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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:59 pm 
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TOTPD! :eekdance:

Note: I began writing this response before Did posted his comment above.

racerx_is_alive wrote:
Didymus, are you claiming that repentance is unnecessary? Or are you claiming the very different idea that we have no power in and of ourselves to repent?

Like StrongRad, I won't pretend to speak for Did. What I will say is that I believe repentance is a very real and necessary part of the process of sanctification. However, it's important to carefully place the pieces of the process in the right order. We can find the right order all over the place in scripture, but I think one passage that puts it forth very succinctly is this one:

Romans 8:29-30 (numbers and emphasis are mine) wrote:
For those whom [God] (1) foreknew he also (2) predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also (3) called, and those whom he called he also (4) justified, and those whom he justified he also (5) glorified.

So the process of sanctification was from the beginning initiated by God and in the end will be finished by God. This is why God is called the "the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:2).

To answer your question, I believe that we don't have any power to repent in and of ourselves until we are born again. Consider the classic analogy of the life preserver. Many Christians posit that as sinners we have fallen overboard and are floundering in the sea. Christ, through his atonement and propitiation for our sins, has thrown a life preserver to us. Our responsibility -- whether that's simply saying the sinner's prayer and confessing our sins or if it entails following a list of commandments, submitting ourselves to certain ordinances (or sacraments), and enduring to the end -- is analogous to our reaching out and grabbing the life preserver. The problem with this analogy is the Bible says we're dead in our trespasses (Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13)! We're not out there treading water -- we've already drowned and sunk to the bottom!

If you claim we can reach out and grab the life preserver, meaning we can repent and clean up our lives, and that this leads to salvation (or justification) after we've been working at it for a while, you're putting things in the wrong order and denying the clear teaching of scripture that we're dead.

Repentance and the submitting of ourselves to commandments, ordinances (sacraments), etc. are all part of the process of sanctification, but they come after -- in other words, are the natural outworkings of -- our justification. We submit ourselves to these things because we've been born again, we've been given a new heart, and our nature has been changed -- we want to seek after God. These things are part of the glorification process, and if God has started the process, he is faithful to finish it (Phil. 1:6). These things will be present in varying degrees in every justified (saved) person's life, not because we need these things to become justified, but because they are the next logical step in the progression of a person through the process of sanctification. They are also clear evidence that a person has been justified, which is why James can say that faith without works is dead.

For more evidence that works (including repentance) result from justification, not precede it, check out these passages:

Eph. 2:8-9 (emphasis mine) wrote:
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

This passage shows clearly that our salvation is not the result of any works, and it's not our own doing, which means faith and repentance can't even start the process. But what immediately follows this passage?

Eph. 2:10 wrote:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

The works result from the salvation.

And again:

Titus 3:3-7 (emphasis mine) wrote:
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Here again, the passage excludes any kind of works-righteousness. God saves us according to his own mercy, not because of our faith, repentance, or works. But what immediately follows?

Titus 3:8 wrote:
The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people.

It is excellent and profitable for those who have believed in God and are now justified to devote themselves to good works. Again, the works proceed from justification rather than being conditions for it.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 9:03 pm 
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I think that the crux of our disagreement is your statement that grace IS forgiveness. Because if grace is forgiveness, it makes sense that repentance is our response to forgiveness, because I agree that grace precedes repentance.

I believe that grace is God's enabling power. It is because of the grace of God that I have been able to be humbled, and that I have had the strength to give up many of my sins. However, sometimes I have ignored or actively refused God's grace in my life, and have been left in my sins to suffer. Were I to continue to refuse it, and insist on my will be done throughout my life, I don't believe that I can expect my sins to be forgiven, even though grace was extended, because I would not give my sins up to God. A gift has to be accepted.

However, for all men, Christ's atonement will allow us to see God after this life, irrespective of our repentance. Were it not for his atonement we would not be able to be resurrected, nor would we be able to be brought back to his presence for judgment.

Grace is the gift of a degree of God's power given to us in our unworthy state that enables us to repent. Repentance is our turning to God. And forgiveness is God's promise to not remember our sins anymore, which is an expression of his mercy.

I'm no theologian, I'm just your average Joe in the pews. I will reiterate what JoeyDay said, and recommend that you look at the "Salvation" entry in True to the Faith (along with the entries on Grace and Mercy, his link goes right to the PDF) so you can get a clear view on what is my opinion, and what is the official teaching from my church.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 12:12 am 
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I believe that grace is God's enabling power.

But, as stated above, grace is not power. Grace is God's generosity toward us in offering us a free gift: forgiveness of sins and eternal life through his Son.

The Greek term is χαρισμα, and while that word transcribed into English ("charisma")often carries with it a connotation of power, the term in Greek typically means simply "gift." And by the way, if you truly wish to understand what any particular Greek noun means in essence, start by looking at its verbal root. In which case, the primary understanding of the noun χαρισμα is to be found in the verbal form, χαριζομαι ("give generously, forgive, pardon, show mercy"). Related words include χαρις ("generosity, kindness") and χαριτοω ("show kindness, graciously give, freely give").* Whatever else we might make of the term grace, we must understand first and foremost that it is God's generosity, a gift that is freely given. It is entirely God's giving, and it resides primarily in his forgiving, pardoning, and showing mercy.

As I said before, I do not doubt that power flows from grace, or more precisely, through it. But the power itself is not the grace, rather the grace (God's giving to us) is what supplies it.

*Greek definitions are cited from A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker) and A Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains (James Swanson).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 4:07 am 
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Choc-o-Lardiac Arrest wrote:
PieMax wrote:
I've always been curious about something.
What do mormon's believe?
I want to hear from someone who's trully mormon.
I've only heard from non-mormons what they believe.

they belive God appeared to a man in Utah and he "Supposedly" translated a new book of the bible.

Nah man! It was New York! Utah came later.
(Yeah I know, I'm jumpin' in a little late, even though this topic hasn't been posted on in a while)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 7:05 pm 
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Parlod wrote:
Choc-o-Lardiac Arrest wrote:
PieMax wrote:
I've always been curious about something.
What do mormon's believe?
I want to hear from someone who's trully mormon.
I've only heard from non-mormons what they believe.

they belive God appeared to a man in Utah and he "Supposedly" translated a new book of the bible.

Nah man! It was New York! Utah came later.
(Yeah I know, I'm jumpin' in a little late, even though this topic hasn't been posted on in a while)


Yes, and the reason Utah came later on is because people were scared of us. Therefore, we were ran out and had to move on out west. There, we found Utah.

Also, when you say "Supposedly", how many times has the Bible been "supposedly" translated?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:15 am 
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I'm not sure. Which is why I rely on the original Hebrew and Greek rather than English translations. It's not that the translations are always bad, but in any translation work, certain nuances in the text are sometimes lost. For example, in the passage where Jesus walks on water, the English translations usually say something like, "Fear not! It is I! Take courage!" In reality, Jesus says, "Fear not! I am! Take courage!" And, as I tell all my Bible classes, pay special attention when Jesus says "I am." He is invoking the Divine Name (YHWH), and, in fact, claiming to be YHWH.

A couple of points I do need to make:

1. Translation work does not change the actual original language manuscripts. People often try to cast doubt on the manuscript evidence by claiming multiple translations, but it really doesn't matter how often the translation is done: the original doesn't change. There is more than adequate manuscript evidence to support the accuracy of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Novum Testamentum Grecae.

2. There are different levels of actual translation work put into various versions. Some are directly taken from the text (English Standard Version and New American Standard Bible are fine examples of good translations of the original text); others are translated, but are somewhat based on translation work done in previous versions (for example, the New King James is based heavily on the 1611), and yet others are paraphrases in which the editors are attempting to communicate the text, not just in modern language, but in modern contexts (The Living Bible and The Message are examples of paraphrases). There are also versions in which the editors deliberately worked the text to favor their own theological biases (like the Watchtower Society's New World Translation).

3. I highly recommend that, if anyone wishes to pursue serious biblical studies, then take a couple of years of Koine Greek and a couple of years of Biblical Hebrew. That way you can do your own translation work instead of relying on versions at all.

4. For those who do not wish to study the original languages, or cannot for whatever reason, I highly recommend the New American Standard Bible. It is one of the most accurate translations available in modern English, and I recommend it for any serious theological scholarship. Another good modern translation is the English Standard Version. The New International Version is a decent translation, not quite as accurate at NASB, but precise enough and easy to read.

All of which, of course, raises the interesting question: Why is there no manuscript evidence to support the Book of Mormon? Where are the ancient texts by which we can verify the translation work?

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Didymus wrote:
All of which, of course, raises the interesting question: Why is there no manuscript evidence to support the Book of Mormon? Where are the ancient texts by which we can verify the translation work?


Well, the golden plates were the manuscript. These are the ancient text.

You will not find a picture of them anywhere, only what people thought they may have looked like. Similar to the way you see a picture of Jesus, but does he really look like that?

Also, you will not see them here on the earth. When the translation was complete. There was no more need of them to be here on the Earth. Therefore, Heavenly Father took them up to heaven. They are no longer here on the earth.

A lot of people have trouble believing this part. I just encourage you to read the book yourself. If you find that it isn't true, then well, honestly I encourage you to read it again and ponder its meaning. What all is going on.

For those of you who don't know this. The Book of Mormon is another testimony of Jesus Christ. Its the records of Jesus and his teachings in the Americas.

If you don't believe me thats your choice. But I believe it, and you cannot deny that.

Some say I'm to straight forward with my religion. I do tend to get in grounds that I do not fully understand, being I'm not old enough for a Drivers License yet. But, I know what I know, and I don't need the world to tell me what I know is or isn't true. I know it in my heart. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God. Jesus Christ and the Father appeared to him in a grove. I know this. I know the Book of Mormon is true. I wouldn't have read it over and over again if it wasn't, even though it is a good book. I know that a prophet lives on the earth today and his name is Gordon B. Hinckley. I know that the keys of the kingdom have been restored on the earth and the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds the proper authority for all that it does. I know all of this is true. And I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

If you want to know how I know this, or where my sources come from I'll tell you.

It comes from the heart, through the Holy Ghost. It has been revealed unto me simply because I seeked and asked for it. Was it the truth? My answer is above.

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A lot of people have trouble believing this part. I just encourage you to read the book yourself. If you find that it isn't true, then well, honestly I encourage you to read it again and ponder its meaning. What all is going on.

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It comes from the heart, through the Holy Ghost. It has been revealed unto me simply because I seeked and asked for it. Was it the truth? My answer is above.

In a previous entry, I already demonstrated the fallacy of relying on such a subjective internal "revelation," specifically, what do you do with the fact that I have already had a subjective internal revelation that contradicts the Book of Mormon (one, in fact, that led me to the Nicene Creed instead)? If you have a subjective internal revelation that reveals something different, how are we supposed to know which is right? After all, how do you answer me when I say, in my heart, I know the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are true, because the Holy Spirit revealed it to me?

Subjective experience can certainly help in certain circumstances, such as when my mother had a vision of Jesus the night before her husband died, or my experience in CPE in which I actually fought with God, but such things, because they are subjective, can only be understood in the light of objective evidence, such as that we have in the form of manuscript evidence.

So, let me get this straight: when it came to the Gospel as recorded in the Bible, God made sure that over 500 people saw the risen Jesus, of which at least 7 wrote about it. But for this "gospel" of Jesus in the Americas, we have no manuscripts, and the word only of Joseph Smith that what he described is correct. Furthermore, consider that some of the most important teachings of Scripture and the historic Christian church are contradicted by Smith's book.

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After all, how do you answer me when I say, in my heart, I know the Nicene and Athanasian Creeds are true, because the Holy Spirit revealed it to me?


Here's exactly how I will answer you:

Okay then, as long as you have prayed about it, read and pondered what you have read, asked in earnest that it is true and received the answer that it is true, then I respect your belief. I myself may not agree with yours, but I shall respect it nonetheless. One day maybe you will learn that everything doesn't have to be supported by book or man. If you know something is true, you can't deny it.

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But for this "gospel" of Jesus in the Americas, we have no manuscripts, and the word only of Joseph Smith that what he described is correct.


We had the golden plates. That was the manuscript. He wasn't the only one to see the plates either. Take a look at the Book of Mormon and you will see the testimonies of the witnesses of the plates.

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Furthermore, consider that some of the most important teachings of Scripture and the historic Christian church are contradicted by Smith's book.


Its not Smith's book. He translated it. And what does the Book of Mormon contradict? I would like to know. Because thats the first time I have ever heard that.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:50 pm 
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Didy, we get it. You think we're stupid for trusting the inspiration we feel we have received.

You are a Lutheran Minister. Of course you're not going to give The Book of Mormon a chance. If there were manuscript evidence, what would that change? I believe it would change nothing for you.

What physical evidence do you have that God exists? Where is the "manuscript evidence" that you so dearly cling on this subject?

Faith is an important part of life. I have not seen God nor His Son, but I have faith that they exist. Have you seen Them? If not, why believe in Them? Why take the word of these men who lived millenia ago?

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lahimatoa wrote:
Didy, we get it. You think we're stupid for trusting the inspiration we feel we have received.

You are a Lutheran Minister. Of course you're not going to give The Book of Mormon a chance. If there were manuscript evidence, what would that change? I believe it would change nothing for you.

What physical evidence do you have that God exists? Where is the "manuscript evidence" that you so dearly cling on this subject?

Faith is an important part of life. I have not seen God nor His Son, but I have faith that they exist. Have you seen Them? If not, why believe in Them? Why take the word of these men who lived millenia ago?


Thank you. I just want to say Thank You.

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Didy, we get it. You think we're stupid for trusting the inspiration we feel we have received.

Now you're putting words in my mouth. I don't recall ever saying that anyone was stupid.

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Where is the "manuscript evidence" that you so dearly cling on this subject?

You might want to look a few pages back. I posted it already. I'd suggest you take the time to actually browse those pages.

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Why take the word of these men who lived millenia ago?

1. We have written accounts of several different witnesses, and one account written by a man who did extensive research. These various accounts corroborate each other, and no credible source has offered a differing view.

2. We also know the lives of these men, the value that they placed on truth, such value that they all were willing to suffer and die for it, rather than renounce it. It would seem to me that, if their accounts were not truthful, they would have foregone their martyrdom by renouncing their faith.

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We have written accounts of several different witnesses


We also have written accounts of men who saw the gold plates personally. Some of these men actually touched and handled the plates. Yes, many of these witnesses left the Church, and some were extremely anti-mormon, but this was mainly because of their pride and not wanting to follow the counsel of their prophet. This is shown by the fact that while these men were fervent anti-mormons, they never once
denied the existence of the gold plates, which were the original “manuscript” of the Book of Mormon.

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It would seem to me that, if their accounts were not truthful, they would have foregone their martyrdom by renouncing their faith.


If you want to talk about martyrdom, let’s look at a bit of LDS Church history.
First of all, we have Joseph Smith. He was ridiculed, scorned, mocked, tortured, unlawfully imprisoned on more than one occasion. He was tarred and feathered repeatedly. One night he was in his home, holding his baby, when a furious mob dragged him out of his house and beat him and tarred and feathered him in front of his wife. He was eventually shot and killed by an angry mob while he was unlawfully imprisoned. His brother was killed as well for his beliefs. There are many other accounts of people losing their lives for their beliefs in Mormonism.
The Mormons were driven from town to town, from state to state. They legally bought land in Independence, Missouri, and in Nauvoo Illinois. In Missouri, the Governor ordered an extermination of the Mormons, simply built on his unreasonable hate for them. Mobs burned down the Mormons' temple and drove the Saints out of Nauvoo. They were forced to trek across the United States to Utah. Tens of thousands of people died traveling across the plains. All of this because of their beliefs. These people could have easily just renounced their faith and forgone the persecution they endured. But they chose death if necessary over renouncing their faith.

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Parlod wrote:
Quote:
We have written accounts of several different witnesses


We also have written accounts of men who saw the gold plates personally. Some of these men actually touched and handled the plates. Yes, many of these witnesses left the Church, and some were extremely anti-mormon, but this was mainly because of their pride and not wanting to follow the counsel of their prophet. This is shown by the fact that while these men were fervent anti-mormons, they never once
denied the existence of the gold plates, which were the original “manuscript” of the Book of Mormon.

Quote:
It would seem to me that, if their accounts were not truthful, they would have foregone their martyrdom by renouncing their faith.


If you want to talk about martyrdom, let’s look at a bit of LDS Church history.
First of all, we have Joseph Smith. He was ridiculed, scorned, mocked, tortured, unlawfully imprisoned on more than one occasion. He was tarred and feathered repeatedly. One night he was in his home, holding his baby, when a furious mob dragged him out of his house and beat him and tarred and feathered him in front of his wife. He was eventually shot and killed by an angry mob while he was unlawfully imprisoned. His brother was killed as well for his beliefs. There are many other accounts of people losing their lives for their beliefs in Mormonism.
The Mormons were driven from town to town, from state to state. They legally bought land in Independence, Missouri, and in Nauvoo Illinois. In Missouri, the Governor ordered an extermination of the Mormons, simply built on his unreasonable hate for them. Mobs burned down the Mormons' temple and drove the Saints out of Nauvoo. They were forced to trek across the United States to Utah. Tens of thousands of people died traveling across the plains. All of this because of their beliefs. These people could have easily just renounced their faith and forgone the persecution they endured. But they chose death if necessary over renouncing their faith.


Couldn't have said it any better myself. Outstanding mate.

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Now you're putting words in my mouth. I don't recall ever saying that anyone was stupid.


No, but its kinda' being implied. No offense. At least thats what we think. If this is not so, we are terribly sorry.

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This is shown by the fact that while these men were fervent anti-mormons, they never once denied the existence of the gold plates, which were the original “manuscript” of the Book of Mormon.

Isn't it true that a certain Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, later denied their existence? If so, then that at least calls into direct question the credibility of one of the witnesses. I must also say that it's rather embarrassing, don't you think, that the witnesses did not remain faithful to their prophet, unlike the apostles, who never turned against their risen Lord.

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No, but its kinda' being implied. No offense. At least thats what we think. If this is not so, we are terribly sorry.

You might want to note that my post was essentially in response to a question you raised regarding the translation of the Bible. While you yourself did not specifically raise the challenge regarding the reliability of modern translation work, I did take the opportunity to address that issue and to raise a similar question regarding your own text. Parlod I feel made a decent answer to the question I posed.

Look, no one likes to have his/her faith challenged. Heck, I don't always appreciate it when people challenge mine, either. But this is an R&P discussion after all. Either we must set aside our passions to engage in the discussion, or simply quit posting here. But as for me, I don't think I would be faithful either to myself or to my own calling if I didn't at least raise some of these questions.

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Isn't it true that a certain Martin Harris, one of the witnesses, later denied their existence?

No, I don't think that's true. And yes, it is quite embarrassing that they turned against their prophet. These men were easily offended by petty misunderstandings. Let's just say Satan was working very hard on the leaders of the restored gospel.

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Either we must set aside our passions to engage in the discussion, or simply quit posting here. But as for me, I don't think I would be faithful either to myself or to my own calling if I didn't at least raise some of these questions.

I think the subject matter has been thoroughly debated. What say you?

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Yes, it's true that all three of the men who saw the gold plates left Joseph Smith and the Church at some time in their lives.

It is also true that two of them never denied that they were shown the plates by an angel of God.

Martin Harris did deny that he had been shown the plates, but on his deathbed stated that he had.

Now, if these men had no allegiance to Joseph Smith, why continue to testify about the plates? What motivation did they have?

I can't think of any other reason than that they knew the truth and they could not deny it before God.

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There is another possible reason: it could be they didn't want to implicate themselves in an attempted fraud.

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I don't really have anything useful to add to this conversation other than to note that it is true... I am a Mormon. Raised (not born), I have been moderately active the majority of my 25 years of existence on this world.

If there was something that I could add, it would be that I think there is a lot of weight being put on "words". Earlier in the thread MooKoo said something about tomatos and tamatoes. Your meaning of grace and my meaning of grace just might be the same deep down in our hearts. I have trouble believing that a person can judge another's beliefs through an internet chat (or even worse, a bbs).

I also don't think that the playing field is very level here. No offense to MooKoo, but they have already admitted that they aren't even old enough to get a driver's license. Assuming they live in the US that means they are barely in high school (perhaps junior high / middle school still). I am not sure how old you are Didy, but I seem to remember something about your profession being in ministry. I don't know all what goes into that (training and schooling) I can only imagine the number of hours you have spent researching things. Does that make you right and MooKoo wrong (or vice versa), not at all in my mind. I just think one needs to be careful when taking the words of those that might not have all of the training. MooKoo, I don't really know you all that well. Please understand that I am not trying to insult you here. I think what you are doing is very noble and brave. Faith can take you a long ways, some might say all the way.

Just to through another wrench in the system... I am sorta surprised that no one has asked my how my wives are doing. (for your information they are doing just fine). Ok, that was a joke. As much as people would like to think, Mormon's aren't polygamous... at least not any more. When you hear the news stories about the "Mormon Polygamy" leaders, understand that they are most likely talking about the fundamentalist Mormon leaders.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 8:03 pm 
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Stu wrote:
I am not sure how old you are Didy, but I seem to remember something about your profession being in ministry. I don't know all what goes into that (training and schooling) I can only imagine the number of hours you have spent researching things.


I can answer that, my dad is a pastor in the same Lutheran synod as Didy, and it's about three years in the seminary (I think), and then (hopefully) the remainder of their lives reading The Bible and studying it's meaning.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 9:28 pm 
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I have trouble believing that a person can judge another's beliefs through an internet chat (or even worse, a bbs).

I strongly agree.

Quote:
I am sorta surprised that no one has asked my how my wives are doing.

I've got about 6 or 7 wives (stopped counting at 4). How many do you have? :p

(To Didy)
The fact is that you brought up the point that the apostles died for their beliefs, so that's gotta contribute (even a if just a little) to the argument that Christianity is true. I was just bringing up the fact that many LDS members died and suffered for their beliefs too.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 10:17 pm 
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Stu wrote:
I don't really have anything useful to add to this conversation other than to note that it is true... I am a Mormon. Raised (not born), I have been moderately active the majority of my 25 years of existence on this world.

If there was something that I could add, it would be that I think there is a lot of weight being put on "words". Earlier in the thread MooKoo said something about tomatos and tamatoes. Your meaning of grace and my meaning of grace just might be the same deep down in our hearts. I have trouble believing that a person can judge another's beliefs through an internet chat (or even worse, a bbs).

I also don't think that the playing field is very level here. No offense to MooKoo, but they have already admitted that they aren't even old enough to get a driver's license. Assuming they live in the US that means they are barely in high school (perhaps junior high / middle school still). I am not sure how old you are Didy, but I seem to remember something about your profession being in ministry. I don't know all what goes into that (training and schooling) I can only imagine the number of hours you have spent researching things. Does that make you right and MooKoo wrong (or vice versa), not at all in my mind. I just think one needs to be careful when taking the words of those that might not have all of the training. MooKoo, I don't really know you all that well. Please understand that I am not trying to insult you here. I think what you are doing is very noble and brave. Faith can take you a long ways, some might say all the way.

Just to through another wrench in the system... I am sorta surprised that no one has asked my how my wives are doing. (for your information they are doing just fine). Ok, that was a joke. As much as people would like to think, Mormon's aren't polygamous... at least not any more. When you hear the news stories about the "Mormon Polygamy" leaders, understand that they are most likely talking about the fundamentalist Mormon leaders.


Thank You for mentioning that tidbit about me being only 15, well 16 in exactly a week, but anyways. No offense taken. I'm glad you reminded them of that.

Didymus, I don't have a problem with my faith being contested, simply because I know its true. I don't mind letting people know why I know its true either. I also respect your faith, simply because you know its true. I guess what I'm saying is that, well, um, here's a quote!

Knowledge is to Wisdom, as Faith is to Belief

knowledge can give Wisdom.
Faith can give Belief.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:35 pm 
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There is another possible reason: it could be they didn't want to implicate themselves in an attempted fraud.


Good grief. Could you explain a bit more what you mean by that?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 4:40 am 
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Okay, I'll elaborate. Please keep in mind, I'm not sure that any of this is conclusive: it is only an alternative theory to the one you proposed.

You see, these men testified that they had actually seen these plates. Now, for whatever reason, they renounced their loyalty to their prophet Joseph Smith, but did not renounce their claim to having seen the plates. Now, as I already demonstrated, Martin Harris' testimony is unreliable in any case, either for or against, because of his contradictory claims. Not only that, but some of the reading I've done on him seems to suggest he wasn't exactly a very trustworthy fellow to start with, either before joined or after he renounced the Mormons.

But here's what I mean: if these men had committed perjury in claiming to have seen the plates, then renouncing them could have led to legal actions against them. At the very least, they would have a great deal of explaining to do to people as well as to certain authorities. If they had lied to start with, there would have been negative consequences for telling the truth later.

But whether the plates existed at one time or not is not the only issue. The fact remains that they are not available for us to examine today, and no reproductions that I'm aware of by which modern scholars can examine them and perhaps translate them to verify Smith's work. We have only Smith's word that he translated them correctly; these other witnesses apparently lacked the ability to read them for themselves, and even if they had viewed them, they wouldn't have known what it was they were looking at. They, like the rest of us, could only take Smith's word that these plates contained what we now know as the Book of Mormon.

With the Bible, on the other hand, we do have early copies and a great number of them, such that most scholars believe that the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Novum Testamentum Grecae to be at least 99.5% accurate to the original texts (and trust me when I tell you this: most of that .5% are simple copyist errors - like writing "Christ Jesus" instead of "Jesus Christ" - and do very little to change the theology of the texts in question). For anyone who wished to take the time to learn the languages and translate them for themselves, the texts are available. With the Book of Mormon, all we have is Joseph Smith's translation: nothing else.

So really, it all comes down to this: whether or not you trust Smith (or, perhaps, whether you feel it even matters whether or not it is necessary to trust Smith). I feel I have reasons for doubting him, but even if I didn't, my question would be, why should I consider his authority greater than that of the men who walked with the Lord himself? Those that we know with certainty that he chose to carry on his work on earth?

STU:

Just to give you a bit of an idea of my theological training, before Seminary, I did five years of undergraduate work (7, if you count my work at the Art Institute, but since that was not theological training, I will not for the time being). My undergraduate degree was in Humanities and Biblical Studies (it was a dual major degree). As a part of the curriculum, I took Old Testament classes (the Torah, the Psalms and Writings, and the Major Prophets), New Testament classes (the Gospels, Acts and the Epistles of Paul, and Revelation), two years of Koine Greek, a year of Biblical Hebrew, three Church History classes, and several Humanities, Literature, and Philosophy classes, and some theology courses. My Alma Mater was actually a Church of Christ school, so it's curriculum was not distinctly Lutheran; in fact, it's theology was somewhat diverse.

In Seminary, I continued my work in biblical languages. We are required to take at least three Old Testament and three New Testament classes, each with heavy emphasis on translating work (if anyone wants to see any of my papers, I might still have them - and believe me, you did NOT want to take an OT and an NT at the same time; it was murder). We also had various theological history classes (which went into much more detail than those I took in college), along with doctrinal classes and practical classes. Along with that, I served at a field church, and also did two pastoral internships (one in Bossier City, LA, and the other at the VA Hospital and the nursing home). So if you get the idea that language studies are a vital part of my training, you're on target.

Well, I'm going to be gone the next week or so, so I probably won't get a chance to post anymore on this topic.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:18 am 
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I hope you realized that I wasn't trying to question your training (I was certain before, and absolutely convinced now that you have devoted a considerable portion of your life to this). I mostly wanted to make sure that other users here were exactly aware of where you were/are coming from.

As to the thought of fraud. The only problem I see in that logic is how could they have committed perjury. I haven't studied this extensively, but I can't recall anywhere that they were under a legal oath when they signed their names as witnesses. I could see them trying to save face if they felt that their name/honor might be at stake. I am just not certain that their was a legal reason for them to recant.

My thoughts on the truthfulness of scriptures (both Bible and Book of Mormon). I can understand how it sounds. "We have scripture that was found in a hillside, printed on plates of gold... what do you mean "can you see them"?... of course not, after they were translated God took them from this planet" I don't have an answer for it other than to cite the testimonies of those witnesses and my own testimony of them.

Is that going to change your opinion? Probably not. But it does strike me as odd that it is possible for a set of scriptures to be translated over the course of several thousand years. Do original manuscripts from the time of Moses exist? What about Noah or Adam? Do we even have original manuscripts from the time of Christ? (I don't the answers to these questions, but if I had to guess I would say no). But still we (and that includes me) take these books as truth. I don't find it so hard to believe that a similar set of events occured on this half of the world too. (the event of a group of people recording scripture, not necessarily what is inside of that scripture).

It is late, and I am likely rambling. I hope I haven't offended anyone. :) Thanks for listening

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:35 am 
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I hope you realized that I wasn't trying to question your training (I was certain before, and absolutely convinced now that you have devoted a considerable portion of your life to this). I mostly wanted to make sure that other users here were exactly aware of where you were/are coming from.

I wasn't offended at all. I realize that was your intent. I was just taking to opportunity to give some idea of my academic training.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 05, 2007 3:55 pm 
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Didymus wrote:
I wasn't offended at all. I realize that was your intent. I was just taking to opportunity to give some idea of my academic training.


Grood :)

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 6:15 pm 
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So, to toastpaint, any others on the forum?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 3:38 am 
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I am not a mormon, I am Catholic.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:40 pm 
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I'm sorry I missed this... I could have thrown my own bit of green carrot jello into the issue. oh well.

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