Modern Prophets Wear Suits

The LDS book Gospel Principles includes a chapter titled “Prophets of God.” In discussing what a prophet is, the book also considers the varied backgrounds from which a prophet may come. He might be young, old, educated, unschooled, a professional, or a laborer. Furthermore, the book points out,

“Ancient prophets wore tunics and carried staffs. Modern prophets wear suits and carry briefcases. What, then, identifies a true prophet?” (Gospel Principles [2009], 39)

This is a great question, one Christians are forever trying to get Mormons to think about, because Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets, even if they dress in wool ( Matthew 7:15).

The Bible often portrays Jesus as a Shepherd and His followers as sheep. When Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:15 that false prophets will come in sheep’s clothing, He’s telling us they will look like His followers: they will look like Christians. The apostle Paul also warned that false apostles and deceitful workers “disguise themselves” as apostles of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13). Paul told Timothy: “But realize this, that in the last days…[there will be men] holding to a form of godliness” who do not belong to God (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The Greek word translated “beware” in the Scripture actually means more than just “be careful.” It means “to turn one’s mind or attention to a thing by being on guard against it.” Therefore, Jesus is directing us to pay attention to what lies below the surface in order to guard against being deceived.

False apostles, dressing up in fine clothes while presenting sweet demeanors, will pretend to be true apostles, maintaining a façade of godliness and good works. Nevertheless, Jesus said they are dangerous and will usher their followers down the broad way that leads to destruction.

So, whether dressed in suits and carrying briefcases, or wearing tunics and carrying staffs, we need to identify whether someone claiming to speak for God is–or is not–a true prophet.

Gospel Principles asks what identifies a true prophet and answers:

“A true prophet is always chosen by God and called through proper priesthood authority (see Articles of Faith 1:5).”

These points may be requirements for a Mormon prophet, but they are not identifiers that would allow someone to ascertain whether a person is a true prophet; for anyone can claim he’s been chosen by God, and anyone can claim he’s been called through an assumed “proper priesthood authority.”

The Bible provides a pretty good list of identifiers for false prophets. Christian apologists Norman L. Geisler and Ron Rhodes explain,

There are many tests for a false prophet…Put in question form, the tests are:

  1. Do they ever give false prophecies? Do 100 percent of their predictions of future events come true? (Deut. 18:21-22)
  2. Do they contact departed spirits? (Deut. 18:11)
  3. Do they use means of divination? (Deut. 18:11)
  4. Do they involve mediums or witches? (Deut. 18:1)
  5. Do they follow false gods or idols? (Exod. 20:3-4; Deut. 13:1-3)
  6. Do they deny the deity of Jesus Christ? (Col. 2:8-9)
  7. Do they deny the humanity of Jesus Christ? (1 John 4:1-2)
  8. Do their prophecies shift the focus off Jesus Christ? (Rev. 19:10)
  9. Do they advocate abstaining from certain foods and meats for spiritual reasons? (1 Tim. 4:3-4)
  10. Do they deprecate or deny the need for marriage? (1 Tim. 4:3)
  11. Do they promote immorality? (Jude 4, 7)
  12. Do they encourage legalistic self-denial? (Col. 2:16-23)

A positive answer to any of the above questions is an indication that the prophet is not speaking for God. God does not speak or encourage anything that is contrary to his character and commands as recorded in Scripture. And most certainly the God of truth does not give false prophecies (Deut. 18:21-23).

If we look beneath the surface of suits and briefcases while asking the biblical identifying questions, how do LDS prophets fare? (You might start with a look at Joseph Smith here.)

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Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.

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About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

This entry was posted in LDS Church, Mormon Leaders and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

197 Responses to Modern Prophets Wear Suits

  1. setfree says:

    Jim said

    “Christ is mentioned in the Book of Mormon, either by the name Jesus or Jesus Christ or Redeemer, Lord, Messiah, Lamb of God, etc. on average every 2.7 verses. Using the same names and terms, this is more than the Bible.”

    oh man, oh man. where to start?

    1- In the Bible, there are 1189 chapters. There are 929 chapters in the OT, and there are 260 chapters in the NT.

    ONLY THE NEW TESTAMENT CONTAINS THE NAME JESUS, or the title “Christ”. Why?

    Those are Greek words.

    It makes no sense to compare the entire Bible to the BoM for “Jesus” or “Christ” occurrences.

    2- Why, in fact, do both “Jesus” and “Christ” show up in the Book of Mormon at all? Why would He would show up in the new world, to a bunch of Hebrew/reformed-Egyptian writers/speakers, and use Greek words? yikes.

    3- There is only one God in the Bible, and Jesus is part of Him. Was “God” part of your stats? I really doubt it.

    4- Jesus/God goes by many many names in the Bible. Here are some that you did not include:

    Advocate, the Resurrection, the Life, Shepherd, Bishop of Souls, Judge, Lord of Lords, Man of Sorrows, Head of the Church, Master, Faithful and True Witness, the Rock, High Priest, the Door, Living Water, Bread of Life, Rose of Sharon, Alpha and Omega, the True Vine, Teacher, Holy One, Mediator, the Beloved, the Branch, Carpenter, Good Shepherd, Light of the World, Image of the invisible God, the Word, Chief Cornerstone, Savior, Servant, Author and Finisher of our Faith, the Almighty, the Everlasting Father, Shiloh, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, I Am, King of Kings, Prince of Peace, Bridegroom, Only Begotten, Prophet, Anchor, The Way The Truth and The Life.

    Think your statistician took all of that into consideration?

  2. falcon says:

    setfree,
    It’s apparent to me that our Mormon friends are now at the straw grasping stage that we encounter at some point of every discussion we have here. I don’t know what it feels like to try to come up with explanations in order to maintain faith in something that is so obviously fraudulent. jackg has told us often about how he so desperately wanted Mormonism to be true even though he knew it was false. He says it took him a total of ten years to reprogram his thinking.
    The false prophets get into people’s heads to the point where rational thought and empirical evidence are understood to be enemies of their faith. The Bible tells us the more people give themselves over to a spirit of deception, the harder their hearts become. I am a firm believer in the power of the Holy Spirit to break through a hardened shell but at some point people harden themselves to the point that they refuse to hear God’s call.
    Again, “Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I called, and you refused; I stretched out my hand, and no one paid attention; And you neglected all my counsel, And did not want my reproof; I will even laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, When your dread comes like a storm, And your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come on you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer…..” Proverbs 1:23-33

  3. setfree says:

    But that still was not my point.

    “I, Nephi…”

    First of all, in the Bible you don’t get this “I, so-and-so…” thing. Did you know that there are 87 occurrences of “I, Nephi,…” in 1&2 Nephi? And the ‘other’ writers do the same thing. You just don’t find this type of calling-attention-to-oneself in the Bible.

    Even that, though, is just one piece of how to see it.

    The Book of Mormon is about righteous people and wicked people. Some people are good, some are bad.

    In the Bible, all people are not good enough. The Bible doesn’t hold anyone up for admiration but God/Jesus. Everyone else has faults.

    The Bible is not about people being good, or even becoming good. It’s about God working to restore inherently-evil creations to Himself, through the Redemptive work of Himself, at the cross.

    I don’t know that you’ll see what I’m trying to say Jim; I’m not sure that I can even express myself the way I’d like. Perhaps one of the other Christians out here can help me out.

    But it’s different. It’s definitely different. There’s no room for “me” or “my righteousness” in the Bible. It’s too full of Christ/God’s righteousness.

  4. setfree says:

    Falcon, I did, and I remember it…
    Trying to defend Mormonism was like that… any old reason that anyone came up with was good enough! As long as someone had an answer, no matter where it came from, or how silly it sounded. The more you looked, the more excuses you needed to keep going.

    Defending Christianity is not the same. The more you dig in, the truer it gets. The harder you look, the more truth you find. Instead of blowing around on the sea, or slipping around in the sand, it is like STANDING ON A ROCK.

    No matter what, you keep finding yourself on solid ground. It’s awesome.

  5. falcon says:

    The question I have is do exMormons lose faith first in the Mormon organization or in Mormonism. When I’ve read Jim Spencer’s book “Beyond Mormonism” it seems he first began questioning the organizational hypocrisy and that caused him to begin looking at the historical aspects of Mormonism and then Mormon doctrine. He of course discovered that the Mormon church had white washed the false prophet Joseph Smith. As Jim found, the truth just didn’t add up to Smith being a prophet, but something entirely different.
    It takes a lot of courage to face the truth. To a committed Mormon, the journey is an emotional roller coaster. It’s a lot easier just to accept some half-baked explanation than to dig for the truth.

  6. setfree,

    I love your posts.

    I think you’re spot on with your contrast of the Biblical view of humanity to the “us who are righteous versus they who are wicked” message of Mormonism (its called moralistic deism).

    The Bible is vary catholic (small “c”) in its treatment of humanity. Good people sometimes do bad things (e.g. Matt 26:33-35) and bad people sometimes do good things (e.g. Heb 11:31 – imagine that, a woman, and pagan prostitute!). One of the delicious ironies of the Bible is that you can’t predict who will do the right thing, based on their religious orientation.

    But, as you say, the Bible is not about me acquiring enough righteousness so that I can get God to pay attention to me. Its about a God who works redemptively within our human experience. ALL the peoples on earth are entitled to call on the Name of the LORD (Jer 3:17 etc).

    I think its hugely significant that Matthew closes his Gospel with the Great Commission “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…”(Matt 28:19-20).

    Look at it this way. Matthew is highly critical of his fellow Jews, especially the Temple Cult of the Pharisees and its treatment of their Messiah.

    The picture I see is that the Pharisees had promoted the idea that “we are righteous and the gentiles are wicked”. The Pharisees effectively use this position to withdraw behind their cultural and religious boundaries.

    The NT writers (following Jesus’ lead) say to the Pharisees “you’ve got it all wrong”. The reason why God calls us to be righteous is because He calls us to be the “light of the World” (Matt 5:14). They demonstrate this because it is apparent that there are many “inside” the boundaries that the Pharisees had drawn who were not “salty” (Matt 5:13) and many who were “outside” who were (e.g. Matt 8:10).

    This new Christian Revelation changes our perspective profoundly from an introspective guilt-trip to the liberation of being able to live peacefully with our neighbors, as God intended.

  7. liv4jc says:

    The Bible paints all mankind as wicked, fallen, and totally depraved apart from God’s grace. Apart from God’s grace all mankind is worthy of God’s wrath and headed for judgement. Paul especially always gives us the bad news first. He spends the first 3 chapters of Romans condemning all of mankind, both Jew and Gentile, making sure that no one who is self-righteous is still standing. Just when you are feeling as low as you can get after Romans 3:11-20 he comes in with the famous Pauline “but”.

    But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who God set forth as a propitiation by his blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:21-26)

    That is the gospel. The message is so plain that I cannot see how anyone can miss it and believe that they can earn godhood by having a righteousness of their own apart from Christ. Nobody can boast in their own works of righteousness as Paul tells us in verses 27 and 28. Setfree is absolutely correct. There is no “I” in Christianity.

  8. falcon says:

    It’s very difficult for me to understand why someone would follow a false prophet especially with all of the information that is available to keep a person on the right track. We have the warnings of Jesus regarding false prophets and the NT writers that nail these guys to the wall. Then we have the historical writings of the early Church fathers and the battles they fought with heretics. There are countless examples of charlatans and religious frauds through out history. It’s all well documented.
    In the case of the false prophet Smith, his personal life alone ought to be enough to turn the lights out on the guy without even considering his religious invention.
    But if people are willing to bid on eBay for an English muffin that appears to have the image of Christ on it, well anything is possible.

  9. I’ve been thinking more about the Holy Ghost; in particular, how people could come to think of Him as an impersonal “force” (rather like the Star Wars epic).

    Olsen Jim alluded to it above, commenting (perhaps unselfconsciously) “I think we as individuals utilize the Holy Ghost to different degrees…”

    I have also had a Mormon tell me that the Holy Ghost is the medium through which God projects His power through the universe (which he needs, because he is resident on Kolob, not on earth, BTW).

    These thoughts seem to be very prevalent in 19th Century North America, because they are frequently expressed by Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and several other North American religious movements.

    I haven’t researched the epistemology thoroughly, but it seems to me to bear all the hallmarks of the Theory of Aether. Writing about Isaac Newton (1643-1727) Wikipedia notes

    In his Hypothesis of Light of 1675, Newton posited the existence of the ether to transmit forces between particles.

    Newton had other interests in theosophy and the occult, which also find their ways into the North American religious experience of the 19th Century.

    What I see is that the idea of Aether would have been in circulation prior to Joseph Smith and Charles Taze Russell, who then looked to prove the current theory from their Bibles. Result – the Holy Ghost of the Bibles is equivalent to the aether of (the then) modern science.

    Today’s science has since moved away from the Theory of Aether, but we are left with its ghost in the doctrines of the Holy Ghost being an impersonal “substance” or “medium”. As I attempted to demonstrate above, this is NOT John’s experience of a personal Holy Ghost.

    Personally, I think it is a gross mistake to attempt to prove modern science from the Bible. The above example demonstrates how disastrous this can be. However, it does show (again) how a 19th Century scientific concern has informed these religious movements, Mormonism included.

  10. falcon says:

    It’s important for a false prophet to have confidence, a ton of confidence. The false prophet also has to have something new, generally a vision or a revelation of some sort. False prophets are very persuasive individuals. They can get others caught-up in their dreams. And finally a false prophet will proclaim the established orthodoxy as wrong, hence the need for a new revelation.
    False prophets are clever manipulators who can hook people emotionally. The followers once hooked will fight like crazy to maintain faith in the false prophet. False prophets often come along during desperate times. Sometimes false prophets will piggy-back on a genuine move of God.
    When I first starting writing on MC over two years ago, I thought all I had to do was point out to a Mormon the clear evidence of why Joseph Smith was a false prophet and why Mormonism was false. I never realized the degree of the deception and the emotional hook of Mormonism. It’s been very enlightening observing the degree to which Mormons will stretch credulity to the breaking point in order to maintain faith in the false prophet Smith and the bogus religious organization he founded.

  11. Olsen Jim says:

    Have been gone and attending a conference.

    Grindael- You are obviously an intelligent person and have decent resources at you fingertips. But in all honesty, in my experience, you bring up so many topics in rapid-fire manner, it is really difficult to exchange meaningfully with you when you adopt such an approach. It is not because there are not answers to your questions or good arguments to refute your points. You simply rattle off so many claims, I feel like somebody trying to put out forest fires set by another who is racing around with matches, lighting as many as possible. I think you probably know that.

    Please pick a topic or issue and stick with it. Jumping all over the place posting snippets covering a million topics does not bring power to your position.

    Martin- forgive my use of the word “utilize.” I hope you understand what I meant. I don’t believe either you or I have 100% of the Holy Ghost while the other has 0% in our search for truth. If what I was saying doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry about it.

    Setfree- yes. Those who conducted the research on BOM references to Jesus Christ included all references and names used to identify Him. They used the same concept with the Bible. I don’t really think you are getting anywhere with your line of argument. You have stated a very condemning opinion of the BOM without rationale or support. Your argument is that the BOM is not “God-centric.” It is very much a losing argumet.

    And the names Jesus and Christ are in the BOM because that is how English speaking people refer to the Savior of the world. The origin of those names really don’t matter- they were the words in use in 1830 and still today.

  12. liv4jc says:

    Jim, do you happen to know the reformed Egyptian symbol for Jesus Christ? Without the original plates, or copies of the plates, how do we know that they actually existed or weren’t just recording secular history? All we have is Joseph Smith’s word, and based upon the Book of Abraham papyri and the Kinderhook Plates we know that Joseph was not able to translate anything that he hadn’t first invented in his own mind first. I say we, maybe that’s overstating things. At least I have a revelation based upon the mind God gave me that he wasn’t able to translate.

  13. Olsen Jim wrote

    Martin- forgive my use of the word “utilize.” I hope you understand what I meant.

    …kind of…but it got me thinking.

    Firstly, there’s the tendency to call the Holy Ghost an “it”. Its not a purely Mormon (or perhaps an Olsen Jim) tendency and it might not even be consciously thought through. I have heard this expressed in everyday conversation in Evangelical circles, even among those who subscribe to the creeds.

    Secondly, the idea of “utilizing” the Holy Ghost really should raise eyebrows, especially if the Bible teaches that He is God, to be worshiped and glorified as such.

    Again, this is not a purely Mormon (OJ?) thing, and it could be fairly widespread in the Pentecostal movement (I haven’t looked recently).

    Us Evs need to put our house in order on this issue.

    As I commented above, these tendencies to call the Holy Ghost an “it” and to regard “it” as a resource that is to be “utilized” have more Isaac Newton in it than John the Evangelist (or Paul, or any other NT author for that matter).

    What prompted my earlier posts was that various religious visionaries have capitalized on the science of the day to validate their claims to a divine revelation.

    If they had received authentic divine revelations, what an opportunity to refute current popular thought and say that the the Holy Ghost is NOT equivalent to the (supposed) aether, but that He is a person who is fully God. Instead, these movements (Mormonism included) perpetuate the erroneous scientific theories of their day by co-opting them into their “revelations”.

    The Mormonism of Joseph Smith is informed by the concerns of 19th Century Euro-centric North America, not by the concerns of the Bible nor the ancient indigenous North American peoples.

    Part of the agenda of Smith’s Mormonism, as grindael has comprehensively shown, is that “us white people are better than them Indians, and its our job to civilize them by giving them cities, industry, religion law etc”

  14. Finally, OJ, what brought this up was our exchange about the Holy Ghost being the One who leads us into truth. You claimed that it is the Holy Ghost that has convinced you of the truth of the Book of Mormon and the LDS Church.

    Fair enough. But if we are to consider who “has” the Holy Ghost and who “hasn’t”, or even who has “more” of the Holy Ghost and who has “less” (as you suggested earlier), then let’s at least establish what each other means when we use the term “Holy Ghost”.

    For me, the true diagnostic of being “filled” with the Holy Ghost is NOT being able to do a super-human translation of a lost language from a hidden book, or being able to lift X-Wing fighters out of the swamp, Yoda-style.

    Its being filled with the presence of God, so that my whole being overflows in worship to the One, singing

    Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

    (Rev 5:13)

  15. falcon says:

    We’ve been down this road before and our friend Andy Watson has pointed out that in Mormonism there are two different entities; one known as the Holy Spirit and the other as the Holy Ghost. I’m not that conversant on the topic but perhaps someone who is could enlighten us.
    We need to remember, again, that the definition of terms is critical when dealing with Mormonism or any other cult. When Mormons say Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost they are talking about something entirely different than Christians. So once again we really can’t have a meaningful discussion unless we have a clear definition of terms. That’s where the nub of the debate lies.
    Also, Mormons confuse “feelings” with what they define as the Holy Ghost or Spirit depending where they are coming from. If the Mormon feels good, the Holy Spirit/Ghost is there. If the feel bad then the Holy Spirit/Ghost is not there. A “spirit” can be created. It’s nothing more then ambiance. But from the beginning, when Mormon missionaries are hitting on a prospect, the whole idea is to develop strong positive emotions and this is then interpreted as the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost. It’s really a manipulative technique meant to capture a commitment from the prospect.
    Examples: “Do you ‘feel’ that reading and studying the BoM would be a good way to determine the truth of our message?” “Do you ‘feel’ that you can know the truth of these things by pondering therm sincerely and by asking the Lord in prayer?”
    In Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought, Spring 1969, p.92; From Dr. Richard Bushman we learn that for the Mormon “feelings” are more weighty than any contradictory factual evidence that it is really false. “For those blessed with it, spiritual experience is the most compelling data. Honesty requires that one remain true to it even in the face of other evidence to the contrary. Where a case made against the BoM, our sense of balance and personal integrity would compel Mormons to hold their beliefs.”

  16. falcon says:

    I did a little checking on this topic of the Mormon Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost and this is what I found. At the get-go we must understand that this is the type of stuff false prophets and apostles produce. It’s is unBiblical, being opposed to that which is found in the Bible and therefore Christianity. Again, this is part of the attraction of cults like Mormonism. They declare the orthodox Christian view wrong and create their own doctrine.
    Bruce R. McConkie in his book Mormon Doctrine states, “The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Personage of Spirit, a Spirit Person, a Spirit Man, a Spirit Entity. He can be in only one place at one time, and he does not and cannot transform himself into any other form or image that that of the Man whom he is…” (p. 359)
    In Gospel Principles we read, “He (the Holy Ghost) has a body of spirit. His body of spirit is in the form and likeness of a man. He can be only in one place at a time…” (p. 34, 1988 edition).
    In Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 it states, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.”
    So is there a distinction between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit in Mormonism. This is what the Mormon Apostle McConkie says, “To gain a sound gospel understanding, the truth seeker must determine in each scriptural passage what is meant by such titles as Spirit, Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Lord, Spirit of God, Spirit of truth” (Mormon Doctrine, pl 752)
    McConkie also quotes Joseph F. Smith sixth (false) prophet and president of the Mormon Church.
    “President Joseph F. Smith said: ‘The Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit can no more be omnipresent in person than can the Father or the Son…It is not the holy Ghost who in person lighteth every man who is born into the world, but it is the light of Christ, the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the source of intelligence, which permeates all

  17. falcon says:

    (cont)
    nature, which lighteth every man and fills the immensity of space. You may call it the Spirit of God, you may call it the influence of God’s intelligence, you may call it the substance of his power; no matter what it is called, it is the spirit of intelligence that permeates the universe and gives to the spirits of men understanding….”
    “The Spirit of God which emanates from Deity may be likened to electricity,…..which fills the earth and the air, and is everywhere present” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 752-53).
    So in summary: Mormon theology teaches that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit who is not omnipresent. He is a deity that can only be in one place at a time. The Holy Spirit which Mormons may call Spirit of God, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of Christ, Light of Christ is an inanimate force something like electricity. It is a power employed by the Holy Ghost to accomplish His purposes. This Holy Spirit has no thought or purpose.
    So in Mormonism we have a God the Father and Jesus who are creatures with physical bodies with spirits. Jesus of course is the spirit offspring of the Mormon god and his goddess wife. Physically Jesus is the offspring of a physical sexual union between the Mormon god the father and one of his spirit offspring who became human, Mary.
    The bottom line is that the Mormon Holy Ghost is inadequate, without the Mormon Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is impersonal. So Mormonism invents this force known as the Holy Spirit to grant their finite gods the powers that the Bible reveals about the real God.
    Mormonism is a mess! Of course you have to think Mormon to understand and accept all of this nonsense and what Mormons see as great spiritual insight is pure folly the product of false prophets.

  18. Olsen Jim says:

    Martin,

    I think we may be making things a little more complicated than they need to be.

    My point is that you and I can both have the influence of the Holy Ghost in our lives, yet come to different conclusions about the BOM, etc. The reason for this, as I was suggesting, is that you may approach your normal worship activies and Bible study in a different manner than the way you approach the BOM. In other words, could it be that you seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost more humbly and just differently than when you “study” the BOM? If you start out with the conclusion that Joseph was a fraud, etc. etc., your approach certainly would be affected. That is my simple point. And I am not claiming I am without bias either.

    liv4jc- No, I have no idea what the reformed Egyptian symbol for Christ was. Do you know what letters from the Hebrew language form the word Jehovah (without looking them up)?

    And I disagree- we don’t “just have Joseph Smith’s word.” We have the entire BOM. Do we just have “Moses’ word” about Genesis? Where are the manuscripts from which he got his record?

    And I am betting you actually know very little about the real issues related to the BOA. Understanding them requires digging a little deeper than the typical youtube anti video.

    Kinderhood plates. What proof is there that Joseph EVER attempted a translation? There is none. If he had, why was it never published? Where are the manuscripts? Why didn’t Joseph buy the plates as offered? Why did the individuals who wanted to prove Joseph a fraud and who made the plates never come out and “expose” him as a fraud. The truth about those plates only came out decades later. It seems to me if Joseph had falsely translated the plates, the creators of them would have published their successful exposure of him to the world. This is a non-issue based entirely on hearsay without a shred of evidence. But that is true of almost all arguments of this nature against Joseph.

  19. liv4jc says:

    Jim, the point is that I can at least look up the Hebrew characters and get scholarly agreement from both Jewish, Christian, and secular sources that they do in fact spell YHWH. Whether or not that is in fact the name of God is a matter of faith, but the language was not made up out of whole cloth. What part of this discussion do you not understand? You have no evidence outside of personal belief that Joseph ever had the plates. As far as the BoM goes, so what? Can Stephen King claim to have found ancient records then write a book about the supposed culture? I’ll bet he could seeing he is a much more accomplished and convincing author than JS. What about L. Ron Hubbard? That false prophet has duped millions with a story that is completely irrational to the rational mind. JS’s story is just as ridiculous to Christians as L. Ron Hubbard’s is to you (I assume). Do we rely upon a Scientologist’s testimony without empirical objective evidence? No. Why not? Because the story is ridiculous.

    Another nail in the coffin for the BoM is the very presence of the name Jesus Christ in the first books. The presence of the name Jesus Christ in pre-Babylonian Judaism, the manner of His death, the subsitutionary atonement made by God, etc. should be foreign ideas at that time. How does Nephi know these things? Because Joseph knew these things and Nephi is a product of Joseph’s imagination. Case closed. The Bible is a work of continuing revelation. God chose not to reveal the fullness of the good news of salvation until it was revealed in Jesus Christ. The presence of fully formed Christian doctrine in the BoM is an anachronism that should be examined and refuted.

    You will continue to believe because it is too painful to realize that you are a dupe. Ask any former Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness or any other former member of a cult how hard it is to come to grips with the psychological damage done by cult leaders.

  20. setfree says:

    …. also,

    “Jesus”, in the Greek, means “YHWH is Salvation”

    Just His name said who He was. A fulfillment of prophecy, the very One.

    What on earth did it mean to the people on the Americas? Not a dang thing…

  21. grindael says:

    Jim,

    How about answering ANY of the comments? And is ‘snippets’ a Mormon word? Seems a lot of Mormons use it. My post hardly has ‘snippets’ in it. You could start with a factual explanation of the olive tree in Jacob. What about it SPECIFICALLY makes you draw the conclusion you do? As for Kinderhook, anyone interested can go here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeLlOLswyuQ

    I made a video about it. And those who are truly familiar with the story know Smith did not make a ‘translation’. He did though, say they were authentic as attributed by William Clayton and others. This alone shows Smith was a false prophet. Also, where did Fugate ‘offer’ to sell them to Smith? As to why Fugate did not expose him, he was waiting for Smith to do the translation he promised, but Smith’s last year was spent bedding women & hiding from the law. He was finally murdered before he could address it. The plates were finally donated to a museum. What is important here are the comments Smith made about them and the fact that they were lauded by Mormons for over a hundred years as authentic: the Mormons refused to believe Fugate’s story until tests were done on the re-found plate many years later. It does not seem too hard to fool Mormon Prophets, even the ones who wear business suits. Hoffman fooled them quite easily in the 1980’s.

  22. grindael says:

    Mr. R.B. Stout has asked me post a response to some of the claims made about Professor Anthon on ‘The Promise to Abraham Thread’. Just a heads up in case anyone is interested. It is at the end of the Thread.

    He has also addressed comments about ‘A Singular Discovery’ in an e-mail to me, which I have sent on to Sharon & perhaps she will post them at a later time.

    I want to thank him for his graciousness in replying to my inquiries to him (since he has done extensive research on the topic of the ‘caractors’) because he can answer the questions about them & chiatic structures much better than I can.

    He also has a link where anyone can contact him on the site

    http://olivercowdery.com/smithhome/2000s/2001RBSt.htm

    where anyone can contact him directly about it. Just click on ‘the author’ at the beginning of the article. He is very accessible and open to answering any questions.

  23. setfree says:

    Jim said: “Your argument is that the BOM is not “God-centric.” It is very much a losing argumet.”

    The thing is, I could start right now, and go through the Book of Mormon, and write down all the things that I’m talking about, one after the other, and explain them to you…. and you would blow it off. Is it an issue you really want to think about? If I’m wrong, and you really do, then I’ll restart the discussion with “evidence #2”. You call it.

    You also said “Yes. Those who conducted the research on BOM references to Jesus Christ included all references and names used to identify Him. They used the same concept with the Bible”.

    Now, I don’t believe this for a minute. Since your source does not believe that there is only one God (tell me I’m wrong?), then the source did not take into consideration all the OT verses about God. Do you have a link or something that you can refer us to, to substantiate your claims?

    Nonetheless… like we agreed, one could write a book with Jesus as the only word, which would definitely make the book “saturated” with “Jesus”. But, would it be God centric? No. Why not? Well, for starters, Jesus-who?

  24. Olsen Jim says:

    Grindael,

    Great. Let’s focus on Jacob 5.

    Olive trees are wild unless cultivated. Their fruit is inedible without pruning, watering, and cultivating. This is different than apple tree and other fruit trees. While optimum fruit production is seen with careful cultivation of these other fruit trees, their fruit is edible even when the tree is aloud to overgrow. In Jacob 5, the fruit from the wild olive trees is not edible, but “good for nothing.”

    Olive trees also are different in that a single tree can have both wild and tame fruit (not talking about infections, etc.). This is described in Jacob 5.

    Second point: Pruning was a part of nineteenth-century American horticultural practice, but any familiarity Joseph may have had with this would have been with vines and deciduous trees in which “pruning has to consider the wood on which fruit would be borne the next year. In contrast, the pruning of the olive, a subtropical evergreen fruit tree, is initially for training to make it into a tree rather than a bush, and second for rejuvenation-or, more appropriately, survival. In the nine times the word pruning is used in the parable, survival rather than increased fruit production, is implied. Survival pruning reverses the aging process by altering the balance of regulators (hormones). It is not the type of pruning Joseph Smith knew.” (Arthur Wallace, The Allegory of the Tame and Wild Olive Trees Horticulturally)

    John Gee and Daniel C. Peterson have discussed the writings of Columella, an ancient Roman writer, on the topic of olive cultivation. This ancient farmer and writer records the common custom of placing a villa above the vineyards, which would mean that when the master and owner of the vineyard gives instructions to his servants, they have to “go down” into the vineyard, just as described in Jacob 5.

    Please explain these 4 things that Joseph really could not have known about cultivating olive trees.

  25. Olsen Jim says:

    Liv4jc,

    You criticize the BOM because it includes “the manner of [Christ’s] death, the substitutionary atonement made by God, etc.,” things that “should be foreign ideas at that time.” I guess God came up with a very poor system in the Law of Moses to teach His people about the atoning sacrifice of His Son. Just because there were a great many ancient Israelites who didn’t get the message doesn’t mean nobody did.

    You also say “You will continue to believe because it is too painful to realize that you are a dupe.” Such rhetoric reveals anything but a thoughtful, objective, academic approach.

    Setfree,

    You stated: “Since your source does not believe that there is only one God (tell me I’m wrong?), then the source did not take into consideration all the OT verses about God.”

    You demonstrate very well the bias and the quality of assumptions made so often by BOM critics.

    Some 101 appellations for Jesus are found in the 3,925 references to Christ in the Book of Mormon’s 6,607 verses (Susan Easton Black, Finding Christ Through the Book of Mormon, pp. 16-30).

    The BOM teaches of the pre-eminent role of the birth, life, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It explains His mission, atonement, and the need for all souls to come unto Him and be saved. It does this over, and over, and over, and over in every possible way. Its obvious core message is the need for mankind to accept Christ and follow Him. I am sure you can find verses that speak of Lehi living in a tent and other somewhat trivial details and say it is not “God-centric.” But that is plain silly. Read the book and tell me its focus is not Christ.

  26. grindael says:

    From the Bible we find two main passages that provide the basis for Jacob 5 and some shorter passages that provide supplementary material. The primary passages are Isaiah’s parable of the vineyard, contained in Isaiah 5:1-7 & Paul’s discussion of the relationship of Israel to the Gentiles (Romans 11:16-24), in which he used the metaphor of an olive tree.

    That these two passages provided the framework upon which Smith built his parable is evident from several sources. First, both passages were quoted by Smith earlier in the Book of Mormon. Isaiah’s song of the vineyard is found in II Nephi 15; Paul was alluded to in I Nephi 10:12-14 and other passages.

    The theme of a well-tended vineyard, which failed to produce good fruit, is also a major theme of Isaiah’s passage. Also, the contrast between wild and tame (or natural) fruit is found in Isaiah. From Paul’s discourse, Smith obtained the idea of wild and natural branches, as well as one of his other major themes, that of cross-grafting branches between trees. There are also a few verbatim quotes from Isaiah, specifically the landowner’s lament ‘What could I have done more for my vineyard?’ (Jacob 5:41). This is echoed in Isaiah’s parable ‘What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it?’ (Isaiah 5:4) As pruning for survival rather than increased fruit production, the apologist says it is implied. & says it is not a type of pruning Smith knew. How does he know this? Smith grew up right here in western NY where I live, and the amount of orchards here is staggering. Pruning any living tree by taking the bad branches off of it is not such a stretch of the imagination and does not prove anything.

    The concept of unfruitful branches being hewn down and burnt (Jacob 5:42,46,47,49,66) is found in Matthew 3:10 and John 15:6. Matthew 3:10 was quoted verbatim in Alma 5:52 (which was dictated before the book of Jacob, according to some theories).

  27. grindael says:

    Verse 8 of Matthew 3, (‘Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance’) is quoted several times in the Book of Mormon (Alma 12:15;13:13;34:30).

    The most telling piece of evidence, however, is that fact that the two passages are built on slightly different metaphors. Isaiah use a vineyard to represent Israel (Isaiah 5:7), while Paul used an olive tree. It is interesting that the Zenos appears to display some confusion about his metaphor. The parable of the vineyard begins with Israel as an olive tree located in a vineyard (Jacob 5:3). However, halfway through the narrative, the metaphor suddenly switches to the vineyard itself, significantly, just at the point that the BOM quotes Isaiah (Jacob 5:41). From this point on, Smith repeatedly refers to ‘the trees of the vineyard’, apparently forgetting that the parable started out with olive trees as the primary metaphor, not grapevines.

    There are at least three shorter passages that provided structural material for Zenos’ parable. The concept of the Lord of the Vineyard and his servant, for example, is found in one of Jesus’ parables, recorded in Luke 13:6-9]. From this passage, we find the source of Smith’s repeated reference to the useless branches ‘cumbering’ the ground and the trees (Jacob 5:9,30,44,49,66). It is from this passage, too, that Smith obtained the references to ‘digging and dunging’ (Jacob 5:47,64,76). We also here find the servant counseling his master against the wholesale destruction of the vineyard, a scene which is repeated in Zenos’ parable (Jacob 5:26,27 and Jacob 5:49,50).

    And thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, is right there in Romans. That is what the allegory is all about, wild and tame fruit. Again, this is not earthshaking stuff here. It is right there among the source material like everything else. Here is a Bible Commentary from the 1800’s on Romans 11: “And you, Gentiles, ought to remember that, you were of yourselves a wild olive-tree:

  28. grindael says:

    and it is only by the merciful call of God, that you have the happiness to be ingrafted upon the same root of the patriarchs; and so, by imitating the faith of Abraham, are become his spiritual children, and heirs of the promises, and by that means have been made partakers of the root, and of the sap, and fatness of the sweet olive-tree. Remember that you bear not the root, nor were you the root that was holy; but the root beareth you; and that BEING THE BRANCHES OF A WILD OLIVE, YOU OUGHT NATURALLY STILL TO BEAR BAD FRUIT, though ingrafted on the root of a sweet olive. It is only by the mercies of God, if you bring forth good fruit.” Again, it is no hard stretch for Smith to have had access to a Bible Commentaries of the time and know about olive trees and their fruit (wild & tame on same tree, etc). No Mormon I know has even thought of this idea.

    In Psalms 80:14-16, the writer tells the Lord to Look down from heaven and visit this vine, and the vineyard which thy right hand has planted…1 Kings 21:18, ‘Ahab rose up to GO DOWN TO the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it. Here we see this right in the Bible where Smith had access to the concept of ‘going down’ to the vineyard.

    As an interesting aside, it should be noted that Ethan Smith referred to several of these source passages in the View of the Hebrews. On page 62, we find a reference to Israel being “grafted in again”. On page 254, the author quotes Luke “why cumbereth it the ground?”. Ethan Smith also quoted and expounded on large portions of Isaiah, specifically with regard to Israel’s restoration. He quoted Isaiah 5:26 on page 235, and Isaiah 5:13 on page 236. He also referred to the ripening of the vineyard as a sign of the end-times on page 243.

    Romans 11:16-24

    11:16 For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.
    11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in

  29. grindael says:

    among them, & with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
    11:18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.
    11:19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.
    11:20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:
    11:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
    11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
    11:23 And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.
    11:24 For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?

    Luke 13:6-9

    13:6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
    13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
    13:8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
    13:9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

    [4] Matthew 3:10

    3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    [5] John 15:6

    15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

    Rather than being an actual ancient parable, Zenos’ story of the Vineyard is actually a conflation of several sources.

  30. falcon says:

    I’m wondering why a Mormon sect like the Community of Christ, which was headed by Joseph Smith’s son and of which Joseph Smith’s wife was a member, gives their members the option of viewing the BoM as a “spiritual” book rather than an actual history. To my way of thinking, this Mormon group has pretty much figured it out and have moved-on. When asked how Joseph Smith wrote the BoM, Mormon Grant Palmer and the author of “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” said that Smith used the Bible, his experiences in evangelical Christian revivalism, topics that were “in the air” or his environment like the indians being descendant from a lost tribe of Jews and his (Smith’s) own creativity.
    Quite frankly, the first time I heard the story of the magic glasses and the gold plates I couldn’t believe that anyone would believe anything so absurd. All these years later I’m of the same opinion but I have clearer insights into why people accept and believe false prophets. There’s a market niche that will follow just about any false prophet if his story is compelling enough. The Bible tells us that without knowledge the people perish. This is the case with Mormons. Having accepted Smith’s false premises they will support those premises by any means possible.
    We can never discount the pull that the spirit of the antiChrist exerts over those willing to give themselves over to his control. The truth of God’s revelation is found in (God’s) Word the Holy Bible. Having maligned this revelation, Mormons willingly follow a cunning and deceitful spirit that will lead them to their ultimate destruction.

  31. Olsen Jim says:

    Grindael,

    Thanks for the response.

    But you really haven’t addressed the 4 points I made:

    1. The first issue is the purpose for pruning olive trees. You said, “Pruning any living tree by taking the bad branches off of it is not such a stretch of the imagination and does not prove anything.” But as I reported, all of the species of fruit trees and vines in NY in 1830 would have been pruned for the purpose of increase the yield of fruit. Olive trees are different, and one of the main purposes for pruning them is for their survival. And all of the nine references to pruning in Jacob 5 are in the context of the survival of the tree(s). Joseph would not have known that. You have not accounted for that.

    2. The only other point you tried to address was “going down to the vineyard” idea and phrase. I suppose the existence of that phrase once in the book of 1 Kings makes it possible for Joseph to have used that reference as a guide for writing the allegory. But I think that is a long shot. Ahab was going to conquer the vineyard, not cultivate it. But fine, you offered a rebuttal.

    You haven’t addressed the concept of one olive tree having both wild and tame fruit independent of the practice of grafting.

    Neither did you address the idea that fruit from wild olive trees is not edible as discussed in Jacob 5. The fruit from apple trees and vines is edible. It is just that the yield from a tree is poor if it is not cultivated appropriately.

    What you have provided is Bible references that allude to the olive tree and vineyard symbolizing Israel. These references are quite short and undeveloped when compared with the allegory from Zenos. The fact that similarities exist does not prove that Zenos’ text is fraudulent.

  32. Olsen Jim says:

    You must explain how Joseph incorporated correct olive tree horticulture with which he could not have been familiar and ancient olive tree symbolism in a very well developed and detailed prose that fits ancient Hebrew writing. Showing similarities between the allegory and the brief allusions to olive trees in the Bible doesn’t explain it all away.

    Gee and Peterson have noted that Jacob 5 follows the Hebrew narrative pattern as laid down by Robert Alter, The Art of Biblical Narrative.

    There are reasons to believe that both Paul and Zenos based their writings upon a text that preceded them both and whose symbolism permeated the culture’s subsequent religious writers.

    Jacob uses the allegory in the perfectly appropriate context as well. James E. Faulconer notes that “nowhere but in Jacob and Romans do we find the close conjunction of the themes of killing the prophets, blindness, stumbling, and apostasy, as well as an element in both texts associating those events with the act of God. In both cases the conjunction of these themes is followed by the use of the olive tree metaphor.”

    Before the allegory, Jacob says, “Wherefore, because of their blindness, . . . they must needs fall; . . . and because they desired it God hath done it, that they may stumble.”

    Paul also attributes the agency of these events to God (“God hath given them the spirit of slumber”).

    The list of things Joseph had to understand and take into consideration in order to write Jacob 5 is very much unrealistic. It would be difficult for a trained linguist to achieve, let alone an uneducated farm boy who didn’t even know Jerusalem had city walls.

  33. grindael says:

    Jim,
    Some observations. Can you tell me where any non LDS expert says “one of the main purposes for pruning them is for their survival. ”

    Here is why you prune olive trees:

    “The olive tree needs careful pruning every other year when it produces flowers and then olives.

    Why Prune an Olive Tree

    Olive tree care involves pruning for several reasons: first, to reduce the weight of the olive fruit on the limbs. Second, prune to allow more light into the center of the tree’s canopy so olives there can ripen. Third, prune to reshape the tree so branches grow outward. Harvesting lateral branches is easier than picking from treetops.

    I’ve been all over the internet, and no where have I read that one of the main reasons to prune an olive tree is for survival.

    Again, quote me where olive trees have wild and tame fruit independent of grafting. No LDS sources please.

    Remember that you bear not the root, nor were you the root that was holy; but the root beareth you; and that BEING THE BRANCHES OF A WILD OLIVE, YOU OUGHT NATURALLY STILL TO BEAR BAD FRUIT, though ingrafted on the root of a sweet olive. It is only by the mercies of God, if you bring forth good fruit.

    Bad fruit from a wild olive, quoted above from an 1800’s Bible Commentary, and there were lots of those around. Also, being religious, olive tree allegories were probably preached & Smith could have gotten info there. There are too many ways Smith could have learned what he did. As for taking Emma’s comment about the Jerusalem walls at face value, I’d be careful going down that road.

    As for correct olive tree horticulture, I’ll stand by the plagiarism. It’s obvious. And Please, are there any non-LDS sources for any of your information? They obviously have a bias. And please stop with the Joseph could NOT have know that. Were you there? You cannot PROVE what you ASSUME someone did not know. I’ve shown that there was enough info out there. Just like ‘going DOWN to the Vineyard’, it was in the Bible.

  34. grindael says:

    And how do you explain this:

    The most telling piece of evidence, however, is that fact that the two passages are built on slightly different metaphors. Isaiah use a vineyard to represent Israel (Isaiah 5:7), while Paul used an olive tree. It is interesting that the Zenos appears to display some confusion about his metaphor. The parable of the vineyard begins with Israel as an olive tree located in a vineyard (Jacob 5:3). However, halfway through the narrative, the metaphor suddenly switches to the vineyard itself, significantly, just at the point that the BOM quotes Isaiah (Jacob 5:41). From this point on, Smith repeatedly refers to ‘the trees of the vineyard’, apparently forgetting that the parable started out with olive trees as the primary metaphor, not grapevines.

  35. setfree says:

    Jim, what is the book of Ruth about? any idea?

  36. liv4jc says:

    I don’t know about you all, but I have never seen any references to horticulture, olive trees, vines, vineyards, vineyard keepers, vine dressers, etc. in the Bible. Due to the lack of agricultural references in the Bible it is totally impossible that Joseph Smith, someone in his family or in his company could have ever heard a teaching or a sermon on any non-existent text in the Bible. This information comes totally out of the blue. The evidence is clear: Nephi was a real Nephite and knew all about horticulture from growing up in Jerusalem. Joseph was a profit of god.

    Jim, thoughtful, academic approaches do not work with people who are blinded by their traditions and folklore. Look at the Pharisees. God Himself lived among them, did miracles, and said things that you and I will never know, yet He did not convince everyone of His deity and that He was the Christ. I certainly do not believe that I can convince you outside the work of the Holy Spirit by any argument I make. When it is your time to be convinced…if it will ever be your time to be convinced, you will be convicted by God Himself that the LDS church is not presenting the “restored gospel of Jesus Christ”, but another gospel of Jesus Christ. But there is hope, based upon the fact that many have been liberated from the LDS church by this ministry, which is why I continue to express my opinion to them through you. But I am still praying for you and the other LDS who post here.

  37. liv4jc says:

    Jim said, “The BOM teaches of the pre-eminent role of the birth, life, and atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It explains His mission, atonement, and the need for all souls to come unto Him and be saved. It does this over, and over, and over, and over in every possible way. Its obvious core message is the need for mankind to accept Christ and follow Him. I am sure you can find verses that speak of Lehi living in a tent and other somewhat trivial details and say it is not “God-centric.” But that is plain silly. Read the book and tell me its focus is not Christ.”

    Wow, that is truly amazing. The BoM is totally unique. Never in the history of the world has any collection of books, histories, or letters been compiled that conveys that message. Even if such a work did exist there is no possible way that Joseph Smith could have access to such a rare book to use it as a template to pawn of the BoM as a record of ancient people that lived on this continent. I’ve changed my mind. I’m with Jim. The evidence for the BoM is overwhelming. His argument has convinced me. I need the Jesus Christ of the Book of Mormon. The Jesus of the BoM tells me to join the LDS church, go to the Temple like the Nephites did, receive the Melchizedek priesthood like the Nephites did, be married in the LDS temple like the Nephites did, have my wife and kids sealed to me like the Nephites did, and follow all of God’s rules, plus a few more revealed to Joseph Smith, like the Nephites did. How else would I ever learn of Him and how to become a god like the Nephites did?

  38. bfwjr says:

    Readers:
    The truth is plain to see. G-d’s plan is not complicated. It doesn’t take a whole lot of faith.

    Beware of, Denial
    a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

  39. Olsen Jim says:

    U.C. Davis school of Agriculture mentions the important role of pruning in rejuvenating an olive tree in a section entitled “Rejuvenating neglected [Olive] Trees.”

    “Old olives require a special pruning treatment. Because the new growth will be produced near the cut, any major canopy-lowering pruning needs to be pretty drastic. The standard practice is to spread the process out over three years, removing one third of the tree at a time. The hardest part for most people is making the cuts low enough. ….You have to make those big cuts at 4-5 feet. If they are much higher, you will end up with an unmanageably tall tree again (and probably end up pruning again).” (University of California Cooperative Extension, Newsletter of Olive Oil production and Evaluation, Volume 2, Number 3 Spring ’07)

    I take it from the reading I have done that the reason this process is so important to the olive tree is because they can live so long. While other fruit trees last decades, the olive tree can live many centuries, even millennia. And this is why this process is so important to olive trees. They can be wild for a long time, nothing more than a bush or shrub, but be salvaged and rejuvenated and saved through careful pruning and care. So over the lifetime of an olive tree, this process of pruning is especially important- in a way peculiar to this type of tree.

    The phenomenon of an olive tree producing both wild and tame fruit is the result of a process called “bud sports.” It is a genetic mutation which results in wild fruit. One tree can have both types, wild and tame fruit, independent of any grafting.

    Can you offer a more specific date than “the 1800s” for the bible commentary you quote? It was quite a brief allusion to the olive tree. It doesn’t add much to what is already in Romans.

    You say “Also, being religious, olive tree allegories were probably preached & Smith could have gotten info there.”

    This is very weak. You are reaching with that statement.

  40. Olsen Jim says:

    New Testament scholars including W.D. Davis, Ernst Kasemann, Anthony Tyrell Hanson, and H.J. Shoeps have independently concluded that given the lack of detail in Paul’s usage of the olive tree metaphor in Romans, he was assuming his audience understood the background and symbolism of the olive tree. This is consistent with the idea that there was a powerful cultural, religious, and historical context for this metaphor- it didn’t start with Paul. And this is consistent with my contention that both Jacob 5 and Romans 11 draw from the same ancient tradition or text.

    Yet there are key differences between Jacob 5 and Romans- striking differences. But this is not a problem for Jacob. Actually, this would suggest that Joseph DIDN’T simply expand the concepts of which Paul spoke.

    You argue there is “confusion” in Jacob 5 about the identity of Israel. Is she the one olive tree, or is she the vineyard? Was Joseph confused?

    The transition from the olive tree being the sole symbol for Israel to the whole vineyard representing Israel is a very intentional development. And it gets to the very core of why Israel is so important to the Lord.

    God made a covenant with Abraham: “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” God also promised Abraham “and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. “

    In addition to the sense in which Christ fulfilled this promise by blessing the whole world, Abraham’s posterity would spread throughout the earth into all nations. In the latter days, the restored gospel would be preached. And the seed of Abraham would hear the gospel message and be restored to the covenants of their father(s). This is God’s brilliant and beautiful manner of extending the blessings of the gospel to all the “families of the world.”

  41. Olsen Jim says:

    And this is represented in the allegory from the ancient prophet Zenos in Jacob 5. Israel starts as a single tree and eventually fills the earth through planting and grafting – she occupies all the vineyard. That is the reason for the transition in Jacob 5. There is absolutely no “confusion.”

    P.S. Jacob 5 says nothing about grapes.

    liv4jc,

    So now you are changing your tune- it is only through the Holy Ghost that one sees the light. An academic approach won’t work? Sounds a little familiar. Haven’t you and others said in the past that you try to lay out the “evidence” to convince people like me of the fraud that is the BOM and LDS church? And that a person must look at the evidence, not depending solely on the Holy Ghost? Are you now agreeing with Moroni 10?

    And I think you must have a short memory- my explanation of the BOM’s core message about Christ was a response to your claim that it was not a “God-centric” book. It was not an attempt to prove the book is true. Pay attention.

    bfwjr- “overwhelming evidence?” Anything to offer but rhetoric?

  42. bfwjr says:

    bfwjr- “overwhelming evidence?”
    Read the board Jim.

  43. grindael says:

    Olive trees are pruned for their OLIVES, not for ‘survival’. Smith did not do a step by step. Nothing too complicated here. It is apologists that are reaching here and I am not trying to do a ‘definitive’ explanation, just putting alternatives out there. But this is a minor side issue blown up to be ‘self important’ because basically, the LDS have so few straws to cling to in regards to the BOM. I’ve read Jacob 5 many times and it is not ‘deep’ or ‘stunning’ except to LDS apologists. Imagine that. Again the wild and tame, the allegory Smith used is being twisted into something it is not. He went down into the vineyard. Is every vineyard down in a valley, etc, etc. The BOM is a plagiarized work of fiction by Smith, and there is no historical, archeological or any other ‘evidence’ to back it up except for the desperate attempts to make it a literary masterpiece that only exists in the minds of LDS apologists and those that want to believe what they are selling.

  44. grindael says:

    For those who want to see some real evidence of how ridiculous the claims are in relation to the BOM, here is a side by side Map of Upstate NY at the time of Smith, & the BOM names he obviously made up. It would be time better spent trying to refute evidence like this instead of making up grand claims of stunning literary achievements on the part of Smith.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/grindael/MormonPicturesInfo#5444355304482658098

    http://picasaweb.google.com/grindael/MormonPicturesInfo#5444355304913750882

  45. setfree says:

    Personally, I like this version of Moroni 10:4

    “And when ye shall receive these things I would exhort you that ye use the mind that God has given you; that ye would consider the many contradictions between what you read in the pages of this book and what the Mormon Church teaches”

  46. Olsen Jim says:

    Grindael,

    You appear to be backing away from the issue. You are jumping back to the broad-stroke talking points against the BOM. Do you have any rebuttal to my points about the Allegory from Zenos?

    Parables were shared by Christ to teach princples to thoses who listened with their hearts. In that way, the message remained hidden from those who would not hear. This very much applies to Jacob 5.

    Do you want to jump ship to another issue with the BOM. I just reread a book on the Anthon transcript. Or we can continue with Jacob 5- there is plenty more to talk about.

  47. grindael says:

    Jim,
    I addressed your points. You have your opinion, and those of only LDS Apologists. Maybe you could address the 20 or 30 false prophecies I posted. If the root is bad, the tree is bad. I’m not jumping ship, there just IS no ship.

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