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A Random Catholic

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours!

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OK, here's the deal: if a true-blue, hard-nosed Mormon apologist like Pahoran or leeuniverse is willing to tell me sincerely what he or she believes to be the most troubling counter-LDS argument, then he or she can choose one of the following:

  • The hands-down, absolute best pro-LDS argument against orthodox Christian apologists that there is and that there will likely ever be. It certainly isn't original to me, but if I was a Latter-day Saint apologist, I would literally cite it daily...
  • A not-nearly-so-effective pro-LDS argument (well, technically an anti-anti-LDS argument) that I believe is original to me.

I'll be online for maybe another hour. Oh, and counter-LDS "arguments" like, "You have to keep the Law of Chastity, which would be difficult for Evangelicals." don't count.

Bring It On!

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Bring It On!

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I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours!

One of my favs along this line is "Show me an original Bible manuscript and we'll show you a gold plate."

OK, here's the deal: if a true-blue, hard-nosed Mormon apologist like Pahoran or leeuniverse is willing to tell me sincerely what he or she believes to be the most troubling counter-LDS argument, then he or she can choose one of the following

Are you asking them to pick a "most troubling counter-LDS argument" from their own list and you'll conceed on of the two items on your list? Or are you asking them to simply pick one from the list?

You know that the ECF don't support modern, creedal Christianity don't you? Particularly in the areas of the Godhead, Theosis and the esoteric rites....

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My personal fav--the Apostasy or rather loss of authority. Of course, that leaves it between the Catholics and the LDS (Restorationists).

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Bring It On!

Ummm, how bout FAIR?

They take problematic critical arguments against the Church and the proceed to debunk them some with really strong evidence and argumentation and others with lesser evidence and arguments. Usually though the full spectrum however is considered, that being all the arguments that might relate which all together ultimately debunk whatever critical claim against the Church. :P

Why don't you pick an article and we will flesh it out.

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Random:

a true-blue, hard-nosed Mormon apologist like Pahoran or leeuniverse is willing to tell me sincerely what he or she believes to be the most troubling counter-LDS argument

While I'm really not sure if I fall into the "true-blue, hard-nosed Mormon apologist" category (actually, I consider some of my views pretty unorthodox), I can answer your question easily.

To me, the single most troubling counter-LDS argument is the Book of Abraham and the KEP. In my opinion, the evidence is pretty convincing that the scrolls translated by Joseph Smith do not constitute the Book of Abraham as we know it. I'm certain that I don't have all the information there is on the topic, but what I've seen creates a pretty persuasive case.

That is, IMO, the most troubling counter-LDS argument I've seen.

So, do I qualify? Or am I insufficiently true or blue? Perhaps insufficiently hard-nosed? ... Nah! That can't be it! :P

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*...Snip...*

Oh, and counter-LDS "arguments" like, "You have to keep the Law of Chastity, which would be difficult for Evangelicals." don't count.

....

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

(wipes a tear)

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA

(my belly aches)

on to your regularly stationed program.... :P

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Well now, I'll give you mine. I reckon I would be considered pretty knowledgable and logical in my views. I don't think I've said anything yet that has ever had a serious attempt at being countered. So with my deep thinking skills *cough cough* I present to everyone here what I have come to believe is the single most convincing argument that the LDS for all their good are not perfect in their understanding of doctine (Not that I hold this as a requirement ebcause we don't know everything, but this is dealing with knowledge as presented today). I came up with this argument myself:

We know that Christ did nothing save what his Father did.

It was taught by many church leaders including Heber Kimball, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc. and many modern apostles in the Ensign that this implies that God (who once was a man of some form or another, though we don't really know what it means) also atoned somewhere, otherwise the scriptures would be lying when they say he did nothing save what his Father had.

Only one without Sin can act as a Savior in the sense of atoning (not salvation of the dead in other ways).

This means God was without sin.

We are to be as Gods.

We will have worlds without end.

We will have to have a "plan" to teach our spirit children how to be ready to handle all the blessings that we have.

There are several quotes that say that Jesus is the Savior of many worlds, but other quotes that go so far as to say not of all (as in not of our future ones).

Possably we will have "Savior's" on our planets to "show the way".

How can our "Sons" do all that their "Father in Heaven" has if we never atoned?

How can he be sinless unless we were without sin?

Or would his teachings say "I am greater than my Father which is in Heaven"?

Now, I could cite thousands of quotes to support my arguments, and I mean thousands. Of course, I know thousands more that counter parts of it too. The problem I see is that if I were an anti-Mormon and didn't care one bit about the "other" thousand or so quotes, I would be ahving a field day. I mean, since I wouldn't be under any restrictions on what is held as doctrine and what isn't and I make my own rules, I would just post whatever I wanted just to see people squirm even if I didn't believe what I was writing was what was meant! Since no official all-encompassing doctrine to clarify this has been revealed, I'd be at liberty to interpet it however I wanted. As a member, the above argument is the general paradox I find. I have no answer one way or another. That said, I know there is one, just not revealed to the world yet.:-)

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Hah! Revelation! I just had the msot amazing epiphany!!! WOW!!! Okay, I'm on cloud nine right now! It was like everything just opened up and all fell into place!!! Okay, I have my answer. I can't share it right now, but it's ridiculously profound and deep and yet simple and beautiful and in total harmony with everything. I need to go off and offer a prayer of gratitude and ponder these things now. I need to study and write to myself about it. I'll leave everyone else here to have fun with the previous post. Good Luck!

P.S. Does this mean my post doesn't count anymore? I can answer it now...

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In my opinion, the evidence is pretty convincing that the scrolls translated by Joseph Smith do not constitute the Book of Abraham as we know it.

I think its down right obvious to me. If people could translate the Book of Abraham, they'd support Joesph and people would believe based on the merits of that alone. This being not the Lord's will.

The theory that the Book of Breathings is the source isn't nessicary.

I bet the hand of the Lord lead the scroll to be among the papyri that Combs sold to the St. Louis Museum and which were later sent to the Chicago Museum, and was burned to ashes in the museum in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Now we are forced to have faith, it can't be proven either way. The existing papyri include only one of the three figures that relate to the Book of Abraham.

If two-thirds of the figures are missing, how can anyone honestly maintain that we have the source Joseph translated the Book of Abraham? It must have been destroied.

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MT, I'd like to hear it. My own personal conclusion has always been that we will not be Gods in the same sense God the Father is, but rather we will be part of the council of Gods under him or Christ and it will be a son of theirs that functions as a savior.

I know this stance contradicts some of the quotes. I am open to other conclusions, of course.

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My punk card is pulled. For TrespassersW, you two-fisted, hard-nosed, Chapel Mormon :P

1 Cor 15:29 (KJV) Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

If I convert (when flocks of pigs swoop gracefully over the billowing snowdrifts of Hell) that will be my sig line. It says what it says, and we historical Christians just sorta decree that it doesn't mean what it says because it doesn't. In my opinion, this is especially problematic for Catholics and Orthodox, who have a pretty high view of baptism. If anything like proxy baptism is part of God's plan, then Catholicism/Orthodoxy isn't true- that's too important an issue for an Infallible Church to be igorant of it. And with respect to Sola Scriptura types, sure you believe what the Bible says- with the caveat that it always says what you believe, even when it doesn't...

For Matthew J Tandy

This probably isn't as significant as I made it out to be- sue me. Here are the sources of what we know about the New World in Book of Mormon times:

  • Extrapolations from what New World peoples were doing 11 centuries later, at the time of the conquest;
  • Monumental architecture, the construction of which we now know to have been driven solely by the need to establish royal legitimacy through emphasis on dynastic lineage;
  • Stuff that was buried with royal personages.
  • A chaotic, Random sample of garbage, most of it severely degraded.

There are very few exceptions to that. We know that featherworking was a high art during Book of Mormon times, but we have one (1) example of it from the time of the conquest. Presumably, people carved wood for utilitarian and decorative purposes. I know of two (2) examples- a carving recovered from the Cenote of Sacrifice at Chicen Itza, and part of a wooden box from deep in a cave in Belize. A peculiarly suspicious person might perhaps be forgiven for wondering how many more gaps there are...

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Lol!:-) It didn't even occur to me to place a historical argument on this. I was thinkin theological.:-D

Thanks for the posts RC, they're probably the best posts I've seen in a long time. I especially like the visual of flocks of flying pigs frolicking in the snowy skies over an icy hell. I may have to use that expression around town now. The content of the posts was good too.:-)

On a historical note, I would definately have to say that the biggest problem, more so than any other argument, is that we have not uncovered the cement box where the plates were hid. Personally, I am greatly surprised that no one has ever brought this up, as it seems to me to strike right at the very origens of the Book of Mormon itself. Who really cares how much we know about cement in ancient times or so such? If the stone box with cement was there then and survived over a thousands years, it should still be there. I am of course assuming that it was covered up after plate retrieval. If not the elemnts may have gotten to it, but there should be definite signs of it still.

See, this is an enigma for the Church. If we were to fund a seismic project on the Hill Camorah and discover he box, we'd still havecritics everywhere. They would say anything from it's too old, it's too new, or it was planted there from elsewhere or it just doesn't matter. On the other hand, if a project was done and no box was found, we would have to figure out what happened to it. I doubt anyone would go so far as to say that Moroni stopped by the Hill and slugged a cement box over his shoulder on his way back from grabbing the plates!

This brings up the final dimension: If the Church is so certain of the historical validity of the retrieval of the Book of Mormon and other artifacts, then why has no effort been made to retrieve what would undeniably be one of the greatest archeological finds of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a testament to the cahracter and truthfullness of Joseph Smith Jr.?

So there you go. I believe this is the biggest historical dilemna of the Church today. It is bigger than Abrahamic records or any such thing where scholars can do whatever they want to with the info. Just my thoughts.:-)

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Hey Matthew,,,now you have me curious as to your epiphany.....

Just a 2-cents comment about book of Abraham and the stone box and all other sorts of inconsistencies we have in our LDS history and experience....

Now this is just my take on it,,,,,I really don't know where I got it from,,,,but this is why these things never bother me, (and I really can't think of one thing that bothers me so much that I can even write it down on this thread):

1. Matthew mentioned a good "mystery" above that I've thought about too. But no god-fearing person on earth can even come close to the "where did God come from" question,,,,,so what's the big deal with Mormon doctrine having holes in it?

2. My understanding is that the physical world and spiritual world are close together,,,way more than we know. I had heard that Joseph even had "visions" where a cave opened up to him on Hill Cumorah and there were other records, etc. I can't verify this at all,,,maybe just mormon rumor,,,,but my point is that "visions" come in many different types and styles. Satan even took Jesus on "vision trips" to tempt him with the powers of the world. Angels took Nephi on a couple of those. It doesn't seem that different to how the Lord works to have "visions" open up of stone boxes, of caves, of plates that we don't have anymore, of people turning into pillars of salt, of bushes lighting on fire, of water coming out of rocks, etc, etc,....I"m not saying these things didn't actually exist,,,but that they don't anymore in this sphere, or that some of these miracles were "temporary" changes of the physical world. I know it sounds mystical,,,but what the heck,,,,my theory. One last point, the fact that we know Joseph translated most of the Book of Mormon thru the Urim and Thummim (seer stone) reading the words on the stone WITH THE PLATES JUST SITTING THERE NEXT TO HIM, and HE"S NOT EVEN TOUCHING THEM OR READING THEM,,,,,I think is amazingly consistent with the other things I've mentioned above. And tells me that whatever transcript we think generated the Book of Abraham really doesn't matter,,,,,or maybe even doesn't EXIST OR NEVER DID. The question is: is it of God? That's the only question.

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Taking of A Random Catholic's original challenge:

1) I think the most difficult thing is believing in God. This requires positing ontological complexity, and on other boards I have reverted to particularly critical views of knowledge aquisition generally to retain it, which I'm not completely comfortable with.

2) As far as something between faiths, though, I think Christendom has a tightly structured argument around the grace/works delineation that has tripped me up before in conversations. The most challenging argument I confronted on my mission begain with the question: "what does it mean to repent?" Mormon metaphors about how grace and works are like to paddles of a rowboat--with only one you go in circles--will not suffice. Neither, in my view, will the conventional reading of LDS passages on the matter like 2 Nephi 25. I have posted on that before and been appropriately dismissed, so I will refrain from doing so again.

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Taking of A Random Catholic's original challenge:

1) I think the most difficult thing is believing in God.  This requires positing ontological complexity, and on other boards I have reverted to particularly critical views of knowledge aquisition generally to retain it, which I'm not completely comfortable with.

2) As far as something between faiths, though, I think Christendom has a tightly structured argument around the grace/works delineation that has tripped me up before in conversations.  The most challenging argument I confronted on my mission begain with the question: "what does it mean to repent?"  Mormon metaphors about how grace and works are like to paddles of a rowboat--with only one you go in circles--will not suffice.  Neither, in my view, will the conventional reading of LDS passages on the matter like 2 Nephi 25.  I have posted on that before and been appropriately dismissed, so I will refrain from doing so again.

That's sorta deep, Kolobian. I was effectively an atheist just six or seven years ago, y'know. Of course, there was an experiential component to my conversion as well as an intellectual component. Here's the thing, though: Materialism carries problems of its own on an intellectual level. There's no First Cause, which I find deeply philosophically problematic- eternal regression and whatnot. Also, there's a species of carnivorous plant that likes to munch on a particular bug, so its pollen contains a pollen identical at the molecular level to the pheremone of the female of that insect species, attracting male bugs in droves (belch). I may perhaps be forgiven for believing, on a purely intellectual level, that that's evidence of design? I really think it's a lot easier to believe in God than the Book of Abraham, which is intellectually untenable, or the fellow who lived in a whale for three days, which, conversely, is just one of those things... :P

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3 days might be a long time to be in any fishes belly, but I've heard tale that a whaler has been swallowed and then the whale captured, and the person was still alive when they cut him out. Kind of amazing. No wonder the people of Ninevah repented, when they saw a man who had been half eaten to death by stomach acids!

As for the Book of Abraham, you might take a look at the thread I started. Interesting observations.

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Random:

1 Cor 15:29 (KJV) Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

Yes, that's a good one. Though I've heard various explanations of it that I find (to various degrees) plausible. Probably my favorite example of "it always says what you believe, even when it doesn't" comes from the Jehovah's Witness explanation of this particular verse...

The Greek preposition hy-per', here translated "for," also means "over," "on behalf of," "instead of," "for the purpose of," etc. (A Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott) What does it mean in this text? Was Paul suggesting baptizing living persons in behalf of those who had died unbaptized?

The only other scriptures that directly mention death in connection with baptism refer to a baptism that the individual himself undergoes, not a baptism on behalf of another person, one who is dead

Rom. 6:3: "Do you not know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Also Mark 10:38,39)

Col. 2:12:"For you [living members of the congregation in Colossae] were buried with him in his baptism, and by relationship with him you were also raised up together through your faith in the operation of God, who raised him up from the dead."

Rendering in "New World Translation" is grammatically correct and in agreement with these other Bible texts

1 Cor. 15:29: "Otherwise, what will they do who are being baptized for the purpose of being dead ones? If the dead are not to be raised up at all, why are they also being baptized for the purpose of being such?" (So they are baptized, or immersed, into a course of life that will lead to a death of integrity like that of Christ and then to being raised to spirit life as he was.)

Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 54-55 (emphasis in the original)

The human capacity for reason is truly remarkable sometimes. :P In all fairness, though. I've heard explanations that I considered much, much better than that.

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Zeta-Flux:

As for the Book of Abraham, you might take a look at the thread I started. Interesting observations.

Well, I certainly don't profess to know everything there is to know about it, but I'm pretty familiar with the arguments for and against. That's the problem. I find the arguments against simply more plausible at this point.

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TW,

That's fine. I was just pointing out that thread, because Tvednes points out some interesting things in the article I linked to.

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Rendering in "New World Translation" is grammatically correct and in agreement with these other Bible texts

1 Cor. 15:29: "Otherwise, what will they do who are being baptized for the purpose of being dead ones? If the dead are not to be raised up at all, why are they also being baptized for the purpose of being such?" (So they are baptized, or immersed, into a course of life that will lead to a death of integrity like that of Christ and then to being raised to spirit life as he was.)

Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 54-55 (emphasis in the original)

There are nonLDS scholars who would disagree with this line of reasoning. For example:

(regarding 1 Corinthians 15:29) "The present tense suggests that at Corinth people were currently being baptized for the dead." The NIV Study Bible, 1757

R.E. DeMaris, "Corinthian Religion and Baptism for the Dead", Journal of Biblical literature 114(1995):661 admits that "despite dozens of proposed interpretations, with our limited knowledge (hence the need for modern revelation), we cannot discern exactly why the saints were baptising for the dead in Corinth and exactly what the rite entailed."

Not to mention the very LDS-like testimony of the ECF regarding salvation for the dead:

It was for this reason, too, that the Lord descended into the regions beneath the earth, preaching His advent there also, and [declaring] the remission of sins received by those who believe in Him. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 4:27:2

And it has been shown also, in the second book of the Stromata, that the Apostles, following the Lord, preached the Gospel to those in Hades...For it was suitable to the divine administration, that those possessed of greater worth in righteousness, and whose life had been pre-eminent, on repenting of their transgressions, though found in another place, yet being confessedly of the number of the people of God Almighty, should be saved, each one according to his individual knowledge...If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the Gospel, as He did descend; it was but to preach the Gospel to all or to the Hebrews only. If, accordingly, to all, then all who believe shall be saved, although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there...Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 6:6

When He became a soul, without the covering of the body, He dwelt among those souls which were without bodily covering, converting such of them as were willing to Himself, or those whom He saw, for reasons known to Him alone, to be better adapted to such a course. Origen, Against Celsus, 2:43

These Apostles and teachers who preached the name of the Son of God, after falling asleep in the power and faith of the Son of God, preached it not only to those who were asleep, but themselves also gave them the seal of preaching. Accordingly they descended with them into the water and again ascended. The Pastor of Hermas, Sim. 9:16

Both this last and the Clement quote show a belief amazingly similar to LDS belief in that Jesus ordained others to preach the gospel to the dead as per D&C 138:30-34

"We ask you first of all to tell us some of the Scriptures which you allege have been completely cancelled." [Justin quotes some passages which the Jews evidently removed from Esdras and Jeremiah.] And again, from the sayings of some of Jeremiah these have been cut out: "The Lord God remembered His dead people of Israel who lay in the graves; and He descended to preach to them His own salvation." Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 71-72

Both the Pastor of Hermas in The Pastor of Hermas, Sim 9:16 and Jesus in Epistle of the Apostles, in ANT, 494 also refer to the dead being baptised.

etc. etc.

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The human capacity for reason is truly remarkable sometimes. :P

Paraphrasing Ben Franklin, "Man is the only reasonable animal- that is to say, he has a limitless capacity for manufacturing a reason for anything he chooses to do." (or in this case, believe)

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Hello there,

I thought about this yesterday a bit...and then today a little more. I initially thought, "well, the lack of historical evidence for the BoM is a pretty beneficial thing for critics to have in their corner". It is, but this never troubled me. Mostly because that book spoke to me the words of Christ, and then was unmistakenly accompanied by the Spirit of God. So, I figured while they do have point there, I myself cannot say this is a troublesome thing. Then I turned to what has troubled me. First and foremost it was the priesthood limitation thing, then polygamy. I remember thinking when i was young that these just couldn't be. And since even after many hours of sincere study/contemplation and the like I still see very little reason for both and remain troubled that they were ever a part of LDS history/teaching. So, when critics question either of those, and saying how can an inspired church teach these, I am troubled. Though each seems to have biblical precedent, neither seems to sit well ethically for me.

grace and peace. I enjoyed taking on your request, Random

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I agree Chump.

Both those issues I've decided for myself could easily be completely wrong and it doesn't change much for my salvation. I have a rather liberal idea that God "allowed" both in the modern day church because it really wasn't that crucial. I think prophets will only be removed if their decisions would truly lead the church astray. They made and continue to make wrong calls all the time. It won't stop the rock from rolling. As great as Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were,,,,,their puny arms can't stop the mighty Missouri river.

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