Worth Fighting Over

Stormy Sea

The June 2008 issue of Tabletalk magazine included an article rooted in the biblical book of Jude. Noting that Jude speaks directly and forcefully to the issue of false teachers, the Tabletalk article by Niel Nielson explains,

“Notice that Jude isn’t writing to [his readers] about voices calling from outside the visible faith. These people have ‘crept in unnoticed,’ that is, they are inside the congregation of God’s people. …the deadliest recommendations [i.e., encouragement to follow a different spiritual path] may come from those who claim to be fellow believers, because they masquerade as people of the light, they use ‘Christian’ vocabulary, and they assert that their views are faithful to our most holy faith.”

Dr. Nielson continues, noting the harsh language Jude uses to describe these false teachers and their terrible, eventual end (Jude 12-16). “And yet,” Dr. Nielson writes, “Jude’s burden for his readers is to urge them to contend – to fight earnestly – for the faith once for all delivered to the saints…”

For Christians who engage in faith conversations with Mormons, Jude’s instruction to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3) provides very important direction for our method and motivation. While many Mormons are uncomfortable with the idea of “contending” (indeed, most Mormons understand contention to be “of the devil” – see 3 Nephi 11:29), Christians recognize the God-revealed necessity of it.

Knowing, then, that Christians must engage in earnest contention for the faith, the question must be asked: What is this faith? Dr. Nielson writes,

“It is the ‘once for all’ revelation from God, gloriously complete in providing all we need to know about God and His plan, purpose, and expectations for His creation.

“Jude gives his readers two clues for recognizing these false teachers and their recommendations: they pervert the grace of our God into sensuality, and they deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (v. 4). While this list is not exhaustive, it provides very helpful tests.

“First, does a particular viewpoint rationalize sexual sin, in this case by co-opting the very grace of God? Beware, Jude is saying, of any teaching or perspective that would use the grace and love of God as the means for justifying sexual sin…”

Anyone who followed the conversations here at Mormon Coffee last June might recognize Joseph Smith’s polygamy as an example of what Jude is talking about. Joseph did not merely marry multiple women illegally; he asked for other men’s wives and young daughters, promising eternal rewards for those who complied with his requests. Did this not “pervert the grace of our God into sensuality”? While the Word of God promises forgiveness of sins and eternal life freely given through His grace to any and all who surrender to Him, Joseph Smith perverted that offered gift, turning it into something gained via gratification of Smith’s own desires.

Dr. Nielson continues with the clues Jude provides for recognizing false teachers,

“Second, does a particular viewpoint diminish the exclusive glory and truth of Jesus Christ as the only King and Savior? Beware, Jude is saying, of any teaching or perspective that undermines His deity, diminishes His uniqueness, doubts His kingly claims over the creation, or adds or subtracts from His Gospel.”

Again we can see the teachings of LDS prophets as examples of what Jude warns against. Mormonism robs Jesus of His uniqueness, teaching that He is just one of many billions numbered among the pre-existent sons of God; Jesus is Creator of some things, but not all things; Jesus is the Savior for this world, but other worlds have other Saviors; Jesus’ deity is no different than that achievable by any of us who work hard and prove ourselves worthy of Godhood (exaltation).

Using the “clues” provided by Jude, Mormon prophets are exposed as false teachers. Consequently, Mormonism is exposed as a false religion leading millions of people away from a saving relationship with the one true God. If ever there was anything worth contending over, surely, it is this.

For more information on the Jesus of Mormonism see:
Creator or Created? That is the Question.
Who is the “Living Christ” of Mormonism?

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Truth, Honesty, Prayer, and Inquiry and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

200 Responses to Worth Fighting Over

  1. setfree says:

    So you see, LDS who claim “the keys” and “the authority”, the Freemasons also claim the keys and the authority. Look how similar this man has described their “religion” to your own.

    We “contend for the faith” to save you guys from the chains with which Joseph Smith has bound you and is dragging you with him to a God-less eternity.

  2. shematwater says:


    I didn’t contradict anything. A practice is not a doctrine and never has been. The doctrine is what is is taught.

    The example from the Bible is the Sacrifice. The doctrine never changed because was the atonement. However, the practice of sacrifice before the atonement was changed once the atonement was fulfilled.

    The same is true with Plural Marriage. The doctrine has never changed, meaning that what is taught has never changed, and it hasn’t. However, the practice has changed.

    There is no contradiction. Look up the definition for the term doctrine. You will not find a reference to practices, but to teachings.

  3. shematwater says:


    You said “but just as you say you are perfectly willing to admit a wrong understanding, so are we, but we must be prven wrong Biblically.”

    What are you saying. That if you can’t see it in the Bible than there is no proof that the LDS teach it? Now, I understand this approach to proving something true, but not to understanding it. What you are telling me is that you can misrepresent the LDS church all you want, and you will never admit you are in error until we convert to your belief, at which point there is no need to admit an error, so in the end you won’t have to.
    I believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate beings. Can you prove I do not believe this through the Bible? Can you show that the LDS do not teach this through the Bible? You can argue that we are srong in our teaching through the Bible, but not that we don’t teach this.
    Again, with the Plural wives issue, can you prove that the LDS don’t teach it through the Bible? Can you go to the Bible and show me where it says that the LDS do not teach what I have outlined? Again, you can argue we are wrong in our teachings, but not that we teach it.

    You have shown the tactics of most Christians, and shown it very clear. You are willing to say just about anything to tear down the LDS church, and you will never admit that you are wrong. The ends seems to justify the means, but it is a dishonest tactic.

  4. Michael P says:

    Shem: Contradiction: “As to changing doctrine, again, this has never happened. People can claim it all they want, but it is not true.
    For example, Polygamy: This was practiced in the Early church, and no longer is. Obviously a change in doctrine.” Unless you misspoke, I read this as you saying polygamy was doctrine and now it is not, so a change in doctrine. If you mean it is say that polygamy was practice and not doctrine, you have to explain how our salvation depends on accepting it. Seems a lot more than mere practice.

    And my point about the Bible is that you have to go outside of it to prove your point, and thus as a Christian, I would test it against the Bible.

    You say this: “That if you can’t see it in the Bible than there is no proof that the LDS teach it?” My comment has nothing to do with what LDS teach. My comment has everything to do with how we analyize what is taught.

    With polygamy, I can make a case that the Bible does not condone it. Yes, it occurred, but its occurence is not license to practice it. To condone it, you have to start with Smith’s revelation. This is outside the Bible again, so it is not that you don’t teach it, but how we analyze the teaching.

    I am not willing to say anything about the LDS faith, and your attempt to say that I am comes down to name calling. Discussing the method of analysis is hardly dishonest, but using this red herring of an argument to go on a goose chase it.

    I know this site is designed to critique your faith, and your faith is arguably your life. However, your salvation is definately worth fighting for, as is mine. And I ask you to keep in mind exactly what we are saying, and don’t get angry or clouded by what you think we are saying. Feel free to call me out on the same thing if ever I try to call names or distract form the topic at hand.


  5. Michael P says:


    I still maintain we are saved despite what we do, and that would include those people. However, I did recognize my doubt on whether they truly believed. As I said, there are a myriad of reasons why our freedom should be limited. First, our freedom is found in verses that state we cannot be taken from his hand, that upon belief we are adopted into his family and the like. There are several of these. Second, we see an example through Peter, I think it was, that shows that while he is free to eat traditionally unclean meat, he is shouldn’t do so in the presence of those who are uncomfortable with it. A lesson is that our freedom in Christ is limited in that we should not act in a way to make another fall by tempting him in a way we shouldn’t. Third, we do have several things that are expressly condemned in the Bible, like homosexuality. So, if a person who is in such a lifestyle comes to Christ and fails to quit, it is very debatable how much that person beleives in all of God’s word, and if you reject one, you reject it all (a small sin is as big as a big one in God’s eyes.) A true believer should udnerstand this, and thus should conform his life to Christ’s example. But, we are given great freedom in Christ, but because we have it does not mean we should excercise it.

    If I approach this differently than other Christians, OK. I am OK with that, but would argue that we are actually on the same page in that there are many things Christians just shouldn’t do. As a sidenote, the question that one can lose his salvation is a bit of an open question, from what I understand. Most evangelicals, I think, don’t think you can once you are saved. But I am not sure that the resolution of that debate matters, since we are told to always be prepared. The consequence of always being prepared is to focus on our eyes on Jesus, run the race with endurance, and do all we can to be like him.


  6. Michael P says:

    So, whether we can lose (or cannot) our salvation, we are to keep the same mindset, a Christlike mindset so that we are ready with our oil when he comes for his bride.

    I also do agree with those who say that once you accept Christ your life is changed. It is changed immediately. A key point to remember, though, is that despite accepting Christ, we retain our sinful nature. We become sin free in the eyes of God but will still sin. It is also true that upon belief, a walk begins where one grows in maturity in faith. At the beginning, one will be like a child, but as we grow, we throw away the childish things. So, once we are believers, we are to be expected to fall short of where we should be. But after time we should have thrown away those things that keep us from God, ie sin. Sin includes those things you mention, and this is why if a mature believer still practices those things, they probably don’t really believe.

    Quickly, works are a part of faith, and I don’t think you will find a Christian who argues otherwise. In other wirds, defined liberally, works include all we do, and if we exemplify our faith by what we do, works are terribly important. The LDS, though, define works more narrowly in that there are specific things you MUST do to be saved. Defined the way I defined them here we are still saved despite what we do, because its not about what we do but what we belive. Of course, as a consequence of our faith, what we do is a window into our faith and therefore important, but not what defines our salvation.

    Again, if I am different than others on this topic. OK. I ask them to educate me on my error, and I will consider based on Biblical evidence.


  7. shematwater says:


    My point is that you are frequently saying that we believe something when we do not.

    My statement that you quote (“This was practiced in the Early church, and no longer is. Obviously a change in doctrine”) was said in sarcasm. To the Christians this is a change in doctrine, because they do not know the actual doctrine taught, only the outward practice relating to it. As I showed, it is not a change in the actual doctrine taught by the church, even though many claim it is.
    Since I have shown you that this idea, this changing of doctrine (at least on this point) is not a change of doctrine, will you admit that you were in error concerning this? From what you said, no, because you can give a case as to why Plural Marriage isn’t condoned by the Bible.

    This is the reasoning I was protesting against in my last thread, and the reasoning you presented. As I said, I have no problem with you analyzing our faith through the Bible, if your intent to prove it right our wrong. However, if that is your approach in determining what we believe I have serious objections.

    So, what I am asking is not for you to stop analyzing LDS doctrine by the Bible, but to make sure you know what the doctrine is before you start your analysis, and that is all.

  8. Michael P says:

    Shem, I think we ought to define what doctrine means. To me, and to other Christians, a doctrine is something that is taught is true, and it is usually something that is very important in one’s faith. I ask first if you agree with that? If you do, then you can move to the second point of understanding why we call polygamy a doctrine and not merely a practice. The second point comes directly from the primary source, the revelation of Joseph Smith as found in the Doctrines and Covenants, Sect 132, 3-4. Here, it says this: “3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
    4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.”

    This indicates a new and everlaswting covenant is made, and if you don’t abide in it, you are damned.

    Taking these two together, its logical to conclude that, at least historically, polygamy was more than just practice, since its listed as an everlasting command.

    Now, I want to pause here and bring in my bigger point on the Bible– to prove it even as an acceptable practice, you must go outside of the Bible, which is something we don’t do. And by using the same method we use in determining doctrine from the Bible, I review your scriptures to conclude polygamy is more than practice. This entails an assumption that scripture is where to find doctrine.

    I think it obvious that you don’t use scripture to define doctrine since you reject even Smith’s own declaration of everlasting covenants. And since you rely on a source other than scripture that may make sense to you. But not to us, so if nothing else I hope you see how we approach the matter, this in case you wonder why we say you can change course as convenient if you are not bound by what’s written.

  9. shematwater says:


    I agree with the first premise of what you said concerning Doctrine. It is something that is taught to be true that is very important. However, with this, a practice is not necessarily a doctrine, as I pointed out.

    As to section 132 of the Doctrine and covenants, read the entire section. The new and Everlasting Covenant is the Sealing power. Part of this is Plural Marriage, but it is only part. The entire chapter gives in detail the covenant that one must abide in order to gain his exaltation.
    He must be sealed. Once he is sealed he must live righteously. He must not commit any murder. If he is found to be adulterous the sealing is broken.
    These are what make the New and Everlasting Covenant. It is after this is all explained that the Lord explains Plural Marriage. What is the purpose of this? Because adultery breaks the sealing, God is assuring us that Plural Marriage is not adultery. It does not say that one must have multiple wives to adibe the covenant, only that having them does not break the covenant.

  10. shematwater says:


    For further support to show that what I say is true, I will reference the Book of Mormon.

    In Jacob chapter two we read a sermon in which Jacob chastises the Nephites for taking many wives and concubines. We read in verses 24-27: “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord. Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph. Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be bone wife; and concubines he shall have none.”

    Jacob then follows this with a simple declaration in verse 30: “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

    Thus Jacob has laid it out. When God deems it necessary he will command his people to live the law of Plural Marriage. But unless they are directly commanded to, they are not to take more than one wife.

    What is written in D&C 132 is in harmony with this. For, as it says, if it is by the will of God, according to the Covenant of the Sealing, he cannot commit adultery. But if it is not by the will of God he has commited adultery. In the 1800’s the will of God was for men to take to themselves plural wives so that he could raise up a seed to himself. In our day it is his will that we have only one wife.

    The doctrine, as taught in the scriptures, has not changed, only the practice.

  11. Michael P says:

    Shem, while I accept what you say and what you get out of it, I get something entirely different out of the DC 132. Here’s why: the beginning of it, which I quoted, seems to apply to the entire thing. I have read it several times and do not see anything to separate out the plural marriage. Further, looking at the history of polygamy in your history, it siomply fascinates me how it was when Utah needed statehood, which was not allowed unless the church dropped it, that it was finally dropped. Even still, many members continued to practice it. At its “creation” Smith seems to have kept it silent for some time, and it was not until some time after that that it became widespread.

    I know you and I disagree on this, and this is directly related to the lens from which we view your faith. But something you said awhile back needs to be brought up: try thinking of the other side as correct to understand it.

    Believe it or not, I do this with your faith. Often when reading through the Bible I try to justify your faith. I try to see how it is you can believe what you do, and I always conclude it fails. Care to know why?

  12. shematwater says:


    One of the reasons I said that the New and Everlasting Covenant is the Sealing Power is because of section 131, not 132. In 131 we read “And in order to obtain the ahighest, a man must enter into this border of the cpriesthood [meaning the new and deverlasting covenant of emarriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.”

    Section 132 is expanding on what is said in 131. It is telling us the details of this New and Everlasting covenant (marriage or the sealing power, as they are the same). What 132 does is explain how people abide by this covenant, what they must do, and what constitutes breaking it.
    So, yes, the entire section is dealing with this covenant, but in the way I previously outlined. Thus, what I said concerning Plural Marriage is true.

    Speaking of the History of the church, this in itself should tell you that what I say is true. When it first started as a practice only a few were given the command to practice it, but not all. It was only after the saints reached Utah that it was given as a command to all. This is in line with what I said, that only at the direct command of God are we to practice it.

    Thus both the scriptures and the history of the church support what I have said.

  13. Michael P says:

    But Shem, I think you are going outside of clear lessons in grammar and interpretation to reach that conclusion. What is in 132 is in 132, and refers to what follows. Therefore, I think it is fair to apply it to 132, and not borrow from 131. The issue could have been cleared up by a sentance or a phrase to dictate whether salvation is not dependant on polygamy, but whoever recorded that did not do that. They said the covenant that follows helps determine their salvation, and what follows is a piece on polygamy.

    As to the history, I accept your way of looking at it, but do you accept mine? Historically, is it not interesting how Smith held it for himself for a while, then to the leaders, then to everyone? And at first, it was kept secret, and as it was exposed it became OK for everyone? This can very truly sound very suspect. Its like if he were stealing, and giving it to his leaders, then got caught and to buy acceptance from others he then had to share with them, too. All he did was couch in rhetoric that he was commanded by god. Sorry, but this is a very plausible explanation of it, too.

    Oh, and it doesn’t address the statehood issue. You kinda didn’t talk about that. Why would it be banned only when it became a huge political liability?

    Another “Oh”… Have you considered what we claim as true and tried to understand it through that lens yet?

  14. shematwater says:


    As to your conclusions, I find them very reasonable. The reason I do not believe them true is because of the character of Joseph Smith that is shown through his actions. However, I would also say that with your conclusions there is a definite contradiction and change in doctrine, which is another reason I believe them to be incorrect.

    As to keeping it a secret, I think it was a wise idea for reasons I will not go into. I have no problem with anything that the early leaders did concerning this doctrine.
    Concerning statehood, it was a perfect reason for removing the practice. God is very convenient to the Faithful. Utah needed to be part of the Union with full state rights. The only way to do so was to stop the practice of Plural Marriage. It was a question of the greater good. Since Plural Marriage is not required, stopping it would cause less trouble than not becoming a state.
    Oh, and just so you know, when they did end Plural Marriage it was only in the United States at first, and many members moved to Canada and Mexico so they could continue the practice. It was about twenty years later that it was ended in the rest of the world to bring the church into a stronger unity, which was also a very wise dicission.

  15. shematwater says:

    As to section 132. Let me point out a few phrases that support what I said.

    First, verse 7 “And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and dsealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is eanointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.”

    Here we are told quite plainly that this New and Everlasting Covenant is speaking of the sealing powers, as I said. I said this is Marriage because in 131 marriage is given the same name (New and Everlasting Covenant). This sums it up. This covenant is that all things must be sealed for eternity.

    Second verse 15-17 “Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead, and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not bound by any law when they are out of the world. Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory. For these angels did not abide my law; therefore, they cannot be enlarged, but remain separately and singly, without exaltation, in their saved condition, to all eternity; and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God forever and ever.”

  16. shematwater says:

    Thus we get a clearer picture of what is spoken of in verse 7. Exaltation is only for those who are sealed by the power and word of God.

    Now, verse 18 simply says that even if the promise is made for eternity, if it is not by Gods power it has no effect.

    Third verse 19 “And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood…then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood, and if ye abide in my covenant…it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads…”

    Here is an explanation of what it is to abide this law. Now, this does not cover it all, but it covers what is meant by the New and Everlasting Covenant, and abiding the law.

    Now, there was a reference to “Shed innocent blood” and this is explained in verse 27 “The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, which shall not be forgiven in the world nor out of the world, is in that ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant, saith the Lord God; and he that abideth not this law can in nowise enter into my glory, but shall be edamned, saith the Lord.”

  17. shematwater says:

    Now to backtrack just a little bit and give verse 26 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, if a man marry a wife according to my word, and they are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, according to mine appointment, and he or she shall commit any sin or transgression of the new and everlasting covenant whatever, and all manner of blasphemies, and if they commit no murder wherein they shed innocent blood, yet they shall come forth in the first resurrection, and enter into their exaltation; but they shall be destroyed in the flesh, and shall be delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God.”

    Now, I give my personal understanding here, which is to say, as long as they do not commit the “Blasphamy of the Holy Ghost” as described in verse 27, the sealing power stays in effect in the eternities, regardless of what else they do. As such, failing to take plural wives would not constitute breaking this.

    However, to continue, verses 41-44 “…if a man receiveth a wife in the new and everlasting covenant, and if she be with another man, and I have not appointed unto her by the holy anointing, she hath committed adultery and shall be destroyed. If she be not in the new and everlasting covenant, and she be with another man, she has committed adultery. And if her husband be with another woman, and he was under a vow, he hath broken his vow and hath committed adultery. And if she hath not committed adultery, but is innocent and hath not broken her vow, and she knoweth it, and I reveal it unto you, my servant Joseph, then shall you have power, by the power of my Holy Priesthood, to take her and give her unto him that hath not committed adultery but hath been faithful; for he shall be made ruler over many.”

  18. shematwater says:

    Thus the sin of adultery breaks the sealing power, or makes this covenant void. This is not the same as not abiding the Law, which only murder qualifies for. A person who commits adultery can still enter again into the covenant, but he who blasphemes the Holy Ghost cannot come back.

    Now, as to plural wives, let us look at verse 58 “Now, as touching the law of the priesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto.”

    Here we are told that what follows is other things that pertain to the Priesthood other than the Sealing power, or New and Everlasting Covenant. It is in this section of other things that we find the actual laws governing Plural Marriage.

    Verses 61-62 “And again, as pertaining to the law of the priesthood—if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery for they are given unto him; for he cannot commit adultery with that that belongeth unto him and to no one else. And if he have ten virgins given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery, for they belong to him, and they are given unto him; therefore is he justified.”

    Since it has been previously established that Adultery breaks the sealing power, here we get the law pertaining to plural wives, in which we are told it does not constitute adultery, and thus does not break the sealing power. However, as stated, it is listed among the other things pertaining to the Priesthood, not the New and Everlasting Covenant, and thus is not required for that covenant.

    Here is a detailed explanation of the meaning of this section as it has been taught to me, and how I have come to understand it.

  19. Michael P says:


    I appreciate the explanation, though still do not buy it. Nowhere in the text do I see a transition that sets polygamy apart from those first few verses. Yes, there is a shift in commands, but nothing that says that this really isn’t a command, but just a practice. He refers to Abraham et al as being commanded to take more than one wife, and then you are to follow Abraham. It is also very interesting why he spends so much time talking about the wives role in it and how if they fail they are destroyed.

    All of that, coupled with the history, doesn’t make much sense to me. The history, by the way, I guess can be exlpained away by a utilitarian view point, but I don’t think God acts as a utilitarian, or for the greatest good for the greatest number. He has always required his people to abide by his word and his high standards of living. What you have proposed is that he commanded his people to marry more than one wife, or to submit to having to share a husband, and then got rid of it for political expediency– so that the people could live under the rule of the US and use its protections. I do not believe God is terribly concerned with political boundaries or rules, so I do not buy your explanation.


  20. shematwater says:


    I don’t mind that you do not agree with what I say. However, this is the doctrine of the church, and that was my only intent. This is what was taught, and what is still taught.

    As to doing things for the greatest good for the greatest number, this is in the Bible, shown in the Law of Moses. Moses was commanded to give the higher law, as it was lived in the time of Abraham. However, the people could not handle the higher law, and because of a lack of faith they were given a lower law. (Hebrews 4: 2)

    Again, at this point I am not really concerned with whether you agree with this doctrine, I am only showing you what I believe. As the idea is not unprecedented in the Bible, I have no problem believing God could do so again.

  21. Michael P says:


    I understand and am OK with that. I hope you understand that I am only giving my thoughts as to why I think it is incorrect, and I hope you understand the logic behind it.

    I disagree on the utilitarian God, and don’t think God works that way, and think the Hebrews quote is focusing on unity not on a level of law. Notice the good news is the same, but they did not benefit not because a lack of faith, but by a lack of unity. If you go back to Ch 3, v 19, we see they could not enter (the promised land) because they failed in belief.

    Anyway, that particular discussion can weight, but I think it, too, like almost every part of our faiths, is influenced by the basic assumptions we have of God and our role in our salvation.

  22. shematwater says:


    I agree with all you said. I understand your view point. What got me onto all this in the first place was trying to convince you that the LDS church has not changed the actual doctrine of Plural Marriage. That is really the only goal I have. As I said before, whether or not you agree with it is not the issue. The issue is was the doctrine changed.

  23. Michael P says:


    I appreciate and get that you think it is not a change in doctrine. But I still do not agree. I suggest the best place to start to find out why is to look up doctrine in a dictionary. In short, it is something a group teaches, and at one point, it was taught polygamy was necessary, and thus a doctrine. Of course, the disagreement goes on from there

    And this is not the only doctrine to have changed, as many have subtly shifted through time. I think the Mormonism of today is very different than what you’d have seen in the 1940’s, and then from the 1890’s, and back to the beginning. And what you see now is very different than what you’ll see in 2050.

    And as long as folks in Mormonism keep their basic assumptions of God and our relationship to him your faith will continue to shift.

    And if you choose to accept this, OK.

    I do appreciate the discussion, and hope you have perhaps expanded your understanding of Christianity, because I beg you to follow your own advise to learn anothers faith and if you want to know about anothers faith, to ask them.

  24. shematwater says:

    My point is that it was never taught as a required practice for exaltation, except when God decrees it. In the 1800’s it was required, because God decreed so for that time.
    I have looked up the word doctrine in the dictionary and see no change in our doctrine by that definition.
    Now, just to clarify, it is also doctrine that if God gives a command you must obey, regardless of what it is. This is why Abraham did not consider refusing sacrificing Isaac.
    Plural Marriage is an eternal law, one that will be lived in heaven. God has reserved the right to command people either to practice it or not to practice it. This is one of the few practices that have this provision in the basic doctrine conserning them. By the doctrine of Plural Marriage and teh doctrine of obedience, if God commands Plural Marriage it is required, but if he does not command it is not to be practiced.
    My point is that this is how it was always taught. Thus, in the 1800’s, when they were under command, it was required. Today, when we are not under command, it is not required. These are the provisions as laid out when the doctrine was first taught, and they have not changed.
    There is no change to this doctrine.

  25. Michael P says:


    Sorry, but it seems you are changing your story a bit now. The moral has remained the same, but the path to it has changed. The moral being that it has never been doctrine to practice it, because it is only a practice. Here, you essentially say the same thing but couched in very different words: you say the doctrine exists and will always exist, but must be practiced only when commanded.

    So, the detail of polygamy is indeed doctrine. Is that something you tell new recruits? I ask not to be harsh, but to really get at the heart of several conversations going on around here, namely the shifting nature and the desire to hide the truth of Mormon doctrine. And elsewhere in those converstations you said that the church seems to do this to protect the spiritual health of your members. I have said why I think that is a very wrong tactic.

    Finally, you say that it has always been taught as a command (a doctrine) and thus you must follow the command. But that’s not the way DC 132 reads, though I know you present another very complicated way to get around it. In that text, there is no bridge to separate it, and there is overwhelming evidence to suggest it is something to be followed and that salvation depends on it. If it is merely a command to be followed, that needs to be flushed out, because it is not in the text.

    But, in the end, as I have said several times now, the very basic assumption of your faith allows you this flexibility that is not recorded in your scripture. You do believe in on going revelation, so your scripture is ultimately, by necessity, not very useful. Unfortunately, it often seems to get in the way, which is a reason why I think you see the shifts in how it is presented.

    I don’t want this to go on and on and will try to bow out of this discussion, so believe me when I say I accept your belief for what you think it is. I just think it is truly something different and that you are following a path to a dead end.

  26. shematwater says:


    You really don’t see what I am saying.

    There are three parts to theology: Doctrine, Command, and Practice. Each is very separate, and each has its own role. A practice can change, while the command stays the same. A command can change while the doctrine remains the same.

    Doctrine is what is taught as truth. Commandments are what we are to do, and Practices are how we are to do it.

    Thus, from the beginning, the necessity of a savior, and the Grace of God, have been doctrines taught, truths that exist. We have been commanded to always keep these in remembrance. Before the atonement the practice for this remembrance was the sacrifices. After the Atonement it was changed to the Sacrement (or communion). The doctrine has not changed, nor has the command, but the practice has.

    Also, there is the doctrine of faith, for faith is an eternal truth. However, from the time of Adam there was a command not to marry outside the faithful line, or the line of the Patriarchs (demonstrated in the selecting of wives by Abraham for Isaac and Isaac for Jacob). In the time of Abraham circumsision was instituted as a practice for this command. At the Time of Moses the command was again altered to not marry outside of Ireal (not even outside your own tribe). At the Apostolic times the command was relaxed as the gospel went to the Gentiles, and the practice of circumsision was ended.

    In like manner, there is the doctrine of eternal families. Within this doctrine the Lord has commanded marriage as the practice by which the command to multiply is to be carried out. However (as it says in Jacob) when he wants the faithful line to bring forth more children he will command us to practice plural marriage. This does not change the doctrine of eternal families, only the practice by which this doctrine is shown.

  27. shematwater says:

    Now, my explanation of D&C 132 was very clear. There was nothing there hidden from the reasonable mind, nothing that should not have been plain to any who read the text.

    I showed in simple language the meaning of the words, and showed very plainly how there are different parts to the text dealing with different matters.

    The reason you cannot see what I have said is because you cannot separate the three basic parts of theology. If they are separated, as they should be for anyone who believes the Bible, what I outlined it logical and true. If they cannot be separated than theology is beyond the understanding of Mortal reason, for there is not a religion or sect that has not altered its practices over time.

  28. Michael P says:

    Actually, Shem,

    You directly said polygamy was in fact doctrine: “Plural Marriage is an eternal law, one that will be lived in heaven” Then: “By the doctrine of Plural Marriage and teh doctrine of obedience, if God commands Plural Marriage it is required, but if he does not command it is not to be practiced.” Finally, “There is no change to this doctrine.”

    So, you can obfuscate all you want, but if “plural marriage is an eternal law” it is doctrine. It is something you teach, and it is doctrine. I know you don’t like this presentation, but it is what it is.

    You can separate them all you want, but that’s not what I am focused on. I am focused on the doctrine, so I could really not care about the practices. And it is pretty clear the polygamy is an eternal truth and thus a doctrine, even if it is not practiced now.

    To say it is not doctrine would thus be to tell a lie, and you told me it is not doctrine, so you have lied. I know you separate these things, and you do not see the lie. But you’ve really got to do some gymnastics to get there, which is why I have said you gave a complicated way to get to the conclusion.

    Yes, you outlined it in a logical manner, but there is a more simple way to reach a conclusion, which I presented. My presentation, though, does not fit with what you want to see, so you reject it. However, I think a common saying is often applicable: the simplest answer is usually the best.

  29. shematwater says:


    My words were not as clear as they should have been.

    Plural marriage is an eternal law, or part of the eternal law of the Sealing Power. This is still taught by the church. At no time has the church ever denied this. We have not changed this doctrine.

    However, the practice by which this law is lived (though it is technically not changed, just stopped) is what we have effected. Thus we still teach the doctrine of Plural marriage, but we do not live the practice of plural marriage.

    What I said was all true, as it is both doctrine and practice.

  30. Michael P says:


    I am not sure whether to give you the benefit of the doubt or not. You clearly and unashamedly said polygamy was not doctrine earlier, then said it was, then it wasn’t, now it is both practice and doctrine. Your statements were pretty clear, but I cannot read your mind, so I hesitate.

    I will do a couple of things, though. First, remember to be absolutely clear on what it is you mean when talking about doctrine v practice. If something is doctrine, it is doctrine regardless of its being a separate practice or not. I’d even go so far as to say a practice is a doctrine. If its taught, it is doctrine. If you change this definition, you are toying with words, understand?

    Second, I urge you to consider why we get so frustrated with pinning down your teachings, because they are so fluid, as you yourself have demonstrated. Getting to an answer is near impossible as Hank has demonstrated in another thread.

    Third, I would be curious what you tell new or potential converts when they ask what I have asked here. Do they get a direct answer, or do they get a run-around like you provided throughout this discussion?

    Finally, does being Mormon mean having to do so much mental gymnastics? I know the question seems harsh, and maybe it is, but does it require forsaking clear and precious truths for such fluid and problematic teaching?

  31. shematwater says:


    I understand that my words in late posts have not been completely clear. I will explain exactly what I mean in them, and answer your questions.

    First, if anybody asked me what you have I would probably answer in the same way, as the original question was about changing doctrine.
    However, if they asked me what the church taught concerning Polygamy, this would be my answer, and what I have been trying to tell you.

    The sealing power that binds families together for eternity is an eternal truth. This is a doctrine of the church. Thus, when two people are sealed they are forever bound together. Plural Marriage is simply a part of this power, for if a man is sealed to two woman by this power the power still holds.
    However, as Plural Marriage is not required for this sealing power to take effect (in other words, if a man does not take a second wife he is still sealed to the first) the practice of taking Plural wives is not required of all men. What is required is the acceptance of the doctrine that proves it a lawful practice.

    As to the difference between doctrine and practice, I thought I was clear. There is the doctrine of Repentance. There is also the doctrine that without the ordinance of Baptism one cannot be cleanse of their sins. However, the practice of this ordinance has changed over time, for rivers and lakes were once used, while now we use specially made baptismal fonts. It is also true that the prayer that we use in performing the ordinance is not the same as used in ancient times. These practices have changed, but the doctrine that teaches baptism unto repentance has not changed.

    As to fluid teachings, there is no real fluidity when it comes to actual doctrine. The only fluidity is in the practices and commandments, which is clearly shown in the Bible as well.

  32. shematwater says:


    For your last question, I find no difficulty in what I say, and I would not consider it mental gymnastics.
    What I consider mental gymnastics is trying to explain it to others, especially those who seem to consider themselves an authority on the subject.

    The reason for this is because they will take one doctrine, or one quote, and apply their reasoning (or their doctrine) to it, and deside what it means and what is taught. Once they have done this they deny any attempt on the part of those who actual live and know the doctrine to correct their error. Thus, in trying to reason with them you are forced into the a circular path that they prefer, but which truly leads to no honest understanding or realization of the truth.

    An example: On the thread concerning the Perfection (or lack thereof) of the Father, after many arguments were given showing that when you consider all the words of the prophets and the scriptures as well as the interlocking nature of teh LDS doctrines, that the idea (though some believe it) is truly not supported, one Christian came back with this basic argument (and I paraphrase).
    When you read the quote from President Snow, and consider it from Christian doctrine (the idea of collective sin brought on by Adam) it is obvious that this quote infers the Father sinned because he was on the same path as man.
    Of course, this is a very rediculous argument, because the LDS do not teach a collective sin, and President Snow never believed the idea, thus his words should not be interpreted on that basis.

    Thus, we are forced to “jump through hoops” not by our doctrine, but by those who have no real desire to understand it, only attack at every possible moment.

  33. Michael P says:

    Actually, Shem, you have contradicted yourself throughout, and I think you do so, here, too. First, polygamy was not doctrine but rather practice. Then it was part of doctrine, though not doctrine. Then it was doctrine, now it is a part of doctrine. I demonstrated before how it is a very fair reading of 132 to suggest polygamy is part of the plan for salvation, and not merely practice or part of sealing.

    You offer an explanation, yes, but I said why I do not buy it, because there is nothing to differentiate polygamy from that covenant, and the emphasis on women to accept or they are essentially damned. A fair reading and interpretation is as I present.

    I’ve also presented anecdotal evidence, such as shaky history and an explanation that God is really not utilitarian (which, but taking that, you open yourself up to the possibility of more changes in doctrine), to show that the LDS changes its position based on what is convenient, and in fact changes doctrine.

    Finally, it is important to remember the definion of “doctrine” and you must come up with three categories to get around the simple truth that a doctrine is something taught in a church, and polygamy was once taught as necessary.

  34. Michael P says:

    As to your counter that you are only forced to jump through hoops because we force you to is another argument that I think is creative, but fails. Yes, I agree fully that we view your faith from a different lens. But that lens is from a logical and rational point of view. We are trying to get you to think rationally and fully about your faith, and get out of the trappings of LDS rationality.

    This direct topic, doctrine/polygamy, is but one example. I know you think that all the other pieces of evidence have been disproven, but think about it: there are so many instances of things in the BOM that don’t exist or could not have existed, verses how much it has been changed itself, to Smith’s own troubled history, and on and on, that at some point your eyebrows should be raised and say, “wait a minute”.

    But you continue to rational it all, and you dare not question any leader’s comments, except to say they are not perfect or a given comment was only their opinion. You are led to believe faith is best confirmed by a burning in your bosom that runs counter to any number of pieces of evidence, and to many in your faith, the more they believe despite these holes, the better they are.

    You also accuse me, and whoever makes these assertions as having poor motives, but do you really know this? You can say that I am not sincere or that I am only twisting or distorting your faith, but I am not. I am calling it as I see fit. Because I don’t spout off what it is you want me to say does not mean I am insincere or out to “getcha”. I only hope that somehow, someway, I can get you to see things in a different way than you are used to. I cannot change your mind; all I can do is tell you what I see.

    It was you who said a good way to understand something is to assume it is right. I think it is wise to make the arguments the other side would make, and I try to do that when thinking of your faith. Am I perfect, no I am not… But I do try.

  35. shematwater says:


    I never said you had low motives. I said either you had low motives or you do not really understand LDS doctrine. Take your pick of which one you fall under, but it is one of them.

    I have not contradicted myself in anyway. I admit that my words have not been the best, but their meaning remains the same.

    The doctrine is the sealing power. The practice that works within this doctrine are marriage (in all its goodly forms). The doctrine states that one must be married to become a God. It does not state that one must have multiple wives. However, it does also state that having multiple wives is not in violation of the doctrine.
    Thus, Plural Marriage is part of the doctrine, because the doctrine does not deny it. However, it is a practice of that doctrine, not the doctrine itself.
    As to your interpretation of 132, you have ignored the outline I have given. You have assumed that the entire section is about the new and everlasting Covenant, and that this was Plural Marraige. I understand this assumption, as this was teh question being answered by the Lord. But the section is not just about Plural Marriage, nor is it only about this new and everlasting covenant, and that is where you make your mistakes. It is an honest mistake, but you still refuse to be corrected in it.

    As I pointed out, in section 131 the new and everlasting covenant is identified as marriage. Thus, when section 132 speaks of teh new and everlasting covenant, this is what it speaks of (which is also the sealing power).
    When Joseph Smith asked concerning Abraham having many wives, for the Lord to answer that question he had to first give an explanation of the doctrine of this sealing power (which was not fully had at the time) because it is in this doctrine that the answer lay.

  36. shematwater says:

    Once he had explained this doctrine, he then went on to answer the question asked. It is two separate thoughts.
    This is shown in the single verse (58) where the Lord says “Now, as touching the law of the apriesthood, there are many things pertaining thereunto.” This indicates a change in topic, or in thought. The Lord is saying, “Now that you understand this doctrine, let me explain to you a few more things concerning the priesthood.”
    It is after this change in thought that the laws coverning plural marriage are given, and thus they are not a part of the new and everlasting covenant. They are an addition to it, or a practice within it.

    Of course I have shown you this before, and you deny the very words that you base your argument on. This is what I mean when I say you force us through mental hurdles. We give you the truth, and you still deny it. So, wanting you to come to understand it, we are forced to try and explain it in another way, which always gets more complex, allowing you to claim a contradiction in our words.

    As to everything else you say, I see very little logic in the Christian faith. The idea of the Trinity itself enough to boggle my mind and wonder how anyone can claim true reason and still believe it. Besides this there are many things that Christians teach that are self contraditions.
    A good example is the idea that God can do anything he wants. This contradicts itself because if God can do anything, than he can’t prevent himself from doing anything, thus he is restricted, making the statement untrue.
    Then there is the Meritless gift of Grace if you have faith. But if faith is required it is no longer maeritless, as it is merited by your faith.
    These are the things Christians have tried to teach me, and none of it has any logic to it. Thus they are forced to exclaim “how great are the misteries of God” or “His thoughts are not our thoughts” and give no real answer to the contradictions.

  37. shematwater says:

    As to all the historical things you mention, this same evidence you use in your attempt to prove the LDS church false is what strengthens my belief in it.
    As I said, the very history of the practice of Plural Marriage in the LDS church supports what i have said concering it, and thus is a great strength to me belief. You ignore both the explanation of teh true teachings concerning Plural Marriage, and are thus able to claim this as a change of doctrine.

    With the Book of Mormon, There were so many things that were unpoven at the time Joseph Smith translated it that this argument was better then. Out of the few dozen things it claimed, only three were coroborated. However, now there are only a few that have not been.
    Once it was claimed that cement was a mistake, but now we know that cement did exist in ancient America, and at the same time as recorded in the Book of Mormon.
    Swords were said to be a mistake, but now we see the ancient weapons, and they are very much swords.
    Horses were was ridiculed, but now the evidence has shown that there were more than one native species of Horse in ancient America, pre-columbian.
    The fact that so much has been substanciated makes the argument against was hasn’t very weak, as not finding it is not proof it does not exist.

    The changes in the Book I have read (at least a number of them) and have seen not real alteration that can be called a major changed. Truth is that most are easily the mistakes of the printer when setting the type. And since the changes are made by comparing the actual hand written copy to what we currently have, it would make sense that our current edition would be different than the original edition.

    Yes, my faith is strong enough to withstand all your attacks on it, for you cannot prove what you say. In truth, half of what you say only makes my faith stronger, and the other half is so full of error and illogical conclusions that it doesn’t really effect my faith either way.

  38. Michael P says:

    Shem, I disagree with jut about everything you wrote, as you might expect.

    First, as to 132, 58 it says there are many things that are a part of it, though it falls short in saying that these thigns are not also required. Saying there is more is not saying it is optional, it is just saying there is more. So, no, I do not see that as bridge to separate it from the required pieces.

    And, no, your comments were clear before, as well. Maybe you just spoke wrongly, but you spoke clearly. You can accuse me of whatever you want, but understand that your attempts to reach you ultimate conclusion appeared as backtracking and changing yout tune. Like it or not, this is the impression you gave.

    Now, as to how do I approach your efforts? Should I accept your verdict? Well, on a level I must, and therefore do. You say polygamy is but a part of the doctrine of marriage, but not a doctrine itself. OK, fine. But this is not logical (for reasons already stted) and I cannot accept it as truth.

    I also cannot simply allow the changing of your tune to go un-noticed. Surely you know that Mormons have a reputation among Ev’s as having a shifting view of your faith, and the change in tune has only givben evidence of its truth. You say it is because we push you in ways to have to explain it. But isn’t that what you are supposed to do with a belief: explain it? While I understand some things in my faith are difficult to explain, I give you clear reasons why without ever having to change my tune.

    The Trinity, which you bring up, is a great example. It is best understood by first starting with the Biblical truth that there is only one God. This is echoed several times in the Bible but then you also see references to Christ as God, and to the Holy Spirit as God, along with the Father God. How is this reconciled? One God who manifests himself in three forms. This may be hard to grasp but it is better than saying God was lying when he said there is only one God.

  39. Michael P says:

    Mertless faith can be conceived of as a work, but this is A) a stretch, B) a bit of a trap and C) assumes a definition of a work that is very broad.

    I have no problem with you stating it is a work if it helps you understand it. If you do, that is all the workwe must do to be saved is to believe on Him who saves.

    But don’t forget the premise for the belief: we are but filthy rags and nothing we can do accept trust in His fullness and power to lead us to salvation, and that nothing we can do on our own can lead us there.

    That is the doctrine of meritless faith.

    God doing anything he wants is a red herring used by so many non-believers it is not worth discussing.

    The historical evidence, do you care to quote where you get this evidence from? I have searched, and I have yet to find anyone supporting the evidence who is non-Mormon, in other words I have found no one without a desire to prove their religion. If these things are so true, why are you out in front of everyone proclaiming the evidence?

    Finally, I’ll ask a question: How do you view those who who believe in Christian Science?

  40. shematwater says:


    First, it is not faith that is meritless, but Grace. Also, I never said Faith was a work. I only pointed out that if the Grace of God is dependant on us having faith it cannot be truly meritless, as it is our faith that merits it. The basic idea of the doctrine is fairly logical, but the way it is explained is not.

    Second, God doing anything he wants is not a red herring, but a very important part of theology. It gets right down to the power of God, and thus his actual influence in life. I will agree that the way I put it is more sarcastic than it probably should be, but it is still important.
    Logic, as I have shown, states that no being can truly do anyting. There are natural restrictions. If you accept this than the next step is to figure out what those restrictions are. In this way the LDS church is more logical in its doctrine.

    Third, I have not “changed my tune” only the instrument on which it is played. After all, whether you use a piano or a saxophone, Mozart is still Mozart.

    Now, you seem to be having the same basic problem that started this discussion. You seem to think I want to convince you that LDS doctrine is true, which is not my intent. I only want you to actually understand LDS doctrine. It seems you are beginning to, though grudgingly.

    As to changing practice without changing doctrine, I have shown this in the Bible. The sacrifices where ended, and the practice changed, but the doctrine remained the same. Also, circumsision as a practice was changed, but the doctrine remained the same. I have Biblical precident for the claims I make. If you take your way of looking at it than you must accept that God has changed his doctrine as shown by these same examples in the Bible (as well as the rest of the Law of Moses).

  41. shematwater says:

    Two last remarks.

    As to what you say concerning section 132, verse 58: You seem to be missing the point I am making with this verse.
    The New and Everlasting Covenant is the covenant of marriage, or the sealing power. This is easily demonstrated in the text of section 131. In this same text it calls this an Order of the Priesthood. This is only one order of the Priedthood.
    So, in section 132 we get a great explanation of this Order, then in verse 58 we are told we are getting more information concerning the Priesthood, not the New and Everlasting Covenant.
    You are right that it does not states these things optional, but since it is a new topic, and it does not state that they are required, technically you cannot use this text by itself to say either way.

    Finally, speaking of the Trinity: I understand the logic you use to reach this conclusion. However, no matter how good teh logic is, if the conclusion is illogical it does not matter.
    As you say, the Bible does say there is only one God, but then calls the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost God. True logic would say that either the Bible is in error, or the passages have a different meaning than the obvious one.
    In the Old Testiment there are only two references (that I can find right now) stating there is only one God. In Isaiah 43: 10, and Malachi 2: 10. Now, if we read in Isaiah, and continue to verse 11, we read that there is only one savior. Thus, this quote is easily seem as a reference to the unique calling of Christ. In Malachi it is stated with “Have we not all one father,” so this is again easily seen as a reference to the Father’s unique position. Thus, in the Old Testiment we can see that the references can be refering to two different gods, each with a unique position and relation to us.

  42. shematwater says:

    When we go to the New Testiment things become more tricky, as there are eight references to only one God.

    For sake of brevity, I quote only two. Ephesians 4: 4-6 “There is one body, and one Spirit… One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

    Here we also have the separation of the verious callings. One Spirit, which is different than the one Lord, which is separate from the One God (Father) who is above all.

    Then, in 1 Timothy 2: 5 it says “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

    Again the Father and the Son are made separate, as the Son is called the mediator (or savior).

    Now, we also have three references to the Godhead, which term indicates a leader (or leaders) of gods. In other words “The Head of the Gods.”
    These references are Acts 17: 29; Romans 1: 20; and Colossians 2: 9.

    As I said before, I am not trying to convince you I am right. With this my only hope it to show you that our doctrine is logical, and supported in the Bible. You can interpret the same verses anyway you want, but the interpretation we have is a logical one.

  43. Michael P says:


    I had written a more detailed response that seems to have been lost, but I think this is about over, but a trait of mine that needs improvement is my desire to have the last word:) So, here comes a quick response. First, ast to the Trinity, believe me, I understand your hold up on it, but you miss an option: it could be right. See, based on a different understanding of God it is very logical (see Acts 17:29, one you just quoted). That understanding of God is that we ought not to put him in a box we humans think Gid should fit in. Put another way, since we say God is all powerful, then the Trinity’s explanation of how he presents himself and interacts with us fits quite nicely, and certainly fits with God’s statement that there is but one. In fact, this makes more sense than your attempt to put God in a box that we humans will completely understand.

    The verses you present are poorly presented as supporting your argument, and actually better support my theory. Read the context of all of them, especially all of Col. 2. (to start: “2My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.” and “8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”

    The interpretation you have may be logical, but it is wrong because it is based on a faulty assumption of God. Notice how the writer says he wants them to know the mystery of God, namely Christ. He’s writing as if they are the same. Second, he warns against following sweet sounding arguments based on the traditions of men. This hardly supports your theory.

  44. Michael P says:

    OK, my brief response got much longer, sorry ’bout that.

    I hope you understand what is sweet sounding about your faith, but if you need examples, I’m happy to expound. Traditions of men? What did I just say about putting God in a box that we humans can understand?

    So, on that issue, I would simply say at its core is this understanding of God: do we try to view from a point of view that we like, or one that is true to what is found in a full view of the Bible? And by a full view of the Bible, it requires the context found in reading it fully (not picking and choosing–see Col. 2 and your quote if you need an example of how that works).

    As to polygamy, you state that your goal is to show how it is logical and how it shows a non-changing view of doctrine from Mormons. Trouble is, this is not how it has been applied, and the interpretation only opens the door to change. This comes back to the very definition of doctrine, which is at issue. If a doctrine is something that is a teaching, and a command is something that a church teaches is OK, then the command is also doctrine. When the command changes, the doctrine changes. What this means about your doctrine is that it is set up to change, even if that exact aspect remains the same. The change is built in to the basic doctrine.

    What that allows you to do is to do exactly what you have done: say your doctrine doesn’t change (after all, change is built in to the doctrine because it is differentiated as command/practice) even when it changes.

    As to 132, I prefer that the disclosure at the beginning applies to it all. The change in subject is irrelevant if there is no clause changing the applicability. Because there is no differentiation, it is very fair to state, and even right, I think, that all of it is under the disclosure that it is required. After all, why would God be that vague if he is not the author of confusion?

    In the end, I respect that you see things differently.

  45. shematwater says:


    I understand what you believe, and I understand the logic behind it. My point is that what we believe is just as logical, and so to claim otherwise is rediculous.

    As to doctrine and command, you are not truly understanding me, and have misquoted what I said. Doctrine is what is taught as truth. Doctrine is what you believe is, and cannot change. Commands are taught, but they are not truth, simply guidelines to bring us to a full understanding of the truth on which they are based. Thus a command is not a doctrine, as it is not a teaching of truth. So changing a command does not change doctrine.
    If they were both simply teachings I would agree with you, but they are very different types of teachings. (Like changing History doesn’t change math.)

    I accept that you believe differently, and I respect that, but I just wish you would try a little harder to see the logic in what I believe.

  46. shematwater says:

    One last comment.

    To see the logic of LDS doctrine try looking at it without the references to Bible. Concider only what is taught, and not the actual words. Is there logic is the doctrine itself as it relates to itself.

    I can see the things I see in the Bible because the doctrine itself is logical. When the doctrine is compared to itself there is no contradiction, only a easily flowing thought. Once I have this I can then go to the Bible and these things seem clear to me in the text.

    I do not ask this to convince you of anything, and I really don’t want to discuss how you can’t consider it without the Bible. This is a simple question.

  47. Michael P says:

    Shem, I do see the logic in what you say, but you don’t see the trouble in the logic. I have outline it above. One of the things Mormonism has to do to survive is change the meaning of words, like doctrine. Its a simple word, really. It means something that is taught. You have separated out teachings under the word’s meaning to differentiate eternal truths for non-eternal truths that can change. Either way, these things are taught, and based on the original definition are indeed doctrine. The only difference in your view is eternallity.

    Also, I love this quote of yours: “Concider only what is taught, and not the actual words.” Huh? Sorry, but what you are asking me to do is to ignore the plain and simple truths that words speak in favor of a sentiment behind them. I cannot do this, because words have meanings and are important.

    I also know that you have to look at LDS doctrine apart from the Bible because it is not biblical. But therein lies the problem at its heart– it is not Biblical, even though the purpose of the BoM and other LDS scripture is to supplement it, the Bible is virtually taken out of the picture. You have to form your doctrine before you can apply it to the Bible, and not taking your doctrine from the Bible. This is exactly what you just told me when you said, “Once I have this I can then go to the Bible and these things seem clear to me in the text.”

    This is not how we are to approach the Bible. We are to approach it as a primary source, not secondary like you make it. It is secondary because it follows revelation, and then you go to the Bible to make the revelation fit. Revelation should come from the Bible, and then it should fit what is in the Bible. The Bible should not be distorted so that it fits revelation.

    I know you don’t want to convince me, but you must understand why we object to your faith. It is because it is not logical and turns the Bible on its head. Your logic starts from a very different place.

  48. shematwater says:


    First, as it comes to doctrine if you are going to use your very broad definitions then you must accept that God himself changes doctrine, as he did just that in the Bible. As such, to say the LDS church does so means nothing. I am all for this approach, but you want to apply this only to the LDS church and not to other Christian denominations, and that is why I gave a veried definition of doctrine.

    God commanded men to Sacrifice animals. Once Christ came this command was ended. Thus what was taught in the Law of Moses (and even from the time of Adam) was changed. Abraham was commanded to circumsize all the male members of his house, and that command continued throughout his descendants, unitl the gospel was taken to the gentiles, at which point it was ended. Another change in doctrine. Even taking the gospel to the gentiles was a change in doctrine.
    Thus, by Biblical proof God changes his doctrine. If the LDS church is going to be condemned for this you must condemn the God of the Bible as well, and that is my point.

    As to my question about seeing the logic of the doctrine and how I apply it to the Bible, you misunderstand me. Yes, it is because of the Logic behind it that I am able to see it in the text, but this is in reference to the deep doctrine, or the mysteries. The basics of the gospel I get from the Bible.

    I asked what I did, and in the way I did, for only one reason. To show that the doctrine is logical and get you to stop telling me that it isn’t. I said to not think of the words refering only to the Bible because we have such different interpretations of the text. I can’t show you the logic of the actual doctrine through the Bible because you will simple say that I am misinterpreting the text. However, if I simple tell you the doctrine then you will be able to see the logic of it, and that is all I wanted.

    The Bible is still the greatest of the standard scriptures, and the source of more great truth than any other

  49. Michael P says:

    Shem, do I need to quote you again on telling me not to pay attention to words or how once you see it from a point of view, then you can go to the Bible? You are backtracking.

    Again, this is the troube with you guys… you do not argue from a single standard, and thus can shift around as you see fit. And again, your words were very clear. You accuse us of not allowing a fair answer, but this is dodging the issue because it does not address our concerns and is playing the role o victim. You have to twist it to come close to answering. And again, my comments stand– if I have to ignore the plain words of the Bible, I am telling it to conform to what I want it to be.

    Actually, do I need to remind you the words of Christ, who said what about his role in connection with the law? And should we look back through the OT to see examples of faith as a saving power, even to non-Jews? Should we talk about the one constant through all of the rules and why the rules were necessary? Then, shall we look at Christ and what he did? And should I remind you again of Christ’s own words regarding his relation to the law?

    This supposed changing of God’s mind is a common theme among non-believers, yet it ignores these aspects and the consistency of it all. I’d even add that someone today who could follow all of the OT laws would be saved, and that someone pre-Christ who called upon his name would also be saved.

    All of that to say that no, our God has not changed his doctrine nor his practices. You cannot say this, because you cannot define the reasons for polygamy, except to say that some in the OT did it, and your god commanded you at the time. Or, another issue– the seed of Cain and blacks. Any reason fo the change? Can you honestly say that blacks are any more clean today than they were 30 years ago?

    All of what I have written is supported clearly in the Bible without having to start from another place.

  50. Michael P says:

    Oh, I almost forgot to touch on perhaps the most important line of your last post: “The Bible is still the greatest of the standard scriptures, and the source of more great truth than any other”

    Is this more so than the most correct book ever written? Is this true even though you don’t always trust it because it was not always translated correctly? Is this true even though it contains a bunch of the writers’ own opinions?

    Because you say that the BoM is the most correct book ever written, that the Bible is corrupt through too many errors in translation, and because you dismiss much of it as simply opinion, it seems odd that you write that it is the greatest standard scripture. That sounds to me like you don’t trust it much, and that it is secondary to the BoM.

    Add to that that you ask potential converts to read from the BoM and you really put some serious questions in your comment. I’ll grant you the possibility that it just might be true, but given how you treat it, serious problems arise in buying your claim.

    And if it is true, one has to ask what you really think about your other books because of how you treat the Bible.

    Now, I know you view all of those as supplementing the Bible, but I hope you see why we seriously question your commitment to the Bible, since you don’t seem to dismiss the D&C as mere opinion or prone to translation errors, and while you ignore the myriad of changes to the BoM in just its approx. 150 years of existence.

    Again, you have to start from a very different place to reach your conclusions…

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