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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: 8 – Temple Work For the Dead

8 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

 

FACT #8. The majority of the activity in the Mormon Temples is work done in behalf of the DEAD.

Joseph Smith offers this explanation:

“The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our DEAD.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 356)

Although many Mormons are attempting to save their dead relatives, the Bible indicates:

“None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psalms 49:7)

 

First of all, I can’t believe this is little known to the rest of the world. The temples have been in the public view for decades and the church is not shy in stating its doctrine on Salvation for the Dead. In addition there was the controversy of the baptism of Holocaust victims that was finally resolved in 1995. Given the original blog post was in 2008 it is hard to believe that at that time people were not at least acquainted with the fact that the temples are used to do the work for the dead.

 

As to the doctrine itself, it is in the Bible for those who care to actually let the Bible speak for itself. For instance, as support for the doctrine of the resurrection Paul asks “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15: 29) Clearly the early saints were doing baptisms for the dead, and Paul is reasoning that such a practice is not logical unless you also believe in the resurrection.

Then we have the teachings of Peter. He declares that Christ “preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah…” (1 Peter 3: 19-20) Later he explains that “for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4: 6) So, Christ preached to the dead in prison so that they may be judged on the same merits as those who were alive, and thus attain the eternal life that God offers to all men.

This brings us to the prophecy that Christ was anointed to “…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound” (Isaiah 61: 1) As Peter says that the spirits of the wicked at the time of Noah were in prison, it is not a leap to see that Isaiah was prophesying that Christ would begin this work among the dead.

Other prophesies are also found in the Old Testament. Isaiah 42: 7 says that Christ is called “to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”

Isaiah 49: 9 not only says that Christ will “say to the prisoners, Go forth” but that they will have “their pastures…in all high places.” So, not only can the dead get out of prison, but will be equal to others in salvation.

Zechariah 9: 11 declares that by the covenant of the atonement God declares that he has “sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit…”

Another prophecy that speaks to this is found in Isaiah 24: 22, where it is said that the wicked at the time of the second coming with “be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”

Now, Luke quotes the prophecy from Isaiah 61: 1 (Luke 4: 18). John also tells us that “the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John 5: 25). Paul tells us that Christ’s atonement made him “Lord both of the dead and living” (Romans 14: 9) and that the Prophets “without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11: 40)

 

All of this establishes a clear understanding that those who have died will be taught the gospel as spirits and will have the opportunity of coming out of the prison they were sent to and gain salvation. This is done through vicarious ordinances, which Paul references in his argument for belief in a literal resurrection.

 

Now, there is the quote from Psalms that is given above, and it seems to contradict this doctrine. However, when it is looked at and truly understood there is no contradiction.

First, let us look at the context of the quote.

“They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: (For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption. For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.” (Psalms 49: 6-10)

What this is saying is that those who trust in their worldly wealth cannot prevent their brother from dying, for all people die. Secondly, as a kind of aside, it points out that it also can’t save the soul, as it is the wrong power. It has no bearing on those who rely on the power of God to save their brother.

 

Then we look at all the quotes that I gave above. They clearly show that it is not us that saves our dead, but the power of the atonement. God anointed Christ to this power, and while we perform the ordinances, it is the power of his atonement that actually saves. So, no one does have the power to save their brother, but they do have the power to bring them to Christ, who then saves them.

Little Known Propaganda: 7 – God Married

31 Aug

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

FACT #7. Mormons today believe God the Father is married and past leaders have taught both God the Father and Jesus Christ are polygamists.

Apostle Orson Pratt makes these unbelievable statements:

“…the great Messiah who was the founder of the Christian religion, was a Polygamist…the Messiah chose to take upon himself his seed; and by marrying many honorable wives himself, show to all future generations that he approbated the plurality of Wives under the Christian dispensation…God the Father had a plurality of wives…the Son followed the example of his Father…both God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ inherit their wives in eternity as well as in time…” (The Seer, p. 172)

Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that God the Father and Jesus Christ are married or polygamists.

 

We need to clarify a few things here. The first is that the seer was never an official source of LDS doctrine, and as such we once again have the author basically lying about his sources in an attempt to make his claims credible. The seer was the personal opinions of the author and the church even had retractions printed about this very quote, as well as other things. There is no official source of church doctrine that makes any claims that God is a polygamist, or that Christ was.

Now, the doctrine of a heavenly mother is there, but it is something that we simply do not have any information on beyond her existence. Anything that anyone has ever said on the subject is personal opinion as nothing has ever been officially revealed. It must be understood that we do not worship or pray to our heavenly mother. We acknowledge her existence and nothing else. Why this is the case is not known.

As to Christ, there is no official statement that I am aware of that even says he was married. It is a logical conclusion that many draw based on other doctrine, but never stated directly.

 

Finally, let us consider the Bible on these points.

First, the Bible frequently refers to us as the children of God. For a few examples see the following verses: Numbers 16:22; Deuteronomy. 14:1; Psalms 82:6; Ecclesiastes 12:7; Hosea 1:10; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 5:48; Matthew 6:9; Acts 17:29; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 12:9.

So, we have a heavenly father. Does not the very title of father indicate that there is also a mother? So, if you take these verses literally than the Bible clearly indicates that there is a mother in heaven.

 

As to Christ, that is more direct, and yet more elusive. First, it was the culture of the day that Rabbis be married. There may not have been any formal law requiring it, but it would have been expected. As Christ is called Rabbi and is seen in the cultural sense of a religious teacher, it is not a stretch to say it is likely that he was married. Now, there are those who point to groups like the Essences who stayed celibate, but there is no indication that Christ was ever part of that group. It is thus speculation to associate him with groups like these and has no basis in demonstrable fact.

There is also the argument that the wedding at Cana was Christ wedding, which is why Christ’s mother went to him when the wine ran out. The fact that she is portrayed as the hostess indicates that it is at least the marriage of one of her children, as she would not have hosted the wedding of someone else child. Then, if it was the wedding of a different child (most likely a son) then she would have gone to the groom before going to Jesus. Jesus would have understood the propriety of such action and would have expected it. However, she goes to Christ first, thus indicating that he was the groom and thus the Lord of the Wedding Feast.

Now, there are those who believe he was married to Mary Magdalene. For this they turn to how Christ interacts with her, primarily the fact that he appears to her first after his resurrection. It would seem that he did so even before he went up into heaven to see Heavenly Father, for he states that he had not yet ascended to his father. Also, when she saw him he tells her ‘touch me not’ (JST says ‘hold me not’) indicating that Mary basically tried to hug him.

So, while Christ’s marital status is never directly discussed, there is amble support for a belief in his married in the Bible. As it never says he wasn’t married it becomes a matter of personal belief, and not all that important.

 

So, while it is true that it is church doctrine that there is a heavenly mother, we know nothing regarding her. As to Christ being married, it is not official church doctrine, and is left to the individual to believe or reject. However, the idea of either one being polygamists is not part of official doctrine and never has been.

Little Known Propaganda: 6 – Plural Marriage in Heaven

9 Mar

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

 

FACT #6. Mormons consider Polygamy a righteous principle which will be practiced in heaven.

Although there is nothing in the Bible that will support this thinking, current Mormon Scripture has this to say: “. . .if any man espouse a virgin, and desire to espouse another, and the first give her consent, and if he espouse the second, and they are virgins, and have vowed to no other man, then is he justified; he cannot commit adultery . . . . And if he have TEN VIRGINS given unto him by this law, he cannot commit adultery.” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:61, 62)

 

Well, before we continue, let us clarify the language. We refer to this doctrine as Plural Marriage, not polygamy. As it was never a practice for a woman to have multiple husbands, the appropriate term would be polygany. However, as the practice was, and should be, highly regulated, the doctrine of Plural Marriage is more restrictive than either of these terms suggest.

 

There are also other clarifications that need to be made regarding this doctrine. First is that it is not, nor was it ever a requirement for a man to have plural wives in order to attain exaltation. It is not a mandatory practice, but an acceptable practice. True, if God gives a man a direct command to take plural wives than that man in obligated to obey. But it is not a common commandment given to the general membership.

The author quotes from D&C 132, which is the most direct and complete explanation of this doctrine currently had. Little has been said regarding the doctrine since it was withdrawn from the saints in 1890. The leadership has simply focused on those things that actually matter in terms of our salvation. As it is not currently practiced there is no need for anyone to currently understand all the nuances and details of the doctrine.

However, there are a few things that should be noted in what we do know. First, as is quoted in D&C 132, for a man to take additional wives he must have the permission of his first wife. Truly, he must have the permission of all his current wives before he marries another.

It is also true that Plural Marriage is not the standing law. It is a law that God reserves for specific times and occasions. Thus, He can issue the command and retract the command as He chooses. This is made clear in the Book of Mormon where Jacob teaches if God “will…raise up seed unto [himself, He] will command” but we are to remain monogamous unless the command is given (Jacob 2: 30).

 

Now, let us look at what the Bible says. Of course, since no one else believes that marriage in any form will exist in heaven it is no surprise that they would not believe plural marriages exist. However, the claim that nothing in the Bible supports this is false. The real truth is that it all depends on how you interpret the Bible. If you interpret it the way most Christian do than you would never see this doctrine in the Bible. However, we do not interpret it as most Christians do, so we can see it all through the Bible. Granted many members seem to feel the need to deny the doctrine and will thus not see it in the Bible, but let me show you what I see.

First, I see a number of the greatest prophets to have ever lived living this practice. Abraham married Hagar when he was still married to Sarah (Genesis 16: 1-3), and then later married Keturah (25: 1) after the other two had died. Jacob had four wives (Genesis 29: 28; 30: 4, 9). Moses had two. How is it that such great men took many wives without God ever once chastising them for it?

Second, I see God revealing laws regarding the practice. For instance, if a man took a second wife he was still obligated to fulfill his duties to his first wife (Exodus 21: 10). Also, the rights of inheritance had to honored in the case of plural wives and their children (Deuteronomy 21: 15-17). Now, why would God give these laws if the practice was so horrible?

Of course, these show nothing regarding heaven, which is why I turn to my third observation; that God makes things for eternity. We read that “whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it” (Ecclesiastes 3: 14) and that what God hath joined let no man put asunder (Matthew 19: 6; Mark 10: 9). We also read that what is bound on earth by proper authority is also bound in heaven (Matthew 16: 19; 18: 18). Paul tells us that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11: 11) Finally, Peter tells us that the husband and wife are “heirs together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3: 7).

 

While I could site even more this is sufficient to show a clear Biblical doctrine. All of this testifies quite clearly that marriage is eternal; that as long as it is done through the proper authority it will stand forever. Since Plural marriage is an acceptable form of marriage, it too will stand when bound by the proper authority of God.

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)

The Revelation of John – chapter 18: Babylon Is Fallen, Is Fallen

19 Jan

I am continuing on with Revelation. In this series I have been comparing John’s vision with books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST – given in red).

See also chapter one,  two, three, four, five, first five seals, Sixth Seal I, Sixth Seal II, Seventh Seal Opens, First Four Trumpets, Fifth Trumpet, Sixth Trumpet, Ten, Witnesses, Seventh Trumpet, Twelve I, Twelve II, The Beast, The Mark, Three Angels, Two Harvests, Righteous, Plagues, Whore, Kings

Chapter 18

Chapter 17 described Babylon. This chapter now describes the judgments that God has decreed against her.

Verse 1 

I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

John sees another angel. Honestly, I have lost count as to how many angels John has seen in his vision. Obviously the events of the last days will bring all of God’s servants into the actions. While we are given no indication as to who this new angel is, their power and glory indicates one who holds a very high position of authority in heaven.

Verses 2-3

Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication…

The angel announces the fall of Babylon, and explains the reason for it. The final fate of Babylon is to be a foul and evil place, where only devils dwell. The reason for this is the corruption that was described in chapter 17. Verse three is very reminiscent of that chapter. Notice here that Kings, and merchants have partaken of this corruption, meaning political and economic groups.

Verses 4-6

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins…For her sins have reached unto heaven…Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works…

I believe the voice is the voice of God, though it is not identified as such. God issued a similar call to the saints today. “Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean…gather ye out from among the nations…from one end of heaven to the other…Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness…” (D&C 133: 5, 7, 14)

The admonition to double unto her according to her works rinds me of the Law of Moses and the restitution that it required for many crimes. This could be God calling his people, not only to abandon the evil of Babylon, but to condemn it in others.

Verses 7-8

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously…for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day…and she shall be utterly burned with fire… 

The pride of Babylon, or the culture of corruption, will cause the judgments to come swiftly against her. In one day does not literally mean 24 hours, but rather a very brief period of time. Notice also that Babylon will be burned. This is common imagery for the events of the last days. In the parable of the Wheat and Tares the tares are burned. In D&C 64: 24 the Lord says that all the proud and those who remain in Babylon will be burned. And of course, the wicked will be burned at the second coming.

Verses 9-19

And the kings of the earth…shall bewail her, and lament for her…Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!…And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more…The merchants of these things…and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning…weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city…for in one hour is she made desolate.

Here we read that all those who partook of the wickedness of Babylon and supported the culture of corruption will mourn its destruction. Both the kings and the merchants mourn (including seafaring merchants), again showing how pervasive the culture had become. Verses 12-14 give a long list of merchandise that is basically all encompassing of every fine thing that could represent the pride of the world.

President Harold B. Lee warned “we are going through some of the severest tests today and we don’t realize perhaps the severity of the tests that we’re going through. … Today we are basking in the lap of luxury, the like of which we’ve never seen before in the history of the world. It would seem that probably this is the most severe test of any test that we’ve ever had” (“First Presidency Devotional” [unpublished Christmas devotional for Church employees, Dec. 13, 1973], 4–5

Among the list of goods included are “slaves and the souls of men.” If we take this literally we see a reference to human trafficking (slavery). We also see an allusion to the practice in many religions of promising salvation for money, or the trafficking in souls. This reference can also be seen as a symbol of the addictive nature of the corruption of Babylon, causing men to be slaves to it, both body and soul.

Verse 20

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 

Those who are aligned with God and heaven has suffered greatly at the hands of Babylon, but now they can rejoice, for God has brought vengeance against her.

Verses 21-23

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down…And the voice of…musicians…shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman…And the light of a candle…and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more…for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

Another angel, this one of great strength, now declares that all those things that made Babylon enticing no longer exist. The culture, the industry, community, the families; all are gone.

Verse 24 

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

The only thing that is now found in Babylon is the guilt that she carries for the death and persecutions of the saints and the prophets.

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.