Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What did Jesus Mean when he Spoke of Offenses Against Little Children?

All of us know that offences against anyone, regardless of age, is a sin. And all can appreciate that any self-serving act against someone not capable of defending themselves is poor behavior, at best. Even if this is only done by someone cheating someone who is too ignorant to understand.

Yet Christ stated the following to his disciples _

"And he took a child, and set him in the middle of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said to them, Whoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receives me: and whosoever shall receive me, receives not me, but him that sent me." Mark 9:36-37

Does this mean that we have special rewards for receiving children?

Jesus goes on some verses later to say _

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea." Mark 9:42

So does this mean we get greater condemnation for acts against children? And what if the child doesn't believe in him? Can a little child of one-year-old truly have a testimony of Christ? Can even a 5-year-old; having never experienced the atonement of Christ?

Yet between these verses we have this statement _

"For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ, verily I say to you, he shall not lose his reward." Mark 9:41

Having said this he then mentioned about having a milstone hung about his neck to those who offend against such.

I have often heard people quote these Scriptures out of context. In fact I've almost always heard it quoted out of context. To understand it requires examination and an understanding of how Jesus spoke to his disciples.

He is saying that those who accept the gospel are as little children. Then he is likening the disciples to little ones. In other words he is not speaking of real little children who accept him but those with a pure child's heart.

"Then said he to the disciples, It is impossible that offences will not come: but woe to him, through whom they come! it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke 17:1-2

Here he is speaking of millstones being hung around the neck of anyone making offenses against these little ones. Yet on this occasion there is no mention of him having any real children present.

When speaking to his disciples alone Jesus said _

"Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You shall seek me: and as I said to the Jews, Where I go, you cannot come; so now I say to you." John 13:33

Again he has demonstrated that when he talks of "little children" he is meaning no reference to real children. Also note that there is not one commandment in all the Law given to Moses that made greater penalties for acts against real children. God will preserve the righteous in most circumstances.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Is the Holy Ghost Heavenly Mother?

This question may seem to the vaste majority of members as having a "no" answer. Yet there remains some that are asking this question and some that are convinced she is, from personal experiences. Therefore I feel this requires answering, not only from a scriptural point of view but also how certain experiences can be confusing to some.

Heavenly Mothers have resurrected bodies. D&C 130:22 tells us, "...the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us." Thus it requires someone who has no physical body. Which rules out Heavenly Mothers from a Scriptural point.

Yet what of personal experiences where a person is guided from youth by a female spirit? This spirit is always right and has taught the truth to us all those years. Surely then isn't this the Holy Ghost?

It was a long time before I became aware of this female's presence. Yet as I then began to think back over the past I began to see that she had been there even when I was in primary school. I had to then separate the teachings I'd received by the Holy Ghost from those that were by her. Not that there was any conflict of teaching, but I wanted to understand why 2 teachers rather than just the Holy Ghost.

The first time I became aware of this female helper was when I had girl trouble. I was upset and asked for help from God. Immediately this person turned up. I could feel the same types of feelings that I got from Heavenly Father but the emotions didn't seem strong enough. So I asked if this was Heavenly Father? The answer was immediate and it was, "no". For 2 hours I walked while carrying on somewhat about this female I felt frustrated about. This spirit had an answer for everything. Being upset I was throwing in all sorts of distortions. She wasn't fazed by whatever I threw at her. It was like a 5 year old trying to confuse its mother. She went into doctrine that brought me to the tip of my knowledge and pushed it just a little beyond. Whether it was to do with life or doctrine I couldn't confuse her for a second.

The one and only mistake she made wasn't in regard doctrine or life. It was a mistake in not knowing all the circumstances in regard the girl I was having trouble with.

At this point I still hadn't come to realise it was a female I was talking to. After 2 hours she told me to go into this place that had some people meeting for religious discussion. She felt I needed the company. Upon sitting down I suddenly looked over at a pew right near me and saw her. She looked around 27 years old.

Since that time I've began to look back and remember seeing that face at times over the years. She has taught me some great and amazing things over those years.

But is she the Holy Ghost? I have seen the Holy Ghost come out of me on several occasions for different reasons. He is male, as the Scriptures say.

Yet why have 2 helpers was something I needed to know. The Holy Ghost knows all truth. But it seems that perhaps he has not lived a life yet. She speaks from experience of life. Yet the Holy Ghost doesn't say, "I did this and it works." But she says this.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Answering Anti-Mormon Stuff - The Nature of God

This table was presented in a site against the church. So I will post the table and then my response.

It should be remembered that only the Standard Works of the church are Scripture to us. Harold B. Lee stated this clearly even about his own words as church president. The only exception is where the church president has declared it to be directly from God to him. This must then be sustained by the 12 Apostles and then the general membership of the church. ALL must agree for it to become Scripture to us.

So keep that in mind as you read through this.

GOD THE FATHER: An “Exalted Man” who became God by obedience to the LDS “Gospel Plan”. He has not always been God, nor is he omnipresent (present everywhere) or omnipotent (all powerful). Not having the power to “create” the world out of nothing, God merely “organized” it with pre-existent material. He can only remain God as long as the “intelligences” sustain Him as such.
“Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not so.”—Brigham Young, 1859, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 345
“It has been said, therefore, that God is everywhere present; but this does not mean that the actual person of any one member of the Godhead can be physically present in more than one place at one time.…plainly, however, His person cannot be in more than one place at any one time.”—James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, (1890), 1966ed., p. 43
“The greatest heresy found in Christendom is that God is a spirit, an essence that fills immensity.…”—Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah, p. 77
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.…” —Doctrine And Covenants 130:22
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!… I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man.…I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea.…he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did.…”—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, pp. 345-346
“We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father and so on, from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient.…”—Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, 1853, p. 132
“Yet, if we accept the great law of eternal progression, we must accept the fact that there was a time when Deity was much less powerful than He is today.”—Seventy Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, 1945, p. 114
“We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advance—a Being who has attained His exalted state by a path which now His children are permitted to follow, whose glory it is their heritage to share.”—Apostle James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, (1890), 1966ed, p. 430
“God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end.”—Apostle Wilford Woodruff (who would eventually become 4th Prophet), 1857, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120
“In the book of Abraham we have clear expression of the creative efforts of the Gods in organizing and forming the earth and heavens (see Abr.4:1). Such language assumes the existence of materials before the creation of this earth began.…The doctrine of creation thus taught in Abraham opposes the notion of a creation ex nihilo (literally, creation ‘out of nothing’).”—The Ensign, March 1997, p. 21
“…Elohim is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain Him as such.…if He should ever do anything to violate the confidence or ‘sense of justice’ of these intelligences, they would promptly withdraw their support, and the ‘power’ of God would disintegrate.” —BYU Professor W. Cleon Skousen, The First 2000 Years, p. 355
GOD THE FATHER: In His very nature and essence God is a spirit—not a man. There was never a time when He did not exist, nor can there ever be a time when He will cease to exist as the one true God. He does not change or progress. In addition to being omnipresent (present everywhere), He is eternally omniscient (all knowing) and omnipotent (all powerful), and thus, He is not bound by the constraints of His creation.
I KINGS 8:27: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?”
ISAIAH 66:1: “Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?”
JEREMIAH 23:24: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”
JOHN 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”
LUKE 24:39: “…a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
HOSEA 11:9: “…I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee.…”
NUMBERS 23:19: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.…”
ROMANS 1:22-23: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.…”
ISAIAH 43:10-11: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”
PSALM 90:2: “Before the mountain were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”
HABAKKUK 1:12: “Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One?.…”
MALACHI 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I change not.…”
JAMES 1:17: “Every good gift…cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
I KINGS 8:39: “…give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest: (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;)”
PSALM 147:5: “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.”
GENESIS 17:1: “…the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
ISAIAH 40:12-14, 28: “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? …Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heart, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.”

I remember on my mission being faced with a situation of answering all this anti-Mormon material to a new member who was having second thoughts. A quote was given from Brigham Young. The Holy Ghost said to me, "you only answer things in the Standard Works; stick to that only." A quote came up next that was easy for me to answer. The Holy Ghost said, if you answer even one you will then be expected to answer all statements." He went on to say that the quotes will become more and more obscure and from people you Won't know whether they were GAs or not.

This is a classic case. Here the writer has scooped so low that he is quoting a university professor as if that makes his religious ideas authoritative revelation to us. Then above that he has quoted a nameless person who did a column in the Ensign (a monthly church magazine).

The first accusation, which is based on this professor's claim, is _ "He can only remain God as long as the 'intelligences' sustain Him as such."

I should mention, for the education of any wishing to know, that idea from a professor is absolute twaddle. Those particles only have an awareness of their local level. If you approach those particles with love they will do whatever you ask every time because they enjoy that love. And God is love. He is full of it. He doesn't need their approval beyond having the love. This also answers the concept recorded in Abr 4:1.

Apart from the reference of Abraham, the only authoritative quote is the one from the Doctrine and Covenants. It establishes that the Father has a physical body.

Now we shall look at the quotes given by the writer to dispute that idea. He poses some things as "facts". But are these ideas really facts. As the Bible tells us almost nothing about the make-up of God the Father I shall include Jesus Christ in this (as the trinitarians say they are the same anyway) _

Firstly he claims God is not a man, but only a spirit. Then he tells us that he has always existed. Along with this he implies that he has always existed as a God: That there was never a time in all of eternity when he wasn't a God. Then he claims that he does not change or progress. He talks of his omnipresence, his omniscience, and his omnipotence. Then he claims, "He is not bound by the constraints of His creation."

Let me begin by first pointing out that we don't claim that there was a time when God didn't exist. We state that in the eternities he wasn't always a God. So let's look at the Scriptures quoted in regard God and his size _

I KINGS 8:27: “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? See, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built?”

ISAIAH 66:1: “This says the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build to me? and where is the place of my rest?”

JEREMIAH 23:24: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? says the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? says the LORD.”

The Bible tells us that we are in 1. the image of God. And 2. The likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). What does this mean? One word refers to an image in a mirror. The other refers to the "phantom": That which you can't see. So that Moses is saying that we were created looking like God and that we additionally are like God in all the aspects you can't see. To confirm this understanding the Bible then goes on to tell us that Seth (Adam's son) was in the image and the likeness of Adam (Genesis 5:3).

So then this demonstrates that as we are like God inside, as well as outside, then our inside is capable of feeling things beyond the size of our body. This has been proven very often. I myself have felt romantic interest from females at times at a distance. We can pick up other strong feelings from people at times. Considering the righteousness of God it is no wonder his intelligence fills the universe. But does this mean that he physically fills the universe? The Bible goes on to show that to be untrue.

If we are to accept Isaiah is giving us an anatomy lesson on God then we have a God who doesn't fill the universe, because he is so small that his feet fit on the earth. And what is more the heavens are a throne that he sits on. Thus meaning the God can't fill the heavens but only sits on them.

Jeremiah then disputes with Isaiah and tells us that God fills those heavens that he sits on.

Then I Kings tells us that the heavens can't contain God because he's too big.

What a confusing lot of information! If we make this into an anatomy lesson, as the writer is attempting to do, we have contradictions. Obviously this is not a truly anatomical lesson on God's make-up.

The next Scripture quoted _

JOHN 4:24: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

John states in the Greek that "God a spirit", but is wrongly translated into English as "God is a spirit". 1 John 4:8 states that the God IS love, in Greek as well as English. So if John 4:24 were stating that God "is" a spirit, it would use the Greek word "esti" as it does twice in verse 22 (only 2 verses previous) and also in the statement "God is love". However it is true to state that God has a spirit. It must be noted what the point of the statement is, and that is to point out that we must worship God in our spirit inside. So John is referring to the fact that God has a spirit also (or that God has the Holy Spirit, and we must worship Him with the Holy Spirit in us): John wasn't attempting to give a doctrinal discussion on the physical make-up of God.

The next Scripture quoted _

LUKE 24:39: “…a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have.”

Thank you writer. Here the writer is admitting that after the resurrection and ascension the Lord has a body, and ISN'T just a spirit.

The next Scriptures quoted _

HOSEA 11:9: “…I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of you.…”

NUMBERS 23:19: “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent.…”

Yet Jesus refers to himself as the "son of man" (Matt 8:20, 9:6, 10:23, 11:19, 12:32, 12:40, 13:37, 13:41, 16:13 etc. etc. etc.).

These verses the writer has quoted are a plain and simple declaration that God is not like a fallen human in that he would lie or cheat etc. Again this is not about an anatomy lesson where he explains his physical make-up. Jesus Christ, in one place, refers to himself as being like a chook and having wings. These types of comments should be taken in line with the message the scripture is portraying.

ROMANS 1:22-23: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man.…”

This verse goes on to say _ "and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." Romans 1:23

In other words he is quoting all the idols that mankind worshipped at the time. This mention of corruptible people are their Gods such as Neptune, Mars, Venus, Mercury, etc. that had personal problems. Thus making them corruptible. We know that God has no personal problems.

The next Scriptures quoted are these _

ISAIAH 43:10-11: “You are my witnesses, says the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”

PSALM 90:2: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you art God.”

HABAKKUK 1:12: “Are you not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One?.…”

In Isaiah it is saying that he came before all these idols they carved and turned into gods. And as they aren't really gods then he is still god after these idols end.

The other 2 relate to the time/eternity factor. The Bible tells us when time began for this earth. Before that it was eternity/everlasting. Additionally it tells us that time will end when all this is over and God is reigning on earth permanently. In other words before the creation it was eternity. After the resurrection of this earth we will have gone back to eternity/everlasting. Thus from eternity/everlasting to eternity/everlasting God is God. That doesn't mean that at some previous point, time didn't existed on a planet elsewhere. Such an interpretation would have to proven.

Next set of scriptures quoted _

MALACHI 3:6: “For I am the LORD, I don't change.…”

JAMES 1:17: “Every good gift…comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

This varying and changing means that what he requires of us won't change. Note the following verses _

Acts 2:33 _ It says of Jesus, "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear."

This is stating the Jesus has been exalted. That sounds like a change to me.

Luke 22:43 _ "Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him."

Jesus is strengthened. A change.

Matthew 27:46 _ "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' That is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'"

Jesus notes the change in that he is forsaken.

Luke 2:52 "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Jesus INCREASED in wisdom and stature. A definite change. He also gained greater "favour" with God.

I KINGS 8:39: “…give to every man according to his ways, whose heart you know: (for you, even you only, know the hearts of all the children of men;)”

We teach this. It's only if you want to apply this to all the children of men throughout all existence, worlds without end, that we would disagree. Not that he can't if need be. But it isn't necessary, as they have their own God.

PSALM 147:5: “Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.”

This is stating that the Lord Jesus Christ has "great power". Then he declares that the Lord has infinite understanding. Many statements in the Scriptures are relative statements. They must be taken looking at the circumstance. Also note that this doesn't declare the Lord to have more than "great power". It doesn't declare him to be omnipotent in this verse.

GENESIS 17:1: “…the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and you be perfect.”

What is the point of quoting this scripture text????? It doesn't relate to the subject. It just demonstrates that we can be perfect if we follow God's instructions.

ISAIAH 40:12-14, 28: “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor has taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? …Have you not known? Have you not heart, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, doesn't faint, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.”

Obviously Isaiah is talking within his understanding. We know that God understands how to make planets far beyond our understanding of the method. I would pose to the writer that the Scripture tell us that God RESTED from his labors on the Sabbath, yet this in Isaiah says that God doesn't get faint or weary. So how literally should we take those texts that oppose each other?

Almost all of the scripture texts used by the writer are from the Old Testament. Not that I have anything against the Old Testament, but the New Testament has a far more enlightened understanding of God. The New Testament presents a Lord that is learning, struggling with pain, talking to the Father, sleeping on rocks, weeping, saying we can understand what the Father does, been surprised at times, says that he isn't "good" but only God is, has a resurrected physical body that the apostles felt, was afraid to go through suffering, came as our servant, etc.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

What is Satan Like?

During the Dark Ages the Catholic church presented the idea of Satan and his followers being red with pointy tails, pitchforks and two horns on their heads. They were made to look as scary as possible. Further, they were presented as being there to roast people over a raging fire. Yet what do the Scriptures tell us?

"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." Revelation 12:7-9

So here we have Satan leading his group of "angels". And we have Michael (an angel of God) leading his group of "angels". So whatever an "angel" looks like both must be the same. Can we imagine that God's angels are red with pitchforks etc.? I don't think so. These angels appeared to servants of God throughout the ages.

Then we have the conversation where Satan appears to Moses after the Lord did _

"Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit has not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is your glory, for it is darkness to me? And I can judge between you and God; for God said to me: Worship God, for him only shall you serve." Moses 1:15

So here we have Moses saying that Satan's glory is darkness instead of light.

Further understanding comes from the following verses _

"And now, when Moses had said these words, Satan cried with a loud voice, and ranted upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory." Moses 1:19-20

A couple of things stand out here. Firstly I was brought up to believe that Satan was intelligent. But here we have Satan throwing a tantrum and thudding the ground because he can't get his way. But also note that because Moses then began to fear that Satan suddenly had power over him. It wasn't until he called upon God to help him that Satan's power over him ended. So Satan's power over us can only be felt if we turn to lust, anger, hatred, fear, greed and any of those darkside feelings.

Matthew quotes Christ on 3 occasions saying how that wicked church members will be cast into "outer darkness" (Matt 8:12, 22:13, 25:30) in the final judgement. Yet Christ also refers to "hell" as being like a fire that all the wicked must suffer. Alma points out that this is just a way to explain it and that it is only "as" a lake of fire and brimstone; there is no real fire (Alma 12:17).

This helps us understand why Christ refers to people having to suffer a fire and yet be in darkness. It also tosses out the concept of red devils in fire.

So what does Satan look like? He looks like any other spirit. He has two arms and two legs etc. The difference is that although you can see his spirit body's matter, all is darkness around and through him. His thinking is totally distorted and he seeks evil continually. He is miserable but certainly would argue otherwise. His only power is that which comes from your incorrect emotions (as we see from the Moses incident).

Friday, March 15, 2013

Answering Anti-Mormon Stuff - The Trinity

TRINITY: “I will preach on the plurality of Gods.…I have always declared God to be a distinct personage, Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods.” —Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1976, p. 370
“In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted [prepared] a plan to create the world and people it.”—Joseph Smith, 1844, History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 308
How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds.…”—2nd Prophet Brigham Young, 1859, Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333
“Joseph Smith taught a plurality of gods, and that man by obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will become a god.”—Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1, 1954, p. 98
TRINITY: One God who is revealed in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
MATTHEW 28:19: “...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
  • Tritheism: The view that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate Gods
  • Modalism: The view that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all one person or modes of manifestations
  1. THE FATHER IS GOD: Philippians 2:11·
  2. THE SON IS GOD: John 20:28; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; Hebrews 1:8; Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 9:6; Colossians 2:9, John 1:1
  3. THE HOLY SPIRIT IS GOD: Acts 5:3-4
  4. Yet there are not three “Gods” but only ONE GOD: Isaiah 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:21-22; 46:9
ISAIAH 44:6, 8: “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.…Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.”

As I stated last time only the Standard Works are Scripture to us. None of these quotes of past GAs in the church are anything more than their personal opinion, and have not been sustained by the church membership as revelations from God. Note the following from a church President, made when he was the church President.

President Harold B. Lee in a European area conference:
"If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth."  The First Area General Conference for Germany, Austria, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and Spain of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, held in Munich Germany, August 24-26, 1973, with Reports and Discourses, 69.

Now to the claims of a Biblical Trinity.

Firstly we have a non-descript attempt at explaining what God is, other than to say that he reveals himself as 3 different people.

Then we have a quote from Matthew which doesn't disagree with Mormon doctrine in the slightest. We also believe in those 3 separate people.

He denies Modalism yet he also believes there are 3 beings, not separated but as one being - sounds like Modalism to me.

Next he quotes Philippians 2:11 _
"And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

He mentions that this demonstrates that God is the Father. Yet it additionally mentions that Jesus is classified as "Lord." What is more it is stating that Jesus does things to glorify God. This is declaring that Jesus isn't God in the ultimate sense, but Heavenly Father is.

Next he quotes John 20:28 _
"And Thomas answered and said to him, My Lord and my God."

We also know that Jesus has acted as a God to this planet in behalf of the Father. Yet as John 5:19-20 says, "Then answered Jesus and said to them, surely, surely, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do: for what things soever he does, these also does the Son likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all things that himself does: and he will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel."

So Jesus is saying that he needs instructions from God the Father as to what to do.

Additionally "You have heard how I said to you, I go away, and come again to you. If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I." John 14:28

This is saying that the Father is greater than the Jesus Christ. So if Jesus is God in the ultimate sense then how can anything be greater than Jesus is?

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Titus 2:13

This doesn't explain whether it is talking of Christ appearing as "the great God" or Heavenly Father appearing with Christ. So its interpretation is arguable.

2 Peter 1:1 also suffers from this same problem.

"But to the Son he said, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom." Hebrews 1:8

These are the words that God the Father said to his Son. Let's look at some verses in the same chapter also on the same subject.

"Being made so much better than the angels, as he has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels said he at any time, You are my Son, this day have I begotten you? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?" Hebrews 1:4-5

In other words God made Christ at some point. And also he gave him a more excellent inheritance. Now how could he need to do that if Jesus was already God the ultimate and had no beginning as a God?

Next note _

"You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows." Hebrews 1:9

So because Christ demonstrated that he loved righteousness more than his fellow spirits Jesus Christ's God gave him a special position. It doesn't sould anything like a trinity to me.

"See, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23

We don't doubt that Jesus is the God appointed to this earth, as he earned his position by his righteousness. Yet Jesus himself is said to have grown "in wisdom" and "in favor with God" over time (Luke 2:52).

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

We've already looked at why he is called God. The term "everlasting Father" can create some confusion. We know he is the Father of the creation. He directed the creation. Secondly he is the Father in the sense that he did the works of the Father.

"For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Colossians 2:9

Let's look at the next verse after this one _

"And you are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." Colossians 2:10

The word "fulness" in verse 9 comes from the Greek word "pleroo", meaning to fill up something. The word "complete" in verse 10 comes from the Greek word "pleroma" referring to what is filled.

So verses 9 and 10 are saying that because Christ is filled with all the qualities of the Godhead, the church members in him are also filled with this fulness. This doesn't make them all God as well. This wasn't the meaning of verse 9.

Quoting John 1:1 makes an interesting problem in regard who's version of the Bibles in print we read. Additionally to that it depends on whether we look at the idea that it should be interpreted in symbolic form (as is often argued in Protestant churches). But let's look at the most common Protestant interpretation _

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1

Well that sounds totally confusing: A word WITH God but who IS God. Yet if we read this a common Protestant way it has the Father needing to have the Son because otherwise he'll be missing the word.

However some point out that the text can equally be translated "and the word was a God". This would make it consistant with the rest of the New Testament that rejects a trinity.

We don't deny that the Holy Spirit acts in behalf of the Father and the Son.

In regard the next line of quotes we don't disagree that Jesus Christ is the God conducting all things pertaining to this planet. He is the only God for here and beside him there is no God.

It must be understood that the Old Testament was given to a hard hearted people who still wouldn't follow God even after seeing miracles. Jesus wasn't going to confuse the issue by explaining that he actually had a Father in Old Testament times. Even in the New Testament to the Jews he still stuck to the Law given to Moses. It was only when people came out to listen to him to learn that he gave instructions such as the Sermon on the Mount. Here he expressed that God was OUR Father. He also explained that God was quite understandable.

In regard the trinity let's look at the following quote from Luke _

"And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? none is good, save one, that is, God." Luke 18:19

Jesus is declared that he is not "good" (whatever that meant in Hebrew), and that only God is. So how can he be God?

Jesus prayed to God on his knees and in regard to his apostles and those who believed their words Jesus said _

"That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:21

So Jesus is asking the Father that in the same way he and the Father are one, that all these others may also be one in them. So if we are to believe this was a trinity, it now has thousands of additional people in that one God. Obviously he wasn't really saying he is one in substance with God anymore than the apostles were one.

I would pose the question to trinitarians in regard their god; how can they regard Christ suffered on the cross since he was also supposedly in heaven with God at the same time? Or why did God need an angel to come and give him strength (Luke 22:43)? And how could part of himself leave himself (Matt 27:46)? Why was he praying to himself, didn't he know what himself was going to say (John chapter 17)?

The trinitarian idea has more Biblical holes than a sponge.

Friday, February 22, 2013

What Does the Bible Say About Praying to Mary?

Though I was basically brought up going to various Protestant churches, my mother had been brought up with a Catholic mother. We went into open Catholic churches during the week when out in the city.

My mother would go in and dip her hand in the "holy water" (which was in a receptacle just inside the door) and cross herself. We then would walk down the center isle and she would come to the pew she was thinking of going into and she would then kneel and cross herself again. Then she would go into the isle for the pew. Upon deciding where to set herself she would again kneel and cross herself. She would then pray and pondered on things.

I looked around and noticed women with beads in their hands mumbling things. I asked my mother about what they were doing. She explained that they were rosary beads. That they were going through them until they got to the cross at the end.

It all left me wondering about why they did it and my mother didn't. But it wasn't any major concern to me.

I finally got to ask my mother what they were saying. The beads are made up of a series of 10 beads followed by a larger bead, then ten more beads. There are five sets of 10 beads. The ones I'd like to discuss is what is said for the 5 sets of 10 beads. The person holds on to a bead and says the following as a prayer _

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen"

The idea of this chant is that if you get Mary to speak to God (a part of whom they believe to be Jesus Christ) on your behalf, he is more likely to listen to her.

But is this idea correct?

Let's look at some of things in the Bible that demonstrate Christ's perception of this _

"And it came to pass, as he spoke these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said to him, Blessed is the womb that bare you, and the paps which you did sucked. But he said, Yes rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." Luke 11:27-28

So Christ has said that those who hear the word of God and keep it are more blessed than his mother's womb or paps. So he doesn't appear to have some strange affiliation with his mother beyond the usual.

And note the following _

"While he yet talked to the people, look, his mother and his brothers stood outside, desiring to speak with him. Then one said to him, Look, your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to speak with you. But he answered and said to him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brothers? And he stretched forward his hand toward his disciples, and said, Look my mother and my brothers! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother." Matthew 12:46-50

So this is saying that any female who lives the teachings of Christ is considered a mother by him. Therefore if it was acceptable to God to pray to Mary we would be able to pray to these other women to talk to him also.

In regard the ten repetitions of the "Hail Mary" Jesus said _

"But when you pray, don't use vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Don't you be like them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him." Matthew 6:7-8

Therefore Christ is saying not to repeat prayers over and over. He says that the Father already knows what you want to pray about, so it is pointless repeating it.

Now what does Christ say about who to pray to? Does he say to pray to Mary or Peter (perhaps)?

"And in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say to you, Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you." John 16:23

Christ has promised that sincerely asking Heavenly Father through his name will bring answers. No mention of praying to Mary.

It should be pointed out that many say, "I prayed for this and didn't get it." The request must be sincere for the right response. Also the thing the person is asking for may not be the best for some or all concerned. It is interesting to note that Joseph was sold into slavery and then put in prison; yet these were for his good. I'm sure he didn't appreciate the experience at the time. But he came out a better man for it. His faith persisted in spite of these setbacks.

Remember to pray to our Heavenly Father in the name of Jesus Christ. And say the things you mean. And only say them once.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Examination of Another Anti-Mormon Site

The following is from a site that purports to be showing that our doctrine doesn't fit with the Bible. But let's first look at these claims and then examine them.

MORMONISM = A “Restored” Gospel
“Since the departure from the true gospel of Christ was to be universal…it would follow that a restoration would be necessary. Such a restoration is the message of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”—Apostle LeGrand Richards, A Marvelous Work And A Wonder, 1976, p. 32
Nothing less than a complete apostasy from the Christian religion would warrant the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”—History of the Church, vol. 1, p. XL
“We talk about Christianity, but it is a perfect pack of nonsense.…it is as corrupt as hell; and the Devil could not invent a better engine to spread his work than the Christianity of the nineteenth century.”—Apostle John Taylor (who would eventually become 3rd Prophet), 1858, Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 167
“What is it that inspires professors of Christianity generally with a hope of salvation? It is that smooth, sophisticated influence of the devil, by which he deceives the whole world.”—Joseph Smith, History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 218
“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join.…I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt.…”—Joseph Smith—History 1:18-19
“And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil.…”—1 Nephi 14:10, Book of Mormon
“ ‘Will everybody be damned, but Mormons?Yes, and a great portion of them, unless they repent, and work righteousness.”—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, compiled by Joseph Fielding Smith, 1976, p. 119
“There is no salvation outside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, pp. 1-350.)”—Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 670
BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY = An everlasting Gospel which has endured for “all generations”—never to disappear from the earth. Paul warned about those who would preach another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Jesus prophesied that the “gates of hell” wouldn’t prevail against His church, and in so doing, He ruled out complete apostasy (Matthew 16:18). Thus, the Gospel would never have to be restored (Jude 3). Ephesians 3:21 states: “to Him be the glory in the church…to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” How can an apostate church give glory to God throughout “all generations”?
GALATIANS 1:6-9: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel.…but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
2 CORINTHIANS 11:3-4: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
JUDE 3: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once [for all time] delivered unto the saints.”
HEBREWS 12:28: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.”
MATTHEW 16:18: “…I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
EPHESIANS 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. A-men”
1 TIMOTHY 3:15: “…that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

This is the first subject he rose. I'll get to others in further posts.

Firstly I should state that twice a year we have general conferences. Every member in the world has a gathering where they live. At those conferences members get to sustain what is Scripture for us all. We ALL sustain only 4 books. Those books are the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. Anything else is merely the opinion of an individual. We don't hold every word of Apostles or Presidents of the church to be the mind and will of God, unless those particular words are sustained as such. So whether or not some of these other quotes are generally believed that doesn't make them the opinion of the church (i.e. Latter-Day Saints) unless they are supported from the Scriptures. I would be doing an injustice to other members to feel that I must explain these opinions as if all must share them.

The only Scriptural text that has been quoted is that from Nephi. If I said to a Protestant that any church which isn't the church of Christ, yet posed itself as one, was evil, the majority would agree with Nephi. I don't see any problem with that statement.

So now I will turn to what the writer terms "Biblical Christianity," and we can see if it is. Does the Bible present the ideas claimed here?

His first claim is that there is "an everlasting Gospel which has endured for 'all generations' -never to disappear from the earth." Is that the truth? All generations? The Bible doesn't say that the people at the Tower of Babel had the Gospel. A missing generation? The only time the Bible mentions that the Gospel was preached for the first 4 thousand years was to the Israelites by Moses. And it says they rejected it. Protestantism doesn't support an "all generations" Gospel.

Interestingly we are one of the few churches which supports the fact that the gospel went into hiding and was not destroyed. We know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was always existent, from Adam onward. We know that the apostle John lived through all those years (as Christ prophesied he would) and turning up to re-establish the church organisation through Joseph Smith. John wasn't the only translated being either.

The apostle John prophesied that the "woman" (which many Protestants accept as being the church of Jesus Christ) went into hiding. Then she eventually came out of hiding (having never being destroyed by the "gates of hell" MATTHEW 16:18, JUDE 3).

In regard Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4; These are stating that there were people in the church at the time that were trying to teach false doctrines. He is saying to stick by what they have been taught by him. So the question is, is it some Protestant church, the Catholic church or Church of Jesus Christ of LDS that is teaching what Paul originally taught? As it is us then those other churches are teaching another Gospel.

In regard Hebrews 12:28 if we read it as the writer wishes us to then I've answered that point already. However I tend to see the "kingdom" referred to here as being our inheritance in heaven rather than earth.

1 TIMOTHY 3:15 has nothing to do with supporting any of his ideas.

The question now becomes, was an apostasy and false doctrine foretold to enter into the church, in the Bible?

The writer has quoted two instances of such - Galatians 1:6-9; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4. These demonstrate that there were those changing the Gospel back then.

Also we have _

1 Corinthians 1:10-13 "Now I urge you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you says, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul?"

This is demonstrating that they all were divided with different gospels at the time they had apostles among them. So how much worse would it have got when there wasn't any?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 "Now we urge you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him, that you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there comes a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

So Paul is saying that they should not expect Christ to come at their time, because a falling away had to come first. Obviously it isn't talking about just some individuals, as that always happens. He is talking of an entire falling away.

Acts 20:29-30 "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."

So there were to come many teaching another Gospel in the church. These drew many to follow their ways.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables."

Paul is saying that the time will come when the church will only have ministers and priests that teach what they want to hear.

2 Peter 3:15-16 "And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction."

Here it is speaking of those in the church that are twisting the scriptures to their own destruction. Unfortunately they pass these ideas onto others.

1 Corinthians 11:17-18 "Now in this that I declare to you I don't praise you, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it."

More talk of divisions within the church.

Titus 1:10-11 "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they should not, for filthy money's sake."

So this is presenting that many (mostly those who believed in circumcision) were converting entire families to false doctrines. These were doing it as paid ministers. Which, of course, rules out our missionaries, as they are not paid.

The Bible has demonstrated that an apostasy, of the church, from the Gospel would occur. And stated that it had already started.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Speculation and Deep Doctrine

First we should look at what deep doctine actually is. It is often associated with things we don't know. But its true meaning would be better defined as things that are beyond that being delivered in Gospel Doctrine classes.

We have a standard doctrine that is being taught in Gospel Doctrine classes. But many recognise the importance of developing our knowledge beyond the milk. They will attempt to get the conversation in the GD class to advance beyond where it is. But this will fail because the reason it is where it is, is because the class, as a whole, don't wish to advance beyond where they are.

The same applies to priesthood classes. As I hear the questions given and the answers I feel like someone has put 5 cents in the slot and pushed the button for answer number 49. "Why should we do Home Teaching, brethren?" "That's right, because Christ said to." That's deep. I'm glad I was there for that information.

So many in the church cry out for something better than a reply by a ventriloquist's doll.

The problem on the other hand is that so many want to become doctrinal experts so that others will hold them in a place of honor. We end up with sites dedicated to speculation: Groups will discuss the subject all presenting their personal opinion. These will be discussed backward and forward with absolutely no real conclusion. Thus people are lucky to actually learn anything; which defies the point of such discussion. But they see themselves as some doctinal expert. They miss the simplistic answer because their heads are too much up in the clouds. They have gone well beyond the mark.

So what is the answer to learning deep doctrine?

First we must have the right purpose. We plan on being able to assist the endless intelligences that wait for some God to come along and give them these opportunities. Are you willing to help out? If so then you will need to know what you are doing. Then there are those things that if you search your heart honestly you will find you want to know. You needn't hide your head in the sand and pretend you can't see them anymore. You can come out and go to God with true purpose of heart. And if you do this sincerely you will begin to get those answers.

Getting the Holy Ghost as a constant companion doesn't just come because someone placed his hands on your head with authority and says the magic words. You have to invite him in by listening to his counsel and following it. In the process he will help you learn the answers to the questions that others just wander around asking but never have an answer to.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Spirit of Christmas or Santa?

I consider myself blessed in that I had a brother who informed me that there was no such thing as Santa when I was about 4 years old. Though his intentions weren't good, it was very helpful that then my Mother told me the truth when I asked her. For starters it was to her credit that I could know that my mother was an honest person when faced with it. Additionally this gave credit to her claim that there was a God.

So many children pass through Christmas with only the thought of what they are going to get. It becomes a very selfish time. In addition it gives the child the idea that regardless of how they've conducted their lives that Santa felt them good enough to get lots of toys. Some see this as that they are cleaver enough to have put it over on an adult (Santa).

Then there is the problem that Aunts and Uncles become objects that they see as suppliers of presents, rather than appreciating their affection for them.

It wasn't Santa that offered the gift. Heavenly Father sent us the gift at the birth of Christ. It is he that should be honored for the idea of giving gifts.

One last thing is in regard family at Christmas time. There are those without family to spend Christmas with. Let me say that we all have a Heavenly Father and an older brother in Jesus Christ. They are there with us at Christmas, provided we invite them in.

I wish you and your families and friends a Great Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Setting our Vietnams Right

I was recently watching a movie about some people who went into Vietnam to rescue POW's (Prisoners of War). The film had Americans killed in the process and they only managed to rescue 4 POW's. I looked at that with mixed feelings. But there was an additional aspect to it that the film brought out.

One of the team that went in had a son that he was informed by the POW's had died prior to the raid. When he returned to the states he and his wife hugged and cried tears of relief. They looked happy that they could now lay it to rest and move forward with their lives.

This is an interesting aspect to our lives: The ability to move ahead when difficulties occur. It is very easy to live in the past or the negative problems of the present. It is true that we have to deal with these things as best we can. But we have to accept our limitations sometimes. Or accept to have patience when that is necessary.

In the case of the movie they had a Vietnam to go back to in order to try and set things right. And sometimes we are fortunate to have a Vietnam. But mostly we must move forward having learnt from our mistakes. I'm thankful for repentance and a loving Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ who teach us how to live.

Let me add my very deep thanks to those Vietnam veterans who saved South East Asia from the attempted Chinese Empire.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Can Mormons be Classified as "Christians?"

The word "Christ" comes from the Greek meaning "the anointed one." So, technically, to be classified as a "Christian" a person only need have belief in the fact that the anointed one exists. No one is qualified to dispute the right of the person to use this title beyond that.

Mormon doctrine includes the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is this Christ. It declares that he was born and raised as we all are. It states that he performed an atonement for our sins if we truly repent; and then died and was resurrected from the dead to make a resurrection that all share in.

Up to this point all those religions professing Christ don't differ. But as we go into what all this really means and what God wants, the different religions start to drift apart in opinion. Even various ministers within the same religions can be at total variance with each other.

I remember years ago watching a game show on television, called "Tell the Truth." Three people were presented all claiming to be Bill Jones (for example). And a panel asked them questions. In the end it was up to us to guess who we felt was the real Bill Jones. This certainly reminds me of this situation where we are invited to find out who the real Jesus Christ is. The religion to be qualified as the most Christian would be the one that is most correct about Jesus Christ.

It is plain, by the many religions we have professing Christ, that the Bible presents much confusion in interpretation. This is no wonder considering its size and the many types of people it had to deal with over the time. We have everything from the hard hearted people following Moses to the more spiritually prepared Elijah or Peter. God had to deliver a message to both these types of people in the one volume. It's like if you had two children, and told one of them they could plug in power cables and told the other they couldn't (because the second was too young to do it safely). If you had to do this in a volume where one wouldn't see the idea and the other would, it presents a real problem.

The wisest place to turn to in order to understand Jesus Christ is to look to his words to those spiritually ready to understand. Additionally his actions should be examined. So let's look at the real Jesus of the New Testament; where he was there before us to see in real life situations.

Firstly we find that he was born as other human beings are: He spent the time in the womb before coming out. Upon coming out he was wrapped in cloth (Luke 2:7) demonstrating that he couldn't walk. He had to learn just like we all do. The Bible mentions nothing of him being able to talk at that stage either. The Bible goes on to tell us that Jesus grew in spirit and became filled with wisdom (Luke 2:40). So we still have a very human Jesus.

The apostle Paul refers to Jesus Christ as "the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 2:5) (Note also Acts 2:22), even after his death and resurrection. So we know he is a man. Yet we also know that he was specially chosen by God to be the mediator between us and God to have us saved from our sins (1 Tim 2:5).

While we know that Jesus was a man born as we are we are additionally told that he is the Great I Am of the Old Testament. So here we find that he had become Jehovah of the OT. He stated that he was their only God. And yet when referred to as being "good" Jesus himself stated that he wasn't "good" but only God was (Matt 19:17). Thus he at that stage of his existence had not become a God. This seems a contradiction, but I'll get to that.

We note that Jesus didn't have the authority to take priesthood onto himself, but had to be called of God like all men _

"So also Christ didn't glorify himself to be made an high priest; but [was called by] he that said to him, You are my Son, to day have I begotten you." Hebrews 5:5

This creates an interesting understanding to the real Christ. Jesus has come as a human like us, yet he had an immortal father. We find that all things past, present and future are before God right now (eternity) (D&C 130:7). (This is also demonstrated by his ability to know future events). So upon becoming resurrected Christ had reached the stage where he was "good" also. He then became the God of the Old Testament - the Great I Am, and is going through this earth time as a God. For those with no understanding of how eternity works this seems terribly confusing. But as we seek to understand we begin to see it.

Christ also taught the manner in which we should pray is to pray to the Father through the name of Jesus Christ (John 16:23, Matt 6:9). This correct manner of prayer brings us closer to the Father and the Christ.

We must also come to realise that the Bible doesn't teach a trinity. Jesus was God's Son. Jesus stated that he didn't want to perform the atonement but would do so because the Father asked him to. Jesus asked God why he had forsaken him at the time of his death. Jesus went out and spent the night praying to the Father. Jesus had an angel come and help him in his performance of the atonement in the garden. Jesus asked that his apostles would become one with him and the Father. That they would be 14 in one. Obviously this was demonstrating that the idea is a symbolic concept.

Jesus taught that people aren't saved by just saying his name, but we must obey the Father (Matt 7:21). He taught that works are essential to our gaining the kingdom of heaven (Matt 25:31-46). Yet we also are taught that being saved from being in hell itself doesn't require works, but true faith that will create a new person who does good works.

"For by grace you are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, in case any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:8-10

There are many ideas that the Bible shows about the true Christ. These are very important to our understanding of what is required of us. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has more of these biblically correct points and must therefore be declared the most "Christian."

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Husband / Wife (Partner) / Child Physical / Verbal Abuse in Marriage.

We hear a lot about this subject. It is a serious problem that takes place to some degree in almost every family home throughout the world. Many times it is subtle. Yet other times it is obvious in one gender and very subtle in the other.

In my first area of a mission (being an industrial area) I found physical violence took place in around 33% of homes. This was plain to hear as we would walk down the street at night time and hear the arguments with crashes and thuds. Not that it was all taking place at once, but continually walking down the same streets to get to where we were working we would eventually hear it.

My second area was very different in that it was a tourist resort; and the people were more involved in making money and their own personal lives. This meant the average couple were barely seeing each other and had no children - it was like there was no family.

In spite of this latter statement there are still subtle signs of one ruling the other. They will profess that there are no arguments and that they get on well. But continued observation demonstrates that is false. Watch an older couple as the wife tells the husband not to do something. He obeys. She may even slap his hand if he doesn't, while still professing they have no violence.

"I may miss the mark, but I don’t think by far, when I say that those who verbally or physically abuse their wives or husbands or those who degrade or demean or exercise unrighteous dominion in a marriage are not keeping the covenant." F. Howard Burton 173 Annual Conference.

I certainly agree with Bro. Burton's statement concerning temple covenants and the wives and husbands. This is not God's way.

Verbal violence usually comes in subtle ways, while physical violence is often more obvious to observe. Some may quote the old saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." This is said to suggest that verbal violence and nagging aren't that bad. But these can have long reaching effects.

For example a woman constantly nagging her husband can drive him to avoid coming home after work. He can get into the habit of going to the hotel for drinks with his work mates. Before long he can have become an alcoholic; and spending the family money on it. Then the wife is nagging even more because of the money situation. This drives him even further away from the family. With this comes low self-esteem and feelings of guilt.

Equally we can have a husband that constantly puts his wife down. She withdraws, and can even turn to legal drugs.

These types of effects are destined to create problems with the children unless the children learn positive things they should be doing from seeing the negative effects of their parents behavior. But the latter is asking a lot of the children.

My observations on a mission and since have shown the sad tale that women subtly or violently rule the home or the husband bashes the wife. Why is this so? It is because people have refused to learn from God's original statement that the man is actually to rule in the home in love. We can water it down to make it different to what the Scriptures say, to appease Women's Libbers. But it won't change reality. The truth still stands.

In looking at this I know that there is a general conception that men are the ones responsible for violence within the home. However claims are made that this is a false perception. The following are some statistics that have been presented to me _

"The federal government itself sponsored a study of "fatal child abuse", something many feminazis don't even comprehend, but which in the real world is nothing short of murder (or, actually, when killing innocent, defenseless children, it's the most cowardly and heinous form of murder imaginable)

It illustrates that, compared to children in families, children in single-mother households are:

20 times more likely to be fatally abused.
22 times more likely to be seriously abused.
20 times more likely to be moderately abused.
27 times more likely to be emotionally neglected.
50 times more likely to be physically neglected.
55 times more likely to be educationally neglected."

In a report from Canada we find the following _

"Only in the Domestic Violence area did the number of women killed (109) exceed the number of men killed (77). However the feminists ignore the high rate of women killing men in domestic violence cases and act as if only women are the victims. Clearly they are the perpetrators in family killings at a rate not far behind men.
Women who kill can count on getting off completely or getting substantially lower sentences than men in similar situations."

"Violence against family members is something women do at least as often as men! There are dozens of solid scientific studies that reveal a startlingly different picture of family violence than what we usually see in the media. For instance:
Women are three times more likely than men to use weapons in spousal violence.
Women initiate most incidents of spousal violence.
Women commit most child abuse and most elder abuse.
Women hit their male children more frequently and more severely than they hit their female children.
Women commit most child murders and 64% of their victims are male children.
When women murder adults the majority of their victims are men.
Women commit 52% of spousal killings and are convicted of 41% of spousal murders.
Eighty two percent of the general population had their first experience of violence at the hands of women."
Complete scientific citations are included in this report. Leading researchers have validated the statistics used here, "Murray Straus (a sociologist and co-director for the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire) verified the statistics from his report . . .and Richard Gelles of the University of Rhode Island and author of Intimate Violence and other studies, also validated the statistics used by matching it to previous research." Alice Lovejoy, Brown University. "Counter Punch")"

My own limited research has found that women admit to having been the original perpetrators of using objects in every case.

Yet should a man be domineering in running the home? Obviously not. And God doesn't suggest such a thing. God speaks of the woman being part of the man's flesh. God has man loving his wives, not abusing them. But God does have the man as the final decision maker as surely as the bishop must make a final decision when getting counsel from his counselors. A stake president must make a final decision when receiving counsel from the high counselors and his counselors. This is God's way. He knows that you can't have 2 presidents in the church or the home.

It is nothing short of airy-fairy nonsense to talk of 2 people being able to come to the same decision every time, unless both are subservient to Christ in all things and are led by the Spirit in all things.
What do the Scriptures tell us concerning this? _

1 Pet 3:1 "Likewise, you wives, be in subjection to your own husbands..."
1 Pet 3:6 "Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord..."
1 Tim 2:12-13 "But I suffer a woman not to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve."
Eph 5:24 "Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be subject to their own husbands in every thing."
Moses 4:22 "To the woman, I, the Lord God, said: I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception. In sorrow you shall bring forth children, and your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you." (See also Gen 3:16)

This is what God has directed to be said. There isn't some other way that God forgot about at the time. It is true that marriage partners are equal in that they have the same value before God. They are equal in that their opinion is important to be heard. But in the end it is the man who is required to seek counsel of the Lord and make the final decision.

When families are run the way that God has directed then these problems of abuse will cease. In the meantime if you are one of those not supporting God's way it is senseless pointing the finger at those with noticeable problems in these areas.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Is the Book of Mormon More Correct than the D&C and PofGP?

Joseph Smith recorded _
"I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book." History of the Church, 4:461

This statement presents a lot of questions. The most obvious being what of the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price? Are these books less correct than the Book of Mormon?

I believe that Joseph Smith wasn't thinking of the D&C and PofGP as finished books at the time of making this statement. After all additions to them were made afterward, by himself. I believe his statement refers to the Book of Mormon relative to the Bible. He is presenting that as the Bible has been doctored, the Book of Mormon is more correct.

Yet still on the title page of the Book of Mormon, Moroni states _
"And now, if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God" Introduction, Title Page

So Moroni has accepted that mistakes can still occur when man is writing or dictating Scripture. And he has accepted that such mistakes can exist in the work they have put on gold plates. Additionally several times throughout the Book of Mormon the writers refer to the problems they have expressing their real meanings, due to the sloppiness of hieroglyphics.

Moroni states _
"...and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, you would have had no imperfection in our record." Mormon 9:33

So again we have Moroni stating that imperfections exist in the Book of Mormon. Yet he believes that writing in Hebrew would resolve the problem.

Another point that members tend to raise in a positive light for the Book of Mormon relative to other sets of our Scriptures, is that it is written for our day. However that isn't correct. It would be correct to say that it was compiled on the gold plates for our value today. But it was written for the people at the time. Alma (for example) was not writing to us. He was writing for the value of his people. As surely as Moses wasn't writing in the Old Testament to us just because we have it today either. He was writing to the people of his time mostly.

In regard the Doctrine and Covenants it states at the front _
"The Doctrine and Covenants is a collection of divine revelations and inspired declarations given for the establishment and regulation of the kingdom of God on the earth in the last days." Explanatory Introduction

So the D&C was written for our time much more than the Book of Mormon was.

The completing of the D&C and PofGP as finished books brings them equal status as Keystones to our religion. The D&C contains many unique doctrines that aren't contained in the Book of Mormon. And the PofGP teaches many different things. The whole concept of continued revelation is more evident by the creation of the D&C than the one off revelatory interpretation of the gold plates.

This brings us down to the question of whether the Book of Mormon will get you nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than the Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price? This is one place where the Book of Mormon wins. The teachings that Christ presented in the ancient Americas contain the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in its perfect form. There is nowhere else where it is more clearly stated than in 3rd Nephi.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Freedom of Thought - Brainwashed?

One of the main complaints relative to our religion is that it removes independent thinking. There is talk of us being mindwashed: That we just do and think whatever we are told to by church "leaders." Just how accurate is this perception?

When we look at this subject we have to look around at just how much mindwashing exists all around us. I'd like to start with looking at those things mostly not related to religion to demonstrate the point. We are convinced of a lot of ideas that have absolutely no evidence for being true.

For example when I was younger we had been mindwashed to believe that the rings around Saturn were either made of gases or an oil-like substance. And secondly that they were continuous. This was pumped into us through school and within society. Yet when a probe finally passed Saturn both claims were found to be false. It was made of rocks and in fragments.

I was brought up to believe that I should feel guilty, being a white person, because of all these suppressive things we have done to the natives all over the world. We had been mindwashed to believe that the natives had a bliss of ignorance. However upon growing up and looking at the situation of how those people lived, prior to white man, I discovered the nonsense in that idea: People eating their babies because of being traditionally too lazy to plant crops, people dying from superstition because a witch doctor pointed a bone at them, populations being low because of constant war between tribes, entire peoples with their way of living being heavy drug taking, people who rejected new ideas and expelled those who came up with them, fierce pride that made it that apologies were out of the question and duels had to occur to right the situation (as a way of life), etc. (depending upon which peoples we are speaking of).

We have women trying to pretend they are men by wearing business suits, cutting their hair, getting a career, and trying to prove how tough they are. I'm waiting to see them out on the golf course next. They feel that somehow this makes them a superior woman.

The most appropriate example in this thought is when people talk of brainwashing. This enforces the myth that the brain is actually capable of thinking, just because it can product electrical impulses when thinking activity is happening. If it wasn't for mindwashing people would realise just how ridiculously impossible it is for something as small as a brain to hold your memories for an entire lifetime (or even one year).

We have been mindwashed to believe that someone can have a device that can determine accurately how old an item is. What is more we have been persuaded to believe that it must be accurate when it talks of something being MILLIONS of years old. I mean, what nonsense! How can people be so deceived? Considering that the real accuracy for carbon dating has been shown to be nothing short of pathetic (in spite of claims of scientists) how can we go on to believe in even more ancient dating methods?

We have a society that has been persuaded to believe that homosexuality is natural and that people are born that way. Yet dogs all around us are not demonstrating such activity where a dog will allow another dog to place his penis up the others rear end. And in spite of the fact that I've observed male dogs even trying to have sex with a lamp post, I have never seen a female dog licking another female in the vagina. So what happened to nature there? We should be seeing high percentages of such.

In the 60s and 70s people were told that pornography should be made more readily available, and that this would decrease rape, as would be rapists would just masturbate themselves, thus decreasing the need to rape. Hmmmmm.

People in the 60s and 70s were told to stop smacking their disobedient children, as smacking made the children more violent. They presented that stopping smacking would make children less violent, and thus violence in children would virtually cease. Er...yeah...

We have been mindwashed to believe there is good and bad cholesterol, that the stars are definitely a certain distance from each other, that there really was a dinosaur age, and an ice age, and some believe that Corn Flakes and McDonalds are actually healthy for us.

Having looked at the world around us briefly, this leads us to question just how religion itself is affected by mindwashing? Does religion increase the mindwashing problem or save us from the society's mindwashing?

There isn't an absolute answer to that question, as it depends on what people believe. It particularly depends on whether people allow themselves to be mindwashed without any thinking things through.

For example if I deliberately choose to ignore contradictions in my religious beliefs, then my religion is as useless as these other philosophies of the world I have quoted. I must be prepared to be honest with myself and accept that contradictions must be thought through and answered. The more I bury my head in the sand and pretend not to see contradictions the more I will become blinded and the further in the sand I will have to stick my head to ignore what I really know.

Some have said to me that I have just been mindwashed to believe these things. Yet the truth is that I virtually have changed my mind about everything since I was young. And this was due to several factors. One of them definitely being those things presented by the church. I was raised believing in the Protestant/Catholic (and partially Old Testament) god. It took many years of study of Scripture, discussion with the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father himself to come to find the true God. I had to unmindwash an enormous amount of stuff.

Our society is mindwashed to believe that evil is good and good is for the weak minded. We are mindwashed to believe that wealth and fame brings happiness. We are told that revenge is sweet, there is nothing better than lustful sex, being rich is good, etc.

So how does my religion go with this? God tells us this seemingly amazing concept that forgiveness is sweet. What??? Forgiveness is sweet? You have got to be joking, we question? Yet we try it out and eventually find it works. Mindwashing? Have I been mindwashed or has my mind now become free? I feel uplifted by following that advice instead of what the world says. It is true that hearing that idea expressed from the pulpit over and over finally got me to follow the idea and gain the benefits of forgiving others. My heart feels so much happier. So one mindwashing has been used to bring me to realise that the other mindwashing was false. Is that a bad thing? Obviously not.

And this is the way I find with all true religious concepts. Lust mixed with love seemed good until I found full love without lust. Possessing seemed good until I found the full feelings of giving without worldly reward. Interestingly that latter came by pure chance. However recognising what had happened came from the mindwashing that I had heard all my life (that it is better to give than receive). I had always disputed that in my heart, feeling that I enjoyed getting Christmas presents more than giving them to others. Then I went on a mission just before Christmas. My family and friends hadn't had time to find my address and send me a present before Christmas. But I was out on a mission serving others. For the first time I felt that feeling inside myself of how much happier I felt just thinking of others instead of what I was going to get.

While on the one hand I allow God to mindwash me, on the other hand he has had a hard job getting me to listen over the years. So his mindwashing has been done with lots of examination and reluctance by me. Fortunately I have broken down enormously, as he's been so consistently right (all the time) in spite of how absurd some of those ideas have seemed to me over the years. He and Jesus Christ have shown me miraculous things in that time. By "miraculous things" I'm not so much referring to the outward miracles (though I've seen many of those), but the ones that count to us more - the inward miraculous changes.