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God the Father was Married to Mary (His daughter)

Most Mormons are unaware of the fact that early LDS leaders taught that God the Father was actually married to Mary, Jesus’ mother. Brigham Young, second President, and Prophet of the LDS Church stated:

This matter was a little changed in the case of the Savior of the world, the Son of the living God. The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband. On this account infidels have called the Savior a bastard. This is merely a human opinion upon one of the inscrutable doings of the Almighty. That very babe that was cradled in the manger, was begotten, not by Joseph, the husband of Mary, but by another Being. Do you inquire by whom? He was begotten by God our heavenly, father (Journal of Discourses, 11:268; emphasis added)

LDS Apostle and General Authority, Orson Pratt explains clearly:

but it was the personage of the Father who begat the body of Jesus; and for this reason Jesus is called the Only Begotten of the Father; that is, the only one in this world whose fleshly body was begotten by the Father. There were millions of sons and daughters whom He begat before the foundation of the world, but they were spirits, and not bodies of flesh and bones; whereas, both the spirit and body of Jesus were begotten by the Father the spirit having been begotten in heaven many ages before the tabernacle was begotten upon the earth. The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father.

Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father: we use the term lawful Wife, because it would be blasphemous in the highest degree to say that He overshadowed her or begat the Saviour unlawfully. It would have been unlawful for any man to have interfered with Mary, who was already espoused to Joseph; for such a heinous crime would have subjected both the guilty parties to death, according to the law of Moses. But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure; He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband, and beget a Son, although she was espoused to another; for the law which He gave to govern men and women was not intended to govern Himself; or to prescribe rules for his own conduct.

It was also lawful in Him, after having thus dealt with Mary, to give Mary to Joseph her espoused husband. Whether God the Father gave Mary to Joseph for time only, or for time and eternity, we are not informed. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his own wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 158; emphasis added).

Orson Pratt agrees with Young when he says, “the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father. Keep in mind Pratt was a Mormon Apostle he was a General Authority of the LDS Church.

The worst part of this teaching is: in LDS theology, all of human-kind are the literal off-spring (by sexual relations) of God the Father and one of His wives in heaven. Thus, God the Father married Mary, His own daughter, and begot Jesus by her. But, if Mormons say that they disagree with this pagan teaching they are, to be sure, repudiating a LDS Prophet and Apostle as false teachers.

http://www.christiandefense.org/mor_nat_mary.htm

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THE MORMON TEMPLE

The Mormon Temple is the very heart of the system of Mormonism. It is here that certain “worthy” Mormons perform secret ordinances that they believe will allow them to obtain the status of “a God” in the hereafter. Secret rituals are also done in behalf of the DEAD. No worship services are held in this building and non-Mormons are restricted from entering except for a brief period previous to its dedication.

Strange as it may seem, only about 20% of the Mormon population have been through the temple ceremony and fewer than that attend regularly.

Because the Mormon Church considers the temple ceremony as “sacred,” they have never published a dialog of the temple ritual or filmed the ceremony for benefit of the public or even their own people. The devout LDS will almost never talk about the secret activity that goes on behind temple doors.

However, there are numerous eye-witness accounts by “Temple Mormons” who became alienated from the church and have exposed all that goes on in the ceremony. Dozens of these accounts have been published over the years. One such testimony comes from a former temple “Veil Worker” who had performed over 1,000 temple ordinances! As recent as 1990 actual recordings have been made of the temple ceremony.

With all this information, we can accurately examine the secret activities performed in the LDS Temple. Certainly, truth has nothing to fear from investigation. The Bible even tells us to, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thessalonians 5:21).

The late Mormon Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie, gave this information about the “Temple Ordinances”:

“Certain gospel ordinances are of such a sacred and holy nature that the Lord authorizes their performance only in holy sanctuaries prepared and dedicated for that purpose….They were given in modern times to the Prophet Joseph Smith by revelation,…” (Mormon Doctrine,1979, p. 779)

Even though Mormons believe that God is the source of these so called “sacred” and “holy” ordinances, the evidence that will be presented in this tract clearly shows that the Mormon Temple Ceremony is far from holy or Biblical and certainly NOT from God.

BLOODY OATHS

For almost 150 years the Temple Endowment ceremony included 3 specific oaths which Mormons believed couldn’t be tampered with or altered regardless of the criticism they had received.

Nevertheless, adjustments had been quietly made over the years in an attempt to make these oaths appear less violent and gruesome. However, in mid April 1990, the First Presidency along with the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Mormon Church determined that now God wanted some of the “most sacred” elements completely omitted.

The following demonstrates the pagan nature of what is considered the “most sacred” part of the temple ritual, how it has changed, and why it has been removed. The first oath is considered the “First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” and was printed as follows in 1931:

“We, and each of us, covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the first token of the Aaronic priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. Should we do so; WE AGREE THAT OUR THROATS BE CUT FROM EAR TO EAR AND OUR TONGUES TORN OUT BY THEIR ROOTS.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 18)

The wording of this oath was changed for modern Mormons to:

“I, (think of the New Name) covenant that I will never reveal the First Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER MY LIFE TO BE TAKEN.”

It is interesting to note that although the wording had been softened, the Officiator in the Temple Ceremony would still demonstrate these instructions prior to the taking of the oath which must be followed by each temple patron:

“The execution of the penalty is represented by placing the thumb under the !eft ear, the palm of the hand down, and by drawing the thumb quickly across the throat to the right ear, and dropping the hand to the side.”

This oath as well as the representation of the penalty was completely removed April 10, 1990.

The second oath is considered the “Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood” and was printed as follows in 1931:

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal the secrets of this, the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, grip or penalty. Should we do so, WE AGREE TO HAVE OUR BREASTS CUT OPEN AND OUR HEARTS AND VITALS TORN FROM OUR BODIES AND GIVEN TO THE BIRDS OF THE AIR AND THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 20)

The wording of this promise was also changed for modern Mormons to:

“I, (think of the first given name), covenant that I will never reveal the Second Token of the Aaronic Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty. RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER (all patrons pause and bring right hand to left breast) MY LIFE (patrons draw hand across chest to right breast) TO BE TAKEN” (patrons drop hands to side).

Again, this oath as well as the gruesome gesture was removed April 10, 1990.

The third oath is considered the “First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood” and was recited in these words by early Temple Mormons:

“We and each of us do covenant and promise that we will not reveal any of the secrets of this, the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood, with its accompanying name, sign or penalty. SHOULD WE DO SO, WE AGREE THAT OUR BODIES BE CUT ASUNDER IN THE MIDST AND ALL OUR BOWELS GUSH OUT.” (Temple Mormonism, p. 20)

This was later changed to:

“I covenant in the name of the Son that I will never reveal the First Token of the Melchizedek Priesthood or Sign of the Nail, with its accompanying name, sign, and penalty, RATHER THAN DO SO, I WOULD SUFFER MY LIFE (patrons all draw their right thumb quickly across their body) TO BE TAKEN” (patrons all drop both hands to their sides).

This severe penalty along with the gesture was likewise ordered removed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles April 10, 1990.

Even though the graphic penalties have been removed, all Mormons today will still learn the same secret names, signs, and passwords with a “solemn covenant” never to reveal them to anyone except the Lord when they are tested in heaven.

This whole means of gaining entrance into the presence of God by secret passwords, handshakes, and signs is totally foreign to the Bible. Rather than having to pass a heavenly test of secret combinations, the Lord in all His wisdom and power, simply gives us His absolute promise that “he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,…” (I John 5:12,13).

OATH OF VENGEANCE

Another radical oath which was in the temple ceremony for over 80 years was so potentially dangerous that it was completely removed in 1927.

Just after the turn of the century, Mormon leaders were questioned in court at great length concerning this oath by the United States Government. The investigation produced eye witness accounts which verified that the oath of vengeance against the United States was an obligation received by Temple Mormons in substantially these words:

“You and each of you do covenant and promise that you will pray and never cease to pray Almighty God to avenge the blood of the prophets upon this nation, and that you will teach the same to your children and to your children’s children unto the third and fourth generation.” (The Reed Smoot Case, vol. 4, pp. 495-496)

The conclusion of the U.S. Senate committee was: “the obligation hereinbefore set forth is an oath of disloyalty to the Government which the rules of the Mormon Church require, or at least encourage, every member of that organization to take….the fact that the first presidency and twelve apostles retain an obligation of that nature in the ceremonies of the church shows that at heart they are hostile to this nation and disloyal to its Government” (The Reed Smoot Case, vol 4, pp. 496,497)

Even before Joseph Smith’s death, this idea of “vengeance” was encouraged by Joseph Smith himself. The History of the Church gives this statement attributed to Joseph Smith:

“I told Stephen Markham that if I and Hyrum were ever taken again we should be massacred, or I was not a prophet of God. I want Hyrum to live to avenge my blood, but he is determined not to leave me.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 546)

The oath of vengeance was of such a violent nature that some early Mormons understood it to mean that they were to personally avenge the blood of Joseph and Hyrum under certain circumstances.

Under the date of Dec. 6, 1889, Apostle Abraham Cannon recorded the following in his diary:

“…Father said that he understood when he had his endowments in Nauvoo that he took an oath against the murderers of the Prophet Joseph as well as other prophets, and if he had ever met any of those who had taken a hand in the massacre he would undoubtedly have attempted to avenge the blood of the martyrs.” (Daily Journal of Abraham H. Cannon, Dec. 6, 1889, page 205)

In 1927, after years of criticism, the First Presidency of the Mormon Church finally ordered the complete removal of this dangerous oath.

WORK FOR THE DEAD

Not only do Mormons believe that secret temple rituals are necessary for their own salvation, but they believe that certain ordinances such as baptism and marriage must also be performed in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, made this unbelievable declaration in a sermon given in 1844:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Joseph Fielding Smith, who became the 10th Prophet of the LDS Church, said this about the “greatest commandment”:

“The greatest commandment given us, and made obligatory, is the temple work in our own behalf and in behalf of our dead.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, p. 149)

Nowhere in the Bible are we told to perform any rituals in behalf of the dead, or that any work done for a dead person will somehow help him in the hereafter. In fact, contrary to Joseph Fielding Smith, Jesus said that:

“… the first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. THERE IS NONE OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAN THESE” (Mark 12:2931).

Because of the close association that temple Mormons have with the dead, many claim to actually have contact with the dead. Mormon President, Wilford Woodruff, delivered a discourse in the tabernacle in Salt Lake City where he made this shocking announcement:

“…two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them….These were the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and they waited on me for two days and two nights. I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others; I then baptized him for every President of the United States, except three; and when their cause is just, somebody will do the work for them.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 19, p. 229)

This man-made idea of attempting to redeem the dead is certainly out of harmony with the Word of God, the Bible. Psalms 49:7 clearly states, “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.”

Furthermore, the Bible is absolutely clear that there is no “second chance” after death:

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
(Hebrews 9:27)

SACRED UNDERWEAR

Among the many unchristian aspects of the temple ritual is the obligation to wear a secret temple garment with mystical markings. This garment is to be worn next to the skin for life and is only to be removed for changing or bathing, and for certain “public appearance” exceptions. This underwear is placed upon the temple patron by a temple worker after he or she has gone through a ceremonial washing of various parts of the body. He is told that this garment will be a “shield and a protection” against the power of the destroyer.

While the original temple garment came down to the wrists and ankles and was not to be altered, the modern temple garment has been abbreviated. Mormon leaders are now placing more emphasis on the importance of the markings rather than the garment itself.

The mystical powers that these secret markings are believed to possess can be demonstrated by a letter sent from the First Presidency of the Mormon Church to presidents of stakes and bishops of wards in which the following appeared:

“Where military regulations require the wearing of two-piece underwear, such underwear should be properly marked, as if the articles were of the normal pattern. If circumstances are such that different underwear may be turned back to the wearer from that which he sends to the laundry, then the marks should be placed on small pieces of cloth and sewed upon the underwear while being worn, then removed when the underwear is sent to the laundry, and resewed upon the underwear returned.” (letter dated August 31, 1964)

It makes one wonder how people can get so committed to following their leaders that they would disregard their own ability to reason as well as shrug off guidance from the Word of God, the Bible. Proverbs 3:5&6 tell us where we should put our trust:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

While temple Mormons are taught that special undergarments will be a “shield and protection” to them, the Bible says that God and His Word is our shield:

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him” (Proverbs 30:5).

RIDICULE OF PREACHERS

Since the days of Joseph Smith the temple ceremony contained a segment referred to as “The Lone and Dreary World,” which portrayed preachers as being employed by the devil. The following dialog is given:

LUCIFER: Do you preach the orthodox religion?

PREACHER: Yes, that is what I preach.

LUCIFER: If you will preach your orthodox religion to these people and convert them, I will pay you well.

PREACHER: I will do my best.

This mocking of non-Mormon preachers and orthodox doctrine caused so much criticism against the Mormon Church that Mormon leaders determined that now God wanted this “sacred” portion of the ceremony removed.

Therefore on April 10, 1990, this dialog as well as any hints of ridicule of preachers was eliminated.

Interestingly, although Mormon leaders are desperately trying to present a positive, wholesome image to the public, Mormon scripture still makes this sweeping attack on ALL non-Mormon churches:

“I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were ALL WRONG; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were AN ABOMINATION in his sight; that those professors were ALL CORRUPT;…” (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith History 1:19)

CONCLUSION

Besides these serious problems, the incredible inconsistency of Mormon leaders, prove they are totally unable to reveal God’s will and shows that Mormonism is simply a man made religion changing whatever and whenever is necessary to find acceptance and accommodate the thinking of the world.

No doubt, if knowledge of the temple ceremony would promote faith in the LDS Church, Mormons would be eager to talk about it. But the Fact that it is kept secret from the world and even from the bulk of its members, casts suspicion upon its godliness, especially since Jesus made His teachings open to the whole world.

When questioned about His doctrine, Jesus responded:

“…I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing” (John 18:20).

We encourage you to put your trust in the simple message found in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

http://www.challengemin.org/temple.html

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Inside the minds of LDS apologists – An examination of their tactics and thought patterns.

Formerly, the most visible Mormon apologetic efforts were found in FARMS Review Of Books, a print journal whose contributors were, for the most part, highly educated. With the advent of the Internet, however, defenders of the Mormon faith are much, much more common, and the amateurs can post their views just as easily–and as often–as the professionals.

Having interacted quite heavily with all varieties of Mormon apologists over the years, especially on Internet-based discussion boards, I have identified several key assumptions that dominate their thinking. This essay will help you “get inside their heads” so their defenses can be more easily anticipated. Their beliefs and assumptions are these:

All sources which are favorable to the LDS church are true. All sources which are unfavorable to the LDS church are false.

Author and historian D. Michael Quinn said it best: “Apologists extend the broadest possible latitude to sources they agree with, yet impose the most stringent demands on sources of information the apologists dislike” (Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Revised and Expanded Edition. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998. p. 47). Like clockwork, any statement or document which makes the LDS church look good is automatically assumed to be 100% reliable, whereas any statement or document which makes the LDS church look bad is automatically assumed to be “biased” and “anti-Mormon,” which in an apologist’s mind immediately translates to “false.” Amazingly, they never see their own double-standard, namely that pro-LDS sources are usually just as (if not more) “biased,” only in the opposite direction.

This may seem like an over-generalization, and Mormon apologists are sometimes quick to point that out, but it is, amazingly, true: If one asks an LDS apologist which statement hostile to Mormonism is true and reliable, they are unable to come up with a response.

Anyone who disagrees–however slightly–with any aspect of Mormonism is automatically an anti-Mormon whose views can be dismissed out-of-hand.

Once again, the apologists themselves routinely deny operating this way, but “the proof is in the pudding:” In actual practice, if someone voices his or her disagreement with any part of Mormonism, then his or her views are immediately discounted as being “anti-Mormon,” no matter how many facts, sources, and documentation he or she uses to back up his or her statements.

For example, LDS apologists usually dismiss the horrific accounts of polygamy found in the book Wife Number 19, since the author was a critic of Mormonism. This is in spite of the following three facts:

The author was a former polygamous wife of Brigham Young,

As such, she was often privvy to the goings-on at the highest levels of Mormonism, and
All her formative years took place in early Utah when polygamy was at its height.

Apologists routinely discount her as “a disgruntled former member with an axe to grind.”

Unfortunately for them, she wasn’t born disgruntled. Pro-LDS people never admit that she had a number of extremely good reasons for becoming disgruntled in the first place.

Interestingly, this assumption often spills over onto sincere Mormons who are having struggles with some part of their religion and who innocently ask questions in order to resolve their concerns. Apologists often assume that the questioner is a “troll,” in this case an ex-Mormon trying to bait the apologists or otherwise set a trap for them. As a result of having been treated this way, more than one member has become convinced that LDS apologetics is intellectually bankrupt–along with the church itself–and left Mormonism entirely.

Apologists are unable to distinguish between possibilities and probabilities.

When they come up with defenses for their faith, LDS apologists and their sympathizers automatically assume that the scenario they’ve concocted, however unlikely, is “good enough” to provide Mormonism with an “out,” at which point all criticism is dismissed. For example, when it comes to the Book of Abraham controversy, the characters written down the left margins of three of the four manuscripts prove that the recovered papyrii were indeed the source of the Book of Abraham and not any “missing black and red scroll.” Yet some apologists say that the scribes went “maverick” and wrote the characters in the margins on their own without any input from Joseph. The fact is that Joseph was broken of his habit of loaning out scriptural manuscripts way back in 1828. The idea that he would let scribes “have their way” with such important documents may be an extremely remote possibility, but is not a probability by any means.

If a scientist or anti-Mormon is wrong about one thing, it is safe to assume that he or she is wrong about everything.

FARMS Review of Books was the pioneer of this apologetic tactic. Often, after sniping away at one minor quibble in a critical book, they discount everything in the entire volume and advise their readers to do likewise.

This tactic has since gained great popularity and is used by LDS defenders of all stripes. For example, nowadays, if an article appears showing how some prior scientific assumption has turned out to be incorrect, apologists then “take the ball and run with it,” making arguments which boil down to, “You see? Scientists are often wrong anyway. Therefore we can discount anything they say regarding the Lamanite/DNA issue.” Yet they fail to recognize that although scientists may be wrong about some aspect of the DNA controversy, it hardly follows that they’re entirely wrong on all aspects of it and that the Lamanites are, therefore, the principal ancestors of the American Indians.

Apologists routinely accuse critics of “telling us what we believe.” They follow up by saying, “We are the authorities on what we believe, not the critics.”

This line of thinking is more common among the less-educated apologists. This is because their ignorance of their own history has rendered them unable to recognize that their religion has changed and evolved over the years. Such apologists assume that the church they have come to know–three hours of church on Sunday, Boy Scount campouts, home teaching, Relief Society activity night, etc.–is the way Mormonism always was. Unfortunately, Mormonism in its early years had far more in common with the Branch Davidian compound than it does to Mormonism today.

Defenders of Mormonism put this catch-phrase to good use when they need to deny or discount embarrassing statements from past prophets, especially Brigham Young. They fall into the trap of interpreting all previous prophetic pronouncements through the lenses of modern-day Mormonism as opposed to going by the plain-English meaning. For example, when responding to Brigham Young’s teaching that Adam “is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do,” apologists assume that it is utterly impossible that he meant exactly what he said.

(Unknown to them, this sends the apologists on the slippery-slope of believing that their interpretation of the prophets’ words–not the prophets’ interpretations themselves–are correct. See my webpage on Internet Mormonism vs. Chapel Mormonism for a more in-depth exploration of this subject.)

Apologists often respond to a challenge with the phrase, “that’s been debunked countless times already.”

Although it is true that Mormon apologists have been active nearly as long as Mormonism has existed, it does not follow that all their attempts to refute their critics have succeeded. I am unaware of any objection to Mormonism that hasn’t been addressed to some degree, but at the same time I am aware of very, very few such objections that have ever been addressed competently or believably. Pro-Mormons almost universally fail to recognize that there is a huge difference between an “adequate refutation” and a “lame excuse”–and pro-Mormons produce far, far more of the latter than they do the former. For example, when an anti-Mormon brings up Joseph Smith’s marital infidelities, LDS defenders often claim that Joseph Smith was sealed to his already-married plural wives for eternity only–to provide salvation for them–and not for “time.” This excuse hardly counts as a “debunking” and is, of course, much closer to a “lame excuse,” since these women could just as easily have been sealed for eternity to their legal husbands as to Smith.

All arguments are made in a vacuum.

In other words, defenders of the LDS faith are inconsistent and do not apply their logic in one scenario to all scenarios. A good case is the horse/deer debate surrounding The Book of Mormon. Specifically, they sometimes claim that Book of Mormon peoples used the tapir as a pack and riding animal, but since Joseph Smith was unfamiliar with tapirs he used the name of the animal that filled the same role in his own society–the horse. However, apologists conveniently forget their own argument when it comes to the curelom/cummom debate. They say that Joseph used the original Nephite words because he didn’t know the equivalent English names of these animals.

(This methodology also extends outside of Mormonism. Specifically, apologists rarely, if ever, apply their defenses of Mormonism to other religions. For example, they nearly always extoll the “milk before meat” approach to potential LDS converts, but castigate the Scientologists for their pattern of withholding vital information from their own recruits.)

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THE FIVE SKILLS OF A MORMON APOLOGIST

) Editorialize and label the criticism as “garbage,” point out that it is so foul that it would be undignified to even credit such a rank assault with an answer. Enlarge on how non Christ-like the author is, and thus declare victory in the debate.

2) Explain how nothing can be absolutely “proved” by evidence anyway, and besides the evidence is based on unacceptable assumptions and is therefore tenuous, and ultimately it is all a matter of faith. And remind the critic that the lack of evidence does not prove that something DID NOT exist. Declare the criticism refuted once and for all.

3) Carry-on as if the current criticism is exactly like past criticisms and therefore can be automatically discredited because the past ones are no longer published, presumably because they were all refuted (therefore the current criticism is ultimately invalid because it too will someday be disproved).

4) When confronted with an argument, suggest that if the same category of criticism were used against the critic’s religion that it would destroy all his basis for religious faith. Use this tactic to show the critic that his criticism is worthless because he is using a DOUBLE STANDARD.

Start out by insisting that incomplete information is the same as NO information, and with NO information there is no such thing as contradictory information.

Point-out that the critic is relying on “non-comprehensive” bodies of information to support his doctrinal positions and therefore does not have real proof to support his views either. Also insist that non-comprehensive information is not enough to discriminate between consistent and contradictory information.

Lastly behave as if the LDS “no evidence” situation and Christianity’s “non-comprehensive evidence” are the same thing because neither provides absolute proof of anything.

Declare the critic a hypocrite and a fool for playing with such dangerous kinds of information, and you have won the argument!

5) Provide a snow job of correct sounding, but distantly related trivia that are really irrelevant to the critical issue.

Declare victory once and forevermore, based on the sheer volume of your regurgitation.

http://www.mormoncurtain.com/topic_apologists.html

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Demonic Names in the Book of Mormon

While I was studying some points of interest in Masonry, I came across some names within their books that sounded familiar to me. The familiarity became abundantly clear when I opened the Book of Mormon. I began researching some of the names in the Book of Mormon and their meanings. I compared them with the Bible, bible dictionaries and even Webster’s dictionary.

I found 57 names of people and places that are demonic or names of false gods and their derivatives, however I have chosen to narrow this down to three names that I thought was most relevant.

Someone mentioned to me in a recent letter to Saints Alive that what I see as wrong or demonic is not necessarily demonic to that person. We need to take a firm stand against this rationalization. Truth is not relative. The following names of places and/or people are demonic or ungodly and the LDS Church has twisted their meanings into something other than what they truly are.

Ammonites-

Biblical meaning of people: These were a nomadic people that were descendants of Lot’s incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter. Genesis 19:38: ‘And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day’. According to Unger’s Dictionary of the Bible, the Ammonite’s deity was Molech.

Book of Mormon’s definition of Ammonites: They observed the laws of Moses and looked forward to the coming of Christ. Alma 25:15-16. Their origin is actually from the Lamanites; Alma 24:17-8.

Mulek

Biblical meaning: This is a derivative of Molech. In Leviticus 18:21 it says; ‘And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech, neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD’. Molek is found in Strong’s Concordance and in Hebrew it means the chief deity (king) of the Ammonites. #4427-4432 gives the definitions and derivatives of this name.

Book of Mormon’s definition: Mulek was land in the north that God prospered and appointed. Mulek was a son of Zedekiah. Helaman 6:10.

Sidon

Biblical meaning: This is a land that was possessed by the Cannanite cults. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians. Their goddess was Ashtoreth. 1 Kings 11:5. They brought nothing but misery to Israel. Jesus referred to the iniquities of the Sidonians in Matthew 11:21-3; ‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you’.

Book of Mormon’s definition: In 84 BC, Alma began baptizing the people in the river of Sidon. Alma 4:4. Sidon was also the river where the Nephites defeated the Amlicites & the Lamanites. Alma threw their bodies from the banks into the river so that they could cross to the other side. Alma 2:17, 27, 34-5. It says that the land where Sidon was became peaceful and prosperous.

In the book, Discourses of Brigham Young on page 257, he states; ‘I hope to see the time when we shall have a reformation in the orthography of the English language, among this people, for it is greatly needed. Such a reformation would be a great benefit, and would make the acquirement of an education much easier than at present’.

It’s obvious that this is exactly what they have done. Read, study, decipher what words and their origins mean. It is vital that we understand what we read and not take it for granted that what we read is always true. The only book that we can take for face value is the Bible.

I ask that you join me in prayer for the Mormons. I am praying Isaiah chapter 61 for them. And remember what it says in 2 Timothy 3:16; ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’. With Love in Christ; Michelle

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names.asp

More Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon

Over five years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘Demonic and Ungodly Names in the Book of Mormon’. Since then I have been asked by numerous people to write more on this particular subject so here it is! Back by popular demand I went through my old notes and found some other names that I think would be of interest to the Mormon and non-Mormon alike. There were more than 50 names of people and/or places that contradict what the Biblical accounts report. Here are just a few of them.

Chemish

The name of Chemish so closely resembles the name of Chemosh from the Bible that it is hard to ignore. In Mormonism the name Chemish belongs to the brother of Ameleki. These two brothers and others were responsible for writing the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon. The official LDS website search engine says this about Chemish:

“The book of Omni: A book translated from the small plates of Nephi in the Book of Mormon. The book has only a single chapter, which contains an account of the wars among the Nephites and Lamanites. Omni wrote only the first three verses of the book. The plates were then passed in turn to Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and finally Amaleki. And it came to pass that I did deliver the plates unto my brother Chemish. He delivered the plates to King Benjamin, king of Zarahemla…”

In the introduction of the book of Omni it states:

“Comprising records kept by Omni, Amaron, Chemish, Abinadom, and Amaleki – Mosiah, leaving the land of Zarahemla, occupied by another colony from Jerusalem”.

It is evident from the writings in the Book of Mormon that they believe Chemish to be an honorable man, worthy of writing their ‘scripture’ and worthy enough to be listened to.

What is interesting to note in this however, is what the real meaning of Chemosh translates into. From the Jerusalem Publishing House Illustrated Dictionary and Concordance of the Bible, it says Chemosh is:

“The principle god of the Moabites who were also known as the “people of Chemosh” (Num. 21:29). He may have been the god to whom Mesha king of Moab sacrificed his son (II Kings 3:27)….Solomon tried to please his foreign wives by setting an altar to Chemosh “on the hill that is east of Jerusalem” (I Kings 11:7), thus incurring the wrath of the Lord (I Kings 11:33).”

Once again we see yet another of the Mormon ‘good boys’ that has a questionable name. It seems that the theme is the same as the last time I wrote on the ungodly names of the Book of Mormon. The theme: sex. The Moabites are the descendants of Lot who came from an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters.

Jared

This story is interesting because it shows two different accounts of what God did with the people involved with the tower of Babel. It seems that God is a god of confusion with his people if you believe the Mormon version.

As it turns out, Jared and his family are the only ones in the whole world that didn’t have his language confounded when God scattered the people at the time of the tower of Babel. After Jared told his brother to pray to the Lord to not confound their language, they somehow miraculously realized that God heard the brother of Jared’s cry. It’s also interesting to note that Jared’s brother never seems to have his own name.

Joseph Smith claims the people that descended from Jared are called the Jaredites. The Jaredites had grown to become a great god-fearing nation which moved to the Americas, thus the Book of Mormon. After many generations and hundreds of years they were destroyed by civil wars from caused from the disobedience unto the Lord.

Ether 1:33-4 says; ‘Which Jared came forth with his brother and their families, with some others and their families, from the great tower, at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered upon all the face of the earth; and according to the word of the Lord the people were scattered. And the brother of Jared being a large and mighty man, and a man highly favored of the Lord, Jared, his brother, said unto him: Cry unto the Lord, that he will not confound us that we may not understand our words.’

Verse 35 tells us that their language wasn’t confounded. Then they prayed that even their friends’ language wouldn’t be confounded and theirs was spared as well. The Bible has always told us two things for sure:

God is not the author of confusion. 1 Corinthian 14:33 says; ‘For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.’ And then in Acts 10:34 we have Peter telling us that God is no respecter of persons.

With these two simple things in mind why would God decide that the rules were different for some and not all? What was so different about Jared and his non-named brother that they and their friends didn’t have the same treatment?

The story of the tower of Babel can be found in Gen. 11. Verse nine says; ‘Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of ALL the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth’.

Did you notice what it said in Ether 1:33? Let’s take a look at it again! It says; ‘…at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people, and swore in his wrath that they should be scattered.’

Two more things come to mind when I read this passage. 1-God can’t be trusted. If God ‘swore in his wrath’ that they would be scattered and he confounded the language then went back on what he said, it’s likely that he could be bought off the next time I sinned.

2-Did he or did he not confound the language? If he confounded the languages and then Jared’s brother started praying, did God have to give them back their languages? Call me picky but I think that knowing the God I worship is a serious business and I want to make sure I know it intimately!

Amaleki

This has to be one of the most confusing things I have ever had to study in Mormonism. There are two Amaleki’s mentioned in the Book of Mormon. What I originally wanted to point out are the disparities between the Amalekites of the Bible and the ones mentioned in the Book of Mormon, but alas that wasn’t all I found! Here are the characters in the Book of Mormon, their ‘jobs’ and the Amalekite people:

Amaleki #1 is described as a Nephite record keeper’ who died circa 130 BC, according to LDS.org. He was the 5th person to help author the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon. You can read his account in Omni 1:12-30 as he calls people to Christ (keep in mind it’s 130 BC), his handing over of the plates to King Benjamin (not the same King Benjamin as in the Bible) and the expedition to the land of Nephi.

Amleki #2 is one of the three brothers of Ammon. They were part of Zeniff’s group. They wanted to travel to the land of Nephi-Lehi from Zarahemla and ended up traveling in the desert for 40 days. They finally came upon a hill north of Shilom, pitched their tents and hiked it down to the land of Nephi. The four brothers were imprisoned by King Limhi but eventually freed when they explained that they were descendants of Zarahemla. This story can be found in Mosiah 7:6, it is said that this transpired circa 121 BC.

The Amalekites however are another story, there was nothing godly about these people, they were not the godly men great scholars that Amaleki #1 & #2 were. The Amalekites were a people that were apostates, originating from the Nephites. The Amalekites helped build a city called Jerusalem (Alma 21:2), their hearts were harder than the Lamanites (Alma 21:3) and were preached to by Aaron in their own synagogues (Alma 21:4). They were said to be from the order of Nehor. The Nehors were people who intentionally preached something other than the word of God. This all took place circa 90 BC as Aaron went to the sanctuaries to preach the scriptures of the crucified Lord Jesus. As the story progresses it talks of how Ammon even went out to preach in the synagogues in the land of Ishmael.

Now I could go on and on about the time-line part of preaching Jesus crucified and it still being 130 BC but bear with me here as I try to ignore that part of the story. Smith has made it hard to believe that anyone called by the name of Amaleki or its derivatives could be anything but horrible.

The Biblical accounts of the Amalekites spans from the book of Genesis to 1 Chronicles 4:43. Let’s see what the Bible says about them and why no mention of them is found after that. ‘And they [Israelites] smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day’. So it seems that there weren’t any Amalekites after this battle! How then did they make it all the way over the waters of the Atlantic ocean and survive being annihilated as well?

When I read the accounts of these people the stories are far too similar. I am also taken aback that anyone who is considered to be a ‘holy’ mouthpiece for the Almighty God would be touting a name such as Amaleki. Amalek is considered to be a descendant of Esau. They were the very first people who fought with Israel after they crossed the Red Sea! This is rather significant in the whole matter!

The Amalekites were a thorn in the side of Israel. They first met up with them in the region near Sinai, when Amalek tried to prevent the entrance of a new tribe into their region. Ex. 17:8-16. In the period of the Judges they aided the Moabites in raiding Israel and at a later time they even helped the Midianites to do the same thing, Judges 6:3.

The Illustrated Concordance and Dictionary of the Bible from G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing House LTD says this about the Amalekites; ‘Archeological surveys have shown that the kings of Judah strengthened their hold in the Negeb from the 10th Century B.C. and this led to the decline and disappearance of the Amalekites.’

There is also a problem here with who was preaching to whom. Why were the Amalekites being preached to by Ammon in the land of Ishmael? I have already established who Ammon was in my last article. The Mormons believe that he observed the laws of Moses. (Alma 25:15-6). The Bible says they [Ammonites] were a nomadic people who were descendants of Lot. Ammon’s deity was Molech. (Gen. 19:38).

My question is this; why was this ‘good prophet’ in the Book of Mormon out preaching to the Amalekites when in the Bible the Ammonites were bowing to Ba’al? Wouldn’t that mean that the Amalekites were getting another gospel?

http://www.lifeafter.org/demonic_names2.asp

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Dispelling Myths about Christianity

Myth #1. Christians think all you have to do is say a little prayer to go to heaven, then you can live like the devil and still be saved.

Fact: Christians do NOT believe this. There is nothing magic about “the prayer.” People who just a say a little prayer to “cover all the bases” are not demonstrating saving faith. True Christians do not believe in what is referred to as “cheap grace” or “easy-believism;” the concept that one can just say a prayer and then go on living a lifestyle of sin. It is true that Christians believe a person praying from the heart, with real intent, asking for salvation, will indeed be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone, and that good works will not add one iota to his salvation. However, they do not use their salvation as an excuse to do wrong.

There is a difference between justification and sanctification. When a person puts their trust completely in Jesus Christ, praying in faith for salvation, he is immediately justified, or put into right standing before God. He has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus and the righteousness of Jesus is credited to the person’s account. The biblical definition of salvation is being saved from the wrath of God (eternal hell) and living eternally in heaven with God.

Sanctification is a process occurring over time as the Holy Spirit works in the life of a Christian, purging him of the desires of the flesh. We are sinners by nature, so of course Christians stumble and fall in their walk with the Lord, but they do not make sinful actions a pattern of living. For example, a person claiming to have been born-again who year after year lives with his girlfriend, cheats people in business, doesn’t read the Bible or pray, and consistently lives as the world lives, would need to “examine [himself] as to whether [he] is in the faith” (2 Cor. 13:5). The Holy Spirit equips a Christian for godly living. As a Christian becomes more mature in his walk with the Lord, he begins to love the things God loves and hate the things God hates. His sin begins to bother him and doing what pleases God becomes delicious to him.

What is one of the signs that we have been saved? “And hereby do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). The Greek word for “keep” in this context is the same one that sailors used for being guided by the stars. Pastor Adrian Rogers—beloved by millions of Christians and who recently passed away—used the following analogy. He said that sailors in ancient times would chart their course at sea by the stars, so they would know where they were going. There might be occasions when the captain fell asleep at the helm and drifted off-course, but it would not be long before he was able to adjust his direction and arrive at his intended destination.

This practice of navigation was called “keeping the stars.” Likewise, keeping the commandments is similar for a Christian. He may “fall asleep at the helml” (sometimes called backsliding) or occasionally go off course, but If his eyes are upon Jesus and the desire of his heart is to please God, he will arrive safely into heaven’s harbor.

Myth #2. Either the Mormon Church is true or the Catholic Church is true. It could not be the Protestants because they broke off from the Catholic Church.

Fact: Not exactly. The church of Jesus Christ was already established long before the Roman Catholic Church came along. Whenever “church” was referred to in the New Testament, it meant “the called out ones;” it is the Greek “ekklesia.” The Strong’s Enhanced Lexicon explains what “church” has meant from New Testament times onward:

[Church] in a Christian sense. An assembly of Christians gathered for worship in a religious meeting., a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake., those who anywhere, in a city, village, constitute such a company and are united into one body., the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth., the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven. (Strong, J. 1996. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible: electronic edition)

Galatians 3:26-29 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

To rephrase that in modern language, “There is neither Baptist nor Lutheran, Calvary Chapel nor Nazarene, Methodist nor Pentecostal, for we are all one in Christ Jesus.” Denominations may differ in some regards, but our salvation comes through a saving relationship with Jesus alone. That is what makes us members of His church. The Roman Catholic Church is a man-made institution. It was organized by men and many of its doctrines and practices were made by men. The protestant denominations came out of Catholicism only to get back to what the original church was; the body of believers saved through Christ’s atonement; the priesthood of believers; deriving their authority from the Word of God. (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Ephesians 2:18; Romans 12:1; Revelation 1:6)

Myth #3. All the denominations argue about which one of them is right.

Fact: There is no arguing going on. No single denomination claims to be “The True Church” or “The True Denomination” or “The Only Way” through which a person can come to Jesus Christ. A favorite expression among Christians concerning denominations is; “In essentials unity; in non-essentials diversity; in all things charity.” All the Protestant denominations agree on the nature and character of God, who Jesus is, the means of salvation (grace alone by faith alone through Jesus alone), and the inerrancy of the Bible.

When I left Mormonism and began looking for a church to attend, I was surprised at how well the various churches in the area got along. I had been taught as a Latter-day Saint the myth of fighting denominations each trying to gain more members for themselves. I visited several churches of different denominations. Over the ensuing weeks several people I had met called me and said that they hoped I would start coming to their church, but wherever I decided to go their prayers would be with me. When I found a church that was not too much of a culture shock coming out of the Mormon Church, my pastor often said over the pulpit to visitors that he hoped they would make Shadow Hills Baptist Church their home church, however, there were many other good churches in the area that taught sound biblical doctrine. My pastor met monthly with pastors and ministers from several denominations for lunch where they would discuss important issues, pray together, and be supportive of one another. This is not to say that individual fellowships do not have their share of disagreements on occasion, but the over all attitude among the denominations is one of love.

Myth #4. The Bible is missing a bunch of books and is not translated correctly.

The Old Testament we have now is the same one the Jews had in Jesus’ day. Jesus authenticated the Old Testament by quoting from every part of it. There are books mentioned by Old Testament writers, such as the Book of Jasher and the Books of the Wars of the Lord, but that does not mean they were inspired. Jesus did not quote from any of these so-called missing books. The apostle Paul quoted from Greek poets, yet their writings or complete works are not found in the New Testament. From an LDS perspective the Book of Mormon is missing “the sealed portion” and Brigham Young claimed to have seen wagon loads of metal plates and other writings beneath the Hill Cumorah. Does this mean books are missing from the BoM and therefore make it unreliable? A Mormon would say, “No, of course not.” So why set a double standard for the Bible?

The God Who had the power to call forth the universe into existence is certainly powerful enough to preserve His holy word! Hebrew children were immersed in scripture from a young age. In school, the rabbi would place a bit of honey on the child’s tongue before having him memorize scripture so the child would begin to see God’s word is sweet and precious. Scribes committed their whole lives to carefully preserving the word of God. They would painstakingly copy letter for letter and if anything were amiss they would destroy the page and start all over. Everey time they came to God’s name they would get new ink to write it with—that is how much they revered the word of God. There was no such thing as a careless scribe as LDS leaders want you to think.

The Dead Sea scrolls refute the idea that things were taken out and/or added to the Old Testament. For example, the book of Isaiah found in the Dead Sea scrolls was one thousand years older than any manuscript in existence at the time. With only a few variations in spelling, it was correctly transcribed word for word! There are over 5,000 manuscripts in existence today containing all or part of the New Testament. The earliest fragments have been dated to 100-150 A.D.. The manuscripts in other languages combined with the Greek bring the total manuscripts in existence to over a stunning 24,000 in number! The mountain of evidence for the accuracy and authenticity of the Bible is overwhelming. A good book for in-depth information on this topic is The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell.

Myth #5. The Council of Nicea is where a bunch of relgious leaders were locked in a room and told they could not come out until they agreed on their ideas about God. They also voted on which books to include in the Bible.

Fact: This myth is utter nonsense. “The facts of history demonstrate, however, that the New Testament was not formed hastily, nor was it formed by the councils. It was the product of centuries of development, and its official ratification came in response to the practical needs of the churches.”

Developments that forced the Church to Establish a Canon: 1) Need for a Scripture to spell out the message of the Apostles, 2) Need to decide on what should be read in the churches, 3) Need for a true canon to answer heretical ones, 4) Need to establish authoritative truth to answer error, 5) Need to decide which of the many books claiming to be canonical were false, 6) Need to decide which books to die for when possession resulted in martyrdom (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history.)

Archaeological evidence now proves that the New Testament books were written by the end of the first century. These books were already circulating among the churches to be read in worship services. Within a short period of time, however, heresies began to creep into the church. Writings started to pop up that were claimed to be authored by some of the apostles (such as the book of Thomas) and other writings were introduced into variuous churches as new revelations. To protect the church (the ekklesia; Christians), a standard had to be set to keep the Scriptures pure. Writings thaat could be proven authentic of the apostles and those close to them were kept. Writings that did not have a basis in truth or had no evidence for their origin as apostolic writings were rejected.

As for the creeds, they formalized what the Bible already revealed about God. The LDS Church puts forth its Thirteen Articles of Faith as a statement of what Mormons believe. The Nicene Creed, Apostolic Creed, and other confessions do the same thing. The creeds are nothing more than statements of faith so Christians everywhere could readily share their beliefs with others.

JUST as the New Testament canon developed in response to a need in the church, so did the creeds. In the days before the canon was formulated and when there were few copies of any of the New Testament books in circulation, believers required some standard to keep them in the path of truth. Moreover, they needed a standard by which to test heretical opinions. So very early, possibly near the end of the first century or beginning of the second, a rule of faith came into existence.

Assuming different forms in different churches, it generally taught that Christ, the Son of God, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified and died, was buried, rose again, and ascended into Heaven—for the remission of sins. This rule of faith, which has come to be called the Apostles’ Creed, reached its present form about 750. In the early church, candidates for baptism often were asked if they assented to the various clauses of this standard of faith. (Vos, H. F., & Thomas Nelson Publishers. 1996. Exploring church history, electronic version)

It was creeds such as this—the Apostles’ Creed, which clearly laid out Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection—that Joseph Smith said were abominations.

http://www.equippingchristians.com/DispellingMythsAboutChristianity.htm

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ANSWERING MORMON OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIANITY

There are too many versions of the Bible

The number of Bible versions does not negate the efficacy of God’s word. The purpose of the various versions is to make the original text more readable and increase the reader’s understanding of scripture. This is no different than the Mormon Church publishing the children’s “Book of Mormon Reader” in addition to the standard Book of Mormon.

My grandparents’ native language was Czech. As I was growing up I wanted very much to learn the language and frequently asked them what they were saying. Sometimes they paraphrased in English what they had said and other times they told me word for word. Since some Czech words do not have an English equivalent, my grandparents would have to find the best way to explain what they were saying. ICzech grammar also varies from the English. The literal word for word translation of “I love you” from Czech to English would be “I you love.”

The same principle holds true for translating the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into English. Because of differences in grammar, style, and language, etymology becomes challenging. Nevertheless, there are several ways to convey meaning without diminishing the original message. Whether I say “I am extremely hungry” or “I am famished” it means the same thing. Here are some examples:

John 3:16

King James: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

New American Standard Bible: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

New International Version: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

There are different versions suited for a variety of purposes. For personal, devotional reading, one would use a “paraphrase” translation (thought-for-thought), such as the Living Bible. For in-depth study one would use a word-for-word translation, like the Amplified Bible or the New American Standard Bible. For those who enjoy the beauty and majesty of Old English, the King James Version is a good choice. A very good article on the history of the English Bible can be found here.

Are there problems with the new translations? There are good translations and bad ones, however, this does not mean there is only One True Translation.

…we must be very careful to make intelligent and informed decisions about what translations of the Bible we choose to read. On the liberal extreme, we have people who would give us heretical new translations that attempt to change God’s Word to make it politically correct. One example of this, which has made headlines recently, is the Today’s New International Version (T.N.I.V.) which seeks to remove all gender-specific references in the Bible whenever possible! Not all new translations are good… and some are very bad.

But equally dangerous, is the other extreme… of blindly rejecting ANY English translation that was produced in the four centuries that have come after the 1611 King James. We must remember that the main purpose of the Protestant Reformation was to get the Bible out of the chains of being trapped in an ancient language that few could understand, and into the modern, spoken, conversational language of the present day. William Tyndale fought and died for the right to print the Bible in the common, spoken, modern English tongue of his day… as he boldly told one official who criticized his efforts, “If God spare my life, I will see to it that the boy who drives the plowshare knows more of the scripture than you, Sir!”

Will we now go backwards, and seek to imprison God’s Word once again exclusively in ancient translations? Clearly it is not God’s will that we over-react to SOME of the bad modern translations, by rejecting ALL new translations and “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” (John L. Jeffcoat, http://www.greatsite.com)

Keep in mind that the forty-seven scholars who translated for the King James Bible were working with fewer manuscripts than we have available today. The KJV is certainly an accurate and reliable translation of the Bible, but it is not the only one! There are several excellent English translations of the Bible. Regardless of which translation a person uses, for study and understanding it is wise to keep a concordance handy, as well as an “interlinear Bible,”

an edition in which each line of the original biblical text (OT Hebrew or NT Greek) is followed by a line containing a literal English equivalent directly underneath each Hebrew or Greek word; since the word order of the ancient languages is very different from any modern languages, the English equivalents seem very strange, chopped up, and out of order; thus a smooth English translation is usually also provided in the margins (Web definition, retrieved from Google).

The Dead Sea Scrolls contained a complete copy of Isaiah, dated one thousand years older than the earliest manuscript of the day (1947) and was found to be almost word for word the same; the few variations in the text did not change the meaning of any passage. The New Testament is even more astounding because we have over 5,000 Greek manuscripts to work with!

A few existing fragments date back to within 25-50 years of the original writing. New Testament textual scholars have generally concluded that 1) 99.99 percent of the original writings have been reclaimed, and 2) of the remaining one hundredth of one percent, there are no variants substantially affecting any Christian doctrine. With this wealth of biblical manuscripts in the original languages and with the disciplined activity of textual critics to establish with almost perfect accuracy the content of the autographs, any errors which have been introduced and/or perpetuated by the thousands of translations over the centuries can be identified and corrected by comparing the translation or copy with the reassembled original. By this providential means, God has made good His promise to preserve the Scriptures. We can rest assured that there are translations available today which are indeed worthy of the title, The Word of God. (John MacArthur, The John MacArthur Study Bible, Thomas Nelson Inc. 2006, p. xxi)

Let me ask this; if, as Joseph Smith stated, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors,” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 1976 Deseret Book, p. 327) then why doesn’t the First Presidency—with the wealth of Hebrew and Greek manuscripts available today—make an accurate translation of the Bible for the use of the Latter-day Saints, or indeed, for the world? The Joseph Smith Translation (copyright held by the Reorganized LDS Church; now known as Community of Christ) is not really a translation at all by definition. Smith did not have any manuscripts at his disposal; rather, he read from the King James Bible, dictating changes to his scribe. So, with all the ancient manuscripts available, thanks to archaeological discoveries, why does the LDS Church not “fix” the alleged errors and come out with its corrected edition of the Bible? Could it be because we already have an accurate and reliable Bible?

Allow me to pose another question; why is it that the LDS Church casts doubt on the reliability of the Bible despite all the historical, archaeological, and textual evidence supporting its accuracy, yet wholeheartedly accept the authenticity of The Book of Mormon with NO manuscript, archaeological, or historical evidence at all?

There are too many denominations

Yes, there are many denominations of Christianity, but that is no different from the many denominations of Mormonism. There have been many splinter groups off Mormonism since its inception; in fact, the LDS Church split into several branches after Joseph Smith’s death. It is doubtful that Mormons would consider this proof that Mormonism is not true, so why the double standard? Why would many Christian denominations be one “proof” that Christianity is not true?

The mainstream Christian denominations differ more in style and ritual than in doctrine. Furthermore, each denomination is not claiming to be the “only true denomination,” as individual LDS denominations assert. I have personally visited dozens of Christian churches from California to Washington, D.C. and never witnessed any “fighting” or contention over denominational issues. The statements of faith for each of the major denominations all agree on the essentials; Who God is, Who Jesus is, the Trinity, and salvation. In Las Vegas, NV and other cities across the country, pastors of various denominations meet on a monthly basis to pray for one another, encourage each other, and discuss issues facing the church corporately. The “church” (the “body of Christ”) consists of those who have received Jesus of the Bible as personal Lord and Savior, regardless of the denomination they attend for worship services.

There are too many arguments over doctrine

There are no more arguments over doctrinal issues in Christianity than there are in the Mormon Church among its members! Is caffeine soda against the Word of Wisdom or is it all right to drink Dr. Pepper? What constitutes Sabbath-breaking; going on a family picnic on Sunday or watching a football game? Or should there be absolutely no TV or outdoor activities? Can a person be temple-worthy if they watch R-rated movies? What if it’s only rated R for violence and not nudity? Is it a sin to turn down a calling? Some say yes, others say no. I’ve heard arguments among LDS over personal revelation versus revelation given to Church leaders; which should be given greater weight? Should a person do what the Bishop or Stake president tells you or what the spirit tells you? I know someone who was excommunicated over his view on that issue! Which doctrines should be followed and/or believed; those given by deceased LDS prophets or those given by living leaders that contradicts past doctrines and teachings? The strongest arguments are between the mainline LDS Church and the Fundamentalist LDS Church; for example, which one is practicing authentic Mormonism? Those who live as conventional Mormons or those who practice Mormonism “Joseph Smith / Brigham Young style?”

Whenever people with strongly held beliefs get together there are going to be disagreements, regardless of what denomination they belong to. Among mainline Protestant denominations the disagreements do not affect soteriology (salvation). The point isn’t if there is a right or wrong answer for each of the above questions among LDS; the point is that arguments do exist among Mormons, so why is there a double standard? Why are doctrinal arguments among Christians considered “proof” that Christianity has been corrupted, but doctrinal arguments among Mormons is not “proof” that Mormonism has become corrupted?

There is no priesthood authority among Christians

There is no need for centralized or controlled priesthood authority. In Old Testament times, priests acted as intercessors between Israel and God. They offered sacrifices on behalf of themselves and the people. Only the Levites could hold the priesthood and officiate for Israel. In addition, there was only one High Priest at a time that was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies inside the temple to make offerings. The blood sacrifice made on the altar was a type and shadow of Jesus Christ, who was the True Lamb sacrificed as a propitiation for our sins. Once His blood was shed, there was no longer a need for priests because Jesus Himself became our High Priest!

Hebrews 7:23-28 tells us that Jesus is the only and final “high priest” we need!

23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing,

24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently.

25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens;

27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.

28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever. (NASB)

Old Testament Cities of Refuge provides a perfect illustration of Jesus being the final high priest. There were six “cities of refuge” appointed by God for Israel (Numbers 35:1-34). If a person accidentally killed someone (manslaughter) the victim’s family had a legal right to avenge the blood of their slain relative. The perpetrator could take his chances, so to speak, or flee to a City of Refuge for safety. If he could convince the high priest that he was innocent of murder—that the death he caused was unintentional—he could remain in that city under protection from the “avenger of blood” until the death of the high priest.

Jesus is a “type” of a city of refuge. Because of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden, we inherit a sin nature, which, in combination with our personal sins, qualifies us for physical and spiritual death. In a very real sense each of us is guilty of manslaughter because our sins put Jesus on the cross! God’s wrath can “legally” be poured out on us, however, we have recourse; fleeing to Jesus Christ, Who is our “city of refuge.” Since Jesus is the high priest Who never dies, we have asylum in Him forever!

Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross, made the final atonement for sin, thus ending the need for the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament. At the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, this veil was 40 cubits high (about 60 feet) and four inches thick! The significance of this event is monumental. The veil separated the Holy of Holies (where God dwelt) from the rest of the temple. Only once a year was the high priest permitted to enter to make atonement for Israel’s sins. The high priest then, acted as intercessor between God and man. When Jesus gave His life as the perfect Sacrifice, the veil between God and man was torn and individuals could now come “boldly before the throne of God.”

Peter speaks of the priesthood of believers, which, by implication, includes women and children.

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:5-9).

Nowhere in the Bible does it teach that the priesthood is a power or force through which healings, blessings, prophecies, or miracles are performed. These things are done in the power of Jesus’ name, not by a special ability or right bestowed on an individual by “one holding proper authority.” Those who belong to Christ become “priests” in the sense that they offer themselves as “living sacrifices.” Two excellent articles on the priesthood of believers can be found here (gotquestions.org) and here (hismin.com)

It’s all about money

There are literally thousands of pastors throughout the United States and tens of thousands or more throughout the world. Very few of them are “in it for the money.” Countless pastors and ministers labor 24/7 at minimal pay, if any pay at all. They are leading, teaching, visiting the sick in hospitals or nursing homes, preparing in-depth sermons based on examination of Scripture, praying over their congregations, and spending time in community service. Many ministers have side jobs in addition to pastoring in order to provide for their families. They sacrifice long, exhausting hours at the expense of their own comfort to carry on the work of God. Therefore, is it wrong that they should receive compensation for their time and effort?

1 Timothy 5:17-18: The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. For the Scripture says, “Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain,” and “The worker deserves his wages.”

1 Corinthians 9:14: In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

Numbers 18:21-24: To the Levites, however, I hereby assign all tithes in Israel as their heritage in recompense for the service they perform in the meeting tent. The Israelites may no longer approach the meeting tent; else they will incur guilt deserving death. Only the Levites are to perform the service of the meeting tent, and they alone shall be held responsible; this is a perpetual ordinance for all your generations. The Levites, therefore, shall not have any heritage among the Israelites, for I have assigned to them as their heritage the tithes which the Israelites give as a contribution to the LORD. That is why I have ordered that they are not to have any heritage among the Israelites…(v. 31) Your families, as well as you, may eat them anywhere, since they are your recompense for service at the meeting tent.

LDS members are not the only ones who serve without pay! Most Sunday school teachers, nursery workers, Bible study leaders, ushers, and a host of others in Christian ministry serve by volunteering their time and talent without compensation. The Mormon Church may brag about its “unpaid ministry,” but it is only the “rank and file members” who are not paid. LDS Institute teachers and directors get salaries. The General Authorities, LDS apostles, and the LDS Church president “receive a modest living allowance” (Daniel H. Ludlow, ed., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2. [Macmillan, 1992], 508 and 510). Note that the Mormon prophet lives in a multi-million dollar home provided by the Church;

The $1.2 million condominium at 40 N. State that is home to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be exempt from property taxes, Salt Lake County commissioners ruled Tuesday. (Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 8, 1988) Editor’s note: The property has substantially increased in value since 1988!

The Mormon Church employs public relations people, lawyers, secretaries, body guards…and by the way, why does the Mormon prophet need a body guard? Moses, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, John the Baptist, and a host of other prophets of the Bible did not need body guards–God protected them until their time was up…but I digress.

Are there abuses by some so-called Christian ministries? Are there some “Televangelists” getting rich? Sadly, yes. We usually hear about the few that take money shamelessly or prey on the gullible. We rarely hear about the countless Christian pastors and ministers of the gospel who selflessly and tirelessly serve their congregations and their communities. They don’t make the headlines, but they exist in great numbers!

Why do LDS find it objectionable for Christian leaders to be compensated for full-time ministry, yet they don’t seem to have a problem with their own leaders receiving pay? Again, why a double standard?

In Conclusion

Mormons have been taught that there must be a single church that has central authority and power. The Bible does not teach this. Being a member of Christ’s true church is a matter of being “called out” from the world as individuals. Jesus becomes the head of the believer and all power and authority is given by Him directly. Remember, “Religion” is man’s attempt to reconcile himself to God. True salvation is God reconciling man through Jesus Christ alone.

http://www.equippingchristians.com/ObjectionstoChristianity.htm

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Is God a Mormon? What the Bible says about God’s nature by Mark Grote

The question of “Is God a Mormon,” just occured to me while I was writing this examination of the nature of God. I was wondering to myself how Mormons could get so far off about the nature of God. Just then, it occured to me that God would have to be a Mormon, and would certainly endorse Mormonism, if Mormons are to be considered correct. But are they?

This much we do know. As much as Mormons say they are set apart as the “true Church” they are actually like every other faith on the planet except Christianity. Some Mormons say they are Christians but miss the central concept of God’s nature, essence and most of all, the deity of Christ. That concept is that Jesus is God. As Mormons yammer on about being set apart, they are very much like everyone else in holding a view that Jesus is not the ultimate authority or the author of all things. So then, who is? How can you be set apart when you hold exactly the same view of Jesus as every other faith–that He is less than God?

Rather than argue with opinions, I thought I would try the novel concept of ‘study’ and see if scripture means anything to Mormons. Examining and drawing out what is in the bible and not trying to read into scripture but literally go to the word of God and see what it says about God.

So with that, to the question at hand…what is the nature of God? Who is He? Are Mormons correct that he is one of many Gods and the literal creator of Jesus or is He part of the trinity, a view that Mormons so adamently attack?

First of all, we have to come to a common understanding about what we mean by the “nature of God.” What I mean in this is quite literal. What is God? Who is God? Where is God? The Bible says that God has always existed (Gen. 1:1) for all eternity to all eternity, from everlasting past to everlasting future, forever and ever, from before time to after time, and who is without beginning and without end, (Psalm 41:13, 90:2, 102:25-27 and Romans 1:22-23). The word Eternal, means ( e = no, tern = time; no time). I have separate thoughts of Jesus as well, but for now will wait to disuss that even if He applies.

I believe it is sufficient to say that the God of classical Christian theism is at least (1) personal and incorporeal (without physical parts), (2) the Creator and Sustainer of everything else that exists, (3) omnipotent (all-powerful), (4) omniscient (all-knowing), (5) omnipresent (everywhere present), (6) immutable (unchanging) and eternal, and (7) necessary and the only God.

Let us now briefly look at each of these attributes.

1. Personal and Incorporeal. According to Christian theism, God is a personal being who has all the attributes that we may expect from a perfect person: self-consciousness, the ability to reason, know, love, communicate, and so forth. This is clearly how God is described in the Scriptures (e.g., Gen. 17:11; Exod. 3:14; Jer. 29:11).

God is also incorporeal. Unlike humans, God is not uniquely associated with one physical entity (i.e., a body). This is why the Bible refers to God as Spirit (John 4:24).

2. The Creator and Sustainer of Everything Else that Exists. In classical theism, all reality is contingent on God — that is, all reality has come into existence and continues to exist because of Him. Unlike a god who forms the universe out of preexistent matter, the God of classical theism created the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing). Consequently, it is on God alone that everything in the universe depends for its existence (see Acts 17:25; Col. 1:16, 17; Rom. 11:36; Heb. 11:3; 2 Cor. 4:6; Rev. 4:11).

3. Omnipotent. God is also said to be omnipotent or all-powerful. This should be understood to mean that God can do anything that is (1) logically possible or impossible (see below), and (2) consistent with being a personal, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, wholly perfect, and necessary Creator.

Concerning the latter, these attributes are not limitations of God’s power, but perfections. They are attributes at their infinitely highest level, which are essential to God’s nature. For example, since God is perfect, He cannot sin; because He is personal, He is incapable of making Himself impersonal; because He is omniscient, He cannot forget. All this is supported by the Bible when its writers assert that God cannot sin (Mark 10:18; Heb. 6:18), cease to exist (Exod. 3:14; Mal. 3:6), or fail to know something (Job 28:24; Ps. 139:17-18; Isa. 46:10a). Since God is a perfect person, it is necessarily the case that He is incapable of acting in a less than perfect way — which would include sinning, ceasing to exist, and being ignorant.

Also counted among the things that are logically impossible for God to do or create are those imperfect acts mentioned above which a wholly perfect and immutable being cannot do — such as sin, lack omniscience, and/or cease to exist. Since God is a personal, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, immutable, wholly perfect, and necessary Creator, it follows that any act inconsistent with these attributes would be necessarily (or logically) impossible for God to perform.

4. Omniscient. God is all-knowing, and His all-knowingness encompasses the past, present, and future. Concerning God’s unfathomable knowledge, the psalmist writes: “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you” (Ps. 139:17,18). Elsewhere he writes, “Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit” (147:5). The author of Job writes of God: “For he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:24). Scripture also teaches that God has total knowledge of the past (Isa. 41:22). Concerning the future, God says: “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please,'” (Isa. 46:10). Elsewhere Isaiah quotes God as saying that knowledge (not opinion or highly probable guesses) of the future is essential for deity (Isa. 41:21-24), something that distinguished God from the many false gods of Isaiah’s day.

5. Omnipresent. Logically following from God’s omniscience, incorporeality, omnipotence, and role as creator and sustainer of the universe is His omnipresence. Since Christians believe God is not limited by a temporal body, He knows everything immediately without benefit of sensory organs, and sustains the existence of all that exists, it follows that He is in some sense present everywhere. Certainly it is the Bible’s explicit teaching that God is omnipresent (Psalm 139:3-10, 1 Kings 8:27, Jer. 23:23-24, Acts 17:24-27, Matt 18:20)

6. Immutable and Eternal. When a Christian says that God is immutable and eternal, he or she is saying that God is unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:17; Isa. 46:10b) and has always existed as God throughout all eternity which is consistent with the following scriptural references (Ps. 90:2; Isa. 40:28; 43:12b, 13; 57:15a; Rom. 1:20a; 1 Tim. 1:17). There never was a time when God was not God.

Although God certainly seems to change in response to how His creatures behave — such as in the case of the repenting Ninevites — His nature remains the same. No matter how the Ninevites would have responded to Jonah’s preaching, God’s unchanging righteousness would have remained the same: He is merciful to the repentant and punishes the unrepentant. Hence, a God who is responsive to His creatures is certainly consistent with, and seems to be entailed in, an unchanging nature that is necessarily personal.

7. Necessary and the ONE and Only True God. The Bible teaches that although humans at times worship some beings as if these beings really were gods (1 Cor. 8:4-6), there is only one true and living God by nature (Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 18, 21, 22; Jer. 10:10; Gal. 4:8; 1 Cor. 8:4-6; 1 Tim. 2:5; John 17:3; 1 Thess. 1:9). And since the God of the Bible possesses all power (see above), there cannot be any other God, for this would mean that two beings possess all power. That, of course, is patently absurd, since if a being possesses all of everything (in this case, power) there is, by definition, nothing left for anyone else.

Moreover, since everything that exists depends on God, and God is unchanging and eternal, it follows that God cannot not exist. In other words, He is a necessary being, whereas without Him, everything else would not exist.

You may have noticed that I am not citing only single verses in any one of these sections. There is a pattern of several verses thoughout the bible that support my positions and I have provided 56 verses that speak to God’s nature and attributes. This is not a doctrine born out of single verse, nor am I asking you to read a symbolic phrase in the bible and come the same conclusion that I do. I am citing specific verses in specific contexts that say for instance, “God is spirit and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24). Now from where I come from, that’s truth. But it’s only one verse. What if we don’t have it right? Well, the Bible says that all Scripture is God-breathed, and that the Bible IS the Word of God. So, therefore, if we examine other scripture and find the it to be consistent with “God is spirit” we can probably put that one in the column for truth. I cannot understate this point: I went beyond that single verse and found other scriptures to support that verse’s context, that God is omnipresent, consistent with Him being “spirit.” I challenge you to do the same showing that “God is a God of flesh and bones, or God has a body.” I also challenge you to present a pattern where we see this theme woven throughout scripture, for it is my contention that Joseph Smith and Mormon leaders since his time, make doctrines out of a single verse or “read out” of scripture from a single verse what they want to see to support their doctrine. (see baptisms for the dead as one such example). I realize that I am placing a high standard on our process…but honestly speaking, does where we spend our eternity deserve anything less?

Finally my questions to you are this? Where in the Bible or the Book of Mormon does it teach that God was once a mere mortal man and that he was not always a God? Where in the Bible or the Book of Mormon does it teach that God is married. And finally, where in the bible and the Book of Mormon does it say that God has a body of flesh and bones as clearly as John 4:24 says, “God is spirit”? And yet, it is Christians who are supposed to be giving life to doctrines that are not in the bible? I don’t think so.

So far, I have never met a Mormon who can answers these questions without reading into scripture and/or taking it out of context. I also cannot seem to find Mormons presenting a pattern of scripture that supports their positions.

Nevertheless, I welcome the exchange anytime. If a Mormon can prove otherwise, using scripture, I will listen. Until that time, I’m sticking with the bible. All other so called “truths” are fraught with danger.

http://www.lifeafter.org/Is_God_Mormon.asp

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Dr. Ironside Meets With Two Mormon Missionaries
(Originally published in 1932)

What Is the Gospel?
by Dr. H. A. Ironside

A Mormon gentleman introduced himself as a “minister of the gospel, doing missionary work among the mountain towns” of California, and stated that he would be pleased to put before me some of “the principles of the gospel.” Intimating that I myself was also seeking to give forth God’s good news to poor sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), he was told that if such was indeed his object, I would be glad to converse with him; so asked him to be seated.

The Mormon Gospel Stated

“And now, sir,” he was asked, “would you kindly favor us” (a number were present) “with a short statement of what the gospel really is?”

“Certainly,” he replied. “The gospel consists of four first principles. The first is repentance; the second, faith; the third, baptism for the remission of sins by one duly qualified; while the forth is the laying on of the hands of a man having authority, for the reception of the Holy Ghost.”

“Well, and supposing one has gone through all this, is he then saved?”

“Oh, of course, no one can know that, in this life. If one goes onto the end, he will be exalted in the kingdom.” Thereupon he proceeded to open a little Testament, with which, however, he was but slightly familiar, and pointed us to proof texts showing conclusively that the Lord and the apostles preached repentance and faith, as also that Peter spoke of “baptism for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38; let the reader carefully note the verse and its context), and that in at least two instances (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-6) apostles laid their hands on people in order to their receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. An effort was also made to find a verse to prove that no one can know he is saved now; but in the face of Ephesians 2:4-8; 1 Peter. 1:9; 1 Corinthians. 1:8; 2 Corinthians 2:15; and 2 Timothy 1:9, this was an utter absurdity, though he pointed to Matthew 24:13, “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved;” in defense of his position.

As to this, one need only say that endurance certainly is a proof of reality. One who said he was saved, yet did not endure, would thereby prove the emptiness of his profession.

“I quite agree with you,” I said, “as to the fact that Scripture speaks of the four points you mention; but, possibly, you did not understand my query. I asked you for a statement of the gospel. If these so-called ‘four principles’ be indeed the gospel, then you have a gospel without Christ; in other words, a gospel with the Gospel omitted. And if you are correct, then surely the apostle Paul, at least, labored under a most serious delusion, for he gives us a clear statement of his Gospel, and actually says nothing of either one or other of the various points upon which you have dwelt. No doubt you will recollect the passage?” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

He did not, however. He was not aware of any such direct statement on the subject. In fact, it was soon evident that, with the exception of a few verses on his favorite themes, his Bible was practically a sealed book. He turned, however, at my direction, to the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, to which I would invite the reader’s careful attention.

Paul’s Statement of the Real Gospel

Commencing at the first verse of this precious and wondrous portion of Scripture, we read: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, with also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (see Isaiah 53:5-6) “and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

“Now,” I said, turning to the Mormon, “we have here a statement of the Gospel — the Gospel which Paul preached; and it is dangerous to preach any other, as we find from Galatians 1:8-9 that the person who does so, even though it be an angel from heaven, is under a curse, or devoted to judgment. I understand that you teach that your gospel was revealed to Joseph Smith by an angel. If true, that would prove nothing, if it be found, upon examination, to be other than that proclaimed by the apostle to the Gentiles. His gospel had been received by the Corinthians; in it they stood; by it they were saved, if real believers. It was not, you will notice, a careful obedience to certain ordinances or a walking according to certain rules, such as you mentioned a few minutes ago, that would insure their salvation, however blessed such might be, if properly understood; but it was keeping in memory this gospel.

Two Gospels Contrasted

“I noticed, then, to begin with, that the Biblical Gospel is concerning a Person, and quite a different person the person you brought before us. Paul’s Gospel message is ‘concerning the Son of God,’ as Romans 1:3 tells us. Your gospel did not have a word about Jesus in all its four points. The subject of Paul’s gospel has not a word about anyone or anything except Christ. Perhaps we might say it also could be divided into four points, though more properly three; but even divided into four (to go as far with you as we can), what marked differences do we find!

Your four points are all concerning the poor sinner, and might be put this way:

1. The sinner repents;
2. The sinner has faith;
3. The sinner is baptized;
4. The sinner has hands laid on him.

“Now, in contrast to this, see how the true Gospel can be put:

1. Christ died;
2. Christ was buried;
3. Christ has been raised again;
4. Christ is the object for the hearts of His own.

“Surely the two gospels have nothing in common. You teach, I believe, that Christ died for Adam’s transgression, not for ours; but you maintain that while Adamic sin is met by the Cross, our sins as individuals must be washed away by baptism. Paul’s gospel tells us that He died for our sins; and if that be so, and ‘the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin,’ where does baptism in your sense apply? If all my sins are met by His precious blood, if they were borne ‘in His own body on the tree’ (1 Peter 2:24), how many are left to be cleansed by baptism? Assuredly none. But, alas, this is but one instance in which the false gospel of Mormonism is opposed to the precious Gospel of grace of God as revealed in the Bible.

“But I go on to the second point. Christ not only died, but ‘was buried’; yet it was written of Him, ‘Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption’ (Acts 2:27; Psalm 16:10). His burial declares the reality of His death, and surely speaks of His being forever through with the place He took on earth. It is the end of all the relationships in which He previously stood, and tells us He is dead to the law — having paid my penalty — and to sin — not his own, but mine — which He bore, and I am ‘buried with Him by baptism unto death’ (Romans 6:4); so that I am not left where Mormonism would leave me, as a poor, struggling soul on earth, striving to continue to the end in order to be saved, but I am accounted as one who, with Him, has been buried to it all: thus I am brought to the third point:

“Christ was raised from the dead, and I am raised with Him (Ephesians 2:6). His place is now mine as to acceptance with God. ‘He was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification’ (Romans 4:25); His resurrection being God’s open declaration that the believer is cleared from all charge of sin, because our Substitute, Christ, is raised from the dead.

“And now the One who is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:18) is presented as an object for the hearts of His own. ‘He was seen’; and the same apostle exclaims, in another place, ‘We see Jesus!’ (Hebrews 2:9). Poor sinners are first led to see the utter impossibility of improving or rendering themselves more fit for God’s presence. The eye of faith is then directed to the One who died, in whom believing, they are justified from all things (Acts 13:38-39). Now they have also an object for the heart, even Christ in glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). How different this is from what you have presented! Here, we have Jesus first, Jesus last, and Jesus all the way; while you are cast entirely on yourself.”

Mormon Doctrine of Authority

“But now, another question. You spoke of men with authority to baptize and lay on hands. Where do you get that in Scripture?”

For an answer, he turned to Hebrews 5:4, and read, “And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.”

“What ‘honor’ is here referred to?” I asked.

“The honor of the priesthood giving authority to baptize and confer the Holy Ghost.”

“No,” I answered, “the first verse (of Hebrews 5) contradicts this. It is not a question of the ‘priesthood’ at all. As all believers now are priests (1 Peter 2:5), there is not special priestly class in Christianity, as is clearly shown by referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, called of God, as noted in Hebrews 5:6. Nor is there a word (in Hebrews 5:1) about baptism or imposition of hands; but it is a question of ‘offering gifts and sacrifices for sins’ (cf., Hebrews 2:17), and then of succoring His people in this world of trial. To apply such a Scripture to human ministry is simply ‘handling the Word of God deceitfully’ (2 Corinthians 4:2), and deserves the severest censure.”

Such was, in substance, what I sought to put before the misguided young man; but, alas, so deceitful is the human heart, that man would rather be occupied with his repentance, his faith, or his anything, than with God’s Christ; and I found this preacher of “a different gospel, which is not another” (Galatians 1:6-7, 2 Corinthians 11:3-4), to be of the same class as thousands of others. The Scriptures brought before him had but little weight compared with “present-day revelation,” despite the word of Paul in Romans 15:19 that he was made a minister “to fully preach the Word of God;” so he went on his way, trusting to his fleshy religion and ignoring the “Gospel of God.”

Before dismissing the subject, I might remind the reader that neither faith or repentance is ever presented in Scripture as the ground of salvation. The Cross alone is that. Brought to it by the Spirit of God, the sinner will indeed repent. In its Biblical sense, repentance is self-judgment; the owning that one is lost and guilty, righteously deserving the wrath of a Holy God. Faith is trusting in Christ, whose finished work puts away sins forever. It is not simply crediting the statement that God exists, or that the historical Jesus was the Son of God. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).

Christ, and Christ alone, is your only way of salvation. Discarding all else, turn, then, to Him alone. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

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Archaeology & the Book of Mormon

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)–In the last part in this series, we saw that the Bible is reliable, being textually pure and verifiably accurate in many places. Therefore, the Mormon can have confidence that the Bible is the Word of God and that it can be accurately translated. In this chapter we will examine the Book of Mormon to see how it holds up to the historical test. The Mormons at your door will tell you that many findings within archaeology have confirmed the Book of Mormon time and time again. Is this true? What does the historical data we have tell us about the events recorded in the Book of Mormon?

1. There is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.

A. What Mormon archeologists say.

Brigham Young University (BYU) is owned by the Mormon Church and has a department of professional archeologists who are dedicated to archaeology as it pertains to the Book of Mormon. These professionals, who are practicing Mormons, are to be applauded for their honesty. What many of them have to say will be a shock to the lay Mormon who is unaware that archaeology and the Book of Mormon are at odds with one another. The lay Mormon is told by the Mormon Church that archaeology continues to confirm the Book of Mormon, while Mormon scholars, who actually study archaeology for a living, have something quite different to say.

“[It appears that the Book of Mormon] had no place in the New World whatsoever…. [It] just doesn’t seem to fit anything … in anthropology [or] history…. It seems misplaced” (endnote 20, continuing from endnote 19 in Part 2).

“The first myth that we need to eliminate is that Book of Mormon archaeology exists. Titles on books full of archaeological half-truths, dilettante on the peripheries of American archaeology calling themselves Book of Mormon archaeologists regardless of their education, and a Department of Archaeology at BYU devoted to the production of Book of Mormon archaeologists do not insure that Book of Mormon archaeology really exists” (endnote 21).

“What I would say to you is there is no archeological proof of the Book of Mormon. You can look all you want. And there’s been a lot of speculation about it. There’ve been books written by Mormon scholars saying that ‘this event took place here’ or ‘this event took place here.’ But that’s entirely speculative. There is absolutely no archeological evidence that you can tie directly to events that took place” (endnote 22).

“Now, I’m an archeologist, and I work in Mexico where some people think that the events occurred. So a lot of Mormons ask me every week if I find any evidence. And I tell them, ‘No.’ … [T]he question of how to translate what the Book says in terms of real evidence that we can grab in our hands, archeologically, is still a huge problem” (endnote 23).

Keep in mind that all of these are practicing Mormons who are professional Book of Mormon archeologists!

B. What non-Mormon archeologists say.

Earlier we read from the Smithsonian Institution’s statement “The Bible as History.” We saw that archaeology confirms much of the Bible and that professional archeologists use the Bible in their work. The Smithsonian also has a “STATEMENT REGARDING THE BOOK OF MORMON.” This statement can be requested at the same address. Every one of the statements are damaging to the reliability of the Book of Mormon. Here is the first of eight statements: “The Smithsonian Institution has never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a scientific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book.”

In 1989, Michael Ammons wrote to the National Geographic Society requesting information on the Book of Mormon and archaeology. The Society replied in a letter dated April 26, 1989:

“Neither the Society nor any other institution of equal prestige has ever used the Book of Mormon in locating archaeological sites. Although many Mormon sources claim that the Book of Mormon has been substantiated by archaeological findings, this claim has not been verified scientifically.”

Also in 1989, Linda Hansen wrote to the Department of Archaeology at Boston University with a similar request. In a reply letter dated April 5, 1989, Julie Hansen of the department responded:

“The Archaeological Institute of America has never used the Book of Mormon as a scientific guide in locating historic ruins on the Western Hemisphere…. Over the past 30 years The New World Archaeological Foundation, located at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, has conducted numerous scientific excavations in Mesoamerica, originally with a view to confirming the claims in the Book of Mormon. They have discovered no evidence that supports the Book of Mormon in any way. Nonetheless, they have published in full detail the results of their excavations in Papers of the New World Archaeological Foundation, Volumes 1-55, 1959 and following…. They are accepted by the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of American Archaeologists as legitimate scientific investigations and the New World Archaeological Foundation is to be commended for publishing the results of their work that essentially refutes the basic beliefs of the Mormon Church on which the Foundation is based” (endnote 24).

Therefore, there is a consensus from professional archaeologists, Mormon and non-Mormon alike, that there is no specific confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology.

2. The lack of archaeological evidence is sometimes damaging.

A) The Book of Mormon claims that the ancient inhabitants spoke and wrote in “Reformed Egyptian” and Hebrew (endnote 25). If this were the case, we would expect to find artifacts with writings in these languages. However, the Smithsonian’s eighth statement regarding the Book of Mormon says:

“Reports of findings of ancient Egyptian, Hebrew, and other Old World writings in the New World in pre-Columbian contexts have frequently appeared in newspapers, magazines, and sensational books. None of these claims has stood up to examination by reputable scholars. No inscriptions using Old World forms of writing have been shown to have occurred in any part of the Americas before 1492 except for a few Norse rune stones which have been found in Greenland.”

B) The Book of Mormon states that the two peoples mentioned (Nephites and Lamanites) had Jewish beliefs that became Christian when the resurrected Christ appeared to them. However, there is no evidence that the ancient inhabitants in the Americas had either Jewish or Christian beliefs.

C) Hill Cumorah is located in New York, southeast of Rochester. Joseph Smith claimed that when Moroni appeared to him, he was told that Moroni’s father, Mormon, buried the gold plates upon which the Book of Mormon was based on the hill Cumorah just before the great final battle there (Mormon 6:6). In the Pearl of Great Price, Smith writes that the day after his second vision, he went to a large hill outside of the village where his family lived (the hill Cumorah) and found the gold plates (endnote 26). This identifies the hill where Smith dug up the plates as the same hill where Mormon buried them and where the great battle took place. In Mormon 6:10-15, it is claimed that hundreds of thousands of people were killed on or near the hill Cumorah during that final battle. It says that “their flesh, and bones, and blood lay upon the face of the earth, being left by the hands of those who slew them to molder upon the land, and to crumble and to return to their mother earth” (Mormon 6:15). In other words, their bodies were left there, unburied.

To help you understand the magnitude of casualties at hill Cumorah, let us consider another major battle. During the Battle of Gettysburg of the American Civil War, 55,000 soldiers were wounded, including 6,000 of them killed on the battlefield and 4,000 more whose wounds were mortal. Eyewitnesses said that there was so much blood from the dead and injured that there were parts of the battlefield that seemed like streams of blood. So many men and horses died that all could not be buried at once and many corpses were left on the battlefield until a few days later when others were hired to do the task.

If 6,000 men died on the battlefield at Gettysburg, what would a battlefield look like with hundreds of thousands dead? Since they were left unburied at hill Cumorah, wouldn’t there be some artifacts made of metal and stone? Bullets by the thousands are found at Gettysburg. Nothing, however, has been found at hill Cumorah.

University of Rochester paleontologist and stratigrapher Carl Brett has worked in the Palmyra, N.Y, area where hill Cumorah is located and is familiar with the hill and its geologic conditions. He says that if hundreds of thousands were slaughtered at the hill and not buried, there would still be skeletal remains on the surface today, even after 1,600 years. Scavengers and weather conditions would account for why much is gone, but there would still be quite enough left to look at. Metallic artifacts from weapons and armor would also be easily found (endnote 27). But nothing has ever been found at hill Cumorah.

3. Attempts by Mormons to answer the archeological problem fail.

During a series of conversations I once had with a Mormon friend and some Mormon missionaries, I turned to them in the first meeting and said that one objection I had to Mormonism was that there is no archaeological evidence to support the stories in the Book of Mormon. One of the missionaries smiled confidently and claimed there was a lot of evidence from archaeology to support the historical truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I asked him to show me some. He said he did not have any information with him but would bring some to our next meeting. He did. Needless to say he was shocked when I quoted the Mormon scholars below who refuted the very materials he had in hand!

“Few of the writings they have produced are of genuine consequence in archaeological terms. Some are clearly on the oddball fringe; others have credible qualifications. Two of the most prolific are Professor Hugh Nibley and Milton R. Hunter; however, they are not qualified to handle the archaeological materials their works often involve” (endnote 28).

“Those volumes which most flagrantly ignore time and space and most radically distort, misinterpret, or ignore portions of the archaeological evidence are the popular Farnsworth volumes. Also inadequate, from a professional archaeologist’s point of view, are the well intentioned volumes by Milton R. Hunter and a number of smaller pamphlets and works by various authors…. New World Old World comparisons have been less popular but fraught with problems. The best known examples are the two volumes by Nibley which suffer from an overdose of Old Worlditis…. He does not know New World culture history well, and his writing ignores the considerable indigenous elements in favor of exclusively Old World patterns” (endnote 29).

“In situations where sources of religious and secular authority conflict with each other, a Latter-day Saint sometimes finds himself in a quandary. He has been assured by a folklore transmitted in lessons, talks and church literature that archaeologists (usually Gentiles) are steadily proving the Book of Mormon authentic, while through his formal education and secular literature he has become aware that in actuality the experts seem to contradict the scripture” (endnote 30).

“Science does not arrive at its conclusions by syllogism, and no people on earth deplore proof demonstration by syllogism more loudly than real archaeologists do. Yet, Mr. Jakeman’s study is nothing but an elaborate syllogistic stew. The only clear and positive thing about the whole study is the objective the author is determined to reach” (endnote 31).

Again, every one of the above are practicing Mormons. Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, BYU is owned by the Mormon Church and has a department dedicated to Book of Mormon archaeology. According to BYU anthropologist John Clark, virtually all of the professional archaeologists there admit that archaeological finds which specifically tie the past to events in the Book of Mormon are missing. These practicing Mormons call books and their authors that list sensational findings not qualified, inadequate, and speculative.

Some Mormons will respond that these archeologists do not represent the official church position, so their opinions are not credible. But why trivialize and dismiss the findings of the overwhelming consensus of practicing Mormons who are professional archaeologists, yet accept, without question, the official Mormon Church position? Could it be that the ground’s silence is indicative of a Mormon Church position that is false? After all, if it is false, silence from archaeology is precisely what we might expect to find.

It is fair to mention that professional Mormon archaeologists claim there is general confirmation of the Book of Mormon from archaeology, citing peoples existing where it is thought Book of Mormon peoples may have existed. This general confirmation, however, does not show that the Mormon picture of history is true. These same archaeologists (Johnson, Clark) admit that conclusions regarding the findings are pure speculation. The issue is not, “Did people exist in the Americas between 600 B.C. through A.D. 400?” We know that they did. The issue is, “Can we identify these civilizations as the ones mentioned in the Book of Mormon?” And the answer from virtually all professional Mormon and non-Mormon archaeologists alike is no.

In the last part of this series we saw that the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts in our possession today allow us to have an accurate translation of the Bible. Therefore, even by Mormon standards, we can be confident that we have the Word of God. We also saw that secular history has attested to the accuracy of the Bible so that we can know with certainty that many of the events recorded in it took place. Unfortunately, the Mormon cannot have this same confidence when it comes to the Book of Mormon. Archaeology and secular history are silent when asked if the events took place. Not only is this silence disturbing to professional Mormon archaeologists, but it is evidence against Mormonism when no artifacts turn up in areas which should be abundant with relics such as the hill Cumorah. However, as damaging as these may be, Mormonism’s greatest challenge concerns another one of their scriptures, the Book of Abraham, which will be the subject of the next part in this series.
–30–
Mike Licona is the director of apologetics & interfaith evangelism at the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board.

ENDNOTES

20 Dr. Ray Metheny, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. Address at the Sixth Annual Sunstone Theological Symposium, Salt Lake City, 8/25/84.

21 Dr. Dee Green, Former Editor of the University Archaeological Society Newsletter “Book of Mormon Archaeology: The Myths and the Alternatives,” in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), pp. 77-78.

22 Dr. David Johnson, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. In a personal telephone conversation, 7/23/97.

23 Dr. John Clark, Professor of Anthropology, BYU. In a personal telephone conversation, 7/25/97.

24 Copies of the reply letters from the National Geographic Society and Boston University were provided by Jim and Judy Robertson of Concerned Christians.

25 Mosiah 1:4; Mormon 9:32-33. Also see Joseph Smith. History 1:64.

26 Joseph Smith. History, verses 51-52. Hill Cumorah is located in Manchester, N.Y., about 25 miles east of Rochester. Smith lived in Palmyra, about five miles away from the hill.

27 A personal telephone conversation on September 8, 1997.

28 John L. Sorenson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology & Sociology, BYU. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 1, No. 1 (Spring 1966), pp. 145-246.

29 Dee Green, General Officer, Univ. Archaeological Society. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), p. 74.

30 John L. Sorenson, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, 4, No. 2 (Summer 1969), p. 81.

31 Dr. Hugh Nibley, quoted by Dee Green. Book of Mormon Archaeology, p. 75.

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Mormonism, Original Sin, and the ancient heresy of Pelagianism

Introduction


The Mormon denial of the traditional Christian doctrine of original sin is one of the more distinctive aspects of this group, who claim to be Christian, but whose denial of so many central Christian doctrines indicate that they as a group cannot be considered Christian. The traditional doctrine of Original Sin is held in common by all Christian denominations. The denial of this doctrine by the Mormons puts this group in a position which is contrary to Scripture, Tradition and unsupported by reality.

The Mormon denial of original sin is based on a few flimsy assumptions which will be discussed here and in a second paper.

First, however, this paper will look at the true teaching on Original Sin, continue with a discussion of some of the errors of the LDS position, and lastly examine a heresy of the early centuries, (Pelagianism) to show that the erroneous Mormon view on original sin has much in common with an old heresy.

A subsequent paper will refute the specific points of the LDS position.

What is Original Sin?
First, here is a quote from the Catholic Encyclopedia article Original Sin :

 

“Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) the sin that Adam committed; (2) a consequence of this first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam.From the earliest times the latter sense of the word was more common, as may be seen by St. Augustine’s statement: “the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin” (De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43). It is the hereditary stain that is dealt with here. As to the sin of Adam we have not to examine the circumstances in which it was committed nor make the exegesis of the third chapter of Genesis.”

It is important to note that the common meaning of “original sin” is the second one given above, i.e. the stain or consequence of Adam’s sin for the rest of humanity. This is how the term will also be used in this paper. Admittedly, the term can be confusing since it does not refer to a personal sin we have committed, but rather to a state of deprivation due to the effect of Adam’s sin. However, once this is clear, then confusion can be avoided. Original sin is contracted by babies when they are conceived in the womb; it is not something committed by them. Hence it is not valid for Mormons to deny original sin by saying �how can a baby commit sin?� This is because original sin refers to a contracted loss of inheritance of grace, not a committed personal sin on the baby�s part.

Original sin refers to a lost inheritance. God gave Adam supernatural grace before the Fall when he lived in the Garden of Eden. Adam could eat from the tree of life, and so remain immortal. He was not allowed, however, to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The Charge of Unfairness

The Mormons make a number of false assumptions about the story of the Fall of Adam.One such assumption is the idea that original sin means that God is unfair, punishing us all for something Adam did.

The reply to this is as follows. God bestowed on Adam all his natural faculties. Adam did not have any entitlement to supernatural grace, to immortality, to fellowship with God. It was only because God in His graciousness gave these to Adam that Adam had them at all. Adam did not have any natural right to them. This is a critical point. If my boss, who pays me every week, comes to me on Monday and says “here are some tickets to a show or the theatre for Friday night; take your family along.” But on Tuesday I get caught wasting time on the job. The boss then says “I’ll take those tickets back.” Now, is the boss being unfair to my family? Of course not. The relationship between me and my boss is broken and so I must pay the punishment. If my family suffer as a result, it is my fault, not the boss’s.

Similarly with original sin. Adam sinned, and by doing so broke the relationship between himself and God. It is Adam who is the cause of original sin in the rest of the human race. We have lost the inheritance of supernatural grace, but Adam is to blame for this loss, not God. So when we are born, we are without this supernatural grace which was our inheritance until Adam blew it. This is what original sin means: we are born without our inheritance.

The whole idea of the test was to see if man would freely submit himself to the will of God. And he failed.

‘The Fall was necessary’ argument.

Another flimsy assumption of Mormonism is to suggest that without the Fall Adam and the rest of the human race would be stuck forever in the garden of Eden, and never make it to heaven. Thus they say the Fall was necessary, and even worse, they claim that God willed the Fall. Mormons make the mistake of thinking man was not made in a state of holiness, but had to “progress” to holiness. On the contrary, man was created in a state of holiness, destined to be “divinized” in glory in heaven but his disobedience lost this inheritance.

As proof of this destiny to glory (with or without the Fall), Romans 8:29-30 reads:

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” (NIV)

God predestined us to glory, to be “conformed to the likeness of His Son”. He did not predestine the Fall. He predestined us to be conformed to His Son in glory, with or without the Fall. The Fall made it necessary for the Son of God to become man.

God never predestined the Fall. God permitted the Fall; he did not require it; such an idea makes God to be the author of sin and suffering, which He is not. Mormonism here fails to distinguish between God’s permissive will, and God’s ordaining will. God permitted the Fall, He did not ordain that it must happen.

The Fall was entirely up to Adam’s free will, and he failed. Adam was deceived into thinking God was not being totally honest with him, in other words, that God did not really want what was best for Adam. Adam called God’s integrity into question, an act which led to his disobedience. If this is not sin, what is?

In the Catholic Encyclopedia article : Divine Providence we read how the Fathers of the Church treated of sin and its nature:

 

‘The question of Providence in the Fathers is almost invariably connected with the problem of evil. How can evil and suffering be compatible with the beneficent providence of an all-powerful God? And why especially should the just be allowed to suffer while the wicked are apparently prosperous and happy? Patristic solutions to these problems may be summed up under the following heads: ·

  • Sin is not ordained by the will of God, though it happens with His permission. It can be ascribed to Providence only as a secondary result (Origen, “Contra Celsum”, IV, lxviii in “P.G.”, XI, 1516-7; St. John Damascene, “De fid. orth.”, ii, 21 in “P.G.”, XCIV, 95 sq.).
  • Sin is due to the abuse of free will; an abuse which was certainly foreseen by God, but could have been prevented only by depriving man of his most noble attribute (Tertullian, “Adv. Marcion.”, II, v-vii in “P.L.”, II, 317-20; St. Cyril of Alexandria “In Julian.”, IX, xiii, 10, 11, 18 in “P.G.”, LXXIV, 120-1, 127-32; Theodoret, “De prov. orat.”, IX, vi in “P.G.”, LXXXIII, 662). ·
  • Had there been no sin, physical evil would have been inconsistent with the Divine goodness (St. Augustine, “De div. quæst.”, lxxxii in “P.L.”, LX, 98, 99); nor would God permit evil at all, unless He could draw good out of evil (St. Augustine, “Enchir.”, xi in “P.L.”, LX, 236; “Serm.”, ccxiv, 3 in “P.L.”, XXXVIII, 1067; St. Gregory the Great, op. cit., VI, xxxii, XVIII, xlvi in “P.L.”, LXXV, 747; LXXVI, 61-2). · · <[SFW Comment : This point proves that God could not have willed the Fall, and that Adam’s sin wa sindeed a sin, not merely a ‘transgression’, a distinction Mormonism tries to make; see later).]

All physical evil, therefore, is the consequence of sin, the inevitable result of the Fall (St. John Chrysostom, “Ad Stagir.”, I, ii in “P.G.”, LXVII, 428, 429; St. Gregory the Great, op. cit., VIII, li, lii in “P.L.”, LXXV, 833, 834), and regarded in this light is seen to be at once a medicine (St. Augustine, “De div. quæst.”, lxxxii in “P.L.”, XL, 98, 99; “Serm.”, xvii, 4, 5 in “P.L.”, XXXVIII, 126-8), a discipline (“Serm.”, xv, 4-9 in “P.L.”, XXXVIII, 118-21; St. Gregory the Great, op. cit., V, xxxv; VII, xxix; XIV, xl in “P.L.”, LXXV, 698, 818, 1060), and an occasion of charity (St. Gregory the Great, VII, xxix)�.

(Note: Mormons may try to claim a distincion between ‘transgression’ and ‘sin’, saying that Adam transgressed , but did not sin. We shall see in the next paper that this is a false distinction.)

Summary of points so far

 

  • i) The traditional Christian doctrine of Original Sin is in no way ‘unfair’ as the supernatural graces of which man is deprived as its result, are graces to which he has no natural claim. God freely bestows graces,man does not earn a claim.
  • ii) The Fall was certainly not “necessary”. To maintain the Fall was necessary makes God out to be the author of sin, which He cannot be. It also means Adam did not really have free will, if God had intended him to eat the fruit. But we know Adam did have free will: God had told him to be obedient and Adam disobeyed. If Adam did not really have free will before the Fall, then it casts a question on God’s integrity. The truth is: Adam has free will before the Fall, and he freely chose to sin by disobeying God. But Mormonism denies free will in order to deny the reality of Adam’s sin, instead pretending it was merely a ‘transgression’.
  • iii) God predestined certain persons to eternal beatitude, with or without the Fall. Mormonism fails to explain Romans 8:29-30 which proves the predestination of the elect. Instead they try to claim the human race would be stuck in Eden for ever if it had not been for the Fall.

Next we shall have a look at the Effects of Original Sin. These are:

  • death and suffering (physical evils, not sin)
  • Concupiscence (baptism removes original sin, but not concupiscence, so concupiscence cannot be sin)
  • Absence of sanctifying grace. Since this is in the moral order, it can be called sin.

 

The following extract from the Catholic Encyclopedia: Original Sin: expands on the above points:

 

“St. Anselm: “the sin of Adam was one thing but the sin of children at their birth is quite another, the former was the cause, the latter is the effect” (De conceptu virginali, xxvi). In a child original sin is distinct from the fault of Adam, it is one of its effects. But which of these effects is it? We shall examine the several effects of Adam’s fault and reject those which cannot be original sin:

  • 1. Death and Suffering.– These are purely physical evils and cannot be called sin. Moreover St. Paul, and after him the councils, regarded death and original sin as two distinct things transmitted by Adam.
  • 2. Concupiscence.- This rebellion of the lower appetite transmitted to us by Adam is an occasion of sin and in that sense comes nearer to moral evil. However, the occasion of a fault is not necessarily a fault, and whilst original sin is effaced by baptism concupiscence still remains in the person baptized; therefore original sin and concupiscence cannot be one and the same thing, as was held by the early Protestants (see Council of Trent, Sess. V, can. v).
  • 3. The absence of sanctifying grace in the new-born child is also an effect of the first sin, for Adam, having received holiness and justice from God, lost it not only for himself but also for us (loc. cit., can. ii). If he has lost it for us we were to have received it from him at our birth with the other prerogatives of our race. Therefore the absence of sanctifying grace in a child is a real privation, it is the want of something that should have been in him according to the Divine plan. If this favour is not merely something physical but is something in the moral order, if it is holiness, its privation may be called a sin. But sanctifying grace is holiness and is so called by the Council of Trent, because holiness consists in union with God, and grace unites us intimately with God. Moral goodness consists in this that our action is according to the moral law, but grace is a deification, as the Fathers say, a perfect conformity with God who is the first rule of all morality. Sanctifying grace therefore enters into the moral order, not as an act that passes but as a permanent tendency which exists even when the subject who possesses it does not act; it is a turning towards God, conversio ad Deum. Consequently the privation of this grace, even without any other act, would be a stain, a moral deformity, a turning away from God, aversio a Deo, and this character is not found in any other effect of the fault of Adam. This privation, therefore, is the hereditary stain.”

Note that the Fathers say ‘grace is a deification.. a perfect conformity with God who is the first rule of all morality’. It is grace which was to be the instrument of the ‘divinization’ of Adam and his descendants. Mormons do not understand grace or divinization and hence think the Fall was necessary to enable man to ‘progress’ to their idea of ‘divinization’. But the Fathers meant by ‘divinization’ a transformation in glory and not in any sense ‘becoming God’ or becoming ‘a god’. This is, again, a failure of Mormonism to understand the nature of supernatural grace as the agent which glorifies and leads to union with God.

Be sure to check out what the Catechism says about the Fall of Adam and original sin.
Final Section: The heresy of Pelagianism and its similarity to Mormon teaching on original sin

This final section is included as the ancient heresy of Pelagianism also denied Original Sin, and had some similarities with Mormonism’s teaching on this subject

In summary:

Pelagianism (extracted from Catholic Encyclopedia: Pelagius and Pelagianism )

 

  • 1. Even if Adam had not sinned, he would have died.
  • 2. Adam’s sin harmed only himself, not the human race.
  • 3. Children just born are in the same state as Adam before his fall.
  • 4. The whole human race neither dies through Adam’s sin or death, nor rises again through the resurrection of Christ.

Pelagianism also taught that the Mosaic Law was as good a guide to heaven as the Gospel.

The teachings of Pelagius changed somewhat.These can be summarized as follows: (again, this is an extract from the Catholic Encyclopedia: Pelagius and Pelagianism )

 

  • The first position which Pelagius held was that Adam would have died anyway, regardless if the Fall had happened or not, and his sin injured himself, not the whole human race. It was condemned at the Council of Carthage (see Romans 5:12 Adam transmits death with sin) 
  • Pelagian second position: parents transmit diesase to children, so parents transmit death. But they do not transmit sin. This was condemned at the Council of Orange, and again at Trent.This position is similar to the Mormon position. 
  • Pelagians then gave up equating sin with death so said Adam CAUSED sin in us, not, however, by hereditary transmission, but (they said), the sin of Adam in imitation of Adam. Again, condemned by Trent.

How Mormon doctrine resembles Pelagianism (with differences):

 

  • Similarities: Mormons, like Pelagians, say Adam’s sin hurt himself, but not others. Mormons go so far as to say Adam’s transgression was necessary in order to avoid being stuck forever in Eden. Mormons, like Pelagians, say that death, not sin, is transmitted from parent to child. Mormons, like Pelagians, cannot say how a loving God who is all good could introduce death and suffering into the world if Adam was not really guilty of sin. The traditional Christian view, of course, is that Adam did really sin and lost his inheritance for himself and his children. See also Wisdom 2:24 

    “But by the envy of the devil death came into the world”.

    Death came into the world, not by the will of God, to get people to “progress” but by the ‘envy of the devil’.

     

  • Differences: Mormons say Adam’s sin was a not a sin, but a transgression, which was necessary for ‘progression’. Pelagius said Adam would have died anyway; Mormons do not say this.

How Romans 5:12,18-19 opposes the three Pelagian positions:

  • Against position 1. The sin of Adam has introduced physical death. See also 1 Cor. 15:21, which refers to physical resurrection, so must refer to physical death. 
  • Against Position 2. Romans 5:19 says ‘all men were made sinners’ not ‘all men were made mortal’. So Pelagians cannot get away with speaking only of death.
    This serves also as a refutation of the Mormon position on original sin. 
  • Against Position 3. Adam transmits death to his children by generation of them mortal, so too he transmits sin to them, by generation (this is not to say Adam generates the soul). Paul says both death and sin come at the same time, from the same cause. Pelagians say (position 3) that the child sins later in imitation of Adam. But then Adam’s causality of sin would differ from his causality of death; also Romans 5:18,19 includes all men, not just those who knew of his bad example.

 

Summary of this page:

 

  • 1. The traditional Christian doctrine of original sin teaches that, as a result of Adam’s sin, man has lost his inheritance of supernatural grace, and has instead inherited death and suffering, concupiscence, and a state of sin. Without the aid of grace, provided by baptism, man cannot come into a right relationship with God. 
  • 2. Mormonism makes numerous false assumptions regarding the Fall: that original sin is an ‘unfair’ doctrine; that Adam did not sin, but merely ‘transgressed’; that Adam did not know right from wrong; that man would be stuck in Eden and never get to heaven without the Fall; that God willed the Fall. 
  • 3. Mormonism’s doctrine of the denial of Original Sin is a partial revival of Pelagianism.

The next paper will refute specific objections and alleged evidence for the Mormon doctrine in the early Church.
© Copyright Sean Hyland 2002

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A Refutation of the Mormon Doctrine of the “Eternal Mother”

 

 

 

Introduction

 

 

 

The Mormon concept of a “heavenly mother” is refereed to in a hymn by church leader Eliza R. Snow, and remains an officially approved doctrine. One verse of the hymn entitled “Oh, My Father!” reads as follows:

“In the heavens are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare.
Truth is reason: truth eternal
tells me I’ve a mother there.”
Further on we find the words “Father, Mother, may I meet you / In your royal courts on high?”

The Mormon church, as we shall see, has taught the existence of an “eternal mother” from the earliest days. This doctrine is tied in with their beliefs that we all existed as “spirit children” in the spirit world with a heavenly “father” and “mother” beofre being sent to earth to take on a body. Apparently the “eternal mother” is not to be “worshipped”, being rather an “eternal mother” that a “goddess”but if she conceives spirit children (as we shall see later on, this is what Mormon doctrine teaches) then she is surely as much a “goddess” as the Mormon “father” is a “god”?

The “eternal mother” is not talked much about in the Mormon church these days. In fact, recently there was a scandal at Brigham Young University, when the governing body fired English Professor Gail Houston, for reportedly encouraging praying to the Mother in Heaven. The American Association of University Professors criticized the BYU for violations of academic freedoms. It would appear the Mormon church does not want to attract attention this teaching of their religion.

What did the early Mormon leaders teach?
 

 

Here is a sample of the teachings of early Mormon leaders:

Apostle Orson Pratt (1811-1881):

“As soon as each God has begotten many millions of male and female spirits, and his Heavenly inheritance becomes too small, to comfortably accommodate his great family, he, in connection with his sons, organizes a new world, after a similar order to the one which we now inhabit, where he sends both the male and female spirits to inhabit tabernacles of flesh and bones” (The Seer, p. 37).

Again, Pratt writes:

“The inhabitants of each world are required to reverence, adore, and worship their own personal father who dwells in the Heaven which they formerly inhabited,” (The Seer, p. 37).

Second LDS President, Brigham Young (1801-1877) :

“God has made His children like Himself to stand erect, and has endowed them with intelligence and power and dominion over all His works, and given them the same attributes which He himself possesses. He created man, as we create our children; for there is no other process of creation in heaven, on the earth, in the earth, or under the earth, or in all the eternities, that is, that were, or that ever will be.” (Journal of Discourses 11:122-123).

Brigham Young again:

“Brother Kimball quoted a saying of Joseph the Prophet, that he would not worship a God who had not a Father; and I do not know that he would if he had not a mother; the one would be as absurd as the other” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 9, p.286).

Tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876-1972):

“Some will gain celestial bodies with all the powers of exaltation and eternal increase” (Doctrines of Salvation 2:287).

Joseph Fielding Smith again:

“The fact that there is no reference to a mother in heaven either in the Bible, Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants, is not sufficient proof that no such thing as a mother did exist there…. does not common sense tell us that we must have had a mother there also?” (Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 3, p.142).

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie (1966):

Implicit in the Christian verity that all men are the spirit children of an Eternal Father is the usually unspoken truth that they are also the offspring of an Eternal Mother. An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother. The begetting of children makes a man a father and a woman a mother whether we are dealing with man in his mortal or immortal state.

This doctrine that there is a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund … they said that “man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents …” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p.516).

So it is clear the early Mormon leaders taught in the preexistence of the soul in a “spirit world” where we were generated by a father and a mother and had to “wait” for a body to be available on earth. This doctrine of pre-existence is a basic element of Mormon belief, and hence the need for a mother ‘goddess’ to take part in the spirit ‘procreation’.

(Note: In forthcoming papers I will refute the idea of the pre-existence of the soul, upon which other falsehoods of Mormonism are based (such as the current topic, the idea of an “eternal mother” who conceives spirit-children in heaven, their denial of creation ex nihilo, and subsequent confusion over the nature of God, as well as their misunderstanding of the doctrine of Original Sin) but this current paper will confine itself to addressing the false doctrine of the ‘heavenly goddess’.)

So, is there actually any evidence whatsoever that there is a ‘mother goddess’ or even a ‘heavenly mother’ who bears spirit children?
 

 

Of course there isn’t. Not in the Bible, not even in the Mormons’ own Book of Mormon. And there are many Biblical references to prove there is only one God.

What does Barry Bickmore, the author of ‘Restoring the Ancient Church’ (FAIR, Inc, Ben Lomond, CA, 1999) say? Not very much, actually. He tries to build a case for ancient goddess worship by the Hebrews on page 339 of his book, by referring to Jeremiah 44, a passage which is actually about the TRUE God condemning the worship of the pagan goddess Ishtar!

What the Bible says (and doesn’t say) about the “eternal mother”
 

 

 

The references to the ‘queen of heaven’ in Jeremiah are not at all about a ‘mother goddess’ in heaven bearing ‘spirit children’ for earth. Even a cursory reading of chapters 7 and 44 of the Book of Jeremiah shows this idea to be totally wrong.

Here is a quote from Jeremiah 7:

“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” (Jeremiah 7:18)

It is quite clear that these sacrifices to the pagan idol Ishtar (whose cult was introduced by the child-sacrificing king Manasseh) angered the TRUE GOD of ISRAEL. They certainly do not refer to some consort �mother goddess� who produces spirit children for earth. This passage refers to the worship of a PAGAN GODDESS! Similar references are found in Jeremiah 44: 25-27:

“Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, saying: Ye and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hand, saying, We will surely perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her: ye will surely accomplish your vows, and surely perform your vows. Therefore hear ye the word of the LORD, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I will watch over them for evil, and not for good: and all the men of Judah that are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by the famine, until there be an end of them.”

Again, this is a reference to the pagan goddess Ishtar, NOT to the consort wife of God in heaven. It is therefore quite clear that the idea of a ‘mother goddess’ who produces ‘spirit children’ is totally foreign to the Holy Scriptures.

Bickmore even suggests on page 339 of his book that ‘this could be another doctrine not likely to have been revealed in former dispensations.’ But isn’t this just another way of saying that there is absolutley no evidence of this teaching in early Christianity?

Where does this doctrine fit into Mormon theology?
 

 

 

But what is the point of having a doctrine of a ‘Mother goddess’ at all? The answer is: it is related to the idea of pre-existence. This belief of the Mormons state that we all existed in a spirit world, as spirit children of our heavenly ‘Father’ and ‘mother’ before we were conceived on earth. We waited (supposedly) in this spirit world until a body was ready for us on earth. The Mormon doctrines of eternal marriage and polygamy are also connected with this idea. (See my file on the Mormon errors of celestial marriage and polygamy). As noted earlier, Joseph Fielding Smith said

“Some will gain celestial bodies with all the powers of exaltation and eternal increase” (Doctrines of Salvation 2:287).

And so the generation of ‘spirit children’ will supposedly continue for eternity. (Yes, ths is what the Mormons teach. The missionaries may not tell you so quickly, though.)

Earlier in the same book, ‘Restoring the Ancient Church’, on page 331, Bickmore says ‘that the doctrine of eternal marriage is not explicitly taught in the New Testament’ (See my file on the Mormon error of celestial marriage) and on page 334 he concedes ‘no proof has been presented here that eternal marriage was the original Christian practice’.

Regarding the doctrine of polygamy, Bickmore on page 338 of his book admits ‘the evidence is far from conclusive’.

Yet these doctrines are taught by the Mormon church, and there is no evidence from Scripture or the early Church to support them.

Yet another difficulty in Mormonism
 

 

 

Consider the following quotes from Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt:

“We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity, by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His First Born, and another being upon the earth by whom He begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as His Only Begotten in this world.”( Orson Pratt, The Seer page 172)

also

“We have also proved that both God the Father and our Lord inherit their wives in eternity as well in time: and God the Father has already begotten many thousand millions of sons and daughters and sent them into this world to take tabernacles;…” (Orson Pratt, The Seer page 172)

Now, if Orson Pratt teaches that God the Father has a plurality of wives, then there must be a plurality of “heavenly mothers” in Mormonism. But here is an interesting problem for Mormonism (with thanks to my friend for this insight): if Joseph Smith is going to become a “God” and gets his own planet to populate, he certainly won’t be having Emma Smith as his wife (and future heavenly mother) as she apostasized with her children to the RLDS church. So Mormonism tells us that families will be together in eternity, however their very own “prophet” Joseph Smith won’t have that happen with him because Emma Smith and her children left, thus blowing their chance of being in the celestial kingdom with Joseph Smith.

Conclusion
 

 

 

It has been seen that the Mormon doctrine of the ‘heavenly mother’, whil not emphasised nowadays, has been a central teaching of Mormonism from the early days. The doctrien has no support from Scripture, from the history of the early Church or from the history of Israel, nor even from the Mormons’ own Book of Mormon. Yet it is a belief which continues to be believed to this day. And necessarily so, for it is a central component of the Mormon doctrine of ‘eternal progression to godhood’, and can hardly be denied without creating ever bigger problems for the Mormon religion.
Lasty we have seen that according to the early Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, God the Father had multiple wives!! So who is the “heavenly mother” supposed to be, if there are several of them? This is yet another enormous problem for Mormonism. Hardly wonder, then, that their missionaries dare not speak about the “heavenly mother”.

http://www.angelfire.com/ms/seanie/mormon/eternalmother.html

Sean’s Faith Website   Mormonism Index page =======================================

The concept of a MOTHER GOD is purely pagan as this video of the Babylonian account of creation shows. All pagan accounts of creation, like in Egypt or Samaria, speak of the creator as A FEMALE GOD.

 

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The video below is a short video testimony of Watchman Fellowship’s James K. Walker. James is a former fourth-generation Mormon. Visit us online at http://www.watchman.org for great resources on sharing the Real Jesus with Mormons and others deceived by cults and false teachers.

Basics of Mormonism: Falling Upward Timothy Oliver

In his book, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, (NWAF) one of Mormonism’s foremost modern apostles, Bruce R. McConkie, expends three chapters explaining the meaning of the Mormon church’s second Article of Faith: “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression.” This Mormon Article of Faith presupposes sin and the fall of Adam. To properly understand it, or the third Article which follows it, requires an understanding of the Mormon concept of Adam’s fall. Says McConkie, “It is not possible to believe in Christ and his atoning sacrifice, in the true and full sense required to gain salvation, without at the same time believing and accepting the true doctrine of the fall” (NWAF, p. 82). 

Humanity’s Pre-Mortal Existence

To understand the Mormon concept of the Fall, however, requires still prior understanding of the Mormon concepts of a pre-mortal existence, and the purpose of this earth life. Mormonism teaches that mankind is of the same species as God. Our origin is supposed to have been as procreated children of God, born as spirits in some other realm. In this spirit world existence we progressed as far as was possible. But to become truly like our Heavenly Father we needed to obtain physical bodies. We also needed to learn the difference between good and evil, truth and error, and to love and choose the former over the latter. Since our Heavenly Father has progressed so far that He cannot allow evil into His presence, it was necessary for us to leave Him for some place where we could encounter and overcome evil ourselves. 

 

Earth Life A Test

So, this world was prepared as a school, where we have been sent to obtain physical bodies and to learn the lessons of mortality. In his book, The Miracle of Forgiveness, (MF), Mormon church President and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball described our mission for this life. “We would be expected to gain knowledge, educate ourselves, train ourselves. We were to control our urges and desires, master and control our passions, and overcome our weaknesses, small and large. We were to eliminate sins of omission and of commission, and to follow the laws and commandments given us by our Father” (p. 5; emphasis added).

This is in accord with Mormon scripture in the Pearl of Great Price, (PGP). While laying their plans for our earth life, the Gods are supposed to have said, “And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;” (PGP, Abraham 3:25; emphasis added).

 

Conflicting Commandments

Of course for this whole plan to work, physical bodies had to be prepared in which Heavenly Father’s spirit children could dwell. Thus, the first commandment on record is the commandment to Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. Mormonism teaches this was a greater and more important commandment than the commandment not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (Talmage, Articles of Faith, pp. 64-5).

 
In fact, according to Mormon doctrine, the two commandments stood in opposition to each other (McConkie, NWAF, p. 91). Notwithstanding the great importance of procreation to the purpose of earth life, when God made Adam and Eve, He supposedly made them in a condition where they could not procreate. “There was as yet neither procreation nor death. These would enter the scheme of things only after the fall” (Ibid., p. 84). Adam and Eve had to break the lesser commandment, and incur the Fall, in order to fulfill the greater commandment (Ibid., p. 91). 

According to Mormon scripture, Eve is supposed to have exclaimed, “Were it not for our transgression we never should have had seed, and never should have known good and evil, and the joy of our redemption, and the eternal life which God giveth unto all the obedient” (PGP, Moses 5:11). 

The Book of Mormon (BM) says the same: “…if Adam had not transgressed…. they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin….Adam fell that men might be;” (BM, 2 Nephi 2:22-23).

 

A Fall in the Right Direction?

From the foregoing one can see how important it was for man to “fall” – why, in Mormonism, “the Fall” is seen as a good thing, a great blessing. This has led some Mormon leaders to say things which may sound a little odd or even bizarre to Christians familiar with the Bible. 

For example: Under the heading, “‘TRANSGRESSION’ NOT ‘SIN’ OF ADAM,” Mormon apostle and prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. wrote, “I never speak of the part Eve took in this fall as a sin, nor do I accuse Adam of a sin” (Doctrines of Salvation, (DS), vol. 1, p. 114). Again, “This was a transgression of the law, but not a sin in the strict sense, for it was something that Adam and Eve had to do!” (Ibid., p. 115). “The ‘fall’ of Adam and Eve was not a sin but an essential act upon which mortality depends” (Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions, vol. 5, p. 15). 

Bruce R. McConkie wrote, “We do not know how the fall was accomplished…” (NWAF, p. 85; emphasis added). He goes so far as to cast the Fall in terms of obedience rather than transgression: “After they had thus complied with whatever the law was that brought mortality into being,…” and “He [Adam] chose the Lord’s way;” (Ibid., pp. 86, 91; emphasis added). Assistant to the Twelve Apostles Sterling W. Sill spoke of Adam’s fall: “Adam fell, but he fell in the right direction. He fell toward the goal…. Adam fell, but he fell upward” (Deseret News, Church Section, 31 July 1965, p. 7). 

Since the mortal condition was essential to the Mormon plan of salvation, the act which introduced mortality of necessity becomes a great blessing. “We can hardly look upon anything resulting in such benefits as being a sin, in the sense in which we consider sin” (Smith, DS, vol. 1, p. 115). “Properly understood, it becomes apparent that the fall of Adam is one of the greatest blessings ever given of God to mankind” (McConkie, NWAF, p. 87).

Mormonism says we will not be punished for Adam’s transgression because all mankind will be redeemed from the effects of the “Fall.” That is, the consequences of Adam’s action – physical, or temporal death, and spiritual death – are both overcome through the Atonement of Christ (Ensign, January, 1990, pp. 25-6). “Temporal death is the natural death; it occurs when body and spirit separate, thus leaving the body to return to the dust whence it came. Spiritual death is to be cast out of the presence of the Lord and to die as pertaining to the things of righteousness” (McConkie, NWAF, pp. 86-7). Since it was not our fault that either of these were introduced, they will both be removed by God’s free grace. All mankind will be resurrected with immortal physical bodies, and all will be brought back into the presence of God, for judgment (BM, 2 Nephi 2:10). Those who are subsequently cast out are ejected for their own unrepented sin (BM, 2 Nephi 9:38, 45-6).

 

Questions for Mormons

With all the above as background, it is easy to see why Mormonism’s second Article of Faith says mankind will not be punished for Adam’s transgression. One wonders, in fact, why Adam was ever punished for it himself – why he and his descendants were ever placed under a curse in the first place.

If death is the wages of sin (Romans 6:23), and Adam’s and Eve’s action was not actually sin, then why did it introduce death into the world (Romans 5:12)? Indeed, how did it introduce sin into the world (Romans 5:12)? Just how and why were the “wonderful blessing” of mortality and a sinful world introduced, if it was not actually sin they committed? 

And if this was such a blessing, then when they heard God walking in the Garden, why did they not go running to Him clapping their hands, breathless with excitement over fulfilling His plan, acquiring new knowledge, and initiating mortality? “Oh, Father! We have complied with Your greater commandment and are ready for procreation. Now the rest of Your children, our brothers and sisters, will have opportunity to enjoy the same wonderful benefits as us!” 

Why, instead, did they suddenly feel guilty and afraid, and try to hide from God? Previous to that time they had no more idea of guilt than they did of right and wrong, so it could not have been a false, self-imposed guilt. It had to have been consciousness of the actual guilt of doing wrong. If their action was not sin, how did they acquire their sudden awareness of right and wrong (Genesis 3:7, 22)? Why did they seek to put blame on others and excuse themselves for their action if it was no sin? 

In another vein, if the original (non)-sin of Adam and Eve brought both physical and spiritual death, why is it that our own sins, if unrepented of, incur only spiritual and not also physical death for eternity? Adam knew no evil prior to sinning, knew no real difference between right and wrong. But of all men after Adam, the Book of Mormon says they “are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil” (2 Nephi 2:5). On the principle of “where much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:47-8), our personal sins being committed with a knowledge of right and wrong would seem to be more serious than Adam’s first transgression. Yet they incur a lesser penalty in eternity than Adam’s (non)-sin. Why? 

Last, but not least, remember that Adam and Eve were to eliminate sins of omission as well as commission (MF, p. 5). If the two commandments, one to multiply and fill the earth, and the other not to eat of the forbidden fruit, were in opposition so that they could not both be obeyed at the same time, and if the former was a greater commandment than the latter, then why were they not counted transgressors before eating the forbidden fruit, for failing to multiply? Why did that not incur the Fall? Indeed, why were they counted transgressors for breaking the lesser of the two commandments when, up to that time, they were failing to live up to the greater of the two, and had not even taken the first, most elemental step toward compliance? 

As noted earlier, Mr. McConkie wrote, “It is not possible to believe in Christ and his atoning sacrifice, in the true and full sense required to gain salvation, without at the same time believing and accepting the true doctrine of the fall” (NWAF, p. 82). If that is the case, Mormonism certainly owes the world coherent answers to these questions raised by its doctrines. Without such answers, their doctrine of the “fall” is, quite simply, utterly unbelievable. 

Individual Mormons ought to be held accountable to their Church’s doctrine, by constantly encountering such questions, lovingly but relentlessly posed by their Christian friends. Christians should let their Mormon friends know that if they expect to carry their “gospel” to us in a believable way so we can “gain salvation,” then they must answer these questions. Christians should express profound surprise, even shock, to their Mormon friends, that they would believe in such things, or in a church – or in a spirit which teaches such things. Such a spirit cannot be the Holy Spirit. Such a church cannot be the Church of Jesus Christ. 

http://www.watchman.org/lds/falling.htm

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http://www.cultnews.net/

Appeals court rules that Mormon Church is outside of the Protestant Christian faith . . . . .

In a remarkable decision an appellate court ruled that the Mormon Church is outside of the Protestant faith. The decision came in a divorce decree contempt case by the Arkansas Court of Appeals on October 8. According to an October 9 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece,

“Joel Mark Rownak and Lisa Monette Rownak agreed in their 2005 divorce to raise their children ‘in the Protestant faith.’ The decree bars them from promoting another religion without the other’s consent. In May 2007, Benton County Circuit Judge John R. Scott found Joel Rownak in contempt of that decree based on evidence that Rownak had ‘candidly acknowledged’ promoting the Mormon faith to his sons.”

Interestingly, Mr. Rownak, who is a Mormon testified that the Mormon faith is outside of the Protestant faith. The court, based on Mr. Rownak’s testimony and “evidence” of that effect from the [Mormon] church’s Web site” ruled that the Mormon faith was indeed outside of the Protestant faith and therefore found Mr. Rownak in contempt of the divorce decree.

The significance of this ruling of course is that both an active Mormon (Mr. Rownak) and an appellate court both agree that Mormonism is not a Protestant church. The other significant aspect of this ruling is that the court has made a ruling on a theological matter. While the ruling was technically on a divorce decree contempt case, the grounds for the decision were theological.

http://wfiprestoncondra.blogspot.com/2008/10/appeals-court-rules-that-mormon-church.html

HERE IS THE October 9 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece

BENTON COUNTY : Court rules against dad in faith case BY CHARLIE FRAGO

Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2008 http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/239705/

 

A Benton County father found in contempt for violating a custody agreement that barred him from promoting Mormonism to his two sons lost his appeal at the Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Joel Mark Rownak and Lisa Monette Rownak agreed in their 2005 divorce to raise their children “in the Protestant faith.” The decree bars them from promoting another religion without the other’s consent.

In May 2007, Benton County Circuit Judge John R. Scott found Joel Rownak in contempt of that decree based on evidence that Rownak had “candidly acknowledged” promoting the Mormon faith to his sons.

Rownak led his sons in Scripture reading and daily prayer, involved one son in Boy Scouts at a local Mormon church and had one son baptized at the church, according to an opinion written by Judge Sam Bird and agreed to by Judges John Robbins and Robert J. Gladwin.

Rownak argued the contempt finding violated his First Amendment rights, particularly the establishment clause that prohibits the state from discriminating against religion.

Bird wrote that the decree was a valid contract between parties and didn’t violate Rownak’s constitutional rights. He noted that Joel Rownak had requested the language to be included in the decree.

Joel Rownak testified that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints wasn’t a Protestant faith, and the court also considered evidence to that effect from the church’s Web site.

Lisa Rownak had objected to her ex-husband’s promoting Mormonism to their children.

In light of this evidence, Scott was correct in finding Joel Rownak in contempt of the divorce decree, Bird wrote.

At the appeals court, the case is CA 08-193, Joel Mark Rownak v. Lisa Monette Rownak.

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WHY DO WE OPPOSE MORMONISM?

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, “Why do you do this? Why do you oppose Mormonism? Why do you have this your anti-Mormon web page? Why do you hate Mormons?”

Truth Can Hurt, Even When Given In Love, As Softly As Possible

We know that the truth can hurt and be upsetting, even when given as softly as possible. But it is our Christian duty, in love, to share with you what we know. If your house was on fire wouldn’t you want us pounding at the door. The articles on our web page are like this, to alert you to what the Mormon church is not likely to tell you at their open houses, pageants or when their missionaries come to your home. Some might say we share information like this because we hate Mormons. This is not correct. While we strongly believe that Mormons have every right to their beliefs, we are concerned that people are making decisions about it without all the necessary information. As Christians there are many teachings of this church, such as family, moral values and hard work, we can applaud. We have nothing but warm regard for most of the Mormon people; they make good neighbors, citizens, friends and co-workers. But it is as if their house (any yours) were on fire and we must warn them and you. In reality it is worst than if your house is on fire. Where you will spend eternity is at stake.

We Do Support The Right Of Mormons To Have Their Own Beliefs

We do support the right of Mormons (and non- Mormons) to have their own belief system. But we do take issue with any organization that claims to be:

(1) the only true church, when it isn’t;
(2) a Christian organization, when it isn’t;
(3) and it attacks my Christian beliefs.

If a person’s beliefs are strong and meaningful enough, he or she would want to share them with others. (I am sure this is why many Mormon missionaries serve.) Couple this with God’s commandments that we should tell others (Matthew 28:19,20; 1 Peter 3:15) and we have an indisputable injunction to do this. Also in 2 Timothy 4:2-3 and Hebrews 5:14, we are told to “preach the Word”, to reprove and rebuke, and discern good from evil.

Mormonisn Has Attacked My Beliefs

The Mormon church in one of its scriptures claims to be the only true church on the face of the whole earth (Doctrine & Covenants 1:30). Mormonism from the alleged first vision to the present time has attacked the doctrines of classical Christianity. The Pearl of Great Price, under Joseph Smith – History 1:19, says all other churches are wrong and professors of the creeds are corrupt.

I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong…all their creeds were an abomination in his sight, that those professors were all corrupt… (There is more on this under “Joseph Smith’s First Vision.” article D-5 of the web page)

I am offended by this statement. I don’t believe Jesus Christ said this. The Book of Mormon says in 1 Nephi 13:26-28, that the Bible has many “plain and precious” parts taken out of it. 1 Nephi 14:10 condemns all churches as being of the devil. It says:

Behold, there are save two churches only, the one is the church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil… (1 Nephi 14:10)

I am offended by this statement. The Mormon Church claims to be the “church of the Lamb of God” and the only one led by God. The Mormon monthly magazine, Ensign, December 1984, pages 8-9, in an article “The Early Signs of the Apostasy” by Kent P. Jackson, says, starting in the second paragraph:

…the church of the Savior and his Apostles…came to an end within a century after its formation. The doctrines which its inspired leaders taught were corrupted and changed by others…none of the Christian systems that existed after those developments, though they did some good things, enjoyed divine endorsement as the Lord’s own church…To say that Satan sits in the place of god in Christianity … is not to say that all that is in it is satanic.

Page 9 of the same article, says that Satan sits at the head of the Christian churches:

But God is not at its head, making that church – following the appearance in it of Satan – no longer the church of God. To say that Satan sits in the place of God in Christianity after the time of the apostles is not to say that all that is in it is Satanic.

Many Parts Of Mormon Doctrine Are Not Christian

While there are some teachings of the Mormon church I can embrace, too many parts of Mormon doctrine are not Christian. The Mormon God the Father, who has a body of flesh and bones, is only one of a countless number of gods who was once a man, died and was resurrected. He had a mother and father and grandparents ad infinitum. He is married and procreates all the spirits of the people who have been and will be born on this earth. The Mormon Jesus was not always God, but was the first-born spirit offspring of God, and the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. He is the spirit brother of Lucifer. Mormonism once taught that Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, became pregnant with Jesus by her Heavenly Father, the Mormon God, in the same literal way a husband and wife procreate children. In the same way we were conceived by our parents. Many Mormons don’t want to believe this doctrine, so we urge all to see the Family Home Evening manual, copyrighted 1972, pages 125, 126, lesson 27 “Whom Say Ye That I Am?” Other references are found in Gospel Principes, Chapter 2, first two paragraphs and all of chapter 47 (1997 edtion). This last reference can be found on a Mormon web page at http://www.lds.org/library/gos_pri/gos_pri.html There is more on these teachings of the Mormons church, with references, in article B-2.

Unique Mormon Doctrine Not Openly Taught

I believe the Mormon church’s teaching program is not open and honest (there is more on this under “What The Mormons Don’t Say” article B-8). If the Mormon missionaries clearly taught the doctrines outlined above and they were easily available at open houses and pageants, people like myself would not need to have a web pages. But then very few people would join the Mormon Church. LDS say they do not teach the “deep doctrine” because people need “milk” first. Would you accept as legal tender a $20 bill that had a picture of Mickey Mouse on it? Of course not. Counterfeiters make their bills to look like the real thing. So do counterfeit religions.

In Summary

So “Why do we speak against Mormonism?” We do it because we must defend our beliefs from the attacks of the Mormon Church and tell people, as commanded by God, about the biblical Jesus Christ and his gospel. See article B-2 for a side by side comparison of what the Mormon church teaches compared to what the Bible says.

Jude 1:3 tells me to “…earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

John Farkas Berean Christian Ministries, P.O. Box 1091, Webster, N.Y. 14580

http://www.bcmmin.org/whydoit.html

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