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TimP

On what do members of the LDS Church base their great faith?

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DOesn't a prophet have to always be right?

Not necessesarily. Consider these two statements, one by the First Presidency and the other by Joseph Smith:

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

A prophet [is] a prophet only when he [is] acting as such.

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DOesn't a prophet have to always be right?

Only when moved upon by the spirit of the Lord in revelation. Otherwise they have to use their own judgement like everyone else.... they just get the added bonus of getting revelations as additional sources in which to base their judgements on.

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Guest Magen_Avot

TimP,

Your questions are good ones. In short I put my faith in God and His Son. I have validated my faith in them in the answers to prayers I have received... and the promptings of the Holy Ghost. And many more since the first.

You've gotten a lot of responses but I'd like to comment to you if you don't mind this being a bit late.

There is a lot to consider when looking at documentation that exists or statements that have been put out. Who can we believe? The best anyone can do is pick the arguments that best speak to our minds. I will usually ignore the beliefs/statements of others when considering my own path. But it is important to prepare your mind as you seem to have done. Still, while the spiritual experiences of others mean a great deal to them, they mean very little to me in the conversion process. What then are we left with?

Can I ask if you receive answers to prayers of felt the burning testimony of the Spirit? I ask this because there are people in and out of the LDS church who claim no such experience. I wonder how anyone can join without getting an answer to life changing questions (being born in the church aside) like yours. If your faith in God and the Bible is due to receiving persoanl revelation in answer to prayer then it is a simple thing to just kneel down. Put Moroni 10:3-5 to the test for the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith as a prophet of God and to whether or not you should join this church. In the Bible it tells us to ask and knock. Don't take anyones word for it pro or con. you owe it to yourself to seek it from God in prayer and put your faith in God not in the arm of flesh as it is said.

Whatever your choice, good luck in your quest.

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Overall I refer back to Lekook who refers to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and the test of a prophet. I believe it is very clear. How many times can someone murder someone before they are considered a murderer? Same with a false prophet-if they are wrong ONCE, they are a false prophet. There is not another interpretation of this. Somewhere I received a post that says Abraham and David made mistakes and compared them to prophets. They may have made human mistakes but they did not ever, ever give a false prophecy.

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Hi Lekook,

Also see the post I put below or somewhere on here (Still feeling new to the whole posting thing). You were right on when you quoted Deut. 18: 20-22. You are correct that the final days prophesy can't be verified because it hasn't happened but all other prophesies throughout the Bible have come true. Additionally, if we look at what is happening in the world, we can see that we are headed to the fulfillment of "End days" prophesy.

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Overall I refer back to Lekook who refers to Deuteronomy 18:20-22 and the test of a prophet. I believe it is very clear. How many times can someone murder someone before they are considered a murderer? Same with a false prophet-if they are wrong ONCE, they are a false prophet. There is not another interpretation of this. Somewhere I received a post that says Abraham and David made mistakes and compared them to prophets. They may have made human mistakes but they did not ever, ever give a false prophecy.

That was my post about Abraham and David. Your original question was "Doesn't a prophet always have to be right?" not "Don't a prophet's prophecies always have to be right?" There is a major difference there. I answered your original question with examples to show that, no a prophet does not always have to be right to be a prophet. Prophets are human beings and make mistakes. They aren't perfect.

Now, the question it seems you meant to ask- "Don't a prophet's prphecies always have to be right?" has a much simpler answer: Yes. However:

How do we know when a prophecy is being given and when a prophet is just sharing his own limited human understanding? We can again look to the scriptures for examples- Every time a prophet has given a prophecy, he was specifically directed- whether by the spirit, an actual conversation with God, a vision, or some other means- to give the people a warning or a sign. These prophecies are always correct and always come true, eventually- though the people often doubt its authenticity and fail to listen to the prophet.

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Hidden

But it appears in Moroni 10:32 that IF we shall deny ourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, THEN his grace is sufficient for us... So what is this verse saying? Deny myself of ALL ungodliness then I can get God's grace?

Pretty much. I kind of put this with Matthew 5:48, which reads: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." There we were given counsel by Jesus to be perfect. :eek: I think the thing is, these are things we are to diligently strive for, and to work on as if our very lives depend on it; but our being mere mortal men we're going to fall short. But I believe that God knows our hearts, and our desires and I am grateful that He will be the great Judge in the last days.

In the meanwhile, we are to accept Christ and repent of our sins, be cleansed in the waters of baptism, pray, read the scriptures, attend church services and as we work on all this (not necessarily in this order) we will draw closer to God and lose the desire for all things ungodly, and seek instead the Kingdom of Heaven. I mean, I'm sorta lost here, if we truly love God why would we not want to deny ourselves of ALL ungodliness?

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Originally Posted by heidirunner

But it appears in Moroni 10:32 that IF we shall deny ourselves of all ungodliness and love God with all your might, mind and strength, THEN his grace is sufficient for us... So what is this verse saying? Deny myself of ALL ungodliness then I can get God's grace?

Pretty much. I kind of put this with Matthew 5:48, which reads: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." There we were given counsel by Jesus to be perfect. I think the thing is, these are things we are to diligently strive for, and to work on as if our very lives depend on it; but our being mere mortal men we're going to fall short. But I believe that God knows our hearts, and our desires and I am grateful that He will be the great Judge in the last days.

In the meanwhile, we are to accept Christ and repent of our sins, be cleansed in the waters of baptism, pray, read the scriptures, attend church services and as we work on all this (not necessarily in this order) we will draw closer to God and lose the desire for all things ungodly, and seek instead the Kingdom of Heaven. I mean, I'm sorta lost here, if we truly love God why would we not want to deny ourselves of ALL ungodliness?

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I agree with the main answer to your question is that we base our faith on Jesus Christ, and the witness of the Holy Spirit of the Savior and to the truth of the restored gospel.

I understand that there is not one single original of the Bible writings either. That does not bother me.

I have found in my study of other translations and faiths though, that there (from the Bible alone) is not any thing in the Bible that can not be argued about. There are so many different churches because there are many different interpretations of even just the KJV! --

recently there has come on line- on BYU tv, "Fires of Faith" about the coming to be of the KJV, as this is the 400 year anniversary I understand. Wow, but THAT was enlightening! -- So it spurred me to go look for what supposedly was the scripture that King Henry 8th though condemned marring the widow of your brother-- but I couldn't find anything that said that? Contrary wise, the widow, if you don't marry her, and raise up seed to her FIRST husband (maybe that was part of the problem??) then she got to spit in your face before the elders in the gate and remove you shoe and you were cursed!

So much for the Bible being clear enough of Gods' word and path?

I do think there is SO MUCH truth there, that we are blessed to know Jesus and follow his commandments as we seek for a church patterned after his, with the same authority etc.

test- read Rev. 14:6 -- then if you can explain why an angel would need to be sent to the earth in the last days to BRING the gospel to be taught to all the earth, if there was ENOUGH accurate truth and authority on earth already?

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to JudoMinja -- Humm, I kind of think you might want to rethink that? There is an article (I think it was on FAIR LDS ) about that--?

you said "These prophecies are always correct and always come true..."

In it was quoted quite a lot of places that doesn't work in the Bible. One was about Samson, and of course we have Jonah and the city that repented. Another was about Jerusalem to be kept forever and the house of David to reign over too. (sorry, I'm paraphrasing here-- maybe go check the article? :)

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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.

TimP

Either the book of Mormon is a work of God, or the work of the Devil. There is no middle ground. It is a work of God. It testifies of Christ. In the Book of Mormon, on average, one name or title of Christ appears once every 1.7 verses, and that is excluding symbolism. It serves as companion to the Bible, and a keystone of our religion. We receive it by faith and a very personal conversion, and through the power of the Holy Ghost. That comes to pass through the power of God. Once you feel it, it changes you, and in turn...

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.

But why lack faith because I didn't touch the plates? Can I not ask God if these words are true? Can I selectively disobey the ten commandments because nobody has shown me the tablets of stone? I submit to you that you receive these higher laws upon faith. And you will be blessed.

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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

Think about it this way - what physical evidence do we have of Christ's resurrection? There is none. What we do have is the testimony of men who "claimed" to have saw the Risen Savior that is recorded in what we now call the synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John, along with Paul's testimony. The original documents have long since been lost and we have the information handed down to us from copies of copies of copies that claim to be "eyewitness accounts".

How, then, can you put your faith in something that you yourself have not seen, and how can you rely on the testimonies of men that are on copies of copies of copies that make up the resurrection accounts without physical evidence or proof of the actual resurrection?

Critic's tend to stumble over the fact that there has to be "proof" to substantiate ones faith - well, the Bible has archaeological proof to back it up. That is great, fine, and dandy, however there are atheists that accept there is some degree of evidence to back up some of the more natural aspects of the Bible but does not equate it to be inspired by God, only written by men. If proof is all that it takes to believe on something, then that would negate what the Apostle Paul taught - faith is based on not what we can see and verify, but is based on that which is unseen and that which is hoped for.

The additional problem with this is that even if there is substantial amount of proof supporting the lands, people, and such within the Book of Mormon, would you still accept it as inspired scripture? Remember, Laman and Lemuel had seen an Angel several times, have experienced the power of God on numerous occasions, and still, they did not believe in God, nor accepted the reality that there is a God.

Here are a couple specific articles I published at the Mormon Apologetic Research Studies Blog:

1) What if there was no proof at all?

2) Faith is not based on objective proof (video republished from YouTube)

3) What do Troy, Atlantis, and Zarahemla have in common?

These are three different articles, one mainly of a video, and the second with a video about the program on the possible location of Atlantis and how the City Troy was found when it was believed to be non-existent and fiction.

Finally, let us recall the encounter the Resurrected Christ had with the disciple Thomas. The other ten disciples were relating to Thomas that they had seen the resurrected Lord with a physical body of flesh and bone. Thomas stated that he would only believe if he saw it with his own eyes. Then, Christ appeared and chastened Thomas because the apostle doubted the testimony of the other Apostles. Christ stated that those who do not see, and yet believe are more blessed than those who have to see in order to believe.

In reality, it takes a greater amount of faith to believe that there is a Loving Heavenly Father and a Resurrected Christ, than it is not to believe. In short, how would you answer an Atheist when he/she demands physical proof for the existence of God and Christ?

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