Response to CES Letter, part 1g: Geography

14 Apr

Here I am sharing the seventh response I made to the CES letter. Here I address the issue of Book of Mormon Geography that are raised in the letter. This turned out to be a longer response and so I separated it into three different videos.

This first video discusses the geographic places names in the Book of Mormon as compared to modern names in the Great Lake region.

This second video discusses the names of Moroni and Cumorah and the location of that hill.

This third video discusses some writings and statements of contemporaries of Joseph Smith about the Book of Mormon and other topics.

Response to CES Letter, part 1i: The Late War

19 Apr

Here I am sharing the sixth response I made to the CES letter. Here I address the issue of the book titled “The Late War Between the United States and Great Britain” and any possible relation it has to the Book of Mormon.

Response to CES Letter, part 1h: View of the Hebrews

15 Apr

Here I am sharing the sixth response I made to the CES letter. Here I address the issue of the book titled “View of the Hebrews” and any possible relation it has to the Book of Mormon.

Response to CES Letter, part 1F: Archeology

15 Jun

Here I am sharing the sixth response I made to the CES letter. Here I address the issue of archeology as it relates to the Book of Mormon and how it is a trap used to shut down a conversation.

Here is a supplemental video I made on the subject of Archeology and the Book of Mormon.

Response to CES Letter, part 1E: Anachronisms

9 Apr

I am here sharing the fifth response I made to the CES letter. Here I address the issue of supposed anachronisms in the text of the Book of Mormon and why they don’t matter.

Response to CES Letter, part 1D: DNA and the Book of Mormon

9 Apr

I am here sharing the fourth response I made to the CES letter. In this video I discuss DNA, how it relates to the Book of Mormon, and why it cannot be used to prove anything regarding the authenticity of that work of scripture.

Response to CES Letter, part 1C: BofM vs. JST

25 Feb

I am here sharing the third response I made to the CES letter. This video addresses some of the differences between the Book of Mormon, the KJV of the Bible, and the Joseph Smith Translation, and discusses why they are not always identical.

 

 

Response to CES Letter, part 1B: KJ Italics

13 Feb

I am here sharing the second response I made to the CES letter. This response ended up being very long, so I have separated it into two videos.

These videos deal with the use of the Italicized words of the King James Bible in the Book of Mormon.

This first video deals exclusively with the issue of the italicized words.

 

The second part deals briefly with the italicized words, but speaks more specifically regarding the addition of the word “Red Sea” in Isaiah 9: 1. It also deals more specifically with the question of the Book of Mormon being taken from an ancient source.

Let me know what you think.

Response to CES Letter, part 1A: KJV Errors

18 Jan

It has been a while since I wrote any new content here, so I thought I would post this. This is not a written blog, but I am leaving a link to two videos that recently made and uploaded to youtube. I recently made a new channel on that platform, titled “Reflections: A Disciple Discusses Gospel Doctrine.” I will be uploading videos regarding the LDS church, its doctrine and its history.

This first video is to introduce the channel and explain what I am doing. It also introduces the first series of videos that I will be posting.

 

As it says in this introduction, I will be doing a series of videos responding to the issues and questions raised in the CES Letter. Many of these issues and questions have been addressed in some of my previous articles, but I will still be addressing them again in this series.

This second video is my response to the first question raised, regarding errors in the King James bible.

 

Please watch the videos before you make any comments on them or what I am doing.

To Receive Not

28 Mar

In a recent Elder’s Quorum meeting we had a long discussion concerning the hope that those who die without the gospel have in Christ. The discussion was sparked from the planned lesson regarding the Vision of the Salvation of the Dead, known as section 138 of the Doctrine and Covenants. However, the discussion soon focused on section 76 and the vision of the Terrestrial glory. In that section, where it describes those who would inherit this kingdom, it declares that they are those “who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.” (D&C 76:74)

In this discussion many things were said, but the main question was this: Is there any hope for those who know of the gospel and yet are never baptized?

To clarify this let me explain the circumstances that were being referred to. One of the brethren was concerned for his wife’s parents. His wife is a convert, and her parents, though acquainted with the church through her, never were baptized. So, if those who have not received the testimony of Jesus are consigned to the Terrestrial Kingdom, he feared that there was no hope for his in-laws to attain to the Celestial.

While I tried to address this during our meeting my thoughts were not fully formed and I found I was not able to properly put into words what I was thinking. Since then I have mulled things over in my mind and have done a little research and scripture study. Having fully formulated my thoughts I believe I have arrived at the correct answer to this concern, and I would like to share this.

 

First, we must consider the language used in the verse in question, as a full understanding of its meaning is found in the details of the definitions. For the purposes of this question there is one word in particular that we must come to a correct understanding of – Receive. This word is the crux of the whole verse, as it is those who receive not the testimony that are being described.

Earlier, in verse 51, we are told that those who inherit the Celestial “…are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized…”

Later, in verse 82, we are told that those who inherit the Telestial “…are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.”

 

So, what does it mean to receive? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it in this way: to take or get something that is given, paid, or sent. Let us consider this for a moment. To receive is not the action of giving, but of accepting what is given. Thus, until the gift is offered than one cannot take the action of receiving. But by this same token, if the gift is not given than one cannot refuse to take the action of receiving. Or, in other words, until the gift is offered one cannot receive or receive not. This is the hinge on which the whole issue rests.

We are told in D&C 137: 7 that “…All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it…shall be heirs of the celestial Kingdom of God.” Who is being referenced in this passage? It is those who never had the chance to either receive or receive not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh. These will be given a opportunity to do so in the next life, and having this first opportunity, if they receive it and are baptized through proxy by those still in mortality, they will inherit the Celestial Kingdom.

However, those who have had the gift of the Testimony of Jesus offered to them and have chosen to not receive it, have no such chance in the next life. They will have the opportunity to receive what they once received not, and in so doing will gain for themselves the Terrestrial Kingdom.

Then there are those who, given the opportunity in this life, received not the offered testimony, and again received it not when offered a second time in the next life. These are consigned to the Telestial Kingdom.

 

But, given that the gift must first be offered for one to receive or not receive, we then must ask by what means the gift is offered. We are given the answer to this in 1 Corinthians 12: 3. In this epistle Paul tells us that “…no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

So it is not in the preaching of the brethren that the testimony of Jesus is offered to men. The Holy Ghost, who is the great testator of all truth, offers this gift. As Nephi puts it, “…the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men.” (2 Nephi 33: 1)

Again note the Holy Ghost only offers the gift, or carries it unto the heart. It is up to us to receive it into our hearts.

 

So what hope is there for our loved ones who have learned of the church but have never been baptized? Are we just to accept that they have lost their chance to be in the Celestial Kingdom? I don’t think so. No man can judge another, and we cannot know if the gift of testimony has been offered to another, so we cannot judge whether they have received or received not.

Thus our hope is that they have not felt the Holy Ghost pricking their heart (Acts 2: 37) and turned away from it. While they are alive we hope they will feel this offered gift and embrace it. But once they have passed on our hope is that God will judge that they did not have a proper opportunity to receive the offered gift.

 

On a final note, we should not confuse those who “receive not” the testimony with those who blaspheme the Holy Ghost. That there is a distinction is made clear in section 76. After stating that the Telestial is for those who have not received the testimony, it states that they “…are they who deny not the Holy Ghost.” (D&C 76: 82-83)

The difference between the two groups is this. Those who receive not the testimony are those who, when presented with the gift, decline to accept it. Those who deny the Holy Ghost are the ones who, when presented with the gift, receive it and embrace it, and then afterwards discard it and trample it under their feet.