Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 2

26 Aug

I have recently been pointed to a website called Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry as an excellent location to learn LDS doctrine. On this website they have many pages dedicated to what they call exposing the truth of Mormonism. Most of what they present is well thought out, and they use many quotes and documents to support it. When they are simply giving a list of quotes they don’t do too bad. When they try to interpret those quotes and explain doctrine they fail almost completely. So I am starting a new series in which I will address a selection of pages from that website.

This next page is titled “Difficult Questions For Mormons to Answer.” It is a series of questions that are supposed to stump members of the LDS church. There are 32 questions total. Most are followed by a few quotes that try to establish the subject in question. The first part of my response will be a comment on the quotes given, and this will be in green.

Now, since there are so many questions and responding to all of them will take a long time, I will be dividing this into many separate posts, each answering 1-3 questions.

 

Q. If the book of Mormon is the most correct book of any on earth and contains the fullness of the gospel, then why does it not contain the essential Mormon doctrines of eternal progression, the priesthoods, the plurality of gods, that God is an exalted man, and the 3 degrees of glory?

A. The quote given is Joseph Smith’s statement that the Book of Mormon is the most correct book. This establishes the basis for the question, but does not need to be repeated here.

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.

One should not confuse the core of the gospel with the appendages. Christ and the atonement are the fullness of the gospel, to which might be added baptism and confirmation. This is what brings men back to God and the Celestial Kingdom. Anything outside this is not a part of what is referred to as the fullness of the gospel, but is an appendage to it.

As to being the most correct, that does not mean it contains all truth, nor does it mean that it is completely free of error. It means that what truth it does contain is more free of error than any other book.

You may also read what I wrote concerning what the Book of Mormon Does Not Contain as one of the earliest posts on my blog.

 

Q. Isn’t the Book of Mormon in English inspired? If so, can you trust the French, German, Spanish translations, etc., as being correct?

A. No quote is given for this question.

Yes. Each translation was done through the inspiration of God, and thus all translations are correct.

 

Q. Why does the Book of Mormon say that Jesus was born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10) when the Bible says He was born in Bethlehem (Micah 5: 2)?

A. The author quotes Alma 7: 10, which is the verse in question. It is given here as well.

“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.”

Let us look at the wording in this verse. First, Alma says that Christ will be born at Jerusalem, not in Jerusalem. Second, once Alma has named the place of Christ’s birth he then identifies it as “the land” of their ancestors. It is clear that Alma is not speaking of a city, but of a geographic region which his ancestor came from. This would be the land of Judea.

It is understandable that Alma would use the name Jerusalem. The descendents of Lehi had been separated from Judea for over 500 years. It is likely that few, if any knew anything about the geography of the Old World, and thus naming Bethlehem would have meant very little to them. However, the name Jerusalem would have likely still been known as it is frequently mentioned in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Many of these prophecies, including Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s, were contained in the Brass Plates and thus were available to the Nephites.

Alma would also have needed to clarify that he was speaking of the Old World. The Lamanites had built a city which they named Jerusalem. So, to make sure that people did not think he was talking about the Jerusalem of the Lamanite’s he clarified that he was speaking of the Jerusalem that was of their ancestors.

So, while Micah named the specific town in which Christ would be born, Alma named only the general geographic area.

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