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Mormon Media Observer: The Book of Mormon: The true medium

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  • TP TWIN FALLS, ID
    June 7, 2011 6:46 p.m.

    atl134,
    just a thought and kindly...In thinking about your 'answer' (or lack of) for the Book of Mormon... sometimes the timing is wrong, or your path is a different one for now, or the effort may have expired too soon...I cannot judge that, but, as with my personal prayers in search for answers to life questions, sometimes the answer is no, not now, or get back to me on that later when you (I) have grown a little more. Possible?

    I wish you peace in your life's walk, but may I humbly suggest that in the fog of 'love' all of us have difficulty discerning what's up and down, real or perceived. Me included. We all see through a 'glass darkly' at times. I hope you will try the promise in the BofM again someday, away from the influence of a hopeful relationship hanging in the balance. I've been the 'girl' you speak of whose relationship did not materialize during a search for conversion for someone else...I would hate to think that my actions influenced someone else in such a way. Your sister in Christ...

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    June 3, 2011 3:30 p.m.

    Yes. There are alot anachronisms in the BoM but it has something in common with the Koran as well as both Testaments.... violence.

    I find that the Jefferson & Gnostic bibles as well as Brave New World by Huxley very pithy & insightful.

    The Gadiantons/Secret combinations are my favorites parts of the BoM. The same themes can be found in a Ludlum novel, an episode of 24, or the X Files.

  • Malachi Riverton, UT
    June 2, 2011 5:48 p.m.

    To brokenclay: Your list of anachronisms although interesting is totally misinformed. You seem to forget that Christ is the Greek word for Messiah. Did you ever stop to consider that text of Handel's Messiah which we sing every Christmas is almost exclusively scripture from the Old Testament? Did you consider that gospel of Matthew is entirely composed of fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies and scripture?

    We could take any number of chapters from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Psalms, Job, etc. and list supposed anachronisms just as you have. The only problem is that it would show a lack of insight into the gospel of Jesus Christ, not that the Old Testament is a fake.

    The Book of Mormon is truly a second testament of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. If you would like I can show you Old Testament scripture that matches the gospel of 2 Nephi 2. Salvation through the Messiah, the Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel, repentance, ... it is in fact contained and fulfilled through Christ, the Messiah. Just as Christ tried to teach the Scribes and Pharisees by their own scriptures; but they wouldn't listen and chose instead to crucify their Messiah ... The Christ.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 2, 2011 10:50 a.m.

    @CougarBlue

    "Charles I wonder if you have given serious consideration to read the Book of Mormon to see if it is really true and do it with real intent, nothing doubting, then you will find out like I and millions of others that it is true. If you doubt or don't do it with real intent to find out if it is true you will never find the answer. "

    This is pretty much a No True Scotsman logical fallacy. The faulty assertion is "if you do this then you'll know what I know" and then when someone gets a different answer your response is "I guess you didn't do it right".

    You know what, I wanted the Book of Mormon to be true. Really really wanted it to be true, I went into reading it biased, hoping it would be true because hey, I had a crush on an LDS girl who had told me at one point she'd only marry in the church. And you know what I still got nothing saying it was true. I'm not the only one... her eventual spouse got the same result out of it... nothing.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2011 9:45 p.m.

    sharrona
    Kevin, "the JST ..is basically commentary. Does that eliminate the ... (P.of G.P.,Moses)?
    KJK
    No, that part has been sustained by the Church as is therefore scripture. D&C 134 likewise was commentary which became scripture via Common Consent.

    KJK
    There is none good but God". Christ deflects the man's praise.

    sharrona
    Thomas said my Lord my God( John 20:28),
    KJK
    An emotional outburst does not sound doctrine make.

    sharonna
    (Romans 9:5,Titus 2:13 NIV)
    KJK
    KJV and others disagree

    sharonna
    Jesus answered before Abraham was born I(ego)am(eimi)(John 8:58,verse 59 they try to kill him for making himself equal to God.
    KJK
    LDS believe that Jesus was God's spokesman in the OT. He is the God of the OT.

    sharonna
    ...the doctrine of Christ and the only true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost(Spirit),which is ONE God, without end. Amen(2 Nephi 31:21)clear statement,there is only one God.
    KJK
    Jn. 17:11, 20-23 show that they are one in the same way (even as) that believers are one.

    I have alot more.

  • Doug Stevens Bluffdale, UT
    June 1, 2011 8:36 p.m.

    Interesting article, I did my dissertation for my Doctorate on the just the opposite position. I would love the opportunity to debate the Book of Mormon on whether it is fiction or fact. After 2 years of research I have shown it to be a book of fiction with no historical facts. I am sure finishing your Thesis on this subject you were challenged. Email me, forums such as U of U or another would be fine with me.

    For those of you reading this, check in the Church History Books from LDS Scholars BH Roberts, D. Michael Quinn and others.
    Please contact me so we can set up a debate.

  • Fuzz Springville, UT
    June 1, 2011 8:29 p.m.

    CougarBlue, Why was Jesus elevated to Godhood before proving himself in a physical world like we all have to do?
    Doesn't make sense to me.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 1, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    Kevin, "As far as the JST goes, it's not scripture. basically commentary. Does that eliminate the first six + chapters of JST of Genesis or the (P.of G.P.,Moses)?
    There is none good but God". Christ denies being God. Wrong, Jesus was not denying his goodness but forcing the man to recognize that his only hope was in total reliance on God, while encouraging the man to consider the full identity and nature of the One he was addressing.
    Also: Thomas said my Lord my God( John 20:28),Christ who is God overall(Romans 9:5 NIV),our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ(Titus 2:13 NIV) Lord(kurios)can be the Greek N.T.word for the Hebrew: 1.YHWH 2.Adonai 3.master,sir. Context.
    Jesus answered before Abraham was born I(ego)am(eimi)(John 8:58,verse 59 they try to kill him for making himself equal to God.
    ...the doctrine of Christ and the only true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost(Spirit),which is ONE God, without end. Amen(2 Nephi 31:21)clear statement,there is only one God.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    June 1, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    Charles I wonder if you have given serious consideration to read the Book of Mormon to see if it is really true and do it with real intent, nothing doubting, then you will find out like I and millions of others that it is true. If you doubt or don't do it with real intent to find out if it is true you will never find the answer.

    Fuzz: Christ did what you said he did, but he had to atone for our sins by being a perfect man. In Matthew 5:48 he tells us to be "perfect even as your father, which in Heaven is." Not until he was resurrected and then eventually appeared to the Nephites in the Americas, (3 Nephi 12:48)did he include himself as being perfect along with his Father. He had to go through the entire process of being born, having trials and overcoming "all". That is progression in my mind.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    sharrona
    He is the subject but notice the noun declension theon* is the object which is not the same structure...
    KJK
    It is as since it is still the predicate nominative without the definite article.

    sharrona
    ,Also the context is in reference to a man not the uncreated creator of the universe(God).
    KJK
    This is REALLY the issue. The indefinite article CAN'T be there because it doesn't fit YOUR theology. As far as the JST goes, it's not scripture. The prophets have stated that anything that isn't scripture is basically commentary. JS didn't use a Greek text to render the JST so it's not a translation. It's simply commentary.

    The Bible refutes the Trinity. Rev. 3:14 says Christ is the beginning of God's creation. 1 Cor. 8:6 refers to the Father as God and Jesus as Lord. Heb. 1:2 says that Christ is a perfect representation of God. Eph. 1:3,17, etc... show that the Father is the God of Christ. Christ is A God, but the Father is THE God. "Why callest thou me good. There is none good but God". Christ denies being God.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 1, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    Kevin, Acts 28:6 likewise has the same structure where "he" "is the subject of the verb (einai) and the fact that theos(theon*) is without the article designates it as the predicate nominative.." . The KJV renders it, "..he is a god". Acts 9:15 and 28:4.??
    He is the subject but notice the noun declension theon* is the object which is not the same structure ,Also the context is in reference to a man not the uncreated creator of the universe(God). Context and declensions are essential in an inflected language: the(oi)gods(Theoi)have come down to us in human form(Acts 14:11 Greek N.T.)

    Joseph Smith realized the correct translation,the Word was God,and that it is devastating to Mormonism, so he changed it: In the beginning was the gospel preached though the Son, and the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God(John 1:1 JST)

    ...the love of God, because he laid down his life for us(1John 3:16 KJV)God on the cross.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    June 1, 2011 11:03 a.m.

    brokenclay
    I have taken a look at your "13 anachronisms" and they are not what you try to make them appear to be. From your post it would appear that Joseph Smith simply took the directly from the NT that however is not the case. For some example your first the quote from Gal.4:4 is "fulness of the time was come" as well as the context being different. Your 7th and 8th are simply 1 word each both of these words were used in the OT and NT so by your standard you must discount them from the NT and claim the NT is false. Your 5th the concept is similar however the only word in common is "sacrifice". Your 6th again similar concept however no words in common. Your 9th again similar concept however no words in common.
    I could go on but I think the point is made similar concepts taught to two different people by the same God is not anachronism. What would be a problem for the Book of Mormon is if the teachings were not similar in concept. After all it is the same God.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    June 1, 2011 10:09 a.m.

    sharrona
    Kevin J Kirkham said,...Jesus is the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was[a]God. (John 1:1 NWT)Wrong.
    "Only sophomores in Greek grammar are going to translate '...and the Word was [a] God.' The article with logos, shows that logos is the subject of the verb en and the fact that theos is without the article designates it as the predicate nominative. The emphatic position of theos demands that we translate '...and the Word was God.' John is not saying as Jehovah's Witnesses are fond of teaching that Jesus was only one of many Gods. He is saying precisely the opposite."

    KJK - No JW. I'm a card carrying LDS. The Greek can be translated either way. Acts 28:6 likewise has the same structure where "he" "is the subject of the verb (einai) and the fact that theos is without the article designates it as the predicate nominative.." . The KJV renders it, "..he is a god". Acts 9:15 and 28:4 likewise have the predicate nominative without the article preceding the verb and the KJV translating the predicate nominative with the indefinate article, "a".

  • sharrona layton, UT
    June 1, 2011 8:43 a.m.

    Kevin J Kirkham said,If one sets aside the Creeds and relies ONLY on the Bible, we readily see who Jesus is. Isogetical interpretations If fall by the way side,Jesus is the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was[a]God. (John 1:1 NWT)Wrong.
    "Only sophomores in Greek grammar are going to translate '...and the Word was [a] God.' The article with logos, shows that logos is the subject of the verb en and the fact that theos is without the article designates it as the predicate nominative. The emphatic position of theos demands that we translate '...and the Word was God.' John is not saying as Jehovah's Witnesses are fond of teaching that Jesus was only one of many Gods. He is saying precisely the opposite." Google, John 1:1 and the new world translation: what do the Greek scholars really say?

    Kevin if you are a JW and can really read the Greek text there are many other mis-translationsin the NWT We could discuss like Colossians 1:16,17.

  • goatesnotes Kamas, UT
    June 1, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    I have read and re-read the Book of Mormon my entire life. Each time I pick it up and consult it again for guidance, I am astounded at the pinpoint wisdom particular to the needs of the day. It is an inexhaustible supply of truth and light. It did not come from Joseph Smith, but rather through him. Its divine authenticity is in evidence on every page as a true witness of the mission of Jesus Christ, the plan of salvation, the power of the priesthood, and the establishment of Zion in the last days. Anyone with an ounce of objectivity who examines its contents in depth with an honest heart cannot come to any other conclusion.

  • Doctor Tucson, AZ
    May 31, 2011 11:28 p.m.

    I think the point people like the author miss is that if J. Smith was a fraud then his education, the length of time it took him to write the BOM, etc are all irrelevant.

  • Kevin J. Kirkham Salt Lake City, UT
    May 31, 2011 10:22 p.m.

    sharrona
    For the Greeks, the concept of the logos comprehends the interrelationship of thought, word, matter, nature, and being and law.
    KJK
    The Logos, per Greek philosophy was a demiurge or a being embodying the mind and will of God.
    John did not mean that Christ was LITERALLY the Greek Logos but rather gave it as a description that the Greek converts and potential converts could use to better understand Jesus. The problem is that historic Christianity became more and more influenced by the massive influx of Gentiles which brought along much of their Greek paganism. Google and Youtube have historic Christians defending this. The Creeds superseded scripture to the point that we have another Jesus and another Gospel....hence the need for the Restoration.

    Jesus is the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was a God.

    If one sets aside the Creeds and relies ONLY on the Bible, we readily see who Jesus is. Isogetical interpretations fall by the way side.

  • DaveinSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 31, 2011 10:05 p.m.

    I needed this article today. The book is indeed both extremely complex doctrinally and simple at the same time. I love that book, it has changed my life. It was great reading your article and it has strengthened me on a day when I felt the criticisms of The Book of Mormon ringing in my ears. Thank you!

  • Fuzz Springville, UT
    May 31, 2011 9:57 p.m.

    Not sure I understand this eternal progression thing. Jesus is a terrible example of this.
    He went from a spirit child (like us) to a God that helped create this earth and rule over it, to becoming the only begotten in the flesh (being half man / half God) back to being a full God.

    That is progression, followed by regression, followed by a return to a previous state.
    Very confusing.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    May 31, 2011 6:06 p.m.

    "While there is uncertainty as to the source of the BOM, there is no question that St. Paul's words are included before St Paul was even born."

    I guess if you reject the notion that St Paul was inspired by God when he wrote those words, it would be difficult to understand how it could happen. It makes perfect sense to me, however. The way I see it, if I was going to completely invent a religious text and try to pass it off as authentic, the last thing I would do would be to include obviously copied passages from the Bible. Honestly, I don't see what is so illogical about the idea that God would reveal the same truths to his prophets living in different parts of the world. Why wouldn't he? He would teach the same things to all his prophets, and when he teaches it in English, when it's written down, it's going to come out very similar to the English translation of his previously recorded teachings. But I guess none of this matters if you don't believe that God can inspire anybody, or make his truth known.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    May 31, 2011 2:37 p.m.

    How many words are in the Book of Mormon (excluding modern chapter headings, etc.)
    264,000?, 270,000?, 306,118?
    (Note: There are 6,604 verses in the BOM).

    My Church believes the BOM is the word of God.

  • ADN Weiser, ID
    May 31, 2011 1:08 p.m.

    @ brokenclay

    Thank you for establishing the fact that the gospel Joseph Smith restored is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It hasn't changed, it is the same message. The Book of Mormon isn't replacing the Bible, it is testifying of the same message but from a different group of people living at the same time in a different part of the world. The Bible and Book of Mormon go hand in hand. Just like the gospels in the New Testament. I am personally grateful for each account in the New Testament on the life and teachings of Christ. I am equally grateful for the account from the old world and new world on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know both Bible and Book of Mormon to be true. They will lead an honest seeker to know God and truth.

  • ADN Weiser, ID
    May 31, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    @ OC64

    Joseph Smith became smarter and smarter as he was taught from on high. He was tutored by some of the greatest people to have ever walked the planet. So by the end of his life, yes, he was very intellectual, and very articulate and people loved to hear him speak. But, when he translated the Book of Mormon he could barely write a letter (Emma's words, not mine)let alone write the Book of Mormon.

    I know that the Book of Mormon to be true. So many people will attack the messenger if they can't find fault with the message. That has been the pattern of the unbelieving since the beginning of time.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 31, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    Hey, look at that, Mormoncowboy and I agree on something in regard to theology.

    Mormoncowboy said, "What the Bible 'say's' is quite simple - but what the Bible "mean's" is frankly derived through theological filters, notwithstanding many-a-Christians insistence on 'Bible based Christianity'. What they really mean is a 'Church based on wha[t] I say the Bible says'."

    Be careful now. You may invoke the wrath of cmtam/sharonna/donn.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 31, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    Ultimately I don't buy it either Fred -

    However, Christ once gave sermon wherein he stated that if your "right eye offend" you should pluck it from you so that the corruption of the eye does not spread to the entire "body". So thematically this idea of a body made of multiple parts, each able to sin independent of the whole, isn't entirely foreign to Christs own teachings on the matter.

    Again - I'm not personally sold on the theology, but I'm no more sold on the Bible than I am The Book of Mormon. However, to say that the Bible doesn't teach "it" is somewhat up for question. Still, I have no problem saying - that the greatest contribution made by Joseph Smith to Christian thought is the willingness to acknowledge variability and subjectivity of Biblical interpretation. What the Bible "say's" is quite simple - but what the Bible "mean's" is frankly derived through theological filters, notwithstanding many-a-Christians insistence on "Bible based Christianity". What they really mean is a "Church based on whay I say the Bible says". So it's impressive that Joseph Smith was willing to challenge unimpeachable authority of the Bible.

  • Frodo Orem, UT
    May 31, 2011 11:56 a.m.

    I get what you're saying, Mormoncowboy. My point was that spirituality and the supernatural exist outside the realm of rational, empirical reality. So, even if the Book of Mormon were somehow proven to be a genuine historical document, as is Bible to a certain extent, that would not prove the Truth of its spiritual or supernatural claims.

    Basically, the search for 'evidence' that the Book of Mormon is 'True' is not terribly important to the spiritual utility of the book's doctrines, in my view.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    May 31, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    Brokenclay said: "That is to say, in some real way we have been united with Christ and we have become one (though not ontologically one) through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit."

    So simply stated, your theory is that since you are "indwelling" with Christ, if you commit murder, and then if Christ takes your punishment for murder, justice is served because it is really like Christ committed the murder, since you dwell in him (i.e. part of the same body?)? Justice is served because Christ, your co-murderer, has been punished?

    So you believe that, technically speaking, the one perfect person to ever live on this earth, that has never committed any sin, is actually sinning every day because you are "indwelling" with him? Um, yeah, that's what the Bible teaches. Not.

  • Aggielove Junction city, Oregon
    May 31, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    Cats had it right. Amen

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 31, 2011 10:38 a.m.

    "-Is the Book of Mormon True?"

    I disagree - this is why The Book of Mormon is attacked and defended so intensly. It claims to be a real history - and therefore can be proven. While technically it could never be disproven, it can be reduced within a practical and useful probability as highly unlikely. That's really where it stands now - which is why Ash has gone to such great lengths to try and argue for the limitation's of current research. If The Book of Mormon were a likely history, it would be deemed as a useful resource for current exploration - even if it didn't lead to greater conversion numbers.

    Very few religious claims in the world fall into this category. Does God exist? How would one prove that, it is untestable. Did Christ raise the dead, including himself? Again, we supposedly have centuries old "eyewitness" accounts alleging that he did, but no means of testing. Did three groups of Middle-Easterners migrate to the America's and populate the continents here - break into two distinct warring factions, etc. That we can test - so far no results - which is why Ash is trying to render the the BoM untestable!

  • Frodo Orem, UT
    May 31, 2011 9:37 a.m.

    -Is the Book of Mormon True?

    -Was Joseph Smith a True prophet?

    -Is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the one True Church?

    Sorry, but these questions are meaningless. Such assertions cannot be proven. In spiritual matters, there is no such thing as 'one-size-fits-all'.

    -Does the Book of Mormon inspire me? Does it lead me to be more charitable, loving, and honest?

    -Are there any stories from the life and teachings of Joseph Smith that likewise inspire and edify me?

    -Can I become a better human being through the teachings and service opportunities of the LDS Church?

    Those are some useful questions to start asking.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    May 31, 2011 9:02 a.m.

    Twin Lights: The Biblical Christ, Immanent and transcendent. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God John 1:1. The meaning of the Word and its significance. Word is from the Greek word Logos, from which The we derive our word logic and all words ending in-ology: psychology, theology and so on. For the Greeks, the concept of the logos comprehends the interrelationship of thought, word, matter, nature, and being and law. The Apostle John dropped a theological bombshell on the Greek philosophers, looking on Jesus talking about Him not as an impersonal concept, but as the incarnation(John 1:14) of the eternal Logos. Logos of God when applied to Jesus meant far more than the Word of God more than divine revelation, but in Jesus we have also have the reason and Mind of the Cosmos. God is uncreated Logic in his very being and provides order, regularity, law and intelligibility to the cosmos, not as some impersonal soul but as a personal creator: through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made(John 1:3). Google Kenosis doctrine.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 31, 2011 8:46 a.m.

    Jm - you claim on many of your posts that the so called "anti's" lie, twist, and deceive. The problem is, you never cite any sources to counter the information that has been presented to you. All you say is that all of the historical information presented only supports Joseph Smith and the restoration. Again, without giving any sources or actual information. I think that if you actually studied mormon history, and in particular, the history of Joseph Smith you may make a different finding. I am not saying that you would then not believe he was a prophet. I just think you would be able to admit that there are many facts that do not support your position. I realize there are some facts that do support it. Unfortunately, you are only looking at one side of it. History can change in the books, but it does not change in actuality. You cannot simply accept any history that supports Joseph Smith, and then claim that anything against him is made up. See that simply doesn't make sense. And when something doesn't make sense it usually isn't true.

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    May 31, 2011 2:04 a.m.

    Re: brokenclay

    "The reply I got is that the Christ was sinless and had divine superpowers as the Son (aside-- aren't we also sons because we are brothers of Jesus?)."

    We are all spirit sons and daughters of God, spirit relations of the Savior, but the difference is that Jesus Christ was the literal, biological Son of the Father. Our Father in Heaven is not our biological father. But for Christ, He was. That's what we mean when we say that Christ was both a man and divine. That is why He was able to be sinless. His title as Son has a completely meaning than our title as children of God.

  • Kimball Bakersfield, CA
    May 31, 2011 12:07 a.m.

    Joseph Smith is a great prophet, seer, and revelator and was an instrument in the the hands of the Lord Jesus Christ to restore the truth, priesthood, and knowledge to the earth that had been eventially lost after the apostles were killed after Christ's ascension. He was a great man. The author is pretty bright and not a bad writer either. A dissertation is a mere hurdle and not the most important document in the world. Jump it and move on. The article you just wrote may be one of the greatest things you will write in my opinion, but I will look forward to future articles.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    May 31, 2011 12:02 a.m.

    Brokenclay,

    If you believe that the LDS view is that "Jesus is simply a man, not qualitatively different from you or I", you are gravely mistaken.

    He is the Son of God who shares with his Father all knowledge and power and to whom has been committed the keys of judgment due to his atonement. Because he is the great judge, I will leave to him what offering he will or will not accept.

    As for the "orthodox" doctrine of the trinity. It was produced some 300 years after Christ and the apostles. Why is such an important doctrine finalized generations later via an effort led by an only nominally Christian emperor?

    Christ taught with powerful simplicity and (with the possible exception of John 14:9), he consistently references the Father as a separate person, says that he obeys the Fathers will, and otherwise distinguishes between himself and the Father. He tells his disciples to be one as he and the Father are one.

    If ever there was anyone who could (and should) have explained Trinitarian doctrine, it was Christ. But he did not. The record he left is far different.

  • The Vanka Provo, UT
    May 30, 2011 9:32 p.m.

    whistle219,

    You just proved Brokenclay's, Mormoncowboy's, and my points.

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    May 30, 2011 8:10 p.m.

    Vanka, no where in LDS doctrine does it say how the Father obtained Godhood, only that He was once like us

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    May 30, 2011 6:23 p.m.

    Brokenclay and Mormoncowboy raise important soteriological issues that should not be blithely swept under the rug.

    The LDS view of the "purpose" of life itself undermines a meaningful atonement. For LDS, mortal life is a "test", and all the sin and suffering of mortality are deliberately designed by god to "give thee experience" (see D&C122:7).

    According to LDS doctrine, God (the Father) and Jesus (the Son) have achieved the level of godhood in the priesthood because they obtained their "experience" and, of their own power, triumphed over the sin and suffering of a mortal existence; i.e., they "passed the test". Likewise, each mortal must "pass the test" (taste the bitter in order to understand the sweet: Moses6:55 and 2 Nephi2:15).

    On this view, in what does the "atonement" consist? The "grace" and "mercy" of god consist in depriving mortals of the salvific power of mortal sin and suffering. As such, the so-called atonement, on the LDS view, actually robs each mortal of their growth experience by which they would otherwise have developed the ability to abide a higher law (D&C88:22-24) and "earn" a higher glory.

  • Iggle Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2011 5:13 p.m.

    Thank you, Mormoncowboy, for explaining that well in a civil manner. I still disagree with the initial premise that Jesus is a "mere man" because I believe that is not LDS doctrine, and I also speak from personal experience in that I have felt Jesus' divine power in my life fulfilling promises he himself made to those who believe in him, so he cannot be a "mere man." But, enough church leaders have said enough things to make people think we actually do believe that way, and considering we Mormons write down every single thing our leaders say, I guess we just have to live with that criticism :)

    brokenclay, I misunderstood what you meant. I didn't intentionally "side-step" it. Sorry for misunderstanding.

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    May 30, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    Brokenclay, it appears to me that you are using the Nicene creed to interpet the Bible. Why use a man made political document to judge spiritual things? Dont deny that you are doing this very thing because it is very apparent.

  • newslady Orem, UT
    May 30, 2011 4:27 p.m.

    I sympathize with your dissertation challenge. Unlike the Book of Mormon, a dissertation is a book that you write in your own words, with your own ideas.

    But a dissertation doesn't have to make a world-changing contribution (like the Book of Mormon). It just needs to be a completed work that pleases your dissertation committee. As a friend of mine said to me as I was working on my dissertation, "The best dissertation is the completed dissertation."

    What helped me the most was asking my dissertation chair to require weekly reports from me so that I would have a sense of accountability for my progress. After I put this in place, my dissertation moved along much more quickly.

    You might want to try something like this with your dissertation.

    And, please, be kinder to yourself about your contribution and your scholarly work. I am sure that you are making more of a contribution with your research than you realize.

  • whistle219 princeton, IN
    May 30, 2011 4:24 p.m.

    Broken clay, you forget that when you translate from one language to another, you dont translate word for word bur thought for thought. As for saying mormons believe that Christ is merely a man, you are way off base and have very little knowledge of this belief. The belief that works and grace are needed as part of the atonement gives no cause to say we think of Christ as a mere man

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 30, 2011 3:50 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy, thank you for the much needed illumination.

    In Mormonism, man and deity are not qualitatively different, but only quantitatively. That is, gods have graduated out of sinning and they have been magically granted the powers to create worlds. Nonetheless, they are by nature men. Remember the dictum, "As man is, God once was . . . "? The gods exist temporally and spatially, and they are finite in any number of ways.

    The force of my example was completely side-stepped by the LDS responders. I ask again, would this be justice? I contend that all of society would be crying out for that judge's head, and rightly so.

    The reply I got is that the Christ was sinless and had divine superpowers as the Son (aside-- aren't we also sons because we are brothers of Jesus?). But to punish a perfect man in place of a guilty man only exacerbates the moral problem. Indeed, the Bible rails against such things (Proverbs 17:15). And how does the Son having a lot of power absolve the moral dilemma? These things are not sufficient to solve the problem; only union with Christ allows God to be merciful while remaining just.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    May 30, 2011 3:30 p.m.

    Peace, comfort and solace radiate from the pages of the Book of Mormon. I also love the many books that make up the Bible. But the Book of Mormon brings a remarkable ability to sort the many conflicting voices interpreting those books (ranging from world-weary Bible as Literature professors, to snake-handling Evangelicals spinning and spitting from a backwoods pulpit) and beckons them join the long-hoped-for Christ-centered unity of faith

    The ancient prophet Mormon worried that the gentiles would mock these humble words of scripture. (Samuel Clemens once called it "chloroform in print.") Yet millions have found it a brilliant witness of the Messiah. To me, every page shines and sparkles with a miraculous divinity and truth wet with dew. The Lord reassured Mormon, "fools mock, but they shall mourn."

    As we have read from it as a family it has lead us to greater peace, harmony and love. We get along better. We are happier. Read it and see. Study it. Pray about it. Do so and it will reveal Christ to you. His spirit and will is like a tide of truth cleansing and renewing the living low-lands of the soul.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 30, 2011 2:55 p.m.

    Brokenclay, Iggle, Jeff:

    What Brokenclay was asserting by the suggestion that Christ was a "mere man" and qualitatively no different, was that Christ, God, and the Holy Ghost - in Mormonism - are corporeal beings like men. They are each distinctly seperate from one another. He was not challenging the Mormon view that Christ was deity, or the Son of God.

    The point of acknowledging this is inherent in his example. I actually posted a similar example some time ago, as to why the Atonement (as taught in Alma 42 particularly) makes little rational sense. The (Gods) established laws with affixed punishments, and allow one of their own to serve the sentence. While the concept of a transfer of debt sounds nice in Mormonism, it makes not sense in the practical view of "punishment". Sure, recompense can be transferred, but how obtuse are the Gods to demand that blood be shed, regardless of who's blood it is. The example of the murderer used in Brokenclay's example illustrates the point perfectly. On the other hand, if we were all "one being" as implied in trinitarian christianity, it at least makes theoretical sense for Christs suffering to satisfy our sins.

  • Jeff Temple City, CA
    May 30, 2011 1:49 p.m.

    @ brokenclay: The Book of Mormon makes it clear that Jesus was not a mere man. He is the Son of God in the Book of Mormon and throughout Mormon doctrinal teaching. As the Son of God, and as a perfect human being with the divine ability to conquer death, He was able to accept the suffering for our sins.

    Disagree with us if you choose, but make sure you understand our doctrines first; and if you understand them, represent them accurately.

    @ redhat: Do you have the same trouble with St. Paul's use of the words of other prophets?

    Anachronism is difficult to judge in translation. I have read a translation of Sophocles Oedipus Rex that seems very modern. Does that mean that Oedipus is a fake? Be careful not to impose your opinions of how the Book of Mormon was translated on the way you think Joseph Smith should have translated it. Be careful as well to note when St. Paul is quoting another source and when his language is absolutely original. Paul didn't follow modern standards of citation, and it's occasionally surprising to note that he's quoting when he doesnt' tell you so.

  • Iggle Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2011 1:22 p.m.

    "In my view, given the LDS doctrinal framework, their view of the atonement seems to me to be morally repugnant. Jesus is simply a man, not qualitatively different from you or I. How is it that this mere man could justly bear the punishment that was due me?"

    Jesus was/is divine. He was sinless. He was all-powerful and able to take on all of our sins. That is the LDS view ... not what you said it was. I and many other LDS people have felt the power of Christ's sacrifice in our lives.

    With all respect, your "different direction" is not the right direction. And you should probably save melodramatic phrases like "morally repugnant" and "complete travesty" for incidents and actions that really deserve them. If this is what you believe deserves those phrases, then the world must not have many problems.

    The BOM also explains in several places how the atonement can redeem those who died "without the law," meaning those who died without a knowledge of Christ. That is a key component of LDS doctrine.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 30, 2011 1:11 p.m.

    Now, the traditional Christian answer to this moral dilemma down through the millennia is the doctrine of our Union with Christ, which is also the New Testament's answer to the problem. That is to say, in some real way we have been united with Christ and we have become one (though not ontologically one) through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And thus, in the words of the great English theologian John Owen, "It is no unrighteousness, if the hand offend, that the head be smitten. But Christ is our head; we are his members."

    The Mormons cannot claim this answer to their problem, because their other doctrines preclude it. They reject the Trinity; therefore the Holy Spirit cannot be said to unite us with Christ in any real way. They make the Son into a mere man; no mere man can be united with all of the members of the Church. To be "united in purpose" is gravely insufficient for atonement, for then the atonement is no more just than the thought experiment I gave above, where all of the parties were also "united in purpose."

    Rejection of orthodox doctrine has grave implications in other areas.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 30, 2011 12:59 p.m.

    I would like to do some theological expansion on Mormoncowboy's comment on the BoM conception of the atonement. What he had to say was insightful and I agree wholeheartedly; I just wanted to take it in a little bit different of a direction.

    In my view, given the LDS doctrinal framework, their view of the atonement seems to me to be morally repugnant. Jesus is simply a man, not qualitatively different from you or I. How is it that this mere man could justly bear the punishment that was due me?

    Let's do a thought experiment on this. Let's say that a man was convicted of murdering your brother. He is to be given the death penalty. But you step up to the judge and tell him that you will bear the death penalty for him, if he accepts. The judge agrees to this arrangement. The murderer, of course, agrees as well. You are put to death, and the murderer goes free. Tell me, in what sense can it be said that justice was done in this case?

    The obvious answer is that this is not justice, but a complete travesty of real justice.

  • redhat Fairfax Station, VA
    May 30, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    While there is uncertainty as to the source of the BOM, there is no question that St. Paul's words are included before St Paul was even born.

    To get to the truth of the source of the BOM every thinking Mormon must confront that undeniable fact, and either accept the simple explanation that it was copied into the BOM from the Bible or come up with some complicated theory- eg God can do anything so he can give the ancient prophets the same words as Paul or the words sounded the same to JS so he went to a Bible" etc etc. Mormon apologists fill books with these mind boggling theories when the simplest explanation is usually the most probable-Sorry!

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    May 30, 2011 12:29 p.m.

    Cats
    We should be able to discuss these things without getting so angry. The Book of Mormon also says some things about education, attitudes about riches, class distinctions, concern about the welfare of your fellow beings, etc. I did not know about Senator Bennett's book and I look forward to reading it. I hope that it did not have anything to do with his being defeated so soundly for being too liberal. I hope we can, in another article, discuss some of the differences between Democrats and Republicans on issues health care, education, role of government, etc.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    May 30, 2011 12:20 p.m.

    Whether the Nephites actually existed or not may not be proven objectively in this lifetime. But this person pretending to be LDS agrees that the book has influenced millions to better their lives and become more like Christ. Which is why I believe it exists in the first place. Whether you believe in it's supernatural origins certainly impacts your relationship with the LDS Church. But, regardless, it does contain teachings that can improve individuals and families.

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    May 30, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    2 Nephi 2 anachronisms:
    v. 3 -- "fulness of time" (Galatians 4:4)
    v. 4 -- "the same, yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8)
    v. 5 -- "by the law no flesh is justified" (Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16)
    v. 6 -- "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14)
    v. 7 -- "offereth himself a sacrifice for sin" (Hebrews 9:26)
    v. 8 -- "layeth down his life . . . " (1 Peter 3:18)
    v. 9 -- "firstfruits" (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23)
    v. 9 -- "intercession" (Hebrews 7:25)
    v. 9 -- "they that believe in him shall be saved" (Acts 16:31)
    v. 13 -- "no law . . . no sin" (Romans 5:13)
    v. 27 -- "the great Mediator" (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24)
    v. 29 -- "to captivate, to bring you down to hell" (Matthew 11:23)
    v. 30 -- "I have chosen the good part" (Luke 10:42)

    I found 13 anachronisms in this supposed 6th century B.C. chapter just from a cursory read. This can be replicated with virtually every chapter in the BoM. The Mormon answer to this is a divine dictation theory of inspiration, which is completely foreign to the Bible and results in huge problems in itself.

  • NightTrader Colonia, Yap, FSM
    May 30, 2011 12:06 p.m.

    Good article. Believe what you will about its origins, mankind could do well to live by the principles taught in its pages!

  • JM Lehi, UT
    May 30, 2011 11:49 a.m.

    Great article.
    2Nephi2&9, when understood in context (with DC88 &93 and other DC, Biblical and BoM passages) we gain an understanding of the purpose of life, the existence of evil and suffering and the direction we should take to find eternal happiness etc. Joseph's translations and Revelations give information so profound that I think even us LDS don't yet fully understand. Through Joseph and other prophets Jesus has trumped all philosophy and physics.

    Joseph was smart through the Spirit of God, but if I remember correctly Emma claimed he couldn't write a coherent letter. Yet, the scriptures given through him have stood through almost 200 years of attack. Many have dedicated their lives to discrediting the BoM. All have failed. They are here on the DN, day in and out, fabricating, twisting, and failing, always failing to stand against the BoM. Everything they throw at it falls, and ends up supporting Joseph's claims. Then they are left to pretend they are LDS to sow their seeds of doubt, or to simply lie.

    The BoM is a miracle. It changes many lives, and it is true.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 30, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    Dear FDRfan: I think that small-government and lower taxes are certainly examples of ways the BofM influences conservatives. 50% taxation is defined in the BofM as BONDAGE. Conservatives also believe in liberty. That is also a major theme in the BofM. Conservatives also believe in doing good works and charitable giving based on FREE AGENCY--not government forced redistribution of income. Senator Bennett even wrote a book about how he had been influenced by the Book of Mormon.

    FDR established big government, obscene tax rates and even threw people in jail who refused to RAISE their prices to fit government enforced price systems. THAT WAS BONDAGE! Clearly there weren't a lot of Book of Mormon principles in that.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    May 30, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    We need to get past trying to convince the world that the Book of Mormon is true and asking them to read it. Showing how it applies in every day life and how it provides answers to society"s problems will encourage people to read it.

  • OC64 Edmonton, AB
    May 30, 2011 10:42 a.m.

    Everyone talks about Joseph Smith as if he was unitelligent and/or unable to read and write. The reality is that he was a very intelligent man and a great communicator. I don't know if he wrote the Book of Mormon or "translated" the book of Mormon. I do know that even if he did not have much formal schooling he was smart and articulate.

  • MarieDevine Divine-Way Kansas City, MO
    May 30, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    The Book of Mormon holds the keys of the gathering. 2 Nephi 29 and Moses have that key. It gives politics the right to call religions to correction according to the written word of God, without interfering with religion. It says that God spoke to all nations the same word. There is one God over all the earth and He did not give conflicting information. None are to make images, all are to follow the law of God (the books of Moses) as Jesus confirmed. Muhammad was sent with the word for mostly Christians and Jews to follow the whole Bible, Torah and Gospel and all God sent down to them.

    At a time when we face jihad-holy war we MUST lift up the written word of God for our nation to become one with God. Muhammad confirms Joseph Smith Jr. and he confirms Muhammad (D&C 20:10)

    There is only one commanded Lord's Day of rest, the 7th day-Saturday. (Exodus 20:8-11) Obedience will unite people of America and world in true brotherhood. All religions need correction and would make any scholarly paper you write of extreme relevance.

  • bwoods Tucson, AZ
    May 30, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    Bravo, Bro. Williams! A most excellent article and point.

    Best wishes on completing your dissertation.

  • Western Story Teller Pahrump, NV
    May 30, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    Thank you so much for being honest in your struggles to produce something significant! I too have experienced the struggle to 'get it to a point' where it is perfect only to find more significant information that puts additional turns into the premise. I would like very much to communicate with you about this type of struggle - "to know when it is finished," so to speak.
    And yes, the marvel of the Book of Mormon being created (translated)by Joseph Smith under such dire circumstances is mind boggling and could have only been done with heavenly intervention! We are pansies today compared to what they had to struggle with - and yet some have the audacity to criticize the efforts and accomplishments as though they could have done better.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    May 30, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    I share your testimony of the Book of Mormon and pray for political leaders who base their governmental philosophies on its precepts. I dont pretend to argue that those who disagree with me are wrong but I would like to see it referenced more in Utahs politics. As far as I know Harry Reid is the only Mormon politician that claims to be influenced by it. The presumption is supposed to be that the others are also but Im not convinced that it is so. In my opinion, political philosophy is shaped by socio-economic status, and overwhelmingly trumps religion. Somehow, Mormon Democrats are questioned on their faith and patriotism. I would like to see a Republican show me how the Book of Mormon influences their political views.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 30, 2011 9:16 a.m.

    Well said. The idea that an ignorant farm boy from upstate New York could have written such a profound work on his own is absurd. The book has so much truth and depth for anyone who is willing to read it and ponder it's profound truths.

    I know the BofM is true for two reasons. First, the principles found within it which I have applied to my own life. But, more importantly, the fact that I have prayed and received personal revelation from God as to its truthfullness.

    I invite everyone to read it and test it. Only if you are unafraid of truth can you find it. You will find comfort to your soul.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    May 30, 2011 9:13 a.m.

    Comparing The Book of Mormon to a doctoral dissertation is about as "apples and oranges" as things get. To put it into perspective and compare the Book of Mormon to other books based on either fiction, or philosophy, or religion, etc, from the same time period - the fact that a book was produced consisting of nearly 529 some odd pages, isn't inherently remarkable.

    Secondly - I am not certain how extraordinary either 2 Nehpi 2, or Alma 42 are. They are basically treatise on the atonement, and to mind bespeak an inquiring mind that was largely unsatisfied with the grace/mercy rhetoric of the protestant traditions. While the BoM stresses the concept of repentance in these chapters, the concept of redemption through the Atonement still leaves the reader with the confusing paradigm that "sin" can be exchanged for grace through repentance, and is therefore a divinely tradeable commodity. Furthermore, there is little discussion on what repentance is, beside a "ceasing from all sin". At the end of the day we are left with an even more layered concept that is ultimately unsatisfying. Why was there an (unmovable) punishment affixed, for example. Thus, the simplicity of "grace alone" is no worse.

  • Full-on double rainbow Bluffdale, UT
    May 30, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    I agree that 2 Nephi 2 or Alma 42 are good chapters but what about all the New Testament direct quotes and allusions? You've got to take the good with the anachronistic.

  • kem Windham, Maine
    May 30, 2011 7:28 a.m.

    Amen!