An Analysis of “21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith”

It’s sad when a religious representative answers questions like a politican. As I write this an article is featured on the front page of FoxNews.com, “21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith”. The following is an analysis of the response they received to their questions.

“Many of these questions are typically found on anti-Mormon blogs or Web sites which aim to misrepresent or distort Mormon doctrines,” the Church said in a statement. “Several of these questions do not represent … any serious attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of its members.”

Notice how they want to prevent such future questions from being asked by questioning the integrity of the questioner and the questions.

The Mormon Church wants outsiders to avoid presenting any embarrassing things that aren’t deemed “core” by the institution. The difficulty, of course, is that outsiders want questions answered that they think are core or at least curiously interesting. In a more personal setting missionaries are taught by professors like Robert Millet, “Don’t answer the question they ask, answer the question they should have asked.” It’s a positive step that the Mormon Church even partially answered some of the following questions, but they have a long way to go to reach a state of absolute honesty and forthrightness.

Q: Why do some call the Church a cult?

A: For the most part, this seems to stem from a lack of understanding about the Church and its core doctrines and beliefs. Under those circumstances it is too easy to label a religion or other organization that is not well-known with an inflammatory term like ‘cult.’ Famed scholar of religion Martin Marty has said a cult means a church you don’t personally happen to like. We don’t believe any organization should be subjected to a label that has come to be as pejorative as that one.

The term “cult” indeed has its baggage, and no person or organization likes to be given a negative label. I would politely ask, What term should I then use to describe a religion that:

  • Puts an excessive amount of focus on its charismatic leader
  • Has missionary endeavors which are almost completely parasitic on already-established Christian missionary work and which thrive on drawing converts out of nominal Christianity.
  • Perverts core tenets of traditional Christianity, but uses the same terms and phrases, often without much needed qualification.
  • Teaches that their sect’s leaders have a direct, exclusive line to God.
  • Won’t disclose major financial data that nearly every other religious organization will, effectively avoiding public financial accountability.
  • Fosters an inordinate social and psychological dependency, making it often difficult for members to leave even when they find out the organization is fraudulent.
  • Fosters among many of its members an inordinate paranoia over being exposed to literature opposed to Mormon truth-claims (a form of isolation).
  • Fosters a deceitful rhetoric which avoids clear disclosure of fundamental Mormon beliefs.
  • Fosters a persecution complex.
  • Ostracizes, slanders, and cruelly stereotypes ex-members.
  • Fosters a form of elitism with secretive ceremonies.
  • Teaches its members to repeatedly say, “I know the Church is true. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God”, as a means of social reinforcement and psychological conditioning.
  • Is very much a culture unto itself, tending to Americanize its converts.

It’s hard to believe that no group should be called a cult. Whatever Mormon representative answered this question needs to wake up and smell the coffee of the harsh reality of the existence of cults.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?

Q: Does the Church believe in the divinity of Jesus?

Q: Does the Church believe that God is a physical being?

A: Mormons believe Jesus Christ is literally the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer, who died for the sins of humankind and rose from the dead on the third day with an immortal body. God, the Father, also has an immortal body.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that God and Mary had physical sex to conceive Jesus?

A: The Church does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived but believes the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary.

For Christians a main reason for calling Mary a virgin is that her son Jesus was not literally the son of God. In other words, the title is figurative, and Jesus did not get 23 chromosomes from a human Father (mortal or immortal) who has 46 chromosomes. He was not “literally” or “non-figuratively” begotten in person. In contrast, Mormonism has a long-standing unrepudiated teaching on the literal nature of Christ’s conception which redefines the term “virgin” to allow for having had sex with an immortal. I know Mormons who vehemently deny this was ever taught, others who don’t believe it but won’t renounce the teaching of it by past LDS leaders, and yet others who simply embrace it and assume it is a part of the Mormon worldview. I also know many Mormons in the middle who won’t commit to a position on the issue.

By saying that the Church “does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived” they gave an “out” for all the Mormons who redefine “virgin” as “not having had sex with a mortal man”, and by saying “the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary” they gave the impression to the masses that they positively affirm the traditional notion of “virgin”.

The LDS Church affirms the divinity of Christ, but redefines divinity altogether. In Mormonism you can be divine but not have literally created all things (like matter or “intelligences”). In the Mormon worldview, “divine” can speak of the status of God, a status reached through moral development and accomplishment and learning and growing, or it can speak of the nature we all share. Mormonism teaches that Gods, humans, demons, and angels all share the same fundamental divine nature. When one learns about all this, it really takes away the gusto behind the the superficial affirmation of the “divinity” of Christ.

Q: If so, does the Church believe that God lives on a planet named Kolob?

Q: Where is the planet Kolob? What significance does the planet have to Mormons?

A: ‘Kolob’ is a term found in ancient records translated by Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith did not provide a full description or explanation of Kolob nor did he assign the idea particular significance in relation to the Church’s core doctrines.

Some Mormons respond to this kind of question by answering, “Hey, it’s not a planet, it’s a star!” The truth is, Mormon leaders have wavered over whether over it is a star or a planet. The Church has traditionally taught, however, that God does live on a planet near a “celestial body” named Kolob. Some Mormons today allegorize this, but most laymen don’t.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe Jesus appeared in North America after his crucifixion and resurrection?

Q: If so, when did this happen? And under what circumstances?

A: The appearance of Jesus in the Western Hemisphere shortly after his resurrection is described in the Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that when Christ told his disciples in the Bible He had other ‘sheep’ who should receive his message he was referring to those people in the Western Hemisphere.

An honest answer about a real Mormon belief.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become “gods and goddesses” after death?

A: We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being ‘joint heirs with Christ’ reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.

This probably should have been answered with a simple “yes”. An actively used, official Mormon manual clearly teaches that those exalted “will become gods” (>>). Notice how the answer is at some level self-contradicting. While Mormons would affirm that we can’t become “equal” with God in the sense of replacing him as a Father-figure, it affirms the potential of becoming equal with him in knowledge, dominion, power, etc.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women can only gain access to heaven with a special pass or codewords?

A: No.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that women must serve men on both Earth and in heaven?

A: Absolutely not. Mormons believe that women and men are complete equals before God and in relation to the blessings available in the Church.

This is a very interesting answer, seemingly designed to be palatable to modern notions of authority, submission, serving, and leading. As a conservative evangelical I recognize that there is an eternal authority/submission relationship within the Trinity which doesn’t imply any inferiority. Likewise, I affirm that in marriage there are different roles of men and women, neither of which imply superiority or inferiority. As Paul said, “I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” (1 Corinthians 11:3)

For the Mormon representative to answer a question about serving with “absolutely not” and then affirm the equality of men and women seems to implicitly affirm the notion that serving implies inferiority. More striking, though, is the statement that women and men are equal before God in relation to blessings available to the Church. When one envisions a man with potentially dozens of wives (since the Church hasn’t repudiated the teaching of Mormon prophets that polygamy is necessary for exaltation) who are repeatedly pregnant throughout eternity with the spirit children of God the Father to populate planets with billions of spirit babies, some questions arise. In this world, the “Heavenly Mother(s)” is hardly even recognized or spoken of or personally known.

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe in the existence of another physical planet or planets, where Mormons will “rule” after their death and ascension?

A: No.

As a Mormon friend of mine said in response to this, “It’s hard to even imagine how to parse that question such that that answer is not a lie.” Perhaps the person who wrote the answer was thinking, “hey, we don’t believe in the existence of such planets, because they don’t exist yet.” He might have gotten by with a simple denial that the church actively, explicitly teaches on such things, but the simple “no” is an effective lie because the Mormon worldview so strongly supports the idea of gods ruling over planets.

Q: What specifically does the Mormon Church say about African-Americans and Native Americans?

A: Mormons believe that all mankind are sons and daughters of God and should be loved and respected as such. The blessings of the gospel are available to all.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why this questions was asked. Why not use this opportunity to, in a couple of lines, repudiate the historical reasoning behind the pre-1978 ban on blacks? To this day, Mormonism has not renounced the Curse of Cain doctrine behind the ban with the same degree of authoritativeness that it was endorsed before the ban was lifted. As others have pointed out, Mormonism wants many of its old, embarrassing doctrines to die via the process of quiet distancing and generational forgetfulness, lest they call attention to the fallibility of their own leaders and historic teachings by issuing an unequivocal public retraction. This is nothing less than immoral cowardice.

Shame on you, Mormon Church. The world was watching and listening for forthright answers to public questions, and you blew it. This, my friends, is how cults act.

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42 Responses to An Analysis of “21 Questions Answered About Mormon Faith”

  1. Megan says:

    I read that article just a short while ago. Whoever “answered” the questions didn’t really answer much of anything! No wonder there are faulty perceptions of Mormonism, as LDS commonly lament. The response to the gods and goddesses question was particularly upsetting. Especially when I went to the cited Church page, and under “Exaltation” #2 says, point blank, “they will become gods.”
    I look forward to lively discussion on this one. I am interested in persectives from our LDS posters. Should the responder to the questions have been more specific? What do you think? Give you give any responses beyond the typical “milk before meat” reasoning?
    That’s my 3rd and final comment today.

  2. bsb says:

    Keith Walker of Evidence Ministries said this via email:

    Friends,
    I’d like to answer question number one from this article.
    Q: Why do some call the (Mormon) Church a cult?
    A: Because of the answers to these 21 questions.

    Keith

    Bingo.

  3. amanda says:

    Aaron,

    Maybe I’ll see you in Virginia- We are leaving tomorrow morning for a whole month- If we run into each other, let’s not discuss this post. Maybe instead, we can discuss other things like rainbows, and tulips and Mitt Romney winning the nomination…you know, happy topics.

    This post reminds me of a child at dinner dissecting, criticizing and relentlessly picking at their food. As a mother, I usually say or think things like, “Isn’t the corn, carrot and pea mixture with a little butter on top good enough? I know the Denny’s cook spent so much time making the plate look so nice with that little bit of plastic parsley on the side- do you have to throw it on the hardly-vacuumed carpet and refuse to eat your perfectly good chicken medallions? Do you always have to have orange soda instead of MILK??? AHHHH. Sooner or later though, when you grow up- you’ll realize that plate of food was good for you ;)”

  4. Ralph says:

    Here is another misinterpretation/misrepresentation given by LDS critics about our beliefs. In all of your articles about the birth and paternity of Jesus you say that we believe that Heavenly Father and Mary had sex to conceive Jesus. I have read all of the quotes in the MRM article as well as on other sites and guess what – NONE of them state explicitly that sex occurred. All they talk about is the conception or the birth, and one places the conjecture that Mary and Heavenly Father would have to have been ‘husband and wife’ for her to fall pregnant. Yes I can see from your perspective how these can IMPLY a physical union, but NONE have EXPLICITLY stated that it did occur. To give an honest critic about these quotes and our belief you should give the quotes and then say that although none of these state that sex actually occur these quotes can be interpreted to IMPLY that it did – however no LDS believes (or most LDS deny believing) in this manner. That would be an honest representation and would then stop us from complaining that you are misinterpreting/misrepresenting our beliefs.
    What we do believe is that Jesus inherited 23 chromosomes from His mother (who was mortal) and 23 from His Father (who is immortal and is God). How the conception occurred we do not know. (Conception is the fusing of the gametes to form a zygote, it is not sex.) In the human arena there are a few different ways to sire a child including artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization, which do not involve any sex whatsoever. If God knows how to create life then surely He would know a way to transfer His genetic material into Mary without having sex, especially if we as mere mortals can do it, or are you limiting what God can and/or can’t do? Think about it.

  5. Nathan16 says:

    I agree with the writer here. The interview, while a step forward, was equivocal at best, and outright lies at worst.

    Being a conservative evangelical concerned about Mormonism (like many here, obviously), I was also very disappointed that many valid questions and ideas were dismissed by the LDS church as [filtered profanity or slur] or a misrepresentation of the “core tenets”, whatever that means. I am surprised that the LDS church is not answering their detractors, only dismissing them. That, and the repeated answers (thereby showing their unwillingness to elaborate) gives the unfortunate impression that the LDS church is hiding something. I am not implying that they are, they just give that impression.

  6. dj1989 says:

    Megan-

    I’m sorry. Sincerely. But, I’m going to do what you hoped we wouldn’t do… I’m going to bring up the milk before the meat issue. HOWEVER, I’ll at least talk about using a different biblical setting.

    Parables. Jesus spoke in parables. Everybody didn’t understand what he was teaching. Why did he teach this way? He was certainly not being “straight” with those who listened. He was certainly not being “honest”, if we are to judge his methods by the same judgment that EVs cast on Mormons.

    Matthew 13:11-15 explains why he taught in parables, and that his intent was for a few to understand these gospel topics. It’s curious why he didn’t make the gospel topics clear for everybody to then think it over for themselves.

    Contrary to popular belief, Jesus Christ spoke in parables to confuse what he meant to most people. He explained the clear meaning of the parables to his disciples. But, it was not the time for the multitudes to understand.

    Here’s the reason why, (and a pretty good justification for why the Mormon church doesn’t speak as freely as EVs would like): The religious traditions of men make it close to impossible for people (who’s traditions are embedded deep) to accept every principle of the gospel. Some messages needed to be discussed away from the crowds.

    If it was the case back in that day, then why not now? I know that Mormons don’t use parables, per se, to keep certain topics from being discussed openly, but the comparison is a fair one.

    So while I can see your frustration with not having all of your questions answered in an open format, it’s not too far off from what Jesus did himself. Because of this, I believe that EVs are not being fair or considerate of the scriptures when they accuse us of “lying”, “bearing false witness”, “speaking half truths”, etc. I would go further to say that they are not just being “unfair”, but that they are in fact wrong for doing so.

  7. lautensack says:

    Ahh yes the classic milk before meat argument, yet it really isn’t meat is it? If the introductory questions about a faith are meat then perhaps the entirety of the religion is meat and you need to start off chewing. If Theology Proper, that is the Doctrine of God, is not milk then there is truly nothing in your religion that is milk. Christians will truly tell you that everything essential for salvation or exaltation is milk. Things like what type of music should there be in churches or what type of baptism is biblical are not essential to your eternal life. However the nature of Jesus, the work of Jesus, the nature of God and thus salvation are. You may not like Calvinist theology but if you ask a Calvinist they will give you a straight answer about God choosing to save some and not others. This is because they are not ashamed of the Gospel (Romans 1:16) that Jesus and the Apostles preached, though it seems that some Mormons are ashamed of the gospel Joseph Smith Jr. preached.

  8. Daniel says:

    Ralph, here is a page (http://www.mormonwiki.org/Conception_of_Jesus) that shows more than a couple of quotations that (in my opinion) very clearly show that it has been taught that Jesus was the product of a literal union between God and Mary.

  9. falcon says:

    I’ve seen all kinds of justification for people not being straight forward and honest, but the “Jesus parables” analogy is probably the most creative. The Mormon approach to “truth” is basically a “bait and switch” technique well known in sales and marketing. Mormons can justify their nondisclosure-disclosure approach to answering questions about their church, but the effect is that it appears to be a fancy way of telling a lie. The Bible tells us to avoid even the appearance of evil. But I guess in Mormon hearts and minds, the means justify the end. For a group that likes to project a squeaky-clean image, this is not good.

  10. bsb says:

    falcon – bait-and-switch is a sadly the theme that the LDS Church is built upon. The Aaronic or “preparatory priesthood” that holds the “preparatory gospel” (milk) is that which converts and members are baptized into, taking their temple oaths to the oneness/trinitarian-sounding God of the Book of Mormon. Then, some time later when they have been found worthy enough, they can progress under the umbrella of the Melchizedek or “fulness” priesthood (meat) and the “fulness gospel.”
    The nasty part of this is that the only publicly-facing gospel is the Aaronic/preparatory gospel — the Melchizedek/fulness gospel is hidden from the public, which is the source of all this conflict.
    Because LDS hold the Melchizedek/fulness gospel in such reverence as to not openly discuss it — and therefore we, non-LDS cannot understand it, the end does justify the means.
    Professor Millet said that he does not answer controversial questions, he answers the question that *should have been asked* — and that arrogance is carried right through in these 21 answers.
    People won’t tolerate bait-and-switch when they buy a car, but the LDS accept it as totally explainable, normal, and defendable.
    The truth is that people who join the LDS Church do so with a lack of INFORMED CONSENT. The rules change after you’ve been pulled in.
    Steve Redinger, a 30 year Mormon, explains this at http://www.ruxlds.com

  11. David says:

    I do not have a huge problem with Mormons being evasive (although it is not good), but I do have a problem with Mormon presidents lying. The analogy to Jesus’ parables does not cut it unless you are trying to state that Jesus lied.

    Here is a huge problem I have with Mormon apologists. If a person makes a generalization about a belief that is held true by some Mormons and not by others, Mormons cry foul. If some of your people believe in it (here God the Father having sex with Mary) then own up to the fact that some of your people do believe it without accusing others of falsly misrepresenting your church. The words uttered by several LDS leaders can legitimately be interpreted to mean that Mary had sex with Elohim. Hence, why many Mormons believe as such. True, non-Mormons should be more exact and careful when articulating LDS beliefs but just because someone states something as being univerally true for you guys, when it is only believed by some, doesn’t mean the person was purposely trying to misrepresent your church. The big problem non-Mormons have on the issue is that the notion that Mary had sex with God (as “implied” by LDS leaders) has not been reputiated by the Mormon church.

    Oftentimes, I feel that Mormons want to be misrepresented. It is much easier to defend a false accusation than a real problem . . . say the Book of Abraham.

  12. Jeff B says:

    You know what would be nice? If your Modern Day prophets were worth a grain of salt when coming out with their new doctrines and revelations.

    How about the prophets be more clear when saying things like like “..There is NOTHING FIGURATIVE about his paternity; he was BEGOTTEN, CONCEIVED and born in the NORMAL and NATURAL course of events..” – Bruce McConkie

    See what I mean. If God had intercourse with Mary, just come out and say it! Don’t beat around the bush leaving this to be debated about by both lay members and non-members whom are left in the dark because you can’t seem to articulate..

    What this does is makes people assume (like the Evangelicals here) and then have members who don’t even really know what the truth of the matter is tell us we are wrong. You can’t tell us we are wrong when you don’t even know what is right to begin with. And that’s not your fault, its your General Authorities. If some of your teachings weren’t so vague, there would be much less arguing.

    So the question is, why are they vague? Perhaps LDS leadership doesn’t want to commit to anything solid (nailing jello to a wall) in case it could cause a problem. If you think about it. It is very unfair to the lay members of the LDS church because they are the ones who are on the front lines trying to defend their faith, and when it wavers, they have to run back to the bunker (their testimony). I really do feel sorry for LDS members who get involved in the religion based solely on their prayer, and then find out all this “deep doctrine” and history later on and in order to save their faith, they have to make excuses for the vagueness of their leaders!

    ::taking a breath::

  13. Megan says:

    DJ, I did have to laugh when you prefaced the milk before meat stuff with an apology. Thanks for branching out into something else, like the gospel parables. Recently I have been pondering the whole parable thing as regards keeping certain things hidden, but I think this is an apples/oranges example. I think the reason Jesus let little bits and pieces of himself out to the crowds and also to the disciples, is because, as he said many times, his time had not yet come. Yes, he did reveal more to the disciples, but that was closer to the end. For whatever reason, it does seem that God wanted to use Christians after Jesus’ death to tell the complete story. It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit filled the disciples in Acts that they began preaching and telling everything. So yes, while Jesus did reveal some things, God wanted to use the universal Church to tell all about him. We are that Church, and it’s our responsibility to share everything we know. It’s NOT our responsiblity to control people’s reactions to the Bible by keeping things hidden.
    So that’s what I came up with about the parables. One thing I would love to see regarding the “milk before meat” debate is a complete exegesis of those three passages in the Bible. I’ll look in some books I have and also use some resources online, so I’ll share whatever I come up with.

  14. Ralph, you said

    In all of your articles about the birth and paternity of Jesus you say that we believe that Heavenly Father and Mary had sex to conceive Jesus

    Ironically, this is a misrepresentation of what I’ve said. I’ve said 1) that past LDS leaders have taught it 2) the belief is still alive among members today 3) the LDS Church has never repudiated the longstanding traditional teaching. To my knowledge, I’ve never stereotyped or even generalized Mormons as believing it.

    I know plenty of Mormons who take a far different position than you, Ralph, on the quotes provided on MRM.org on this subject, so while I value your input, it’s going to take quite a bit more to sway my view of how this God-had-sex-with-Mary belief partially functions in modern Mormonism. Also, regarding the quotes from Young/Pratt/Talmage/McConkie, I’d ask: What do you think they meant when they said God the Father came down with a physical body and begot/sired Jesus in a non-figurative, literal, natural, shocking, in-person way—just as natural and as literal as we were begotten? Mind you, these four LDS leaders didn’t even know about such things as in vitro or artificial insemination, so that’s not an optional interpretation. You have to read the quotes in their historical context.

    Dj,

    Jesus had the prerogative to mask and obscure some of his teachings by using parables, which was a form of judgment. We don’t have that prerogative to make that kind of judgment.

  15. Sharong wrote me the following in an e-mail, and I thought it was worth sharing:

    As I looked at the answers provided by the Church to these questions, this is how they break down IMO:

    Out of 21 answers:

    4 are clear and truthful answers
    8 are non-answers
    [5 are duplicate answers (exact wording used in answering other questions)]
    1 “we don’t know”
    2 are partial answers (answered part of the question, but not all of it)
    2 are vague answers (misleading)
    1 is an untrue answer
    2 are not entirely true answers
    1 is a clear answer that does not address the question asked

    One would think LDS leadership is just a bunch of politicians. ;>)

  16. Rick B says:

    On the issue of Jesus speaking in parables, go back and read the Bible before he did that. While He walked and spoke plainly some people did not believe Him, yet it was the religious leaders that said of/About Jesus, His miracles are works of the Devil. They said that Jesus was basicly working for the devil and from Him. that was when Jesus started speaking in Parables and no longer speaking plainly.

    Rick b

  17. dj1989 says:

    Rick B-

    Regarding your last comment: That is 100% true. Mormons ofttimes feel that we have the same issue to deal with today. We’re always being told be EVs that our beliefs are of the devil, but you’d be hard pressed to find Mormons (as a whole) living devilish lives, or producing fruits that would suggest anything other than an honest attempt to live Christ-like lives. So, I guess you can make whatever you want of that, but it makes no sense to me to get the negative attention that we get.

    Megan-

    I appreciate your patience and rationale. It’s evident in the way that you write, and I like speaking with you (even though we don’t agree). Anyway, everything you said makes sense to me. But the last part’s based off of assumptions that could, or could not be true, because they are based off of Christian tradition (we all have beliefs that are based off of assumptions…so I’m not attacking you). Specifically, I’m referring to your mention of the “universal church”, it’s role back then, and it’s existence today. You said some things and I would like to throw in comments where I believe EV assumptions are present: You said, “For whatever reason, it does seem that God wanted to use Christians after Jesus’ death to tell the complete story” How do we know that what’s been recorded is the complete story? “It wasn’t until the Holy Spirit filled the disciples in Acts that they began preaching and telling everything. Again… how is it known that what is recorded is “everything”? “So yes, while Jesus did reveal some things, God wanted to use the universal Church to tell all about him. We are that Church” What reason do you have to believe that you are “that Church”, and again, what reason do you have to believe that you have everything to tell?

    Your statement stood out to me, because it was always Mormon’s answers to those these same questions that made sense to me.

  18. Megan says:

    DJ, I don’t have much time to write as I have to go get up my 2-year-old from her crib. (Getting on here for a few minutes throughout the day is one of my guilty pleasures). I wasn’t very satisified with my use of the word “everything” either. I thought about it later on, and realized that of course the entire Bible had not been formed yet. I should have used the word “gospel”–Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, as well as Christ’s nature–ie., God in human form, he god-man. What I was trying to point out is that after the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit, they preached with great boldness. They didn’t say, listen everyone, there was this guy who may have risen from the dead, and maybe if you believe in him you will be saved. There was no prevarication on their part. They didn’t feel they had any time to waste. It was, repent, everyone, and become rightly connected to God. I was contrasting that with the LDS church’s prevarication (I’m sure you would not use that word to describe the LDS church, but you already know my opinion on them not being up front with things).
    The universal Church–every believer in the (orthodox) Christ is a member of the universal Church. It’s not an institution. It is a world-wide community of believers who are quickened by the Holy Spirit to live effective lives for Christ. So, the believers in NT were just as much members of the Church as I am today, and as much as someone 100 years from now will be. Ephesians is an excellent book which details the many blessings and responsibilities believers have in Christ. I have to go, but I’ll look for some verses on that subject today.
    One final thing–I wish LDS (as well as yourself) were not so caught up in the mindset that what we believe is tradition. The doctrine of the universal Church is found in the Bible, it’s not something we came up with over the centuries. We can learn and understand what the Bible says. That’s our template. Not any traditions. See?

  19. dj1989 says:

    Megan-

    I can completely see what you’re saying, and if you believe it to be true, then you must follow it with all your heart. For me, I still think that it’s based on traditional Christian beliefs. For example, you say that the universal church is “not an institution”. Is that scriptural? If not, where did it come about? Any epistles written by Paul, Peter, or John do not necessarily confirm that belief, because they say that they are writing to those who already believe in Christ. All of the epistles, are “internal memos”, if you will. So, we can’t really tell, if they were written to members of an institution or not. Thus, back to my point, how have you arrived at the thought that there is a universal, non-institutional church if the scriptures do not explicitly say so. In this case, it must be explicitly mentioned, or there is still room for something else to be factual.

    Which brings me to a related point, how can one not conclude that tradition is deep in traditional Christian beliefs, when there are so many different interpretations. I believe Aaron once told me that the “essentials for salvation” are there (meaning in all “Christian” churches), but to me that is saying that “Christians have rooted out the lowest common demoninator out of the scriptures, and anything above that is up for everybody’s best guess, but don’t worry about it because it has no bearing when all is said and done.”

    It’s true that LDS (including myself) have a mindset that traditional Christianity has many traditional beliefs that are not demonstrated in the scriptures. I do believe that much of it did “come up over the centuries”. But I have many reasons for it:
    -Track record of Christians over the last 2000 years
    -God’s direct communication with spiritual leaders in ancient times, but the lack thereof in modern Christianity
    -The vast number of Christian churches, that have differing interpretation of scripture

    Cont in next post

  20. Jeff B says:

    Just thought I would share a little verse in my favorite Christmas Song in hopes that it uplifts any and fills them with not only the Christmas spirit, but with the Holy Spirit.

    My favorite verse in my favorite Christmas song “O Holy Night” is:

    Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
    Till He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.

    I especially like the last part. When Jesus appeared, the soul felt its worth. Beautiful.

    I know this has nothing do with the topic at hand but hopefully its small enough of a comment that it wont be too much a disturbance.

    Merry Christmas!

  21. dj1989 says:

    -The modern Christian leadership structure having little resemblance to ancient times
    -The appointing of modern Christian leaders having little resemblance to ancient times. Specifically theologians, and degrees of study, as being qualifications for leadership. (This one is strikingly similar to Pharisee in Jesus’ time)
    -The absence of God manifesting Himself to them in modern times in the same ways that he did in ancient times (ie – angelic visits, dreams, visions, audible/visual communication from the Lord himself, etc)
    -Etc

    To me, all of this says “tradition is present”. I welcome any comments on that. I’m sure that many of you have considered these things for yourself and have justified why these things are the way they are. But for me, it’s not palatable.

    Besides that, there are other striking similarities to modern day Christians and the ancient Jews, including:
    -belief in God manifesting himself differently in times past than in times present
    -organization of schools of religious study for the purpose of training ecclesiastical leaders
    -leaders who made livings out of their religious beliefs, often leading to corruption
    -general belief that what they believed in was right because of their longstanding belief that God spoke to their “fathers”, even though it’s no longer apparent
    -attempts to thwart other religious belief, rather than promoting their own beliefs (that’s not a completely fair comparison, because I know there are many on here that are living good and honest lives, which I have an immense amount of respect for. However, the very existence of this blog and others like it is to thwart others’ beliefs… not encourage their own beliefs)

    Finally, Jesus said that new wine doesn’t get put into old bottles. He said this when he taught the reason why His truth couldn’t be promoted through the religion that traditionally God himself had established (the ancient Jews).

    These are some of the reasons why I believe that tradition is there.

  22. Rick B says:

    DJ said

    We’re always being told be EVs that our beliefs are of the devil, but you’d be hard pressed to find Mormons (as a whole) living devilish lives, or producing fruits that would suggest anything other than an honest attempt to live Christ-like lives.

    Just because you live a good life and not a devilish life like you said, does not mean you have the truth. Your Beliefes and Doctrine are not of God, Gal 1:8-9 you have and teach a different Gospel. Just because you name the name of Christ and say, I believe in Jesus does not mean we believe the same Jesus.

    Jesus even spoke about people who at the last day will say, Lord, Lord, and did do miracles, yet Jesus says, I never knew you. Rick b

  23. Ralph says:

    I know this is off topic but I’m going away on holidays for a few weeks with no computer/internet access and just wanted to say Merry Christmas to all. And remember – Jesus is the reason for the season.

  24. dotk97 says:

    A lot of thoughts, so I’ll try to keep it organized:

    Dj said: “How do we know that what’s been recorded is the complete story?”

    Ever studied why the Bible is the way it is? Ever read anything by Josh McDowell? I’d recommend “A Ready Defense.” It’s a good summary of all his work. He started out a critic of Christianity, was challenged to examine it intellectually, spent a lot of time trying to prove the Bible was literature at best and ended up writing a whole book about the immense evidence that supports the reliability of its preservation and translation. I know I use to think there were a lot of versions of the Bible because people disagreed. Now I know it’s because the ancient languages (Hebrew, Greek) are so complex… as well as needing to take into account what we are learning about the cultural implications of the text. All in all, the Bible isn’t so corrupt.

    You should also look into the changes that were made as Joseph Smith went through drafts of the BOM and D&C. A book like “Ready Defense” could never be writen about the BOM.

  25. falcon says:

    Well DJ1989 let me take a stab at a couple of your comments. By the way, your comments are interesting and reveal some Mormon attitudes and views of modern Christianity which I think probably manifest a self-serving “we’re better than them” type of attitude. I think this comes from Joseph Smith and his abomination comments relative to Christianity.
    One of your comments/questions dealt with supernatural manifestations of God’s spirit today. I guess you’re assuming that this doesn’t happen in the modern Christian Church. I would say it depends on where you go. I would agree that some sects/denominations of Christianity are pretty staid and bound by tradition. However, if you get some exposure to pentecostal groups you will see manifestations of the Spirit as discribed in 1st Corinthians chapters 12-13. I would agree that going off to a seminary is not an automatic indication of God’s calling for leadership. For some, the ministry is a job. My view is that people serving in positions of leadership need to be called and annointed by God’s Spirit.
    The “thwart other’s beliefs” comment. I feel it’s my duty and obligation to defend the faith as Jude discribes it. I guess I would be a little less intense if I didn’t feel that Mormons were presenting themselves in a manner that blurs the lines between their doctrine and orthodox Christianity. I rather appreciated it when Mormons are direct in stating their views in a way that makes clear the difference between their doctrine and normative Christianity.

  26. Jeff B says:

    “I rather appreciated it when Mormons are direct in stating their views in a way that makes clear the difference between their doctrine and normative Christianity.” – Falcon

    Amen, Falcon.

    This might come off rude, but I’m trying to use an analogy and the first thing that comes to mind is this: Mormonism is like a virus that is attempting to kill Christianity, slowly. When a virus comes in, it duplicates itself over and over until it runs the show, creating so much change in the DNA of Christianity in order to bring into existence a habitat that it can thrive in and have no resistance, leaving no trace to an outside viewer that anything different may have existed in the past.

    Joseph Smith is a hacker. He hacked into Christianity (the host cell), and infected it with his virus (Mormonism), that has spread millions of times now all over the world. – this quote was created by me, Jeff B, and I’m thinking of putting a patent on it because I think it is very witty. But on a more serious note, I think it is a true depiction of whats going on.

    The virus Mormonism is constantly evolving and masking its true nature as part of the body of Christ, in order to infect more and more of Christendom.

  27. dotk97 says:

    Dj:

    A follow up:

    One of the cult-ish problems with being a mormon is that you question anything from the “early church”. It went apostate, right? So how can anything we “know” about it help? That’s why a lot of intellectuals look at “mormon scholars” with one eyebrow [filtered profanity or slur]ed. There’s hard evidence you refuse to acknowledge.

    A couple tid-bits: The Bible has over 20k known manuscripts to affirm its preservation and translation. The Iliad comes in second as far as ancient manuscripts with only 643. And no, they are not forgeries. As for the NT, less time elsapses between the death of the authors and the oldest known copy of the books and letters than any other ancient text and all the historical facts agree both internally and externally with what is known from the era.

    To sum up:
    Dr. Clark H. Pinnock states:
    There exists no document from the ancient world witnessed by so excellent a set of textual and historical testimonies and offering so superb an array of historical data on which an intelligent decision may be made. An honest [person] cannot dismiss a source of this kind. Skepticism regarding the historical credentials of Christianity is based upon irrational [i.e., antisupernatural] bias.

    You can read about this in J. McDowell’s book “More than a Carpenter.” It’s only 128 pages. You could read it in a night.

  28. dotk97 says:

    Dj said:

    Parables. Jesus spoke in parables. Everybody didn’t understand what he was teaching. Why did he teach this way? He was certainly not being “straight” with those who listened. He was certainly not being “honest”, if we are to judge his methods by the same judgment that EVs cast on Mormons.

    My Reply:

    Matthew 10: 26 & 27 “…There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.”

    Secrecy was never the intention of Christ.

    He didn’t speak in parables to confuse people. He knew there would be some who believed and understood and some whose minds, eyes and ears were closed to the truth (even to different degrees- thus the explanation of the “Parable of the Sower”). To suggest that he was even “sneaky” does not represent the true Christ. The “milk before meat” argument doesn’t involve omitting or misrepresenting… in the parable the word of God was sown freely and only some understood. We don’t have a problem understanding so much as stomaching what is blatantly anti-biblical, heretical theology.

  29. falcon says:

    I think an interesting aspect of Mormonism is the attempt to “characterize” traditional chrisitanity in negative terms. Joseph Smith used this well worn technique to attracked followers. My guess is that his audacity to proclaim the traditional church as wrong was so out there and done to attract the attention of people. It then allowed him to proclaim that he had something new and improved and revealed from God. It’s my sense that born and bred Mormons have little knowledge about normative Christianity and how it functions. In fact, beyond a basic set of agreed upon doctrines, the traditions, practices, worship styles etc. of Biblical Christians is quite diverse. I don’t see this “us against them mentality” (that is a part of Mormonism) among your average Christians when it comes to Mormons. In fact, my guess is that Mormonism isn’t even on the radar screen of most of the Christian population. There are some of us, to be sure, who have an interest in Christian apologetics. It’s a calling done not out of arrogance, but out of a dedication to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and a calling to protect and defend it.

  30. Megan says:

    DJ, I can’t cover everything in your posts. So I’m just going to go with what it means to be a member of Christ’s Church. I have to be honest, this is not a doctrine I’ve studied as extensively as other ones. I guess this will be my new project?
    John 1:1-5, 10-14 is where I’ll start. John 1:1-4 tells how Jesus, or the Word (logos) was not only present at creation, he was with God and he was God. John 1:10-11 states how he came to his own (fellow Jews), but they did not receive him. Here’s the important part: “Yet, to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” The word “right” in NIV and “power” used in KJV is from the Greek word “exousia”, meaning authority, which entails a legal right to something. Because I too have received Christ as God in the flesh, I have the authority to be a child of God. This is who I am.
    As a child of God, I am part of a priesthood of believers. (1 Peter 2:9, Rev. 1:6). Ephesians Chs. 1 2 tell not only of the blessings I have in Christ, but the spiritual authority as well. In Christ I lack nothing: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Pet. 1:3).
    Okay, these are some verses that describe who I am in Christ, and what I have as a result of my faith in him.
    Now for specific verses on the Church. As you know, the NT often uses the word “body” as a metaphor for the Church. Refer to 1 Cor. 12:12-31, especially 12:12 “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body–whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free–and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”
    Romans 12:1-8 has more about the Body and spiritual gifts.

  31. falcon says:

    Megan,
    Based on your comments on the Doctrine of the Church, I pulled a 225 page book off my shelf here specifically on the subject. Some of the topics are (the Churches) origin, history, officers, purpose, organization, stewardship, ordinances, discipline, worship, destiny and nature. I suppose this could make for light reading over the holidays. It kind of hurt my head looking at it. Nothing complicated, just a lot to it. Go for it! We expect a full report from you within a few days.

  32. Megan says:

    Continued in this post–
    Ephesians also speaks of Christ’s body, the Church: Eph. 1:22-23. Eph. 4:11-16, speaks of the whole body held together by Christ, as well as different spiritual roles/gifts. Eph. 5:21-33 uses marriage as a metaphor for the body of Christ, which is the Church. So as far as I can tell the Bible does not use the phrase “universal church”. But it does say that as believers in Christ we are one body. Same meaning, wouldn’t you say? And the term “one body” is not used in one epistle (ie., to one audience) but to several different audiences. So it was not specific to one church in one location.
    We are one body, but we do not depend on ourselves for the Church being sustained. We depend on Christ, who is the chief cornerstone. Is. 28: 16 prophesies, “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never dismayed.” Zec. 10:4 “From Judah will come the cornerstone”. Eph. 2:20 “with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.” 1 Pet. 2:4-8 uses the Is. 28:16 reference, and is excellent for explaining Jesus as the chief cornerstone. Jesus is not only our cornerstone for the Church; he is also its head: Eph. 1:22-23 “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Col. 1:16-17 is reminiscent of John 1:1-3 as far as Christ being before all things and creating all things. Anyway, Co. 1:18 tells us that Christ is the head of the body, the church.”
    The Church is not only sustained, it endures because that’s what the Bible tells us: Matt. 16:18, Matt. 28:18-19, Eph. 3:21, and especially Heb. 12:28. “Therefore we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”
    Well, this is all I can find just using my Bible concordance. I hope it is helpful. I won’t be on here for awhile; travelling to New England for Christmas.

  33. Megan says:

    Falcon, this is my last allotted post, but could you tell me the name of the book so I can get it for myself? This is stuff I need to know. Coming on this blog, talking to LDS friends and missionaries, etc. forces me to examine things I never thought twice about. Which is a good thing.

  34. HankSaint says:

    “Joseph Smith is a hacker. He hacked into Christianity (the host cell), and infected it with his virus (Mormonism), that has spread millions of times now all over the world. – this quote was created by me, Jeff B, and I’m thinking of putting a patent on it because I think it is very witty.”

    Witty, but another thought would be Mormonism the anti-virus.
    Along comes Joseph, and introduces lost scripture, hidden in the earth to be revealed in the latter-days. Since we pretty much know that the Bible is inerrant, or infected with corrupt scribes, lost scriptures, and translation problems, Joseph cleans up the hard-drive and rids it of false data. Yikes, we have additional scripture, clean, unedited, translated by the gift and power of the master programer. Millions of people convert to this new data, find happiness, answers to prayers, answers to old doctrine that add clarity. We name the new, but lost program, The Book of Mormon. But the people cry, a bible, a bible, we already have a bible, we do not need a new bible. So they settle for the old hard drive, with all of its problems and errors, and they ridicule those who want to share their new knowledge. But the Master programer says, let them have the old for it’s my gift to them, and they have their free will to choose, for the heavens have been closed to them for they seek not addition light and knowledge. But I still love them, and will not give up on my children. I will send my geek squad, and they will convert many because they will know the truth when they see it.

    The Book of Mormon is scripture, the other issues of doctrine are just that, debatable. Prove the Book of Mormon is false and Mormonism will fall.

  35. I recently posted my answers to Fox News’ 21 questions on my blog. It will appear as a three part series starting today.
    http://evidenceministries.blogspot.com/

    While you are there, check out my 12 days of CHRISTmas parody.

    Merry CHRISTmas everyone!

  36. Pingback: 21 Questions « Shane Vander Hart

  37. HankSaint says:

    What would be some of the question Fox might ask EV’s

    1). Do you believe in and preach Noah and the Flood?
    And if so could you explain the evidence?

    2). Do you believe that God created the earth in 6 days and
    rested on the seventh?

    3). Can you explain the Virgin Birth? Do you believe Mary was a
    virgin and conceived the Christ Child?

    4). Did Moses part the red Seas, and do you believe that?

    5). Do you believe in the Trinity and can you explain God The
    invisible spirit?

    6). Does Christ have a body of flesh and bone, if not what ever
    happened to his resurrected body?

    7). Do you believe in Heaven and Hell and can you tell me where
    they are?

    8). Did Christ appear unto his Disciples, and preach to them for
    forty day after his resurrection and do you have any proof or
    evidence of what he preached?

    9). Why do some preachers ware special white collars, and
    special robes during sermons? Is this in the Scriptures?

    10). Do we have any of the original manuscripts of Peter, James,
    or John that we can find in a Museum or somewhere else?

    11). Why do Christian send out missionaries around the world?

    12). Is the marriage vow true, “until death do us part”? Do you
    believe in Heavenly marriage, or are we all just separate
    and alone? What happens to the earthly family?

    Please, I do not want any thing less than something which does not attempt to depict the core values and beliefs of your religion.

  38. 1. Yes. I trust the Biblical account of the Flood, but am not personally knowledgeable on particular scientific evidence for it. But AnswersInGenesis.org and the Institute for Creation Research have a list of articles on the subject.

    2. Some people take the account of Genesis 1-3 in a more literal way, others in a more figurative way. Those who take the first position would answer “yes”, but of course think the “rest” of God means that he stopped creating new things on the seventh day like he did the previous six days. I personally am ambivalent on the issue.

    3. I cannot explain it in natural, physical way because it was a supernatural event. Until Mary birthed Jesus Christ, she never engaged in any sexual intercourse.

    4. Yes.

    5. Yes. I may not be able to completely explain it, but I can attempt to describe it: There is one and only one God. God eternally exists in three distinct persons. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, the Father is not the Spirit, etc. That God is an “invisible” (Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17) spirit means his fundamental make-up doesn’t have shape or size or weight or parts. If there is anything with size or weight or parts or physicality, the personal, invisible God we worship created it.

    6) Yes, Jesus has a permanent human nature and has a body of flesh and bones. His body ascended to somewhere I don’t know. Perhaps it is somewhere in this universe still, or perhaps he was taken to another dimension of time and space.

    7) Yes, I believe in them, but no, I don’t know where they are.

    8. Yes, and the best proof we have is the eye witness testimony found in the New Testament.

    9. In some Christian traditions there is a more pronounced distinction made between clergy and laymen, hence the collar or special robes. I don’t believe there is any Biblical warrant for this in the New Testament church. I personally find the attire neither prescribed nor proscribed.

    10. No, nor do we need them to reliably reconstruct them via the science of textual criticism. The copious manuscript history available to us provides a solid confidence in the reconstructed text as we have it today.

    11. To finish the Great Commission and to convert everyone to the worship of Jesus Christ. Everyone deserves hell for their sin, but Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again so that everyone who trusts him for free and immediate eternal life and forgiveness has it.

    12) Yes. There is no Biblical warrant for believing in the existence of marriage in heaven as we know it here on earth. Jesus said in Matthew 22:30, “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” We reject the dichotomy between heavenly marriage and eternal loneliness. All who are “in Christ” are of one family, and will enjoy eternal life not only in the individual enjoyment of God, but also the enjoyment of God in the context of community and relationships and all sorts of personal intimacy we never have yet imagined.

    Happy to answer questions without equivocating,

    Aaron

  39. HankSaint says:

    Aaron, Aaron, Aaron don’t you see the point of these question compared to the 21 question they asked the Mormon Church.

    1. Try explaining Noah to a secular or atheist. They will laugh at you and you’re fictional story. They will want proof.

    2. Your answer to number two is wishy washy. You’ve got to nail it down better than that, after all you expect it form Mormons.

    3. Supernatural event! Yet we’re suppose to tell you how God the Father impregnated Mary. Ya missed again good buddy.

    4. Just yes? Aw, just another supernatural event. Like Joseph Smith having a vision.

    5. The Trinity, no wonder so many convert to Mormonism, no one can explain what you just tried to explain.

    6. And Christ with his human body of flesh and bone is going to sit on the right hand of your invisible God. Great, how am I going to photograph that. After reading this, the lurkers are all going to come join the Mormons.

    7. Yes, you don’t know, how about a planet called Kolob, ridiculous right? But than you don’t know.

    8. Wow, ya got an eyewitness, but no scripture of his preaching to the disciples. Wonder why it was even mentioned?

    9. Special garments for the Mormons, not so strange either.
    Maybe a sacred reminder of covenants made in sacred places, and worn as a hidden reminder to the individual as between God and man is also sacred and private.

    10. No original manuscripts to compare to the inerrant Bible.
    Wow, no mistakes, proper translation, and no missing scriptures. Sounds like you got some Golden Plates missing also.

    11. Mormon missionaries on the fulfilling of the great Commission? Door to door missionaries, heaven forbid.

    12. Hope we meet in Heave, I will introduce you to my eternal mate. Maybe you can round up a date for the occasion.

    Look up the word equivocating, you just made my point.

  40. Hank, I gave honest and succinct answers. Summarizing two different views on something isn’t equivocal or “wishy washy”, especially when I’m not hiding anything. If you think something could have been more penetrating, then be specific. I really don’t care if atheists laugh at the story of the Great Flood. Just because something sounds silly or supernatural to the outside world doesn’t mean I should equivocate on it. That’s the whole point. But apparently the Mormon ethic of “truth-telling” is that if an answer causes alarm to outsiders then one should hedge and obfuscate.

    The problem with the conception of Christ in Mormonism is that there is an actual unrepudiated traditional belief that God the Father came in person and non-figuratively, literally, and naturally beget Jesus with Mary. There is no such accepted belief in Christianity, period. No one I know has demanded that Mormons declare how exactly the supernatural conception occured. What we have demanded is that Mormon leaders unequivocally denounce the idea that “virgin” can be given the limited definition of having had sex with a mortal (precluding the idea that Mary was still a “virgin” having had sex with an immortal).

    Comparing the lack of original manuscripts with the Golden Plates misses the point of the criticism surrounding the circumstances of the “translation” process of the Book of Mormon and Smith’s purported angelic visitations / First Vision.

    I don’t object to the idea of missionaries evangelizing. I just want the Mormon Church to be forthright about its ambitions.

    Hank, please take the time to read some articles at MRM.org and some more posts at Mormon Coffee. I’d like to see you interact with the substance of our arguments instead of simplistic caricatures.

    Take care,

    Aaron

  41. HankSaint says:

    Aaron, you did make my point, you just are in denial about it. I made my point, and you answered the best you could trying to sound like you were not equivocating on some of your beliefs.

    I quote you on the following, “Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that God and Mary had physical sex to conceive Jesus?

    Aaron no matter how you slice or dice it, you can not show where the church authorities ever teach it in conference. It’s not in the standard works, the curricular, or any handbook of ours.
    Show me where it is an official proclamation or declaration? Aaron.

    Remember the question Aaron, it’s a direct question, and needs for you to show direct evidence of our doctrine stating God and Mary had physical sex. That is the question, so answer it true-fully by showing me and all the others where we specifically state God the Father has sex with Mary?

    You can’t Aaron, except by the use of quoting from statements pertaining to God being the natural father as we are to our own children. Do we believe that Jesus is the natural son of God, of course we do it’s part of our doctrine, not some dirty secret you
    hint too.

    Aaron, I belief in His Virgin Birth, The actual Son of God, His atoning sacrifice, and resurrection from the dead. The teaching in the Book of Mormon about Christ are true. But I have no respect for those who twist, slander, and falsify our doctrine, and I truly hope you are above that. You will not be able to answer the question completely because the General Authorities never gave in any detail what transpired, just as you and I can’t give in any detail the creation of this planet. God has not revealed all to us yet, patience and line upon line is all God allows his children.

  42. Hank,

    Affirming a belief in “virgin” birth misses the point, as the very term “virgin” as been redefined to mean having had sex with a mortal. That the immortal Father came in person to beget Jesus in a non-figurative, literal, natural way—just as natural and as literal as you and I were begotten—has been taught in General Conference and in a church manual. Feel free to take another look at the evidence here. But whether it passes some sort of test of officiality misses the point. I don’t play the game of determining what is “official” as though it took some topics out of the realm of conversation. Mormonism is an interpretative tradition which has been fostered by all sorts of things, including the materialistic worldview of Mormonism itself, as well as past statements by LDS leaders. Until you provide a compelling alternative interpretation for these statements (linked to above), then your complaints are immaterial to me, especially when I know so many other Mormons who disagree with you on this matter. You guys really need to have this debate amongst yourselves and iron it out before complaining to people like me. When the mainstream Mormon sect doesn’t take an unequivocal authoritative position to renounce a long-standing traditional (and heretical) belief that some of its members hold, then that’s not my problem. It’s Salt Lake City’s.

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