Monday, April 07, 2008

Weren’t there many "plain and precious things taken away from the [Bible]" (1 Nephi 13:25-28)?

Mormons simply assume that 1 Nephi 13 is correct when it talks about all the "plain and precious things" that went "forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles," and later deleted by the "great and abominable church" after the time of the twelve apostles (vss. 25-26). In fact, LDS must assume such a corruption in order to legitimize their unique doctrines (e.g., God was once a man who progressed to being a God for us, that they can become gods as God became a God, that Jesus is not God by nature, Heavenly Mother, etc.).

This assumption is also a typical naturalistic one outside the LDS Church. Ever since the age of the Enlightenment, western society has continued to swallow naturalism hard. A common analogy is the phone game. I whisper something to Tara. Tara whispers it to Maddy. Maddy whispers it to Britney. Britney whispers it to Rod, etc., etc. When it finally gets back to me, of course it is going to be quite distorted from what I originally whispered in Tara’s ear. So with all the transmission of the Bible, there is no reason to trust that we have faithful versions today. But is that really the case?

Our biblically illiterate society does not realize that the Bible is by far the best attested work of antiquity. Much has been written about this (e.g., Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict and Bible Transmission: Questions and Answers), but I will focus on the evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS).

Prior to the founding of the DSS in 1947, the oldest known Hebrew manuscripts were from the Masoretic text (dated around the 9th century AD). The DSS pre-dates the Masoretic text about a thousand years. Again, assuming the naturalistic story, there would be drastic changes between these two texts. Instead, in reference to comparing the manuscripts of the whole book of Isaiah, the late Old Testament scholar Gleason Archer said, "[T]hey proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. They do not affect the message of revelation in the slightest" (McDowell, 70).

This seems, dare I say, supernatural! Isaiah even said long ago, "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever" (40:8). Jesus Himself taught that "[t]ill heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle [the smallest Hebrew characters] shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled" (Matthew 5:18). He also taught that His words would never pass away (Mat. 24:35), and that "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35). For those committed to Jesus and His word, the testimony of the DSS should not come as any great surprise.

Since we have a "more sure word of prophecy" (2 Peter 1:19), we can stand against the assaults of the devil. We need "be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14). The word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalms 119:105).

R. M. Sivulka

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mormonism and Exaltation

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 says,

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
This particular passage is a great exposition on some of the characteristics of the chief anti-Christ: self-exalting, claims divinity, and sits on God’s throne. Interestingly enough, from primary school to seminary to institute classes, the Mormon Church teaches its members to become self-exalting, divine, and eventually sit on a throne as a God. This is just one more example why Christians do not accept Mormonism as true Christianity. If these teachings aren’t blasphemy, I don’t know what is. For example:

Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-22

19 And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is
my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, ...Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; ...and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, ...and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. 20 Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. 21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory. 22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.
Gospel Principles, p. 243

Some of the blessings we can enjoy for eternity are as follows... we can be
exalted as God and receive a fulness of joy.
Gospel Principles, p. 302

Blessings of exaltation... They will become gods... They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have - all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge

Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.48

The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed
with the fulness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of
becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of
; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fulness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this. [This implies that we will also receive worship from our spirit children who populate these worlds.]
History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 302-317

Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming His name, is not trifling with you or me. … To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a god, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before.My Father worked out His kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to My Father, so that He may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt Him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take His place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of His Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all His children. It is plain beyond disputation, and you thus learn some of the first principles of the gospel, about which so much hath been said.
History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409

I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go.
Let me re-quote 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 to you,

Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

Friday, November 09, 2007

LDS Missionaries attack the Bible

Mormon Missionaries who try to validate the need for the existence of the Mormon Church by undermining the Bible are hypocritical and irresponsible. They attack the Bible and then stick the Book of Mormon on a pedestal. Their argument goes something like this, “the Bible cannot be trusted; it has lots of errors in it, and it has been changed significantly over the past few thousand years. God restored the fullness of the truth through Joseph Smith, and gave us the Book of Mormon, which contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel, as a testament to this fact.”

Missionaries do this quite often, and they don’t even realize that the Bible is far superior to the BOM in all regards. For example, the Bible contains so much accurate information about people, places and event, that archeologists use it as a reference tool for their work; this can hardly be said about the BOM. The Bible contains information about known people groups, geography, important historical figures, world events, and there are maps in the back of every Bible. The Bible is more reliable than any other text from antiquity. A good example of the Bible’s integrity is the fact that the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are dated far earlier than the Old Testament texts we previously had, agrees 99.9% in all regards to the newer copies of the texts that were used in translating the Bible.

In contrasts, the BOM is such an enigma that the Mormon Church is unable to make even a simple map of BOM geography. There is not one shred of BOM archeology, not one verifiable BOM person, place or object in the New World. The ONLY external support for the BOM is a three-letter inscription NHM on a stone in the Old World that supposedly correlates to a word in the BOM. The BOM does not have any copies of its original text in Reformed Egyptian. Furthermore, there is no linguist in the world that can confirm the so-called “Reformed Egyptian” language ever existed apart from Joseph Smith’s claim that it was written on the golden plates, which (conveniently) is no longer available. The evidence that the BOM was written and invented by Joseph Smith is insurmountable. Although I haven’t dealt with every BOM problem on this website, I have dealt with several in my other posts The Hill Cumorah, What Timeline?, and Facts on the BOM. These articles will show you how irresponsible it is for Mormon Missionaries to attack the Bible when the BOM has far more fundamental problems. Even the Mormon Church admits, “Some minor errors in the text have been perpetuated in the past editions of the Book of Mormon. This edition contains corrections that seem appropriate to bring the material into conformity with prepublication manuscripts and early editions edited by the Prophet Joseph Smith" (A brief explanation about The Book of Mormon, The Book of Mormon, 1981)

By the way, most claims that the Bible is full of errors, contains false doctrine, and ultimately cannot be trusted has already been dealt with very well in books like When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties by Norman L. Geisler and Thomas Howe, and Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. Attacking the Bible to defeat Christianity is an old trick, but these books demonstrate that the Bible can stand up to even the most difficult critics.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Hill Cumorah

A few months ago I did an experiment. I called the Hill Cumorah visitor’s center in Palmyra to see if that was in fact the location of the Hill Cumorah Mentioned in the Book of Mormon (BOM). According to the missionaries at the visitor’s center it is indeed the very place that is mentioned in the BOM, the place the Nephites and Lamanites had their last battle. At least 230,000 men died in the last battle at the Hill Cumorah, and previously 2 million of the Jeredites died at their last battle there. Of all places, that is an ideal location to look for evidence to support the BOM. A simple excavation would reveal a plethora of weighty evidence that would validate Joseph Smith’s claims as a true prophet.

With such hopeful prospects one would only assume that exhaustive excavations have taken place. But have there been? Nope! The fact is that there is NO evidence there for such a story, and the Church does not want to magnify that problem. To create an out, some people say that the Palmyra location isn’t really the location of the great battles. I seriously take issue with that claim because of what the Church has always taught, and still teaches, about that location. For example, check out this quote from Joseph Fielding Smith in regards to the Hill Cumorah.
It must be conceded that this description fits perfectly the land of Cumorah
in New York, as it has been known since the visitation of Moroni to the
Prophet Joseph Smith, for the hill is in the proximity of the Great Lakes
and also in the land of many rivers and fountains. Moreover, the Prophet
Joseph Smith himself is on record, definitely declaring the present hill
called Cumorah to be the exact hill spoken of in the Book of Mormon.
"Further, the fact that all of his associates from the beginning down have
spoken of it as the identical hill where Mormon and Moroni hid the records,
must carry some weight. It is difficult for a reasonable person to believe
that such men as Oliver Cowdery, Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, Orson
Pratt, David Whitmer, and many others, could speak frequently of the Spot
where the Prophet Joseph Smith obtained the plates as the Hill Cumorah, and
not be corrected by the Prophet, if that were not the fact. That they did
speak of this hill in the days of the Prophet in this definite manner is an
established record of history...." (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of
Salvation , Vol.3, Bookcraft, 1956, pp. 232-243)
You can do this experiment too. Call the visitor’s center in NY and confirm that it is the location mentioned in the BOM, and if there have been discoveries from any excavations. You will discover that there is no evidence at all.

This is the contact information for the visitor center.

Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center
603 State Route 21
Palmyra, New York 14522
Phone: (315) 597-5851
FAX: (315) 597-0165

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

What Timeline?

Did you know the first eight books in the Book of Mormon (BOM) contain only two dates that are tied to any significant information? One of those dates is in 1 Nephi 1:4 where it mentions that Zedekiah reigned in Judah, and the other date is in Mosiah 6:4 where it mentions that King Mosiah began his reign. So, for the first 476 years there are only two dates tied to anything meaningful, and one of those dates is connected to a person in the Bible.

This information is extremely important because it’s one more piece that demonstrates that Joseph Smith created the Book of Mormon. In reality (like the Bible for example), important events are tied to a dating system, and you can find plenty of examples by reading the Old Testament.

It’s a fact that the first 116 pages to the Book of Mormon were lost, so it naturally follows that Joseph Smith would avoid trying to reproduce that section of the Book in fear of it being found. Joseph Smith continued on with the book, but did so in a very vague manner to avoid making contradictions if the missing pages were found. This is why I believe there is a rather strange lack of dates, names, and places mentioned in the first eight books. Below is a time line of dates that are mentioned in the first eight books of the BOM.

1 Nephi 1:4: “First year reign of Zedekiah” in Judah
1 Nephi 17:4: Lehi’s group spent 8 yrs in wilderness
2 Nephi 5:28: 30 yrs since group left Jerusalem
2 Nephi 5:34: 40 yrs since group left Jerusalem
Jacob 7:1,2: 55 yrs since group left Jerusalem
*124 Years pass without any date given
Enos 25: Enos says he began to be old. 179 years since left Jerusalem.
Jarom 1:5: 200 yrs since group left Jerusalem
Jarom 1:13: 238 yrs since group leftJerusalem
Omni 1:3: 282 yrs since group left Jerusalem
Omni 1:5: 320 yrs since group left Jerusalem
Mosiah 6:4: 476 yrs since group left Jrusalem. Mosiah began to reign

I challenge you to read through the first eight books and notice how infrequent new names, places and dates occur. It’s fascinating how most people don’t realize this until they make it a point to pay attention to this when they read. Notice how vague everything is. You can even challenge your institute teacher to create a timeline with people, places, and events. Trust me, it will be a rather dull timeline.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Corruptible God

There are several passages in Scripture that explain to us what we are NOT to believe about God. One of those passages is Romans 1:22-25, which says we are not to believe that God is a man because men are creatures, and are corruptible beings.
“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the
incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and
four-footed animals and crawling creatures… For they exchanged the truth of God
for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is
blessed forever. Amen.”
The main issue here that Paul is concerned about is that people were exchanging the true glory of God for a far lesser one –the glory of corruptible man. This is precisely what the Mormon Church has done! They worship a creature whom Joseph Smith says had to grow up to become a God (History of the Church Vol. 6, pg. 305-306), and whom James Talmage says became God by following a path that men of this earth must follow (Articles of Faith pg. 430). A creature whom BYU professor and LDS author, Bob Millet, says is a redeemed man. A creature who was once born of heavenly parents, and took counsel from. A creature who does not have the power to create all things, including the spirits of men (History of the Church vol. 6, pg 311), nor is sovereign over all things -for how can a creature be truly sovereign?

The Bible gives us passages like Hosea 11:9 that says God is not a man, and Isaiah 40-48, which repeatedly says that God isn’t something we can compare to anything. But again and again the Mormon prophets have taught doctrine that exchanges the glory of God for the lesser one: Joseph Smith taught that, “I say, if you were to see [God] today, you would see him like a man in form – like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man” (History of the Church vol. 6, pg. 305). Isn’t this in direct violation of the Romans’ passage – exchanging the glory of God for an image in the form of corruptible man?! Lorenzo Snow created the famous couplet that says, “As man is, God once was/as God is, man may become”, and the Journal of Discourses teaches, “Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where he now is” (vol. 1, 93).

It’s a tragedy that the Mormon Church has worshiped and served a creature rather than the creator! If Paul lived today he would say, “You fools have made God into a corruptible man!”

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Facts on the BOM

On the subject of scripture, Mormons are quick to ensure the "investigator" that the Book of Mormon (BOM) is an account of the early inhabitants of this continent, and that it gives weighty evidence to the fact that Joseph Smith was a true profit; after all, how could he pen such a work as the incredibly complex BOM if it wasn't all true. Joseph Smith couldn't just make it up, could he? Well, if he did make it up, what kinds of things would indicate that? Due to the fact that the BOM contains bad grammar, an over abundance of plagiarism, rambling sentences, vagueness, and components that are inconsistent with reality, I propose that it was penned and created by Joseph Smith.

I have been told many times by LDS that Joseph Smith couldn't have created the book at his young age of 14, especially since he was poorly educated. A correction here, he would have been more like 24. So if he did make it up, perhaps he would have written it with bad grammar that might have been characteristic for his age and level of education. Such as:

All references according to the original 1830 version, and are grouped with like-kind errors.
Page 15: ...Adam and Eve, which was our first parents
Page 192...Alma and Helam was buried in the water...
Page 220...that they was expressly repugnant to...
Page 248...they was angry with me...
Page 156-157... have not sought gold nor silver, nor no manner of riches...
Page 173... lest he should look for that he had not ought, and he should perish.
Page 196...the Lamanites did gather themselves together for to sing...
Page 451...for we depend upon them for to teach us the word...
page 560...cast up mighty heaps of earth for to get ore...
Page 204...and they had began to possess the land...and had began to till the ground.
Page 225...and this he done that he might subject them to him.
Page 249 As I was a journeying...
Page 403...Moroni was a coming against them...
Page 270...when they had arriven in the borders...
Page 280...that they did not fight against God no more...
Page 347...which was wrote upon the plates...

Have you ever had to write a paper that had a minimum page requirement? I think Joseph Smith was under pressure to fill as many pages as he could to make it appear as though he was recording hundreds of years of history. Despite the "authors" desires to keep the records as concise as possible, since they were writing on metal plates, there seemed to be some rather lengthy, unnecessary verbiage. This seems especially odd since they plainly expressed they were writing in "Reformed Egyptian" to save space. Red flag? These are only a few examples.
Omni 1:9-11 says, "Now I, Chemish, write what few things I write, in the same book with my brother; for behold, I saw the last which he wrote, that he wrote it with his own hand; and he wrote it in the day that he delivered them unto me. And after this manner we keep the records, for it is according to the commandments of our fathers. And I make an end. Behold, I, Abinadom, am the son of Chemish. Behold, it came to pass that I saw much war and contention between my people, the Nephites, and the Lamanites; and I, with my own sword, have taken the lives of many of the Lamanites in the defense of my brethren. And behold, the record of this people is engraven upon plates which is had by the kings, according to the generations; and I know of no revelation save that which has been written, neither prophecy; wherefore, that which is sufficient is written. And I make an end.
See also 2 Nephi 31:1-2, Jacob 4:1-4, and Jarom 1:2
In addition to lengthy rabling sentences, the BOM also contains overly redundant phrases. For example:
1 Nephi 9:2 says, "...I make a full account of the history of my people; for the plates upon which I make a full account of my people I have given the name of Nephi; wherefore, they are called the plates of Nephi, after mine own name; and these plates also are called the plates of Nephi."

1 Nephi 18:2 says, "Now I, Nephi, did not work the timbers after the manner which was learned by men, neither did I build the ship after the manner of men; but I did build it after the manner which the Lord had shown unto me; wherefore, it was not after the manner of men."

2 Nephi 3:12 says, "Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins…"

Another good example of Joseph Smith's over usage of particular words and phrases is the abuse of the phrase "it came to pass", and the word "behold" or "beheld". This is especially telling since nothing really comes to pass after he says "and it came to pass." Other phrases include "and now", "and now I", "and again." The phrase "it came to pass" occurs an astonishing 1,353 times in the BOM, but it only occurs 452 times in the Bible. The phrase "and now" occurs 650 times, but it only occurs in the Bible 111 times. The phrase "and again" occurs 81 times, but only 32 times in the Bible. The phrase "and now I" occurs 233 times, but only occurs 11 times in the Bible. You must consider that the Bible contains much more text than the BOM.

1 Nephi 8:5-11 is a clear example of over usage of "it came to pass", and "behold/beheld".

And it came to pass that I saw a man, and he was dressed in a white robe; and he came and stood before me. And it came to pass that he spake unto me, and bade me follow him. And it came to pass that as I followed him I beheld myself that I was in a dark and dreary waste. And it came to pass after I had prayed unto the Lord I beheld a large and spacious field. And it came to pass that I beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy. And it came to pass that I did go forth and partake of the fruit thereof; and I beheld that it was most sweet, above all that I ever before tasted. Yea, and I beheld that the fruit thereof was white, to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen. And it came to pass that I beckoned unto them; and I also did say unto them with a loud voice that they should come unto me, and partake of the fruit, which was desirable above all other fruit. And it came to pass that they did come unto me and partake of the fruit also. And it came to pass that I was desirous that Laman and Lemuel should come and partake of the fruit also; wherefore, I cast mine eyes towards the head of the river, that perhaps I might see them.

The best example of Joseph Smith trying to fill pages is the blatant word-for-word plagiarism of the Bible. Word-for-word is especially condemning because a translation from Reformed Egyptian would vary quite a bit in word order and sentence structure than 1611 Elizabethan language in the King James Bible. Also, the King James Version included italicized words that were not in the original language in order to create a functional sentence. But, lo and behold, somehow Joseph Smith translated the golden plates to read exactly like the King James Bible, italicized words and all.
1 Nephi 20:1-21:26 quotes two chapters of Isaiah 48:1-49:26
2 Nephi 6:6-7 quotes two verses of Isaiah 49:22-23
2 Nephi 6:16-8:25 quotes over two chapters of Isaiah 49:24-52:2
2 Nephi 7-8 quotes over two chapters of Isaiah 50:1-52:2
2 Nephi 12-24 quotes thirteen chapters of Isaiah 2-14
2 Nephi 26:15-16 qotes one verse of Isaiah 29:4
2 Nephi 27:2-5 quotes five verses of Isaiah 29:6-10
2 Nephi 27:25-35 quotes 12 verses of Isaiah 29:13-24
2 Nephi 30:9-15 quotes eight verses of Isaiah 11:4-11
Mosiah 12:21-24 quotes four verses of Isaiah 52:7-10
Mosiah 12:34-36 quotes three verses of Exodus 20:2-4
Mosiah 12:36-13:24 quotes 14 verses of Exodus 4-17
Mosaiah 14:1-12 quotes 12 verses of Isaiah 53:1-12
3 Nephi 13:18-20 quotes three verses of Isaiah 52:8-10
3 Nephi 20:41-45 quotes five verses of Isaiah 52:11-15
3 Nehpi 22:1-17 quotes 17 verses of Isaiah 54:1-17
3 Nehpi 24:1-25:6 quotes two chapters of Malachi 3-4
It really makes you wonder why Nephi would have copied 22 chapters from Isaiah if writing on plates was so difficult (See Jacob 4:1).

In regards to plagiarism, what is especially difficult to reconcile is the BOM's usage of New Testament text. For example, 1 Nephi 22:20 meant to quote what Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:15, but instead it quotes Peter's paraphrase in Acts 3:22-23 over 500 years before Acts was penned.
1 Nephi 22:20 says, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you."
Acts 3:22-23 says, "A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you ..., like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you."

Deuteronomy 18:15 says, "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken..."
The BOM's most extensive abuse of plagiarism of the New testament is found in 3 Nephi 12:3-15:1. It quotes three chapters of Matthew 5:3-7:28. What is very condemning is the fact that the BOM quotes Jesus' proverbs in the same order that Matthew recorded them. In addition, Matthew was originally written in Greek, so how is it that the two texts are exactly alike but were translated from radically different languages? The example below is just a small taste of how Joseph Smith inserted a massive chunk of the New Testament into the BOM.
3 Nephi 13:19-24 says, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 says, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
In addition to stealing texts from the Bible, the BOM has also borrowed from stories in the Bible. For example, Esther borrows from Matthew's story of John the Baptist's head being delivered on a platter to Herod.
Ether 8:10-12 says, "And now, therefore, let my father send for Akish, the son of Kimnor; and behold, I am fair, and I will dance before him, and I will please him, that he will desire me to wife; wherefore if he shall desire of thee that ye shall give unto him me to wife, then shall ye say: I will give her if ye will bring unto me the head of my father, the king."

Matthew 14:6-11 says, "But when Herod's birthday was kept, the before them, and daughter of Herodias danced before them , and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. "
In another instance, 1 Nephi 18:6-21 borrows from the story of the disciples in the boat with Christ in Mark 4:37-39.

1 Nephi 18:13, 15, 21:

[13] Wherefore, they knew not whither they should steer the ship, insomuch that there arose a great storm, yea, a great and terrible tempest, and we were driven back upon the waters for the space of three days... [15] And after we had been driven back upon the waters for the space of four days, my brethren began to see that the judgments of God were upon them, and that they must perish … [21]... And it came to pass that I prayed unto the Lord; and after I had prayed the winds did cease, and the storm did cease, and there was a great calm.

Mark 4:37-39:

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

There are several major parallels between stories in the Apocrypha and the Book of Mormon that are so similar it seems pretty clear that Joseph Smith used the stories to help him write the BOM. One point that is particularly interesting is that the first major name encountered in the BOM (Nephi) is found in 2 Maccabees, and the context in which the name is mentioned parallels the context within both books.

The context in 2 Maccabees 1:19-2:10 tells the story about the sun shining on an alter, which consumed it by “a great fire kindled, so that every man marveled.” It goes on to say that “thick water” was poured on stones, and “there was kindled a flame”. Verse 36 goes on to say, “And Neemias called this thing Naphtar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing: but many men call it Nephi.” Further down in 2 Macabees 2:10 it says, “…as when Moses prayed unto the Lord the fire came down.” These parallel 1 Nephi 1:6 where fire came upon a rock: “…as he prayed unto the Lord, there came a pillar of fire and dwelt upon a rock.” Three similarities: 1) Fire came upon a “rock” or “stone” 2) Fire came down after prayer 3) the name Nephi is first introduced.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A letter to my institute teachers

April 12, 2005

Dear Mr. Neilson and Mr. Felix,

It is unfortunate to say that Lindsay and I will no longer be attending the LDS Institute of Religion. There are a few factors involved in this decision that I would like to take the time to explain to you. We feel that it was important to let the staff at the Institute know the reasons why we will no longer be attending. It should first be said that the professors at the Institute made Lindsay and I feel very comfortable to attend, and we have enjoyed the discourse in class that has transpired as a result of our attendance. I would like to personally say that Mr. Neilson has a great gift of teaching and that our decision to leave was not due to a lack of quality teaching. We have enjoyed getting to know the students as well. The students who interacted with us were very kind.

As you may know (I know Mr. Neilson is aware), Lindsay and I are getting married in October and will be busy planning for our wedding during the spare time we have. We realize the extra time that we devote to the Institute must come to an end to provide more time for our marriage plans. This is one of two reasons we feel we must leave.

The main reason why Lindsay and I have decided to leave was because we feel, after much study and prayer, that it goes against our conscience and direction of the Holy Ghost to attend classes that are taught by the LDS Church. We have come to the conclusion that the LDS Church teaches doctrine that is contrary to the most fundamental teachings in the Bible. Thus, we feel that it would be inappropriate for us to participate in a class setting that may encourage others to adhere to such teachings. We believe that our conclusions are based in the pages of the Old and New Testament of the Bible and by the guidance of the Holy Ghost in our lives to understand spiritual truth. We have found many of the doctrines of the LDS Church to be contrary to the Bible, but the most fundamental objections include the nature of God, the nature of man, the means by which man obtains salvation into the Celestial Kingdom, and the function of the Priesthood.

During the Pearl of Great Price class it was confirmed to us that the LDS Church teaches that a council of God’s created the heavens and earth (Abr. 4), but we find in Isaiah 44:24 that God made all things by stretching out the heavens “by Myself”, and by spreading out the earth “all alone”. We also find in the pages of Isaiah that God is the first God and the last God, that there are no Gods beside Himself, and that He is not even aware of any other God that exists (cf. 44:6-8; 45:5; 46:8). The only other Gods that exist are the gods of the people, which are idols (Psalm. 96:5; 1 Corinthians 8:1-6). This is affirmed by the fact that the Bible is monotheistic at its core. The word monotheism comes from the Greek monos-theos. This phrase is contained in such passages as 1 Timothy 1:17: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God…” and John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God...” Among the Jews, the Shema was/is the most well known doctrinal statement. The Shema was commanded to be on the hearts of the Jews at all times. The Shema was, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4). The conclusion we arrived at from our Bible study is that there is only one God, and that this God has created all things that have ever existed.

Over the period of our time attending class, it was made very clear to us that a plurality of Gods exist do in part to the doctrine of Eternal Progression (i.e., there has been an endless cycle of men and women becoming Gods and Goddesses). We were taught that God was once a man like us who eventually progressed to the point of Godhood, and that we likewise can partake in the same. We find this problematic in a number of ways. The first way is in the arena of cosmology, and the other is in the arena of ontology. We find it problematic in the arena of cosmology because a God that had to become a God could not have had the capacity to create all things (i.e., all things that have ever existed. cf. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Neither could He be absolutely sovereign over all things. For example, He simply would not have been around to create the planet that He was born on as a spirit baby. If there were other Gods that created other worlds, he would not have created all things, and He would not be sovereign over them. In response, one might jettison that argument by saying He has created all things… all things that pertain to this world. Nowhere in the Bible is God limited to just this world. However, in the Bible we read that “[God] is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:17). The point here is: God has the capacity to create all things on the basis that He has existed prior to all things, and it therefore follows that He is sovereign over all things. This argument makes void the notion that there were an endless amount of Gods that have been creating and organizing other worlds before ours got around to it. It also voids the notion that God did/does not have the power to create our spirits (cf. Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 6 pg. 311). For if God has existed before all things, it would naturally follow that He existed prior to the existence of our souls since souls are in the category of all things. Thus, John can say, “apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3).

Now with that being said, we shall explain why we find problems in the arena of ontology in addition to cosmology. Simply put, ontology is the study of existence. In our case, it is the LDS nature of God that concerns us. The LDS doctrine that God is necessarily dependent, progressive, changing, and finite is contrary to all fundamental qualities of God that are found in the Bible. For example, James E. Talmage says, “We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement—a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is there heritage to share” (A Study of the Articles of Faith, 29th edition, pg. 430). In response, if God had to become a God, then where did God get his infinite knowledge? From whom, and which laws did He learn the paths of righteousness unto perfection? Where did the moral laws and standards come from which He had to follow to become a God? God already anticipated those questions and answered them when He asked the rhetorical questions: “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13-14). The answer to these questions is… nobody. It is a rhetorical question that has no answers because God isn’t the type of being that needed to advance in knowledge, that needed to progress in the paths of righteousness, that was dependant upon pre-set standards by which He needed to follow, or that needed to do anything in order to attain His exalted state. If it were so, He would be a needy God, and a finite one at that.

Joseph Smith (and others) made it clear to us that God is a finite being. We read in the History of the Church, vol. 6, pg. 305, “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.” Brigham Young once stated, “It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, pg. 333). However, we read in scripture that God has been God from all eternity—“…from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). To say otherwise would be to assert that God is not God by nature. However, scripture affirms that God is God by nature. Scripture says that people who do not know God, serve gods that aren’t gods by nature (Galatians 4:8). This is precisely what the LDS Church is doing—serving a God that is not God by nature. For a God that is God by nature does not have to become God. This can be illustrated by making a comparison to the President of the United States. The President is not President by nature because he has not always been President; he had to attain that status by hard work and a favorable vote. Lindsay and I find the God of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be likewise. He had to attain Godhood, and thus is not God by nature—a clear contradiction to scripture (cf. Psalm 90:2; Galatians 4:8)

Another objection that Lindsay and I had regarding what we learned in the Institute was that we could become Gods. We remember being taught that we could be the Gods of our own worlds, not unlike our Heavenly Father. Both of us could not reconcile that belief with scripture. For God says, “Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me” (Isaiah 43:10). All references to men being called gods must be reconciled against the totality of scripture. We can find nowhere in scripture that men can become divine like God is. We do, however, find that we may partake in the divine nature in such a way that allows us to demonstrate the characteristics of God for the purpose of glorifying God (viz., being holy, good, merciful, etc. cf. 2 Peter 1:3-4). This is far different than saying we can be gods by nature “with all power” (cf. D&C 132:20).

Apart from the Institute, Lindsay and I were made aware of other disturbing doctrines. These include the doctrine of Blood Atonement by which men must offer their own lives to atone for sins. Brigham Young stated, “There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 3, pg. 247). However, we read that Christ atoned for our sins once and for all (cf. Hebrews 7:23-27; 10:14).

Another doctrine that we found to be disturbing was the idea that, “no man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom without the consent of Joseph Smith… He reigns there as supreme a being in his sphere, capacity, and calling, as God does in Heaven” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, pg 289). However, we read in the Bible that, “Christ… appear[s] in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 6:19). For it is through Christ that we gain access into the presence of God, not Joseph Smith. Secondly, Joseph Smith will not “[reign] there as supreme a being… as God does in Heaven” because, “[God] will not give [His] glory to another” (Isaiah 48:11).

Another disturbing doctrine is eternal polygamy. Brigham Young said, “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy” (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, pg. 269). There are no commandments for Man to be in a polygamous relationship in the Bible. In addition, Christ says, “’Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven’” (Matt. 22:23-30). In context, Christ is denying polygamous relationships in heaven, or any marital relationship for that matter. Rather, we will be like angels.

Another disturbing thing that Lindsay and I have come across is Joseph Smith’s statement, “I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet” (History of the Church, vol. 6, pg. 409). We find this to be insulting and blasphemous. A true prophet who is filled with the Holy Ghost would not be able to utter such words.

There are many more things that Lindsay and I would like to discuss in this letter, but time and space do not allow. We feel that the contents present an accurate picture as to our thoughts and feelings of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We have prayed about of the LDS Church, and we strongly feel that God has revealed to us that it is false. We leave you with a testimony that we believe Joseph Smith is a false prophet, the Book of Mormon is not true, and that President Gordon B. Hinckley is not a true and living prophet. May God direct you unto His paths of truth, as we feel He has done for us. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and for understanding our views. If you would like to talk to us about the contents of this letter, please contact us on my telephone 626-627-8236, or email me at

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Book of Mormon: The Fullness of the Gospel?

Joseph Smith claimed that the Book of Mormon is the fullness of the gospel in the introduction to the BOM, and the D&C plainly says that the BOM is the fullness of the gospel in D&C 27:5 and 76:14. If the BOM contains the fullness of the gospel, then it wouldn’t lack anything in regards to the gospel, right? With that being said, why doesn’t the BOM contain doctrines that are essential to exaltation? For example, it doesn’t contain anything in regards to:

1. The premortal world
2. Eternal marriage
3. Temple marriage
4. Eternal progression into godhood
5. The three levels of heaven
6. Baptism for the dead
7. Family sealing
8. Eternal families
9. The teaching that God is a man

Furthermore, the BOM doesn’t contain other things that are unique to Mormonism:

1. A plurality of Gods
2. That Christ atoned for sins in the Garden of Gethsemane (1 Nephi 11:33)
3. Polygamy (it’s actually condemned in Jacob 2)
4. The husband calling his wife out of the grave
5. That God had to become a God

As a Mormon, can you really say that the BOM contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel if it is lacking all this necessary doctrine for exaltation? I suppose, you may say that you have prophets to give you modern day doctrine, but if these doctrines were part of the everlasting gospel wouldn’t it have been practiced and taught by people in the BOM? Can the term fullness be qualified to mean all things besides those necessary doctrines? According to the introduction to the BOM it says,

“[The BOM] is a record of God’s dealings with the ancient inhabitants of the Americas and contains, as does the Bible, the fullness of the everlasting gospel.” Concerning this record the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

Two things, 1) If the Bible also contains the fullness of the gospel, why doesn’t it contain any of the above necessary doctrines? 2) If the BOM can get you closer to God than any other book, I find it odd that it doesn’t even contain most of the doctrine that is unique to Mormonism, the only “true” Church.

This just goes to show that additional doctrine had been added after Joseph Smith wrote the BOM. It also demonstrates that the Mormon Church is built of false teachings that contradict the prophets of old in the Bible.

Have you ever read Galatians 1:8-9? It 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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Friday, April 28, 2006

Adam fell so we can have joy?

According to the Mormon scriptures, it is necessary for sin and evil to exist for man to be able to progress, to experience joy, to be righteous, to have free will. Even the existence of God is dependent upon sin according to the Book of Mormon. For clarity purposes read 2 Nephi 2. Is this logical? Is it good theology? Or is it nonsensical, morally revolting, and blasphemous? I choose the latter, and I’ll explain why.

First, it should be noted that 2 Nephi 2:11 affirms the necessity of opposites to all things. It says,

For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so… righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad
Verse 13 brings even more clarity when it says,

And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God.
Thus, the existence of God is dependent upon six things: law, sin, righteousness, happiness, judgment, and misery. I find this to be illogical and irrational. For example, law must exist in order for God to exist, but how could law exist prior to the Lawgiver? Punishment likewise must exist in order for God to exist; but how can punishment exist prior to the one who exercises the punishment? And if righteousness is predicated on the existence of sin, then how could one be rightly punished by the Lawgiver for sinning if it is ultimately necessary to fulfill the law? The idea that the existence of God is dependent upon the existence of sin, evil, and misery is morally revolting because it depicts a God who is not transcendant over evil, and does not ultimately have the power to eradicate it. He can't eradicate it because sin must exist for all good and righteous things to exist, and God is both.

2 Nephi 2: 22-25 demonstrates how the Book of Mormon does not correspond to reality when it says,

And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin… Adam fell that men might be; and men \are, that they might have joy

The Nephi passage is saying that they had to experience misery in order to experience joy, and they had to experience sin in order to experience good; all for the progression of mankind. But is this true in reality? Does one have to go through a beating to know what a loving touch is, does one have to jump into a pile of mud to know what it is to be clean? Does one have to eat a lemon to appreciate the sweetness of an apple pie, or experience darkness to see light? No, this passage is an aberration from reality, and it presents a serious moral problem. For example, if sin is an essential ingredient of human moral growth, then why would God deceptively command Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from one particular tree, but then severely punished them when they did what He really wanted them to do! What warrant would God have to do such a thing? Would you tell your child not to do something, even though you secretly wanted him to do it, and then punish him when he did what you secretly wanted him to? Of course not! That would be contradictory to your good moral character, and you'd be a moral schizophrenic, but this is precisely what the passage says God did.

This passage also creates problems for Mormon theology, for in Mormon scripture Jesus claimed to have been God even before the world was made. If the fall was necessary for men to progress, and eventually become Gods, then why is it that Jesus became God before the fall? And why is the Holy Ghost God if He didn’t benefit from the fall either? Consider what Bruce McConkie says, “Adam was to introduce mortality and all that attends it, so that the opportunity for eternal progression and perfection might be offered to all the spirit children of the Father” (Mormon Doctrine, 268; cf. Moses 5:11). This kind of inconsitency seems to be common in Mormon doctrine, and its things like this that make Christians like me think the Book of Mormon was invented by Joseph Smith, and that the Church that is founded on it is man made too.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Is the question of Monotheism ambiguous?

I have always wondered what a poll could tell us about the average LDS understanding of doctrine and other things regarding Mormonism. I once took an institute class, and I remember thinking to myself, "if I were to ask everybody in this class how many Gods exist, how many various answers would I get?" It seems to be a tricky question to LDS, and I think it’s because they think there are multiple answers, and they think the answers are not mutually exclusive. They may think that in one sense there is only one God, and in another sense there are three Gods, and in another sense, there are an infinite number of Gods, it all depends upon the context that the question is placed. For example, one may think I’m really asking the question, “how many God’s are there for this earth?” This LDS might say “1” or “3”, but not an infinite amount. Or another may think I’m really asking the question, “How many God’s have ever existed?” That person may return an answer of “1”, “3”, or an infinite amount. And another person may think I’m really asking the question, “how many Gods are in the Godhead?” That LDS person will most likely say “3”, or at least “2” (the Father and the Son), but probably not “1” or an infinite amount.

To a Christian, the question regarding the number of Gods is quite simple, and the answer is always the same: there is only one God. It isn’t ambiguous to us because the Bible gives us the answer very clearly (e.g., 1 Timothy 2:5, Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 44:6-8). I find it interesting that the same question to an LDS person is so ambiguous when it should be very clear. I think it’s perhaps a reflection of widespread misunderstanding of scripture on the LDS part, and because the Mormon church teaches its members to believe in a self-contradictory system - to be both monotheistic and polytheistic.

A good example of this can be taken from Mormon Doctrine, a source written by Bruce McConkie before he was an apostle of the Mormon Church, which is very popular among LDS and is a good summary of various topics. The following quotes demonstrate how LDS could naturally be confused on how exactly to answer the question: “How many God’s exist?”

There are three Gods–the Father, Son and Holy Ghost-who, though separate in personality, are united as one in purpose, in plan, and in all the attributes of perfection…. By definition, God (generally meaning the Father) is the one supreme and absolute Being; the ultimate source of the universe; the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things.
[He then goes on to quote D&C 20:17 which says, “There is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.”] (“God”, p. 317-318).

Monotheism is the doctrine or belief that there is but one God. If this is properly interpreted to mean that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-each of whom is a separate and distinct godly personage-are one God, meaning one Godhead, then true saints are monotheists. (“Monotheism”, p. 511).

Three separate personages-Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods. [He then goes on to quote Joseph Smith teaching that there are many Gods, and moreover, that God the Father has a Heavenly Father.] (“Plurality of Gods”, p. 576-577).

So , you may be scratching your head wondering which is it, is there one God, three Gods, or an infinite amount of Gods? Unlike Bruce McConkie and the Mormon Church, I believe the Bible is very clear that there is only one God, it's not an ambiguous issue. Never does the Bible give an option that more than one true God exists, nor does it create the qualification that "God" can mean a team of separate Gods. Take, for example, the amount of scriptures in the Bible where God refers to himself with singular pronouns like "Me" or "I". A prime example is Isaiah 43:10 as cited below; God uses the pronoun "me" when he says there were no Gods formed before "me" or after "me".

There are, however, a few instances in the Old Testiment, such as Genesis, that use the pronoun "us" and "we" in reference to the creation of man, but it's very important to remember that the sentence is clarified by the third person singular verbs and the singular pronouns. For example, "God created (singular Hebrew verb "bara") man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them," This is one of the reasons why Hebrew scholars translate the passage to read "God" and not "gods"; the context forces the translation to be such.

Christians are monotheists and we are also trinitarians, but that isn't a contradiction in terms because we believe there is only one God composed of three persons, who are distinct persons but not separate Gods. God is not a man (Hosea 11:9), He is a Spirit (John 4:24). Thus, God can exist in an all together different way than a man can. The Bible says in Isaiah 46:5, "To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?" So, we can expect God to be of a sort that is uncomparable in nature and essence to any thing in this world. Please see more clarification on the trinity at Alpha & Omega Ministries, MormonInfo.Org or PerfectRighteousness.Com.

Also, see my other post titled "LDS Arm Wrestling", to see the problems with believing there is more than one true God. Also, if you are unsure if the Bible really teaches there is only one God, please read the following references:

DEUTERONOMY 4:35,39 — Unto thee it was shown, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him. (39) Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.

DEUTERONOMY 6:4 — Hear, O Israel: The LORD thy God is one LORD. [Note in Mark 12:28-34 how Jesus and a Jewish scribe he encountered understood this text.]

DEUTERONOMY 32:39 — See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand.

2 SAMUEL 7:22 — Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God; for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

2 KINGS 19:15 — And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.

NEHEMIAH 9:6 — Thou, even thou, art LORD alone...

PSALM 86:10 — For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.

ISAIAH 37:16,20 — O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou has made heaven and earth. (20) Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.

ISAIAH 43:10,11 — Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no savior.

ISAIAH 44:6,8 — Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

ISAIAH 45:21 — Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time: who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.

MARK 12:29-34 —And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord... thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he...

JOHN 17:3 — And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

21. ROMANS 3:30 — Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

1 CORINTHIANS 8:4-6 — As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

1 TIMOTHY 1:17 — Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 TIMOTHY 2:5 — For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

JAMES 2:19 — Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

LDS Arm wrestling

While discussing the theology of omnipotence (God possessing all power), a good friend of mine, Rob Sivulka, gave me a very good mental visual aid that makes the distinction between how the LDS doctrine of omnipotence differs from a Christian's view of omnipotence. He used an illustration of two equally powerful Gods attempting to arm wrestle. You can listen to a similar presentation at .

The mental illustration is two "all-powerful" Gods arm wrestling. They are using all of their power and grit to take the other one down, but neither can do it because both of them have all power. Case in point: it's nonsensical to say that more than one God can have "all power". So, If there are many Gods in the Universe, which Mormonism claims there is, which one possesses all power? Is it just our heavenly father? Is it our heavenly grand-father? Wouldn't it be arrogant for our heavenly Father to claim he has all power when there are an infinite amount of other Gods out there that might think they've got all power too? I guess one could say, "no, it's not arrogant because our heavenly Father is all powerful... for this world." Or perhaps LDS would say that no God possess all power. This is the very thing that Christians find problematic. Why should we limit God's power to just "this world"? Or why should we entertain the idea that no God possess all power? There is absolutely no scriptural support for that line of thinking. In fact, there is scriptural support for just the opposite.

Christians believe that God is all powerful because He is the only God that has ever existed or ever will exist, He isn't just one among many Gods. Psalm 90:2 says that God has been God from everlasting to everlasting, there were no Gods formed before Him or after Him (Isaiah 43:10), and furthermore, God doesn't even know of any other Gods besides Himself (Isaiah 44:6-8). Scripture says that God is "all mighty" (Gen. 17:1), and that there is nothing to difficult for the Lord to do (Jeremiah 32:17), and that God has created all things (Isaiah 40:12-25). Thus, the God that is found in the Bible has the power to "take it all" because He alone is God, and has created all things. There are no other Gods out there for him to share his power with.

I don't think this is simply a philosophical point that really has no impact in our lives. It has obvious implications if you're LDS because D&C 132 says you can become a god and have"all power." Can this really be true, if not, can you trust the rest of the D&C to be true?