While perusing the Utah Lighthouse Ministry website I found this list of questions to ask my Mormon friends. I thought they’d be good fodder for the blog as they get at the heart of many of our disagreements and differences. I’ll of course be adding my own commentary to and about each question.
So with out further ado, here is UTLM Question #1:
Since the Introduction to the Book of Mormon states that it contains “the fulness of the everlasting gospel” can you give me verses that teach the doctrines of pre-earth existence, plural gods with wives, temple marriage, chance to repent after you die, temple rituals for the dead, three levels of heaven, etc.?
It’s my understanding that the introduction to the Book of Mormon is not itself canonical or scriptural. It can be disregarded as purely the “opinion of men”. But this question gets right at an LDS apologetic that was used by Joseph Smith and continues to be used by LDS missionaries today. Getting to the vast majority of unique LDS teachings is a big jump and the Book of Mormon doesn’t serve as a very good bridge.
I’ve also heard Mormons say that the “gospel” found in the Book of Mormon relates to placing faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. There are two problems with this. The way Mormons use the word “gospel” is not limited to this but also includes eternal progression, pre-existence, temple rituals, etc. The second is that the Book of Mormon adds no more fullness than the Bible already offers in way of placing faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.