Last week The Associated Press reported,
Defense asks for no Mormons on murder trial jury
OGDEN, Utah — An attorney for a man charged with aggravated murder have filed a motion to keep off the jury any members of the Mormon church who might believe that the only way for him to be forgiven by God is to be executed.
Sharon Sipes, a public defender for Riqo Perea, filed the motion in 2nd District Court. She says a belief among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that the only way to receive true forgiveness from God after committing a serious offense is to shed one’s own blood.
Sipes says that although the church has indicated blood atonement isn’t part of official doctrine, members widely believe it.
Perea, 21, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder in a gang-related 2007 shooting. Perea could face the death penalty. (Wednesday, 11 February 2009)
Mormon leaders unapologetically taught the doctrine of individual blood atonement from the early years of the LDS Church into the twentieth century.
Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith said,
“I am opposed to hanging, even if a man kill another, I will shoot him, or cut off his head, spill his blood on the ground and let the smoke ascend thereof up to God…” (March 1843, Documentary History of the Church 5:296).
LDS Apostle Jedediah M. Grant, second counselor to Brigham Young, taught,
“I say, there are men and women that I would advise to got to the Presidency immediately, and ask him to appoint a committee to attend to their case; and then let a place be selected, and let that committee shed their blood. We have those amongst us that are full of all manner of abominations, those who need to have their bloodshed, for water will not do, their sins are too deep a dye … I believe that there are a great many; and if they are covenant breakers we need a place designated, where we can shed their blood … Brethren and sisters, we want you to repent and forsake your sins. And you who have committed sins that cannot be forgiven through baptism, let your blood be shed, and let the smoke ascend, that the incense thereof may come up before God as an atonement for your sins, and that the sinners in Zion may be afraid” (September 1856, Journal of Discourses 4:49-51).
Mormonism’s second prophet Brigham Young told the Latter-day Saints:
“There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins, and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world … Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved in the kingdom of our God and our Father and being exalted, one who knows and understands the principles of eternal life, and sees the beauty and excellency of the eternities before him compared with the vain and foolish things of the world, and suppose that he is taken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin he knows will deprive him of the exaltation he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but would say, `shed my blood that I might be saved and exalted with the Gods?’ All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?” (February 1857, Journal of Discourses 4:219).
Joseph Fielding Smith, the man who became Mormonism’s tenth prophet, wrote,
“Man may commit certain grievous sins–according to his light and knowledge–that will place him beyond the reach of the atoning blood of Christ. If then he would be saved, he must make sacrifice of his own life to atone–so far as the power lies–for that sin, for the blood of Christ alone under certain circumstances will not avail… Joseph Smith taught that there were certain sins so grievous that man may commit, that they will place the transgressors beyond the power of the atonement of Christ. If these offenses are committed, then the blood of Christ will not cleanse them from their sins even though they repent. Therefore their only hope is to have their own blood shed to atone, as far as possible, in their behalf” (circa 1904, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:134-135).
Then LDS Seventy (later LDS Apostle) Bruce R. McConkie wrote,
“But under certain circumstances there are some serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate, and the law of God is that men must then have their own blood shed to atone for their sins” (1966, Mormon Doctrine, 92).
BYU professor Robert Millet was once asked about the early LDS teachings on blood atonement. As he tells the story, statements made by Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Jedediah Grant prompted the inquiry. Dr. Millet replied,
“I’m aware of those statements. Yes, they were taught, but they do not represent the doctrine of our Church” (2003, “What is Our Doctrine,” The Religious Educator, Volume 4, Number 3, 18).
It’s no wonder at all that many Mormons believe in individual blood atonement and mistakenly suppose it to be an official doctrine of the LDS Church. If it’s true that many Mormons believe this teaching, it’s wise for any defense attorney representing someone charged with a capital crime to choose a jury devoid of Latter-day Saints. While these folks would probably be smart, honest and thoughtful jurors, it could be risky if they agree with Jedediah Grant who said, “We would not kill a man, of course, unless we killed him to save him…” (Deseret News, July 27, 1854).
If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins,
He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9)
For further reading:
Blood Atonement – If It Was Never Taught, Why Do So Many Mormons Believe It?
Where do the two laws come from? This is the first that I have heard of this view and I am trying to understand it.
Also immutable to Christians has very specific meaning. The nature of God does not change before or after creation, He does not evolve, improve, or grow. He is infinite and not subject to outside effects, there is nothing that the creature can do to affect the creator. His will and plans do not change and must/will be accomplished as they are his sovereign decrees. Nor does he increase in knowledge as his knowledge is infinite.
I have no problem with you having your opinions about the motivations of Joseph Smith. However, when they are presented as fact, that is when I have a problem. This is frequently what is done by many.
I find it difficult to answer the questions you ask and deal solely with the doctrine of revelation. As concerning the two law, in order to understand where I believe these come from I must explain what i believe the nature of God to be, whihc in turn will need an explanation of other doctrine. However, I will attempt to show you what I believe.
God is unchanging, therefore these two laws must have been before the world was created.
Now, on another note, which is neccessary to understand what I am going to say, God is all powerful. This means that he has all power that any being could have. However, this does not mean he can do anything he wants. A favorite example is that God cannot make a rock so big that he could not move it. However, more to the point, there are eternal Laws that God himself is bound by. The two greatest of which is Truth and Justice. He cannot make what is true false, not can he be unjust in his actions.
When we understadn this we understand that God had to create two separate systems of laws for his children. As he is just he cannot command a person to do that which is impossible for him to do. Perfect justice judges on the individual’s capabilities, not the capabilities of others. When the majority of the people can follow the higher law, those who cannot are judged acording to their lower capacity to understand and obey. When the majority is unable to follow the higher law, they are given the lesser law, and those with a higher capacity to understand and obey are judged according to their capacity.
It is our own knowledge and understanding that will ultimately decide how we are judged. Therefore, if God gave us more knowledge than we could handle he would be condemning us, which would be unjust. When it is only a few who cannot comprehend the task is left to those who can to teach and help those who cannot. When it is the majority who cannot comprehend than there are not enough to teach them and help them, so they are given the lesser law.
I am not sure if this will really make sense, and I can try to put it in different words if you
Now, what you say about God is mostly true (though I think there are outside influences). I agree with everything else. However, when the church speaks of him increasing in Glory it is not speaking of changing or gaining knowledge or power. A persons Glory is their children. The farther their children progress the greater their glory becomes. When their children have children their glory is increased again by theior grandchildren. We are teh spirit children of God. We are his glory. For every person that makes it into eternal life his glory is increased. When we become like him and have spirit children of our own his glory is agains increased. When they become like him and have their own children his glory is again increased. Thus, while he does not change, his glory is increased as more and more of his family becomes exalted.
My daughter is also 15, and she knows nothing about the false teachings of JS et al. What does this prove? Does it prove that Mormon Doctrine is changed from the forefathers of the Mormon Religion? Does it prove that JS et al are not really revered as prophets when it comes down to the nitty gritty of Mormon theology as espoused by these accepted leaders of the faith? I say “yes” to all these questions. But, the real sin against humanity is that the LDS Church will no longer claim these beliefs and, subsequently, you have 15-year-olds ensnared in a false religion because they do not receive the facts of their history and the appalling teachings espoused by false prophets. The purport themselves to members of the true church, yet cannot be honest about the “real” doctrines of the Church that they believe will ultimately come to pass. It is obvious that the teachings of JS et al on subjects such as Blood Atonement, etc., are offensive enough that they must say they “are not official church doctrine,” which is merely a ruse in an attempt to misinform their own members as well as investigators that the LDS Church is built on a foundation of leaders whose teachings have to be hushed up, denied, and swept under the rug of “not official church doctrine.” The faith of their fathers is not a Christian faith, but a faith devised by JS to mislead humanity down a road that leads away from God’s presence. A Christian faith does not teach that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, especially in light of God’s Word that describes Lucifer as a fallen angel. We, as humanity, are not fallen angels, and neither is Jesus Christ, Who is God. So, it’s no wonder that the teenagers of the Mormon Church have not a clue as to the doctrines of their church fathers…and it’s very sad, as well. The call is for Mormons to awaken to God’s grace and salvation found only in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. The teachings of JS are nothing more than the teachings of man; they certainly cannot come from God and teach a god who has a beginning, a mere exalted man. God is not an exalted man. He does not have a beginning. He has always been and always will be God. JS did not teach this. What he taught was another gospel. Wake up!
You said, “the real sin against humanity is that the LDS Church will no longer claim these beliefs and… the appalling teachings espoused by false prophets.”
I could say this, “the real sin against humanity is that mainstream Christians will no longer claim these beliefs (law of moses, eye for an eye) and… the appalling teachings espoused by false prophets (such as the practice of polygamy by the prophet Abraham).”
Well, anyone who reads the OT knows that the law of Moses was taught at one point in time, and was relevant at one point in time. The same is true of the teachings of ANY prophets of the restoration–widely available to anyone who wants to read them, in plain view- but just because it WAS there, doesn’t mean we teach it now, let alone practice all the teachings of prophets (OT and restoration).
Based on your assertions, I suppose that Paul should have taught the law of Moses in Corinthians? The law of Moses is on THE BOOKS (OT) as a legitimate commandment at one point in time to prophets of old–so because evangelicals do not practice the law of Moses, does that mean they are avoiding the subject out of embarrassment, or is it not relevant? Many prophecies of the OT are still relevant today–but not all the teachings are meant to be practiced today–and knowing the difference is part of the importance of modern revelation.
The spiritual environment in early Christian sects was, as many scholars point out, a breeding ground for heresy. Thousands of different doctrines and sects emerged (which is what Paul warned about in Corinthians, ONE faith- ONE baptism)…more diversity than there is now amongst Christians! Christians were simply limited in their communication and translation–most of those who copied texts weren’t even literate! It is seriously flawed logic, based on scholarly evidence, to assume there is one clear message of Christianity that emerges in earlier centuries. Why else were there so many dissensions/wars/persecutions that called for the council at Nice? And why are evangelicals so confident in this outcome when they are also simultaneously unwilling to accept any ONE organization of Christ under any kind of leadership but the individual authority to interpret scripture? If the individual is the only authority to speak for God–then we are back to square one…and the council of Nicea was irrelevant!
The Jews did not recognize Christ because they did not accept revelation and the miracles of their day–they were so focused on old laws and practices–they could not accept the very Savior those practices were meant to prophecy of. The same is true of Christians today–we cannot allow ourselves to place old doctrines and practices in place of modern revelation and direction from God–we must first and foremost accept Him and His will at any given time…this hypocrisy you display (in logic, not character) further compels any who wants to follow Christ to accept those He has called in His stead. This is a fundamental dynamic throughout the bible!
I wonder if those here who are so critical of LDS doctrine contradicting the bible, would condemn their fellow ‘Christians’ who use the bible to justify gay marriage and slavery…?
SHEM: point well taken about motives; and I’d say this door swings both ways: many LDS are quick to give a positive attribution to JS’ motives,and assume that what he did was for love of family, church, and humanity….though if an error it to made, I’d say err to the side of hope and charity. Looking at someones life of 180 plus years ago is always a little iffy. We don’t even know our own motives all the time, let alone someone else’s.
His ACTIONS, and his words, though, might be another story.
Peace and grace on you and yours.
I wonder if those here who are so critical of LDS doctrine contradicting the bible, would condemn their fellow ‘Christians’ who use the bible to justify gay marriage and slavery…?
I would condemn the teaching….not the people.
Amanda says: Christians were simply limited in their communication and translation–most of those who copied texts weren’t even literate!
Wow. How do you know that? It’s my understanding that scholars in the temple copied the text. Even if “copiers” were illiterate, that supports an argument that they would have copied it literally because they would be unable to alter it with any intelligence.
Aside from revelation and doctrine and laws, JS changed the very nature, “history” and eternity of God and Jesus. LDS worships a very different God and Jesus than the rest of us. I would go so far as to say that every time a Mormon says they are Christian, they tell a lie.
It doesn’t matter that JS was a prophet or seer or a man of your god. As soon as he changed the character of God, he was done. Nothing he says is relevant.
Sorry, I tried to stay away but these blogs make me crazy. They push all our buttons. I think the lies are what make me so angry. Not just that LDS lies to the world about being Christian, the missionaries lied to me all those months I let them into my home. I sincerely want to protect everyone from lies.
I apologize, I really should have included a reference, my bad.
All of my information on that topic comes from only one author/2 books- ‘Misquoting Jesus: the Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why’ and ‘Lost Christianities’ by Bart D. Ehrman-but he is a well-known scholar on the topic of textual criticism- His wife is a practicing ‘mainstream’ Christian. http://bartdehrman.com/
Dr. Ehrman has an evangelical background but later decided (because of all of these apparent errors in translation) he did not believe in the validity of the bible (or from my LDS perspective, it really only proves ‘sola scriptura’ as an incomplete foundation for knowledge of God’s plan). His scholarly work is not one of a kind–many scholars have expressed doubts as to the validity of translation in the bible. This is to be expected in ancient times because truth be told, Christians were of lowly status, and hardly had the means to educate themselves or fund competent copies of texts that they so desperately needed to produce in order to prevent heresy! Many Christians were illiterate and depended on these texts being copied accurately. The first translation of the bible that enabled the literacy of the Christian was in German (Gutenberg printing press) 1,450 years after Christ…Before then, the Christian religion relied heavily on texts being copied accurately- and usually by those who were only capable of copying writing and lacked basic knowledge of their own language let alone other languages! It’s actually a well-documented issue amongst early Christians- and a fascinating book.
I don’t agree with Dr. Ehrman’s conclusions that the bible is therefore false. Unfortunately for Dr. Ehrman–his mainstream Christian notions (which he acquired through his previous born-again status) that the bible is the sole testimony of Jesus Christ–and is the only reliable source for His existence seemed to directly contradict scholarly evidence. So upon further study, his foundation seemed shaky- and made the mistake of abandoning God altogether because of the flaws of men! With the knowledge of the restored gospel, the problems He faced personally and scholarly are easily answered. I give this perspective for the sake of full-disclosure- so you understand his personal views- and mine.
As far as your position: “LDS worships a very different God and Jesus than the rest of us. I would go so far as to say that every time a Mormon says they are Christian, they tell a lie.”
I respond with a recent passage I read today in another fascinating book:
“The Greek version of this name means, “God is the one who brings recompense.” He was the tutor of Saul prior to his conversion and call as an apostle, and he is the Pharisee who prevented the Sanhedrin from taking the lives of the Twelve by proclaiming, “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God” (Acts 5: 38-39). Gamaliel’s name highlights his teaching: God is in charge. Let him decide who should be rewarded and who should be punished.” (‘The Lost Language of Symbolism’ By Alonso L. Gaskill pg.228)
The term “Law of Moses” is so ambiguous that it is impossible to understand clearly what you mean. When you use this term what do you mean? Are you referring to the Covenant made as Sinai between God and National Israel? Or do you mean the particular cultic (worship) practices instituted by God for a national Israel? Or do you mean the moral Law that we find in the 10 commandments and elsewhere in the OT books of the Law? Or do you mean the entire Torah?
If you don’t agree with the conclusions of Dr. Ehrman why are you using them? Do you find it intellectually honest to use an argument that is apposed to your own presuppositions? The arguments used by Dr. Ehrman are not unique. This is basically one of the same argument that Muslims use to prove the divine origin of the Koran, when they claim there a no textual variations in their holy book.
Taken to its logical conclusion this same argument can be used to question the validity of the BoM, due to the many documented changes (textual variations) that have occurred since 1830. You may claim that these changes have no affect on doctrine (the same argument Christians use in refuting Ehrman) but that misses the point of Ehrman’s thesis. He claims that ANY textual variation is prof against divine inspiration. You could produce the original 1830 BoB and show that little has changed, but Bart would tell you that you need the original documents, not evan the compilation of the various books into the golden plates would suffice, to prove what the text actually says.
I always find it odd when people use arguments that contradict their own presuppositions in order to prove their opponents wrong. How can you, after using Dr. Ehrman’s conclusions to argue against “sola scriptura” ignore the same argument when used against the validity and inspired nature of the BoM?
Your argument that Christians were of such a lowly status that they could not have educated themselves or fund competent copies of texts is contradicted by the physical evidence. Look at the volume of copies of NT writing that we have available today.
I would be remiss if I failed to point out the many scholars specializing in textual criticism have not come to the same atheistic conclusions that Dr. Ehrman has. They do not find a conspiracy to change texts and pervert doctrines. Bruce Metzger who trained Bart Ehrman said that over 90% of the NT is rather well established in regard to its original text, and none of the remaining 10% provides us with data that could lead to any shocking revisions of the Christian credo or doctrine. It is at the very least disingenuous to suggest it does, if not deliberately provocative to say otherwise.
The argument Amanda gives, as well as your counter argument, seem to point to the same thing, that the use of these scholars to prove anything regarding either book, or religion, is truly pointless.
I read a question in one of these posts that has bothered me for several days. I do believe Amanda tried to answer it, but I have to respond myself. It was actually a quote from some scholar that I do not know, and as these threads have become very long I was unable to locate it. So I paraphrase here. The question was, “What point of doctrine does the Book of Mormon clarify?” While the entire quote was longer, this was the main question, and the one to which I wish to give an answer.
First, this question does not lend itself to fair discussion. It is a trap laid to ensnare all who would try to answer it honestly. To illustrate my point I will relate a story that I heard when I was sixth grade.
There was once a town ruled by a counsel of corrupt officials. These men desired only power, and wealth, and would persecute the citizens of the town to get gain.
One day, a wise man came to the town and began teaching the people. His words had great power to stir the heart and people began to turn against the ruling counsel. The men of the counsel would frequently enter into discussion with this wise man, but could never prevail against him. So, one day they all met in secret to find a solution to their problem. They had to discredit this man or lose their influence and power.
One of them came before the rest with a plan. “I will hold a small bird in my hands so he cannot see it and say to him ‘I have a bird in my hands. Is the bird alive or is the bird dead?’ If he answer that it is alive I will open my hands and it will be dead, but if he say it is dead I will open my hands and it will fly away alive.”
The plan was agreed upon and the next day the council met the man as he was teaching in the market. The one approached him. “I have a bird in my hands. Is the bird alive or is the bird dead?” The Wise man looked at them, shook his head in sorrow and said “It is as you will it to be.”
When you ask the question, “What doctrine does the Book of Mormon clarify?” you have asked “Is it alive or dead?” If one says it is alive, giving such as we both believe (such as baptism) you can reply that the doctrine is clearly taught in the Bible, thus the Book of Mormon is dead. If one answers that it is dead, giving such doctrine that we disagree on (such as Works and Faith) you can reply that the Bible does not teach that making the Book of Mormon an alteration and not a clarification, thus the Book of Mormon is alive.
So in answer to the question “What doctrine does the Book of Mormon Clarify?” I respond “It is as you will it to be.” If you believe in the Book of Mormon there are many doctrines that it clarifies. However, if you do not believe in it there are none.
If you mean atheist scholars then I agree with you, you will not see me use arguments that counter my own truths, it is dishonest. I do believe scholarship has its place in the Christian faith. One of my favorite theologians J. Gresham Machen said “It is useless to proclaim a gospel that people cannot hold to be true: no amount of emotional appeal can do anything against the truth. The question of fact cannot permanently be evaded. Did Christ or did He not rise from the dead; is the Bible trustworthy or is it false?”
Dr. Ehrman is not the first non-believer in the last 2000 years to oppose the trustworthiness of the Bible; he will not be the last. Are we to ignore Dr. Ehrman, or to incorporate parts of his conclusions into our apologetic? Or should we follow the example set by the faithful for the past 2 millennia and meet the intellectual attack of the Ehrmans? Dr. Machen warns us that, “Intellectual slothfulness is but a quack remedy for unbelief; the true remedy is consecration of intellectual powers to the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I appriciate teh post. However, the question I sited and answered, as I understand it, was asked by a Christian theologian and scholar. As I said, I could not locate where it was given in this thread, so I cannot be sure. If it was not a Christian then the question seems kind of pointless, but either way it is still a trap.
Sorry for the confusion, I was not referring to the comment you posted regarding the Christian scholar. My point was and is directed at people who choose to use the arguments and theories of atheist and others who disagree with their beliefs. If you read Amanda’s post and my reply you will see that I am questioning the intellectual honesty of using arguments, that conflict with your beliefs, especially atheists that deny the existence of God.
I incorrectly assumed that when you said “scholars” in your reply to me, we were both talking about atheist scholars like Dr. Ehrman. My only point was that Christian scholars are needed to counter the likes of Dr. Ehrman.
I am sorry for any confusion that I caused.
As a researcher I research all I can about my field of interest INCLUDING those who do not support my opinion. here is always truth to be found in their research as well. But I think you were missing Amanda’s main point – that whatever you say about the BoM can almost always be said about the Bible. She just gave an example of her point using Dr Ehrman and his research. Yes there are some things in the Bible that match-up with historical events or places that can still be found on maps, but there are also places that cannot be found and events that cannot be verified. Look at Forrest Gump – i know its fiction and it does not claim to be fact – but how many historical events and places does it have? If someone did not know it was a story would they have difficulty deciding if it was true or false. I for one know a girl whose life was exactly the same as Jenny’s except for dying of a disease. To an extent I was her Forrest – but that’s besides the point.
So yes, there is more evidence about the Bible than the BoM, but they are both books of faith over fact. Scientific studies will not get you any closer to verifying the truth of them (however it can assist). It is the Spirit that will testify of their truthfulness and that is the only witness one needs.
Your attempts at arguing the semantics of the Law of Moses is a fruitless endeavor because it isn’t applicable to my general point….which is that Christians today do not practice all that they read in the bible! Polygamy and ANY part of the Law of Moses–as written and referred to in the OT. There are other examples–slavery for instance. Criticizing the restored gospel simply because we do not practice the same things today as we did over a hundred years ago is disingenuous given the point I make about the Law of Moses. The Jews refused to look past the OT–mainstream Christians refuse to look past the NT–LDS are saying..’You are BOTH wrong! It is a LIVING gospel!’
“If you don’t agree with the conclusions of Dr. Ehrman why are you using them?”
Read my post again…it is not his personal conclusions I am asserting. I am asserting the scholarly evidence (that he bases his erroneous conclusions on) to point out to Sharon that there are serious issues with translation regarding sacred texts…she was apparently unaware of the extensive history. With the paradigm of a restored gospel, and revealed scripture in the BoM, D&C, PoGP etc…we can give needed context to scriptures in the bible–specifically scriptures regarding baptism, laying on of hands, priesthood etc.
“…You may claim that these changes have no affect on doctrine (the same argument Christians use in refuting Ehrman) but that misses the point of Ehrman’s thesis. He claims that ANY textual variation is prof against divine inspiration.”
First of all, if you read his entire book, you would know that the problems interlaced in the history of biblical text FAR surpass the perceived errors in the BoM…FURTHERMORE, the BoM claims to have been translated by the power and capacity of God–through a prophet–not the power and capacity of mankind. and even FURTHER, we believe that Christs’ gospel is a LIVING gospel…which denotes ongoing personal revelation, and revelation to a living prophet that does not rely solely on the bible OR BoM. We don’t believe in ‘sola scriptura’…which is why the restored gospel would be a completely different perspective for Dr. Ehrman to consider on a personal faith basis. The scholarly evidence in his book EASILY supports an apostasy, and restoration.
The substance lies in the CONCLUSIONS, not in the evidence…
If you worship the bible and not the living God–then you would question your faith in God if the bible turns out to be flawed because of the works of men. Where I completely break from Dr. Ehrman’s personal conclusions is the reality of a LIVING GOD who cannot be limited by ANY book. The bible cannot and DOES NOT limit God and His purposes for His children here on earth. Dr. Ehrman fell away because he worshiped a book that functioned as a book–not as a perfect and all-knowing God of the universe.
I’m sorry, but why should anyone accept the ‘Christian credo?’ as authoritative? Simply because it has been around for a few hundred years? Was the Nicene Creed orchestrated by Christ Himself? Did he visit these Christians in person and authorize their SELF-appointed positions as authorities on HIS doctrine? Seems hypocritical to criticize anyone claiming authority to speak in His name without claiming that same authority yourself.
I do not trust ANYONE who claims to preach the fullness of His gospel without claiming Christ as the original GIVER of that authority. If you do things in His name, you must also have His DIRECT permission/direction. Moses touched the hand of God…prophets of old saw visions and angels. Today, ‘mainstream’ Christians seem to have a fundamentally different approach akin to popular opinion, a majority vote, a politically-charged council, traditions. The Jews had traditions too, didn’t they?
Simply asking a question how you define the “Law of Moses” is not an endeavor to argue the semantics. In order to understand you comparison between the “Law of Moses” a “living gospel” I need to know what you mean by the “Law of Moses”. I am sorry, if you think that I was being disingenuous to ask a question to ensure clarity before I commented on your comparisons.
You go on to say “there are serious issues with translation regarding sacred texts”. This is in fact not the case, there are issues, but to claim they are faith altering is just being deliberately confrontational. I will repeat what Bruce Metzger who trained Bart Ehrman said, “over 90% of the NT is rather well established in regard to its original text, and none of the remaining 10% provides us with data that could lead to any shocking revisions of the Christian credo or doctrine. It is at the very least disingenuous to suggest it does, if not deliberately provocative to say otherwise.” This is not my opinion this is the opinion of one of the leading textual critics of the NT ever. Let me assure you that I have read Misquoting Jesus and there is nothing new in the book, except for Dr. Ehrman’s conclusions.
I am not sure if you understand textual criticism, or you could not make the claim “the problems interlaced in the history of biblical text FAR surpass the perceived errors in the BoM.” Amanda there is no original text of the BoM to analyze. No texts, no scraps, no scrolls, no papyri, no codices, no ancient references, no plates (gold or otherwise), there is no evidence of an ancient manuscript of the BoM. Yet even without 2000 years of transmission to account for variations, your BoM still has textual variations.
Your claim that I, “worship the bible and not the living God-then you would question your faith in God if the bible turns out to be flawed because of the works of men”, is a claim made by many arguing against the divine nature of the Bible. Simply, I have read the Bible and by the grace of God I find what it says to be true, this causes me to worship the God that revealed Himself in the Bible. I am not going to bore you with the details of my conversion or testimony because frankly they are irrelevant, but I was not born into my faith. Suffice it to say I was well aware of textual variation before I was baptized a Christian.
Let me suggest that if you want to be intellectually honest that you should only use an argument that will not disprove your fundamental beliefs. I consider it a sign of a well thought out argument when you can tell that the person making it is starting from their own beliefs. There are other Mormons on this site that do this.
The name assigned to the whole collection of written laws given through Moses to the house of Israel, as a replacement of the higher law that they had failed to obey. The law of Moses consisted of many ceremonies, rituals,and symbols, to remind the people frequently of their duties and responsibilities. It included a law of carnal commandments and performances, added to the basic laws of the gospel. Faith, repentance, baptism in water, and remission of sins were part of the law, as were also the Ten Commandments. Although inferior to the fulness of the gospel, there were many provisions in the law of Moses of high ethical and moral value that were equal to the divine laws of any dispensation. The law of carnal commandments and much of the ceremonial law was fulfilled at the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The law functioned under the Aaronic Priesthood and was a preparatory gospel to bring its adherents to Christ. (For reference – Rom. 3: 20; Gal. 3: 19, 24; Eph. 2: 14-16; Heb. 7: 11, 18-19; Heb. 9: 7-14)
This is from the Bible Dictionary that is printed with every copy of the Bible by the LDS church. It also gives the following concerning this law.
The law as given through Moses was a good law, although adapted to a lower spiritual capacity than is required for obedience to the gospel in its fulness. However, the Jewish leaders had added many unauthorized provisions, ceremonies, and prohibitions to the original law, until it became extremely burdensome. These innovations were known as the “traditions of the elders.” By N.T. times among the Jews the law had become so altered it had lost much of its spiritual meaning almost to the point that the law was worshipped more than the Lord. It is this form of the law that is so harshly spoken against by Jesus and by Paul. (For Reference – Matt. 15: 1-9; Mark 7: 1-13; Gal. 2: 16-21)