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From "Living Hope Ministries"
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Continuation

Another response to Living Hope Ministries
 
Dear Scott at Living Hope Ministries,
 
I have viewed this information on your website:
 
Most Mormons would say "Of course we believe in the Bible!" But they often do not say, and sometimes may not even know, what Mormonism teaches about the Bible:
 
* The Bible is corrupted and unreliable
* Belief in the Bible alone is foolish
* LDS scriptures and revelations supercede the Bible's authority
 
Aside from a few "proof texts" that are frequently used to back up one or another of Mormonism's teachings, many Mormons really are not very familiar with the Bible in its full context, and are not aware of the fundamental, irreconcilable differences between biblical doctrine and Mormon doctrine.
 
I have realized the fallacies in this statement. Many people who read this information that have little knowledge about the LDS church, and may therefore believe this as being blasphemous and asinine. You, my friends, are not putting the information of why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes this.
 
First of all, the Bible has no authority. The bible is just a testament. The book has not tangible power. If you believe it does, pleas point out where you believe it is from. God the Father is the final authority. We trust and worship Him above all. While we love and cherish His word in the Bible, I believe that no single volume can contain all His revelations and instructions for all time and all situations, especially when that volume has been strongly influenced by human hands in selecting, editing, copying, translating, and typesetting those words. We believe that the Book of Mormon also has no authority, but also Another testament of Jesus Christ.
 
The only reason we believe that LDS scripture "supercedes," as you say, the Bible is because we believe that the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God. If you say that we believe that belief in the Bible alone is foolish (though I have never seen such information taught in the LDS church), I would say that it is because we would believe it is a foolish thing to ignore holy scripture like the Book of Mormon.
 
Many people besides the Latter-day Saints acknowledge that the Bible has been corrupted by man over hundreds of years. Many different interpretations of the Bible have been in print for a very long time. Ther is the KJV Bible, the original translation, the RSV Bible, the NIV Bible, the Childrens Bible, the Adults Bible, and many others. Don't you believe that the original word of God is sufficient for all?
 
You will probably bring up the fact that the Book of Mormon has been changed. I would like you to know that these were only grammatical errors, made only by the error of man. I have studied the original print of the Book of Mormon, and the modern print of the Book of Mormon and have come to this conclusion on my own.
 
I know you may bring up parts of speeches by former church leaders, but these were clearly opinions of theirs, as I have studied, and clearly not revelations or prophecies.
 
Being a Mormon for only 3 years I have done much study into the church and its critics. I have met many people who know exactly what the church teaches about the Bible. I believe you are doing a disservice to people who read the information you posted on your website and not having evidence to back up your claims. Also, please show me evidence that everyone in your religion knows every "jot and tittle" of your beliefs. Show me evidence for any religon for that matter. For some, faith is enough evidence of the truthfulness of the gospel.
 
Thank you for reading my information.
I will send you more on the information you have on your website soon.
 
Thank you,
Joseph at themmormons

Response from Living Hope Ministries

Dear Joseph,

Thanks for your input.  Your original charge was that the information was outdated, but I have yet to see you present any compelling evidence that this is the case.  The Bible itself proclaims that it is authoritative.  Now, obviously you have to have some sort of faith that the Bible is what it claims to be in order to accept that.  So if you reject the Bible’s authority as the Word of God, then it doesn’t really matter how good a case you can present for its textual reliability.  We do have an article that deals with the textual reliability of the Bible, which you can view at www.mormonchallenge.com/biblechal.htm that covers some of the more common “charges” against the Bible’s textual history.

 

All the scholarly translations of the Bible, including the modern ones, were translated directly from the original languages, not simply rehashes of one another.  I think if you do a comparitive study on the various versions you’ll find that they say the same thing, that they are not “reinterpretations”.  Part of the problem with the older versions is that a word or phrase that meant one thing 400 years ago means something different today, simply because language itself evolves, which is why we either need to understand the English of 1611 better, or we need to have a translation that takes those linguistic changes into account.

 

While I realize that you yourself may have an opinion on the authority of the Bible or Book of Mormon, I suspect that most Mormons who would disagree that the Book of Mormon is not authoritative.  A testament is a witness.  If the witness is not authoritative, then what good is it?  Why bother?  Doesn’t the 8th Article of Faith declare that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God?  So if your view is correct, then either the Articles of Faith are not authoritative, or God’s Word itself is not considered authoritative.

 

As for the changes in the Book of Mormon, you are mostly correct; the vast majority of the changes were grammatical, punctuation, a few spelling changes, etc.  However, not all were.  There is some theological shift that has taken place from the original to the modern, including references to the virgin Mary going from the “Mother of God” to the “Mother of the Son of God” and changing “Eternal Father” to “Son of the Eternal Father” which reflects a move from a Trinitarian view to the view that is more consistent with Mormon thought today.  Were these simply typographical errors?  If so, they are quite significant ones.

 

As for the quotes from the leaders, I realize there is some debate as to the authority of the Journal of Discourses.  But you need to realize that whether or not they are considered authoritative today, the speaker certainly considered them authoritative as he was speaking.  Brigham Young himself intimated that his sermons, once corrected and printed, were as good as scripture.  The General Authorities today, when they quote from the JOD seem to regard it as authoritative, at least when they are quoting from it.

 

Thank you for sharing your feedback.

 

Regards,

 

Scott

_________________________________

Scott R. Johnson

Producer

Response from someone else at Living Hope Ministries
 
Dear Joseph,
 
Bless you!  You say our "information is outdated and useless in[our] most unsuccessful fight against Mormonism"--but I say you will have to tell that to the multitudes of honest people who have received the information because they wanted to know the truth, and they have asked the REAL Jesus, the Jesus of the Bible, into their lives and have come out of Mormonism and its soul-damning doctrines!
 
What God wants with you is a one-on-one relationship through the Biblical Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, with NO prophet, apostle, bishop, priest, pope, pastor, or any religion in between.  You must be born again [John 3:3]--the spiritual blindness of the false LDS gods of Joseph Smith will be lifted and you will know and be able to see through the deception of Mormonism.
 
We are praying for you.
 
Blaine Hunsaker
 
Response to Mr. Hunsaker at Living Hope Ministries
 
Dear Mr. Hunsaker,
 
Why do you believe that there should be no apostles or prophets? Has it not been said by Jesus Christ himself in the Bible we need prophets?
 
Ephesians 4:11-14
11 And he (Jesus) gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
 
Mr. Hunsaker, I have been born again! By water and of the spirit! Who are you to judge? Judge not that ye be not judged! (Matthew 7:1) Not to condemn your church, but multitudes of honest people don't make a religion right! There are multitudes of honest people in Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and, dare I say, Wicca! Do you believe they are right? "strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."(Matthew 7:14)
 
I would ask you to review my reasons for having my faith before you condemn me to damnation. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (Luke 6:37)

I thank you for your concern, but I see nothing on your website that convinces me otherwise of my faith. I have done the research on my own and have come to my own conclusions without the LDS church. I believe they are right, and misinterpreted by you and others.
 
Once again, Thank you for your concern
Joseph at Themmormons

Response to Living Hope Ministries
 
Dear Scott,
 
Thank you for your reply! Here is my response:

Thanks for your input.  Your original charge was that the information was outdated, but I have yet to see you present any compelling evidence that this is the case.  The Bible itself proclaims that it is authoritative.  Now, obviously you have to have some sort of faith that the Bible is what it claims to be in order to accept that.  So if you reject the Bible’s authority as the Word of God, then it doesn’t really matter how good a case you can present for its textual reliability.  We do have an article that deals with the textual reliability of the Bible, which you can view at www.mormonchallenge.com/biblechal.htm that covers some of the more common “charges” against the Bible’s textual history.
 
I believe that the Bible itself is not authorative, but the God it teaches of is authorative, and the teachings of God and Christ the Bible teaches of are authorative. One does not simply have to read the word of God to hear know that it is authorative (Acts 13:46). I percieve that you misunderstood me because of my lack of explanation.
 
Mormons are not the only ones who believe that it is not the Bible itself that is authoritative, but that the word of God is. Read this statement made by Floyd V. Filson, a protestant scholar (F.V. Filson, Which books belong in the Bible, pp 20-21):
 
If it will not seem too facetious, I would like to put in a good word for God. It is God and not the Bible who is the central fact for the Christian. When we speak of "the Word of God" we use a phrase which, properly used, may apply to the Bible, but it has a deeper primary meaning. It is God who speaks to man. But he does not do so only through the Bible. He speaks through prophets and apostles. He speaks through specific events. And while his unique message to the Church finds its central record and written expression in the Bible, this very reference to the Bible reminds us that Christ is the Word of God in a living, personal way which surpasses what we have even in this unique book. Even the Bible proves to be the Word of God only when the Holy Spirit working within us attests the truth and divine authority of what the Scripture says. Faith must not give to the aids that God provides the reverence and attention that Belong only to God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hope is in God; our life is in Christ; our power is in the Spirit. The Bible speaks to us of the divine center of all life and help and power, but it is not the center. The Christian teaching about the canon must not deify the Scripture.
 
All the scholarly translations of the Bible, including the modern ones, were translated directly from the original languages, not simply rehashes of one another.  I think if you do a comparitive study on the various versions you’ll find that they say the same thing, that they are not “reinterpretations”.  Part of the problem with the older versions is that a word or phrase that meant one thing 400 years ago means something different today, simply because language itself evolves, which is why we either need to understand the English of 1611 better, or we need to have a translation that takes those linguistic changes into account.
 
Once again, a misunderstanding. I realize that you believe they mean the same thing. Interpretation is everything. Let me show you a comparison:
 
Job 19:23-29 King James Version Bible
23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me.
28. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?
29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.
 
Job 19:23-29 New English Bible
23 O that my words might be inscribed, O that they might be engraved in an inscription,
24 cut with an iron tool and filled with lead to be a witness in hard rock!
25 But in my heart I know that my vindicator lives and that he will rise last to speak in court;
26 and I shall discern my witness standing at my side and see my defending counsel, even God himself,
27 whom I shall see with my own eyes, I myself and no other.
28 My heart failed me when you said, 'What a train of disaster he has brought on himself! The root of the trouble lies in him.'
29 Beware of the sword that points at you, the sword that sweeps away all iniquity; then you will know that there is a judge.
 
Job 19:23-29 Jerusalem Bible
23 Ah, would that these words of mine were written down, inscribed on some monument
24 with iron chisel and engraving tool, cut into the rock for ever.
25 This I know: that my Avenger lives, and he, the Last, will take his stand on earth.
26 After my awaking, he will set me close to him, and from my flesh I shall look on God.
27 He whom I shall see will take my part: these eyes will gaze on him and find him not aloof. My heart within me sinks . . .
28 You, then, that mutter, "How shall we track him down, what pretext shall we find against him?"
29 may well fear the sword on your own account. There is an anger stirred to flame by evil deeds; you will learn that there is indeed a judgment.
 
Surely you cannot dismiss the completely different interpretations anyone can conclude fromt these different changes?
 
Lets here a quote from Alister F. McGrath, Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, in In the Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How it Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture (New York: Doubleday, 2001, pp. 213-214):
The early printings of the King James Bible included many errors. Many of these arose from weaknesses in the book production processes of the period. Proofing was often a haphazard business. From what we know of the book production methods of this period, it seems that the greatest effort was put into the process of typesetting. . . . Most printers had only or two presses at their disposal, and were reluctant to waste too much time by checking for typographical errors. It seems that the first printed sheet to be "pulled" from the press was checked for such errors, while printing continued.
Contemporary sources suggest that a "reading-boy" would then read the proof copy aloud to the compositor, who would check it against the original copy. Errors could arise in all kinds of ways - such as homophones (words that are pronounced identically, yet have different meanings and are spelled differently - such as "there" and "their"). It is thus little cause for surprise that Bibles should contain at least some errors, despite the best standards of the day being employed in an attempt to eliminate them.
A further factor contributing to the large number of errors in English Bibles was the constant pressure to reduce their production costs. . . .
 
What of Revelation 22:18-19
18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
 
Even if one could arise an argument that Revelation 22:18-19 were irrelevant because of the possible errors spoken of, isn't this the translation all of the "new" Bibles came from?
Though Johns words may be talking about the book of Revelation, it is still clear that the words have been changed, added to, and some taken away in almost all of the new Bibles. Surely you cannot say without lie that they haven't?
 
While I realize that you yourself may have an opinion on the authority of the Bible or Book of Mormon, I suspect that most Mormons who would disagree that the Book of Mormon is not authoritative.  A testament is a witness.  If the witness is not authoritative, then what good is it?  Why bother?  Doesn’t the 8th Article of Faith declare that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God?  So if your view is correct, then either the Articles of Faith are not authoritative, or God’s Word itself is not considered authoritative.
 
Once again, I believe that the Book of Mormon itself is not authorative, but the God it teaches of is authorative, and the teachings of God and Christ that the Book of Mormons teaches of are authorative. I also believe that the Bible does not contain the full authoritative word of God. The Bible itself never implies that it's canon is complete.
 
John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.
 
Notice the word "should." The Bible is clearly incomplete. I hope you yourself would notice this, even so as it is said in the Bible!:
 
  • The book of the covenant, through which Moses instructed Israel (Exodus 24:7).
  • The book of the wars of the Lord (Numbers 21:14).
  • The book of Jasher (Joshua 10:13; 2 Samuel 1:18).
  • The book of the manner of the kingdom (1 Samuel 10:25).
  • Possible books containing three thousand proverbs, a thousand and five songs, a treatise on natural history by Solomon (1 Kings 4:32,33).
  • The acts or annals of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41).
  • The book of Gad the Seer (1 Chronicles 29:29).
  • The book of Nathan the prophet (1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 9:29).
  • The prophecy of Ahijah, the Shilonite (2 Chronicles 9:29).
  • The visions of Iddo the Seer (2 Chronicles 9:29).
  • The book of Shemaiah the prophet (2 Chronicles 12:15).
  • The story of the prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22).
  • The book of Jehu (2 Chronicles 20:34).
  • The Acts of Uzziah, by Isaiah, the son of Amoz (2 Chronicles 26:22)
  • Sayings of the Seers (2 Chronicles 33:19)
 
As for the changes in the Book of Mormon, you are mostly correct; the vast majority of the changes were grammatical, punctuation, a few spelling changes, etc.  However, not all were.  There is some theological shift that has taken place from the original to the modern, including references to the virgin Mary going from the “Mother of God” to the “Mother of the Son of God” and changing “Eternal Father” to “Son of the Eternal Father” which reflects a move from a Trinitarian view to the view that is more consistent with Mormon thought today.  Were these simply typographical errors?  If so, they are quite significant ones.
 
The condescension of God the Son consists in the coming to earth of the great Jehovah, the Lord God Omnipotent, the God of the ancients. The 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon contains the following words from the angel to Nephi: "Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh" (1 Nephi 11:18; bold & italics added). The angel later said unto Nephi regarding the vision of the Christ child, "Behold the Lamb of God, yea, the Eternal Father!" (1 Nephi 11:21; bold & italics added; compare 1 Nephi 13:40, 1830 edition). Later in the same vision of the ministry of Christ, the angel spoke, saying, "Look! And I looked," Nephi added, "and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the everlasting God was judged of the world; and I saw and bear record" (1 Nephi 11:32; italics added). In the 1837 edition of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith the Prophet changed these verses to read "the mother of the Son of God," "the Son of the Eternal Father," and "the Son of the everlasting God," respectively (bold & italics added). It would appear that the Prophet made these textual alterations to assist the Latter-day Saints in fully understanding the meaning of the expressions.
 
It may also be that Joseph Smith altered these verses to make certain that no reader - member or nonmember - would confuse the Latter-day Saint understanding of the Father and the Son with that of other Christian denominations, particularly the Roman Catholic Church.
 
Many critics have tried to say that Joseph originally believed in the Trinitarian concept of God when he wrote the Book of Mormon, but later changed his mind and changed the text to indicate that God and the Son of God are distinct persons. This argument is without foundation. The original manuscript and every printed version of the Book of Mormon makes it clear in multiple places that Christ and God are distinct beings (e.g., 2 Nephi 25 and 2 Nephi 31). Even in the very chapter where Joseph Smith made the changes, the Original Manuscript and the present Book of Mormon speak of the Messiah as the Son of God, for verse 24 of 1 Nephi 11 reads: "And I looked, and I beheld the Son of God going forth among the children of men; and I saw many fall down at his feet and worship him." This is consistent with the alterations made by Joseph. There is no change in meaning, only a helpful clarification for readers.
 
 
As for the quotes from the leaders, I realize there is some debate as to the authority of the Journal of Discourses.  But you need to realize that whether or not they are considered authoritative today, the speaker certainly considered them authoritative as he was speaking. Brigham Young himself intimated that his sermons, once corrected and printed, were as good as scripture.  The General Authorities today, when they quote from the JOD seem to regard it as authoritative, at least when they are quoting from it.
 
The LDS church never claims that members or those in authority are without error. It is quite possible that someone in any kind of power be it priesthood (Brigham Young), or governmental (Saddam Hussein for example) would become "big headed" at least a few times. This is the result of human error, and that is why the church does not conclude it as authoritative.
 
The Bible clearly teaches that true prophets of God are nevertheless imperfect. The Apostle Paul, for example, wrote of his weakness and admitted that he still struggled with sin (Romans 7:18-20). Moses, one of the greatest prophets of all, also was not without weakness and sin. A sin committed apparently in pride and disbelief kept him from being allowed to enter the promised land - as a punishment from God. (See Numbers 20:10-12. Moses did not accurately follow the instructions of the Lord in performing a miracle and seems to have presumptuously taken credit for it.) Not every act of Moses was perfect, nor was his reputation flawless. In fact, his detractors could point out that he began as a "killer," for he killed an Egyptian, although it was in the process of defending someone else who was being attacked. His brother, Aaron, called of God to serve as a mouthpiece for Moses, also sinned terribly in making a golden calf. He repented, but he did sin. Jonah, again, is an example of an imperfect prophet, who yet was called of God and divinely inspired. David spoke and wrote scripture, yet later committed awful sins - including adultery and murder. Solomon also was guilty of ugly deeds. In the New Testament, we find contention between Paul and Barnabas and between Paul and Peter. Paul also seemed to suffer from the problem of prejudice, for his opinion of people from Crete, given in Titus 1:12-13.
 
I would like to thank you for you consideration in reviewing my input! It shows that you are open minded, a quality seldom found in todays world!
 
Thank you,
Joseph at Themmormons

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