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. Un-Stuffing Straw Men

LDS Beliefs Concerning God are More Biblical Than Others

Mormons believe in the theology of God as revealed in the Bible:

WE believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. (Articles of Faith 1)

The Bible teaches that God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one in purpose, but separate in their nature and being:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: John 17:21

[If they make up the Trinity, then so do we. At least we would have had a scriptural basis for the doctrine.]

“He (Jesus) is the reflection of God's glory and the exact imprint of God's very being… Heb 1:3

“…yet for us there is one God, the Father, … and one Lord, Jesus Christ,” I Cor 8:6

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God” [Footnote “and what God was the Word was”]” (NET bible, John 1:1)

“When the Most High apportioned the nations,when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods; the LORD's own portion was his people, Jacob his allotted share.” Dt.32:8-9

"He [Paul] seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities." (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) Acts 17:18

(Paul’s teachings were proclaiming that God and Christ are distinct Gods. The philosophers use the word “daimonion” to describe their understanding of Paul’s teachings. The word means a lower order divine being between men and God (BDAG 210). See Acts 2:4 for the message.) He clearly taught God and Christ are two Gods.

God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: Ps 82:1

Early Christians believed this was the case as well:

Justin Martyr: Jesus is “another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things” (Dialog: 56) 

John taught that Christ is a separate and distinct God from God. Though he was a Jew, he was not writing to Jews (Jn 1:41, 7:1-2), nor did he hold “Jewishness” as being doctrinally correct or holy (Jn 3:9-10, 8:54-55).Furthermore conservative, and honest, scholars agree that John is teaching that the Word and God have similar natures, not that he is teaching they are the same God.

Newman and Nida (A Translator's Handbook on the Gospel of John, New York: United Bible Societies, 1980, pages 8-9):

He was the same as God appears in most translations as "the Word was God" [Revised Standard Version (RSV), JB, NAB]. NEB renders by "what God was, the Word was" and Mft "the Logos was divine" {Goodspeed (Gdsp) "the Word was divine"]. Zurcher Bible (Zur) has "the Word was God," with a footnote indicating that this means the Word possessed a divine nature.

These many differences in translation are due to the Greek sentence structure. In this type of equational sentence in Greek (A=B) the subject can be distinguished from the predicate by the fact that the subject has the article before it and the predicate does not. Since "God" does not have the article preceding it, "God" is clearly the predicate and "the Word" is the subject. This means that "God" is here the equivalent of an adjective, and this fact justifies the rendering he (the Word) was the same as God. John is not saying that "the Word" was God the Father, but he is affirming that the same divine predication can be made of "the Word" as can be made of God the Father and so "the Word" can be spoken of as God in the same sense.

“Mormons Don’t Believe the Trinity” TRUE

The Trinity came together centuries after Christ, and was the product of intellectual reflection based on Hellenistic thinking. It is not stated or even implied in the Bible.

“On the other hand, we must honestly admit that the doctrine of the Trinity did NOT form part of the early Christian-New Testament-message. Certainly, it cannot be denied that not only the word "Trinity", but even the EXPLICIT IDEA of the Trinity is absent from the apostolic witness of the faith.. The doctrine of the Trinity itself, however, is not a Biblical Doctrine" (Emil Brunner, "The Christian Doctrine of God", Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1949, pp. 205 & 236).

"To Jesus and Paul the doctrine of the trinity was apparently never known. They say nothing about it [Origin and Evolution of Religion, by Yale University Professor E. Washburn Hopkins]."

"The doctrine of the holy trinity is not taught in the Old Testament “ [New Catholic Encyclopedia].

"The Platonic trinity, itself merely a rearrangement of older trinities dating back to earlier peoples, appears to be the rational philosophic trinity of attributes that gave birth to the three hypostases or divine persons taught by the Christian churches. ... This Greek philosopher's conception of the divine trinity ... can be found in all the ancient [pagan] religions" (French Nouveau Dictionnaire Universel [New Universal Dictionary], Vol. 2, p. 1467).

"Neither the word trinity nor the explicit doctrine appears in the New Testament" [The New Encyclopedia Britannica].

"The New Testament does not contain the developed doctrine of the trinity[The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology].

"The doctrine of the Trinity did not form part of the apostles' preaching, as this is reported in the New Testament" (Encyclopedia International, Ian Henderson, University of Glasgow, 1969, page 226).

"The doctrines of the Logos and the Trinity received their shape from Greek Fathers, who ... were much influenced, directly or indirectly, by the Platonic philosophy ... That errors and corruptions crept into the Church from this source can not be denied" (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, edited by Samuel Macauley Jackson, 1957, Vol. IX, p. 91).

"At first the Christian Faith was not trinitarian. It was not so in the Apostolic and sub-Apostolic ages, as reflected in the New Testament and of the early Christian writings” [Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics].

"Christianity did not destroy paganism; it adopted it ... From Egypt came the ideas of a divine trinity"(The Story of Civilization, Caesar and Christ, Will Durant, Part III, 1944, p. 595).

The trinity: "is a very marked feature in Hindooism, and is discernible in Persian, Egyptian, Roman, Japanese, Indian and the most ancient Grecian mythologies" (Religious Dictionary, Lyman Abbott, p944).

Trinitarians have corrupted the original Biblical concepts of God, and Mormonism is the restoration of the knowledge of God. Mystic math and shapeless deity was never the God we must know for salvation.  Mormons are more Biblical. The Book of Mormon teaches men can become like God, contrary to some anti-Mormons’ statements that the doctrine is not in the BoM (3Nephi 28:10).

Mormons Don’t Worship Christ? Untrue. We worship God, as Christ taught.

Christ taught that we are to worship the Father

John 4:23 true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him

He also taught we are to pray to the Father

Matthew 6:9 ¶ After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven…

Eph 5:20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

The only time we are to worship or pray to Christ is when he is right there in our presence. His commandment is to worship and pray to the Father.

One of the signs of the true Church of Christ is they do not preferentially worship Christ, but worship and pray to God the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ.

How Do Mormons Get Saved? Just Like Original Christians Believed.

Mormons believe salvation is a gift from God, obtained by Grace, Faith, Repentance and Obedience to the laws of God.

We believe that through the atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel 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. Articles of Faith Verse 3, 4

For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 2 Nephi 25:23

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; Hebrews 5:7-8

Ordinances show our obedience and dispense the grace of God to those who are humble and repentant, desiring to follow Christ. There is no difference between the confession of one turning to God, and baptism. They are both built on faith.

Control Freaks: Calvin and others who advocate God Pre-destines those He wants to save, and basically control every aspect of people’s lives, reflect their own megalomaniac need for control which was manifested in their personal lives. It is easy to understand that they see a Perfect Leader as having iron fisted control over people’s destiny, because that is what they craved and tried to enforce. Even a simple biographic reading of Calvin’s life shows a despot’s craving for total control over all people’s lives. But early Christians and the Bible teach a belief in the human CHOICE to obey, and the choice leads to ordinances, like baptism, essential to salvation. Clement of Rome (85 A.D.) repeatedly teaches salvation is obtained through grace, faith and obedience. The Didache (mid to late 1st Century) strongly teaches obedience and ordinances save. Ignatius of Antioch (107 A.D.) teaches faith means doing works (vss.15-16) and that participating in ordinances of the Church “…is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote which prevents us from dying”(vs.20).

The Bible teaches our ultimate salvation is to be like God, teaching we “may become participants of the divine nature” (1Pet. 1:4).We will reign with God (Rev 3:21); judge mankind, which is a divine function (1Cor 6:2); receive glory (Jn 17:22); inherit all God has jointly with Christ (Rom 8:17).Jesus Inherited His name and position, and we will be joint heirs. This is based on keeping the commandments (Rev 22:14), and not frustrating grace (Heb 6:4-6, 2Pet 3:17).The message throughout the Bible is that we reap what we sow, in terms of salvation (Mt 7:16-27; Gal 6:7-9; Titus 1:16-2:14). 

The final word is had in Rev. 20:12-13:“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works”.

Some have argued that they did not mean an “uncreated” God. That may be true, but Irenaeus and others say we will be made uncreated by being made eternal by Christ. All from Justin Martyr to Athanasius cite Ps 82 as being real gods, and the destiny of man.

Justin Martyr: Jesus is “another God and Lord subject to the Maker of all things” (Dialog: 56)He says elsewhere: "it is demonstrated that all men are deemed worthy of becoming "gods”, and of having power to become sons of the Highest”; (Dialog 124).

Irenaeus (Book IV, 38:4)we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods…through [His] love and [His] power, He shall overcome the substance of created nature.

Athanasius (De Inc. 54:33). For He was made man that we might be made God

Clement of Alexandria “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.” (A.D. 160-215, Exhortation to the Greeks 1)

Without Living Prophetic Leadership, The Church of God was Destroyed, and People Left to Their Own Interpretations of Scripture.

It is easy to see that when there are 2,000 or so denominations in the USA, and their theology ranges from Evangelical to Reformed to Catholic to Baptist, with many of them contradicting each other on the requirements for salvation, the Church of God needed to be restored. Paul repeatedly taught of the Body.1 Cor 12, Eph 4.Based on LIVING apostles and prophets on Earth.

Un-Stuffing Straw Men

Answers to Criticisms of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Copyright 2002  Robert B. Vukich rvukich@hotmail.com.This is not an official LDS publication, just the musings of an imperfect member.

Most attacks against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have a small kernel of truth heaped on with a huge amount of distortion. Here are a few examples:

3000 Changes to the Book of Mormon

No. Many more than that. But how did they happen? Most were done by the original printer, without any Church involvement. The Church has been trying to fix them ever since. Recently, Royal Skousen completed 10+ years of research to identify all of the changes. Most are punctuation, since the BoM text was unpunctuated. Editing changes are relatively few when compared to the 150,000 changes in the much smaller New Testament. When corrections back to the original BoM manuscript are made, what will the critics say then?“3000 fearless corrections made to the Book of Mormon!” Sure.

Charge: Mormons don’t believe the Bible is inspired or the inerrant word of God.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; (Articles of Faith 8). Does someone out there believe the Bible when it is incorrectly translated? It is one of the 4 standard works or scriptures of the LDS Church. Similar opinions have been expressed by many great Bible scholars, and the discoveries of the past 200 years demonstrating 150,000 variant readings among the known texts of the NT, and the thousands of OT variants discovered with the DSS show the LDS position is the only reasonable position to take, and yet still accept it as scripture.

Charge:Satan is the spirit brother of Jesus.

According to the Bible, this is true.  Job 1:6. It is spoken as shock value, as most people have not read the Bible carefully, so they find it a “hard saying". But all spirits come from God the Father (Heb 12:8).Satan is a spirit (Rev 18:2; Lk 7:21; Mt 4:24; Is 14:12-15), and Christ also was originally a spiritual being (Jn 1:1, Lk 23:46).Therefore, they are spiritual brothers. But what does that matter? If you understand the Godhead, it is not a big deal.

Charge: God had sex with Mary.

This is not an official doctrine of the LDS Church. God the Father is the literal father of Christ, including his human body. But even humans do not need to have sex to create a child. God's abilities transcend anything humans can do. The only remotely official person to suggest God had sex with Mary was Orson Pratt, whose statements in “The Seer” were officially condemned by the LDS Church in August 1865.The real question is: Was Jesus fully human? (1 Tim 2:5 seems to answer “Yes”.) If yes, then he needed DNA from his mother and his Father. Every statement by LDS Church leaders states God is the literal father of the physical body of Christ. They do not say, however, that a sexual act was the means of its creation. LDS scripture teaches the opposite. Mary was still a virgin after Christ’s conception. There is only one way to be a virgin: never having had sex. The Book of Mormon and LDS leaders affirm her virginity. See 1Nephi 11:13-20; Jesus the Christ, pg 81;The Book of Mormon says Mary was a virgin, as do all official statements that discuss the topic. Anything more is guessing.

Charge: Mormons blindly follow and try to trick people into the LDS Church.

This suggestion is just stupid, and frankly hypocritical. Do people at Revivals get a course in Trinitarian theology’s relationship to paganism? Anyway, tricking people into something usually results in their leaving. Anti-Mormons feel they have special knowledge that proves the Church untrue, but when members and non-LDS are presented the “evidence” and are not swayed, the Anti’s say we are brainwashed. The idea that their arguments and evidence stinks baffles them. Contrast a revival to people wishing to join the LDS Church. People investigating the LDS Church are required to attend lessons and Church, read independently and pass an interview to make sure they understand the basics, the milk of the Gospel. Some Anti’s assert the LDS visitors’ centers’ tours are too brief. The people attend a 20-40 minute tour. They want to know things like when it was built, why, out of what, etc. It is hard to pack 170+ years of history into 20 minutes, so it is brief. 

Charge: Mormonism has no real scholarship supporting its views. Some Evangelical observers (e.g. Owen & Mosser: Mormon Sholarship, Apolgetics and Evangelical Neglect, Losing the Battle and not Knowing it?: Trinity Journal 19/2 (1998) pp 179-205) have noted that the LDS apologetic works are virtually unchallenged in their superiority and response to Anti’s attacks. Others point out the LDS views on early Biblical doctrines are being substantiated by textual discoveries since the late 19th century, after the founding of the LDS Church. Anti’s sometimes make bizarre statements attacking scholarship because it is vindicating LDS positions. One example: Recognizing the Hebrew and early Christian belief that men can become like God. Here is an example of the non-scholarly approach of LDS critics:“…it is fascinating to note the degradation of commentaries over the years (I have often commented that especially when it comes to the OT, you have to go back 100 years to find much of worth)” [J. White, White-Hamblin Online Exchange Over PS 82, Letter 28].The statement is the result of Mr. White being confronted with evidence that virtually all commentaries on Ps 82’s use of bene elyon state the meaning is divine beings, and not judges, and this is the consensus of all surveyed commentaries since 1971.His statement is even more bizarre when considered in light of the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Ugaritic texts and other OT archaeological data finding its way into commentaries. LDS Scholars are recognized by their peers in every scriptural field as first-rate.

Charge: You can’t tell by feelings what God wants you to do.

Someone should tell the Apostles and prophets of the Bible, because they said you can. Such an assertion is a lie.

And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Lk 24:32 

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. James 1:5

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13

When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh forward things; (Proverbs 2:10-12.See also Pro.2:2-9, 3:1-6; 16:1; Jer 31:33; Ps 49:3) 

O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Proverbs 8:5

Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: Prov.14:33

…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:5)                                                                 

If being “Saved” is by grace alone, then explain all these other salvation statements. Salvation is more than 4 chapters in Romans and a few statements in Gal. and Eph.

Enduring Saves

Matthew 10:22, (24:13, Mk 8:34, Mk 13:13) … he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Sacrifice Saves

Matthew 19:25(also Mark 8:34-35, 10:26, Lk 18:26) 25 When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? Vs.28 those that followed me; vs 29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

Being Willing Saves

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

Calling On God Saves

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Obedience Saves, and Saves Yourself

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall

receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. [Jamieson, F&B say this is salvation, not just some temporal good behavior]41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls. [This is clearly water baptism, vs38&41]

Hebrews 5:9Christ is “the author of eternal salvation unto all them who obey him. Paul Believed that Though He Was Saved (1Cor 1:18), he could lose his salvation(1Cor 9:29).He teaches obedience is love repeatedly in his letters (Ro 6:16,13:8-14; 2Cor5:10; Gal 5:7,18-24, 25, Eph 4:17-19, 24-5:22;Ph 2:12, 4:9)

Being a Wife and Birthing Babies Saves

1Tim 2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. (Note: These verses are clearly talking about Spiritual salvation, since it is speaking of Eve’s transgression. Not Just Grace.)

1Cor7:16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.

Fall From Grace No such thing as once saved always saved.

Gal 5:4Ye are fallen from grace; Heb 6:4-6 can fall after true conversion; 1Cor 9:27, 10:12-13.Eph 5:30 Grieve not the Spirit.

Love is Good Works, not Works of the Law

1Cor 13 Good works must be done with love, but no good works means no love (James 2:17-18).Faith means good works. It is the attitude that determines if it is a work unto sin or love (Rom 13:98-10;14:22-23).We can choose good (Lk 11:13) even though we are evil. God calls and draws, but we must respond MT 23:37.

Baptism Saves

Acts 2:38, 1Peter 3:20-21, Titus 3:5, Mark 16:16, John 3:5Calling on the name of the Lord means to repent and be baptized: Acts 2:21, compare to Acts 2:38 and Lukes closing remarks in Acts 22:16.Same author, same book, same context. Only one conclusion is possible from the facts.

Baptism Meant Immersion

The phrase meant to dunk. In Titus 3:5, Paul notes that it is the “washing of Regeneration” and the renewing of the Holy Ghost which saves us. The word he uses is the same as found in Leviticus of dunking people in water to bathe them or other objects. There is no confusion. Paul states that he baptized just a few people, which surely MUST mean they were physically dunked, or the passages he writes about makes no sense. Furthermore, Mark 7:4 uses the word “baptize” of washing, which means they thrust in their hands in water, fully immersing them. It is illogical to think he would use the word so differently 7-times earlier and 8-times after.

Book of Mormon Proofs

BoM correctly names and places the city of Nahom (1 Nephi 16:34), 100+ yrs before it was rediscovered. It also accurately described the costal geography of the Arabian peninsula. Answers question of finding BoM names.

The BoM contains many Hebrewisms. (River of water, etc.)

The BoM accurately states that Bethlehem was in the Land of Jerusalem, which was unknown until the 20th Century.

The BoM accurately uses the name ALMA for men.

The BoM accurately places BARLEY in pre-Columbian America.

The BoM accurately places HORSES in America.

The BoM has been proven to have been written by multiple authors, and none of them Joseph Smith, Cowdery or Spaulding.

The BoM contains passages, such as 3 Nep 12:22 (compare to Mt 5:22, which contains the words “without a cause”) which are more accurate than the KJV, and did so 50 years before the proof of the better accuracy was discovered.

The BoM accurately tells of Hebrews using Egyptian writing.

BoM accurately describes use of metals and ore in portions of eastern Arabia before it was known to exist there.

BoM contains elegant Chiasmus, unrecognized in JS’s day, which can not be accidental. (Helaman 6:7-14, for example).

What about the 11 witnesses?

The final point of this tract is quite simple. If the BoM of is false, how did it come into existence? How do you explain away the witnesses? Only the LDS case is plausible.

By RBV. I am solely responsible for this work.

 
     
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