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Hi there! I just introduced myself in the Intro forum as a lifelong Catholic who is investigating the LDS church after meeting some great LDS friends over the years as well as many of their doctrines really resonating with me. However, I'm also a rational person and like to know that if I throw my lot in with a certain faith tradition, that that faith is true. So here goes... First of all, where does the Word of Wisdom come from? In the Catholic church, there are a lot of rules that come from "tradition," rather than Biblical-based mandates (this is where we base our reverence for the saints, Mary, praying the rosary, etc). Is it a similar case in the LDS church, or is the WoW from Biblical scripture? To be honest, I have a hard time imagining giving up my morning coffee and the occasional wine tasting trip with friends if I don't know that there is a divine purpose. Secondly, I'm stuck on the Book of Abraham. As it has been disproved by Egyptologists, is it considered an essential belief? What is the LDS church's official stance on that issue? I don't know if I think that it totally disproves everything Joseph claimed to translate, as he was a human being. He may have gotten ahead of himself and tried translating something that wasn't divinely required of him to translate (unlike the BoM). Maybe he tried to do it on his own to see if he still had "the power" and that is just proof of his ultimate humanity. Or that this was actually satan's attempt to throw a wrench into things and discredit the faith for future believers, who knows? Despite all of these things (and there are more doctrinal things that make me wonder), I do believe strongly in the scripture quote of "Ye shall know them by their fruits," and I do believe that the Mormons that I have met or overheard are absolutely living lives inspired by the Holy Spirit and in my opinion, they're doing a better job of it than other Christian denominations. But that's just my opinion!
I am not a member of the LDS Church but I ask this question in all sincerity. Members of the LDS Church exhibit the highest level of morality, community activity, and faith of any organized religious group of which I'm aware. Your cultivation of family bonding is beyond reproach. Your involvement in community and international good works are exemplary. My question is simply what do you base your great faith on? I have studied and researched the LDS church for a number of years. The information I have comes from LDS documentation and from non-Mormon sources as well. I feel I can get a more direct input from members of the LDS Church themselves. I ask my question because I personally have problems understanding the depth of your faith. As a devout practitioner of the Judeo Christian faith (I'm a follower of Christ) and am not tied to any particular denomination). I believe in and love the Lord God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and I seek to treat my neighbor as I would be treated myself. I believe that the Holy Bible is the inerrant Word of God as it was originally delivered to man. I do believe there are translation problems caused by various translators but I do not believe the actual word of God and His plan for mankind has been altered in any way. Back to my question. Joseph Smith translated the book of Mormon from a stack of metal plates (either gold or some yellowish metal). Apparently these plates were shown to 11 others as described in the preface to the book of Mormon. The major three witnesses were all excommunicated from the LDS Church although I understand two of them returned. There are various accounts in various documents regarding how these witnesses saw the plates. From what I understand every one of them in one way or the other recanted their original statements as to having seen the plates physically. Each stated when questioned further they saw the plates "through the eye of faith", or in other words through a vision. The plates were ultimately returned to the delivering angel, Moroni. If there are no plates to verify the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and nothing but the word of a group of people who apparently saw them in a vision, how valid do you feel the existence of the plates actually is? Other, of course, than because you believe in them by faith or an inner feeling alone. Along with that the Book of Abraham was translated from scraps of papyrus that are still in possession of the Church. Since modern Egyptologist have discounted any connection with these documents to what was translated by Joseph Smith apparently the accepted method of translation is he did it simply by the gift and power of the Holy Spirit. It seems the papyrus fragments were used as a ‘trigger’ that caused Joseph Smith to be able to write the Book of Abraham. How do you justify your deep faith based on the statements of human beings only. There is no supernatural or physical verification at all that I see. This has been quiet a long question with much extra information included to hopefully let you know the sincerity with which I am asking it. I thank you deeply for bearing with my extended note. I really try to make myself as clear as possible in any of my writing. At least that's the excuse I use when I ramble on. Sincerely looking forward to your answers. TimP