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Old 01-30-2005, 06:37 PM   #61
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Originally posted by macphisto23


Its not about going to the Mormon church, its more about recieving the principles and ordinances of the fullness of the gospel. There is so much to explain about Priesthood, who has authority here on earth to act in Gods name, should it be given to every person?, Should it be given to the person who knows the bible the best-No- or let me ask you this, how was Moses chosen to be a prophet? He didnt know how to speak, why did God choose him? I'm not only talking about prophets but when Jesus was on the earth he gave his 12 Apostles the Authority to act in his name by the laying on of hands. John the Baptist- why was he baptising people? Because he had the authority of God to baptise, not just any person can just start a church, or baptise, they have to be called of God. I would suggest that you read a short biography about the Mormons and how the church started, and where we got our authority(Priesthood).
In a very nice way, you've stated that only Mormons are worthy (thus, only worthy of eternal life) and the rest of us have suffered from "the Apostacy".

These teachings are inconsistent with the Bible.
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Old 01-30-2005, 06:38 PM   #62
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It looks like McPhisto beat me again.

Any way, here is my crack at the questions. Again, I’m not the most versed in the details of the history of the church but hopefully my responses will be helpful.

-- FizzingWhizzbees (great name, btw) asked several questions that have been answered to some degree.

- I apologize that my comments on gender may have been confusing. I fully support and believe in the following statement made in “A Proclamation to the World: The Family”by the First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of the church: “We […] solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator’s plan for the eternal destiny of His children.” (See full document: http://lds.org/languages/proclamatio...art_here_0.pdf )

I don’t know if God chooses gender or how that works. I do believe homosexuality is a sin but I place it among other sexual sins as far as its severity. I don’t think homo is any worse than hetero outside of the bonds of marriage. I know that this is a very conservative view and not very popular in today’s world, but I think there are many Old and New Testament commandments that are secularly unpopular.

However, having said that, my personal views on whether or not a gay couple should enjoy the same civil liberties and insurance benefits as straight couples may be more liberal than the average Mormon. I have reservations about adoption of children by gay couples but I have the same reservations about adoption of children by single parents who simply do not want to get married. I am pro-family, which I know is usually a conservative term to disguise anti-gay sentiments. But, I honestly believe that there is a certain family dynamic that exists in a loving home run equally by a father and a mother that cannot be replaced. Of course, there are families where grandparents, single parents or other family members raise the children and that is just fine.

I cannot say whether or not an individual is born “gay” or “straight.” I do believe we are born with certain strengths and weaknesses. This life is a time of probation in which we rely on the Lord to overcome our weaknesses and magnify our strengths. Homosexuality is a weakness that can be overcome. However, I realize there are people that believe this is wrong just as strongly as I believe it is right. One of the true challenges of life is to learn to respect and love each other despite our differences. The greatest gift God has given his children is the gift to choose and I oppose measures that seek to take the freedom to choose away from others. That is why I have certain reservations when it comes to denying gay couples certain civil liberties. Any way, I hope that helps. Next question.

- What do you believe about members of other religions or those who don't believe in any religion? Do you believe yours is the only "true" religion?

We do claim that we are the only true and living church on the earth. The most direct answer I can give is that we believe the church Christ established during his ministry was lost. He did give the keys of authority to Peter but with the martyrdoms of the apostles, that collective authority was lost. We believe that a Restoration was needed. This is where Joseph Smith comes in. I won’t recount the whole story which you can find easily on other websites, but suffice it to say, we believe the priesthood authority, or right to act in God’s name, was restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. In addition, he translated ancient scriptures known as the Book of Mormon. This leads to your next question.

- Here's a quote from the website: "God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization." What was the "great civilization" - is there any sort of evidence or proof of this or is it just accepted as a matter of faith?

Yes and yes. However, the end of the Book of Mormon there is a huge battle between the believers (the Nephites—named after one of Lehi’s sons) and warring faction known as the Lamanites (also named after Lehi’s son). This battle occurred circa AD 400 and resulted in the utter destruction of the Nephite civilization. However, there are many Mormon historians that believe that the entire Book of Mormon took place in the southern part of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula and that the Mayan civilization may be a remnant of the descendants of Lehi and his family. (The Aztecs don’t figure in because they arrived to Mexico long after the Book of Mormon ended.)

The Book of Mormon testifies of the visitation of Christ to the American continent after his ministry, crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem. He established his church here as well. Again, this is not supported doctrine of the church but many Mormons believe that this image of Christ was turned into Quetzalcoatl, the white bearded God the Aztecs believed Cortez embodied when he arrived in the early 16th century. Any way, I’m not expert on ancient Mexican civilization. You can find myriad books supporting and discrediting these theories.

Ultimately, the veracity of the Book of Mormon relies of faith. Sure, God could easily provide the church with hard archeological evidence but that still wouldn’t convince people that Jesus is the Christ. The Book of Mormon, while containing elements of history, is not an historical record. It is the spiritual record of some of the people that lived on the American continent. The purpose of the Book of Mormon is to testify of the divine mission of Christ on this earth. It also shows us that God had prophets in the New World as well as in the Old World.

- Okay, there is a long and a short answer to family history. The short answer is that we believe that the family is the central unit in God’s plan of happiness for his children. (See the Proclamation to the World: The Family above). The long answer would require quite of bit of background that I would be happy to email to you if you are still interested. Family History plays an important role in the work we do in our temples. (Again, just to clarify—only worthy members are allowed in the temples which are not to be confused with our meeting houses [wards and stakes].)

- Will Christians who do not attend a Mormon church go to heaven?

This is a tricky question because like Fizz’s question above, there is a long and short answer. However we believe that there are certain ordinances that must be performed in order to fully accept the Atonement of Christ. These include baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, the endowment of certain blessings performed in the temple and a temple sealing (an eternal marriage also performed in the temple in conjunction with civil marriage.) In His infinite wisdom, God has developed a plan for people who never have the opportunity to accept or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ in this life. We believe that these ordinances can be performed on earth by proxy and those spirits that have passed on can choose to accept or reject these ordinances. This is much of the work that occurs in our temples and that is why we keep it sacred and only available to worthy members of the church. (That’s the short answer. Email or PM me if you want more info. This aspect of our religion is quite fascinating because there is New Testament evidence that it occurred in Christ’s church that not many churches know about. It is usually misinterpreted.)

This is also why you see such a strong missionary program in our church. We believe that everybody should have the opportunity to study these things out in their heart and mind, ask God if it is true and then act on that answer. Ultimately, Christ will judge each of us individually and decide whether or not we “get into heaven.” I don’t think anybody on this earth holds the right credentials to hand out eternal salvation or damnation. Salvation comes only through Christ, in Him and of Him. There is no other way. And yes, I believe there will be people in heaven that weren’t Mormons in this life and I also believe there will be Mormons that don’t make it into heaven. I don’t know if that fully answers your question.

- I am sorry to say I have heard Mormon children tell my kids and other kids that theirs is the only ‘true’ church and that everyone else is hell bound. Not saying this speak for everyone, of course.

As in any community, there are undoubtedly bigots, hypocrites and just plain mean people in the church. I really hope they are the extreme minority. I am sorry to hear that that happened to your children.

- “The Salamander”

I had vaguely heard about this theory before. Again, I’m not the most informed person when it comes to ambiguities surrounding the founding of our church. And as Macphisto pointed out, Joseph Smith was given the power to translate the ancient Nephite records which is now known as the Book of Mormon. I remember the Hoffmann bombings as a little boy. I should check out that book. It’s sounds fascinating.

And Diamond, what’s your background with Mormonism? You obviously know more about the religion than some members do. (You can email me directly if you wish. I’m just curious.)

- So, is it fair to say that the Holy Spirit confims the Book of Mormon as truth for you?

Yup. This is the promise of the Book of Mormon (Moroni 10:3-5):

3 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 bponder it in your hearts.

4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not be true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

Again, if anybody is interested in the Book of Mormon, you can either contact the church through mormon.org and get one for free, you can purchase the Doubleday edition at amazon.com, you can go to the church’s website lds.org (http://scriptures.lds.org/bm/contents) and read it there, or I’d be happy to send you a copy if you're interested.

Thanks everybody for your questions and comments. I also served a mission like macphisto, in Chile, and I have to tell you all, you are some of the most respective people I’ve met.
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Old 01-30-2005, 07:41 PM   #63
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And Diamond, what’s your background with Mormonism? You obviously know more about the religion than some members do. (You can email me directly if you wish. I’m just curious.)
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You have a P/M.

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Old 01-30-2005, 08:02 PM   #64
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U2utah2U well said, I am horrible at explaining things.
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Old 01-30-2005, 08:04 PM   #65
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Oh yeah, Im curious if anybody else has heard that at one point in Bono's life he was studying the Book of Mormon. If anybody knows any information about this, please point me to that direction.
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Old 01-30-2005, 08:24 PM   #66
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From: Don

I have 2 questions. Im sure you've herd them already but nonetheless here they are: I herd that "where the streets have no name" is about Utah. But I don't know if I actually believe that. And I herd that Bono once talked about the book of mormon.

Dear Don:

On the first question: Unless Utah is heaven, I'd say no. On No. 2 -- Answer Guy doesn't have a complete collection of every word Bono has ever spoken, but given that his mouth is almost always turned on, and that no subject is too sacred, I'd say it's possible.
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:04 AM   #67
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Originally posted by macphisto23
U2utah2U well said, I am horrible at explaining things.
That's what I get for being in graduate school. I make sure I dot my 'i's' and cross my 't's'. But I like your way of just jumping in there and saying "Yo, this is what we believe. Like it or not." It is actually refreshing. Sometimes I can be a little too calculated and diplomatic when it comes to answering questions about the Church. You make the gospel seem like a real part of your life, which it is. I think we do a good job at representing a wide spread of perspectives.
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:05 AM   #68
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Originally posted by diamond

Brother U2UtahU2-
You have a P/M.

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Old 01-31-2005, 07:10 AM   #69
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


In a very nice way, you've stated that only Mormons are worthy (thus, only worthy of eternal life) and the rest of us have suffered from "the Apostacy".

These teachings are inconsistent with the Bible.
I'll get back to you on this in a day or so. There are several scriptural accounts, both in the Old and New Testament, that support the idea of apostacy. I'll find exact references for you.
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Old 01-31-2005, 08:20 AM   #70
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My first question regarding the mormons is if Joseph Smith was such a prophet, why did he plagerize the KJV of the Bible by including 27,000 of its words and phrases in the book of mormon? Also, why did he take names from the old testament and simply change the spelling?
Second, why is it that archeology has never proven anything in the book of mormon to be true, but it has in the Bible?
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Old 01-31-2005, 06:23 PM   #71
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Coemgen,

I'm not sure what your intent is in asking these questions. Usually when people ask these kind of "prove it" questions their looking for a debate and not an open dialogue. However, I will do what I can to offer you some info.

First of all, there are less than 10,000 unique words in the Book of Mormon. When you refer to Joseph Smith "plageriz[ing] the KJV of the Bible by including 27,000 of its words and phrases" there are mainly two areas of the Book of Mormon that could fit this claim.

Lehi, the first prophet of the Book of Mormon was commanded to take the brass plates with him from Jerusalem to the Americas circa 600 B.C. The brass plates were the scriptures of the Jews from the beginning up until 600 B.C. The Book of Mormon is a collection of the writings of the prophets that lived on the American continent. Lehi's son, the second prophet included many writings of Isiah and offered some commentary. Yes, the books are nearly identical and yes, it is possible the Joseph Smith could have copied them word for word. Chapter 12 of 2 Nephi contains what is Isiah 2 in the Old Testament. An interesting tidbit of information is in 2 Nephi 12:16 The verse reads:

"And upon all the ships of the sea, and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures."

What is notable in this scripture is that the Septuagint has "ships of the sea" and the Hebrew has "ships of Tarshish" but the Book of Mormon has both, showing that the brass plates had lost neither phrase. If you think about it, Joseph Smith probably did not have access to the Septuigant and the Hebrew text, let alone the ability to read them in the 1820s. It is impossible that Joseph Smith could have plagarized that particular line seeing as the KJV only contains one of the two references.

The second part of the Book of Mormon that contains scripture comparable to the KJV is in 3 Nephi when the Resurrected Christ visits the inhabitants of the American continent. He basically gives the Sermon on the Mount. He also tells the Nephites that in Jerusalem he told his Apostles that he had other sheep that were not of that fold (John 10:16). In the Book of Mormon, Christ explains that he was referring to the people on the American continent but that his Apostles did not fully understand.

Those two sections contain the most text similar to the Old and New Testament. I hope that helps.

Regarding the changes he made to Old Testament names, I'm not sure I understand what you are referring to. Would you mind providing some examples?

Be careful what you say when "archeology has never proven anything in the Book of Mormon."

Google Stela 5 and read arguments that are both pro and contra to this stone supporting a scriptural account contained in 1 Nephi 8. Many argue that Stela 5 is a graphical representation of what is known as Lehi's Dream.

If you really are interested in the arqueological evidences surrounding the Book of Mormon, I highly recommend Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS). farms.byu.edu

But, you need to ask yourself this question, if I could prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true using physical evidence, would you convert to the church and be a fully active member? That's the real question.

I don't delve too deeply into the "hard evidence" because God has told me that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the Book of Mormon and that the true church of Christ was restored to the earth.

I'm sorry, I'm not a big fan of answering these kinds of questions because they are more akin to "bible bashing" and not uplifting exchanges of ideas and beliefs.
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:11 PM   #72
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Originally posted by U2utah2U
I'll get back to you on this in a day or so. There are several scriptural accounts, both in the Old and New Testament, that support the idea of apostacy. I'll find exact references for you.
I understand apostacy.

Your religion uses it to essentially disqualify all Christian churches - leaving the Mormon church as the "one true" church.
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:17 PM   #73
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I don't delve too deeply into the "hard evidence" because God has told me that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that he translated the Book of Mormon and that the true church of Christ was restored to the earth.
Even if Joseph Smith's teaching contradict the Bible?
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:40 PM   #74
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I was referring specifically to archeological evidence. I'd rather have my testimony based on spiritual faith than being convinced by physical evidence. Theories are constanly being disproven. If my faith in the church was based soley on that, as soon as somebody disproved an archeological find I'd be up the proverbial creek without a paddle. I'm familiar with the main arguments about Book of Mormon evidences in the Yucatan penisula but, unlike some Mormons, I don't study it too deeply.

If you think about the Apostacy, there are really three options that exist. I don't think most Mormons understand the strength of our position.

1. The Catholic Church is the one true church and their line of authority traces all the way back to Peter, like they claim. If the Catholic Church is true then ALL of the Protestant churches are heretical and were cut off long ago by the true church of Christ.

2. However, if the Catholic Church is not true and they don't have the authority to act in God's name, then a Restoration of the fullness of the gospel was in order and a prophet like Joseph Smith was necessary.

3. The third possibilty is bleak indeed. The true Church of Christ does not exist on the earth and we are basically left alone to fend for ourselves with the remnants of scripture that are contained in the Bible. Everybody is open to interpreting the Bible but nobody really has the power or authority (the priesthood) to act in God's name.

I don't think the LDS church is trying to disprove or disqualify any Christian church. Our position is to invite all people to take the good and the truth that they have found in their lives and let us see if we can't add a little more.

I'll put together some scriptures that show that the Apostacy didn't just happen after the martyrdom of the Apostles, but that God has used it several times to cleanse the earth and restore his gospel. I'll PM that to you unless somebody else shows a lot of interest.
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Old 01-31-2005, 07:41 PM   #75
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Hey, can I just tell everybody how refreshing this is to share my beliefs without people slamming the door in my face?

Thanks for being respectful even though you may be vehemently opposed to our positions and beliefs. I hope that I have extended the same courtesy. If either macphisto or I get too "pushy," just tell us to cool it a bit.
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