50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 2

31 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; Mormon Scriptures, part 1

QUESTIONS 14-18

  1. Why did God encourage Abraham & Sarah to lie in Abraham 2:24? Isn’t lying a sin according to the 10 commandments? Why did God tell Abraham and Sarah to lie when 2 Nephi 9:34 condemns liars to hell? 

Why did God tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac when He so clearly condemns human sacrifice? Why did God command Moses, Joshua, Saul, and many others to kill thousands when killing is a sin according to the 10 commandments?

To question God is a dangerous business. When God commands we should obey, and hope that we will understand at some future time. We must trust God and have confidence that nothing he commands can be a sin.

 

  1. Why does the Book of Mormon state that Jesus was born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10) when history and the Bible state that he was born outside of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem? 

 

Alma 7: 10 “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”

 

Note that Alma does not identify Jerusalem to be a city. He states “at Jerusalem WHICH IS THE LAND of our forefathers” (emphasis added). So his words make it clear that he is not speaking of a city but of a geographical region.

Continuing from this, “at Jerusalem” (which is what Alma says) is used 19 times in the Book of Mormon. Those in the books of 1st and 2nd Nephi are referring to the city, which would be logical considering his familiarity with the area, as well as the familiarity of many with him. However, starting with Alma 7: 10, all the other times it is used it is referring to the geographic region where Christ conducted his ministry. Alma 7: 10 is establishing the new understanding that would be used from then on.

 

  1. If the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, as Joseph Smith said, why does it contain over 4000 changes from the original 1830 edition? 

No change has caused a change in the meaning of the text. They have been printing errors that are common to all such works. Thus there have been many corrections made, most based on the hand written manuscripts that are available from the scribes of Joseph Smith. There have also been some alterations in language as the conventions of English have changed over the year. Nothing essential has changed, and the Book of Mormon remains the most correct of any book on Earth.

 

  1. If the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel”, why does the LDS Church need additional works? 

The Fullness of the Gospel refers to the basics, or the core doctrine that leads men to God and the Celestial Kingdom. That fullness is contained in the Book of Mormon.

The other works deal, primarily, with other matters. They deal with church governance, health standards, and other things that are not directly essential to salvation, but are, nonetheless, important for our lives and are revealed from God for our benefit.

Some parts of these works also speak to the Mysteries of the Gospel. These are doctrines that do not bring one to God, but are rather for those who have already come to God.

 

  1. If the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel”, why doesn’t it say anything about so many important teachings such as eternal progression, celestial marriage, the Word of Wisdom, the plurality of Gods, the pre-existence of man, our mother in heaven, baptism for the dead, etc? 

First, one really needs to understand what doctrine is important. I find it a common thing among those who write such questions to claim minor concepts are important (like that of a Heavenly Mother).

Second, as I said in the previous question, many of these things are not part of the Fullness of the Gospel, as they are not essential in bringing us to God.

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