Monday, April 03, 2006

April 2006 Conference Review

There were many great speakers, but probably 3 anti-Mormon events I wish to touch on.
1. I spoke with a lot of "King James Only" adherents. In a word: Lost souls. They have been pumped full of bad facts and crippled logic. In effect, they believe that magically (no really!), the King James Translators made the perfect translation of scripture. All scripture. Nothing is left out, nothing to be added. No contradictions are in it either. So I provided them an absolutely unresolveable contradiction: 2 kings 24:8 and 2 Chronicles 36:9. The King Jehoiachin is 18 years old when he becomes king in one version, 8 years old in the other. They are otherwise perfectly parallel accounts. It is obviously a scribal error in 2 Chronicles. No matter, one error is an error, and it means their doctrine is false. I have about 100 others, but it makes the point. (On a side note, one of the young people I spoke with actually said that the King James Bible should be translated into other languages, rather than the best Greek texts in use OR even the original texts used by the King James translators. Everyone scratch your heads.)

2. I had the chance to meet with a man who was truly mentally ill. Now, before too many jokes fly, in some ways we all are a little unique. In fact, I think based on the irrational indifference for the teachings of Christ by most street preachers, a case can be made a lot of those guys are suffering in some form of delirium. But this poor fellow was genuinely mentally ill, and just could not control his anger or aggitation. But for the grace of God, there go I. The cool thing, in my view, is that I suspect he falls into the same category in the after-life as little children who are unaccountable. He is just not able to help himself.

3. Just as I was leaving, I ran into Aaron and Stacia. Aaron is a likeable follower of reformed theology who fancies himself a missionary to Mormons. His beautiful wife is about 5 months pregnant with their first child. They had brought her parents down to see Temple Square, and they stopped to ask me some questions. Stacia's mom, whose name I cannot recall, was very nice, but she became progressively more animated and wound up just walking away because she felt I was telling her blasphemous doctrines out of the Bible. Here is the irony. They had asked me, after bouncing quickly along such topics as baptism for the dead, proper worship of God and Christ, the New Testament basis for Spirit Prison and Paradise, can salvation occur strictly through faith or is obedience necessary, and what role the Trinity has or has not in the New Testament; all in about 15 minutes, she then said "I understand your faith teaches that Christ and Satan are considered siblings of some kind". So I said yes, this is what the Bible teaches, but before we get into that, this will take longer than 1 minute to resolve, so are you willing to spend the time. She pressed that she wanted to know, and said she could not believe any such thing. I asked her if Jesus himself had a spirit. She replied that he had the Holy Spirit, which he shared with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

Here is where I made my mistake. I should have done this in a Socratic style, and simply pointed out scriptures and asked questions. I won't make this mistake ever again. But instead I told her that while Christ shared in the Holy Spirit, he had his own Spirit. She literally lost it at this point, telling me this was blasphemy and unscriptural and she was going to walk away. I told her it was in fact in the scriptures, and if she cared to see the verses, I would be happy to provide them. Having confounded Ron McRae the day before on this exact topic (he is the director of the Street Preachers Fellowship, the unChristian sign toting protest group), I was certain I could make the Biblical case. But I mis-judged how upset this nice lady would get at having some of her basic beliefs confronted by the truth of scripture. Big, prideful mistake on my part.

At this point she walked away. Her husband politely said thank you, shook my hand, and dutifully followed his wife, as I would have mine.

Here is the problem for her as a Trinitarian Christian. Her statements put her right in the category of defined heretic according to Traditional Christian theology. Her expression is a modified Modalist. The Father is the Son is the Holy Spirit. In this case, the Son is the Holy Spirit shared by the Father. Worse still, though she clearly had just recently read John 14, as she cited it several times, she professed to be unfamiliar with Christ's admonition that we must endure to the end to be saved (Matt 24:13; Mark 13:13). Every Gospel account indicates Christ has his own spirit, separate and apart from the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:16; 4:1; 12:18; 12:32; 27:50; Mark 1:10; 8:12; 15:37; Luke 3:22; Luke 4:1; 4:14; 4:18; 10:21; 12:10; 23:46; John 1:32; 1:33; 7:39; 11:33; 13:21; 14:26; 15:26; 19:30; Acts 4:8 shows the Apostles were indwelt with the Holy Spirit just as Christ was during His life.)

So, Stacia's Mom, you are just wrong. You were so sure you were right, and I was just up in the night. Hopefully you will someday be humble enough to let the missionaries walk you through the Gospel. There are answers to literally everything you asked, but I was stupid to think I could walk you through the scriptures in a public environment, and have the Spirit teach you while Aaron is doing drive-by insults of LDS doctrine. Again, I apologize, and I won't do that again.

Stacia's mom and dad both asked a question which I don't think they fully understand. They said "Can we be saved even if we never join the Mormon Church?" I told them it is really a non-issue, because we do the work for all people, so everyone will have the chance. But this is really the wrong answer. The right answer is much more sober: If this is the Church of Jesus Christ restored in our day, rejecting God's prophets, his ordinances and his inspired council, if such attitudes are taken into the next life, can only lead to something less than ultimate salvation. You cannot reject Isaiah, Moses or Peter, and say you believe in Jesus Christ. As it says in modern day revelation: "Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D&C 1:38) This is no different than what Moses said 3,000 years ago:

Deut 30:2
2 And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;

Without an open mind, it is impossible to hear the Lord's voice.

See you around.

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