Tag Archives: Pre-existance

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: 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)

Response to CARM: A logical proof

22 Aug

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.

The first page I will address is titled “A Logical Proof that Mormonism is False.” It attempts to do what it says; give a logical proof to prove the church wrong. I am not going to quote it in its entirety here, but you can use the link to read the full article. I will summarize it here.

 

The doctrine that the author focuses on is that of the endless generations of gods; more specifically, the belief that there is no beginning, or first generation. As Joseph Smith said, “There never was a son without a father.” The author calls it eternal regression.

After identifying the doctrine that he wishes to focus on he rightly identifies the logic that truth cannot contradict itself. I have no problems admitting this.

His explanation of the doctrine that follows is a bit simplistic, but good enough for the purpose at hand. As he points out, the doctrine teaches “that as far back as you look in time” the cycle of father and children (or generations) “has always been occurring.” He also puts it thus: “from an infinity of time in the past, the Mormon plan of exaltation…has been in effect.”

This is what he claims is logically impossible. Why? As he says “Because you cannot cross an infinity.”

I want to concede this point. One cannot cross an infinity. The reason being there is no beginning or end.

Using this point the author makes the following argument:

“…in order for us to get to the present state of this god on this planet, there would have had to be an infinite number of exaltations in the past. But, this cannot be because in order to get to the present, you would have to transverse an infinite number of exaltations. But that is impossible since you cannot transverse an infinity. Therefore, the Mormon system…is impossible, and Mormonism is proven false.”

 

Now, in conceding the point that one cannot cross an infinity I in no way agree with the reasoning here presented. For his argument to stand one of two things have to also be true. Either it must also be impossible to move in an infinity at all, or the doctrine must mandate that we have, as he said, traversed the entirety of eternity.

Unless the author can prove the second option than he must prove the first. As he can’t prove the second we must look to the first option.

The question then is, “Is it possible to move within an infinity?”

Let us look at an example of an infinity that we move on every day; the number line. In the following illustration we see a standard number line.

Number LineNote that a standard number line continues in both directions to an infinity. As we all know, you can always add one more to any number. It is also true that you can always take one away. These two facts make the number line an infinity.

Now, according to the article, since a number line is an infinity than “in order for us” to be at any point on it “there would have had to be an infinite number” before that point. “But, this cannot be because in order to get to [that point], you would have to transverse an infinite number [before it]. But that is impossible since you cannot transverse an infinity. Therefore [number lines are] impossible.”

This reasoning would, of necessity, be applied to all number lines, including the well known timeline. This is shown below.

TimelineSince a number line is infinite, and since a timeline is a number line, than a timeline is also infinite. In other words, something can always come next and something has always come before. By the author’s reasoning then, no timeline could actually exist because it is an infinity.

However, since we know that number lines do exist (including timelines), and that they are actually infinite, the logical proof presented is proven false. After all, if something actually exists than it must logically be possible.

 

Now, the author does try putting their reasoning another way. “If there is no first cause, then there can be no second, no third, etc., and there could never be a sequence of these events to occur.”

What this really means is that without a beginning you cannot have a sequence of events. This is again proven false by simply looking at the number line. It has no beginning and yet is a sequence, and a sequence of events when used as a timeline. Thus we have an example of there being no beginning and yet a sequence exists.

Given the number line, while it is impossible to traverse an infinity, it is possible to move within one. As such it is logically possible for us to be where we are and yet still have an infinite number of creations and exaltations in the past.

On a final note the author makes the assumption that Mormons (who obviously can’t argue with his logic) will simply reject the given proof. The assumed response is that Mormons will say the doctrine is a mystery in an attempt to dismiss the proof. The author does say that “Mysteries are fine, but they cannot suffice as an explanation if they contradict logic. In other words, if a principle is blatantly illogically, it cannot be true.”

I would agree, and since I have demonstrated that the principle of the doctrine is perfectly logical and does actually occur in our observable existence, then we can say that the full doctrine is a mystery and still logical, and leave it at that.

Response to CARM: A logical proof continued

The last part of the article claims to give the truth that replaces what the author has proven false. The basic concept is that there has to be an uncaused cause; something that simply exists. The claim is that since the idea of an infinite past is illogical than this idea of an uncaused cause has to be the truth. As I have shown that an infinite past is logical than we are no longer under the necessity of accepting the idea of an uncaused cause. So now we can examine this concept.

To look at this we must consider the law of cause and effect. It is rather simple; for every event there is a preceding event that caused it, as well as a following event that is caused by it. In this way all events can be traced through a series of causes and effects back through time. According to this law of logic there cannot be a cause which does not produce an effect, nor can there be an effect without a corresponding cause. As such, the author is claiming that logic necessitate that we accept as true something that directly contradicts the laws of logic.

The author also gives a few scriptures that they claim support this doctrine. I am not going to comment on them at this time as my purpose is simply to speak on the logical proof presented and the alternative given.

 

On a final note let us remember that the author stated that “Mysteries are fine, but they cannot suffice as an explanation if they contradict logic. In other words, if a principle is blatantly illogically, it cannot be true.” Keep this in mind.

They also said “Saying it is a mystery means nothing if the proclamation of that mystery violates the laws of logic.”

So, with this in mind let us consider the illogical doctrine that the rest of Christianity adheres to; the trinity. This concept claims that God is a single entity that exists as three. It is described as three in one, one as three, but any way you look at it the doctrine is claiming that a plurality is in fact a singularity. The argument is the 1 = 3 and 3 = 1. The most common response when one is asked to explain how this is possible is to simply call it a mystery. Yet, as the author at CARM says, “Saying it is a mystery means nothing if the proclamation of that mystery violates the laws of logic.

 

The Revelation of John: Chapter 12 – part one

30 Jul

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

I have decided to include the complete text of the chapter in this article so that the significant corrections made by Joseph Smith are readily apparent to the reader. Only 2 of the 17 verses do not have changes, and one verse has been placed in a different sequence (given in blue). As you read this pay attention to these changes.

Also, this chapter ran a bit long and so I have divided it into two articles.


Chapter 12:
1-8

Verses 1-3

And there appeared a great sign in heaven, in the likeness of things on the earth; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.

And the woman being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up unto God and his throne.

The word wonder here is changed to sign, meaning that these things are a representation of things on earth.
The woman is the church and the child is the kingdom of God (see verse seven below). So, the Kingdom of God will come out of the church. Also, the church is clothed in the sun, which is most commonly a symbol of celestial glory. This would suggest that it is through the church that one prepares for the Celestial Kingdom.

The moon represents the terrestrial kingdom, and is placed beneath the woman’s feet, suggesting that other churches, which can only bring their followers to the terrestrial, are under or below the true church.

The twelve starred crown would suggest the Twelve Apostles who lead the church. It could also refer to the apostles of Christ who were told that they would judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

Verses 4-5

And there appeared another sign in heaven; and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman which was delivered, ready to devour her child after it was born.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore years.

The dragon is Satan, as stated later in the chapter. The seven heads and ten horns are very similar to Daniel 7: 7-8. In both cases these represent earthly kingdoms. These kingdoms would be under the power of Satan.

The third part of heaven that the dragon casts to earth is a reference to the spirits that sided with Satan in the pre-existence.

The rest of this is speaking of the church that was organized by Christ. As the church spread it was preparing to bring forth the Kingdom of God. However, because Satan had set the worldly kingdoms to destroy it the Lord took the church off the earth and the result was the great apostasy. This would last 1260 years.

Now, the exact year in which the church was taken is a matter for speculation.If one places the end as the reorganization of the church in 1830, than the beginning would be in 570. This year does seem to have a significance in history as the year the Lombards conquered Rome and ended forever the western Roman Empire. It was just after this that the Catholic church, under Gregory the Great, rose to great political power in Europe. The timing would seem to fit.

Verses 6-8

And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought against Michael;

And the dragon prevailed not against Michael, neither the child, nor the woman which was the church of God, who had been delivered of her pains, and brought forth the kingdom of our God and his Christ.

Neither was there place found in heaven for the great dragon, who was cast out; that old serpent called the devil, and also called Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth; and his angels were cast out with him.

We know that Michael is Adam, who lead the armies of heaven in this war and was the one who eventually cast Satan out. Now, this was not a war waged with weapons. This was a war of words fought over ideas and ideologies. Those involved were spirits and could wage no other kind of war. Satan continues to wage this war on the earth where he uses all forms of thought and philosophy to destroy the souls of men.

All that has been seen up to this point has been a kind of illustration of what the saints have faced on the earth. The first five verses showed us the worldly kingdoms that will eventually become Christ’s, as we saw in chapter 11. The next three show us who Satan is.

50 Questions: General

16 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2; The Bible, part 3; The Bible, part 4

QUESTIONS 46-50

  1. If having a physical body is necessary to become a god, how did Jesus become a god before he had a body?  

That would depend on the meaning of the word god.

The word is used to describe a being that exists in a state of Celestial perfection. To enter this form of godhood requires a physical body. Jesus was not yet in this state until after the resurrection. In Matthew, while still in mortality, Jesus says “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 48) Notice that He does not say that He is perfect at this time, but when He repeats this command to the Nephites, after His resurrection, He says “Therefore I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi 12: 48) In both these verses the word perfect, in Greek, refers to being “complete, finished, fully developed.” (See footnotes in Matthew 5.) Jesus was not yet complete or fully developed until after the resurrection.

However, the term God can be used as a divine title that is applied to the members of the Godhead, denoting their authority and power in Heaven. In this sense Christ was God long before this world was created, as He has stood at His Father’s side through countless eons as the second member of the Godhead and hold all authority under His Father over all things that His Father has made.

  1. Do you think the LDS Church will reconsider its teachings that the American Indians are descendants of the Jewish race now that DNA evidence has proven that they are actually descendants of the Asian race? 

Doubtful; considering that nothing has been proven, nor can it truly be proven. There has been far too much intermarriage, cataclysmic events, and acts of God for any mortal scientist to be able to prove anything.

In fact, the church has recently published an article on this very topic that very nicely explains how DNA can neither prove nor disprove the Book of Mormon.

  1. If polygamy was officially re-instituted by the Mormon Church, how would your wife feel about you taking another woman? 

You would have to ask my wife, but I doubt she would answer you. That is a personal question of ones own faith and is between them and the Lord.

  1. Since the LDS Church teaches that there was a complete apostasy of the true church on earth, does that mean that the 3 living Nephites and the Apostle John went into apostasy also? 

I have to wonder if those asking this question have actually read the Book of Mormon.

Mormon 8: 10 “And there are none that do know the true God save it be the disciples of Jesus, who did tarry in the land until the wickedness of the people was so great that the Lord would not suffer them to remain with the people; and whether they be upon the face of the land no man knoweth.

When the apostasy had gotten such a strong hold on the people the Three Nephites were removed by God. It is likely the same happened with John.

  1. Why are Mormon Temple ceremonies secret to the public when the Old Testament temple ceremonies were open to public knowledge?

Most of the Old Testament ceremonies were ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood. The ordinances of this lesser priesthood have always been open to the public. Even today the ordinances that are performed by the Aaronic priesthood are open to the public, such as baptism and the sacrament.

It is the ordinances of the higher or Melchizedek priesthood that are held sacred and kept from the public. These are the mysteries of the kingdom, and have always been held reserved for the righteous followers of Christ. This is why they are only eluded to in the scriptures and not openly discussed. They were not meant for the unbelieving.

50 Questions: The Bible, part 3

14 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1; The Bible, part 2


QUESTIONS 36-41

  1. How can God be an exalted man when Numbers 23:19 says that God is not a man? 

Because He is not a man, but an exalted man; In other words he is not mortal and no longer subject to the temptations of mortality.

This is kind of like saying that a person is not a child but an adult. It does not deny the process by which they became an adult, but makes a clear distinction between the two states.

 

  1. Why does the Mormon Church teach that Elohim had sexual relations with Mary to produce Jesus when both Matthew and Luke teach she was a virgin (The Seer, January, 1853, p.158)? 

I find it interesting that the First Presidency published a rejection of many doctrines that Orson Pratt and published in The Seer, and Orson Pratt himself admitted that it was not from revelation that he come to his conclusions, but from personal reasoning. (Deseret News, Aug. 23, 1865, 373; http://udn.lib.utah.edu/cdm/ref/collection/deseretnews2/id/16087).

While it is true that this doctrine is not specifically rejected, and it is true that Brigham Young seemed to agree with it, it has never been part of the official doctrine of the church. Some have believed it, others have not, and neither side is said to be right or wrong, but rather that we simply don’t know.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that Jesus paid for our sins in the garden of Gethsemane when 1 Peter 2:24 says it was on the cross?  

1 Peter 2: 24

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.”

 

The church does not teach this. The doctrine of the atonement teaches that it began in the garden, where He took on Him the sins of the world; and then it continued to the cross, the tomb, and was finally completed with his resurrection. All of it is part of the atonement and the payment made.

Peter says He bore our sins on the tree, but He took them on Him in the garden and carried them to the cross to complete the atonement.

Also note that it is by His stripes that we are healed, which is a reference to the scourging whip before he was taken to the cross.

 

  1. Why did Bruce McConkie write that a man may commit a sin so grievous that it will place him beyond the atoning blood of Christ (Mormon Doctrine, 1979, p.93) when the Bible says that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7)? 

1 John 7: 7

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

 

Notice that we must be walking in the light to be cleansed. Elder McConkie taught that there are some sins that put us beyond the light. To commit those sins is to forever walk in darkness.

John also tells us that “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” (1 John 3: 15) Clearly murder puts us beyond the saving power of the atonement, as a murderer hath not eternal life.

Jesus himself said “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” (Matthew 12: 32) This gives us a second sin which will not be covered by the atonement.

 

So, the faithful who remain in the light, striving to live righteously, will be cleansed from all their sin. But the those who stray too far from that light will find themselves forever lost in darkness, from which there is no cleansing.

 

  1. Why does the LDS Church teach that man first existed as spirits in heaven when 1 Corinthians 15:46 says that the physical body comes before the spiritual? 

There is a difference between spirit and spiritual. The spirit came first, than the physical body. Once we are resurrected and glorified our spirit and physical body is joined and we become a spiritual being.

 

  1. Since Jesus statement, “Be ye therefore perfect” (Matthew 5:48) is in the present tense, are you perfect right now? Do you expect to be perfect soon? According to Hebrews 10:14, how are we made perfect? 

First of all, the first two parts of this question are not really asked for honest and beneficial discussion. I will say, however, that the term perfect in Matthew refers to being complete, or fully finished. This is not possible until after the resurrection, which is why Jesus tells us in Matthew to be perfect as the Father is, but in 3 Nephi says to be perfect as he and the Father are (3 Nephi 12: 48). So, since none of us are resurrection, none of us have been fully perfected yet.

 

As to Hebrews, it very rightly points out that only through Christ can anyone be made perfect. However, it also rightly states that this perfection is only given to those who are sanctified, and so I would ask how we are sanctified.

50 Questions: The Bible, part 2

14 Apr

On another blog Tim has been writing answers to a series of questions asked by a Latter Day Saint named Greg Trimble. The list was titled 51 Questions That Might Lead You To Mormonism. So far Tim has posts 5 parts in his series, and I don’t know how many more it will take to answer all 51. However, in part 4 he mentions another list of questions that was made back in 2001. This was titled 50 Questions to Ask Mormons. So, I have decided to follow Tim’s example and make a short series to answer these 50 questions.

I will answer the questions in the order they are given and in the categories they are sorted into. Each post will be less than 1000 words, so only a few questions will be answered in each.

Read 50 Questions: Prophets, part 1; Prophets, part 2; Mormon Scriptures, part 1; Mormon Scriptures, part 2; Mormon Scripture, part 3; Mormon Scripture, part 4; The Bible, part 1


QUESTIONS 32-35

  1. Why does the Mormon Church teach that we can be married in heaven when Jesus said in Matthew 22:30 that in the resurrection men neither marry, nor are they given in marriage? 

Let us look at the entire story (verses 23-32)

“The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.”

There are those who have suggested that the family in question was not a hypothetical case, but an actual family that had become famous in the area because of the circumstances just described. This is strengthened by the Sadducees say “There were with us seven brethren” indicating that these brethren had lived among the Jews. It would also make the question more dangerous because it asked for a judgment of actual people and not just hypothetical situations.

With this view in mind we see Christ giving a two-part answer. Note here that the Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection, and thus had asked this question in an attempt to confound Christ and cause him to contradict himself. They were disappointed however.

First he addresses the family in question.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.”

So, Christ is declaring first that the marriages in question are not binding in Heaven. Why this is the case is not explained. For whatever reason the marriages were purely temporal in nature. This is likely they were Levirate marriages, but may also be due to the fact that the sealing keys were not on the earth at the time and so no marriages were sealed, until Peter was given the keys to bind on earth and in heaven.

Christ next affirms the truth and reality of the resurrection.

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Note also that Christ first tells them they err not knowing the scriptures (meaning the priesthood keys of sealing and how they operate) and that they do not know the power of God (meaning the power to resurrect the dead). Both part are addressed in his answer.

 

  1. How can worthy Mormon males become Gods in the afterlife when God already said that before him no God was formed, nor will there be any Gods formed after him (Isaiah 43:10)? 

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.

 

  1. If God had a father who was a God, how come Isaiah 44:8 says that he doesn’t know him? 

One must understand what God says he does not know. This goes back to question 33. There is no God for us but the Father. Our Father, who knows everything, knows of no other God for us. But, just as I said in question 33, this does not mean that there are not other gods out there, or that our Father does not have a Father.

 

  1. If God was once just a man who progressed to becoming a God, how do you explain Psalm 90:2: “…even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God”? 

Doctrine and Covenants 132: 20

“Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject to them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject to them.”

 

We to will be from everlasting to everlasting if we attain to the state of godhood. Everlasting here is describing a period of time within eternity; that is the period between one physical creation and the next. So, from one period, or one everlasting, to the next God is God. He continues, remaining the same God from one creation to the next, or from one eternal generation to the next.