RSS

Category Archives: Mormonism

Terryl Givens on Mormon Universalism

Mormon UniversalismI came across another article on “Mormon Universalism.” I have not listened to the interview yet, and maybe I should before I comment, but I don’t have the time right now and I think there is enough in the article to comment on without hearing the interview.

I will grant Mr. Givens that Mormonism is very inclusive when it comes to salvation, much more so than traditional/mainstream Christianity, but let’s not lose sight of the fact that even Mr. Givens has to exclude the “Universalist Unitarians,” by which I think he probably means the Christian Universalists, since he was speaking of “the Christian world.” Let’s also not lose sight of the fact that salvation as defined by Mormonism is not the same as salvation defined by the traditional view of Christianity. In Mormonism “all are saved” based solely on the fact that all receive immortality through the resurrection of the dead, whether they are subsequently damned (sent to outer darkness or obtain a lesser degree of glory) or not. Either way you look at it, though, there is no true “universalism” in Mormonism.

Mr. Givens also makes some very false claims about the universalism that existed in Joseph Smith’s day, particularly Christian Universalism (which goes all the way back to the first century and the gospel preached by the Apostles and Disciples of Jesus Christ). Anyone who has ever read the writings of the Universalist preachers of that time (look them up, many of them are available for free on the internet) can tell you that it is an absolute falsification of the truth to claim that “they didn’t know how to reconcile the need for a Savior with that desire to universalize salvation,” until Joseph Smith conveniently came along, after receiving a vision, and provided those answers.

There was and is absolutely no uncertainty whatsoever as to how God provided for the salvation of all men among those who are Christian Universalists. His name is Jesus Christ. And if God actually did provide for the salvation of all men through the gospel of Jesus Christ, as He did, then Mormonism is proven false, categorically; as it denies (among many other things) the FULL salvation of ALL men.

While it certainly would be nice to see Mormonism get out of the “only true church” business, that is only the tip of the iceberg that is Mormonism. That they are more inclusive than traditional Christianity, in the sense that they do not damn most of humanity to endless torment in hell, is a good thing; but it doesn’t make up for everything else Mormon doctrine lacks. Truth.

It’s not even, truly, all inclusive.

But the true gospel of Jesus Christ is!

P.S.  For another interesting take on Mormon Universalism you can check out this website.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Mormonism

 

Tags: , ,

Mormonism and Universalism

punish1I was looking into the connections between Mormonism and Universalism, again, and happened across this blog which speaks of “a universali[s]m that existed in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries” in the LDS Church, which this member seems to believe has gotten, at least somewhat, lost in current years. I’m not sure how lost it is, as many members of the LDS Church, even today, will be quick to point out that, according to LDS Doctrine, salvation is “universal” in its scope. What they mean by that, however, is something very different from true Christian Universalism, as they only mean that all men will be resurrected from the dead, to immortality. They do not mean that all men will return to the Father or even that all men will enter into any of the various “degrees of glory,” as taught in LDS Doctrine.

That said, some of the quotes provided do seem to allow for the possibility of movement between these degrees of glory, by way of “eternal progression,” and that would seem to allow for someone to receive a greater degree of glory over time. I think this is something which current Mormons do still allow for, at least as a possibility, even if they cannot explain how that might look in practice, especially as it might relate to the highest degree of glory, for which there are certain requirements that must first be met, including the everlasting covenant of marriage.

But, as to the quotes provided, saying that truth can be found in all places, inside or outside of the church, among both believers and non-believers (as any Christian, LDS or not, would allow for), is not the same thing as teaching true “Universalism,” the belief that salvation will come to all men and all men will be united with God, the Father.  So I don’t see “Universalism” being the message of most of those quotes, though a couple of them do seem to speak to that possibility, even if not the guarantee, especially as it relates to “eternal progression” (and not just the fact that all men will be “resurrected from the dead” to a state of immortality). It’s not clear that such pertains to those who are termed “sons of perdition,” however.

But there can be no doubt that Joseph Smith and, therefore, Mormon Doctrine was heavily influenced by Universalism or the Universalist beliefs of Joseph Smith’s father and grandfather. Anyone familiar with Universalist arguments will immediately recognize the argument made in D&C 19 with regard to “eternal punishment,” etc., as a Universalist argument. The only problem is that D&C 19, while true when applied to the Bible, is not true when applied to the Book of Mormon because in the Book of Mormon it is written that there shall be “no end” to this torment – quite unequivocally.

So we have the expression “endless torment”, which is made in relation to the punishment of the wicked/unrepentant and another way to say “endless torment” would be “torment that has no end”.

However, in D&C 19 we read: “it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment” and if it is not written that there shall be “no end” to this torment then there must need be AN END.

In D&C 19, Joseph Smith seems to be explaining why something that is called “endless” HAS AN END !!

He explains that it is not “endless torment” (or “endless punishment”) because it “has no end” but because this torment/punishment comes from the hand of God, whose NAME is ENDLESS (and ETERNAL)

Therefore ETERNAL PUNISHMENT = GOD’S PUNISHMENT

And ENDLESS PUNISHMENT = GOD’S PUNISHMENT

Signifying from whom it comes, not how long it lasts.

I would have absolutely no problem with this IF, in fact, it wasn’t written that “there is no end” to the punishment/torment of the wicked. The problem is that it is written, at least in the Book of Mormon.

In the Book of Mormon we find many references to “that hell which has no end.”  to those who “cannot be saved,” to that which says: “the final state of the souls of men is to dwell in the kingdom of God, or to be cast out,” to those who are “cast off forever,” where they are “destroyed forever,” from where there is “no deliverance,”  to “a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God forever and ever, and hath no end,” wherein the wicked will be “miserable forever” (you get the picture).

None of that sounds to me like torment/punishment that has “no end.” And we can’t blame it on “translation errors,” like we could if we were discussing the Bible which was actually translated by fallible men, since the BoM, we are to believe, was not translated but was simply transcribed by Joseph Smith directly into English as dictated by God himself.

And the fact that there are so many references to the fate of the wicked, which is clearly said to have “no end” (in more ways than one), completely disproves the statement that “it is not written that there is no end to this torment” (even if, in fact, this could be proven to be true by addressing translation or interpretation error in the Bible).

It IS written that there is NO END (no redemption, no salvation, no deliverance, no end to the misery) of the wicked MANY TIMES, in MANY WAYS throughout the Book of Mormon.

And I certainly don’t know how else you can understand the statement “it is not written that there is no end to this torment.” The fact remains that it is written, but only in the book produced by Joseph Smith. It is not written in the Bible.

Here are just a few references:

2 Nephi 1:17  My heart hath been weighed down with sorrow from time to time, for I have feared, lest for the hardness of your hearts the Lord your God should come out in the fulness of his wrath upon you, that ye be cut off and destroyed forever;

2 Nephi 2: 5  And men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil. And the law is given unto men. And by the law no flesh is justified; or, by the law men are cut off. Yea, by the temporal law they were cut off; and also, by the spiritual law they perish from that which is good, and become miserable forever.

2 Nephi 2: 28-29  And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit; And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Note that if “eternal life” is that life which comes from God who is “eternal” and “eternal punishment” is that punishment which comes from God who is “eternal,” then by the same token this passage attribute “death” to God.  Note also that this is not an expression one will ever find in the Bible.

2 Nephi 9:16-24 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame scendeth up forever and ever and has no end. O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.  O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For he delivereth his saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth call things, and there is not anything save he knows it. And he cometh into the world that he may save all men if they will hearken unto his voice; for behold, he suffereth the pains of all men, yea, the pains of every living creature, both men, women, and children, who belong to the family of Adam. And he suffereth this that the resurrection might pass upon all men, that all might stand before him at the great and judgment day. And he commandeth all men that they must repent, and be baptized in his name, having perfect faith in the Holy One of Israel, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, they must be damned; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it.

2 Nephi 28:22-24   And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment. Therefore, wo be unto him that is at ease in Zion!

While Joseph Smith was clearly influenced by and even incorporated, in some sense, “Universalism” into his doctrines, there also seems to be quite a bit in the Book of Mormon that seems like a deliberate attempt to refute that same doctrine. It’s quite the paradox, so just one more place where Mormon Doctrine seems to fall apart.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Book of Mormon, Hell, Mormonism

 

Tags: , , , ,

AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT

Heb927_short.png

Alma 12:27 “… it was appointed unto men that they must die; and after death, they must come to judgment, even that same judgment of which we have spoken, which is the end.”

This seems to be a clear reference to Heb 9:27 “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”

The problem with this is that this verse from the Book of Mormon actually supports an incorrect, though very common, misinterpretation of Heb 9:27.

Most of the time when people quote Heb 9:27, that is all they quote – that one verse. And they do just as is done in the Book of Mormon, they leave out the “as” and simply make it a declarative statement; “IT IS appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” That certainly does make it sound like men die and after their death they face judgment. And it is exactly how most Christians use this verse and seems to be exactly how it was being used in the Book of Mormon. But if we take the time to read the whole passage and put verse 27 back into its proper context, we can see that this is not what this passage is talking about at all.

This passage is talking about the death of one man, Christ, and the judgment (upon all men) that follows HIS DEATH. Let’s take a look:

Heb 9:23-28 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For CHRIST is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that HE should OFFER HIMSELF often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must HE often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but NOW ONCE in the end of the world HATH HE APPEARED to put away sin by the sacrifice OF HIMSELF. And (((AS IT IS APPOINTED UNTO MEN))) ONCE TO DIE, but AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT: So CHRIST WAS ONCE OFFERED to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him SHALL HE APPEAR THE SECOND TIME without sin UNTO SALVATION.

Yes, it is appointed unto all men that they shall die. But this passage is not talking about the deaths of all men, it is talking about the death of Christ and that which followed His death, which is judgment.

This world is judged by the cross of Christ, by His death. For He came into the world, coming unto His own, and the world received Him not.

Joh 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and THE WORLD KNEW HIM NOT. He came unto his own, and HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT.

Jesus himself told them:

Joh 12:30-31 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. NOW IS THE JUDGMENT OF THIS WORLD: NOW SHALL THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD BE CAST OUT.

And when did He say this? Wasn’t it right before he went to the cross?

And what was to followed His death?

Joh 16:5-11 But NOW I GO MY WAY TO HIM THAT SENT ME; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; IT IS EXPEDIENT FOR YOU THAT I GO AWAY: FOR IF I GO NOT AWAY, THE COMFORTER WILL NOT COME UNTO YOU; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And WHEN HE IS COME, HE WILL REPROVE THE WORLD OF SIN, and OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, and OF JUDGMENT: Of sin, BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE NOT ON ME; Of righteousness, BECAUSE I GO TO MY FATHER, AND YE SEE ME NO MORE; Of judgment, BECAUSE THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD IS JUDGED.

Jesus said:

Joh 9:39 And Jesus said, FOR JUDGMENT I AM COME INTO THIS WORLD, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Jesus even told them that the time of harvest had come!

Joh 4:34-38 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and TO FINISH HIS WORK. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? BEHOLD, I SAY UNTO YOU, LIFT UP YOUR EYES, AND LOOK ON THE FIELDS; for THEY ARE WHITE ALREADY TO HARVEST. And HE THAT REAPETH RECEIVETH WAGES, AND GATHERETH FRUIT UNTO LIFE ETERNAL: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, ONE SOWETH, AND ANOTHER REAPETH. I SENT YOU TO REAP that whereon ye bestowed NO LABOUR: OTHER MEN LABOURED, and YE ARE ENTERING INTO THEIR LABOURS.

Surely the “other men” who had already been laboring in the field were the Prophets who sowed the seed, which is the word of God! (Luke 8:11) And now the Apostles would be sent to reap, to harvest the field!!

Have you ever notices that Jesus said that THE REAPERS “are” THE ANGELS?

Mat 13:37-43 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; THE HARVEST IS THE END OF THE WORLD; AND THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. THE SON OF MAN SHALL SEND FORTH HIS ANGELS, AND THEY SHALL GATHER OUT OF HIS KINGDOM ALL THINGS THAT OFFEND, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. THEN SHALL THE RIGHTEOUSNESS SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN IN THE KINGDOM OF THEIR FATHER. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Did you notice that this all happens “at the end of the world”? Let’s go back to verse 26 of Heb 9:

Heb 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: BUT NOW ONCE IN THE END OF THE WORLD HATH HE APPEARED TO PUT AWAY SIN BY THE SACRIFICE OF HIMSELF.

And Jesus told His disciples: “I SENT YOU TO REAP!”

Do you have the ears to hear?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the only true Church of Jesus Christ in this world. They claim to be led by modern-day Prophets and Apostles, who are the ones chosen by God to lead His Church. But do they teach these things?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims that the Book of Mormon is “another testament of Jesus Christ,” that it “contains the fullness of the gospel.” Does it contain these things?

Of the Book Mormon, Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.” (History of the Church, 4:461.)

The LDS Church confirms: ““The most correct of any book on earth” was a bold statement to make in Joseph Smith’s day, let alone in our day of sophisticated publication. The statement is still applicable, for the Lord has never rescinded it nor cast doubt upon it.”

Though the LDS may believe it, this bold declaration is as false as it is bold. Presented here is just one of the many flaws the book contains, proving to all who are capable of discerning the truth that the Book of Mormon is not the word of God, but the words of a man (or men) who were not as acquainted with God or His Word as they pretended.

May the Lord open the eyes and the ears of those who believe the false doctrines of the LDS Church, so they can come to the Truth and see who Jesus Christ really is.

 

Tags: , , ,

The Book of Abraham

BoAWell, It’s been many years since I’ve read the Book of Abraham (BoA). Many years. In fact, I guess I had completely forgotten about all the references to “the Gods.” So much so that it was almost like I had never read it before at all. I just kept thinking to myself:

How in the world did this ever sit right with you?

How in the world did this not ever raise a single red flag?

What in the world were you thinking?

Were you thinking??

I not only wept, I began to feel physically ill. The only answer: I was raised in the church by my parents. My only consolation: I never gained a testimony of Joseph Smith or the LDS Church. Which only begged one more question:

Why did it take you so long to leave? 

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I trust the Lord does. And I trust that every part of my journey, even that which took me to and through and out of the LDS Church is what makes me who I am today and is exactly what prepared me for the relationship with Christ that I now have.

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK

Besides the fact that it’s clearly polytheistic, with all its references to the Gods and counsels of the Gods, albeit with one God who is more intelligent than all the rest, to me it shows a clear lack of spiritual insight in several places and a few oddities.

I’ll start with the oddities:

1. Abraham is Abraham throughout and never mentions God changing his name from Abram to Abraham.

2. Abraham calls his wife Sarai throughout, never referring to her as Sarah, nor ever mentioning that her name was changed from Sarai to Sarah.

3. Abraham takes credit for seeing that he needed to leave the home of his father, wherein he sought the Lord, rather than the Lord seeking him.

4. Abraham claims to be a High Priest, which he claims is a right that belongs to the firstborn, even all the way back to the first man – Adam. (Several references to the Priesthood, but I don’t even want to get into that, though I will be coming back to the right or blessing of the firstborn and the claim that it belonged even to “the first man, Adam.”)

5. The text itself claims that the hieroglyphics that accompany the BoA were provided by Abraham himself, despite the fact that we now know that these Egyptian papyrus have nothing at all to do with Abraham.

6. Abraham claims that the Lord told him to tell the Egyptians that Sarai was his sister, rather than his wife.

7. Abraham claims to have had the Urim and Thummim. (Not really going to discuss this either, but it’s certainly worth noting, as this was part of the garment of the High Priest under the Law of Moses. I guess Abraham has it because he claims to be a High Priest.)

8. Abraham is shown the sun and the moon and the stars, etc, and told all about Kolob, the star nearest to the throne of God and is told how the Lord’s time is reckoned differently – “according to the reckoning of Kolob,” – which is one day being one thousand years.

9. Abraham claims that “the Gods” all came together to organize the world, etc, etc, etc… the Gods, the Gods, the Gods….

10. Abraham claims that time here was originally reckoned according to the Lord’s time or the time of Kolob (one day = one thousand years). I assume that is to account the fact that Adam was supposed to die “in the day” that he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil… and he lived for 930 years. We are not told how or when or why time ceased to be reckoned according to the time of Kolob.

I’m not sure all of these things require explanations for why they are listed. I think it’s probably obvious to anyone who is familiar with the Bible why some of these things made my list. They contradict the Biblical record outright or they can, in no way, be supported by the Biblical record.

Now for the lack of spiritual insight:

1. The blessing or birthright of the firstborn: while it is true that the Bible also speaks of the blessing or the birthright of the firstborn, it must have escaped Joseph Smith’s attention that when it comes to spiritual blessings the “firstborn” is the firstborn of God, not the firstborn of man. We see this pattern repeated over and over again in the OT where the firstborn son, according to the natural order, doesn’t receive the father’s blessing. It goes to a younger child, who serves as a figure for the second man or the Last Adam. This is the reason Ishmael had to be born before Isaac, the child of promise through whom the Promised Seed was to come.

2. Adam serves as a figure of Him who was to come. And he also serves as figure for all mankind and the process by which man is being “created in the image of God” – that image being seen/found in “the Last Adam,” into whose image we are being conformed. And what we see in Gen 2 is not God placing the pre-existent spirit of Adam into a body created for Adam to house that spirit, we see God sending forth “His Spirit” (the breathe OF LIFE) into a man He “first formed” out of the dust of the ground, who is not “created in the image of God” until God “sends forth His spirit” and “reneweth the face of the earth.” (See Psa 102:18 and 104:30 and Isa 48:7.)

3. If Joseph Smith understood the true meaning of a thousand years being as one day and one day being as a thousand years to the Lord, he would not have taken that so literally and claimed that it’s how the Lord reckons time where He is and is how time was once reckoned even here, in the beginning. It’s not meant to be taken literally. If we study the scriptures we can see this “thousand years” which is as “one day” to the Lord is associated with one day that has been divided into two, just as God divided “the light” (which he called THE DAY – also called TODAY) from “the darkness” (which He called THE NIGHT – also called YESTERDAY, but only once the night/darkness IS PAST) in Gen 1. God made a covenant with both (Jer 33:25 and others), which is why we see this “thousand years” associated with both (being “twice told” – Ecc 6:6). David speaks of this in Psa 90:3-4: “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” This is why Jesus is said to be “the same YESTERDAY, TODAY, and FOREVER.” This is why Jesus said, to the thief on the cross who asked to be remembered when he came into His kingdom, “TODAY shalt though be with me in paradise.” This is a spiritual truth which is why the true Sabbath is not observed on the seventh day of the week, as it was given to the Jews in a figure, but on a day called “today” (when we hear His voice and harden not our hearts and enter into His rest!). God dwells in THE LIGHT, in THE DAY, where there is NO DARKNESS. This is why it is ALL “one day” to the Lord, who is the great “I AM.”

4. It was not the Lord who feared what the Egyptians would do to Abraham if they knew Sarah was his wife. It was not the Lord who told Abraham to tell them that Sarah was his sister. That was all Abraham’s doing! And, in the Bible, we are told why. When Abimelech asked Abraham why he had done this, Abraham did not say God told him to do it, he said: “Because I THOUGHT, SURELY THE FEAR OF GOD IS NOT IN THIS PLACE; and they will slay me for my wife’s sake.” Well, if it wasn’t, God sure took care of that by putting the fear of God into that place when He came to Abimelech in a dream and told him he was “a dead man” if he touched Sarah and did not return her to her husband. God did not tell Abraham to pass Sarah off as his sister instead of his wife just so He could appear to Abimelech in a dream to tell him the truth. He fixed what Abraham did by making sure there was a “fear of God” in that place and he could have protected Abraham just as easily had he not first tried to take matters into his own hands due to his own fears.

So much more could be said about this book, but this is more than enough to prove to me that (1) the Book of Abraham is not only false, (2) Joseph Smith is a false prophet.

This is not the work of God.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 6, 2015 in Mormonism

 

Tags: , , ,

Wake Up!

Wake-Up-Ready-to-Face-Your-DayI wrote this earlier, in a state of frustration, over a conversation I was having with an active Mormon. I wasn’t really sure I was going to share it. But then, without even looking for it, I happened across a particular series of blogs about how the LDS Church prepares its members for Atheism. And it struck me that I had just said, myself, that Mormons use the same tactics that Atheist do to discredit the Bible and promote Joseph Smith.

So I am going to share what I wrote and then provide a link to that series of articles.

WAKE UP!

Unbelievable!! Context just doesn’t matter to the LDS; it can be completely ignored, if it doesn’t agree with something Joseph Smith said, even when that something else wasn’t available to those who would have been reading the Book of Mormon at the time it was actually written. Not only that it’s also OK for Joseph Smith to come behind the inspired writers of the Old and New Testaments and completely change their words. Not only changing them, but making them say the complete opposite of what they wrote.

However, this should not be seen as correction but clarification, they say. And just because the words were changed to say exactly the opposite of what they previously said doesn’t mean that what was originally written was wrong. Somehow, making someone say the exact opposite of what they actually did say doesn’t change the meaning or the context of their words.

How is this supported, you might ask; it’s supported by their ability to cherry-pick other “contradictions” in the Bible – also regardless of context, which are not contradictions at all, when that context is taken into account. All to support this one man’s claims about himself!! All is spite of what the Bible says about those who bear witness of themselves!

I used to think that many Evangelicals were way too harsh in their characterization of the LDS as cult members. But isn’t this exactly the kind of mindset that leads people to follow people like Jim Jones, David Koresh, L. Ron Hubbard, even Adolph Hitler and the like? Once their views are accepted as “inspired,” they can do no wrong. They can add to, take away from, or even change the inspired word of God. And they do so by preying upon the same things Atheists do – issues with translations or interpretation, etc. And they prey upon the egos of men by instilling in their minds this sort of us vs them mentality; we are special, we are chosen, we are the elect of God!! Come be a part of us or remain on the outside, where there is no power or authority given to you by God. Indeed, you need us for that!!

These kinds of people cannot be convinced of the faults of their leaders, apart from some sort of intervention. May the Lord provide that intervention by shining the Light of Truth in these places of darkness!!

When has God ever had men prophesy concerning themselves? Never! Not even Jesus could be His own witness. That was the whole purpose of the Law and the Prophets! And to take it even further and have a man go back and rewrite the Bible to insert prophesies of himself into the historical record, after the fact, to make it appear as if they were prophesied about all along?? I’m sorry, it may seem harsh, but I do not see how anyone in their right mind could embrace such shenanigans as the work of God.

What are you thinking? WAKE UP!

Here are the links:

How the LDS Church Prepares Its Members For Atheism (Part 1)

How the LDS Church Prepares Its Members for Atheism (Part 2)

How the LDS Church Prepares Its Members For Atheism (Part 3)

How the LDS Church Prepares Its Members For Atheism (Part 4)

How the LDS Church Prepares Its Members For Atheism (Part 5)

 

Problems with the Book of Mormon

bomvbible2

Here I am going to discuss, rather briefly, some of the problems I have with the Book of Mormon.

1. The Book of Mormon claims that “the church of the Lamb of God” has “few” members.

1 Nephi 14:12 And it came to pass that I beheld the church of the Lamb of God, and its numbers were few, because of the wickedness and abominations of the whore who sat upon many waters; nevertheless, I beheld that the church of the Lamb, who were the saints of God, were also upon all the face of the earth; and their dominions upon the face of the earth were small, because of the wickedness of the great whore whom I saw.

This is not at all true, as the church (of Jesus Christ) is made up of the body of Christ. And, according to the Bible, ALL MEN were gathered together into Christ by being baptized into His death on the cross, where “our old man was crucified with Him”.

Jesus said: “I, if I be lifted up, will draw ALL MEN unto me.”

ONE NEW MAN has been created IN CHRIST – whether bond or free, male of female, Jew of Gentile. This is what Paul is speaking about when he writes: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25)

2. The Book of Mormon claims that book of Revelation, written by John, is about “the end of the world.”

1 Nephi 14:20-22 And the angel said unto me: Behold one of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Behold, he shall see and write the remainder of these things; yea, and also many things which have been. And he shall also write concerning the end of the world.

This book is not about “the end of the world;” it is about “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” who IS, WAS, AND IS TO COME.

3. The Book of Mormon claims that the devil is a fallen angel who “became a devil”:

2 Nephi 2:17 And I, Lehi, according to the things which I have read, must needs suppose that an angel of God, according to that which is written, had fallen from heaven; wherefore, he became a devil, having sought that which was evil before God.

Though many believe the Bible says the same thing, this is not true. Jesus made it clear that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44)

4. The Book of Mormon speaks of “eternal death”

2 Nephi 2:29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

There is no such thing as “eternal death” in the Bible. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed (1Co 15:26), at which point there shall be “no more death.” (Rev 21:4)

5. The book of Mormon teaches that our flesh, our natural body that goes into a natural grave, is to be resurrected.

2 Nephi 9:8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.

First of all, the bible never speaks of the resurrection of our corpses, only the resurrection of “the dead.” Secondly, what kind of sense does it make to claim that if our flesh is not resurrected we must then be subject to the devil, as spirits, for all eternity? If we were not subject to the devil as spirits in the pre-existence, what would make us subject to him now just because we are spirits?

2 Nephi 9:12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.

This is not, at all, what “the resurrection of the dead” is about. It has absolutely nothing at all to do with physical death and rotting corpses of flesh buried in physical graves. The natural body is just that, natural. It came from dust and will return to dust. (Gen 3:19) The flesh is not counted for the seed of God. (Rom 9:8) That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. (John 3:6) God is the father of spirits, not of the flesh. (Heb 12:9) We do not wait for our corpses to be resurrected one day. Paul tells us, very explicitly, that our desire is NOT to be unclothed, but to be clothed upon. And he makes it very clear that we should KNOW that “if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (2Co 5:1-4)

6. The Book of Mormon claims that the “first death” is physical death (from which we are saved “by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel” after physical death). It also places judgment after physical death and the resurrection of our bodies from their graves (and our spirits from hell).

2 Nephi 915-19 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God. And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end. O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever. O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For He delivereth His saints from that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, which is eternal torment.

Granted, this is also a very popular Biblical interpretation of death and judgment. But I have come to see it as untrue.

The Bible does not say that judgment comes after physical death; it says that judgment takes place “in the earth.” (Pro 11:31; Isa 65:6) Indeed, Jesus himself said; “now is the judgment of this world” almost 2000 years ago. (John 12:31). And what did that judgment coincide with? Jesus’ death on the cross (by which we are judged) and the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (through whom judgment comes). (John 16:8-11)

People isolate Heb 9:27 and claim that it states that judgment follows death, but the death being spoken of in that passage is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross!!

For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Heb 9:24-28)

Judgment follows HIS DEATH, not ours!!

7. The Book of Mormon treats “the second death” as a post-mortem event that follows this post-mortem judgment.

Jacob 3:11 O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.

Again, though this is also a very popular Biblical interpretation of the second death, I do not believe it is an accurate view. I have come to see “the second death” as our baptism into Christ’s death, through which comes “the resurrection of the dead.”

While the Book of Mormon claims that the “first death” is physical and the “second death” is spiritual, the Bible tells us that we first died “in Adam,” due to sin. And it also tells us that it was while we were yet dead in sin that Christ died for us (Rom 5:8)… taking our old man with Him to the cross where he is “crucified with him” by being “baptized into His death” (Rom 6:3-6) …. as such, we are also made partakers of His resurrection, according to the “new man” created in Christ. (Eph 2:15)

This is how I see the second death and the first resurrection…. IN CHRIST! The second death destroying the first, in Him who IS “the resurrection and the life,” over whom death has no power. Fulfilling the words of Paul that: “As in Adam ALL DIE, even so in Christ shall ALL BE MADE ALIVE.”

8. The Book of Mormon says: “Men must follow Christ to avoid the lake of fire and brimstone.” (Introduction to Jacob 6)

I’d suggest that no one avoids the second death, for it is our baptism into Christ’s death, through which comes the resurrection of the dead. So while the Bible does say that those who overcome are “not hurt” by the second death, it never says that it is avoided by anyone. It says: “The fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev 12:8) That is a perfect description of ALL MEN who are DEAD IN SIN…. before being “crucified with Christ.”

9. The Book of Mormon claims that the first resurrection is the resurrection of all of those who lived up until the time of Christ, who were raised from the dead when Christ was raised from the dead.

Mosiah 15:19-22 For were it not for the redemption which he hath made for his people, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, I say unto you, were it not for this, all mankind must have perished. But behold, the bands of death shall be broken, and the Son reigneth, and hath power over the dead; therefore, he bringeth to pass the resurrection of the dead. And there cometh a resurrection, even a first resurrection; yea, even a resurrection of those that have been, and who are, and who shall be, even until the resurrection of Christ—for so shall he be called. And now, the resurrection of all the prophets, and all those that have believed in their words, or all those that have kept the commandments of God, shall come forth in the first resurrection; therefore, they are the first resurrection.

While it is true that the first resurrection is connected to the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I think it is important to note that there is only ever ONE RESURRECTION counted in scriptures and that is THE FIRST! HIS!

As pointed out already, I believe this is because it’s the only resurrection that matters. It is the power of HIS RESURRECTION (the first) that we are to come to know (Php 3:10) because it is the one we must HAVE PART IN (Rev 20:6)… and we have part in it by first being “crucified with Him” (= second death), so that we can be “raised with Him” (= first resurrection). (Col 2:12)

When the Jews asked Jesus about the resurrection of the dead, they did so after a very carnal understanding (very much the same way believers look at it today). But what did Jesus say? He said they erred, not knowing the scriptures or the power of God. (Mat 22:29, Mar 12:24)

The prophets of old were NOT still in their graves waiting to be resurrected from the dead at the time of Jesus. Jesus points this out by telling them that God is NOT the God of the dead, but of the LIVING. And He said: “that THE DEAD ARE RAISED, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” (Luke 20:37-38)

So how can the dead already be raised, if Jesus had not yet died and been resurrected? Because HE IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!! (John 11:25) Though Christ was MADE MANIFEST in the last days, He was always “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev 13:8) Where? IN A PLACE CALLED A SKULL!!! (Mat 27:33; john 19:17)

Calvary is not just a reference to a hill in the middle east! Paul tells us that it was IN OUR MINDS that we were MADE ENEMIES of God. (Col 1:21)

Paul wrote: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1Co 2:12-13) And: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2Co 4:17-18)

Those things which are seen are temporal. But they reveal to us those things which are not seem, which are eternal. So, perhaps, we are confusing the types and shadows for the spiritual realities that they are intended to reveal!

Given the way I have come to understand the Bible, the Book of Mormon comes across as having been written by someone who had a very carnal understanding of the Bible. Therefore, I cannot attribute it’s authorship to God or to someone inspired by God.

10. The Book of Mormon teaches the false doctrine of “eternal torment.”

1 Nephi 10:20-22 Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment. Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, YE MUST BE CAST OFF FOREVER. And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.

1 Nephi 10:20-22 Therefore remember, O man, for all thy doings thou shalt be brought into judgment. Wherefore, if ye have sought to do wickedly in the days of your probation, then ye are found unclean before the judgment-seat of God; and no unclean thing can dwell with God; wherefore, YE MUST BE CAST OFF FOREVER. And the Holy Ghost giveth authority that I should speak these things, and deny them not.

1 Nephi 14:3-7 And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell—yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it INTO THAT HELL WHICH HATH NO END. For behold, this is according to the captivity of the devil, and also ACCORDING TO THE JUSTICE OF GOD, upon all those who will work wickedness and abomination before him. And it came to pass that the angel spake unto me, Nephi, saying: Thou hast beheld that if the Gentiles repent it shall be well with them; and thou also knowest concerning the covenants of the Lord unto the house of Israel; and thou also hast heard that whoso repenteth not must perish. Therefore, wo be unto the Gentiles if it so be that they harden their hearts against the Lamb of God. For the time cometh, saith the Lamb of God, that I will work a great and a marvelous work among the children of men; A WORK WHICH SHALL BE EVERLASTING, EITHER ON THE ONE HAND OR THE OTHER—either to the convincing of them UNTO PEACE AND LIFE ETERNAL, OR UNTO THE DELIVERANCE OF THEM TO THE HARDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS AND THE BLINDNESS OF THEIR MINDS unto their being brought down into captivity, and also into destruction, BOTH TEMPORALLY AND SPIRITUALLY, according to THE CAPTIVITY OF THE DEVIL, of which I have spoken.

1Nephi 15:27-35 And I said unto them that the water which my father saw was filthiness; and so much was his mind swallowed up in other things that he beheld not the filthiness of the water. And I said unto them that it was an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God. And I said unto them that IT WAS A REPRESENTATION OF THAT AWFUL HELL, which the angel said unto me was PREPARED FOR THE WICKED. And I said unto them that our father also saw that the justice of God did also divide the wicked from the righteous; and the brightness thereof was like unto the brightness of a flaming fire, which ascendeth up unto God FOREVER AND EVERN, AND HATH NO END. And they said unto me: DOTH THIS THING MEAN the torment of the body in the days of probation, or FOTH IT MEAN the final state of the soul after the death of the temporal body, OR DOTH IT SPEAK OF the things which are temporal? And it came to pass that I said unto them that it was a representation of things BOTH TEMPORAL AND SPIRITUAL; for the day should come that they must be judged of their works, yea, even the works which were done by the temporal body in their days of probation. Wherefore, IF THEY SHOULD DIE IN THEIR WICKEDNESS THEY MUST BE CAST OFF ALSO, AS TO THE THINGS WHICH ARE SPIRITUAL, which are pertaining to righteousness; wherefore, they must be brought to stand before God, to be judged of their works; and if their works have been filthiness they must needs be filthy; and if they be filthy it must needs be that THEY CANNOT DWELL IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD; if so, the kingdom of God must be filthy also. But behold, I say unto you, the kingdom of God is not filthy, and there cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore THERE MUST NEEDS BE a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy. And THERE IS A PLACE PREPARED, yea, even THAT AWFUL HELL of which I have spoken, and the devil is the preparator of it; wherefore THE FINAL STATE OF THE SOULS OF MEN IS TO DWELL IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, OR BE CAST OUT BECAUSE OF THAT JUSTICE OF WHICH I HAVE SPOKEN.

2 Nephi 2:29 And not choose ETERNAL DEATH, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, TO BRING YOU DOWN TO HELL, THAT HE MAY REIGN OVER YOU IN HIS OWN KINGDOM.

2 Nephi 9:15-19 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God. And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, AND THEY WHO ARE FILTHY SHALL BE FILTHY STILL; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into EVERLASTING FIRE, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame scendeth up FOREVER AND EVER AND HAS NO END. O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled. But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever. O the greatness of the mercy of our God, the Holy One of Israel! For HE DELIVERETH HIS SAINTS FROM that awful monster the devil, and death, and hell, and that lake of fire and brimstone, WHICH IS ETERNAL TORMENT.

2 Nephi 9:24-38 And if they will not repent and believe in his name, and be baptized in his name, and endure to the end, THEY MUST BE DAMNED; for the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has spoken it. Wherefore, he has given a law; and WHERE THERE IS NO LAW GIVEN THERE IS NO PUNISHMENT; and where there is no punishment there is no condemnation; and where there is no condemnation the mercies of the Holy One of Israel have claim upon them, because of the atonement; for THEY ARE DELIVERED by the power of him. For the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them, that they are delivered from that awful monster, death and hell, and the devil, and the lake of fire and brimstone, which is ENDLESS TORMENT; and they are restored to that God who gave them breath, which is the Holy One of Israel. BUT WO UNTO HIM THAT HAS THE LAW GIVEN, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that WASTETH THE DAYS OF HIS PROBATION, for awful is his state! O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And THEY SHALL PERISH. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God. But WO UNTO THE RICH, who are rich as to THE THINGS OF THE WORLD. For because they are rich they despise the poor, and they persecute the meek, and their hearts are upon their treasures; wherefore, their treasure is their god. And behold, their treasure shall PERISH WITH THEM ALSO. And wo unto the deaf that will not hear; for THEY SHALL PERISH. Wo unto the blind that will not see; for THEY SHALL PERISH ALSO. Wo unto the uncircumcised of heart, for a knowledge of their iniquities SHALL SMITE THEM AT THE LAST DAY. Wo unto the liar, for HE SHALL BE THRUST DOWN TO HELL. Wo unto the murderer who deliberately killeth, for HE SHALL DIE. Wo unto them who commit whoredoms, for THEY SHALL BE THRUST DOWN TO HELL. Yea, wo unto those that worship idols, for the devil of all devils delighteth in them. And, in fine, WO UNTO ALL THOSE WHO DIE IN THEIR SINS; FOR THEY SHALL RETURN TO GOD, AND BEHOLD HIS FACE, AND REMAIN IN THEIR SINS.

2 Nephi 28:22-23 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them THERE IS NO HELL; and he saith unto them: I AM NO DEVIL, FOR THERE IS NONE—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is NO DELIVERANCE. Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, FROM WHENCE THEY MUST GO INTO THE PLACE PREPARED FOR THEM, even A LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE, WHICH IS ENDLESS TORMENT.

2 Nnephi 31:16 And now, my beloved brethren, I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, HE CANNOT BE SAVED.

2 Nephi 33:9-15 I also have charity for the Gentiles. But behold, FOR NONE OF THESE CAN I HOPE EXCEPT they shall be reconciled unto Christ, and enter into the narrow gate, and walk in the strait path which leads to life, AND CONTINUE IN THE PATH UNTIL THE END OF THE DAYS OF PROBATION. And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good. And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness. And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that MANY OF US, IF NOT ALL, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day. And now, my beloved brethren, all those who are of the house of Israel, and all ye ends of the earth, I speak unto you as the voice of one crying from the dust: Farewell until that great day shall come. And you that will not partake of the goodness of God, and respect the words of the Jews, and also my words, and the words which shall proceed forth out of the mouth of the Lamb of God, behold, I bid you an everlasting farewell, FOR THESE WORDS SHALL CONDEMN YOU ARE THE LAST DAY. For what I seal on earth, shall be brought against you at the judgment bar; for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey. Amen.

Nephi makes other references that include things like:

“…cast off forever.”

“…cut off and destroyed forever.”

“…and become miserable forever.”

Mosiah writes of the same:

Mosiah 3:25-27 And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord INTO A STATE OF MISERY AND ENDLESS TORMENT, FROM WHENCE THEY CAN NO MORE RETURN; THERFORE THEY HAVE DRUNK DAMNATION TO THEIR OWN SOULS. Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; THEREFORE, MERCY COULD HAVE CLAIM IN THEM NO MORE FOREVER. And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up FOREVER AND EVER. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. Amen.

Mosiah 5:5 And we are willing to enter into a covenant with our God to do his will, and to be obedient to his commandments in all things that he shall command us, all the remainder of our days, THAT WE MAY NOT BRING UPON OURSELVES A NEVER-ENDING TORMENT, as has been spoken by the angel, that we may not drink out of the cup of the wrath of God.

Mosiah 15:26-27 But behold, and fear, and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for THE LORD REDEEMTH NONE SUCH THAT REBEL AGAINST HIM AND DIE IN THEIR SINS; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have wilfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. Therefore ought ye not to tremble? For SALVATION COMETH TO NO SUCH; FOR THE LORD HATH REDEEMED NONE SUCH; yea, NEITHER CAN THE LORD REDEEM SUCH; for he cannot deny himself; for he cannot deny justice when it has its claim.

The introduction to Mosiah 16 states: “Those who are carnal remain as though there was no redemption—Christ brings to pass a resurrection to endless life or to endless damnation.”

2… the Lord redeemeth them not.

11-12 If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness; and if they be evil, to the resurrection of ENDLESS DAMNATION, being delivered up TO THE DEVIL, who hath subjected them, which is damnation— Having gone according to their own carnal wills and desires; having never called upon the Lord WHILE THE ARMS OF MERCY WERE EXTENDED TOWARDS THEM; for the arms of mercy were extended towards them, and they would not; they being warned of their iniquities and yet they would not depart from them; and they were commanded to repent and yet they would not repent.
Alma 12:11-18 And they that will harden their hearts, to them is given the lesser portion of the word until they know nothing concerning his mysteries; and then they are taken captive by the devil, and led by his will down to destruction. Now THIS IS WHAT IS MEANT BY THE CHAINS OF HELL. And Amulek hath spoken plainly concerning death, and being raised from this mortality to a state of immortality, and being brought before the bar of God, to be judged according to our works. Then if our hearts have been hardened, yea, if we have hardened our hearts against the word, insomuch that it has not been found in us, then will our state be awful, for then we shall be condemned. For our words will condemn us, yea, all our works will condemn us; we shall not be found spotless; and our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to chide us from his presence. But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting shame that all his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance. And now behold, I say unto you THEN COMETH A DEATH, EVEN A SECOND DEATH, which is a SPIRITUAL DEATH; then is a time that whosoever dieth in his sins, as to a temporal death, SHALL ALSO DIE A SPIRITUAL DEATH; yea, he shall die as to things pertaining unto righteousness. Then is the time when their torments shall be as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up FOREVER AND EVER; and then is the time that they shall be chained down TO EN EVERLASTING DESTRUCTION, according to the power and captivity of Satan, he having subjected them according to his will. Then, I say unto you, THEY SHALL BE AS THOUGH THERE HAD BEEN NO REDEMPTION MADE; FOR THEY CANNOT BE REDEEMED according to God’s justice; AND THEY CANNOT DIE, seeing there is no more corruption.

As does Alma:

Alma 12:32 Therefore God gave unto them commandments, after having made known unto them the plan of redemption, that they should not do evil, THE PENALTY THEREOF BEING A SECOND DEATH, WHICH WAS AN EVERLASTING DEATH as to things pertaining unto righteousness; for ON SUCH THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION COULD HAVE NO POWER, for the works of justice could not be destroyed, according to the supreme goodness of God.

Verse 36 goes on to speak of “the everlasting destruction of your souls.”

I’ll stop here, though Alma goes on to talk about those whose soul “cannot be saved,” who are “consigned to a state of endless wo,” etc. And I am sure there are more passages, but this should be more than enough to demonstrate my point.

These condemnations are put into unequivocal terms, regardless of the fact that Joseph Smith tried to come back later, with D&C 19, to claim: “It is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment,” called such because God’s name is “endless” and these punishments are “God’s punishments.”

That in no way settles the issue, given the fact that the Book of Mormon doesn’t limit itself to only that kind of terminology. As we can clearly see, the Book of Mormon goes way beyond speaking of something called “endless torment.” It clearly asserts, time and time again, that there is “no end” to the damnation, the torment, the punishment of the wicked, saying they “cannot be saved,” and are “as if no redemption has been made,” remaining “in their sins.” Etc.

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. It’s simply the things that stood out to me today as I was doing some research in the Book of Mormon with regard to the topic of “eternal torment.”

Not only do these verses seem to clearly contradict the Good News – THE SALVATION OF ALL MEN FROM SIN AND DEATH THROUGH CHRIST OUR LORD – it’s quite difficult to reconcile most of these passage (particularly those about the state of the wicked) with LDS theology concerning salvation in lower degrees of glory, even when termed “damnation.”

Clearly only two kingdoms are presented in the Book of Mormon; the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of the devil.

Makes me wonder how I ever reconciled all of this with Joseph Smith’s personal revelations about such things not contained in the Bible or the Book of Mormon… and, seemly, contradictory to both.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 21, 2015 in Mormonism

 

Tags:

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible – How inspired is it?

Joseph Smith’s Translation of the Bible – How inspired is it?

I am not familiar with the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. I don’t really know how many Mormons are, to be honest. We never used it when I was attending church and, according to this article that I was reading today, “A Greater Portrayal of the Master”, from March of 1983, it hadn’t gotten as much attention from members as, maybe, it should. I don’t know if that is still the case today, however. But after reading this article, I have an even harder time understanding how anyone sees this man as a prophet or these corrections to the Bible as inspired by God.

(1) The first example offered was clarification on Mat 2:2-6 where Bethlehem is referred to as “not the least among the princes of Juda”. Joseph’s correction to say that “it is not Bethlehem, but Jesus who is the prince.”

I find this unbelievable!! The word in this verse translated “prince” is “hēgemōn” and it means “a leader”. It is derived from the same words (“hēgeomai”) translated “Governor” later in the same verse (which, also mean to lead or command). And the point is that Bethlehem is not the least among the cities in the land of Judah (though she may very well have been seen as such!), for out of her was going to come Him who would lead/rule/govern the nation of Israel. It is about the one who is the greatest coming out of one who might seem to be the least among the nations of Israel. That is what is being contrasted! His greatness to her (seeming) insignificance.

(2) The second example offered is where Joseph Smith added to verses to Matthew to fill in the missing gap between Jesus’ childhood and the time in which John the Baptist began his ministry.

I’m not sure why anyone would feel the need to fill in that gap. These types of sudden transitions are not unusual in the bible. In fact, very little is written here about the time between Jesus’ birth and the time they left Egypt. And who has ever read these passages and thought the John the Baptist began preaching when he and Jesus were just children? No one!! It’s clear that there is a gap. The point is simply that Jesus was in Galilee at the time that John began his ministry. There are no additional clarifications required to understand that there are years not accounted for and for which we know very little to nothing. I believe that’s by design.

(3) The third example offered was about Jesus’ conversation with the teachers in the temple at the age of 12. Joseph seemed to believe that some might have gotten the impression , from the KJV, that Jesus was just sitting and listening and not speaking – asking and answering questions. The argument is: “This clarification is necessary in order to make the event newsworthy. There is nothing essentially divine for a twelve-year-old boy to listen to his elders.”

Since when it is “necessary” to state the obvious? It’s quite obvious from the text that we have that Jesus was not just sitting in the background listening. The text says that he was asking questions (so obviously a conversation was taking place) and those who were listening were “astonished at his understanding and answers”. Would even a single person read this passage and walk away believing that Jesus “was only sitting with the learned doctors,” rather than speaking with them?

(4) The forth example offered was that which took place at Jesus baptism. The claim, concerning Mt 3:16-17, is: “As here reported, it was Jesus only who saw the Holy Ghost and heard the Father’s voice.” The JST, apparently, supplements this passage by making it clear that: “And John saw,…”

Maybe Joseph Smith believed the “him” and the “he” in the verse refers to Jesus, instead of John. But those who do not make that mistake know that it is John to whom the heavens were opened and to whom the sign was given. It was the very sign that John said, elsewhere, he was told would let him know who the Messiah was.

Joh 1:33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.

So let’s read the verse again, with a proper understanding:

Mat 3:15-17 And Jesus answering said unto him [JOHN], Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he [JOHN] suffered him [JESUS]. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him [JOHN], and he [JOHN] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him [JESUS]: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

It is NOT being reported that “it was Jesus only who saw the Holy Ghost and heard the Father’s voice”; that’s Joseph Smith’s erroneous/false interpretation of the passage. Who believes that Matthew is claiming that Jesus is the only who saw and heard these things when it was not Jesus who needed to see or hear them?

(5) The firth example offered changes Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness for 40 days to Jesus communing with God for 40 days in the wilderness. After which he was tempted by the devil.

Wow!! I don’t even know what to say here, except that Joseph Smith obviously did not understand how Jesus’ 40 DAYS in the wilderness correlated to Israel’s 40-YEAR journey through the wilderness. In those YEARS Israel was TRIED/TESTED. And in those DAYS so was Jesus. Israel FAILED! Jesus did not! And to claim that Jesus went into the wilderness to commune with God completely disregards the fact that Jesus was fulfilling the type established by Israel’s journey through the wildness (just as He did their going into and being called out of Egypt, earlier in His life).

(6) The sixth example offered was Joseph’s correction to what Jesus said to his mother at the marriage that took place in Cana. Apparently Jesus’ words to his mother seemed “a little brusque,” so Joseph changed them to: “…, Woman what wilt thou have me to do for thee? that will I do; …” (JST, John 2:4.)

This is not the only place that Jesus addressed his mother as “Woman,” and there is significance to that – none that Joseph Smith seems to have been familiar with, however. I wonder if Joseph also thought it “a little brusque” for Jesus to ask “Who is my mother? Or my brethren?” when he was told his mother and his brothers were seeking him?

(7) The seventh example offered was about Jesus being Lord of the Sabbath. Apparently, Joseph Smith believed that the point was: “since he made the Sabbath, he is the Lord of it.”

It seems to me that Joseph Smith’s translation completely missed the point. The point was that not even David sinned by eating on the Sabbath (nor those who were with him)! It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath!

(8) The eighth example offered was about new wine in old bottles. I’m not even sure I understand this one. Joseph Smith adds baptism to a conversation about fasting.

First of all, why in the world would the Pharisees jump from “Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?” to “Why will ye not receive us with our baptism?” Secondly, isn’t it perfectly clear that Jesus is not talking about the same type of fasting/food that the Pharisees are? And what does being dunked in water have to do with wine and wine skins?

(9) The ninth example offered is where Joseph Smith corrects John in order to make it clear that Jesus did perform baptism.

Yes, in chapter 3, it sounds as if John is saying that Jesus did baptize. But John clarifies, just a few verses down, at the beginning of chapter 4, that it was not Jesus doing the baptizing but his disciples. So it’s not like we have one person saying that Jesus was baptizing and another person saying that he was not. We have the same person saying that Jesus and his disciples stayed there and were baptizing, but that it was not Jesus himself, but the disciples (and John the Baptist), who were doing the baptizing. To have Jesus baptizing men in water is to completely miss the point that Jesus is the one who (coming after John and “John’s baptism” – in water, unto repentance) baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire!

(10) The tenth example offered was one of Jesus reading the thought of his disciples in Mat 19:26.

Do I really need to point out that Jesus was not reading their thoughts? The passage clearly states that the disciples SAID: “Who then can be saved?” When it says: Jesus “beheld them”, it is simply saying that Jesus “looked at them”. The Greek word “emblepō” means “to look on”. The CLV translation renders the verse: “Now, looking at them, Jesus said to them, “With men this is impossible, yet with God all is possible.”” Another literal translation (Rotherham) says: “And, looking intently, Jesus said unto them—With men, this is, impossible, but, with God, all things are possible.”

(11) The eleventh example offered was about Jesus entering into a house to try and get away from the crowd, but he couldn’t get away from them. Apparently, Joseph Smith thought it inappropriate or impossible for Jesus not to be able to hide himself if he really wanted to, so he changed the verse to say that Jesus chose not to remain hidden because of his compassion for the people.

I don’t even understand the point of this clarification. Is the point that Jesus would never seek seclusion? That if he really wanted to hide that no one would be able to find him?

(12) The twelfth example offered was when the children were coming to Jesus and the disciples turned them away, but Jesus told them to suffer the little children. The claim is that Jesus preached the salvation of all children without the need for repentance and the disciple knew this truth. So they were not turning away the children because they did not want them to bother Jesus or because they thought he was too busy for them or even because they themselves were annoyed by them but because they knew this, saying: “There is no need, for Jesus hath said, Such shall be saved.” (JST, Matt. 19:13.)

I don’t believe the disciples understood any such thing. I believe Jesus used this opportunity to teach them that we must all “become as little children” if we are to enter into the kingdom of God. And do we not “become as little children” when we are “born again”? (Concerning which, Jesus said: “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” – John 3:7)

(13) The thirteenth example offered was Jesus’ words on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Joseph Smith’s clarification is to add the words: “(Meaning the soldiers who crucified him).” (JST, Luke 23:35.)

Wow! And this might be the biggest wow of all!! This is a prophet of God?? I don’t know if I can even express just how far away from the truth this is!! But it clearly shows, to me, that Joseph Smith was not inspired by God to make this claim. It’s absolutely false! Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, for the sins of every man!! It was every man’s sin that put him on that cross and He was asking God to forgive ALL MEN! And anyone who understands even a little bit about OT typology should be able to see and understand that these words are given in answer to God’s question TO CAIN in Genesis, when God asked Cain (who is the figure of the first/natural/carnal man – our “old man”): “WHAT HAST THOU DONE?” (after killing Abel, who was a figure of Christ). Cain gives no answer! But Jesus, acting as mediator between God and men “intercedes” on Cain’s – (mankind’s) behalf, saying; “Father forgiven them, for THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO!” And I believe Paul understood this. As I believe that this is why Paul wrote: “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Heb 12:24). Notice that he speaks of Jesus as a mediator here. What did the blood of Abel speak? We aren’t told, but we are told: “…the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” Maybe it said something like this: “How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10)

(14) The fourteenth example has to do with the difference between the way Jesus’ robe is described in the various gospels. Matthew says it was scarlet. Mark and John say purple. Luke just says “gorgeous”. Apparently, Joseph Smith thought it important that we know for certain that the robe was purple.

Not sure I see the huge distinction between purple and scarlet. But it might be worth noting that the four gospels each present a very different aspect of who Jesus is, so these differences in description may very well be significant to those differences. This might not be something that we want to correct and make agree, but something that we need to understand better, as it relates to the lion, the ox, the man and the eagle. It may also be worth noting that the words used in Mark and John or Latin in origin. And the word translated “gorgeous” in Luke means “radiant”. It’s derived from the word “lampas” which means “a lamp”. Maybe there is more that we need to understand about this robe than just it’s “color”, huh?

(15) The last example offered is about the number of angels at the tomb after Jesus’ resurrection – one or two? The claim is that Luke and John say two, while Mathew and Mark indicate there was “but one”.

I’d just like to point out that mentioning only one in no way says or proves that there was only one. And the text does not say that there was “only one”. Besides that, there are other differences. In John, Mary Magdalene seems to go to the tomb alone to find it empty. And she doesn’t see anyone until she is left alone again after she has already gone to tell the disciples that the tomb is empty and they go to the tomb to verify her story. The other accounts tell the story differently and the differences go beyond just the number of angels present.

And very uninspired JST of the Bible is another place where Mormon Doctrine falls apart.

 

Tags: , ,