13 Comments

Questions for Mormons

Most of the people who come to my blog are Mormons, but there are some that aren’t.  I have been surprised that my 3-year old post on the Trial of Joseph’s Assassins has suddenly developed a spirited discussion.  I want to keep that post on topic, so I have decided to move some of the off-topic questions to a new post where anyone (especially non-Mormons, but Mormons) are welcome to ask questions as well.  There are no topics off limits here, but I will not tolerate insults and bad behavior.  Now, here is the relevant information you should know.

This post is a place to ask respectful questions.  It is not a place to attack.  You may ask controversial questions.  I may refer you to other posts where I have already addressed the question.  I am an active, believing member of the LDS Church, but I am not a spokesman, and my positions may not be things you would hear in Sunday School or officially endorsed by the Church.  Be sure to specify if you want MY opinion, or the OFFICIAL Church position.  (These are often the same, but not necessarily.)  I’m not really interested in rehashing the same old debates about Trinity vs Godhead, Grace vs Works, and some of those arguments that Evangelicals love to debate with Mormons that are repeated ad nauseum.  But if you really have a question about those, I will address those issues. Don’t be surprised if my positions are not what you would normally hear from a Mormon.  I am a heretic, after all, so I do have both orthodox and unorthodox beliefs.  If you are not sure whether my answer is orthodox, just ask me.

I am going to move some of the off-topic posts here where they better fit.

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13 comments on “Questions for Mormons

  1. Here is a question for you, again, I am only looking for the truth. On http://www.mormon.org, Under the heading of A Martyr the restored gospel, first paragraph last sentence. We all know that Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob, but should have had a fair trial. Why is it that this sentence say he was jailed on false charges, and what were the false charges? Also, according to The Church historian press, page 2 paragraph 6, this is were I got the reading of the stones and divining rods. “In the search for contact with the divine, the Smiths were susceptible to the folk magic that still flourishing in rural America in the 19th century. Harboring the perpetual hope of the poor for quick riches, Joseph Smith Sr. searched for lost treasures often with the help of Joseph Jr. Like many of there neighbors, The The Smiths used divining rods and seer stones, with conventional forms of christian worship. Folk magic and seer stones. Did not Joseph Smith used seer stones to translate the so call gold tablets? Again I am just trying to find the real answers. I did not say he used folk magic, I said he used seer stones. But, the family was known to use folk magic according to this paragraph. Can you see how confusing this is. The Gospel of the Lord is not supposed to be confusing. I have always understood what I have read in my bible.

  2. Another question about Mormon.org under the title of our beliefs, “God restored Christ Church through Joseph Smith.” I fully agree with the first paragraph, about how people might not believe that boy next door could restore Gods church, ans well as they might not believe that Jesus was the messiah. My question is did JS ever perform any miracles, and after his death did he descend to heaven with 500 witnesses? I guess I am trying to find out how a young man like this could be so important with out having any witnesses. In those days there were a lot of blacksmiths and foundries where a gold Tablet could have been made. Again no disrespect just looking for the truth.

  3. Why does the church persist in the home teaching program when the members clearly hate it?

  4. Unfortunately in those days and times, terrible tragedies like the tarring and feathering and hangman mobs occurred. My question is, (and I don’t mean any disrespect at all), Is why was there any conflict at all? In both Missouri and Illinois. You here of no other religious organizations at that time, Pretty much the 1800′s that dealt in so many Physical conflicts. Another answer to a comment of mine that was turned around for the person who likes to call names benefit, I said above that my Mormon Family thought all other religions were a joke, Not the LDS. I have at least 500 family members in AZ who are Mormons. Family has been in AZ for Many decades. Let me tell you, I was born in 1960, and lived in South Phoenix for a lot of my life. In the 60′s during segregation I lived among blacks, and Hispanics. A lot of these folks were my friends. I may not see eye to eye with my Mormon relatives, but they would be the first to tell you that I am not a bigot. From what I have read, it seems to me that wherever the Mormons went, they tried to change the area to adhere to their beliefs and rules. That is why I commented on, If they could invite blacks to live free in Missouri. Was it a Free state, instead I get someone calling me a bigot, when they don’t even know me? What a nice “Saint”. My church has always allowed blacks. Have you ever been to a Black Southern Baptist Church. You don’t know what you are missing. When my sister was married several years ago,in our church, one of the few Mormons who showed up collected all of the pamphlets in our foyer. We found out later she destroyed them. Is this christian like?

  5. My church has always allowed blacks.

    Yes, but they have traditionally been segregated. There are black Baptist Churches, and White Baptist Churches. They aren’t as integrated as they should be.

    Mormons have always allowed blacks to join the church as well, though we didn’t allow them to hold the priesthood from 1848-1978. (I’ll bet you didn’t know that early blacks held the priesthood as I have blogged about previously.) This happens to be one issue that Glenn and I disagree on quite strongly. I have always viewed the ban as a mistake and not God’s will, while Glenn feels the ban was God’s will.

    Have you ever been to a Black Southern Baptist Church.

    I attended a funeral for an all-black Pentecostal Church. I don’t enjoy funerals in general, but I’m sure black services are fine, and I would have no qualms about attending one if invited. There aren’t alot of black churches where I live.

    When my sister was married several years ago,in our church, one of the few Mormons who showed up collected all of the pamphlets in our foyer. We found out later she destroyed them. Is this christian like?

    No it is not. She should be ashamed to have behaved so poorly.

  6. Joseph Smith was had several miracles happen through him. When the Latter-Day Saints were driven to Commerce, Illinois, many were struck down with malaria. Joseph Smith, invoking the name of Christ, healed many in the camp.

    When he died, he didn’t ascend to heaven in front of 500 witnesses but fell to earth in front of 200 mobbers.

    He is important to Latter-Day Saints in the same way Abraham, Moses, Muhammad, and Buddha are to their adherents. The same way Prometheus is to humanity in ancient times. He brought light and knowledge from on high to mankind. Not claiming to have invented it but having received it.

  7. Why is it that this sentence say he was jailed on false charges, and what were the false charges?

    I talked about this in my post on the Nauvoo Expositor. Following the destruction of the printing press, Joseph and others were initially charged with disturbing the peace/riot. Well, just as today, disturbing the peace charges can’t be held indefinitely. Joseph knew that people wanted to kill him, so he resisted going to the jail (with good reason as it turned out.) When he was finally assured by Governor Ford that his safety would be guaranteed (we know that turned out false), Joseph turned himself in. Once he arrived in Carthage, the jailers upgraded the charge to treason, a spurious charge indeed, but one in which they could hold him in jail indefinitely. So, please tell me how destroying a printing press gets turned into a trumped-up charge of treason.

    Also, according to The Church historian press, page 2 paragraph 6, this is were I got the reading of the stones and divining rods. “In the search for contact with the divine, the Smiths were susceptible to the folk magic that still flourishing in rural America in the 19th century. Harboring the perpetual hope of the poor for quick riches, Joseph Smith Sr. searched for lost treasures often with the help of Joseph Jr. Like many of there neighbors, The The Smiths used divining rods and seer stones, with conventional forms of christian worship. Folk magic and seer stones. Did not Joseph Smith used seer stones to translate the so call gold tablets?

    Yes, I transcribed the entire Richard Bushman interview just a few months ago. The relevant parts are in part 3 and part 4. Michael Quinn has also documented this in his book on Early Mormonism and the Magic World View. Like Richard Bushman, I think this information should be more public so that it loses the sting from anti-Mormons that want to make this an issue. If God talked to Joseph through a burning bush, would that make you feel better? Are you saying that it is impossible for God to do his work any way He wants?

    I have always understood what I have read in my bible.

    Well that’s good, because I would like you to explain why God ordered the mass murder of the people of Jericho. I can’t wait for your explanation. (Feel free to add you answer to my Joshua post.

    Ok, I’m outta time. I’ll address the other questions tomorrow.

  8. anonLDS, you asked about home teaching. I’m curious why you ask the question. Do you think it is bad?

    The U.S. society is getting more and more overweight. Just because it is trending badly, does that mean we should give up trying to be healthy?

    Robert,

    My question is did JS ever perform any miracles?

    I’m going to break this up into two questions, because they aren’t necessarily related, IMO. Yes, Joseph performed healings just as Jesus did. When the saints first moved to Nauvoo, it was a swampland, and many were infected with malaria by the mosquitoes. Many were healed by Joseph and there are many accounts of his healings in pioneer journals. Most people consider the Book of Mormon to be a miracle, though that is obviously doubted by you.

    and after his death did he descend to heaven with 500 witnesses?

    To my knowledge, only Jesus Christ fits that description. No other prophets fit that description: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Amos, Ezekiel, Malachi, Jeremiah (I could keep listing them.) I don’t think descending to heaven with witnesses has ever occurred with a prophet, only with Jesus. Correct me if I’m wrong there. I’m not sure why you feel this is important.

    I guess I am trying to find out how a young man like this could be so important with out having any witnesses.

    Well, I’ve covered that, but what miracles did Amos perform to be called a prophet? Ezekiel was a visionary, not a miracle worker. Jeremiah prophesied and died in captivity. What was Obadiah famous for enough to warrant a book in the Old Testament? Not every prophet performs miracles, but we sure talk about them when they do.

    In those days there were a lot of blacksmiths and foundries where a gold Tablet could have been made. Again no disrespect just looking for the truth.

    Well, the plates were never found, so we can’t do any testing to see if they were fakes. While you’re right that I’m sure Joseph could have found a way to manufacture them, only the 11 witnesses, Joseph, and Mary Whitmer ever saw the plates (Joseph’s wife Emma wasn’t allowed to see them, though she cleaned the desk around them.) More people probably believe they never existed than that they were forged.

  9. You mean “ascended to Heaven”, I assume?

  10. I have just recently found out about JS lap desk. If the one the church has in its possession is the original then there are scientific tests that could be done that could verify that the Gold Plates were real.

    Metal sweats and it would have been absorbed by the wood. Microscopic particles of gold could have been sweated into the wood. The use of an electron microscope would show the metallic residue.

  11. Michael, I’m sure Robert meant ascended to heaven, rather than descended to heaven. He doesn’t strike me as a wordsmith, or grammar expert. He also has spelled prophet as profit, so he obviously doesn’t seem to know or care to use the right word all the time.

    Astral_LDS, please tell me more about this lap desk–I’ve never heard about it. As for metal sweating, are you saying my stainless steel silverware would leave a residue on my kitchen table? I have a hard time believing that, and I question how accurate any sort of test could be for something close to 200 years old. I also wonder if the plates were made of bronze, copper, or other alloy. I know they were golden in color, but I don’t think we can safely presume they were actually made of gold.

  12. Its supposedly where he kept the plates when he wasn’t using them. I was trying to find out the actual dimensions of the plates. The lap desk kept getting mentioned.
    It is used commonly by archaeologists. it is used on teeth and weapons to determine what people where eating. 200 years is no problem as they are finding residue of items that are 30- 40,000 years old.

    As for you silverware yes it would leave microscopic residue on you table. if your table is wood then this residue get trapped in the pores of the wood.

    I’m pretty sure that they would have been an alloy.

    heres an article that mentions the lap desk.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=024644f8f206c010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=aef870cb7de63110VgnVCM100000176f620a____

  13. Gold dust could leave residue on your desk. Anyone mine for gold back then? well Lets see…

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