From the Mailbag (Isaiah and Idols)

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Hello Sharon,

Now, Isaiah 43:10-11. It looks so simple and clear when you read it, but can it have MORE than one LOGICAL interpretation? If you ask me, I will tell you that YES!…in the Bible gods sometimes mean people, sometimes idols or false gods. Israelites had a history to make false gods/golden calf/, other nations worshiped other false gods, they believed that those gods will save them or help them or whatever they believed. God wanted Israelites NOT to turn to those gods and when He said the[re] was no god formed before me, He was talking about those false gods…Sharon, those gods that God talks about are false gods of the world, and NOT divine beings.

Hi Anna,

You wrote about Isaiah 43-46…

To me, the text doesn’t make sense if we try to constrain God’s denunciation of other gods to mean only the “false gods of the world” (idols the Israelites were tempted to worship). I believe He is saying that He is the only true God. He is talking specifically about Gods like Himself. The following may seem silly, but to me it clarifies the passages. If we put “false gods” into the verses, this is what we get:

“You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no false gods were formed,
nor shall there be any false gods after me. (43:10)

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no false god.” (44:6)

Fear not, nor be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
And you are my witnesses!
Is there a false god besides me?
There is no false god; I know not any. (44:8)

I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no false god;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no false god besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other false god. (45:5-6)

You see, this makes no sense. God is talking about Gods like Him — divine beings:

 “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
“and my servant whom I have chosen,
that you may know and believe me
and understand that I am he.
Before me no gods were formed,
nor shall there be any gods after me. (43:10)

Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
“I am the first and I am the last;
besides me there is no god.” (44:6) etc.

It’s clear to me that God is really saying there are no other true Gods — period. “Therefore,… we know that ‘an idol has no real existence,’ and that ‘there is no God but one.’ For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge.” (1 Corinthians 8:4-7) Those who do possess this knowledge (i.e., the “us” Paul speaks of) understand God’s words, “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god”; they accept and recognize God alone as the one and only true God. None before, none after, first and last, no other.

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 God the Father, Nature of God and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

112 Responses to From the Mailbag (Isaiah and Idols)

  1. fifth monarchy man says:


    I have no proof but perhaps the inability of FOF to post in the other thread is providence. It could be a way of God preventing him from posting something he will later regret. If so that is good news maybe God is not done with him just yet.


    You always harp on what you believe is a double standard on our part. I would like for you to expand on that more. I want to be consistent. I would like to know if I was treating evidence for Mormonism differently than I do with evidence for Christianity.

    But in order for me to do that I need to actually see some actual evidence for Mormonism. I have seen none so far. From you or from other Mormons I have talked to.

    You need to explain why we should consider your Psalm 82 argument evidence for the truth of Mormonism it seems to me to be nothing but an attempt to change the subject

    And claiming that you posted some evidence for the BOM years ago does not help me I have not been around that long.

    Could you please post some of it again so we can compare it with the evidence for the Bible


  2. Rick B says:

    Lee strobel was the name if the other guy I could not think off. It was aroubd 4 am when I posted to you. Right before leaving for work. So please provide names of people or books from athiests who set out to prove the bom false but came to mormonism from the evidence, then published books about it.

  3. falcon says:

    Creative Biblical interpretation is how cult leaders stay in business. That along with the ignorance of their followers coupled with an enthusiastic and confident presentation by the would be leader is the fuel that keeps the fire of aberrant teachings going.

    We’ve had Mormon posters come here all wound-up thinking they’ve found the Bible verse that will serve as the smoking gun to prove their notion of multiple-gods. The idea that this verse might just be referring to something else and isn’t support by the Bible in its entirety is not a thought the cultist wants to entertain. To do that would blow the whole thesis that they embrace out of the water. It’s just no fun to have to apply some discipline to Biblical interpretation.
    These folks think they’ve stumbled on to a more superior means of finding truth; namely personal inspiration and revelation. It’s the desire to believe something that provides the all important feeling that acts as a confirming tool in determining truth for the religiously naive individual.
    When feelings run up against scholarly discipline and solid evidence, for these folks, the emotions will rule, and why wouldn’t emotions rule? That’s where the reward comes from.
    When I was a kid, we were taught that reading the Bible was to be approached with caution. In fact the standard line was that only the Catholic priest had the training and knowledge necessary to properly interpret the Biblical text. The caution was to not really read the Bible because you might go off on some tangent that would lead to a faulty set of beliefs. In a way, there was some truth in the admonition to treat the Bible with caution. It wasn’t until I got saved in my mid-twenties that I actually read the Bible and began to be blessed by the revelation God had made to His prophets. But some how that idea to be cautious in Biblical interpretation stayed with me and is present even today.
    I think that’s a good thing because it puts me on guard against coming to conclusions that have no real support other than in my own imagination. I get blessed and inspired by the Biblical test every day. God through His Holy Spirit uses the Word to instruct me and even admonish me when necessary. However I understand clearly that there are a set of solid principles that God expects the believer to utilize in order to keep on track.

  4. mapleleaf says:

    Falcon – as a new christian and one who has recently left the mormon religion I would appreciate you sharing the solid principals that God expects the believer to utilize in order to keep on track. Thanks

  5. Kate says:


    I didn’t take the time to research Dr. Hamblin, it took a lot of my time yesterday reading through those two sites I posted. He came off as an arrogant, rude , know it all to me. James White definitely took the higher road and his explanation of psalms 82 made a lot more sense. I can see why Dr. Hamblin was asked not to publish anything. He compiled the list FOF posted. Why should we consider anything he says when his own LDS leaders have told him none of his work will be considered serious scholarship?

  6. MJP says:

    Well, now we are able to discern FoF’s reasons for stating scholarship near unanimously finds Ps. 82 to mean the Jews used to believe in multiple gods. I do appreciate that he actually came forth with his list.

    Like others have said, I am not sure, though, that his source proves his point. Listing some articles and books through time does little to settle the matter, as there are many, many scholars out there. I even posted one here saying something different. I quoted a source saying the “regular” interpretation is God and Israel at Sinai. The use of the word regular is important there, and contradicts Faithoffather’s claim.

    I don’t want to continue to pile on, but Ps. 82 is hardly a shut case in favor of Mormonism. Far from it. Other verses, and even Ps. 82, make it clear that God is in charge, and that no one comes near him in terms of power and authority. This is a far cry from what LDS believe: “As god is, man may become…”

  7. Kate says:

    Isaiah isn’t the only place in the Bible that says there is only one God. No Gods before Him and no Gods after Him.
    I can understand why LDS men are denying scripture, they have been convinced that they will become the almighty with many wives and a world to worship them, what an ego trip these men are on.

  8. faithoffathers says:

    What a predictable waste.

    I have not made any argument that Psalms 82 supports LDS doctrine. I am attempting to respond to the article at the beginning of this thread. Anybody remember the topic?

    Modern scholars, by a large margin, believe this passage of the Old Testament refers to plural gods in the divine council. The list I offered before demonstrates the trend effectively in scholarly understanding of the passage. I added to the list from Hamblin. No amount of ad hom attacks on Hamblin changes a thing.

    Here is a typical statement from one of these scholars, Michael Heiser, in the intro to one of his paper on the topic, “The dominant critical consensus since the late nineteenth century holds that Israel’s faith evolved from polytheism or henotheism to monotheism. ”

    Another statement form another scholar: “It seems clear enough…that Moses was not a monotheist. Yet, to call him a polytheist seems inaccurate too. We can conclude that Moses stood somewhere between totemism and monotheism. A term to describe this position is henotheism.” – H. Keith Beebe

    Another: “The Israelite tribes were heirs to a religious tradition which can only have been polytheistic. ” – Yehezkel Kaufmann

    Albrecht Alt, Bruce Vawter, Anthony Phillips, Theodore C. Vriezen, Carl Mosser, Cyrus Gordon, Anthony Hanson, Jerome Neyrey, W.S. Prinsloo, Lowell Handy, Elmer Smick, William Brownlee, Max Weber, Theodor Gaster, and countless others support the interpretation of Psalms 82 as referring to multiple gods on the divine council.

    Instead of jumping into fifty other topics at your request, I think the simple fact that the majority of modern scholars agree with the claim that ancient orthodox Judaism included the recognition of multiple gods is to be established. I am not telling you that you guys must agree with those scholars. I am simply pointing out what the cumulative evidence supports according to most scholars. And that near consensus among scholars contradicts the article in this thread.

    Your refusal to acknowledge the scholarship on this topic is what I am talking about when I speak of double standards. You insist on accepting the opinions of non-believing scholars when it comes to the Book of Mormon, etc. But when it comes to your own faith claims and the Bible, you jump ship and only recognize as valid the opinions of “believing” scholars.

  9. falcon says:

    WOW! You just made my day!!
    The fact that you are recently out of Mormonism is a real confirmation to those of us who labor in this vineyard aren’t wasting our time. It’s not that I’m claiming that we had anything to do with your exit, but it’s very encouraging none the less.
    I would suggest you get a copy of “The International Inductive Study Bible”. You would find the approach outlined in that study Bible to be of great help to you. Here are some of the basics:
    In order to interpret the Bible accurately use these guidelines:
    1. Remember that context rules.
    Context “that which goes with the text.” a) the surrounding verses, b) the book in which it is found, c) the entire Word of God.
    2.Always seek the full counsel of the Word of God.
    When you know God’s Word thoroughly, you will not accept a teaching simply because someone has used one or two isolated verses to support it.
    3. Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture.
    The best interpretation of Scripture is Scripture. All Scripture is inspired by God: it is God-breathed. Therefore, Scripture will never contradict itself. Sometimes, however, you may find it difficult to reconcile two seemingly contradictory truths taught in Scripture. We have finite minds and therefore we may not totally understand the tension between something like “the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man”.
    4. Don’t base your convictions on an obscure passage of Scripture.
    5. Interpret Scripture literally but be aware of the literary styles within the Bible.
    Historical-Acts, Prophetic-Revelation, Biographical-Luke, Didactic (teaching)-Romans, Poetic-Psalms, Epistle (letter)- 2 timothy, Proverbial-Proverbs.
    6. Look for the single meaning of the passage.
    Don’t twist verses to support a meaning that is not clearly taught.

  10. MJP says:

    Mapleleaf, if I may, I’d add that as a new Christian its important to get connected to a good church and a good group of believers. You ask for principles God would like us to utilize, and I am not sure there are principles in the sense that there are specific things to do. They don’t exist, as far as I know. I happen to believe a person can be a good Christian all by himself without ever being baptized, partaking of communion, or even going to church.

    However, God did create us for community, with Him and with others. Therefore, prayer, reading the Bible, and seeking the company of other Christians who can help you along the way will help keep you on track,

    Hope that helps.

  11. falcon says:

    Why do you keep coming here and post if you’re so frustrated? You constantly whine about being maligned and misunderstood. The problem is that we know your game and we anticipate where you are coming from, where you are going and what you are inferring.
    I’ll repeat, the problem for you isn’t that we don’t understand what you are proposing. The problem for you is that we don’t believe it and we bury you in information/evidence that destroys your LDS faith.
    You tried to pull a fast one with your post regarding what certain commentators had to say on the topic at hand. You conveniently wouldn’t provide your source. I was very suspicious. Kate found you out, went and did the research, and obliterated the information you presented.
    Now you whine that you are being misunderstood.
    Again, why are you here? We know the Mormon program inside and out. There’s nothing you can present that we haven’t seen before. Remember, most of those posting here a former Mormons. What, do you think this is their first rodeo? Many of them thought just like you do now but the major difference is that they reached the tipping point where the Mormon alibis, excuses and denials just didn’t work for them any more.
    I’m glad you’re here because it gives us an opportunity to minister to your needs which at this point is to come to an understanding who God is and what His plan of salvation is for you.

  12. faithoffathers says:


    So I should accept the fact that rarely do people actually engage my arguments or what I present- and this is because I am simply wrong and you guys are right? Wow. That is really cool and very convenient.

    Your analysis and conclusion that Kate “obliterated” my “information” is amusing and very revealing. She found somebody who doesn’t like William Hamblin. Wow- such clear obliteration has never been seen before. This is the way you handle all evidences that are presented to you. And it is no shock why and how you are able to dismiss the Book of Mormon without ever reading it. You cannot be bothered with details. I understand you a little better now.

    Does it ever bother you to always ignore information? Seriously? I think it would bother me to no end. But to each his own, I suppose.

    This topic is actually turning out to be very effective in demonstrating the limitations of the critics here when it comes to objectivity and scholarship. You criticize us of blind faith and ignorant following. You might look in the mirror once in a while.

  13. MJP says:


    I think you misunderstand out attention to your claims regarding Ps. 82. I’ll be blunt about it: great, there are folks who think Ps. 82 proves, or at least suggests, that Israelites might once have been polytheistic on some level, but what does that prove?

    Look at the rest of the Bible and Jewish tradition. It hardly supports a polytheistic, or even henotheistic point of view. Michael Heiser might think so, but he has also become an expert on aliens.

    Even if we accept your premise that a majority and growing consensus of scholars accept a council of literal supernatural gods, it ultimately proves little concerning our faith, and for that matter, yours. If it is your faith in question, the apostasy took place long before the early Christians messed it all up. If it is your faith in question, according to Ps. 82, all other gods could die, including Jesus as a son of the Most High.

    So, again, being blunt here: what is it you hope to accomplish by proving that Ps. 82 means there was a council of gods? I can’t see that it accomplishes much, and that’s allowing it to be true. I am not sure your belief that a near consensus of scholars believes as much.

    Do tell us how and why this proves multiple gods exist.

  14. faithoffathers says:


    My intent is to simply show the double standards among our critics. You are very willing to abandon scholarship when it suits your needs. But when it comes to approaching the Book of Mormon or my faith claims, you stand firm with the approach of atheists and non-believers in the pseudo-intellectual appeal to perceived physical evidence. That really is my main point.

    And actually, the vast majority of the evidence from different fields supports the early henotheistic nature of Judaism. It was only after the Jews were taken into Babylon that they adopted a strict monotheistic faith. I would think that would be something significant for those who believe in a religion based in large part on the writings and teachings of Moses and Abraham. And considering Christ’s quotation of Psalms 82, it has significant implications for Christianity as a whole.

  15. Kate says:


    Actually all I did was copy your list and paste it into Google. I read the SHIELD article first and then the other one. There were only two websites listed for my search. I didn’t go out and find someone who doesn’t like Dr. Hamblin. If you would have read either link you would know that Dr. Hamblin contacted James White on Psalms 82. Yes, you did add one more scholar to his list. Bravo. Why didn’t you provide your source when asked? Are you aware that Dr. Hamblin had been told by your leaders that his work would not be considered serious scholarship? Were you aware of his resignation? Is this why you wouldn’t disclose your source? I didn’t know that until grindael brought it to my attention. Even without that information Dr. Hamblin sounded like a quack to me.

    For me, scholars can have opinions and theories that I am fascinated with studying, but the ultimate truth and final say is God’s word. I linked to a list of passages that say that there is only one God. How the LDS just dismiss those is beyond me. Mormons are masters at cherry picking one line or one verse and creating entire doctrines around them. This is exactly what they are doing with Psalms 82.

  16. MJP says:

    So, you’re major point is to show that we have double standards. This is to say you don’t really have much, in the end. I am not aware of any Christian who would say that our faith, in the end, is not based on faith. We cannot prove it any more than you cannot prove yours. This is a truth that I am more than willing to concede, and have conceded before. This is not new.

    However, when it comes to scholarship, shall we compare notes on elements of our respective faiths that suggest they are true? This includes the charge that the Jews developed a monotheistic view?

    Again, I am not sure your strategy here gets you much. If indeed we both hold double standards, as you suggest, are you any better off?

  17. faithoffathers says:


    It is funny that you equate this list with Hamblins scholarship. Look through the list and search those sources. That is the point. And I have added many more sources and authors.

    You seem to be looking for any reason to dismiss the point I am making. And in doing so you remove yourself even further from the reality of my point. The bottom line is that modern scholarship shows that until the second temple, Orthodox Judaism included the recognition of multiple deities.

    No amount of ad hom attacks or distraction will change that reality.

    MJP- you suggest I too employ double standards. Care to explain how that is so? Because I disagree completely.

  18. falcon says:

    It’s obvious to all of us that you are living in a parallel universe of your own creation. You’re not even rational.
    People don’t engage you? Are you serious?
    You are so typical of those who are caught in a cult and have had their thinking processes altered.
    You wrote:
    “And it is no shock why and how you are able to dismiss the Book of Mormon without ever reading it. You cannot be bothered with details. I understand you a little better now.”

    So let’s say I did an analysis of the BoM for you. Took Smith’s creation apart bit by bit. Sliced it, diced it and marinated it. What would you say then? Come on you know what you’d say. You’d say that my analysis doesn’t count because I didn’t pray about it, right? And then if I said I did pray about it, you’d say I didn’t read it with humility and sincerity. And if I told you I was sincere and humble, you’d say I have to keep reading it until I believed it and if I believed it to be a true actual history of an actual people recorded on some gold tablets, then you’d be satisfied, right.

    We have all these former Mormons here who read the BoM believed it but then found it to be false. Do you accept what they say about Smith’s creation. No!
    You’re just playing games. You have substandard scholarship and nothing but TBM emotion driving your poor attempts at defending your false religion.

  19. MJP says:


    Avoiding my questions and points, are you?

    I could care less if the charge is only that we have double standards. Its irrelevant. However, double standards: you love to claim we always butcher your faith but it is so very clear how little you understand ours. More on topic, you love to present scholarship calling into question our views but avoid like the plague anything that dismisses yours. Further, despite all the evidence corroborating the Bible, you dismiss the book as being tampered with through time, even though there is not one copy of the plates used to create the BoM. All of these involve a double standard. There are more.

    Now, since the charge of double standards has been addressed, whether you accept them as accurate or not, please address the relevant claims in my above posts.

  20. Kate says:


    We wouldn’t be having this conversation if you would have been up front and honest about your source. I was curious as to where you were getting your information. You hardly ever supply where you get your information, even when we ask for it. Too bad if I found your source and he is discredited by your own leaders and not seen as a serious scholar.

    Apostle James Talmage was a respected LDS scholar. He disagrees with you and your list of scholars.

    “In his book Jesus the Christ he agreed that Jesus was referring to divinely appointed judges when he wrote, “Divinely Appointed Judges Called ‘gods.’ In Psalm 82:6, judges invested by divine appointment are called ‘gods.’ To this the Savior referred in His reply to the Jews in Solomon’s Porch. Judges so authorized officiated as the representatives of God and are honored by the exalted title ‘gods'” (p. 465).

    So once again we are faced with believing you or your apostle.

    Stop complaining about the topic. You brought us to Psalms 82.

    Oh and before you use Michael Heiser’ s name in support of your LDS interpretation of Psalms 82, you may want to read this. He says Mormons are not using his material responsibly.

    I also read his piece at the Maxwell Institute. He makes points for and against both sides. Tell me again who this guy is and why we should all trust his opinions or theories?

  21. jaxi says:

    I am really confused on why it would matter if some or many Israelites were henotheiestic. Wouldn’t that just show that many had diverted from the true faith. Isn’t that why the Biblical prophets had to put them back on track? And I am not sure why sometimes God being referred in the plural would matter. Wouldn’t that be support for the trinity as a plurality of persons? Three hypostasis’ but one God. I read this article today on how in order to convey truths about the “true God” phrases that were used to describe false God’s, such as Baal, were used. (example:God who rides the clouds) It was used as a bridge to bring people to the true faith. In my study of Roman history I see the same thing as Christains used pagan phrases that would be fitting scripture wise for the Christian God. Again, used as a bridge to bring people to the true faith. Kind of like the Mormon phrase, “you bring some of your truth over and we’ll add on it.” So I guess I am a little lost on what FoF’s point is. I feel like I am really missing something.

  22. falcon says:

    I guess if I was going to read the BoM I’d want at least a photocopy of the original. I hear that such a thing is available.
    Why would I want to read a corrupted version that has almost 4,000 changes some of which directly affect doctrine?
    It’s apparent to me that FOF’s version of Mormonism went into apostasy a long time ago. Actually it’s gone into apostasy several times.
    FOF you have no credibility. You don’t even have the original BoM that substantiates that Smith was pretty near Christian orthodoxy in his view of God.
    Why in the world would I want to read the BoM when even the original is a fraud?
    I’ll tell you what. Maybe you could supply us all with those magic glasses Mormons have to wear in order to be able to believe all of this nonsense.

  23. Rick B says:

    FoF said

    MJP- you suggest I too employ double standards. Care to explain how that is so? Because I disagree completely.

    O where do I begin?
    Lets see, you give Falcon a hard time because he never read the BoM. Yet I have said many times, I have read all 4 standard works, I have been to many LDS church services, Even sat in one a few months ago when an LDS apostle spoke. Spent two weeks in Utah touring the entire temple square. And read MANY other LDS books, lost count of how many MM I have had a my houses over the years.

    Yet according to you this means Nothing. It means Nothing? So then if Falcon read the BoM, it would mean Nothing to you right? Only unless as he said, He believes it.

    Lets see what else, You claim evidence for the BoM exists, yet when I ask for it, you make excuses as to why you cannot be bothered to post it. Others have asked, only to hear more excuses.

    When I’m asked for evidence, if I make excuses then you get upset, yet I dont make excuses, If I mention it, I provide it. Do you need more examples of double standards? I think you do, here are a few more.

    YOU LDS are adamant that the Trinity doctrine is false and from Hell, if we mention it you guys go on and on about how false it is and we are wrong. So we have a serious four part topic covering the trinity, then we barley get a word out of you LDS in part one, then parts 2-4 pretty much nothing. Then when asked about this, we are told, it is no big deal and nothing major to bother debating.

    Really, not worth debating? When it is not a serious topic you guys cant keep quite about how you feel on the subject, when it is a topic, we cant get a word out of you on the topic, sounds like a double standard to me.

    Same with Adam God. When its not a topic, Your positive BY did not mean what He said, yet when it is a topic, You cannot be bothered, and you feel we cannot really know what He meant. You need more?

  24. grindael says:

    I am simply pointing out what the cumulative evidence supports according to most scholars. And that near consensus among scholars contradicts the article in this thread. Your refusal to acknowledge the scholarship on this topic is what I am talking about when I speak of double standards. You insist on accepting the opinions of non-believing scholars when it comes to the Book of Mormon, etc. But when it comes to your own faith claims and the Bible, you jump ship and only recognize as valid the opinions of “believing” scholars.

    This is simply fantasy. There is no “cumulative evidence”. Please provide us with exact quotes of EVIDENCE that states that the ANE Hebrews used the Hittite or Canaanite myths to base their theology on. Now, we will need HEBREW documents for you to prove this. Please provide them FOF or shut up. Every single modern day scholar that tries to re-interpret Psalms 82 (and other passages in the Old Testament) does so based on the Ugaritic Texts, but it is still all SPECULATION, because there is NO PROOF. Please consult all of the scholars FOF, and answer me this one simple question. Please, I’m sure with all the “current scholarship” out there, (that we are “ignoring” or “refusing to acknowledge”) that this will be a slam dunk for you. Ready?

    How can a 6th century BC post-exilic Jew (or Jews) write with such detailed accuracy concerning the religion of a society which ended 500 years before he lived? Do tell us, FOF, how the post-exilic authors became so familiar with the Ugarit pantheon, despite never having been contemporaries of the Ugarit society. Take your time. Quote the “scholars”. Let us know what PROOF you have that we are “not acknowledging”. I’m dying to know who has made this great discovery.

    Hint: This is what you will have to overcome, which NO SCHOLAR HAS SO FAR,

    By what mechanism would the latest texts preserved in the Hebrew Bible still reflect Canaanite imagery? (This is the argument that your scholars are advocating: that these vestigal elements were expunged by the “post-exilic redactors”) So, how would they have been preserved? By oral tradition? By gold or brass plates? By a rock in a hat? Remember, these Old Testament texts aren’t supposed to have been written prior to the exilic-era, according to the scholarship to which you are appealing. You have 5 centuries to cover by some mechanism or other to connect the Ugaritic Texts to the Hebrew Bible. Good luck with that. Until you can do this FOF, then shut up with your arrogant assumptions that we are ignoring the “evidence” (there is none) and are “refusing to acknowledge” the scholars you keep appealing to.

    Even Michael Heiser who Mormons love to quote, denies that Israel ever practiced the polytheism that Mormonism teaches. Which is what this argument is all about. He wrote,

    ‘Whereas other ancient Near Eastern religions showed only glimpses of the monotheistic idea,83 Israel alone was consistent in holding to monotheism.’ (‘Deuteronomy 32:8 in Light of God’s Divine Council in the Hebrew Bible’, Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (2001): p. 62, 66, 74).


    ‘Israel did not believe that Yahweh should be viewed as the supreme god only because of his deeds on behalf of Israel. The canonical authors considered Yahweh to be in a class by himself. He was “species-unique.”54 In briefest terms, the statements in the canonical text (poetic or otherwise) inform the reader that, for the biblical writer, Yahweh was an אלהים , but no other אלהים was Yahweh—and never was nor could be.

    This notion allows for the existence of other אלהים and is more precise than the terms “polytheism” and “henotheism.” It is also more accurate than “monotheism,” though it preserves the element of that conception that is most important to traditional Judaism and Christianity: Yahweh’s solitary “otherness” with respect to all that is, in heaven and in earth. (Michael Heiser, ‘Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible’, pages 21-24)

    Now read Psalm 82 (NRSV)

    1 God has taken his place in the divine council;
    in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
    2 “How long will you judge unjustly
    and show partiality to the wicked?Selah
    3 Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
    maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
    4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
    deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
    5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
    they walk around in darkness;
    all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
    6 I say, “You are gods,
    children of the Most High, all of you;
    7 nevertheless, you shall die like mortals,
    and fall like any prince.”[a]
    8 Rise up, O God, judge the earth;
    for all the nations belong to you!

    In pagan literature gods may die, but in Hebrew literature immortality is a defining feature of a god (otherwise reading ‘gods’ in Psalm 82 makes no sense)

    Then, Deuteronomy:

    “When the Most High apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods (Deut. 32:8; NRSV).

    These “gods” who, according to Deuteronomy 32, govern the nations of the world are the “the host of heaven,” in Deuteronomy 4: 19-20:

    “And when you look up to the sky and behold the sun and the moon and the stars, the whole heavenly host, you must not be lured into bowing down to them or serving them. These the LORD your God assigned to other peoples everywhere under heaven; but you the LORD took and brought out of Egypt” (Deut. 4:19-20)

    Why not “bow down to them’? Because they are not really gods, or divine beings, they are pagan teraphim, or the heavenly “gods” of the Egyptians or others.

    Definition of “sons of god”:

    ‘Divine council Consisted of the “sons of God,” a council of angels which surrounded God and served as his deliberative assembly’ (B L Bandstra, ‘Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible’, 1999)

    בְּנֵי אֵלִים Ps. 29:1; 89:7, “sons of gods,” by an idiom of the Hebrew and Syriac syntax, poet. for “sons of Gods,” i.e. angels. (Gesenius, W., & Tregelles, S. P. (2003). Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures. Translation of the author’s Lexicon manuale Hebraicum et Chaldaicum in Veteris Testamenti libros, a Latin version of the work first published in 1810-1812 under title: Hebräisch-deutsches Handwörterbuch des Alten Testaments)

    …cf. בני (ה)אלהים = (the) sons of God, or sons of gods = angels Jb 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 Gn 6:2, 4… (Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (2000). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon)

    Heiser again,

    The evolutionary view argues that these two verses describe Elyon (“Most High”) giving Yahweh His portion among the nations—Israel. There are two deities in view; Yahweh is one of the sons of Elyon.One obvious retort to this perspective is the parallel passage of Deut 4:19-20. In verse 20 Yahweh is not given Israel by any higher deity—the text specifically says Yahweh “took” (לקח) his own inheritance. This is cast as a sovereign act and would seem to nullify the assumption of two deities. It is at this point that the card of the presumed dating of Deuteronomy and its parts is played:

    Deut 5-26 (8th-7th centuries, into time of Josiah; this is the core of the book)
    Deut 27-28 (added in exile as explanation for exile; curses and blessings with clear exilic flavor)
    Deut 1-4, 29-34 (added after exile, but chs 32-33 considered originally independent and pre-exilic12)

    One notices immediately how Deut 1-4 are conveniently dated as post-exilic, and Deut 32-33 are likewise conveniently considered “independent and pre-exilic.” Those who see Deut 1-4 as post-exilic would say that the reason Deut 4:19-20 has Yahweh taking his inheritance and no mention of other gods is that Israelite religion had evolved away from that belief by the end of the exile.

    Another argument used to prove an older, polytheistic theology in Deut 32:8-9 is the fact that at some point the original reading “sons of God” was altered to “sons of Israel” as in MT. Verse 43 also contains a reference to plural gods that was removed from MT. We know about these removals because of the Qumran material (echoed in LXX by aggeloi, viewed as a deliberate downgrading of the gods to angels in the wake of the rise of pure monotheism).

    Regarding the first weakness, the understanding of אלהים I covered earlier undercuts any perceived “need” to rid the text of a plural אלהים reference. The biblical writers and both the texts of MT and LXX retain a number of references to plural אלהים, even in late texts. I would argue the reason is that they thought of אלהים as indicating residence in the unseen spiritual world. Additionally, though I agree that at some point a scribe altered the original reading, the facts of the matter are that no one knows when the deletion occurred and why, especially when other instances of divine plurality are left untouched. Those who want an evolution to monotheism assume the deletions happened near the point of the monotheistic leap. There is no evidence for this, as the earliest textual data we have are the Qumran scrolls. We don’t have textual fragments of the MT reading from Qumran, so it could be easily argued that the Qumran material preserved the true reading and the alteration was made much later, at the time when MT as we know it was created (ca. 100 AD; Tov) in the process of textual standardization. And even if such evidence was forthcoming, it would not address why the change was made. We literally have to read the dead scribe’s mind for that. Finally, in regard to the LXX and aggeloi, my thoughts are sketched in the handout as Appendix 1. It is simply a fact that LXX is uneven in its treatment of plural אלהים, as it uses the plural of θεος and υιοι θεου in passages where the Hebrew would be plural אלהים. The uneven use of aggeloi cannot be coherently defended as indicating a theological shift in Jewish thinking about divine plurality. The Qumran material also mars that picture due to the numerous instances of plural אלהים, often in divine council contexts, in those texts.

    2.3.2. Distinguishing Yahweh and Elyon

    Moving on to whether Yahweh and Elyon are separated in Deut 32:8-9, I have addressed this issue in an article, so what follows are summary points, with some new criticisms.13 First, I asked a moment ago on what grounds Deut 1-4 were to be dated as post-exilic, yielding the neat evolutionary movement toward monotheism. The most exhaustive work on Deuteronomy 32 to date is that of Paul Sanders, who devotes seventy pages to the issue of inter-textual links between Deut 32 and other portions of the Hebrew Bible. He finds pre-exilic and post-exilic elements in the chapter, so the picture is hardly neat and self-evident. The real answer to, “On what grounds?” seems to be “because that is the way the evolutionary trajectory needs to flow.” In other words, the answer assumes what it seeks to prove.

    Second, I think it is worth noting that Deut 32:8-9 never actually says Yahweh received or was given anything. We simply read:“But Yahweh’s portion was Israel; Jacob his allotted inheritance.” These are verbless clauses. The idea of Elyon giving the subordinate Yahweh his portion actually has to be read into the passage. It is nowhere stated. This is allowing one’s presuppositions to guide interpretation. Third, Deut 32:6-7 utilizes vocabulary associated with El and Baal in Ugaritic material to describe Yahweh. This is no surprise since, as is well known by Hebrew Bible scholars, the biblical writers associated epithets and other descriptors of both deities with Yahweh, a phenomenon at times used as evidence for an original Israelite polytheism. By all accounts in critical scholarship, this conceptual fusion occurred prior to the 8thcentury BC. But note that this fusion is not a fusion of Elyon and Yahweh, but of certain attributes of El and Baal with Yahweh.14

    Fourth, presuming a source-critical approach to the Pentateuch, I have to wonder what scholars who distinguish Yahweh and Elyon on the basis of Deut 32:8-9 do with the J source. Specifically, is J later than Deut 32? Had J evolved to monotheism? I raise the issue because the event Deut 32 draws upon for the division of the nations is Gen 11, part of the J source. J has Yahweh doing the dividing. Israel is not mentioned since it does not yet exist (cp. the Table of Nations). The J writer has Yahweh call Abram in the next chapter to begin raising up his own portion, Israel. How could J have missed the polytheistic outlook known to whoever wrote Deut 32? I can imagine the response would be something like, “Well, that was just the way J had it and the final redactor failed to reconcile J and Deut 32, or didn’t care about a contradiction.” Once again, psychologizing the author on the way to assuming what one seeks to prove is
    the method du jour—and blaming a bungling redactor always helps, too. I have to admit that the evolutionary view is not moved by these inconsistencies, though. Those who hold that view are convinced in large part by the assumption that the global kingship of Yahweh over the nations allotted in Deuteronomy 32 is a late development—at least exilic if not after. This notion is absolutely crucial to the evolutionary view. Without it, there is little in the way of an evolutionary pinnacleto reach, and the logical coherence of distinguishing Yahweh and Elyon in Deut 32 and Psa 82 utterly implodes.

    Psalm 82 is part of the Elohistic psalter, and so it is assumed that where אלהים is used for a singular deity the psalm originally read Yahweh. The first verse would then have Yahweh standing in the council of El (the high sovereign in Ugaritic religion, associated by the biblical writer as Elyon, “Most High,” in verse 6). The verb (נצב) is often used in texts whose genre is the covenant lawsuit and depicts one standing before a judge to bring a charge against the plaintiff. In Psalm 82 Yahweh is presumed to be playing the role of prosecutor, decrying the corruption of the gods of the council. The judge of the council lawsuit is then presumed to be Elyon since it is presumed that we cannot have a single deity be both prosecutor and judge. When the reader comes to verse 6 the prosecutor Yahweh refers to the gods as “sons of the Most High (Elyon)” not as his own sons. This allegedly implies a separation of Yahweh and Elyon, which would be in concert with Yahweh as prosecutor and Elyon as judge in the scene. The last verse is then read as the psalmist pleading for Yahweh (אלהים in the Elohistic text) to rise up and inherit the nations after judging the gods in verse 7. The implication is that Yahweh was not previously viewed as the global sovereign of the nations. The psalm therefore casts this as a new idea and a shift in Israelite religion.15 Not surprisingly, the psalm is taken as post-exilic. Thus Israelite religion evolved to kill off the gods and the divine council in favor of the new monotheistic innovation, where no god but Yahweh existed.

    2.5. Distinguishing Yahweh from Elyon: Psalm 82

    This viewpoint suffers from problems of coherence and a failure to account for the evidence for the belief in Yahweh’s supremacy over the nations and their gods in pre-exilic texts

    In conclusion, the purpose of this paper was to highlight the major arguments used to assert the evolution of Israelite religion from polytheism to monotheism. I advocate rejecting this view because the arguments are based on flawed presuppositions brought to terms like אלהים and passages like Deut 32:8-9 and Psalm 82. My own view is that the biblical writers affirmed an unseen world filled with אלהים, but that term is not to be linked to a specific set of attributes that would result in a denial of the ontological uniqueness of Yahweh and his exclusive worship—and that this was the theology of the biblical writers throughout the time of their writing. However, I would not say that all Israelites or even a majority believed this at many points in Israelite history. Both the Hebrew Bible and the archaeological remains inform us that there was a broad spectrum of beliefs about Yahweh and his nature among the people. As is the case today, despite the fact that all Jews and Christians have full access to the books they consider canonical, there is still diversity of belief about God. How much more in ancient Israel?

    And the Bible affirms that there were those that worshipped other “gods” IN ERROR. You don’t have a leg to stand on FOF. I can quote more. So “all the scholars” really don’t agree with your interpretation now, do they, FOF? (Many thanks to Kevin Graham for some of this material).


    Bravo. Read my extended post. It destroys FOF’s arrogant assumptions about “evidence”, and shows that Heiser totally rejects Hebrew “polytheism” and it’s Mormon interpretations, along with the redaction theory of modern scholars concerning emendations to rid the Bible of references to polytheism. All you have to do is ACTUALLY READ HEISER’S WORK, something that probably doesn’t occur to those who claim that we know nothing about this.

    Jaxi, right on. I elaborated on your point and this is exactly the point that Heiser makes that some Mormons (who live in the bubble) love to ignore.

  25. fifth monarchy man says:


    I still trying to understand your argument. Apparently you hold that Israel was polytheistic. Do you think that the passage in Isaiah can be read in a polytheistic way or do you believe that the bible simply contradicts itself?

    To put it another way

    When God in Isaiah says that there is only one God does he actually mean that there are billions of them? Or was he just wrong?

    I’m really trying to wrap my head around what you are trying to say. I just don’t get it.

    I don’t believe The liberal scholars that you are quoting would hold that the Bible is consistent with itself but surely you would hold that it is. Wouldn’t you?


  26. fifth monarchy man says:

    grindael quotes one of FOF’s preferred scholars


    This notion allows for the existence of other אלהים and is more precise than the terms “polytheism” and “henotheism.” It is also more accurate than “monotheism,” though it preserves the element of that conception that is most important to traditional Judaism and Christianity: Yahweh’s solitary “otherness”

    end quote:

    It is precisely Yahweh’s “solitary otherness” that Isaiah is expounding and defending in the passage that is being discussed

    If FOF’s chosen liberal scholars grant the very point at issue then why even bring psalm 82 up?

    There is no reason as far as I can tell

    That is why I can’t for the life of me see FOF’s argument to be any thing more than an attempt to change the subject


  27. MJP says:

    Fifth, that’s precisely what it is, though couched in an effort to highlight our “double standards” (his own admission that his point was to demonstrate “these”) which in an of itself does nothing to move the discussion forward. It ends up being a distraction, a method by which he can puff up his chest. Its a comparison to attempt to make the point that we are bad and dishonest, and so we can’t be believed.

    All of that keeps him from having to address the points we have made.

  28. falcon says:

    Does anyone know if we’ve ever had a Mormon post here who was actually in a position of authority within the local ward or stake? Why was I wondering this? Well it seems that we get a lot of TBM LDS apologists wannabees. You know the type. They hang around FAIR/FARMS and basically repeat the talking points from these organizations who really have no authority within the Mormon hierarchy.
    I think it’s because those who actually have some “meaningful” calling within the LDS sect are too busy to hang around websites like this making a very bad case defending Mormonism.
    But here’s the good news. Those who are in the process of questioning their Mormon faith have an excellent opportunity to compare and contrast information presented on this site.
    Who was it…….was it you Kate?……………who said the information provided by FAIR/FARMS was so convoluted in its reasoning that it did more to drive you out of Mormonism than keep you in it.

  29. MistakenTestimony says:

    So this topic shows that Bible teaches strict monotheism by quoting some passages from Isaiah. This is of course specifically targeted towards LDS monolatrian polytheism.

    While FoF is attempting to show that the Bible teaches polytheism he makes this claim, “There is truly a near consensus on the idea of ancient Israel acknowledging more than one God.” Kenneth then challenged FoF with, “Do you have any evidence to support this claim, faithoffathers?” Then for his proof text he uses Psalm 82. The conversation continues until he more narrowly says this, “The bottom line is that modern scholarship shows that until the second temple, Orthodox Judaism included the recognition of multiple deities.”

    Now keep in mind that he is originally arguing for LDS monolatrian polytheism, but what he ends up specifically defending is pre-second temple Near Eastern henotheistic polytheism. Monolatrianism is not henotheism. LDS monolatrianism is that there are a near infinite number of gods but there is only one god over this world which all of this world’s creatures can pray to alone. Near Eastern henotheism is that each of the worlds nations have their own pantheons of gods and each nation is aware of the others’ gods but only pray to their own. The position he was defending initially is now not the position he is currently arguing for, as the conversation has refined.

    LDS monolatrian polytheism is absolutely NOT Near Eastern henotheistic polytheism. And even so he admits that this was no longer the practice of the Israelites after the second temple era. The absolute best that he can do is argue for ANY form of polytheism, a tenuous and self-defeating tactic at best.

  30. fifth monarchy man says:

    Mistaken Testimony said,

    LDS monolatrian polytheism is absolutely NOT Near Eastern henotheistic polytheism.

    I say,

    This is an important point. That is why I had such difficult trying to understand FOF’s argument

    All along I assumed that FOF was actually trying to present some sort of evidence that LDS beliefs had biblical support and that were being inconsistent in our appraisal of it.

    But actually he was just throwing cow patties to see if they would stick

    I could completely agree with these liberal scholars that the Bible is fiction written in the postexilic period and still consistently hold that there is only one God and the Mormonism is patently false.


    I could continue to hold the orthodox Christian view that God is consistent and the Bible is true so therefore there is only one God and the BOM is pure fiction.

    Either way I would be completely consistent and Mormonism would still be false.

    Where is the double standard again????


  31. Kate says:

    “Who was it…….was it you Kate?……………who said the information provided by FAIR/FARMS was so convoluted in its reasoning that it did more to drive you out of Mormonism than keep you in it.”

    I don’t remember saying this but I may have. It didn’t take very many trips to those sites for me to know they didn’t know what they were talking about. Some of their explanations were pretty far out there and some were quite comical. I don’t know how anyone can take them seriously.

  32. grindael says:

    Perhaps FOF is having more problems commenting again.

  33. falcon says:

    Good post. I had to read several of your sentences two or three times; and that’s not a criticism!
    What you wrote is what I’d call a “great catch”. It’s an excellent explanation of what we are dealing with here regarding the nature of God.
    I keep going back to God’s call of Abraham. What was the point of that? Was it that this particular god was more powerful than the other gods and wanted Abraham to acknowledge that and follow him?
    No it was that all of the other “gods” were strictly not gods, they were idols.
    In Ephesians 6:12 Paul alludes to powers and principalities in the heavenly places; Spiritual forces that we as Christians battle against.
    In Daniel 10:13 we are given a glimpse of what these spiritual forces might be that Paul writes about.
    Could it be that there is a spirit of Mormonism that we battle against? Did Joseph Smith simply make-up the story of an “angel” appearing to him or did some sort of spirit being, a “god”, appear to him? Given what Smith evolved into, it’s not at all farfetched to suppose he was led by spirit entities that would lead him away from the Living God and begin to teach men that they could become “gods”. He was well steeped in folk magic, use of seer stones and the practice of second sight vision. There are dumb idols, occult symbols, depicted on some Mormon temples. The temple rituals themselves are occult based.
    Is it any wonder that Mormons like FOF fight tooth and nail to preserve their belief in their god who has promised to make them gods. The devil has used the same playbook since the time of Adam and Eve and he keeps running the same couple of plays over and over again. Some folks never catch on. Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God to fight this spiritual battle. Interestingly, that armor is all defensive to protect us except for the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God!

  34. mapleleaf says:

    Falcon & MJP
    Thank you for the suggestions and the encouragement. I have found a Christian Church that I have been attending. I was born into a LDS family and it is all I have known for 42 years – so it is sometimes difficult understanding the bible without the mormon twist and putting it into true context. I think the study bible you suggested would be very helpful. Thanks again – and thank you for what is happening on this blog it did have a huge impact on my decision to leave – so please don’t stop.

  35. Kate says:

    Maple leaf,

    I too was born into an LDS family. I started questioning and stopped attending church at 38. I resigned at age 40. After 6 years I still find Mormonism in my thinking once in awhile. I have spent more time in the Bible the past six years than the entire 38 years before that. Keep reading it, really study the parts that Mormonism twists and ask God to help you. My Pastor gave me a CD by Chuck Missler called Learn The Bible In 24 Hours. That really helped me. I love that Chuck gives opinions of other scholars as well while he’s teaching. This CD really showed me how the Bible has God’s fingerprints all over it and that it can be trusted. It truly is Mormonism that mistranslates it.

  36. faithoffathers says:

    I have not argued or made any attempt to claim modern Biblical scholarship supports the LDS theology, despite the convenient claim of many here. That claim is an attempt to distract from my real argument- something I have stated multiple times.

    My argument is that modern Biblical scholarship supports the claim that the Bible does not support only a monotheistic theology. In fact, most modern Biblical scholars agree that ancient, pre-exile Orthodox Judaism recognized the existence of more than one God. And as I stated previously (attention grindael), I really am not interested in debating the details of the evidence on this. Grindael is pounding his chest because he can post one side of Heiser’s paper. That’s great. Such a debate is beyond the scope or capacity of this forum. I intentionally included Heiser because he is an evangelical Christian who even agrees with what I am saying. I see you made no attempt to explore any of the other authors.

    Note the sentence in the introduction of Heiser’s paper- “The dominant critical consensus since the late nineteenth century holds that Israel’s faith evolved from polytheism or henotheism to monotheism.” He is supporting my claim precisely.

    I like how the claim here is that I am now quoting the “liberal” scholars. As if to dismiss the modern scholars as some type of heretics. Ultimately, this is the strategy employed the critics of the Book of Mormon, etc. They are happy to hold hands with atheist “scholars” when it comes to the Book of Mormon, but when it comes to Biblical scholars- you will only accept opinions from believing Bible scholars. And this is, as I stated previously many times, a very important double standard that is worth recognizing (if one is interested in balance, objectivity, and truth).

    And no- the motive is not to paint any of you as evil or bad. It is to show that you are not consistent, reliable, or objective when it comes to approaching or evaluation the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

  37. MJP says:


    And I’ll still ask: where does that leave you? What does that prove? By bringing us down, what have you accomplished?

  38. faithoffathers says:


    Do you recognize the hypocrisy in that question?

  39. MJP says:

    Answer my question, FoF.

  40. fifth monarchy man says:

    FoF said,

    Ultimately, this is the strategy employed the critics of the Book of Mormon, etc. They are happy to hold hands with atheist “scholars” when it comes to the Book of Mormon, but when it comes to Biblical scholars- you will only accept opinions from believing Bible scholars.

    I say,

    please provide an example of when someone on this forum “held hands with atheist scholars” when it comes to the book of Mormon. I am genuinely interested. I for one would never intentionally rely on the scholarship of an atheist unless it was accepted by both me and you.

    For that matter I would never present the opinion of anyone scholar or otherwise as evidence against Mormonism or anything else. To do so would be to commit a logical fallacy

    opinions are like belly buttons everyone has one but they don’t prove anything.

    you say,

    And this is, as I stated previously many times, a very important double standard that is worth recognizing (if one is interested in balance, objectivity, and truth).

    I say,

    I don’t recall anyone here ever relying on the opinions of atheists for their arguments against Mormonism . Please provide some evidence for this serious charge.

    thanks in advance


  41. Rick B says:

    FoF said

    It is to show that you are not consistent, reliable, or objective when it comes to approaching or evaluation the historicity of the Book of Mormon.

    How is this possible when no evidence even exists proving the BoM? You claim it does, but then wont tell us what it is and you claim it is a waste of time to do so. What a joke. Also no Atheists have ever set out to prove the BoM false and converted due to the serious amount of evidence. But this has happened with the Bible.

  42. Mike R says:

    Fof F said : ” I have not argued or made any attempt to claim modern Biblical scholarship
    supports the LDS theology….”

    That is laughable . Everyone here could see what you were attempting to convey by citing these
    sources .
    So tell us then : is the correct interpretation of ” gods” in Psalms 82 celestial beings or human
    judges ? I want to YOU to pray and ask the Holy Ghost to reveal the correct interpretation and
    then tell us . Otherwise stop your diversion and get back to what Sharon shares with us from
    Isaiah .

    You said , ” it is to show that you are not consistent, reliable , or objective when it comes to
    approaching or evaluating the historicity of the Book of Mormon.”

    That’s an incredible accusation coming from someone who claims that his leaders have taught
    that Jesus has existed forever as a perfect God . But have these men been consistent in teaching
    this ? NO . So are they reliable ? Are you reliable ?
    Practically every time you make an accusation against those here it’s a classic case of
    the pot calling the kettle black .

  43. fifth monarchy man says:

    FOF said,

    I like how the claim here is that I am now quoting the “liberal” scholars. As if to dismiss the modern scholars as some type of heretics.

    I say,

    Here is the deal, to deny entirely the historicity of scripture is to place yourself outside the mainstream of orthodox christian scholarship. That is just a fact it’s not controversial. Scholars that claim that the the Bible is fiction might be smart they might even be correct but they are certainly not orthodox.


  44. faithoffathers says:


    The true comparison I am making has to do with whether a scholar is a believer in the book about which he or she is providing an opinion. In other words, of the scholars in the fields of research relating to Bible (anthropology, archaeology, etc.), there are those that believe in the faith claims of the Bible and those that do not. In the same way, there are scholars in the same fields who have provided opinions on the historicity of the Book of Mormon- some of whom are believers in the Book of Mormon, some (probably most) are not.

    The double standard to which I allude is that the critics here who dismiss the Book of Mormon will almost always rely upon the opinions of scholars who are not believers in the Book of Mormon. On the other hand, when considering the Bible, the same people will rely almost exclusively upon the opinions of scholars who are believers in the faith claims of the Bible.

    Do you see what I am pointing out?

    There are very well respected and trained archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, and historians who believe in the historicity of the Book of Mormon and who have provided analyses on related evidences. But because these folks are members of the church or believe in the Book of Mormon, almost every single critic will dismiss their opinions categorically with no thought.

    If these same people are consistent and are willing to consider only the opinions of “non-believers,” I guarantee you that they will have a hard time finding expert opinions from non-believing scholars who support the claims of the Bible.

    This is such an enormous bias that is at the heart of almost every single criticism leveled by critics of the Book of Mormon.

    I just received in the mail yesterday the brand spanking new 800 page book Mormon’s Codex by John L. Sorenson. It is the end result of over 60 years of research in Mesoamerica and the Book of Mormon. Sorenson is a well respected anthropologist in the mainstream of his profession. There is not likely a person on the planet who has evaluated more of the physical evidences in Mesoamerica AND the text of the Book of Mormon. Sorenson has applied the very same methodology used by William Dever in his analysis and review of the data relating to the Bible that has been such a boon and support to arguments supporting the Bible. Yet BOM critics routinely dismiss anything produced by Sorenson on Mesoamerica and the BOM because he is a member of the church.

    What is most common is for the critics to rely upon people like Michael Coe, a famous and well respected Mesoamericanist who has dismissed the Book of Mormon as a product of the 19th century. The problem is that he actually knows very little about the actual claims of the book- this was demonstrated in an interview by John Dehlin. Coe made many comments that made it very obvious that he actually is quite unfamiliar with the real claims of the book. But the critics will choose his opinions every single time over Sorenson’s.

    And that is precisely what I am talking about.

    I have used the word “atheist.” It is probably better and more clear to use the word “non-believer.”

  45. fifth monarchy man says:


    I don’t think you understand my point. Opinions are not evidence. Full stop

    It does not matter if the opinion is from a believer or non-believer it is by definition subjective and therefore out of bounds when it comes to argument.

    If you have evidence that the BOM is history things present it. Things like names and dates and and artifacts count as evidence opinions even scholarly ones do not.

    We as Christians will be more likely to agree with the opinions of fellow believers but I would hope that we would not base our arguments on opinions believing or other wise.

    Please provide evidence that folks here rely on opinions of any sort for their arguments


  46. MistakenTestimony says:


    I will play your game.You are now trying to create a different argument by saying that the whole time the debate has been over the hypocrisy of cherry-picking scholasticism. However, the OP is regarding strict monotheism and you were originally arguing that the Bible teaches polytheism. The conversation has not been over scholasticism until late. You believe the Bible has been corrupted, correct? You believe the Book of Mormon to be pure and undefined and the cornerstone of your religion, correct?

    Prove from the Boom of Mormon that the Lehites and Jaredites were polytheists of any variety.

  47. MistakenTestimony says:

    You are arguing for polytheism in the Bible…

    1) because you are a polytheist,

    2) not because you want to demonstrate that Christians have sloppy scholarship.

    Don’t derail the OP.
    Prove from the Book of Mormon that it’s civilizations were practicing polytheists like yourself.

  48. MistakenTestimony says:


    You said, “What is most common is for the critics to rely upon people like Michael Coe, a famous and well respected Mesoamericanist who has dismissed the Book of Mormon as a product of the 19th century. The problem is that he actually knows very little about the actual claims of the book- this was demonstrated in an interview by John Dehlin. Coe made many comments that made it very obvious that he actually is quite unfamiliar with the real claims of the book. But the critics will choose his opinions every single time over Sorenson’s.”

    This comment is further proof that the Internet is not much better than a bathroom stall that anybody can write whatever they want. Show me just one Lehite/Jaredite artifact to vindicate Sorenson and discredit Coe.

  49. faithoffathers says:

    Mistaken Testimony,

    This is from the first of my posts on this thread. I think you need to back up and see what it is that I claimed:

    “It is beyond the scope of this forum, but most modern scholars would argue that these passages to not mean what the evangelical Christians say they mean. The majority of scholars believe the passages do not support strict monotheism. But that is beyond the scope of this forum.”

    The discussion has indeed taken a turn toward the topic of sources and scholasticism. But I initially referred to “the majority of scholars.” Grindael has quoted one scholar and thinks the game is over. That same scholar agrees precisely with my initial claims about “the majority of scholars” on this thread.

    Regarding the Bible- I simply do not believe it is what the evangelicals here believe it is. It is a collection of sacred and inspired writings from prophets of the past. It is in no way complete, final, or perfect despite what many of the folks here would say. I think it is very much overstating my position to say that I believe the Bible is “corrupt.”

    One of the primary differences in the Book of Mormon and Bible from my perspective is the fact that every person in the chain of people who had care for the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated is known and accounted for. So from the creation of the plates by Nephi (and Mormon) to the person who translated the text by the “gift and power of God,” a prophet of the Lord had care for the record all along. And that is very significant to me.

    With the Bible, we cannot name one person who had possession of the record from the creation of any of the books to a post New Testament time. That does not bother some people. While it doesn’t bother me, I think it is a significant fact.


    If opinions don’t matter, why do all the critics rely so heavily upon the opinions of scholars in their dismissal of the Book of Mormon? Of course opinions matter. And the best opinions come from the people who are most informed, best trained in their fields, and most objective. Every interpretation of the data is going to contain a hefty does of bias and/or opinion. To think otherwise is naive.

    You can pick any line of argument against the Book of Mormon- DNA, archaeology, geography, history, etc.- every argument against the book that appeals to “evidence” is going to include interpretations of the primary data from scholars. And it works both ways. Every argument for the book will include the same elements.

    Presenting data or evidence that support the Book of Mormon takes a great deal of thought, effort, and organization. Part of the reason for this is that most people do not have the background to make sense of the data. And much of the challenge is providing enough background and context and comparisons to allow people to see the picture. And every step in that process is guaranteed to elicit protests and diversions from the critics. I have tried many times, and I know what I am talking about.

    For example, I can present an argument that shows that there is no DNA evidence that “proves” the Book of Mormon is false (any argument that uses the word “proof” is fundamentally flawed from the “get-go”). But that will inevitably result in a fight over statements from early church leaders about where it all took place and where the Hill Cumorah is. On top of that, very few people understand the DNA data from which the “scholars” have extrapolated their arguments against the BOM. I do. But that never matters.

  50. grindael says:

    Now why would anyone want to trust Sorenson and his wacky theories? This may explain it to you.

    Also this by Simon Southerton about DNA (and he DOES understand it better than you think FOF).

    Mormon who disagrees with Sorenson.

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