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This blog was initially created by Jessica and has morphed into a multi-author blog. The authors (Jessica, Stephanie, and NChristine) are all born again Christians who have a deep desire for each Mormon to come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2008 12:51 am

    Hi Jessica I’m glad you are a fellow Christian and investigating thier claims.

    Most of the information (offline) I have about the LDS organization comes from EX Mormons.

    I hope you continue your Faith in Christ!

  2. September 29, 2008 2:27 am

    Hi there,

    Yes, I have also learned a lot about Mormonism from ex-Mormons. They can be a wealth of helpful information!

  3. rickdavid permalink
    September 30, 2008 6:07 pm

    hello Jessica,
    I am Rick b, who posts on MC blog. I was checking out you blog and noticed you seem to have lots of info on atheism. I dont know if you recall a poster on MC, who went by interested, but she is a hard core atheist. her daughter is mormon. I reply on her blog, she has a few friends who post their, like the guy named beast.

    these people are really bitter and angry, her newest topic is just for me, so implys the name. just thought I would ask you if you wanted to come and give your thoughts to these guys. her blog address is, http://www.interested01.blogspot.com. Rick b

  4. October 1, 2008 1:40 am

    Hi Rick!

    Sure, I’ll check out her blog and see if I can add my two cents…

  5. October 1, 2008 6:02 pm

    Rick,

    I think the blog title is mis-leading. I don’t think they are very interested in investigating the truth.

    Just my opinion –

  6. October 13, 2008 8:16 pm

    Hi Jessica.

    I have added your site to our blogroll on DefCon. Keep up the great work.

    Stay the course and never compromise!
    – The Pilgrim
    http://www.DefendingContending.com

  7. October 31, 2008 11:54 pm

    Thank you, Pilgrim!

    Keep up the good work on your blog!

    In Christ,

    Jessica

  8. Susan permalink
    November 21, 2008 4:51 pm

    Jessica,

    I just wanted to thank you for your kind words and prayer. I tried to reply to the message but I wasn’t sure if you would receive it, and I didn’t want to say it in a blog comment. The timing and content in your message were both an answer to prayer. God Bless you for being attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit 🙂

  9. January 13, 2009 3:57 pm

    “I love Mormons, but I have some deep concerns about some of their religious beliefs that I believe are in contradiction with the Bible. I would like to engage in respectful, meaningful conversations on topics related to the Mormon faith.”

    As I Mormon I can appreciate and respect this statement. I too like to engage in “respectful, meaningful conversations on topics related to the Mormon faith”. Given your interest and intention, I highly recommend the classic book “How Wide The Divide?”–truly respectful and meaningful conversation between an Evangelical scholar and a Mormon scholar.

    The only part of your above statement in which I would need to seek clarification of your beliefs would be your statement that some of OUR beliefs contradict the Bible. As you know, Mormons use and love the Bible and there’s not one passage of scripture we disagree with. Obviously from my point of view there is nothing in my faith which contradicts the Bible. Granted, there are parts of Mormonism which are not found in the Bible. Joseph Smith filled in some of the gaps where the Bible tends to be silent, but he clearly saw himself as doing everything in line with a true interpretation of the Bible.

    It is indeed fascinating how so many Christians who love the Bible can interpret it do differently…

  10. January 14, 2009 5:12 am

    Hi Clean Cut, 🙂

    Thanks for your comment. I wanted to respond to this that you said:

    “As you know, Mormons use and love the Bible and there’s not one passage of scripture we disagree with. Obviously from my point of view there is nothing in my faith which contradicts the Bible.”

    I’m sure, from your point of view, that is true. It is an important point you bring up about different interpretations. I really think that is the key to the differences that divide us and I think discussing Bible interpretation is a good place to find some common ground for discussion.

    I will check into the book you suggested. I would invite you to review an Evangelical understanding of sound rules for Bible interpretation here:
    http://www.theopedia.com/Interpretation_of_the_Bible

    It may help you to understand why, using traditional principles of literary interpretation (genre, intended audience, context, etc), Evangelicals get heartburn over the “Adventures in Eisegesis” of former and current Mormon prophets.

    I’ve heard mixed reviews of the book you recommended so have not been overly eager to check it out. What did you like most about it?

  11. January 15, 2009 7:28 pm

    What did I like most about “How Wide the Divide?” I can’t say enough great things in this space and how I think it should be an absolute required read for any Evangelical and for every Latter-day Saint. For me, it has been a watershed experience in terms of interfaith understanding and dialogue. Things that I’ve recently learned about Evangelicals have been made more clear, and parts of past conversations that I’ve participated in which perplexed me now make much more sense. Since I’ve taken up an interest in interfaith dialogue and mutual understanding, it was priceless to get a scholarly and articulate understanding from an Evangelical, and the same from a Mormon. It’s was a fascinating read, and one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. I’m still finding much of significance that would greatly help to serve for mutual understanding.

    I wrote on my own blog that “LDS Christians should read it so that we’re all on the same page, and Evangelical Christians should read it to better understand the facts of what we do and do not believe. Both “sides” should read it to better understand each other and to recognize where we actually, and perhaps surprisingly, agree, and where we indeed have disagreements. Sometimes what is understood by what we say isn’t exactly what we mean, since we use different theological vocabularies. This is a step toward becoming theologically “bilingual”. I highly recommend, if you haven’t done so already, that you get this book! If you have already read it, what are your thoughts? What has been your experience since reading it?”

  12. February 6, 2009 12:17 am

    I actually found some of the reviews of How Wide the Divide in the FARMS review more interesting than the book itself–especially Blake Ostler’s and David Paulsen’s contributions. The reviews of How Wide the Divide in the FARMS review can be found here:

    http://farms.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=11&num=2

    Moreover, if I were to recommend a book (or series of books) to someone desiring to understand Mormonism’s relationship to the broader Judeo-Christian tradition of which it is a part, I would recommend Blake Ostler’s volumes of Exploring Mormon Thought. Richard Sherlock’s review of the series (which, unfortunately doesn’t discuss the most recently published third volume) may be found here:

    http://farms.byu.edu/publications/review/?vol=18&num=1&id=608

    The fourth volume has not been published yet.

    Lastly, Blake’s website may be found here:

    http://blakeostler.com/

    The website also has a number of free articles and presentations for download.

    Best wishes,

    TYD

  13. MadChemist permalink
    February 8, 2009 5:32 am

    Jessica.
    About your “sound rules of biblical interpretation,” Although many of these tactics can be useful, I would feel uncomfortable using these rules as the “end all.” These rules are all ‘ad hoc’, constructed post biblical construction, change from time to time with scholarly opinion, and most are not directly found within the Bible itself.

    In addition to “How Wide the divide” (which you defintely should read), you can add to your Mormon/Evangelical dialogue, “Bridging the Divide” and “Claiming Christ. You should also probably read “Are Mormon’s Christian?”. Each of these books adds a part and parcel to truly understanding Mormons, instead of villifying them. Robinson’s “Are Mormon’s Christians” shows how the inconsistent and unfair applications of rules of defining “Christianity” could be used to exclude anyone with whom you don’t agree. This is the first book you should read. Then Robinson and Blomberg’s “How wide the Divide.” This book did get mixed reviews, but as Lee Stromlin points out in “The problem with physics,” Good teachers (authors, people) will get mixed reviews: It shows they’re not pandering to everyone. I personally liked the book while not agreeing with everything the authors said. My perception is that many Evangelicals did not like the book because they thought “Their guy” got creamed in a debate, even though the book was not about debate, it was about learning dialects. For many Mormons, Blomberg introduces Evangelical concepts from an Evangelical viewpoint. The same is true for Evangelicals and Mormon thought. Which is why so many counter-cult propagandists are against the book. If people read the book and come to an informed opinion themselves, there will be no need for hate mongers like Bill McKeever, and he’ll lose his bread and butter (gullible evangelicals who buy his cr@p and believe it.)

    Bridging the divide is a much more conversational book. Not even close to a debate.
    This book is nice because it provides an example of learning, disagreeing, but doing so in a civil tone (I have no idea how to provide links, but go to cleancuts blog on convicted civility). My personal favorite was when the Evangelical misquoted a non-canonical statement, and Millet lovingly corrected it. The Evangelical was gracious in accepting the correction, and was pleased in having learned something that day.

    Finally, any perceived inadequacies in Blombergs defense of Evangelism can be dispelled by reading McDermott and Millet’s “Claiming Christ.” In this ‘debate’ book, it is really only one-sided. It seems like Millet only wants to have a converation, but McDermott turns it into a theological punching match. From a debaters point of view, McDermott wins, but (imo, of course) not a logical standpoint. One learns from the text, but one also observes the result based on the intention. Millet comes of as very loving, trying to understand Evangelicals and trying to explain ourselves. McDermott comes of as judgemental, arrogant, and unhelpful. Even if Millet lost “the debate” he still won the war, because to us, he appears to be following Jesus better in his actions.

    I’m sure you’ll see all of these books differently, and I look forward to your reaction to them in future blog posts!

  14. February 9, 2009 4:21 am

    Thanks for the book suggestions, MadChemist. I’ve read Are Mormons Christians? and should probably write a review of it in a blog post sometime. I have a huge list of books to read and I seem to keep adding to it…. 🙂 Thanks for your comments.

  15. February 9, 2009 5:26 am

    I didn’t like “Claiming Christ” as much as the other suggestions from MadChemist.

    I agree with the assessment that Millet came to that book looking for a friendly affirming chat, and McDermott came looking for a theological debate. But I don’t lay all blame on McDermott for that, or hold Millet entirely blameless either. I find McDermott to be a bit too confrontational. But I also find Millet to sometimes be a little too evasive (and no Darrell, I do not think – as I have heard you express – that Millet is deliberately sneaky or dishonest).

    I think the book actually highlights some problems with Mormon-Evangelical interactions:

    Evangelicals are too hostile and in-your-face while the Mormons are too evasive about differences in the name of “reaching out.”

    As a result, to use the most derogatory terms – Evangelicals look like pure jerks to the Mormons, and the Mormons look like liars to the Evangelicals.

    Both labels are equally unfair and probably false. But both labels have their genesis in a smidgen of truth.

  16. MadChemist permalink
    February 10, 2009 3:44 am

    Good points Seth. I didn’t mean to imply that Millet was blameless, a very good point to make.

    Jessica,
    Glad you like the comment and the suggestions. I would further request that any post you do on “AMC” would be multi-part, that way we could break it down into smaller portions that we could actually talk about.

  17. March 31, 2009 4:41 pm

    Hi, Jessica! God bless you in your endeavors to reach the lost in the LDS faith. I was a mormon for 19 yrs, and in the fall of 2007 I completely surrendered my life to King Jesus! Praise His name! Many LDS are leaving the LDS church. Figures show 77,000 left in 2007! God is doing a great work!
    I am glad I found your blog too!
    God bless,
    Gloria
    John 3:16

  18. June 21, 2009 3:47 am

    Thank you and bless you for listing my “365 Reasons” blog. I really appreciate it.

    Yours and His,
    Latayne C Scott
    http://www.latayne.com

  19. June 21, 2009 4:02 am

    Hi Latayne!

    I recently got your book The Mormon Mirage and just love it. You write with such kindness and clarity. God has clearly gifted you with writing and sharing His truth. I’m so happy you came over here and said hello. God bless you dear sister!

    In Christ,
    Jessica

  20. June 21, 2009 4:13 am

    I was so happy to discover your blog.

    I’d be so honored if you’d consider writing a review of The Mormon Mirage for Amazon, B&N, Christian Book.com, etc.

    Also — not sure if you know about my novel about Mormonism. Perhaps it might be of interest to you too.

    Your sister
    Latayne

  21. June 21, 2009 4:33 am

    I would love to write a review of the book when I’m finished with it. It might be awhile, though, because one of my priority reads right now is the Book of Mormon. I feel it’s very important for me to study it cover-to-cover if I expect to understand and effectively communicate with LDS.

    I have read a little bit about your novel on the guest post you did over at Mormon Coffee. It sounds very interesting!

    With Love,
    Jessica

  22. Eliza permalink
    September 7, 2010 8:39 pm

    I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or, popularly called by non-members, a Mormon. Hopefully you caught that title. Jesus Christ is the Keystone of our religion. Have you ever actually read The Book of Mormon? Have you ever read why Joseph Smith prayed in a grove of trees at the age of 14? I have included a direct quote from him about his experience at the end of this paragraph. Surely, if you want to know the mind of “Mormons”, you have to read this and The Book of Mormon first, and pray to know with sincerity of heart if The Book of Mormon is truly a Second Testament of Jesus Christ before any of us would probably take you seriously in your quest. As for ex-Mormons, well, it’s not an entirely intelligent person that goes to the enemy of a person to learn truth about that person. Most ex-Mormons have been involved in immoral or illegal activities and have been kicked out of the church because they refuse to repent or put away the unrighteous practices, opinions, etc. that are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My husband used to be a Baptist and converted to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as did his entire family.
    These events occurred around 1820. Happy reading.

    “Some time in the second year after our removal to Manchester, there was in the place where we lived an unusual excitement on the subject of religion. It commenced with the Methodists, but soon became general among all the sects in that region of country. Indeed, the whole district of country seemed affected by it, and great multitudes united themselves to the different religious parties, which created no small stir and division amongst the people, some crying, “Lo, here!” and others, “Lo, there!” Some were contending for the Methodist faith, some for the Presbyterian, and some for the Baptist.
    For, notwithstanding the great love which the converts to these different faiths expressed at the time of their conversion, and the great zeal manifested by the respective clergy, who were active in getting up and promoting this extraordinary scene of religious feeling, in order to have everybody converted, as they were pleased to call it, let them join what sect they pleased; yet when the converts began to file off, some to one party and some to another, it was seen that the seemingly good feelings of both the priests and the converts were more pretended than real; for a scene of great confusion and bad feeling ensued—priest contending against priest, and convert against convert; so that all their good feelings one for another, if they ever had any, were entirely lost in a strife of words and a contest about opinions.
    I was at this time in my fifteenth year. My father’s family was proselyted to the Presbyterian faith, and four of them joined that church, namely, my mother, Lucy; my brothers Hyrum and Samuel Harrison; and my sister Sophronia.
    During this time of great excitement my mind was called up to serious reflection and great uneasiness; but though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties, though I attended their several meetings as often as occasion would permit. In process of time my mind became somewhat partial to the Methodist sect, and I felt some desire to be united with them; but so great were the confusion and strife among the different denominations, that it was impossible for a person young as I was, and so unacquainted with men and things, to come to any certain conclusion who was bright and who was wrong.
    My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The Presbyterians were most decided against the Baptists and Methodists, and used all the powers of both reason and sophistry to prove their errors, or, at least, to make the people think they were in error. On the other hand, the Baptists and Methodists in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others.
    In the midst of this war of words and tumult of opinions, I often said to myself: What is to be done? Who of all these parties are right; or, are they all wrong together? If any one of them be aright, which is it, and how shall I know it?
    While I was laboring under the extreme difficulties caused by the contests of these parties of religionists, I was one day reading the Epistle of James, first chapter and fifth verse, which reads: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
    Never did any passage of scripture come with more power to the heart of man than this did at this time to mine. It seemed to enter with great force into every feeling of my heart. I reflected on it again and again, knowing that if any person needed wisdom from God, I did; for how to act I did not know, and unless I could get more wisdom than I then had, I would never know; for the teachers of religion of the different sects understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible.
    At length I came to the conclusion that I must either remain in darkness and confusion, or else I must do as James directs, that is, ask of God. I at length came to the determination to “ask of God,” concluding that if he gave wisdom to them that lacked wisdom, and would give liberally, and not upbraid, I might venture.
    So, in accordance with this, my determination to ask of God, I retired to the woods to make the attempt. It was on the morning of a beautiful, clear day, early in the spring of eighteen hundred and twenty. It was the first time in my life that I had made such an attempt, for amidst all my anxieties I had never as yet made the attempt to pray vocally.
    After I had retired to the place where I had previously designed to go, having looked around me, and finding myself alone, I kneeled down and began to offer up the desires of my heart to God. I had scarcely done so, when immediately I was seized upon by some power which entirely overcame me, and had such an astonishing influence over me as to bind my tongue so that I could not speak. Thick darkness gathered around me, and it seemed to me for a time as if I were doomed to sudden destruction.
    But, exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me out of the power of this enemy which had seized upon me, and at the very moment when I was ready to sink into despair and abandon myself to destruction—not to an imaginary ruin, but to the power of some actual being from the unseen world, who had such marvelous power as I had never before felt in any being—just at this moment of great alarm, I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me.
    It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!
    My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that all were wrong)—and which I should join.
    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. When I came to myself again, I found myself lying on my back, looking up into heaven. When the light had departed, I had no strength; but soon recovering in some degree, I went home. And as I leaned up to the fireplace, mother inquired what the matter was. I replied, “Never mind, all is well—I am well enough off.” I then said to my mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” It seems as though the adversary was aware, at a very early period of my life, that I was destined to prove a disturber and an annoyer of his kingdom; else why should the powers of darkness combine against me? Why the opposition and persecution that arose against me, almost in my infancy?
    Some preachers and other professors of religion reject account of First Vision—Persecution heaped upon Joseph Smith—He testifies of the reality of the vision. (Verses 21-26.)
    Some few days after I had this vision, I happened to be in company with one of the Methodist preachers, who was very active in the before mentioned religious excitement; and, conversing with him on the subject of religion, I took occasion to give him an account of the vision which I had had. I was greatly surprised at his behavior; he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in these days; that all such things had ceased with the apostles, and that there would never be any more of them.
    I soon found, however, that my telling the story had excited a great deal of prejudice against me among professors of religion, and was the cause of great persecution, which continued to increase; and though I was an obscure boy, only between fourteen and fifteen years of age, and my circumstances in life such as to make a boy of no consequence in the world, yet men of high standing would take notice sufficient to excite the public mind against me, and create a bitter persecution; and this was common among all the sects—all united to persecute me.
    It caused me serious reflection then, and often has since, how very strange it was that an obscure boy, of a little over fourteen years of age, and one, too, who was doomed to the necessity of obtaining a scanty maintenance by his daily labor, should be thought a character of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the great ones of the most popular sects of the day, and in a manner to create in them a spirit of the most bitter persecution and reviling. But strange or not, so it was, and it was often the cause of great sorrow to myself.
    However, it was nevertheless a fact that I had beheld a vision. I have thought since, that I felt much like Paul, when he made his defense before King Agrippa, and related the account of the vision he had when he saw a light, and heard a voice; but still there were but few who believed him; some said he was dishonest, others said he was mad; and he was ridiculed and reviled. But all this did not destroy the reality of his vision. He had seen a vision, he knew he had, and all the persecution under heaven could not make it otherwise; and though they should persecute him unto death, yet he knew, and would know to his latest breath, that he had both seen a light and heard a voice speaking unto him, and all the world could not make him think or believe otherwise.
    So it was with me. I had actually seen a light, and in the midst of that light I saw two Personages, and they did in reality speak to me; and though I was hated and persecuted for saying that I had seen a vision, yet it was true; and while they were persecuting me, reviling me, and speaking all manner of evil against me falsely for so saying, I was led to say in my heart: Why persecute me for telling the truth? I have actually seen a vision; and who am I that I can withstand God, or why does the world think to make me deny what I have actually seen? For I had seen a vision; I knew it, and I knew that God knew it, and I could not deny it, neither dared I do it; at least I knew that by so doing I would offend God, and come under condemnation.
    I had now got my mind satisfied so far as the sectarian world was concerned—that it was not my duty to join with any of them, but to continue as I was until further directed. I had found the testimony of James to be true—that a man who lacked wisdom might ask of God, and obtain, and not be upbraided.”

  23. September 7, 2010 11:07 pm

    Eliza ~ Welcome to the blog. I can’t speak for the authors of this blog, but personally I have read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it.

    You said:

    As for ex-Mormons, well, it’s not an entirely intelligent person that goes to the enemy of a person to learn truth about that person.

    I think that when one is about to make a substantial investment of one’s money or a commitment of one’s time (buying a car, joining a political activist organization, etc.), talking to people who have had bad experiences with the product or organization as well as good is the most intelligent thing anyone can do. No company or organization is going to be up front about its failings or shortcomings with potential customers or members.

    Religion really isn’t much different.

    Out of curiosity, you said your husband and his family were Baptist before they were LDS. Have you never tried to learn anything about the Baptist faith from your husband? Or has he simply deferred and insisted that you talk to a current Baptist since he’s an ex-member of that faith?

    Most ex-Mormons have been involved in immoral or illegal activities and have been kicked out of the church because they refuse to repent or put away the unrighteous practices, opinions, etc. that are contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    My experience with ex-Mormons has been entirely different. Most of them are either people who gradually and quietly drifted away from their faith or people who were quite active in the religion up until learning things about LDS history that troubled them, with their explorations of LDS history acting as a catalyst for their loss of faith. Some of them were troubled by current LDS teaching and policy. Very few of them were “kicked out” at all, let alone for illegal or immoral activities. They usually stop attending or have their names removed on their own.

    Besides, when the LDS church finds one of its members engaging in illegal activities, I really hope it notifies the proper authorities rather than merely excommunicating the person.

  24. September 8, 2010 5:53 am

    Hi Eliza!

    Welcome to the blog! 🙂 I do hope you will have some time to participate in the conversations we have here. In answer to your question – yes, I have read the Book of Mormon and prayed about it. You can read some of my thoughts, if you would like. I blogged about my studies of Alma’s conversion and the concept of churches established prior to Christ. I have also researched the method of translation that Joseph used and God has testified to my mind and heart that the book is not inspired by Him. I have read the various accounts of Joseph Smith’s vision, along with statements from early Mormon leaders, that have led me to conclude that the “official” version of the vision (the one that you shared) is not a reliable historical account of what actually took place.

    I was wondering if you have you read the New Testament? If not, I would like to invite you to prayerfully read through it. There are numerous passages in the Book of Mormon that are lifted word-for-word right from the New Testament (KJV). I think the presence of inspired text in the Book of Mormon has caused many people to be confused when reading it (because some sections truly are inspired!). 🙂 When I think about the non-inspired parts of the BOM, though, it seems to me like mainly one really long, boring war saga after another. It’s especially hard for me to read the war sagas knowing that none of the Book of Mormon cities or people have been authenticated in history or archeology. The LDS church does not even provide a map in the Book of Mormon because the events cannot be located anywhere on earth! This is very different from the places and people in the Bible. Every Bible has a map because we know where the cities are! We can go to Jerusalem and see where Jesus walked and visit the place that is believed to be the site of His empty tomb.

    More importantly, reading the New Testament introduced me to Jesus and how I could have a personal relationship with Him. I used to struggle with a lack of assurance of my salvation until I finally came to understand, through prayer and reading the scriptures, that Jesus has promised eternal life to all those who trust in Him for salvation. There was nothing I could do to “earn” His free gift of righteousness; it had to simply be received in childlike faith (Romans 5:17-18). Ever since coming to this assurance of salvation, Jesus has filled me with peace and joy and given me a desire to share His love with those who haven’t yet come to know Him in this way. I know there are Mormons who do not have a personal relationship with Christ like I have and so I want to share from the scriptures the hope that I have.

    The Bible assures us that we can know that we have eternal life with God forever. What good news! Every man-made religion in the world teaches various kinds of works that we must do to merit eternal life. When you think long and hard about the laws of your religion, is it really possible that you can be perfect enough to merit salvation in the celestial kingdom? Have you really done all that you could do? The gospel Jesus preached is entirely different. He said, “He that heareth my word, and believeth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). The people Jesus preached to had a hard time receiving this message (just as many religious people do today). They wanted to earn their own way by doing good works so they asked Jesus what work they could do. Jesus told them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (John 6:29).

    The apostle Paul explained that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works “lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). God’s plan is clear in the New Testament – salvation is God’s free gift by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

    I hope and pray that all LDS reading this will trust in Jesus and not a religion!

  25. faithoffathers permalink
    September 10, 2010 1:55 am

    Jessica,

    I don’t remember if we have discussed the topic of the Urim and Thummim before, but I just wanted to point out some interesting information since you mention it.

    The Urim and Thummim is a topic to which very little attention and research have been devoted. Academic/historical understanding has been very limited.

    The definitive work on the topic is a book entitled The Urim and Thummim: A Means of Revelation in Ancient Israel by Dr. Cornelius Van Dam from the Theological Colleges of the Canadian Rerformed Churches. It is the most extensive, authoritative investigation into the history and role of the Urim and Thummim ever undertaken.

    In his work, Van Dam reports:

    A special or miraculous light was somehow involved in the functioning of the UT, possibly through some kind of stone, in order to verify that the message given by the high priest was from Yahweh.

    He quotes Targum Pseudo Jonathan on Exodus 28:30:
    “And you shall put into the breastplate the Urim, which illuminate their words and make manifest the hidden things of the House of Israeal, and the Tumim [sic] which perfect their deeds, for te High Priest who seeks instruction from the Lord through them. ”

    He quotes an ancient Rabbi, Moshe ben Nahman:

    “[W]hen the priest fixed his thoughts on the divine names in the Urim, some letters engraved upon the stones of the breastpiece would light up before the eyes of the priest who inquired of their judgment. Not yet knowing he correct arrangement of the letters to form the response, the priest would fix his thought on the divine names in the Thummim, and his heart was made perfect so that he could understand the meaning of the letters that had lit up.”

    Sounds a lot like what Joseph claimed- that the revelation from God came as he focused his mind and heart. He had to have a pure heart.

    Van Dam suggests from several ancient sources that light emanated from the Urim and Thummim and was a key element of the revelation process.

    He also concludes that the revelation that came through the Urim and Thummim was not just the simple yes/no answers to questions like has been thought for the last 100-300 years. He argues the revelations were more general and developed- basically- whatever God wanted His servant to understand and communicate to Israel.

    Van Dam even speculates from his research that the Urim and Thummim may have been a gemstone.

    With all this in mind, I have absolutely no problem with the description of Joseph using a hat to block out daylight, allowing him to see the words glowing on the stone.

    Just thought you might be interested in this information.

    fof

  26. September 10, 2010 3:35 am

    Hi FOF,

    Thank you for sharing this information. Yes, I believe we have discussed it before, but it was a good refresher nonetheless. The article I linked to in my comment also discusses the Urim and Thummim. I’m not sure if you saw that – it is down near the end of the article at this link.

    The fact that Joseph used the same seer stone for his money-digging activities makes an attempted parallel with the Biblical Urim and Thummim very difficult. The court document we have is also very interesting – showing that he was arrested and jailed for his apparently deceptive practice of getting people to believe there was treasure where none, in fact, actually existed. I believe he was able to turn this deceptive practice to his advantage when he started a religion by getting people to believe in his hidden plates, hidden sources of supposed knowledge, etc.

    I was pondering Jesus’ warning in Matthew 24:23-26 the other day. He told us not to pay attention when deceivers come in the last days claiming that Jesus has come and appeared in some secret place. He said He would come in a very public way where everyone would see Him. He doesn’t act in secret. That’s how the devil works – secretive and deceptive.

    Grace and Peace my fellow blogger and thinker,

    Jessica

  27. faithoffathers permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:42 pm

    Jessica,

    Do you know whether Joseph was convicted?

    The evidence would suggest he was not.

    Being accused of something does not prove guilt. That point cannot be emphasized too much. Your characterization of his “getting people to believe there was treasure where none, in fact, actually existed” is really stretching history.

    Yes, I went to the link you provided and found the very standard and customary information. That is why I posted my response.

    My point was that claiming that the means by which the Book of Mormon was translated was “not of God” is an uninformed claim that does not consider how God has provided revelation in the past.

    Thanks,

    fof

  28. September 11, 2010 8:22 pm

    FoF,

    Do you have Van Dam’s book?

    Does he describe the Urim and Thummim as “two transparent stones set in the rim of a [silver] bow fastened to a breast plate”?

    Does Moshe ben Nahman the 13th century AD Spanish Rabbi describe the Urim and Thummim as “two transparent stones set in the rim of a [silver] bow fastened to a breast plate”?

  29. January 17, 2011 5:30 am

    Hi Jessica,

    I love your blog!

    As a former Mormon, and now Born Again Christian, I am always touched when Christians contend the faith with love to Mormons. Without your commitment to share the truth about the gosple, people like me would have never known about the satisfaction and peace that comes in knowing Jesus Christ. So be encouraged! And know your time spent sharing truth is not in vain.

    In Him, Malinda

  30. HRW permalink
    August 16, 2011 10:59 pm

    Hi Jessica,
    I’m Chinese and I used to be a vehement atheist attacking Christianity. However, about an year ago, something seemed to be pricking at my inner thoughts while I was playing a videogame (was playing very bad). Then I felt really unhappy for a while. After that, I felt I was searching for an answer for the purpose of life. I got into Christianity and reading the Bible. I also request a copy of the Book of Mormon. After a couple of weeks of the request, two young missionaries came to my house. Since that I’ve been studying both the scriptures and the book of the Mormon by myself and with them. I felt things changing inside me. I also the frankness and openness of the two missionaries. Now, I do not think I’m a Christian yet, I feel that I still many doubts and questions. I now pray almost daily and hope to find hope and purpose.
    HRW

  31. beyond our own faith permalink
    October 21, 2011 6:45 am

    It’s incredible to know that I am not the only one out there! I fell in love with a Mormon boy and unfortunately he was taken from me because his mother didn’t agree with the fact that he would not make me Mormon. It made me really question what I believed in and now I’m on a spiritual journey to honestly know the truth. It’s incredible to see that I’m not the only one out there trying to find the answers to Mormonism, and a true desire to spread the true Gospel. I have nothing against Mormons, I truly genuinely care for all of them. Over half of my family is Mormon and my mom was raised that way(but she left). Mormonism has been around me my entire life, and now, I want to know the truth.

    But it’s great to know that I’m not the only one out there.

  32. August 1, 2012 11:02 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to submit http://www.ldsvideo.org for your consideration, maybe you could find it useful. Thanks,
    Michael

  33. October 11, 2013 6:40 am

    Ex Mormons do not necessarily know everything. Just because someone says they were (insert any religion name) for x number of years does not mean they understood the doctrine/teachings
    of said religion. Especially if they did not study or do any research on their own outside of Sunday services.

  34. Diana permalink
    October 31, 2013 5:47 am

    In regards to the comment above, many “ex-mormons” have studied and researched Mormonism extensively before they leave. Contrary to what many Mormons would like to believe, those who leave the religion often do after a time of serious contemplation, prayer and study. As a former Mormon, I can say wholeheartedly that my exit from Mormonism was not due to a lack of research; it was in fact in reading a Mormon sanctioned book about Joseph Smith that first started me down the path to freedom. During my time of research and analyses, I counterbalanced what I read regarding the history of the church and of the prophets with lds.org – and in so doing, and after much prayer and heartache, I left the Mormon religion and have since become a born again Christian. If only everyone stuck in a dominating legalistic religion could know the freedom and simplicity of Jesus Christ.

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