An earlier commenter asked Who is condemning me?I have faced false
judgment and condemnation for thirty years. It is an accepted way of treating
those of us who do not believe all the claims of the LDS Church.Simply because I do not believe the BOM is true, members judge me and condemn
me of thirty years of being insincere, lacking in "real intent", and
having no "faith in Christ".They tell me I am "fooling
myself" (lying to myself?) and being dishonest as well as not
"serious" and not "humble enough."These judgments
are typical and frequent from LDS believers. They might as well be coming from
the fraudulent tailors who crafted the "Emperor's New Clothes" and
insisted that anyone who admitted they could not see the clothes (could not
"see" the truth of the Book of Mormon) was unintelligent and
unworthy.I get this kind if judgment and condemnation regularly.Do you need further evidence? This is a serious moral problem in the
windsorSo not in one instance where somebody found the Book of
Mormon to be false could it have been from god? Astounding logic.
Branmabull said: windsorHow would you know if people were sincere and
honest when they found out the Book of Mormon isn't true... ?? . Millions
of people have come to the same conclusion - so I guess they are all lying?You answered the question yourself, Brahmabull--the people come to the
conclusion...The conclusion was not given to them by God--they drew
the conclusion themselves. Big difference.
Brent T. AuroraAnd I and many others KNOW that is is not god's
chosen church. I KNOW that Joseph Smith isn't what he claimed. I KNOW that
the book of mormon is simply an 19th century fictional work. I KNOW you are
wrong because I KNOW I am right. windsorHow would you know if
people were sincere and honest when they found out the Book of Mormon isn't
true... ?? . Millions of people have come to the same conclusion - so I guess
they are all lying? Unlikely.
I agree with JoeBlow. I've been active my whole life. Served
a mission. Married in the Temple. I even do my home teaching most of the time.
Despite this, I'm disturbed how Mormons overuse the word "know."
I think it takes more courage and integrity to use the words "I believe
that..." or "I have a strong conviction that..." when sharing a
testimony. There's too many "Sams" pretending to be
"Nephis", if you catch my drift.And Coach Biff, this is just
To RedWings:I respect that.I just think that most
religious people believe as you do, that the Holy Spirit or God has talked to
them. I just don't think that feeling the Holy Ghost is the most accurate
way to find truth since their are hundreds of religions that claim to be true.
But we can agree to disagree.
@ Church Member: Emotions and feelings are one thing. The Holy
Ghost speaking Truth to the heart is quite another. They feel different.I can get emotional over a touching story or movie, but the feeling of
the Spirit has an added component of peace and light that goes far beyond an
emotional response. It is hard to explain, but the feelings are different.True testimony comes from both feeling and "rational" learning.
God has used both to change my heart...
To windsor:What about all the people in the world who have done that
and have been told the Catholic church is the true on. Or Islam is the true
church? Or scientology or FLDS? Billions of people around the world have asked
God and they have been given different answers.Is it possible that
using feelings and emotions to find "truth" is not the best method?Maybe our feelings and emotions can be manipulated or tricked.
My last comments weren't so much edited as simply posted incomplete. In
past posts on other articles I have elaborated the differences between KNOWING
and various shades of BELIEF where some will understandably label (in a lack of
clarity) strong belief as KNOWING. I am in possession of things I KNOW (saw
with my own eyes or heard with my own ears or experienced in my heart), many
things which I believe, things I want to believe and accept on faith, things I
don't believe... so forth.Of the things that I KNOW, where
someone claims to KNOW the opposite or in contradiction, then because I KNOW I
therefore also KNOW they are wrong. Why they are wrong? Perhaps they overstate
or misuse the term KNOW (most likely, and why I counter with arguing semantics
as I'm doing here).Plainly, The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints is Christ's church -- THE one and only. Any others
aren't. I KNOW this. But all humanity are God's children, and
regardless of creed, all are loved by Him... goodness and wisdom (other things)
are not limited to Mormons or Americans or the 21st century.
Scientist: I'm not sure who you think is condemning you. Nevertheless you
seem very sensitive on this topic. I honestly don't believe there is an
intent to condemn. But perhaps we stumble over our own feet doing and saying
things we think might help.I did get a chuckle out of one thing you
said: "It is similar to the trick used by magicians and confidence men (and
women). They make outrageous claims and condemn you if you don't believe
them. Out of fear of condemnation, people go along with the fraud." That
sounds to me like the LGBT community.(Readers: Please, I am not
trying to turn this into a discussion of that topic. I was just struck by the
Condemning people for unbelief is an extension of thinking belief is the
responsibility of the believer, not the proclaimer. It creates a network of
people who believe because everyone else believes. They have severed belief from
its logical moorings in fact and now float in a social network of believers.This social network becomes very exclusive and elitist. People who do
not believe are marginalized and outcast. The group puts a great amount of
emphasis on “believing” (“testimony”) for its own sake,
regardless of their actions.For instance. LDS who have tried to
convert me over the years say I need to "repent" (change). I ask them
what I need to change. I attend Church with my wife, I don't smoke, drink,
use drugs, or anything else. My actions are as “worthy” as any LDS
member (maybe even more worthy in some cases).My actions and the way
I live my life are insufficient to the LDS Church because of overemphasis on
belief. I can’t just be a good person. I have to believe unbelievable
stories to be accepted and to avoid condemnation. That seems very irrational and
Being married to an active LDS woman, and attending her Ward meetings regularly,
has been quite educational as well as disturbing.Condemning people
for not believing is the most troublesome aspect of the Church. People are made
to feel they are sinful or unworthy if they do not believe. This has always
puzzled me.It is similar to the trick used by magicians and
confidence men (and women). They make outrageous claims and condemn you if you
don't believe them. Out of fear of condemnation, people go along with the
fraud. They forget that the burden of proof is always on the person (or Church)
making the claims. If the person "proclaiming the Gospel" does not
provide adequate reasons for belief, then the evangelizer should be condemned,
not the evangelized. Little children in the Church are indoctrinated
to think that they are sinful/unworthy if they do not believe everything they
are told. They grow up fearing they are unworthy/sinful if they have doubts or
if they don’t believe all the stories. That seems a horrible way to grow
up. It seems it would cause a lot of anxiety and depression.
I have read, prayed, studied, fasted, and all the other things as regards the
Book of Mormon. I am convinced "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that it is
NOT "true".For decades, missionaries, bishops, and ward
mission leaders have come to me “proclaiming the Gospel”. They tell
me I should believe some declaration about the existence of God, a pre-earth
life, the Plan of Salvation, miracles, the Book of Mormon, latter-day
prophets.I don’t believe any of it. They have not given me
sufficient reason to believe. It is not my fault, it is theirs.If
they want me to believe a proposition, they have the responsibility to give me
sufficient reasons for belief. They have failed to do that for decades.I have explained why I find their reasons insufficient. But they take my
explanations as my being “anti-“ and “hateful.” They are
simply explanations as to why I remain unconvinced.That
doesn’t make me a bad person. Disbelief is not a sin, and not a moral
flaw.Stop treating us as if it is.
Brahmabull said: "I have studied, prayed, pondered, thought, and I KNOW it
isn't true. By revelation."I first had someone say that to
me when I was tracting on my mission (~1972). He was fervent as he stepped onto
his porch and said almost exactly those same words. It shook me to my core ...
but it was maybe the best thing that ever happened to me. It cause me a few days
of angst as I considered what I did know and what I didn't know. But as I
considered what I had experienced before and what I was currently experiencing,
I knew that I knew. Despite his "testimony," mine was solidly in
tact.I don't deny that he might have had such an experience. If
so, I won't even try to figure out the "why?' of it. I just
focused on what I knew to be true. Since that day, I have never had to question
my testimony again. Instead, I make the effort to have current spiritual
experiences that strengthen and broaden my testimony.Yes. I know.
And not just from a single experience but from a deep well of continuing
And you completely sidestepped my question.Of all those of various
religions who claim to "know", which ones do you believe?Any? All? None? Some?And how do you decide.It kind
of like the boy crying wolf. Seems that all religions seem to claim that they
"know". So excuse me if I put you in the same category as all the rest.
Neither of us has been to the moon. Here again we could both say we know
Armstrong went there. Some say the space program is a hoax; and neither us can
say we KNOW.The Conference Center there in SLC is an amazing
edifice. Inside no pillars; atop tons of concrete, trees and landscaping.
I've both read about how this was done and SEEN the results; suspect you
have, too. We both KNOW it exists and can be done. Anyone claiming to KNOW
otherwise, we'd both know they're wrong and could advise how to
correct their misperception.What I said above, that you commented
on, presents a quandary. Because I do KNOW -- again, with my own eyes and ears.
"Well there it was, the very first to comment with the same tired, failed
argument from Joe Blow: "I don't know, therefore no one can know."
"Brent, That is not my position at all. And I never said
it.What I will say is this. Lots of people in various religions
have claimed to "know" as you have. Do you believe them all? Or do you
discount some or all of them?Those who claim to "know" are
generally (if not always) in conflict with one another.So, either
all of those folks are wrong, or all but one (or a small group) are wrong.Im just going with the odds. So again. My question to
you.Of all those who claim to know the religious truth, how many of
them do you believe and how many do you discount as receiving incorrect
Brent T. Aurora COMany of us KNOW - we just don't KNOW the same
conclusion that you do. I have studied, prayed, pondered, thought, and I KNOW it
isn't true. By revelation.
1.96 Standard Deviations,I won't challenge what is a matter of
faith to anyone. But I place a high value on academic integrity. We obviously
have quite different understandings of history and events regarding the origin
of the Book of Mormon. We'll just have to leave it at that.Best
Well there it was, the very first to comment with the same tired, failed
argument from Joe Blow: "I don't know, therefore no one can know."
College Logic 101 course -- this paraphrased statement is untrue.As
I've commented before -- "I know, therefore others can [possibly]
know." I have no idea whether or not Joe Blow can know. His/her presence
in this comments sections on so many occasions leads me to believe Joe Blow
wants to know. That's a starting point.So Joe, if it helps, I
have seen with my eyes and heard with my ears, as well as my with heart, that
The Book of Mormon is indeed the word of God, coming forth just as Joseph Smith
said it did, and that the organization described as the Mormon church is truly
THE Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days leading up to and preparing His
second coming. As I've said before to you, these are among things I KNOW;
there are other things which I only just believe; there are things I'd like
to believe, which I accept on faith. I know the difference and understand the
literal semantics involved.
So very good. And NONE of us should EVER worry about whether we have affect
anything. We do. When we reach out to a neighbor, a Toastmaster club, a
minister, or such a group as this, with either uplifting/true principles, or our
testimony, it DOES have an affect. Weeks, or years, later, if nothing else:
Someone would say to another, I was there, or I met this Mormon, and he seemed
so happy and sincere. If you get the drift. Make those relationships! Many
situations will be that you should start with asking and finding out about the
other person(s), and pretty soon they will ask, well, how about you... And many
people are moved by the third, fourth or fifth such touch. Reach out and touch
someone. It's easy to start with asking of them.
What Joe Blow said is true. I received a revelation that the BOM is true; but I
also received a revelation that The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela,
PA) is His Church on the face of the earth today.
Ok guy, the Bible cannot be explained simply by traditions. Just setting the
record straight. We would do better as a church if our children were more
educated in the Bible. It is ALL connected. AND by the way, the New English
Translation is WAY easier to understand than the King James Version. I have the
Action Bible for my younger kids and when we read as a family we read a version
of the New English Translation. Even my returned missionary likes that NET
better than the King James Version simply because she can understand it!
RE:c 1.96 Standard Deviations, Jacob 5 in BOM - JS, his contemporaries and the
people in that area & time period in America had no clue or knowledge about
grafting branches, pruning, and dunging olive trees?I have digged
about it…and I have dunged in…(Jacob 5:47. I shall dig about it ,
and dung it,(Luke 13:8)The branches of the wild olive-tree, and graft them
in…(Jacob 5:9). The branches be broken off,and thou being a wild olive
tree, wert grafted in. (Rom 11:17).In 3 Nephi 13:12,& Mt 6:13
KJV. (Jesus)“ deliver us from evil. Did Jesus teach the Nephites an
abstract prayer in 34 A.D.? The correct translation of Mt 6:13 NIV,LB, NET, is
“deliver us from the evil one”=[ho poneros].. JS copied the KJV.@Are you willing to deny they were true witnesses? Yes. i.e.. Is
29:14 JST,” But the book (BoM)shall be delivered unto a man(JS).verse16
by the power of Christ, verse 17,”the three witnesses”. Not
supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint or KJV. Do you believe this as
Craig Clark:Chiasmus was definitely not a common element of English
composition in Joseph Smith's time. Nice try. It was not until roughly the
1920s in the United States that articles were published about chiasmus -- well
after the BOM was translated. Even then, a semi-educated farm boy like Joseph
Smith could never have been able to make up chiasmus. BOM chiasmus is strong
evidence of the translation of a legitimate, ancient record and language. We also have God's word the BOM was translated by the gift and
power of God. It is not just Joseph Smith's word. Here is a part of the
testimony of the three witnesses:"[...] And we also know that
they [the plates] have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his
voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is
true. [...] Nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear
record of it; "There you have it -- God's own voice
declared to the three witnesses the plates were translated by the gift and power
of God. Are you willing to deny they were true witnesses?
I wonder if it offends God to have the word "Revelation" thrown about
the way it is? I'm not trying to be disrespectful but because you have
"Burning Bosom" regarding something you have prayed about dose not
indicate revelation from God. Are the prayers of ALL of God's children
answered? Yes! Everyday, but not through revelation.During Fast
Sunday at your local Ward House inevitably a small child will wander to the
podium with Mother or Father attached. With a whisper in the ear the first
thing the child blurts out is "I know this Church is true"? How does a
3 year old know that? By revelation? Is the LDS Church a
"True" Church? Yea I think it is. I believe it's part of
God's plan along with several other Churches. If the journey starts and
ends with God and is filled with love, respect and peace then in my opinion it
doesn't matter the route you take. I have prayed to extent
about this and here is what I get. In the end, God wants us to seek knowledge
from several sources. No one group or person has a corner on salvation.
The "salt" story as an example to explain spritual knowledge is an
interesting one. The problem is that salt is a ubiquitous physical substance.
If someone didn't know how salt tasted you could just give them some salt.
You can't quantify the varieties of spiritual experiences and you certainly
can't get consitent results in a scientific sense. It seems to me that
confirmation bias certainly plays a role.
1.96 Standard Deviations,",,,,Presence of chiasmus (unknown in
these following two very familiar sayings from the King James Bible.“....whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to
them....”“....the last shall be first, and the first
last...."Chiasmus is a common element of English composition and
everyday speech in Joseph Smith’s time and our own. Are you sure
you’re not confusing the term with something else?As for
knowing with certainty that the Book of Mormon was translated by “the gift
and power of God” we have only Joseph Smith word on that. If you’re
claiming to know it with certainty because of a personal spiritual witness you
had, I certainly respect that conviction.
sharrona:First-hand witnesses clearly indicate Joseph Smith did not
use/have the Bible(or other texts) during the BOM translation process --
"copying" is not an appropriate word. All we know with certainty is the
BOM translation was done by "the gift and power of God."Can
you explain-away the following evidences the BOM is a translation an from
ancient record?1) Presence of chiasmus (unknown in JS's day)2) Translated If/And clauses in original BOM manuscript, consistent with an
ancient, non-English language(s)3) Written on metal places, consistent
with ancient practice (unknowng in JS's day)3) Metal plates/records
bound with rings, consistent with ancient practice (ring-binders weren't
used/invented in JS's day)4) The BOM "title page" translated
from the last leaf of the plates/records, consistent with ancient practice
(unknown in JS's day)5) Entire Jacob 5 in BOM - JS, his
contemporaries and the people in that area & time period in America had no
clue or knowledge about grafting branches, pruning, and dunging olive trees.How do you explain these?
Sister Butter, thank you for sharing your experience and testimony of the Book
of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is the only book with a promise--from God...You
can't get anything better than that!
To: BleedCougarBlueSo how do you "know"?If you
are going to say that it is from the spirit or a felling you have had then I
must ask this question.Are feelings and emotions infallible? Or can
they be tricked or manipulated? What do you think when Muslims say
they "know" they are the only true church. Or the FLDS when they say
that. Do you believe them, or do you assume that they have been tricked?I think most outsiders think you (Mormons) mean well but that you are
trusting feelings and emotions when perhaps you shouldn't.
The older I get the more I realize that EVERYONE knows that they belong to the
only true church. My Mormon friends "know" they are right. Same with my
scientology friends, they know they are right. Muslims, Catholics, and FLDS are
the same way. When I ask them how they know they all say the same thing, God has
told them through prayer, the spirit, a burning in the tummy, etc.... What is wrong with saying "I don't know". I just hope. I
don't know anything.
RE: 1.96 Standard Deviations,The Book of Mormon,3Nephi Sermon on the
Mount. LDS Scholar Dr. Larson finds 12 examples where JS copied the 1769 KJV
errors.i.e..#1,Mt 6:13 KJV and 3Nephi 13:13 Both have the doxology,
For thine is he Kingdom and power and the glory forever amen. The KJV is based
on 9th to 12th century texts. Earlier and better manuscripts do not contain the
doxology. Dr. Larson “A great portion of 3Nephi is
"borrowed and lifted" from the KJV Bible. Larson found 3 Nephi holds
exactly the same sort of errors that are unique to the 1769 version of the KJV
Bible J S owned.” The MS discoveries since the KJV have
provided a much better understanding of the Sermon on the Mount. Greek MS 200
A.D. thru Latin, Syriac, Coptic and patristic early support, which leads to the
original text. There is unanimity support by modern scholars, but The BoM leads
us to a verifiable text in history.RE:Cats“(1 John 4:1).. test
the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone
out into the world…..verse 12 No man hath seen God at any time..
Thank you Sister Butters for sharing your experience and beautiful testimony!
I have read the comments so far, and I would caution active LDS to avoid
softening or understating canonized doctrine. Investigators, and even current
LDS, have access to vast resources of research (some official LDS sites, some
not). To fog certain doctrines which might be sensitive, is counter productive.
It's one thing to be "a peculiar people", it's quite another
to be unwittingly deceptive. My opinion would be, to lay it all on the table,
and let the truth stand on it's own merit.
Thank you, Mike!
I find it wondrous how Sister Butters received the wish of her heart-to bear
testimony to these actors-and was able to do so by the Spirit. Is that not a
miracle unto itself? Miracles like this happen each day if we awake
to them, and find opportunities to share our own truths. Whether belief or
knowledge, it is precious to us, and difficult to communicate to others.My work is in the film and theater community. Many of my close friends
have SSA, and struggle with the position God instructed on the matter. I find
The Book of Mormon Musical an opportunity more than a stumbling block, and
welcome any method to bring others to a recognition of the divinity of Jesus
The play is more than irreverent. I suggest you Google the lyrics of the songs.
If this were done to any other religious or ethnic group, there would be
@11cAirborne-- God hears and answer prayers, sometimes unexpectedly. By age 14 my family had done exactly as Joseph's,attended many different
churches and faiths. We'd settled on the Lutheran Church. Scheduled for baptism I prayed to know if I should change vocations from
architecture to the Lutheran ministry? Like Joseph, I was age (14)
and experienced a significantly similar revelation from God; that I should not
become a Lutheran or join any other earthly faith. I was told to study the
scriptures, expand my mind and one day would be lead to what the Lord called,
"The Household of My True Faith wherein I would become for Him a fisher of
men." I did as bid and didn't become a Lutheran.At age 17
the physical thirst of a 107F summer day (1970) drew me into the Woodland Hills
(CA) chapel for want of a cold drink of water. Upon entering, the Spirit began
to pierce my soul in the foyer, speaking clearly as we do yet Spirit to Spirit.
"Thou hast entered the Household of MY TRUE FAITH. Join ye now herein and
become for me a fisher of men." I received "Living Water" for life.
Our faith is true!
To use Joseph Smith's words, "I knew it, and I knew that God knew it,
and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing
I would offend God, and come under condemnation." JSH 1:25, Pearl of Great
What a cool experience! Good for the cast members being curious and respectful
and good for sister sharing what she knows. You can get hung up on what it means
to "know," but any way you cut it, the Book of Mormon draws a lot of
people closer to God, helps us see beauty and purpose in this crazy life, and
motivates us to try keep moving forward.
@11cAirborne--I have good friends and multiple acquaintances from various
walks of life and religious convictions who pray and receive answers to prayers,
who receive important truths, direction, comfort and peace in the process. These
are individuals who feel guided to accomplish important service in their lives
and who make a huge difference, in both large and small ways, in the lives of
their fellows. The fact that they may not be members of the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints does not prevent them from having a relationship
with God or helping accomplish His work. There is nothing in all this that
contradicts the beliefs and teachings of the LDS Church--it all helps accomplish
God's work and helps all of us become more like Him, and all work done on
His behalf will accrue to these individuals' credit in the eternities. God
is "no respecter of persons". He answers the prayers of all who seek
Him, regardless of their religious affiliation, and will use all who are willing
in His work, regardless of religious affiliation.
I am stricken by the comments of both @JoeBlow and Some responses. I think in
his own way, JB brings us to the reality of modern religion. People of all
faiths firmly believe they "know" the truth. There is however one
measuring stick that I know separates men's beliefs from pure knowledge of
the truth and that measuring stick was given us by God. "By
their fruits ye (we) shall know them (the prophets)."I know this
from examining history:1. Joseph Smith taught us that "JESUS
DIED TO SAVE YOU."2. Mohammad taught that "YOU MURDER AND DIE TO
SAVE ALLAH."Just reminding people that by their fruits, ye can
surely know them!
There are things you believe....with all your heart. Then there are
times and a few pieces of truth...... which you can come to know. It's been a very long road for me. As an RM, occasional
trouble-maker...and now a member of a bishopric ... I can tell you that there
are some things you think you know (believe) and there are some things you know.
Period. And you know that you know them.Thanks be to God for those
things. .... I (and millions of other people, probably) KNOW God lives, that
there is a living prophet of God today and that the Book of Mormon is his word.
Any equivocation on that statement is an insult to heaven and a
denial of my testimony.What a rock such knowledge provides for life
in this chaotic world.Thank you all for your convictions as
well....and for this beautifully inspired experience.
Maybe just read the book and if it helps you live a better life then its good.
Don't try to one-up each other on who "KNOWS' for sure.
Thanks, Joe Blow. There are truths that I believe we can know, and those I
believe we can't. And I have an innate suspicion of those that claim a
truth that seems unknowable or exclusive. One thing I know for sure, spelling
the word 'truth' in capital letters does not make it more so.
Apparently God prefers to manifest himself only to individuals who have met
certain conditions.Innocence and humility IS power.Ironic isn't it?
Evidence of God comes in several classes:1) Historical. Scripture is
historical evidence of people's interactions with Diety. 2)
Physical. This is evidence from Nature, such as the very fined tuned physical
laws that govern life.3) Experiences of others. This is the class of
things such as miracles, or visions such as Joseph Smith had.4)
Ultimately, though, the only convincing evidence of God is personal experience
that you yourself have. Nothing else can ultimately convince anyone. Tellingly,
MY experience with God does nothing for YOU. You must experience God yourself.
That's the "Feeling" that some here are denigrating. Visions, btw,
amply do not satisfy. The LDS church history is replete with people who saw
visions yet fell away even while never denying their visions. So
you must experience God for yourself. The Book of Mormon is a vehicle designed
to lead you to your own experience with God. That's ultimately the
Joe Blow:Here is a summary of what the "only true and living
Church" means:1) Christ is the Savior of the world and the head
of the church2) The church has the foundation of living prophets/apostles
that Christ himself calls and directs them by revelation regarding His doctrine
and church3) Is the only church with authority to preach Christ's
gospel and administer gospel ordinances (like baptism) required for salvation
and to be valid in the hereafterHere is a summary of what the
"only true and living Church" does NOT mean:1) Other
churches have no portion of truth2) Other churches' service to others
is of no worth3) Other churches do not have inspired or good people4) People in other churches/religions are going to heck no matter what (DN
censored the other h-word and denied my previous attempt to post)5) People
in other churches/religions cannot have a testimony of the Savior or experience
a portion of the blessings and gifts that come through faith in Christ
@ grj - Bountiful, ut - "What a well-written insightful article. It
doesn't matter if Joe Blow ever agrees that knowledge can be independent of
scientific "proof." It's OK for him to have a well-reasoned
opinion. But what I took away from the story and the comments is that there are
some awesome people out there and I want to try harder to be one of them. I lost
my testimony of the church years ago and I'm still trying to understand how
it happened; it's just gone. This story made me feel good, and I want to
feel like this more often."One doesn't just "lose"
their testimony of Jesus Christ and the truths He revealed. Our testimonies
either grow or they die, there's no in between. And the growing or the
dying is a result of conscious choices.Good luck rekindling your
flame! With God, what can not be accomplished?
Hey Joe,Have you read it?
@ JoeBlow - ""I simply wished for the opportunity to tell those involved
what I know to be the truth." If the statement was changed to "what I
believe to be the truth", no one can argue."Ahhh.....the old
"I don't know it so no one can know it" argument.But I
do "know" the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Yes,
"know".I fully admit that the word "know" is a
powerful word wrought with far reaching consequences, but that doesn't mean
it is impossible to know something completely.You should read Boyd
K. Packer's sermon called "A Candle in the Wind". In this sermon
he talks about someone's attempts to explain what salt tastes like. They
fully "know" what salt tastes like and tell Bro. Packer so, but they
can't describe what it tastes like and in frustration they admit defeat in
their feeble attempt to do so.Spiritually speaking, Joe, me and
other posters here have tasted a kind of spiritual "salt" and just
because we can't explain "how" we know, doesn't mean we
can't "know" or don't "know".Read.
Ponder. Ask with true humility.Good luck!
11cAirborne'"So what would we say to all the other
religious individuals in the world who have experienced the exact same
spiritual, uplifting feelings? Who are not LDS? Was it Heavenly father giving
them the exact same revelations/confirmation in there faith, and why?"______________________________In his classic study, The Variety of
Religious Experience, William James argues that the value of a belief is a
separate matter from the objective reality of its origin. The Book of Mormon is
one such example. I have no problem with people believing whatever they wish to
believe. But it is disturbing when a devout believer tries to negate the
validity of other people’s religious or existential experiences.
I know that the BoM is scripture. I use the word "know" because I
can't fully explain the feelings I receive when I ponder the passages that
I read. No other earthly book or experience has provided me the feelings this
book has. I use the word "know" because I can say without question that
I would never deny the truth it speaks to me, or the belief in its divine
authenticity. And while loose connections to other influential people or
religions can be made to detract from the truthfulness of the gospel on this
earth, these connections erode completely when you consider the Savior's
admonition in Matthew 7:16-20: 16 Ye shall know them by their
fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17 Even so
every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth
evil fruit.18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.19 Every tree that bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.20 Wherefore by their
fruits ye shall know them.
So what would we say to all the other religious individuals in the world who
have experienced the exact same spiritual, uplifting feelings? Who are not LDS?
Was it Heavenly father giving them the exact same revelations/confirmation in
there faith, and why?
What a well-written insightful article. It doesn't matter if Joe Blow ever
agrees that knowledge can be independent of scientific "proof."
It's OK for him to have a well-reasoned opinion. But what I took away from
the story and the comments is that there are some awesome people out there and I
want to try harder to be one of them. I lost my testimony of the church years
ago and I'm still trying to understand how it happened; it's just
gone. This story made me feel good, and I want to feel like this more often.
Hi, Sister Whitney Butters,Whow, how did you get this job writing
for the news so soon after your mission? Or did they just hear about this and
ask you to write as a guest (while still giving you an e-mail address with
them)?Thanks for your great story! How lucky/blessed you are to have
been in that area where you could tell the cast of that irreverent show named
after such a reverent and true book what you know about the gospel--particularly
about how the book's contents help you--and what you would like the cast to
know about it also! I hope they will gain testimonies over time, too. But if
they do, maybe the show will have to find new actors or just close.You weren't trying to get the show closed locally, but if it's so
irreverent that it's sort of disgraceful, then if these cast members felt
the Spirit strongly enough, they wouldn't want to continue (and maybe only
contract would keep them for a time). Maybe I should see it because of
curiosity, but I don't think I'd appreciate it. We'll see....Mike
Awesome story! Thanks for sharing. As a reminder, at least two people have
told their stories of how they actually joined the church after attending
"The Book of Mormon Musical." I suspected such things would happen and
that the musical would probably do more good than any harm, as it would pique
the interest of those sincerely looking for the truth. Those who aren't
will be no more negative about the church than they are already.
The difference is that within the confines of this church we have access to
blessings opened by authorized priesthood keys. Where else can you go to be
sealed for time and eternity? Where else do you find temple endowments? Where
else do we seek to open the doors of salvation for our forefathers? Where else
can you turn to find a living prophet and twelve apostles? Where else can you
go to find a second witness of Jesus Christ anything like the Book of Mormon?
Where else can you go to get the multitude of blessings offered by the
restoration? There are bits and pieces of good everywhere and in
many religions. But nowhere is there more in one place than there is here and
now. And more is coming! Much more.
JoeBlow: We have evidence, that must be explained away. The Book of Mormon
exists. While clearly you haven't read it, it does exist. Why and how?
It demands an explanation. The Koran or even the Bible are explainable as
traditions, etc. You can't do that with the Book of Mormon. It has defied
any other explanation except the one Joseph Smith gave. Look at the things in
it that no one in the early 1800's could have possibly known (chiasmus,
Nahom, Bountiful on the Arabian coast, legal structures, Olmec civilization,
etc.). Look at the witnesses of it. The presence of the Book of
Mormon elevates us far above the Jim Jones of the world. It doesn't PROVE
the LDS church true--only God can do that-- but it provides far more concrete
evidence than anything else in the modern world. So it's not just a
"feeling", it's academically based as well. Incidentally,
it's why the LDS church critics try so desperately to discredit the Book of
Mormon--they understand its importance. The fact that they have failed every
time should make you pause.
Hi, "My Two Cents777,"If I were you, I wouldn't really
say that you're inactive, because if your reason for not physically
attending church is because of illness and things like that--stuff that you
can't really control--but you're still strongly connected in your
heart (meaning that you would be willingly going to church every Sunday if you
could), then you should still count yourself as active. This sample of the fruit
of your character that you posted here tells me that you are still active.The difference between you--still a good member with what appears to me
to be a strong testimony--and someone who isn't still interested in the
church even though they are still a member of it, is obvious--at least to me.
Thanks for your posting!(You don't need quotation marks around
the word "show" there, though.)Mike
Not all who think they "know" are zealots. In fact it is very few.But those zealots who "know" are much more likely to cross the
line.Those guys on 911 "knew". So did the Jim Jones
followers and the Heavens Gate folks.If you leave open the
possibility that you just possibly could be wrong, you are less likely to go
over-the-topAnd Cats. Lots of people have purported receiving
"personal revelation from God" and I am pretty sure that you discount
lots of their claims.Eastcoast "Mormonism does not claim any
exclusivity on the truth."How about the "only true and living
Church" claim? Sounds pretty "exclusive" to me.Commonman - I can easily and readily admit that I dont know. The LDS could
have it completely right. Or not. Same with the Muslims or Jehovas Witnesses.
And I am OK with that. Are you all saying that you believe everyone
who claims the KNOW religious truth? What makes them different from you?
Ah the blessings and the dangers of the word "know." As an active and
engaged member of the church I too struggle with the word "know" -
after all I am not sure in this life I want to "know" anything for a
certain. It is our doctrine that the only way to be cast out to Outer Darkness
0r in the vernacular - Hell - is to "know" and then turn away from it
denying what what "knows."And yet at the same time believe
is not a strong enough word. Nor is I have faith. And while my temporal body
may not "know" many things my spirit seems to know a great deal. There
are things I cannot see or touch that I do truly know - such as my love for my
family. Do I think we should back away from the use of the word
"Know?" Perhaps it could be used with more care and skill but until I
have a better one I think it will have to do. I remain open to suggestions.Regardless of what I know or don't know I am that truth remains
just that - truth.
JoeBlow:When the power of the Spirit of God penetrates the heart and
mind, it is knowledge. People really can know The Book of Mormon is true.
Millions have experienced it. So long as one has faith in Christ, a sincere
heart, and real intent, this promise will be fulfilled. It is amazing to see
this promise fulfilled in many nations where people have different cultures,
languages and religious (or non-religious) backgrounds.As an
example, do a Google search for "atheist conversion book of mormon." The
first three results are Mormon.org profiles you can read from "Bruce",
"Mandi" , and "Rob." All of these individuals made mention of
the scriptures or The Book of Mormon. And they all mention how they came to
"know."Does this work for you?
"I realized they were just like anyone else — trying to find
happiness, make friends and provide for themselves and their families."______________________________That was something wonderful for
that young missionary to bring away from an experience he had been anxious
about. May it be so for more of us at awkward times in our lives.
@ Joe:"There are lots of people, LDS or not, who claim to KNOW the
truth when it comes to religion. In reality, it is just what you strongly
believe." Truth comes from God, when one sincerely and earnestly prays for
the knowledge of the truth, God will reveal it, at that point it is knowledge,
no longer "strongly believe"
I've been inactive for a number of years- mainly because of illness- but
reading Sr Butters account of the blessing of giving her testimony to the cast
of the "show" brought tears to my eyes. It warmed my heart and soul as
nothing else I have recently read and I thank you, Sr Butters, for sharing your
firm belief in the Book of Mormon.
Thank you, Sister Butters - both for your missionary service and for your desire
to share your testimonay.
@JoeBlow,What if both Mohammed and Joseph Smith were inspired by
God, in their own time and for their own purpose, to help bring us closer to
God? Mormonism does not claim any exclusivity on the truth. And certainly
doesn't claim exclusivity of "goodness". See Moroni 7:16.What is your definition of "truth"? What if there is a God
and what if He is our Father? What if this life is an opportunity for us to
learn and find out what we can become? What if God merely helps us understand
how things work and what we call "commandments" are things that help us
be the best we can be? It's hard for us to conceive of anyone so pure in
love and intent. But what if?
Dear Joe Blow,Do you know that no one can know, or do you simply
have a strong belief that no one can know? If you know it, how did you come by
this knowledge? What about this knowledge makes it superior to the knowledge
that Sister Butters claims to possess?
Re: Joe BlowReread the article focusing on the part where she quotes
Moroni 10:4. We are not trying to convince anyone of anything, we are inviting
people, everywhere, to open their hearts and minds to God and allow Him to tell
them what is true. We can share our experiences and beliefs but it is up to each
individual to take what they learn to the one true source of knowledge and ask
for a confirmation, and if you will do that then you will know.
Dear Joe Blow:When one has received personal revelation from God,
then one KNOWS!
@Joe Blow,Are you really going to quibble about semantics here?
Thanks, Sister Butters - well said and thank you for the beautiful spirit
accompanying your words...I think she expresses what many of us
feel: that we wish people would just read the Book of Mormon and come to know it
as those of us who have a testimony of it. I've read the book my whole life
and always have felt that it reads and feels like scripture. I love the Bible
and especially the New Testament - the Gospels and writings of Paul. For me, the
Book of Mormon has that same powerful and persuasive way of saying that Jesus
lives and loves us. Living the Gospel brings peace and an ability to cope with
"I simply wished for the opportunity to tell those involved what I know to
be the truth."If the statement was changed to "what I
believe to be the truth", no one can argue.There are lots of
people, LDS or not, who claim to KNOW the truth when it comes to religion. In
reality, it is just what you strongly believe.Could a staunch Muslim
or Scientologist convince a Mormon that "the truth" was in Islam or
could be found by reading L Ron Hubbard?Just like any good marketing
campaign, the goal is to convince the masses that your product is better than