Friday, March 07, 2008

Holy Spirit, get ready... FIGHT!

I had a great conversation with the neighborhood missionaries for the Latter Day Saints today. Man, I had a good time.

My favorite moment is when one of the poor young elders told me that the reason that the Book of Mormon reads like second-rate King James is that God supernaturally translated it and he just wanted all the bad grammar and poor style included. Ha ha ha. Good one!

More to come later....

p.s. there wasn't really any fighting. Mostly asking questions. I did take a brief moment to explain to them why Moses and Elijah appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration and then asked why, of all people, Peter, James and John came to bestow the priesthood on Joseph Smith.


  1. Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek priesthood because they were the last people who had it. (Peter was given the keys of the kingdom by Jesus).

    Later, Joseph Smith was visited by Moses to receive the keys of the gathering of Israel and by Elijah (which visitation, incidentally, happened on Passover) to receive the keys of sealing.

    I find these things fascinating. But to learn more about them, you're probably going to need to study deeper on your own instead of querying the missionaries for information off the tops of their heads.

    What Do Mormons Believe?

  2. Yes, I understand the idea behind the Melchizedek priesthood, though I think there's an inherent misunderstanding on the part of Mormons on what precisely that is. It's described in detail in Hebrews and a great part of the point is that Christ is the sole remaining priest of that order, and that the work of the high priest is finished. So there's no reason for anyone else to take on the priesthood. Peter, James and John were not members of the priesthood of Melchizedek and had no authority to pass it on to anyone.

    Second thought... any time I study deeper on my own I mostly discover a lot of inconsistencies and errors. So I thought I'd give my Elder Buddies a chance to answer them. To say that they're answering "off the top of their heads" would be, I think, a bit of an exaggeration, since they do this every day, and have been doing it for the last year. Seems like they would have pretty convincing answers to simple questions like "Why Peter, James and John"? But they don't. Seems like they were never encouraged to think about it beyond memorizing a couple of key phrases.

    Lastly... Thaddeus... you seem to have dropped by to share Mormon theology rather than to answer any of the questions I've asked. Which is fine, everyone is welcome here. But why is it that neither you nor my missionary friends have an answer as to why the Book of Mormon is full of second-rate King James as well as inexplicable evidence of Greek words in what is purportedly a Hebrew/Egyptian text? No one seems to want to touch the question.

  3. Missionaries are trained to teach the "simple truths of the gospel," and most are very good at that. I wish all elders had a firmer grasp on these deeper points, but some have studied more carefully than others.

    Plus, their resources are limited mainly to the "simple truths of the gospel." They don't have easy access to scholarly papers and internet search engines, and they don't need them. Convincing logic will never impel a man to repent. They rely heavily on the Holy Ghost to deliver their messages to the heart.

    I posted a short answer to your KJV question. I know it's incomplete and probably unconvincing, but it is what I believe. Here is a more complete answer to your question:

    What Do Mormons Believe?

  4. Hey Thaddeus, thanks. That's interesting. Are the elders not allowed to access the internet while they're on their mission? I know they're not allowed to watch television, because I invited them over to watch LOST. :)

    I appreciate what you said about your answer probably seeming incomplete and unconvincing but still being what you believe. I can respect that.

    Was there a specific article on the Jeff Lindsay site I should look at? The link I followed took me to an article debunking that Joseph Smith came from a UFO or something silly like that.

  5. Missionaries are allowed to email once a week. That's about all the computer time they get. The Lord wants them to use their time wisely. We both know how easy it is to waste an entire afternoon online. Plus, they only have two short years to preach the gospel.

    Do you think Tall Walt is still alive?

    Try this link.

  6. Interesting. Are Mormon missionaries allowed to extend their mission if they want to?

    Okay, I think that's the same link, but I came in mid-page or something last time.

    Just FYI, The Book of Mormon couldn't meet the technical definition of plagiarism, which is to represent someone else's work as your own, since JS never claimed to be the author of the work.

    So calling it plagiarism would be imprecise, at best. I would agree with your friend Jeff on that point.

    The real question, of course, is whether JS translated it from plates that were miraculously delivered to him by God, or whether he wrote it. It seems to me that the latter is more probable, and that the facts seem to support it better. If JS had said he was inspired by God to write it, I suppose that would be harder to argue with.

    I guess my questions go more to the question of whether we're looking at a translation or a work of imagination. If it's a translation, there are some difficulties for me (the Greek words interspersed in the translation, the not-quite-perfect imitations of KJV language). If it's a work from JS, I have no issue with it, but I'm not going to base my life on it, just as I wouldn't base my life on the work of Shakespeare.

    As for Walt... I think he's alive, but he has some sort of ESP that allows him to appear on the island. I think there are some clues in the earlier seasons that could lead us to that. Of course the real problem is that the actor who plays Walt is growing up too fast for the timeline of the show! :)

    So I see that you enjoy LOST, as well. I thought the first couple of seasons in particular had some interesting discussions of faith vs. science that I found stimulating.

    How did you like this week's episode?

  7. This page addresses the specific topic of the Greek word, "Christ."

  8. Some missionaries may be able to extend up to 6 weeks or so, but that's not common. The Church's leaders encourage them to go home, get an education, get married, and apply what they learned on their missions to regular life.

    I watch Lost every week with a few friends on my home theater projector. This week, for no apparent reason, the screen went pitch-dark and the sound turned off. My projector got fried and wouldn't turn back on. We watched the rest on another TV. I decided to name my projector Jin because it died that episode and it's probably Korean.

    You hit the nail on the head. The real question is whether the BoM was an inspired translation or pure imagination.

    If it was translated, then it represents the most important, profound connection to God we've had since the apostles walked the earth.

    If the book was dreamed up, it is all a hoax. Joseph Smith would be a vile fraud, claiming authority from God which he did not have, and his followers would all be deluded.

    Either way, I daresay the Lord has an opinion on the matter. He has promised to give men wisdom if they ask Him. This is why the Elders keep urging you to pray about the book. It might be a good idea to take up their challenge.

  9. I don't know if you will see this post dear Thaddeus, but i feel i must speak up. I do so humbly, because i too don't wish to offend, but i feel i must speak boldly as well, because what i have experienced is bold.

    I, like Matt, find some things hard to believe about the LDS Church, the BoM, and what not. But i have prayed for this wisdom, on several occasions and with great fervor to know the truth. I love my Lord and want to serve Him "in spirit and in truth." But what i believe he told me was that the BoM is not true. I asked Him three times in one prayer, and three times i got what i believe to be the same message back, that it is not true. I fear to say that the latter, and not the former, of your statements previous about JS is the true conclusion to be made.

    I have read part of the BoM, but no peace came to me like when reading the NT, instead a deep uneasiness and a feeling of needing to vomit. Again, i mean no offense, but if God has promised to reveal wisdom to man, and if praying about it is the way to know, and it is apprehended by spiritual truth and not reason, then why have i experienced what i have? What should i assume from this?

    I do hope you read this, and i long to know what you think.

  10. John, thank you for your honest response.

    When a person does all that I ask: read the Book of Mormon, ponder its message, and pray sincerely to know if it's true, then I can ask no more and I am satisfied.

    I received a different answer, but it could have been due to some pre-existing bias within one of us. I am confident the Lord will straighten us out if we keep applying this test to the things we study.