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My Mormon Dermatologist

February 9, 2011

I love my Mormon dermatologist.  He helped me get my acne cleared up and I am extremely grateful to him for that!

I am going to be moving out of the area for awhile and so I wanted to make sure I took the opportunity to share with him before I leave about my concerns with Mormonism.  We were talking about the mission he had served and I decided to ask him if he was a hard-core Mormon or more of a doubting Thomas.  He said he thought he was more of the hard-core type.  I then asked him if he would be open to watching a DVD if I sent it to him.  He wanted to know what it was about so I explained it compares the prophecies of Joseph Smith with the prophecies in the Bible.  He looked a little skeptical and uncomfortable and said he knew there was a lot of “anti-Mormon” information out there, but he felt he had received his answer.  He said I could send it to him, but that he probably wouldn’t watch it.

He then jokingly asked me if he could send me a Book of Mormon. I explained I’d already read it and had considered the claims of Mormonism and I simply don’t believe it.  I also explained I’m not anti-Mormon, I just want Mormons to follow Jesus Christ and not Joseph Smith.  He then said he knew there were a lot of people who thought Mormons don’t follow Jesus, but he thinks they do.

I thought about it later and I just couldn’t stop thinking about him and praying for him.  Even though he claimed he was the hard-core type, I really didn’t get that impression from talking with him. I’m thinking I will mail him the DVD anyway and give him the opportunity to reconsider. I’m sure some people would consider that rude, but I genuinely care about him and it kills me not to pursue it a little more.

This is what I’m thinking of writing to him in a letter to include with the DVD.  Any suggestions on the content of my letter?

Hi Sam,

I have really appreciated having you as my dermatologist and wanted to thank you for your help in getting my skin cleared up.  It’s been a huge blessing!

I know you said you probably wouldn’t watch this DVD if I sent it, but I’m sending it anyway in hopes that you might reconsider. I have come to care about you as a friend and didn’t want to leave without sharing with you my concerns regarding the teachings of the LDS church.  I mentioned to you that I have read the Book of Mormon and have prayerfully considered the claims of Mormonism (including the teaching that my beliefs are wrong and the church I attend is part of the “great abominable church”). I am not afraid of having my beliefs challenged because I believe the real Truth will ultimately withstand the test.  Further, we are commanded in scripture to “test all things” (1 Thess. 5:21) and to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

I really hope you will not be afraid to consider the claims on this DVD that challenge some of the things you believe.  My aim is not to tear down your faith in Jesus, but rather to strengthen that faith and to only challenge those beliefs that I don’t think are of God.  This DVD strengthens a person’s faith in Jesus and the Bible while challenging the claims that Joseph Smith made.  Joseph Smith’s religion was built on the assertion that the Bible was corrupted and is missing many plain and precious things. That is an assertion that can and should be tested!  This DVD puts his claim to the test.

I really hope you will watch it and let me know what you think of it. If there is anything inaccurate or misinformed I want to know as truth is very important to me and I certainly don’t want to be spreading misinformation around!

Thank you for reading this. I pray for God to pour out His richest blessings on you and your family and that you will be blessed with abundant and joyful life in Jesus.

In Christ,

Jessica

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71 Comments leave one →
  1. Seth R. permalink
    February 9, 2011 4:29 pm

    FAIR has a video response to this video out now. It’s about an hour long:

  2. Seth R. permalink
    February 9, 2011 4:35 pm

    Written reviews undermining the legitimacy of the film can be found here:

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=17&num=2&id=581

    and here:

    http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=18&num=1&id=598

  3. February 9, 2011 5:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing that, Seth. I wasn’t going to send him the Bible vs. the Book of Mormon though… Any other guesses on which DVD I’m sending him? 🙂

  4. Seth R. permalink
    February 9, 2011 5:41 pm

    Oh, you mean “The Bible vs. Joseph Smith,” right?

  5. shematwater permalink
    February 9, 2011 8:09 pm

    I have never watched a video comparing prophecy, but I will say this. I have never seen any written comparison that has stood up to any serious investigation.
    I have seen many attempts to show the prophecies of Joseph Smith false, and none have succeeded. Most simply do not understand the prophecies.

  6. shematwater permalink
    February 9, 2011 8:09 pm

    I would love to know some of the things mentioned in the DVD.

  7. February 9, 2011 8:16 pm

    Seth and Shem,

    I would love it if you would both watch it and let me know what you think. If there are errors or misinformation I want to know. You can get a copy of the DVD here:

    http://sourceflix.com/

    The website even says that if you are a Mormon to email them and they will set you up to watch it for free.

  8. shematwater permalink
    February 9, 2011 11:10 pm

    I can’t find where the site says anything about watching it free. I have no problem watching it, but I really cannot afford to by it, as I would only watch it once.

    If you can show me were the website talk of this free viewing I am happy to try.

  9. shematwater permalink
    February 9, 2011 11:13 pm

    I will say this, however. To show that one member of the church is not able to explain the prophecies of Joseph Smith is hardly evidence of anything. Now, if they have several members that would be different, but as I understand it, they have only one.

    No, I have not seen the movie, but I have read a few reviews of it and watched a small clip in an advertisement.

  10. February 10, 2011 12:44 am

    It seems as though you have a warm relationship with your dermatologist and that he might be open to watching this, but it’s too bad you aren’t staying around longer to give him the chance to exchange something for you to watch as well. It feels like that would be a better way to open a two way dialogue…maybe you can still accomplish this type of interaction though, by using the wonders of technology. Do you think he would be interested in an email exchange with you?

  11. February 10, 2011 3:50 am

    Thank you for the great suggestion, ckuhrasch! Yes, I am hoping we can start an email exchange – that would be awesome!

    Shem, scroll down to the asterisk at the bottom of the paragraph on the home page – I’ll copy and paste from their website here and bold the last sentence:

    Hooray! This marks the official release of “The Bible vs Joseph Smith!” We have worked very hard on this full-length documentary since the beginning of august last year, and it’s now finally available. And now is when we need your help more then ever! Here are some things you can do:

    1. Order multiple copies to use in your witness to Mormons, and to promote the film in your community.
    2. Host a local showing of the documentary (not restricted to pastors).
    3. Forward our release email to 10 or more of your friends (for those on our mailing list).
    4. Share this post on your facebook, twitter, myspace, etc., with the “share” icon at the bottom of this post!
    5. Embed the trailer on your own website or blog with the code below:

    You have blessed us so much! Thank you for all your support, now lets spread this tool as far and wide as possible to uncover the falacy of Mormonism, and reveal the glory of God in Jesus Christ!

    *If you are a Mormon, email us and we’ll set you up to watch The Bible vs Joseph Smith for free.

  12. February 10, 2011 3:52 am

    Shem, here’s their contact info:

    http://sourceflix.com/contact/

    Looking forward to hearing what you think of the DVD!!

  13. February 10, 2011 2:08 pm

    I really enjoyed the video. I have a few extra copies. Shem, if you will send me your address (e-mail it to me at boan.darrell@gmail.com), I will send you a copy of it. I would love to hear what you think about it.

    Have a blessed day everyone!

    Darrell

  14. February 10, 2011 4:56 pm

    Great idea, Darrell! I didn’t even think of that – I also have free copies. Anyone can email me their address and I’d be glad to mail you a copy. I’m selling a bunch of books on Amazon right now so I’m making a lot of trips to the post office. It’s no trouble to throw a few DVDs in the mail at the same time.

  15. Seth R. permalink
    February 10, 2011 5:12 pm

    Doesn’t that cost you guys in shipping fees?

  16. February 10, 2011 5:15 pm

    Yep! Would be my pleasure. See how much I love you? 🙂 lol

  17. Seth R. permalink
    February 10, 2011 5:28 pm

    You’re a nice person Jessica.

    Which is why I think I’d rather make Living Hope Ministries foot the bill for this, if it’s all the same to you.

  18. shematwater permalink
    February 10, 2011 6:32 pm

    Darrel, I just e-mailed you. Looking forward to receiving the DVD.

  19. shematwater permalink
    February 10, 2011 6:33 pm

    Jessica

    How on earth did I miss that. Sorry.

  20. Patricia permalink
    February 17, 2011 1:39 am

    If you have not yet sent the letter:
    My thoughts about this sentence “I am not afraid of having my beliefs challenged because I believe the real Truth will ultimately withstand the test.”
    are I don’t really like it. It almost sounds like you think you know everything, but I do believe that is not what you are trying to say at all. Whatever you do, I would make Truth truth (not a capital T) then maybe reword it. “Though having my beliefs chalolenged can be terrifying, I do not dread the outcome because more than being right, I hope to come to know the truth”
    or
    “The truth will be the same no matter what we think it is. For this reason truth will withstand any test and there need not be any fear in challenging our views.”

  21. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:34 pm

    I watched the video today, and here are a few thoughts. I will make a few posts so that no one is too long.

    Birth of Christ prophesied – Micah and Alma.

    Here we have classic misinterpretation of text.
    Alma 7: 10 states
    “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”

    Notice the “land of our forefather” explanation. At the time of Alma it had been over 400 years since anyone who knew the geography of the ancient world had lived. However, most people likely knew the name Jerusalem and associated it with this ancient home land. As such, when Alma makes this prophecy he is saying that Christ would be born in the land that there forefather’s came from, or the ancient kingdom of Judea, whose capital was Jerusalem.
    As Jesus was born in Judea, or what the people of the America’s would have known as Jerusalem, He passes the test.

  22. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:38 pm

    Second: Ancient Records in General

    The video does a very good job of showing us that the best records we have of any document from the Bible are copies that date to at least 50 years after the original was written. Now, all the copies we have may agree, but they were all made well after the original authors had died, and there is no guarantee that they were made without mistakes in them.
    Example: John 1: 1.
    In the KJV “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
    In the JST “In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son. And the gospel was the word, and the word was with the Son, and the Son was with God, and the Son was of God.”

    The question is not whether these two agree, but whether or not such an error could have occurred. In the video they focus on the last phrase “was God” as compared to “was of God.” The silliness of this is that in making a copy it would have been very easy to simply miss the “of” and thus cause an error. As our records are of copies that were made a good many years after the originals (so they may even be copies of copies) we cannot really say if such an error could have happened or not.

    All other manuscripts are of a similar nature. Until we can look at the original that the author himself penned we cannot guarantee that it will be without error.

    Just a note: Joseph Smith never took the divinity of Christ away, as is suggested by the video. Joseph Smith always taught that Christ was God, that he was one with his Father as a member of the Godhead. What he did in this translation was to contradict the common doctrine of the trinity.
    Also, as far as I am concerned Joseph Smith had just as much contact with God as John did, just after the resurrection and not before.

  23. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:41 pm

    Third: Changing the Gospel

    The point is correctly made that those who corrupt the true gospel as taught by Christ and the apostles will be condemned. Using this they try to condemn Joseph Smith for his translation. However, consider this: If the Bible is already corrupt and Joseph Smith is only correcting the errors, he is not guilty of this offense. He is only fixing the problems other people created.
    So, if you assume that there was no original corruption than you must reject Joseph Smith. But if you accept the idea that there was corruption than you must reject the rest of Christianity.

    Now, I will be the first to agree that the LDS gospel is not the same as taught by the rest of Christianity, but it is the gospel I read in the Bible as being taught by these early leaders. As such, following the advice of Paul, I reject the rest of Christianity.

  24. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:44 pm

    Fourth: Temple in Missouri

    Let us look at the prophecy again.
    D&C 84: 4-5 “Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
    For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.”

    Let us look at this. Verse 4 is not a prophecy, but a commandment. They were being commanded to build this temple, and were given the promise in verse 5, that a temple would be built in that generation.
    So, the prophecy was that a temple would be built, not that it would be built in Missouri. As there was one built in Nauvoo, as well as a few in Utah during that generation, the prophecy was fulfilled.
    It was the command that was never fulfilled, but it was withdrawn, as you can read in D&C 124: 49-54, in which it is explained the saints work was accepted because they did all they could to keep this commandment.
    This prophecy has been fulfilled, when you understand what the prophecy is actually saying. And so Joseph Smith passes the test of Deuteronomy.

  25. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2011 8:54 pm

    Fifth: Prophecy of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, as given in 2 Nephi 27.

    The video makes the claim that this prophecy is not contained in any other writing. This, in itself is false. However, they do a very good job in concealing this fact with the distraction of the JST. Their claim is that the prophecy concerning the Book of Mormon was added by Joseph Smith. So let us compare Isaiah 29 to 2 Nephi 27.

    Isaiah 29: 11-12 “And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:
    And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.”

    Next, 2 Nephi 27: 6 (quoted in the video) “And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered.
    Also verse 7, 9, 15-19 “And behold the book shall be sealed…
    But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another;
    But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.
    And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God.
    And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.
    Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.
    Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned.”

    So compare the two: Both speak of a sealed book. Both deliver the book to the learned who refuses to read it. Both speak of the unlearned receiving the book. If you care to go back a few verses you will see the same prophecy in both concerning the “staggering but not with strong drink” and the hiding of the prophets from the people. More striking is the similarity of the people slumbering in Nephi and the people speaking form the dust in Isaiah, both of which are idioms for death.

    So, when speaking of the Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon, and all that leads up to it, the KJV of the Bible agrees with what Joseph Smith translated in the Book of Mormon. Yes, he added a few more details, but the basics of this prophecy are contained in the KJV of the Bible.
    The video, not surprisingly, does not want to draw these parallels, and instead focuses on the other prophecies Joseph Smith restored.

  26. shematwater permalink
    February 17, 2011 9:05 pm

    Finally: Conclusion

    The video was about what I thought it would be. It was not a poorly made video, but it does only contain one side of the issue, while fairly ignoring the other.
    Example: It only gives LDS interpretations of a prophecy (from Alma) when it can get so called experts to refute the theories. Even in this case it only give the LDS scholars one sentence each, while giving others enough time to clearly make their point.

    Also, the video, as I said, uses only one member to make their point. They did not go to several members and ask what they understood the doctrine to be, but used only one to make their points. Personally, I don’t think the one member they chose was a good example, as very little of what he said I would agree with, or even think the leaders would agree with.
    Example: The removal of plain truths from the bible. He said he had the understanding that there was only one copy for a long time. This is ridiculous, and I have never heard anyone say this before in my life. However, it worked well for the video.

    All in all, while I am not trying to accuse anyone of anything, I got the distinct impression that everything (including the member’s lines) had been previously scripted, which does not sit well with me. The member was far to complacent, allowing the host to determine all meaning of scripture, both Biblical and non-biblical. He accepted everything that was presented to him as if he already knew what was coming. The greatest example was his reaction to the Joseph Smith Translation, in that he simple accepted what the host was saying without thinking it through.

    The filming was decent, the production in a whole was not too bad. However, it carried with it a distinct bias that makes its scholarly value questionable.

    (Note: I am not an expert on documentaries, this is just my opinion.)

  27. March 1, 2011 5:08 pm

    Hi Shem,

    I’ve been super busy lately getting ready to move, but I did want to thank you for taking the time to watch this DVD and sharing your feedback. I read all of your comments and it’s helpful to get an LDS person’s perspective on this. I agree with you that the LDS member interviewed for this had to have known what the DVD was about and what he was agreeing to. He did seem to be in agreement with the host on many (although not all) of the points. I actually wondered if he would be excommunicated for participating in making this DVD. Do you have any thoughts on that?

  28. March 1, 2011 5:09 pm

    Patricia,

    Thank you so much for your suggestion! I like how you worded that much better!

  29. Seth R. permalink
    March 1, 2011 5:23 pm

    I watched about 20 minutes of it.

    I see it as pure bullying by Kramer. He goes out there armed with all the countercult resources he can muster, grabs a run of the mill Mormon who is not similarly armed to respond, and then beats the crap out of him.

    Real classy behavior on Kramer’s part.

    If he had any cojones he would have invited someone like Daniel Peterson or Kerry Shirts on to debate.

    Now, I would have paid real money to see that.

    Watching Gifford was painful. He just sat there and gaped in amazement at everything Kramer said. Even during lines of inquiry from Kramer for which there was an obvious Mormon answer.

    Like how Kramer cuts the verse in Alma 7:10 in half to deliberately omit the part of the verse that makes it clear Alma is saying Jesus would be born in the LAND of Jerusalem, not the CITY of Jerusalem. Kramer read and scrutinized that verse enough that it is quite plain to me that he was being deliberately deceptive and quoting only the portion of the verse that bolstered his argument, and leaving off the part that did not help his argument.

    This kind of dishonest and lying behavior is one of the reasons I’ve come to view just about anything from these dedicated Evangelical-Mormon outreach ministries with suspicion. And it was an easy catch if Gifford had just bothered to read the entire verse. As it was all, he did was sigh a lot, wince painfully, and just agree with everything Kramer said.

    The whole thing was essentially one big kangaroo court.

  30. shematwater permalink
    March 1, 2011 8:59 pm

    JESSICA

    I make no comment on whether or not he could be excommunicated for participating. This would depend on many thinks (like his intentions, how much he fully understood what the purpose of the whole thing was, and things like this). I leave such matters to those who have been given the right to judge in them.

    SETH

    I think we both got about the same thing out of the video, and I think you were a little more blunt about it.
    I still have suspicions as to whether Gifford was really a member or not (though I would believe it either way) but what you say is true.

  31. Seth R. permalink
    March 1, 2011 9:08 pm

    Oh, and I should also note that Kramer edited out the portions of the FAIR video clips where FAIR apologists make the argument that the Alma verse is talking about a LAND and not a CITY. Because the FAIR videos do make this point.

    I find it quite telling that Kramer deliberately chose to leave those arguments out and instead misrepresent the entire FAIR argument as “oh, Bethlehem is only five miles from Jerusalem, so they’re basically the same city.”

    This is not the FAIR argument on that passage, and Kramer knows this as well as anyone.

    I’m sorry Jessica, but this Kramer guy…

    He’s a real piece of work.

  32. NCP0181 permalink
    March 13, 2011 6:38 am

    shemwater –
    In regards to ancient records in general and the accuracy of the Bible – KJV and JST, you say:
    “The question is not whether these two agree, but whether or not such an error could have occurred. In the video they focus on the last phrase “was God” as compared to “was of God.” The silliness of this is that in making a copy it would have been very easy to simply miss the “of” and thus cause an error. As our records are of copies that were made a good many years after the originals (so they may even be copies of copies) we cannot really say if such an error could have happened or not.

    All other manuscripts are of a similar nature. Until we can look at the original that the author himself penned we cannot guarantee that it will be without error.”

    I especially agree with the last part. Why don’t we apply this same logic to the BOM?

  33. Seth R. permalink
    March 13, 2011 3:26 pm

    NCP, I’ve been arguing something similar to that about the Book of Mormon – as a faithful Mormon – for some time. Especially in light of passages like Ether 12:23-29 and Mormon 8:17. This seems to me to be an express rejection of the notion of scriptural inerrancy and an admission of possible flaws and faults in the record. And it’s right there in our scriptures.

  34. Sir Richard-Merlin Atwater, distingished member of The Academy of Americn Poets permalink
    April 6, 2011 2:57 pm

    I like Shem’s answers, not just because I’m his Uncle “Dickie” but because they are valid responses to legitimate concerns. I never knew this Blog site existed until today (April 5, 2011) when sent a clip by other relatives who have both pro and con views regarding Mormonism. May I sugest a reading of my book: The STONE Cut Out of the Mountain Without Hands may be of use to explain to ANYONE the view of Mormonism on most salient subjects of debate (a comparative theological discussion). The FOREWORD was written by Dr Hugh Nibley of BYU fame–we both taught as professors of religion at BYU. I’m at a disadvsantage since I never saw the DVD, but I’m familiar with the arguments from other sources. My 13 published books are available on my website as shown.

  35. Sir Richard-Merlin Atwater, distingished member of The Academy of Americn Poets permalink
    April 6, 2011 3:00 pm

    Apparently the copied website is not shown as expected hence here it is for those interested: http://www.3swanspublishers.com and also a clip on YOU TUBE for my latest book: The WAY: Secrets of the Lost 13th Nag Hammadi Scroll under authors name: Sir Richard-Merlin Atwater, published by the largest Christain book publisher, Xulon Press.

  36. June 22, 2011 4:13 pm

    Jessica, would you be willing to denounce Jeremiah, Isaiah, and other Biblical Prophets False if they are proven to be false with the test of a Prophet?

  37. June 22, 2011 4:19 pm

    Shem – Gifford is a member, it is actually confirmed. I recently read an article on the review of the DVD and the author of the Article did confirm that Gifford was a member. Kramar used Gifford as a “strawman” prop for his arguments.

    http://www.fairlds.org/Anti-Mormons/Joel_Kramer_Vs_The_Bible_and_Joseph_Smith.html

    “This I have confirmed through personal correspondences with Gifford.” As noted in footnote 11

  38. Seth R. permalink
    June 22, 2011 4:28 pm

    Tim, I actually did a bit of the work on that article. It was a team effort at FAIR.

    We were in contact with Gifford, and he is utterly embarrassed by the whole DVD and rather resentful about how he was treated by Kramer.

    It’s a very dishonest and misleading video. Hopefully a more full response and rebuttal will be soon forthcoming.

  39. June 23, 2011 12:09 am

    @Seth – I honestly thought he was a former Mormon pretending to be a Mormon. It is good to clear that issue up about the real Greg Gifford. It would be cool to hear exactly how Kramer conned him into the video production.

    There are so many logical fallacies, the biggest one is the special pleading Kramer establishes when it comes to comparing Bible Prophecies. I actually contacted and presented the argument against Kramer (I ordered the Bible vs. Joseph Smith dvd). My wife watched it with me and she was like “Seriously??!!” I laughed all the way through it.

    Still, no comment on the whole thing. I even posted part of a review here: http://mormonapologeticstudies.org/2011/02/25/the-bible-vs-joseph-smith-a-response-to-living-hope-ministry/

  40. Jen permalink
    October 12, 2011 7:41 pm

    shemwater

    It troubles me that you would bring up Isaiah 29:11 and use that as your example. I have to ask if you even know the context for which it was written?

  41. RockiesGal permalink
    October 17, 2011 8:27 am

    Kramer is simply a wolf under the sheep’s skin. It is too bad that you and other believers have fallen into the wolf’s lair.

  42. spartacus permalink
    November 23, 2011 10:13 pm

    CLARIFICATION OF THE TEMPLE PROPHECY 1 of 2

    shematwater, I suppose you could read the “word of God” given to Joseph Smith in this “command/prophecy” way but it seems more difficult if you take into account the verses before those you quoted:

    DnC 84 “A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant [JS]…(2)Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church…as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem. (3) which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finer of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of [JS], Jun., and other with whom the Lord was well pleased. (4) Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation. (5) For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord…”

    Now, I suppose you could claim that all of verse 3 is command too, but even so, and even in just 4 and 5 the connection between supposed command and prophecy is too strong to take seperately: New Jerusalem, which shall be built, BEGINNING at the temple lot, which is appointed by the Lord, in western Missouri, and dedicated by JS, this is the WORD of the Lord (not just “command”-does God break his word?), city of New Jerusalem shall be built beginning at this place [temple lot, Missouri] even the place of the (only heretofore mentioned) temple (aka MO temple), which temple (this one) shall be reared in this generation.

    even more powerful is the content of Part 2 below

  43. spartacus permalink
    November 23, 2011 10:33 pm

    One of the best ways to understand something that was said by someone in an organization is to see how those it was said to and those who were in authority continued to say the same thing:

    Mormon Apostle George A. Smith (1861) “Who is there that is prepared for this move back to the centre stake of Zion [independence, MO], … and let me remind you that it is predicted that this generation shall not pass away till a temple shall be built, and the glory of the Lord rest upon it, according to the promises.” (Journal of Discourses, V.9p.71)

    George Q. Cannon (1864) “The day is near when a Temple shall be reared in the Center Stake of Zion, and the Lord has said his glory shall rest on that House in this generation in which the revelation was given, which is upwards of thirty years ago.” (JoD, V.10 p.344)

    Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt (1870’s) “…God promised in the year 1832 that we should, before the generation then living had passed away, return and build up the City of Zion in Jackson County [MO]; that we shoud return and build up the temple… … We believe in these promises as much as we believe in any promise ever uttered by the mouth of Jehovah. The Latter-day Saints just as much expect to receive a fulfillment of that promise during the generatoin that was in existence in 1832 as they expect that the sun will rise and set to-morrow. Why? Because God cannot lie… He has spoken, it must come to pass. This is our faith.” (JoD, V.13p.362)

    There are more. But suffice it to say that you were off when you said, “So, the prophecy was that a temple would be built, not that it would be built in Missouri. As there was one built in Nauvoo, as well as a few in Utah during that generation, the prophecy was fulfilled.” Verse 3 says Missouri and a generation of LDS, including its highest leaders (who were in a position to receive a clarifying revelation from God), died believing the temple mentioned was the temple lot, Missouri one in the revelation.

    And then there’s the whole idea of God commanding his people to do something and then telling them its ok that they didn’t because they were resisted so much. Since when does God not gaurantee his purposes with his strength behind his people?

  44. Seth R. permalink
    November 23, 2011 11:38 pm

    spartacus,

    I imagine first century Christians were equally surprised when the calamities prophesied came to pass (when Rome sacked Jerusalem) and the Son of Man DID NOT show up.

    This sort of thing is not without precedent.

  45. spartacus permalink
    November 25, 2011 7:33 am

    Seth R.,

    1) my posts were in refutation of shematwater’s defense – see summary in 2nd from last paragraph of part 2. I wanted to give any reader here a much more accurate and informed understanding of this issue.

    2) whatever the status of Jesus’ revelation, it does nothing for or against Joseph Smith’s prophecy. There’s a term for this kind of ploy – is it “red herring?” We could go into the details of Jesus revelation but it would in fact say nothing for or against the topic at hand – Joseph Smith’s prophecy.

  46. Seth R. permalink
    November 25, 2011 11:07 am

    Sure it would.

    Because the prophecies are so similar on so many points.

    If Protestants have explanations for Christ’s prophecy and why it was valid, I’m sure Mormons can do just fine on their end as well.

  47. spartacus permalink
    November 27, 2011 6:03 am

    If oversimplifications work for you as an argument then sure-1) don’ t know of any similar point than that the word “generation” is associated with both – associated (by translation), not used (by Jesus). 2) you are ignoring the fact that LDS leaders gave us the understanding of that prophecy – if they aren’t able to understand the word of God then what’s the point of prophets and apostles? If they are authoritative, then the prophecy is wrong. 3) The only possibility is that God raises people from that generation to life and then the temple is made – which I suppose could happen after the 2nd coming – but then this hardly counts as a prophecy at all and this couldn’t possibly be what JS or God meant considering the context of the time and place.

    I’m not saying the words of Jesus here are easy to understand and not at least troubling on initial reading, but the words of JS are clear and made clearer by his later leadership and so there just seems to be no other way to take it, unless you want to concede that the leadership “led astray” or otherwise were no better than any other man without authority or special revelatory relationship with God.

    Lastly, while I obviously believe this is a failed prophecy of JS, my main point is to show that there is evidence to consider instead of make-shift arguments based on too few verses like that of shematwater. Again, I don’t want people reading this thread to think that her explanation did anything to alleviate the issue posed by this supposed prophecy. LDS history and beliefs are complex things, with lots of documentary evidence – if someone gives you a simple explanation without evidence – its probably too simple and at least deceptive in this respect, if not just wrong.

  48. Seth R. permalink
    November 27, 2011 4:55 pm

    Again spartacus, it all boils down to this.

    Do you believe that prophets are infallible in all their statements – in any context or not?

    I don’t.

    So your critique is utterly worthless to me.

    I consider prophets and apostles to be incredibly and hugely useful – even if they only have an 80% record of being correct (I just picked a random figure for discussion).

    If a news analyst or stock broker was hitting 80% in his predictions, we’d probably consider it supernatural – or at least uncanny.

    But that said, I don’t consider this a failed prophecy in the first place.The word generation has just as much leeway in Joseph Smith’s case as it did in Jesus Christ’s case. Furthermore, I haven’t really been impressed with your convoluted attempt to show that the context demands a prophecy rather than a commandment. Maybe you just aren’t communicating your ideas clearly, but I really didn’t follow why the Doctrine and Covenants passage demands a prophecy rather than a commandment. Having read the passage myself, the style and tone is clearly that of commandment. In fact, most of the Doctrine and Covenants is comprised of commandments, not future-predicting. This is probably exactly why the book used to be called the…. wait for it…. “Book of COMMANDMENTS.”

    I read, your assertions above, but honestly – I just don’t see where this is a case of future predicting. It doesn’t fit the context of the passage, nor does it fit the pattern of the entire book.

    Because frankly, fortune telling has always been the most trivial and minor of a prophet’s roles. And the most rare. Most Old Testament prophets didn’t even do it at all.

  49. spartacus permalink
    December 2, 2011 4:20 am

    Seth R.,

    I got to tell you I am very impressed by your take on my posts. You are backtracking, or maybe you never left my first post that dealt only with the DnC verses. You seem to be completely ignoring the many quotes I gave from LDS leadership that clearly showed that they, the leaders who are supposedly especially led and connected to God, believed Smith’s words to be a prophecy – they speak of it happening, not of themselves working toward it (as a commandment would be spoken of). Your only statement on my second post was that they misunderstood JS’s words just as, as you claimed, the new testament Christians misunderstood Jesus’. But the problem is that the LDS leaders have no excuse for misunderstanding Joseph’s words. As I said before either:

    -Joseph Smith was somehow right but the LDS leaders were clearly wrong.

    or

    -Joseph Smith and the LDS leaders were wrong.

    Either way the real brunt of this issue is not JS’ words alone but all of the LDS leadership (apostle and prophet) that spoke on this event were wrong in one way (the prophecy) or another (the statements about the prophecy).

    I think we are basically done with this issue as you are now just making up stuff like “all statements” – completely off topic (I never indicated anything about all statements-these are very specific statements/preachings/authoritative statements about how the LDS audience should think/believe/prepare), or accusing/trying to insult my “convoluted attempt” (since my 1st post is only about the other verses that clearly show that shematwater’s “non-specific” interpretation/defense was completely baseless, it’s my second post that deals with whether it was a prophecy – and you’ve ignored those.)

    I leave it to the others that read this thread to decide if my writing is convoluted, and whether I succeeded in rectifying shematwater’s errors and showing how much more there is to understanding anything LDS than just make-shift arguments devoid of evidence.

    Seth R., I do, however, appreciate your willingness to more or less discuss this topic. Thank you.

    I am curious to hear from shematwater, but I understand if life has got her attention.

    To all of you, May God Bless You with His Love, Truth, and Power, In the Name of Jesus the Christ…Amen.

  50. December 2, 2011 8:31 am

    I like this web blog very much so much good information.

  51. Seth R. permalink
    December 2, 2011 3:16 pm

    spartacus, I’m well aware of the line of argument.

    Take a Mormon scripture – choose the reading of it that is most unfavorable to its credibility – then data mine the historical record for NON-SCRIPTURAL quotes made be LDS dignitaries in their spare time that support your preferred reading. Then insist that the leaders have to be infallible in all their declarations (even non-scriptural ones) or the entire LDS enterprise is worthless.

    It must be something they teach Protestants in counter-cult 101. But it rests on a LOT of assumptions about the way God works, and the way prophets and scripture work that I simply don’t find credible.

  52. spartacus permalink
    December 3, 2011 7:52 am

    Now that you are down to gross characterizations I’m positive you have nothing constructive to add. Anyone can read that section of DnC (thus the citation) and decide what reading is straightforward and what is strained. The Journal of Discourses (see citations) is the equivalent of the Conference editions of the Ensign – hardly “spare time” quotes. I never insisted anything about “all their declarations”-I already pointed out the inappropriateness of your putting words in my mouth. It’s not “scripture or nothing” – official statements made during official events count officially. By the way, I’m not a protestant – thanks for the assumption.

    We are now well aware that you are not convinced. Ok. I am also well aware of your taste for generalization as a defense. I’m not impressed nor enticed to further “dialogue”. This is my final response to you on this topic. Good day and may God Bless you in the Name of Jesus the Christ… Amen.

  53. spartacus permalink
    December 3, 2011 7:55 am

    Normand,

    I’m new to this blog so I don’t know all the sights. Glad you’re here and enjoying it. Let me know if you have any specific recommendations for what I should check out here.

    Thanks

  54. Seth R. permalink
    December 5, 2011 4:21 pm

    Spartacus, the statements count for what exactly?

    I thought our discussion here was about establishing a false prophecy by Joseph Smith.

    I still haven’t seen anything establishing that. A “General Conference” declaration doesn’t cut it for me. Why does it for you?

  55. December 14, 2011 8:53 pm

    Like many things, this really boils down to first principles. If one approaches this from the pre-determined opinion that Smith was a Prophet, then no amount of evidence to the contrary is likely to change ones opinion. Vice-versa is also true. . . if one is convinced that God promised His Church would never fall away, then no amount of evidence of supporting Smith’s prophetic claims is likely to change ones mind.

    This all starts with first principles. In my mind, we need to look to what is the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Tim 3:15.

  56. Seth R. permalink
    December 14, 2011 10:14 pm

    Those aren’t really “first principles” so much as “first assumptions.”

  57. December 14, 2011 10:34 pm

    I wasn’t addressing the OP Seth. I was referring to your back and forth with Spartacus.

    BTW… it’s been a while. I hope you are doing well this blessed time of year! 🙂

  58. Seth R. permalink
    December 14, 2011 10:44 pm

    I knew that.

    It’s been a while Darrell.

    A sincere Merry Christmas to you as well.

  59. December 15, 2011 3:02 am

    Sorry, I misunderstood. Now I see what you are saying.

    I wasn’t suggesting those points were necessarily the first principles. They could be (depending upon how deeply one has thought through their faith). At a minimum, however, they are the result of ones first principles.

    Nevertheless, speaking to your point. . . no matter what ones first principles are, they always based upon assumptions. It is virtually impossible to begin any system of thinking or faith without assumptions, and this goes for virtually all faith traditions – Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Protestantism, Mormonism, etc.

  60. December 15, 2011 10:17 pm

    Seth,

    My point is that if two people have different first principles, they are more likely than not going to reach different conclusions in their theology/faith. In my experience, Mormons, Protestants, Orthodox, and Catholics all have different first principles (Orthodox and Catholic are very close. They just diverge on what happened in 1054 AD). I think that any hope of resolving differences really hinges on getting back to the starting point in our reasoning.

  61. shematwater permalink
    March 1, 2012 2:37 pm

    DARREL

    I know it has been a while, so I don’t know if you will even read this, but let me say a few things.
    First, I am not a girl, so I would ask all people to stop referring to me as “her.” My name is Shem; I was named after my ancestor, the second son of Noah, of whom the house of Israel is descended.

    Now, to address your comments on D&C, and here I will quote section 84: 1-5.
    “A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.”
    This tells us who the revelation was directed to. Also note that it specifically states that this is a revelation, making no indication of prophecy.

    “Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.”
    Now we see that this is going to concern two things: The establishment of the church and the gathering of the saints to Zion, or New Jerusalem.

    “Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.”
    Here we learn where the city will be built. It will be centered at the temple lot (referring to the one in Independence Missouri). This temple lot was appointed by God and dedicated by Joseph Smith and others called of God. It is important to note that this refers to the Temple lot, not to the temple itself.

    “Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.”
    So far we have been getting instructions. What has been reveled is what the Lord is planning. I personally see this verse as a command to for the saints to do just that. He has previously commanded that the saints gather to this place, and is now telling them what to do when they get there.
    You make the claim that the phrase “this is the word of the Lord” makes this a prophecy. As you put it “this is the WORD of the Lord (not just “command”-does God break his word?)” The problem is that the Bible uses this phrase countless times to refer to the commands of God. Not to general commands, such as the Ten Commandments, but to specific commands, like in 1 Kings 12: 24, when Rehoboam is told not to fight the dividing of the Kingdoms. So, yes, this is the word of the Lord, but that does not make it a prophecy.
    In fact, you have convinced me that even verse five is not truly a prophecy, but I will explain that more in a minute. Suffice it to say that this verse is a specific command from God to carry out his plans regarding the building of New Jerusalem, as he describes in verse three.

    “For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.”
    Now we have the crux of the prophecy, though, as I said, you have convinced me this is not a prophecy. What we truly have is a covenant. In verse four God states what he wants. He wants the saints to gather and build the Temple in Zion. It was that Generation that was to do it. As they were faithful he then, in verse five, makes them the promise that they would receive a temple in their life times. Thus, for those who were faithful in fulfilling the command of verse four they had the promise of a temple in their life times, which did happen.
    In a way this could be a prophecy, but one that is conditional on the obedience of the people (like the prophecy that Israel would live in peace if they destroyed all the former inhabitants of the region).

  62. shematwater permalink
    March 1, 2012 3:08 pm

    DARREL

    Now, let me address the quotes from the Journal of Discourses. First, let me say these are not the same as the General Conference Ensign. While the setting was the same, the care that was given in preserving them was not. Also, the structure of the time period was much more loose. Also, the written record was not given to the individual for approval before printing, as it is today.
    Brigham Young in particular poses an interesting problem in the fact that he never wrote what he said, either before or after. He was one who liked to wing it, as it were, when talking in church. For example, in the Journal of Discourses he is quoted as saying that the father of Christ is “the figure who walked in the Garden of Eden.” This was later corrected by one who was present, for he actually said that the father of Christ was “the figure who walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden.”
    So, while the setting was the same, the preservation of words and accuracy of the accounts are vastly different, and thus they cannot be counted as equal in value or authority.

    As to the actual quotes: I have read all of them, and have looked them up to read the context of each and what the primary message was. This is my conclusion. None of these men, in any way, disagree with what I have said. All them speak to the saints preparing for the day that we will return to Zion and build the Temple, and all are hopeful that the promises of God would be fulfilled in their lives. However, the tone of their words, the warnings they issue, and the list of everything that the saints must do to prepare for that day makes it clear that they were not saying that it would happen, but that if the saints were truly prepared God would cause it to happen.
    They reference Section 84 of the doctrine and covenants as a promise made by God, not a prophecy. The difference being that the promises of God are always predicated on the preparedness of His saints, while prophecy is simply what will be.

    I see these quotes being very much in the spirit of 2 Thessalonians 2: 3, in which Paul is telling the people what must happen before the second coming can take place. These men are reminding the saints of the great promises of God, but are at the same time telling them what must happen before those promises can be fulfilled.

  63. Amanda H. permalink
    April 9, 2012 7:57 am

    I think you should read the Book of Mormon again. Set up a trade. Read the Book of Mormon, fully understanding every verse and truly wanting to know if it is truth. Set up a trade: he watches the DVD, you read the book. i’m sure he’d go for it. I would.

  64. Amanda H., Miamaid, 15 permalink
    April 9, 2012 8:58 am

    Sorry for my second post, but I just now read this whole conversation through. The only thing that can be said, is to truly read the Book of Mormon. Like I said before, understand each verse, put it in proper context, and yes, challenge it! If you find something unsettling, ask me or even consult lds.org. Cross reference the Bible, (which you already do fantastically by the way) and last but not least, pray. Pray with out bias to know if what you read is true. And I know you have been told this before, but a half-way job of reading the Book of Mormon will get you know where. I’ve read the Book of Mormon at least a dozen times, with family, in church, or personally. Often, I slightly followed along and sometimes referred to the Bible. Even when I did follow the whole time, I never really got much out of it. Last month, I made a resolution to read it again, but differently. Before reading, I pray to have the spirit with me. Sometimes it works better than other times when I am more rushed, but I try to slow down and simply meditate upon the spirit, and what I would like to get out of my scripture study. (Joshua 1:8) While reading, I reflect on how scriptures relate to my life as well as comparing them to scriptures in the Old and New Testament. If I have questions, (and I often do) I turn to official church leaders. If I need to use the internet for answers, I consult only LDS,org. I am often skeptical and more unbelieving than I should be, so shaky answers don’t go well for me. And so far, I have no received answers from members that are untrue when checked out. And when it seems no one can answer me, I know there is one I can always turn to who will never lie. And no, it’s not Joseph Smith. After each day of reading, I pray to know if what I’ve read is true. Some days my testimony feels like a dying ember. Some weeks I feel as if I’m about to completely burn out, but then after a day of prayer and study, I’ll receive my waited for answer. Answers don’t always come soon. It may take weeks or months, but “whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through PATIENCE and comfort of the scriptures might have HOPE.” (Romans 15:4) I apologize for adding to the numerous posts, of which are becoming quite pointless. I admire the testimonies shared on here, from all. I understand each and every one of us is working to a higher goal: coming to understand our God’s great plan for us, his truths and almighty power. However, there is only one way someone can understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that is by reading this affirmation that He lives, the redeemer of the world. Debating and consulting one another may add understanding, but without reading The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, with thoughtful pondering, consideration, fasting, and prayer, you cannot say my faith is not true.

  65. April 9, 2012 1:59 pm

    Amanda, thank you for your witness and your willingness to explain it to those of us with a different witness of Christ. I have read the Book of Mormon with a desire to see it be true, and while I find some things to feel right to me, there are others that seem to be in direct contradiction with the Bible…the other book I hold to be true. I would love to have an honest dialogue with someone like you who is willing to look honestly at the questions. If you want, my email is: teachpe_1999@yahoo.com I look forward to contact from you.

  66. Seth R. permalink
    April 9, 2012 2:16 pm

    Amanda, I would be careful about entering into an email dialogue about this. I imagine this is the same way Kramer in the video managed to lure Gifford into a one-sided debate where the critic was prepared and the Mormon wasn’t.

    If you have any questions about these supposed contradictions between the Bible and the Book of Mormon, feel free to use the resources here:

    http://www.fairlds.org

    and here:

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Main_Page

    But honestly, I think personal scripture study of both the Bible and the Book of Mormon with an open heart and mind would serve you better than getting into an email argument with someone.

  67. Seth R. permalink
    April 9, 2012 2:17 pm

    My comment got stuck in moderation.

  68. April 9, 2012 7:21 pm

    I apologize, Seth, I can’t get this out of moderation because Jessie is the author. I’ll repost what you wrote.

  69. May 1, 2013 10:03 pm

    Sorry, Seth. I was overseas and never got your comment fished out of moderation until now.

  70. May 1, 2013 10:13 pm

    Thank you for your comment, Amanda. I have read the Book of Mormon and I have a strong testimony that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. You said, “Some days my testimony feels like a dying ember. Some weeks I feel as if I’m about to completely burn out…” I do hope and pray that you will read the New Testament daily to grow in your understanding of Jesus and what He has done for us.

  71. September 29, 2015 12:50 am

    I already saw the the full video, it is now available on youtube… And I have to say that any mormon could give better answers than that Gifford guy that nobody seems to know where did he came from..
    Thinkinking on making a video refuting the whole thing if I find the time.. But it will have to be in spanish cause my english accent is really bad…
    And yeah, we read the Bible as much as christians do, I know that cause I have used to live among christians and work for them, I even marry a beatiful new born christian woman..

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