Archive | April, 2015

50 Questions: General

16 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2; The Bible, part 3; The Bible, part 4

QUESTIONS 46-50

  1. If having a physical body is necessary to become a god, how did Jesus become a god before he had a body?  

That would depend on the meaning of the word god.

The word is used to describe a being that exists in a state of Celestial perfection. To enter this form of godhood requires a physical body. Jesus was not yet in this state until after the resurrection. In Matthew, while still in mortality, Jesus says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 48) Notice that He does not say that He is perfect at this time, but when He repeats this command to the Nephites, after His resurrection, He says “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12: 48) In both these verses the word perfect, in Greek, refers to being “complete, finished, fully developed.” (See footnotes in Matthew 5.) Jesus was not yet complete or fully developed until after the resurrection.

However, the term God can be used as a divine title that is applied to the members of the Godhead, denoting their authority and power in Heaven. In this sense Christ was God long before this world was created, as He has stood at His Father’s side through countless eons as the second member of the Godhead and hold all authority under His Father over all things that His Father has made.

  1. Do you think the LDS Church will reconsider its teachings that the American Indians are descendants of the Jewish race now that DNA evidence has proven that they are actually descendants of the Asian race? 

Doubtful; considering that nothing has been proven, nor can it truly be proven. There has been far too much intermarriage, cataclysmic events, and acts of God for any mortal scientist to be able to prove anything.

In fact, the church has recently published an article on this very topic that very nicely explains how DNA can neither prove nor disprove the Book of Mormon.

  1. If polygamy was officially re-instituted by the Mormon Church, how would your wife feel about you taking another woman? 

You would have to ask my wife, but I doubt she would answer you. That is a personal question of ones own faith and is between them and the Lord.

  1. Since the LDS Church teaches that there was a complete apostasy of the true church on earth, does that mean that the 3 living Nephites and the Apostle John went into apostasy also? 

I have to wonder if those asking this question have actually read the Book of Mormon.

Mormon 8: 10 “And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.

When the apostasy had gotten such a strong hold on the people the Three Nephites were removed by God. It is likely the same happened with John.

  1. Why are Mormon Temple ceremonies secret to the public when the Old Testament temple ceremonies were open to public knowledge?

Most of the Old Testament ceremonies were ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood. The ordinances of this lesser priesthood have always been open to the public. Even today the ordinances that are performed by the Aaronic priesthood are open to the public, such as baptism and the sacrament.

It is the ordinances of the higher or Melchizedek priesthood that are held sacred and kept from the public. These are the mysteries of the kingdom, and have always been held reserved for the righteous followers of Christ. This is why they are only eluded to in the scriptures and not openly discussed. They were not meant for the unbelieving.

50 Questions: The Bible, part 4

16 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2; The Bible, part 3

QUESTIONS 42-45

  1. Why do Mormons say the sticks in Ezekiel 37 represent the Bible and the Book of Mormon when Ezekiel 37:20-22 tells us that the sticks represent two nations, not two books?  

15-17 “The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying, Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.”

The word stick here is more rightly translated as wood. Wooden writing tablets covered in wax were used in Babylon in ancient times. Multiple tablets could be joined with hinges, creating a kind of book.

In this passage Ezekiel is told to take two pieces of wood and to write on them for Judah and Joseph. This would indicate some kind of record.

18-19 “And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.”

The sticks are not the tribes themselves, but are in the hands of the tribes. They are records that are held by the tribes of Joseph and Judah.

20-22 “And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:”

So, first God will join the records of the two tribes (one could say the two greatest tribes of Israel) and once they are joined it will facilitate the gathering of Israel in the last days, at which time Israel will be united into one nation with Christ as their king.

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers when both the first chapter of John and Colossians teach that Jesus is the Creator of all things, including Lucifer? 

John 1: 3

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Let us understand Colossians in light of John.

Note that John tells us that Christ made everything that was made, thus indicating that there are some things in existence that were not made, and thus Christ could not have made them.

Now, neither verse mentions Lucifer in anyway. I know of no passage from the Bible that says that Lucifer was made. Just like all of us, he was a spirit in heaven; an eternal being that was not made, nor could have been (D&C 93: 29). Thus he is not included in the list of things that Christ created.

  1. Why do worthy Mormon males hold the Aaronic priesthood since Hebrews 7:11-12 clearly teaches that it was changed and superseded by something better? 

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”

Note that the Priesthood was changed. This means that the existing priesthood was not done away with, but was altered, remaining present but in a different form.

Note also that the Melchizedek priesthood, while it supersedes the Aaronic, does not destroy it in any way.

We have the Aaronic because the Aaronic is still present. It has been changed so that it is not the primary religious authority in the church, as it was from the time of Moses to the time of Christ. It was further changed so that all worthy men could be ordained to this priesthood, not just the descendants of Levi.

However, it is still present. It is also subordinate to the Melchizedek, which is known as the Higher Priesthood.

  1. If your leaders are correct about the complete falling away of the true church on earth, was Jesus in error when he said that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18)?

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The promise that was made was that the church built on the proper foundation would stand; that the gates of hell would not prevail against it. The church left the foundation that Christ placed it on, and when it did that it lost any claim to this promise.

50 Questions: The Bible, part 3

14 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2


QUESTIONS 36-41

  1. How can God be an exalted man when Numbers 23:19 says that God is not a man? 

Because He is not a man, but an exalted man; In other words he is not mortal and no longer subject to the temptations of mortality.

This is kind of like saying that a person is not a child but an adult. It does not deny the process by which they became an adult, but makes a clear distinction between the two states.

 

  1. Why does the Mormon Church teach that Elohim had sexual relations with Mary to produce Jesus when both Matthew and Luke teach she was a virgin (The Seer, January, 1853, p.158)? 

I find it interesting that the First Presidency published a rejection of many doctrines that Orson Pratt and published in The Seer, and Orson Pratt himself admitted that it was not from revelation that he come to his conclusions, but from personal reasoning. (Deseret News, Aug. 23, 1865, 373; http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/deseretnews2/id/16087).

While it is true that this doctrine is not specifically rejected, and it is true that Brigham Young seemed to agree with it, it has never been part of the official doctrine of the church. Some have believed it, others have not, and neither side is said to be right or wrong, but rather that we simply don’t know.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that Jesus paid for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane when 1 Peter 2:24 says it was on the cross?  

1 Peter 2: 24

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

 

The church does not teach this. The doctrine of the atonement teaches that it began in the garden, where He took on Him the sins of the world; and then it continued to the cross, the tomb, and was finally completed with his resurrection. All of it is part of the atonement and the payment made.

Peter says He bore our sins on the tree, but He took them on Him in the garden and carried them to the cross to complete the atonement.

Also note that it is by His stripes that we are healed, which is a reference to the scourging whip before he was taken to the cross.

 

  1. Why did Bruce McConkie write that a man may commit a sin so grievous that it will place him beyond the atoning blood of Christ (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p.93) when the Bible says that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)? 

1 John 7: 7

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

 

Notice that we must be walking in the light to be cleansed. Elder McConkie taught that there are some sins that put us beyond the light. To commit those sins is to forever walk in darkness.

John also tells us that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3: 15) Clearly murder puts us beyond the saving power of the atonement, as a murderer hath not eternal life.

Jesus himself said “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12: 32) This gives us a second sin which will not be covered by the atonement.

 

So, the faithful who remain in the light, striving to live righteously, will be cleansed from all their sin. But the those who stray too far from that light will find themselves forever lost in darkness, from which there is no cleansing.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that man first existed as spirits in heaven when 1 Corinthians 15:46 says that the physical body comes before the spiritual? 

There is a difference between spirit and spiritual. The spirit came first, than the physical body. Once we are resurrected and glorified our spirit and physical body is joined and we become a spiritual being.

 

  1. Since Jesus statement, “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matthew 5:48) is in the present tense, are you perfect right now? Do you expect to be perfect soon? According to Hebrews 10:14, how are we made perfect? 

First of all, the first two parts of this question are not really asked for honest and beneficial discussion. I will say, however, that the term perfect in Matthew refers to being complete, or fully finished. This is not possible until after the resurrection, which is why Jesus tells us in Matthew to be perfect as the Father is, but in 3 Nephi says to be perfect as he and the Father are (3 Nephi 12: 48). So, since none of us are resurrection, none of us have been fully perfected yet.

 

As to Hebrews, it very rightly points out that only through Christ can anyone be made perfect. However, it also rightly states that this perfection is only given to those who are sanctified, and so I would ask how we are sanctified.

50 Questions: The Bible, part 2

14 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1


QUESTIONS 32-35

  1. Why does the Mormon Church teach that we can be married in heaven when Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 that in the resurrection men neither marry, nor are they given in marriage? 

Let us look at the entire story (verses 23-32)

“The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

There are those who have suggested that the family in question was not a hypothetical case, but an actual family that had become famous in the area because of the circumstances just described. This is strengthened by the Sadducees say “There were with us seven brethren” indicating that these brethren had lived among the Jews. It would also make the question more dangerous because it asked for a judgment of actual people and not just hypothetical situations.

With this view in mind we see Christ giving a two-part answer. Note here that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, and thus had asked this question in an attempt to confound Christ and cause him to contradict himself. They were disappointed however.

First he addresses the family in question.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

So, Christ is declaring first that the marriages in question are not binding in Heaven. Why this is the case is not explained. For whatever reason the marriages were purely temporal in nature. This is likely they were Levirate marriages, but may also be due to the fact that the sealing keys were not on the earth at the time and so no marriages were sealed, until Peter was given the keys to bind on earth and in heaven.

Christ next affirms the truth and reality of the resurrection.

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Note also that Christ first tells them they err not knowing the scriptures (meaning the priesthood keys of sealing and how they operate) and that they do not know the power of God (meaning the power to resurrect the dead). Both part are addressed in his answer.

 

  1. How can worthy Mormon males become Gods in the afterlife when God already said that before him no God was formed, nor will there be any Gods formed after him (Isaiah 43:10)? 

This verse must be considered in proper perspective. God, as a title for the Supreme Being, is applied only to the Father. For us there is no other God. There was never one before Him, nor will there be after. We have but one, and always will. But this does not mean that others do not exist in a state of godhood, or Celestial perfection.

It is just like our earthly fathers. I have only one Father. I never had any other, and I never will have any other. So, before my father there was no father for me, and there will be no father for me after him. That does not preclude others from having their own fathers.

 

  1. If God had a father who was a God, how come Isaiah 44:8 says that he doesn’t know him? 

One must understand what God says he does not know. This goes back to question 33. There is no God for us but the Father. Our Father, who knows everything, knows of no other God for us. But, just as I said in question 33, this does not mean that there are not other gods out there, or that our Father does not have a Father.

 

  1. If God was once just a man who progressed to becoming a God, how do you explain Psalm 90:2: “…even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God”? 

Doctrine and Covenants 132: 20

“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject to them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject to them.”

 

We to will be from everlasting to everlasting if we attain to the state of godhood. Everlasting here is describing a period of time within eternity; that is the period between one physical creation and the next. So, from one period, or one everlasting, to the next God is God. He continues, remaining the same God from one creation to the next, or from one eternal generation to the next.

50 Questions: The Bible, part 1

7 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4

 

QUESTIONS 28-31

  1. If marriage is essential to achieve exaltation, why did Paul say that it is good for a man not to marry (1 Corinthians 7:1)? 

Read the chapter again.

Verse 1

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.

Paul is not saying that is it good not to marry. The Corinthian saints had previously written to him and had said this, and now Paul is going to address this concern. We are not given the context in which the statement was made; only that it was.

Now, in verse 2 Paul does seem to agree with this, but in later verses Paul clearly states that he is writing his own opinion, which is not to be taken as a command from God. For instance, verse six “But I speak this by way of permission, and not of commandment.” In verse ten it is “not [him], but the Lord” that speaks to those already married. Then in verse 12, “To the rest [Paul speaks], not the Lord.”

It may be asked why Paul was giving his personal opinion and why it appears to contradict the gospel revealed in these last days. While we do not know the particulars, Paul does say that his advice “is good for the present distress” (verse 26). So, we can conclude that there was a particular event or situation in Corinth at this time that lead Paul to give this advice. We do not know what this was, but it is sufficient to know that there was a specific reason for the advice, which means that it does not apply to us today.

  1. Since the Word of Wisdom teaches us to abstain from alcohol, why did Paul encourage Timothy to drink wine for his stomach (1 Timothy 5:23)? 

Because it was a different time and they lived under a different health code. The Law of Moses does not forbid all alcohol, but only strong drink. Paul and the early Christians lived under a similar law. The reasons are many, and include the condition of drinking water at the time, as well as the medicinal uses of wine. This later one is alluded to in the verse in question. Today the drinking water is generally more sanitary and we have other medicines that work better.

  1. If obeying the Word of Wisdom – which tells us to abstain from caffeine, alcohol and tobacco – is important for our exaltation, why did Jesus say that there is nothing that can enter a man to make him defiled (Mark 7:15)? 

“”It is not the abstaining from harmful substances that a man becomes defiled, but in violating the commands of God.”

Continue reading in Mark 7 and you will see that Christ says the things that defile a man come from the heart. So, if God has commanded us not to drink alcohol, and yet we choose to do so, we are defiled because out of our hearts has come wickedness.

(And note that the Word of Wisdom actually never mentions Caffeine)

  1. If Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and Elohim is referred to as God in the Old Testament, can you explain Deuteronomy 6:4 to me: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD (Jehovah) our God (Elohim) is one LORD (Jehovah)? 

First of all this question assumes that Jehovah is never referred to as God in the Old Testament, and that is not the case. On many occasions Jehovah is called God in the Old Testament. (Genesis 2: 4; Genesis 28: 13).

The question also assumes that the word Elohim is always used to refer to the Father. This is also not the case. Take for instance Psalms 82: 6, in which the term is simply translated as gods (or angels in some translations).

So, when we realize that Elohim, while it can be a name for the Father, can also be used in its literal meaning of gods, we can start to see the meaning of Deuteronomy 6: 4 and other such passages. Jesus is God, or a member of the Godhead, which can also be referred to as Elohim (meaning gods). So, this verse is affirming both Christ’s Godhead as well as his unique roll as Jehovah.

50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 4

6 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3

QUESTIONS 22-27

22.  Why does the Book of Abraham, chapters 4 & 5, contradict Alma 11 in stating that there is more than one God?  

It doesn’t. Abraham speaks of the gods in reference to all those who exist in a state of perfection. Alma tells us there is only one God, meaning a supreme being that is worshiped by us on Earth. The word may be the same, but the meaning is different.

23.  Why does Doctrine and Covenants 42:18 say there is no forgiveness for a murderer when 3 Nephi 30:2 says there is forgiveness for him? 

3 Nephi 30: 2 is speaking to the Gentiles as a group, while Doctrine and Covenants 42: 18 is speaking of individuals.

A people, or a society, can repent of murder and be forgiven. That is, a society that had once excused or permitted murder without punishing it or seeking out those who are guilty, can repent and do away with such allowances. This is what is being admonished in third Nephi; that the gentiles in the last days need to repent of their allowances of sin or be condemned for it.

On the other hand, an individual that actually commits murder will have no forgiveness, at least not total forgiveness. The grace of Christ will still reach them, but will not raise them beyond the Telestial Kingdom, the lowest of the degrees of glory. They cannot receive full forgiveness, but God is still merciful.

24.  If the Adam-God doctrine isn’t true, how come Doctrine and Covenants 27:11 calls Adam the Ancient of Days which is clearly a title for God in Daniel chapter 7? 

This question is really asking why “Why do we interpret Daniel chapter 7 differently than others do?” To claim that ‘the Ancient of Days’ is a title for God is an interpretation of Daniel, not the stated meaning. It is not surprising that we interpret prophecy differently than other denominations. We have a much different, and much broader view as to the possible meanings of these prophecies.

25.  Why does the Book of Mormon contain extensive, word-for-word quotes from the Bible if the LDS Church is correct in teaching that the Bible has been corrupted? 

Just because some portions were changed over time does not mean that every passage in the Bible has been corrupted. The Book of Mormon does make extensive quotes, and these we know are not corrupted. It also makes extensive changes to the text we have in the Bible, which attest to the fact that the Bible was corrupted.

26.  Why do the Bible verses quoted in the Book of Mormon contain the italicized words from the King James Version that were added into the KJV text by the translators in the 16th and 17th centuries? 

The italicized words were added for the purpose of linguistics. A direct translation from one language to another (especially from different language families) would not have made much sense. So the translators added words so that the readers would understand the meaning of passages.

The Book of Mormon quotes the Bible, and, as is good practice, it uses the most correct English translation when doing so. As such, the italicized words are used because their use made the translation correct as to meaning. The people in America were already familiar with the KJV and so, again following good practice, the familiarity was kept as long as the translation was correct.

27.  If the Book of Mormon was engraved on gold plates thousands of years ago, why does it read in perfect 1611 King James Version English?

Because it was translated through the power of God and he wanted it to read in perfect 1611 King James Version English.

50 Questions: Mormon Scriptures, part 3

6 Apr

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; Mormon Scriptures, part 2

QUESTIONS 19-21

19.  Why do you baptize for the dead when both Mosiah 3:25 and the Bible state that there is no chance of salvation after death? 

Mosiah 3: 25 “And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.”

To understand this one must look back to verse 22.

“And even at this time, when thou shalt have taught thy people the things which the Lord thy God hath commanded thee, even then are they found no more blameless in the sight of God, only according to the words which I have spoken unto thee.”

And then in verse 24

“And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil.”

What King Benjamin is saying in verse 25 is being applied only to those to whom the King is speaking. We thus get the understanding that once one has had the truth preached to them then they get no more chances. We are not given to understand that one who has not received the truth will never get a chance to.

As for the Bible, I would say it carries the same basic meaning. Else why did Christ preach to the dead (1 Peter 3: 19-20, 4:6) and why did they baptize for the dead (1 Corinthians 15: 29).

20.  Since the word grace means a free gift that can’t be earned, why does the Book of Mormon state “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23)? 

Grace does not mean a free gift. It means kindness, or favor, such as a grace period in which the payment of a debt is deferred. The meaning does not carry the idea of being free. It can be if the one giving it makes it free, but the giver can put conditions on it.

Now the meaning of this particular verse is frequently misunderstood. Most people want to claim that the ‘after all we can do’ means that grace is not given until certain requirements are met. This is not the case however. We are saved after all we can do, but it is all through grace. We receive grace that we may do what is needed, and if we act on that grace, then grace does what we can’t to bring us to salvation.

21.  Does the LDS Church still regard the Pearl of Great Price as Holy Scripture even after several prominent Egyptologists proved it was an ancient funeral scroll? 

No one has proven anything, except that a few small fragments of ancient scroll were funeral text. What they haven’t proven is that these fragments came from the scrolls that Joseph Smith translated. Since Joseph Smith had several dozen feet of scrolls and less than one dozen feet survive it is impossible to prove anything.