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Rob Bowman

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Rob Bowman last won the day on September 16 2011

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About Rob Bowman

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    Boldly going where no evangelical apologist has gone before
  • Birthday 08/10/1957

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    Grand Rapids, Michigan

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  1. Hi there Bob. It was so nice to see you at the FairMormon conference last week. Just some factual clarifications and then I'll be out. I was never on staff at Melodyland School of Theology or associated with it in any way. I worked at the Christian Research Institute, where Martin was the president, from April 1984 until January 1992. CRI was based in the Lake Forest area and later in Irvine, California (it much later relocated to North Carolina). Martin passed away in 1989, while I was in Philadelphia going to school full time and working remotely for CRI part time from 1988 to 1990. I then returned to full-time work at CRI from mid-1990 to January 1992 under Martin's successor Hank Hanegraaff. I was terminated without warning and without cause; they called it a "layoff" but it was a layoff of just one person and was demonstrably just a way of getting rid of me. I disagreed with Martin on a number of issues and I didn't care for his style, but that is about as much as I would say about him personally. For the record, Martin had absolutely no influence on my views about or my approach to the subject of Mormonism. On the other hand, I have made known publicly my opinion that Hanegraaff was a plagiarist (actually, that judgment goes beyond opinion) and a self-serving opportunist who used CRI to enrich himself.
  2. Thank you! They must have added it there sometime in the last year, or maybe I had trouble finding it when they reorganized their website.
  3. I have been trying for over a year to obtain a copy of the following publication: Sorenson, John L. “Metals and Metallurgy Relating to the Book of Mormon.” F.A.R.M.S. paper, 1992. If anyone would be willing and able to provide me with a copy of this paper, I would appreciate it.
  4. Someone, apparently a moderator, wrote within my post: What is it exactly that I am supposedly refusing to acknowledge? No one in this thread has actually presented an argument, explanation, or substantive comment on the topic announced in the opening post except me! One of the Mormons in this thread cited a page that listed several references pertaining to the subject. I responded to him by commenting on the first reference that page provided. I do not see how that response is in any way inappropriate. The Board Guidelines state that the following behaviors are not permitted in this forum: In the thread concerning Facebook's censorship I was mocked, judged, personally attacked, told how to behave, and badgered for a response when I was right in the midst of making a flurry of responses to numerous posts. The moderators of this forum did NOTHING to stop any of it; in fact, they joined in the badgering. They allowed a Mormon to demand that I reveal my salary and to make harsh judgments about my supposedly being motivated by financial considerations. Again, the moderators did NOTHING to stop or correct such behaviors, even though I reported at least two of the more egregious rule violations to them according to the proper procedure. Eventually a moderator shut down the thread--but supposedly because I had not proved what I was claiming. As if that is EVER a basis for closing a thread if the person making the claim is a faithful Mormon! I violated no forum rule in this thread. I responded to a reference supplied by one of the Mormons. For that I am being threatened by a moderator with being expelled from threads. Supposedly the reason is that I am not acknowledging what the Mormons say, though what that might be the moderator does not bother to specify and again, my post did respond directly to one of the posts in this thread. The moderator claims that by not acknowledging what the Mormons have supposedly said I am not engaging in real "dialogue." Again, there is no rule in the forum guidelines that specifies such a rule, but if this were the standard it was flagrantly ignored in the post regarding Facebook censorship. Mormons in that thread made all sorts of ridiculous, demonstrably false accusations against me that plainly ignored what I had explicitly said. The Facebook censorship thread is not an isolated incident. For nearly three years Mormons in this forum have been allowed to impugn my motives, to accuse me of deliberate deception, lying, etc., to express harsh personal judgments against me, to mock me and my beliefs, to speculate as to my evil or sick motives (Board Guidelines forbid "psychoanalyzing others"), and on and on. The moderators have almost never penalized group members for treating me this way and have almost never even said anything in these numerous instances of clear rule violations. Well, it's a new year, and evidently time for a change. I was willing to put up with the bullying from the rank and file members of the forum, but I am not going to try to navigate the forum any longer if moderators are going to support and join in the bullying. If you are not interested in the participation of an academically trained evangelical scholar who can provide thoughtful and informed counterpoint to the stock Mormon apologetic arguments here, that's your business and your loss--and the loss of everyone else who participates or lurks. It is in part because I know that many people do more reading of the threads than posting themselves and that such people often find such point and counterpoint informative and illuminating that I have put up with the lack of evenhanded treatment here for as long as I have. (I have received messages from such individuals.) I am grateful to those Mormons here who have treated me with civility and even kindness, sometimes at some risk of opprobrium from their fellow Saints. I appreciate those Mormons who have patiently explained their reasons for disagreeing with me without resorting to character assassination. It is also because of their encouragement to stay that I have continued in this contentious setting for so long. But enough is enough. Things have come to a point where the potential value of trying to stay active in the forum is not great enough to justify continuing to subject myself to the abuse. I am therefore, very reluctantly, ending my activity in this forum. I would be agreeable to becoming active here again only upon receiving some assurance from a moderator that my complaint made here has been deemed legitimate and that changes will be made to address my concerns. Sixteen days from now it will be three years since I joined this forum. In those nearly three years I have posted an average of four times a day here, often investing significant time researching my response before posting it. In order to do this I have allowed an online discussion forum that I started over twelve years ago to become mostly inactive. It never had the heavy traffic this one has but that's okay with me because I am far more interested in having a small group of people interested in sincere, civil, intelligent, and constructive discussion than having a large forum where numerous members can post nonsense or flame others. I am now going to invest time in that forum again. It is the Evangelical and LDS Theologies Yahoo Group. That Group was started by me in 2001 and is not affiliated with IRR or any other organization. It contains no links to LDS temple content. Any Mormon who is willing to abide by the minimal guidelines of that discussion group is welcome to join. You will find that you are treated much better there than I have been treated here. You will also find that I am somewhat more "intolerant" of evangelicals who violate the group's standards than I am of Mormons who do so, because I want the group to be a welcoming environment for Mormons to come with their arguments and perspectives. Here is the official description of the group from its home page (it has not been changed in several years): The purpose of this Group is to foster respectful, intelligent discussions between evangelicals and Latter-day Saints concerning their theological differences. This Group is not for everyone. If you do not see value in reasoned argument concerning matters of faith, this Group is not for you. Evangelicals who cannot abide by LDS sensitivities regarding their temple ceremonies may not participate (note, though, that the LDS Church's own public teachings about the temple and its ceremonies may be discussed freely). LDS who are offended by reasoned, respectfully articulated criticisms of their church's prophets, teachings, and scriptures should also not participate. Individuals with an ability to discuss matters of faith in a rational, intellectually oriented fashion, especially but not exclusively those with some academic or research background in relevant fields, are welcome to join.This post in its entirety will also be re-posted in that Yahoo Group. I hope to see some of you there. You have no respect for this forum, its rules or its moderators let alone posters. If you will not engage our posters respectfully leaving is the best solution for all.
  5. Witness For The Plates Vs. Witnesses For Resurrection

    pogi, You wrote: We have that distinction mentioned in several articles that go into more depth, but I think I will go ahead and add something there. It probably won't be tonight. You wrote: The summary speaks of "resurrection to immortal life in some heavenly kingdom." I don't see the problem. You said: Thanks!
  6. Witness For The Plates Vs. Witnesses For Resurrection

    pogi, You wrote: Technically, what you say is correct, but my brief summary is also correct in a conditional sense, namely, that everyone is guaranteed immortal life in a heavenly kingdom unless they deliberately reject it. Mormons usually assure me that the number of people in this category will be extremely small. You wrote: Yes, plus a whole lot more.
  7. Witness For The Plates Vs. Witnesses For Resurrection

    pogi, Thanks for your comments. You wrote: I understand that the LDS Church says that, but it also says that Jesus inherited divine powers when he became a physical human being as the offspring of Heavenly Father: "Jesus is the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. That is why He is called the Only Begotten Son. He inherited divine powers from His Father. From His mother He inherited mortality and was subject to hunger, thirst, fatigue, pain, and death." (Gospel Principles, 2009, 153). “Jesus was the only person to be born of a mortal mother, Mary, and an immortal father, God the Father. That is why Jesus is called the Only Begotten Son of God. From His Father, He inherited divine powers (see John 10:17–18). From His mother, He inherited mortality and became subject to hunger, thirst, fatigue, pain, and death” (“Jesus Christ Is the Only Begotten Son of God,” What We Believe series, Ensign, Dec. 2010, 8 ). “With this understanding provided by modern revelation, it is possible to grasp the truth that God the Father is indeed the Father of Jesus Christ’s mortal body…. Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: ‘That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof; and the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sireship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the “Son of the Highest.” In His nature would be combined the powers of Godhood with the capacity and possibilities of mortality; and this through the ordinary operation of the fundamental law of heredity, declared of God, demonstrated by science, and admitted by philosophy, that living beings shall propagate—after their kind. The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents—one immortal and glorified—God, the other human—woman’” (Larry E. Dahl, “The Morning Breaks, the Shadows Flee,” Ensign, April 1997).
  8. thesometimesaint helpfully provided the following reference: The first several citations on that page come from 1 Nephi 13-14. Let me quote some of it: And it came to pass that he said unto me: Look, and behold that great and abominable church, which is the mother of abominations, whose founder is the devil. And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth. (1 Nephi 14:9-10)Now, from this passage, it seems to me that we may make the following propositions: "That great and abominable church" is one and the same with "the church of the devil." Each human being belongs either to the church of the Lamb of God or to the church of the devil. Therefore, whoever is not part of the church of the Lamb of God is part of the church of the devil. Furthermore, whatever group of people that is collectively not part of the church of the Lamb of God is therefore part of the church of the devil. Let me stop at this point and ask if we can all agree that the above propositions accurately represent the teaching of 1 Nephi 14:9-10. Then we may move forward (hopefully!) into some of the hotly disputed questions. If you continue to refuse to acknowledge what Mormons are telling you they believe you will be removed from threads. That is not a dialogue.
  9. jwhitlock, You wrote: Let's be clear about something. I don't "accept" anyone's explanation for anything, if by that you mean I simply trust that a person's explanation is the correct one and give the matter no further thought. Rather, I accept that their explanation is their personal understanding (unless I have really good reason to think otherwise), but I then look at their explanation and see if it makes sense of the available information better than any other explanation at hand. So it isn't stubbornness on my part, or some nefarious insistence on a different interpretation despite the facts, that is the reason for me disagreeing with your explanation. It is that I see facts that as best I can tell don't fit your explanation.
  10. Witness For The Plates Vs. Witnesses For Resurrection

    Tacenda, You asked: Sure, no problem. 1. LDS: Jesus Christ is just the “firstborn” of God’s billions of spirit children and the first to become a God. ORTHODOX: Jesus Christ is the only human being who existed in heaven before his human life (John 3:31). He did not become a God, but has always been God (John 1:1). He is called the “firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) to mean that he is the Father’s primary heir, not that he was the first spirit being created. 2. LDS: Jesus Christ is one of three Gods in the “Godhead,” as is the Holy Spirit. ORTHODOX: Jesus Christ is one of three divine persons (Matthew 28:19), but these three persons are one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 43:10; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6), not three Gods or God and two of his sons. 3. LDS: Jesus Christ is not the proper recipient of prayer; we may pray only to the Father in Jesus’ name. ORTHODOX: Even Mormons admit that faithful Israelites prayed to Jesus (whom they identify as Jehovah) in the Old Testament. The New Testament also affirms praying to Jesus (John 14:14; Romans 10:9-14; 2 Corinthians 12:7-9; 1 John 5:13-15). 4. LDS: Jesus Christ is the “Only Begotten,” which means that he is the only human being whom God the Father literally begat in the flesh. God is Jesus’ father in the flesh and Mary is his mother. ORTHODOX: In the Bible, calling Jesus the “only-begotten Son” refers to his eternal nature and status as God’s unique, divine Son (John 1:14, 18). Jesus was conceived “from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18), not as God’s physical offspring (an idea nowhere taught even in the LDS scriptures). 5. LDS: Jesus Christ “inherited divine powers from His Father” when he became a human being. ORTHODOX: Jesus did not “inherit” divine powers by being God’s physical offspring because he was already, as even LDS scriptures say, “the Lord Omnipotent…from all eternity to all eternity” (Mosiah 3:5). 6. LDS: Jesus Christ “organized the only true Church” with a system of priesthood “authority” required to teach or baptize others. ORTHODOX: Jesus Christ appointed apostles as his authoritative witnesses, not as custodians of a priesthood to run a religious organization. Rather, the whole church is a “royal priesthood” based not on ritual but on relationship to Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-10). 7. LDS: Jesus Christ suffered to atone for our sins in Gethsemane, bleeding from “every pore.” ORTHODOX: Jesus Christ did agonize in prayer in Gethsemane, but he did not bleed from every pore, and he atoned for our sins on the cross, not in Gethsemane (Ephesians 2:16; Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24). 8. LDS: Jesus Christ atoned for the sins of every human being, guaranteeing resurrection to immortal life in some heavenly kingdom to all, including unbelievers. ORTHODOX: Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world, but only those whom God actually saves through faith will be resurrected to immortal heavenly life (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-57). 9. LDS: Jesus Christ “appeared to the Nephites and established His Church in the Americas” shortly after his ascension. ORTHODOX: After Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:9-11), he was to remain in heaven until his second coming (Acts 3:19-21). There are many other reasons to question the Book of Mormon account from a biblical perspective. 10. LDS: Jesus Christ (and God the Father) appeared to Joseph Smith to tell him to join none of the churches because all of them were wrong and their creeds an abomination. ORTHODOX: Jesus Christ promised the apostles that the gates of Hades (death) would not prevail against his church and that he would be with his disciples until the end of the age (Matthew 16:18; 28:20). These promises are not consistent with Joseph Smith’s claim that Jesus told him the churches were all so wrong that he could not be part of any of them. A couple of quick comments. First, the above is a summary. I have articles that discuss most of the above points in detail on IRR's website. Second, I understand that Mormons will dispute the understanding of the biblical texts I cited in the above summary. I give these biblical references so you can get some idea of the way orthodox Christians connect what they say to the Bible, understanding that Mormons will try to argue for a different understanding of these biblical passages. The point is that orthodox Christians and Latter-day Saints, despite some common ground, have very different views about Jesus.
  11. Witness For The Plates Vs. Witnesses For Resurrection

    Charles, You wrote: Retract this gratuitous swipe at my integrity, and I will answer your substantive criticisms.
  12. Absurd Censorship Attacks On Irr'S Facebook Page

    Valentinus, You wrote: The LDS Church's leaders most definitely taught this for at least a very long time: "What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 270) "Since the Church with its authority and power has been caught away from the earth, the great mother of harlots with all her descendants has blasphemously assumed the authority of administering some of the sacred ordinances of the gospel. They have blasphemed the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, by using it without authority in their ministrations. They have dishonored the name of Christ, by calling their powerless, apostate, filthy and most abominable churches, the Church of Christ. The whole Romish, Greek and Protestant ministry, from the pope down through every grade of office, are as destitute of authority from God, as the devil and his angels. The Almighty abhors all their wicked pretensions, as He does the very gates of hell." Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, 18-19. "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 6:167). "After the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christendom, though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They all belong to Babylon" (George Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth, 324). (Note: Juliann said she had a quotation from Cannon, but I don't think she has produced it yet. So now I have given one!) These are just a few examples.
  13. Absurd Censorship Attacks On Irr'S Facebook Page

    jwhitlock, You wrote: Of course I have. You are free to reject my explanation of the evidence, but I have supplied evidence for my conclusion.
  14. Absurd Censorship Attacks On Irr'S Facebook Page

    jwhitlock, You wrote: I don't think that's really your intention. You continued: Absolutely false. I did not say I had no authority to say any of those things. Wrong again.
  15. Absurd Censorship Attacks On Irr'S Facebook Page

    jwhitlock, You wrote: 1 Nephi 14:10, which is in LDS scripture.