Mormon (LDS): Email Defense of the Gospel, p. 5

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>>>How come, when Laban was decapitated by Nephi, Zoram was fooled by Nephi who pretended to be Laban, despite the obvious fact that Laban’s blood would have been all over his clothes that Nephi was now wearing?

I would expect that the amount of blood on the clothes would depend on the exact circumstances of how the beheading occurred, the angle of the body relative to the ground, the slope of the ground, etc. Since you and I weren’t there to witness the event, it’s hard for us to do much speculation about the matter. Nephi did say that the Lord had delivered Laban into his hands, so I would expect that the Lord would intervene such that Nephi would be able to wear Laban’s clothes and appear to Zoram to be Laban.

>>>How come in the original version of D&C 137, Micheal and Adam appear as separate beings, even though in LDS teaching, they are the one being?

D&C 137 describes a vision beheld by Joseph Smith. The vision was first published in the Deseret News on September 4, 1852. The wording of that article is the following:

I saw Father Adam, and Abraham and Michael and my father and mother, my brother Alvin that has long since slept, [Dean Jessee, The Papers of Joseph Smith, vol 2, p 157.]

An editor, knowing that Michael was Adam, felt that the sentence did not make sense and modified it. The modified version was published in the Millennial Star and History of the Church and was incorporated in our present version of the D&C.

I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept; [D&C 137:5]

So, your question is, why did the original version refer to two Adams, “Father Adam” and “Michael Adam”. The answer is that some early church leaders when this vision was first published in 1852 used the term “Adam” to refer to both our Heavenly Father and our earthly father, our earthly father being Adam who was married to Eve. For example, Heber C. Kimball, counselor to Brigham Young, said the following about the vision.

This brings to my mind the vision that Joseph Smith had, when he saw Adam open the gate of the Celestial City and admit the people one by one. He then saw Father Adam conduct them to the throne one by one, when they were crowned Kings and Priests of God. I merely bring this up to impress upon your mind the principles of order, but it will nevertheless apply to every member of the Church. [JD 9:41, Heber C. Kimball, March 17, 1861]

Notice that Heber Kimball referred to two Adams. First, Adam, husband of Eve, opened the gate of the celestial city. Next, our Heavenly Father, Father Adam, conducted them to the throne. We think of Adam as being the physical father of this earth. Using the word “Adam” to refer to two different personages is unusual today, but is interesting to think of Heavenly Father as the “Adam” or Father of His creations. As I said, this use of the term “Adam” was used by some of the church authorities, but apparently the editor of the Deseret News wasn’t familiar with it.

If, in the original version, we substitute “Heavenly Father” for “Father Adam” and put “Adam” in brackets to clarify that Michael and Adam are the same personage, we have

I saw Heavenly Father, and Abraham and Michael [Adam] and my father and mother, my brother Alvin that has long since slept

A description of a wonderful vision!

>>>How come the Nephites had “liquors” although this violates the Word of Wisdom?

The Word of Wisdom is not an eternal principle. It is a policy. When it was first revealed to Joseph Smith, it was not given as a commandment. It was, if my memory serves me, made a commandment during Brigham Young’s time. As I’ve explained previously, we expect policies to change as conditions change.

>>>Moreover, in D&C 89, one is promised that they shall run and never weary and the angel of death shall bypass them, even though LDS do “become weary” and die. despite the fact they observe strictly the WoW?

The phrase “run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.” is a poetic phrase. For some people it may have a physical meaning, while for others it may have a spiritual or a metaphorical meaning. One person for whom the meaning was physical was Creed Hammond, a LDS athlete for Penn U who disobeyed his coach. The night before the track event, the team members were nervous, and their coach asked them to drink a glass of wine to settle them down. Creed refused to drink the wine. The next day, he was the only member of his team who could run (the others were sick), and he set new records.

Section 89 of the D&C didn’t say LDS wouldn’t “die”. It said, “the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them.” (I just want to be accurate about the wording used). Again we have a poetic phrase that could have a literal or a metaphorical meaning, a physical meaning or a spiritual meaning. One way of interpreting that phrase is to generalize that persons with good nutrition will likely have fewer health problems.

>>>Why do BofM prophets speak often in the past tense when describing how Christ would come and save them, etc when they pre-dated Christ?

Why do historians today use the present tense in describing historical events of long ago? Tradition! In addition, Revelations 12:11 teaches that the effect of the Savior’s atonement was retroactive back to before our world was created. Hence, it was proper for the BofM prophets to use the present tense, because the atonement was in effect.

>>>How come certain words in the text are “translated” (e.g. Bountiful and Desolation — these common English words were hardly the name given tto lands by Nephites/Lamanites) while others are not (e.g. Zarahemla, etc). The English equilivent would be: translating English to German and calling one city (e.. Salt Lake) “Salz-See-Stadt”, giving a German native the impression that one American city had a German name, while calling another just simply “Provo”.

I don’t know. When I pass into the next life, if I meet the BofM prophets, maybe I’ll ask them. Why is it important to you?

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