Inhabitants of the Moon: Truth or Fiction?

One Sunday morning a few weeks back my pastor, discussing the relationship between science and creation, mentioned a newspaper hoax that took place in 1835. It seems New York reporter Richard Adams Locke wrote a six-part series of articles detailing new scientific discoveries that exposed the existence of life on the moon. From lunar forests to space animals to flying moon men who worshipped in a golden temple, Mr. Locke spun his story. Though he finally admitted the hoax, for many years people continued to believe that there was intelligent life on the moon. These people included early LDS leaders.

LDS author John Heinerman has compiled a lot of information regarding the universe in his book, People in Space (1990). Since he has pulled together early LDS teachings on the subject of life on the moon, I will quote him here:

According to a close ally and disciple of his [Joseph Smith’s], Oliver B. Huntington, people like the 19th-Century Quakers resided within the moon. Writing a short, one-page article in an 1892 Mormon Church publication, Young Women’s Journal (3:262), this is what Huntington reported:

“Nearly all the great discoveries of men in the last half century have, in one way or another, either directly or indirectly contributed to prove Joseph Smith to be a prophet (of God).

“As far back as 1837, I know that he said the moon was inhabited by men and women the same as this Earth, and that they lived to a greater age than we do–that they live generally to near the age of 1,000 years.

“He described the men as averaging near six feet in height, and dressing quite uniformly in something near the Quaker style.

“In my Patriarchal Blessing,” given by the father of Joseph the Prophet in Kirtland (Ohio), 1837, “I was told that I would preach the gospel to the inhabitants upon the islands of the sea, and–to the inhabitants of the moon, even the planet you can now behold with your eyes.” (Patriarchal blessings are given to worthy young Mormon men and women by Priesthood holders called church patriarchs. Such blessings are the worldly equivalents of getting your fortunes told with tarot cards.)

Philo Dibble, another early Mormon pioneer remembered Smith giving details about such lunar residents this way:

“The inhabitants of the moon are more of a uniform size than the inhabitants of the Earth, being about 6 feet in height. They dress very much like Quaker style and are quite general in style, or the fashion of dress. They live to be very old; coming generally, near a thousand years. This is the description of them as given by Joseph the Seer and he could ‘see’ whatever he asked the Father in the name of Jesus to see.

“I heard him say that ‘he could see what he would ask of the Father in the name of Jesus and it would be granted’ and I have no more doubt of it than I have that the mob killed him.” (Unpublished typescript, p. 166, located in the Utah State Historical Society archives and used with their kind permission.)

Yet a third Latter-Day Saint by the name of George Laub, who resided in Nauvoo, Illinois, remembered Hyrum Smith (Joseph’s older brother) saying that “the Sun & Moon is inhabited & the Stars” in an 1843 sermon on the “plurality of gods & worlds.” Laub’s entire diary with this quote in it was published in the scholarly journal BYU Studies (18:177)…

Even Joseph’s successor, Church President Brigham Young, taught similar doctrine in a sermon delivered to several thousand Latter-Day Saints on July 24, 1870. As recorded in the Journal of Discourses (13:271), he remarked concerning the world’s knowledge about such lunar residents: “When you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the most ignorant of their fellows.” Basically he was saying that the world’s wisest men know just as much about the people in the moon as the world’s most stupid men know, which is absolutely nothing!

Those who find it hard to believe that people live inside the craters of the moon either don’t have much of the spirit of truth about them or else they just lack plain common sense…

A more complete history of these lunarians may be found in the archives of eternity somewhere. [People in Space, 8-11; all spelling, capitalization and parenthesis in the foregoing quote has been retained from the original]

In 1835 some scientists suggested there was life on the moon. Richard Locke “confirmed” it. According to Philo Dibble, Joseph Smith ran with the idea and today there are LDS Ph.D.s (or at least one) who believe it must be true.

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.
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78 Responses to Inhabitants of the Moon: Truth or Fiction?

  1. FOF wrote “[Mormon critics] spend 99% of their time attacking the translator for a million different events, weaknesses, etc. But they refuse to see the enormous elephant in the room. They will not deal with the Book of Mormon. It is the true test of Joseph, not the other way around.”

    It seems to me that the fundamental message of BoM is that JS is a Prophet endowed with supernatural gifts of translation, so the movement that he founded must be the one and only true church.

    Given that JS is supposed to have translated BoM single handedly (OK, so there were other guys behind the curtain who wrote down what he dictated to them), he’s basically witnessing about himself. And we all know what the Jesus thinks about uncorroborated self-witness; “If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” (John 5:31).

    I love the earlier comments about “What’s the source?”. If we are to evaluate JS as a messenger in the tradition of Jesus (and, I would venture, all the Biblical prophets) we should know that the messenger is the message.

    You cannot separate JS from his creations, of which the BoM is the first of any consequence. We’re not avoiding the elephant in the room; its name is Joseph Smith.

  2. faithoffathers says:


    Do you understand the process between Joseph uttering the words he saw and the Book in its final form in 1830? There were a few steps, each very tedious and long. Each involved mortal people with varying degrees of education and expertise. Can you imagine typesetting every single letter of a 530 page book individually? Mistakes were made at each step and the changes that have been made were made to make the Book reflect the original manuscripts with few exceptions.

    My reference to John’s statement at the end of Revelations was a humorous poke at Linda and those who think that John’s statement means “do not add to the Bible or God will curse you.” Such a statement shows naivete’ as to how the Bible was compiled and what John was saying. John’s revelation was received and written quite a while before much of the New Testament was even written. Its placement at the end of the NT is arbitrary. John was saying- do not alter my record of this revelation- his specific revelation, not the entire NT or Bible.

    The Bible tells us that the truths of God are “spiritually discerned.” How many times do we read “ask and ye shall receive, knock and ye shall find, etc.” Praying for “wisdom” and knowledge and help with knowing what is true is very Biblical. I really cannot believe this is a point of argument, it is so fundamental.

    We will likely have to agree to disagree here, because this is the fundamental way by which a person discovers truth. I believe in revelation- and by that I mean a person receiving inspiration and guidance as to what is true- and that being the ULTIMATE source after study, reading, and pondering with sincerity. You and others here do not believe that- at least that is what I take from several conversations on the topic. You do not believe we can trust answers to prayers TO THIS DEGREE.

    Martin- I take it from your statement regarding the “fundamental message of the BOM” that you do not know much about the Book of Mormon. Open it and read it- it doesn’t take very long to see what is by far the central message.

    You refer to a very true statement from the Savior “if I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.” If Christ doesn’t bare witness of Himself, who does- yep, the Holy Ghost- the source of Peter’s knowledge which Christ pointed out. That is the source of light and truth. Anything else is influenced by man’s weakness of interpretation, etc.

    You are right that Joseph should not be separated from the BOM. But the BOM is the test of Joseph, not the other way around. It is more difficult to heed its invitation and test than to read what is essentially gossip and slanderous heresay about a man.

    By the way, God did provide additional witness to the Book of Mormon and the plates in His normal pattern. Again, open to the first page to learn more on this.

    I think of the words of Moroni: “the time speedily cometh that ye shall know that I lie not, for ye shall see me at the bar of God; and the Lord God will say unto you: Did I not declare my words unto you, which were written by this man, like as one crying from the dead, yea, even as one speaking out of the dust.” We will each be accountable for our response to God’s words in the Book of Mormon. If we do not accept His servants and His words, we do not accept Him and His Father.

    keep the faith


  3. Linda says:

    Fof: What do you think of the fact that the Book of Abraham “translated” by JS was a fraud?

  4. Megan says:

    Ralph, Mormonism has its roots in traditional Christianity, but its doctrines and theology are so radically different that it is a different religion entirely. You don’t just believe different things about Jesus–you have a different Jesus altogether. Any time a religious sect changes their view of the nature of God, it morphs into a separate religion. You may call yourself ‘Christian’, because you follow a Christ, but you do not follow the Christ of the Bible. Obviously we interpret who Jesus says he is in the Bible differently however. Therein lies the problem!

    Regards, Megan

  5. Enki says:

    You state,

    “…It seems you think I am saying a person can just pick up the book and immediately kneel down and get an answer from God….”

    I thought that was a possibility in Mormonism. Don’t mormon missionaries encourage prayer to ask this question even from reading the first chapter? Joseph Smith himself never claimed to have read the entire bible,(before praying for the first time) but he was familiar with religion, and he does state that he felt inspired to pray after reading the book of James. He received his first vision after his first attempt to pray vocally. “…It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally….” Joseph Smith History 1:14

    My main point was that if you read Joseph smith history he clearly assumed that the truth was to be found in the Christian faith. The Moroni challenge assumes the same. This was probably largely a result of the culture he was in, and many people still assume that christianity is true, kind of a given, largely as part of culture. Thats what I see. He may have indeed seen some supernatural beings, and these indeed might be the spiritual forces behind christianity, but that doesn’t make it true. This isn’t a very common opinion, but there is a possibility that these spiritual forces aren’t friendly to humanity.

  6. rick b says:

    This Is Really How He Came Up With His Book Of Mormon ! By Putting His Head In His Hat ! And Using His Seer Stone. The same one he used for treasure digging .

    Russell M. Nelson, “A Treasured Testament,” Ensign, Jul 1993, 61
    Adapted from an address given 25 June 1992 at a seminar for new mission presidents, Missionary Training Center, Provo, Utah.

    “The details of this miraculous method of translation are still not fully known. Yet we do have a few precious insights. David Whitmer wrote:

    “Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat, drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light; and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine. A piece of something resembling parchment would appear, and on that appeared the writing. One character at a time would appear, and under it was the interpretation in English. Brother Joseph would read off the English to Oliver Cowdery, who was his principal scribe, and when it was written down and repeated to Brother Joseph to see if it was correct, then it would disappear, and another character with the interpretation would appear. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man.” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, Richmond, Mo.: n.p., 1887, p. 12.)”

    Either what was quoted above is correct and theirfore your theory is wrong, or what was quoted was wrong and your correct, both cannot be correct. the reason both cannot be correct is because, it clearly states, if the letter was written down correctly then it would disapper. rick b

  7. Ralph says:


    From my perspective I follow the Christ of the Bible and you do not. From a JW perspective they follow the Christ of the Bible and we do not. From a Jew perspective they follow the God and wait for the Messiah (Christ) of the Bible and we do not. I could go on.

    No I am not going to make this into a ‘Trinity vs the Bible’ again Germit, Lautansack and Berean, but no one has shown me anything from the Bible to support a Trinity. If God wants us to know and understand Him, why didn’t He write out the Trinity formula clearly in the Bible without people having to henpick verses out of context?

    So as I said Megan, I believe I am following ths God and Christ of the Bible and you are in error. Does that make me Christian and you not?

  8. Martin_from_Brisbane says:


    Are you OK? (I hope you are)

    Just following the news on the bush fires down in Victoria – something like 105 people have been killed over the weekend.

    In case anyone is concerned about me, we’re a long way from the fires.


  9. Ralph says:


    I’m fine. I live in Newcastle about 2 h north of Sydney. I will be going to a work conference this week in Lorne which is 2 h south of Melbourne so I will be flying over the area.

    Its terrible what’s happening down there and reminds me of the time i gor married. Sydney was totally enclosed by fires and the only way to get in was by boat or plane. This was Summer/January 1994.

    My aunt lives in Melbourne and she rang my mother and made the comment that this is God’s punishment because we are not doing what He wants us to do. BTW She is not LDS, she has an Anglican upbringing but I think she is only a ‘hatch. match and dispatch’ member at the moment (ie christinings, marriages and funerals).

  10. faithoffathers says:


    I love the way your question about the Book of Abraham is stated. It is like me asking you “what do you think about the fact that you are wrong and I am right?” I hope you don’t mind me teasing you a little!

    The same thing is true of the Book of Abraham as is true for the BOM- it’s critics focus almost entirely upon the manner in which it was brought about and completely neglect the test itself- which is the matter of most interest and its greatest proof. You have probably seen the nifty youtube videos criticizing the book- very one sided, but convincing if that is all you are exposed to. So to answer your question- I absolutely love the Book of Abraham and find researching it quite rewarding and interesting.

    Rickb- I repeat my friend- there was a process that took placed between Joseph’s vocalizing the words and the text being published. Yes- I believe the words that came out of his mouth were correct, but several tedious steps occurred between that and the finished book. Follow? The transcripts was copied by hand followed by typesetting by the publisher. Setting the type alone in such a short period of time would likely generate the greatest number of mistakes.

    Martin and Ralph- hope you guys are OK.


  11. rick b says:

    Just because the trinity is not clearly laid as you ask does not mean it is false.

    Jesus said, Before Abraham was I am, Jesus called himself God, The religious leaders tried to stone him for that.

    Then in the Book of Acts, Peter said to Ananias, in Acts chapter 5 verse 3 Why has Satan filled your heart to lie against the holy spirit, then in verse 4 Peter said to Ananias you did not lie to men but to God. Peter said that God and the Holy Spirit were one and the same.
    Rick b

  12. rick b says:

    As to all the so called mistakes in the BoM that you claim, I have some problems with that.

    1. Years ago when I was first speaking with LDS, I would say that was 12 years ago by now, Every LDS that I spoke with about these 4,000 plus mistakes deined they ever existed, now you guys admit to them. So some where along the line they have changed.

    2. I own a 1920 edition plus the Newest edition, their are changes between them both, so now we have changes from the 1830 edition to the 1920 edition, then more changes from the 1920 edition to the 1980’s edition. The problem I have is, no place in these books is it footnoted that all these changes were made or why.

    Then not only are their changes in the BoM, but I am lucky enough to own the oringal copy of the D and C and the 1888 edition of the Pearl of great price, and guess what? Their are changes from both of the oringials of those to the newest editions, and guess what? No mention of those changes.

    So you can say what you want, but it is less than honest to make changes that effect Doctrine and not mention it in a foot note. Then with the modern printing presses their is no excuses for all these typos or errors.

    Last point, the 1830 edition tells us that Jesus is God, the BoM supports Doctrine LDS do not believe today, So Did LDS teach or believe false doctrine back in the day because of mistakes? And I suspect you will say no, but the Bigger question is, why Did God not speak to JS and say, Do not pass out the BoM or sell it because of the many Errors. Sadly God seems to be able to clearly speak to JS and clearly tell him to take on many wives, yet cannot speak to him and tell him these are mistakes in the “translation” that will effect the LDS Doctrine. Rick b

  13. Ralph says:


    I said I was not starting a ‘Trinity vs the Bible’ discussion all I was saying was that there are at lest 5 different God and 5 different Christ belief systems all stemming from the Bible and all can ‘prove’ from various scriptures in the Bible that theirs is correct. Because of this how can anyone say they have a monopoly on being ‘Christian’. A church can have a monopoly on being the only true church – that is different all together.

    As far as the verses you gave in support of a Trinity – they do not sway me as they can be interpreted differently to how you have interpreted them. At the most, you could only get binitarianism from the first about Jesus being God, but nothing from the second about the Holy Ghost – One can lie to the taxman and the government but that does not mean that they are one and the same. The tax man is a representative of the government but he is not the government; the government is the employer of the taxman but it is not the taxman. In the verse you gave same thing can apply – one can lie to both God and the Holy Ghost as the Holy Ghost is God’s messenger/representative but does not necessarily have to be God.

  14. Linda says:

    There’s no matter of faith involved with JSs interpretation. The Rosetta Stone enabled scholars to translate the scroll fragments correctly. And JSs own diary states repeatedly that he was “translating,” not merely being inspired by, the scroll fragments.

    I guess I should apologize for lashing out. It’s in response to being called naive.

    I met with LDS missionaries for months and attended several ward services and a baptism. We spent many evenings in my home reading from the BOM and other JS writings. They kept promising I would get “more” spiritual gifts if I immersed myself in LDS doctrine and teachings. But I kept feeling pressured, and that all their lines were rehearsed. “I know that the BOM is true.” What struck me the most was their faith and trust in JS. Every single belief and practice goes back to trusting him.

    Jim Jones and David Koresh were also self proclaimed men of God and we all know what happened to them. Cult tactics are facts, not matters of faith. And LDS uses the same exact tactics as Jones and Koresh.

    So I would ask, who’s naive? Someone who is manipulated by tactics or someone who is not.

  15. Martin_from_Brisbane says:

    FoF wrote “Martin- I take it from your statement regarding the “fundamental message of the BOM” that you do not know much about the Book of Mormon. Open it and read it- it doesn’t take very long to see what is by far the central message.”

    Maybe its not there in the BoM itself, but I was extrapolating the path that you’d like me to go along. If I can illustrate with a hypothetical role-play…

    Martin “I have read BoM and I think its true”
    LDS “..then you should become a member of our Church, accept that JS is Prophet and submit to the authority of his successors…”

    Why else promote BoM? Where else does it go?

    Here’s another angle. Let’s apply the “test the tree by its fruit” approach by timelining JS’ career;

    1827 Marries Emma Hale
    1830 Publishes BoM
    1833 Marries Fanny Alger
    1838 “Marries” Lucinda Morgan Harris(spouse of George W Harris)
    1841 “Marries” Louisa Beaman, Zina Huntingdon Jacobs (spouse of Henry Jacobs), Presendia Huntingdon Buell (spouse of Norman Buell)
    1842 Marries Agnes Coolbrith, Syliva Sessions Lyon (spouse of Windsor Lyon), Mary Rollins Lightner (spouse of Adam Lightner), Patty Bartlett Sessions (spouse of David Sessions), Marinda Johnson Hyde (spouse of Orson Hyde), Elizabeth Davis Durfee (spouse of Jabez Durfee), Sarah Kingsley Cleveland (spouse of John Cleveland), Delcena Johnson, Eliza R Snow, Sarah Ann Whitney, Martha McBride Knight,
    1843 “Marries” Ruth Vose Sayers (spouse of Edward Sayers), Flora Ann Woodworth, Emily Dow Partridge, Eliza maria Partridge, Almera Johnson, Lucy Walker Sarah Lawrence, Maria Lawrence, Helen Mar Kimball (age 14), Hanna Ells, Elvira Cowles Holmes (spouse of Jonathan Holmes) Rhoda Richards, Desdemona Fullmer, Olive Frost, Melissa Lott, Nancy Winchester (age 14), Fanny Young.

    (dates from – OK, so the website I found might not have got it all right, but even if only a couple of these stories were true, you’d have to start asking some serious questions)

    My point is, if God was involved with the BoM venture, don’t you think some of it would have rubbed off on JS? The “fruit”, however, shows just the opposite; after the “revelation” of BoM, JS multiplied his adulteries at an exponential rate.

  16. falcon says:

    All I can say to our Mormon friends is, I’m sure glad I don’t have to defend this stuff i.e. Mormonism. It is truly painful to watch. I keep saying to myself, “These people can’t seriously believe this?” It is a good study, however, in the mindset of the true believer. Occasionally I have to go and read the testimonies of exMormons to know that it is possible, for someone caught-up in the Joseph Smith fantasy, to get their head straight. God does supply a way out.

  17. Enki says:

    You stated the following, “All prophesies in the Bible came to pass. ” Are there people on earth that are around 2,000 years old?

    Matthew 16: 28
    28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

  18. Linda says:

    Bye for now. I never thought blogging got anyone anywhere. Just a lot of buttons being pushed, figuratively and literally. How silly of me to let my buttons be pushed. I’m going to go and read testimonies of exMormons as well. I need something uplifting.

  19. jackg says:


    I can’t speak for Thomas S. Monson. You would have to take that up with him. But, that doesn’t mean he’s a true prophet of God. He’s just followed in the faith of his fathers, like you. As for bringing in the “sin” card, I’ll reiterate that we are all sinners. I still don’t see why you try to bring that in all the time except to try and elevate yourself and your views and to try and minimize the testimony of former members of the Church. Either way, it’s a red herring to the discussion. You know, if you think about, the reason sin plays a part in the path to redemption is because the sinner realizes his need for Jesus Christ and His death on the cross and, yes, His resurrection from the dead. Perhaps most Mormons don’t see their true need for that. Oh, I know the language is all part of the rhetoric, but when you throw in the idea that your own works play a part in your eternal redemption, then the need for Christ becomes a bit ancillary–kind of like the Mormon perception of grace. The truth will set you free, FOF.

    Peace and Grace!

  20. Megan says:

    Ralph, I do get your point, that different faith groups (ie, JW’s, Mormons, etc.) believe they are following the Christ of the Bible. I am never going to think of you as a Christian. You are never going to see me as having the “true” gospel. But what I gathered from your previous comments a couple days ago, is that you WANT me and my “camp” to think of you and your fellow LDS members as Christians. Sorry, not going to happen. I don’t ever expect you to think that I have the truth; why should you expect me to think that you do? We don’t just think of you as non-Christians, we see you as being in serious error and engaging in blasphemy (ie, God having once been man).
    It does sting to have the other “side” think you are in spiritual error, doesn’t it? Not to mention deeply frusterating. When LDS missionaries show up my doorstep and tell me earnestly that they want to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with me, I don’t know whether to laugh, scream, or cry. A little over two years ago, my very close LDS friend (now former LDS) and I were hanging out together with our kids, and she said out of the blue, “You know, I saw Marie Osmond on Oprah and she said it offends her when people say she’s not a Christian. She said, ‘Christ and his resurrection are at the center of my life, and my faith even has the name ‘Jesus Christ’ in it. How could I not be a Christian’ “? My friend then said rather defensively to me, “And that’s what I thought. The name ‘Jesus Christ’ is in my religion, so I am a Christian.’ ” I said very matter-of-factly, “But we follow a different Jesus. I’m sorry, but I don’t think you are a Christian.” She had to admit that we did indeed follow a different Jesus, and we let the conversation drop.
    It has been very good for me to have so many LDS friends at this point in my life. On my dad’s side of the family, their Christian roots go deep into the early 19th century (as far back as we can

  21. Megan says:

    Oops, hit the ‘”return” by accident. Anyway, I always saw my Christian lineage being so impeccable, what with relatives having taught at a Christian college, a great-great-grandmother escaping Europe to avoid religious persecution, relatives who were missionaires, blah blah blah. Who cares? The point is, I had quite a bit of pride in my Christian roots. Then I meet all these LDS people who think they have the God thing figured out! I have to admit that it was quite galling. Obviously they don’t think I have the “truth”. At first I felt like saying to them “Don’t you know who I am?”
    Well, not sure how to wind up that tangent. I guess the point is, it can be galling to feel like you have it all figured out, and then to have the other side say, “No you don’t!”

  22. mrgermit says:

    Megan, thanks for chiming in….your post might have made my point better than when I tried….. Attempts to get both parties to “settle down and agree on SOME kind of common christianity….” is the spirit of the age. This is a false ecumenism, an attempt at agreement where there really isn’t any ( of substance). Given the fact that we’ve been labeled APOSTATE, I find it a lttle wierd that LDS would want to be mentioned with us in the same breath…..but the culture at large sees this thing as some kind of wierd in house fight, so this might be an appeal more to the culture at large…… bottome line: from ev’s with any kind of solid theology behind them, this “agreement” is not in the works. As you put it: “not happening….”

  23. Megan says:

    Hey Ralph, I have a question for you: just a few min. ago I was on the blog “I Love Mormons”, and the blogger, Jessica Ashley, described the differing ways that Ev. Christians and Mormons interpret the Bible. She said that Christians (I know, I know, we’ve been over the Chrisitian term thing; just let me use that term for the moment) use a literal and grammatical approach to interpreting the scripture, and that Mormons interpret the scriptures according to continuing/past revelation. I have seen Mormons use context when interpreting a scripture within a passage, but her description suddenly made a lot of sense to me.
    I guess I was thinking of you in your previous comment (on the subject of the Trinity) that posters have used verses that have been “henpecked”. I have seen some instances where LDS commenters on here have used systematic theology, but not nearly as often as the Ev. posters. For us, systematic theology is the way to go when learning what the Bible says about any given topic (and yes, praying and being led by the spirit are the primary way that God reveals His word to us). But systematic theology is pretty important.
    What do you think? Do you think Jessica Ashley’s description is accurate in how Mormons interpret the Bible? I realize of course that LDS also use the BoM in interpreting the Bible too. But the thing is, I know that both sides find our differing ways of interpreting the Bible to be deeply frusterating, and that we often feel like banging our heads against the wall. I am not trying to “trap” you with your answer; I am just trying to get inside the LDS approach to interpreting the Bible so I can understand it better. Do you think, for the most part, Mormons interpret the Bible through the lens of LDS revelation?
    Gosh, that’s off-topic to this thread.

  24. Ralph says:


    No it doesn’t “sting” when the other side tells me I am wrong. What my point is is that when you (and others) say that we are not Christians, it implies to the listeners that we do not believe in or follow Jesus Christ. Yes I understand that we believe differently about Him, but we still believe in Him. It’s like the ‘Family/species’ – you have the canine family but many species. A rottweiler is not a german shepherd is not a bull terrior, etc but they are all dogs – even though some look absolutely different to others there are still the same basic characteristics. In our case we all believe in the NT, a person called Jesus whose title is Messiah/Christ who is the Son of God who performed the Atonement to give all the chance to live with God after this life. One of the differences is that you believe that He is part of a Trinity, we believe that He and God are seperate beings. But an Evangelical is a Christian, a modalist is a Christian, an LDS is a Christian, but we are not all one and the same church, we are different. To say that some one who does not belong to your faith or believe the same as you is not Christian even though they do believe in and follow Christ is misrepresenting that person and their faith. You can identify yourself as an Evengelical Christian which would then seperate you from the LDS and the modalists, etc but still allow the others to identify as Christian. And yes, to the non-NT communities (ie athiests, Muslims, Jews, etc) this is an in-house argument – they class us all as Christian. Most Christian books class the LDS as a sect of Christianity and mony of thise writers are Christian.

    As to your last question about how we interpret scripture – I don’t know the answer to that one. But my speculation is that we do learn in seminary (a class for 14 – 18 yr olds) and intstitute (a class for non-married 18+) about the history and context of the Bible, BoM and D&C. The manuals are online if you want to look at how the format is – just go into the LDS page and in the search bar type ‘Institute Manuals’. But there are scriptures that cannot be interpreted without God’s inspiration. As it says in the Bible – the scriptures are not for personal interpretation they were written by holy men of God through inspiration from the Holy Ghost, and should be interpreted in the same manner. There are some scriptures that have more than one meaning and the same goes with prophecies, so even though there is context and history to use to interpret the meaning, sometimes there is also another meaning that lies outside the context and history that only God can give.

    Now you could say that the LDS church uses JS’s and the following prophets’ personal interpretation and that you and your kind use inspiration from the Holy Ghost – that’s OK by me. I know differently. We’ll just have to agree to disagree with that point.

  25. Megan says:

    Thanks, Ralph, that was a very nice and thoughtful answer (of course, that is typical of you and I mean that as a compliment). I am willing to say that LDS and JW’s are Christian in the cultural sense, as in people who celebrate Christian holidays, etc. Just like European countries are classified as “Chrisitian”, even though most people know the belief/church attendance rate there is dismal. Within the Christian world (and I mean all the different denominations as well as Catholic, etc.), a person could attend church their entire life and not be a Christian. They could be Christian, but not A CHRISTIAN. Does that make any sense? A person could do the whole nine yards and seem pretty saintly in their daily life, but until they have turned their life over to the Christ of the Bible and allowed Him to sanctify them for the rest of their lives, they are not a Christian. Unless they trust their entire life to Jesus for their salvation (as the Bible says who He is), and are living a regenerate life in Christ, they are not a follower of Christ. They may be the follower of a Christ, but not THE Christ. And it’s only THE CHRIST who can save us from our sins.
    I am aware that secular writers and liberal theologians classify us within the same house, but I would see your side as another “house” connected to us through historical background. I think the only way to be within the Christian “house”, so to speak, is to be following the Christ of the Bible. Of course, we differ as to who that Person is. I don’t want to get into a long thing on this, but thanks for sharing your views. I know we disagree with each other, but I guess that’s part and parcel of being on this blog!

  26. mrgermit says:

    Ralph: I hope that you and yours (any extended ‘yours’) make it through this horrible fire knowing the embrace of the Father.

    you wrote:

    From my perspective I follow the Christ of the Bible and you do not. From a JW perspective they follow the Christ of the Bible and we do not. From a Jew perspective they follow the God and wait for the Messiah (Christ) of the Bible and we do not. I could go on.

    exactly………since this is the case, it’s silly to think that because these disagreements are prevalent , widespread, from many camps…..that we therefore drop the idea of one group saying that another is “not christian”….unless you want to make the case a la Daawkins , that ALL groups are full of it…..therefore……..I don’t think that is your position.

    months ago we had a thread on the benefits of defining what a person MEANT by the word “christian” BEFORE answering the question…..this seems like a good way to go….because depending on how one defines the term, then accordingly, you can give an appopriate answer: which might be “yes” and “no” when there are more than one definiton for “christian” floating around out there…. that was a good thread, I thot……

  27. Ralph and Martin both — praying for you, your loved ones, and your nation. May God hold you near.

  28. Ralph says:

    Thanks Germit and Sharon.

    It’s only my aunt that lives down in Melbourne near the affected area.

    The ‘funny’ thing about this month in Australia is that the top half of Queensland is in floods because of hurricanes and the bottom quarter of Victoria is on fire while the rest of us in the middle of the eastern states are having 40 degree heat one day and rain and 20 degrees the next.

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