22
Aug
08

How Accurate Is the Bible?

 

     The first part of Mormonism’s 8th Article of Faith states:  “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly.”  This is a huge point of disagreement and discussion between Mormons and Christians.  As is evidenced in many of the responses on this blog, both sides bring a lot of “expert ammunition” to the fray.  And much of that is worth-while.  I myself have studied both formally and informally the transmission of the Bible.

     But right now I would like to lay that all aside and consider, from a different angle, Mormonism’s claim that the Bible has been corrupted.  Over the years I have read literally dozens of official LDS church manuals.  In all those manuals they quote the Bible extensively.  Over the years I have also talked with hundreds of official representatives of the LDS church including missionaries, bishops, stake presidents, institute teachers, and the like.  They too make extensive use of the Bible.  I see the same thing in many of the LDS responses to this blog.  The assumption I make is that if the LDS church uses that specific Bible verse, it must believe that that specific verse was not corrupted.  (If that assumption is wrong, then it would mean that the LDS Church is intentionally using corrupted verses to validate their beliefs.)  Here’s my point:  if I gathered all the Bible verses that all the LDS manuals and representatives have cited, it would constitute the majority of the Bible!  In other words, the very small percentage of the Bible never cited would be the only verses that the LDS church could claim were corrupted.

     Here’s a tangent on this point.  Sometimes, when talking with some of the LDS representatives listed above, they would say that the verse I was citing was corrupted.  I then would bring out of the manuals that cite that same verse in defense of LDS belief and ask, why then does this official manual use it in this way.  It can’t be both.  It can’t be corrupted when I use it and correct when the LDS church uses it.  Our interpretations of that verse would more than likely differ, but that’s not what the 8th Article of Faith is talking about.

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22 Responses to “How Accurate Is the Bible?”


  1. August 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    The purpose behind the knowledge that the Bible is not as pure as it once was is not to win debates with a type of bait and switch game you described. I also don’t ever expect the Church to come out with a list of approved passages. Instead we merely believe that some words/passages were altered and some were removed and so the overall message is not as clear as it once was. It’s still a wonderful thing to study and ponder Biblical passages; doing so brings understanding and guidance from the Spirit.

    I know you believe that we have this teaching so we can use it to fall back on when our doctrine doesn’t match up with traditional Biblical understanding. However we believe it’s alteration was inspired by Satan during the apostasy to lead the world astray and cause the incredible confusion that is seen among the world’s Christian religions today.

  2. August 22, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    This is accually a good post!
    Suprised me…

    I don’t think that it is the intention to prove coruption of scripture but to acknowledge that there is further understanding to be gained if we can assertain from the ultimate source what it should say. Some people think it was intentionally corupted to influance the masses, but I cannot debate either way on that point, for I have very limmited knowledge of any shuch instance. However it has become apparent to me the importance of correct word usage and punctuation. I do know that in the original greek (I think) versions of some of the Book that are in the Bible, had no punctuation, and in translating directly from that language to english there were more than word choices that were made, for there had to be choices about punctuation as well.

    wether by intent or mistake we very well could not have the word strait unles we get it strait from the source, and that is the claim of the Apsotle of Christ Jesus, and Prophet of God Joseph Smith Jr.

    Reggie is also on to something here.

    Again Great post, and asking questions! this is a step in the right direction, Comgrats.
    -D

  3. 3 noclaf
    August 23, 2008 at 3:42 am

    Could someone please cite for me which words/passages in the Bible were altered and which were removed? It’s kind of convenient for Mormons, isn’t it? The old, our doctrine and practices are original Christianity but through some sort of conspiracy, all of the Mormon stuff was left out. I could claim that there’s a mother ship hovering over the earth and people are constantly being translated back and forth and it was being done in the first century and was a part of original Christianity but it was left out of the Bible. Why not that or anything else that someone wants to claim. It’s just way to weak of an argument.

  4. 4 Berean
    August 23, 2008 at 4:30 am

    When I am speaking with Mormons about Article #8 there are many ways that the conversation can go. Sometimes I will surprise them and say that I agree with that article. I believe the Bible is the Word of God in so far as it is translated correctly. When the Mormons engage in sloppy Bible scholarship, scripture twisting or taking scripture out of context it is at that point that I let them know they are in violation of Article #8 and it’s no longer the Word of God, but a corrupt version similar the Jehovah’s Witnesses version of the Bible the New World Translation. Some get rattled when I put it in those terms because they have never had it stated to them in that way before. It sounds like something coming from a courtroom. The point is, when the Bible is being twisted and mistranslated by the Mormons it is no longer the Word of God being handled accurately (2 Tim 2:15).

    Another point I like to ask Mormons about Article #8 is: If the Bible is not translated correctly, then what is your prophet and the twelve doing to correct the problem? Why don’t they go and examine ancient copies of the original manuscripts going back to the 1st century in the original languages and give us the correct version? I also ask them what the titles of the prophet are (seer, translator)? If so, then he should be able to translate the original languages and give us the absolute correct version of the Bible. Of course, the LDS General Authorities don’t know anything about the original languages so they can’t translate anything. They don’t know how – period.

    Another question I like to ask the Mormons about Article #8 is: If the Bible isn’t translated correctly, then why are you giving it away on TV and on your church website? Why quote from it in your church manuals?

  5. 5 markcares
    August 23, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    Reggie:
    Why wouldn’t the LDS Church produce an approved list of passages or better yet, an uncorrupted version? Are you saying that the living prophet doesn’t know what parts of the Bible are corrupted? If he does know, isn’t it his responsibility as a prophet to share that knowledge? Why haven’t the living prophets who followed Joseph Smith finished the JST so that could become the official Bible version for the LDS church? I think these are reasonsable and proper questions to ask.
    Reggie, I respect your comment and how you don’t use Article 8 that way. But it has been my experience that the vast majority of Mormons do use Article 8 as a fallback position when LDS doctrine does not square with the passage under discussion.

  6. 6 markcares
    August 23, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    ditchu:
    I have had the privilege of having years of instruction both in Greek and Hebrew. Much of my Bible study is done in those langauages. It is not that difficult to read the manuscripts – even the ones that have no spaces between the words. It would be as if I typed the last phrase; eventheonesthathavenospacesbetweenthewords. Sure, it takes a little practice and work but once you get it – it’s not difficult.
    But that was not the intent of my post. I wanted to lay aside all such “technical” arguments. Let me reword my question: If an LDS official manual or an LDS official representative uses a Bible verse to support LDS teaching, can I then assume that that verse has not been corrupted? That is my primary question.

  7. 7 OEF
    August 23, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    What does the Bible say?
    Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

    Fall of Man
    Eccl. 7:20 For [there is] not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth
    not.
    Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

    Rom. 3:10, 11, 12 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks after God. They have all turned aside they have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

    Rom. 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

    Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Rom. 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–

    Psalm 14:2, 3 The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
    To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside,
    They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

    1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

    Gen. 8:21 …although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth;…

    Eph. 2:1 AND you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,

    Since we were sinful, God wanted to save everybody, and there was no one on earth that He could look to so that He could redeem them.

    1 Tim. 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    He choose the best that He had – His Only Son Jesus Christ to redeem us. He came willingly knowing that He would have to suffer and die for the sins of all mankind. He had to fulfill God’s Law perfectly for the salvation of all mankind.
    After He completed fulfilling God’s law, He cried out from the cross “It is finished!”

    John 19:30 …He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

    He paid 100% for our salvation with nothing left over that we could pay.

    Heb. 2:3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the
    first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those
    who heard Him,
    Prov. 14:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way
    of death.
    Matt. 22:37Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your
    heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
    Mat 22:39 “And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    Rom. 13:10 …love is the fulfillment of the law.

  8. 8 Texas
    August 23, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Reggie and Ditchu,

    If Heavenly Father wants his people that He loves to know the truth, do you really think that He would allow His Words to be lost?
    Deut. 32:4 [He is] the Rock, his work [is] perfect: for all his ways [are] judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right [is] he.
    Isa 40:8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
    Prov 30:5 Every word of God [is] pure: he [is] a shield unto them that put their trust in him.
    Act 12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied. Meaning more and more were hearing the Word of God.
    This does not sounds like God’s word is lost and unprotected – just the opposite – God stands by and protects His Word. If plain and precious truths have been lost from the Bible, then God is a liar and how could anyone believe God or His Word!
    Would you want to trust in a God who allowed His Word to be corrupted?
    Would God want us to be learning and believing lies?
    Numbers 23:19 God [is] not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do [it]? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
    Either God and His Word are completely true or none of it is. You can’t say these words are true and those are corrupt. Is your God powerful and protects His Word or is he puny and lets
    his word be lost and corrupted?
    Do you believe God and His every Word as stated in the Bible or not?

  9. August 23, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Mark,

    Thanks for responding to my previous question about the gospel and churches. Along those lines I’d like to hear your thoughts sometime on the organization of Christ’s church as found in the New Testament, what happened to the organization He implemented after the death of the apostles, and what is meant by the restitution

    This Bible question is difficult. Why hasn’t the translation that Joseph Smith started been completed? Why is there no official LDS specific version of the Bible? All I can offer are my personal opinions.

    The first answer is that there are many things to the workings and mysteries of God that I do not understand. Often I simply don’t know the answer; but that’s okay, we can still walk in faith. Also we now have a long history of instructions and insights from living prophets and apostles. Using that point of reference along with the other scriptures I personally don’t find it confusing to read the Bible, I just find that I’m understanding things in a much different manner than others with a different background (we all bring our own experience to anything we study, that’s why we’re not to interpret the Bible privately). So I believe the Bible in its current form is extremely valuable, even though it can be a stumbling block to those reading without the proper frame of reference (referring back to my example of the glasses with multiple lenses).

    Regarding which particular passages are correct/incorrect, would you agree that there are multiple concepts and teachings that are often included in one verse or passage? I know that often when I read a passage over and over I can learn different things from it. So just because a verse has been used by an authority to support an idea doesn’t necessarily mean that verse is just as correct as it has always been. So again we believe there is a lot of truth to be found in the Bible, just sometimes it isn’t clear and easy to see.

  10. August 23, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    Whoops, I guess my last sentence from the first paragraph got lost at some point. Here’s the completed version:

    Along those lines I’d like to hear your thoughts sometime on the organization of Christ’s church as found in the New Testament, what happened to the organization He implemented after the death of the apostles, and what is meant by the restitution of all things that is promised to occur before the Second Coming.

  11. 11 Berean
    August 24, 2008 at 12:26 am

    I find it puzzling that Salt Lake City Mormons don’t use the JST when splinter groups of the main body in Salt Lake use it (Community of Christ – formerly RLDS; Hedrickites (Church of Christ – Temple Lot?). I don’t know where Utah Mormons get their information about the JST not being finished. It was finished. Joseph Smith completed the New Testament on February 2, 1833. He also completed the translation of the whole Bible on July 2, 1833.

    “I [Joseph Smith] completed the translation of the New Testament, on the 2nd of February, 1833 and sealed it up, no more to be opened until arrived in Zion.” (History of the Church, Vol.1, page 324).

    “We this day finished translating of the Scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father” (History of the Church, Vol.1, page 368-370; July 2, 1833)

    Look at D&C 73. “For verily, thus saith the LOrd,”…I say unto my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun. and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again; (v.4) that it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.”

    Now look at D&C 124:89: “…publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth.”

    Why didn’t Joseph Smith do this? Why hasn’t the LDS Church done this? They are in violtaion of 1 Nephi 3:7 for not doing it. The fact is that the LDS Church knows that the JST is a very poor, unscholarly, laughable translation and would be ripped to pieces by scholars who can read the original languages (Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic). This is what got the Jehovah’s Witnesses in trouble with the New World Translation. It’s just easy for the Utah Mormons to just peddle the King James Bible, but have that clause available in Article #8 when something in the Bible doesn’t agree with what they want (becoming a god, god being an exalted man, etc.)

    I ask again, when is the current First Presidency going to fulfill their prophetic roles as seers and translators and obey what Heavenly Father commanded in D&C 124:89? If the KJV Bible is not translated correctly, then what are they doing about it? Why give it away on TV or on the internet for free with the LDS stamp on the binder if it’s not completely accurate? Why doesn’t the First Presidency get on a plane and fly to Europe to Cambridge University in England, Trinity College in Ireland and then go to Israel and look at the manuscripts and translate the scriptures correctly? We have the Dead Sea Scrolls. We have 50 manuscripts in the original languages going back to 1 A.D. What do the Mormons have for original manuscripts? Oh yeah, nothing because Moroni took them away. And Christianity has the burden of proof put on it by the Mormons? Seems a little backwards to me.

    Mark, I’m sure you want to stay on topic so I won’t dive into the area of the Great Apostasy as much as I would like to because I have questions I would like to ask our LDS friends that I have not been able to get an answer from by any Mormon here in Las Vegas at any ward that I have visited.

  12. 12 Stephanie
    August 24, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    Like ditchu, I have had experience in many different types of churches. For reasons irrelevant here, my family switched churches every 1-2 years while I was growing up. The point is that I have attended Presbyterian churches, Baptist churches, non-denominational churches, Methodist churches, Assembly of God Churches, and even a few Catholic masses here and there. I have even visited synagogue several times (Jewish church). Then one day I walked into what is now my “current” church for a visit. I was only planning to visit one time. But after that one visit, I never returned to the church I had been previously attending. Why?

    I have always described my experience with the following analogy. At this church, hearing the true gospel of Christ was like drinking a glass of cool, refreshing water. I hadn’t realized that I had been drinking cloudy, muddy, murky water until that moment when I heard the pure gospel of Christ being preached. Truly, it was exactly as Christ said to the woman at the well in Samaria, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:13-14). I don’t say that the Holy Spirit testified to me with a “burning in my bosom.” That would be too easy. But instead, I compared the message to the Bible, and I found that it was accurate, and like a balm for my soul. Liberating!

    The weekly services that I was used to hearing were about “7-steps to a Better Marriage” or “How to Be Successful in Life” etc etc… But very rarely did the pastor talk about the pure gospel of the Bible. But every Sunday, Sunday after Sunday, this pastor preached the same message, that forgiveness has already been granted me and salvation is mine because of what Christ did for me. No matter what his topic was for that week, he always tied the message back to Christ’s saving grace. Never did it grow old, or boring, to hear this message. We need to hear again and again, over and over again, what Christ did in our place. We need to keep the focus on Christ and not on ourselves.

    Thus, in reality, I have already achieved perfection! (through Christ’s life, yes, his perfect life. He fulfilled all the commandments perfectly for me because I will never be able to live a perfect life). And I will spend eternity with Heavenly Father through Christ’s death and resurrection, not as a god myself, but simply enjoying His presence forever. Finally, to show my gratitude, I offer my life as a living sacrifice to God, which means “loving God with all my heart, and loving my neighbor as myself,” which is the summation of all the law and commandments. (Matt 22:37-40).

    I know this post is off-topic about the accuracy of the Bible. For that I apologize. But I want to express that although a certain message may feel good to our sinful, human nature, that doesn’t make the message correct. We need to humble ourselves and compare the message to what the Bible says. I am always thankful when verses spring to mind as protection against false teachings. Many times, when I am presented with a certain deceptive and popular teaching, a verse will come to mind that exposes the lie. Truly knowing the Bible is God-given protection against all sorts of false doctrines and prophets.

    I also want to say that all of the above mainstream Christian denominations do believe the gospel which is found in the Bible, that Christ has won perfection for all humankind, that He has already forgiven the sins of the entire world, and that through faith in Him we humans can spend forever in the presence of God in heaven. However, many of those churches have drifted away from proclaiming this message in their weekly services.

    ditchu, I am sorry that you encountered unhelpful people during your experience at Christian churches. Unfortunately, many times the messenger ruins the message! I hope you will be able to set aside that frustration and sincerely scrutinize the LDS church. I know that the positive messages from the LDS church are very alluring to our sinful, human nature. I’m sure it was quite different from the messages you might have heard in other churches. Many Christian churches err on one side or the other, either too much law and no grace, or all grace and no law. Either way can be destructive and hurtful to the members. With the LDS, it feels very comforting to have a set of rules to follow to achieve forgiveness and perfection. But a comfortable feeling doesn’t make it right. It also feels very good to have such a positive self-image, to think that we are “gods in embryo.” But again, a good feeling doesn’t make it right. I hope you will be able to get around your feelings about churches and be able to examine the doctrines instead.

    Again, I apologize for being off-topic! God’s Blessings!

  13. 13 markcares
    August 25, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Reggie:
    Your last paragraph deals with interpretation. That is not what the 8th Article addresses. Please see my next post.

  14. August 25, 2008 at 2:53 am

    There were a lot of questions, let me address a few.

    We do use everything that we have from the Joseph Smith Translation, it’s included in the footnotes and in an appendix in the standard LDS Bible. Also, the JST was not a literal re-translation, but instead a clarification of original meaning.

    Regarding God not allowing His word to be corrupted. Are you saying there are no churches today that have corrupted His word? Are you saying that man has not agency on this earth? The Bible itself prophesied of the apostasy. Do you believe it occurred? Or do you believe the Bible was always in the hands of those appointed by God? On a related note do you believe the church has continued without interruption from the time of Christ? We don’t believe that God would allow for His gospel to be corrupted forever and so prepared other scriptures to reach us in time to prepare for the Second Coming (as prophesied in the Bible).

    I don’t believe we’re in need of a full translation today like we were before. We have the critical pieces in the JST and we have a lot of decades of inspired teaching to clarify points of doctrine plus the Pearl of Great Price and the Doctrine & Covenants. So we can’t assume we’re still under commandment to produce the translation.

    Oh, and almost (if not all) major points of LDS doctrine are still found in the Bible.

  15. August 25, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Just to help get us all away from some confusion and hurt feelings, Let me offer this perspective of the 8th Artical of Faith:
    Perhaps it is the small print that we are blowing up into some huge contraversy. I do see the part “…as long as it is translated correctly.” As a kind of clarifier, not an accusation.
    With this perspective, would you call the Bible true if it was tampered with… Say if I changed a fer words to change the meaning someware? Of course not. That is all this part of the artical is saying.
    However, as Reggie is attempting to make clear and I think it had been made very apparent that Joseph smith Jr. did make minor corrections/Clairifications in the Bible by, as we beleive in the LDS faith, direct guidance from God. See, we also beleive that you can know the truth for yourself if you seek it in faith and ask of God. (Go directly to the Source if you must. )

    But again I would argue that the 8th artical of faith for the LDS church has a clairiier not an accusation.

    (on a personal note, I think this has been the most fair and open discussion I’ve seen on your Blog of late, Great Job Mark! )

    Go bless,
    -D

  16. August 25, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Stephanie,

    I have sincerely scrutinized the LDS church. I Have invested about 4 years investigating it before even making a decision as to join or not. This is very different than most LDS Converts you will meet, but I needed to be sure for myself.

    I testify to you tonight, that the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints is a Christian Church, that it is based upon sound principals of the Gospel of Chrust and it has Christ as the foundation to its faith. There is none other who leads this Church, there is none other that can grant us Salvation. I to have found the true Gospel of Christ and have drank deep the waters of life. It is on no whim that I am a member of this Church, it is not by mistake, for I know that it is true and that it is Christ’s Church on this earth. You call the message alluring, but you must know that the message is often difficult for the natural man to accept, for it sounds a call to change and depart from the natural ways of the world. It is a wonderful message about a Fathers Love, and the sacrifice he endured by having Jesus Christ suffer for us, because we could not do it ourselves and be saved. It is a message of the love of Christ, as spoken in the New Testement, that a man lay down his life for another, the message of redemption and the Atonement. God Loves you so much, he loves all of his Children and wants us to return to him, that is the nice part of the message. The difficult part is that if we are to accept the gift Christ offers us we have to share in his love and we would have love for him… How is that difficult for the natural man? Read: John 14:15.

    The message is not so different in other churches, in my experience it is often either mingled with the docturne of man or not as clear as many are uncertian what is important to focus on in reguards to the Gospel. The LDS Church seems to put an over-all emphasis on the entirity of the Gospel not just the Hell-fire & Dambnation, or the sugar coated “Good newz” that we all have already been saved. The LDS Church seems to strive always for understanding and learning and teaching. You are mistaken about there being “Rules” to gain salvation. In the LDS church there is an understanding that we have been given a Gift and a Choice. We can choose Salvation or not. You may ask, “Why would anyone not choose Salvation?” and there is only one answer I can think of: They are still “the natural man”/ “Of the world” and are unwilling to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, or turn from their ways to do so.

    Unlike many, My testimony does not rely on “Comfortable feelings.”
    It has been witnessed unto me by the Holy Spirit the truthfulness of this Church, but I also have had an experience that may very well put me at an advantage in knowing God’s Church and knowing God. I am relunctant to reveal this but for the sake of this discource I will at this time. I am no stranger to God and other Spirits residing in Heaven, they are familuar to me as my Mother and father on this earth. See, I have been there at least once, since being born on this earth. Some call it a NDE, and others would say it was just random neurons firing in my brain, but I know what happened and have memories of my experience. I know it to be true and I tell you it was like returning home after being away for a long time. (There is more I could tell you, but as it all is very sacred and dear to me I shall not relay more of this here. I will probably receive riticule and scoff from this post as it is. ) All I can say is that the the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints, is like stepping into my Parents’ house even if they just moved I would still recongnize it. We all are the Children of Our Heavenly Father, as for gods in embryo? that would be a personal view point for some members, but as a docturnal rule it may yet be unclear as to what is ment by a god..

    Feelings may not make something right but the truth is that it is right, and knowing that makes it difficult to deny.

    What Docturnes in the LDS Church do you think are not to be found in the Bible?

    Here is the real skinny about my personal views on the correct Church. (at the risk of going against a certian teaching of the LDS Church) I will attest that any church that helps you to have faith in Jesus Christ and prompts righteous action from you that leads you to be not only a better person but to be a better servant for Christ and helps to develop your conpation for your fellow man, then that is a good church for you. If you find a Church that does all of this and adhears closer to your understanding of Gospel truths (especially if you have tested them and know them to be true) then join that church. I really do not draw the line between someone’s faith or righteousness based on what church they attend, I know too many good people of God that are not Mormon and too many bad Mormons (and vise versa) to say that all the people in any one Church will receive their reward in heaven.

    Hope this helps God Bless,
    -D

  17. August 25, 2008 at 9:20 pm

    Ditchu is right on the money about the good that can be found in many churches. We believe that all truth and good come from Jesus Christ. So anyone who is following as much good and truth as they have is doing well in our book.

    That doesn’t in anyway lessen the importance of the only true and living Church. It was Christ who taught that we need to receive saving ordinances such as baptism by water and fire from one with authority, and that authority is only found in Christ’s organized church.

  18. 18 Berean
    August 25, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Ditchu,

    I would disagree very much with your statement that “the message is not so different in other churches”. The message, teachings, doctrines, the nature of God, who Jesus Christ is, etc. is very different than that of traditional Christianity that goes back 2,000 years. I could give you a long list if you wish, but the information is out there is anyone is seriously wanting to look at the Mormon faith from an outsider’s view as you say you did for four years. I’m surprised you didn’t see these things which makes me question how involved your four year investigation was and where you got your information. Just to quote you what your Church says about this very fact let me offer you this:

    “While respecting the divergent views of other people of faith, Church leaders want to be clear about the beliefs that help define Latter-day Saints. Among the most important DIFFERENCES with other Christian churches are those concerning the nature of God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.” [emphasis mine] (LDS Newsroom: “Core Beliefs: Why and How Are Mormons Different?”; LDS.org)

    “The Trinity of traditional Christianiy is referred to as the Godhead by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the same terms are used by Latter-day Saints and other Christians for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Latter-day Saint understanding of the three members of the Godhead is SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT from that of traditional Christianity.” (LDS Newsroom: “The Godhead”; LDS.org)

    You asked, “What doctrines in the LDS Church do you think are not found in the Bible?” I’m glad you asked. May I provide a short list:

    Heavenly Father is an exalted man
    Heavenly Father is married to a “mother in heaven”
    Heavenly Father lives near a star called Kolob
    Heavenly Father was not always God
    Heavenly Father is the literal father of Jesus via sexual relations with Mary
    Council of the gods/plurality of gods
    Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer
    Eternal progression
    Endowments
    Celestial/eternal marriage
    Sealing of children to parents
    Exaltation/men and women becoming gods
    Salvation is through Joseph Smith

    The list could go on and on. There is a trunk load of documentation verifying all those statements and our Mormon friends know this as well so let’s be honest with one another. Joseph Smith said that it was the “first principle of the gospel” to know that god is an exalted man. I would like for you to start with that one and lead me through that doctrine in the Bible and then on to the Book of Mormon to further validate it, please. I’m not going to give my soul away that quick so I need scriptural proof – not just a testimony.

    Speaking of testimonies, I have one as well, Ditchu and Reggie. It’s powerful, real, truthful and meaningful to me. Are you going to deny that? You have a testimony and so do I and my testimony is completely the opposite of yours. Who is right? Both of us can’t be right. One of us has to have it wrong. Here is a question to help figure it out:

    Set aside your testimony for a moment because I have one as well that Jesus is true as is the Bible so both of our testimonies cancel each other out so let’s take that off the table for a moment. Please give me positive, historical reasons why the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God because Ezra Taft Benson said there are many reasons. Would you please give me one?

    Thanks!

  19. August 25, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Berean,

    Some of your things are way off from LDS doctrine.

    1) We believe that God ever was and ever will be, all-knowing and omnipotent. I don’t personally understand how God could be like that and have also been a man once, but there are many mysteries we don’t understand.

    2) I don’t know of any Biblical reference, but do you honestly believe we’d ideally have two parents here and only one in Heaven?

    3) Not really relevant to salvation and not in the Bible.

    4) Answered in number 1.

    5) We believe that Christ was the only begotten Son of the Father through the virgin Mary. There were no sexual relations involved, it was the immaculate conception that we don’t understand.

    6) This is all over the Bible, JL already left a long list of Biblical references.

    7) Lucifer was a son of the morning, as recorded in Revelations and else where.

    8) Honestly, eternal progression? What’s the meaning of damned? What’s the opposite? What does it mean to have “life” eternal as promised by the Savior?

    9)I don’t know

    10 & 11) Why was Peter given power to seal on earth and heaven?

    12) Same as number 8 really, but put another way, Christ promised all that His Father hath.

    13) Salvation comes through Christ and Him alone, not the prophet Joseph Smith. You’re probably referring to the teachings that anyone from the dispensation of the fullness of times who is saved, will be judged by Joseph Smith. But that’s only one step in the judgment process, final judgment will of course be through Jesus and Heavenly Father.

    I know the gospel is true because I put Christ’s words to the test and have actually lived the teachings and found they bring the blessings and understandings as promised. I know that when I read the Book of Mormon it brings me closer to God; my heart and soul are opened to the important things of God and how they pertain to what’s happening in my life.

    Do you have an explanation of the Book of Mormon? Clearly it was beyond Joseph’s capacity. It was done too quickly and it includes many patterns of scripture that weren’t known at the time. In almost 200 years it’s never been proven false by scientific or historical means. That’s not why I believe it, but just a few thoughts to answer your questions.

  20. 20 Berean
    August 26, 2008 at 4:43 am

    Reggie,

    I’m way off on from LDS doctrine? I don’t think so. May I quote to you authoritative sources to validate what I am saying in order of how they were numbered.

    1. You don’t understand the mystery of how god was once a man and then through eternal progression became a god? You should because Joseph Smith said: “What sort of being was God in the beginning? God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man. It is the FIRST PRINCIPLE of the gospel to know for certainty the character of God and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp.345-346). This is the first principle of the gospel. This is the starting point. This elementary teaching in Mormonism should not be difficult. If so, Thomas Monson should clear it up, correct? What about Amos 3:7? The Bible is clear that God is not a man, but yet a spirit. (Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; Hosea 11:9; John 4:24)

    2. A fatal flaw in Mormonism is that the LDS people reject spiritually whatever they don’t understand. The God in Mormonism has to make sense. Assuming because you have a parental mother doesn’t mean that God has a wife. That is a real stretch and biblically unsupportive. You don’t understand how god could be an exalted man, but yet you accept it.

    3. Correct – Kolob is not in the Bible but Mormons believe that is where their god lives. Therefore he is not omnipresent since he is isolated to one place. The God of the Bible is omnipresent (Psalms 139). It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s releveant to salvation. It is a teaching of Mormonism and it is not in the Bible. Ditchu didn’t make the distinction of the defining issue of salvation related or not.

    4. Joseph Smith said, “I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 345). The God of the Bible has always been. He didn’t have parents. He didn’t reside on another earth somewhere and become what he is now (Psalms 90:2).

    5. No sexual relations involved? “Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 547). Gospel Principels states on page 64: “Thus, God the Father became the literal father of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only person on earth born of a mortal mother and an immortal father.” Brigham Young said, “When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was NOT begotten by the Holy Ghost.” (Journal of Discourses 1:46) Do you have kids? If so, how did they get here? I don’t need to spell it out. This is a very simple thing to understand and Mormons are not being intellectually dishonest when they try to tapdance around this issue. The Mormon god has a body of flesh and bones. Mary, one of his spirit kids did too. That makes him guilty of incest in my book. The Bible says that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1:20). This is direct contradiction to what Brigham said.

    6. The Bible talks about a “council of gods” and “the head God called together the Gods and sat in grand council to bring forth the world” (Teachings, page 348)? The Bible is clear that there is only one God (Deut 6:4; Isaiah 43:10). If anyone knew if there were other gods it would have been Jesus. What did he say in Mark 12:19? He quoted Deut 6:4 – there is only one. There is only one big “G”, but there are many small “g”‘s which are idols and false gods.

    7.Lucifer being the son of the morning means that he is Jesus’ brother? How do you come to that conclusion? Biblically, you have a very weak and unsubstantiated argument. Jesus is not Lucifer’s brother. He is Lucifer’s creator (Colossians 1:16; John 1:3)

    8. Eternal progression is a Mormon doctrine. People eternally progressing in the next life isn’t in the Bible. When you die that is it. Whatever choice you made here is the choice you wil live with for all eternity (Luke 16:19-31; Hebrews 9:27). What does damned mean? Not having eternal life with Savior/God – outer darkness. This is where most people are headed (Matthew 7:13-14).

    9. Endowment temple ordinance – not in the Bible: correct.

    10&11. Peter was given authority to “bind” (where do you get “seal”?). The text in Matthew 16:19 has nothing to do with Peter marrying people. There is no marriage in heaven (Matthew 22:28-30).

    12. Nobody is going to become a god (Isaiah 43:10-12). Christ made no promise to believers that they were going to be like the Father. Believers can have eternal life and live with God. They can be in His presence, but they aren’t going to be what He is. Remember, that is what got Lucifer in trouble in Isaiah 14:12-15.

    13. “NO SALVATION WITHOUT ACCEPTING JOSEPH SMITH. No man cna reject that testimony without accepting most dreadful consequences, for he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Joseph F. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, page 189-190). Brigham Young said, “Joseph Smith holds the keys of this last dispensation, and is now engaged behind the vail in the great work of the last days…no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith…every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith, junior, as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are – I with you and you with me. I cannot go there without his consent.” (Journal of Discourses, Vol.7, page 282). Where is Jesus in this equation? It’s all about Joseph Smith. My salvation is in Christ (Acts 4:12) – not Joseph Smith. He plays no part in anything whether it be salvation or judgement. I don’t see Joseph Smith’s name in the Book of Revelation in chapters 20&21 where it talks about the final judgement.

    In your post you supplied no scripture to verify your claims. In this post I have provided Bible scripture and authoritative LDS references for each point. I hope that you will look them up and see for yourself what is stated. I asked for “positive, historical reasons why the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God”. You did not give me that, but rather gave me your testimony. Did you heed Christ’s words in Matthew 24:11&24? What about Paul’s words in Galatians 1:6-9 and 1 Thes 5:21?

    Do I have an explanation of the Book of Mormon? Yes, God told me in the Bible that the Book of Mormon is not true and Joseph Smith is not a true prophet of God and I say that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Joseph Smith used divination to bring the Book of Mormon into existence (see documentation on this in the next blog thread). This is just one point among many.

    The LDS people really need to do some homework outside of what is told to them at the ward, FARMS or FAIR. There is no historical evidence for the Book of Mormon. Please provide whatever you have. Myself and the rest of the world would love to see it. Mormons should read what Mormon archaeologists such as Thomas Ferguson and Dee Green have said about the evidence validating the Book of Mormon – there isnt’ any! They spent their lives looking for it and found nothing. Why doesn’t the Smithsonian Institute have nothing in support of the Book of Mormon, but yet uses the Bible as a reference and “compass” in further archaeological research? Why doesn’t the LDS Museum of Church History and Art have no artifacts from the Nephites? Go there and ask them. There is nothing. How can an entire race of people leave absolutely nothing behind? It’s impossible.

    Spencer Kimball said: “Stop looking for archaeological evidence for the Book of Mormon, for there is none.” (The Church News, 1970’s)

    Christians have a testimony and historical evidence to back their claims. Mormons have a testimony and nothing else. This should concern the LDS people. I say all of this out of concern and love for the LDS people. We are talking about eternal circumstances here. Eternity is a long time to spend in outer darkness. Mormons won’t be able to blame Joseph Smith because they end up there. You have the Word of God (the Bible) and the evidence of its claims.

  21. August 26, 2008 at 5:58 am

    Please drop the warnings, neither of us is ignorant of the importance of the gospel, nor of our own doctrines and history. But I do thank you for your caring interest.

    Do you understand the word “virgin”? It’s always used in LDS doctrine. We do not believe that sexual relations were involved in Mary’s conception. We do believe that Jesus is the literal Son of God begotten in the flesh, but again, He was born of the “VIRGIN” Mary, just like the Bible says. Are you saying that Christ is the Son of the Holy Ghost or the Son of God? Do you understand there’s no archaeological evidence for many of the major Biblical events such as the parting of the red sea, the exodus in general, or the worldwide flood? Here’s the major point, you can’t get there with intellectualism, even though there are some historical or earthly evidences. We believe the glory of God is intelligence, but spiritual knowledge is still a gift from God to those walk in faith. As long as you’re examining this doctrine to prove it’s wrong instead of to learn about God, the understanding will be hidden from you.

    Also, it matters not if I include references or not. When I do here it’s merely refuted as being misunderstood or taken out of context or just ignored. I’ve already left dozens of them on this site.

    Earlier you asked about how can you have a testimony from God that contradicts my testimony. I don’t believe we do have contradictory testimonies. I know that from your exposure and understanding you believe that LDS doctrine is basically the opposite of what you believe, however I don’t believe that at all. In order to be LDS you need to have a testimony of Christ as your Savior and that the Bible is the word of God. You have been given this same testimony and we rejoice in it. In fact, our claims support the Bible: that God’s prophesies regarding the last days have been (or are being) fulfilled, that Jesus is the Christ and the only path back to Heavenly Father, and that the stick of Joseph has been added to the stick of Judah as a witness of the gospel, and so on. We’re only saying that there’s more and it’s here to complete your understanding of God and the gospel, not to invalidate everything you believe. I don’t mean to offend, but it’s like when astronomers discovered that things revolved around the sun and not the earth. Some people that really knew a lot about astronomy couldn’t let the idea go and so fell behind in their understanding. We’re not saying everything you know is different, we’re saying God has given the world more and if you’ll walk with us in faith and sincerity you will receive a witness that it’s from God, along with the understanding that you seek.

  22. August 26, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Berean,
    Be at peace, it is not my intention to convert you to Mormonism. It is not my job to Prove anything to you, and I am quite sure that I could not by myself.
    I speak from my personal experience not a textbook overview of the many religious views on scripture and doctrine. I mention this so you can relate my comments to their proper view. If you are picking out any differing ideals on spiritual matters then we must examine the differences that exist between all Faiths. For I have experienced many differing viewpoints on spiritual material (extraneous to the core Gospel of Jesus Christ) among several differing Christian Groups. As I would like to cut through this strenuous task Let us focus first on the Core Gospel of Christ, which is the foundation on which I see all Christianity Based. Beyond that we can argue and debate several parts of our religious experiences but to what end? Does it matter if I believe in a Heavenly Mother or not? Does it really matter for our Salvation if I think there is more to Heaven than someone else?
    I cannot judge your testimony because I have not heard or read it yet but What I wrote is honest and sincere. However, from what you said that your testimony is about, I do not see what there is that is opposing to mine? All I gathered is that you believe in Jesus Christ and that it is He who is written about in the Bible. I agree with this whole-heartedly and cannot discern what it is that you think is opposing here.
    About the extensive list of Doctrines I will need to review them because I have not encountered some and others I did not before think of as Doctrine but just as general theories of things. Also, I find that it is much easier to mis-understand a quote or even an idea when it is out of its context. There are numerous quotations of Prophets that seem to say one thing, but in their context we can understand the statement and the meaning of it.
    Don’t take this as a rebuke or a directed comment, I am just offering general information to us all. However, I would like to look up the quotes you have used (as well any people offer) so I am glad for any citation of your sources.
    Thank you, Berean, for this opportunity to look into these matters and discuss further the important similarities and differences in the Christian Faith.

    Peace of Christ be with you,
    -D


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