Mormons’ Divided Sense of Self

According to Boyd J. Peterson, author of Hugh Nibley: A Consecrated Life, many Mormons suffer from a divided sense of self. Mormon Times reported,

“…members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints live with contradictory public images.

“‘They are both revered and reviled, feared and revered,’ Petersen said. Outmigrants, those Mormons who have left Utah, ‘have this divided sense of ourselves.’

“Mormons have their own sense of themselves and their church. They also look closely at what others think about Mormons and Mormonism.

“This divided self, or ‘double consciousness,’ is common with minorities, Petersen said….

The Mormon Times article noted that one “coping mechanism” used by minorities, including Mormons, is “special coded language.”

“It allows them to speak to two different audiences at once. It is a form of doublespeak, and Mormons use it to both give information and to hide information, according to Petersen.”

This really rings true. There are many examples of this behavior in Mormonism that could be put forth; I’ll name a few.

Remember when, in late 2007, Mike Huckabee suggested that Mormonism teaches Jesus and the devil are brothers? The Associated Press reported,

“A spokeswoman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said Huckabee’s question is usually raised by those who wish to smear the Mormon faith rather than clarify doctrine.

“‘We believe, as other Christians believe and as Paul wrote, that God is the father of all,’ said the spokeswoman, Kim Farah. ‘That means that all beings were created by God and are his spirit children. Christ, on the other hand, was the only begotten in the flesh and we worship him as the son of God and the savior of mankind. Satan is the exact opposite of who Christ is and what he stands for.'”

Ms. Farah engaged in doublespeak. She did not clarify doctrine, but instead used coded language to appease two different audiences. She satisfied the non-Mormon audience with something that sounded orthodox, yet Mormons understood that she was only telling part of the truth (see The Relationship Between Jesus and Lucifer in a Mormon Context by Bill McKeever for more information on this example).

How about Gordon B. Hinckley’s response to a doctrinal question in 1997? Richard Ostling, writing for TIME Magazine, asked President Hinckley if the LDS Church held to the idea that God the Father was once a man. His reply:

“I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it … I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it” (“Mormons, Inc.,” TIME Magazine, August 4, 1997, page 56).

Mr. Hinckley artfully deflected the question. Non-Mormons hearing his answer were placated and believed Mr. Hinckley had just denied the heretical teaching that God was once a man, while Mormons understood that this core LDS doctrine, though a mystery on some levels, was nevertheless affirmed by their prophet.

FOX News asked the LDS Church 21 questions about Mormon beliefs. Among the many good examples of doublespeak evident in the Church’s answers we find this:

Q: Does the Mormon Church believe that God and Mary had physical sex to conceive Jesus?
A: The Church does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived but believes the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary.

In an older Mormon Coffee post, Aaron pointed out the way the Church used doublespeak to answer:

“Mormonism has a long-standing unrepudiated teaching on the literal nature of Christ’s conception which redefines the term ‘virgin’ to allow for having had sex with an immortal.

“By saying that the Church ‘does not claim to know how Jesus was conceived’ they gave an ‘out’ for all the Mormons who redefine ‘virgin’ as ‘not having had sex with a mortal man’, and by saying ‘the Bible and Book of Mormon references to Jesus being born of the Virgin Mary’ they gave the impression to the masses that they positively affirm the traditional notion of ‘virgin’.”

People who engage in faith conversations with Mormons encounter Mormonism’s coded language and doublespeak all the time. It really is used to “both give information and to hide information.” It’s an interesting (though frustrating) phenomenon. What has been your experience with Mormonism’s coded language?


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 Mormon Culture, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to Mormons’ Divided Sense of Self

  1. falcon says:

    I’m wondering how Mormons justify this type of double-speak. It’s really typical of groups that want to hide what they really believe. I think one of the rationalizations that Mormons use is that unenlightened folks really can’t understand these deep spiritual truths. In-other-words, you have to be totally indoctrinated into thinking Mormon before you can really understand.
    It’s harsh, but I call this double speak lying! Joseph Smith was great at it. He denied he was practicing plural wifery while at the same time doing it. Let’s face it, if Mormons were upfront about what they believe, they wouldn’t get a second meeting with a prospect.
    I’ve been constantly hit by Mormons here on MC saying that I was wrong about various aspects of their religion. Actually it’s a pretty typical charge leveled at all Christians here. The bottom line is that it isn’t that we’re wrong, but that we don’t spin it the way the Mormons do. Mormons want these various aberrant teachings and facts about their history to be whitewashed, sugar coated and made palatable.
    It’s funny though, the exMormons consistently say the same things that those of us who have never been in the Morg say. They are the real threat to the Mormon trait of obfuscation by double speak. Mormons have a reputation of being dishonest about their religion. Their double-speak has contributed to this well earned reputation.

  2. setfree says:

    True. This whole “faith promoting events” thing is another example. “We will promote faith in our religion amongst our members by hiding some things that really happened, because those things do not “promote faith” in the religion. Fancy way to say “let’s just lie about it”

  3. Olsen Jim says:

    Saying Jesus Christ and Satan are brothers is like saying a 10 Karat diamond is nothing but common carbon. It is overlooking the most obvious, important, and true essence of who He is and instead referring to a manipulation of trivia and claiming it is our doctrine. It is like claiming George W. Bush and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed stand for the same things because they both inhabited the same country (USA) at the same time in 2001. It is incredibly misleading.

    President Hinckley’s statement was spot on. We know extremely little about this concept. And it is rarely taught in our church, even when talking about the Godhead and the plan of Salvation. What he said is absolutely true.

    We claim that Christ was conceived in a natural manner to a virgin Mary. We do not need an “out” on this claim. This is where EV critics become ignorant of modern scientific achievements. Can you think of a way for a woman to become pregnant without having sex? Come on- think hard….. Wait a minute, there is a way. In fact, doctors do this all the time. It is called in vitro fertilization. But I am sure God could not come up with something that complicated and difficult.

    My favorite definition of wisdom is seeing the context of things. Evangelical critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have absolutely no wisdom regarding our doctrine or any inclination to see the context of things LDS. All things are absolutely black and white, and the most negative assumptions must be accepted without further thought.

    And this from folks who cannot provide a linear, rational answer for the simple question as to how they know the Bible is true.

  4. Mr. Hinckley artfully deflected the question. Non-Mormons hearing his answer were placated and believed Mr. Hinckley had just denied the heretical teaching that God was once a man, while Mormons understood that this core LDS doctrine, though a mystery on some levels, was nevertheless affirmed by their prophet.

    This was made even more clear at the next General Conference, where Hinckley essentially winked at his audience over the interviews. Even Mormons who argue that Lorenzo Snow couplet theology is expendable and even false should recognize that for many other Mormons Hinckley’s statement functioned the way Sharon described.

  5. A few weeks ago at Temple Square I was talking to a Mormon in the company of some non-Mormon tourists. Anxious to do damage control, he answered “no” when I asked whether he believed God was once perhaps a sinner. I sensed some ambivalence in his tone, but he was relentless with the answer. However, when the tourists left and it was just him and me, he added the explosively relevant nuance: He believed God never once sinned as God, but that before becoming God (as a mere man) he may very well have sinned. It was a wicked and demonic way of hiding information so as to avoid giving a clear answer to the spirit of question. All he would have had to say to the original question was, “before he became a God, yes perhaps, but after achieving godhood, no”. Five seconds of nuance can pre-emptively negate the need for ten minutes of probing and clarification, but I think some people actually prefer making others feel like they just don’t understand and need to be an insider to understand.

    It is that kind of pattern that makes me especially appreciative of meeting Mormons who are blunt about such issues. It is a breath of fresh air!

    As you can tell, I have become jaded over the years over this issue. It’s not an exclusively Mormon problem, but rather a universal human problem. But Mormonism seems to have fleshed it out in its own distinctive cultural way.

  6. Olsen, answering a question with truthful content in a such a way that dodges the spirit of the question is (if I’m getting his thesis right) what Princeton moral philosopher Henry G. Frankfurt calls “bullsh*t” (literally; please forgive his crude term). Sunstone did an entire presentaton on this, with the following description:

    SCOT DENHALTER, M.A., English literature; vice-president of NEAT, Inc.; Cybersaints editor, SUNSTONE; official contributor,
    RYAN WIMMER, B.A., art history; entering graduate program in history this fall; 2nd Lt., Utah National Guard
    This session features two reflections on the issue of Mormon truth-telling. Scot Denhalter’s presentation focuses on the musings of Princeton moral philosopher Henry G. Frankfurt about a quality of misrepresentation that falls on the continuum between telling the truth and lying (somewhere just short of a lie), which he names “bulls*it.” Denhalter asks if this type of discourse exists in Mormon culture and, if so, to what extent? Is there a different type of it in Mormonism than is found elsewhere? Does the Church employ social mechanisms that increase or decrease the incidence of “b.s.” in Mormon culture? Ryan Wimmer explores a religious principle, taqiyah, that Shi’a Muslims use as a means to protect their faith. Taqiyah means to “safeguard or defend” as well as “to fear” (as in the sense of being pious) and allows members of the faith to be untruthful when their life or religious faith is in danger. Wimmer argues that a similar principle exists in Mormonism—though it’s unnamed and has yet to achieve a recognized status as an aid to faith. He asks, “Should it?”

    In the presentation, which you can listen to for a few bucks, one of the main examples of this given is Hinckley’s dodging over the Lorenzno Snow couplet theology issue. This equally applies to the virgin birth issue. It is true that modern scientific advances give us things like human artificial insemination, but that dodges the issue of whether that is what was meant by Brigham Young, Orson Pratt, James Talmage, and especially Bruce McConkie. I personally know Mormon friends, and I have talked to many, many Mormon strangers, who have either affirmed the conception of Jesus was via sexual intercourse, or who incline toward it with the qualification that “we just don’t know whether or not it happened that way.” The cold hard truth is that the Mormon institution has not sufficiently reversed what was historically fostered. Appealing to alternative possible methods of impregnation doesn’t itself preclude God the Father having had sexual intercourse with his spirit-daughter. See more on this at The Mormon theological context does nothing to mitigate this issue, but only to exasperate it, since Mormonism affirms a kind of naturalistic materalism as well as the necessarily embodied nature of the potentially billions of exalted gods, including our particular Heavenly Father.

    Take care,


  7. mobaby says:

    I started to post something on the Virgin birth and our Heavenly Father, but the entire subject reeks of such blasphemy, that I relented. I find the spirit brother subject to be intolerable as well, it reduces Jesus to the level of a created being – not the great I AM come in the flesh. I have experienced this kind of obfuscation first hand when Mormon missionaries told me they too “believed in the trinity.” Only after pressing, defining terms, exasperation, did the missionaries relent and say they believe in three separate gods. Do I think the Mormon missionaries knew that their beliefs were different from mine? Absolutely. Do these kinds of slight of hand deceptions matter? When you are trying to define and understand the ultimate truth about the nature of God and man and how we are to relate to Him, I think they do matter. If you’re talking about plot lines in a science fiction novel or film, slight deceptions through omission and misdirections are essential to keep the story going. I think Mormons are also just trying to keep the story going and not lose their audience who would turn away if they knew the truth.

  8. Olsen Jim says:

    I am sure Aaron did nothing to lead the Mormon interviewee in his exchange. I can just imagine. After 5-10 minutes….. The bias is so obvious. Aaron assumes the guy was “anxious to do damage control….” He of course can see into the guys heart and knows his intention.

    EV LDS critics are like the proverbial child in the back seat of the car- are we there yet, are we there yet, are we there yet…..

    They have to have absolutely everything laid out in front of them 2 inches from their noses. If we don’t know the answer, they will make whatever assumptions they feel necessary to come to the most negative conclusions possible. It is so very predictable.

    I have at times been tempted to plant made-up information against the BOM, etc. just to see how quickly these folks will jump on board.

    We maintain that Jesus was literally the physical offspring of God the Father- this is absolutely scritpural. We do not know anything more than that Christ was the Only Son of God according to the flesh. Insisting on knowing the details of how this happened is silly and childish. Even from our limited perspective, we can see there is a very legitimate way for that to happen without sexual intercourse.

    The EV explanation provides no more insight than that Mary conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost. What does that mean? Please provide a perfectly clear, complete explanation that is consistent with the physical processes we know as mortals. If you cannot provide this, I will provide your answer for you.

    Aaron says he is “appreciative of meeting Mormons who are blunt about such issues. It is a breath of fresh air!” So if somebody disagrees with you, they are not being honest? That is so convenient.

    And- “Hinckley essentiallly winked to members?” You will see what you want to see. Reluctance to go up against journalists known for doing hack jobs is quite understandable to most people.

  9. We do not know anything more than that Christ was the Only Son of God according to the flesh. Insisting on knowing the details of how this happened is silly and childish. Even from our limited perspective, we can see there is a very legitimate way for that to happen without sexual intercourse.

    What you say here doesn’t preclude the possibility that it happened via sexual intercourse, nor does it address whether Young/Pratt/Talmage/McConkie had something like human artificial insemination in mind or whether we should take their statements at more face-value.

  10. Olsen Jim says:


    I do not believe it is consistent with the nature of God for Him to have had physical, sexual intercourse with Mary. (I feel so irreverent even typing those words). I do not believe He did so. But that is my belief based on scripture, ancient and modern.

    I cannot say what Young/Pratt/Talmage/McConkie had in mind, and I will never know in this life what they had in mind. Maybe they had no clue about the details (like me) but they did know that Christ was literally the Son of God in the flesh, and God accomplished such a thing through a natural, physical way according to the laws of the Universe without breaking moral law.

    Why can you not understand this or leave it at that? Is your explanation any better? Any more clear? I don’t have all the answers to this, and you don’t either. So what?

    Just because a person has the right to say whatever they want doesn’t make saying some things right. You massacre my religion every chance you get through manipulation of information and innuendo. It really gets old Aaron.

  11. setfree says:

    If I can be so blunt, it gets really old that you and others will defend your church and what you hope is true about it (i.e. priesthood power) at ALL COSTS… meaning it doesn’t matter what your prophets do, that they don’t agree with each other or with your scriptures, that they lie to the LDS population and the world at large about what they believe, etc etc. You seem not to care about any of this, because you are stuck on this particular salesman, and you don’t want to let it go. You’ve been sold a lie. We (including Aaron) are here to make you think about it. But you disregard or come up with flimsy answers for the hard stuff, because you want to keep what you have already bought.
    Tell me I’m wrong…

  12. falcon says:

    It’s a psychological trap called “rescuing your equity” and that’s why Mormons will do whatever is necessary to protect the fable and the man with the magic rock.

    I don’t see why the Mormon church didn’t issue a statement in regards to Huckabee’s statement that went like this:
    “As Mormons we believe there is a mother god and a father god and that they procreate spirit beings. Satan is one of the spirit beings they procreated and is, therefore, everyone’s brother; especially Joseph Smith’s.”
    Now what’s so hard about that? It’s an accurate reflection of what Mormons believe. I’m just glad I’m not a Mormon because I wouldn’t want to claim Satan as my brother. Mormons don’t seem to mind though! How would you like to introduce Satan to someone at a family reunion? Forever families get stuck with some strange members.

  13. setfree says:

    Same as saying (and teaching) that temple stuff is “sacred” as opposed to “secret”. I, for one, was astounded to find out. It was so OPPOSITE to what I had been taught all my life. I truly believe if Mormons knew what was going on in there, they’d up and quit the program before they went through with it. But, now, that’s why it’s a secret, isn’t it? So that they go through their first covenant with Lucifer before they find out…

  14. The problem, Olsen, is that your own personal non-authoritative individual opinion (that God did not have sex with Mary) is not clearly the official position of the church, and leaders like Young/Pratt/Talmage/McConkie made it clear that the conception was done in a natural, non-figurative way the same as other children are begotten on earth. And that line of thinking by Young/Pratt/Talmage/McConkie, along with a few other factors, has fostered a strain of belief within Mormonism where it is perfectly acceptable to believe God did or perhaps did have sexual relations with his spirit-daughter.

    If your Church leaders taught and your larger Church fostered and acqueisced to a belief that Jesus was a flying spaghetti monster, yet backed off so far as to say there was no official position on whether Jesus was a flying spaghetti monster, but that no one really knows, it wouldn’t completely solve the problem. And for a random member to say, “well, *I* don’t believe he is a flying spaghetti monster” wouldn’t erase history or have some magical reversing effect on the rest of the religious people affected.

    Integrity demands a few things: 1) that the institution and its members admit that it was indeed taught 2) that the institution and its members admit that it was wrong for the church to have acqueisced to the belief among its members 3) that the institution officially repudiate the belief as wrong with clear and explicit language so as to not let it perpetuate among members used to a cryptic two-audience language.

    This was precisely the problem with Adam-God in late 1800’s and early 1900’s that stirred up the Presbyterians to whistleblowing. It took a long while, but the Church finally did #3 yet without #1 and #2, denying that Young ever taught it.

    If you think that was inconsequential, think about all the Mormon fundamentalist splinter groups that have made Adam-God such an important issue. Those are real people, Olsen, with names and families and emotions and minds and lives and stories.

    The cowardice of Mormon leaders to be up front about its own historical teachings, let alone institutionally apologize for anything, affects people I love and cry over and pray for and talk to a lot. I take this real personally. It’s easy for internet-defenders of Mormonism hear to give a sleight of hand when they’re sitting behind a keyboard with a TV-dinner, oblivious to the fact that hundreds of thousands of people outside of their own bubble remain to this day affected by the words spoken by Mormon leaders.

    Embarrassing Mormon teaching often dies slowly so that the Church saves face. But the transition time required for its death coldly and wickedly waves a flippant hand of indifference to the fact that millions of people have been affected and would be edified by public institutional repentance.

    Take care,


  15. Ambiguous and misleading language is a lesser evil in light of the fact that Mormon leadership, in times past, has lied outright about polygamy. Mormons were accused of polygamy by non-Mormons in the early days of the church. Individual members denied its existence (some probably out of ignorance). There were non-Mormons who saw with their own eyes that some Mormons were practicing polygamy prior to 1835. The LDS church issued a statement in 1835, condemning polygamy, affirming monogamy, and denying the existence of polygamy in its ranks and accused their accusers of defamation and lying.

    Also, the D&C for a long time after 1835 condemned polygamy even though polygamy was practiced by some Mormons (including Joseph Smith) before and after 1835. When the LDS church finally came out and openly affirmed polygamy, many Mormons (especially the European ones) left the church. They were lied to as well.

    LDS leadership lied again about polygamy during the Read Smoot hearings. So for me, I view double speak and coded language as the norm when dealing with Mormons. In light of the outright lies about polygamy, assuming that Mormons use coded language to deceive is not a stretch.


    “I have at times been tempted to plant made-up information against the BOM, etc. just to see how quickly these folks will jump on board.”

    Mark Hoffman did that very thing although not with the BoM. He deceived the highest levels of LDS leadership (Seers and sages who allegedly have the Holy Ghost and should know better) in order to get them to pay big money for his forgeries. At one point he approached the Tanners, thinking that they would certainly jump at the chance to obtain something that would damage your church’s image. They did not bite. There is enough legit information out there about your church that one does not have to make stuff up to demonstrate that it is false.

  16. grindael says:

    If I were to cut and paste the quotes from the mormon posters after the words EV, I think the reverse is true about who is massacring who’s religion. The concept of mormon double-speak goes back to smith (always to smith) who lead the way and taught expertly how to lie and deceive people about what he was truly up to and believed. On the one hand, mormons will take the Book of Mormon as scripture because it was penned by smith, but then pick and choose his other statements that they do not wish to or cannot defend. What this all boils down to is this: Should statements made by Young, Pratt, Cowdery, Talmage, smith, and a host of other APOSTLES & PROPHETS, be taken at face value that they know what they are talking about? This is the essence of mormon double-speak. One the one hand, we have smith saying in his prophecy on the return of the ten tribes, that “I am accountable for EVERY word I say” (emphasis mine). But on the other hand he says: “A prophet is only a prophet when he is acting as such.” What is to be believed here? There are numerous accounts of smith getting his dander up at being questioned about doctrinal issues, or his qualifications as a prophet, and on more than one occasion, he physically assaulted those that questioned him. Young claimed that any sermon he gave over the pulpit was just as good as any revelation in the standard works. Later ‘prophets’ back-pedaled on this, because they cannot reconcile former outrageous teachings.

  17. grindael says:

    Maybe the question here is this: Just what is a mormon apostle or prophet? Who are they, and what authority do they have? We have this statement by Cowdery made in 1831, as quoted by McConkie in ‘The Promised Messiah’: “In the general charge to all of the Twelve, Elder Cowdery said: “It is necessary that you receive a testimony from heaven to yourselves; so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God. That is more than the testimony of an angel. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony of God will NEVER SUFFER YOU TO FALL, but will bear you out; although many will not give heed, yet others will. You will therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from heaven. “Never cease striving until you have seen God face to face. Strengthen your faith; cast off your doubts, your sins, and all your unbelief: and nothing can prevent you from coming to God. Your ordination IS NOT FULL AND COMPLETE till God has laid his hand upon you. WE REQUIRE AS MUCH TO QUALIFY US as did those who have gone before us; God is the same. If the Savior in former days laid his hands upon his disciples, why not in latter days?” Has this changed in the mormon church? If the 15 ‘prophets’ are special witnesses to Jesus (having SEEN him) should not all mormons believe them when they preach over the pulpit? Mormons accept the letters of the apostles (in Jesus time) as scripture, and it that applies then, why should it not apply now?

  18. grindael says:

    This all ties in with the doctrine of having your calling and election made sure, which smith states is this: “After a man so devotes himself to righteousness that his calling and election is made sure, “then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter,” the Prophet says. “Now what is this other Comforter? It is no more nor less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself; and this is the sum and substance of the whole matter; that when any man obtains this last Comforter, he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him, or appear unto him from time to time, and even he will manifest the Father unto him, and they will take up their abode with him, and the visions of the heavens will be opened unto him, and the Lord will teach him face to face, and HE MAY HAVE A PERFECT KNOWLEDGE of the mysteries of the kingdom of God; and this is the state and place the ancient saints arrived at when they had such glorious visions — Isaiah, Ezekiel, John upon the Isle of Patmos, St. Paul in the three heavens, and all the saints who held communion with the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn.” It is an unspoken belief in the mormon church that these men have had this experience as part of the qualification of their calling to an apostle. If they have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God, then why would they teach doctrines that were not in harmony with what God revealed to them? Why the need to disavow Adam-God, men living on the moon, and Young’s statement that Jesus was conceived by a process ‘just like any other man.’? Why the double-speak?

  19. grindael says:

    This is what I was taught as a mormon, and why I am no longer a member of that cult. When one prophet flat out contradicts another, there is no harmony, and the whole house of cards falls down. McConkie goes on to say:
    “Few faithful people will stumble or feel disbelief at the doctrine here presented that the Lord’s apostolic witnesses are entitled and expected to see his face, and that each one individually is obligated to “call upon him in faith in mighty prayer until he prevails.” And then, he concludes with this: “All of the elders in the kingdom are expected to live the law as strictly as do the members of the Council of the Twelve, and if they do so live, the same blessings will come to them that flow to apostles and prophets.” If this is the case, we should have thousands of mormons who have seen Jesus proclaiming it from the rooftops. They should be able to answer any question of the kingdom with perfect knowledge and clarity. The burning in the bosom would not be necessary to sustain you for your whole life, why you have the obligation and the means to see Jesus face to face, just like all the apostles do. Why is it not one mormon testifies to this? When I left the church, I was not told by anyone, but hey you can’t leave, I’ve SEEN Jesus, and you can too! MANY of the earlier saints professed this, but the modern mormon church is strangely silent as they backpedal and backpedal.

  20. grindael says:

    Here is McConkie again: “I repeat: apostles and prophets simply serve as patterns and examples to show all men what they may receive if they are true and faithful. There is nothing an apostle can receive that is not available to every elder in the kingdom. As we have heretofore quoted, from the Prophet’s sermon on the Second Comforter: “God hath not revealed anything to Joseph, but what he will make known unto the Twelve, and even the least saint may know all things as fast as he is able to bear them.” (Teachings, p. 149.) It follows that everything stated by Elder Oliver Cowdery in his charge to the apostles could also be given as a charge to all elders. Every elder is entitled and expected to seek and obtain all the spiritual blessings of the gospel, including the crowning blessing of seeing the Lord face to face.”
    What he is saying here is there is no need in the mormon church for speculation. ALL the apostles and prophets have had this second comforter as part of their calling and having had it have a perfect knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. So Hinkley saying, I don’t know about that, or dodging the question is totally at odds with what is taught by smith as to what he should be doing: revealing that he KNOWS what the answer is because he has SEEN JESUS and knows the mysteries of the kingdom. But alas, these prophets are only cult leaders, and double speak is all they have.

  21. falcon says:

    There’s been a recent revelatory change in Mormonism. The 15 big wigs are no longer claimed to have seen Jesus. Actually the way the cult operates it’s not all that tough to “see” Jesus. You can do it right now. Imagine what Jesus looks like. There you go. You’ve “seen” Jesus. It’s the same method Joe’s plate witnesses used to “see” those golden tablets.
    In the old days Willford Woodruff even had the original signers of the Declaration of Independence show-up and demand temple work be done for them. He was either into second sight vision or he was conjuring spirits. None-the-less I’m sure the Mormon church would have a great double-speak on this also. I’ll see if I can create one because I’ve learned to speak Mormon in the last two years.

  22. grindael says:

    This’ll be my last post for the day, since we only get 6, and I wanted to make a point with the last 5. I’m one of those people who take things at face value, applying common sense to everything I do. I made the mistake of taking smith & Co at face value, and unlike other mormons, could not reconcile the fact of dealing with lying prophets. It makes no sense. You either are or are not a prophet. Is God only God when he is acting as such? This would disavow and make void the whole sacrifice of Jesus and his promise that we are saved by His Grace and His Grace alone.

    Carefully read, the life of smith plays out like the jumbled mass of confusion it was. He was influenced by everyone. He got the united order and the priesthood doctrines from rigdon, polygamy from converts of jacob cochran, masonic rituals from his exposure to masonry. He tried to incorporate everything he read or had experience with into mormonism, twisting it to fit his interpretation of it. Only he could translate egyptian (BOA), kinderhook plates and a host of other documents (he even re-did the Bible cause that was not good enough for him) He was the ultimate authority on everything, he was a better lawyer than anyone, better wrestler, better at languages, etc. It was all about smith, smith, smith.

    When his life is measured in the crucible of truth, it comes up far short of what he is proclaimed to be. I’ve said this before and will say it again, a well rounded study of his life will give an open minded person only one conclusion, that smith was a liar and a fraud, and the only course of action is to reject him, and his doctrines with contempt.

    That many mormons still believe in him, I am sorry for, but does that change the FACTS? NO.

    Aaron is totally correct about mormon deception, it is taught to all missionaries, and the only way to get a straight answer is to pin them down. That it is an ongoing practice is born out right here on this blog.

  23. Olsen Jim says:

    Why is it that every thread goes down the same path. Answers to the main claim against mormonism in each thread results in a slew of rediculous comments about every possible controversy about Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, Brigham Young, etc. etc. Then LDS posters are accused of avoiding questions and burying their heads in the sand if they don’t answer every question over and over and over from all the brilliant, well-informed critics.

    Don’t you people get tired of saying the same things in response to every issue? Is there no discipline to stay on topic in any thread? It feels like the movie Ground Hogs Day!!! If your arguments are so water-tight, why don’t you stay on topic?

    Aaron- so Thomas Monson, Boyd Packer, Gordon Hinckley are cowards and liars?

    It is amazing to me that you guys can look at the lives of these men and see such sinister people, yet you see no evidence of an apostasy over the last 2000 years. Talk about irrational.

  24. Yeah, the great “apostasy” so on topic. How about that Mormons use guarded language around non-Mormons because their beliefs are kooky and on their face are outside the pale of Christianity? How is that for “on topic”.

    Irrational that we do not accept that a total apostasy took place and that this for you is a foundational belief? There is so much evidence for this apostasy that Mormons can not tell us who started the apostasy, when, where, and what texts point to it happening. Yet we have an 1835 statement of the church denouncing polygamy all the while church leaders practicing it. D&C 101:4 affirmed monogamy and denounced polygamy but the highest leaders were practicing plural marriage. And we are supposed to trust that Mormon leaders are not being deceptive? If high ranking Mormons can lie to the U.S. Senate what is stop Peter priesthood from lying to us non-Mormons, or at least using coded language?

  25. falcon says:

    “ridiculous comments”?

    List some and we will be more then happy to document the accuracy of the comments. I can always tell when the Mormons have their backs up against the wall. We have a bunch of exMormons commenting here with very factual information. They’ve lived the life and turned over every magic rock they could find in getting the truth about Mormonism. The problem is our Mormons posters are held accountable to folks who have the goods on Mormonism. It’s not like Mormons entertaining each other with tales of Zelph down at the wards!

  26. setfree says:

    On topic for Olsen

    Olsen, your “prophet”, the LDS man standing closer to the LDS god than anyone else on earth, when asked if the LDS Church held to the idea that God the Father was once a man, said:

    “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it”

    Do you think he was telling the truth?

    why or why not?

  27. Mike R says:

    Olsen Jim,

    You said, “It’s amazing that you guys can look
    at the lives of these men and see such sinister

    Perhaps you could remind me where I referred to
    your leaders as “sinister”? I don’t think you
    understand the issue here.It’s not the lives
    of these men, its their teachings.Can you
    remember that? Are all false prophets/teachers
    immoral? Can a man be in serious doctrinal error
    and still be a very good person? Teachings that
    deceive, deceive good people.
    Since you seem reluctant to believe the words of
    Biblical Apostles, perhaps you should heed the
    words of your own apostles:

    ” True and saving worship is found only among
    those who know the truth about God and the

    Jim, the stakes could’nt be higher.

    It’s interesting to note that your first comment
    on this thread actually proves the point this
    thread is saying–denial, and “double speak”.

  28. liv4jc says:

    Which LDS poster is it that always claims, “You have no proof that JS had sexual relations with the women he had plural marriage with”? This is typical of smithian double-speak. Men don’t destroy printing presses if what they are doing is commanded by God. The plural wives of BY and the rest of the prophets and members had children by these men. They learned this practice from the “prophet”. Were these births then the same as Jesus’ birth, manifested by some unknown type of intercourse that left the woman a perpetual virgin?
    If your teachings are so true, then why not lay them on the line. I had two missionaries visit my house two Sunday’s ago (first time in 13 years). I asked them, “All right guys, lay it on me. What’s the good news?” The answer? “We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that by believing in Him you will be saved.”
    My response? “That’s it. That’s all I gotta do is believe in Jesus Christ?”
    “Well, you have to be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
    “That’s all? Then why do I need to read the BoM?”
    “We believe that if you read the BoM and pray about it you will get a testimony from the HS that it is true?”

    You see, the web of lies just gets bigger and bigger. There is no talk of endowments, tithing, eternal marriage, temple ordinances, magic undies, none of that stuff. When questioned about this stuff smithians won’t just lay it on the line, defend their “restored” beliefs,be honest, and say, “This is what we believe and it’s true.”

    As a Christian I am free to say, “There is a God. You and I have broken His laws. You are a blasphemer, a liar, thief, adulterer, etc. And so am I. If God gave us what we deserve we would spend eternity in Hell. We cannot pay the penalty for the violation of God’s law. Jesus Christ paid that penalty for you in His blood. Confess your sinfulness before God, turn from your sinful life, believe Christ paid for your sins, and you will be saved.”

    “What else?”

  29. setfree says:

    How about this divided sense of self?

    Suppose the prophet were to announce today that polygamy would be reinstated?

    Would all the Mormon men rush to get more wives?

    How would the Mormon women feel about it. For that matter, how DO the Mormon women feel about it coming in the future?

    I think part of the Mormon double identity comes from this “well, this is now, but that is then” mentality.

    “That was then”, when Joe Smith sneaked around and got other people’s wives. “That was then” that he didn’t have to obey the word of wisdom. “This is now”, so it’s different now.

    “This is now” when it sets our teeth on edge to imagine having several wives. “This is now” that we are not perfect. But “that is then” when mysteriously we WILL be perfect, and we will be okay with polygamy.


  30. grindael says:

    Let’s stay on topic, shall we? Doublespeak (sometimes called doubletalk) is language constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning, often resulting in a communication bypass. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., “downsizing” for layoffs) or deliberate ambiguity.
    Are many religions guilty of this to some degree? I would answer in the affirmative. True Christianity in it’s pure form, (as defined by Jesus and HIS Apostles) is simple. The Pharisees and Sadducees were classic examples of propagating deception, having based their whole lives on works and the letter of the law.
    Jesus taught us to love one another, and to call on His name and we would be saved. His anger at the ruling class of his time shows how much He detested any religion based on works, and especially the twisting of the commandments of God for self aggrandizement.
    Petty rules and regulations, used by many cults to strike fear into the hearts of their members, have no place in the true and simple teachings espoused by Jesus. His gospel is not one of coercion, but of grace out of which flows desire to help others.
    Jesus told us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against his church, and they have not. Though men come and go, (as do their deceptive practices), the words of Jesus (found in the Bible) stand, and where two or three are gathered in his name, there he will be. That has never changed, and never will.

  31. falcon says:

    Why does someone or an organization have to practice “double speak”. There are a couple of reasons. One would be to develop “in group” communication; the language and vocabulary that makes a group feel special. The other reason is to hide the group’s beliefs and intentions. Mormonism and Mormons are expert at this. They can’t afford, at least from a PR stand point, for the practices of the religion, the history and beliefs to become common knowledge. If this were to happen Mormons would fail in their attempts to appear as a mainstream evangelical religion. At-the-same-time, recruitment would suffer greatly.
    So Mormons learn to avoid, obfuscate, and lie to cover-up what the religion is all about. Why are Mormons so ashamed of their religion’s beliefs, practices and history? The old timers weren’t. But I think that since societal pressure has been put on them to change things like polygamy, discrimination against blacks, and temple rituals, they have moved away from their concept of divine revelation to a desire to be accepted.

  32. grindael says:

    It is always difficult for men when they make statements of a sweeping nature to defend them if the statements are not backed up by the truth. When one says, God TOLD me this, and it will come to pass, there is a burden upon that man for the statement to bear fruit. In smith’s time, the mormons made a lot of sweeping statements as they were caught up in the moment of the times, and now, down the line it has become evident that history has not bourne them out. There are two ways to approach this, one is to admit, like many religions have that the one who made the statements was incorrect, or to try to explain the statement away as not what they really said, disavow them and move on.

    In the case of the mormons, they have put smith and the early leaders on such a pedestal that now they are cornered into defending statements that have not bourne fruit. A lot of people now have to live with a system based on teachings that were false, and generated by men that were no different than many others that history has produced.

    The problem the mormons face today is that many of the members sincerely believe in smith and the early leaders, and have convinced themselves that these teachings “fit in” somehow and that though there is no rational explanation for them, they can invent one, and the rest of the world will go along with the irrational conclusions they draw to try and prove them correct.

    It is now a system of double standards, denial and outright lies. Many scholars in the mormon church have been intimidated by the hierarchy because they have dared to take smith and the early leaders down from those pedestals and admit that there were some serious problems with early teachings and lifestyles. They have let the cat out of the bag, so to speak, and with the advent of the internet the information is now widely available, much to the dismay of the leadership today….

  33. grindael says:

    Mike R made a comment on another thread (Prophet Preferred} quoting Gordon B. Hinckley when he did a Time interview back in 1997, as Aaron did above. I find Hinkley’s response remarkable as did many others. It generated so much surprise (at the time) that letters were written to the First Presidency of the Church to ask if this was actually Mr. Hinckleys belief. They were answered back that Mr. Hinckley was misquoted in Time! This is believed by mormons today, (see Olsen’s quote above about journalistic hack jobs). Come on, Time Magazine?

    Here is the full transcript of that question, as given by Time Magazine:

    “Q. Just another related question that comes up in the statements in the King Follet discourse by the Prophet…
    A. Yeah?
    Q. …about that, God the Father was once a man as we were. This is something that Christian writers are always addressing. Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?
    A. I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.”

    Does this sound like a hack job? Why would Hinckley make these statements? All mormons need to ask themselves this question. This is not only remarkable, it comes as close as you can get to an outright lie! What is the motive behind this evasion? We all know the answer, but some are too blind to see the forest for the trees…

  34. grindael says:

    In 2008 Hinckley did an interview with Chris Wallace from 60 minutes. His answers to these questions are revealing and this gets to the heart
    of exactly what Hinckley was trying to do:

    “From 1830 to 1978… blacks could not become priests in the Mormon Church, right?” Wallace asked.
    “That’s correct,” Hinckley acknowledged.
    “Church policy had it that blacks had the mark of Cain. Brigham Young said, ‘Cain slew his brother and the Lord put a mark upon him, which is the flat nose and black skin,'” Wallace remarked.
    “It’s behind us. Look, that’s behind us. Don’t worry about those little flicks of history,” Hinckley said.
    “Skeptics will suggest, ‘Well, look, if we’re going to expand, we can’t keep the blacks out,'” Wallace said.
    But Hinckley called that “pure speculation.”

    Another curiosity: the church owns more than 3,000 acres in northwest Missouri, where Mormons believe that Jesus will return for his Second Coming. Hinckley preferred not to talk about Jesus returning to Missouri or about sacred undergarments. He said that those points miss the point. HE WANTED TO PORTRAY MORMONS AS MAINSTREAM, not extreme, and for that Hinckley had hired a Jewish-owned PUBLIC RELATIONS FIRM. Mormons hiring Jews to help spread the Word?”

    What it comes down to is the supposed “true church of God” has to hire a PR firm to bolster it’s image. Do the prophets now take advice from PR firms? Are the former prophets now relegated to just men who “interpreted doctrine” and not given commandments directly from GOD? This gets stranger and stranger… This is the kind of thing that a cult would do….not the true church of Jesus Christ! Too bad Koresh and Jones did not have the money that Hinckley had access to and had the foresight to hire a PR firm and maybe they too would have survived…

  35. grindael says:

    The above interview was re-aired on 60 minutes in 2008…

  36. falcon says:

    When I had to discipline kids in school, I use to ask myself, “Is this behavioral incident an ‘event’ or a ‘pattern’?” Now it’s fairly obvious why I’d ask that question. If it was an “event” the consequences for the student would be different than if a “pattern” of unacceptable behavior was emerging.
    In Mormonism, we are dealing with a pattern of lying. We can’t sugar coat it. It’s all about Mormonism’s attempt to hide information regarding its history, beliefs and practices. We see here on this thread the degree to which the Mormon posters will go to provide themselves with explanations that will placate their fears and suspicions that the Mormon church is not as advertised. I can’t imagine wanting to believe something so bad that I would sacrifice my judgment and integrity in an attempt to maintain my belief in a fraudulent system.
    It’s an emotional hook. That’s why exMormons talk about the cognitive dissonance they experienced in Mormonism. Mormons who question are fed mottos and slogans to deal with the uncomfortable feeling that something just isn’t quite right in Mormondom. For some these pithy little sayings can sustain them for a time. But at a certain point the questions become too great to be sustained by surface level explanations and insider double-speak.

  37. falcon says:

    So the question remains, why do Mormons practice double-speak? What we hear from Mormons about this is that they don’t do double speak. In-other-words they issue a denial. The denial itself is a form of double speak. Another technique of course is the “you just don’t understand” approach. This communicates that it’s the fault of the hearer not the speaker of the double speak. And when all else fails, our Mormon friends pull-out the “misquoted” technique.
    But I keep coming back to the obvious, why do Mormons have to practice this evasive form of communication? Bluntly, they have a bad product with a bad history. If they were selling a tangible product, they would have had to issue several recalls.

  38. Mike R says:


    Thanks for bringing out additional information on Gordon B. Hinckley’s public interview’s and his PR technique.

    You said “Are the former prophets now regulated to just men who ‘interpreted doctrine?’ and not given commandments directly from God?” That’s a good thought you brought out. I believe this is exactly what LDS leaders have been doing. Whether it’s Jesus and Lucifer as brothers or Brigham Young’s doing with scripture re: The Virgin Birth, it’s all their interpretation. The big question is,is it a ” rightly dividing ” (interpretation– 2 Tim. 2:15.) of God’s Word? If it is then it is good doctrine ( 1 Tim. 4:6). Otherwise it is condemned and to be avoided.

    Falson said “And when all else fails, our Mormon friends pull-out the ‘misquoted’ technique”. I started out witnessing to JW’s. They never denied teaching doctrines that were later discarded, their prophet simply said “We have new light now” etc. In my experiences with LDS it is just as Falson said. Either outright denial that a certain doctrine was ever taught, to, the ‘misquoted’ alibi. I was sure surprised at this behavior. As I later learned from other Christians, my experiences with LDS was’nt unusual.

  39. Enki says:

    You quoted something very interesting.
    “… one “coping mechanism” used by minorities, including Mormons, is “special coded language.”

    Are Christian missionaries always on the level on every doctrine when approaching non-christians in other countries? Something interesting is the advice to avoid the use of the term ‘born again’ or ‘rebirth’ when witnessing to buddhists. This is because rebirth sounds like reincarnation, this is a bad thing that buddhists hope to avoid.

    Then there is also the following advice:
    “5. While using bridge concepts (see “Bridges for Evangelizing Buddhists”), be careful not to reduce Christian truth to a form of Buddhism. Buddhism has been good at accommodating other religions. Do not say “Buddhism is good, but Christianity is easier.”

    The comparision of the 8 fold path comes very close to this.

    Potentially this is kind of an off topic. But I included this commentary and comparision with Buddhism/christianity, because it looks like kind of coded language, or hiding complete concepts. Another way of looking at LDS responses to difficult questions is that they are attempting to use ‘bridging concepts’.

    I know from my Inupiaq heritage that christian missionaries were sometimes rather veiled with certain concepts, or outright changed certain teachings. For example, ‘hell’ was no longer a hot place with fire, because that was an appealing place for the Inupiaq people. Instead, hell was now an ice cold place, far colder than anything that was known on earth.

  40. Enki says:

    Jim Olsen,
    You stated the following.
    “President Hinckley’s statement was spot on. We know extremely little about this concept. And it is rarely taught in our church, even when talking about the Godhead and the plan of Salvation. What he said is absolutely true.”

    That is not my experience. I heard that quote “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” quite often in church services, and meetings. But I haven’t attended LDS church services for a very long time. Perhaps this is something which isn’t quoted often these days.

    This statement is also implied by the doctrine of eternal progression. So it seems a natural quote to bring up in reference to that teaching. Its also actually APPEALING to some non LDS people. I mentioned that once a few years ago to a somewhat ‘bored’ catholic, he had never heard of the posibility of humans becoming a god, he instantly found that appealing, and said he would work very, very hard to make that happen. So its not like this concept is disagreeable to everyone.

    I think the issue about the virgin birth has to do with its nature as a miracle. In a sense mormons don’t think its a ‘miracle’ in that it didn’t violate any physical law. I think most christians aren’t concerned with god bending,or breaking any biological or physical law. From what I understand is that they feel he is the writer of all laws and can change them on specific occations.

    However, some people have tried to explain the virgin birth as being physically possible with biological laws. Also without sex, and even artifical insemination. Parthenogenesis is one possible explanation, and I have heard that its been observed in mammals on very rare occations. That it would result in a male child is much more difficult to explain, and would make the event very very highly unlikely. That is the difficulty in explaining the doctrine of the virgin birth as being in accord with biological laws.

  41. Enki’s question indirectly asks if it is OK to modify language when teaching about Christian doctrine.

    Broadly speaking, I’d say that it is (OK); especially when the words or idioms used could mean different things to the speaker and the hearer. One example, as Enki, points out is the concept of “rebirth”. To a Buddhist it means (in my words) going back to earth for yet another round of trials and works in order to get a high enough grade for enlightenment. To the Christian it means a new start; inheriting a different legacy to the one you were born with.

    So the Christian views rebirth in a positive light, but the Buddhist might view it as “you have failed, so try again”. In this case there may be other, better ways to convey the Good News that God can make a new creation of you.

    Approaching the Gospel from the perspective of communication theory is, I think, highly beneficial. What I get from it is;

    * The bulk of the Christian Gospel actually comes to us in the form of stories and scenarios. We choose the best words and idioms to describe these stories and scenarios, but when language changes, the stories and scenarios remain the same. This is why we claim that the Christian Gospel has not changed since Jesus.

    * Our language always needs to compromise literal fidelity with dynamic equivalence. What’s more important; the words or the message?

    * By the same token, there can never be a “correct” translation of the Bible.

    * Historic Christianity has always sought to clarify meaning, particularly in response to its critics

    …which brings me to my last point…

    * The deliberate obfuscations of the LDS movement cannot be reconciled with the Christian traditions of truth-telling and truth-proclaiming.

    As others have noted above, this is not an issue about presenting a message in a way that the audience best understands it. Its about people who should know the truth, yet hide their “light” under a bucket, just in case we (potential converts) don’t like it

  42. Enki says:

    Ok, so the examples I gave are not instances of double-speak? And what of bridge-concepts?

    “By the same token, there can never be a “correct” translation of the Bible.”

    If that means a fixed translation for all time, I accept that. But that is a continual point of examination made regularly on this blog. One example is “The was with god, and the word was god” Thats one point which bible literalists know is a correct translation or not. “was a god” or ‘the word was divine’ are not accepted translations.

    “Our language always needs to compromise literal fidelity with dynamic equivalence.” All I can say is that is potentially a can of worms to open.

  43. Ralph says:

    The title is good- “Mormons divided sense of self”. I always thought that schizophrenia affects 2 in every one of us.

    Falcon said –
    “Why does someone or an organization have to practice “double speak”. There are a couple of reasons. One would be to develop “in group” communication; the language and vocabulary that makes a group feel special. The other reason is to hide the group’s beliefs and intentions.”

    What does it mean Matt 13:10-14? Isn’t Jesus hiding His message from a certain section of the population? I mean, He openly admits to hiding the full message doesn’t He? Isn’t this double-speak as defined above? I understand that it is different from the accusations and examples thrown at the LDS church here, but it still is double-speak.

    As far as the ‘you do not understand’ comments, they are perfectly valid. In previous posts/blogs, many Evs have tried to place the LDS teachings into the Evs understanding and then lambasted the LDS for saying something incorrect. For example Martin said that he didn’t want to become God because then he would have to sacrifice himself. We LDS teach that God and Jesus are 2 separate beings and that Jesus was sacrificed, not God. So that showed that Martin did not understand LDS teachings. And the list goes on.

    I know many here have read into the LDS church and its doctrine and understand the majority of it, but to fully/properly understand it you cannot use your (ie Evangelical) methods of thinking.

  44. grindael says:

    I guess you don’t understand your own religion either. If (as smithians say) Jesus is A God, then Jesus, as A God, sacrificed himself. Jesus was the GOD of the Old Testament, was he not? The Great I AM, was he not? If God (the Father) is Adam, as BY states, then God came down to the Garden of Eden, (and He must have been talking to Jesus, one of the Gods according to smith) was kicked out of the Garden of Eden by God (Jesus?) and then lived on the earth and died (again). If he progressed on some other world (perhaps Kolob?) and became a God, then to become Adam, die again and what be subject to sin again and be ressurected by his spirit son Jesus? Wow! All this taught by your prophet BY, and smith. Now, since God is Adam, he scarificed himself, did he not? He died again, did he not? So if all of you become Gods, will you start off your earths by becoming Adams, and dying again. So according to mormon logic, Martin is dead on. Wow, you mormons are so up on your own religion. I guess you are too busy trying to cover things up instead of reading what your prophets have said. Oh yeah, according to Hinkely, it was only Youngs opinion or interpretation….implying they are just ordinary men who dont actually speak to God. Man this gets confusing…could you sort it all out for me…I would really like to know how all this works.

  45. grindael says:

    The best evidence for the truth of the Bible is that there are about 2 BILLION Christians. There are about 9 MILLION smithians. I’ll take the Bible, thank you very much.

  46. Enki commented

    If that means a fixed translation for all time, I accept that. But that is a continual point of examination made regularly on this blog. One example is “The [Word] was with god, and the word was god”


    If the Christian doctrine of the Divinity of Christ rested solely upon John 1:1, then I would agree that it would have a weak foundation.

    But, it doesn’t. We gave covered this before, and its a big subject, but there’s a tsunami of other texts in the NT that point to the divinity of Christ. These include explicit statements like Phil 2:6-11 to the scenarios in which people worship Jesus (Matt 28:9, 28:17, Luke 24:52, John 9:38). Also, who has the right to judge Israel (Matt 25:32), to send prophets (Matt 23:34), who is greater than the Temple itself (Matt 12:6)? Who can say of himself that he is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), or that he is the bread of life (John 6:35), or that he is the ressurection (John 11:25)? Given that there is only One who can occupy the role, who else can be the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end (Rev 1:8, 22:6, 22:13)?

    All these idioms and metaphors point in one direction only; Jesus is fully and wholly God, worthy of our full and unmodulated worship and adoration.

    In fact the Christian Gospel requires us to change everything we think we know about God to what we see expressed in Christ (John 1:18 – note God’s habit of revealing himself to humanity in the light of this discussion, see also Col 1:15). If you want to know what kind of God He is, look to Jesus.

  47. Also

    “Our language always needs to compromise literal fidelity with dynamic equivalence.” All I can say is that is potentially a can of worms to open.

    Maybe, but the issue I’m thinking of is the question of what’s more important; the words or the message?

    I don’t think the question can be resolved one way or the other, but rather that Christians need to be mindful of both (contrast the murk an darkness of LDS doctrine). We cannot use the exact words of the Bible because nobody speaks Koine Greek or OT Hebrew anymore (I understand that modern Israeli is derived from OT Hebrew, but it differs in many respects). That means we have to intelligently understand what the words mean in order to express Biblical texts in our modern language.

    Here’s an example. In Matt 4:17, Jesus preaches “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near”. Commonly, we interpret this to mean something like “give up your personal sins and get religion”. Placed in the context of the many and varied Messianic expactations of first century Israel (and noting that Josephus uses a virtually identical phrase when talking a rebel down from the hills), Jesus’ statement should be understood as “give up the agendas that you have developed to make the Messiah arrive, because he has just done so”. This exegesis also sheds light on Romans 10:6-7. The message is that we cannot bring God down to earth by the mechanics of our religion or way of life, but He comes in His own way and on His own terms.

    The English translations of Matthew rightly retain the original phraseaology, because that is what Jesus said. May these words stand there for a long time to come, to correct us when we go off on our own spirals of thought.

    So, how do we explain this to our audience? I am not at all embarrassed at the original form of words, but we may benefit from some additional explanation. The challenge, of course, is to make damn sure that the “additional” explanation fits with the original message

  48. Ralph commented

    Martin said that he didn’t want to become God because then he would have to sacrifice himself


    I’ve got the feeling that you’re misquoting me. Perhaps you could remind me?

    At the risk of contradicting myself earlier, I don’t have a problem with sacrificing myself. It’s just that it might not do much good. In particular, my death will do nothing to pay for someone else’s sins, because it would be barely enough to cover my own.

    I believe I have commented extensively on the love of God, which is fully expressed in His self-sacrifice. If Jesus were not fully (the One) God himself, then the cross is a gross example of child-abuse.

    If you are right, then why didn’t the Father come Himself? Why delegate to the Son? According to LDS “doctrine” they are both exalted men, so why require the Son to go through with the cruxifiction? Was is a rite of passage? If Jesus did this for his own exaltation, then he did it for what he could gain for himself, not because it was a selfless act of self-giving love.

    If you are right, God is not love, he is just another Joe looking for promotion.

  49. falcon says:

    Leave it to Ralph to accuse Jesus of “double speak”. That’s the problem with Mormons, especially Ralph; they have fanciful ways of interpreting the Bible. Ralph does at least admit that Jesus teachings in the parables are not the same as Mormons who willfully lie and cover-up the truth as to hide what Mormonism really is.
    Actually Jesus’ words regarding the parables are perfectly applicable to Mormons in one significant way. Not being “born again” it is impossible for Mormons to understand the things of the One, eternal, everlasting, and unchanging God. Mormons have substituted a different god, a different jesus, and a different salvation and reduced what they can’t hope to understand as believers in another “god”, to manageable human wisdom. Mormons can never hope to grasp the secrets of the kingdom of God as long as they reject Him for a god of their own making even seeing themselves as gods in embryo. This blasphemy goes beyond a simple not understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it is wholly opposed to God. Mormons in their foolishness would rather create an idol consisting of a former human who became a god, then recognizing the awesome God who has revealed Himself in His written Word the Bible and His Living Word Jesus Christ.
    That’s why we as Christians are so often frustrated in our conversations here with Mormons. They have neither spiritual ears or eyes. Their rejection of God is led by one who they claim as a spirit brother, the father of all lies, Satan. Spiritually blind and deaf, Mormons will never understand the things of God until they reject the idol with which they have replaced Him.

  50. Mike R says:


    Most LDS are not quite as forthright as you have
    been when it comes to admitting certain Mormon
    teachings.You were open in the past not to deny
    your future potential to become Deity.I think
    the topic on this thread would’nt be happening
    if Thomas Monson at next Conference would proclaim
    over the pulpit that he(like you) was going to
    be Almighty God,ruling over a vast world comprised
    of his millions of children all who adore and
    worship him and who loudly shout to him,Holy,Holy
    Holy,Lord God Almighty! [compare Rev.4:8;19:6].
    Ralph, you admited this to be your future position
    last month to me.Could Pres.Monson be as open?

    Hopefully that would be the end of LDS style denial and double-speak.

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