South Jordan Library at 10647 S Redwood Rd. (1700 W) in South Jordan, UT
We will start at 6:30pm. Topic will be the Book of Mormon attacks we commonly run into, but also a discussion about how to approach people who appear to be critical of the Mormon faith. Bring your questions, please don't let me be there alone! I have an outline for 10 classes which I will hand out, and we can discuss questions and suggestions for future sessions.
Proposed, incomplete, outline is as follows:
Lesson 1: Intro and Book of Mormon
Disclaimer: The material and opinions expressed here are the opinions of the presenter, and are not official statements by either the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) or FAIR Mormon.
Introduction Austen Farrar said, of C.S. Lewis:
Though argument does not create conviction, lack of it destroys belief. What seems to be proved may not be embraced; but what no one shows the ability to defend is quickly abandoned. Rational argument does not create belief, but it maintains a climate in which belief may flourish. (http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_apologetics )
And CS Lewis wrote:
“To be ignorant and simple now—not to be able to meet the enemies on their own ground—would be to throw down our weapons, and to betray our uneducated brethren who have, under God, no defense but us against the intellectual attacks of the heathen. Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” (C. S. Lewis, "Learning in War-Time," in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (New York: Macmillan, 1965), 27-28; cited by James S. Jardine, “Consecration and Learning,” in On Becoming a Disciple-Scholar, edited by Henry B. Eying (Bookcraft, Salt Lake, 1995), 77.)
My background [describe]
Understanding that most issues people have who have been active in the Church are not related to anything covered by this class. There is nearly always a pain behind the question which is being manifested by the question. That is why love is the essential tool when dealing with those with questions. You can spend many wasted hours solving a non-existent problem. Once people resolve their pain, they will remember their feelings of testimony, and then they can work through their challenges, which in my experience get really small once they are feeling the Spirit in their lives again.
By its nature faith is not knowing. Wide range of attacks on the Church. Attacks at the Book of Mormon are the most significant because it is the Keystone of our religion.
Range of explanations for the Book of Mormon: Delivered by demons; copied from the Bible and environment; copied from Spaulding;
Witnesses and statements that they only “spiritually” discerned holding the plates.
Family members handle the plates
Weight of the plates, nature of the plates
Changes to the text, and how much of the original manuscript do we have
Understanding the translation process
Why the Church uses incorrect depictions of the translation process?
Praying about the plates, or other spiritual decisions (Remember Bill McKeever of MRM asking for people to pray about giving them money. “If you have not considered this ministry as being a part of your missionary giving, we certainly hope that you would pray about it, and again we do thank you for that.” At 1:34 into Viewpoint on Mormonism Podcast, 9-23-2013. Compare this hypocrisy to their statements about the danger of subjective application of prayer to make decisions about religion and other choices in the article about praying about the Book of Mormon at http://www.mrm.org/praying-book-of-mormon . “Relying on subjective feelings can end up being disastrous and should be avoided by every sincere Christian believer.”)
How is the Book of Mormon the “Most Correct Book”?
Lesson 2: Complete Book of Mormon and Present First Vision
Richard Anderson document
Different Accounts of the First Vision
Modern statements about the First Vision
Understanding the historical context and use of the First Vision by Joseph Smith
Lesson 3: Mormon doctrines of Salvation
God was once a man; did God ever sin;
Praying for answers;
Do we need a prophet;
Mormon Trinity vs. Traditional Trinity;
Pre-existence of humans
Lesson 4: Mormon Doctrines of Creation, Mormon Doctrine of Exaltation and its support in history.
Evangelical acknowledgements of LDS scholarly approach
Matter eternal, Genesis 1 and other Bible verses on creation.
Heiser, Smith and Dever on the historic proof of the Hebrew belief in a plurality of real Gods
Lesson 5: Mormon Archaeology Compared to Biblical Archaeology
Old World historic locations cited in the Bof M
New World items found which are spoken of in the Book of Mormon
Languages of Central America with Semetic roots
Lesson 6: Church Leaders Character and statements; Determining doctrine, speculative statements by leaders; Feeling the Spirit.
Joseph Smith not wanting to be put on a pedestal, and being very public about his personal failings.
Recognizing leaders inspiration vs. personal wise counsel
Statements by leaders on recognizing doctrine.
Lesson 7: Book of Abraham, Kinderhook plates, Joseph Smith Translation
Lesson 8: Changes to the Priesthood
Lesson 9: Brigham Young’s Era issues:
Blood Atonement, Mormon Reformation, Adam God,
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Lesson 10: Polygamy, polyandry