We Need to Apologize

I heard Richard Mouw say something and I must concur. We Evangelicals need to apologize to the LDS. I think there are far too many of us who think we know what Mormons believe without ever asking Mormons themselves. I am personally guilty of this. I am now of the opinion that no Evangelical should ever authoritatevly talk about Mormons to other Christians unless they have at the very least read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and know the current prophet’s first and last name. And that’s the bare neccesity. Many don’t qualify, they just happen to have seen “The God Makers” once or twice. We have made errors in our descriptions of LDS beliefs.

I think there are some reasons for this, none of them excuses. They include:
1) It’s hard work

2) Some of our trusted “authorities” have been sloppy and we haven’t peer reviewed their claims and corrected their mistakes.

3a) Evangelicals are taught that the word of God is static. If some one says “this is what God says is true forever” then we assume that doctrine will always be true. Mormonism has “living and breathing” doctrines and scriptures. We mistakenly apply our static paradigm to your beliefs.

3b) We encounter Mormons who don’t know or don’t want to know much about Joseph Smith’s history. When we encounter Mormons who don’t know that Joseph Smith started polygamy, we apply 3A and assume they also must not know their own church’s beliefs on Adam-God, blood atonement or whatever other now defunct Mormon doctrine.

4) Urban legends grow and take constant weeding. Not until Snopes.com came out did people even begin to think to question all of those “stories” (no matter their subject).

5) In the Evangelical mindset some Mormon doctrines are not only heretical they are utterly blasphemous. The villification of the LDS has already been accomplished as a result of those beliefs so it’s no longer important to set the record straight on other things we misunderstand.

6) In the EV mindset, Joseph Smith is a false prophet. There is NOTHING more wicked than taking the Gospel message and confusing and corrupting it with false doctrine. This makes Evangelicals angry and we unfortunately mistake the Beast for the Dragon. We view LDS as sheep-stealers instead of lost sheep. This is in my mind our greatest sin against the LDS.

LDS should not confuse the wackos outside of General Conference with the average Evangelical. In fact, don’t confuse them with Christians at all. Most Evangelicals know VERY VERY little about Mormonism other than being told that it is a cult. They have no idea why it is considered a cult, they just know to avoid it. There’s not that many of you. 4 million in a world of 6 billion is not very significant, so exposure is limited. I am in a weekly Bible Study of 14 people. There are only 3 of us who have spent more than 5 minutes in conversation with any Mormon. My wife and I (because I have sought you out) and one guy whose family is related to Porter Rockwell and apostated one generation ago.

195 thoughts on “We Need to Apologize

  1. Pingback: Are Evangelicals Being Duped by Millet's PR Spin « Mormon and Evangelical Conversations

  2. OK I read your post. Now i’m curious: what specific doctrines do EV misunderstand regarding the Mormon faith?

  3. Thanks for the apology. One good place I have found to clear up incorrect doctrines is http://www.fairlds.org

    Most of the misunderstandings and incorrect ideas have been recycled over and over for decades because people never bother to find out if there has been a correction or rebuttal.

    Anyway, check the above site out and see what topics you can get cleared up today. Clearing the air is a good starting point.

  4. From the perspective of someone who spent almost 20 years in the Evangelical church #5 and #6 are a real problem for me. Even if I could get over my anger (I admit, I’m angry) over the “Gift of Singleness” doctrine, this is yet another reason why I will never again worship with Evangelicals. It is very hurtful and offensive to have to sit in church with people whom you know don’t know anything about your former religion except that it is a “cult.” You can hear the tone of contempt in their voices when they say it. I’ve just reached the point in my life where I won’t put up with it anymore. Why would I stay so long in something that made me so miserable? Because I truly believed, and still do, that the Bible is the word of God, and that Jesus is my Saviour. Don’t the Presbyterians have a belief in something called, “The Elect” No one knows who “the Elect” are, those whom God has predestined for salvation. God can call anyone to draw closer to him—no matter what faith they happen to be in. If this is true, it seems to me that the job of the true Christian would be to be as kind and loving as possible, and not to “get in the way” of God trying to draw people to him. This business of “Joseph Smith is a false prophet” To me, he was a religious reformer, a Darned good one. The church he founded is built on some ideas that are VERY true, and that work for certain kinds of people. The kinds of people who are very motivated, high achieving, who want to DO things with their lives. To take these people, and hand them a bible, and say, “Here is all you need. Just sit in the pew and listen to the sermon, and Shut Up.”–this is to do them a great wrong, and is shortsighted, and wasteful of their talents and their potential. There were alot of people whose talents were being wasted in Joseph Smith’s day–and he did something about it. He didn’t let the fact that he was a poor, uneducated farmboy discourage him. That should tell you something about his character. I despise those who insult Joseph Smith Jr! To me, he wanted to let the common, uneducated man have a greater role in the running of the church. The idea of the lay clergy is a brilliant one! No, it doesn’t work for ALL kinds of people at all times, but there is NO equivalent of this in so-called orthodox Christianity. As far as for Mormon doctrines being blasphemous, I believe that the Evangelical church at the present time is teaching false doctrine, “The Gift of Singleness.” Weren’t you Evangelicals the ones who were telling me before I converted, “All sin is equally abhorrent in the eyes of God?” So, it seems to me that teaching false doctrine is a sin, and is abhorrent, no matter who is doing it.
    Even after saying all this, Mr. Mouw’s apology, and yours, is a good first step, and you are to be commended for it. I have read some really strong condemnations of Mr. Mouw in the Evangelical press, and feel that he just had so much courage to do what he did! So do you. Please forgive me if I seem harsh at times.

  5. Lisa, sorry, but Mormonism is a cult. The book of Mormon was written by a convicted con-man from the 19th century who was so illiterate that he required the aid of others to write down his “translation,” and what came out was still so unintelligible that people claim only “prophets” can understand it. I can’t think of a better example of what a cult is than that.

  6. Definition from American Heritage Dictionary

    Cult: noun.
    A religion or religious sect generally considered to be extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader.
    The followers of such a religion or sect.
    Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
    The object of such devotion.
    A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
    The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
    A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.

    Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing.
    The object of such devotion.
    An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest.

    This is the official definition of a cult by one authoritative source. Non of this applies to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If you choose to make up your own definition please so identify it as such.

  7. Please, let’s not start with the definition games bullcrap again. It makes people with linguistics background feel like their head is exploding.

    What makes the American Heritage Dictionary authoritative, anyway?

  8. Well, people can throw the “C” word around all they want. I will never believe it, and I think I’ve had enough experience with both the LDS and Evangelicals to be able to judge for myself. It must be nice to be in a position where one is sure that one has all the correct answers for everything. The LDS church and people helped me through a most difficult time in my life, and I will always be grateful to them for that. I have the utmost respect for the Church and its leaders, and I’m sorry that just saying that seems to send some people into a tizzy! Why is that, I wonder?

  9. Tim and all,
    I’m glad I discovered this site. I was born and raised LDS and now I’m an evangelical pastor in Utah, where I’ve lived for the last 24 years.
    Much of what you’ve stated is valid. A lot of Christians have done poor homework, and do recapitulate bad information and bad attitudes. However, my problem with Mouw’s apology is that it summarily discounts and discredits all the good work that has been done. It makes it sound like everything that evangelicals have written about Mormonism is lousy and inaccurate. That’s just not the case.
    The issue is exacerbated by the current LDS attitude of selective disclosure. Typically, they only want us to hear a spun version of their beliefs – such as GB Hinckley’s comments to Larry King about the LDS understanding of God.
    I’m sure a number of evangelicals do need to apologize to Mormons. But a blanket apology does not help the dialogue because it is naive and not fully honest.
    And by the way, how about a Mormon apology to evangelicals? After all, from the very beginning they have been characterizing the beliefs I hold dear as “abominations” and have characterized those of us who profess traditional biblical doctrine as “corrupt” (see the official First Vision account). Until 1991, pastors were portrayed in the temple ceremony as minions of Satan. I find that offensive. How about the LDS Church offering an apology for slaughter of women and children in the Mountain Meadows Massacre? These kind of gestures on the part of LDS would go a long way to remove the suspicion and skepticism many evangelicals have about Mormonism.

  10. Ross
    The term “abomination” is not directed at any one demonination or religion. There are two points here. At the time the passage was written, in Nephi as I recall, wars, mass slaughter, burning of children and other horrors were being practiced as was slavery. At the time Joseph interpreted the plates the prevailing religions of the day sanctioned other horrors such as slavery and killings such as we saw with the American Indians, black Africans and Asians and east Indians They held that kings and the upper classes had the right to use and abuse the lower classes at will under something known as the Devine Right of Kings. The dominant religions held that they had the right to imprison torture, mutilate and kill anyone who held a divergent religious view. Today, we consider abominations to be the worldliness of our societies that churches pander too. It is this same worldliness that puts distance between man and God and thereby becomes the abomination referred to. The passages in the B of M and modern pronouncements in no way denegrates the work done by those who bring people to a belief in Christ or any of the good Christian work done by so many.

  11. Um, no, JLFuller, Joseph Smith translated the plates in the 1820s/30’s. The historical picture you have just painted doesn’t even vaguely resemble the situation at the time. Not even Mormon sources try to claim what you’re saying.

  12. Probably this blog entry is dead. Anyhow, sometimes people search the net, and it is good if they find correct info here.

    Tim, as a Mormon I can say that I am grateful for your courage, as I am for Mow’s. As a Mormon, I, too, want to apologize. Not for my faith, nor for the prophets, but for some Mormons, who think that because they are Mormons, they are better than other good Christians. For Mormons, who gave others the feelings that “the great and abominable whore” was the Catholic Church, or the Christian denominations prior to the Restoration.

    Nothing can be further.

    And when, in the First Vision, the LORD claims that “all creeds are an abomination”, He does not say: “all denominations are an abomination”, but rather that “creeds” are a problem. And it’s not primarily what is IN the creeds that is a problem, but rather the CONCEPT of Creeds.

    This goes together with what you, Tim, call number 3A. God’s word is static, for a traditional Christian, and it has been all given. So it is OK to make shortcuts, to extract major definitions, which one has to believe. IMHO, it was Irenaeus of old, who in his fight against the Valentinians developed this line of thinking. It ultimately leads to “beware of false prophets”, where ALL modern prophets are necessarily false.

    In the Mormon mindset, we are careful to “Quench not the Spirit.” and to “Despise not prophesyings”. Thus, we believe “all that God has revealed” and all that he will reveal. Our knowledge and our prophesying is piece-work. That’s like a puzzle, where pieces are missing, and where you don’t know the whole picture from the beginning. You make assumptions about the picture, but with each new piece of Heavenly communication, with each new piece of knowledge we gain, the old picture is changed. Assumptions have to be revised, things are becoming more clear, and an assumption that was definitive yesterday, may be changed or accentuated differently tomorrow, or it may turn out that it was wrong from the beginning.

    Creeds limit God’s ability to proclaim His truth to us today personally. They are man-made.

    And that’s the problem.

    Mormons and Evangelicals will have to find a common language. A language, where we can express our commonalities and rejoice in them, but also a language where we can express our differences without vitriol, and without hurting each other.

    Mouw and Millet are working on it, and sometimes both of them miss the target. Sometimes they do not say what they feel to be true, in order to not hurt. But it will take time, study and strongheadedness, till our denominations will be able to understand each other.

  13. Are you sure that you just happen to have the correct understanding of Joseph Smith’s first vision? How do you know you’re not just talking “the Gospel according to Rene?”

  14. Kullervo,

    What the bare statement of God the Father was, and what Joseph Smith thought it meant are two different things.

    I imagine Joseph didn’t draw the distinction that Renee is drawing, but God the Father well may have.

  15. Far more important is what has the Church taught over the years? And what has the membership traditionally believed, as a group, and what do they believe now, as a group.

    I don’t buy “what God really meant” here because that requires me to believe God appeared to Joseph Smith and said anything at all. Which I do not believe, and I think there’s not much weighing in on the side of “it actually happened” in a situation where the burden of proof rests squarely on the person making outrageous claims. But that’s kind of beside the point.

  16. Mormonism is premised on the existence of an external objective reality embodied in God the Father. His existence allows human opinion to be transitory and subject to change. This is why a Mormon can easily make the transition from all non-Mormon religions are abominations, to all creeds are abominations, as Renee has.

    Don’t knock it. It’s a good thing. This kind of flexibility makes Mormons much more pleasant to be around.

  17. What the bare statement of God the Father was, and what Joseph Smith thought it meant are two different things.

    I don’t see how claiming that the Prophet didn’t understand what God was saying to him lightens the burden of the truth claims that the LDS church holds to. That seems to be shooting oneself in the head to avoid getting shot in the foot.

    If Joseph, the inspired prophet of God for this dispensation, misunderstood the First Vision, then practically every unique aspect of the Restoration should be under scrutiny.

  18. I agree with Dando. What good are a Restored Gospel, a Living Prophet, and a One True Church if they’re all completely unreliable?

  19. “If Joseph, the inspired prophet of God for this dispensation, misunderstood the First Vision, then practically every unique aspect of the Restoration should be under scrutiny.”

    Yeah, that is pretty-much how I see it. I just don’t see it as a bad thing. I find it exciting.

  20. I agree that Mormonism doesn’t practically have official doctrine. The problem is that virtually every member insists that it does, and that their interpretation is in line with “the Church’s real teachings.” It also means that any doctrinal problem I have with the Church is met with “but that’s not the Church’s official doctrine!” It’s infuriating, not only because it seems weasely, but it also means that any concern I have is instantly trivialized and invalidated by the person I’m talking to.

    But it doesn’t matter that much, since doctrinal problems are only one of the reasons I believe the church to be false.

  21. I think this is a bit disingenuous. I applaud you for seeking to understand and be more tolerant of the LDS faith, though I think dismissing us as “the Beast rather than the Dragon” betrays your position somewhat.
    I’ve always been chagrinned to see how much time and effort Evangelical churches in general (though I’m willing to allow that perhaps not all) invest in attempts to discredit and dismiss my religion. All the talk of cults and nonChristian status etc. Probably you would see the humor in our position if you realize how very little time most LDS spend wondering how to convince you all that your church is of the devil. (Me, personally: 0hours, 0min. per day, thanks very much).
    I don’t care what religious beliefs you hold. It does not offend me one iota if your personal beliefs differ from mine. (now if you start attacking what I believe or calling me “Beast”, we may have issues :) )
    I think when approaching different religions, it’s essential to look at the fruits of said religion. How does this religion assist the believer in becoming a more Christlike person? Do their beliefs (whatever doctrine they may espouse) lead them to be more kind, more loving, fair and honest? Do they encourage charity?
    I’ve had many friends who would self-classify as Evangelical who I found to live admirable lives of service and compassion. These were people you could trust to be honest and to try to do the right thing in whatever situation they found themselves in. Although their doctrinal beliefs concerning the Saviour differed from mine, the tender and reverent feelings we share for Him are the same.
    I think we all do ourselves and Christ a disservice when we dwell on our differences. In addition to those kindly Evangelicals, I have met some who were so consumed with vitriol at the very mention of my religion that we couldn’t even have a pleasant conversation. I can honestly say that I have never in my life felt or expressed anger or shock or abhorrance at anyone’s choice of religion (though I feel a great sadness for those who identify as satanists).
    I think it highly unfortunate that so many Evangelicals seem to disagree with that.
    Building on commonality and rejoicing in Christ together seems much more productive.

  22. There are 12 million mormons worldwide, roughly 6 million in the United States which has a population of 300 million which means 2% of the United States population is mormon.
    1 in 50 and growing.
    Hardly sounds like a cult to me.
    Must be a pretty good book.

  23. 12 million active Mormons? 6 million in the US who self-identify as Mormon? There’s some hefty dispute about the Church’s numbers. A lot of people think they might be hyperinflated.

    I’m counted in those numbers, for example, but I absolutely denounce the Church.

    And numbers don’t make it not a cult. A cult with a big population would just be a big cult. Growth doesn’t make it not a cult, either (and how many of that “growth” is sustained in any way?). A cult with fast growth would just be a fast-growing cult.

  24. Kullervo, how does that Arlo Guthrie song go? Ah, yes, it’s Alice’s Restaurant:

    “You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he’s really sick and they won’t take him. And if two people, two people do it, in harmony, they may think they’re both faggots and they won’t take either of them.
    And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. They may think it’s an organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said fifty people a day walking in singin’ a bar of Alice’s Restaurant and walking out. And friends they may thinks it’s a movement.”

  25. LDSMOMMY on comment 25 nailed it!

    As I’ve read through many comments it’s funny how quickly both the Mormons and the EV’s start throwing jabs. The fact of the matter in my opion is that God will answer our humble and sincere prayers. God will bless us when we serve others. Both Mormons and EV’s believe in Jesus and whether or not the EV’s think it’s the same Jesus the fact of the matter is that anyone who follows Jesus’ teachings is blessed with the same fruits. Whether someone is Mormon, EV Christian, Budhist, or whatever…any teaching or law from the Savior that is followed, God blesses that person.

    The main common ground to be found is by joining and serving in our communities together, teaching people to pray, to love Jesus… Raising God-fearing children and having homes filled with love, prayer, scripture study, and compassion. It is our choice to practice whatever faith we want and God will bless us all to the extent that we’re willing to come to Him. He is merciful to all and as I have both EV Christians and Mormons in my family, I’ve seen God bless the lives of both.

    http://www.graceforgrace.com

  26. I don’t see that any apology is necessary, nor does anyone need to ask a Mormon about their beliefs to understand Mormonism.

    The Mormon church leaders have spoken and written prolifically about their beliefs – we need only look them up.

    I began researching Mormonism back in 1976 – 1977, and found plenty of material at the local libraries. I had Mormon missionaries out to my house and they would sometimes verify my research – but most often they would pass, claiming that they would “get back to me”. They never did, and eventually the Mormon church quit sending them out.

    I have never before studied a religion where so many seem so ashamed of their doctrine. I would not be a member of a church where I felt like I needed to hide my beliefs from others – but that’s me.

    Apologize for getting it wrong? Why?? If Mormons really want the world to know exactly what they believe, all they need to is say so, clearly and precisely. They do this *somewhat* (I am a FARMS subscriber, by the way), though not completely. They still feel it necessary to hide some things, often citing the condescending “milk before meat” rationalization.

  27. Bill,

    Evangelicals, Catholics, and Jews have just as many skeletons in their doctrinal closets. The difference is that no one bludgeons them with their embarrassing doctrines. But people seem to like to bludgeon we Mormons with ours.

  28. Evangelicals, Catholics, and Jews, etc. are generally way better at admitting they have skeletons in their closets. Mormons do their best to pretend their closets are spic-and-span.

  29. I’m coming into this conversation quite late, and find the above comments interesting and in a generally good spirit. That’s refreshing.

    I agree that Evangelicals (I am one) can be hateful and mean-spirited, speaking out of lack-of-understanding. Our history has not been a glowing one.

    As I understand it, the main difference between Protestant Evangelicalism and LDS has to do with the question of ‘Who is Jesus?’ Since Jesus is so central, to get him wrong is to get it ALL wrong. And Evangelicals and LDS’s do not worship the same Jesus:

    LDS Jesus – Begotten biologically by God, after the same fashion as I begetted my own son. He is not eternal. He is the brother of Satan.

    Evangelical Jesus: Eternal. ‘Son of God’ describes the nature of his eternal relationship with the Father, but he was not procreated by sexual activity. He is not Satan’s brother (Satan is a created being, Jesus is not).

    To this I could add the LDS idea that God had a father, who had a father…. And that God is a deified man, and that what he is, I can become.

    Evangelicals believe God is the ground of all being. Nothing exists or has existed prior to him.

    These are, to me and to most evangelicals, the core issues. Someone can correct me if I am off base here. I have read part, but not all, of the book of Mormon.

    That being said, I respect and even admire some LDS values, which they live out better than we evangelicals do (morality, mission, self-discipline…)

  30. Ken — The issue of whether we worship the “same” Jesus is a semantic issue more than anything else. From my perspective, we worship the Messiah who was promised in the Old Testament and who was born around 5 B.C. in Bethlehem. As far as I know, that’s the same Jesus nearly every other Christian on this planet worships.

    In any case, some of what you state as LDS doctrine isn’t. I’ll just leave at that for now.

  31. “LDS Jesus – Begotten biologically by God, after the same fashion as I begetted my own son. He is not eternal. He is the brother of Satan.”

    Well, I suppose this needs to be cleared up forthwith.

    LDS doctrine rejects “creation ex nihilo.” We do not believe God created anything “out of nothing.” So it’s not accurate to say we believe that Jesus is “created” in the way you mean it. Jesus is just as eternal as God is in Mormon thought.

    Furthermore, all human beings are eternally pre-existent. God did not create me out of nothing. A part of me always existed. Furthermore, the entire universe is composed of pre-existent matter – none of which God created from nothing. The sense that Mormons mean the word “creation” is to organize from pre-existing chaotic matter. Much like a painter “creates” a painting.

    So we believe Jesus is eternal. So is Lucifer. So are you and I. And Jesus isn’t just Lucifer’s brother, he is also MY Elder Brother – and yours. And none of us was ever “created” in the way that you are using the word. If you are going to continue engaging LDS thought, it is crucial that you understand that for Mormons eternity both lies ahead of us and behind. There was no past moment when all reality exploded into being. Mormon cosmology has no beginning and no end.

  32. Thanks for your responses. Really.

    Eric, especially in light of Seth’s comment, I can’t agree that the issue is one of semantics only. Clearly we disagree fundamentally on the identity and essential nature of God and Jesus.

    Seth, thanks. Does this mean that LDS considers Jesus and I equal (at least potentially so)? If so, I need to know how LDS’s understand the death of Christ in terms of its addressing the issue of sin. (Evangelicals consider this the central theme of the Bible.)

  33. Ken, we are considered the same species. In fact, we are literally family – which I’m sure is objectionable enough to traditional Christians.

    But no, we do not consider ourselves in a position to ever surpass or draw equal with either God the Father or God the Son. Mormons feelings of reverence for and submissiveness to Christ would likely be not too far out of line from what a lot of Evangelicals feel.

    But I should point out, from personal opinion, that I’m not entirely certain that words like “equal” really have much meaning within the unity of heaven spoken of in LDS scripture. I mean, do you consider Christ’s deference to God the Father (on several occasions in the New Testament) to be evidence that he is “inferior” to the Father? I don’t. I’m not trying to
    say that we’re going to occupy the same position Christ does. I’m just saying I’m not sure that mortal understanding of hierarchy really applies in heaven. Pure speculation on my part though.

    The Atonement is likewise central in the LDS narrative. It runs thus –

    1. we lived in heaven with God the Father; to become like Him we needed to gain a physical, and not just spiritual, reality – just like the Father has;

    2. for this purpose, earth was created and a Plan proposed;

    3. we would be given FULL opportunity to either reject or accept God while on earth (and gain bodies in the process);

    4. Lucifer proposed a plan wherein he would force us all to obey and submit and thus, would not lose a single one of us;

    5. this was contrary to God’s will – which was that we be given a truly free choice in the matter;

    6. Lucifer was defeated in the ensuing debate and one third of God’s spirit children (us) followed him – never to gain bodies or participate in the Plan;

    7. Adam and Eve fell, but this Fall was a necessary part of distancing us from God such that we could actually be given a free and non-coerced choice in either accepting or rejecting God (this is why Mormons do not generally see Adam and Eve in the same negative light that other Christians see them – in fact they are heroes in the Mormon narrative);

    8. Part of our distancing from God is that we became fallen. Since nothing impure or imperfect – even in the slightest degree can be reunited with God, we seemed irrevocably cut off from God

    9. Christ bridges that unbridgeable gulf and is the only way that both justice and mercy can be satisfied.

    10. Through Christ’s Atonement, we can be reconciled to God and return to live with Him (there’s more stuff here about different degrees of glory in the afterlife, but let’s keep it simple for now).

    That’s pretty-much it.

  34. Ken said: “Eric, especially in light of Seth’s comment, I can’t agree that the issue is one of semantics only.

    I didn’t mean to suggest that the differences between Mormons and evangelicals are semantic in nature only. All I said is that the issue of whether we worship the “same” Jesus or not is a semantic question. You could make logical arguments either way depending on what you mean by “same.”

    It’s kind of like asking if Christians, Muslims and Jews worship the same God. I’d say yes. Others might say no, since Jews and Muslims don’t believe in a triune God, while Christians do. Again, it’s a matter of what you mean by “same.”

    I’m not denying in the least that there are significant, fundamental differences between LDS and evangelicals.

    If I say that we worship the same Jesus and you don’t, it’s because we have different definitions of “same.” That’s all I was saying. It’s not because I think you view the nature of the Trinity or the nature of the premortal Jesus the same as I do, since I assume you don’t. All I’m saying is that the Jesus I worship is the one who was born around 5 B.C. in Bethlehem, and the Jesus that most Christians worship was born in the same stable at the same time. To me that’s the same Jesus. If you want to say that’s a different Jesus, I’m not going to argue the point. We just mean different things by “same.”

    P.S.: I think Seth’s explanation of the Atonement was excellent. Generally, I think that Mormons and evangelicals are pretty much in agreement on steps 8 through 10. But steps 1-7 are distinctly LDS in nature (although there are a few evangelical thinkers who would agree that the Fall was part of God’s plan and is inextricably tied in with the granting of free will, which Mormons usually call agency).

  35. Why would I need to read the book of Mormon cover to cover in order to know what they believe? They come to our homes telling us what they believe and it clearly contradicts the essentials laid out in Scripture, so… therefore it is not Christianity. Don’t mean to be blunt…

    Roger

  36. Roger,

    I think I can safely say the same thing about most Evangelicals I speak with, what they preach contradicts scripture, therefore what they believe is apostate Christianity. No point in listening to them. . .

  37. Reading the Book of Mormon cover-to-cover wouldn’t teach you all of LDS beliefs anyway.

    Roger, is there a particular reason you came over here to tell us all this? Are you hoping Tim will take the blog down or something?

  38. “We Evangelicals need to apologize to the LDS. I think there are far too many of us who think we know what Mormons believe without ever asking Mormons themselves. I am personally guilty of this. I am now of the opinion that no Evangelical should ever authoritatevly talk about Mormons to other Christians unless they have at the very least read the Book of Mormon cover to cover and know the current prophet’s first and last name. And that’s the bare neccesity. Many don’t qualify, they just happen to have seen “The God Makers” once or twice. We have made errors in our descriptions of LDS beliefs.”

    Roger: This is why I wrote what I wrote. I don’t see the need to apologize to the LDS… If I was going around talking about you guys personally then I would see a need to apologize. But if I see something wrong in LDS doctrine/theology, especially core, essential Christian doctrine I believe I owe it to my brothers and sisters to warn them against heresy. This is what the scripture warrants…

  39. Question. Do you want to actually convince Mormons that they are in heresy, out of concern for their souls? Or are you just trying to self-righteously discharge your Biblical duty?

    I’m serious: are you more concerned with turning Mormons from heresy, or are you more concerned with being able to say “I told you so?”

    If you actually want to save Mormon souls, being confrontational is not going to be very effective.

  40. “But if I see something wrong in LDS doctrine/theology, especially core, essential Christian doctrine I believe I owe it to my brothers and sisters to warn them against heresy. This is what the scripture warrants…”

    Fine. But in addition to kullervo’s question, I have to ask if you would be open to the idea that what mormon’s believe may not be exactly what you think they do? After all, this is exactly what Tim was advocating: That evangelicals make sure they are criticizing what Mormons actually believe (by confirming those beliefs with numerous Mormon sources, and not just one or two quotes from the Journal of Discourses), and not the various distortions of Mormon doctrine being floated around evangelical circles. Tim seems to have done a lot of the legwork necessary to put himself in a position to have a critical dialogue with LDS. Have you? Or are you just too appauled that mormons believe God had sex with mary and that they believe they are saved by their works to ever give credence to their teachings by actually reading the BOM sometime?

    Just curious…

  41. Ok guys. In reference to what kullervo asked, I am definately concerned for Mormon souls… just like Buddhist, JW, Hindu, etc.. souls. I apologize if my tone seems a little harsh. I’m not upset or anything, just calling it as I see it. I have looked at many of the things that Mormons say they believe. But I’m definately open to discussion. Maybe one of you can tell me, what do you believe concerning Jesus Christ? Is He coequal with God the Father as well as the Holy Spirit? And is it true that you believe that God had sex with Mary? Do you actually believe that you’re saved by works?

    Just curious…

  42. I’m not a Mormon.

    You can “call it as you see it,” but I’m just telling you, Mormons aren’t going to be impressed when you do. If you want to really engage with Mormons about their doctrine, you’re going to have to actually understand their doctrine.

    If you’re talking about your Evangelical straw-man version of the Mormon faith, you’re talking past your audience, not to your audience. Assuming your audience is Mormons.

  43. As a Mormon, I see no scriptural evidence that “God had sex with Mary.” I don’t believe it or disbelieve it. It wouldn’t bother me much if He did, but I doubt He did.

    However, I will say, for the record, it would bother a lot of my Mormon friends. Most Mormons do not believe that God had sex with Mary and find it a rather vulgar notion. For me it’s a non-issue.

    As for “saved by works”… what do you mean by “saved?” My experience is that when LDS and Evangelicals talk about “salvation” they are really talking about two different things.

    And yes, according to Mormons, the Son is coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit – which the Book of Mormon makes exceedingly plain.

  44. And what do you mean by “works?”

    I could argue that all Christians other than hardcore Calvinists believe in “works” as necessary for salvation. Deciding to put your faith in Jesus is an affirmative step taken–a work of the will but a work nonetheless. If it’s required to access Jesus’s grace, then in one sense, you believe in salvation by works, too.

    On the other hand, playing semantic games, you could counter-argue that said exercise of faith does not actually do the saving, but it simply allows us access to Jesus’s sufficient grace. But then the argument is on what are the requirements to gain access to grace (which saves)?

    Faith alone? Faith and baptism? Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end?

    Mormons of the Steven Robinson variety will tell you that Jesus’s grace alone does the saving, but that Jesus has set these things as requirements to gain access to his grace.

  45. Seth, to be fair, the Book of Mormon is also extremely trinitarian. In my opinion, you really have to stretch a lot of the passages in the BoM to make them fit subsequent Church teachings aboutthe Godhead.

    “Co-equal with the father” is not exactly a phrase that’s used in Mormon theology.

  46. Kullervo, if you’re not Mormon what do you believe? (if you don’t mind me asking)

  47. If you’re interested in finding out more about the people you are talking to, I would recommend clicking on their name. Many of us bloggers have hyperlinks attached to our names – often linked to our own blogs.

  48. Hi Tim,
    I was born in the church (raised Mormon, active 33 years of my life, married in the temple, etc.) and agree with Ross Anderson. This excerpt of his post is right on:

    “…….It makes it sound like everything that evangelicals have written about Mormonism is lousy and inaccurate. That’s just not the case.
    The issue is exacerbated by the current LDS attitude of selective disclosure. Typically, they only want us to hear a spun version of their beliefs – such as GB Hinckley’s comments to Larry King about the LDS understanding of God.
    I’m sure a number of evangelicals do need to apologize to Mormons. But a blanket apology does not help the dialogue because it is naive and not fully honest,
    And by the way, how about a Mormon apology to evangelicals?……….”

    In response to rcronk, you will not find on FAIR.org the truth about what Mormons believe. LDS apologists are a very select few of my church who extensively study church history and do not represent rank and file members. Their interest is only in defending the church against critics and they will spin and twist history, doctrines, and teachings of the Prophets to fit their agenda.

    Most LDS have no idea Joseph had any other wives than Emma and could not name you one of his polygamist brides. They also have no idea that plural marriage was practiced and preached as a requirement for exaltation. Most have not ever heard of blood atonement, Adam God, Masonry,etc. It always surprises me how many have never heard of MMM. Their knowledge of church history doesn’t extend beyond “The Work and the Glory” books by Gerald Lund.
    But just because members don’t know their religion, doesn’t make the doctrines EVs tell others Mormons believe false.

    What members tell you they believe and actual church doctrine is quite often 2 different things. I have had several occasions with other members when I asked the significance of “the only begotten son.” The answers given the first time were startling to me. They wouldn’t come right out and say “GOD had SEX with Mary!” but their answers inferred it and told me it was a sacred act that we shouldn’t discuss in detail. When I pressed them for more details I was given the answer that God had created His son the same way we had to be created. You won’t get members to admit this doctrine EVER in public but there are many who are aware of it and treat it as sacred.

    Anyone who has been to the temple knows the doctrine on becoming a God. If a Mormon says “I don’t know that we teach that” or “we don’t believe that” they are either lying or new converts. I knew about exaltation/becoming a God long before I was endowed and sealed in the temple. It’s in the Gospel Essentials class.

    If you want to know what Mormons believe, you will only get the truth from former members or LDS who have no agenda to convert the world and defend their testimonies.

    I agree that BOTH sides owe apologies. I was given so much false information on what EVs and Catholics believe having grown up in LDS culture.

  49. “If you want to know what Mormons believe, you will only get the truth from former members or LDS who have no agenda to convert the world and defend their testimonies.”

    Bogus Seven. Sheer bogus.

    If you want “the truth” your just as likely to get it from a Mormon as an ex-Mormon.

    I’ve been around enough ex-Mormons to know that while there are decent ones out there, a lot of them are shrill, unbalanced, hateful ex-spouse types.

    You ever talk to someone going through a nasty divorce?

    If you’ve got any common sense, you’ll know that an aggrieved ex-spouse is one of the last places you can expect to hear objective truth. She’ll do and say anything to smear the wretched man who hurt her.

    And believe me, I have encountered PLENTY of that type of ex-Mormon.

    Get your info from a variety of sources, and realize they are all EQUALLY likely to be bogus.

  50. Seven,

    I think your view of Mormons is pretty distorted.

    As far as the God had sex with Mary doctrine, I know few Mormons who believe that, even though some do, I don’t think it is a big deal really, one way or another, I mean He either did have sex with Mary or he didn’t if he didn’t and you believe he did, so what, what would He care? If He did and you believe he didn’t, equally, so what? I think most of the “scandalous” doctrines that you are bringing up mainly are at root just interesting speculation or simply non-traditional beliefs whose shock value is mainly that they don’t jibe with some convention. Most don’t have a lot of practical impact on actually “living the gospel” which is what I think Mormonism is all about. I don’t think God really cares that much about a lot of Joseph’ Smith’s faults and bad judgments. I mean he revealed so much to him anyway didn’t he, even if he did marry a couple of minors.

    As far as getting to what Mormons actually believe, I find few Mormons who hide what they themselves really believe, even though they may downplay what others in the church have said they don’t fully buy in.

    I am a member but I have no agenda to defend my testimony to anybody and I believe that telling the whole truth is ultimately the best way to gather the elect…

    I think you may have been one of the many Mormons I know who are active in a sheeplike and then all of a sudden you realize you have been a sheep for a long time didn’t really understand the religion you professed and are now looking for another flock. Well, my response is don’t blame the church for you acting like a sheep. Fact is, there are lot of non-sheep in the Church who are really sincere searching, and conscientious about their beliefs and how they are portrayed. The truth is out there, it has always been out there, nobody was hiding it from you all of those years, but the sheep are content to be led by the nose.

    There are sheep in every group, but I don’t think that the fact that a group contains and tolerates sheep and lets them remain sheep is necessarily a strong criticism.
    For example, the fact that many American “patriots” are close minded, ethnocentric idiots that are only American patriots becuase they were accidently born in America rather than some other country shouldn’t really dissuade me from being a patriot after trying to impartially consider all of the ethical and practical implicatons of that position, does it?

  51. Seven,

    All of the things you mentioned are included in “The Work and the Glory” books. :P

    “If you want to know what Mormons believe, you will only get the truth from former members or LDS who have no agenda to convert the world and defend their testimonies.”

    If you want to know what any given Mormon believes, ask that given Mormon. No, they don’t all believe the same thing. The fallacy is in thinking that they all do. Even here, Seth R and Jared C have different ideas about certain doctrines. It was my pet peeve when I was LDS when someone would tell me what I believed–that someone would assume that they knew what I believed and I didn’t. Or that if the church had some wacky doctrine, that I bought into it wholeheartedly. I know that Mormonism brings some of that on itself by saying that there is an absolute truth, but regardless, it is not fair to tell someone else what they believe.

    Also, Seven, most LDS DO know that Joseph Smith had multiple wives. If they don’t, I think it must be through willful ignorance. No, they don’t make it overt, but it is a part of seminary and is discussed in Sunday School and is in the D&C, which is covered at least every four years in church. Sure, you get a sanitized version, and don’t learn about the young girls and the polyandry and the lies that were going around about it (all of which bother me to no end), but they do teach it.

  52. “Also, Seven, most LDS DO know that Joseph Smith had multiple wives. If they don’t, I think it must be through willful ignorance. No, they don’t make it overt, but it is a part of seminary and is discussed in Sunday School and is in the D&C, which is covered at least every four years in church. Sure, you get a sanitized version, and don’t learn about the young girls and the polyandry and the lies that were going around about it (all of which bother me to no end), but they do teach it.”

    This is a good example of how the Brighamites have distorted church history and scripture. Any serious student of church history knows that Joseph Smith denied having more than one wife.

    Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered on July 27, 1844. Joseph Smith wrote the following on May 26, 1844:

    “I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made
    one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that
    I had seven wives. I mean to live and proclaim the truth as
    long as I can.
    This new holy prophet [William Law] has gone to Carthage
    and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery.
    This spiritual wifeism! Why, a man dares not speak or wink,
    for fear of being accused of this.

    A man asked me whether the commandment was given that a
    man may have seven wives; and now the new prophet has
    charged me with adultery. …
    … I am innocent of all these charges, and you can bear
    witness of my innocence, for you know me yourselves.
    … What a thing it is for a man to be accused of
    committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only
    find one.
    I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen
    years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers. I labored
    with these apostates myself until I was out of all manner of
    patience; and then I sent my brother Hyrum, whom they
    virtually kicked out of doors.” (History of the Church, Volume 6, pages 410-411.)

    Section 132 of the Utah Doctrines and Covenants (D&C), which condones polygamy, was invented after the death of Joseph Smith by apostates.

  53. None of those quotes address that issue adequately Rick. The documentation of Joseph Smith’s polygamy is pretty solid.

  54. Rick, I also find the fact that Joseph Smith lied publicly about his polygamy concerning. However, it is well documented that he did have multiple wives, and in D&C 132, Emma Smith is counseled to go along with the plural wives or be destroyed by God.

  55. Katyjane,

    Rick has already done big long posts here on why he doesn’t think D&C 132 refers to polygamy.

    I find his explanations unconvincing.

  56. Rick has not already done long post here or anywhere else on D&C 132.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out something isn’t right about the Brighamite’s Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) section 132. Consider the following:

    D&C 101:4 (1835 edition)
    D&C 109:4 (1844 and 1846 editions)
    MARRIAGE
    4 … Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached
    with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that
    we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one
    woman, but one husband, except in case of death when either is at liberty to marry again. …

    If the previous editions of the D&C forbid members of the church to practice polygamy, than why would anyone believe that D&C section 132 in later published Brighamite editions which encourages it?

    Brigham Young, who was excommunicated from the church, was one of the most wicked people that I have ever read about. lying was one of his well documented traits.

    If Joseph Smith had more than one wife, than where are the decedents of those relationships? I mean…daaaa…the “pill” hadn’t yet been invented, and Joseph had several children from his wife, Emma, proving that he was fertile.

    The Brighamite church is a very powerful organization. They have distorted church history and scripture. Any serious student of church history understands this.

  57. Section 132 of Brighamite’s D&C contradicts the Book of Mormon, which says that David’s polygamy was “wicked” and “abominable.” Section 132 states that David did not sin in any of those things:

    Jacob 1:15
    15 And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under
    the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their
    hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices,
    such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and
    concubines, and also Solomon, his son.

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

    D&C 132:39
    39. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me,
    by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the
    prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of
    these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah
    and his wife; …

  58. Just think of all the heart ache and pain this false doctrine has caused. It has also been the cause of many not investigating the Book of Mormon, and even some to disregard it after first embracing it; rejecting the BoM while leaving a church. Which to me is very sad.

    Most hear of the Book of Mormon, and think of a church (the Brighamites). Like the Bible, the Book of Mormon can be gleaned for it’s truths. Truth is what any serous person of reason seeks. God is Truth. He cannot lie. Satan is full of lies.

    Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy might, and with all thy strength: thou shalt adore him, and serve him, and obey him: thou shalt have no other gods before thee: thou shalt not make unto thee any image or likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters of the earth, to bow thyself unto it, or to worship it: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto, nor adore anything that thine eye beholdeth, or thy imagination conceiveth of; but the Lord thy God only; for the Lord thy God is a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, from generation to generation, even upon all that hate him, and showing a multitude of mercies unto them that keep his commandments.

    Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: thou shalt not usurp dominion as a ruler; for the name of the Lord thy God is great and glorious above all other names: he is above all, and is the only true God; the only just and upright King over all: he alone hath the right to rule; and in his name, only he to whom he granteth it: whosoever is not chosen of him, the same is a usurper, and unholy: the Lord will not hold him guiltless, for he taketh his name in vain.

    Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work; thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy womanservant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: for in six ages the Lord thy God made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh age: wherefore the Lord thy God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it: thou shalt keep it holy unto him, that thou forget not the Law, nor be found keeping the company of the vile, nor be despised by the righteous.

    Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: thou shalt not revile him, nor speak evil of him, nor curse him: thou shalt do no injustice unto him; and thou shalt maintain his right, against his enemy: thou shalt not exact rigorously of him, nor turn aside from relieving him: thou shalt deliver him from the snare and the pit, and shalt return his ox when he strayeth: thou shalt comfort him when he mourns, and nurture him when he sickens: thou shalt not abate the price of what thou buyest of him, for his necessity; nor shalt thou exact of him, because he leaneth upon thee: for in so doing thousands shall rise up and call thee blessed, and the Lord thy God shall strengthen thee in all the work of thy hand.

    Honour thy father and thy mother: give heed to their commandments, obey their laws, and depart not from their precepts: reverence their age, and seek unto their house all the days of thy life: exalt not thyself against them, nor withhold to build up their house above thine own: honour and obey the King and the Judges, and the rulers, and all that are set in authority; for they are as fathers among the people: that they may be a fear unto evil doers; and the Priest also, who stands before the Lord, that he may instruct thee: and thy days shall be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

    Thou shalt not kill: thou shalt slay no man in malice; neither thy child, nor thy wife, nor thy bondman, nor thy bondwoman, nor thy servant: nor the child of thy servant: neither shalt thou slay thine enemy, except thou admonish him, and entreat him, and he hear thee not, and God give him into thy hand: thou shalt only slay him in lawful war: and if any man trespass against thee, and break through, and do violence, thou shalt not slay him in revenge. If thou overtake him in the trespass, thou mayest resist unto blood; but except thou slay him in the trespass, thou shalt deliver him to the Judge; he shall judge him, and the hand of the officer shall be on him.

    Thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not in any wise lie with the wife of thy neighbour; and if she seduce thee, thou shalt resist her; that thou pollute not thyself, and make not the place of thy house unclean, and destroy not the house of thy neighbour, and that thou cause no violence in the land: thou shalt not lie with the wife of the stranger; neither shalt thou lie with the wife of thine enemy; lest thy children be scattered abroad, and know not thee, nor the fear of thee be upon them, and they be strangers to the covenant of God, and the whole land be corrupt, and thine offspring be destroyed with the wicked.

    Thou shalt not steal: thou shalt not trespass upon anything that is thy neighbour’s, to take it from him, nor to destroy it: neither shalt thou trespass upon the stranger that dwelleth within thy gates, to destroy his substance, nor to take it from him; for to thee he looketh for justice, and a shield round about all that he hath; and the fear of the Lord thy God is upon him also, and to his righteousness he also seeketh: neither shalt thou overreach him by cunning, nor by stratagem, to take his substance from thy neighbour, nor the stranger within thy gates. Remember that ye were strangers, and were oppressed, and oppress not the stranger, lest his cry ascend to God against you.

    Thou shalt not bear false witness: thou shalt not speak falsely before the King, nor before the Judge, nor in the assembly of the Princes, nor in the presence of the Ruler, nor unto the Minister of the Law, nor among the multitude; nor in the ear of thy friend, nor to thy wife, nor thy child, nor thy servant: neither shalt thou withhold the truth from the King, nor the Judge, nor him that is set in authority: for thus shall righteousness be established in all thy borders.

    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s inheritance: thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, nor his bondman, nor his bondwoman, nor his manservant, nor his womanservant, nor his horse, nor his carriage, nor the instruments of his labour, nor the produce of his land, nor the things that he has made, nor the treasures that he has in store, nor anything that is thy neighbour’s: thy desire shall not be upon them, to take them by stealth, nor by fraud, nor by cunning, nor by violence: neither shalt thou covet that which belongeth to the stranger that dwelleth within thy gates; but thou shalt improve thine own, and thy desire shall be unto it; lest thou be corrupt, and the hand of thy neighbours be against thee, and the cry of the poor ascend to God against thee.

  59. Rick,

    I can buy into most everything in that last comment except the part about coveting my neighbor’s bondman and bondwoman.

    I think if you saw my neighbor’s indentured servants you would understand that that restraint is totally unrealistic from where I sit.

    Otherwise the rest of it was great. . . although strangely familiar.

  60. “Brigham Young, who was excommunicated from the church, was one of the most wicked people that I have ever read about.”

    Obviously you haven’t read about many people.

  61. How awesome would it be if every single thread on this blog ultimately devolved into Rick Hurd rambling?

    C’mon, Rick, your work is cut out for you. How are you going to convince us unless you show us how devoted you are by making long-winded Stranglite comments on every single blog post?

  62. Seth R. wrote:

    ““Brigham Young, who was excommunicated from the church, was one of the most wicked people that I have ever read about.”

    Obviously you haven’t read about many people.”

    I write indexes for non-fiction books for part of my income. Recently I completed an index for a book on sex crimes. This book went into detail of some of this countries most heinous crimes. Until I read this book, I had no idea that there are people out there who fantasize about capturing, torturing, raping and murdering their victims to gain sexual gratification. Some of these people actually carry out those fantasies (even on children.) They are labeled “lust killers.”

    There will come a day of judgement for everyone. Where all will have their lives revealed, and be held accountable. If I had to chose between standing in Brigham Young’s shoes or standing in the shoes of a lust killer on that day, I would choose the shoes of the lust killer.

    The media have picked up on stories like the Mountain Meadow Massacre, where they pointed to Brigham Young’s involvement of the murder of innocent men women and children. This wasn’t’ the first time Brigham Young was accused of murder.

    The following is an extraction from a letter written by Joseph Smith’s younger brother, William, who was one of the twelve apostles at the time of Joseph’s death:

    “”It is to remembered that, soon after Joseph and Hyrum’s death, brother Green died, and he was heard by numerous individuals to say that Joseph had appointed Strang.”

    Many in the church thought “brother Green” (John P. Green) was murdered. The following is an extraction from the Diamond, which was published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1848 (see http://members.aol.com/rhurd44884/scripture/Diamond/D1.txt):

    “Mrs. Emma Smith recollects well of her husband receiving a letter from Mr. Strang [see http://members.aol.com/strangites/letterofappointment.htm%5D, and holding a council on the subject, and names Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards and John Green as present at that council, and also that a letter was sent to Mr. Strang in answer, but of the import of the answer she was not informed…

    …On the eighth of August, 1844, when Sidney Rigdon endeavored to obtain authority to lead the church, John P. Green, marshal of the city of Nauvoo, told them “they need not trouble themselves about it for Joseph had appointed one James J. Strang, who lived up north, to stand in his stead.” The sudden death of John P. Green immediately after this declaration (under very extraordinary circumstances) left Willard Richards and John Taylor sole repositors of all documents on this subject except this letter. They had simply to suppress documents in their hands to set themselves up in power, or overthrow themselves and their pretensions by publishing them…”

    “And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt
    not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in
    this world, nor in the world to come.” (D&C 42:18.)

  63. Hi KatyJane, :)

    From your comments, I would guess you are a convert. You had a very different experience from most of the Mormons I have discussed this issue with.
    I was “born in the church” and Joseph Smith was portrayed as a monogamist my entire life. I attended all church meetings, Seminary, Institute, (active 33 years) etc. and NEVER heard of his other wives. Never once heard he practiced polygamy.

    I was aware that Joseph Smith revealed it to OTHERS, but was taught that it wasn’t practiced until Utah in 1852. Sure if I had sat and really pondered/studied section 132 and the history of it, I could have figured it out, but what would have prompted that? How can I know to ask something I don’t know exists? We focus on the Book of Mormon more than any book of scripture and 132 comes up ONLY every 4 years in Gospel Doctrine. When we finally study it, they cherry pick the verses to study that don’t mention plural marriage and many of us are in Primary callings or YW/YM when it does. It wasn’t until I had been told by an active LDS member that Joseph was married to other women that I researched this issue. (and the nightmare began)

    When you said:

    “Also, Seven, most LDS DO know that Joseph Smith had multiple wives. If they don’t, I think it must be through willful ignorance. No, they don’t make it overt, but it is a part of seminary and is discussed in Sunday School and is in the D&C, which is covered at least every four years in church. Sure, you get a sanitized version, and don’t learn about the young girls and the polyandry and the lies that were going around about it (all of which bother me to no end), but they do teach it.”

    I have never seen the church “teach it.” Please tell me which church teaching materials used in Sunday School, Relief Society, Primary, etc. ever teach that Joseph Smith had more than one wife. Even 132 lesson plans for gospel doctrine leave out those scriptures. Yes it’s my fault that I didn’t study that section better but that’s the norm. We’re kind of busy with callings, raising kids, service projects, FHE, Visiting teaching, Home Teaching, Ward activities, etc. to become church history buffs and scriptorians.

    It was not “willful ignorance” that I wasn’t aware of Joseph Smith’s polygamy and I think that’s an unfair statement. The majority of members are ignorant of this because they have been raised in a culture where discussion of polygamy is viewed as “anti Mormon” and taboo. The church was deliberate in editing out any mention of plural marriage in church curriculum.

    They mislead the members on his marriage to Emma in order to portray the most ideal Prophet and attract converts. Although I knew of Brigham Young and other Prophets polygamy (for the widows ;) ), in the teachings of the Prophets they only mention the first wife now. I had no idea it was required for exaltation.

    I can agree that we had different experiences but yours does not represent the rank and file of the church. Even converts are lied to on this issue. I saw missionaries and other members telling countless investigators (who converted) that it was “anti Mormon lies” when they asked about Joseph’s Smith’s polygamy. Most LDS believe polygamy was only for the widows. I have discussed this with MANY devout LDS convert friends and family who were horrified when they found out Joseph Smith was a polygamist. (several have since left the church) It was a nightmare for them upon learning it and provoked them to study church history.
    Joseph Smith’s polygamy is the most common catalyst I have seen for disillusionment in the LDS faith because the church has been so deceptive about the doctrine and practice. People feel betrayed by the church and then they begin studying other controversial subjects.

  64. Seven, I flat-out disbelieve you. I grew up in the Church, and have lived in wards on two continents and on both sides of the Mississippi. There’s seriously no way you can grow up in the church, go to seminary, and go to institute and not know about this. Seriously, you must not have been paying attention.

    No, they don’t talk about it alot. It’s not necessarily a part of the curriculum. And if you’re staring off into space you can probably miss all kinds of things. But there’s simply no way you can be active for 33 years in the church and never have even heard about JS’s polygamy. Heard and didn;t pay attention, sure. Heard and ignored because you weren’t interested, sure. But never heard, no way.

  65. Seven,

    I agree with Kullervo on this one 100%.

    Do a search on LDS.org in the gospel library it will give dozens of references to plural marriage.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=0287a6db53dd7010VgnVCM1000004e94610aRCRD&locale=0&hideNav=1&pageNumber=1&maxResults=20&NARROW_BY=&query=plural+marriage&bucket=V7GospelLibrary&dateFrom=&dateTo=&AUTHOR_CATEGORY=&AUTHOR_NAME=&FORMAT=&dateFromDisplay=&dateToDisplay=&findByAuthor=

    It doesn’t take any effort at all, especially in the last 5-6 years, to pull up the entire story of LDS polygamy. It may not be taught in church, but it has not been a doctrine that the church has focused on for the last 100 years.

    Although, many members, like many people, don’t really think things through very thoroughly and ignore and awful lot, and are generally ignorant of history, but I think its hard to feel “betrayed” by the church for not teaching the entire history of polygamy in sunday school. Most people don’t really “get” the first principles of the gospel let alone all of the other stuff.

    Its like feeling “betrayed” by America because we were not taught about the details of slavery in school or being shocked that George Washington owned a lot of slaves.

  66. I first heard Joseph was a polygamist by an LDS friend/church history buff around 6 years ago. If you did a survey in the church you would find the majority to be as ignorant as I was.

    Why are you calling me dishonest? Why would I lie about that and why would any other members lie about being shocked, upset, sick, etc. when they learn Joseph Smith practiced polygamy? It’s embarrassing that I didn’t know it and I have no reason to make it up.

  67. I am not calling you dishonest, It just sounds like you were going through the motions, head in the clouds and now you blame the church for betraying you, and not yourself for being ignorant.

  68. Hi Jared,
    Help me out. :) I don’t have time to read all those links, but from the the first page I saw, there was no reference to Joseph Smith’s plural wives and his personal practice of plural marriage.
    There was also no information on how polygamy was once required for exaltation or any of the teachings of the Prophets on the doctrine of plural marriage. You typed in “plural marriage” so it brought up many “marriage” articles.

    Thanks!

  69. Seven, the link provided, if you click on the first article that comes up, and then on additional information within that link it says the following:
    “After God revealed the doctrine of plural marriage to Joseph Smith in 1831 and commanded him to live it, the Prophet, over a period of years, cautiously taught the doctrine to some close associates. Eventually, he and a small number of Church leaders entered into plural marriages in the early years of the Church. Those who practiced plural marriage at that time, both male and female, experienced a significant trial of their faith. The practice was so foreign to them that they needed and received personal inspiration from God to help them obey the commandment.”

    That took me 30 seconds. ;)

    I’m not trying to insult you at all, but I do think that not knowing that Joseph Smith practiced polygamy would be really difficult in the church. I mean, at least in the areas that I was in. It may not have been a part of the official curriculum, but it came up, in Sunday School, in Relief Society. I only attended church for 6 years actively, and spent a lot of that time in Primary or Nursery, and I didn’t go out of my way to find out about it. It was just there. Someone would ask a question in a class, or it would come up some other way.

    I don’t judge you for not reading your scriptures more closely on your own–heaven knows I didn’t, and I found the D&C to be exceptionally boring and not very relevant to me. But it was there, and the information was there. It was included in the Work and the Glory books, it was just common knowledge. I didn’t know the sinister stuff about it (the marriage of JS to underage girls, etc) until I started doubting the church and looking for something to redeem it.

    I don’t know where you’re from. I guess I wouldn’t consider it out of the realm of possibility that in some parts of Utah or heavily LDS areas the topic would be a taboo. But on the east coast, it’s known and discussed. In my active years, I attended at least 4 wards/branches regularly (in Florida, Tennessee, and New York), and I’m pretty sure it was mentioned, at least in part, in all of them. I can’t vouch for anywhere else, though.

  70. It’s not “hard to feel betrayed” by the church for misleading me and others in how Joseph Smith is portrayed. It’s exactly how I felt and there is no other way to describe it. The sickness I immediately felt was similar (but more painful) to a cheating spouse. It’s what many former Mormons have expressed they felt when they first learned of Joseph’s polygamy. Are you calling them all liars too?

    Your comparison to America & slavery doesn’t work for several reasons. American history is openly discussed and I was not taught to view books or discussion on slavery as “anti American.” Polygamy is a fundamental part of Mormon doctrine on exaltation and heaven. It was lived as the “highest principle” of Mormonism. If it was commanded of God, why not mention Joseph had plural wives? They sure give Emma the spotlight. You would think with the size of the book this year on Joseph Smith, we would hear something about his other wives and practice of Nauvoo polygamy.

    I have never seen any critic asking for the church to devote hours of church lessons on polygamy. It would seriously take only a FEW SENTENCES to set the record straight on the myths I was raised with. Is that too much to ask in the hours we devote to church worship, lessons, activities, Conferences, etc. every week?

  71. KatyJane,

    In addition to being called a liar by the LDS here, even the former Mormon is insulting me. I am really surprised you find my experience so unusual. I see other LDS on a daily basis on the internet who go through exactly what I did.
    (in addition to the countless rank and file members I tried discussing my struggle with who have no idea he had other wives)

    I read the Work and The Glory #1 and don’t recall ever hearing those issues. So do the other books in the series mention Joseph Smith’s wives? You were unable to provide church curriculum on where you learned this so it sounds like you learned from members who were not afraid to discuss Joseph’s wives in a class setting? I live in California (LDS population is fairly high in my area compared to the East Coast).

    I did see that first link but didn’t click on the “additional information” link. Why do they not provide that information right on the first page? I didn’t grow up with the internet so my experience in the church is based on the lesson manuals/curriculum, and not LDS.org. Once I had access to the internet, I have become much more knowledgeable of church history.

  72. “American history is openly discussed and I was not taught to view books or discussion on slavery as “anti American.””

    Mormon history is just as openly discussed as any of American history is. And if you were to bring up Jefferson’s dalliances with a black slave, yeah, plenty of Americans would actually consider that to be “anti-American.”

    Yeah, LDS Sunday School classes often have a lowest-common-denominator approach. But we are repeatedly told to self study. Maybe your poor LDS education was partially the Church’s fault. But it’s also, frankly, your own fault. We can’t help it if you never cracked a book other than the Book of Mormon outside of a church building.

  73. Seven,

    I am not doubting your feeling, it just seems that you are one of the many who do not normally venture beyond their own preconceived notions of things. As I said before, your described experience betrays you as one of the many Sheeplike Mormons. You could easily have been “set straight” but its hard to believe you ever really made yourself open to being set straight. Regardless of how much of it many of the earlier LDS leaders made of it, Polygamy doesn’t really play a big role in the Mormon Religion, so I can’t see how it is a big deal that it is ignored now, unless you see something fundamentally wrong with it.

  74. Hi Jared,
    You said:
    “Polygamy doesn’t really play a big role in the Mormon Religion,
    so I can’t see how it is a big deal that it is ignored now, unless you see something fundamentally wrong with it.”

    You mean NOW it doesn’t play a big role, but in the 19th century it was THE foundational doctrine of the church, the highest principle of the gospel required for exaltation. Just because the church chooses to focus on the “milk” doesn’t eliminate the role of this principle in Mormon theology.
    (and it remains a doctrine even today as men are still sealed to more than one wife in the temple)

    Do you believe God has multiple wives to create the billions of spirits? LDS Prophets taught that he did. Polygamy plays a very big role in Mormonism.

  75. Hi Seth,
    I haven’t blamed the church for my lack of education. I blame the church for the teachings that have created a culture of fear to study and read publications on church history that doesn’t come spoon fed to us from the GAs. I blame the church for creating a false image of Joseph Smith, intentionally misleading members and new converts that Joseph is a monogamist.
    I take full responsibility for not understanding section 132 better and not spending the time researching it more in depth.

    I had “cracked open” MANY books outside of the chapel throughout my life. I have always been an avid reader and love history. The trouble is that I stayed with books that were church publications. Not one of them mentioned Joseph Smith’s wives or his practice of polygamy. Only Emma.

    What purpose does it serve to invalidate experiences like mine to defend the church? The fact is that many people are just like me in the church and when they learn about Joseph’s polygamy, it is very upsetting. Keep making the same old personal attacks about how stupid, unfaithful, and lazy a shocked Mormon must be to not know this (which I hear everyday on LDS apologetic forums), and the church will continue losing faithful members. OR, you can admit that there is a problem with how the church has approached polygamy and learn from disaffected members to find a solution.

  76. I’ve met more than one Mormon who found it to be “news” that Joseph was married to anyone other than Emma. They grew up in Tennesse, Massachuttes, Utah and California. The church’s own website on Joseph Smith doesn’t mention a single other wife than Emma. I sent an email in asking them about this and they suggest I slog through Rough Stone Rolling to get a bigger picture. (funny they didn’t have their own web/print publication to direct me to)

    I also think it’s a bit ironic to criticize Seven for being “sheeplike” when that’s what seems to be encouraged in the lives of many LDS. Perhaps LDS shouldn’t be sheep ( I certainly don’t think they should be), but no one should be surprised to meet someone who doesn’t question anything or study more than they’ve been taught in the LDS church. To study more would require doubt that what you’re hearing is accurate and it’s my understanding that the LDS church teaches that doubt is a sin.

  77. Seven, that clarifies things better.

    I still disagree with you, but anyway…

    I’m also being a twerp. Don’t mind me.

  78. Hi Tim,
    I also noticed that on the Joseph Smith website. I laughed at the irony of the sheep comment as well. We are supposed to be sheep. Doubt is frowned upon in the church and to ask critical questions will get you labeled as troublemaker real fast.

    The focus on certainty,( “I know the church is true”), is very intimidating as a member. You begin to feel something is wrong with you for not having the undeniable witness everyone around you claims to have. A long time ago we had a longtime Ward member, very faithful Mormon, get up and bare testimony that he didn’t “know” the church is true but “believed” it was and had faith. It made the other Ward members very uncomfortable. There was whispering and wide eyes after he sat down. One guy got up to bare his testimony afterward and said “I know Brother **** really does know the church is true…”
    People can’t be honest about their feelings until they leave the church. The same goes for the temple. We have to put on a smile and pretend it’s all beautiful and sacred but most of us are really thinking the endowment is weird and cultish.

    Have you seen John Dehlin’s website http://mormonstories.org/ ?
    On his website he talks about the shock many go through upon learning Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. He’s an active member who helps people to stay in the church and if not for his website, I would have officially left Mormonism. He is the only Mormon I have come across on the internet who takes an understanding approach to the sickness and shock members feel after learning Joseph Smith practiced polygamy.

  79. This Bushman quote is for KatyJane, Seth, and Jared:

    Richard Bushman, an LDS scholar/historian and author of “Rough Stone Rolling” has become a spokesman for the church on a number of occasions when the media had questions on Mormonism. He takes a more apologetic approach to Joseph Smith’s history but it’s refreshing to see someone discuss LDS issues & problems openly:
    from the Bushman 2008 seminar

    Introduction
    Richard Bushman

    “Increasingly teachers and church leaders at all levels are approached by Latter-day Saints who have lost confidence in Joseph Smith and the basic miraculous events of church history. They doubt the First Vision, the Book of Mormon, many of Joseph’s revelations, and much besides. They fall into doubt after going on the Internet and finding shocking information about Joseph Smith based on documents and facts they had never heard before. A SURPRISING NUMBER HAD NOT KNOW ABOUT JOSEPH SMITH’S PLURAL WIVES. They are set back by differences in the various accounts of the First Vision. They find that Egyptologists do not translate the Abraham manuscripts the way Joseph Smith did, making it appear that the Book of Abraham was a fabrication. When they come across this information in a critical book or read it on one of the innumerable critical Internet sites, they feel as if they had been introduced to a Joseph Smith and a Church history they had never known before. They undergo an experience like viewing the famous picture of a beautiful woman who in a blink of an eye turns into an old hag. Everything changes. What are they to believe?…”

    I also have another quote from Bushman to the media where he admitted that the church has covered up polygamy. Richard Bushman is a highly respected member in the church. I was very pleased to see someone out there willing to address this problem instead of accusing people like me of being stupid and lazy.

  80. I just read that article in full Seven. I thought the remarks were very good. I actually got to attend the symposium he made those remarks at in person (but only the afternoon session).

  81. Also Seven, that is almost verbatim the testimony I bore myself in sacrament meeting a few months ago. I don’t “know” the Church is true either.

    I believe it. I’m committed to it. I’m enthused about it. But I wouldn’t say I “know” it.

  82. I’m not sure it’s even possible to “know.”

    In a U.S. criminal trial, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” (which falls short of certainty), while in a civil trial it’s “a preponderance of the evidence.” I’d say I believe to an extent somewhere between those two, more closely to the former. That’s good enough for me, and certainly good enough to base my life on.

    And is still don’t see how anycone could be in the church for very long and know Joseph Smith practiced polygamy. I know it happens, I just don’t know how.

  83. Seven,

    You really shouldn’t take my sheep comment as an attack. The context of this entire discussion is that Tim has said that evangelicals need to apologize for how they have reacted to Mormons. You said that the Church should apologize to us for not being forthcoming about all of its history. I think the church definitely propagates half-truths and simple-minded notions about itself, and feeds the sheep. I am not defending it, but I don’t think the church has any reason to apologize to you because I believe it was your responsibility to think critically about history and doctrine and what you are told. Fool me once shame on you, fool me for 33 years, shame on me.

    What is also strange is that you would be shocked and discouraged to find out that Joseph taught and practiced polygamy (which is not so well known) but were totally OK with the next 6 prophets practicing polygamy. I mean you must have known that Brigham Young practiced polygamy even non-Mormons know that. If polygamy was acceptable for Brigham Young, why was it shocking to find out Joseph was the one who instituted it?

    Even if I was a vehement enemy of the church I would still think you were a sheep and ignorant for not finding out the history of your church for 30 years.

    Tim,

    Its not ironic that I am calling the members of the church sheep. All Christians are essentially taught to be sheep and most Christian literature (including the Gospels) have an element of propaganda. I just think people need to take responsibility for their own ignorance of history, especially when it is SO EASILY dispelled by simple investigation.

  84. Also I think that the Church plays to the sheep just as Jesus did.

    As Nietzsche said:

    When asses are needed— You will never get the crowd to cry Hosanna until you ride into town on an ass.

    (Human, All Too Human. First Sequel, 313)

  85. Hi Jared,
    When I said Mormons need to apologize to EVs, I was addressing Tim’s OP where he said: “We Evangelicals need to apologize to the LDS. I think there are far too many of us who think we know what Mormons believe without ever asking Mormons themselves.”

    I don’t think EVs need to apologize to LDS anymore than we do to them. Our church calls anyone who exposes troubling Mormon history and previous doctrines “anti Mormon.” EVs often know more of the warts of church history and previous doctrines than active BIC Mormons and it’s unfair for LDS to attack Christians as spreading lies. That was my point. I had been told what I thought was anti Mormon lies on church history when I was younger (by EV friends), and it turned out they were right! I feel so foolish now for thinking I was setting them straight.

    Asking a Mormon what they believe doesn’t represent what Mormon history or doctrine IS because the majority of members cherry pick what they want to believe and have been fed nothing but white washed versions. You are also dealing with people who are out to convert and portray the church in the best possible light, so the meatier issues will not be presented honestly. (like the temple, becoming a God, the conception of Jesus, polygamy)

    I also had mentioned that as a Mormon I was fed many false teachings on Christian beliefs that we should apologize for. Such as “EV’s don’t believe in good works. They believe that if they profess a belief in Christ, they can keep living in sin because they are saved.” I have been told this by almost every Mormon I have come across when talking about them. I was also taught by fellow LDS that EVs believe in such a distorted view of the Godhead, and it has been described to me like some 3 headed monster.
    Thanks to the internet, these half truths I was told my whole life have been corrected and I have a much better understanding of what EVs really believe on those issues.

  86. Hi Eric,
    If you don’t think it’s possible to “know”, why is that the only wording I hear in testimony meeting, talks, etc. ? Seth said he “believes” but doesn’t know. I have only heard one testimony my entire life in church where a man said “I don’t know but believe it’s true.” Kudos to Seth for speaking honestly about his testimony in public because it puts so much pressure on others to hear so much certainty. I was chastised by a family member who believes that the reason I struggled with polygamy and church history is that I didn’t have the undeniable witness she does. She KNOWS it’s true and believes that because I couldn’t ever say 100% that I KNOW, that it caused my loss of faith in the claims of the church.

  87. One thing I forgot to add Eric.
    I don’t know why you don’t understand how so many people can grow up in the Mormon faith and not know Joseph was a polygamist. I explained exactly how it happened to me if you read my posts (which is identical to most stories I read on the internet of disaffected Mormons). Richard Bushman has several times discussed the high numbers of members who also don’t know anything about polygamy so I am not an anomaly. It’s not in the church curriculum or faithful church publications most of us stick to. The LDS culture has made polygamy a taboo subject associated with anti Mormons. It’s pretty simple how it happens. Thankfully my own children will not be raised in the bubble I was.

    Jared, to answer one of your questions about Brigham Young and all the LDS Prophets/apostles who practiced polygamy. I did have a problem with what I learned about them as well. Once I found out polygamy was NOT for the widows, it was very disturbing. I almost vomited reading about Heber C Kimball impregnating his plural wife and the teachings on Jesus practicing polygamy.

    Yes, I did know most of those Prophets were polygamists and it was an issue that I shelved because it really bothered me to go there. The “widow” theory helped me to view it as a temporary practice that would never return to the church. So imagine the nightmare of learning it was required for exaltation and would return to earth in the millennium.

  88. “EVs often know more of the warts of church history and previous doctrines than active BIC Mormons”

    Sheer and utter bogus Seven.

  89. My experience with Evangelicals is that a lot of them feel that because they shopped around for a pastor the agree with, that gives them a free hall pass from being accountable for all the crap their own forebears perpetrated.

    Me, my Jesus, and my Bible.

    Consequently, why should I have to be held responsible for Southern Baptist minister-led lynch mobs in the deep South? Why should I have to be associated with abortion clinic bombers, the “God hates fags” crowd, or Joel Osteen? After all, that isn’t ME. Heavens no! I’ve cherry picked all the parts of my religious tradition I like, and dumped the rest in the wastebasket. Those members of the Body of Christ have nothing to do with me!

    It seems, it’s only Mormons and Catholics who are required to be held accountable for the filth in our past. Evangelicals get a free hall pass apparently.

  90. “Evangelical” isn’t a denomination, or an organization, or even a very tightly-defined term.

    Southern Baptists have to answer for Southern Baptist lynchings. The Westboro Baptist Church has to answer for Fred Phelps.

    Seth, do you have to answer for what the FLDS do? No? Shut up then. You’re a member of a large organization with an institutional history. Baggage comes with that, inevitably. Deal with it.

  91. “Seth, do you have to answer for what the FLDS do?”

    Yes, I do.

    Running and hiding in a small and deliberately fractured church organization doesn’t insulate a person from the responsibility of owning what beliefs like his or hers have led others to do. The disorganization of Protestantism was a deliberate religious choice and I’d like to see them start owning it.

    I don’t claim the LDS are better than Protestants just because we have a organized structure and they don’t. But I also reject that simply hiding in an small and agreeable “island ministry” can be used as a shield from our common history as human beings.

    So yes, I do hold Protestants in general accountable for Fred Phelps. They ought to be ashamed of him, and, to their credit, I think most of them are.

    But when people like Seven come around and start throwing accusations as the LDS Church as if it alone in the American religious landscape had something to answer for, while at the same time softpedaling the skeletons in his own newly found denominational closet… Well, that irritates me.

    I really don’t think the people in his denomination are any better educated than your average Mormon cross-section. Nor do I think Mormons are much worse at owning their own history than your average Protestant. In fact, I think we may actually be better at it, because we don’t have the convenient excuse of pastor-shopping to hide behind.

  92. Seth R. wrote:

    “My experience with Evangelicals is that a lot of them feel that because they shopped around for a pastor the agree with, that gives them a free hall pass from being accountable for all the crap their own forebears perpetrated…It seems, it’s only Mormons and Catholics who are required to be held accountable for the filth in our past. Evangelicals get a free hall pass apparently.”

    Having been raised catholic, I also see similarities between the “mormon” and catholic church. The protestant churches, which include the evangelical churches, seem to more like businesses that fill a niche. If you don’t like what is being preached at one church, just find another church where the teachings are more of want to hear, and give to them your monies.

    I can remember when the Mass was said in Latin, and no one knew what was being said. Religion was taught at school. I was taught that the catholic church was the one true church, and that all the protestant churches were apostate. The only time that I can remember the Bible being used was the time it was thrown at me in 1st grade for not paying attention in class. Fortunately I ducked and it hit the kid sitting behind me, which really made the Nun who threw it angry.

    It wasn’t until I was out of school that I started reading the Bible and asking questions did I realize what I had been taught wasn’t scripturally sound. Since than I have communicated with many others who have had similar experiences. I have communicated with some who have been raised in the “mormon” church who also have had similar experiences.

    Catholics have the Pope. “Mormons” have a Prophet/President. Who do the Evangelicals have? Pat Robertson? All these men claim to have priesthood authority.

    Catholics believe that Jesus Christ founded his church through the apostle Peter, and have upheld the priesthood since the founding of the church. The following scripture is often quoted to uphold this teaching: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18.)

    If the catholic church is the one true church, than the protestant churches are all false because they all lost their priesthood after they left the catholic church. If the catholic church was not the one true church, than the protestant churches have no priesthood because they broke off a church that was not the true church.

    The “mormon” church is different because they claim that the priesthood was restored through Joseph Smith. They claim that they are now the one true church, with the only valid priesthood. Yet none of their Prophet/Presidents have been appointed by revelation:

    The President of the church, who is also the President of the council, is appointed by revelation. (102:9.)

    My research into scriptures have led me to believe that in the future there will be only one religion headed by God/Jesus Christ. There will be no more isms or man-made religions headed by usurping ministers or priests. It will be a time of universal peace and prosperity. Until that time we must endure the sufferings caused by man-made religions and their usurping preists.

  93. Rick, that assumes that a formalized Priesthood is necessary to have “God’s Church.”

    Mormons believe this. Catholics believe this. Protestants do not. I’ve seen some pretty heated debates between Catholics and Protestants over this very issue.

  94. Hi Seth, you said:
    “But when people like Seven come around and start throwing accusations as the LDS Church as if it alone in the American religious landscape had something to answer for, while at the same time softpedaling the skeletons in his own newly found denominational closet… Well, that irritates me.

    I really don’t think the people in his denomination are any better educated than your average Mormon cross-section. Nor do I think Mormons are much worse at owning their own history than your average Protestant. In fact, I think we may actually be better at it, because we don’t have the convenient excuse of pastor-shopping to hide behind.”

    What are you talking about?????? I haven’t left the Mormon church. Were you addressing someone else? The first paragraph makes no sense. We weren’t ever talking about “skeletons” from the church’s closet iirc. Just basic church doctrine and history that I was misled on. Are you calling those skeletons now?

  95. Then I made a mistake about you and apologize. But you’re right, I wasn’t addressing only you either.

    And yes, I would call Joseph Smith’s polygamy a possible “skeleton” in the closet for many Mormons.

  96. Thank you for the apology but I’m confused by some of your statements. You said that Bushman’s seminar was great and agree with him but then try to invalidate my experience in the church which parallels exactly what Bushman’s speech was on.

    Why would Joseph Smith’s polygamy be a “skeleton” in the closet for “MANY Mormons” if, as noted by several posters here including you and other LDS and exLDS (KatyJane and Kullervo), I would have to be lying to say I hadn’t heard of Joseph’s polygamy before. Skeletons imply something hidden, secret, or buried that people are not aware of. According to you and others, the Mormon church hasn’t covered up anything with Joseph’s polygamy. It only took KatyJane “30 seconds” as she said to find something, trying to imply that I would have to be an moron to not know about it. Then Kullervo accused me of lying. So how is Joseph’s polygamy a skeleton? Sounds like everyone knew about it except for me. ;)

  97. Concerning polygamy, Until his death, Joseph Smith denied ever having more than one wife:

    “I had not been married scarcely five minutes, and made
    one proclamation of the Gospel, before it was reported that
    I had seven wives. I mean to live and proclaim the truth as
    long as I can.
    This new holy prophet [William Law] has gone to Carthage
    and swore that I had told him that I was guilty of adultery.
    This spiritual wifeism! Why, a man dares not speak or wink,
    for fear of being accused of this.

    A man asked me whether the commandment was given that a
    man may have seven wives; and now the new prophet has
    charged me with adultery. …
    … I am innocent of all these charges, and you can bear
    witness of my innocence, for you know me yourselves.
    … What a thing it is for a man to be accused of
    committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only
    find one.
    I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen
    years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers. I labored
    with these apostates myself until I was out of all manner of
    patience; and then I sent my brother Hyrum, whom they
    virtually kicked out of doors.” (History of the Church, Volume 6, pages 410-411.)

    Up until the death of Joseph Smith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints condemned the practice of polygamy:

    D&C 101:4 (1835 edition)
    D&C 109:4 (1844 and 1846 editions)
    MARRIAGE
    4 … Inasmuch as this Church of Christ has been reproached
    with the crime of fornication, and polygamy: we declare that
    we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one
    woman, but one husband, except in case of death when either is at liberty to marry again. …

    There are no decedents of any of those polygamist relationships Joseph Smith was accused of having.

    After the death of Joseph Smith, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints under the leadership of the apostate Brigham Young, encouraged polygamy (see the bogus D&C section 132.).

    Polygamy is not, nor has it ever been to my knowledge, a sin. Lying, which includes bearing false witness against a person who has been dead for over 150 years, is a very serious sin.

    Adultery is also a very serious sin. Yet all the “christain” churches that I am aware of condone and encourage adultery when they allow the marriage divorced women.

    “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saying for the cause of fornication causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever
    shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” ( atthew
    5:31-32.)
    “And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
    And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.” (Mark 10:12.)
    “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whoso shall marry her who is divorced committeth adultery.” (3 Nephi 12:32.)

    Satan is doing very well in this day and age. His churches, and the ministers of those churches, are causing a lot of harm. My advice to any God fearing person who is connected with a church, is to find the nearest exit, stop looking for the “true church,” and start obeying the commandments of God.

  98. Rick, since Joseph considered himself “married” to all these women, he could hardly consider himself guilty of “adultery.” The fact that he denied being guilty of adultery is utterly irrelevant to an inquiry of whether he practiced polygamy.

    The fact that there are no descendants is also irrelevant since one of the current arguments from Mormon scholars is that Joseph’s plural marriages were purely “dynastic” in nature – i.e. meant only to seal families together in covenant bonds, but no real sex involved. And anyway, do you know how hard it is to trace paternity to historical figures?

    Proves nothing.

  99. Rick,

    This sounds even more convincing the third (or fourth) time around. Please, tell us us once more. It almost overcomes the utterly convincing evidence if favor of Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy.

  100. The Brighamites are saying Joseph Smith lied about having more than one wife. They are saying that he committed adultery. Yet there are no decedents of those polygamous relationships, which could be easily traced back to Joseph Smith. Since no decedents of those polygamous relationships can be found, these so-called “Mormon scholars” are saying Joseph Smith had no sexual relationships with the women he married.

    O what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

    Regardless, if Joseph Smith was the scum-bag that the Brighamites have made him out to be or not, it is no reason to reject the Book of Mormon.

  101. “The Brighamites are saying Joseph Smith lied about having more than one wife. They are saying that he committed adultery.”

    Who is saying this?

    I have heard anti-Mormons say this. I have also heard internet Mormons say this on occasion. But they are the minority in the LDS Church. Most people at my Sunday worship services would be horrified to hear anyone say anything of the sort.

    So, who are you talking about Rick?

    “Regardless, if Joseph Smith was the scum-bag that the Brighamites have made him out to be or not, it is no reason to reject the Book of Mormon.”

    On that limited point, I agree (assuming anyone is calling him a “scumbag” )… I’m just not sure who you are railing against.

  102. I said:

    I’m not sure it’s even possible to “know.”

    Seth R. said:

    I think Alma 32 makes it fairly clear that it is possible.

    Well, I do think it’s possible “to know” in the sense that Alma 32 uses the term (as I understand Alma). Like many words, “know” has various meanings, and the differences can be subtle.

  103. Seth R,

    Are you not a Brighamite? Are you not stating that Joseph Smith lied about his involvement with polygamy? and that some of these women that Joseph Smith married were already married to other men? Do you not understand what adultery and lying is?

    Here is some scripture which shows the seriousness of being a liar:

    Revelation 21:10,27
    10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high
    mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem,
    descending out of heaven from God,

    27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that
    defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh
    a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of
    life.
    Revelation 22:14-15
    14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
    15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers,
    and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and
    maketh a lie.
    D&C 10:25
    25. Yea, he saith unto them: Deceive and lie in wait to
    catch, that ye may destroy; behold, this is no harm. And
    thus he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin
    to lie that they may catch a man in a lie, that they may
    destroy him.
    26. And thus he flattereth them, and leadeth them along
    until he draggeth their souls down to hell; and thus he
    causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare.
    D&C 63:17
    17. Wherefore, I, the Lord, have said that the fearful, and
    the unbelieving, and all liars, and whosoever loveth and
    maketh a lie, and the whoremonger, and the sorcerer, shall
    have their part in that lake which burneth with fire and
    brimstone, which is the second death.
    D&C 76:103-106
    103. These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and
    adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. 104. These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth.
    105. These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal
    fire.
    106. These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer
    the wrath of Almighty God, until the fulness of times, when
    Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and
    shall have perfected his work;

  104. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”

    Since Joseph was commanded to practice polygamy, doing so would make him one of those people who “do his commandments” would it not?

    Besides certain passages in section 132 seem to provide support for both polyandry and polygyny. So the fact that the women were married (civilly married, I would emphasize) to other men may be quite beside the point.

    Besides, are we not all sinners Rick? Why should Joseph Smith be exempt from that common human condition? Is there no forgiveness in heaven for all the people listed in those scriptures you quoted?

    I am ultimately agnostic on whether Joseph lied about his polygamous unions. I am willing to be convinced either way. But to say he never practiced polygamy seems to be against the weight of evidence.

  105. Joseph Smith was not commanded to practice polygamy. Doctrine and Covenants section 132 was added after the death of Joseph Smith.

    I am not saying that Joseph Smith was not without sin. Even the last recorded revelation he received states this:

    “I bowed my head to the earth and asked only wisdom and strength for the church. The voice of God answered, My servant Joseph, thou hast been faithful over many things and thy reward is glorious, the crown and sceptre are thine and they wait thee. But thou hast sinned in some things, and thy punishment is very bitter…”(Extracted from the Letter of Appointment.)

    What I am trying to convey is that the Brighamite church has falsified church history and scripture. Any serious student of church history and scripture should be able to see this. Anyone with common sense should be able to see this, too.

  106. Sigh…

    Wasn’t this blog entry *originally* about coming together and not propagating the misunderstandings between Evangelicals and LDS?

  107. OK, I know that it was a LONG time ago AND, no, I didn’t read through ALL the posts before responding but “manchicken” this post (#6, August 10, 2007 at 7:23 pm)

    “Lisa, sorry, but Mormonism is a cult. The book of Mormon was written by a convicted con-man from the 19th century who was so illiterate that he required the aid of others to write down his “translation,” and what came out was still so unintelligible that people claim only “prophets” can understand it. I can’t think of a better example of what a cult is than that.”

    . . . offended me and I’m not LDS, or a Mormon Apologist. But it is SO wrong that it’s an insult. Specifically:

    “The book of Mormon was written by a convicted con-man from the 19th century who was so illiterate that he required the aid of others to write down his “translation,””

    How could he use a Seer Stone in a hat and write at the same time? Not possible. Further, we have enough of Joseph Smith’s journals to know that he could write if he wanted to. Granted, he was nowhere to the level of an Oliver Cowdrey or Sidney Rigdon but neither was he a complete hayseed.

    “and what came out was still so unintelligible that people claim only “prophets” can understand it.”

    Where did this “gem” come from? One of the key tenets of Mormonism is that each member can (and should) receive direct revelation from God. Further, based on your statement, I’m not sure that you’ve ever actually read the Book of Mormon! Granted it’s not Dickens but I would say that anyone who can read and understand the King James Bible should have no problem with the Book of Mormon.

    And finally THIS, “I can’t think of a better example of what a cult is than that.”

    Well, I can think of MANY examples that are better – where do you want me to start?

    For example, if your criteria for a cult is, “They have a sacred book that only the clergy (or another elite person or group) can understand and interpret properly.” Then, congratulations, you’ve just turned the majority of lay Christians throughout most of Church History, until say, the mid-18th Century (to pick a random cut off point) into a cult.

    That’s because until literacy levels caught up with the printing press, the laity was dependent on the clergy to understand and interpret the Bible for them.

    So “manchicken” I think that you owe the Mormons on this board an apology.

    However, since I suspect that you’re long gone, I will take the liberty of doing so on your behalf.

    Mormons, I apologize for post #6 in this thread.

  108. To all of you:

    These are just 2 dictionary definitions of Evangelical that I found.
    1) Emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion
    2) To preach the gospel

    Or in my own words: to gain a personal witness of Christ, His life, His Atonement and resurrection; to show my faith and dedication by following Him; to love one another and to witness of Him by my words and example..

    That is what all of us who call ourselves followers of Christ should be doing, not bantering back and forth with these senseless arguments. To me this seems like such a waste of time and energy from a bunch of seemingly intelligent and caring followers of Christ. Let’s not judge one another and try to decide here and now, who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. I think both religions clearly teach that judgment is for God and God alone. I myself, do not want to take the risk of deciding who has truly been born again in Christ and who has not. I would prefer to think we are all soldiers in the Army of God. Let’s not fight amongst the ranks and forget who the real enemy is. As the song goes:
    • Onward Christian Soldier, marching as to war. With the cross of Jesus going on before… At the sign of triumph, Satan’s host doth flee. On then, Christian soldiers, on to victory….. We are not divided. All one body we…..Glory, laud and honor unto Christ the King. This through countless ages men and angels sing!

    I am not a blogger. In fact I don’t think I have ever posted. But if I did, this would be the message I would post on every blog where I find self proclaimed Christians fighting over trivial things in the name of God and Christianity. Jesus didn’t waste time fighting or criticizing. He taught the Gospel of love and unity. If we follow His example, His ability to use each of us to fight for the cause of truth will know no bounds. Let’s pray for one another, that we might all be more tolerant of our differences and more willing to serve Him! Go spread the message of unity in Him! Remember, it’s not what we know, it’s who we know that will get us to heaven!

  109. My brother just turned me on to this site – Fascinating! Thanks to all who have posted. Here’s my two cents on the subject:

    I find myself appreciative of any apology to the LDS from an evangelical. As a practicing LDS person who also went on a mission, I grew up in California and served in Texas as a missionary for a little perspective. I’ve learned a lot about most EV’s in my lifetime, though I would by no means pretend to be an expert. As a mormon kid I feared them at first (Maybe because I was a little california surfer walking around those Texas towns trying to spread our message at age 19.) But eventually I realized over time that EV’s, like Mormons, for the most part are just regular Joe’s.

    I almost makes me laugh that a great deal of this thread points out how little most mormons know about their own religion yet fails to mention the exact same thing about the EV’s. The masses on both sides of the aisle know little beyond their own experience and few of them do extensive research. You show me a clueless Mormon and I can show you twice as many clueless EV’s (not being biased – that’s only because there ARE twice as many EV’s.)

    But to the point of the thread – no apology necessary really. Mormons judge people too, perhaps even worse at times than EV’s. (Tell a group of EV’s you are looking at porn and trying to get help and most of them will be empathetic – tell a bunch of mormons you are looking at porn and before you can explain you’re trying to get help many of them are calling their friends getting ready to blackball you.)

    The point I am trying to make is there are Mormons who are jackasses. They are human by nature and judge and in some cases will even ostracize their own kind. There are also plenty of EV’s who are jackasses. They are human by nature and will judge in some cases even ostracize their own kind.

  110. Hey, remember me, healtheland? Well, I would like to apologize to the maintainer of this site for my provocations and attacks against you. I was wrong. Please forgive me. Thank you, and may God’s face shine upon and abundantly bless your outreach and evangelistic ministry to the Mormons.

    In Christ Jesus
    Job King
    http://healtheland.wordpress.com

  111. I don’t know that ‘apologize’ is the right word. I fully embrace the concept that we all need to be more tolerant – with all religions. Mormons, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, Islamists. Not a new concept, it’s being espoused by the various ‘interfaith’ groups – just maybe not a very popular movement. I’m sure I’m not the only person weary of each religion proclaiming they are the “ONLY way” – for regardless of what religion I choose to follow, I’ve known very devout individuals of many different faiths. To think they’re ‘damned’ because they’re the wrong denomination – I just can’t accept that.
    I’m also weary of prostheletyzing. I realize that’s a basic tenet of many religions, but in reality, I doubt most people can be ‘converted’ (from one religion to another) and this behavior further sparks the conflicts and intolerance. Not to mention that timing and places this occurs (IMHO) are frequenlty inappropriate.
    I’ try to evaluate people based solely on how they treat me, without letting their choice of religion cloud my opinion. I’ve had interactions with many who were able to separate the doctrine of their religion from the duties of their occupations, realizing that there are situations where they had to make decisions that were inconsistent with, or contrary to, their religious doctrines.
    My conclusion – I will not, again, support a Mormon for any position that involves policy making (for the public or general population) ,. Pehaps that would be better stated as in a position of power (or as stepping stones to those positions.) I don’t know if their doctrines are so ingrained in them they can’t think ‘outside the box’, or if they just can’t buck the church in going against doctrine. I grasp this is inconsistent with my goal of practicing tolerance, but I’ve encountered too many situations where the ‘moderates’ evolved. As ‘entry or even mid-level employee, there seemed a tendency to blend; upon promotion – then hiring was other Mormons (whenever possible), contracts awarded to Mormon owned businesses, and decisions based on doctrine, not what was necessarily best ‘for all.’ It’s difficult to not develop discriminatory opinions when one is dealing with a group of people that discriminates against all others (not of their group.)

  112. I am a member of the Church, and I just happened upon this website, yet I find some things amusing (instead of offensive) and the truth of the matter is, I’d like to help correct misunderstandings about things I believe and know. Joseph Smith’s “aid” never saw the golden plates as they were translating and only wrote exactly what Joseph Smith told him to(Joseph was translating). If you actually read “The Book of Mormon” the historical evidence fits almost perfectly. How could a boy with a 3rd grade education in upstate New York write a fictitious story about something that happened thousands of miles from civilization that he knew about? Anyone can understand “The Book of Mormon”, in fact Elvis Presley once received a copy of “The Book of Mormon” and read it, then proclaimed, “This is the most correct book I’ve read.” Also, I’m not from Utah. :)

  113. Traditional biblical doctrine… The Bible is not fully correct, it has been tranlated and retranslated numerous times, the Church uses the most correct translation of the Bible known as The King James Version. I do not have enough knowlegde to dismiss the thing about the pastors. But I do know The Massacre that you are reffering to is not what you think it is. There are many things about it and I can not explain it all, but, the people who participated in that did not recieve an okay from the current President of the church, if fact, he strongly was against it. If you got your information from a movie or from an Anti-mormon site, then you should already know that it’s false. You don’t go to a man’s enemy to learn more about him. Sir, I am not looking for an arugement, I am just trying to clear up misunderstanding.

  114. Why don’t you try to find the truth and the “Official doctrine”? Yes, there is such a thing. Rejoice! Your searching is done!!! http://www.mormon.org If you don’t look into this, read the Book of Mormon and/or listen to things that our Prophets have said then, you don’t really want to know the truth, you are just searching for contention. I don’t believe I’ll visit this site again, but this has been a lovely experience. I hope the rest of you get off your computer(eventually, since it seems that that’s all you people seem to do) and truley enjoy the life God has given you and try to find the truth about your beliefs and mine and let us live in peace and harmony. I challenge you to listen to missionary dicussions and ask questions, and read The Book of Mormon if you want to get rock solid facts.

  115. limora74 ~ I hope the rest of you get off your computer(eventually, since it seems that that’s all you people seem to do)

    Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it, Princess.

  116. If you think the King James Version is the “most correct” translation of the Bible, you know absolutely nothing about Bible translation and the other versions available out there.

    It may have been the “most correct” version in 1830, though even that is arguable. Today though? Not a chance. Not even close.

  117. I thought it was Joseph Smith who called the Book of Mormon the “most correct” book, not Elvis Presley.

    In all seriousness, repeating urban legends in one’s apologetics isn’t helpful to the cause.

  118. Elvis Schmelvis.

    Michael J. Nelson, the second host of Mystery Science Theater 3000, is Protestant.

    I consider that a greater proof for my faith than the empty tomb or the Dead Sea Scrolls or anything else.

    If the man who makes bad movies funny is Protestant, it has to be true.

  119. Wasn’t Elvis the guy who died of an overdose while sitting on a toilet eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches?

    That’s your endorsement? What’s Lindsay Lohan have to say about it?

  120. Maybe I should look into Tom Cruise’s religion.

    Jared C. said:

    Elvis as a almost-mormon is well documented,

    I found that Desnews article when I was trying to find out if fhe post was true. It’s an interesting story, but I still found nothing about Elvis saying the BoM was the “most correct.”

    In any case, I just added Tears of a King to my Netflix queue. It couldn’t be any worse than Left Behind.

  121. Tim,

    Don’t knock the fried peanut butter & banana sandwiches/phenobarbital combo until you’ve tried it. I hear it can be quite enlightening.

  122. 3a – This is a huge problem. Using one paradigm to judge another. (it can go both ways)

    3b – I think a lot of Mormons are like Seth in that they don’t care about the details of Joseph’s life as long as what he brought forth was actually true. (At least I believe it was Seth who said something to that effect)

  123. Ross Anderson…

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=1c234dc029133110VgnVCM100000176f620a____&locale=0

    “Descendant groups, Church leaders and members, and civic officials continue to work toward reconciliation and will participate in various memorial services this month at the Mountain Meadows.”

    I think, and hope, you’ll come away from reading this article with a better understanding of the events that led up to the “Mountain Meadows Massacre”

    .. The article was written in Sept. of 07′.. I think your apology has been made and is still being made.

    ALSO… Just a thought:

    Would you also like an apology from the Catholic church for the Spanish Inquisition that went from the 1400’s to the 1800’s? For the “repression” (a.k.a torture and killing) of the Jews, Muslims, Protestants etc..

    Let’s all keep in mind that many Religions in general have had some very sordid history.

    Let’s focus on the present and be positive and respectful towards our fellow man. Pointing fingers and carrying anger through the generations won’t solve anything.

  124. I’m another evangelical that would like to stand in line behind Richard Mouw and apologize to LDS folks for the false judgment I once made. I now realize–although I will remain evangelical–that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christian.
    Please forgive me.

  125. to think this all started with
    “we need to apologize”
    but anyways,I am quite happy to learn about Joseph Smith.He wasnt perfect ,but I truly believe that he did his best and that the Book of MOrmon is the true church of God.I have my reasons,for my beliefjust as every person has reasons for their belief.things have happened,and I could not deny it if I wanted to.Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God,The Book Of Mormon is true,Jesus Christ is our saviour,and President Thomas S.Monson is the leader of the church of JesusChrist of latterday saints Today.the more things change it seems the more they stay the same.
    the reason revolutions never work is because they have to fight for every bit of ground.usually they end up back where they started.Joseph Smith did something great and he fought for it every last inch of it,but instead of ending up back at the beginning he kept going.he was martyred because he kept on fighting,but others carried on his legacy.Ive already said it,I know he wasnt perfect-no one is.so telling me “He wasnt perfect”is a non issue.

  126. Why do people continue to call “Joseph Smith” an illiterate? He was homeschooled and very well read. His parents were school teachers, and books were available to this family.
    Has anyone wondered if maybe he was visited by an angel? Possibly a Nephillim? Possibly the only way his strange religion would be able to grow as it did esp. with it’s great opposites and in the directions of what an ANTI-God type angel would teach and want to grow with followers that are well taught and true believers as they are. Makes me wonder truly if he had help from the “otherside”. His teachings were so polar to what Jesus taught about losing oneself, etc. The magnificent buildings are against what Jesus taught, the conquest for power and money that these people are all about gives me thought of a polar power.
    To minimize Jesus Christ as they do, by saying “He was just a man”, as they are, seems to me that this Nephillim Power definitely was Jesus Christ polar. Saying that they can become Gods etc. Even to the point that a cross is hissed at by some members, saying that Jesus didn’t “do the work for us on the cross but in the garden” is a good example of a Nephillim’s opinion, demeaning Jesus’ Work that way.

  127. Here’s a suggestion-

    How about all you disbelievers go to http://www.lds.org and http://www.mormon.org

    Both websites are actual sources where you can learn of the truth, in addition to talking with active members of the church and reading the Book of Mormon. Stop researching the propaganda. And listening to other anti-mormons won’t get you anywhere because we are all individuals and we all have our own opinions. Research the sources listed above and think for yourself for a change. There is propaganda about Every church, so wouldn’t you want to find the truth to the questions or concerns you have? I personally prefer truth. If you do the correct research and pray about it you will probably find what you didn’t expect. The warm and fuzzy feeling is the Spirit. You wouldn’t ask a Baptist about the Catholic faith would you? Nobody seems to want to search the actual sources because it takes work, Heaven forbid.

  128. Stacey, I appreciate your input, but I think you will find that Tim and all of the other Evangelicals that contribute to this blog have spent plenty of time on the Church websites.

    However, even the most sincere seeker of the truth behind the Mormon church will find that there is enough other information about the Church that is accurate to make them want to seek outside the boundaries of official materials.

    Also, the Church websites often don’t do a great job of explaining the Church in terms other sincere believers can understand. I think the Church itself has to rely on its members to explain what is going on, which is why missionaries are told to teach from their own experiences and given wide latitude to explain Church in their own terms.

  129. Stacey, can I ask you about Mormonism? You’re a Mormon right? Can I ask Richard Bushman about Mormonism and Joseph Smith? He’s a Mormon.

  130. Stacey ~ You wouldn’t ask a Baptist about the Catholic faith would you?

    Actually, I just might. I think the critique and feedback of theological outsiders can be very useful because they tend to point out things that theological insiders miss or deliberately attempt to avoid discussing. The best way to get a complete picture of a religion is to poll a diverse group of people about that religion: conservative believers, liberal believers, former believers, and never-believers.

    For example, look at http://www.josephsmith.net, which is an official church site. But what’s missing from it? Polygamy. There is absolutely no mention of plural marriage, polygamy, or the fact that women like Eliza R. Snow were wives of Joseph Smith. The only wife that gets mentioned is Emma. The reason is that polygamy is a difficult issue for Mormons, so the church tends to avoid discussing it whenever it can. A person who wants a really thorough study of LDS plural marriage won’t find it in any official sources.

    Furthermore, I assume that you’re Mormon. Tell me, where was the first place that you learned about the Presbyterian faith? Was it:

    (a) Official Presbyterian Web sites such as http://www.pcusa.org or pcanet.org
    (b) The First Vision

    You may be atypical, I don’t know, but for most Mormons who were born in the church, the answer is (b). Mormons don’t send their members to the official material put out by Protestant denominations when they wish to discuss Protestantism, they stick to their own teachings about Protestants which don’t really put us in the best light.

    And personally, I don’t blame them. I think it’s pretty natural for proselyting religions to put their own best foot forward and not portray their competitors in the best light.

    In any case, welcome to the blog.

  131. But Stacey, what they may not have taught you is that people of every religion get that warm fuzzy feeling that you refer to and it convinces them that their religion is true. That’s part of the reason why we have so many different religions.

  132. Hi,

    What is sad is that many, if not most Mormons do not know what core LDS theology even teaches? To apologize to someone for something they are are not even aware of is kind of missing the point. My self having been LDS for over 30 years, and a evangelical for over 20 years clearly understand both sides of the debate.

    If an evangelical is insensitive and uniformed then they should apologize for their ignorance, and like wise when a LDS member does not understand what the PoGP teaches about mainstream Christianity, then they should also apologize.

    Now what? There still remains the undeniable LDS teaching that “Mormons” alone have godly authority, and that evangelical teachings are an abomination before the LDS God. And although it may have been discussed here, I did not read all the posts, there are two sides of Mormonism on the subject of evangelicals, a public stance and the real view that is discussed in the home and within the chapel walls.

    Many LDS members, and the LDS church as a whole, rely heavy on being victims, I certainly did, and by apologizing this can only reinforce this victim attitude. Saints need to take a step back and really try to understand what LDS theology demands in context with evangelical doctrine, and like wise I agree that evangelicals need to be informed of what LDS theology teaches. But to just simply apologize out of ignorance is silly for both sides.

  133. What is sad is that many, if not most Mormons do not know what core LDS theology even teaches?

    Is this a question or just a very strange assumption?

  134. Hi Jared,

    Ask the average LDS member to explain in depth what the church leaders have taught about the Eternal Law or Progression…”how intelligence became spirit, how spirit became flesh, and how flesh becomes a divine being.”
    ” Was there a time when God (Elohim) was not a God.” If so, how did heavenly father become divine.”

    Eternal progression is a core doctrine, and most young saints can’t explain it in detail, at least those I talk with.

    I ask missionaries and other members this when I get a chance and seldom is it explained as it was taught in the past by LDS GA’s.

    How would you answer that question?

  135. I want to thank to the owner of this blog for starting a venue to discuss objectively about mormonism.

    My name is Charles Lafont and I have been a mormon for over 30 years. I was born and raised in a Catholic family, but there was a point in my life when I found Jesus Christ and joined what I consider to be his true church (the LDS Church)

    I am very well informed about LDS Church history and doctrines and I am willing to answer any questions with total objectivity and honesty.

  136. Certain aspects of the heavenly realm are kept from us for good reason – as Jesus spoke in parables, so is his truths only for those whom truly seek his truth – discernment. As for God; not just a god, but – Eloi’ Elohim (Godhead/ Lord of host); do you believe that there was another earth age before this one, a pre-existence (as the bible states time and again) one passage being 1Peter1:20, oh, oh, hold on to your hats, EV’- it’s actually in the bible – and another excellent defining passage would be one that is all too overlooked, white washed, so to meet the needs of a convenient belief – 1kings19:5-15; when the ‘word’ of ‘God’ came to Elijah… – but ‘God’ is awesome! so to make the passage clear and precise; first it is clearly stated that an angel first comes to Elijah, then the ‘Word’ of ‘God’, and then ‘the LORD of Host’ (the Father/ Yah’ (YHVH) The Holy One). Is this too heavy? it’s right in the bible. Does ‘God’ give passage to his origins?.. the question is: would you even believe it if you’ve seen it, or are you stuck on what a pastor (man) says. Read the KJV bible for yourself, and pray to the Father in his Son’s (the Word became flesh) name, Y’shua/ Jesus, so that his Wisdom, the Holy Spirit, falls upon you and opens your spiritual eyes, and not simply your human understanding – John17: (Joh 17:9) I (Y’shua) pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine (YHVH). (Joh 17:10) And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them (a mission completed?). (Joh 17:11) And now I am no more in the world (G2889 this habitation), but these are in the world (G2889 this habitation), and I come to thee – Holy Father, keep(ing) through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, ‘that they may be one, as we are’. – (touchdown!!!) Thank you Lord, Y’shua Messiah!
    ———–
    Eternal Law or Progression…”how intelligence became spirit, how spirit became flesh, and how flesh becomes a divine being.” – ” Was there a time when God (Elohim) was not a God.” If so, how did heavenly father become divine.”
    How would you answer that question?

  137. Kullervo – check you out, is that hostility that I hear (!~!~!)
    ok, so I wasn’t concentrating on being articulate, but, that was the whole idea; to be vague – Lead them to water, being mindful not force drink lest they become complacent… challenge your fellow man to search out scripture – hopefully fueling a desire to find out if the Christ was around since the beginning of time – thus, hinting to Mike’s question on eternal progression -

  138. Okay, I tried to be nice, but, how’s this’ baboso! You wanna play Christian and at the same time act tough – not here, not with me, dude – where do you wanna go with this. You feel that being cynical is hilarious – a God given protected right; again, not with me, ya internet soldier – I’m here in ELA, but we can talk about this anywhere you’d like, funny guy! In the last few years the LORD has changed my life, but he sure did not turn me into some kind of p-a doormat… show heart’ talk to me.

  139. Esanto, I am not sure to whom you are apologizing. Your humor is making things only worse. Believe the bible? Not so fast. Yours is the only light that ignites the letters of the Tetragrammaton. If you don’t accept that I am sadly mistaken in my ability to understand the deep meanings of the eternal family. I read the KJV, I plumbed the depths of the water of life. What did it give me? That is the only question that you can attempt to give a coherent answer to without offending me.

  140. Now I understand why you, kullervo, posted as you did – Dude, didn’t you know that the truth is only for those who seek and spiritually discern. Why are you even here? You aren’t even a believer of Jesus. This is what is meant by the warning – wolves in sheep’s clothing – Act 20:29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous (burdensome)G926 wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock(group/believers).G4168
    —————————————————————————-
    Posted by: Kullervo | August 23, 2011
    Ares, And What Paganism Is All About
    Paganism is about honoring the fundamental aspects of authentic human experience. It’s about looking at the parts of existence that are terrifying and overwhelming and trying to figure out what they mean: things like birth, death, sex, war, love, art, and even the powerful, capricious, and unpredictable forces of the natural world. The gods give rise to these essential facets of human experience (and/or are themselves born from them), and to deny one or more of the gods because there is no place in your life or your worldview or your schema for the things they represent is to deny a fundamental part of who you are.
    War is a part of being human. It may be ugly, brutal, and horrifying, but it is omnipresent. To be truly human is to know war. To reject Ares because you reject war is to reject a part of what it means to be you. And to reject Ares because you reject war means also rejecting warlike aspects of many of the other gods as well: Athena, Aphrodite, Zeus, Dionyus just off the top of my head.
    Who would Ares be without war? A god of mental conflict? A god of physical exertion? We already have those gods. Ares is a god of a lot of things, and there are a lot of lenses through which to view Ares, but he is primarily a god of war. Trying to edit the war out of Ares is like trying to edit the sex out of Aphrodite. I don’t know what you’re left with, but it isn’t the real deal. That kind of selective approach to the gods is apparently pretty popular among neopagans, but I honestly don’t think it’s a road that is going to take you anywhere worth being.
    Think about it: the soldier knows both war and peace, but the pacifist tries to know only peace. The pacifist is rejecting an entire part of human existence because it does not suit him or her. Whether that’s a thing worth doing, or a thing we should be doing, is not actually the issue. But I would maintain that trying to edit human existence to remove the bits we don’t like is just not what any kind of real paganism is about. Christianity does that, with its vision of a new heaven and a new earth. Not paganism.
    I also don’t think, with regards to Ares, that it’s a question of whether violence is necessary or justified, but merely whether it is an essential facet of human existence. Violence IS. War IS. We can play at quasi-Christianity if we want and imagine a utopia where violence no longer exists, but even in Christianity that requires massive divine intervention. The overwhelming, unanimous weight of human history tells us in no uncertain terms and with no exceptions that war and violence are fundamentally a part of the human condition.
    Whether or not this reality is morally acceptable is a question that is, in my opinion, not even on paganism’s radar. Violence is a part of human reality, and paganism is about how we honor and respond to human reality. The ethics of paganism ask not whether a violent society is morally acceptable, but instead ask “given that violence and war exist as a part of the human condition, how do you respond virtuously?”
    Look to the epics, the philosophers, and the myths. Look to the maxims. Tell me what the answer is. The world is violent–we honor that when we honor Ares. The question is how you respond with virtue when presented with that violence, whether you’re a kid in the hall at school getting beaten up by bullies, a young man who just got his draft notice, or a parent whose family is threatened. Posted by: Kullervo | August 23, 2011

  141. What’s up, Jared – respectfully, look, you have the right to say what you please, that is a given; even to the point of redirecting and/or correcting me. But at least your posting was not intended as blunt disrespect, nor did it feel as an intended strike toward me. Rather, you offered your own perspective, even constructive criticism. And as long as it is offered, open minded, hey, I can respect that. In addition, speaking of respect, you offered your comments with class, a reserved commentary that even I can comprehend – that’s all I ask – And, yes, the KJV is the version that I study, and only because this is the bible that connects with me and my understanding. If I may add; I know that I do tend to go off the deep end, but that is only because I am passionate that way, as am I the same about respect. I am not speaking of pride but rather a belief that no-one should directly attack another.

  142. esanto, don’t believe the hype ma’ nizzle. Seldom do pagans grasp the secular dimensions of the true word as do those (such as you) who rejoice with the cake and candles prepared by the divine Baker. (Romans 7:17) Burn them down to puddles of wax in the frosting, but blow them out? Never. (Who is kidding whom?) You expect responses when they are as harmless as serpents? (!-!) Check your ego at the door shepard. How can you expect anything more? (or, in fact, less?)

  143. Also, esanto, how am I a wolf in sheep’s clothing? I don’t claim to be a Christian. Cutting and pasting my blog post about Ares into a comment is not like some big revelation to everyone. My comments here are linked to my blog–anyone is free to go looking if they want.

    I bring up my own beliefs here when they are relevant, and when they are not (which is usually the case), I keep my mouth shut, because I’m not trying to hijack the conversation. And my beliefs are not relevant to the question of whether what you are saying makes any sense. Which it doesn’t.

    As far as what I am doing here, I don’t see a “Christians Only” sign on the e-door.

  144. I am glad I found this site. Open discussions are always welcome.
    The Good Lord Jesus may bless you all.

  145. It only took you 12 hours to repost from your “I love you, Jared – posting; what’s that? He (Jared) didn’t even say anything special; knucklehead. Rather, he stated his piece in peace; big difference. And, check you guys out, all happy and giddy, having a gay of time – yea!, Jared! love you – Hah,Ha; este wey’ – you bunch of mixed up… And since you’re still stuck on dwelling on the past posting; acting like you’ve accomplished something – and rather than bite into your world, I’ve chosen to help breakdown the understanding; something you wouldn’t do for yourself – quoting the KJV –
    – Pearl of Great Price: Moses1:11 But now mine own eyes have abeheld God; but not my bnatural, but my cspiritual eyes, for my dnatural eyes could not have ebeheld; for I should have fwithered and gdied in his presence; but his hglory was upon me; and I beheld his iface, for I was jtransfigured before him.
    1Pe 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation (creation) of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
    1Pe 1:21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
    2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
    2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: (destroyed)
    2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
    **((this is to prove an age before this current world – in support of spirits being forever with GOD))
    1Ki 19:4 But he (Elijah) himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
    1Ki 19:5 And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
    1Ki 19:6 And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
    1Ki 19:7 And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
    1Ki 19:8 And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
    1Ki 19:9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
    1Ki 19:10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
    1Ki 19:11 And he (the Word) said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
    1Ki 19:12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
    **((this showing that the Christ, although equal to GOD/ EL, he, Saviour of the world was here from the beginning, distinctly different of the Father –yet with the Father- if you’ve seen me, you have also seen the Father – “if you know my family, then you know me. Whereas, for many years, to my rejection, Evangelicals taught that he is/ was the father, always – that is until recently, where they’ve injected ‘co-equal’ whereas Joseph Smith taught, in the 1800’s that Christ created and visited us from the beginning – as does the following verses))
    Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent ME unto you.
    Exo 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent ME unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
    **(And there are many other verses that support the obvious – sabes!)
    And as for John 17: of course you wouldn’t recognize this all important chapter – hilariously making no sense!
    This is the Lord’ our Saviour, Jesus, Y’shua Messiah – EMMANUEL speaking —
    Joh 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine (yours, Father, from the beginning).
    Joh 17:10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine (exalted); and I am glorified in them.
    Joh 17:11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come (back) to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

    I hope this helps you and your cheerleading team.
    If you care to, k.. you can always reach out and touch me, starting with an e-mail (esvnects@gmail.com)

  146. esanto, ask yourself if you believe in guts found in seldom told stories before you begin to quote those that were told too many times. Cheers. (hah!) I see only tears. (Deftly exchanged for the FEARS brought on by willful blindness of the truth.) Think deep on this son. For all the quotes you give of these oldish men, stuck on the onion skinned pages of the book you so enjoy, there are ten thousand beats of your own heart. What is that telling you? If you want a quote, please take note of the salve my words may be to your chapped ears. “Because of the savor of my good ointments my name is as ointment poured forth,therefore do the virgins love me. ” The KJV may not be the water for you. You may not not grasp the tormenting, mild image you see in that fountain. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.

  147. Sur I became mormon 2yrs ago. i am mayan and i ha ve been studying ther history for years. I read the book of mormon from cover to cover. I still study both the histories between the b.o.m and my ancestors. since i became mormom I have been questioned on why. I know that the church is true an its not a cult. An it really hurts us when ppl say such horrible things about our religion. My studies about my ancestors were guided. I found a lot of things in record were destroyed by the spanish. like the fact they saw christ and the were led from egypt. the use to be in atlaantis and they came here. there is so much and the fact the records were destroyed breaks my heart. The only way to learn and understand us is dont look at the bad things ppl say and study as many fact as possible. The lord is the only way to retrieve the right information. There are always ppl trying to make others look and feel bad. I respect you soo much for writting that note.

  148. I do not need to apologize. I have nothing against anyone. Nor they have anything against me. I am not Mormon. I am evangelical. I cannot join a church that is not my church. I cannot choose two masters because it is written: You cannot choose two masters, because the other will love and the other will hate you. You cannot choose God and mammon. It is written in the Bible. If they have something against me. Well, it is between them and God and not with me. It is not my problem, it is their problem. It is written: If you have trespassed against your brother, go with him and reconcile with him and then bring me the tithing and offerings and then you can come unto me and I will accept you, saith the Lord of Hosts. I have nothing against you. Yet, you may say things against me. Only God knows.

  149. Truh by definition is a symbol statement or expression that corresponds or matches it referent. When speaking about reality it must correspond to reality to be true. Having said that Does the LDS books and writings correspond to reality in all it states and affirms?

  150. A lot of these assumptions are not correct. For real information look at mormon.org. It is made by the LDS (mormons) for people who want to know more. They even have a chat system that you can ask specifics.

  151. Am I allowed to delete the comment every time I get this pre-programmed message from Mormon passersby? What might be most infuriating is that they never actually will tell me what I said that was inaccurate. It seems the default assumption is that if the URL doesn’t say mormon.org I must not be describing Mormonism accurately.

  152. If you are interested in some modern Mormon thought, there is a link to some animated video series, made by a Mormon, who walks through how the rejection of Ex Nihilo creation (creation out of nothing) shapes a different view of Biblical interpretation.

  153. If Khhaaan1 has something important to say about ex nihilo creation he should write it, not narrate it on a video. I reject our culture’s grotesque slide into post-literacy.

  154. Evangelicals do what they claim Mormons do – cherry pick and talk in circles. Evangelicals get down right awful in the name calling against the Mormon church and even to Mormon individuals who go to internet sites to stick up for their beliefs. Bringing up Meadow Mountain massacre is foolish because all throughout history Christians and Christian churches have done horrible things in the name of God. Like slavery, forced conversions, burning at the stake, etc. The Bible was used to support slavery so the Christian churches need to apologize to Blacks for the thousands of slaves that died and were tortured in the name of slavery. And bringing up no Priesthood to Blacks is also foolish as Evangelicals are the most prejudiced group – they are against mixed marriages and don’t want a person not of the Caucasion race to live next door. – courtesy of a Pew Poll for this information and a book written by an Evangelical. To say there are contradictions in Mormon doctrine is not a good idea as there are contradictions in the Bible, and Evangelicals only rely on Paul’s teachings for the majority of their beliefs, and the Evangelical community don’t all believe the same things – there are differing doctrines. So pull the beam out of your own eye first before attacking another religion. Not Christlike at all. There are other Christian religions that don’t believe in the Trinity and believe God has a body and believe the Bible has translation mistakes, and yet they are not attacked (Quaker, Orthodox to name 2) There are over 725 organizations in the United States including on the Internet (almost all Evangelical) that attack Mormons exclusively and their information is spurious. Jehova’s Witnesses and Muslims get a passing glance. Evangelicals don’t have a patent or monopoly on the Bible or on interpretations of the Bible. Even learned scholars interpret the Bible differently so what gives Evangelicals the right to say Mormons or anyone else are wrong? And look up other definitions of a cult. Evangelicals believe they have a patent on the definition of a cult as well.

  155. There are other Christian religions that don’t believe in the Trinity and believe God has a body

    No there aren’t.

    (Quaker, Orthodox to name 2)

    re Quakers: Some Quakers are Christian but honestly some are probably not.

    re Orthodox: That’s just absolute, ridiculous nonsense–where did you even get that information?

  156. Kullervo is right. As far as I know, Mormonism is the only major branch of Christianity that teaches that God the Father has a body, although the traditional Christian view is that God the Son has a body (although I’m not sure how many mainliners would hold to that position now). As far as Quakers go … yeah, depending on the type of Quaker, they’re all over the place theologically.

  157. Well, I actually meant that if a religion doesn’t teach the Trinity, it’s not Christianity. But your point holds, and is not unrelated to mine. Despite the many different extant Christian denominations, Christians have been basically unanimous for 1500+ years on the Trinity and whether or not God the Father has a physical body.

  158. Unfortuneately Kullervo doesn’t point out that 1500/2000 = 75% which is not the definition of unanimous…What law school did he flunk out of, anyway?

  159. I said for 1500 years because I meant the past 1500 years. During those years, Christians have been basically unanimous. That’s reading comprehension. What elementary achool did you flunk out of anyway?

  160. Well, I actually meant that if a religion doesn’t teach the Trinity, it’s not Christianity.

    Those poor NT believers.

  161. As CTJ points out, Kullervo’s argument presupposes some sort of “law” governing who is a Christian. It reflects the Trinitarian bias that the winner of the debate (by often questionable means) is the definer of the argument.

  162. Funny. People who believed in the divine purpose and teaching of Jesus Christ earlier than 1,500 years ago weren’t Christian, retroactively, because of a consensus about other aspects of doctrine which developed later.

    Well, OK. I can reject foolishness like that out of hand.

  163. “As far as I know, Mormonism is the only major branch of Christianity that teaches that God the Father has a body.”

    If that’s true – and it may very well be – it could only be because other major branches of Christianity don’t believe in the literal truth of the Bible. That would itself be a powerful reason to follow the Mormon branch of Christianity.

    The Bible teaches that God the Father has a body and that we are made in His likeness and image. Gen. 1:26-27. Those terms (likeness and image) are used in the Bible to describe a physical relationship. Gen. 5:3. God’s likeness is “as the appearance of a man.” Ezek. 1:26. The Son of God, Jesus, is “the express image” of His Father. Heb. 1:3. James reaffirmed that we “are made after the similitude of God.” James 3:9. Jacob declared, “I have seen God face to face.” Gen. 32:30. John described seeing the eyes and head of the Lord. Rev. 19:12, 15. Isaiah also saw the Lord “sitting upon a throne.” Isaiah 6:1. In Exodus 24:9,10, we read, “Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.”

    None of these images or comparison of image (likeness) would be possible if God were incorporeal. Moreover, Stephen saw God the Father, and saw Jesus on His right hand. Acts 7:55. Again, all consistent with God’s physicality.

    Opponents of this understanding of those scriptures cite John 4:24. But all of the Bible must be read as a whole, rather than giving any one verse or passage priority over the other. So, how do you do that here?

    The first thing to observe about that verse (John 4:24) in the KJV is that the word “is” is italicized. This is because the King James translators inserted it on their own—it is not present in the Greek text from which the translation was made.

    Second, the Greek language does not have an indefinite article. Thus, the addition of the word “a” in the phrase “a spirit” was also at the discretion of the translators. The verse could have been rendered “God is spirit.” This might be more harmonious with other scriptures (see below) because it would mean that God has a dual nature, body and spirit, as do we. Or the two Greek words, theos pneuma, could be literally translated as “God spirit.” The word pneuma, which is translated spirit, also means ‘life’ or ‘breath’. The King James Version of Revelation 13:15 renders ‘pneuma’ as life. Thus “God is life,” or “God is the breath of life” are potential alternative translations of this verse. Not at all inconsistent with physicality, or with the idea of an “image” in which man could be made.

  164. Thank-you, I started out trying to prove the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was wrong to help out a friend. After studying the antiMormon stuff I decided to check it out. To make a long story short, I had to go looking for the missionaries so I could join God’s restored Church.

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