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I'm a Christian, married to a wonderful man, Steven, and mother to a wonderful little son. I have many interests and a few noteworthy journeys in life and I enjoy sharing them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Deceptive Book of Mormon

When missionaries show up at someone's house, one of the things they ask almost unfailingly, if a person is willing to listen to them, is that the person read the Book of Mormon and ask God sincerely if its true. If the Book of Mormon is true, the implication is that the rest of the Mormon church is true.

However, when Mormonism began and the Book of Mormon came to light, the early church wasn't seeking to bring out the new and bold doctrine that exists today. Instead, their claim to fame was that they had the truth of the Gospel without human embellishments. The early church had a more orthodox view of God and the Gospel and was not far off from Biblical Christianity. It was supposed to be a restoration of original Christianity, not a religion with brand new (and often very different) doctrines. Their "restoration" didn't have it all correct, but it wasn't as extreme as it is today.

Later in Joseph Smith's life teachings like the eternal progression of gods, temple ceremonies, polygamy and other strange doctrines surfaced. Some of these began early on, but it really wasn't until the end of Joseph Smith's life that they were taught often and believed by many followers. The doctrines are still part of the church today.

So, when a missionary asks someone to pray about the Book of Mormon, a few things happen. First of all, they're praying about a book that really isn't too far off from the Bible--in fact, much of it was borrowed from the King James Bible. If they get good feelings about the Book of Mormon, then they  believe all of Mormonism to be true, even though the Book of Mormon includes none of the stranger doctrines nor all of the strict expectations that make up the church today. Most of the stranger doctrines aren't talked about with investigators, and aren't even spoken of too much in Sacrament Meeting every Sunday. A missionary won't usually knock on someone's door and tell them that they can become a god if they become a faithful Mormon. They won't tell them that the Doctrine and Covenants section commanding polygamy is still in the scriptures and the Joseph Smith had many wives, assuming the missionary even knows it. They won't tell them about the rituals within the temple, and maybe not even all of the strict requirements--only that the temple rituals are necessary and desired.

Not only that, but when they tell you that you will receive a burning in the bosom confirming the truth of the Book of Mormon if you pray sincerely, then an interesting mental games begins. If you don't get feelings, were you not sincere enough? If you get bad feelings about it, is there something wrong with you?

The idea about praying about the truth of the Book of Mormon comes from the Book of Mormon itself. If the Book of Mormon is not of God, then could the answer you receive in prayer not be of God? You don't have to pray about whether or not the Bible is true, do you? You don't have to pray about other holy books, do you? If you want to know the truth of those books, you do your research and learn about them. Even Mormons won't pray about whether they know the Koran or any other religious text is true because they already know that its not. We shouldn't pray about the Book of Mormon, but should instead research it, for the same reasons.

If you don't do your research, and don't know Biblical doctrine well and do some research on the church, its very easy to be deceived by all this. You don't realize that the First Vision is an impossibility because of the Trinity (and interestingly, the current version of the First Vision was not the first version Joseph Smith told, and the other versions were vastly different). You don't realize that they believe in many gods but worship only one, which is in direct contradiction to the strict monotheism of the Bible. You don't realize that feelings can be deceptive and unreliable in proving truth, if used alone--logic, reason, scripture, etc. should agree with your feelings, assuming the feelings even come first when seeking truth.

Good feelings about the Book of Mormon cannot and most certainly do not prove that the rest of Mormonism is true, or even that the Book of Mormon itself is true.

Ask, "Would you pray about the Koran? Why not?"

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