Archive | May, 2014

Do you have a question?

21 May

I have noticed that many people have started to follow this blog and even like some of what I am saying. However, few have made any comments, and I find I want to have a good discussion with people.

So, I am now asking those reading this to give me suggestions; things you would like me to write about and discuss. If it is simple I will try to address it in this thread; otherwise I will write a new post in order to address the topic.

Please, let me know what you want to discuss and join me in doing so.

Anti-Mormon Insecurities

13 May

This blog will feature a complaint that I have and so will be more a complaint than anything else. It is something that I have encountered many times, though I was reminded of it again recently as I replied to another blog.

To set the stage let me explain what recently happened. I will not name the blog, though I will make some quotes from it. The author of this blog was writing about Glenn Beck’s speech at Liberty University, mentioning the many points of LDS doctrine he didn’t mention and ridiculing him for it. Of course, almost nothing he stated was accurate, and I pointed this out. When he asked for an example I addressed every point he made, the first being the claim that we some how hold the Bible in low regard and lesser than our other scriptures. So, I gave this explanation:

The Bible is the first and great of all scriptures, and it is held in that position by the church. It is placed first in our scriptural collection; we spend two years studying it in Sunday school (as apposed to one for the Book of Mormon, one for the Doctrine and Covenants, and never actually studying the Pearl of Great Price separate from the others). We are told to read the Bible continually, and it is quoted frequently by all the leaders of the church.
Yes, we believe that it does not contain all God’s revealed word or doctrine, and that over the years some errors have entered the text…None of this diminishes its greatness, however, and all the other scripture we have was given to us for the purpose of supporting and proving the Bible. Without the Bible we have no religion.

I actually responded to a number of points, but the author refused to let any of the others be posted, saying “Rather than let you blather on with a long-winded post, let’s take these on one at a time, so that you won’t deceive people.” Notice that before saying anything else he makes a personal attack against my character and motivation. His only argument against what I said was as follows:

it is a complete lie to state that “The Bible is the first and great of all scriptures, and it is held in that position by the church,” while believing that it is also “missing many plain and precious truths.” Do the Mormons say the same thing about the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, or the Doctrine and Covenants? The answer is NO!

Therefore, the Bible is on the bottom of the stack when it comes to Mormon allegiance.

In my next post I pointed out that we never claimed that all truth was contained in any single volume of scripture. All of our scriptures lack certain plain and precious things, which is why we have the other volumes, to teach us these things. Thus his argument was invalid. I also gave links to two conference talks in which the greatness of the Bible is declared (The Miracle of the Bible; My Words…Never Cease).

Of course my post containing these links and the proof that the author was simply wrong in their assertions regarding our beliefs was never allowed to be posted. It was blocked completely, and the author posted the following: “Since all shematwater the Mormon wants to do is continue throwing about specious accusations and personal attacks, his posts will no longer be published.” He then gives three quotes that he claims proves his point. His first is from Joseph Smith when he said the Book of Mormon was the most correct book, and then he gives one from Donald B. Doty, in which he says the reason for this was the clarity of the doctrine taught in the Book of Mormon. Of course he also gives a quote that says the best translation of the Bible is the Joseph Smith Translation, which I am not sure how he thinks this denigrates the Bible.

I was banned from ever posting again on this blog. Now, I realize that the claim was made that all I want to do is attack and accuse, but with the evidence so clearly proving the author wrong one can’t help but consider that I was banned because I was able to do so. This is something I have noticed on several other blogs as well. Those who know the doctrine and can actually prove wrong the false ideas spread by those who are trying to destroy the church are either blocked or ignored. On another blog I engaged a number of posters on many subjects, only to have then claim a month or so later than no one was able to reply to their statements on those subjects (I was also banned from that site for too frequently pointing out their error). Another blog gave a list of questions they said the story of the restoration raised. I proceeded to answer every single question, and yet in their next blog they said they had raised ‘uncomfortable questions’ for Mormons, completely ignoring what I had said (and also refusing to let some of my comments be posted).

One of the reasons I started this blog was that I was tired of being ignored and blocked in declaring the truth. This blog is just there to voice a complaint concerning a particular annoyance, and I will leave it at that.

Articles of Faith: Thirteen

12 May

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I have also discussed Article of Faith 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Today I will discuss briefly the thirteenth of the Articles, as given below.

We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

This final article is the great declaration of moral character and behavior that all true saints strive for. It lists those things that define our behavior, or motivation, and our very being. Looking at each one individually we can see how all encompassing this statement is.

Honest: To never knowingly give a false statement; to correct any false ideas or impressions we may have inadvertently given.

True: To always fulfill that which we say we will do; to never take an unfair or unjust advantage over another because of their words or deeds.

Chaste: To never engage in sexual actions outside a legally and divinely sanctioned marriage; to never entertain thoughts of such actions; to never engage in crass or vulgar language that demeans and denigrates the sanctity of marriage and the sexual relations between a man and wife.

Benevolent: To help others in their need and in their want; to give freely without thought of reward or recognition; to speak kindly and not to ridicule or deride.

Virtuous: To make thousands of small choices to do the right; to follow a course of moral purity in all things.

Doing Good to All Men: In our striving to do those things that are listed we do not shun any man or woman, but seek to help all, regardless of faith, race, or nationality. No one should be beneath us or above us, but all should be equal in our eyes.

After listing these things Joseph Smith states that we follow the admonition of Paul, which is given in Philippians 4: 8, where Paul writes to the saints at Philippi

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Notice here that everything that Joseph Smith says we should seek after are the very things that Paul tells these saints to think on. Either way it has the same meaning. As our conduct is, so should our motivation be. We should seek after anything that upholds our standards, and shun that which does not. If our entertainment is not virtuous we should end it; if the company we keep is not chaste we should seek out new friends. If we find anything that promotes the moral standards we espouse, regardless of the source, we should welcome it.

Finally, I would like to comment on the middle section of this article.

Joseph Smith states that we believe all things. We must not take this to mean that we literally believe every idea or theory that was ever espoused by man. Joseph Smith himself stated clearly that there were many things that he did not believe to be true. Rather, we take this statement to mean that we believe all things that are true; all things that really exist.

Again, when Joseph Smith states that we hope all things we do not take this to mean that literally, as there are many hopes and desires that are not in line with the moral behaviors he outlined. Rather, we understand this to mean that we hope all things that are good and righteous and that God has promised.

The same is true about our hope to be able to endure all things. There are many things that we hope we never have to endure, and so this statement means that our hope is that whatever we may be called on to endure we will have the strength to do so.

Articles of Faith: Twelve

6 May

In my first post of this series I went over the origin and history of the Articles of Faith. I have also discussed Article of Faith 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. Today I will discuss briefly the twelfth of the Articles, as given below.

We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.

This is a simple statement that is also a very important one, especially at the time that Joseph Smith wrote these down. He and the saints had been accused of criminal activity for over a decade and the accusations were beginning to creep up again in Nauvoo. Thus this statement was given in large part to counter those accusations and set other peoples minds at ease.

Notice also how comprehensive this statement is. It lists all types of government administrators that are legally appointed as such. He does not only uphold the ideals of the American government, but he also states that Kings have a right to rule and those living under their rule should be subject to them. More importantly, however, he lists how we are subject to them, and I think each of these three things is important and stated for a reason. So, let us look at them each separately.

The first is rather simple. We believe in obeying the law. This means that we do not violate the law, or at least strive not to.

The second is less understood I think. We believe in honoring the law. This means we hold the law in high esteem and are honest in our beliefs and actions regarding them. To honor the law means that if you do violate it you pay the appropriate penalty without trying to weasel your way out of it. To honor the law means that we do not take justice into our own hands, but seek redress through the appropriate channels. It means that the law of the land is second in our estimation only to the law of God, and we will uphold it as long as it is not in opposition to that higher law.

The last thing is to sustain the law. This means that, whether we agree with the law, we accept it as the law. We do not allow ourselves or anyone else to violate the law simply because we disagree with it. I have heard some state that if a law is a bad law it is okay to not obey it. This is not sustaining the law. Sustaining means bearing up, or supporting, and if we have this attitude we are are not in support of the law and thus we are not sustaining it. When we know a law is being violated and do nothing we are not sustaining the law, because our actions are undermining it. On this point I am reminded of the common philosophy that we are not to tattle on others as children, which turns into not being a snitch when we get older. I think this philosophy is in direct opposition to what Joseph Smith was teaching when wrote this article. Don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating that people call the police every time they see a person speeding. That is impractical and would bog down the system. But when a person knows that another is stealing, then it becomes their duty to report it; if they are cognizant or witnesses to crimes they should not only be willing to testify, but should volunteer to testify. When a person chooses not to they are not sustaining the law.

These are my thoughts on this article. Right now I am dealing with the state Social Services here in Illinois, and so right now I have much to be agitated about concerning the law. However, I do believe this article and so I am trying to work within the law as it is given. I do not like the law; I think it is corrupt and evil and will be the downfall of this nation. However, until that happens I have to work within the law, because that is what God wants me to do. I will obey the law, and I do honor the law. Sustaining it right now is difficult, but I am trying.