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Published: Monday, Aug. 26 2013 3:25 p.m. MDT

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Moontan
Roanoke, VA

The Biblical prophets were fairly unambiguous when they said they had a message from God. I can't imagine Christopher's question requiring more than a one sentence response. How do we know?

atl134
Salt Lake City, UT

@michael.jenson
"How do we know when what they say is true? Simple. We know the same way that we know that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, we know the same way that we know that the Book of Mormon is true, and we know the same way that we know that God hears and answers our sincere prayers. We know by the power of the Holy Ghost."

Not a reliable source. No really, and yes I'm a Christian, but here's the deal... there are over 4 million people in the world who subscribe to some sort of faith based religion that would give an answer similar to this but end up being Catholic, Methodist, LDS, Muslim, Jewish... people are getting different answers. I would posit then that you don't actually know, you just think you know, just like all the other people getting different answers (and to some extent including myself, but I'm not subscribed to any particular denomination so I'm making less of a determination than you are since what you "know" is more specific than what I "know").

Abeille
West Haven, Utah

Christopher B:

I have many good Catholic friends and I respect their beliefs. Your first comment:

"Either their prophets speak for God or they don't. Either God is wrong sometimes or he isn't."

This is known as a 'Fools Choice', as there are more than two possibilities. In fact, there are many possibilities. It is possible for a Prophet to speak for God at times, while speaking his own mind at others. A good example of this is the Old Testament Prophet, Nathan. King David informs Nathan that he plans to build a temple to God. Here's Nathan's first response:

"And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the Lord is with thee."

Later that same night, Nathan has a dream. David is not to build the temple: his then-future son Solomon is to do it:

"He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his (Solomon's) kingdom for ever."

(2 Samuel 7:3, 13)

Was Nathan talking for the Lord the first time? NO. That does not invalidate the revelation or his standing as Prophet, though. (Cont).

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

I don't think this is really a complicated problem.

1. Do you believe in God? If yes, go to step 2. If no, move along and have a happy life.

2. Do you believe that God revealed His Gospel to J. Smith and ordained him a prophet, seer, revelator? If yes, go to step 3. If no, move along and have a happy life.

3. Do you believe that J. Smith, through the authority given to him from God, restored God's gospel in the form of the LDS Church and thereby set up a system of ordaining and establishing prophets, seers, and revelators for our modern day? If yes, go to step 4. If no, move along and have a happy life.

4. Do you believe that God answers your prayers? If yes, go to step 5. If no, move along and have a happy life.

5. If you believe steps 1-4, then do you believe God would put those men in those positions to purposely lead His church astray? If no, go to step 6. If yes, move along and have a happy life.

6. Have faith in the prophets' teachings, and/or pray for your own confirmation.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

Fred Vader,

That sounds all nice and pretty but doesn't hold up when your religion focuses so much on convincing others to join your church. When trying to convince someone to be baptized, its only fair they ask questions about the group they are about to join, don't you think?

1. Is your church the only true church? If yes, I'll ask question #2.

2. Does your prophet(and apostles by virtue of being prophets seers) speak for God? If yes, continue.

3. There are numerous examples of Mormon prophets and apostles seemingly speaking for God(to church congregations, in church literature) that turned out to be very controversial, or just flat out wrong.

4. Was god wrong in these instances?

5. How do you know when a Prophet is speaking for God and when he is speaking for himself?

6. If I have to go get "confirmation" of what the prophet said, what's the point in having a prophet if I can just go to God in the first place and get that information?

I just find it astonishing that Mormons can't answer #5 and yet want me to join their church.

maclouie
Falconer, NY

How do we know? The answer is in Alma. Alma defines faith and knowledge and how to know.

The bottom line, none of us know anything so there is no answer. Anything Christopher B. believes is what he wants to believe. That goes for all of us. We believe what we want to believe. Christopher B., go see the movie: The Life of Pi if you can't understand scripture.

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

Chris:

Here are my responses to your numbered questions:

1. Yes, I believe that the LDS Church is the true church. But you will need to get this answer for yourself. (See my response above #4 & 6.)

2. Yes, I believe our prophets speak for God. But you will need to get this answer for yourself. (See my response above #4 & 6.)

3. Not sure what the question is here, but I believe this statement is generally correct of most prophets and apostles, not just "Mormon" prophets and apostles.

4. No, I don't believe God is wrong. Not sure what instances you are specifically referring to.

5. You will need to get this answer for yourself. (See my response above #4 & 6 on "HOW")

6. You don't "have" to get confirmation if you follow my steps 1 through 6 in my earlier post. But you "can" have confirmation if you doubt.

7. I don't think it is astonishing, because we (several posters) have answered your #5. You just don't seem to like the answer, which is completely your prerogative.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

I'll attempt to answer Christopher's #5 in a one-liner: my answer would be "By comparing what the prophet says to Scripture."

Acts 17:11 tells us that those in Berea received Paul's "word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

Notice they were blind, mindless followers. Whatever Paul taught had to be verified by the Scripture they had available to them.

So, Chris, I'd say "By comparing what the prophet says to Scripture."

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

Correction... Notice they were NOT blind, mindless followers.

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

FRed and Moontan,

but your logic breaks down you I get a different "confirmation" than what someone else gets.

Isn't that problematic.

Isn't that the whole point of having a prophet?

Chris B
Salt Lake City, UT

"The bottom line, none of us know anything so there is no answer"

Well done Maclouie.

That's exactly right.

Mormon prophets themselves don't even know when they are speaking for God or not(See Brigham Young's quote already in this thread about never sending something forth unless it comes from God, even though Brigham has several falsehoods in his history as well)

Mormon followers therefore can stop telling us that when their prophets say something its from God.

We have no idea if it is or isn't. That's my whole point. Thanks again Maclouie.

EternalPerspective
Eldersburg, MD

Moontan

"Pure Knowledge" is one classification for divine communication (revelation) between the Holy Ghost and our spirits.

So how would one know they are receiving revelation, save the subtle and indescribable physical manifestations that accompany a spiritual awareness of truth not received the same way as worldly knowledge? This is at the heart of why people who receive revelation cannot begin to express in worldly terms.

God only reveals Himself unto those who listen to His Spirit and also act upon what is given towards becoming a profitable servant to Him here on earth. For God is no respecter of persons and Jesus said no one comes unto the Father but by Him. Only God knows when someone has made life choices to become prepared. Until then, they may walk largely in spirtual darkness, living primarily by their carnal ways and senses.

1 Corinthians 2:14 explains this in certain terms, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.". Purity of intent to hold God's words as sacred and actionable is required to know spiritual things.

Abeille
West Haven, Utah

Christopher B:

(Cont)
So, then, how are we to know which of Nathan's statements were revealed and which was simply him speaking? First, Nathan would be the first to let you know which statement was revelation and which was not. Second, you are not left on your own to decide. You can find out for yourself. It will take some effort on your part, but if you're really interested in how to do it, go to the official LDS website, click on scriptures, then Book of Mormon. Read Alma 32:21-43. Millions of people, including myself, have followed this pattern successfully. Some would have you believe that this is '...not a reliable source.' Baloney. I have found quite the opposite. Is there anything more sure than when God himself reveals something to you through the Holy Ghost? Let the naysayers say as they please. Let them imagine as many conflicting scenarios as they like. If you are really sincere about it, you can find out for yourself. It is your choice.

sharrona
layton, UT

@EternalPerspective .. Jesus, you must be born again=( G. Anothen from above).(John 3:3). i.e.,

Mosiah 4:3, “And it came to pass that after they had spoken these words the Spirit of the Lord came upon them, and they were filled with joy ,having receive a remission of their sins, and having peace of conscience, because of the exceeding faith which they had in Jesus Christ.”

The Spirit fell upon them before any ordinances had been applied(including baptism) they received the remission of their sins.

Luke 23:43=[44 JST],"Today shalt thou be with me in paradise"; see 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.

1Peter 3:20-22, 8 were saved by faith in Noah’s Ark. No one got wet.

Priesthood authority,(D&C 110: 1-16) Elias and Elijah appear to JS, but in the Bible they are the same person. The KJV translators attempted to transliterate Elijah to Elias because there isn’t a Greek character for the English letter J.

To avoid confusion, modern translations: NIV, NJKV, NASB and the Catholic Bible have Elijah instead of Elias in(Mt 11:14,; Luke 1:17)JS was fooled.

Pac_Man
Pittsburgh, PA

@JoeBlow

Scripture both ancient and modern testifies of Jesus Christ.

Fred Vader
Oklahoma City, OK

Chris:

I think you are still making this more complicated than it needs to be.

What to do if you believe God gave you an answer different than that of His prophet?

Again, do you believe God called that prophet to speak for him? If yes, why would He give you a different answer than what the prophet said?

But let's presume you do believe God called that prophet, and also gave you a different answer. If I was in that situation, then I would follow the answer I believe God gave me.

Bottom line, IMHO, if a prophet speaks for himself, and not for God, and directs you to do something wrong, and you didn't receive a confirmation from God that it was wrong, then I don't believe you would be held accountable for following the prophet. However, if the prophet does speak for God and directs you to do something, and you choose not to do it, then you will be held accountable.

But if you don't believe any of my #1-6, and feel God has directed you in another path, you should feel guilt free in taking it.

KellyWSmith
Sparks, NV

Christopher B, let me see if I can give you an answer to your question. When a prophet speaks anything, whether a statement of stance on a current political issue or of future events or anything in between, the burden is upon each one of us to exercise our faith and find out if he is speaking for God or not. The starting point for each of these discussions remains with trying and testing to see whether the Book of Mormon is the word of God. It takes faith to find out that answer. It will never be discovered through intellectual means alone but using intellectual faculties combined with faith.

As for supposed prophetic utterances that did not come true, it requires faith that someday we will know the answer as to why that happened. Did they really make Proclamation? Did someone write it down correctly? Were they making a joke? There are all kinds of things that could've taken place. But it takes faith to make your way through the difficult issue, and it always will.

Start with the Book of Mormon and go from there. Then you will have a foundation you can build on. Have Faith.

mattrick78
Cedar City, UT

I don't think Brigham Young claimed to be perfect and I think he sometimes went "off script" but later said he was speaking as a man and not as the prophet. He also said that the living oracles supersede prophets of times past and that includes him at this point in time. But if you took all that he has said in totality (which go into the volumes), much of what he said was good and wise counsel that far outweighs possible errors or things taken out of context or things people claim he said but probably didn't say or things that have no relevancy to us whatsoever. I believe that at his core he was good man, but that is my belief. And with what I understand about the gospel today he sounds like a prophet to me. That is my personal belief.

RanchHand
Huntsville, UT

maclouie says:

"If you feel disappointed that God has withheld his Holy Spirit and revelations/knowledge from you then I suggest you visit a mountain top nearest you."

--- Wow, what arrogance to assume that because he didn't get the answer you got (assuming he asked) that "god" withheld his spirit. Just WOW.

Apologetics: Indicates there is something to apologize for.

Just Wanted to Say
Salt Lake City, UT

@RanchHand:

Apologetics: Indicates there is something to apologize for.

__

Actually, apologetics comes from the Greek word "apologia" which means "to give a defense", and in this case it's a defense supported by specific reasons and thoughts. No apologizing.

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