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Rivers

The Value Of The Book Of Mormon

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Thanks for your reply, and for not being judgemental, but aren't you proving my point with your last statement? - "it is impossible for (sic) not to receive an answer." In other words, if someone claims they studied and prayed about the BOM and didn't get confirmation then they must have studied wrong, prayed wrong, or didn't have enough faith?

God answers prayers. No one who has experienced that can deny it. Are you honestly suggesting that we should lie to spare someone's feelings?

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Why is it there is always something wrong with a person who has studied Christ and didn't get anything out of it including a spiritual confirmation that He was the savior? Just once I would love to hear a believer in Christ say "I am sorry you weren't able to find what you were looking for. I wish you the best in your further journey and search for meaningful truth in life". Instead of always: "you read it wrong, prayed wrong, or didn't have enough faith". Who are you to judge.

While not judging the individual. People who know the true love of Christ are certainly left wondering why Christ would deny what He promised to all. If one believes Christ to be true, and of infinite love, and true to his words, then we are left wondering which of the two elements is incomplete, Christ, or the individual seeking Christ who claims he has found nothing. Do we exhort Christ to try harder? Or do we exhort the individual to try harder?

I suggest you think about this... 7 billion people int the world have not accepted it "yet", not "not accepted it" unless you are implying that 13 billion people in the world have felt the spirit of the Lord touch them as they read the Book of Mormon and have not accepted it.

As to inactivity, the reasons are myriad and personal, and generally being personal reside within the reasoning and desires of the individual. The trend I have noticed is pride for the most part, sometimes an imagined slight, sometimes a presumption that their talents are not being used as they think they should be, all of which tends to go to pride. As a general rule.

I have met a few, very few who have never really sought the spirit and so simply went along for cultural reasons. This can only last so long in a church that requires so much of its members. If the spiritual commitment isn't there, the flesh will be all that much weaker.

Hey Jeff, Good to hear from you its been awhile! ;) I have no intention of duking it out with you like in the other thread, but I would like to touch on your first statement: "Why is there always something wrong with a person who studied Christ and didn't get anything out of it including a spiritual confirmation that he was the Savior?" You see, that's just it. I don't believe there is anything wrong with someone who studied Christ and didn't get anything out of it just the same way I don't feel there is anything wrong with a person who studied the BOM and didn't get anything out of it. I would wish both persons well in their quest for truth or peace wherever they may end up whether its Atheism, Buddhism, Judaism, Paganism, and so on. All I care about is that they find happiness and become a better person who treats people with respect and in turn contributes good deeds to the rest of society.

I am sure you fundamentally disagree with me on this and I have no intention of changing your mind otherwise. I completely understand my views are in stark contrast with mainstream Mormonism, but I am comfortable with them.

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God answers prayers. No one who has experienced that can deny it. Are you honestly suggesting that we should lie to spare someone's feelings?

No I don't suggest anyone lie about how God answered their prayers. I am suggesting that just because God has answered a person's prayers on a certain matter does not give them carte blanche authority to decide whether or not God answered someone elses prayers or question the seriousness of their intent.

I have no problem with people testifying that they prayed and recieved a confirmation about the BOM and they know its true. I have a problem with them taking it beyond testifying into the realm of telling people they prayed wrong, studied wrong, didn't have enough faith, or that there was something fundamentally wrong with the person bacause their experience did not end with the same conclusion.

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Thanks for your reply, and for not being judgemental, but aren't you proving my point with your last statement? - "it is impossible for (sic) not to receive an answer." In other words, if someone claims they studied and prayed about the BOM and didn't get confirmation then they must have studied wrong, prayed wrong, or didn't have enough faith?

Sorry about the "sic".

I know it is a bold statement, but let me be more specific about it.

If a person doesn't specifically ponder what was read, pray with real intent, having faith in the Lord then yes, they didn't follow Moroni's promise.

Here is the correct formula:

(Read) + (ponder what was read) + (pray with real intent and faith) = answer

If a person uses a wrong formula:

(Read) + (doubt that will receive answer) = no answer

Keeping the correct formula in mind, I have no problems asking a person how they went about Moroni's specific promise. If I see they didn't follow it specifically, then I hope they can accept the possibility that they used the wrong formula while still leaving it between them and G-d. I pointed this out on an earlier post in this thread that I wasn't surprised they didn't receive an answer.

If this is all true including the Book of Mormon, then yes - it is impossible for a person that follows the correct formula of Moroni's promise to not receive an answer.

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Hey Jeff, Good to hear from you its been awhile! ;) I have no intention of duking it out with you like in the other thread, but I would like to touch on your first statement: "Why is there always something wrong with a person who studied Christ and didn't get anything out of it including a spiritual confirmation that he was the Savior?" You see, that's just it. I don't believe there is anything wrong with someone who studied Christ and didn't get anything out of it just the same way I don't feel there is anything wrong with a person who studied the BOM and didn't get anything out of it. I would wish both persons well in their quest for truth or peace wherever they may end up whether its Atheism, Buddhism, Judaism, Paganism, and so on. All I care about is that they find happiness and become a better person who treats people with respect and in turn contributes good deeds to the rest of society.

I am sure you fundamentally disagree with me on this and I have no intention of changing your mind otherwise. I completely understand my views are in stark contrast with mainstream Mormonism, but I am comfortable with them.

I do not think that what you care about is the issue. In essence, what you care about is a personal projection of what you think is important. And in a way the rhetorical flair of "all I care about is someone's happiness" implies that no one else cares about it. You may not have meant to state that, but in effect that is what the sentence projects. If you notice my monicker you will see that people will rise and fall to the kingdom by which you will feel the greatest comfort.

However the question you asked, in its bare bones is "why don't they feel the spirit". When we seek spiritual confirmation there are only two individuals involved. The person seeking and the person providing the necessary spirit, that being Christ. Now depending on how seriously one takes the scriptures (some apparently not as seriously as others), we can see the tenet in James

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

If we as members of this church hold this to be true, then the question is, who do we exhort? Did Christ lie or do we exhort the person who, asking in faith may have wavered? Should we discount the scripture, or discount the Lord?

I also do not understand what you mean by "mainstream" Mormonism, unless of course you mean that the mainstream which tends to follow the guidance of prophets and apostles versus rivlets that follow other things. To me this isn't a mainstream or non mainstream issue but rather a question of doctrinal understanding. Is the doctrinal understanding of James flawed or is the effort put forth by the person incorrect?

Finally if happiness is a concern, which are happiest? Those who go to the celestial kindom or those who are in lesser kingdoms? I would say the happiest would be celestial. Again, it goes to someone's personal testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel versus say an easily dismissed cultural alignment.

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Ezra Taft Benson?

I believe it was Joseph Smith who called it the "keystone of our religion".

I know. But Smith rarely quoted from the Book of Mormon. While it was heavily used as a tool to convince people of the restoration for all of the church's history, Benson put a big re-emphasis on studying the contents.

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There isn't anything in it that can't be accounted for in the early 19th century in upper state NY.

CFR, please.

There must be some substantive basis upon which you make that statement, but I can't imagine what it is.

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Haven't read the thread, so forgive me if someone already mentioned this. Terryl Givens points out in By the Hand of Mormon (Oxford University Press, 2002) that the Book of Mormon was accepted because it simply bolstered New Testament doctrine. It was the fact that the doctrine wasn't unique that it was viewed as authentic. The book itself was seen as a tangible witness of Joseph Smith's prophethood and the reality of the Restoration.

I think President Benson explained it well:

A keystone is the central stone in an arch. It holds all the other stones in place, and if removed, the arch crumbles...[the Book of Mormon] is the keystone in our witness of Christ. It is the keystone of our doctrine. It is the keystone of testimony...Just as the arch crumbles if the keystone is removed, so does all the Church stand or fall with the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon...if the Book of Mormon be true—and millions have now testified that they have the witness of the Spirit that it is indeed true—then one must accept the claims of the Restoration and all that accompanies it.

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snapback.pngWalden, on 09 May 2011 - 09:16 AM, said:

Please, I read the BoM three times between the ages of 12 and 20. I prayed fervently and fasted to know of it's truth and get a confirmation from the spirit. It never happened, so I began looking elsewhere for "truth."

snapback.pngQuesting Beast, on 09 May 2011 - 09:20 AM, said:

Look at me when you say that. I have read the Book of Mormon, cover to cover, well over two-dozen times and countless times in part. Long before my present "difficulties" I was already noticing the "inexplicable" contents that increasingly got in the way as I tried to obediently "sup from its pages daily", etc.

Yes, but missing the answer doesn't make them "bad" people.

Correct. But the promise of Moroni 10:4 and James 1:6 is conditional, in addition to which the Lord will answer in his own way and in his own good time.

My own experience has been that answers come when you don't expect them. I have been very surprised both as to the nature of the answer and the circumstances surrounding it. The best approach for some people may be to adopt the teachings of the Gospel as an experiment (as in experimental science) -- as in Alma 32, which a number of people on this Board have recommended.

If, and only if, one is sincere, having real intent, and having faith in Christ, nothing wavering, can one expect an answer. For "a double minded man is unstable in all his ways." It may well be that your answers are yet to come. Don't ignore them when they come.

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Nothing unique about its doctrines or teachings.

the BoM teaches that polygamy is strictly forbidden as "abominable"....

Beast,

While it is true that the principles of the Gospel as taught in both Bible and Book of Mormon dovetail quite well, it is not true that there is nothing new or unique in the Book of Mormon.

Your example here is noteworthy. Thus, while Jacob 2:23-24 condemns as abominable the many wives and concubines of David & Solomon (placed in the category of "whoredoms"), and while Jacob 2:28 states that the Lord God delights in the chastity of women and that whoredoms are an abomination to him, the command to have only one wife (and no concubines) in Jacob 2:27 is applicable only to the immediate time and circumstance: Since God says in Jacob 2:30, "For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." This is further backed up by Jacob 2:34, wherein it is made clear that this is a commandment to Lehi. Were this not so, it would bring into disrepute some of the most honored of the Patriarchs and the basic principles of the Bible which that entails.

Continuing revelation brings change from time to time, as it has in our own day.

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So... those who are cast into outer darkness don't stay there forever? I was under the impression that they did.

Elder Oaks gave a talk in Conference not long ago about the definition of "damned," and it seemed like he was saying that those outside of the Celestial Kingdom would have no further opportunity for progression, and, therefore, were "damned."

Some people feel that the Telestial and Terrestrial kingdoms are kingdoms of glory, ruled over by the Holy Ghost and the Savior, respectively. Outer Darkness is an entirely separate place, condition, or context. Being "damned" may be a relative matter.

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Why is it that there is always something wrong with the person who studied the BOM and didn't get anything out of it including a spiritual confirmation that it was true? Just once I would love to hear a member say "I am sorry you weren't able to find what you were looking for. I wish you the best in your further journey and search for meaningful truth in life." Instead its always: "you read it wrong, prayed wrong, or didn't have enough faith". Who are they to judge?

There are 13 million members of the church who have accepted the BOM. However, more than half of those aren't even fully active. Compare that with the remaining 7 billion people in the world who have not accepted it. In other words, don't feel bad for not being able to get a confirmation. You are not in the minority when compared with the rest of the world's population.

Vox populi, vox Dei.

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I know. But Smith rarely quoted from the Book of Mormon. While it was heavily used as a tool to convince people of the restoration for all of the church's history, Benson put a big re-emphasis on studying the contents.

All very true, Rivers, and something few have noticed. The Book of Mormon was first and foremost a sign or symbol of the Restoration and the authority of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and it was employed as such for at least the first century of Mormonism. Pres. Benson did indeed change that emphasis, though some scholars had long been moving in that direction with considerable elan.

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This is an old myth from the antimormons. "Nothing new here. Don't bother to read it, just a waste of time."

  • 1. The BOM teaches the fullness of the "Doctrine of Christ" (Christ tells us specifically what that means). It does not claim to teach everything.
    But let us take one specific doctrine, baptism. Does the Bible teach that it is necessary for salvation? If so, then why do so many Bible believers deny that it is necessary. Just ask our friend Rob Bowman. But the BOM gives us a very clear answer.
    When I was on my mission, I had a meeting with the JW. Surely they know the Bible. I showed them the doctrine of priesthood authority in the BOM, and then showed that same doctrine in the Bible. Priesthood authority flows from the authority of a living prophet, just as Aaron was called. The BOM made that doctrine clear.
    2. You pretend to be an expert on the BOM, based on your claim. So, dear chap, tell us about Adam and the Fall as it was taught in the Bible. Now take a look in the BOM.
    Tell us about the relationship between justice and mercy from the Bible. Then look in the BOM.
    Tell us about hell, the fate of the wicked. Then look in the BOM.

Questing beast, tell us about your expertise on the BOM and the Bible. How many times have you read the BOM..... the Bible?

A myth proclaimed by the bitter antimormons, hoping to deceive the naive and ignorant == "As an expert on the BOM, I can assure you that you don't need to read it. Nothing new here."

It's simple: the BoM teaches the SAME doctrines found in the Bible; in greater detail and emphasis, to be sure, but nothing "new". The "new" came from Joseph Smith much later.

It is clear to me that the BoM was intended to direct people TO the Bible. In other words, to increase a belief in the original scriptures by coming out with new scripture, the Bible would be strengthened greatly, people's faith would increase, their religious commitment deepen, etc. That the BoM emphasizes the importance of baptism, belief in "the fall", the atonement, priesthood authority and etc., is therefore no surprise, as these doctrines are the core of Mormonism and much of Christianity.

It is a historical fact, that Joseph Smith preached from the Bible and almost never referenced the BoM at all. To read his sermons and teachings on faith you would almost have to conclude that the BoM did not exist. The BoM is intended to be the great evidence of Joseph Smith's calling as prophet, seer and revelator: everything that came after had its genesis in the BoM. It is also a fact that he tried to sell the BoM copyright to a concern in Canada, and received a revelation to that end. Joseph Smith's emphasis on the BoM was not remotely what that emphasis is today in the LDS Church.

As I already have said: I've read the BoM well over two-dozen times cover to cover and countless times in part; I have also read the Bible twice cover to cover and countless times in part. The level of "expertise" that results from my reading is of course subjective. I've satisfied myself that the effort I make to understand the nature of scripture is adequate to make some tentative conclusions. That's the best that anyone can do, since none of us knows everything there is to know....

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In addition to the miriad of teachings that the Book of Mormon teaches is how conversion comes about and it's nature. I look at Lehi's dream as being the most profound of the many teachings. It explains how we are all travelling in a dark and dreary waste and how those who choose to hold on to the rod of Iron (the word of God) are led along the strait and narrow path that leads to the tree of life which represents the love of God... yet all is not done, one can become ashamed of the fruit of the tree and fall away and become lost, or be seduced by the great and spacious building which represents the pride and foolish imaginations of the world. This one dream and it's interpretation is worth the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. I also think there was a good reason for placing the words of Isaiah in the text, even though most consider it unintelligible and not important, I think God wanted it there so that we would struggle to understand, so we would work for a testimony, to hunger and thirst after righteousness. I cannot imagine God making it so easy even the wicked could see the truth. He taught the Jews in Parables, the reason was so those who were humble and spiritually in tune would understand and so the unbelieving wicked would not understand.

(Matthew 13:10-16) "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear."

He wants us to follow Him but He will not compell us to do so. I think this is the reason not everyone is converted when they hear or read the word of God. Because their minds are darkned by unbelief, or pride in their own wisdom, or their evil desires. I think our desires are prime factors in our finding the truth and I think the dream of Lehi explains it rather plainly. Jesus said "my sheep hear my voice" so there is a great distinction, that does not mean that our desires for righteousness cannot change over time, I think that is the reason for this mortal life, to try and test us and to shape us so that we might turn to the light and away from darkness. We are the one who determine's our fate (another great teaching of the Book of Mormon) and thus we are free to do as we will.

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It's simple: the BoM teaches the SAME doctrines found in the Bible; in greater detail and emphasis, to be sure, but nothing "new". The "new" came from Joseph Smith much later.

And yet everything 'new' that came later is also in the Bible as well. All of it.

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Nothing unique about its doctrines or teachings. All that typifies Mormonism as "non Christian" came long after the BoM. Virtually everything in the BoM can be found in the Bible; including, of course, a huge fraction being quoted directly from the Bible. There is nothing taught in the BoM about the later doctrines of the afterlife (degrees of glory, for instance); temple ordinances for the dead; God the Father and the Son being separate, corporeal beings; or two distinct priesthoods; and the BoM teaches that polygamy is strictly forbidden as "abominable"....

Caveat: For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.

Just wanted to make sure we were strictly clear on the matter.

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Another prominent theme in the Book of Mormon that of a covenant relationship with God. The people in the Book of Mormon are part of the house of Israel and are therefore part of the Lord's Covenant people. The Lamanites, however, are cut off from God's presence and are not part of the covenant relationship. The Book of Mormon gives us a greater understanding of what it means to be in the covenant. The concept of covenants is also woven into the doctrines of Christ quite nicely. The Book of Mormon provides a basis for everything that mormonism is about. Today, members of the church are considered part of the house of Israel through baptism and entering into a covenant with God. This covenant relationship is magnified by going to the temple. The Book of Mormon provides the foundation on which everything in the church is built upon.

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