Tag Archives: Doctrine and Covenants

Little Known Propaganda: 15 – Shake a Messenger’s Hand

4 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, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a, #13b, #14

 

FACT #15. Mormons are taught to “shake hands” with a messenger to determine if he is from God or if he is the devil.

The following information is found in Mormon scripture:

“When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand. . . . If it were the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.” (Doctrine and Covenants 129:4, 5, 8)

Rather than trusting in “feelings” the Bible commands us to: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)

 

On this point I think a closer, and more thorough, look at the passages in question is in order. After all, this Fact quotes only three verses. Thus a little more context will shed light on the matter; and section 129 of the Doctrine and Covenants is only 9 verses long.

1-3. There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.

Here we are taught that there are two types of heavenly beings. This is very significant. We are also taught what these two types are, and what the difference between them is. This is a radical idea, and shocking to some, for Joseph Smith is talking of heavenly beings as being men who once lived in mortality and have been glorified by God. It is a very new idea to many.

After this explanation of the types of heavenly beings, Joseph Smith then proceeds to tell us a means by which we may know which type they are, or if they are heavenly messengers at all.

4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.

This is a very simple thing, and, like Naaman the Syrian, many people in the modern day are offended that such a simple, and obviously mortal act, could be used to discern heavenly messengers. But, as Naaman learned, it is by simple means that God does some of the greatest work.

5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.

What could be more logical than the idea that it is possible to feel the hand of a being that has a physical body? If it is physical than surely it would be perceptible to the physical senses? So, what more natural way to determine if a messenger is an angel, who has a physical body?

6-7 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.

And here is how a ministering spirit is known. Just as it is logical to assume that a being with a physical body can be felt, it is just as logical that a being without a physical body cannot. Knowing this a ministering spirit from heaven will not shake hands.

Now, it says this because it is contrary to heaven for him to deceive you. But how would this be a deception? It would merely prove that he is not yet resurrected, wouldn’t it? But this is explained next.

8 If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.

Devils, ever seeking to deceiving, will try to convince a person they are an angel from heaven by shaking your hand. But, as they are spirits, never having the privilege of being born into physical bodies (Bible Dictionary: Devil), we cannot feel them. This is just as logical as everything else stated in this section.

The reason ministering spirits are forbidden to shake hands is because the devils do try to. Thus, if the ministering spirits did they would be causing confusion and strengthening the deception of the devils. After all, it would be much harder to discern between a devil and ministering spirit if they both shook your hand and you didn’t feel it.

As I said, this is a radical idea to many, and may very well shock those who are not acquainted with the church and what it teaches. But is very logical in how it is presented, and the means given cannot be easily dismissed.

 

The author seems to want to refer us back to Fact #9, and his objection to inner feelings as testimonies of truth. While I have, in that article, shown that such inner feelings are biblical, they have no bearing on the issue at hand. This teaching is talking of physical sensation, not an emotion reaction. It is an attempt on the author’s part to mislead the reader by making a false association.

However, the author does give a biblical quote in an attempt to show that the bible teaching things differently. He quote Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians where he exhorts them to “Prove all things.” So, I would ask “How do we prove all things?” After all, Paul doesn’t actually give us any processes whereby such proof can be obtained. He simply tells us to obtain it.

How do we prove things? Well, in the case of ministering angels and spirits, we prove them through a handshake. There is nothing contradictory here. Joseph Smith has merely provided the means by which we may do as Paul has exhorted us.

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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: 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.

Little Known Propaganda: 2 – No Salvation Without Joseph Smith

13 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

FACT #2. Mormonism teaches there is no salvation outside the Mormon Church and no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith.

Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes this statement:  “If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation. There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 670)

The Bible, on the other hand, teaches salvation is in Jesus alone:  “Neither is there salvation in any other [Jesus]: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

 

First, Mormon Doctrine is not an official source, as the compiler of the list claims. It is the independent work of Elder McConkie. You can read the report by David O. McKay that lists several things that the church did not sanction which the book contains.

However, that is incidental to the point being made. The obvious claim here is that the LDS place a greater emphasis on Joseph Smith than on Christ. While it is true that we believe one must accept Joseph Smith as a prophet to be saved, we also believe that one must accept Moses as a prophet, and Abraham, and Peter, and Paul, and all the other prophets. We can’t reject any prophet sent by God and expect to be saved.

Now if we read the entire quote from Mormon Doctrine we see a list of things that are needed for salvation. The very first one on the list is the Atonement of Christ. Others include the gospel, priesthood, miracles, angels, and other things mentioned frequently in the scriptures.

Salvation is made possible through Christ, and there is no one else who could have satisfied the law and brought about a forgiveness of sin. But a man cannot be saved in ignorance (D&C 131: 6) or without faith (D&C 63: 11; Heb. 11: 6). When there is faith there are miracles and angels (Moroni 7: 37), and where there is knowledge there is the priesthood (D&C 84: 19; 128: 11). So, all of these things must be present for salvation to be possible, but all of it hinges on the atonement.

Earlier in his book Elder McConkie makes an entry on the atonement, where he says “it is the most important single thing that has ever happened” and that “it is the foundation upon which all truth rests.” (pg 60).

Furthermore, in the Book of Mormon (much more official than Mormon Doctrine) it states “…that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.” (Mosiah 3: 17) This is stated three other times in the Book of Mormon, though in different words: 2 Nephi 25: 25; 31: 21; Mosiah 5: 8. Every single one of these verses is cross-referenced with Acts 4: 12, which is the verse the compiler uses to try and prove our doctrine wrong.