Bill, Randy, and I had a good night at Temple Square talking to people about the priesthood ban and the theology the Mormon church once used to justify it. I also used the occasion to talk about the unique priesthood of Christ. If you’re visiting because of having seen an advertisement for SeedOfCain.com, allow me to direct you to our two articles and one tract relevant to the event:
- Black Skin and the Seed of Cain (a good primer)
- Shame, Shame, Shame: Thirty Years Later And Still No Apology or Explicit Renunciation
- Thirty Years After the Priesthood Ban was Lifted (PDF tract)
A disproportionate amount of blacks were taking our tracts. Great discussion ensued for all of us with various folks. It is sad that so many black Mormons have settled for less than full dignity in the Mormon Church, but I encouragingly heard from black Mormons that wanted an institutional apology from their leadership. If you’re interested in hearing more of this, I found an MP3 with John Dehlin (liberal Mormon) and Darron Smith (black Mormon) speaking about the appropriateness but unlikelihood of institutional repentance coming from the LDS Church.
Some news stations/papers interviewed Bill. That went well (this was partially a day for making a public statement).
From experience, I’m a big believer that Temple Square evangelism is ten times more effective and meaningful when one shows up on a non special-event day. In other words, if any of you Christians ever want to do some tracting, I’d highly recommend showing up on a regular Thursday choir practice night over going out of your way to try to talk to Mormons during an event like Conference. People aren’t as defensive or hardened in their temperament.
When we go out we all have iRiver MP3 recorders around our neck. This is largely for protection. The slanderous lies one hears on LDS apologetic discussion boards about outreaches never ceases to amaze me. I hope they think twice now about what they write online.
Speaking of “lies”, at one point, I talked to a group of tourists waiting to cross the street, telling them to “be careful, because Mormonism teaches you can become a god, and that God was once a man who had to become a god.” The LDS sister missionary with them vehemently denied it, saying, “That’s a pack of lies!”
Some other Christians (who we know from Manti) were there too, and looked like they were having some great conversations.
Luther was a Catholic monk/theologian in the early 1500’s in Germany. He challenged the infallibility of the Pope, said all baptized Christians held a universal priesthood and that salvation came by repentance and faith in Christ rather than by dispensation from clergy. These were radical ideas at the time. It sparked a revolution that became known as the Reformation. He also translated the bible into simple language which made it easier to understand. The price he paid was ex-communication from his church, loss of friends, family and church centered relationships and he became a pariah in powerful places. But we Mormons believe he and others were inspired to do what they did. Luther was an early force in reclaiming part of Christ’s original gospel. Others who came along afterwards added a little more here and a little more there eventually make it possible for an even broader reclamation of Gospel principles. If you recall, historically, people were burned at the stake for such ideas as a bible in native languages like English, being freely available so people could have a copy and read for themselves. Freedom of religion is a recent idea. We owe a great deal to these early reformers.
But the other two groups, traditional Christians and anti-Mormons, take a different approach. The legitimate traditional Christians look at the Mormon message as an attack on their religious beliefs and believe they are defending God as they understand Him. They look at LDS doctrine primarily as the real issue. If what Mormons say is true then what they believe is not true. It appears as a zero-sum game. At least to me it appears they look at like that. But they don’t have the whole story. Mormons do not consider that traditional Christianity is wrong, just incomplete. Some serious errors have been introduced into Christ’s doctrine but that the Book of Mormon and subsequent information corrects some of it and adds more that was left out in earlier times. Our message to them is they should not feel offended or threatened. What we bring is of God. It mankind’s heritage and is directly from Christ.
The anti-Mormons, on the other hand, just hate Mormons and the Church. In this crowd, if they will honestly tell anyone, are those people who were ex-communicated or left just ahead of the Church disciplinary court. They know the Church honors their privacy and will not discuss why the person was removed from the Church records. If it was a high profile ex-communication they just say it was conduct unbecoming of a member and leave it at that. But they are the loudest and often most profane. There may be some others who were not members but have been offended in some other way. But the common thread in this group is vengeance if not hatred. To former members we have little to say except to come back into full fellowship. We will welcome you back.
You mean what JS said about our teachings being an abomnation and our teachings being from hell and the BoM teaching only one true Church, and the other is from Satan, and LDS believe our church is false is not an attack? Only were attacking you? but your not attacking us? Rick b
JLF: happy fathers day, and thanks for posting back; if you have an “in” with Jason, try to encourage him to stick around “Coffee” for awhile, at least a week or two: wouldn’t you appreciate the company and the help?? I’ll respond to your infor about Mr.Luther either tomorrow or Mon, fathers day events determining that;
those that are not LDS are not wrong, just incomplete, and belong to something where “serious errors” have crept in hmmmmmmmm why do I trust the way JS and Brigham put it, instead of your post?? is it because I’m trying to put mormons in general, and you in particular, in a bad light, or is it that the early prophets were more upfront about what mormonism really teaches about other faiths, and you have learned (as a movement, not just you individually) to be more PC and win more converts?? and this thread of thought gets to Aaarons post about your past leaders being….well, more like leaders than the current crop; I think JS understood where we both stood better than today’s LDS leaders (or at least just spoke on this more clearly and honestly)
An abomination is anything that divides God’s children from Him or from each other. What JS was talking about was the creeds most denominations adopted, not the people or the Christian work they do. In that sense, an abomination serves Satan not God. But the Creeds are the problem not the congregations. The B of M testifies of Christ, His divinity and confirms that the Bible is the Word of God. It also clarifies many confusing things founding the Bible. It is s aid that a man will become closer to God by reading the B of M than any other book. And so it is. The Creeds, such as Nicene and others, separated people rather than bring them together. They became political power. The NC in particular introduced the Trinitarian view of Divinity which is not supported in the NT. Legitimate Trinitarian theologians/scholars agree on this point. Mormons didn’t make this up. The idea has been around a long time. Ask Catholic scholars at Notre Dame if you like. But that isn’t the main point.
Any creed that robs God of His very literal fatherhood and Christ of His separate identity is an abomination. By denying God’s true nature, the creeds play into the Deceivers hand. If God is some unknowable amalgam then adherents have a distorted view of who and what their Eternal Heavenly Father is. It makes it enormously more difficult to believe human beings have a divine spark in them. They won’t believe they possess God’s spiritual DNA for example. There are many deceptions brought on by the NC and other creeds. That is why they are an abomination before God.
Jaroslav Pelikan, PhD, world renowned Christian scholar, Concordia Seminary and U of Chicago graduate and professor at Yale, writes I his seminal work The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine that in 325 AD at Nicaea, the early Christian fathers had yet to decide just what the Holy Ghost was. The implication is that it was not doctrine. This suggests the Trinitarian concept of God’s nature was not accepted prior to Nicaea. In plain speak; Christians in the first century didn’t believe it and Christ and the apostles didn’t teach it.
If the fourth century fathers didn’t know what the HG was, then they likely misunderstood other elements in the Gospel as well, humans being what they are. One such critical passage, Matthew 16, is “Jesus said “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you, but the Father. And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” This suggests Christ was discussing the Holy Spirit upon which He would build His Church, not Peter. This is clarified in the previous passage where He plainly meant to teach about the Holy Ghost and personal inspiration (revelation) and its importance to The Father in guiding his children.
So what is personal revelation and why is it important? It allows God to talk to every human being in a personal way one-on-one without intervention by another human being be they Catholic, Baptist, humanist, Mormon, Muslim or anything else. We all have experienced it even though we may not have understood it at the time. It is what tells us right from wrong, good from bad. It is manifest by a sense of intelligence or that warm feeling when you do something good for someone else without being asked or expecting payment of any kind. The B of M and modern revelation explains what revelation is in greater detail than does the Bible.
JLF: Again, happy dad’s day to one and all; we grilled steak and watched Tiger’s improbable (miraculous ??) comeback. I’m still pulling for Rocco.
I just finished reading Matt 16:13-20 a couple of times. Some comments:
JLF, you seem to make a BIG deal of the holy spirit in these verses, and yet HE is not mentioned (at least explicitly)even one time. granted, the heavenly father had to reveal the truth of who Jesus is to Peter by some agency, but the holy spirit is not at all emphasized, His role in that revelation is by inference only.
2. the important point to this scripture is suggested in the very first sentence, and as a question (one of the favorite teaching tools of the rabbis, so I’m told) “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Two verses later, Peter gets to the core of the matter: verse16: “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God” Interesting to me (and I don’t mean this disrepectfully to any of my roman catholic friends out there) that both you and the roman catholic church apparently have a hard time seeing that the “rock” Jesus refers to is HIS (Jesus’) own role/position as THE CHRIST. Catholics get lost on the fact that it was Peter, in this instance at least, who confessed this, and claim the importance is PETER; and apparently you latch onto the inferred reference to the HS. A better exegesis, I’m suggesting points to Jesus, not Peter and not the Holy Spirit.
You are correct in the point that the HS is not directly mentioned, but the HS is the Communicator between God and man. Without the HS, no communication takes place. Essentialy, if personal revelation is critical then how else will such communication take place? Without the HS we are left with man’s incomplete and misguided understanding of scripture. If the question is still about LDS perspective then the HS is critical in understanding what God wants for each of us – not enmasse, but as individuals. If we fail to grasp that we are literal offspring of Diety, then our understanding of the Gospel is also skewed and critical points are lost. But to understand them we need the HS as the communicator. Without the HS we have only someone elses’ interpretation of scripture and who we are and who God is. The failure to understand whoand what the HS is exists today too. That is why the Creeds are an abomination before God.
Hope you respond to me this time. I find it interesting that you say the rock is the HS. Mormon teaching states the Church is built on the rock of revelation, which they use to give credence to their claim that prophets are necessary. You actually make a case against the necessity of prophets because, as you say, there is no communication without the HS to each person. Actually, the “rock” upon which Christ builds His Church is Himself.
“The LORD is my rock,my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge” (Ps. 18: 2).
“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken” (Ps. 62:2,6).
“The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is not wickedness in him” (Ps. 92:15).
“He (David) will call out to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior'” (Ps. 89:26).
“For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10: 1-4).
It is clear that the totality of the scriptures point to the fact that Christ is our rock. Why would He build His Church on any other rock?
It seems that you equate the HS with prophets. Also, you like to paint the early church councils as confused and nothing more than a bunch of Spirit-less men trying to do things on their own power. They were fighting against heresies, and that is what we Christians continue to do, today. Look to the brief LDS history and see how much confusion has come about in under 200 years: Adam/God doctrine, blood atonement, and polygamy, in particular. The HS has never left the earth after pentecost. He has always indwelled men and guided humanity in keeping with Christ’s promise found in John 15.
Creeds are not an abomination just because you say they are. They were designed to establish Christian dogma. There’s LDS dogma, and there’s Christian dogma. Dogma merely represents those beliefs one holds to as a Christian or LDS. The abominations I see are the LDS teaching that God had a beginning and that He probably sinned and needed redemption. These teachings stem from the premise that God’s word (the Bible) is not authoritative and that God is unable to preserve His word. Such teachings and implications are abominations.
One last thing: you like to imply that former Church members struggled with church discipline, etc. I want to get personal and address this, although I am only speaking for myself. I struggled with sin and was excommunicated. Your reference implies that I hate the Church because I was excommunicated. I could have been re-baptized years ago. But, I chose not to because the HS did not leave me at ex-communication; in fact, He guided me and led me to truth. You can’t fathom this because you don’t have a true perspective regarding grace. God doesn’t save us because we live perfect lives; God saves us because He loves us and are in need of salvation because of sinful nature and sins committed. Men do not become better than another person because of their works. Christ gave us equal worth when He died for us on the cross. It’s all about relationship with the true and living God, which is Father, Son, and Spirit. You like to point out that the trinity is not supported in the Bible. However, from reading the Bible, the trinity is evident. I don’t see anything evident in the biblical text that God lived as a human on another planet, sinned, and was redeemed and became a God. The reformers worked within the framework of the Bible. LDS “prophets” work outside that framework. I curious to see if you’ll respond. I’m curious to see how you try to dismiss me because I lived a sinful life and was excommunicated from the LDS Church.
If being out the Church works for you then so be it. I usually don’t respond to people who know exactly what we teach. I will explain to those people who want to know about our view of the Gospel so that they can understand. But I will not argue any points. If they already know then it seesm to me they just want to argue.
You response is puzzling. It seems like you prefer to talk to people who might be gullible, and with whom you would not have to discuss all the false doctrines that the Church has condemned. Okay, if that’s your thing, so be it. Also, why are you posting on this site if you are afraid of apologetics from the true Christian perspective? You make assumptions about Christianity, but don’t want to respond when challenged. Hmmmmmmmm, I wonder why…I don’t expect a response, JLF. Don’t bother.
For those readers who do not understand why we LDS do not argue over doctrine I will explain. We beleive we are under a solumn obligation to sppread the Gospel as we understand it. We took this obligation upon us before we were born into this world. We re-acknowledge that obligation as members and priesthood holders. When people argue they often become competitive with the other person. In discussing doctrine in such a discussion, the Holy Ghost departs from us and what we say thereafter is not necessarilly in keeping with what God would have us say. The Holy Ghost does not dwell a hostile environment and arguing fosters such a situation. We then are violating our solumn obligation. Some would say Jospeh and others argued with others. I was not there so I can’t say. But I am here and the time is now and I will not argue.
I wish you would clarify what arguing is. Perhaps you equate arguing with apologetics. As for your presentation of the Spirit departing during discussions, I don’t see any biblical foundation for that. In fact, Paul said: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Eph. 6: 19-20). This passage follows the armor of God passage, which indicates battle. We are battling heresies, and the Spirit indwells us to lead and guide us.
I can appreciate you not wanting to engage in serious discussions where your belief system is challenged, but, please, don’t try to paint those who do so as going against God’s will. I will agree that humanity is prone to walk in the flesh and not in the Spirit during such discussions, but that doesn’t mean that the Spirit departs. You might like graceforgrace site because they are dedicated to pro-LDS views sans serious discussion and challenges. And, I sincerely hope you don’t take this response as argumentative. What I am hoping for is enlightenment for the LDS people to recognize the true Jesus Christ and the true gospel, which is a gospel of love, grace, and mercy, a gospel that reaches out to the world to give humanity hope for an eternity in God’s presence that is founded on the blood of Christ, not our works.
Rebuking false doctrine is biblical. I agree, we need a definition of “arguing” from you to probably fully understand the point your trying to make.
I as well don’t see any biblical foundation for your saying the spirit leaves us. In fact, this is a thing that I ponder frequently when LDS say something along the lines of “I don’t want to put myself into a hostile environment or the spirit will leave me.” Or, “I don’t want to read any anti-mormon material because I ‘feel’ the spirit leave the room.”
This is where LDS equate “Good feelings” as the spirit confirming truth and being “in the room”, and when you have “bad feelings” it is the spirit “leaving the room”, placing you at blame for being in the “hostile environment”. — Unfortunately, this is what keeps many LDS faithful from learning the facts about the history of their very own church. My sister in law, when presented with the LDS website familysearch.org showing Joseph Smith’s multiple wives, she didn’t want to look at it and said “I’d rather remain blissfully ignorant.” – Why did she say that? Well, it would stand to reason that it made her feel uncomfortable, perhaps because her whole life she had been LDS and hasn’t once heard about Joseph Smith’s polygamy, creating a feeling of uneasyness. Just because you may have bad feelings from hearing “anti-mormon” doctrine, it isn’t the spirit leaving, its because its challenging to your beliefs.
Anyways, the spirit dwells within you and just because you may be in a “hostile environment”, doesn’t mean the Spirit leaves you. In fact, one begins to rely even more upon the Spirit for support, rebuking, etc.. – Responding with anger and hatred and personal attacks isn’t the Holy Spirit inside you, that is your own sinful nature coming out. I believe the evangelicals for the most part keep their cool on here and try hard to let the Spirit speak through them, to rebuke the false doctrines of the LDS church.
In response to JLF’s response about not arguing, this is not the first time I have seen it. Someone else gave a similar story. But to add to Jack and Jeff, I like to remember what God promised Moses, when he said he was too afraid to go to Pharoah. God told him he would give him the words and the power to stand up for the truth.
I also believe God empowers us to speak the truth, when we stay within his will. Of course, this can be lost, but if we run from confrontation, we certainly will not tackle falsehood.
Getting into an argument, or standing up for beliefs is not bad. Letting pride get in the way is.
God has told us he will protect us, and that we can do all through him. Why wouldn’t that include arguing?
You bring up a good point. Arguing brings on contention. And it is in a contenious heart that He can not dwell. I think what Moses and Aaron were faced with was more than just discussing doctrine. They had an entire people to salvage and re-build a nation. God will empower us to speak truth through the power of the Holy Ghost. So we must be careful not to offend Him by becoming contentious with our fellow man. The LDS perspective is that we present the message and the Holy Ghost confirms it. There is no need to argue. It is not a contest amongst men.
Let me ask you something, if I may. Why do you post here if you do not wish to argue?
You have certainly argued here. Arguing does not necessitate anger. To argue is to discuss and work through an issue. This can be done with calmness and civility.
That you say you will not argue really is interesting, especially given your involvement here.
But there is one thing I agree with you on is that getting angry unecessarilly rarely leads to good.
I hope I am not arguing. If it comes across that way then I am in error. My intent on this and other sites is to inform those earnestly seeking to know about the LDS view, provide sources where interested readers can go to counter deliberate distortion, correct innocent misinformation and entreat others to raise above pettiness. In each endeavor I try to keep it civil and respond according to the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Jeffrey and MichaelP, I appreciate your input on this issue.
JLF, I do appreciate where you are coming from. I think we just have a different view of what arguing is. I see arguing as two or more people yelling at each other at the top of their lungs and not willing to listen. I think in this miliue, however, that we do listen to each other and then debate the issues with calmness and civility. The problem with writing is that we do not hear tones and attitudes properly.
We Christians also believe that the Holy Spirit will testify to the gospel message we present. Would you say that Peter was contentious when speaking to the Israelites in Acts 3? Verse 17 is rather harsh, wouldn’t you agree? “I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders.” And, in dealing with the Pharisees, I think Jesus was very contentious.
You’re right, it’s not a contest among men, but it is spiritual warfare against Satan and the lies he perpetrates on humanity. We, too, believe that we are engaged in more than just discussing doctrine. With all due respect and with sincerity of heart, we Christians see the Mormon people as “an entire people to salvage” (JLF). I think to avoid the war would be offensive to God.
So, if you could, please clarify what arguing means to you.
JLF “The LDS perspective is that we present the message and the Holy Ghost confirms it. There is no need to argue. It is not a contest amongst men.”
I wish it was that easy JLF, but it’s not. I had sought to find truth in Mormonism by praying to God multiple times to have the spirit confirm to me the truth of the church, and received nothing. I attended an LDS ward for 5 years, listening to the teachings and not once has the Holy spirit confirmed the message, even when I asked. How does one reconcile not only my situation, but countless others who either don’t receive confirmation from the holy spirit, or receiving confirmation from God/The Holy spirit about their own faith which is not LDS??
Many LDS on this board have said “I dont know why they dont get any confirmation, only that I received mine” and just leave it at that.. That doesn’t make any sense in any way though, do you agree? If someone sincerely asks, they are SUPPOSED to receive this confirmation. Does God/Holy spirit just decide not to talk to some people or what?
You’re statement was true to the point that it is the LDS perspective, but it does not hold any weight, especially for me personally.. And I truly wanted to believe it was true because my wife at the time was LDS and if there was any chance she would be seperated from me into a different Heaven because we aren’t sealed, I didn’t want that to happen. It was emotional and I cried a lot that night. But it definitely was not because I received “truth” from the Holy spirit.
That is a good question. It is one we all struggle with. The question many of us ask is “why can’t I get an answer to…” When you ask your bishop, he will ask if you are living the gospel principles. That is, are you praying daily, do you have faith you will receive an answer, are you living the principle even though you don’t have a spiritual confirmation yet? We learn by doing. Such is the way human beings learn. We gain a testimony by practicing. Faith precedes the miracle. Faith is built little by little – by putting into practicing those things we want to have a testimony of to see if they really work. The miracle is what happens after you accept the principle and have made it part of your life, not before. Just like reading the B of M daily results in a more Christ-like view of humanity and a closer relationship to God and Christ. Your testimony is dependant on whether you want one. I would like to contnue this discussion on another blog without the limitaions of 2K and 3 posts per day. If you are interested, go to http://mormonthing.wordpress.com. I have just re-opened it and am struggleing with the details but give it a try.
Jeffrey, sadly, your situation sounds common. If you get no answer or the “wrong” answer (that the LDS church is not true), then it’s your fault – Like JLFuller said, you’re not faithful enough, you don’t want one bad enough, etc. It’s just like the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. The pressure is put on people, especially children, who desperately want Mormonism to be true and please their family members – to just believe it, obey, do, be sincere, just accept it… then maybe you’ll get a good feeling. However, I’ve come to realize that if convincing does occur, it’s from deceptive spirit.
I’ve also had Mormons turn just about anything into “That’s the Holy Ghost telling you it’s true!” For instance this happened when I related to a Mormon the many Mormons I’ve witnessed to as they come across my path. Unfortunately for her, it’s not the Holy Ghost telling me that Mormonism is true, but rather the Lord has brought them my way because they desperately need to hear the truth of Jesus Christ.
Again, I want to share my personal experience with regard to the comment by JLF that our testimony is whether or not we want one. Previously, I stated that I really hoped the LDS Church was true. I wanted it to be true. I cried out to God to restore my testimony of JS and the BOM if indeed it all was true. In that moment, I didn’t care if I had been wrong about the Church, all I wanted was to be obedient and go where the LORD wanted to lead me. I was prepared to denounce everything I had said about the Church if God would restore my testimony. I gave Him time (although, I don’t think much time would elapse in such a request), but that testimony never returned; in fact, the LORD only showed me more evidence against the divinity of the Church. I wanted my testimony restored–if indeed the Church was true. But, more importantly, I wanted to be obedient to God. I don’t want to slam the Mormons; I want to bring them the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the gospel–a gospel of grace, love, peace, and hope.
I need some help. If anyone is conversant with WordPress bloging I would appreciate some assistance. I can’t seem to make this thing work quite right.
http://mormonthing.wordpress.com. The hot chocolate and ice cream is on me.
jer1414 makes an honest observation, at least in part. Given the limitations of MormonCoffee, I would like to talk to what he says @ http://mormonthing.wordpress.com.
JL, though there are daily comment and character limits on Mormon Coffee, an achievable goal here is to engage in discussion and interaction with one another. Please review our comment policy and in the future refrain from posting a link to your blog without also providing a summary of your arguments that readers will find there. Thanks.
People of all religious persuasions have been convinced of their faith, whether through visions, dreams, testimonies, feelings, etc. Many claim enlightenment, spiritual awakening, higher powers, etc. The experiences and sources may be real, very real, but that doesn’t make them right or true. Feelings can be generated by a variety of sources: God, false spirits, even oneself. Proverbs 14:12 reminds us that “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the are the ways of death.” Scripture admonishes us to “test”, “prove”, “search” and to believe not every spirit. There must be something outside our subjective feelings in determining truth. Much of this has been spoken of in previous articles on this site, which I do enjoy because of the brevity. Godspeed.