Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 6

2 Sep

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 Elohim, which is God the Father in Mormonism, was a man, then he changed from being a man-to-man God. How is this possible when the Bible says in Psalm 90:2, that God is God from everlasting to everlasting?

A. No Quotes are given.

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 too 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.

This was answered by Bruce R. McConkie in his work “Mormon Doctrine.” You will find it on page 175, under the heading of “eternity to eternity”

 

Q. Joseph Smith said that he saw God the Father (and Jesus) in the first vision in 1820. Smith said that he received the priesthood in 1829. In the Doctrine and Covenants 84: 21-22, Smith said that you cannot see the face of God and live without the authority of the priesthood. How did Joseph Smith see God when he didn’t have the priesthood?

A. The author gives the verses in D&C, which I give here also.

And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.”

Notice that it does not say that one has to hold the priesthood to see God, only that the Priesthood must be present. This is explained in clearer detail in D&C 67: 11-12.

For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.”

Thus we see that the power of the Priesthood, which is the power of God, must be present for the Spirit of God to quicken a person, but that person does not have to hold the priesthood personally. Even in section 84 it states that Moses tried to prepare the Israelites to see God. That would have included the women, who did not hold the priesthood.

Also note that the context of this verse is the knowledge of God (verse 20) and the Mysteries of the Kingdom (verse 19). In verse 21 it says that the power of God is manifest in the priesthood. All this would suggest that what is being spoken of is the full truth and understanding of God and the Celestial word, which can be had only through the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Joseph Smith saw God because God brought the priesthood, as it is the power of God on Earth, and while that power was present the Spirit of God quickened Joseph Smith. However, until he received the priesthood for himself and partook of the ordinances the mysteries of the Kingdom and the Knowledge of God were not available to him.

 

Q. Joseph Smith said that he saw God the Father (and Jesus) in the first vision in 1820. But the Bible says that the Father cannot be seen (1 Timothy 6: 16). So which account is not true?

A. The author quotes the verse in Timothy, as well as John 6: 46. As the author does not use the KJV, I will give that version here.

1 Tim. 6:13-16, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

John 6:46, “Not that any man hath seen the Father, Save he which is of God; he hath seen the Father.”

The Timothy verse is speaking of the light of Christ. It is cross referenced with D&C 88: 12 that tells us “Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space.” The section continues to describe this light, but this is sufficient. We then read in D&C 130: 7 that angels “…reside in the presence of God…where all things for their glory are manifest, past, present, and future, and are continually before the Lord.” So, what Paul is saying no man can see is God in his glory in the Celestial World. This is his full glory, and can be viewed only by others who reside in the Celestial World.

The verse in John, as rendered in the KJV, says that “he which is of God” has seen him. Now, I realize that the translation the author uses says that “the One which is from God” has seen him, but I prefer the KJV. Many men are of God, having been purified by the blood of Christ and cleansed from their sins. So, anyone who is worthy to be called a saint may see God.

 

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