We Thank Thee, O God, for BYU Professors

Heads up: I get snarky over the hypocrisy and sophistry of BYU professors.

Without BYU professors, how else would we sift through the contradicting teachings of Mormon prophets and apostles? How else would we escape the “common misunderstandings” fostered by the top priesthood authorities in the Mormon Church?

We thank thee, O God, for BYU professors
To guide us in these latter days
When troublesome teachings by prophets and apostles hang o’er us
And threaten our mental peace to destroy
There is hope smiling brightly before us
And we know that deliverence is nigh
In the writings of BYU professors

In the Gospel of Gaskill, a.k.a. Savior & the Serpent: Unlocking the Doctrine of the Fall (2005), Alonzo writes,

Some would suggest that God’s command to Abraham or Nephi (to slay a human being) was a “contradictory command.” Those who take this position often cite these words by the Prophet Joseph: “God said, ‘Thou shalt not kill;’ at another time He said, ‘Thou shalt utterly destroy.’ This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.”

Although these words relate well to the circumstance in which Abraham and Nephi found themselves, they do not apply to the situation in which we find Adam and Eve. Note that, unlike Adam and Eve, both Nephi and Abraham had the ability to do what God commanded them. They were simply given a new commandment that overrode a previous command. Neither father Abraham nor the prophet Nephi were being commanded to keep two mutually exclusive commandments, where the keeping of one required the breaking of the other.

Adam and Eve, on the other hand, were not being given a new command as a replacement of a previous command. Instead, they were given two simultaneous commands that could not both be kept. For God to command Adam and Eve not to partake of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, and also command them to multiply and replenish the earth (which they could do only if they partook of the “forbidden” fruit), is to place them in a logical paradox in which they cannot possibly be obedient. That is contrary to the nature of God (1 Nephi 3:7).

Additionally, for God to then administer repercussions (akin to penalties) for their disobedience to one law—when He Himself had required that they break that law so as to fulfill another law—runs entirely counter to God’s nature, to the eternal principle of agency, and to the entire plan of salvation. God simply would not do this—to Adam and Eve or to you and me. To do so would be to act unmercifully, unjustly, and unrighteously.

Lest you miss the audacity of this, Gaskill has just essentially (albeit implicitly) accused Mormon leaders (specifically those who have promoted the traditional explanation of the alleged dilemma in the Garden) of teaching something that “runs entirely counter to God’s nature, to the eternal principle of agency, and to the entire plan of salvation”, which has God acting “unmercifully, unjustly, and unrighteously”. Gaskill goes on:

Of course it must be remembered that nowhere in scripture do we have a full account of exactly what took place in the Garden surrounding the giving of the command not to partake of the “forbidden” fruit. Something is clearly missing in each of the authorized accounts of the Fall. Something additional must have happened that is unclear in the story of the Fall but revealed through modern prophets.

On several occasions, President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “The Lord said to Adam, here is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. If you want to stay here then you cannot eat of that fruit. If you want to stay here then I forbid you to eat it. But you may act for yourself and you may eat of it if you want to. And if you eat it you will die.”

At this point I have to clap my hands for Mr. Gaskill, because he actually tries to appeal to a Mormon prophet to argue his point. In other cases Gaskill has simply appealed to writings of other BYU professors (cf. some points made in Odds Are, You’re Going to Be Exalted). Moreover, I can clap with both hands, because Gaskill implicitly admits in passing that a survey of various teachings on this by LDS authorities doesn’t exactly yield a faith-promoting consistency. Notice, however, how in his footnote he brushes all the unwanted teachings under the rug of mere “opinion”:

Smith (1982), 124. See also Smith (1993), 4:81; Smith (1990), 185–86, in which President Smith stated: “Mortality was created through the eating of the forbidden fruit, if you want to call it forbidden, but I think the Lord has made it clear that it was not forbidden. He merely said to Adam, if you want to stay here [in the garden] this is the situation. If so, don’t eat it.”

It seems fair to note that, while President Smith’s position that Adam and Eve did not receive “contradictory commandments” finds support in the teachings of a number of the Brethren, various General Authorities have held different opinions on how best to address this issue of the seeming contradiction. In the end, in the opinion of this author, President Smith’s interpretation seems to best coincide with the overarching doctrine of the Church.

But apparently he can’t find enough material from LDS prophets and apostles that is sufficiently authoritative and articulate, so he completes his case by quoting from another BYU professor (Roger Keller):

One LDS scholar similarly taught:

What, therefore, did God really say to them in the garden? I suggest that He might have said something like the following: “If you want to stay in the Garden of Eden with no cares and no possibility of growth, you should not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. However, if you desire to grow and receive all that I have in store for you, you will have to leave the garden. If you eat of the tree, you will be cast out of the garden into the earth and into mortality, and you will die both temporally and spiritually, but you will open the door for yourselves and for all humanity to receive eternal life like I have. The choice is yours.” In other words, God gave them information.

Thus, according to President Smith (and many others), God was quite clear with Adam and Eve that they had a choice—and that choice was not which of the two contradictory commandments they would keep. On the contrary, the two options given them were as follows: If they wanted to stay in Eden, then the fruit of knowledge of good and evil was forbidden. However, if they wanted to leave, they would have to partake of that fruit. The first couple would have been quite clear on what their options were and what the repercussions of either choice would be. Unlike the common theory of “higher” and “lesser” commandments or “contradictory commandments,” President Smith’s view is in harmony with the plan and the nature of God.

Everybody now:

Rejoice in the Lord’s University
And bask in its life-giving light
Thus on to eternal perfection
The faithful and honest will go
While they who embrace the traditional teachings of LDS prophets and apostles
Shall never such happiness know

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44 Responses to We Thank Thee, O God, for BYU Professors

  1. gundeck says:

    This is what happens when rampant speculation unguided by the Bible leads your theology.

    “What, therefore, did God really say to them in the garden? I suggest that He might have said something like the following…”

    Wait let me help you out here it is in Gen 2:17 “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

  2. Gaskill wrote “Something additional must have happened that is unclear in the story of the Fall but revealed through modern prophets.”, which is right down the line of LDS “scholarship”.

    Why must “something additional” have happened? Answer – because without it the message of the Mormon prophets/BYU professors has no credibility.

    If LDS believe that the Bible is the word of God, as the 8th Article of Faith states, then to give any credence to Gaskill’s position, LDS must imply that God has done a rubbish job of explaining himself through his own inspired scriptures.

  3. I suggest that if the LDS baggage is jettisoned, the story of Gen 1-3 becomes quite transparent. In brief, God creates the cosmos, He creates us in His image, we stuff it up and lose out. The rest, as they say, is history.

    There are a couple of features of this story that stand out;

    1 The commandment to “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it.” (Gen 1:28) happens before the fall. Given that these activities require sex (procreation) and work (governing), and that they were not contingent on the human beings eating the forbidden fruit, it follows that you don’t need to eat the forbidden fruit to engage in sex and work.

    (Where does this idea come from that the origins of Adam and Eve’s sexuality came from their sin?)

    When God curses the humans for eating the forbidden fruit, He specifically focusses on these two areas of human activity (Gen 3:16 and Gen 3:17-19). My reading is that sex and work are part of God’s good creation, but it is our sin that brings pain and meaninglessness to these aspects of our lives.

    See – No contradictory commands!

    2 The central issue of the fall is intriguing. Put simply, Adam and Eve disobeyed a command. However, why would God forbid the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Isn’t this knowledge a good thing?

    Again, my reading is that this was not a question of learning discernment, but of Adam and Eve thinking that they would be as good as God at judging whether something was good or evil (note the Serpent’s taunt – ” you will be like God” Gen 3:5). Their sin was that they unseated God from His position as the highest authority (the “Name above all Names”) and, in occupying that seat themselves, reversed the created order.

    Having inherited this legacy from Adam and Eve, it takes a work of the Holy Spirit to restore the created order, in which we say;

    “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalm 100:3)

  4. Just a final thought.

    I get quite concerned when I hear messages that imply that Christianity is an impost on the human soul, whereas it is natural, and right, for us to carry on sinning.

    To the contrary, I believe that it is sin that is the impost on the human soul. In other words, we don’t need it to fully function as human beings. For example, sex and work are not inherently sinful, but we use them sinfully. The paradox of human nature is that, even though we don’t need sin, and it brings pain and meaninglessness to our existence, we sin anyway.

    When the Lord Christ liberates us from our sin, he’s not chopping some vital organ out of our chests. He’s actually taking us out of slavery and delivering us to His Kingdom, which, if I can use the metaphor, is like releasing us into our native environment. As Augustine of Hippo said “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord”. (see also Psalm 95:8-11 for what happens when we continue in sin – “They shall never enter my rest” Ps 95:11).

    Some skeptics may argue that sin is a concept that was invented by the Church to scare people into Church. If you destroy the invented problem, you destroy the invented solution. My response is that Jesus didn’t simply come to give us a sin-management strategy – he came so that we may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).

  5. shematwater says:

    Just one questions: If God did not plan for the Fall, if it was not his intention that it happen, does not the fact that it did seem to indicate that Satan can beat God and frustrate his plans?

    Just a thought.

  6. Rick B says:

    God knew the fall would happen, since He knows the future. He (God) made plans before He created the earth For His son to die for are sins as the Bible teaches.

    What God Did not do but mormons believe is, God Did not create the earth and humans and say I want man to fall, I will tell man not to eat, but I know man will disobey me and eat, and thats what I really want. God did not do that. Rick b

  7. jackg says:

    For anyone to suggest that God planned for the Fall of man is saying that God was dependent on sin in order to demonstrate His grace. Such a thought is ludicrous, but is where Mormon thinking takes us when we flesh it out to its fullest. The next step would be to say that God was the One who created sin in order for His purposes to be fulfilled. Who wants to go down that heretical path?

    Peace and Grace!

  8. Shem asks an intelligent question. If I can paraphrase “Did God intend the fall to happen, or did it happen contrary to his intentions?” Another similar question would be “Is God the author of sin?”

    Well, these questions have been vexing philosophers and theologians since the beginning, so I don’t think we should expect a “sound-byte” answer.

    Given that the fall is a Biblical story, it is only fair to interpret it within a Biblical framework. What we can see, from the story, is God creating a “good” creation (contra Gnostic thought), man and woman made in His image, man and woman exercising elective choice, which leads to their exile from the land. Although their relationship with God is not completely severed (note God’s provision in Gen 3:21), they are estranged from Him to the point where they don’t “know” Him.

    Though this is traditionally interpreted as a story about origins, I see it as speaking to our present reality. Within the Biblical framework, I believe it presents the “starting point” for the redemption narrative. It answers the question “how did we get here?”, whether “here” is exile in Egypt or exile in Babylonia or exile in sin. Once the present reality of exile is accepted (usually, its self-evident), the question that follows is “how do we get out?” The answer, of course, is that God redeems us, for which we shall be eternally grateful. How God does it is intriguing; whereas Moses led the people out through the sea, Jesus leads His people out through the cross.

    Back to Shem’s question. Within this narrative framework, I don’t think it is appropriate to say that it is one or the other. The narrative itself preserves the human’s freedom of choice, and without choice there can be no true love or ultimate judgement. However, to say that all this happened while God’s back was turned also throws up problems, in particular God’s freedom of choice.


  9. Ctd…

    Ultimately, though, its not a story about Satan beating God. The paradox of the Christian redemption narrative is that God, in Christ, beats Satan by allowing Satan to triumph at the cross. What does the resurrection tell us about Satan’s hollow triumph?

    I’m impressed by the idea that God had freedom of choice in all this, which, I think, underpins the Johannine literature in particular. The question John seems to ask is “why did God set things up this way so that at some point He would have to come and die on a cross?”. The answer John gives is “how else could God unequivocally demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that He loves us” Why does He love us? Because He is love (1 John 4:8-9). How doe we know what love is? Because love is how God works.

    And why death on a cross? How else does the merchant (God) “sell everything” to acquire the pearl of great price (His people) (Matt 13:45-46)?

    In the Biblical framework, the story of the fall doesn’t lead to Satan beating God, it leads to the love of God through His own self-revealing self-sacrifice. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16 – P.S. I never get tired of this stuff)

    Sorry to skimp on much of the detail, but “…there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” (John 21:25).

  10. shematwater says:

    RICK B

    What you are saying is that what God wanted he couldn’t have. God wanted us to remain in the Garden, but knew we wouldn’t, and thus he could not have what he wanted. Does this not reduce his power?


    I know you will disagree with this, but does it not say in the Bible that Adam and Eve had no knowledge of Good and Evil? How could they sin if they had no understanding of what sin was? Thus, God is not the dependent on sin, as it was not possible for them to sin.


    You had the best response, at least the one that made the most sense. However, I would point out that with this line of reasoning the Fall had to have been a part of the original plan, something that God wanted to happen.
    I also think that there are better ways to show love. While it is beautifully written it sounds like a Father framing his children and then confessing to the crime for the soul purpose of proving his love. Would it not have shown a greater love to have prevented the fall and keep them from the suffering? If the entire point of the Fall was so that Christ could be crucified, does that not seem a little self-centered and selfish on God’s part, thus deminishing his Love?

    I ask these questions because, at least for me, they need to be answered effectively. The only doctrine I have ever heard that answered all this effectly is the doctrine of the LDS church.

    God wanted the Fall. Why? so that we could experience mortal life with all its trials, thus learn and progress.
    Why does he want us to progress? Because he loves us and wants us to reach the maximum potential that is possible for us.

    If God’s reason for creating us is to glorify himself his own pride and conceit make me not want to worship him. However, if his purpose in creating us was to glorify us, that is a God I can worship, and a God I can give glory to every day that I live.
    Moses 1: 39 “this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”

  11. Rick B says:

    I do not think you understood what I said.
    How about this,
    The Bible tells us God CANNOT LIE, It is IMPOSSIBLE for God to lie. God says Lies and Deceit are Wrong, Yet according to Mormon Logic this is exactly what God did with Adam and Eve.

    If God needed them or wanted them to fall, God could have said, You Must or I need you to eat of this tree.

    It is Not the God I serve to say, Dont Eat of this tree, knowing that by telling them not to, He really wants them to. Then as a result of wanting them to really eat, God knows this will cause 1000’s of years of Human suffering, Kids being Molested, Women being Raped and Abused, Wars, Violence upon the face of the earth, and Many dying and Going to hell.

    That all comes from the Fall, Your really going to tell me that all this was really what God wanted when He set up Adam and Eve for a fall?

    Yes God knew this stuff Would happen, Did He want it to Happen? No. But go for it make the case that God really wanted this to happen.

    So as a result of the Fall, Before I was saved, I was Kicked out of 2 schools, had a restraing order put on my by a pastor of a church, Stole, Slept around and much other Evil stuff. That was a result of my fallen human nature.

    I take Full responsibility for my actions, But know as a result of Knowing Christ I no longer hurt people, thats good for them, But still if God wanted the fall to happen, then He wanted me to have a sinful fallen nature that caused me to hurt others and gave my wife MS. Please, please, please convince me this is true. Rick b

  12. Shem wrote “If God’s reason for creating us is to glorify himself his own pride and conceit make me not want to worship him. However, if his purpose in creating us was to glorify us, that is a God I can worship, and a God I can give glory to every day that I live.”

    The contrast between our Gospels is stark. Here, I believe that humanity was created in order to glorify God, whereas Shem implies that God was created to glorify humanity.

    I really hope the “lurkers” out there take note.

    The assertion that God is a megalomaniac who demands our worship would work if it weren’t for God’s self-revelation in Jesus (Big tip – we need to allow our concept of God to be shaped by what we see in Jesus). In Jesus, we see a God who humbles himself to death for our benefit (Phil 2:8). If God was proud or arrogant, He would have got someone else to go through the shame and pain of the cross for Him. On the contrary, you cannot beat God for humility, love and self-sacrifice. You simply cannot do it – how can you pour out more than everything the way God did at the cross?

    We worship God not because He commands “worship me”, but because He is truly worthy of our worship…

    “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain…

    “And they sang a new song:
    You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
    because you were slain,
    and with your blood you purchased men for God
    from every tribe and language and people and nation.

    “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels…in a loud voice they sang:
    Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honor and glory and praise!

    “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
    To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honor and glory and power,
    for ever and ever!

    Extracts from Rev 5:6-13

  13. shematwater says:

    RICK B

    God wants us to have the chance to decide for ourselves. In the Garden Adam and Eve had no understanding of Good or Evil. They could not do either for they did not know either.

    To argue that God wanting the Fall proves he wants evil is a senseless idea and a twisting of all that it good and true. We both know that the argument is a false one. If God wanted evil he wouldn’t punish us for it. However, he knows that without evil there can be no good, and one cannot exist without the other. He also knows that without the good we cannot gain salvation and Eternal Life or be heirs in his Kingdom. Both are required for the progression of man.

    Just as a I know my children will make mistakes in their life, and they will do things they will regret for the rest of their life, I do not want to deny them the chance of making their own choices. I will send my children into the world to make their own choices, hoping that they will follow my counsel and grow to be like me in their standard of living.
    In the same manner God, our Heavenly Father, has sent us into this world. He knows we will make mistakes, and some of us will commit the vilest of acts. However, he also knows that without this experience we cannot hope to progress and be heirs in his Kingdom. He has sent us here, and hopes with all his heart that we will listen to his counsel and grow to be like him in our standard of living.
    This is the only way that we may inherit Eternal Life, which is what he wants for all of us. His understanding is sufficient to know that you cannot have the good without tasting of the bad.

  14. shematwater says:


    You misunderstand me. My implication is not that God was created to glorify us. Read my post again. Our creation, our resurrection, and our salvation are the glory of God. The mere fact that these things are glorifies him. We, in our lives, must give all glory to him, for it is his. However, even though all these things glorify God, his motivation in doing them was not to gain glory for himself, but to glorify us. That is the difference.

    I have taken nothing from God. I have given him all glory, for even in glorifying me and all others who are worthy of such, he has glorifies himself. His work is to bring to pass our immortality and eternal life. In doing so his glory is magnified.

    Just as a Father has honor when his children grow into strong members of the community, but is motivated by his desire for their happiness. A father who pushes his children simply so he can brag in what his children have accomplished is not showing unconditional love for them. His love is conditioned on how well they honor his name. However, a Father who pushes his children so that they can be as happy as possible, his love is not conditioned on how well they honor his name.

    With either motivation the glory is still given to the Father, but only one shows unconditional love.

  15. setfree says:

    Can I ask you two questions? Why do you think the Christians are on this blog? Why are you?

  16. Rick B says:

    Shem said <However, he knows that without evil there can be no good, and one cannot exist without the other. He also knows that without the good we cannot gain salvation and Eternal Life or be heirs in his Kingdom. Both are required for the progression of man.

    Can you prove this from the Bible?
    No you cannot, Also I can show just the Opposite, In the Book of Revelation After the 1000 years are over, Satan is cast forever into the lake of Fire.

    God gets rid of Satan, and Death, No more Evil, God tells us no unclean thing will enter through the gates. So we have Peace and good through God with no Evil, Not what you came up with. Rick b

  17. shematwater says:

    RICK B

    If evil does not exist than good does not exist. I do not need this written in the Bible to make it true. You cannot have one without the other. How would we know that God was good if we did not have Satan to compare him to? Show me one act that would be good if the opposite act was not evil?

    You have proven nothing in your citation of Revelation, except that Good can be isolated from evil, and evil from good, but they both still exist (God in Heaven, Satan in Hell).

    The end result is that we will spend eternity surrounded by one or the other. This will be based on what we chose in this life (as it says in Revelation 2:3; 18,6; 20:13; 22:12, Matthew 16:27, 2 Corinthians 11:15). If there was no evil here there could be no good here, then how could we chose? We must know the difference or God would not be just in judging us by our works, as he has said he will do.

  18. Not even LDS philosophers would generally say that evil “exists” as an ontological entity.

  19. Rick B says:

    So your telling me, Before God created Heaven and Earth We can only Assume it was just the Trinity since the Bible tells us nothing, So your going to say, Evil existed? Rick b

  20. shematwater says:

    Before the Earth was created Satan was cast out of Heaven, thus evil did exist.

    And the Bible does tell us about what existed before the creation. Read in Job 38. Here we have God asking Job where he was when the Earth was being created, at which time the stars sang and the sons of God shouted for joy (verse 7). Thus we know that before the creation stars existed (though some might say this speaks of Angels). We also know that the sons of God existed, for they were they to witness the creation and shouted for joy when it was created. As we are the offspring of God (Acts 17: 29) I am inclined to think that this was us celebrating the creation.
    There are other references that tell us that we, and others, existed before the creation (as spirits). Thus, it was more than the trinity.

    As to evil being an entity, I never said it was. The term entity implies a single, and usually living, being. Evil in and of itself is not living. It is not an entity. It is not matter or energy. Evil is simply the opposite of good, which is the opposite of evil. They exist in no other fashion. Just as the terms left and right are not entities, but simply exist as opposites of each other (you can’t have left without right, or right without left). They are concepts, things that are simply because it could not be any other way.

  21. Rick B says:

    Shem, The Problem is this. Satan was not always Evil. Satan and the Angels were CREATED BY GOD, Read Col 1:16.

    Then When you quoted Job, I was aware of that, I meant Before Any Angles were created as the Bible teaches. God is outside of time and Space, but if we were to use Time as a reference let go back one million years, was their Evil? I say No, Since the Bible teaches Lucifer was CREATED PERFECT, THEN WAS THEIR evil before Lucifer?

    Lucifer Choose to rebel against God.

    Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone [was] thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.

    Eze 28:14 Thou [art] the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee [so]: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

    Eze 28:15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

    Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

    Eze 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

    Eze 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.

    Rick b

  22. setfree says:

    Shem and All,

    Taking verses out of context can be really dangerous. But I do believe it is standard LDS operating procedure.

    This morning, I’d like to submit the following:

    What good does it do to argue the symptoms? What I was trying to get to before (by showing that JS made up a story about his papyri), was the root.

    Here’s another sample to consider. I don’t expect many Mormons to give it credence, but it may be enjoyed by the Christian reader/writers.

    As you probably know, Joseph Smith “retranslated” the Bible. The section I want to call to attention is in Genesis, where he added verses (starting with verse 24) to the end of chapter 50, to write himself into the book.

    I’m no Literary Scholar, but I think you can agree that the proof is in the details.

    In Joseph Smith’s 15 verses of retranslation at the end of Genesis 50:

    1-the word “Seer” occurs 6 times. In contrast, the word “seer” only occurs 22 times in THE ENTIRE KJV translation of the Bible, NONE OF WHICH TIMES are in the 5 books of Moses (he never used the word).

    2-The word “loins” occurs 14 times (remember, this is in 15 VERSES). Moses used that word 7 times total in all 5 of his books (187 CHAPTERS).

    3-The phrase “fruit of his loins” occurs twice. It is only one other place in the Bible, in Acts (different writer). In the KJV, the phrase “fruit of (the/thy/their) womb” occurs only 6 times total, twice by Moses.

    Surely, there are things to look for when trying to discern authorship. I believe the above comparison is revealing. As is the 1402 (yes, 1402) instances of “it came to pass” (you knew it was his favorite!) in the BofM. (By the way, the PofGP is similarly smitten).

    As with the papyri, why even argue JS’s doctrine, when history clearly shows him to be a liar? If I showed you the cover picture to a “Little Women” book, made up an entirely different story to go with it, could we say that I accurately presented L.M.Alcott to you?

  23. shematwater says:

    RICK B

    If evil did not exist before Satan fell then how did he fall? That is my point. He fell because he did evil in the sight of God. What made his actions evil?

    I never said that before Satan there were acts of evil commited (though I believe there were) but that evil existed. If it did not exist Satan could not have commited evil and thus would not have fallen.

    If evil did not exist than good did not exist. If evil came into being when satan fell, then good also came into being when satan fell. Thus Satan greated the goodness of God.

    You have still to answer my question: Can you name one act that would evil if the opposite was not good, and vice versa?


    And my point is that your example is not a good one. As I have shown, when considered the contradition does not truly exist.

    As to the rest, I do not want to argue this with you. It is all a matter of opinion, as nothing has been, nor can it be proven. You believe what you want, and I will believe what I will believe.

    As to your comment about changing my mind, you really don’t understand my words, and thus misuse the scriptures. My mind is perfectly in tune with the gospel of Christ as taught in all the holy Scriptures. What you say doesn’t change my mind because the only thing that will is God (or the Holy Ghost) telling me that what I believe is wrong. So far they have confirmed everything that I believe. What you say has not caused them to tell me any different.

  24. Rick B says:

    The Bible is clear, why do you ignore what it teaches?

    Again Scripture says, Eze 28:15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

    Notice it says, till iniquity was found in thee

    This implies Iniquity was Not created in him, But had free will to go the way of wrong.

    As for your question, at this time, I cannot think of any examples, but that proves nothing.

    Here is a question for you, If Someone Creates something, then does that mean, Prior to it being Created did it exist? I mean if something already exists then how can someone claim they created it if it was already around.

    Thats Like Al Gore saying he created the internet, LOL.

    Also, Since Satan was created by God and God always was here, Then how could God be here if the Bible says God is Good, but Evil at the time did not exist until Lucifer fell? Rick b

  25. Ralph says:

    So RickB,

    I guess from your quote –

    “The Bible is clear, why do you ignore what it teaches?

    Again Scripture says, Eze 28:15 Thou [wast] perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

    Notice it says, till iniquity was found in thee

    This implies Iniquity was Not created in him, But had free will to go the way of wrong.”

    that you believe that free agency was practised before this world came into being? This contradicts what you and others have said in other posts – but wait, you have proven it from the Bible so all those past posts must be wrong.

    But Shem asks a good question – If evil began when Satan became evil, does that mean that Satan created good and evil? If so then this implies that Satan created the goodness of God. This also implies that God did not create everything. So either evil did exist before Satan or Satan created something God could not.

  26. gundeck says:

    Ralph and Shem,

    I am not understanding your point with the creation of evil, maybe you can help me out.

    From my perspective you seem to be applying a material reality to evil in a dualistic nature, separating evil from the action of sin. Sin, opposition to the will of God is evil and I am not aware of anywhere in the bible where evil is described separate of sin.

  27. Rick B says:

    Ralph, Satan Did not create Evil, Satan choose to disobey God.

    How does me saying Satan had free will Contradict things I have said before?

    Ralph you said If evil began when Satan became evil, does that mean that Satan created good and evil?

    Satan cannot create Good, The Bible tells us God Is Good, so since God is good and God created Satan, this Shows Good existed apart from Evil. So yes we can have one without the other.

    Shem said, How would we know that God was good if we did not have Satan to compare him to?

    This is a stupid Idea because, we do not need evil or evil acts to show Good. Read the Book of Revelation, Satan will be bound and cast into a bottomless pit for the 1,000 years.

    People will have Jesus on the throne and no Satan to influence them, yet as a result of human sinful nature evil acts will still be done, But then after the 1,000 year reign is over, God will create a new heavens and a new earth, Evil will cease to exist and nothing evil will ever enter the new heavens.

    So we will have Good apart from Evil, But according to you (LDS) Good cannot exist without Evil, so how can this be. Plus, AGAIN, SIGH, How can God be Good as Scripture Teaches, yet have existed with out Evil, until Evil was created and entered the earth? Rick b

  28. shematwater says:


    Your idea is the one that is stupid.

    As I said, how can God be good if there is no evil? You have not explained this. You have simply said, “Well that is the way it is.” This is not proof, but an avoidance of the actual question.
    Again, if Evil did not exist before Satan than how was his act evil?
    I agree that Evil is doing that which is contrary to the commands and nature of God. This would imply that as long as God exists evil exists. Thus, before God created satan evil existed. As long as there is a choice and the power to make it Evil will exist.

    No, evil is not a material thing, as I have pointed out. It is simply a state of existance. As long as the is the power of choice there is evil. If there is no power of choice then good and evil cannot exist. Thus, the fact that satan had the power to choose proves that evil and Good were there, separate from Satan and God.

    As to your conclusion, again you mistake the existance of evil with the acts of evil. No, there will be no evil in Heaven, or there will be no acts of evil. However, unless you hold to the anialyst belief that Satan and the wicked will be cease to exist, evil will still exist in hell. Even if you do believe they cease to exist, in order to destroy evil you must take the power to choose away from all intelligent creatures, for as long as they can choose (even if they never chose evil) evil will still exist.

    “How can God be Good as Scripture Teaches, yet have existed with out Evil, until Evil was created and entered the earth?”
    This is the exact question I have answered in my posts, but you have ignored.

  29. Rick B says:

    Shem, The Bible teaches,

    >Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these [things].

    God Created Evil, I have no problem with this fact, But Since God Created Evil then this means one of two things.

    1. God was not Good until He created Evil, or,

    2. God was Good before He created Evil, So this means Good Existed Before Evil Did.

    Now Jesus says this About God.

    Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God:

    Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.

    Luk 18:19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none [is] good, save one, [that is], God.

    These verses DO NOT SAY, God was Good after Evil was created, or God was good because of Evil. It simply says, No One but God is Good. Rick b

  30. shematwater says:

    RICK B

    I know you will disagree with this, but your quote from Isaiah is proof to my mind that the Bible is not translated correctly, but has errors and is flawed.

    If God created evil then he is responsible for all the acts of evil that occur. Was it not you who claim that I had to be wrong about God wanting the Fall because that would mean he wanted all the murders and adulteries to happen? Yet you are saying the same thing. If God created evil he wanted it to exist, thus he wanted all the murders and vileness to exist.

    In Amos 3: 6 it states that if there is even in the city God has done it. How can God do evil and yet be good? Another example of mistranslation.

    Your belief is self contradicting. Good cannot create evil and remain good.

  31. Rick B says:

    Shem, This will most likely be my last post on this, It seems we must simply agree to disagree.

    When you said the Bible was not translated correctly on this Issue, to your surprise I would agree. A pastor I know named Chuck Smith, I have meet him and spoke with him at pastors conferences, wrote this about this verse.

    Chuck said

    Now this verse has caused a lot of problems to people where God said, “I create evil.” And the problem is caused probably in the translation of the Greek of the Hebrew word ra, which word in Hebrew means sorrow or wretchedness or adversity or calamities or afflictions. Now it was unfortunately translated evil, but we know that God did not create evil. But He did create the calamities and the afflictions that would come upon those who did evil. So it’s just an unfortunate translation. The Hebrew word is ra, which means sorrow or wretchedness or calamity or adversity or affliction. It has never been translated sin.

    Here is what I find funny from LDS, And what I am about to say has Been covered here before and will probably be covered again.

    LDS claim, O-no The Bible has a verse or two that was not Translated Correctly. Was it Not JS and Sidney Rigdon who were COMMANDED by God to “Re-translate” The Bible? Basically Correct these Issues? Then after they did it, they only caused more confusion, LDS rarly use the J.S.T. And make many Excuses as to Why.

    The FLDS own the Copy Right, or Since the FLDS own it it has been recorrputed or many other excuses.

    Then the Other issue is, The BoM has had over 4,000 Changes in less than 100 years, a few are Doctrinal, But yet the Excuses by LDS are many as to why these many Changes are really no bother, yet when it Comes to the Bible, even minor issues are more than major to LDS. So thanks Shem for bringing up these Issues. Rick b

  32. shematwater says:

    We will have to agree to disagree.

    As to the JST of the Bible, there is a very good reason why we do not use it in discussions with non-members. They don’t believe in it. Arguments are always more convincing when you can make them through a channel that others already except.
    We have been told that when discussing religion outside the church we are to first rely on the Bible to explain our beliefs. If this is not enough we then turn to the Book of Mormon, then the Doctrine and Covenants, then the Pearl of Great Price, and lastly the JST of the Bible. This simply because it makes for a more convincing discussion.
    IN our own personal study, and in our church meetings, we read from the JST all the time, relying quite a bit on it.

    As to the Book of Mormon. I have been shown many of these changes, and have yet to see one that cannot be accounted for through the errors of scribes and typesetters. I have no problem admitting that these men made mistakes, especially considering the amount of time (or rather lack of it) that they had to do it in, and the technology of the day. Thus, I have no problem with a few changes as directed by the Lord.
    I will also say that I have seen none that actually change the doctrine, so if you could point these out I would apreciate it.

  33. Rick B says:

    Shem said

    As to the JST of the Bible, there is a very good reason why we do not use it in discussions with non-members. They don’t believe in it

    2 things,
    1. This is a stupid argument because us Non-members do not believe in any of the LDS standerd works or your false prophets, yet you guys quote them anyway.

    2. If God said “Correct it” Then why are you using a less than trust worthy or corrupt version to try and “Witness” to us with. Then I have many LDS books, Written by LDS to LDS, 9 TIMES out of ten the J.S.T is never Quoted, it is the KJV That is quoted. So it seems to me LDS are not doing as you claim. Plus I took the Utah Temple tour and have sat in on 3-4 LDS church Services and spoke with LDS after Service, Never did they quote from the J.S.T nor did they even have a copy.

    Maybe you use it or quote from it, but rarly do LDS in General. Rick b

  34. shematwater says:

    As I said, we do not use other Scripture when speaking to Non-Members. We try our best to use the Bible (KJV).
    I do not quote from the other scriptures unless specificly asked, and I have advised not to.

    As to the books you speak of, they are printed publically. There are written to the LDS but are available to all. So they use the KJV. Also, if they only used the JST then the membership would not be equiped to use the KJV as well as they need to be.

    Now, while Joseph was commanded to correct it, he was never able to finish it, and the legal rights to it do not belong to the church. As we are law abiding citizens we do not use that which prohibits us from using. There are many parts of this translation in the Apendix of every Bible printed by the Church, as they have received permission from the RLDS, who hold the copy right, to print these portions.

    Now, I don’t know what services you went to, or what they were teaching, but in most meeting I have attended where they discussed the Bible, if there was a JST it was brought to the attention of the class. This was not done by the teacher, but by one of the congregation.

  35. Rick B says:

    Shem, The Millon Excuses LDS come up with could give a person a headache. You said JS NEVER FINISHED the translation, Your Wrong, He did according to the Church. Plus God told him to Finish, Read 1st Nephi 3:7 Then read this,

    Then we read in D and C chapter 73

    Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, at Hiram, Ohio, January 10, 1832. HC 1: 241–242. Since the early part of the preceding December, the Prophet and Sidney had been engaged in preaching, and by this means much was accomplished in diminishing the unfavorable feelings that had arisen against the Church (see heading to Section 71).
    1–2, Elders are to continue to preach; 3–6, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are to continue to translate the Bible until it is finished.

    1 For verily, thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me that they should continue preaching the gospel, and in exhortation to the churches in the regions round about, until conference;

    2 And then, behold, it shall be made known unto them, by the voice of the conference, their several missions.

    3 Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again;

    4 And, inasmuch as it is practicable, to preach in the regions round about until conference; and after that it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.

    5 And let this be a pattern unto the elders until further knowledge, even as it is written.

    6 Now I give no more unto you at this time. Gird up your loins and be sober. Even so. Amen.

    Focus on Verse 4 and after that it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.

    So add Nephi 3:7 to verse 4 and Either your wrong, or God is both a liar and a failure. I will post more on the Church saying it was done later. Rick b

  36. shematwater says:

    It only shows you do not understand how God works, at least not in the same way as we do.

    God gave the command, but he never said it was going to be done. Do to the pride of some and wickedness of others (I am speaking of the saints here) the work was not completed.
    As to 1 Nephi 3: 7, the Lord did prpare a way, but the people did not follow it.

    Now, in the Guide to the scriptures (scriptures.lds.org) it states “Although Joseph completed most of the translation by July 1833, he continued until his death in 1844 to make modifications while preparing a manuscript for publication. Though he published some parts of the translation during his lifetime, it is possible that he would have made additional changes had he lived to publish the entire work.”
    Thus I stand by the statement that Joseph Smith never finished the work, and am supported by the statements of the church.

    In making these statements I in no way lesson the greatness of Joseph Smith and his power as the Prophet. Even Moses failed on occassion. I am just pointing out that the argument that men fail is not proof that God fails, or is a liar.

  37. setfree says:

    I like this verse from the JST:

    Luke 10:23 “All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth THAT THE SON IS THE FATHER, AND THE FATHER IS THE SON, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.”

  38. Rick B says:

    Shem, The LDS church is a false Church leading millions to eternal damnation every year. You guys are so blind and go out of your way to defend lies thats it Kills me. No matter how much logic your given, you twist it to believe lies, but then again the Bible says that will happen.


    1–2, Elders are to continue to preach; 3–6, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon are to continue to translate the Bible until it is finished.

    They were to FINISH IT, So Again God lied and is a failure, Yet you dont care.

    Again, GOD not man, GOD SAID THIS,

    4 And, inasmuch as it is practicable, to preach in the regions round about until conference; and after that it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.

    If your God is so weak and lack the Power to keep HIS serveants alive then thats to bad, If my God says, You Will Finish what I said, then it will be Done and Man will not Stop it from being Done.

    God iss stronger than Man, and man cannot stop God and His plans.

    Another question would be, if the Bible is not Correct in what it teaches and cannot fully be trusted to the Point where JS needed to “Correct” or “Retranslate” The Bible, Why does Jesus and the apostles Quote from it? Granted only the Old Testement was around when they Quoted from it, But JS Did “Correct” Portions of the OT. So why did God wait almost 2,000 years for JS to be born to correct the error, when Jesus or the Disciples could have corrected it?

    Shem, BY in the J.O.D. Vol 3 say’s the Bible is good enough just as it is. It is dated 1855, this is well after the death of JS and well after the JST was supposedly finished. Was God correct in Saying “Correct” the Bible, Or was the LDS Prophet correct saying it was Good Enough, this Shows God at Odd’s with “His” Prophet.

  39. Rick B says:

    Another problem we have is this, JS claims that the book of Malachi is “correct” yet the angel Moroni quotes it differently. Joseph Smith history 1:36-39. So is the Prophet correct, or the Angel who told JS about the golden plates correct?

    God Supposedly told JS and Sidney Rigdon to complete the JST of the Bible. But we read in the Preface to the JST it is possibly not complete.

    Where are the LDS that feel it is not complete getting there information? We read in the 1993-94 Church Almanac pg 339 under July 2 The prophet Joseph Smith finished the translation of the Bible

    Then in the 2003 Church Almanac 536 again under July 2, it states JS finished the New Testament.

    But sadly, the Prophet and President Joseph F. Smith feels it was not finished.

    The reason that it has not been published by the Church is due to the fact that this revision was not completed…due to persecution and mobbing this opportunity never came, so that the manuscript was left with only a partial version.

    Then we read in the JST pg 11

    Changes made at some points in the inspired version were not followed consistently…. Some passages were corrected, but the parallel references were not corrected….Mormon authors Sperry and Van Wagoner have pointed out that the Psalms are evidence of the incompleteness of the translation.

    We read in Times and Seasons Vol VI pg 802 that the JST was completed.

    Why is it if the JST is not really complete, have any of the so called “prophets of god” Corrected it.

    You quoted your Church saying the J.S.T was NOT FINISHED, You said you stand by the Church, Yet I showed YOUR CHURCH claims it was FINISHED, Who in your Church Knows the Truth on this Subject? How can you trust either Side if they are Divided on this Issue? Rick b

  40. setfree says:

    Rick, Shem,

    Regarding Isaiah 45:7, if God says that He created evil, then even it I don’t understand it, I believe Him.

    The bigger picture here is the important one, and the one that I think He was really emphasizing:

    Isaiah 45:5-7 “I am the LORD, and THERE IS NONE ELSE, THERE IS NO GOD BESIDE ME: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME, I AM THE LORD, AND THERE IS NONE ELSE. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the LORD do all these things.”

    There are several “thus saith the LORD” comments in Isaiah that say that He is the only God there is, ever was, and ever will be.

  41. Rick B says:

    Set free, I have used those Verse countless Times, The pat reply by LDS is, We are to only Worship one god, that is god of the earth, god the father.

    Setfree, you should know this if your an Ex mormon. No matter how much evidence or logic you use, LDS that want to believe lies, will.

    Jesus/God in Isaiah never said, I am the only God you must worship, He said, I KNOW OF NO OTHER gods AND NO OTHER gods WILL BE FORMED AFTER ME and NONE WERE BEFORE ME.

    This Poses a problem as I have pointed out before, in the Pearl God says, I sat in the Councel of the gods and WE created the heavens and the earth.

    How can God who cannot lie say, I am the Only God, I know of NO OTHER gods, yet then say, I sat in the councel of the gods and we created The earth and Heavens.

    Plus since LDS deny the trinity, then God again Lies, since His father is a god, Jesus is a god, the HS is a god, So God the father lied or is really stupid to not know of these other gods. Logic proves this, Yet Shem or other LDS will toss out reason and logic, and clearly tell me it is I who am wrong and tell me that I simply do not understand. Rick b

  42. setfree says:

    Rick, I hear you.
    Makes you wonder why we are here (on this website). Obviously it’s okay that the Pearl is a complete fake. It’s okay that Lucifer is the god prayed to in the temple. It’s okay if JS had several different versions of the First Vision, and that he should have been destroyed by seeing god because you can’t see him with out witchcraft’s Melchezidek Priesthood.
    So, what is the answer? That we’re not arguing against them anyway. Not wrestling with flesh and blood, but with the powers that are holding them down. And for that matter, it’s not our battle, it’s Jesus’, and it’s already won. I guess the thing to do then is to proclaim His death, proclaim His victory, and have a confident expectation that good will come to someone hearing any of this, praise Jesus!

  43. Rick B says:

    I am here till the Rapture or death, I know many TBM will throw out Logic and evidence and fight against the truth. I am praying for them and I share with them because I know three things,

    1. I will meet on the street LDS missionary’s and some of these talks will come up, So I can be prepared in advance.

    2. Friends in my Church meet with Mormons at times and they come to me with Questions, So somethings will arise here and I can find out how Mormons will reply. And After much debate I can then have more refined answers for friends.

    3. The lurkers, Either people who want to go to mormonism, or the people thinking of Leaving, The TBM might want to live in darkness and never come to the truth, But others want to be set free.

    I figure if I get to heaven and find out ONE lurker was saved Because I give honest straight forward answers and refuse to go PC and do not beat around the bush, then my years of talking will be worth it.

    James 5:17-20 comes to mind when I think of the Lurkers.

    Also No matter how much it seems we never get through, I was telling ward in a PM that God called me to this, God is my Strength and I have not yet ever once thought I should give up or I never Tire of it.Jesus said My yoke is easy and my Burden is Light.

    I was telling Ward, I really believe, If what Jesus said was true, and Pastors or “Missionary’s” Or anyone who claims to be called to a people group or position, If they claim they are getting burned out and need to stop, Then they really never were called by God and they do it from the Flesh, Other wise Jesus lied. Rick b, AKA the Hammer.

    The hammer was made for hard work and to take a beating, That sums me up.

  44. Kamperfoelie says:

    Rick B,

    Where it was commanded to finish the JSV yet it didnt happen, how does this diminish God or discredit the LDS faith? Nobody claimed JS was perfect.

    Lets look at ten other commandments we all know, mix in some free agency: I think we can chalk this up to JS not being entirely ‘on track’ for the full duration of his walk, a condition also known as being human.

    As to the LDS standpoint on this: I should think it forgivable if no one wants to advertise the imperfections of their prophets? Why do you think theres no disney movies featuring David and Uriah?

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