First Nephi and the Son of God

The book of First Nephi (in the Book of Mormon) reflects four significant (and similar) additions that Joseph Smith made to the original text before the publication of the second edition in 1837. The changes are indicated by italics in the following:

1830: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God
Now: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God (11:18)

1830: Behold, the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!
Now: Behold, the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father! (11:21)

1830: yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world
Now: yea, the Son of the everlasting God was judged of the world (11:32)

1830: …the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father…
Now: …the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father… (13:40)

LDS apologists say that Joseph Smith made these “deliberate editorial insertion[s]” himself; he added the words “the Son of,” “as was his right as the translator,” in order to clarify the actual meaning of the 1 Nephi passages. The apologists conclude, “Although some have claimed that the meaning of the text was altered by these additions, a more plausible explanation is that the editorial insertions clarified to whom the verses referred.”

Though Mormons may find comfort in the idea that Joseph merely clarified these Book of Mormon verses, a thoughtful evaluation of the additions reveals that he also altered the meaning of his original English text.

Consider this. I am the mother of a particular human being called Dana, but I am not the mother of the son of Dana; I am the grandmother of the son of Dana. If official documents are altered to indicate that I am the mother of the son of Dana, I am then defined as the mother of an entirely different human being. This would not be a clarification; it would be a radical change. If, however, the original document were in error, the change would constitute both an altered meaning and a clarification (i.e., a correction that also served to clarify).

The Book of Mormon originally said the virgin is the mother of God. Now it says the virgin is the mother of the Son of God. Today’s Mormonism proclaims that the Father is God. The Son is identified as “also a God” (LDS Bible Dictionary, “God,” emphasis mine). Therefore, originally (if we take a literal approach) the passage taught that the virgin is the mother of God the Father; now it says the virgin is the mother of the Son of God the Father. It looks like Joseph Smith’s “editorial insertion” altered the meaning  and clarified the subject of the passage. His original translation was in error so he corrected it. Or, as some critics of Mormonism believe, Joseph’s “clarification” became necessary because of his changing theology. They note that early Mormonism was Trinitarian, or perhaps Modalistic, but became polytheistic as Joseph developed his new religion. When one God became many Gods, more precise language was required for Mormon scripture to make sense.

A similar problem is reflected in the other three altered verses cited above. In Mormonism, remember, the Father and the Son are two different Gods. So is the Lamb of God the Eternal Father, or the Son of the Eternal Father? LDS apologists suggest that the answer is both. They say either reading (with or without “the Son of”) means the same thing because in other places in the Book of Mormon “the Eternal Father” clearly refers to Jesus Christ. If both renderings mean the same thing, then why was there a need for clarification through Joseph’s “editorial insertions”? Furthermore, if Jesus Christ is (or can be) the Eternal Father, then shouldn’t we consider the possibility that Joseph made this particular change in order to clearly define the Lamb of God as the Son of Jesus Christ?

An easier (and perhaps better) way to amend the 1 Nephi passages might have been to just use proper noun markers: “the virgin…is the mother of a God” and “the Lamb of God is an Eternal Father.”

Regardless of Joseph’s intent in placing “deliberate editorial insertions” into the Book of Mormon text–whether to alter or clarify or both–it is a curious thing. Did he initially mistranslate the passages and later receive divine instruction for fixing his mistakes? (Joseph no longer had the gold plates to check the accuracy of his initial translation.)

Or did Joseph realize, after the 1830 edition was published, that people were prone to misunderstanding those portions of the Mormon scripture and decide that he could make it easier to grasp by simply inserting words to support his own interpretation?

Or was it God Himself who determined that some parts of this inspired translation that had been accomplished “by the gift and power of God” turned out to be too ambiguous and therefore needed revision?

What seems most plausible to me is that Joseph Smith was not acting under divine guidance or inspiration when he wrote the Book of Mormon–or when he corrected his first published draft. As author of the Book of Mormon he had every right to alter and edit his text as he saw fit. And this is what he did.

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 Book of Mormon, Mormon Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

138 Responses to First Nephi and the Son of God

  1. setfree,

    Here’s an attempt at copy/paste from, with “show vowel points” unchecked…

    בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ

    …which appears to be rendered correctly on my browser
    (Gen 1:1)

  2. setfree says:

    🙂 it’s nice to have this figured out. Thanks again Martin.

    And thanks to you Falcon. I suspect that I didn’t have enough rest last night for the myriad of discouraging Mormon conversations I had today. Better again tomorrow, God willing.

    God bless you guys

  3. Martin,

    I must admit my limitations here. The exact dates of which I am not sure but I do know they were not around during the earthly ministry of Jesus – or even two generations later. I think the word in Greek from which we get “letter” or “jot” is ιωτα . . . as in the letter in the Greek alphabet.

    Also, I would add that I do not think that Jesus was saying that changing, or attempting to change, scripture is a sin (although I do believe it is). I think he is saying it would not/ will not happen period. I think the verse after tells us that Jesus is referring to the theology the texts gives verses the actual text itself.

    Unlike what some unknowledgeable, conspiracy theorists would have us believe there was no central control over texts. People can and did copy portions of texts usually without any kind of approval. If you wanted a Bible, or a portion thereof, you had to either copy it yourself, pay some one to do it, or by a copy that someone did on his own. This is especially true with early Christianity. We see a textual explosion in the first few generations of Christianity. Some one could try to introduce a bogus copy, but it would be detected rather quickly.

    By the time we come to the 19th century, textual corruption was extremely easy to detect. Seriously, I do not know what was going on in the mind of Joseph Smith when he authorized changes in the BoM. He, or someone in his circle, must have known that these changes would be detected and would provide extremely damaging ammo for his critics. The old criticisms still remain (colloquialisms, bad grammar, etc.) but with the changes you don’t get rid of those problems you just add more problems that are even more damaging than the first ones.

  4. setfree says:

    I just happened to run across this today, terrific, clear explanation of the joe smith problem

  5. falcon says:

    I pray you don’t get too discouraged. This type of ministry tends to turn someone into a Calvinist!
    In dealing with the early heretics, at least one of the Church Fathers reasoned that you couldn’t appeal to the Scriptures alone because the heretics would simply twist the Scriptures to fit their heresy. So there was an appeal to “tradition” as handed down by the apostles to those they had taught and instructed.
    Joseph Smith was pretty clever in that he told his followers that they couldn’t trust the veracity of the Bible and that with the death of the apostles “real” Christianity disappeared. So what the Smithies needed to do was depend on special ongoing continuous revelation to really get the truth.
    So we have here the anticipatory set. The Bible can’t be trusted. Tradition can’t be trusted. Only what the prophet says can be trusted and even if subsequent prophets change their minds it’s OK because it’s all a new and improved progressive revelation.
    Mormonism thrives on ambiguity. It also thrives on the willingness of people to put their hope and trust in an organization rather than in Jesus Christ.
    Smith mixed in enough evangelical Christian revivalism, piety and especially some faux supernatural stories and events to dupe people into thinking he was communicating directly with God. We have apostles appearing to him, angels with flaming swords demanding that he practice plural wifery or he’d be killed and especially an angel with those magnificent golden plates.
    Having given himself the authority to change the BoM, the Bible, his Book of Commandments and anything else that he deemed necessary, Smith had himself a blank check. There wasn’t anything in his bank account and he was truly a bankrupt prophet, but it doesn’t matter. His followers love the story.

  6. jackg says:


    Very good stuff you just posted. You understand the thinking behind Mormonism. What makes everything so ambiguous in Mormonism is the “it’s not official church doctrine” disclaimer with almost every nonbiblical teaching. The thoughts that have been coming to my mind regarding that is that the LDS Church just isn’t official. That makes sense, doesn’t it?? 🙂


  7. falcon says:

    Yes it does make sense and it goes along with the original appeal of Joseph Smith to his prospects which was they could all receive direct “revelation” from God. What a major ego and power trip that would put someone on! Now mix in the priesthood and Kattie bar the door. This becomes a no-holds-barred religious experience that has tremendous appeal for a certain kind of person.
    The big mistake that Mormons make, in their ignorance of the different sects of Christianity, is the Mormon thinking that Christians don’t have prophets and don’t believe in direct revelation from God. Just tune in GodTV channel 365 on Direct TV and there’s a steady stream of prophetic conferences and all sorts of five fold ministry folks doing presentations. Now I’m not saying I endorse any of it (maybe some of it) but to my way of thinking, at least these folks have a basic doctrine that lines up with orthodox Christian thought. This bunch have their own vocabulary (“break through”, “new season” etc.) that identifies their particular orientation to Christianity. My point is that if this sort of thing appeals to Mormons they should consider it because at least they’d get God right instead of the morphed man they think is God.
    And in addition to the revelation piece, these folks on GodTV (at least some of them) are having miraculous things going on including angelic visitations. Here’s the deal, not one bit of it effects my Christian witness because I can dismiss it out-of-hand. Mormons can’t dismiss the Joseph Smith visions, prophecies, and heavenly visitations because to do so destroys Mormonism.
    Once someone gives-up on the solid rock foundation that the Bible provides and instead flows with supposed revelations from God, stories of visions and angelic appearances, spiritual feelings and miraculous answers to prayers they are in deep trouble and candidates for any type of deception. I think the apostle called it “any wave of doctrine”.

  8. mantis mutu says:


    The emendations to the Nephi text (“son of” being added to “God” & “the Eternal Father”) were early 20th century changes to the text.

    Though I lack the resolve to verify the history, I am quite sure tht this emendation to the LDS Church’s official Bk of Mormon text came during the James Talmage era — with the move towards a systematized Mormon theology (in this case w/ the understanding of Elohim = Father; YHWH = Jesus/Son). As nice & neat as this theology may have been for its authors (Joseph Smith, btw, was NOT its author), the BoM is not always so neat in its distinction of Father & Son.

    While I agree with much of the language of distinction between Father & Son laid out in the Talmage era, & believe that it usually tries to faithfully reconcile the plainness of the scripture & revelations of the restoration, in the case of the Nephi passage you pointed out we clearly have a case of wresting the scriptures to one’s own aims.

    The child born of the woman in Nephi’s dream is the “Eternal Father of heaven and earth.” It is a logical redundancy to declare Mary holding the Christ-child as the “mother of the son of God after the manner of the flesh.” Clearly she is the “mother of God after the manner of the flesh.” Mormons who can’t accept Jesus Christ as the Eternal Father of heaven and earth are in denial of their basic religion.

    I know Talmage was not in denial of this basic doctrine; however, my guess is that he tried a little hard to keep the text from sounding binitarian to the uninformed. But as the Lord’s revealed word, the original text should’ve been left alone, IMO. The original Nephi text plainly identifies Jesus as the human (flesh) representative of his Heavenly Father among the children of men. Mormons are united in this understanding of the doctrine, so the original text should be restored in its purity. There’s no controversy outside of the matter of scripture being emended.


  9. grindael says:

    The Evolution of the Mormon Gods Part II

    The First Vision (Continued)

    According to Oliver Cowdery, who with Smith’s help, published the first history of Mormonism in the LDS periodical Messenger and Advocate, Kirtland, Ohio, Dec. 1834, (vol.1, no.3). we read this:

    “You will recollect that I mentioned the time of a religious excitement, in Palmyra and vicinity to have been in the 15th year of our brother J. Smith Jr.’s age — that was an error in the type — it should have been in the 17th. — You will please remember this correction, as it will be necessary for the full understanding of what will follow in time. This would bring the date down to the year 1823. “I do not deem it necessary to write further on the subject of this excitement. … “And it is only necessary for me to say, that while this excitement continued, he continued to call upon the Lord in secret for a full manifestation of divine approbation, and for, to him, the all important information, if a Supreme being did exist, to have an assurance that he was accepted of him. “… On the evening of the 21st of September, 1823, previous to retiring to rest, our brother’s mind was unusually wrought up on the subject which had so long agitated his mind … all he desired was to be prepared in heart to commune with some kind of messenger who could communicate to him the desired information of his acceptance with God. “… While continuing in prayer for a manifestation in some way that his sins were forgiven; endeavoring to exercise faith in the scriptures, on a sudden a light like that of day, only of a purer and far more glorious appearance and brightness burst into the room … It is no easy task to describe the appearance of a messenger from the skies … But it may be well to relate the particulars as far as given — The stature of this personage was a little above the common size of men in this age; his garment was perfectly white, and had the appearance of being without seam.

  10. grindael says:

    Though fear was banished from his heart, yet his surprise was no less when he heard him declare himself to be a messenger sent by commandment of the Lord, to deliver a special message, and to witness to him that his sins were forgiven, and that his prayers were heard;”

    Notice that it says here that in 1823 Smith wanted to know if a Supreme being did exist! Also that Cowdery specifically corrects Smith’s age to 17. This throws doubt on the 1832 Version in his Letterbook which some have ascribed as Smith’s attempt to assert his authority in his newly formed Church (see Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, vol. 1, p. 26) Given the above Official Published Version that Smith sought to know that God existed in 1823, and the inclusion of the Doctrine of The Father as a Spirit in the 1835 D&C, it becomes obvious that Smith invented the first vision.

    But what happened after 1835 that changed everything for Smith? He began taking Hebrew lessons from Joshua Seixas, where he learned that the word elohim in Hebrew can be translated as ‘gods’. He had also met a young girl named Fanny Alger with whom he had an affair. Pair this with the arrival of Michael Chandler with some mummies from Egypt, and you have the Book of Abraham, and Smith’s plurality of God’s Doctrine. What a stroke of fortune for Smith! He could claim the scrolls with the mummies were actual writings of Abraham & Joseph (written by them personally), & justify his affairs as a teaching of Abraham (polygamy).

    It would take a few years for Smith to crystallize this doctrine, and in 1838 he rewrote the account of his ‘first vision’ to include two personages, and by 1844 was teaching God was an exalted man & had commanded polygamy be practiced by all who wished to become gods.

    After Smith’s study of Hebrew in 1835-36, he began to use the name Elohim for the first time; he also began to use the name Jehovah more often. Jehovah appears for the first time in the Doctrine and Covenants after 1836.

  11. grindael says:

    It appears twice in the first two chapters of the Book of Abraham, which was written in 1835. The Church at this time used Jehovah as the name of God the Father, and only occasionally used the name Elohim. They evidently also considered the Father to be the god who appeared in the Old Testament. ( In the History of the Church, the name Jehovah is used ninety-nine times to mean simply God, fourteen times to mean the Father, and three times to mean Jesus. The name Elohim is used nine times to mean the Father and three times to mean “head god” or “council of gods.)

    The following was published in the Times and Seasons as DOCTRINE in 1841: “We believe in God the Father, who is the Great Jehovah and head of all things, and that Christ is the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father.” Times and Seasons 3 (15 November 1841): 578.

    This Doctrine makes perfect sense set within the modalistic historical framework of Smith’s early beliefs about God. After hearing some remarks by Orson Hyde in 1843 about God dwelling in men’s hearts, Smith made this declaration, which was included in Section 130 of the D&C:

    “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.”

    It begs the question that if this doctrine had been taught by Smith since 1820, there would not have been such confusion in the Church, especially by one of his own apostles!

    In connection with these ideas, Smith began to use the title Elohim as the proper name for the head god who presided at the creation of the world. He also taught that Elohim in the creation accounts of Genesis should be understood in a plural sense as referring to the council of the gods, who, under the direction of the head god, organized the heaven and the earth. Once the earth had been organized, “the heads of the Gods appointed one God for us.”

  12. grindael says:

    From the context of Smith’s discussions of this head god, it is apparent that Smith considered this being to be a patriarchal superior to the father of Jesus.

    The gods involved in the creation were designated in Joseph’s temple endowment ceremony as Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael. Smith had previously identified Michael as “Adam the ancient of days” (D&C 27:11) The head god [Elohim] was the Grandfather god, [Jehovah] was god the Father, & Michael was Adam. Brigham Young would expound on this further claiming Adam was the Father-god, [or Jehovah] & Elohim the great-grandfather god, with Jesus the Son of Adam, claiming Smith taught this. When one understands that Jesus was never considered to be Jehovah by the early Church, it shows how easily Young could come to the conclusion that he did. As Young would put it years later about who was the father of Jesus:

    “Who did beget him? His Father; and his Father is our God, and the Father of our spirits, and he is the framer of the body, the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Who is he? He is Father Adam; Michael; the Ancient of Days.” (Discourse by Brigham Young, 19 February 1854, Brigham Young Collection, Library-Archives, Historical Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)

    Young also taught that God the Father was the great I Am, NOT Jesus:

    “We begin with the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our spirits-who is he?… [He is] that great and wise and glorious being that the children of Israel were afraid of, whose countenance shown so that they could not look upon him… that man [who] put his hands out before Moses in the cleft of rock until his glory passed by and would not suffer Moses to see his face but his parts only… I tell you this as my belief about the personage who is called the Ancient of Days, the Prince, and so on.” (Journal of Discourses, 9:286; 327)

    Is it any wonder in general conference, 8 October 1854, Brigham Young specifically applied the title Jehovah to Adam,

  13. grindael says:

    calling him “Yahovah Michael,” who carried out the behests of Elohim in the creation of the world? (The Adam-God Maze (Scottsdale, Ariz.: Independent Publishers, 1981), pp. 274-75)

    Even though not all of the Church accepted Young’s doctrine of Adam as the Father of Jesus, the leadership still taught that The Father was Jehovah.

    John Taylor consistently did so in numerous sermons, as well as in his book, The Mediation and Atonement, which he wrote as President of the Church. The following hymn, written by Taylor, clearly identifies Jehovah as the Father:

    “As in the heavens they all agree
    The record’s given there by three,
    Jehovah, God the Father’s one,
    Another His Eternal Son,
    The Spirit does with them agree,
    The witnesses in heaven are three.”

    In some 256 references to Elohim and Jehovah and the God of the Old Testament, in the Journal of Discourses (representing sermons of many of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve), the title Jehovah is only specifically applied to Jesus once. This occurred in 1885, when the new doctrine identifying Jesus as Jehovah was just beginning to be developed.

    In August of 1885, Franklin D. Richards made the leap from merely considering Jesus to be Jehovah’s representative (and thus worthy of the latter’s title) to the position that Jesus’ premortal name was Jehovah:

    “We learn that our Savior was born of a woman, and He was named Jesus the Christ. His name when He was a spiritual being, during the first half of the existence of the earth, before He was made flesh and blood, was Jehovah… He was the spirit being that directed, governed, and gave the law on Mount Sinai, where Moses was permitted to see Him in part.” (Journal of Discourses, 26:300)

    That this was a new idea is indicated by the fact that just four months prior to this sermon, this same Apostle spoke of Jehovah as the Father.(Journal of Discourses, 26:132)

  14. grindael says:

    In 1896, Edward Stevenson, one of the Seven Presidents of Seventy, had “a deep talk” with President Lorenzo Snow about the Adam-God doctrine. Afterwards, Stevenson wrote in his diary concerning the temple creation gods:

    “Certainly Heloheim and Jehovah stands before Adam, or else I am very much mistaken. Then 1st Heloheim, 2nd Jehovah, 3rd Michael-Adam, 4th Jesus Christ, Our Elder Brother, in the other World from whence our spirits come…. Then Who is Jehovah? The only begotten [sic] Son of Heloheim on Jehovah’s world.” (Diary, 3-3-1896)

    This reference clearly distinguishes between the Jehovah who presided over Michael at the creation and Jesus. Unfortunately this distinction was not clearly made by General Authorities who were publicly promoting the idea that Jesus was the Jehovah-god of the Old Testament.

    Is anyone confused yet? The Church sure was. For a Church that claimed to be in direct contact with God continually, why was there all this confusion on who their god was, who Jesus was & what their roles were? Something had to be done. While General Authorities had previously asserted that the Adam-God doctrine need not be justified scripturally, the First Presidency now moved to abate public criticism and internal controversy by citing the scriptures as the final, official word on this matter. For example, in 1912, they stated,

    “Dogmatic assertions do not take the place of revelation,” and that “Prest. Brigham Young… only expressed his own views and that they were not corobirated [sic] by the word of the Lord in the Standard Works of the Church. Now all doctrine if it can’t be established by these standards is not to be taught or promolgated [sic] by members.” (Buerger, “The Adam-God Doctrine,” pp. 36-42.)

    Finally, under the direction & commission of the First Presidency, James Talmage wrote the book Jesus the Christ in 1915. In his book, Elder Talmage asserted that:

    “Jesus Christ was and is God the Creator, the God who revealed Himself to Adam, Enoch and all the antediluvian patriarchs and prophets down to Noah; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God of Israel as a united people, and the God of Ephraim and Judah after the disruption of the Hebrew nation; the God who made Himself known to the prophets from Moses to Malachi; the God of the Old Testament record, and the God of the Nephites. We affirm that Jesus Christ was and is Jehovah, the Eternal One.” (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1915), pp. 32-41)

    What is ironic was future prophet Spencer Kimball’s reaction when he first heard the NEW ‘doctrine’:

    “I was surprised and perhaps shocked a little when I learned that it was the Son, Jehovah, or his messengers who led Abraham from Ur to Palestine, to Egypt, and back to the land of Palestine. I did not realize that it was Jesus Christ, or Jehovah, who inspired the long line of prophets in their leadership of the people of God through those centuries.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, page 8) Page 8

    Finally, after almost 100 years the Mormons finally had figured out who their gods were.

  15. David Whitsell wrote

    Also, I would add that I do not think that Jesus was saying that changing, or attempting to change, scripture is a sin (although I do believe it is). I think he is saying it would not/ will not happen period

    Yes, I was extrapolating; something like “God won’t do it, therefore I won’t do it and you shouldn’t do it either. Not going to happen”. (We could branch off into the theory of sin here, but I tend to think of sin as something that fights against God’s purposes, so if He purposes that even the “jots and tittles” of scripture should remain, it’s a sin to try to remove them).

    There’s an obvious contrast here, though.

    Jesus and His followers held a very high reverence for the scriptures. Though they felt they had a right to interpret them differently from their peers, they did not consider themselves to have the right to change the raw material.

    Joseph Smith and his followers considered themselves to have the right to change the raw material (changes to the BoM, the Joseph Smith “Inspired” Translation of the Bible).

    That’s quite the opposite of the usual cant of “the Bible was changed by the Catholics”, that’s touted by the likes of Mormonism and other movements that don’t like what the Bible has to say to them.

  16. Mike R says:


    You touched on some important issues. One that I
    want to comment on is that of Jesus being Jehovah.
    James Talmage in his authoratative book, “Jesus
    the Christ” states correctly that according to
    the scriptures, Jesus is the God of Israel, the
    God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, and the God of
    the Nephites, the Eternal Creator.

    Although Talmage testified that Jesus is Jehovah,
    aparently Brigham Young never referred to Jesus
    as Jehovah in his public teaching. Yet it seems
    that Young had no hesitation calling Adam/Michael
    as Jehovah. I wonder why the confusion? Consider-
    ing that Young had the scriptures right before him
    to declare this truth about Jesus, this seems odd,
    especially when most of the “corrupt ” christian
    churches in Brigham’s day could have probably
    testified as Talmage later did.

    Lastly, for Brigham Young, and other Mormon
    authorities, this earth was created by 3 Gods:
    Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael. Yet ,Jesus/Jehovah
    is called THE Creator.
    This is just a small example why I can’t trust
    Mormon Prophets and Apostles to “rightly divide
    the Word”. Can you see my point? Any comments?

  17. falcon says:

    I must assert again that this is not that hard to figure out. We have the Bible that tells us who God is. We have the writings of the Church Fathers and a couple of thousand years of writings by Church theologians regarding the nature of God. These folks were not participating in “amateur night” like we see the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses doing.
    So the Mormons cast about trying to come up with some justification for the continuous changing of their leadership as to who the Mormon god is. The fact of the matter is these guys were not the sharpest knife in the drawer. They were playing religion. To this day Mormon thought is embarrassing to the point of comic relief.
    It someone is looking for God, they don’t have to go much further then the Bible. If they really want to get into it, there is all kinds of information out there from reliable scholars who are actually familiar with the language of the Bible and how to translate it. Not like Smith who was about as clueless as they come.
    A very sad state of affairs these Mormon folks who feel more comfortable with lies than the truth.

  18. Olsen Jim says:


    It was Joseph Smith who made the clarification change to the text regarding the “mother of the Son of God after the manner of the flesh” before the 1837 edition.

    Royal Skoussen’s work on this and other changes is unparalleled, and I highly recommend it. For a person who is interested, knowing more about the history of the changes allows one to see more evidence for the inspiration responsible for the translation by Joseph Smith.

    The original manuscript was so consistent in phraseology. Subsequent changes, at times, disrupted that consistency. Those making those changes, whether accidental or not, likely had little appreciation for how consistent that manuscript was.

  19. falcon says:

    WOW, that’s quite a speech. You obviously haven’t read anything that grindael wrote. He diced and sliced and pretty much obliterated any idea that Smith was doing little more then free lancing and he, and subsequently others, had to go back and cover their tracks with an update based on the super duper new revelation regarding the nature of the Mormon god.
    Not only is the BoM not a reflection of reality, it is what Mark Twain called, chloroform in print. Twain also said that if you took “and it came to pass” out of the BoM there would be little left to read (or words to that effect). Your brothers over at the Community of Christ Mormon sect have figured it out and give their members the option of viewing the BoM as either a factual account or a spiritual book. I would guess that this “spiritual book” option lets these folks off the hook because most of them have probably figured out that this tome is not as originally billed.
    But of course the CoC had/have pretty much dispensed with everything that sets Salt Lake City Mormonism a part from Christianity. The CoC grooves on the notion of continuous revelation and as such they don’t hold the Bible in the same regard as orthodox Christianity.
    I get why you try to make this whole deal work for you. The problem is it isn’t true and having rejected God your in a spiritual danger zone.
    I’ve related often here about how jackg talks about wanting so badly for it all (Mormonism) to be true but knowing that it wasn’t. I would just pray that the Lord would open your spiritual eyes so that you may come to Him for eternal life.

  20. Ralph says:

    Consider this. I am the mother of a particular human being called Dana, but I am not the mother of the son of Dana; I am the grandmother of the son of Dana. If official documents are altered to indicate that I am the mother of the son of Dana, I am then defined as the mother of an entirely different human being. This would not be a clarification; it would be a radical change. If, however, the original document were in error, the change would constitute both an altered meaning and a clarification (i.e., a correction that also served to clarify).

    Jesus was referred to a number of times in the Bible as ‘Son of David’ (Matt 9:7; Matt 21:9; Matt 21:15; Luke 20:41). Is this the same Jesus who was 42 generations from David? He is also referred to as ‘son of Abraham’ (Matt 1:1). How can He be both David’s and Abraham’s son as these men lived centuries apart? Interestingly, when giving Jesus’ genealogy (which by the way the Bible teaches against 🙂 ), Luke states that Adam is the son of God (Luke 3:38). But isn’t that supposed to be Jesus? Maybe this is what Paul was trying to teach in 1 Cor 15:45. How much can we make things look confusing when we take things out of context and meaning.

    I know nothing about why JS made these changes, but I would guess he made them by inspiration to make sure that future generations will understand more surely who was being referred to in these verses. Since we teach that both Heavenly Father and Jesus are Gods, it does not change, but clarifies the meaning. Why wasn’t this ‘addressed’ in the interpretation of the BoM, because the original translation was directly from the plates according to the understanding of the people who wrote the book. The clarifications are for these day and ages so that those growing up in a ‘Trinitarian’ society can understand that Heavenly Father and Jesus are separate.

  21. Ralph says:


    You referred to Alma 11:38-40

    What does the first verse say? Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?

    I think this is very clear that it is asking about Jesus as it refers to ‘the Son of God’. There is no ambiguity here as there is in the other verses referred to above. As far as the description goes in the rest of the verses – Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last; And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else. These also fit in with the LDS doctrine of Jesus, who He is and how He is referred to.


    So according to Proverbs 30:4 who was the son of Jesus? Because the last question asked was “what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” If this is talking about Jesus, as you believe, then it is indicating that Jesus had a son. If it is not referring to Jesus but to Heavenly Father and Jesus, then the FAIR site is correct in using it. And it does refer to 2 people, a father and son, not one person.

    Also, as I have said in our personal emails, the ‘who, what and how’ of Heavenly Father and Jesus are not clear in the Bible at all, as you seem to want to believe. Even the history of Christianity proves this point.

    Falcon said,

    ”What have we got, something like 6,000 years of history of the Jewish and Christian religions? The hallmark of the Jews/Hebrews was, that unlike her neighbors, the Jews were monotheists. That can’t be disputed…”

    This is being disputed by (non-LDS) archaeologists and true Bible scholars, and you have been shown evidence of these disputes. It is not as cut and dried as you want to make it out to be by these statements of yours.

  22. mobaby says:

    Reading grindael’s posts is truly eye-opening as to the confusion that reigned and reigns in Mormonism over who their god is. The amazing thing is their claim to be lead by prophets with direct revelation, and yet their revelations are incredibly confused on something as essential and basic as who is God? Brigham Young went to his grave as the Prophet of the LDS Church teaching that Adam is their God, and yet years later this teaching is completely rejected. This can’t be continuing revelation – it’s just plain wrong, i.e. false, or a false prophet of a false god – EVEN according to the Mormons themselves!! Brigham Young had the WRONG GOD according to the current LDS theology – and yet he still sits as a prophet in their line of prophets. If Brigham was getting revelation from Adam, while the current/recent prophets get revelation from Jesus/Jehovah? or Elohim/Father/NOT ADAM? then someone tapped into the wrong god. Actually they all are lined up with the wrong gods – for God does not create this kind of slap-dash confusion.

  23. Ralph wrote<The clarifications are for these day and ages so that those growing up in a ‘Trinitarian’ society can understand that Heavenly Father and Jesus are separate.

    …so, what were the early disciples doing when they worshipped Jesus in Matt 14:33, Matt 28:9, Matt 28:17 etc? Disobeying Jesus’ command in Matt 4:10 perhaps? Worshiping two “gods” in the Father and the Son, perhaps?

    (And I didn’t even need to go outside Matthew)

    (And I even left out the Magi, who’s motives might have been questionable)

    So, we should be worshipping two “gods”? Not according to Ex 20:2-3, Deut 5:6-7, Isaiah 43:10-13, Isaiah 45:5 etc etc etc

    So, there is a name that is above the name above all names (Phil 2:9)?

    So, there is one who is before the first and after the last (Rev 1:8, Rev 22:13?

    So, there is one who created all the things that weren’t created by the one who created “all things” (John 1:3)?

    And the One who said “I am what I am” really meant “I am what someone else has made me” (Ex 3:14)?

    Give it up Ralph. It just doesn’t fit. It doesn’t work. It makes no sense in the context of the Biblical revelation.

    It’s not pining for the fjords; it really is a dead parrot.

    Joseph Smith got it wrong. Grindael provided a comprehensive commentary on just how and why.

    You wouldn’t even be thinking these things if Joseph didn’t need to find a religious-sounding excuse to play Mommy-gods and Daddy-gods with Fanny Alger.

  24. falcon says:

    Pretty weak Ralph.
    Your claim regarding “Bible scholars” and “archaeologists” is not only just plain wrong but it is basically a Mormon throw away line that is nothing more than sloganeering by a religion that is void of any real intellectual scholarly substance. It goes along with “the Bible has been copied so many times that plain and precious truths were lost.” A total fabrication to try to find some justification for Smith’s religious invention.
    By contrast there is no archaeological evidence for the BoM, no linguistic evidence and the DNA evidence proves the total bogus nature of the primary claim of Mormonism regarding American Indians being of Jewish descent. The defense by Mormons concerning these things is funny enough to appear on the TV show “What’s My Line”.
    This is why the Mormon “testimony” is the central focus for LDS believers. The vast societies described in the BoM, with fantastic battles of zillions of warriors killed and not one piece of evidence I’m sure have led the Community of Christ to tell its folks that they can choose to see the BoM as a “spiritual” book and not one of any historical significance.
    We’ve been through this with you continually Ralph and you still cling to Mormonism more out of emotion than anything of substance.

  25. Ralph says:


    My comment about the archaeologists and Biblical scholars was in reference to your statement about there being no possibility of disputing that the Jews were different to their neighbours by being monotheistic. We (as in LDS) have shown many times in the past using non-LDS sources (including some Christian researchers) that there is a controversy over this issue, which is in direct contrast to your statement. It was nothing about the Bible itself, however, there are some controversial issues with that as well, but we have gone over this in the past.

    As far as my testimony goes, I will refer to a past post from Germit where he copied a comment from a Christian minister stating that a witness from the Holy Spirit tops any other evidence or witnesses no matter how real these other evidences may be. I can’t remember the minister’s name, may be some one else does but apparently he is very big/famous/popular. He has a website and books published, etc.


    Who is Jesus referring to when He talks about His God and our God (John 20:17)? and His Father and our Father? If He has a God who is our God and we need to worship Him (Jesus) as God as well does that mean we worship 2 Gods. Since Jesus is referring to a SEPARATE person that does make two, not a Trinity. As we LDS keep saying, we worship Heavenly Father as our one and only God. We recognise Jesus as our Saviour and Redeemer and a God and we worship Him in this respect.

  26. falcon says:

    You know better on several different levels. First of all the writings of the Church Fathers, which go back into the second century, shows that the Church was trinitarian in it’s view of God.
    Secondly Ralph your use of authoritative sources has been debunked at every turn since I’ve been posting here. You really play fast and loose with documented sources and authorities. What’s this for example: germit posted something about some minister that said something. Please Ralph, you’re not down at the wards now where just about anything goes.
    Ralph I have a witness from the Holy Spirit that confirms what I believe is true. I can trot out any number, thousands probably, of “ministers” that will say the same thing confirming what I believe. So what? Will you then accept it and become a Christian? How many Mormons have been deceived because of what they believed was God speaking to them re. burning in the bosom? You’re falling back on that same Mormon tactic of basically bearing your testimony.
    I’ll tell you what Ralph, why don’t you investigate the work of the “Jesus Seminar”. There’s a bunch of “scholars” whose work you’d really enjoy.
    Remember Ralph, all of the exMormons who post here once had a Mormon testimony. They don’t have it any more. What does that say about the burning in the bosom technique of determining truth?

  27. falcon says:

    I spent several posts documenting the experiences of Charles Finney. Check out his testimony. He was a Christian. So I guess his supernatural experience with the Lord and the intense feelings associated with it (liquid love pouring over him) means that the Christian Gospel of Jesus Christ is the true (one). I could also give you the accounts of John Wesley and Charles Spurgeon who also had a “burning in the bosom” experience and who also were traditional orthodox Christians.
    Smith knew how to pull off a counterfeit experience and how to co-op the language of evangelical Christianity. But in the end Smith was nothing more than a false prophet with some well honed folk magic skills.

  28. setfree says:

    I understand that what you said, after what I said about Provers 30:4, is what you hope or think that the FAIR article was proving. Can we quick and run through it again, just so we’re on the same page?

    “Seaich explains that the High God was called “El and his son was called Ba’al at least through the time of the Israelite monarchy.” The Israelites who returned from the desert with the Mosaic religion referred to El’s son as Yahweh. Some evidence of this distinction still survives in our Old Testament scriptures (see Deuteronomy 32:8–9; Psalm 82; Proverbs 30:4″

    What your buddy Seaich (whoever he is) says is that the names of HF/Jesus are “El” and “Ba’al” respectively. He goes onto say that post-Mt.Sinai, Israel was calling HF/Jesus “El” and Yawheh” respectively. Are either of these what Mormons believe? no. You say HF is Elohim, and Jesus is Jehovah.

    What the Bible makes VERY VERY VERY CLEAR is that there is only ONE GOD, יְהוָה

    The English letters for that are “YHWH” from which we get “Yahweh”, or “Jehovah”

    Thus, Proverbs 30:4 is talking about the son of YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah.

    Guess who His son is Ralph?


    What’s funny is that Joe Smith used to teach that, a long time ago. And then, he just decided to teach something else. And he’s got you suckered enough that you cannot even read a FAIR article straight. 😉

    Remember this line from the conclusion, and hold on to it, because it is an absolute FACT:

    “The conviction that Elohim was anciently the Almighty God and Father of us all, and Jehovah was and is Jesus the Christ his Son is… NOT Biblical exegesis.”

    No matter how hard you want it to be true, the only “FATHER” in the Bible is JEHOVAH. Yes, Jesus’ father, as can be seen in the New Testament.

    The question becomes then, what should we do with Jesus? Is He or is He not God? I know, let’s crucify Him for blasphemy!

    You are in the same position Ralph

  29. Ralph asked

    Who is Jesus referring to when He talks about His God and our God (John 20:17)? and His Father and our Father?

    What I see here is Jesus being fully, and always human, just as He is fully and always God. Granted, getting your head round this is an intellectual stretch for anyone, but that’s John says, and who are we to tell him otherwise?

    However, there is only, and only ever has been, One God. There can be no other Gods; if there were, then they could not be “God”. Do you want to ignore the plain meaning of the verses I posted?

    We could prolong the discussion on this. For example, you may wish to think about how the One Spirit (Ruach, not Ruachim – “spirits”) of Gen 1:2 animates the Godhead, which would mean that He (the Holy Ghost) is always and fully God.

    But you’re fundamentally trying to justify the beliefs and teachings of a sexual predator who got lucky in a religious scam (and I’m beginning to hear the opening bars of the Lumberjack Song in my head).

  30. jackg says:


    Since coming out of Mormonism, I am convinced that the issue is whether one follows a false spirit or the True Spirit of the living God. There’s a way to test that Ralph. One need only defer to the authoritative Word of God–the Bible–to test whether a personal “revelation” is truly from the Spirit of God and not a false spirit. Ralph, you are following a false spirit. OJ, if you’re reading this, so are you. Now, I know the knee-jerk reaction will be to question me on whether or not I’m the one following a false spirit. Well, all I can say is that I have tested by spiritual experiences against the Bible to know they were true. When God revealed to me the lie about Him being only one of countless gods and that there would be other gods, this truth was in harmony with His revealed Word about Himself. Unfortunately, you have believed the lies of JS. At some point, however, you are going to have to choose between the lies and the truth, Ralph. I pray you humble yourself to the point of confession and repentance. I had to endure that road, Ralph. It has made all the difference in the world.


  31. falcon says:

    You’ve hit the nail on the head regarding what Mormonism has to do to make their religion “fit”. It’s a total attempt to shoe horn a size 13 foot into a size six shoe. But in Mormonism, it all fits just fine.
    I contend that if Mormonism taught that the ancient Jews came over to the America(s) in UFOs, our buddy Ralph would find a “Biblical” scholar who said something that could be interpreted as saying such.
    Here’s the sad deal, it’s all knowable (meaning what the Jews believed about the nature of God) but it doesn’t fit the Mormon narrative so they have to scramble to come-up with fantastic explanations to accommodate a religion that was the invention of Joseph Smith.
    It’s really pull your hair out time dealing with any type of cultist. That’s because the normal rules of scholarship and logic don’t apply. It’s all revelation, feeling tied loosely together with faulty scholarship and poor Biblical exegesis.

  32. Olsen Jim says:


    There are many people of different faiths who claim the same thing you do- namely that they have “tested” their spiritual experiences against the Bible and found them to be true. Many of these people would disagree with you about a great many doctrines. Who is right? You? Why?

    Claiming the Bible as yours and as your authority gets you nowhere, because I do too. You have no more position to claim you have “the correct” interpretation than I do. Yours is one of several interpretations. How do you know yours is the correct one?

    You end up in circular logic, even if you don’t like it.

  33. OJ commented on interpreting the Bible

    You end up in circular logic, even if you don’t like it.

    One thing I’ve observed from this forum is that it depends on what you’re looking for.

    If you’re looking for a revelation of religion from the Bible, then, yes, you can tie yourself up in knots (Is it OK to eat leavened bread? Can I pull a donkey out of a well if it’s the sabbath? etc etc)

    If you’re looking for a revelation of God from the Bible, then it becomes much plainer. There is ONE God. Period.

    He doesn’t have a father or a wife. Period (If he did, He wouldn’t be God).

    The relationships between the Father, Son and Holy Ghost must be framed by these non-negotiable absolutes. In describing these dynamics, the early Christians used the language of “persons” (not “personages”), but everywhere we see them discuss the “persons” of God, we also see them affirm the One-ness of God.

    The Bible is not primarily a revelation of religion; it is a revelation of God. On this issue, it is remarkably unified.

  34. jackg says:


    Claiming the Bible is authoritative for you is an untrue statement. If it truly were, you would have nothing to do with Mormonism. And, I can say my interpretation is the correct interpretation. Too often we are afraid to make such a bold statement. You see, the Holy Spirit testifies to the Truth, and it will always line up with the Spirit-inspired Truths of the Bible. Your attempt to discount my experience is sophomoric at best. Right now, the Spirit is testifying to the truth of my words, but you reject the Spirit for a false spirit.

    Praying for you…

  35. grindael says:

    “I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok….” LOL Martin, LOL!

  36. grindael

    Well spotted.

    For those who might have missed it, see here…

    …sometimes, I feel I just can’t get any further by stating the bleedin’ obvious…

  37. falcon says:

    You are fond of making sweeping statements and generalizations that go in the category of Mormon sloganeering. Again, this plays well down at the wards and it’s a technique used by folks who are satisfied with surface level explanations. I’ve listed several of these “all better now” blankies” that Mormons can wrap themselves in and feel warm and secure.
    If you want to know how I know if “my” interpretation of the Bible is the correct one, it’s because I prayed about it and got a burning in the bosom that confirms that it is true. So using the Mormon test for truth………
    Mormonism is based on the false claim that “original” Christianity was lost and Joseph Smith had to restore it. He restored it based on “revelation”. His continual revamping of basic doctrine, especially the nature of God, proves he had no clue what he was talking about. He got caught red handed with his “translation” of the BoA. Only a blind cultist would follow a guy like Smith who not only wasn’t getting any revelation but was an immoral hedonist.

  38. Olsen Jim says:


    Incorrectly stating that I do not believe the Bible or that it is not autoritative to me simply distracts from my point.

    Take me out of the equation for the argument’s sake. My point is just as valid. Plenty of people who claim the Bible as their source for truth disagree with your interpretation- so who is correct? You or them? And how do you determine that?

    Your position is one that says essentially “I know better than anybody else, take my word for it.”

    Please answer the question without worrying about me specifically.

    Truth is you have no foundation upon which to make the claims you do- at least no more foundation than anybody else that believes in the Bible.

  39. falcon says:

    Here we go again! “Plenty of people”, what’s that? What jackg said does not distract from the point because in Christianity we’re talking about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Each believer must commit to a correct view of the Bible, God’s revealed Word. Mormons see the BoM as God’s revelation for today and the Bible is a minor appendage to the BoM. If Mormons viewed God’s Word the Bible the proper way, they wouldn’t be Mormons.
    Dr. Walter Martin, in his book Essential Christianity gives an excellent description of why the Bible is called the Word of God.
    “The Bible is called the Word of God because the whole transcript is an inspired, faithful, and infallible record of what God intended us to know about Himself, the cosmos in which we live, our spiritual allies and adversaries, and out fellow man. The Bible, then, was produced by men whose recording of events was divinely supervised and preserved from all the frailties of human error and judgment which are so common in all other religious literature.”
    Now this is a correct view of the Bible. When people see the Bible in a less than authoritative manner, they drift into all sort of error and come to all kinds of erroneous teachings and false doctrine. Frankly, that’s exactly your problem. As long as you continue to view the Bible in the manner in which you do, you will never come to an understanding of God’s revelation to man.
    Anglican scholar Bishop E. H. Bickersteth said the following which is also a good summary statement concerning the Bible.
    “Every jot and title of the Bible, as originally penned by the sacred writers, is God’s WORD WRITTEN-I repeat, as originally penned, for the truth here affirmed does not ask us to believe in the inspiration of copyists or translators or interpreters. Superficial errors though we believe them to be few and comparatively unimportant, may have crept in during the lapse of ages. But the autographs were perfect.”

  40. falcon says:

    Biblical scholars compare copies of the manuscripts to see if there are any differences (in them). This is done openly and for the purpose of getting at the precise and accurate message contain there in. Walter Martin says: “What is truly remarkable is that no transmissional error has ever affected a single doctrine of the Word of God which touches the means of our salvation, the evangelization of the world, our own spiritual maturity, or the church’s ultimate conquest of evil. The Word of God is God in His Word, speaking to us by His Spirit, through whom the message was initially inspired and infused into the souls and minds of His servants. These ‘holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (Second Peter 1:18-21)
    The way false prophets like Smith work is to arouse doubt in the minds of their followers that the Bible can’t be trusted, that it is error filled and that the revelation contained in the Bible is therefore corrupt and in need of “restoration”. If someone accepts this lie, then they will, of course, accept the new revelation.
    The article of this thread clearly shows that Smith changed who he conceived God to be and therefore had to cover his tracks by changing the BoM. Smith was a false prophet with a false revelation. Viewing the Bible in the manner which he pronounced leads a person away from the living God and into spiritual destruction.

  41. Olsen Jim says:


    That’s all great and fine.

    But whose view is “the correct view of the Bible?” Yours? Why not the Catholic? Why not the Baptist? etc. etc.

    Forget about LDS for just a moment.

    Whose interpretation or “view” is correct?

  42. setfree says:

    The best thing you could possibly do for yourself, as soon as possible, would be to drop your Mormon-brainwash of the Bible, and start to really read it, as if it is just text, a book, with the central message being who God Himself is. Don’t get bogged down in the details of whomever else is in the book. Don’t get bogged down in the details of what commandments you’re to keep or not keep. Don’t let the small pieces clog up your mind until you read it through, looking for what God has to say about HIMSELF.

    Read it, read it, read it. Don’t stop anywhere, don’t try to push Mormonism into it. Just read it to see what it has to say about God.

    When you finish doing that, and you are clear on what God has said about Himself, come back and I’ll give you your next set of instructions. 😉

    Seriously, though. You want to know whose view of the Bible is correct? Start searching the Bible for God’s testimony of Himself, and pretty soon, you’ll know…

  43. setfree says:

    I think it was you who said that different denominations all push one Bible version over another. I’ve meant to answer that statement by saying that in my experience, this is not the case. Some people prefer one version over another, because for them, it is easier to read. NOT BECAUSE IT IS DIFFERENT DOCTRINE. But many of us consult a variety of Bibles, outside of our easy-to-read preference, to make sure that we are getting the same idea no matter whose mind the translation went through.

    I doubt that you REALLY want to know whose view of the Bible is correct – no, you just want to keep saying that yours is. But, in the event that you ever decide you want to know the truth about the Bible, I suggest that you pick a version that IS easier to read… for example, the topics are broken into paragraphs, and or, the old English wording has been replaced with modern equivalents.

    I have a book that is an “expanded translation” of the NT, which book’s purpose it is to “use as many English words as it takes to convey the original meaning of the Greek”. For me, this is a terrific read, very helpful at understanding a lot of things.

    THe easier-to-read Bibles aren’t as picky about sticking to the original words as they are at just helping you GET THROUGH THE READING w/o getting too bored or lost.

    Like any book report in school, you cannot start analyzing a book until you have finished it, as one piece of work. You MUST read it as one body of work, before starting to break it down into smaller parts. Unfortunately, all Mormons and many Christians grew up being fed verses before they ever undertook such a task…

  44. falcon says:

    Excellent question OJ!

    My mind is going in lots of different directions here as I formulate an answer to your question. First of all I believe that people have to read the Bible for themselves and extract meaning as led by the Holy Ghost. But in order to do that, there are some basic rules or principles that need to be followed. The reason for that is that people can get off on tangents and read things into the Bible that aren’t there. That’s how we end-up with groups like David Koresh and the Branch Dividians. Koresh knew the Bible and could quote it from memory and speak with authority and confidence. So people followed him to their death. If they would have read the Bible for themselves using sound methods of interpretation, they wouldn’t have died in the firey inferno in Wacco. Remember, I’m talking about “interpretation” here, not “translation”. The latter is a whole topic in-and-of-itself and folks who do this are experts in a lot of different areas not the least of which is knowledge of the language in which the Bible was written. Interpretation is where doctrine comes from. Various denominations have their pet doctrines but on the basics they agree. If you look at the statement of faith of the various denominations, they list their view of the basics and that’s how Christians know if they group is “orthodox” or not. That’s the first thing I look at. A good exercise would be to look at the statement of faith for the Community of Christ which is posted on their website. See if they are orthodox Christian or Mormon based on the main points listed regarding the basics.
    Here are five basic rules to apply when interpreting the Bible.
    1. Context rules! Consider each verse in light of the surrounding verses, the book in which it is found and the entire Word of God. Never take a Scripture out of its context to make it say what you want it to say.

  45. falcon says:

    2. Always seek the full counsel of the Word of God. Do not accept a teaching because someone has used one or two isolated verses to support it.
    3. Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture. Now there are times, for example when the Bible talks about the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man, when it’s difficult to reconcile two seemingly contradictory truths. As humans we have finite minds. In a case like this we are to not take something to an extreme that God doesn’t. Spurgeon, it was said, used to “embrace the tension” between the scriptures on this particular topic.
    4. Don’t base convictions on an obscure passage of Scripture. An obscure passage is one that is not easily understood.
    5. Interpret Scripture literally. The Bible isn’t a book of mysticism. God spoke in a manner that we could understand. Don’t look for “hidden” meanings. Take in account literary style like the use of similes, metaphors that are used in poetical and prophetic literature. Scripture needs to be interpreted according to literary style.
    6. Look for the single meaning of the passage. There is one meaning but there can be many applications. Don’t twist verses to support a meaning that is not taught.
    (attribution: Kay Arthur; Inductive Study approach to interpreting the Bible).

    Now I know where your basic question comes from as to which denomination has the correct interpretation of the Bible. It goes back to Joseph Smith and his report that he asked God which church he should join and the answer was something to the effect that all of the denominations were wrong and their creeds were an abomination. That was Smith’s basic story so that he could form his own church/faith/religion/sect. Remember that there were a ton of start-up groups in Smith’s area and in this country at this time. They all had a prophet with a specific vision and revelation.

  46. falcon says:

    I believe it was Martin Harris who jumped on every religious bandwagon marching down the street and was having all kinds of visions and visitations. Why are there so many “denominations” of Mormonism? Well it’s because one arises mighty and strong who has a revelation. Why don’t the branches of Mormonism agree with one another? It’s basically because of all of the loose cannons chasing about, prophets all, who have a brand new shiny word that they have received.
    My point is that there has to be a standard of measurement to compare all of these groups, regardless of whether they are Mormon or Christian, by which to compare and see if they are orthodox Christian. In Mormonism, what is “orthodox” changes……continually. For example see the recent decision of the SLC LDS to stop publishing McConkie’s book on Mormon doctrine. He used to be the golden child and the go to guy for the leaders of the Mormon church. The fact that they’re dumping his book says a lot about the direction the leadership wants to go.
    Here’s the bottom line for me, at least. I don’t belong to a denomination. I’m not interested in signing on to some group’s hobby horse. I don’t care if others do, I’m not starting a movement or sect. Most denominations that I’m familiar with, don’t seem to emphasize their particular take on a particular doctrinal subject. The ones that I’d consider joining preach God’s Word and apply it to life. I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time discussing whether Jesus will return and rapture the church before or half-way through the tribulation. I go with, “just be prepared”.
    I hope I’ve answered your question, if not ask another so I can clarify.

  47. Olsen Jim says:

    Setfree and falcon,

    So what do I do with controversies such as baptism and whether it is required for salvation- some pretty smart people have great explanations for both sides. Some have great, logical, well thought-out reasoning for why it IS required, while others with equally sensible rationale claim it is an outward sign and is not required for salvation. What is one to do?

    For such a fundamental question affecting salvation, how does one know who to believe?

  48. setfree says:

    John 17:3

    And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. – Jesus

  49. Olsen Jim says:


    Is that your answer to my question? Because that really doesn’t answer my question.

  50. Jay K says:

    I think Jesus was pretty clear in John (such as John 3:16 and, depending on your level of discernment, the verse that setfree mentioned).

    Where else is the bible so succint?

    Do we really need to list those verses again?

    Historically, tradition and authority were the final say on these issues (I somewhat remember reading a Church Father’s writings on the need for a single authority to sort these matters out for us. That may have led to the pope, but I haven’t read the history in a while).

    Jim’s question is a good one. I’m sure many non-LDS ask it too.

    I hate to reason out doctrine, but I don’t think God would require baptism of us in the same way I don’t think He would require us to believe Him to be the trinitarian God that He is. But let’s not get into another Godhead talk please, even though it’s relevant to point out McConkie’s redefinition of the word monotheism.

    I follow a more liberal train of thought than most of the people here, though.

Leave a Reply