50 Questions: Prophets, part 2

26 Mar

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1

QUESTIONS 4-8

  1. If Brigham Young was a true prophet, how come one of your later prophets overturned his declaration which stated that the black man could never hold the priesthood in the LDS Church until after the resurrection of all other races (Journal of Discourses, Dec. 12, 1854, 2:142-143)?

Well, let us look at this quote.

“When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God, and of being redeemed from the four quarters of the earth, and have received their resurrection from the dead, then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity.”

What is actually being said? He is not declaring this is a necessity. If it takes that long than that is fine, because even after everyone else is resurrected there will be time to bring the descendants of Cain to salvation.

He continues “[Cain] deprived his brother of the privilege of pursuing his journey through life, and of extending his kingdom by multiplying upon the earth; and because he did this, he is the last to share the joys of the kingdom of God.”

So, the only thing that can be said to be actual doctrine is that the descendants of Cain must be the last to receive the blessings of the Gospel. When this would happen is not stated as a set time. It doesn’t matter when it happens, only that it would happen after everyone else received it.

Interpret this as you will, but it seems to me that the conditions for them being last were met in 1978, which in no way contradicts what Brigham Young said.

 

 

 

  1. Since the Bible’s test to determine whether someone is a true prophet of God is 100% accuracy in all his prophecies (Deuteronomy 18:20-22), has the LDS Church ever reconsidered its teaching that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were true prophets?

Considering that none of their prophecies have been shown to be false there is no reason to. Every prophecy that either of these men spoke has been fulfilled or will be in the future.

 

 

  1. Since the current LDS prophets sometimes contradict the former ones, how do you decide which one is correct?

No current prophet has contradicted a former one on matters of doctrine, only on matter of opinion. As such we are free to agree with either opinion or form our own. The doctrine remains the same, however. On occasion a current prophet will declare doctrine that contradicts the opinions of former prophets, in which case we are expected to accept the new revelation and discard any previous opinion that may have existed.

 

 

  1. Since there are several different contradictory accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision, how did the LDS Church choose the correct one?

They are all right. There are no substantial contradictions, and the setting and reason for giving each would explain why different details are in each, and why they are told in different ways. It is very much like the accounts of Christ’s life in the different gospels; or the different accounts of Paul’s vision in the book of Acts. The one in the Pearl of Great Price was written as part of a history of the church dictated by Joseph Smith for the purpose of teaching the rise and progress of the church. This is why it was later canonized.

Here is a good article discussing this: https://www.lds.org/topics/first-vision-accounts?lang=eng

 

 

  1. Can you show me in the Bible the LDS teaching that we must all stand before Joseph Smith on the Day of Judgment?

No, but then we do not believe that all doctrine is contained in the Bible. It is a foundational collection of scripture, but not the only one.

In addition, I would have to have a clarification as to what is meant by standing before Joseph Smith. I have read many quotes and what I can see is an understanding that one must have Joseph’s approval, or a kind of letter of recommendation, in order to pass into the Kingdom of God. Since the Bible does say that Christ’s apostles would judge Israel (Matthew 19: 28), the idea of a character witness doesn’t seem all that strange to me.

 

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