Monday, January 2, 2017

If Not “Living” Prophets, Are They Valid?


Good questions from Mormonism Research Ministry when you use dead Mormon prophets for explaining LDS teachings and they dismiss the teachings because they are not “living.”

Were the prophets living when they said these words?

Were they supposed to be believed at the time they said them?

If the quotes of deceased presidents are no longer authoritative, why has so much energy been invested in producing the Teachings of Presidents of the Church series that features deceased prophets?

Excellent questions!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

For Mormons, it’s not Jesus’ birthday

This excellent article was posted at Mormonism Research Ministry.

By Sharon Lindbloom
23 December 2016

December Christmas celebrations notwithstanding, according to LDS leaders past and present, Jesus was born on 6 April 1 B.C. This fact was pointed out recently at LDS Daily in an article titled, “Was Jesus Christ Really Born in December?” Here journalist Aleah Ingram noted that James Talmage, a now-deceased apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, “believed the Savior was born on April 6, referencing the first verse in the twentieth section of the Doctrine and Covenants.” In his book, Jesus the Christ, considered by Mormons to be “the definitive work on the life of Christ” (Deseret News, 1/25/03), James Talmage wrote,

“We believe April 6th to be the birthday of Jesus Christ as indicated in a revelation of the present dispensation already cited [D&C 2:1], in which that day is made without qualification the completion of the one thousand eight hundred and thirtieth year since the coming of the Lord in the flesh. This acceptance is admittedly based on faith in modern revelation, and is in no wise set forth as the result of chronological research or analysis. We believe that Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea, April 6, B.C. 1.” (104)

The LDS Daily article also cited past LDS prophets Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball stating unambiguously that Jesus was born on April 6, as well as a more recent comment from the April 2014 General Conference when LDS apostle David A. Bednar noted,

“Today is April 6. We know by revelation that today is the actual and accurate date of the Savior’s birth.” (Bear Up Their Burdens with Ease,Ensign, May 2014)

Not mentioned in the LDS Daily article but equally important to the topic, is this statement included in an LDS Church manual:

Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem, April 6, 1 B.C.” (The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 22)

In Christianity, the exact date of Jesus’ birth is unknown. The important fact is that Jesus was born in real time and in a real place. Therefore, Mormons believing Jesus’ birthday is on April 6 doesn’t really matter in the context of salvation.

But here’s what I find really interesting about this LDS Daily article. Though several Mormon leaders have clearly stated that the birth of Christ was on April 6, and though each of the leaders mentioned above are, according to the LDS Church, “prophets, seers, and revelators,” and though the April 6 date is included in an LDS teaching manual, and though a current apostle of the Church said in General Conference that the “actual and accurate” date of Christ’s birth is known by revelation, the LDS Daily article pointed out, “the Church has no official position” on the date of Jesus’ birth. After citing Mormon historians who disagree with LDS general authorities, the journalist wrote, “At the end of the day, there is no definitive way to prove the actual birth date of Jesus Christ.”

This leaves me scratching my head. While I do not believe LDS authorities receive their revelations directly from God, Mormons say they do. Mormonism plants its “true church” flag on the declaration that it is led by trustworthy latter-day prophets.

“By Christ’s authority, twelve Apostles were again called to lead that Church and receive direct revelation. This direct communication with the Savior continues today,… As with the early Church that we read about in the scriptures, [The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] is led by a prophet who instructs God’s people under the Savior’s direction.” (“How can I know His true Church today?” at mormon.org)

“What many people do not realize is that there are again prophets on earth—speaking on behalf of God today! Through prophets, Heavenly Father continues to demonstrate His love and attention by sending us the messages we need right now. These men act as mouthpieces for God. Just as Moses spoke for God to all the Israelites, living prophets give instructions and counsel to all people today… These messages from God are available to all people: President Thomas S. Monson, his counselors, and the Twelve Apostles speak to the world twice a year during a meeting called general conference.” (Why do we have prophets?and How do prophets impact society? at mormon.org)

However, when Mormon prophets and apostles state at general conferences that it is known via revelation that Jesus was born on April 6, the Church “has no official position” on the matter and Mormons are left with the ambiguous bottom line: “there is no definitive way to prove the actual birth date of Jesus.”

Then LDS claims to the contrary, neither is there a definitive way to “prove” that Joseph Smith ever spoke with God, that the Book of Mormon came from God, or that the LDS Church is “the only true and living church upon the face of the earth.” If Latter-day Saints cannot or do not believe their prophets on inconsequential teachings like the birthday of Christ, why do they trust these men on doctrines related to salvation and exaltation? Or on the nature of God? Or on the Atonement? Indeed, what is to say that LDS prophets and apostles speak for – or hear from – God at all? The actual date of Christ’s birth doesn’t matter; but following a false prophet will matter for all of eternity.

As I wrote earlier, the important thing pertaining to Christ’s birth is not the specific date, but the fact.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Discussing the great biblical Christmas passage in Luke 2, Christian theologian John Piper summed up,

Christmas in Sum:

The Lord of never-ending, universal, sovereign governance. The Lord of all lords.

On a day— in real history. [“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son…” -Galatians 4:4]

In a city— in a real world. [“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah…from you shall come forth…one who is to be ruler in Israel…” -Micah 5:2]

The Savior— to take away all our guilt. [“You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” -Matthew 1:21]

The Christ— to fulfill all our hopes. [“For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him.” -1 Corinthians 1:20]

The Lord— to defeat all our enemies and make us safe and satisfied for ever. [“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace…” -Isaiah 9:6-7]    (John Piper, “A Savior Is Born! God Gets the Glory, You Get the Peace,” The Dawning of Indestructible Joy)

No matter the date of His birth, Jesus – God made flesh – was born to die, to save us from our sins. For this, with all the host of heaven we rejoice, “Glory to God in the Highest! And on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mormon History Matters!

I maintain that any Mormon who spent time actually studying the history of the Mormon Church rather than the LDS version of their history, will, like me, leave the Mormon Church behind.  There are just too many frauds/lies behind their history, too many contradictions as to what God and Jesus supposedly told Joseph Smith, too many changes in their holy books, etc, to ignore.  It was my research into their history which led me to leave the LDS church; I saw how fraudulent it was from the beginning!

Well, I read this article at Mormonism Research Ministry and felt it needs to be shared in as many places as possible.  Perhaps Mormons reading it will realize that they are in a false belief system, proven by their history, and will seek the truth with the true Christ and God of the Bible. (For convenience, I will not change the text to blue as I usually do for articles/quotes which aren’t mine.)

By Sharon Lindbloom
2 December 2016

Though the LDS Church claims disillusioned members are not “leaving [the Church] in droves,” talks and articles about stemming the exiting tide continue to appear in the news. This week, Mormon-themed Meridian Magazine published “8 Things That Can Pull You Away From the Churchby Gary and Joy Lundberg. In this article, the Lundbergs explain,

“All around us we hear of friends and loved ones who are falling away from the Church. It breaks our hearts because we know of the incredible blessings they will be missing. We love them. With all our hearts we want them to enjoy all the blessings of the gospel and be with us throughout all eternity.

“We may ask, how does it happen? Some who once were faithful are now doubting and leaving the Church. It rarely suddenly happens; it’s usually a gradual process. It’s a process we all must guard against. Here are 8 things that ever so carefully pull people away.”

The Lundbergs’ list reflects the typical old-school ideas on why people leave Mormonism: these people aren’t doing enough to maintain their faith. They leave the Church because: “They stop reading the Book of Mormon… They forget their covenants… They listen to those who have left the Church… They cease praying to stay strong and faithful… They stop going to Church… They don’t listen to General Conference… They listen to the philosophies of men above the teachings of the prophets… They fail to acknowledge the Lord’s blessings.” The list does not leave room for anyone who comes into contact with disparate facts that raise doubts or questions about the LDS Church. In fact, the Lundbergs seem to suggest that if one has doubts, it’s because that person has failed to fully live his faith with real intent.

It is no small thing, yet unfortunately all too easy, to drift away from spiritual moorings. And surely this happens in all religions, Mormonism included. But, as noted in the results of a 2012 survey of disbelieving Mormons/former Mormons, a high percentage of those who lost their faith “were active and highly involved with the Church before losing belief.” As one commenter on the “8 Things” article wrote,

“the kinds of reasons the Lundbergs list here have little, if any, to do with people leaving. The Lundbergs may have observed these behaviors in those who leave, but these kinds of behavior, from what I have observed, typically *follow after* a person’s faith crisis and do not necessarily *precede* it (although it may vary some in each person’s case).” (wv549, November 28, 2016)

In fact, the Understanding Mormon Disbelief survey revealed that 70% of respondents listed historical issues as a major factor leading to their loss of faith. A reader of the Lundbergs’ article expressed concern and confusion about her friends who left Mormonism over the Church’s history:

“I have several friends who have left the church because of ‘things in the history’ that they didn’t know before. I, too have read the [LDS] gospel [topic] essays. Yes, there are items in there I hadn’t heard. Also items I hadn’t considered before. I hope you can answer the question none of my friends have been able to…. how does learning a new historical fact change the doctrine? How does it make the BOM untrue? How are you able to throw out all of the good, and all of the truth, because something ugly/hard/uncomfortable (whatever word you want to use) came to light? This is what I don’t understand, and I’m hoping that maybe you can enlighten me how something newly uncovered in the history can change every single good thing. Thanks!!” (Debbie, November 28, 2016)

I’d like to address Debbie’s question. A past president of the LDS Church said,

“I am grateful for my membership in the Church, and my testimony of its divinity hinges upon the simple story of the lad under the trees kneeling and receiving heavenly visitors–not one God, but two separate individual personages, the Father and the Son, revealing again to the earth the personages of the Godhead. My faith and testimony hinges upon this simple story, for if it is not true, Mormonism fails. If it is true–and I bear witness that it is– it’s one of the greatest single events in all history” (Howard W. Hunter, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter, 2015, 96-97).

President Hunter’s testimony – the testimony of a Mormon prophet – hinged on historical fact. If the specific historical facts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision didn’t actually happen – and happen in the detailed way that the official version tells the story – President Hunter said “Mormonism fails.” Therefore, when a Mormon learns the uncomfortable truth that there are many versions of Joseph Smith’s First Vision story, and that the Father and the Son aren’t even in some of them, this is a big deal. This uncomfortable historical fact changes the Church’s doctrine in several ways. Christian authors Eric Johnson and Bill McKeever note,

“This [official version of the First] vision is significant to a Mormon for a number of reasons. First, it has been used to support the notion that God the Father and Jesus Christ, as two separate and distinct personages, are also two distinct and separate gods. And two, it gives the Mormon justification to believe Christianity had fallen into a complete apostasy and needed to be restored to earth.”

A fundamental belief of Mormonism — its doctrine on the very nature of God and Christ – has its roots in the official version of Joseph Smith’s First Vision. If the story is not true history, this important LDS doctrine has lost its foundation. Likewise, the historical truth of the alleged complete apostasy of Christianity is of great importance to Mormonism. An LDS Apostle once explained,

“The restored Church affirms that a general apostasy developed during and after the apostolic period, and that the primitive Church lost its power, authority, and graces as a divine institution, and degenerated into an earthly organization only. The significance and importance of the great apostasy, as a condition precedent to the re-establishment of the Church in modern times, is obvious. If the alleged apostasy of the primitive Church was not a reality, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not the divine institution its name proclaims.” (James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy, iii)

Historical evidence speaks against the LDS doctrine of the complete apostasy of the Christian church. The historical facts confirm that the apostasy as taught by LDS leaders never happened; this uncomfortable truth undermines the whole reason for the Restoration and the LDS Church’s existence, and demonstrates it “is not the divine institution its name proclaims.”

Marlin K. Jensen, then an LDS Seventy serving as the official Church Historian and Recorder, once instructed his Mormon audience,

“It is important that we become familiar with our Church’s history, especially with its founding stories. These stories—Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, angelic visitations by John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, Elijah, Elias, and others—contain the foundational truths upon which the Restoration is based.” (“Stand in the Sacred Grove,” Ensign, December 2014)

These things are all understood within Mormonism to be historical events. The Church teaches that they really happened; and because they really happened, the LDS Church is true. But every one of these founding stories have historical problems – problems of fact, not of faith. According to LDS leaders themselves, if the history isn’t true, the Church isn’t true.

“If Joseph Smith did not have that interview with God and Jesus Christ the whole Mormon fabric is a failure and a fraud. It is not worth anything on earth.” (LDS President Heber J. Grant, Conference Reports, April 1940, 128)

“Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud… upon that unique and wonderful experience stands the validity of this church.” (LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Marvelous Foundation of our Faith,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 2002, 80. Ellipsis mine.)

President Hinckley elsewhere explained,

“I would like to say that this cause is either true or false. Either this is the kingdom of God, or it is a sham and a delusion. Either Joseph talked with the Father and the Son, or he did not. If he did not, we are engaged in blasphemy.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Conference Reports, October 1961, 116)

Debbie asked, “enlighten me how something newly uncovered in the history can change every single good thing.” Remember the words of LDS prophets. Historical facts that controvert the teachings of Mormonism prove that the Church is “a failure and a fraud,” “a sham and a delusion…blasphemy”; a church wherein, spiritually speaking, there is no “good thing.” As President Grant said, such a church “is not worth anything on earth.”

An official newspaper published by the LDS Church said this:

“In the Latter-day Saint faith, doctrine and history are so intertwined as to be inseparable; one sustains and gives meaning to the other.” (R. Scott Lloyd, “‘Good as old’: Conservators’ gentle handiwork preserves Church history in documentary artifacts,” Church News, July 5, 2008, 9)

I have used the LDS assertions of the First Vision and the Great Apostasy as examples of how this inseparable intertwining of history and doctrine works in Mormonism, but there are many other examples that could be discussed. My goal here is to help Mormons understand why their friends leave the Church over “things in the history.”

It takes a strong person to face hard truths like these and choose the path that releases them from being “engaged in blasphemy,” comfortable though that may be. My hope is that these once-believing Mormons who have shown that they care about truth, will not discard faith altogether. I hope they will fully investigate Christianity and, upon finding it trustworthy, will turn to the One Who Himself is the truth (John 14:6).


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Mormonism Is Still Heretical!

Thus we see that the LDS Church still teaches the following:

1. God has not always been God, but achieved this position after years of self-effort.

2.  Heavenly Father and his wife, Heavenly Mother, were once mortals on another world, ruled by yet a different “god.”

3.  Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother are resurrected mortals who have achieved godhood.

4.  The goal of the LDS couple is to achieve godhood and become a Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother to their posterity.

5.  God, men and angels are the same species, just in different levels of achievement.

In other words, Mormonism is still a heretical offshoot of Christianity.


Cited from the article, “Is There a Mother God?” in the Salt Lake City Messenger, May 2016, Issue 126, pg.14

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Mormons and the Abuse of Amos 3:7

This article was posted at Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry.  I would be interested in comments from my Mormon readers as to their thought about this article.


by Luke Wayne
10/26/16

"Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets," (Amos 3:7, KJV).

The Mormon Church argues that this verse proves their belief in a modern day prophet and continued revelation. There are several reasons, however, to reject this interpretation.
The context of the passage is specifically addressing God's judgment of cities in the time of ancient Israel. The verse is obviously not asserting that God is sending a constant stream of unending revelation to update the prophets on everything He is doing everywhere in the universe as He guides and sustains all of creation. In fact, if we include the whole context, we find that it says:

"Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing? Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets," (Amos 3:1-7).

Of all the nations of the world, God had only known Israel. Prophetic oracles were given only to Israel (Romans 3:1-2). This is specific to them. A series of rhetorical questions are then asked, leading to the final question, "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" The word "evil" here is meant in the sense of calamity or disaster, and the obvious answer is "no." There will not a disaster in their cities unless God brings it about. If there is calamity in the city, God has done it. In fact, God goes on in the next chapter to take credit for all the variety of disasters and troubles their cities have faced, such as drought, starvation, disease, and invasion by enemies (Amos 4:6-10). Right after Amos 3:6 says "Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it?" Amos 3:7 goes on to say, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." The point is that God raises up prophets to warn Israel before He judges their cities. It is not saying that God literally will not take any action of any kind throughout all creation anywhere without revealing it through a prophet, but rather that God will not do anything regarding Israel's judgment without first revealing it through a prophet.

In fact, if one takes this as a universal promise to all nations and all times, it actually refutes Mormonism! There is calamity and disaster in cities all over the world all the time. If this promise in Amos 3:7 is universal and for all times, and if the Mormon prophet is the one true prophet of God, He should be warning each of these cities around the world of their imminent troubles. After all, calamity does not come to a city unless God does it, and God does nothing without first revealing it to His prophet. We can easily test this theory by checking if all these cities and nations were warned by the Mormon prophet prior to their disasters. They were not. So if the typical Mormon interpretation of Amos 3:7 were true, it would still prove their own claims false!

Finally, while there are both men (Acts 13:1) and women (Acts 21:9) in the New Testament church who are rightly called prophets, God's revelation through His servants "the prophets" ended with John the Baptist (Matthew 11:13). It was superseded by God's greater and final revelation in Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). The coming of Jesus was the great fulfillment of all that came before (Luke 24:44) and the ushering in of the new and better covenant (Hebrews 8:13). God now communes with His people in Christ through the indwelling of the Spirit and has already made Himself and His judgments known in Jesus. There are no grounds for the Mormon idea that Christians today must be under an unending chain of governing prophets. Not Amos nor any biblical author puts forward such a claim.


Monday, October 31, 2016

The Real Threat of Mormonism

Over the years I have encountered many misperceptions that Mormons have about Christians and Christianity. One of note is found in a little book published in 1998 by LDS author Scott Marshall. In an effort to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, Mr. Marshall wrote,

“THE TRINITY CREATION. They believe in the trinity creation. The trinity was voted on in the Council of Nicene hundreds of years after Christ’s death. A bunch of church leaders and govern­ment officials got together and voted on ‘who God was?’, and it wasn’t even a unanimous vote. There were about four different versions of God that they voted on. The version that is used by Catholics and Protestants today only won by about a 40 percent margin. Their view of God, as you may know, is that He is like a formless mass of spirit that fills the whole universe and when He comes to earth, part of it breaks off and forms itself into Jesus.” (Scott Marshall, Tracting and Member Missionary Work, 73)

Both historically and doctrinally, this teaching on the Trinity and its “creation” is atrocious. Yet at least one Mormon (the author) believes it.

Another idea – and one that is long-lived and widely embraced among Mormons – is that Christians “fight” against the LDS Church out of a fear of “member poaching” that results in lower salaries for individual Christian pastors. This misperception is being promoted in a brand new book by LDS author Christopher C. Sheldon, Donning the Armor of God: The Saint’s Guide to Defending the Faith. Mr. Sheldon encourages members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to read his book to find facts and information that will prepare them for encounters with critics of the LDS Church.

In Chapter 2 (“Anti-Mormon Thinking and Tactics”) Mr. Sheldon explains why critics “would go through all the trouble” of arguing against Mormonism. After stating that Christians believe Mormonism is “a twisting of Christianity,” Mr. Sheldon writes,

“Another reason as to why Christians fight against the Church is a two-part problem. First, they are upset with the fact that we believe ours to be the one and only true church of Christ and that all other Christian teachings are wrong. In this respect it is understandable why Christians are upset with the Church. This statement and belief is threatening to the Christian community. It brings into question and threatens the credibility of Christianity. This leads us to the second problem for Christian denominational leaderships, because preaching is their job and sole source of income. Aside from tithing[,] ministers, pastors and preachers are paid so much money per seat filled in their congregations… Thus, every member lost is money lost.” (8-9)

Continue reading at Mormonism Research Ministry

The threat from Mormonism is summed up in this paragraph:

Mormonism threatens the eternal hope of millions of people. It proclaims a false god. It proclaims a false gospel. It proclaims an unattainable eternal future, making spiritual promises that it cannot fulfill. Those who place their faith and hope in Mormonism will never see Heaven because they have rejected God’s merciful and gracious offer of redemption in Christ alone. Often unaware, they have turned from the narrow gate that leads to eternal life, choosing instead the wide gate that leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Mormon and “Gay”?!?

The Mormon Church has now said you can be both a Mormon and “gay.”  Looks to me like they are slowly capitulating, but I hope they won’t.

I think I understand that they are saying you can be struggling with homosexual attraction and still be a Mormon.  Well, that is also true for Christians; we all struggle with sin and attractions to sinful activities.

The issue really is that there is no such thing as a “gay” (or “homosexual”) person.  Regardless of whether those who practice homosexual behavior want to make that their identity, it isn’t their identity.  Never does our sexual activity become our identity, and one of the major coups of the homosexual agenda was to change the adverb/adjective “homosexual” into a noun.

The problem is that those who call themselves “gay” or “homosexual” are normally practicing homosexual behavior and are unrepentant about it.  I would think, based on Mormon teachings, that one could no more be a Mormon and continue in the homosexual lifestyle than one could be a Christian and do so.

Whether or not same-sex “attractions” are a choice is irrelevant to the issue — the sexual behavior is always a choice.  Most men are attracted to attractive women, but that doesn’t mean it is okay for them to have sex with someone to whom they are not married.

I’m glad to see that Mormons don’t even recognize “transgenders,” since that is a made-up idea for non-existent people.  “Transgender” is a term used to justify another type of sexual deviancy, and has come to be a noun.   Why should the LDS propagate this lie?


The really sad thing is that these people want to stay with the LDS, where there is no Holy Spirit to help them overcome their sin of homosexuality, let alone provide salvation from their sins.  They need to seek the true God and true Christ of the Bible so as to be saved from their sins, and THEN the Holy Spirit will help them.  If they continue as Mormons, they will die in their sin and be eternally damned.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Joseph Smith Was NOT a Prophet of God

Joseph Smith Was NOT a Prophet of God

The following was posted at Mormonism Research Ministry.  I thought it was an excellent post to share with my readers.


10 reasons why Joseph Smith should not be considered a true prophet of God


1.  He was not considered to be trustworthy by the people of his day.

2.  He taught in a version of God different from the Bible.


4.   He made a mockery of marriage and was not faithful to his wife Emma.

5.   He did not know how to translate foreign languages.

6.   He said he received a revelation on the Word of Wisdom but didn’t keep it himself.

7.   He created a temple system that was in no way similar to the biblical temple.

8.   He added in prophecies about himself in the book of Genesis.

9.   He said he saw God the Father and Jesus with his own eyes.

10.  He was involved with folk magic.

For more “10 Reasons” click here.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Mormon Claims About Poor Transmission Are False

One of the lies by Joseph Smith was about the Bible and why no one could trust it.  The following is recorded in the History of the Church 6:57:

I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.

In the previous article I posted, by Bill McKeever of Mormonism Research Ministry, McKeever addressed these claims.  However, on the issue of transmission of the Scriptures through history, it is important to note that, contrary to LDS claims, we have plenty of evidence demonstrating how very little has changed from the earliest manuscripts to the latest ones.  The transmission has been very accurate.

Mormonism Research Ministry recently published the article, “What a charred lump of a 2,000-year-old scroll can tell us about Mormonism.”  Written by Sharon Lindbloom, the article definitely destroys the LDS claims against the accuracy of the Bible.

In June of 1843 Mormonism’s founder, the Prophet Joseph Smith, told his followers,

“There are many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelations of the Holy Ghost to me.” (Jo­seph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 310. See also History of the Church 5:425)

Four months later, in another sermon, Joseph Smith explained,

“I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” (History of the Church 6:57)

This view of a corrupted Bible has been accepted and perpetuated throughout the history of Mormonism. The Church’s 8th Article of Faith (written by Joseph Smith) clearly states that Mormons believe the Bible to be the Word of God–with a caveat: “as far as it is translated correctly.” An LDS scholar clarified,

“Here the word trans­lated appears to be used in a broader sense to mean transmitted, which would include not only translation of languages but also copying, editing, deleting from, and adding to documents. The Bible has undergone a much more serious change than merely translation from one language to another.” (BYU Professor Robert J. Matthews, A Bible! A Bible!, 72. Italics in original).

So, throughout the history of the Mormon Church members have been told that when Joseph Smith’s teachings deviate from biblical doctrine, it is because the text of the Bible has been carelessly transcribed and deliberately falsified (for a refutation of Smith’s assertion see “The Joseph Smith Translation: Inspired by Whom?”). Therefore, an article published this week by the Associated Press is of interest to those concerned with Mormonism.

On Wednesday (21 September 2016) journalist Daniel Estrin reported,

“The charred lump of a 2,000-year-old scroll sat in an Israeli archaeologist’s storeroom for decades, too brittle to open. Now, new imaging technology has revealed what was written inside: the earliest evidence of a biblical text in its standardized form.”

Through the use of digital technology, researchers were able to unwrap (“virtual unwrapping”) the brittle scroll and read the ancient text, finding passages from the book of Leviticus.

“The text discovered in the charred Ein Gedi scroll is ‘100 percent identical’ to the version of the Book of Leviticus that has been in use for centuries, said Dead Sea Scroll scholar Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who participated in the study.

“‘This is quite amazing for us,’ he said. ‘In 2,000 years, this text has not changed.’”

Continue reading at Mormonism Research Ministry.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The "Inspired" Version Bible

The Joseph Smith Translation: Inspired by Whom?
By Bill McKeever

A commendable student of the Bible tries hard to understand a text in the way the author meant his words to be understood. His desire is to comprehend with as much precision as possible, the intent of the author. False teachers have no such intentions. Instead, they want to read into a passage ideas they feel already support their currently held positions. However, only the worst of false teachers would dare to be so bold as to actually change the verse or verses in order to promote their heretical viewpoints.  Joseph Smith certainly falls into the latter category.

Joseph Smith’s 1833 version of the Bible has also been called the “Inspired Version.” Mormon apologists don’t even try to hide the fact that Smith needed neither manuscripts to be translated from, nor knowledge of the languages spoken by the ancient writers themselves. For many proponents of Smith, it is enough that he was inspired of God and was enabled with modern revelation to make the necessary “corrections” to the Bible. BYU Professor Robert L. Millet stated,

“The Prophet translated the King James Bible by the same means he translated the Book of Mormon—through revelation. His knowledge of Hebrew or Greek or his acquaintance with ancient documents was no more essential in making the JST than a previous knowledge of Reformed Egyptian or an access to more primitive Nephite records was essential to the translation of the Book of Mormon” (The Joseph Smith Translation: The Restoration of Plain and Precious Things, pp.26–27).

On October 15, 1843, Joseph Smith delivered a sermon in which he declared, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (History of the Church 6:57). As we can see, he breaks down his complaint into three categories, 1) ignorant translators, 2) careless transcribers, and 3) corrupt priests. Let us briefly examine this claim.


Continue reading at Mormonism Research Ministry  — but you’ll love the conclusion:

The irony in Smith’s accusation is that he seems to be describing himself! When he took it upon himself to revise the Bible in 1830 he had no expertise in ancient languages. Would this not make him an “ignorant translator?” And if we find a pattern of Smith making alterations that conflicted with ancient texts, while at the same time supporting his presently held views, would that not also make him both designing and corrupt? . . .