January 2014 Ensign Review, by Vicky Gilpin

ensign-2014-jan

Having read through this months Ensign Magazine I’ve decided to focus my attentions on this one article.

 LATTER-DAY SAINT VOICES

May I Read That Book?

Neil R. Cardon, Utah, USA

 

In this article Cardon tells of a conversation he had whilst on mission, this conversation resulted in the conversion of the man he was speaking with.

“When it was our turn, I asked, “How do you know the United States exists?” I testified of its reality and asked if there was other evidence that proved its existence. He said he had read about it in books and newspapers. I then asked if he believed my testimony and what he had read. He emphatically said he did.

“So we cannot deny the testimonies of those, such as I, from the United States,” I said. “Nor can we deny the testimony of those who have written about it.” The young man agreed.

I then asked, “Based on this premise, can we deny the testimonies of those who have seen God and written of their experience?” I showed him the Bible, telling him that it contained testimonies of men and women who had seen and talked with God and Jesus Christ. I asked if we can deny the testimonies contained in the Bible, and he reluctantly said no.

I then asked, “What would you think of a book written by a people other than those in the Bible who saw the same God as the writers of Bible?” He responded that no such book existed.

We showed him the Book of Mormon and taught him of its purpose. We testified that it was true and that God still communicates through living prophets today.”

 So here’s the logic…

Testimonies prove a thing to be true

The Book of Mormon contains testimonies

Therefore the Book of Mormon is true

 

The thing is though, testimonies don’t prove a thing to be true, ever heard of a false testimony? And there is a question of the number and quality of the witnesses?

This little story suggests that we simply cannot deny a testimony. Now within Mormonism a testimony is an important thing, Members of the Church ‘bear their testimony,” as a display of their faith. Or a Mormon who has been battered into a theological corner might ‘bear their testimony,’ I know the church is true.” Most Christians would respond with, “well how do you know? On what do you base this belief?” But this “knowing,” is something deeply embedded within Mormonism. In fact in order to become a Mormon you must firstly Pray and see “if it is not true,” you must gain this knowing, this burning in the bosom. So to a member of the LDSChurch this question of weather or not you could deny someone’s testimony might receive a different answer.

Moroni 10:4

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

 

 

Lets look at the Questions asked by Cardon.

Could you deny America exists? 

Well given the vast number of testimonies from a vast number of sources, from people from all different ages and backgrounds and media too – no, we cannot deny America exists.

Can we deny the testimony of the people in the bible?

Well again – Within the pages of the bible are found a vast number of testimonies from people of different backgrounds and cultures, from different generations, some, thousands of years apart and some hundreds of miles apart, all agreeing with one another. Not only that there is a great number of Prophecies, in the Bible which were fulfilled. Many of these very detailed prophecies were about the coming messiah, given hundreds of years before he was born.

 

Here are just a few prophecies about Jesus…

 

For example, the Old Testament prophesied that He would be born of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-322:18), of the tribe of Judah (Gen 49:10), and in the lineage of David (2 Samuel 7:12f).Micah 5:2 said that He would be born in Bethlehem, that He’d come while the temple was still standing (Malachi 3:1), that He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14), that He would open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, and cause the lame to walk (Isaiah 35:5-6), that He’d be rejected by His own people (Psalm 118:221 Peter 2:7). The Scriptures foretold the precise time in history when He would die (Daniel 9:24-26), how He would die (Psalm 22:16-18, Isaiah 53;Zechariah 12:10), and that He would rise from the dead (Psalm 16:10Acts 2:27-32).

And we’re not just taking their word for it, even though we could, given the number of testimonies about God the Father and Jesus in the Bible all corroborating one another. We could take their word for it but we don’t have to just rely on their word because of all the Archaeological evidence that has been found, the places mentioned in the Bible that we can see for ourselves today, the people mentioned in the bible who Archaeologists and historians have confirmed existed. And above all else the effect this gospel message has had on society. History is filled with the effects of Christianity exploding on to the scenes.

Nelson Glueck, who appeared on the cover of Time magazine and who is considered one of the greatest archaeologists ever, wrote:
“No archeological discovery has ever controverted [overturned] a Biblical reference. Scores of archeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.” [Nelson Glueck, Rivers in the Desert, p. 31.] 

(For More evidence on the reliability of the Bible check out…

http://www.alwaysbeready.com/  )

 

Finally Cardon testified of another book…

We showed him the Book of Mormon and taught him of its purpose. We testified that it was true and that God still communicates through living prophets today.”

 

Now can the Book of Mormon really compare to the Bible?

I’m afraid not…

We do not have the Book of Mormon plates to confirm their existence

We have no archaeological evidence to confirm the existence of any of the people or places spoken of in the Book of Mormon. not one place, not one coin, not one person has ever positively been identified and confirmed by any outside source. This is why there are no maps in the Book of Mormon.

We have no Archaeological evidence for any of the battles that took place in the Book of Mormon even though, evidence has been found for other historical battles that happened on a much smaller scale.

Additionally, there are numerous anachronisms in the Book of Mormon that archaeology tells us should not be there. In other words, not only isn’t the book supported by archaeology, it is actually contradicted by archaeology.

1 Nephi 2:8 speaks of a river that empties into the Red Sea. No river has ever been found to have emptied into the Red Sea. This demonstrates that the author of the book was not familiar with Middle Eastern geography. If the author of the Book of Mormon was truly from the land of Israel this mistake would not have been made.

2 Nephi 5:15 and several other references speak of the people working with steel. The methods used for producing steel were not discovered until hundreds of years later and were unknown in the America’s until its discovery by the Europeans. This passage is also interesting because this small band of people which may have contained 20 individuals built a temple “like unto Solomon’s”. According to 1 Kings 5:13-18 Solomon employed 30,000 laborers, 70,000 carriers, 80,000 stone cutters and 3,300 foremen, a total of 183,300 workers, to build the temple and it took them approximately seven years to finish the work. But amazingly Nephi builds a similar structure in no time with just his family members.

Enos 1:21 and other references mention horses. However, horses were not introduced on the American continents until the Spanish invasion.

Mosiah 21:27 says that the people possessed plates of ore. Ore is the rock from which metal is extracted. It is not a material from which anything can be made.

Alma 1:29 and other references speak of silk. Once again silk is unknown in the Americas until the coming of Europeans.

2 Nephi 10:3 mentions crucifixion. Crucifixion was developed by the Romans. It was completely unknown on the American continent. The word would have had no meaning to the people hearing it.

This is just a sampling of the many archaeological problems within the Book of Mormon. 

 

DNA Evidence.

This is (or was,) part of the Book of Mormon, introduction…

The book was written by many ancient prophets by the spirit of prophecy and revelation. Their words, written on gold plates, were quoted and abridged by a prophet-historian named Mormon. The record gives an account of the two great civilizations. One came from Jerusalem in 600 B.C., and afterward separated into two nations, known as the Nephites and the Lamanites. The other came much earlier when the Lord confounded the tongues at the Tower of Babel. This group is known as the Jaredites. After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are the principal ancestors of the American Indians

Mitochondrial DNA research has demonstrated that the American Indians are related to the inhabitants of Asia who probably crossed over into this continent across the Bering Strait into Alaska.

In response  to this Evidence the LDS Church has changed the offending verse…

After thousands of years, all were destroyed except the Lamanites, and they are among the ancestors of the American Indian

There are no brackets, or foot notes to explain that this used to say something else, they simply changed it and if your new to the church you would never know it was there.

That leads onto another issue. Changes in the Book of Mormon, yes there are some, in fact many.

 

Some interesting changes…

In the 1981 printing of the “triple combination”  A very important change was made. Previous editions of the Book of Mormon had said that in the last days the Indians “shall be a white and delightsome people.” (2 Nephi 30:6) In the new edition this has been altered to read that the Indians “shall be a pure and delightsome people.”. . .

First Book of Nephi, p.25 (1830): “Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh.”

Today: 1 Nephi 11:18: “…is the mother of the Son of God.” 

 

 First Book of Nephi, p.25 (1830):.”…behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!”

Today: 1 Nephi 11:21: “yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!” 

Book of Alma, p.303; (1830): “yea, I know that he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable,.according to their wills..”Book of Mormon (1950):Alma 29:4:”yea, I know that he allotteth unto men [?].according to their wills.. ”

 

These are not just, spelling mistakes or grammar corrections these changes alter the meaning of the text and these are just a few examples there are many, many more.

So …

“The Book of Mormon is a volume of holy scripture comparable to the Bible.” (The Book of Mormon, Intro,) … Sorry but it just doesn’t stand up to the test.

 

As always I appreciate your feedback

 

8 thoughts on “January 2014 Ensign Review, by Vicky Gilpin”

  1. I just wonder what your problem is? Are you happy that faiths other than Christianity continue to exercise their religion as they please? So why not allow Mormons to do the same. I am a convert (baptised 1963) who is less than convinced with all the facts now available but I am not trying to diminish the faith of those that wish to believe.

    Best wishes

    Roy

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    1. Hi there Roy, very simply we see it as the loving thing to do to share things like this in order for people to see they are in the wrong place.

      Our hope is that we help people in their journey of coming to the true gospel of Christ and to know Him for real, that is why this site focuses more on theological than historical issues.

      Please see some of the tabs above such as ministry media for more info on why we do this.

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  2. Roy,
    I agree with what Bobby said above…would you not warn me of something harmful if you knew that to be the case say a street you saw me driving down that was a one way street, or a road under construction that was unsafe…would you not show concern and care and let me know I was in danger? I hope you see our motive is pure, and that when you combine what you have read so far and think about the claims of Joseph Smith in terms of the need for a restoration since the truth had left the face of the earth when the last apostle died…I hope you will stop and consider the fact that Mormon teaching claims that the Apostle John and three Nephite Apostles Jesus ordained in the Americas have been roaming the earth from the time of the Resurrection of Christ, that being said…the priesthood they hold could not have been removed from the earth. This is a fact about LDS teaching that deserves some contemplation. Mormon teaching says that John was one of the apostles who gave Joseph Smith the Melchizedek Priesthood, so surely the Nephite apostles had it too…if these three continue to roam the earth…there was no need for a restoration. Roy, I pray you look at Jesus alone, not Jesus and a Temple ceremony, or Jesus and a church, I pray you will see that Jesus is enough and that you will simply do what John 1:12, and Acts 16:31, and understand what Titus 3:4-7 is all about. Your friend, Russ East

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  3. “would you not warn me of something harmful if you knew that to be the case say a street you saw me driving down that was a one way street, or a road under construction that was unsafe…would you not show concern and care and let me know I was in danger?”

    This example does not work for comparison of what LDS critics claim they are doing, and.. it.. is.. always used by LDS critics; always..without fail. I see this example on every site critical of LDS.

    LDS critics do not show concern and care (and do not pull some of the other poor analogies used by LDS critics that just do not work.) When someone is in an unsafe area, like in the example of being on a one way street, the person doing the warning usually does not argue with the person who is unsafe, nor does the person doing the warning call the unsafe person names, ridicule what they did, make fun of them, criticize them, dress them down for their stupidity and denseness, and so forth. That is why this is such a poor example and a cop out to use it.

    It all sites critical of LDS really showed concern and care, they would be interested in honest dialogue, they would refrain from being overly critical and refrain from name calling, refrain from making false accusations, quite using mocking tones, quite ridiculing what we believe is sacred.
    Use quotes in context, quite using sources of people who are known to have lied about their credentials (like “Dr.” “Dr.” Martin – and many others like him). Quite using outdated sources and information that has been debunked. Quite perpetrating myths and lies. Quite accusing LDS of twisting Scripture, and understand that every religion and people interprets Scripture differently. Quite dismissing sources LDS use and quite calling those sources hacks, jokes, false, uneducated boobs, and quite assuming they were all educated at BYU (which does not matter if they were). Quite saying LDS can not express their opinions; but yet the critics express their opinions and use it as fact. Quite telling LDS we do not know what we believe. (And when the LDS turn the table on the critics, the critics start howling. The critics can dish it out but can not take it)

    Truly (try) to understand where the LDS are coming from and concede that a lot of LDS beliefs are Biblical and that LDS beliefs have a lot in common with mainstream Christianity. There are many non-LDS scholars that have proven LDS believe in the Biblical Christ, and have shown where LDS theology comes from and what it is related to in the Bible.
    The critics should find common ground from which to have true, genuine, uncritical, dialogue with out being condescending and hypocritical. (An example of hypocrisy: attacking the LDS church for blatant racism, when there are mainstream Christian churches that still practice blatant racism and use the Bible to back it up.)

    And the critics need to quite stabbing in the back their own who do have honest and cordial discourse with the LDS. Quite splitting hairs over one little area of disagreement, quite nit picking a topic to death, quite beating a dead horse, quite throwing out many hateful things at once to distract from your frustration – for example: (and this happens all the time) – “well, ole Jo Smith was a money digger, pedophile, charlatan, liar, racist, married women who were still married, was a Mason, was evil, a drunkard, smoked, etc.; and let us not forget Brigham Young who did those same things.” And so forth to detract from the topic and to detract from what the LDS are saying. And THEN the LDS person gets personally attacked after all this diatribe. Every..single..time. And PLEASE, quite saying the same things over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over……because nothing is being said or accomplished.

    And what is sad about all of this is that critics rationalize their bad, boorish behavior and think it is alright to treat people and their beliefs this way.
    I have on many occasions dared critics to do to Muslims what they do to LDS. So far have not seen it. Too scared because the critics know what will happen. Yes, the critics have a double standard (one of many things they accuse LDS of).

    I have been called a liar, troll, stupid, dense, evil, devil worshiper, fool, coward, and so forth, And in person I have been treated even worse. Really caring stuff here. Riiiiight.

    Thank you for your time.

    Concerning the Priesthood and the Apostle John and the Three Nephites: These four people have different roles to do/play. And they are no longer mortal. So yes, the Priesthood did need to be restored to a mortal, human being, to be taken to other mortal, human beings.

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  4. Have a look at what you are doing Roy .No mention of the Savior,his teachings,his love ,his sacrifice. You are putting so much time, effort,and passion into this mormon rant it is consuming you. I bet you eat breath and live it every day and the ole Devil just sits back and ses well thats got him hooked now no time for Christ he is on his own crusade.The Devil loves contention Roy and you are feeding of it. Just be yourself a Christian

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    1. Hi there Paul,

      Rest assured this is far from all I do bud, but thanks for the concern. Happy to talk about any specific issues raised in this post or others whenever you like. You will find their is much mention of the Saviour throughout this site.

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