I think a more simplified way to address this (weak) criticism is in the Book of
Mormon. Christ gave the definition of His gospel in 3 Nephi 27:13-16. Here it
is (summarized due to word constraints):13 Behold I have given unto
you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you—that I
came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me..14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; [...]
that I might draw all men unto me, [...] even so should men be lifted up by the
Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works [...]15 And
for this cause have I been lifted up; [...] I will draw all men unto me, that
they may be judged according to their works.16 [...] whoso repenteth
and is baptized in my name shall be filled; and if he endureth to the end,
behold, him will I hold guiltless before my Father at that day when I shall
stand to judge the world.The whole BOM certainly has a fulness of
the gospel, just like D&C says.
Nephi explains the purpose of his writing early on while explaining what is
meant by "fulness."(Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 6:4)4
For the fulness of mine intent is that I may persuade men to come unto the God
of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and be saved.Also, it is likely that we do not find evidence of temple ordinances, etc. in
the Book of Mormon because they were never practiced in the Americas. The Book
of Mormon is the record of a people "crying from the dust".
if all points had come neatly wrapped in the Book of Mormon, there still would
have been a need for Joseph Smith, because there still would have been a need to
translate the Book of Mormon into English and for someone to be the President of
So it all comes down to what "fullness of the gospel" means. Each side
uses a different definition. I appreciate Daniel's explanation.
Denver Snuffer has written some great stuff on this topic. Go to his blog and
search for "fullness".
More words do not make more truth.
The "fullness of the Gospel" is actually very simple. The fullness of
the Gospel is:1. Christ is the Son of God2. He atoned for our
sins and overcame death with Resurrection.3. If we have faith, repent, be
baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure in faith to the end we have every
hope of Salvation.Period. Everything else is simply an appendage to
this truth. It's all we "really" need to know and do. Like the
Jews of old, even Mormons like to make things more complicated than they need to
be. After all, we have to fill those 3 hour blocks with entertaining stuff...
I've always felt this was one of the weakest arguments against the Book of
Mormon. There are just so many other arguments to be made and this is just so
flimsy. How do you define "fullness" anyway? How can you say some
doctrine or another isn't in the book when scripture is so open to
interpretation? It's better to stick with more powerful criticisms.
The ambiguous term “fullness of the gospel” is unique to Mormon
preaching. The closest New Testament language comes to that phraseology that I
know of is Paul writing to the Romans that he would come to them in the fullness
of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
I appreciate articles like this and agree with it. But to me, the underlying
foundation is not the logic (important for sure) but the testimony that comes to
one's heart/spirit from reading and studying the Book of Mormon. And where
does that undeniable feeling come from? Particularly to the tens of thousands
(hundreds of thousands) of new converts that have never previously heard of the
LDS church and/or the Book of Mormon? It can only come from one of two sources:
God or Satan. And it does come from somewhere, it is not an answer to deny that
that overwhelming testimony/feeling is felt or exists - and not just in passing.
If someone wants to argue it comes from Satan, I'd genuinely love to hear
their reasons why.
Then there's the rest of the Book of Mormon still to come from the sealed
Correction: Noel Reynolds served as a mission president some years ago.
He's currently serving as a TEMPLE president.
@Bifftacular"It can only come from one of two sources: God or
Satan."There is, of course, a third source: the human mind. Now
obviously those who sincerely believe will dismiss this. However, if another
person claimed that they had an overwhelming powerful experience that they knew
came from god and that experience told them the Book of Mormon was wrong and
their (insert any religion here) was the only true religion you would probably
say that feeling was all in their head. This is the real problem with basing a
religions claims of truthfulness on feelings - every religion makes the same
claim. The human mind is a powerful thing.
In 3 Nephi 11, Jesus explains what his doctrine is:38 And again I
say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little
child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God. 39 Verily,
verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this
buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. 40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for
my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he
buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive
such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.Faith,
repentance, baptism, humility...anything more "cometh of evil".
The KJV Bible AND the Book of Mormon TOGETHER contain the fullness of the
everlasting gospel. Neither alone contain the fullness. This is the faith and
doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ (WHQ: Monongahela, Pennsylvania).
Of course not, How could it, and why should?That would put
Mormons right on par and absolutely no differnet that when Nephi said in 2 Nephi
29: "A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more
Bible."Why else should we have "Living Prophets and
Apostles"?Why else should we have "General Conference"?Why else should we have "Revelation"?Speaking of which --
Article of Faith 9: We believe all that God has revealed, all that
He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and
important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.I pity those who
reject continuing revelation, and do not believe or look forward to having
the other half - 2/3's of Book of Mormon.Fulness? indeed...
There seems to be a lot of fullness going around here. Many religions are
certain they know what fullness is and some are even convinced they are the only
ones who have it. It seems that some things will never change.
"The "fullness of the Gospel" is actually very simple. The fullness
of the Gospel is:1. Christ is the Son of God2. He atoned for
our sins and overcame death with Resurrection.3. If we have faith, repent,
be baptized, receive the Holy Ghost, and endure in faith to the end we have
every hope of Salvation."USALOVER, So, "very simply"
you are saying that the "fullness of the Gospel" is also found in
Methodist, Catholics, Baptists, and virtually every other Christian sect?
@sew,While you are correct that we don't really see any
explicit evidence about temple ordinances in the Book of Mormon, that's not
to say they didn't have them. 4 Nephi is where we could expect to see them
implemented but what we get is simply the results of a temple coventeded people.
It has been understood that the 40 day ministering of Christ in Acts is all
about the temple....
Occam's razor holds that a simpler answer, like 1.96 Standard
Deviations' below, is more likely correct. An examination of the etymology
of the English word "gospel" (and of the New Testament Greek word from
which it was translated) shows that "gospel" simply means "good
news". So wherever the word "gospel" appears in the English New
Testament, one can insert "good news". Doing that demonstrates that the
New Testament relates the "good news" of Jesus's birth, death,
atoning sacrifice, and resurrection, and the benefits we can derive therefrom
through repentance and baptism. It's clear that the Book of Mormon also
relates the "good news" of Jesus's birth, death, atoning sacrifice,
and resurrection, and the benefits we can derive therefrom through repentance
and baptism. In that regard, the New Testament and the Book of Mormon are
totally in line one with the other. Through the years, humans have added a gloss
of additional meanings to the word "gospel" that were not present in its
earlier and original use. So the claim that the Book of Mormon, or any other
book of scripture, does not contain the "fullness" of any of that
subsequently added gloss is of no consequence.
Come on Wraith, you don't really believe what you just wrote. If it is the
human mind as you suggest and any book would do, then people would be joining
the church of Dr. Seuss, the church of Robert Frost, the church of Harry Potter
- name any book. Other than the bible and perhaps the Koran, what books can you
name that have influenced millions to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior
and/or influenced them to set aside their religion (or lack of) to join a
religion that the rest of the world considers a cult? You can't because
there aren't any. You are right - the human mind is powerful, and for a
reason, but it isn't that powerful - not to that many rank & file human
beings that have no OTHER motivation to join the LDS church other than via the
power of the Book of Mormon.
The 1828 Webster's Dictionary defines fullness as:FULL'NESS, n. [from full. ]1. The state of being filled, so as to leave
no part vacant. 2. The state of abounding or being in great plenty;
abundance.Christ lays out the Gospel beautifully. And there are a
dozen very powerful testimonies of the mission of Christ.The Book of
Mormon is certainly "abounding or being in great plenty; abundance" when
it comes to the Gospel.The critics seem to think that the only thing
about Mormonism are some strange, unique aspects. But, the vast majority of the
Gospel for me has little to do with the things that don't really define our
Appreciate the article. Thank you.
@Bramah Bull"There is a reason the Book of Mormon doesn't
contain current LDS teachings in it...."Really? Well..ya know
what they say..everything you read on the internet is true or is it?@ The Wraith"There is, of course, a third source: the human
mind."So your saying that Joseph Smith wrote the book himself?
Hmm..never heard that before /sIf you actually look into the
original manuscript of the BOM it has really weird English. Some of this was
grammatical stuff because of Joseph Smith lack of education and some was from
just a strange way of writing they have in Hebrew. If you look at the original
bible in Hebrew it has a lot more "and it came to pass" in it than the
KJV does. JS decided while it was prophet to fix some grammatical things to
make the book more easy to read.What is better for people to read a
book and gain some understanding or not read a book because they don't
I thoroughly agree with Bifftacular. The witness of the Holy Ghost is much more
powerful than our human imagination. The Holy Ghost is also a
revelator, and I have had many things revealed to me that I didn't
previously know was LDS doctrine. I've had practical things revealed by
the Holy Ghost that I had no way of knowing previously. Beyond all
this, the world makes it hard to be a valiant latter-day saint. It takes a
divine witness for all of us to embrace this challenge.
RE: Nephi 28:13-15, or 2Cor 12:2-4 V.2 ..the third heaven. 4.
…*paradise.In the Bible, “The 1st heaven is the region
of the air, where the birds fly, The 2nd heaven is that t of space with the
stars. The 3rd heaven is with God, where Christ ascended after his resurrection.
"Today shalt thou be with me in “*paradise”. (Luke 23:43 ).]Christ declared the Fullness of his Gospel. ” For I have come down
from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is
the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those “He has
given me”, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will
is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal
life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”(John 6:38-40 NIV)V 44,“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me
’Draws Them’, and I will raise them up at the last day. God
chooses,draws the elect. Not man
@Bifftacular"If it is the human mind as you suggest and any book would
do, then people would be joining the church of Dr. Seuss, the church of Robert
Frost, the church of Harry Potter - name any book."The
difference between books like the Book of Mormon, Quran, the Bible, and the
Scientology writings called Dianetics vs Seuss, Frost, and Rowling, is that only
the former are presented as scriptures/relgious in meaning while the latter are
not presented that way. So while one might find good messages in something like
Harry Potter, that's not the same as any sort of religious belief. And if
you don't believe in some particular claimed work of scripture as
scripture? Well then it just falls towards the pile with other things that are
fiction, since you'd consider it fiction too. And there one can easily
still find some good messages in the Book of Mormon/Quran/whatever while not
believing it to be scripture.
For me, the greatest argument against the Book of Mormon's authenticity was
when I prayed about Mormonism and received a direct "no" answer from the
divine.The second greatest argument, the icing on the cake, so to
speak, was just to read the book itself-- extensive anachronism based on the KJV
(e.g., Mosiah 12:6) and the reflection of a 19th century milieu (e.g., Mosiah
29:32).The term “east wind” is used in a judgment
context in Mosiah 12:6 (also 7:31), in an American setting. But the east wind
was a drying and hot wind in Israel, which could thus be perceived as a tool of
judgment (e.g., Jer 18:17). Its use in the Book of Mormon reveals a human author
unaware of the geophysical rationale behind this term.
The Book of Mormon on the cover does not say The Book of Mormon - The fulness of
the Gospel. It reads: The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ.
It shares within it correct principals, and how one can come closer to Christ,
and recieve his love for us. While Joseph Smith, JR was a Prophet and came
across teachings in the Bible, and the Book of Mormon he prayed to receive
answers, and had full faith and trus in a Loving Heavenly Father, and His Son to
provide him answers. As AMOS 3:7 states Surely the Lord God will do nothing,
but he revealeth his secret unot his servants the prophets.As a prophet
Joseph Smith, JR and thos after him are the mouth piece to receive clarification
on the teachings of the fulness of the gospel to share with us, and those
Eternal Principles that help us to be the best us.
@BifftacularOf course I believe what I wrote. Frozen Fractals did a
great job explaining the psychological effect of priming so I'll let that
stand. I will add though that there are plenty of people who have found their
god in the works of Harry Potter or Tolkien. I would suggest that
you don't try to use convert numbers as a proof of your holy book.
Mormonism is a tiny in terms of world religions so you'll lose the numbers
game to several holy texts both past and present.Every religion, I
repeat every religion, uses personal god experience as a part of their
truthfulness claim. These experiences are no better in Mormonism than in any
other religion. If you're experience is valid, why aren't those from a
Pentecostal, Muslim, Catholic, Baptist, or any other of the millions of
religions? There are countless studies showing the mind is capable
of creating these experiences and it's the only explanation of where they
come from that makes any rational sense.@AerilusMaximusOf course I'm saying Joseph Smith wrote the book; the evidence for this
The list of faith, repentance, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection,
preparing for judgement is also found in Hebrews 6:1-3. "Work out your
salvation with fear toward God" Alma 34:37, or "work out your own
salvation with fear" Phillipians 2:12. "meek and lowly in heart; for
such shall find rest to their souls" Alma 37:34, compared with Matthew
11:29. The phrase "anchor to the soul" Ether 12:4 compared to Hebrews
6:19, "love of God, which sheddeth itself abroad in the hearts", 1Nephi
11:22, compared to Romans 5:5 "love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts". There are 15 verses from 2Nephi9 which are also right out of the
new Testament, also "being made alive in Christ" 2 Nephi 25:25, as
compared to "in Christ shall all be made alive" 1Corinthians 15:22,
large sections from 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 on gifts of the spirit, charity,
faith and hope. Couldn't we also say the bible contains the "fullness
of the Gospel" by the definition of this article? After all Joseph
essentially quoted 1 Corinthians 15:3-5 when he said everything else are just
"appendages to it".
The Book of Mormon and the Bible go hand in hand to teach us that Jesus Christ
came to both groups on the earth and taught the gospel. The Book of Mormon
testifies that the Bible is true as far as it is translated correctly and the
Book of Mormon solidifies the truths of the Bible. There is no question that
both books are true and if we study them both we will learn what is necessary to
achieve what will be best for us while we are on this earth and beyond.
@USAloverAll of those aspects of the gospel you mentioned are found
in the Bible and are taught by virtually every other Christian church.To all others, are our unique beliefs of deification, eternal sealings of
families, Word of Wisdom, three degrees of glory, baptism for the dead, and the
nature of God (physical bodies, three distinct personages in the Godhead) all
just "appendages" of the gospel. Throughout my life in church,
seminary, and on my mission I have always been taught these are core doctrines
of the gospel.
Is it only a coincidence that when Joseph wrote D&C 20 that none of these
unique doctrines mentioned had yet to be "revealed"?
webster's 1828 dictionaryFULL'NESS, n. [from full. ]1. The
state of being filled, so as to leave no part vacant.2. The state of
ABOUNDING or being IN GREAT PLENTY; ABUNDANCE.ARTICLE 9We
believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe
that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the
Kingdom of God.LDS have the same gospel as catholics/protestants
since they use the same bible as LDS. the gospel is the same (the great
definition of Jesus Christ,) but undeniably the BoM has a concentration of the
same goodness of the bible, the pages of which are wasted on "history"
and other diversions
@WraithI guess you missed the /s or don't know what it means.
Regardless, believe whatever you want to believe.Just as I guess you
say there is plenty of evidence that would suggest that Joseph Smith wrote the
book. There is plenty of evidence that suggest he couldn't have written
the book.It is plainly clear that your mind is already set in
regards to not believing it even though there is a pretty decent probability
that he could not have written the book.I will not further
extrapolate because it is quite clear that it would be futile.@
Frozen FactualsThe difference between those books and holy writ is
that the Holy Ghost presents itself when you read the word of God. Some people
recognize this fact and some choose to ignore it.
@AerilusMaximusOh I saw the /s and I know what it means, I just
wanted to reiterate my position clearly.As for the rest of your post
I could say the exact same things to you could I not? It's plainly clear
that your mind is already set in regards to believing even though there is a
preponderance of evidence showing he did write it.I will not further
extrapolate either because it is quite clear that it would be futile.
From 3Nephi 28:10 Jesus does not list the missing ordinances the disciples need
to "sit down in the kingdom of my Father" he powerfully declares them
saved and worthy of exaltation by his own authority given him of the father.
Joseph Smith said that "All men who become heirs of God and joint heirs with
Jesus Christ will have to receive the fulness of the ordinances of his kingdom;
and those who will not receive all the ordinances will come short of the
fullness of that glory, if they do not lose the whole." May 28, 1843. Then
later that year he revealed the "fullness of the priesthood" or second
anointing. JS said he was often asked the question, "Can we not be saved
without going through with all those ordinances? I would answer, No, not the
fulness of salvation."
@Aerilus Maximus"The difference between those books and holy writ is
that the Holy Ghost presents itself when you read the word of God. Some people
recognize this fact and some choose to ignore it."There are four
kinds of outcomes with something like what you propose. Two of them
work as planned. One of those is a correct positive (I believe the Holy Ghost
presented itself and the book turns out to be scripture), and another is a
correct negative (I didn't get that sense of the Holy Ghost and the book
isn't scripture). The other two are mistakes. You highlight one
of them, which you classified as willful ignorance (i.e. I didn't get that
sense of the Holy Ghost but it ended up being scripture). The other msitake is
false positives (i.e. I believe the Holy Ghost presented itself but it turns out
the book isn't scripture). The first of these is the mistake I risk with
the position I have, the latter is the mistake you risk. Of course, we're
both rather comfortable with our choices.
@ The WraithNo, not really. The way your present things seems to me
to be a more condescending manner.Where I feel like I more just
present what I have found in a helpful manner and leave it at that.I
guess I could be completely off base by my assessment but from previous posts it
seems to correspond to a large portion of your previous remarks.While I have/do present some ideas that I have learnt from others that
obviously you do not agree/believe. I do tend to think and examine them to a
great degree and don't just post them for a show of intellectual
superiority.There is a difference between thinking for oneself and
group think.Just because you aren't part of the "LDS"
group doesn't mean you still aren't falling into some others group
think whether you realize it or not.
An excellent article. It articulates persuasive counterpoints to a
less-than-convincing logical stumbling block that has probably tripped up a few
whose belief systems rest entirely upon rational confirmation recognized by the
brain rather than spiritual confirmation recognized by the mind and heart.
There's a reason that faith is the first principle of the Lord's
@ SchneeIf you are going to try explain away things so simply then
you must include repetition.Scientists don't just run one
experiment and come to a conclusion. Just like that it must be with
spiritual experiences. Just because someone has a few bad spiritual experience
does not automatically mean God does not exist. Just because a there is a few
bad apples in a congregation does not mean the whole congregation is bad.Just like rules and procedures must be followed in conducting a
scientific experiment there are specific rules and procedures that must be
followed when conducting spiritual experiments.
This is a terribly, terribly flimsy criticism of the Book of Mormon, at best.
(But, hey, that never stopped anti's before....)The word
"gospel" means "good news", therefore the "gospel" of
Jesus Christ means "the good news of Jesus Christ".And just
what is the good news of Jesus Christ?That God lives and loves
us.That Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, and as that uniquely
qualified Son, since we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God,
there is a way prepared, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, to overcome the
effects of our sinful, fallen state by....Having faith in Christ,
repenting of our sins, being baptized by one who has God's authority,
receiving the Holy Ghost and enduring (doing our best to obey and follow) to the
end, and, finally, receiving the grace of Christ.And THAT doctrine
is taught relentlessly, over and over and over in the Book of Mormon.All that we need to know to be 'saved' is contained within the Book
of Mormon and that is good news, indeed!If the anti-Mormons want to
hang their hopes on this argument, go for it....
@Aurileus MaximusI spent 4 years as a member, plenty of time for
experiments. Never changed my lack of belief beyond a "maybe". (And yes,
I realize those two sentences highlight major flaws like the whole joining when
not believing thing; turns out being a protestant growing up gave me a strong
sense of "eh they're all Christian denominations really, no biggie if I
jump around". Heck, most recently I attended Catholic services, and
technically they still consider me one due to the infant baptism.)
I've never actually had the Spirit testify to me about the truthfulness of
the Bible. I have had the Spirit tell me many times that the Book of Mormon is
scripture and is true. I have prayed to find out about the Bible many times,
but no luck. Maybe some day. I use the Bible, I read the Bible, I use it in
conjunction with the other Scriptures (Book of Mormon, D & C, Pearl of Great
Price). I teach out of it and live by its principles. I do feel that for the
most part, it is inspired, but I've read a lot in the Bible that frankly
isn't inspired. I read things that were left out of the Bible that I also
think were inspired but not included. So there.Wraith, you are
right. The Book of Mormon was written by men. But it was compiled by Mormon,
and was translated by Joseph Smith.
RE: The Caravan ,“the very Son of God.” True,Via The Holy Spirit.God's authority, “... Those who Believed in his name, He gave
the ‘Authority’=( G.exousia) to become children of God” (John
1:12). ”If you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord(YHWH),
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be
’Saved.” (Romans 10:9) “Saved’ from what?
The One from whom we need to be saved from is the very One who saves.
“we were by nature deserving of wrath” (Eph 2:3)“…we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we
be saved from Gods’ Wrath through him! For if, while we were Gods enemies,
we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having
been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but
we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now
received reconciliation(Romans 5:9-11)Whoever rejects the Son will
not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. (John 3:36)
This is one of the weakest and most convoluted arguments against the Book of
Mormon, basically amounting to splitting hairs and nitpicking over the precise
meaning of words without focusing on what they actually say (indeed, few BoM
critics appear to have actually read it). It essentially attempts to apply an
inerrantist, "Sola Scriptura"; argument, which is completely alien and
reflects the intrusion of Protestant bias. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is faith,
repentance, baptism, the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and
enduring to the end. The Book of Mormon teaches all of these principles, in far
greater clarity and specificity than the Bible does. Therefore, it can be said
to contain the fullness of the Gospel, regardless of whatever other tangential
doctrines it does not teach. The Lord teaches us line upon line,
precept upon precept. Some however want meat before milk and don’t want to
have to listen to living prophets. That’s their loss, but the Book of
Mormon still stands on its own, independent of what other doctrines might be
taught in the Church. Understanding the Book of Mormon’s teachings is
crucial before anything else can be understood.