Authorized and Official Biography

A new book about Joseph Smith is about to hit the market. A recent online press release divulged,

“Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, could be the most controversial and mysterious religious figure of the past two hundred years. While volumes have been written about him— both in praise and contempt— the reality is that very little is known about what occupied his thoughts and the meaning behind his actions…

“This book, Without Disclosing His True Identity— the Authorized and Official Biography of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith Jr., will answer every question ever considered about the beginnings of Mormonism.”

With an impressive title and an equally impressive promise, this book sounds pretty interesting. The author, Christopher (no last name), states that his book does not rely on previous histories and source documents, all of which have been used by competing branches of Mormonism and critics to paint a picture of Joseph Smith to their own liking. Christopher asks, “Does anyone actually know the real truth?” (Introduction, p. 3). His answer may be somewhat surprising. Yes, someone does know the real truth, and that someone is Joseph Smith. The author’s claim is that this book is written under the direction of the resurrected Joseph, himself.

Christopher explains,

“Joseph Smith Jr., like his predecessor Moroni, is a living, advanced (resurrected) human being living on another planet near our own solar system. He is waiting for the time to come when he will reveal himself, along with other advanced human beings, to a world of unaware free-willed human beings; thus helping to save them from their own demise. If the angel Moroni is real, then why can‘t—why shouldn‘t—the resurrected Joseph be? The proper protocol for revealing information to the world was shown in the example of how Joseph Smith received his mission and the instructions to carry it out from Moroni and other resurrected beings.

“Because Joseph is a real person, he has the power to tell his own story and explain his own history. His own words will confound the wisdom of the learned historian and everyone else who pretends to know who Joseph was and what he accomplished during his tenure as a mortal upon this earth. Some might question the veracity of his existence and this presentation of his true history, claiming that if Joseph does indeed exist, then he should present himself to the whole world as a resurrected being and tell it from his own mouth. The same could be required of Moroni. But there was only ONE man who ever saw the angel Moroni and claimed to have received instruction from him through face-to- face communication. And there is only ONE man who has ever seen the angel Joseph and claims to have received instruction from him through face-to-face communication.” (Introduction, p. 5)

The publisher’s website provides more detail:

“Through Christopher, the resurrected Joseph Smith Jr. will now finally disclose his true identity to the world and explain the real truth about what happened from the time that he as a young boy, first inquired into the concept of religious thought, to the time of his martyrdom in Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844.  Through Christopher, and under the direct auspices of the resurrected Joseph, the real truth behind the establishment of an organized church, priesthood, ordinances, and everything else associated with his name will be revealed in its fullness.”

Is this exciting news for Mormons? Imagine, Joseph Smith himself setting the record straight, clearing away any misunderstandings, and clarifying debated doctrines!

I suspect the thought of this book does not generate hopefulness and electrified anticipation among Latter-day Saints. Christopher says,

“This information will put to rest, once and for all, any misconception of who Joseph Smith Jr. was and what he was commanded to do. Unfortunately, once these things are finally revealed, all sects of Mormonism will find themselves in a dilemma of forced self-introspect. ” (Introduction, p. 2)

But still. What if it’s true? Will Mormons read, ponder and pray about the things revealed in the Authorized and Official Biography of the Mormon Prophet Joseph Smith Jr.?

One might apply the words of LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley (with a few alterations) to this new history: “This sacred book, which came forth as a revelation of the Prophet Joseph Smith, is indeed another testament of the calling of our Prophet. I would think that the whole Mormon world would reach out and welcome it and embrace it as a vibrant testimony.”

Will you?

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 Joseph Smith, Mormon Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Authorized and Official Biography

  1. thorninyrside says:

    Oh, this should be truly fascinating if it holds up to the promises it makes!

  2. kylyo21 says:

    I suspect most Mormons can easily shove this aside. Whenever I ask my Mormon buddy about things like this he always comes back to the whole “standard doctrine” thing. You know the Bible, BoM, Pearl, what the President says, etc. Even though that is truly impossible for my friend to define it proves fruitless conversation.

  3. grindael says:

    I have read this man’s entire introduction, [Sharon clued me about this in advance – thank you Sharon] and the book promos, and find it fascinating.

    He claims the resurrected Joseph has appeared to him to give him the ‘lowdown’ on his ‘real’ mission. This is either a marketing ploy to sell a book, or the man is sincere and truly off his rocker. What is interesting is that Smith himself claimed to have ‘revelations’ from a resurrected being, [Moroni] but the Church has it’s proper authority doctrine all locked up, so I don’t see many TBM’s buying this guy’s story. He is also fixated on the word ‘notebook’.

  4. setfree says:

    I wonder… did Christopher try to shake Joe’s hand? LOL

  5. falcon says:

    WOW! This is soooooo cool! Will the book be titled “Channeling Joseph”. This really gets to the heart and soul of Mormonism. There’s a real problem with modern LDS Mormonism. No more good stuff like the signers Declaration of Independence making a play for dead dunking. That was the account of President Willford Woodruff. Martin Harris was having visions and all sorts of neat stuff all of the time.
    Alas, no more. Mormonism has gone very staid and boring. Maybe with the publication of this book, there will be a run on magic rocks. I think the guy should include a coupon for one with the book!

  6. liv4jc says:

    Why would Joseph come back to speak with someone on earth? Isn’t he busy being a god of his own universe by now? Moroni must have messed something up in life to get stuck being nothing more than an angel, right? Is Christopher saying that Joseph ranks no higher than an angel? If Christopher was smart he would have said that the angel Joseph directed him to some plates written by Adam that were buried near Adam-ondi-Ahmon in Missouri. The plates could have revealed that Joseph was on the right track when he changed the message of the Bible and the BoM regarding the nature of God, man, and salvation. It could have revealed that the writings of the Book of Moses and Abraham, translated by the power of god by Joseph, were much closer to the truth that had been corrupted by the time the Bible and BoM were written. The lost book of Adam could have been the earliest record ever. It could tell all about who Adam really was (the Ancient of Days, Michael), and the events that occurred in the Garden that gave man the opportunity to become gods by eating the fruit in order to obtain mortal bodies, just like BY said. So many plain and precious truths could have been restored, but alas, Christopher has wasted his chance by writing about Joseph Smith’s history. O’ to have Joseph’s hubris!

  7. grindael says:

    Did Smith come back willingly, or was he ordered back by incantation? Did the author have a peep stone that led him to Smith? Interesting questions…

  8. falcon says:

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that some clever, creative, convincing and enterprising person with an awesome magic rock or crystal, could contact Joseph Smith……..I mean someone in the spirit world calling himself Joseph Smith. I’m surprised Smith hasn’t made an appearance at the temple. All the old Mormons were getting appearances of all sorts of spirit beings, in the old days.
    Let’s face it, there wasn’t anyone like Joseph Smith. The guy could bring it. The “prophets” since him don’t have one ounce of the diabolical genius of Smith. They are good, however, at polishing Smith’s image and making him into something he never was. All for their own benefit of course.

  9. Mike R says:

    As odd as this may seem, there will propbably
    be Mormons who receive a feeling, a personal
    witness that what this guy is saying is true.

    Will the LDS leadership invoke Gal.1:8-9 ?

  10. falcon says:

    See the thing that maintains Mormonism, to many Mormons, is the very “spiritual” sounding language regarding “god”, a form of piety, and the emphasis on right living. This gives the spirit of Mormonism its cover. Mormons do not practice any amount of spiritual discernment when it comes to where in the spirit world they are receiving their messages and feelings from. If someone will receive, by a supposed spiritual feeling, a “prophet” who was involved with occult and a religion that proudly displays occult symbols on its temples but rejects the cross of Christ as a symbol. Never mind that the apostle Paul said he wasn’t ashamed of the cross of Christ. But this is in the Bible, God’s revealed Word that Mormons pretend to respect but push aside in favor of “revelation” from a being out in the spirit world that they claim as their god.
    This guy channeling Joseph Smith will have some ready takers in the Mormon world. If only he can produce a magic rock!

  11. I don’t see modern Mormons buying it.

    The author, “Christopher”, is too easily dumped in the “loony” basket, and his agenda is palpably against the LDS movement.

    I imagine that LDS folks will react to this in the same way that Ev’s react to Dan Brown, or Erich Von Daniken. Modern LDS probably regard themselves as being too reasonable to accept Christopher’s revelations.

    So, the press release looks like a schlock horror tactic, designed to try and arouse enough outrage to get people to buy the book. Given that the rest of the world couldn’t give a rat’s backside about who Joseph Smith “really” was, and the LDS wouldn’t be interested, I think this book will die an early death, which IMHO, is a good thing.

  12. falcon says:

    Martin,
    Would it be that Mormons would show the same outrage over Smith’s involvement in the occult and the early Mormon leaders reporting all of their connections with spirit beings. Smith was channeling a spirit being called Moroni and reported any number of “sightings” of other visitors from the spirit world. Even today there are Mormons who are hot to spot a spirit of a dead person that’s getting the Mormon full octane treatment down at the local temple.
    But shrouding all of this in mystery and making it sound like a very spiritual experience gives cover to what’s really going on in there. It’s all about darkness disguising itself as light as the Bible clearly teaches.
    Let’s just hope that the release of this book might prick the consciences of a few Mormons and get them to examine the real source of their religion’s “spirituality”.

  13. falcon says:

    So this is the seductive nature of religions like Mormonism. There is a sense of spirituality, a feeling, an ambiance that is quite alluring. However it is a spiritual trap with attractive bait that causes the prey to ignore the danger lurking within.
    Mormons, for example, talk of God, Jesus, and the Spirit. They pray, seek God and in return get revelatory messages and what they contend is answers to prayers. They pronounce a strict moral code and have formal and informal enforcement mechanisms to keep the behavior of the faithful in check. As a side note, the moral code keeps things looking good to all of those on the outside while masking some significant social problems.
    But the spirit of Mormonism is not the Spirit of God who is revealed in the Bible. That’s why a guy writing a book where by he appears to be channeling Joseph Smith, would lure some Mormons in. Why not, they are already giving themselves over to a spirit god who was a man and became a god. What’s the big deal?

  14. falcon says:

    There was a Chinese Christian mystic by the name of Watchman Nee who wrote several books one of which is titled “The Latent Power of the Soul”. What he proposes in the book is interesting and in many ways explains at least one source of false spirituality. Now whether the guy is right on or not I don’t know, but he offers an interesting opinion.
    He writes:
    “The spirit and the soul are two totally different organs: one belongs to God, while the other belongs to man. By whatever names one may call them, they are completely distinct in substance. The peril of the believer is to confuse the spirit for the soul and the soul for the spirit, and so be deceived into accepting the counterfeit of evil spirits to the unsettling of God’s work……..The greatest advantage in knowing the difference between spirit and soul is in perceiving the latent power of the soul and in understanding its falsification of the power of the Holy Spirit. Such knowledge is not theoretical but practical in helping people to walk in God’s way.”
    First Corinthians 15:45-46 add some credibility to this point of view.
    So my point is that people claim spiritual experiences when in fact those spiritual experiences have a source different than the Spirit of God. I must mention here that not only do Mormons deny the God of the Bible in favor of a god of their own making, but they also deny God’s Spirit by saying the Spirit is a force. They postulate that their is another god called the Holy Ghost who, in contradiction of their own doctrine, never had a body so would be disqualified from being in the Mormon pantheon of gods.
    So we can see how easy it is for people to wander off track in all sorts of error basing their belief system on revelation confirmed by spiritual feelings. The guy writing this book after consulting with the spirit of Joseph Smith will find some ready takers especially among those for whom it feels good.

  15. bfwjr says:

    The resurrected Joseph Smith Jr. is most likely Christopher Marc Nemelka.

    His impressive history is documented here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Christopher_Marc_Nemelka

  16. bfwjr,

    I followed your link to the FAIR website. That’s the first time I’ve been there.

    One of the concluding remarks is

    So, Nemelka’s “Book of Lehi” claims that it won’t contradict anything in the Bible or Book of Mormon. But, when he does contradict the Book of Mormon a crucial point, he claims the Book of Mormon is in error. So, he doesn’t contradict—but if he contradicts, it isn’t a contradiction!

    Isn’t this the Pot calling the Kettle black?

    I mean, Mormonism doesn’t contradict the Bible, but when Mormonism proposes polytheism, it’s not a contradiction, so long as it is Mormonism that’s doing the proposing.

    Though, I guess to be fair (pun intended), the BoM aligns approximately to orthodox Christian doctrine. It even supports the doctrine of One God and (gasp!) includes rudimentary formulations for the Trinity.

    Another surprising aspect of the FAIR website (though I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised) is its focus on Nemelka’s personal circumstances. There’s a conflation of Nemelka’s claim to a prophetic calling (with its echoes of Samuel’s calling in 1 Samuel 3) and revelations, with his familial history (wives, jail sentences, outrageous and offensive comments etc).

    That’s an odd comparison to make, given Joseph Smith’s personal circumstances.

  17. bfwjr says:

    Martin
    Once again,we see the bizarre convolutions of Mormons attempting to explain their false gospel. Double standards, fatal blind-spots, and pretzel logic are the watermarks at FAIR/FARMS. On the positive side, we have seen a number of apologists actually explain they own way right out of Mormonism! I’m pretty sure Aaron could list some of the defectors. I know of at least three.

  18. falcon says:

    Oh man bfwjr,
    Am I digging that guy. Thanks for posting that link. It provided me with my morning’s entertainment and given me something to think about while I’m out pounding the pavement on my road bike (this morning). This dude would have been a perfect example for “Under the Banner of Heaven” by Jon Krakauer, a book I’d recommend for anyone interested in the prophetic effects and legacy of Joseph Smith. On page 72 Krakauer writes:
    “But perhaps the greatest attraction of Mormonism was that promise that each follower would be granted an extraordinarily intimate relationship with God. Joseph taught and encouraged his adherents to receive personal communiques straight from the Lord. Divine revelation formed the bedrock of the religion. God, of course, regularly communicated with Joseph as well his followers. The imparting of heavenly truth began with The Book of Mormon but by no means did it end there. The Lord routinely issued commandments to Joseph, continually revealing sacred principles that needed to be revised or changed outright. Indeed, the notion that each Mormon prophet receives guidance from an ongoing series of revelations was, and remains, one of the religion’s crucial tenets. These revelations are compiled in a thin volume titled The Doctrine and Covenants, which in some ways has supplanted The Book of Mormon as the latter-day Saints’ consequential scriptural text.”
    Now the problem is several fold with Mormons. The “hook” is divine revelation. Mormons see themselves as spiritually superior because they suppose that they are receiving these revelatory messages from God and are unique and special because of it. Denominational Christianity is seen as stuck on creeds and not privy to on going enlightenment from God. As a side note, Mormons need to go and spend some time with Pentecostal Christians and some with a different flavor who believe they are receiving constant communication from God.

  19. falcon says:

    In my mind this “revelatory” experience is a feature that Smith borrowed from Evangelical Christian revivalism of his era. Smith’s account of his trip to the woods (the first vision which he often revised), I believe, was borrowed from that of the testimony of evangelist Charles Finney.
    So this idea of divine revelation begs the questions as to from whom are the prophet(s) receiving their messages and are the messages consistent with God’s revealed Word, the Bible.
    Mormonism has to find fault with the Biblical text because it (Bible) does not support Mormonism. Or Mormonism has to torture the Bible into submission to squeeze (Mormonism) out of it. This latter exercise is accomplished by Mormons with a very creative process of Biblical interpretation.
    None-the-less, it’s the Mormon doctrine of the nature of God that is sufficient to reject Mormonism. Joseph Smith’s approach to proclaim in essence, “Christianity is wrong, I’m right.” has an appeal to certain segments of the population. The willingness of these folks to suspend credulity and rush headlong into an occult based religious experience that derives it’s spirituality from the dark side of the spirit world is testimony to the gullibility of those who don’t depend on God’s Word as guidance. Smith’s hocus pocus is sufficient to fool those who are willing to be attracted by any shiny spiritual object. Mormons are like moths flying ever closer to the flame of the candle until it consumes them.

  20. bfwjr says:

    Falcon,
    Mormonism is deceptive however you slice it. Strap someone into a reason-suppressing testimony, add self-righteousness, judgmental attitudes,and solipsism you end up with a lot of spiritual lunatics.
    My nut de jour is, Art Bulla at artbulla.com. In his hyper-self-absorbed state with delusions of grandeur, this guy thinks he is the one “mighty and strong” who will pull Mormonism back from its current state of apostasy.
    There is a thin line that separates non-psychotic from psychotic perception and ideation.For a multitude of reasons, Mormonism seems to breed a disproportionate number these delusional cranks.

  21. falcon says:

    Yes bfwjr,
    Krakauer’s book “Under the Banner of Heaven” is all about the delusion of being the one mighty and strong. The back cover says:

    “At the core of Krakauer’s book are brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who insist they received a commandment from God to kill a blameless woman and her baby girl. Beginning with a meticulously researched account of this appalling double murder, Krakauer constructs a multi-layered, bone-chilling narrative of messianic delusion, polygamy, savage violence, and unyielding faith. Along the way he uncovers a shadowy offshoot of America’s fastest growing religion, and raises provocative questions about the nature of religious belief.”
    This was the book that pushed Lyndon Lamborn to study more about the religion he had been born into (ancestors on both sides were polygamists), served a mission and callings within the LDS church. Eventually Lyndon was exed-out and became kind of a minor celebrity because it was announced that he’d be exed-out publicly during an LDS church service. He showed-up and the bishop (thinking “law suit”) decided that it would not be a good idea to publicly kick Lyndon out of the program.
    My point is that Lyndon was very happy being a Mormon until he started digging into the history of the religion he had served faithfully all his life. Lyndon is a very bright guy and he has a lot of integrity and yet he hadn’t a clue about Mormonism.

  22. Mormons seem to be conspicuous by their invisibility on this thread.

    I know there are “nuts-de-jour” (thanks for the phrase bwfjr) in ALL religions, Evangelical Christianity included.

    I also know it sounds hollow to an outsider if I say of any particular nut-de-jour in “my” church, “oh, he/she isn’t really Evangelical/Mormon/Whatever-religion-I-subscribe-to”. But, at least orthodox Christianity has a standard (canon) against which we can measure these guys, which is the Bible (and it’s not as elastic as some would like it to be).

    I guess the underlying thought in Sharon’s thread was that this author, “Christopher”, appears to have come out of the exact same mold as Joseph Smith himself.

    The dilemma for Mormons, then, is why follow the one and reject the other?

  23. falcon says:

    Yes Martin,
    The magic word…..”standards”. In business, industry, the military, education and religion standards are set by which performance can be measured. If the standard is not being met we say there is a “performance gap”. There are standards in orthodox Christianity by which we can measure whether or not a doctrine, practice or teaching can be considered within the family of orthodoxy. There are standards, set in the Bible by which revelation and other spiritual manifestations can be measured. When we discuss Biblical interpretation and exegesis there are basic standards under which we operate.
    Everyday is an exciting day for Mormons because a new revelation could be coming right around the corner. The new revelation can replace the old revelation as quickly as last year’s fashions are replaced by the new look.
    The first split in Mormonism came when Joseph Smith replaced his original Book of Commandments for the book of Doctrine and Covenants. When he did this, he was off and running and was able to do what ever he wanted. That’s when the real nutty stuff like god having been a man, men becoming gods and of course polygamy were introduced.
    Actually what Smith did is pretty much what all demigods and false prophets do. There were some people who called him on it, but Smith had the personal dynamics to pull it off. For a comparison of Mormon doctrine, compare the sects of Mormons known as the Community of Christ and Temple Lot to get a look at what original Mormonism looked like.

  24. bfwjr says:

    Martin,
    You stated “I guess the underlying thought in Sharon’s thread was that this author, “Christopher”, appears to have come out of the exact same mold as Joseph Smith himself.
    The dilemma for Mormons, then, is why follow the one and reject the other?”

    I think most LDS members are inoculated to these types (Christophers) to some extent by virtue of the fact that they exist is every LDS ward to some degree. The “guy in the Ward who has God in his back pocket.” Yuk! In my LDS family they were a frequent topic of conversation that provided hours of entertainment. We laughed, others dealt with them by confrontation, butting heads etc. I liked them because they would field any gospel question you could think of and they never said ” I don’t know”. Of course the answers were nuttier they they were. I could tell you stories for days. The Christophers, and Art Bullas are extreme cases where one changes from just being opinionated to becoming pathological. A disease process is at work.
    I think most faithful Mormons just roll their eyes and dismiss them out of hand.

    I haven’t been LDS for years but I think these extreme cases have a new outlet. They become LDS apologists. LOL

  25. mobaby says:

    bfwjr,

    I read the anti-Nemelka wiki page put together by FAIR. None of these things really matter if you have a testimony that Christopher Marc Nemelka is a prophet.

    Have you read the sealed portion? How could this have been written by a backwards jail-bird? The sealed portion he translated is available online. In the prophetic line of Joseph Smith, Nemelka’s work fills in a lot of holes such as God the Mother, how can we all be sealed to each other and yet be families forever, etc.

  26. bfwjr says:

    mobaby
    “I read the anti-Nemelka wiki page put together by FAIR. None of these things really matter if you have a testimony that Christopher Marc Nemelka is a prophet.”

    I have indeed been away tooooo long. I forgot about that testimony thing. Duly noted mobaby, thanks.
    Have you got a link for the book? I can’t find one.
    Heck, I’ve been waiting for Cody Judy to take his rightful place as head of the church. I guess Chris is “the man”.

  27. grindael says:

    bfwjr

    How are you! Here is the link. http://www.marvelousworkandawonder.com/tsp/index.htm

    I notice that the Fair article only has a few points about why this work is a phony. They spent most of the article on Nemelka’s personal life.

    Seems they are using the same technique a lot of those who discount the BOM because of Smith’s lifestyle … locked up for treason, lying to the public and public officials, adultery, etc. etc.

    Notice they don’t say a word about reading it and praying to God about it? That the ‘evidence’ does not matter?

    I find the whole thing highly amusing.

    One thing I found most interesting, they show Nemelka as revealing Lehi a descendant of Ephriam, and Fair says he is a descendant of Manasseh per the BOM. Well that shows you right there that the Ezekial 37 Prophecy is NOT about the BOM – since it would be the stick of Ephriam. Could Nemelka be right?

  28. bfwjr says:

    grindael,
    I’m always fine, thanks. I hope you are well. I joke about this stuff because to me it is funny.
    In quiet moments, I can’t think of many things that break my heart more than these religious deceptions. They are morally reprehensible and repugnant to my soul.

    Could Nemelka be right? There is really only one answer to that. Pray about it and get a feeling…then you will KNOW.
    Right? Jim, Ralph, Janet?

  29. falcon says:

    One of the surprising (to me) outcomes of my study of Mormonism has been questioning the whole concept of revelation within “religion”. What I mean by that is summarized by what I posted regarding Watchman Nee and his book “The Latent Power of the Soul”. Since being saved way back in 1972, I’ve traveled lots of paths and paddled tributaries within the Christian family, most related to Pentecostalism and what I’d call revivalism.
    Now I see the connection between 19th century Christian revivalism, which Smith was privy to in upstate New York and Mormonism. My point is that this religious fervor is fueled by tales of the fantastic. The only thing necessary to form and lead a group is to be able to tell a good story with confidence and tap into the psyche of people willing to be convinced.
    In a way it’s kind of sad that I’ve become such a skeptic. It’s robbed me of a lot of the positive emoting that I use to experience. I guess it would go by the term “burning in the bosom” which Smith also high-jacked for his scam. Jonathan Edwards wrote about the role of emotion, in a positive sense, in religious experience.
    I guess the difference for me now is I recognize these experiences for what they are but I wouldn’t follow anyone due to their ability to produce (one).
    So where does that leave me, in a spiritual sense. At the foot of the cross where Christ bought my salvation and in God’s Word where He is revealed and whereby everything gets tested, especially “revelation”.

  30. bfwjr says:

    LDS readers, whose advice do you believe?

    Reason can treacherously deceive a man, but emotion is always sure and never leaves him. Adolph Hitler

    or

    Jeremiah 17:9
    The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    grindael, thanks for the link.

  31. Jay K says:

    Falcon,
    it’s encourging to hear of someone experiencing the same thing. All the tricks and mind benders these Mormons go through are a revelation of the potential for the human mind itself!

    I find myself spending soo much time reading the Bible, researching passages, finding the Mormon interpretation, the Christian defense, etc, etc.
    My spirituality has taken a toll.
    As Galileo put it, “the heart cannot rejoice in what the mind accepts as false.”

    Not that I accept Christianity as false, but I experience some cognitive dissonance when we’re worshipping in church and I’m debating whether the song is a prime example of the association principle (Google that one) or it’s all just fine.

    I see the association principle all the time in Mormonism (you’re an [filtered profanity or slur], evil evil evil!–and even more commonly, feelings=truth).

    These thoughts race through my mind rather than Christ’s magnificent love for us.

    Every now and then, the good Lord gives me a nice laugh while dealing with these issues. But then again, am I associating God with what may have just been coincidence?

    Mormons do that all the time.

    (and so they don’t think it’s because we “worship the same god,” this statement rings true for many different religions)

  32. mobaby says:

    JayK

    I understand what you are saying in a way. I became very interested in Reformation theology – the theology promoted by the reformers – primarily Martin Luther, but also to a large extent by John Calvin. The more I came to understand that Christian theology is focused on Christ crucified for our sins, the less accepting I have become of sermons, music, etc. that puts anything else at the center other than Jesus on the cross. For instance- when I sing a praise song that talks about how I am going to serve God, rather than how God has served me and forgiven me I become distracted and unenthusiastic. Likewise, if God is not at the center of the sermon, but rather my relationship with my children, wife, … fill in the blank, I become upset. I need to sing and hear about Jesus crucified, the forgiveness of sins, salvation by grace. I have also come to understand the distinction between law and gospel and a lot of times people think they are preaching gospel, and they are actually preaching the law. Reformation theology has increased my love for Jesus, but diminished my love for a lot of what is going on in the Church.

    This may seem hard to believe or understand, but Joel Osteen many times actually preaches the law. Do these things, live this way, love others, etc. and God will bless you. Do do do.

  33. mobaby, Jay K and falcon,

    At the risk of going off-topic, I’m preparing notes for my once-a-year sermon as I read your comments and I’m thinking about the relationship between the law (religion) and the Gospel.

    Here’s a thought; the difference between the Old Testament/Covenant/Relationship and the New, is that in the Old, God leads His people by giving them commandments (by religion). In the New, God leads His people by example.

    If we want to know the right thing to do, we must first see God.

    See John 5:19

    I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

    (bold mine)

    Or Hebrews 1:1-2

    In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son…

    Or Hebrews 8:10-11 (quoting from Jeremiah 31:33-34)

    “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD.

    This is the difference between a religionist agenda and the Christian Gospel. That’s why it’s so important to put Jesus at the central focus of all we do.

  34. falcon says:

    Martin,
    I just got a call this afternoon from a denominational church and was asked if I could pitch-hit for the pastor this Sunday……on short notice. I always think that this is a call from the Lord. So I ask Him (the Lord), well what would you like these folks to hear? It just so happens that it’s the Sunday after Pentecost and it’s called “Trinity Sunday” or something like that.
    I got to thinking about my “work” here on Mormon Coffee and especially about the nature of God because that’s really the bottom-line. But I know if I get too wrapped-up in going deep into the Doctrine of the Trinity, my little sermon will be a sure cure for insomnia. So I don’t know what I’m going to do but I do know that by Sunday morning God will have told me what to say.
    I don’t know, is this “revelation”? Is it a word from the Lord? Is it the Spirit using me to express what God wants the people to know? I’m thinking it’s the latter. So here I am, the Christian skeptic, the one who runs everything under the microscope of doubt; totally dependent on hearing the voice of God and knowing it’s Him speaking to me.
    Hard to figure, huh?

  35. Okie says:

    Martin, Falcon I’ll be praying for both of you that GOD speaks through you this Sunday and people will respond to the gospel.

  36. grindael says:

    What is the point of some of these preachers using the law? I think that is the bottom line here. If it is to solicit something, I question motive ALWAYS. But, that’s just me.

  37. grindael says:

    bfwjr,

    Ditto on the humor. Always enjoy your posts. Prayin’ for you and all who post here, always.

  38. falcon says:

    I just wanted to report that the sermon went very well, PTL. God never fails me in this regard, I’m serious. I get up and I have about five different sermons in mind and the Lord leads me where He wants me to go.
    One of the readings for the day was Romans 5:1-5. I did a quick run through of how Paul uses the first three chapters of Romans to convict the heathen, the moral man and the Jew. And then to make sure that everyone gets the message, even if they aren’t in one of these groups, Paul nails it when he says in Romans 3:23 “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We’re all guilty and we can’t make-up on our own efforts for the performance gap between God’s absolute holiness and our absolute sinfullness. Right after Romans 3:23 Paul pronounces the solution in Romans 3:24-26.
    The last part of the Romans 5:1-5 talks about perseverance through tribulation and how we exalt in our tribulation. Since it’s the memorial day weekend, I talked about how many have had to face tribulation because of the unexpected death of a loved one and how visiting the graves can bring back a flood of memories and “why” questions.
    I said that we have to go back to the cross where our salvation was bought through the shed blood of Christ and to realize that for those who have died in Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I also mentioned that I figured that Christ’s death on the cross was enough for me that anything God does beyond that is a bonus.
    I concluded with the story behind the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”. It’s a good example of perseverance through tragedy and exalting in tribulation.
    That’s the highlights!

  39. rebinator says:

    Don’t know if anyone here actually read it, but I just finished it. As an ex-mormon for 16 years, the whole thing brought a sense of peace and completion. Here’s the gist of it, from what I understood:

    Joseph’s mission on earth was merely/strictly to translate a record; the author’s thesis is that hand to hand transfer of written records trumps archeology, channeling, ‘revelation’ from ‘authorities’, ouija, etc. The idea of starting a ‘Church’ was not JS’, but he was forbidden to interfere; like a modern day Moses, his mandate was to provide whatever length and gauge of rope the people required to hang themselves with. Furthermore, there is evidence that he applied resistance to practically every move the early Church made in his (and Jesus’) name…

    The irony would be that the Americans and LDS/Mormons alike would ultimately learn the lesson (just like the Hebrews did) of just how much trouble we can get into when we take simple teachings like the Golden Rule and try to chrome them up with priestcraft and ordinances.

    According to what I’ve read, this remains consistent with the fact that almost every one of his closest family, friends and associates (including the actual witnesses) left him; they knew as well as he did that he was distorting the Gospel, but only he knew that that was part of his direct mandate. To me, at least, this throws a fresh light on anything anyone ever thought they knew about his history.

    The main impetus for the publishing of these records was twofold; first, to counteract the LDS Church’s hoarding of any and all historical documentation pertaining to the early Church, and, secondly (I suspect), as a countermove to the 1990 revision of the Temple Endowment, which, according to ‘Christopher’, was originally JS’ final objection.

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