Jeff:You stated that you would like it if more Scientists began to
"use the spirit to examine their conclusions". In response to Moniker
Lewinsky's challenge you then present a hypothetical scenario where a stumped
scientist would possibly be benefited from a flood of idea's to help them
resolve their dillema, which you would attribute to the spirit. How does this
scenario explain your rather bold contention that scientific conclusions should
be examined through the spirit? That argument seems to imply to me that the
spirit should be cross checking the scientific findings, rather than simply
contributing to ideas for hypotheses. I don't think anybody would care if
scientist gave credit to God for helping them concieve of a hypothesis, so long
as the testing and resulting conclusions were scientifically rigorous. In fact,
even I can admire the humility associated with giving God the credit for idea's.
Where we have debate is when a spiritual "confirmation", as we like to
say, contradicts the science without offering any empirical evidence that can be
objectively demonstrated and unanimously observed without requiring any
subjective/debatable religious pre-qualifiers. At that point is becomes just a
baseless assertion that smacks of arrogance and stubborness.
@ moniker lewinsky: "Mormoncowboy" is not likely to be asked to be my
spokesperson, thank you very much.What "Mormoncowboy"
describes is precisely what a scientist would do if the scientist did not feel
or know the Spirit but wanted to create a false impression of feeling it.
Someone with a real spiritual experience would not do that.I do not
believe that God, being a good parent, wants to do everything for us. Let's
propose this hypothetical situation: a scientist is seeking the truth about
something and is stymied at every turn. The scientist has tried every possible
approach that s/he can think of, and nothing confirms or rejects the hypothesis.
The scientist then prays and asks for help; his her/his mind is suddenly
flooded with a multitude of new ideas allowing him/her to proceed along
previously unconsidered avenues of inquiry and experimentation. Each approach
to a new idea renders possible a number of previously unconsidered truths that
the scientist realizes from a spiritual confirmation as well as a confirming
experiment, resulting in something that benefits humanity as well as the
Moniker Lewinsky:I'll answer that. I would start by stating a
hypothesis, such as...I don't know...mabey that the Book of Mormon was a true
record of a real people. I would then begin attending services and paying money
to it's parent organization. After some time I would falsify that premise a
number of times, only to then reconfigure scriptural interpretation and
selectively dismiss certain statements from Church leaders in order to protect
my hypothesis. After some time I would come to learn that any means which can be
established to objectively test my hypothesis would ultimately result in
falsifying my hypothesis/deeply held belief. I would then contrive arguments and
defenses which cannot be tested objectively. I would then introduce a new
"empirical" method of testing, utilizing instruments that cannot be
tested or measured or compared, and I call this method the spirit. I will also
claim that it is the highest empirical method available to mankind, and should
be given superiority over all other methods. I will then claim to have had an
"undeniable" experience with the spirit confirming my original
hypothesis. Case closed!
Jeff: How would it benefit science for scientists to use "the
spirit" to examine their conclusions? Could you give me an example of how
this would work?
Jeff said, I disagree that there are Trinitarian ideas in the Book of Mormon,
but I disagree that they're found in the Bible, too. Examples:For
there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy
Ghost: and these three are one(*heis,1520). (1 John 5:7 KJV)and(1 John 5:7
JST)Both teach 3 persons one God and the Nicene creed was well before the KJV.
*cardinal number 1, One God, not gods.Baptizing them in the name(*to
onoma) of the Father,and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost(Spirit)(Mt 28:19
KJV)and (Mt 28:18 JST). Classical Tri-unity statement. *The name not
names, good Greek grammar.Hear O Israel, The LORD=(YHWH)our
God=(Elohim)is one(eshad)LORD(YWHW)(Deut 6:4),Gods personal name is YHWH.
Jehovah is a poor KJV translation. Google tetragrammatonThis is the
doctrine of Christ, and the only true doctrine of the Father and of the Son ,and
of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end Amen.(2 Nephi 31:21) Early JS
taught there is only one God.
@ lewinsky: I agree with much of what you say. I think my intent is different
from yours, however. I would especially like it if more scientists used the
Spirit to examine their conclusions; many do, and they are happy indeed.
@Jeff:That most people appreciate hearing their beliefs defended does
little to speak to the credibility and truthfulness of the defense. Especially
when the one doing the defending has a preconceived agenda to fulfill. In my
opinion, people should spend less time trying to defend their beliefs and more
time trying to scrutinze them, even if that means having to deal with
unpleasantries. In most scientific communities, one starts out with a
theory and tries to disprove it. With religion, people are often encouraged to
do the opposite. LDS missionaries teach investigators to have faith that the
Book of Mormon is true and then pray to be told that they are correct in their
assumption. Boyd K. Packer once declaired that a testimony comes in the bearing
of it. I believe that all matters of evidence and proof- whether religious
or secular in nature- should be held to the same standards of scrutiny. As long
as everything is being held to the same standards of scrutiny, I have no
problem. But in my opinion, nothing is so sacrosanct as to be immune to a
Bill - That is similar to saying that there is no Book of Mormon translation
manuscript. Of course there is, as he supposedly was getting the translation by
revelation he wrote them down. The original is a manuscript. So yes, on the
Joseph Smith translation of the bible it would be the same. Even if done by
revelation there would be a manuscript. You also claim that critics refuse to
listen... that is like critics saying the LDS faithful refuse to listen. That
may be partially true, but reality is that people can come to different
conclusions based on the EXACT same facts. There are historical facts - those
facts lead us to our own personal truth. So although you say critics don't
listen it is more that they do listen, but disagree on the conclusion of
whatever facts you are presenting. Just because somebody doesn't agree with your
interpretation of truth does not equal apostacy, anti-mormon, evil, etc.
@Brahmabull"It seems, at least to me, that the more you know
about the church and its history the less impressive and faith promoting it
becomes."I find just the opposite. As I have learned more about
the Church and its history, the more impressive and faith promoting it becomes.
Brahmabull and brokenclay: You both seem to be raising the idea that there is
some deep, dark issue in that fact that LDS doctrine developed over time.
Nothing could be more obvious. It's intrinsic in our Standard Works.I disagree that there are Trinitarian ideas in the Book of Mormon, but I
disagree that they're found in the Bible, too. That both books use the same
language to speak of God, despite the fact that Mormons from the First Vision
have believed in the separateness and distinctness of the Father and the Son,
shows that the books are inspired from the same source.I disagree
with Brahmabull that there are inconsistencies in doctrine and history. I agree
wtih Richard Bushman that Joseph Smith did not always fully understand the
revelations that he was receiving, but the revelations, taken as a whole, are
Brahmabull and Brokenclay: What both of you miss and don't understand is that
the Book of Mormon and the Bible are basis for what the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints believes. We believe in revelation, therefore of course
Joseph Smith theology changed over time as more and more things were revealed to
him. This is no different than any other prophet who lived or will live on the
earth.Secondly, why do I have to give you a manuscript. The fact
you ask for one is because there never was one. The translation Joseph Smith
did of the Bible was done completely by revelation. In this he was a revelator
and a seer, besides just being a prophet. I have read the Book of Mormon many
times and I continue to read it. I find the insights brough by others of faith
to be quite rewarding and something maybe I didn't see before. I learn
something new each time I read the Book of Mormon. The reason there are
apologists and defenders is because critics still refuse to listen. The only
explanation after everything comes to light is that Joseph Smith told the truth.
I just re-read Helaman 13 last night. I found Dan Peterson's insights into
Samuel the Lamanite's words very enlightening. Thank you for sharing.
Brokenclay - the part in the bible about 'adding to scripture' doesn't apply to
this - the bible is made up of parts of thousands of manuscripts so they are
technically adding to each other. Another thing is that the Book of Mormon
supposedly was taking place around the same time - so that wouldn't be
considered adding to scripture either. I do, however, agree with you that Joseph
Smith and what he taught transformed over time. I agree that there are many
inconsistencies with doctrine and the history. It seems, at least to me, that
the more you know about the church and its history the less impressive and faith
promoting it becomes.
Idaho Coug, you raise an interesting point. The BoM Jews had suspiciously
detailed prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, even by name, hundreds of
years before it happened. The Old World Jews had nothing of the sort. And yet on
the other hand, the NT church supposedly practiced all of the peculiar Mormon
doctrines, like baptism for the dead (Mormons claim 1 Cor 15:29, but it really
doesn't say a whole lot about the practice), temples, Melchizedekan priesthood,
polytheism, etc. So the question becomes, how is it that the BoM Jews received a
visit from the Savior, had detailed prophecies about him, but never were
instructed in the basics of the LDS faith?The best explanation
appears to be that Joseph Smith's theology developed over time. When he first
started, his doctrine was slightly more orthodox, even Trinitarian in places in
the BoM. But over time, the peculiar Mormon doctrines were developed and added
to the repertoire.Once again, I challenge a Mormon to present hard,
manuscript evidence for the JSTs. No one has taken me up on this yet. The Bible
promises some of the severest punishment for those who add to the words of
Bill in Nebraska,Gentiles were not plan B*:...I will keep you and will
make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the
"Gentiles"(Isaiah 42:6).It is too small a thing for you to
be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I
have kept. I will also make you a light for the "Gentiles",that my
salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6). One of the
basics Biblical hermeneutics is to use the N.T. to interpret the O.T..The
Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness have obtained it, a righteousness
that is by faith; but Israel who pursued a law of righteousness has not attained
it. (Romans 9:30)Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which
is in heaven is perfect(in Love)(Mt 5:48)Jesus uses the law. So the law was put
in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith(Gal 3:24
NIV). *No plan for Nephites or Lamanites.
It is interesting to me how different people perceive their scriptures, and I
appreciate insights I didn't see.When I read this story in the Book
of Mormon I was intrigued by Heleman 13:8-9 where Samuel is telling the people
if they don't repent they would be smitten in about 400 years. It seemed
strange that the people would feel compelled to act by something that would
happen that far in the future.I also felt Helaman 15:12 was a bit
curious when Samuel says the Lord's blessing are on "our brethren" the
Lamanites, kind of like he wasn't a Lamanite.Maybe I am too picky.
TO Sharrona: Clearly you misunderstand Isaiah 65 entirely. The Lord is
rebuking Israel for disregarding him, not the Gentiles as you state. A
carefully reading of the entire Chapter is necessary to understand just one
verse. Joseph Smith Translation of this same verse shows clearly that the Lord
was speaking to Israel. Even using the NIV with the rest of the verses clearly
shows that the rebuke was for Israel who and that he was silent because of their
own wickedness. This is clearly illustrated further in the Book of Mormon when
the Nephites and Lamanites both would become a stiffnecked people. The Lord
would withdraw himself from them. So clearly not only do the Lamanites and
Nephites meet this criteria as do all of the Lord's people who neglect to obey
his commandments and ordinances.Again faith is dead without works.
You have to prove to the Lord that you are willing to obey his commandments as
with the charge to all of us, "Be ye perfect even as I am". How can
we be perfect if we don't obey his commandments and ordinances? In the end, our
Saviour's grace saves us, after all we can do.
Idaho Coug: You will find that as you read the Book of Mormon more that you
will find that it truely is ANOTHER TESTAMENT of The Lord Jesus Christ. You are
right that the Nephites did follow the Law of Moses as they prepared for the
birth of the Savior. This is why it follows so well with the teachings of the
Old Testament. What is even more correct is that we learn in the Book of Mormon
that what was taught to one people was also taught the same to another. This
way the teachings are the same. When you speak of uniqueness to The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints you will find it in the teachings on
baptism, authority through the Priesthood (not something a man can take upon
himself), the importance of Prophets and Apostles, the partaking of the
sacrament (the emblems of Christ) and most of all the marriage covenant. All
are not unquie but all are comprised within the cover of the Book of Mormon.
Where some say the Book of Mormon and the Bible contradict really there is no
contradiction, only in the precepts of man himself.
Helooo, Great article!!!! True the BofM, returns more and more with careful
reading? Carefully reading the Bible can return more.And other
sheep(gentiles)I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and
they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.(John
10:16).Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, "I
will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a
nation that has no understanding." And Isaiah* ( Isaiah 65:1,gentiles)
boldly says, "I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself
to those who did not ask for me."( Romans 10:19-20 NIV). Neither the
Nephites nor the Lamanites can meet this qualification. But you are
a *chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation(ethnic), Gods special
possession (a peculiar people, KJV) that you may declare the praises of him who*
called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 NIV) *God,s
elect or(Church,). God chooses (elects) nation(ethnics).The true
church are Gods elect.
The truth doesn't need a defense, per se, but some in the faith really
appreciate seeing it defended.Explaining the literary methods of the
Book of Mormon is something that I appreciate--partly to strengthen my
testimony, but very much because I love to discuss literature, and I have been
fascinated for some time at how the Book of Mormon may be approached as a
literary work. I enjoyed this reading of this particular passage--something I
had not considered before.
Nor should the truth require such elaborate and full time apologetic efforts.
When it comes to religion and spirituality and morality, I believe two
things:The truth should ring true. Faith should act as a
bridge, but never an eraser. When somebody asks me to believe that
which can't stand up to scrutiny or is incredulous or goes against knowledge I
have attained or if that belief requires elaborate mental gymnastics in order
for me to maintain it, I know to ignore that person. When somebody asks me to
try to unlearn something or ignore it or sweep it under the rug or wait until
later to think about it all in the name of having faith, I know I should ignore
I am a firm believer that the truth never needs a defense. So I am puzzled by
those LDS members who make a living (as self-proclaimed defenders of the
faith)out of doing just that. As an active LDS member, I've never been befuddled
with, or by reading and studying the scriptures. The writing style is not
something I choose to study, the message is what I concentrate on. The truth
never needs a defense, even today.
Yep. And Peter Sellers' character, Chauncey, in the movie "Being
There" was a brilliant economist.
On page 160 of my re-read and enjoying it. But honestly struggling to find
"Mormonism" in it. Other than the backstory of the Lehites traveling
to the Americas and the finding and translation of the plates by joseph Smith
which is obviously uniquely Mormon, the book itself reads in a way that most
mainstream Christians would generally say "yeah, we believe that
too."Were the unique LDS teachings and doctrines most associate
with Mormonism today not known to the Nephites? It definitely seems that much of
what makes us unique TODAY came from the DandC, PofGP, and LDS leader teachings.
So far (through page 160) it is searching for and living the Law of Moses to
better anticipate the coming of Christ. Good stuff but far from uniquely LDS.
acrostic name calling cookies in "scholary" papers are subtle and
sophisticated too. But it doesnt make them correct either.
Solomon Spalding certainly seemed to think so.
My experience is that it is much easier to feast upon the word if you serve it
up aloud. My wife and I read all of the standard works aloud during the last
three months of our mission, and we appreciated the scriptures more than ever
Great article!!!! True the BofM, returns more and more with careful reading,
becomes prophecy more than history, and great counsel more than prose.
Love it! Excellent analysis!