MrShorty

A Pentacostal Reads the BoM

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35 minutes ago, marge said:

I don't think we can ever know for certain that we are right in our belief system.

So are you a universalist or something?  It sounds like you believe all paths lead back to God. 

42 minutes ago, marge said:

What makes the Hindu or the Buddhist or the Jew wrong? Why is it so hard to accept their experience as genuine?

On a contradictory note, this statement as a question makes no sense in relation to your claim to having received an answer that the Book of Mormon is not true. If you believe that all religions can be right, there's no reason you couldn't have simply chosen to be a member of the Church, and more importantly, if those religions you named are not wrong, why would ours be?  By that question I mean to suggest that your own logic indicates it would not be possible to have received an actual answer from God that the Book of Mormon is not true.

As a related aside.  The things you are saying really point more and more to validate my statement that you must have not fulfilled God's promise as declared by Moroni.  You are beginning to write in ways that indicate you adhere to what we commonly refer to as the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

Once again, I have no intention of meanness, but I will be bold in my testimony of the truth of God.

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1 hour ago, marge said:

You see I would not discount the Hindu's experience as misinformed, or assume they did something wrong.  What makes your spiritual experiences any greater than theirs?  What makes the Hindu or the Buddhist or the Jew wrong? Why is it so hard to accept their experience as genuine? Or that you might be wrong? Only one third of the world is Christian, and Christianity only spread as far as it did at the tip of a sword.  

I don't think we can ever know for certain that we are right in our belief system.

Socrates once said ' I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is I know nothing' 

That's fine. I'm perfectly fine with others and their personal belief system, but this isn't what we are discussing. God is not an author of confusion, and if He says Jesus Christ is his son, and then someone says, "God told me Christ isn't his son." Both witnesses can't be true. One is right, and one is wrong. There is no way around it.

If God says, "You shall know by the power of the Holy Ghost these things are true." And a person says God told me it is false. They both can't be true. What make a spiritual experience greater or of more value. The answer is simple -- truth. If as a Christian you think a person saying God said, "Christ is not his son," is the same as the witness that Peter received of the Messiah -- than we are fooling ourselves into believing all Spiritual experiences are the same. They are not in this regard.

I choose to believe God's words. That we can know with certainty of truth and our belief system. If you don't choose to believe such, then that is fine. You can believe as you wish. If we are unable to know for a "certainty" then what's the purpose of the Holy Ghost or answer to prayers?

I do enjoy a lot of quotes from Socrates; however, do you think Christ "knew" he was the Son of God, or do you think it was a mere belief system? I would specify he knew for certain he was the Son of God. He knew for certain what he was about to accomplish on Golgatha. I prefer to believe in Christ's words when it comes to his gospel.

Edited by Anddenex

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1 hour ago, person0 said:

So are you a universalist or something?  It sounds like you believe all paths lead back to God. 

On a contradictory note, this statement as a question makes no sense in relation to your claim to having received an answer that the Book of Mormon is not true. If you believe that all religions can be right, there's no reason you couldn't have simply chosen to be a member of the Church, and more importantly, if those religions you named are not wrong, why would ours be?  By that question I mean to suggest that your own logic indicates it would not be possible to have received an actual answer from God that the Book of Mormon is not true.

As a related aside.  The things you are saying really point more and more to validate my statement that you must have not fulfilled God's promise as declared by Moroni.  You are beginning to write in ways that indicate you adhere to what we commonly refer to as the philosophies of men mingled with scripture.

Once again, I have no intention of meanness, but I will be bold in my testimony of the truth of God.

I'm not a universalist I was just responding to something Anddenex said where she seemed to discount a Hindu's experience and perspective, i would not discount anyones spiritual experience or just assume its wrong because its different to mine, that does not mean I do not have strength and conviction in my own beliefs.

That does not mean I believe in any of those religions and has nothing at all to do with my witness that the book of mormon was not true or somehow invalidates that witness.

I believe all people who belong to a religion believe that their religion is right (otherwise why would they join it), and who am I to tell them that they are not?  Who are any of us to discount every religion on earth as wrong except the one we believe in?  What makes us right and them wrong?

I believe in Jesus, I believe the bible to be the word of God, (the abrahamic God) but the Hindu believes in Vishnu just as passionately and holds the Vedas as scripture. 

 

Edited by marge

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42 minutes ago, Anddenex said:

That's fine. I'm perfectly fine with others and their personal belief system, but this isn't what we are discussing. God is not an author of confusion, and if He says Jesus Christ is his son, and then someone says, "God told me Christ isn't his son." Both witnesses can't be true. One is right, and one is wrong. There is no way around it.

If God says, "You shall know by the power of the Holy Ghost these things are true." And a person says God told me it is false. They both can't be true. What make a spiritual experience greater or of more value. The answer is simple -- truth. If as a Christian you think a person saying God said, "Christ is not his son," is the same as the witness that Peter received of the Messiah -- than we are fooling ourselves into believing all Spiritual experiences are the same. They are not in this regard.

I choose to believe God's words. That we can know with certainty of truth and our belief system. If you don't choose to believe such, then that is fine. You can believe as you wish. If we are unable to know for a "certainty" then what's the purpose of the Holy Ghost or answer to prayers?

I do enjoy a lot of quotes from Socrates; however, do you think Christ "knew" he was the Son of God, or do you think it was a mere belief system? I would specify he knew for certain he was the Son of God. He knew for certain what he was about to accomplish on Golgatha. I prefer to believe in Christ's words when it comes to his gospel.

I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I believe in the Holy Ghost, I believe the bible is the word of God.  My answer that book of mormon isn't true, that doesn't make me not a Christian, that doesn't make you more of a Christian than me.  I believe Gods words, we just have a different witness of where to find those words.

The Holy Ghost gave me a different answer than he gave you.  But to assume that I did not receive my answer from the Holy Ghost because I got an answer you can't accept.  I think that's really naive.

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On 11/19/2021 at 5:38 PM, MrShorty said:

I thought of @prisonchaplain while listening to Rick Bennet's (Gospel Tangents podcast) interview with Dr. Chris Thomas who recently wrote a book about his experience reading the Book of Mormon as a Pentacostal. I thought prisonchaplain and some of you others may enjoy this. I notice prisonchaplain hasn't been on the forum in a while. All's well, I hope??

https://gospeltangents.com/2021/11/pentecostal-bom-bible-treatment/

My wife is Pentecostal, most of my family would probably identify as Pentecostal but I term myself Messianic Jewish but I attend Pentecostal churches regularly with my wife and kids.

I am convinced that the Charismatic and Pentecostal gifts are real and can somehow result in many people being delivered somehow from alcoholism, drug addiction, porn addiction and other addictions..... and... .I think that Chapter forty one of Gospel Principles is BRILLIANTLY written and perhaps one of the most accurate descriptions of the AFTERLIFE that I have ever read in my sixty two years.

I have gone through quite a few fire tunnels and / or prayer tunnels or blessing tunnels where many people also in that line for prayer end up on the floor.....

but what happens to me is that I get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat and I feel that Jesus is telling me more and more and more and more about

WHY His Pentecostals are laughing so hard or perhaps even rolling around on the floor.......

I will greatly appreciate your prayers as to what Messiah Yeshua - Jesus wants me to do over the coming days, weeks,  months, years and decades. (A Pentecostal friend of mine through the internet about six months ago said that he had been shown me at eighty one years of age, still alive and working and kind of amazed to be in such good health and to be so active at that age)!)

A gifted woman who I believe is a Latter day Saint told me back around 2012 or so that "your spirit is blessed with the authority to destroy chaos)!"  Can any of you tell me what that would perhaps mean??????  

I've been studying near death experience accounts since 1990 and I feel that the following L.D.S. writing on the state of the dead is brilliant and accurate and beautifully in line with both the Jewish and Christian Scriptures as well as with modern near death experience accounts that I feel fit perfectly with 2 Corinthians 12:2 -4. 

Chapter 41

The Postmortal Spirit World

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-principles/chapter-41-the-postmortal-spirit-world?lang=eng

 

 

Quote

 

What Are the Conditions in the Postmortal Spirit World?

The prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon taught about two divisions or states in the spirit world:

“The spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.

“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.

“Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection” (Alma 40:12–14).

The spirits are classified according to the purity of their lives and their obedience to the will of the Lord while on earth. The righteous and the wicked are separated (see 1 Nephi 15:28–30), but the spirits may progress as they learn gospel principles and live in accordance with them. The spirits in paradise can teach the spirits in prison (see D&C 138).

 

 

 

 

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16 minutes ago, marge said:

What makes us right and them wrong?

The truth.  Jesus Christ is the Savior of all mankind.  He paid the infinite price of sin and overcame death and hell to pave the way for us to become clean and to receive eternal life.  The Spirit testifies of this truth.  The truth is absolute, and God makes it known to man by the power of the Holy Ghost.  It is the absolute and eternal truth that determines what religious beliefs are right and wrong.

3 hours ago, marge said:

The Holy Ghost gave me a different answer than he gave you.  But to assume that I did not receive my answer from the Holy Ghost because I got an answer you can't accept.  I think that's really naive.

What you are describing here is not something that is possible.  The Holy Ghost will not and cannot give two conflicting answers to the question, "Is Jesus Christ the Son of God and the Savior of Mankind?"  He likewise will not and cannot give conflicting answers to the question, "Is the Book of Mormon a true book and the Word of God?"

This has nothing to do with what we can or cannot accept, it solely pertains to what is and what is not.  The question at hand is not dependent on other factors such as what is proper for you to eat as compared to me based on the differences in our physical health.  Either the answer and testimony we have interpreted is true or it is not.  The same applies to you.  These conflicting answers are mutually exclusive.  God is not the author of confusion, He is no respecter of persons, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  If one cannot rely upon Him to give identical answers to the same question regarding individual facts, then God could not be a trusted source of information, and ultimately could not be the object of our reverence, praise, and worship.  The naivety comes in believing God can or would ever contradict Himself when speaking to different individuals.

I am a child of God and an emissary of Christ.  I am a holder of His holy priesthood.  It is by Christs authority that I declare His truth.  I desire only to witness of that which is right.  I know the Book of Mormon is true, and that Christ is the only way whereby mankind may be saved.  The Holy Ghost has made this known unto me and He can and will make it known unto you.  It is not I, not any other man that has established this as God's truth, but God Himself has done it.  If you believe He has made known unto you something different, then at a minimum, you must also believe that I and others have misunderstood or misinterpreted the answer we received.  But I know the answers I have received are correct and true, and therefore, I invite you to come to the knowledge that the answer you believe you received, came not from God.  I invite you to repent and to seek after this truth once more as you claim to have done in the past.  You are endowed with the freedom to reject this, and to disbelieve it, but it will not make it any less true.  I testify of these truths with boldness stemming from the love I have for you as my sister in Christ, and the desire for your eternal salvation in the Kingdom of God, through Christs atoning grace, and I do so in His name.

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On 11/21/2021 at 10:37 PM, marge said:

The 6000 year thing is largely due to an Irish Anglican Archbishop called James Ussher in the 1600s, a bible was even published with his 'supposed' dates on the top of pages in the bible, they were taken out around 1900.  Most Christian Denominations don't believe the world is only 6000 years old.  

A rather brilliant explanation for how the earth could well be four or five billion years old was shown to near death experiencer Dr. Richard Eby.

Basically this fits with Gap Theory that allows for a huge amount of time to transpire from Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 1:2.

There are other parts of this particular near death experience that cause me personally to lean toward Messiah Yeshua - Jesus using Applied Multiverse Theory to initiate new time lines using any point in time from Adam and Eve until now as a possible new beginning.  I base this theory largely on Ezekiel chapter thirty seven, Revelation chapter twenty and Romans nine, ten and eleven....... I believe that Jesus is going all out to save more and more and more and more lost souls and...... one of the possible implications of Jesus perhaps using Applied Multiverse Theory would be, duplicates of you or I in other time lines who become unique from you and I as they make better and better decisions based on a greater level of outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh????

https://near-death.com/richard-eby-nde/

Dr. Richard Eby’s NDE and the Second Coming of Christ

 
 
Quote

 

Jesus paused again.

“My book tells of the time when Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven changed some things. He sought to usurp my Father’s throne, assume his position as the most high God, and to rule the universe. For that blasphemy Lucifer was cast from heaven to Earth; in fact, I saw him fall as a bolt of lightning! In a tantrum of hate and rage over being deposed so fast he and his fallen angels disfigured our perfect Earth. It became void and uninhabitable. For punishment befitting his enemy of God, Lucifer was given a new name, Satan, since he was the self-appointed ‘adversary’ of the Almighty. Anything that God had made, Satan would attempt to destroy from then on. As Lucifer he had been created the highest angel about the throne, one of his assignments and talents being the chief musician in charge of worship and music. In his rebellious anger he set about destroying harmony on and in the Earth from then on. That is why the Earth where he operates now is out of harmony with God’s other creations. In my book we call this disharmony ‘sin’, because it defies God’s will that even the heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament show his handiwork.

“But be of good cheer, my son. The Father has permitted me to overcome Satan’s world system of sin, and to destroy the works of Satan, and to re-establish righteousness in the hearts of my friends. Eventually in his chosen time he will restore all creation as it once was, in him!”

It was clear enough that God’s “heaven-music” was ever-present as a permeating reminder of the purity and power in its Creator. As God’s methods of communication are headlined by music, even so is Satan’s method of distorting its language to deceive through his “rock”! Jesus had clearly implied already that one of his final missions would be to destroy the very “works of the devil” which include all music that fails to honor the Lord. Messiah promised to destroy any disharmonies which Satan uses to lure and deceive innocent children into the pits of hell!

The music around me suddenly seemed louder. I rushed to a nearby tree and grasped its trunk to my ear: it was “singing.” I lifted my right elbow to my head; it too emitted the same joyous, beatless melody. Excitedly I stopped to pick some flowers, and found them already in my hand. They too were “playing” the tune.

 

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On 11/21/2021 at 10:12 PM, marge said:

 I would say I have studied the Book of Mormon in depth, I also did come follow me all last year (and most of this year on D&C) I've attended LDS church (when I can due to covid). I've lived the Word of Wisdom the entire time, I've prayed with a sincere heart to know if its true.  After almost two years of sincere seeking (and I mean very sincere) I have to conclude that it's not true.  It makes me really sad because I WANT it to be true.

I do still believe the Bible is the word of God though.

I personally believe that the Book of Mormon is brilliantly written.....

fits beautifully with the Jewish and Christian scriptures.... fits beautifully with modern near death experience accounts which I feel fit perfectly with 2 Corinthians 12 : 2-4 but..... I feel that my role in life is to assist Latter day Saints to connect with Pentecostals, Charismatic Catholics, other Christians who like me are fascinated by near death experience accounts and also with Jews, (especially Jews who like me love the near death experience account of former Atheist Rabbi Alon Anava.)

I feel that my calling toward Judaism and toward the Jewish people somewhat modifies the way that I approach the question of whether or not I should become a full fledged baptized Mormon or not????????

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye alove one another; as I have loved you, that ye also blove one another.

35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have alove one to another." (John 13)

I feel that Atheism will begin to be taken out of its position of power and control over the educational system of all nations as Jews, Latter day Saints and Christians of all denominations begin to have win - win - win - win discussions with each other as opposed to the debates over specific doctrines that characterized interdenominational discussions in the past.  

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, marge said:

I believe in God, I believe in Jesus, I believe in the Holy Ghost, I believe the bible is the word of God.  My answer that book of mormon isn't true, that doesn't make me not a Christian, that doesn't make you more of a Christian than me.  I believe Gods words, we just have a different witness of where to find those words.

The Holy Ghost gave me a different answer than he gave you.  But to assume that I did not receive my answer from the Holy Ghost because I got an answer you can't accept.  I think that's really naive.

I'm glad you believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. I'm glad you believe in the word of God. I never said you weren't a Christian, please don't put words in my mouth; it is a naive way to make a statement. The answer you feel you received wasn't from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth (John 14:26, Moroni 10: 3:5) not of lies or error.

To think, or believe, the Holy Ghost will tell, show, or witness someone something is not true when it is true is naive, and clear evidence you have a misunderstanding of the roll of the Holy Ghost from scripture.

Recognizing your answer isn't from the Holy Ghost isn't an assumption, its a reality. I accept you received an answer, it just wasn't from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth. That is clearly defined in scripture -- not of lies or error. The Holy Ghost will not, and cannot witness both to be true. They are in direct opposition. It will be similar to someone saying they received witness from the Holy Ghost that Christ is not the Savior. I don't need to assume anything. I can call it out for what it is.

Thus we have the following scripture:
 

Quote

 

10 And now, my beloved brethren, and also Jew, and all ye ends of the earth, hearken unto these words and believe in Christ; and if ye believe not in these words believe in Christ. And if ye shall believe in Christ ye will believe in these words, for they are the words of Christ, and he hath given them unto me; and they teach all men that they should do good.

11 And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day;

 

 

Edited by Anddenex

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There was a great question and answer from Ask Gramps about the subject being discussed that, in turn, asked some important questions. Though it’s a bit lengthy, to shorten it would be an injustice. 
 

 

Question

Gramps,

I have read the Book of Mormon from cover to cover in preparation to serve a mission. I finished and I feel like I prayed with a real intent to know if it was true.  Growing up in the Church I wanted an experience I could look back on to anchor me.  But I felt nothing,  I’ve read scriptures James 1:5 and Moroni 10-4,5 but I am home because of the pandemic, and struggling to go back out.   How can I really gain a testimony? I can’t go out and and bear a testimony I don’t have.

Matthew

 

Answer

Matthew,

Thank you for taking a moment to ask this question, and it is comforting for me to see a young man who wants to be genuine when declaring a truth to others. In my youth, I found myself in a similar situation as you, but in a different way. Before I go into that let’s review from scripture items that need to be considered with a question like yours (these are general questions that may or may not apply to you right now):

1) Will God further reveal to us what we already know, but for some reason are denying?
2) King Laman, Lamoni’s father, at first was willing to give up half a kingdom to know what Aaron knew. When the reality of what Aaron was teaching settled in King Laman was willing to give up all his sins to know. Is there anything in our lives that might be preventing a witness?
3) Is our desire to know the truth real, or simply a reluctant obedience in doing what people have said without any real intent?
4) Am I tying God down to a specific experience in order to have the truth revealed and to receive a testimony?
5) How does God reveal truth? What has he already revealed to us?
6) Have you witnessed God’s hand in your family?
7) The Lord’s timing. Have I allowed the Lord to answer me on his timeline vs. when I think he should do it? An answer is promised, but an immediate answer is not.

When I began serving a mission I read the following verse of scripture in Doctrine and Covenants 9:8-9 that refers to a “burning in our bosom.” This was the way God revealed truth, at least that is what was being taught, and since I had never felt this before I found myself in a similar position as you, “How do I teach the Gospel when I haven’t received a testimony”?

I began to pray, read, and fast for a testimony. I wanted to feel this “burning in my bosom.” I never received this witness, and to this day I have not and do not know what a “burning in the bosom” feels like. What I did discover is that when I was no longer looking for a specific witness the Lord spoke to my mind and heart. I knew from the Spirit of the Lord (the Lord’s voice, mind, and will) and thus began the seed of my testimony. I discovered for me the truth of Doctrine and Covenants 8:2-3. The spirit of revelation/prophecy is when the Lord speaks to your mind and heart. The Spirit of the Lord then commanded me to build upon what I received. Later in my life I read the following words from President Joseph F. Smith which describes my testimony and knowledge of the gospel:

“When I as a boy first started out in the ministry,” he explained, “I would frequently go out and ask the Lord to show me some marvelous thing, in order that I might receive a testimony. But the Lord withheld marvels from me, and showed me the truth, line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little, until he made me to know the truth from the crown of my head to the soles of my feet, and until doubt and fear had been absolutely purged from me. He did not have to send an angel from the heavens to do this, nor did he have to speak with the trump of an archangel. By the whisperings of the still small voice of the Spirit of the living God, he gave to me the testimony I possess. And by this principle and power he will give to all the children of men a knowledge of the truth that will stay with them, and it will make them to know the truth, as God knows it, and to do the will of the Father as Christ does it.”

This appears to be a true path by which the Lord reveals his truth to his children. There are obviously outliers to this path also. At this time also, early in my mission, there wasn’t any sin in my life that had not been repented of. If I needed to resolve something with the bishop it was resolved. When I taught at the MTC I had the privilege of teaching a young man from my home ward who was struggling also. He was not receiving the witness he wanted to receive pertaining to staying on the mission or returning home in order to marry his girlfriend. Mind you I knew this young man. I also knew of decisions he made, which would have prevented him from serving a mission as soon as he did. He had unrepented, unresolved sins that were preventing him from receiving the witness he desired. Like King Laman, he was willing to give up half of his kingdom (meaning, he was willing to leave his home, but the other half he really didn’t want to lose — girlfriend). As such, there were sins preventing the Spirit. If we are unwilling to give up all our sins (especially when we are about to serve a mission, or are on the mission) it will be hard to receive any answer from the Lord as our mind will not be prepared to receive it.

On my mission, I taught a lady who said the following words, “I already know Joseph Smith is not a prophet of God, but I will pray anyway.” When we asked if she prayed she said she had and that she didn’t receive an answer. When we asked how she prayed she said the following, “I prayed and asked the Lord by saying, ‘Lord, I already know Joseph Smith is not a prophet, but because the Elders have asked me I am praying to know,’ and I did not receive an answer.”  My companion and I looked at each other and were not surprised she did not receive an answer. At times, we may be reluctant although we still act, but are our actions with true intent and sincerity. Or, are our actions merely to say, “Well, I did what was asked, and still nothing.”

Another story I really enjoy from President Joseph F. Smith is regarding his mother. When he was a young boy traveling with his mother and uncle at some point their oxen went missing. Joseph and his uncle had searched and searched and had come up empty handed. As he was returning back to his mother this is what he shares:

“In this pitiable plight I was the first to return to our wagons, and as I approached I saw my mother kneeling down in prayer. I halted for a moment and then drew gently near enough to hear her pleading with the Lord not to suffer us to be left in this helpless condition, but to lead us to recover our lost team, that we might continue our travels in safety. When she arose from her knees I was standing nearby. The first expression I caught upon her precious face was a lovely smile, which discouraged as I was, gave me renewed hope and an assurance I had not felt before.

 

“She cheerfully encouraged Joseph and his uncle to sit and enjoy the breakfast she had prepared and said, “I will just take a walk out and see if I can find the cattle.” Despite her brother’s protests that further searching would be fruitless, Mary set out, leaving him and Joseph F. to eat breakfast. She encountered a nearby herdsman who indicated that he had seen the lost oxen in the direction opposite to her course. Joseph F. said, “We heard plainly what he said, but mother went right on, and did not even turn her head to look at him.” She soon beckoned to Joseph F. and his uncle, who ran to the spot where she stood. There they saw the oxen fastened to a clump of willows.

 

“President Joseph F. Smith later said, “It was one of the first practical and positive demonstrations of the efficacy of prayer I had ever witnessed. It made an indelible impression upon my mind, and has been a source of comfort, assurance and guidance to me throughout all of my life.”

Has there been anything in your life, with your family, or with a friend, or you personally that you can draw on when you are asking the Lord for a witness? The Book of Mormon says it a little differently with the following words:

“Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.” (emphasis mine)  Moroni 10:3

When you prayed, were you remembering the Lord’s love for you (his death, his sacrifice)? Were you possibly remembering any spiritual witness that the Lord (as with Joseph F. Smith and his mother) has heard and answered prayers? Were you possibly pondering the love you have for others and those who you will be serving? Were you pondering the tender mercies the Lord has shown in scripture?

I want to thank you again Matthew for taking the time to ask this question, and the desire you have to be genuine in declaring your testimony. You want to know. May the Lord bless you with a calm heart and mind to hear his voice, his love, and his mercy for you as his son.

 

Gramps

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17 hours ago, marge said:

I don't believe in the dates proposed by James Ussher at all (as most christian denominations don't) so I don't believe man only existed or the flood was only 5000 years ago.  If you look at ancient history every culture has a flood story, the epic of gilgamesh for example is basically the same story as noah, except its 1000s of years older than the Genesis account.  I believe there was a great flood in ancient history, the date of it, I don't think anyone knows.  Perhaps there were several of differing degrees.  

Your question seems to be asking me if I am a bible literalist (6000 years, timing of the flood etc) I am not, but that doesn't mean the bible is not the word of God.

I am very interested when anyone has come to a different conclusion that I have.  For this reason I ask specific questions - mostly to examine if there is something that I should consider that I have left out.   To be honest I am confused when someone says that the Bible is the "Word of G-d" but is not literally accurate.  My personal background is in science - my education was math and physics and my profession (most of my life) was automation, robotics and artificial intelligence - I am currently retired.

I am most interested that you have received the impression that the Bible is divinely accurate and appointed but that the Book of Mormon is flawed and unworthy to guide concerning divine instruction.  I wonder that you are so impressed with the text of the Bible over the Book of Mormon because my studies of over 60 years is the exact opposite.   But for this discussion (for which I am most grateful for your kind responses) I would focus on what I think you are saying is your impression concerning the Bible as the perfect word of G-d.  

What rigors have you applied to the Bible that has convinced you it is the word of G-d?  For example lets look at the order of the creation of things concerning this planet earth upon which we live as recorded in Genesis chapter one beginning with verses 11 through 19.  These verses explain the order of things during the 3rd and forth periods of creation.  In modern versions of the Bible this is expressed as the 3rd and 4th day or time periods of creation.  Do you believe that it is the "word of G-d" that vegetation (plant life) on earth existed before there was a sun and moon providing daytime and nighttime light and seasons?  Or is this a new concept of the order of things to you?

Thanks

 

The Traveler

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9 hours ago, Anddenex said:

I'm glad you believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. I'm glad you believe in the word of God. I never said you weren't a Christian, please don't put words in my mouth; it is a naive way to make a statement. The answer you feel you received wasn't from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth (John 14:26, Moroni 10: 3:5) not of lies or error.

To think, or believe, the Holy Ghost will tell, show, or witness someone something is not true when it is true is naive, and clear evidence you have a misunderstanding of the roll of the Holy Ghost from scripture.

Recognizing your answer isn't from the Holy Ghost isn't an assumption, its a reality. I accept you received an answer, it just wasn't from the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth. That is clearly defined in scripture -- not of lies or error. The Holy Ghost will not, and cannot witness both to be true. They are in direct opposition. It will be similar to someone saying they received witness from the Holy Ghost that Christ is not the Savior. I don't need to assume anything. I can call it out for what it is.

Thus we have the following scripture:
 

 

I didn't say you said I wasn't a Christian, I was simply stating not believing in the book of mormon doesn't make me more or less of a Christian than you are.  I didn't put any words in anyone's mouth.

The issue I have here is that the only answer an LDS person will accept to Moroni's promise to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God is the one they themselves agree with.  If I don't come to that conclusion then apparently it wasn't the Holy Ghost?  The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth, but only your version of it?  And you are using scripture from the very book I'm praying about to know if its scripture as evidence of that?  Thats circular reasoning.  Interesting.

For the record I really did want it to be true for me, I love the LDS church and the life you live being part of it.  I did not come to my answer through anything other than the witness of the Holy Ghost I told you about, but according to most of you, that couldn't have been the Holy Ghost at all.  I hope I am still welcome to stay here on the forums, but I can't deny the spiritual experience I had, just as you can't deny yours.  I would never tell you yours was the wrong answer or not the Holy Ghost or not a valid experience though. 

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8 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am very interested when anyone has come to a different conclusion that I have.  For this reason I ask specific questions - mostly to examine if there is something that I should consider that I have left out.   To be honest I am confused when someone says that the Bible is the "Word of G-d" but is not literally accurate.  My personal background is in science - my education was math and physics and my profession (most of my life) was automation, robotics and artificial intelligence - I am currently retired.

I am most interested that you have received the impression that the Bible is divinely accurate and appointed but that the Book of Mormon is flawed and unworthy to guide concerning divine instruction.  I wonder that you are so impressed with the text of the Bible over the Book of Mormon because my studies of over 60 years is the exact opposite.   But for this discussion (for which I am most grateful for your kind responses) I would focus on what I think you are saying is your impression concerning the Bible as the perfect word of G-d.  

What rigors have you applied to the Bible that has convinced you it is the word of G-d?  For example lets look at the order of the creation of things concerning this planet earth upon which we live as recorded in Genesis chapter one beginning with verses 11 through 19.  These verses explain the order of things during the 3rd and forth periods of creation.  In modern versions of the Bible this is expressed as the 3rd and 4th day or time periods of creation.  Do you believe that it is the "word of G-d" that vegetation (plant life) on earth existed before there was a sun and moon providing daytime and nighttime light and seasons?  Or is this a new concept of the order of things to you?

Thanks

 

The Traveler

You're super interesting to talk too!  I think I kinda answered this in the last page, but this thread has gotten a bit crazy so I'll put it here again and try to elaborate as best I can for you.

I don't think the bible has to be perfect to be the word of God, men wrote it down so its not going to be perfect, its going to be written from their point of view to a certain extent. It's also going to be their perspective on things they can't understand.  I think a lot of stories in the bible (old testament more than new) were passed down verbally for a long time before they were written down. There are different versions of the same stories throughout the world, everyone has a flood story, giant stories, creation story, first human stories, and there are similarities in them all, some stronger than others, and a lot of them older than the bible.

 

I think people wrote down with sincerity what they saw, what was passed down by verbal knowledge for probably 1000s of years, and what they felt guided by God to record.  I think it's better to compare it to a child looking at something they can't possibly understand and trying to explain it.  A child's description of seeing a rocket ship take off would be a lot different to yours or my version of the same story.  Read Ezekiel for example (or Genesis creation story), they are trying to explain something they don't understand.  So I can't take it all literally, but that doesn't mean there's no truth in it or that it's not what they saw, or that its not divinely inspired by God.

I think the bible is a record of people trying their best to explain something they don't (and can't) truely understand with Gods guidance.  That doesn't make it not the inspired word of God.

I have prayed about whether the bible is true or not, in very much the same way I prayed about the BOM.  The bible, especially the old testament, has been held as sacred scripture for 1000s of years.  It is accepted by Jews and Christians as scared scripture.  The dead see scrolls add to the evidence by showing that the bible says today what it said 1000s of years ago.

 
Edited by marge

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4 hours ago, marge said:

I didn't say you said I wasn't a Christian, I was simply stating not believing in the book of mormon doesn't make me more or less of a Christian than you are.  I didn't put any words in anyone's mouth.

The issue I have here is that the only answer an LDS person will accept to Moroni's promise to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God is the one they themselves agree with.  If I don't come to that conclusion then apparently it wasn't the Holy Ghost?  The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth, but only your version of it?  And you are using scripture from the very book I'm praying about to know if its scripture as evidence of that?  Thats circular reasoning.  Interesting.

For the record I really did want it to be true for me, I love the LDS church and the life you live being part of it.  I did not come to my answer through anything other than the witness of the Holy Ghost I told you about, but according to most of you, that couldn't have been the Holy Ghost at all.  I hope I am still welcome to stay here on the forums, but I can't deny the spiritual experience I had, just as you can't deny yours.  I would never tell you yours was the wrong answer or not the Holy Ghost or not a valid experience though. 

Let's not play a victim here. Were you planning on doing something that would ban you from this forum? If not, why wouldn't you be welcome to stay on the forum? I am just as capable of being banned from this forum as you would be if we decide to break the rules of the site.

The scriptures, both Bible and Book of Mormon, are clear as to the purpose of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost clearly will not bear witness of opposing tenets (as both being true which they can't be), which is what you are sharing with regards to your witness.

The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth, there isn't a "version" of it as you are describing. It is truth. The Book of Mormon is either the word of God or it is not. The Holy Ghost will not bear record of opposing tenets. He will not say to one person, "It is true," and to another, "It is not true." So, the outcome is just as it is -- one is true and one is false.

You appear to be confusing circular reasoning with additional witness. You have said the Holy Ghost said it is not true. I provided the witness and testimony of another person in the Book of Mormon that will be given at the last day. This witness is either true or false, there is no in between. Either at the last day it will be true, or it will be false.

I don't know enough about you to say one way or the other as to your efforts. I do know your witness wasn't from the Holy Ghost. It doesn't mean it wasn't experienced, it just wasn't the Holy Ghost. I have beaten the dead horse enough. It is a simple principle of truth, opposing truths can't both be true --- there isn't a version of it as they are opposing. Again, it would be similar to someone saying, by the Holy Ghost, they were informed that Christ was not the Savior of the world but a good prophet. And then someone else saying the opposite, by the Holy Ghost I know Christ is the Savior of the world. Which is the "version"of truth you are presenting. It can't be both, no matter how many times someone says it can, it can't.

I still wish you all the peace and happiness in this world.

 

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2 hours ago, Anddenex said:

Let's not play a victim here. Were you planning on doing something that would ban you from this forum? If not, why wouldn't you be welcome to stay on the forum? I am just as capable of being banned from this forum as you would be if we decide to break the rules of the site.

The scriptures, both Bible and Book of Mormon, are clear as to the purpose of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost clearly will not bear witness of opposing tenets (as both being true which they can't be), which is what you are sharing with regards to your witness.

The Holy Ghost is a testator of truth, there isn't a "version" of it as you are describing. It is truth. The Book of Mormon is either the word of God or it is not. The Holy Ghost will not bear record of opposing tenets. He will not say to one person, "It is true," and to another, "It is not true." So, the outcome is just as it is -- one is true and one is false.

You appear to be confusing circular reasoning with additional witness. You have said the Holy Ghost said it is not true. I provided the witness and testimony of another person in the Book of Mormon that will be given at the last day. This witness is either true or false, there is no in between. Either at the last day it will be true, or it will be false.

I don't know enough about you to say one way or the other as to your efforts. I do know your witness wasn't from the Holy Ghost. It doesn't mean it wasn't experienced, it just wasn't the Holy Ghost. I have beaten the dead horse enough. It is a simple principle of truth, opposing truths can't both be true --- there isn't a version of it as they are opposing. Again, it would be similar to someone saying, by the Holy Ghost, they were informed that Christ was not the Savior of the world but a good prophet. And then someone else saying the opposite, by the Holy Ghost I know Christ is the Savior of the world. Which is the "version"of truth you are presenting. It can't be both, no matter how many times someone says it can, it can't.

I still wish you all the peace and happiness in this world.

 

I'm not playing a victim, I'm not playing anything, I've answered the same question over and over and keep being told I'm wrong and the Holy Ghost didn't communicate with me, something you can't possibly know yet insist is what happened to me, even though you weren't there.

If you insist on it being so black and white then I guess you're right, one of us must be wrong.  

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Serious question for those reading who are LDS.

If it wasn't the Holy Ghost then who was it? Do you think it was an evil spirit or a demon? Why would they be so clear? 

Serious question, not trying to be argumentative or anything.

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4 hours ago, marge said:

If you insist on it being so black and white then I guess you're right, one of us must be wrong.

I am grateful you are willing to acknowledge at least this much.

3 hours ago, marge said:

If it wasn't the Holy Ghost then who was it? Do you think it was an evil spirit or a demon? Why would they be so clear?

It could have been an evil Spirit, but it doesn't have to have been. Satan does all he can to copy spiritual influences to lead people astray.  For example: After spending a great deal of time one day in a Buddhist temple (as a carpet cleaner - for my job), I felt a great sense of tranquility with the absence of the Spirit.  That is one experience where I came to personally understand that Satan will seek to use feelings of tranquility as a replacement for the feeling of the peace of the Spirit.  Joy: Fun, Love: Lust, and so on.

Oddly, I find a good example of what this might be like is from the movie Batman Begins; when Ra's al Ghul (played by Liam Needing) is about to die, you can see his expression change to one of tranquility and acceptance of his fate.  Such thoughts may dissipate inner turmoil but are no replacement for the true light and peace that comes from the Spirit of God.  Hopefully this doesn't distract, from the intent of the message, but here is a still from that scene in the movie that captures the tranquility of resigning to ones fate.

img.jpg.7ad8c4428b581ad0137ce9b269ec15e7.jpg

It could have been your own thoughts and desires.  Perhaps there are things you do not like about the Church that made it easy to feel doubt and fear even while praying, and then to interpret those feelings as a witness that the Church and / or Book of Mormon is not true.

Perhaps you did not separate your requests; the first step is to come to a knowledge that the Book of Mormon is true, everything else can be baby steps after that.  It is common for people to receive a witness of the Book of Mormon and then to, through fear and doubt, reject a similar witness that the Church is Christ's true Church.  I saw this regularly as a missionary.  People received a witness and knew the Book of Mormon was true, but did not want to join the Church for their own reasons.  ( I know you claim that you did want it )

There are so many distractions in this world and ways to sin and be led away.  Satan will use whatever it takes.  I have often considered the saying, "the only true miracle is that a man will repent and change".  I like this saying because it emphasizes that God can do many mighty miracles that we see as miracles because they are supernatural according to mankind's understanding, but even He cannot and does not force a man to repent, that change must come from within and be chosen by the penitent.  The personal decision to choose to repent, change and turn to God is a true miracle.  I hope you find yourself a participant in that miracle in one day expanding upon your faith in Christ by receiving and accepting a witness of the Holy Spirit and choosing to accept and follow the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and eventually join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and go no more out.  🤗

Edited by person0

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8 hours ago, marge said:

Serious question for those reading who are LDS.

If it wasn't the Holy Ghost then who was it? Do you think it was an evil spirit or a demon? Why would they be so clear? 

Serious question, not trying to be argumentative or anything.

As a convert to the Church, I've wrestled with this.   I think one of the issues with all most religions, or more specifically the people in them, is the need to have everything answered.  While I certainly have a desire to know everything, I'm OK with not having all the answers.  

As such, to your question, I'm comfortable saying "beats me".   I don't like that answer.  I'm convinced I'll learn the answer some day, either in this world or the next.  But for now, I don't have one.  

Testimony is funny.  Not funny "ha ha" but funny odd.  There are things I know with every fiber of my being.  I know the Book of Mormon is scripture.  I know the Law of Chastity blesses me.  I know keeping my covenants have brought me blessings and joy, even the covenants that boggle my mind and I'm half-convinced I'll show up at the Pearly Gates and ask "what about this?" and Christ will chuckle and say "you guys really got that one wrong, good on you for being faithful, though".   But my testimony is my own.  I can share it with you, but you can't make it your own.  I really wish that you could, but you need your own testimony.   

I also know that we learn line upon line.   I know I was taught things that I was convinced weren't true.  I know I spent days, weeks, and months studying and praying things I couldn't understand, then woke up one morning with near-perfect clarity.   I know I put up my own mental roadblocks without even realizing it.

I'll also leave you with this:   If you're a Christian, good for you.   If you learn something, or feel uplifted, reading the Book of Mormon or listening to conference talks, that's awesome.   If studying the Bible brings you closer to Christ, good.  These are the things that will keep you on the right path.   You'll learn as you go.

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15 hours ago, marge said:

You're super interesting to talk too!  I think I kinda answered this in the last page, but this thread has gotten a bit crazy so I'll put it here again and try to elaborate as best I can for you.

I don't think the bible has to be perfect to be the word of God, men wrote it down so its not going to be perfect, its going to be written from their point of view to a certain extent. It's also going to be their perspective on things they can't understand.  I think a lot of stories in the bible (old testament more than new) were passed down verbally for a long time before they were written down. There are different versions of the same stories throughout the world, everyone has a flood story, giant stories, creation story, first human stories, and there are similarities in them all, some stronger than others, and a lot of them older than the bible.

 

I think people wrote down with sincerity what they saw, what was passed down by verbal knowledge for probably 1000s of years, and what they felt guided by God to record.  I think it's better to compare it to a child looking at something they can't possibly understand and trying to explain it.  A child's description of seeing a rocket ship take off would be a lot different to yours or my version of the same story.  Read Ezekiel for example (or Genesis creation story), they are trying to explain something they don't understand.  So I can't take it all literally, but that doesn't mean there's no truth in it or that it's not what they saw, or that its not divinely inspired by God.

I think the bible is a record of people trying their best to explain something they don't (and can't) truely understand with Gods guidance.  That doesn't make it not the inspired word of God.

I have prayed about whether the bible is true or not, in very much the same way I prayed about the BOM.  The bible, especially the old testament, has been held as sacred scripture for 1000s of years.  It is accepted by Jews and Christians as scared scripture.  The dead see scrolls add to the evidence by showing that the bible says today what it said 1000s of years ago.

 

Thank you again for your response.  I think I understand a little better concerning your thinking.  I will disclose a little about myself.  I have studied for decades and find ancient text fascinating but with the caveat that I am unable to read directly must rely on secondary translations (versions).  Without making this post too long, I will attempt to explain where I am in my journey.  The first point I would make is that I have great difficulty coming to unalterable conclusions.   I have had too much experience in my work traveling in our modern world to realize that much is lost in translation and even versions of things discussed with others that speak the same language.   I have a dyslexic view and must be careful reading and hearing.  I often ask very direct questions with examples to insure I understand what I think I am hearing.  Statements like "the word of G-d" are too ambiguous by themselves for me to understand what someone intends to convey.

I also like to do as much of my own research as possible.  For example, the last time I was in Paris I spend hours in the Louvre researching the origins of worshiping a golden calf (think the book of Exodus) and was able to find artifacts that link the golden calf worship in Exodus to a type of Baal worship taking place in Egypt at the time of Moses.  I have done a great deal of research concerning Baal and am astonished with the similarities between the New Testament narratives of Jesus of Nazareth and ancient Baal epoch millennial before.  An example of my research in science I am astonished with the Kardashev scale of civilization and the unique scale of resurrection glory offered by a young Joseph Smith over 100 years previously.  

I would also highlight insights received from research in ancient text done by Ivan Engneill and F. C. Fensham (not LDS) into incredible correlations between concepts of "divine rights of earthly Kings" (especially anciently in the Middle East) and the concepts of G-d the Father as the King of the Kingdom of Heaven (Universe).  Especially the expressions of Suzerain and their Vassal Servants treaties and the concept that a Suzerain and their Vassal Servants are "one".  Especially as an explanation of the Messiah being "anointed" as servant vassal (mediator) G-d over fallen or exiled population of a kingdom.  Sorry for the overuse of "especially".

As an armature student of ancient text - I am aware of the definition of original text as "autograph" or "autogram".  An autograph text is written in the hand of the author whereas an autogram is text written in the same era and in the same language as the author.  There are no original Biblical text.  It is interesting to me that there are many original ancient text from the same time periods as as Biblical text (you referenced one concerning a flood) but there are none from the sacred Biblical text that have survived for our modern era.  I do not agree with your conclusion about flaws in sacred text - though I have often encountered such thinking especially among Traditional Christians.  Buddhists and Muslims seem to have a very different concept of ancient text to which I tend to somewhat agree.

Traditional scholars of ancient text also have a definition of historic and pre-historic that I was somewhat surprised to learn.  The ancient text of Homer (about 750 BC) mark the change or threshold between what is considered historic verses pre-historic.  Historic text are considered to be factual representation of history given by a historian where as pre-historic text are considered to be fantastic symbolic representations of history.  This puts the book of Revelation (New Testament) into the category of pre-historic type of literature even though it was written in a historic time period.

Now I must introduce another surprise that I have learned.  Anciently it was believed that only a prophet of G-d could create sacred writings because such "formats" were beyond the abilities of fallen mankind.  Then it is only through the power of G-d that a student could read and understand sacred text.  Jesus expressed this notion with the eyes that see and ears that hear.  This also made coping ancient text - especially into another language almost impossible - unless the copy was directly "Inspired".  Studying ancient Hebrew text from a standpoint of a Rabbi can change forever a person's view of ancient sacred text.  The most prominent (that was not rediscovered until the 20th century) is the "Chiasm".  This very quickly become popular among LDS scholars because of the many Chiasms discovered in the Book of Mormon that was impossible for young Joseph Smith to accomplish without some "supernatural" assistance.  It is interesting to me that the Book of Genesis at the beginning of the Bible forms a Chiasm when the Book of Revelation become the end of text.  Other ancient Biblical text have chiastic formats - the most prominent is the Book of Isaiah.

There is another ancient text (The Book of Enoch) that follows the chiastic format - but this text is omitted from our modern Bibles.  Even though the Book of Enoch is the most quoted of Old Testament era text in the New Testament.  Jesus himself quotes the Book of Enoch more than any other text - especially in public addresses such as the "Sermon on the Mount".  However, traditional Christians and Jews have considered the Book of Enoch, available in by the 3rd century AD, to be corrupted copies made from New Testament texts - that was until the discovery of the Book of Enoch among the scriptures of the Dead Sea Scrolls that was from 300 BC. and predated all New Testament authors.

It is my opinion that there are original sacred text that were very ancient and such originals have been lost in time.  Many such sacred text were prophetic of things that would come and others were text of things that had taken place.  Some were written in sacred format that required "education" before they could be understood properly.  I also believe that there are intelligent forces that are not sacred but can better be understood as corrupted or demonic.  It has been a purpose of corrupted intelligence to alter, edit and change sacred scripture.  But beyond corrupting scripture such forces also seek to corrupt divine law, ordinances and covenants (as expressed by the Prophet Isaiah).  Thus there is a cycle of the divine "Word of G-d" given to man that becomes corrupted through an evolutionary process.  We see this cycle from Adam to Noah, the from Noah to the tower of Babel and so on down to Jesus and then to the end of times and return of Christ to reign for a thousand years and the end of the era of fallen mankind. 

 

The Traveler 

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On 11/22/2021 at 10:14 PM, person0 said:

So are you a universalist or something?  It sounds like you believe all paths lead back to God. 

I can't speak for @marge, but a lot of days I seem to lean more towards universalism, and cases like Marge's are a big reason why. I have no explanation for why the scriptures can be so certain that God will never lie and will always keep His promises and that means everyone (without exception) who checks off the right boxes will get a testimony of the BoM, and, yet, many people do not receive that testimony.

Sure we can say that they did not check of all the right boxes in all the right ways, but then I God starts to seem an awful lot like Robert Jordan's Aes Sedai (from Wheel of Time). Aes Sedai are an organization of women in the Wheel of Time universe who are magically bound to be honest -- to never lie and always keep promises. In spite of those magically bound oaths, nobody really trusts the Aes Sedai because they are also so adept at hiding behind half truths and answering exactly the question asked (rather than the intended question) and so on. If someone like marge is honestly seeking (but maybe missing something from the checklist) why does God withhold some kind of testimony from them? It seems to me that, if God were keeping His promise in the most generous way possible, He would overlook minor imperfections in people's methodology and grant them testimonies.

However, I am confident that God is good, so, if God is withholding testimonies for seemingly minor reasons, then He must have some reason for withholding testimonies that still allow those who do not receive a testimony to still find their way to salvation and exaltation (perhaps, as estradling said, it is about timing and maybe that even includes receiving testimonies in the next life). Of course, that is a slippery slope that readily slides down to universalism. If so, I'm okay with that. I know many LDS do not like universalism (it seems that this was another of Elder McConkie's influences).

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1 hour ago, MrShorty said:

If someone like marge is honestly seeking (but maybe missing something from the checklist) why does God withhold some kind of testimony from them?

I think the answer is relatively simple: "he who hath ears to hear, let him hear."  The promise declared by Moroni is ultimately one of many ways an individual may receive a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  However, it is the only promised way that is 100% guaranteed.  That doesn't mean it is easy, automatic, or to be taken for granted.  That also doesn't mean we can or should only count answers that come through prayer at the expense of potentially casting out other witnesses we have received.

I had many experiences with the Holy Spirit in my life before I ever got an answer following Moroni's method.  I always wondered why I never was able to get an answer witnessing the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon while praying.  Then when I finally got and answer through prayer, I realized why hadn't before.  I asked Marge if she wanted me to share my witness and if she was willing to receive it and she wasn't.  She also went beyond claiming to have never received an answer and extended to claiming to have received revelation in direct opposition to the promised answer.  Despite these things, I know that one day she and her testimony can grow to embrace the truths of the Restored Gospel.

God doesn't withhold a testimony from anyone, we withhold them from ourselves, albeit sometimes unwittingly.

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On 11/20/2021 at 12:18 AM, person0 said:

I struggle to understand how a Christian can study the Book of Mormon in depth and come away from it without reaching one of two conclusions:

1)  It is the Word of God as is the Bible

2)  It is not the Word of God, but if not, the Bible must not be either

I tend to automatically assume that one who reads the Book of Mormon and doesn't believe it to be true could not have fulfilled Moroni's promise, or they cast out the witness they received.  It is a very direct promise: ". . .he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost."  On a separate but related note: If I were to ever leave the Church, the only other option is atheism / agnosticism.  It just seems too obvious to me that other religions are just as (if not more) flawed as detractors claim ours to be.

 

There may be several things at work.  All of which I am to say is mostly supposition on my part rather than any thing else.

1.  Some believe that the Church is a vessel for the gathering of Israel.  This means that those who become members are those of the House of Israel.  A few others may join and be adopted into a house, but if you believe in the literal gathering of Israel, one of the ways it becomes true is that the church itself is the vessel for the West, and Israel the vessel for the East (for the Jews, though mostly not for those who are not of the Tribe of Judah, the Church gathers most of the rest in).  The Tribes of Joseph being the most dominant in the Church (as per the promises to Joseph), though other tribes are there as well.

2.  With this in mind, it may be that those who are not of Israel may not feel the call as intensely, or the desire as strongly to gather themselves into the flock.  What may be obvious to a son or daughter of Israel may not be as apparent to those who are not part of the gathering.

3.  In this instance, it could be that without that intensity of feeling or inspiration they are left to other means to come to the truth on their own, if they truly desire it.  It may be a very rocky road.

4.  When reading the Book of Mormon I come upon things that, in my study of History, I feel there is no way a young man of Joseph Smith's age could have known or realized about Hebrew civilization or melding it in with some of the ideas of Native Americans in the past.  Even with their knowledge at the time, many of the things that are in the Book of Mormon that correlate to these civilizations were not known at the time.  A young man could not have guessed so many items on his own.

At the same time, there are items which seem extremely counter to our modern understanding of those civilizations.  In that light, it seems almost as if he made it up as some of these items seem impossible.  They could not have occurred here or happened here in the Americas. 

This creates confusion if one is merely relying on the knowledge of man.  One the one hand you have evidence that something is going on beyond what is natural or normal, that there is evidence that Joseph Smith had knowledge that was not available to anyone else at the time.

On the otherhand, you have things that go so contrary to what our modern knowledge of the Americas show that you can come to almost no other conclusion than that he made it up...IF relying ONLY on the powers of man and our current knowledge and observation.

It is only with the help of the Spirit that one can actually get that testimony...BUT...if this is the gathering of Israel and those who are not of the House of Israel do not feel the call so keenly...it can lead to a much harder path where the ideas and knowledge of men have a greater sway.

5.  That said, I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I felt the Holy Spirit testify strongly to me, and it continues to testify of the truthfulness of the gospel when I go to church, that the Book of Mormon is true when I read the Book of Mormon, and that the Lord and his atonement are a reality when I study the scriptures and pray.

I was surprised when I got my patriarchal blessing many decades ago that I was actually a member of a tribe of Israel.  i was not adopted in, but was a member.  AS such, it was a surprise to me what tribe it was and that I was a member of it, though I think I had hoped for it to be so.

I am not from a member family.  I am a convert but many of my family, especially those of the older generation (my children and grandchildren joined the church, though some have had difficulties in recent years so this is not about them) are NOT members.  They did not feel the need to join. 

We are of the same bloodline and genealogy.  If it is the gathering of Israel the question could be...why did I join and not they?

6.  I feel that some of them got a testimony but for various reasons let it die or chose to follow a different path...BUT...I cannot make that judgement absolutely.  I do not know.  If they did, than according to the scriptures they can still attain a degree of glory, though perhaps not the fulness of it...BUT...that may not be what is in store at all.

There are some that say that things sometimes pop up which prevent someone from getting the truth manifested to them.  Sometimes things happen where they may hear the gospel, but do not have the opportunity to know if it is really true or not.  There may be some reason where because of other events or things occurring, that even if they visit with the missionaries and hear the gospel and study it out that they never actually get the opportunity to truly hear the gospel or accept it's message.

I don't understand it completely myself, but I understand the idea. 

This is why many say that we do not know whether someone will have the opportunity to go the Celestial Kingdom in the next life, even if they did not accept the gospel in this one.  We do not understand all the things about or around what may have been involved with them being able to accept or reject the message.  It may be that even if appearances seem to indicate that they had an opportunity, in reality, they did not.  Thus, they will get the true opportunity to accept or reject the gospel message in the next life and receive all the blessings thereof.

7.  This is why we do temple ordinances, even for those who may seem to have heard and rejected the gospel in this life.  We do not know all the circumstances of the situation and it may truly be that they never actually had the opportunity in this life for whatever reason.  It is also this that I can hold onto in regards to dead relatives that we visited with the missionaries, gave Book of Mormons to, and talked to and felt the Holy Ghost with...that perhaps they did not actually have the opportunity and will receive it in the next life. 

I do not know who I will be sealed to in the next life in regards to my parents and onward.  It is an unanswered question currently, but I think that all sadness will be resolved and joy will be with us throughout our existence there. 

I realize that there may be reasons at times why people do not get a testimony in this life, and sometimes it's for reasons we may not entirely understand.  I feel it is all within the purposes of the Lord though, and through him we can find what is important in our lives and hope for all those in this life in regards to the gospel and the lord. 

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On 11/24/2021 at 1:48 AM, marge said:

Serious question for those reading who are LDS.

If it wasn't the Holy Ghost then who was it? Do you think it was an evil spirit or a demon? Why would they be so clear? 

Serious question, not trying to be argumentative or anything.

I cannot speak for you or what you felt.  I do not know.  I will say it could have been the Holy Ghost saying something, but the question comes on how one knows what it is telling them.

Most people do not know or cannot say themselves, it being more of a feeling to them rather than a distinct wording or statement.  They do not have an angel come and visit them in person (and frankly, most Christian religions today except for Pentecostal teach that this would be impossible as visions and prophets do not continue in their theology) nor does the Lord come in person to tell them (as per the prior statement on their theology saying this no longer occurs).

The spirit that the Pentecostals seem to listen to seems to be on an opposing end of the spirit we claim to listen to in some of their more lively churches.  The pentecostal in those branches of their religion tend to feel it is a very loud thing to make one jump and shout, to be boisterous and speak in gibberish which they claim to be tongues (but from which, at times, those who actually know those tongues will say that the words they speak are not words from any version or form of that language).  Not ALL Pentecostals feel this, but there are some that do.  This spirit is very different (and perhaps almost the exact opposite of what we claim to listen to and be inspired by).  They feel the way they do, we feel the way we do. 

The bigger question i would have is how do you KNOW exactly what it was saying?  Is it by the way that the very lively Pentecostals claim (and they are one of the few of theology that claim they can hear specific things and statements...unlike many other theologies that deny that the Lord speaks to men in this way anymore, nor that the Lord visits or creates prophets anymore), or is it by some other means.  Is it by the same way the Missionaries said, which, if so, why would it speak in that manner to you in opposition to what other religions claim? 

I know there are many, even in our own religion, who claim to have felt the Holy Ghost but no more felt it manifest or can tell if it is there than a Baptist or Catholic or any other member of any other church would say.  When the wind blows, if it blows (and hopefully it will not, but sometimes it does) it is shown.  They refuse to follow the prophet (for example, we see a LOT of that these days with those openly in defiance of our Church leadership in preaching against vaccines, masks, and the items asked of us by our Church leaders in the highest positions of leadership today) and claim that the spirit told them to do this.  We see others say they feel this same spirit to deny the Holy Ghost and the Gospel, claiming that they are resigning from membership because of this.  These are members of our church that claim these things at times...and if they cannot identify the Holy Ghost in their lives...I can imagine it may be difficult for someone who is new.

I think you could have very well felt the Holy Ghost.  The bigger question is how do you know what it was telling you?  How are you sure?

I do not know.  I am not you.  It may be that there are things in your life that you have yet to do.  Personally, I HIGHLY doubt it was specifically saying the Book of Mormon was not true, but then, I was not there and I am not you.  I have no idea what it told you or what you felt.  Perhaps it was telling you what you need to know or feel...I don't know.  I think there could be mistakes about what exactly it was trying to say...but once again, I'm not you and did not participate in your experience.

In my estimation, the Holy Ghost does not lie, it reveals truth.  In that light, in my understanding, it would never actually specifically say that the Book of Mormon was false.  It would only testify that it was true and that it contains the gospel of Jesus Christ.  However, there may be other things it may indicate or state that could mean any number of things.  It may be that you misunderstood what was being said or told...I don't know. 

Two years is a long time to try to find the truth and I can understand the weariness of it.  I can understand being invested in something and not receiving the answers one wishes or hopes for.  I hope that you can continue to pray and read the Book of Mormon, and hope to receive the blessing of belief, but you must do what you feel is necessary for you and your life and your choices of faith and belief.

Either way, whether you choose to continue to study and pray, or to go your own way and follow a different path or faith, I think you are always welcome here to discuss with us faith and our joint love of Jesus Christ.

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On 11/26/2021 at 12:18 PM, JohnsonJones said:

I cannot speak for you or what you felt.  I do not know.  I will say it could have been the Holy Ghost saying something, but the question comes on how one knows what it is telling them.

Most people do not know or cannot say themselves, it being more of a feeling to them rather than a distinct wording or statement.  They do not have an angel come and visit them in person (and frankly, most Christian religions today except for Pentecostal teach that this would be impossible as visions and prophets do not continue in their theology) nor does the Lord come in person to tell them (as per the prior statement on their theology saying this no longer occurs).

The spirit that the Pentecostals seem to listen to seems to be on an opposing end of the spirit we claim to listen to in some of their more lively churches.  The pentecostal in those branches of their religion tend to feel it is a very loud thing to make one jump and shout, to be boisterous and speak in gibberish which they claim to be tongues (but from which, at times, those who actually know those tongues will say that the words they speak are not words from any version or form of that language).  Not ALL Pentecostals feel this, but there are some that do.  This spirit is very different (and perhaps almost the exact opposite of what we claim to listen to and be inspired by).  They feel the way they do, we feel the way we do. 

The bigger question i would have is how do you KNOW exactly what it was saying?  Is it by the way that the very lively Pentecostals claim (and they are one of the few of theology that claim they can hear specific things and statements...unlike many other theologies that deny that the Lord speaks to men in this way anymore, nor that the Lord visits or creates prophets anymore), or is it by some other means.  Is it by the same way the Missionaries said, which, if so, why would it speak in that manner to you in opposition to what other religions claim? 

I know there are many, even in our own religion, who claim to have felt the Holy Ghost but no more felt it manifest or can tell if it is there than a Baptist or Catholic or any other member of any other church would say.  When the wind blows, if it blows (and hopefully it will not, but sometimes it does) it is shown.  They refuse to follow the prophet (for example, we see a LOT of that these days with those openly in defiance of our Church leadership in preaching against vaccines, masks, and the items asked of us by our Church leaders in the highest positions of leadership today) and claim that the spirit told them to do this.  We see others say they feel this same spirit to deny the Holy Ghost and the Gospel, claiming that they are resigning from membership because of this.  These are members of our church that claim these things at times...and if they cannot identify the Holy Ghost in their lives...I can imagine it may be difficult for someone who is new.

I think you could have very well felt the Holy Ghost.  The bigger question is how do you know what it was telling you?  How are you sure?

I do not know.  I am not you.  It may be that there are things in your life that you have yet to do.  Personally, I HIGHLY doubt it was specifically saying the Book of Mormon was not true, but then, I was not there and I am not you.  I have no idea what it told you or what you felt.  Perhaps it was telling you what you need to know or feel...I don't know.  I think there could be mistakes about what exactly it was trying to say...but once again, I'm not you and did not participate in your experience.

In my estimation, the Holy Ghost does not lie, it reveals truth.  In that light, in my understanding, it would never actually specifically say that the Book of Mormon was false.  It would only testify that it was true and that it contains the gospel of Jesus Christ.  However, there may be other things it may indicate or state that could mean any number of things.  It may be that you misunderstood what was being said or told...I don't know. 

Two years is a long time to try to find the truth and I can understand the weariness of it.  I can understand being invested in something and not receiving the answers one wishes or hopes for.  I hope that you can continue to pray and read the Book of Mormon, and hope to receive the blessing of belief, but you must do what you feel is necessary for you and your life and your choices of faith and belief.

Either way, whether you choose to continue to study and pray, or to go your own way and follow a different path or faith, I think you are always welcome here to discuss with us faith and our joint love of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for such a kind christlike response, I really appreciate it.  I don't get into Pentecostal beliefs, not really my thing at all.  

It was a strong feeling, an uncomfortable feeling, along with a knowing and almost like someone was talking to me in my head, while I was praying, it left a very strong impression.  I had it happen several times, I tried to ignore it because I was so in love with the LDS church and way of life.  Maybe I'll get a different answer one day, maybe it was the adversary trying to stop me, I don't know. 

Again, thank you for being so kind

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On 11/25/2021 at 4:48 AM, Traveler said:

Thank you again for your response.  I think I understand a little better concerning your thinking.  I will disclose a little about myself.  I have studied for decades and find ancient text fascinating but with the caveat that I am unable to read directly must rely on secondary translations (versions).  Without making this post too long, I will attempt to explain where I am in my journey.  The first point I would make is that I have great difficulty coming to unalterable conclusions.   I have had too much experience in my work traveling in our modern world to realize that much is lost in translation and even versions of things discussed with others that speak the same language.   I have a dyslexic view and must be careful reading and hearing.  I often ask very direct questions with examples to insure I understand what I think I am hearing.  Statements like "the word of G-d" are too ambiguous by themselves for me to understand what someone intends to convey.

I also like to do as much of my own research as possible.  For example, the last time I was in Paris I spend hours in the Louvre researching the origins of worshiping a golden calf (think the book of Exodus) and was able to find artifacts that link the golden calf worship in Exodus to a type of Baal worship taking place in Egypt at the time of Moses.  I have done a great deal of research concerning Baal and am astonished with the similarities between the New Testament narratives of Jesus of Nazareth and ancient Baal epoch millennial before.  An example of my research in science I am astonished with the Kardashev scale of civilization and the unique scale of resurrection glory offered by a young Joseph Smith over 100 years previously.  

I would also highlight insights received from research in ancient text done by Ivan Engneill and F. C. Fensham (not LDS) into incredible correlations between concepts of "divine rights of earthly Kings" (especially anciently in the Middle East) and the concepts of G-d the Father as the King of the Kingdom of Heaven (Universe).  Especially the expressions of Suzerain and their Vassal Servants treaties and the concept that a Suzerain and their Vassal Servants are "one".  Especially as an explanation of the Messiah being "anointed" as servant vassal (mediator) G-d over fallen or exiled population of a kingdom.  Sorry for the overuse of "especially".

As an armature student of ancient text - I am aware of the definition of original text as "autograph" or "autogram".  An autograph text is written in the hand of the author whereas an autogram is text written in the same era and in the same language as the author.  There are no original Biblical text.  It is interesting to me that there are many original ancient text from the same time periods as as Biblical text (you referenced one concerning a flood) but there are none from the sacred Biblical text that have survived for our modern era.  I do not agree with your conclusion about flaws in sacred text - though I have often encountered such thinking especially among Traditional Christians.  Buddhists and Muslims seem to have a very different concept of ancient text to which I tend to somewhat agree.

Traditional scholars of ancient text also have a definition of historic and pre-historic that I was somewhat surprised to learn.  The ancient text of Homer (about 750 BC) mark the change or threshold between what is considered historic verses pre-historic.  Historic text are considered to be factual representation of history given by a historian where as pre-historic text are considered to be fantastic symbolic representations of history.  This puts the book of Revelation (New Testament) into the category of pre-historic type of literature even though it was written in a historic time period.

Now I must introduce another surprise that I have learned.  Anciently it was believed that only a prophet of G-d could create sacred writings because such "formats" were beyond the abilities of fallen mankind.  Then it is only through the power of G-d that a student could read and understand sacred text.  Jesus expressed this notion with the eyes that see and ears that hear.  This also made coping ancient text - especially into another language almost impossible - unless the copy was directly "Inspired".  Studying ancient Hebrew text from a standpoint of a Rabbi can change forever a person's view of ancient sacred text.  The most prominent (that was not rediscovered until the 20th century) is the "Chiasm".  This very quickly become popular among LDS scholars because of the many Chiasms discovered in the Book of Mormon that was impossible for young Joseph Smith to accomplish without some "supernatural" assistance.  It is interesting to me that the Book of Genesis at the beginning of the Bible forms a Chiasm when the Book of Revelation become the end of text.  Other ancient Biblical text have chiastic formats - the most prominent is the Book of Isaiah.

There is another ancient text (The Book of Enoch) that follows the chiastic format - but this text is omitted from our modern Bibles.  Even though the Book of Enoch is the most quoted of Old Testament era text in the New Testament.  Jesus himself quotes the Book of Enoch more than any other text - especially in public addresses such as the "Sermon on the Mount".  However, traditional Christians and Jews have considered the Book of Enoch, available in by the 3rd century AD, to be corrupted copies made from New Testament texts - that was until the discovery of the Book of Enoch among the scriptures of the Dead Sea Scrolls that was from 300 BC. and predated all New Testament authors.

It is my opinion that there are original sacred text that were very ancient and such originals have been lost in time.  Many such sacred text were prophetic of things that would come and others were text of things that had taken place.  Some were written in sacred format that required "education" before they could be understood properly.  I also believe that there are intelligent forces that are not sacred but can better be understood as corrupted or demonic.  It has been a purpose of corrupted intelligence to alter, edit and change sacred scripture.  But beyond corrupting scripture such forces also seek to corrupt divine law, ordinances and covenants (as expressed by the Prophet Isaiah).  Thus there is a cycle of the divine "Word of G-d" given to man that becomes corrupted through an evolutionary process.  We see this cycle from Adam to Noah, the from Noah to the tower of Babel and so on down to Jesus and then to the end of times and return of Christ to reign for a thousand years and the end of the era of fallen mankind. 

 

The Traveler 

Ok now I have to study for the next year 😂. Seriously though, thank you for such a detailed response, you've given me a lot to look up and research.  I think you are a very interesting and obviously very intelligent person.

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