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Guest JHM-in-Bountiful

My take on religion- Should I be a Mormon?

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Guest JHM-in-Bountiful

Hello. Tonight I had a conversation with a fellow lds.net user. I will not give the name. I wish to post the emails we exhanged. I expressed my opinions on the questions this person brought up. It lead to an interesting conclusion on my view of the church and religion all together. I still want to be a member of the church and follow most of the teachings. My true feelings came out and it may be upsetting to other members. I apologize if that is the case. I'd be interested on other peoples take on what transpired. Thanks. :)

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lds.net user: Do you believe everything Joseph Smith taught about God the father?

me: Hello, No, I don't believe everything that Joseph Smith taught.

lds.net user: so why do you call him a prophet of God if you don't believe everything he taught in his sermons?

me: The LDS church calls him a prophet of God. I've never personally called him a prophet. He may be correct in some teachings and wrong in others. He makes mistakes like everyone else who has ever lived with the exception of Jesus Christ.

lds.net user: Sir how could you not agree with all of his teachings, the LDS church calls him a true prophet of God right? What prophet of God ever made mistakes because they aren't like you and me

me: I can answer your question with a broader answer. The LDS church claims to be the only true restored church on Earth today. I don't think there is a church that has 100% of all the facts correct. As long as I accept Jesus Christ into my Heart and try to live a good life, I should probably be granted everlasting life in heaven. I'm a member of the LDS church because I've found it to be the one I'm most comfortable with.

lds.net user:How do we know if someone is truly a prophet of God? and also are there Biblical guidelines for testing someone claiming to be a prophet?

me: I recently listened to an evangelical talk about how one can tell if a person is truly a prophet of God. They stated a question. "What is the prophet's track record in foretelling the future?" Hopfully the prophet should be correct all the time. Joseph Smith was not right all the time. I'm not well versed in the Bible, so I'll unable to give you any biblical references about prophets. My advice is to continue to do research and pray about what is pondering in your heart. You will recieve an answer.

lds.net user: So sir you've just stated yourself that Joseph Smith wasn't always right yourself. And I'll give you one example of a Biblical text that clearly states what a true Prophet of God is. Deut 13, verses 1-3, Israel was warned about false prophets who would try to lead them after strange gods.

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deut. 13:1-3)

So sir by biblical standards Joseph Smith was a false Prophet. I'd also like to pose the question to you have you ever asked yourself what the Bible says about seeing what is true and how to do that? and also what does the Bible say about trusting in your own heart? These are serious things to ask yourself because by what you've said and by what the Bible says you are believing in a False God by what Joseph Smith is teaching and you as a Mormon will be judged according the the standards of the Bible. So this subject should dearly matter to you sir. all paths don't lead to heaven. I'm only trying to ask questions and reavel what the Bible teaches and what truths aren't taught to you in the Mormon Church. I pray that you would be willing to ask some quesitons yourself for Joseph Smith is clearly teaching against what God explicitly taught in the Bible and there are sever consequences to pay for following another God

me: You have a good point there. I did mention earlier that I did accept Jesus Christ into my Heart. I know the bible warns us that there will be false prophets. They will decieve the elect. I can trust in those teachings. Other things in the Bible I don't believe in. One example is the great flood. I believe there was a massive flood. I don't believe it covered the entire earth and all of God's Animals and plants were on an Ark.

To be totally honest with you, I have thoughts on several religions being accepted by God. Christianity, budism, new-agers, muslims, all worship the "one source" of God. It depends on what you believe. I have chosen Christianity even though it may not be perfect.

lds.net user:Sir let me ask you this. Why did God give us the Bible?

me: God has given man teachings to help us understand Him and what he expects of us. The Bible is one example. The Quran is another example. Many teachings were givien to man thousands of years ago. Through out time, these teachings have been translated. I'm sure many are out of context of the original teaching. This was done by man by his own failings or gain. Diferent cultures wanted to have the teachings to meet what they expected. That is why there is such diversity in religion. Unfortunatly, these different belief systems have caused wars and will continue to. I think we should respect any persons belief system and not judge them.

lds.net user: So your going to say that God gave us the quran? on what basis do you have to say such a blasphemous thing? And with your other comment your willing to doubt the sufficeny of God in the ways that he gave us his word in the Bible?

me: God gave us teachings.

Man compiled the Bible, Quran, and other written works that other religions read.

That's my belief simply stated.

If you feel I'm going to Hell for what i believe in that's okay with me.

End on conversation.

lds.net user: Sir I'm only asking questions please don't assume judgment. I am being sincere and care about you. Don't feel I'm trying to tear you down or anything by no means is that the case sir. I'll let you be and pray about words of encouragment for you. Have a wonderful evening and I look forward to talking more

me: With your permission, i'd like to post our entire conversation in the forum section. I will not use your name. I'm sure many members would be surprised in what my take on religion is. thanks

the user did not respond about permission. Since I did not use the name, I felt it would be ok to post this.

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Guest JHM-in-Bountiful

May I ask you in what way do you think Joseph Smith was wrong? When you say he spoke of things which are incorrect are those things he claimed to be speaking of on behalf of God or were they just his own opinions?

I find it hard to imagine that the Garden of Eden was once in present day Missouri. The whole polygamy Has been officially condoned by the church for over 100 years now. I think Joseph Smith and other early male members just wanted to have many "relationships". I also don't believe the Book of Mormon is the most acurate book of scriptures ever written.

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I'm no expert on Joseph Smith, but didn't he also claim that there were some very tall people, dressed like Quakers, who lived on the moon?

(Not that that sort of idea was uncommon in his day: The astronomer William Herschel - discoverer of Uranus - believed there were large-headed beings living on the sun.)

Edited by Jamie123

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We're all at different points, JHM. Don't let anyone's judgment bother you. In many senses, you're right: Moses murdered an Egyptian and there's nothing in the Bible stating he was commanded by God to do so. Jonah ran away when God told him to preach repentence, then whined when the people actually repented. In fact, the Bible stresses that there was only one perfect person.

However, I also should point out that, while prophets can make personal mistakes, not listening to a prophet has resulted in Israel and the people of God being hurt, enslaved and destroyed. While only belief in Jesus Christ saves, failure to believe the Prophet will result in temporal difficulties.

Also, it would interfere in a temple recommend.

However, developing your spirituality at your own pace is what this world is all about. Sometimes, we have difficulties with what we're told: Luke 12:48 "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."

It's wrong for me to say that not listening to the Prophet is okay, because it will bring difficulties. But it's impossible for me to say that knowing a Prophet is a saving ordinance. Struggle with it, pray... We know you're an amazing person. It'll work out.

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Where to start???

I think that is real important that a person have integrity in their life.

Have you ever had a temple interview? If you have, were you able to answer the questions such as:

1 Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

2 Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?

3 Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?

4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

If you can answer those questions with a wholehearted yes you are in the right place. If not, its probably time to do some soul searching.

People have doubts, I know that I have had lots of questions. But I have a powerful testimony of the truth of the church, doctrine, and literature.

Do we have to believe that Joseph Smith was perfect? No. Did Moses ever make a mistake while leading the Israelites? How about King David? Our records of the old prophets are so limited compared to the history of the latter day prophets. I sure have noticed the care that modern day prophets have taken to limit the amount of deep doctrine that they discuss in public forums just so they will not be misunderstood. And it makes sense. What is most important is the first principles and ordinances of the gospel.

I think the specifics of your listed doubts are trivial.

What teachings of Joseph Smith about God the Father do you reject?

Noah's Ark and the Flood: Did the entire Earth have to be covered in water submerging Mt. Everest? John Widtsoe wrote that the flood was indeed great but that the mountain tops only had to have water raining on them hard enough so that there was a continuos sheet of water covering them. If you read closely you will notice that the water that covered the Earth came from the atmosphere as well as deep within the Earth. The earth itself was baptized, and incidentally During the 2nd coming it will receive its baptism of fire.

So where was the Garden of Eden? Is this important for your salvation? I'll stand by Brother Smith btw. Polygamy was practiced by the ancient prophets, was it wrong then?

Finally, the Book of Mormon is the most correct book of scripture that we have. Of this I have no doubt. You just might not be interpreting it correctly.

---------------

This topic is probably in the wrong forum btw. Its not really doctrine. I can't really tell if your asking for advice though either...

Edited by mikbone

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That other person had an agenda. They are not LDS, and they do not want you to be LDS. Just to make that clear.

I agree with you, that they are mistaken in their view of what a prophet is. They are not believing the complete Bible, only selected portions that support their distorted, impossible view of what a prophet is.

No Mormon is required to believe that Joseph Smith was perfect or even "always inspired". That's unrealistic and juvenile in nature. I think you're fine. I know you struggle with other issues and wish that were not your burden, but life is like that.

God bless you and keep doing the best you can -- love others, live according to the standards, have hope that God loves you and will bless you for every positive, selfless effort you make, both mentally and physically.

HiJolly

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This is just silly. You argue and waste energy. My suggestion. Believe in Jesus with all your heart. Believe in the Cross and in Grace. Love each other. Forgive each other. When it comes right down to it, does anything above this post really matter. Jesus is the way. Focus on that. God Bless, Jim

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I find it hard to imagine that the Garden of Eden was once in present day Missouri. The whole polygamy Has been officially condoned by the church for over 100 years now. I think Joseph Smith and other early male members just wanted to have many "relationships". I also don't believe the Book of Mormon is the most acurate book of scriptures ever written.

At the time of the Garden of Eden Misouri porobably wasn't even where it is now - bu that's the Gospel According to Willow.

Polygamy - has been practiced throughout the ages by people of God.(look in your Bible) Howevee, God can also change instructions to his people relevant to their situation. so there may be times when polybgamy is impoant and even necesary and other times when it isn't.

The Book of Mormon - well if I didn't have a testimony of it being the most accurate book of scripture I then I'd be struggling too. Are there specific topics withn it that you have a problem with?

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why wont anyone except that polygamy was in the bible. It was a commandment in the bible. It not taught anymore cause we as human beings cannot live it worthly and as the lord says we must obey the law of the land. When polygamy was banned as a nation we banned as a church later.

God strictly says one man and one wife unless...key word is unless he commands. Its in the bible. Then there is a stripture about Joseph Smith that says he name will be talked over in the last days. People will distort him. It is true. A prophesy that has come true for a very long time..

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When I was a seminary teacher we taught the students that those most detrimental to the Church would not be those outside, but those in our midst. Detractors dressed in the robes of the priesthood

Thanks for the banning john doe

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There are a lot of things in the bible and BOM that might not make total sense to us, but I am just starting to realize I can be ok with that. Arguing over details seems silly when the message is so clear.

I also only recently learned that Joseph Smith really struggled with implementing polygamy, it seems to me that he loved his wife dearly and did not really want to participate in this practice. But God had and always has had a bigger plan. It seems to me the practice of polygamy in mormonism was always about the eternal aspect, it is just our society that turns in into a sexual thing. If someone chooses not to consider or investigate Mormonism because of this one facet then they are missing the big picture. Whats that saying "You can't see the forest for the trees" or something along those lines.

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Hello. Tonight I had a conversation with a fellow lds.net user. I will not give the name. I wish to post the emails we exhanged. I expressed my opinions on the questions this person brought up. It lead to an interesting conclusion on my view of the church and religion all together. I still want to be a member of the church and follow most of the teachings. My true feelings came out and it may be upsetting to other members. I apologize if that is the case. I'd be interested on other peoples take on what transpired. Thanks. :)

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........

No one can decide what you should be - that is something you must decide. The truth is that everyone should be Mormon but the reality is that few will be and most will not because they are not committed. In general, from your post, it appears that you do not understand being committed by covenant. Jesus said that is it better to have not known him than to accept him and not be committed to our covenants.

I believe this is often the case for those that think accepting Christ (even in their heart), salvation and being saved is all about them and what they will and can get in eternity.

Let me give one example from the concept of the second mile. When Jesus lived the Romans had a law that allowed any Roman citizen to require a Jew to carry stuff for a mile. This would require the Jew to set aside whatever they carried to accommodate the Roman. It was a means Romans could use to steal whatever the Jew was carrying for when the Jew returned to his things they would be gone. Refusal to accommodate the Roman was punishable by death. The Jews hated this unfair law and it was part of the reason the Jews rebelled against the Romans in 74 AD. When asked about being treated unfair Jesus taught that someone that accepts him would carry the burden two miles when compelled to carry it one.

There is no one in their right mind or that understands justice would say that the extra mile is the right thing to do – there are many reasons to argue against obedience to unfair and unjust laws but if you accept Jesus it is not about your logic and your ability to figure out what is just.

The Traveler

Edited by Traveler

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lds.net user: What prophet of God ever made mistakes because they aren't like you and me

I used to love interacting with this particular blend of evangelical-based LDS church criticism. These guys talk so much about the Bible - and they are so ignorant about what is actually in it.

Back when I enjoyed arguing with such folks, I would have replied to this point about how the Bible shows Prophets of God killing, lying, getting drunk, boasting, selling their powers, gambling, being angry at God, believing false things, cursing children, wanting vengance, contradicting other prophets, failing to understand a revelation, advocating divorce, insulting rituals, worshiping false gods, accepting a position of chief of magicians, astrologers, and soothsayers, breaking God's moral laws, giving contradictory prophecies, accusing God of lying, public nakedness, and attributing doubtful characteristics to God.

Then I'd fork over all the scriptural references. Then we'd argue. Which is a waste of time and energy, just as Jim108 said. But it can be fun sometimes to take someone who comes to attack your beliefs, and make them squirm in their own ignorance.

LM

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I had the same user PM me as well. He used a few "proof texts" and I simply told him to read the Bible and come to his own conclusions about what is truth. If anyone is interested, I will post the conversation, but I think those of us who have bantered with people like this, know the general format. They take a particular point (in my case, the plurality of gods) and use a couple Bible verses to "prove" me wrong. When I explain the LDS concept in context with dozens of Biblical verses, they hammer back those one or two verses, once again out of context. Then when they realize they cannot persuade me, and that I have in fact given them food for thought, they shift gears and bring up another point (in my case, the Book of Abraham), to which I simply ask to stick to the topic at hand, which was "Does the Bible teach a plurality of gods" and what does that mean in context of there being "One God". A simple exercize I had my friend do, was to replace the word "god" with the word "savior" in his proof texts and suddenly, the Bible falls right in line with LDS theology, and there is harmony with those few verses and the dozens of verses that talk about Jesus and the Father being separate beings.

we also got into what a true prophet of God was, and I gave a few dozen examples of Biblical prophets who were less than perfect. It's an annoiance when people use "tests" on Joseph Smith that equally fail when applied to so many of the Biblical patriarchs.

Hopefully, I have given him something to ponder and pray about. Because you cannot prove anything except by the spirit.

Edited by bytebear

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I used to love interacting with this particular blend of evangelical-based LDS church criticism. These guys talk so much about the Bible - and they are so ignorant about what is actually in it.

Back when I enjoyed arguing with such folks, I would have replied to this point about how the Bible shows Prophets of God killing, lying, getting drunk, boasting, selling their powers, gambling, being angry at God, believing false things, cursing children, wanting vengance, contradicting other prophets, failing to understand a revelation, advocating divorce, insulting rituals, worshiping false gods, accepting a position of chief of magicians, astrologers, and soothsayers, breaking God's moral laws, giving contradictory prophecies, accusing God of lying, public nakedness, and attributing doubtful characteristics to God.

Then I'd fork over all the scriptural references. Then we'd argue. Which is a waste of time and energy, just as Jim108 said. But it can be fun sometimes to take someone who comes to attack your beliefs, and make them squirm in their own ignorance.

LM

It is a lot funner to be the example of what you believe in attempting to show others the way and in turn finding something usefull from their beliefs.

The Traveler

The Traveler

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I got a message from this guy as well. I find it helps to pre-empt the conversation: when Alaskancoho mentioned the King Follet discourse, I mentioned Lorenzo Snow's couplet and blatantly stated that I believe the doctrine of eternal progression. Taking the initiative when someone is trying to deceive you turns the tables- he ended up sputtering away and never replied to my last message.

Edited by Maxel
Clarification

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I was telling Pam, I am so glad I am not a Mod. It is a royal waste of time arguing with that sort of characters. I would have banned them before they ever got out of bed the day they signed on to the forum.

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This is just silly. You argue and waste energy. My suggestion. Believe in Jesus with all your heart. Believe in the Cross and in Grace. Love each other. Forgive each other. When it comes right down to it, does anything above this post really matter. Jesus is the way. Focus on that. God Bless, Jim

So, whether or not there is a prophet of God on the earth today; whether or not God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith; whether or not Priesthood authority has been returned to the earth; whether or not the true nature and teaching of temples has been restored to earth, is silly and a wate of energy?

What's so wonderful about the cross? Isn't it much more worthy for us to ponder on His perfect example, and His resurrection from the tomb, and whether or not He has appeared, living, to other people outside the Bible, and to men in our age?

Isn't it worthy for us to consider whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, since the ancient people in that book claim to have seen and spoke to Him? Isn't it right to want to know what He said to them?

I don't think there's a greater question that can be asked than, "Did Jesus Christ appear to Joseph Smith and teach and instruct Him about the truths of heaven?"

If He did, then it makes this topic and conversation more than silly or a waste of energy.

If He didn't, then go right ahead and call it silly.

But, in either case, one cannot come to a conclusion until they give it its proper consideration, study, and prayer.

If Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith, then He is showing us the way through Him, just as He did Moses anciently. If you disregard it, and don't even wonder if its true, you are missing the greatest opportunity given to man since Christ was resurrected. And, the saddest part of all is you want to disregard it totally before you even make an effort to sincerely know. And, you tell others to disregard it, not ever even having given it serious thought yourself. What if it's right and you are leading people astray?

Well, I testify that it's right, and true. The Book of Mormon was written by ancient men who saw and spoke with Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith saw and spoke with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way... and He reveals that way through prophets and apostles. The same Jesus Christ who lived, died, and was resurrected as told about in the Bible, appeared to the people in the Book of Mormon and taught them His Gospel also. There is no doubt in my mind.

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Ok, I kinda took this apart, but the reason is that the overuse of Sir stands out to me (little red flags).

It kinda makes me think of a telemarketer spill.

I worked for about 3 weeks as a telemarketer, *bleck*.

And they insert a lot of Sir's and Mame's in their spills.

(as well as a lot of So)

So Sir

So Mame

It has something to do with trying to convince you to take the bait and buy the spill.

Besides, I don't think many people now a days use Sir's and Mame's so often, unless they come from the south and a lot of that is dying down now.

Other than his typos, it looks like this is some type of form letter or form questions.

*just had to throw that in*

lds.net user: Do you believe everything Joseph Smith taught about God the father?

lds.net user: so why do you call him a prophet of God if you don't believe everything he taught in his sermons?

lds.net user: Sir how could you not agree with all of his teachings, the LDS church calls him a true prophet of God right? What prophet of God ever made mistakes because they aren't like you and me

lds.net user:How do we know if someone is truly a prophet of God? and also are there Biblical guidelines for testing someone claiming to be a prophet?

lds.net user: So sir

*snip*

So sir

lds.net user:Sir let me ask you this. Why did God give us the Bible?

lds.net user: Sir I'm only asking questions please don't assume judgment. I am being sincere and care about you. Don't feel I'm trying to tear you down or anything by no means is that the case sir. I'll let you be and pray about words of encouragment for you. Have a wonderful evening and I look forward to talking more

Edited by GingerGolden

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So, whether or not there is a prophet of God on the earth today; whether or not God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith; whether or not Priesthood authority has been returned to the earth; whether or not the true nature and teaching of temples has been restored to earth, is silly and a wate of energy?

What's so wonderful about the cross? Isn't it much more worthy for us to ponder on His perfect example, and His resurrection from the tomb, and whether or not He has appeared, living, to other people outside the Bible, and to men in our age?

Isn't it worthy for us to consider whether or not the Book of Mormon is true, since the ancient people in that book claim to have seen and spoke to Him? Isn't it right to want to know what He said to them?

I don't think there's a greater question that can be asked than, "Did Jesus Christ appear to Joseph Smith and teach and instruct Him about the truths of heaven?"

If He did, then it makes this topic and conversation more than silly or a waste of energy.

If He didn't, then go right ahead and call it silly.

But, in either case, one cannot come to a conclusion until they give it its proper consideration, study, and prayer.

If Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith, then He is showing us the way through Him, just as He did Moses anciently. If you disregard it, and don't even wonder if its true, you are missing the greatest opportunity given to man since Christ was resurrected. And, the saddest part of all is you want to disregard it totally before you even make an effort to sincerely know. And, you tell others to disregard it, not ever even having given it serious thought yourself. What if it's right and you are leading people astray?

Well, I testify that it's right, and true. The Book of Mormon was written by ancient men who saw and spoke with Jesus Christ. Joseph Smith saw and spoke with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the way... and He reveals that way through prophets and apostles. The same Jesus Christ who lived, died, and was resurrected as told about in the Bible, appeared to the people in the Book of Mormon and taught them His Gospel also. There is no doubt in my mind.

"What's so wonderful about the cross?"

I have a hard time believing you would even ask this. It has everything to do about christianity. If you don't know it by now I am not sure I can help you. It is only by Jesus and the Cross that you have a way to God. The Cross is the epicenter, I am astonished that you do not know that. I will pray for you, Jim

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"What's so wonderful about the cross?"

I have a hard time believing you would even ask this. It has everything to do about christianity. If you don't know it by now I am not sure I can help you. It is only by Jesus and the Cross that you have a way to God. The Cross is the epicenter, I am astonished that you do not know that. I will pray for you, Jim

I think you are articulating language that is not part of the LDS vocabulary, for the most part.

The fact that He died on a wooden cross is not relevant in LDS theology. It could have been by stoning or by the sword. The tools were Roman devices rather than anything special.

The central element of our religion is that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind. He Atoned for our sins, was crucified and and raised on the third day. Salvation comes thru Him and by Him.

The specifics of His death were horrendous and thus why make that the center of the worship. What He taught His friends and disciples, the life He lived, His examples and commandments and exhortations are at the center of our religion. The rest is historical.

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