Tag Archives: latter day saints

Little Known Propaganda: 13 – Joseph Smith Boasted (part 2)

12 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.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13a

Note: This is the second part to this one because it ended up being much longer than the others. Please read both to have a full understanding of my comments. I do this because I don’t like any article on my blog to be over 1,000 words. Thank You

FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.

Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)

No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.

 

Now, let us look at what Joseph Smith said.

 

My object is to let you know that I am right here on the spot where I intend to stay.

First Joseph Smith tells his audience his purpose in speaking, which is to let the world know that would remain faithful to God and the gospel.

I, like Paul, have been in perils, and oftener than anyone in this generation. As Paul boasted…

Here he directly compares himself to Paul, which is something he does throughout this talk.

God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil–all corruption. Come on! Ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last.

Just as Paul was speaking to answer the accusations of false teachers, so Joseph Smith is addressing the accusations of those who opposed him. Then, what follows is his very brief statement of boasting.

I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.

Note a few things. First, the author made the claim that Joseph Smith boasted of doing a greater work than Jesus. They even placed the word ‘work’ in quotations to emphasize their point. Clearly they want the reader to believe that Joseph made the claim that he did a greater work than the Atonement that was wrought by Christ. However, if we look at what Joseph Smith said we see clearly that he never said any such thing. He claimed only to have done a unique work, making no claim to superiority in any way. So, the only thing that one need ask is was his work unique in the history of the family of Adam?

The answer to this is clearly yes. Every prophet in the scriptures had trouble with dissenters and apostates that continually divided the church and led to wide spread rebellion. Even Jesus was abandoned by a great portion of His followers. However, Joseph Smith led a church that remained faithful through some of the greatest tribulation that man has ever experienced. The vast majority stayed faithful through it all. This is unique in human history, and thus the claim is true.

Now, to say that Joseph was foolish to have said this, especially as regards Christ, is perfectly true. But then, as we have seen, he is taking his lead from Paul, who stated directly that he was going to speak foolishly. If Paul may have the privilege of speaking foolishly and still be considered a prophet, than why not Joseph Smith?

 

Now, we have seen that Paul’s intent was to answer the accusations of false teachers, and the rest of Joseph Smith’s remarks are also directed to this main purpose, with just a few side notes.

You know my daily walk and conversation…For the last three years I have a record of all my acts and proceedings…therefore my enemies cannot charge me with any day, time, or place, but what I have written testimony to prove my actions; and my enemies cannot prove anything against me…

To preface this answer to the accusers Joseph Smith declares that he can produce proof against their accusations, showing them all to be liars. He then spends the next five paragraphs speaking of the accusations of a Mr. Simpson, then nine paragraphs addressing William Law and his conspirators. In all this he is still, to some extent, boasting that these men can prove nothing against him.

When I love the poor, I ask no favors of the rich. I can go to the cross–I can lay down my life; but don’t forsake me. I want the friendship of my brethren.–Let us teach the things of Jesus Christ…

Here he entreats the saints to not forsake him, but to join with him in teaching Christ and his gospel. For Joseph Smith, even after foolishly boasted, still saw himself as a follower of Christ, and sought only for the glory of God.

He then gives some counsel, which is not important to our purpose here, and then speaks again about William Law and his associates. Finally he closes with this statement.

As I grow older, my heart grows tenderer for you. I am at all times willing to give up everything that is wrong, for I wish this people to have a virtuous leader, I have set your minds at liberty by letting you know the things of Christ Jesus. When I shrink not from your defense will you throw me away for a new man who slanders you?…

He expresses his love for the saints, and his desire to be the virtuous man they deserve (though he does not claim to be perfect in any way). He then invokes Christ, declaring that it is Christ that has liberated the saints and brought them the joy and blessings they had received.

He finally says something similar to what Paul had said to the Corinthians. Don’t forsake him (even though he is foolish at times and has weakness), especially for a false teacher.

 

In all his words Joseph Smith spoke to address the concerns of the saints that had arisen because of the false accusations of some among them who were seeking to pull him down that they might lead the people instead. Just like Paul he spoke foolishly, boasting in his own works in order that the saints might see the truth of his prophetic calling, despite his faults. He gave the credit for his success to Christ, and entreated all to remain faithful, even though he was not perfect.

Little Known Propaganda: 13 – Joseph Smith Boasted (part 1)

12 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.

See also Fact #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12

Note: Because this one ended up requiring a longer response than the others I will be posting it in two parts. Please read both to have a full understanding of my comments. I do this because I don’t like any article on my blog to be over 1,000 words. Thank You

FACT #13. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church, boasted of doing a greater “work” than the Lord Jesus.

 

Joseph Smith made this incredible boast:

“I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. . . . Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor JESUS ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of JESUS ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 408, 409)

 

No true Prophet of God ever spoke such words as these.

 

This little tidbit has nothing to do with LDS doctrine, but is a sensationalized twisting of the words of Joseph smith. You can tell this by the fact that there is no attempt to actually address what was said. There is just a subdued outrage that he would dare to utter these words.

So, let us set aside the apparent clairvoyance of the author who thinks he knows everything every prophet has ever said, and let us look at what Joseph Smith is actually saying here, and in its full context.

 

In the record of this talk we are told at the beginning that Joseph Smith read from the 11th chapter of II Corinthians. We are not told how much of the chapter he read, and so it is assumed that he read the entire thing. So, to fully understand Joseph Smith we need to understand this chapter. As such I will review those relevant parts as briefly as possible.

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

First, Paul begins this chapter by asking us to bear with his folly. This is important for what comes later.

2-5 …I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means…your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached…ye might well bear with him.

It would seem that there were those in Corinth who had been teaching things contrary to the gospel that Paul and the other apostles had taught. Paul is here telling the people that if they follow Paul they should bear with him, but if they follow another they should bear with that person. This is important, as Paul is basically telling the people that they need to look past the faults of those whom they accept as teachers sent by God.

7-9 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?…in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

Basically, Paul is asking if it was wrong of him to work for their salvation at the expense of his own interests.

10 As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.

Here we have the first direct statement of Paul boasting. He here states that he boasts of his work in Corinth throughout that region of the world.

12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

Here we get the real purpose of what Paul is saying. It is clear from this that there were those in Corinth who were not only teaching false doctrine, but were justifying themselves by ridiculing and accusing the apostles. They were seeking to find a reason, or an occasion that they could accuse the apostles, and thus turn the saints from them.

13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

This is a great indictment against those who would seek to find fault with God’s anointed leaders.

16-19 I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little. That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

Here Paul asks the Corinthians to allow him a little folly and to suffer his foolishness gladly. In other words, accept that he had fault and let him have a few, as all men have faults.

21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.

And from this point on Paul really gets into the folly of boasting, though I do not feel the need to post the rest of the chapter. It is simply a list of all the sufferings and works of Paul that he lists to show how much he has done for the church, and in so doing he also claims that he has done more and suffered more than any of the other apostles.

 

So, to summarize: There were people in Corinth that had been teaching false doctrine and justifying themselves by accusing the apostles and persuading others that since the apostles had faults they weren’t really from God. In response Paul boasts of his works, doing so to counter the accusations of these false teachers in an attempt to persuade the Corinthians to remain faithful to the true gospel.

(Continued in part 2)

 

Little Known Propaganda: 12 – Personal Relationship With Jesus

8 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Little Known Propaganda: 11 – Attack Faith Alone Doctrine

8 Feb

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible responds:

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Known Propaganda: 10 – Total Obedience Required

6 Dec

Little Known Propaganda: 10 – Total Obedience Required

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible warns us in I John 4:l:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Known Propaganda: 9 – Inner Feeling

20 Sep

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

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

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

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

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

The Bible, on the other hand, tells us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little Known Propaganda: 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.