No “Comedy of Errors”

The game Chinese Whispers (known as Telephone in the US) is a long-time favorite at parties. Someone whispers a phrase or sentence to another, who in turn repeats the words to another, and so on until reaching the last player, who then says the words out loud. The fun of the game is in the outcome — the last person usually repeats a wildly different message than what was uttered by the first player due to errors that were introduced and expanded nearly every time the message was passed on.

I’ve often talked with Mormons who relate the game of Telephone to different translations of the Bible. They assert that the Bible has been translated and retranslated and retranslated until it has become “a comedy of errors,” leaving us with a sadly corrupted text.

Early LDS Apostle Orson Pratt also believed the Bible has been debased. He wrote,

“Who knows that even one verse of the whole Bible has escaped pollution, so as to convey the same sense now that it did in the original?” (Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, No. 3, page 47).

I’ve found that people often confuse the issues of translation and transmission. Most of the English Bible translations we have today use the ancient manuscripts written in the original languages as their source. That is, the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek have been translated directly into English; they have not, as some Mormons assert, been translated into English from (for example) a Latin translation of the original languages.

Revisions to translations (e.g., the American Standard Version and the New American Standard Version) primarily result from two things: 1) the discovery of new ancient biblical manuscripts; and 2) changes in the English language over time. Yet even these revisions go back to the ancient manuscripts for accuracy. There is no game of Telephone here.

On the issue of transmission, it is true that the biblical manuscripts were copied and recopied as they were distributed across the then-known world, and during this process textual variants (errors) appeared. Nevertheless, because of the substantial number of ancient manuscripts and fragments that exist today, there is little question about the original biblical text. Respected Bible scholar F.F. Bruce explained,

“Fortunately, if the great number of MSS [manuscripts] increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small” (The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, page 14).

Christian theologian Wayne Grudem expanded the same idea:

“It may first be stated that for over 99 percent of the words of the Bible, we know what the original manuscript said. Even for many of the verses where there are textual variants (that is, different words in different ancient copies of the same verse), the correct decision is often quite clear, and there are really very few places where the textual variant is both difficult to evaluate and significant in determining the meaning. In the small percentage of cases where there is significant uncertainty about what the original text said, the general sense of the sentence is usually quite clear from the context. (One does not have to be a Hebrew or Greek scholar to know where these variants are, because all modern English translations indicate them in marginal notes with words such as “some ancient manuscripts read… ” or “other ancient authorities add… ”)

“This is not to say that the study of textual variants is unimportant, but it is to say that the study of textual variants has not left us in confusion about what the original manuscripts said. It has rather brought us extremely close to the content of those original manuscripts. For most practical purposes, then, the current published scholarly texts of the Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament are the same as the original manuscripts. Thus, when we say that the original manuscripts were inerrant, we are also implying that over 99 percent of the words in our present manuscripts are also inerrant, for they are exact copies of the originals. Furthermore, we know where the uncertain readings are (for where there are no textual variants we have no reason to expect faulty copying of the original). Thus, our present manuscripts are for most purposes the same as the original manuscripts, and the doctrine of inerrancy therefore directly concerns our present manuscripts as well” (Systematic Theology, page 96).

Regarding the historical transmission of the Bible, just as in the translation of the Bible, there is nothing that warrants the assertion that it is like a game of Telephone, or a comedy of errors.

Bill McKeever once wrote,

“To argue that the existence of various versions of the Bible is reason enough to mistrust all of them is just a smokescreen. Mormons mistrust the Bible because it is the book that refutes their doctrines” (Answering Mormons Questions, page 44).

And that is the real issue.

For more information on Scriptural transmission see:
Is the Bible Reliable?
Is Today’s Bible the Real Bible?


Comments within the parameters of 1 Peter 3:15 are invited.


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.

95 Responses to No “Comedy of Errors”

  1. Andy Watson says:

    Part 3

    The Mormons are in good company when they throw John 14:28. With whom you might ask? The people that they despise very much – the Jehovah’s Witnesses. If Mormons only knew how much their beliefs and religious structure followed that of the Watchtower they would be shocked – maybe. The commonality is amazing the more I involve myself in the study and research of the Watchtower and speak with them weekly. Much of the language is the same especially the phrase “the truth”.

    Is the Apostle John schizophrenic here in John 14:28? Has John “lost his marbles”? Is what he said in John 14:28 contradictory to what he said elsewhere under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost? Not in the least! For Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses that don’t seriously study the Bible and use sound study principles and exegesis to that, then yes, they will “fall off the wagon” into the land of the confusion and heresy. Arius taught that Jesus was not equal to the Father and was a created being and that the Father was better in nature. He was a heretic for that belief. Mormonism and the Watchtower are nothing more than glorified, modern forms of Arius’ teachings today.

    Was the Father “greater” than Jesus? Yes, but not like the Mormons think. The word “greater” in the Greek is the word MEIZON which always refers to POSITION. The Father was in a greater position than Jesus at that time in OFFICE – not NATURE. Jesus claimed equality with God in essence and nature (John 5:18; 10:30). The Father was in a greater position because the Son had “took upon him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:6). He was still God by nature because He was in “the form of God” (Phil 2:6. Christ didn’t have to rob what was already His – equality with God. Jesus humbled himself to die like a man. He had taken on the nature of man in addition to his continued nature of God. Jesus didn’t empty himself out of His deity. Jesus is fully man and fully God and will be forever.

  2. Andy Watson says:

    Part 4

    Jesus was made lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9). The question is now, was Jesus Christ BETTER than the angels? That is the key word when properly thinking about John 14:28. Was the Father in a GREATER position than the Son when the Son took on the nature of man to suffer a humiliating death on the cross? Yes! However, the Father was not BETTER than the Son. How can that be?

    Look at Hebrews 1:4. The word BETTER in the Greek is the word KREITTON. This always refers to NATURE. Jesus was made lower in POSITION than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9), but Jesus was BETTER than the angels in nature (Hebrews 1:4) because Jesus made the angels (Col 1:16). The Father was not BETTER than the Son because they were and are one in nature. If the Father was BETTER than the Son, He would not have told the angels to worship the Son in Hebrews 1:6 nor would the Father call the Son “God” in Hebrews 1:8.

    For example, I am a deacon at my church. If I were to say that the pastor is greater than I am, then that would be a correct statement because in position and by office he is greater because he is the pastor and I am just a deacon. However, if one were to ask the pastor, “Are you better than Andy Watson?”, then the pastor would say, “Absolutely not!” The reason is that in nature and essence the two of us are equal – sin nature and man completely. President Obama is greater than all Americans because he is the President of the U.S. in office. However, he is not better than any American because he is still a man and nothing more in nature like all of mankind in the sight of Almighty God.

    Thanks for reading. It’s good to be with you again.

    [email protected]

  3. grindael wrote

    I’m back. For all here, I found out the true meaning of hell: being in a hospital for 3 days after a major surgery.

    Its good to see you back.

  4. falcon says:

    Thanks Andy,
    The reason the SLC Mormon church’s prophet is quiet is because he can’t match Joseph Smith for pure audacity. First of all Smith was a two-bit con man but he was a great snake oil salesman. That is, he was of very low character but had the ability to open his mouth and get some people to believe what he said. It all started to come unraveled in Nauvoo and he ended up getting himself shot.
    The Mormon prophets are running on empty with nothing to offer but a well oiled cult that draws enough money from the 30% of the membership that actually practices the religion. As long as they can keep them dumb and happy, believing the myth, they can go right on with their ego trip.
    I googled “stereotypical Mormon thinking” and came across this; it’s worth the read.

  5. Ralph says:

    Someone brought up the quote saying that we LDS believe that many plain and precious truths have been left out of the Bible. Besides translation/interpretation errors there is also the process of selection of the Bible contents. From what I understand the Bible canon (mainly NT) started taking its current form in the 200’s AD or slightly earlier. We have many references in the Bible to books and epistles that we cannot find within the current canon. Nor can we find outside the canon because they have been lost. But there were 12 Apostles in Jesus’ time and just after. Yet we only have a ‘gospel’ from 3 of them. Then we have many letters from Paul but only a couple from 2 or 3 of the other Apostles. I would hazard a guess that each Apostle wrote at least one letter and their testimony (gospel) of Jesus and His life. But where are all of these missing books and epistles as well as writings from the other Apostles? If they had more than what is in the current canon, who chose what went in the Bible? What was their criteria for what went in and what was omitted?

    What would anyone here do if we found 12 epistles from the 12 Apostles that were verifiable and original MSS that taught about baptism for the dead and how it is essential for the salvation of our ancestors? And if they went on to mention about an endowment ceremony? And that this is what they were taught by Jesus (except Paul and Matthias)? Would you all believe in those practices and do them or would you be skeptical? the Bible says nothing for or against baptism for the dead so don’t say that you would compare it to the Bible with those verses. It in no way means that the LDS church is true, just that we were correct in one thing. Yes – big hypothetical but is a possibility.

  6. One thing that really concerns me about the Mormon approach to the Bible and Historic Christianity is its cultivation of cynicism.

    I don’t have a problem with criticism where it is warranted and substantiated. Also, my reading of the Bible encourages a questioning mind that “wrestles” with God (see Gen 32:22-31, or compare Mary’s reaction to her “divine” visitor with Eve’s in Gen 3:1-6 and Luke 1:26-38 – which woman actually questioned the messenger?).

    However, what Mormonism promotes is something else; it basically poo-poos everything outside the Mormon “church” so that followers are isolated and ushered into total dependency on the church.

    This wouldn’t be so bad, except the Mormon “church” is constantly reinventing itself. All the while it claims to know the “truth”, but today’s truth is very different from the truth of tomorrow or yesterday. Not even their holy scriptures (BoM, in particular) are immune from revision.

    I suspect that adult Mormons who have been around a while know this. So, how do they live with it?

    I wonder if they rationalize it by saying that as the One True Church (theirs) cannot sustain any consistency or integrity or coherent expressions of faith, neither can any religion or scripture (which are all inferior to theirs).

    As they believe that their “church” is the only one that God is involved with, they must conclude that God likes confusing the heck out of his flock, and He hates explaining Himself in coherent terms.

    So, they may as well stay where they are.

    This mind-set, if true, is immeasurably damaging to a person’s understanding of the Christian Gospel.

    The Christian Gospel says that God was incarnate in Christ so that we could know Him (John 1:18). The Bible records how this happened.

    The Mormon “gospel” says that you can’t know anything at all, because you can’t trust anything outside the Mormon Church and what happens inside is kept secret anyway, even between believers. Cynical acquiescence prevails!

  7. Oops, I messed up with the bold text thing. Sorry.

    Does the truth ever change?

    No – Hebrews 13:8.

  8. Ralph,

    Why do you assume that the job of the 12 Apostles was to write letters?

    Why do you assume that Paul preached a different Gospel than Jesus?

    Your “church” might operate that way, with different “prophets” advancing different “opinions”, but you should not tar the Church of Jesus Christ of the First Century Christians with the same brush.

    We have what they taught – it has been preserved in the Bible. We don’t have your fantastical, speculative “other” writings.

    So what if (for sake of argument) the Bible is incomplete. When you say its the Word of God (8AOF), you should be careful to make sure that what you teach aligns with it, before exploring the realm of the unknown.

    Why do you continue to ignore what you can see, in order to sustain your faith in what you can’t see?

    The “what if strategy” is pointless because, simply, it is not what happened. The Bible is what happened. Grow up and deal with it. Christians believe that God made it happen that way for a reason. Find out what that reason was.

    The LDS argument is nothing more than a ruse to introduce doubt in the Christian mind, so that the “Mormon solution” can be tossed out like a life-line. However, this life-line is less of a buoyancy aid, and more of a ball and chain.

  9. falcon says:

    One thing that should be emphasized here, and I believe Andy may have touched on it, no where in the Bible are we told to pray about it to see if it’s true. That’s because as the Word of God it is true. The Bible doesn’t need our endorsement to confirm its truth. God revealed His truth through the writers of what came to be known as the Bible. It’s a collection of 66 separate books that attests to God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the revealed Word. It’s through Him that our salvation is assured.
    Can Mormonism be found in the Bible? No! In fact Mormons have had to invent conspiracy theories to account for that one glaring fact. And on what do Mormons place their hopes? On Joseph Smith’s claimed visitations from all sorts of spirit beings. That’s it! Was Smith telling the truth? Well take a look at his life story and see if it’s consistent with someone who was a truth teller.
    While Christian’s seek the truth regarding their faith, Mormons seek to hide the truth about Smith and the history of his church. When faith is based on visions someone has claimed to have and when those visions run contrary to God’s revealed Word, there’s trouble brewing. So Mormons have to put their faith in Joseph Smith a guy who’s life story reveals that he wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him.
    Knowing Jesus leads to eternal life. What does it mean to “know” Him? It means having a proper understanding of who He is and what He did for us through His death on the Cross. Knowing a counterfeit Jesus will not result in eternal life.

  10. grindael says:


    How about this scenario – the missing books of the Bible teach about men living on the moon, (that has to be why there are so many sightings, right?) and smith and young taught it too, – they just hide themselves from everyone. Hey, I bet you could get all of those folks to pray about it and they would get right on board with it.

    Or this, that the early Christians used the Temple of Athena to do baptisms for the dead, and the endowment but unfortunately they all had to kill themselves to atone for sins they committed that couln’t be forgiven by Jesus Christ. How do you know that these are not what is in those ‘missing books’? Your argument is amusing.

    How do we Christians know? Same as we know that smiths heretical and blasphemous teachings are not there. Because I believe that God protected his word. mormons have a great problem with the Bible. They see the glass HALF-EMPTY, while we CHRISTIANS see it HALF-FULL. Smiple as that.

    The only schizophrenic I see and have ever seen is smith. He teaches God is a Spirit and Jesus has a body and the HG is the mind of god and then a few years later when he could not keep it in his pants & needed a convenient god-doctrine to marry all those young girls (adultry is SO inconvenient!) (how Koresh-like) invents the plurality of gods doctrine and the endowment to legitimize his lecherous behaviour.

    If John were here, he would tell us to do what He told our early brethern to do with the Gnostics (which smithians LOVE to use to parallel smith’s teachings – shades of the devil appearing as an angel of light!) – REJECT THEM UTTERLY!

    But hey, if you want to wait on the roof for the moon-people – I bet you’ll have a lot of company.

  11. gundeck says:


    A capitol “offenses” requires an appropriate punishment, there is nothing in Exodus 20 that merits a distinction by a perceived notion of the seriousness of a crime. I don’t see anything to make us believe that theft is only a “minor offense”. To steal from the tabernacle was a capitol offense as were other forms of theft. Neither bearing false witness or coveting are “capitol offenses” both follow Ex 20:15. No matter how you break it down it is eisegesis to try to classify theft out of Ex 20.

    As I understand it you claim “the Hebrew and greek origin of the word is really a reference to kidnap”. To support this you offer medieval rabbinic masorah and tradition. I pointed out that the Hebrew or Greek words in Ex 20:15 could refer to kidnapping as in Deut 24:7 but that without a particular object there is no reason to make such a limited interpretation. We also have New Testament witness, other rabbinic interpretation, and early Christian writing on the subject that all go against limiting Ex 20:15 to kidnapping.

    Your question “People who were in bondage in Egypt…are they worried about personal property or are they more concerned with the notion of slavery?” is interesting but misses the linguistic point, there is no object in Exodus 20:15 to define a type of theft. There is an object in Deut 24:7 but this limits and clarifies kidnapping to “brethren of the children of Israel”. We also have substantial Old Testament writing regulating how national Israel was to treat slaves (Ex 20:10; 21:2-11, 20-21, 26-27, 32; 22:1-3; 23:12; Lev 19:20-22; 25:39-55; Deut 5:14; 15:12-18; 21:10-14; 23:15-16; 24:7). Of particular interest to your argument is Deut 21:10-14.

    You accuse me of semantics and I plead guilty, we need to study the meaning of the words of the Bible in their context. You are also correct that I think your argument is weak, but this is only because you overstated your case and have conflated interpretation, transmission, and translation.

  12. falcon says:

    So where did our pal Joey get his “truth”. Well he said he had visitations by spirit beings, all sort of them, a virtual plethora of spirits revealed themselves to him. We know Joe the occultist was into second sight vision which basically means you see something in your imagination on the one hand or you use some sort of medium to attempt to peer into the spirit world. Joe used his magic rock to catch a glimpse of the unseen. He was real famous, during his treasure hunting days, for finding excuses for why the treasure couldn’t be found. Someone spoke out of turn or the circle was the wrong size. When he started his religious scam he could always blame others for not having enough faith.
    Joe’s influences were many, one being a guy name Swedenborg. Joe picked up the “truth” about the Celestial Kingdom from him. Check out a guy by the name of Jacob Cochran, a Joe contemporary who was into some interesting relationship ideas. Of course we know that Joe obtained much revealed “truth” from the Free Masons.
    So he mixed in a little Bible and a little revivalism with all of the other borrowed ideas and with a lot of moxie proclaimed a new religion. And as our Mormon friends know, you can’t seek to “understand” Joseph Smith, you have to “feel” Joseph Smith. A fine formula for determining the truth.

  13. subgenius says:

    your, no matter its eloquence, speaks to the point of this debate. It seems that you “translated” my post in the manner that most Ev do – to how it may suit you. You see I placed a call in Israel and it was answered in Bejiing. (you presume to “know” the Mormon view of “greater” in the verse but I find that irrelevant to the context this verse was being used. Then as we return to the argument of semantics I discover your reliance on the Greek, presumably from Alexander’s library?
    The point was how the Ev mistakenly views the Godhead.
    Again, here is a loss in translation and is may have only spanned one day let alone what happens over centuries. Look into Hebrew Hermeneutics so that things won’t always be “all greek to” you.

  14. LARRY CLARK says:

    Grindael, Falcon, Andy, Martin, liv4jc, setfree – I love you guys – you say the things I think all the time. I wonder when someone is going to answer Grindael’s question. God is a Spirit, oops need to change that, now he has a body as tangible as man, flesh and blood, then someone read the Bible I guess and now say he has a “glorified body.” You cannot change the nature of God.

    I asked Ralphie, two questions and he pulled the ole trump card on me, stating he had a witness of the Holy Ghost, that I believed the words of Satan. The 2 questions (1) Is Heavenly Father the God of this World? and (2) Why do you believe the words of Satan over the word of God Gen 3: 1-5? For the benefit of any Mormons who care to check, Jesus described Satan clearly, John 8: 44, “Ye are of your father the devil and lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” When Jesus was tempted by Satan, he did not debate Satan….He quoted the Word of God, saying “It is written three times.”

    But the LDS believe the “father of lies” and think is a good thing.

    I have my own trump cards to play from my membership in the Mormon Church. My sister named her first son, no kidding, Moroni. Top that one Ralphie or my friend Sub. Also I have a relative that obeyed the dictates of the Prophet – BY – himself. To steal a line from Al Gore: “An Inconvenient Truth about the Mormon Church is the Mountain Meadows Massacre. John Clark was a participant and he is a part of my family tree.

    Disgusting as it is, it’s a fact. I will admit the Prophet Joseph Smith did tell truth once. He said he was the Author and Proprietor of the original Book of Mormon.

    Grindael: I hope you are feeling better soon, Take care guys, Larry

  15. falcon says:

    To piggy-back a little on what Larry said, I’ve asked myself why Mormons defend the BoM with great vigor boardering on fanaticism and at the same time attack the Bible or are somewhat dismissive of it? Well what spiritual entity does that serve? It certainly doesn’t serve the God of the Bible. And isn’t it curious that the Bible has to be declared in error in order to make Mormonism work.
    In fact Joseph Smith invented his own god (after initially acknowledging God), his own scripture, his own jesus and spirit and finally his own plan of salvation. At the same time he treated himself to the sexual favors of married women and at least one adolescent girl and in the process invented his own “marriage”.
    This guy, Smith, gave himself over early in life to the occult and found no need for God after a time making himself a future god. I’ve always said that with an internet connection and fifteen minutes any rational person can debunk Mormonism. In fact just hearing the story and most folks will conclude that this is a delusion beyond ordinary reason.
    And what do Mormons cling to? They had a feeling and that means that god spoke to them as to the truth of the BoM…..which is kind of interesting since this tome contradicts current Mormon teaching on the nature of God and original Mormon doctrine.
    Is it really that difficult to figure this scam out?

  16. grindael says:

    falcon –
    Unfortunately like any other cult, those in power (especially those that have had power handed down through generations) have convinced themselves that they have the truth and fanatically believe the lies they have had handed down to them.

    The smithian church has now taken on a life of its own, and I truly believe that they are 100% convinced that it is the truth and that the ends justify the means and that they must perpetuate the cult by any means.

    On some level they think rationally, but the original smithians were brianwashed so long ago they are stuck in the same loop and won’t give it up. There is too much to lose now – all that tradition and history.

    But no matter how much good works they do in the world – it all boils down to smith. Was THIS man a prophet? It is the magik bullet theory times a million. What has hurt the smithians, and will continue to do so, it the outside knowledge of the church (how they hate Fawn Brodie & the Tanners!) & tried to shut them down.

    Your internet comment is key, because little by little more knowledge gets to a wider base, and as it does, the smithians get more and more desperate in their defense tactics. This will continue until all use the same tools as we do, and check into what the missionaries tell them at the time or soon after that initial visit.

    I will tell you with all confidence that the smithian church will fail, as more and more the members are enlightened to the true nature of what they worship & who gave them the parameters of it. You will see no grand world conversion, not on the scale of real christianity (2 billion and growing) and a decline of its base.

    Hopefully, the fanatics like those who post here will not take too many innocents down with them.

    Thanks to all for the uplifting comments, I am overcome by the goodness of God and what he has done for me in my life. I hope ALL come to know the REAL Jesus and what a blessing HE can be in YOUR life.

  17. setfree says:

    This has been stuck in my mind lately, so here it comes.

    There is a Mormon song by Janice Kapp Perry, I believe. It goes:

    “What do you think you’ve got, a heart of glass, that will shatter right in half any time a shadow of a doubt goes through your mind?

    You’ve got to know that some things are sure, and you can search for something more, but still you’ll find, nothing else will stand the test of time…

    ALL OF YOUR ANSWERS ARE WAITING WITHIN, if you think back a moment you’ll FEEL it again…

    Cast your mind back to the hour you first believed,
    you’ll find the witness that you need
    when a voice like the wind found your heart and entered in
    you FELT the love of God revealed

    Ok, I personally sang this song with a group a few times in church etc, and of course, we all thought it was terrific.

    But I think the wording says a lot don’t you?

    Mormons DO question, and they DO wonder, but they are absolutely taught to believe in that emotion they had that one time, and just look at that again, and TRUST THEMSELVES… the truth is INSIDE THEM

    So again, to even get a Mormon to think that the Bible might be true is to try to get one to question the validity of THEMSELVES

    It’s so dang sad, all of it.

    Guys, God has a truth, and if you are starting to doubt, you just have to start opening your eyes and looking again, cuz He has left ample proof laying around. You don’t have to look back to a feeling you have. When you really find God and His truth, it just keeps getting more and more certain, more and more evidence builds up and confirms it.

    Not less and less, so that you get to put yourself up as “being strong” or “faithful” by clinging to the threads of a belief that is going to the wayside

  18. subgenius says:

    ..”yet do it with gentleness and respect”

    i am so glad that Larry, grindael, liv4jc, and setfree are the bell-cows for 1 Peter 3:15.

    now content with just talking amongst themselves the Ev reveals their true natures and that notonly is there a prejudicial view of LDS but a rather superficial one, much like the depth of understanding of their own “translations”.

    On a side note, how many peole name their kid “Paul”? Is this supposed give “street cred” to Larry.
    So, if being an ex-mormon makes you an expert about the LDS church then myself being an ex-Ev must also know the “inconvenient truths” about the Ev.
    These Ev posts remind of those who can not see the forest for the trees. They are truly like those in Plato’s cave…sitting in the dark yelling at shadows on the wall, screaming and kicking at those of us who bring them into the light….but fear not, as you squint now, soon you will see.
    What the Ev does not realize is this notion of the Chimnese telephone is real. The cultural and political influences during the apostasy have “watered-down” what the Ev truly believes is a complete Gospel. When confronted with any conflict or contradiction the Ev turns to offense, changes the subject, or cries out “what it says is not what it means”.
    The Ev does have it right on one point…Our Heavenly Father does have a plan.

  19. grindael says:


    Your panic is showing. ( you had 4 or 5 mis-spellings on that last post) LOL

    Gentleness and respect are sure not your forte.

    Perhaps too much caffeine? Oh that’s right…

    lather, rinse, repeat.

  20. mobaby says:

    I would ask the Mormons who read this blog to seriously and prayerfully read through the Bible. Think about what you are reading and what the words mean in context – don’t try to see it through a lens or apply an outside template, but let the words speak their meaning to your heart. This is difficult as everyone brings their experiences and things they have been taught with them to the Bible when they read it, but I believe that it is possible. (This is the approach everyone should take when reading the Bible) Then look at Mormon teaching as sincerely ask, how does it line up? Does this fit with the Bible? What if Paul is correct in Romans 3:20 – 25, where does that leave Mormons? Read through the Bible without the lens of outside interpretation from LDS sources. I love the holy scriptures and think that when you read the Bible or hear it preached you can hear the very voice of Jesus speaking to you as God inspired the scriptures and has preserved them as a sufficient source of knowledge of who God is and how we should relate to Him. This blog post really piqued my interest because of how much I esteem God’s revelation in the Holy Bible and the freedom in Christ that it proclaims.

    Gundek and Andy Watson – thanks for so clearly and studiously presenting the scriptures – letting scripture interpret scripture. You both have a solid grasp on the Bible – definitely not your average evangelical, you have really studied scripture. Thank you for your contributions here.

  21. falcon says:

    We must travel in different circles. Most of the Evangelicals I know are very steadfast in their approach to Biblical interpretation. But then I suppose maybe I tend to gravitate to those who are into the Word. Now I must admit that many, most, a large bunch of mainstream denominational Christians don’t crack the Book open much less get into heavy duty study. But evangelicals by and large are into it.
    I had been raised Catholic and when I got good and saved I picked-up a copy of a living Bible paraphrase edition NT called “Reach Out”. It was very popular at the time. Well I started reading it and my first thought was, “Where did all of this good stuff come from?” Bible reading wasn’t really encouraged or emphasized at all when I was growing up. I soon graduated to a New American Standard version that I still use on a daily basis. I’ve had it for 37 years and have had to have it recovered.
    I have a Bible here that uses the inductive study approach popularized by Kay Arthur. I would recommend that approach to anyone who really wants to study and expose the Word of God.

  22. LARRY CLARK says:

    Sub/not so. Hey I’ve watched you fire back at everybody – sarcastically. I quote the Word of God every time I post. You take a lot of shots a Paul or the Pauline Christians. Why don’t you answer Grindael’s question? Why don’t you answer my question about taking Satan’s word over the word of God? Please read John 8: 44, or do you have an ax to grind with the Gospel of John? I was talking about laying down a trump card – IT WAS A JOKE,(although what I said was true).
    I still like you though – take care, Larry

  23. Mike R says:


    I am wondering what kind of constructive dialogue
    can we have with LDS,such as yourself, if you
    believe in theories or speculations that the
    Bible is’nt reliable enough to give enough truth
    about God and salvation so that man can be saved
    to eternal life with God? Allow me to show you
    how most LDS reason on this topic,yet I’ll do it
    in reverse i.e. with the Book of Mormon:

    The 116 pages that Martin Harris lost.Maybe they
    contained teachings that are contrary to what you
    believe today.How does that sound?

    What about lost teachings as recorded in Mosiah 1:8; Alma 9:34,13:31 or Helaman 5:13 ?
    Why were they left out of the Book of Mormon?
    Perhaps they contain teachings that differ from
    what you believe about the Book of Mormon today.
    How does that make you feel when I use that
    It does’nt make for a quality dialogue when this
    is done to the Bible when it’s coming from a
    church[LDS] that claims the name “Christian”.

    I don’t think the issue is the Bible’s trust-
    worthiness, rather, it is the interpretation
    of the Bible.You mentioned this very thing in
    your first post on this thread.You said that
    the Mormon Church has the true interpretation
    of the Bible.I listed a few examples of these
    “true interpretations”.Truth matters, since
    wrongly dividing(false interpretations) the
    Word brings God’s displeasure.[2Tim.2:15]

  24. subgenius says:

    sorry for the typos, i was on my mobile, hopefully the grammatical and/or spelling errors did not confuse any interpretations of my post.
    did not realize you had asked me any questions, so i re-read your post. Here are my answers
    1. yes
    2. no answer, because i dont

    if you check my posts you will see that i too reference the Word of God on my posts. I have also explained why i seldom, if ever, use the BoM when posting – mainly because it is “foolishness” to the Ev. 1 Cor 2:14

    Mormons are not “dismissive” of the Bible, just the diluted, fragmented, and sometimes delusional view that some Ev represent from it. Our Heavenly Father has not become (as is said) the “unmoved mover” as many Ev would believe.

    The Ev often remind of the joke that is told about the stranded man in rising flood waters who first refuses a car ride out, then refuses the boat ride, then refuses the helicopter ride out. All the while saying that God will deliver him….as his spirit comes before God he cries out “why did you not save me?” and God says back, “Hey, i sent a car, boat, and helicopter”

  25. mobaby says:


    I live in the South, where Satanists have Bibles on their desks and cite them as support for the evil they are doing! 😉 All joking aside, I go to a Church that really has a mixture of folks – the majority are solidly into God’s word, while some feel kinda okay/comfortable because it has a mainline denominational “Presbyterian” in the name. We are conservative Presbyterians (part of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church) and if anyone truly listens to the sermons, our pastor preaches repentance and the gospel of Christ crucified for our sins. However, I do know a lot of evangelicals who could not do the Biblical exegesis that I have seen done here on Mormon Coffee. Doesn’t mean they are not Christians, it’s just they have not studied the Bible to that depth. I realized some of this when I produced a video (my profession) for Church and interviewed some folks. They have solid faith, but some times not as much depth as you would think, but they do know the grace of God.

  26. grindael says:


    I have to chuckle at being called delusional by someone who believes that a man would get a commission by God to restore the christian church using a peep stone while looking into a hat.

    As to your analogy about the man on the roof, It’s an old joke often re-told. It is still a good joke, and it made me smile.

    I have to admire your dexterity on the cell tho. I have a laptop and a netbook and a phone that I only use for calls.

  27. Kevin says:

    “When confronted with any conflict or contradiction the Ev turns to offense, changes the subject, or cries out “what it says is not what it means””

    Actually, I would say the above quote is a good definition of a Mormon Apologist.

    (i.e.) Snows couplet

  28. Kevin says:

    “We know Joe the occultist was into second sight vision which basically means you see something in your imagination on the one hand or you use some sort of medium to attempt to peer into the spirit world”

    Joesph Smith, the Mushroom man, the Mushroom man
    Ooo Joesph Smith the Mushroom man.

    Sing along!

    Here is an interesting article I stumbled across a few weak’s ago.

    Might just answer your question Falcon.

  29. setfree wrote

    So again, to even get a Mormon to think that the Bible might be true is to try to get one to question the validity of THEMSELVES


    You’re definitely onto something here. I’ve never been a Mormon, but I couldn’t help notice that whenever I’d get into dialog with my Mormon colleagues, they’d take every “negative” suggestion about their religion, BoM, Joseph Smith etc etc as a personal insult.

    My boss took it so personally, he “invited me to look for work elsewhere” (which I did).

    I really wonder at this mentality. Especially when I contrast it with the Gospel of Christ. With the latter, the world can heap any accusation it likes at me, and I can respond by saying “its all true, mea culpa”. That’s because my faith is not in myself, it is in Christ, who saves me.

    The Mormon, as far as I can tell, has no alternative but to believe in himself. He has to believe that he has made the right decisions, joined the right church, subscribed to the right scriptures, enrolled on the right program, followed the right prophets (who had to be right); because if he hasn’t, there is no-one else he can call on.

    No wonder they get prickly when anyone dare suggests that their religion is not quite what it claims to be.

    The good news is that there is someone they can call on. His name is Jesus; He’s a real person, who lived in real human history, and His Name is above all other names (Phil 2:5-11), including the Mormon “church” and Joseph Smith. He has the authority and the power to undo the damage that these, er, “characters” have done to His Gospel, His Word and His Holy Name.

    Maybe I don’t need to tell you this, but I need to say it anyway.

  30. subgenius says:

    ‘peep’ stone into hat is too much for you, but a talking bush on fire is perfectly reasonable?
    yeah, the technology is amazing, can u imagine having this debate via handwritten letters?

    i was born and raised i the south as well, i have also seen many misguided Ev with a Bible at their side for thumpin’.
    I would be interested in your take on how you view your church’s take on Ephesians 5:8. I was once a presbyterian (reformed) and you gotta love a theology ‘reformed’ by the great attorney Calvin. I always had trouble reconciling the notion that though we would be ‘judged’ and our names could be written or erased from Book of Life, Calvin insisted on “predetermination”. Obviously, i believe God gave us the great gift of Free Agency on those matters. Why not also explain your church’s “doctrine of the elect”.

    the beauty of the internet, is that you can mostly “say” anything, it just does not make it true. the meaning of snow’s couplet has not been diminished. Any re-phrasing has been for “dimming” – It is as the example of Plato’s cave, it is a bright notion that makes many squint. you can’t wear your BluBlockers forever, kevin.
    Actually you should research the “probability” of anyone receiving “visions” during that time period in America (though the mushroom article was fascinating and somewhat nostalgic, anyone here been to Grateful Dead concert while in college?).

  31. falcon says:

    That was really a good article. It makes a whole lot of sense; I think the author is on to something here. This is especially so because of Smith’s foray into the occult and folk magic of his time.

    I’d like to hear more about your video production work. It’s for a very selfish reason. My daughter, who has completed one college degree, is pursuing a second in Digital Video and Media Production. I’d appreciate it if you’d get my e mail from the mods.

    As we have progressed through our discussion here, a couple of points keep resonating. One is, why do Mormons have to discount and impugn the Bible in order to legitimize Mormonism? The other points deal with the fact that Joseph Smith’s “restoration” produced a different god, a different scripture and a different plan of salvation. I repeat from an earlier post, “What spiritual entity is served by that?”
    Jesus said that He was the truth, the way and the life and that no body could get to the Father except through Him. The Mormons have flipped that and have included Joseph Smith as the one that must pronounce entrance into his Celestial Kingdom. Delusional as he was, Smith sought to make himself out to be a god. He snared others into his fantasy by telling them that they could becomes gods also. Has Satan ever told a bigger lie?
    There is one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one Church and finally One God. Joseph Smith rejected God and and His salvation for one that was more appealing to him. God has clearly revealed Himself in His Holy Word the Bible. Smith’s delusional antics have separated his followers from the Living God. Would that they would begin to see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears and be delivered into the Kingdom of the Living God.

  32. grindael says:

    sub –

    19.And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto WIZARDS THAT PEEP, AND THAT MUTTER: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

    20.To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

    21.And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward.

    22.And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness. (Isa. 8:19-22)

    There is NO comparison between Moses and smith. You are grasping at straws here. I’ll take the story of Moses any time over smiths peeping and looking for Capt. Kidd’s treasure.

    Is it that you were converted to smith’s church from Christianity that has you so hard-hearted? There is a great lesson about pharaoh in that story. Moses was never the ego-maniac that smith was. He was not out in the desert looking for buried treasure that he turned into a religion.

    Moses saw God. Joseph did not even know who God was. Father a Spirit, Son has flesh, HG mind of god in 1835 and then Father & Son are exalted men & HG a spirit person in 1843.

    You have to look at the WHOLE picture my friend. I Am that I AM vs. mormon jesus. There is no comparison.

  33. mobaby says:

    I find it curious that you question Calvin based on his profession. What again was the profession of Joseph Smith? Treasure hunter and gold digger? The gold plates of the Book of Mormon were just one of his gold digging exploits that failed to turn up any actual gold.
    God’s election is further evidence that the gospel is not about us, it is about Christ crucified for us. There is Scriptural support for God choosing His people, rather than man choosing God. The entire Bible beginning with Abraham tells the story of God’s chosen people. Jesus said “my sheep know my voice.” It is really comforting that God has done the work of salvation, and even grants us the faith to believe. It’s not about our striving, it’s God’s love and mercy which prevail. If you come from a Reformed background, you must be familiar with the Westminster Confession?
    The Scriptures I cite here are from the Confession (with Scriptural support) and reinforce that it is God who draws sinners to Himself and the Holy Spirit that convicts the heart of sin and creates faith in the crucified Lord Jesus Christ.

    Acts 13:48 …”and as many as were appointed unto eternal life believed”

    Romans 8:28 – 39 …”For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son”

    Romans 11:7 “What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened…”

    Ephesians 1:3 – 14 …”he chose us in him before the foundation of the world,… he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ”

    2 Timothy 1:9 – 10 …”not because of our work but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began…”
    There are more, but you get the idea. I know this can be controversial, but it shows what a great foundation believers have – God Himself has provided the way and He will complete it. Election is about God’s mercy and grace and our inability to save ourselves.

    Have to go – will write more..

  34. subgenius says:

    Moses did not see God, if anything Moses saw God’s hand, as He shileded Moses from seeing His face or Moses would have surely perished…right?
    interesting verses…especially since they promote the idea that one should hearken the “words” of a prophet instead of the “dead”.
    A bit out of context for this discussion, i mean this verse is alot more “idols” of the day, but it seems that 1 Samuel 28:5-9 is more palatable than Isaiah.
    Nevertheless, i agree, follow the “prophets”.

  35. grindael says:

    sub –

    glad you agree – follow the TRUE prophets.

    Samuel had the collateral to back up his claim.

  36. Kevin says:

    “anyone here been to Grateful Dead concert while in college?”

    Does the Grateful Dead claim to be the one true religion of God? There are some crazy cultish people following the Dead, but if you are comfortable associating Early Mormon’s with Deadheads, go for it.

    “Actually you should research the “probability” of anyone receiving “visions” during that time period in America ”

    What makes you think I have not? Because I didn’t come up with a conclusion that fits into the Mormon ideology of LDS (Or is it LSD) historical events?

    Sub, Who said anything about Snow’s couplet being diminished? You said, “When confronted with any conflict or contradiction the Ev turns to offense, changes the subject, or cries out “what it says is not what it means”

    I said, that is exactly what Mormon Apologist do as in the example of Snow. There are other examples, that I guess you will not admit too, Snow’s is the most fun to mention.

    “As Mormons are, I once was, As I am now, Mormons may become; Free”

  37. grindael says:

    The problem with smithism is that those that follow him do not look at the whole picture. Fortunately, there is enough evidence to show that smith was surely NOT a prophet. His changing views on god, his egotism, his foray into necromancy, failed bank schemes, lying, breaking his own commandments, changing revelations to suit his circumstances all show that HE was NOT what he claimed to be.

    What smithians love to do, is take episodes from the lives of TRUE and PROVEN prophets, and compare them to smith. There is no comparison. They will nitpick every word, every scripture to support the bogus claims that smith fed the world, or try to belittle you with events from the Bible that have nothing to do (today) with our comprehension of HIM. The New Testament covers this.

    The Old Testament led us to Christ. He is the center, not some prophet that jumps up and says I am the mouthpiece of god, I have the way, My teachings supersede all others. It has ended tragically every time.

    The other thing smithians try to do apply the same logic to the reformers, or those that pastor or lead churches today. They are unlike smith in one big way. They do not claim to speak AS GOD, as smith did.

    Those that came before us preserved the Word, used to lead us to Christ. In it, all things are covered, especially how to have a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP with Jesus, and instructions on how to live and have the Holy Spirit guide us today into all truth.

    Christ set up his kingdom, and what Satan tries to do to tear it down is to weave in man made doctrines to confuse and lead astray those who are weak, or try to overcome them with some kind of twisted logic that this is how God REALLY wants things to be.

    As Christians, we see the flaws of our leaders, and again, the smithians try to erroneously apply this to THEIR prophets, who have put upon themselves the burden of what they teach and practice. It is BECAUSE smith (& company) said they speak for GOD that they are scrutinized as they are

  38. grindael says:

    sub –
    I am thoroughly impressed with your knowledge of the scriptures. I studied the Bible & BOM at BYU in the early 80’s, but left off after thoroughly investigating smith’s claims and finding them bogus. I did not return to a serious study of the Bible until a few years ago, and I am no scholar.

    I find myself time and again marveling at how much you and the other mormon & christian posters know about the scriptures, though I do not agree with mormon interpretations any more.

    I still disagree about the Civil War, but so do a lot of others (that take your view). It is hard in these forums not to take things personally, and being new to this, I have had to pray and try to come to grips with how mormons react to the postings here. But that is what dialog is all about I guess.

    We are all human, set down this path and like you have said in previous posts, all have a story. i think with letters, people had more time to think out what they would say, instant messaging makes things more interesting for sure.

    Know this though. I DO look at all the scriptures posted, and try to follow the logic of interpretation as given by those who post. The discussions on Hebrew Words was fascinating. One thing we can agree on: we disagree. I am well aware of my own limitations.

    My favorite author is not PAUL though I admire him, I love John and his writings.

    “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 john 1:8-10)

  39. setfree says:

    The Bible is marvelous, and I would say inerrant in especially this way: God has shown us how terribly insufficient and depraved we really are, and even though He used us (humankind) to get His message to us, even though He brought it about through such an unholy and impure channel, and it took him many years and many people to get it done, HE DID DO IT!

    No matter what the people in the OT thought they were writing, their thoughts and their lives managed to convey the things we needed to know. We have an Almighty Creator who loves us more than we are capable of love, who has redeemed us by living amongst us and taking all our sin upon Him, and who wants us to enjoy Him and be in His presence.

    We keep hearing that people were sinful in the Bible. Well, duh! When have people ever been not sinful?

    Compare that to the three to four generations of people who didn’t sin in the BoM? A little less easy to believe. lol

  40. gundeck says:


    Thank you for your kind words, I have a particular interest in the doctrines of Scripture and revelation. I find that many of the people who are intent on denying the authority of Scripture understand that they must undermine the inspiration of the bible to accomplish this task. In order to do this they feel free to misrepresent both historical doctrines and the sciences of textual criticism, translation, and interpretation of the text.

  41. liv4jc says:

    Andy, I really enjoyed reading your post. I spoke with two Jehovah’s Witness ladies for about 2 hours this morning and made the same point to them about John 14:28. Either John is contradicting himself or we need to take John 14:28 in a different manner than “rank”. I think i remember that you witness to JW’s frequently. Have you read James White’s paper on the use of “ego eimi” in John’s gospel ?
    I think you will find it useful. Also James white does a great job of explaining the worship of the Lamb in Revelation which is great info for JW’s.

    Sub, your attitude toward the Bible, your misunderstanding of Christianity, and your total lack of clarity on reformed doctrine speaks volumes to your spiritual state as well as the atrocious teaching that went on at your former “reformed” church. There is no possible way that a truly reformed pastor would teach predestination and also teach that our names can be written and then erased in the Book of Life. This is Arminian teaching, not reformed doctrine. One of the tenants of the reformation is the perseverance of the saints.

    Ralph, can you please list all of the books spoken of in scripture that we do not possess? What makes you believe that anything contained in them would contradict what has already been canonized? Once again I ask: Is God divided?

    In Colossians 4:16 the letter to the Laodiceans is mentioned. Are you aware of the textual variant in Ephesians 1:1? In the earliest manuscripts there is a blank line where “en Epheso” is found in many later manuscripts. Marcion’s canon lists what we call Ephesians as the letter to the Laodiceans, although no manuscripts have been found with “Laodicea” written in the blank many believe that the missing letter to Laodicea is what we call Ephesians. This letter from Paul was meant to be circulated to the churches much like Revelation.

    You can read the text critical note at

  42. grindael says:

    liv4jc –

    James White’s paper was awesome. Thanks for the reference.


  43. setfree says:

    I caught Sub’s answer to Larry a while back, and thought it notable:

    “(1) Is Heavenly Father the God of this World? and
    (2) Why do you believe the words of Satan over the word of God Gen 3: 1-5?”

    Sub replied:
    “1. yes
    2. no answer, because i don’t”

    I’m sure, Larry, that you were going somewhere with this…

  44. Mike R says:


    Thanks for your take on Matt.7:13 and what you
    feel the “gate” and “path” mean.
    As I see it(from reading and conversations with
    LDS)rather, the locked door of the LDS Temple
    is the gate and that faith in Jesus’ sacrafice
    on the cross is just one step, among many,
    (temple recommend, etc) that is required to
    unlock the gate/door.
    The path then for LDS,(again from my perspective)
    this that of moral and dietary rules/laws
    compliance with must be varified by a selected
    man(a sinner) who then signs a permission slip
    giving you access to go thru the Temple gate/door.

    As a christian, I could not refer to any Temple
    or church as, “the gate of heaven” or similiar
    phrases. To me Jesus is the Door/Gate (Jn.10:9)
    and Jesus is the Path/Way (Jn.14:6).
    Anyone can simply walk off the street and enter
    the church where I fellowship, no permission slip
    needed, that’s important because we’re the same,
    you,me, everyone.Jn.3:16.

  45. Mike R says:

    Sub, I messed up. This reply was supposed to be
    under the “Buying Blessings” thread not here.

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