Answering Greg Trimble’s 51 Questions – Part 5

At last, Part 5!  This is what we call in blogging “rounding third.”

I was sad to discover that this is not the first attempt at answering 50 bull dog questions. FAIR, the Mormon apologetics organization took at crack at answering those 50 questions for Mormons.  I also discovered that someone else is working at answering Trimble’s list.  What I learned from both sites is that reading these answers is even more boring than reading the questions.  Holy cow that’s bad news for you Greg.  That means I’m going to have to redouble my efforts at creative insults.  I assure you, they’re not meant for you, just the people who love to hate you.

VWG

Some quick caveats for those that missed my first post.  These answers will be short and to the point. I’m not trying give a complete answer, nor am I trying to convert anyone out of Mormonism.  If I throw in a joke or two it’s to keep things interesting and not a personal attack on Trimble or an attempt to disrespect the Mormon faith.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

41. Who are the “other sheep that are not of this fold” referred to by Christ in (John 10:16) Hint: It’s not the Gentles.

Oh Greg, the only sheep here is you. You’re like a big fluffy sheep with a cozy wool sweater. Except it’s 100 degrees and incredibly humid and it’s occurred to all of us that you’re not wearing a sweater. . . or even a shirt.  As the mama sheep said to the baby sheep “Eww!”

John 10:16 is most definitely a reference to Gentiles. No hinting or scuttlebutting about. I know you really don’t want it to be a reference to Gentiles but that’s to your own determent because it’s REALLY good news to those of us that are not Jews that Jesus takes us as we are.  If Jesus were just referring to another group of Jews with excellent sailing skills that means that there would be a whole heck of a lot more requirements on us than even the Word of Wisdom.

42. Why do so many ancient North, Central, and South American Indian traditions cite the appearance and ministration of a “Great God” that visited their ancestors many years ago and promised to return again?

Well I’m at least pleasantly surprised to see you left out any references to the “Great God” being White as I normally see this question.  That always drives me bonkers because JESUS WAS NOT WHITE.  I’m glad your smarter than that.  I’ll save that rant for someone else. . . like Del Parsons.

I remember a Mormon missionary telling me all about Quetzalcoatl and the MesoAmerican paintings of the Tree of Life.  I tried to look up what he was talking about and looked to FARMS at BYU (which has since been renamed after Neal A. Maxwell).  To their credit, the articles I found thoroughly debunked these connections to an appearance to Jesus in the New World.  Turns out the MesoAmerican myths have as much in common with Jesus as your standard Middle Eastern harvest god.  At first glance there seems to be some parallels (oh how some Mormons LOVE parallels), but once you get into the nitty-gritty details the connections are overwhelmed by the differences.

I suspect next you’ll be telling me the Medieval age was called “The Dark Ages” because of the Great Apostasy.

43. Why do the explorers and conquistadors credit their ability to conquer the indians [sic] of the America’s to their belief that the conquistadors were that “Great God” returning?

Probably for the same reason an alien race visiting us would be treated like gods (special note, my use of the word “gods” does not mean I believe in multiple gods).  Their technology was super advanced and the Indians had never seen anything like ships, horses, steel swords (or honey).  It all appeared to be some sort of magic.  You left out the most important part, the Indian mythology recognized these gods as white.  Which means they wouldn’t have been looking for Jesus among these European invaders because Jesus WAS NOT WHITE.

44. If the polygamous history of Mormonism is a deal breaker, then why do you still believe in the Bible? Remember Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Solomon, and others that are esteemed from the Bible?

Because the Bible doesn’t teach polygamy as something that is necessary for exaltation (as D&C 132 does).  It recognizes that God worked through these men despite their cultural practice of an abusive and oppressive system (not to mention a myriad of other sins) and doesn’t hide the folly in their lives.  That’s good news for the rest of us sinners.

Contrast this with Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy; he not only encourages us to take up this sinful lifestyle, he didn’t even follow his own rules surrounding the practice (i.e. marrying sisters, marrying mothers and daugthers, marrying other men’s wives, encouraging women to have more than one husband).  Instead of recognizing his sin with Fanny Alger and repenting of it, he and the LDS Church try to twist it into something beautiful and righteous.  Compare that to the scripture David wrote after getting caught in a sexual transgression.

Joseph Smith is allowed to be a fallen and sinful man. He’s not allowed to call that sin righteousness.

45. Joseph Smith was free and clear from the mob and on the other side of the Mississippi river when he was summoned to go to Carthage to die. If you were an evil villain imposter [sic]…would you go back to Carthage, or would you save your own skin?

Joseph’s motivations to return to Carthage are not nearly that cut and dry. And there’s no reason to think he knew he would be murdered.  What exactly was Joseph offering any of us by giving up his life in the Carthage Jail?  Jesus already paid the Atonement.  If Joseph knew he was going to die there’s no reason for him to have returned. There was no theological accomplishment in his death. He was not completing a mission in his martyrdom.

46. They found the Book of Mormon that Joseph and Hyrum had in Carthage jail with the page turned down that they read from before they died. Hyrum, other than Joseph, would have known best if it was a fraud. If you were Hyrum, would you read from a fraudulent book in your last days?

You’ll notice it was Hyrum and not Joseph who read from the Book of Mormon.  From what we have of Joseph’s teachings and sermons he generally wasn’t all that interested in the contents of the Book of Mormon.

In this question you’re assuming that Hyrum knew the whole thing was a fraud. The question evaporates if we assume that Hyrum was a true believer.  I concede, Hyrum appears to have had great faith in Mormonism. You got me, you big ole hairy yeti. I’ll chew off your toenails in penance.

47. Would there be that many people that would lie about Joseph Smith’s prophetic qualities and the many miracles that surrounded the restoration? If so…why?

This is a shot gun within a shot gun.  It’s like a fifth grade boy’s imagined ultimate weapon; a bullet that shoots more bullets. There’s no way to discuss all these alleged miracles and visitations in this space.

But I’m guessing that you wouldn’t accept as trustworthy all the other things that Martin Harris saw and experienced before and after he left the LDS church. I find him just as sincere and credible in those other spiritual experiences as anything surrounding Mormonism. I bring them up just to recognize that we accept those things based on our predetermined bias for or against the stories more than the quality of the stories themselves.

Once again, you got me. I concede that a great many sincere people followed Joseph Smith and had spiritual experiences. Will you PLEASE put a shirt on now?

48. Is God capable of sending a prophet to the earth today? If yes, how do you think that prophet would be received?

Yes, I think the prophetic gifts are still available today. The Bible describes both prophets and prophetesses in the New Testament. It’s always struct me as odd that a prophetess would be rejected by Mormons today because of her sex (despite a claim to practice 1st Century Christianity).

I’ll note that there’s an assumption in your question that if a prophet is rejected he/she MUST be a true prophet. There’s a similar assumption that persecution means that someone is on the right path. There are radical Muslims carrying out terrible atrocities based on these same assumptions.

Persecution and rejection mean nothing on their own. A prophetess would categorically be rejected by Mormons but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’d be teaching the truth.

49. What Christian denomination most closely resembles the New Testament church of the Bible?

We’re all much more organized and doctrinally illuminated than any of the churches described in the New Testament.  The denomination that MOST closely resembles the New Testament would probably be a very dysfunctional network of house churches (without the Bible).

There’s a LOT we know about the early Christian church and the one thing we know is that it looks almost nothing like the LDS church.  The NT scholars among Mormons readily recognize that most unique Mormon teachings are a product of modern revelation rather than a return to early Christian practice.

50. According to Christian beliefs, Mormons would be saved based on their confession of Christ. So…what is wrong with being Mormon?

You would agree that a confession of Christ would not be compatible with ongoing, unrepentant sin, right?

The sin in Mormonism that isn’t compatible with Christianity is idolatry.  Mormonism has substituted truth about God with a lie. Namely that Heavenly Father was once a man (possibly a sinful man) and that men may become deity.  I’m happy to embrace Mormons as my brothers and sisters in Christ but they need to repent of idolatry, otherwise I can have no spiritual fellowship with them.

Trimble prefaces his final question with the following:

The Bible tells us that we should “ask God” and that the Holy Ghost will show us whether something is true or not. So after realizing that there is no other institution (that I know of) that answers these questions…I can do only one other thing to solidify my faith. I’ve got to ask the ultimate question.

51. “God…has Your church been restored?”

COME ON GREG. You just posted these questions last week and you want all the Christian institutions to have answered them already?  I just completed the task and I’m a loser with a religion blog for a hobby. Give them all some time they’ve got stuff going on like March Madness brackets to complete.

I’m assuming that you’re referring to James 1:5.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

You’ll notice this doesn’t say that God will tell you “whether something is true or not”. That’s knowledge.  James says God will give us “wisdom”.  Wisdom is the correct application of knowledge. To gain knowledge we have to use the thinking and investigative powers that God gave us. For the first time I’m not going to accuse you of pulling a verse out of context. [High five] Instead you misquoted it. [sad trumpet sound]

I’m absolutely open to the idea that God may have a new word for us, that there could be additional scriptures, that true prophets exist today. . . I’m even open to the idea that there has been a general falling away within Christianity.  But accepting those things can’t in any way justify believing that Joseph Smith is a true prophet or that the Book of Mormon is a record of North or Central American people.

Ultimately believing in Mormonism doesn’t come down to whether or not there’s enough space to cram unique LDS doctrines into proof-texted Bible verses. It comes down to the trustworthiness of Joseph Smith. God has indeed given me wisdom.


HOORAY! We did it. Thanks for the fun Greg. I really did enjoy it. It was like shooting proof-texts in a barrel. It happened so frequently I almost got the impression that someone is intentionally teaching you to read the Bible like that.

Oh well at least you can rest smugly with the idea that you’ve got a lot of social media shares to prove that no one answers these questions quite like the LDS church and I can rest smugly with the idea that I can knock down Mormon straw-men even when they’re constructed by faithful LDS.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

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54 thoughts on “Answering Greg Trimble’s 51 Questions – Part 5

  1. “The denomination that MOST closely resembles the New Testament would probably be a very dysfunctional network of house churches (without the Bible).”

    Exactly. Honestly this is the best evidence against any idyllic idea of restorationism, not just Mormonism.

  2. Gospel Principles (p. 279) states that God “was once a man like us” and “dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.” Since they believe Jesus was sinless, can we conclude that they also believe God was sinless when he was a man like us? If not, can you—or Eric or anyone—produce evidence to the contrary?

  3. That sounds like way too much work. It would be more interesting to write about the areas where Buddhism and Christianity agree, for example, but that wouldn’t prove anything except that, well, they agree on some things.

    As to the question before that, I’ve already said I don’t believe God was a mere man before he became God; I take Genesis 1:1 at face value. You’ll have to ask someone else.

  4. How would a true prophet be received today? Probably not well. I read a book many moons ago called Eli by Bill Myers, and it was a fascinating look at what if Jesus came today, and how many in the religious community would react.

    I do think that a prophet may have a hard go of it, but just the same, perhaps there is some good reason to give him (or her) a hard go of it. We ought not just take someone’s word that they are a prophet. This is much like what the LDS did when they accepted Smith back in the day. Sure, there was the BoM, but as was brought up earlier, there are some serious questions as to how that was verified. Not only that, but things such as Smith telling others that an angel will kill him if he didn’t marry someone is a bit unnerving from someone claiming to be a prophet of God.

    The LDS, in my humble opinion, survived due to two events: the death of Smith and the move out west. His death allowed him to be seen as a martyr against growing suspicion and the move out west allowed them to be isolated and grow apart from outside influence.

    Anyway, enjoyed the series, Tim.

  5. We ought not just take someone’s word that they are a prophet. This is much like what the LDS did when they accepted Smith back in the day.

    Sadly, you are forever doomed to misunderstanding Mormons if this is what you think.

  6. I beg to differ, JT, perhaps unsurprisingly.

    If you look at it from the vantage point that Smith was a charlatan, then it absolutely matters that people did not do more due diligence when he was living.

    Now, I understand how egregious this sounds to you. Frankly, so what? Its how I see Smith. Genius? Yes, but so are many con artists. We need to line up what Smith said with what is found in the Bible, and I know you find enough there to excuse him, but the guy has so many question marks against him and the church has had to back track on so many things. Your church today is not the same one Smith had when he died.

    I am not trying to be overly harsh, just honest. Me, personally, in good faith, cannot accept Smith as a prophet. I just can’t.

  7. You can view Smith however you want, slowcowboy. It’s just very apparent that you have read very little of the journals and testimonies of early followers of Smith, and your knowledge of Mormon history, scripture, thought, etc. seems very limited and mostly colored by readings from the countercult ministries. Which is fine – I don’t expect everyone to be an expert on every religion. But I would expect a little more humility and self-awareness of your limited knowledge.

  8. JT, I am no expert on early Mormon journals and such. I don’t think I need to be to see that there are huge problems with Smith and his religious production. I do know more than you think.

    As to humility, is stating an opinion a lack of humility? Its not humility you object to, its the opinion I have provided. Humility is not meekness. Humility is comfort in one’s standing. I am quite comfortable in my faith in Jesus apart from Smith.

    Now, if you can provide evidence that Smith’s book is not a creation and that he is a prophet, I am happy to consider it.

  9. I am no expert on early Mormon journals and such. I don’t think I need to be to see that there are huge problems with Smith and his religious production.

    That may be, but we’re talking about this:

    We ought not just take someone’s word that they are a prophet. This is much like what the LDS did when they accepted Smith back in the day.

    For which I would expect you to have read a little of “Mormon journals and such” before making a claim like that.

    Slowcowboy, I’m not here to convince you to be a Mormon. I am here for interfaith dialogue – to learn more about Evangelical soteriology and thought – what makes you tick – and hopefully be a useful resource on what makes this Mormon tick. I would love to come to a greater mutual understanding of actual similarities and differences between our faiths rather than continue to play boundary wars and assuming we know better than the other what the other believes. That’s the kind of humility I am after. I would love to see our dialogue defined more by Tim’s “Ten Rules.”

  10. JT, I expressed that the above was my opinion. You want to know what makes me tick? Solid, biblical teaching. Smith made serious errors, and some did call him out on that even back in his time. Now, if you think a discussion of Smith does not involve similarities and differences between LDS and Christianity you are mistaken . Smith is the genesis of your faith and it is not out of bounds to discuss him and his fruits. It is only natural for him to come time to time. Question 48 alludes to Smith…

    Did I make a broad statement? Yup. I feel comfortable making it. An honest discussion should be honest, right?

    If I am wrong correct me, don’t accuse me of mal intentions. Such accusations only serve to define those boundary wars you want to avoid.

  11. Te irony in JT’s comment on Slowcowboy’s limited knowledge on Mormon history, journals, and so forth is that even if true, I dare say (from his ongoing comments in this forum), that it is still much more expansive than the knowledge of the average faithful LDS who only receives a very glossed over and carefully edited version of LDS history from its official channels.
    Even with all that it is available in the internet today, members are scared off by the leadership in doing research in non approved channels as they may lose their testimonies, and by extension, their exaltation.

  12. “Because the Bible doesn’t teach polygamy as something that is necessary for exaltation (as D&C 132 does).”
    Good answer for 44, Tim.
    Yep, his actions towards all those women, beginning with Emma herself, were neither beautiful nor righteous, just disgusting.
    Smith seemed to not have noticed the cultural progress in polygamy aspect from the OT to the NT times, when reading his KJV Bible. (And the express command in the NT to a monogamous marriage for all in Christian leadership).
    I can easily imagine how women like Sarah, Hagar, Leah, Rebecca, Hannah, etc who lived it, would love to vocalize to Smith, perhaps with the help of their terracota pots and pans, how much they appreciate his twisting of the Gospel to make it conditional to “exaltation”.

  13. Who knows more about Mormonism?

    Person A: Not a member, never has been. Is relatively well versed in the controversial aspects of Mormon history, including Joseph Smith’s plural marriages, seer stones, obscure statements from the Journal of Discourses, etc. as a result of reading a few books published by countercult ministries and maybe a few lectures given at their church. Cannot understand how any rational person would choose to be a Mormon, and has very little understanding of what the lived experience of a Mormon is.

    Person B: A simple, practicing church member who is not the intelllectual type but who attends services each week; serves actively in a calling; understands, lives, and loves the core doctrines of the atonement, plan of salvation, and the gospel; but who is not as well-read in the hot-topic issues brought up in the countercult productions.

  14. Even with all that it is available in the internet today, members are scared off by the leadership in doing research in non approved channels as they may lose their testimonies, and by extension, their exaltation.

    Actually, leadership has been encouraging members more and more to study the history of the church and have made the Joseph Smith papers available to assist. The message now is no longer “be careful what you study,” but rather “don’t study church history too little.” The fear is no longer that members will study unsavory parts of history – this is going to happen. The fear is that they will stop there and not study further.

  15. JT, I feel I have offended you. For that, I apologize. However, you have accused me of some things that are unfair.

    I have a different opinion of your church than you do. So what? Am I required to keep my opinion to myself?

    Further, don’t assume my knowledge or what I have read about your faith. Whenever looking into an issue, I frequently visit Mormon sites and forums. I actually do listen to other voices such as your own.

    And despite your assumptions about me I am here to learn and exchange information. Often in such forums topics will come up that are controversial, but that is no reason to cry foul and accuse the other side of ignorance.

    Being honest, I find most Mormons know very little about my faith. It bugs me, and part of my intent here is to educate them about it. However, I am not going to seek to shut down debate when they say something I don’t like.

    If we are here to learn and share ideas, let’s do that. Lets not waste time complaining that someone said something controversial. Controversy is inevitable in a site like this. And that goes both ways. Lets just move forward and be productive.

  16. “Person B: A simple, practicing church member who is not the intelllectual type but who attends services each week; serves actively in a calling; understands, lives, and loves the core doctrines of the atonement, plan of salvation, and the gospel; but who is not as well-read in the hot-topic issues brought up in the countercult productions.”

    Such LDS church member was, and still is, for the leadership, the ideal LDS church member. One who abides by the core LDS doctrines, easy to follow instructions and one who does not “rock the boat” with theological/historical enquiries and doubts. They would be the ones to get “high fives” from Pres. Monson all day long…
    According to my experience, such members are still out there, some others are still afraid to research for themselves, influenced by the old fears of becoming ensnared by Satan and losing their testimony. But a lot of them, I dare say, both simple and intellectual, for years now, have been reading up. Retention of such members then became a serious issue.
    One statement I’ve grown tired of is the one about the hot topic issues in Mormonism being a production of anti-Mormon organizations. As in they fabricate stuff. Or distort them. The Church’s own records are red hot by themselves. And that is why, in the pre-internet era, it attempted to keep it under wraps.

    “Actually, leadership has been encouraging members more and more to study the history of the church and have made the Joseph Smith papers available to assist. The message now is no longer “be careful what you study,” but rather “don’t study church history too little.” The fear is no longer that members will study unsavory parts of history – this is going to happen. The fear is that they will stop there and not study further.”

    Yes, so before they were praised for their simplicity but now with the reactive mindset by the leadership towards the avalanche of Church history/information coming from non-LDS sources, it has become an ever increasing challenge to let the members remain in such a state of naiveté.
    The problem I see with the church’s current attempt to educate the members in these red hot topics by themselves, is that it continues to gloss over, detract and distract from main points. For the person paying attention, specially for the ones who have began serious research on their own, these problems stick out like sore thumbs.

  17. Mormon theology is antithetical to what is found in Holy Scripture. And it is so far out and wacky and man centered that it looks like it was partially made up out of whole cloth (with the Christian lingo thrown in ) and partially the plot of a bad science fiction book

  18. Slowcowboy – Just to clarify, by last comment on Person A / Person B was in response to Solange’s comment, and was not meant as a swipe at you.

    I appreciate that you are simply trying to share your views and come to a mutual understanding. However, I think this works better when we share our views of our own faith and ask honest, sincere questions about the others’ faith with the goal of increasing understanding. I don’t think this works very well when the sharing of ideas begins with “So happy to be here to share ideas – I’ll go first. I think the foundations of your ‘religion’ are false and fraudulent. Ok – you’re turn!” Again, I think Tim’s Ten Rules (linked at the top of the blog) sets a good foundation.

  19. JT, you are free to think whatever you want. I do think the foundations of your religion are false and fraudulent. I think good discussion can come out of making such a statement. It goes both ways, to be honest. We’ve had great discussion around a host of points made by LDS and non-believers concerning my faith when they say they think something is wrong with a given point.

    All it takes to make it productive is to have answers to the claims. If you say to me my faith is an abomination to God, I have to be ready to provide an answer. And when I do provide an answer, a discussion can be had. However, if I were to say you are being unreasonable and its not fair to come out swinging like that, I have shut down discussion and nothing can be learned.

    Sharing a controversial opinion, also, is hardly a sign of disrespect or mal-intent. If you can point to where I was disrespectful, I am happy to apologize.

  20. I do think the foundations of your religion are false and fraudulent. I think good discussion can come out of making such a statement.

    Awesome – let’s try it: Slowcowboy, your religion is false and fraudulent.

    All it takes to make it productive is to have answers to the claims. If you say to me my faith is an abomination to God, I have to be ready to provide an answer.

    So if I make a claim against your religion, the burden of proof is on you? Seems pretty backwards to me.

    I’m not trying to shut down debate – on the contrary, I am trying to promote good discussion. I just think that an approach which starts with denigrating the others’ faith generally inhibits good discussion rather than promoting it.

  21. OK, shall we discuss why my faith is not false and fraudulent? I’m ready. Are you?

    My faith is true because God exists. I cannot tangibly prove God exists but I support by a number of factors, including the written Word, prophecy, the historical record, personal experience, human nature, and many others.

    If you would like to know more, please let me know.

    Now, as to your assertion that I lacked humbleness by making my accusation, do you think the discussion focused on my accusation or on whether or not I was humble? It has been on the humbleness and what is appropriate to discuss and how that discussion should happen. The merits of the accusation have been thrust aside. Whether that was your intent is perhaps a separate matter, but the reality is that your retort to me avoided talking about the merits. And you continue in seeking to define the terms of how discussion takes place and the merits still rest to the side, un-addressed.

  22. I agree that we need to be civil, but civil doesn’t mean soft-pedaling our actual position. That’s dishonest. I’m not sure there’s a point to religious dialogue if we can’t be frank about what we actually believe.

  23. Slowcowboy, I think you and I just have very different worldviews. To me, this is a very unproductive discussion, whereas it sounds like you are finding this approach very fruitful. And that’s fine – I’m sure there are others who would like to engage in this type of discussion. Best wishes to you.

  24. JT, yes, we do.

    But this immediate issue of how to address discussions of religious differences is not a world view.

    Now, do you have a correction, or a source to send me to, to say that early Mormons were loose on who they accepted as a prophet? Or are you going to leave these details to the side?

  25. SC – You’re the one who made the claim; you need to figure it out. I’m not going to do your homework for you.

  26. What if I told you I have looked and not found anything, which is true. Now, I have not spent hours doing so, but I have looked, and looked more than casually. What I find does nothing to change my mind.

  27. Ah, JT, why not address the merits? Its really quite sad that you won’t do so. I mean sad in that I am saddened that you won’t engage. I have a specific question, am not as ignorant as you claim, and have asked you for direction, yet you continue to tell me I am not humble.

    Honesty is one of Tim’s 10 rules. Where have I not been honest? Are you being honest?

  28. Oh, and where have I not been:

    “In one of our investigations, we surveyed (through the internet) people from all walks of life and found there are three dimensions to intellectual humility in the “folk” conception: an intellectual dimension: (smart, curious, love of learning, inquisitive); a humble dimension: (humble, doesn’t brag, not a show-off); and a civil dimension: (listens to others, kind, considerate, respectful).”

  29. Merits of what? All you have done is put forth an unsupported claim, to which I have already said that early Mormon journals do not support your claim. I have read literally hundreds of these accounts. You can find them at the Church History Library, Dan Vogel’s Early Mormon Documents, shorter compilations in books like Remembering Joseph, and laced throughout major biographies like Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

    Again, read the link for what I mean by “intellectual humility.”

  30. This one: “Intellectual humility has to do with understanding that you don’t know everything, that there is more to learn, that you don’t use your knowledge or expertise as a way to get advantage over others and that, in discussions with others, you are respectful, listening closely to what the other has to say in order to learn something.”

  31. Right, and I have asked for more information, recognizing I don’t know everything.

    And you STILL have not provided any meat, only going on about telling me how intellectually dishonest I have been.

    So, am I to assume that you are now using your knowledge of intellectual honesty over me as a way to get an advantage over others, not listening to what I have asked for and therefore not respectful of my inquiry?

  32. SC – My comment with sources has been in moderation, probably due to the number of links embedded in it. I am cutting and pasting it here without the links:

    Merits of what? All you have done is put forth an unsupported claim, to which I have already said that early Mormon journals do not support your claim. I have read literally hundreds of these accounts. You can find them at the Church History Library, Dan Vogel’s Early Mormon Documents, shorter compilations in books like Remembering Joseph, and laced throughout major biographies like Bushman’s Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling.

  33. And I don’t think I have ever accused you of being dishonest, intellectually or otherwise. I have simply pointed out that I think you are hanging heavy weights on very thin threads.

  34. I think you have accused me of intellectual dishonesty, and certainly arrogance.

    I appreciate the sources. If the links don’t show up here, I will check them out.

  35. Looks like the comment with the links passed moderation. It’s posted back when I submitted it at 1:53pm.

    I know things have gotten testy here, but I do want you to know that I do not think you are being dishonest. I think you may be conflating humility with honesty in my previous comments.

  36. Slowcowboy

    “My faith is true because God exists. I cannot tangibly prove God exists but I support by a number of factors, including the written Word, prophecy, the historical record, personal experience, human nature, and many others.”

    The funny thing is that most LDS would say the same thing in response to your claim that our faith is false.

  37. Just a few other comments, since I now have the time.

    Slowcowboy

    “If you look at it from the vantage point that Smith was a charlatan, then it absolutely matters that people did not do more due diligence when he was living.”

    This could be said of most every prophet who ever lived, and is really the same basic reasoning that the Jews used in rejecting Christ.
    Of course our viewpoint matters, because it is going to shape how was see everything. But just because we have a certain viewpoint does not make us any more correct or even more reasonable in our opinions. You call your point of view a vantage point, but that description is also a result of your viewpoint, and many others would call it a disadvantage.
    As to doing due diligence, this would also be a matter of viewpoint. I assume you are talking about research into Joseph Smith’s history, as well as theology, and the like. I don’t think people were as lax as you claim, but I would point out that in spiritual matters due diligence does not revolve around earthly research and reasoning. The early members did due diligence in their prayers and their study of the scriptures. Some took years to accept the truth (like Brigham Young) and other took less time. But few joined without the due diligence required by faith; for Christ has said “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7: 7-8) They asked, and they were satisfied with the answer.

    “the church has had to back track on so many things.”

    The Church has not backtracked on anything really; it is just that to those who do not fully understand that it appears that way.

    “Your church today is not the same one Smith had when he died.”

    It is exactly the same church, but grown up. Joseph Smith led the church in its infancy, and as an infant it required certain things that that are no longer required, and could not handle others that are common practice now. To say the church is not the same church is to say that a a man is a different person than he was as a boy.

  38. Cal

    “Since they believe Jesus was sinless, can we conclude that they also believe God was sinless when he was a man like us?”

    I think that is the only logical conclusion, and it is the conclusion supported by Joseph Smith in the King Follett Discourse. In that address Joseph Smith basically says that the Father was the savior of His generation, and so I would conclude that God was not a mere man, any more than Christ was. But He was most certainly a man, just as much as Christ ever was.
    You can read the discourse here https://www.lds.org/ensign/1971/04/the-king-follett-sermon?lang=eng.

  39. Hi Tim!
    I know the conversation has moved so this is a little late.
    I read your 5 part answers but not all the comments.

    First, I appreciate the way you dealt with the questions. I liked your non-combative approach. I liked your humor and the many reasonable explanations you offer. Most of your answers clearly support a cohesive view of the Bible. That I can respect.

    Since I have dropped off from frequent posting I have done a great deal of reflecting on the conversations in the comment sections (of the articles I commented on). I have concluded when it comes to “theology”, there is no way to “prove” anything. For example, in a few verses from the Bible on a particular gospel topic, such as grace or works is read, especially if there appears to be some type of contradiction involved, then it is quite easy to take a position a stick with it. What authority is there to say one view is right and the other view is wrong?
    Lawyers can draft up all sorts of arguments which can persuade people that wrong is right or right is wrong. Without a solid authority in matters of salvation, God does not appear on the earth in a direct form and tell us how it is. This is all part of living by faith, so we can’t expect such until Christ returns and does just that.
    However, when we get into areas which we have some reasonable confidence of authority or accuracy, then our view of theology can not in and by itself be regarded as accurate any longer if that view goes against the facts.

    For instance, in Part 2 question 17 concerning baptism for the dead, your answer does not fit with the historical information available nor does it fit with the usage of the practice by Paul. If indeed, corpses were being baptized, based on my understanding of Paul through his writings, Paul would have blown a gasket not referenced the practice to support the doctrine of resurrection.

    While answering all those questions was no doubt a chore, I respect you did it and the way you did it. I think it adds to this conversation and now it is a quick reference for new people who come to this site to see some quick pat answers in a different view than the LDS view.

    Greg is taking a combative view in his questions and I don’t like that in a broad forum. I don’t see harm in asking those types of questions in a specifc discussion with some one because the topic will get explored further by the individuals conversing. But striking at the Protestants this way is disrepectful and I do not approve.

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