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Zakuska

Multiple atestations to the Restoration of the Church

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First lets establish some facts about the Apostasy.

Martin Luther explained why he wanted to reform the church when he stated, "I simply say that Christianity has ceased to exist among those who should have preserved it"

[ Tyler, John Murray. Martin Luther, a Biographical Study (Westminster, MD: Newman Press, 1964).]

John Wesly:

It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the Church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian. . . . From this time they almost totally ceased. . . . The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other Heathans. . . . This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church; because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form Left."

[ Wesley, John. The Works of John Wesley, vol. 7 (London: Wesleyan Conference, 1872).]

Now for some of the other multiple attestations to the restoration of the Church:

Robert Mason told young Wilford about one of his visions. While working in one of his fields, Mason envisioned himself in a large grove of fruit trees. He was hungry, and so began to search the orchard for fruit--but none of the trees had any fruit. As he stood wondering why there was no fruit, the trees began to fall around him until every fruit tree had been toppled. He then saw sprouts coming up in the orchard where the old trees had stood. The sprouts grew into fine fruit trees that budded, blosomed, and bore beautiful fruit. Just as he was about to eat some of the fruit, the vision closed.

It was a curiuos vision--and as soon as it ended, Mason knelt in prayer in that field and prayed for understanding. He told young Wilford Woodruff that he was given the following Interpretation:

"The great trees of the forest represented the generation of men in which you live. There is no church of Christ, or kingdom of God upon the earth in your generation. There is no fruit of the church of Christ upon the earth. There is no man ordained of God to administer in any of the ordinances of the gospel of salvation upon the earth in this day and generation. But, in the next generation, I the Lord will set up my kingdom and my church upon the earth, and the fruits of the kingdom and church of Christ, such as have followed the prophets, apostles and saints in every dispensation, shall again be found in all their fullness upon the earth, shall again be found in all their fullness upon the earth. You will live to see the day, and handle the fruit; but will never partake of it in the flesh."

Mason then told Wilford, "I shall never partake of this fruit in the flesh; but you will, and you will become a conspicuous actor in that kingdom"

[Woodruff, Wilford. "Leaves from My Journal," in Three Mormon Classics (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988).]

In 1823, Daniel Tyler's family moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, where his father and grandfather became excited about religion. They often read the scriptures and discussed them with their neighbors. Through this study, the men became convinced that no true religion existed on the earth. Tyler wrote, "My grand-father . . . prophesied that he would die, but my father would live to see the true church organized with all the apostolic gifts and blessings". Tyler's father did indeed live to see the organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Around 1830, Solomon Chamberlain was traveling to Canada along the Erie Canal. When his boat came to Palmyra, New York, he felt as if a "good Spirit" told him to leave the boat. "After leaving the boat," he wrote, "the spirit manifested to me, to travel a South course." He eventually found a farm house where the people were willing to keep him for the night. The next morning the family asked him if he had heard about the "gold Bible." At its mere mention, Chamberlain felt "a power like electricity" course through him form head to toe.

Chamberlain continued his travels, eventually arriving at the Smith home. There he asked, "Is There any one here that believes in visions or Revelation?" Hyrum Smith answered, "Yes, we are a visionary house."

Chamberlain wrote:

I then opened my mouth and began to preach to them, in the words that the angel had made known to me in the vision, that all Churches and Denominations on the earth had become corrupt, and no church of God on the earth but that he would shorlty rise up a Church, that would never be confounded nor brought down and be like unto the Apostolic Church. They wondered greatly who had been telling me these things, for said they we have the same things wrote down in our house, taken from the Gold record, that you are preaching to us. I said, the Lord told me these things a number of years ago, I then said, If you are a visionary house, I wish you would make known some of your discoveries, for I think I can bear them.

[Porter, Larry C. "Solomon Chamberlain: Early Missionary," BYU Studies 12 (Spring 1972), 314-16.]

I propose that these multiple singley attested events are just as strong as any foundational events recorded in the Bible.

Any one got any others they would like to share?

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Zakuska,

First, your thread description assumes that if I didn't discuss something in my thread about multiple attestation then I haven't considered it. This is fallacious, because I can't possibly cover everything in one post.

Second, my thread focused specifically on multiple attestation to alleged historical events, not multiple affirmations of doctrinal ideas.

Third, I quite agree that many people were talking about the need for a restoration of true Christianity in the 1820s. That's where Joseph Smith got the idea! If anything, the many examples of people saying things similar to what Joseph Smith said counts against his statements being divine revelations of light in the supposed world of apostate darkness.

Fourth, I have a question for you. Have you actually read the books about Luther and Wesley that you cited? Have you even read what these books say in the immediate context of these quotations? Do you have any first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Luther and Wesley? I have found that virtually every Mormon who produces such quotes from Luther, Wesley, Roger Williams, et. al., are merely repeating quotations they have gotten from other sources. These quotations continually make the rounds on the Internet, but never, that I have seen, placed in the contexts of what these Christian teachers actually believed.

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Not addressed to you personally, but I thought I would rephrase this.

Fourth, I have a question for you. Have you actually read the books about Joseph and Brigham that you cited? Have you even read what these books say in the immediate context of these quotations? Do you have any first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Joseph and Brigham? I have found that virtually every anti-Mormon who produces such quotes from Joseph, Brigham, Bruce R. McKonkie, et. al., are merely repeating quotations they have gotten from other sources. These quotations continually make the rounds on the Internet, but never, that I have seen, placed in the contexts of what these LDS teachers actually believed.

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Rob,

Glad to see we have someone here who can keep us on our toes, dear friend.

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Hello Zakuska,

>>>Mason then told Wilford, "I shall never partake of this fruit in the flesh; but you will, and you will become a conspicuous actor in that kingdom"<<<

I was only active in the chruch for about a year so I may have this wrong. My question is who is entitled to receive prophecy, especially when it pertains to other people. According to church teachings would Mason have been able to receive this prophecy? My memory is that only the president of the LDS church can receive prophecy.

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This was before the restoration, so your points are moot.

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I was only active in the chruch for about a year so I may have this wrong. My question is who is entitled to receive prophecy, especially when it pertains to other people. According to church teachings would Mason have been able to receive this prophecy? My memory is that only the president of the LDS church can receive prophecy.

Anyone is entitled to receive prophecy and revelation for one's own benefit, and friends and family. Only the president can speak authoritatively for the church. Only the President has those keys, and is a Seer and Revelator for the church and the entire world.

Hope that helps.

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Volgadon,

Cute, but this parody will backfire on you. Your questions appear below followed by my answers.

Have you actually read the books about Joseph and Brigham that you cited?

I haven't been quoting anything about Brigham Young, but yes, I actually read the books that I cite, or at least enough of the context to make sure that I understand them accurately. I do my own primary research in the writings of the religions that I critique (of which the LDS religion is only one, and not even the one to which I have given most of my time and attention). I do not depend on secondary literature or repeat what they say without due diligence to track down the statements and read them in context.

Have you even read what these books say in the immediate context of these quotations?

Yes. See above. I don't use quotations for which I can't do this, at least not without some explicit acknowledgment that the source is unavailable to me (and I rarely do so even with such acknowledgment).

Do you have any first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Joseph and Brigham?

Yes, very much so, though more for Smith than for Young.

I have found that virtually every anti-Mormon who produces such quotes from Joseph, Brigham, Bruce R. McKonkie, et. al., are merely repeating quotations they have gotten from other sources. These quotations continually make the rounds on the Internet, but never, that I have seen, placed in the contexts of what these LDS teachers actually believed.

Well, that is simply false. There are numerous "anti-Mormon" publications and web articles that provide quotations from Smith, Young, et. al., in context. And again, I always do my own research and make every effort to understand what people are saying in context.

Parody only works well when it proceeds from a true premise. Yours does not.

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Volgadon,

Cute, but this parody will backfire on you. Your questions appear below followed by my answers.

As I said, it wasn't directed at you personally, nor was it a parody. I think those were excellent points, ones which critics ought to consider when attacking us.

Well, that is simply false. There are numerous "anti-Mormon" publications and web articles that provide quotations from Smith, Young, et. al., in context.

I think you overstate the amount. The vast majority do just that, post things out of context.

And again, I always do my own research and make every effort to understand what people are saying in context.

An exception to the rule.

Parody only works well when it proceeds from a true premise. Yours does not.

So does criticism.

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Volgadon,

You were right to point out that you had stated that your comment wasn't directed to me personally. Thanks for that correction.

Let's face it, the vast majority of people of whatever religion mindlessly quote what other people say without understanding them firsthand. This is as true of evangelicals and Mormons as it is of anyone else.

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Zakuska,

First, your thread description assumes that if I didn't discuss something in my thread about multiple attestation then I haven't considered it. This is fallacious, because I can't possibly cover everything in one post.

Second, my thread focused specifically on multiple attestation to alleged historical events, not multiple affirmations of doctrinal ideas.

Third, I quite agree that many people were talking about the need for a restoration of true Christianity in the 1820s. That's where Joseph Smith got the idea! If anything, the many examples of people saying things similar to what Joseph Smith said counts against his statements being divine revelations of light in the supposed world of apostate darkness.

So lets see multiple inspired people saying a restoration was coming is some how a strike against Joseph Smith, yet multiple statements by people that a savior was coming at the time of Christ is a good thing? Come on Rob you are trying to have your cake and eat it too.

Were these men running around the country side preaching and gathering or were they lead by the spirit of God as they said to the prophets door step?

Kornelius was lead to Peters door by what he called a spirit. Just as Chamberlain was lead to the Home of Joseph Smith. Can you explain how Chamberlain was taught by an Angel what Joseph Smith was preaching from the BOM and accounts of Moroni without ever having met him?

Thats just as Miraculous as Peters table cloth vision.

Fourth, I have a question for you. Have you actually read the books about Luther and Wesley that you cited? Have you even read what these books say in the immediate context of these quotations? Do you have any first-hand knowledge of the teachings of Luther and Wesley? I have found that virtually every Mormon who produces such quotes from Luther, Wesley, Roger Williams, et. al., are merely repeating quotations they have gotten from other sources. These quotations continually make the rounds on the Internet, but never, that I have seen, placed in the contexts of what these Christian teachers actually believed.

Sure Ive read them in their context.

Some of my all time favorite Luther quotes are... (The Jews and their Lies)

"I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Jews or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Jews who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Jews into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. However, the devil is the god of the world, and wherever God's word is absent he has an easy task, not only with the weak but also with the strong. May God help us. Amen."

"Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools..."

"Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?"

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Rob Bowman:

the many examples of people saying things similar to what Joseph Smith said counts against his statements being divine revelations of light in the supposed world of apostate darkness.

Kerry:

Your kidding right? What kind of logic is this argument?! Because it was in the air, that proves Joseph Smith was wrong to have the same idea, and hence ***could not*** have been inspired by God? Good heavens Rob, surely you can do better than this.

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Rob: Third, I quite agree that many people were talking about the need for a restoration of true Christianity in the 1820s. That's where Joseph Smith got the idea! If anything, the many examples of people saying things similar to what Joseph Smith said counts against his statements being divine revelations of light in the supposed world of apostate darkness.

cdowis: I think you misunderstand what the church teaches about the "apostate darkness". I think you have researched the church enough to know that we believe that the Lord inspired individuals throughout this period. We find an interesting example in the NT, where Caiaphas said "it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."

The Lord inspired many individuals during this time to prepare the way for the restoration, including Columbus, the reformers, Sidney Rigdon, etc even as the Lord prepared the way for His Son to come on the earth and inspired many to recognize Him when he appeared in the temple, etc.

I think you will agree that this argument is not one of your best. The Coming of Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel did not occur in a vacuum. The Lord prepared the way in each instance.

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Kerry,

I did not claim that because others in Joseph Smith's day spoke of the need for a restoration this proves he "could not" have been inspired. You are objecting to an argument I did not make.

Rob Bowman:

the many examples of people saying things similar to what Joseph Smith said counts against his statements being divine revelations of light in the supposed world of apostate darkness.

Kerry:

Your kidding right? What kind of logic is this argument?! Because it was in the air, that proves Joseph Smith was wrong to have the same idea, and hence ***could not*** have been inspired by God? Good heavens Rob, surely you can do better than this.

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cdowis,

Thanks for your comments.

Perhaps you could explain for me the relevance of Caiaphas. Do you believe the world was shrouded in apostasy during the time of Jesus?

With regard to Joseph Smith, the argument is a cumulative one and thus depends on many strands of information. Joseph Smith lived in a particular time and place in which many Christians were talking about the need of a Restoration, speculating that the American Indians were descendants of Israelites, claiming to have spectacular visions of angels or other supernatural beings, etc. In this environment, we find Joseph Smith claiming that God had revealed to him the need of a Restoration, empowered him to translate a book revealing that the American Indians were descendants of Israelites, claiming to have had spectacular visions of angels, etc. Hmmm.... The evidence shows that Smith could easily have derived all of these ideas from his own cultural environment; he did not need to have them divinely revealed to him. This may not (by itself) prove that they weren't divinely revealed, but it does count against it, as I said. And if God was going to reveal these things supernaturally to Joseph through the translation of long-lost books and other revelations, why did these ideas need to be "in the air" already for decades to "prepare the way"?

Suppose someone were to publish a book today claiming that God had revealed to him that global warming (or "climate change") threatened to destroy the planet unless we got rid of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2050. The fact that such an idea is already widely circulating would surely count against the book being a revelation from God. Now, if such a book had been published in 1950, one could look back on it today and marvel that someone in 1950 could even come up with such an idea. But the appearance of such a book in 2010 would surely evoke reasonable suspicion that the author was drawing on contemporary beliefs.

Rob: Third, I quite agree that many people were talking about the need for a restoration of true Christianity in the 1820s. That's where Joseph Smith got the idea! If anything, the many examples of people saying things similar to what Joseph Smith said counts against his statements being divine revelations of light in the supposed world of apostate darkness.

cdowis: I think you misunderstand what the church teaches about the "apostate darkness". I think you have researched the church enough to know that we believe that the Lord inspired individuals throughout this period. We find an interesting example in the NT, where Caiaphas said "it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not."

The Lord inspired many individuals during this time to prepare the way for the restoration, including Columbus, the reformers, Sidney Rigdon, etc even as the Lord prepared the way for His Son to come on the earth and inspired many to recognize Him when he appeared in the temple, etc.

I think you will agree that this argument is not one of your best. The Coming of Christ and the Restoration of the Gospel did not occur in a vacuum. The Lord prepared the way in each instance.

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Here is a good one.

Roger Williams, pastor of the oldest Baptist Church in America at Providence, Rhode Island, refused to continue as pastor on the grounds that, "There is no regularly-constituted church on earth, nor any person authorized to administer any Church ordinance: nor can there be, until new apostles are sent by the great Head of the Church, for whose coming I am seeking." (Picturesque America, or the Land We Live In, ed. William Cullen Bryant, New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1872, vol. 1, p. 502.)

Williams also said, "The apostasy... hath so far corrupted all, that there can be no recovery out of that apostasy until Christ shall send forth new apostles to plant churches anew." (Underhill, Edward, "Struggles and Triumphs of Religious Liberty", cited in William F. Anderson, "Apostasy or Succession, Which?", pp. 238-39)

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And another one.

In a work prepared by seventy-three noted theologians and Bible students, we read: "...we must not expect to see the Church of Holy Scripture actually existing in its perfection on the earth. It is not to be found, thus perfect, either in the collected fragments of Christendom, or still less in any one of these fragments. . . ." (Dr. William Smith, Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1896.)

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cdowis,

Thanks for your comments.

Perhaps you could explain for me the relevance of Caiaphas. Do you believe the world was shrouded in apostasy during the time of Jesus?

I used the example of Caiaphas, one who was spiritually bankrupt, to demonstrate that such great spiritual giants such as Luther, wesley, could be inspired as well.

The apostacy did not preclude personal inspiration from the Lord.

With regard to Joseph Smith, the argument is a cumulative one and thus depends on many strands of information. Joseph Smith lived in a particular time and place in which many Christians were talking about the need of a Restoration, speculating that the American Indians were descendants of Israelites, claiming to have spectacular visions of angels or other supernatural beings, etc. In this environment, we find Joseph Smith claiming that God had revealed to him the need of a Restoration, empowered him to translate a book revealing that the American Indians were descendants of Israelites, claiming to have had spectacular visions of angels, etc. Hmmm.... The evidence shows that Smith could easily have derived all of these ideas from his own cultural environment; he did not need to have them divinely revealed to him. This may not (by itself) prove that they weren't divinely revealed, but it does count against it, as I said. And if God was going to reveal these things supernaturally to Joseph through the translation of long-lost books and other revelations, why did these ideas need to be "in the air" already for decades to "prepare the way"?

At the time that Christ came, there was much discusson among the Israelintes about the Messiah. Although they misunderstood his role in their salvation, that he would provide temporal rather than spiritual salvation. We find John the Baptist preaching and baptizing, we find individuals who received personal revelation that they would see the Lord prior to their death.

Perhaps there were many other such incidents which were not recorded.

In Talmadge's book, Jesus the Christ, he wrote a great deal about how Christ came during the meredian of time. The rise of the Greek empire and the conquests of the Romans made it possible for the Christian religion to be preached well beyond Israel, but in travel to distant lands, and the common language of Greek. The three wise men from the East -- where did they get their information about the birth of Christ? Paul's Roman citizenship was a preparation for the gospel being preached throughout the world.

So, if you want an answer to your question, perhaps you should do research on the preparation for the First Coming of Christ. How not only Israel but also the entire world was being prepared. LDS have a strong sense of this preparatory work which, apparently from your comments, is missing among the evangelists.

Suppose someone were to publish a book today claiming that God had revealed to him that global warming (or "climate change") threatened to destroy the planet unless we got rid of all gasoline-powered vehicles by 2050. The fact that such an idea is already widely circulating would surely count against the book being a revelation from God. Now, if such a book had been published in 1950, one could look back on it today and marvel that someone in 1950 could even come up with such an idea. But the appearance of such a book in 2010 would surely evoke reasonable suspicion that the author was drawing on contemporary beliefs.

Rob, I am disappointed.

In your attempt to find something to hang your citicisms of Mormonism, you are now reduced to using the same logic and arguments by the nonbelievers against the Bible. As you attack modern revelation and prophets, you are taking your arguments from the enemies of the Bible. Read what these unbelievers say about Moses, for example. They parallel his life with other myths. The Great Flood, the creation mythology. The Zorastors. Even the life of Christ.

Study carefully those arguments so you see how far you have gone from your own religion. Using the arguments of the athiests.

Rob,

I really am disappointed with your response here. I expected better.

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cdowis,

I'm sorry you're disappointed in me, but my arguments are not atheistic, and they bear only superficial resemblance to the arguments of nonbelievers against the Bible. I am very familiar with the concept of a preparation for the gospel, but this does not mean that any self-proclaimed prophet whose message mirrors the cultural values and speculations of his time is a genuine prophet of God. Far from deriving easily from the speculations and myths of the first century, the New Testament accounts about Jesus were at their core counter-cultural. When skeptics argue that the life of Christ parallels Zoroaster or some other ancient deity (e.g., some dying and rising gods), they have to make up story elements and details and weave together other elements from disparate cultures in order to make a convincing-looking case. That is, such skeptics and atheists abuse the evidence, even make some of it up out of thin air, in order to dismiss the biblical accounts about Jesus. I'm not doing anything like that.

Let's take the Book of Mormon. If it were an authentic ancient collection of scriptures, we would expect it to reflect consistently an ancient cultural and theological context, addressing religious and theological concerns of Native Americans of the fifth century and earlier. To use your analogy, we would expect it to reflect a preparation for the gospel in the Western Hemisphere analogous to the preparation for the gospel in the Eastern Hemisphere. Its message, gospel, religion, and theology would be contextualized to that ancient era and situation. Instead, the Book of Mormon has all the markings of a book that was written for the nineteenth century, not for the fifth century. It confirms nineteenth-century speculations that the American Indians were Israelites as a theological argument for preaching the gospel to the Indians. It settles pastoral and ecclesiastical questions such as whether infants should be baptized, what the age of accountability is, and other burning questions among Protestants in Joseph Smith's culture. It uses Trinitarian language (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God) typical of Protestants in the nineteenth century but far more explicit than anything in the Bible despite the fact that the book was supposedly produced in a culture that never had any contact with Trinitarianism. (This language also reflected a theology that Joseph Smith abandoned less than a decade later.) The Book of Mormon criticizes Christians who believe that the Bible is a closed and sufficient canon of Scripture -- an issue totally irrelevant to fifth-century Nephites or Lamanites but on the front burner of Christian religion in the nineteenth century. It reflects Protestant pietistic spirituality typical of nineteenth-century revivalism (e.g., pray about it and you'll know). I could go on and on.

You see, the problem is not simply that Joseph Smith, a nineteenth-century prophet, reflected ideas circulating in the nineteenth century. That's only the tip of the iceberg. The problem is that these nineteenth-century agenda items find their way retrojected into a collection of books supposedly dating from fourteen centuries and more earlier.

I don't see anything unbelieving or atheistic about these objections to the LDS claims. They are rational objections, but being rational is not atheistic.

In Christ's service,

Rob Bowman

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cdowis,

I'm sorry you're disappointed in me, but my arguments are not atheistic, and they bear only superficial resemblance to the arguments of nonbelievers against the Bible.

Yeah, I know that you would be so embarrassed that you would try to squirm out. Antimormonism is an equal opportunity organization -- Christians, athiests, agnorstics all are welcome. The irony of Christians associating intellectually with such a crowd.

Anyway, the anti arguments are lead by the athiests, despite your denial. Seen it all. I know what I am talking about.

I am disappointed that you couldn't do better than that.

I am very familiar with the concept of a preparation for the gospel, but this does not mean that any self-proclaimed prophet whose message mirrors the cultural values and speculations of his time is a genuine prophet of God.

Far from deriving easily from the speculations and myths of the first century, the New Testament accounts about Jesus were at their core counter-cultural. When skeptics argue that the life of Christ parallels Zoroaster or some other ancient deity (e.g., some dying and rising gods), they have to make up story elements and details and weave together other elements from disparate cultures in order to make a convincing-looking case. That is, such skeptics and atheists abuse the evidence, even make some of it up out of thin air, in order to dismiss the biblical accounts about Jesus. I'm not doing anything like that.

I think you will find that we can also give an excellent apologetic answer, as you have done here. But it really would not be useful to spend the time, since this is a rather subjective argument anyway, as you have demonstrated in your reponse. Parallels are tricky, and I can show parallels, not only to the time of Joseph Smith, but our modern day as well. Some are the so-called parallels are also made of just thin air.

Usng modern parallels I can demonstrate that the BOM was written in the 20th century, with the war in Afghanistan (chasing them into the caves), a terrorist group with a standing army, the mafia, etc.

Parallelism cuts both ways, and, again, has been used as an argument against the Bible and Christianity itself.

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Another Restoration scripture...

Mat 17

11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

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cdowis,

You wrote:

Yeah, I know that you would be so embarrassed that you would try to squirm out. Antimormonism is an equal opportunity organization -- Christians, athiests, agnorstics all are welcome. The irony of Christians associating intellectually with such a crowd.

This is a purely subjective complaint, that is, a complaint that looks at this issue purely from the LDS perspective. After all, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, Oneness Pentecostals, Moonies, Unitarian-Universalists, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and agnostics all reject the doctrine of the Trinity, and they often use the same types of objections to it. Look, now I've lumped you into a group with the "bad people"! But what if we change the subject to same-sex marriage? Well, now Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Oneness Pentecostals, evangelicals, and Muslims are all on the same side of the argument. Or suppose the issue is whether aliens live among us and are working to take over the world? Now all of the above groups, including your group and mine, are on the same side of the issue and opposing the position of the UFO cultists.

I know you resist hearing this, but I am not an advocate of "antimormonism." Where I think Mormons are right, I side with them and thank you for taking the position you do. Where I think you are wrong, I disagree. There's no animus, no hostility, no prejudice or bias toward Mormons as such. I don't have an agenda to prove that Mormons are 100% wrong in everything they say, think, and do. I don't think you're the worst people in the world, or that your religion is the worst religion in the world (not by a long shot).

There are times when skeptics do us a service by training their skeptical sights on religious claims. I think we should thank the skeptics for exposing Peter Popoff, for example, the Pentecostal faith healer who faked receiving supernatural revelations that certain individuals in his audiences had specific illnesses that God was going to heal. (His wife talked to the sick people before the service and then relayed the information to Peter through an earpiece.) I can appreciate the good research that skeptics sometimes do without falling for their anti-God, anti-supernatural presuppositions. I don't bring such presuppositions to the study of Mormonism, or any other religious movement. That doesn't change the fact that many claims to the supernatural are bogus.

You wrote:

I think you will find that we can also give an excellent apologetic answer, as you have done here. But it really would not be useful to spend the time, since this is a rather subjective argument anyway, as you have demonstrated in your reponse. Parallels are tricky, and I can show parallels, not only to the time of Joseph Smith, but our modern day as well. Some are the so-called parallels are also made of just thin air.

Usng modern parallels I can demonstrate that the BOM was written in the 20th century, with the war in Afghanistan (chasing them into the caves), a terrorist group with a standing army, the mafia, etc.

Totally irrelevant. We KNOW when the BOM first appeared in recorded history. Such a "demonstration" is specious, not because you can't find any plausible-sounding parallels, but because they are selectively chosen and ignore the evidence we have for when the BOM actually surfaced.

You wrote:

Parallelism cuts both ways, and, again, has been used as an argument against the Bible and Christianity itself.

It is fallacious to reason that because a specific form of argument or analysis has been abused, it therefore can never have any validity.

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This is a purely subjective complaint, that is, a complaint that looks at this issue purely from the LDS perspective.

I am speaking from over 30 years experience in apologetics.

I am sure you understand it is possible to accept parts of the Bible as authentic history but still remain an unbeliever. However it is impossible for the unbeliever and the evangelist to accept ANY aspect of the BOM as authentic history. It was delivered by an angel, and translated by divine power, and there is no room for equivocation. Any argument showing any slightest evidence for the BOM must be immediately rejected.

It may be unpleasant to get into bed with the unbelievers, but you have little choice. They have finely honed their arguments over the centuries against the Bible and they have become your mentors in their techniques.

After all, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christadelphians, Oneness Pentecostals, Moonies, Unitarian-Universalists, Jews, Muslims, atheists, and agnostics all reject the doctrine of the Trinity, and they often use the same types of objections to it. Look, now I've lumped you into a group with the "bad people"!

You are mistaken.

While we may reject the "one substance" argument, we use the the teachings of Christ to show that this doctrine is unBiblical. I do not use clever rhetorical arguments, but show the clear teachings of Christ, especially in John 17:19-23.

He taught that the believers can be one with the Father, perfect in one, *even as* He is one with the Father. Now show us Muslims, athiests, or even JW's who use that concept. That Christ taught that we are joint heirs, that we can become ONE with the Father in the same way that the Father and Son are one. We accept the teaching of Christ, and reject the teachngs of man.

Rather than dealing with this issue in this thread, may I suggest that we discuss in another thread. You can then decide whether we are argue jointly with the groups you mention.

snip

I know you resist hearing this, but I am not an advocate of "antimormonism." Where I think Mormons are right, I side with them and thank you for taking the position you do.

I know. You are our friend, trying to help us out of our delusion. And I recognize there is no hostility towards us. We have a common conception that the other has been mislead.

That I follow a false prophet, and that many aspects of your religion is based on the teachings of man. You see a false prophet, and I see theologians and Bible scholars replacing the foundation of apostles and prophets.

I am not trying to be critical of your position, but hope you see who your mates are, and when you attack the BOM, you strengthen the attacks on the Bible. You give those arguments legitimacy.

Where I think you are wrong, I disagree. There's no animus, no hostility, no prejudice or bias toward Mormons as such. I don't have an agenda to prove that Mormons are 100% wrong in everything they say, think, and do. I don't think you're the worst people in the world, or that your religion is the worst religion in the world (not by a long shot).

snip

Totally irrelevant. We KNOW when the BOM first appeared in recorded history.

We know when the BOM was published. The small plates of Nephi actually appeared around 600BCE, but were not brought to light until the modern age. They are part of recorded history.

The rest of the BOM was recorded around 400AD.

That is what I know. And it is on that precise point that we disagree.

Such a "demonstration" is specious, not because you can't find any plausible-sounding parallels, but because they are selectively chosen and ignore the evidence we have for when the BOM actually surfaced.

It is fallacious to reason that because a specific form of argument or analysis has been abused, it therefore can never have any validity.

You need to go back to your friends and find something else. Others have tried it, and they were honest enough to finally admit that it just doesn't work. In one recent thread, they even tried to polish it up by calling them anachronisms. But then they were forced to use circular logic to try to prove their point.

Rob, you need something better. Sorry.

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