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."

135 comments:

Chad said...

Hey Bob,

Great post once again. Sunday was awesome. I've been busy with work (Law Enforcement) so I only get to attend church twice a month. So I just plug along and do my best.

Take care and Keep the Faith.

Chad

Anonymous said...

Funny... I went to fast and testimony meeting with my in-laws, and Jesus Christ wasn't mentioned once. There was a lot of gloating about how inspired the bishop and his counselors are though...

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Hey Anonymous,
Let me make this easy. I think you are lying. I have been to fast and testimony meetings all over the world, and what you describe has never happened. So let's make it proveable. Send me an email at rvukich@hotmail.com with your in-laws name and phone number and area where they live. I will call them, and I will call their bishop, and then let each of them prepare an anonymous written response. Or you could cowboy up, give us your name, and I will see if they are OK posting their names. But like I said, I think you are just the typical anti-Mormon liar who lies through their teeth about the LDS members relationship to Christ because it somehow is ok in your mind to lie for God when it involves the Mormons.

I am just tired of this kind of punk garbage. If you aren't lying, you will not be afraid of having your sources checked.

I will say publicly right now I will bet we never hear from you. If we do, I am going to offer to stop writing this column for a year if either your mother or her bishop agrees that Jesus Christ was never mentioned or testified about in the meeting.

Cowboy up now, pardner, if you really have truth on your side.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

BTW, after looking at my visitor log, it appears "anonymous" is from the Ogden, Ut., area. Since I am from the SW Salt Lake Valley area, I will up the stakes here and drive to Ogden to personally interview the people involved. And I will even get the names of folks whom the bishopric or anonymous' mom remembers talking about Christ, and with their permission, publish their accounts. Won't this be fascinating? Here we have a chance to have an anti-Mormon shut me up and prove Mormons don't talk about Jesus in their Church meetings. Because, using his twisted logic, why would the Mormons care if they did not discuss Jesus. They should be proud of their comments about their Bishop. In fact, I will simply ask the bishopric member what did their meeting center around, and what themes were discussed by whom. I don't want to lead the witness.

But this is where witnesses become important. Anonymous is not just generally lying about Mormons. He is lying about specific people, his mother's neighbors and probably people who love and are concerned about him or her as well, who no doubt did get up, and will be hurt to hear how he/she will lie about literally anything of spiritual values because of some twisted and misplaced hatred toward the Mormons. On the one hand I feel sorry for this person. On the other hand, it is a wonderful illustration of how truly emotionally messed up most anti-Mormons really are.

And by the way, if this is not truly "Anti-Mormon", meaning the members of the Church, then I don't know what is. To lie about the very beliefs and statements of a body of LDS believers to try and make them seem spiritually inferior lays bare the lie we so often hear of "I love the Mormon people, just hate the religion."

No anonymous, you pretty much hate the Mormon people you know, in addition to whatever hatred you have for the religion. This is when you should probably recognize that you are the problem, not your family or the LDS faith.

Walker said...

"Let me make this easy. I think you are lying."

OWNED!

"No anonymous, you pretty much hate the Mormon people you know, in addition to whatever hatred you have for the religion. This is when you should probably recognize that you are the problem, not your family or the LDS faith."

PNWED!

Bob, props.

Anonymous said...

Wait, wait. Simmer down, Jesus Christ was mentioned, I was wrong. An older man, who is about to go on a mission or just came back, mentioned him. He said that Jesus Christ is our older brother, and that he is the ultimate example on who to emulate to get into the celestial kingdom.

Honestly, I would rather him not be mentioned if they are going to use those terms. Which, I assume all the times he was mentioned in your meeting was similar to what the gentleman I referred to above said.

And those terms are in no way shape or form biblical. No matter how much you try to make yourself believe you’re Christian, you are not. At best, you believe in a different Jesus. Hinckley admitted to as much, and you can twist it and spin it as much as you please, but the fact remains that the majority of Mormons are not Christians.

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Mat 7:22-23)

I will not be giving you any personal information. I make a point of keeping a level of anonymity on the internet. If you want utilize your own twisted ad hominem logic and declare I’m wrong because I don’t want strangers involved in my personal and family life so be it, I don’t really care.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

This is absolutely transparent. Give me the ward name, then, and I won't even have to know who you are or your family.

Again, I sat through 45 minutes of beautiful, heartfelt statements of gratitude, most focused squarely on their love and thankfulness for the work of the Savior.

You have confirmed you lied, and your resistance to letting anyone be contacted to further confirm or contradict your story is all the evidence necessary to show what you are lying about what went on. Just an old man is the only person who mentioned Christ? Sure. The bishopric member leading the meeting didn't bear testimony of Jesus or God's activity in his life? Sure, that always happens (please note the sarcasm).

Look, you are transparent. I don't maintain anonymity precisely because it would be easy to show me to be lying, if I ever did. BTW, my wife hates it, because we are in the phone book, and any nut could come after me if they so desired. I figure that is God's call. But you are simply another of those lying sources of rumors just like what happened to Rush Limbaugh this week. It is easy to lie when you think you are not accountable for what you say. Which is where you are at. I would be happy to keep your name out of this blog if you simply let me contact and investigate the people in your story. That would make you accountable to them, and I suspect there will be a half-dozen or so very hurt and offended brothers and sisters in your mother's ward.

All this begs the question: Why as a 'Christian' do you think it is OK to lie and bear false witness, or at the very least exaggerate the facts to make the Mormons look bad?

Walker said...

"Jesus Christ was mentioned, I was wrong."

We figured.

"I would rather him not be mentioned if they are going to use those terms."

I don't think we are really concerned about what you would "rather" have us do. In other words, you lied about the sacrament meeting because you disagreed with the doctrine. Nice.

"Hinckley admitted to as much"

Yep. We don't believe in a three-in-one unknowable substance. As Shaye J. D. Cohen (Littauer Professor of Hebrew Literature and Philosophy in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University) wrote, "The God of the Hebrew Bible is very different from the supreme God of Plato or Aristotle. The former is an anthropomorphic being capable of anger, joy, and other emotions, who created the world and continues to direct human affairs. The God of the philosophers, however, was a much less human and much more abstract figure, incapable of emotion, and far removed from the daily concerns of humanity. Many Jews tried to combine these two conceptions, or, more precisely, to reinterpret the God of the Bible in the light of the ideas of the philosophers, especially Plato…This approach to scripture was developed even further by Origen, Ambrose, and other fathers of the church." (Cohen, From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, vol. 7 of the Library of Early Christianity, 1987)

"twisted ad hominem logic"

Oh, please. Nevermind being untruthful about a sacrament meeting. I'm sure your family would actually love to clarify the events that took place on Sunday rather than allow you to talk badly about it randomly on the Internet.

Walker said...

"Why as a 'Christian' do you think it is OK to lie and bear false witness, or at the very least exaggerate the facts to make the Mormons look bad?"

Perhaps this is that "Lying for the Lord" that we are so often accused of...

Anonymous said...

The LDS are not Christian because of fundamental differences in doctrine. The biggest difference is not the LDS lack of mentioning Christ in Sunday services, it is that the LDS believe that Christ is only part of the equation of salvation. For Christians, he IS the equation. If you were ever to become a born again Christian, Bob, you would immediately understand why Christians say that the LDS are not Christian.

Anonymous said...

You act like it’s impossible for there to be no mention of Jesus in Mormon fast and testimony meeting by those giving their testimony? Out of all the wards in the world, you’re telling me that there is no chance possible that a ward might be having an off week and doesn’t mention him? It probably isn’t even deliberate, but you are really delusional to think that it doesn’t happen. I didn’t realize how mind bending the cult is…

Admittedly, I did have qualifications in place to be considered to be actually talking about Jesus. Their testimony had to have Jesus as one of the main focuses of what they were saying. Meaning they had to say more than a little sentence about him. So the people who just added his name on what they were saying as a foot note were left off. And surprisingly, that didn’t happen often. The older man was borderline, but what he was saying was completely unbiblical and more representative of the Mormon Jesus, that it wasn’t included. So call me a liar all you want. It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is only the guy opening the door for you, you have to do the work to actually walk through. So there just isn’t a heartfelt gratitude for what he did as compared to a real Christian.

I’ve attended several different Christian churches, and there simply is no comparison between them and a Mormon Church when it comes to talking about Jesus, and delving into the scriptures. So for anyone reading this and is looking for truth, go to several different churches and do your own comparisons. Don’t believe me; don’t believe Bob, as his bias for making the LDS church look extremely good is obvious. Just go find out for yourself.

Walker said...

"The LDS are not Christian because of fundamental differences in doctrine"

It would be more proper to say LDS are not Protestant.

"For Christians, he IS the equation"

Perhaps you should actually read the Book of Mormon. It makes it quite clear that Christ = salvation.

"If you were ever to become a born again Christian, Bob, you would immediately understand why Christians say that the LDS are not Christian."

Nu uh. If YOU were ever born again, you'd be Mormon (I can easily mirror your simple-minded approach to debate).

"I didn’t realize how mind bending the cult is…"

I really would just stop. You already admitted that your information was incorrect.

"It doesn’t change the fact that Jesus is only the guy opening the door for you, you have to do the work to actually walk through."

'Knock, and it shall be opened.'

"Just go find out for yourself."

You've come full circle. This is exactly what the General Authorities and the missionaries have been preaching for years.

Anonymous said...

Walker,

Some comments below:

"It would be more proper to say LDS are not Protestant."

No it wouldn't. The LDS are not Christian. It is obvious if you study Mormon doctrine thoroughly.


"Perhaps you should actually read the Book of Mormon. It makes it quite clear that Christ = salvation."

I have read it. It represents all of the views and beliefs that were in circulation in New York at the time JS wrote the BOM. He borrowed from existing ideas and synthesized them into the book. Later on, when he had more power and influence, his doctrines changed radically (absolute power corrupts absolutely). Everything he wrote in the D&C and POGP, the doctrines that have come from them, and from his King Follett discourse, is absolutely NOT Christian. This is why the LDS don't believe that only Jesus' sacrifice saves you. You have to follow all these extra commandments (laws and temple ordinances) in order to get back to God in heaven and that is not Christian. The LDS also do not believe in God the spirit (as according to the words of Jesus in the Bible) and the trinity and this is because of JS's supposed "first vision". The LDS believe that Jesus is Satan's brother and that is blasphemy. The biggest thing that makes you not Christian is your belief that you will become a god. This smacks of Satan's words in the Bible. If I were you, I would seriously rethink my beliefs. I would read the Bible (the NT) and think hard about what your salvation means because it doesn't mean what the Mormon church teaches you. Do you believe in the Word of God laid out in the Bible that has mountains of scientific, linguistic, documentary, genetic, sociological, and scholarly evidence supporting it or do you believe the written ravings of a philandering mad man that have been disproved over and over again and continue to be disproved?


"Nu uh. If YOU were ever born again, you'd be Mormon (I can easily mirror your simple-minded approach to debate)."

This just shows me the degree to which you don't understand what it is to become born again and what your salvation in Christ means. I really don't understand why you guys defend the doctrine and faith claims of the Mormon church. It's like trying to defend the beliefs of the Flat Earth Society. It's ludicrous. I would guess that you defend it because the beliefs that you hold feed right into your pride and elitism. Only prideful people could believe that theirs is the only true church, that they are better than everyone else who don't follow the "law", and that only they will become gods in the afterlife. It is interesting to read this blog. It is full of this prideful attitude and pride is the one thing that God hates.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,
To me its very simple, Satan and his followers have always and will always have one thing in common. Pay attention anonymous because you fall into this category...they live only to destroy and tear down! Christ, HIS church and HIS true followers live to build, lift and inspire. Good luck to you, as the protestants from the mission field used to say, I will pray for you.

even_more_anonymous said...

What I would like to know, anonymous, is what is the definition of a "Christian"? Not your definition, THE definition.

Walker said...

"The LDS are not Christian."

Incorrect. We may be heretical to you, but that doesn't mean were aren't part of the Christian movement. Evangelicals do not have a monopoly on Christendom.

"You have to follow all these extra commandments (laws and temple ordinances) in order to get back to God in heaven and that is not Christian."

Perhaps you need to look over the "grace vs. works" discussion on "Lessons Learned OUTSIDE General Conference" and then get back to us.

"The LDS also do not believe in God the spirit (as according to the words of Jesus in the Bible)"

From my blog:

Often the argument against an embodied God is "God is a spirit." (John 4:24) Due to Christ’s acknowledgement that "a spirit has not flesh and bones" in Luke 24:28, many draw the conclusion that God is a spirit and therefore must not have a body. However, modern translations correct the error of the added "a," seeing that there are no indefinite articles in Greek. The passage is thus "God is spirit." This fits with other Johannine phrases such as "God is light" (1 John 1:5) and "God is love" (1 John 4:8) and has nothing to do with corporeality or lack of it (technically the word "spirit" itself doesn't suggest incorporeality. The Greek pneuma means "wind, air, or breath": none of which are immaterial). In all three cases, it is a qualitative predicate nominative and describes a quality of God’s character. This is easily seen by the context in which the worshipper is told to "worship him in spirit and in truth." The manner of worship must be spiritual. This is also made evident in the previous chapter, in which Christ tells Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter in the kingdom of God. Whatsoever is born of flesh is flesh and whatsoever is born of spirit is spirit." (John 3:5; emphasis mine) Here, we have embodied humans instructed to be "born again" or "born of the Spirit." Those born of spirit are described as spirit. Considering other Johannine passages tell us to take on other qualities of God ("walk in light" in 1 John 1:5 and "love one another" in 1 John 4:11), this verse should be understood in similar fashion. Attempting to view it in a way dealing with corporeality is to abuse and distort the context of the verse. Quoting T.N.D. Mettinger, Margaret Barker points out that "'The concept of God advocated by the Deuteronomistic theology is strikingly abstract. The throne concept has vanished and the anthropomorphic characteristics of God are on the way to oblivion. Thus the form of God plays no part in the D work of the Sinai theophany.' Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple is the clearest expression of the new theology, and shows the older beliefs being rejected...Any idea of the visible presence of God was abandoned and the older anthropomorphism was replaced by abstract ideas." We can therefore see that the divine anthropomorphic aspects of deity were lost and eventually replaced with the philosophies of Xenophanes, Plato, and other great (but not revelatory) Greek minds.

http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/08/letter-to-local-pastor.html

Under "Anthropomorphism or Spirit Essence"

Walker said...

"The LDS believe that Jesus is Satan's brother and that is blasphemy."

From a blog entry about a previous encounter I had on this same subject:

Did you know that Lucifer is actually Latin and the original Hebrew name is Helel, which is literally "bright god" or "shining one"? Did you realize that Satan is numbered among the "sons of God" in the book of Job? Did you know that thanks to the Ugaritic texts, we know that the "sons of God" are the offspring of El, the chief Israelite deity, father of the gods, and the father of man? Did you realize that Yahweh was considered his primary son and acted as a mediator between El and man? Do you realize that if Lucifer/Satan was a "son of God" before his fall, that would make him and Yahweh siblings? I bet you didn't realize any of that. Go figure. I assume Lactanius was blasphemous too when he said, "[God] produced a Spirit like to Himself, who might be endowed with the perfections of God the Father... Then He made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain. Therefore he was infected with his own envy as with poison, and passed from good to evil; and at his own will, which had been given to him by God unfettered, he acquired for himself a contrary name. From which it appears that the source of all evils is envy. For he envied his predecessor, who through his steadfastness is acceptable and dear to God the Father. This being, who from good became evil by his own act, is called by the Greeks diabolus: we call him accuser, because he reports to God the faults to which he himself entices us."

The entire post is here: http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/08/love-your-enemies.html

"The biggest thing that makes you not Christian is your belief that you will become a god."

http://walkstar.blogspot.com/2009/08/letter-to-local-pastor.html

Under "The Deification of Man."

Walker said...

"This smacks of Satan's words in the Bible."

An excerpt from the above link under "The Divine Council":

The context of Genesis 1 has God saying, "Let us make man in our image (Hebrew tselem, I will touch on both this and the following later), after our likeness (dymut)." (Gen. 1:26; emphasis mine) As Satan beguiled Eve into partaking of the fruit, he slyly says, "Ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:4-5) While it would be easy to dismiss Satan’s trickery as a lie altogether, we have God Himself declaring it as a half-truth by confirming the latter part: "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." (Gen. 3:22; emphasis mine) The NET Commentary says of Gen. 1:26, "Many Christian theologians interpret [the "us" and "our"] as an early hint of plurality within the Godhead, but this view imposes later trinitarian concepts on the ancient text. Some have suggested the plural verb indicates majesty, but the plural of majesty is not used with verbs… In its ancient Israelite context the plural is most naturally understood as referring to God and his heavenly court…If this is the case, God invites the heavenly court to participate in the creation of humankind." It seems Joseph Smith had an understanding of Genesis that scholars are now beginning to recognize.

"Do you believe in the Word of God laid out in the Bible"

Yes.

"mountains of...evidence"

Mountains, eh? Bob, what do you think about that?

"ravings of a philandering mad man"

No. I believe in a prophet of God.

"disproved over and over again and continue to be disproved?"

Hardly

"you don't understand what it is to become born again"

No, YOU don't understand (I can take your simple-minded, rhetorical approach all day).

"It's like trying to defend the beliefs of the Flat Earth Society"

Hahaha. No, not really. I find that difficult to swallow considering I personally believe in evolution.

"hold feed right into your pride and elitism"

Oh, ok. It is because I'm prideful. Ad hominem, anyone?

"Only prideful people could believe that theirs is the only true church"

Kind of like how only prideful people could believe that they are the only true Christians?

"It is full of this prideful attitude and pride is the one thing that God hates."

Kind of like all your posts, none of which have any scriptural, scholarly, or historical backup to support their claims? Nothing, but fire-and-brimstone rhetoric and fallacious presuppositions.

But hey, at least we don't go around to random blogs lying about other church meetings...

Anonymous said...

That's right. You keep telling yourselves that your church is true and that Joseph Smith's faith claims were true. If you say it enough times, you might actually start to believe it.

Nathan said...

Walker,

Good. I am glad you posted these comments. Now I can teach you a few things. I am busy today but I will respond as soon as I can.

"Kind of like all your posts, none of which have any scriptural, scholarly, or historical backup to support their claims? Nothing, but fire-and-brimstone rhetoric and fallacious presuppositions."

This is part of what I will teach you ...



"But hey, at least we don't go around to random blogs lying about other church meetings..."

?? I don't know what you are talking about here. That wasn't me. I have included my name this time so you can identify me.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

"To me its very simple, Satan and his followers have always and will always have one thing in common. Pay attention anonymous because you fall into this category...they live only to destroy and tear down! Christ, HIS church and HIS true followers live to build, lift and inspire. Good luck to you, as the protestants from the mission field used to say, I will pray for you."

No, on the contrary, I will pray for you. You need to read the NT clearly and discover what Christ and his ministry were all about. Also, the scriptures say that Satan will come as an angel of light to deceive. And through Joseph Smith, this is exactly what he has done. It is clear that Mormonism isn't Christian and anything of Satan that calls itself Christian and is not, I will fight against. As soon as the church admits that it is not Christian, I will stop.

Anonymous said...

even_more_anonumous,

"What I would like to know, anonymous, is what is the definition of a "Christian"? Not your definition, THE definition."

All members of mainstream Christianity have these beliefs in common:

Belief in one all powerful, omniscient, ubiquitous God who created everything.
Belief in the Trinity.
Salvation through Christ only, through his grace only.
Belief in the Bible, only, as scripture, as the only Word of God.

If you differ in any of these, then you are not Christian according to mainstream Christianity. Therefore, the LDS are not Christian.

Anonymous said...

"Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go."

- Words of Joseph Smith from History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409

Does that sound Christian to you? Does this sound like a true prophet of God? It doesn't to me. JS was right on one thing though, that when he left, the devil left also. It was a good thing that he was silenced before he was able to do any more damage.

Nathan said...

Walker,

“Incorrect. We may be heretical to you, but that doesn't mean were aren't part of the Christian movement. Evangelicals do not have a monopoly on Christendom.”

I’m sorry my friend but it is correct. The LDS are not Christian for so many reasons but the basic reasons are the fundamental differences in their doctrines from doctrines held by mainstream Christianity. Other reasons, I would suggest, are revealed in the whole nature of the religion - that everything in Mormonism points to man worship and arrogance and pride, being exalted and becoming gods. If you want to see how God views this, take a look at 1 Corinthians, Chapter 1, versus 27 through 31. There are other versus I can point to but this one I think says it very well.


“Did you know that Lucifer is actually Latin and the original Hebrew name is Helel, which is literally "bright god" or "shining one"?”

Correction. Lucifer means “light-bearer” (not “bright god”), from lux, luc- ‘light’ + -fer ‘bearing.’ Helel or more correctly, Helel, Ben-Shachar, is translated into English as “O shining star, son of the dawn!" He was an angel in heaven who sought to become better than God and was chased out of heaven. He is therefore a fallen angel (2 Cor. 11:14, Isaiah 14:12-14). “I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:14. Does this sound familiar? Sounds a bit like exaltation doesn’t it? These are the words of Satan! Are you understanding this?


“Did you realize that Satan is numbered among the "sons of God" in the book of Job? “

Walker, you need to look more closely at that scripture. Job says that he is among the “sons of God”, not one of them. There is a difference.


“Did you know that thanks to the Ugaritic texts, we know that the "sons of God" are the offspring of El, the chief Israelite deity, father of the gods, and the father of man? Did you realize that Yahweh was considered his primary son and acted as a mediator between El and man? Do you realize that if Lucifer/Satan was a "son of God" before his fall, that would make him and Yahweh siblings?”

Correction. El comes from the Canaanite pantheon. He was the father god in the religion. Moreover, the Ugaritic texts are not considered scripture. For the Israelites, the meaning of El is different. Although the word Eloah, or Elohim (plural), originates from El, it does not mean the same thing. More on this later …


“I bet you didn't realize any of that. Go figure.”

You sound to me like a young man who is very prideful, self-righteous, and over confident, who thinks that he is very smart. Don’t presume to know too much about me. Bob made that mistake.


“I assume Lactanius was blasphemous too when he said, "[God] produced a Spirit like to Himself, who might be endowed with the perfections of God the Father... Then He made another being, in whom the disposition of the divine origin did not remain. Therefore he was infected with his own envy as with poison, and passed from good to evil; and at his own will, which had been given to him by God unfettered, he acquired for himself a contrary name. From which it appears that the source of all evils is envy. For he envied his predecessor, who through his steadfastness is acceptable and dear to God the Father. This being, who from good became evil by his own act, is called by the Greeks diabolus: we call him accuser, because he reports to God the faults to which he himself entices us."

Of course God made Satan. He is the creator of all things. But this doesn’t mean that Satan is the brother of Christ and that he is not an angel. Moreover, Lactanius was an early Christian teacher (I would say scholar). He was not a prophet, nor a writer of scripture.


More to come …

~ Nathan

Nathan said...

Walker,

“The context of Genesis 1 has God saying, "Let us make man in our image (Hebrew tselem, I will touch on both this and the following later), after our likeness (dymut)." (Gen. 1:26; emphasis mine) ...”

It is interesting. Whenever I talk to Latter Day Saints who are trying to defend their position, they always refer to the early books of the Old Testament. There a certain words and phrases used in those books that JS cherry picked and he built a whole theology around it, using man made ideas/philosophies that he had studied beforehand. He was not therefore seeing something that scholars are just now beginning to understand. Let me give you a little lesson in Jewish history. During the time of Abraham and earlier, in that area of the world, there were many people who worshipped many gods, usually constructing them out of gold, silver, wood, or stone. I think you mentioned some of them – the Canaanite pantheon. The etymological study of the word Elohim takes us back to this period in human history. Elohim is the plural of the word Eloah and is used in the early books of the OT. To the Canaanites and others, it meant the plurality of gods but to the Israelites it denotes a singular, all powerful, all knowing, omniscient, ubiquitous God – the single God of Israel. This is why we read the story of Abraham and his covenant with God later on after the creation. His story is central to God (the one true God) revealing himself to mankind and this is why the binding of Isaac is so important. Many of the people who worshipped pagan idols back then sacrificed their children to their gods to appease them. God told Abraham to do the same thing and then stopped him and the message to Abraham was, “I am the only true God and child sacrifice is not OK with me.” (he didn’t actually say this but this was the message). The commandment later on to Moses was, “I am the only true God and you shall have no other gods before me.” The other gods that were worshipped at the time were false – they didn’t exist and God was revealing this to Abraham and the prophets after him. Therefore, JS was not revealing a hidden truth but instead he was trying to take us back to the pagan worship of many gods from which God originally, through all the hard work of the prophets, led us out. JS was regressing religiously and this is probably why God destroyed him when he did so that he couldn’t do any more damage.
Here is another thing to think about – consider the JS’s story of the Grand Council before the world was (I listened to a Truman Madsen talk on it actually). If Satan was there as Christ’s brother, proposing his own plan of salvation, in which humans didn’t have free agency, but was thwarted by Christ and lost the bid, why would he show up in the Garden of Eden and tell Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, when he knew full well that that would play right in to Christ’s plan for mankind to come to earth and gain a body to be tested and eventually reach exaltation? You really need to think about this stuff. Looking at it from a clear, logical viewpoint, it makes no sense.

Anyhow, you know, I really enjoy sharing this stuff actually. I’m glad Bob has this blog.

More to come …

~ Nathan

Nathan said...

“Often the argument against an embodied God is "God is a spirit." (John 4:24) Due to Christ’s acknowledgement that "a spirit has not flesh and bones" in Luke 24:28, many draw the conclusion that God is a spirit and therefore must not have a body. However …”

Walker,

You are standing up straw men. I think you can try and spin this anyway you want but the words of Christ are clear and the translation is correct. The only way God is flesh and bone is in Christ himself. There is no other way to look at it. Sorry!



"Do you believe in the Word of God laid out in the Bible"

“Yes.”

Good answer!

Nathan said...

"mountains of...evidence"

“Mountains, eh? Bob, what do you think about that?”

Well, let me give you some examples: the work done by Gabriel Barkay and other biblical archaeologists, the ancient texts of scripture that exist dating back to the eras before Christ and onward, Roman records of the people who existed in biblical times, the fact that biblical cities and landmarks still exist and you can actually go see them, the ruins of the temple, the Mount of Olives and the ossuaries there, etc. I could go on but I don’t see the point. The fact remains, there is overwhelming evidence that supports the historicity of the Bible. On the contrary there is nothing, let me say that again, NOTHING, that supports the “scriptures” written by JS. Where are the gold plates? How come respected Egyptologists say that the papyrus scrolls have nothing to do with what is in the POGP? Are they lying? Where is Zarahemla? Where is Bountiful (besides the modern Bountiful in Utah)? Where is the real hill Cumorah? How come the church didn’t find anything when they did a little excavating at the hill Cumorah in NY? How come they won’t excavate further? How come they don’t come out with an official geography for the BOM? How do you explain the anachronisms in the BOM? How come they keep changing the BOM, and their doctrine every time a significant piece of scientific evidence is presented to prove the church’s claims wrong? How come the teachings of the Mormon prophets, over time, have changed so radically? Does God really change his mind that much? Or is there some other reason that has to do with money, influence and power? Maybe you should start asking yourself these questions.


"ravings of a philandering mad man"

“No. I believe in a prophet of God.”

"Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet...When they can get rid of me, the devil will also go." (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 408, 409)

Does this sound like a true prophet of God to you?

Tell me something. Do you know the story of his son David Hyrum Smith, the one JS never knew? David Hyrum Smith became a prolific poet, writer and orator just like his father and then later on he started claiming that his thoughts that he wrote down, were coming from another source, as if some being was talking to him. His older brother, Joseph Smith III, had him committed to an insane asylum after that. The same should have been done to their father.



"disproved over and over again and continue to be disproved?"

“Hardly”

Great answer! I notice you don’t try too hard here. I would like to see you build a case against all the evidence that has come forward. Mormon apologists are trying hard but they are failing.

Nathan said...

"you don't understand what it is to become born again"

“No, YOU don't understand (I can take your simple-minded, rhetorical approach all day).”

You truly don’t understand and the day you do, you will rejoice.



"It's like trying to defend the beliefs of the Flat Earth Society"

“Hahaha. No, not really. I find that difficult to swallow considering I personally believe in evolution.”

Evolution? I was talking about the Flat Earth Society. You know, the ones who have regressed back to old beliefs like JS did.



"hold feed right into your pride and elitism"

“Oh, ok. It is because I'm prideful. Ad hominem, anyone?”

I’m sorry but man worship is prideful.



"Only prideful people could believe that theirs is the only true church"

“Kind of like how only prideful people could believe that they are the only true Christians?”

Defending the sacrifice Christ made for us and his message in the NT, from those who proclaim a false religion in his name is not prideful, it is the right thing to do. As soon as Mormons withdraw the claim that they are Christians, then I will back off.

Nathan said...

"You have to follow all these extra commandments (laws and temple ordinances) in order to get back to God in heaven and that is not Christian."

"Perhaps you need to look over the "grace vs. works" discussion on "Lessons Learned OUTSIDE General Conference" and then get back to us."

I don't need to look at it. I'm pretty sure I know what it says. The fact of the matter is that the LDS are wrong when it come to faith and works. Christ's commandments were: believe and love. That's it. It's very simple. I could sit here and write down all the scripture passages that talk about this but I don't see the point. Without faith, you are not saved. Without love (works) you have no faith (faith without works is dead). It all comes down to faith. If you have to work your way back to God, then Christ's sacrifice for you is not a gift, it is a reward. This view is totally wrong and is not Christian. Sorry!

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Nathan wrote:
Christ's commandments were: believe and love. That's it. It's very simple.

Nathan,
I suspect you take the same attitude from an investigative standpoint when reading the Bible, since it is literally impossible to believe you have read the Bible, and those are the only two commandments you feel Jesus gave.

While Jesus DID teach those are the two great commandments, he actually gave many, many others, which he said hang from these:

He commanded the Apostles to teach all the commandments he had taught (Matt 28:20), which you of course recall included being baptized.

Jesus notes the FIRST commandment given Israel was the Shema, "Hear Oh Israel,..." Mark 12:29.

Jesus said, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother." Luke 18:20

¶ If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)


Acts 17:30
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:


Rom 13:8-10
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.


Rom 16:25-26
25 ¶ Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

1 Cor 14:34
34 ¶ Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

1 Cor 14:37
37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

1 Thes 4:1-2
1 ¶ FURTHERMORE then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. 2 For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.

2 Thes 3:12
12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.


1 Tim 4:11 (which notes all the things preceding it in the chapter):
11 These things command and teach.


2 Pet 2:20-21
20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Well Nathan, I can see why you are confused about their being only those two commandments. I mean two or thirty, they are so close, we all should just guess at those numbers.

All kidding aside, note that Paul and Peter are giving new commandments they are receiving from God. Notice too, the commandments are not done away with in the Law, they are in fact reinforced. The problem with the Law is it was not always done from the heart. The New Law is to be done from faith and love, but make no mistake, it is to be done.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Comment on commandments continued:

Whenever we consider a "higher" form of anything, it always fully contemplates the lower. So higher math vs. basic math, or Einsteinian physics verse Newtonian physics. In other words, you don't stop following the basic principles after you begin to work with higher principles.

Which is why the "faith only" approach is fatally ignorant. Fatal because we are commanded to continue all the commandments of Christ, but out of love. And when we fail, we are not sorrowful for breaking the commandment, per se, but rather for failing to truly love Christ and have a repentant nature concerning sin.

"If you love me, keep my commandments" is not about a single commandment, or even two. The very verse you cited, about the two great commandments, is followed by the listing of the 10 commandments. How do you miss that? I suggest you miss that because false teachers have corrupted your understanding of the word of God.

But thanks for writing.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Nathan,
Mainstream Christianity is not Biblical Christianity, if you really want to tow the line here. The Bible does not teach the Trinity, nor does it teach either a faith only with no works salvation, nor a "god only loves a few of his children, the rest have no chance at salvation."

LDS beliefs are Biblical beliefs. Unlike EVERY Evangelical I have spoken with who ignores verses like Acts 7:55-56 or Heb 5:8-9 or Romans 5 & 6, Mormonism actually fully embraces the Bible. And they don't stop reading a verse just because they feel comfortable they have an answer they like.

It is like the response from Anonymous in regards to Heb 5:8-9. They totally ignore the context of the statement to find a verse in an entirely different book they feel can settle the "problem" for them. It is a problem for them because the context of the statement is obvious. The things Jesus suffered taught him Obedience, and he saves those who are Obedient. So the verse, interpreting itself, clearly teaches that despite our sufferings, we must be obedient to be saved. Or else we do what folks like you do: Turn the Bible into a personal interpretive festival. With it, you can get anything you want out of it. Which is why when the Apostles did away with the observance of the Law as a requirement of salvation, they named the highest possible source for authority to make the change to scripture: The Holy Spirit.

So I agree that Mormons are not your kind of Christian. We are the Biblical kind. And yes, I agree it makes a difference.

Walker said...

"If you say it enough times, you might actually start to believe it."

Kind of like if you keep saying Mormons aren't Christian?

Walker said...

"I don't know what you are talking about here."

This is the first time the name Nathan has appeared, so I obviously wasn't talking to you unless you were Anonymous.

Walker said...

"Therefore, the LDS are not Christian."

Or not mainstream Christian.

Walker said...

"Whenever I talk to Latter Day Saints who are trying to defend their position, they always refer to the early books of the Old Testament"

Heaven forbid

The rest of your post had no support. You just say, "In the Canaanite context, it means that, but not in the Israelite context."

Once again, from my blog:

Deuteronomy 6:4, known as the Shema, makes the grand statement, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord." Both modern Jews and Christians alike view this as an unmistakable declaration that there is only one God in existence, therefore paving the way for such radically monotheistic, trinitarian, or modalist precepts. However, this is once again misunderstood. The Hebrew simply reads YHVH eloheinu YHVH echad or "Yahweh our God Yahweh one." The NRSV translates it as "The Lord is our God, the Lord alone." (emphasis mine) This demonstrates that Yahweh was seen as unique to Israel (which is made evident by the alternate translation "The Lord is our God, the Lord is unique") and that He alone was to be the center of their worship. The context involves a covenant loyalty and fidelity to Yahweh and vice versa as demonstrated in vs. 5. It is not a declaration of ontological monotheism. Echad, the Hebrew translated as "one," can be used in a numerical sense, but also represents a compound unity (IE when Adam and Eve are described as "one flesh" in Genesis). This is applicable to Yahweh due to His integrity and moral unity with Israel. "Two words are made use of in the Old Testament scriptures for ‘one’; yacheed, which signifies ‘only one,’ and echad, meaning ‘one of others.’ …Yacheed is never used of God. Always the word is echad, one of others, signifying not an absolute unity, but a compound unity, three in one."31 Interestingly enough, the Torah scholar and rabbi Mamonides replaced echad with yacheed when he constructed the Thirteen Fundamental Principles of the Jewish faith in the 12th century AD. The most likely reason for the change was in defense against the claims of the Trinity. These writings were eventually canonized in the Jewish prayer book. Nonetheless, Mamonides’ alteration does not change what the original context and language of the Shema says. It seems apparent that the text is "affirming the people’s allegiance to the Lord, as well as the Lord’s superiority to all other gods. It would also imply that he is the only one worthy of their worship."32

31. Robert D. Johnston, Numbers in the Bible: God’s Design in Biblical Numerology, 2000
32. Commentary on Deut. 6:4, 1tn, New English Translation Bible, 1st ed.

"why would he show up in the Garden of Eden and tell Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, when he knew full well that that would play right in to Christ’s plan for mankind to come to earth and gain a body to be tested and eventually reach exaltation?"

"...he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world." (Moses 4:6)

Apparently, he didn't know.

Nathan said...

Sorry Bob the anti anti, you are wrong again. I have read the entire Bible and if you notice, all those extra commandments you mention, fall under both of those two. If you don't understand that, then think harder. Christ's message in the Bible is very simple. It is because of people like you who like to complicate it and turn it into a legalistic religion that teaches that Christ's sacrifice was not enough. I notice as well that you fail to mention anything about the "commandments" the church teaches are clearly not in the Bible. Nor did you answer any of the questions I asked about the church. You LDS are very artful at dodging these issues and for good reason. You don't have an answer.

Nathan said...

"Mainstream Christianity is not Biblical Christianity, if you really want to tow the line here. The Bible does not teach the Trinity, nor does it teach either a faith only with no works salvation, nor a "god only loves a few of his children, the rest have no chance at salvation."

Sorry my friend, but it is and the Trinity is taught in the Bible. You need to read it carefully.

Walker said...

"I’m sorry my friend but it is correct"

If you say so.

"Lucifer means “light-bearer” (not “bright god)"

Good thing I didn't say Lucifer meant "bright god"...

"Sounds a bit like exaltation doesn’t it?"

Not quite.

"There is a difference."

Michael Heiser's treatment of "shining one" demonstrates that there isn't.

"For the Israelites, the meaning of El is different."

So you say. Scholarship says otherwise.

"You sound to me like a young man who is very prideful, self-righteous, and over confident, who thinks that he is very smart."

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you.

"He was not a prophet, nor a writer of scripture."

Neither are you.

Walker said...

"There is no other way to look at it. Sorry!"

And you don't address anything I wrote. Nice.

Nathan said...

"LDS beliefs are Biblical beliefs"

Um ... no. Mormons teach Mormonism through the Bible, they do not teach the Bible itself. Mormonism is not Biblical. I'm sorry, it's just not. If you study the two (Biblical Christianity and Mormonism), there is clearly a big difference. And I could sit here and argue this over and over again with you, quoting and debating scripture, but I don't see the point. You are just not going to see it because you have been programmed to believe what you do. I will pray for you and your anti anti friends. Maybe someday Christ will lead you to the truth.

Walker said...

"I could go on but I don’t see the point"

Since those prove the supernatural and all.

"NOTHING, that supports the “scriptures” written by JS"

I strain to take anyone seriously that makes such an assertion.

"Maybe you should start asking yourself these questions"

I have, thanks. Much of what you have asked leads me to believe you have never actually read LDS scholarship.

"Does this sound like a true prophet of God to you?"

Yep, especially since it was based on the writings of Paul.

"The same should have been done to their father."

What a pointless comment.

"I notice you don’t try too hard here."

What kind of a response do you want to baseless assertions?

"Mormon apologists are trying hard but they are failing."

So you say.

Walker said...

"You truly don’t understand and the day you do, you will rejoice."

You truly, TRULY don't understand (your comebacks are getting ridiculous).

"Evolution? I was talking about the Flat Earth Society."

Over your head, obviously.

"I don't need to look at it."

You mean you won't. You were saying something about not trying very hard?

Walker said...

"Where are the gold plates?"

Taken back by Moroni. Good thing we have the testimony of three witnesses who said they saw the plates as well as an angel. Good thing we have eight witnesses who saw and handled the plates. Good thing William Hamblin has done excellent research on the writing on metal plates.

"How come respected Egyptologists say that the papyrus scrolls have nothing to do with what is in the POGP?"

Because it doesn't. It isn't the Book of Abraham. Hugh Nibley determined that years ago.

"Where is Zarahemla?"

Not sure, though some scholars think there is a possibility that we have found it.

"Where is Bountiful (besides the modern Bountiful in Utah)?"

Wadi Sayq most likely.

"Where is the real hill Cumorah?"

Different theories.

"How come the church didn’t find anything when they did a little excavating at the hill Cumorah in NY?"

Probably because it didn't take place in NY.

"How come they won’t excavate further?"

See above

"How come they don’t come out with an official geography for the BOM?"

Why is it essential for them to? It seems like only the anti-Mormons want an official map.

"How do you explain the anachronisms in the BOM?"

Depends what you are calling an anachronism.

"How come they keep changing the BOM"

You make it sound like things are being altered left and right. Try reading Royal Skousen's research.

"and their doctrine every time a significant piece of scientific evidence is presented to prove the church’s claims wrong?"

?

"How come the teachings of the Mormon prophets, over time, have changed so radically?"

Depends on what you consider radical.

Most of these are very general and beg the question.

Markadrian said...

Well done Bob you seem to have hit a hot topic for discussion. I have two more questions for you. The first one may or may not sound rude, but I assure you I ask it out of genuine curiosity. The second one I've tossed around a couple times with LDS and mostly what I hear is "I don't know".
1. Why does a biblical definition of a Christian matter to you? What I mean is that you spend a fair bit of time disputing the overall reliability of the Bible in its historical aspects, which leads me to wonder how one determines what is or is not reliable, or in any case, valuable truths from the Bible. If the OT historical accounts are full of myths, how do you determine which theological accounts are true and which are false? Isn't it possible, perhaps even justifiable to pick and choose which ever parts fit your theological stance?
2. Why is much of the BoM written in Elizabethan english, instead of the more modern english that Joseph Smith would use.

Nathan said...

"Whenever we consider a "higher" form of anything, it always fully contemplates the lower. So higher math vs. basic math, or Einsteinian physics verse Newtonian physics. In other words, you don't stop following the basic principles after you begin to work with higher principles."

You mean:

Whenever we consider a "higher" form of anything, it always fully "comprises" or "contains" the lower.

BTW, Einsteinian physics doesn't fully comprise Newtonian physics. (I used to for Lawrence Livermore National Lab where I studied this stuff) It's fundamental axioms are different. Just a note, I know that it doesn't have anything to do with religion.

But anyway, still don't agree with you about the faith and works. Sorry!

Walker said...

And instead of us trying to cover divine council, faith vs. works, Book of Mormon evidence, corporealitiy of God, etc. How about you pick one subject at a time?

Anonymous said...

Saying Mormonism is more Biblical than Biblical Christianity is ridiculous. You can say blue is green all you want, but it doesn't make it so.

Your constant straw-man attacks against Christianity are pointless too. It really makes you look foolish, so keep on going. Anyone with half a brain would see right through it.

Nathan said...

"Lucifer means “light-bearer” (not “bright god)"

"Good thing I didn't say Lucifer meant "bright god"..."

Yeah, you did. Go back and read what you wrote.


"For the Israelites, the meaning of El is different."

"So you say. Scholarship says otherwise."

It doesn't. Go research it.


"You sound to me like a young man who is very prideful, self-righteous, and over confident, who thinks that he is very smart."

"Funny, I was thinking the same thing about you."

I notice you say that a lot. How do you know that I am actually a young man?


"He was not a prophet, nor a writer of scripture."

"Neither are you."

Ooh, good one.



"There is no other way to look at it. Sorry!"

"And you don't address anything I wrote. Nice."

Don't really need to.


"NOTHING, that supports the “scriptures” written by JS"

"I strain to take anyone seriously that makes such an assertion."

I am really starting to lose the little respect I had for you. I realize now that you are not playing with a full deck.


"Maybe you should start asking yourself these questions"

"I have, thanks. Much of what you have asked leads me to believe you have never actually read LDS scholarship."

Very sad.


"Does this sound like a true prophet of God to you?"

"Yep, especially since it was based on the writings of Paul."

Um ... no. The writings of Paul neither make the same claims nor do they have anything to do with JS being taken to Carthage for his crime of destroying the printing press.


"The same should have been done to their father."

"What a pointless comment."

My point was that his son was just like him and he was committed to an insane asylum. If the same had been done to JS, it would have saved the world a lot of grief.


"I notice you don’t try too hard here."

"What kind of a response do you want to baseless assertions?"

Assertions? They were questions and very good questions that you still haven’t sufficiently answered.

"Where are the gold plates?"

"Taken back by Moroni. Good thing we have the testimony of three witnesses who said they saw the plates as well as an angel. Good thing we have eight witnesses who saw and handled the plates. Good thing William Hamblin has done excellent research on the writing on metal plates."

Oh yeah, and those witnesses are very reliable, right!

Nathan said...

"How come respected Egyptologists say that the papyrus scrolls have nothing to do with what is in the POGP?"

"Because it doesn't. It isn't the Book of Abraham. Hugh Nibley determined that years ago."

Sorry my friend, you are wrong again. The scrolls they (the church) have are the scrolls that JS used to "translate" the BOA. It's pretty much been proven. They are also copied as the facsimiles that are actually in the book as well. Hugh Nibley didn't determine anything.


"Where is the real hill Cumorah?"

“Different theories.”

OK so it is different now than what JS originally said – that it is the hill near his house in NY? Interesting. This is just another example of the church changing its story with regard to the BOM.


"How come the church didn’t find anything when they did a little excavating at the hill Cumorah in NY?"

"Probably because it didn't take place in NY."

That is specifically where JS said all the big battles took place, so you are wrong again.


"How come they don’t come out with an official geography for the BOM?"

“Why is it essential for them to? It seems like only the anti-Mormons want an official map.”

Well, guess what, my friend. We know where the Bible story took place. You can actually go there. There are cities that are still there and you can go see them – Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, etc. There is also archaeological evidence (excavated sites) that supports the stories in the Bible as well. And you ask why it is important for there to be an official geography for the BOM? The reason it is important is because it would show the world that the story is true but the church doesn’t come out with one for the same reason they won’t excavate (and won’t let anyone else excavate) the hill Cumorah any further and that reason is because they know, and I know and you know, that the story is a complete work of fiction.


"How do you explain the anachronisms in the BOM?"

“Depends what you are calling an anachronism.”

Nice dodge. You know exactly what I am talking about.


Walker, your answers to my questions are pretty weak and you still haven't given me anything really solid that refutes them. And the reason is because you can't.

Nathan said...

"How come the teachings of the Mormon prophets, over time, have changed so radically?"

"Depends on what you consider radical."

Well, how about how BY taught that Adam was God and also that black people had the mark of Cain and therefore couldn't hold the priesthood. He also taught that there were people living on mars (or was it the moon?). He also taught that without practicing polygamy, man couldn't reach exaltation and become a god. All of these have been changed. I could list all the things that the prophets have taught over the years and that has been changed but there really isn't enough time. I doubt that these things came from God, as they never came from God through JS in the first place. God isn't that fickle nor does he change his mind that much. Read your Bible - "the Word of God shall remain forever" - this is everywhere in the scripture. I think you know very well what I am talking about and yet you still dodged the question. This is typical of the LDS.

Nathan said...

"You truly don’t understand and the day you do, you will rejoice."

"You truly, TRULY don't understand (your comebacks are getting ridiculous)."

Wrong again. You don't understand. It's obvious given your attitude and Christians will keep telling you this until you get it.


"Evolution? I was talking about the Flat Earth Society."

"Over your head, obviously."

Oh yes, obviously. Nice comeback.



"I don't need to look at it."

"You mean you won't. You were saying something about not trying very hard?"

No, I don't need to look at it because I already know what it says. I have been over this with people like you and I am learning that it is pointless. I could sit here and list all these scriptures and facts, like for example how the trinity is taught in the Bible (John 1:14, 1:18, 5:37, Isaiah 45, Gal 4:4, Col 2:9, 1 Tim 3:16, 1:17, 6:16, Heb 12:29) and it wouldn't do any good because the point at which you are now, you just won't see it. Playing these semantic games doesn't really do any good because LDS like you are brain washed into this legalistic, literal, black & white, machine like thinking and in order to see Truth, Christ's Truth, you will need to experience a complete paradigm shift which I am hoping you and Bob will be able to experience someday. The day you do, you will see why I keep telling you, above, that you don't understand. It may take some years though ...

David said...

From looking over these comments, I would say that Nathan is the one winning the debate. His comments make sense and are very clear and to the point. They speak the truth. Walker, your arguments against his don't really seem to hold water. You rationalize too much and I don't understand why you insist on defending these beliefs. They are utter nonsense. Nathan, you are doing a good job of teaching him truth from error. Keep it up buddy!

Christine said...

Nathan, I appreciate what you are doing and from what I have read, you are doing a good job of defending the truth, but trust me, I have been there and it's not worth it. Mormons will stare any fact or truth or piece of hard evidence, that is presented to them, in the face and either ignore it or attempt to refute it using faulty logic, rationalization, and/or lame excuses. They are truly the spin doctors of the world. Best thing to do is to leave them be and let God reveal the truth to them. They will eventually come to understand what you are trying to teach them.

Tony said...

Here is an answer I gave to someone who contacted me and said that my understanding of God's grace and how it relates to my salvation may not have been correct.

"Impossible? By ourselves, yes, but with the Lord's help, nothing is impossible.

Faith is counted for righteousness. It compels us to action. Look at Abraham. What did his faith compel him to do? To be obedient to the Lord. Faith and obedience can go together, as James shows us in his epistles.

We do not think that we get into heaven by our own deeds. Rather, it is by following the path the Master has set for us and following His example out of love for Him and those around us that we seek eternal life.

God will save us ultimately through the mercy of His Son, Jesus Christ, because of the faith we have had in Him and the fruits of that faith. He judges us according to the works that He shows us to do. The Lord invites all to enter into a covenant with Him to recieve of that grace of Christ. He will not force it on anybody, and He wants us to remain steadfast so that we may not fall from grace, as Peter warns against. "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness."

Or, as the apostle Paul writes to Titus:
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and wordly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearance of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

I hope this has helped you understand where I and Latter Day Saints in general are coming from.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with me."

Nathan said...

"Whenever I talk to Latter Day Saints who are trying to defend their position, they always refer to the early books of the Old Testament"

"Heaven forbid"

It gets a little old when the wording can be explained through historical research.



"The rest of your post had no support. You just say, "In the Canaanite context, it means that, but not in the Israelite context.""

It does. Just go do a little research you will find out, oops I mean, go do some honest research. I find that most of the research presented by you and Bob in your blogs is not honest or trustworthy - somebody in another passage mentioned integrity, that person is right. Your words always seem to spin the truth.



"why would he show up in the Garden of Eden and tell Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge, when he knew full well that that would play right in to Christ’s plan for mankind to come to earth and gain a body to be tested and eventually reach exaltation?"

"...he sought also to beguile Eve, for he knew not the mind of God, wherefore he sought to destroy the world." (Moses 4:6)

"Apparently, he didn't know."

No apparently he didn't. Again another lie. The story, according to the LDS, is that both Christ and Satan presented their plans to the council and Christ won. So he knew Christ's plan - Christ's plan. That passage in Moses says "he knew not the mind of God". Nice try Walker but again you fall short my friend.

Nathan said...

"I don't know what you are talking about here."

"This is the first time the name Nathan has appeared, so I obviously wasn't talking to you unless you were Anonymous."

You were talking to me but thinking that I was someone else, that's why I included my name in that comment, so you could identify me from then on. Make sense?

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Well, this has turned into quite a topic, considering I was really only commenting about the fact that the ultimate test of whether Mormons are Christians or not was that Jesus is in our midst, and therefore Mormons are Christians.

I appreciate the time Nathan is taking to respond. I just wish there was more substance that could be dealt with. For example, when responding to my statement that there is no support of the Trinity in the Bible, his response is "You are wrong, read closer."

Nathan cannot possibly be unaware of the fact that many non-LDS historians make this same statement, and that every verse from the Bible supposedly in support of the Trinity has been scrutinized and found, in context, to not support the doctrine. I believe Walker has previously listed some of those writers. I actually have a brochure on the subject where I quote about 10 or so respected authors. But I will add one to the list: Dr. Robert Morey, well known Evangelical researcher and apologist, author of "The Trinity", and a person an anti-LDS student I met in Manti referred me to as having huge documentary support of the doctrine of the Trinity in his book by the same name. So I bought the book, and there on page 18 he notes that one must accept the doctrine of the Trinity as "a priori" (already existing in the Bible) because to not do so "is to lose the battle before it starts." He then lists four full pages of "a priori" assumptions, including things such as "We must not make the error of thinking God is like us." Sure, we should ignore 1John 3:2 (" 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.") and Gen 1:26-27 or Gen 5:1-3.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

(Comments on Evidence continued below)

Morey notes further (pg.57)that for the Christian, "The doctrine of the Trinity was derived from scripture and is an essential truth." Note the word "derived", which means (Ultra Lingua dictionary):

derived adj.
1. Formed or developed from something else; not original

Or from Webster:
"being, possessing, or marked by a character (as the large brain in humans) not present in the ancestral form (derived features)"

So while the cheer leading seems nice, it is the typical "poison the well" approach by saying Mormons are unreasonable, so they will stare facts in the face and twist what is said, when in reality we are analyzing the basis of the "facts" to see if they are supported by real evidence. As with Morey's arguments for "The Trinity", Nathan's arguments are bald assertion for the most part, and lack any third party support which could be claimed to be neutral or even antagonistic. By contrast, Walker's or my use of non-LDS and Christian sources outside the LDS faith are demonstrably superior from a pure argumentation perspective because we don't require friendly interpretations to support our perspectives.

Thanks for all the comments.

Walker said...

"Yeah, you did. Go back and read what you wrote."

'Did you know that Lucifer is actually Latin and the ORIGINAL HEBREW name is Helel, which is literally "bright god" or "shining one"?'

I said Helel, not Lucifer. Different languages.

"Go research it."

Mmmk.

"How do you know that I am actually a young man?"

I don't. Hence, 'sound like.'

"Ooh, good one."

About as good as saying an early Christian scholar doesn't matter.

"Don't really need to."

Of course not. That would require you to support your assertion.

"I am really starting to lose the little respect I had for you."

That is the equivalent of me saying, "I strain to take anyone seriously that makes such an assertion."

"Very sad."

That you haven't read LDS scholarship? Yes, it is.

"Um ... no."

I wonder. I have you read the entire sermon or just that part?

"My point was that his son was just like him and he was committed to an insane asylum."

Right. It was pointless.

"They were questions and very good questions that you still haven’t sufficiently answered."

Context. This originally goes back to my comment "Hardly." It was in response to the BoM being disproved again and again. That is baseless assertion. It had no backup. It was just say-so.

"Oh yeah, and those witnesses are very reliable, right!"

And a wave of your hand gets rid of the witnesses and Dr. Hamblin's research. Right!

Walker said...

Hardly any of your posts have any backup to support them. And you didn't pick one subject, so I will. I will address the Divine Council. Slightly edited from my blog:

In 1929, the discovery of the Ugaritic texts at Ras Shamra, in Syria, improved and increased our knowledge and understanding of Canaanite religion and of early Israelite theology by comparison. I think it is fair to say that "no student of the Bible today can progress far without a working knowledge of the Ugaritic language and literature...The Ugaritic tablets confront us with so many striking literary parallels to the Hebrew Bible that it is universally recognized that the two literatures are variants of one Canaanite tradition."23 Within these texts are descriptions of a pantheon of gods or divine assembly under the direction of a supreme deity. The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered at Qumran in 1947-1956, contains a variety of references to the council of gods, including Fragment 4Q405: "For he is God (El) of the gods of all the chi]efs of the heights, and king [of kings of all the eternal councils." Thanks to these insights, scholars now have come to understand that the Hebrew Bible carries many similar teachings. LDS scholar David E. Bokovoy (who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible after acquiring his M.A. in Ancient Near East and Judaic Studies) wrote in an article published in the Journal of Biblical Literature, "Throughout the diverse and oftentimes opposing perspectives featured in the Bible, at least one concept appears consistently: the God of ancient Israel was not alone…according to the religious texts preserved in the Hebrew Bible, Israel’s celestial monarch shared his universe with a variety of gods. As is typical of other ancient Near Eastern traditions, biblical texts regularly depict these deities serving in council with the high God of the universe."24 Evangelical scholar Michael S. Heiser (Ph.D., Hebrew Bible and Ancient Semitic Languages), who is currently writing a book on the subject of the biblical divine council, explains that "members of the assembly at Ugarit are classified as "gods", "sons of El", and "sons of the gods / El". In the Keret Epic, El sits at the head of the assembly and four times addresses its members as either "gods" or "my sons". The slight variance in terminology may suggest that El had his own council at Ugarit, composed of his own "sons," and this council was part of a still larger, more general council."25 In an exhaustively researched essay, LDS scholar Daniel C. Peterson (Ph.D., Near Eastern Languages and Cultures) notes that the divine council was "a kind of corporate deity, in which a number of gods functioned as if they were, in fact, one god.”26 In other words, “Ēl is equivalent to the entire council. The decree of Ēl is the decree of the gods.”27 God was therefore understood by the ancient Semites to head a heavenly court, "just as an earthly king is supported by a body of courtiers…Originally, these were gods, but as monotheism became absolute, so these were demoted to the status of angels."28

23. Cyrus H. Gordon, Gary A. Rendsburg, The Bible and the Ancient Near East, 1998
24. Bokovoy, "Invoking the Council as Witnesses in Amos 3:13," Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 127, No.1, Spring 2008
25. Heiser, "Introduction to Divine Council Scholarship and Terminology"
26. Peterson, "Ye are Gods: Psalm 82 and John 10 as Witnesses to the Divine Nature of Humankind," The Disciple as a Scholar: Essays on Scripture and the Ancient World in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson
27. E. Theodore Mullen, Assembly of the Gods: The Divine Council in Canaanite and early Hebrew Literature, 1980
28. John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, 2002

Walker said...

Respected Methodist scholar Margaret Barker (1998's elected President of the Society for Old Testament Study) has written much on ancient Israelite theology as well as Christian Temple Theology (a concept that has attracted the attention of LDS scholars). She observes that "all the texts in the Hebrew Bible distinguish clearly between the divine sons of Elohim/Elyon and those human beings who are called sons of Yahweh. This must be significant. It must mean that the terms originated at a time when Yahweh was distinguished from whatever was meant by El/Elohim/Elyon. A large number of texts continued to distinguish between El Elyon and Yahweh, Father and Son, and to express this distinction in similar ways with the symbolism of the temple and the royal cult. By tracing these patterns through a great variety of material and over several centuries, Israel's second God can be recovered."41 This "second God" as several Church Fathers called Him is none other than Christ Himself.

41. Barker, The Great Angel: A Study of Israel’s Second God, 1992

Walker said...

"Walker's or my use of non-LDS and Christian sources outside the LDS faith are demonstrably superior from a pure argumentation perspective because we don't require friendly interpretations to support our perspectives."

Attaboy, Bob.

Anonymous said...

It's hilarious that Mormons like to try to discredit the Trinity. If they actually read and understood the Book of Mormon for what it is, without all their preconceived ideas, they would believe in something much closer to the trinity than what they currently believe.

Like 2 Nephi 11:7, Alma 42:15, 2 Nephi 6:9, and Ether 3:14 just to name a few.

For example, Ether 3:14 says "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, I am the Father and the Son."

Wait... I thought they were separate and distinct... Just goes to show that they cannot even comprehend their own unique scriptures that they uphold higher than the Bible. So how can we trust them with any interpretation whatsoever of the Bible?

David said...

"Nathan's arguments are bald assertion for the most part, and lack any third party support which could be claimed to be neutral or even antagonistic. By contrast, Walker's or my use of non-LDS and Christian sources outside the LDS faith are demonstrably superior"

Hmmm, not from what I see. You can make all these kinds of statements that you want but your beliefs speak for themselves. I bet you and Walker also believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri huh? That says something about your "demonstrably superior" intelligence. You know, I can tolerate arrogance in someone, if I think that they possess an inkling of intelligence, but in your case (and Walker's case) arrogance and stupidity make a really bad combination.

Nathan said...

"I appreciate the time Nathan is taking to respond. I just wish there was more substance that could be dealt with. For example, when responding to my statement that there is no support of the Trinity in the Bible"

You must have missed that one Bob. In my response to Walker:

"like for example how the trinity is taught in the Bible (John 1:14, 1:18, 5:37, Isaiah 45, Gal 4:4, Col 2:9, 1 Tim 3:16, 1:17, 6:16, Heb 12:29)"

Instead of sourcing Christian, LDS and non-LDS scholars and their work and views on the subject, why don't you go right to the manual itself and read those passages to see for yourself. I won't discuss this with you any further because I don't really have any more time. Also if you read my response to Walker above and you will see why I think these semantic games are foolish. This is also the reason why Shawn Mccraney brushes you off when you call his show to try and prove him wrong and why he won't let you be a guest on his show. Not only will it bore the audience, the debate is futile since neither side is going to change their views anytime soon. My friend, Christine, is right (women, I think, are bit smarter than us). It is best to just let you LDS be, parading around your ridiculous beliefs, until you finally see the light.

Thanks for the blog and your comments back. I will pray for you ...

Anonymous said...

"And instead of us trying to cover divine council, faith vs. works, Book of Mormon evidence, corporealitiy of God, etc. How about you pick one subject at a time?"

Why? Can you not handle it Walker?

Anonymous said...

"I bet you and Walker also believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri huh?"

OMG! Hahahahaha. They actually believe that?

Anonymous said...

"Wait... I thought they were separate and distinct... Just goes to show that they cannot even comprehend their own unique scriptures that they uphold higher than the Bible. So how can we trust them with any interpretation whatsoever of the Bible?"

Exactly!

I notice as well that whenever Bob and Walker are backed into a logical corner, they try to dazzle everyone by citing all these outside sources, as if this will prove that their faulty logic is correct. Give it up you guys, you are losing the debate.

Anonymous said...

"And instead of us trying to cover divine council, faith vs. works, Book of Mormon evidence, corporealitiy of God, etc. How about you pick one subject at a time?"

"Why? Can you not handle it Walker?"

No, he can't. He is losing the debate and it's making him look foolish in front of everyone. And he can't handle that.

Nathan said...

"Hmmm, not from what I see. You can make all these kinds of statements that you want but your beliefs speak for themselves."

David, I know their beliefs are laughable but just let them have the last word. It will make them feel better.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David,
From where you are sitting, what sources does Nathan cite? Other than verses from scripture for interpretive support, I don't see anything approaching scholarly support there.
Bob

Walker said...

"preconceived ideas"

Considering the Trinity is a preconceived idea when reading the Bible, you'd have to have this same idea to get that out of the Book of Mormon.

"in your case (and Walker's case) arrogance and stupidity make a really bad combination."

Yes, it is much more intelligent to insult us rather than just deal with the information presented.

"It is best to just let you LDS be, parading around your ridiculous beliefs, until you finally see the light."

You can excuse yourself anytime.

"why don't you go right to the manual itself and read those passages to see for yourself."

Aka nothing to say to the scholarship. And Bob provided plenty of scriptures.

"Can you not handle it Walker?"

Can you not handle one at a time? Shotgun approaches are ridiculous and show a mindset that is unwilling to stay on topic and discuss a subject thoroughly. It prevents us from delving into each subject and giving it the attention it needs.

"They actually believe that?"

http://bycommonconsent.com/2007/07/04/was-the-garden-of-eden-really-in-missouri/

"logical corner"

When did this happen?

"dazzle everyone by citing all these outside sources"

So, that is why we quote Bible scholars!

"And he can't handle that."

See above about a shotgun approach.

"It will make them feel better."

(cricket)

Walker said...

"You must have missed that one
Bob."

Giving a list of scriptures without explaining why they support your position means very little.

Walker said...

Your John 1 scriptures (I don't see how 5:37 shows the Trinity) go back to John 1:1. I wrote on this:

Other New Testament passages, however, are indeed used to support a Trinitarian view of the Godhead. One of the most prominent is John’s Gospel: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God." (John 1:1-2) It seems to many that the obvious conclusion is that Christ Himself is God. Technically, this is correct. Christ declared, "Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58), using the exact same Greek as in the Septuagint version of Ex. 3:14: "I AM THAT I AM." The declaration was unmistakable: Christ was identifying Himself as Yahweh and His enemies knew it. Nevertheless, these verses in no way imply an ontological oneness between the Father and the Son. In the phrase, "…the Word was with God," the Greek ho is present. This indicates "the God." However, ho is absent from the following phrase, "…the Word was God." The New World Translation (the infamous translation by Jehovah’s Witnesses) retranslates it, "The Word was a god." While they are correct in recognizing the lack of ho and the distinction between the Logos and "the God," they miss the intended meaning of the passage (most likely due to their theological bias). Daniel B. Wallace (Ph.D.; Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary) in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, describes it as a "qualitative theos," which would indicate "that the Word had all the attributes and qualities that "the God" (of 1:1b) had…yet was distinct from the Father."19 Translations such as "…the Word was divine" or "…the Word was deity" do a better job at conveying the meaning of this greatly misunderstood Johannine passage. Some have associated the term logos with the Greek philosophical understanding of the day, yet "the word for "word" in Aramaic is memra…it just so happens that in the Targums—those Aramaic translations of the Old Testament the Jews of Jesus’ day were used to reading as their Bible—the Memra of God as a manifestation of God or as a "second God" shows up in many places…The Memra actually became a well-known character in the Old Testament for Jewish readers of the Aramaic Bible. Throughout the Aramaic Bible, the Memra is introduced or "used" in passages where it looked like there was more than one Yahweh in a passage, or where there was a second god figure who seemed to be interchanged with Yahweh."20 Christ was indeed this divine Word, Logos, or Memra of God.

19. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 1997
20. Michael S. Heiser, "An Unexpected Word," 1st draft chapter excerpt

Walker said...

Gal. 4:4 doesn't show three persons, one substance.

Col. 2:9 simply states that "the fulness of deity lives in bodily form" (NRSV). Christ is deity. Doesn't say anything about Him being the same metaphysical substance as the Father.

1 Tim. 3:16 wouldn't pose a problem. We have always said that Christ is of the Godhead and therefore God. We just say He is NOT the same person as the Father, nor is He is the same "substance." However, the textual evidence actually points to the reading "He/Who was manifest..." This is why translations such as the NRSV, NIV, and NET read this way.

1 Tim 1:17, 6:16, and Heb. 12:29 shows the metaphysics of the Trinity how?

David said...

"I bet you and Walker also believe that the Garden of Eden is in Missouri huh?"

"OMG! Hahahahaha. They actually believe that?"

Yeah, they do. Can you believe that? I know, it's totally laughable. And these guys claim to be intellectually superior, or no, I think the exact wording was that they are "demonstrably superior." It cracks me up!

David said...

"Mormons will stare any fact or truth or piece of hard evidence, that is presented to them, in the face and either ignore it or attempt to refute it using faulty logic, rationalization, and/or lame excuses."

Good words, Christine. Or, if they are really desperate, they will either flat out lie about the evidence or regurgitate some kind of verbal diarrhea that they get from the spin doctors at FARMS.

David said...

"How come they don’t come out with an official geography for the BOM?"

“Why is it essential for them to? It seems like only the anti-Mormons want an official map.”

"Well, guess what, my friend. We know where the Bible story took place. You can actually go there. There are cities that are still there and you can go see them – Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethlehem, etc. There is also archaeological evidence (excavated sites) that supports the stories in the Bible as well. And you ask why it is important for there to be an official geography for the BOM? The reason it is important is because it would show the world that the story is true but the church doesn’t come out with one for the same reason they won’t excavate (and won’t let anyone else excavate) the hill Cumorah any further and that reason is because they know, and I know and you know, that the story is a complete work of fiction."

Very good point!

David said...

"How come the teachings of the Mormon prophets, over time, have changed so radically?"

"Depends on what you consider radical."

"Well, how about how BY taught that Adam was God and also that black people had the mark of Cain and therefore couldn't hold the priesthood. He also taught that there were people living on mars (or was it the moon?). He also taught that without practicing polygamy, man couldn't reach exaltation and become a god. All of these have been changed. I could list all the things that the prophets have taught over the years and that has been changed but there really isn't enough time. I doubt that these things came from God, as they never came from God through JS in the first place. God isn't that fickle nor does he change his mind that much. Read your Bible - "the Word of God shall remain forever" - this is everywhere in the scripture. I think you know very well what I am talking about and yet you still dodged the question. This is typical of the LDS."

Nathan, this was another very good point that they just kind of ignored.

David said...

"I notice as well that whenever Bob and Walker are backed into a logical corner, they try to dazzle everyone by citing all these outside sources, as if this will prove that their faulty logic is correct."


Yep, I noticed that too.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I'm Christian, not LDS and I'm not posting a comment to argue any point. I just wanted to say that I understand why you have your blog and why you defend your faith. You feel strongly about it. A couple of the commenters on here are my roommates who are Christian also and they feel very strongly about their faith too. I won't say who I think is right or wrong but I will say that I'm sorry if they have been rude to you. ~M

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thanks M,
I really appreciate the sentiment. I sort of liken my role as a defender of the LDS faith to a roof on a house: The roof doesn't go out looking for bad weather, it just sort of sits there in the weather until needed.

I have no hard feelings to those who are critical. I actually welcome the critical comments from those "Christians" who attack me or the LDS Church because it does illustrate the difference between those who say they are Christian, and those who really ARE Christian.

Thanks again for the sentiment. Send me a note if you would like further dialog about LDS issues without your roommates possibly finding out who you are. rvukich@hotmail.com

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David,
The Garden of Eden issue is pretty funny issue to get upity about. So at what point do you, as a Christian, not look stupid to all non-Christians believing in the Garden of Eden doctrine? Are you aware there are about a dozen or more locations offered by various Jewish and Christian believers? Non-LDS Christians speculate the Garden of Eden is in Ireland and Southeast Asia, as well as in Jerusalem, Iran and Iraq and Turkey.

If you read your Bible, which I don't think you do a lot of based on your other assertions, but in the Bible the location of the four rivers don't correspond to any location in the Bible. The names of the rivers do not correspond to the rivers in the Middle East. The Earth was divided in the days of Peleg, and so the location of the Garden of Eden could literally be anywhere in the world.

The fact you believe in a Garden of Eden, assuming you do as a Christian, makes you from an intellectual/scholarly standpoint just as stupid as us Mormons. You just don't have a clue about where it is located. Much more intelligent. :-)

David said...

"but in the Bible the location of the four rivers don't correspond to any location in the Bible."

I know there are many theories as to the location of the Garden of Eden but if you read the Biblical story, it's pretty obvious that the setting of the story of the Garden of Eden is located in the Middle East (also given that Euphrates is one of the rivers). And the fertile crescent being the seat of civilization and also the area in which the people of the Bible lived, makes it that much more plausible. But the claim that the Garden of Eden took place in Jackson County, Missouri, and that later on, after the great flood, the people traveled to the Middle East where all the Biblical stories took place - this claim is absolutely absurd! (Just about as absurd as the BOM story) And this is what Joseph Smith told people when they were in Missouri. It's called Adam-ondi-Ahman and will be the meeting place, according to the LDS, when Christ comes a second time. Truman Madsen talks about it in his lectures, The Life and Teachings of the Prophet Joseph. Not sure if you've studied those. Probably. You can get them here:

http://www.amazon.com/Life-Teachings-Prophet-Joseph/dp/1590382757/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256159515&sr=8-1

Walker said...

Looking back over some of these comments, I noticed that one of our friends attempted to correct me on Gen. 1 and school me in the Hebrew elohim.

Here is more from my blog:

The opening line of Genesis states, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." (Gen. 1:1) The Hebrew for "God" is ‘elohim, which is a combination of the feminine singular ‘eloah (the masculine being el) with the masculine plural suffix –im. At first glance, it would appear as if the word should then be technically rendered in English as "Gods," which it is in some cases throughout the Old Testament. Joseph Smith taught, "In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it." In the Book of Abraham in our canonized The Pearl of Great Price, it reads, "And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth." Such a reading in no way conflicts with the ideas the narrative or Hebrew show in Genesis. In A Reassessment of Biblical Elohim, Joel S. Burnett (Ph.D., Biblical and Near Eastern Studies) points out that the Hebrew ‘elohim (which is similar to the Western Semitic ‘ilanu and Phoenician ‘lm) is a concretized abstract plural (similar to "lordship" or "fatherhood;" concretized due to its use for single deities). He rejects the notion of "plural of majesty" due to it being absent in other languages that preserve the plural noun. A more accurate translation of ‘elohim would therefore be "divinity, deity" and can be attributed to plural subjects or a single god depending on the context. The context of Genesis 1...

Our friend's assessment sounds strangely like, I don't know, Wikipedia?

Allow my friend Daniel McClellan, who is pursuing his masters in Jewish Studies at Oxford, has to say about that: http://danielomcclellan.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/elohim-singular-or-plural/

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David,
No scientist has a theory for where the Garden of Eden "really" was, as there is no known scientific body of which I am aware, which accepts the Garden as true.

Your assertion about the setting for the Garden being in the Middle is purely your conjecture based on a superficial reading of the text. We could just as easily assert that the River Jordan and the Dead Sea were in Utah, since we have a River Jordan connecting a fresh body of water and a great salt body of water. I mean, we get one name right?

If it were so very simple, the Jewish rabbi's would not have it placed in Jerusalem, or other groups in Ireland (NOT LDS assertion) or SE Asia.

The point is the text itself is vague and not verifiable because of PRECISELY the fact that according to the Bible, Noah spends many months floating on the waters. Months, meaning he literally could have come and gone from anywhere.

I spent a great deal of time studying this specific issue a couple of years ago, and it is not so casual or direct as you assert. The Bible, and especially issues in the first 10 books of the OT rarely are.

Mock the Mormon belief, but candidly most Orthodox rabbi's would find your assessment juvenile in its simplicity and lack of dealing with the multitude of issues your statements require. Headwaters become outlets, rivers flow together. And, oh yeah, there is no place where one river flows into four streams, two of which are the Tigris and the Euphrates streams, in the Middle East. Not much of a problem, except that the Bible explicitly says there are! Adam Clarke, the great 19th Century Biblical commentator, lists no less than 25 proposed locations, including on the moon, under the Earth, in an invisible location, and in Africa.

So being smug is the privilege of those with certainty on their side, which you do not have.

I keep encouraging you to do some research. Really, wikipedia or crosswalk.com or ccel, any of them could have helped you out here.

Ready, FIRE, AIM!!

Not such a great procedure.

David said...

"So being smug is the privilege of those with certainty on their side, which you do not have."

Blah blah blah, that's about as much as I get when you read your responses because that's about as much as they are. You guys will say anything to defend your beliefs. With enough "sources" and "evidence", you could just as well argue that no one is certain about anything in this world which is ridiculous. You can spin it anyway you want but most people, even scientists, (with common sense or any kind of sense for that matter) believe that the setting for the story of the Garden of Eden (whether a true story or not) is in the Middle East. It is the most plausible theory.

One other thing I would recommend, don't assume that others haven't studied the literature out there on these issues, because they have. I've noticed how condescending you and Walker tend to be to the commenters - "Oh, it's obvious you've never read the Bible" or "Obviously, you know nothing about the scientific evidence regarding this issue" or "clearly you haven't studied LDS scholarship" or "Obviously you know nothing about anything." These remarks are getting a bit old and, quite frankly, annoying. I also noticed your comment to M:

"I actually welcome the critical comments from those "Christians" who attack me or the LDS Church because it does illustrate the difference between those who say they are Christian, and those who really ARE Christian."

There have been attacks and insults from both sides, so don't act like you are angelically pure because you have played right along with it.

David said...

Alright Bob, if this will make you happy, from the easiest source that is out there, Wikipedia (search Garden of Eden):

"There have been a number of claims as to the actual geographic location of the Garden of Eden, though many of these have little or no connection to the text of Genesis. Most put the Garden somewhere in the Middle East."

Anonymous said...

"Allow my friend Daniel McClellan, who is pursuing his masters in Jewish Studies at Oxford, has to say about that: http://danielomcclellan.wordpress.com/2009/10/17/elohim-singular-or-plural/"

Ooh, wow, you know someone at Oxford?!? You're so impressive, Walker, I just can't stand it! How did you get to be such an intellectual stud? It's so amazing!

And you claim to be Christian? With your attitude, that's hard to believe. Look at Christ. Who did he hang out with during his ministry on Earth? The lowly fishermen, the sinners, the lepers (that he healed), the blind (that he healed), the sick etc. He fed people, he turned water to wine, he washed peoples' feet, he healed many and died for all. He gave many people hope and something to believe in. Who did he despise? "Ye Scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites!" And you, my friend, are a Pharisee.

Anonymous said...

"My point was that his son was just like him and he was committed to an insane asylum."

"Right. It was pointless."

Actually this comment that was made earlier was not pointless at all. It proves that mental illness ran in the Smith family. Emma Smith even wrote in a letter that she believed her husband, Joseph Smith Jr., suffered from a diseased mind. I believe that she was right. No one knows a man better than his wife.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David,
Thanks for the spirited responses. I will say that I assume people have not done research because they say such stupid, self-serving things about other people's faith that they clearly haven't done their research.

For example, the comment from Wikipedia posted by anonymous about the locations not having any connection to the Bible is valid. But they cite the Middle East as the Bible's location for connection. I think that is great. It narrows it down to only about 10 theories on the location, none which match the Bible or the geography of the region. There is no perfect fit, and the flood account makes ALL explanations impossible to support. Are we to assume the Garden survived the Flood? Is there anything in Noah's account which forces a middle east location?

Since 1 Peter 3 tells us only 8 people survived the flood, are there any scientists who agree that the entire world was destroyed about 5,000 years ago?

And the statements by Adam Clarke, who is obviously Christian, makes it clear speculation is all over the board.

So where does mocking the LDS belief, which we hold to be received by revelation be more deserving of scorn than any of your positions?

The short answer is it does not.

But thanks for the interest. I still think your work is pretty superficial and not scholarly, but you obviously feel strongly.

Thanks,
Bob

Walker said...

"you know someone at Oxford?!?"

Um, yes

"How did you get to be such an intellectual stud?"

Just natural, I think

"And you, my friend, are a Pharisee."

Why? Because I know someone at Oxford?

Your pathetic appeal to Jesus hanging out with "lowly people" is just your excuse for not having an answer. Instead of actually looking at his blog entry and commenting on it, you just fling insults at me. "You're so impressive."

Anonymous said...

If Bob thinks his work is scholarly, he is sadly mistaken. His conclusions are at best logically flawed, at worst they're delusional. If you actually look and study into his sources it's startling how flawed his conclusions typically are. For example, on Youtube he's using 1 Cor 8:5-6 as proof that there are other real gods, implying there are other Gods like what is taught in Mormonism. Yet if you simply read the verses before and after the ones he refers to you clearly see that it is in no way shape or form a proof text of the existence of other Gods, especially not like Mormonism teaches. It's seriously laughable and deceitful what he does, not scholarly.

A couple of years ago he was posting on the old Born Again Mormon forums, and was constantly and consistently shown to be wrong. We even had Dan Vogel on the board shooting apart his stuff. Yet, he is still around saying the same exact things that have been shown to be wrong. He has an obvious agenda to defend and promote Mormonism at all costs. Logic, honesty, and truth are thrown out the window in the pursuit of making Mormonism look good. He is down right deceitful when it comes to his research and conclusions, and is not to be trusted by anyone seeking real truth.

Walker said...

"His conclusions are at best logically flawed, at worst they're delusional."

So you say. A lot of assertions, with no support.

"It's seriously laughable and deceitful what he does, not scholarly."

So is calling someone deceitful without backing up what you say.

"even had Dan Vogel"

Even Dan Vogel!!! Shaking in my boots!

"not to be trusted by anyone seeking real truth."

Poisoning the well. For one speaking about "logic and honesty," you would think you would avoid such logical fallacies.

Anonymous said...

"Your pathetic appeal to Jesus hanging out with "lowly people" is just your excuse for not having an answer. Instead of actually looking at his blog entry and commenting on it, you just fling insults at me. "You're so impressive.""

That wasn't my purpose. I was trying to get you to see you for what you are.

David said...

"If Bob thinks his work is scholarly, he is sadly mistaken. His conclusions are at best logically flawed, at worst they're delusional. If you actually look and study into his sources it's startling how flawed his conclusions typically are."

Yes. Well said.

"A couple of years ago he was posting on the old Born Again Mormon forums, and was constantly and consistently shown to be wrong. We even had Dan Vogel on the board shooting apart his stuff."

That's interesting but not surprising.

David said...

"But thanks for the interest. I still think your work is pretty superficial and not scholarly, but you obviously feel strongly."

There it is again! You know, Bob, this attitude you take with almost every single commenter on this blog - this attitude of "obviously you're an uneducated idiot with no scholarly integrity" - this will only take you so far until people start to see right through it. It won't help you fix your flawed conclusions. I could sit here and present a bunch of sources that I have studied and include a bunch of quotes and scriptures and act like I'm so impressive and self important and scholarly but I won't because I'm not going to play your little game. I've read enough and studied enough to know that Mormon doctrine is nonsense. I have enough sense to know a con when I see one. In fact, it's my faith as a Christian, my faith in Christ and his truth, that allows me to see Mormonism for what it is - a man centered religious organization made by humans that lies about its history, sucks people into it under false pretenses, and whose doctrine (i.e. exaltation) breeds pride and arrogance into its members. If you don't believe me about the pride and arrogance, just take a look at some of Walker's remarks and comments on this blog. There is pride and arrogance there like I have never seen. Although I dismiss Walker as being a bit of an idiot, I am surprised by you. You seem very educated and intelligent. I would describe the stuff that you write as being educated nonsense. Given what you know and what you have studied, I'm surprised you haven't seen the truth yet. It could be that you don't have much common sense. That could be it. I have seen very intelligent people with little of that. Or it could be that you can't see the forest through the trees. Or it could be, like it is with so many other Latter Day Saints, that your beliefs are closely tied to your emotions and that clouds your judgment. Whatever it is, it's been fun chatting with you. I wish you well my Brother! Take care.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anonymous,
I have the notes from the exchanges with Dan Vogel, and you are truly as deluded as Shawn if you think Dan was "shooting apart" my stuff. I used Dan's material to show he was committing multiple logical fallacies in projecting his belief, without evidence, that JS was copying from the Bible. He concludes he must have copied from the Bible because he dismisses there being any possibility of divine intervention. BTW, he believes that about Evangelical beliefs, too.

I challenged him to memorize 9 pages of Isaiah passages on three consecutive days, and dictate them back with the same rate of limited changes as found in the Book of Mormon. Since we have MULTIPLE witnesses that JS had no books, manuscripts or materials with him, the only explanation is he memorized from a Bible, which they also did not have on site. JS was not known to have a vast memorization ability. We don't see people crediting him with that ability, nor do we find it visible in his talks. So he had to memorize it just like I was challenging Vogel to do.

Vogel declined, saying it was 'obvious' that JS had used a Bible. It is not intellectually justified to claim in an absence of evidence you reach a conclusion denied by the author, (a charge routinely leveled at the Book of Mormon evidence), but with directly contradictory evidence, i.e., multiple witnesses saying there is no external materials, that you then decide based on preconceived biases where you think there is no divine involvement.

My view is Vogel tired of trying to justify his underlying biases. He never accused me of being intellectually impaired or illogical. In fact, I think he respected the fact that I had a good command of his own materials.

Look, this is typical Born Again Mormon sour grapes. If I am an illogical, misinformed apologist, why is it that Shawn McCraney refuses to let me ask questions on his show? Before being banned, you can hear me, and I was always polite and calm. Why is it he refuses to present a balanced view of LDS history? You don't see me blocking or banning anyone. Even the illiterate are given their shot on my blog and on my youtube site. Why? Because, like this anonymous critic, their arguments are the evidence of their non-Christian conduct and their intellectually challenged reasoning and positions.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

David wrote:

I could sit here and present a bunch of sources that I have studied and include a bunch of quotes and scriptures and act like I'm so impressive and self important and scholarly but I won't because I'm not going to play your little game. I've read enough and studied enough to know that Mormon doctrine is nonsense.

One of the reasons I cite sources, quite frankly, is to avoid being accused of having a limited breadth on the subject at hand. I point it out all the time that most of my personal library is from non-LDS authors. I read lots of FARMS and FAIR materials too, of course, but they do a funny thing: They also cite sources.

I don't doubt you are satisfied that you know enough to reach your conclusions. I will guess that I have more materials by critics of the LDS faith, which I have read as well, than most anyone I know. But it is because I have surveyed lots of material that I don't crumble at the site of the latest anti-Mormon argument, which, when we read the footnotes, lacks historic or textual support. The stuff by Walker is a perfect example. He puts out a very impressive discussion of Elohim, and the response is to mock his knowledge of someone at Oxford.

Anyway, if you can put out a bunch of sources, do so. Then we can interact with what you see as support of your views. That is why I put my material out there. No one has yet interacted with Mark Smith or Michael Heiser's works on Isa 43:10, or the fact that nearly no Biblical commentaries interpret the verse in the manner anti-Mormons assert. Likewise, I have at various times listed specific passages where multiple real gods are described in the Bible. The attack on 1 Cor 8:5-7 is in the vein of a very selective read by the critics to avoid the obvious, direct meaning of the text, both in English and the underlying Greek. In the real world, if I say "there are many counterfeit currencies (as there are many currencies), but to us there is one currency, the dollar". No one walks away saying "there is only one real currency." It is obvious what the relationship of the parenthetical comment is to the entire passage.

But still, I appreciate your thoughts. So seem better organized than others, but maybe we can agree that is true for everyone.

Anonymous said...

"Poisoning the well. For one speaking about "logic and honesty," you would think you would avoid such logical fallacies."

Did the smart little Walker just learn about logical fallacies? Seems so, because you sure do like throw them out like it's the word of the day because you're so excited to use them. These are comments on a blog and people aren't going to write novels explaining themselves throughly on every single post. I've read Bob's stuff for years now, and have researched his sources and have often found them twisted beyond the point of recognition. So if in one little comment post, I don't thoroughly explain myself it isn't a logical fallacy. It's writing a brief comment on a blog...

I find it funny that Bob's constant use of straw man, ad-hominem, and poisoning the well are littered in a lot of what he writes, yet you don't weigh that in your opinion of his work. What I see from Walker, is that he uses supposed logical fallacies as his thought killer. If he can find some little fallacy he can totally ignore it and keep on being a happy little Mormon boy. Oh, and it's easy to pick apart peoples sentences, take them out of context, and respond to them, thereby missing the whole point of what the person is saying. Seriously, what is the point of that? Is that considered scholarly now? Whatever it is, it's definitely illogical.

Anonymous said...

"Look, this is typical Born Again Mormon sour grapes."

See... Poisoning the Well...

Isn't it just a little hypocritical that you say others have non-Christian conduct, when you yourself are doing the very same thing? That's getting into ad-hominem areas there, definitely poisoning the well. People can't believe a Christian with non-Christian conduct! Wow, multiple logical fallacies in one post. I guess I can pull a Walker and totally ignore everything you said.

Walker said...

"I was trying to get you to see you for what you are."

I see the light. I'm a Pharisee for having a friend at Oxford and using scholarly materials.

Walker said...

"obviously you're an uneducated idiot with no scholarly integrity"

I believe that was Anonymous who was saying that no Mormon has scholarly integrity...

"I won't because I'm not going to play your little game"

Ok

"I've read enough and studied enough to know that Mormon doctrine is nonsense"

Well, until you can actually provide backup, this means very little.

"There is pride and arrogance there like I have never seen"

Why? Because I don't let you tell me my religion is a load of crap laying down?

"Although I dismiss Walker as being a bit of an idiot"

It is easy to call me an idiot. It is another thing to demonstrate why.

Walker said...

And I do believe, David, that you entered the discussion by 1. Declaring Nathan the winner (which is fine), 2. Making a comment about our intelligence...

Walker said...

With the exception of a few Bible verses, I don't find David or Nathan providing sources.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

I get accused of twisting sources regularly. It seems to revolve around the scholars who are teaching, 1. That Israel actually believed in the existence of multiple deities, even as they worshiped only one; 2. That God of Israel had a wife; 3. Real history is not anywhere near as damning of Mormonism as the selective history provided by the critics.

Frankly, I didn't think anyone had been reading my blog for years, so I am excited to know someone has. Even my wife doesn't read my blog! But I am 100% sincere when I tell you that I would truly appreciate the opportunity to respond to those situations where you find I have twisted a reference. Seriously, I take that stuff very earnestly, and if I did something like Copan and Craig did not understanding the Greek philosophy underlying creation of the world, I want to know.

Will I respond? Of course. But my version of "peer review" swings both ways. Tell me when I mis-state something by someone else. Look, I put an apology on my website because I accidentally attributed a citation to a British author. He contacted me, and he was very cool about it, and I removed the quote and issued an apology. Nobody probably even saw it, but it tried to make it right, and we both knew it. I sent him a note apologizing, even though he recognized it as an honest mistake. In fact, he requested I send him the rest of the references on my website, and said he found it interesting. So he wasn't angry, but I knew I was wrong and needed to fix it.

So if you really think I twist things and don't care about the facts of a passage, well bite me. It is not true, I deeply care.

I think the reason I literally have never been challenged about twisting specific citations on this blog is because I am using them in the context, I believe, the authors intended. And if the author is alive, I am happy to engage him, and as shown with the citation for my webpage, if I am in error, I will admit it.

So bring out the twists. Let's make some juice out of these apparent sour grapes I think you are twisting. How do we get better if we don't play nice?

Anonymous said...

"And I do believe, David, that you entered the discussion by 1. Declaring Nathan the winner (which is fine)"

In which he did win.

"2. Making a comment about our intelligence..."

Hmmm, giving you a taste of your own medicine. Well deserved, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

"Although I dismiss Walker as being a bit of an idiot"

"It is easy to call me an idiot. It is another thing to demonstrate why."

I don't think he really needs to demonstrate why. All a person has to do is read your comments on this blog.

Nathan said...

"Frankly, I didn't think anyone had been reading my blog for years, so I am excited to know someone has. Even my wife doesn't read my blog!"

Like I said before, I think women are a little bit smarter than us. :)

Alright, we'll play nice from now on ...

Walker said...

"Did the smart little Walker just learn about logical fallacies?"

No, but if anyone wanted to see examples of them, they could just look at your posts.

"word of the day"

'Phrase of the day' might be more appropriate since 'logical fallacies' is two words. You hear it a lot because you do it a lot.

"It's writing a brief comment on a blog"

Excuse me for not allowing your opinion to go unchallenged. I see that you would rather say nasty things about the religion than provide valuable information. Great choice.

"logical fallacies as his thought killer"

What would you like me to say to this: "He is down right deceitful when it comes to his research and conclusions, and is not to be trusted by anyone seeking real truth." No examples. No reasons. Just say so. When you just label him deceitful without explaining for everyone to read, I'm sorry, but that qualifies as fallacious.

"take them out of context"

The context is there for everyone to see. I respond directly to specific parts so you know exactly what thought I'm responding to. It is actually for your convenience and for other readers. I'm sorry if picking apart your sentences shows how ridiculous most of them are.

"it's definitely illogical."

How?

Walker said...

"I guess I can pull a Walker and totally ignore everything you said."

Yet, before you said that I pick apart your posts. So, I obviously don't ignore everything you say. I for the most part actually engage everything you say, pointing out fallacies along the way.

So, no. Your response is nowhere near the caliber of mine.

Walker said...

"See... Poisoning the Well..."

Actually, Bob's comment was in response to you labeling him "deceiful." He provided a good amount of information regarding this debate. He explained Vogel's position, the challenges presented, and his response. He then draws, as a conclusion, the 'sour grapes' label. He then points to your comments, which are still available to read, as non-Christian conduct.

You alluded to a year+ old debate, providing no details, and simply labeled Bob "deceitful...not to be trusted" based on it.

Once again, your post is not the same caliber. You truly were doing no more than poisoning the well. Not only was it fallacious, but it was cowardly.

"smart little Walker"

When you are done being a child, come back and have a conversation with the adults.

M said...

Bob, I was wondering, where in the Bible does it mention a pre-existence? Even though I like the idea, Christians don't typically believe in a pre-existence so I was wondering where the LDS get this.

Walker said...

M,

I'm going to let Bob answer it, since you asked him. But I've heard Terryl Givens new book (published by Oxford) "When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought" is great. You can get a feel for it in a presentation by him here: http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2007_When_Souls_Had_Wings.html

Walker said...

"In which he did win"

So says the third party who also hasn't provided any sources. Aren't you the one who said no Mormon scholar has integrity and neither does any scholar that agrees with them? Or was that a different Anonymous?

"giving you a taste of your own medicine"

CFR. Show me where I said ANYTHING about ANYONE being "stupid or arrogant." Considering it was only David's second comment, it was bad taste.

"I don't think he really needs to demonstrate why"

Once again, so says the third party who hasn't provided any sources.

Anonymous said...

"Bob's comment was in response to you labeling him "deceiful." "

It's still poisoning the well. It's an attempt to make me look bitter and angry. Which isn't the case. Thank you again for proving my point in your most recent posts that your reading comprehension skills are severely lacking. That's why people are calling you an idiot. You miss the points being made, and comment like an arrogant prick.

Since I cannot pull up sources from past discussions with Bob to show deceit, everyone can watch this video on youtube: Debate with Mormon apologist http://www.youtube.com/user/aaronshaf2006#p/u/2/VgDUt_i9vbY

He's deliberately misleading through the whole video. Instead of saying what Mormons actually believe, that yes God was a man like us, and we can become Gods, he bounces around implying God was once a sinner, sometimes insistent that He never sinned, sometimes insistent that no one can really know if God sinned, that scripture doesn't say anything on it, so he doesn't believe it. That is deceitful, because anyone who is actually a Mormon knows that God was once a man like us (sinners) and that we can become Gods. So instead of just honestly saying that the scriptures don't have the information on this topic, but we have Prophets in these Latter Days that give us modern revelations so we now know what the scriptures don't mention. That would be honest, but no, we have Bob dancing around the subject for 45 minutes.

So there is one example of deceit from the Anti-Anti-Mormon.

Anonymous said...

"You alluded to a year+ old debate, providing no details, and simply labeled Bob "deceitful...not to be trusted" based on it."

No... See once again your reading comprehension is sorely lacking. It's the combined experience from reading thousands of Bob's written words over the years. Was that debate part of it, yes, but it definitely wasn't the only part that lead to my current opinion of his work.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Anonymous,
Did you watch the online conversation I had with Aaron? Have you read my comments? You find it evasive that I actually believe LDS doctrine, and carefully try to distinguish between speculative embellishments and what is scripture? I told Aaron, based on LDS scripture and my reading of the King Follett Discourse, that I personally did not believe God had ever not been a god, that he had never sinned, and that Jesus had likewise always been divine. Aaron insisted that some Mormons believe differently, which I conceded as true, and I flat out rejected as false his citation of a conversation with a BYU professor who said it was "likely" that God had at some point been a sinful human.

I argue that whether God is a sinner or not is not knowable from the scriptures, especially the scripture Aaron cited, Rev 4:8. In fact, after the conversation I looked up the passage in Greek. The very word "Holy" is the same, IDENTICAL word used by God to describe his people, which is commonly translated (wait for it) "SAINT". To be holy is to be clean and pure. That things can be "eternal", such as the Aaronic priesthood even if they are not in fact eternal in some aspects.

I also noted in the conversation that being forgiven of sins erases sin. It makes it as if it never did happen. Hides it, cleanses it, whatever you want to say. And why, I asked, for humans who did sin, why would we care if God did or did not? The Bible itself tells us Jesus' experience helped to prepare him as a more sympathetic and understanding savior for us. I pointed out, I believe, that ancient Hebrew and Caananite belief was in fact the Gods which they believed existed were actually considered deified ancestors, so, I pointed out, they obviously did not find it diminishing to the status of Godhood to have been a sinful mortal.

Lastly I pointed out that the KFD is not codified as LDS scripture, and it is the ONLY place anywhere from JS which indicates God lived on a planet. If you read the actual discourse, the reason he discusses God having lived and died and been resurrected was because he was comforting King Follett's family, as this was a funeral, and he was noting that God went through a resurrection experience, just like Jesus, so it is an essential part of progress. While I agree with that logic, it is not part of LDS scripture. But I noted, and note again, that Jesus was a god while alive on the Earth, and since he was emulating his father, according to the KFD, then I asserted the language is clear, in my mind, that the Father was also a sinless, divine being if he did live on a planet.

I don't particularly care that you appear to be less well versed on the subject matter than myself. I care greatly that once again you have accused me of having a deceitful character. My position was neither evasive nor deceitful, it was simply cautious because it is an area of extreme speculation, and such topics are specifically discouraged from teaching in the D&C because they are a distraction. I find your continued attacks on my character unbecoming and unkind.

I think you owe me an apology, which any Christian I think would find obvious.

Walker said...

"It's still poisoning the well."

No, it wasn't. Bob's wasn't pre-emptive. He gave reasons and details first. However, your comment was pre-emptive, seeing you provided no details as to why you drew that conclusion based on that debate. Even referencing Corinthians you didn't correct anything. You just said he was "delusional."

"your reading comprehension skills are severely lacking"

That or you didn't realize that the definition of 'poisoning the well' requires it to be pre-emptive. But then again, you just went to the next fallacy: tu quoque.

"anyone who is actually a Mormon knows that God was once a man like us (sinners)"

Blake Ostler, who is mentioned in the video, has done some great work on this. You've strained logic once again by appealing to belief.

"Was that debate part of it, yes, but it definitely wasn't the only part that lead to my current opinion of his work."

It still was nothing more than "I've seen him in action. He is deceitful! Beware!"

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is why your opinion doesn't count as official church doctrine. I was taught it as a Mormon. Millions were/are taught it. Brigham Young said: "He [God] is our Father—the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods " (Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p.333).

A man in mortal flesh as we are. As we are? I think everyone he was talking to was a sinner. That is just one example of it being taught above and beyond the KFD. Quite frankly, what Brigham Young said as a 'Prophet of God' should hold more weight than you give it. When did the Modern Revelations that Mormons proclaim as so vital become ignored? From what I'm getting from you, if it hasn't become official scripture, it doesn't matter? I wonder what your Prophet would think of that. Or does it just make it easy for you to pick and choose what stance to take when its convenient? Because Mormons don't really follow the Bible or the Book of Mormon, so I have a hard time believing that if its in the scriptures it really holds that much importance to you(Mormons).

Yes, more ad-hominem! I'm not as versed as you now huh? So you're more trustworthy? Is that what you're trying to get across? You sure assume lot from brief comments on a blog. Maybe I just don't have the time to do much more than I am.

What you call cautious came across as very misleading to me, and I still believe it was. Because you're an intelligent man and you know very well that it is taught, and I assume you just didn't want to openly admit it on camera. Because what is the LDS Temple for? Isn't it the key to becoming a God? It's what it all boils down to, and you know it.

Stop with the sympathy card. Seriously. You might not out and out call people names, but you have a bluntness and a mockery tone in a lot of what you write that can be just as hurtful as anything I have said.

M said...

"I'm going to let Bob answer it, since you asked him. But I've heard Terryl Givens new book (published by Oxford) "When Souls Had Wings: Pre-Mortal Existence in Western Thought" is great. You can get a feel for it in a presentation by him here: http://www.fairlds.org/FAIR_Conferences/2007_When_Souls_Had_Wings.html"

Thanks, I'll check it out.

Walker said...

"I was taught it as a Mormon"

Apparently, official church doctrine = what Anonymous was taught.

"was once a man in mortal flesh as we are"

This doesn't say anything about God being a sinner.

"As we are?"

The last time I checked, Jesus was made flesh as we are.

"should hold more weight than you give it"

Yes, but your forced interpretation does not.

"more ad-hominem!"

Except ad hominem isn't always a fallacy.

"Isn't it the key to becoming a God?"

And?

"You might not out and out call people names"

He has more class than that. There isn't anything wrong with being frank. Nice tu quoque once again.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

I don't quite get how I can be condemned about the topic of "did God sin" on material which I not only did not appeal to for support, but actually categorized, along with the KFD as not binding upon the Church, and acknowledge there were other opinions.

As I told Aaron, I am very conservative about doctrinal issues. If it is not an official statement from the First Presidency or in the scriptures, it is to be regarded as provisional at best, personal opinion at worst. The Church stated, after the revelation concerning blacks and the priesthood, that all former statements about why the priesthood was withheld were in error. The real answer nobody knows. Just like why God chose Israel and Abraham or any other question for which complete information is not known. Even Bruce R McConkie said he was wrong.

So when you quote from the personal opinions of others and say "this is what I was taught", fine, maybe you were one of 6 people who found the statement in the JoD. Did you seek out Ostler's comments, or others like him previously? No, I doubt it. And you had to have been taught that its only an opinion until it is official. If JoD is the baseline for semi-Official, then remember that BY also stated that his talks were only worthy of being called scripture AFTER he had a chance to edit it and prepare it for distribution. Do you have such evidence?

No, you don't. Again, in the vein of fairness, if you are going to apostacize from every faith where leaders express wrong or stupid opinions, then you can not be a Christian, since Paul and others spoke officially on various topics which were absolutely fales:

Peter refused to be seen with gentiles, which "they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:14)

Paul says it is true that "The Cretians [are] alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies." (Titus 1:12)

Jesus called the gentiles "dogs" (Matt 15:26).

You also seem to completely miss the fact that JESUS in LDS belief was "a man in mortal flesh", and yet sinless. That is what made him unique from all the rest of the "Holy", I mean "saints", those made "awesome" (Literal Greek meaning, you can look it up if you think I am twisting it.).

Continued below:

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

The point is in the KFD, the critical lines are the following, which I pulled out and quoted:

"The Scriptures inform us that Jesus said, As the Father hath power in Himself, even so hath the Son power-to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious-in a manner to lay down His body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do we believe it? If you do not believe it, you do not believe the Bible. The Scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it."

Note that regular mortal men do not have power in themselves to lay down their lives and take it up. So what does that say about God during his life?

That God was God while on a planet somewhere. It says no more, or less, than that.

Now, since the 1850's that statement has been published in the various documents of the Church, and it is the source material for ALL comments about God having lived on a planet. BY and Lorenzo Snow and everyone else is elaborating according to their wisdom what they think it implies. None of their statements have been incorporated into LDS scripture.

Worse perhaps, in my opinion, is this reflects on the imprecision of your own studies, and your willingness to assume that because you have a false understanding of statements or doctrines out of Church history, guys like me who have actually done more studying at a greater depth must be lying because they don't draw your same conclusions due to having a broader study of the source material.

So while you think I am deceptive, the conversation with Aaron wasn't "what do unstudied folks in the LDS Church believe about God?", it was an interview about my beliefs, which Aaron found frustrating for the same reason you seem to find frustrating: I discuss the actual and official doctrines of the Church, and my opinions having read the source material and not having grown up in the Church and listening to the speculations of High Priest Quorum drive me batty. I am not sorry you think I am lying. I feel bad that you didn't do better studying before you left the Church.

Your inability to apologize for insulting comments questioning my integrity demonstrates for me where you are, and the real impact of the moral teachings of the Bible on your personal behavior. But it is consistent with your earlier lies about the conversations in fast and testimony meeting, and my observation back then, which you have acknowledge, at least indirectly, was correct.

boyd said...

I have heard LDS testify I know the LDS church is the only true church and JS is a prophet, ect, based on feelings.
If you were lost in the woods would you trust your feelings or use a compass? The bible is the compass reference.

Walker said...

"The bible is the compass reference."

Moroni's promise in the BoM actually alludes to studying the Bible as well. However, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, "The scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge, but what precedes the ultimate source. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation." ("Scripture Reading and Revelation," Ensign, 1995) If you want to argue that the Bible is superior to direct revelation from God, be my guest.

Anonymous said...

But Walker, what happens when you can no longer trust your revelation, because your first prophet was accused of false prophecies?

I mean, wouldn't God tell him the RIGHT thing to say?

Anonymous said...

And Walker, isn't the Bible direct revelation from God as well, just written down by men who knew Jesus?

Walker said...

"But Walker, what happens when you can no longer trust your revelation, because your first prophet was accused of false prophecies?"

1. The prophet's revelations and my personal revelations are two different things. I am specifically talking about personal revelation, as was Elder Oaks in the quote I provided.
2. Joseph Smith was accused of a lot of things. Doesn't make it true.

Walker said...

"And Walker, isn't the Bible direct revelation from God as well, just written down by men who knew Jesus?"

I believe the Bible to contain revelations from God. However, I also don't assume that it has remained unaltered over the centuries as it has passed through mortal hands. I have no reason to assume that and plenty of evidence not to.

And not all authors of the Bible knew Jesus. The majority lived centuries before He was even born. To refer to the Bible as "direct revelation from God by men who knew Jesus" makes very little sense.

Putting aside all of this, I would still need personal revelation to know that the Bible contained revelations from God. I can't just accept it as revelation because it claims to be. The same thing goes for the BoM, PoGP, D&C, and continual counsel from General Authorities. Therefore, Elder Oaks is right: scripture study precedes the ultimate source of knowledge, which is revelation. Which is the ultimate source: ancient manuscripts that claim Jesus was raised from the dead and is the Son of God or personal divine revelation enlightening me as to the truthfulness of these manuscripts' claims? Allow me to answer for you: the latter.

Anonymous said...

Ok I have another question for you. If there is indisputable evidence that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, will the entire Mormon Church falter?

Anonymous said...

2. "Joseph Smith was accused of a lot of things. Doesn't make it true."



Just like all of the things you accused about the Bible? True?

Anonymous said...

"Putting aside all of this, I would still need personal revelation to know that the Bible contained revelations from God."



So, if I get personal revelation from God telling me that the Bible is true, who is he lying to? Me or you?

Walker said...

"If there is indisputable evidence that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, will the entire Mormon Church falter?"

"Indisputable" is the key word.

"Just like all of the things you accused about the Bible? True?"

The point of my remark is that you lack specifics. Just stating that Joseph Smith is accused of false prophecies means very little.

If you want something in regards to the Bible, Dr. William Dever (Professor Emeritus of the University of Arizona and one of the leading American archeologists) stated in regards to the Exodus, "We have no direct archeological evidence. "Moses" is an Egyptian name. Some of the other names in the narratives are Egyptian, and there are genuine Egyptian elements. But no one has found a text or an artifact in Egypt itself or even in the Sinai that has any direct connection. That doesn't mean [the Exodus] didn't happen. But I think it does mean what happened was rather more modest. And the biblical writers have enlarged the story." (July 2007 Interview by Gary Glassman, The Bible's Buried Secrets, NOVA Online) There are other things about the Bible that archaeology confirms. The Exodus just isn't one of them.

"So, if I get personal revelation from God telling me that the Bible is true, who is he lying to? Me or you?"

I would say we've gotten the same revelation. No lying involved. But I certainly hope you aren't setting up the false dichotomy of all true or all false.