I’ve been away for awhile. I wanted to take a bit of a break so here we are. Although I’ve not written much, that doesn’t mean that I’ve not been busy. I’ve been meeting with Mormons each Thursday and the Jehovah’s Witnesses every other Saturday. I wanted to just give some highlights on Mormonism.
If you are not aware about Mormonism, it is similar to the organization in that there is secrecy, has some strange teachings of its own. Joseph Smith, had a vision, all the churches are wrong, and he set about to create his own religion. One major thing is the incorporation of Free Masonry. So the question becomes how did I get to this point?
If you’ve not read the blog, for some time, here’s a quick refresher.
The Witnesses saw me in my garage in the spring of 2011. I met with them for a few months at various intervals. They stopped coming when we were going to discuss the fall of Jerusalem. In the interim, I had ordered a copy of the book of Mormon in January of 2012. They met a few times but stopped as well.
That brings us up to 2016. The Witnesses were the first ones to come back to the door. I answered and the Witness said, “I know you.” I didn’t recognize her at first. Turns out she was a custodian when I was in high school. She isn’t the best with technology (she freely admitted this). I was a tad more familiar with the JW Library App. I was showing her what to do. Later on, she said that her other Witness friends thought I was giving her a hard time. However, she remarked that I was being helpful.
The Mormons showed up on a Saturday afternoon when I was home shortly thereafter. I set up appointments with both of them. The Mormons were first when they showed up on a Thursday night. Their first “chaperone” (my term for an older guy who goes with them on their house calls). He was a dentist yet very adamant about reading pro-Mormon publications. I asked about reading the book Doctrine and Covenants. This is different from the Book of Mormon in that this contains “meaty” things about Mormonism. The dentist bought up “informed consent.” I agreed as this is better in opposition to the Book of Mormon which is the publication that you are to “pray about to see if it’s true.” Ironically, this brings to mind Jeremiah 17:9. Another advantage is this gets the Mormon off of the standard Mormon “script” and they have to actually start thinking as they will be exposed to things they don’t know and I will have one eye opening thing later on. So with all that in mind, I’ve placed down all older Watchtower material and took a lot of time to read Doctrine and Covenants from start to finish.
So with that in mind, I’m going to focus on the Mormon highlights at this point:
Doctrine and Covenants official link here: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament?lang=eng
Doctrine and Covenants 18:20-Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil.
I asked the conductor, what is the “church of the devil?”
The answer I got was laughable in that it is one that “doesn’t follow the teachings about Jesus.” This is in stark opposition to what Joseph Smith said in that Joseph declared, “all the churches are wrong.” However, I let them go and squirm to get that answer out.
Doctrine and Covenants 27:11-And also with Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days;
So I asked, “is Michael the Archangel really Adam?” I received a good solid “yes.” If you are are familiar with the Adventists of which the Jehovah’s Witnesses are part of, Michael the Archangel is Jesus. Will the real Michael stand up please?
Zion is regarded as different physical locations throughout history.
Doctrine and Covenants 60:1-9
1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto the elders of his church, who are to return speedily to the land from whence they came: Behold, it pleaseth me, that you have come up hither;
2 But with some I am not well pleased, for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. Wo unto such, for mine anger is kindled against them.
3 And it shall come to pass, if they are not more faithful unto me, it shall be taken away, even that which they have.
4 For I, the Lord, rule in the heavens above, and among the armies of the earth; and in the day when I shall make up my jewels, all men shall know what it is that bespeaketh the power of God.
5 But, verily, I will speak unto you concerning your journey unto the land from whence you came. Let there be a craft made, or bought, as seemeth you good, it mattereth not unto me, and take your journey speedily for the place which is called St. Louis.
6 And from thence let my servants, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, take their journey for Cincinnati;
7 And in this place let them lift up their voice and declare my word with loud voices, without wrath or doubting, lifting up holy hands upon them. For I am able to make you holy, and your sins are forgiven you.
8 And let the residue take their journey from St. Louis, two by two, and preach the word, not in haste, among the congregations of the wicked, until they return to the churches from whence they came.
9 And all this for the good of the churches; for this intent have I sent them.
So this lead to a conversation regarding how they could go speak in churches yet they cannot. The response I got was, “it was acceptable at their time, but not so much now. The purpose was to clear up false doctrine and everything is done via the leadership now” This is similar to Charles Taze Russell who gained followers for the Bible Students by visiting various churches.
Callings progressed in this fashion: Lord->prophet->person
Doctrine and Covenants 64:23-25
23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.
24 For after today cometh the burning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon.
25 Wherefore, if ye believe me, ye will labor while it is called today.
So one of the reasons why the Mormons have so much in terms of money is they are mandated to tithe. This concept is present in the Old Testament/Hebrew Scriptures. The scriptures cited in support are:
This is in contrast to the New Testament/Greek Scriptures.
Here are some applicable verses:
II Corinthians 9:6-7
Doctrine and Covenants 67:11-For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
This is in stark contrast to John 1:18. So what we have is the words of Jesus being contradicted by Joseph Smith since he is adding in an exception. I didn’t get to ask this question, but was Joseph “quickened” when we went to the grove and purportedly saw Jesus and the Father?
Doctrine and Covenants 70 Introduction-Joseph Smith’s history refers to the revelations as “the foundation of the Church in these last days, and a benefit to the world, showing that the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of our Savior are again entrusted to man.
My question is simply this, why do they use the Book of Mormon as the foundation when Doctrine and Covenants should be what’s used? Here is the response I got: The Book of Mormon is evidence that Joseph Smith is the prophet. When you read Deuteronomy 18:20-22, you come across the “test of a prophet.” Here’s a link that contains some of where Joseph went wrong-http://mit.irr.org/failed-prophecies-of-joseph-smith
Here’s a link to a list of other prophecies that you can look at on your time: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_prophecies_of_Joseph_Smith
Doctrine and Covenants 84:3-5
3 Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.
So when I inquired about this, I was told it doesn’t refer to a specific “period” of time. If we use Jesus’ definition of a “generation,” it was about 40 years. So this “revelation” was given September 22 and 23, 1832 and it’s now October 8, 2016 when this is being written. Has a generation passed yet? Also, I was told that the organization does have possession of the land, yet nothing has been done.
Doctrine and Covenants 84:99
The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
Israel is a lot of the world to include the Native Americans and those gathered to Missouri.
Doctrine and Covenants 85:11 And they who are of the High Priesthood, whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, as well as the lesser priesthood, or the members, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High;
To be in an apostate condition it was to abandon through “actions or intent of the heart.” Although one may be cut off, they do not shun. This is interesting in contrast to the Watchtower with these quotes: http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/disfellowship-shunning.php
We discussed aspects not being translated correctly since Mormons have this in their Articles of Faith: 8 We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly;
The irony here is this, the Bible has been verified many more times than the plates used for the Book of Mormon.
Here’s a link for the Old Testament: https://carm.org/old-testament-corrupted
Here’s an article by the same organization for the New Testament: https://carm.org/manuscript-evidence
This is a stark contrast from the Book of Mormon manuscripts. There are only two listed at this site: http://eom.byu.edu/index.php/Book_of_Mormon_Manuscripts
However, Mormons are the first to say the bible can’t be trusted but there are far more copies of the bible manuscripts when compared to the Book of Mormon.
This lead to a conversation about the Joseph Smith Translation. The result I was told is that “nothing can be translated correctly.” Here’s a list of the verses in the Joseph Smith Translation: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/jst?lang=eng
When it came to Doctrine and Covenants 87, there was a “special” visitor, a guy whom I graduated high school with. This one really stuck out and you’ll see why in a moment. This entire section deals with the impending Civil War.
Doctrine and Covenants 87:3 For behold, the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States, and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation of Great Britain, as it is called, and they shall also call upon other nations, in order to defend themselves against other nations; and then war shall be poured out upon all nations.
What is interesting here is that this was supposed to have Great Britain’s involvement. If you know you’re history, Great Britain never intervened. With this in mind, I was able to bring one of the missionaries to near tears over the fact that “if Joseph Smith was a true prophet, he wouldn’t of been wrong at all.” A major crack was presented as this is something he never saw previously as best I could tell. My classmate tried to cover saying, “it’s undergoing fulfillment and each war is based on the previous one.” I was able to call him on that and he too was a tad flustered at the end as well.
Within Section 88, it speaks of various trumpet blasts. I was informed these are mostly for the resurrection. If you have ever dealt with a Jehovah’s Witness, you may be aware that the trumpet blasts were “delivered” by the Witnesses from 1919-1922. For more information you can find it on the Watchtower’s official website here: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2009046
Doctrine and Covenants 93:38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.
I learned from them that one is “innocent” from birth until they are eight years of age. I was curious to learn about those who are mentally disabled and may not advance past age eight in terms of mental capacity. Again, not a good answer. This is also a stark contrast to Psalm 51:5 and 58:5.
Doctrine and Covenants 101: Intro for 76-80 The Lord established the Constitution of the United States
My thought: There are no extra things written in the bible (I say the Mormon Standard works are not written by God). Since that’s the case, why are there amendments to the Constitution?
Doctrine and Covenants 110:2 We saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit, before us; and under his feet was a paved work of pure gold, in color like amber.
I was informed that visions still occur, however, they do not discuss this information openly.
Doctrine and Covenants 123:12 For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—
I was curious about this one as there are splinter groups in Mormonism. I merely asked, “which one is the correct one?” What I got was an example in circular reasoning in that “our branch of Mormonism is right and all the others are wrong.” This Wikipedia article gives a good overview: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_denominations_in_the_Latter_Day_Saint_movement
Doctrine and Covenants 125:2 Verily, thus saith the Lord, I say unto you, if those who call themselves by my name and are essaying to be my saints, if they will do my will and keep my commandments concerning them, let them gather themselves together unto the places which I shall appoint unto them by my servant Joseph, and build up cities unto my name, that they may be prepared for that which is in store for a time to come.
Doctrine and Covenants 128:12 Herein is glory and honor, and immortality and eternal life—The ordinance of baptism by water, to be immersed therein in order to answer to the likeness of the dead, that one principle might accord with the other; to be immersed in the water and come forth out of the water is in the likeness of the resurrection of the dead in coming forth out of their graves; hence, this ordinance was instituted to form a relationship with the ordinance of baptism for the dead, being in likeness of the dead.
So here’s what you need to do: faith, grace, plus works. I thought about the contrast in the bible where Paul spoke in Ephesians 2:8, 9.
Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
I asked about this in relation to John 4:24. The answer was summed up with, “the bible isn't translated correctly.” I bought up Malachi 3:6. What we again have is a verse is God the Father consistent with what was said in the bible or is He a liar?
So with all that in mind, we still have a ways to go. I’m looking forward to these continual interactions with the Mormon members. They’ve definitely opened my eyes as I have a much deeper understanding of their theology. For those of you that are curious, the Book of Mormon isn’t a true in the least bit. If you have time to watch these videos, they are highly educational:
With that in mind, the last meeting we had on Thursday, I was able to effectively explain the doctrine of the Trinity to them. They were under the impression that the Trinity resembles Modalism. Modalism teaches the Father becomes the Son, who becomes the spirit operating in different “modes” depending on the occasion. We started/been tackling polygamy and there were things he was not aware of. We used Journal of Discourses for various quotes.
Please pray for the Mormon missionaries and their “chaperones.” I’ve gotten to know all of them as there have been nights where they come and we spent literally 45 minutes just talking “guy stuff” to getting to know about them and their life’s story. Missionary wise, two have had their missions end. The one from Arizona is the one that I had practically in tears is flying out Wednesday. He may call next Thursday once he gets in, home, and settled. I trust his trek home will be without incident. I’m praying he calls in as well. Lord willing, his family will listen in as well. Hopefully, the latest “chaperone” will come out next week as I specifically asked for him. I’ll be back and talk about my Jehovah’s Witness friends next time.