General Conference – October 2017 Saturday Afternoon Session, Reviewed by Tony Brown

 

Image result for president russell m nelson 2017

By President Russell M. Nelson

President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

In his conference message, Russell M. Nelson President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, asks the question: The Book of Mormon: What Would Your Life Be Like without It?

He shares his view that,

‘In a most miraculous and singular way, the Book of Mormon teaches us of Jesus Christ and His gospel’.

President Nelson begins his message by recalling a time he met and spoke to an African tribal king. After telling this king that he was “…an ordained Apostle of Jesus Christ” he was asked a question. The king asked, “What can you teach me about Jesus Christ?”

President Nelson goes on to say:

I responded with a question: “May I ask what you already know about Him?” The king’s response revealed he was a serious student of the Bible and one who loved the Lord.

President Nelson continued:

I explained that after the Saviour’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, He came to the people of ancient America, where He taught His gospel. He organized His Church and asked His disciples to keep a record of His ministry among them. That record,” I continued, “is what we know as the Book of Mormon. It is another testament of Jesus Christ. It is a companion scripture to the Holy Bible.

Now here is a thought. If, as President Nelson claimed, this Tribal king was a ‘serious student of the Bible’ and ‘one who loved the Lord’, shouldn’t alarm bells have been going off in his head? If he truly knew his Bible, surely this message brought to him by President Nelson would have at least raised questions. Does the Bible speak of Jesus going to the Americas? Does the Bible say there will be another testament of Jesus Christ, a companion scripture to the Holy Bible? The answer to any student of the Bible would clearly be no.

Yes, the LDS may point you to some Bible verses to show you that the Book of Mormon was a prophesied companion to the Bible, but then they are good at taking verses out of context. The LDS may ask you to turn to Ezekiel 37:15-17 which says:

“The word of the LORD came again to me saying, “And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’ “Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.”

They will tell you that the two sticks that become one stick, mentioned in these verses, are speaking of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. This is eisgesis, that is a reading into the text something that is clearly not there. Contextually and historically, these verses are speaking of a scattered people coming back together. The Northern and the Southern kingdoms will become one, uniting under King David. Nothing whatsoever to do with the Book of Mormon.

President Nelson recalls how he read to the Tribal king from the Book of Mormon. He read to him 3 Nephi chapter 11, ‘the Saviour’s sermon to the Nephites’.

If indeed the king was a lover Scripture, there would have been much familiar to him as the President read 3 Nephi. 3 Nephi is nothing more than a collection of Biblical sayings of Jesus, and thoughts of the Prophet Joseph, put into a different context.

Presenting the Book of Mormon to the king, the President received this response:

“You could have given me diamonds or rubies, but nothing is more precious to me than this additional knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Now if President Nelson had given this Tribal king a Bible and we removed the word ‘additional’, I would have been giving thanks to God, but sadly it was a Book of Mormon and the addition of the word ‘additional’ is troubling.

Is there ‘additional’ knowledge about the Lord Jesus Christ outside of the Bible? And if so, can this ‘additional’ knowledge be verified as authentic? And can this ‘additional’ knowledge be called θεόπνευστος (theopneustos), that is God breathed and inspired?

Questions about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon can be considered here.

Finishing his story about the Tribal king, President Nelson now turns his attention to those before him, asking the questions:

My brothers and sisters, how precious is the Book of Mormon to you? If you were offered diamonds or rubies or the Book of Mormon, which would you choose? Honestly, which is of greater worth to you?

Now, If I had been at the Conference it would have been difficult for me not to jump up at this point and shout ‘diamonds and rubies’. This would not to have been disrespectful to President Nelson or the Conference, but he did ask those hearing to be honest!

The whole tenor of his message was undoubtedly to show that the Book of Mormon is not just a companion to the Bible, but rather that it is superior to the Bible. After all, speaking of the Bible, the Eighth Article of the Mormon faith says:

We believe the Bible to be the word of God. as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon. to be the word of God.

So, it is no surprise that President Nelson reminds the Conference what President Thomas S. Monson said back in April. Monson asked:

each of us to prayerfully study and ponder the

Book of Mormon each day.”

Notice that it is not the Bible, but the Book of Mormon that should be studied and pondered each day. One can understand why this is the message. To study the Book of Mormon keeps you within Mormonism, but to prayerfully study and ponder the Bible each day may lead you out.

Micah

 

Check out the testimony of how this happened to this Mormon Missionary

 

 

President Nelson continues to declare the superiority of the Book of Mormon over the Bible.

“Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about Him and His Beloved Son. Nowhere are those truths taught more clearly and powerfully than in the Book of Mormon.”

This is an interesting statement. He claims that to know more about the Father and the Son one should read the Book of Mormon, for ‘nowhere are those truths taught more clearly and powerfully…’

Yet, the Book of Mormon is pretty much silent on the core doctrines concerning the Father and Son as taught in Mormonism and in some places, it even contradicts current LDS teaching. For example:

Image result for the book of mormonThe Book of Mormon nowhere teaches that the Father is a person with flesh and bones, but rather it says He is spirit (Alma 18:26-29; Alma 22:8-11)

The Book of Mormon nowhere teaches that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are separate gods, “one in purpose” only, but not one in being.

But rather it teaches that there is One God in three persons (Mosiah 15:1-4; Mosiah 16:15; Alma 11:38-40; 3 Nephi 11:27)

The Book of Mormon doesn’t teach that God was once a man on another planet who progressed to become a God. It teaches that God has always been God. (2 Nephi 27:23; 2 Nephi 29:9; Mormon 9:19; Moroni 8:18)

The Book of Mormon also doesn’t teach that God is married and has numerous wives; or that God and his wives procreate spirit children, who live with Him before coming to the earth and receiving a human body to go through mortal probation; neither does it teach that Jesus Christ is the brother of every human being, and is also the brother of Lucifer.

These core teachings of Mormonism, regarding the Father and the Son are nowhere to be found in the Book of Mormon, so let’s revisit President Nelson’s statement:

“Something powerful happens when a child of God seeks to know more about Him and His Beloved Son. Nowhere are those truths taught more clearly and powerfully than in the Book of Mormon.”

Considering what the Book of Mormon doesn’t say, how can President Nelson’s statement be true?

In fact, it is astounding what Mormonism teaches about Heavenly Father and the His Son.

In Mormonism, Mary (the mother of Jesus) is the sister of Jesus, whilst God (Heavenly Father) was the one who came to Mary and had an incestuous relationship with her to produce a human body for her ‘brother’ Jesus. None of this is in the Book of Mormon, and it is certainly not in the Bible – but it is Mormonism.

President Nelson says that over the past six months, after President Monson’s challenge to study the Book of Mormon, he has asked various people the following three questions (my suggested answers are in RED)

First, what would your life be like without the Book of Mormon? BETTER

Second, what would you not know?

I WOULD NOT KNOW THAT I MUST WORK REALLY HARD TO BECOME A GOD

And third, what would you not have?   GUILT

Here are some of the answers that he received from fellow Mormons. Strangely they are different to mine.

 “Without the Book of Mormon, I would be confused about the conflicting teachings and opinions about so many things. I would be just like I was before I found the Church, when I was searching for knowledge, faith, and hope.”

Another said: “I would not know about the role the Holy Ghost can play in my life.”

Another: “I would not clearly understand my purpose here on earth!”

Another respondent said: “I would not know that there is continuing progress after this life. Because of the Book of Mormon, I know that there really is life after death. That is the ultimate goal for which we are working.”

Another respondent to my question said: “I did not have a life until I read the Book of Mormon. Even though I had prayed and gone to my church all my life, the Book of Mormon helped me to really communicate with Heavenly Father for the first time.”

Another said: “Without the Book of Mormon, I wouldn’t understand that the Saviour not only suffered for my sins, but He can heal my pains and sorrows.”

And yet another: “I would not know that we have prophets to lead us.”

Now it is questionable that the Book of Mormon gave the answers to all these questions and the thoughts people had. The Book of Mormon is not an answer book, it is merely the tool used to lead people to Mormonism, and it is here that questions are really answered.

It should be noted that the Bible more than answers all these questions and more. That is because the Bible truly is the Word of God. Of course, the LDS claim that the Book of Mormon is also the Word of God, but the fact that it contradicts both the Bible and Mormon Doctrine, shows that it isn’t. For a closer look at The Bible verses The Book of Mormon look here.

What President Nelson says next is interesting:

Immersing ourselves regularly in the truths of the Book of Mormon can be a life-changing experience. One of our missionary granddaughters, Sister Olivia Nelson, promised an investigator that if he would read the Book of Mormon daily, his test scores on his university exams would improve. He did, and they did.

Did I read that correctly? Is President Nelson suggesting that regular reading of the Book of Mormon will lead to University success? If a LDS fails a test, does a Bishop call him into his office and ask him why he is not reading the Book of Mormon enough?  Does the apparent improvement in test scores prove that the Book of Mormon is true? Is that how we test what is true and from God? Of course not. The Bible tells us that we are to test all things. The way of testing what is being said is to test it against what the Bible teaches. It was for this that the Bereans were commended. (Acts 17:11)

President Nelson then goes on to reiterate the superiority of the Book of Mormon over the Bible because:

‘It expands and clarifies many of the “plain and precious” truths that were lost through centuries of time and numerous translations of the Bible.’

This is often said by LDS but they rarely bring forth any solid evidence to support the assertion that ‘plain and precious’ truths have been lost from the Bible. This is just their way of saying you cannot trust the Bible and therefore the Book of Mormon is superior.

He goes on to hammer home his ‘the Book of Mormon is superior’ point to the gathered faithful:

The Book of Mormon provides the fullest and most authoritative understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to be found anywhere. It teaches what it really means to be born again. From the Book of Mormon we learn about the gathering of scattered Israel. We know why we are here on earth. These and other truths are more powerfully and persuasively taught in the Book of Mormon than in any other book. The full power of the gospel of Jesus Christ is contained in the Book of Mormon. Period.

The Book of Mormon both illuminates the teachings of the Master and exposes the tactics of the adversary. The Book of Mormon teaches true doctrine to dispel false religious traditions—such as the erroneous practice of performing infant baptisms. The Book of Mormon gives purpose to life by urging us to ponder the potential of eternal life and “never-ending happiness.” The Book of Mormon shatters the false beliefs that happiness can be found in wickedness and that individual goodness is all that is required to return to the presence of God. It abolishes forever the false concepts that revelation ended with the Bible and that the heavens are sealed today.

Do you get the feeling that he thinks the Book of Mormon is truly of God?  Sadly, to read The Book of Mormon, then receive a ‘feeling’ that it is true and so to join the LDS Church, may lead you to believe that you have truth, but in reality it doesn’t lead you towards Jesus, rather it leads you away from Him. All that President Nelson attributes to the Book of Mormon, the Christian would attribute to a relationship with Jesus.

President Nelson concludes as all faithful LDS should:

I testify that Joseph Smith was and is the prophet of this last dispensation. It was he who, through the gift and power of God, translated this holy book. This is the book that will help to prepare the world for the Second Coming of the Lord.

I testify that Jesus Christ is the literal and living Son of our living God. He is our Saviour, our Redeemer, our great Exemplar, and our Advocate with the Father. He was the promised Messiah, the mortal Messiah, and will be the millennial Messiah. I testify with my whole soul that in a most miraculous and singular way, the Book of Mormon teaches us of Jesus Christ and His gospel.

Unfortunately, for President Nelson and the LDS, the Bible, the Christian Church and Christian history testifies strongly against that which they believe. As much as they claim to believe in Jesus and to teach His gospel, they sadly do not. They have another Jesus and another gospel. A Jesus and a gospel that is powerless to save.

If you are reading this and you are LDS, I implore you to put down the Book of Mormon and to read the Bible. Compare what it says against what you have been taught as a Mormon and as you do, ask the Holy Spirit to enable to see the ‘real’ Jesus.  I cannot promise you that reading the Bible will improve you test scores at University, but I know these words of Jesus are true:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Matthew 7:7,8

This article was written by Tony Brown, a UK-based evangelist to Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, if you would like to get in touch or have him speak at your church, check out his website here.

 

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