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This is material that was originally posted on User_talk:Homestarmy. I thought it would be a good idea to move it somewhere more central, since Homestarmy's talk page will probably need to be archived eventually and it might get lost otherwise.

Anyone who wants to talk here, feel free to do so.

Hello there Edit

We seem to have gotten into a bit of an argument over Latter Day Saint issues on the Talk:Christian Knowledge Base:What is a Christian page. I would like to make my position a bit more clear since I seem to have confused you somewhat.

  1. I do not claim to know whether or not the LDS Utah Mormon church should be considered a Christian denomination.
  2. But, I feel that by any reasonable definition of what a Christian is, the RLDS, or at least the Restoration Branches should be acknowledged as a Christian denomination.

This page, "Wikia:c:rlds" exists to document my church's beliefs. My church and I may believe things you and yours may consider to be untrue, which is to be expected since we have a completely different history, point of view and cannon of scripture. But we are Christians. We believe in the Christ of the New Testament. If you find anything that our church (the RLDS, not the LDS) believes to be something that would disqualify us from being called "Christians" I would be very interested to hear your views on that question. --BenMcLean 17:13, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I'll check it out. I was under the impression that all there was was the LDS and the FLDS, you know, its very hard to know group's beliefs when they won't stop splitting apart. Is why I like not being denominational. Homestarmy 19:39, 24 May 2006 (UTC)
I see several very odd things here, but I think i'd rather ask you first to explain them, in my experience, the adherants of people to their various religios beliefs can vary a great deal, even with the most fundamental of matters. Could you give me any elaboration on the following bits from your statement of faith thing:

We believe that through atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

We believe that these ordinances are, first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

We believe that a man must be called of God by "prophecy, and by laying on of hands" by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

We claim privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our consciences, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

These were the ones which looked like the weirdest ones in my mind, so I figured i'd ask about them first. What do you think about them? In particular, i'd like to know what that part about what you need to do to be saved means, and what that last one means. Homestarmy 19:50, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

Thoughts on the Epitome of FaithEdit

Ah, that is the "Epitome of Faith" - it is not "scripture" - it's more sort of an overview. (nobody claims it is divinely inspired unless I am greatly mistaken) As such if anything in our actual scriptures contradicts the wording in the "Epitome of Faith" then they would take priority over it.

Now, understand that what I think about them might be different from what other people think about them, and furthermore, my thoughts might be wrong. So I wouldn't want you to just accept anything I am going to say as either the truth or the gospel according to my church at face value becuse I, being mortal, am prone to error like everbody else. I want people to study things out for themselves. And if you want to know what the scriptural backing of any points I bring up is, I can get references. (I find the King James Version to be a good neutral standard for this purpose)

The general statements about salvation here are, in my (and my church's) opinion, quite simply what the Bible teaches.

"mankind may be saved" Edit

We believe that through atonement of Christ all mankind may be saved by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel.

The great debate in the Christian world seems to me to be over "Faith vs Works". The Catholics seem to think (and I hope no one misunderstands what I'm saying here) that it is the good one does for others, and the obedience to the laws of righteousness that "earns" salvation. The Protestants seem to think that salvation is a free gift - all you have to do is say some magic words and presto - you're saved.

Neither aproach makes much sense to me. First of all, the Works view is simply not scriptural. The Protestants have pointed this out so often that I think repeating why would be beating a dead horse.

The Magic Words view is not logical - imagine someone being "saved" at a prayer meeting one night and then the next morning robbing a bank and raping and killing several people before committing suicide. Would such a person be "saved"? I don't think so. The moral, spiritual and eternal choice that person has made seems to be rather obvious to me, though of course God is the judge.

I have a completely different view. If a person truly is "saved" by grace, having faith then the good works and obediance will of course begin to happen. The slogan "Faith is an action word" might not be gramatically correct but fits rather well with this idea.

If someone is truly saved, there will be an evident change in their life. This doesn't mean they will be without sin of course, but the point is that I don't see a seperation between faith and works. The two go together.

I hope I explained that first one adequately ... let me post this much and then type some more in a bit - I want to make sure this much gets posted before I try going on. --BenMcLean 20:09, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Six Fundamental Principles Edit

Now, the second one you brought up refers to the Wikia:c:rlds:Six Fundamental Principles:

We believe that these ordinances are, first, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, repentance; third, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

That basically just rephrases the opening verses of Hebrews chapter 6. Kind of puts the points brought up there it in a sort of chronological order.

Priesthood Edit

We believe that a man must be called of God by "prophecy, and by laying on of hands" by those who are in authority to preach the gospel and administer the ordinances thereof.

That is talking specifically about the restored (Latter Day Saint) priesthood. RLDS beliefs about priesthood are unique, but could not be said to stray outside the boundaries of what could be called Christian. (LDS beliefs, on the other hand, I am not in a position to say for sure.)

I won't go into how RLDS priesthood calls work unless you really want to know but I think the best thing to tell you right now without going on too long about it would be an illistration of the role of RLDS priesthood. In the Catholic church, a priest is like a sort of filter - being between the individual believer and God. The traditional RLDS view, on the other hand, puts the priesthood not between God and the individual but instead behind the individual, pushing him towards God. The Community of Christ's views on priesthood seem to change periodically, but the Restoration Branches believe that at this time, only priesthood who can trace their line of authority back to Joseph Smith Jr. have tha ability to perform legitimate ordinances. (like communion, baptisms and priesthood ordinations) --BenMcLean 20:32, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

RLDS priesthood are still intercessory when it comes to church ordinances. Didn't mean to imply that they weren't, merely that people aren't supposed to just take whatever the priest says and believe it but are supposed to actually study things out and attain knowledge for themselves. The priesthood are to encourage and help with this, not do it for people. --BenMcLean 19:00, April 19, 2010 (UTC)

The Bible and also the Book of Mormon Edit

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Actually we have three books of scripture. My copy is bound together as one volume. Our members are so used to refering out of all three of them interchangably as to blur the boundaries between the different books - the way the New and Old Testaments compliment each other.

I believe very strongly in an open (ever-expanding) cannon of scripture. Scripture is the divinely inspired record of God's dealings with mankind - and I don't think He is anywhere near done dealing with mankind - not by a long shot. I believe that God speaks today as surely as He did to Moses.

Living with other religions Edit

We claim privilege of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of our consciences, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.

That could be seen as more of a sort of political statement than a doctrinal one. At the time, anti-Mormons were very concerned that the Latter Day Saints were planning to take over the country and outlaw all other religions. This was not true (at least, not until Brigham Young started claiming to be the new prophet) and I think Joseph Smith Jr. was trying there to emphasize that in the minds of church members and non-members alike. This principle still applies today - or anyway I believe it does - freedom of religion for everyone is something to be defended not torn down. --BenMcLean 20:50, 25 May 2006 (UTC)


Hmm, your right, the RLDS is a whole lot different than the Mormonism i've read about :/. The weird thing of it is, what your saying about salvation and the "Magic word" thing among protestantism is pretty much exibitive of the Prosperity Gospel and Emergent Gospel movement, which admittedly is sort of in the limelight right now, but its not representative of all protestantism, just alot of televangelism :). I asked about that part of the thing because it sounded like it was saying "Salvation comes from fulfilling all of Jesus's commands" which sounds very LDS-esque, (As in, i've heard they say that we must fulfill Jesus's command to "be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect" to be saved or something.) as opposed to "Salvation comes through faith in the savior and being born again", and to tell you the truth, my motive for asking these questions was, well, primarily to see whether you were saved or not :/. I mean I kinda concern myself with that sort of thing all the time, its all part of this thing, plus I don't think that talking to somebody about their individual doctrines or beliefs is very effective unless you try to see whether they are probably saved or not :/. But just to make sure, in alot of the things i've read about groups like Mormonism, sometimes the definitions of words is covertly changed around so neither side makes much sense of the other, could you tell me your definition of what being born again is?

The preisthood thing I only asked about because it made it sound like a man must be called by God to lay hands and heal people, as in, it is mandatory for all Christians to lay on hands :/. When it said "Preach the gospel", i'm thinking, well, that sort of means everyone, I mean, the command to go out and spread the gospel to the world doesn't mean just hang in the church all the time and wait for the world to come to you, you know? It doesn't sound like anything's amazingly wrong with it the way you think of it however :/.

The Bible thing I asked about mostly because that's the basis of our dispute and its generally a red flag that makes me question whether somebody understands salvation, I mean really, when somebody simply tells you that they don't think certain parts of the Bible are accurate, sometimes you just don't know which parts, and if its the salvation parts...well....it sometimes concerns me. I think i've seen some instances where the BoM, Pearl of Great Price, and Doctrines and Covenants directly contradict things in the Bible, and many times I think this is what ultimately leads to people assuming that Mormons are not Christian, but I can outline this later.

The first thing I wanted to ask about because it seemed to concern salvation, and made it sound like there were extra steps to salvation besides faith in Christ, and that made me suspicious, but if you say its re-quoting the Bible somehow, then I dunno what to tell ya heh.

The last thing was what made me the most suspicious, because it sounded like it was saying that the RLDS didn't care what you believed, as long as it was from your conscience and concerned God, and that the RLDS would consider all ways of worshipping God as equal. But hey, if you think its political, then I guess that's your take on it heh.

I think the main difference between your beliefs and mine really just centers around the Bible and the extra canon of the RLDS, as opposed to the worrying things I had heard apparently about the LDS, which would include stuff like God marrying some spirit mother and making spirit babies, an infinite line of God's each causing each other (a logical impossiblity), 3 different kingdoms of heaven, basically no real Hell in a more universal Christian sense, (by that I mean what I would consider Hell would be, in an LDS's eyes, I think what they refer to as the "outer darkness" as opposed to whatever else they consider Hell to generally be.) and basically other things which, if what you think about the RLDS is true, seem to simply not apply heh. As for the original question you asked about whether the RLDS church should be considered Christian or not, the thing of it is, if you say that those questions in summary of your beliefs aren't really taken as RLDS official policy, then what is? :/ Because at face value, many of those statements appear decidedly non-Christian, though it seems your take on them seems primarily Christian besides the BoM thing. Homestarmy 00:17, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

I've read what you've said there, but I don't have time right now to respond comprehensively. But let me say one thing. I do not believe that there are direct contradictions between the RLDS 1908 Authorized Edition of the Book of Mormon (the one I have studied) and the King James Bible. In other words, I think the Book of Mormon (1908) teaches the same thing(s) the Bible teaches. I do not believe that the "Pearl of Great Price" or the LDS Doctrine and Covenants are legitimate revelations. (meaning: they're fakes, I don't believe what they say) I can also say the same that I said of the Book of Mormon (1908) of the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants, except that I absolutely deny that Section 144 (and any subsequent sections the Community of Christ may have added) are legitimate. --BenMcLean 21:48, 27 May 2006 (UTC)

Hmm, the RLDS IS different than LDS isn't it? Heh.... Homestarmy 04:03, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
Wow, this is impressive. May if I fork this? -- inkybutton 09:48, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure you have to ask me, since content posted here is under the General Free Documentation Liscense thing. But where would you want to fork it to? :/ --BenMcLean 16:47, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

OK now that I have a bit more time to answer ... Edit

"(As in, i've heard they say that we must fulfill Jesus's command to "be perfect, as your father in heaven is perfect" to be saved or something.)"

I believe we are commanded to "be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" - that that is a goal to strive for, but at the same time, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." It is through Christ then, that we are made perfect. But after accepting Christ, a Christian will strive to follow Christ's example. I think this is what is meant by the "striving for perfection" idea.

"But just to make sure, in alot of the things i've read about groups like Mormonism, sometimes the definitions of words is covertly changed around so neither side makes much sense of the other,"

That happens on so many levels to human beings everywhere that only God can sort that mess out. I try to stick to two ideas on that one: "Words mean things" and "don't make a man an offender for a word." (that first idea is a Rush Limbaugh quote and I think the second one's from the Doctrine and Covenants, but I'm pretty sure there are similar enough passages in the King James Bible to confirm the principle to you. just try a search for "tongue" maybe)

Latter Day Saints have a totally different volcabulary from other Christians much of the time. Terms like "saved" and "born again" have somewhat of a different but similar meaning.

"could you tell me your definition of what being born again is?"

I would say, to be "saved" or "born again", a person must have faith towards God, repent from their sins and be baptized. (Those are the first three of the six principles we talked about earlier: "Faith, Repentance, Baptism") I believe this is simply what the Bible teaches. --BenMcLean 17:00, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Now, let me explain what I meant by a "different but similar meaning" - and I hope this doesn't shock you, but I believe very strongly that a born again Christian can lose their salvation. Hell is for people who know better, but choose. I know one preacher who put it in even stronger terms than that: "Hell is for church members" he said. (meaning people who know who Christ is, what the truth is, and reject him and it) I don't think everlasting torment is for unfortunate people who never heard of Christ, but rather, for those, like Judas, who absolutely know exactly what they are doing.

I don't mean to be a purveyor of the "fire and brimstone sermon" here, but I am trying to explain the difference in volcabulary. There are some of our churches you can go to and say, "Are you all saved?" and there might be some confusion and only half the hands in the room go up, since the word "saved" in their minds means the Protestant doctrine of "once saved always saved" but go to any of our churches and ask, "Have you accepted Christ as your personal Savior?" and every hand goes up. Ask "Are you born again Christians?" and eventually all the hands would go up after some of them think about it a bit, because of the volcabulary difference. "Are you baptized?", which is a much more direct way of wording the same question, would get all the members to raise their hands immediately. --BenMcLean 17:06, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Later note on that: At the same time Protestants were trying to work out whether RLDS members were "saved" under their definition, some RLDS members were trying to work out whether modern-day Protestants were still Christians, since Protestant doctrines seem to have changed slowly over the years since when our church started. (it was started mainly by Protestants, who then became former Protestants) The conclusion has mostly been that yes, they still are, so a class or two was put on to explain why our members should just answer "Yes" when asked "Are you saved?" instead of saying something like, "Well, we believe differently than you do on that" and trying to explain faith, repentance and baptism. The simple answer is "Yes" and the more lengthy answer would be "Yes and that's not all but..." I hope I haven't gone too long here and lost your interest. --BenMcLean 17:56, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
'"RLDS would consider all ways of worshipping God as equal."

Um ... I'm not entirely sure, but I think that you would be correct in saying that the Community of Christ has indeed accepted that idea. Though they currently have the copyright on the RLDS church name, I do not believe they are the real RLDS church. (if for no other reason than because they believe that absurd notion) My church, on the other hand, which preaches the traditional RLDS doctrines, would object to the statement "all ways of worshipping God are equal" in the very strongest terms. --BenMcLean 17:20, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

"I think the main difference between your beliefs and mine really just centers around the Bible and the extra canon of the RLDS,"

I don't know enough about your beliefs to really know for sure whether that statement is true or not, but I'm all ears.

"as opposed to the worrying things I had heard apparently about the LDS, which would include stuff like God marrying some spirit mother and making spirit babies,"

I think that's "spiritual wifery" - an LDS concept that the RLDS have always rejected entirely.

"an infinite line of God's each causing each other (a logical impossiblity),"

I think that's the "Adam-God theory" - another LDS concept that the RLDS have always rejected entirely.

"3 different kingdoms of heaven, basically no real Hell in a more universal Christian sense, (by that I mean what I would consider Hell would be, in an LDS's eyes, I think what they refer to as the "outer darkness" as opposed to whatever else they consider Hell to generally be.)"

Joseph Smith Jr did in fact teach that there were three glories of heaven. The RLDS does believe in three glories of heaven, but in a very different way from how the LDS believes in them. First of all, the LDS claims to have alot more information about that concept than the RLDS does - meaning that the RLDS believes the LDS's additional information to be false. I am not an expert on the LDS's view on that, but you may be able to make a very strong case/argument that the LDS version of the 3 glories might contradict the Bible.

"and basically other things which, if what you think about the RLDS is true, seem to simply not apply heh."

Yes definately.

"As for the original question you asked about whether the RLDS church should be considered Christian or not, the thing of it is, if you say that those questions in summary of your beliefs aren't really taken as RLDS official policy, then what is?"

The Wikia:c:rlds:Three Standard Books are.

The trouble with the epitome of faith is that the LDS/Utah Mormons have a different version of the Epitome of Faith that they claim Joseph Smith Jr wrote. We claim Joseph Smith Jr wrote ours. The whole period of history from 1830 when the church was first organized to 1844 when Joseph Smith Jr died and left us with the succession crisis is really very blurry due to the enourmous contraversy and differing interpretations of what happened during that time.

"Because at face value, many of those statements appear decidedly non-Christian, though it seems your take on them seems primarily Christian besides the BoM thing"

The Book of Mormon, whether it is true or not, claims to be a Christian record. It deals more with history than with doctrine, and where it deals with doctrine it mainly refers back to the Bible. Where it does not refer back to the Bible, it is possible to find passages in the Bible that make the same doctrinal statements, quite often in much stronger terms than the Book of Mormon does. It is the implications of the translator being a prophet that is what really gives people pause, not the Book of Mormon itself. The Doctrine and Covenants on the other hand, does deal with doctrine. The differences in doctrine between our church and others would probably be found there. --BenMcLean 17:41, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

I have studied the Book of Mormon alot more since I wrote this and also have studied Protestant theology a little more and now I realize that the way some people interpret the Bible does indeed directly contradict the Book of Mormon. In particular, Calvinism and the Book of Mormon are absolutely incompatible. The Book of Mormon puts doctrines scattered throughout the Bible in a logical order that narrows the set of possible meanings considerably. Some forms of Arminianism are fairly close to Book of Mormon theology. Alot of the stuff C. S. Lewis says in his writings are very close to doctrines you'll find in the Book of Mormon. --BenMcLean 18:58, April 19, 2010 (UTC)

And there's even another branch in the RLDS with restoration stuff in it? Yeesh, and I kinda hoped Mormonism wouldn't be complicated heh. I'd just like to clarify though, I know that we are commanded to be perfect, but what im trying to say is that perfection can't actually be attained by simple works of ourselves, which is what I understood LDS doctrine to contradict.

And nah, that thing you said didn't shock me....it only shocked me the first time I saw someone try to insert a link in the Ray Comfort article in Wikipedia, blasting him for teaching that our salvation is permanent heh. I actually don't have very much experience with this subject because until a few days ago I didn't know it existed, the way I see it, its like a universalist sort of deal, if somebody is saved a couple minutes before they die, why would they go to Hell simply because they do not acnkowladge that Hell exists when they didn't even have time to get knowladge about it? I mean we aren't commanded to belive that Hell exists to be saved and all. Of course, the existance of Hell is an important matter all kidding aside because that's normally how you'd best want to explain to people about why they should be saved, but anyway, the eternal security matter you list seems to me that it could go either way; for example, if somebody were to come to church for 12 years and seem and act compleatly like a Christian, but then one day become a Satanist, then rather than suppose that the person had lost their salvation, I would say that they were never truly saved in the first place. But once again, I don't have much experience with this topic, I may be making my argument too simple. However, I do not really see how an infinitly just God could simply look over a person's sins simply because they didn't hear the gospel from someone, I mean, our conscience's kind of exist there and our brains should tell us that, logically, if there is a creation, then there must be a creator, and from there I see no reason why someone couldn't just take initiative and seek the truth if they truly wanted to, but this may be a much longer debate.

As for the difference in born again definitions, the problem between general protestantism and mormonism that i've seen is the difference in importance on the "born again of the holy spirit" part, which sort of isn't the same as literal water, after all, why couldn't Jesus of simply then said "You must be born again through water, which is the holy spirit"? You see, there's a bit of a difference between being born again and being baptised, in that being born again of the holy spirit is sort of like basically becoming a new person, such as when the Bible says that we are washed clean of our transgressions and are freed from sin and all that. What I would like to know about you, is if there was a point in your life, whether it was during your baptism or not, where you could say, with confidence, that you become a new person, that is to say, your old sense of self dissapeared and you had a new sense of self?

And based on all this, it does seem that there are indeed more differences between us than simply dissagreeing over what is canon and what isn't heh.

As for those 3 books, I think it may be in there that our main little discussion that started on the CPOV policy page may center around :/. Homestarmy 20:22, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

perfection can't actually be attained by simple works of ourselves

Oh yes, definately. I agree. I don't know enough about the LDS to say for sure what their current official position is on that one.

  • Later note: An unbelievable stroke of good luck just occured. I am in a public library right now. Two Mormon missionaries just came in and sat down to use the computers, and I was able to ask them what their position is on this particular issue. They told me first, "Well, look in the Book of Mormon" and I said, "Well, yeah I've studied the Book of Mormon but I want to know what your church thinks." They said you can't be saved by works alone but only by grace, so I think that, on this one issue of grace and works, we are all three agreed. (the Mormons, the RLDS and the Protestants) --BenMcLean 16:59, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
And there's even another branch in the RLDS with restoration stuff in it?

I'm afriad so. There are lots of different groups. Wikipedia doesn't even begin list them all, but it has the largest ones.

What I would like to know about you, is if there was a point in your life, whether it was during your baptism or not, where you could say, with confidence, that you become a new person, that is to say, your old sense of self dissapeared and you had a new sense of self?

Yes, that was when I was baptized at 8 years old. Admittedly, I did not have any dramatic supernatural experience at that time but I knew I was making a decision to follow Christ for the rest of my life. At that time, I became a member of the church. A short time afterwards I was confirmed. (Confirmation is another word for baptism of the Spirit)

As for the difference in born again definitions, the problem between general protestantism and mormonism that i've seen is the difference in importance on the "born again of the holy spirit" part, which sort of isn't the same as literal water, after all, why couldn't Jesus of simply then said "You must be born again through water, which is the holy spirit"? You see, there's a bit of a difference between being born again and being baptised, in that being born again of the holy spirit is sort of like basically becoming a new person, such as when the Bible says that we are washed clean of our transgressions and are freed from sin and all that.

There are two ordinances that are performed for all new church members in the RLDS. Baptism of water and of the Spirit.

"Latter Day Saints believe that the biblical mode of baptism was by immersion, and that it should be followed by confirmation (laying on of hands by the ministry) for the reception of the Holy Spirit. -- The Story of the Church by Inez Smith Davis [1]

Often this scripture is pointed out by persons trying to claim that this doctrine contradicts the Bible:

  • KJV Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
  • 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

I believe that the above scripture is true. But I also believe that the Bible supports this belief in a baptism of water and of the Spirit.

  • KJV Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

That was refering to the day of Pentacost, which I am not entirely sure I understand completely, but basically I think the Pentacost was a spiritual experience had at a time when a baptism of the Spirit was being performed. Or in other words, I think the Bible is saying that baptism of the Spirit was an ordinance in the early New Testament church.

Christ Himself went through a baptism of the Spirit.

  • KJV Mark 1:4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching the baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.
  • 5 All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins.
  • 6 John was clothed with camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
  • 7 He preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen.
  • 8 I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit."
  • 9 It happened in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
  • 10 Immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens parting, and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
  • 11 A voice came out of the sky, "You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

I can only conclude upon studying the Bible that Baptism of the Spirit is, in fact, a Christian ordinance. It exists in Scripture. I'm not saying that anyone who doesn't do it goes straight to Hell or anything, but the Bible says so seems good enough for me. :) --BenMcLean 16:53, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

hope I didn't bore you to death Edit

I think I (hopefully) explained enough to convince you that we are both Christians. :) I probably went on a bit longer than I should have. --BenMcLean 15:17, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

As I was thinking over all of this, I think I only have one more question that I really should of asked earlier. I don't think I asked this already, so well, what is your definition of Jesus? It's just these days its rather difficult to simply assume everybody's understanding of whom Jesus is happens to be the same :/. Homestarmy 22:11, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God. He, though perfect, died on the cross to save humanity from their sins. My "definition" of Jesus: He is who He said He was. --BenMcLean 14:54, 12 June 2006 (UTC)
Eh, just wanted to make sure, i've been having a bit of a debate with one User:Oscillate over whom Jesus was, and it's got me a bit on edge :) Homestarmy 20:10, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
Wow, that looks like an endless mess. --BenMcLean 20:59, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

OK well my point in all of this is / has been, the RLDS is a Christian denomination and should be treated as such. ;) If you have any more questions I would be happy to answer them.

One thing you said worries me. You said, "the existance of Hell is an important matter all kidding aside because that's normally how you'd best want to explain to people about why they should be saved." That seems kind of a sad way to relate to people. Aren't we, as Christians, supposed to be spreading the good news ? I mean, yes Hell exists, but I mean, tell people Jesus loves them!! :)

This conversation is/has been fascenating. I'd like to hear more about what you believe and see how much we agree on other stuff. God bless you! --BenMcLean 17:19, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

Yes, yes it does seem quite an endless mess, and im up for the next answer :) He hasn't responded in full to the main bulk of my argument which consists of that huge list I gave.....
And well, without telling people about the existance of Hell, then you tend to gloss over the real reason your supposed to be repenting to the savior, because the punishment for sin is eternal damnation and that's what we're being saved from :/. I mean if God never made a Hell, then there would never of been a need for a savior, what would we need to be saved from? As I understand the figures, in most evangelistic denominations, the backslider rate is about 95 percent, that is to say, people come to church, hear a message about "Jesus loves you, accept Jesus into your heart" because that's how modern evangelism tends to work, and then statistically, 95 percent of them never show up again. Hell is generally not mentioned, and sin normally gets just a passing mention itself. Some people say, of course, that's its a "Scare tactic" to mention Hell in these sort of conversations, well, when people are actually in real danger, there's a difference between a "Scare tactic" and an earnest warning :/. Jesus mentioned eternal damnation many times Himself, so it can't possibly be said that mentioning it heavily is somehow a bad thing, especially if you do it correctly, that is to say, actually show people why Hell has to exist and why they deserve to go there if they are judged on the day of judgement by going through the Law.
The BoM thing still seems weird to me, I was under the impression that it contained some things which contradicted the Bible, but I don't know anything about BoM versions before 1909 or whenever you mentioned, so I can't really comment on the content :/. Did the LDS really change that much? Homestarmy 00:34, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Hmm ... the "back-sliding rate" in our church might be a somewhat different dynamic, but this is probably a familiar pattern to you: There are people who bring their kids to pre-baptismal classes when they're about seven, have them baptized at eight, and never come to church again. No one is ever baptized without being (apparently) sincere, (they generally make a public statement) but the kids being sincere and the parents being committed to having church a continual part of their and their children's lives is/are two totally different things. I'm pretty sure everybody who gets baptized (People who join the church as adults are baptized just the same) knows about the existance of Hell, but "I'm being baptized because I don't want to go to Hell" doesn't cut it in my mind. "I'm being baptized because I want to be a part of the true church of Christ" or "because I want to follow God's plan for my life" is more of what I would call a good reason.

"The BoM thing still seems weird to me, I was under the impression that it contained some things which contradicted the Bible,"

There are things that the LDS church believes that, in my opinion, and in the opinion of most, if not all Protestants, directly contradict the Bible. The LDS church also believes, or say they believe, in the Book of Mormon. But that doesn't mean that the Book of Mormon, by itself, contradicts the Bible.

My church believes in the Book of Mormon as scripture. But not in the doctrines of the LDS and FLDS churches - in fact, we see many of them as abominations. (i.e. polygamy - The Book of Mormon doesn't even mention polygamy in even the most obscure way actually condemns polygamy, see below)

You'll notice that most web sites that list the "contradictions between the Bible and the Book of Mormon" are focusing on the LDS doctrines I am referring to, and do not quote from the Book of Mormon itself, but from books on Latter Day Saint history written by God-knows-who. Just because a history book says it, doesn't mean it's true, and certainly doesn't mean the Book of Mormon says it.

"but I don't know anything about BoM versions before 1909 or whenever you mentioned, so I can't really comment on the content :/. Did the LDS really change that much?"

The reason I am saying I will only address the RLDS 1908 Authorized Edition is because that is the one my church uses, and is only one I have studied. It would be fine if you'd like to bring up anything that any edition of the Book of Mormon says, but I was just saying to keep in mind that there are different editions and I am only supporting one of them. I am saying I don't nessicarily believe what any edition of the Book of Mormon says, so if you quoted a passage from one edition I'd have to look it up in mine. No big deal, don't worry about it. ;) --BenMcLean 15:12, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

On the Hell thing, I don't mean simply use it so that people will come to Christ simply to escape Hell, I mean use it so people know why the gift Christ offers is so special :/. I mean, if you offer somebody either a glass of water or a fistful of diamonds, then most people will ordinarily take the diamonds. But if you're in a desert and people are dying of thirst, then most people would probably take the glass of water. It's a circumstantial priority thing, when people don't understand the danger they are in (Heading for judgement day) they tend to want to cling to the "diamonds", in this case, the pleasures of the world and sin, without considering the water, namely, salvation through Jesus. Of course, you gotta be careful to share all that in love, none of this waving banners screaming blindly about "Turn or Burn" because that doesn't explain at all why it would possibly be true, you gotta show people God's infinite standard and explain how, as an infinitly just judge, God sort of has to punish sin and therefore all of mankind who do not accept the free gift of eternal salvation from Jesus.

I know of one particular list from CARM, if it's not too much trouble, i'd like to know what the following verses in your version of the BoM say: Alma 7:10, Alma 5:27, 2 Nephi 25:23, and 1 Nephi 4:9. Most of the list actually had to do with a whole bunch of historical stuff like how did Indians get Horses, Bees, Elephants, etc. etc. into north america, and i'd much rather debate over theology than history heh. Homestarmy 05:05, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

I've asked around, and have heard that the most major difference between the LDS and RLDS versions of the Book of Mormon is one of chapter and verse allocation - but the difference is so severe that the verses you cited to me must be completely out of context in the RLDS version. I saw a little book on sale called the "LDS and RLDS Book of Mormon Chapter and Verse Conversion Tables" that is supposed to solve this difficulty, but I don't have one ...
I'm afraid I might not be much help on questions of which animals were on which continents at which points in history, as I am no great Book of Mormon scholar or anything. Right now, I'm still reading through the Bible. Some time last year, I decided to read straight through the Bible and right now I'm in II Chronicles. To be honest, I've been neglecting my studies somewhat of late and really need to get back to that. But I have raed a great deal of the Bible and of the Book of Mormon, though I haven't read through every page yet. (I did read an entire abridged version of the Book of Mormon as a child)
As an example of how I am not that great a scholar, I must point out something that was pointed out to me earlier this week: that the Book of Mormon actually does talk about polygamy, though it doesn't use the word.
  • RLDS 1908 Authorized Edition of the Book of Mormon, Jacob 2:30 And were it not that I must speak unto you concerning a grosser crime, my heart would rejoice exceedingly, because of you.
  • 31 But the word of God burthens me because of your grosser crimes.
  • 32 For behold, thus saith the Lord, This people begin to wax in iniquity; they understand not the scriptures: for they seek to excuse themselves in committing whoredoms, because of the things which were written concerning David, and Solomon his son.
  • 33 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives, and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord,
  • 34 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
  • 35 Wherefore, I, the Lord God, will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
  • 36 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women.
  • 37 And whoredoms are an abomination before me: thus saith the Lord of hosts.
  • 38 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
My searches, trying to see what the Book of Mormon says about polygamy were for the word "polygamy" and I got nothing, so that's why I said it didn't mention polygamy. Those verses there, from the Book of Mormon itself, directly contradict, and in point of fact directly condemn, Utah/LDS/Mormon doctrines. --BenMcLean 23:07, 21 June 2006 (UTC)
So I can't even ask about individual verses? Hmph, that's a bit hard, I mean I think I could argue against the LDS version of the Bible, but if the RLDS one is so much different, it might take me some more time to figure out what it says :/. Just to clarify, the verses I mentioned I named because one said that Jesus was born in Jerusalem instead of Bethleham, (Which is actually worse than it may seem at first, if truly in the BoM, then the Jesus of the BoM must explicitly not be the Messiah of the OT prophecies) That man could not exist without the Fall I think, and some other more minor things, but I think its the first one i'd like to know about the most if its even in your version of the BoM at all. I probably shouldn't of asked about 1 Nephi 4:9 because that was actually something about the Jews not having steel in their possesion, but 2 Nephi 25:23 is also something about salvation by grace after all we can do", which sounds also like salvation by works, which is why I asked about that, but I dunno if the RLDS version even has a verse like this.Homestarmy 00:02, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

No, you can ask about individual verses ... I just have trouble finding them in the RLDS book(s) as opposed to the LDS book(s) because of the difference in chapter and verse divisions. I think I've probably heard the FAQs you just brought up before, and I'll to my best to help you understand - I'd also like to hear more about what you believe - let's keep this a two way discussion. I want us to both know where we agree and where we disagree - do you think that is a fair goal for a discussion like this ?

Bethlemen vs Jerusalem Edit

The Book of Mormon does, in fact, say that Christ was born in "the land of Jerusalem". Bethlemen is within walking distance of Jerusalem - less than five miles away. Since Jerusalem is a big city and Bethlemen is a little city - kind of like a suburb - it would be accurate to say that Christ was born in the land of Jerusalem.

If you lived far away from me (like, on the other side of the world for example) and asked me where I lived, and I said "Independence" you probably wouldn't know where that was. So I say I live in "Kansas City". But I don't really: I live in a suburb of Kansas City: Independence, Missouri. Independence is further away from Kansas City than Bethlemen is from Jerusalem but since Independence is in the Kansas City area (one might even say, the land of Kansas City) giving the simple answer that I live in Kansas City makes it clear to people from other parts of the world.

The people in the Book of Mormon lived somewhere in the New World. Joseph Smith Jr. himself didn't even claim to know exactly where but current Book of Mormon scholars tend to think it's in central America (between the United States and south america) and have even gone so far as to claim that certain ruins in that area are some of the locations described in the Book of Mormon.

One thing's for sure, though the story in first Nephi starts in Jerusalem, it described a long journey across an immense ocean, far away from Jerusalem. The people being spoken to when the term "the land of Jerusalem" was used had lived all their lives on the other side of the world from Jerusalem. Some of them may have never heard of the little town of Bethlehem. It seems reasonable to me that the term "the land of Jerusalem" might have been used to give them some idea of the geographic location of Christ's birth. --BenMcLean 19:18, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

Err, im no OT expert, but wasn't the land of Jerusalem and the Land of Judea historically considered in separate terms? I could go find some verses about it if you want, im pretty sure there's alot of that in Kings and whatnot. Homestarmy 20:42, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Even if it was historically, that's academic. "The land of Jerusalem" in the Book of Mormon could refer to all of Israel and Palestine. It's not being specific.

But it always seems to refere to very separate regions in the Old Testament, it seems very inconsistant if this is true. Homestarmy 18:25, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
My memory has been jogged recently, the two regions were named Judea and Israel, and were separate kingdoms. Jerusalem was the capital for the kingdom of Israel I believe, so it certainly seems quite separate from Bethleham, which wouldn't of resided in that domain (assuming of course, I haven't been misled by thinking that Bethleham is in Judea.) Homestarmy 04:54, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't matter. From the point of view of the American continents, where (according to the Book of Mormon) the "land of Jerusalem" statement was made, anywhere in the region could be considered part of the "land of Jerusalem". I'd say that in this insatnce, the LDS are correct. --BenMcLean 17:19, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Why can't the BoM just be consistant with the Old Testament? :( . Is the entire thing from the perspective of the American continents or just parts of it? Homestarmy 19:21, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

The vast majority of it is from the perspective of the American continent(s), except for the very beginning chapters that take place in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas just before the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem. --BenMcLean 16:05, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

logical possibilities Edit

Furthermore, let's examine the logical extremes of this argument. Everybody in our church has heard it before and it goes something like this: "The Book of Mormon cannot be true because it says Christ was born in Jerusalem and He was actually born in Bethlehem."

What is the spectrum of logical possibilities? Asuming the Book of Mormon was translated from another language as it says it was, or from some earlier work of some kind, (some people think it was based on some fantasy novel or other - I am hereafter referring to the "source" of the Book of Mormon as "the original text") there are eight of them. Unless I am making some huge logical error, one of these eight statements has to be true.

  1. The original text of the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired and translated correctly by Joseph Smith Jr. (I believe this. Any of these other possiblities imply that Joseph Smith Jr. was deceiving others about the origins of the Book of Mormon and may or may not have also been decieved himself.)
  2. The original text of the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired but was not translated correctly by Joseph Smith Jr.
  3. The original text of the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired and translated correctly but not by Joseph Smith Jr.
  4. The original text of the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired but was translated incorrectly and falsely attributed to Joseph Smith Jr.
  5. The original text of the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired but was translated correctly by Joseph Smith Jr. (I expect that you believe either this or something below this)
  6. The original text of the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired and was translated incorrectly by Joseph Smith Jr.
  7. The original text of the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired and was translated correctly but not by Joseph Smith Jr.
  8. The original text of the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired, was translated incorrectly and was falsely attributed to Joseph Smith Jr.

The way to work through these would probably have to be by process of elimination.

Now, if Joseph Smith Jr. really did translate the Book of Mormon, then he must have known that Christ was born in Bethlehem. I mean, there is no way someone could make that elementary of an error if he were really trying to fake something. Especially if the whole rest of the book was supposed to contain carefully crafted references to obscure Biblical passages that put them in a new light. There is no way someone could have faked something on the scale of the Book of Mormon without being highly educated.

So, it is obvious that the translator at least - and possibly also the writer - knew that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He also had to have known that having the book he was publishing say that Jesus was born in "Jerusalem" would ignite contraversy in a way that could not possibly help him, his reputation, or any covert schemes that depended on gaining followers. Furthermore, if Smith himself was so stupid as to miss this elementary error, the other gentlemen who actually wrote down the original manuscripts (who claim that Smith dictated the words to them) would have certainly noticed the "Bethlehem vs Jerusalem" "error" and the printer of the first edition would have also had a chance to notice and mention it before publication.

Leaving "Jerusalem" there indicates a hands-off approach on the part of the translator. Joseph Smith Jr. could easily have avoided public contraversy and I could have avoided explaining all this to you if he had just replaced "Jerusalem" with "Bethlehem". But he did not.

Why?

The answer that suggests itself to me was that the translation was remarkably accurate, and not skewed to avoid contraversy.

This lack of motive effectively knocks out four of the eight possibilities! This leaves these four:

  1. The original text of the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired and translated correctly by Joseph Smith Jr. (I believe this)
  2. The original text of the Book of Mormon was divinely inspired and translated correctly but not by Joseph Smith Jr. (This would indicate that Joseph Smith Jr. was lying about the origins of the English translation of the Book of Mormon)
  3. The original text of the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired, but was translated correctly by Joseph Smith Jr. (I expect that you believe either this or something below this. This could mean that Joseph Smith Jr. thought he was telling the truth but was mistaken or deceived - making this not a historical/logical question but a spiritual/moral/supernatural one - "Was God really involved with this?")
  4. The original text of the Book of Mormon was not divinely inspired and was translated correctly but not by Joseph Smith Jr. (This would indicate that Joseph Smith Jr. was lying about the origins of the English translation of the Book of Mormon.)

--BenMcLean 17:40, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

man could not exist without the Fall Edit

I'm not sure where that is written down, (probably not in the Book of Mormon but I could be wrong - could be in the Inspired Version of the Bible) but alot of Latter Day Saints do believe that if the fall of man had not occured, Adam and Eve would never have reproduced. But that's nothing new: there are Evangelicals that believe that also. I don't really have a strong opinion on that.

The problem here is it doesn't say "Mankind might be" it just says "Man", and since Adam existed, then he represented the human race and was indeed a man. Its supposed to be 2 Nephi 2:25, is this in your version? Homestarmy 20:44, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

2 Nephi 2:25 in the LDS Book of Mormon is 2 Nephi 1:115 in the RLDS 1908 Authorized Edition of the Book of Mormon. Here is the reference, in context, with both the verses before it and after it:

  • 2 Nephi 1:111 And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed, he would not have fallen; but he would have remained in the garden of Eden.
  • 112 And all things which were created, must have remained in the same state which they were, after they were created; and they must have remained for ever, and had no end.
  • 113 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.
  • 114 But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
  • 115 Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
  • 116 And the Messiah cometh in the fullness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall.
  • 117 And because that they are redeemed from the fall, they have become free for ever, knowing good from evil;
  • 118 To act for themselves, and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the Lord, at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.
  • 119 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man.
  • 120 And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great mediation of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil:
  • 121 For he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.

So, it doesn't say "Man" it says "men", and I'd say it's talking pretty clearly about mankind. There is alot more context here that really does a great job of explaining the relationship between human choice/free-will and God's plan of salvation. --BenMcLean 18:22, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Well mankind is only as much as the sum total of all of the human race, and that was Adam and Eve, and I don't see why Adam would of had to of sinned for Man to have Joy? :/ Homestarmy 18:24, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Er, no you're not getting it at all. Think of it like this: Imagine you're, like, a bear or something. An animal that can eat honeycomb all the time and not die from having too much sugar. All you've ever eaten is honeycomb.
You wouldn't particularly appreciate the honeycomb if that's all you'd ever had. You wouldn't call it "sweet" because it is no more sweet than anything else you'd ever eaten.
But if, one day, you ate some vinegar, you'd be shocked! "Whoah, that was sour!"
From then on, our bear would appreciate the honeycomb because he had something sour to compare it with.
That's what this is saying - if it weren't for suffering, there would be no joy, because there would be no standard of comparison. --BenMcLean 15:27, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
So your saying that without the knowladge of good and evil, there could be no joy? How exactly does knowing about goodness morally become the only source of knowladge for goodness joyfully? Homestarmy 17:18, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't understand. --BenMcLean 18:24, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Well you seem to be saying that without the capability to suffer, we can't know joy. This does not seem very biblical, Revelations tells us that God will "wipe away every tear from our eye", and if all our tears are wiped away, then it would mean by what your saying that in heaven nobody will know joy eventually. The reason for the bear not liking the honeycomb in your example as much doesn't have to do with metaphysics as much as it has to do with brain chemistry, when our bodies (Or I presume animal bodies) are subjected to the same stimulous over and over it tends to get dulled, the same principle works with bad smells and the like but it doesn't make us unable to smell good things. Homestarmy 22:03, 30 June 2006 (UTC)
Revelations tells us that God will "wipe away every tear from our eye", and if all our tears are wiped away, then it would mean by what your saying that in heaven nobody will know joy eventually.

No, that's not what I'm saying. Notice that when Revelations says that, it doesn't say God will make it so that bad things never happened, or that God will erase people's memories. It's saying God will make it so that people aren't sad anymore. You have to know what being sad is like to be happy. I'm pretty sure C.S. Lewis once said something to do with this ... I'll look for the quote.

What we're really arguing about here is original sin. I am saying there was a reason the tree in the garden of Eden was called the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil". It was because eating the fruit gave Adam and Eve the knowledge of good and evil. Without the knowledge of good and evil, they would not have been able to recognize good and evil. Without being able to recognize evil, they would not be able to recognize good and visa versa.

You can see people who do not recognize good and evil in our society today. --BenMcLean 18:56, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

The Good and Evil thing refers to knowladge of morality, how do you suppose it transfers over to the ability (or lack thereof) to be unable to recognize happiness generating stimuli? Genesis 3:6 seems to say that Eve recognized the "goodness" of eating the apple (or whatever fruit it was) before she actually ate it, so then it would seem to me that the knowladge of good and evil here wasn't referring to good and evil outside the ability to recognize differences between morally right and morally wrong actions. Homestarmy 07:24, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
how do you suppose it transfers over to the ability (or lack thereof) to be unable to recognize happiness generating stimuli?

Oh dear. What we're lost on here is our understanding of what "happiness" is. I did not mean happiness in terms of physical satisfaction, (except in the bear example, but that's because that's what it was: an example) I meant happiness in a mental/spiritual sense. It is possible to be in terrible pain and yet be happy.

  • KJV Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

"Good for food" has absolutely nothing to do with "Good and Evil" - except that I suspect Eve thought it was "good for food" relative to whatever other food she knew of. --BenMcLean 16:26, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

But the BoM seems to state unequivically that for whatever reason they could of "had no joy" without defining parameters, so how could Eve of made distinctions between which fruits were better to eat when she couldn't of even understood what fruits would taste more joyous and which ones wouldn't? And why is this idea of happiness not existing for people not even mentioned in Genesis at all? Homestarmy 06:10, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, think about it. What is joy? Define joy. --BenMcLean 19:27, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
See also: Happiness. But it really doesn't matter, the verse doesn't try to restrict its definition to any one particular variety of joy. (Though I assume it doesn't refer to the "joys" of sin) Homestarmy 04:51, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Ah, well, I think there is a huge difference between joy and happiness. Happiness could be defined in physical terms. Joy, however, is one of the fruits of the spirit. (found in Galatians 5:22)

In fact, the best definition of joy that I've ever heard is that it is an acronymn for how Christians should set priorities in their lives:

  1. Jesus first.
  2. Others second.
  3. Yourself third.

That idea is, I think, based on Christ's two great commandments found in Matthew chapter 22 on which "hang all the law and the prophets". I think that is the definition of joy that it is talking about. Reguardless, the Book of Mormon clearly does not directly contradict the Bible in this instance. --BenMcLean 16:45, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, if you think it means joy in a certain sense here, I don't see how I can make you believe in it differently here. It seems however that we've gotten off track, we were apparently supposed to be discussing man supposedly not being able to exist without the fall I think? That I think should be more cut and dry than defining joy and happiness. Homestarmy 19:24, 9 July 2006 (UTC)
We covered that already, unless you were referring to something other than 2 Nephi 1, which says, "Adam fell, that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy." That might be different from what you believe, but it does not contradict the Bible. --BenMcLean 16:07, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

other stuff Edit

I probably shouldn't of asked about 1 Nephi 4:9 because that was actually something about the Jews not having steel in their possesion,

I don't see the relevence ... what's your point ?

but 2 Nephi 25:23 is also something about salvation by grace after all we can do", which sounds also like salvation by works, which is why I asked about that, but I dunno if the RLDS version even has a verse like (that}

just a minute ... i might not have time to cover that at the moment but my earlier comments did address that issue, though not that specific reference .... i'm running out of time right now but i'll be back to type some more --BenMcLean 19:33, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

My point was that I shouldn't of asked about 1 Nephi 4:9, because as I had said earlier, I prefer debating Theology instead of history. Homestarmy 20:45, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Ah. OK. :) --BenMcLean 16:58, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

"After all we can do" Edit

OK. Now I have obtained a copy of "The Book of Mormon Chapter & Verse: RLDS-LDS Conversion Table". According to this book, the LDS 2 Nephi 25:23 is 2 Nephi 11:43-44 in my version.

So that you know exactly what it is we are talking about, here is the verse in context.

(by the way, I hope this isn't too long a reading, The two quotes I am making are rather lengthy, but I really think that without putting scriptural quotations in context, it becoems easy to try to make them say things they really don't.)

grace alone Edit

For the record: if the Book of Mormon is accurate, then these verses were written B.C. (Before Christ - I blatantly and openly refuse to use BCE) so, the Old Testament law would have been in full force at that point.

  • RLDS 1908 Authorized Edition of the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 11:43 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;
  • 44 For we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.
  • 45 And notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled; for, for this end was the law given;
  • 46 Wherefore, the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ, because of our faith;
  • 47 Yet we keep the law because of the commandments;
  • 48 And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.
  • 49 Wherefore, we speak concerning the law, that our children may know the deadness of the law;
  • 50 And they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given.
  • 51 And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him, when the law ought to be done away.
  • 52 And now behold, my people, ye are a stiff-necked people; wherefore, I have spoken plain unto you, that ye can not misunderstand.
  • 53 And the words which I have spoken, shall stand as a testimony against you; for they are sufficient to teach any man the right way:
  • 54 For the right way is to believe in Christ and deny him not; for by denying him, ye also deny the prophets and the law.
  • 55 And now behold I say unto you, that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel:
  • 56 Wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind and strength, and your whole soul, and if ye do this, ye shall in no wise be cast out.
  • 57 And inasmuch as it shall be expedient, ye must keep the performances and ordinances of God, until the law shall be fulfilled which was given unto Moses.
  • 58 And after Christ shall have risen from the dead, he shall shew himself unto you, my children, and my beloved brethren;
  • 59 And the words which he shall speak unto you, shall be the law which ye shall do.

It seems to me, that when put in context, that is the same doctrine found in the Bible. In fact, I have heard Protestant preachers make the same points about the Law of Moses in a more indirect way using the Old and New Testaments. And I said, "Amen". People in our church end up saying "Amen" more often when they hear Protestants preaching than they do when our own ministers occupy the pulpit. (sometimes people say "Amen" during service but that's very very rare in our church in the United States at least)

I believe in salvation by grace alone. But not by faith alone. "Grace alone" means that our salvation is something Christ paid for - we cannot pay for it. "Faith alone" however, means that all we have to do is believe certain things and we will go to heaven, reguardless of our actions. I believe in "Grace alone" but not in "Faith alone". Though our actions do not earn salvation, they do affect our eternal life.

Christ Before Christ? Edit

Err, if its all before Christ, then how can they know whom Christ is? :/. But faith alone doesn't just mean believing certain things, even demons believe Christ exists, and they fear Him. When people say "Faith alone" they mean it is our belief and trust in Christ which leads to us being born again, and its total belief of course, like surrendering one's will to the savior. If our actions continue to be sinful and evil and there's no real sign of somebody being born again, well, they might just not of been born again, I mean, people can lie about this sort of thing whether they mean to or not. Our actions don't earn our salvation, because our faith is supposed to lead to us being born again, becoming dead to sin, and after that one's actions probably shouldn't be as sinful, and certainly not more sinful. Homestarmy 20:50, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Err, if its all before Christ, then how can they know whom Christ is?

The same say Isiah and the other Old Testament prophets knew who Christ was - God told them. That is the real message of the Book of Mormon - that people really did knew who Christ was before Christ came. That is the central theme of the whole book. --BenMcLean 16:58, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

But it says "Believe in Christ" and the OT never mentioned Jesus by name, and "Christ" is a Greek title for "Messiah" anyway, and im fairly certain the OT was written in old Hebrew, not Greek. Homestarmy 18:22, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Yep. :) --BenMcLean 15:29, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
So then how can the Book of Mormon call Christ by title if that part is in a time period where that title doesn't exist yet? Homestarmy 17:16, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
But it did exist: that's the point. Christ's coming was part of God's plan from the very beginning. --BenMcLean 18:23, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
But the actual term that the BoM is using, Christ, didn't exist yet if as you say these verses were written B.C.. Homestarmy 22:00, 30 June 2006 (UTC)

You'd have to read the book to find this out. The main subject of the Book of Mormon is the story of how this term came to be known in that time and place.

As the Title Page of the Book of Mormon says, the purpose of the book is "to shew unto the remnant of the house of Israel what great things the Lord hath done for their fathers; and that they may know the covenants of the Lord, that they are not cast off for ever; and also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations. And now if there are faults, they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God, that ye may be found spotless at the judgment seat of Christ." --BenMcLean 19:03, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

So wait, why would a book be written before Christ's time exorting people to believe in Jesus before He has existed and before He has finished the work of destroying death? Homestarmy 07:18, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
  1. Well, first of all you have to realize that only some of of the Book of Mormon was (if it is correct) written before Christ.
  2. Second, your question applies more to the book of Isiah than it does to the Book of Mormon. The Book of Isiah exhorts people to believe in Jesus before He was born and before He finished His work on Earth.
  3. Third, I believe that Jesus existed (spiritually at least) since the Beginning. The Biblical Old Testament prophets who prophesied of Him saw Him and knew exactly who He was and what He was going to do. These men were, in every sense of the words, Christians in the Old Testament. --BenMcLean 16:14, 5 July 2006 (UTC)
I understand that Isaiah is prophecying Jesus's birth, but the point is that the exact name is never given even once. Therefore, how could the part of the BoM which should of been written then of gotten the name, and why exactly did this book apparently dissapear forever for Smith to apparently find it again? I don't recall any instances where the old testament times parts of the BoM have ever been uncovered anywhere, whereas almost all other OT books have at least had fragments lying around somewhere for people to find. Homestarmy 06:07, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
I understand that Isaiah is prophecying Jesus's birth, but the point is that the exact name is never given even once.

Uh-huh. If the Book of Mormon is true, then the people described in it knew more than they possibly could have from reading the Old Testament alone. This is difficult, perhaps impossible, to understand (notice I said understand, not nessicarily agree with) without actually reading the thing.

why exactly did this book apparently dissapear forever for Smith to apparently find it again?

OK, well, it kind of gives away the ending but I guess I'd better answer that.

At the end of the Book of Mormon, (I think scholars put this at about the fifth or sixth century A.D.) a man named Moroni is the last surviving member of his race, the "Nephites". Their mortal enemies, the "Lamanites" had killed all the Nephites, and God had allowed this to occur due to the Nephites unrighteousness. Moroni was directed by God to hide the records of his people by burying them in a hill in what later became New York state. This prevented them from being stolen or tampered with. Moroni was told that God would eventually send someone to dig them up and translate them.

I don't recall any instances where the old testament times parts of the BoM have ever been uncovered anywhere, whereas almost all other OT books have at least had fragments lying around somewhere for people to find.

The Old Testament is alot older than the Book of Mormon, took place on a completely different continent, and had alot more copies made of it than the Book of Mormon. All the books of the Book of Mormon, with the exception of the story of the Jaredites in the Book of Ether who came from the Tower of Babel, were written after the Old Testament, and before, during or after the New Testament. --BenMcLean 19:12, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

And if the BoM is not true, then the name was apparently slipped in there by accident for junior grade apologetists like me to jump on top of :). Knowing the exact name for the Messiah for such a long period of time (I'm assuming a couple hundred years or so) would certainly of gotten people on edge waiting for someboy to be born who was specifically named Jesus in Bethleham....including King Herod. I mean Herod may of been eaten alive by worms, but he didn't seem amazingly stupid by our standards; he looked for Jesus when he heard all the fuss about the Messiah, brought people in to tell him what to look for in the Messiah, and carried out a plan. This plan apparently didn't include looking for people named "Jesus", and I would assume this part of the BoM would of had plenty of time to dissiminate throughout the population if it had actually been around back then. Besides, Jesus wouldn't of been called "Jesus" back then, "Jesus" is the english term, as I recall, the most likely name would of been "Yeshua". But since I assume nobody has those golden tablets I guess nobody can check the translations hmm?
Nextly, in all those hundreds of years, when the church was often actively looking for manuscripts of the NT and whatnot for translation purposes, and the Gnostics were out Gnosticing looking for everything they could possibly find (Or, failing that, forging) to confuse people, and other groups were out....other grouping, often looking to burn Christian possesions, how was this record which sould of been accessable for centuries somehow never picked up or talked about by the population at all? Not even obscure references, embellished tales, nothing. And if the BoM refers to Jesus by name, i'd say it doesn't refer to events just taking place on other continents, Jesus sort of, well, needed to be in Israel. Several location based prophecies would of failed otherwise, I think there was something about the sea of Galilee or Zebadhieh or something. Homestarmy 05:08, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

You are getting well past the point here where you're speculating and assuming about what the book says without having read it. To have an informed opinion here, you really would have to actually read the Book of Mormon for yourself. You are neither arguing with me nor with the Book of Mormon in what you just said. --BenMcLean 17:13, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

You told me what the verse says, so im commenting on what the verse says. You also told me that this particular verse at the very least refers to how people, for I assume several hundred years, should of had knowladge of Jesus's name before Jesus was even born. I'm not challenging that these prophets were prophecying Jesus's coming, im challenging that they knew his exact name hundreds of years before the fact yet never mentioned it in the Bible and apparently nobody picked up on it in the New Testament. I don't see why the name would of just been erased so compleatly from common knowladge. Homestarmy 19:15, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Pardon me, but I seem to have made a very elementary error. I'll start a new section at the bottom of this page to continue this discussion and explian it there, because this thread is getting long and crowded. --BenMcLean 16:01, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Parable of the Talents Edit

What did Jesus say the kingdom of heaven would be like?

  • KJV Matthew 25:14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
  • 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
  • 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
  • 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
  • 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
  • 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
  • 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
  • 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
  • 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
  • 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
  • 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
  • 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
  • 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
  • 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
  • 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
  • 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
  • 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
  • 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:

Even without the Book of Mormon, it seems pretty clear to me that Christ is saying that His servants who don't do anything - who have buiried their talents, or buiried their light under a bushel so to speak, (the New Testament is full of these kinds of examples, the parable of the talents is by no means unique among the teachings of Christ) are in trouble.

It seems to me that Nephi saying "saved after all we can do" (very open to interpretation) is a much weaker statement than Christ's statement, in Matthew, of "Thou wicked and slothful servant" to someone who had their talent (salvation) but hadn't done anything with it. I can, if you are interested, produce more Biblical arguments that make this same point, because this one is by no means the best, or even the most direct.

In summary: Faith without good works is dead, Good works without faith is dead. Faith and works without grace are both dead, because God's grace is the foundation of all righteousness. I do not really see faith and works as seperate concepts, because you cannot truly have one without the other. --BenMcLean 19:53, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

It's always seemed to me that the Faith saves someone, and your works are indications that you are saved, its like turning on a lightbulb, if the light turns on that means its working, but if you flip the switch and nothing happens, then something isn't right :/. But then, what about the person who knows the savior a few seconds before their death, how would they have time for works? :/. If you turn on a lightbulb and then a few seconds later the lightbulb vanishes and nobody sees whether the light turned on or not, does that mean said person has to be punished because there wasn't enough time to see whether the light actually came on or not? Homestarmy 20:53, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure that we are really disagreeing here - it might be the volcabulary difference again.

I don't mean to be rude here, but I think you might be missing the point of what I'm saying. Works don't save a person. God's grace does. Having faith, however, is more than just believing things - it is also taking action on those beliefs.

But then, what about the person who knows the savior a few seconds before their death, how would they have time for works?

Well, remember, I said I don't see faith and works to be opposed to one another. They both go together. God is just and merciful and He knows what is right and what is wrong. There is a difference between saving someone who makes a deathbed confession and saving someone who is "saved" one day and then spends the rest of their long-lived life doing nothing. If someone is truly committed to the Savior, the rest of their life will show it.

Oh, ok then, that seems about right. Homestarmy 18:21, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

scriptural context Edit

Do you remember what I said about scriptural context? Look at these verses:

  • KJV Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
  • 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

That makes it pretty clear that works don't save a person. But, also look at the verses in context:

  • KJV Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
  • 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
  • 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
  • 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
  • 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
  • 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
  • 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
  • 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Indeed, Matthew 7 may go straight to the heart of these questions we are struggling with.

by their fruits ye shall know them Edit

Brigham Young was a false prophet, and the church he started (which manipulated the law to get ahold of the name of the original church started by Joseph Smith Jr. - the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) is not a part of the true church of Christ.

I can see this, my whole church can see this, you can see this, the Protestant and Catholic worlds can see this, and God can see this. Why? Because of the fruits. They include:

  1. Polygamy. (strongly condemned by the Book of Mormon)
  2. Despotism. (There is no getting around the fact that Salt Lake City was a dictatorship.)
  3. Outright killing of "enemies" of the hiearchy by groups like the Danite bands.
  4. Rejection of Christ as the only Savior - replacing it with a karma-like system of "exalted" people becoming their own Gods.
  5. Historical revisionism in a manner similar to the Communist Party's attempts to control the flow of information in countries it controlled.
  6. Priestcraft. (at least, from my church's point of view - we do not recognize their priesthood offices or prophets)
  7. Rejection of what is actually written in the Book of Mormon because it clearly stands at odds with all of the above.

Those are just some of the bad fruits I can think of off the top of my head. A closer examination of the historical record could reveal even deeper evils than these. There are even those in my church who accuse Brigham Young and his associates of being involved in a conspiracy to kill Joseph Smith Jr. so he could take over. And also countless books have been written on Young's possible connections with the Masons - the same Knights-Templar-wanna-be bunch who are portrayed as the heroes in the DaVincii Code.

Furthermore, the Community of Christ is not the true church of Christ. (One obvious reason is that it isn't a church anymore - now it's a "community" - bleh) It's, admittedly somewhat shorter, list of bad fruits include:

  1. Acceptance of homosexuality and related "alternate lifestyles" (Strongly condemned by the Bible)
  2. Belief in "disjuctive revelation" - meaning things that God says today do not have to agree with the past - meaning God is not unchangable. (The Bible says God is unchangable)
  3. Belief in "Supreme Directional Control" - meaning that whoever the CoC chooses as it's prophet calls all the shots - the individual members and congregations do not have the power to stop any wrongdoing or error in the national or internation church that the hiearchy approves of. (The Mormons were into SDC the minute they appointed Brigham Young the prophet and went far beyond the CoC's current level of corruption on this issue)
  4. Priestcraft.
  5. Support for one-world governments like the UN.

So there you have all the bad fruit. Or at least, all the bad fruit I can think of at the moment.

However, the original teachings of Joseph Smith Jr. and of the Book of Mormon ...

  1. ...were based on the Biblical truths.
  2. ...clearly reject the "bad fruits" listed above.
  3. ...have resulted in a growing world-wide movement (the Restoration Branches) that is telling people on every continent about Christ. (many in faraway places do not even know who Christ is)
  4. ...have led many people to study the Bible who otherwise would not have. (example: me)
  5. ...have led many to Christ for the first time.
  6. ...have led many who were caught up in the corruption of many of the Catholic, Mormon and CoC churches to find Christ again in the Restoration Branches.
  7. ...have, by restoring legitimate priesthood authority to the Earth, thus enabling legitimate ordinances to take place, resulted in many miraculous events, including healings. (including my own vision and hearing)
  8. ...have turned people's lives around - people I know - from terrible, sinful, self-destructive conditions to going to church every Sunday, and even preaching the gospel to others.

However, I must be totally honest and objective here. Members of the Restoration Branches have their faults as well. One of the biggest ones is fear: they have been caught off guard and betrayed so many times by the other corrupt churches I have mentioned, that they do not trust each other and I sometimes wonder whether, if Christ was to return today, some would really believe it was really Him. All is not well within our church - many have problems getting along with others and are offended easily, and those are not the only problems. (Mortal humans always manage to mess up somehow) But hundreds of people (just within the United States) are praying about these problems and great progress has been made just during the past few years alone.

I am a member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints / Restoration Branches movement because I believe that the RLDS is the true church of Christ and the Restoration Branches are the best receptacle of Christ's gospel existing in the world today.

Ouch, that's some pretty condeming stuff :D. I'll just comment on a few things, firstly, how did the RLDS get started then anyway if Young was apparently on some murderous rampage, and on your thing about restoring the legitimate church, i've heard plenty of instances about where certain large scale miraculous events occured quite outside the RLDS and not associated at all with some sort of demonic activity or something especially in the Pentecostal tradition, how can you be sure it is the real restoration of Christianity when miracles were apparently being done through Christ without the RLDS for many centuries? Homestarmy 18:32, 26 June 2006 (UTC)
Oh no, I did not at all mean to imply that I thought the RLDS is the only church that has miracles. I think God works with everyone who is seeking Him, using whatever level of understanding they have to move them as much closer to Him as they'll let Him. (this principle of all things working together for good applies even outside Christianity)
In order to understand how the RLDS got started you would first have to understand how the LDS (the original LDS, not the modern Utah Mormons) got started in the 1820s and was formally organized in 1830. I don't have time to go into that today but I'll give a brief synopsis tomorrow if you like. --BenMcLean 19:09, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

sorry i went on too long again Edit

OK back on track with the rest of the verses from Matthew.

  • KJV Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
  • 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
  • 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Verse 21 is talking about "Faith alone". Verse 22 is talking about "Works alone". Verse 23 says neither will get you into the kingdom of Heaven. The Bible says over and over that repentance is not an option, it is a prerequisite. And repentance is a work. Even if it is the only "good work" you ever do, repentance is a work and it is required for salvation. So any "road to salvation" that is completely devoid of "works" would not be correct. Any method of "being saved" that does not involve repentance is false. A doing-good-things-and-being-a-good-person-will-get-you-into-heaven doctrine is wrong. Grace alone. --BenMcLean 17:00, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Elementary error Edit

I have made a huge oversight in what I told you. The Title Page of the Book of Mormon says that the Book of Mormon is, "An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon Upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi"

And then it begins, "Wherefore, it is an abridgment"

That I did not point this out to you on this "Christ before Christ" thing was rather silly of me. I, personally, think it is quite possible that the people in the Book of Mormon did know Christ's name, but whether they did or not is irrelevent to the Book of Mormon, because according to the title page, the account we have called "The Book of Mormon" was, in fact, written A.D., as an abridgement of earlier B.C. writings.

The Book of Mormon is "An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon" (Mormon lived several hundred years after Christ) "Upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi" (Nephi - the first Nephi, since several notable people were named after him - lived several hundred years before Christ)

Since the Book of Mormon is supposed to be an A.D. abridgement of another record, written B.C., putting the exact name of Christ in there might have been done by Mormon, not by the original writers. --BenMcLean 16:19, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Ah, that'll do it won't it :). Homestarmy 23:25, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

aha, I discovered what the CARM place is Edit

I found it in a Google search. I'm just starting to read alot of the stuff on the site, and I find much that is good and true and some things that aren't - at least, if you look at people's beliefs as they are instead of making assumptions. It's rather a mixed bag.

It seems that they absolutely have never heard of the RLDS, and they use LDS sources for everything. Therefore, sometimes when they condemn the LDS church they are correct and sometimes when they try to point out things about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that the LDS claims is true, they aren't, because they're basing their arguments on lies purpotrated by the LDS church.

"Problems with the Book of Mormon" Edit

One thing that interests me is their Problems with the Book of Mormon page, particularly the section on "The Book of Mormon Verses Mormon Doctrine". Let me show you what I mean by a mixed bag.

  • There is only one God Mosiah 15:1,5; Alma 11:28; 2 Nephi 31:21
  • Mormonism teaches there are many gods. Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 5

The Book of Mormon is correct and Mormonism is wrong. Joseph Smith Jr. never taught that there were many gods, and if this "Journal of Discourses" says otherwise, I would look rather suspiciously on the authenticity of that document.

  • The Trinity is one God Alma 11:44; Mosiah 15:5; 2 Nephi 31:21
  • The Trinity is three separate gods. James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 35. 1985.

Again, the Book of Mormon is correct and Mormonism is wrong.

  • God is unchanging Mormon 9:9,19; Moroni 8:18; Alma 41:8; 3 Nephi 24:6
  • God is increasing in knowledge. Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 120.

Hmm ... I really don't know what to make of that. There is a lyric in one of our favorite Latter Day Saint hymns that never really made sense to me, that goes, "The knowledge and power of God are expanding", but now that I think about it, in context it's talking about the visible effects of divine intervention on the Earth rather than commenting on the actual nature of God Himself. That is probably also the case here, if Smith is being quoted accurately by the LDS, which is a big "if" given their track record.

My church believes that God is unchanging.

On this one, I just thought i'd say, I suspect the real problem here is because in order for God to be "increasing" in knowladge, that would mean God isn't omniscent if He is learning things that He didn't know, sort of like Open Theism. Homestarmy 23:21, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
"that would mean God isn't omniscent if He is learning things that He didn't know" Well, I certainly don't believe in that. You hear stuff that might say things that connect God to "increasing in knowledge" but I'm pretty sure it's talking about man's knowledge of the things of God increasing, not God's knowledge increasing. --BenMcLean 14:41, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
  • God is spirit Alma 18:24,28; 22:9,11
  • God has the form of a man. Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, p. 3.

Both of those statements can be true, they don't contradict each other, and they certainly don't contradict the Bible, since the Bible says the man was created in God's image.

  • later edit: wait a second ... "form of a man" might mean something different to the LDS than it does to me, so that might not be so. I've never heard of this "Journal of Discourses" thing before.
  • Eternal hell Jacob 3:11; 6:10; 2 Nephi 19:16; 28:21-23.
  • Hell is not eternal. James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 55.

There are several different definitions of "Hell", and these two references could easily be talking about entirely different concepts. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure that "Articles of Faith" is probably an LDS publication that we don't use.

  • Polygamy condemned Jacob 1:15; 2:23,24,27,31;3:5; Mosiah 11:2,4; Ether 10:5,7
  • Polygamy was taught and practiced. Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 3, p. 266

That certainly proves the hypocrasy and lies of the LDS. --BenMcLean 16:39, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me Edit

  • From their page on "Is Mormonism Christian?": "The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the person of Jesus, and His work of salvation."

That is absolutely correct! And very eloquent at that. Interestingly, the RLDS passes that particular test with flying colors. We do believe, "that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus". --BenMcLean 16:46, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

From that same page: "In order to justify its aberrant theology, Mormonism, has undermined the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. The 8th article of faith from the Mormon Church states, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." This means that when the Bible contradicts Mormonism, the Bible isn't trustworthy."

As I have already explained, that is not at all what it originally meant, though the LDS may have twisted the words to suit their acquisition of power once again.

  • The interesting thing is that Joseph Smith allegedly corrected the Bible in what is called The Inspired Version, though it is not used by the LDS church. Though they claim they trust the Bible, in reality they do not. They use Mormon presuppositions to interpret it instead of letting it speak for itself. For example, where the Bible says there are no other gods in the universe (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8), they interpret it to mean "no other gods of this world" - which is not what those verses say. They do not trust the Bible and they often state that the Bible is not translated correctly.

I think their characterization of Mormons is correct in this instance. I believe there are no other gods in the universe or any universe. --BenMcLean 16:52, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Yea, I like CARM for alot of groups, but when you told me you were RLDS, there wasn't really anything I could turn to, before I met you, I thought Mormonism was just the LDS and FLDS and that there was nothing else heh. Homestarmy 20:02, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Well we tend to get ignored alot, but many "mainstream Christians" who have studied out church have either converted or concluded that we are a Christian church that just has some different beliefs from the "mainstream". I would really like to see more cooporation between our church and other denominations. (particularly those that object to the Community of Christ's weird ideas) --BenMcLean 14:54, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I sent this email to CARM Edit

Under this heading is the full text of an email I sent to CARM just a few minutes ago.

I've read many, but not all of the materials on the CARM site pertaining to Mormonism, and as a member of the RLDS church, (not the LDS) I agree with many things there but disagree with some also.

From your page on "Is Mormonism Christian?": http://www.carm.org/lds/lds_christian.htm

It says, "The reason Mormonism is not Christian is because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Of the essential doctrines (that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), Mormonism denies three of them: how many gods there are, the person of Jesus, and His work of salvation."

I must say - that is excellent! I couldn't have said it better myself.

But I would like to point out that while the LDS does not believe in the "essential doctrines", the RLDS church does believe "that there is only one God, Jesus is God in flesh, forgiveness of sins is by grace alone, and Jesus rose from the dead physically, the gospel being the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus".


One "essential" point that I disagree with this site on is "The Jesus of the Bible is prayed to (Acts 7:55-60; Psalm 116:4 and Zech. 13:9 with 1 Cor. 1:1-2)"

Here are the references cited, from the version of the Bible linked to there:

  • Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
  • Psalms 116:4 Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.
  • Zech. 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.
  • 1 Cor. 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
  • 1 Cor. 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

In the latter two references, it doesn't look like they are prayers at all, just statements. In Psalms, the "LORD" is prayed to - the Jews call God the Father "Lord"

The one that really gets to the point is the verse in Acts. Notice there, that it is "calling upon God" - the prayer is directed to God the Father IN THE NAME OF Christ the Son. That is how I pray and it seems to me to be in accordance with what the Bible says. I begin prayers by addressing them to the Father, as Christ did in the Lord's Prayer, and end them with "In Jesus' Name, Amen." I do not understand the reasoning that says this is not Christian - lots of Christians do this.

I hope that perhaps somebody at CARM will study the RLDS and perhaps revise your position to recognize that not everybody who believes in the Book of Mormon has bought into the lies of Mormonism.

--BenMcLean 20:06, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Im sort of curious what Matt makes of the RLDS myself, I mean, if I hadn't of met you here, to me, the RLDS may as well of not existed, I don't think i've ever seen it in the news or anything or in anything concerning apologetics anywhere :/. Homestarmy 23:48, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, we have an apologetics site that reaches out to Mormons and Evangelicals alike. --BenMcLean 14:42, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I'll e-mail the folks at The way of the Master radio and see if they've ever heard of the RLDS, they sort of hear alot of things.... Homestarmy 19:36, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

IRC meetup? Edit

hey, since we both seem to be online at the same time at the moment, do you want to meet on IRC? you can use this client - just join the #RLDSWiki channel since there isn't one for the Christianity wikia yet. OK? --BenMcLean 20:09, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

I'll see if I can get it to work. Homestarmy 23:34, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Ah, I must of missed you, I had to leave suddenly after my last comment :/. Homestarmy 23:38, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Too bad. If you ever see us both online at near the same time, we could try again. And it would be nice if you'd register an email address with your account so I could email you. (you can do that under "Preferences") --BenMcLean 14:44, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Book of Mormon / Biblical continuity Edit

The Problems with the Book of Mormon page lists "problems with the Book of Mormon" - I'd like to address those if you're interested. I'd like to focus especially on any points that claim that the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible.

  • We've already talked about "Adam's Fall" and the "Birth of Jesus" in previous threads. As far as "Cimeter (Scimitar)", "Elephants" and "Honey Bees", those are based on archeological speculation - there is no scientific proof that those things are impossible. Anti-christian scholars say similar things and use the same kind of logic to discredit the Bible.
  • The point titled "God Indwells the Righteous" isn't saying that the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible, but that the Book of Mormon contradicts the LDS Doctrine & Covenants.

The reason for this is that the Book of Mormon contradicts the LDS Doctrine & Covenants.

In other words CARM is absolutely correct in this instance. The RLDS Doctrine & Covenants, however, is a totally different book. I could quote the RLDS Section 130 to you but it is completely unrelated.

  • "Horses" is more speculation.
  • If the original authors didn't have "Steel", the writer of the abridgement definately did. Furthermore, claiming that the Jews didn't have steel is based on the current opinion of some archeologists, not on the Bible. I don't mean to discredit the opinions of archeologists, but that is not criteria for determining the truth or falseness of possibly-inspired texts.
  • I already talked about "Salvation" in a previous thread.
  • "Silk" is more speculation.
  • The Bible teaches being "Sufficiently Humble" - it was one of the major themes of Christ's teachings. (the servant is greatest, the beam in thine own eye, etc)
  • I think the "Two Churches" reference is talking about the last days. A popular Christian doctrine today is that at some point, (most say it's near the end of the world - I think Tim LaHaye agrees with this) there will only be two churches left. You could say that there are only two churches now if you bend the definition of the word "church" to mean not "church as an organization" but "church as a worldview". On the other hand, when the page says, "If non-Mormon church is the church of Satan, why is Mormonism trying to appear like it?" that may be more of a valid point than the author realizes ... --BenMcLean 15:26, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Interestingly, I agree with all but two or three of the points listed on the "If all Mormons are Christians, then all Christians are Mormon" page, and of those, I would probably only want to reword them slightly. --BenMcLean 15:30, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

RLDS Doctrine & Covenants Edit

I know about all the history stuff just being speculation, (Even though its sort of, you know, 99 percent certain speculation) and like I said, since CARM didn't mention the RLDS, there wasn't really many places to turn except those three questions :/. You have your own doctrine and covenants too? Homestarmy 19:54, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Yes we do, and the RLDS Doctrine & Covenants contains (and thus, teaches) completely different stuff from the LDS one. I think that any real fundamental differences between our churches (meaning yours and mine) would probably be contained in the Doctrine & Covenants, not the Book of Mormon, but what the RLDS Doctrine & Covenants teaches (I ought to mention here that the Restoration Branches do not recognize sections after 144 as legitimate) couldn't be considered un-christian either. --BenMcLean 19:52, 25 July 2006 (UTC)
I looked at the introduction, is this book written from the perspective of Joseph Smith recounting prophecy? Homestarmy 21:27, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

The Doctrine & Covenants is a collection of documents that have been approved by the church membership to be included there. The sections up to 144 that claim to be "inspired" are considered to be equal in scriptural authority to the Bible and the Book of Mormon by our church. It contains instructions given specifically to church members. In those are commandments and of course doctrines and covenants, but they are all telling a specific group of people a specific thing that they should do in a specific time. Unlike the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants isn't "mail that is addressed to" the world in general, but just to members of the church - sometimes even to specific individuals. There are many revelations other than the Doctrine & Covenants that are addressed to various people and groups but only those in the Doctrine & Covenants are officially accepted by the church in general as valid. In summary, unlike the Bible and the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants isn't "mail that is addressed to" the world in general, but just to members of the church. --BenMcLean 23:47, 27 July 2006 (UTC)

God created evil Edit

Earlier, User:Homestarmy said:

Well you seem to be saying that without the capability to suffer, we can't know joy. This does not seem very biblical,

It seems to me that it is.

  • KJV Isaiah 45:7 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

So, God created evil. Why did He do that, do you think? --BenMcLean 13:47, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

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