Restoration

The Restoration: A Very Short Introduction. 1

Power of the Restoration: A Firm Foundation of Faith. 2

The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times has Come: Finally! A Good Taste in our Mouths for Religion!. 3

The Only True Church. 4

Notes on A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards. 18

Special Witnesses of Christ: Prophets Know Him.. 23

Deficiency of the Bible as Solo Compass – Response to a Friend. 25

Increased Accountability and Expectation of the Latter-day Saints – Response to a Friend. 27

Instruments of Revelation Testifying of Christ: Rod of Aaron & Cowdry, Seer Stone of Joseph Smith, etc. 29

Rebuttal to a Closed Cannon Argument. 33

Bible Context, A House Divided, Trading Modern for Past Prophets – Debate with a Protestant. 45

Prophets Explain What is & isn’t Doctrine. 46

Continuing Revelation from God. 53

Notes on Discovering the Lands of the Book of Mormon (Mesoamerica), Lecture by Dr. John L. Lund. 61

 

 

 

 

The Restoration: A Very Short Introduction

 

 

-The Church of God has been on earth from time to time.

-The Church of God is always lead by a prophet. (Amos 3:7)

-The Church of God is taken from the earth at times because of unrighteousness. (Amos 8)

-The Church of God is to come to stay in the last days (Daniel). The restored church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints today claims to be that very church, and I witness is.

-Joseph Smith was the first leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Since his death God has continued to call people to lead the Church.

-God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith to call him as prophet and leader in the Church.

-Church leaders clarify doctrines of salvation.

-Power to seal in heaven things that are sealed on earth (like marriages) were restored to the earth via the Church.

-The Church has the fullness of the Gospel (all we need to know and do to be saved) and can be found in the Book of Mormon.

-The Book of Mormon points us to modern prophets for further guidance.

-The Book of Mormon’s key goal is to testify of the resurrected living Savior, Jesus Christ.

-Baptism is legal only in the organization that God has given legal power to complete that ordinance. We claim this to be that organization. (D&C 1, D&C 22)

further references on this to come, for now see mormon.org/restoration or mormon.org/joseph-simth or mormon.org/book-of-mormon

 

 

Power of the Restoration: A Firm Foundation of Faith

 

 

 

The Devil is launching a powerful and relentless attack against us, more so than ever before. Though many physical dangers and hardships of life have subsided, the spiritual ones have increased 100-fold.  I believe God’s counter attack in this war of words and opinions is in declaring truth more clearly and powerfully than ever before. When the Devil stands up to fight against God with his powerful weaponry, GOD WILL FIGHT BACK, and WIN EVERY TIME.

Because Jesus Christ the Son of God restored his Church to Joseph Smith in 1820, we are now living in “The dispensation of the fullness of times” (D&C 128:18,20; 112:30-31; 138:48; 124:41; 121:31; 27:13 Eph. 1:10; ) wherein things are to be revealed which have been kept hidden from the foundation of the earth. If you think Mormonism has merely the same run of the mill talking points to offer humanity as other contemporary Christian groups, or just more clever thinking, this letter will show you that such is not the case, and that Mormonism has a more holistic answer to life’s questions, and a more glorious hope for the future of mankind, including more compassion and joy than is traditionally allowed among “Christian” groups for those who believe differently. It is a faith of angels, prophets, visions, and God speaking anew from the heavens to the earth as a whole in these our times, to reveal afresh the doctrine of Christ. These things offer not only a brighter future, but a more peaceful present. (See D&C 59:23; Moses 6;59)”

I do not call for a following, nor do I suggest inordinate last days preparations, gathering locations, etc. Studies of dreams or visions of lay members of the church is dangerous and isn’t the focus here. Such if tolerated at all is to be considered fictional, and only for imaginative exploration which can at times be fruitful. These can have deeper meaning for those to whom they are given. Non-fiction has its proper place in life. Members may have dreams etc. helpful for them, but such are generally not to be made public and they never represent Church doctrine.

What the current leaders of the Church declare overrides speculations of past statements. Interpreting doctrine is to be kept within the bounds the Lord has set. The Standard Works and words of the living First Presidency and Quorum of the 12 Apostles are what constitute church doctrine. Living Apostles help interpret the Standard Works lest any of us “look beyond the mark”. Apostasy can be found in both far left and far right ideologies, as well as in between. I denounce any group which actively seeks to change church doctrine or policies.

I witness that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one true Church of Jesus Christ in these latter days. Other churches contribute to God’s work, but the “LDS Church” is the only organization vested with the authority of God to lead the work of salvation in these the latter and last days. Only those authorized to preach the gospel represent the church, and I am not so authorized. When dealing with religious topics, focuses on the teachings of the prophets both ancient and modern.

I feel to say like Joseph Smith once did, “if my life is of no value to my friends, it is of none to myself”.  Foremost I am your friend, and if disagreements are between us, let us refocus on the overall goodness of humanity, and allow friendship to overcome disagreement, for God’s sake. We want safety for all persons, and we want all to believe and worship as they wish in peace.

 

 

The Dispensation of the Fullness of Times has Come: Finally! A Good Taste in our Mouths for Religion!

We are living in a day foretold by prophets of old, and can expect more direction than cliché church answers to life’s questions from the Catholic and Protestant churches. The restored Church of Jesus Christ is vastly different than any other church, so to you dissatisfied with religion in general, so are we, give this a try.

Because Jesus Christ restored his Church to Joseph Smith in 1820, we are now living in “The dispensation of the fullness of times” (D&C 128:18,20; 112:30-31; 138:48; 124:41; 121:31; 27:13 Eph. 1:10; ) wherein things are to be revealed which have been kept hidden from the foundation of the earth. If you think the restored Church of Jesus Christ has merely the same run of the mill talking points to offer humanity as other contemporary Christian groups, this letter will show you that such is not the case, and that Mormonism has a more holistic answer to life’s questions, and a more glorious hope for the future of mankind, including more compassion and joy than is traditionally allowed among “Christian” groups for those who believe differently: non-Mormons and non-Christians alike. These things offer not only a brighter future, but a more peaceful present (See D&C 59:23; Moses 6;59).

 

The Only True Church

 

 

 

-“To possess a testimony of Jesus is to know that the Church, which He established in the meridian of time and restored in modern times is, as the Lord has declared, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.) (Benson Teachings Ch. 6 https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-of-presidents-of-the-church-ezra-taft-benson/chapter-6-jesus-christ-our-savior-and-redeemer?lang=eng)

-“We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.) Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah.” (The Book of Mormon, Introduction page)

-“It is our firm conviction that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, as the revelations state, “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.” (D&C 1:30.)….We did not invent the doctrine of the only true church. It came from the Lord. Whatever perception others have of us, however presumptuous we appear to be, whatever criticism is directed to us, we must teach it to all who will listen.

The Lord commanded the Latter-day Saints that “notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you,” the Church must “stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world.” (D&C 78:14.)

In obedience we remain independent. While we cooperate with others to reach mutual objectives, we do it in our own way. We do not recognize the ordinances performed in other churches. We will not exchange baptisms, a practice which has become commonplace in the Christian world.

We do not join associations of clergy or councils of churches. We keep our distance from the ecumenical movements. The restored gospel is the means by which Christians must ultimately be united.

We do not claim that others have no truth. The Lord described them as having “a form of godliness.” Converts to the Church may bring with them all the truth they possess, and have it added upon.

We are not free to alter this fundamental doctrine of the gospel, not even in the face of the tribulation prophesied in that revelation (D&C 78.) Popularity and the approval of the world perhaps must remain ever beyond our reach….I would teach the truth with quiet confidence, for I have a testimony of the truth. If some must come from the meeting unsettled and disturbed, it would not be me (referring to a group he was to teach the gospel to at Harvard University). Let them be disturbed, if they would….It was as the Spirit foretold. Some shook their heads in amazement, even cynical amusement, that anyone could believe such things.

But I was at peace. I had taught the truth, and they could accept it or reject it as they pleased.

There is always the hope, and often it is true, that one among them with an open mind may admit one simple thought: “Could it possibly be true?” Combine that thought with sincere prayer, and one more soul enters a private sacred grove to find the answer to “Which of all the churches is true, and which should I join?”

As I grow in age and experience, I grow ever less concerned over whether others agree with us. I grow ever more concerned that they understand us. If they do understand, they have their agency and can accept or reject the gospel as they please.

It is not an easy thing for us to defend the position that bothers so many others.

Brethren and sisters, never be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Never apologize for the sacred doctrines of the gospel.

Never feel inadequate and unsettled because you cannot explain them to the satisfaction of all who might inquire of you.

Do not be ill at ease or uncomfortable because you can give little more than your conviction.

Be assured that, if you will explain what you know and testify of what you feel, you may plant a seed that will one day grow and blossom into a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ….If we can stand without shame, without hesitancy, without embarrassment, without reservation to bear witness that the gospel has been restored, that there are prophets and Apostles upon the earth, that the truth is available for all mankind, the Lord’s Spirit will be with us. And that assurance can be affirmed to others. Of this I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Only True Church”, Conference Report, Oct. 1985 https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1985/10/the-only-true-church?lang=eng )

-“The Church of Jesus Christ, nicknamed Mormon, is the only true and living church which is fully recognized by God….Most of the world disbelieves it, ministers attempt to disprove it, intellectuals think to rationalize it out of existence, but when all the people of the world are dead, and the ministers and priests are ashes, and the high trained are maundering in their graves, the truth will go forward, the Church will continue triumphant and the gospel will still be true.” (President Spencer W. Kimball, Church News, Sep. 10, 1977, p.3)

-“Members of the Church, especially our missionaries, often hear this statement: “If there is anything I resent, it is those that say they are right and everybody else is wrong.” They object, of course, to the declaration concerning the exclusive delegation of authority in this church.

Now I understand, of course, why one would feel that way. Nevertheless, I would say to him: “Hold on, think for a moment. Surely you can’t believe that in the great confusing variety of religious beliefs, not one of them is true, is right.”

Such a proposition generates atheism. When I think of an atheist, I believe with Sister Carol Lynn Pearson in what she wrote in her verse dedicated to the atheist:

“God must have a huge sense of humor

So righteously to resist

The temptation of turning the tables

On your pretending he does not exist.”1

The other view, the one most widely held, is that all of them are right, that they are all alike. If there is a typical response to our missionaries, it is, “I already have a church. One is just as good as another and it doesn’t matter really which one we belong to, or if we belong to any. We will all end up in the same place anyway.”

Surely no one who really thinks would hold to that position. Nevertheless, many people accept it when they would not for a moment apply it or relate it to any other phase of their life. They would not, for instance, take the same position with regard to education. Who would not smile at a statement that all schools are alike, that one is just as good as another, and that a person deserves the same diploma no matter which school he attends, or which course he takes, or for how long?

Would you agree to send students to just any school, taking any variety of courses, and then award them specialized degrees, anything they wanted—in architecture, law, medicine? Such an attitude would suggest that a man would be just as good a surgeon by not studying for it as he would by following the prerequisite courses. No person who has given it real substantial thought would take such a position, and neither you nor I would want to be under the knife of a surgeon who had been trained, or maybe I should say “untrained,” in such a pattern.

Isn’t it strange, then, that so many are able to apply such a view toward religion. They advocate: Go to any school, take any course, or go to no school at all, and we’ll all end up in the same place with the same heavenly diploma.

That just isn’t reasonable, nor is it true.

The position that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true church upon the face of the earth is fundamental. Perhaps it would be more convenient and palatable and popular if we were to avoid it; nevertheless, we are under a sacred obligation and a sacred trust to hold to it. It is not merely an admission; it is a positive declaration. It is so fundamental that we cannot yield on this point.

Now to those who think us uncharitable, we say that it was not devised by us; it was declared by Him, for he gave commandments to the early brethren, and I quote:

“… to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually.” (D&C 1:30.)

Now this is not to say that the churches, all of them, are without some truth. They have some truth—some of them very much of it. They have a form of godliness. Often the clergy and adherents are not without dedication, and many of them practice remarkably well the virtues of Christianity. They are, nonetheless, incomplete. By his declaration, “… they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.” (JS—H 1:19.)

The gospel might be likened to the keyboard of a piano—a full keyboard with a selection of keys on which one who is trained can play a variety without limits; a ballad to express love, a march to rally, a melody to soothe, and a hymn to inspire; an endless variety to suit every mood and satisfy every need.

How shortsighted it is, then, to choose a single key and endlessly tap out the monotony of a single note, or even two or three notes, when the full keyboard of limitless harmony can be played.

How disappointing when the fullness of the gospel, the whole keyboard, is here upon the earth, that many churches tap on a single key. The note they stress may be essential to a complete harmony of religious experience, but it is, nonetheless, not all there is. It isn’t the fullness.

For instance, one taps on the key of faith healing, to the neglect of many principles that would bring greater strength than faith healing itself. Another taps on an obscure key relating to the observance of the Sabbath—a key that would sound different indeed, played in harmony with the essential notes on the keyboard. A key used like that can get completely out of tune. Another repeats endlessly the key that relates to the mode of baptism and taps one or two other keys as though there were not a full keyboard. And again, the very key he uses, essential as it is, just doesn’t sound complete when played alone to the neglect of the others.

There are other examples, many of them where parts of the gospel are endlessly stressed and the churches build upon them, until alone they sound nothing like they would if blended with the full measure of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We don’t say that the key of faith healing, for example, is not essential. We not only recognize it—we rely on it and experience it; but it is not the gospel itself, nor its fullness.

We would never hold that baptism is not essential, absolutely essential, for it constitutes the official enrollment in the church and kingdom of God. If that key, however, is played alone, without the counterpart key of authority, the fullness and the harmony are gone and it becomes dissonant. And without the key of faith and of repentance, it is meaningless, and perhaps worse, it is counterfeit. This happens when the authority we speak of is lacking.

Now we do not say they are wrong so much as we say they are incomplete. The fullness of the gospel has been restored. The power and the authority to act for Him is present with us. The power and the authority of the priesthood rests upon this church. The Lord revealed:

“… this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God.

“Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest.

“And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh.” (D&C 84:19–21.)

Now in these last days when the consummate power of evil moves against us, the great apostasy spoken of in the scriptures moves to its inevitable conclusion. The Christian churches that should be the bulwark against it seem to provide little substance for their members or for their clergy. And we see the frightening specter of empty churches and a clergy promoting causes they, above all, should resist.

In these last travels I mentioned, it has been frightening to me to see the churches closed, boarded up, with weeds growing in the yard, or open but empty. We face the frightening thought of a generation raised without any contact with scripture.

It is not unusual to find people who take an interest in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but give only casual attention to the ideal that the fullness of the gospel is here.

They become attracted by a single key, a doctrine, often one to which they take immediate exception and object to. They investigate it by itself alone. They want to know all there is about it without reference, in fact, with specific objection and rejection, to anything else.

They want to hear that key played over and over again. It will give them little knowledge unless they see that there is a fullness—other complementary ideals and doctrines that present a warmth and a harmony, and a fullness, that draw at the right moment upon each key, which if played alone might seem discordant.

Now that danger is not limited to investigators alone. Some members of the Church who should know better pick out a hobby key or two and tap them incessantly, to the irritation of those around them. They can dull their own spiritual sensitivities. They lose track that there is a fullness of the gospel and become as individuals, like many churches have become. They may reject the fullness in preference to a favorite note. This becomes exaggerated and distorted, leading them away into apostasy.

I counseled, think about this matter. More than that, I would urge you to pray about this matter. Thinking alone can be the basis for man’s wisdom. There is another more perfect manner of communication through the spirit: “… for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:10.)

Paul, speaking to the Corinthians, said: “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Cor. 2:13–14.)

Any soul has the right, indeed the obligation, to make an appeal through prayer for the answer to this question: Is there a true church? That is how it all began, you know, with a fourteen-year-old boy who went into a grove. Two questions: Which of all the churches is true? and Which should he join? There he experienced a marvelous vision of the Father and the Son, and the dispensation of the fulness of times was ushered in. Subsequently the authority to act for Him was restored and rests yet with this church. We heard in this meeting a prophet of God, Joseph Fielding Smith.

I bear witness that he is a prophet of God. I have a witness that Jesus is the Christ. He lives. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the face of this earth, of which I bear witness in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, ‘The Only True and Living Church’, Conference Report, Oct. 1971 https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1971/10/the-only-true-and-living-church?lang=eng&query=only+true+church#watch=video)

-“There are times when the only way to get from A to C is by way of B.

“Having grown up in southern Utah and enjoying all the wonders and beauties of southern Utah and northern Arizona, I wanted to introduce my son to that and I wanted to show him places that I had seen and enjoyed when I was his age. So, his mother packed a little lunch for us, and we took his grandfather’s pickup truck and headed south onto what we call the old Arizona Strip.

“Noting that the sun was going down, we decided that we’d better get back. But we came back to a particular fork in the road, really the only one that at that point was absolutely unrecognizable. I asked my son to pray about which road to take, and he felt strongly that we should go to the right, and I did as well. And we went to the right, and it was a dead end. We went four or five or six hundred yards and it was an absolute dead end, clearly the wrong road.

“Turned around, came back out, took the other road. And clearly the road to the left was the correct road.

“Somewhere along the way, Matt said, ‘Dad, why did we feel, after praying about it, that the right road was the proper one to take, the correct one to take, and it wasn’t?’ And I said, ‘I think that the Lord, His wish for us there and His answer to our prayer was to get us on the right road as quickly as possible with some reassurance, with some understanding that we were on the right road and we didn’t have to worry about it. And in this case, the easiest way to do that was to let us go 400 yards or 500 yards on the wrong road and very quickly know without a doubt that it was the wrong road and, therefore, with equal certainty, with equal conviction that the other one was the right road.’

“I have absolute certain knowledge, perfect knowledge that God loves us. He is good. He is our Father and He expects us to pray and trust and be believing and not give up and not panic and not retreat and not jump ship when something doesn’t seem to be going just right. We stay in, we keep working, we keep believing, keep trusting, following that same path, and we will live to fall in His arms and feel His embrace and hear Him say, ‘I told you it’d be OK, I told you it’d be all right.’” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Wrong Roads,” Mormon Messages video; lds.org/media-library/video. See also https://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng see also https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/ces-devotionals/2014/01/tuning-our-hearts-to-the-voice-of-the-spirit?lang=eng#7-PD10050686_000_11 )

on blog up to this point:

-see also this man’s search for truth Wilford Woodruff realizing there was an apostasy and only one true Church on earth today. see https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2010-07-02-a-search-for-truth?lang=eng

-see also President Packer on Priesthood in the home via the authority of the restored Priesthood https://www.lds.org/broadcasts/article/worldwide-leadership-training/2012/01/priesthood-power-in-the-home?lang=eng&query=only+true+church

-“Nothing matters in time or eternity like the gospel of Jesus Christ [and] the saving ordinances of the only true Church on the face of the earth. And God turns its future over to a bunch of 19-year-olds. There is no precedent for it on the face of the earth.” (Elder Jeffery R. Holland, Elder Holland Testifies of Gospel in Sierra Leone; Contributed By Heather Whittle Wrigley, Church News and Events 24 FEBRUARY 2012 https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-holland-testifies-of-gospel-in-sierra-leone?lang=eng&query=only+true+church)

-“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).

“What does this mean?” asked Elder Callister. “It does not mean that other churches do not have some truth, for certainly they do,” he said. “It does not mean that other churches do not render good, for they render much good. What it does mean is that this is the only church that has all the truth that has been revealed thus far in this dispensation, the only church that has the ordinances necessary for exaltation, and the only church that has the priesthood of God to perform those ordinances with divine validity.”…Drawing an analogy from the construction blueprint for a house, Elder Callister said, “In a similar way Christ built a home to best accommodate the spiritual needs of His children. It was called His Church.”

Occasionally, Christ’s blueprint requires a “change order” in accommodating changing needs, and that is provided for in the principle of continuing divine revelation, Elder Callister said.

“If one desired to discover Christ’s Church today he would want to match the spiritual blueprint found in the New Testament against every Christian church in the world until he discovered a church that matched the blueprint—organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation,” he said.

“In so doing he might find some churches that had some similarities—a teaching or two that overlapped, an ordinance that is the same, some offices that bear common names, but he will only find one church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that matches the blueprint in every material respect.”

He said the current Church of Jesus Christ should have the same organization that existed in Christ’s original Church, subject to revelatory changes. “Therefore, each of these offices is present in our Church today.”

He said Christ’s blueprint is very specific regarding ordinances that are to be performed in His Church, particularly baptism. “Otherwise, how does one answer the difficult question: what about those who died without the opportunity to be baptized?”

Elder Callister suggested that the fruits of Christ’s Church are an element of His blueprint. Among those fruits, he said, are being healthy as a people, miracles and gifts of the Spirit, and divine visions and visitations from angels.

He said, “The question should not be, how can The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints be the true Church with its alleged angels and visions? Rather the question should be, how can any church today claim to be Christ’s true Church unless it has angels and visions—just as was the case in Christ’s original Church, just as it is revealed in His blueprint?”

Missionary work, morality, and being family centered were other fruits Elder Callister identified.

“If one were to match the blueprint of Christ’s original Church against every church in the world today, he would find that point for point—organization for organization, teaching for teaching, ordinance for ordinance, fruit for fruit, and revelation for revelation—it will only match one: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he said.

Moreover, “If one rejects this Church after studying the blueprint, then it will likely ruin him for any other church because he knows too much,” he said.

“If someone turns from the Church, where will he go to learn about the restored truths concerning the nature of God as revealed in the Sacred Grove, the preaching of the gospel to the dead, the three degrees of glory, and eternal families?” he asked. “Where will he go to get the ordinances that can save and exalt him? Where will he go to have his wife and children sealed to him for eternity? Where will he go when he wants a priesthood blessing of comfort or healing for a family member? Where will he go to find a prophet of God? He will look in vain for those doctrines and those ordinances and those powers and those prophets, as they are unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Elder Callister asserted, “One cannot have the doctrines and ordinances as restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith without accepting Joseph Smith and the underlying history that is the basis for such. They are inseparable. They go hand in hand. You cannot call the fruit good and then call the tree bad.”

Regarding criticisms that some make against the Prophet and the work he accomplished, Elder Callister said, “The historical or social concerns that some may have, the alleged scientific conflicts—these are the sideshow; the center stage is the doctrines, ordinances, priesthood power, and other fruits of our Church, many of which have been discussed tonight.”

He noted that in responding to such criticisms, “questions go both ways.”

“First,” he asked, “how did Joseph Smith know to restore the doctrines and ordinances from the Bible, such as the doctrine of the premortal existence, the true nature of God, the gospel being preached to the dead, baptism for the dead, and many others discussed tonight, when such doctrines and ordinances were not being taught by other contemporary churches of his time? Why was Joseph Smith the only one to discover them and restore them? Even when he is considered a theological genius, were there no other such geniuses in the 1,800 years following the Savior’s ministry who could likewise follow the blueprint with precision?”

He also asked why this Church has the same fruits as Christ’s original Church if it is not Christ’s Church.

“Certainly,” he said, “many more questions on cross-examination could be asked. There are certain questions, however, that trump and transcend all others—in essence, they form the crux of an issue. Suffice it to say, some questions are simply more important than others in discovering the truth. If you come to know that Joseph Smith restored the biblical teachings and ordinances referred to above, if you come to know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the same fruits as Christ’s original Church, or if you come to know that the Book of Mormon is of divine origin, then you know that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and if Joseph Smith is a prophet then this is the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth. All other questions pale in comparison.”” (Elder Tad R. Callister of the Presidency of the Seventy, Church News “Elder Callister Teaches Spiritual Blueprint of True Church, contributed by R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer, CES devotional on January 12, 2014; see https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-callister-teaches-spiritual-blueprint-of-true-church?lang=eng&query=only+true+church)

-“Chapter 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today

Gospel Principles, (2011), 94–100

The Church of Jesus Christ Was Taken from the Earth

  • Why was the Church of Jesus Christ removed from the earth shortly after the Savior’s death and Resurrection?
    When Jesus lived on the earth, He established His Church, the only true Church. He organized His Church so the truths of the gospel could be taught to all people and the ordinances of the gospel could be administered correctly with authority. Through this organization, Christ could bring the blessings of salvation to mankind.

After the Savior ascended into heaven, men changed the ordinances and doctrines that He and His Apostles had established. Because of apostasy, there was no direct revelation from God. The true Church was no longer on the earth. Men organized different churches that claimed to be true but taught conflicting doctrines. There was much confusion and contention over religion. The Lord had foreseen these conditions of apostasy, saying there would be “a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. … They shall … seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it” (Amos 8:11–12).

  • How does the famine spoken of in Amos 8:11–12 affect people?
    The Lord Promised to Restore His True Church
  • What were some of the conditions in the world that prepared the way for the Restoration of the gospel?
    The Savior promised to restore His Church in the latter days. He said, “I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder” (Isaiah 29:14).

For many years people lived in spiritual darkness. About 1,700 years after Christ, people were becoming more and more interested in knowing the truth about God and religion. Some of them could see that the gospel Jesus taught was no longer on the earth. Some recognized that there was no revelation and no true authority and that the Church that Christ organized did not exist on the earth. The time had arrived for the Church of Jesus Christ to be restored to the earth.

  • In what ways is the Restoration of the fulness of the gospel a “marvelous work”?
    New Revelation from God
  • When Joseph Smith received his First Vision, what did he learn about God?
    In the spring of 1820, one of the most important events in the history of the world occurred. The time had come for the marvelous work and wonder of which the Lord had spoken. As a young boy, Joseph Smith wanted to know which of all the churches was the true Church of Jesus Christ. He went into the woods near his home and prayed humbly and intently to his Heavenly Father, asking which church he should join. On that morning a miraculous thing happened. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith. The Savior told him not to join any church because the true Church was not on the earth. He also said that the creeds of present churches were “an abomination in his sight” (Joseph Smith—History 1:19; see also verses 7–18, 20). Beginning with this event, there was again direct revelation from the heavens. The Lord had chosen a new prophet. Since that time the heavens have not been closed. Revelation continues to this day through each of His chosen prophets. Joseph was to be the one to help restore the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Why was the First Vision one of the most important events in the history of the world?
    Authority from God Was Restored
  • Why was the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods necessary?
    In restoring the gospel, God again gave the priesthood to men. John the Baptist came in 1829 to confer the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery (see D&C 13; 27:8). Then Peter, James, and John, the presidency of the Church in ancient times, came and gave Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of God (see D&C 27:12–13). Later, additional keys of the priesthood were restored by heavenly messengers such as Moses, Elias, and Elijah (see D&C 110:11–16). Through the Restoration, the priesthood was returned to the earth. Those who hold this priesthood today have the authority to perform ordinances such as baptism. They also have the authority to direct the Lord’s kingdom on earth.

For teachers: Bearing testimony invites the Spirit. As part of this lesson, bear your testimony of the Restoration and give others the opportunity to do the same.

Christ’s Church Was Organized Again

  • What events led to the organization of the Church on the earth again?
    On April 6, 1830, the Savior again directed the organizing of His Church on the earth (see D&C 20:1). His Church is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see D&C 115:4). Christ is the head of His Church today, just as He was in ancient times. The Lord has said that it is “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased” (D&C 1:30).

Joseph Smith was sustained as prophet and “first elder” of the Church (see D&C 20:2–4). Later the First Presidency was organized, and he was sustained as President. When the Church was first organized, only the framework was set up. The organization would develop as the Church continued to grow.

The Church was organized with the same offices as were in the ancient Church. That organization included apostles, prophets, seventies, evangelists (patriarchs), pastors (presiding officers), high priests, elders, bishops, priests, teachers, and deacons. These same offices are in His Church today (see Articles of Faith 1:6).

A prophet, acting under the direction of the Lord, leads the Church. This prophet is also the President of the Church. He holds all the authority necessary to direct the Lord’s work on earth (see D&C 107:65, 91). Two counselors assist the President. Twelve Apostles, who are special witnesses of the name of Jesus Christ, teach the gospel and regulate the affairs of the Church in all parts of the world. Other general officers of the Church with special assignments, including the Presiding Bishopric and the Quorums of the Seventy, serve under the direction of the First Presidency and the Twelve.

The offices of the priesthood include apostles, seventies, patriarchs, high priests, bishops, elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. These are the same offices that existed in the original Church.

The Church has grown much larger than it was in the days of Jesus. As it has grown, the Lord has revealed additional units of organization within the Church. When the Church is fully organized in an area, it has local divisions called stakes. A stake president and his two counselors preside over each stake. The stake has 12 high councilors who help do the Lord’s work in the stake. Melchizedek Priesthood quorums are organized in the stake under the direction of the stake president (see chapter 14 in this book). Each stake is divided into smaller areas called wards. A bishop and his two counselors preside over each ward.

In areas of the world where the Church is developing, there are districts, which are like stakes. Districts are divided into smaller units called branches, which are like wards.

Important Truths Were Restored

  • What important truths have been brought back with the Restoration of the Church?
    The Church today teaches the same principles and performs the same ordinances as were performed in the days of Jesus. The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism by immersion, and the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Articles of Faith 1:4). These precious truths were returned in their fulness when the Church was restored.

Through the gift and power of God, Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon, which contains the plain and precious truths of the gospel. Many other revelations followed and have been recorded as scripture in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price (see chapter 10 in this book).

Other important truths that the Lord restored include the following:
1. Our Heavenly Father is a real being with a tangible, perfected body of flesh and bones, and so is Jesus Christ. The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.
2. We existed in premortal life as spirit children of God.
3. The priesthood is necessary to administer the ordinances of the gospel.
4. We will be punished for our own sins and not for Adam’s transgression.
5. Children do not need to be baptized until they are accountable (eight years old).
6. There are three kingdoms of glory in the heavens, and through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, people will be rewarded according to their actions on earth and according to the desires of their hearts.
7. Family relationships can be eternal through the sealing power of the priesthood.
8. Ordinances and covenants are required for salvation and are available for both the living and the dead.
• How have these truths influenced you and others?
The Church of Jesus Christ Will Never Be Destroyed

  • What is the mission of the Church?
    Since its restoration in 1830, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown rapidly in membership. There are members in nearly every country in the world. The Church will continue to grow. As Christ said, “This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:31). The Church will never again be taken from the earth. Its mission is to take the truth to every person. Thousands of years ago, the Lord said He would “set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, … and it shall stand for ever” (Daniel 2:44).
  • How have you helped in the work of the kingdom of God? What can you do to continue this work?
    Additional Scriptures
  • Acts 3:19–21; Revelation 14:6; Daniel 2:44–45; Isaiah 2:2–4; 2 Nephi 3:6–15 (Restoration foretold)
    • D&C 110; 128:19–21; 133:36–39, 57–58 (Restoration of the gospel)
    • Ephesians 2:20 (Jesus Christ the cornerstone of the Church)
    • D&C 20:38–67 (duties of officers of the Church)
    • Matthew 24:14 (gospel to be preached to all nations)” (This article is from Gospel Principles, (2011), 94–100, Chapter 17: The Church of Jesus Christ Today, see https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-17-the-church-of-jesus-christ-today?lang=eng)
    –CHURCH, SIGNS OF THE TRUE (Guide to the scriptures see https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/church-signs-of-the-true?lang=eng)

See also Church of Jesus Christ; Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The; Sign

Doctrines and works of a church that show it is approved by God and is the means the Lord has established for his children to gain the fulness of his blessings. Some of the signs of the true Church are as follows:

Correct understanding of the Godhead

God created man in his own image: Gen. 1:26–27;
The Lord spoke unto Moses face to face: Ex. 33:11;
Eternal life is to know God the Father and Jesus Christ: John 17:3;
The Father and Son have bodies of flesh and bones: D&C 130:22–23;
The Father and the Son appeared to Joseph Smith: JS—H 1:15–20;
We believe in God, the Eternal Father: A of F 1:1;
First principles and ordinances

Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit: John 3:3–5;
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ: Acts 2:38;
Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost: Acts 8:14–17;
Become children of God by faith in Jesus Christ: Gal. 3:26–27;
Repent ye, and be baptized in the name of my Beloved Son:2 Ne. 31:11–21;
They who believed were baptized and received the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands: D&C 76:50–53;
Proper priesthood is needed to baptize and to give the gift of the Holy Ghost: JS—H 1:70–72;
The first principles and ordinances of the gospel are described: A of F 1:4;
Revelation

Where there is no vision, the people perish: Prov. 29:18;
The Lord reveals his secrets to his prophets: Amos 3:7;
The Church is built upon the rock of revelation: Matt. 16:17–18; ( D&C 33:13; )
Woe unto him who shall say the Lord no longer worketh by revelation:3 Ne. 29:6;
Revelations and commandments come only through the one appointed: D&C 43:2–7;
We believe all that God has revealed: A of F 1:9;
Prophets

The Church is built upon the foundation of Apostles and prophets: Eph. 2:19–20;
Apostles and prophets are essential to the Church: Eph. 4:11–16;
Joseph Smith was called to be a seer, prophet, and Apostle: D&C 21:1–3;
We believe in prophets: A of F 1:6;
Authority

Jesus gave his disciples power and authority: Luke 9:1–2; ( John 15:16; )
Nephi, the son of Helaman, had great authority from God: Hel. 11:18; ( 3 Ne. 7:17; )
The prophet is to receive commandments for the Church: D&C 21:4–5;
No one may preach the gospel or build up the Church unless he is ordained by someone who has authority: D&C 42:11;
The elders are to preach the gospel, acting in authority: D&C 68:8;
Any who preach or administer for God must be called of God by those in authority: A of F 1:5;
Additional scriptures to come forth

The stick of Judah will be joined with the stick of Joseph: Ezek. 37:15–20;
The coming forth of latter-day scripture was foretold:1 Ne. 13:38–41;
We believe that God will yet reveal many great and important things: A of F 1:9;
Church organization

The Church is built upon the foundation of Apostles and prophets: Eph. 2:19–20;
Apostles and prophets are essential to the Church: Eph. 4:11–16;
Christ is the head of the Church: Eph. 5:23;
Christ’s Church must be called in his name:3 Ne. 27:8;
We believe in the same organization that existed in the Primitive Church: A of F 1:6;
Missionary work

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations: Matt. 28:19–20;
Seventy were called to preach the gospel: Luke 10:1;
They were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature: Mosiah 28:3;
Elders are to go forth, preaching my gospel, two by two: D&C 42:6;
The gospel must be preached unto every creature: D&C 58:64;
Spiritual gifts

They began to speak with other tongues: Acts 2:4;
The elders are to heal the sick: James 5:14;
Deny not the gifts of God: Moro. 10:8;
Spiritual gifts are listed: D&C 46:13–26; ( 1 Cor. 12:1–11; Moro. 10:9–18; )
Temples

I will make a covenant and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them forevermore: Ezek. 37:26–27;
The Lord shall suddenly come to his temple: Mal. 3:1;
Nephi built a temple: 2 Ne. 5:16;
The Saints were chastened for failing to build the house of the Lord: D&C 95; ( D&C 88:119; )
The Lord’s people always build temples for the performance of holy ordinances: D&C 124:37–44;
Building temples and performing ordinances are parts of the great latter-day work: D&C 138:53–54;” (for this section of the Guide to the Scriptures see Guide to The Scriptures: Church, Signs of the True, see https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/church-signs-of-the-true?lang=eng)

 

 

 

Notes on A Marvelous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards

 

 

For a video audio version of this document:

https://youtu.be/qrxz2w-405Q

 

-Luke 10:1 we are sent out 2 by 2 as them of old. We are who Jeremiah spoke of when he said I will send hunters to gather them from the rocks and the fishers to search and gather Israel.

-Instruction in the New Testament not to go house to house is thus: the missionaries go on a house. Should the spirit of the Lord be there, then the missionaries are to stay and teach the gospel fully so that there is a witness against that people if they reject it or a blessing to them if they accept it. Too many missionaries run away from the work rather than running to it.

-Missionaries are not going forth to argue and debate. They must tell our story energetically and enthusiastically and then their hearers will become listeners and questioners.

-Telling of the gospel is not just dooming people bringing judgement upon them, rather it’s like building a foundation for a house. We can’t judge yet; the house is not yet finished. People can’t judge the truthfulness of the gospel without having heard it.

-When you find a house that has the peace of the Lord there, we as missionaries should visit it at least once a week for the next 6 months giving them presentations about the gospel. The spirit of the Lord must be there since the letter killeth and the spirit giveth life. 2 Cor. 3:6.

-Some topics missionaries teach take more than one visit to cover. When investigator is asked to read from the bible it is wise that the investigator turn to the passage in his own bible and read with you. It is much more impressive than when the missionary quotes or reads from his own book.

-The LDS Church is the only Christian church which does not merely depend on the bible for its instruction. We appeal to it. The Restored gospel teachings are in accord with it.

-One well known radio broadcaster was asked what would be the most important message to broadcast to the world. After thinking a while he said it would be a message from someone who had been dead, then received a message from God, then returned from the dead to give us that message. Hence the LDS have a great message to share. That is the Book of Mormon, a detailed account of the resurrected Jesus’ teachings.

-Jeremiah said they shall sing in the heights of Zion. He was referring to the LDS pilgrimage to the west, and the singing of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, an over 300-member choir, and it will continue to fulfill this prophecy.

-Moses speaking of the land of Joseph was referring to this land America. Blessed be this land for the precious things from above and beneath. The precious things and the chief things of the ancient mountains and the precious things on the lasting hills and for the precious things of the earth and the fullness there of (Deut. 33:13-16).

-The blessing of Jacob to his son Joseph Gen 49:22-26 these are blessings about America.

-Joseph’s land would be choice above all other lands the Book of Mormon says.

-70 times the Book of Mormon uses the word precious in describing the land (USA) and its blessings. These are in actual fulfillment. You will see that as you travel among the valleys of the Saints in the Rocky Mountains.

-Jer. said and they shall not sorrow or anymore toil. Then shall the virgin rejoice and dance both young men and old together and make them rejoice in their sorrow. This is completely fulfilled. If you heard the testimony meetings of the Saints after their trek west when they arrived in the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and expressed their gratitude to the Lord for having brought them here, you would know it’s been completely fulfilled. If you would have attended their dances and seen how both the young and old would dance. Practically every ward or branch or congregation has adjoining the chapel a cultural hall. The young and old rejoice together. Surly the Lord has turned their mourning into joy and made them rejoice from their sorrow.

-“And I will satiate the soul and the place with fatness and my people will be satisfied with my goodness”. “Members of the Priesthood in the Church aren’t paid for their services. Thousands have left their families to do missionary work in the nations of the earth paying their own expenses and without funds from the Church, yet they are the best paid of anyone because of the joy and satisfaction that the Lord plants in their hearts which couldn’t have POSSIBLY been purchased with money. Thus he has satiated the soul of the priest with fatness and his people are satisfied at his goodness. Where else in all the world in all the annals of history can you find a fulfillment of this prophecy from Jeremiah? This is literal fulfillment, yea, this gathering of the LDS to the mountains in these latter-days. “

-The Lord said via Isa. 11:10-12 about setting his hand to recover his people for the second time: This is plainly the gathering of the seed of Joseph that has been scattered among Gentile nations and among the seed of Judah. This is the LDS. This is an Ensign to the people.

-“The mountain of the Lord’s house will be established in the top of the mountains exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it many people shall say come ye and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord to the house of the God of Jacob and he will teach us in his ways and we will walk in his paths for out of Zion shall go forth the law and from Jerusalem the word of the Lord Isa. 2:2-3. The Lords house established in the top of the mountains: only those associated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the last dispensation will understand how literally this has been fulfilled. In order that the Saints may enjoy the sealing privileges in the house of the God of Jacob they have gathered from the nations of the earth for the missionaries have carried the message of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ to them and now we are seeing the holy temples erected in many of these lands. The law of the Lord is going forth from Zion as will ultimately the word of the Lord from JERUSALEM. The establishment of the house of the Lord in the top of the mountains and the gathering of all nations unto it will proceed the judgements of the Lord which shall be followed by a day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation neither shall they learn war anymore Isa. 2:4. We are all hopeful that we are approaching the day when the Lord foretold the anticipated. This part is not yet fulfilled.”

-“How better can they describe the horse’s wheels as flint than a train or how better describe an airplane than to say it shall not slumber. It can go all night. The Lord can hiss unto people unto the end of the earth to come with speed swiftly; they also understood this gathering would be in the mountains and that the Lord would cause the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose. In this respect it is remarkable to see what role water was to play in redeeming the desert and wilderness as the gathering place of latter-day Israel. As the prophets described it: The wilderness shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as a rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellencency of Carmel and Sharon and they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf be unstopped and the lame man leap and the tongue of the dumb speak and then the wilderness shall water cover it and the thirsty land become springs of water.”

-The ransomed of the Lord have returned and come to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads. And the desert has blossomed and so forth.

-Introduction of irrigation could be one of the “new things” the Lord inspired his servants to teach unto his people when they entered the valleys of the mountains which made possible the fulfillment of his promises to cause the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose. To make a way in the wilderness and in the desert. (*also I say these roads I drive across the country are a way make to get through the wilderness.)

-The people in the west from Utah have become so prosperous that they have been able to send their posterity all around the world to preach the gospel. This is God’s blessing.

-“I will open rivers of high places”: this could be referring to reservoirs which are built so we could use water as needed. This fulfillments of prophecy have so changed the wilderness that it’s been possible to plant types of trees and flowers that otherwise would not grow. “That they may see and consider and know and understand together that the hand of the Lord hath done this and the holy one of Israel hath created it”. All this therefore may be regarded as the work of the holy one of Israel as a part of the gathering in the latter-days.

-Jim Bridger said he would give 1000 dollars to see an ear of corn grow in the west. They all thought that land wasn’t worth “a pinch of snuff.” It was barren desert before the Saints came. It was no good. No agricultural use at all.

-Joseph Smith prophecies that the Saints would be chased all the way out to the Rocky Mountains and that many would die on the way, and some would apostasies, and some would get there to see the Saints become a mighty people.

-Trust the prophets’ interpretations of the scripture like a light in a dark place. Someday there will be light all around but right now all we have is the prophets for lights.

-The coming of Moses to the prophet Joseph Smith is a great fulfillment of prophecy. It is also very important to tell the world about since it’s someone with a great message that committing of the gathering of Israel is big news.

-Abraham was told in scripture that through his seed, which is his Priesthood, all the world would be blessed.

-D&C 27:5-7 speaks of Christ coming to drink the fruit of the vine with us with Moroni and John the Baptist and others. That event will happen.

-This church is a missionary church. It is how we ‘call on him that has not believed’ they reach all the world. ‘How can they preach except they shall be sent’? How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things Rom. 10:14-15. And how is the whole world going to hear about this important message if we don’t do missionary work? How is scattered Israel going to be gathered unless we share?

-Paul said how shall they preach except they be sent. He knew that you can’t self-appoint yourself to preach the gospel.

-Rev. 14 this prophecies that the gospel would be carried to all the inhabitants of the earth it is a great work we have to do.

-We are privileged to live in the day of the preparation of the Kingdom for the advent of the King.

-Spirit bodies look like our bodies. Physical bodies are only housing for spirit bodies to live in. (Spirits and bodies are eternal, thanks to the Messiah Jesus Christ.)

-All are literally posterity of Heavenly Father and have capacity to become like him.

-Jesus said “our Father which art in heaven” emphasizing that not only he is a son of God, but everyone is.

-Prov. 8 speaks of rejoicing before the world was. Hence there is pre-mortality.

-Prov. 8:22-31 this is pre-mortality scripture. Speaks of at death returning to the spirit world.

-Eccl. 12 speaks of how when we die our spirit goes back to God. How could it go back if it was never there in the first place? This proves pre-mortality.

-The LDS stand alone in their capacity to explain the answer to the question “from whence is man?”

-Job speaks of spirits shouting for joy in pre-mortality they did this knowing they would get to come to mortality and the wonderful opportunity it would be to grow and the wonderful capacities we would have.

-the first estate has been kept by us here on earth, the second estate if we keep, will bring us glory forever; purpose for being on this earth is testing.

-many devils, legion, inhabited the man spoken of in the bible, they wanted bodies so badly that they were even willing to go into swine when Jesus was casting them out of a human body.

-Melchizedek Priesthood is needed for exaltation as we see in the Doctrine and Covenants for it says who receive that Priesthood, the higher priesthood, they are Christs’ and Christ is Gods’. This is the Church of the firstborn, those who get the Celestial Kingdom. It is not necessarily the case that all holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood are members of the Church of the firstborn, but that is one of the necessary parts of it.

-in some cases, one can be saved as an angel in heaven and yet not be exalted. See D&C 131

-the latter-day student sees his education as part of the preparation for his exaltation. the LDS’ education is second to none in the nation or the world. Utah compared to other states stands first in the percentage of the total population aged 3-34 enrolled in school. Utah stands first in the percentage of the total population enrolled in school at every age level except ages 16-17 where Minnesota ranks first. Utah stands first in the average years of school completed for all of its citizens age 25 and older. Utah stands highest in the net migration to it’s institutions of higher education. It is among the highest of medical schools. Utah is found to have no major deficiencies unlike other states. Why has Utah done so well? It’s not the richest or oldest or best located for educational development, this is because the majority of the LDS are there.

-Brigham Young said education is the power to appreciate life.

-Cancer and mortality rate in Utah is lowest in the entire country and lowest in the use of alcohol and cigarettes, about half as much as everywhere else in the US.

-Jesus was attacked by Satan from the beginning as was Joseph Smith. Satan attacked Joseph Smith at age 14 when he prayed. Satan was not attacking other boys at age 14 when they prayed. There were no divine manifestations to Joseph Smith yet up to this point, so Satan had to know from a pre mortal knowledge, which he keeps with him, that Joseph had a work to do for God.

-the reason Joseph Smith will be evil spoken of in all nations is because of Satan’s determination to destroy the work of the Lord.

-Franklin D Richards said that Jesus Christ is called the very eternal father of heaven and earth because he is the CREATOR of heaven and earth.

-Spiritual bodies are begotten bodies from Heavenly Father. Spirits can think feel rejoice make decisions etc., the body is just the house for the spirit.

-In Utah, there are more college graduates by its ratio than any other state in the nation.

-LDS youth take their school very seriously as a part of their eternal progression which will lead to joy; they also teach free seminary classes in Utah and where they can.

-Those persecuting Jesus was mainly from the religious leaders of that time. Same with Joseph Smith.

-You can’t just say the Church is persecuted because of polygamy; Joseph Smith was persecuted from age 14 when he first started telling of the revelation he had seen from God. Persecution happened to the church way before polygamy.

-there are 3000 books written on George Washington in possession of the US library, but there are 20,000 written on Joseph Smith in the Church library. This is proof that the wisdom of the wise shall perish.

-1949 vol 2 Improvement Era: Leo Tolstoy speaks of how if Mormonism goes unchanged for 3 more generations it will be the greatest power in the world. The religious social and economic teachings of the Church will help the people get along, and it helped start America, and would not die out like other movements.

Special Witnesses of Christ: Prophets Know Him

 

 

Latter-day prophets witnessing firsthand knowledge of God

 

 

-“I know, with a testimony more powerful than sight, that as the Lord declared, ‘The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth [from the Prophet Joseph Smith through his successors down to the present], and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends f the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.’” (President Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, Oct. 1972, p.20)

-“After all the years that I have lived and taught and served, after the millions of miles I have traveled around the world, with all that I have experienced, there is one great truth that I would share. That is my witness of the Savior Jesus Christ.

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded the following after a sacred experience:

“And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives!

“For we saw him” (D&C 76:22–23).

Their words are my words.

I believe and I am sure that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He lives. He is the Only Begotten of the Father, and “by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:24).

I bear my witness that the Savior lives. I know the Lord. I am His witness. I know of His great sacrifice and eternal love for all of Heavenly Father’s children. I bear my special witness in all humility but with absolute certainty, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.” (President Boyd K. Packer, Conference Report, Apr. 2014. see https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-witness?lang=eng)

-“I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world … that the Book of Mormon is true…

As one of a thousand elements of my own testimony of the divinity of the Book of Mormon, I submit this as yet one more evidence of its truthfulness. In this their greatest—and last—hour of need, I ask you: would these men blaspheme before God by continuing to fix their lives, their honor, and their own search for eternal salvation on a book (and by implication a church and a ministry) they had fictitiously created out of whole cloth?

Never mind that their wives are about to be widows and their children fatherless. Never mind that their little band of followers will yet be “houseless, friendless and homeless” and that their children will leave footprints of blood across frozen rivers and an untamed prairie floor. 9 Never mind that legions will die and other legions live declaring in the four quarters of this earth that they know the Book of Mormon and the Church which espouses it to be true. Disregard all of that, and tell me whether in this hour of death these two men would enter the presence of their Eternal Judge quoting from and finding solace in a book which, if not the very word of God, would brand them as imposters and charlatans until the end of time? They would not do that! They were willing to die rather than deny the divine origin and the eternal truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.

For 179 years this book has been examined and attacked, denied and deconstructed, targeted and torn apart like perhaps no other book in modern religious history—perhaps like no other book in any religious history. And still it stands…

I testify that one cannot come to full faith in this latter-day work—and thereby find the fullest measure of peace and comfort in these, our times—until he or she embraces the divinity of the Book of Mormon and the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom it testifies.” (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul”, Conference Report Oct. 2009, see https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/10/safety-for-the-soul?lang=eng)

-“I know by personal revelation from the Holy Spirit to my soul that Jesus is the Lord; that he brought life and immortality to light through the gospel; and that he has restored in this day the fullness of his everlasting truth, so that we with the ancients can become inheritors of his presence in eternity.” (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, “The Testimony of Jesus”, Conference Report, Apr. 1972, see https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1972/04/the-testimony-of-jesus?lang=eng#watch=video)

-My stake President Brad Bylund at a conference said he was at a training with President Dallin Oaks where Oaks said I know Christ, I know his face, I have heard his voice.

 

 

 

Deficiency of the Bible as Solo Compass – Response to a Friend

 

 

Including the Executive Officer Metaphor

 

 

Here is treated a few items of disputation among Christians, and the resolution thereto as authoritatively and decisively declared by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the only true and living church on the face of the earth:

On account of deleting the word of God, removing theosis (that we can become Gods) from Christianity, “most Christians say the bible says you can’t become like God.” Or better yet, “The bible obviously says you can’t become like God” (since there is no private interpretation and anyone in their right mind should agree with them!)

Well, that actually is a private interpretation. Indeed the author of the bible meant it to say one thing and one thing alone, but that one thing seems to not be very popular.

I declare that God has appeared in 1820 to Joseph Smith to call him as an authorized prophet and again reestablish the true non-private interpretation of the bible.

…Like CS Lewis put it; it wasn’t just that Jesus made the world lighter, it’s that all things were seen new via the light he shined on me.

… thus you see the need for a church, so that the rules are defined, and people can’t have “their own personal Jesus”, but that they answer to “THE Jesus” the real one, and there is only 1 Jesus (1 Lord 1 faith 1 baptism it says). Without an organization that represents Jesus, people can get the wrong idea about WHO Jesus is and WHAT he expects of them (and yes, I think that the bible isn’t enough, so many people read the bible and profess to adhere to it 100%, yet they all have many different interpretations about how we can/should live.).

If I’m not mistaken your religion emphasizes a confessing of Jesus as being the bar for getting into heaven. While this idea is in the scripture, the LDS believe that confessing Jesus also means conforming to his laws. And lest people be confused about his laws, Jesus has a church on earth, his organization for teaching what those laws are (again the bible is insufficient in this regard, look at the many churches disagreeing).
Let me give an example:

a man writes a book.

100 people come and start companies saying, “hey come live by the book!” but the companies all have their own way of doing it.

Then the author of the book shows up and says “what’s going on here? You guys are perverting what was supposed to be clear and uniting. From here on out, I will declare in person what I meant by my book. The book is still critical, but in case of dispute, I’m here, come ask me. When I have to be away on business, you can come talk to this person, whom I myself have declared as my representative. I will communicate with him, I trust him to do this, and will strike him down if he ever goes astray in passing on exactly what I tell him.”

thus the truth is kept alive and honored the way the author meant it to be.

I give you this slightly more elaborate response to teach you, not to say that salvation comes from all these things. LDS believe Jesus Christ is the source of all blessings we receive. LDS believe that we are saved only through Christ. But when you get into “who” is Christ and “what” does he expect of us, that is where the church comes in handy.

 

 

 

Increased Accountability and Expectation of the Latter-day Saints – Response to a Friend

 

 

Compared to other Christians etc.
Why this is so, including discussion on theosis and extra-biblical scripture:

 

Firstly, we the Latter-day Saints believe we have more truth. Since truth is power, the old adage applies “with great power comes great responsibility”

For instance, you are a Christian. Since you know about the motivating love of God, and the need to avoid hell, and the need to follow the teachings of Jesus, I can expect you to do more in that regard than I could expect from a heathen who never learned about why those things are important.

For example, a Christian teaching is “thou shalt not commit adultery”; so if a heathen commits adultery, he could be “expressing himself”, but if a Christian does it, he is damned to hell (however, there is conscience (the latter-day saints have a name for conscience, ‘the light of Christ’) which everyone has, which warns against evil, so depending on how steeped a society is in sin, even the non-religious person is accountable before God for his acts, as his conscience warned him against the evil, and urged him toward the good, and he quenched that spirit/conscience.)

one of the fundamentals of LDS and I think overall Christianity is that if you have more knowledge about true laws, you are held more accountable for obeying them.

Like how we expect a child to not walk in the road because they know it’s bad, but if an infant crawls into the road we treat it differently, it didn’t know any better.

Every religion which claims to be “the true” religion, could in some form claim that they are expected to do more since they have more truth.

For example, the pharisees placed emphasis on outward observance of the law. Jesus came and told them a higher truth, to not only love one another, but to love one another as he loved them.

Another metaphor is that when a person is contracted to do a high paying job, they are often required to do more than the people that are being paid less. In LDS temples, we make contracts with God to not only be saved in heaven to live with God and Christ forever, but contracts which set us up to become like God and Christ forever. (Some say “ah Lucifer wanted to be like God, so he got thrust out of heaven and is a devil”; no, he was thrust out for rebellion. To become a God you have to do it in Gods way. Also, Lucifer wanted to not have anyone to answer to, but that is not the way of the universe. Everyone has someone to answer to. Christ answers to Father, Father answers to his father, etc. Lucifer wanted to subvert the entire eternal system and ‘be a law unto himself’. This could not be. Further, Lucifer wanted to be a God without putting in the work to get there, he wanted to overthrow Father instead of following the ways of Father. For more on this topic, see Elder Christofferson’s address in 2017, a BYU Devotional titled “A Message at Christmas”. I have notes on it and a link to it under the title of “The Need for a Savior: God’s Plan of Justice vs Lucifer’s Tyranny”.

This doctrine of theosis was in the Christian church for several centuries after Christ among the Christian Fathers, until opinions of men rooted it out, and it’s not in most Christian churches to this day;

or if this appeals to you more I’ll put it this way, deleting the word churches (that seems to be popular), “most Christians say the bible says you can’t become like God.” Or better yet, “The bible obviously says you can’t become like God” (since there is no private interpretation and anyone in their right mind should agree with them!)

Well, that actually is a private interpretation. Indeed the author of the bible meant it to say one thing and one thing alone, but that one thing seems to not be very popular.

I declare that God has appeared in 1820 to Joseph Smith to call him as an authorized prophet and again reestablish the true non-private interpretation of the bible.

…Like CS Lewis put it; it wasn’t just that Jesus made the world lighter, it’s that all things were seen new via the light he shined on me.

… thus you see the need for a church, so that the rules are defined, and people can’t have “their own personal Jesus”, but that they answer to “THE Jesus” the real one, and there is only 1 Jesus (1 Lord 1 faith 1 baptism it says). Without an organization that represents Jesus, people can get the wrong idea about WHO Jesus is and WHAT he expects of them (and yes, I think that the bible isn’t enough, so many people read the bible and profess to adhere to it 100%, yet they all have many different interpretations about how we can/should live.).

If I’m not mistaken your religion emphasizes a confessing of Jesus as being the bar for getting into heaven. While this idea is in the scripture, the LDS believe that confessing Jesus also means conforming to his laws. And lest people be confused about his laws, Jesus has a church on earth, his organization for teaching what those laws are (again the bible is insufficient in this regard, look at the many churches disagreeing).
Let me give an example:

a man writes a book.

100 people come and start companies saying, “hey come live by the book!” but the companies all have their own way of doing it.

Then the author of the book shows up and says “what’s going on here? You guys are perverting what was supposed to be clear and uniting. From here on out, I will declare in person what I meant by my book. The book is still critical, but in case of dispute, I’m here, come ask me. When I have to be away on business, you can come talk to this person, whom I myself have declared as my representative. I will communicate with him, I trust him to do this, and will strike him down if he ever goes astray in passing on exactly what I tell him.”

thus the truth is kept alive and honored the way the author meant it to be.

I give you this slightly more elaborate response to teach you, not to say that salvation comes from all these things. LDS believe Jesus Christ is the source of all blessings we receive. LDS believe that we are saved only through Christ. But when you get into “who” is Christ and “what” does he expect of us, that is where the church comes in handy.

 

Instruments of Revelation Testifying of Christ: Rod of Aaron & Cowdry, Seer Stone of Joseph Smith, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos of the Seer Stones in the new volume of the Joseph Smith papers. The LDS Church, in cooperation with the Church of Christ announces the release of the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon, during a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, at the LDS Church’s History library in Salt Lake City.

 

Photos of the Seer Stones in the new volume of the Joseph Smith papers. The LDS Church, in cooperation with the Church of Christ announces the release of the printers manuscript of the the Book of Mormon, during a press conference Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, at the LDS Church’s History library in Salt Lake City.

Thesis: How God has used physical objects as instruments of revelation to testify of Christ. Modern and ancient examples, including a rod Oliver Cowdry used.

-More evidence that God uses physical objects to give revelations at times is evident in the release of the LDS Church of images of the Seer Stone which Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon. See https://www.lds.org/church/news/book-of-mormon-printers-manuscript-photos-of-seer-stone-featured-in-new-book?lang=eng.

-Truman G Madsen suggested that the reason the Book of Mormon characters had to carry the gold plates around in the desert with them in their travels is because without it we forget. He referenced President George Albert Smith in saying that without memorials, we forget things. This could also by why Joseph Smith recovered the gold plates to translate rather than merely getting it by revelation from God the whole time.
-D&C 8:6-9 “Now this is not all thy gift” to Oliver Cowdry, referring to the rod he used to get revelation.
-Joseph Smith Papers: original D&C 8 (then known as the Book of Commandments, 1833 edition): speaks of the “gift of Aaron” which Oliver Cowdry has as being a “rod of nature” and “sprout”. See http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/revelation-april-1829-b-dc-8?p=2
-The Old Testament account of Moses and his brother Aaron recounted several instances of using rods to manifest God’s will (see Ex. 7:9-12; Num. 17:8).
-see http://en.fairmormon.org/Doctrine_and_Covenants/Oliver_Cowdery_and_the_%22rod_of_nature%22
-Oliver Cowdry, Heber C Kimball and Brigham Young all had a rod.
-Brigham Young had a cane that he used to be fashionable. He stopped in the sagebrush and takes his rod or cane, and makes an impress into the soil, and says here we will the build the temple of our God. The SLC temple. I saw a vision of it, 10 feet away of what it will look like. Wilford put a stake right in the imprint. That very day the saints surveyed temple square.
-Heber C Kimball had a rod for revelation: Bro Kimball showed me a rod that the Lord through the prophet Joseph had given to him. He said that when he wanted to find out anything that was his right to know, all he had to do was to kneel down with the rod in his hand, and that sometimes the Lord would answer his questions before he had to time to ask him.

5 Friday 1844 inquired by the rod of the Lord if my family was well (Heber C. Kimball Journal [1844-1845]
Thursday prayer meeting in the afternoon with the Twelve, went home and used the Rod; I got a witness Elder W Richards would live, that we would overcome our enemies (H.C. Kimball Journal 5 September 1844)
I went up to the capital in DC. I see men and their wives walking out two by two. O that I had my dear Vilate with me. Bless her heart and soul and body… I called on the name of the Lord he heard me for my heart was made comfortable. I inquired by the rod it was said my wife would come to me in the East, and that Congress would not do anything for us. I do not care whether they do or not. It is none of theirs to give. My Father in heaven owns it all and he will give it to so let them go their own place, good night. I must go to bed. (Heber C Kimball “Journal“ Church Historical Department; Ms/f/50,51; spelling updated)
-Rod had to be less than 44 inches because it’s inside the ark of the covenant.
-Inside the ark of the covenants were the rod of Aaron, the jar of manna, and the tablets of stone with the ten commandments written on them. (Heb. 9:4; Ex. 16:32-34)
-The 12 rods one from each tribe of Israel was kept in the holy of holies, and the one which the Lord had chosen would bloom (Num:17:8). One of them budded, bloomed, and produced almonds simultaneously (a miracle to have all these seasons manifested at the same time) (Num. 17:8)
-“It should be recognized that such tools as the Urim and Thummim, the Liahona, seer stones, and other articles have been used appropriately in biblical, Book of Mormon, and modern times by those who have the gift and authority to obtain revelation from God in connection with their use. At the same time, scriptural accounts and personal experience show that unauthorized though perhaps well-meaning persons have made inappropriate use of tangible objects while seeking or claiming to receive spiritual guidance. Those who define folk magic to include any use of tangible objects to aid in obtaining spiritual guidance confound the real with the counterfeit. They mislead themselves and their readers.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Recent Events Involving Church History and Forged Documents,” Ensign (October 1987), 63.)
-“Some people have balked at this claim of physical instruments used in the divine translation process, but such aids to facilitate the communication of God’s power and inspiration are consistent with accounts in scripture. In addition to the Urim and Thummim, the Bible mentions other physical instruments used to access God’s power: the rod of Aaron, a brass serpent, holy anointing oils, the Ark of the Covenant, and even dirt from the ground mixed with saliva to heal the eyes of a blind man.” (“Book of Mormon Translation,” Gospel Topics on LDS.org (2013).)
-Another example of a physical instrument for revelation and power is the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.
-“Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” in Psalms 23. Shepherds often had a rod and a staff. The rod was to fend off attacking wolves, or to count sheep. It was shorter than the staff. Kings in Israel were also seen as shepherds. The idea of the rod to count the sheep is like how God numbers us all like a shepherd.
-Why does the current edition not speak of the Rod? Perhaps it’s too sacred or the world not ready to receive that in general. God often keeps things hidden which the world is not ready for: line upon line, precept upon precept. And he speaks of the mysteries of God only being available to the faithful in Christ.
-Urim and Thumim in Hebrew mean “lights and perfections”
-2 Ne. 11:4 and Moses 6:63 say that all things typify of Christ
-People in the scriptures are used as types of Christ (Jeffrey R Holland: Christ and the New Covenant, 137)
-the rod is a branch like from the tree of life (1 Ne. 8, 11, 15). Christ is a branch (Jer. 23:5; 33:15)
-powers of the rod (Ex. 4:2-4; 7:9-20)
-the Menorah is designed to appear as an almond tree with almond’s budding from out of it (Exo. 25:31-39)
-Hebrew “shakes” meaning almond or almond tree also means “wake up early”. Almond tree gets this name since it rises early from winter sleep. In Israel the almond tree buds and blossoms every season. This is like the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The almond tree is first to blossom in the spring and Christ was the first to rise in the resurrection so it’s a type of Christ.
-an almond tree rod for revelation is a symbol used then, to teach about how revelation comes from Jesus Christ.

 

 

Rebuttal to a Closed Cannon Argument

 

 

Response to Article about closed cannon of scripture “The Canon of Scripture (Wayne Grudem)” from https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/canon-scripture-wayne-grudem as well as a few other questions about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and their doctrine.

See also other compilations of mine on the subject: Continuing Revelation from God at https://richardsonstudies.wordpress.com/category/continuing-revelation-from-god/ ; and see The Only True Church at https://richardsonstudies.wordpress.com/category/the-only-true-church/

-saying the sticks in Ezek. 37 is a mere analogy is your opinion, it’s doesn’t say that such is merely an analogy. Nothing says it couldn’t be books, the text even seems to say that. If you don’t agree, so be it. I think no less of you. As for minimizing God and what he does, I know he is blessing Israel and gathering them, and I praise him daily for that. Let’s not accuse each other of doubting God’s majesty and blessings just because we both interpret a passage differently.

-you say the only possible explanation for 3 God’s being one is the trinity. It is POSSIBLE that the word one is to be translated in the way the passage about a man leaving his mother and father and they being one flesh. Certainly the husband and wife aren’t to morph into one body! That’s just unnatural. In fact, there are 2 ways to write the word “one” in Greek and Hebrew, one of them means one thing, the other way means being united in purpose and desire. The latter way is what is used in the passage about the man leaving father and mother to be one with his wife. The latter is also the one used when speaking of father son and HG.

Another example on this point: Jesus wanted his Apostles to become one with him as he and his father are one. Did he want them to morph together into one entity? Osbert!

Another example: What did Jesus mean when he said not mine, but thy will be done?

What did Jesus mean when he said I go to my God and to your God?

These are only a few of a plethora of examples showing that indeed, it’s quite possible for them to be separate people.

-grace alone isn’t expressed by the writer of the book of James, just to use one example (many protestant biblical scholars say book of James doesn’t belong in the bible for this reason). Also, Paul speaks of getting your calling and election made sure, pressing toward that mark, and lists requirements of that which include righteous behaviors. He said not even he had reached it yet at the time of writing that. 2 pet. 1:10 says give diligence to make your calling and election sure. cf. 2 Pet. 1:4-9 for a list of things one must do. Also see Philip 3:8-10, 12-14 ‘press toward the mark’. also see Philip 2:12.

Hence what of the passages saying that not my works but by faith we are saved? works to Paul mean the law of Moses, i.e. circumcision. This won’t save you, the new law of Christ is here. Faith to Paul must include good works, else why would he say he was pressing toward the prize, etc.? Also Jesus says in the parable of the sheep on the right and goats on the left, that the reason for that separation was those on the right did charitable deeds. Also he says, ‘well done’, this means they had to do something. Like the good Samaritan parable. Or the parable of the talents. or when the rich prince said what for salvation he wouldn’t sell all and follow Christ, although he recognized Jesus as Lord and kept the ten commandments, he didn’t pass his Abraham-like trial of giving his all, and hence we have no record of that man getting the blessings of Abraham. In summary, it is by Christ alone that we can be saved, but it’s not to say that the traditional scenario of “get saved then shoot people and get to go to heaven” is reasonable. In other words, I think this is a misunderstanding; you and I both believe that Christ saves us, and we both believe that we can’t be involved in gross sins and still make it to heaven.

-as for offending you in guessing responses, I’m merely using the arguments that most protestants give me. I’ve had this conversation many times. I don’t mean to offend you and will let you answer for yourself in the future.

-I will look at Wayne Grudem and try to get my hands on “From God to Us” by Norman Geisler. Also “New Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell. I’m open to reading about both sides of the story, which I have been doing for quite some time now.

-indeed, the bible is quite accurate. But to say it’s impossible for it to have been meddled with is problematic, since it can’t be proven that it was not meddled with. The fact stands that although we have manuscripts, no one claims to have the exact ones written by the Apostles themselves. Many passages beg a more correct translation, like the 2 ways Judas Iscariot died, or the passage of Satan forcing Jesus onto a mountaintop, or the passage of God repenting that he created people when he saw the evil of Noah’s day (God never repents he is perfect). Or when Jesus says “I never knew you” in one of the parables speaking of an evil person. I believe Jesus knows everyone, evil or no. The JST renders this “You never knew me.” There are other examples.

-as for personal interpretation, if it’s possible to know the correct meaning of the bible by merely studying the entire text of the bible. why isn’t the entire Christian world, whom claim the entire bible text as their source of doctrine, flocking to one set of beliefs rather than making splinter groups based on their own interpretations of what they sincerely believe the bible says?

-as for the other sheep I have which are not of this fold, he doesn’t ever say who those other sheep are, so we can’t claim one way or the other. But you can speculate that it’s the Gentiles, and I can speculate that it’s Americans. I believe Jesus Christ has come out and said that indeed, it’s the American’s. I have this belief based on the book of Mormon which I hold as sacred like the bible.

-you say 66 of them are reliable, but others disagree with you. Who is correct? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has an official position on the matter because a modern prophet received a revelation from Jesus Christ on the matter, but as for all else, how do they know? How does your church/fellow believers and all of the other churches/groups of belief make these kind of decisions? By vote?

-why did Nephi kill Laban? As for Laban being sufficiently warned, the BFM says that there were many prophets like Jeremiah and Lehi and others whom the people were rejecting. They even tried to kill Lehi it says. Exo. 21:12-14 entirely excuses the behavior of Nephi killing Laban; a defense attorney or Priest in the days in which they took place under the law of Moses would have CLEARLY justified Nephi in what he did. Read the text carefully, you will see Laban had 3-4 offenses against Nephi, the law of Moses condemned him to death and this was in Jerusalem at 600BC, they lived the law of Moses!

One of God’s prophets, Lehi, was commanded to get those plates. Laban stood in the way of the will of God, and was eliminated. Is this so strange?

-as for Creatio ex nihilo, I can quote you several bible scholars (non-Mormon scholars) saying it’s not a biblical doctrine. One issue of this doctrine is that since God created everything, he must have created evil, and hence he is responsible for our suffering. On the other hand, if evil is simply something that has always been around, God is not responsible for it- it’s merely something we have to fight through to reach the status that God has already reached. Naturally we need help of Christ to do this.

-Same with the trinity, the scholars say this doctrine evolved from Greek influence rather than Apostolic text. I have those quotes too (from non-Mormon scholars). Nowhere in the bible does it come out and say, ‘god created everything out of nothing’. Also the following passages suggest the contrary: Heb 12:9, prov. 8:22-31, acts 17:26, Heb 11:3 (Jesus the word is pre-mortal and created earth cf. Heb 1), john 1:1, 3, 14; 1 Pet 1:20, Isa 14:12, rev 12:7-9, rev 12:4, Heb. 1:6, job 38:4, 7; the word was made flesh must mean that the word (Jesus Christ) existed before his mortal birth.

-do you believe with many protestants that the majority of the human race are going to hell forever because of not hearing about Jesus Christ during their lives?

-do you believe with many protestants death bed repentance?

-where do you say spirits go between death and the resurrection?

-as for the link you sent me by Wayne Grudem on Cannon of Scripture: indeed this is not something to truffle with. Indeed, man should not add to the scriptures, only as he is writing the word of God. God indeed authorizes adding to the word of God by his prophets. As for scripture attesting to something being scripture, the BFM and D&C say they are true. Indeed, the first 5 books of the bible don’t always speak of more writings to come. Neither did Moses say a guy named Paul etc. would come along to add to the scriptures, but they did, and God and God sanctioned it. This is an eternal principal. Who are we to tell God to not allow more to be written? Indeed the phrase quoted “until there should come a prophet to tell what to do with them”. I don’t rely on scholars to tell me what is and is not scripture, not even Josephus, I rely on prophets commissioned of God. I don’t rely on the bible alone for doctrine, but from living prophets. Amos 3:7 God always uses prophets. What Jerome and Josephus and Eusebius say are nice, but not authorized by God himself. That is the point of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: God has authorized people in this day by the laying on of hands from Peter James John and John the Baptist to have authority to be modern day Apostles who officiate officially for the Church and regulate its affairs in order to maintain unity there in see Heb. 5:4 and Thes. about unity in the faith and the perfecting of the Saints. Scholars are helpful but not authoritative. It’s quite possible for scholars to be incorrect, Jesus calls and ordains people to lead his Church, he doesn’t leave the administrations and regulations thereof to scholars or not even well-meaning individuals. One may argue that it’s hard to believe that Joseph Smith said what he says he saw (God Jesus angels and being ordained by them etc), but it’s also hard to believe that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins. Nevertheless, by the power of the Holy Ghost, I can know all truth: the truth that Jesus Christ atoned for my sins, as well as the truth that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and was called of God to re-establish the only true Church of Jesus Christ on the earth in these latter-days, indeed, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Indeed, the times of refreshing sent from the presence of the Lord. Indeed, the “falling away first” preceding the Second Coming of Christ (as enumerated in the New Testament that it must come) has occurred, and not the glorious restoration of the fullness of the gospel has come. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints whom have learned this glorious truth go all around the world, preaching to all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, bringing them into the fold of Christ. We love everyone, and call ever person who believes in Christ a brother/sister. We invite everyone to bring what truths they have and come receive more, building on the foundation of Christ. The Protestant Reformation was nice, but it never claimed to have the true church restored, it only claimed that the true church had fallen away, and they were trying to find the truth, teaching each other from the bible, looking for truth. Many Protestant reformers never intended to start their own church, but to merely be awaiting the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ, the organization sanctioned of God with his authority. Many Protestants today believe that whoever wants to has the Priesthood and authority to officiate in the Church of Christ, but that would lead to chaos, all contending for their own ways. It wasn’t my idea to start a church and call it the only true church- no, but the Holy Ghost revealed to me that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and I cannot deny it any more than I would deny that Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten Son of God, come to redeem the world from sin, the key figure in all history of humankind, the intergalactic Redeemer prepared from the foundation of the earth. Indeed, in the latter days, the Lord is pouring his spirit out upon handmaidens etc., lowly people like myself, blessing them with revelation pertaining to eternal truth. I am not called to receive revelation for the Church policy, but I am entitled to receive revelation or myself and things pertaining to my eternal salvation as well as that of my family which I preside over.

This document says that the apocrypha are what caused the Catholic Church to say that salvation requires something from us as well as Christ, but I have shown earlier in this letter that the New Testament itself is very supportive of this.

Your document says, “Protestants have held that the church cannot make something to be Scripture, but can only recognize what God has already caused to be written as his own words”. This is all well except for the fact that God can speak to each generation, and such can be recorded by a prophet. Isn’t that the way he has operated for the past thousands of years? There was an apostasy, when the world at large rejected the prophets, and there were no prophets for about 1700 years, but then in 1820 beginning with Joseph Smith, the restoration of the Church has come, and prophets are being accepted in our day. The preaching to this generation by those prophets is being recorded in sacred text, just as sacred as any text ever was.

The analogy of a policeman only accepting real currency was used. Indeed, but who are the policemen in the world today? The prophets called of God by the laying on of hands in a direct line of authority in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Who creates the legal tender? The same. In ancient days, so it was with them. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not a reformation of the Catholic Church, it is a restoration of the ancient Church as seen to be operating in the bible, New and Old Testament.

The article says, “Christians today should have no worry that anything needed has been left out or that anything that is not God’s words has been included.”; But who gave the author of this article authority to declare that? It doesn’t say that in the bible, if that’s what he is thinking.

We have the new testament because people were going astray, and they needed more prophets to guide them. Who would argue that the world today is not going astray? If any time ever needed prophets among them, it would be our day. The earth today is as wicked as the days of Noah, and is about to be baptized by fire, like it was baptized by water in the days of Noah. Wouldn’t God, in his great mercy, send living witnesses of Christ to our day? People who have seen him and can witness that he lives! People who can help the people of the Lord prepare for the return of Jesus Christ in the glory of the clouds at his mighty Second Coming- yes, we should have a modern-day leader who can speak with God face to face as was the case with Moses Peter etc. The “falling away” has occurred, now Israel is being restored, is being gathered to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We love people who don’t join with us, but are nevertheless firm in our convictions, the Holy Ghost having revealed to us the truthfulness of this doctrine.

Your article says, “apostles who are given the ability from the Holy Spirit to recall accurately the words and deeds of Jesus and to interpret them rightly for subsequent generations.” I ask, if they gave the right interpretation for all subsequent generations, why is there dispute today between Christian churches as to which doctrine is correct? Surely, we need more instruction. There are many ways to interpret the bible. Let God tell us how to do it, not man! God will continue working in the same way he always has, by authorized representatives, called and ordained by him, by the laying on of hands by his servants. Joseph Smith was ordained to the Apostleship in the Priesthood by resurrected beings, Peter James and John. Joseph Smith has spoken with Jesus Christ personally face to face on many occasions. The authority and line of communication Joseph Smith held with God have been passed down to the current Prophet Thomas S Monson and the current Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They speak every April and October in General Conferences, as well as other times, if you are interested in hearing their global messages of instruction, reproof, etc. The bible says that is why God gave prophets and apostles, for the perfection of the saints, the unity of the faith, the work of the ministry of the Kingdom of God.

Your article quotes “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” (John 16:13-14). Indeed, the Spirit has led me to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The bible speaks consistently of there being a Church, a group of leaders kept in line by the Prophets and Apostles. The bible says that they are to help with this effort of guiding the Saints etc. We can’t take one scripture and say that’s the whole answer. In other words, just because it says the Spirit will guide, that does not discount the other passages which say God will send prophets Amos 3:7, and other New Testament passages about prophets, and the “restoration of all things”. A restoration of ALL things would include that the people of God would be together as a group and be led by prophets. There would be no dispute about which doctrines are correct, the voice of the Lord would clarify and reveal doctrines to the Saints in their organized body. There are many passages in the New Testament and Old referring to an organization in the Kingdom of God. It’s not merely Tom thinks the bible means this, George thinks the bible mess that. You see, we need current prophets and apostles, not just records about what they have done in the past. We need someone whose preaching is so powerful that it pierces your soul, someone who has spoken face to face with God. Someone who is called of God by God himself, not just Jerry who thinks he should help out in the community. Sincere efforts by people to help build God’s Kingdom are always appreciated, and God builds His Kingdom with non-members of His Church as well. But for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, you need to be baptized by someone in authority into the Church which embraces the doctrines which God embraces.

Is this mean of me to say? No, it’s religion. It’s conviction to a set of doctrines. Who am I to say any what God has revealed to me is not true? I respect everyone and their beliefs- let they worship God how where or whom they may. I want the same respect from others. If my religion says you are wrong, you can respect that. If your religion says I am wrong, I can respect that. I respect everyone’s believes, but I’m not about to change mine just because it’s different from what you believe. Belief is a sacred thing, and God bless you in yours, and me in mine. God bless you in your religion, and me in mine. I eternally respect you in yours, and me in mine. I would die for you and your religions freedom to believe what you want as soon as I would die for one of my religion and their religious freedom. I want political freedom for all religions to worship as they please, and I want to serve and love you as well as I want to serve and love someone in the same religion as myself. I am as always, your friend. That is part of my religion, and I enjoy it thoroughly.

Your article rightly sights the scripture, the spirit “would guide them into “all the truth.””. Indeed, my religion is that the spirit has guided me into the great and many truths embodied in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I praise God for it!

Based on your article, the philosophy of the Protestants is that the spirit is all they need; if so, why have the bible? Why keep any of the revelations of the New Testament past the page with the quote “would guide them into “all the truth.””? That is not the last page of the bible, so why is there more? It’s because whenever God gives scripture, it’s from the spirit of God. Now please don’t accuse me of guessing how you would respond to my questions, I am merely responding to the obvious implications of the document you asked me to read.

Your article says that New Testament Apostles had same level of authority as Old Testament Apostles. I agree. Representatives of God they are. And my religion says that there are those kind of Apostles in the earth again today, glory be to God!

Your article quotes the scripture “Paul tells the Corinthians, “If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord” (1 Cor. 14.37).” Indeed, I believe this scripture, and I say the same applies to modern representatives of Jesus Christ. My religion is that those representatives are to be found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Your document claims, speaking of the purpose of New Testament era Apostles, as to why they preach, write, etc.: “They do this to record, interpret, and apply to the lives of believers the great truths about the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.” Indeed I agree. Look at the world today, do all the Christian Churches/groups of people who conform to the same doctrines, believe the same thing pertaining to these matters? It doesn’t take long to find out that no, they are quite separate on many of the particulars of these matters. It’s my religion that modern day Apostles, living ones, have the same mission as the ancient Apostles: to testify of Christ, and teach the points of His doctrine in plainness and truth.

Your document says certain things are scripture simply because Paul said so, namely the time that he quotes Luke’s writing and calls that scripture. I similarly believe this, and it’s my religion that whatever modern Prophets and Apostles say is scripture, likewise is scripture. It’s my religion that not only is the bible the word of God, but also The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price, and other words from modern Prophets and Apostles. Your religion is that the bible is the only source of God’s word which is applicable to the entire earth. My religion is that the bible as well as modern Prophets and Apostles words are God’s word applicable to the entire earth. Protestants say nay, my interpretation is wrong. But that’s their religion. It’s based on a different interpretation. Protestants say the bible is for no private interpretation- indeed, I don’t have private interpretations, they are embraced by my entire church. We claim this is how God wants it to be said. God has told us that. It seems that each church has its own interpretation of the bible; if that were not the case, there would only be one Church. It’s further my religion that such should be the case. There should only be one Christian Church. My religion is that that church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

My religion is that religion should not be hard to understand, that Jesus said we need to be as a child to inherit the kingdom of heaven. Are not these explanations simple, and a child capable of understanding them?

-as your article says, I agree that all of the New Testament is scripture. However I disagree that all scripture is found in the Old and New Testament which we currently have. One reason why is that the Book of Mormon refers to Old Testament prophets named Zenos and Zenoch and Ezias (apart from Isaiah). My faith is that not all of the records of the prophets of the Jews are in the old testament. I know the bible has been miraculously preserved when looked at as ancient literature, most books never survive to the level the bible has, but yet like I said, and it’s ok if we disagree about this, my faith is that some of the books are gone. That being said, it’s also my faith that those lost books shall return in a future day, and they will help establish the truth of the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s my faith that some of these records are lost by honest error, others by evil men trying to hide the truth.

-yes, the book of Mormon is not a grace salvation alone book, neither is the bible; we all need Christ and none can make it on their own, but the entire purpose of the book of Mormon is to get people to see that unless they repent, they and their entire nations will be destroyed by God.

-Joseph Smith had a theophany just like Jesus Christ, John the Revelator, Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah, had are theophanies. There are patterns in these which biblical scholars have found. 1. historical prologue 2. question concern problem, a thing they are wrestling with.

  1. mission (book containing a wo). 4. they are rejected when trying to share it, and killed. (they tried to kill John many times (but could not)). This is the same pattern of Joseph Smith! The Book of Mormon is a repent or be destroyed book, it has accounts of two entire nations who would not repent and were destroyed. It’s to invite our day to repent or be destroyed!

-as to the LDS faith being based on Joseph Smith being 100% correct and the possibility of him being deceived, it’s like Paul. We have part of the New Testament by Paul, what if he was deceived? Is it too dangerous to base your life off of the principals Paul taught? We get a witness from the Holy Ghost that Paul was called of God to carry on the Church of God, despite his weaknesses. It’s always been the same- God sends messengers, however imperfect, like Noah, Moses, Aaron, Peter, Paul, and I say Joseph Smith, and it’s up to us to choose whether we are going to follow that divinely appointed leader. We try to be careful to believe not only the dead leaders, but the living ones, that’s always been the hardest thing. Now if you don’t agree with this, that’s ok, I’m merely telling you about my religion.

-when it comes to deciding what is scripture, The Book of Mormon for example, I agree with the article you sent, in its debate as to whether to call Hebrews scripture, they said “ whoever its human author may have been, its ultimate author can only have been God himself.” Now who makes that call as to whether something must be from God? There is only one truth in the universe, and the Holy Ghost tells us what that is. You can’t force someone to believe in the existence of a God, you can’t prove that to someone, that’s what makes this life a good test, we have to figure it out on our own.

-in your article when it speaks of why Hebrews is in the cannon it says “The majestic glory of Christ shines forth from the pages of the epistle to the Hebrews so brightly that no believer who reads it seriously should ever want to question its place in the canon.“. That is the same way I feel about the book of Hebrews, and The Book of Mormon. I believe it’s true that God had prophets in other nations in antiquity as well , and their witnesses of Jesus Christ have blessed me in many ways giving me unshaken faith in Christ despite of my imperfections.

-I try to overcome my imperfections because I am part of the family of Christ, and I feel that God my father asks me to do things, and I want to do them to please him, and to grow up to become like him. He has been so good to me that I want to grow up to become like him. Not replace him but be one with him like Jesus said, he wants us to be one with him even as he is one with the father. I believe Jesus Christ’s atonement which he wrought out in gethsemane and Calvary is so powerful that it can enable to be become like Jesus Christ, to be one with him in desire, in power, in righteousness, in holiness (cleansed by his grace), in wisdom, etc. In almost every conceivable way except us inhabiting the same body. That would contradict many of his sayings if I lost my body (I am the resurrection and the life whoso believeth in me shall never die).

-the article you shared says if a book was written by an apostle, then it should be scripture. I agree. I merely say that there are more Apostles than the rest of Christendom thinks.

-I like the part in your article that says this: “It should not surprise us that the early church should have been able to recognize Hebrews and other writings, not written by apostles, as God’s very words. Had not Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10.27)? It should not be thought impossible or unlikely, therefore, that the early church would be able to use a combination of factors, including apostolic endorsement, consistency with the rest of Scripture, and the perception of a writing as “God-breathed” on the part of an overwhelming majority of believers, to decide that a writing was in fact God’s words (through a human author) and therefore worthy of inclusion in the canon. Nor should it be thought unlikely that the church would be able to use this process over a period of time — as writings were circulated to various parts of the early church — and finally to come to a completely correct decision, without excluding any writings that were in fact “God-breathed” and without including any that were not.“

-I want to point this out. You quoted this ““In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Heb. 1:1-2).

-your article says this means God can’t add anything else to scripture, that Jesus is the end of the message so far as scripture goes. I have 2 problems with that. 1. There are more books in the New Testament that were written after Jesus The Son. 2. It never states in this passage that God can’t speak more to us in an official “more scripture” sort of way. It says that God has spoken to us by his Son, and that’s good. But I can’t see anywhere in there where it says he won’t have more messengers coming to us to continue teaching us the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, The Son, is the source of scripture.

-you don’t have to agree with this, but I believe Jesus Christ is Jehovah. Jesus said to the pharmacies, before Abraham was, I am. They tried to stone him because he was there claiming to be God. And who is God? Jehovah. Now why do I bring this up? To show that all scripture comes from Jesus Christ, whether it’s BC or AD. You don’t have to agree with that. You can believe whatever you want. Also recall Isaiah prophesying of Christ: Unto us a child is born a son is given, and his name shall be called. the Everlasting Father. Christ is our father in that we made covenants with him to gain salvation. Heavenly Father is our Father in that he birth life to our spirits in the pre-mortal world. The scripture says, “we are his offspring”. Created in his image.

-I don’t see how Hebrews 1 and 2 say that revelation has a time of completion. That idea would contradict Amos 3:7, where it says God does nothing except he reveals that thing to his prophets. What does that mean? It means revelation will happen as long as God is doing something. And the writings of the New Testament point to a future great work by God yet to be done.

-the article also sites Rev. 22 being at the last of the bible to say there can be no more revelation, we already talked about that. You agreed with me that it being there doesn’t mean what this author says it means. You weren’t happy that I spoke about that, that I was guessing what your argument for that would be. As we see by this article, it’s a prevalent argument. As we stated earlier, such an interpretation would conflict Amos 3:7, etc. This article says that John knew that his book “The book of Revelation” would be the last in the bible. There is no text that says he knew it would be last in the bible. So the most we can say about this is that John didn’t want anyone to mess with his book. Those whom have modified his text to make it say something other than the original message will suffer the consequences he states in Rev. 22. Wo unto them they have caused many to stumble!

-you say that God is in control of all history, and that such means the Holy Bible is all we need. I say that God lets people have their agency to rape children, or to try and alter the bible, both terrible things. But that God provides ways to overcome that; for the rape case there is healing in Christ and eternal reward and justice in heave; for the Holy Bible being modified by wicked men, God has given us the Book of Mormon to make sure we have correct doctrine.

-I like where your article says this “As we read Scripture the Holy Spirit works to convince us that the books we have in Scripture are all from God and are his words to us. “; that would apply to the Book of Mormon. To anything.

-this is sort of on topic. I want to point out that many people interpret the bible differently. At the bible teacher conference, about 700 people were there, and only half of them believed in God. The other half were atheists and thought of the bible merely as interesting literature like Shakespeare. I don’t recall the name of this conference, but I suppose you’ve seen that trend also. Scholars like to make their own interpretations of doctrine. That’s why we need modern messengers officially sent by God. The people can reject those messengers, but they do so to their own condemnation. So some people seem to be sincere yet totally misinterpreting the bible. The world deserves messengers who come onto the scene and declare with boldness that salvation is in Christ Jesus. They say come be baptized according to the command of Christ, into his Church, where his laws are upheld. For how can someone agree to obey Christ (which is what you do at baptism) if you don’t know what the laws of Christ are? There are many who disagree about that. Many who claim to be right saying Jesus is here, no he is here, and they argue with each other. And if 3 of them are right, that wouldn’t make any sense. Christ is not divided: there is one Lord one faith one baptism.

-the article speaks much of a final revelation. I never see the term final revelation in the bible.

-if the bible contains “there is nothing missing from Scripture that God thinks we need to know for obeying him and trusting him fully.” then why do so many disagree about it? Am I an idiot? Are so many people idiots?

-this article condemns ideas that are not in the bible, specifically Mormons. But I remind you that the author of this article gives some of his own ideas that are not specifically in the bible. For example he creates a word called “God-breathed”. Also the word “cannon” is not in the bible. These are little examples, but the bigger examples are things we’ve talked about etc. The doctrines he teaches. One example of your article “3:6 Jude 14-15 does cite 1 Enoch 60.8 and 1.9, and Paul at least twice quotes pagan Greek authors (see Acts 17.28; Titus 1.12), but these citations are more for purposes of illustration than proof. Never are the works introduced with a phrase like, “God says,” or “Scripture says,” or “it is written,” phrases that imply the attribution of divine authority to the words cited.” So he is saying that unless it says “thus sayeth the Lord” it’s not scripture. That idea is that of the author, it never states that rule in the bible. This is the authors creation, “but these citations are more for purposes of illustration than proof. ” he says. The main thing the article says is that the cannon of scripture must end. I think that’s an assumption he is making based on several passages that could have that meaning, but not necessarily. It’s simply one among several possible interpretations. Who has the correct interpretation of the bible? That is a matter of faith. Everyone has the right to believe what they will. I say that my group of believers (my church) and I have the right interpretation, you say you and your group of believers (your church) have the right interpretation. Can we co-exist? Pleasantly? Of course!

-a person could quote 10000 bible scholars who agree about something, and that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily true. For example the bible scholars of the day of Jesus said that God could not come down and become a man, but that is exactly what Jesus did. And they tried to stone him for it. The answers never have lied with scholars, always with God and his appointed messengers. He can even use fishermen. All God needs is someone humble enough to say “Thy will be done” when God speaks to them from the heavens. God appeared to Joseph Smith, like he did Moses and “spoke with him face to face” as the bible says Moses did. The Holy Ghost has witnessed this truth to me as I live the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like Christ said if any man want to know whether I speak doctrine or of myself, let him do the teachings and they’ll learn if they are from God or not (John 17).

-the article says to see how you feel when you read books “perhaps with the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an. Is the spiritual effect of these writings on your life positive or negative?” I say when I read the Book of Mormon I feel like serving Jesus Christ.

-your article admits Christ has a Church, “O make thy church, dear Savior, a lamp of purest gold,
” (which Church is true? Which set of believers have it right? Who will be the people who are together to meet Christ at His Second Coming in Zion? What makes your church stand out amidst 3000 other Christian denominations? The Holy Bible?)

-why say I that there are modern prophets if you will? Among other reasons, its because someone has to orchestrate the gathering of Israel; there will be a place called Zion where Gods people will physically come together geographically to be together as a people ready for the Lord’s Second Coming. They will be sheltered from the destructions soon to come upon the whole earth. Also, there are temples where God gives his people eternal power protection promises, where covenants are made. You don’t have to agree with me on that, but I’ve been inside the dedicated temples (the temple you went inside wasn’t yet dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and felt the power inside, and MIGHTY outpourings of the Holy Ghost witnessing to me so deeply that what goes on in there is from God that I can never deny it, not even on my death bed.

-I won’t be the least offended if you choose not to believe in my religion. I believe that before we came to earth we lived with God in heaven, and there were two forces, one was Jesus Christ, the other was Satan (Lucifer). Some followed Lucifer, and never got the blessing to come to earth because of that. Those that chose to follow Jesus Christ got the blessing of coming to this earth; that means you and me; we made the correct choice up in heaven, so here we are on earth, and isn’t it wonderful? Life is wonderful. It’s hard but it’s such a wonderful learning experience, and just as there are deep sorrows, there are deep joys. So here we are on earth, and we need to once again choose Jesus Christ or the devil as our leader. We follow one or the other. Following Jesus Christ is the way to pass this test, our “second estate”. If we pass the test in this life, we win. We get eternal joy. If you want to know more about what I believe happens in heaven you can ask me, or go to mormon.org and search “The Plan of Salvation”. There are more details than I’ve told you and it’s thrilling.

-if you have a question about something a church leader has said that troubles you, I am happy to respond. Not everything that General Authorities of the Church say constitutes official Church doctrine. It must be something that has been repeatedly taught in the Church and that the Apostles are united in teaching. Members of the Church come from all kinds of backgrounds and they’re not always spot on. But the canonized books are what we base the teachings on. Those include 4 books. The Holy Bible. The Book of Mormon. The Doctrine and Covenants. The Pearl of Great Price. It’s ok to have questions, they are worth asking. They help us grow.

-I will try to get those books you wanted me to read. If you’re interested, I remind you of a book “Shared Beliefs, Honest Differences: A biblical basis for comparing the doctrines of Mormons and other Christians by Dwight E. Monson” that tells parts of where I come from. It’s a pretty short book.

-you ask why do I believe in the bible? I’ve read it and had the Holy Ghost confirm it’s truth to me. That is what I do with everything, I seek the confirmation of the Holy Ghost.

-some say that God is loving (I agree), and that a product of that love is passing down to us a perfect bible (I don’t agree). I do agree that the bible is useful and is the word of God (as far as it is translated correctly). The doctrine that the bible is the way it is supposed to be isn’t a doctrine found in the bible, it’s an idea people have. You could suggest that it is in the bible, but it’s a way to interpret the text of the bible, it never says that specifically. For example, there is no passage in the bible that says “the bible as had in 2015, KJV and other versions of your choosing, is exactly how it should be, and no one should bother considering anything else as scripture. By the way, Mormons are wrong.” You see, it’s all about how one interprets the bible. You have yours, I have mine. I say my faith is very biblical. I say my faith is the most biblical of any faith out there. I could talk to you about any one passage of scripture. You could say the scriptures condemn me, and that’s fine. I don’t agree with that interpretation. The bible says what it says, but people read into it. They say, “because x is written, y must be true”. While that can be done at times and should be, there are other times where it should not be done. Ruling out the possibility of my faith being the right one I would say is one of those times where it should not be done. But then again, you’ll say the same thing about your faith.

-of course, “no private interpretation” is a passage in the bible, no scriptures are for private interpretation. Then who interprets them? God. How does he tell us his interpretation? Yes, that public interpretation? By his Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In other words, there are 3000 about Christian denominations. How many of them are condemned for making their own private interpretations? If they agreed on doctrine, they would be “one faith one Lord one baptism”, not 3000. If I’m not mistaken you say that it doesn’t matter, the whole churches thing. I say, a church represents a set of doctrines. I also say that the bible represents a set of doctrines. I say if everyone believed the same doctrines, they would not go to separate churches which teach different doctrines. My “interpretations” of the bible are not private, go to any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints around the world (there are more of us outside of the USA than there are inside), and they’ll give you the same response about any given doctrine- Jesus, the Fall, resurrection, God, repentance, grace, etc. God has revealed his official doctrine to his official Church. It’s the same doctrine that Adam Enoch Noah Moses Elijah Jesus Christ, Paul etc. had, and it’s been restored in it’s fullness to God’s “latter-day” church. We have official books telling what the doctrines of the Church are. One of the foremost of those is called “Gospel Principals”. We study from it regularly. If you wish to read it (fairly short), here is a link to it, and you can even download it (it’s a worldwide manual we all use in the Church): https://www.lds.org/manual/gospel-principles?lang=eng

-why do we study from more than just the bible? Because that’s a part of our faith. Why do you only study from the bible? Because that’s a part of your faith. Does the bible support both of our faiths? We both claim the bible supports our faith and not the other persons’. So what do we do? We live our religion. I mine, you yours.

-I know the Church is the people, but Jesus Christ is one of those people, and he makes the rules.

-it’s been said that people should not speak about religion or politics, because they are bound to disagree. I think it’s ok to talk about those things, it’s just that people have to decide not to terminate friendships based on those disagreements. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel like Paul says. Nor of liberty.

-here is an article by a non-LDS guy who agrees with me that the cannon is not necessarily closed: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/05/why-i-believe-the-canon-is-theoretically-open-and-am-fine-with-it/.

-in conclusion remember I regard all people who believe in Christ as a brother. Though we have different doctrines we can get along as friends just fine. A core part of both of our religions is to try and treat others as we would ourselves be treated; I’m sure I fall short in that here and there, and my explanations here aren’t perfect but they are sincere. I won’t be the least offended if you choose not to believe in my religion. As always, I wish you all the best, you are my siblings in Christ . -Nate Richardson.

 

 

Bible Context, A House Divided, Trading Modern for Past Prophets – Debate with a Protestant

 

 

Protestant:

LDS take scriptures out of context for their doctrines.

Nate (Latter-day Saint):

“Ultimately it boils down to this. The LDS interpret the bible differently than other faiths. We will never agree on bible interpretation. Thank God for the Book of Mormon to clarity bible doctrine, and thank God for modern prophets who clarify doctrine.”

Protestant:

“All Mormonism does is put a twist on very clear passages. It’s called eisegesis.”

Nate

“If the bible is so clear why is Protestantism one of the most divided faiths on earth (hundreds of different churches professing the ‘best’ interpretation of the bible). Ya’ll can’t agree. Mormonism brings new dynamic revelations which bring the scolding of others as they are doctrines of power and authority which hardly anyone can handle. As Jesus was to the Jews, so is Mormonism to the Protestants.
Just like misguided religious persons of the past, you praise prophets of the past (Peter, Paul, etc.) and reject prophets of the present (Joseph Smith, Russel Nelson, etc.). The convenient thing about believing in dead prophets is that they don’t tend to call you out on your misinterpretation of their words. Just like Jews raving about Moses to Jesus.”

Protestant:

“They are in disagreement in “some” things just like LDS are not in agreement over some things. But one thing we are all in agreement in is that the bible is very clear that there was no pre-existence.

That is a baffling view of prophets. Are you saying prophets are true prophets because they are rejected? What about the prophets of Baal in the bible? they were rejected as false prophets in their present time… So by your logic they were actually true prophets because they were rejected. Logic never seemed to be on the side of Mormonism.”

Nate:

“You conveniently select random bits of pseudo logic to scoff at the Mormons. There are plenty of false prophets today. But Protestants can’t seem to acknowledge the possibility of true prophets living in our day who declare the correct interpretation of God’s word and reveal new words from God. What new Revelations have your prophets come up with to guide the people of our day? None. God speaks today collective messages for society via prophets like he always has done. At least the LDS have 1 united government, unlike the thousands of fragmented churches teaching different doctrines as seen in Protestantism. The LDS are organized in one great body of power to act United for the salvation of the human race. The Protestants are not.”

 

 

Prophets Explain What is & isn’t Doctrine

 

 

 

–“I advise all to go on to perfection and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of godliness” (Joseph Smith, History of the Church, 6:363)

-“ 2 And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth—

3 And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.

4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.

5 Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.

6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.” (D&C 68:2-6)

-“Our Father in Heaven loves all of His children and desires that they know and understand His plan of happiness. Therefore, He calls prophets, those who have been ordained with power and authority to act in God’s name for the salvation of His children. They are messengers of righteousness, witnesses of Jesus Christ and the infinite power of His Atonement. They hold the keys of the kingdom of God on earth and authorize the performance of saving ordinances.” (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“Concerning the living prophet, the Lord commands the people of His Church:

“Thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;

“For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

“For by doing these things the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.” (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4–6) (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“To be in harmony with heaven’s divine purposes, we sustain the prophet and choose to live according to his words.” (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“They [the prophets] have the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of [the Lord] … , subject to … the President of the Church.“ (J. Reuben Clark Jr., “When Are the Writings and Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?”)

-“We also sustain President Monson’s counselors and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. “They have the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of [the Lord] … , subject to … the President of the Church.” (J. Reuben Clark Jr., “When Are the Writings and Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?”)They speak in the name of Christ. They prophesy in the name of Christ. They do all things in the name of Jesus Christ. In their words we hear the voice of the Lord and we feel the Savior’s love.” (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“Whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:38)

-The Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”7

-“When we choose to live according to the words of the prophets, we are on the covenant path that leads to eternal perfection.” (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“In a world threatened by a famine of righteousness and spiritual starvation, we have been commanded to sustain the prophet. As we give heed to, uphold, and affirm prophetic word, we witness that we have the faith to humbly submit to the will, the wisdom, and the timing of the Lord.

We heed prophetic word even when it may seem unreasonable, inconvenient, and uncomfortable. According to the world’s standards, following the prophet may be unpopular, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable. But following the prophet is always right. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” ( Proverbs 3:5) (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

The Lord honors and favors those who will heed prophetic direction.” (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“The Lord “will feed those who trust Him.” (Roger Hoffman, “Consider the Lilies.”) The words of the prophets are like manna to our souls. When we partake, we are blessed, protected, and preserved both temporally and spiritually. When we feast upon their words, we learn how to come unto Christ and live.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote that through the prophets “the Lord reveals the truths of salvation, … the salvation that is in Christ; and he charts … the course leading to eternal life. … In every age the Lord gives his people the direction they need at the moment of their peril and danger. And surely in the days ahead there will be times when nothing but the wisdom of God, descending from heaven and flowing forth from prophetic lips, will be able to save his people.” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith (Deseret Book Company, 1985), 478; punctuation modified; used by permission.)(Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“The words of the prophets gave me the faith and hope that I could prepare for and obtain a happy home. Consistently studying the teachings of the prophets, both ancient and modern, sustained me during the strenuous and often exhausting years” (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“The words of the prophets in the scriptures and taught from this pulpit are words of comfort, love, strength, and good cheer that embrace us all. (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“When we heed the words of the prophets, we build our homes and our lives upon an eternally sure foundation, “the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, … that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to … misery and endless wo.” (Helaman 5:12)

We have a choice. We may choose to ignore, trifle with, trample upon, or rebel against the words of Christ spoken by His ordained servants. But the Savior taught that those who do so will be cut off from His covenant people. (see 3 Nephi 20:23)

As we prayerfully read and study sacred prophetic word with faith in Christ, with real intent, the Holy Ghost will speak truth to our minds and hearts. May we open our ears to hear, our hearts to understand, and our minds that the mysteries of God may be unfolded to our view. (See Mosiah 2:9) (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“May we choose to stand with the prophets and live according to their words until we become unified in faith, purified in Christ, and filled with the knowledge of the Son of God. (Conf. Report 2015 Oct. By Carol F. McConkie First Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/10/live-according-to-the-words-of-the-prophets?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

-“A few question their faith when they find a statement made by a Church leader decades ago that seems incongruent with our doctrine. There is an important principle that governs the doctrine of the Church. The doctrine is taught by all 15 members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. It is not hidden in an obscure paragraph of one talk. True principles are taught frequently and by many. Our doctrine is not difficult to find.

The leaders of the Church are honest but imperfect men. Remember the words of Moroni: “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father … ; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Ether 12:6) (Neil L. Andersen, “Trial of Your Faith,” Ensign (November 2012).)

-“There may be some things that the First Presidency do; that the Apostles do, that cannot for the moment be explained; yet the spirit, the motives that inspire the action can be understood, because each member of the Church has a right to have that measure of the Spirit of God that they can judge as to those who are acting in their interests or otherwise.” (Lorenzo Snow, “A Serious ordeal, etc.,” in Conference Report (October 1898), 54.)

-“a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such” (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 volumes, edited by Brigham H. Roberts, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 5:265. Volume 5 link; See also Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 278. off-site)

-“Here we must have in mind—must know—that only the President of the Church, the Presiding High Priest, is sustained as Prophet, Seer, and Revelator for the Church, and he alone has the right to receive revelations for the Church, either new or amendatory, or to give authoritative interpretations of scriptures that shall be binding on the Church….

When any man, except the President of the Church, undertakes to proclaim one unsettled doctrine, as among two or more doctrines in dispute, as the settled doctrine of the Church, we may know that he is not “moved upon by the Holy Ghost,” unless he is acting under the direction and by the authority of the President.

Of these things we may have a confident assurance without chance for doubt or quibbling.” (J. Reuben Clark, Jr., “Church Leaders and the Scriptures,” [original title “When Are the Writings or Sermons of Church Leaders Entitled to the Claim of Scripture?”]Immortality and Eternal Life: Reflections from the Writings and Messages of President J. Reuben Clark, Jr., Vol, 2, (1969-70): 221; address to Seminary and Institute Teachers, BYU (7 July 1954); reproduced in Church News (31 July 1954); also reprinted in Dialogue 12/2 (Summer 1979): 68–81.)

-“All over the Church you’re being asked this: “What does the Church think about this or that?” Have you ever heard anybody ask that question? “What does the Church think about the civil rights legislation?” “What do they think about the war?” “What do they think about drinking Coca-Cola or Sanka coffee?” Did you ever hear that? “What do they think about the Democratic Party or ticket or the Republican ticket?” Did you ever hear that? “How should we vote in this forthcoming election?” Now, with most all of those questions, if you answer them, you’re going to be in trouble. Most all of them. Now, it’s the smart man that will say, “There’s only one man in this church that speaks for the Church, and I’m not that one man.”

I think nothing could get you into deep water quicker than to answer people on these things, when they say, “What does the Church think?” and you want to be smart, so you try to answer what the Church’s policy is. Well, you’re not the one to make the policies for the Church. You just remember what the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians. He said, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Well now, as teachers of our youth, you’re not supposed to know anything except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. On that subject you’re expected to be an expert. You’re expected to know your subject. You’re expected to have a testimony. And in that you’ll have great strength. If the President of the Church has not declared the position of the Church, then you shouldn’t go shopping for the answer. ( Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 445. GospeLink (requires subscription))

-the First Presidency now approves all statements published on the Church’s official website

-“Question 14: Do you believe that the President of the Church, when speaking to the Church in his official capacity is infallible?

Answer: We do not believe in the infallibility of man. When God reveals anything it is truth, and truth is infallible. No President of the Church has claimed infallibility.” (Charles W. Penrose, “Peculiar Questions Briefly Answered,” Improvement Era 15 no. 11 (September 1912).

-“Not every statement made by a Church leader, past or present, necessarily constitutes doctrine. A single statement made by a single leader on a single occasion often represents a personal, though well-considered, opinion, but is not meant to be officially binding for the whole Church. With divine inspiration, the First Presidency (the prophet and his two counselors) and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (the second-highest governing body of the Church) counsel together to establish doctrine that is consistently proclaimed in official Church publications. This doctrine resides in the four “standard works” of scripture (the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price), official declarations and proclamations, and the Articles of Faith. Isolated statements are often taken out of context, leaving their original meaning distorted.” (LDS Newsroom, “Approaching Mormon Doctrine,” (4 May 2007).)

-“The position is not assumed that the men of the New Dispensation —its prophets, apostles, presidencies, and other leaders—are without faults or infallible, rather they are treated as men of like passions with their fellow men.” (James R. Clark, quoting B. H. Roberts, Messages of the First Presidency, edited by James R. Clark, Vol. 4, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1970), p. xiv–xv.)

-“An individual may fall by the wayside, or have views, or give counsel which falls short of what the Lord intends. But the voice of the First Presidency and the united voice of those others who hold with them the keys of the kingdom shall always guide the Saints and the world in those paths where the Lord wants them to be.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, “Eternal Keys and the Right to Preside,” Ensign (July 1972), 88.)

-“Revelations from God . . . are not constant. We believe in continuing revelation, not continuous revelation. We are often left to work out problems without the dictation or specific direction of the Spirit. That is part of the experience we must have in mortality. Fortunately, we are never out of our Savior’s sight, and if our judgment leads us to actions beyond the limits of what is permissible and if we are listening, . . . the Lord will restrain us by the promptings of his Spirit.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign (March 1997), 14.)

-for more on this subject, see FairMormon.org

-“Even with the best of intentions, [Church government] does not always work the way it should. Human nature may express itself on occasion, but not to the permanent injury of the work“. (Boyd K. Packer, “I Say unto You, Be One,” in BYU Devotional and Fireside Speeches, 1990–1991 (Provo, Utah: University Publications, 1991), 84.)

–“When there is to be anything different from that which the Lord has told us already, he will give it to his prophet not to some Tom, Dick, or Harry that is thumbing his way across the country as we have had people tell the story; and not through someone, as another story relates, who swooned and came up and gave a revelation. I have said, ‘Do you suppose that when the Lord has his prophet on the earth, that he is going to take some round-about means of revealing things to his children? That is what he has a prophet for, and when he has something to give to this Church, he will give it to the President, and the President will see that the presidents of stakes and missions get it, along with the General Authorities; and they in turn will see that the people are advised of any new change’” (Harold B. Lee, “The Place of the Living Prophet, Seer, and Revelator” [address to CES religious educators, July 8, 1964], 11; emphasis added).

-“Of all mortal men, we should keep our eyes most firmly fixed on the captain, the prophet, seer, and revelator, and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the man who stands closest to the fountain of living waters. There are some heavenly instructions for us that we can only receive through the prophet. A good way to measure your standing with the Lord is to see how you feel about, and act upon, the inspired words of his earthly representative, the prophet-president. The inspired words of the president are not to be trifled with. All men are entitled to inspiration, and various men are entitled to revelation for their particular assignment. But only one man stands as the Lord’s spokesman to the Church and the world, and he is the president of the Church. The words of all other men should be weighed against his inspired words” (President Ezra Taft Benson “Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” New Era, May 1975, 16).
-Seminary and Institute teachers are not General Authorities of the church but merely hired teachers by the church education department.

-“ President Brigham Young sent his father, David, and the other young men on their rescue mission, President Young instructed them to do everything they possibly could to save the handcart companies, even at the peril of their own lives. 6 Their acts of bravery were specifically to “follow the prophet Brigham Young” and by so doing express their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Elder Cook, Conf. Report Apr. 2008, Give Heed Unto The Prophets Words, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/give-heed-unto-the-prophets-words?lang=eng&query=words+of+the+prophets)

 

 

 

Continuing Revelation from God

 

 

Uses scriptures, fairmormon.org, quotes, and commentary

 

 

 

-The records of scripture got corrupted (God lets bad things happen, like child abuse etc.; he respects the agency of people, there must be opposition in this life if we are to grow) and He used Joseph Smith to get the records back into shape.
-Saying that God is the person who has caused the bible to be as it is now is merely an assumption that can’t be backed by the scriptures themselves.
-My plea to anyone wondering whether Joseph Smith was a prophet, would be to read The Book of Mormon with an open heart and pray to ask God weather it is true. That is how I learned it is true. I study the Bible as much as the Book of Mormon, they are anchors of my faith in Jesus Christ.
-See also this document I’ve put together explaining why The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the only true church on the earth, https://richardsonstudies.wordpress.com/category/the-only-true-church/. You don’t have to believe it, but this is my attempt to explain it. I love everyone and wish everyone the best no matter what they believe, though I can’t help but be excited by what I have found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
-Ezek. 37:16-22: this speaks of a stick, namely a record or scroll, where it’s one stick is written for Judah, the record of the Jews, the Bible. That is what the bible is all about, the history of the Jews. Then another stick, that of Joseph and his posterity. That is what the Book of Mormon is, the story begins with Lehi, whom is a defendant of Manasseh, whom is a defendant of Joseph sold into Egypt, a son of Israel. Lehi leaves Jerusalem and goes to the new world, America. The Native American ancestors are his descendants. These nations, America and Palestine/Israel will become united in the faith of Jesus Christ. The Bible and the Book of Mormon are how God is making that happen.
“16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:
17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.
18 ¶And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?
19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
20 ¶And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
22 And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all:”
–Joseph Smith remarked, “I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of the original writers.” (Joseph Smith, Jr., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected by Joseph Fielding Smith, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976), 327.) This is the same thing that the drafters of the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy would state more than a century later. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Insufficient)
-Joseph Smith taught that the principal that Jesus Christ’s Church has always been governed by is REVELATION. Whatever the current need is, that is what the people must do. For example, God at one passage says “thou shalt not kill”. In another passage he says “thou shalt utterly destroy”. These are bible passages.
-It’s not a new issue that people will accept what the prophets of old said, but not be willing to listen to the current prophets. Amos 3:7 says that God will do nothing but that he will reveal his secret to his servants the prophets. Another example, the pharisees  were willing to accept Moses, but not Jesus. Or another example, originally the gospel was only to be taken to the Jews, then by revelation, the Apostles were shown that the gospel could be taken to the gentiles also. God said, in effect, call not unclean what I have made clean.
-I have also compiled this document showing some uses of the Joseph Smith translation of the bible as well as why the KJV is the best version of the bible not considering the Joseph Smith Translation:  https://richardsonstudies.wordpress.com/2015/05/03/the-joseph-smith-translation-precious-truths-restored-by-w-jeffrey-marsh/.
–Examples of “lost scripture”
Lost writing
Biblical citation to the lost writing
Book of the Wars of the Lord
Numbers 21:14
Book of Jasher
Joshua 10:13, 2 Samuel 1:18
Book of the Acts of Solomon
1 Kings 11:41
Book of Samuel the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Book of Gad the Seer
1 Chronicles 29:29
Book of Nathan the Prophet
1 Chronicles 29:29, 2 Chronicles 9:29
Prophecy of Ahijah
2 Chronicles 9:29
Visions of Iddo the Seer
2 Chronicles 9:29, 2 Chronicles 12:15, 2 Chronicles 13:22
Book of Shemaiah
2 Chronicles 12:15
Book of Jehu
2 Chronicles 20:34
Sayings of the Seers
2 Chronicles 33:19
Lament for Josiah
2 Chronicles 35:25
Paul’s epistle to Corinthians before our “1 Corinthians”
1 Corinthians 5:9
Paul’s possible earlier Ephesians epistle
Ephesians 3:3
Paul’s epistle to Church at Laodicea
Colossians 4:16
1 Enoch 1:19 and The Assumption of Moses
Jude 1:14-15
1 Enoch
“It influenced Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews, 1 John, Jude (which quotes it directly) and Revelation (with numerous points of contact)…in molding New Testament doctrines concerning the nature of the Messiah, the Son of Man, the messianic kingdom, demonology, the future, resurrection, the final judgment, the whole eschatological theater, and symbolism.”[2]
(see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Lost_scripture)
-One evidence of the continuation of God’s word is that in the Greek text of the New Testament in the Book of Revelations when it says there is a sword continually proceeding out of the mouth of God, the Greek word used suggests not only a sword coming out of his mouth, but a sword continually proceeding out of his mouth. The sword is used in the scriptures as a symbol of the word of God. This suggests God’s word never ceases, and he will judge us according to all the words he has revealed to mankind. (BYU Professor of Attic Greek Stephen Bay supplied the translation).
–Other scriptures (such as Deuteronomy 4:2, Deuteronomy 12:32, and Proverbs 30:6) likewise forbid additions; were the critics’ arguments to be self-consistent, they would have to then discard everything in the New Testament and much of the Old, since these verses predate “other scripture” added by God through later prophets. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
-Further evidence that Rev. 22:19 is not referring to the entire bible when it reads “words of the book of this prophecy” is found if one reads Revelation 1:3,11 (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
–Even if the passage in Revelation meant that no man could add to scripture; it does not forbid that God may, through a prophet, add to the Word of God. If this were not possible, then the Bible could never have come into existence. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
-Noted Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman wrote:
The very real danger that [New Testament] texts could be modified at will, by scribes who did not approve of their wording, is evident in other ways as well. We need always to remember that the copyists of the early Christian writings were reproducing their texts in a world in which there were not only no printing presses or publishing houses but also no such thing as copyright law. How could authors guarantee that their texts were not modified once put into circulation? The short answer is that they could not. That explains why authors would sometimes call curses down on any copyists who modified their texts without permission. We find this kind of imprecation already in one early Christian writing that made it into the New Testament, the book of Revelation, whose author, near the end of his text, utters a dire warning [quotes Revelation 22:18–19]. (see http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/%22Adding_to%22_or_%22taking_away_from%22/Further_Reading)
-“These last records [The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, etc.], which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first [The Bible], which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and previous things which have been taken away from them…” (1 Nephi 13:40)
-The ancient Book of Mormon prophet Nephi understood how critics would respond to the Book of Mormon. His answer for the critics is this:
“Yea, wo be unto him that hearkeneth unto the precepts of men, and denieth the power of God, and the gift of the Holy Ghost! Yea, wo be unto him that saith: We have received, and we need no more! And in fine, wo unto all those who tremble, and are angry because of the truth of God! For behold, he that is built upon the rock receiveth it with gladness; and he that is built upon a sandy foundation trembleth lest he shall fall. Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough! For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have. Cursed is he that putteth his trust in man, or maketh flesh his arm, or shall hearken unto the precepts of men, save their precepts shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost.” (2 Nephi 28:26-31)
-Elder Holland answers the question with this address:
“Some Christians, in large measure because of their genuine love for the Bible, have declared that there can be no more authorized scripture beyond the Bible. In thus pronouncing the canon of revelation closed, our friends in some other faiths shut the door on divine expression that we in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold dear: the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and the ongoing guidance received by God’s anointed prophets and apostles. Imputing no ill will to those who take such a position, nevertheless we respectfully but resolutely reject such an unscriptural characterization of true Christianity.
One of the arguments often used in any defense of a closed canon is the New Testament passage recorded in Revelation 22:18: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of … this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book.” However, there is now overwhelming consensus among virtually all biblical scholars that this verse applies only to the book of Revelation, not the whole Bible. Those scholars of our day acknowledge a number of New Testament “books” that were almost certainly written after John’s revelation on the Isle of Patmos was received. Included in this category are at least the books of Jude, the three Epistles of John, and probably the entire Gospel of John itself. 1 Perhaps there are even more than these.
But there is a simpler answer as to why that passage in the final book of the current New Testament cannot apply to the whole Bible. That is because the whole Bible as we know it—one collection of texts bound in a single volume—did not exist when that verse was written. For centuries after John produced his writing, the individual books of the New Testament were in circulation singly or perhaps in combinations with a few other texts but almost never as a complete collection. Of the entire corpus of 5,366 known Greek New Testament manuscripts, only 35 contain the whole New Testament as we now know it, and 34 of those were compiled after A.D. 1000. 2
The fact of the matter is that virtually every prophet of the Old and New Testament has added scripture to that received by his predecessors. If the Old Testament words of Moses were sufficient, as some could have mistakenly thought them to be, 3 then why, for example, the subsequent prophecies of Isaiah or of Jeremiah, who follows him? To say nothing of Ezekiel and Daniel, of Joel, Amos, and all the rest. If one revelation to one prophet in one moment of time is sufficient for all time, what justifies these many others? What justifies them was made clear by Jehovah Himself when He said to Moses, “My works are without end, and … my words … never cease.” 4
One Protestant scholar has inquired tellingly into the erroneous doctrine of a closed canon. He writes: “On what biblical or historical grounds has the inspiration of God been limited to the written documents that the church now calls its Bible? … If the Spirit inspired only the written documents of the first century, does that mean that the same Spirit does not speak today in the church about matters that are of significant concern?” 5 We humbly ask those same questions.
Continuing revelation does not demean or discredit existing revelation. The Old Testament does not lose its value in our eyes when we are introduced to the New Testament, and the New Testament is only enhanced when we read the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. In considering the additional scripture accepted by Latter-day Saints, we might ask: Were those early Christians who for decades had access only to the primitive Gospel of Mark (generally considered the first of the New Testament Gospels to be written)—were they offended to receive the more detailed accounts set forth later by Matthew and Luke, to say nothing of the unprecedented passages and revelatory emphasis offered later yet by John? Surely, they must have rejoiced that ever more convincing evidence of the divinity of Christ kept coming. And so do we rejoice.
Please do not misunderstand. We love and revere the Bible, as Elder M. Russell Ballard taught so clearly from this pulpit just one year ago. 6 The Bible is the word of God. It is always identified first in our canon, our “standard works.” Indeed, it was a divinely ordained encounter with the fifth verse of the first chapter of the book of James that led Joseph Smith to his vision of the Father and the Son, which gave birth to the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our time. But even then, Joseph knew the Bible alone could not be the answer to all the religious questions he and others like him had. As he said in his own words, the ministers of his community were contending—sometimes angrily—over their doctrines. “Priest [was] contending against priest, and convert [was contending] against convert … in a strife of words and a contest about opinions,” he said. About the only thing these contending religions had in common was, ironically, a belief in the Bible, but, as Joseph wrote, “the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question [regarding which church was true] by an appeal to the Bible.” 7 Clearly the Bible, so frequently described at that time as “common ground,” was nothing of the kind—unfortunately it was a battleground.
Thus one of the great purposes of continuing revelation through living prophets is to declare to the world through additional witnesses that the Bible is true. “This is written,” an ancient prophet said, speaking of the Book of Mormon, “for the intent that ye may believe that,” speaking of the Bible. 8 In one of the earliest revelations received by Joseph Smith, the Lord said, “Behold, I do not bring [the Book of Mormon forth] to destroy [the Bible] but to build it up.” 9
One other point needs to be made. Since it is clear that there were Christians long before there was a New Testament or even an accumulation of the sayings of Jesus, it cannot therefore be maintained that the Bible is what makes one a Christian. In the words of esteemed New Testament scholar N. T. Wright, “The risen Jesus, at the end of Matthew’s Gospel, does not say, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to the books you are all going to write,’ but [rather] ‘All authority in heaven and on earth is given to me.’ ” 10 In other words, “Scripture itself points … away from itself and to the fact that final and true authority belongs to God himself.” 11 So the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge for Latter-day Saints. They are manifestations of the ultimate source. The ultimate source of knowledge and authority for a Latter-day Saint is the living God. The communication of those gifts comes from God as living, vibrant, divine revelation. 12
…“We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” 1
In declaring new scripture and continuing revelation, we pray we will never be arrogant or insensitive. But after a sacred vision in a now sacred grove answered in the affirmative the question “Does God exist?” what Joseph Smith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints force us to face is the next interrogative, which necessarily follows: “Does He speak?” We bring the good news that He does and that He has. With a love and affection born of our Christianity, we invite all to inquire into the wonder of what God has said since biblical times and is saying even now.
In a sense Joseph Smith and his prophetic successors in this Church answer the challenge Ralph Waldo Emerson put to the students of the Harvard Divinity School 170 years ago this coming summer. To that group of the Protestant best and brightest, the great sage of Concord pled that they teach “that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake.” 15
I testify that the heavens are open. I testify that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet of God, that the Book of Mormon is truly another testament of Jesus Christ. I testify that Thomas S. Monson is God’s prophet, a modern apostle with the keys of the kingdom in his hands, a man upon whom I personally have seen the mantle fall. I testify that the presence of such authorized, prophetic voices and ongoing canonized revelations have been at the heart of the Christian message whenever the authorized ministry of Christ has been on the earth. I testify that such a ministry is on the earth again, and it is found in this, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In our heartfelt devotion to Jesus of Nazareth as the very Son of God, the Savior of the world, we invite all to examine what we have received of Him, to join with us, drinking deeply at the “well of water springing up into everlasting life,” 16 these constantly flowing reminders that God lives, that He loves us, and that He speaks. I express the deepest personal thanks that His works never end and His “words … never cease.” I bear witness of such divine loving attention and the recording of it, in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, amen.”
1. For an introductory discussion on this topic, see Stephen E. Robinson, Are Mormons Christians? (1991), 46. The issue of canon is discussed on pages 45–56.Canon is defined as “an authoritative list of books accepted as Holy Scripture” (Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. [2003], “canon”).
2. See Bruce M. Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible: An Introduction to Greek Paleography (1981), 54–55.
3. See Deuteronomy 4:2, for example.
4.  Moses 1:4.
5. Lee M. McDonald, The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, rev. ed. (1995), 255–56.
6. See “The Miracle of the Holy Bible,” Liahona and Ensign, May 2007, 80–82.
7.  Joseph Smith—History 1:6, 12.
8.  Mormon 7:9; emphasis added.
9.  D&C 10:52; see also D&C 20:11.
10. N. T. Wright, The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture(2005), xi.
11. Wright, The Last Word, 24.
12. For a full essay on this subject, see Dallin H. Oaks, “Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 6–9.
13.  1 Kings 18:27.
14.  Articles of Faith 1:9.
15. “An Address,” The Complete Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1929), 45.
16.  John 4:14.
(Elder Jeffery R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “My Words Never Cease”, April 2008 General Conference, video and full text at https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/04/my-words-never-cease?lang=eng)
-see also http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Completeness
-see also http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Insufficient
-see also http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_Bible/Open_canon_vs._closed_canon
-also, further scripture study:
Prophets
Jacob 4:4, 6
Mosiah 8:13–18
Acts 10:34–43
Amos 3:7
Dispensations
D&C 136:36–38
Moses 5:4–12, 55–59
Moses 8:19–30
Bible Dictionary, “Dispensations”
Apostacy:
1 Nephi 13
2 Nephi 26:20–21
2 Nephi 28
4 Nephi 1:27
D&C 86:1–3
Matthew 24:9–11
Mark 12:1–9
Acts 3:19–21
Acts 20:28–30
Galatians 1:6–9
2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 (JST verses 2, 3, 7–9)
1 Timothy 4:1–3
2 Timothy 4:3–4
2 Peter 2:1–2
Amos 8:11–12
Topical Guide, “Apostasy of the Early Christian Church”
True to the Faith, “Apostasy,” pages 13–14
Our Search for Happiness, pages 23–32
Jesus the Christ, chapter 40, “The Long Night of Apostasy”
– • The Church of Jesus Christ is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets (see Ephesians 2:19–20; 4:11–14). These leaders have divine priesthood authority. Through revelation they direct the affairs of the Church. They maintain doctrinal purity, authorize the administration of ordinances, and call and confer upon others the priesthood authority.
• People rejected and killed Jesus Christ and the Apostles (seeMatthew 24:9; 1 Nephi 11:32–34; 2 Nephi 27:5). With the death of the Apostles, the presiding priesthood authority was absent from the Church. Consequently, there was no longer authority to confer the Holy Ghost or perform other saving ordinances. Revelation ceased, and doctrine became corrupted.
• Even before the death of the Apostles, many conflicts concerning doctrine arose. The Roman Empire, which at first had persecuted the Christians, later adopted Christianity. Important religious questions were settled by councils. The simple doctrines and ordinances taught by the Savior were debated and changed to conform to worldly philosophies (see Isaiah 24:5). They physically changed the scriptures, removing plain and precious doctrines from them (1 Nephi 13:26–40). They created creeds, or statements of belief, based on false and changed doctrine (see Joseph Smith—History 1:19). Because of pride, some aspired to positions of influence (see 3 John 1:9–10). People accepted these false ideas and gave honor to false teachers who taught pleasing doctrines rather than divine truth (see 2 Timothy 4:3–4).
• Throughout history, many people have sincerely believed false creeds and doctrines. They have worshiped according to the light they possessed and have received answers to their prayers. Yet they are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).
• Therefore, a restoration, not a reformation, was required. priesthood authority did not continue in an unbroken line of succession from the Apostle Peter. To reform is to change what already exists; to restore is to bring back something in its original form. Thus, restoration of priesthood authority through divine messengers was the only possible way to overcome the Great Apostasy. (https://www.lds.org/manual/preach-my-gospel-a-guide-to-missionary-service/lesson-1-the-message-of-the-restoration-of-the-gospel-of-jesus-christ?lang=eng)
The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
2 Nephi 3
D&C 112:30
Ephesians 1:10
Ephesians 4:5
James 1:5
Brochure, The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith
The Book of Mormon:
Title page of the Book of Mormon
Introduction to the Book of Mormon, paragraphs 1–7
D&C 1:17–23
D&C 20:5–12
Joseph Smith—History 1:27–64
The power of prayer to know whether all of this is true, and what the implications of such are:
Alma 5:45–46
D&C 8:2–3
John 14:26
Introduction to the Book of Mormon, paragraphs 8–9

 

 

 

Notes on Discovering the Lands of the Book of Mormon (Mesoamerica), Lecture by Dr. John L. Lund

 

 

The following are my rough notes on a few key points and resources for further study on this presentation of Mesoamerica as the place of Book of Mormon events. I could write a much more detailed account from this presentation but only took a few small notes. I encourage the reader to refer to the entire presentation, which is available in the BYU library.

Edward Herbert Thompson “the people of the serpent” book

See book “He walked the America’s” by famed archeologist L. Taylor Hansen 1994

Brown et al; published by Univ of Chicago by Emory univ; DNA of American Indian; found 5 haplotypes, 4 of them had a primary Asian influence to them, but a 5th type very defiantly Caucasian; good statistics and sampling on this;

Michael Cole 6th ed. (prior editions did not confess this) “the Maya” book says maritime crossings are likely how original Americans came, and that the (supposed) Siberian land bridge of 14,000 years ago would not have been needed. (The Siberian land bridge crossing is why many originally rejected Book of Mormon account.)

2 Ne. 1:5 Lehi says others can have come to America. Even some of the other lost tribes of Israel could have come here that we have no record of.

There were many crossings to America.

Demitri Sodi “Great Cultures of Mesoamerica” book

Elder G Smith said most have the blood of multiple tribes of Israel, and the one declared in their patriarchal blessing is the one to which they have a mission.

The Book of Mormon is about 3 groups of people in America, not of everyone there.

There are texts of there being both white and dark-skinned people in Mesoamerica.

They found thin gold plates with hieroglyphs from Mexico.

The tradition is that God will return in a red robe, and that the heavenly family is the same is the earthly family, and that the son of God is their elder brother (Catholics would not have taught that).

Montezuma was a king and a spiritual leader priest, like the joint political and ecclesiastical roles in the book of Mormon like Alma.

One large portrait shows a man holding up the arm of his enemy, much like Ammon.

Lib, Kib, Kish, Laman, these names are Mesoamerican.

A historian says Laman is connected with a river. This is like what Lehi says.

Truman Madsen says it’s hardly reasonable to conclude the 200 evidences that correlate with the Book of Mormon that Joseph Smith couldn’t have known about are insufficient to prove Joseph Smith a true prophet.

A key reason to believe Book of Mormon happened in Mesoamerica is because Joseph Smith said it did in many occasions.

There are 2 hill Cumorah’s. The one in New York is where Moroni buried the plates. The other is the location of the final battles of the Book of Mormon people.

Roman roads were convex, so water runs off, but Mayans used level roads; Book of Mormon mentions level roads being destroyed at the time of Christ, Joseph couldn’t have known this.

The Olmecs are considered the father people of Mesoamerica, they came the same time as the Jaredites of the Book of Mormon came.

The climate in Mesoamerica supports the Lamanites coming to war in the various seasons in mere loin cloths.