Mormons and the Bible: Missing Scripture and Inerrancy

Related Posts: Mormons and the Bible: King James Version and the JST; Mormons and the Bible: Reuben Clark’s 16 Points

The traditional Protestant Bible consists of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament (OT) and 27 in the New Testament (NT). The Greek word for testament is “diatheke…[which] in classical Greek [means] an arrangement, and therefore sometimes a will or testament, as in an arrangement for disposal of a person’s property after his death.” (“Bible”, LDS Bible dictionary). Diatheke corresponds to an OT word meaning covenant.


The LDS Quadruple Combination

The LDS’ attitude toward the Bible is stated in our Articles of Faith: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (Articles of Faith 1:8). The LDS cannon is referred to as the Standard Works which consists of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.

FYI: when these books are bound into a single volume it is referred to as a quad.
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The First Vision

Related Posts: Godhead: God or Gods?; Who is Jesus?—to a Mormon; Whom do we Worship?; The Trinity

Joseph Smith’s first revelatory experience is known among Mormons as the first vision. Joseph’s four known accounts of this experience are from 1842, 1838, 1835, and 1832. These accounts were either written by Joseph himself or were dictated by him to a scribe.

The first vision experience

Between the age of fourteen and fifteen Joseph began to wonder which of all the religious denominations is correct, and was concerned about his own standing before God. One night as he was reading the Bible he came First Visionacross a passage from the book of James: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God” (James 1:5). Joseph decided to do as James suggested and pray for guidance. He writes, “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” (JS-History 1:12). With these questions in mind he retired one morning to a secluded place to pray. As he began to offer his prayer Continue reading

Images, Icons, and the Christian Cross

Related Posts: Mormon Temple Garments; Christ, The Nature of; Mormon Temple Worship

Modern Christian Symbols

The cross has symbolic and/or liturgical use in nearly every Christian denomination. It has many iconic forms such as the crux immissa (), crux simplex (|), crux decussata (X), crux commissa (T), and the Greek forms (+). A cross that has an image of the body of Christ hanging on it is known as a crucifix. Most Protestant denominations do not use this symbol, but instead use an empty cross to symbolize Christ’s resurrection.[1]

CrossThe Christian writer Tertullian (circa A.D. 200) says in his Apology, “if any of you think we render superstitious adoration to the cross, in that adoration he is sharer with us” (Apology 16), referring to the Christian practice of using the cross as part of the worship of God and to the pagan tendency to worship images that in form resemble a cross.[2] Christians were generally reluctant to display any outward Christian symbols for fear of persecution. But after Christianity became universally recognized (A.D. 313) the public display of crosses became common. Continue reading

Is Mormonism Christian?

Related Posts: Four Important Early Christian Creeds; Mormonism and Creeds of Christendom; The Trinity; The Nature of Christ; Godhead: God or Gods?

Whether or not one thinks of Mormonism as Christian can depend largely on where one stands in the debate. Mormons would like to be thought of as Christian by others, and I suspect that many non-Mormon Christians do, but many well educated Protestants and Catholics do not. So on what basis is Mormonism Christian or not Christian? In a debate with Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game, Dr. Albert Mohler argues, “Are Mormons ‘Christians’ as defined by traditional Christian orthodoxy? The answer to that question is easy and straightforward, and it is ‘no.’” (debate here) But why does he view Mormonism as affirmably non-Christian? He writes,

The orthodox consensus of the Christian church is defined in terms of its historic creeds and doctrinal affirmations. Two great doctrines stand as the central substance of that consensus. Throughout the centuries, the doctrines concerning the Trinity and the nature of Christ have constituted that foundation, and the church has used these definitional doctrines as the standard for identifying true Christianity…Normative Christianity is defined by the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the other formulas of the doctrinal consensus. These doctrines are understood by Christians to be rooted directly within the Bible and rightly affirmed by all true believers in all places and throughout all time…The major divisions within Christian history (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism) disagree over important issues of doctrine, but all affirm the early church’s consensus concerning the nature of Christ and the Trinitarian faith. These are precisely what Mormonism rejects. (“Mormonism is Not Christianity“)

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The Trinity

Related Posts: Four Important Early Christian Creeds; Mormonism and Creeds of Christendom; Is Mormonism Christian?; Whom do we Worship?; The Nature of Christ; The First Vision; Godhead: God or Gods?

In this post the word Trinity to refers to the conventional Christian sense, not the LDS sense.

The first Article of Faith in the (LDS) church is, “We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” In Joseph Smith’s first revelatory experience he saw God the Father and Jesus Christ: “I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air” (JS-History 1:17). Thus it was established early on in the church that the Father and Son were not of one essence or of the same substance. The clearest expression of this belief is this: “the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit” (D&C 130:22). Our belief in the physicality of God’s person cannot admit a rational three-Persons-concurring-in-one-Being view of God.

Does the Book of Mormon teach a Trinitarian view of the Godhead?

One passage often quoted by anti-Mormon writers is 2 Nephi 31:21. There Nephi says,

[Christ is the only] name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end.

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Four Important Early Christian Creeds

Related Posts: Mormonism and the Creeds of Christendom.

President Hinckley said “Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “We Look to Christ,” Liahona, July 2002). So I thought it might be of interest to include four important creeds.

The text for each of these creeds is taken from the Creeds of Christendom, by Philip Schaff. The words in brackets are from Schaff; they present clarification and/or latter additions to the text. Continue reading

Mormonism and the Creeds of Christendom

Related articles: The Trinity; Is Mormonism Christian?; Four Important Early Christian Creeds; The Nature of Christ

All Christendom agrees that the Bible is a fundamental source for church doctrine and practice. In many of the Protestant churches it is the sole authority; as such all creeds are subordinate to the Word of God. The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches hold that both tradition and scripture is the repository of authority and practice for the Christian faith; in these matters tradition and scripture are coordinate. However, despite these differences historical Christianity has two sources of common agreement: the Bible and the early Christian creeds. (See Four Important Early Christian Creeds.) Continue reading

Capital Punishment, Blood Atonement, and Vigilantism

On the issue of capital punishment Nephite law was very clear: “If a man murdered he should die” (Alma 42:19; See also 2 Nephi 9:35; Alma 27:6-9). The first example of execution in the book of Mormon is Nehor who was condemned to die for the murder of Gideon. At the execution the chief Judge Alma stated, “were we to spare thee[, Nehor,] his blood would come upon us for vengeance” (Alma 1:13). In another case the leader of an army of robbers and thieves by the name of Zemnarihah had been captured. “They…hanged him until he was dead.” Exulting in the execution of this man “[they] did cry with a loud voice, saying: May the Lord preserve his people in righteousness and in holiness of heart, that they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations, even as this man hath been felled to the earth” (3 Nephi 4:28-30). Continue reading

Creation ex nihilo

Related posts: Immutable, Omnipresence; Omniscience; The Fall of Man: Defense of the Doctrine; Election

Creation ex nihilo refers to the act of God creating all things (other than himself), without the aid of and precluding the existence of any primeval matter. In simple terms it means creation out of nothing. This concept is accepted by most Christian denominations including the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and Protestant denominations.
Hebrews 11:3 is a common defense of this belief. It reads, “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Or as it reads in the New American Standard Bible, “that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (See also 2 Macc. 7:28). Continue reading

Adam-ondi-Ahman and Garden of Eden

Related Posts: The Fall of Man: The Doctrine; Adam-God Theory

It is believed among Mormons that the garden of Eden was located in the area around Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. About 60 miles north of Independence is a place called Adam-ondi-Ahman. It is believed that this is where Adam and Eve went to dwell after they were expelled from the garden of Eden.

Three years prior to his death Adam called a great council at Adam-ondi-Ahman.

There [he] bestowed upon them his last blessing. And the Lord appeared unto them, and they rose up and blessed Adam, and called him Michael, the prince, the archangel. And the Lord administered comfort unto Adam…And Adam stood up in the midst of the congregation…predicted whatsoever should befall his posterity unto the latest generation. (D&C 107:53-56)

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