Mormon (LDS): Chess Forum Defense of the Gospel, p. 2

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>>>What is the ‘Gospel of Jesus Christ’? — this might be a crucial point in this conversation.

Hmmmm… maybe the phrase “Gospel of Jesus Christ” is a Mormon expression; I had assumed other Christians also used it. Mormons use that phrase to refer to all of the teachings of Jesus Christ. We speak of it as His plan for us.

>>>If you don’t mind, let’s describe church of 1st century again with an accent not on what exactly they taught — their message is now stored in the Bible, but on everything else.

I’ve previously spoken of a chapter in my online book called “The True Church”. In that chapter I described the church in the 1st century from three viewpoints: the organization and officers, the officers being guided by revelation, and the officers having authority from God.

In that chapter I also give some information from secular history about the conditions in the church during the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries. I give a statement by John Wesley, and I comment briefly on the doctrine of the Trinity as given in the Athanasian Creed.

Is this the type of description of the church that you’re looking for?

>>>A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.

>>>The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) fits this description, making it a pseudo-Christian religion. That is, the history, theology and practices of Mormonism show the religious movement to be outside of orthodox Christianity.

That is a very narrow definition of “Christian”. Basically, it says that one is a pseudo-Christian if he or she doesn’t accept all of the creeds of orthodox Christianity, orthodox Christianity referring to the established Christian churches. The statement about doctrines as taught in the 66 books of the Bible is inconsistent due to the many interpretations of the Bible. Basically, the statement is saying that one is a pseudo-Christian unless he or she believes and teaches as the orthodox churches do. When we Mormons call ourselves Christian, we are using a simple definition that one is a Christian who is a disciple or follower of Jesus Christ.

>>>Mormons believe that their church is ”the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth’ (D&C 1:30), the only organization authorized by the Almighty to preach his gospel and administer to ordinances of salvation, the only Church which has the power to save” (Mormon Doctrine , 1977 ed., p. 136). Mormons either deny or pervert every essential doctrine of historic Christianity, including the uniqueness of Christ, the virgin birth, the Trinity, the authority of Scripture (by relegating it to a position below their other sacred writings), and salvation by grace through faith.

>>>Therefore, Christian churches rightly do not consider the Mormon Church to be a Christian church, nor do they accept Mormons as Christians.

That page then goes on to enumerate how various orthodox Christian churches say Mormons are not Christian. Even though we Mormons believe in Christ, worship him as the center of our faith, try to emulate him in our daily lives, they say we’re not Christian because we’re different than the orthodox Christian churches. I guess we’ll have to become politically correct, religiously speaking, to be considered Christian….

>>>Calling Mormons Christians, or describing the Mormon Church as a Christian denomination is incorrect. A Christian is a disciple of Jesus Christ as presented in the Bible.

>>>Just like attaching a Roll Royce logo to a Volkswagen does not make the latter a Rolls Royce, using the name of Jesus Christ does not make Mormonism ”Christian.” Suggesting the Mormon Jesus is ”Christian” is, in fact, as dishonest as selling a counterfeit watch as a ”Rolex.” After all, the ”Jesus” created by the Mormon Church is far different from – and incompatible with – the biblical Jesus Christ:

In my online book I have a chapter on “The Nature of God. Read that chapter and then decide for yourselves if Mormons believe in the Biblical Jesus Christ.

The web page gives a lot of discussion about the Mormon scriptures. I don’t have time to cover everything in the web page, so I’ll just comment on a few things. If you’d like me or other LDS to comment of specific statements in the web page, please quote them in a reply and ask that we give our comments about them.

>>>I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book upon the earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book. Source: Joseph Smith, History of the Church, Deseret Books, Salt Lake City, UT, 1978, 4:461

>>Over 9,000 corrections in grammar and spelling – as well as changes distorting the original text – later, that claim can be considered ludicrous. But there’s more. At best, the book is written using occult methods. It is known for – among other things – its plagiarism of the King James Bible (using Victorian english in what is supposed to be an American translation of an ancient, historical record), the absence of archeological and historical records supporting the book’s story, and an array of anachronisms.

When Joseph Smith said the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, he wasn’t referring to mistakes in spelling and grammar. He was referring, I believe, to the doctrinal content of the book. Nobody claims that Joseph Smith was an educated man who had a perfect command of language. Nobody claims the persons who acted as scribes during the translation made no mistakes.

Concerning use of King James like language in the Book of Mormon. The Lord didn’t dictate to Joseph Smith word for word what should be written. He inspired Joseph with meanings, and Joseph was free to use his own language to express them. Joseph was not an educated person, but he did read the Bible a lot. In dictating the meaning of the characters, he used the style of language that he was familiar with and that was appropriate for the situation.

The web page is correct about an absence of historical and archeological artifacts to support the Book of Mormon. We accept the Book of Mormon on faith not on scientific investigations (I have an essay on “Book of Mormon Evidences: Direct or Parallel” that you might enjoy). Christians do the same with the Bible. Yes, there are historical and archeological evidences of the history of the Bible, but nothing about the spiritual parts of the Bible. History and archeology can not support the miracles that Christ performed. History and archeology can not support the inspiration and guidance through the Spirit that the Apostles had. History and archeology can not prove the resurrection of Christ, the atonement, and our salvation. Christians accept those through faith alone.

>>>Mormon teachings are not principally derived from the Book of Mormon. Mormon doctrine is derived primarily from another Mormon Scripture, Doctrine and Covenants. Thus, “…doctrinally the Book of Mormon is a dead book for most Mormons… The Book of Mormon teachings have little bearing upon current Mormon doctrine”

Well, I guess I’d better stop reading the Book of Mormon, and I guess my church leaders had better stop teaching from the Book of Mormon…. I suppose the Book of Mormon is a dead book for those who don’t read it πŸ™‚ The Book of Mormon has great bearing on Mormon doctrine.

>>>Mormons do not find their doctrines about God in the Bible or the Book of Mormon. Their severest doctrinal deviations come from Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price.

Read “The Nature of God” chapter in my online book and decide for yourself about this.

No Mormon claims the Book of Mormon contains all Mormon doctrine. The Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are two books that contain modern revelations given to modern prophets. Those three books plus the Bible comprise the “Standard Works” or body of scripture of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our beliefs and doctrine come from those four books.

Again, if you’d like me or other LDS to comment on specific statements from that web page, please quote the statements in a subsequent reply.

>>>Which revelation is the true one? The one by Brigham Young that blacks are a lesser form of human and not worthy of the priesthood, or the one by Spencer W. Kimball that allows blacks to be in the priest hood and why God changed His mind on this issue

Joseph Smith taught that a man is a prophet only when he speaks as a prophet. That is, Mormon leaders make many statements that are just their opinions. Such was that statement by Brigham Young. The statement by Spencer W. Kimball, however, was given to the Church as a revelation and was accepted by the Church members as such.

>>>also, which revelation concerning polygamy is the right one the one by Joseph Smith or the one by President Woodruff in 1890 condemning the practice that was given by God.

We believe that God commanded Joseph Smith and subsequent leaders to practice polygamy. We also believe that later on, under different conditions, God commanded Wilford Woodruff to stop the practice. You see, when God has living Prophets and Apostles, He can give commandments and change things according to the situations, and the people aren’t left with an un-changing code of conduct dictated by a 2000 year old book (I love the Bible and try to follow its teachings, but it is scripture given 2000 years ago to a different culture). Blood sacrifices under the Law of Moses are examples of commandments given by God and later canceled when conditions had changed.

>>>Also, what is the latest revelation concerning the Mormons take over of the American Government or have they abandon this most important prophecy of their leaders Smith and Young,

I assume you’re referring to a supposed prophecy that the US Constitution would hang by a thread and would be saved by the Elders of Israel (Mormon Elders not Jewish Elders). I say “supposed” because I’ve never seen documentation of that prophecy, so I don’t know if it is a true prophecy or just Mormon folk lore. The statement of the Constitution hanging by a thread and being saved by Elders doesn’t imply a Mormon take over of government. We could brain storm many, many ways in which that could happen and not have the government taken over by the Mormons. Time will tell…

>>and who will be their Prophet next season.

We’ll find out when Pres. Hinckley dies.

>>>I found your site to be interesting.

I’m glad you enjoyed your visit. My reason in spending time in this forum is to help people understand more about my religion and about my perspective on things. I don’t argue with folks. Instead I answer questions and then withdraw from the thread. Arguments happen when one tries to change the beliefs of others.

>>>The Gospel is the good news about the great salvation purchased by Jesus Christ, by which He reconciled sinful men to a holy G-d.

>>>The Gospel is, therefore, the doctrine which the Son of G-d, our Mediator, revealed from heaven, in view of the free grace and mercy of G-d, to all those that repent and believe, deliverance from sin, death, condemnation, and the wrath of God; which is the same thing as to say that it promises and proclaims the remission of sin, salvation, and eternal life

>>>The Gospel is the good news of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that provides full and free deliverance from the power and penalty of sin according to the grace of G-d alone through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Beautifully expressed!!

>>>Then why the need for another testament when Christ himself is the complete Word of G-d?

For the same reason He gave the Bible. Yes, Christ himself is the complete Word of God, but He isn’t with us on a daily, continuing basis. He thus gave His Word through living prophets to those who lived in the Palestine area before and after His mortal domain. Because He loves all people, He also gave His Word through living prophets to those who lived across the ocean. Because He loves all people, He also gave His Word through living prophets to those who lived in our time. And, we believe that because He loves all people, He will continue to give His Word to future people.

The pattern in the Bible is that of living prophets receiving revelations from God. I don’t understand why folks today don’t expect that pattern to continue. They believe in the Bible, yet they expect His way of dealing with people to change to a non-Biblical way.

>>>As you can see from Romans 16:7, there were more then 12 apostles. Even Paul was not ordained in order to be one of the 12 (this you can see from his own writings).

In my chapter on the ancient church, I discuss the vacancies that occurred in the 12 Apostles and how those vacancies were filled. Paul and Barnabas did have hands laid on their heads before they left. I don’t have my Bible with me, but I believe that is documented in Acts 13:1-3 or something like that. In Acts 14:14 Paul and Barnabas are referred to as Apostles.

>>>According to Mormon doctrine, how many gods are there? Will you become a god? Will you one day have your own planet?

You’ve asked questions that are difficult to understand unless the answers are read in context. I’m thus posting my chapter on “Exaltation”


Because we have our Latter-day scriptures as companions to the Bible, we understand the eternal nature of our existence. We understand that we began as spirit children of our Father in Heaven. We entered this mortal life to use our freedom of choice or agency in choosing between God and Satan. After death, we will wait in the spirit world for our resurrection, and many of us will help teach the Gospel to the spirits who are there. Finally, after the judgment, we will inherit one of the many mansions of the Father. Let us now look more deeply into the scriptures to understand the “why” of all this.

Becoming Like Christ

In his glorious Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught us to improve ourselves and become more like him.

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28)

Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:43-44)

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

The reason for the Savior’s emphasis on our becoming more like him was brought out when the Savior gave us our ultimate goal.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

The Greek word for “perfect” is teleios, which means full or complete. Jesus said we should become full or complete, as our Father in Heaven is full or complete. In giving us this commandment, Jesus put into proper perspective the grand purpose of our whole existence. The Plan of Salvation can be summed up in those few words: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. We treat others as we would be treated, and in so doing we become more like God. We do not judge others and in so doing we become more like God. We forgive others and in so doing we become more like God. As we become like God, we become full or complete, we become perfect.

Let us examine the scriptures to see if they suggest we can become like God. Paul taught we can become joint heirs with Christ.

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:16-17)

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Galatians 4:7)

Notice the sequence given by Paul. We are the children of God and then we become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. One would expect that an heir of God would inherit the things of God. Further, Peter taught that we actually partake of the divine nature of God.

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:2-4, emphasis added).

Partaking of the divine nature of God means sharing his attributes and becoming like Him. The Apostle John taught that those who overcometh sin through Christ will inherit all things from God.

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:6-7)

From Psalms we learn God will withhold nothing from those who obey his commandments.

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11)

When the resurrected Christ visited the Nephites, he told them to become like him.

And know ye that ye shall be judges of this people, according to the judgment which I shall give unto you, which shall be just. Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am. (3 Nephi 27:27)

Jesus went on to tell the Nephites they would receive the same joy that he had and would be like him.

And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one; (3 Nephi 28:10)

Through revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord revealed that when he (Jesus) finishes his work, those who have been faithful will be made equal with him.

And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The Lamb of God hath overcome and trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.

And then shall the angels be crowned with the glory of his might, and the saints shall be filled with his glory, and receive their inheritance and be made equal with him. (D & C 88:106-107)

Truly, Jesus Christ is our role model!

We Become Gods

We have finally reached the point in our study where we are able to understand the glorious purpose of God’s plan. We are the literal children of God. Through obedience to his commandments and repentance, we remove sin from our lives. This, however, does not remove the effects of sin from our lives. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the effects of our sins are removed by his blood, and our sins are forgiven; we become clean and become like the Savior. We become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ. We receive all the Father has to give. In doing this, we fulfil the challenge from the Savior: Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw the Celestial Kingdom in vision and learned that all things would be given to those who are celestialized, and those persons would become gods.

That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things–

They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fulness, and of his glory;

Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God–

Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (D & C 76:52,55-56,58-59, emphasis added)

The Lord further elaborated on this beautiful principle when he gave the glorious revelation about the new and everlasting covenant.

Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. (D & C 132:20, emphasis added)

We need to realize that our repentance and our obedience to God do not bring us to godhood. We can not work ourselves to perfection, no matter how hard we try. Some say that we reach perfection step by step, day by day, as we more closely live the gospel. That is not true. Through repentance and obedience, we reduce the degree of sin in our lives, although we will never completely remove sin from our lives, and we thus come unto Christ step by step, day by day. In return, he allows his atonement to enter our lives and cleanse us. Those who become perfect will become so because of the atonement, not because of their righteousness.

Plurality of Gods

We believe it is the Father’s plan that those to whom the word of God comes in the full sense become like him and are gods. This concept that we can become gods is known in the Church as the plurality of gods.

Some people say Jesus did not actually mean in Matthew 5:48 that we should become perfect; only God and Christ are perfect, they say. It is true that only God and Jesus are perfect, for all persons have sinned through use of their agency. However, Jesus was not teasing us or deceiving us; he actually said, Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. He actually meant that we should become perfect through obedience to him, through repentance of our sins, and through cleansing by his Atonement.

The Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God, and in a similar vein many Christians accuse us of blasphemy because we believe we can become gods. In accusing us, they show their narrow vision of the Father’s plan. We have seen that the scriptures teach that those who overcome sin will receive all things from the Father. Is it blasphemy to believe a child of God can become like his or her Father? Is it blasphemy to believe that those who will receive all things will in fact receive all things? Is it blasphemy to believe that if God withholds nothing, he does in fact withhold nothing? Is it blasphemy to believe that those who partake of the divine nature of God do in fact partake of that divine nature? Is it blasphemy to believe that those who become heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ do in fact become heirs? Is it blasphemy to believe that Jesus was serious when he told us to become perfect? Perhaps, the best answer we can give to those who accuse us of blasphemy is the answer Jesus gave to those who accused him of blasphemy. Jesus responded by referring to Psalms 82:6 in which persons who received the word of God were called gods.

The Jews answered him saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken;

Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? (John 10:33-36, emphasis added)

The persons who object to the doctrine of the plurality of gods, say, “What about Isaiah 43:10 where it says there were no Gods before Jehovah and will be none after him?” That scripture, along with Isaiah 44:8, was discussed in the chapter on The Nature of God. Jehovah was trying to persuade the Israelites from worshiping the many false gods of their neighbors, and he wanted them to focus on their God, Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ. Jesus is perfectly united with our Father in Heaven and the Holy Ghost, and it is appropriate to refer to them as “one God” even though there are three distinct personages in that Godhead. The passages from Isaiah discuss the relationship between God and Israel and do not address the question of our becoming gods.

The Glory of God

The Lord revealed to Moses that his purpose and glory in creating the world and all things was that we might receive eternal life.

For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39)

Eternal is a name for God (D & C 19:10-12). Thus, Eternal Life is God’s life, or life with God and life as he is. Our destiny, if we allow the full effect of the Atonement to come into our lives, is to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and to be like them. Truly, life is important and has great meaning! Let us strive each day to love God, to obey his commandments, and to serve his children. Let us be examples of Christ to the world, that through our lives people may see him and come to know him.

>>>Don’t be mistaken — price for the sin is shed blood. Just like with Adam and Eve, just like in times of Moses, same is today. Without blood there is no forgiveness.>>>The only difference is in what kind of blood is available to us. It is not blood of animals like in times of Adam and Moses, but it is Blood of Jesus, that is perfect enough to pay for all our sins.

I agree completely!

>>>Which means that same old law about blood is still being applied. It just that it was taken to the next level — and there is a big difference between removing a law and taking it to the next level.

Well, the fact remains that people anciently were commanded to shed animal blood and today we aren’t. You call it taking a law to the next level and I call it a cancellation of a law due to changing conditions. Either way, God has changed the conditions under which we conduct our daily lives.

>>>So Joseph Smith taught that you will become not a small ‘g’ god, but God. Equal to God. Another God. You further argue this by citing The Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants as authority.

Don’t read any meaning into my use of ‘G’ instead of ‘g’ because I didn’t mean any such meaning. Certainly, people who are exalted won’t consider themselves equal to God. They will still worship Him, love Him, and be grateful for His Son’s atonement.

I’ve explained the Biblical verses that say that we can partake of the divine nature of God, that we can inherit all things from God, and that God will withhold nothing from us. Now, people can read and ponder my posting and decide for themselves.

>>>if a BELEIVER (not just priest or an apostle) has power to drive out demons and heal sick people, how can you say church does not have any authority?

Some things happen due to faith while other things happen due to Priesthood authority. Faith is required for miracles to happen. Priesthood authority is required for particular ordinances such as baptism.

>>>Since we on this verse, I would like to know your opinion on it.

Mark 16:17-18 are beautiful verses. I agree with them.

>>>I put myself in place of Joseph for a second. What would I do if I to see God face-2-face today, right now? I don’t know, but for sure I will not ask which church to join! (even if I to be out of church)

Joseph went to the forest to pray to get that question answered, and the Father and the Son appeared to him to answer to that question. So, of course he asked it because that was his reason for kneeling in prayer.

>>>John the Baptist is DEAD. He has not been resurrected.

Matthew tells us that after Christ was resurrected, many of the Saints that slept arose and went into Jerusalem and testified. So, there is Biblical evidence that others besides Christ were resurrected. We believe that John the Baptist and Peter and James were resurrected. Now, people who hear our claims can decide for themselves.

>>>”The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ”. Why do you need one?

I answered this in a previous posting. Because God loves all people, he will speak to them through a living prophet, which is the Biblical pattern of God’s relationship with men and women.

>>>”None of the churches at that time were accepted by Christ and had the authority of God” Claiming it is equal to claiming that there is no God. I pointed out higher that it is impossible to have a situation when there is not a single believer on this planet.

Mormons have never claimed that all of the people in the churches during Joseph Smith’s time were non-believers or evil. Only that the churches as organizations were not accepted by Christ and had no Priesthood authority to perform ordinances. Of course, there are millions of spiritual, wonderful, loving people who are not Mormons.

>>>Please define then ‘priesthood authority’, meaning — what is it priest can do I can’t?

A general definition of ‘priesthood authority’ is to have power from God to perform His work, especially to perform ordinances.

Paul taught that

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(Ephesians 4:11-12)

This does not imply that persons without priesthood authority can’t teach and edify others, but Paul listed specific officers in Christ’s church who had priesthood authority.

The Savior called 70 persons to be missionaries, and, I assume, gave them priesthood authority as he had done with the 12 (Mark 3:14).

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. (Luke 10:1)

As the Apostles visited the Saints, they ordained Elders to govern the local branches of the church.

And when they had ordained them elders in every church [city], and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. (Acts 14:23)

For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: (Titus 1:5)

I elaborate on this in my chapter on the ancient church.

>>>Also, please elaborate on 1 Peter 2:5 and 1 Peter 2:9.

Peter is counseling the church members to grow in the gospel and to taste of the sincere milk that they may grow thereby. He tells them they are a chosen generation [to take Christ to the world), a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, etc. (combining vs. 5 & 9). I’ve discussed how people in the local churches were ordained to particular offices and held the priesthood power of God. So it is natural for Peter to call them a holy and royal priesthood.

>>>[Matt 27:52, persons being resurrected after Christ] I did not find any meaningful explanation — nobody wants to give any names, so my opinion here remains unchanged: not only it is not important who exactly rose from the dead that day, it is would be very dangerous to build your belief system around speculation on who could’ve or could have not risen from the dead that day — Bible does not give specific names and I would not trust any other source of information on this particular issue.

You have a good point. I don’t know who the persons were, or how many of them were there, who were resurrected. I certainly don’t claim that John the Baptist was one of them. I referred to them to establish the point that others were resurrected after Christ, and it therefore is plausible that John the Baptist, Peter, and James could have been resurrected as we Mormons claim.

We do need to remember that the “first” resurrection hasn’t happened yet and will happen when Christ returns. Those who were resurrected in Jerusalem were, I expect, a small group who were resurrected for a special purpose of some kind.

>>>Another question here (I bet you’ll give me an answer I expect — meaning the correct answer, not wrong one, but still — I think for those who like to read but never post, it would very interesting =’-)~ ):
Q.: What is your definition of ‘church’?

To me, a ‘church’ is a group of people who are organized in some manner to further particular religious goals. I think that states have legal requirements for churches to be recognized. When the LDS church was organized in 1830, New York required at least 6 members.

In the context of the New Testament, the Apostles organized churches in various cities, each having Bishops, Elders, and other officers. The Apostles were general officers who traveled and ministered in the various cities. After the deaths of the Apostles, the Bishops over the cities contended among themselves for regional or “general” control. Finally, the Bishop of Rome gained power over the other Bishops. (this is a very simplified description of what happened, so please don’t flame me about it…)

Today, we tend to use the words ‘church’ and ‘denomination’ in the same context.

>>>The only bible scriptures Christ and the original apostles used in their day was the OT. Those apostles taught and preached from this book. They saw no need for extra-scriptural content.

That’s right. The New Testament books were being written by the Apostles and others and hadn’t been collected together and canonized yet.

>>>Sorry, but Jesus himself never equated eternal life and godhood.

That’s right, but His Apostles hinted very strongly about it, as I’ve discussed twice in previous postings.

This is an example of why I believe we need modern apostles and prophets and modern revelation to them, as was the case in New Testament times. The Bible is so open to many interpretations that it is hard for us to agree on what it means. You’ve studied the Bible and have come to your conclusions as to its meanings. To you, the Bible clearly teaches the gospel as you understand and believe it. Likewise, I’ve studied the Bible and have come to my conclusions as to its meanings. To me, the Bible clearly teaches the gospel as I understand and believe it. Ditto for that person over there and the one down yonder.

The people in the New Testament were in similar situations. They had many, conflicting beliefs about Christ and religion in general. Because of this, the Apostles, who were living prophets receiving revelation from God, traveled from city to city to teach the people the truth. I believe we need such leaders today who are living prophets and who receive revelation from God. Without them, the Christian world, and religion in general, will continue to have different groups who all claim to have the true meaning of the Bible.

>>>please tell me you simply made a typo when you said that Peter rose from the dead in Mathew 27:52 πŸ™‚

What I said wasn’t a typo, but I spoke of something you’re not familiar with and my comment wasn’t clear to you. So, let me clarify it.

First the resurrection. The general resurrection of the righteous will occur when Christ returns, and the general resurrection of the wicked will occur at the end of the thousand years. There was, however, a special resurrection of a relatively small group of people that occurred shortly after Christ was resurrected. This is documented in Matt 27:52. We don’t know who those people were, how many of them were resurrected, and why they were resurrected, except we know they testified of Christ in some way.

Next, the Mormon belief that resurrected persons appeared as angels to Joseph Smith.

The Angel Moroni appeared and gave Joseph the plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated. Moroni was the last person to write on the plates and lived about 400+ years after Christ. Since he was the last to write, we don’t know when, where, or how he died. We believe he was resurrected as part of a special resurrection and appeared to Joseph.

The resurrected John the Baptist appeared to Joseph in 1829 and ordained him to the Aaronic Priesthood. We know he was resurrected in a special resurrection because he was wearing his head πŸ™‚

About a year later, the resurrected Peter and James, and John who didn’t die (John 21: 20-23) appeared to Joseph Smith and ordained him to the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Other resurrected Biblical prophets appeared to Joseph at later dates. The appearance of resurrected persons as Angels in modern times seems strange to orthodox Christians, but the practice of angels visiting earth was common in Biblical times. Of course, up until the resurrection of Christ, the Biblical angels weren’t resurrected persons but were spirits who had not yet taken a mortal body or spirits of deceased persons.

I hope this clarifies my statement.

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