50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 1

30 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; Prophets, part 2

QUESTIONS 9-13

  1. Can you show me archeological and historical proof from non-Mormon sources that prove that the peoples and places named in the Book of Mormon are true? 

No, but I could show evidence. The real question is would they even recognize it or accept it for what it is. I have looked at all the evidence from archeology and history and I have seen the evidence. It is simply not accepted by those who don’t want evidence to exist.

However, whether there is evidence or not doesn’t really matter. The Book of Mormon is from God, and He has declared its truth. That is enough for the faithful, and the learning and reasoning of men cannot undo that.

 

  1. If the words “familiar spirit” in Isaiah 29:4 refer to the Book of Mormon, why do familiar spirits always refer to occult practices such as channeling and necromancy everywhere else in the Old Testament? 

 

The verse in question: “And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.”

 

Note that it says the voice will be as of one that hath a familiar spirit. It does not say it will be a familiar spirit, but merely says it is similar.

Now, a familiar spirit refers to one who attempts to tell the future, or divine a fortune, through contacting the dead. Even today many who claim this power say that they are in contact with a spirit guide who directs them through such communication. Now, this practice was condemned by God, and still is condemned.

Isaiah says that the voice will be similar to one with a familiar spirit. This means that the voice will be the voice of the dead speaking to the living. The reference would likely have been understood by those living in the days of Isaiah to mean this. The Nephites, being dead, are speaking to the living through their testimony that is contained in the Book of Mormon.

So, Isaiah refers to the Book of Mormon, not as a Familiar Spirit, but as a voice, which he then compares to a Familiar Spirit because both are the dead speaking to the living.

 

  1. Why did Joseph Smith condone polygamy as an ordinance from God (Doctrine and Covenants 132) when the Book of Mormon had already condemned the practice (Jacob 1:15, 2:24)? 

You will also note that the verse in question does not condemn plural marriage. It condemns the attitudes that were espoused by certain men who took multiple wives for the sole purpose of gratifying the carnal lusts. As it says they began to “indulge themselves in somewhat wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son.” These men sought to justify themselves by appealing to David and Solomon.

It is in chapter two that we get the full understanding of this. Jacob preaches to the Nephites. First he tells them that the practices of David and Solomon were not right (verse 24) and that God expect them to live better. He gives the command “there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none” (verse 27). He then tells them that God delights in chastity and that “whoredoms are an abomination” before God (verse 28). Then he declares “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.”

So what we have is the condemnation of whoredoms, as well as the practicing of plural marriage without God’s command. But when God commands it is a proper practice; and the command is to be obeyed when given.

 

  1. Why were the words “white and delightsome” in 2 Nephi 30:6 changed to “pure and delightsome” right on the heels of the Civil Rights campaign for blacks? 

Hardly on the heels, but the better question is why was this the only verse changed when there are at least three other references to white and black skin in the Book of Mormon that were unchanged?

The context of this verse is speaking of a person’s worthiness, or righteousness. Thus the term pure is a better word for the context. White was used originally because in the 1800’s white was commonly used to me pure. So the meaning of the verse is not changed, only the language. Why this was done I won’t speculate on.

However, as I said before, it must be noted that every reference where the context is the color of skin remains unchanged.

Such as 2 Nephi 5: 21, which says “that they might not be enticing to unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”

Or Jacob 3: 8 which tells us “unless [the Nephites] repent of [their] sins that [the Lamanites] skins will be whiter than [the Nephites].”

Or 3 Nephi 2: 15 where the “curse was taken from [the Lamanites], and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.

 

  1. If God is an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones, why does Alma 18:26-28 and John 4:24 say that God is a spirit? 

John 4:24 was a mistranslation that Joseph Smith has long since corrected.

Alma 18 does not teach that God is a Spirit. It uses the Lamanite’s belief in the Great Spirit to familiarize them with the concept of God so that they could more easily understand the gospel that was being preached to them.

Of course, Christ was a spirit at this time, as he had not been born. This is where the Lamanites got the idea of the Great Spirit to begin with.

 

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