50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answer 28)


Tower To Truth Question:

28. If marriage is essential to achieve exaltation, why did Paul say that it is good for a man not to marry? (1st Corinthians 7:1)


FAIR Answer:

Paul does not say it is good not to marry, but quotes the Corinthian Saints’ comments in a previous letter to him. Paul is responding to this claim, and he critiques it.

To learn more: Paul says good not to marry?


My Response:

Methinks FAIR is misunderstanding Tower’s intentions in asking this question. It’s almost the same misunderstanding Catholics have with us Protestants when we deny the doctrine of Mary’s perpetual virginity. They seem to be under the impression that we think sex (or, in this case, marriage) is a shameful thing and that we think it is “icky.”

On the contrary. We are not saying that marriage is a “bad” thing. Neither is Paul. And above all–knowing that the Scriptures were God-breathed–neither is God! And if FAIR knew their Bible, they would have gone immediately to Hebrews 13:4Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled. Or even 1st Timothy 4:1-3Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry (Not to say anything about Catholics forbidding their priests from marrying, mind you…[/sarcasm]) But, the Mormon cannot get around the fact that Paul said he would have men to be as he was (i.e., unmarried). But, let’s dive into the text, shall we? Continue reading

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answers 25, 26, and 27)


Because of the repetitive nature of the next three questions, I have decided to lump them into one post.

Tower To Truth Question:

25. Why does the Book of Mormon contain extensive, word-for-word quotes from the Bible if the LDS Church is correct in teaching that the Bible has been corrupted?

FAIR Answer:

It would be more correct to say that the Book of Mormon teaches that plain and precious things have been removed from the Bible 1_Ne. 13:28. The vast majority of that which has remained in the Bible is both true and valuable.

Latter-day Saints take two years of every four in Sunday School studying the Bible. They cherish it. They merely refuse to believe that the Bible is all that God has said, or can say. God can speak whenever He wishes.

To learn more: Bible basics

For extensive evidence that the Bible both underwent change and deletions in the very early years, see here.

To learn more: Biblical completeness


Tower To Truth Question:

26. Why do the Bible verses quoted in the Book of Mormon contain the italicized words from the King James Version that were added into the KJV text by the translators in the 16th and 17th centuries?

FAIR Answer:

The italics do indeed identify words added by the translators. They were “added” because they were necessary words for making sense of the translation: in Hebrew and Greek the words are sometimes implied, but necessary for English to make sense. (Italics can mislead us, however, in suggesting that there is such a thing as a word-for-word translation without interpretation, save for the italics.)

Thus, in some cases the italic words are necessary, and Joseph or another translator would have had to put them in. In other cases, Joseph removed the italic words. (It’s not clear that Joseph even owned a Bible during the Book of Mormon translation era, much less that he knew what the italics meant.)

This is really a question about why the Book of Mormon text is often very close (or, in some cases, identical to) the King James Version. If Joseph was trying to forge a book (as the critics claim) then why did he quote from the Bible, the one book his readers would be sure to know?

To learn more: Joseph Smith Translation and the Book of Mormon


Tower To Truth Question:

27. If the Book of Mormon was engraved on gold plates thousands of years ago, why does it read in perfect 1611 King James Version English?

FAIR Answer:

Because Joseph translated it as King James English.

Why do modern translations of the Greek and Hebrew Bible sound like modern English, even though the texts are hundreds or thousands of years old? Because that’s how the translators translated them. It doesn’t say anything about what the language is like on the original. (French translators make totally different translations than English translators, but the manuscripts remain the same!)

Do Christians condemn the Bible as an inauthentic record because their translations sound like 21st century English? This question is a good example of how insincere these “questions” from an anti-Mormon ministry are.


My Response:

OK, we’ll take the first one (Answer 25), since it is the simplest. It is simply another example of Mormon double-speak. They are basically saying, “We don’t believe the Bible has been corrupted. We just believe some things have been removed.”

Doesn’t the “fact” (quote-unquote) that things have “been removed” (quote-unquote), by default, render something “corrupt?” The word “corrupt” comes from the Latin (through Middle English) “to break.” In fact, according to Merriam-Webster, to “corrupt” means “to alter from the original or correct form or version” (See full entry here). So….if something was “removed,” doesn’t that, automatically, mean that it has been “altered from its original form?” But, this is, yet again, another example of a Mormon defining things differently than what they really mean. Oh, and, as usual, not a word about which of the “truths, plain and most precious” were removed. Yeah, good luck getting an answer on THAT.

Then there is the link that says, “For extensive evidence that the Bible both underwent change and deletions in the very early years.” Of course, that link takes you to another FAIR page where they quote Blake Ostler. Oh, yeah, real unbiased work, there. **rolls eyes** Oh, and as far as trying ot use Vagany against the reliability of Scripture, let’s look at the quote from FAIR:

“In AD 178 the secular writer Celsus stated in polemic against the Christians: some of the believers . . . have changed the original text of the Gospels three or four times or even more, with the intention of thus being able to destroy the arguments of their critics.’ (quoted in Origen, Contra Celsum, SC 132, 2, 27).

Now, one thing you need to know about Celsus: he was a heretic. He vehemently opposed the Christians and went out of his way to disparage them. Which means he is exactly the kind of person FAIR will quote in order to defend their beliefs–a known heretic! Way to go, guys! I suppose that next, in order to “prove” the Bible was wrong about the creation account, they will probably be quoting Charles Darwin.

Oh, and by the way, here is the full quote from Origen (emphasis mine):

After this he says, that certain of the Christian believers, like persons who in a fit of drunkenness lay violent hands upon themselves, have corrupted the Gospel from its original integrity, to a threefold, and fourfold, and many-fold degree, and have remodelled it, so that they might be able to answer objections. Now I know of no others who have altered the Gospel, save the followers of Marcion, and those of Valentinus, and, I think, also those of Lucian. But such an allegation is no charge against the Christian system, but against those who dared so to trifle with the Gospels. And as it is no ground of accusation against philosophy, that there exist Sophists, or Epicureans, or Peripatetics, or any others, whoever they may be, who hold false opinions; so neither is it against genuine Christianity that there are some who corrupt the Gospel histories, and who introduce heresies opposed to the meaning of the doctrine of Jesus.

I suppose that is enough evidence to shatter FAIR’s misuse of someone’s quote. And, yeah, there are going to be differences in the various Hebrew manuscripts. It would be interesting if FAIR would live up to their acronym and share with us some of these differences from Tov’s book. Oh wait……are those crickets I hear chirping in Utah? Yeah, I thought so.


So, for the second (Answer 26), let’s boil it down. Let’s look at the main thrust of their response:

The italics do indeed identify words added by the translators. They were “added” because they were necessary words for making sense of the translation: in Hebrew and Greek the words are sometimes implied, but necessary for English to make sense.


The Book of Mormon was not written in Hebrew, or Greek! IT WAS SUPPOSEDLY WRITTEN IN REFORMED EGYPTIAN! (A language which, by the way, has NEVER existed at ANY TIME IN HISTORY). So the argument that the italics were added to the Hebrew for insertion into the BOM is silly, because Isaiah was written in Hebrew while the BOM was written in a totally different language! BUSTED!! That would be like saying “The parts of the Bagavad Gita that were plagiarized from Das Kapital kept the italics to get the sense of what the Japanese meant.” We’re talking about completely different languages, so their answer on this point is moot.


Finally, Answer #27. I would have to say this isn’t much of an issue. Of course the gold-digger was going to translate it into the language of his day, so I really don’t think that’s any ground we need to cover.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answer 24)

snake eat tail

Notice the little picture above. It is an Oriborus. I really think it symbolizes Mormon theology, because if you share the truth with a Mormon long enough, their theology will start to eat itself.

Tower To Truth Question:

24. If the Adam-God doctrine isn’t true, how come D. & C. 27:11 calls Adam the Ancient of Days which is clearly a title for God in Daniel Chapter 7?


FAIR Answer:

The real question should be how do LDS justify their interpretation of Ancient of Days as Adam. LDS are not dependent upon biblical interpretation for a complete understanding of the meaning of this or any other term. Since LDS have a more expanded idea of Adam’s role, it is not surprising that they interpret some verses differently.

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism notes:

For Latter-day Saints, Adam stands as one of the noblest and greatest of all men. Information found in the scriptures and in declarations of latter-day apostles and prophets reveals details about Adam and his important roles in the pre-earth life, in Eden, in mortality, and in his postmortal life. They identify Adam by such names and titles as Michael (D&C 27:11; D&C 29:26), archangel (D&C 88:112), and Ancient of Days (D&C 138:38).

Joseph Smith is one source for this view of Adam:

“‘Ancient of Days’ appears to be his title because he is ‘the first and oldest of all.'”

The critics are also perhaps too confident in their ability to definitively interpret an isolated verse of scripture. This section of Daniel is written in Aramaic, while the rest of the Old Testament is in Hebrew. The phrase translated “Ancient of Days” (attiq yômîn) as one non-LDS source notes, “in reference to God…is unprecedented in the Hebrew texts.” Thus, reading this phrase as referring to God (and, in the critics’ reading, only God) relies on parallels from Canaanite myth and Baal imagery in, for example, the Ugaritic texts. Latter-day Saints are pleased to have a more expanded view through the addition of revelatory insights.

Like many other Christians, the LDS see many parallels between Christ (who is God) and Adam. Christ is even called, on occasion, the “second Adam.” It is thus not surprising that D&C 27:11 associates Adam with a divine title or status when resurrected and exalted—after all, LDS theology anticipates human deification, so God and Adam are not seen as totally “other” or “different” from each other. LDS would have no problem, then, in seeing Adam granted a type of divine title or epithet—they do not see this as necessarily an either/or situation.

This does not mean, however, that Adam and God are the same being, merely that they can ultimately share the same divine nature. Such a reading would be strange to creedal Christians who see God as completely different from His creation. Once again, the theological preconceptions with which we approach the Biblical text affects how we read it.

To learn more:Adam wiki articles
To learn more:Ancient of Days


My Response:

Now, wait a minute. I thought the Mormon church never taught Adam-God! OK, let’s work through this one point at a time.

The critics are also perhaps too confident in their ability to definitively interpret an isolated verse of scripture. This section of Daniel is written in Aramaic, while the rest of the Old Testament is in Hebrew. The phrase translated “Ancient of Days” (attiq yômîn) as one non-LDS source notes, “in reference to God…is unprecedented in the Hebrew texts.” Thus, reading this phrase as referring to God (and, in the critics’ reading, only God) relies on parallels from Canaanite myth and Baal imagery in, for example, the Ugaritic texts.

Um…yeah. No kidding! Just like interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 relies on interpreting history. The reference to Eerdman’s Dictionary of the Bible (the “one non-LDS souce.” Why don’t they ever tell you what the non-LDS sources are?) is another of those “skimming the surface” type answers FAIR likes to give. Here is the full entry:

Such a term in reference to God, presumably the referent here, is unprecedented in the Hebrew texts, although associations with Everlasting Father in Isaiah 9:6 have been suggested. The most likely source of the imagery is Canaanite myth since El, the head of the heavenly pantheon, is referred to as the “Father of Years” and often portrayed on a throne with heavenly attendants. The association of El with age generally is also notabble in Canaanite mythology. The context of the phrase, occuring in proximity to “One like a son of man,” which draws clearly on Baal imagery, further supports this association.

Unfortunately, FAIR gets caught up in the details, and gets distracted in trying to deal with Aramaic, so much so that they miss the clear words of the Scriptures.

Daniel 7:9-10–“I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.”

Let’s see. One sat on a throne. Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him, books were opened. These are some of the images we read about in Revelation referring to the Father and Christ. Then skip down to Daniel 7:13-14–

“I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

The Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven. To Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom. His is an everlasting kingdom. If FAIR can show how any of these things do not refer to the Father and the Son, please show me. Next!

Like many other Christians, the LDS see many parallels between Christ (who is God) and Adam. Christ is even called, on occasion, the “second Adam.” It is thus not surprising that D&C 27:11 associates Adam with a divine title or status when resurrected and exalted—after all, LDS theology anticipates human deification, so God and Adam are not seen as totally “other” or “different” from each other. LDS would have no problem, then, in seeing Adam granted a type of divine title or epithet—they do not see this as necessarily an either/or situation.

LDS theology anticipates human deification? Really? Try getting a Mormon to tell you that! Well, it is surprising that the D&C gives a divine title to Adam, since none is ever given to him in the Bible. And basically, FAIR is saying here that Adam is like God. Look at what they said: “God and Adam are not seen as “different” from each other.” Now, I may not always be the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but I do know a thing or two about the English language (although I have never studied Reformed Egyptian). If two things are not “different” from one another, does that not, by default, mean that they are “the same”? So, are they not saying that Adam is LIKE GOD?

So, in a nutshel, since I’m sure by now you feel like something that rhymes with “Tetzel,” is FAIR’s answer to this question………………………yeah, I’m trying to figure it out, too. Once again, they don’t answer the question. They do a little song-and-dance, change the subject, and leave the reader confused enough to believe they know something more than they really do.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answer 23)

Wow, it’s been a while. This series left off back in August with Question 22. I’ve now got a little bit of time (spring break next week), so we can resume our journey of untangling the sophomoric attempts by FAIR (Foundation for Apologetics and Information Research) to answer, in their own unique and convoluted way, some rather straightforward questions from Tower To Truth. We pick up with #23

Tower To Truth Question:

23. Why does D. & C. 42:18 say there is no forgiveness for a murderer when 3 Nephi 30:2 says there is forgiveness for him?’


FAIR Answer:

Doctrine and Covenants 42 is “the law of the Church” and pertains to those who are baptized members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who by baptism are adopted into the house of Israel. 3_Ne. 30:2 pertains to those who are still “Gentiles” and who are not yet “numbered with [God’s] people who are of the house of Israel.” For a member of the Church to commit murder there is no forgiveness, whereas a person who has not yet made baptismal covenants may, under certain conditions, be forgiven. Some Lamanites repented and were forgiven of their murders (see Alma 24:10-12).


My Response:

Alma 24:10-11 (all emphases mine)–
10 And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son.
11 And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do, (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain
12 Now, my best beloved brethren, since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren.

Did you notice a couple things there? This passage claims that our sins are forgiven by the MERITS of Christ–not by His blood. But….

  • Colossians 1:19-22For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death
  • 1st Peter 1:18-19you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…
  • Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins
  • Revelation 1:5To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
All of these verses talk about how we are redeemed, purchased, forgiven, washed by Christ’s BLOOD–not His “merit.” (This idea almost sounds like Roman Catholic doctrine, where, if we come up a little bit short in our efforts to be perfect, we can ask for a withdrawal from the “treasury of merit” that was built up by Saint (insert name of favorite saint here).)

A couple things here. First, LDS theology says that Jesus became a “God” based on His merit–that through obedience to eternal laws He attained godhood. That of course is a lie. Jesus is God because HE IS GOD–and for no other reason. He did not have to “earn” His title as God.

Second, we don’t “get God to take away our sins”–as if we do enough to have God look at us and say, “Way to go!! You’re such a good person, I’m going to save you!!” He looks down at a world of horrible, wretched, filthy sinners and grants repentance to some, draws them to Himself, and saves them from His wrath–not because we are somehow “good enough” (a most laughable concept if I ever heard one yet is, nonetheless, being taught in even many “Evangelical” churches), but simply because of His grace.

Now, to the main point I want to make. This particular exchange is almost perfect for showing the most glaring difference between Mormonism and Christianity. According to Mormonism, the blood of Jesus can cleanse you from sins–with a few exceptions. See, you can kill someone before you become a Mormon and get forgiveness no problem. But if you commit murder after you join the LDS system, there is no forgiveness.

Truth of the matter is, it does not matter when you commit murder. Even if you kill someone after you come to know Christ, if you ask forgiveness and you truly belong to Him–He will forgive. King David had Uriah killed after following God. Peter would have killed Malchus if he had his way. And yet these and many like them were still saved by the blood of Christ.

Because, you see, God’s forgiveness is not bound by time. In fact, in the book of Revelation refers to Christ as the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8)–even though He was slain thousands of years after the foundation of the world. So if a person is truly saved, it does not matter if they commit a particular sin before or after they get saved–God can forgive that sin.

And contrary to another lie told by the LDS church, there is no sin that cannot be covered by the blood of Christ–even murder.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 22)


Tower To Truth Question:

22. Why does the Book of Abraham, chapters 4 & 5, contradict Alma 11 in stating that there is more than one God?


FAIR Answer:

The term “God” may be used in more than one way. Latter-day Saints are not Nicene Trinitarians, but still believe in “one God.”

To learn more: Polytheism


My Response:

Note: Mormons are not, technically, polytheistic. They are more henotheistic, believing in the existence of many living gods, but only worshipping one.

The longer this series goes, the more flustered I become. It would be one thing if FAIR could formulate an answer that was more than 10 words long, and contained some kind of point. But it seems as though every answer they give is “No we don’t, so do Christians, you’re anti-Mormon.” The answer they give to this question isn’t even an answer. They are confronted with a fact–a contradiction in their “scriptures”–and they don’t even bother to answer it. They just give some lame excuse about “the word ‘god’ can mean more than one thing.” That’s like me telling my waiter “I asked for my burger without onions” and he looks at me and says “Pickels aren’t onions.” So, here’s the issue.

Alma 11:26-2926 And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?
And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.
Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?
29 And he answered, No.

So, clearly, the Book of Mormon says that there is only ONE LIVING GOD. Now, let’s see what the Ancient Egyptian pagan burial manual Book of Abraham says.

Abraham 4:1-41 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.
And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.

Abraham 5:1-31 And thus we will finish the heavens and the earth, and all the ahosts of them.
And the Gods said among themselves: On the seventh time we will end our work, which we have counseled; and we will rest on the seventh time from all our work which we have counseled.
3 And the Gods concluded upon the seventh time, because that on the seventh time they would rest from all their works which they (the Gods) counseled among themselves to form; and sanctified it. And thus were their decisions at the time that they counseled among themselves to form the heavens and the earth.

Here’s the thing: When FAIR tries to say that there is more than one meaning for the word “gods”–there is about a half a grain of truth in that. But, they are, in a sense, lying. Because what they mean by “Gods” is not what you or I mean when we say “gods” (Notice distinction between little ‘g’ and big ‘G’). When the Book of Abraham talks about these “Gods,” it is referring to those “Gods” who have attained godhood in Mormon theology. When you or I talk about “gods,” we usually refer to mute idols, statues of wood or metal, that can do nothing.

What does all this boil down to? FAIR is not living up to their acronym. And I cannot imagine that this is something they were not aware they were doing. They know what they mean by “Gods,” so to give the response they did is less than honest.

Oh, and if you want a good read, check out the link “Polytheism.” Here is their response to this charge:

Usually the very same people who are pressing the case that Mormons are polytheists are some stripe of Evangelical Christians who claim to be monotheists. But Trinitarians are not Monotheists by definition (just ask a Jew or Muslim).

Ask a Jew or a Muslim!! Two groups that deny the deity of Christ!! In other words, to make their case seem more credible, they would have you go to people who would call Mormons blasphemers!! Now, we don’t have time to give a thorough discussion of the Trinity here. Suffice it to say Mormons do not understand the Orthodox view of the Trinity. We do NOT worship three Gods. We worship Father, Son, Holy Spirit–who are One God.

And, once again, they throw out baseless accusations against influential christians, accusing them of worshipping many Gods–

Additionally, there is abundant evidence of deification being taught by various commonly accepted Christians. If belief in theosis makes one a polytheist, many Christians would have to be so labeled – including such figures as C. S. Lewis and John Calvin.

Umm, yeah, would FAIR like to show us how they make this accusation? They won’t, because they know that if they do, then someone who knows quite a bit more about these men will crush this statement under a pile of facts.

Apparently, FAIR only exists to give social Mormons a little relief in thinking that there are actually ways to resolve the spaghetti bowl that is Mormon theology. Because once you chase off the smoke and shatter the mirrors–they really have no answers.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 21)

fairWell, semester number 1 is over, I have about a month until the spring term begins, so let’s pick back up with our “50 Answers” segment. We pick up with the ancient Egyptian pagan mummy burial manual Book of Abraham.

Tower To Truth Question:

21. Does the LDS Church still regard the Book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price as Holy Scripture even after several prominent Egyptologists proved it was an ancient funeral scroll?


FAIR Answer:

The LDS Church announced that fragments of the papyrus were from the Book of Breathings within two months of their acquisition.

The big print in the Church magazine published as soon as the scrolls were recovered can be seen here.

Critics often don’t tell people that we are missing at least 85% of the scrolls that Joseph Smith had. We don’t have papyrus with the Book of Abraham on it (except Facsimile #1) and have never claimed to.

To learn more: Book of Abraham:Book of the Dead


My Response:

Currently, there are 10 fragments of the 11 papyri that Joseph Smith bought that became what we now know as the “Book of Abraham.” And wouldn’t you know it? The one that contained the actual text of the BOA is the one that no one can find. Gee, imagine that!

As I mentioned in my last Answer–stay focused. Again, in this response, FAIR is trying to take the focus off the main issue. That being, since the papyri that were recovered in NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art were indeed part of the set of papyri that Joseph Smith was duped into believing were writings of Abraham, “written by his own hand upon papyrus,” and since, from the day Joseph found them, he purported that all of the papyri were the writings of the Jewish patriarch–then the fact that none of the papyri that survived the Chicago fire had anything to do with Abraham, and since the 10 remaining fragments are from the Egyptian “Book of Breathings” then I find it quite a remarkable coincidence that the only fragment that did NOT survive contained the actual text of the Book of Abraham.

Here’s the timeline:

  • July 1835: Michael Chandler and his travelling Egyptian exhibit rolls into Kirtland, OH. Chandler, upon hearing that Joseph Smith has translated ancient Egyptian (oops, sorry, I mean Reformed Egyptian) into English, sells Smith a set of papyri written entirely in Egyptian.
  • November 1835: Smith completes his “translation” of the papyri, and declares that these are the writings of Abraham–that they contain the account of Abram’s and Sarai’s journey into Egypt (found in Genesis 12:10-20).
  • 1844: Joseph Smith is killed in a Carthage, IL jail. The papyri are turned over to his mother, Lucy Mack Smith.
  • 1856: Lucy Smith dies. Emma Hale Smith, Joseph Smith III, and Emma’s second husband Lewis Bidamon, sell the papyri to Abel Combs. Two of the papyri were sent to be displayed in the St. louis (MO) Museum.
  • 1863: The St. Louis Museum closes, and the papyri are sent to the Chicago Museum (later renamed Wood’s Museum after its new owner Joseph Wood.
  • 1871: The Great Chicago Fire destroys Wood’s Museum, and the Egyptian papyri contained there. After this event, it was believed that the original Book of Abraham papyri would never be seen again.
  • 1947: Ludlow Bell, curator of theNew York Metropolitan Museum of Art, obtains several Egyptian papyri from one edward Heusser, widower of Alice Combs Weaver Heusser, daughter of Abel Combs’ housekeeper.
  • 1966: Aziz Suryal Atiya discovers Facsimile #1 in the Egyptian Collection at the Met.
  • 1967: LDS apologist Hugh Nibley–a man with NO training in Egyptian linguistics, takes a crash course under John Wilson and Klaus Baer in an attempt to learn enough to do some translating.
  • 1968: The LDS publication Improvement Era publishes an article containing color reproductions of a fragment that had been in the LDS archives since 1908.
  • 1968: Egyptian linguist Klaus Baer confirms that the Egyptian papyri that Michael Chandler sold to Joseph Smith were in fact part of an Egyptian embalming manual. They were not written by Abraham.

In fact, even as far back as 1856, an Egyptologist at the Louvre noted that there were several lacunae (missing portions) in the papyri, and that the attempts by Joseph Smith to fill them in were simply fueled by Smith’s imagination, and were nothing more than guesses.

So, where does that bring us? It brings us to the argument that FAIR is making, that even though we do not have the original text of the Book of Abraham (just like we don’t have the gold plates of the Book of Mormon, reformed Egyptian has neveer been heard, etc), we should believe the BOA is a sacred text, as much from God as the Bible–even though it was nothing more than a page in an Egyptian–a PAGAN Egyptian–funerary manual.

Well, just how good of an Egyptian linguist was our good “prophet?” Let’s talk to the experts (via Wikipedia):

Egyptologist Dr. James H. Breasted, of the University of Chicago noted:

“… these three facsimiles of Egyptian documents in the ‘Pearl of Great Price’ depict the most common objects in the Mortuary religion of Egypt. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of them as part of a unique revelation through Abraham, therefore, very clearly demonstrates that he was totally unacquainted with the significance of these documents and absolutely ignorant of the simplest facts of Egyptian writing and civilization.”
Dr. W.M. Flinders Petrie of London University wrote:



“It may be safely said that there is not one single word that is true in these explanations”
Dr. A.H. Sayce, Oxford professor of Egyptology,

“It is difficult to deal seriously with Joseph Smith’s impudent fraud…. Smith has turned the Goddess [in Facsimile No. 1] into a king and Osiris into Abraham.”
Egyptologist Theodule Deveria also noted that portions of Facsimile 1 appeared to be incorrect, based on comparison with other similar Egyptian vignettes, and suspected that they had been reconstructed from lacunae in the original papyri. The papyri containing Facsimile 1 is acknowledged by Egyptologists to be a version of The Book of Breathings.

Granted, these men are more than likely humanistic scientists. And, granted, they didn’t have a peep stone so they could stick the papyrus in a hat and read what it said. But they are experts at deciphering hieroglyphics and interpreting Egyptian characters. And, once again, we have another reason why one should not believe the Book of Abraham to be true.


For a more in-depth discussion of this “Book of Abraham,” the Institute for Religious Research has put together the following video, “The Lost Book of Abraham.” It’s about an hour long, but if you’ve got time, and you’re interested, it’s worth it.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 20)

Tower To Truth Question:

20. Since the word grace means a free gift that can’t be earned, why does the Book of Mormon state “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.” (2_Ne. 25:23)


FAIR Answer:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes the same thing about grace that the earliest Christians believed. Modern Protestant ideas are different from earlier teachings, which is fine, but it doesn’t make Mormon ideas “false” if we agree with how the earliest followers of Jesus saw the matter.

One Evangelical Christian author wrote of his sudden discovery that his previous beliefs about salvation were very different from those held by the early Christians:

If there’s any single doctrine that we would expect to find the faithful associates of the apostles teaching, it’s the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. After all, that is the cornerstone doctrine of the Reformation. In fact, we frequently say that persons who don’t hold to this doctrine aren’t really Christians…

Our problem is that Augustine, Luther, and other Western theologians have convinced us that there’s an irreconcilable conflict between salvation based on grace and salvation conditioned on works or obedience. They have used a fallacious form of argumentation known as the “false dilemma,” by asserting that there are only two possibilities regarding salvation: it’s either (1) a gift from God or (2) it’s something we earn by our works.

The early Christians [and the Latter-day Saints!] would have replied that a gift is no less a gift simply because it’s conditioned on obedience….

The early Christians believed that salvation is a gift from God but that God gives His gift to whomever He chooses. And He chooses to give it to those who love and obey him.

—David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, 3rd edition, (Tyler, Texas: Scroll Publishing Company, 1999[1989]), 57, 61–62. ISBN 0924722002.

The Latter-day Saints are pleased to be in the company of the earliest Christians. And, the LDS cannot be excluded as Christians because they have not embraced the modified doctrines adopted later.

Further, the phrase “after all we can do” must be interpreted in light of other Book of Mormon passages which define “all we can do” as repentance and being forgiven of sin and cleansed of guilt (see Alma 24:10-12).

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, on of the present day apostles, spoke on these issues and doctrines thoroughly:

Dallin H. Oaks, “Have You Been Saved?,” Ensign (May 1998): 55. off-site
To learn more:

Grace wiki articles
Does the Church neglect the doctrine of grace?
Early Christian views on salvation
Relationship between works and grace [needs work]
Salvation by faith alone
Unforgivable sin


My Response:

This is one of the core issues that separates the LDS system from true followers of Christ–the same question asked by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30“What must I do to be saved?” So, what is the answer to that question? Well, the LDS believe that the Bible–and the Ante-Nicene Fathers–taught salvation by works. This is a total misinterpretation of what has been written. Good works are the mark of a true believer, and as James said, faith without works is dead (James 2:20). But we are not saved by our works.

And by appealing to the Early Church Fathers, they once again take the focus off of what the Bible says. We will address the word of God in a moment, but let’s just look at some of the quotes listed at the link entitled “Early Christian views on salvation.” First, the first quote from Justin Martyr, a quote that is taken so far out of context it may never find its way back:

Justin Martyr (110-165 A.D.) said “works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.” (Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:249, chap 100, Dialogue with Trypho)

Let’s look at the ENTIRE quote:

And by her has He been born, to whom we have proved so many Scriptures refer, and by whom God destroys both the serpent and those angels and men who are like him; but works deliverance from death to those who repent of their wickedness and believe upon Him.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho 100)

This is just one more way that FAIR continues to lose crdibility. If they are going to quote someone, at least quote them fairly (pun intended). But nah, they would just rather find a quote with the words “work” and “salvation” and throw it to people who won’t take the time to do research about the actual quote. Because, after all, it’s us “anti-Mormons” who are the liars. Well, here, Justin was talking about Mary, who as a virgin conceived the body of Jesus by the Holy Ghost. This Jesus is the one who “works deliverence…” Next quote from Justin:

“by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments, so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation.” (Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:185, chap. 65, First Apology of Justin)

But Justin is not talking about being saved by our works. He is emphasizing the point made by James in James 2:20 (quoted above) and by Peter in 2nd Peter 1:10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. In other words, show the world that you are saved, and do the good works that remind you of the salvation brought to you by Christ Jesus.

The other quotes they use, from such men as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Theophilus, are of the same type. They are not saying that we are saved by our works, but that doing good works proves that we are saved. You see, salvation by faith does not just mean “I believe the facts.” And that’s what James says when he writes You believe there is one God? You do well! Even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19).

Let’s look at the word “salvation.” To Christians, this is a term that refers to our being forgiven of our sins, and having, even now, eternal life with Christ. But what do the LDS believe about “salvation?” Well, they have a very different view of what salvation is than do Christians.

See, the LDS teach that all people will be resurrected, and their spirit, soul, and body reunited after death. This was made possible by Christ’s work, which they believe began in Gethsemane and was finished on the Cross. But when the Mormon talks about salvation, they really mean “exaltation”–receiving the highest glory in the highest “Celestial” kingdom. This they receive because of their works. The more works they do, the more points they earn, and the closer to “exaltation” they get. So, contrary to FAIR’s above claim, they are NOT “in the company of the earliest Christians.”

So, what does the Bible say about “salvation by works?” Well, if you go to a Southern Baptist church, you have no doubt had Ephesians 2:8-9 stamped into your forehead. By grace you have been saved through faith and that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, and not of works lest any man should boast. But see, FAIR sidesteps the whole issue of what exactly grace is. Which is what they do with all of their “answers.” They do not address the issue directly, but rather (a) smear God or his prophets, or they will (b) send people down a side road that has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

So, what is the sequence? Well, first, when we are born, we are born into sin. And it is only by being quickened by the Holy Spirit that we can see that. Ephesians 2:1-31 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. We were dead. Our spirit was dead to God. And only HE can bring it to life, because we were too busy chasing the things of this world.

Why? Because we are sinful creatures. Romans 5:12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. Romans 3:10, 23There is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So, how are we justified? Well, we find the answer in the very next verse. Romans 3:24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. In fact, go through the entire New Testament. Try and find one place where it says that it is our works that save us. Nah, don’t bother. You won’t find it.

So, what is grace? Grace is this: God created everything, gave Adam everything he would ever need, but Adam wanted more. He wanted to be like God–in fact, wanted to BE GOD–and he rebelled against God’s command, plunging all of humanity into sin. Thus, we are all born as sinful, rebellious creatures who have no desire to know God. But God, because of His GRACE, sent His Son to pay the penalty and the debt that we owed, so that all who accept that sacrifice will be forgiven of their sins, and will be accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6). We are saved by the grace of God, through our faith in Christ–not because we somehow “earn” that grace, nor is it conditioned on anything we can do. We only repent because God gives us the ability to do so.

Finally, let’s look at the Mormon idea of “grace.” In the LDS teaching manual “Gospel Principles,” they talk about a man who owed a great debt, which was paid by another who gave him an eternity to repay him. Elder Boyd K. Packer related a “parable” about this refinancing in Gospel Principles, pp. 75-77.

But let me tell you the way it really is: You see, to a Mormon, grace is nothing more than Financial Aid. God stands far away, and says, “You have a debt to pay. You pay off as much of it as you can, and I’ll make up the difference.” But that’s not how it is. Salvation by the grace of God means this: That we owed a debt–A 3 BILLION DOLLAR DEBT–and there was no way we could even begin to pay it with our own righteousness. Because the little trinkets of our “good deeds” are nothing more than filhty rags (Isaiah 64:6). No, my frined, God does not command us to “do good works,” and then promise to save us “after we have done all that we can do.” He pays off the debt completely, wiping it out with the blood of Christ.


50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 19)

Tower To Truth Question:

19. Why do you baptize for the dead when both Mosiah 3:25 and the Bible state that there is no chance of salvation after death?


FAIR Answer:

The passage in Mosiah 3:25, and any passages in the Bible which also imply there is no chance of salvation after death, are clearly addressed to those who have the opportunity to repent in this life. Those who have not, by no fault of their own, embraced the everlasting gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death.

The critics are on thin ice with this attack—do they wish us to believe in a God so unjust that He would damn someone for all eternity, simply because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus?

Why wouldn’t members of the Church baptize for the dead, when the Bible teaches this idea? (See 1_Cor. 15:29.)

To learn more:Baptism for the dead


My Response:

This is another of the most oft-debated issues in the Christian-Mormon dialog. And it is another issue where the LDS system, sadly, has so misinterpreted the Bible that one is hard-pressed to know how to start. But, start we must. Let’s begin with the LDS position, and see how their “scriptures” read.

Mosiah 3:24-27And thus saith the Lord: They shall stand as a bright testimony against this people, at the judgment day; whereof they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls. Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit; therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever. And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. Amen.

Notice some things about this passage. Notice that in the Mormon system, salvation comes based on our works. they shall be judged, every man according to his works, whether they be good, or whether they be evil. And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations. According to this passage, if our works are evil, we will be condemned. This is a total contradiction of 2nd Corinthians 5:10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Thing is, The Judgment Seat of Christ is not about “judging” us to determine where we spend eternity. If one is standing at the Judgment Seat (Bema) of Christ, that man is already saved, and is destined for Paradise. 2nd Cor. 5:9 has a parallel passage in 1st Corinthians 3:13-15the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Will the person be tested by fire? No, his works will be tested. But even if the works are burned up, the person will be saved. The passage in Mosiah is diametrically opposed to the truth of the Bible.

Next, in the verse from Mosiah, the person whose works are evil will suffer “a state of misery and endless torment…” I’m not sure which original Reformed Egyptian word was used here, but in most languages, “endless” means Endless. Without end. Perpetual. Never ending. So, these that are “evil” are in a state of endless torment.

From whence they can no more return. Again, the wording is very clear. They cannot escape the state they are in. “…they can no more return.” What else does it say about these? they have drunk damnation to their own souls. They have been condemned, consigned to a never-ending state of misery, a place they can never leave. Therefore, they have drunk out of the cup of the wrath of God, which justice could no more deny unto them than it could deny that Adam should fall because of his partaking of the forbidden fruit. God’s justice must be done, and in order for that justice to be done, these people must be tormented forever. If they are not, then God’s justice is denied. therefore, mercy could have claim on them no more forever. Once these people have died. Once these people have been condemned. Once these people have drunk down the cup of God’s wrath. There is no more mercy for them. This is right in their very own Book of Mormon! Once this person dies, their chances for mercy have ended! They are consigned to eternal torment.

And their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flames are unquenchable, and whose smoke ascendeth up forever and ever. Thus hath the Lord commanded me. Amen. Now, look closely. It says their torment is “AS” a lake of fire, &c. They will suffer a fate that feels like a lake of fire, and they will burn forever and ever. No matter what kind of spin they try to put on this, there is no denying that the wicked, who deny Christ in this lifetime and do wicked works, will suffer endlessly, they will suffer by burning, and the smoke that is caused by their being burned will ascend forever. There are no conditions. There are no addendums. There are no escape clauses. There is no “Unless someone does something for them.” This is where the other LDS “scriptures” come in. Since Joseph Smith forgot to put anything in the BOM about baptism for the dead, it had to be added later on, in the other books he fabricated.

In their statement above, FAIR claims, “The passage in Mosiah 3:25, and any passages in the Bible which also imply there is no chance of salvation after death, are clearly addressed to those who have the opportunity to repent in this life. Those who have not, by no fault of their own, embraced the everlasting gospel in this life will have the opportunity to do so after death.[emphasis mine]. Clearly? By whose reasoning? There is nothing in these passages from the Bible that say anything about whether the person “[had] the opportunity to repent in this life.” In fact, what do a couple of Bible passages tell us?

Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment… We are born, we live, we die, we are judged. Notice, the writer says “THE judgment.” We are judged worthy (by virtue of our faith in christ) or unworthy (by our rejection of Him).

Luke 16:25-26–“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.'” There is no way for the rich man to leave where he is.

So what does the Bible say about those who never hear the gospel? Romans 2:12, 14-1512 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law…14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them). Those who neve hear the gospel do have the law written on their hearts, although they do not acknowledge it comes from God. They have a conscience, and when they do the things in the Law, even though they have never heard the Law, that conscience carries the ame weight as the whole of the Law. As Paul said in the preceding chapter, so they are without excuse (Romans 1:20).

The critics are on thin ice with this attack—do they wish us to believe in a God so unjust that He would damn someone for all eternity, simply because they never had the opportunity to hear about Jesus?” No, friend. FAIR is the one calling God unjust, because that is indeed what he does. That does not make God “unjust,” contrarily it makes Him perfectly just.

Romans 9:14-16, 19-23–14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not! 15 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.” 16 So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy…19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?” 20 But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? 22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory?

To say that God MUST give everybody a chance to hear the gospel is to command of God that He bend to the feeble whims of human “fairness.” If that’s what FAIR wants to do, then be my guest. I will rather believe in a God who has every right to condemn the whole lot of the human race for our years of rebellion against Him.

Now, as for this matte of “baptism for the dead.” Never has an entire doctrine, built upon such a shaky foundation, ever caused so many headaches. Even the greatest theologians, historians, expositors and commentators who have wrestled with this passage for years are not much closer to an answer now than any have been in the past. But we do know this much: it is NOT talking about baptizing living people in place of dead people so the dead people can go on to some higher “glory.” In fact, there is nothing–NOTHING–that ANYBODY can do for someone, once that person has died. they are dead, they have been judged. Period. Paragraph.

1st Corinthians 15:29–Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead? Notice something here: Paul says, what will they do who are baptized for the dead…? If Paul had meant to say that christians can be baptized vicariously for anyone who died before, then it only stands to reason he would have said something like, what will those of us do who are baptized for the dead…? At any rate, this verse cannot mean what the LDS system claims it means, since baptism can only come after a person hears the gospel and believes–and only in this lifetime (See Acts 16:32-33).

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answers 17 & 18)

Tower To Truth Question #17:

17. If the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel,” why does the LDS Church need additional works?


FAIR Answer #17:

The Book of Mormon’s definition of “fulness of the gospel” is not “all truths taught in the Church.” The fulness of the gospel is simply defined as the core doctrines of Christ’s atonement and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Critics do not trouble to understand what the Book of Mormon says before attacking it.

To learn more: Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel


Tower To Truth Question #18:

18. If the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel,” why doesn’t it say anything about so many important teachings such as eternal progression, celestial marriage, the Word of Wisdom, the plurality of Gods, the pre-existence of man, our mother in heaven, baptism for the dead, etc?


FAIR Answer:

The Book of Mormon’s definition of “fulness of the gospel” is not “all truths taught in the Church.” The fulness of the gospel is simply defined as the core doctrines of Christ’s atonement and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Critics do not trouble to understand what the Book of Mormon says before attacking it. Making the same attack twice (see #17) makes it no more convincing the second time.

To learn more: Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel


My Response(s):

So, “fulness” doesn’t mean “fulness.” In Mormonese, “fulness” means “The only parts of our beliefs we will share with the world, lest they realize too quickly that we are indeed a false religion.” Now, FAIR claims that The Book of Mormon’s definition of “fulness of the gospel” is not “all truths taught in the Church.” I must have skipped over that part of the BOM where it actually defines the phrase “fulness of the everlasting gospel.” Oh, I know why. Because it doesn’t. So when they come a-knockin’ on your door, and they claim that their BOM contains the “fulness of the everlasting gospel,”–well, it doesn’t. It only contains the things they want you to hear before they start laying all that other gobbledy-gook on you. You know, the whole “milk before meat” shpiel.

If there’s one thing FAIR is good with, it is word games. And boy, do they play one here. What is it they say in their above answer? The fulness of the gospel is simply defined as the core doctrines of Christ’s atonement and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. So, what do they define the MORMON gosepl as being? At the link entitled “Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel” they say that,

In this passage [3rd Nephi 27:13-19] , Jesus defines “the gospel” as:

  • Christ came into the world to do the Father’s will.
  • The Father sent Christ to be crucified.
  • Because of Christ’s atonement, all men will be judged by him according to their works (as opposed to not receiving a judgment at all and being cast out of God’s presence by default; 2_Ne. 9:8-9).
  • Those who repent and are baptized shall be filled (with the Holy Ghost, see 3_Ne. 12:6), and
  • if they continue in faith by enduring to the end they will be justified (declared “not guilty”) by Christ before the Father, but
    if they don’t endure they will be subject to the justice of God and cast out of his presence.
  • The Father’s words will all be fulfilled.
  • Because no unclean thing can enter the Father’s heavenly kingdom, only those who rely in faith on the atonement of Christ, repent, and are faithful to the end can be saved.

Funny. My Bible tells about all those things too. Does it not contain the “fulness of the everlasting gospel?” Well, according to Salt Lake City–not anymore.

Now, if you dig far enough into Mormon doctrine, you will find that this is not the end of the LDS “gospel.” In fact, this is only the beginning. You must accept that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. You must do this and do that and believe something else. What, in fact, are the “first principles and ordinances” of the MORMON gospel? well, the 4th “Article of Faith” found in the Pearl of Great Price says,

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Oops. Problem. These are simply the FIRST Principles and Ordinances. Why are they the “FIRST” Ordinances and Principles? Well, because if there is a first, there has to be a second, no? In fact, thanks to the fine people at CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry), there are several “core doctrines” of Mormon theology that you will not find in the “Most correct book of any on earth”:

Church organization
Plurality of Gods
Plurality of wives doctrine
Word of Wisdom
God is an exalted man
Celestial marriage
Men may become Gods
Three degrees of glory
Baptism for the dead
Eternal progression
The Aaronic Priesthood
Temple works of washings, anointing, endowmants, sealing.

So not only does the BOM not contain even one-third of essential Mormon doctrine–it doesn’t even define what it means by “fulness of the everlasting gospel.” To think, when they were making those 4000+ changes and additions, they could have at least slipped something in there about plurality of gods, celestial marriage, etc. I guess by the time Joseph came up with these things, it was too late.

This is simply another smokescreen thrown up by (un)FAIR to divert people from the truth. They figure if they throw out that little bone, people will say, “Oh, that’s what it means. OK” and move on. They don’t like when people go deeper than the cute little sound bites they offer. And unfortunately, most people will be convinced by these. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from dialoging with Mormons over the years it is this: You will not proof-text a Mormon. And it helps to be ready for them to answer our objections to their beliefs.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 16)

Tower To Truth Question:

16. If the Book of Mormon is the most correct of any book on earth, as Joseph Smith said, why does it contain over 4000 changes from the original 1830 edition?


FAIR Answer:

Christians should be careful with such attacks. If they don’t want to have a double standard, they’d have to realize that there are more differences in Biblical manuscripts of the New Testament than there are words in the New Testament! Yet, Latter-day Saints and other Christians still believe the Bible.

Most of the changes to the Book of Mormon were issues of spelling, typos, and the like. A few changes were for clarification, but the original Book of Mormon text would easily serve members and scholars.

To learn more:: Book of Mormon textual changes


My Response:

The LDS claim that the “changes” to the Bible have corrupted it, all the while claiming that the changes to the BOM were for “clarity.” As the Geico Caveman™ would say…

Yeah, I’d like to answer that. Uh…what?

What is the official Mormon stance on the accuracy of the Bible?

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Where do they get this idea from? The Book of Mormon:

1st Nephi 13:26–And after they go forth by the hand of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, from the Jews unto the Gentiles, thou seest the formation of that great and abominable church, which is most abominable above all other churches; for behold, they have taken away from the gospel of the Lamb many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.

So, basically, they will swallow–hook, line, and sinker–the Book of Mormon, with all of its 4000 changes, which are thouroughly documented. Yet ask them where these supposed “plain and precious truths” were taken out of the Bible–ask them to show you where it was not “correctly translated,” and they will give you a blank stare and offer some vague blurb about the “restoration of the gospel.”

So, what are some of these changes to the “most correct book of any on earth?” Well, according to the link provided by FAIR,

If one counts every difference in every punctuation mark in every edition of the Book of Mormon, the result is well over 100,000 changes. The critical issue is not the number of changes that have been made to the text, but the nature of the changes.

Most changes are insignificant modifications to spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and are mainly due to the human failings of editors and publishers. For example, the word meet — meaning “appropriate” — as it appears in 1_Ne. 7:1, was spelled “mete” in the first edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1830. (This is a common error made by scribes of dictated texts.) “Mete” means to distribute, but the context here is obvious, and so the spelling was corrected in later editions.

Some of these typographical errors do affect the meaning of a passage or present a new understanding of it, but not in a way that presents a challenge to the divinity of the Book of Mormon. One example is 1_Ne. 12:18, which in all printed editions reads “a great and a terrible gulf divideth them; yea, even the word of the justice of the Eternal God,” while the manuscript reads “the sword of the justice of the Eternal God.” In this instance, the typesetter accidentally dropped the s at the beginning of sword.

In other words, God didn’t brush up on His grammar and spelling before He allowed Joseph Smith’s scribe to write down, word for word, what God “dictated” to Joseph Smith. But you have to remember how the Book of Mormon was “translated.” Joseph did not sit down with the plates and translate directly from the “golden plates.” Smith buried his head in a hat, along with a “peep stone”, and every word appeared before his eyes. Smith then told his scribe (whether Oliver Cowdery or Martin Harris) what to write down. The word would stay there until it was written properly, and a new word would not appear until the present word was written properly.

So, let’s look at some of these near-4000 changes, from the fine folks at the Institute for Religious Research. One thing to remember is the 1830 BOM was not divided into chapters and verses.

1 Nephi 3, p. 25 — And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh

1 Nephi 11:18 — And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God.


1 Nephi 3, p. 25 — And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Eternal Father!

1 Nephi 11:21 — And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Son of the Eternal Father!


At FAIR’s link, it says,

Changes that would affect the authenticity of the Book of Mormon are limited to:

those that are substantive AND
could possibly change the doctrine of the book OR
could be used as evidence that the book was written by Joseph Smith.

As far as “changing doctrine,” that’s exactly what the above changes do. Those changes that “could be used as evidence that the book was written by Joseph Smith” could be, oh, I don’t know, maybe, grammar, syntax, punctuation. You know. Those things that Joseph Smith had no clue about. Well, apparently, God forgot to brush up on His grammar before He set about giving Joseph the BOM (from IRR):

Improper use of “was” in 1830 edition later changed to “were”:
“… Adam and Eve, which was our first parents …” [p. 15]
“… the bands which was upon my wrists …” [p. 49]
“… the priests was not to depend …” [p. 193]
“… they was angry with me …” [p. 248]
“… there was no wild beasts …” [p. 460]

Improper use of “is” in the 1830 edition later changed to “are”:
“… the words which is expedient …” [p. 67]
“… But great is the promises of the Lord …” [p. 85]
“… And whoredoms is an abomination …” [p. 127]
“… here is our weapons of war …” [p. 346]

Improper use of “a” in the 1830 edition later deleted from text:
“… As I was a journeying …” [p. 249]
“… he found Muloki a preaching …” [p. 284]
“… had been a preparing the minds …” [p. 358]
“… Moroni was a coming against them [p. 403]

Are we to believe that God would tell Joseph to write that Moroni is “a-coming”? Or that Muloki was “a-preaching”? What, do they think God couldn’t make it through grammar school? The point is this: The LDS system claims that the Bible has been corrupted because

“Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 327). And LDS Apostle Mark E. Peterson said, “Many insertions were made, some of them ‘slanted’ for selfish purposes, while at times deliberate falsifications and fabrications were perpetrated” (As Translated Correctly, p. 4).

Yet they will cling tenaciously to this Book of Mormon that was supposedly spoken by a “God” who couldn’t even speak basic English.

The changes to the BOM are explained away by the mormon PR machine. Yet they will not accept the authenticity of the bible because of the supposed “careless transcribers, etc.” Well, as Joseph Smith might say, “That ain’t-a sowndin two rite too me”

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 15)

Tower To Truth Question:

15. Why does the Book of Mormon state that Jesus was born in Jerusalem (Alma 7:10) when history and the Bible state that he was born outside of Jerusalem, in Bethlehem?


FAIR Answer:

Bethlehem is in the direct area of Jerusalem, being only about seven miles apart. El Amarna letter #287 reports that “a town of the land of Jerusalem, Bit-Lahmi [Bethlehem] by name, a town belonging to the king, has gone over to the side of the people of Keilah.” The Book of Mormon gets the ancient usage exactly right: the town of Bethlehem is in the “land of Jerusalem,” especially from the perpsective of someone writing in the Americas.

To learn more: Book of Mormon anachronisms:Jerusalem vs Bethlehem


My Response:

Again, the sheer lack of supporting evidence and citation (apart from a blurb in one book) is telling. If they had evidence, you think they wouldn’t put it out there. They don’t, because they can’t. So I will.

Over at the link “Book of Mormon anachronisms” they feature this quote from BYU professor Daniel C. Peterson:

To suggest that Joseph Smith knew the precise location of Jesus’ baptism by John (“in Bethabara, beyond Jordan” (1 Ne. 10:9) but hadn’t a clue about the famous town of Christ’s birth is so improbable as to be ludicrous. Do the skeptics seriously mean to suggest that the Book of Mormon’s Bible-drenched author (or authors) missed one of the most obvious facts about the most popular story in the Bible — something known to every child and Christmas caroler? Do they intend to say that a clever fraud who could write a book displaying so wide an array of subtly authentic Near Eastern and biblical cultural and literary traits as the Book of Mormon does was nonetheless so stupid as to claim, before a Bible-reading public, that Jesus was born in the city of Jerusalem?


The defense that most Mormons try to give when explaining away this mistake from the “Most correct book of any on earth” contains many holes, some of which are so big you could drive a bus (filled with all of Joseph Smith’s wives) through them. Allow me to demonstrate their approach:

I grew up near Syracuse, NY. Syracuse is in Onandoga County. Around Syracuse are many suburbs (Jamesville, Dewitt, Minoa, Mattydale) and several villages (Liverpool, Baldwinsville). Now, say someone from Baldwinsville moved to Texas (“Someone from Baldwinsville moved to Texas.” There, I said it for you. Haha.). If someone in Texas asked where they were from, they would answer “I am from Baldwinsville, NY.” Then the person would ask, “Well, what is it near?” I would say, “It is near Syracuse.” BUT, I would NOT say “It is IN Syracuse.” Because Baldwinsville is not IN Syracuse. It is IN Onandoga County.

In the same vein, Bethlehem was not IN Jerusalem, because Jerusalem was NOT a “land.” It was a city (albeit the largest city) in a particular land. That land was Judah. Thus, as the TRUE prophet Micah wrote (and Matthew echoed), “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting” (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6). If Jerusalem was the land that contained the town of Bethlehem, then it would read, “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Jerusalem…” But it doesn’t. Because Jerusalem only contains Jerusalem.

Must be another one of those darned old “plain and precious truths”…….

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 14)

Tower To Truth Question:

14. Why did God encourage Abraham & Sarah to lie in Abra. 2:24? Isn’t lying a sin according to the 10 commandments? Why did God tell Abraham and Sarah to lie when 2 Nephi condemns liars to hell?


FAIR Answer:

In the Bible, there are accounts of God commanding or approving less than complete disclosure. These examples seem to involve the protection of the innocent from the wicked, which fits the case of Abraham and his wife nicely.

To learn more: Why would Abraham lie?


My Response:

Another example of FAIR not living up to their acronym. I can only wonder how frustrating it must be for them to find ways to rationalize their beliefs and how exhausted they must get after all the mental gymnastics they have to go through to fit the Bible into their doctrine. Let’s look at what you’ll find at “Why would Abraham lie?”

First, they say

Critics fail to note that the Bible records Abraham’s lie to Pharaoh, and then God rewards the lie (see Gen. 12:17). This seems a strange action if God disapproved their action.

Furthermore, there are times in the Bible when God has commanded His prophets to protect the innocent by giving the wicked less than the whole story.

For one thing, God did NOT reward Abram’s lie–which wasn’t really a lie, since Sarai was indeed his half-sister. That said, there could not be a more twisted misuse of this Scripture. In Genesis 12:17, Pharaoh finds out he has been lied to when God brings plagues upon his house. This was not a reward for Abram! In fact, what this did was to expose Abram for being a liar, and made him lose credibility in Pharaoh’s eyes. Genesis 12:18-2018 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife? 19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’? I might have taken her as my wife. Now therefore, here is your wife; take her and go your way.” 20 So Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him; and they sent him away, with his wife and all that he had. Now, notice something here. Pharaoh, even after he finds out that Sarai was Abram’s wife, sends her back to him. He could have still kept her, but he didn’t. Why? I believe that God was not so much punishing Pharaoh as he was making Abram look smaller in Pharaoh’s eyes because of Abram’s deceit. Imagine how much better things would have worked out if Abram would have trusted God instead of trying to work things out on his own by lying (Also, consider what happened when he tried to “help God” by sleeping with Hagar.). I truly believe that God would have protected Sarai if Abram would have been honest.

Next up, they mention the Hebrew midwives hiding the male children from Pharaoh. That somehow this is supposed to justify their twisted “Book of Abraham” account of God “commanding” Abram to lie. They say,

The midwives are confronted with a command from the head of state which offends their personal/professional morality. They decline to participate, and actively deceive the Pharaoh–they even lie to him or his officers so that the deception may continue, as well as to (one assumes) spare themselves his punishment. The subsequent verses indicate God’s approval of their action. (See Ex. 1:20).

Honesty to the wicked is not the primary moral value: obedience to the
will of God is.

Another example of their lack of biblical scholarship. After all, did any of the apostles lie about Christ when they were brought before the Jewish authorities? Was Stephen less than truthful when rebuking the Jews, even when they were taking him out to stone him? It would not take a lot of resaerch to find the apostle’s answer to the officers of the temple when they tried to stop the apostles from preaching Christ. Acts 5:29But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” You see, the head of every government is God (See Romans 13:1-4). So when the government tells us to do something, we should examine whether that order contradicts the word of God. If it does, we should obey what God says rather than man, because God is over every government on earth. That said, the midwives’ act of hiding the children against the orders of Pharaoh was not deception, or lying–but rather obeying the command of God, who in fact raised up Pharaoh for such a time (Romans 9:17).

Next they try to say that God told Moses to be deceptive:

The second example comes from the prophetic call of Moses. The Lord speaks to Moses and says:

17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. (Ex. 3:17)

The Lord announces His intention to liberate the Israelites from slavery. But, in the very next breath, He tells Moses what to tell Pharaoh—what the “public story” should be, if you will:

18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God. (Ex. 3:18)

The “public stance” of Moses and the Israelite leaders is to be that they only want to go three days’ journey to sacrifice. So, here the Lord is advocating some degree of deception. This extends to even deceiving their Egyptian neighbors:

21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:
22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
(Ex. 3:21-22)

Because they are just going to make sacrifices, in the public version, the Israelites are to “borrow” valuable goods from the Egyptians. But, the true intent is clearly spelled out: they are to “spoil” (i.e. “loot”) the Egyptians.

Pharaoh is, of course, nobody’s fool. He seems to strongly suspect that there is more to the story than Moses is publicly admitting. He offers all sorts of compromise positions, seemingly designed to assure that the slaves will return after fulfilling their duties.

In a nutshell, they try to say that when Moses asked Pharaoh to let the people go three days’ journey to sacrifice, that he was lying to Pharaoh and was trying to lead the people out for good. But that’s not the case. If you notice, FAIR just happens to leave out Exodus 3:19-2019 But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. God is giving Moses a condensed account of what is going to happen. Moses will ask Pharaoh to let the people go and sacrifice, Pharaoh will say “No,” and because of this, God will stretch out His hand against Egypt. There is no deception, there is no trickery. God is simply telling Moses what will happen.

God is not one for commanding someone to lie. If He was, He would not be Holy. He would not be righteous. He would not be God. Besides, there is much Scriptural evidence to say that God CANNOT lie.

  • Titus 1:2…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…
  • Hebrews 6:18that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.
  • Proverbs 6:16-17These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood…
  • Psalm 40:4Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

Again, FAIR throws out the blanket statement that God “commands” people to lie. But what does the Holy Spirit say? Let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4). FAIR is smearing the name of God by calling Him a liar, and heaping up wrath for themselves for the Day of Judgment.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 13)

Tower To Truth Question:

13. If God is an exalted man with a body of flesh and bones, why does Alma 18:26-28 and John 4:24 say that God is a spirit?


FAIR Answer:

In Alma, the reference is to Jesus Christ, who before His birth did not have a physical body.

John 4:24 does not say God is “a” spirit, but says “God is spirit.” There is no “a” in the Greek. The Bible also says “God is truth” or “God is light.” Those things are true, but we don’t presume God is JUST truth, or JUST light—or JUST spirit.

As one non-LDS commentary puts it:

That God is spirit is not meant as a definition of God’s being—though this is how the Stoics [a branch of Greek philosophy] would have understood it. It is a metaphor of his mode of operation, as life-giving power, and it is no more to be taken literally than 1John 1:5, “God is light,” or Deut. 4:24, “Your God is a devouring fire.” It is only those who have received this power through Christ who can offer God a real worship.

– J. N. Sanders, A Commentary on the Gospel According to St. John, edited and completed by B. A. Mastin, (New York, Harper & Row, 1968), 147–148.

To learn more: God is a Spirit


My Response:

FAIR needs to do some better work on their biblical scholarship. They have shown, in this response, that they have not studied the Greek of John 4:24. Let us look at the Greek of this verse:

πνευμα ό θεος

pneuma ho Theos

This sentence, πνευμα ό θεος (pneuma ho Theos), “God is spirit,” is constructed in a way similar to the last part of John 1:1, when John writes θεος ην ό λογος (Theos hn ho logos), “the Word was God.”

πνευμα ό θεος–“God is spirit”
θεος ην ό λογος–“the Word was God”

The word πνευμα (pneuma) is in the nominative case. However, this is actually the predicate of the sentence. And since there is no definite article it should be read “spirit.” Now, let’s look at ό θεος (ho Theos). The definite article ό is attached to θεος. This literally means “the God.” So what we get is “The God is spirit.” Or, in English, “God is spirit.”

So what is Jesus trying to tell us in this statement? Is He simply declaring the form and essence of the Father? Basically what He was saying was that all those who worshipped some kind of visible idol, or looked to some thing or some place or some person as their object of worship had missed it by an eternity. God (the Father) is everywhere. As the Psalmist said, Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:7-10). If God is not a spirit, why does the Psalmist say, “Where can I go from Your Spirit…If I ascend into heaven, You are there? Now, before anyone says, “Well, what about ‘Your hand shall lead me?‘” Many times the Hebrew of the Old Testament used different parts of the body to symbolize different things. The arm symbolized power, the head symbolized rule, the feet symbolized actions. Here, “Your hand” symbolizes power. And as far as “Your right hand“–if God had a body, could His “right hand” (if we think of “right hand” in strictly human terms) hold all those who call for Him at the same time? Are we to believe that at any given time only one person is ever needing God to uphold and strengthen them? Absolutely not! God is everywhere, at all times, since He is not limited by a body of flesh and bone.

Now, what about FAIR’s assertion that “The Bible also says “God is truth” or “God is light.” Those things are true, but we don’t presume God is JUST truth, or JUST light—or JUST spirit“? Frankly, I really don’t see what they’re getting at. God is all those things. He is also a strong tower, a refuge, a shield, a buckler, a rock, a defender…

Well, we can see in other places that God the Father does not have a physical body. Colossians 1:15And He [Christ] is the image of the invisible God. If God has a tangible, touchable body of flesh and bone, how can Paul declare Him to be “invisible?” We also must consider Hebrews 1:3–[Jesus] being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power… The word “person” is not the best way to render ύποστάσεως (hupostaseos). “Essence” is closer to the actual meaning, a fact which dampens the LDS argument that Jesus being the “image of His person” refers to the Father having a corporeal body.

Of course, saying that God has a body presents other problems as well. In the Old Testament, it is written many times that God “dwells between the cherubim” (1st Samuel 4:4; 2nd Samuel 6:2; 2nd Kings 19:15; 1st Chronicles 13:6; Psalm 80:1; Isaiah 37:16). So, if the Father has a body, and dwells on his home planet near Kolob (No, He does not live ON Kolob. Kolob is the nearest start to where God the Father dwells. Or so they say), and He is confined to a body, how can He “dwell between the cherubim”–a reference to His dwelling between the angels atop the Ark of the Covenant?

If you click on FAIR’s link that says, “God is spirit,” you will find this gem:

Deut. 4:28 says that our God can see, eat and smell.

WRONG!! Deuteronomy 4:28 says And there you will serve gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. [Emphasis mine] All this says is that the “gods” which men make cannot hear or eat or smell. And a link at that link tries to use the fact that God told Moses He would hide him in the rock and cover it with His hand. So, did He have to leave wherever He was to do it? And if God’s body is like our body, it must be pretty big for Him to cover a cleft with His hand.

There is much overwhelming evidence that God the Father does NOT have a body, that He is spirit, and that Christ is the only member of the Trinity to have ever taken on human flesh.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 12)

Tower To Truth Question:

12. Why were the words “white and delightsome” in 2nd Nephi 30:6 changed to “pure and delightsome” right on the heels of the Civil Rights campaign for blacks?


FAIR Response:

The critics have their history wrong. The change dates to 1837. The change was made by Joseph Smith in the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon, though it was not carried through in some other editions, which mistakenly followed the 1830 instead of Joseph’s change. It was restored in the 1981 edition, but that was nearly 150 years after the change was made by Joseph.

This issue has been discussed extensively in the Church’s magazines (e.g. the Ensign), and the scholarly publication BYU Studies.

To learn more: Douglas Campbell, “‘White’ or ‘Pure’: Five Vignettes,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 29:4 (Winter 1996)


My Response:

OK, so let me get this straight. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints–the organization that publishes the Book of Mormon–“mistakenly followed the 1830” edition of the BOM and kept the words “white and delightsome” in some editions–for ALMOST 150 YEARS!!!! Well, this is understandable. When there are almost 4000 changes made to a work of fiction like the BOM, it’s hard to keep track of all of them. And again, we get back to the age-old question–if the BOM was dictated, word-for-word, from God to Joseph Smith, wouldn’t the 1830 edition be closer to what God supposedly told Joseph to write? Shouldn’t those words be given precedent over the changes made to the BOM by men?

And do you notice something about FAIR’s answer: there are no links to take you to a more in-depth study of the issue. So far, every answer they have given has come with a link to some other page that at least makes an attempt to refute the idea offered. But here? Eh, not so much. They claim that “This issue has been discussed extensively in the Church’s magazines (e.g. the Ensign), and the scholarly publication BYU Studies. ” OK, how about a reference? Some kind of citation that can take us to one of these “magazines” and “BYU Studies?”

Well, I guess we need to look at what Mormon “prophets” have said about this passage. Does this mean that Brigham Young “mistakenly followed the 1830,” when he

stated in 1859, “You may inquire of the intelligent of the world whether they can tell why the aborigines of this country are dark, loathsome, ignorant, and sunken into the depths of degradation …When the Lord has a people, he makes covenants with them and gives unto them promises: then, if they transgress his law, change his ordinances, and break his covenants he has made with them, he will put a mark upon them, as in the case of the Lamanites and other portions of the house of Israel; but by-and-by they will become a white and delightsome people” (Journal of Discourses 7:336). [Via Mormonism Research Ministry]

Spencer W. Kimball “mistakenly followed the 1830,” when,

At the October 1960 LDS Church Conference, Spencer Kimball utilized 2 Nephi 30:6 when he stated how the Indians “are fast becoming a white and delightsome people.” He said, “The [Indian] children in the home placement program in Utah are often lighter than their brothers and sisters in the hogans on the reservation”
(Improvement Era, December 1960, pp. 922-3).

Or are these just these mens’ “opinions?” Yep, that’s it! This is an embarrassing topic for the LDS church, so we need to brush it off as being simply their “opinion.” No, friend. This was official doctrine of the LDS church, as evidenced by other BOM passages:

2nd Nephi 5:21“And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, and they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.”
3rd Nephi 2:15“And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites.”

The “curse of Cain” doctrine was ingrafted into Mormon teaching. I mean, for crying out loud, if it wasn’t then why did they need to issue an OFFICIAL DECLARATION in 1978, and add it to the Doctrine and Covenants?? If it wasn’t official doctrine, why did they need to add to one of the sacred scriptures?

Boy, I could go on here. You know, that whole “fish in a barrel” thing. I’ll let this video sum it up:

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 11)

Since I will be busy tomorrow, my usual Friday post goes up today. May all have a happy and safe 4th of July weekend!


Tower To Truth Question:

11. Why did Joseph Smith condone polygamy as an ordinance from God (D. & C. 132) when the Book of Mormon had already condemned the practice (Jacob 1:15, 2:24)


FAIR Answer:

The critics need to read the next verses. The Book of Mormon says that God may command polygamy, just a few verses later. (Jac. 2:30).

To learn more: Book of Mormon condemns polygamy

Many Biblical prophets had more than one wife, and there is no indication that God condemned them. And, the Law of Moses had laws about plural wives—why not just forbid them if it was evil, instead of telling people how they were to conduct it?

To learn more: Polygamy not Biblical

And, many early Christians didn’t think polygamy was inherently evil:
To learn more: Early Christians on plural marriage


My Response:

This is a lightning rod for most Mormons. And it is one of the few things people know about Mormonism, especially with the Warren Jeffs episode and the events in Texas. Now, Ask 100 people what they know about Mormons, I dare say 95 of them will mention polygamy. However, if you ask 100 Mormons about polygamy, 95 will probably tell you, “Oh, no, the LDS church has NEVER taught that.” Well, yes they did, it is documented all over the place, you can find it for yourself. That said, the question becomes “Does the Bible allow for polygamy?” (Oops, I mean “plural marriage“)

Let’s look at the examples FAIR gives us. At the link titled, “Polygamy not Biblical,” they mention Abraham, and his marriage to Hagar. Of course, Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, and we all know how well that turned out. Then they make a little oopsie. They try to use Abraham’s marriage to Keturah to support their position. Problem is, when Abraham married Keturah, Sarah had been dead for almost two whole chapters! Sarah died in Genesis 23, Abraham married Keturah in Genesis 25. Then they talk about Jacob, and how he took to himself both Leah and Rachel. Another problem. Jacob was promised by Laban to have Rachel as his wife for seven years of labor. He then worked for seven more years to receive what he was promised.

Now, what FAIR fails to mention about Abraham and Jacob is this: These two men lived long before the Law. Why is this important? It’s the same reason Cain could take one of his sisters as his wife (to answer that age-old question).

Well, FAIR mentions Deuteronomy 21:15-17

15 “If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved, 16 then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn. 17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

No doubt, many men still had more than one wife, a practice condemned back in Deuteronomy 17. So, in order to be equitable to the wives who had come to count on their husband for sustenance, God allowed the men to keep these women, but to treat them equally.

Now, let’s get to the main characters in this debate: David and Solomon. The LDS church uses these two men as models for a polygamous lifestyle. They point out 2nd Samuel 12:7-8

7 Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. 8 I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more!”

They zero in on verse 8, when Nathan tells David that Saul’s wives had been given to him. However, this does not necessarily mean he used them all. As the Keil & Delitzch commentary states,

These words refer to the fact that, according to the general custom in the East, when a king died, his successor upon the throne also succeeded to his harem, so that David was at liberty to take his predecessor’s wives; though we cannot infer from this that he actually did so: in fact this is by no means probable, since, according to 1st Samuel 14:50, Saul had but one wife, and according to 2nd Samuel 3:7 only one concubine, whom Abner appropriated to himself.

So while they belonged to David, he did not necessarily use them in the way the LDS church believes. Yet what does D and C 132 say about David’s wives? Doctrine and Covenants 132:38-39

“David also received many wives and concubines, and also Solomon and Moses my servants, as also many others of my servants, from the beginning of creation until this time; and in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. David’s wives and concubines were given unto him of me, by the hand of Nathan, my servant, and others of the prophets who had the keys of this power; and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife…”

This must be one more of those “plain and precious truths” that was removed by the “careless transcribers,” because nowhere do we see all these wives given to David by Nathan. Moving on…

Next, we have Solomon. 700 wives. 300 concubines. FAIR says of 1st Kings 11:1-8,

Solomon’s wives turned his heart away from, as Deuteronomy cautioned. Nothing is said against the plurality of wives, but merely of wives taken without authority that turn his heart away from the Lord.”

I don’t think anything needed to be said. We have seen, time and again, what happened to men of God who took other wives to themselves.

While God may have permitted polygamy, and may have tolerated it, don’t forget this—that the sins these men committed were no worse than the sins you and I commit every day. But God does not destroy us for them. He gives us a little rope, and we hang ourselves with it. And just as “Those whom God loves, He chastens” (Hebrews 12:6), He also chastened Abraham and Jacob and David and Solomon when they took many wives to themselves.

These LDS claim to be “restoring” the “fullness of the gospel.” But what did Jesus say in the Gospel of Matthew? Matthew 19:5“For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” Not “wives.” So any permission or leniency that God showed toward men who took more than one wife was obliterated by these words of Christ.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answer 10)

Tower To Truth Question:

10. If the words “familiar spirit” in Is. 29:4 refer to the Book of Mormon, why does “familiar spirit” always refer to occult practices such as channeling and necromancy everywhere else in the Old Testament?


FAIR Answer:

The term “familiar spirit,” quoted in the often-poetic Isaiah (and used by Nephi to prophesy about the modern publication of the Book of Mormon) is a metaphor, not a description of any text or its origin.

To learn more: Book of Mormon as a “familiar spirit”


My Response:

I believe the question from Tower To Truth, while understandable, is not quite accurate. And I say this with all due respect to the ministry of Tower To Truth, to the work they do, and in all humility. I do not say this to defend the existence of FAIR. But I do want to be honest with every answer I give, since an incorrect answer can lead to an indefensible position. I think the question stems from a slight misreading of the BOM text. I would have to agree with FAIR on this one, that the Isaiah passage (reiterated in 2nd Nephi) does say “as one with a familiar spirit” and is not saying the BOM “is a familiar spirit.” In fact, in Genesis, God tells Cain that his brother’s blood “cries out to Me from the ground” (Genesis 4:10).

That said, however, FAIR stands to be corrected. For one thing, at the link that says “Book of Mormon as a ‘familiar spirit'” they have this to say:

The Book of Mormon verse also emphasizes that the power to translate the Book of Mormon comes from God, not from channeling or necromancy: “the Lord God will give unto him [the translator] power.” But, the critics do not mention this inconvenient fact.

Actually, the “power to translate” the BOM was no gift at all–it was simply Joseph Smith sticking a rock in a hat and telling his scribe what to write. And if this “gift of translation” came from God, then somebody got their wires crossed, because in less than 7 years, editors had to clean up almost 4000 errors Joseph made in “translating” the BOM (poor grammar, misspellings, and make changes according to doctrine).

Second, FAIR states:

Critics also ignore that the Book of Mormon also speaks negatively about appealing to actual “familiar spirits”

Now, this is where FAIR kinda runs into a pickle. They say that, in essence, the BOM condemns speaking with the dead.


That’s interesting.

I mean, what with all that “baptizing for the dead” stuff. Then there’s the matter of how Joesph obtained the “Keys to the Priesthood.” Wilford Woodruff said:

John the Baptist conferred upon him the Aaronic Priesthood; Peter, James and John, the Apostleship and Melchisedek Priesthood; and all the Prophets who held any keys and powers belonging to the Gospel, these also visited Joseph Smith and conferred upon him those keys and powers and authority to administer them on the earth.

Ok, either these men were, like, really, really old, or they were really, really dead. Well, we know they were dead. So, this means that Joseph was communicating with the dead. Some people call that praying to the saints or veneration. God calls it necromancy.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 9)

Tower To Truth Question:

9. Can you show me archeological and historical proof from non-Mormon sources that prove that the peoples and places named in the Book of Mormon are true?


FAIR Answer:

This question is based on the mistaken assumption that the Bible message that Jesus is Christ and Lord is somehow “proved” by archeology, which is not true. It also ignores differences between Old and New World archeology. For example, since we don’t know how to pronounce the names of ANY Nephite-era city in the American archeological record, how would we know if we had found a Nephite city or not?

To learn more: Archeology and the Bible

For physical Book of Mormon evidence specifically, see:

Old World geography



My Response:

Another smokescreen. Of course the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord is not proven by archeology. But by the same token, we are not to rely solely on a “burning in the bosom” (D&C 9:8), or “I just feel Him in my heart.” The Holy Spirit led Peter to admonish us to Always be ready to give a defense for the hope that is in you (1st Peter 3:15). In other words, if someone asks you why you believe what you believe, be ready to tell them why, don’t just rely on your feelings. Peter says to “give a defense.” And doesn’t the Psalmist say that The heavens declare the glory of God? (Psalm 19:1) What all this means is that God has given us a universe of evidence that we can point to and say, “This is why I believe,” then tell them why.

That said, let’s look at the evidence–or lack thereof–for the events chronicled in the Book of Mormon. This is a tricky matter, because determining the location of the great and final battle supposedly written about in Mormon 6 has been a sore spot for the LDS church over the years. For many years following the publication of the BOM, the LDS church assumed that the Hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith “found the golden plates” was the same Cumorah where the final battle in Mormon 6 took place. However, they later found that they could not match the geography of Mormon 6 to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. No evidence anywhere. Plus, there was no physical evidence that said any major battle–let alone a battle involving over 200,000 soldiers–took place in upstate New York. So, out the window went that theory.

Later, they decided that, well, maybe it happened in Central America. New problem (actually, another example of a problem with the first theory). There has never been even one shred of evidence that the people of Central America used horses, ox, cattle, chariots, brass, gold, iron, or any kind of metal in their weapons at the time these events supposedly took place. (Google tapirs + Mormon and see what you come up with.)

Which is why they have had to take their current stance: We cannot determine where the “New World” events in the Book of Mormon took place, so we’ll just say it doesn’t matter, that it’s not important. Well, it IS important. If the Bible says that Abraham traveled east from Jerusalem and wound up in Scotland, what would that say about the credibility of the Bible? It would go out the window. So accuracy in science, geography, etc is important in establishing the credibility of a book claiming to come from God. After all, if God didn’t know where Zarahemla was, He wouldn’t be all-knowing, would He?

See, one of the sticking points for skeptics of the Bible over the years was the supposed lack of archeological evidence. Many years ago it was that Belshazzar was never a king in Babylon. However, more recent discoveries have been unearthed which tell of a co-regent in Babylon named Belshazzar. See, archeology bolsters the credibility of the Bible. It would do the same for the BOM.

Now, consider this: The LDS church says that we are to simply believe that BOM is true, that everything that happened in it is true. Yet if the geography and archeology do not match up with facts, then one could rightly question other things the book claims (see the “Earth resting on an elephant” example above). Now, I will give them this: Some of the “Old World” places mentioned in the BOM are close to actual names. But anyone could have found these places by looking at a map and giving even a cursory reading to an atlas of the Arabian Peninsula, even in Joseph Smith’s day.

So why didn’t he do the same thing when writing about the “New World?” Well, it’s one thing to claim that a family travelled from this city to that city, etc. But to claim that a huge battle involving 200,000+ men outfitted with brass shields and metal weapons and thousand of horses took place in a location that could be easily excavated and found to have no evidence backing up the claim? Not such a good idea. So he had to come up with some imaginary names so nobody would be able to examine the claims.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 8)

Tower To Truth Question:

8. Can you show me in the Bible the LDS teaching that we must all stand before Joseph Smith on the Day of Judgment?


FAIR Answer:

This is a misunderstanding and caricature of LDS doctrine. There is, however, the Biblical doctrine that the apostles will help judge Israel:

Ye [the apostles] are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:28-30; see also Matt. 19:28)

Since the saints believe in modern apostles, they believe that those modern apostles (including Joseph) will have a role in judgment appointed to them by Jesus. Those who condemn Joseph on these grounds must also condemn Peter and the rest of the Twelve.

Learn more here: Joseph Smith’s status in LDS belief


My Response:

If you click the link that says, “Joseph Smith’s status in LDS belief” it will take you to a page where they make a valiant effort at damage and spin control by saying,

Clearly, Joseph’s role is to function under the “direction…of the Son of God,” and the primary goal is the salvation of all who will accept any degree of Christ and Joseph’s witness of Him.

Now, if you’re not careful, they’ll slip that right past you. Not only do you have to accept Christ, but also “Joseph’s witness of Him.” It’s not enough to accept the witness of the apostle John, or Peter, or Matthew or Paul. You must accept Joseph Smith’s “witness” of Christ–which wasn’t any kind of witness, but merely a manifestation from the Satanic realm.


Interestingly, they then quote Brigham Young saying that if we do not believe Joseph Smith, that we are not of God:

I have taught for thirty years, and still teach, that he that believeth in his heart and confesseth with his mouth that Jesus is the Christ and that Joseph Smith is his Prophet to this generation, is of God; and he that confesseth not that Jesus has come in the flesh and sent Joseph Smith with the fulness of the Gospel to this generation, is not of God, but is antichrist.

Did you catch that? You must believe both prongs of this forked-tongue system. You must believe Jesus is the Christ and that He has come in the flesh, ***AND*** that Joseph Smith is His prophet with the fullness of the Gospel. If you don’t believe both of these prongs, you are not of God and you are Antichrist. This is not coming from some “bigoted, anti-Mormon” site. This is from a pro-LDS apologetics source.

The Scripture they try and use to back up this claim of Joseph Smith sitting on a throne and judging is Luke 22:28-30“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” and Matthew 19:28So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” However, we need to do some proper exegesis of these passages, because they could have also used 1st Corinthians 6:1-4, but we won’t get into that passage right now. Let’s look at what our Lord was saying.

In Matthew 19:28, we need to be careful not to assume that when Jesus speaks of the “regeneration” that He is talking about the final resurrection–whether the Bema of Christ, or the Great White Throne–because this is not what He is referring to. The word Jesus uses here is παλιγγενεσια (paliggenesia), not αναστασις (anastasis). The word παλιγγενεσια literally means “second nativity.” You might say that παλιγγενεσια means “Second Advent.” I believe this means Christ’s 1000 year reign on earth. Revelation 20:4And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. I believe these twelve thrones will be filled by the 11 faithful apostles and Matthias. Notice Jesus says there will be TWELVE thrones. If Joseph was to be included in this circle of judgment, wouldn’t Jesus have said there would be THIRTEEN thrones? But I guess that’s one of those places where “careless transcribers” removed one of those truths that was “plain and most precious.”

Also, we need to remember this: To whom did the Father entrust ALL judgment? To the Son? Or to the Son and an occultist a money-digger a glass-looker Joseph Smith? John 5:22-2322 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed ALL judgment to the Son, 23 that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” Help me out here. Is there any mention of honoring prophets? Is there any mention of Joseph Smith? Is there any mention of accepting the “witness” and “testimony” of Joseph Smith? Does Jesus say all judgment has been given to Him and Joseph Smith? No. ALL judgment has been given to Our Lord–Jesus Christ.

Besides, if you’ve read the last two “answers” about Joseph and his “First Vision” and how that was a fraud, then the fact that he is a fraud excludes him from sitting on any throne and judging anybody.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (Answer 7)

Tower To Truth Question:

7. Since there are several different contradictory accounts of Joseph Smith’s first vision, how did the LDS Church choose the correct one?


FAIR Answer:

The First Vision accounts are not contradictory. No early member of the Church claimed that Joseph changed his story, or contradicted himself. Critics of the Church have not been familiar with the data on this point.

The shortest answer is that the Saints believe the First Vision not because of textual evidence, but because of personal revelation.

The Church didn’t really “choose” one of many accounts; many of the accounts we have today were in diaries, some of which were not known till recently (1832; 1835 (2); Richards, Neibaur). The 1840 (Orson Pratt) and 1842 (Orson Hyde) accounts were secondary recitals of what happened to the Prophet; the Wentworth letter and interview for the Pittsburgh paper were synopsis accounts (at best). The account which the Church uses in the Pearl of Great Price (written in 1838) was published in 1842 by Joseph Smith as part of his personal history. As new accounts were discovered they were widely published in places like BYU Studies.


My Response:

If you click on the link that says “Only one Personage appears in the 1832 account” it will take you to a page that says:

the question becomes—Why did the Prophet construct the 1832 narrative in the manner that he did (so as to exclude explicit mention of the Father’s appearance)? A careful analysis of the 1832 First Vision text reveals that it was deliberately constructed on the framework of many scriptural citations. The apostle Stephen’s view of both the Father and the Son is clearly utilized by the Prophet in one section of the 1832 text but, more importantly, Joseph Smith told the actual theophany portion of this narrative in language that very closely corresponds to the apostle Paul’s vision of Jesus Christ (Acts 26:).

Paul did not report that he saw the Father alongside the Son, and so it is logical that this is the reason why Joseph Smith did not explicitly mention the Father’s appearance in his text either. The Prophet’s strong sense of connection with Paul’s visionary experience is referred to by him right in his 1838 First Vision account. The context of this connection is the persecution experienced by both men for speaking publicly about a heavenly manifestation. Joseph Smith relates in his 1838 history that he was informed by a clergyman that his vision was “all of the devil.” This piece of information may help to explain why the Prophet chose to couch his first known written account of his vision in heavy biblical language and imagery. He may have hoped that by doing this his story would have a better chance of being accepted amongst a populace that was steeped in biblical content.

First of all, what difference does it make what language Paul used in relating his vision? Or Stephen? Why not just tell people what he saw? After all, there were many other things Joseph wrote that supposedly “came from God” that weren’t accepted by people. Why “couch” his vision in “biblical imagery?” This is why: Because in order for people to believe that all the other whacky doctrines he taught were “from God” Joseph would have to convince people that he was indeed a “prophet of God” and he had to use flowery language and rhetoric to do so.

Now, as far as Paul seeing Jesus on the road to Damascus: Could it be that Paul didn’t see the Father because the Father didn’t appear to Paul with Jesus? Second, Paul, in his account in Acts 22, said that the soldiers did not hear the voice. This does not necessarily mean they didn’t. He may have thought they did not hear the voice. But just because he told the people they didn’t does not make this a contradiction. Now, if Luke had written, in his own words, that the soldiers did not hear the voice, after writing that they did hear it, that would be a contradiction.

Of course, the position of FAIR–as well as that of many LDS apologists–has been to say that Joseph had forgotten some of the details, he couldn’t remember everything, etc. Uh, what? Maybe it’s just me, but if I had been visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ, I think I would have remembered a little bit about that. And don’t you think that he would have, oh, I don’t know, jotted down a little something about it? Crazy, I know.

At the other link, FAIR again attempts to discredit the apostle Paul by claiming that he gave two different versions of Christ’s appearance to him. A careful reading of the two accounts (Acts 9, Acts 22) shows the two are not different. However, what of Joseph’s “First Vision?” Have the details ever changed? Well, for that answer, I would direct you to a couple of articles from Mormon Research Ministry (Link 1 and Link 2) that go into more detail than I have room for here. Here are some tidbits from Link 2:

Version 3. In 1835, Joseph Smith dictated his own account of the first vision for his personal diary…it appears in the official diary of the Prophet, and this journal entry is accepted as accurate and valid. In this account, which was first published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (VI, No.1, pg. 87), the evil power is mentioned for the very first time. In all previous published accounts (listed below), no evil power was ever mentioned by Joseph. Also, he does not claim that the messengers were God and Jesus, just that many angels visited him. That seems to be a very curious omission.Version 2. In February 1835, the LDS publication Messenger and Advocate recorded the account of the vision that Joseph Smith gave to Oliver Cowdery. In this account, Joseph was 17 years old, the revival is in 1823, and no mention is made of James 1:5. Instead, Joseph claimed he had been wondering if there was a God and if his sins could be forgiven. His only reason for praying was to ask if God did exist. After “11 or 12 hours” in prayer, he was visited by “a messenger from God” who forgave Joseph’s sins. While this vision is given in the Messenger and Advocate as the first vision of Joseph Smith, this story was later revised and published as a second vision from the angel Moroni preparatory to giving Joseph Smith the golden plates.Version 1. The earliest known account of the first vision was written in 1831-32 in Joseph Smith’s own handwriting. This was the version made public by Paul Cheesman in 1965, published later that same year by Jerald and Sandra Tanner in Joseph Smith’s Strange Account of the First Vision. This account had been in the hands of LDS leaders for over 130 years, hidden away in their vaults – presumably because it differs so greatly from the official version. In this account, Smith claimed to be 16 years old and that he already knew that all churches were wrong from reading the Bible. Joseph sought forgiveness, and it was Jesus alone who visited him and forgave his sins.

It should be noted that this account was printed not only in an LDS publication but also during the lifetime of Joseph Smith. No statements by Joseph against the accuracy of this account have been found, indicating his approval of the information given. It was also a second-hand account given by Oliver Cowdery, a witness to many of the key events in LDS history. The same account was also copied unchanged into Joseph Smith’s Manuscript History of the Church and subsequently into the LDS publication Times and Seasons. Since it was copied into so many LDS publications and records without any changes, the account must have been considered accurate and valid to Joseph Smith at that time. This adds quite a bit of significance to the differing details of this version.

Now, how important is it that Joseph Smith’s “First Vision” be accurate? I mean, what difference does it make? It’s just a vision, right. No, not really. Joseph’s “First Vision” is the ground and pillar of the LDS church. Gordon Hinckley thought it of more importance than even the crucifixion. “Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision. It either occurred, or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud. If it did then it is the most important and wonderful work under the heavens.”

Once again, rather than show convincing proof that the “First Vision” was true, they simply attempt to smear the names of true men of God, and equate a 14-year-old money digger and glass-looker with great men like Paul and Stephen.

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answer 6)

Tower To Truth Question:

6. Since the current LDS prophets sometimes contradict the former ones, how do you decide which one is correct?


FAIR Answer:

Most “contradictions” are actually misunderstandings or misrepresentations of LDS doctrine and teachings by critics. The LDS standard for doctrine is the scriptures, and united statements of the First Presidency and the Twelve.

The Saints believe they must be led by revelation, adapted to the circumstances in which they now find themselves. Noah was told to build an ark, but not all people required that message. Moses told them to put the Passover lamb’s blood on their door; that was changed with the coming of Christ, etc.

No member is expected to follow prophetic advice “just because the prophet said so.” Each member is to receive his or her own revelatory witness from the Holy Ghost. We cannot be led astray in matters of importance if we always appeal to God for His direction.


My Response:

Not so fast there, my friend.

  • “When prophets, who are inspired by the Holy Ghost, speak, their words take precedence over other statements” (Teachings of the Living Prophets, p. 18).
  • “When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done” (Improvement Era, June 1945, p. 354).
  • “The Latter-day Saints hold as a principle of their faith, that … the President of the Church is recognized as the only person through whom divine communication will come as law and doctrine to the religious body; that such revelation may come at any time, upon any subject, spiritual or temporal, as God wills; and, finally, that, in the mind of every faithful Latter-day Saint, such revelation, in whatsoever it counsels, advises or demands, is paramount” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 221).
  • “It would be absolutely inconsistent, unreasonable and absurd to suppose that after God had called one man and appointed him to this work, that He should pass him by and go to somebody else to accomplish the same purpose. No sensible person would accept for one moment such a proposition. To seriously contemplate any such idea would be charging the Almighty with inconsistency, and with being the author of confusion, discord and schism. The Kingdom of God never could be established on earth in any such way” (ibid).
  • Also the 1986 edition of Gospel Principles says, “The Lord will never allow the President to teach us false doctrine.” However, the newest edition, available at their website, says, “The Lord will never allow the President to lead the Church astray.” Now, what’s the big difference? With the first statement, they are saying that whatever doctrine the President teaches will always be correct. With the second, they give him a bit of wiggle room, so that if he does say something wrong or contradictory (which is usually about once every time the sun rises), that somebody will catch it and correct it, so that the church is “not led astray.”

Now, what was all that about each person being able to receive his/her own “revelation” and No member is expected to follow prophetic advice “just because the prophet said so.” Each member is to receive his or her own revelatory witness from the Holy Ghost. We cannot be led astray in matters of importance if we always appeal to God for His direction.
See, “revelation” in the LDS church starts at the top, and flows down. It cannot go the other way. If a person speaks a word that contradicts the “prophet”–whether or not what the person is saying is the truth–the words of the “prophet” will negate what the other person is staying.

And saints are to believe the word of the prophet no matter what they think about it, unless it contradicts the Standard Works, which are subservient to the words of the current prophet, unless what the current prophet says….or is it….um….

I think you get the picture. Just listen to what the prophet says, don’t think about it just do it, and you won’t have anything to worry about.