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What Is the LDS Standard For Discerning Between Spirits?

October 26, 2008

I have recently been in conversation with some LDS bloggers on the topic of modern revelation. One of the bloggers expressed concern when I brought up the issue of demonic spirits having the ability to masquerade as deity or angels of light. He pointed out that if this were true how could anyone be sure that their personal revelations were of God?

He expressed precisely the concern that evangelicals have regarding the place of revelation in LDS theology. The contention of evangelicals has consistently been that modern revelation should not be exactly backwards from previous revelation. If it is, we believe it is coming from another source since the Bible warns us not to receive “another gospel” or “another Jesus” (Gal. 1:6-9, II Cor. 11:3) and we are told that Satan will try to counterfeit the true.

“Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Joseph Smith knew about revelations from another source. When a prophecy he made didn’t come true, he returned to his seer stone to seek another revelation and was told “Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil” (David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, chapter 4). I happen to agree with this revelation (whatever source it came from) because it lines up with what we are taught in the Bible which is my standard for discerning truth from error / God from Satan.

The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

For this reason, I don’t rely on feelings for a standard of discerning truth since my heart can deceive me. I trust Christ’s promise that He would preserve His words and I take His example that He never questioned the reliability of the OT scriptures when He was on earth, but He treated them as true, factual history and authoritative. Some LDS have told me that they use the Bible for their standard or that they don’t see a contradiction between the Bible and modern revelations so I will list a few examples of what I am talking about here and hopefully get some responses from LDS on how they reconcile what appear to me as diametrically opposed theology.

For example, the Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9)

BoM: “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23)

The Bible: “And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

BoM: “Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you…” (Moroni 10:32)

The Bible: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

BoM: “And I say unto you again that he cannot save them in their sins; for I cannot deny his word, and he hath said that no unclean thing can inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore, how can ye be saved, except ye inherit the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, ye cannot be saved in your sins” (Alma 11:37)

The Bible: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:5)

Apostle Spencer Kimball: “However good a person’s works, he could not be saved had Jesus not died for his and everyone else’s sins. And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel” (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 207).

What are the “works of the gospel” according to Jesus?

“Then they said unto Him, ‘What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?’ Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent’” (John 6:29)

***Note: Before someone responds with James 2, I am not saying we can claim to have faith and then not manifest the works that should accompany true faith. James was written to address this specific problem as people were claiming the name of Christ, but in their works they denied Him.

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2008 12:55 pm

    Okay. For the first part of this post, you might ask yourself why you trust Christ’s promise. Why do we believe any religious claims? There are a lot of religions to choose from. And there are many who would say that any religious beliefs are irrational. So why believe anything?

    Ultimately all of us need to follow the spirit. The Bible speaks of the spirit of truth, and the fruits of the spirit. So why do you believe anything? Why do you believe Christ?

    In the second part of your post you launch into typical grace vs. works debate. This is a debate that has been waged within traditional Christianity for hundreds of years. Your general question is how do we reconcile what you forward as contradictions. If you were fair, I believe you could show that the Bible contradicts itself just a you show apparent contradictions from the BoM.

    When one speaks of works, they can mean different things. It can refer to obedience to commandments, things like baptism, repentance, and charitable acts. Does the Bible speak of these things? Of course it does. Here are some lists:

    Obedience

    Baptism

    Repentance

    Charity

    So it baffles me that one would criticize a religion for teaching its members to do these things. If Satan were to appear as an angle of light is he more likely to teach people to obey the commandments, repent, be baptized, and be charitable?

    Or is he more likely to say don’t worry about commandments and being charitable, you are incapable of doing anything good anyway so don’t bother. Just keep on sinning and everything will be fine.

    One point that is often missed is that Mormonism teaches salvation by degree. So when scriptures say we are saved by grace this is refering to basic salvation – being saved from death and hell. This is a gift of grace. But in order to receive a fullness of salvation we must live the gospel Jesus taught.

    Sorry to be a bother again.

  2. October 27, 2008 12:57 pm

    I am not sure why the last two links didn’t work.

    Charity

    Repentance

  3. thrillmysoul permalink
    October 28, 2008 4:35 am

    I believe the current LDS standard for discerning between angels of light and good and evil spirits is the “hand-shake” test. Joseph Smith knew that Satan is able to appear as an angel of light.
    D&C 129:1-9 says “When when a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.”
    According to D&C 129, if the messenger is the devil appearing as an angel of light, he will accept the offer to shake hands, but when he presents his hand, the person shaking it will not feel anything because the devil has no tangible body.

    One thing to note about the “hand-shake” test is that Joseph Smith did not shake hands with either of the personages who appeared to him at the first vision. I discussed this once with an LDS missionary, who admitted that Joseph, by his own standards, could have been deceived by these messengers since he did not test them…

  4. October 28, 2008 11:03 am

    thrill:

    As you read the teachings of Joseph Smith more closely, you will see that ‘content’ is the more sure test.

  5. dboan permalink
    October 28, 2008 4:15 pm

    Eric,

    Are you suggesting that D&C is wrong? That the handshake test is not a valid way to test spirits?

    I agree with your suggestion that the “content’ is a correct test but is it a “more correct” test than the one layed out in D&C? If so, where do you find this assertion in your scriptures?

    And the most important questions, what standard do you compare the content that the spirit is giving you against in order to determine if the spirit is true?

    Darrell

  6. October 28, 2008 6:08 pm

    Eric,

    You mention that it seems incredible to think that Satan would teach people to observe the commandments. The Bible describes him as subtle and crafty. I think he tries to work through all religious systems to weave error in with the truth. If he can get people to believe that they can be saved by following the commandments or that following the commandments somehow helps them obtain salvation, then, yes, I believe he would attempt that strategy. And if he can slip in just enough of the Bible so that heretical doctrines on the nature of God appear “Christian,” but not enough that the words of living prophets are ever measured against the Bible, then, yes, I think he would definitely attempt this strategy.

    Evangelical churches are not exempt from false doctrines either. Satan and his cohorts are working very hard everywhere to twist the scriptures and try to get people to believe lies. The difference in evangelical circles is that we do have a standard which does not have as many contradictory doctrines as you seem to imply. Sure, there are many things that are difficult to understand and we do not yet see fully, but we can continue to seek the Holy Spirit’s illumination to guide us into a knowledge of God through His Word.

    My question in this post is how do LDS members discern the truth from lies in their church? Was Brigham Young wrong to teach that blacks could not be in the priesthood? Was Joseph Smith wrong to teach that God is an exalted man and one of many gods? What about the difference in doctrine on the nature of God when you compare the Book of Mormon to later revelations? Did Smith’s view on God radically change over time and, if so, how do we know which of his revelations were true and which were false?

  7. October 28, 2008 6:47 pm

    Darrel:

    No, I am not suggesting that the D&C is wrong, and thrill is right to bring it up. It is in the scriptures and JS taught it. (But I do think it is a tad goofy).

    I disagree with a part of the original post, in that our feelings (through the spirit) are the most important test. There are a host of scriptures in John (chapters 13 and 14) that give reference to the spirit of truth.

    “Did not our herats burn within us” were what two individuals asked when they conversed with Christ after the resurection. The realized that they should have known it was Christ based on how they felt when he was around.

    This answers Jessica’s questions as well. Each individual is able to feel truth from error. D&C 9:8-9 point the best way in my opinion.

  8. Darrell permalink
    October 28, 2008 7:18 pm

    Eric,

    So let me make sure I understand what you are asserting… you are saying that the ultimate way to determine if something is “true” or if a spirit is sent from God and not satan is by how they make you feel… ie. the burning in the bosom.

    Is that the standard you use for determining truth?

    Darrell

  9. hokiefan33 permalink
    October 28, 2008 7:26 pm

    Darrell,

    That’s the standard I was given by 2 LDS missionaries on bikes last Friday. I would hope the LDS missionaries have it right, so if Eric says that is not the standard, we have some problems…

  10. October 28, 2008 9:10 pm

    I feel like leaving the Luke reference as a link.

    here

    And it really doesn’t matter much what I think.

    And for Derrell, yes that is about right. I have always felt there was a God. I feel no real need to explain or prove it, I just feel He is real. Experiences with repentance make me feel that Christ is really the savior and has power to forgive sins. So I feel Christ really is the son of God and the savior. These form the foundation of all my religious belief. And they are based on how I feel. That’s it.

  11. Darrell permalink
    October 28, 2008 9:29 pm

    Eric,

    Is this what you base your belief that the LDS Church is true upon… the feeling of the burning in the bosom?

    Darrell

  12. October 28, 2008 11:48 pm

    Eric,

    When I get a really, really, really bad feeling thinking of what Joseph Smith taught that the Mormon god is one of many polygamous gods who are spawning millions of spirit babies with their goddess wives, whose feeling is right? That’s the problem with feelings. They are subjective and vary depending on each person’s own experiences, biases, intellect, and emotional health. I submit, though, that my feeling accords more with the revelation in God’s Word, the Bible, which is my standard for discerning truth from error.

    In the context of your Luke passage, prior to their hearts burning, Jesus, the Living Word, in person, had opened for them the written Word of God and taught them about Himself through the Old Testament (Luke 24:25-27). So their internal burning was in response to the truth of the revealed written Word of God in combination with the Living Word Himself.

    “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32)

    Here are some scriptures from the living Word (Heb. 4:12) that accord with my personal revelations of the one true God of the Bible:

    Deut. 4:35

    I Kings 8:60

    Isaiah 43:10

    Deut. 13:1-5

    In consideration of these and many other verses, I can understand why Joseph Smith said (1843) “There are many things in the Bible which do not, as they now stand, accord with the revelations of the Holy Ghost to me.”

  13. October 29, 2008 5:02 am

    Eric,

    You wrote the following to me in your post above:

    “thrill:

    As you read the teachings of Joseph Smith more closely, you will see that ‘content’ is the more sure test.”

    I am unfamiliar with the concept of a ‘content’ test within the LDS church. When you have time, wold you unpack exactly what you mean for me?

    I would be particularly interested in knowing how you would apply the ‘content’ test to the first vision, and how Joseph Smith would have applied the ‘content’ test to the message as he received it during the first vision. Keep in mind that the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Pearl of Great Price were not available to Joseph at the time of the first vision. He would have had only the Bible as scripture to aid in his ‘content’ test.
    In your estimation, would the message of the first vision pass a ‘content’ test if, like Joseph, you had only the Bible to test the message with?

    For your convenience, I would like to paste the whole of the message delivered by the personages to Joseph Smith during the first vision, as it now appears in the Pearl of Great Price (see Joseph Smith History, Chapter 1:19-20):

    “I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
    He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me, which I cannot write at this time.”

    …Oh, and thank you for sharing your thoughts, I understand that it is not easy to do when it seems sometimes that no one else is on your side. I appreciate your efforts.

  14. Berean permalink
    October 29, 2008 5:44 am

    Since we are talking about the subject of revelation, Joseph Smith, Doctrine & Covenants, Satan appearing as an angel of light or influencing the revelations of a so-called prophet of the Lord, etc., I thought it would appropriate to lump them all together into one category in a very relevant way: the Second Advent of Christ. The Mormon Church claims to have a modern day prophet and the Church boasts in having modern day revelation since the living oracles (modern day prophets) take presidence over the written scriptures. One sure way to test whether one is a prophet or not is to test the revelations they gave and see if it measures up to the test that God gave man to test a so-called prophet.

    One of the most sought after questions among believers and otherwise revolves around when Christ will return. Many abstract religions and cults have made the dreadful mistake of predicting the return of Christ. The most notorious for making this mistake are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After their last blunder in setting the date for 1975 in which they lost many members when the prophecy didn’t happen, the Watchtower organization is now more hesitant in making that assertion. Just making that prediction or statement even once forever rules out that so-called religion being credible and the leader of that religion (prophet) should be ignored from that point on.

    What does this have to do with Mormonism? This issue of the Second Advent is a biggie with the Mormons. It may not be now, but it was in the past and it especially was with Joseph Smith. It was so important to him that he brought the subject up in the D&C and in other LDS historical writing.

    In D&C 130:14-17 Joseph Smith is supposedly given revelation as to the return of Christ because he was “praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man.” Joseph was asking for information taht even Jesus didn’t know at that time in His earthly ministry (Matthew 24:36). In D&C 130:14 Joseph “heard a voice”. The identity of that “voice” is never identified which is suspicious (see 1 John 4:1). We read in D&C 130:15 that this “voice” tells Joseph that “IF thou livest until thou are eighty-five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man”. If Joseph Smith would have been knowledgeable of Bible texts such as:

    1 John 4:1
    1 Thes 5:21
    Acts 17:10-11
    Matthew 24:36
    Deut 18:22

    then he wouldn’t have made the “rookie prophet” mistake not only once, but twice, of getting involved in this Satanic trap of planning out the return of Christ. In D&C 130:17 Joseph Smith tells us that “the coming of the Son of Man will not be any sooner than that time.” How does he know that? Jesus could have returned an hour after Joseph Smith wrote that. Christ is not bound by what Joseph Smith says. By Joseph Smith saying that he indirectly was date setting – not saying when Christ would return, but that Christ was going to hold off until Joseph Smith was at least 85 years old.

    The details of D&C 130:14-17 are very specific numbers and definitely conflict with Matthew 24:36. The “IF” in D&C 130:15 is puzzling because it paints the Mormon god as being unsure how long Joseph Smith would live. Almighty God knows how long we all are going to live and wouldn’t engage in this type of dialogue or give half-answers because He never did in the Old or the New Testament. What D&C 130 doesn’t rule out are all those Mormons who would live should Joseph Smith not make it to his 85th birthday. All Mormons would have to have done back then was add up when Joseph Smith would have turned 85 and then stand outside and expect the Savior to return based on what Joseph Smith said. Since Joseph Smith didn’t make it to his 85th, that doesn’t mean all the Mormons would die with Joseph Smith and not be around later at that time.

    This revelation in D&C 130 was written in April 1843 when Joseph Smith was 37 years old. Let’s do some math: 85 years old subtract 37 (present age) leaves 48 years remaining. Add 48 years to 1843 and we have the year 1891. What is significant about this year?

    Joseph Smith gave a similar revelation in Kirtland, Ohio on February 14, 1835 “because God commanded it, and it was made known to him by vision and by the Holy Spirit.” He stated that Christ would return in 56 years (History of the Church, Vol.2, page 182). Add 56 years to 1835. What do you get? Lo and behold – it’s 1891 – the same year as the 1843 revelation! The D&C 130 revelation matches the one in 1835. They were both wrong. Look again at the source of Joseph Smith’s information in the 1835 revelation: it was by vision and by the Holy Spirit; God commanded it. That is a very powerful statement. There is no guessing here who the “voice” is in this revelation compared to the one in D&C 130. Again, if Joseph Smith would have looked at his Bible he would have known that this contradicts what God had already revealed and therefore this “revelation” couldn’t be from Almighty God, but rather a false spirit.

    Deut 18:22 says that Joseph Smith is a false prophet completely just on this fact alone not to mention him contradicting scripture in Matthew 24:36. The LDS Manual “Preparing for Exaltation” states on page 85:

    “God will never give personal revelation that contradicts what has already been revealed in scriptures.”

    Other Mormon scriptures don’t make it any easier on Joseph Smith either when it comes to falsep prophecies when speaking supposedly as a prophet of the Lord. D&C 1:37 says that prophecies and promises shall all be fulfilled. D&C 1:38 says that “my word…shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, IT IS THE SAME.” God’s purposes, works and designs must come to pass (D&C 3:1). “The mouths of the prophets shall not fail” (D&C 58:8). Both in Mormonism and Christianity Joseph Smith is condemned for these false statements/prophecies.

    All this talk about the need for a prophet today has me wondering why the Mormon god has quit speaking to his people. Joseph Smith wrote 133 “revelations” out of 138 from the D&C. The Mormon god did a lot of talking when Joseph Smith was around, but seems to have become strikingly silent the last 90 years. Sections 134 & 137 were written prior to Joseph Smith’s death. Section 135 is a history recap of Joseph Smith’s death. The only two revelations since Joseph’s death were D&C 136 (written by Brigham Yound in 1847) and D&C 138 which was written in 1918. D&C 138 wasn’t offically added to the D&C standard works until 1976!

    Throughout D&C we read about the Mormon god who can’t stop talking at times giving intricate instructions and details to Mormons. For example:

    1. Newel Whitney gets to keep his country store (D&C 68:42).
    2. Robert Foster is to build Joseph Smith a home (D&C 124:115).
    3. Martin Harris is told what to do with his money (D&C 104:26)

    This list could go on and on. With everything that has taken place in the world especially involving Mormons and with all the prophets since 1918, why has the Mormon god grown silent after Joseph Smith died? It’s been 90 years since anything was added to the D&C. Why is that? Are modern day prophets not bold enough to put it out there and instead just add a declaration or a proclamation?

    Mormons will cite that the prophet gives revelation every six months at General Conference? Is that right? What did Thomas Monson reveal this past conference or in the one in May that was new revelation? Were Mormons warned about the financial crisis that was going to hit America recently? Mormons often confuse a good “talk” or sermon with revelation. A speaker can give a good talk, but that doesn’t mean it’s revelation. I read all the conference talks. Why are modern day prophets either referring to already written scriptures or just giving uplifting messages that are very general in nature? I haven’t read any new revelation from any conference. Why isn’t the Mormon god talkingt today like he did back in Joseph Smith’s time? Why isn’t he talking giving specific instructions to individuals like he gave to Joseph Smith for church members? With as big as the LDS Church is today, one would think that the Mormon god would have something to say to his people and there would be new sections to the D&C since the last one of 1918. Maybe modern day prophets are not worthy enough to hear from the Lord or have become corrupt with some of their teachings and temple practices? Maybe the Mormon god is not happy with the Utah Church for abolishing the command of D&C 132 to be involved in plural marriage like Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, Lorenzo Snow and Joseph F. Smith? Is it possible that Wilford Woodruff heard from a false spirit within Mormonism to abolish plural marriage when the Mormon god really wanted it to continue since it was commanded to obey the principle or be damned (D&C 132:1-5)? If one studies the D&C it becomes very apparent that some drastic events took place after D&C 132 was written. It was downhill from there. Anyway, it’s something for the Mormon faithful to think about.

    If Mormonism is all about further revelation, then where is the revelation? When is the prophet going to speak? The Mormon god was silent through the Civil War, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Spanish American War, World War 1, The Great Depression, World War 2, the Korean War, the assassination of JFK and Martin Luther King, Vietnam, Iran Embassy hostage crisis, assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, Grenada and Panama conflict, Gulf War 1, President Clinton’s infidelity disaster, 9/11, the Iraq War, the financial crisis of 2008 and on and on. All of these events affected Mormons personally and the Mormon god had nothing to say to his faithful through his prophet other than let the blacks into the priesthood in 1978 because of the PR disaster in Sao Paulo, Brazil with mixed marriages and the Mulatto’s wanting to come to the temple?

    The Mormon god could talk about Newel Whitney’s country store (D&C 68:42-43), but had nothing to say to the Mormon faithful on 9/11? What about Amos 3:7? Why weren’t the Mormons or the world warned by Prophet Gordon Hinckley? Why weren’t Mormons warned and counseled about any of the events that took place since the 1840′s by prophets other than Joseph Smith?

    There was a lot of build-up in making the Kirtland Temple a reality. Revelations were given and D&C 109 is a long-winded prayer given at the dedication of it. Supposedly, marvelous events took place there. Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared there. (If Jesus showed up at the Kirtland Temple and Joseph Smith saw Him, how does that coincide with D&C 130:15 when it wouldn’t be until Joseph Smith was 85 years old before he saw the face of the Son of Man? Something else for the Mormons to consider). Anyway, after all this took place it wasn’t even two years before the Mormons abandoned Ohio and Kirtland Temple and were in Missouri. In 1874 the Community of Christ (formerly the RLDS) offically took over the Kirtland Temple and own it today.

    D&C 84 is another false prophecy since there is no temple at Temple Lot which is owned by the Church of Christ (Temple Lot – “Hedrickites”). They have stated that they will never sell the property or give the LDS Church in Utah anything. They have nothing but disdain for the Utah Church since they see them as corrupt. Mormons talk a lot about the different Christian denominations, but yet the Mormons have their own splinter groups to deal with and it’s not a pleasant environment. Anyway, the only temple in Missouri is in St. Louis. The LDS Church as a visitor’s center at Temple Lot – a far cry from a temple.

    There are many other revelations in the D&C that were false prophecies. This isn’t Almight God talking there. The Bible says in Jude 3 that “the faith” has “once been delivered”. The gospel message in the Bible is complete. The faith is complete and it’s already been given to the world in the Bible. Christians aren’t down on revelation. I certainly am not either. I am not about to limit an all powerful God by telling Him what He can and cannot do. He can do whatever He wants. There are some things that God cannot do. He cannot lie (Heb 6:18). He is going to tell me the straight story from the beginning. He is also not going to contradict His already revealed word. When a so-called revelation today is given that contradicts with past revelation, then we know that it is not from God. Christians are all about revelation. There are prophecies and revelations in the Old Testament and the New Testament that haven’t come to pass yet. Why do we need “another testament” (Mormon scriptures) when revelation in the Bible is still waiting to come to pass? Mormonis has nothing to offer but a false god, a false spirit, a false savior and a false gospel that is contradictory to the already revealed Word, Savior, God and Spirit in the Bible. In the D&C it’s the Mormon god talking to Joseph Smith, and now, the Mormon god saying nothing to LDS prophets today. Listen to the God of the Bible – not the god of Temple Square, Utah.

    When you stand before God one day you won’t be able to blame it on Joseph Smith because you were spiritually deceived. The source of that deception is the “angel of light” that you have been warned about in 2 Corinthians 11:14.

  15. October 29, 2008 6:17 am

    Wow Berean….

    You lost me.

    General rule for posting comments: keep it simple.

    T’would be better to break posts of such lengths into chapters, perhaps on a blog of your own, where discussion could be easily facilitated.

  16. October 29, 2008 12:47 pm

    Darrel:

    Yes. Are you the same Darrel that would comment once in a while at BloggerofJared, or was that your other brother? (Couldn’t resist).

    Jessica:

    Overall you are doing a good job here, but you just can’t seem to keep from exagerating and being hyperbolic when it comes to Mormonism. It still comes back to why do you believe there is a God, why do you believe in Christ as savior, why do you believe the Bible. Basing your beliefs on the Bible is fine and good. And I believe the sincere truth seeker will be just fine in the long run.

    Thrill:

    In the early days of Mormonism, Mormons were quite ‘charismatic’ in their worship. Speeking in tongues, swinging from the rafters, etc. Joseph believed in the gifts of the spirit, but believed that there must be something uplifting and valuable in the experience. So if someone came along claiming the gift of tongues or something, he would ask something like – what intelligence was communicated? Thus Mormonism became much more ‘practical’ when it came to gifts of the spirit.

    As far as the first vision goes, it makes sence if you consider the need for reformation (for Mormons restoration). I think the same type of thing which motivated the protestant reformers and their followers would motivate Joseph Smith and his followers – the need for reformation. Joseph added claims for a need of a restoration of priesthood auhority. It is not that much of a stretch. I think Joseph was a reformer with bigger claims which I happen to believe.

    So far I don’t mind sharing my thoughts here. There are a lot of anti-Mormon sites out there, and many of them are easy to roll your eyes at and ignore. Jessica is almost doing a good job here.

    Berean:

    Yeah, too much to hope to address. But one statement caught my eye:

    ‘Were Mormons warned about the financial crisis that was going to hit America recently?’

    Actually, yes

    especially read the second half of the talk.

  17. Brad permalink
    October 29, 2008 1:47 pm

    Eric,

    Hindus have a feeling that their millions of God are correct. Muslims have a feeling that Allah is correct. Buddhists have a feeling that their lack of a god is correct. I have a feeling that who I believe God is is correct.

    Whose right, Eric? All of us? None of us? Only one of us? Only the Mormons? And further, if we’re all having “feelings”, how do you determine which are correct feelings, and which aren’t?

  18. Berean permalink
    October 29, 2008 2:33 pm

    My post was done on another blog. Jessica asked me for to cut and paste it here so as to add to her blog because she felt that it would benefit her readers. I thought that I had written this in very simple language. I’m sorry that it wasn’t able to connect.

    To summarize:

    Joseph Smith made false prophecies throughout the D&C. He made the prophecy about the return of Christ twice and both of them were wrong. I gave the documentation. He failed the Biblical test for a prophet in Deut 18:22.

    Congressional leaders back in the 90′s went before senate hearings to warn of the financial crisis coming if Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac weren’t “reeled in”. John McCain and Barack Obama warned the government of this back in 2006. Are all of those people prophets by your definition now? Mormons need to learn the difference between a prophet and smart business people who see mistakes being made that are going to lead to future problems. If Thomas Monson was a prophet of God, he would already know who the next president is going to be based on their twist of Amos 3:7 in conjunction with what Romans 13:1 says about earthly governments.

  19. October 29, 2008 3:31 pm

    Excellent questions Brad. I have to believe that God will lead the sincere truth seeker where he needs to be.

  20. October 29, 2008 5:56 pm

    Berean,

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, it is really long, but valuable information if bloggers take the time to read. You know more about Mormonism than any Mormon I know. Thanks for your investment to carefully study the D&C and for finding all this information to expose the false prophecies of JS.

    Eric,

    I’m sorry if you took my comment as an exaggeration of Mormon doctrine. I don’t feel it was. I was trying to summarize one of the doctrines on the nature of God that I hate the most.

    Psalms 119:104 “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.”

    This blog is called “I LOVE MORMONS” – that is the truth – the blog could also be titled “I HATE FALSE TEACHING” – my purpose here is to interact with Mormons with respect and kindness while working hard to point out the false teaching within Mormonism to the Mormons I love. Every religion has truth mixed with error and I believe that if certain of these errors (such as the nature of God) are embraced by people in these religions, I believe they are heading to an eternity in outer darkness. It is love that motivates me to care that other people might end up in outer darkness. There are many other religions I could start a blog about as well. This one is dedicated to Mormons because I have a special heart for them and long for them to find the truth that will set them free (John 8:32). I am delighted to know a number of ex-mo’s who know and love the truth.

    Jesus prayed for His followers: “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17)

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  21. Brad permalink
    October 29, 2008 5:56 pm

    Excellent questions, Eric, which you didn’t answer. It’s not enough to punt, and say essentially that it will all work out in the end.

    I ask again – given that all people of all different religions have “feelings” that they’re right about their respective beliefs, how do we know who is right??

  22. October 29, 2008 6:32 pm

    Brad:

    It all comes down to the faith of the individual. If there were a clear, simple, objective way to know, there would not be so many religions.

    You are punting to, so far. Have you an answer?

  23. Brad permalink
    October 30, 2008 1:30 pm

    I’m not punting, Eric – I wasn’t asked a question. But let’s focus on your answer (which is still a punt, as you’ve given nothing to support anything you’ve said).

    Essentially what you’re saying is that there’s no way to tell, is that right? Goodness, Eric, if that’s the case, then how do YOU know that YOU’RE right? Based on what you say, YOU have no way of knowing – you could be dead wrong, and you’d never even know it! What a scary place to be.

    Do you really believe that? B/c that’s what you’ve said so far. My guess is you don’t. And if you don’t, then I REPEAT my question – how do YOU know which one is right? And it has to be something OTHER than feelings, b/c we can all agree that different people in different religions have different feelings, all of whom think their feelings are valid.

    You’re painting yourself into a theological corner, Eric.

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