Quantcast
Faith

Defending the Faith: Reliable witnesses, close to home

Comments

Return To Article
  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    Oct. 17, 2013 6:34 a.m.

    "Others wonder whether stories of ancient revelations and long-ago miracles in distant lands can be trusted."

    I am one who would fall into this category. I am a biologist, scientific and skeptical by nature, and was trained by a bunch of atheist biologists and I am one who would ask, if the Bible is true, where are the angels/prophets/miracles today? I probably would be atheist. But I was also raised by LDS parents who taught me about the restoration, and after my own struggles, I obtained my own (not any more dependent on my parents) testimony of the Book of Mormon and the restoration and because of that I know the Bible is true. I think I've said as much in my entry on Daniel Peterson's website, Mormon Scholars Testify (I just wanted to put a plug in for that). I have a certain amount of respect for those who, without a knowledge of the restoration, still manage to have enough faith to believe in the Bible. But their faith and understanding could grow by learning what God has taught us in these latter-days.

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 6:54 a.m.

    You know what would be better than 11 witnesses? Unlimited. I sure wish the angel wouldn't have taken the plates away. Think of the tourism alone it would generate. Alas, I am like Alma: wishing for things that are not to be, and do sin in my wish.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 17, 2013 8:55 a.m.

    Since truth is eternal one shouldn't need to look only to the dead for truth, it should be self evident in the past, present and future. Digging up dead bones to promote a preferred believe is myth building tactics of past more ignorant generations. Today's generation is not so superstitious and looks for more current and verifiable evidence as a means for believe. Most universities and professors employee modern teaching techniques for discovery and true knowledge.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Oct. 17, 2013 9:09 a.m.

    >>You know what would be better than 11 witnesses? Unlimited.

    Apparently not, or the Lord would have done it that way. I suspect that if the plates were here, too many people would base the foundation of their testimony on the physical plates instead of on the content of the book.

  • Verdad Orem, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    It seems that "skeptic" rejects history, archaeology, and such things as avenues to knowledge. Such fields definitely "look . . . to the dead for truth," and little or nothing about ancient Egypt, the First World War, the life of Isaac Newton, the American slave trade, the Renaissance, early Maya cities in the Yucatan, the Reformation, the discovery of the New World, the fall of the Roman Empire, Han China, the rise of impressionist painting, or the Black Plague is "self evident in the past, present and future."

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 10:50 a.m.

    @ Apocalypse please

    Moroni 7:20-32 relates explains the witness pattern that God has used in every dispensation. One of the signs of the true church is that it will follow God's established pattern.

  • pmccombs Orem, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    Well, Verdad, I have no doubt that in looking to the dead for truth, we will stumble across simple and honest witnesses of Zeus, Vishnu, Marian Apparitions, etc., etc., etc. Some will say that this sort of witnessing is an important "avenue to knowledge," while others will dismiss it as unreliable for objective truth on account of its variety and inconsistency.

    You may have your own spiritual witness of the Gold Plates, if you would like one. Or if you prefer that the Spirit should whisper the truth of Some Other Gospel to your soul, you may find that it does just that. Even visions can be yours for the price of desire and need.

    When considering the variety of stories and witnesses available to us (and not all of them in agreement), there is no universal measure. If there were, there really would be a universal church. But the spirit speaks uniquely to the souls of men. Take the Mormon witnesses if you prefer them, but remember that there are other stories and other witnesses that call to us from the past. These also are received "by the spirit" to those who desire them.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    Speaking of reliable witnesses, I was very impressed with President Eyring's testimony in the April 2013 conference talk "Come Unto Me." He said the following:

    "I am a witness of the Resurrection of the Lord as surely as if I had been there in the evening with the two disciples in the house on Emmaus road. I know that He lives as surely as did Joseph Smith when he saw the Father and the Son in the light of a brilliant morning in a grove of trees in Palmyra.

    This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We will on the Day of Judgment stand before the Savior, face to face. It will be a time of joy for those who have drawn close to Him in His service in this life. [...] I so testify as a witness of the risen Savior and our Redeemer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 11:54 a.m.

    Pmccombs

    You could also have the witness of scientists from ancient times that thought they had objective truth that later turned out to be false.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    1.96 Standard Deviations,

    President Eyring and every other LDS church apostle and GA who testifies they are a witness of the resurrection of Christ and Joseph Smith seeing God and Christ aren't any more credible witnesses than are Pope Francis, Billy Graham, you, me or any other human being who testify we have seen God or other supernatural beings.

    Just claiming you know something doesn't necessarily make you credible nor makes anything you say to true. Catholics, Muslims, Baptists, JWs and many other faiths all claim that their church is true. So, who is right? It depends on what you mean by "true."

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Oct. 17, 2013 12:10 p.m.

    Apocalypse please

    You aren't sinning in wishing the plates were still here. Many wish that. But they didn't exist, so they could not remain today. An angel never took them back, that is a story that was told to cover for a lack of evidence for them. So don't worry about it. If they did exist in reality, they would still be here.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 12:45 p.m.

    If the plates were on display for the world to see, they would be discounted as being just as fake as some say the Bible, Book of Mormon, ect. are. The physical existance of them would not make believers out of people any more than if the Arc of the Covenant or the Holy Grail were found and put on display. Believers will be believers and skeptics will still be skeptics. Jesus, along with the Prophets before him, had to deal with skepticism. Nothing new here.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 1:35 p.m.

    Thinkman-

    You have moral agency to accept or reject the witnesses. President Eyring was clear: "This is the true Church of Jesus Christ. Only in the priesthood keys held by President Thomas S. Monson is the power for us to be sealed in families to live forever with our Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

    As good as the Pope and Billy Graham are, they don't testify like LDS apostles. Regardless, I don't want to go back and forth with you on the matter. Consider the prophet Amulek's words (Alma 34:37-38):

    "And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ;

    That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you."

  • pmccombs Orem, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    Happy2bhere, you said, that "You could also have the witness of scientists from ancient times that thought they had objective truth that later turned out to be false."

    That is true. And we know that these "witnesses" are false because there is a universal measure of scientific truth called the scientific method, which, over time, tends to sort things out.

    However, there is no universal measure for religious truth. What one person or group accepts as their standard of knowledge (the Bible, the Holy Ghost, a prophet, a tradition, etc.), others reject. So far, nobody has managed to justify one religious method of obtaining knowledge as superior to all others. Therefore, the only ground upon which religious witness is accepted or rejected is a personal one. What we mean by "reliable" in religious circles is not the same as in scientific, and that is why there has never been, in all of recorded history, a religious movement that has unified religious belief as the scientific method has done to the physical sciences.

  • Thinkman Provo, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 2:43 p.m.

    1.96,

    I admonish you as a thinking and reasoning human being to use your own thinking and reasoning abilities to study in your mind what is truth and what is simply hearsay and rumor.

    You are right, the Pope and Billy Graham don't testify like LDS apostles. They proclaim their FAITH and BELIEF in God and Christ and not the supposed knowledge which isn't knowledge at all - that LDS apostles claim to have. They have no knowledge of God and Christ. They may think they do but they would be deluding themselves as do many people in the LDS church and in many other churches and faiths.

    By the way, I appreciate your concern for me and using the words of Joseph Smith as given through a character in the Book of Mormon to call me to repentance. I know you mean well.

  • maclouie Falconer, NY
    Oct. 17, 2013 3:01 p.m.

    >>You know what would be better than 11 witnesses? Unlimited.

    Would not matter if the plates were still here. The papyrus is still here (Book of Abraham) and it's physical existence does not prove anything.

    Bottom line, all knowledge is based on faith and people believe whatever they want or whatever they are convinced to believe.

    For me, I know my life is blessed (made happy) because of my belief in the restoration. What story do you want to believe? Hopefully it is one that will bless your life? It's personal preference, isn't it?

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Oct. 17, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    " Cowdery’s account of the resurrected John the Baptist’s appearance to him and Joseph Smith ..."

    The only Personage that appeared to Joseph and Oliver on May 15, 1829 was the Angel Moroni - one appearance for one specific day to restore the one and only Holy Priesthood after the order of the Son of God. All the other subsequent "appearances" were the result of the falsification of Joseph Smith's history that began in May of 1838, and continued thereafter - especially with Brigham Young. This is what we firmly believe in The Church of Jesus Christ [WHQ: Monongahela, PA].

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Oct. 17, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    Like science, ethics needs no help from supernatural assumptions.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Oct. 17, 2013 4:26 p.m.

    happy2bhere

    No.... If the plates were here, then they would be authenticated as real if they really were as old as claimed. If not... yes they would be discounted as fraud but it would be due to scientific evidence. Nobody is out to get you... they want the plates to examine. just like the dead sea scrolls - scientists looked at them and deemed them genuine and to the period that they claimed to be from.

    Thinkman - ignore 1.96, when he/she has nothing to say as a rebuttal he will call people to repentance - it is his way of tapping out.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 17, 2013 5:11 p.m.

    @happy2bhere – “You could also have the witness of scientists from ancient times...”

    A contradiction in terms.

    Modern science (testable hypotheses, falsifiability, etc…) has only been around for about 400 years. Prior to that a “scientist” was closer to a philosopher (at best) or a Shaman (at worst).


    @Pmccombs

    Every so often someone will post a comment (two in your case) that feels like they pulled the thoughts out of your own head and then said them far better.

    Thanks for doing so today… you articulated what I believe to be the knock down argument against any religion having the sole (or even objective) truth.

    Well done!

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 7:04 p.m.

    @pmccombs

    Since truth is truth whether scientific or religious it can be tested the same.

    There is nothing special about science.

    'Science' and 'scientific' are just words. In the past 'philosophy' was used and perhaps other words. Words often wielded by the user to give themselves weight or more crediblity.

    But the fact is discovery of real truth by whatever word you want to use works for all truth, does not mock but reveals.

    In the case of the Book of Mormon,
    you have observers and their observations, you can believe them or not,
    you have doctrines in the BOM, you can test them and see if they are right.

    or you sit on your high horse and make silly judgments about the LDS church and, Joseph Smith, and the BOM.

    The honest and sincere in heart will seek the truth what ever it is, others create the truth as they want to perceive it.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 17, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    RE:the truth,"you have doctrines in the BOM", you can test them and see if they are right. OK,

    Is 29:14 KJV A Marvelous Work and Wonder.

    (Is 29:14 LB) is a modern translation, “Therefore I will take awesome vengeance on these hypocrites, and make their wisest counselors as fools”.

    Is 29:14 is not a prophecy about the BoM(1Ne 22:8), But God will punish the Jews for spiritual wickedness; He will remove their discernment from their hearts.. . Fulfilled in that they rejected Christ.

    Paul quotes from Is 29:14 Septuagint, “I will Destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent” see,(1 Cor 1:19 KJV)

    God denounces the policy of the Wise in Judah seeking an alliance with Egypt against Assyria. Fulfilled ultimately the Jews reject Jesus.

    RE: Michigander, For no one can see me and live. (Ex 33: 18-20)… The LORD often appeared but not in His full shekinah glory. Gen. 17:1

    No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God…(John 1:18 NIV)

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 5:31 a.m.

    I believe in the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you want them do to you. I don't believe "it's cool to be cruel".

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    Thinkman-

    I couldn't resist... but your comment strengthens my belief in the divine authenticity of The Book of Mormon even more, and by extension, modern day prophets and apostles.

    You: "They have no knowledge of God and Christ. They may think they do but they would be deluding themselves as do many people in the LDS church and in many other churches and faiths"

    Korihor the Anti-Christ (Alma 30:15-16): "How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ.

    Ye look forward and say that ye see a remission of your sins. But behold, it is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your minds comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so."

  • Apocalypse please Bluffdale, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 8:12 a.m.

    @ 1.96

    The story of Korihor is pretty interesting. Reread it and you'll find that Korihor is a pretty reasonable fellow. He would just like a little evidence please. I don't understand the double standard when it comes to wanting evidence concerning alien abductions, or big foot, esp, etc. But we are to walk by faith when it comes to religious/supernatural claims. I've always thought it would be neat if someone could strike me dumb and show forth supernatural powers. It would certainly strengthen my faith in whatever that person was promoting.

  • amagnetick AV, CA
    Oct. 18, 2013 9:28 a.m.

    It is quite useless to try and argue about matters like this. I take great comfort in the scriptures concerning matter such as these, this is one of my favorites that addresses the issue quite well:

    2 Nephi 9:28

    O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    The inclusion of signed statements of ‘witnesses’ to the Book of Mormon as a text inscribed on metallic plates that are not available for independent examination only invites skepticism of Mormon belief in its purported ancient origins.

    That’s baggage for a book that has proven to be durable as authoritative scripture for Mormons. Why emphasize or give undue attention to dubious statements made by purported witnesses? The volume stands on its own merits as evidenced in its capacity to move people of devout faith. It will likely continue to do so.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    @amagnetick – “2 Nephi 9:28 quote”

    Religion has been absolutely ingenious at hermetically sealing and making itself bullet proof to criticism (i.e., if we start to look at its claims critically we are foolish… brilliant!).

    @1.96 Standard Deviations – “Korihor the Anti-Christ (Alma 30:15-16):”

    So apparently in Biblical times God was not adverse to demonstrations of power (i.e., providing evidence for himself) all over the place, but in our time… not so much.

    @the truth – “Since truth is truth whether scientific or religious it can be tested the same.

    Under the religious test (Moroni?) how do explain all those who did not get a positive answer (I suspect they are not sitting in the church pews bearing witness to its falsifiability)?

    And as pmccombs said so well, how do you explain all those throughout history who “passed the test” with respect to their own tradition? Can you say with objective certainty they were/are wrong?

    @the truth - There is nothing special about science.

    Yes there is… it’s objective, repeatable and most importantly falsifiable and its record for overturning religious “truth” claims is unsurpassed.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:40 a.m.

    >>No...If the plates were here, then they would be authenticated as real if they really were as old as claimed.

    Confirming that they were ancient still wouldn't stop critics from arguing that an uneducated 21-year old farm boy couldn't have translated an ancient language into English. People who don't believe in God still wouldn't accept that claim.

    Has the existence of early-Christian era scrolls converted anyone to Christianity? Probably not. Has the existence of pre-Christian era Torah scrolls converted anyone to Judaism. Doubtful. Archeological evidence neither proves nor disproves God's existence; but don't forget the scientific truth that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    That said, I would recommend John Sorenson's excellent, recently published "Mormon's Codex" book to you. It contains 60 years of scholarly archeological research showing that the Book of Mormon's contents are consistent with 400+ prevailing archeological theories and discoveries in Mesoamerica, most of which were found or hypothesized long after Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon. So the contention that there is no archeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is actually false.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    Oct. 18, 2013 12:53 p.m.

    To: skeptic, Phoenix, AZ - I do appreciate your comment from above, "Today's generation is not so superstitious and looks for more current and verifiable evidence as a means for believe. Most universities and professors employee modern teaching techniques for discovery and true knowledge." As one who is part of the scientific community, I am continuosly amazed at our ability to measure and detect smaller and smaller molecules that help with new medicines and treatment. This also tells us that what we think we know can also be changed with the next discovery, and it is. Don't be so quick to declare something that cannot be proven by current methods is not real. You will find yourself in a long line of those that made that mistake.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    mhenshaw,

    Having the gold plates would introduce a host of issues that skeptics would have to deal with that aren't present with the oldest copies of biblical sources, including the Dead Sea scrolls. Here are a couple:

    1. They're made of a precious metal: Because of the nature of the plates, skeptics would need to demonstrate why, if Joseph Smith had the gold in the first place, he would feel the need to create a fraudulent document, including creating each of the plates and etching characters into them so they appeared consistent with the amount of text in the finished translation, rather than live the rest of his comfortably by selling off the gold.

    2. They could be deciphered to prove the translation: It might be a struggle, considering the reformed Egyptian, but with the Book of Mormon text, the plates could be proven to be the source.

    Unlike the biblical sources, the BoM is claimed to have been delivered through supernatural means. These two issues could not be resolved unless Joseph Smith story were true. Without the plates, it is all hearsay from (in my opinion) unreliable witnesses and mystical feelings.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 18, 2013 2:28 p.m.

    Some question why we don't have the plates on earth. The Book of Mormon itself foretold that the plates would be taken to heaven after the unsealed portion was translated:

    2Nephi 27:22 "Wherefore, when thou has read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men."

    Moroni taking the plates to heaven was the Lord's original intention.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 3:08 p.m.

    Guys, Guys Guys, I believe that we all believe in religious freedom. I like to think I have my free agency as much as any one. Who cares what I think. I ain't hurting nobody, I ain't hurting no one. But If I come under attack I hope that Some one Will stand up and that action can cause the reaction of others to stand up and we all share the same spirit of things. It's a you matter thing. I hope some day every one get's into the spirit of things.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 18, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    @Tyler D

    "Under the religious test (Moroni?) how do explain all those who did not get a positive answer (I suspect they are not sitting in the church pews bearing witness to its falsifiability)?"

    Only they and God knows why.

    responding to anresponse to: There is nothing special about science.

    "Yes there is… it’s objective, repeatable and most importantly falsifiable and its record for overturning religious “truth” claims is unsurpassed."

    You only have to look at evolution and climate change to know that is not true. And science has never disproven God nor any of his doctrines recorded in the scriptures. In fact any lab proof like creating new viruses or better apples or cows is proof of intelligent design.

    Not to mention the untold times in history that science was proven wrong.

    And anyone who believes your statement shows science believers can be just as dogmatic as believers of anything else. And will treat non-believers or heretics just as bad.

    In other words you are just as bad as catholic leaders in the dark ages.

  • Breathe Deep Eagle Rock, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 4:36 p.m.

    @Brahma... Please provide credible evidence that the plates did not exist...I can prove however that they did exist. Its called the Book of Mormon.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 7:44 p.m.

    >>Without the plates, it is all hearsay from (in my opinion) unreliable witnesses and mystical feelings.

    I'm curious how you would define a "reliable witness."

    And what makes the Three Witnesses and the later Eight Witnesses unreliable? They all stated, in writing, that they *handled* the plates (it wasn't a vision or hallucination) despite the fact that none of them had any financial motivation to do so; and they all realized that, in so doing, they were probably going to bring serious persecution and scorn down on themselves and their families. None of the them ever recanted that testimony despite that severe persecution and despite several of them later falling out with Joseph Smith and the Church, thereby giving them a strong motive to recant if their testimony was false.

    So what objective evidence makes their testimony suspect?

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Oct. 18, 2013 7:54 p.m.

    >>Skeptics would need to demonstrate why, if Joseph Smith had the gold in the first place, he would feel the need to create a fraudulent document...rather than live the rest of his comfortably by selling off the gold.

    Skeptics should have to plausibly explain why he would create a "fraudulent document" anyway, even without the plates. Given the severe persecution that Joseph Smith suffered throughout his life--and which eventually cost him his life-- skeptics should have to explain why he would stick to his claims of visions, revelations, the Book of Mormon etc if he knew it was all false. He and his family suffered tremendously throughout his life for his testimony. So what motivated him if he wasn't what he claimed to be? There is no credible evidence that he was mentally ill or suffered hallucinations; and if he was a con man, why would he persist in a lie for twenty years that never brought him any money or material gain in return for his suffering? So what's the explanation?

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 18, 2013 10:23 p.m.

    @the truth – “Only they and God knows why.”

    That’s convenient. And by that logic any assertion of nonsense can claim validity… how is this not blatantly obvious?

    @the truth – “You only have to look at evolution and climate change to know that is not true.”

    Sorry, but you’re showing some real ignorance about science here. We can falsify evolution in a heartbeat – all it would take is, say, finding mammal fossils in the Pre-Cambrian. Scientists have been attempting to falsify evolution for over 150 years and so far it is holding up quite well.

    To your point about God, fair enough – but science has also never disproven Zeus, Baal, or Odin and any of their doctrines either. Does that fact make you a believer in those gods?

    @the truth – “Not to mention the untold times in history that science was proven wrong.”

    Yes, by better science… never by religious truth claims.

    Your point about dogmatism is cogent – and I am against any dogmatic thinking, whether religious, political, ideological, etc…

  • gcrobmd GADSDEN, AL
    Oct. 19, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    I love the story about St. Denis. It focuses us on what is important. The really hard part to believe in Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead. Accepting that, the pertinent question is content and how it affects life. The Book of Mormon is the greatest Christian document the modern world has to study. Studying that will produce its own witness with a sureness as if we witnessed the plates ourselves. And if we can't accept Christ's resurrection, read the Book of Mormon, study it, ponder it, pray about it. You will receive your earnestly desired witness.

    I am amused by the authority some give to science. Science cannot identify 96% of what makes up the universe except to label it "dark" matter and energy. Science still doesn't really know what visible matter is except to show how it USUALLY behaves. How can science speak with any authority on something as important as whether God exists?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 9:35 a.m.

    RE: Gcrobmd,earnestly desired witness?

    You can be sincere, and be sincerely wrong. Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. God who first draws us to Himself (John 6:44) and not the other way around (Rom. 3:11).

    When you meet people who appear to be earnestly seeking after God, and yet continue to worship another god. It might be that they were looking for a sense of spiritual security, gratification, friendship, or anything other than God. Jesus promised that he would not cast out anyone who honestly comes to him (John 6:37).

    If you’re searching for light, God is inevitably going to give you more light. If a Mormon is truly sincere, they can be saved; but this can only happen when they forego their false view of God and accept Jesus Christ for who He truly is (John 8:24=Ego Eimi). I.e…,

    C.S. Lewis, “The Christian is not claiming that simply “God” was incarnate in Jesus . They are claiming that the one true God is He whom the Jews worshipped as Jehovah, and that it is He who has descended.

  • Searching . . . Orem, UT
    Oct. 19, 2013 12:01 p.m.

    'I'm curious how you would define a "reliable witness."'

    Each of the witnesses were already convinced that what Joseph Smith claimed was true. They each had some connection with Joseph Smith and with each other. That hardly makes them disinterested witnesses. Their testimonies are not independent, but rather, they signed a prepared document (that, as far as I can tell, was not prepared by them). This document, with their signatures, no longer exists, if it ever did (the only copy I've seen is the printer's copy where all the names were written by Cowdery). All of that makes me consider them unreliable. The fact that we don't have later statements from them recanting doesn't change my mind (although a few of Martin Harris's comments are proof enough).

    Also, compare their testimonies to others: The same number of testimonies for the Spalding document (and I won't defend the hypothesis), which were at least independent and none recanted. The 11 testimonies to the Strang plates, including that of Martin Harris. These include the testimonies of those who saw him dig up the plates. With your definition, these witnesses should be as reliable.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Oct. 19, 2013 2:10 p.m.

    @sharrona – “If a Mormon is truly sincere, they can be saved; but this can only happen when they forego their false view of God and accept Jesus Christ for who He truly is (John 8:24=Ego Eimi).”

    Many people have called out my critical views on religion posted on this forum over the years, but I ask you sincerely… when you read stuff like this, can you understand my skepticism just a little?

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Oct. 20, 2013 4:39 p.m.

    @Tyler D

    When you understand Moroni's promise, the answer is perfectly valid and accurate.

    Moroni's promise has a few parts.
    One. you must believe in Christ/
    Tow you have faith that that Christ will answer your prayers,
    And third you must ask or pray with real and sincere intent.

    The first two indicate you must be spiritually prepared.

    and the third shows readiness for further spiritual light and knowledge.

    So how can I answer if someone has meet those criteria, I do not know.

    Only they and God knows.

    I never said religion proved scientific claims,

    I am suggesting science has and is proving religious claims.

    Religion can prove spiritual truth, but it can make scientific claims that science can later understand.

    And I am talking about claims in the scripture by Prophets and Apostles called of God, translated correctly, not claims of men who with self or man given religions credentials.

    IN regards to your comment to sharrona, remember God is not author of contention or anarchy. Gods has one path, one church, one doctrine, it is our challenge to find it and accept it.

    Blaming religion is intellectually lazy.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Oct. 20, 2013 7:01 p.m.

    RE:Tyler D, my skepticism, How about?

    Jesus,“I am the way and ‘the truth’ and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me".(John 14:16)

    God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.(Ex 3:14)

    ….before Abraham was born, I Am(Ego eimi). So they took up stones to throw at Him…,(John 8:58—59)
    Jesus not only uses the verb(eimi) but also the pronoun(Ego) indicating that he wants the hearers to understand that he is emphasizing ,almost underlining his answer. He is making himself equal to God . The Jews understand and, they want to stone him.

    RE: ‘the truth, “ God is not author of contention”.

    “… contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”(Jude 1:3)

    “sanctify the Lord God in your heart(Not JS)...and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you. “(1 Peter 3:15)