The LDS (Mormon) Church, Part 5: Another Followup

Okay gang. This is the last post on the Great Apostasy that I'm going to do. Promise.

I've been thinking and praying a lot about this one. It seems so cut and dry to me...the LDS church is pretty clear on it's teachings. If you'd like more background, you can find the last two posts I did here and here. I encourage you to read the comments too.

BUT...the LDS folks reading the same things that I'm reading are coming up with different conclusions. I'm here to say today that maybe, just maybe, I don't fully understand this one. I know...it's hard to believe since I know pretty much everything, right? ;) LOL!

Here it is in a nutshell:
1. The LDS church teaches of a "Great Apostasy". An apostasy so great, so thorough, that they claim God's church ceased to exist on the earth.
2. The LDS church teaches that if there was no apostasy, there would have been no need for what Joseph Smith offered (the "restoration" and the resulting LDS church).

Now go read some of the comments from my last two posts on this topic. This is a quote provided me from an LDS reader to better explain what she believes:

"Can ministers of other churches call forth blessings from God upon their people? Most assuredly they can and do. We revere the effort and service of such great men as John and Charles Wesley in the forefront of the Methodist movement. Martin Luther, John Huss, John Wycliffe, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and many others who were influenced by the Spirit of God to bring light and truth to a world in spiritual darkness." (Elder Bangerter, lds.org)

Sounds fine, right?

But do you see the confusion?

The problem is this...these guys (Luther, Wesley, Wycliffe, etc.) were at work during the supposed Great Apostasy. If they were being influenced by the Spirit of God to bring light and truth into the world, then maybe the Great Apostasy wasn't so great. If they were bringing light and truth into the world by the Spirit of God, then there was no need for a "restoration".

So...that's where I'm going to leave it. I do believe I've fairly and accurately represented the teachings of the LDS church on this issue,but I acknowledge that I don't fully understand the beliefs of the LDS people.


**********************************************************

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has proclaimed to the world consistently since its beginning that there was an apostasy of the church founded by Jesus during his Palestinian ministry and led by his Apostles following his ascension. This is a fundamental belief of the Latter-day Saints. If there had not been an apostasy, there would have been no need for a restoration.

Latter-day Saint theology asserts that the church of the Savior and his Apostles in the Old World came to an end within a century after its formation. The doctrines which its inspired leaders taught were corrupted and changed by others not of similar inspiration, the authority to act in God’s name was taken from the earth, and none of the Christian systems that existed after those developments, though they did some good things, enjoyed divine endorsement as the Lord’s own church. (JS—H 1:19; D&C 1:30.)
...
the end of the New Testament essentially heralds the end of the Church. " (emphasis added my me)

(If you'd like to read the rest of this article provided to me by a reader, PLEASE do so carefully, critically, and with prayer. When Scripture is used, please go to your Bible and read it in context.)

Summer  – (10/13/2008 12:31:00 PM)  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Summer  – (10/13/2008 12:32:00 PM)  

Typ-O!

That's great- closer.

I just wanted to mention, that the verse you were using in Mormon was a scripture LDS.org uses in reference to defining apostasy. But you need to keep in mind- we believe there have been forms of apostasy since the days of Adam throughout the history of the world. That verse was helping to define the word, not the time period we call the Great Apostasy.

And, I don't know about your claim that this is a discussion about what the LDS church teaches, not what it's members believe. 1) If you don't believe actual members of the church know what we believe, why are you asking for any correction or input from us in the first place? 2) The same could easily be said about main-stream Christians. It's a pretty easy claim to make for either side, and, in my opinion, a worthless one.

As long as we think the other doesn't know what they are talking about, this "discussion" is pointless, and should be posted as an thesis or dissertaion instead.

Personally, I believe that there is much to be learned from someone with good intentions, who loves the Lord, and who studies the Bible as meticulously and attentively as you do. Maybe you come to some conclusions a different way, but I'm not going to discount the occasional truthful conclusions you come to simply because I believe you don't know your history.

PS. Freight-trainers rock.

Daiquiri  – (10/13/2008 02:04:00 PM)  

Well, starting out, I thought that "what the LDS church teaches" and "what the LDS member believe" were one and the same.

It's this topic that has me changing my mind on that though.

Like I said, the LDS church teaches something that seems very straight forward. I disagree with it, but I understand what they're saying.

But then...LDS readers jump down my throat and tell me I have it all wrong.

I'm not sure where the disconnect is.

Regardless of the details, the Great Apostasy is a teaching that is unique to the LDS faith, and I felt strongly that it was something I needed to shed some light on.

I tried to do so as plainly and fairly as possible.

Seth R.  – (10/13/2008 04:29:00 PM)  

I don't think anything in Mormon teaching says that a Great Apostasy automatically means that nobody could ever have a good or correct idea again.

Nor does the idea of a Restoration mean that the LDS prophets were going to have every good idea in existence and never err.

Martin Luther and others most certainly did preserve much truth and had some very good ideas.

Likewise, not everything that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young cooked up was always a smashing success.

Absolutes are nice for Primary lessons. But that was when we "spake as a child." Now that we are grown, it is time to "put off childish things" and see the world with a bit more nuance.

David  – (10/13/2008 09:07:00 PM)  

I think that I've come to the conclusion that the main problem in this discussion is related to terminology.

Daiquiri, you state "The LDS church teaches of a "Great Apostasy". An apostasy so great, so thorough, that they claim God's church ceased to exist on the earth."

I think that the reason that it seems so false to you has to do with your definition of "church".

You likely use the definition of church to mean "The whole body of professing Christians throughout the world" which is definition #5 in Easton's Bible Dictionary.

You can (and I suspect you will) correct me if I'm wrong, but you consider the church to be the entire body of Christians, whereas most LDS would consider a church to be an organization of Christians such as the Catholic Church, Baptist Church, Methodist Church, etc..

The LDS belief of the Apostasy is *not* that there were no Christians following the death of the Apostles, but rather that the Apostasy was that time when the authorized church (LDS definition) - that organization that began with Christ calling the Apostles - was lost and/or corrupted sometime following the death of the Apostles.

I would guess also that you believe that Christians are the entire body of people who subscribe to the Nicene creed.

LDS would say that a Christian is anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God, The Savior of all Mankind, and makes a sincere effort to follow His teachings.

Kate  – (10/13/2008 09:24:00 PM)  

I think David's assessment is probably a fair one, for this topic, at least. That is a part of the problem with all discussions regarding traditional Christianity vs LDS doctrine, so much of the terminology is the same, while the definitions are different. Just something to keep in mind for the future.

Daiquiri  – (10/13/2008 09:32:00 PM)  

Yep, David. I agree with you. I just came to that realization this afternoon (believe it or not).

It seems that sometimes we use the same words, but those words have different meanings. Now that I think of it, I can think of several times where I think this happened in our conversaions.

Even just reading your last paragraph, several words pop out to me as words that we hold different definitions of!

Oh, I'm not even going to go into it here! I think "vocabulary" might be a post all it's own.

And Seth! Glad you're back (Even if does seem that you just called me childish and simple-minded. That's okay, I'm a big girl - I can take it.) :) I hope you'll join in the next topic too.

I wonder where LDS Neighbor is? Are you out there Neighbor? Missed you this go-round.

Seth R.  – (10/13/2008 10:49:00 PM)  

We're all children in the Gospel daiquiri.

So I see no reason for me to feel superior to anyone else. There are other people who have a lot more understanding of God than I do.

Besides, I wasn't even sure from your posts that you were viewing the world in absolutes anyway. So it wasn't really directed at you personally.

Patrick  – (10/13/2008 11:44:00 PM)  

Wow! I think a breakthrough has been made! Vocabulary has definitely been the stumbling block of this discussion. Like Daiquiri, I understood the "Great Apostasy" to mean that there were no Christians. As David pointed out, mainstream Christianity does in fact use the term church to refer to the body of believers, not an organization. So the idea that the 'church' had been removed from the earth was both laughable and offensive.

Now I understand where you all are coming from though. (I still don't agree, but I understand) I also appreciate Summer pointing out that the Mormon 1:13 verse was only used to help clarify the LDS definition of apostasy.

I am soooo looking forward to the vocabulary post now Daiquiri!

weelassie  – (10/15/2008 05:27:00 PM)  

I've been following the posts for some time, but never commented. So this might be a little long. But hang in there with me, I've hung in for all of your comments. :)

I am LDS. The good thing about these posts is it has made me look deeper into the doctrines of the church--I want to know my stuff! So thank you Daiquiri for inviting that.

While there will always be much to study and read and learn more about regarding doctrine, I want to come back to something I believe to provide a foundation for understanding LDS beliefs.

I could go back on comment on SEVERAL points to clarify our beliefs, but instead, I'm going to say this. In order to understand LDS beliefs and doctrine (*if that is what you want to accomplish), it is *essential* to gain a witness of the Book of Mormon. (Please don't roll your eyes yet!) If one ACTUALLY follows the instruction in Moroni 10:3-5 and READS the book (the entire book), and then asks God, with REAL intent, having a sincere heart, it is promised that by the Holy Ghost, God will tell you that it is true. And while we're on this topic, let's remember James 1:5, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Upbraid (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/upbraid) means to find fault with or be critical of. This does not mean we can't ask questions, compare doctrines and scriptures, etc. I just think all of us should take this into consideration, though, and decide whether or not our "upbraiding" is keeping us from receiving what answers the Lord would give us.

Stick with me... I WILL get to my point, which is this. IF the Book of Mormon is true, and you receive a witness of that from the Holy Ghost, then guess what, it MUST be true that Joseph Smith translated it, that he was called of God to bring it forth, to establish the Lord's church (organization--not just Christian believers) again on the earth, and so forth. Otherwise, where would the Book of Mormon have come from? Once this knowledge of the Book of Mormon is in place, everything else makes sense. The apostasy will make sense, Joseph Smith, etc. etc.

This is the one thing that non-LDS people seem to avoid doing....because it's the one thing that will prove all the rest!

Forgive me if I'm forgetting that this point has already been addressed in past posts. I know it was discussed on determining truth from the Spirit. So, until that is really done regarding the Book of Mormon, it's hard to discuss anything else.

Once this foundational knowledge is in place, then all discussions on any doctrinal topic take on a whole new meaning. We can discuss our doctrines until we're blue in the face, but if you do not find out for yourself whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, of course you will find conflicts.

Now, if it be so that you actually READ the Book of Mormon, and you pray sincerely and humbly to know if it's true, and you receive an answer from the Holy Ghost that it is not true, then I don't know what to tell you. I guess we'll both have to wait until after this life to find out what this is all about. And I guess you'll have to WANT to find out if it's true, rather than just having interesting discussions on different topics.

I look at it this way, either the church (the LDS church) is true, or it is not. And if it's not, then the bible is not true when it says "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt 7:20). I stood in the presence of an Apostle just yesterday, President Eyring, with just him and my family, and heard him discuss various gospel topics and testify of the Lord. There was a power, a peaceful power, in that room so thick you could cut a knife through it. I just knew. Again, like I've known before. He talked about the growth of the church all over the world, and humble members in foreign countries wanting to serve the Lord, the power of God in people's lives. It is just plainly not true, that that man, and the other apostles, and the prophet, are leading a church that is bringing forth bad "fruit" and are deceived. The Holy Ghost has witnessed this to me, I feel it, I know it, and though I'm still working on backing up all my beliefs with scriptural evidence, I can't deny it.

If you want to pick at what I've said, to point out what may be wrong or whatever, go ahead. It still won't change the fact that there won't be a resolution of understanding LDS doctrine until you know whether the Book of Mormon is true.

Thanks for listening.

Patrick  – (10/15/2008 11:57:00 PM)  

Weelassie,
Thanks for sharing. As you've stated, your comments have been covered in previous topics so I'll make my response brief:

I could bring you 1000 people who have read the BoM cover to cover, and who will say they've prayed over it earnestly, and have come to the conclusion that it's not true. I can also bring you the testimony of many ex-members of the LDS church who now believe they were deceived (many who would be considered "good" temple going members). So, while I respect that you have a testimony, that is not proof of truth, nor is it proof that you are not being deceived.

No one has claimed that the "fruit" being produced by LDS members is bad. But, there is a saying in the Church that goes something like this: Good people don't go to heaven, Christians do.

Finally, I don't believe you're correct stating that "no resolution or understanding of LDS doctrine is possible until you believe the BoM is true." This post in particular shows that this is incorrect. Thanks to Summer, David, & Seth, I have learned something about LDS doctrine from this post that I never understood correctly.

Andrew –   – (10/16/2008 10:33:00 AM)  

I'm going to throw this out there, risking that it might offend someone if they choose to let it. But I think it deserves consideration in relation to the apostasy.

As quoted from LeGrand Richards (apostle) in "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder" page 3, Elder Orson F. Whitney (an apostle) related these words from a Catholic scholar:

"Many years ago a learned man, a member of the Roman Catholic Church, came to Utah and spoke from the stand of the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I became well-acquainted with him, and we conversed freely and frankly. A great scholar, with perhaps a dozen languages at his tongue's end, he seemed to know all about theology, law, literature, science and philosophy. One day he said to me: 'You Mormons are all ignoramuses. You don't even know the strength of your own position. It is so strong that there is only one other tenable in the whole Christian world, and that is the position of the Catholic Church. The issue is between Catholicism and Mormonism. If we are right, you are wrong; if you are right, we are wrong; and that's all there is to it. The Protestants haven't a leg to stand on. For, if we are wrong, they are wrong with us, since they were a part of us and went out from us; while if we are right, they are apostates whom we cut off long ago. If we have the apostolic succession from St. Peter, as we claim, there is no need of Joseph Smith and Mormonism; but if we have not that succession, then such a man as Joseph Smith was necessary, and Mormonism's attitude is the only consistent one. It is either the perpetuation of the gospel from ancient times, or the restoration of the gospel in latter days.'"

weelassie  – (10/16/2008 10:55:00 AM)  

Patrick,
The key is not to just pray earnestly, but with "real intent", with a "sincere heart", "having faith in Christ" (Moroni 10:4), and again I might add to "upbraideth not" (James 1:5), and to then receive a witness from the Holy Ghost. If you know that those 1000 people did that, then great. But it seems to me to be a very personal experience between them and God. Only that person, deep within themselves, will know if God has spoken truth to them, even if they speak and act otherwise.

What I meant by "no resolution or understanding" is that you will always find conflicts. It depends on what you are seeking....whether people want to just 'understand' LDS doctrine, versus wanting to find out if it's true. If they want to find out if it's true, then my point is correct: everything hinges on whether the Book of Mormon is true. Because if it is, then everything else regarding Joseph Smith and the Apostasy, the restoration, everything, has to be, and will make sense with deeper study of the gospel.

I'd be curious to know whether or not those ex-members deny that the Book of Mormon is true. If they do deny it, then that's another story. But if they don't (they still believe it to be true, having received that from God himself), then why would God bring this true Book of Mormon into a church that is deceiving millions of people?

Without knowing all of those 1000's and ex-members' reasons and hearts, it's hard to judge why they're not accepting the LDS church. But that shouldn't be used as an example to dismiss the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

Daiquiri  – (10/16/2008 12:01:00 PM)  

Hi there, Weelassie. Thanks for joining the conversation. I'm happy to welcome you here :)

I feel the need to respond to you individually, even though I've written at lenghth (ad nauseum?) about this topic already. It's not one I take lightly, to be sure.

You might be interested to know that I *am* reading the BoM.

Why? It seems my intentions are being examined closely lately, so I'll explain.

I admit - part of the reason I'm reading it is because I feel like I can't have much of an intellectually honest discussion about "What the LDS church teaches" if I haven't read their primary text.

But the main reason I'm doing it? I'm reading because I want ALL that God has for me. Lots of people whom I have respect for believe passionately that the BoM is the true word of God...so I'm going to read it. I'm reading and praying, reading and praying...and praying some more.

If the BoM is true? It will absolutely turn my life upside down. It scares me a bit, that's the honest truth.

But if the BoM is true and I believe it's not? Well then, my life needs to be turned upside down!

On the flip side of this conversation, do you know what I'd like for every LDS believer to do? I'd like for you all to put every text on a shelf...except a Bible. Set aside the Joseph Smith notes on the Bible, and just read the text of the Word all by itself.

Start in John, then read Romans,
then read Galatians.

Pray (as I am while I read the BoM) to see God's Truth, and to be protected from deception.

Since the Bible is one of your texts, you've probably already read it. But would you do it again? Without the JS notes, while praying for God's truth?

It's not my business if you do this or not - it's totally between you and God. But I hope you do...

weelassie  – (10/16/2008 12:51:00 PM)  

Daiquiri,

It's completely fair and right that I be reading the bible. I have read it before and always read verses here and there for study; but I want to read it entirely again, and pick up more of the context and understand it correctly. I'll start with John, Romans, and Galatians, such good ones! I'm always wanting to understand the old testament better as well.

I also want to clarify that my comments weren't directed directly to you necessarily. When I used 'you' I meant a general 'you' or everyone who's reading that comment. So I hope you didn't feel I was pointing at you saying you need to read and pray about the Book of Mormon, I did remember you had been doing that.

Daiquiri  – (10/16/2008 01:23:00 PM)  

Hi Andrew,

Interesting quote. Not offensive to me, just a bit...sad.

The religious "experts" of Jesus' time were called hypocrites by the Lord. They didn't know their savior as he stood right in front of them!

To those men conversing (in your quote), I would give a word of caution: Care less about the rules, regulations, and structure...more for the heart of love that Jesus has for his church...the body of believers...his beloved bride. Care more for God's saving GRACE, and less about doing good for the sake of an impressive resume.

Seth R.  – (10/16/2008 07:36:00 PM)  

Patrick, I agree with your general point that simply reading the BoM does not guarantee anything. I have encountered plenty of Evangelicals of whom it became pretty apparent that they never allowed themselves to really take the book seriously when they read it.

Either they read it with one hand, while holding a counter-cult commentary in the other (which, let's be honest, is not even remotely allowing yourself to be open to the book's message). Or they read the book with the explicit goal of finding things wrong with it.

"Aha! It talks about HORSES right here! What joker wrote this piece of nonsense?!"

They just cannot allow themselves to take the doctrines and teachings in the book seriously or at face value. Rather, reading it becomes an exercise in defending their own existing beliefs from alteration. This is not an honestly open approach to the book.

However, I disagree with weelassie that accepting the truth in the Book of Mormon automatically gets us to the conclusion that the present-day LDS Church is true.

First off, what if being a prophet does not entail absolute inerrancy? What if Joseph had a flash of genuine divine guidance which produced the Book of Mormon, but was not inspired in other matters? What if Joseph later became a fallen prophet like Balam or Jonah (at least on certain points)?

And what do we do with competing factions in the LDS tradition. The Mormons are not a monolithic and unified body. There are the RLDS out in Missouri who felt that Brigham Young had no right to succeed Joseph Smith as prophet. They consider the entire Brighamite branch to be apostate.

Then there are the FLDS down in Texas who turned from the main body after the LDS Church rejected polygamy. They claim that the "Grantite" branch of the LDS Church, as they call it (after Heber J. Grant) is apostate for its rejection of the divine principle of polygamy.

Now, as a believing LDS, I reject the claims of all these groups. However, their existence makes it quite clear that simply establishing that the Book of Mormon is true scripture does not automatically get us all the way to concluding that the present-day LDS Church is "true."

You have to gain a knowledge and testimony of each of these particulars for yourself: Book of Mormon; Joseph Smith's status as prophet; Priesthood Authority; Brigham Young's status; and each and every one of the teachings of the present day Church.

All of these have to be independently established, and just saying that "Joseph was a true prophet" doesn't automatically establish all of them. There are no easy shortcuts here, though I can't tell you how many LDS I've heard who try to act like simply praying about Moroni 10 solves everything. It doesn't.

Seth R.  – (10/16/2008 07:39:00 PM)  

Andrew, I remember reading that exchange in "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder."

I have to ask myself why both men completely forgot about the authority claims of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Kaye  – (10/23/2008 06:38:00 AM)  

Hi Daiquiri! Just wanted to stop in to see how you're LDS study is going. It looks like you have some lively discussion going on.

These are questions that I've never had clearly answered by a member of the LDS church. If the apostle John and the 3 Nephites survived, as their text teaches, why was there any apostasy? Were those 4 not doing their jobs? Were they just not effective? John was Jesus' best friend while He was here on earth...if I heard the Truth from him, I would certainly believe it. If those 4 are still around, why aren't they members...or better yet, apostles and/or prophets in the LDS church? I would think that would certainly be an appropriate place for them.

Also...since LDS missionaries have told me that all who have never heard the gospel as proclaimed by the LDS church get a chance to hear it after death and make their decision then...wouldn't it have been better for everyone if the gospel had not been restored and then EVERYONE gets the chance to hear it after death and not get the chance to reject it here?

Those are just my own personal questions and I've never gotten a clear answer for them.

I just firmly hold on to the verses in the Bible that say, "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you." (1 Peter 1:25) and "That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18). It seems a bit egotistical to me to think that we (humankind) could destroy something that God said would stand forever and that Jesus said the gates of hell could not prevail against.

Those are my two cents. =)

Seth R.  – (10/23/2008 07:49:00 AM)  

Kaye, if you will not accept the Restored Gospel from the sources you have available to you right now, you would not accept it from John the Beloved either. How would you know it was him? Why wouldn't you simply think it was some crackpot who thinks he's the Highlander or something?

It's like the story Christ told of the rich man in hell asking that a dead man be returned to warn his friends and family. He is told that if they will not believe the prophets, they will not believe even one who comes back from the dead.

And if everyone is only given the opportunity to accept the Gospel in the hereafter, it eliminates the possibility that the Restored Gospel can bless people's lives here and now.

Really, it's like you asking "why should I be good now, when I can be good later?"

I would hope you already know the answer to that question.

Peter 1:25 is a true passage. Despite TEMPORARY setbacks, like the Great Apostasy (which is also prophesied in the New Testament), the Gospel has been restored and it will endure, and the "gates of hell" will not prevail against it.

You seem to be mistaking a declaration of ultimate victory for a declaration that the Church will never have any setbacks. This is a mistaken read of that passage of scripture.

Besides, I could equally say those of your faith are equally egotistical to think that their mortal institutions and Churches could never be thrown down - though we have countless Biblical examples of God's Church and people apostatizing in the Old Testament.

Kaye  – (10/23/2008 08:32:00 AM)  

Seth--
I will never disagree that there have been apostasies throughout the history of Christianity. There have been many times where people--even entire congregations--who believed in God have fallen away from Him due to their sinful ways. I will not pretend that I also have not failed even though I really don't want to. I never stated that "my faith" thought that "mortal institutions and Churches could never be thrown down". I'm not really sure where that came from. I will admit readily that any church that is not focused on God can and will move away from Him and if they don't realize it in time to keep it from happening, will completely become apostate.

However, what the LDS church teaches of a TOTAL apostasy, which means that the true gospel was completely lost and needed to be restored by God Himself through Joseph Smith. That (the total apostasy) was never prophesied in the Bible nor did it ever happen in the Bible.

The Book of Mormon itself doesn't have a lot in it that I have issues with. No, I don't believe it is a holy book, but I don't have a lot of qualms with it. My problem with the LDS church is all of the things taught and believed and practiced that are not found anywhere in the Book of Mormon (which was supposed to be the fullness of the everlasting gospel) or in the Bible nor are they even supported by either book. In fact, some of these beliefs and practices are even contrary to both books but are still practiced by the LDS faith as part of the plan of salvation.

From your response...I am not asking to be good later and not now...that's actually my entire point. That argument doesn't make logical sense in the view of what is just or morally right. It also doesn't make sense that we would be placed in that position from a just God.

Also...in your evaluation that I am misreading the scripture from 1 Peter...the truth is I am reading what the scripture actually says. I am not adding any asterisks or explanation to them. I read scripture for what it says, not for what I am told that it says. There are no footnotes from God on this one. The word of God endures forever. Point blank. That doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for me. And I have to pose the question, what evidence is there that I am reading it wrong rather than you are interpretting it wrong? Same goes for the passage in Matthew that I quoted. I read what it says in the context that it was said and neither indicate that any further clarification or exceptions would apply.

By the way...thanks for the lively discussion.

Kaye  – (10/23/2008 09:22:00 AM)  

Seth--left out this scripture and just recalled it...

[Jesus said]...Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." (Matthew 5:18)

Seth R.  – (10/23/2008 06:21:00 PM)  

Well, it's not like I expected you to just up and agree with the Mormon assertion of the Great Apostasy. Thanks for the polite words about the Book of Mormon.

I think my argument that it is better to repent and receive the Gospel now rather than later still stands. That's why we proselyte.

I actually think it would be LESS just for God to withhold the Gospel from us in mortality and make us wait till the afterlife.

Anonymous –   – (10/30/2008 03:08:00 AM)  

I made it to the end of all the post and comments and found a comment box that was open, yea!

Had it not been, I was planning on writing you, Daiquiri, an email.
I recently moved to a place that is highly LDS populated. I am not one of them! Thanks for opening this discussion. I will too echo the earlier comments, you are a brave girl and I'll add, may God bless you for it!

I've always wondered about the 'roots' of the LDS religion, because none of it makes sense to me and I often wonder how so many 'educated' people can follow such teachings. Not wanting to disrupt the family boat carries a lot of weight for me. How sad for all of the families that do not have even one leader brave enough to stop the lies.

I've appreciated all the facts and verses from both sides. I can't call them all scripture because I don't believe the BoM to be so. (I just read through all the posts and comments in one evening...and I was going to get to bed early tonight! Oh well.)

I just want to ask a couple questions. One, why the coming of a prophet such as Joseph Smith wouldn't be even hinted to in the Bible?

As I sit at my computer my Bible is open from yesterday, open right at the end of Matthew and at the beginning of Mark. It is the perfect position. The heading of Mark 1 says, John the Baptist Prepares the Way. For whom? Joseph Smith....? The coming of Christ is foretold all over the old and new testament. If there was a plan of God for Joseph Smith to come along and change the "church" doesn't anyone else think that maybe God would have mentioned that before he appeared to Joseph in New York? And why does Joseph Smith get a last name? Didn't everyone know Moses, Joseph, David, and Peter but just that name alone? Joseph Smith claims to have seen God and Jesus together? John 6:46 says, No one has seen the Father except on one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. I think that the LDS church says they believe the Bible only to push it aside and read the BoM, because the TRUTH might start to come out.

Which brings be to my next point. After Jesus came to save the world, read John 3:17 (a shadow verse of the ever popular 3:16. If fact, read the whole thing…don’t stop there, keep going.) God didn't need to use prophets. They were fulfilled! Jesus did that. And Jesus had 12 disciples not 12 prophets. There is a difference. I'm a disciple, a follower of Jesus. I’m not a prophet.

I believe that God does speak to us and can speak through us, but I believe that it is for His glory alone. I believe that we were created in His image for His glory. I believe that Heaven will be a new Eden. What God intended it to be before the fall of man. We will live with God in community with Him and others, to yes, serve and glorify Him. And Him alone! Sound too boring and unproductive for you? I think it sounds wonderful! All the things and people you enjoy on and about Earth without all the sin and corruption and hurt feelings we throw around like it’s no big deal.

Revelation 21:5-8 says, He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all the liars- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Revelation 22: 18:21 says, I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

I didn’t follow the rules, I sinned! I knew the rules and wrote off topic anyways. I needed to catch up and wanted to enter my 2 or 30 cents.

Like everyone else, sorry it’s so long.

May God Bless you, Daiquiri!

Seth R.  – (10/30/2008 09:10:00 AM)  

Anonymous,

You are reading the scriptures through the lens of your own assumptions that you grew up with, and are baffled as to why we don't see it the same way you do.

The most commonly used Biblical citation invoked by the critics is probably John 1:18, which reads “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

Early Christian author Irenaeus wrote in A.D. 180 that this scripture should be read “For "no man," he says, "hath seen God at any time," unless "the only-begotten Son of God, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared [Him]."

Interestingly, Joseph Smith's revision of the Bible agrees with Irenaeus' reading:

"No man hath seen God at any time EXCEPT he hath borne record of the Son... (emphasis added)"

Irenaeus' "unless" (or Joseph's "except") makes all the difference. Irenaeus knew that righteous men had seen God in the past:

* Acts 7:55-56
* Gen. 32:30
* Gen. 17:1
* Gen. 18:1
* Acts 7:2
* Ex. 3:6
* Ex. 19:11
* Ex. 33:11
* Num. 12:7-8
* 1 Kings 9:2
* 1 Kings 11:9
* Is. 6:1,5
* Ex. 24:10-11
* Deut. 34:10
* Deut. 5:4
* Judges 13:22
* Genesis Chapter 3 generally
* Heb. 11:27
* Job 42:5
* Job 33:26
* Job 19:26
* Ez. 1:1
* Ez. 8:1-4
* Rev. 22:4)

Furthermore, by adopting this approach, Irenaeus' interpretation of John 1:18 harmonized with the rest of the Bible and the qualifications which the Bible provides for those who may see God.

The requirements are:

1. Must be "of God" “Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.” This cites John 6:46 just like you did. Some Evangelicals will argue that only Jesus "is of God", but that position is unscriptural. Moses too was "of God"(Deut 33:1), as well as Samuel (1Sam 9:10), Shemaiah (1Kings 12:22), and Elijah (1Kings 17:24).

2. Must have "peace and holiness" within you "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which, no man shall see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14.)

3. Must be pure in heart "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8.)

As the numerous Biblical references demonstrate, the idea of seeing God is hardly foreign to Hebrew or early Christian thought. There are also non-scriptural examples: Philo the Jew taught that the name Israel was compounded of 3 words “ish” “rah” “El”, which means “man seeing God”. And, an early Christian document called the Clementine Homilies portrays the apostle Peter as agreeing with Irenaeus' view:

"For I maintain that the eyes of mortals cannot see the incorporeal form of the Father or Son, because it is illumined by exceeding great light. . . . For he who sees God cannot live. For the excess of light dissolves the flesh of him who sees; unless by the secret power of God the flesh be changed into the nature of light, so that it can see light."

Joseph Smith revealed the same essential truth (D&C 67:11, D&C 84:22).

It is your view of John 1:18 that is unusual, and at odds with the earliest Christian understanding of the scripture, not Joseph Smith's.

ldsneighbor  – (11/08/2008 03:27:00 PM)  

Daiquiri, thanks again for the opportunity to discuss these things. Sorry I have been on "leave of absence" from these discussions for a few weeks. I was very busy trying to get the word out for CA Prop 8 (which passed!). But I'm back now. The Great Apostasy is a wonderful topic. Here are my thoughts. When Jesus was upon the earth, he organized a Quorum of Twelve Apostles and gave them the keys of the kingdom and the priesthood of God. The church of the 1st century fell into persecution and eventually all of the apostles and those who had the keys of the kingdom were crucified and killed off. By the time of the 4th century, Constantine basically co-opted Christianity and made it an organ of the state and the papacy was declared the authority. There were still many good people who were Christians but the true and living church with ongoing revelation and an open cannon of scripture was lost. Catholics would obviously disagree with that, as they claim an unbroken line of succession and the keys of the kingdom to this day. To my understanding, only Catholics and Mormons even claim to have unbroken line of priesthood authority by the laying on of hands going back to Jesus Christ himself. Luther, Wesley, Wycliffe and other of the great reformers recognized that the church had become corrupted and they did their best to align with teachings of the New Testament. Martin Luther attempted to show that the papacy didn't have authority. But he knew that HE didn't have authority either, so he did the best he could, given his time. So, in a way Martin Luther was arguing that there was a Great Apostasy when it comes to priesthood authority and the keys of the kingdom. I don't fault any of the average people of Christendom during those middle ages. They did the best they could with what they had, and their efforts lead to the Enlightenment and westward expansion into America. Time passed. The stage was set for the birth of freedom and democracy when our Founding Fathers issued the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution of the United States in 1790. Nothing quite like it had existed in the world. It was divinely inspired, and it is just as applicable today. This new nation was founded on God-given individual rights and liberties: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of peaceable assembly. The stage was set in this fertile ground of America for the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Less than one score years later the Prophet Joseph Smith was born. At the age of 14, in answer to a sincere prayer about which church to join, Joseph experienced something he was not expecting. He saw in vision God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ who spoke with him and answered his prayer. That was the beginning of the series of events within the next 25 years that would be the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ again upon the earth. And finally the Prophet Joseph Smith would seal his testimony with his own blood, as have many of the prophets of old.

Some say the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a cult because we are not limited to a fixed closed cannon of scripture in the Bible. Remember though that Christianity of the 1st century was also called a cult too. LDS love the Bible, but an open cannon of scripture was the case whenever the authorized ministry of Christ was upon the earth throughout history. So, this very thing that we are accused of is actually evidence both that the Apostasy was real and that the gospel has been restored. Watch these and listen to what the Spirit tells your heart:

God's Words... Never Cease:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tz3rggCnhxQ

Great Apostasy (part 1 and 2):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueQfOYOVfD4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC3cjZI2kaw

I appreciate your friendship.

Anonymous –   – (11/11/2008 12:00:00 PM)  

The bible does prophesy of the coming of a prophet to prepare the way before the 2nd coming. Isaiah 11:1, 29:11-12, Malachi 3:1.

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