Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mormon Response

1) The Book of Mormon is a fabrication of the questionable religious experience of Joseph Smith, whom I do not believe to have been a prophet.

The Book of Mormon is the word of God and is the stick of Joseph in the hand of Ephraim as spoken of by Ezekiel. The book chronicles the higher covenant God makes with Lehi, Nephi, and Jacob just like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

2) Because there are many accounts of the First Vision, it is unclear as to what message Joseph was trying to relay. The poor copout that the many versions mold together to make one big story is exactly what I said...a copout.

There are several versions of the First Vision. And Joseph Smith suited each version to the audience for which it was intended. In the first version, Joseph Smith wanted to create a parallel between his experience and that of Paul and therefore only mentions that he beheld Jesus Christ. In other version, he included more detail about the entire experience of seeing the Father and the Son as Stephen beheld Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God.

The truth that God the Father and God the Son are 2 distinct persons and personages is not new with Joseph Smith. Justin Martyr to Trypho interprets "Let us make man in our image" and "Man has become as one of us" to prove that Christ is God and that there were at least 2 intelligent and distinct beings present. Justin Martyr specifically rejects the "Royal We" interpretation.

My favorite version contains the description of how Joseph Smith felt after the First Vision. Joseph Smith simply stated that after the vision "my heart was filled with love for days afterward."

3) On the part of the institutional church (in existence), the inability to maintain honest record of its history leads me to further believe that the LDS church is in fact a man made institution with great financial ploys and is more concerned with church wealth, blind obedience, and power than it is about preserving the TRUTH found in the body of Christ and His Gospel.

What other church has done a better job of keeping records and achieving everything any of our leadership has said and making it available to all to see. If we were hiding something we would keep things hidden and use the document shredders. Our church is a record keeping church because we have a duty to chronicle the restoration of the fullness of the gospel of Christ in this the dispensation of the fullness of times.

4) The Book of Abraham is a fabrication created to promote a monolatry or henotheism which are only disguises of polytheism.

The Kirtland Egyptian Papers contain descriptions of all the papyri that Joseph Smith had in his possession. Only a small fraction of the collection exists today and what Joseph Smith translated as the Book of Abraham is not in the existent papyri fragments.

5) I do not agree with the denigration of women. I see women more as equals than as mere child bearers.

Women enjoy great freedom, respect, and equality in the LDS faith. There is no "I am the priesthood holder so you have to do what i say" in the LDS faith. My wife and I make all decisions together in prayerful consultation with our Heavenly Father. I would never make a decision alone and have adversity arise and have my wife say, "This is all your fault, I never thought this was a good idea". In stead, because we are equally yoked, when adversity arises, because we have made a prayerful decision together, we can say, "we both know the Lord guided us in this direction, and therefore we should have faith, patience, and perseverance and hold to the more narrow path knowing the Lord will bless us and things will work out for our good because we have followed the Lords way"

6) It is a mockery of God's divine character by lying about His supposed 'exaltation'. He was not a man and never will be a man.

The Early Christian Fathers were the ones that taught "God became man so men could become gods." This is not about taking Gods place and God ceasing to be our Father. We will forever be His children and He our Father. This is about maturing to become like Him and being empowered to join in with Him in His work of creation and eternal parenting. How else would you really come to know the Father and enjoy fellowship with Him unless you were empowered to do the kind of work that God does. Are you going to circle the throne and honor God with your lips only, or are you going to be blessed to sit in His throne with Him and worship God in word and works, in spirit and in truth.

7) I'm a Trinitarian and I view the Godhead as such. God is Master. Christ is the bodily manifestation of God. The Spirit is His consciousness meant to guide and to help discern.

"bodily manifestation of God?" That is modalism and not trinitarianism. the Lutheran Hour speaker Rev. Ken Klaus a month ago was explaining the trinity and was stressing the 3-ness of the Godhead and reviewed all the places in which Christ referred to the Father as separate from Himself and came to the conclusion that the Father and Son are not only 2 separate persons but also 2 separate "individuals".

8) I will agree with Bruce McConkie in stating that the Adam-God theory is a deadly heresy.

Adam-God is a misunderstanding of what Brigham Young was trying to say. I have read many recorded diary accounts of Brigham Young speaking on this subject and it is clear that some LDS misunderstood what was being taught. But if you have been to an LDS temple you know that Adam-God cannot be because Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael are all clearly depicted.

Brigham Young was not teaching that Adam is the Father Elohim. Adam is the Father of Jesus Christs body only by way of Mary the Mother, and Adam is the only God with whom we have to do meaning that Adam has entered into his exaltation and since we are his physical offspring, physically-speaking, Adam is our father and our god, and the only god, physically-speaking, with whom we have to do.

9) No plans to go to the temple within this lifetime or any for that matter. The commonalities that are shared between Masonic ritual and Mormon temple worship are too close. Joseph Smith knew this and so he copied the rituals. Not a good move. I am planning to buy a book from Lighthouse Ministries (the Tanners) in SLC about the changes in the endowment ceremony over the years. I'm not so much worried about exaltation and my 'calling and election' so much as I am about salvation by grace.

If the temple is a pure copy of the Masonic, then you have to explain why the temple covenant is taught over and over again in the Book of Mormon and the Pearl of Great Price. The Tree of Life vision, that is Lehi and Neph's endowment. King Benjamin's Sermon, that is a mass endowment session. Jesus Christ at the temple in Bountiful is also a mass endowment session. Moses 1 is Moses personal endowment. Yes, the parable and pattern may very, but the message and mysteries being taught are the same.

Joseph Smith clearly confessed that he was impressed with the way that the Masonic ritual was able to teach uneducated and illiterate farmers and labors together with the most sophisticated and learned. Therefore, he used the same format and ritual symbolism of the masonic ritual to teach the LDS endowment.

The parallels you see between the two are like watching a power-point presentation on Physics and a power-point presentation on art history and claiming that one was a complete copy of the other. Yes, the organization of the room is the same, same laser pointer, same projector, screen, monotone lecturer, etc, etc, but the subject being taught is completely different.

Works do not deny grace. Christ empowers us to receive the works and ordinances. This is why Cornelius had to receive the Holy Ghost before he was water baptized. And make no mistake, Cornelius was water baptized as was the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And if you think that water baptism is optional after God has commanded that you receive it, and you openly refuse it, I don't think you can bank on grace to cover you when you all this time you have rejected Gods grace that would have empowered you to receive it. Today is the day of your repentance and salvation.

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