Sam responded to my last blog and claimed that I was brainwashed for being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While he did become a little more confrontational, I wanted to respond because he said that I was avoiding engaging in meaningful conversation.
I do not like to become argumentative, and your tone seems to be a wee bit confrontational. There is a lot to unpackage. I’m responding, not to argue, but to give my reply for the record since you claim that I am brainwashed and that I don’t want to engage in meaningful conversation.
First, you said that I need to turn away from the “Demonic writings of the Book of Mormon”. Well, I can only say that I don’t think that you have sincerely read the Book of Mormon, or else you would not call it demonic. Within the Book of Mormon contain the literal words of Jesus Christ.
If there is one thing that I can make crystal clear, one thing that I would have you take away, it is that I know with absolute certainty, that The Book of Mormon is exactly what it says it is; Another testament (witness) of Jesus Christ. It is a companion to the Bible. Together they testify of our Savior, who was born to Mary, paid the price for our sins through His infinite Atonement, was crucified, and is now living. Jesus Christ is resurrected, an immortal eternal God who loves all of us, having engraved us upon His hands, He will not forget us. He is our Redeemer. He speaks to all mankind. He continues to speak to prophets today. He is unchanging. So I have not been brainwashed. At 8 years old I did get baptized, whereby my sins were washed away, but that’s still not brainwashed. I have committed my life to studying the gospel both in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I have also studied other religions and beliefs. Through the years, I have come to know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I’ve put in much study, prayer, and fasting to come to where I am with my beliefs today. I have also tasted of the fruit of the gospel as I have lived it. I know of its goodness which is taught plainly in The Book of Mormon. As I read The Book of Mormon prayerfully, I see God’s fingerprints all over it. It is the word of God. It is a marvelous work and a wonder.
I’m not sure what you are referring to when you said that Joseph Smith taught that God was not eternal. Our first article of faith states clearly, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
You then claimed that I do not understand, and that I have misinterpreted 1 Peter in the New Testament. Therein lies the problem with trying to interpret all things from the Bible. That is why we have dozens if not hundreds of Christian denominations. They are all taking a slightly different view of the Bible. Suffice it to say, yes, we are coming at 1 Peter very differently. You have a different interpretation than I do when I read Peter’s words about Jesus preaching to the dead in the Spirit World. To me, it seems clear that Jesus went to these people to preach to them the gospel. In my previous reply, I had brought up the billions of people in China and elsewhere who have never heard of Jesus Christ, and that I do not think that God would punish them for something they had never even had the opportunity to embrace. That is why we believe in baptism for the dead to allow those who did not have the opportunity on earth while alive, to still have the opportunity to follow Jesus, by having someone vicariously baptized for them. They can accept that baptism or not. It is their choice. You reaffirmed your belief that all of those who never heard of Jesus Christ before death, would be banished to hell. So, again, we are going to have to agree to disagree on this point of doctrine.
You then stated that I am refusing to engage in meaningful conversation. What I am trying to say is that arguing and becoming angry does no good. I am always more than happy to share my beliefs as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am not keen on becoming argumentative and hostile.
You state that by my belief in modern-day prophets, I am sinning against Christ. I would say to you, the heavens are not closed. God continues to speak to mankind, just like the patterns we have seen all throughout the Bible as He spoke to prophets of old. God has not all-of-a-sudden lost interest in His children. He speaks to a living prophet today. I mentioned the articles of faith earlier. Another article of faith states that “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.” This seems to be what you really disagree with. You really do not like that we do not see the Bible as the beginning and end of everything that God has to reveal to His children.
You took issue when I said that God was not limited to what had been chosen by men to be included in the Bible. The Bible is a compilation of different writings. The books that are included in the Bible were not chosen by those who wrote it. They were all dead when The New Testament canon was first compiled around 400 AD. There are countless people through the years who have translated it and transcribed it and therefore there are many interpretations and many things that were left out. (The gospels of Thomas, Peter, Mary, and the Epistle of Barnabas, etc.) Throughout the centuries, Protestant Bibles might look different than Catholic Bibles. The council of Trent met to define the Old Testament Canon. There have been many translations and transcriptions of the Bible. As someone who speaks another language, the translations process can simply give a scripture a very different meaning depending on how it is translated. To my knowledge, the Bible was not written in English, so someone had to interpret each words’ meaning as they translated it. So when we dig a little deeper, we find that the Bible might be missing some things, and that some of the translations may not be correct in today’s English language. That is why we continue to see many new translations and interpretations of the Bible.
Lastly you said that I deny that the Bible is enough. Yes. I think the Bible is the world of God. No, I do not think that is is all that God has to say to His children. I also do not think that it contains all of the writings of Him speaking to ancient prophets. Much is missing. You then went on and said that The Book of Mormon comes from the Bible and that I need to wake up and pick up the cross of Christ. (Which incidentally, if the Book of Mormon comes from the Bible, why would it be demonic?)
Joseph Smith wasn’t the first to be confused by which church was true by just reading what was in the Bible. John Wycliffe in England and John Calvin in Switzerland questioned the practices of the Christian church because they saw that the church in their time and the Church in New Testament times were not the same. Martin Luther saw that some of the practices of the Christian church were incorrect. He wanted to change the practices of the church that did not match the teachings of the Bible. And so it goes on today with so many denominations. There are many of our fellow Christians who interpret the Bible differently. Joseph Smith found himself wondering which Church was true. He read in the Epistle of James, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” He asked God and had a vision of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. He was told that none of the churches were true. He was called as a prophet to re-establish The Church of Jesus Christ.
Now I know that you don’t believe this, but this is what I believe. I do not want to argue, but I want to be a defender of my faith. The Book of Mormon was brought forth miraculously through God’s prophet Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith, speaking of his vision of seeing God the Father and Jesus Christ said, “I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.”
My brother, I do not wish to contend with you and become argumentative. We both believe in the same God. We both pray to our Father in Heaven. We both rely on our Savior Jesus Christ to save us from a fallen world and from our sins. I will always gladly share my beliefs and answer sincere questions. Trust me, I have knelt in prayer, I have humbly read The Book of Mormon many, many times, searching through its pages finding treasures of truth and doctrine, and I have lived a life of its teachings. I can tell you it is of God.