Why Quoting the Bible to Mormons Doesn’t Work

Now that I’ve had this website up and running for a year or so, I’ve begun to notice a pattern with many of those posting comments to quote the Bible in an effort to convince me and other Mormons of the error of our ways. Sometimes a specific scripture is cited because it pertains to the discussion at hand, but ofttimes the person doing the commenting merely posts 10-20 scriptures in a row that seem to have little bearing on the topic at hand, as though those scriptures weren’t made up of words that mean something, but rather a mysterious curative agent that would render the recipient whole and well by miraculous means. But it is the former use of the Bible that I will refer to here, since the latter usage is, to me, little different in nature than the practice of witch doctors to wave a stick with feathers on the end over a sick patient (if it turns out that this actually does cure people, I’ll settle for 30% of the profits from any medical application).

My intent here is to explain to those of you who are prone to try and prove Mormonism false by the use of the Bible why it never seems to work. The root cause is that we understand the words of the Bible differently than you do, and our interpretation of those words is just as plain and obvious to us as your interpretation is to you. Thus, whenever you quote a Bible scripture to us, thinking that you’ve got us trapped, we merely read it and say “No, you see, that’s not what that scripture means. What it really means is…” And of course the meaning we ascribe to that scripture justifies our religion, rather than condemning it.

For example, take Galatians 1:8, which reads “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

Someone who is looking for ammunition against the Mormon church reads this and thinks “Ah ha! Clearly the Mormons, with their Book of Mormon and strange teachings are preaching something new, an ‘other gospel’, and therefore they should be cursed. And they even claim it was delivered by an angel, just like this scripture says to avoid!”

But we Mormons believe that our teachings, our gospel, is the true gospel. It is not we who are teaching an “other gospel”, but rather everyone else. So when someone quotes this scripture to us, as though we should interpret it discrediting our beliefs, we think “Why are they showing us this scripture? We don’t believe in an ‘other gospel’. We believe the true gospel of Jesus Christ as he and the apostles taught it.”

Or someone might quote 2 Peter 2:1 “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.” They then imply that Joseph Smith, our first prophet in this dispensation, was one of these false prophets. After all, it seems pretty clear that he taught “destructive heresies”, “denied the sovereign Lord” by teaching that works matter to salvation, and he was “swiftly destroyed”, which just proves things.

But of course we Mormons read this and say “Actually, Joseph Smith is one of the true prophets. It’s those teaching doctrines contrary to those of Christ’s who are the false prophets and false teachers, not us.” We don’t see anything that we teach as a destructive heresy. We don’t see anything we teach as denying Christ or his teachings. And as for Joseph Smith being “swiftly destroyed” because he was killed while still relatively young, well so was Jesus Christ.

Now, I’m not saying that anyone should stop quoting the Bible, if you think you’ve got a scripture that contradicts the teachings of the Mormon faith. I, for one, enjoy the opportunity to learn from such interaction. Until I started this website, I had never confronted many of the questions asked here, and it’s been a great learning experience for me. I’m just trying to show that when you quote Bible scriptures to Mormons and they don’t react as you might expect, it’s not that we don’t believe the Bible, we just don’t believe your interpretation of it to be correct.

Comments

  1. I agree with the above. It is actually frustrating to me when someone shows me a scripture that is supposed to disprove my faith. I keep my mouth shut because I know that it is not just one scripture that is in question but an entire paradigm about the gospel. And I do not have the time to go over all the complexities of the gospel so that someone can understand where I am coming from.

    For example, one time I showed to a protestant a scripture that says we should pray to the Father in the name of Christ. The next time he prayed, he closed with "in your name". I forgot that he believed that the Father and Son were the same person.

  2. How do you interpret the passage where Jehovah God says to Isaiah, "Before me there was no God formed; neither shall there be after me." (Isa 43:10) in light of the LDS teaching that Elohim was a God formed before Jesus (Jehovah, in LDS theology)?

    • Good question, I thought it was worth turning into its own post, although I'm not sure I did a great job of answering the question, due to not having as much time as I would have liked to research the matter. Click here for the other post.

  3. I've been reading the Bible, and have found that it only supports the "Mormon" beliefs. This would be the reason, in my opinion at least that quoting the Bible to Mormons doesn't work.

    If you read the Bible thoroughly, it shows that even some of the prophets of old were fallable, (which gives credence to the idea that some of the early prophets of the LDS church were racist in their practices and beliefs).

    It also shows much of what the true church will have, including Baptism by immersion (Matt 3:16), Apostles and prophets (Luke 11:49), Baptisms for the dead (1 Cor 15:29), Faith and works together (James 2:17), that there is only one true church (Eph 4:5 and 4:13) and the list goes on. Most other churches that I have looked into, and those that my husband has looked at as well, have a few of these things, but the LDS church is the only church with all of these things.

    It does not, however, specifically state which faith is the true faith. The Bible only gives us a map, which it is up to us to decipher. Otherwise, what would be the point of free agency?

  4. Galatians 1:8 Your reasoning in refuting this scripture doesnt make sense to me. If all of the bible was written before 500 AD. And Galatians written around 50 AD. Joseph Smith doesn't come along until the 1800's. How then, can you say that it is not a different gospel??

    Im confused can someone explain this to me?

    For example, take Galatians 1:8, which reads “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”

    Someone who is looking for ammunition against the Mormon church reads this and thinks “Ah ha! Clearly the Mormons, with their Book of Mormon and strange teachings are preaching something new, an ‘other gospel’, and therefore they should be cursed. And they even claim it was delivered by an angel, just like this scripture says to avoid!”

    But we Mormons believe that our teachings, our gospel, is the true gospel. It is not we who are teaching an “other gospel”, but rather everyone else. So when someone quotes this scripture to us, as though we should interpret it discrediting our beliefs, we think “Why are they showing us this scripture? We don’t believe in an ‘other gospel’. We believe the true gospel of Jesus Christ as he and the apostles taught it.”

  5. "Your reasoning in refuting this scripture doesnt make sense to me. If all of the bible was written before 500 AD. And Galatians written around 50 AD. Joseph Smith doesn’t come along until the 1800′s. How then, can you say that it is not a different gospel??"

    It depends on what your definition of "gospel" is. The gospel I believe in is the "good news" of Christ, that is, his Atonement which allows us to return to our Heavenly Father and become like him. This is the gospel of the Bible, the gospel of the Book of Mormon, and the gospel of everything else the LDS Church teaches. It's all one and the same gospel, at least to me.

    Now, if someone reads the Bible and interprets things differently than Mormons do, then it's fair/reasonable/logical of them to say that their gospel and the "Mormon gospel" are different. The differences of opinion exist because we each have our own subjective interpretation of the words of the Bible.

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