Unsolicited e-mail Evangelism

PLP > The following set of questions showed up in my e-mail box.  So I gave a shot at answering them.  Not a particularly serious attempt at answering, as I provide no references, but I feel that the questions are not directed at finding religious truth, but a back door method at promoting fundamentalist type religion and simplistic thinking.

Perry L. Porter

I have recently had a very forceful Epiphany, a major paradigm shift, yea even a change of heart! See Disclaimer.

The questions came unsolicited to me from:

"dave" <qassis@dtx.net>


I have some Questions on the Mormon faith. I d appreciate answers to the ones you can answer. I do not mean to put anyone "on the spot". If you do not have the answer right now, please get back to me with the answers.
 

Excerpt from "Testimony of the 3 witnesses":
.we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment-seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

(signed)

OLIVER COWDERY

DAVID WHITMER

MARTIN HARRIS
 

PLP > Yup it looks like they believed in the Trinity, which at that time they probably did, as Joseph Smith did at the beginning. Old habits die hard, Trinity type view of God, is also included in the Lectures on Faith and some early accounts of the Joseph Smith 1st Vision.
 

2 Nephi 31:21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

Mosiah 15:3 The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son --

Mosiah 15:4 And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

Alma 11:28 Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?

Alma 11:29 And he answered, No.

Alma 11:38 Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father?

Alma 11:39 And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last;

PLP > Scriptures are kind of vague general texts, and if you look close, you find holes all over in them, including the Old and New Testament.  BTW if you check the original copy of the Book of Mormon, you will find even more of these seemingly inconsistencies, and I am not just talking spelling, grammar or punctuation.

Question: My understanding is that the Mormon Church teaches that God the Father and Jesus are not one God, but two separate Gods. Yet the 3 witnesses and the Book of Mormon clearly state that they are one God. Please Explain.

PLP > Like the Bible is consistent on the same topic?  Plus according to Mormon Doctrine, we can receive further light and knowledge.  Some say that Joseph Smith didn't stop gaining new truths until about 1843, years after the Book of Mormon.

1 Nephi 11:18 And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh.

1 Nephi 11:20 And I looked and beheld the virgin again, bearing a child in her arms.

Alma 7:10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

Question: I understand that the Mormon Church teaches that Jesus is the literal (i.e. via intercourse) son of God, yet it appears that the Book of Mormon clearly states that a virgin gave birth to Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Please explain.

PLP > Geeesh this is Sunday School level.  Even the Bible says that Mary KNEW no man, but when God KNEW Mary in the Biblical sense, God became the biological father of Jesus!  Be careful about taking scriptures too selectively.

1 Nephi 13:24 And the angel of the Lord said unto me: Thou hast beheld that the book proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew; and when it proceeded forth from the mouth of a Jew it contained the fulness of the gospel of the Lord, of whom the twelve apostles bear record; and they bear record according to the truth which is in the Lamb of God.

1 Nephi 13:26 And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of a great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.

Question: This is 600BC, yet the whole chapter is in the past tense, contrary to a vision which is in the future tense. How can this be, since it s 600 years prior to the birth of Christ?

PLP > Well it is plausible that since God knows how the story turns out, he can inspire to have written what ever he wishes to be written.  Another explanation, is that when you write such a long and detailed book such as the Book of Mormon, mistakes are bound to happen.  Gee just look critically at the Bible.

1 Nephi 14:3 And that great pit, which hath been digged for them by that great and abominable church, which was founded by the devil and his children, that he might lead away the souls of men down to hell -- yea, that great pit which hath been digged for the destruction of men shall be filled by those who digged it, unto their utter destruction, saith the Lamb of God; not the destruction of the soul, save it be the casting of it into that hell which hath no end.

2 Nephi 28:21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well -- and thus the devil cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

2 Nephi 28:22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none -- and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance.

2 Nephi 28:23 Yea, they are grasped with death, and hell; and death, and hell, and the devil, and all that have been seized therewith must stand before the throne of God, and be judged according to their works, from whence they must go into the place prepared for them, even a lake of fire and brimstone, which is endless torment.

Mosiah 3:25 And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.

2 Nephi 9:16 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire; prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.

Question: I am under the impression that the Mormon Church teaches there is not an everlasting hell, but it appears the Book of Mormon states that there is a hell with everlasting fire which hath no end, and goes on forever and ever.

PLP > HELL or OUTER DARKNESS, are two general terms for a bad place.  The details of which are we know little about.  The brilliance of God as everlasting burning, or hell as a big fire?  Sounds similar?  If Hell is hot, then Heaven must be as cold as a ....  Well having been raised on the wind swept plains of Wyoming, where summer only lasts for a month and a half, give me hell and stay away from the thermostat.

5. 2 Nephi 5:15 And I did teach my people to build buildings, and to work in all manner of wood, and of iron, and of copper, and of brass, and of steel, and of gold, and of silver, and of precious ores, which were in great abundance.

2 Nephi 5:16 And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon's temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.

Question: It appears that in verse 15 these were in great abundance, and in verse 16 they were not to be found. Which was it?

PLP > Well they could be abundant, but still not to the level of adornment as in the Temple of Solomon.  Don't take things so literal!

2 Nephi 5:21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

2 Nephi 5:22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities.

2 Nephi 5:23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed; for they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it, and it was done.

Question: Why don t the disobedient turn black today?

PLP > Such a literalist.  The assumptions is that God can do what he wants when he wants.

3 Nephi 2:15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

Question: According to this verse, shouldn't black Mormons turn white?

PLP > Well that would seem to be the case.  And it is plausible that God could do such if he wished to.  If you are asking of proof of this today, I ask where have the miracles of the Bible been reproduced in a scientific lab type situation?

2 Nephi 26:28 Behold, hath the Lord commanded any that they should not partake of his goodness? Behold I say unto you, Nay; but all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden.

Question: Why were black men forbidden priesthood for so many decades?

PLP > Let's see how we can speed up this redundant process.

Interpretation Literalist and Lame.

If Anyone Can, God Can.

2Nephi Chapters 12 24 are often word for word identical of the Isaiah chapters 2-14, in the 1611 King James English.

Question: Why, if Joseph Smith was given the translation of the Book of Mormon one letter at a time, by the power of God, did this come out in 1611 English? Why if the translation was given one letter at a time has the Book of Mormon been changed over the years?

PLP > Finally a GOOD question!  Thee and Thou etc, are proper forms of Old english, and while not in common use in 1830, it did make for much better translations years later into other foreign languages that still have formal and informal YOU and formal and plural YOU.  Plus it sounds more like scripture that way.  Appearance is everything.

According to the Book of Mormon, the steps to salvation are:

Alma 11:40 And he shall come into the world to redeem his people; and he shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and salvation cometh to none else.

2 Nephi 31:17 Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter. For the gate by which ye should enter is repentance and baptism by water; and then cometh a remission of your sins by fire and by the Holy Ghost.

2 Nephi 31:18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.

2 Nephi 31:19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.

2 Nephi 31:20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.

2 Nephi 31:21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

Mosiah 4:2 And they had viewed themselves in their own carnal state, even less than the dust of the earth. And they all cried aloud with one voice, saying: O have mercy, and apply the atoning blood of Christ that we may receive forgiveness of our sins, and our hearts may be purified; for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things; who shall come down among the children of men.

3 Nephi 11:33 And whoso believeth in me, and is baptized, the same shall be saved; and they are they who shall inherit the kingdom of God.

3 Nephi 11:34 And whoso believeth not in me, and is not baptized, shall be damned.

Question: Why then does the Mormon Church teach a different method to salvation?

PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame. If Anyone Can, God Can.

Jacob 2:24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

Jacob 2:27 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;

Jacob 3:5 Behold, the Lamanites your brethren, whom ye hate because of their filthiness and the cursing which hath come upon their skins, are more righteous than you; for they have not forgotten the commandment of the Lord, which was given unto our father -- that they should have save it were one wife, and concubines they should have none, and there should not be whoredoms committed among them.

Question: Why did the Mormon Church of the past allow some Mormons to have multiple wives when the Book of Mormon clearly states that more than one wife is an abomination to the Lord, and is forbidden by the Lord?

PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame. If Anyone Can, God Can.  Plus you left out the catch in Jacob where polygamy is permissible if commanded.

Jacob 7:27 And I, Jacob, saw that I must soon go down to my grave; wherefore, I said unto my son Enos: Take these plates. And I told him the things which my brother Nephi had commanded me, and he promised obedience unto the commands. And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.

Question: The last word of the book of Jacob is "adieu", a French word that did not exist prior to 700 A.D., yet this is supposed to be 544-421 B.C. (BOM notes). If the Book of Mormon was translated by the power of God, one letter at a time, why the French word adieu instead of a clear English word?

PLP > If you actually knew more than one language, and translated anything of substance or length,  you would know the answer to this.

Book of Mormon: Alma 7:10 And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.

KJV Bible: Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, .

Question: The Jesus of the Book of Mormon was born in Jerusalem (of Judea), while the Jesus of the Bible was born in Bethlehem (of Judea). It appears to me that they cannot be the same person.

PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame. It happens that sometimes small towns are called by the name of larger towns near them for people unfamiliar with the smaller town.  Who doesn't know that JHC was born in Bethlehem, you think Joseph Smith would make a mistake like that?  Possible, but no probable.  When on my mission I used to tell Italians I was from Utah, if they knew where that was I would tell them Salt Lake City, if they had been to Utah, I would say Provo, but in reality I was from Delta Utah.

Mormon 9:9 For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?

Mormon 9:10 And now if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not God of miracles.

Mormon 9:11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

Moroni 8:18 For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

Question: Doesn t the Book of Mormon clearly state in these verses that God is unchanging, and specifically in verse Mormon 9:11 that a god who progresses is not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?

PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame. If Anyone Can, God Can.  If you take the Bible too literal you get similar problems.

Mormon 9:11 But behold, I will show unto you a God of miracles, even the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and it is that same God who created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are.

Question: Why does the Mormon Church teach that God only formed the earth and not created it?

PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame.

Mormon 9:32 And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

Mormon 9:33 And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.

Mormon 9:34 But the Lord knoweth the things which we have written, and also that none other people knoweth our language; and because that none other people knoweth our language, therefore he hath prepared means for the interpretation thereof.

Question: If "none other people knoweth our language", then how could Anthony verify the translation was true?

PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame. If Anyone Can, God Can.  Too literal interpretation of vague poetic verses.  A better question is, would have Anthon been able to translate or even recognize Egyptian?  Joseph Smith possibly had his "can't read a sealed book" scripture ready, before he took the tip.  The motive was to get Martin Harris to have faith in Joseph to literally bet the farm.  A much better question is how does a small group of people, that have to struggle to survive in the unimproved wilderness have time to learn and preserve the knowledge of metallurgy and learn and pass on a 2nd hieroglyphic based language, while constantly being at war?

Ether 6:5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a furious wind blow upon the face of the waters, towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.

Ether 6:8 And it came to pass that the wind did never cease to blow towards the promised land while they were upon the waters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.

Ether 6:11 And thus they were driven forth, three hundred and forty and four days upon the water.

Question: If this "furious" wind which blew them (never off course) "towards" the promised land blew them only 10 miles per hour for 344 days, this would be (344 days X 24 hours, X 10 miles per hour equals) 82,560 miles, or 3 ½ times around the world. If the this "furious" wind which blew them "towards" the promised land blew them only 5 miles per hour for 344 days, this would be (344 days X 24 hours, X 5 miles per hour equals) 41280 miles, or 1 ¾ times around the world.

 PLP > Interpretation Literalist and Lame. If Anyone Can, God Can.  However this is possibly your best question.  There are only 3 explanations, 1. furious winds only blew them about a mile a day.  2. It just seemed like "furious and constant wind" to the original author.  3. Joseph Smith has no idea how large the seas are and didn't do the math.  Hey he is an unskilled farm boy, what were you expecting?


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