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Christianity True-Response To a Mormon Inquirer: An Honest Answer to An Honest Inquiry By Russ Wise

Dear Inquirer,

Thank you for your inquiry. I appreciate the fact that you are interested in a dialogue concerning your faith and Christianity. Note that I said – your faith and Christianity. I did not, nor do I, assume that Mormonism and Christianity are one and the same. I suspect you picked that idea up from my earlier writing which you referenced.

Before I begin my discussion of your questions let me ask you for clarification of a couple of earlier statements you made in your email.

First, you made the comment: I will be the first to agree, our Church leaders have and will continue to exclaim that The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saints is the ONLY true living church upon the face of the whole earth. I sensed that you may not be in full agreement with their position. Perhaps you are! Then again I may be reading too much into your comment. I would appreciate a clarification.

Second, at the end of your second page you made the following statement: Who here on earth has the power and Authority to say what is really what? Christians say the Bible is our authority, I believe that, but Muslims don’t. My question for you is this, Is the Bible truly your authority? Or do you also accept the Book of Mormon as well? If so, then you have a dilemma, because, as a rule, the Bible does not agree with the Book of Mormon on points of theology. The only places that I would be in agreement would be those portions where Joseph Smith included major portions of Scripture (the Bible) into his text.

If you are still with me, let me make an attempt to answer your questions. Your first question is centered on the idea of whether Christianity is the true source of salvation. Can we know for sure – beyond doubt? I believe it is, and I also believe we can know that Christianity is the only true source for an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ – beyond doubt. Your second question (Who is to say Christians is the way, and not Muslims?) is similar, so I will blend the answer into one response.

You are indeed correct in that there are a multitude of options for one to be “saved” when it comes to religion. The question that we need to ask ourselves is this: Can I know for certain which understanding of salvation is true? Is there evidence for me to consider that offers substantial information regarding the truth claims that will affect my eternal condition? A kindred question is this: Can I have complete faith in the one who makes these truth claims? Another question would be, What is their authority? Can their claim be verified?

Christians have verifiable evidence to support the idea that Jesus is the only source of salvation, whereas others – including Muslims – do not. Let me explain: Hindus accept Krishna as their god and he is believed to be their way to enlightenment (salvation). Muslims accept Muhammad as their prophet and the one who has the final revelation from God regarding the state of mankind and salvation.

Christians, on the other hand, believe that Jesus was both fully human and yet divine. The issue that we need to address is this: Is there any verifiable difference between Jesus and the others? I contend that there is without doubt. Jesus is the only one who claimed deity and was able to justify His claim. Krishna, Muhammad, and all the other founders of their respective religions died and remain in their graves. Jesus, on the other hand, died but He, unlike the others, was resurrected. This one act sets Jesus apart from all other individuals who would claim to be man’s avenue for salvation. Jesus, through His resurrection, gave authentication to His claims. Jesus alone overcame death. The others, quite simply, could not pass the test!

What were Jesus’ claims? He not only claimed to be God, but He claimed to have bodily resurrected. First, let us look at His claim to deity. In John 8:58 we read that, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” And what was the response, they picked up stones to stone Him because He made Himself to be God by saying He was the I AM -a claim to deity. John 10:25-33 gives us another indication that Jesus considered Himself to be one with the Father. Again, the response was to stone Him for saying that He and the Father were one. The Jews took up stones, not because of His “good works” but for blasphemy n Because You, being a Man, make Yourself God. In Hebrews 1:8-13 we find where the Father gives legitimacy to Jesus as God. He says, Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.

Jesus also accepted worship. If He were not God, but merely a man He would have been condemned. In Matthew 8:2 we read where a leper worshipped Him. Jesus did not correct the man and deny him. He accepted the leper’s worship – as God. John 9:35-39 likewise offers us another example of Jesus accepting the worship of a (formerly) blind man.

The Old Testament prophesied His coming. Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.1 Krishna and Muhammad along with all the other founders of religion fail the test.

Christianity in reality is not a religion as much as it is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. It is not a listing of Laws that one must obey to be acceptable to God. It is a relationship that is based on God reaching out to mankind through His Son – Jesus. Therefore, salvation is not determined by what I do, but what He did for me. In other words, Christianity is centered on what God did for us, not what we attempt to do for Him.

Your second question is perhaps the most important. Who is the final Authority? This question is partially answered in the discussion above. However, it is of most importance to recognize that Jesus is not only divine and therefore trustworthy as our God and Messiah, but also that His Word – the Bible, is equally trustworthy.

Our final authority is the Scripture. The Old and New Testaments alone. As Christians, we believe that no other text contains the authority that the two Testaments hold as the Word of God. They alone are inspired. The Qu’ran, the Bhagavad-Gita, the Book of Mormon, the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Jehovah’s Witnesses), or any other text does not have the authenticity of the Holy Bible.2 The Bible, therefore, becomes our standard for truth. The question that begs an answer is this: Can I truly know that the Bible is the Word of God? Or is it simply one choice among many?

As Christianity stands or falls on the person of Jesus Christ and His resurrection, so our understanding of Jesus stands or falls on the reliability of the Bible. They are inter-twined. One is dependent on the other for authentication.

We can have faith in the Bible as our source for truth. We can likewise know that the Bible is God’s undeniable Word for us. The Bible is our guidebook for how to live a fruitful life for God. The Bible, unlike other religious texts, has archeological authenticity.

The greatest reservation that many have regarding the Bible is that it is said to have so many different translations and subsequent interpretations. Varying translations are of man’s creation, not God’s. Man has unwittingly imposed his own interpretation and conclusions on Scripture without adequate understanding of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Because modern man decides to impose a gender-neutral translation on the public or to speak of God as female or worse yet, an “it”, does not invalidate the original. When in doubt, look at the documentary evidence – the first century writings rather than the layered interpretations of finite men. When we attempt to interpret Scripture we must apply the internal evidence test. That is, we use Scripture to shed light on itself rather than using external sources – like our personal understanding or opinion.

As mentioned above, the Bible stands apart from all other texts in that it alone has archeological authentication. The Book of Mormon cannot claim such. Yes, I know the L. D. S. answer to the query, but it does not satisfy. If their pre-supposition is true, then why did God not take the other Testaments to the heavenlies as well? Personally, I’m not willing to stake my eternal security on the church’s (L. D. S.) weak belief. I am willing, however, to stake my security on the Bible and its verifiability. In short, I need more than the church saying, just trust me or just because!

I am going to forgo a lengthy discussion of biblical archeology at this time. There is overwhelming evidence elsewhere. See my endnotes for further reading and evidentiary material. Allow me to close with this final thought. When we seek a viable belief to put our faith in, we first need to ask ourselves several questions.

One, does the belief system have continuity? Does it contradict itself on any level? As an example: Is God believed to be a single deity or is He a multiple deity. Mormon apologist, Bruce McConkie in his revered text, Mormon Doctrine, makes this statement, “Three Separate Personages – Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods (p. 576-577).” However, when we look at the Doctrine and Covenants we find the following, “And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship (20:19). Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end (20:28).”

Two, does the belief system have correspondence? Does it correspond with known evidence? As an example: How well does it match with, say, known archeological information? When archeologists conduct digs around the Middle East they often use the Bible to enhance their understanding. They do not use the Book of Mormon. The Smithsonian Institution released a document in the Summer of 1979 stating that they have never used the Book of Mormon in any way as a specific guide. Smithsonian archeologists see no direct connection between the archeology of the New World and the subject matter of the book (letter on file). This letter was released as a result of Mormon missionaries telling prospective converts that the Book of Mormon was in agreement with archeology and the Smithsonian Institution used it as a matter of course.

Three, Does the belief system have comprehensiveness? In other words, does it adequately answer all questions? As an example: If it can be proved that Jesus was merely a man and never resurrected from the grave then it would have devastating consequences for Christianity. To put it another way, can the belief system be falsifiable? If Jesus were not resurrected from the dead then Christianity would be false. It would not be uniquely different from any other religion where they had a dead prophet or founder to serve. It would be just another false belief system.

However, when it comes to the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price we find a number of opportunities to question their veracity. As an example: When we consider the Pearl of Great Price we discover that the Book of Abraham is highly questionable and it does not correspond with known evidence. In essence, it does not have any verifiability with what is known. The reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics that is believed to be the Book of Abraham is in reality, The Egyptian Book of the Dead – a funerary text. It does not mention Abraham at all. The eleven papyrus fragments that Joseph Smith discovered were actually three different funerary writings. One was for a deceased woman by the name of Ta-Shere-Min. Another was for another female named Amon-Re-Neferinub. The third was a Book of Breathings, also known as Sen Sen because of the repetition of this word throughout the text.

A Mormon Egyptologist by the name of Dee Jay Nelson was given the task of interpreting the papyri for the Mormon Church. Upon finishing his work he came to the conclusion that the fragments believed to be the Book of Abraham were indeed Egyptian funerary texts and was fraudulent. As a result, the Mormon Church excommunicated Nelson and his family in 1975. He, Nelson, had previously written the First Presidency to give his findings regarding the papyri and to subsequently resign from the Mormon Church because of the fraud the church had perpetrated on the membership for decades (letter on file).

Tanner, as a result of the above material and volumes more I have in my research files, I cannot in good faith remotely consider the Mormon Church as a source for salvation. I submit the above with humility. My desire is not to “bash” or condemn, but to offer you points of concern that cause me discomfort in relation to a viable belief system. A belief system that best represents the material available to us. Whether it would be from archeology, theology, or known history. The Bible passes the test every time. The writings of Joseph Smith fail the test every time.

I encourage you to continue to ask the tough questions. But, even more so, to diligently seek out the answers – no matter where they may lead you. I have discovered over the years that those who would deceive us usually have a desire to limit our questioning. They do not want us to discover the truth of their weak and inadequate belief system. However, when it comes to Christianity – questioning is encouraged. Questions give rise to understanding and understanding allows us to recognize the trustworthiness and reliability of our God and Savior as the only source for salvation.

Thank you again for your inquiry. I have spent the time involved responding to you because you need an answer – not another cliché. I pray that Jesus will give you understanding regarding all that I have shared with you.

Endnotes:

1. McDowell, Josh, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, Thomas Nelson Publishers, p. 168-192.

2. Ibid., p. 3-116, 333-349.

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Author’s Comments:
This article was written in response to an inquiring Mormon who desired a well thoughtout response to LDS theology.

http://www.christianinformation.org/article.asp?artID=30

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Mormon Claims Answered
(1997 version) by Marvin W. Cowan

Utah Lighthouse Ministry would like to thank Marvin Cowan for graciously allowing us to post his book Mormon Claims Answered on our website. A paper copy of this book may be purchased through us for just $4.00. This book is also available in Spanish and Russian.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE WHOLE BOOK  http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaimscontents.htm

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXPLANATION OF ABBREVIATED BOOK TITLES

INTRODUCTION

CHAPTER 1 – ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF MORMONISM

The Story As Told by Mormons
Evidence Against the Joseph Smith Story

The 1820 Revival and Joseph’s First Vision
A Biblical Response
First Vision Versions
Moroni or Nephi
Inconsistency about Church Membership
The 1826 Trial
Joseph Smith’s Death

 

CHAPTER 2 – GOD

The Trinity

God the Father
Mother God
Jesus Christ
The Holy Ghost
Polytheism

 

CHAPTER 3 – THE BIBLE

Incomplete and Incorrect Translation
Mormonism’s Inspired Bible
A Complete, Trustworthy Bible

 

CHAPTER 4 – THE BOOK OF MORMON

A Second Witness
Proof Texts from the Bible
The Importance of the Book of Mormon
Internal Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Changes in the Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon Clarifies Doctrine
External Evidence for the Book of Mormon

Translation Time
Origin of the Book of Mormon
The Witnesses of the Book of Mormon
Scientific Evidence for the Book of Mormon
The Ultimate LDS Test for the Book of Mormon

 

CHAPTER 5 – MORE LDS SCRIPTURE AND REVELATION

The Pearl of Great Price

Moses
Abraham
Joseph Smith – Matthew
Joseph Smith – History
The Articles of Faith
The Doctrine and Covenants

Changes Between Editions
Additions to the Doctrine & Covenants
Prophecies in the Doctrine & Covenants
Other Prophecies by Smith
Prophecies by Other LDS Prophets

 

CHAPTER 6 – PRIESTHOOD

Definition and Function
Origin of LDS Priesthood
Biblical Priesthood

 

CHAPTER 7 – THE CHURCH

Universal Apostasy
Restoration
Claims of The One True Church
LDS Church Offices

Apostles
Original LDS 12 Apostles
Prophets
Other Church Offices

 

CHAPTER 8 – SALVATION

Sin
Two Kinds of Salvation

General Salvation
Personal Salvation
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ
Repentance
Baptism
Laying on of Hands
Church Membership
Keep the Commandments

  1. The Ten Commandments
  2. The Word of Wisdom
  3. Tithing
  4. Gaining Knowledge
  5. Be Fruitful and Multiply
  6. Be Virtuous
  7. Doing Good Works
  8. Accept Joseph Smith and Successors

 

CHAPTER 9 – TEMPLE AND TEMPLE ORDINANCES

Temples

Genealogical Work
Temple Endowments

Marriage and Sealing
Polygamy
Baptism for the Dead

 

CHAPTER 10 – THE ETERNAL STATE OF MANKIND

Eternal Progression
Three Heavens or Degrees of Glory
Immortality and Eternal Life
No Hell
The Unpardonable Sins
Blood Atonement

 

OTHER LDS INFORMATION AVAILABLE

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Chapter 3

THE BIBLE

 

“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the Word of God.”

8th Article of Faith by Joseph Smith

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

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

    Such statements have led many to assume that the LDS view of the Bible is similar to what Protestants believe, but such is not the case. Mormonism actually attacks the Bible on two counts: (1) it is mistranslated, and (2) it is incomplete.

 

INCOMPLETE AND INCORRECT TRANSLATION

    The mistranslation of the Bible is suggested in the eighth Article of Faith. Talmage explains, “There will be, there can be, no absolutely reliable translation of these or other scriptures unless it be effected through the gift of translation, as one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost… Let the Bible then be read reverently and with prayerful care, the reader ever seeking the light of the Spirit that he may discern between truth and the errors of men” (A. of F., p. 237).

    Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth Prophet of Mormonism also said: “There is not one principle pertaining to the salvation of men that is so clearly stated in the Bible, as it has come down to us, that men do not stumble over – not one thing. There is not one principle they can be united on that has been so clearly stated that they do not find their interpretations of it conflicting” (D. of S., Vol. I, p. 278).

    Joseph Smith also declared, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (T. of P.J.S., p. 327). And LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson said, “Many insertions were made, some of them ‘slanted’ for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

    LDS Apostle Orson Pratt also wrote:

If it be admitted that the apostles and evangelists did write the books of the New Testament, that does not prove of itself that they were divinely inspired at the time they wrote…. Add all this imperfection to the uncertainty of the translation, and who, IN HIS RIGHT MIND could for one moment suppose the Bible in its present form to be a perfect guide? Who knows that even one verse of the Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original? (Divine Authority of the Book of Mormon, pp. 45, 47; read all of this pamphlet for a detailed attack upon the Bible).

    In addition to this charge of an unreliable translation, Mormon leaders say that important doctrine as well as whole books have been deleted or added by corrupt men. Joseph Smith declared, “Upon my return from Amhurst Conference, I resumed the translation of the Scriptures. From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible or lost before it was compiled” (T. of P.J.S., pp. 9-11).

    The B. of M. also says, “Many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible… Thou fool, that shall say a Bible, we have got a Bible and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?” (II Nephi 29:3,6).

    Notice that only “fools” trust in the Bible alone! Verse 10 of the same passage goes on to say, “Wherefore, because ye have a Bible ye need not suppose it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written.” The B. of M. declared that more revelation was needed and thus made way for its own existence!

    The B. of M. also predicts a great and abominable church has “taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away” (I Nephi 13:26).

    The bottom of that page of the B. of M. dates this perversion of the gospel around 600 B.C., which was long before the “gospel of the Lamb” was even given in the New Testament! LDS claim the B. of M. has restored these “plain and precious things,” and that it is the “fulness of the gospel” (B. of M. I Nephi 13:34-35; D. & C. 20:8-9; 27:5). But they are hard-pressed to point to anything that has been “restored” by the B. of M. Our chapter on the B. of M. discusses this problem further.

    Apostle Orson Pratt also claimed, “The Bible has been robbed of its plainness; many sacred books having been lost, others rejected by the Romish Church, and what few we have left, were copied and re-copied so many times, that it is admitted that almost every verse has been corrupted and mutilated to that degree that scarcely any two of them read alike” (The Seer, p. 213).

    Pratt made another familiar LDS charge against the Bible, saying:

The gathering together of the few scattered manuscripts which compose what is now termed the Bible was the work of uninspired man which took place centuries after John finished his manuscript. Among the vast number of professedly inspired manuscripts, scattered through the world, man, poor, weak, ignorant man assumed the authority to select a few, which according to his frail judgment, he believed or conjectured were of God, but the balance not agreeing, perhaps, with his peculiar notions of divine inspiration, were rejected as spurious. The few, selected from the abundance, were finally arranged into one volume, divided into chapter and verse, and named the Bible (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 3).

    Pratt goes on to say that this selection or rejection of the books of the Bible was done by a vote of those uninspired men as they met in councils (Ibid., pp. 36-38). Pratt shows indignation at the very idea of the early church fathers voting to accept or reject scripture. But, Talmage wrote concerning LDS scripture, “the works adopted by the vote of the church as authoritative guides in faith and doctrine are four: the Bible, the B. of M., the D. & C., and the P. of G.P.” (A. of F., p. 7). Therefore, the LDS Church accepted their four books of scripture by a vote! LDS must explain why it was wrong for the early church to vote on scripture and yet it was right for the LDS Church. Actually, about all those early church councils did was officially vote to endorse the books of the Bible then in use by the church. The Holy Spirit had already made the selection and guided them into all truth as Jesus promised He would in John. 16:13. There is absolutely no evidence that the books of the Bible were selected or rejected the way Pratt says they were.

    Pratt also condemned the Catholic Bible, declaring, “That the Romanists have continued in their apostasy until the present day is demonstrated from the fact that they have not added one single book to their canon since they first formed it” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p. 38).

    Pratt said the same thing about the “Harlot Daughters,” i.e. Protestants (Ibid., p. 40). We will discuss what the LDS have added to their original scriptures in our chapter “More LDS Scripture and Revelation.”

    Orson Pratt also attacked the Bible saying, “The voices of several hundred jarring, contending, soul-sickening sects, were constantly sounding in your ears; each one professing to be built upon the Bible, and yet each one differing from all the rest. Under this confused state of things, you have peradventure, involuntarily exclaimed: can the Bible be the Word of God! Would God reveal a system of religion expressed in such indefinite terms that a thousand different religions should grow out of it?” (Divine Authenticity of the B. of M., p. 47).

    What would Pratt say now that over 200 splinter groups have come out of Joseph Smith’s original church? (See Denominations that Base Their Beliefs on The Teachings of Joseph Smith by Kate Carter). Neither LDS prophets nor their scripture have eliminated church splits!

    It is strange that Mormonism attacks the reliability of the Bible while Talmage calls it their “first” book of doctrine! But, not all LDS leaders agree on which LDS scripture is the most important. For example, Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth Prophet, Seer and Revelator of the LDS Church wrote, “In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the B. of M. and the Bible, and the P. of G.P. which we say are our standards in doctrine. The book of D. & C. to us stands in a peculiar position above them all” (D. of S., Vol. III, p. 198).

    Obviously the D. & C. and the Bible cannot both be in “first” place above other LDS scriptures! But Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, said, “I told the brethren that the B. of M. was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book” (T. of P.J.S., p. 194).

    Thus, while Dr. Talmage said the Bible is the most important book to Mormons, Joseph Fielding Smith said the D. & C. was the most important, and the founder of Mormonism declared the B. of M. was the book that would get men nearer to God. As Mormons now practice their faith, Joseph Fielding Smith is really the most accurate because LDS believe the Bible has been corrupted and therefore is not too reliable. Furthermore, the B. of M. does not teach much Mormon doctrine, as our chapter on the B. of M. shows.

    LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie explains their view of “scripture:” “The Church uses the King James Version of the Bible, but acceptance of the Bible is coupled with a reservation that it is true only insofar as it is translated correctly (Eighth Article of Faith). The other three (The B.of M., D.& C., and P. of G.P.), having been revealed in modern times in English, are accepted without qualification” (M.D. p. 764). This statement clearly shows that the LDS leaders question the reliability of the Bible, but not their other three books of scripture. However, three of their four books of scripture have been changed several times. The last time was in 1981. The only book of scripture they did not change was the Bible! Since it is the Bible they claim has all the problems, their actions are a bit strange. LDS leaders made changes (including doctrinal changes) in their B.of M., D. & C., and P. of G.P. when those books were already perfect enough to be “accepted without qualification.” Why couldn’t they correct the corruptions in the Bible if they really exist? Could it be that LDS leaders know that the Bible is not as corrupt as their own three books?

    According to LDS scripture, every LDS president is “a seer, a revelator, a translator and a prophet” (D. & C. 107:91-92, M.D. pp. 591-592). Yet, even though Joseph Smith re-translated the Bible, the LDS accept only the King James Version as their official Bible!

 

MORMONISM’S INSPIRED VERSION BIBLE

    According to the D.H.C., Vol. I, pp. 324 and 368, and Times and Seasons, Vol. VI, p. 802, Joseph Smith completed a translation of the Bible. Those sources and Andrew Jensen’s LDS Church Chronology show that the New Testament was finished February 2, 1833, and the Old Testament on July 2, 1833. In a revelation given on January 10, 1832, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are commanded to “continue the work of translation until it is finished” (D. & C. 73:4). Obviously this was not talking about the B. of M. which was published in 1830. Nor could it be talking about the Book of Abraham Papyrus which Joseph Smith saw for the first time on July 3, 1835 (D.H.C., Vol. II, p. 235). Furthermore, Joseph Smith was commanded by God in D. & C. 124:89 to “publish the new translation of my holy word unto the inhabitants of the earth” (see also D. & C. 94:10 and 104:58).

    In spite of these commands in LDS scripture the LDS Church never published the Inspired Version of the Bible until 1979. According to LDS Apostle Bruce McConkie, the reason it was not published is that “…This inspired revision of the ancient scriptures was never completed by the Prophet” (M.D., p. 383). If that is true, Joseph Smith was a very disobedient Prophet because he was commanded to finish it (D. & C. 73:4) and publish it (D. & C. 124:89)! As previously mentioned, Smith himself claimed he did complete it, but it had not been published at the time of his death in 1844. When he was killed, the manuscript went to his wife who never accepted Brigham Young as the successor to her husband. Her son Joseph III later became the Prophet of the Reorganized LDS Church and published the new translation for the Reorganized LDS Church for the first time in 1867. Many LDS people have used the RLDS edition, but it has never been officially endorsed by the LDS Church because they did not trust the “apostate” Reorganized LDS Church. The ninth printing of the 1944 edition entitles it the Inspired Version The Holy Scriptures. Below that title it says “A New Corrected Edition.” On p. 3 of the Preface, we read: “As concerning the manner of translation and correction, it is evident, that from the manuscripts and the testimony of those who were conversant with the facts that it was done by direct revelation from God.”

    If the inspired translation was done by direct revelation and yet needed correction by revelation, will the revealed corrections need to be corrected by further revelation? Why couldn’t God reveal it correctly the first time? And why is about 90% of it a copy of the King James Version if that translation is as bad as LDS leaders have claimed it is? Since 1979, the King James Bibles published by the LDS Church have most of the Inspired Version in the footnotes and appendix, but they call it the Joseph Smith Translation or the “JST.”

    One of the LDS charges against the Bible is that many books have been lost. Talmage lists 20 “lost books” of the Bible, which include “The Book of the Covenant (Ex. 24:7); Books of the Wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14); Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13),” and so on (A. of F., p. 501). Even if all 20 of these books are mentioned in the Bible, does that prove they were intended to be books of the Bible? If so, Epicurean and Stoic philosophy should be included also since the Apostle Paul quotes it in Acts 17:18 and 28. Just because some writing is mentioned in the Bible does not prove that everything in that document is supposed to be part of the Bible! One would expect the Inspired Version to contain the “lost books” which LDS claim make our Bible incomplete. But, not a single “lost book” has been replaced in the Inspired Version or in any other LDS book of scripture. In fact, the Inspired Version only has 65 books because Joseph Smith deleted the Song of Solomon!

    Are the “mistranslations” which LDS claim are in the Bible corrected in the Inspired Version? One good example is in Is. 65:1, “I am found of them who seek after me, I give unto them that ask of me; I am not found of them that sought me not; or that inquireth not after me.”

    Paul quoted this verse in Rom. 10:20, but in Joseph Smith’s translation it says: “But Esaias is very bold and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me.” Smith’s “inspiration” speaks for itself!

    The Inspired Version prophesies the coming of Joseph (Smith) in Gen. 50:24-33. But, you do not need to look beyond Gen. 1:1 to see that this is no ordinary Bible. Other texts that did not fit Smith’s doctrine were changed so that they did fit. For example, Ex. 33:20 says, “Thou canst not see my face and live.” But, the Inspired Version says, “Thou canst not see my face at this time. John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time.” But, the Inspired Version says, “and no man hath seen God at any time except he hath borne record of the Son” (John 1:19). I John 4:12 says, “No man hath seen God at any time,” but the Inspired Version adds, “except them who believe.” Since Joseph Smith claimed that he saw God and Christ in 1820, he made the Bible conform to his teachings! Smith changed hundreds of verses in his Inspired Version, but not one change can be substantiated by the original manuscripts!

    Thus, the charge against the Bible made by LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson certainly fits Joseph Smith’s Bible! He said, “Many insertions were made, some of them slanted for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

 

A COMPLETE, TRUSTWORTHY BIBLE

    Since the LDS god is just a glorified man, it may be difficult for LDS to believe he can protect his word. But, Christians trust the Bible as the Word of God for several reasons. Archaeology has verified many locations and events mentioned in the Bible which show that it is truly an historical document. Some Biblical prophecies are known to pre-date their fulfillment, which suggests divine guidance. These things, along with the Bible’s own claim that it is the Word of God, give Christians confidence in it.

    Isaiah wrote, “The Word of our God shall stand forever (Is. 40:8). Peter said much the same: “The word of God which liveth and abideth forever” and “The word of the Lord endureth forever” (I Peter 1:23 & 25). Jesus also declared, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Jesus who made that claim also said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If He has all power in heaven and earth, and He says His word will not pass away, we ought to be able to believe it! Rev. 19:6 also calls Him “The Lord God omnipotent” (all powerful). And if God cared enough to give mankind His Word, then He ought to also be able to preserve it. If the All Powerful Lord God can “keep” believers (I Peter 1:5), it is reasonable to believe that He can keep His Word too!

    Gal. 1:8-9 warns against teaching any other Gospel than that which Paul had already preached. But, it is impossible for Mormons to show that Paul taught such LDS doctrines as: God is a glorified man, celestial marriage, a temporary hell, or protective sacred underwear.

    There is no Bible verse that says “this is the end of all scripture.” But, Paul did write in Rom. 15:19, “I have fully preached the Gospel of Christ.” Peter also wrote in II Peter 1:3 that “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness.” Paul said in Col. 2:10, “You are complete in Him” (Christ). Therefore, what could “more scripture” possibly add? Christians already have all things that pertain to life and godliness, because the gospel has been fully preached and believers are “complete in Him.” The only thing which can be added to that completeness is distortion or perversion which Paul warned against in Gal. 1.6-9. Jesus also said, “the word that I have spoken – shall judge him (man) in the last day” (John 12:48). Therefore, no new “scripture” can add anything helpful to the gospel.

    Sometimes Christians use Rev. 22:18-19, to show that nothing should be added to the Bible. LDS respond that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation. While it does apply to the book of Revelation, it also applies to the whole Bible since it is located at the end of the last book of the Bible. But, LDS claim that Duet. 4:2 and Prov. 30:6 teaches the same thing as Rev. 22:18-19, so most of the Bible should not have been written if that same logic is used with them. However, those texts simply say that the Word of God must not be changed by adding to or deleting from it. But, in his Inspired Version of the Bible, Joseph Smith did add and delete from the book of Revelation in texts like Rev. 1:1-8. Therefore Rev. 22:18-19 does apply to the LDS!

    The New Testament writers were “eyewitnesses” of Jesus’ earthly ministry (II Peter 1:15-18, I John 1:1-5) and recorded the things they heard and saw for our benefit. Although Paul was not a disciple during Jesus’ earthly ministry, he was specially chosen by the Lord as a witness while the other apostles were still alive (Acts 22:14-15; I Cor. 11:23; Gal. 1:11-17). He also testified concerning the same thing as the other writers: what he had seen and heard of the Lord. Although much more could be written (John 20:30; 21:25), there is no need for more because we already have “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (II Peter 1:3; John 20:31). Most people haven’t read the Bible through once, so more scripture probably wouldn’t get read even if it existed. We do not need more scripture, but we do need to know the scripture we have!

http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/mclaims3.htm

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Apostasy and Restoration

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints claims that they are a restoration of Christ’s original Church and not just another denomination of Christianity. All other so-called “Christian Churches” are said to be in apostasy. On page 14 of a 1983 booklet titled, Apostasy And Restoration, the corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints states, “As Latter-day Saints, we testify that shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles, there came seventeen hundred years of apostasy and darkness. Then in 1820, the resurrected Savior appeared to Joseph Smith and called him to be a prophet to all the world. Through him came the restoration of the priesthood, the gospel, and the true church: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” The booklet goes on to say, “We invite all men to test our claims, to know the truth for themselves.” (Ibid., p.14) We will accept this invitation by investigating some of the claims made in this booklet by the LDS Church and then compare those claims to what God says in scripture. There are four underlined portions in the following that we would like to discuss.

Under the heading, “The Great Apostasy- The Dark Ages” this booklet states, “Some may have known that the Messiah’s church, like the Messiah himself, would meet a violent death.” and “Following the death of the apostles, revelation ceased. The authority of God was no longer among men. Christianity sickened and died.” (Ibid. Pgs. 7,9)

This booklet also states, “Though the Messiah himself set up his true church on earth, yet Satan was able to set in motion- even during the lifetime of Jesus Christ and his apostles- those very countervailing forces that eventually led to the complete apostasy of the true church and the eventual creation of an apostate religion that has been responsible for the extermination of the Messiah’s true followers and the persecution of his chosen people, the Jews .The realization that the Lord’s true Church was not only vulnerable, but destructible, comes as a shock to many people. But if wicked men were able to put to death the Messiah himself, is it so strange that they should also have the power to destroy his church?” (Ibid. p.11)

According to the above, The Church of Jesus Christ met a violent death, sickened and died, fell into complete apostasy and was destroyed. This supposedly happened shortly after the death of the original twelve apostles. This is a very important point for Mormonism. In order for their claim of being the restoration of Christ’s Church to be valid, there needed to be a falling away of the original one. Did the first century Church really fall into complete apostasy? What did Jesus have to say about the subject?

Matthew 16:18- And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the Gates of Hades shall not overpower it. There is one major thing that we wish to point out in this verse. The Greek word for “overpower” is katischuo. It means, “against, and to prevail. To be strong against someone, prevail against or over. Used in a hostile sense, meaning to overcome, vanquish (Matt. 16:18);” (AMG Complete WordStudy Bible and Reference CD) The Greek word for “not” is ou. It means, “Not, no, expressing direct and full negation, independently and absolutely, and hence, objectively.” (Ibid.)

The first thing that needs to be realized about the above LDS quote, is that wicked men were allowed to put Jesus to death. Jesus was not overcome or triumphed over. He willingly laid down his life. In contrast to His willingness to die, He said that His church would not be prevailed over. It is a terrible jump in logic to think that because Jesus laid down His life, that He would allow His church to be overpowered also. Especially in the light of the fact that He specifically says that the Church will not be overpowered.

This is a clear promise made by Christ Himself. His church, once established, will not meet a violent death, sicken and die, fall into complete apostasy or be destroyed. We have one of two choices. Either Jesus was wrong, or the Mormon church is wrong. Jesus also stated, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35) If Jesus is wrong, then He can not be trusted and must be viewed as either incompetent or as a liar. If the Mormon church is wrong, then there was no need for a restoration and their claims to be the only true church are false.

Another verse, which refutes the idea of a total apostasy, is Jude 3. “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Notice that this verse says that the faith was delivered, “once for all.” If it was delivered “once for all,” then there is no need to deliver it again. Obviously Jude, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not believe in a coming total apostasy.

Lastly, we would also like to appeal to the Book of Mormon, for the sake of our Mormon readers. The book of 4th Nephi describes a time when the “true faith” continued to thrive. An official LDS church manual states, “As the original twelve Nephite disciples chosen by the Savior passed away, new disciples were chosen to take their place. This practice evidently continued as long as the Nephites were righteous enough to have a church organization amongst them. The three Nephite disciples who were promised by the Savior that they should live on the earth until his second coming apparently continued to work with the people for several hundred years.” (Book Of Mormon Student Manual, Religion 121-122, 1979 p.450)

We have an unavoidable contradiction. In one official LDS church booklet, the church claims that the apostasy occurred “shortly after the death of the Lord’s original twelve apostles,” while another official publication says that the work continued for “several hundred years.” In the light of what the Bible has clearly stated regarding the endurance of Christ’s church, it is obvious that both LDS quotes are wrong.

http://evidenceministries.org/mormons.php?viewarticle=46

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BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY = An everlasting Gospel which has endured for “all generations”—never to disappear from the earth. Paul warned about those who would preach another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Jesus prophesied that the “gates of hell” wouldn’t prevail against His church, and in so doing, He ruled out complete apostasy (Matthew 16:18). Thus, the Gospel would never have to be restored (Jude 3). Ephesians 3:21 states: “to Him be the glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”1. How can an apostate church give glory to God throughout “all generations”?

GALATIANS 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.…but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”2.

2 CORINTHIANS 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

JUDE 3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [for all time] delivered unto the saints.” 3.

HEBREWS 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”

MATTHEW 16:18: “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

EPHESIANS 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men”

1 TIMOTHY 3:15: “…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

http://www.4witness.org/mormon/lds_exp.php#restoration

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