What's new: Author explores the roles and purposes of angels

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    July 31, 2013 11:06 a.m.

    Tyler D: "Epistemology: the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity." It's the limits and validity of science (along with its strengths) that I'm trying to point out. But I appreciate your clear, concise statement of your position. The 200 word limit will not allow a response. If you're willing--apparently you are--to study all sides of the issue before coming to conclusions, no one can find fault with that. I'd just encourage all to do the same, and keep an open mind along the way. New knowledge--even from a subjective point of view--may couple up with objective experiments and observations to give additional insight. And let's face it--we're all subjective, whether we're willing to admit it or not. It's part of the human experience.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 31, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    @ G L W8

    I appreciate your well-made points, even though I disagree with most of them.

    The “truth” thing is tricky and we can hardly hope to solve this epistemological issue in 200 words. I would simply add that I think truth, if it can be said to be objective, must correspond to facts in some sense otherwise we quickly slide into subjectivity (and open ourselves up to endless cases of “true for me” scenarios).

    Regarding your points about God, yes there are tons of inconsistencies that can easily be (satirically) pointed out, but for me the bigger issue is the incompatible truth claims made by all the different religions and how they are often confirmed by powerful spiritual experiences by followers within each tradition.

    To an outsider, they all seem to cancel each other out and it becomes quite easily to be agnostic or even atheistic about all of them… especially when the followers are not modeling the behavior they claim is best imparted by their religion.

    And as far as sacred books (e.g., the Bible) go… I’ve read the books and I’m not impressed.

    July 31, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    Tyler D., with a bit of satire, is only pointing out, and I think correctly so, the inconsistencies in the many religious traditions that exist in today's world. Where I find a possible disagreement is in his apparent position that it's because faith in a divine being lacks substance. I would say it's actually because of (a) a lack of faith in God and his plan for us, (b) a failure to understand completely the purposes of mortality (c) an unwillingness to pursue the gaining of the knowledge necessary to pursue his plan (d) a lack of commitment to his will and his commandments (e) a naïve awareness of where to find the truth, (f) a refusal to believe that God can speak to man today through prophets or through answers to prayer or (g) all of the above.
    I'm not going to profile Tyler D. or anyone else in any of these. My purpose is just to outline the areas where we have disagreement.

  • Semper Fi Bakersfield, CA
    July 30, 2013 2:23 p.m.

    1- Do they have Bibles in Meridian, Tyler?

    You've got it all wrong. Try getting a job or visiting other sites and let honest people discuss their religious beliefs. It is not the point of these sites to do your homework for you.

    2- For Biblical believers, the angel subject is fascinating. There have been messengers heralding great news. It is interesting that Paul warned of the great Deceiver. Light or not, it's the message that needs to be compared to God's Word that was originally delivered.

    I look forward to reading this book. I just hope he included a section on the Angel of Light.

    July 30, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    @ Tyler D "Are we somehow on less than solid ground by putting our faith in the laws of logic and empirical observations? Is there some other realm of truth that rests on firmer ground?"

    No, your ground is solid--as far as it goes. Empirical studies in the physical sciences are much easier to construct than those in the social sciences--where my expertise lies. I just see a problem with confusing "fact" with "truth". It seems that your earlier comment illustrates that "fact" is fairly easy to define, "truth" is not. Too many comments in the DesNews come from those who promote facts discovered by scientific studies as "truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"--which they are not. Conclusions are strictly limited to the study at hand, and any extrapolation beyond that remains theory. That is particularly true of the social sciences.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 30, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    @OnlytheCross – “And if Satan can transform himself into an "angel of light"

    Let me get this straight…

    We’re born into a world wicked and already condemned for a theological crime we (as individuals) did not commit. Then our salvation is (statistically speaking) largely a function of being born into the right family. After you’ve passed through that eye of a needle, it gets better.

    Being good is not good enough… you must believe certain propositions that if you get wrong, will ensure a one way trip to the eternal torture chamber.

    But it gets even better!

    These beliefs won’t depend on logic, reason or (good) evidence but instead on a credulous (faithful) mind as susceptible to believing in Santa Claus as it is in the correct theology.

    Finally, there’s a being who “roams the earth” whose intelligence makes Einstein look “mentally challenged” and is working tirelessly to trick you.

    If you’re lucky enough (which you’ll have to be given what’s against you) to navigate this celestial maze successfully, you can be happy for all eternity… otherwise, it’s the proverbial rack!

    Makes sense to me…

  • OnlytheCross Bakersfield, CA
    July 30, 2013 12:29 p.m.

    @Layton Donn-

    Thanks for trying to Biblically warn others of the dangers of spirit-infatuation. I wish I had listened sooner in my life. Now I respect Jesus' Words and remain far away from that realm. He said to "pray continually" against the wiles of Satan, the Great Deceiver, who "roams the earth like a lion, seeking whom he may devour."

    And if Satan can transform himself into an "angel of light", just how many of those are catalogued as having appeared to men? Mohammed's heavenly messenger also brought another gospel, another Jesus, another salvation. And a polygamous heaven... Hmmm. Not too original is he?

  • Lentzeh South Salt Lake, UT
    July 30, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    Tyler D - "Are we somehow on less than solid ground by putting our faith in the laws of logic and empirical observations? Is there some other realm of truth that rests on firmer ground?"

    In the Book of Mormon, Alma 32 talks of experimenting on the word to grow your faith and finding truth. The problem with those who stop their experimenting with secular scientific knowledge is that they ignore the spiritual intelligence we each are capable of developing. As someone who has been visited many times by angels, particularly as it relates to my work in family history, it is a natural experience that has put the existence of angels in the higher realm of truth for me and my family. I can still be amazed by scientific discovery, which is often helped through visits from angels. It is not a fantasy, but truth with a firm foundation.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 29, 2013 10:34 p.m.

    G L W8 – “Tyler D., I'm a bit puzzled.”

    Me too… as to your point.

    And while I appreciate the lecture on scientific epistemology, I’m not sure you’re clear on what scientists mean when they call something a theory… it’s a bit more factual than you imply or do you have some doubt about the status of the “theory of gravity” or the “germ theory of disease?”

    Regarding truth – how do you define it? If your point is that “truth” only relates to deduction (e.g., 1+1=2), then yes, science by contrast gives us inductive “truths” or facts derived from repeated observation (e.g., we’re fairly certain the sun will rise tomorrow because it’s done so countless times in the past).

    Are we somehow on less than solid ground by putting our faith in the laws of logic and empirical observations? Is there some other realm of truth that rests on firmer ground?

    July 29, 2013 7:54 p.m.

    Tyler D., I'm a bit puzzled. Sounds to me like you're putting your faith in Star Trek and Evolution--which in spite of popular belief, is still a theory, not a fact--yet you think those with religious faith are headed back to the Dark Ages? Sorry, but I'd say it's the other way around: many of those who exercise faith in "scientific fact" haven't recognized that it's impossible for science to establish "truth." Science's methodology can only draw conclusions on the basis of empirical studies--but by their very nature, eliminate possibilities that lie outside the postulates and procedures of controlled experimentation. Extrapolating beyond conclusions of any experiment establishes theory, not fact. In the long run, a scientist must exercise a certain amount of faith that his conclusions are correct. Replication of an experiment admittedly establishes a preponderance of evidence that a conclusion is correct. But further experimentation can often lead to new areas of discovery--re: recent developments in sub-atomic theory.
    You may have your faith in Star Trek, I'll continue to enjoy it as mere fantasy.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    July 29, 2013 4:23 p.m.

    Walking out of Temple Square. Some guy was shouting about how he wasn't afraid of the Mormons. He was holding a cross. He went on and on in strident tones, "like a man possessed."

    As we drove away, a little boy was looking at him. About ten feet away. Sort of like a kid looks at a freak at the carnival.

    My wife asked, "Why do they do that?" I said, "These poor people are genuinely very close to the edge of sanity."

    There was another guy on the other corner. He was quietly offering some sort of pamphlet out. He'd look across the street with a pained expression. I said, "That's probably his father doing the shouting. This morning dad told him 'get up and help convert the Mormons'." His son sighed, "I'll take this corner (across the street)."

    And dad began to shout.

    The son sighs and wonders, "Families are Forever?"

    He silently proffers another pamphlet. I put on "Tiny Dancer." We drive home as Elton sings, "Jesus Freaks, out in the street, handing tickets out for God. Looking back, she just laughs. The Boulevard is not that bad."

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    July 29, 2013 1:19 p.m.

    Regardless how a person embodies or anthropomorphizes their superstition, it is still superstition... and fiction.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    July 29, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    Star Trek was my favorite show as a kid and growing older it gave me hope that we could grow up and someday realize our full potential as human beings.

    But when I see studies that show more Americans believe in angels then in evolution, that hope is lessened considerably.

    In some ways we are closer to the Dark Ages than the 24th century.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 29, 2013 12:05 p.m.


    "....Mormonism Unlike Christianity, which recognizes a biblical prohibition against contact with the dead (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:9-14), Mormonism embraces it...."

    If you take the transfiguration at face value, Jesus certainly had no problem with it. And before you say Jesus is God, keep in mind he brought Peter, James, and John along with him to the sacred event. Don't they count?

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 29, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    "Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!" So He said to him, "What is your name?" He said, "Jacob." And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about My name?" And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: "For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."" (Genesis 32:24-30).

    What a puzzling story. Genesis describes the visitor as a man. Jacob extracts a blessing from him, then concludes it was God himself he was wrestling with.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 29, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    RE: MrNirom1, “Christians believe that Angels are created beings.. and are not, nor have ever been.. human.” True,

    For in him all things( including angels) were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. Col 1:16.

    Satan’s creation is given by Ezekiel. 28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God;. on the day you were CREATED they were prepared,15… You were blameless in your ways from the day you were CREATED till wickedness was found in you..17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty,and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth.

    For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment(2Peter 2:4)

    (Jude 1:6 KJV) And the angels which kept not their first estate=(*achre,Grk 746),but left their own habitation… *principality, rule, of fallen angels, Demons.. Not pre-mortal existence.

  • MrNirom1 Oregon City, OR
    July 29, 2013 8:42 a.m.


    Ok.. I get it. You didn't understand what I wrote. Fine.

    But you are being disingenuous in your mention of Nephi as being the angel. Taken from FAIR:

    The identity of the angel that appeared to Joseph Smith in his room in 1823 and over the next four years was known and published as "Moroni" for many years prior to the publication of the first identification of the angel as "Nephi" in the Times and Seasons in 1842. Even an anti-Mormon publication, Mormonism Unvailed, identified the angel's name as "Moroni" in 1834—a full eight years earlier. All identifications of the angel as "Nephi" subsequent to the 1842 Times and Seasons article were using the T&S article as a source. These facts have not been hidden; they are readily acknowledged in the History of the Church:

    In the original publication of the history in the Times and Seasons at Nauvoo, this name appears as "Nephi," and the Millennial Star perpetuated the error in its republication of the History. That it is an error is evident, and it is so noted in the manuscripts to which access has been had in the preparation of this work.

  • donn layton, UT
    July 29, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    RE: MrNirom1, “It is natural that some[FAIR] have misunderstood the term "familiar spirit."

    Is 29:4 JST) “ And thou(she) shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy(her) speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy(her) voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy(her) speech shall whisper out of the dust”. The inspired version makes only 4 minor changes.

    Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld; from the dust you will chirp as if muttering an ” incantation.” (Isaiah 29:4 NET)

    In August, 1842, the Millennial Star, printed in England, published Joseph Smith’s story stating that the angel’s name was “Nephi” (see Millennial Star, Vol. 3, p. 53). On page 71 of the same volume we read that the “…message of the angel Nephi[not Moroni]…opened a new dispensation to man…”

    Mormonism Unlike Christianity, which recognizes a biblical prohibition against contact with the dead (e.g., Deuteronomy 18:9-14), Mormonism embraces it.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    July 29, 2013 1:04 a.m.

    I do believe in ghosts. I don't need a scripture to prove it to me. The supernatural is real. I talk [pray] to my imaginary friends. I know I would not be hear today if they haven't been watching after me.

  • MrNirom1 Oregon City, OR
    July 29, 2013 12:22 a.m.


    It is natural that some have misunderstood the term "familiar spirit." The contemporary use of familiar is as an adjective, derived from the Latin familiaris, meaning “domestic” (an adjectival formation from familia, “family”). The word means something like “intimate, very friendly.” But in about 1590 the word also began to be used as a noun meaning “demon, evil spirit.”

    So in the KJV, the “one that hath a familiar spirit” does not, mean that people will be familiar with it (e.g., as might be expressed by saying it "rings a bell," or is something they've been acquainted with before they heard it.)

    Rather, the term "familiar spirit" in Isaiah has something to do with divination by communicating with the spirits of the dead (necromancy). KJV use of “familiar” in this sense is an unfortunate translation, both because it confuses modern English readers and because it brings up images of medieval witchcraft that don't match the ancient biblical world.

  • MrNirom1 Oregon City, OR
    July 29, 2013 12:21 a.m.


    You misinterpret Is 29:4 or the use of "familiar spirit" in Isaiah

    Isaiah is referring to events at Jerusalem (called "Ariel"), and says:
    4 And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust, and thy voice shall be, as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust. (Isaiah 29:4)
    The New English Translation (NET) Bible translation renders this verse as
    "Your voice will sound like a spirit speaking from the underworld."

    Thus, Jerusalem and its inhabitants will be destroyed, and (in a striking image) Isaiah says that the only thing that will linger on is their voices or witness "from beyond the grave," so to speak. Their destruction will leave them to bear witness, but that is all they can do.

    Most translations of Isaiah use some variant of “ghost” in this passage, meaning a shade from Sheol (the Hebrew realm of the dead, or land of spirits).

  • donn layton, UT
    July 28, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    RE: MrNirom1, The angel, Moroni 10: A testimony of the Book of Mormon comes by the power of the Holy Ghost—The gifts of the Spirit are dispensed to the faithful—Spiritual gifts always accompany faith ,“Moroni’s words speak from the dust.”

    …. and your speech shall be low out of the dust, and your voice shall be, as of one that has a” familiar spirit”* out of the ground, and your speech shall whisper out of the Dust(Is 29:4) *ghost conjured up from the grave,(NLT)

    Regard not them that have “familiar spirits”, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I [am] the LORD your God.( Deut 19:31.)

    if they preach a different Jesus(exalted man) than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit(familiar) than the one you received…(2 Cor 11:4).

  • MrNirom1 Oregon City, OR
    July 28, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    The saddest part to all of this is that our Christian Brothers and Sisters believe that Angels are created beings.. and are not, nor have ever been.. human.

    And because the Apostle Paul made a statement about a angel.. critics of our faith often point to passages in Paul's epistle to the Galatians as proof that Mormonism is "another gospel" (Galatians 1:6). They quote Galatians 1:8, which says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." I think their emphatic statement is given too much credit; the "other gospel" that Paul was talking about was the one being polluted by the Jews (see Galatians 1:14)

    Or they will bring up 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 Probably why neither Angels nor Apostles are important in the Christian world today.

  • The Utah Republican Alpine, UT
    July 28, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    Don't we have scriptures and manuals for this sort of thing?

    A quick search of LDS dot org yeilds 39 pages of links to conference talks that mention Angels.

    So why do I pay for a book by a professor, no matter how learned?