Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Reliable witnesses, close to home’

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Published: Thursday, Oct. 17 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

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Buena Vista, VA

"Others wonder whether stories of ancient revelations and long-ago miracles in distant lands can be trusted."

I am one who would fall into this category. I am a biologist, scientific and skeptical by nature, and was trained by a bunch of atheist biologists and I am one who would ask, if the Bible is true, where are the angels/prophets/miracles today? I probably would be atheist. But I was also raised by LDS parents who taught me about the restoration, and after my own struggles, I obtained my own (not any more dependent on my parents) testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restoration and because of that I know the Bible is true. I think I've said as much in my entry on Daniel Peterson's website, Mormon Scholars Testify (I just wanted to put a plug in for that). I have a certain amount of respect for those who, without a knowledge of the restoration, still manage to have enough faith to believe in the Bible. But their faith and understanding could grow by learning what God has taught us in these latter-days.

Apocalypse please
Bluffdale, UT

You know what would be better than 11 witnesses? Unlimited. I sure wish the angel wouldn't have taken the plates away. Think of the tourism alone it would generate. Alas, I am like Alma: wishing for things that are not to be, and do sin in my wish.

Phoenix, AZ

Since truth is eternal one shouldn't need to look only to the dead for truth, it should be self evident in the past, present and future. Digging up dead bones to promote a preferred believe is myth building tactics of past more ignorant generations. Today's generation is not so superstitious and looks for more current and verifiable evidence as a means for believe. Most universities and professors employee modern teaching techniques for discovery and true knowledge.

Leesburg, VA

>>You know what would be better than 11 witnesses? Unlimited.

Apparently not, or the Lord would have done it that way. I suspect that if the plates were here, too many people would base the foundation of their testimony on the physical plates instead of on the content of the book.

Orem, UT

It seems that "skeptic" rejects history, archaeology, and such things as avenues to knowledge. Such fields definitely "look . . . to the dead for truth," and little or nothing about ancient Egypt, the First World War, the life of Isaac Newton, the American slave trade, the Renaissance, early Maya cities in the Yucatan, the Reformation, the discovery of the New World, the fall of the Roman Empire, Han China, the rise of impressionist painting, or the Black Plague is "self evident in the past, present and future."

New Yorker
Pleasant Grove, UT

@ Apocalypse please

Moroni 7:20-32 relates explains the witness pattern that God has used in every dispensation. One of the signs of the true church is that it will follow God's established pattern.

Orem, UT

Well, Verdad, I have no doubt that in looking to the dead for truth, we will stumble across simple and honest witnesses of Zeus, Vishnu, Marian Apparitions, etc., etc., etc. Some will say that this sort of witnessing is an important "avenue to knowledge," while others will dismiss it as unreliable for objective truth on account of its variety and inconsistency.

You may have your own spiritual witness of the Gold Plates, if you would like one. Or if you prefer that the Spirit should whisper the truth of Some Other Gospel to your soul, you may find that it does just that. Even visions can be yours for the price of desire and need.

When considering the variety of stories and witnesses available to us (and not all of them in agreement), there is no universal measure. If there were, there really would be a universal church. But the spirit speaks uniquely to the souls of men. Take the Mormon witnesses if you prefer them, but remember that there are other stories and other witnesses that call to us from the past. These also are received "by the spirit" to those who desire them.

1.96 Standard Deviations

Speaking of reliable witnesses, I was very impressed with President Eyring's testimony in the April 2013 conference talk "Come Unto Me." He said the following:

"I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.

This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We will on the Day of Judgment stand before the Savior, face to face. It will be a time of joy for those who have drawn close to Him in His service in this life. [...] I so testify as a witness of the risen Savior and our Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

clearfield, UT


You could also have the witness of scientists from ancient times that thought they had objective truth that later turned out to be false.

Provo, UT

1.96 Standard Deviations,

President Eyring and every other LDS church apostle and GA who testifies they are a witness of the resurrection of Christ and Joseph Smith seeing God and Christ aren't any more credible witnesses than are Pope Francis, Billy Graham, you, me or any other human being who testify we have seen God or other supernatural beings.

Just claiming you know something doesn't necessarily make you credible nor makes anything you say to true. Catholics, Muslims, Baptists, JWs and many other faiths all claim that their church is true. So, who is right? It depends on what you mean by "true."

sandy, ut

Apocalypse please

You aren't sinning in wishing the plates were still here. Many wish that. But they didn't exist, so they could not remain today. An angel never took them back, that is a story that was told to cover for a lack of evidence for them. So don't worry about it. If they did exist in reality, they would still be here.

clearfield, UT

If the plates were on display for the world to see, they would be discounted as being just as fake as some say the Bible, Book of Mormon, ect. are. The physical existance of them would not make believers out of people any more than if the Arc of the Covenant or the Holy Grail were found and put on display. Believers will be believers and skeptics will still be skeptics. Jesus, along with the Prophets before him, had to deal with skepticism. Nothing new here.

1.96 Standard Deviations


You have moral agency to accept or reject the witnesses. President Eyring was clear: "This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

As good as the Pope and Billy Graham are, they don't testify like LDS apostles. Regardless, I don't want to go back and forth with you on the matter. Consider the prophet Amulek's words (Alma 34:37-38):

"And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

Orem, UT

Happy2bhere, you said, that "You could also have the witness of scientists from ancient times that thought they had objective truth that later turned out to be false."

That is true. And we know that these "witnesses" are false because there is a universal measure of scientific truth called the scientific method, which, over time, tends to sort things out.

However, there is no universal measure for religious truth. What one person or group accepts as their standard of knowledge (the Bible, the Holy Ghost, a prophet, a tradition, etc.), others reject. So far, nobody has managed to justify one religious method of obtaining knowledge as superior to all others. Therefore, the only ground upon which religious witness is accepted or rejected is a personal one. What we mean by "reliable" in religious circles is not the same as in scientific, and that is why there has never been, in all of recorded history, a religious movement that has unified religious belief as the scientific method has done to the physical sciences.

Provo, UT


I admonish you as a thinking and reasoning human being to use your own thinking and reasoning abilities to study in your mind what is truth and what is simply hearsay and rumor.

You are right, the Pope and Billy Graham don't testify like LDS apostles. They proclaim their FAITH and BELIEF in God and Christ and not the supposed knowledge which isn't knowledge at all - that LDS apostles claim to have. They have no knowledge of God and Christ. They may think they do but they would be deluding themselves as do many people in the LDS church and in many other churches and faiths.

By the way, I appreciate your concern for me and using the words of Joseph Smith as given through a character in the Book of Mormon to call me to repentance. I know you mean well.

Falconer, NY

>>You know what would be better than 11 witnesses? Unlimited.

Would not matter if the plates were still here. The papyrus is still here (Book of Abraham) and it's physical existence does not prove anything.

Bottom line, all knowledge is based on faith and people believe whatever they want or whatever they are convinced to believe.

For me, I know my life is blessed (made happy) because of my belief in the restoration. What story do you want to believe? Hopefully it is one that will bless your life? It's personal preference, isn't it?

Westland, MI

" Cowdery’s account of the resurrected John the Baptist’s appearance to him and Joseph Smith ..."

The only Personage that appeared to Joseph and Oliver on May 15, 1829 was the Angel Moroni - one appearance for one specific day to restore the one and only Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. All the other subsequent "appearances" were the result of the falsification of Joseph Smith's history that began in May of 1838, and continued thereafter - especially with Brigham Young. This is what we firmly believe in The Church of Jesus Christ [WHQ: Monongahela, PA].

Phoenix, AZ

Like science, ethics needs no help from supernatural assumptions.

sandy, ut


No.... If the plates were here, then they would be authenticated as real if they really were as old as claimed. If not... yes they would be discounted as fraud but it would be due to scientific evidence. Nobody is out to get you... they want the plates to examine. just like the dead sea scrolls - scientists looked at them and deemed them genuine and to the period that they claimed to be from.

Thinkman - ignore 1.96, when he/she has nothing to say as a rebuttal he will call people to repentance - it is his way of tapping out.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@happy2bhere – “You could also have the witness of scientists from ancient times...”

A contradiction in terms.

Modern science (testable hypotheses, falsifiability, etc…) has only been around for about 400 years. Prior to that a “scientist” was closer to a philosopher (at best) or a Shaman (at worst).


Every so often someone will post a comment (two in your case) that feels like they pulled the thoughts out of your own head and then said them far better.

Thanks for doing so today… you articulated what I believe to be the knock down argument against any religion having the sole (or even objective) truth.

Well done!

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