Mormon (LDS): My-Forum Defense of the Gospel, p. 8

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>>>The foundation of the Mormon faith is their four standard works- Book of Mormon (hereafter BOM), Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and the King James Version of the Bible.

The foundation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Jesus Christ. The four books in our “standard works” are the canonized scripture. In addition, we have additional revelations from God through his living prophet.

>>>We ought not to test doctrine by our feelings or prayers but by Scripture. Feelings can be deceptive

See my online chapter “The Bible as a Source of Truth”

>>>Not surprising is that they [Mormon missionaries] cannot provide any factual, objective evidence [of the Book of Mormon]

OK, I’m listening…what is your factual, objective evidence for the spiritual part of the Bible?

>>>Changes in the BOM  Few Mormons are privy to the fact that the original 1830 BOM is substantially different than the current editions of the BOM. There are nearly 4000 changes from the 1830 ed. to the current ed.!

See http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai282.html for links that discuss this in detail.

>>>BYU Professor Thomas Stuart Ferguson have been unable to get direct proofs of the Book of Mormon. All they do is draw parallels.

See my essay on Book of Mormon Evidences: Direct or Parallels.

You have a good point. Parallel evidences don’t prove anything. They can help one to have greater faith but will never prove anything. Ferguson’s statement says that, in effect, the archeological evidences are parallel evidences.

OK, I’m listening again: Give us your direct, physical evidences for the spiritual part of the Bible! I’m not talking about the history of the Bible or the cities in the Bible. I’m waiting for you to give direct, physical evidence of the miracles in the Bible, of the resurrection, of the atonement of Jesus Christ. And, please don’t insult us by using the Bible to prove itself!

>>>Whereas the Bible is well supported by detailed and extensive archaeology. Just about every town, city, and land that is mention in the Bible has been located. The Bible, unlike the BOM, is over flowing with physical evidence (e.g., structures, coins, writings, ostraca, papyri, manuscripts, quotations from early church Fathers, etc).

Yes, but those are evidences of the history of the Bible. Where are your physical, direct evidences of the spiritual part of the Bible, the miracles, the atonement? You can use archeology to verify the history of the Bible, but you are like us, you accept the spiritual on faith!

It’s interesting that about a month or two ago, the Smithsonian magazine had an interesting article that stated that many scientists are beginning to believe that the earliest peoples of North and South America came by boat not via the land-bridge across the Bering Strait. In this case, the people are believed to have used boats to island-hop. The interesting thing is that evidence is coming forth that other routes were used besides a land-bridge.

>>>The Book of Mormon has anachronisms

See http://www.fairlds.org/cgi-bin/search/search.pl for links that discuss this.

>>>Since its inception, Mormons are convinced that the BOM contains all the many plain and precious parts that were lost through the hands of men.

I’ve been a Mormon for 69 years, and I’ve never believed, much less been convinced, that the Book of Mormon contained *all* of the many plain and precious parts that were lost [from the Bible] through the hands of men.

>>>The Early Teachings of Joseph Smith, where we find that Smith did not hold to many present-day essential teachings of the LDS Church, like polytheism (many Gods), the teaching that the Father has a body of flesh and bones, etc.

Most of the visitors to this forum don’t have access to published versions of the teachings of Joseph Smith, so you’ll need to give quotations of his teachings.

Concerning the Father having a body of flesh and bones, we have from Doctrine & Covenants, Section 130, verse 22: The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.

That statement was given by Joseph Smith on April 2, 1843.

>>>Here are examples of direct evidences of the Bible.
>>>Noah’s Ark has been found.
>>>Fossils found on top of Mt Everest.
>>>Death and disease is on the increase.
>>>These could only be so if the Bibles account of history was true.

I’m not questioning the history of the Bible. I agree with you that there is a lot of historical and archeological evidence for the Bible. However, the examples you gave are weak. Some men have claimed they’ve found Noah’s Ark, but those claims haven’t been supported by verifiable scientific evidence. I’m just guessing, but I think it is likely the fossils you speak of actually date back to prehistoric times, before the mountains were created via movement of the tectonic plates. I’m not sure how death and disease is a direct evidence of the Bible; sounds more like a parallel.

What I’m asking you to do is present direct evidence for the spiritual parts of the Bible. What are your external evidences that Christ performed miracles. What are your external evidences that Christ performed the Atonement? What are your external evidences that Christ’s blood removes our sins? What are your external evidences that Christ was resurrected? What are your external evidences that others were resurrected after the Savior was? What are your external evidences that Christ ascended to heaven?

The bottom line, is that you don’t have external evidences for any of those things! All you have are statements in the Bible about those events. So what this means is that you accept the spiritual parts of the Bible on faith. You have no external proofs of the spiritual parts of the Bible, and you do what I do, accept it on faith. And so, I would suggest that you not criticize me for accepting the Book of Mormon on faith!

>>> Why do Indians fail to turn white when they become Mormons? 2 Nephi 30:6, prior to the 1981 editions .

The 1830 version ends verse 6 with “save they shall be a white and a delightsome people.” The current version ends that verse with “save they shall be a pure and a delightsome people.” The difference is the word “white” vs. the word “pure”.

You interpret the word “white” to refer to skin color. We interpret it to refer to personal worthiness. Church leaders changed the word to “pure” to clarify the meaning.

>>> If Moroni devoutly practiced the Mormon gospel, Why is he an angel now rather than a God? Doctrines and Covenants 132:17,37 ).

The word “angel” is used in the scriptures to refer to spirits who have not yet received a physical body, spirits who are in the spirit world waiting for their resurrection, and resurrected personages.

We refer to Moroni as the “angel Moroni” because he was a resurrected personage when he appeared to Joseph Smith.

>>>Why did the Nauvoo house not stand forever and ever? (Doctrines and Covenants 124:56-60)

First of all, it is ridiculous to expect that a physical building will last forever. Even the Salt Lake Temple, with its 18 foot thick walls of granite (at the foundation of the building; the walls taper and are about 6 feet thick in the rooms I’ve been in) won’t last forever.

In verse 56, the Lord spoke of Joseph’s family having “place” in the house from generation to generation. It is reasonable to expect that the house would last for a few generations. In verse 59, he said that Joseph and his descendants should “have place in that house from generation to generation, forever and ever”. It is clear to me that the phrase “forever and ever” doesn’t literally mean “forever” i.e. millions of ears and on into eternity, but is a figure of speech to refer to the “generation to generation” phrase. Unfortunately, mobs drove the Saints from Nauvoo and ended (after Emma and her family left the city) their residence in the building. The Lord makes promises based on righteousness, but the acts of wicked people can and often do prevent those blessings from being fulfilled. A promise from the Lord is not a guarantee and is always given on conditions of righteousness.

>>>you say that God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Ghost are three separate Gods. Is this not an open disregard to what the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the Bible says about the doctrine of the triune Godhead?

>>>The Testimony Of The Three Witnesses – The last line says “And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, WHICH IS ONE GOD…”

I discuss this in detail in my online book in the Nature of God chapter. It’s clear from the Bible that scriptural passages about the nature of God are not referring to one personage but the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one in unity and purpose. The following is from my book.

The New Testament, however, does refer to Jesus and the Father as being “one”. Consider the following passage.

I and my Father are one. (John 10:30)

If we were to consider this passage without considering the context of the New Testament as a whole, we might conclude that the Father and the Son are one personage. However, if we consider John 10:30 in context with the Bible as a whole, we realize Jesus and the Father are one in ways different than person. Let us review that context. First, as discussed above, we have many references made by Jesus to his Father, references that only make sense if the Father and the Son are separate personages. Second, and this is a key scripture, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be one; as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21-22). It is ridiculous to think he wanted his disciples to merge into one body and become one in person. It is reasonable, however, to think he wanted them to become one in unity and purpose as he and the Father are one in those ways. Jesus described his unity with the Father.

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. (John 8:28-29)

 Another Biblical passage that refers to one God is in Paul’s epistle to the disciples in Corinth. Paul referred to the many idols being worshiped by the pagans and reminded the Christians they worshiped one God.

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1 Corinthians 8:4-6)

In verses 4 and 6 Paul referred to one God. However in verse 6 Paul clearly said this “one God” was actually two personages, the Father and Jesus Christ: there is but one God, the Father…and one Lord Jesus Christ. It seems clear Paul is using the phrase “one God” to refer to the Godhead; because of the unity between the Father and Jesus, Paul referred to them as “one God” even though they are separate personages. He emphasized the oneness of the Godhead in his epistles because he was dealing with people who worshiped many pagan gods, and he wanted them to focus on Jesus as the Christ. In a similar vein, Moses spoke of “one God”. He was dealing with people who were familiar with the many Egyptian gods, and he wanted them to focus on Jehovah. Even though the Godhead consisted of three Gods or personages, as far as the people living the Law of Moses were concerned there was one God, Jehovah. It is important to remember that since the three members of the Godhead are perfectly united, it is proper to refer to them as “one God “.

>>> According to a publication called “Gospel Principals” on Pg 11 we are told that God is our Heavenly Father, we are also told “Every person who was ever born on Earth was our spirit brother or sister in Heaven” this must include Mary the mother of Jesus and her husband Joseph.

>>>When we go to Pgs 63-64 this is what we are told – “The story of the birth and life of the savior is found in the New Testament … we learn that Jesus was born of a virgin named Mary … God the Father became the literal Father of Jesus Christ.” What we have here is INCEST.

Not at all. Incest is sexual relations between people who are closely related. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not teach that the Father had sex with Mary. In addition, Mary was not a daughter of Heavenly Father in the Flesh. She was a daughter of God in the spirit. Only Jesus was a literal child of God in the flesh. I discuss conception of Jesus in my book and give the following from the book.

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

Luke recorded that sacred event as follows:

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among woman.

And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou has found favour with God.

And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-28,30-35)

Those verses clearly state two important facts: (a) the conception of Jesus occurred through the influence of the Holy Ghost, and (b) “the Highest” (God the Father) was the father of Jesus. The scriptures do not give additional details about this sacred event, perhaps because it is so sacred.

Matthew recorded the following about the birth of Jesus.

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:18)

We have seen that God the Father and the Holy Ghost are separate personages in the Godhead, and that God the Father was the father of Jesus. Thus, the phrase “of the Holy Ghost” can not mean that the Holy Ghost was the father of Jesus, as some people say. Instead, that phrase should be interpreted to mean “by the power of the Holy Ghost”. In other words, the Holy Ghost prepared Mary in some way we do not understand to become the mother of the Son of God. This was made clear in Luke 1:35 which was quoted above.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)

Some critics of the LDS Church claim the Church teaches that Jesus was conceived through physical contact between God and Mary. As we have just seen, the Bible does not teach that, nor does, as far as I know, the Church. The Lord has not revealed and we do not know how the conception took place, other than God was the father of Jesus and the power of the Holy Ghost made it possible. Individual Mormons who may have made claims about physical contact are speaking with their own wisdom and not for the Church.

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