is open to wide range of interpretations.

If prophets are as you claim them to be, then why can’t David Koresh be a prophet? Talk about a double standard. With your bizarre position that equating JS to David Koresh represents hostility, you have been caught red handed in a double standard by your own standard. To make your logical universe retain a consistency internally agreeable to yourself, your bais and preconceived notions require you to adopt an extremely broad interpretation of the false prophet verses. In turn, this interpretation saves someone such as David Koresh from being easily declared a false prophet, a comparison you consider to be hostile. Ouch, caught you in double standard. "Oh, snap!" to quote Tony.

I have no problem with the “big hammer” invalidating prophets of the bible. You have reduced your reasoning to a methodology that allows one to say: If David Koresh is not a prophet for X, then prophets in the Bible are not prophet for the same reason. You have gradually evolved from Mormon Apologist, to Mormon Reformer, to Biblical Iconoclast. I have no problem with your criticism of the Bible. I am no expert on the Bible, but I see plenty room for criticism. I thank you for sharing your Biblical critical assessments. I will investigate them further and share them with Biblical Apologist that I encounter in the future. You provide strong support of the assessment that the Bible was written by enlightened, well intentioned people with a magical world view, but not of divine origination.

Repeatedly mis-stating my position just shows that you are not interested in genuine dialog or a pursuit of truth. As you well know my position is similar to yours. You say reject Joseph Smith/Mormonism for X, then reject some other religion for the same X. I say accept Joseph Smith/Mormonism for X, then accept some other religion for the same X. However, as you well know, the founding principles of Mormonism are about rejecting other Christian Sects as abominations, a fact you continually ignore every time I point it out. By repeatedly ignoring this fact you are recognizing that this is a difficult reality for you defend. Instead, you perpetuate the behavior of playing the role of martyr, when in fact the hostilities of Mormon Polemics originated with Mormonism’s claims.

Mormography said...

Mormanity’s constant deliberate misstating of others positions and constant ignoring of valid points made throughout the blog demonstrates that honesty and integrity are low on in his value system. In general this is representative of the devout, which place a high value on group conformity in exchange for placing a low value on individual integrity. That is, integrity is demanded only to avoid embarrassing the group, but the moment the good lie is needed to whitewash the group’s appearance integrity goes flying out the window. Placing a high value on integrity would mean valuing it even when it is inconvenient or embarrassing.

For an analytical personality such as myself, this value system is difficult to comprehend. For the devout such as Mormanity, I imagine this value system is adopted because their personal identity is so highly associated with the group, that the good lie is required to maintain self deception and positive self esteem. Hence the need to start a blog, in order to construct an artificial reality where Mormanity can play dumb and pretend he has defeated the critics.

This value system appears to be working for him, so more power to him. Nonetheless, the system places a low value on integrity, so confession of its existence is not likely. However, in the universe that I have observed, one cannot have their cake and it too. Group conformity and individual integrity will not always be in harmony and one will eventually have to chosen one over the other. The fascist lie is that the group and the individual are not in conflict. The socialist lie is that the individual and group are perpetually in conflict. The American Faith is that balance between the two can be achieved. Whether Mormons like or not, they are an American creation and their Father has brought them kicking screaming into the fold.

Mormonism is a different religion today than it was 180 years ago. Mormanity’s apologist positions are in reality reformist. They are helping America with the innovated transformation necessary to bring Mormonism in alignment with her birth country. With this effort I wish the best of luck.

I bid farewell, Brethern, Adieu

Mormanity said...

Mormography, you so often accuse others of misrepresenting you, but there's no intent to do so, at least not on my part. I admit I have a hard time figuring out what you are saying - your comments are long with many twists and turns that makes it difficult for me with my limited reading abilities and limited time to decipher. I don't know where you are coming from much of the time, and find you being riled by things that just surprise me. And you seem to take such great offense at small things.

Your participation is welcome, but I think you would do well to chill and not be so easily offended and so negative about other people's faith and perspectives.

Mormography said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mormography said...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The End

After repeatedly humbling Mormanity in his arrogant attempts to throw the gauntlet at Mormon critics I have fully resolve my doubts about his personality. My blog’s purpose was to explore Mormon Apologist reasoning. I feel that I have fulfilled that purpose and made it clear that Mormon Apologist are simply not interested in recognize the numerous inconsistencies in their reasoning. As a conclusion to this exploration I posted the following on one of the Mormanity threads (linked here).

His response (linked here) was more of the same. He is an extremely accomplished man academically speaking, but suddenly he has “limited reading abilities”. He has time to be a profilic blogger, but suddenly he has, “limited time to decipher”. Despite repeatedly misstating my positions, he finally admits he wasn’t sure where I was coming from. His unwillingness to request clarification was somehow not his fault, but mine. Despite the constants complicit attacks by his cronies, I am the one that needs to chill and not be so easily offended. I have taken it all in good stride and despite his negativity, such as labeling me “anti”, I remained objective in my analysis.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Mormography, you can be so curious sometimes. I made a mistake on another post in responding to a comment I thought was yours but was from someone else. I apologized. Apparently I left out the ritual self-disembowelment on your doorstep, followed by scrawling "Mormography Wins" on the sidewalk before expiring. Sorry - I just can't find the time for that. But I'm glad you're still thinking of me.

Well, I suppose we can both set goals for improving our graciousness in dealing with others. Best wishes!

Mormography said...

Actually the above was a copy and paste from last blog entry in June.

I came back to this thread to see if anyone has been able to answer my challenge. In Mormonism, God makes an error in reasoning with regards to the small plates of Nephi and their ability to confound evil, conspiring men. As others have pointed out, Mormonism teaches that this intricate scheme was necessary in order to not interfere with some mystical thing called agency. However, it could not have stopped the evil men and to say it did is an error in reasoning. If such evil men existed, they could still alter the lost manuscript to contradict the small plates just as easily, as evidenced by Mark Hofmann supposed desire to do so. It would not be an error in reasoning to state that one of the three wandering Nephites beheaded the evil men so that a nation would not dwindle in unbelief. I do not doubt that God makes such an error in reasoning in the bible, but apparently no one has been able to find one. Or one could just change the story (Mormon apologist seemed to be good at that) and claim that no one knows why the small plates were translated and the original 116 were not and that the whole evil men information was just superfluous information.

If your supposed belief in a just God is indeed reality, He will take care the “Mormography Wins” part for me. However, it is difficult to belief that someone that resorts to the amount of sophistry and double standards that you do truly believes in God. Another open challenge to blog world, find a single double standard that I have resorted to.

Mormography said...

I thought I would check up here. It was been over a year and no one has been able to find a similar problem as presented in the 116 lost pages in the Bible.

Mormanity recognized the problem when his response ignored what is written the canon. In this thread Mormanity declares that critics who do not publish Mormanity's minority opinion regarding esoteric details on the BoA guilty of deceit and fraud. Not only does Mormanity not publish the problems the 116 pages present, he and FAIR have not been able to yet formulate a response to them.

His frustration took a bizarre turn pretending the example of Jeremiah, some how helps Mormon Apologist when the fact is the example Jeremiah weakens the apologist position.

Mormanity has constantly harped on his arch nemesis the Evangelicals has having an inferior logical universe by attempting to argue that the Evangelical Biblical interpretation is full of flawed rejection critieria. However, his inability to respond to the logical problem with the 116 pages demonstrates that his logical universe is the one inferior to theirs.