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CORRUPTION OF THE BIBLE IS AN LDS SMOKESCREEN

The LDS maintains that the Bible has been corrupted and is, therefore, unreliable. Their unsubstantiated claim is that some parts have been incorrectly translated, and that sections that had originally contained Mormon doctrines have been removed. However, they have never been able to come up with any proof to back up their allegations. The first part of this article is devoted to the evidence that supports the accuracy and reliability of the Bible. And the last section deals with the various LDS theories on the subject.

THE BIBLE’S RELIABILITY

If we have any doubts about the Bible’s truth or accuracy, we’ll read it with a jaundiced eye, and will always be wondering about the trustworthiness of some verse or the other. This will leave us open to being easily led astray by false teachers, false prophets and the like, whom the Bible warns us appear to be messengers of light:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, KJV)

When it comes to deception Satan is a master of the art, and we are no match for him. So God has provided us with spiritual armour for our protection (Ephesians 6:12-17). And part of that armour is the Word of God (verse 17). When we use the Bible as our standard of truth, it serves as a spiritual sword, capable of decimating spiritual deception and error.

When Paul preached the New Covenant gospel of Christ to the Jews at Berea, they checked in their Bibles daily to see whether the things he was telling them were true (Acts 17:10-12). And sure enough, the prophecies about the coming Messiah lined up with what Paul had been telling them about Christ and his atonement for the sins of mankind. So many of them trusted in Christ for salvation.

If we follow the example of the Bereans by conscientiously checking up on whether or not the spiritual teachings we receive line up with the Bible, we will not be led into error. But in order to have the will to do this, we need to have faith in the Bible’s reliability, bearing in mind that faith isn’t a blind, mindless belief, an emotion, or a warm feeling in our bosom, as Mormons have been taught to believe it is. Nowhere in the Bible are we told to have faith in our feelings. Feelings are notoriously unreliable. Having faith doesn’t mean that we have to be gullible or throw our brains out of the window.

The following facts reveal the Bible to be a reliable standard of authority and truth, in which we can safely trust:

THE BIBLE IS HISTORICALLY TRUE

In the early 1800’s, the University of Paris printed an academic paper denouncing the Bible. They mentioned more than eighty historical facts that they claimed were untrue. However, within the next 100 years archaeological discoveries had confirmed the accuracy of the biblical record concerning every one of those so-called errors.

We have literally thousands of ancient, independent documents that support the trustworthiness of the biblical record. And archaeologists have confirmed the existence of biblical cities, nations, and individuals. They’ve also unearthed countless coins, artifacts, and evidence of civilizations and wars recorded in the Bible. Yet they’ve never found anything that has contradicted or disproved the Bible’s accuracy.

Compare this with the dismal record of absolutely no proof at all ever having been found concerning the LDS’s foremost scripture, the Book of Mormon, which they maintain is more accurate than the Bible. The evidence in favour of the Bible is overwhelming, and there is no evidence at all in favour of the Book of Mormon or of Mormon doctrine. Yet the LDS continues to throw stones both at the Bible and at biblical Christianity.

ACCURACY OF OUR COPIES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

Strict regulations were enforced in the copying of Old Testament scriptures. An authentic specimen had to be used, and copyists weren’t allowed to deviate from it in any way. Nothing was permitted to be written down from memory, not even a dot. If any mistakes were made, the faulty copies were either burned or buried, as was every document that showed any sign of wear. Many other precautions were also taken, some even more elaborate than these, such as the counting of every letter on each page. So it’s unlikely that errors would have crept into the copying of the Old Testament.

It doesn’t make sense to imagine for one moment that people who were so fanatically fastidious about the accuracy of their scriptures, and so in awe of them, would adulterate them or hack out great big portions of them; or allow others to do so. Those Jewish folk guarded their scriptures jealously and reverentially. Don’t forget that the primitive church was completely Jewish, and a large number of the early church consisted of converted Jews, all of whom had this very same reverence for scripture.

In 1947 an Arab shepherd boy discovered a vast quantity of ancient manuscripts in some caves, which became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. They pre-dated anything we’d previously possessed, and included portions of every Old Testament book except Esther. Many of the scrolls were in fragments, but those they have pieced together agree with our modern Bibles.

The LDS Church maintains that parts of the book of Isaiah (the sections that don’t agree with their ideas), have been incorrectly translated. But we can now prove to them that this is not so, and that it is the LDS doctrines that are incorrect, not the Bible. Amongst the Dead Sea Scrolls was a complete copy of the book of Isaiah, written in an early form of the square letter. This dates it as far back as the second century before Christ, which makes it the same rendering of Isaiah that was read and quoted by the Lord Jesus. He accepted and proclaimed it as the true Word of God. And this very ancient copy of Isaiah agrees with our modern English translations of today. So the LDS will need another excuse to explain why their teachings don’t agree with the book of Isaiah.

Furthermore, Dr. Sidney B. Sperry, the LDS’s own Brigham Young University’s Professor of Old Testament History, Literature, and Languages, wrote the following in his publication, “Progress in Archaeology”:

“After reading the [Dead Sea] Scrolls very carefully, I came to the conclusion that there is not a line in them that suggests that their writers knew the gospel as understood by Latter-day Saints.” (page 52)

ACCURACY OF OUR COPIES OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

As we’ve learned more about ancient biblical languages we have been able to translate them more precisely. But this hasn’t changed the actual meaning of the content in any way.

We possess more than 3,000 New Testament manuscripts dating from the fourth century. A few of these have minor variations. However, as most of them do agree, it’s an easy matter to sort out which are the reliable texts.

Some copies of John’s writings dating from 200 AD have come to light. They agree with our Bibles. We also have the writings of the apostolic fathers and the church fathers. (The apostolic fathers were the disciples of the apostles, and the church fathers were the disciples of the apostolic fathers.) Their combined writings contain the entire New Testament, except sixteen verses, which are only the introductions to the epistles. And their versions of the New Testament scriptures agree with our modern translations. So we can rest assured that our modern New Testament is in line with the original writings.

In their book “Eyewitness to Jesus,” German and British scholars Drs. Carsten Theide and Matthew D’Ancona refer to a fragment from the Gospel of Matthew, that scientific evidence revealed was written before AD 70, possibly as early as AD 30. This means that this gospel was written and circulated during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses to the events recorded. So they would have been able to vouch for its accuracy.

Because of the overwhelming evidence available, it is unlikely that errors could have crept into our versions of either the Old or New Testaments.

THE BIBLE IS OUR STANDARD OF TRUTH

The Bible is the standard of truth provided by God to enable us to test all spiritual teachings. But once we start relying on it, Satan knows that he will have lost the battle for our souls. So he puts a great deal of effort into trying to discredit it. And he’s very subtle. Remember what he said to Eve in the garden of Eden? He insinuated that perhaps God didn’t quite mean what he’d said so she shouldn’t take it too seriously. And she believed Satan, instead of taking God at His Word. As a result both Adam and Eve lost their righteous natures, their immortality and their fellowship with their Creator.

Satan is carrying on that same campaign of disinformation today, except this time it’s against God’s written word, the Bible.

CONTRADICTORY LDS STANCE ON THE BIBLE

When it comes to the Bible, the LDS church speaks with a forked tongue. On the one hand they maintain that it is their standard scripture, “the first” among their written guides in faith and doctrine. But on the other hand, they insist that it has been so badly corrupted that it cannot be relied upon.

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Holy Bible as the foremost of her standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as her written guides in faith and doctrine” (LDS Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, page 236).

“Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (known informally by the nickname Mormons) believe the Bible. Indeed, so literally and completely do their beliefs and practices conform to the teachings of the Bible that it is not uncommon to hear informed persons say: ‘If all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons.’ Bible doctrine is Mormon doctrine, and Mormon doctrine is Bible doctrine. They are one and the same” (LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, “What The Mormons Think of Christ,” page 2).

But saying doesn’t make it so. The second quote is both false and deliberately misleading. The LDS leadership is well aware of the fact that their doctrines are not biblical. Moreover, they admit that the Jesus Christ that they follow is not the Christ of the Bible either (see the relevant article). And eternal progression, the foundational doctrine on which the LDS stands or falls, is anti-biblical to the point of being blasphemous, as are their doctrines on deity and the atonement.

Contrary to apostle McConkie’s false claims mentioned above, the Bible vigorously opposes LDS doctrines, and in order to justify this very obvious discrepancy the LDS church teaches their members that the Bible has been corrupted to the extent that it is not reliable. They are instructed to use their own scriptures and revelations as the standard against which to measure the accuracy of the Bible.

“The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.” (Church News, June 20, 1992, page 3, quoting a letter from the First Presidency [Presidents Benson, Hinckley and Monson] dated May 22, 1992, to all of the Church)

There are a great many LDS teachings on the unreliability of the Bible. Here are just a few:

“Many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Volume 1, page 245)

“Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 327).

“… who in his right mind could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?” (LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, “Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon,” Page 47.)

In light of the above, one can only assume that their earlier, dishonest statements about their teachings conforming completely to those of the Bible, were nothing more than a deliberate smoke screen designed to conceal the fact that Mormonism is an unbiblical religion and that their doctrines are exclusive to the LDS church alone.

The Book of Mormon goes one step further in the LDS tirade against the Bible. It declares that only a fool would believe that the Bible is an adequate spiritual guide. (This crude statement gives the Book of Mormon a reason for its existence.)

“Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. ……..Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” (2 Nephi 29:6, 10)

“….. for behold they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away. And all this have they done that they might blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the children of men” (1 Nephi 13:26-27)

Mormon literature provides many more statements along the same lines, but the above sufficiently proves the point that on the one hand the LDS claims that the Bible is their foremost scripture, that they honour and respect its authority, and that their doctrine so utterly conforms to biblical teaching that if all men believed the Bible, all would be Mormons. On the other hand they maintain that the Bible has been corrupted to such an extent that it can’t be trusted, that only fools would consider it to be an adequate spiritual guide, and that Mormons should use their own LDS revelations and teachings to gauge whether or not what the Bible says is correct.

The above two irreconcilable LDS stances are what some would term, “running with the hares and hunting with the hounds.” In other words, they enable the LDS to put forward whichever opposing point of view suits them best at any given time.

Let’s tackle some of the LDS’s accusations regarding their allegations about the Bible being corrupted and unreliable:

DIFFERENCES IN MANUSCRIPTS

There are minor variations in some of the available manuscripts. However, because of the vast number that are now in our possession (many thousands), it is an easy matter to sort out those that do not agree. Concerning those that do vary, scholars have come to the following conclusions.

“A careful study of the variants of the various earliest manuscripts reveals that none of them affects a single doctrine of Scripture. The system of spiritual truth contained in the standard Hebrew text of the Old Testament is not in the slightest altered or compromised by any of the variant readings found in the Hebrew manuscripts ….. It is very evident that the vast majority of them are so inconsequential as to leave the meaning of each clause doctrinally unaffected” (Gleason Archer, “A Survey of the Old Testament,” page 25).

“Only about one-eighth of all the variants had any weight, as most of them are merely mechanical matters such as spelling or style. Of the whole, then, only about one-sixtieth rise above ‘trivialities,’ or can in any sense be called substantial ‘variations’. Mathematically this would compute to a Text that is 98.33 percent pure.” (Norman Geisler and William Nix, “A General Introduction to the Bible,” page 365).

And Professor Richard L. Anderson, of the LDS’s own Brigham Young University, had this to say:
“For a book to undergo progressive uncovering of its manuscript history and come out with so little debatable in its text is a great tribute to its essential authenticity. First, no new manuscript discovery has produced serious differences in the essential story. This survey has disclosed the leading textual controversies, and together they would be well within one percent of the text. Stated differently, all manuscripts agree on the essential correctness of 99 percent of all the verses in the New Testament.”

“LOST” BOOKS

The LDS maintains that manuscripts are missing out of the canon. But there is a valid reason why not all available documents were included. Some failed to meet the strict criteria deemed necessary to qualify for inclusion.

ALLEGED CORRUPTION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

In attempting to explain why there is no mention of LDS doctrines in the Bible, LDS Apostle James E. Talmage suggested that some time during the fourth century Mormon doctrines and teachings must have been removed from the Bible.

However, besides having been recorded in the Bible, the apostles’ teachings were also quoted in numerous sermons, letters and documents. And by the time the fourth century came around these writings, as well as the biblical record, had been copied a great many times and widely circulated. So if Mormonism had been taught by the apostles there would have had to have been a record of it somewhere. But nobody, anywhere, has ever found so much as a trace of anything even remotely resembling Mormon doctrine prior to the establishment of the LDS church by Joseph Smith.

Critics of Mormonism are of the opinion that Joseph Smith used the excuse that the Bible had been corrupted as a dishonest ploy to justify the fact that the doctrines he taught were radically unbiblical.

LDS historian Hugh Nibley felt that the reason Mormon teachings weren’t mentioned in the Bible was because the original New Testament had been sabotaged before any copies had been made. But scientific evidence to the contrary discounts his theory. As already mentioned, a fragment of the gospel of Matthew was scientifically dated before AD 70 and possibly as early as in the AD 30’s. This means that it was written during the lifetime of the very people who had been witnesses to the events it mentions. And they would have objected it it hadn’t recorded the true facts correctly.

Other complete documents available are dated between about AD 70-807. At this stage in the history of the church, Christ’s original apostles would have been teaching and training those who were earmarked for leadership. And there was an extremely strict criteria laid down in the New Testament for selecting leadership. They would had to have been godly, mature, spirit filled Christians of the highest moral and spiritual calibre, whose doctrine was sound, who knew the scriptures and were capable of correcting error, and whose faith had already been tested and proved.

Furthermore, it would have been necessary for the entire Christian church, including the leadership, from every single area in the world where there had been Christians, all to have become apostate simultaneously. And at the same time as apostatising they would all have had to, once again simultaneously, reject their previous doctrines and adopt an entirely different belief system that opposed and did away with the very tenets the church had sacrificed, suffered and died for.

This idea is too far fetched to even warrant consideration.

Over all these long years that they’ve been in existence, the LDS has never ever been able to produce any evidence whatsoever, biblical, historical or archeological, that so much as suggests that either a complete apostasy of the early church or a corruption of the Bible ever took place, as they maintain they did. They have the same amount of evidence here as they have for their Book of Mormon being true, precisely nil. In fact they have never ever been able to produce any evidence that backs up any of their claims concerning their church being legitimate or that backs up their false accusations that biblical Christianity of today is not legitimate.

Surely, if either of these two claims had any substance, something would have been found by this time, to back them up.

The fact that Mormonism is an evolving religion should not be glossed over. LDS beliefs of today bear no resemblance whatsoever to their earlier beliefs. Twelve years after the establishment of the LDS church Joseph Smith introduced his new teachings on eternal progression, which brought about a complete change in their entire doctrinal system. Since then they have believed in an exclusive and unbiblical God, Christ, gospel and so on. (See the lead given at the end of this page to the article, “The Mormon Gods, Past and Present.”)

In other words, although they started off worshipping the biblical trinitarian, eternal, unchangeable, spirit God, twelve years later they changed over to the worship of a God of flesh and bone, who had once been an ordinary man.

In light of this, and their many other radical changes in doctrine, we can’t help wondering why the LDS should maintain that because the Bible doesn’t contain any of their current teachings it must have been corrupted. Do they expect the Bible to change its teachings every time they do so?

The main ingredient of truth is its consistency. It never, ever changes. So, unlike as is the case in Mormonism, the teachings of the Bible have never changed, and the Christian church of today (which the LDS accuses of being apostate) still uses exactly the same doctrines that Christ’s Apostles in the primitive church taught, adhered to and died to defend, as recorded in the Bible.

On the other hand, the LDS church has continued this pattern of changing their doctrines whenever they have deemed it convenient.

The Almighty God who created the universe, and who upholds it by His power, gave us the Bible as our standard of truth, both for our spiritual guidance and for our protection against spiritual deception. And He’s perfectly capable of safeguarding that same Bible from contamination or error. However, the LDS infers that He wasn’t able to do this, although, conversely, they insist that He is able to keep them from error.

But worshipping different Gods at different times, or for that matter, changing their other doctrines, clearly reveals that they must either have been in error prior to the changes in their doctrines or else that their present doctrines are incorrect. It would be impossible for both to be right.

If God allowed Joseph Smith, His chosen prophet, to teach doctrinal error on something as important as deity, and to lead them in the worship of the supposedly wrong God for over 12 years, why should we for one moment imagine that He doesn’t allow the LDS leadership to teach error today? And how do Mormons know that it wasn’t the second God, a glorified man, whom Joseph Smith taught them to worship, that was the wrong deity? How do they know whether or not they are guilty of the sin of idolatry?

The first link given below will take you to an article that discusses the three different Gods that have been worshipped by the LDS, each for a lengthy period of time. Quotes from LDS literature, providing irrefutable evidence that can be checked, are given. The second link leads to an article on the reliability of the Bible:

The Mormon Gods, Past and Present

The Bible and its Reliability as a Spiritual Weapon

Copyright 2007, Mormonism and Biblical Truth. All rights reserved.

http://www.bibtruth.com/corup.html

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