Countercult ministries/Tower to Truth Ministries/50 Questions to Ask Mormons/Miscellaneous, General Questions

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Response to "50 Questions to Ask Mormons: Miscellaneous / General Questions"


A FairMormon Analysis of: 50 Questions to Ask Mormons
A work by author: Tower to Truth Ministries
Claim Evaluation
50 Questions to Ask Mormons
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Response to claim: "46. If having a physical body is necessary to become a god, how did Jesus become a god before he had a body?"

The author(s) make(s) the following claim:

46. If having a physical body is necessary to become a god, how did Jesus become a god before he had a body?

FairMormon Response



Fact checking results: This claim is based upon correct information
The author is providing knowledge concerning some particular fact, subject, or event

This is a valid question. Having a body is necessary for a fullness of joy (D&C 93:33). It was necessary that at some point Jesus receive a body, but the timeframe in which He did so is not particularly important. (To travel to another country, one needs both a passport and an airplane ticket. It doesn't matter in which order one gets the passport or the ticket, but one must eventually have both in order to reach one's destination.) If correct sequence is an absolutely requirement, then all Christians would need to explain how Christ's atonement could be efficacious to those who were born, lived, and died prior to His crucifixion. The fact that the atonement was effective should caution us against adopting an absolute requirement for sequence concerning Christ's receipt of a physical body.

Question: How did Christ achieve deification before mortality?

It was necessary that at some point Jesus receive a body, but the specific time in which He did so is not particularly important

It is claimed that Latter-day Saint doctrine, which teaches that a physical body is necessary for a fulness of glory, is inconsistent, since Jesus was God prior to his mortal birth. However, having a body is necessary for a fullness of joy (DC 93:33). The Holy Ghost is also God, but does not at present have a body in LDS doctrine.

It was necessary that at some point Jesus receive a body, but the specific time in which He did so is not particularly important. (To travel overseas, one needs both a passport and an airplane ticket. It doesn't matter in which order one gets the passport or the ticket, but one must eventually have both in order to reach one's destination.)

If a specific sequence is an absolutely requirement, then all Christians would need to explain how Christ's atonement could be efficacious to those who were born, lived, and died prior to His crucifixion. The fact that the atonement was effective should caution us against adopting an absolute requirement for sequence concerning Christ's receipt of a physical body.

Critics ignore that the gospel teaches us what we must do to fulfill God's commandments and purposes. It does not spend much time telling us what Jesus was required to do—clearly, he had many duties and abilities which far outstripped ours. That is why he was God and Savior before we came to this earth, and why we must rely upon his grace for salvation.


Response to claim: "47. Do you think the LDS Church will reconsider its teachings that the American Indians are descendants of the Jewish race now that DNA has proven that they are actually descendants of the Asian race?"

The author(s) make(s) the following claim:

47. Do you think the LDS Church will reconsider its teachings that the American Indians are descendants of the Jewish race now that DNA has proven that they are actually descendants of the Asian race?

FairMormon Response



Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

It was never LDS doctrine that the Book of Mormon peoples were "Jewish." They were from Ephraim and Manasseh, two other tribes of Israel, but not Judah explicitly. They can only be considered "Jewish" in that they came from Jerusalem.

LDS doctrine only holds that some of the ancestors of the Amerindians were from the Middle East of circa 600 BC. Most scholarship on this matter since at least the 1950s (and stretching back to the turn of the century) has seen the Nephite contribution as numerically small.

If Lehi left any descendants at all, then all Amerindians share Lehi as an ancestor. Many people do not realize that everyone alive today is directly descended from such people as Charlemagne, Muhammad, Confucius, and the Egyptian queen Nefertiti. (Click here for more information.)

There is a huge literature on this matter:

Question: What is Lehi's ancestry?

Lehi and his family are not Jews: They belong to the tribe of Manasseh

Genetic attacks on the Book of Mormon focus on the fact that Amerindian DNA seems closest to Asian DNA, and not DNA from "the Middle East" or "Jewish" DNA. However, this attack ignores several key points.

Lehi and his family are clearly not Jews. They belong to the tribe of Manasseh (Alma 10:3, 1 Nephi 5:14), and married into Ishmael's family, the tribe of Ephraim. [1] These tribes were carried away captive by the Assyrians, and did not contribute greatly to the current genetic mix of the Middle East.

Furthermore, the Middle East is located at the crossroads of three continents, and has seen a great deal of immigration, mixing, and intermarriage. To use modern Middle Eastern DNA as the "standard" against which to measure what Manasseh and Ephraim DNA must have been like 2600 years ago is not a scientifically sound approach.


Response to claim: "48. If polygamy was officially re-instituted by the Mormon Church, how would your wife feel about you taking another woman?"

The author(s) make(s) the following claim:

48. If polygamy was officially re-instituted by the Mormon Church, how would your wife feel about you taking another woman?

FairMormon Response



Fact checking results: This claim contains propaganda and/or spin
The author, or the author's source, is providing information or ideas in a slanted way in order to instill a particular attitude or response in the reader

This is obviously a leading question—entirely hypothetical and intended to be negatively emotive. The general principle, however, is that each member always has the responsibility to determine if new policies are from God, and then to act accordingly. This has always been so. People had to decide whether to listen to Moses when he told them what the Lord wanted them to do. People had to decide whether to listen to Samuel, David, or Elijah when they told them what the Lord wanted. They had to decide whether to heed Jesus Himself who, when many chose to stop following Him, asked the apostles, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67.) Obedience is always an individual decision.

Response to claim: "49. Since the LDS Church teaches that there was a complete apostasy of the true church on earth, does that mean that the 3 living Nephites and the Apostle John went into apostasy also?"

The author(s) make(s) the following claim:

49. Since the LDS Church teaches that there was a complete apostasy of the true church on earth, does that mean that the 3 living Nephites and the Apostle John went into apostasy also?

FairMormon Response



Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

No: "apostasy" merely means that no organized Church on the earth had the full authority or doctrine necessary for salvation for mortals. The Nephites and John were not exercising their priesthood authority for others in a church setting. There was no mortal priesthood authority, and no Church authorized to act in God's name.

Question: Was the priesthood on earth during the apostasy?

There is a difference between someone holding the priesthood, and someone being authorized to exercise the priesthood

It is argued by some that the LDS doctrine of the apostasy is incoherent, since the apostasy teaches that God's authority was lost. Critics then ask about John the Revelator, or the Three Nephites, and ask whether they had the priesthood. However, they fail to distinguish between someone holding the priesthood, and someone being authorized to exercise the priesthood in forming the Church, conferring blessings, ordinations, and spiritual gifts.

The apostasy refers to a lack of the latter, not the former.

The apostasy refers to the absence of the kingdom (i.e, Church) of Jesus Christ on the earth

The apostasy refers to the absence of the kingdom (i.e, Church) of Jesus Christ on the earth. This is not to say that there may not be some who hold the priesthood, but they have no authority or authorization to establish the Church or perform its ordinances.

Presidents J. Reuben Clark, Joseph Fielding Smith, Harold B. Lee went so far as to teach that the presence of such priesthood holders during periods of apostasy were, in their opinion, a necessity:

President [J. Reuben] Clark said something that startled some folks years ago. He said, "It is my faith that the gospel plan has always been here, that his priesthood has always been here on the earth, and that it will continue to be so until the end comes" (in Conference Report, October 1953, p. 39). When that conference session was over there were many who said, "My goodness, doesn't President Clark realize that there have been periods of apostasy following each dispensation of the gospel?"

I walked over to the Church Office Building with President Joseph Fielding Smith and he said, "I believe there has never been a moment of time since the creation that God has abandoned the earth to Satan. There has always been someone holding the priesthood on the earth to hold Satan in check." And then I thought of Enoch's city with perhaps thousands who were taken into heaven and were translated. They must have been translated for a purpose and may have sojourned with those living on the earth ever since that time. I have thought of Elijah—and perhaps Moses; for all we know they were translated beings, as was John the Revelator. I have thought of the Three Nephites. Why were they translated and permitted to tarry? For what purpose? An answer was suggested when I heard President Smith make the above statement. Now, that doesn't mean that the kingdom of God has always been present, because these men did not have the authority to administer the saving ordinances of the gospel to the world. But these individuals were translated for a purpose known to the Lord. There is no question but what they were here.[2]


Response to claim: "50. Why are Mormon Temple ceremonies secret to the public when the Old Testament temple ceremonies were open to public knowledge?"

The author(s) make(s) the following claim:

50. Why are Mormon Temple ceremonies secret to the public when the Old Testament temple ceremonies were open to public knowledge?

FairMormon Response



Fact checking results: This claim contains mistakes and/or errors
The author has stated erroneous or incorrect information or misinterpreted their sources

Large portions of LDS temple ceremonies are publicly discussed in church publications such as the Ensign, the History of the Church, and the Encyclopedia of Mormonism. There are, however, certain aspects of temple worship that are considered to be of such a sacred character that they are not to be viewed by, nor discussed with, the uninitiated. The same was true with the biblical temple of ancient Israel -- Gentiles were never allowed into the three main temple areas (outer court, holy place, holy of holies) and the entrances throughout the temple complex were guarded by porters and shielded by veils. The vast majority of the Israelites were never allowed to view the ordinances that took place in the temple proper (holy place, holy of holies).

Many early Christian groups had ceremonies or services (frequently referred to as the "mysteries") that were only open to those who were faithful members in good standing. Would the critics also condemn them?

Jesus also taught his apostles things which they were not permitted to teach to everyone, and this was done in private.

The Latter-day Saints are merely following a pattern of respect for holy things laid down by Jesus and the early Christians (Matthew 7:6). Latter-day Saints treasure this aspect of Christian life and worship, clearly spelled out in history and scripture.

To learn more: Hugh W. Nibley, "Evangelium Quadraginta Dierum," Vigiliae Christianae 20 (1966):1-24; reprinted in "Evangelium Quadraginta Dierum: The Forty-day Mission of Christ-The Forgotten Heritage," in Mormonism and Early Christianity (Vol. 4 of Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by Todd Compton and Stephen D. Ricks, (Salt Lake City, Utah : Deseret Book Company ; Provo, Utah : Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987),10–44. direct off-site


Notes

  1. "The Prophet Joseph informed us that the record of Lehi, was contained on the 116 pages that were first translated and subsequently stolen, and of which an abridgement is given us in the first Book of Nephi, which is the record of Nephi individually, he himself being of the lineage of Manasseh; but that Ishmael was of the lineage of Ephraim, and that his sons married into Lehi's family, and Lehi's sons married Ishmael's daughters, thus fulfilling the words of Jacob upon Ephraim and Manasseh in the 48th chapter of Genesis..." - Erastus Snow, "Ephraim And Manassah, etc.," (6 May 1882) Journal of Discourses 23:184.
  2. Harold B. Lee, Teachings of Harold B. Lee (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1996), 486. GospeLink (requires subscrip.)