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Little Known Propaganda: 12 – Personal Relationship With Jesus

8 Feb

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11

FACT #12. Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie has warned his people against a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

McConkie made these shocking statements at a speech given at BYU:

“… gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous. . . . Now, I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. . . .But you have been warned, and you have heard the true doctrine taught.” (Church News, week ending March 20, 1982, p. 5)

In opposition to this, Jesus gives us a personal invitation:

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

 

I have read the talk that is being quoted here, and I will agree that this is likely unknown to the vast majority of the world. I think the best way to address this is to simply let Elder McConkie explain himself. So, we will first see the quote in its context. After all, the quote given is actually taken from three different parts of the talk, and are separated by a great deal of further explanation.

 

“There are yet others who have an excessive zeal which causes them to go beyond the mark. Their desire for excellence is inordinate. In an effort to be truer than true they devote themselves to gaining a special, personal relationship with Christ that is both improper and perilous.”

So, Elder McConkie is, first of all, speaking of an over the top Zeal that is truly fanaticism, which is never healthy.

“I say perilous because this course, particularly in the lives of some who are spiritually immature, is a gospel hobby which creates an unwholesome holier-than-thou attitude. In other instances it leads to despondency because the seeker after perfection knows he is not living the way he supposes he should.

“Another peril is that those so involved often begin to pray directly to Christ because of some special friendship they feel has been developed…”

Here we are told why it is perilous. It causes arrogance and pride in those who seek it, or such depression that it hinders their functioning. The Bible tells us that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16: 18) Is it any wonder that we are warned against such actions?

Please note that we have not even touched on the second part of the quote given, and we have gone through three paragraphs. We now skip down four more paragraphs before we get to the second part of the quote.

“Now I know that some may be offended at the counsel that they should not strive for a special and personal relationship with Christ. It will seem to them as though I am speaking out against mother love, or Americanism, or the little red schoolhouse. But I am not. There is a fine line here over which true worshipers will not step.”

So, again, we have Elder McConkie speaking against an improper relationship. There is a proper, personal relationship we can have with Christ, but once we step over that line to seek an improper relationship, that is when we are in danger.

“It is true that there may, with propriety, be a special relationship with a wife, with children, with friends, with teachers, with the beasts of the field and the fowls of the sky and the lilies of the valley. But the very moment anyone singles out one member of the Godhead as the almost sole recipient of his devotion, to the exclusion of the others, that is the moment when spiritual instability begins to replace sense and reason.”

And here we get the full point of all of this. The personal relationship with Christ becomes improper when we seek that over the other members of the Godhead. When our devotion to Christ overshadows our devotion, veneration, and worship of the Father we have stepped over the line and are in peril.

Then, jumping down four more paragraphs, Elder McConkie tells us this.

“Those who truly love the Lord and who worship the Father in the name of the Son by the power of the Spirit, according to the approved patterns, maintain a reverential barrier between themselves and all the members of the Godhead.”

When we try to remove the reverence between us and God in a desire for a personal relationship with Christ we dishonor the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When we maintain that reverential barrier we strengthen ourselves spiritually.

 

I think this is sufficient to show the true intent of Elder McConkie’s words. He is not saying we shouldn’t have a relationship with Christ, even a personal one. He is saying that we should not have an improper relationship that removes the reverential respect and excludes the rest of the Godhead from our devotions. I honestly don’t see how any Christian could even disagree with this, let alone complain about it.

 

On a final note, none of this contradicts anything in the Bible. The specific quote given tells us to come to Christ, which we should do; but we should do so with reverential respect, never forgetting that He is the Son, not the Father.

 

Little Known Propaganda: 11 – Attack Faith Alone Doctrine

8 Feb

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10

FACT #ll. Mormon leaders have consistently attacked the Biblical doctrine of Salvation by God’s Grace through Faith alone.

In Apostle James Talmage’s book, The Articles of Faith, twice he refers to justification by Faith alone as a “pernicious doctrine,” and further declares:

“The Sectarian Dogma of Justification by Faith alone has exercised an influence for evil.” (pp. 107, 480)

The Bible responds:

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5: 1)

 

Once again the author seems to misunderstand what the term ‘little known’ means. Our rejection of the doctrine of salvation by faith alone is well known and has been for many decades. So, what we have here is another attempt to sensationalize something for the shock value that such an inclusion would involve. This is increased by the author’s insistence that this doctrine is ‘Biblical.’ Of course, what this really means is that it is the doctrine the author believes in, but by using the term Biblical they seek to suggest to the mind of the reader that anyone who disagrees with them must also reject the Bible, at least in part.

Now, this is completely false, as we do not reject the Bible, nor do we believe that it teaches that salvation can be obtained through faith alone. The many admonitions to be baptized, as well as the many commandments given in the scriptures attest to the fact that our actions have an impact on our eternal salvation.

 

Of course, most Christians seem to realize this instinctively, while at the same time trying to deny it. In all my experience the most common belief that Christians have is referred to as ‘Living Faith.’ According to this doctrine, as it has been explained to me, in order for one’s faith to be sufficient to ensure salvation it must produce righteous works. So, a person who claims faith but lives in wickedness doesn’t have a Living Faith, as proven by their works.

In espousing, or even allowing for this understanding of the doctrine the rest of the Christian world is actually advocating for LDS doctrine. Nowhere in LDS doctrine is it taught that our works ensure our salvation. Rather, our works prove our faith, and our faith secures the Grace of God, and that Grace then acts in us to bring us to salvation.

This is what James taught in his epistle to the saints.

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?…Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2: 14, 17-18)

In other words, if your faith is not proven through your works than it is meaningless and salvation will elude you.

Now, this is LDS doctrine, despite what those outside the church may claim. In the Fourth Article of Faith we state our doctrine that the very first principle in the gospel is faith. Faith must come first or nothing else matters. In the “Lecture on Faith” Joseph Smith declared that faith is “the first principle in revealed religion, and the foundation of all righteousness.” (first lecture, first paragraph).

So, how do we attain salvation? It is through the power of faith. This is no mere belief, for James, again, points out that “the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2: 19) But the devils have not learned to walk and act in faith. James also provides examples of those who have learned to walk and act in faith. He speaks of Abraham and how he was “justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar” and that “by works was faith made perfect.” (2: 21-22). He also uses the example of Rahab, the harlot, who acted in faith when she hid the spies of Israel.

Faith is required for salvation, and no one without faith will be truly saved. For this reason it is said that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11: 6), for God is only truly pleased when we are saved.

All of this is clearly taught in the Bible. Paul teaches that “the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Romans 2: 13) and that God “…will render to every man according to his deeds…Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil…But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good…” (2: 6-10). To deny that our works, or deeds, have an effect on our eternal salvation is to truly deny the Bible. However, to deny that it all begins and ends with our faith is also to deny the Bible. Only through faith can we be saved, but not until our faith has been tested and proved through our works.

Little Known Propaganda: 10 – Total Obedience Required

6 Dec

Little Known Propaganda: 10 – Total Obedience Required

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9

FACT #10 Mormon leaders demand total obedience regardless whether they are right or wrong.

The ward teacher’s message for June, 1945, stated:

“When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan it is God’s plan.” (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354 – page 36 of the link)

Herber C. Kimball, First Councilor to Brigham Young, clarifies further:

“But if you are told by your leader to do a thing, do it. None of your business whether it is right or wrong.” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 32)

The Bible warns us in I John 4:l:

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

The truth is that the prophet of God is not wrong for he is speaking for God, and God is never wrong. It is not that they demand total obedience regardless of whether they are right or wrong. It is simply that if one truly believes them to be prophets of God than they would have faith that their counsel will always be right. So, regardless of what an individual member may believe regarding a particular thing, they should have enough faith to accept that the prophet is delivering the truth from God himself.

This is the same attitude that is praised throughout the Bible.

When Korah and his companions led a rebellion against Moses they didn’t accuse him of any serious crimes. They simply claimed the right to lead Israel with equal authority as Moses. But Moses was the one chosen by God as Prophet and leader of Israel. The rebels who challenged this were destroyed by God when the earth swallowed them and fire consumed 250 more. (Numbers 16)

When the Israelites spied out Canaan the men sent declared that Israel was not strong enough to concur the people. This was said despite the fact that Moses had told the people that God had commanded them to go in and take the land. The people listened to these people more than to Moses to the point that they were ready to choose their own leader and return to Egypt. As a result of this rebellion the people were denied entry into their promised land. (Numbers 14)

Perhaps the most famous example is that of Naaman the Syrian. When he went to Elisha to be cleansed of his leper Elisha sent a servant to tell him to wash in the Jordan and be healed. Naaman was angry at this, and only at the persuasion of his servants did he wash and was cleansed. (2 Kings 5)

And, lest people say that things have changed since the advent of Christ, this is the same attitude displayed by the early saints, as shown in the account of the controversy over circumcision. People argued and debated both sides, but when Peter stood and declared that the practice was no longer required everyone sat down and stopped arguing. The prophet had spoken and there was nothing left to be said. All that was left was to spread the word, which was soon agreed upon and men were chosen to do just that. (Acts 15)

Now, this is the kind of faith that is being talked about in the quotes given. When the prophet tells us to do something we should accept that he has greater authority from God and the power to speak the will of God, and so we should simply act. If they declare a doctrine we should accept it as the will of God and the truth of heaven. That is the very nature of their calling. Just as those in scriptural times were expected to follow the prophet so we are expected to do so today.

So, yes, when the prophet tells us to do something we should do it, and we should not try to reason in our own minds whether it is right or wrong, nor should we wait for God to tell us personally. We read in the scriptures that those who followed the prophets without question are those who were blessed by God, while those who challenged the prophets found greater tribulation and hardship. We are expected to do nothing but what all the followers of God have been expected to do in any age that God has had a church on the earth. God speaks through his prophets, and if we are going to question that than why believe in the prophets at all?

Now, as to 1 John 4: 1, this does nothing to counter this principle. We are to try every spirit, but anyone who has chosen to join the church and continually sustains the leaders in our various conferences is assumed to have tried the Spirit of the prophets and found it to be a true spirit, and thus we can follow them without question. I have tried the spirit of the church and found it to be of God. I have sensed that spirit in the words of the prophets, and thus I know that they are speaking for God. I don’t need to know anything else.

Little Known Propaganda: 9 – Inner Feeling

20 Sep

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8

FACT #9. To the Mormon, the ultimate test that Mormonism is true is an “inner feeling.”

Mormons often refer to this feeling as a “burning in the bosom.” They believe their scripture (Doctrine and Covenants 9:8) gives the best test for determining truth. This test reads:

“…study it out in your mind; then you must ask me [the Lord] if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall FEEL that it is right.”

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (II Timothy 2:15)

I can only speak to my experience, but the witness of the Holy Ghost is hardly a simple feeling. It is a direct communication from the Spirit of God to our spirit. It is communication on a spiritual level, which is an incredibly powerful witness. As the spirit and the body are joined in this mortal life the power of this communication if literally felt. This can be emotional, but in my experience, is more frequently a physical sensation. The description of a burning the bosom is not a metaphor, but an attempt to explain that when one feels the witness of the Holy Ghost they will literally feel a physical sensation of warmth fill their body. They will also frequently feel an emotional reaction of true joy or contentment or satisfaction, but rarely is there an emotional reaction without the physical sensation.

However, both of these are incidental to the true communication that is taking place. This communication cannot be explained, nor can it be truly understood unless it is experienced. To even attempt to explain it is impossible, and so the only descriptions that are given are those of the physical and emotional reactions to it.

So, to trivialize the communication of the spirit by referring to it as merely some emotional thing is to show ones ignorance as to what it really is.

Now, let us look at the references given and the evidence from the Bible.

You may note that the reference from the Doctrine and Covenants above tells us that we must study things out before God will reveal anything to us. The reason for this is that we are intelligent beings who have the ability to detect contradictions and can, by our own diligence, discover some bad philosophies and spirits.

However, he also expects us to seek His confirmation of our conclusions. Why? Because while we have the ability to discern things ourselves, we are also very gullible and have the tendency to set reasoning aside in favor of that which pleases us. So, to make sure that we are right we need God to confirm it to us.

However, we do not simply rely on these impressions, because we know that Satan can deceive, especially when we leave ourselves vulnerable to his influence.

There was the story in the early church of a woman who was visited by an angel. Now, the woman’s husband had been called to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, but the angel told the woman that he must not go more than a hundred miles from home or he would die. In telling this story Joseph Smith asked “How…was this known to be a bad angel?” He then answered the question “By…his contradicting a former revelation.” The woman, from her thoughts and feelings, had been deceived. But the deception was discovered through a careful examination of previous revelation, for God will not contradict himself. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 214)

Now let us consider the Biblical evidence. This is only a small sampling, but it gets the point across.

Let us look at Luke 24: 32. This is the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. I am sure most people are familiar with it. Two disciples are walking to Emmaus a few days after the crucifixion. They are troubled by Christ’s death, and as they are talking about it they are met by a stranger. When they tell the stranger the reason for their troubles he begins to teach them the scriptures and how it all was going according to plan. Then, when they stopped to eat the stranger blessed the bread, revealed himself to be Christ, and disappeared. The two disciples are astonished and they look to each other and exclaim “DID NOT OUR HEART BURN WITHIN US, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures.

On this please note that they reasoned they should have known it was Christ because of how they felt. It wasn’t because of what He said, or His knowledge of the scriptures. It was how they felt because of his presence and because of his teachings.  And notice how they describe how their hearts burned within them.

This goes right along with Luke 4: 32. Here we have Christ preaching in Capernaum. Luke tells us that when the people heard it “they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.” It was not what he taught that astonished them, but the sense of power that was in his words. In fact, the exact doctrine that he taught it not even mentioned. It seems that the power that his words held was of greater significance to Luke’s audience than the exact words.

Then we have a similar event happening on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2: 37. Peter has just preached a sermon, and the gift of tongues was manifest in a powerful way. As a result some three thousand were received by baptism into the church (see verse 41). What was it that so moved these people? Was it the eloquence of Peter’s words? Was it how well he expounded the scriptures? Was it any of the so called tests that people put forward today? No. Luke tells us that “when they heard this, they were PRICKED IN THEIR HEART, and said…what shall we do?” Again, it is the feeling that they had in response to the preaching that so touched them and convinced them of the truth of what they were hearing.

Now, let us briefly look at 2 Timothy 2: 15 in context (verse 11-16).

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.”

So, after listing the good doctrine that Timothy should be teaching, Paul warns Timothy to ‘strive not about words’ or to avoid arguments over trivial matters. He also latter warns against ‘vain babblings’ or vain disputations which have no real purpose. Rather, he is to learn the truth so that he is able to put down false doctrine and ‘rightly divide’ or teach the truth.

So, this passage has nothing to do with gaining a testimony or personal revelation. It is, rather, an exhortation to learn the truth before you try to teach it. This is the same message that God gives us in Doctrine and Covenants 11: 21, when He tells Hyrum “Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed…” Hyrum, like Timothy, had already been converted and had a testimony of the gospel. So, the counsel given is what to do to prepare to teach after you have already received.

Little Known Propaganda: 5 – God man and man God

1 Feb

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4

 

FACT #5. Mormonism continues to teach that God the Father is a glorified, resurrected Man, and men and women may become Gods and Goddesses.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this claim: “God himself, the Father of us all, is a glorified, exalted, immortal, resurrected Man!” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 643[pg 229 in the pdf link, halfway down the second column)

Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, taught: “…you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves…the same as all Gods have done before you,…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 346 [pg 346 on pdf link)

The Lord Himself answers this teaching by pronouncing: “… I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

 

There are a few things to understand about LDS doctrine regarding this.

First, one must understand that the LDS use the word God in three different ways.

  1. The supreme authority that we worship; a title used only in reference to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  2. Any being that lives in an exalted state, possessing all good attributes in their fullest and most perfect sense.
  3. The entities that false religions worship as gods are called gods, but do not fall into either of the first two definitions.

 

So, while we believe we have the potential to become gods, we mean this with reference to the second definition. We believe that we can possess all the same power and attributes that our Heavenly Father possesses. Thus we will gain the power to create; we will gain the power to have spirit children and have them progress through mortality to exaltation; we will have all knowledge and power that is possible to have.

However, what we will never have is the authority to rule in heaven, and thus we will never be a God in reference to the first definition. That distinction belongs only to the three members of the Godhead.

There are a number of Biblical verses that we believe support this doctrine.

Gen. 3:2, Ps. 82:6, Matt. 5:48, John 10:34, Acts 17:29, Rom. 8:17, 2 Cor. 3:18, Gal. 4:7, Eph. 4:13, 1 Jn. 3:2, Rev. 3:21

This is not a comprehensive list, but the ones that are clearer and together they illustrate the point.

 

As to God being an exalted man, that is also in the Bible, but let us just consider what the doctrine actually says.

First, as it says in Acts 17: 29, we are the offspring of God. We are not merely something he decided to create one day. We are his literal children, sons and daughters of God, and (as Paul says in Galatians 4: 7) if we are sons and daughters then we are heirs of God. An heir inherits what his Father has, and, in this case, that is perfection and exaltation.

When we understand our relationship with Heavenly Father then it becomes a simple matter to see the nature of God. As we are his children, and the scriptures say that all things reproduce after their own kind (Genesis 1), then it becomes simple reason to believe that God is also a man, as we would be after His kind.

 

Now, this is not to say that we are the same as God. After all, you would not say that a baby is the same as a fully grown man. The difference in ability, knowledge, and intelligence that is apparent between a baby and their father is comparable to the difference between us and God. Just as a baby must grow through experience and life to become an adult like their father, so to must we grow through experience and life to become a god like our Heavenly Father. And, just as no child can replace their father, we cannot replace God. Actually, a son can become a father, which then elevates his father to a grandfather, thus bringing greater glory to him. The same is true of us and God; when we become gods we only bring greater glory to our Heavenly Father.

 

Christ said in John 5: 19 “Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”

If Jesus could only do what the Father had done before him, then it follows that the Father was born into a mortal world, just as the Son was. It is also logical that the Father was the savior of that world, just as Christ was the savior of ours. This is taught by Joseph Smith in the same sermon that the author cites above. Joseph Smith taught “The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 346 on pdf link)

 

In all honesty, no one in the church really understands what happened before this earth. The full truth has not been revealed, and so we generally don’t talk about it much. God was once a man, just as we are. That is about the extent of the doctrine.

 

As to the verse from Isaiah, I wrote a post about the “First and the Last” some time ago which explains this verse.

Little Known Propaganda: 4 – Christ and Satan Brothers

20 Jan

This is my continuing responses to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3

 

FACT #4. A basic tenant in Mormonism today is that Jesus Christ is the brother of Satan.

Milton R. Hunter explains it like this: “The appointment of Jesus to be the Savior of the world was contested by one of the other sons of God. He was called Lucifer,… this spirit-brother of Jesus desperately tried to become the Savior of mankind.” (The Gospel Through The Ages, p.15)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Lucifer attempted to become the Savior: in fact, Jesus created all the angels including Lucifer, so they can’t be brothers. Colossians 1:16 indicates that Jesus created “all things,” whether “in heaven,” or “in earth, visible or invisible.”

 

First of all, the book the author cites, “The Gospel Through the Ages,” is not an official source as far as I can tell. So, once again we have the author claiming to use official sources, and then turning to unofficial sources to try and prove his point.

 

Second, the basics of any religion are those things that all else are dependent on, but which are not dependent on other doctrine themselves. For instance, Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. This is a basic tenant as it stands on its own as well as upholds other doctrine (actually, all other doctrine).

 

The basic tenants of the LDS church are summed up brilliantly in the 13 Articles of Faith. These articles list the main points of doctrine, on which all other doctrine rests; and while these doctrine are woven together none of them require any of the others for their support. If you read the link I provided you will see that the idea that Jesus and Satan are brothers is not to be found.

 

However, even though these articles are fairly exhaustive, they do not quite list everything that I would consider a basic tenant. They are those doctrines that non-members are frequently first exposed to, and are the issues that were of the greatest importance at the time that Joseph Smith wrote them. There are a few other doctrines that are basic as well.

 

There is the doctrine of the pre-earth life, which teaches, in simple terms, that we all lived as spirit children of God before coming to this earth. This is the basic tenant, from which flows the purpose of this existence; the reason and necessity of the fall, as well as the atonement; as well as many aspects of the next life; and other doctrines that I will not list here.

For our discussion the more important aspect of this doctrine (one might say the deeper meaning of it) is that it is all inclusive; meaning all those who have ever or will ever be born on this earth, as well as those spirits that were cast out of heaven for rebellion, who shall never be born.

 

So, we have a basic doctrine in the per-existence, which leads to the deeper doctrine that we are all spirits and are part of that eternal family and the progeny of divine parents. Coming out of this we have the additional doctrine that Jesus Christ was the eldest of all the spirit children of God.

(On a side note: Despite what many critics try to claim, there has never been any revelation regarding to order in which any other person was born as a spirit. We know that Christ was the eldest, but that is as far as our knowledge, and thus our doctrine, goes on that point.)

Now, if all those spirits that were cast out were also spirit children of God, than it logically follows that Satan, who was their leader, was also a spirit child of God. And, as Christ is the eldest spirit child, than the two have the same divine parents, and thus we conclude that, yes, they are brothers.

Of course this conclusion can also be derived from the Bible. I don’t think anyone will argue that Christ is identified as God’s son. However, in Isaiah 14: 12 Satan, then called Lucifer, is identified as “A son of the Morning.” This phrase is repeated again in modern scripture (2 Nephi 24: 12; D&C 76: 26, 27), and means that he was among the older spirits.

However, none of this is the basic doctrine, but is simply incidentally to the basics, and is not really all that important. Understanding this is not essential to our eternal salvation. The basic doctrine is, but this reasoned conclusion is not.

 

On a final note, the author refers to Colossians 1: 16 as proof that Satan was created. However, that verse never mentions Satan. True, it mentions ‘all things’ in heaven and earth, but let us look at this logically.

First, is not God in Heaven? As we all agree that God did not create himself, we have logical proof of at least one thing in heaven that he did not create. So, Paul could not have meant to include all things that exist in his statement to the Colossians. His meaning is more in line with what Lehi said to his sons in 2 Nephi 2: 15 “he had created…all things which are created.” By this we know that there were some things that were not created, but simply are, like God, eternal. God has told us that “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.” (D&C 93: 29).

So, as Satan is a spirit, possessing intelligence, he is also among those things that “was not created, neither indeed can be.” As such Paul’s statement, which applies only to things that were created, does not apply to Satan.

 

(I have also written commentaries on the Articles of Faith. You can read them here: One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen)

Little Known Propaganda: 3 – Don’t Trust the Bible

14 Jan

This is my second response to the list of “little known facts” referenced at the blog Sound Doctrine. On this blog the author presents the list along with responses to each from a F.A.I.R. Mormon scholar, known only as CleanCut. In addition the author of this blog, known as Damon, gives a response to CleanCut. As I said in my introduction blog, I am writing a response to each fact in a lengthy series. I will not, however, comment on what CleanCut or Damon said.

See also Fact #1, #2

 

FACT #3. Mormons are taught to doubt the reliability of the Bible and their leaders have consistently attacked its accuracy.

Joseph Smith claimed:  “… it was apparent that many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.10)

The Bible answers this attack: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isaiah 40:8)

 

This little tidbit is actually false. It is an assumption that people make based on other aspects of our doctrine. The real fact is that we study the Bible more than any other scripture; we love and cherish its doctrine; and we hold it as equal, if not greater than all other scriptures. When read with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in light of the rest of God’s revealed word it becomes the greatest scriptural work ever written. In fact, God commanded the saints to “teach the principles of [his] gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon.” (D&C 42: 12) You will notice that the Bible is listed first here.

Now, it is true that Joseph Smith taught that much truth was removed from the Bible, but far from attacking its accuracy he used it more than any other scripture to teach the gospel. The quote given above makes no mention of its accuracy, but of its completeness.

Joseph Smith made a new and more correct translation of the Bible, and the vast majority of changes were additions, replacing that which was taken out; not fixing that which was changed. Most of the changes that Joseph Smith made are printed with every copy of the Bible that the church produces. These are frequently referenced in discussions and lessons. Far from causing doubt concerning the Bible, these passages reinforce its authenticity and make it an even greater work of scriptures than that which was originally preserved through the ages.

 

On a last note, let us look at the passage that the compiler tries to use in order to try and disprove the original idea. Disregarding the fact that the claim is false, this passage from Isaiah wouldn’t prove it wrong anyway. God’s word shall stand forever, but the written record of his word is never mentioned, nor is it promised that the written record would stand forever. As the Bible is the written record, and not the actual words of God, the truth that Isaiah taught does not apply to it.