Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book of Mormon series: Note

Hi there

I know I said my next post would be the conclusion of the Book of Mormon series ... but that was before I knew an earnest Mormon would come along trying to change what my conclusion is. And while I don't know if he has anything to say that would change my opinion, I would be doing him wrong at this point if I didn't give him his chance.

So pardon the interruption in the series while I give the earnest Mormon a chance to respond to my comments previously. And I'll move on for the time being, hoping to hear back from him soon.


Randy said...

I just read the extended comments for your last Mormonism post. I hope that your earnest friend returns. I would like to hear his response.

Mean time, I've enjoyed it so far. Look forward to your conclusions.


Weekend Fisher said...

Thanks, Randy.

I would like to hear his response also. I've tried to read the Book of Mormon, and have read parts of it, but have never made it the whole way through. It's not that long, it's just that the writing quality ... y'know ...

Some people have that same reaction to the geneaology lists in the Bible, or the censuses. But the narrative parts are usually more interesting.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Jeff Roberts said...

Weekend Fisher>>>

Here's a few Book of Mormon verses that talk of events in the Americas. Here is scripture unique to the Book of Mormon that could be used in our test of the spirit.

My commentary preceeds each scripture

(here Columbus is inspired to to begin the process where a land of liberty can be established, necessary in order for a restoration of the fullness of the Gospel to come forth)
1st Nephi 13:12
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.

(an ancient record of the Americas comes forth referring to the Book of Mormon)
1 Ne. 13: 20
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that they did prosper in the land; and I beheld a book, and it was carried forth among them.

(here the United States is to be established as a place of religious freedom. Nephi's seed is to be there (the American Indians)...this is not to say that all American Indians came from this seed but just a remnant)
1 Ne. 22: 7
And it meaneth that the time cometh that after all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded, that the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered.

(the sad demise of Native Americans at the hand of our ancestors)
2 Ne. 1: 11
Yea, he will bring other nations unto them, and he will give unto them power, and he will take away from them the lands of their possessions, and he will cause them to be scattered and smitten.

Weekend Fisher said...

So ... I read, and I prayed, and I read, and I prayed, and I think I need to get some more background 'cause I'm not sure I get the point of the text. I'm not trying to be difficult, I'm just not sure I'm following.

So in 1 Nephi 13:12, the "man among the Gentiles" is Columbus, and the "seed of my brethren" is ... Jews? ... and "the promised land" is ... the U.S. (or what would become the U.S.) because of its freedom of religion?

I don't want to overtax your patience, but ... I have to say I was hoping to hear something that the Book of Mormon had to say about God that you found inspiring. This passage that's about Columbus and the New World, you find it inspiring?

And ... don't run off and google this, I could do that if it's what I wanted ... do you recommend any certain website to show the parallels between the Book of Mormon and the Bible? If not, I'll just google ...

Thanks in advance for your patience.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF

Jeff Roberts said...

Your right about the background part. Ya can't just pull a rabbit out of a hat and its going to be magic...ya really have to read a whole story /segment to relate to it. but specificly you ask for something that wasn't in the bible that you could chew you want inspiring about God. Well there's the appearance of the Savior to the inhabitants of Ancient America in 3rd Nephi. That's an incredible event if true!! That's the test and the promise made by Moroni. I also love the story of the Banner of Liberty in Alma 46. Or the Faith of the Sons of Mosiah in Alma 17. What is difficult for some individuals is to give God an opportunity to touch their hearts.

Alma 32:28 "Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me."

In Sum>> Mosiah 27:31 "Yea, every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess before him. Yea, even at the last day, when all men shall stand to be bjudged of him, then shall they confess that he is God; then shall they confess, who live without God in the world, that the judgment of an everlasting punishment is just upon them; and they shall quake, and tremble, and shrink beneath the glance of his all-searching eye."

The Book of Mormon is not the Bible. The Bible came down through the ages in a very different way than did the Book of Mormon. Both were translated edited in diverse ways. Sort of a apples & oranges kind of thing. Joseph translated it in the context of his world and time. Language can get it the way and be inadequet in expressing the will of God.

Jeff Roberts said...

Sorry I forget to paste this link

Jeff Roberts said...

Weekend Fisher said...

Hi Jeff

It was one of *those* weeks at work (50 hours) so I didn't get to watch the videos til today. Sorry for having kept you waiting.

I'll mention my thoughts on the videos first. The one from Elder Jeffrey R Holland - he puts his name on the line boldly. It's just that you can find people who put their name on the line for the Hindu faith or Islam or the Rastafarians too. I acknowledge and admire his boldness and devotion, but that does not make what he believes to be true. I could probably google you up a few videos from other groups that you disagree with; and I think that you, like me, would recognize the sincerity and devotion but would not necessarily be convinced that a person was right, no matter how sincere he might be.

On the video about continuing prophesy, the argument seemed to be "If God still speaks to people today, then he spoke to Joseph Smith." Jesus said that after him would come false teachers and false prophets. That doesn't make Joseph Smith automatically a false prophet that Jesus said some were coming, it's just showing the other side of the coin, that our age's deep need for God doesn't make Joseph Smith a prophet.

And I think it was the first guy -- the guy whose main argument is "I put my name on the line" -- who quoted something from the Book of Mormon that is, basically, from the Gospel of John, to the effect that people who listen to God will come to acknowledge the words of Jesus.

I'm rambly enough already; I'll continue in a new comment box in case blogger decides to eat my comments like it's done before, at least it will be in parts ... ;)

I'll be right back ...

Weekend Fisher said...

So where I left off, I was appreciating the earnestness of the videos and the devotion of the people involved, while mentioning that earnest devotion is not quite proof that someone is right, since you can probably find the same type of argument for Hindus or any other group with devoted followers.

But here is what I see when I look through the Book of Mormon: I see that all the beautiful passages that ring through the soul about God are already found pretty closely matched (at times exactly matched) in the Bible; and I find that the parts of the Book of Mormon that are not from the Bible are not of the same quality. Why should that be, if the Book of Mormon's basic claim is true?

In addition to the parts you posted, I re-read the part you recommended in 3 Nephi where Jesus was said to visit the New World. (It was actually still dog-eared from when those earnest Mormon elders gave me the copy of the Book of Mormon. May God bless them for serving him as best they know how.) I noticed things like: there are many beautiful passages, but of course they are found roughly word-for-word in the KJV. Speaking of things found roughly word-for-word in the KJV, the "doxology" to the Lord's Prayer was there in the section I read from the Book of Mormon ("For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.") Most scholars consider that to be a late addition to the Book of Matthew's rendition of the Lord's Prayer, not part of the original. But it was in the KJV translation. And it is in the Book of Mormon. It just leaves me wondering why the BoM contains it. I noticed that the BoM mentioned a prophet named Zenos. Why would a Jewish prophet in the New World have a Greek name? And it mentioned an apostle named Timothy. Why would a Jewish-descent apostle in the New World have a Greek name? Of course that kind of naming crossover happened in the Old World because Greece was not too far away and Greek was the dominant language for a time in the Old World's history ... but in the Americas it's a puzzle.

Here's my best assessment: You have a heart of gold. You would do anything for Jesus. You consider knowing God to be a blessing. You wish that same blessing on everyone. I admire you and respect you with all sincerity. And there's no "but" coming on any of that. All of that is 100% unreserved and unqualified. I consider it a gift to have had the chance to talk with you.

My assessment of the Book of Mormon isn't as good as my assessment of you. I have no wish to criticize in front of you something that you believe to be holy.

I think that the good in you comes from the love of Christ, and the devotion to his teachings. And insofar as the Mormon church has had a hand in teaching you to love Christ, they may have done you a good turn in that.

But I think that any good in the Book of Mormon comes from the Bible; I don't see evidence that the Book of Mormon shows any knowledge of God that is independent of the Bible.

As best I can tell, you see the good in the Book of Mormon and say, "Therefore the Book of Mormon is true." I see that the good of the Book of Mormon can be traced directly to its origins in the Bible, and -- besides that -- that the Book of Mormon is historically implausible on a fairly grand scale. So I see the good in the Book of Mormon and say, "I hope they hold close to Christ after all; he is our good."

You wish of all Christians that they might be Mormons -- for their own edification and blessing; I wish of all Mormons that they might be Christians -- for their own edification and blessing.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF