Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lambs to the Slaughter

OK, let's get the livestock folks involved here. I don't have a great deal of experience slaughtering lambs, but my experience watching it on TV is that if a lamb had digits and an opposable thumb, they would pull out a gun and fight, as they do struggle when they are confined preparatory to being killed.

The idea of going off "like a lamb to the slaughter" comes from their complete lack of fighting as they are taken to their final doom. Just another walk. They don't scream for a ram to come head butt someone.

Now this may seem silly, but it actually goes to the heart of the concept of trying to defend loved ones yet surrendering your own life. Joseph Smith was free, but surrendered himself to a highly biased, antagonistic representative of the Law who took him to a place known to be hostile to Joseph. He carried no weapon, put up no fight. In fact, he restrained the saints from trying to protect him.

That he was handed a gun, which he did fire and apparently wounded several of the attackers, who killed his brother. His brother had a gun in his pocket, which he did not use, nor did Joseph grab it and attempt to fire it. Apparently in the midst of the assault, he realized sacrificing his life, by going to the window, would draw the fire away from his two surviving friends.

Hmm, sacrificing oneself, without a weapon when one is loaded and available...

This was a martyrdom. He did fight to defend his friends, and then gave up when he realized his continued efforts would simply lead to the same fate as his brother. They would be killed too, and the story would not be accurately told about the death of the two leaders of the Church.

John Taylor did get the details about the death of some of the attackers at the hands of Joseph Smith, but he reports that it was something he was told, not had first hand knowledge.

I always find it amazing that the Mormons are accused of things like blood atonement and taking revenge, having Danites, etc. But what happens when their leader is killed? Nothing. Less than nothing. They don't even fight for their own homes. Within a year they would be driven out of the town they paid for with cash and blood, the sweat of many, the death of not a few in creating Nauvoo. Hundreds then die out on the plains in Winter Quarters (estimated at 500 people), and still the Mormons don't attack.

Joseph Smith, as a leader, was never known to attack those who attacked him. When Mormon leaders marched from Ohio to Missouri in 1834 because of abuses of members in Missouri, Joseph dissolved the troop before engaging in any contact or trouble. The lesson was not lost on the future leaders in the company of the Camp.

So remember, a lamb goes to the slaughter without a fight. But try to grab it and hold it to put a bullet in its head, and its going to put up a ruckus as best it can. It is the going part which is described in the phrase. We know that some of the early Christians allowed themselves to be arrested and fed to the lines because of their faith. But to say they didn't slap the lions on the nose as they ate them is just a fantasy. Those Christians are martyrs, even if they fought the moment of death with their hands. I suppose the occasional lucky gouge to the eye of a lion or working in groups to fight for as much life extension as possible or to protect loved ones does, by the standards of anti-Mormons, also disqualify those martyrs.

Seriously, was there any possibility at the time of the assault on Carthage Jail that Joseph and his comrades had any possibility they would survive? No, none. How did that come about?

The surrender by Joseph Smith to authorities whom he knew were going to kill him. We don't have any other statement of Joseph Smith saying he was going like a lamb to the slaughter. Just this time. And when he surrendered, he was unarmed, able to run, but resigned to his fate. So he surrendered to certain death without so much as raising his hand in defense.

Tell me again why this is not a martyrdom?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cowardly Liars

Those good Christians who write into my blog and call me or other folks names have finally helped me to see the light. Those assaults on my character and the characters of others have no place in Christian dialog. So as of right this moment, any person posting a comment on my blog who in any way says disparaging things about someone else under a guise of anonymity will not have their information posted.

I realize they may have other things to do, and I am not saying they cannot speak their mind, or be insulting, if that makes them grow as a Christian. I just won't let anyone do their own version of Shawn McCraney's School of Strawman Boxing any longer.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Lies, Darn Lies and Shawn McCraney

Little things make life worthwhile. I noticed this week that Heart of the Matter did not post last weeks show, despite folks I know who called the station and were told it would be out in 48 hours or less. Before tonight's show I sort of laughed and joked to myself that it was because of what a jerk Shawn was towards me and other LDS callers last week.

And then I tuned in for his monologue tonight. He started by defending what a jerk he had been, noting the folks he was rude to deserved it.

Then he launched on me. I literally started laughing, and then arguing, and then contemplating legal action. I will keep my options open on that. But here is something without dispute:

Shawn McCraney is a liar.

Shawn accused me of lying to his call screener last week. Not true. I told her exactly who I was. She did not ask me if I had ever called before. But that is a "he said, she said" thing, and unless we locate her notes, it would be impossible to prove.

But he then said I called evangelical Christians "God's broken toys." He said look it up, I had said it, or something to that effect. I never have used that phrase at any time in my life, let alone in an argument with Evangelicals.

Now, with all due respect to Shawn's feeble, childish and one-sided attack, he then out did his childish fit-of-an-attack with a transparently self-aggrandizing mini-sermon wherein he said I was from Fruit Heights, UT. Of course, I am not. I don't live in that county. In fact, had he actually spoken with his call screener and looked at her notes, he would have seen my phone number and a note that I live in South Jordan, UT.

Like it said on his TV monitor and the television screen during the call.

"What a maroon."

He also repeated his erroneous statement that Israel was not allowed under the Law to own Israelite slaves. His says it with such conviction. Good liars are like that.
2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve; and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he come in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he be married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master give him a wife, and she bear him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master's, and he shall go out by himself.
5 But if the servant shall plainly say: I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free;
6 then his master shall bring him unto G-d, and shall bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.
7 And if a man sell his daughter to be a maid-servant, she shall not go out as the men-servants do.
8 If she please not her master, who hath espoused her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed; to sell her unto a foreign people he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully with her.
9 And if he espouse her unto his son, he shall deal with her after the manner of daughters. 10 If he take him another wife, her food, her raiment, and her conjugal rights, shall he not diminish. 11 And if he do not these three unto her, then shall she go out for nothing, without money. (Jewish Bible, Exodus 21:2-11)

For lots of reading on the subject, see H. L. Elleson, “The Hebrew Slave: A Study in Early Israelite Society,” EvQ 45 (1973): 30-35; N. P. Lemche, “The Manumission of Slaves – The Fallow Year – The Sabbatical Year – The Jobel Year,” VT 26 (1976): 38-59, and “The ‘Hebrew Slave,’ Comments on the Slave Law – Ex. 21:2-11,” VT 25 (1975): 129-44. These came from the entry for Ex 21:2 at the website. An Evangelical source. Not LDS. So they are not trying to make Shawn look bad. He does that on his own.

I suppose it is true I am boring to Shawn, since he can't effectively argue with me. Also, I do have a few videos out there.

Did anyone else notice that after he got done running me down, he tried to make it sound like he was going to address the issue of Elijah Abel's ordination being revoked by Joseph Smith, as asserted by Harold B. Lee. I may have missed the General Conference session where LDS apostles were decreed infallible in matters of historic LDS trivia. Still, he avoided actually providing any support of his assertion, since he asserts that Joseph Smith was a racist. Read his statements around his presidential campaign. Read the editorials. Read his statement about blacks and all people worshiping together in the temple.

Elijah Abel's grave stone is here, and was dedicated by an LDS apostle. And given we have the ordination statements for Elder Abel, we know it is correct.

Making Shawn not just mistaken, but ignorant.

I think Shawn is a lying, deceptive and self-aggrandizing peacock. But he does provide good material.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Are Mormons Christians? Nearly Everyone Says Yes

This is a survey found in Christianity Today. Please go there to read the entire article.

Are Mormons Christian? How Christian groups answer the question?

All Americans
No 31%
Don't know 17%
Yes 52%

Evangelical Protestants
No 45%
Don't know 15%
Yes 40%

Mainline Protestants
No 23%
Don't know 15%
Yes 62%

Black Protestants
No 30%
Don't know 27%
Yes 43%

No 29%
Don't know 19%
Yes 52%
Copyright © 2009 Christianity Today.

Interesting that the only group who has a majority saying "No, Mormons are not Christian" are Evangelicals, and even there it is 45% say no and 40% say yes. To use their analysis about LDS beliefs, I guess their little group has a corner on truth the other 210 million Americans have missed.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Quack, Quack, Duck, Duck. What's That? Shawn McCraney Not Engaging Again

I was surprised tonight to call into Shawn McCraney's show, and actually get on air. Shawn accused me of lying by saying I was a first time caller. I was never asked, and I gave the call screener my first and last name, my phone number and the city I was calling from. I just followed Shawn's model of they didn't ask if I was banned, so I didn't tell.

Anyway, Shawn proved once again how shallow and judgmental he is about issues. I seriously feel sorry for his wife, and that could explain why she has not left the LDS Church, given that he is impossible to interact with if thinks he knows something.

The subject tonight was racism in the LDS Church. He erroneously taught that Elijah Abel, the first AFrican American to hold the Melchisedek priesthood, was stripped of his priesthood. Not only was that false, but his son was ordained an elder in 1900 (I said 1905 on the air, even I make mistakes), and his grandson was ordained an elder in 1935. Shawn was oblivious, and instead re-read the 1961 statement by Harold B. Lee saying it was a mistake for Abel to have been ordained, and it was undone. Elder Lee was wrong, which is really no big deal, since we have no doctrine of infallibility. Shawn then hung up on me after yelling over the top of me that Elder Lee was a prophet, seer and revelator, as if that makes someone infallible. That is not LDS doctrine, no matter how loud Shawn yells.

Anyway, the Biblically based illiterate stated that Israel was allowed to own slaves because they had to be from outside their faith, and could not be from among the People of God. That is such beautiful doctrine. It would be better if it were true.

I suppose since he doesn't believe in keeping the commandments, he doesn't read Exodus 20 with the 10 Commandments, and therefore is unaware of Exodus 21 which outlines all the rules for owning Hebrew slaves.

I can hardly wait for next year, the brilliant exegesis ahead will be worthy of conversion. Can you just see Shawn ignoring the grammar of John 1:1 (he already did that during his other weekly show)? His inability to correctly explain the context of Isaiah 43:10, or the historical and theological context of Ps 82 or Ps 110 or Deut 32:8-9.

I just laugh to think Shawn characterizes me as "deceptive" when he goes on TV with less than half the truth every week. Mormonism may be false, but if the yardstick is the Bible, then Shawn is 'falser', given the non-stop contradictions of the Bible.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Is The Heart Really That Desparately Wicked?

9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jer 17:9
This is the poster child verse used by critics and anti-Mormons of the promise to receive a spiritual witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or other truths.

The two main verses uniquely used by Latter-day Saints to push us to seek the Spirit and revelation in our lives are probably as follows:

Moro 10:3-5
3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.
4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.
D&C 9:7-9
7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.
Now, lest the anti's think the Mormons are the only ones who think the witness of the Spirit is something physical, here is an excerpt from Netbible's commentary for Rom 8:16:
"In sum, Rom 8:16 seems to be secure as a text in which the believer’s assurance of salvation is based on the inner witness of the Spirit. The implications of this for one’s soteriology are profound: The objective data, as helpful as they are, cannot by themselves provide assurance of salvation; the believer also needs (and receives) an existential, ongoing encounter with God’s Spirit in order to gain that familial comfort.”" Here is the entire citation.

What is so controversial they spend a paragraph carefully explaining the grammar?
The Spirit himself bears witness to [fn 1] our spirit that we are God’s children.(Rom 8:16)
I have previously written elsewhere fairly extensively on this subject. It is simply an absurdity to claim the Bible does not teach that the normal manner of God to communicate with his children is something other than tangible feelings communicated to men, typically described as the heart.

We have the citation of Romans 8:16 above with comments by the non-LDS translator explaining that the witness described there is an existential. That means something they actually experience, something which exists.

But let's turn to the Bible, and specifically to Jeremiah. Jeremiah uses the word "heart" 52 times. So here comes something not shocking to anyone who has actually read Jeremiah: He almost always uses it in a positive context (such as turning from an evil heart to a good heart, or having a good heart, or talking about God's heart), but there are 16 instances where the heart is described as evil. That this is about people who are of evil intentions and not the state of all humans is pretty obvious:
Jer 29:13
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Jer 24:7
7 And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
Jer 15:16
16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.
What about that whole "burning heart" thing in Luke? Check Jeremiah first:
Jer 20:9
9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
What about elsewhere in the Bible, how is an open mind received, or how does God communicate to people?
2 Chr 34:27
27 Because thine heart was tender, and thou didst humble thyself before God, when thou heardest his words against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, and humbledst thyself before me, and didst rend thy clothes, and weep before me; I have even heard thee also, saith the LORD.
Ps 119:11
11 ¶ Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Ps 119:58
58 ¶ I intreated thy favour with [my] whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word.
Prov 23:12
12 ¶ Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.

Of course, it is worth asking who gave Solomon his wisdom, and where was it communicated to him?
2 Chr 9:23
23 And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart.
So let's start to wrap this up, as it is obvious that God does speak to our heart, and it is not always a false or deceptive spirit talking to us, though we can deceive ourselves.
Mal 2:2
2 If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the LORD of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart.
Luke 24:32
32 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?
The footnote in the Netbible says of Luke 24:32
87 tn This is a collective singular use of the term καρδία (kardia), so each of their hearts were burning, a reference itself to the intense emotion of their response.
1 Cor 2:14
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
How are the things of God discerned? Spiritually. So what does discerned mean? Judge by investigation. How does one spiritually "judge by investigation"? Here are multiple translations:
NET Bible 1Cor 2:14 The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him. And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
NIV 1Co 2:14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
NASB 1Co 2:14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.
NLT 1Co 2:14 But people who aren’t Christians can’t understand these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means.
MSG 1Co 2:14 The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can't receive the gifts of God's Spirit. There's no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit--God's Spirit and our spirits in open communion.
BBE 1Co 2:14 For the natural man is not able to take in the things of the Spirit of God: for they seem foolish to him, and he is not able to have knowledge of them, because such knowledge comes only through the Spirit.
NRSV 1Co 2:14 Those who are unspiritual do not receive the gifts of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to them, and they are unable to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
NKJV 1Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned. there anyone unclear on how the things of God are understood? If it was just a matter, as Shawn McCraney represents, of looking at physical evidence and determining it is true, anyone could do that. Paul says that is not the case. Spirit to spirit revelation is how one comes to know of spiritual things.
1 Cor 12:3 man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
If not by spirit to spirit communication, then what is the way which is not understood by those without the Spirit?

In the end, we find out that the heart of the unrepentant, wicked and proud people are in fact incapable of understanding the Spirit, but it is not because EVERYONE is beyond experiencing the things of the Spirit.
Eph 4:17-23
17 ¶ This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ; 21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
Saying that all are in possession of desperately wicked hearts and that God does not communicate through the medium of feelings is thoroughly refuted by even a cursory examination of the Bible, and is embarrassingly so for those who actually study the context of passages such as the constantly perverted passage out of Jeremiah.

Of course, bringing this up is almost a vanity blog, since the most vocal critics are the least likely to receive by the Spirit the witness contained in the passages mentioned here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lust, Motives and Salvation for Shawn McCraney (and others)

But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to desire her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matt 5:28)
This doesn't really sound to me like justification that all men are obviously adulterers because they are all gawking at women to have sex with them. Indeed, it is the opposite intention. It is not enough to simply not have sex with women with whom you are not married, but your heart must be true to your spouse, and have no desires to anyone else.

Shawn's justification, and he says it every time the issue of his past sins are brought up, is that everyone lusts after women. It's as natural as breathing. Some have stepped up to Shawn's defense, saying he is just not expressing himself well.

I think that is pure bunk.

Shawn went out of his way last week to indicate that he still is very much an unrepentant sinner. Lest I be accused of inaccurately paraphrasing him, here is a transcript of a portion of his monologue:
Shawn McCraney, the man sitting right in front of you, right now, here, on the stage now, is, not was, is, a selfish alcoholic, he is a prescription drug addict, he is a rabid adulterer, a sexual deviant, and a violent man. If you need to see me in my flesh as anything else, you've got your wires crossed. And if you want me to reassure you of anything otherwise, it's not going to happen. Right now in my body, in my flesh and bone, live all things vile.
I have never written anything this harsh about Shawn.

Notice he said that he "is, not was, is" still the same man inside he has always been. This could not be any clearer of a statement of what separates Shawn from both the God of the Bible and the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. The God of the Bible explicitly heals the heart of these motives, and commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30) that is they must turn their mind, learn to hate the thing they loved, change their motives and stop committing the act.
The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart. Luke 6:45

3 ¶ Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Prov 16:3

Throw away all your sins you have committed and fashion yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I take no delight in the death of anyone, declares the sovereign Lord. Repent and live! Eze 18:31-32
This is the Hebrew word "repent", and the idea is to turn away from evil, return again to God.
14 Their eyes, full of adultery, never stop sinning; they entice unstable people. They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children!
18 For by speaking high-sounding but empty words they are able to entice, with fleshly desires and with debauchery, people who have just escaped from those who reside in error.
19 Although these false teachers promise such people freedom, they themselves are enslaved to immorality. For whatever a person succumbs to, to that he is enslaved. 2 Pet 2:14, 18-19
"But", you say, "Shawn is not succumbing to these sins."

Yes, he is. For a man cannot be committing adultery in his heart, and not be guilty of the sin.

Jesus' way is much different. And I think these interactions over the past while between Shawn and others does illustrate the real reasons Shawn is not LDS: Ravening guilt. The very first step to repenting is recognition of a wrong, followed by a desire to cease from doing it. In drug treatment we called it hitting bottom. You can't make a person change who doesn't want to change. Temptation is that friend who hates us, but whom we love. Until we see sin as our enemy, we are destined to the reward of the sinner:
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Rom 6:16)

Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes (Prov 6:25)

So which is it? Does God give us commandments which are impossible to keep, but looks the other way at the sins such commandments create, or, does God provide a means to keep such commandments, and escape to righteousness?
No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.(1Cor 10:13)

Shawn may just be a klutz with words, but I don't think so. Read and watch what he said. There has been no cleansing of his heart, no change of attitude toward sin. None. He said if he were to get going, he is capable of almost any sin even this day.

Such is not the way of Jesus, the teachings of the Bible, the lamp of the Spirit.
But as for the seed that landed on good soil, these are the ones who, after hearing the word, cling to it with an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with steadfast endurance. (Luke 8:15)
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart.(1Pet 1:22)
Let's close with this truth, so obvious it is found in Proverbs, or those sayings so true they are considered obvious:
The one who has a perverse heart does not find good, and the one who is deceitful in speech falls into trouble.
It is not possible to be unrepentant, unconverted in heart, and be saved.
Therefore, remember from what high state you have fallen and repent! Do the deeds you did at the first; if not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place – that is, if you do not repent.(Rev 2:5)
Notice this verse teaches a fully LDS and Biblical concept: Do what is right, change your heart so to hate sin, or suffer condemnation and loss of salvation.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Shawn McCraney Strikes A Blow For Adultery

Well, Jesus must love lust. According to Shawn, there is no such thing as repentance. He pointed out that he is still just as lusting after women other than his wife in his heart as he ever did 10 years ago when he was acting on that lust for other women by having an affair.

This just proves, again, how completely false the Gospel of McCraney is. As I have previously reported here, the very word translated as "repentance" is the idea of completely changing ones mind away from sin.

Shawn seems almost proud of being an unrepentant "sexual deviant" (his words), "right now in my body are all things vile." This is not the teachings of the Bible in the context of conversion.

Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Ps 125:4 ¶ Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.

Rev 2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
What do you say about someone who is completely, proudly unrepentant? The Ps 125:4 verse is particularly telling, since it specifically conditions blessings upon righteous desires of the heart. So what does a guy who is still committing adultery in his heart, what blessing does that guy get?
1 Cor 6:9 ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Did the "were" hit you like a train? That is past tense, and it is because, as Paul notes, the Spirit sanctifies. The Greek word means "to purify", and is the basis of both the words "holy", as a description of God and Jesus, and "saints", as in members of God's true Church. So you were evil, but you are becoming pure and holy. Hard to see the raging desire for sin in Paul's remarks here.
2 Pet 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;
13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;
14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

Worthiness is unimportant to Shawn. This is not what the scriptures say:
2 Thes 1:5 ¶ [Which is] a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:

2 Thes 1:11 ¶ Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power:

His theology is contradicted everywhere in the Bible, and I tried to just note some of the brief examples.

Also, a hat tip to Walker for calling into the show and skewering Shawn in such a nice fashion. Trust me, the chance that Shawn will acknowledge the fact that the OT was actually LDS in its belief is less than zero.
[Update:  Shawn did go on the air and attack Walker, saying he spoke with some professors who said Shawn was safe to ignore Walker, that Walker had it all wrong and twisted.  Hmm, as usual, Shawn takes a call and spends less than 2 minutes letting the guy talk, refuses to let him actually present his evidence, then presents a straw man argument about why people should not investigate.  You don't need to trust me or Walker on this.  Go to and read for yourself what a believing, educated Christian scholar, who has interacted directly with Mormons on the issue, has to say.  It just shows once again how Shawn's main attacks are based in ignorance of what the Bible actually, plainly, teaches.]

Very briefly, in passing, I am not aware of any theologian or systematic theology which claims that passages such as Genesis 1:26, which say "Let us...", refer to the Trinity. Certainly no Jewish commentator believes that. I know books such as the Catholic Encyclopedia deny there are ANY examples of the Trinity in the OT.

Shawn made an outrageously funny claim about "knowing" the Bible is true. Essentially he knows it is true because he has studied it. That's it. He specifically said the testimony of the Spirit "is not feelings, but the evidence it presents". He further argued that nowhere in the Bible does it say to pray or research the truthfulness of the Bible, as it does in the Book of Mormon.

He is wrong:
1 Thes 5:19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

John 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Does Shawn really think he can study his way into a manifestation of the Spirit and Jesus, and that he can study his way into having the Spirit dwell in us?

And it ignores the most classic explanation in scripture to tell us how we come to know scripture is true:

Luke 24:32 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?

Well, I can only speak for myself. I don't think every man is constantly committing adultery in their hearts, because I know I don't. It is not that it makes me better than Shawn, but I think this does prove that the power of the Spirit he claims to have is far less powerful than the LDS version.

The non-Mormon McCraney Jesus may think continuing in LUST is OK, but the Jesus of the Bible doesn't find simply ceasing the act to be actual repentance:

2 Cor 7:9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.
10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

For Shawn, stopping the sin physically is good enough. But it works death. Godly repentance and sorrow is to change your mind, and develop a zeal for the good, which leads to salvation.

It's late, but I thought Shawn was worthy of being commented about.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Jesus in Our Midst

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matt 18:20)

Most LDS are dumbfounded when they are accused of not being Christian. Not because of an ad campaign from Salt Lake City to be more "Christian", but simply because our lives revolve around following Christ, applying his Atonement to our lives and seeking to experience more of his Spirit in our lives.

Truly, we live "Come unto Christ."

Yesterday being Fast Sunday, I decided to make notes on what people testified about in our meetings. It was extremely edifying, even if not surprising. While there were two instances where people thanked members of the congregation for various acts of kindness they had recently received, the other eight testimonies, by individuals ranging in age from 15 to 70, were all centered on their sense of love for the Savior and the atonement. A couple mentioned their belief that Joseph Smith was a prophet who restored the Gospel, but there was no hint that Joseph was anything more than the messenger of God, and certainly no expression of worship or thought that Joseph was god. Several times statements such as "the Spirit testifies to me that God lives, we are his children, and Jesus' atonement is real", were made. Expressions of feeling the Spirit were often repeated. The sense of gratitude by the youth for forgiveness of sins was expressed several times as well.

I write this because Jesus Christ swore that he would be in the midst of those who gathered together in his name. The Spirit bears witness that is true. Frankly, I have felt the Spirit at times in other churches. But I can say that I have never felt anything approaching the Spirit from people like Shawn McCraney, Rob Sivulka, the street preachers, Evidence Ministries, Mormon Research Ministries, or especially from Sandra Tanner. These people are just lost. Members of the LDS faith believe the Bible and the Spirit, which leads them to truth. People who make their living attacking the LDS or other faiths are by Biblical definition false teachers and filled with the bitterness of the devil, for the devil desires the contention they breed.

We are to contend for the faith. Not against other faiths. If you are looking for God, "Come, and see."

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Leaders Fighting Amongst Themselves

I remember how I was told a story about the president of the Church snubbing a group of new members. Seems he was of a different social status than they were, and it just wasn't cool. I often wonder what those members thought. Here you have a brand new Church, a relatively new, 1st generation prophet, and constant new "convenient" revelations to sort out the differences from the Bible. And the president snubs you in public.

Then one of the members of the quorum of the twelve (or fifteen, if you count everyone who was called an apostle at the time), actually called the prophet out. This junior member of the quorum of the twelve had a reputation for being a hot head, in fact was known to be super opinionated, and even wrote things the Church had to remind everyone could be misconstrued. He routinely sounded authoritative, even as he would put in the caveat "this is my opinion". He also would routinely attack traditions people brought with them from their previously traditional accepted faiths.

The Church was accused of being filled with leaders lacking faith, lying about visitations by Jesus, and even denying the traditional beliefs about God. Oh, and the errors in the revelations, don't even get me started. They constantly received new "revelations", and then would actually edit the Bible to support their "convenient" revelations. They didn't write down their supposed eyewitness accounts for 20-50 years after the events transpired, and then they were accused of colluding on those accounts. They constantly argued over which translation had errors, and some of the leaders even speculated that Jesus was married, and they explained to be "born again" meant water baptism.

Still, when the president of the Church was confronted with his bad behavior, he admitted he was wrong privately, but never wrote or publicly admitted to correct his errors about treating people so inconsiderately. How is that for perfect leadership?

Some of you by now have probably figured out exactly who I am talking about. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery? Maybe David Whitmer? Bruce R. McConkie? Or Brigham Young and Orson Pratt? No.

Peter and Paul.

Peter famously quotes Joel in his speech on the day of Pentecost. But he quotes a form not found in any Hebrew or Greek form. Paul free-style quotes the Old Testament constantly in his writings. The fight goes on until today whether the Majority Text tradition is correct or the Alexandrian texts, for the New Testament; and there are thousands of changes between the Masoretic text used for the King James Bible, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The supposed "Q" source for the New Testament Gospel accounts of Jesus' life assume that Matthew and John did not actually experience and write down their own original thoughts, and that Matthew, Mark and Luke copied from some unnamed source for up to 90% of their content.

Peter and Paul of course argued about Peter being afraid to openly associate with the Gentile converts around the Jewish converts. Paul got into such an argument with Barnabus, they actually split up and went different directions. Peter wrote to warn the saints that Paul's writings were sometimes difficult to understand. Peter never admitted he had been chastised by Paul, as Paul describes it in Galatians. Justin Martyr explicitly explains that to be "born again" meant to be baptized in water.

Anti-Christians accused the Christian disciples of being atheists for not believing in the official version of deity. Everyone accused the Christians of stealing Jesus' body, or even that he did not actually die.

Those who do not study history, stupidly repeat it. New Revelation is never accepted as authentic by the majority of the population where it is received. No one, or almost no one, argues with the baptists, Presbyterians or even the street preachers to any great degree, about doctrine. They may not like their methods, but the lies of Hellenization and the Etruscan culture adapted to create the traditional "Christian" Jesus hundreds of years after Jesus and the Apostles passed on, are what made today's Christianity what it is.

The truth is, our leaders are very, very flawed people, and always have been. That has nothing to do with whether God is using the weak things, the imperfect things, to bring about the salvation of humankind. He does today what he has always done: Tells us to listen with our hearts, and at times hold our noses, and believe he still speaks to us. Change is inherent in following a living, speaking Christ.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Lessons Learned OUTSIDE General Conference

It is funny how we can lose track of how important the big things are as we argue about the little things. At General Conference, one such point came out clearly.

I spent a lot of time discussing polygamy with the fake brides of Joseph Smith; I spent a lot of time discussing how the Bible is totally at risk if the incorrect Evangelical understanding of the Bible and the use of archaeology is applied to the Bible as Evangelicals attempt to do against the Book of Mormon. If you live by the sword, you die by the sword. The Evangelicals refused to believe that most archaeologists don't believe the historical accounts contained in Genesis through Joshua are generally "historical myths" (William Dever). So I showed up with multiple books by some of the most respected archaeologists in the world, who explicitly state that the consensus among archaeologists is those early accounts must be abandoned based on the current archaeological evidence. Their response was "wait and see, it will eventually be vindicated", which I replied, "Ditto", are you willing to withhold judgment about the Book of Mormon on the same basis? After all, there are numerous issues which have been shown correct over time in the BoM, and we have great witness testimony as to the reality of the plates.

So when speaking with a few street preachers after the 2nd Sunday Session of GC, a friend of mine was speaking with them and they didn't realize the teachings of Rev 3:21, that the saved sit on the throne with Jesus, just as God brought him onto his throne. They also denied the ongoing need for apostles or other Church officers. So I jumped in with Rev 1:6, noting that Jesus Christ has made us "kings and Priests unto God and his father". I asked them what positions these were, and what it meant. I also asked them how did they describe the positions, since the verse says he "hath made us", as in present tense, something which is already done. The two theological experts (Kevin and Mark) said, "I don't have a crown, where's my crown?" I told them if they got their act together and got into the Temple, I would tell them all about it.

It seems so obvious that I forget we are blessed with inspired teachings. The whole point of salvation is based on exaltation, which is symbolized by the kingship and priesthood ordinations. Margaret Barker made the point in her December 2008 paper on Melchizedek that the holy of holies was the place where the Melchizedek priesthood transformed men into mini Jehovahs. She points out that there were to be many Melchizedek priests, and that Psalms indicates that Jesus became the son in some form of temple, called simply the "holy mount". She notes that knowledge of the Melchizedek priesthood was well understood by early Christians and the first Temple Jews, but was lost by both second temple Jews and by modern Christianity. She asserts that the entire point of worship and religious observance is found in the symbolism and ordinances of the temple revolving around the Melchizedek priesthood. Since this comes from a non-member, it is all the more enlightening.

But temple ordinances identifying the path to exaltation is so obvious, when you recognize that exaltation, which is defined by the "second Adam", or Jesus Christ, is the restoration of mankind to the "Adamic" state, to receive all things which God has. John perfectly describes this in his Revelation: Based on faith and our commitment to Christ, so long as we have a repentant, humble nature we can be exalted on the same throne as Christ. Not replacing him or removing him, or taking over for him, but through his gift, becoming a king and a priest like him.

Anti-Mormons can scream and yell all they want about the "false Gospel" of the Mormons, but it is reminders when speaking to them at the gates of the temple why John also calls them dogs (defined as: 1) a dog; a man of impure mind, an impudent man), who have no part in the holy city. Jesus says in Rev 1:6 that he has made them Kings and Priest unto God and his Father. Since most "Christians" have no clue they are a King or a Priest, then it sort of goes without saying they have no idea who the master is who is calling.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review of HOTM Shawn McCraney Sept 29, 2009

I have put out a video review of Shawn McCraney's Heart of the Matter. Shawn is beating a deceptive dead horse. His points about polygamy in Mormonism become more and more strained each week. This week he through in for good measure his comments about people are not the children of God (ignoring Acts 17:28-29 and Hebrews 12:9). He concluded by telling the story of an LDS young man who committed suicide over guilt. Funny how Shawn said he wanted to commit suicide too, after he became a born again christian, and as he flushed his life down the drain with substance abuse. At least, that is what he notes in his book, page 68. Funny, but all of his arguments center around the idea that God reveals everything unchangeably, all at once, and not line upon line, or not that Mormons believe in continuing revelation. This is the 'stinkin thinkin' which the Jews lived with at the time of Christ.

One very insidious attach Shawn levels on all active Mormons is they will lie if it protects their faith. In debate, we call this poisoning the well. In life we call it compensating for weak arguments. Lastly, Shawn made the statement that we cannot feel the truth, facts are all that matters. Of course, this is in complete conflict with the Bible ("Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the scriptures to us?" Luke 24:29). No man can no Jesus is the Christ, expect by the Holy Spirit. That is not just a fact from scripture, it is received as a feeling. So denying feelings is to deny actually knowing Jesus Christ.

Youtube Videos Added For Review

I just uploaded two videos into my account on youtube. You can find them by going here or here. They address Keith Walker's "The Impossible Gospel of Mormonism", and a recent attack by Rob Sivulka on the LDS and Biblical doctrine of Creation. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Believable Book of Mormon

I believe the Book of Mormon to be true. I would even go further to say that by the power of the Holy Ghost, I have received the unmistakable testimony from God that it is true. I consider that a great blessing and a precious gift to have received such knowledge. When I was not committed to the Church, I did search for truth as an 18-19 year old, and I was exposed to the harshest criticisms of the Church and the Book of Mormon then available, including the Tanner's "Changing World of Mormonism" and Walter Martin's various works available back in 1979. I wasn't born a Mormon, and my family was completely inactive after having joined the LDS Church in 1976. So no one was forcing me or tricking me or coaching me. There was no guilt trip or sense of debt to anyone in the LDS Church. I had been a very good debater, I was a well educated student, and I seemed to do well on tests of ability to reason and think. So I came at the Book of Mormon with a simple desire to know if it was true, and a willingness to walk away if I found it not to be believable. I was raised Lutheran and attended many different Christian churches, so I wasn't "against" any faith or position. My best friend eventually went on to become a pastor of a Four Square Church in Idaho.

So I had an open mind. I still do, but that is getting ahead of things.

The first thing of huge import is the Book of Mormon has witnesses besides just Joseph Smith. And the closest of those witnesses all left the Church and in Joseph Smith's lifetime did not return. The two closest to Joseph Smith of the three, Oliver and Martin, later returned to the LDS Church. Oliver was actually present for angels visiting to confer the priesthood on two separate occasions.

I read how there was some talk that the witnesses, Oliver in particular, may have denied his witness. This was proposed by the Tanner's because a poem included a statement indicating Oliver may have done so, and the author said it did not matter. The Tanner's were being deceptive even publishing that, which I discovered, as the poem was reacting to a false report made about Oliver. This caused me then to become very careful in uncritically accepting as "facts" statements of critics. Sure a member of the Church published the poem and thought Oliver had denied his testimony. But it was false. Presenting responses to false statements without providing the context is to lie by omission.

I have learned the critics of the LDS faith do not feel any need to be balanced in presenting history of LDS doctrine. So I now always review their supporting information before I will accept something as factual. This is not based on just one incident. It is literally based on hundreds, maybe thousands of such interactions with both printed material and individuals.

So we have witnesses. What did they witness? Of the 11 people who are listed as witnesses in the front of the BOM, 10 actually held the plates and handled the individual pages (only David Whitmer did not). They saw the engravings, the color, the binding and lifted them to feel their weight. They did so in broad daylight. They did so in groups, usually. There is some controversy about whether two groups of four or all eight at once saw the plates. No real matter. Oliver and Martin were alone with Joseph when they handled the plates in the open.

Now the plates were actually quite heavy. Joseph let many people handle the plates and lift them while they were covered up. Maybe 16 or more people that I can count. The reports are the plates weighed between 30-60 pounds. That is not really much of a range if you lift a solid block of metal and then guess at the weight.

William Smith would later say the plates were a combination of copper and gold. All of the witnesses said they had the "appearance of gold". Moroni is quoted as saying they were "gold plates". All of these statements are consistent with a material used by Meso-American tribes called Tumbaga, which is a alloy of copper and gold, and depending upon that mixture, would have weighed about what the witnesses said the plates weighed. This is remarkable because Joseph Smith and the witnesses would have had no knowledge of Tumbaga, or its link to Central America.

Next, the text of the Book of Mormon is miraculous in its consistency. The work done by Royal Skousen on restoring the original text of the Book of Mormon is amazing on many levels. But what we find is a document which is not just the helter-skelter dictations of someone trying to crank out a book. It is consistent and complicated.

The text has had several in-depth studies done on "word printing". It is obvious from these studies (Hilton in 1997, Todd K. Moon, 2006, "Document Author
Classification using Generalized Discriminant Analysis")the Book of Mormon was not composed by Joseph Smith, only translated by him. This makes the case for the Book of Mormon being from Joseph Smith's mind extremely unlikely. Hilton's study also disqualified Solomon Spaulding and Oliver Cowdery. If not these folks, then who wrote it? The studies simply state there are unique author traits in the texts, so the authors are unknown. The most logical answer is they are those individuals whose names are on the books within the Book of Mormon, barring evidence of other composers.

But if there was other authors, where are there notes, books or for that matter their statements? Unlike the pictures we usually see in Sunday School of Joseph Smith behind a curtain with his finger on the plates translating, we know he actually was almost always in the open, initially wearing a breastplate and the Urim and Thummim attached to the breastplate in a sort of weird pair of glasses, then later putting his head in a hat with a seer stone. Those who commented, specifically Emma who was there, said he had no papers or books, and she would have seen them. I once challenged Dan Vogel, as an ex-LDS critic and perhaps the most scholarly critic of LDS history, to memorize 3 days work of the Isaiah passages, and then quote them back. That would be about 27 pages. Of course, you don't get to have a Bible around, since we know they did not have one present during the translation according to the witnesses present. And we will then make allowances for changes to the text at the same rate as Joseph Smith's dictation amends the Isaiah sections. Vogel declined, saying Joseph must have had a Bible. Really? You have witnesses present who say he did not, and your position is they are lying? Wouldn't Martin Harris and Oliver, both ex-communicated and humiliated at their leaving of the Church, mentioned this, even if false, to attack Joseph? I say even if false because they could have made the claim and why would they have cared, they were no longer in the Church? Because they knew there were lots of witnesses who saw how it was done. Vogel and the critics have no case that Joseph Smith actually wrote or copied the Book of Mormon from someone else' work. This evidence is very much on a par with the physical reality that there were gold plates. Because we can test the text and we have witnesses. And the witnesses obviously told other people, or else folks would not have constantly be trying to steal the non-existent plates he was translating.

The next item is the content of the text itself. As my friend Steve Smoot has pointed out on several occasions, Joseph Smith did not realize how "Hebrew" it was. He actually tried to edit out the "Hebrewisms" from later editions. However, we now know these unusual and non-English-style sentence structures are good Hebrew. And in his lifetime, Joseph Smith never claimed such a style to be present in the Book of Mormon. He doesn't say "See, there is Chiasmus and Hebrew sentence forms all over in it, proving it is Middle Eastern in its origin or influence." No. He goes the other way. Edit them out after the fact. Never comments on them. Hmm, its like he doesn't recognize they are there. Like he was just a translator or something...

Much has been made of the some "4,000 changes to the Book of Mormon". I always thought that was important. Until we looked closer. Editorially, if you count every comma, spelling and sentence structure change, Royal Skousen says there are closer to 100,000 such changes in a text of 400,000+ words. Is this a big deal? No. First, out of all of the changes, 99.5% were strictly to make the text more readable and are scatter across a dozen editions. Secondly, there are at most 50 some changes which could be considered significant in terms of doctrine for those not believing in prophetic direction. The addition of "son of..." to "God" in term describing Jesus, or the "pure" for "white" change describing the change to come to the Lamanites. How does this compare to the Bible? Well, there are at least 250,000, perhaps as many as 400,000 variations to the New Testament text in terms of spelling changes, word additions or deletions and word order changes. Since they did not include punctuation (that is added to translations, it is not in the Greek). Some of the changes are rather important. The last half of the last chapter of Mark, for example, is not considered by most textual scholars to be original to the text. 1John 5:7-8, the only text to fairly explicitly teach the doctrine of the Trinity in the Bible, is nearly universally rejected by scholars as a late (300 AD)addition to the text. Jesus being ministered to by an angel in the Garden of Gethsamane is not found in the earliest manuscripts, but is quoted by Justin Martyr, and found in later editions. The commentary on changes sold by United Bible Societies, which publishes the most widely accepted version of the Greek NT, lists over 3,800 changes they feel merit comment, out of which about 50 or 60 are such they admit they don't know what should be included in the text. The Book of Mormon suffers no such issue as to holes in the text.

The Old Testament does not fare much better. The main reason there are few variations in the Hebrew text of the Bible is because, (drum roll please), in the 10th Century AD the Rabbi's of the world met to decide what was the original text, and they destroyed all copies from earlier times. Fortunately we got the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947, and they became widely available in the past 10-15 years. We now know there are thousands of variations in the text. Actually, tens of thousands. Some entire verses were left out. Some verses changed to hide the original belief that there were many real gods (Compare Duet 32:8-9 in the King James Bible and in the NRSV). The King James Bible followed the tradition, edited text from the 10th Century AD. We know now the Greek and Samarian versions contain variants which legitimately belonged to the original OT.

So do all these variations matter? I don't really think so if you recognize that people are involved in passing the text along, and God can restore it as he decides to make it available. You can still find God in the Bible. He just never tells us to pray to know the Bible is true. As we can now tell, for obvious reasons. He still, however, instructs us to study it.

Another example of things worth considering in the Book of Mormon are all the things which Joseph Smith "got wrong", which turned out he got correct. Examples such as Alma being a man's name. The existence of Nahom, and it being on the trade route in Arabia. Jerusalem being the location of Jesus' birth. Barley being in the New World. Cement in Central America. The kinds of "swords" used by Native Americans. A great list of these are found in a talk by Matt Roper, now on FAIR's website.

Brant Gardner's work on the historical accuracy of the Book of Mormon's Meso American setting is equally compelling. There is a lot of information, and links to videos, etc, at this web page.

I think those are probably the big ones. That is, except for the witness of the Spirit. I would lie if I said there have not been issues which troubled me to some degree as I made my way through the various criticisms of the LDS Church. So it was that my Spiritual experiences, after I had studied out the issues of the Book of Mormon to the degree I was able, helped me wait to see the big picture. If the Tanners or Walter Martin repeatedly distort history because they think the bigger cause is to get people out of the Church, rather than being accountable ministers to God, then I don't have to panic when I read their latest attack. I also need to have the intellectual maturity to realize that what passes as normal or abnormal today is completely irrelevant to early LDS history or Bible or Book of Mormon history. Faith is complicated in that way, even as it is simple. I need to realize God wants me to follow him in order to obtain a witness of his work (John 8:31-32). It is only by the Holy Spirit, not by reading and studying, one can come to know Jesus is real (1Cor 12:3). For those troubled by history or science or even doctrine, I can't prove anything. But I think the case FOR the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Jesus Christ restored in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is good enough to be worthy of exercising faith, and then not forgetting to be true to that witness.

Dan Peterson said in a talk, after evaluating the fact that Joseph Smith apparently never needed to actually see the plates to translate them, that the purpose of the plates is the proverbial thumb in the eye of critics. You cannot reasonably prove the LDS faith is false unless you can provide a plausible case against the existence and content of the plates. The plates are a historical reality. That is what the evidence says. Therefore the Church was restored. Joseph Smith was a prophet, right down to Thomas Monson today. The plates are enough to cause us to exercise a particle of faith, and come and follow. That particle, when nurtured, will grow into a full blown, saving witness. (Alma 32:26-43; Luke 8:4-18)

It is my desire this brief exposition can provide a context for those seeking evidence for why they should believe in Jesus Christ and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 11, 2009

True Religion is...

I went on a tour last night of LDS Welfare Square, and had a chance to be exposed to so many of the wonderful programs carried out by the LDS Church for their fellow men.

Scripture says
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to keep himself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
The work done in Salt Lake City, for example, in finding jobs is mostly for non-LDS people. In fact, about 80% of the people placed in jobs through LDS Employment services are not LDS.

Most of the food stuffs distributed go to non-LDS.

The food bank in Utah gets huge contributions from the LDS Church. Even most of the other churches in Salt Lake City get some or most of their foods for their programs from the LDS Church.

One prominent non-LDS minister toured Welfare Square and after witnessing all that goes on asked the director, "Do you know of any other religion that has a program similar to this?" The director replied, "No, I don't", to which the minister said "Neither do I", and he said he looked away somewhat embarrassed, no doubt for having preached what an evil, unChristlike faith those Mormons are.

It is very true that anyone can be a critic. The criteria for being a Christian may be somewhat intellectual, but a real Christian is working to relieve the suffering of their fellow-men, whether of their faith or not.

As James goes on to note, for someone to tell the hungry or destitute to "Depart, in peace, be ye warmed and filled" and not hand them food is to deny the faith. He uses this as the very example of how faith without works is dead.

The true church of Jesus Christ would work together with its members to make sure no member who ever asked for help would lack for a job, food or shelter, if they were willing to work for it, even if that "work" is nothing more than licking stamps or reading the scriptures to children. And for those unable to help themselves due to mental illness or other problems, then Christian charity would find a way to provide unconditionally for their physical needs.

Sorry, but the LDS Church is the only CHURCH which follows this basic Biblical charge. There are a few good people of all faiths who try to help out in their individual ways, but the fact that all those Evangelicals, Born Again Mormons and other supposed Christians can't find time to spend even 10 hours a year unconditionally working with no expectation of reward or recognition is perhaps the greatest evidence of all of which of all the churches in the world is truly led by He who taught the parable of the Good Samaritan.

You remember that story, right? (Luke 10:25-37) It is the story of a man scorned by "true believers" as being theologically in a false cult of belief, who nevertheless was the only one willing to do God's real work of pastoring for a man unable to help himself, who was not of his own faith.

I am proud to be called a heretic by that modern day incarnation of the same group who excluded those with a living and not just a lip service faith. You know, the one cited by Christ, and James, as pure religion. Remember, the parable of the Good Samaritan was given to answer the question of what it meant to fulfill the two great Commandments: Love God and Love your Neighbor. The question asked, by a person seeking to justify his theological purity as sufficient, was who is our neighbor. Since the lawyers regularly gave offerings and had plenty of community visibility, the question of doing selfless, risky and anonymous service to anyone in need is pretty powerful.

Powerful, because it means that being saved by Grace through faith means you must, in fact, do the good works and not just think about them, for which we are created. As I have pointed out before, Paul says in Ephesians we are saved by grace through faith and not of works, but that we are created to do the good works of God, not those self serving useless attempts at saving ourselves.

Born Agains just don't get it: Loving our neighbors and he who loses his life will save it mean that faith and the good works which God gives us a desire to do, but upon which desire we must act (Phil 2:12-13) is how we work out our own salvation.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Shawn McCraney Burning Heart 2009

Very briefly, Saturday night I attended the annual "Burning Heart 2009" event sponsored by Shawn McCraney. It was held at a pavilion in Salt Lake City's Sugar House Park, and they had a big tent and 6 or 7 small pop-up gazebo style tents around it. I got there at about 7pm, just after their bands had finished playing (I guess, since I wasn't there, but they had two bands and they did not play after I got there). I counted cars and people, and there were approximately 125-150 cars and between 300-400 people. I was speaking with one guy I know, and he said "What do you think? 3,000 people, pretty amazing." I said, "What?". I told him I had done a rough count, and there was about 300 folks at the time, and I figured with people walking around, maybe another 100. No way there was 500 people there, let alone 1,000 or 3,000.

One person remarked to me they found Shawn's preaching to be very weak, since it was focused on negative, anti-other-religious attacks. In his 30 minute or so talk at the end of the event, he mentioned Mormonism and Joseph Smith and Thomas Monson at least 20 times, as well as other leaders like Mary Eddy Baker, Gandhi and others several times. Being against something will only carry you so far.

As if he read my notes on how to preach incompletely, he quoted all of the scriptures I list in a response to a question in my "Shawn McCraney: Still Ducking " blog post. And just as I said they do. For example, he quoted 'Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done', ignoring the rest of the verse. By baptism and the holy ghost he saved us, to maintain good works.

I spoke with his assistant Kevin, with whom I have a good relationship. He asked what I thought of Romans 3:4 Let god be true, and every man a liar. He said it meant the philosophies of men are all lies, and we should only believe the Bible. I said if that were truly the interpretation, we would have to throw out Paul's other letters and the rest of the New Testament, since he would be speaking about the Old Testament. Beyond that, the trinity is completely a man-made construct, and would need to be thrown out. Kevin is a good guy, but he is not willing to engage in an in-depth discussion of the implications of things like archaeology and the Bible, including the now widely, even majority, accepted view by Christian scholars that the Old Testament Hebrew faith was in fact polytheistic in the sense of believing in the existence of multiple real divine beings or gods. Thus LDS beliefs concerning god are conceptually closer to the Biblical teachings than the unknowable "mystery" called the trinity.

I spent quite a bit of time speaking with Russ East, who runs a local Christian radio station. He is a nice guy, ex-LDS, and we discussed at some length the imperative nature of knowing who God is. He believes that we Mormons are basically brainwashed by our belief in Joseph Smith as a prophet into a false belief of who God and Christ are. I told him he could not reject Paul and be a Christian, just as he could not reject Moses or for that matter Joseph Smith or Thomas S. Monson, since Jesus himself said he would reject those who rejected his servants (John 13:20, Mark 6:11). We discussed the possibility of having he and I sit down and talk about some LDS topics, and record it and put it on the air. Since he is very much not into debating style 'gotcha' tactics, I think it could be worthwhile. We will see how that develops. He said he would call me in a few weeks to discuss it.

As I was talking with a guy I know from the dinners the Heart of the Matter audience goes to, Shawn walked by and good naturedly shouted my last name, and smiled. About 20 minutes later I saw him as I was starting to drive off in my car, as he was in his car returning from someplace. So I didn't get to speak with him. But Burning Heart 2009 reaffirmed to me why Heart of the Matter is really nothing more than just a typical, unsustainable attack on Mormonism, because being against something will never get you to Christ. And they are not particularly effective, considering they get an hour of free TV time broadcast in the heart of Mormon country where half of the Mormons are not practicing their faith. If they really were making a difference, they would have thousands of people now. Even if this gathering represented just 5% of all the people Shawn has influenced, which I am certain it does not based on the calls into his show and the number of people who come to this blog, which is the #1 Google search response for Shawn McCraney's name, we are talking at most there are a few thousand people. At most. And they don't last, in terms of their commitment to support such a ministry. That is evident in Shawn's recent appeals for money, and his statements they have raised just a fraction of what he needs.

These people are largely unwilling to submit themselves to God's will, feeling that obeying someone who is in a leadership role in a church organization is equivalent to recognizing them as God. They don't have any kind of grasp of the meaning of scripture.

For their part, Adam's Road seems to recognize this. They played at this event. They have changed their music away from the "attack Mormonism" front to write songs based only on scripture. So while they add their "testimonies" about coming out of Mormonism, I think they have realized that just doesn't sell a lot of records over the long haul. They showed up in a luxurious 40+ foot customized motorhome with their name on it, but nothing about being ex-Mormon. That means some organization with money, probably their music label, has decided to steer them where the money is. And, I would like to add, I enjoyed the couple of songs I heard them play last week on HOTM. Nice lyrics and sweet music. But their theology...well, these guys' comprehension of New Testament doctrine couldn't probably get them undefensively past a conversation of Mark 16:16, let alone Hebrews 5:8-9, 2 Peter 1:4 or John 1:1-18. So I like their music. It is sort of like listening to Michael Jackson's old hits, and not caring about how strange he became. They are separate.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Is UTLM Becoming MRM?

For sometime, there has been a lot of "volunteering" at UTLM by Bill McKeever, Aaron and the gang from Mormonism Research Ministries. So I am guessing they will shortly announce plans for Sandra Tanner's retirement and MRM to take over.

Funny, but both organizations seem to have so little regard for reporting what Mormonism actually believes, this should be a good hook-up in terms of continuity of content created.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

All of Shawn McCraney's "Lies"

A person has requested I post a response to all of Shawn McCraney's "lies", because the person finds that when he checks out Shawn's allegations, Shawn is right.


Well, I don't want to necessarily characterize what comes out of Shawn's mouth as lies. I think some things are. When a person is told the truth and insists on clinging to his erroneous position, and restates it as if it is unchallenged, that I think is a lie. Such as telling people his position on "worship" is grammatically correct or that he welcomes correction if he is wrong about his understanding, and then writes to me directly and says he has no interest in my documentation, and goes on TV to say he was pretty much correct.

That is a lie.

Saying that Mormons never call in to challenge his "facts". That is a lie. He refuses to let people such as myself on the air any more.

Saying he has always been open about the circumstances of his excommunication is a lie. Read his book, pages 108-109. Read his official website. He never mentions that he was excommunicated for abuse of pharmaceuticals and adultery, only for apostasy. He only came clean when Ed got on the phone three weeks ago and put him on the spot about it. He often says in an joking manner that he has committed nearly every sin imaginable, which is one way of diffusing questions about specific questions and avoiding therefore needing to specfically respond.

It is a lie that an adulterer can be a pastor, according to the Bible. As the NEB renders 1 Tim 3:2, a bishop must be blameless:
Faithful to his one wife.

It is a lie that one can attack other faiths, argue with their membership, and be considered a pastor, according to the Bible. (1Tim 3:1-7) This is not a point of interpretation, it is what the Bible explicitly teaches. So claiming to be a pastor, and being a recent convert to the born-again philosophy both explicitly violate the teachings of the Bible. So he may not be a liar on some aspect here, but he certainly cannot claim to be a real pastor.

It is an absolute lie that Joseph Smith got the idea for polygamy out of lust. In fact, he apparently became aware of the doctrine of polygamy no later than 1831. To say he used it to satisfy his lust, when the absolute earliest plural marriage (and we have no evidence of sex outside of a "marriage" or, for that matter, inside of most all of his plural marriages)is the 1834 alleged marriage to Fanny Alger. There is no direct evidence of sex in this relationship, only a sort of "where there is smoke, there must be fire" acceptance that the basis of rumors must have some truth. Non-LDS historian Lawrence Foster does not believe there was a marriage, though he thinks there is evidence for sex. Why? Basically because a second hand (at best) account by Oliver Cowdery implies such, though does not explicitly say so. The next time it comes up is in 1838, and Lucinda was married and continued to live with her husband (thus a polyandrous marriage, not all that good for a lecherous dude going for babes, I would say).

Oh, and did we mention that in a world of no birth control, and where Emma had 9 children in 17 years, we have NOT ONE child born who has been shown to be Joseph Smith's. In fact, the child Fawn Brodie insisted MUST be Joseph Smith's love child because of rumor and photographs, has now been genetically demonstrated to NOT be his child! So rumors and photos not withstanding, sometimes rumors are just rumors. In Joseph Smith's case, they have never been proven otherwise.

It is a lie that in Mormon culture "Women have always been treated as chattel" HOTM July 14, 2009. That is in fact completely false. The list of firsts for LDS women, and the emphasis on educational development, not to mention the pioneering granting of the right to vote 2nd of all USA states, demonstrates the absurdity, and lie, of such a statement. McCraney's rejection of the doctrine of polygamy leads him to apparently see everything as sinister which the LDS faithful do.

While he may not be lying about the first vision's contents, his presentation is so confused and errant, it is hard to know where to start. Here are his notes.

For example, it is a lie, or is it just stupidity, you judge, that the handwritten 1832 account of the first vision was written 18 years after the event. Doesn't that put the First Vision back to 1814? But that is what Shawn said and wrote in his notes. Why? Because it sounds worse. Well, really, I think, because Shawn presents a false theory on why Joseph Smith "suddenly" produced the First Vision. Never mind that Joseph's mother includes Joseph's 1838 account verbatim in her history of her son because she feels it is so accurate. Remember, she was there in 1820 (or 1814, too, but that is obviously an error from the man with a desire for an "encyclopedic knowledge" of Mormonism (BAM, page 109). Which makes his errors so much the harder to excuse as mere mistakes.

From Shawn's notes on the first vision:
The most aggressive addition to what has come to be known as his authorized first vision was when he added that he saw “God the Father in a body of flesh and bones” standing in the air with the Son.”...To believe Joseph’s rewritten account of the First Vision that “God has a body of flesh and bone”
The part in quotes is a lie. Joseph never made or caused to be made such a statement in the context of the first vision.

It may not be a lie, but it is deceptive to only cite the part of the Bible which supports your narrow point of view. For example, Shawn cites several verses to substantiate his belief that no man has ever seen god. Since John records this statement in his Gospel (John 1:18)it would seem a straightforward proposition. There is just one problem. It isn't true.

Jacob makes the statement "I have seen God, face to face, and my life is preserved." (Genesis 32:30) He names the place "Peniel", which means "the face of God". Not much confusion here.

Shawn fails to interact with Acts 7:55-56, where Stephen expressly states that he "I see...the son of man standing at the right hand of God!"

Wait, Stephen sees God.

He also quotes a known mistranslation of the Bible, John 4:24. The text of the Bible neither says nor implies that "god is a spirit". It says "god is spirit". It also says men truly worship god only in spirit. The point was about the concept god is everywhere present, and is spiritually worshiped, not just at the Jerusalem temple. He compounds this by then ripping Numbers 23:19 completely out of context. The verse is not saying "God is not a man", but rather he doesn't behave like mortals driven by emotions and anger or revenge. Yet, if one reads the verse, it says that he is not a human being that he should change his mind. Why doesn't Shawn read that part of the verse? Could it be because we have examples of God changing his mind?

Shawn asserts that no one knew about the first vision until Joseph Smith wrote about it in 1832. This is obviously false, since his mother affirms it happens. But he quotes from several books of people who have similar sounding experiences. He writes off the fact that some are after 1820 by saying Joseph essential makes up the first vision in 1832, and keeps changing it thereafter.

Well, again, this is false. Richard Anderson wrote an article years ago entitled
"Circumstantial Confirmation of the First Vision through Reminiscences",(BYU Studies, 1969). In there are several contemporaries of Joseph Smith, including critics and newspaper articles, which note Joseph Smith claimed to have seen God. Again, that human encyclopedia of Mormonism, Shawn, should be aware of this, you think?

Furthermore, the changes between the various degrees of the first vision accounts are actually quite minor. Backman addressed this years ago by putting them side by side. And Matthew Brown pointed out that even the 1832 account actually seems to imply that God also appeared to Joseph Smith.

His series on Mountain Meadows simply could not have been more factually confused I suspect if he had put his notes into a blender and pulled them out of a cake he had baked. We can get into that if you want. The thing is, this is not an "anti-Shawn" column, it simply tries to respond to the current errors being thrown around out there. Most of the responses to Shawn have long since been published because so much of his "work" is unoriginal, and relies upon UTLM, a well known well-spring of unbiased material on Mormonism. Not.

Some of his statements are lies. Some just stupid errors. Some are...whatever. But I think Shawn lives in fear of letting knowledgeable Mormons on his show. It is not as if he has to have an apologist. Why not have real historians on the show? Why not have retired BYU professors on the show? But really, why not have a Dan Peterson or Kerry Shirts on the show, and really hash through an issue? It is not like they would not show up.

"A coward boasting of his courage may deceive strangers, but he is a laughing-stock to those who know him."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

McCraney vs. Ed: Artistic score 8, technical score 1

I was just asked about a caller to Shawn McCraney's "Heart of the Matter" show this past week. The caller's name was Ed, and he took about 10 minutes to drill McCraney about the hypocrisy of his positions against the LDS Church.

McCraney really got upset when Ed pointed out he had been excommunicated for sexual transgression. Normally, because he was married at the time, we would call that adultery. McCraney responded "Yes", and then said he had also been excommunicated for apostasy and excessive pharmaceutical use. In his book, McCraney "asked" to be excommunicated, saying he had always considered himself "an egregious sinner". He also noted he wanted excommunication and deserved it, and would accept no other response, even though he had people around him saying he should ask for leniency.

Well, first of all, as a high priest, former bishopric member and former high council member, there was NO CHANCE he was NOT go to be excommunicated. None. So his positioning of himself as taking responsibility and demanding excommunication is pure sophistry in my opinion.

Next, his response to Ed shows how little he seems to have learned. Funny thing about Shawn and sin: He never met a sin he seems to regret. He seems totally oblivious to Paul's teaching on how grace works:

"Shall we continue in sin that grace shall abound? God Forbid." (Romans 6:1-2).

Paul specifically notes that sorrow brings about salvation ONLY through repentance, which is the complete change of mind, including hating the action you previously did:
For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Cor 7:10)

We see how Shawn wants to show that of course everyone continues to sin after this fashion, because he then asks Ed if he ever lusts after women, which is to commit adultery in his heart as the scripture says. Ed says no, a position McCraney finds unbelievable.

I don't.

I thought a lot about McCraney's assertions. I don't personally lust after anyone except my wife, and I cannot recall a time when I did. I feel sorry for people who commit such sins, and their families for the impact it has on them. Ed is a good man. I often think of these statements:
nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days. 1 Kgs 15:14
9 Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God. Gen 6:9
¶ THERE was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. Job 1:1
6 And [Zacharias and Elizabeth] were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. Luke 1:6

The problem, of course, is Evangelicals put so much incorrect emphasis on a single passage quoted by Paul in Romans, they can't understand the role people are capable of in this life when assisted by the Spirit:
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Rom 3:10-12

I want to point out that Paul then spends 6 more chapters walking us through why any sin makes us unable to save ourselves, but that now all mankind has been saved (Romans 5:18), but they retain that salvation ONLY upon obedience to the commandments of God (Romans 6:16-23)(BTW, sorry for all you Evangelicals who don't like to actually read all of Romans to cite such a long quotation showing Paul is all about personal obedience. It makes reading this blog much more difficult for some.).

Paul essentially harmonizes the idea that there is none righteous because a single sin disqualifies us from saving ourselves, BUT, if we exercise faith, as all of those examples demonstrate, then we too can be "perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48)

So now, we come to conclusion time: Who should be believe? The guy who entertains us each week with his self-deprecating false doctrine, or the scriptures and Latter-day prophets who sustain the most basic teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: Believe, repent and baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16)

Either Shawn does not feel he needs to repent, or he does not feel he can repent. Either way, his attack on Ed was badly placed. Ed was merely restating New Testament scripture of the qualifications of a pastor:
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1Tim 3:2-7)
Isn't it funny how just quoting scripture to someone can get them so upset.

Let me know what you think.

BTW, I have heard some rumor about the age of the woman with whom Shawn committed adultery. I think there may have been a pretty substantial age difference, which then makes his comments about polygamy all the more telling, since for him, it apparently was all about the sex and not the pricipal. More to the point, if Shawn does not believe committing adultery is something which is to be repented of, i.e., hated and never done again, even in one's heart, how can he even remotely blame Joseph Smith for at least having the pretense of marriage?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shawn McCraney and False Teachings On Creation

Shawn is sometimes a great koolaid drinker. Shawn has read widely in philosophical writings, and should know where the false doctrine of "creation out of nothing" has its origin.
He asks the question, as if this just kills the Mormon doctrine of the eternal nature of matter:

"Are my thoughts real, are my dreams real, are my memories real?", as in, do they exist in matter?" Yes. In fact, they only exist there. Your brain holds them there. They are not free-style floating in the atmosphere.

Genesis 1:1-2 explicitly teaches that matter already existed before the creation of the world. The Hebrew word, "Bara", which is translated in the Bible as "created" has the idea of divine organizing activity.

Here are some Christian sources on the subject:
"In any case, the curtain that veils the primeval past rises at some point after the absolute beginning since watery chaos already exists. Creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3 has more to do with bringing order to that chaos and populating voids than with generating all matter." (Entry under "Creation", Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology; Edited by Walter A. Elwell; Copyright © 1996, Published by Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan)

The New Jewish Version: “When God began to create the heaven and the earth, the earth being unformed and void. . . .”; similarly The Bible, An American Translation (1931); The Westminster Study Edition of the Holy Bible (1948); Moffat’s translation (1935); and the Revised Standard Version (RSV), alternate reading.

Gerhard von Rad, notes in Genesis 1 “the actual concern of this entire report of creation is to give prominence, form and order to the creation out of chaos”.

Lest we forget, Peter was a Christian, and taught:

2 Pet 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

There is no indication that any Christian or Jew taught creation out of nothing prior to the advent of the Apostate Gnostic dogma, and it was thereafter embraced by Christian theologians.
Visit these websites for additional information: Excellent paper on the history of creation out of nothing. Great discussion about all of the passages used by Christians to assert the Bible contains the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo, by Blake Ostler.

Any of these publications make it more than clear that Shawn, again, is just speaking the Evangelical party line, not getting the whole story out there.

Don't you think it is important to know that Early Christians and Jews believed like the Mormons do?

"Anyone who knows Biblical Christianity..." is the logical error bare assertion. Shawn loves this one, he uses it often, because it makes the folks who are ignorant of the historical reality a little intimidated, since they cannot verify or reject it. It turns out if you actually research the subject, creation out of nothing is NOT original to the beliefs of Christians.

A woman called into Show to explain where people can find scriptures on the Trinity. Since it is itself a made-up doctrine, ex nihilo, it is funny to watch Shawn endorse her use of 1 John 5:7-8. Shawn knows, because we have personally discussed it, as any beginning Bible student knows that 1 John 5:7-8 was not in the original text of the Bible. It was added hundreds of years later. Nearly 1300 years before it is found in any Greek texts. Is it just me, or are we safe to decide that putting a verse which didn't exist in the original Bible, and then using it as the only explicit defense anywhere in the Bible for the doctrine of the Trinity, is more than a little convenient?

As I find typical of Shawn, he does not appear particularly interested in standing for truth as much as just repeating the falsehoods from Evangelical doctrine. Sheesh, I thought he didn't like people who are sheep? Does that lead to self-loathing?