11
May
10

Personal Revelation

 

     I recently received the May issue of the Ensign (the official magazine of the LDS Churchh) which contains the talks from last month’s General Conference of the LDS Church.  This is an important issue because General Conference talks are so important.  How important?

     Elder Mark E. Petersen, said:  “A general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is far more significant than most people realize. . .

      . . .it is one of the most important events of the present day.  Many do not regard it, even among the Latter-day Saints.  But for those who appreciate its true significance, it is of transcending importance, for in it PROPHETS OF GOD SPEAK, living prophets.

     When God gives a message to mankind, it is not something to be lightly cast aside.  Whether He speaks personally, or through His prophets, He himself said, it is the same.

     And in this conference HIS PROPHETS SPEAK!”   (Teachings of the Living Prophets, p. 63)

     Ezra Taft Benson said, “The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one living in our day and age. . .Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is that of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece.  That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words in current Church publications.” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, p.19)

     Because of the importance Mormonism places on these talks, I take extra time reading them.  I have just read the first few talks but what has already struck me is how much emphasis there is on the Holy Spirit and on receiving personal revelations from him. Mormonism teaches that personal revelations come through feelings and impressions and a person has to be worthy to receive them.

     For many Christians, this has always been a puzzling aspect of Mormonism because feelings are notoriously fickle.  How many times haven’t people, even with the best intentions, done something because it felt right, only to discover that it was the wrong thing to do?  Over the years I have asked numerous Mormons how they can determine if what they feel is truly from the Holy Spirit.  Has a feeling, which they thought was a personal revelation, ever led them astray? 

     The responses have been interesting to say the least.  Some have said their feelings have never led them astray.  Others admitted that their feelings had led them astray, but the problem was with them.  It has been interesting to see this topic being discussed on Mormon blogs with again differing reactions.

     More than one Mormon has told me that they felt sorry for me because the only revelation I had was the Bible.  I, however, would much rather rely on it.  It is perfectly sufficient for me. It especially reassures me that Heavenly Father considers me worthy to live eternally with him, not because of what I do, but because of what Jesus did for me.  It emphasizes that the temple work that needed to be done to live with Him was already done for me by Jesus when he was sacrificed for me.  It gives me great guidance for life.  It comforts me with tremendous promises of the Lord’s protection and provision.  I receive revelation not through feelings, but through His Word.  For me, that is much more solid ground to stand on.

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42 Responses to “Personal Revelation”


  1. 1 gloria
    May 11, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    As a Mormon I was always “second guessing” my feelings wondering if they were my “feelings” or truly revelation from the Holy Spirit. I know I was not alone in my concerns as a mormon. Many of my friends would admit the same to me — wondering if it was the “still small voice” or justr “them”.

    Now as a born again, Spirit filled believer I don’t need to worry about what God wills for me. He has revealed it plainly and clearly for me, thru His word. I am standing on the ROCK, and the confidence that has come as a result is amazing.

  2. 2 RLO
    May 11, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.” Hebrews 1:1-2

    But then, nearly 1,800 years later, along comes Mormonism, which tells us the words of his Son are no longer sufficient, not good enough anymore, and that we need to go back to listening to living prophets again.

    I’ll pass on that. Jesus’ words are more than sufficient for me.

  3. 3 Echo
    May 11, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    I am thankful that we have the SOLID ROCK of scripture to depend on alone. It is all-sufficient and protects us against all that Satan can do to destroy us.

    If a person has been decieved and they don’t know it, then naturally they are going to have “good feelings” about something and not realize those “good feelings” are a trap of the devil. It is through deception that the Devil produces those good feelings in people. If they chalk those “good feelings” up to being revelation, then naturally, Satan is quite satisfied that his deception has worked it’s poison into that person’s system. Now these people can depend on their “good feelings” rather than depending on God’s own word which is exactly what Satan wants!

    Scripture contains everything we need for our life, for doctrine, for perfection, here on earth:

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

    Scriptures contain everything we need to know about Salvation:

    2 Timothy 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

    The Scriptures contain all the TRUTH that we need to keep from being deceived:

    Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

    Our hearts can decieve us, therefore our feelings can decieve us since our feelings are based on what is in our hearts:

    Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

    Dependance on our feelings can lead to outer darkness:

    Proverbs 14:12 ” There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

  4. 4 faithoffathers
    May 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    It is a shame you don’t believe in personal revelation.

    It is the foundation for all scripture- it was the means by which scripture was obtained in the first place.

    I suppose all the prophets should have doubted and dismissed their revelations and impressions from the Lord.

    If you do not accept this means of learning truth from God, you have no way of knowing if the Bible is what it claims to be. Neither archeology nor historical research will ever prove the Bible true.

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

    Do you believe the New Testament? I suggest a review of just about every book and its teachings regarding learning through the Spirit.

    fof

  5. 5 Echo
    May 11, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    FOF said: “Do you believe the New Testament? I suggest a review of just about every book and its teachings regarding learning through the Spirit.”

    I ask you the same question with regards to learning through and living by the Spirit.

    The words in Scripture are the Spirit’s very own words! He who looks for the Spirit to work in ways that happen apart from his word or in contradiction to his own word in Scripture aren’t learning through and living by the Spirit of God.

    John 14:16-17 “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH.”

    John 17:17 “Sanctify them by the truth; YOUR WORD IS TRUTH”

    From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:1 you have the Spirit’s word of truth. Something the LDS denies. When you deny this, you deny the Spirit.

  6. May 12, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Agreed. This attitude basically undercuts much of the foundation for even believing the Bible to be true in the first place.

  7. 7 Echo
    May 12, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Seth,

    Basically, Mormonism undercuts the Bible because it was the Prophets in the Bible who recieved direct revelation to give to the people. The people themselves never recieved direct revelation from God. But Mormonism doesn’t believe the Bible to be true.

  8. 8 gloria
    May 12, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    I love this passage! It’s our family’s memory passage for this week. :)

  9. 9 gloria
    May 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    The words contained in the Bible have been proven valid, true in other ways other than “feelings”. Archeological evidence, dead sea scrolls, and other ancient manuscripts point out clearly that the words in the Bible are not mistranslated or in error.

    No where in the Bible are we told to “pray about” whether the Bible is true or not.

    God doesn’t work that way, He works is much bigger ways than warm fuzzy feelings.

  10. 10 faithoffathers
    May 13, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Echo, Gloria,

    So how do you know the Bible is true? Your reasoning is absolutely circular logic. Answering that the Bible says it is true doesn’t help one bit. A lot of books claim to be true. And a lot of books have some evidence for that.

    What archeological or historical data “prove” the claims of the Bible?

    Greek mythology contains references to actual cities and places. So do the records of ancient Egypt.

    Why do you not adopt the religions of either Greek mythology or that of the Pharaohs?

    Consistency in records doesn’t change this argument. What if the ancient references and writings relating to these other religions are consistent? How do you discriminate between them?

  11. 11 adb
    May 13, 2010 at 5:04 am

    FOF,

    One could make the exact same point about “living” prophets in Mormonism. How do you know what they say is true?

    You’ll have to try harder than that to discredit the Bible. It defends itself quite well, really, and will most certainly stand up to any attacks you or anyone else throw at it.

  12. 12 faithoffathers
    May 13, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    adb,

    You are right- the same question arises regarding modern prophets. And the answer is the same. A person knows whether a modern prophet is a true prophet the same way the ancient peoples knew when a real prophet was among them- the Spirit of the Lord.

    The Bible does not “defend itself.” Nor does it need defending from me.

    So- about that archeological and historical evidence?

    And what of the religions of Greece and Egypt?

    fof

  13. 13 Echo
    May 13, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    FOF said: ” You are right- the same question arises regarding modern prophets. And the answer is the same. A person knows whether a modern prophet is a true prophet the same way the ancient peoples knew when a real prophet was among them- the Spirit of the Lord.”

    And how do you know whether the Spirit you are speaking about is truly the Spirit of the Lord and not the devil and/or his demons?

  14. 14 adb
    May 14, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    FOF,

    All things being equal, if it is the Spirit of the Lord that allows us to distinguish if what the Bible says is true, or what the LDS living prophets say is true, It seems to me the Spirit of the Lord wouldn’t contradict himself, as the living prophets have consistently done historically. The Bible, however, has not. I’ll take the immutable word of God recorded in the Bible over the inconsistent and often contradictory words of “living prophets.”

    As for archeological and historical evidence, I don’t spend much time dwelling on either, but I guess I was under the impression that both overwhelmingly support the Bible as being historically accurate. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t many archeologists today actually use the Bible as a very credible source in searching for historical facts, because it has been found to be so reliable?

    As to the religions of Greece and Egypt, do people still believe those today? I may be naive, but I’m not aware of any huge followings. I find it hard to believe that anyone would seriously compare either to Christianity. False religions will come and go, but Christianity has been around since the beginning, and it will remain until Jesus returns. No other religion can claim that, Mormonism included.

  15. 15 faithoffathers
    May 14, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Echo,

    Good question- I believe God provides a way for people to determine the difference between right and wrong, truth and error. It is the fundamental principle, in my opinion, of religion and faith.

    The BOM says:

    “But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.”

    It is the generous gift from a loving God. I am absolutely convinced that each person has the capacity within his or her soul to judge between truth and error, right and wrong. But it requires effort, patience, trust in God, and humility.

    Consider this- I am guessing that there are a few fundamental, absolute truths in your life that you know beyond any earthly “evidence” to be true. For instance, you would probably say that you “know” there is a God in heaven who knows you personally and loves you. Am I wrong?

    Now consider HOW you know that. Do you know that because somebody else told you? Do you know that because you read it somewhere? Do you know that as a result of archeological, historical, or any other kind of “objective” scientific evidence?

    Your answers would probably be the same if I asked how you know Jesus is your Savior, correct?

    The light of Christ and the Holy Ghost is available to every individual to determine what is right.
    Expecting an individual to rely on ANYTHING else as a primary source behind his or her sincere, honest belief is tyranny.

    Then a person asks, then why so many churches and different opinions?

    The problem is that there are so many things lumped together in this world- good things lumped together with not-so-good things. Truth mixed with untruth. I believe people recognize something as being true, then assume everything else that the world has “lumped” to that thing are also true. And that is a poor assumption.

    In other words, a Buddhist has had genuine spiritual experiences telling them that some “true” or “good” element of their religion is true. And they are right about that specific element or belief. But the religion as a whole is lumped together with that specific truth, and the assumption is that the religion is all true.

    The same could be said of almost every other group.

    The other huge factor is the information to which we are exposed. Not everybody has the same information available to them. A person born and raised in India is very likely to have much more exposure to the Hindu religion than anything else. As a result, they will very likely recognize the elements of that religion that are true, and accept the whole religion as a result, not realizing they have made big assumptions.

    The other problem is that people are not always motivated to find “the truth” and we tend to be a little lazy.

    But there is a way to determine truth that does not depend upon the opinions and limitations of others. Having to rely on the “expertise” or opinions of other people immediately places our search for truth in the courtroom of man’s intellect and the contest of who can argue more effectively and more convincingly. And those things don’t necessarily have anything to do with what is true. Agreed?

    And that is what the LDS church invites people to do: Consider our claims independent of the opinions of LDS or LDS critics. Read the BOM independent of every other influence to the degree possible. Consider it with a willingness to accept it IF God communicates its truthfulness to you. Pray and ask God if the BOM is from Him and true.

    ADB- you ask about the Bible.

    Plenty of people have compiled lists of places and ways in which the Bible contradicts itself. There are many, many examples. The fact is God leads His people in time, and sometimes He wants them to do things that are specific for that particular time. He later can give them guidance that seems contrary to His previous commands, but that is just our perspective.

    We are entitled to know whether a prophet is true, but aren’t always afforded the privilege of knowing the reasons behind EVERYTHING and every command. But we can know that it is a command from God.

    Also- EVs love to claim that the Bible has been proven true by archeology and history, etc. The reality is that archeologists have identified places that are included in the Bible narrative. But that doesn’t even come close to “proving” the Bible true. A person could write an account of aliens visiting Indianapolis and by the same logic, one would have to conclude that the account was true because Indianapolis is a true, real location. That is pretty much the extent to which the Bible has been proven true.

    There is no archeological proof of anything in Genesis- covering thousands of years. Neither is their any proof as yet of Israel being held bondage in Egypt, or the exodus, etc. etc.

    Is there proof of Christ’s resurrection or of His spiritual teachings? Those things come from the Spirit of the Lord, not archeology.

    By the way, Hinduism is thought to be the oldest religion. And Judaism is older than Christianity. Age of the religion isn’t the primary determinant of which is true.

    (On that note, LDS doctrine maintains that Adam knew very well about Christ and His atonement and taught the gospel to his children- so from our perspective, true Christianity has been around from “the beginning”).

    Man I am wordy today- forgive.

    fof

  16. 16 adb
    May 14, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    FOF,

    Thanks. As to your point of archeology, I don’t need it to “prove” the Bible. My point was simply that it hasn’t discredited it. Not surprising, given that the Bible is 100% God’s Word and as such, without any error. As to the “lists of places and ways in which the Bible contradicts itself,” there are just as many lists that provide more than adequate explanations to such “contradictions” (but we’ve all been down that road before). When the Bible claims to be error-free, the Bible doesn’t have to back up such a claim; rather, it’s on the naysayers to disprove it. They’ve been trying for thousands of years. They’ve been unsuccessful, and will continue to be so.

  17. 17 Echo
    May 14, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    FOF,

    From your quote above from the BOM: “For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil.”

    Again, how can you/we know that the Spirit which we/you think is of Christ is actually the Spirit of Christ and not Satan or his demons? I am thinking along the lines that Satan masquerades as an angel of light so it makes sense to me that he can masquerade as the Spirit of Christ. How can we be absolutely certain that the Spirit is of Christ? Here is another thought I had in mind. We believe we have the Holy Spirit and you believe you have the Holy Spirit and basically the majority of our beliefs are in complete contradiction to each other. What we believe is good, you believe is evil and vise versa. Is the Spirit failing one of us?

    How do we know there is a Spirit to begin with?

    Do you believe “conscience” is “Spirit”? Are they one and the same to you or are they distinct from each other?

  18. 18 faithoffathers
    May 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Echo,

    You demonstrate one of my points- you say “What we believe is good, you believe is evil and vise versa.”

    You are “lumping” a lot of things together in “what we believe.”

    Whether you or I like it or not, we believe a lot of the same things:

    1. God lives
    2. He loves us.
    3. His Son, Jesus Christ, is the Redeemer of the world.
    4. Christ is the only means of salvation (please don’t start with faith/works,etc.)
    5. One should obey the commandments
    6. One should love his/her neighbor
    7. One should teach his or her child to love God.
    8. Forgive

    etc. etc. etc.

    In other words, there is a lot of overlap between our belief structures. And I think that where there is overlap we are likely correct and have received confirmations through the Holy Ghost that those things are true. I doubt you are committed to any of those items solely because of what somebody else told you.

    I believe that just as we have 5 senses- hearing, taste, touch, vision, smell- we also are blessed with a 6th and even more important sense or ability- and that is the ability to “hear” messages from God. I think His messages to us often work through the consience, but can come as thoughts, feelings, impressions.

    Within 2 weeks of reading the BOM, I knew it was true as surely as anything I had ever experienced. I experienced a clarity of thought I had never experienced before. There was a clear knowledge in my mind that what I was reading was true. It was a knowledge that it was true, and that the message from God. And with this clarity of thought, I also knew that God knew I had gotten the message. It was more real and convincing than anything that can be experienced through any of my other sense. And to me, nothing anybody else believes matters to me and the answers I have received. I had no outside pressure or influence pulling me either toward or away from the BOM.

    You can ask “well how do you know that what you were experiencing was from God?” The same way I know it is wrong for me to cheat on my wife.

    I believe the key is isolating variables- in other words focusing on absolutes- is there a God. Was Jesus His Son. And doing this without baggage, prejudice, or pride- which can be difficult.

    I think you are wrong when it comes to the BOM and Joseph Smith. And I think that is a result of the differences between the way you have approached the BOM vs. your approach with the Bible.

    My guess is that your first major impression about the BOM came from sources that were unfavorable. Many of the claims from those sources create enormous biases that are so difficult to overcome.

    fof

  19. May 15, 2010 at 1:36 am

    FOF,

    What do you say to Muslims who have had similar experiences with the Qu’ran, i.e., that they read it and felt that “God” told them that it is true? People have converted to Islam through experiences very similar to the manner in which you came to Mormonism.

    Darrell

  20. 20 Echo
    May 15, 2010 at 2:22 am

    FOF, thanks for taking the time to explain things in great detail. It helps me understand more and more anything I might be missing.

    FoF said: “Within 2 weeks of reading the BOM, I knew it was true as surely as anything I had ever experienced.”

    Would you say this same thing about the Bible? Did you experience that same feeling with the Bible?

  21. 21 faithoffathers
    May 15, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Echo,

    Actually- yes, I did. Especially the New Testament.

    fof

  22. 22 Echo
    May 17, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    FOF said: “I think His messages to us often work through the consience, but can come as thoughts, feelings, impressions.”

    What I have found personally is that at times, what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to me is the opposite of my thoughts, feelings and impressions about it. It’s only later, sometimes much later, that I realize that my thoughts, feelings and impressions were wrong and that the Holy Spirit needed to change the way I think and feel and he needed to change the false impressions I had.

    Do we have that in common together?

  23. 23 faithoffathers
    May 17, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Echo,

    Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean the Spirit doesn’t communicate through thoughts, feelings, and impressions. Really- what else is there in a person’s consciousness?

    fof

  24. 24 Echo
    May 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    FOF,

    Just to give you an idea of what we believe. In my view, the Holy Spirit doesn’t communicate through thoughts, feelings and impressions. He communicates through his word found in the scripture. That very word of the Spirit found in scripture in turn effects and changes my thoughts, feelings and impressions.

    For you, the Holy Spirit is a person’s consciousness? (Did I understand you correctly?)

    In my view, a person’s consciousness is his own personal spirit (small “s”) But the Holy Spirit is God.

  25. May 18, 2010 at 2:49 am

    FOF,

    Not sure if you saw my earlier question. Just curious as to your answer.

    Darrell

  26. 26 faithoffathers
    May 18, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Echo,

    A person’s consciousness is not the Holy Spirit- far from it.

    What I said is that the Holy Spirit can work through a person’s conscience- different than consciousness.

    We come full ciricle- If the Holy spirit doesn’t communicate through thoughts, feelings, and impressions, I do not understand how he can then communicate with us. If it is outside of those things (thoughts,etc.), then how do we know we are being communicated with?

    If He communicates through the written word- which written word and how do we know? Ultimately, it has to be a personal experience at some level.

    I would say that the Holy Spirit can communicate to us through the written word, or as we are reading or contemplating the written word- but ultimately, it is a personal communication. There is no way around that. Otherwise, it is not communication at all.

    Darrell,

    I think that what I said above would apply- a person is lumping stuff together. A person can feel good or even have spiritual confirmations that select principles from any book, etc. are true. But the conclusion of the person is not supported regarding the truth of the whole book.

    The BOM is different- it is purposefully set up that a person receives personal revelation from God that it is true. And given the manner in which the book came about, the only way for the book to be true makes the process of its coming about valid. Hence, people can say- I know Joseph was a prophet because I know the BOM is the word of God.

    Hope that helps.

    Ultimately, every soul must do their best to determine what truth is. That is one of the big tests of this life. There indeed are a lot of variables invovled. But I believe that all people who are honest, and humbly want to know what is the truth may know the answers IF they have exposure to the information required and if they overcome bias and influence from others (and self).

    fof

  27. May 19, 2010 at 12:24 am

    I apologize for the idiotic wording in the above two comments! I wrote and posted them with kids at my feet and did not proof read before hitting submit. Please disregard them as I have now reworded and reposted below.

    —————————————————————————

    I think that what I said above would apply- a person is lumping stuff together. A person can feel good or even have spiritual confirmations that select principles from any book, etc. are true. But the conclusion of the person is not supported regarding the truth of the whole book.

    The BOM is different- it is purposefully set up that a person receives personal revelation from God that it is true.

    FOF,

    Thanks for your response.

    Your conclusion regarding the BOM can and often is applied by people who come to beliefs in other religious movements that are diametrically opposed to yours. For example, when a person believes God has told them the Qur’an is true, then the logical conclusion they come to is that Mohammed is His Prophet. Mohammed claimed to receive the revelations contained in the Qur’an from God. In addition, when a person believes God has told him that The Book of the Law of the Lord is true, then it is just as logical to believe that James Strange is God’s true Prophet and that the Strangite Church is thereby the true church of God. Strange claimed to have translated the book by the Gift and Power of God from the Plates of Laban.

    I have also spoken with people who have taken the reverse approach. For example, they believe that God has told them that Mohammed is a Prophet of God and that, as a result, the Qur’an is true. This is similar to Mormons who claim that they prayed and God told them that Smith is God’s Prophet and that, as a result, the BOM is true.

    Consequently, how do you know that you are not the one who is “lumping stuff together?” If it is possible that people in either of the above scenarios are doing this, then you could just as easily be doing it. What standard do you use to judge the fact that you are right and that people who come to the conclusion that the Qur’an/Mohammed or Strange/The Book of the Law of the Lord is true are thereby incorrect?

    Darrell

  28. 28 echoechoecho
    May 19, 2010 at 12:31 am

    FOF said: “We come full ciricle- If the Holy spirit doesn’t communicate through thoughts, feelings, and impressions, I do not understand how he can then communicate with us. If it is outside of those things (thoughts,etc.), then how do we know we are being communicated with?”

    I don’t believe God can communicate through our thoughts, feelings and impressions because our thoughts, feelings and impressions generally contradict God’s thoughts, feelings and what he wants to impress on us:

    Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”

    1 Corinthians 1:25 “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

    1 Corinthians 1:20 “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?”

    1 Corinthians 3:19 “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight”

    Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death”

    If we depend on our thoughts, feelings and impressions, we are going to miss out on God’s thoughts, feelings and what he wants to impress upon us.

  29. 29 faithoffathers
    May 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Echo-

    Than how does God communiate with us?

    You cannot say “through the Bible” because I will then ask “how do you know God is communicating throught he Bible- because it says so?” Lots of books/people do that.

    Darrell- How does anybody know there is a God? Really- how do you know that?

    I still believe that it is a matter of exposure to truth. Joseph Smith had a desire to join the Methodists and contemplated joining others because he recognized truth, albeit incomplete truth, in their teachings. But up to that point, that was the extent of truth he had been exposed to.

    Same with anybody else.

    I also reinterate that the METHOD of translation of the BOM is unlike any other book in the world. Can you name another book (outside of LDS canon) that claims to have been translated from another language by the “gift and power of God?” If it is what it claims to be, Joseph had to be a prophet. I think it was planned that way so that people exposed to it would have a very linear method for determining a whole lot more as a result of that single, personal revelation regarding the BOM.

    Another self-proclaimed prophet, whether Mohamed or another, can write a book with truth in it, but where is the miracle and supernatural requirement in doing that in their own native tongue?

    I hope I am making sense to you.

    The Lord says of the BOM that “I will bring them forth [plates] in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.” 2 Nephi 27:21

    It was set up in a way to be a test for the humble, honest seekers.

    Really- there is no other book like the BOM in the sense of its claims of how it came about.

    And ultimately, it is once again personal revelation that convinces a person of anything, including the truth of the Bible and BOM.

    fof

  30. May 19, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    FOF,

    I also reinterate that the METHOD of translation of the BOM is unlike any other book in the world. Can you name another book (outside of LDS canon) that claims to have been translated from another language by the “gift and power of God?”

    There are many such other such books. The Book of the Law of the Lord is one example. James Strange claimed to translate it by the gift and power of the God and claimed to use the U & T just like Joseph Smith. The BOM is not unique in this respect.

    If it is what it claims to be, Joseph had to be a prophet. I think it was planned that way so that people exposed to it would have a very linear method for determining a whole lot more as a result of that single, personal revelation regarding the BOM.

    The exact same thing can be said about the Qur’an and The Book of the Law of the Lord. If they are what the purport to be, then Mohammed is God’s Prophet and Strange is the Prophet and Restorer of the true church. There are many people who believe God has revealed these books as true and, as a result, these people to be what they claimed to be. What makes them wrong and you right?

    And ultimately, it is once again personal revelation that convinces a person of anything, including the truth of the Bible and BOM.

    Revelation can play a role, but it is most certainly not the only role. The early apostles did not rely upon revelation alone. When they began to preach that Jesus was the Messiah, they did not preach a gospel that appealed solely to revelation. Instead, they appealed to fact, knowledge, evidence, and scripture being fulfilled. In addition, they warned about revelation coming from the wrong source. Do you take this into account?

    How does anybody know there is a God? Really- how do you know that?

    Wow, this could be a conversation all to itself. There are many things that reveal that God exists. As a result, you do not need to rely on revelation and/or faith alone. For example, nature and philosophy both point to the existence of a God. We are contingent beings and thus, necessitate a necessary being in order to ground our existence. Even Scripture tells us this much, i.e., Rom. 1:19-20: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

    You most certainly don’t need revelation to know that God exists.

    God Bless!

    Darrell

  31. May 20, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Another self-proclaimed prophet, whether Mohamed or another, can write a book with truth in it, but where is the miracle and supernatural requirement in doing that in their own native tongue?

    I meant to address this point as well. Strange is said to have done this.

    There are many linguistic and evidential problems with Smith’s “translation.” There is no evidence for the existence of the language from which he claims to have translated it. In addition, there is not one scholar, anthropologist, linguist, or archeologist outside of the Mormon faith who gives any credence to the existence of the language or the civilization that the BOM claims to represent.

    Darrell

  32. 32 Echo
    May 20, 2010 at 5:39 am

    FOF said: “Echo-

    Than how does God communiate with us?

    You cannot say “through the Bible” because I will then ask “how do you know God is communicating throught he Bible- because it says so?” Lots of books/people do that.”

    The question isn’t: “How do you know?” the question is: “Who is this God spoken about in the bible?”

    The Bible has a message that is distinct from all other books and religions which is what sets is apart from all other books and religions. All the other books and religions have something in common with each other that they do not have in common with the Bible. I will get into this later but suffice it to know for now that this is the goal we want to reach and discover together.

    Before we take a look at the Bible, lets ponder a few things first apart from the Bible:

    If there truly is a God who truly loves us, what do you imagine he is truly like?

  33. 33 faithoffathers
    May 20, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Echo,

    So a book that is unique from all others is categorically true?

    You are not answering the basic question- how do you know God exists and the Bible is true?

    Darrell- philosophy and logic can structure questions about the world and universe and offer logical possibilities. But they will never lead to the “narrow path that leads to life.”

    While from my perspective, just about all of my religious beliefs can be explained and reasoned from a logical standpoint, almost none of the core of my religious convictions RESULT from logic or reason.

    In saying that, don’t be too excited- I am not saying my faith is not reasonable. I am saying the my faith is a product of interracting with God directly through prayer and subsequent answers. In my opinion, personal revelation is the basis for all true religion.

    By the way, lacking manuscripts of reformed Egyption does not mean there is no linguistic evidence supporting the BOM. That is far, far from reality.

    fof

  34. 34 Echo
    May 20, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    FOF, if you want answers to your questions then follow along with me.

    If there truly is a God who truly loves us, what do you imagine he is truly like?

  35. 35 faithoffathers
    May 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Echo,

    Loving, perfectly knowledgeable, patient, powerful, forgiving, etc.

    But those are attributes that I believe He has.

    What is to guarantee I am right?

    If there is a God, why is He necessarily those things?

    fof

  36. May 20, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    FOF,

    Darrell- philosophy and logic can structure questions about the world and universe and offer logical possibilities. But they will never lead to the “narrow path that leads to life.”

    You originally asked “How we can know God exists.” Therefore, I wasn’t speaking to philosophy or nature demonstrating how we can know the “narrow path that leads to life.” That is a different issue. Although, I can speak to that as well if you would like, for you don’t have to rely on revelation and faith alone for that either.

    But, back to my point: Philosophy, logic, and nature all point to the fact that God exists. You don’t have to rely solely on revelation or faith for this knowledge. In fact, I think it is very interesting how God works in this respect. He has commanded us to love Him with “all our heart, soul, and mind.” Consequently, if we rely solely on revelation, we are going to leave out part of this commandment.

    So, this leads me back to my point… if you are relying solely on revelation to know Mormonism is true, how do you ground the fact that it is true and not Strangitism or Islam?

    While from my perspective, just about all of my religious beliefs can be explained and reasoned from a logical standpoint, almost none of the core of my religious convictions RESULT from logic or reason.

    I can understand what you are saying here, and it is not really what I am debating. If your heart is what gets you started on the path to God, that is great. I would venture to say that most people function that way. God designed us with a certain emptiness that only He can fill.

    My point would be that faith in the BOM and the LDS particulars are in no way supported by nature or evidence. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite, for in many cases it takes faith IN SPITE OF the evidence to believe in the LDS particulars, e.g., the Book of Abraham and the BOM.

    By the way, lacking manuscripts of reformed Egyption does not mean there is no linguistic evidence supporting the BOM. That is far, far from reality.

    If it were solely a matter of lacking manuscripts, you may have a point. Unfortunately, it is much more than that, for there is absolutely no evidence that reformed Egyptian ever existed. There is not one non-LDS linguist who gives any credence to the existence of the language. Further, there is not one non-LDS scholar, anthropologist, or archeologist who gives any merit to the claim that the people the BOM speaks about ever existed. There is not one professional outside of LDS circles who believes there is any evidence to demonstrate a Mesoamerican/Jewish connection.

    Now, your position appears to be that a lack of evidence is not evidence. I understand your point; however, this can only stand so far. The same argument could be used to support belief in little green men living on the dark side of the moon. After all, just because we have no evidence for them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So, the question really boils down to “when” does a lack of evidence really demonstrate an unreasonable faith. IMO, combining the lack of evidence for any of the Mormon claims with the numerous problems Mormonism has in other areas, i.e., theological contradictions with the Bible, JS’s numerous shady behaviors, BOM papyri not adding up, major changes in the D&C, etc., etc., etc, this point was reached a long time ago.

    Darrell

  37. May 20, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    BOM papyri not adding up…

    I meant Book of Abraham papyri not adding up.

    Darrell

  38. 38 faithoffathers
    May 21, 2010 at 5:09 am

    Darrell,

    Regarding philosophy and reason pointing to God. It depends on whose philosophy one reads. Reason, too for that matter.

    I think we would both agree that God is very logical and reasonable. I suppose my point is that logic and reason may point to God, but do not result in truly deep conversion- the thing that makes a person lay their life at Jesus’ feet. Know what I mean?

    I simply disagree with you as far as logic, evidence and reason when it comes to the BOM, BOA, the restoration, everything. To me,after literally filling my time as much as possible studying the primary texts as well as evidences for and against them- logic and reason and the evidence very much support all of it. I know you disagree.

    My position is not that the “lack of evidence is not evidence.” Maybe that has to suffice for some small particulars, but there is signficant evidence for the BOM and BOA.

    Many EVs who criticize the BOM, etc. seem so biased and partison because they act as if there is nothing but solid, undeniable evidence for the Bible, and aternatively,that all the information and research done on the BOM suggests it is false. That is just so simply, pathetically uninformed. They really show that they are not familiar with the research that is out there. The informed critics at least acknowledge the “positive” findings and see the challenge of explaining them.

    fof

  39. 39 Echo
    May 21, 2010 at 8:26 am

    FOF said: “Loving, perfectly knowledgeable, patient, powerful, forgiving, etc.”

    We agree. Super!

    What about truthful?

    Could you trust a God who wasn’t truthful?

  40. 40 faithoffathers
    May 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Yep- I personally believe that God is truthful. But my belief does not make that a necessity or reality in and of itself. How do I know God is truthful?

    fof

  41. 41 Echo
    May 21, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    FOF

    Does God have to be truthful in order for faith to exist?

  42. May 24, 2010 at 2:08 am

    FOF,

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I spent the last few days finishing a research paper for Seminary.

    Regarding philosophy and reason pointing to God. It depends on whose philosophy one reads. Reason, too for that matter.

    I understand what you are saying, but honestly, that is pretty much a cop out. The same could be said for math: “2 + 2 equaling 4 depends upon the type of math you use.” There is good philosophy and bad philosophy, good reason and bad reason, good math and bad math, etc. It is intellectually lazy to simply chalk it up to “Well, it just depends upon what is ‘right’ to you.” I know that is the post-modern way of thinking, but it is a faulty way of looking at the world. In addition, if taken to its ultimate end, it is self-defeating. For, when one says, “It depends upon what type of philosophy you use.” I could simply ask, “Doesn’t the truth of that statement depend upon the type of philosophy one uses?”

    I suppose my point is that logic and reason may point to God, but do not result in truly deep conversion- the thing that makes a person lay their life at Jesus’ feet. Know what I mean?

    I agree with you that true conversion involves the heart. My only caveat is to say that if one converts to something without using their mind in addition to their heart, they very well may be converting to something that is false. It is possible to have faith in things which are un-true. The Bible warns us as much. Faith alone saves, but it has to be faith in the right thing. Hence, the reason we are commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind. All three are vital.

    My position is not that the “lack of evidence is not evidence.” Maybe that has to suffice for some small particulars, but there is signficant evidence for the BOM and BOA.

    Many EVs who criticize the BOM, etc. seem so biased and partison because they act as if there is nothing but solid, undeniable evidence for the Bible, and aternatively,that all the information and research done on the BOM suggests it is false. That is just so simply, pathetically uninformed. They really show that they are not familiar with the research that is out there. The informed critics at least acknowledge the “positive” findings and see the challenge of explaining them.

    I tried, to no avail, to discuss this subject with Seth over on Jessica’s blog. Perhaps you and I can have a discussion about it. I realize that FARMS and FAIR tout things they perceive to be “evidence” for the BOM. In fact, I have read a bit on the subject. However, the interesting thing is that, to my knowledge, there is not one non-LDS scholar, anthropologist, archeologist, or linguist who agrees with their conclusions. Not one professional, outside of those who are Mormon, see any connection between the Mesoamerica and the Israelites.

    In addition, there is no one outside of the Mormon faith who looks to the BOM as anything except a work of fiction. No one uses it for research into Mesoamerica, no one sees any historical value in it, and no one has found any hard evidence to demonstrate that it has any basis in reality. The evidence that FARMS and FAIR tout is so flimsy that it has yet to convince anyone except those who have an ideological axe to grind.

    I have heard the excuse “Well, no one except the Mormons have bothered to consider the evidence.” and in reality, I find that to be a rather arrogant statement. There are non-Mormon archeologists, linguists, and anthropologists in Mesoamerica. To say that they are all so ignorant and uninformed that they can’t see the mountain of evidence for an Ancient America/Israelite connection is simply ridiculous. If there is hard evidence to demonstrate a connection, secular professionals are more than willing to look at it.

    Now, the Bible is quite a different story. There are many, many, non-Christian scholars, archeologists, anthropologists, and linguists who see much historical value in the Bible. They may not hold to its supernatural faith claims, but they do see it as a document with serious historical value. It is commonly used in secular archeological research, and there is not one serious scholar alive today, Christian or non-Christian, who doubts that the main character of the book, Jesus, was a real historical figure.

    Darrell


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