Posted: 5/30/2008 5:31:18 PM EDT
I'm not Mormon or Christian, but was raised in a CRC church.
I know these threads always go down hill, but I am genuinely curious about something...is a person able to reach "salvation" by the old way (New Testament), or is it necessary to understand and accept the teachings of the book of Mormon?
In other words...is the accepting the Book of Mormon a neccesity for going to heaven or is accepting the New Testament enough. Is the Book of Mormon simply a continuation of the story, after Jesus' ministry and death in Israel? Or is it a completion of his ministry. Can you accept Jesus without accepting Mormonism?
It's a simple question and I'm hoping for a simple answer. Please don't trash this thread with inter-religous bickering.
I am curious about Mormons and wonder if they're beliefs are based more in cultural heritage or a fullfillment/perfection of scripture.
I don't mean any disrespect and thanks in advance for any input.
The Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ. Its purpose is to bring people to Christ. It both reinforces and clarifies doctrines taught in the Bible, and in some cases adds further light and knowledge to them.
It is not quite as simple as saying you have to believe the Book of Mormon to get to heaven. This is because there have been countless people alive on the earth when and where the Book of Mormon did not exist. If we make that assumption that the same salvation is available to all of God's children here on the earth, we must then conclude that some of them will get to heaven without knowing anything about the Book of Mormon specifically.
Looking at the big picture, we believe that God has a body of ideas or thought which completely describes and contains the truth. In order to get to heaven, we need to learn and accept the truth. Truth can be found in many places. We believe that the Book of Mormon, like the Bible, contains truth, but not the whole truth. We believe that there are truths yet unrevealed that we will one day come to know.
One of the most important things the Book of Mormon teaches is that each person can communicate directly with God and that through such personal revelation, we can each find out what is true and what is not. We start out with these assumptions:
God loves us; we are His spirit children, and He wants the best for each of us.
God knows the truth; all of it.
God wants us to know the truth and to follow it.
Through prayer, we can communicate directly with God.
If we ask in sincerity, He will answer our prayers.
God speaks to us through the Holy Ghost.
The spiritual communication we receive through the Holy Ghost is more powerful than words, visions, and so forth.
So we can find out if things are true, and if so we can follow them with confidence that we are following God's will. The more we follow His will, the more capable we become to discern and understand the truth.
The basic message of the Book of Mormon is deliverance. It teaches that through Jesus Christ, who overcame sin and death, we can also overcome, and be delivered from sin or whatever imprisons us. By following Christ, we can become perfect. Of course this won't all happen during our mortal life - it's about eternal progression, but it all comes back to Jesus Christ, His teachings, and the atonement He completed.
That's a starting point. There is much more to know and to understand. I recommend that you get a copy of the Book of Mormon and begin to read it. And that you meet with missionaries. There are no doubt some near you. They can meet with you directly and answer many of your questions.
My struggle is in faith and knowing the Truth.
How do you know when someone is actually preaching a new Truth? How do you know if it's a false prophet or a real one? If I were to go by what my heart tells me, I know I could easily be misled. David Koresh's people were misled. Jim Jones's people were misled. Heck, remember the group that thought there was a UFO behind the Halebop (?) comet and they all committed suicide so they could float up and get on board!
It would seem that there should be only one truth...otherwise, it could be an invitation to confusion and misunderstanding, where the penelty for being going off track is an eternity of burning in a lake of fire (CRC teachings).
In a way I envy people with faith. I was raised with fire and brimstone and am now spiritually retarded...unable to grow.
A fair question. Here are two ways to know the truth of principles taught and the people who teach them.
1. By their fruits. Someone who is living the Gospel will manifest it in not just word but deed as well.
2. By confirmation from The Holy Spirit.
By the way, I agree completely that God is not a God of confusion or misunderstanding. I believe that such problems are the result of people mixing the philosophies of men together with scripture.
The best way to tell a false prophet is if a self proclaimed prophet gives a prophesy that does not come to fruition.
Say if a man were to say that Jesus would be returning by a certain date …But then Jesus never shows.
They would be false.
If then they were to repeat the same prophesy for a new date a little further out …but it doesn’t happen then either.
Well you would have a false prophet x2......which would make them a liar of course.
I would tend to agree (or hope you are right) that God would have room for people who were not exposed to either the book of Mormon or the New Testament.
The scary part is not knowing if you have a Golden ticket until your dead.
The good part is that God has promised over and over that if we open the door, He will enter, that if we seek, we will find, that if we ask, He will answer.
The universal rule is that you have to meet Him halfway. As Jesus said, any one who would do the will of the Father would know of the doctrine. In other words, to find answers from God, we need to do things His way, live by His commandments. For a while; show that we are serious. And have sincerity, which He knows as He knows our hearts. Sincerity means that when He answers you, you will follow and do what He shows you to be right.
You can know. People who say you can't don't have enough faith, and that's usually because they are hanging onto something that keeps them away from God. There are things some people know that are real but that are not known by others. Just like blind people can't see the color blue doesn't mean it's not real and can be seen by others. There are all kinds of blindness, and there are all kinds of light.
When you put the new scope on a rifle, fire it down-range, and miss the target, there are steps you take to move the point of aim onto the target and zero it in. In the same way, when your spiritual life is off the mark, there are steps you can take to bring yourself back on target. You get up every day and make choices. It is in your hands to make the choices that will bring you closer to God.
I am going to have to disagree with my Mormon friends.
But your right in that to post the reasons why in this thread would lead to a train wreck.
Ill be sending you a pm with what the Bible has to say on the issue.
Feel free to read or trash at your discretion.
If you take the time to send, I'll take the time to read.
I think it is important to realize WHY there would be a need for the Book of Mormon
AFTER the doctrine Jesus taught was given to man.
The Book of Mormon came forward in direct fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.
It's coming was foretold by prophets of old who saw the "book" and what effect
it would have on the world.
Because of the twisted and false teachings that existed on the earth in 1820
the Lord began to establish His church one last time to prepare the earth for His
coming. The keys and authority of the "gathering of Israel" were given, once again in
fulfillment of prophecy.
The Bible is the word of God, but not the whole word of God. The origin of
"The Bible" shows how it was 'put together' by men who had an agenda. the writings that did not support that agenda were left out.
People can and do reject the Book of Mormon. People can and do reject the Bible.
Isaiah said it best when he said that the Book of Mormon would have a "familiar spirit".
When people read the Book of Mormon with a true desire to know of its truthfulness,
one feels this "familiar spirit". One feels inside their soul that they are reading truth that they have always known.
This is why the church is growing so fast around the world. People read the Book of Mormon and are drawn to the teachings that it contains. They do not contradict the Bible they enhance the understanding of what was written by those who wrote what is contained in the Bible, both O.T and N.T.
An important reminder B-splat is that Tinman's
interpretations of what the Bible says are just that . . .
his ideas as to what the Bible says "on the issue".
If you have questions as to what the LDS Church believes
about something, you did the intelligent thing . . .
You asked a question of those that believe just a doctrine.
Not, asking those who feel they know, but want to smear the
clear view of such things.
This is not meant as a slam on "tinman".
Just as I would not want you to ask me what it is that HE believes
the doctrines of his church are.
Take care all!
You said "Because of the twisted and false teachings that existed on the earth in 1820
the Lord began to establish His church one last time to prepare the earth for His
Why do you think Jesus (the Son of God) failed to prepare the Earth for his coming? How did Joseph Smith (the Son of Men) do a better job? How you know that another "Joseph Smith" won't turn up in China in a few years to set the record straight again?
I wish there was just a simple path to heaven that could be summed up in one sentence and if this could be done, I wish that people would focus on that and forget about all the other clutter.
---I don't think Tinman stepped on this thread. he was agreeing with something I said and wanted to send a private message to me explaining this...and I appreciated this.
My dial up here at the house is not going to let send you a IM.
Im going to have wait and use the highspeed at work in the morning.
Since Jesus called Joseph Smith to be His prophet, why would anyone suggest that Joseph Smith is trying to do any better than The Lord. Joseph Smith is the Lord's servant, not trying to be His master.
It really isn't Joseph Smith trying to out do Jesus. I know that other churches try to make it sound like the LDS Church doesn't believe in Jesus, worships Joseph, preach that we are better than God, and other Misconceptions(lies). God had Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Zechariah, Isaiah, and many others prophecy about the last days. Paul, John and others did the same in the N.T. It was prophesied that people would fall away from the truth that Jesus had taught. This was evident in all of Paul's writings, as he was writing these letters to the different "churches" correcting the false doctrine that was being taught shortly after Jesus' ascension.
Eternal truth rally IS quite simple and doesn't require all the "clutter" when we see the simplicity of Jesus' message to the people.
I'm a slow person and I just don't understand why the words of the son of God wouldn't be enough to get the message out. Why does he need more and more people to do it? How many more will it take?
Shane, my question was to Uncle Al. he indicated that Jesus' ministry had become "twisted" with "false teachings" and I was wondering how Joesph Smith's ministry would fare any better. It seems a fair question.
I don't mean to offend anyone. I'm just asking question because I have no beliefs or answers myself. I think that this thread is going to start spinning it's wheels.
I don't want it to turn ugly because that wasn't the intent. I will ask the mods to lock this thread so that it doesn't happen.
Thanks for the replies, they were interesting.
Then why do people argue about the "clutter?" All it does is weaken the simplicity of his message. Why are people hungry for a knowledge that can be shown after they die? Jesus' message wasn't about the "who-begats" and other trivia, so why should anyone else talk about it?
Okay. I'm done.
It was fun.
ETA: Point taken Uncle Al. I could have worded that better.
Just to set the record straight . . . .
I didn't say that Jesus' ministry became twisted, etc. I stated that after he left this earth the church He left began teaching things that He did not. This was the reason for all of Paul's letters; to correct false doctrine.
I have to desire to become contentious of here abouot anyone's beliefs also.
Hey Uncle-al, you should check out the book Inevitable Apostasy by Tad Callister if you haven't already. It is the best book on the apostasy I have ever read. It really made me appreciate the role of the ancient apostles, it clearly shows how their full time job was just trying to hold back the TIDAL wave of apostasy and abominations entering the primitive church from day one.
Take a very big step back and look at the whole picture. There is a pattern evident that helps us understand all of this.
Start with Adam. The first prophet.
After a while the people apostatized.
Then there was Enoch. He restored the gospel to the earth and with the righteous people of his day, built the first city of Zion.
After a while the people apostatized
Then there was Noah. He lived in a time of wickedness so bad that the only way to fix it was the flood. After that the world was repopulated, and he taught them the gospel.
After a while the people apostatized.
Then there was Abraham. A righteous man that wanted to follow the ways of the ancient patriarchs. God made a covenant with him. He restored the gospel again. After a while the people apostatized, in Egypt.
Then there was Moses. He arose out of the bondage of Egypt to free the Hebrews and take them to the promised land. He gave the Isrealites their first national identity, restored the truth, and taught the gospel. After a while the people apostatized.
Then Jesus was born. He found the Isrealites in a state of apostacy, with their religious leaders having strayed far from the truth. See the four Gospels which are full of His condemnation of the religious leaders of the day. He taught the gospel, again, in its fullness. He set up His church and chose the 12 apostles to lead it after he ascended.
He also predicted that another apostacy would happen after He left.
Follow the Dark Ages.
Follow the Reformers, whose basic idea was that Christianity was broken and needed to be fixed.
So we see this pattern having been established and repeated 6 times throughout the history of the world:
and we know that the history of the world as taught by the Bible consists of 7 1000 year periods. 7 dispensations. Each of them begining with a restoring prophet ( the 6th being Christ himself ) and ending in a time of apostacy.
More careful study of the Bible will reveal that the last 1000 year period, known as the Great Millenium, will be a time when Christ has defeated all of His enemies on the earth and will reign personally as the leader of the world.
And yet more study will reveal that prior to the 2nd coming and the beginning of the millenium, there would be not only a great apostacy ( see 2 Thes 2:1-3 ) but also a restoration of all things ( see Acts 3:21 ) . This means a restoration of all that was had in previous dispensations, and the fullness of the gospel taught in all nations. There are prophecies, in the Bible, that tell of how Elijah would come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord ( see Malachi 4:5-6 ).
So the 7th 1000 years, the final dispensation, is preceded by apostacy and restoration, just like all the previous dispensations. ( except Adam's when it all started )
It is God that set up the pattern of calling prophets to restore the truth when it had been lost. It is typical that the prophets were rejected by many in their own times and followed by few.
Christ himself was rejected and ultimately crucified by the very people who claimed the keys of the religious establishment of the day.
It is by this pattern and the prophecies themselves that predict the restoration that we know it is God's plan to have prophets on the earth prior to the millenium. How else could an organized, worldwide teaching of the restored truth happen? How else could the restored truth be preached to every nation, in their own tongues?
Of course the existing religious establishment will deny this and villify those who teach it. They have done the exact same thing in every previous time of apostacy; why would we expect anything different. The Jewish religious leaders were threatened by Christ because their power structure was threatened. It was no different when Joseph Smith brought forth the Book of Mormon and began teaching of the restoration - the power structure, traditions, establishments, and way of life of those in place at the time was threatened.
They have been wrong every time in the past and they are wrong again.
And, as I said in my first reply, you can know for yourself what is true. You don't have to take my word for it. Study it out for yourself and then ask the Lord in prayer if you are right. I testify that He will show you the way to the truth. I followed these steps 21 years ago at the age of 18 as i sought for meaning and truth in my own life. I promise you that He will hear you and answer you if you study and ask in faith and sincerity.
I'll get on that, thanks!
I had "The Great Apostacy" by Talmage on my mission in Argentina.
It helped me understand what was going on there. Very interesting.
GREAT post grommet.
One of, if not THE, best post I've ever read here. Thanks.
I guess my main question would be, if apostasy had crept into Christianity during the time of Joseph Smith. What exactly was made known to Him to bring change that the Bible did not already teach?
What is it that the book of Mormon has in it that the Bible does not?
What enlightenment was made known to Joseph Smith that was not given to John when He was given the Revelation of the Bible?
You see it is easy to claim that the Bible is a complement to ANY religion; this is done by most religions of the world.
Where the problem comes in is when these religious teachings are not consistent with what Gods word the Bible says.
What Joseph Smith taught about who God is and how men can enter into a personal relationship with Him are not consistent with what the Bible has to say on the matter.
I hope I don’t come across as a troll.
It is simply that my belief is that the Bible stands alone as the Word of God.
You're not trollish at all. It is entirely possible to have honest, intellectual disagreements. Respectful discussion of disagreements is beneficial for all.
I disagree that the Bible stands alone, although I do agree that it is the word of God. The fact that there are so many churches and denominations demostrates that irrefutably, in my mind. People say that "the Bible says what it says and doesn't need interpretation." That is wishful thinking. Anything processed through the eyes, ears, or brain of man gets interpreted. The multitude of interpretations presents a problem. God is not the author of confusion, and the truth can only be one thing. That unfortunately means that someone is going to be right, and someone is going to be wrong. Determining who that is, is the challenge.
I mentioned earlier, and the Bible says, that the last restoration would be a restoration of all things (Acts 3:21, Isaiah 2:1-3 ). He uses restitution, which we could also use here.
So make a list of all the things that were had in previous dispensations. They all need to be present. Here is a short list:
Temples and temple cermonies
Prophets & Apostles
Direct revelation through the prophets from God or Jesus Christ
Continuous addition to scripture
Now there are some things that are not here now - like the Law of Moses. It's not here because it was given to point to the great and last sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Since Christ has come, it is fulfilled. Therefore it is no longer needed.
But what of all the rest?
Careful reading of the Old and New Testaments reveals the Aaronic and Melchizedec Priesthoods. Where are they? What are they? Who presides? Who administers? What are the laws that govern the use of the Priesthood? What are the ordinances and how are they carried out?
What of the temples? Who now knows what happened in them and why they existed? The Old Testament clearly shows that they were of great importance to the ancient Isrealites. What was done? Who was it done for? Who was in charge?
What of the prophets? People are eager to accept that there was a (sometimes broken ) mostly continuous line of them from the time of Adam to the time of the 12 Apostiles, but suddenly today you can't have any more. Why not? Did God's method of interacting with us change? Do we not have a greater need for revelation from God to guide our lives today than was ever needed in the past? Does He no longer care for us?
A good example of what you mention is the Sadducees and Pharisees. They had the scriptures. They had the Law of Moses. They had had both of these things since the time of Moses. And they were doing it all wrong. In the very same way, the way God's word in the Bible has been used has changed over the years since the Apostles were killed. That is the very definition of apostacy - that the truths that once were accepted and used were changed over time by the precept of men.
That is exactly what the Reformers, the founders of Protestant faiths, said - the way Christianity was being practiced was missing something.
And that is exactly why what was needed was not just a reformation, but a restitution. Christ didn't just say to the Priests of the day, "OK, guys, look. You're blowing it. Let's sit down and I'll set you all straight." He flat out rejected them and put in place the New and Everlasting Covenant, and called the 12 Apostles to be the leaders of the new church after He left. He was done with the old and completely replaced it.
Now I have not listed every single thing the Book of Mormon or other modern scripture adds to the Bible. That would be impossible here. I have listed a few things of great importance. If you really want to know all of them, read the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. When you are done with that, come back and let's talk some more about it. Then you will be prepared to continue the conversation in a much more meaningful way.
But even if you can just answer the questions I have posed here, you will be a lot further along.
May the Lord bless you in your search for truth.
Grommet, thanks for taking the time to expound on you beliefs.
By the way, one of my all time favorite movies “Saints and Soldiers” was a Mormon collaboration. (I just hope people don’t find that out when I recommend it)
I will still have to say that I strongly disagree with Joseph Smith an almost everything he taught as far as men’s relationship with God the Father.
I don’t think the Bible and The book of Mormon or Pearl of Great price are compatible in the most important area of who God and Jesus Christ are.
I will have to be honest and say that although I have read many publishing’s by former Mormons who have turned to Christianity. I have just started to read the Book of Mormon for myself.
Even though I Believe Gods word the Bible to be the Only word of God I do attempt to at least read other religions holy books before I speak to harshly about them.
However with new religions coming out all the time that is becoming an impossible task.
I will be honest with you; I view the Book of Mormon in the same light as the Koran, a book written by a man who wished to use religion as a means to gain power.
I view Mormons In the same light as the Muslim or the Hindu or followers of any other religion for that matter.
And I will make the same observation to you that I would to them.
Truth is by it very definition exclusive.
There can be only One Truth.
If the truths that each of us believe in are in disagreement then only one of them can be “The Truth” the others must be lies.
That sounds harsh but it does cause one to evaluate what and in whom we place our Faith and Trust.
It isn’t so much that I search for truth…You see I have a relationship with Jesus Christ whom I believe to be the Only Truth.
What I do seek is that my life would become more like His.
As I read through the Book of Mormon ill send you some IM’s.
It would be cool if you would respond in kind.
Only someone ignorant of Joseph Smith's history would come up with the idea that the Book of Mormon was, "written by a man who wished to use religion as a means to gain power."
Joseph Smith faced incredible heartache and persecution for standing up for his beliefs. He was persecuted before translating the Book of Mormon and the persecution only intensified until evil men took his life in a vain attempt to extinguish Joseph's testimony.
You have a relationship with Jesus Christ, T1NMAN. For that I commend you. However, if you wish to use that "relationship" to tell Christ that He cannot speak to anyone who is not already dead and mentioned in the Bible, you may find yourself exceedingly surprised one day. From ancient times God has spoken to His people through prophets. Grommet has already touched on this.
The Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ. You may choose to reject it or even the possibility of any scripture besides the Bible, but in doing so you will eventually find that you are "kicking against the pricks."
"...former Mormons who have turned to Christianity..."
thank you all.
This thread has been great. Good discussion and no garbage. I look forward to continuing it.
You will find that the Book of Mormon teaches exactly the opposite throughout its pages...
And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God.
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
2 Nephi 31:13
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism—yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost; and then can ye speak with the tongue of angels, and shout praises unto the Holy One of Israel.