Skip to comments.Contending for the Faith: Comparing LDS Beliefs with those of the Historic Church
Posted on 09/13/2002 9:14:10 AM PDT by xzins
G. K. Taggart
DRAFT 1 September 2002 A.D.
Contending for the Faith: A frank discussion comparing the beliefs and teachings of the LDS Church with those of the universal Christian church, or Mormon Questions Answered
"Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith which was once for all entrusted to the saints." (Jude 3, NIV).
"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect " (1 Peter 3:15, NIV).
Since it was first organized in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - Day Saints, (LDS) also referred to as the Mormon Church, has challenged the authenticity and authority of the orthodox Christian church. The Book of Mormon calls historic Christianity " the mother of harlots which is the great and abominable church of all the earth whose founder is the devil " (1 Nephi 14:17). Historic Christianity is also called " the church of the devil " and the " whore of all the earth "(1 Nephi 14:10). The teachings of the LDS Church declare that the "latter-day revelation" contained in the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, has superceded the Bible, which the LDS Church claims to be seriously and willfully damaged by "corrupt and designing priests". The BOM states : " for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; And also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away and all this have they done that they might pervert the right ways of the Lord " (1 Nephi 13:26). The LDS Church claims that it has restored the true church to the face of the earth, the "church of the Lamb of God"(1 Nephi 14:10).
Presented here is a series of discussion topics about LDS and Christian doctrines, based on actual conversations between Christians and LDS church members. The responses to spiritual and doctrinal questions are the Bible-based answers of the historic Christian faith, given in a spirit of courtesy and respect. The responses compare and contrast the positions of the historic Christian church with the published claims and doctrines of the LDS Church. Where it is appropriate, responses also examine the historicity and fact claims of the LDS Church in the light of modern scientific, linguistic and historical knowledge. ________________________________________________________________________
1) Why do you Christians accuse the LDS Church of being a cult, and say that we aren't really Christian or that we worship Joseph Smith?
a) Is the LDS Church a "cult"?
The term "cult" is defined pretty succinctly. Websters New Collegiate Dictionary states that a cult is "... a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious..." The use of the term "spurious" is certainly arguable in this context, as Christians have one opinion, and LDS another. The "unorthodox " term of the definition is not arguable- the founders of the LDS church declared their rejection of orthodoxy quite unequivocally. In fact, Joseph Smith stated that God told him that the sects (orthodox Christianity) were all an abomination in God's sight, whose professors were all corrupt (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith 2:19).
b) Is the LDS Church Christian?
There are a number of doctrinal earmarks of true Christianity. An absolute requirement is that one must worship the God of the Bible, the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, namely, YHWH, the great "I AM" (Exodus 3:14-15). The God of the Hebrews and Christians, who has revealed Himself in the Bible, is eternal, in other words, He has always been God. He is unchanging, uncreated and there is but one, and there are no other gods, and never have been. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Psalm 90:2, Malachi 3:6, Isaiah 43:10, Isaiah 44:6, Mark 12:29, Mark 12:32-34).
According to official LDS church teaching, LDS worship Father Eloheim, who does not meet the same criteria as the God of the Bible. For example, Eloheim is a created being, an exalted man, according to Joseph Smith (History of the Church 6:305-6). In this passage President Smith explains the doctrine of eternal progression: " as God was so are we, as God is so may we become ". The doctrine of eternal progression has been preached by Brigham Young and the General Authorities of the Church since the early days, and it is one of the foundations of LDS belief. Eloheim, the Mormon God, is a created being, who is changing and progressing. According to LDS teaching, He was once a mortal man who has become a god, and faithful and obedient Mormon men, can hope to become gods themselves someday.
There can be no clearer dichotomy in an understanding of God. The God of Israel, the Christian God, YHWH, is uncreated. There has never been a time when He did not exist. There has never been a time when He was not God. The Mormon God, Eloheim, is created. There was a time when Eloheim did not exist, and there was a time when Eloheim was not deity. Mormons do not worship the Christian God. Since the LDS Church does not worship the Christian God, it cannot be a Christian church.
c) The use of the term "worship" is very strong, but the position of prominence and significance accorded Joseph Smith by the LDS Church is certainly historically unparalleled for a mortal man within orthodox Christianity. Perhaps it is more appropriate to suggest that the LDS Church considers President Joseph Smith to be worthy of worship.
President Brigham Young said " ...Every spirit that confesses that Joseph Smith is a Prophet, that he lived and died a Prophet and that the Book of Mormon is true, is of God, and every spirit that does not is of anti-Christ..."(History of the Church, Vol. 7, page 287). In other words, the means of testing to see if a spirit is of God is by that spirit's attitude toward Joseph Smith. In contrast, the Bible states that Jesus Christ is the measure for testing the spirits. "... This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God..." (1 John 4:2-3). President Young here places Joseph Smith at least at an equal station with Jesus Christ.
President Joseph Fielding Smith says that there is "... no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith..." (Doctrines of Salvation Vol. 1, page 189-190). In contrast, the Bible says Jesus Christ (Ya Shuah Messiah) is the sole path to salvation. To the terrified Roman jailer who asked what he must do to be saved, the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, replied " ...believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved..."(Acts 16:31). Anyone who accepts Jesus and believes in his heart that He is the Messiah will be saved (John 3:16, John 11:25-26, Acts 10:43). President J .F. Smith has here placed Joseph Smith in a position co- equal to Jesus Christ.
The LDS Church certainly appears to have exalted Joseph Smith to a very high status, indeed, namely, that of equality with Christ. If Christ is worthy of worship, as the Bible says He is, how can anyone who has been raised to an equal station not also be worthy of worship? ________________________________________________________________________
2) Why do Christians claim that the LDS Church is non-biblical? We accept the Bible as one of our scriptures.
When we discuss the LDS Church, are we discussing the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) of the LDS Church, or the other teachings and doctrines of the LDS Church? The BOM in many ways does agree with the Bible. For instance, the BOM says there is but one God (2 Nephi 31:21, Alma 11:26-31, Mormon 7:7) and He is eternal (Mosiah 3:5, Moroni 7:22, Moroni 8:18). He is One God in Three Persons (The Testimony of Three Witnesses, 2 Nephi 31:21, Alma 11:44, Mormon 7:7), and He is unchangeable (Moroni 8:18). The BOM (and the Bible) conflicts with the D&C, which says that there are 3 gods (D&C 132: 18-20,37, D&C 130:22). The Bible says that God is a Spirit (John 4:24, 1 Timothy 1: 17). The BOM agrees that God is a Spirit (Alma 18:28). In conflict with the Bible and the BOM, the D&C says that God has a tangible body of flesh and bones (D&C 130:22).
The Bible says that the personal name of God is " I AM WHO I AM", or in the short form "I AM" (Exodus 3:14, John 8:24, John 8:58). In Hebrew, the third person form of the divine name is YHWH. It is usually transliterated into English as "Yaweh" or sometimes "Yah Veh", and older translations sometimes use the term "Jehovah". The Hebrew translates literally into English as "HE IS". It is traditionally rendered as "LORD" (Exodus 3:15). In conflict with the Bible, the LDS Church takes a different position. Brigham Young states that the personal name of God is "Eloheim"(Journal of Discourses 4:216). This is close to "Elohim", the Hebrew term meaning simply "God", or "gods", depending on the context, but the Hebrew term is not a name.
The Bible says unequivocally that prior to Jesus' birth, Mary was a virgin. Examine carefully her response to the angel who informed her that she would be "with child"? Her reply is a puzzled "...How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34 KJV). The Bible states that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:18,20). In direct opposition to the clear statement of the Bible, LDS Church teaching declares that Mary was not a virgin at Jesus' birth. LDS Doctrine, as promulgated by the General Authorities of the Church from the beginning to the present day, says that Jesus was conceived by an actual physical act of sexual intercourse between Eloheim and Mary. (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 1:51). Apostle Bruce R. McConkie writes "... Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers..." (Mormon Doctrine, page 547).
It is not only the other works and doctrines of the LDS Church which conflict with the Bible. In spite of numerous instances of agreement, the Book of Mormon frequently conflicts sharply with the Bible:
 The BOM says that the followers of Moroni were first called Christians in 73 BC (Alma 46:15). The Bible says that the followers of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch, circa 43 AD (Acts 11:26).
 The BOM says to pray to God and ask Him if the Book of Mormon is true (Moroni 10:4). This conflicts quite sharply with the Bible which says not to test God (Deuteronomy 6:16). This injunction is quoted by Jesus who reiterates that man is not to "test" God (Mathew 4:7, Luke 14:12). The Bible describes exactly how to determine if teaching is correct and from God, and that is by examining the Scriptures (Acts 17:11).
 The BOM says that at the time of the Tower of Babel, Jared's language was not confounded, nor was that of his friends and their families (Ether 1:34-37). In direct opposition to that, the Bible says that the Lord confused the language of the whole world or " of all the earth" (Genesis 11:9 KJV).
 The BOM says the brother of Jared was redeemed from the Adamic Fall because he saw the finger of God (Ether 3:9-13). In absolute conflict with that statement, the Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:11-15, 22).
 The BOM says that Eloheim promised there will be no greater nation than the Jaredites (Ether 1:43). In spite of that promise, the Jaredites are now completely extinct. In opposition to this, the Bible says that the tribe of Abraham will be the greatest nation (Genesis 15:1-5, Genesis 17:1-9, Romans 4:13-21). The modern Semitic peoples of the earth are blood descendents of Abraham, and now number more than 80 million.
 The BOM casts numerous aspersions on the Bible, claiming that the Bible has been willfully corrupted and is in error (1 Nephi 13:24-40). The BOM ridicules the Bible, even speaking of those who rely on the Bible as "fools" (2 Nephi 29:3-10). The Bible strongly rebuts those statements. Jesus says that the Scripture cannot be broken or destroyed (John 10:35). "Your word, oh Lord, is Eternal " (Psalm 119:89). "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path" (Psalm 119:105). The Bible also says " All Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness "(2 Timothy 3:16).
 The BOM says that men are judged by their works (2 Nephi 29:11). The Bible says that men are judged solely by their relationship with Christ-a relationship solely dependent upon Faith, not works (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 3:21-26).
 The BOM says that no man can do miracles in Jesus' name unless he has been "cleansed from iniquity"(3 Nephi 8:1). This conflicts with the Bible's recounting of Jesus' statement to the exact contrary. Jesus says that there are those who will prophesy in His name, and drive out demons in His name, and perform miracles, but at the last judgement, He will say to them "I never knew you" and they will be told to depart (Matthew 7:23,23 NIV).
 The BOM says that Nephi and his father Lehi are descendents of Joseph (1 Nephi 5:14). More specifically, it states that they are members of the half-tribe of Manasseh (Alma 10:3). Lehi and his wife Sariah offered sacrifices and burnt offerings to the Lord, but were not destroyed (1 Nephi 5:9). This conflicts with the Bible, which says that the only priests are Aaron and his sons, of the tribe of Levi, and only they may offer sacrifices and burnt offering (Exodus 29:9, Leviticus 7:35). Those who attempt to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings without being in Aaron's line will be destroyed (Numbers 16:1-35).
 The BOM says that the Spirit of God told Alma that the Son of God would be born at Jerusalem (Alma 7:10). In conflict with this, the Bible says without mistake that the Christ will be born in Bethlehem. In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah says that the ruler over Israel will be born in Bethlehem Ephratah (Micah 5:2). The New Testament makes His birthplace quite clear as well (Matthew 2:1, Matthew 2:5-6, Luke 2:4-7, John 7:42).
There are numerous other contradictions between the Book of Mormon and the Bible, the Doctrine & Covenants and the Bible, and the other teachings of the LDS Church and the Bible. How many contradictions must there be, before one reaches the conclusion that the BOM and the teachings of the LDS Church are non-Biblical? LDS teachings simply are not congruent with the teachings of the Bible. ________________________________________________________________________
3) We believe the Book of Mormon is another witness to the world from God, because the Bible says that there needs to be two witnesses. The Bible speaks of the stick of Judah, which LDS believe refers to the Bible. The Bible also speaks of stick of Joseph. We believe that refers to the Book of Mormon, because it was found and translated by Joseph Smith. Christians dont believe the Book of Mormon because it is new or it is adding to what has already been written. But that isnt a good reason for rejection the BOM. In the Bible, look at what it says in Revelation about not adding any more. If you did that, then you wouldn't have a lot of it, because Revelation was not the last thing written, it was written before many books in the Bible. We dont reject the later stuff in the Bible, why should Christians reject the BOM?
a) The requirement for two witnesses is from the Hebrew criminal code. Two or three witnesses are required to convict a man of a crime or an offense he may have committed (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16). The references are to offenses or crimes in a court or sins within the church. Any requirement for two witnesses for God's Word, would imply that God's Word is on trial in some way. It is not, and neither has He been accused of any offense. God has, in fact, already testified to the truth of the Bible, by calling it "My Word" over 3000 times (Deuteronomy 11:18, 18:18, Matthew 24:35, Mark 13:31). Jesus also places His personal stamp of approval on the Bible by stating that ... the Scriptures cannot be broken..." (John 10:35), and "...Thy word is Truth..." (John 17:17). With Jesus as witness to anything, none other is required. God does not require two witnesses".
b) The story of the stick of Judah and the stick of Joseph is frequently used in an attempt to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon was foretold by the prophets, and is a required supplement to the Bible as God's Word. The Bible text of the story refutes that contention. The oft-cited story is from the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel. The Spirit of the Lord tells Ezekiel that the two separated kingdoms of Judah and Israel will once again be joined under one king. The Spirit of the Lord then directs Ezekiel to join the stick representing the kingdom of Judah (the stick of Judah) to the stick representing the kingdom of Israel (Ephraim's stick, belonging to Joseph) in a prophetic act (Ezekiel 37:15-22). Verse 18 says " And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not show us what thou meanest by these?" Verses 19-25 provide a full answer. These verses quite explicitly explain the significance of the activity. This incident is simply a prophecy of the future reunification of Israel, not a foreshadowing of the BOM. The Bible clearly states that it contains the entire Gospel. The Gospel is " the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" (Jude 3). The Bible also states that Paul has " fully proclaimed the Gospel of Christ "(Romans 15:19).
c) The Bible nowhere refers to itself as the "stick of Judah". When the story of Ezekiel 37:15-25 is read in its entirety, any suggestion that the stick is a reference to the Bible can be readily seen to be at odds with the plain meaning of the text.
d) The Bible says not to add to the words of God (Proverbs 30:6). This means two things. Firstly, no man or human agency is to add anything to Scripture that has been written by men under the full inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, this means, quite simply, that if God gives someone 6 prophetic words, the person does not utter a 7th word of his own design, and then claim that it is from God. This is a general prohibition, applicable to all times and seasons, Old Testament, New Testament, 21st Century. This does not mean a person may not be given a word from the Lord, even today (1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, 1 Corinthians 14:1-25, Romans 12:6). It does mean that that person must be very careful that what he speaks is indeed from the Lord, and not from some other source. There must be no human "editorial" additions. Nothing in conflict with Scripture is from God. The warning against adding to or taking away from this "book" is specifically with regard to adding to the report written by John the Apostle, and this meaning is readily apparent by reading the entire passage (Revelation 22:18-19). Readers are commanded not to expand or embellish it. In the same way, it is not to be abridged or diminished in any way.
As for the date of writing, most credible scholars place Revelation's writing circa 95 AD. This was at the end of the reign of the Emperor Domitian, as Christians were entering a time of great persecution. Based on that timing, Revelation was indeed written after the rest of the canonical books of the Bible. 1 John, 2 John and 3 John were also written in that same general time period, but a little earlier. Based on the nature of their doctrinal discussion, most scholars place their writing circa 85 AD to 95AD.
4) We LDS believe God is god, and Jesus Christ is His son-just as Christians do. We believe Jesus Christ made the atonement, and that He made resurrection possible. We believe He called Peter, James, John, Matthew, Thomas and the others to be His apostles. Are we so different?
a) You say that LDS believe in God. The Christian must ask in response which God? The God of the Bible has a number of unique attributes held by no other, including Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence. The God of the Bible is eternal and has no beginning and no end. The Mormon God is simply an exalted man, who is limited in time and space and is a created being.
The Christian and Hebrew God, as proclaimed in the Bible, is One and there are no others (Isaiah 44:6-8, Isaiah 45:5-6,18-22, Mark 12:29, James 2:19). These statements are quite direct, such as " You are my witnesses, declares the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be after me "(Isaiah 43:10). The God of the Bible is uncreated and eternal (Psalm 41:13, Psalm 90:2, Psalm 102:25-27, Romans 1:22-23). The God of the Bible is Limitless and Infinite (2 Chronicles 6:18, Psalm 139:4-8, Jeremiah 23:24). The God of the Bible is not a man (Numbers 23:19,1 Samuel 15:29, Isaiah 46:5, Hosea 11:9). The God of the Bible does not change (Malachi 3:6). The God of the Bible is the "Alpha and the Omega", the Lord God Almighty, who is and was, and is to come (Revelation 1:8). The God of the Christians and Hebrews is eternal, which means there has never been a time, when God did not exist, and there has never been a time when God was anything less than God. The God of the Bible has a personal name, YHWH, or I AM WHO I AM (Exodus 3:14-15).
The Mormon God, whose name is Eloheim, is a very different creature from the God of the Bible. President Joseph Smith said that Eloheim is but one of many gods. In fact, to determine the method of salvation of the earth, Eloheim even presided over a council of the gods (D&C 121:32). Joseph Smith clearly stated: "...In all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods (sic)" (History of the Church, Volume 6, page 308, page 474). President Brigham Young, in his official writings, said "Gods exist, and we had better strive to be prepared to be one with them"(Journal of Discourses 7:238). The LDS God is an exalted man. As Apostle Bruce R. McConkie states, God is a finite, created being, who is changing and progressing (Mormon Doctrine, page 589). Joseph Smith refers to Eloheim as an exalted "Man of Holiness" (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 6:57). There are many gods, each of whom, including Eloheim, is an exalted man. Eloheim is not eternal, in that there was a time when Eloheim did not exist.
Based on these and numerous other statements and doctrinal positions, it is beyond doubt that Christians and LDS simply do not believe in the same God.
b) But which Jesus do you believe in?
The LDS Jesus is a created being, who is not eternal, and is merely the first of many "sons of God", the spiritually procreated offspring of Eloheim and a heavenly mother, who is one of Eloheim's wives. According to LDS doctrine, Jesus is the brother of Lucifer, who is also a "son of God"(Pearl of Great Price, Moses 5:13). The LDS Jesus is of the same substance as all of humanity, who are his spiritual siblings (The Gospel through the Ages, page 15). President Brigham Young states that human beings and Jesus Christ are one species differentiated only by the fact that Eloheim came to earth to personally sexually impregnate Mary, and beget Jesus, rather than letting another man do it (Journal of Discourses, 4:217-218). This produces a problem. Mary and Joseph were "espoused" or "betrothed"(Luke 2:5). Under Jewish marriage law, this betrothal, "kiddushin" in Hebrew, lasted for a year. During this period, the marriage was contractually and formally complete, but it remained unconsumated. It could only be terminated by divorce (Deuteronomy 22:23-24). This is why Joseph, on learning that Mary was pregnant, was bound by the Law of Moses to divorce her for infidelity, or as it is described in the Bible, " was minded to put her away privily"(Matthew 2:19 KJV). Under the Law, for Mary to have sexual intercourse with anyone other than Joseph, would be adultery. The LDS Jesus, according to President Brigham Young, is the offspring of adultery.
For Christians to say that Jesus is the "Son of God" has nothing to do with procreation or parenthood. It means that Jesus has the exact same Divine nature and substance as God the Father (John 10:30). Jewish Scripture and tradition tell us that that term "Son of God" means "part and parcel" of the divinity of God (Proverbs 30:4). Jesus Himself claims to be exactly as divine as God. His reference to Himself as the source of Living Water was abundantly clear to the Jews who heard Him (John 4:7-13, John 7:37-38). Jesus claimed to be equal to God by calling God His own Father (John 5:18). Jesus also calls Himself by God's unique personal Name "... if ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins "(John 8:24, KJV). This term, "I AM", is the short form of " I AM WHO I AM", and both terms are used by God to identify Himself to Moses (Exodus 3:14). Again, Jesus calls Himself by God's personal Name "... before Abraham was, I AM..." (John 8:58). John confirms that the assembled crowd intended to stone Him for blasphemy-they knew exactly and without doubt that by this usage, a carpenter's son from Nazareth, Jesus, had claimed that He was God. The Bible says that the Word was God (John 1:1). Jesus is the Word made flesh who dwelt among us (John 1:14). Jesus is eternal, and "the Word" was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-6). Jesus is the "Alpha and the Omega" (Revelation 22:13). Christ is before all things and created all things (Colossians 1:15-20, Philippians 2:5-11, Hebrews 1-1:13). Jesus is unchanging as well, "... the same yesterday, and today, and forever..."(Hebrews 13:8).
The Christian Jesus and the LDS Jesus share the same name, but they are very clearly not the same person.
c) But what atonement is spoken of, when the historic Christian church and the LDS Church each use the term?
The Bible says that Jesus made, once-for-all, the full, total, complete, and absolute atonement (payment) for all the sins of all persons, past, present and future. Not just Adam's sin, but all sin (Acts 16:31, Acts 20:28, Romans 3:24-31, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Ephesians 1:4-7, Titus 3:5, Hebrews 7:25-28, Hebrews 9:22-28, Hebrews 10:10). Human efforts have nothing to do with the atonement or salvation, and nothing we do can earn us our salvation. It is a free gift of God's unmerited favor - granted even to a man dying on a cross who could do nothing more then acknowledge Jesus as Messiah (Luke 23:40-43). Our righteous works are nothing when weighed against our sin (Isaiah 57:12, Isaiah 64:6, Ephesians 2:8-9). The Bible says Christ's atonement pays for our sin, allowing all that believe in Him to have eternal life, in the presence of the Father.
The LDS atonement is Jesus making the payment for the sin of Adam and thereby allowing for the general resurrection (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 6:54). Beyond that, it is by faith, works, obedience to the Gospel ordinances, and baptism that a person makes his way to the Celestial Kingdom and exaltation and godhood (Articles of Faith, pages 85-93).
d) Jesus' death and resurrection did not make the resurrection possible. The resurrection was always coming, and most Jews acknowledged this fact, as it was for-shadowed throughout the Scriptures. The Sadducees were the main Jewish party who denied the resurrection, simply because it was not explicitly discussed in the 5 books of Moses. The Bible tells of a group of Sadducees who asked Jesus a trick question about marriage in Heaven, and He answered it, but then proceeded immediately to the real problem- their lack of belief in the remaining Old Testament scriptures, and their lack of understanding of the purpose of scripture (Matthew 22:22-23, Mark 12:18-27). They were rebuked and reminded that God is a God of the living and not of the dead, and always has been. Therefore there has always been a resurrection (Luke 20:37-38).
e) A Christian would not disagree with you. The Bible says that Jesus did call Peter, James and John, as well as the others of the 12, as His apostles. ________________________________________________________________________
5) The LDS Church has the Bible as one of our Scriptures. I believe the Bible.
" to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly " is usually how that phrase is completed. It is part of the Eighth Article of Faith of the LDS Church. Of course, no Christian would disagree with you. All of us only want a pure and non-corrupted Bible upon which to rely. Your confidence and belief in the Bible is not misplaced. The fact is that the manuscript evidence indicates that the Bible has been correctly transmitted, to an almost miraculous degree. There are now existing almost 15,000 various NT manuscripts, dating from the first through fourth centuries. Some of these manuscripts date from the lifetimes of the Apostles, or shortly thereafter. There is no long gap between events, and the existing documents that describe those same events. Contrasting the number of manuscripts available, in comparison with other accepted literary works; we have an astonishing number of manuscripts. The earliest copy of Caesar extant is circa 900 AD or over 900 years after it was first written, and only 10 copies exist. The plays of Sophocles were written circa 450 BC, and the earliest copies date from 1000 AD, with only 193 copies remaining. Tacitus' Annals, were written circa 100 AD. The earliest copies date to 1100 AD, and the number of copies remaining is 19. In contrast, the multiple New Testament copies, in a host of ancient languages, including Greek, Latin, Syriac, Old German, Gothic and Coptic, to name a few, have allowed scholars to cross reference between documents that may have originated thousands of miles apart. These manuscripts are remarkably congruent with one another. One concern of many, which the multiple copies lay to rest, is the question of whether portions of the text have been removed. Given the enormous number of independent copies, it would be impossible to remove passages without another copy, somewhere, including the omitted material. In modern times, even with the whole police power of a 20th century nation-state behind it, the Soviet Union's attempt to "edit" and change previously published history books and encyclopedias was an abject, almost laughable, failure. Undertaken to revise or delete references to people who had fallen from official favor, or to remove embarrassing historical occurrences, thousands of copies still escaped untouched. We need not worry about the correct transmission of the New Testament, as it is commonly received.
How reliable is the Old Testament? The Dead Sea Scrolls, found at Qumran, Israel, in 1948, contain an intact copy of the book of Isaiah. This scroll sealed in a jar since circa AD 68, matched the wording of the standard Hebrew Bible Isaiah text at greater than 95%. The differences that appear are almost entirely variations in spelling and punctuation or obvious slips of the pen. None of the message, or the content or doctrine has been affected.
It is good that you believe the Bible, because it has been demonstrated to be both reliable and trustworthy.
6) The God that we believe in is the same as the God you Christians believe in. I believe in God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.
a) For discussion of God the Father, see 1b) above, and 4a) above
b) For discussion of Jesus Christ, see 4b) above
c) The Holy Ghost: To clear up some confusion at the start, it is important to understand that in the Bible, the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are the same thing- the same Greek word "pneuma", is used for both. The English word generally used in the King James Version of the Bible is "ghost", but other current English translations employ the more common modern usage "spirit". The Holy Ghost of the Bible is part and parcel of God, just as Jesus is. The Holy Ghost, referred to as "the spirit of God", created the world (Genesis 1:2), the Father created the world (Hebrews 1:2) and the Son created the world (Colossians 1:16). The Bible tells us that the Holy Ghost is a person. The Holy Ghost is the Teacher sent by the Lord (John 16:13-15). He intercedes for believers (Romans 8:27). He may be "grieved" (Ephesians 4:30). He prophesies and orders (Acts 21). Peter calls the Holy Ghost "God" (Acts 5:3-4).
The LDS Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, without a physical body, or "tabernacle" who is separate and distinct from God and Jesus Christ (D & C 130:22). He is a man who is one of the sons of Eloheim (Journal of Discourses, 5, page 179). The Holy Ghost cannot be in more than one place at one time (Articles of Faith, page 160). The LDS Holy Spirit is merely the "influence" of God on a mans heart, not a person, and not God.
The correctness of this statement depends entirely on which God you worship. The God of the Bible is one, eternal, unchanging, infinite, holy, all powerful, uncreated, all-knowing, spirit, who is present everywhere and "everywhen", and is very different from the God preached by the LDS Church. The LDS God is a created being, an exalted man, who is limited in space and time, and is only one of countless gods. If you do not worship and believe in the God revealed in the Bible then you worship and believe in a different God than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who is the God of the Hebrews and Christians. _______________________________________________________________________
7) The Book of Mormon is unbelievable to Christians because it has angels they never heard of. I ask Christians if they think that were given the name of every angel that ever came down from heaven in the Bible. And why do you think only the half dozen or so named in the Bible are the only ones there? LDS know that there are lots of angels, because angels are our friends and loved ones who have died before us, allowed to return to help us and watch over us.
Christians do not think there are just a few angels. There are lots angels, usually unnamed, who appear in the Bible. They appear singly (Luke 1:11), in pairs (Genesis 19:1), and in large groups as well, such as a company (Luke 2:13), and thousands (Psalm 68:17). There are over two hundred and eighty separate references to angels in the Bible.
LDS doctrine says that angels are resurrected personages, with bodies of flesh and bone, who belong or have belonged, to "this earth" (D&C 129:1, D&C 130:5). Christians understanding of the nature and role of angels is very different from LDS teaching. Angels are ministering spirits, servants in the household of God. Angels are not men. They have never been men .Men are very different from angels. The Bible says that men, unlike angels, are first created as "natural", and only after their conversion do they become spiritual. The spiritual does not come first (1 Corinthians 15:44-58). The Bible says angels are sent to serve those who will inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14). Angels are lower than the saved, who are all a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). Those who are in Christ will judge the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). Lucifer is a fallen, created angel, banished from heaven (Isaiah 14:12, Luke 10:18), and even Lucifer (who is also known as Satan) and his fallen angels, the demons, are subject to the believers (Luke 10:17).
8) Every Christian religion has a different idea of how heaven is set up. Why do you use the LDS understanding of heaven as a way of claiming we aren't Christian?
a) First, there must be a brief clarification of terminology. There is only one Christian religion, although there are indeed a number of denominations. The Christian church is made up of all born-again believers (Matthew 16:18, Matthew 18:19-20, 1 Corinthians 12:12-14), with Jesus Christ as its Head and High Priest after the manner of Melchizadek (Hebrews 5-9, 2 Timothy 2:2). The various denominations of the true Christian church differ, sometimes quite strikingly, but only in non-essentials. Major non-essentials include such things as organization of the local and general church; the post-Apostolic era speaking in tongues, prophecy, and other Gifts of the Spirit; and the appropriateness of infant baptism. Other non-essentials where groups disagree include the use of wine during communion; timing of the Great Tribulation; orders of worship; pacifism; freewill and predestination; even questions of pew-rental and pastoral compensation. The list of disagreements is long. Many of these doctrinal differences are very deep and contentious, but in spite of these, all true Christian denominations share the same foundational beliefs of Christian orthodoxy.
Some of the groups included in the universal Christian church include:
Anglican Communion, the Assemblies of God, Baptist, Brethren, Church of Christ, Church of God in Christ, Disciples of Christ, Eastern Orthodox, Four Square Gospel, Lutheran, Mennonite, Messianic Jew, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Quaker, Reformed, Roman Catholic, Salvation Army, and Seventh-Day Adventist, to name a few.
Briefly stated, Christian foundational beliefs are:
1) There is but One holy, true, eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, limitless, ever-present, uncreated God, God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, who created all things, and man in His own image.
2) God's Son, Jesus Christ, is the only Savior of mankind. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born on earth to a virgin as foretold by the Scriptures, and He is completely and truly God and completely and truly man. By His sacrificial death on the cross He bore once for all the entire punishment for the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future, and no other satisfaction or work is required. He is the only Mediator and High Priest after the manner of Melchizadek, between Holy God and mankind, who are by their very nature, unrighteous, fallen, sinful, rebellious, and inclined to do evil.
3) Jesus Christ did truly die, and He rose bodily from the grave, on the third day, as foretold in Scripture. He returned to Heaven and sits enthroned in majesty, and He will return again on the last day when He alone will judge the living and the dead.
4) Salvation has been freely granted to all those who confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. Salvation is the unearned gift of Gods unmerited favor, and God justifies us and accounts us as righteous before Him only by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, and not by any work or doings of our own.
5) All men stand under the righteous judgement of Jesus Christ, now and in the last day. At the end of the age, the dead will be bodily resurrected, and there will be a Final Judgement. All who are accounted righteous (the Saved) will be returned to Heaven for a life eternal in the presence of God, and the wicked (the unsaved) will be returned to hell, there to be punished for eternity.
6) The Holy Bible, as contained in the canonical Old and New Testaments, is God's Word, written, and it was set down by men under the full inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Bible contains all that is necessary for Salvation, and anything not revealed in or established by the Bible is not necessary for Salvation. The Bible is the only authoritative and true rule and guide for Christian faith and practice.
Any denomination, church or ministry that agrees with these basic tenets is Christian, and is therefore part of the historic, universal Christian church, regardless of where they stand on the non-essentials. Those groups that reject this foundation, reject historic Christianity and must therefore stand apart from it.
b) The canonical Bible states that there are only two conditions for the dead - everlasting punishment, or eternal life (Mathew 25:31-46). There are no degrees to eternal life-a person either is in the presence of the Father, or a person is not. ________________________________________________________________________
9) Why do you treat LDS differently for believing things that you consider unusual? Christians frequently believe things that are unusual. Some denominations for example, believe that that there is no such thing as male and female in heaven, that you are genderless. They aren't called non- Christian for it.
In general terms, no one is rightly called non-Christian, unless their doctrinal positions violate the basic foundational tenets of Christianity.
In the Bible, Jesus says that when the dead rise, they will not marry, nor be given in marriage (Mark 12:25, Luke 20:34-36). That much is clear. Whether or not people will actually be genderless in heaven, or whether it will merely be unimportant, remains to be seen, but certainly none of the normal implications of gender will be present in heaven. To Christians, this is a trivial question, as it has no bearing on Salvation, and so any position is acceptable, as long as it does not conflict with the Bible. By definition, if a doctrine does not conflict with the Bible, it cannot be called non-Christian. ________________________________________________________________________
10) Why does the LDS doctrine of having three levels of heaven disturb Christians so much? We have someplace for everyone, and we still believe in an outer darkness, which is like the Christian idea of hell, even if we usually dont call it that.
a) Having three levels to heaven does not so much disturb Christians, as it does show that again, LDS and Christian doctrines are far apart. The three level heaven idea is simply not supportable from the Bible, which is quite explicit about the conditions of men after death. See 8 b) above.
b) When you say "we", do you mean the teachings contained in the Book of Mormon, or current LDS doctrine, as promulgated by the General Authorities? Current LDS doctrine conflicts not only with the Bible, but also with the plain words of the Book of Mormon, as well. The Book of Mormon says that it is the devil that will say that there is no hell, a strong statement indeed (2 Nephi 28:21-23). The BOM agrees with the Bible regarding hell. The BOM declares that hell is eternal (1 Nephi 14:3, 2 Nephi 9:16, Mosiah 2:38-39, Mosiah 3:25, Alma 34:32-35, Alma 42:16, Helaman 6:28, Helaman 13:25-26). The BOM says that there is no deliverance from hell (2 Nephi 28:22). There is no repentance after death (Alma 34:35). The wicked will be "cast off" forever (1 Nephi 10:21).
The General Authorities of the LDS Church and current Mormon doctrine contradict the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and declare that hell is not eternal, and that there will finally be a release from hell. President Joseph Fielding Smith states that the unrighteous will spend their thousand years in a "prison house" cleansing themselves through the things they suffer (Doctrines of Salvation 3:60). Heber C. Kimball states that the wicked went to "...hell to be burnt out until they were purified..." (Journal of Discourses 4:223). He also stated that he would redeem his wicked kinsmen from hell, after all the corruption was burned out of them, and they would come to where he lived (the Celestial Kingdom) as his servants (Journal of Discourses 3:109).
The Bible is quite clear that those who reject Christ will receive everlasting, eternal, unending, punishment (Mathew 18:8, Mathew 25:32, Mark 3:29, John 3:36, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 20:10). Hell as a reformatory, from which persons can be redeemed or released, is not supported by the Bible in any way. The Bible also tells that hell is torment, and the chasm between the heaven and hell cannot be bridged (Luke 16:19-31).
Here again, modern LDS teaching is in contradiction to the plain words of the Bible, and even conflicts with the Book of Mormon. ________________________________________________________________________
11) LDS still believe that you will be judged by Christ for your actions here on earth. We still believe in a Second Coming.
a) The first statement is an expression of another major difference between Christians and Mormons, and it is indicative of the distance between the Bible and LDS doctrine, in that many LDS believe that is what Christians believe. The Bible teaches that all will be judged according to their relationship with Jesus Christ, not by their actions. "... For it is by grace we have been saved through faith, and that not by yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast..." (Ephesians 2:8-10). Works, or actions, do not avail in the judgement at all, with regards to salvation. "... to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness " (Romans 4:5). In fact, The Bible even says that if salvation is a product of works, then Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21).
LDS teachings are in direct opposition to the Bible in this regard. The BOM says that the dead are rewarded according to their works, good or bad (Alma 3:26). Emphasizing the LDS rejection of this foundational Christian doctrine, Apostle James Talmadge called the sectarian dogma of justification by faith alone an evil influence (Articles of Faith, page 479). In reference to considering confession of Christ as all-sufficient, President Joseph F. Smith said "I denounce this doctrine"(Gospel Doctrine, page 95). President Brigham Young denied that a man could "savingly repent on a scaffold", go to heaven and be crowned in glory, through the all-redeeming merits of Christ Jesus. He called such a teaching nonsense. Such a character will never see heaven(Journal of Discourses 8:61). The Bible tells of just such an event, however. The thief crucified with Christ, who did nothing but savingly repent and confess Jesus to be the Son of God, was promised that he would be with Jesus in paradise that very day (Luke 23:39-43).
Sometimes people are confused by the statement that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). This however is fully expanded by the context, and the explanation is quite simple- a lively saving faith, a real faith, that kind of faith that is "salvation faith", will produce good works as a fruit, demonstrating the existence of that faith. Believers are justified before the world by their works, because the world cannot see the condition of the believer's heart. But to God, justification has been granted by Him by grace through faith, and not because of any works. It is the grace through faith that produces salvation, and salvation, in turn, produces the fruit of good works. The good works do not produce salvation.
b) Belief in the Second Coming is not proof of Christian faith, nor is it proof that the LDS Church believes the same as the historic Christian church. The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Jehovah's Witnesses) also believe in the Second Coming, as do a number of other non-Christian groups, such as the Unification Church. ____________________________________________________________________
12) Christians say that Mormons are going to hell for believing the Book of Mormon to be scripture. Well, the BOM isn't scripture to you, but neither is the Apocrypha. Why dont you show the BOM the respect that you show the Apocrypha?
a) Christians believe that Mormons will not go to hell because they believe the Book of Mormon to be Scripture. Mormons, just like Methodists, Baptists, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Muslims, Hindus, pagans, atheists, or anyone else, will go to hell if they do not know and have faith in, the real Jesus Christ. The Bible records Jesus' words " I know my sheep and my sheep know me " (John 11:14). Jesus also says " My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand " (John 10:27-28). Anyone who accepts Jesus will be saved (Acts 16:31). The Apostle John wrote " And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11). The real Jesus Christ is the Jesus revealed in the Bible, not the one depicted by the teachings of the Latter-Day Saints Church.
b) The Apocrypha are not considered to be Scripture by Protestants. This position is historical, as the early church fathers rejected the inspiration of the Apocrypha at the Synod of Hippo in 366. In spite of their non-canonical status, even Protestants sometimes consider them useful for instruction. Roman Catholics do consider the Apocrypha to be Scripture, but they are used mainly as historical and ethical stories, and have no bearing on the Gospel or doctrine. This is another example of a "non-essential" doctrinal disagreement among Christians. _______________________________________________________________________
13) The Book of Mormon has been attacked and even called a hoax since the day it was first printed in the early 1830's. There are still no substantial claims against it. Why can't Christians just accept it as real?
1) There are several ways to approach an examination of the genuineness of the Book of Mormon. It can be examined for its logic and common sense, its accuracy, and its historicity and archeology.
a) President Joseph Smith, in the introduction to the Book of Mormon says that the BOM is the "most correct of any book on earth and the keystone of our religion". Apostle James Talmage quotes Apostle Orson Pratt " if we compare the historical, prophetical (sic), and doctrinal parts of the Book of Mormon with the great truths of science and nature, we find no contradictions-no absurdities-nothing unreasonable." (Articles of Faith page 504). The Doctrine and Covenants declare that the BOM contains the "fullness of the Gospel" (D&C 20:9, D&C 27:5, D&C 42: 12). The claims of these statements are testable by analyzing the BOM for correctness, logic and common sense.
 According to the Book of Mormon, windows are not suitable to light the interior of Jared's barges, because during a storm, they would be "dashed in pieces"(Ether 2:23). Jared (of the time of the Tower of Babel) lived circa 2400 BC, according to traditional Biblical chronology. According to the Encarta Encyclopaedia, the first glass vessels appeared in Egypt circa 1500 BC. Glass blowing first appeared circa 100 BC and glass suitable for windows did not appear until around 100 AD. Why does the BOM speak of window glass approximately 2200 years before it existed?
 According to the BOM, God identifies himself to Jared's brother as "Jesus Christ"? "Christ" is a Greek word, meaning "messiah" or "anointed one", and the word would have no meaning to a non-Greek speaker. An additional curiosity is that the Greek language didnt even exist until circa 1400 BC, a full 1000 years after this conversation. Why does the Mormon God speak Greek, a language that does not yet exist, to a man who does not and cannot speak the language?
 According to the Book of Mormon, Lehi left Jerusalem at the command of the Lord. The BOM reports that after traveling three days in the wilderness, he " came down by the borders near the shore of the Red Sea" (1 Nephi 2:5). It was there that Lehi found a "river of water" which emptied into the Red Sea. Lehi named this river Laman, after his son (1 Nephi 2:6-9). Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines " river" as " a natural stream of water of considerable volume". Topographic maps of the Red Sea area, particularly the Gulf of Aqaba, show that there is no "river" that flows into the Red Sea. In fact, there is no indication that a river has flowed into the Red Sea during the recent geologic past, and certainly not as recently as 600 BC. In addition to the topographic evidence, the Bible makes no mention, either, of a river that flows into the Red Sea. Any such river would have necessarily been crossed by the Israelites during the Exodus. Is the use of the term "river" incorrect? Is the body of water into which the river flows wrongly named? If not, where is the river?
 According to the BOM, Jared's barges are driven by a "furious wind" (Ether 6:5-6). This wind " did never did cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters " The furious wind created "mountain waves" and the barges " were many times buried in the depths of the sea" (Ether 6:6). The wind continued for three hundred and forty-four days (Ether 6:5-12). How fast is a "furious" wind? Would 40 miles an hour be a reasonable understanding? 50 miles an hour? What is a "mountain wave"? Mariners worldwide use the Beaufort Scale to describe marine weather, assigning "force numbers" to various wind speeds and sea conditions. For example, Force 2 is described as a "light breeze", with winds of 4.5 to 6.9 miles per hour, and waves of up to 1 foot in height. Force 4 is described as a "moderate breeze", with winds of 12.7 to 18.4 mph, with small waves of up to 5 feet in height. The term "furious wind", and the sea conditions described, with "mountain" waves crashing down upon the barges, might fit Force 8, a "gale" with winds of 39 to 46 mph, and waves of 25 feet. "Furious" might also fit Force 9, a "strong gale" with wind speeds of 47 to 54 mph, and waves of up to 32 feet in height. Assuming that the "furious wind" described in the BOM was actually a Beaufort Scale Force 2, or "light breeze", it would propel the barges at an average of 5.7 miles per hour. 5.7 mph x 24 hours a day x 344 days gives a total travel distance of 47,059 miles. There are two possible direct sea routes from the area of Babylon, to eastern North America. One route is from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, through the Indian Ocean down the African coast, thence around the southern cape and northwest to North America. The second direct route is from the Persian Gulf, eastward across the Indian Ocean, passing south of Australia and New Zealand, continuing east to pass around the southern tip of south America, thence northeast to the mid Atlantic, thence north west to North America. Route One is a voyage of about 15,000 miles. Route Two is about 28,000 miles. Is it reasonable to call a "light breeze" a "furious wind"? Even if the barges were propelled by a "light breeze", they would have traveled almost 2 times the longest possible route. If the description "furious wind" is correct, and can be described as Force 8, with a minimum speed of 39 mph, then the barges would have traveled 321,984 miles-more than 12 times the equatorial circumference of the earth. No matter what approach is used, there is a significant time-distance problem. Is the wind description wrong? Is the stated voyage time in error? If not, how did the Jaredites go so far and take so long?
 According to the BOM, during the last campaign of the Jaredites, Coriantumr saw that there had been slain " two millions of mighty men, and also their wives and children " (Ether 15:1). This was before the last battle described in verse 15. Assume that half the mighty men were married, and the average number of children per family was 3. Based on the foregoing, the total casualties of Coriantumr's people may be reasonably estimated as 1 million unmarried men, plus 1 million married men, plus 1 million wives, plus 3 million children, making the total dead approximately 6 million. Where are the bones?
 According to the BOM, Coriantumr saw that there were 2 million fallen soldiers (Ether 15:1). What sort of sword would they have? A reasonable analog may be found in the typical leaf-bladed sword of the classical era, as depicted in the battle scene frieze at the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, circa 300 BC. A typical 26" bladed sword, with a diamond cross-section blade of 0.4" maximum thickness, and a blade width varying from 1-3/4" to 3 inches, would contain about 0.0074 cubic feet of iron and weigh about 3.6 pounds. The swords from the dead would make 14,800 cubic feet of iron, enough to build a 2 story high solid cube, 24.5 feet to a side. This iron would weigh about 3566 tons or more than the combined weight of two World War II U. S. Navy Mayo class destroyers. Where is the iron?
 According to the BOM, after 4 years of gathering "all the people upon the face of the land", the armies of Coriantumr and Shiz went to battle. Men, women, children, equipped with shields, breastplates, head-plates (sic), swords, spears, etc. (Ether 15:14-15). How large were the armies gathered? The BOM does not state, but has previously reported the dead for the campaign as numbering in the millions. Assuming that the two peoples have been much depleted by war, how many remained to gather for the final struggle of the Jaredite peoples? What number is reasonable for each army after an assembly period of 4 years? 1 million? 600,000? 100,000? If each army finally had 100,000 people after the "gathering together" for 4 years, then in the final battle 200,000 persons were engaged. If each person had a sword, a shield, a "head-plate", and a breastplate, that posits, at a minimum, approximately 800,000 large iron or bronze artifacts from the last battle alone. This does not even begin to add in iron or bronze arrowheads, a minimum of 6 to 10, each, per archer, and pike or spear heads, which would be reasonably expected to be one per combatant, at least among heavy infantry. All of these artifacts should be in the vicinity of the hill Ramah, also known as Cumorah, which is the hill where Joseph Smith later reported finding the Book of Mormon plates. (Ether 15:11). Given that this last battle of the Jaredites occurred prior to the Nephites arrival in the new world, we can date the event no later than about 600 BC. Since the battles were lost from memory of the inhabitants at that time, some time earlier, say 800 BC is more likely. Wrought iron is usually well preserved over time as, unlike steel, it rusts very slowly. Bronze corrodes very slowly. It has only been about 2800 years since that last battle of the Jaredites. Where are the iron and bronze artifacts? Why have literally hundreds of thousands of swords, breastplates, helmets, shield bosses, arrowheads, spear points, pike heads, etc., not been found in the vicinity of Palmyra, Wayne County, New York?
 According to the Book of Mormon, Shule, great grandson of Jared, made swords out of steel (Ether 7:9). The BOM elsewhere defines a generation as 110 years (4 Nephi 1:18). If Shule was a man of 30 when he made war on Corihor, Shule was making steel approximately 360 years after the time of the Tower of Babel, or circa 2040 BC, according to traditional Biblical chronology. Hammer-worked damascus "steel", which is actually a low carbon wrought iron, originated around 200 AD, and true carbon steel was not developed until the late 1300's. Even assuming the reference was to damascus steel, how did Shule make steel 2200 years early?
 According to the BOM, Nephi taught his people to work in iron and steel, circa 588 BC (2 Nephi 5:15). How did the Nephites work in steel, roughly 800 years before it was invented?
 The BOM states that Nephi is the son of the prophet Lehi, and all the Nephites are his descendents. Lehi is referred to as a Jew, a life-long Jerusalem resident, who led his family to the Red Sea wilderness circa 600 BC (1 Nephi 1:4). Nephi says his father speaks the language of the Egyptians (1 Nephi 1:2). Why would a faithful Jew, who lived in Jerusalem his entire life, speak Egyptian, and not Hebrew? To whom would he speak it?
 The BOM says that Nephi taught the people to work in iron and copper, steel, gold and silver and precious ores, which were "in great abundance" (2 Nephi 5:15). In spite of the claimed abundance, when Nephi began to build a temple after the manner of the " temple of Solomon, it was not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land "(2 Nephi 5:16). Are gold and silver and precious ores scarce, or are they abundant? Why this inconsistency?
 The BOM makes no claim to perfection. Nephi excuses himself several times for possible errors, and remarks that what he has written is what he thought was sacred (1 Nephi 19:6). Mormon reports that his people write "altered" Hebrew, but that the plates aren't big enough to contain the "altered" Hebrew writing so he is forced to use their "other language". It is this use of the "other language" which makes the record imperfect (Mormon 9:31, 33). Moroni remarks " if there be faults, they are the faults of man "(Mormon 8:17). Even their calendar keeping is unsure: "And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time "(3 Nephi 8:2). Why are the scribes of the Book of Mormon not confident of divine inspiration and the correctness of their record?
 The BOM refers to itself as a "true record" (3 Nephi 8:1, Moroni 10:29). How can a reader be assured that it contains the truth of the Gospel, since the writers also admit that it may contain error and therefore, the assurance that it is a "true" record might also be in error?"
 The BOM reports that when the prophet Abinadi, quoted by Mosiah, teaches the Ten Commandments in the Court of King Noah, he quotes the Sixth Commandment as "Thou shalt not kill"(Mosiah 13:21). The King James Version of the Bible also renders the commandment "Thou shalt not kill", which is actually a minor translation error (Exodus 20:13, Deuteronomy 5:17). The actual Hebrew text of the Old Testament uses the word "rae-sah", meaning to "murder" or to "kill unlawfully", as does the text of the Septuagint. To "murder" is a very different thing indeed from "kill". Modern English language Bible translations use the more correct English word "murder". Why does Abinadi, circa 148 BC, who should know the correct wording and the original Hebrew text, make the exact same mistake as the translators of the King James Bible?
 The BOM reports that the prophet Abinadi quotes the Sixth Commandment as "Thou shalt not kill" (Mosiah 13:21). Why does Abinadi use the Elizabethan English word "shalt"? If Abinadi did not, but used the correct reformed Egyptian term, why didnt the translator of the BOM translate that word into the modern English term "shall", which would have been correct usage in 1830, rather than the already archaic "shalt"?
 The BOM uses the word "synagogue" such as " in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews "(Alma 16:13). Several other uses also occur (2 Nephi 26:26, Helaman 3:9, Moroni 7:1). "Synagogue" is a Greek word, not adopted by the Jews until the time of the Diaspora, and after the destruction of Solomon's temple. The word first appears in the Septuagint Greek Old Testament, circa 250 BC, 340 years after the BOM reports that the Nephites left Israel. Why did someone writing "reformed Egyptian", and who could have known no Greek, use a Greek word? Why did the translator not use an appropriate synonymous English term, such as "meeting place"? Synagogues did not even exist when the Nephites left Israel - how did Alma and the Nephites even know about "synagogues after the manner of the Jews"?
 The BOM speaks of "baptism" (1 Nephi 20:1)? The concept does not occur in the Old Testament. More importantly, the word is from the Greek "baptisos", and would have no meaning to anyone of that era who did not speak Greek. How did Nephi know the Greek term?
 The Book of Mormon says the Lamanites who " were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome " were cursed by the Lord who " did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them". The curse was to remain until the Lamanites repented of their iniquities (2 Nephi 30:6). The BOM reports that the Lamanites who had converted to the Lord had the curse removed from them, and their skin became white, and their young men and daughters became exceedingly fair (3 Nephi 2:15-16). The BOM also emphatically teaches that God does not change (3 Nephi 24:6, Mormon 9:9, Moroni 8:18). Since God does not change, do modern day Lamanites (American Indians) who become Mormons, become white?
 The BOM never mentions bronze. Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, is mentioned in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the OT and was used in the construction of Solomon's temple. Certainly with the metals available in North America, bronze would have been easily made. Copper-tin alloys melt easily and had been in common use for over 2000 years throughout the Near East at the time of the Nephites. Bronze is of much greater value than brass, because it is tough, not brittle, does not work harden, and can be made into excellent edged weapons and tools such as knives, swords and razors. The KJV of the Bible never mentions bronze by name either, mistranslating the Hebrew term for bronze, "nehoset", as either "brass" or "steel". The commonly used metal bronze is totally absent from the KJV because of a translation mistake. Why is bronze totally absent from the BOM?
 The BOM speaks of "swords of steel" and " a bow of steel". Prior to the Nephites leaving Israel, Laban is described as having a "sword of precious steel" circa 600 BC (1 Nephi 4:9). While still in Israel, Nephi breaks a "bow of fine steel", circa 592 BC (1 Nephi 16:18). The BOM footnotes at the latter passage cite the Bible for a description of similar bows (2 Samuel 22:35, Psalm 18:34). The King James Version uses the word "steel" in both passages, but that is actually a minor mistranslation of the Hebrew word "nehoset", meaning "copper or bronze", because damascus wrought steel did not exist until about 200 AD. Modern Bible translations use the correct word "bronze". "Steel" appears in the KJV because of a translation error. Why does "steel" appear in the BOM?
 According to the BOM, there is a Nephite city named "Judea" (Alma 56:15). The name Judea is Latin, the Roman term for the province that was once the Kingdom of Judah. The Nephites left Israel prior to the development of the classical Latin language. They spoke "reformed Egyptian" and knew no Latin. Why is a Latin name given to the city?
 According to the BOM, numbered among the 12 Nephite Disciples were Timothy, his son Jonas, and another Jonas (3 Nephi 19:4). Timothy is a Greek name, and one unknown in the Old Testament. Jonas is a Greek name as well, being the Greek form of the Hebrew name "Jonah". How did men who spoke "reformed Egyptian" and were Jews who knew no Greek, get Greek names?
 The BOM tells of Jacob reading to the people from the book of Isaiah. Jacob reads " art thou not he that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon?" (2 Nephi 8:9). This is a quote from Isaiah 51:9. The same passage in the King James Version also refers to the wounded creature as a "dragon". This is a minor mistranslation of the Hebrew word "tanniyn", which translates into English literally as "monster of the deep". The fact that the "monster" and "Rahab" are the same thing is made clear by the context and usage-"Rahab" is a term used for the sea-monster sometimes referred to as Leviathan. Modern translations use the correct English word "monster". The word "dragon" appears in the KJV because of a translation error. Why does the word "dragon" appear in the BOM?
 The Book of Mormon speaks of extensive "cement" construction. It states " the people who went forth became exceedingly expert in the working of cement; therefore they did build houses of cement, in the which they did dwell" (Helaman 3:7). It also reports "And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement " (Helaman 3:9). Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines cement as "a powder of alumina, silica, lime, iron oxide and magnesia burned together in a kiln and finely pulverized and used as an ingredient in making mortar and concrete". More generally, cement is a fine gray powder, which when mixed with water acts as a binder of sand and gravel into a matrix called "concrete". Cement, by itself, has no structural strength and is useless as a construction material, except as a mortar or grout between masonry. It is physically impossible to build a house of "cement". The term "cement" is frequently wrongly applied to "concrete". Is the description of the construction as being of "cement" in error, and were the "cement" houses actually built of concrete? How did the writer make this error? If concrete is not the correct word, how was construction of "cement houses" possible?
 The Book of Mormon speaks of widespread construction using "cement". Cement was used in the land "northward", for the construction of houses and "many cities", circa 46 BC (Helaman 3:7,3:9,3:11). Since it is physically impossible to use cement as a building material by itself, clearly the word "concrete" is intended. Roman engineers built many public works using concrete during the last century BC. Many of these Roman constructions still exist, or their ruins may be seen. The BOM says that the people of the land northward "began to cover the face of the whole earth". Certainly, the reader may infer that there were great numbers of concrete houses built. If there were "many" cities and numerous houses made from concrete by the Nephites in the land "northward", why have no concrete ruins been found in North America?
 The Book of Mormon reports that Moses parted the Red Sea, led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, and "swallowed up the Egyptians in the Red Sea" (Mosiah 7:19, Helaman 8:11, Alma 36:28). The actual Hebrew term used in Exodus is "Yam Suph", literally "Sea of Reeds" (Exodus 13:18, 14:2). The King James Version of the Bible mistranslates the term as "red sea". Many modern translations continue to refer to the "Red Sea", but note that the phrase actually translates as "Reed Sea". The Hebrews were instructed by God to camp by the sea, opposite Ba-al-ze-phon (Baal Zephon). Recent archeological discoveries indicate that Baal Zephon was located on the shores of Lake Menzaleh, which is located about 20 miles east of the city of Rameses. Lake Menzaleh is very large, being approximately 22 miles wide along its east-west axis, is composed of fresh water, and has reeds. The Red Sea is salt water, and has no reeds. The sea crossed by the Hebrews is referred to as the "Red Sea", due to a minor mistranslation in the KJV of the Bible. Why does the Book of Mormon duplicate this translation error?
 The BOM reports that according to the record of Helaman, circa 72 BC, Lehonti gathered a group of Lamanites " upon the top of the mount which was called Antipas, in preparation to battle" (Alma 47:7, 47:9, 47:10). Herod Antipas, sometimes erroneously referred to as "king", was the Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. He executed John the Baptist, and interrogated Jesus at the request of Pilate (Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29, Luke 23:7-12). Antipas is also the name of a martyr of Pergamum ( Revelation 2:13). The name Antipas is unknown in the Old Testament, and is Greek, meaning literally "for all or against all". None of the Nephites or Lamanites spoke Greek. How did the mountain Antipas get a Greek name?
 The Book of Mormon, in comparing the downfall of a Babylonian king with the casting out of Satan from heaven, says " how are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!"(2 Nephi 24:12). The word "Lucifer" is used in the King James Version to describe Satan, in Isaiah 14:12. The Hebrew term used is "heylel", or literally "morning star". The word "Lucifer", itself, is Latin for "morning star". Why does Nephi record Isaiah speaking Latin, circa 550 BC, approximately 40 years before the founding of the Roman republic, and roughly two centuries before the full development of the classical Latin language?
 The Book of. Mormon speaks of the prophet Samuel the Lamanite, who states that an angel told him that at the death of the Christ " darkness should cover the face of the whole earth for the space of three days "(Helaman 14:27). " there shall be no light upon the face of this land for the space of three days "(Helaman 14:20). The BOM reports that the prophecy was fulfilled (3 Nephi 8:19-24). Did the darkness cover the "whole earth", or just "this land"? If this complete, impenetrable, inky darkness covered the "whole earth", why do none of the historians of the period report this event? Why are the ancient historians of that era such as Pliny, Tacitus, Flavius Josephus, and Eusebius completely silent about this? A three-day impenetrable darkness, covering the entire world, would be yet another miracle proving Christ's deity, and would have been noticed and remarked upon by Jew and pagan alike. Why do the Gospel writers fail to mention, in any way, this unmistakable supernatural occurrence?
 The Book of Mormon quotes Jacob, circa 550 BC as saying " and they shall crucify him that he be crucified"(2 Nephi 10:3, 10:6). Jacob is also quoted " view his death and suffer his cross " (Jacob 1:8). The cross was a Roman punishment, brought to Israel by the Romans. Crucifixion was unheard of in the Mediterranean world until Alexander the Great brought it from Persia to Egypt and Carthage circa 325 BC. The Romans learned of it during their Punic Wars with Carthage, 225 BC to 140 BC. The Nephites left Israel 270 years before the time of Alexander the Great, long before crucifixion came to the eastern Mediterranean lands. The terms "cross", "crucifixion" and "crucify" would be meaningless to them. Why does Jacob refer repeatedly to an alien method of capital punishment to a people who can have no knowledge of it, but without providing an explanation?
 The Book of Mormon uses the word "lucre" on two occasions (Mosiah 29:40. Alma 11:24). The word "lucre " is Latin. The King James Version of the Bible uses the word lucre six times, each time to describe sinfully gained or idolatrous money. The KJV adopted the usage from the Latin language Vulgate Bible. Why does the Book of Mormon use Latin?
 According to the Book of Mormon, Jacob prophesies that when the Jews believe in Christ, they shall be returned to their lands." thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then I have covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance" (2 Nephi 10:7). The Jews have been restored to Israel since 1948, and very few of them believe in Christ. How is this possible?
 The Book of Mormon recounts that Lehi and Sariah, his wife, are Jews, formerly residents of Jerusalem. The people led by their son, Nephi, are Jews, as well, because the Hebrew laws say that the son of a Jewish mother, is a Jew. The Nephites then are Jews, and the BOM says they are a people who keep and uphold the law of Moses " And we did observe to keep the judgements, and the statutes and the commandments of the Lord in all things, according to the law of Moses." (2 Nephi 5:10). " we keep the law of Moses " ( 2 Nephi 25:24). "Yea, and the people did observe to keep the commandments of the Lord; and they were strict in observing the ordinances of God, according to the law of Moses; for they were taught to keep the law of Moses until it should be fulfilled." (Alma 30:3). The Passover, (Hebrew Pesach ) is one of the three feasts of the Law of Moses (Exodus 12:1-28, Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 28:16, Deuteronomy 16:1-8). It is the commemoration of God's rescue of His people from the captivity of Egypt. The Passover is a foreshadow of Christ's atonement, and indeed, in the Bible, Jesus is frequently referred to as the Lamb of God, since He is the ransom sacrifice, literally the Passover lamb, sacrificed as a sin offering for all the people. The Passover is the single most important observance of the Jewish people, outside the Temple. In the King James Version of the Bible, the Old Testament, which was written for and about the Jews, speaks of Passover 47 times. The New Testament, even though directed mostly to Gentiles, refers to the Passover 28 times. The Book of Mormon does not mention Passover one single time. Why is this?
 Elephants in new world
 Horses in the new world raised by Jaredites and Nephites
 Military Operational problem of Logistics to feed, and fuel and water 3 million soldiers and 4 million camp followers ( Jaredites) and 230000 Nephites
 Military Operational problem of maneuver room for 3 million soldiers plus 3 million of their opponents (Jaredites) and 230000 Nephites plus 500000 or so Lamanites.
 The Book of Mormon provides an account of the apocalyptic last battle between the Nephites and Lamanites, circa 385 AD. According to the report, 230,000 Nephites were slain in one day of battle with the Lamanites (Mormon 6:10-14). No statement is given of the number of Lamanites engaged, but Mormon's report declares of the Nephites " every soul was filled with terror because of the greatness of their numbers." (Mormon 6:8). What would be terrifying to a hardened army in full battle array? To be outnumbered two to one ? To be outnumbered five to one? Combat ratios of 1.5 to 1 appear throughout classical battle history, and even this ratio would be disconcerting when facing a skillful foe. Using a 1.5 to 1 ratio provides an estimate of at least 345,000 Lamanites and seems a reasonable minimum in accord with the phrase "greatness of their numbers". If this is the case, then 230,000 Nephites (who were all killed) and 345,000 Lamanites (at a minimum) fought at the Battle of Cumorah. These casualty figures make Cumorah the single largest 1-day battle in the history of the world. Examining the accounts of classical historical battles of the same general era, such as Marathon, 490 BC; Chaeronea, 338 BC; Trasimeno Lake, 217 BC; Cannae, 216 BC; Zama, 202 BC; Teutoburger Wald, 9AD; and Adrianople, 378 AD is instructive. The Battle of Cumorah is 9 times larger, in terms of combatants, than the Battle of Marathon. It is 8 times bigger than the Battle of Chaeronea, 8 times larger than the Battle of Trasimeno Lake. It is a battle 5 times larger than the Battle of Cannae, where Hannibal almost obliterated a Roman army nearly twice the size of his Carthaginian soldiery. Cumorah is 7 times bigger than the Battle of Zama, 10 times bigger than the Battle of Teutoburger Wald, and 5 times bigger than the Battle of Adrianople. This battle of immense proportions, is unmatched by any battle in size throughout the "muscle-power, hand to hand combat " era. This battle, as reported, is the biggest battle in all human history until the First World War. This enormous battle has left absolutely no physical trace. No helmet, no breastplate, no ax head, no spear point, no javelin, no dart, has been found in Wayne County, New York. No iron or bronze arrowhead, chariot wheel, shield boss, sword blade, pike head, sword hilt, spur, bronze bow, Nephite coin, sandal buckle, has ever been recovered at the hill Cumorah outside of Palmyra. How is this possible?
The BOM discusses glass and steel centuries before they were invented. It describes a river in Israel which cannot be found and for which there is no geological evidence. The BOM fails to mention at all, bronze, one of the most commonly used metals of the ancient world, curiously mirroring a translation error of the King James Version of the Bible in this matter. The BOM depicts the speaking of Greek before the language existed and Greek names being used by people who cannot know Greek. The BOM contains "furious" winds that cannot be furious and recounts the inability of a Hebrew people to read Hebrew correctly. The BOM contains numerous linguistic anomalies that exactly match trivial errors made by the translators of the King James Version of the Bible. When we examine the BOM using the yardstick established by President Joseph Smith and Apostle Talmadge, there are definite problems in meeting the standard for correctness, accuracy and logic and common sense.
b) The Book of Mormon mentions by name 47 great walled cities. It discusses large and opulent royal palaces, at least one Solomon-style temple, and other temples used by the people for worship. It speaks of chariots, precious metal coinage (Alma 11:6, 11:11, 11:19), armor of all types, plow agriculture, and warfare by massed armies of hundreds of thousands. Why have no pre-Columbian artifacts of this nature been found in North or South America, when such items should number in the tens of millions? No swords, iron spearheads, iron arrowheads, Nephite or Jaredite coins, body armor, plowshares, or military accoutrements have been found associated with the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas. The BOM speaks of chariots, but no pre-Columbian wheel has been found. Where are the ruins of walled cities, and the temples built like Solomon's? The BOM speaks of ores several times, and says they are in great abundance. To have abundance of "ores" requires extensive mining operations. Where are the piles of mine tailings?
The BOM speaks of elephants and horses being in the New World, but there were no horses until the Spaniards brought them and zoologists report that no elephants have lived in the Americas since before the last Ice Age.
c) Solomon Spalding was a retired Congregational minister who turned his hand to writing romantic historical novels, His first novel, entitled MANUSCRIPT STORY, was published circa 1810, and met with modest success. It discussed the lives and possible origins of the first inhabitants of modern North America as they built cities, waged wars and developed a culture. The handwritten final draft exists to this day in the collection of Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio. Around 1812, Spalding began to write another novel, entitled MANUSCRIPT FOUND. The theme was similar to that of the previous work, with strange and fanciful names for the main characters, who were of the lost tribes of the Israelites. Spalding completed his novel, in handwritten form, and shipped it to a Pittsburgh printer in late 1815 or early 1816. Shortly thereafter, Spalding died. The handwritten draft of MANUSCRIPT FOUND disappeared from the print shop.
In the 1830's, a number of Spalding's friend's and relatives, who had heard Mormon preachers or encountered the BOM, raised the claim that it was an edited version of the missing MANUSCRIPT FOUND. A number of them swore out affidavits to that effect. The controversy died down however, over time, as the claimants had to rely on indirect means to support their allegation, and there was no way to pay for any prolonged effort nor any hope of recovery of monetary damages.
During the preparation for publication of the Book of Mormon, sometime in the early summer of 1828, the manuscript was temporarily left in the custody of Martin Harris. While in Harris' charge, 116 pages of the completed manuscript of the BOM were destroyed. The Doctrine and Covenants subsequently contains instructions for Joseph Smith not to reproduce what he had already completed, but to do an exposition of the same information, from another set of plates. (D&C 3, D&C 10:1-42). The new second effort is part of the final pre-publication handwritten draft of the BOM, which is in the custody of the LDS Church. Over the years, the handwriting of the scribes who assisted Joseph Smith has been identified with the pages they wrote, but handwriting on 12 of them remained a mystery.
In 1976, the LDS Church allowed scientific investigation and examination of the 12 pages attributed to the "Unknown Scribe". A handwriting analysis was conducted by a number of experts, who were qualified to testify in Federal courts on the subject of handwriting and questioned documents. These experts compared the "Unknown Scribe" pages of the BOM handwritten pre-publication draft, with the handwritten draft of Spalding's first novel, MANUSCRIPT STORY, as well as several deeds and mortgages signed by Spalding. The conclusion of every expert was that the handwriting of the Unknown Scribe matched Spalding's handwriting.
Why does a handwritten text, which is word-for-word a portion of the Book of Mormon, bear the handwriting of a man who died 14 years before the Book of Mormon was first published, and 5 years before Joseph Smith dates the First Vision?
2) As can be seen from above, there are substantial claims that can be made against the BOM.
14) Mormons don't claim to be Protestant
There is no disagreement on this point. Protestantism is the revived Christian orthodoxy of the Reformation, and as has been previously discussed, the LDS Church proudly and wholeheartedly rejects Christian orthodoxy.
15) LDS use the term "Gentile" for those who are not Jews, and who have not become members of the Church.
Modern Christians use the term very little, if at all, as the word was a Jewish usage for those who were not circumcised Jews, and were therefore unclean. By the time of Christ, the term "Greek" was often substituted, but it meant the same thing-a pagan who was not a member of the tribe of Abraham. One of the points the Apostle Paul continually emphasized, was that in Christ there was no longer a distinction between Greek and Jew. A Gentile, according to the LDS Church, as described in the BOM and the D & C, is someone who is neither a Jew nor a member of the LDS Church. (2 Nephi 29:3, 3 Nephi 15:22, 3 Nephi 16:10, Ether 12:23, D & C 18:26,D&C 19:27, D & C 107:25, 33-35). The General Authorities also teach that "...there is no salvation outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints..." (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966 Edition, page 670). To the LDS, a Gentile is also one of the unsaved- a mission field. This is another statement, although indirect, that the LDS Church is not a Christian church. ________________________________________________________________________
16) The LDS Church is accused by Christians of considering non-whites to be subhuman, or they suggest that the Church is racist. LDS don't consider non-whites to be subhuman. Since more than half of the worldwide Mormon population is NOT white, they dont think LDS teaching is that they are subhuman either.
The discussion was perhaps confusing the term "non-whites" with "blacks". Historically, the Mormon Church did not consider blacks for full membership-black men could not be admitted to the priesthood, which means, in terms of LDS doctrine, that while they could reach the Celestial Heaven, they would do so as servants, and not as gods themselves. This was because blacks are considered to be descendents of Cain. They were supposed to have received their skin color, and lineage as a punishment for misdeeds in the pre-existence, typically for having been "less than valiant" in the heavenly battle between Eloheim and the rebellious Lucifer and his angels. Brigham Young said that the mark of Cain was "black skin"(Journal of Discourses 7:290). Apostle Bruce R. McConkie states " as a result of his rebellion, Cain was cursed with a dark skin; he became the father of the Negroes, and those spirits who were not worthy to receive the priesthood are born through his lineage "(Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition, page 109)." The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them Negroes are not equal to other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned " (Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition page 527). Mormon scripture says that the Lord put a blackness on the children of Canaan, and they were despised by all people (Pearl of Great Price, Moses 7:8). President Brigham Young said " Shall I tell you of the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to a chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so " (Journal of Discourses 10:110). After firmly holding to the doctrine of the denial of the priesthood to blacks since the beginning, the LDS Church abandoned it. On June 9, 1978, President Spencer Kimball delivered a new revelation to the LDS Church, declaring that as of that date, worthy Negro men could hold the priesthood. This revelation brings significant change, but it spite of this doctrinal change, the remainder of Mormon doctrine remains the same, following the teachings of the Mormon scriptures. "Black skin" whether in the American Indian (Lamanite) or Negroid peoples, is still considered the mark of a curse from God, and a punishment for rebellion and rejection of God.
In direct contrast to LDS teaching, the Bible teaches that no one is now, or ever has been excluded from the Salvation of Jesus Christ, based on their skin color or language or ethnic origin. The Gospel is for all nations and times. The Apostle Peter told a Gentile, the Roman centurion Cornelius " God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean" (Acts 10:28-29). In Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, bond or free, Barbarian or Scythian, male or female, or any other differentiation. (Colossians 3:10-11, Galatians 3:26-29). In stark opposition to LDS doctrine, the Bible tells of one of the first Gentile converts at the start of the great expansion of the Church. This convert was the treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia, a black man. The Holy Spirit dispatched the Apostle Philip to this man, who accepted Christ and went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:26-39). The Bible tells Christians to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). There is no differentiation by skin color.
There is a 180-degree difference between the teachings of the Bible, and the historic doctrines of the LDS Church with regard to non-whites.
Facts and figures and elegant arguments can be presented in order to prove the truth of orthodox Christianity, but ultimately, no human agency convicts or converts or saves, that is solely the office of the Holy Ghost. Nevertheless, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD "(Isaiah 1:18 KJV). Reason is God-given and useful in examining claims and counterclaims in the search for truth.
The correct answer to the question of "what must I do to be saved", is of eternal significance. The universal historic Christian church has one unequivocal response. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints offers another very plain, and very different, answer. The two answers are mutually exclusive. Either it is true that the Gospel was once for all given to the saints, to be carried to the world by a church of which Jesus declared " the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", or it is true that the Gospel message of the Bible has been irretrievably corrupted, historic Christendom has fallen into abject and total apostasy, and Joseph Smith is the agent of restoring the true church to the face of the earth, and the Book of Mormon is a gift from God.
After the salvation question, the discussion must necessarily turn to the person and nature of Jesus Christ. On one hand, is the Christian Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, the uncreated, eternally existing, second person of the Trinity, who has no beginning and no end. On the other hand is the Mormon Jesus, a limited, created being, the physical offspring of Eloheim, the spirit brother of Satan and all humanity, who was chosen at a "council of the gods" to be savior of the world. There is, once again, no middle ground.
An examination of the available information reveals that there are significant and overwhelming logical problems to the truth claims of the LDS Church. It is a principle of logic, that if A is true, and B is true and C is true, then A and C will not conflict with each other, and neither will A and B, or B and C. Another principle states that if A and B conflict with each other, then both cannot be true. The special scriptures and doctrines of the LDS Church, which all claim to be true, and divinely revealed by the power of God, are in conflict with each other. The Book of Mormon conflicts with the Doctrine & Covenants in numerous places. The official doctrines of the LDS Church conflict frequently with the Book of Mormon. As can be seen, these are not minor conflicts, but foundational problems. The conflicts relate to such things as the nature of God, the nature of mankind, the nature of hell, the nature of Creation, the means of Incarnation. Each position presented claims to be "correct", but logically, they both cannot be true.
The inquirer must then turn to an examination of the Book of Mormon, itself, using the information contained in its pages. Using the yardstick established by Joseph Smith and leading LDS Apostles, namely that the book is the most correct on earth, and that it does not conflict with science, nature or history, it is found grossly wanting. The Book of Mormon depicts barges that cannot have window glass that hasnt yet been invented, and a voyage by those same barges that is twelve times longer than the longest possible distance. The BOM speaks of steel being used before its invention, and describes a non-existent river in the Sinai desert flowing into the Red Sea. The Book of Mormon describes tens of thousands of concrete houses across North America, and massive walled cities such as those of the ancient Middle East, of which no remains can be found. It describes enormous military campaigns fought by chariot riding and helmet and breastplate wearing soldiers, armed with swords and axes, these campaigns resulting in millions of dead, but which have not left one iron or bronze artifact. It describes a one day battle 5 times larger than any other one day battle in recorded history, with more dead soldiers in that one day than any other battle in history, but again, which has left not one artifact. The Book of Mormon introduces the reader to a Hebrew people who claim to carefully follow the Law of Moses, but never once even mention the Passover in their sacred records. The BOM describes this same a Hebrew people, who do not know Greek, have never been exposed to Greek culture or language but who, in spite of the lack, have Greek personal and place names. The Book of Mormon acquaints the reader with a Hebrew prophet who misquotes the plain Hebrew wording of the Ten Commandments. The logical problems pile up, one upon another. The physical and historical claims expressed in the Book of Mormon range from the merely insupportable to the extremely implausible to the absolutely impossible.
At last, one must examine the LDS church teachings and writings in comparison with the teachings of the Bible. The Book of Mormon and the Doctrine & Covenants conflict with the Bible on multiple occasions. The Book of Mormon belittles and denigrates the Bible. The D & C proclaims revelations which are in direct opposition to the plain teachings of the Bible, whether in the Old Testament teachings accepted by Jew and Christian alike, or the New Testament teachings of the Faith "once for all given to the saints". The BOM and the LDS Church depict a flawed and damaged Bible that cannot be trusted. On the contrary, enormous volumes of data demonstrate the Bible to be indeed the most trustworthy document handed down from ancient times, and there is not a scintilla of historical evidence to support the claims of the LDS Church.
Using the God-given tools of reason, logic, historical inquiry, operations research, and Biblical comparison, the verdict is clear. The LDS Church, and its doctrines, in spite of being a "marvelous work and a wonder", in the eyes of men, are a very weak thread upon which to hang the destiny of an immortal soul. Ultimately, each person will have to answer for their actions before the judgement seat of God. Those who choose to follow the Book of Mormon and the teachings of the LDS Church are following a false Christ and risk being told by the Master " I never knew you, depart from me "(Matthew 7:23 KJV).
This apologetic paper has been reviewed by my Pastor, the Reverend Dr. Bruce M. Wood, under whose oversight my efforts are conducted. The Christian doctrinal statements are in conformity with the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed and the Lausanne Covenant. Any discussion of LDS doctrine is my responsibility and any error of omission or commission is mine alone.
Gregory K. Taggart College Station, Texas
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Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version
How to Answer a Mormon, Robert A. Morey
The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English
Journal of Discourses
Letters to a Mormon Elder, James R. White
A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, H.E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, MacMillan Book Company, New York, 1959
A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, Apostle Le Grand Richards, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1950
The Maze of Mormonism, Dr. Walter Martin
Mormon Doctrine, 1966 edition, Apostle Bruce R. McConkie
Mormonism: Shadow or Reality, Gerald and Sandra Tanner
Nelson's Three-In-One Bible Reference Companion
The New Strong's Concordance of the Bible, Concise Edition (King James Version)
The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Portable Edition (King James Version)
The NIV Study Bible
Pearl of Great Price 1967 Edition
The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English, Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton, Samuel Bagster and Sons, London, 1851, reprint, Hendrickson Publishers 1998
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary
The Westminster Confession of Faith
Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon? By Howard Davis, Wayne Cowdrey, and Donald Scales
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy *catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE LAUSANNE COVENANT
We, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, from more than 150 nations, participants in the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne, praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with each other. We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the Gospel is God's good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation. We desire, therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolve, and to make public our covenant.
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD
We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who govern all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ's body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame that we have often denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming conformed to the world or by withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew. (Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6, 18; Eph 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 12:2; II Cor. 4:7)
2. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE
We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God's word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women. For God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God's people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God. (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt. 5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is only one Saviour and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognise that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because of sin, but God loves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Saviour of the world" is not to affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God's love for a world of sinners and to invite everyone to respond to him as Saviour and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall confess him Lord. (Gal. 1:6-9;Rom. 1:18-32; I Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; II Pet. 3:9; II Thess. 1:7-9;John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
4. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM
To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Saviour and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world. (I Cor. 15:3,4; Acts 2: 32-39; John 20:21; I Cor. 1:23; II Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, colour, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty. For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbour and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead. (Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Joh. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; II Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM
We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. In the Church's mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at the very centre of God's cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross. It becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion and finance. The church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology. (John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17; II Cor. 6:3,4; II Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM
We affirm that the Church's visible unity in truth is God's purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organisational unity may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We confess that our testimony has sometimes been marred by a sinful individualism and needless duplication. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and mission. We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for the furtherance of the Church's mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources and experience. (John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John 17:11-23)
8. CHURCHES IN EVANGELISTIC PARTNERSHIP
We rejoice that a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing. God is raising up from the younger churches a great new resource for world evangelization, and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to evangelise belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches should therefore be asking God and themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area and to send missionaries to other parts of the world. A reevaluation of our missionary responsibility and role should be continuous. Thus a growing partnership of churches will develop and the universal character of Christ's Church will be more clearly exhibited. We also thank God for agencies which labor in Bible translation, theological education, the mass media, Christian litterature, evangelism, missions, church renewal and other specialist fields. They too should engage in constant self-examination to evaluate their effectiveness as part of the Church's mission. (Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3, I Thess. 1:6-8)
9. THE URGENCY OF THE EVANGELISTIC TASK
More than 2,700 million people, which is more than two-thirds of all humanity, have yet to be evangelised. We are ashamed that so many have been neglected; it is a standing rebuke to us and to the whole Church. There is now, however, in many parts of the world an unprecedented receptivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are convinced that this is the time for churches and para-church agencies to pray earnestly for the salvation of the unreached and to launch new efforts to achieve world evangelization. A reduction of foreign missionaries and money in an evangelised country may sometimes be necessary to facilitate the national church's growth in self-reliance and to release resources for unevangelised areas. Missionaries should flow ever more freely from and to all six continents in a spirit of humble service. The goal should be, by all available means and at the earliest possible time, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to receive the good news. We cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which causes it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism. (John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; I Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7; Jas. 1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE
The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because men and women are God's creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too frequently exported with the gospel an alien culture and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to Scripture. Christ's evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God. (Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen. 4:21,22; I Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; II Cor. 4:5)
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP
We confess that we have sometimes pursued church growth at the expense of church depth, and divorced evangelism from Christian nurture. We also acknowledge that some of our missions have been too slow to equip and encourage national leaders to assume their rightful responsibilities. Yet we are committed to indigenous principles, and long that every church will have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination but of service. We recognise that there is a great need to improve theological education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there should be an effective training programme for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programmes should not rely on any stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local initiatives according to biblical standards. (Col. I:27,28; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT
We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God's armour and to fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer. For we detect the activity of our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel. We acknowledge that we ourselves are not immune to worldliness of thoughts and action, that is, to a surrender to secularism. For example, although careful studies of church growth, both numerical and spiritual, are right and valuable, we have sometimes neglected them. At other times, desirous to ensure a response to the gospel, we have compromised our message, manipulated our hearers through pressure techniques, and become unduly preoccupied with statistics or even dishonest in our use of them. All this is worldly. The Church must be in the world; the world must not be in the Church. (Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; II Cor. 10:3-5; I John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; II Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
13. FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION
It is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice and liberty in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. We therefore pray for the leaders of nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practise and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for those who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom. At the same time we refuse to be intimidated by their fate. God helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget the warnings of Jesus that persecution is inevitable. (I Tim. 1:1-4, Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
14. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son, without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work. Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole world become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice. (I Cor. 2:4; John 15:26;27; 16:8-11; I Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; II Cor. 3:18; John 7:37-39; I Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; I Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8)
15. THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ's ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the end. We also remember his warning that false Christs and false prophets will arise as precursors of the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that people can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of people in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives. (Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; II Pet. 3:13; Matt. 28:18)
Therefore, in the light of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with God and with each other, to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world. We call upon others to join us. May God help us by his grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia
click on the mp3 in lower right.... and you can get a kick out of it.
Thanks for the 'ping' excellent article.
However, note the comment above, 'no bearing on the Gospel or doctrine'?
The Apocrypha is where the RCC goes to justify Purgatory.
The NAS keeps in the gnostic reading in Jn.1:18 'begotten God', thus giving the impression that Christ is a begotten god, not an eternal one.
For the 'Christian' roots of the Mormon heresies see this article
I am curious whether the resident Mormons think that this accurately states the Mormon belief structure.
Now I understand that they do not necessarily see the pronouncements of all of their 'authorities' as scriptural and are therefore free to later modify them or disown them, but I would think that the direct quotes from the 'book of Mormon' or their other books would be difficult to disown -- and they are pretty dicey as quoted.
As a lawyer, I regard these as statements of 'fact'. Later we can argue on the significance of these statements, but the first querstion is "Are these 'factual' statements conceded to be true?" So I am truly interested whether the resident Mormons agree that the positions attributed to Mormons above are accurate.
Moreover, if they are not, how does the Mormon church explain the cited evidenciary support to another end?
They don't disown their roots--they change them and then deny they ever existed. The Book of Mormon has been changed numerous times (someone counted over 2000 changes). Copies of the original are exceedingly rare since they have been called in and destroyed. There is one in the Bancroft Library at UC, Berkeley. There is also an original Book of Commandments there as well as copies of the early Times and Seasons which contained many "Thus sayeth the Lord" commandments. (My information on this is 30 years old so may have changed).
Your comment has given me an idea.
As a lawyer, I am great believer that the facts often shout so loudly that the argument can't be heard. Has anyone ever taken the 'original' text of the BOM and simply done a redline/strikeout against the 'current' and published it.
Because there are no 'original documents'/translation issues (as with the Bible), then a single change in the BOM is devastating to its credibility.
Is the text of that original at Bancroft available on the net?
As a "non-Christian," I find the various concepts of Christ confusing. From my visits to churches, I have observed the following:
The "Dying Christ." In most Catholic churches, Jesus is commonly depicted in agony on the cross, thorns and all. To me, this seems like a creepy way to represent one's God.
The "Living Christ." Christ is often depicted as a shepherd, watching over his sheep. While the "embodied" Christ may be historically accurate, this Christ no longer exists as a mortal man. If my understanding of Christianity is correct, this Christ has been assimilated into something called the Trinity, which is not perceptible to our eyes, only to our hearts.
The "Eternal Christ." I have also seen pictures of Christ depicted as a resurrected being, surrounded by angels in the heavens, coming down to earth in power and majesty. Wow.
With a religion so widespread as Christianity, perhaps they should standardize their concept of deity. In Buddhism, the image is always the same enlightened peaceful being, whether in Thailand, Japan, China, or America, whether sitting, standing or reclining.
Question for you:
Often when Christians speak of Christ, they do so in the past tense, e.g. He lived, he died on the cross, etc. I would like to know what Jesus is like today. (The concept of the Trinity is incomprehensible to me.) Will we ever be able to actually see Him?
Yes. We will be.
What do you believe about Jesus' resurrection?
If Jesus is all that they say he is, I not only want to see him, I would like to hug Him.
You said this above; now you say that you believe in the resurrection. It sounds like it's time to become a Christian. Don't you think?
I believe in Christ and like to read the Bible, but find some of the "Christian" doctrines very confusing. I'm not ready to make the leap to joining up with any of the various denominations. They are all flawed by their human membership. Why cannot I just hold on to my belief in Christ without committing myself to an organized church?
Wai-ming, in times past God has overlooked those who would not turn to the truth. In our day, however, he has provided an unmistakable sign of the correct path to him. That sign is the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.
This is what the Apostle Paul said: Romans 10: if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
You believe in the resurrection of Jesus. That is awesome.
It is now time to bow your knee to Jesus as Lord.
Make Jesus the Lord of your life. Accept and acknowledge the He is Lord of All. Confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord." Then you will be saved.
That's it? I'm done?
But what if my concept of Christ is different from yours? I want to be sure I'm aligning myself with the "right" one.
The resurrected Christ is my Savior.
Some day, you'll have to explain to me the doctrine of the Trinity. I'm still not sold on it.
Gotta go for now.
Mormon was the father of Moroni. Mormon was the one who was tasked with compiling what becomes The Book of Mormon. He took many different records and edited them Readers Digest style onto the "golden plates." Along the way he adds his own comments, including the Words of Mormon near the middle, when he is about to change the main source of his material.
When he is done compiling the record of the Nephites, he finds he has some room on the plates, so he adds the record of the Jaredites, which becomes the Book of Jared.
After that he adds his own comments about the church structure in what becomes the Book of Mormon. When he is close to death, he gives the record to his son Moroni. Moroni adds a few comments of his own.
Moroni hides the plates. He later appears to Joseph Smith and eventually gives them to Joseph to translate. The whole collection (minus the 116 pages mentioned in the article) becomes the Book of Mormon.
Hence the nick-name.
Can't believe you didn't know that, RNMomof7...
No problem. When I have time, I am always willing to answer questions like this.
What about the original first 116 pages that were lost/stolen? Why didn't Smith re-translate them.
The whole story is in D&C 10. It is much too long to paste here. The summary is that Joseph was ordered not to retranslate them to prevent somebody modifying and then presenting what they claimed to be the original 116 pages and claim that they were different, and therefore that Joseph was not a prophet.
One thing to keep in mind is that Joseph did not do a translation in the way that we think of it. Today we think of somebody taking a sentence, and then turning it into a sentence in the language desired.
What happened with Joseph was that he was given in his mind an impression of what was on the plates. He then took that impression and used his own words in english for what he saw.
In some cases, he was given a word-by-word translation. Other times he was told that, for example, the stuff in the King James version of Isaiah was close enough, so use that. And other times he was just given the thought and had to put it into words the best he could. This helps to explain some of the "modern" words found in the Book of Mormon. They are modern because those are the words that Joseph chose to use when conveying the thought he was given.
Much like I am doing now. I have a thought that I want to pass to you. I am trying to pick the words that best express it. If for some reason the computer lost what I wrote here, I would still have the same thought. However, I would likely use different words to express it.
And that might be the problem Joseph was facing. If he redid the 116 pages, it was likely that some words and phases would be different. And even if it wasn't, there was the fear mentioned above, that somebody would modify the original.
What language did Mormon speak, what was the book written in, and what is the oldest extant version/translation of the original?
I don't think we are told the language that Mormon spoke.
From the record, it would appear that at least five languages were spoken in the Book of Mormon. That of the Etherites. The original of the Nephites/Lamenites (describe by Nephi as "which consists of the learning of the Jews and the language of the Egyptians"). That of the people of Zarahemla ("their language had become corrupted; and they had brought no records with them; ... and Mosiah, nor the people of Mosiah, could understand them"). It appears that the Lamenites eventually spoke a different language than the Nephites ("the language of Nephi began to be taught among all the people of the Lamanites"). And it even appears that the Nephites had a different language than the original (King Benjamin, a Nephite, had three sons, "and he caused that they should be taught in all the language of his fathers").
Who knows what Mormon spoke. He lived near the end of the Book of Mormon history, and about 1000 years passed since the beginning of the Book of Mormon. Think of the changes in english in the last 1000 years.
As for the language on the plates, Mormon 9:32-34 says:
32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.
33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.
34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.
So the plates that Joseph Smith was looking at were written in what Mormon called reformed Egyptian.
Lastly, there are original copies of the first edition of the Book of Mormon available. I've even seen transcripts of it on the internet.
Praise God for your belief, Wai-Ming. You said more than you realize in your above statement. I have been a Christian for most of my life, and I also would like to hug Jesus Christ. I look forward to the day when I can fall at His Feet in Glory and thank Him for everything. With all my problems (not going to burden you people with them, don't worry), Jesus is all that gets me through the day many days. Thakfully, Jesus is all I need.
So the plates that Joseph Smith was looking at were written in what Mormon called reformed Egyptian.
And, Joseph Smith "translated" them into very poor "King James' style" English.
The only original copy of the BM that I know of (and I once searched) is in the Bancroft Library of UC, Berkeley. The copy claimed by the Library of Congress is a reprint. There are probably one or more in the Church archives but they are available only to "eye of faith" historians.
Early church documents were called in and destroyed by Brigham Young when they proved to be controversial. Bancroft (who wrote an history of Utah, among other things)had collected his materials before the recall and when he died his extensive personal library became the core of the Bancroft Library.
Very poor, indeed. The original BM is full of misspellings, poor grammar, and country colloquialisms. People go "thataway" and the like. It's written very much like Mormon was a 19th Century poorly-educated upstate New York boy.
With a religion so widespread as Christianity, perhaps they should standardize their concept of deity. In Buddhism, the image is always the same enlightened peaceful being, whether in Thailand, Japan, China, or America, whether sitting, standing or reclining.
Do you claim to be Buddhist?
It is my understanding that the "same enlightened peaceful being" is not a "diety" nor recognized as such by Buddhists.
Amazing, isn't it?
An entire religion (LDS), with scholars and universtities writing volumes about it - has not one shred of historical proof behind its "unorthodox" claims regarding history, yet millions of otherwise intelligent people accept it as fact.
That, I suppose, is what amazes me most.
I appreciate your discussion, what I have the greatest trouble accepting is the lack of historical or archeological support for the events in the BOM (most notably the people/cities/civilizations/wars ), hence my questions.
And I greatly appreciate a courteous and respectful discussion no matter what our topic or differences may be.
So, I'd like your knowledge, or teaching on your response:
" we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian,. "
Are there any examples (in any media) of these characters/language that have been found in the New World from the time that these people were here using this language/writing?
Also, if you are patient, or know a short answer: what do you make of the mistakes in the BOM of materials and animals not yet invented or on the continent?
Would these be attributed to what you described before: "he [Smith] was given in his mind an impression of what was on the plates. He then took that impression and used his own words in english for what he saw. "
In other words, he "translated" (actually tried to describe?) into something he knew - not knowing it was the wrong something?
I think that most of us are this way. It is too bad that there are a few that like contention. I'll always answer what appears to be a genuine request. I'll tend to ignore the bashers.
Are there any examples (in any media) of these characters/language that have been found in the New World from the time that these people were here using this language/writing?
I am not an expert in this by any means. However, when I think of Egyptian I think of lots of little pictures. We do see lots of little pictures in many of the ruins in central and South America. They certainly are not Egyptian, but maybe they are "reformed" Egyptian. Don't know.
Joseph did copy some characters from the BoM and we have today something that might be that copy. Scan the internet for the Anthon Transcript and you will see what I am talking about. The problem is that they were described at the time as being characters in columns, but what we have today is in rows. Don't know that anybody (besides Hofmann) has resolved that issue.
BTW, the Anthon transcript and the stuff you see in central/South America are not the same.
Also, if you are patient, or know a short answer: what do you make of the mistakes in the BOM of materials and animals not yet invented or on the continent?
Would these be attributed to what you described before: "he [Smith] was given in his mind an impression of what was on the plates. He then took that impression and used his own words in english for what he saw. "
In other words, he "translated" (actually tried to describe?) into something he knew - not knowing it was the wrong something?
That is a very good point that I had never considered before. Thanks.
When I read your comments I thought to myself, how would I describe a llama if I had never seen one before? Might I choose to call it a horse? Especially if it was being used at the time as a pack animal. Then I tried to come up with something that I might confuse into an elephant, and came up blank.
I think it is likely that much of the conflict over suposedly non-existing items could be resolved this way. I think of the Book of Revelation and the images that we read, and only now begin to understand. How would Paul describe tanks and airplanes, or atom bombs? He was given the vision, but had to put it into his own words. Maybe that can give us a clue as to the problem Joseph faced.
Anyways, thanks for the chance to have a civil discusion. Look forward to your response and next question.
I think John wrote the book of Revelation, not Paul. But you probably meant to say/type that?
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