Questions & Answers

Questions & Answers

If you have one opportunity and 15 minutes with someone from the Mormon faith, what do you say?

Question:

If you have one opportunity and 15 minutes with someone from the Mormon faith, what do you say? I know what I've done before, would like to know your thoughts.

Answer:

There is not one approach that is the "only" approach to studying with one who adheres to the Mormon faith.  In fact often material published is too generalized and paints too broad of a picture without getting into important doctrinal points.  However, with that said I would like to share with you some (not an exhaustive list) talking points to consider the next time an opportunity literally approaches your front door.

Introduction:

The introduction within the Book of Mormon says, "The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation."  The Hebrew Old Testament is held up as truth by Christians and Mormons alike(though some Mormons may cite human errors may be present).  So we should be able to reason together from a book within the Old Testament.  In the book of Deuteronomy 18:20-22 it speaks about true and false prophets by saying, "But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ 21 You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’ 22 When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." 

So may I suggest that a good place to start may be the "test of a prophet."

Talking Points:

  1. The Mormon Prophet Nephi states that the New Testament Scriptures will become corrupted by men and therefore the church will also become corrupt:
  1. Mormon Text:
  1. 1 Nephi 13 Intro - "Nephi sees in vision the church of the devil set up among the Gentiles, the discovery and colonizing of America, the loss of many plain and precious parts of the Bible, the resultant state of gentile apostasy, the restoration of the gospel, the coming forth of latter-day scripture, and the building up of Zion. About 600–592 B.C."
  2. 2 Nephi 29 Intro - "Many Gentiles will reject the Book of Mormon—They will say, We need no more Bible—The Lord speaks to many nations—He will judge the world out of the books which will be written. About 559–545 B.C.v.6 - "Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews?"
  3. 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 that 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." (again About 600–592 B.C.)
  4. 13:29 - "because of the many plain and precious things which have been taken out of the book, which were plain unto the understanding of the children of men, according to the plainness which is in the Lamb of God—because of these things which are taken away out of the gospel of the Lamb, an exceedingly great many do stumble, yea, insomuch that Satan hath great power over them."
  5. 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." 
  1. The Inspired Word of God:
  1. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 (also 1 Cor. 2:10-13) states that the words in the Bible are not from the "wisdom of men, but on the power of God."  Did God make a mistake?
  2. Galatians 1:11-12 states that "the gospel... is not according to man... but through a revelation of Jesus Christ."  Did Jesus make a mistake?
  3. 2 Timothy 3:14-17 states that "All Scripture is inspired by God."  Did God give us something with errors or is God not powerful enough to ensure that His inspired Word would not become adulterated?
  4. 2 Peter 1:19-21 states that "no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."  Therefore there are no errors within the Bible because they are the very words of God, not man.
  1. Conclusion:

Mormon history states that Joseph Smith first saw the golden plates(revelation from God) in 1823.  Then in 1827 he was allowed to take the plates down from the mountain on which he received the Godly instruction (The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual - Joseph Smith History).  A part of that revelation is the repeating of the Mormon prophet Nephi.  Nephi was said to have prophesied between the years of 600-592 B.C.  Yet not a single manuscript can be produced for the Book of Mormon before Joseph Smith declares that he received his revelation.  Furthermore, Joseph Smith declares that the Word of God would become corrupted after the good news is taken to the Gentiles.  But modern evidence, such as the Hebrew Scriptures found at Qumran in Israel, show that the Old Testament that we hold today is a mirror copy of the scrolls found at Qumran.  Therefore we can factually say that the revelation from Joseph Smith about a corruption of Scripture can be discredited.  Mormons cannot produce one manuscript of their text while Christianity can produce almost 6,000 ancient copies with a 99.5% accuracy rate.

These finding, or lack thereof, nullify the prophesy of Nephi. Therefore he is not a prophet from God and should not be feared or heard!

  1. The Book of Mormon prophesies that the Savior would be born in Jerusalem:
  1. The Mormon Text:
  1. 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." 

     B. The Inspired Word of God:

  1. Micah 5:2 (700 B.C.) - "“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”"  A Dead Sea Scroll with this verse was found and dated to 100 B.C.
  2. Matthew 2:1 - "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod...", 6 - "‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”"‚Äč

      C. Conclusion:

The Mormon argument is that Bethlehem is only 6 miles away from Jerusalem so therefore that is not an error, but simply a mention of a generic geographic area.  There are several problems with this, but here is the most glaring.  There are no other examples of this area being generalized as the "land of Jerusalem."  It can be called Judah, or the land of Judah(Judea), but not Jerusalem.

With this fact in mind, Alma has been found in error by prophesying an event in the wrong city.  Therefore he is not a prophet from God and should not be feared or heard!

  1. Joseph Smith Prophecies:
  1. Joseph Smith updates the Hebrew Bible(Old Testament) to make his alleged God given corrections.  Here are some examples.
  1. 2 Nephi 3 Intro - "Joseph in Egypt saw the Nephites in vision—He prophesied of Joseph Smith, the latter-day seer; of Moses, who would deliver Israel; and of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. About 588–570 B.C."
  2. 2 Nephi 27 Intro - "Darkness and apostasy will cover the earth in the last days—The Book of Mormon will come forth—Three witnesses will testify of the book—The learned man will say he cannot read the sealed book—The Lord will do a marvelous work and a wonder—Compare Isaiah 29. About 559–545 B.C."  v.6 - "And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered."  v. 9 - "But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another;"
  1. Where is the proof that these updates to Scripture were given by a direct revelation of God? 
  1. There are no ancient manuscripts that support that Godly prophets prophesied about Joseph Smith being the one to "deliver the words of the book" until he, himself, published his own book in 1830.  Who can give witness to this other than himself?  He has simply created his own version of Scripture (Old & New Testament) so that the "new Scriptures" prophesy about him.
  2. As previously stated the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the Hebrew Bible in our modern day Bibles to be correct, not flawed.  His adapted version is called the "New Translation of the Bible by Joseph Smith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" or the "Inspired Text."  (Look at his Isaiah 29:11, 14 - his new version implants a prophecy to match up with 2 Nephi 27:6, 9)  (also 2 Nephi 27:12 & Isaiah 29:17).  The Isaiah scroll found at Qumran proves that Joseph Smith added to the Book of Isaiah.
  3. Another addition is in the Biblical text of John 1:1.  Yet a scroll called "Papyrus 66" dated around 150 A.D. testifies to the John 1:1 that we can read today on our Bibles.  Joseph Smith's "update" of the Bible wasn't published until 1800's A.D.  (Other J. Smith N.T. "additions" include Romans 4:16.)
  1. Beyond rewording Scripture to benefit him as a fulfillment of Scripture, J. Smith has also created new doctrine.
  1.  The LDS Doctrines & Covenants - "Section 132 - Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, recorded July 12, 1843, relating to the new and everlasting covenant, including the eternity of the marriage covenant and the principle of plural marriage. Although the revelation was recorded in 1843, evidence indicates that some of the principles involved in this revelation were known by the Prophet as early as 1831. See Official Declaration 1.  1–6, Exaltation is gained through the new and everlasting covenant; 7–14, The terms and conditions of that covenant are set forth; 15–20, Celestial marriage and a continuation of the family unit enable men to become gods; ... v.20-25 - "Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.  21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law ye cannot attain to this glory.  22 For strait is the gate, and narrow the way that leadeth unto the exaltation and continuation of the lives, and few there be that find it, because ye receive me not in the world neither do ye know me.  23 But if ye receive me in the world, then shall ye know me, and shall receive your exaltation; that where I am ye shall be also.  24 This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law.  25 Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.""
  2. J. Smith is teaching that mortal created man can become a god!
  1. Conclusion:

May we remember what Galatians  1:6-10 says, "...which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! ...".

  1. Joseph Smith Prophecies (continued):
  1. J. Smith Gives the Location For A New Jerusalem Temple:
  1. In the Doctrines & Covenants J. Smith states - "Section 84 - Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, September 22 and 23, 1832. ...  1–5, The New Jerusalem and the temple will be built in Missouri;"  v. 3-5 - "Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.  4 Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.  5 For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house."
  2. 38 years later - The LDS prophet, Orson Pratt in May 5, 1870 says this, "The Latter-day Saints just as much expect to receive a fulfillment of that promise during the generation that was in existence in 1832 as they expect that the sun will rise and set tomorrow.  Why?  Because God cannot lie.  He will fulfill all his promises."
  1. Conclusion:

Today in Independence, Missouri the "Temple Lot" stands without a Mormon Temple.  In fact in 1838 the Mormons were expelled from the state of Missouri during the "Missouri Mormon War" (https://www.lds.org/manual/church-history-in-the-fulness-of-times-student-manual/chapter-sixteen-missouri-persecutions-and-expulsion?lang=eng). Therefore we have another failed prophecy that forces us to again say, he is not a prophet from God and should not be feared or heard!

On the other hand Jesus sates the following in Mark 13:1-2, "As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”History shows Titus' soldiers destroyed the Temple and literally, as Jesus said, threw down the stones over the mount.  These stones tossed over can still be seen and touched today at the foot of the Temple Mount.

We have 2 prophecies: Joseph Smith -> Missouri.  Jesus -> Temple destruction.  An honest person sees that one prophet Failed and one Passed the test of Deuteronomy 18.

Overall Conclusion:

There are many in the world that claim to have "new revelations" from God.  Those who claim this are in direct opposition to Scriptures such as:

John 16:13 - "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come."  Did the Holy Spirit not guide them into all truth?  Did Jesus lie when He encouraged the apostles with these words?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."  Did Paul, who was inspired by God, get it wrong here or in Galatians 1:6-10?

Jude 3 - "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."  Was Jude, who was inspired by God, speak incorrectly when he said it was "all handed down"?

This is a short list of topics that could be considered for discussion in regards to inaccuracies within the Book of Mormon.  I encourage you to base your faith upon the text that was handed down by God and not man.  I also encourage you to examine and test your faith carefully (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22; 1 John 4:1-6) and ensure you are following the one true God.  May God bless you as you grow in your faith and continue to defend the true words of God (1 Peter 3:15).

 

Other Resources: