The Mormonism Research Ministry website is filled with resources to help people gain a broader understanding of the Mormon Church, including its doctrines and history. The website also offers resources to help Christians prepare to reach out to Mormons or those investigating Mormonism. Among other things, MRM has prepared pdf files of three “Redi-references” that can be printed out and placed in a Bible or in Mormon books, ready and handy to help you quickly find the verse references or page numbers of issues you would like to discuss with your friends.
The Book of Mormon Redi-reference lists (among other things) several areas in which the Book of Mormon disagrees with current Mormon doctrines, providing “addresses” where these contrary teachings can be found. For example,
The Book of Mormon teaches God is unchangeable, not a former human being-
- Moroni 7:22 (p.522) God is from everlasting to everlasting
- Moroni 8:18 (p.526) God is unchangeable from all eternity
- 3 Nephi 24:6 (p.455) I am the Lord I change not
- Mormon 9:9,10 (p.485) God is the same yesterday, today, & forever (Heb.13:8)
- Mormon 9:19 (p.486) God changeth not
The Doctrine and Covenants Redi-reference alphabetically lists over 40 problematic Mormon teachings, false prophecies and contradictions found in this book that Mormons consider scripture. For example,
- Adam is Ancient of Days (Sec. 27:11;138:38)
- Bishops and Associates to be paid by the church (Sec. 42:71-73; 52:13,14)
- Civil War Prophecy (Sec. 87 – Great Britain didn’t call on other nations, slaves did not rise up against their masters, war did not pour out upon all nations)
- Elijah and Elias two different people (Sec. 110:12,13)
- Emma Smith to be destroyed if she does not accept polygamy (Sec. 132:54 – She never did and lived to be 74 years old)
- Oliver Granger Prophecy (Sec. 117:12 – Little is known of this man)
The Miracle of Forgiveness is described by Bill McKeever as “one of the best books written by an LDS general authority that clearly exposes Mormonism as non Christian.” The Miracle of Forgiveness Redi-reference compiles over 30 traditional Mormon teachings found in the book. These can be used to help Mormons understand that the Mormon “gospel” system for forgiveness is really an impossible gospel. For example,
- Man must perfect himself to become as God – p.2
- Hope and desire do not translate into works – p.8
- List of transgressions the Lord condemns – p.25
- Covenant breakers described as wicked – p.57
- Trying is not sufficient – Parable of the army officer – p.164
- Forgiveness canceled upon reversion to sin – p.169
- Cannot sin again and again and expect repeated forgiveness – pp.170 & 360
- Salvation by grace alone a fallacious doctrine originated by Satan – p.206
Lest anyone misunderstand, MRM does not provide these Redi-references (or any other information) merely to be argumentative. As Eric Johnson explains,
“The main topic on mrm.org is dealing with the topic of Mormonism from a biblical point of view. It may sound to some that we are ‘anti’ Mormons and hate them. This is not the case. We just don’t believe Mormonism is true, which is why we do our best to present the evidence to support our position. At the same time, our goal is not to get someone to leave Mormonism and then head toward atheism or agnosticism. There really is a Jesus who loves His people very much! He desires a relationship, which is why Jesus came to this earth and became a man so He could die for our sins.”
Though not a Redi-reference, at this MRM webpage Eric lists 10 reasons why a person ought to consider becoming a Christian. Please visit the page and consider these reasons – either for yourself, or to share with and challenge others.
Christians, be ready for every opportunity–and may God be glorified.
Let’s look at a couple of the things in the BoM Redi-reference, which have been addressed before.
First, you wrote –
To understand why this is not a contradiction you need to look at it from an LDS view, not your Trinitarian view. We are taught that we are Gods in embryo; ie, we are the same ‘species’ as our Heavenly Father. Look at the embryo of any species on this earth, can it change species? Can a human embryo become a dog after (or even before) embryogenesis? No, nothing can change species, even from the gamete stage. If we make it to the Celestial Kingdom and achieve the power to create other worlds and populate them, just like our Father (God) does, and we are the same ‘species’ as Him, then have we changed our intrinsic characteristics? Have we become another ‘species’? No. We started out as Gods without the power and we are still Gods at the end but with the power. Just like a child does not have the power to procreate until it grows up. Nothing changes in its intrinsic characteristics. So this understanding you have pushed onto the LDS doctrine by saying that “The Book of Mormon teaches God is … not a former human being” is wrong. Nowhere does it say that He was not a human being – but nowhere does it say that He was: but we teach that we are of the same family as He is.
Alma 24-28 And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth. And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yea. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth?
Ammon here is using something that the Lamanite king is used to and then referring back to the proper God, just like Paul did in Greece in Acts 17:23 when he said that he saw the alter to the unknown god and that he, Paul, is now going to teach the Greeks about this God they worship in ignorance. Paul used one of the Greek pantheon and said it was God and that the Greeks were already worshipping Him.
Alma 22:9-11 9 And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem? And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this? And he said: Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words. And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king—how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen.
This again is Aaron using something the king can refer to and then substituting in the proper thing.
In both references Ammon and Aaron only use the phrase ‘Great Spirit’ once when asking the kings about their beliefs, then they go on to use God: but it was the kings that brought up the ‘Great Spirit’ first.
So it does not teach that God is a spirit, it teaches that the Lamanites believed in a Great Spirit before they were taught about God.
Hello Ralph, I don’t have enough time right now. I’ll come back later if no one else does the following first:
1) God not human: need to look at the context of the quotes and see if Ralph’s take really works in those contexts
2) “Does not change”would seem to include “getting the power”or a “glorified body”. Now everyone is a god, just without power, Ralph? I thought Joseph went too far with defying the “gap”between God and humans. Ralph wants us all to be gods now-even Joseph didn’t completely remove the line. Ok so one species that is more our less godlike to our understanding, so now God is not God just a really strong human with authority over us because we hot the spirit bodies he and his spirit wife/wives procreated. But this makes it even stranger. We’ve wondered why a LDS god in a glorified physical body produces only spirit bodies but now there is no qualitative change from human to god according to Ralph’s explanation so now it’s worse-a human/god has just become stronger and smarter and somehow “glorified”without any real “change”/qualitative difference and yet, no longer can reproduce physical bodies but only spirit bodies. Really, Ralph?
But I’m getting away from myself…
3) Ralph I feel like or trinitarian view has nothing to do with this topic. We do have a different view, but it’s only in what “same” and “not” and “change” mean especially considering the “difference” between “mortal”and “immortal”, “corruptible”and”incorruptible” (Bible), “glorified” and “not”, physical body producing and spirit body producing.
4) while the BoM doesn’t mention God not being a man, neither does it say that men can become (or should it say “increase or develop”, not “become”, into) gods. Strange how that is missing from the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Strange that, in your next example, he never says the Great spirit is spirit in body. Strange that the BoM and Bible both only mention God being a spirit…
Ralph, a quick anecdote for you with a bit of wise warning (even if I do say so myself).
I had a coworker at the Christian bookstore I was working at who I got into a conversation with about the compatibility of the Biblical revelation of God and evolution. In exploring my coworkers way of synthesizing the two ideas, he ended up saying that he thought of evolution as the means by which God “figured out” or learned how he wanted or should best make the human body. I was surprised at this addition to the regular synthesis which usually just says that evolution was just the process God chose to do His creating with. Here my colleague was going even further and saying God did not know or, worse, had to learn the best “design” for humans.
I asked him why he would go this extraneous step if it included making God smaller, less intelligent, and weaker. It was extraneous, unneeded, and pretty much blasphemous. He didn’t have a good answer to that – just that’s what he thought.
Ralph and other LDS readers, I’ll give you a warning of (I think) wisdom similar to what I was trying to get my coworker to consider:
Beware the religion that requires you to think more of yourself and less of God.
May the God That Actually Is have mercy on me, you, and all of us,
Ralph, The Return of…… We must be up to about Ralph 8.0 by this time. But here’s the good thing Ralph. You keep coming back. I am encouraged. I think and pray about you and you family often.
I’m reminded of a vision I had regarding you. I saw this big ice dam and it was holding back this pure beautiful water. The sun warmed the ice and it begin to melt at the top of the dam. The water began to flow quite profusely for a time. Then things cooled and the fissure at the top of the dam froze once again holding the water back.
The sun is the Holy Spirit causing conditions to change so that the Word of God flows at a quickened pace. Jesus called Himself Living Water. He said that whosoever drank of that water would not be thirsty again.
I believe Ralph, when the time is right, God will send His Spirit and the Word will flow and you will receive the Gift of Eternal Life that God is offering you. You will come to know Him as He is. You have a good heart Ralph and even now God is preparing you for that time.
You are defending a book of fiction. No artifacts have been found, no cities have been found, no languages have been found, no signs of any of the events being historical in any way. History is an exact science, if you err on something so basic as the history of human civilization, why would I even consider engaging a serious conversation with you on my “Trinitarian view”? Think about it. Would you seriously engage in a theological conversation with a person who argued that the Lord of the Rings is an actual history of ancient civilization, and for proof claimed it be true by the way it made him feel when he read it? I would, but pretty much I wouldn’t see the conversation as being productive, not if that person has such a completely nonsensical epistemology for a foundation. So be real at least with yourself, move your subjective epiphany to the side and use the same level of logic you used to get your college degree, and admit that the BoM is a work of fiction. Then we can have a conversation on my “Trinitarian view”. Until then, all objectivity and rational discourse will simply be water off of a duck’s back with you.
So you mean to tell me that a child changes in character and species to become an adult and gain the power to procreate? Or is it just a case that they gain the use of a latent power within them? Yes there are some physical changes but they do not change in character or species. Lets get even more dramatic – look at a butterfly: can a caterpillar fly? No, but when it metamorphoses into a butterfly it can. This is not a change in its character because it always had the potential to fly in its genome, it just had not realised it. It needed a trigger of sorts.
As far as thinking more of myself and less of God, do you really know how and what I think? Does me becoming a father mean I think more of myself and less of my father? No, I revere my father greatly and after becoming a father myself I found that I revere him even more. That is how I see my Heavenly Father. If I gain the Celestial Kingdom I will be able to revere Him more than I can now because I will have a greater understanding of Him.
You sound like my high school teachers and my university lecturers that have PhDs, DScs and are assoc.profs, or profs. They have asked me the same questions – how can I believe in a book of fiction where there is very little substantiated in it? Why do I reject science and all of its proofs for that book without any proof of its veracity? Etc! So yes, why would I believe in the Bible over science?
As I keep saying, there is little proof that the Bible is nothing more than historical fiction. Yes, there are kings and cities that can be found, but these are the ones outside of the Israelite nation. There is very little to no proof that the Israelite nation existed until about King Ahab. There has been one reference to a David who was possibly a king or an important man but nothing of Solomon nor the empire they were both to have ruled over. There is one reference found in Egypt about a tribe called the Israelites – it states that they were a hill dwelling tribe that was wiped out by the Pharoah; this is in stark contrast to the Bible story about the Israelites in Egypt. The list goes on, but the main point it – according to many people, the Bible is just as fictional as the Book of Mormon. They are both books of faith for the time being, which is how God wants it to be – we need to have faith in Him, not certain knowledge until He wants us to have it.
BTW everyone – I am not a robot 🙂
“They are both books of faith for the time being, which is how God wants it to be”
False, the true God does not desire blind faith, that is the False Mormon God who demands fideism and testimony as the measure of truth. The true faith rests on Christ being risen from the dead. That is a historical fact, event atheists and Jews acknowledge that the tomb was empty. We say in the Nicene Creed, “For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven.” Everything hangs on this historical event, which happened in this historical kingdom, under this historical ruler. If it didn’t happen then Christianity is a lie. It doesn’t take any level of blind faith to realize that the tomb was empty, it’s simply a historical fact. But where is Zarahemla? I can visit Rome. Where was Cumorah? I can visit Christ’s tomb. There is no evidence Joseph Smith uncovered anything in upstate New York and the LDS religion owns the hill. All that a Christian needs is correct faith in who Christ claimed to be, as we say in the Creed, “God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.” However, Mormons have to have not only faith that Joseph Smith was a prophet, but also that his historical stories ever even occurred anywhere other than in his head. God did not establish a system of “just believe,” he gave us a brain so let’s use it. As the true God himself says, “Come, let us reason together.” And yet your religion teaches that the Bible has been corrupted and that Joseph Smith’s “translation” is a restoration of supposed corruptions, additions, and omissions from the Bible, and yet the archaeological record completely disproves this as false. Believing that Christ was who he says he was is one thing, but it’s a completely different matter to “just believe” that Joseph Smith was a true prophet when everything innovative he taught is completely contradicted by a basic use of mental faculties that are void of the subjective confirmation bias of testimony.
So here we are discussing the very basic, “Who is God?” question with you. I think it would be very important for you to find out because your eternal destiny and that of your family depends on you getting it right.
I may have missed it Ralph but I don’t see where the OT Jews believed in the god of Mormonism. In fact if you do a quick survey of Mormon sects, there are those who don’t believe in the LDS/FLDS god(s). Their doctrine of God pretty much mirrors Christianity and reflects early Mormon thought.
Perhaps a good place for you to start is find an orthodox Jew and explain to him your multiple gods theory, men becoming gods and the god of this planetary system who lives on or near the planet Kolob once being a man.
The problem you have Ralph is that the LDS/FLDS doctrine of god was created out of whole cloth by Joseph Smith and those who followed him. It’s not even good heresy.
I would challenge you Ralph to pray to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. Then read the Bible as a child would with a sincere and humble heart. I’m concerned about your eternal destiny Ralph. You’ve had every opportunity to come to God and thus far have refused His call. You won’t be able to use the “I didn’t know” excuse when you stand before God on that day.
Let’s consider Abraham, the great man of faith. God called him. He responded. This is God as He is revealed in the Bible. One of us has to be wrong Ralph concerning who God is, who Jesus is and who the Holy Spirit is. I rely on the Bible. You rely on Joseph Smith.
So, to the call of Abraham.
With a father who worshiped idols and a city dedicated to wickedness, Abraham was not raised in the best of environments. Yet, when God called, Abraham believed God and by faith followed God’s instructions. Hebrews 11:8, states that: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whether he went.”
Abraham heard the voice of God. There is no hint that when God spoke to him that he questioned who God was. Further, he did not confuse the voice of God with the idols and false Gods that his father worshiped. He knew who was speaking to him. It is apparent that he believed that it was God that was speaking to him and because it was God, he believed the promise that God made to him. Abraham’s call was a call to salvation and a call to service. God called Abraham to eternal life. A new life that began when he by faith trusted God’s Word to him. “Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The call to salvation is a call to a new life. Many miss this truth. Before Abraham, could accept the promises of God he had to believe God and receive eternal life. Hebrews 11:8, says, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Abraham first exercised saving faith and the evidence of his having saving faith was that he trusted what God said. God told him to leave his country, his relatives and his father’s house and go to a land that He would show him. Abraham’s faith was tested and proven in that he did what God said. He showed his faith, by putting his trust in the Lord, and acting upon God’s word.
Ralph did you get that part about not confusing who God is?
I would ask these LDS folks what the source is of their information regarding who God is. It’s obvious they have little use for the Bible and the writings of the Church Fathers.
A few years back, Andy Watson took Ralph right back to the second century and proved to him what the Church was declaring regarding the nature of God. This put the lie to the LDS claim regarding the Emperor and the Council of Nicaea and the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity. There is One God but three persons Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The Son was always inside the Father. He is the Wisdom, the Word. The Father brought Him forth i.e. begotten. The Son, like the Father is eternal. The Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. This is the Godhead.
Now if Ralph wants to believe that there are millions and billions of gods in the universe all former men who by obedience to the LDS system became gods, well I wouldn’t put the destiny of my eternal soul on that. And then we have havenly mother or mothers depending on how many women this man to god managed to procure.
I guess Ralph can believe this Him having free will but at least he ought to know that it isn’t what the primitive Christian Church taught therefore Mormonism, LDS/FLDS type, is not a restoration of anything. It’s just what a man with a magic rock in his hat taught.
First, I did not write what you think, I warned about a “religion that requires you to believe”.
Second, all of your comments have been about interpreting the verses Sharon pointed out differently than we do. You never actually used the actual quotes and their contexts to show how they actually said something different. Instead you claimed, from LDS theology, how to interpret these verses. But, that is eisogesis, not exegesis, subjectively interesting but not really dealing with the verses and their authority, and thus not really dealing with the argument.
That said, lets look at them and their contexts:
Moroni 7:22 (p.522) –
For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.
–Here it is clear that “being from everlasting to everlasting” is related to and, more specifically, is an explanation of “God knowing all things”. Why does God know all things? Because God is or is being from everlasting to everlasting. This obviously means that God HAS BEEN AND WILL BE GOD from forever to forever. Since He has been God always, he knows all things. With other verses, like God being from all eternity to all eternity, LDS like to claim multiples “eternities” as if they are synonymous with epochs, the “eternity” or epoch of this planet/galaxy/universe. But however ludicrous this already is, it’s even more clearly so if attempted with “everlastings”. “There’s the ‘everlasting’ that came ‘before’ the last ‘everlasting’ and there’s this ‘everlasting’ that will come ‘after’ this ‘everlasting’.”
Even if we try to insert Ralph’s suggestions, we would have to understand this as that God knows everything because he has been around forever as at least an intelligence. But, let’s see, intelligences are not all-knowing, spirit-children aren’t, humans aren’t, and non-exalted resurrected beings aren’t either until they attain Godhood. So it would be as if the text was saying, God knows all things because he’s been around forever without knowing everything (and only relatively recently has been omniscient). It doesn’t work.
Look at it another way. If we are not to take this verse as obviously saying that God knows everything because He has been God from everlasting to everlasting, but because he has always existed in some smaller limited lifeform, specifically an intelligence, then we should all know everything, because we are all from everlasting to everlasting as the lower limited lifeform as intelligences. No, the important difference, even in Mormonism, despite Ralph’s attempts, is that God is something different, and His everlastingness is about more than his intelligenceness or his genetics, but rather about his Godhood.
Moroni 8:18 (p.526)-
For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.
–1- Again, “from all eternity to all eternity” is all time or beyond time. If God is “unchangeable” for all time past and all time future, then he never changed.
2-The simple reading is that God has always and will always be God.
3-Granted, the context is speaking specifically to God’s Character. But, the text is assuring the reliability of God’s Character by going to the foundational level of His being. Claiming that He is unchangeable in His being gives confidence that His Character, founded on unchangeable being or existence, is also unchangeable. To claim anything about intelligences being in mind here undermines the very point of the text.
3 Nephi 24:6 (p.455)-
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
–Again, this section is about the Character and ways of God. In the sentence, the sense is given that BY DEFINITION as the Lord, God does not change. For Ralph’s suggestion to work God ought to say, I am the Lord now, I no longer change. Interestingly, Brigham and many others believed and taught that God was still changing, still learning, and that God could stop being God if he did not continue in righteousness. So much for the confidence in his character he is trying to get across in these verses.
Mormon 9:9,10 (p.485)-
For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?
–Again, the context is about the ways of God, in this case miracle working of all kinds. Again, the statement is not simply saying literally only for two days (today and the day before) plus forever more god is the same, but that from forever to forever He is the same, that is He is God from forever to forever.
Again, to try to use the intelligence species as what is forever past and forever future is impossible. We would be the same yesterday, today, and forever in the same way God is. And in direct contradiction of the point of the sentence it would be like saying, God as an intelligence is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow (read “hint”) of changing (except for all those eons of development and maturation and sins and repentance and death and continued progress and exaltation, but at his core [intelligence], not a hint of change…)
Mormon 9:19 (p.486)-
And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
–This is an interesting verse because it seems to be pretty tight around the idea of God being a miracle worker and there doesn’t appear to be the same kind of character-foundational being appeal as in previous verses (or maybe there is, just in reverse). The LDS could conceivably interpret this only from after God became a god – he is now unchanging, now and always a miracle worker, if he stopped acting as a god, he would stop being one. But then, there is this idea of God ceasing to be God based on his actions, or lack thereof. Either God’s very being would change if he stopped miracles or, in total reinterpretation, being a “God” is just a title, a position, and if he stopped miracles he would be demoted. So either God can change – into a God and out of a God – or he is really just a well developed intelligence who earned the title and authority of a “God”, and can be stripped of it.
All of these verses could actually resemble truth. God can really be reliably Good and reliably involved (miracles). He can be all knowing since He really has always been and always will be. He can always be God in the future because He really always has been God in the past. All these verses could have real meaning, give real assurance and induce real awe and appreciation and praise and glory, IF God is actually different from us, actually higher than us, so much different and so much higher, and so much worthy of true praise and true worship. But only if He always was, is, and always will be the One and Only Ultimate, anywhere and everywhere, anytime and all time.
Please think about it.
Here’s something that needs to be addressed that has nothing to do with the excellent evidence based resources debunking Mormonism provided by MRM.
Ralph, for example, believes he has had “spiritual experiences” that solidify his faith in the LDS system. How can we provide evidence that would disabuse Ralph, or any Mormon for that matter, that their subjective feelings aren’t valid and therefore don’t prove the “truth” of Mormonism?
Take for example the very first experience a Mormon has to verify, in their minds, that Mormonism is true. Isn’t it the “burning in the bosom” that is said to confirm all things Mormon, not just the BoM are true?
We don’t discuss it much here, but at some point those who leave Mormonism, must confront their emotions that are said to “feeling the spirit”. That is a big part of Mormonism; feeling the spirit.
I’ve talked about visiting various Mormon historical sites where it’s very evident that what the workers/volunteers are attempting to do is create some sort of emotional response in the visitor; Mormon and non-Mormon alike.
So here we have Ralph, like all dedicated Mormons, who attempt to massage the evidence like that provided in the article above, to fit their belief system based on their “spiritual experiences”. Ralph even uses the strategy (often in his defense of Mormonism) of something being “just like” the Bible, or a Biblical character, for example.
The thinking process goes something like; “OK so it can’t be proven that the BoM is a historically accurate document, but everything in the Bible can’t be proven either”. The conclusion is suppose to be, “therefore the BoM is just like the Bible”. Generally the Mormon will come up with some convoluted reasoning particular to LDS folks to then conclude, “therefore the LDS church is true”.
When dealing with Mormons we have to remember that we’re dealing with people who have a particular manner of thinking driven by emotions. It’s the same kind of mindset of those in other such groups like the Moonies, Scientology, Branch Dividians, Children of God and on-and-on.
When I first started this gig, I thought all a person had to do was provide some evidence based factual information to a Mormon and they’d have that “BONK I should have had a V8” moment. As we all know, it’s not that easy.
The emotions of the committed Mormon run so deep as does the conditioning of the sect, that a recitation of facts and evidence is not enough initially to them coming to Christ in faith. They repeat the “I knows” of Mormonism over and over again in front of an approving crowd on fast and testimony Sunday, it drives the errors in thinking deep.
It’s the mental trap, the emotional hook disguised as “spiritual experience” that keeps many locked-in to the LDS church and Mormonism. The LDS church uses all of the standard cult techniques to sucker people in and then keep them in the sect. One of the most effective techniques to keeping people in is fear of loss if you leave. A dedicated Mormon believes that apostate Mormons are going to go to outer darkness which is the Mormon version of hell. But more immediate is the loss of friendships, family and in some cases employment.
Think about it. Your friends will be your friends only if you’re in the group. What kind of friendships are those? The sect also tries to control access to information. This is also done through fear. The fear is that Satan will lead the member out of the church.
And then there’s the little stories that are told. For example, people leave either because they were offended by someone or because they have fallen into sin. It can’t be that they’ve concluded the church isn’t true. Members are conditioned to believe that no one who leaves the church can ever be truly happy. Such a person will also fall into deep sin within a year of leaving. Why the time line, I don’t know?
But here’s the thing. Despite all of the LDS church’s scare tactics and conditioning, two-thirds of those on the rolls of the LDS church are inactive. I would guess many leave because they haven’t been “Mormonized” and simply get sick of the drag that is the LDS church. Others do come into contact with evidence that convinces them that the “one true church” isn’t all that true.
Interestingly enough, there are those who really dig the program, the people and the structure the life style of Mormonism provides, and still end-up leaving. With these folks, the subjective emotional experiences masquerading as “spiritual” can’t over-come their personal integrity when they begin to notice the cracks in the wall.
I would love to be a robot…
Anyway, I guess I would simply say that a caterpillar is not a butterfly. A boy is not a man. A man is not a god. Boys and men may be humans, but they are not the same. A boy must change to become a man.
So, Ralph, if you claim we are the same “species” as God, what do we call this “species”? Are we all gods already? Or is God merely human?
……………….and think of it. Mormons will claim that what the LDS believes, teaches and practices is the restoration of first century Christianity. But they can’t produce any evidence for that. They even say the Bible is corrupt and can’t be trusted and then quote it in a vain attempt to prove Mormonism.
We all know that Mormonism is a concoction by a false prophet who spun a yarn that some people seem to really like. Forget evidence. It makes them feel good so it has to be true. The feelings have to have been sent by God.
We can trace Christianity back to its roots. There is no Mormonism. To take it further there wasn’t a lost tribe of Jews that sailed to America on magic boats.
The more convoluted and preposterous an idea, the more cultists embrace it.
Ralph , nice try but you fail in your reasoning to be convincing . What this article by Sharon has said about the Book of Mormon is true and it is vitally important for LDS to consider the implications of . In short the Bible and Book of Mormon have been relegated to the ” dead prophets ” position , they have become anemic and lack sufficiency to offer enough truth for a person to embrace in order to gain eternal life . What they teach about God is just one example of this . Mormon leaders are somewhat embarrassed by this but it is of their own doing , the result of Joseph Smith and his successors drifting from the clear truths about God that the Bible and BM teach and introducing new teachings . Teaching about one God morphed into believing in and teaching there are many Gods , Deities above our God and with more dominion than He . The drift continued by teaching that our God was not always God , He was an ordinary male human from another world who attained Godhood , and there is even the teaching that a Goddess Deity plays a part in our world . The Bible and BM teach none of these new “Mormon truths” . Hence Mormon leaders needed to produce additional ” scripture” and gospel teaching which advocated their new beliefs . Being good salesmen they convinced their flock all is well . Sadly the Mormon people bought their claim.
Mormons like to place BM in hotel rooms or give to the public as a way of showing that they are little different than other Christians . However , soon after being convinced by the Missionaries about the BM it does’nt take to long before other information is introduced , information in the way of “modern day” scripture ( D&C ) and also gospel preaching by Mormon leaders , in which the new doctrinal innovations by these men are introduced . The dead prophets of the Bible and BM have served their purpose — they were the bait to attract converts . To gain salvation ( eternal life ) the person must know of and accept additional doctrines , doctrines that the Bible and BM just don’t teach .
For any LDS who may read this thread the following 2 verses are relevant for the latter days and describe what Joseph Smith and his successors succumbed to a few years after the Book of Mormon was introduced as scripture :
From the Bible , see 2 Tim 4:3,4 — drifting from the truths God’s prophets/apostles had taught .
From the Book of Mormon see Jacob 4:14 — running ahead of God preaching doctrines that are not from Him .
Falcon, yeah, I have been to an LDS church and I always get a kick out of the pictures showing Jesus talking in front of darker skinned natives of America. The one practice they are most vocal about putting their hopes in as a reflection of early Christianity is baptism for the dead, even though the evidence is so slim even on that.
But, as we know, Mormons have a logic that is, well, different than ours…
I got to thinking. Would Mormons be comfortable with the BoM being taught as actual history in secondary schools and colleges/universities?
Would they be able to defend the BoM with evidence regarding the accuracy of the book within a secular setting? If the BoM were history, it would be a valuable addition to our knowledge of the early Americas and its inhabitants.
Who wrote the following?
“All men have heard of the Mormon Bible, but few except the “elect” have seen it, or, at least, taken the trouble to read it. I brought away a copy from Salt Lake. The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so “slow,” so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print. If Joseph Smith composed this book, the act was a miracle—keeping awake while he did it was, at any rate. If he, accourding to tradition, merely translated it from certain ancient and mysteriously-engraved plates of copper, which he declares he found under a stone, in an out-of-the-way locality, the work of translating was equally a miracle, for the same reason.”
“The book seems to be merely a prosy detail of imaginary history, with the Old Testament for a model; followed by a tedious plagiarism of the New Testament. The author labored to give his words and phrases the quaint, old-fashioned sound and structure of our King James’s translation of the Scriptures; and the result is a mongrel—half modern glibness, and half ancient simplicity and gravity. The latter is awkward and constrained; the former natural, but grotesque by the contrast. Whenever he found his speech growing too modern—which was about every sentence or two—he ladled in a few such Scriptural phrases as “exceeding sore,” “and it came to pass,” etc., and made things satisfactory again. “And it came to pass” was his pet. If he had left that out, his Bible would have been only a pamphlet.”
Ralph’s explaining of ” species changes” was a red herring . It did’nt address the main point of this thread about the Book of Mormon . Fact of the matter is that when Mormon leaders introduced their new teachings about God they were changing their beliefs about God that they had testified of when using the Book of Mormon in their original Missionary outreach . That’s the kind of change LDS should have seen as a red flag .
Mormon leaders beliefs that sit at the pinnacle of importance today , but which are not taught in the Book of Mormon include Temple/celestial marriage ; baptism for the dead ; Heavenly Mother .
But how important are these ” gospel truths ” ? Some examples :
” only through celestial marriage can one find the strait way , the narrow path . Eternal life cannot be had in any other way . The Lord was very specific and very definite in the matter of marriage .”
[ Spencer Kimball , Church News , 11-11-1977 ] .
Celestial marriage is ” the crowning gospel ordinance ” [ Church Manual — The Gospel Through The Ages , p 118 ]
Is the Book of Mormon very specific and definite about teaching celestial marriage as the crowning gospel ordinance and a requirement for attaining eternal life ? No
The belief in a Goddess , a Heavenly Mother , is a established fact and a fundamental truth in the gospel plan of Mormonism’s gospel . [ Church Manual , The Gospel Through the Ages , p 98-99 ] .
When Jesus came to America and picked men to teach His ” gospel truth ” was belief in a Goddess preached far and wide in teaching the gospel ? If so then this important ” gospel truth” should be in the Book of Mormon . But it is not taught there .
Work for the dead is viewed as ” the greatest and grandest duty of all is to labor for the dead ”
[ Joseph Fielding Smith , Doctrines of salvation v2 p149 ] . Baptism for the dead is viewed as :
” …this most glorious of all subjects belonging to the everlasting gospel …” [ D&C 128 :17 1842 ].
If the Book of Mormon teaches the true gospel of salvation then the ordinance of baptism being the most glorious of doctrines in that gospel as well as the grandest duty of all LDS to do , given that kind of importance it should be taught repeatedly in the Book of Mormon . It is’nt .
The fullness of the everlasting gospel is in the New Testament . What Jesus’ apostles preached was powerful enough ( sufficient ) to save everyone who heard it preached , accepted it , and bowed before it’s author — Jesus . Rom 1:16 ; Heb 7:25 . That very same gospel still saves today .
Sadly sincere people fall for the salesmanship of latter days prophets who have new teachings said to be from the same Jesus who sent out Paul and the other apostles . These types of prophets and their latter days gospels are to be expected because Jesus pre warned us about them — Matt 24:11 .
People wishing to follow Jesus simply don’t need the Book of Mormon , and they especially don’t need today’s Mormon leaders . Mormon leaders not only succumbed to running past the truth about God and salvation which are taught in the Bible , but they drifted from what the Book of Mormon teaches about those issues also .
The Mormon people deserve better guides .
We pray God to open their eyes and come to Jesus alone to start a new life .
Falcon, I’ve a post in mod, but I enjoyed Twain’s take…
Mike, yup. That’s about right…
I noticed a typo in my last post . Under point #3 in the paragraph that starts with ” If the Book of Mormon …..” it says ” baptism ” when it should have read , ” baptism for the dead ” .
I don’t know if Mormons do this any more but one of their tactics was to claim that the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C. supported their claims of the BoM being an actual history. I haven’t heard that lately because it’s been slapped-down by the Smithsonian. Mormon folks have all sorts of urban legends and as one is widely discredited they seem to come up with more. About the only ones to believe these tales are the chapel Mormons who live is a sort of religious fantasy land. Here’s what the Smithsonian said in a reply to an inquiry. I’ll include a link to the source at the end.
“One of the most aggravating things in talking to Mormons is that when their claims are refuted, they promptly come back with such statements as, “But later facts have changed all that, arid now it is viewed differently,” or “But we have read other books which show scholars now agree with us.” Of course these “other sources” are never with them and not specifically pinned down either.”
“Recently Titus Edwards (who preaches for the Hessville church in Hammond, Indiana) and I had a discussion with a couple of Mormon elders. Several times they referred to the Smithsonian Institute as having material on hand confirming the Book of Mormon. When we showed them a statement by that institution printed in 1959 completely disavowing any support for the Book of Mormon, they promptly came back with the statement that events within the last ten years had completely reversed the Institution’s position, and that our information was now completely out of date.”
“So, finally, in order to get off ground “zero,” Brother Edwards and I decided to write the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. (Dept. of Anthropology) and ask for their “latest” position. Unfortunately, the two Mormons discontinued the study before our reply returned. However, in case you are also answered as these Mormons answered us, here is the reply I received in the mail as of March 16, 1978. 1 believe it is more than adequate.”
Read the Smithsonian reply here. It starts this way:
Your recent inquiry concerning the Book of Mormon has been received in the Smithsonian Department of Anthropology.
The Book of Mormon is a religious document and not a scientific guide. The Smithsonian Institution does not use it in archeological research. Because the Smithsonian Institution receives many inquiries regarding the use of the Book of Mormon as a guide to archeological researches, and in connection with Mormon statements about the origin and relationships of the American Indian, we have prepared a.”Statement Regarding the Book of Mormon,” a copy of which is enclosed for your information. This statement includes answers to questions most commonly asked about the Book of Mormon.
If the BoM makes someone feel good that’s a sure sign that it’s true and the LDS church is true and the current prophet is true and on-and-on. Well wait a minute. Doesn’t the FLDS claim the same things? Good feelings equal truth. Bad feelings equal not true. Feelings are spiritual in nature. Mormons are fond of saying things like, “I could really feel the spirit”. Interpretation? That made me feel good so it must be the spirit. There’s no other cause for the ambiance other than that it is spirit driven.
PBS had a couple of shows on with songs and performers, flash backs, from my youth. It all made me feel really good. So that means what?
In a feelings driven religion that shapes evidence to reinforce the feelings, it’s really pretty difficult to get to the truth. If I invited a Mormon to a Christian worship service with a lot of praise and worship choruses and they made the Mormon feel good, would they then conclude that whatever was going on there and the theology of the group was true?
It’s incumbent on an LDS member to not ask questions. First of all the answers might make them feel bad. Secondly, this could lead them to doubt the truth of Mormonism. This would make them feel bad. Can something that makes us feel bad be true?
Here’s some excellent advice.
Understanding how Mormons “know what they know” is vital for Christians to comprehend if they hope to have effective dialogue with members of the LDS Church. Those Christians who have spent a considerable amount of time discussing spiritual issues with Mormons soon come to learn that there are many differences in “epistemology,” which means how we come to know and understand things. The Bible encourages the believer to use reason along with faith. For instance, Isaiah 1:18 tell us that the Lord invites us to “reason together” with Him. Mormons oftentimes see reason as a detriment to true faith. I don’t think I can count how many times Mormons have told me that my difficulty in accepting Mormonism was due to the fact that I was using “man’s reasoning.”
Mormons often want prospective converts to pray about “feeling” truth, which is why I question Mormon epistemology. The 2004 handbook utilized by the Mormon missionaries confirms my conclusions. According to page 39 in Preach the Gospel, “In answer to our prayers, the Holy Ghost will teach us through our feelings and thoughts…Heavenly Father will answer their prayers, typically through feelings of their hearts and thoughts in their minds.”
During one of many visits I’ve made to Temple Square, a young Mormon missionary asked me, “How do you feel when you are on Temple Square?” I paused, and speaking very deliberately, I said to her, “Quite honestly, I feel grieved.” I am sure that was not the answer she was expecting, but considering the context of our discussion I have no doubt she understood the intent of my answer. Now, if “the Holy Ghost will teach us through our feelings and thoughts,” why didn’t she accept my feelings to be just as valid as her own? We were clearly at a “testimony stalemate.” But yet, we both couldn’t be right. This is why it is important to move from the level of the subjective to the level of reason when speaking to our LDS friends.
It’s obvious to me that the Mormon emphasis on “feelings” can be explained by the roots of the religion. What informed and shaped Joseph Smith were his family and close friends involvement in folk magic and the evangelical revivals of that era. Consider this:
“In the first half of the 19th century, America experienced a renewed interest in religion. Contemporaries noted that throughout the United States revivals of religion were regularly occurring. The signs of this phenomenon were increasing church memberships, missionary zeal at home and abroad, and the proliferation of religious meetings during the week. Frontier regions in particular were scenes of the most emotional revivals. Indeed, in Kentucky, the Rev. James McCready held the first camp meeting in July of 1800.i Perhaps the most intense and dramatic example of revivalism, and certainly the best known, occurred in upstate New York, in “the burnt-over district.” However, like the rest of the nation, New England too witnessed its share of religious revivalism in its many forms.”
The area Smith was from was said to be burnt over because of the number and intensity of the revivals. Grant Palmer, author of “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins”, explains that the BoM contents is a study in Methodist revivalism. In fact he says that the eight preachers in the BoM were classic preachers of these revivals. He talks about one incident in particular where a very sick preacher coming to the end of his days is a perfect model for King Benjamin in the BoM.
Subjective emotional experience may be enjoyable, but it’s not much of a reliable test for truth.
Here is an interesting observation by Grant Palmer regarding the idea that feelings testify to truth.
“One of the most emphasized teachings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is found in the oft quoted passage found in the Book of Mormon: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moro. 10:5, emphasis added). In this verse we see a move away from the Holy Spirit’s role of testifying of things Christ, as taught by Jesus in the New Testament, to the idea that one can know the truth about anything–about “all things.” An extreme example of this teaching within the Book of Mormon is when Nephi stated: “I did obey the voice of the Spirit, and took Laban by the hair of the head, and I smote off his head” (1 Ne. 4:18). A more recent example of a Mormon being influenced by this teaching is when Ron and Dan Lafferty received a “revelation” of the “Spirit” to kill Brenda Lafferty and her infant child because, like Nephi’s rationale, Brenda was interfering with the future progress of their religious movement.”
“The Holy Spirit may well tell a person the Book of Mormon is true because it testifies and brings a person to Christ, who is the Truth, but not whether the Book of Mormon’s theological doctrines are true. For example, does the spirit that is felt when reading the book mean that it confirms that God and Christ is the same being or that man is more evil than good —both doctrines taught in the Book of Mormon, but later reversed by Joseph Smith? Since Mormons now believe that God and Christ are two separate beings, and that man is more good than evil, taught since the early 1840’s in Nauvoo by Smith, which confirming spirit is a true one? Nor does the Spirit confirm the truth or falsity of whether the Book of Mormon is a real record of a historical people of the distant past. The Holy Spirit testifies of all things Christ, not “all things” as Joseph Smith taught in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants.”
Ralph said, “We are taught that we are Gods in embryo; ie, we are the same ‘species’ as our Heavenly Father. Look at the embryo of any species on this earth, can it change species? Can a human embryo become a dog after (or even before) embryogenesis? No, nothing can change species, even from the gamete stage. If we make it to the Celestial Kingdom and achieve the power to create other worlds and populate them, just like our Father (God) does, and we are the same ‘species’ as Him, then have we changed our intrinsic characteristics? Have we become another ‘species’? No. We started out as Gods without the power and we are still Gods at the end but with the power. Just like a child does not have the power to procreate until it grows up. Nothing changes in its intrinsic characteristics.”
Earlier I was reading St John of Damascus. Writing in the eighth century he said the following:
“All things that exist are either created or uncreated. Now, if things are created then it follows that they are definitely changeable, for things whose existence originated with change must also be subject to change by either corruption or voluntary alteration. But if things are uncreated then they must be consistently and definitely unchangeable, for things that are opposed in the nature of their existence must also be opposed in the manner (that is to say, properties) of their existence. Who, then, will not agree that all existing things, and not only those that fall within our senses but even the very angels, are subject to change, transformation, and movement in various ways? The things pertaining to rationality—namely angels, souls, and demons—are subject to changes of the will by either progressing or regressing in goodness, or by either exerting or slacking themselves; whereas other things change by generation or corruption, increase or decrease, or quality or spacial movement. Consequently, things that are changeable must definitely be created, and created things must be the work of some maker, and the maker must be uncreated, for if he had been created he also certainly would have been created by someone, and so on until we arrive at something uncreated. Therefore, the Creator is uncreated and entirely unchangeable. And what could this be other than God?”
There are truly no new heresies today, only repackagings of the same heresies that the Church had already anathematized in the past.
I fudged a sentence in my translation. “Who, then, will not agree that all existing things, and not only those that fall within our senses but even the very angels, are subject to change, transformation, and movement in various ways?” should read, “Who, then, will not agree that all things that fall within our senses, including even the angels, are subject to change, transformation, and movement in various ways?”
This is very good. It’s the John Ankerberg program and his guests are Sandra Tanner, Mike and Lynn Wilder. It’s pertinent to our discussion. It last about 28 minutes.
Here’s the second part of the above program. It’s worth the time to watch.