Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 12

5 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.

 

Q. Why did the Nauvoo House not stand forever and ever? (Doctrine and Covenants 124: 56-60)

A. No quote is given, but I will here give the first verse in the citation given in the question.

And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.

This is not a prophecy or a promise being made by the Lord. It is a commandment to built the Nauvoo house and to give it to Joseph Smith and his family. Just previous to this the Lord tells us “when [He gives] a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto [His] name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.” (verse 49)

The Nauvoo house did not stand forever because the enemies of the saints hindered the work and prevented the commandment from being fulfilled. As such, the saints were no longer under any obligation to build it.

This command was later fulfilled in the construction of the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City.

*This question is answered in the response be S.H.I.E.L.D.S. I will address that in a later post, so keep an eye out for it.

Q. How did Nephi with a few men on a new continent build a temple like Solomon’s while Solomon needed 163,300 workmen and seven years to build his temple? (1 Kings 5: 13-18 and 2 Nephi 5:15-17)

A. No quote is given, but I think we need to see 2 Nephi 5: 16.

And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the contruction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.”

Nephi states clearly that his temple “could not be built like unto Solomon’s” because the material was not available. However, the manner, or style of the construction was patterned off Solomon’s. So, Solomon’s temple was 60 cubits long, and Nephi’s was also 60 cubits; Solomon’s was 20 cubits broad, and so was Nephi’s; Solomon’s was 30 cubit high, and so was Nephi’s.

However, Solomon’s was constructed party using the Cedars of Lebannon, which had to be transported over great distances. This wood was not available to Nephi, so he used indigenous wood that was likely closer to the construction site (cutting down time). Solomon also used olive-wood and cypress. He also overlaid everything in gold, including the walls. These adornments may likely have been lacking when Nephi built his because he could not gain access to sufficient quantities at the time.

Finally, we are given no indication of how long it took Nephi and his people to construct their temple. From the time Lehi’s family arrived in the New World there is a space of 20 years that we are given no information as to the timeline, then another gap of ten years. It may have taken Nephi seven years, or maybe more. We simply don’t know. What we do know is that sometime after they arrived Lehi died, and shortly thereafter Nephi led the faithful members of the family away. It was after this that he built the temple. Since we don’t know how long it took, or how many people were involved, trying to make a comparison like this is impossible.

*This question is answered in the response be S.H.I.E.L.D.S. I will address that in a later post, so keep an eye out for it.

Q. Why was Joseph Smith still preaching against polygamy in October 1843, after he got his revelation in July, 1843, commanding the practice of polygamy? (Doctrine and Covenants 132, and History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 46, or Teachings of the Prophet, p. 324)

A. No quote is given, though I think quoting the section of church history would do us some good.

Gave instructions to try those persons who were preaching, teaching, or practicing the doctrine of plurality of wives: for, according to the law, I hold the keys of this power in the last days; for there is never but one on earth at a time on whom the power and its keys are conferred; and I have constantly said no man shall have but one wife at a time, unless the Lord directs otherwise.

As one can clearly see here, Joseph Smith was not preaching against the practice of Plural Marriage. He was condemning the unauthorized practice of it. As there is only one person at a time who can authorize such marriages (D&C 132: 7), as Joseph Smith rightly states in the above quote, those who are preaching, teaching, or practicing plural marriage without that person’s permission are in violation of the laws of the Lord. Thus those people are to be tried in the courts of the church and dealt with accordingly, just as Joseph Smith says.

*This question is answered in the response be S.H.I.E.L.D.S. I will address that in a later post, so keep an eye out for it.

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