Do Mormons Believe Their Church Mirrors The Ancient Church of Christ?

This post is in response to comments left by two website visitors in another post. And as stated by one visitor “there is nothing to support the early-Christ church myth of Mormonism or leadership keys of Roman-Catholic tradition. Jesus did not start a church. Paul was the greatest recorded of all the early evangelical fathers, and he started many churches, which of course are nothing more than the meeting of two or more followers of Christ. You would have a more difficult time supporting your claim”.

As stated by a another visitor in the comments of that post “And no prophet anywhere in the Bible had 12 apostles. Not 1. Moses didn’t have apostles. Jeremiah didn’t have apostles. Isaiah didn’t have apostles, or a quorum of 70. So why does your prophet have apostles? Your church leadership structure is not based on the leadership of early Christianity.”

While there may be “nothing to support the early-Christ church myth of Mormonism or leadership keys of Roman-Catholic tradition” in the Bible, depending on one’s perspective, there is nothing in the Bible that contradicts this idea. And of course for Mormons, we do not rely on the Bible alone to prove our beliefs, but we rely on modern-day prophets, other revealed scripture, the Holy Ghost, Christ, and God himself. We believe Christ did organize a Church. Not necessarily one that in his day built church buildings, in fact the Church while Christ was alive appears to have been quite rudimentary. But Christ set the foundations for what Mormons believe was a highly structured organization that came afterward.

The structure of apostles, seventies, etc. didn’t come about until Christ. But that was the structure after Christ organized the original Church, as alluded to in the Bible, and that is the structure that was restored by Christ in these latter days. I understand the contrary point of view, because the Bible only touches lightly on Church structure and organization. If one assumes the New Testament is a comprehensive account of everything that went on related to Christ and his apostles from roughly year 0 to 70 or so AD, then I can see how that person might get a very different picture of early Christianity as being more of a loose and unstructured organization with disparate bodies spread here and there. But the Bible is not comprehensive (imagine what would be left out if one tried to create a comprehensive history of the United States over the past 70 years within a few hundred pages), and touches only lightly on Church organization. Clarification on Church organization has come to modern-day prophets by revelation, directly from God and Christ. Nothing in the Bible contradicts the organization of the LDS Church. It is the LDS position that the LDS Church of today does indeed mirror in every substantive way the ancient Church of Christ.

We do not seek to prove these things by study of the Bible, but we do invite all people to study our religion, especially the Book of Mormon, and to pray about such things so that God might reveal to them if these things are true.

Comments

  1. So again, in other words, there is absolutely no evidence of these claims. Only the "revelation" of the LDS prophets and your belief in them. There still are no prophets you can name from the Bible who had 12 apostles, and no proof that the early Christians practiced Mormonism.

    You are using the argument that the Bible does not extensively state how the church structure was set up, so you must conclude that it's possible it was set up like the LDS church is today because your prophets told you so? Even though there is nothing stating in the Bible it absolutely had to be set up that way, and no historical documents or evidence to back it up? Of course the prophets tell you the church should be set up that way, it puts them at the top, in control of the multi billion dollar corporation! They aren't even honest enough to disclose their salaries or accounts of how the finances are handled, and you trust who is in complete power? Wake up! Jesus is the head of his church!

    Just follow the prophet…follow the prophet…you know the church is true…you had a warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach…(was that just gas??) No! It was the spirit telling me the church is true…

    I want you to start a new discussion: "REAL EVIDENCE for the claim that Mormonism was taught by Jesus, it became corrupted and lost so Joseph Smith had to restore it with the Book of Mormon, even though the Book of Mormon does not restore any of the temple rites, marriage sealings, baptisms for the dead, doctrine of God being a man, or any of the other things Joseph Smith claimed were missing and needed to be restored" but the title would be as far as you could go.

  2. "So again, in other words, there is absolutely no evidence of these claims."

    There is as much objective evidence or more for my claims as there is for the resurrection of Jesus, or his power to cleanse us from our sins. If you are using such logic to attack my claims, you must admit that the same logic invalidates the entire Christian religion. This does not mean my claims are automatically true, but it does mean that one cannot use a lack of evidence as proof of them being false.

    "You are using the argument that the Bible does not extensively state how the church structure was set up, so you must conclude that it’s possible it was set up like the LDS church is today because your prophets told you so?"

    Yes, that is part of the argument I'm making. Since the Bible only touches lightly on such things, that leaves room for many possibilities, one of them being the LDS perspective. Can there be any other logical conclusion? I'm not claiming that the Bible invalidates your perspective either, I'm just saying that the Bible doesn't make it clear what the organization of the Church was. Based on the Bible it could be your way, my way, or one of another 50 ways. The Bible doesn't tell us enough. We Mormons have filled in the rest based on additional scripture and modern-day revelation. One might reasonably doubt whether our additional scripture and modern-day revelation is legitimate, but one cannot say the Bible or logic rules it out.

    "Of course the prophets tell you the church should be set up that way, it puts them at the top, in control of the multi billion dollar corporation! They aren’t even honest enough to disclose their salaries or accounts of how the finances are handled, and you trust who is in complete power? Wake up!"

    Is there any hint that Church leaders or their families or friends have directly profited from their positions in the Church? As I understand it, a small number of leaders receive a stipend to cover living expenses, but I am not aware of any merit to the charge that Church leaders profit handsomely from their positions.

    "Jesus is the head of his church!"

    I agree!

    "Just follow the prophet…follow the prophet…you know the church is true…you had a warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach…(was that just gas??) No! It was the spirit telling me the church is true…"

    This is a woefully inadequate portrayal of how I came to know the Church is true. I doubt it matches the reality of many, if any, other members.

    "I want you to start a new discussion: 'REAL EVIDENCE for the claim that Mormonism was taught by Jesus, it became corrupted and lost so Joseph Smith had to restore it with the Book of Mormon, even though the Book of Mormon does not restore any of the temple rites, marriage sealings, baptisms for the dead, doctrine of God being a man, or any of the other things Joseph Smith claimed were missing and needed to be restored' but the title would be as far as you could go."

    My first inclination was to say posting such a thing would be against the mission of this website, since I'm not trying to prove anything to anyone beyond the fact that nobody can prove Mormonism to be false. But the more I think about it, the more I think such a post would be useful, since it would give me the opportunity to address this matter, which has come up more than once from other commenters. One question first though, what's your definition of "evidence"?

  3. 'Evidence' is in the eye of the beholder, and it is an old Anti-Mormon ploy to set the boundaries of what they will accept as evidence so that even the most considerate Latter-day saint cannot reach their standard. That is the way they play the game.

    However, and this is the major point in any discussion of this nature: the standard they set for evidence for Mormonism is such that if it is applied to any form of Christianity, including their particular understanding of the Holy Bible, then their own denomination and perspectives will fail their own tests.

    No Anti-Mormon has applied their own arbitrary tests for the Book of Mormon to the Holy Bible, nor have they applied their own standard by which they 'test' Mormonism to their own Christian denomination, its theology, its Christology, etc.

    That makes Anti-Mormons unequivocally 'double-minded' and the Bible says that the double-minded are unstable in all their ways.

    "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." James 1:8

    I have been 'dealing' with Anti-Mormons and Anti-Mormonism for more than 60 years, and have found few critics that are capable of understanding what their own traditions have taught and believed, and it is from their incomplete and distorted perspectives that their failure to understand or appreciate the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ emanates.

    The picture most fundamentalist and evangelical Christians have of the New Testament Church is one that never existed, according to the New Testament, the Apostles, the apostolic father and both Greek and Roman patristics.

    If they cannot understand the nature of the doctrine and form of Early Christianity they will never understand Momronism, because their view of Primitive Christianity is a nineteenth century and fanciful production of European Protestantism that was in an even greater hurry to distance themselves from Roman Catholicism than the sixteenth century Reformers had been. The result is total failure to understand New Testament Christianity.

  4. Hi Leah, I'm guessing that what I've posted won't quite satisfy you, but in response to your comment "I want you to start a new discussion: “REAL EVIDENCE for the claim that Mormonism was taught by Jesus, it became corrupted and lost so Joseph Smith had to restore it with the Book of Mormon, even though the Book of Mormon does not restore any of the temple rites, marriage sealings, baptisms for the dead, doctrine of God being a man, or any of the other things Joseph Smith claimed were missing and needed to be restored” but the title would be as far as you could go."

    I've created this post – Evidence, Subjective Proof, and Objective Proof.

  5. That is not exactly the post I suggested :)

    I only meant evidence showing the Bible was corrupted/changed as Mormons claim, and that all the "restored" parts (such as the ones listed above but not limited to) were once taught and in the original books of the Bible.

    Not that the Roman Catholic church was corrupted, or that any other church leaders/religious leaders were corrupted. Those things will always happen when people organize religion, even in the Mormon church there are corrupt people.

    I mean, where are the original manuscripts with the Mormon doctrine in them, and then the corrupted manuscripts with those doctrines omitted. That is not too much to ask, nor is it playing any "games", it merely asks you to prove what you claim. There are thousands of ancient manuscripts that verify the Bible has only minor changes in conjunctions and other parts of speech, with no message or meaning being altered. We have the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contained the whole book of Isaiah and parts of many other Old Testament books that date back to as early as 70 AD (or as late as 150 AD) which shows NO significant changes in the books over the last 1900 years! Now that is evidence that at least those books were not corrupted or changed since at least that time.

    I wanted to see some sort of evidence showing that Jesus taught the "restored" doctrine of the LDS church (temple marriages, temple sealings, baptism for the dead, exaltation to Godhood and ruling your own planet, etc) and it was corrupted and an apostasy occurred. If your claims are true and the Bible books originally had these teachings in them, we would have a plethora of manuscripts with the original doctrine in them, and then many with the changed text. Actually, unless ALL copies of the Bible books were changed in exactly the same way at exactly the same time, we would have several different versions of the Bible, if not hundreds. Some would contain the original text, some would have some omissions, others would have different omissions or changes…kind of like the game of "telephone". If the story was being changed by different people as time went on, we would have so many different manuscripts with different texts. But we don't. There isn't. We have THE BIBLE (again with only minor differences, no changes in the message). That is what I was asking for. Outside of LDS scripture of course, since it does not date back to Bible times. The earliest "manuscript" possible for the BOM is 1830. And that is all that has ever been found. That is also evidence…of what is left for each person to decide. For me, it's evidence Joseph Smith was full of it.

    Ronnie: Yes, I am an anti-Mormon. Now that we got that out of the way, unfortunately for you the use of that label does not deter me one bit. I am not under any delusions of what the Roman Catholic church has done, or many other religions/denominations have done. That is why I do not claim any denomination or "religion". I am a follower of Jesus and his word, he is my Savior. That makes me Christian, or follower of Christ. My salvation does not count on a "church" or "religion", it's based on my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I do not have to attend any church to be saved. The thief on the cross didn't perform any "religious" rites or practices, yet Jesus promised to see him in paradise. Faith is what is required. "Religion" was of the Pharisees and denounced by Jesus. I was asking for evidence that Jesus taught Mormonism (all temple rituals, polygamy, exaltation to godhood, etc) and it was corrupted. The Book of Mormon does not even teach of these things, so I think you will be hard pressed to offer such proof from the record of history.

  6. "I mean, where are the original manuscripts with the Mormon doctrine in them, and then the corrupted manuscripts with those doctrines omitted."

    Part of the problem is that we have no original manuscripts whatsoever. We do not have the original writings of Isaiah or Jeremiah. We do not have the original manuscripts of Matthew, Luke, or John. We have copies, but we do not know how many copies may have existed between those copies and the originals.

    As one can see from playing a game of telephone, it doesn't take too many steps for a message to become dramatically different than it began, and that's without any need for translation.

    "There are thousands of ancient manuscripts that verify the Bible has only minor changes in conjunctions and other parts of speech, with no message or meaning being altered."

    We actually have no such thing, because we do not have the original writings. Nothing can verify the content of the original writings other than the original writings themselves, the authors of the original writings, or God. The best we can do based on existing records is to say "If we have many different sources from such and such a time, we can assume that no substantive changes were made from this point onward." But this says nothing of what happened before. If the original author wrote something down, and 3 months later a person copied it and made a mistake, and 3 months later someone else copied it and misunderstood a part, and 3 months later it was translated into another language, and then 3 months later we get another copy with some mistakes, and that copy is the one that made it into the Bible and the other previous copies were destroyed, which is completely reasonable and likely, then already within one year we have a substantial number of mistakes making it into the version of the Bible we have today with no way to verify the differences between that copy of a copy and the original.

    "I wanted to see some sort of evidence showing that Jesus taught the “restored” doctrine of the LDS church (temple marriages, temple sealings, baptism for the dead, exaltation to Godhood and ruling your own planet, etc) and it was corrupted and an apostasy occurred. If your claims are true and the Bible books originally had these teachings in them, we would have a plethora of manuscripts with the original doctrine in them, and then many with the changed text."

    I don't necessarily believe that "the Bible books originally had these teachings in them" although I'm inclined to believe there are several, perhaps a multitude, of scriptures that never made it into the Bible. I've already shown that the Bible references scripture that it itself does not contain (i.e. the lost letters of Paul).

    In addition, I harbor no doubts that the Bible and all the scriptures of that time were a small part of what was taught. It is simply unreasonable to believe that decades of gospel preaching and teaching would fit in a few hundred pages. Members of the LDS Church produce tens of thousands of pages of literature each year, and that is still only a summary. Why should we assume that the Bible contains everything the apostles ever taught?

    "Actually, unless ALL copies of the Bible books were changed in exactly the same way at exactly the same time, we would have several different versions of the Bible, if not hundreds. "

    We do have several different versions of the Bible, if not hundreds, and people are still changing it today as new versions are continually released, many touting that they are written "in the language of today".

    To say these Bibles do not differ in message is to assume one knows the correct interpretation. But if one has the wrong interpretation, then one cannot hope to change the words of the Bible and maintain the same message.

    "The thief on the cross didn’t perform any “religious” rites or practices, yet Jesus promised to see him in paradise."

    What if "paradise" isn't the same thing as heaven?

    "The Book of Mormon does not even teach of these things, so I think you will be hard pressed to offer such proof from the record of history."

    Nor is this the intent of the LDS Church, nor my intent here. We're not trying to prove things from the record of history, we're trying to help people prove things to themselves by asking them to talk to God directly and get his word for it. The record of history is merely interesting to us, a curiosity. There are many Mormons who are fascinated by the Dead Sea Scrolls and who have dedicated substantial resources to researching them, but they do this because it's interesting, not because the fate of the LDS Church and anyone's belief in it depends on it. If something interesting is found, then great, but if not, no biggie, because we already have the witness of God.

  7. We don't have the "original" manuscripts (gold plates) of the BOM but you have no problem proclaiming it is inerrant!

    You obviously do not know of the meticulous record keeping of the Jews. If a scribe made even one mistake, in punctuation even, he was fired and no longer allowed to be a scribe for the rest of his lifetime, and the copy was burned. They took the utmost care in preserving their sacred texts. If they were corrupt, why did JS copy word for word chapters out of the Bible? You also don't have the faith and trust that Almighty God could arrange to keep His word on the earth uncorrupted as promised. God always kept a remnant of believers alive in no matter what situation to accomplish His purposes and pass down His word. You have no faith in that, and so you turned to Joseph Smith to provide you with answers you wanted.

    "We do have several different versions of the Bible, if not hundreds, and people are still changing it today as new versions are continually released, many touting that they are written “in the language of today”."

    It is still the same Bible. It has the same message, no doctrinal changes have been made. Just because it is not in the King's English of the 1600's does not make it a different book altogether. My statement in context meant different Bible's altogether, not different language versions. What is it with the King's English that you think makes it holy and correct? Just because a book uses "thee" and "verily" does not mean it is authentic.

    What kind of religion says they believe in the Bible, but has to tear it apart to support their beliefs? Mormons have to make claims that it was translated incorrectly, corrupted, changed, unreliable, etc. Several times in our conversations you have had to point out the supposed fallibility of the Bible to support your religious books, and I cannot respect that or the agenda of your religion in doing so. Disgusting.

    • "We don’t have the “original” manuscripts (gold plates) of the BOM but you have no problem proclaiming it is inerrant!"

      I'm actually not sure anyone claims it is inerrant…but having the original manuscripts is not the only way to know if something is inerrant. I don't trust the Book of Mormon to be accurate because I've seen the original, which I obviously haven't, I trust it because God has told me it's a true book, that Joseph Smith was a prophet, etc.

      "You obviously do not know of the meticulous record keeping of the Jews. If a scribe made even one mistake, in punctuation even, he was fired and no longer allowed to be a scribe for the rest of his lifetime, and the copy was burned. They took the utmost care in preserving their sacred texts."

      I don't doubt but what many scribes and translators were very dedicated to their work. But were they all? We simply don't know the exact history of who touched what prior to the point where we have an actual ancient document. What's the oldest copy we have of the book of Matthew, for example? Wikipedia, which of course is completely inerrant itself :), states that the book of Matthew was probably written between 60-85 AD. But the oldest surviving fragment we have is dated to somewhere between 150-200 AD. A lot can happen in 65-140 years. Just look what has happened in the last 65-140 years. What was happening to the book during that time? We don't know.

      Up at the very top of that page it reads "Archaeologists have recovered about 5500 New Testament manuscripts, being fragments or complete books. Not including the Alexandrian texts, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, the 98% to 99% agreement of the copies is truly remarkable." In other words, among the fragments we have, there is 1-2% disagreement. And that's only after you exclude the Alexandrian texts, Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus.

      To give some more insight into how these changes might have come about, as Bart D. Ehrman says in his book Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (HarperSanFrancisco, [2005] 2007), p. 53, "Scribes who were associated with the orthodox tradition not infrequently changed their texts, sometimes in order to eliminate the possibility of their 'misuse' by Christians affirming heretical beliefs and sometimes to make them more amenable to the doctrines being espoused by Christians of their own persuasion."

      Now, we're not talking about the Bible being 50% corrupt or anything. We're talking about 1-2%, perhaps 2-4% at the most. The vast majority of it is correct, or at least correct enough. In most cases where there are errors they are not a huge deal to Mormons. It's not as though we reject the book, heck, we spend twice as much time studying the Bible in the LDS Church as we do studying the Book of Mormon as evidenced by the curriculum of the LDS Church Sunday School, Seminary, and Institute programs. But we don't believe it's a perfect book. We think there are some errors, and some of them have obscured some basic doctrines or made things confusing if one does not know what the true version of scripture originally said.

      "If they were corrupt, why did JS copy word for word chapters out of the Bible?"

      Again, it's not as though the entire book has been corrupted. Perhaps 1-2%. As for why Joseph copied parts of the Bible and didn't changed them at all, one possibility is that any change Joseph made would have been and would still be analyzed ad nauseum to figure out the meaning of the difference between what's in the Bible and what Joseph put down. Such analysis might yield little of worth, and distract from the message of the scripture. If an error in translation isn't such a big error, why bother pointing it out?

      "It is still the same Bible. It has the same message, no doctrinal changes have been made. Just because it is not in the King’s English of the 1600′s does not make it a different book altogether. My statement in context meant different Bible’s altogether, not different language versions. What is it with the King’s English that you think makes it holy and correct? Just because a book uses “thee” and “verily” does not mean it is authentic."

      I will disagree with you on the point that "no doctrinal changes have been made." For example, let's take a look at 1 Corinthians 15:29, which in the KJV has Paul asking "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?" Mormons believe this makes reference to the practice of ancient Christians participating in proxy baptisms for their dead ancestors and friends just as Mormons do today in temples. You might disagree with that interpretation of the scripture, but you can only do that by making assumptions that don't rely on the scripture itself. There is no way, based on the words by themselves, to say that this interpretation is incorrect.

      However, the GOD'S WORD Translation (©1995) reads "However, people are baptized because the dead [will come back to life]. What will they do? If the dead can't come back to life, why do people get baptized as if they can [come back to life]?" This is saying something quite different. There is no way to interpret these words as having anything to do with proxy baptisms for the dead. This translation is very clearly stating that baptism makes no sense unless people come back to life, and that's all it is saying. The same scripture, two translations, two completely different sets of words. Clearly whoever created the second translation had a very different interpretation of that scripture than Mormons do. In their mind they have not changed the meaning of the words, they have just used different words to say the same thing. But from the Mormon perspective, which cannot be proven incorrect, the second translation completely obliterates the doctrine Paul was teaching, or in other words, does indeed make a doctrinal change.

      "What kind of religion says they believe in the Bible, but has to tear it apart to support their beliefs?"

      Mormons don't see our view of the Bible as "tearing it apart" any more than someone who restores old cars sees their work as destroying cars. The way we see it, God is restoring and clarifying the glorious doctrines of the Bible so that they can better bless the lives of those who read its words with additional light. We are not saying the Bible is completely corrupt, we're saying it's not quite perfect, perhaps 1-2% errant. We're not saying it's not scripture, that it's not the word of God, or that it's unreliable, we're just saying there are some few parts that aren't perfect. If my kid has a pimple on her face and asks me if she does, I'm not going to kick her out of the house and disown her for having an imperfect complexion, but I'm not going to lie to her either. I'll just say "Yeah, there is one, right there." If she reacted as though I had kicked her out and disowned her, I'd have to say that in my opinion she was overreacting a bit, which is more or less how I feel when people get offended that Mormon think the Bible isn't perfect. I think people read a lot more into that than what we Mormons mean by it. I get the impression people think that we think the Bible is 98% corrupt, when in fact we think just the opposite.

  8. If I may comment on Leah's statement concerning the ‘perfection’ of Israelite soferim:

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    "You obviously do not know of the meticulous record keeping of the Jews. If a scribe made even one mistake, in punctuation even, he was fired and no longer allowed to be a scribe for the rest of his lifetime, and the copy was burned. They took the utmost care in preserving their sacred texts."

    Whilst this view of the inerrancy of scribal transmission of the original and copies of monographs of the tnk, is the 'traditional' and widely accepted view among evangelical 'sola scriptura inerrantists,' it is not the correct position, and ignores the mass of evidence within the biblical texts themselves.

    ————————————————————————————————————————

    First, references to ‘Jews’ and ‘Judaism’ ignores the fact that in ancient Israel there were eleven tribes and two half tribes, accounting for the twelve tribes of Israel. Not all Israelites were of the tribe of Judah [Jews], and not all that associated themselves with Judah were of Judah. Two that are most obvious include the Levite priests apportioned to minister to the tribe of Judah, and the small tribe of Benjamin, among whose number we find Saul, known as Paul. There is nothing to show that only those of the house of Judah [later referred to as Jews] were the sole transcribers of copies of tnk. Yet, that is a small point when we consider the fabled and laughable ‘accuracy and inerrancy’ of manuscript scribes.

    Although Leah is correct when she avers that, in theory, a high standard of accuracy was demanded of the soferim, the perfection that she considers present in her own version of the Holy Bible, whichever version she chooses for herself, is plainly shown beyond doubt not to have been the case by the presence of a goodly number of unintended human errors in scribal transmissions and other changes that were deliberate in various biblical documents for reasons that range from a changed or developing theology on the one hand, to religious sensibilities on the other.

    On the issue of sensibilities, there has been a textual emendation made in the story of Job where in English the text reads, “Curse God and die.” The Hebrew text was changed by massoretes to read “Bless God and die,” solely on the grounds that the word ‘cursed’ and the word ‘God’ should not be proximate to each other. The Massoretic text, therefore, reads ‘bless God … “ but the reader’s attention is drawn to a marginal note that explains that while it is read the way it appears, it is to be vocalised according to the original text. When the old manuscripts were printed on machines, the marginal texts were not included, and so for those unfamiliar with the common practice, the vocal and/or mental changes necessary to reflect the original text were lost.

    Further information on emendations can be obtained by reading the pdf file at:

    http://www.ericlevy.com/Revel/Textual/Bullinger-E

    Such changes referred to, plus others, are not hidden from the earnest Bible scholar, because they are before their eyes on the printed page if they will read and study their bibles with more care than they do, apparently, at present.

    While it is useful to have a reasonable command of the original languages employed in the tnk, there are sufficient textbooks printed in the English language to point out where the errors and changes are together with explanations of how the crept in or were introduced deliberately.

    To save space and time here, I will do no more than refer Leah and others that occupy positions similar to hers to an excellent book, written by a Jewish scholar that details the several discrete types of errors and other changes that were deliberately introduced prior to new copies of older copies were circulated.

    The excellent book is by Professor Jacob Weingreen (c. 1907 – April 11, 1995) who was a professor of Hebrew in Trinity College, Dublin’s School of religion and theology between 1939 and 1979. Professor Weingreen was the author of the Hebrew grammar textbook that is still recognised as the standard teaching work on the subject.

    However, with reference to our subject here, it is only necessary to read his classic, “Introduction to the Critical Study of the Text of the Hebrew Bible,” [ISBN 0198154534 / 9780198154532 / 0-19-815453-4] to recognise that the Disneyland picture of divine perfection in copyists’ work on the sacred documents is deeply flawed. Weingreen exposes that myth with solid examples of transmission errors so minutely that one has to be profoundly deluded to continue to hold to a position of the inerrancy of copyists thereafter.

    Besides which, no Latter-day Saint claims that the Book of Mormon is ‘inerrant.’ That Anti-Mormon claim is a straw man that is, as are all straw man arguments, completely devoid of substance. Those Anti-Mormons that have taken the trouble to actually read the Book of Mormon will have read for themselves that the text of the Book they malign contains this statement:

    “And if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell fire.” [Words of Mormon 8:17]

    The ‘we’ in that passage is not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but refers to Mormon himself, and to whomever else was involved at that time of his writing.

    Critics that claim that Mormons reject the Bible because of its errors are inaccurate. Mormons love the Holy Bible, and adhere to its principles.

    The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher knew that and said:

    "They say the Mormons do not believe in the Bible, but I know they do, and they believe in it like thunder!"

    He also said:

    “If a literal rendering of the Scriptures was to be accepted, then Mormonism” is correct.”

    It is a pity that someone is ‘disgusted’ by the truth. Paul enjoyed a similar experience at the hands of Galatian Christians that caused him, to write to them:

    “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” [Galatians 4:16]

    I see no ‘tearing apart’ of the Bible in Mormonism. What I do see, and have done so for 61 years, is a willingness and eagerness to know the mind and will of God from his inspired word wherever it appears. What is sure, is that accepting the Bible to be something it is not does no favours to God, to Jesus Christ, nor to the Bible. Better to know them as they really are, not as they have become through distortions. Let God be true though all men liars!

    I wish you well and pray that God will open your eyes to admit the light of the wonders he has worked for our salvation through Christ Jesus.

    Ronnie

  9. I have not argued the Bible is completely "inerrant", I said the SMALL changes that have been made in grammar/punctuation do not affect the message or doctrine and I believe it to be God's holy word. The Bible is infallible in it's ability to bring men to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. It contains the true gospel and I trust it completely. The KJV even has the word Easter in it, and Easter did not exist in New Testament times except in it's pagan form of Ashteroth/Astarte worship/festivals. Does that change the message? Does that change doctrine? Does that make it untrustworthy? Does that mean Jesus' church fell into apostasy? I think not. Jesus himself quoted scripture, so I trust Him that I can read it too.

    As for calling them "Jews", that is what they are called today and I knew Joshua would know who I was talking about with that title. Excuse me for not going into scholar mode and explaining exactly who they were and what area they were from with a whole paragraph, something you remedied for me. Do you feel smarter now? I in no way meant only those from the tribe of Judah, nor did I say they were perfect. I pointed out they took special care and were diligent with their sacred texts, and I do not believe anything "plain and precious" was left out.

    Jesus Christ has opened my eyes and I do have salvation through Him alone, so why would you need to pray for it for me? I already explained I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and all who have faith in Him and His death and resurrection will be saved. That IS the gospel. The gospel is not "you must pay tithing so you can get into the temple to do temple rituals and be sealed in marriage and follow the word of wisdom and follow the prophet" and on and on and on. What do you even need a Savior for with all the work you do for your salvation, or should I say exaltation? You believe only LDS will get to live with God, and I won't unless I accept Joseph Smith and the LDS church as truth. My faith does not need to be placed in any man or church. I have a Savior, I don't need Joseph Smith unless he was sinless, took on the sin of the world, and died to save me.

    Bottom line Ronnie, when you die and stand before God you can tell him that you believed Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the LDS church was the true church, and all the wonderful things you did, and all the works you performed in the temple, and how you followed His commandments and all about you, you, you and see where it gets you.

    When I die, I will stand before God and say I am not even worthy to be in your presence God because I have sinned against you, but I believed in your Son and placed my faith and trust in His sacrifice for me and His promise that my sins would be covered by His blood if I placed my faith in Him. Praise be to Jesus Christ for what He has done for me, worthy is the Lamb! And I will see where it gets me.

  10. Leah,

    I am sorry that my comments made you angry. I had hoped for a less hostile response. However, I appreciate that having your position challenged can be more than a little irritating. :)

    Whilst I do not fear God's judgement, having done my best to follow his commandments and those of his Son Jesus Christ, to whom I referred previously, and, leaning on the mercy, love, and forgiveness of God through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, I am prepared to be judged by him.

    I am surprised that you appear not to know what Jesus said about accepting those that he has sent out as his servants from time to time. This is what Jesus Christ said:

    "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." [Matthew 10:40]

    Here Christ suggests that there would be some that would embrace the Gospel preached by the disciples, and receive them kindly into their houses, and entertain them in a very hospitable manner, and, for the encouragement of such persons who would risk their own goods and lives by so doing, he lets them know, that receiving his disciples, is interpreted by him as receiving himself, as if done to him personally; and, in like manner, would be understood and accepted by his Father.

    Therefore, Christ taught that those that welcome his servants and accept them with kindness are, ipso facto, actually also receiving him and his father, who is Almighty God.

    Ancient Israel accepted yahveh by accepting moshe, and when they accepted the words of yahveh's roel or nebi they were accepting yahveh himself!

    Jesus taught the same, in that those that received his gospel taught to them by his disciples were, in like manner, also receiving the author of the gospel of Jesus Christ who is Jesus Christ, and by receiving Christ they also received God the father, who is, according to Christ himself, 'him that sent me.' So, says our Lord here, "Your authority is Mine, as Mine is My Father's." It is my God-given and Holy Spirit affirmed witness that Joseph Smith was chosen and sent to restore the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Jesus Christ, and I accept, receive, and honour him as I accept, receive, and honour every person sent under divine commission, in every age and in every clime.

    When God tells me to believe the marvellous work and wonders that he has wrought amongst men in these latter-days, then I submit myself to God and to his requirements. God help me, I can do no other! I take the bitterness of persecuting non-LDS Christians the same way that early Christians took the bitter persecutions of Nero and his successors, and in the same way that later Christians were to suffer at each others' hands because some took it upon themselves to kill other Christians because they dared to believe differently. I know what they put my Saviour through, and would deem it foolish of me to suppose that because I take upon myself his holy name, that I should be spared the taunts and humiliations that he suffered before he was nailed to a cross to die for my sins and for the sins of those that taunted him, humiliated him, sought to kill him, scourged him, rammed the thorny crown over his head, and spat upon him.

    I count myself blessed to be able to bear but a small portion of what he suffered for us all. He prophesied that such things would happen to the faithful, and he was, as always, right.

    Can a Christian refuse God's messenger and not refuse Almighty God by so doing? Not according to Jesus, who insists, "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me."

    Concerning Easter, there never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover (μετὰ τὸ πάσχα meta to pascha. The word "Easter" now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles.

    The word "Easter" is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from "Eostre," the goddess of Love, or the Venus of the North, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors in the month of April. Since this festival coincided with the Passover of the Jews, and with the feast observed by Christians in honor of the resurrection of Christ, the name came to be used to denote the latter.

    In the old Anglo-Saxon service-books the term "Easter" is used frequently to translate the word "Passover." In the translation by Wycliffe, the word "paske," that is, "Passover," is used. However, Tyndale and Coverdale used the word "Easter," and hence, it has very improperly crept into the King James Version, but it is an error.

    The bottom line is that God and his Christ are the bottom line.

  11. Seriously? You compare yourself to Christians persecuted by Nero? Get over yourself! Thanks for the laugh. I hardly think discussing different points of view with people online constitutes persecution, much less being slaughtered, tortured, or crucified. That is just silliness. And where, by the way, did I "taunt" or "humiliate" you? You are delusional.

    I just looked up and read your paragraph about you being persecuted again, and it has given me a fresh bout of laughter! Oh, ouch my side! Stop already!

  12. It is incorrect to claim that no changes were made to the Isaiah Chapters common to the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Make a comparison and see the differences.

    Ronnie – Mormon Christian saved by the shed blood of the Lamb of God on Calvary’s cross.

  13. If you will familarise yourself with Mormon history you might find that laughter at what they have suffered at the hands of non-LDS Christians was inappropriate.

  14. "Concerning Easter, there never was a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original is simply after the Passover (μετὰ τὸ πάσχα meta to pascha. The word “Easter” now denotes the festival observed by many Christian churches in honor of the resurrection of the Saviour. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written. The translation is not only unhappy, as it does not convey at all the meaning of the original, but because it may contribute to foster an opinion that such a festival was observed in the time of the apostles.

    The word “Easter” is of Saxon origin, and is supposed to be derived from “Eostre,” the goddess of Love, or the Venus of the North, in honor of whom a festival was celebrated by our pagan ancestors in the month of April. Since this festival coincided with the Passover of the Jews, and with the feast observed by Christians in honor of the resurrection of Christ, the name came to be used to denote the latter.

    In the old Anglo-Saxon service-books the term “Easter” is used frequently to translate the word “Passover.” In the translation by Wycliffe, the word “paske,” that is, “Passover,” is used. However, Tyndale and Coverdale used the word “Easter,” and hence, it has very improperly crept into the King James Version, but it is an error."

    So in other words, you agree with what I said in 1 sentence about Easter, but it took you 3 paragraphs to say as much.

    As for Matthew 10:40, I have received everything the disciples have written, I read it and receive it daily. I have not rejected any of God's messengers. I do not consider Joseph Smith to be of God, and still, nowhere in the Bible does it say I must accept a certain prophet to be saved. I only have to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord, which I have. Why do Mormons get upset when someone comes to know Jesus and give their life over to Him? They should rejoice, but their true allegiance is to a church and a prophet and it shows.

    Jesus also said of the Pharisees, that they were "whited sepulchers but full of dead men's bones", meaning they did all the religious rituals on the outside, but were dead inside because their religious appearances did not save them. He also called them a brood of vipers, hypocrites, and sons of the devil. These were the most religious men of His day. He also said everyone who calls to him "Lord, Lord" is not of Him. So He does not say for me to accept everyone who comes in His name as His messengers and welcome them.

  15. BTW – from anger to mirth is making some progress. :)

  16. I clearly laughed at you comparing yourself to persecuted Christians at the hand of Nero, and stated online debates were hardly persecution. So I still find that laughable. If you want to take my statements out of context and pretend I was laughing at others who were murdered, then you are even more delusional than I thought.

  17. God reveals his will to prophets. He does not need anyone's permission to do so. Amos 3:7 If he wills to speak then he will speak and will do so when and to whom he wills, and he will say whatever he wills to say. Mormons do not believe in a dead God that once spoke but whose mouth is now closed. Everyone is free to choose whichever god they please, but Latter-day Saints believe in a living, speaking and Almighty God.

  18. Hebrews 1:1-2. New Testament.

    "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds"

    Jesus fulfilled the law and the prophets. You can believe there really IS a Santa Claus too, it doesn't mean it's true. Christians do not believe in a "dead God", and yes God can speak to whomever HE chooses, not who the Mormon Church deems worthy and vote's into office of Prophet. God's prophets never were the leaders of huge, theocratic organizations or board members at multi-million dollar corporations. They didn't wear suits and ties, people didn't stand up for them when they walked in the room. They didn't even have apostles, only Jesus did! What a joke! God did speak to us through the prophets in the Old Testament times, but He sent His Son for us in these latter days. The culmination of the Old Testament is Jesus, what can a "prophet" today reveal that we don't already know? We have God's Word and His Son to look to now. When was the last time your "prophet" had a new revelation from God anyway? Are you just so desperate for a leader and someone to tell you what to do? God already did, through Jesus and His Word…you can think for yourself now.

    So God may still choose men in which to reveal things too today and men can still prophecy, but I assure you those men are not sitting up in their ivory towers in Salt Lake City in a business office called "Prophet".

    "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" 1 Corinthians 1:27

  19. I imagine if God did send a prophet today like He did in times past, you and the church would reject him, just as the Pharisees rejected Jesus.

    He would maybe have long hair and a beard, wear animal hair and eat locusts like John the Baptist. Or he might wear sack cloth and ashes and be filthy, or even naked like Isaiah went for 3 years. Isaiah tells us of Jesus that there would be nothing stately about him, he would have no beauty or majesty or anything to make you desire him. You Mormons would look down your nose at them and deny God would choose such a man as prophet! Just like the Pharisees, you have an idea in your head who God should use and by what methods to speak to you and that is how you choose your leaders. You want strong, worthy, clean cut leaders in a white shirt and tie who you can admire and be inspired by. Worldly things.

    You know nothing of how God operates.

  20. Leah – I wish you a joyous and Christ-centred Christmas.

    Ronnie

  21. I have witnessed and attended several Christian churches that claim to be 'Bible pattern' churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints does not claim to be the 'Mirror Image' of Early Christianity. Readers of the New testament will note that the Church founded by the Lord Jesus Christ was neither static in its organisation of in its functions. At various times, new teachings were introduced whenever necessary, and new officers were called and commissioned. This was necessary because the Church of Jesus Christ was not intended to be a static or simple organisation, but was designed to grow and be extended in order to cope with and minister to the changing demographic that affected the Church as it grew and developed.

    The Restored Gospel is no different from this pristine model. As it grew and expanded it followed the pattern of the Early Christian Church during the time of Christ and his Apostles, and continues to develop to maintain relevancy for the needs of its fourteen million plus members.

    Ecclesiastical history is replete with denominations that sprang up but that failed to meet the changing needs of its members in developing worlds and consequently fossilised, became irrelevant, and have either died or are extremely moribund.

  22. Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest.

    And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him,

    And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

  23. Anyone at all familiar with the claims of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ knows that while it includes the elements that were part of meridian Christianity, it goes far beyond that. It is said to be all dispensations rolled into one and includes all that God has revealed from the foundation of this earth up to the present time. It is the Restoration of All Things as prophesied in Acts 3:21:

    " … the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."

    This was a coming event, and is fulfilled in the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these last days.

    Obviously, then, this goes beyond the Primitive Christian Church, because God promised that it would, and, of course, since God does not lie, it has. That is why Anti-Mormons find elements in the Restored Church that constantly surprise them. If they were more familiar with the scriptures they would know what these things were and not be surprised at anything God does.

    "The times of the restitution of all things"

    The noun rendered restitution 'ἀποκαταστάσεως' apokatastaseōs, does not elsewhere occur in the New Testament. The verb from which it is derived occurs eight times.

    It means properly "to restore a thing to its former situation," as restoring a "strained" or "dislocated" limb to its former soundness, or an apostate Church to its proper soundness, and God alone would know what that soundness was.

    Hence, it is used to restore, or to heal, when it occurs in the New Testament:

    Matthew 12:13, — "And it (the hand) was restored whole as the other"; Mark 3:5; Luke 6:10.

    And it is applied to the preparation or fitness for the coming of the Messiah which was to attend the preaching of John in the character of Elias, Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12.

    Thus, in Josephus (Antiq., cf. Mark 2:3, Mark 2:8), the word is used to denote the return of the Jews from the captivity of Babylon, and their restoration to their former state and privileges.

    The word has also the idea of "consummation, completion, or filling up."

    Thus, it is used in Philo, Hesychius, Phavorinus, and by the Greek Classics. (See Lightfoot and Kuinoel.)

    Thus, it is used here by the Syriac version of Acts 3:21:

    "Until the complement or filling up of the times"; that is, of all the events foretold by the prophets, etc.

    Thus, the Arabic: "Until the times which shall establish the perfection or completion of all the predictions of the prophets," etc.

    In this sense the passage means that the heavens must receive the Lord Jesus until all thrums spoken by the prophets in relation to his work, his reign, the spread of the gospel in its correct form, the triumph of Christ, etc., shall have been fulfilled.

    It also conveys the idea of the predicted recovery of the original Christian Church from its false positions gained after Catholicism replaced it, and the restoration of peace and order; the con. summation of the work of the Messiah, now begun, but not yet complete; slow it may be in its advances, but triumphant and certain in its progress and its close.

    All things – All things which have been foretold by the prophets. The expression does not mean that all people will be saved, even though through the Atonement of Christ all the sins can be repaired or remedied.

    Everything which the prophets have told and foretold shall be completed and fulfilled.

    Which God hath spoken – Which have been revealed, and are recorded in the Scriptures.

    All which have been spoken of, installed, and prophesied would be fulfilled at the time of the Restitution.

    Since the world began – This is an expression denoting the same as from the beginning, meaning to affirm with emphasis that all the prophecies would be fulfilled. The apostles were desirous to show that they, as well as the Jews, held entirely to the prophets, and taught no doctrine which they had not taught before them.

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