Archive | Response to CARM RSS feed for this section

False Prophecies: Isaiah 11

16 Nov

This is a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

  See also False Prophecies, Temple, Tremble, Civil War

 

Joseph Smith, history 1: 40

This will be a short post. Just like the prophecy of the Earth Trembling this supposedly false prophecy is dependent on an unspecified timeline. It is not commonly cited, but is included on the CARM site.

The passage quoted states the following:

In addition to these, he quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled. He quoted also the third chapter of Acts, twenty-second and twenty third verses, precisely as they stand in our New Testament. He said that that prophet was Christ; but the day had not yet come when “they who would not hear his voice should be cut off from among the people,” but soon would come.

This references the entire eleventh chapter of Isaiah, but at CARM they only quote verses 6-9.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Now, Moroni also references Acts 3: 22-23, but at CARM they only focus on this Isaiah passage. So, I will not quote Acts here.

At CARM they correctly point out that the animals are not behaving as Isaiah describes. However, they once again try to force their timeline onto the words of the prophets. About is a vague term, and when we are dealing with eternity it can refer to a very long period of time.

In fact, Peter tells us to “not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” This is confirmed in other places.

Alma 40: 8 tells us that

“all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.”

Abraham 3: 4 says that

“a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, [is] one thousand years according to the time appointed unto” this earth.

In facsimile 2, found in the Book of Abraham, we again read in the first note that

“One day [to God] is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth.”

All this tells us that we cannot rely on our calendars and perceptions of time to determine the fulfillment of prophecy. While we perceive a long time passing it is but a moment to God. So, when God sends a message that something is about to happen, we need see it from God’s perspective, not ours.

Because of this difference in perspective one cannot claim a prophecy false because it uses a vague timeline.

Advertisements

False Prophecies: American Civil War

13 Nov

This is a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

 See also False Prophecies, Temple, Tremble

Doctrine and Covenants 87: 1-3

 

This is another common prophecy on lists that circulate throughout the internet. The claim is that it prophecies that all nations would be involved in the American Civil War. It is also listed at CARM.

 

So, let us look at it. (emphasis taken CARM)

 

“Verily, thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls; And the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place. For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations,” (verses 1-3)

 

So, using the underlined passages critics claim that all nations would be involved in the civil war. But, if we look at the words with just a little care we see something completely different.

 

Let us look at the first passage that has been underlined; “thus saith the Lord concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass”

Note the plurality of the word wars. Critics want to apply this prophecy to a single war, that of the American Civil War. But we have in the very first statement a declaration that what is to follow concerns multiple wars, not just one. So, the narrow focus of the critics is already proven to be a false interpretation.

 

When we continue with the first passage we read that these wars (meaning many wars) will begin “at the rebellion of South Carolina.” So, the Civil war is here mentioned as the beginning of the great conflicts and wars that would mark the last days and “eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls.”

 

Then we read the next underlined passage; “the time will come that war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place.” This is a restating of the broad meaning of this prophecy. Starting with the American Civil War the entire Earth would find itself engulfed in conflict after conflict on a scale never before seen.

 

 

Now, in none of this does it say that all nations would be involved in the American Civil War. Only that all nations would be involved in war. So, let us continue reading the passage.

 

Verse three tells us that “the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern Sates.” This obviously did happen.

 

It then says that “the Southern States will call on other nations, even…Great Britain.” While England had no official part in the Civil War, its unofficial involvement is well documented. They even agreed to meet with ambassadors from the Confederacy and transported them on a British Ship.

 

The next part does seem to confuse many people. It tells us that “they shall also call upon other nations, I order to defend themselves against other nations.” Now, many want to the Southern States, but that doesn’t really fit. It has already been stated that the South would call on other nations, and they never needed to defend themselves against other nations.

This statement here is a reference to England, and the other nations that the South had already called on. It is speaking of a kind of domino effect. The South calls on England, who later must call on others, and so on until, as it says “war shall be poured out upon all nations.”

 

This domino effect can be seen in the history of military alliances that sprang up as a kind of response to the American Civil War. Never had a war been so costly or so devastating. The shock of the Civil War rippled throughout the world, and the world has still not fully recovered. In reaction to this new warfare that could bring such devastation the nations of the world began a series of treaties, sometimes in secret, in an attempt to defend them from similar destruction. This fragile web of alliances finally broke in 1914 when war erupted in Europe and the alliances were called to actions. By the end of the war practically every nations had joined the fighting on one side or the other.

Thus we see that, beginning with catalyst event of the American Civil War, nations began to call on others for their defense which eventual resulted in a war of global conflict and destruction, just as Joseph Smith had prophecied.

 

For more detail I would suggest reading this chapter from the Institute Doctrine and Covenant student guide.

False Prophecies: Earth Tremble, Sun Hidden

10 Nov

This is a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

See also False Prophecies, Temple

Doctrine and Covenants 88: 87

This is referenced less frequently than others, but is still common. It is among those listed at CARM.

This prophecy belongs to a group of prophecies that are dependent on unspecified timelines. They use phrases such as “not many days” or “nigh at hand” or other similar phrases. Critics of Joseph Smith try to impose the shortest possible timeline on such prophecies so they can claim that they are false and unfulfilled. The same critics seem to ignore similar prophecies in the Bible.

So, let us look at this prophecy.

For not many days hence and the earth shall tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the sun shall hide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in blood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall cast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig-tree.

Critics point out that the Earth has not trembled as described, the sun has not been hidden, the moon is not blood, and stars have not fallen.

At CARM they go so far as to calculate how many days have passed since this revelation was recorded. Their calculations are a bit outdated, so I will provide up to date calculations, to give you an idea of their claim.

It has been nearly 182 years since the revelation was recorded (will be exactly 182 years on the 27 of December this year).

182 years = 2,184 months = 9,497 weeks = 66,476 days

So, the conclusion is that since so many days have passed that this has to be a false prophecy. Seems logical, but it is trying to impose a man-made timeline on God, which is never a good idea.

Let us look at a few passages in the Bible that use similar language.

 

Isaiah 13: 6, 9, 13

Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty…For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine…Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

 

Joel 2: 1-10

BLOW ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand…The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

 

Joel 3: 14-16

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.

 

You may notice that all three of these prophecies speak of the same events as D&C 88: 87; Sun, moon and stars hiding their light and the earth and heavens shaking or trembling. Now, Isaiah prophecies from 740-701 BC; Joel is a little harder to date, and may have prophesied as late 550 BC. So, let us use the latest dates for each and see how long it has been since these prophecies were given.

Isaiah: 2,765 years = 33,180 months = 144,274 weeks = 1,011,990 days.

Joel: 2,565 years = 30,780 months = 133,838 weeks = 936,687 days.

These numbers are based on our modern calendar, but they illustrate the point. If the words penned by Joseph Smith are overdue for fulfillment than surely the words of these two prophets are as well. Joseph Smith penned his words 66,476 days ago. Joel penned his 870,211 days before Joseph Smith, and Isaiah penned his 75,303 days before Joel (945,514 days before Joseph Smith). So, if Joseph Smith is a false prophet because of his words than we must also conclude that Isaiah and Joel are also false prophets.

False Prophecies: Temple In Missouri

26 Oct

This is the first in a series of prophecies given by Joseph Smith. Each is listed on various websites as false prophecies. My purpose is to show how those claims are wrong, and that each of these prophecies is, in fact, true and from God.

 See also False Prophecies

Doctrine and Covenants 84: 2-3, 31

This is probably the most frequently cited prophecy by those bringing accusations against Joseph Smith. It is the second one listed at CARM, and I don’t know a list that doesn’t contain this reference.

They claim the prophecy is that a temple would be built in Jackson County, Missouri during the generation then alive. As this revelation was given in 1832 and there is still not a temple in Jackson County, Missouri the prophecy is obvious a false prophecy. With only a superficial look at the text their claim seems to be right; but let’s look at the text more closely.

Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased… Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses—for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord, which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed (Verse 2-3, 31)

In the above quotation the underlined portion is what is used to make the claims against Joseph Smith. But what are these verses really saying. Notice what is being stated in the beginning. The Lord is speaking to the church, and he lists the reasons why the church was established. He gives two reasons; the restoration of his people, and the gathering of the saints at the city of New Jerusalem.

Now, to make sure there is no confusing as to his meaning the Lord also tells us of New Jerusalem. It will be built centered at the temple lot, located in western Missouri and revealed to Joseph Smith and others.

After describing New Jerusalem the Lord then gives the following command.

Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. (Verse 4)

So, God commanded the saints to build the city of New Jerusalem, starting at the place of the temple. After giving this command God then gives the following prophecy.

For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (Verse 5)

As we see, everything that came before this verse had nothing to do with the prophecy. The prophecy states only that a temple would be built; it does not specify where it would be built. It also states that a cloud should rest upon it and fill the house, which would be the glory of God.

Of course, the revelation doesn’t end with this. You will notice that those who criticize also reference verse 31. In this verse it states that “the house of the Lord…shall be built unto the Lord in this generation.” The claim is that this reinforces the prophecy that the temple would be built in Missouri. However, as we saw that the references to Missouri were commands, not prophecies, this verse reinforces those commands, not the prophecy.

 

So, when we separate the command from the prophecy we can deal with each in turn.

Speaking of the command God excuse the saints from it. He said

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my 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… Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson county, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God. (D&C 124: 49, 51)

So, because of the persecutions that arose from the enemies of the church, God no longer required that generation to build the temple in Missouri.

 

Speaking of the prophecy, the Kirtland Temple was dedicated in 1836, four years after the prophecy was given. On that occasion many witnessed the glory of God as angels filled the temple. It is recorded in the History of the Church, volume 2, near the end of chapter 29, that

Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place. This continued until the meeting closed at eleven p. m.

It was soon after that that many ancient prophets appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and restored priesthood keys. So, as the prophecy stated, Joseph Smith’s generation did build a house unto the Lord, and the glory of God filled it. The prophecy was thus fulfilled.

False Prophecies

21 Oct

One of the favorite tactics of those who oppose the church is to try and point out unfulfilled prophecies of Joseph Smith. I have read many such lists, and they generally fall back on the same ten or twelve. This is done in an attempt to prove that Joseph Smith is not a prophet.

The argument is based in Deuteronomy 18: 20-22, which reads “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we a know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”

So, the critics want to present false prophecies to claim that Joseph Smith is guilty of giving false prophecies so they can try to convince others that he is not a true prophet and can be rejected. In fact, at the CARM website they say “that having several fulfilled prophecies and even a single false prophecy still means that the person is not a true prophet of God.”

Now, it is true that this is a test of a true prophet. However, for this to be proven you first have to prove that the person was claiming to speak in the name of God, and then you have to prove that the prophecy was false.

Now the first one can be hard to prove, because prophets don’t always begin their prophecies with “Thus saith the Lord.” Actually, sometimes they may seem to indicate they are speaking for God but are actually speaking for themselves, offering their opinion on what God has planned.

The second is even more difficult to prove. Prophecy is notorious for symbolism and generalities, rarely giving time tables for anything. This leaves it to the reader to try and figure out the meaning, or recognize it when it is fulfilled. The key to unlocking the meaning and fulfillment of prophecy is given to us by Peter. In his second epistle he tells us “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private d interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” In other words, prophecy comes by through the Holy Ghost, and so it is only through the Holy Ghost that one can understand its meaning.

 

So, while people are continually trying to prove Joseph Smith a false prophet, they seem to lack the power to do so. No one without the gift of the Holy Ghost is qualified to judge anyone to be a false or a true prophet. Those who have never been baptized by proper authority do not have this gift, and those who have left the church have lost it.

All things considered one can see why it is difficult for anyone to know exactly what a prophecy means and if it has been fulfilled, especially for those who are trying to prove them false.

 

However, for the sake of sportsmanship I will do a series on some of the prophecies in question. I take the first five from the CARM website. As I find more in other lists I will add them to this series over the years. I also ask that if any of those reading this know of any such claim that they would like me to research and post on I will gladly do so.

I realize that I am working on several series right now (I think this makes three) but I will be posting on all of them in the next week.

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.

Response to CARM: Difficult questions, part 11

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. If Mormons can become gods why does Isaiah 43: 10 say, “You are My witnesses,” declares the LORD, “And My servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and believe Me And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, And there will be none after Me.”

A. No quotes are given. While I prefer the KJV I see no need to give it here as it will not affect my answer.

This verse must be considered in proper perspective. God, as a title for the Supreme Being, is applied only to the Father. For us there is no other God. There was never one before Him, nor will there be after. We have but one, and always will. But this does not mean that others do not exist in a state of godhood, or Celestial perfection.

It is just like our earthly fathers. I have only one Father. I never had any other, and I never will have any other. So, before my father there was no father for me, and there will be no father for me after him. That does not preclude others from having their own fathers.

See my post regarding the Godhead for more information.

Q. Why do Mormons emphasize part of the Word of Wisdom and ignore the part forbidding the eating of meat except in winter, cold or famine? (Doc. & Cov. 89:12, 13).

A. No quote is given.

I like my mother’s answer to this question. It is always winter in my fridge.

People who ask questions like this are trying to “make a man an offender for a word” as they demand the letter of the law as the Pharisees did. Yet, they do not understand the spirit by which the law was given.

The Word of Wisdom is, first and foremost, a health code. The spirit of that law is to live well and eat healthily. When the revelation was given they did not have refrigeration. Meat putrefies very quickly when not frozen. So, in the 1830’s people were counseled by God not to eat meat except in dire need (famine) or when it could be effectively preserved (winter). In our day we have refrigeration and meat can be preserved very effectively for extended periods of time, even in the heat of summer. As such, in keeping with the Spirit of the law, we eat meat only in dire need (famine) or when it can be effectively preserved (refrigerated).

*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.