shutterstock_68926459Yesterday, Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the LDS First Presidency, told Mormons that “learning about the real struggles and real successes of early Church leaders and members is a very faith-promoting process” for him.

As the Salt Lake Tribune reported, Uchtdorf said that Mormons should navigate a middle road: we shouldn’t shy away from our history out of fear of what we might find, but we also shouldn’t automatically assume that any inconsistencies or human foibles we discover cancel out the truths of the gospel’s message:

We always need to remember that transparency and openness keep us clear of the negative side effects of secrecy or the cliché of faith-promoting rumors.  Jesus taught the Jews, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Truth and transparency complement each other.

In my opinion the talk was a welcome departure from some of the Church’s past hard-line rhetoric that all history needed to be faith-promoting. In a 1981 CES talk, Boyd K. Packer said,

There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.

President Packer advocated withholding such historical facts from new converts and those weaker in the faith. “[W]e must give milk
before meat,” he told the educators. “The Lord made it very clear that some things are to be taught selectively and some things are to be given only to those who are worthy.”

Scholars and writers, he clarified, may imagine they are just being objective in presenting unflattering facts about Church history, when in fact they are “giving equal time to the adversary” and fail to realize what is at stake. “There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it. It is the war between good and evil, and we are belligerents defending the good.”

President Uchtdorf’s talk yesterday went a long way toward softening, if not erasing, that decades-old fear of professional history. Yesterday’s speech emphasized that Mormons have nothing to be afraid of in our past — much better to have everything out in the open, which is what the Church has been quietly doing these past few months with its “Gospel Topics” series about controversial topics like polygamy, race and the priesthood, and DNA and the Book of Mormon.

Yesterday’s words also opened the door for some humility on both sides. The plea for humility is not new; President Packer’s talk from 1981 was full of statements about the arrogance of thinking there is only one way of looking at a question. Only in his case, the arrogance was always on the side of professional historians and scholars who were too prideful to admit that the fulness of truth already resided in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He saw arrogance in “worldly” scholarship.

President Uchtdorf’s talk instead gently cautioned listeners against any arrogance that might automatically close us off to other perspectives. I took his words to mean that Mormons can still believe in the timeless truth of the gospel while recognizing that we are historically and culturally conditioned creatures. He said:

Isn’t it a remarkable feeling to belong to a Church that not only embraces truth—no matter the source—but that teaches there is much more to come!  That God “will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”

As a result, we are humble about the truth we have.  We understand our knowledge is a work in progress, that the leaf we have before us is simply one microscopic snapshot—part of an infinitely vast forest of fascinating knowledge.

Our little world—our small section of experience—may be an accurate and true reflection of our reality.  But, it is only an infinitesimal atom in the vast universe of what we eventually will know.

Amen to that. Both scholars and members of the LDS Church can do more to realize that our understanding of truth is limited and provisional.

For a religion that ostensibly believes in eternal progress and continuing revelation, we can be awfully quick to taxodermically protect what truths we believe we have. We pin those butterflies to a board and label them carefully, then glass them in as our conquered domain.

Thank you, President Uchtdorf, for this breath of fresh air.

 

100 Comments

        • You do not see the irony in someone looking for a transcript on a talk about openness and transparency, and not finding one?

          For a conversation about being open and transparent, it obviously was neither. If there is a link to a transcript of the talks, I would be happy to retract my statement as being erroneous.

          What better way to show one is being sincere about being open and transparent than to actually be so. To make a conversation open to the public for all to see.

          • Larry I believe this is what you are asking about. Lot’s of good information can be found on this website.

            http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-history-scholars-meet-in-utah-to-discuss-the-global-reach-of-mormonism?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LDSNewsRoomTop15+%28RSS%3A+LDS+Newsroom%29

          • Close. I appreciate the effort.

            So are we to expect transcripts of the talks at some future date or are the summaries and news reports all that will be available?

        • As promised Adam, I retract the prior remark. Open and transparent does not mean summarized and edited for content. It means full talks, transcripts and probably videos.

  1. One man looked at me and said…
    Look what that man did. And then he laughed.
    He then asked if I was offended.
    Not possible, I replied.
    I don’t worship or follow men.
    I follow truth and I am PERFECT in the blood of the Lamb…
    and Maybe today… I will be perfect in every word thought and deed.
    Because I ignore… those… who look at others and what they did or said…and spend all their time… Justifying their misery by looking at others and saying…they are WORSE than me…
    When I say………. Ignore…
    I just smiled… and said…
    Shall we continue our bike ride? and then after shall I come to your place and help you move ROCKS and plant your garden?
    and He smiled and said… YES let’s do that…

  2. Hilarious. Another contradictory and apologetic statement from the theology junta. These people must cling to the hope that enough tithe pay dupes are converted as the OMG folks leave in droves. This for profit business that calls itself a church is just that, a business. When you understand the fakery of the founder, then you can build the path to the current monolith of misosygny, homophobia, and anti-women policies.

      • Actually they have access to discretionary funds as dictated in their handbooks which include medical bills, birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, and private schooling for children still in school, etc. This can be found in their handbook which was newly leaked: https://archive.org/details/SomeMoFile

        You can read a write up of it here: http://www.dovesandserpents.org/wp/2013/01/how-much-does-a-mormon-apostle-make/

        While they are not paid under the exact definition of a for-profit church, it’s far from what members believe to be a “lay clergy”. While this may not bother some, others who struggle and sacrifice real life needs for that 10% would probably take some issue with a mission president buying a diamond necklace for his wife an their anniversary from the money they donated for the “growth” of the church. Transparency about this issue would allow them the freedom to make that decision.

        Most members believe the church to be as pure as the mead they’re served on Sunday, without realizing how much seasoning the meat will need to be palatable once it’s served.

        • Are you at all aware of the miracles that transpire every day in the lives of members by way of healing, protection, not to mention the peace that surpasses and joy that feels their life. Check out some of their faces then check yours. If you think this is a game where he with the most toys wins, you have it all wrong.

          • Paul I left the church and it improved my life, I know a few others who’ll tell you the same thing. For starters what do you think you’d do with a 10-15% raise?

          • Paul – I can assure you that I have been blessed by the Holy Spirit as well – for me to deny that would be a sin to me. And that same Holy Spirit you speak of is what compels me to speak out against religions like the Mormons who seek to drive a wedge between Christ Jesus and humankind – hijacking what real faith is and does and adding to scripture (lets discuss temple weddings if you want to get real) and so many other doctrines that are of, well frankly, the Devil. Your faith lies in that you feel you have found the right religion – and mine is that in I have found the right faith. According the bible – you lose this argument.

  3. With many members leaving because they uncover the “truths” Boyd K.Packer kept from them, the Church is now reaping the fruits of that policy. “Some things that are true are not very useful” turned out to be very harmful, to individuals and to the institution.

    As to President’s Uchtdorf’s counsel that we keep an open mind, I wonder if he’s keeping one as well. Is he open to the possibility that what he believes and teaches might be disproved?

    • I am an LDS convert who “uncovered” much about the church’s history and doctrine but remain faithful and active. It doesn’t bother me that the church is run by fallible men. We all make mistakes. Membership loss is more than made up by gains in membership.

    • Dwight Rogers

      I agree that the details of history should not be suppressed. However, some details of history are worth spending more time on than other details. And, history should be presented in context and fairly. One can present historic facts which are technically true and yet still be deceptive or inaccurate. This is what Elder Packer was talking about.

      I don’t agree with you that Boyd Packer is endorsing an approach which hides history but, from what I have read of his teaching, he is advocating that some truth has more value than other truths. He was right. Some truth really is more valuable than other truth. It doesn’t really do much for us to concentrate on whether or not Jefferson was intimate with Sally Hemings. Studying Jefferson’s principles of correct government and freedom and his role in creating our country have far greater value. The Bible mentions faults of Moses and Peter but it does not spend a lot of time on them. Critics of the LDS church spend an inordinate amount of time on warts and very little time on the good, even though the good is really much more prevalent in the history of the Church. Many “historians” who write histories of the LDS faith spend an inordinate amount of time on the wrinkles to the exclusion of the main history and teachings of the Church. And, often, even main history and teachings are presented out of context. I think it is this unbalanced approach to history that Elder Packer is opposed to and I agree with him.

      I have seen hundreds, if not thousands of articles and comments on the Web and in printed literature which discuss LDS church history in a way that is totally inaccurate. The facts presented are often technically true but facts taken out of context and misrepresented are not facts anymore.

  4. The same people who look for weaknesses in the human fabric of modern religions would have dismissed Peter and Paul (and even Jesus for picking such renegades). Comparatively speaking, the history of the Mormon church is a tiny blemish compared to say the infamous history of the Catholic Church or even of atheistic communism. At the end of the day what counts is the transforming power the dogma has in the lives of its adepts.

  5. phew, now hopefully they’ll soon explain Joseph Smith’s polygamy/polyandry, so every time I mention it to family they don’t retort that I’m reading anti-mormon lies.

    Secondly…. while it’s great that they’re advocating openness and transparency, what about restitution for all of the church discipline that happened to people for teaching accurate accounts of history?

      • with all respect, both me and my wife were in our late 30′s until we learned about Joseph Smith’s polygamous/polyandrous activities. All cultural depictions – film and art – show him as monogamous with Emma. lds.org has very little info on this. We are both seminary and BYU grads, returned missionary, etc, and spent hours in the Joseph Smith Building on campus going to religious classes, and yet never heard a thing about this aspect of history and doctrine. Transparent? NO!

        • Dwight Rogers

          Gar,

          I think you have a valid point. I teach Gospel Doctrine in my ward. I have discussed plural marriage at least twice during class in the last six months. It is included in the lesson manual but, depending on the teacher it could easily be bypassed. While lesson manuals of the Church do mention Joseph Smith’s plural marriage it is not emphasized. The information has been available for a long time in historical sources and publications so it is no secret. Yet, it has been somewhat absent from Sunday class instruction. I have long felt that some of the more controversial things in Church history should be discussed more in class so that members get kind of an inoculation. Better to teach a controversial historical event in context and with the spirit in attendance than allow members to find out from hostile sources who don’t have the spirit and who present it out of context and in a sensationalized and inaccurate way.

          I think Joseph Smith’s plural marriage is one of the signs that he was a true prophet of God and including it more in our teaching would be to our advantage. One of the reasons given for the practice is that it would not have been a full restoration of the ancient gospel if omitted. That is true. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and he restored the doctrines and practices of the original Christians. His restoration of plural marriage is evidence that he was truly a prophet in the same tradition of the Biblical prophets (See my next post) . If God had not restored plural marriage through Joseph then we would have reason to question whether it was really a restoration of the ancient gospel and whether Joseph was really a prophet.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Righteous Abraham and Jacob had plural wives and Jesus said says that the righteous do the works of Abraham (John 8:39). Abraham’s major work was to be the father of many nations which he accomplished by practicing polygamy with God’s permission.

          Jesus said that those polygamists would be in heaven (Luke 13:29; Luke 16: 19-31) We see Christ affirming this again in the Parable of the Rich man and Lazarus wherein Jesus tells us that Abraham, that old polygamist, is in paradise while the Rich man is in Hell (Luke 16: 19-31).

          God told David, through the prophet Nathan, to have plural wives (2 Samual 12:8). So God commanded the practice – the Bible proves that. In the bible a righteous king who honored the Lord had fourteen wives (2 Chronicles 13:8-12,21)

          In the Bible the Lord does not condemn polygamy but rather, gives instructions on how men are to treat their plural wives. (Deuteonomy 21:15-17)

          In the Bible we see where Abraham had plural wives – Sarai, Hagar, Keturah and others.(See Gen. 16:3, Gen 25:1,6) Abraham was righteous and God appeared to him at least twice during the time he had plural wives (Gen 17:1, Gen 18:1). Abraham is blessed and God makes His covenant with him and blesses him to be the father of many nations (Gen 17:1-6). God didn’t care that Abraham was a polygamist. Instead, God appears to him and blesses him. Here we see that God not only condoned polygamy but he blessed Abraham for it and it is the means by which Abraham fulfills God’s promise to become the father of many nations.

          Righteous Jacob was a polygamist (Genesis 29:21-30, Genesis 30:3-4,9)

          Jehoiada, priest under King Joash “took for him two wives” (2 Chronicles 24:3). Jehoiada is one who “had done good in Israel, both toward God and toward his house.” (2 Chronicles 24:16).

          Joseph Smith’s wives are evidence that Joseph was a prophet on par with the ancient righteous prophets and patriarchs who also practiced plural marriage. If God had not restored plural marriage through Joseph then we would have reason to question whether it was really a restoration of the ancient gospel and whether Joseph was really a prophet. Joseph was telling the truth when he said that he was restoring true Biblical doctrines and practices.

        • Dwight Rogers

          For a number of years after being repeatedly told by an angel to enter the practice, Joseph continued to resist and delayed until finally the angel returned with a drawn sword saying that Joseph would be hewn down and another raised in his stead if he did not obey and that the church could progress no further unless Joseph obeyed this law. This has been related by persons who knew Joseph Personally (See list below – references can be provided)

          So, it is clear that this was not something Joseph wanted to do. If one argues that this makes Joseph a false prophet then it makes the Bible prophets who practiced it also false. It makes the God of the Bible false for commanding them to do so. It makes Jesus false for his comments about the Bible polygamists going to heaven.

          Dimick Huntington
          Sarah M. Kimball
          John Taylor
          Zina Huntington Jacobs
          Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner
          Heber C. Kimball
          Joseph F. Smith
          Lorenzo Snow
          Joseph Lee Robinson
          Benjamin F. Johnson
          Eliza R. Snow
          Orson Pratt
          Helen Mar Kimball
          Erastus Snow
          Benjamin G. Ferris

  6. Alexandra Sandvik

    Preach! I’m sure you don’t remember me, but my husband, Jason, and I were in your ward in Cincinnati last summer. I wish I had known you had these feelings so that we could have chatted while we were living there. There is so much light and truth that is smeared with mortal failings and prejudices in the Gospel, but I truly believe that we are headed in the right direction. Especially with Uchtdorf at the helm.

    • Jana Riess

      Alexandra, great to have you here on the blog! Because I travel so much and am in Primary when I am at home, I don’t get to meet a lot of new people at church. :-) Are you and your husbands the nice people we roped into subbing in Primary a couple of times?

  7. I think the criticism of Pres. Packer’s talk is a bit strong and out of context. His point was to illustrate that the writers were more concerned with proving that the Prophet was human than the fact that the human was Prophet. Truth be told, all of the so called “unsavory facts” of church history have been documented for years and years. The internet has made these things more available, and the Church is now responding with the internet to address them.

    Just because the details weren’t in a Sunday School manual doesn’t mean the Church is hiding anything anymore than the government is trying to hide the fact that Abraham Lincoln was prejudice a great deal of his life because it is no where to be found in my sons American History book.

    • I agree. I, too, am a convert simply because the Church is so open and transparent. Those that don’t think so are just believing what they want to believe and can’t discern the human from the divine. I’ve read and studied all the negative things said about the Mormon Church. All are repeats and nothing new and everything is just hearsay and misunderstandings. If you want to see what is going on just read about all the people in the great building mocking the one’s holding onto the iron rod.

  8. Nice words from a top church leader.

    Unfortunately, words don’t mean much without actions. When the Church returns to it’s scripturally-mandated doctrine of publishing the financial records of the church (stopped in 1959), I’ll believe it.

    John 3:21…

      • Because of the use of church funds for commercial ventures and political campaigns comes to mind.

        The entanglement of the church with financial interests of its leadership, those within a closed circle of supporters and political figures should prompt some kind of inquiry. Even if allegations, what better way to put them to rest than by being transparent in such matters.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Land and commercial investments and businesses owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ultimately generate more revenue which is used for to charitable works such as feeding the poor, other humanitarian efforts, and the building and maintaining of church buildings worldwide. Critics on this point often overlook the fact that Church funds are best managed not by sitting in a bank account, but through prudent investment. Investment in land and real estate development is often a wise and ultimately profitable investment approach.

          For example no tithing or donation money is being used for construction of City Creek Center. The entire project is being financed through the church’s commercial real estate arm, Property Reserve, Inc. Any property of the Church that is not directly used for worship is taxed the same as any other entity would be. if the Church reinvests in Salt Lake City’s downtown core, this provides jobs and economic stimulus (for example, via construction and then the service-industry jobs which will fill the mall upon its completion). While providing fewer short term gains, this long term “teach a man to fish” strategy could ultimately benefit many more people, by allowing them to “help themselves.” Presiding Bishop H. David Burton noted.

          • Given the extent in which LDS church money is used for ventures having little to do with houses of worship and actual charity, one should expect curiosity concerning their finances.

            Giving a canned explanation of their finances is not the same as financial transparency. That would require disclosure of annual financial reports or at least public access to them. Quoting me church leaders doesn’t equal that.

            As for the use of church funds for the political sphere, save me the party line. Their fingerprints were all over California’s “Proposition 8″ and they found new and interesting ways to launder money into Mitt Romney’s campaign in 2012.
            http://www.politicususa.com/2012/05/31/tax-exempt-mormon-romney.html

        • Dwight Rogers

          LDS Church leaders encourage members to be active in politics and to exercise their right to vote. The Church does not, however, specify how members should vote or which political party they ought to support. Occasionally, however, the First Presidency issues a letter which is read over the pulpit urging members to act upon some political matter. Why does the Church choose to do this? President Gordon B. Hinckley answers this question:

          “We try to follow a very strict course in political matters. We observe the principle of the separation of church and state. We do concern ourselves with matters which we consider of moral consequence and things which might directly affect the Church or our fellow churches. We try to work unitedly with other people of other faiths in a constructive way. We hope we can use our influence for the maintenance and cultivation of the good environment in which we live as a people in these communities.” (Press Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah, March 13, 1995., reprinted in Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 62. )

          President Hinckley also said:
          “We believe in the separation of Church and state. The Church does not endorse any political party or any political candidate, nor does it permit the use of its buildings and facilities for political purposes. We believe that the Church should remain out of politics unless there is a moral question at issue. In the case of a moral issue we would expect to speak out. But, in the matter of everyday political considerations, we try to remain aloof from those as a Church, while at the same time urging our members, as citizens, to exercise their political franchise as individuals. We believe, likewise, that it is in the interest of good government to permit freedom of worship, freedom of religion. Our official statement says, “We believe in worshiping God according to the dictates of conscience, and we allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.” (Media Luncheon and Press Conference, Tokyo, Japan, May 18, 1996, reprinted in Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 62.)

          The Church’s mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, not to elect politicians. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is neutral in matters of party politics. This applies in all of the many nations in which it is established.

          “We hope our members will take the time to be informed on issues and candidates and will participate in the political process,” said Eric Hawkins, a senior church spokesman. “However, how they choose to do this is a completely private matter, and will not be directed by the church.”

          “The church is strictly politically neutral and does not participate in partisan politics by endorsing political candidates,” Hawkins said. Those conspiracy theorists who fear Romney is some sort of Mormon Manchurian candidate have little supporting evidence.

          The Church does not:

          • Endorse, promote or oppose political parties, candidates or platforms.

          • Allow its church buildings, membership lists or other resources to be used for partisan political purposes.

          • Attempt to direct its members as to which candidate or party they should give their votes to. This policy applies whether or not a candidate for office is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

          • Attempt to direct or dictate to a government leader.

  9. Trying to fix 184 years of impractical opacity now, in apparent answer to an internet full of complaints, is like closing the barn door after the horses are all out and run away. Many dollars too little and many days too late. Can’t blame the man for trying, but he and his colleagues have had plenty of time to straighten out their mess; and they were plainly unwilling until they could see the handwriting on the wall.

      • Susan Humphreys

        I suspect transparency and honesty will show the claims about “numbers” are erroneous. Counting converts, is deceptive unless you are certain those converts have really made a commitment and not just given lip service. When I lived in New Mexico the Baptists would come to town, hold a revival and everyone, including some Catholics and some Atheists would turn out, it was a party, free food a chance to catch up with friends, it was after all the only show in town that week. The Baptists would leave feeling great about all the converts they made. Then weeks later the Mormons would come to town and it was the same thing. i suspect the same has happened all over the world. After the missionaries left the regulars went back to their own churches and the Atheists back to their pursuits, no real converts. One man said, I will sign their piedge, their piece of paper, it means nothing. I enjoyed the meal!

      • Doug – growth does not equate to truth. Your continued defense should be towards the truth found in Jesus Christ, and not a church made of and by man. That you are here defending a church and not the church that the bible speaks of as the body of Christ is very telling as to where your true faith lies. Your religion will fail you, as it is failing now.

    • Susan Humphreys

      Just like the Catholic church! You make good points, a day late and a dollar short. But then it isn’t easy stopping an out of control freight train.

    • Dwight Rogers

      Critics routinely accuse the Church of suppressing and hiding uncomfortable historical facts from its own people. As scholars and historians mine the historic sources such as diaries and so forth, additional details are leaned that were not previously known or well understood even by Church leadership. It’s not that the Church is hiding these things but rather that they are not known or are not central to the mission of the Church.

      The Church’s’ primary mission is to testify that Jesus Christ is the divine Savior of the world and the Son of God and that His Church is restored to the earth. During regular Sunday church meetings there is not time to delve into all the nuances and details of Church history. That’s why, in addition to Sunday Services, the Church has publications which discuss church history in further detail and that’s why the Church makes the information available to researchers and allows them to publish the information. Members often do not avail themselves of this additional information.

      It is remarkable; however, how many of the issues which critics charge the Church with “suppressing” are discussed first in Church publications. You might be surprised to find out that many of these “hidden” facts are actually hidden in plain sight in Church publications and other scholarly research made available by the Church. It’s not the Church’s fault that some members fall away because they don’t read what’s always been available.

  10. Perhaps President Uchtdorf will become the dominate influence in the direction that Mormonism heads. He certainly seems to be of a different persuasion about religion and it place in society then some of their leaders in the past. To me it looks a lot more kind and loving. I will wait and see. Honesty is a much wiser policy in my opinion.

  11. I don’t understand why those who read this article are so negative. I have been a member of the L.D.S. church my entire life. I have visited many other church services, and there have been times where I have not gone to church at all for a while, but in the end, I am happy to have a purpose. I am happy to have a guide in this chaotic world. I have learned a good work ethic, developed non judgmental opinions of all of God’s children, and grown a love for helping others. If I am happy, then what is so wrong with the church. I turned out alright it seems.

    • start with the book of Mormon, which is clearly a fraud gone on way too long. Any church that says “we are the way”, replacing the necessity for Christ with Church affiliation…I mean to pull that off one would need to write another book besides the bible. Oh wait – never mind.

      • Dwight Rogers

        Nowhere does the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints place the Church above Christ. I don’t know where you got that idea.

        Belief in Jesus Christ and dependence on His grace is the central belief of Mormons. It is the critics of Mormonism who say that Mormons believe they are going to earn their way to heaven by their works. Mormon’s don’t teach that and it is a straw man argument invented by anti-Mormons. Mormons don’t teach that we can earn our way to heaven without the grace of Christ. You see, the critics are so determined to make Mormonism look non-Biblical that they have to invent straw-man Mormon doctrines.

        Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:

        Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)
        14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

        2 Nephi 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)
        23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

        2 Nephi 24:26 (from the Book of Mormon)
        “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

        2 Nephi 10:24-25 (From the Book of Mormon):

        24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
        25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

        • quoting me the book of Mormon holds as much weight as quoting me from the daily newspaper. It is worthless to me. The central belief of Mormons is this: Entrance into the kingdom of God is contingent on Identifying and association with your religion. The facts are this, and I am in no way trying to denigrate your personal faith – but your religion is worthless, your faith in Christ is everything. What would a Mormon do if tomorrow, your religion was shut down? Where would you turn to> Peter states this quite well, and it solidifies where your faith should lie. Your eternal salvation and God;s glory is dependent on this: John 6:68 – Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Note Peter’s faith was not in the institution of religion, but the person of Christ Jesus. For you to state that your religion is in any way superior to any other denomination would be judging the very tentants of Christianity. Please note again, I have no issue with your resolve,m your moraity and your faith in Christ Jesus. However, the doctrine taught in the LDS community is not of the Bible – it teaches a different Gospel, and its shuts the Kingdom of God in the faces of man. Matthew 23:13 is very applicable to what the Mormons do “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Our destinies in your minds eye are different, but this perspective is not biblical. You and your fellow brothers and sisters will not be the only ones going to heaven, and one does not need to be a Mormon to enter into the Kingdom of God. If you really believe this, re-read Matthew 23:13 until it sinks it exactly what your religion teaches.

      • Dwight Rogers

        You seem to criticize having “another book besides the bible.”

        What about the other revelations that the Bible attests of which are not in the bible?

        The Book of the Covenant contains words revealed by God to Moses (Ex 24:1-7). Certainly revelations from God are scripture. Books that are prophecy or visions such as The Prophecy of Ahijah, the Prophecies of Enoch, and the Visions of Iddo, are definately scriptural. If prophecies and visions aren’t scripture then what is? Since the epistles of Paul and Jude are scripture, then aren’t the other epistles, which are missing, also scripture?

        The apostle Paul tells us that he received revelation from God and wrote it to the Ephesians in an epistle prior to the Ephesians we have in our Bibles today. This is an epistle we don’t have now.(Eph.3:3) Since Paul indicates that he received this information by revelation then it is scripture. If revelation from God is not scripture, than what is? Obviously, there is much missing that was once available to the early Christians.

        So, by the standard set up by some Christians today, the early Christians can’t be Christians because they had other books and other epistles that they believed were scripture but which are not now in our New Testaments. Even Paul is not Christian because he wrote other epistles. Both the Old and the New Testaments tell us of other scripture that is now missing from our Bibles. See: Exodus 24:7, Numbers 21:14, Joshua 10:13. 1 Kings 11:41, 1 Chron. 29:29, 2 Chron. 9:29, 2 Chron.12:15, 2 Chron. 20:34, 2 Chron. 26:22, 2 Chron. 33:19, 1 Cor.5:9, Ephesians 3:3, Col. 4:16, Jude 3, Jude 14, John chapter 24, Acts chapter 2

        There is nothing in the Book of Revelations, or in the Bible anywhere, which says that it is the end of prophecy. In fact, the Book of Revelations itself says that there would be future revelation from angels and future prophets. See Revelations chapter 11 and chapter 14. Revelations 22:18-19 says do not add to or take from the words of “this book.” “This Book” means the book that John was writing. The Bible, including the NT was not yet assembled.

        Even if John were referring to the future New Testament, which was not yet assembled, his warning is an injunction that man is not to change Gods word, and not a statement which binds God so that God Himself cannot add more.

        In Deuteronomy 4:2 God says don’t add or diminish from his word. But God gave most of the Bible after Deuteronomy. Clearly, man is not to add or subtract from God’s word once it is given. But it is equally clear that God can give more whenever He wants to. And he always does so by revelation to prophets.

        Nowhere does it say in the Bible that God has finished his work or that there will be no more revelation or that the cannon of scripture is complete

        • Nowhere does it state that Mormonism is the way into the Kingdom of God. It is just not a bible teaching. The Holy Spirit operates as a helper to the faithful believers in Christ Jesus. That is jsut the bottom line, regardless of what your Church teaches. I believe that we are brothers in Christ Jesus, but the LDS faith attempts to make itself superior to other Christian denominations based on doctrine, and this approach is just not biblical. It is by faith we are counted worthy, and the LDS doe snot have a monopoly on what I or any other non-Mormon believes. The following verses well explain what God expects, not jsut from Mormons, but from all Christians :

          “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

          “”For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40)

          “Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:28,29)

          “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34,35)

          And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30,31).

          If you can read these scriptures and honestly come up with the conclusion that one must be a Mormon to have favor in the Eyes of God, this would speak volumes to the level of absolute indoctrination you have been exposed to.

          • Dwight Rogers

            In 1978 the First Presidency stated:
            “The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals. The Hebrew prophets prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who should provide salvation for all mankind who believe in the gospel. Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come. We also declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to His Church in our day, provides the only way to a mortal life of happiness and a fullness of joy forever. . . . Our message therefore is one of special love and concern for the eternal welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters because we are sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father.” (Statement of the First Presidency regarding God’s Love for All Mankind, 15 February 1978.)

            We understand that God’s plan is universal, and we acknowledge truth and goodness in other faiths. We believe all people are children of Heavenly Father (see Acts 17:29; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 12:9). Each child of God on the earth is involved in God’s plan. The Lord esteems all flesh as one (see 1 Nephi 17:35), and every man should esteem his neighbor as himself (see Mosiah 27:4). We undoubtedly believe that all people are of great worth (see D&C 18:10, 15).

            President of the Church John Taylor said, “There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world . . . There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness.” (John Taylor, in Brigham Young et al., Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., reported by G. D. Watt et al. (Liverpool: F. D. and S. W. Richards, et al., 1851–86; repr., Salt Lake City: n.p., 1974), 16:197–98.)

            President Hinckley has said on multiple occasions: “We appreciate the truth in all churches and the good which they do. We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it. That is the spirit of this work.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Messages of Inspiration from President Hinckley,” Church News, July 4, 1998)

            As a mighty God, our Heavenly Father has the capacity to save us all. As a fond father, He has the desire to do so. That is why, as Joseph taught, “God hath made a provision that every spirit can be ferreted out in that world” that has not deliberately and definitively chosen to resist a grace that is stronger than the cords of death. (Joseph Smith, Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Orem, UT: Grandin, 1991), 360.)

            Joseph Smith said that many individuals described in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs were “honest, devoted followers of Christ,” (Edward Stevenson, Reminiscences of Joseph, the Prophet (Salt Lake City: the author, 1893),)

            As BYU professors Robert L. Millet and Lloyd D. Newell explain: “It would be blatant arrogance to suppose that the Latter-day Saints are the only people on earth with whom our Heavenly Father is concerned or to whom he seeks to make known his mind and will. God loves all of his children on earth and seeks to teach all that people are prepared to receive (Alma 29:8).” (Robert L. Millet and Lloyd D. Newell, Draw Near unto Me (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 9)

            LDS doctrine teaches God’s universal effort with the whole human family (see D&C 88:7; Moroni 7:16)

            Many more could be cited. the LDS church has always recognized truth, good, and God’s hand wherever it manifests itself.

  12. Dwight Rogers

    I agree that the details of history should not be suppressed. However, some details of history are worth spending more time on than other details. And, history should be presented in context and fairly. One can present historic facts which are technically true and yet still be deceptive or inaccurate. This is what Elder Packer was talking about.

    I don’t agree with you that Boyd Packer is endorsing an approach which hides history but, from what I have read of his teaching, he is advocating that some truth has more value than other truths. He was right. Some truth really is more valuable than other truth. It doesn’t really do much for us to concentrate on whether or not Jefferson was intimate with Sally Hemings. Studying Jefferson’s principles of correct government and freedom and his role in creating our country have far greater value. The Bible mentions faults of Moses and Peter but it does not spend a lot of time on them. Critics of the LDS church spend an inordinate amount of time on warts and very little time on the good, even though the good is really much more prevalent in the history of the Church. Many “historians” who write histories of the LDS faith spend an inordinate amount of time on the wrinkles to the exclusion of the main history and teachings of the Church. And, often, even main history and teachings are presented out of context. I think it is this unbalanced approach to history that Elder Packer is opposed to and I agree with him.

    I have seen hundreds, if not thousands of articles and comments on the Web and in printed literature which discuss LDS church history in a way that is totally inaccurate. The facts presented are often technically true but facts taken out of context and misrepresented are not facts anymore.

    • Jana Riess

      “It doesn’t really do much for us to concentrate on whether or not Jefferson was intimate with Sally Hemings. Studying Jefferson’s principles of correct government and freedom and his role in creating our country have far greater value.”

      I entirely disagree. Understanding the entire complex picture of a man like Jefferson — who espoused freedom and equality in the abstract but did not practice those values in his own backyard — does much to underscore the complicated reality of the human condition. We become more humble, not less, when we recognize the truth that all human beings are flawed.

      • Dwight Rogers

        Yes, but it does not help when those flaws are over emphasized while the bulk of behavior and practices of the Church and its members are de-emphasized or ignored altogether. All too often the warts are all that get talked about. This is often done when better (more complete and more accurate) information is available.

        I understand that DNA does link Heming’s descendants to the Jefferson family but there were about 8 or 9 male Jeffersons living within 20 miles of Thomas Jefferson’s home who could have been the father. Historians on both sides of the argument try to make their case that it was, or was not, Thomas. It’s undecided. And so, we can shelve any absolute judgment about Jefferson’s character until we know for sure. The problem is that, regarding the Church, people don’t do that. They make decisions about the truthfulness of the Church or its leaders based on incomplete and often skewed information.

        I think this is an example of the type of thing Elder Packer was talking about.

        I think stories about imperfect Prophets and who made some serious mistakes serve to illustrate that one can be a true Apostle or Prophet while having some pretty major faults (See Exodus 2:12; Numbers 20:12; Jonah 1:1-3; Hosea 1:1-3; Genesis 20:2; John 18:10 ;Mathew 26:34-35, 69-70).

        So, I understand Elder Packer’s concern for the people who come into contact with seemingly disturbing information which causes them to reject truth because the messenger is imperfect or because the information is presented inaccurately and out of context, or is sensationalized. Imperfections of prophets and even of members of the LDS Church are a reality. Nobody is perfect. But the Church is still true and lead by true prophets of God.

        I have nothing against knowing the full history of the Church. I am for that! However, something that is technically true is still inaccurate if it omits the whole story and skews our understanding.

        Yes, I would prefer that all members of the Church knew about EVERY little wrinkle and wart in Church history as long as they do so in context and as long as they balance that with the study of the main doctrines and history of the Church. But so much is posted about the wrinkles that the main story gets lost – indeed, is often ignored. In spite of Moses’ faults he was still a prophet of God. Same for Joseph Smith.

  13. The history of My Church started the moment Christ gave his life for the sins of the world to those who believed in him. The LDS church history starts in the 1800′s. One is of God, the other is not.It is just that simple.

    • I honestly don’t want any aggression to come across through this message, but you act as if The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is not a Christ centered faith. The history of the LDS church begins in the Bible just as yours does. The Gospel begins with Adam and Eve, and Christ’s life and sacrifice are central to all of the L.D.S. teachings. In the end, I don’t want to push my religion upon you. I don’t want you to feel like you must fight to defend your religion. All I ask is that you let people believe what they want. Religion and belief shouldn’t be a fight. They should be a way of connecting us to a path through life.

    • Dwight Rogers

      The Apostle Paul warned Christians of his day about adopting creeds of another gospel (See Galatians 1:6-9). The Prophets and Apostles predicted an apostasy or falling away from the truth (See II Thessalonians 2:1-3; Acts 20:28-30; Isaiah 24:1,5; Amos 8:11-12; 2 Timothy 4:3-4)

      Well, they did adopt extra-Biblical creeds not taught by Jesus or his apostles. There was a prophesied falling away and Joseph Smith fulfils the Biblical prophecies of a subsequent restoration of Christianity to the earth (See Acts 3:19-21; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5-6; Rev. 14:6-7; Matt. 24:31)

      Christianity became messed up by deletions and additions to the original in the form of creeds and so forth. For example: In the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is a non-Biblical creed, we read that “there is but one God, a most holy spirit, without body, parts or passions,” thus denying the resurrected Christ, for, as the Bible says, if Christ is not risen and we do not believe him when he tells us that he has an immortal body, we can then have no hope of a resurrection (Phil 3:21.)

      Contrary to the creed Jesus taught after his resurrection: “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and ones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39)

      From this passage we know that Jesus had his physical body after the resurrection. We also know that when Christ comes again, he will still have his physical body. (Zech. 14:4; 12:10; 13:6; John 20:24-28, Acts 1:9-11; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 35-42; D&C 93:33).

      The Bible prophesies of an apostasy or falling away from the truth. Of course, then, Christianity became convoluted. But the Bible also prophesies of a subsequent restoration in the last days. (See Acts 3:19-21; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5-6; Rev. 14:6-7; Matt. 24:31)

      That restoration has occurred. God did restore Christianity in its original form through a new prophet for the Latter-days.

      • The apostasy that you speak of is positioned, and specifially so to your religion, to make the LDS relevant in its inception. What did Jesus say about his followers: It is this simple – If Joseph Smith was right about apostasy, then Jesus was a failure when it came to establishing his congregations. After all, what are we to think of his promises? If there really was a complete apostasy, how do we explain our Lord’s claim that his Church never would be overcome, “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:19)And waht of him stating at John 14: 17-19 “that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. “After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.” The teaching of the Great Apostasy is agenda driven. It is utilized to make the foundation of the Mormon Church seem biblical, when faith cannot be overcome by anything but ones own free will to abandon it. To be honest, I really value the moral postion and the brotherhood that is the LDS faith. I was raised a Jehovah’ Witness and well know how the feeling of love and brotherhood can make one seem certain that the way they feel is really, the right religion, or “the truth”. However, the bible is crystal clear in stating that our accounting as believers in the way is individual, and the book of life contains names, and not denominations. What benefit is it for you to believe that you have the right religion, when Jesus never mention anything but faith, belief, and walking in that faith by being obedient to hos words and the Fathers? I would consider taking a hard look at the tenants of what your religion teaches, and compare it to the overall message that Jesus promoted while on Earth “Grace, Mercy, faith, belief and love” the qualities are individual, and Judgement day will ion no way be a group event, If this is true, your religion, and mine, is irrelevant in the eyes of our Lord – My lord and yours.

        • Dwight Rogers

          The Lord did say “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt. 16:18)

          In this passage the underlying word for Peter is the Greed “Petros” meaning a small rock. The underlying word for rock in “upon this rock I will build my Church” is the Greek Petra meaning bedrock. This refers to Christ who is elsewhere referred to as the rock and the chief corner stone. So the Church would be built upon Christ.

          The passage “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”, refers to Christ, not the church. The church was to be built upon the bedrock of Christ, not upon Peter, and the gates of hell would not prevail against Christ. The church itself, of course, could fall if it ceased to be built upon the bedrock of Christ and this is exactly what other prophecies predict.

          Prophecies of the apostasy are well documented

          2 Theselonians 2:1-3
          1 John 2:18 – Here John refers to the last time before the apostacy sets in.
          Acts 20:28-30 The Overseers are the Bishops of the Church.
          Isaiah 24:1,5
          2 Peter 2:1-3
          Matthew 7:13-23

          There was a prophesied falling away and Joseph Smith fulfils the Biblical prophecies of a subsequent restoration of Christianity to the earth (See Acts 3:19-21; Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5-6; Rev. 14:6-7; Matt. 24:31)

      • and with all due respect, none of the scriptures utilized to point to an Apostasy are solid in their interpretation. take for instance the scripture used in Amos – lets go on over to Amos 14 of the same Chapter ” Those who swear by the sin of Samaria— who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’ or, ‘As surely as the godfn of Beersheba lives’— they will fall, never to rise again.” The prophet Amos prophesied in Israel ca. 785 B.C. Among other things, he warned of the coming destruction that did, in fact, occur in 721 B.C. because of Israel’s idolatry (see chapters 6 and 7) When taking a closer examination, it is clear to the average reader that Amos is taken well out of context. Why would you think this would be so? For what ends?

    • I fear it’s not that simple. I want to testify to you that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is absolutely of God. The history of the Church of Jesus Christ goes back to the grand council in heaven, before this life, when the foundations of the earth were laid. (Job 38:4-7) A plan was presented wherein Jesus Christ would take upon himself the sins of the world and make it possible for us to enter back in to the presence of God, in spite of our sins, conditional upon our repentance. This gospel of Jesus Christ was taught to Adam, Noah, Abraham and other ancient prophets. In Moses’ day, because of hard-heartedness and lack of faith, the people were not worthy to receive the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and were given only a “schoolmaster”– the law of Moses. The Savior organized His church during his earthly ministry. However, The New Testament documents in many instances that an apostasy from the truth was already occurring during the days of the apostles. They bemoaned the fact that already, the peoples’ “ears were turned to fables.” I testify that Jesus Christ restored His church to the earth through the prophet Joseph Smith. Beautiful truths were restored that had been lost down throughout the ages through councils, creeds, wars, kings and queens. I sense Dennis, that you have a great faith in Jesus Christ. It seems that you are angry and bitter with “Mormons”— perhaps for the fact that they project a superiority attitude and discount your beliefs. I apologize that sometimes members of the church can be insensitive towards the beliefs of others. But I do want to remind you of something. In the Savior’s day, the pharisees ( the so-called “religious men” of the day,) found plenty to criticize about the Savior and His teachings. It is always easy to find something to criticize. But think for a moment about what they missed: Caught up in their own teachings, they criticized and rejected their own Savior, although they stood face to face with him. I’d advise you to follow the advice of Gamaliel, in the fifth chapter of Acts. He advised the council to “Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it: lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” I’d like to invite you to drop the spirit of criticism and antagonism, and openly investigate the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ in a different spirit. You would be amazed at what you’d find. As they say in the Bible, “but if not,”…..
      at least refrain from criticizing. You ARE fighting against God. Jesus Christ stands at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and directs it through living apostles and prophets. The Church, its organization, and its doctrine as given by Jesus Christ, is perfect. The leaders, the members?— far from perfect. But we are all the Lord has to work with. Forgive us.

      • With all due respect – the entirety of your post typifies the very core issue with your argument – that this world needs the LDS faith to enter into Gods Kingdom. I have studied with missionaries in an effort to understand your faith as much as I can – and this principle still holds true = If faith is our salvation, religion cannot be the reason. First of all, let us compare your statements to what we can all agree is the word of God – the bible. Now I know that your religion believes it has been corrupted, but in the same sense, refuses to put the BOM to the same Litmus test. The grand council you speak of – its not in the bible. I cannot in good faith take the words of Joseph Smith “Do not put YOUR trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” (Ps146:3) That you state the following “at least refrain from criticizing. You ARE fighting against God. Jesus Christ stands at the head of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and directs it through living apostles and prophets…” they may be YOUR prophets, but they are not mine. The comment is laughable – Christ is the head of his congregation i/e his Body of believers, and this is not simply composed of Mormons. If you do believe this, you would be guilty of the same – judging those outside of your faith. Nobody wins that argument. At the end of the day, that you believe that it is your religion alone being God’s vehicle for salvation to this world discounts the thousand plue years after Christ’s death – relegating this to a great apostasy – this is not in the bible either( Matt 16:18). It only lives in your doctrine. Stating that “The Church, its organization, and its doctrine as given by Jesus Christ, is perfect…” would in no way describe accurately the Mormons history. The errors, changes, the bigotry, the odd ceremonial rites that are clearly not of the bible – the outright lie attempting to connect Native American populations as descending from the Lamanites – which you and I both know has been disqualified as anywhere near factual – the Book of Mormon says that Lehi found horses when he arrived in America, but The horse did not exist in the Americas until the Spaniards brought them over in the sixteenth century – Nephi stated to have a bow of steel…impossible Jews did not have steel at that time, and no iron was smelted in the Americas until the Spanish colonization. We cannot and should not blaspheme Almighty God by presuming that we can someday become gods, as the LDS doctrine of eternal progression teaches. This list could go on and on, and what it says clearly is this “Let God be found true, though every man a liar” (Romans 3:4) I can say with great conviction that faith is the basis for our salvation, and not works. I do have great faith in Christ Jesus, and this faith compels me to obedience in his written word. It motivates me to replicate goodness, and love – compassion for my fellow man, the fruitage of Gods Spirit. A house divided against itslef cannot stand. It would be useless for Satan to deceive people to fine works, but it would serve Satan well to transform himself into an angel of light in order to deceive many. I do not doubt that JSmith saw something, but it was surely not of God. This is clear in that the LDS faith seeks to draw people away from the glorious truth about Christ Jesus, and make the claim that in fact, your religion is the way (2 Cor 4:4) in conjunction with Jesus Christ himself. This is beyond unscriptural, it is blasphemy. My indictment is not on you personally, or your individual faith at all. I have deep respect for the individual members of your Church – it is by your faith that you will be judged, as will I. I can say in confidence, with the bible as my sword, that the roots, origins and leadership will be held accountable for teaching that there is another means of salvation other than what is mentioned in the Bible at (John 6:40) “”For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” Indoctrination is when one can look at a scripture like this and say “Well, not everyone actually…” This fact is as relevant for you as it is for myself: “Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent…and Joseph Smith….” (John 6:28,29) The bible does not say this, the bible is the guidebook for a Christian, and it gives me the God Given right to call out the tenants of Mormonism for the absolute lie that it is.

        • Dwight Rogers

          The Bible is true but you may be surprised that many non-believers have ridiculed it for the same apparent problem that some think the Book of Mormon has. The King James Version, for example, mentions dragons, unicorns, fiery flying serpents, and other strange creatures. Those who defend the Bible against the critics are quick to point out the difficulty of understanding and translating various terms for animals (especially for extinct or unfamiliar species) and indicate how it is unclear in many cases what actual creature is referred to.

          Horses were reintroduced by the Spanish explorers in the 16th century. Animals that subsequently escaped or were let loose from human captivity are the ancestors of the wild herds that roam public lands today. Critics say that before that there were no horses in the Americas during Book of Mormon times.

          That’s the theory, but some sources, including the Book of Mormon and Native American cultural tradition, say horses were present in the Americas before Columbus. Some folks contend the original Appaloosa horses of the Nez Perce tribe, which were distinct from other horses, were a remnant of the original equines of the Americas. Some scientists have Carbon-14 dates on horses that are as recent as 800 years. Other dates from 1200 years to 1400 years ago – well before Europeans re-introduced the horse in the Americas.

          Butchered mastodon bones were recently discovered at one archaeological site which dates to shortly after the time of Christ. Another site, dating to approximately 100 B.C. has yielded the remains of a mammoth, a mastodon, as well as a horse. (John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]),297–298. ISBN 1573451576)

          The Huns of Central Asia and Eastern Europe were a nomadic people for whom horses represented both a major form of wealth and the basis of their military power. Estimates are that each Hun warrior may have had has many as ten horses. (Rudi P. Lindner, “Nomadism, Horse and Huns,” Past and Present 92 (1981): 15)

          Nonetheless, “To quote S. Bokonyi, a foremost authority on the subject, ‘We know very little of the Huns’ horses. It is interesting that not a single usable horse bone has been found in the territory of the whole empire of the Huns.’ ” (Denis Sinor, “The Hun Period,” in Denis Sinor, ed., The Cambridge History of Inner Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 203; cf. Lindner, “Nomadism, Horse and Huns,” 13, for additional references.)

          During the two centuries of their domination of the western steppe, the Huns must have had hundreds of thousands of horses. If Hunnic horse bones are so rare despite their vast herds, why should we expect extensive evidence of the use of horses in Nephite Mesoamerica, especially considering the limited references to horses in the Book of Mormon text? Horses are never said to have been ridden in the Book of Mormon. Chariots are mentioned in association with horses (only in one incident, Alma 18:9—12; 20:6). In societies where horseback riding is known, the use of chariots rapidly declines – an indication that horses were uncommon in Book of Mormon society.

          No chariot has ever been excavated in Palestine, despite documentary statements implying that they were very numerous.

          Fortunately, there is hard evidence of modern horses in ancient Mesoamerica. What may be surprising is that this is not a controversial claim and it has been known for some time.

          In 1895, Henry Mercer explored 29 caves in the Yucatán Peninsula looking for evidence of prehistoric habitation. In the Loltún Caves of the Yucatán he found the bones of many ancient animals, but no fossils.(Andrew Coe, Archaeological Mexico (Chico: Moon Publications, 1998), p. 304; Henry C. Mercer, The Hill-Caves of Yucatan: A Search for Evidence of Man’s Antiquity in the Caverns of Central America (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1896),

          These horse remains were found alongside potsherds and other human artifacts which date to pre-Colombian time periods. (Clayton E. Ray, “Pre-Columbian Horses From Yucatan,” Journal of Mammalogy vol. 38 no. 2 (May 1957), p. 278) The artifacts are pre-Colombian. The horse remains have yet to be carbon dated.

          Between this early dig and 1977, ancient horse bones were found in the Huechil Grotto of this same cave system. Exactly how they got there is unknown, but it is probable that they were brought in by early inhabitants, since it is believed that early man hunted native horses.(Coe., pp. 304, 321)

          Horse bones were also found by Hatt in Yucatan caves which, evidence suggests, are pre-Columbian. (Robert T. Hatt, “Faunal and Archaeological Researches in Yucatan Caves,” Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bulletin 33 (1953))

          C. E. Ray reported finding horse bones in deep layers of the water hole at Mayapan (Yucatan) (C. E. Ray, “Pre-Columbian horses from Yucatan,” Journal of Mammalogy 38 (1957): 278.)

          In 1988, Peter Schmidt, who was unaware of Ray’s find, discoverd horse bones in Loltun Cave scattered through a number of layers of early pottery-bearing debris. He observed, “Something went on here that is still difficult to explain.”” (Peter J. Schmidt, “La entrada del hombre a la peninsula de Yucatan,” in Origines del Hombre Americano, comp. Alba Gonzalez Jacome (Mexico: Secretaria de Educación Publica, 1988), 250.)

          There are also further evidences for pre-AD 1500 dates of other horse bones (including three radiocarbon-dated finds from North America). This, like the metals, is an “unfinished” archaeological story, in this case defying the dictum that “there were no horses” for the last ten thousand years in America. Simultaneously it shows the limits of the data revealed by excavations about which so much is said.

          According to Hunter and Ferguson, the claim made by the Book of Mormon that horses were on this continent and used in ancient America for purposes similar to the uses we make of them today finds strong support in the numerous fossil remains of horses that have been obtained from the asphalt deposits of Rancho La Brea in southern California. Of course, it is claimed that those fossil remains pre-date Book of Mormon times. However, there is no logical reason for believing, since horses were here prior to the arrival of the Jaredites and the Nephites, that horses could not have still been in America during the period in which those ancient civilizations flourished. . . . We could do no better at this point in dealing with this subject than to quote from an official publication of the Los Angeles County Museum on the subject of the existence of horses in early times in America:
          The presence of herds of horses in the vicinity of the asphalt deposits during the period of accumulation is clearly testified to by the numerous remains of these mammals found at Rancho La Brea.

          The fallacy that horses are not native to this hemisphere and were introduced by Europeans still lingers with us, even though these and other examples of ancient horses have been known for many decades. The fact that they were found in this area of the cave almost certainly indicates contact with ancient man; this can no longer be denied. The only question is when and why (or if) horses became extinct on this hemisphere.

          Other horse bones have been discovered in nearby areas of the Yucatán. In addition to Mercer’s finds, other caves have yielded similar remains. Horse teeth were found in Cenote Ch’en Mul at Mayapán, a major Postclassic site on the Yucatan Peninsula. Like the earlier examples, they were found along with pottery fragments, and judging by their stratigraphic location and degree of mineralization, are thought to be pre-Columbian as well. By at least 1957, this information had been published in scientific journals. Experts had to admit that there were indeed pre-Columbian horses in the Yucatán, but did not wish to imply that they were known among the Maya, vaguely stating that the remains must be from a pre-Mayan time. Oddly enough, this seemingly revolutionary information was relegated to one page of the General Notes section near the end of the Journal of Mammalogy. (Ibid. )

          Although this information has been available for decades, critics have long pointed to the mention of horses in the Book of Mormon as an anachronism and evidence of its modern invention.

          A breed of horse, known alternately as the Bashkir Curly or the North American Curly, is unusual not only for its curly, hypoallergenic coat. Its origins are still unknown and the subject of much debate. In the early 1800s, Charles Darwin noted curly horses in South America long before any known documentation of their transportation from Asia. There is even some speculation outside the LDS community among horse experts that Curlies may have crossed over the Bering Strait from Asia anciently (http://www.abcregistry.org/about.asp) and survived until modern times, becoming essentially a native American breed. They then may have gone undetected by European settlers until the 19th century.

          Archeology vindicates the Book of Mormon again!

        • Dwight Rogers

          You say “steel…impossible Jews did not have steel at that time.”

          Actually, they did.

          Archaeologists have discovered a carburized iron sword near Jericho, The sword is made of iron hardened into steel. The sword which had a bronze haft, was one meter long and dates to the time of king Josiah, who would have been a contemporary of Lehi. This is an actual example of a steel sword contemporary with the steel sword mentioned in the Book of Mormon and from the same area. This find has been described as “spectacular” since it is apparently “the only complete sword of its size and type from this period yet discovered in Israel.”(Hershall Shanks, “Antiquities director confronts problems and controversies,” Biblical Archaeology Review 12/4 [July-August 1986]: 33, 35).
          Today the sword is displayed at Jerusalem’s Israel Museum. For a photo of the sword see the pdf version of the article here.

          The sign on the display reads:

          “This rare and exceptionally long sword, which was discovered on the floor of a building next to the skeleton of a man, dates to the end of the First Temple period. The sword is 1.05 m. long (!) and has a double edged blade, with a prominent central ridge running along its entire length.

          “The hilt was originally inlaid with a material that has not survived, most probably wood. Only the nails that once secured the inlays to the hilt can still be seen. The sword’s sheath was also made of wood, and all that remains of it is its bronze tip. Owing to the length and weight of the sword, it was probably necessary to hold it with two hands. The sword is made of iron hardened into steel, attesting to substantial metallurgical know-how. Over the years, it has become cracked, due to corrosion.”

          Notes
          1. Hershel Shanks, “BAR Interviews Avraham Eitan,” Biblical Archaeological Review 12/4 (1986): 30–38.
          2. Joseph A. Callaway, “The Height of Ancient Israelites,” a letter, Biblical Archaeological Review 10/1 (1984): 20

        • Dwight Rogers

          You say the “Jews did not have steel at that time.”

          Modern processes for making what we today call steel were not known in Joseph Smith’s day. Henry Bessemere took out a patent on the process of making modern steel in 1855. At the time Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon the word “steel” did not refer to modern steel but, rather hardened pig iron. In those days, “steel” referred to anything hard, which could apply to bronze or various other metals as readily as iron. Even in Joseph Smith’s day, one of the meanings given in Webster’s 1828 dictionary for “steel” was “extreme hardness,” while the verbal form means “to make hard.” The second entry under the noun “steel” says the word is used figuratively for “weapons; particularly of defensive weapons, swords, spears and the like.”

          The King James Bible uses the word steel but, naturally, not in the modern sense (2 Samuel 22:35; Job 20:24; Psalm 18:34, Jeremiah 15:12). Therefore, one could also reject the Bible because it refers to steel before steel, in the modern sense, was invented. The Hebrew word behind these passages is actually the term used for copper and its alloys, notably bronze. In Joseph Smith’s day steel meant some form of hardened metal, usually hardened pig iron, which is understandable since modern steel had not been developed yet.

          The part of the Book of Mormon which talks specifically about steel weapons takes place in the old world. That’s the part where Nephi discusses the sword of Laban and a steel bow (1 Nephi 4:9; 1 Nephi 16:18). Nephi points out that these are made of “of most precious steel” and “made of fine steel” which seems to indicate a high quality steel for the time. Those events take place in the old world which is the right place. Not so cute after all.

          The next two references (2 Nephi 5:15; Jarom 1:8) include steel in a list of metals and, as would typically be the case for that time would probably not refer to “Bessemer” steel but rather hardened iron which used to be called steel. It is likely that only a few specialists retained the knowledge of hardening iron into a primitive form of steel as the Book of Mormon does not mention steel again after Jarom 1:8 (about 400 BC). So, most of the history of the Nephites is without steel. This craft seems to have been lost among the Nephites after about 400 BC. The production of “steel” on such a limited basis would not likely be detected in archeology as we have excavated only about a half of a percent of known sites in Mesoamerica. And keep in mind that even metals rust away after 2600 years in a Mesoamerican climate.

          The only other reference to steel is in Ether 7:9 which mentions the making of steel swords. This event is in the record of the Jaradites who lived much earlier on the American Continent than did the Nephites. This event would be around 3000 years ago and with the passage of 3000 years steel would have corroded away in the alkaline soil of Mesoamerica.

          However, Nephi’s mention of Laban’s steel sword in Jerusalem around 600 BC turns out to be very plausible. ; Middle Eastern smiths, were making hardened pig iron steel by the tenth century B.C. That’s three centuries before Nephi’s steel bow. (Matthew Roper, “Right on Target: Boomerang Hits and the Book of Mormon)

        • Dwight Rogers

          Scholars and archeologists do find evidence of carburizing iron into steel in the Middle East area in Old Testament times. It seems evident” notes one recent authority, “that by the beginning of the tenth century B.C. blacksmiths were intentionally steeling iron.” (Robert Maddin, James D. Muhly and Tamara S. Wheeler, “How the Iron Age Began,” Scientific American 237/4 [October 1977]:127).

          Other examples are known from the Palestine area. For example, an iron knife was found in an eleventh century Philistine tomb showed evidence of deliberate carburization. Another is an iron pick found at the ruins of an fortress on Mount Adir in northern Galilee and may date as early as the thirteenth century B.C. “The manufacturer of the pick had knowledge of the full range of iron-working skills associated with the production of quench hardened steel” (James D. Muhly, “How Iron technology changed the ancient world and gave the Philistines a military edge,” Biblical Archaeology Review 8/6 [November-December 1982]: 50).

          Archaeologists, for example, have discovered evidence of sophisticated iron technology from the island of Cyprus. One interesting example was a curved iron knife found in an eleventh century tomb. Metallurgist Erik Tholander analyzed the weapon and found that it was made of “quench-hardened steel

        • Dwight Rogers

          Metallurgy in the New World

          As one non-LDS author wrote:

          Current information clearly indicates that by 1000 B.C. the most advanced metallurgy was being practiced in the Cauca Valley of Columbia (Source: Archaeology (Nov/Dec 1985): 81)

          Metallurgy is known in Peru from 1900 B.C., and in Ecuador via trade by 1000 B.C. Since Mesoamerica is known to have had trade relations with parts of the continent that produced metals, and because metal artifacts dating prior to A.D. 900 have been found in Mesoamerica, it seems reasonable to assume that at least some Mesoamericans knew something about metallurgy.

          The ‘conventional wisdom’ that metal was not used in the New World prior to A.D. 900 cannot now be sustained. Copper sheathing on an altar in the Valley of Mexico dates to the first century B.C. (John L. Sorenson, An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Co. ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1996 [1985]), 278)

          Furthermore, in 1998, a discovery in Peru pushed the earliest date of hammered metal back to as early as 1400 B.C.:
          “Much to the surprise of archaeologists, one of the earliest civilizations in the Americas already knew how to hammer metals by 1000 B.C., centuries earlier than had been thought.

          “Based on the dating of carbon atoms attached to the foils, they appear to have been created between 1410 and 1090 B.C., roughly the period when Moses led the Jews from Egypt and the era of such pharaohs as Amenhotep III, Tutankhamen and Ramses. ‘It shows once again how little we know about the past and how there are surprises under every rock,’ comments Jeffrey Quilter, director of Pre-Columbian Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, a Harvard University research institute in Washington, D.C.” (Available on ABCnews.com; original story from Richard L. Burger and Robert B. Gordon, “Early Central Andean Metalworking from Mina Perdida, Peru,” Science 282:5391 (6 November 1998) :1108–1111.)

        • Dwight Rogers

          Critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes claim the Book of Mormon is proven false through DNA studies. The people who originally made this claim are not experts in population DNA studies and they have taken bits of information from experts in the field and misapplied them. Their approach does not follow accepted scientific methodology.

          First, most archeology/anthropology and DNA work attempts to identify the primary source for the peopling of the Americas. While Asia appears to be the leading source of ancient immigrants to the Americas, and Latter-day Saints don’t disagree with that, there is plenty of room for additional groups coming to the continent, and several studies have found evidence for non-Asian DNA that cannot be explained by modern European admixture. Some of this evidence is found in pre-Colombian burial sites with DNA connections to Europe and the Middle East. Most work in this field does not attempt to identify other minor migrations to the New world and experts in the field have recognized that there were, likely, other such migrations,

          David Meltzer, an archaeologist with expertise on Native American origins of Southern Methodist University says that those “who study Native American history are glad to have the genetic data but also have reservations, given that several of the geneticists’ conclusions have changed over time. This is a really important step forward but not the last word,” he said noting that many migrations may not yet have shown up in the genetic samples.

          The risk of ignoring apparent outliers and the incomplete nature of the “Asia only” model for Native American origins is discussed by David A. McClellan (2003), assistant professor of integrative biology at Brigham Young University:

          Michael H. Crawford, an anthropologist [author of The Origins of Native Americans: Evidence from Anthropological Genetics] at the University of Kansas, said “the paucity of samples from North America and from coastal regions made it hard to claim a complete picture of early migrations has been attained” (Nicholas Wade, New York Times, “Earliest Americans Arrived in Waves, DNA Study Finds,” http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/science/earliest-americans-arrived-in-3-waves-not-1-dna-study-finds.html (accessed August 13, 2012))

          Almost every year brings unanticipated findings which require drastic revision of existing theories. We tend to forget that most of the research that is taking place with regard to the origin of the ancestors of Native Americans using DNA focuses on the first main arrival(s) through Beringia and is not meant to detect minor subsequent migrations that took place in more recent times. In commenting on recent genetic analysis performed on Paleo-Eskimo remains in Greenland belonging to the Saqqaq culture, Dr. Marcus Feldam, a population geneticist from Stanford University stated that “the models that suggest a single one-time migration are generally regarded as idealized systems, like an idealized gas in physics. But there may have been small amounts of migrations going on for millennia. Just because researchers put a date on when ancient humans crossed the Bering Bridge, that doesn’t mean it happened only once and then stopped.” (Cassandra Brooks, “First Ancient Human Sequenced,” http://www.thescientist.com/blog/display/57140 (accessed August 13, 2012)

          There are further indications that the “Asia-only” model is incomplete, and that hints of non-Asian origins may be too easily ignored. For example, in the work of Karafet et al. (1999), several Y-chromosome haplogroups were found in Cheyenne and Aapotec indians. This DNA type is found in Greeks and Egyptians but absent from Asians, Eskimos, and other North Americans.

          Multiple migrations may have occurred, including migrations by boat. This is indicated, for example, in Blake Edwards’ article, ‘Who Was First? Untangling America’s Ancient Roots,’ published in Discovery News, Oct. 21, 1999. Here is a quote: ‘I just think it’s going to be much more complex than we’ve thought in the past,’ says Smithsonian Institution archaeologist Dennis Stanford. He believes that early Americans arrived at different times, from different places, and by different means–on foot, in boats, maybe even by dogsled.’

        • Dwight Rogers

          Second, the critics claim that Lehi was a Jew and, they claim that no Jewish DNA turns up among the American Indians. However, besides that fact that some American Indian DNA does link to the Middle East, the additional question to ask is: What is Jewish DNA.?

          Studies show that modern Jewish populations have a wide range of DNA markers and in many cases Jewish people in one part of the world cannot be genetically linked through DNA to Jewish peoples in other parts of the world. Each Jewish group has taken on the DNA characteristics of the people of the surrounding area through intermarriage. For example: the Cohen DNA marker is found in only 2% of modern Jewish populations. Therefore, 98% of Jewish people cannot be identified as Jewish using this marker. There is no typical DNA among modern Jewish people.

          What was the typical DNA of Jewish people at the time of Lehi, 2600 years ago? Nobody knows. Population DNA changes over time even for groups who maintain a religious or social identity. The Israelites were taken captive into Babylon and only a few returned and many of these after intermarriage with others. Many Jews were killed and dispersed at the time of the Roman period. These events change the DNA makeup of the people even when they maintain their Jewish identity.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Third, sampling of American Indian DNA is sparse. Many tribes have not been sampled. As more sampling occurs other DNA haplogroups are discovered among the American Indians. Who knows what is yet to surface? For example, some initial sampling of the Cherokee has shown other haplogroups not associated with Asia. One sampling found that 25% of the Cherokee have haplogroup T DNA. This is interesting because Egyptians also have about 25% T DNA. Remember that Joseph who was sold into Egypt married an Egyptian woman named Asenath. Could the T haplogroup be a marker for the tribe of Joseph from which Lehi came?

        • Dwight Rogers

          Fourth, Lehi was not a Jew. Lehi and his group were Hebrews from one of the tribes of Israel but not the tribe from which Jews come. After the Israelites were taken captive and dispersed, and the 10 tribes became lost, the tribe of Judah mainly remained and became the basis for the Jewish people. Lehi was from Manasseh and his wife was from Ephraim – both from the tribe of Joseph who had an inheritance in the northern part of Israel and were dispersed with the lost ten tribes. What is tribe of Joseph DNA? Nobody knows. You can sample all the American Indian DNA you want but if you don’t have Lehi’s DNA to compare with you can’t make any comparisons or reach any conclusions.

          Since we don’t know what DNA types were present among the tribe of Joseph, and since Joseph and the other lost tribes were dispersed to the north (Asia?) then how do we know that some Asian DNA is not Joseph DNA? That would make the Asian DNA so often found among the American Indians a match for Book of Mormon DNA. I present that as a viable possibility and not a proven conclusion but it illustrates the point that DNA criticisms of the Book of Mormon are not scientific or well thought out.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Fifth, population geneticists confirm that DNA of a small group going into into an area that is well populated gets swamped out over time. Lehi’s group was a small group.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Sixth, population geneticists recognize that DNA does disappear. For an example of disappearing DNA we note the recent DNA study of more than 131,000 modern Icelanders, which discovered that many DNA markers disappeared in just over a century. According to DNA tests, more than 86 percent of Icelandic males descended from just 26 percent of potential male ancestors in their family tree who were born between 1848 and 1892 and also lived in Iceland. Among the female population, nearly 92 percent descended from only 22 percent of potential female ancestors in their family tree who were born between the same years as the male ancestors. (Agnar Helgason and others, “A Populationwide Coalescent Analysis of Icelandic Matrilineal and Patrilineal Genealogies: Evidence for a Faster Evolutionary Rate of mtDNA Lineages than Y Chromosomes,” American Journal of Human Genetics 72 (2003), 1370–88)
          Thus we see that the vast majority of the Icelandic ancestors — from just 150 years ago — did not contribute mtDNA or Ycs to their descendants. Conversely, a small minority of Icelandic ancestors from the same 150 years ago contributed the bulk of DNA markers to their now-living descendants. Most of the Icelandic people living today who have genealogical records showing that their ancestors lived in Iceland 150 years ago could not detect DNA for those ancestors.

          Our parents have one complete set of DNA each. But we only inherit half of that DNA. In the step from your parents to you, half of the DNA is lost. It is not passed on to you. Your body can only hold one set of DNA and, therefore, is incapable of preserving two full sets. You only preserve one quarter of the DNA that your four grandparents had. . If we go back 10 generations, you have 1,024 ancestral slots, or number of possible contributors to your genetic makeup. Of these 1,024 potential ancestors, 512 are females. Only one of them has contributed your mtDNA. That means that the DNA of 511 of your female ancestors over the last 10 generations is not passed down to you.

          DNA Consultants’ chief investigator Dr. Donald Yates points out that the fact that you do not have a marker does not mean that you lack that type of heredity, but because we receive one allele or unit of variation from one parent and one from another, and each parent possesses two themselves, one person can fail to inherit, say, a Native American marker but a sibling can have it. Therefore, if the sibling carrying the marker we are looking for fails to have offspring who survive, then that marker will not be found even though it was once present in the population.

          Experts in the field say that up to ninety percent of the Amerindian population died out following contact with the Europeans; most of this was due to infectious disease against which they had no defense. The elimination of 90% of the gene pool makes it impossible to prove or disprove whether any specific gene type was there before Columbus’s discovery of the New World. In fact, non-LDS molecular anthropologist Michael H. Crawford wrote that the Spanish Conquest “squeezed the entire Amerindian population through a genetic bottleneck. … This population reduction has forever altered the genetics of the surviving groups, thus complicating any attempts at reconstructing the pre-Columbian genetic structure of most New World groups,” (The Origins of Native Americans, 1998).

        • Dwight Rogers

          Christians today may be appalled at any suggestion that there could be more than one god or that men can become like God, or that there is any hint of polytheism in the Bible. However, that is a Christian tradition of today which is at odds with Biblical fact and early teachings of the Christian Fathers and Bishops in the early Christian Church.

          Jesus taught the doctrine and said that “the scripture cannot be broken.”(John 10:31-36). Jesus was quoting Psalms 82:6 which taught it. The Apostle Paul teaches it (1 Cor. 8: 5-6) Paul was referring to true gods when he said “in heaven” and “(as there be gods many and lords many,). Among true Bible believers, who can believe that there are false gods in heaven?

          Psalms 8:4-5 teaches that man is “a little lower than the gods” in the Hebrew. See also Romans 8:14-18,Revelations 3:21. And 1 John 3:2-3

          These verses deal with a theme that runs throughout the Bible in what Bible scholars recognize as a head God who presides over a council of gods.Genesis 1:26-27; Genesis 3:22; Genesis 11:5-7; Psalms. 82:1 Or as it is rendered in the NRSV translation “God has taken His place in the divine council, in the midst of the gods he holds judgment.” In this verse the Hebrew term rendered “congregation of the mighty” is from the Hebrew la td[ (cedat ‘el), which really means “the council of God.”

          The idea of a council of God, wherein the head God meets with the other gods is referenced throughout the Bible. Another Hebrew term that means “council” is dws (s?d). (See the discussion in Frank Moore Cross, “The Council of Yahweh in Second Isaiah,” 274, n. 1; also R. Gordis, “Democratic Origins in Ancient Israel,” in Saul Libermann, ed., Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1950), 376-388.)

          As one scholar notes :

          “The existence of other gods is not denied in the first commandment of the decalog itself; in fact it presupposes their existence and forbids the Israelites to worship them.” (Roland de Vaux, The Early History of Israel, Philadelphia, 1968, p 463)

          And see: Exodus. 15:11; Deuteronomy 11:17, 20-21;Psalms. 86:8; Psalms. 97:9; Psalms. 135:5; Psalms. 136: 2-3; Deuteronomy. 10:17.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Not only was this belief a part of the Hebrew religion and not only is it found throughout the Bible, including the New Testament as taught by Jesus Himself as well as Paul, and John, but the Early Christian fathers continued to teach it for centuries following Biblical times. These early Bishops and respected orthodox theologians taught the belief very bluntly and clearly:

          “God became man that man might become God.” (St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinis in: Philip Barlow, doctoral candidate in American Religious History at Harvard: Unorthodox Orthodoxy: The Idea of Deification in Christian History, Sunstone, Vol 8, no 5, pp 13-16))

          “He became what we are, in order that we might be what he is.” (Maximus in Ibid)
          “I may become God to the same extent as he became man.” (Gregory of Nazianus in Ibid)
          “The Holy Spirit aids man in being made God.” (Basil of Ceasarea in Ibid)

          “Flee with all in your power from being man and make haste to become gods.” (Origin in Ibid)
          Speaking of the soul which seeks to become pure Clement of Alexandria said: “The soul, receiving the Lord’s power, studies to become a god.” (Clement in Ibid)

          IRENAEUS, Bishop of Lyons [A.D. 130-200] taught:

          “If the Word became a man, It was so men may become gods.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, bk. 5, pref.)

          Irenaeus also taught: “We were not made gods at our beginning, but first we were made men, then, in the end, gods.” (Ibid, also in (Bettenson, H., The Early Christian Fathers, [London: Oxford University Press, 1956,] p. 94.)

          Also: “Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God, of his boundless love, became what we are that he might make us what he himself is.” (Irenaeus in Henry Betteson, The Early Christian Fathers, London: Oxford University Press, 1956, p 106)

          Indeed, Saint Irenaeus had more to say on the subject of deification:

          “Do we cast blame on him [God] because we were not made gods from the beginning, but were at first created merely as men, and then later as gods?” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies,4.38. Cp. 4.11)

          CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
          In the second century, Saint Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.” (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks, 1; Also in Clement of Alexandria, Protrepticus 1, (8,4), in Bettenson, The Early Christian Fathers, p. 244.)

          Clement also said that “man becomes a god, since God wills it. So Heraclitus was right when he said, ‘Men are gods, and gods are men.’” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, 3.1 See also Clement, Stromateis, 23.)

          And also: “‘they have received the title of ‘gods,’ since they are destined to be enthroned with other ‘gods’ who are ranked next below the Savior.” (Ibid pp. 243-244)

          JUSTIN MARTYR
          Still in the second century, Saint Justin Martyr insisted that in the beginning men were “made like God, free from suffering and death,” and that they are “thus deemed worthy of becoming gods.” (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 124)

          ST. CYRIL OF JERUSLEM
          Here is an interesting quote from St. Cyril of Jerusalem, an early Christian bishop. This fascinating quote is from his Prologue to the Catechetical Lectures:

          “because men are to receive a title of God, spoke thus in the person of God: I said, Ye are Gods, and are all sons of the Most High.”

          JEROME (the Pope’s secretary)
          St. Jerome explains Psalms 82:6 as did Jesus and other early Christian fathers:

          “‘I said: You are gods, all of you sons of the Most High.’ Let Eunomius hear this, let Arius, who say that the Son of God is son in the same way we are. That we are gods is not so by nature, but by grace. . . I made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods” (Jerome, The Homilies of Saint Jerome, Washington D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964 pp 106-107)

          TERTULLIAN
          “call to mind. . .the passage where it is written, ‘I have said, Ye are gods, and ye are children of the Most High;’ and again, ‘God standeth in the congregation of the gods:’ in order that, if the scripture has not been afraid to designate as gods human beings, who have become sons of God by faith , you may be sure that the same scripture has with greater propriety conferred the name of the Lord on the true and one-only Son of God.” (Tertullian, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Grand Rapids Michigan: Wm.B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1885, vol. 3, p. 608)

          ORIGEN [A.D. 185-254], also teaches the same Biblical doctrine, of Genesis 1:1, that there is a head god who is “Lord of gods”, Origin teaches that there is a distinction to be made between “the God” and others who are also “gods…Since he by being ‘with God’ first gathered godhood to himself, is therefore in every way more honored than others besides himself, who are ‘gods’. . .For it was through his ministry that they became gods, since he drew divinity from God for them to be deified, and of his kindness generously shared it with them. God, then, is the true God, and those who through him are fashioned into gods are copies of the prototype.” (Ibid p. 324)

          Origen went on to teach: “The Father, then, is proclaimed as the one true God; but besides the true God are many who become gods by participating in God.” (Ibid)

          AUGUSTINE
          Finally, Saint Augustine himself, the greatest of the Christian Fathers, said:

          “But he himself that justifies also deifies, for by justifying he makes sons of God. ‘For he has given them power to become the sons of God’ [John 1:12] If then we have been made sons of God, we have also been made gods.” (Augustine, On the Psalms, 50.2 Augustine insists that such individuals are gods by grace rather than by nature, but they are gods nevertheless.)

        • Dwight Rogers

          Belief in Jesus Christ and dependence on His grace is the central belief of Mormons. It is the critics of Mormonism who say that Mormons believe they are going to earn their way to heaven by their works. Mormon’s don’t teach that and it is a straw man argument invented by anti-Mormons. Mormons don’t teach that we can earn our way to heaven without the grace of Christ. You see, the critics are so determined to make Mormonism look non-Biblical that they have to invent straw-man Mormon doctrines.

          Note what Mormons believe taken from their own sources:

          Alma 22:14 (from the Book of Mormon)
          14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king.

          2 Nephi 25:23 (from the Book of Mormon)
          23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

          2 Nephi 24:26 (from the Book of Mormon)
          “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)

          2 Nephi 10:24-25 (From the Book of Mormon):

          24 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh; and remember, after ye are reconciled unto God, that it is only in and through the grace of God that ye are saved.
          25 Wherefore, may God raise you from death by the power of the resurrection, and also from everlasting death by the power of the atonement, that ye may be received into the eternal kingdom of God, that ye may praise him through grace divine. Amen.

          In the Bible we find both the teaching of salvation by Grace and the teaching of repentance and obedience to the commandments. They are both true. They are both Biblical. Some Christians cherry pick the teachings of the Bible, focusing on one thing that they like and ignore the other parts. Mormons believe ALL of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We try our best to understand and believe all of it. Grace and Works are two sides to the same coin. The Apostle Paul writes a lot about salvation by grace. This was to combat the tenancy in many early Jews who converted to Christianity to fall back on obeying the works oriented law of Moses. People who think they can work their way to salvation have missed the grace side of the coin. However, in Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, and other places, Paul also stresses the necessity to obey the commandments. He gives lists of sinful behavior such as adultery, fornication, lying, and so forth, and says that people who do these will not enter into the kingdom of heaven. For instance see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. And let’s not forget about James 2:14-20,24.

          The Apostle Peter tells us that even after accepting Christ one must turn from sin and obey lest he fall from grace:

          2 Peter 2:20-22
          20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

          21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
          22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

          Peter said clearly that he was talking about people who had been evil (see prior verses) but “have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 2:20) and about people who “have known the way of righteousness.”(2 Peter 2:21). Peter says that even the angels can sin and be cast out of Heaven and down to hell (2 Peter 2:4)

          Obeying God is clearly the other side of the coin to the teachings of grace in the Bible. It is incomplete to stress only Grace or only Works. They are both part of the gospel as taught in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Even confessing that Jesus is our savior is a work that we must actually do. If we were saved from sin solely on grace alone then salvation would be automatic regardless of what we do. There would be no need to even confess Jesus as our Savior let alone try to live a good Christian life.

          The specific teaching “once saved always saved” is not in the Bible and must be derived by placing specific interpretation on several Bible verses. Then there’s the problem that it contradicts Peter. Jesus taught that we will abide in His love “If ye keep my commandments.” (John 15:10; see also John 14:15,21,23; See also John’s teaching: 1 John 2;3-4.).

          In other words, we abide in his love (grace) after we have done our best to keep his commandments. Granted, that we cannot keep his commandments on our own, we fall short, and we desperately need His help, and His Grace, to be able to do so. And even after our best effort we fall short which means that we desperately need His Grace. We can’t earn our way to Heaven! See also John’s teaching: 1 John 2;3-4.

          We read the teaching of the Savior where He lists some of the commandments we must keep to “have treasure in heaven” (Mark 10:21; Luke 18:20-22). Again, we can’t keep those commandments without His grace. We can’t do it on our own. Nevertheless, we can’t deny Jesus’ words that we must do it.

          Jesus taught that whoso breaks the commandments, even “the least of these” and “teach men so” will be “the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:19). Here, Jesus is saying the same thing that Mormons say, or more accurately, Mormons teach what Jesus taught. Mormons are following the teaching of Jesus concerning keeping the commandments when we “do and teach them.” Those are the words of Jesus: “do and teach them.”

          “…For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works…” (Mt. 16:27)

          “…and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour…” (1 Cor. 3:8)

          “…But because of thy hardness and impenitence of heart, thou treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the Day of Wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds: to those who by patient continuance in welldoing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;..” (Rom. 2:5-7)

          “…For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad…” (2 Cor. 5:10)

          Mormons are often accused of ignoring Christ’s grace and of trying to work their way to salvation. However, an accurate look at what Mormons actually teach shows a very balanced approach which mirrors the balanced teaching of Grace and Works found in the Bible.

          One Evangelical Christian author wrote of his sudden discovery that his previous beliefs about salvation were very different from those held by the early Christians:

          “If there’s any single doctrine that we would expect to find the faithful associates of the apostles teaching, it’s the doctrine of salvation by faith alone. After all, that is the cornerstone doctrine of the Reformation. In fact, we frequently say that persons who don’t hold to this doctrine aren’t really Christians…

          “Our problem is that Augustine, Luther, and other Western theologians have convinced us that there’s an irreconcilable conflict between salvation based on grace and salvation conditioned on works or obedience. They have used a fallacious form of argumentation known as the “false dilemma,” by asserting that there are only two possibilities regarding salvation: it’s either (1) a gift from God or (2) it’s something we earn by our works.

          The early Christians [and Latter-day Saints!] would have replied that a gift is no less a gift simply because it’s conditioned on obedience….

          “The early Christians believed that salvation is a gift from God but that God gives His gift to whomever He chooses. And He chooses to give it to those who love and obey him.” (David W. Bercot, Will The Real Heretics Please Stand Up: A New Look at Today’s Evangelical Church in the Light of Early Christianity, 3rd edition, (Tyler, Texas: Scroll Publishing Company, 1999[1989]), 57, 61–62)

          • Dwight – Unfortunately, in quoting from the book of Mormom, you have invalidated your entire argument. This is not a book of God, but an agenda of man.

          • Dwight – I want to point out something additional in your dialogue – First, your argument is very assumptive – are you saying that only Mormons are doing “works”? How is it that you know I do not obey and have works? Is it because your religion has outlined for you what works God requires? Only the bible can do that, and only our hearts lead us to obey. Please do not believe that you are the only people out there working. Look at the numbers – Mormons love numbers… Lets compare the number of Mormons to the number of lets say Baptists – know that I am neither – 100 million worldwide and 33 million in North America – Mormoms – just 15 million. You should also, if you are all into these fine works you so well speak of, just look at what the Baptists give to the poor and needy in over 200 countries worldwide. Just Google the Baptist Health Foundation and the BWA – if it is giving to others that is a work (see James 1:27) What else could it be? I was a Jehovah’s Witness by birth, and am now a believer by grace and I know what it is that Mormons do that they call “works”, but you just will not come out and say it – and that would be your door to door service. How is that working for you? Well, by the numbers, the simple Baptists have you beat by a longshot Dwight – you will never catch up with 100 million…Baptists use a variety of methods to attract attention to Christ Jesus, by using radio and television, similar to the I am Mormon ads we used to see on television. The difference is this: you are trying to get other Christians to become Mormons, to “convert”, and the Baptists are trying to get the Holy name of Jesus out and his word, regardless of religion or faith. So while you all are beating your heads against the wall to exceed the 15 million mark with your missionaries who I myself try to convert back to Christ, the Baptists are enjoying the fruitage of their fine works as well. In addition, they do not drink.

            Anf the whole DNA thing – blah blah blah. I can assure you there are groups of Mormon doctors in a frenzy right now trying to feed the flock information about how innacurate the testing is and all that jazz. We never even got onto the book of Abraham – seriously, that is a train wreck for your religion. And the whole black ordained ministers thing that went quietly away in 1978 – surely Jesus and his Father dis not view the black race as your religion did, do they?

            I will close out my debate with you by quoting you a verse in the Bible that really makes a works based religion irrelevant – “And he was saying “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Are we saved by faith, or by works and obedience? Ask the man next to Jesus on the cross…

        • Dwight Rogers

          I didn’t say that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are the only ones who do works. God loves all his Children and recognizes all he works they do.

          In 1978 the First Presidency stated:
          “The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals. The Hebrew prophets prepared the way for the coming of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah, who should provide salvation for all mankind who believe in the gospel. Consistent with these truths, we believe that God has given and will give to all peoples sufficient knowledge to help them on their way to eternal salvation, either in this life or in the life to come. We also declare that the gospel of Jesus Christ, restored to His Church in our day, provides the only way to a mortal life of happiness and a fullness of joy forever. . . . Our message therefore is one of special love and concern for the eternal welfare of all men and women, regardless of religious belief, race, or nationality, knowing that we are truly brothers and sisters because we are sons and daughters of the same Eternal Father.” (Statement of the First Presidency regarding God’s Love for All Mankind, 15 February 1978.)

          We understand that God’s plan is universal, and we acknowledge truth and goodness in other faiths. We believe all people are children of Heavenly Father (see Acts 17:29; Ephesians 4:6; Hebrews 12:9). Each child of God on the earth is involved in God’s plan. The Lord esteems all flesh as one (see 1 Nephi 17:35), and every man should esteem his neighbor as himself (see Mosiah 27:4). We undoubtedly believe that all people are of great worth (see D&C 18:10, 15).

          President of the Church John Taylor said, “There were men in those dark ages who could commune with God, and who, by the power of faith, could draw aside the curtain of eternity and gaze upon the invisible world . . . There were men who could gaze upon the face of God, have the ministering of angels, and unfold the future destinies of the world. If those were dark ages I pray God to give me a little darkness.” (John Taylor, in Brigham Young et al., Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., reported by G. D. Watt et al. (Liverpool: F. D. and S. W. Richards, et al., 1851–86; repr., Salt Lake City: n.p., 1974), 16:197–98.)

          President Hinckley has said on multiple occasions: “We appreciate the truth in all churches and the good which they do. We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it. That is the spirit of this work.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Messages of Inspiration from President Hinckley,” Church News, July 4, 1998)

          As a mighty God, our Heavenly Father has the capacity to save us all. As a fond father, He has the desire to do so. That is why, as Joseph taught, “God hath made a provision that every spirit can be ferreted out in that world” that has not deliberately and definitively chosen to resist a grace that is stronger than the cords of death. (Joseph Smith, Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (Orem, UT: Grandin, 1991), 360.)

          Joseph Smith said that many individuals described in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs were “honest, devoted followers of Christ,” (Edward Stevenson, Reminiscences of Joseph, the Prophet (Salt Lake City: the author, 1893),)

          As BYU professors Robert L. Millet and Lloyd D. Newell explain: “It would be blatant arrogance to suppose that the Latter-day Saints are the only people on earth with whom our Heavenly Father is concerned or to whom he seeks to make known his mind and will. God loves all of his children on earth and seeks to teach all that people are prepared to receive (Alma 29:8).” (Robert L. Millet and Lloyd D. Newell, Draw Near unto Me (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2004), 9)

          LDS doctrine teaches God’s universal effort with the whole human family (see D&C 88:7; Moroni 7:16)

        • Dwight Rogers

          You seem to have missed my point. Critics claim that Mormons think they are going to work their way to heaven. However, Mormons believe in the same balance between grace and works that is taught in the Bible. Many Christians ignore the works teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in the Bible and, therefore, miss half of the equation. After all is said and done, we are still saved by Christ’s grace in the end because all of our works cannot make us clean.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Regarding numbers, the Bible indicates that those on the right track will be few in numbers compared to those on false paths. The Lord indicates that many, even who believe, will be on the wrong path. So, it does not bother us that our numbers are fewer than other groups. Jesus’s followers were also in the minority.

          “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
          “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

          “Beware of false prophets….Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven.

          “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
          “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:13-23).

          Here, it is clear that the Lord is talking about “believers”. These are people who have set up Christian churches and will ask the Lord, have we not “prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” But the Lord has not authorized them to do so. These are they who have not received authority in the manner the Lord has prescribed as discussed here:(Hebrews 5:4). The Holy Scriptures give us examples of how to receive authority and examples of people who assumed authority improperly (1 Samuel 13:8-14; 15:22-35; 1 Chronicles 13:9-10; 2 Chronicles 26:14-20; Numbers chapter 16; Acts 8:14-23; Acts 19:13-16; 1 Kings 18; Jer. 14:14-18;; Jer. 23:32, Matt. 7:13-25; John 10:1-10 Gal. 1:6-9)

        • Dwight Rogers

          I have already quoted to you experts in the field of DNA studies, particularly population geneticists (Those who study what happens to DNA over time in populations), and many of those I cited are note Mormons. They disagree with the premise that the DNA of a small migratory group, such as Lehi’s group, would likely survive and be detectible after so long a time.

        • Dwight Rogers

          The Book of Abraham remains one of the great witnesses of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling. Why? Because he got so many things right that were unknowable through scholarship in his day. Many details in both the Facsimiles and in the text are supported by subsequent scholarly research and document finds not available in Joseph Smith’s day. Examples are available if interested.

          Discoveries such as “The Apocalypse of Abraham”,first published in 1897, and “The Testament of Abraham which also surfaced long after the time of Joseph Smith, and many other ancient Abrahamic accounts now confirm many details in Joseph Smith’s Book of Abraham – details that Joseph, nor anyone else from his time could have guessed. . Nobody in Joseph Smiths time had the information. Yet the Book of Abraham gets many details right that weren’t known in Joseph’s time.

          Additionally,. It turns out that details in Facsimiles are now confirmed in other Egyptian documents. Joseph’s rendering of the meaning of various parts of the Facsimiles turn out to be correct – details that nobody could have gotten right by guessing or fabrication.

        • Dwight Rogers

          The critics argue that Joseph was wrong because the Book of Abraham text is not found on any of the eleven extant papyri fragments. What the critics don’t want to point out is that the fragments are only a small portion of the original material. Evidence shows that most of the Egyptian material once in the possession of Joseph Smith is still missing and that Joseph Smith translated the text from one of the missing rolls. Many eyewitnesses describe the roll of papyri from which Joseph Smith translated also describe other rolls and fragments from which he did not translate. The description of the small fragments from which he did not translate match the pieces that surfaced in 1967. These are a few small fragments of Egyptian funerary texts in black ink only. Eye witnesses describe the long roll from which Joseph translated as having both black and red ink. The long rolls were sold after Joseph’s death and bills of sale trace them to the Woods Museum in Chicago which burned down in the great Chicago fire of 1871.

          So, when critics claim that Joseph Smith was a fraud because the translated text does not match the surviving papyri, they only show their ignorance of the history of the papyri. We don’t expect the translated text to match the few small papyri fragments that survived because those aren’t the papyri Joseph translated the text from in the first place.

        • Dwight Rogers

          Specific examples of things the Book of Abraham gets historically correct, and which were not discovered until after the time of Joseph Smith, could easily be provided if you like.

        • Dwight Rogers

          You ask “Surely Jesus and his Father dis not view the black race as your religion did, do they?

          Let’s see what the behavior of Jesus and the Father is by referring to the Bible shall we?

          We do learn from the bible that God placed a curse on Caanan the son of Ham (Genesis 9:18-27)

          Jesus called only men to be Apostles, Teachers, and Deacons in the Church.

          The God of the Bible also withheld priesthood from large segments of the population in Biblical times. God withheld priesthood from all but a select group. He gave the Aaronic Priesthood to only one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Exo. 28:1-4; Num, 23:5-13; Num 8:5-26’ Num ch 17; Num. 18:6-8; Num. 27: 18-23, Leviticus 8, and Numbers 1)).

          Uzza, who was not a Levite, was severely punished for touching the arc without having priesthood authority. (1 Chr. 13:9-10).

          God destroyed Korah, Dathan, Abiram and 250 rebel leaders for seeking priestly offices when they were not authorized to do so (See Numbers chapter 16).

          The Aaronic Priesthood was given to the tribe of Levi as “an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations” (Ex. 40:15) and those who could not prove their Levitical lineage were “polluted, put from the priesthood.” (Ezra 2:6-26).

          If Moses were alive today he would be rejected as discriminatory for withholding the Levitical priesthood from the other 11 tribes of Israel.

          It was not Moses who withheld the priesthood, it was the Lord. Moses was just carrying out the commandment. The Bible shows that God does discriminate. He is God. He can do whatever he wants.

          God changed this later when priests from tribes other than the tribe of Levi were allowed to have the priesthood. Two examples are given: Christ himself, and Melchizedek who would “not be called after the order of Aaron. This shows that God can withhold priesthood from some groups and then change that policy and give the priesthood to them later. God did this in the bible. If the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is false for the priesthood issue then so is God for doing the same thing and the Bible is therefore false.

          The Bible tells us that God can, and did, change the priesthood: “For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.” (Hebrews. 7:11-12). Thus, we see in the Bible that there is variableness in the way the Lord handles Priesthood authority. It’s up to God not Moses, or Joseph Smith or any man. Thus, we see that the God of Mormonism is the same God as the God of the Bible. He acts the same sometimes withholding priesthood from one group and other times granting it according to his will.

          Jesus commanded that the gospel be taken only to the Jews. (Matthew 10:5-6) Later God revealed to Peter that the time had come to take the gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 10) This came by revelation to the man who was the prophet at the time – Peter. It does not come by the will or reasoning of men. This shows that God has his purposes and his time table. It is not revealed why the gospel was denied to the gentiles at first but it was God’s will that it be so.

        • Dwight Rogers

          And now, you mention the thief on the cross that joined Jesus in paradise.

          Jesus said to the thief on the cross “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). But the ancient Bible text actually reads “Today thou shalt be with me in the world of departed spirits.” The usage of the word “paradise” was a choice made by the King James translators. The original Greek word actually means “world of departed spirits.” The word in the original text, which is translated “Today”, literally means “today” or “on this very day.” So we know that this “paradise” to which Jesus and the thief were going to, on that very day, was not heaven, for the waiting period and then the resurrection and final judgment had not yet occurred.

          On the third day, after Christ’s resurrection, he said to Mary: “I have not yet ascended to my Father” (John 20:17). Jesus had not yet gone to where the Father was. And where was the Father? The scriptures contain many references to the fact that the Father was, and is, in heaven. So, we know that Jesus (and the thief) were not in heaven with the Father during the time between Jesus’ death and resurrection. They were in the world of departed spirits or “hades” which the King James translators sometimes rendered as “paradise” and sometimes rendered as “hell.”

          Thus we read that the soul would not remain in hell (Psalms 16:10; Acts 2:25-31). In other words, because of the resurrection provided by Jesus Christ, the spirits of men will not remain forever in hell. or the world of departed spirits (Matt. 27:52-53).

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