Yep, I got another message from my friend:
The reason it feels like I am telling you what you believe is because you will not admit that we believe totally different things when it comes to God, Jesus Christ, salvation, etc. I pointed out distinct differences and yet you want to say that we believe in the same Jesus when clearly we are talking about characteristics that are totally different and therefore make His personage very different. And honestly, I have talked to so many mormons about things they believe and they tell me, “We don’t believe that, don’t know where you got that.” And then I tell them to go ask their bishop and then they come back and say, “Ya know, I guess we do believe that…but let me bear you my testimony.” I don’t need to hear a testimony, we all have a testimony…Christians, Mormons, Muslims, Buddists…but that does not mean anything. Because at some point it comes down to truth proven through fact and faith. For example Nate, below I asked about the Book of Mormon and those items not even mentioned in the Book of Mormon. THat is a legitimate question, with a legitimate issue and your only response is basically, “That’s garbage, you don’t know what your talking about and that’s anti-mormon…” If you want to call it that, then so be it…but you didn’t prove me wrong or prove those statements wrong. That’s my issue with the conversations with Mormons I have had in the past. When it comes to a legitimate issue that doesn’t seem to have an answer, then you simply turn to “anti-mormon statements or I bear my testimony that so and so is true.” Have you heard me do that when you ask me questions for the reason I believe what I believe?
Nate, I am sorry that this seems unfriendly to you, but maybe my passion for the truth and my refusal to say that Mormonism goes hand in hand with Christianity offends you. I don’t let statements that great leaders of the Mormon faith say about my faith in Jesus Christ…. For example
“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense….the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.” (John Taylor–Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, page 167)
“The Bible has been robbed of its plainess; many sacred books have been lost, others rejected by the chruch, and what few we have left, weree copied and re-copied so many times, that it is admitted that almost every verse has been corrupted and mutilated to that degree that scarcely any two of them read alike” (Orson Pratt– The Seer, p. 213)
“Christendom. That portion of the world in which so-called Christianity prevails–as distinguished from heathen or Mohammedan lands–is called Christendom. The term also applies to the whole body of supposed Christian believers; as now constituted this body is properly termed apostate Christendom.” (Bruce McConkie–Mormon Doctrine, p. 131)
I do have to admit that the last statement you made in quotes is something new that I have never heard from a Mormon person before. It is encouraging to hear that your modern day prophets have encouraged you to seek out and search for truth because I have had missionaries share with me that if they question their faith or go digging for answers to questions that are posed that it shows a lack of faith on their behalf.
So I have another legitimate question. Obviously, Joseph Smith is very important and his character is essential to the foundation of the LDS beliefs. Would that be a correct statement?
1. Did Joseph Smith every prophesy falsely about anything?
2. Was the book of Abraham really what he claimed it to be? Have you heard the voice of critics on this book?
Nate, I think we could both admit that we both believe we are right and have the truth. ARe there any questions you have about my faith that just don’t make sense to you?
I engage in these great conversations with you Nate because I care about your eternal destiny and God has continued to call me to reach out to you and I thank you for taking the time to share with me about your beliefs and your life.
IN HIS STRENGTH,
The Bible does contradict Mormonism because it does not talk about the same Jesus that Mormonism talks about. The name is the same, the stories may sound the same, but who He is as God is completely different. The fact alone that Jesus was born…is contrary to the Bible, read John 1. You cannot say the book of Mormon matches up with the Bible…it is simply not true.
sorry, that last statement was not part of the flow and think we talked about it earlier
I let Becky read this and she encouraged me to just stop the conversation, that it wasn’t going anywhere worth the time. However, I responded with what I feel I should have said from the beginning:
Ultimately, you’re right – we do believe different things when it comes to salvation, God and Jesus Christ. What I have learned about sharing the Gospel, and what I believe Jesus did when He taught His Gospel, was to build upon common beliefs, not to immediately critique and tell others why I think what they believe is wrong or different. My intent has always been to answer your questions (within reason) without getting into debate – to build on common beliefs.
There are three main principles I believe that you don’t:
1. Apostles and Prophets: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus leads his Church today on the earth via prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone (see Eph. 2:20).
2. Revelation: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ believe in modern-day revelation – communication between God and man. (see Amos 3:7)
3. Priesthood: Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that the priesthood has been restored giving imperfect men the right to act in the name of God. (Matt. 16:19, Mark 3:14, Doctrine and Covenants 13:1)
I can share with you many things that we believe, we can go back and forth attempting to “prove” that what we believe is true, but at the end of this conversation, it boils down to one simple truth, one experience that either happened or it didn’t – the visitation of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ to the 14 year old boy Joseph Smith.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe this happened. I believe Joseph really did want to know which church out of all the churches in his day, was the correct one. I believe he read in James 1:5-6 and got an answer to his prayer, that if he wanted to know the truth, that he should simply ask and that’s what he did.
Did Joseph make mistakes as a natural man? I’m sure he did. But my focus ultimately is on the “fruit of his labor”.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe the experience Joseph had has changed history, it’s the coming forth of the dispensation of the fullness of times (Isaiah 11:11-13, Isaiah 14:29, Jeremiah 31:31, Matthew 24:14, Acts 3:21, Ephesians 1:10), the restoration of what was lost due to the Apostasy (Isaiah 24:5).
I know that the book Joseph Smith translated by the power and authority of God is “Another Testament of Jesus Christ”.
And just as Nephi in the book said, this is my invitation to you:
“10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.
“11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; and you and I shall stand face to face before his bar; and ye shall know that I have been commanded of him to write these things, notwithstanding my weakness.
“12 And I pray the Father in the name of Christ that many of us, if not all, may be saved in his kingdom at that great and last day.”
I encourage you to pursue your passion for truth, and I will pursue my passion for truth as well, leaving an open invitation for you to diligently search for yourself. I know that the “truth shall make [us] free”.
I care about your eternal salvation as well and know that only in and through the true and living Christ can any of us be saved. “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.” (Moroni 10:32)
Take care Luke.
My efforts to “draw on common beliefs” were in vain the whole time. Do we believe in a different Jesus that other Christians? To them, yes, absolutely we do. Primarily because, to my knowledge, all other “Christian” faiths believe that God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are the same “being” – not real people, but a trinity of power.
After sharing my final message with Luke, I read an article by Elder Bednar and felt like I got confirmation for what I had shared. Here were some of the specific things that stuck out to me:
Consider, for example, the lessons we learn about spiritual priorities from the order of the major events that occurred as the fulness of the Savior’s gospel was restored in these latter days.
In the Sacred Grove, Joseph Smith saw and talked with the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ. Among other things, Joseph learned about the true nature of the Godhead and of continuing revelation. This majestic vision ushered in “the dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10) and is one of the signal events in the history of the world. (bold added for emphasis)
From what I’d written to Luke a few hours earlier, this was some pretty straight forward confirmation that what I’d shared was what needed to be shared.
Yes, THIS and THIS ALONE is what separates us from other “Christian” faiths. The experience Joseph had changed the way the Godhead was understood by those of us that believe that the event really took place.
Was I there to see it? No. Can I “prove” that it took place? Not really. However, “…by their afruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:20).
The “fruits” of Joseph Smith come in a variety of ways:
- The Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ
I’ve read this book, I’ve prayed about it, I’ve shared it with others, and as I read it, I FEEL that it is true, that it was written by ancient prophets who migrated to the Americas during the time of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. Is this “proof” enough for me? ABSOLUTELY! What I FEEL is the only “proof” I really need because that feeling is something I can’t deny.
Just the fact that there are religions out there like Luke’s that are doing all they can to stop the work from progressing, to question the validity of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, is “proof” in and of itself that the Book is true.
- The restoration of the Gospel with the power of the priesthood and ongoing revelation.
How can anyone who actually reads the words of our modern prophets and apostles deny the power of God in what they say? The truth is, they DON’T read them: they’re afraid to – it questions everything they have been taught and continue to teach as part of their occupation.
I told Becky last night, after reading my response to Luke, that this has really been good for me: it’s caused me to really search and ponder the things that I believe in. It’s not ever been something I’ve had to deal with – the people in Chile never had questions like these.
I’m grateful for me understanding of the truth.
I know I have more to learn and understand.
But I feel I’ve done the right thing by testifying and leaving an open invitation for Luke to discover for himself and to ask God.
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God.
I know Joseph Smith is a prophet who was called to restore the Gospel in our day.
I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Kingdom of God established on the Earth in preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior.
I know that these truths shall make me free.
P.S. I did a bit of research about his questions on if the Book of Mormon contains specific doctrines that we believe:
Priesthood: Alma 13
Marriage: Jacob 3:5-11, Helaman 10:7, 4 Nephi 1:11 (and we believe that God has revealed many additional important things in the Doctrine and Covenants about marriage – see Section 132)