Investigating Mormonism Today


Note from Tim: This is a guest post from a long-time investigator of Mormonism. He and I have been conversing about having prayers answered. He had so many good questions on the subject I suggested he write them up for general discussion on the blog. He agreed. I hope you will be kind and consider his sincerity.

Some Shall Be Cast Out

Christian-UniversalismI have studied Christian Universalism much of my adult life. I believe or hope God wants to save all His creations. I don’t want to believe some of God’s creatures will be eternally and irrevocably cast out into a state of unending torment as we read in the Book of Mormon:

“… in the great and last day there are some who shall be cast out, yea, who shall be cast off from the presence of the Lord; Yea, who shall be consigned to a state of endless misery, fulfilling the words which say: They that have done good shall have everlasting life; and they that have done evil shall have everlasting damnation.” (Hel 12:25-26)

I would like to believe the Amalekites were right when they said, “…Behold, we have built sanctuaries, and we do assemble ourselves together to worship God. We do believe that God will save all men.” (Alma 21:6) It seems to me Helaman also wanted to believe it: “…I would that all men might be saved…” (Hel 12:25.)

A Difficult Doctrine to Accept

JosephSmithThis idea of being cast out is much more clearly taught in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants than anywhere in the Old and New Testament. This has made it very hard for me to believe these scriptures and thus, to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet.

There are things he said and taught – things I can read in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants – I don’t really want to believe are true.

Does that mean I don’t have a sincere heart? (Moroni 10:4)

Is this why I haven’t received a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon?

Maybe, I don’t know.

I only know I pray every day, and I sometimes get very confused.

Investigating Mormonism has meant not only looking at your scriptures, but looking inside at my own feelings, and outside at things that could be promptings.

What Do You Consider a Prompting?

If I sneeze, could God be telling me that what I just said or what I just heard or read someone else saying is true?

If I accidentally bite my tongue, could God be telling me what I just said was a lie or untrue?

If something I read online contains spelling errors, could God be telling me that it contains more serious doctrinal errors?

And even if such things mean nothing of themselves, what if they seem to mean something to me at a given time?

Does that make it a prompting?

I seem to get mixed signals, and don’t know how to interpret them, but then, maybe I have OCD. Has anyone here ever seen the TV show, Monk?

So Many Questions I Want to Ask

Muhammed-GabrielWhen you communicate with someone online, and you think it’s possible they actually could be sharing something they were taught by the Spirit, what questions would you ask them to help you decide?

For example, if Muhammad were alive and claiming here online today he was given a divine revelation by the angel Gabriel, what would you ask him to know it was really Gabriel who came to him?

We are told to prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thess 5:21) If he said Gabriel shook his hand, how would you interpret that in light of D&C 129? Did Gabriel visit Muhammad?

Likewise, when you make claims online that you have received revelation, what should I ask you so I can know for myself? Is it okay to ask you how you received revelation?

Is it okay to ask you specific details about where you were, what you were doing, and if praying, what questions you asked and how exactly you knew it was God who answered you?

Teach me. So many Mormons talk about revelation and testimonies and such and yet, I can’t seem to duplicate the process no matter how hard I try. What am I doing wrong?

 

29 Responses

  1. Dear Guest,

    You ask excellent questions, and I appreciate your courage to do so. Your concerns seem very reasonable, and you sound like you are taking this seriously. Here are a couple of thoughts I’ve found helpful.

    1. The idea of multiple mortal probations. In other words, God’s work is one eternal round, and each successive round can form us more and more into God’s image if we seek for it. The idea of being cast out and suffering damnation, to me, means having to do this mortality thing over and over again until I decide to rise up, get off the treadmill, and receive redemption from Christ. This idea also helps answer serious questions about those whose sojourn here is in terrible circumstances, and those who suffer. Yes, I believe God can save all his creation, but it’s in our hands how quickly that happens. Early church teachings hint at this idea. God is playing the long game.

    2. Revelation. Yes, I believe, as you proposed, that the reservations you hold in your heart may prevent you from receiving revelation. Perhaps the ideas in #1, above, can help you get past some of your concerns and into a place where you can be more open to revelation. Limits in what we can accept also set limits on what we can receive. As long as we require the Lord to tell us only what we want to hear, he may not be able to tell us what we need to hear.

    3. The Mormon testimony experience. In the LDS church, we very commonly mistake emotion for revelation. They are very different. The Holy Ghost provides knowledge, enlightenment, light and truth. The description of a “still, small voice” is very accurate. I believe many fail to recognize revelation because they’ve been taught to look for the wrong thing. That voice is so familiar in your mind that the challenge is recognizing it is from God. The first time it clearly answers you or tells you something you most assuredly didn’t know a moment before, the experience is quite surprising. This is the Holy Ghost speaking. It will speak to you.

    4. Yes, God provides signs, but I think the far more common experience is for Him to give us ideas, intelligence and direction through impressions in our mind. The sneezing and bitten tongue may not mean anything at all. It’s more important to learn to hear His voice than it is to look for outward signs.

    I hope these suggestions offer at least a particle more light on the subject, and I wish you God’s blessings in your search.

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    • Adrian, I would love to ask you a few questions and don’t know how to contact you. I also believe in mortal probations but have some questions in regards to that. On a side note, did you ever see the movie, “Defending Your Life”? Seems like it fit pretty well this idea in a humorous way. Contact me at michiganisgreat@gmail.com. Thanks! –James

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      • LOVED Defending your Life!! I remember seeing that when I was younger and it has stuck with me for many years!! (Sorry, didn’t mean to jump into a conversation that I wasn’t apart of.) 🙂

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  2. Guest

    Great questions! Keep praying for a sure revelation on any given subject and when God grants your request you will have a sure revelation that leaves no doubt.
    I sensed your sincerity and desire to know if certain things are true but could not get from your writing WHY you want to know… The real question (and perhaps you already know this) is whether or not Jesus is the Son of God and whether redemption comes through faith in Him.
    Can He heal you of all the rotten effects of sin? Did He really experience your pains and suffering? nephi (in the BoM) claims that if you know Christ you will be able to know the truth of his words. Moroni (and this is something that most LDS never consider) in his promise states first to ponder on the mercies of God, and says if you have faith in Christ you will get an answer.
    A man who has not experienced Christs mercy might think back on history and wonder what the heck moroni was talking about by suggesting we think on Gods mercy to the people of the earth. All the slavery, sickness, war etc etc. faith in Christ and experience with Him and His power comes before learning all the other stuff.
    Yes it is absolutely appropriate to ask if, how, when people receive revelation. Ask what their experience was. The bible states that we should always stand ready to answer why we have the hope in is that we do. If people have a problem with you questioning the specifics when asked about their proclaimed knowledge and whether it truly came by way of revelation that may be a sign that they are unsure of their stance. Question everything. I don’t know if Gabriel came to Muhammed. Good question. I wouldn’t simply throw the idea out the window though.

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  3. “The idea of being cast out and suffering damnation, to me, means having to do this mortality thing over and over again until I decide to rise up, get off the treadmill, and receive redemption from Christ…Yes, I believe God can save all his creation”

    I had little trouble believing that when the only scripture I had was the Bible.

    But (but unlike the Greek scriptures, which use terms like “aioni oute en to mellonti” [this world or the next, this age or the one impending], “aionian” [ever or age lasting”], “aionious” [eternal, or of an age] and “aionas ton aionon” [for ever and ever, or to the ages of the ages) Mormon scriptures are written in English (and believed either to have come straight from the Lord that way [in the case of D&C], or to have been translated under divine inspiration[in the case of the BOM and the POGP]), and use terms like “in the world nor out of the world” (D&C 132:27), “endless misery” (Helaman 12:26), and “no end” (2 Nephi 9:16.)

    If you believe those passages are scripture, how can you also believe “God can save all His creation”?

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    • I really appreciate your sincere questions. Some “Mormon” scriptures to consider that may add depth to the idea of “multiple mortal probations” (a term by the way which appears nowhere in scripture, but a term that I nonetheless believe carries at least some truth, and has support in all of scripture including the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price). This may help with the “mormon” teachings, especially early mormon teachings, of how God deals with man here and throughout “eternity” to effect salvation.

      D&C 19: 3-12 (adds light to how God uses language in the scriptures. “Eternal” means something different to him than to us.)

      3 Retaining all power, even to the destroying of Satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works and the deeds which he hath done. 4) And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless. 5) Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand. 6) Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. 7) Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory. 8) Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles. 9) I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest. 10) For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore— 11) Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. 12) Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

      D&C 132: 24 — here, notice the use of the plural “eternal lives” and the plural “deaths”.

      “This is eternal lives—to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he. Receive ye, therefore, my law. Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to the deaths; and many there are that go in thereat, because they receive me not, neither do they abide in my law.”

      Alma 13: 1-3 — chapter deals with how God prepares and calls his servants, his prophets, his “high priests” (like Moses, Abraham, and Enoch). This section deals with what those individuals did PRIOR to coming the this earth–notice the language “from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God”. This language deals with what happens BEFORE this life. It is very important to understanding “mormon” teaching, especially as it came from Joseph Smith, that a mortal body is essential to being able exercise faith. We must have a veil of forgetfulness (so that we don’t remember being in the presence of God), and we must have opposition, the choice between good and evil in order to exercise the faith necessary to be saved. This next passage makes is very clear that people who are “high priests” in THIS life had already proven their faithfulness in a previous “life” which would have entailed having a mortal body.

      1) And again, my brethren, I would cite your minds forward to the time when the Lord God gave these commandments unto his children; and I would that ye should remember that the Lord God ordained priests, after his holy order, which was after the order of his Son, to teach these things unto the people. 2) And those priests were ordained after the order of his Son, in a manner that thereby the people might know in what manner to look forward to his Son for redemption. 3) And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

      Abraham 3: 22-23. Here in the passage, Abraham sees who he was before this life. He is told that there were “souls” in the life prior to this who would come here to be his “rulers”, or his servants and teachers. When Joseph Smith received the Book of Abraham by revelation, he had already had it revealed to him in D&C 88: 15 that “the spirit and the body are the soul of man”. Therefore, the meaning in Abraham 3 must include the understanding that these people mentioned were those who had already received a body in a previous life, yet they would again come here to prove and teach us here.

      22 Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones; 23) And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me: Abraham, thou art one of them; thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

      Finally, Joseph Smith taught many things that seem to indicate that this is not the only “mortal” probation. It should be noted that none of this if “official” LDS teaching as is accepted and published by the LDS church today. It is something that I believe, being LDS, and others I know, and something that I believe can be established by scripture, by must be confirmed by the Spirit.

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  4. Some thoughts to ponder:

    1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

    1 Timothy 2:1-7, NIV

    God wants all to be saved.

    11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”fn 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    Romans 10:11-13

    Call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Matthew 25:31-46, NIV

    Not all will be saved.

    22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
    23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
    24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    Romans 9:22-24, KJV

    God wants to come out of hiding and execute his wrath upon those who will be destroyed, as well as glorify the merciful, but he waits instead.

    So God doesn’t always do what he wants to do.

    “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. 31 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. 32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

    33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. 35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

    Matthew 12:30-37, NIV

    Some sins shall not be forgiven.

    26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    Hebrews 10:26-31, NIV

    Once coming to a knowledge of the truth, if one rebels and sins deliberately, there is no more sacrifice for sins, but the torment of expectation of the fires of the wrath of God.

    20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

    2 Peter 2:20-22, NIV

    One is worse for having known the truth and turned to sin than one who never knew the truth.

    4 It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

    Hebrews 6:4-8, NIV

    Again, one who has known, and shared in the Holy Spirit who fall away cannot be brought back to repentance. These will be burned in the end.

    Unless and until you accept total responsibility for all of your thoughts and deeds, you are stuck where you are, unable and unwilling to change.

    Nobody can call upon the Lord for you. Nobody can exercise faith for you. Nobody can do good for you. These are your labors to accomplish for yourself.

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  5. Great and valid questions. First regarding all being “saved”, my conversion came because for the first time it all made sense rather than a game played by some all powerful being who was bored and decided to create something to entertain himself. Jesus’ testimony was that we have a Father and that we (and He) are literally children of that loving Father in Heaven. He has sent us here to earth university to learn who we individually are, for us to prove to ourselves “the nature of our spirits and whether we (eventually?) will live by every word that proceedth forth from the mouth of God.” Sadly, a third part didn’t, even before the university was built. Many others have saved their rebellion until away from home. After college we will go and do what we are prepared to do. Stephen Covey one said, “God’s punishment is a series of natural and logical consequences.” We can make mistakes here that impair us for life and do good things that enhance our lives. Methinks the same for our eternal life. Regarding revelation. I have had moments where new knowledge seemed to just flow into my mind that I knew was true. I have had powerful promptings that proved to be the correct guidance. I even heard a loud voice that saved the lives of two of my sons. And had a few moments like my first with Alma 32 where I was wrapped in the arms of the spirit and overwhelmed with His testimony and witness. I have a saying that I often share – the knowing comes from the doing. I have received much more revelation while doing the work than by studying the word. In fact, more often study confirms what I have learned in the doing. Best wishes in your quest. Don’t give up, He will pick the right moment for you. Also, let me assure you, he is still in charge and leads his people, priesthood, chosen leaders and church. Join the church, help prepare the world for the return of the Lord, and endure to the end. Much revelation will follow. http://mormon.org/me/9M0G

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  6. I believe we each consign ourselves to the place we deserve for eternity. Damnation, endless misery, this is not life. Life is movement and growth. Damnation is stagnant. Endless misery is the realization that better choices would have brought life and growth. The way I know this is this; when I was a teen I had a very powerful spiritual experience. I had been baptized but no church attendance so no knowledge of things like the Holy Ghost. I didn’t even know what Christ or God was. But I felt someone so powerfully I knew they coming into view before they showed up a half a mile away. I was overcome by every feeling of joy and protection, my spirit was screaming within me. My mortal self was completely baffled by this and I kept looking around for the source. But my spirit was pointing in the direction of the road and sure enough a car appeared. I watched it as it approached and begged it to stop. It passed and I could not see who was inside. I watched it slowly roll out of sight but knew it was turning around. Sure enough as I knew it would it appeared once more. But again it did not stop. I even felt to throw a rock to get its attention but there was nothing there to do to and I could not run as I had a broken leg. I looked in vain for that car for the next 4 years and never found it. I gave up finding it and stopped thinking about it.
    Thirty five years later I found myself newly married to a man I had known for about 15 years. As we were discussing our childhoods I learned he had grown up in the same area as I had even though I knew he was born on the other side of the US. He asked what high school I went to and I told him. He said he had driven by once and that entire scene opened up to me as though it was happening. I was so shocked I was unable to speak for about 5 minutes. When I regained my composure I asked him what kind of car he drove and I looked it up on the computer. It was the very car. This sunk in for several days and then reality hit. He and I both had very difficult lives. He was still in a bad situation with his family and we were both suffering for it. But when I had begun to wonder how much our lives would have been different had we made better choices I was over come by feelings so powerful and completely opposite of those I felt that day as a teen I was in the throws of damnation. My house was empty, kids were out and my husband was shopping. I laid curled up crying as I have never cried and begging God to please end my torment and send my spirit to outer darkness so I would not feel or think anymore. It was as if nothing mattered anymore. I felt the loss of a large family of children I would never give birth to because I had broken my leg and could not have chased that car and he didn’t stop as he had been prompted to do but didn’t and with in days had met the person he married and had turned his life into a living hell. One day….one moment had made such a difference in so many lives I could not bear it. In this unbelievably low place God came to me and told me that this place is hell. Hell is knowing you could have made better choices but didn’t because of mortal idols and earthly comforts over eternal goals we make choices that take us away from God. I now know that all these things take us away from God and that is hell and damnation. Death is a lack of life and life is progress and growth. Damnation is lack of growth. We earn life or death by our mortal choices. No unclean thing can dwell with God. I hear people saying things like “you can’t say ‘if only’ because you can never bring back time”. This is certainly true here which is why we have repentance and the opportunity to turn to God and follow His Son back to Him and not be damned. To me it was a valuable lesson in choice making and to never turning away from God and the Holy Ghost.

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    • Elda,

      Thanks for sharing that powerful experience. Do you believe God knew before you came to this life that you would not connect with your husband at that time as he drove the car by twice?

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  7. Hi Tim,

    Before I bagan studying Mormonism, I would have had an answer for all the passages you quote from the English Bible.

    For example, in the translation you quote (the NIV, which I believe is a good rendering of the Greek) Matthew 12:32 doesn’t really say some sins wont be forgiven.

    It says (as you’ve quoted it) “will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”

    Paul spoke of coming “ages” (plural, and same word in Greek.)

    in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:7.)

    So Mathhew 12:32 (in Greek, and in the INV you quoted) doesn’t say the sin spoken of wont ever be forgiven, only that it wont be forgiven “in this age, or the coming age.”

    (But D&C uses the English expresion “in the world, or out of the world,” which doesn’t seem to leave much room for forgiveness anywhere, and is precisely where I find it almost impossible not to hope that Mormonism is wrong.)

    And the passage you quote from Hebrews 6 can be translated “For it is impossible to keep on restoring to repentance time and again people who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have become partners with the Holy Spirit, 5who have tasted the goodness of God’s word and the powers of the coming age, 6and who have fallen away, as long as they continue to crucify the Son of God to their own detriment by exposing him to public ridicule.” (International Standard Version.)

    And as for 2 Peter 2:21, if they must suffer in torment during the coming age, when they know they could have been enjoying the blessings of the Kingdom with others (who were obedient, or had never known the truths they did), those who “return to their own vomit” are certainly worse off for having known the truth that they knew.

    “Unless and until you accept total responsibility for all of your thoughts and deeds, you are stuck where you are, unable and unwilling to change.”

    I believe that.

    But the darkest passages of the Greek New Testament leave room for the hope that all will eventually (of their own free will) accept that responsibilty, repent of their sins, bow the knee, confess the name, and call upon the Lord to be saved.

    I don’t see that hope in the Mormon scriptures, and that makes it very hard for me not to hope that they’re wrong.

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  8. Tim:

    I forgot Hebrews 10:26 (which goes to your point, when you say “Unless and until you accept total responsibility for all of your thoughts and deeds, you are stuck where you are, unable and unwilling to change”), what that says (as you quote it in the NIV, and, I believe, in the Greek Text) is that “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.”

    It doesn’t say that anyone will (forever and always, even after suffering a thousand years or more in hell) “deliberately keep on sinning.”

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  9. “my conversion came because for the first time it all made sense rather than a game played by some all powerful being who was bored and decided to create something to entertain himself.”

    Christians and Jews have always said that God created out of love–not to amuse Himself, but to share the good things that existence makes possible.

    And Christian universalists (from patristic Fathers like Gregory of Nyssa onwards) have always maintained that it would be wholly illogical for such a God to bring any creature into existence knowing that it would finally suffer eternal conscious torment.

    But according to Mormon Theology (as I presently understand it) God didn’t really bring any of us into existence (because we were all always co-eternal and uncreated), which is something I also have a hard time accepting.

    And if that’s true, and something else Joseph Smith seemed to be saying in the King Follet discourse (if his words were recorded correctly) is also true–about everything that has a beggining having to have an end–how could we ever change, and how could any change we experience be permanent?

    I mean, if we started out morally neutral, and by our own agency became either good or evil, how could that changed condition (which had a beginning) have no end?

    If we started out without physical (or even spiritual) bodies (when we were pure intelligences, before we were born as spirit children), how could our existence (as spiritually embodied spirit children, or as resurrected and physically embodied beings) have no end?

    And how could a married life (begun here on earth and sealed in the Temple) have no end?

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    • Mike,

      I like you these are beautiful comments! Please continue to teach. These thoughts on joseph smith discourses are questions I used to ask as well even when I was a member of the LDS church.
      Can I suggest that you take the Book of Mormon, without any attachment to joseph smith or the doctrine and covenants and isolate that to try to seek a spiritual witness of? For all you know right now, joseph smith found the Book of Mormon in a dead man’s attic and then made a story up about how it was translated… (Not saying that is what happened) the Book of Mormon in and of itself does not prove the truth of one word others spoke in the 1800’s.
      If you are praying about “Mormonism” as a whole being true (meaning doctrine and covenants, joseph smiths teachings, etc) you are never going to receive a revelation of it’s truth.
      You are bringing to light for all to see what david whitmer taught. He said that many people look at the big picture of Mormonism (seeing polygamy, erroneous teachings of the doctrine and covenants, strange teachings of joseph smith) and you are lumping them together with the Book of Mormon.
      That is why when LDS missionaries go out they share the Book of Mormon and ask people to pray about that book. Isn’t it funny missionaries don’t ask people to pray whether the doctrine and covenants is true? Once people know the Book of Mormon is true often they have been persuaded everything in Mormonism must be true and the snare has already found its prey.
      Anyway I appreciate your thoughts and very astute observances. I do know by the power of God the Book of Mormon is true. That doesn’t mean anything else concerning Mormonism though. I highly suggest seeking a witness of the Book of Mormon and it’s truthfulness, setting all the other stuff aside that doesn’t jibe with the truth you have found in the bible. God bless you.

      Like

      • Thank you Nate

        Yesterday I had discussion with my daughter, who is experiencing a crisis of faith concerning the Church and the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is also
        my steady scripture rock among all my inquiry.

        I attempted to relay the same message about the Book of Mormon as you just expressed, but did not do it as well as you have done here. I plan to copy and paste your comment in an e-mail and send it to her.

        Prayers are often answered in ways we don’t consider. Thanks again.

        Like

  10. Dear Guest:
    Jesus taught in the New Testament that we only need to come to the Father in His Name and exercise faith unto repentance. Repentance and Obedience are the keys to progression and receiving divine revelation. If one is truly believing on the words of Christ that He can save him from his sins, then one must simply ask with a broken heart and contrite spirit for forgiveness and mercy. After praying sincerely for forgiveness, you will be forgiven and know that you are forgiven and feel of Gods love for you. When one is forgiven and healed and made clean, then one is able to have the presence or visitation of the Holy Ghost and know that God lives. Then we must continue in the strait and narrow way, obeying the commands of God, shedding more and ore of the carnal or natural man through repentance and learning of God and His desires for you. Our relationship with Heavenly Father and The Son are paramount to receiving continual revelation and God’s trust. We must also endure patiently all the afflictions put upon us as a trial of our faith and growth into being like Jesus and The Father.

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  11. How could there be infinite punishment for a finite crime? It would not be just. God is just and merciful, perfect.

    I think this is closer to the truth and helps our understanding:

    D&C 19
    4 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I, God, am endless.
    5 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, yea, to those who are found on my left hand.
    6 Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment.
    7 Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory.
    8 Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles.
    9 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.
    10 For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—
    11 Eternal punishment is God’s punishment.
    12 Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

    Some of the language of scripture, apparently, has been carefully chosen and worded to inspire us to try as hard as we can.

    How could God be just if he inflicted infinite punishment (either in intensity or duration) for crimes which were finite in both scope and duration?
    What if a “round” is like a set of three stages or acts in a given play/drama? pre-mortal, mortal, post-mortal.
    And what if each round might be called an eternity?
    What if an eternal round isn’t infinite in duration? (but it could be a really long time)
    What if mortal rounds are subsets of eternal rounds?
    What if we really can come back here (or a place like here, a fallen world) and keep learning and growing and climbing?
    What if the atonement (grace & mercy) doesn’t climb the mountain for us, but simply allows us to continue climbing (and to heal from cuts, bruises, scrapes, and even more serious injuries from falls) and even to come back and climb again (however far we make it before mortal death)?
    What if exaltation, becoming exactly like God, takes longer than we think?
    What if this world is hell (without glory, mortal, pain, death, etc.)?
    What if pre and post-mortal are really nice resting and briefing and debriefing areas? (At least for most of us)

    I have learned and know certain things by the power of the Holy Ghost, and so can you – two of these facts are that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Savior and Redeemer, and also that the Book of Mormon is true (not perfect – its authors admit the mistakes of men in it). True is an interesting word I won’t get into, suffice it to say that God is talking to us in our imperfect languages. I would recommend taking the approach which MinorityOfOne suggested above, that of approaching God with as broken a heart and as contrite a spirit as you can. Try to remember how merciful He has been to all of us, including you personally. Ask if Jesus is the Christ. Maybe get that answer first so you can recognize subsequent answers. Then you can ask if the Book of Mormon (maybe as it was originally translated or intended) is true. All I can say is God is fair, but His ways aren’t ours – His version of fair may not always seem so to us. He is not capricious, though. He is dealing with each of us as a perfect, loving, heavenly parent. Seek diligently. I’m not trying to, nor could I possibly properly, judge your heart. I know this sounds lame, but the whole approaching him in humility and gratitude, with a soft heart, with almost childlike willingness, sincerity, and intent IS the key that unlocks this door to the power of the Holy Ghost – because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost. Try it. Once you’ve experienced the power of the Holy Ghost, you will know – words come with it, if you’re paying attention – but you’ll know it’s God – light, love, truth, peace, joy, the highest and best kind of vibration/warmth/fire you’ve ever felt. The Comforter. Quick caveat: many LDS and others may experience the power of the Holy Ghost (the love of God, or whatever you want to call it) and assume, forget, or extrapolate what they were asking and being answered about. Be specific and pay attention to what God reveals to you. If He tells you by His power that the Book of Mormon is true, by logical association Jesus is the Christ, because the whole book is about Him and His atonement, etc. You can also surmise that Joseph Smith, at least during the time period he translated and published it, was a real prophet with a gift from God to bring it forth. But that’s about as far as you could go with that single revelation. It doesn’t mean everything Joseph ever uttered or did thereafter was true. It doesn’t mean the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perfect and exclusively true. It doesn’t mean the Doctrine and Covenants is all true. These are separate questions. It is not all or nothing. Once you get an answer, you can ask God anything with a little bit more faith and patience and get more answers, line upon line. I guess I’m just warning you against assumption, extrapolation and spiritual laziness.

    1 Nephi 10
    17 And it came to pass that after I Nephi having heard all the words of my father
    concerning the things which he saw in a vision
    and also the things which he spake by the power of the Holy Ghost,
    which power he received by faith on the Son of God
    —and the Son of God was the Messiah which should come—
    and it came to pass that I Nephi was desirous also
    that I might see and hear and know of these things by the power of the Holy Ghost,
    which is the gift of God unto all those who diligently seek him
    as well in times of old
    as in the time that he should manifest himself unto the children of men,
    18 for he is the same yesterday and today and forever.
    And the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world
    if it so be that they repent and come unto him.
    19 For he that diligently seeketh shall find,
    and the mysteries of God shall be unfolded to them by the power of the Holy Ghost
    as well in this time as in times of old
    and as well in times of old as in times to come;
    wherefore the course of the Lord is one eternal round.

    Jacob 7
    12 And this is not all.
    It hath been made manifest unto me
    —for I have heard and seen
    and it also hath been made manifest unto me
    by the power of the Holy Ghost—
    wherefore I know if there should be no atonement made,
    all mankind must be lost.
    13 And it came to pass that he saith unto me:
    Shew me a sign by this power of the Holy Ghost,
    in the which ye know so much.

    Moroni 10
    2 And I seal up these records
    after that I have spoken a few words by way of exhortation unto you.
    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 ponder 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 true.
    And if ye shall ask with a sincere heart,
    with real intent, having faith in Christ,
    and 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.
    6 And whatsoever thing is good is just and true.
    Wherefore nothing that is good denieth the Christ,
    but acknowledgeth that he is.
    7 And ye may know that he is
    by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    Wherefore I would exhort you that ye deny not the power of God,
    for he worketh by power according to the faith of the children of men,
    the same today and tomorrow and forever.

    Peace and Love and the Lord bless you.

    Like

    • Jesef,

      I would say amen my friend. Beautiful.

      Like

  12. MOO and Jessef,

    I thank you for your comments, but I already believe that Jesus is The Christ.

    Someone once said (I think it may have been C.S. Lewis) that The Christ portrayed in the New Testament couldn’t be fictional, because it would take more than a man to imagine and create such beautiful charecter (who could, for example, could ask God to forgive His enemies even while they were nailing Him to the cross), especially in the brutal world of the first century A.D.

    And I’ve always believed that if there is a God, Jesus Christ must be His Son, so I guess I’ve always had a testimony of this.

    Thank you both.

    Like

  13. Hi Mike, that’s wonderful! You can still ask to have truths which you already believe manifested to you by the power of the Holy Ghost so that you can learn more about receiving direct revelation and so that your faith can become more like knowledge. That’s part of the beauty and wonder of the communication process. You can ask God anything, even if you already believe it, to confirm it. My experience with Him has been that He cares much more about our hearts as we approach Him. He is willing to confirm things we already believe or even know, over and over again. He doesn’t get tired of us and He has compassion on our weakness and ignorance. He really is loving and kind and merciful and patient, literally a perfect Father, and Heavenly. He is not the capricious, partial (plays favorites), austere, and exclusive being which many religions have caricatured Him to be. I hope this testimony helps encourage and unkink some of the kinks in our think.

    From my own experience and observations, I can’t stress enough how key our approach to Him is. The reason I believe many of the prophets received revelation after fasting for days, for example, is that fasting necessarily humbles/contrites our spirits. But we can learn to be meek and lowly in heart. If you give God his due credit and glory, you will realize that we are infants spiritually. We are so weak and ignorant, not to mention sinful. Approaching Him in the depths of humility and thinking lowly of ourselves (in the eternal scheme) – our true state is really to grovel before Him. And yet He invites us to boldly approach the throne of grace, not proudly but as a child to its parent (because of the familial love). The parable of the Prodigal Son is a great pattern for us – we are that wayward child. We should not be afraid to return to and approach our father, but we don’t deserve it. But He will accept us and bless us. Faith not fear.

    By the way, this may sound unconventional and non-traditional, but my experience has also been that God is willing to reveal things to me that I can even find out on my own through physical means. Not as a form of sign-seeking. Not in doubting His ability to answer me. But rather learning to tune my receiver. And to practice using somewhat unimportant things. I know there are supposed quotes that could be thrown in my face about revelation and not trifling. I just don’t think they are true. I believe God is willing to help us learn how to communicate with and listen to Him so that we can grow into the principle of revelation. Here’s a question that just came to me that you can ask Him, for example, “O God my Eternal Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, you know that I already believe in your Son, Jesus Christ. Will you please confirm that to me by the power of the Holy Ghost so that I can learn how to recognize answers from you better? I really want to learn the truth of other things too…” Just an example.

    By the way, I’ve also learned that there are plenty of voices waiting and willing to answer when we pray and many of them are NOT God. This is where the power of the Holy Ghost becomes so important. It is the stamp of approval that we are hearing His voice and not some other, including our own spirit.

    Maybe someone else would like to weigh in here. I hope this is helpful.

    Like

    • Jesef

      Thank you for your counsel.

      Your last paragraph has stirred several questions that I have had for some time.

      Should my personal prayers and pleadings be expressed only in my mind and not audibly?

      Do we set ourselves up for answers to be given by the enemy by admitting our weakness, pleading for forgiveness and asking to receive answers if our petitions are voiced audibly?

      I know my thoughts are not hidden from the Lord, but are they hidden from the evil one, or evil spirits?

      I dislike attaching too many “rules” on how we can reach the ears of the Lord, but it seems that sincere prayer has been a matter of discussion in several of the posts recently.

      Like

  14. Good post Mike. I believe that God is going to save all of His children. I came to that belief while I was still an active Mormon, NOT because of things I was taught at church, but through my own study of the scriptures, including all Mormon scriptures, and the Bible, and quotes from Joseph Smith.

    Maybe the reason you have not received a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, is because they are not true, or at least what Mormons make them out to be. If Joseph Smith is a prophet, which I leave that possibility open, then I would have to change my definition and understanding of what a prophet is. That goes for the Book of Mormon too. I can believe that it’s inspirational, but was it translated from gold plates that were delivered by the Angel Moroni? I believe that about as much as I believe the infallibility of the Bible. But I also consider the Bible scripture and inspirational. But I don’t believe that any of the above scriptures have all the truth or that everything in them is true. They may just be works of man, that are inspirational. and lead you to true concepts. I just don’t know.

    Having said all that, I very much believe in a God of love and a God that is going to save all of His children. Once you have an understanding of that concept, it’s like going backwards to believe in a damnation where people are stuck for eternity. There may be a Hell, and there maybe kingdoms in Heaven, but to think that God is going to stick you there for ever, just seem pointless to me and it should to all Mormons, because progression is such a central doctrine in the church. Why would God put a stop to progression? It makes no sense. And no offense, but answering this with a bunch of scriptures, means nothing to me, I already said I don’t believe in the infallibility of the scripture. And I am not sure that the scriptures are not from man. If you want to read more about my beliefs in a God of love, visit my blog, mormonfaithcrisis.blogspot.com I have two posts that talk about this. One is called: A God of Love. The other is called: What do I believe now?

    I think you are on the right track Mike.

    Like

  15. Dear Adrian,

    My dad and I spent a few hours at the ER last night, and I’ve been sick myself, but I appreciate the thoughts you shared (and all the comments made here.)

    I just haven’t had the time, or energy, or clarity of thought to respond myself lately.

    Again, I found your comments particularly interesting–but if the reservations I hold in my heart prevent me from receiving revelation, the ideas in #1 haven’t really helped me get over those concerns because I don’t see how I could reconcile your stated belief that God can save all His children, with your belief that Mormon scripture is true (or at least that the Book of Mormon is true.)

    I get the feeling that others would have difficulty reconciling the two too, so could you help us by telling us how you do it?

    How do you understand the particular passages I brought up (D&C 132:27, Helaman 12:26, and 2 Nephi 9:16), and how is it you see no conflict with the idea that God can (given enough time) save all His children?

    I guess 2 Nephi 9:16 is really the one that I find hardest to reconcile.

    Someone brought up D&C 19.

    Nevertheless, it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory. Wherefore, I will explain unto you this mystery, for it is meet unto you to know even as mine apostles. I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest. For, behold, the mystery of godliness, how great is it! For, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for Endless is my name. Wherefore—Eternal punishment is God’s punishment. Endless punishment is God’s punishment.

    And I suppose that one passage might answer all my concerns (and convince me that Joseph Smith really was a prophet) if it were not for 2 Nephi 9:16, part of which reads:

    and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.

    Whatever judgement is being talked about in D&C 19 (and it seems to be commenting on the separation of the sheep from the goats, which I’ve always thought of as taking place at the start of the millennium, and which is spoken of in Matthew 25 [where you’ll find the phrase “everlasting,” or “age-lasing” in English Bibles, but where “it is not written that there shall be no end to this torment”]), 2 Nephi 9:16 seems to be speaking of some for whom torment “has no end.”

    How do you understand this passage?

    Also, one question I had that got lost in the editing is whether or not it’s alright to even ask each other such questions when we’re struggling with them.

    Some seem to think we should keep them to ourselves, and only ask God, and keep asking only Him however long it might take for us to receive some personal revelation–that we shouldn’t try to be teachers, or expect others to be.

    But Paul did say:

    But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? …Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? (1 Cor. 12:18-19, 29.)

    And Joseph Smith asked this same rhetorical question (to the same effect Paul did) in a document I was reading online (at the Joseph Smith papers project web site.)

    So should we keep the kind of questions I have to ourselves (and God), or is it alright (and does it serve some purpose) to bring them out in the open and discuss them among ourselves?

    Like

  16. Dear Jesef,

    I thank you for your comments, and I’m very interested in this one.

    “I have learned and know certain things by the power of the Holy Ghost, and so can you – two of these facts are that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, Savior and Redeemer, and also that the Book of Mormon is true (not perfect – its authors admit the mistakes of men in it). True is an interesting word I won’t get into, suffice it to say that God is talking to us in our imperfect languages.”

    Please elaborate (and if you don’t want to do so here, please ask Tim for my email address, and email me.)

    Thank you.

    Like

  17. Hi Mike,

    Sorry to hear you and your dad are sick. I wish and pray you both health and healing.

    The Book of Mormon is true. The first aspect of what I mean by “true” is that It is actually what it claims to be, an ancient record of Lehi and his descendants, etc. Lehi was a real person who lived at the time of Jeremiah, etc., and left Jerusalem with his family. Joseph Smith did not fabricate the Book of Mormon but actually translated it by the power of God. The more I learned about it, the more fascinating that book has become. You can research people who think it must be a fabrication/fiction or some kind of creation of JS and you can read all the research that BoM believers have done. I think you’ll find that the believing scholars have a much stronger case intellectually. There’s way too much depth to the book, way too many markers that are authentic – the problem is the only scholars who have bothered to do any real textual criticism of the book are LDS, like Hugh Nibley for example, and the world simply won’t take a book delivered by an angel and translated by supernatural means by a farm boy seriously. It’s easier to come up with other explanations about how it came forth – and these explanations get pretty wild as I’m sure you’ve encountered – JS was a bonafide genius and a megalomaniac and had the gift of automatic writing and conspired with Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery and maybe a bunch of others. Here’s the bottom line, all those guys are dust and nothing anyone from that time period said can be verified or vetted. It’s just as much a matter of faith for us now as the Savior and His life and the Gospels and the Bible.

    The second way in which the Book of Mormon is true is that its authors were men of God and did their mortal but level best to communicate what God had revealed to them as accurately as they could, as they understood it when they recorded it. Moroni admitted that there were many possible errors committed in the record, the errors of men, not by God. The original manuscript is a handwritten document (only about 40% remaining after water damage) which had no punctuation and exhibited many of the spelling errors that one would expect to find in a dictated document (“an” and “and” mistaken audibly, etc.). Many edits and “corrections” were made to subsequent editions, some of them were substantial, like these:

    1 Nephi 11:21
    the Lamb of God yea even the Eternal Father (Original, Printer’s, 1830)
    the Lamb of God yea even the Son of the Eternal Father (1837)

    1 Nephi 13:40
    the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father (Printer’s*, 1830)
    the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father (Printer’s-js, 1837)

    You can read on another thread here how Christ is our Father after He redeems us. Many people, even LDS, don’t have a correct understanding of some of these things and get into pointless debates trying to defend a doctrine, as they see it, which has many layers of meaning. I’ll stop there because it’s a rabbit hole.

    Is every thought or teaching communicated in the Book of Mormon correct as it would come from the mind of God? I doubt it. It shows development of understanding by the people and prophets who wrote it. They learned some things as they went along and inquired and obtained more revelation. Their understandings enlightened and expanded. Some of them saw and heard, in vision and in person with the Savior, more than they could understand – and they said so. So I don’t take every word as ultimate truth but as truly stated testimony. But many of the precepts communicated will bring you closer to God, if you live them, than anything else. For example, the doctrine of Christ, as related in 2 Nephi 31-32, 3 Nephi 9-30, and many other places, is pure and clear. What this book can teach you is how to come unto Christ and reconnect with God through the power of the Holy Ghost.

    I don’t think it will best serve you to knit-pick all its words and phrases and try to wrest them so literally that nothing agrees. Did all the Book of Mormon prophets have a perfect understanding of the concepts shared in D&C 19? I doubt it. It’s okay to see this merry-go-round as endless, having no end, etc. It may even be hell. I find a lot of these passages make a lot more sense from the perspective of multiple mortal lives.

    Therefore let me point you back, once again, to seeking a manifestation by the power of the Holy Ghost. God can show you the truth of a matter. If you lack the wisdom (and we all do), you can approach the Source of all Truth and obtain revelation. The power of the Holy Ghost is unmistakable, Mike. Have you ever been engulfed by the Love of God? His power is Love, Light, Peace, Joy, Truth… To me I felt it all over my body, spirit, and soul, through and through, from crown to toe to finger tip, like holy fire or electricity, and while wrapped in that power I heard His voice declare “It is true.” That was in specific answer to “is the Book of Mormon true?” How can that be? It’s not perfect, not the original, not the original transcript/translation, not the printer’s copy, not the 1830 edition, not the current edition with all its edits and corrections “to bring it into conformity” (I like to read The Book of Mormon: the Original text, which is Royal Skousen’s 20+ years of research and best attempt to textually reconstruct the original transcript – look into it, he made some interesting discoveries analyzing it – another example of only LDS scholars taking BoM seriously).

    I’ve since learned many other things by revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost and have found God’s promise, written by Moroni, to be true that “He will manifest the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost, and by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Broken heart and contrite spirit are keys. Approaching God in humility, sincerity, gratitude, lacking wisdom. It’s easier to do if you really think about how impossible it is to really get to the truth of these things. All of them are beyond our power to really determine or verify. And some of them are beyond mortal comprehension. Humility. A purely scientific approach will not yield results.

    Just my two cents and experience. I hope it helps.

    Like

    • Thank you Jesef,

      The question of what it would mean to actually receive a testimony that the book of Mormon “is true” isn’t a question that just occured to me here (on this thread.)

      I’ve asked it of myself, online, and to missionaries, and no one has ever answered it the way you did here.

      Thank you.

      Like

  18. My thought is to quit trying so hard. To relax. Live the best you can and go forward. I predict you will eventually have a very sweet experience and will know the truth.

    Like

  19. Jesef

    Ditto! Thank you for sharing your insight and experiences from such a spiritual context.

    I think it is easy to get confused by all the outside voices, and the many contradictory points of view. One can always find some pebble, stone or mountain that gets in the way of a reaching a truth. It’s easy for us to look for reasons why the Book of Mormon is NOT true and nit pick it to death, rather than studying it for no other reasons that it holds truths that can better our lives, no matter who we are or how it came about.

    Jesef, you have covered the spiritual factors so well, and I would like to add a practical and physical aspect to this conversation.

    I found that the complexity of the characters and story line surpass any novel I have ever read. The sheer wisdom of it’s teachings are astounding, consistent and undeviating. If it did not come from God… then Joseph Smith had one genius imagination.

    The physical evidences that have been reveled in the past and that continue to be unearthed in the Heartland, Ohio, Illinois, New York, etc. are astonishing. Even the history channel has found evidence of a culture that was here, pre-columbian, that coincides with the Book of Mormon time line. About 400 a.d. an advanced culture just simply disappeared. The work, conducted in the last 5 or 6 years by archaeologist, Wayne May, is so convincing, that it’s hard not to believe the peoples of the Book of Mormon existed here, in the USA. Among many convincing artifacts, some have been found with Jewish symbols on them.

    Rod Meldrum, picked up the ball about 7 year ago, when he was able to refute the argument that there is no European DNA in the American Indian. There is, and some of the tribes have been pinpointed. Even the history of some of these tribes claim that their ancestors came from lands from over the Atlantic, not by way of the Bering strait.

    The physical witness of the Book of Mormon is becoming stronger and more evident every day which supports the spiritual witness.

    Mike… perhaps, going backward with your inquiry… from physical to the spiritual… may be an avenue you would like to explore. Rod Meldrum’s new DVD is outstanding and is extremely well done. The site BookOfMormonEvidence.org may be something you may want to spend some time looking into….if nothing more than from a interesting historical perspective. (History seems to be unveiling a lot in the Church this last little while.) Personally, I think we are on the verge of a huge information explosion with both spiritual and physical evidence, that will rock our world.

    I would like to send you one of Meldrum’s DVD’s if you would be interested. You would need to give me permission to ask Tim for your e-mail address so I can contact you.

    With all this being said, my personal witness of the Book Of Mormon has been a profound spiritual one. One that I absolutely cannot deny. I’m at the point that I don’t care where it came from….even it it came from an outer space alien. Nothing stands in the way of my spiritual experience and gratitude that I have the privilege to benefit from its words and counsel.

    Like

    • Thank you Kathryn.

      You have my permission to ask Tim for my email address (and he has my permission to give it to you.)

      If you send me those DVD’s, and they cost you anything, please let me know.

      Maybe I could send you something to cover the charge (or at least postage and handling) via pay pal (though it may not be any time soon.)

      Like

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