Mormon (LDS): My-Forum Defense of the Gospel, p. 6

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>>> Was not Joseph Smith a false prophet? The American civil war prophecy being one example. After all he did say that the civil war would spread to the whole world, something that did not happen.

Sorry, but Section 87 of the D&C does not say that the civil war would spread to the whole world. That section says that beginning with the Civil War, there would be wars that would spread over the whole earth. Wars, not just the Civil War.

Verse 1: Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars [note wars is plural] that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls;

That is, beginning with the Civil War, wars (not just the Civil War) would occur.

Verse 2: And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.

Since the time of the Civil War, we have had wars in all nations, including two world wars, and many police actions in recent times.

>>>According to Doctrines of Salvation, vol 1, p.160: “by fullness of the gospel is meant all the ordinances and principles that pertain to the exaltation in the celestial kingdom…” Celestial marriage is an essential requirement to gain this exaltation, but where does the Book of Mormon mention CELESTIAL MARRIAGE? Or where for that matter, does it mention the word of wisdom, men can become Gods, baptism for the dead, etc??

Keep in mind that we’re talking about language and word definition. Elder Joseph Fielding Smith, in vol 1, defined the word “gospel” in one way. The Book of Mormon defines it in another way. You have your definition of the word, and I have mine. I think that arguments about word definitions are futile.

>>>in Doctrine and covenants section 132 verse 6 god told Joseph smith that polygamy was a “new and everlasting covenant, it was instituted for the fullness of my glory” Unless you believe that God lies or that he doesn’t know what he was talking about, its obvious that the true Mormon Church are the ones in Utah practicing polygamy and the Church of Jesus Christ of Later day Saints is sort of a nock off of the original

The LDS church stopped its practice of polygamy in 1890, but it did not stop its belief in the principle of polygamy when the Lord commands it.

We believe that polygamy was commanded by God and was practiced by a minority of LDS during the 19th century. We believe that the practice of polygamy was stopped by the Lord and that today the Lord does not sanction it. God gives commandments to his children according to their needs and the conditions in existence at a given time. If those conditions change, the Lord may change his commandments or may withdraw certain commandments. The greatest example of commandments being withdrawn is the sacrifice of animals that was conducted during the Old Testament times. The Savior came as the final sacrifice, and the sacrifice of animals today is not sanctioned by the Lord. The Lord commanded the sacrifice of animals, and then when the conditions changed, He withdrew that commandment.

We must keep in mind that when talking about the practice of polygamy, we are not talking about an Eternal principle but are talking about a practice or policy. Eternal principles do not change. Policies do change.

As made clear in D&C 132:1-7, the new and everlasting covenant is not the practice of polygamy. It is the sealing of earthly covenants by the Holy Spirit of promise, such that those covenants are in effect in the next life. The practice of polygamy in the 19th century, and the practice of monogamy today, are not the everlasting covenants. They are practices in how marriage is conducted among the Lord’s people. We build temples today so the sealings spoken of in verse 7 can be conducted according to the Lord’s commandments.

>>>I have a question. I have just started to read the book of Mormon due to a couple of your missionaries visiting me. I wondered why Lehi offers sacrifices to the Lord when they are not Levites. As far as I remember only Levites could perform such a rite according to the bible.

>>>Is there an explanation for this later on?

You’ve brought up an interesting question. I searched the BoM for the word “sacrifice” and found three places where it said the people offered sacrifices according to the Law of Moses (two in 1 Nephi and one in Mosiah).

You’re right that in Palestine, the temple ordinances were performed by descendants of Levi. However, in the case of the Nephites, there were no (as far as I know) Levites among them. Since the Nephites held both the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods, they were authorized to perform the temple ordinances. One of the advantages of having living prophets is that the prophets can inquire of God about decisions to be made, such as performing the sacrifices. If one limits himself to nothing but written scriptures, he can not receive revelations from God about decisions that aren’t covered by the written scriptures. Conditions change, and God’s people need new revelations to prophets to help them handle new situations.

>>>If the current LDS prophet gave a revelation that differed from LDS church teachings of the past, how would a latter-day saint determine which to follow?

God gives us modern-day prophets to reveal His will to us through all dispensations of time. Every group of God’s children given the blessing of a prophet is given the choice whether or not to follow that prophet. We are told to pray and discern by the Spirit of God which teachings and prophets are His.

If the prophet revealed teachings that differed from God’s previous revelations, such as the Bible, I would do as I did when I gained a testimony of the Bible and Book of Mormon: I would ask Him. This is one of the teachings that sets us apart from many other sects. We believe that God wishes us to ask Him to confirm the truth of all that we hear. Then, He has promised that He will reveal the truth to our hearts.

>>>Why are there different accounts of “the first vision”?

I’ve read, if I remember the number correctly, four accounts of the first vision. There are differences among them, but those differences compliment each other by giving additional information. As I read the accounts, I couldn’t see any contradictions among them.

As a general answer to your question, the different accounts were given at different times. It’s common for one to tell a story several times, years apart, and to give different details in the story.

The account given in the Pearl of Great Price was recorded in 1838, eighteen years after the vision. I don’t remember when the other accounts were given. I’m grateful that we have the four accounts, so we have a more complete picture of what happened.

>>>In 1843, Joseph Smith gave an interview to the Pittsburgh Gazette, which was reprinted in the New York Observer on Sept. 23, 1843 In this version, Joseph said he was 14 years old.

That age agrees with the 1838 version published in the Pearl of Great Price.

>>> In 1841, Joseph Smith’s brother William Smith told the story to James Murdock. This account is published in A NEW WITNESS FOR CHRIST IN AMERICA (2:414-415). This account lists Joseph Smith as being 17 years old when he received the vision.

Eldon J. Watson (http://www.wasatchnet.net/users/ewatson/wmsmith.htm) discussed the four known William Smith accounts of the first vision and concluded that William confused the events of the first vision with the visitation of the Angel Moroni. Read Watson’s article (see link above) for the details.

>>> The earliest known account of the first vision was written in 1831-32 in Joseph Smith’s own handwriting. This was the version made public by Paul Cheesman in 1965, and published later that same year by Jerald and Sandra Tanner in Joseph Smith’s strange account of the first vision. In this account, Smith claimed to be 16 years old.

In the 1832 account, Joseph said the vision occurred “in the 16th year of my age”, placing his age at 15 not 16. The other accounts of the first vision that were made by Joseph give his age as 14. We’ve never claimed that Joseph had a perfect memory. That account was made 12 years after the event. You’re free to criticize Joseph for this error in memory, but I’m not concerned about it. I know that I can’t recall when events in my past occurred.

Here are some links for those wishing to study the differences in the accounts of the first vision.

http://www.wasatchnet.net/users/ewatson/harmony.htm
http://www.wasatchnet.net/users/ewatson/wmsmith.htm
http://www.wasatchnet.net/users/ewatson/1stVIntro.htm
http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1985.htm/ensign%20january %201985%20.htm/joseph%20smiths%20recitals%20of%20the%20first%20vision.htm ?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0
http://www.fairlds.org/apol/brochures/firstvision.pdf

>>>You have said “We can become like gods.” I’m reminded of Gen 3:5 where Satan (the Devil) said to Eve “ye shall be as gods.”

Satan didn’t say “ye shall be as gods”. He said, “ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). The first phrase implies Eve would be like God in all ways, while the second and correct phrase only states that Eve would be like God in one way, having a knowledge of good and evil. Satan tells many lies, but he also tells truths when it suits his purposes. He was right about this. By partaking of the fruit and becoming mortal, Eve did gain a knowledge of good and evil, the same as you and I have that knowledge.

>>>Isa 14:12-15 tells us that Satan the Devil was thrown out of Heaven because he wanted to be like God.

Yes, the devil wanted to be like God, but he wanted that without following the Fathers plan to become like him. The devil wanted to omit the Atonement and to force everyone to be good. Because he (the devil) had done all the work, he wanted the glory. He didn’t realize that the only way people could become exalted was to follow Christ and his atonement.

>>>EXALTATION IS A LIE OF THE DEVIL

In my online book, I devote a chapter to Exaltation, and I discuss many biblical scriptures that support our belief in exaltation.

Before you make a blanket statement that exaltation is a lie of the Devil, I would suggest that you take the scriptures I gave in that chapter and explain, one by one, why you think I have the wrong interpretation.

>>>If the temple and its ceremonies were revealed to Joseph Smith by God, why is it so different from the temple and its ceremonies as revealed to Solomon? Or the tabernacle and ceremonies as they were revealed to Moses? God gave very detailed instructions to Moses and Solomon. How come LDS temple layouts aren’t like those? Why are the ceremonies so different? How come the details aren’t similar? For instance, God commanded Moses to make the veil in Exodus five layers thick, woven of blue and purple and scarlet. The LDS temple veils are made of normal white cloth, available for purchase in almost any material store. Doesn’t the LDS church teach that God revealed the temple as it had originally been established?

We believe God revealed the temple ceremonies as they were taught to Adam, in terms of content & meaning. We do not claim that the physical aspects of our temples are the same as anciently. We do not claim that the ritual of the ceremonies today are the same as anciently. Building designs and rituals are not eternal principles. Building designs and rituals are created for specific people at specific times.

The temples in Old Testament times were used for the ceremonies of the Law of Moses, and those ceremonies were done away with at the completion of Christ’s atonement.

>>>History shows that there was no “total apostasy.” There has always been disciples from the days of the Lord Jesus Christ to the present time albeit in small numbers, people who kept hold of the truth through out the ages.

When LDS speak of a “complete” apostasy, we’re referring to the Priesthood power of God being taken from the people. We’re not saying that all disciples of Christ were gone. The presence or absence of the Priesthood is something that historians can’t judge. Historians can judge whether or not a church organization with Bishops, Priests, Cardinals, etc. existed, but they can’t say anything about the Priesthood of God being in that organization or not. Whether or not one believes in an apostasy is a matter of faith not history.

>>>PRE-POLYGAMY –
Jacob 2:24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

>>>POST-POLYGAMY –
D&C 132:38 David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me…

If you’re going to quote Jacob 2:24, you need to also quote verse 30 to learn when people can righteously have more than one wife: The answer is, when the Lord commands it.

The context to vs. 30 is people having more than one wife.

30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people [to have more than one wife]; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

In D&C 132:38 the Lord said the same thing. The part of vs. 39 that you omitted tells us that except for the case of Uriah and his wife, David’s wives and concubines were given unto him by the Lord through the Lord’s prophets. David sinned when he committed adultery with Uriah’s wife and murder in having Uriah killed.

Thus, we see that the Pre-polygamy and the Post-polygamy scriptures agree: polygamy is a sin when it isn’t commanded by the Lord.

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