Saturday, 13 February 2010

Why I Left the Mormon Church

I was a member of the Mormon Church for 14 years, and find myself frequently disappointing people when I tell them that I enjoyed being a Latter-day Saint. You will understand that people expect to hear a little scandal with my kind of testimony, but I have none to offer. My wife was a member for 18 years in all, and we left together in August of 1986. Our time in the church was mostly happy. We started a family there and have much for which to be thankful, and very many happy memories. The church was good to us, being supportive through some very difficult times.

I served in various capacities including various clerical duties. I served as Sunday School teacher, Seminary and Institute teacher, teacher in both Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthood quorums, and Ward Missionary Leader. At the time of my leaving I was Elder's Quorum President. Up to the time of my leaving I was a temple recommend holder and regularly attended the London Temple (right).

Why I Joined the Mormon Church

I remember my first contact with Mormonism, and the elders who taught me. I remember vividly the conviction with which I embraced the church and it's teachings. I recall experiencing a burning in the bosom, not just once but many times, and can picture to this day where I was kneeling when it first happened. I could barely contain my excitement as I discovered more through the missionary discussions. This revolutionary message that the heavens were not sealed and that God spoke again through living prophets. I recollect my baptism  at the District Centre then, before Wales had a Stake; It has two now.

In the Mormon church I met some of the most wonderful people you could wish to know. I remember my wife and I being prepared for our first visit to the temple by one of the counsellors of the District President. He was a lovely man, larger than life and full of love and encouragement. I remember the young people we grew alongside in the church and the times we had at District and Stake meetings, Gold and Green balls, temple trips, Fathers and Sons camps, even a visit to London to see Spencer W. Kimball (left). We married and grew up and had families and knew tragedies and triumphs, disenchantment and inspiration.

When we left, we left behind a full life, cherished friends, and good memories. Believe me when I say that our decision to go was not made lightly. And unlike some you might come across, we had nothing against the church, no complaints. Our friends were shocked at our leaving - so were we.

It took less than a month for us to make our momentous decision and, whilst this may seem hardly enough time to fully consider the issues, I assure you we were convinced and had no doubts. I realise now that that month was the culmination of a longer period of questioning and seeking. In the end ours was a real "road to Damascus" experience and, like Saul, it was as if scales fell from our eyes.

Contrary to what you might think, I am not part of an anti-Mormon group. I am not an anti-Mormon at all but a Christian. I am a member of a local Baptist church and my life is taken up with full involvement there. My time is not spent pouring over anti-Mormon literature, nor is it spent finding ways to "get at" Mormons. I do, however, share my experiences and findings with others in the same spirit in which Mormon missionaries go around the doors. I have found the truth and, especially in relation to Latter-day Saints, wish to share it.

I am sometimes asked why I now "fight" the Mormon Church. Mormons I meet ask why I try to convert church members who are, after all, already Christians. I might ask the same question of Mormon missionaries. When they find a Christian on the doorstep do they back away saying "Oh, you already know Jesus"? They do not, because they believe that there is no salvation outside the Mormon church. I believe there is no salvation inside the Mormon church and so, by the same token, I proselyte Latter-day Saints.

Why I Became a Christian

I have already said that I was happy as a Mormon and that I have no complaints about the way the church treated me. The inevitable question is, "Why, then, did you leave? There must have been something wrong".

I recall it was one Friday evening, the children were in bed, and there was a quiet moment when we looked at each other apprehensively. We had not been discussing church, either that evening or that week, except in the general way. I remember how we tentatively but finally agreed that there was something wrong. There was an unspoken, undefined, significance to that word "something" precisely because we had nothing to complain about.

One of us, I don't now remember who, said, "It's not working, is it?", and the other one agreed. Again an unspoken understanding of something we had never discussed or given the vaguest expression to, yet we each knew what the other meant. Our faith was not "working". What did we mean by that? We didn't then know or understand, but we felt an earnest desire to put right whatever it was we felt was wrong because our church membership was important to us.

It was then that we made a decision that, to this day, makes people stare. We turned to a Christian friend. It seems almost inconceivable, especially since we had no reason to shun our church friends, that we should do such a thing. I believe God was in all this. Of course I would say that, wouldn't I?

I believe our friend John could barely contain his excitement at being presented with such an opportunity. He did hold himself back, however, and simply invited us to church. "Come and see" he said to us. It was in that church that we experienced such a love for God that we were left wondering what it was that we thought we had been experiencing for all those years. Don't misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that Mormons are loveless, or that they have no genuine desire to serve God. But this was different.


So far we had seen something special in our friend John, something that had caused us, inexplicably, to trust him. We had experienced something amongst John's friends - an intensity of love and devotion that was so new to us as to be heady, like new wine. Now we wanted to understand. If this was right how did it square with what we had experienced and understood until now? If this was wrong how did these poor people come to be so deceived?

John gave us a modern translation of the Bible (NIV) and encouraged us to read it without any commentary or Bible study aids. He suggested we start with Paul's letter to the Romans. It was important to us that we should gain an understanding of things and so we now decided to review what we had already experienced, and what we could say for sure we knew, before we went any further. We had already agreed that God would not condemn us for honestly seeking his face and striving for a better understanding of his will. We now agreed that we would trust God to answer our prayers and resolve for us the, so far undefined, misgivings we had about our faith. Not about the Mormon church, but about our faith.


A Message of Grace

The thought that the Mormon Church might not be true had never entered our minds. No-one had spoken against the church in our hearing and we had not looked at any anti literature. Our struggle was not over doctrine. It was about our experience of God. In this spirit, then, of seeking God and trusting him for direction in a very personal pilgrimage, we read his word. It was here we discovered grace.

For all the Mormon church had going for it there was one area in which it singularly failed me. I was looking for something when I joined and I began to see that it was the one thing the church was incapable of delivering. Peace with God. When my wife and I became troubled we really did not understand why. We just knew - I knew - that something fundamental was missing from our spiritual experience. It was only as we began seeking with a determination we had never known before that we saw how radical would have to be the change in our lives if we were to go on with God.

When I set out to read Romans I was looking for a solution to the problems of my faith as a Mormon. I was not trying to sort out the Mormon Church. I was trying to sort out Mike Thomas. I wanted to get right with God so that I could be a better Latter-day Saint. Now you might say that I had a peculiar way of doing this. After all, going to a non-member etc. But God was in this from beginning to end so how could I do otherwise?

It was now that I did the one thing I had never done before. I knelt before God and asked Jesus to be my Saviour. I had believed in him for years, but I had been taught that the way to salvation was by obedience to the Mormon church. The church had effectively stood between me and God.

I came to see that there is only one mediator between men and God, the man Christ Jesus. I realised that the head of every man is Christ, not an organisation. I saw that all who came to him would not be condemned but would receive eternal life. I had an assurance of eternal life, something I had never known before, something no Mormon knows because the Mormon church teaches that salvation is by obedience, and so it is arrogant and presumptuous to say that you know. The Bible told me that I could know, the Mormon Church told me that I couldn't. I chose to believe the Word of God.

Now I was faced with a dilemma. Could I give up all those things that had been my life up to now? Leave my church friends? People think that obedience is all about the ten commandments and that sort of thing. Really it is about attitude. What really is the most important thing in your life? Put like that there was no other choice. I left the Mormon Church and embraced my newly discovered joy. My life since really coming to know Jesus bears no comparison to all those years when I only thought I knew him. Iremember the sobering realisation of what was happening when my wife one day said, "You realise we can't go back?"

I made the right choice and discovered a God who truly proves his faithfulness. So many scripture promises came true for me when I sought him and and discovered that "if you seek him, he will be found by you" (1 Chron.28:9). Coming from a system that saw obedience to law as the way to God I was brought to rejoice in the fact that "a righteousness from God , apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify" (Romans 3:21). The assurances of God's Word are a blessing to me beyond anything I could hope or ask. I know that through faith in Jesus I have eternal life as a present possession and a guaranteed inheritance (John 5:24). I just thought you would like to know.

What we Discovered in Romans

What did we find in our reading of Paul's letter to the Roman? We travelled what we later found was called The Roman Road. It is one of many journeys through the Bible designed to help us understand the fundamentals of God's Word. I reproduce it here:

THE ROMAN ROAD

This is a simple explanation of the gospel, using scriptures from the Book of Romans - hence the name. It can be easily marked in your Bible by writing the first reference at the beginning of Romans, and then in the margin by each reference writing the reference which follows. Thus when you want to share the gospel message from the scriptures, you do not need to remember a string of references, you just need to look at the book of Romans and follow the road through it. The references and a brief description follows. Feel free to explain them in your own words.

3:10 - There is no-one righteous, no matter how good we are or how hard we try.

3:23 - All have sinned and fallen short. It is impossible for us to measure up to God's standard.

5:12 - Death came to all men, because all sinned. It is our nature to sin.

5:8 - Because of God's love for us, he sent Christ to die for us - while we were still sinners, not because we had done anything to earn it.

6:23 - The wages of sin is death - wages are what you earn as a result of what you do. The gift of God is eternal life - you do not earn a gift, or deserve it. God gives the gift because He loves us. We do not need to work for it, only accept it.

10:13 - Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, regardless of who they are or what they have done. You only have to call.

10:9,10 - True, heart-felt confession of faith in Jesus is what it takes to be saved, not works.

24 comments:

  1. Great thoughts. We had a similar experience. There was no anger, we weren't looking to get out. In fact we were at our most active as mormons until God intervened.

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  2. Thanks Arthur. I guess God must have a sense of irony taking us out of Mormonism when we were most active. But then Saul of Tarsus was at his most zealous when he got knocked off his horse. That must have stirred things up back at Pharisee HQ. Maybe its about impact.

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  3. Nice! Is there a way to connect all these blogs of people leaving together?

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  4. THANK YOU for such a wonderful testimony! You expressed in words what I've been thinking for a long time! I've never been LDS, but when I was at university I came close to joining the LDS Church, despite the fact that I was raised as and was a Christian. I don't think I could have put the words any better myself.

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  5. Thanks BBK, I don't know that there is one central place but whenever anyone asks I always encourage them to publish my testimony.

    Drew, You know from experience then how attractive the message appears to be. I just put up another blog post about the one great differentce between Mormons and Christians. If Christians would just hold onto this one tremendous truth they would soon see how empty is the Mormon message. Today I stand in eternal life (John 5:24) so how can anyone offer me a better place to stand?

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing your story. Please link to our as well. We would love to hear your thoughts about our blog and stories. Praise God He chose to open both of our eyes. God is so much bigger than mormonism!

    www.welovemormons.blogspot.com

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  7. Malinda, Thanks for coming by and alerting us to your own work. It is a really good blog and I especially like the idea of following the manual through the year. I might "borrow" the idea some time.

    I have intended to put up a blog list for some time and you have prompted me to do so. I have, of course, added your own blog to the list.

    Mike

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  8. I am a Mormon, and I have never been taught that I can't "know" about eternal life- quite to the contrary; eternal life seems rather a focus in my church (when one accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and tries his best to live Christ's gospel), and I have been taught that seeking God through personal revelation is not only possible, but essential. I therefore disagree with your assertion that "no Mormon can know" this. I have also been repeatedly taught that salvation comes from both obedience and grace, so what you said about my church believing only in obedience doesn't match my experience as a Mormon either. I also noticed that you, and many of your commentators, speak of Mormons as if we are not "Christians". This is not an uncommon accusation against Mormons, but it is a baseless one. Every time I go to church I learn about Christ. Every time I pray I seek His counsel and guidance in my life. I am currently reading the New Testament, and trying to learn how I can better understand Him, be a little more like Him, and learn to treat others around me according to His example. I am sincerely trying to grow closer to Christ, so how can you say I'm not a Christian? Frankly, that's pretty arrogant, and I'm glad that He is my Judge, and not you. I'm sure there are very good Baptists in the world (just like there are good members of all faiths) but I can't help noticing the ones who stand outside LDS General Conference in Salt Lake City every six months, holding up signs that tell us we're all going to "Burn In Hell" for simply not being one of them. They never seem to want to encourage me, just condemn me, and give me hateful looks while I am trying to worship the Lord. Sorry, but that sort of behavior doesn't seem very "Christian" to me. If you really care about bringing people to Christ, you should focus on that, instead of merely creating a blog about why you disapprove of Mormons.

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  9. Thanks for your comment and please accept my apologies for the delay in posting it. I have been away from my computer for awhile. I am not easy about posting anonymous comments but yours is such a good one I felt it right to post and address it.

    First, I think you misunderstand the term "to know eternal life" and maybe that is understandable because it is a piece of Evengelical jargon that I should have explained. It doesn't mean to know about, study, learn more about eternal life. I am sure you are right in insisting that you "know" it in this sense (although I am as sure that our understanding of the term is quite different).

    The way I use the term means to have eternal life as a present posession and future assurance. To "know eternal life" is to experience it as a reality now and to understand that you are assured of fully experiencing it after death. It means being saved in the fullest sense. This is something the Mormon Church emphatically preaches against. In this sense Mormons don't know eternal life.

    On the issue of faith and works I couldn't do better than point you to two articles on the subject on this blog:

    Does Paul Contradict James?

    Works Without Faith Are Dead

    Concerning your objection to being described as not Christian I am afraid simply insisting you are doesn't make you a Christian. There are long established, authoritative and biblical tests that may be applied to the question of who is a Christian. The question of faith and works is a key test and the Bible's teaching on this issue is demonstrably different to that of the Mormon Church. The same might be said about the nature of God, the person and work of Christ, the nature of man, the problem of sin, etc.

    It is not a question of setting up a blog to do down Mormons but of questioning the claims of Mormonism by comparing them with the Bible. I know about some of the antics that go on twice a year at conference time, although I have never been to Utah and, while I am sure there are many good and gracious witnesses in that place, I agree that some behave in a manner that rbings shame on the gospel they claim to proclaim.

    I am aware that especially Utah Mormons view every challenge as though it comes from such folk. I am in the UK, my faith and culture will not allow such behaviour and it disappoints me that it gets in the way of honest discussion of those things that lie between us. But this doesn't change the fact that they need to be discussed because you think my church is apostate while I think yours is unfounded in its claims.

    I hope you find this helpful.

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  10. My experience in the "Mormon Church" has been so different than yours. I've found tremendous peace in the LDS Church. My personal relationship with Christ has been strengthened, and my love for God grows daily. This faith "works" for me in ways no other could... and I've visited a number of them. To each his own, I suppose.

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  11. I would be happy to compare our respective experiences. Maybe there are reasons why they are different beyond the ones that seem obvious to you right now. Tell me a bit about yourself and I will tell you something about me and we will see.

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  12. QD

    If you'd like to continue our discussion on Mormonism I feel this would be a more appropriate setting than on a ex-Muslim site.
    I will address your recent post and other points if you agree.

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  13. That will be agreeable Hugh. I look forward to sharing.

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  14. This is a series of comments I and QD have been engaging in over a number of weeks. The discussion started on a ex-Muslims blog. I felt this would be a better setting to continue in this dialog. I shall repost some of these interactions so others can follow.

    QD
    Stephen, Hugh Watt,

    What fear have you of the Book of Mormon? Doesn't the open mind study-out and weigh all things? Doesn't the search for truth demand at least a cursory investigation? The BOM ends with this promise:

    "3 Behold, I would exhort you that when ye shall read these things, if it be wisdom in God that ye should read them, that ye would remember how merciful the Lord hath been unto the children of men, from the creation of Adam even down until the time that ye shall receive these things, and ponder it in your hearts.

    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

    5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things." (Moroni 10:3-5)

    Why not take up the challenge, if you truly are in search of Truth and a more perfect understanding of God? If it is false, you needn't accept it, nor follow the counsels of the Saints, but if it is true; then it is critical to know and understand.

    hw

    Before I go into this more fully I'd need to know what you consider to be official and non-official Mormon sources? If I quote some Mormon prophets will you accept what they taught/teach or will you simply say these prophets or sources are not official Mormon doctrine?

    QD

    What has been accepted as the Standard Works ( The Bible, The Book of Mormon, The Doctrines and Covenants, The Articles of Faith) and doctrine by the body of the Church I will accept, but there are many times when authorities have voiced opinions, speculation and rationalizations that have not been accepted as doctrine by the either the body of the Church nor by the majority of what we call "General Authorities." Why don't you stick with what is preached daily and consistently to the body of the Church and not ramble off into esoteric speculations. If one cannot accept the Book of Mormon as scripture or the concept of a living prophet, then all the rest is worthless. That is why Joseph Smith Jr. called it the "keystone of our religion." Either God is a living, interested and active participant in our existence; or he is as useful as those ancient stone idols. :)

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  15. 2- hw

    If we accept Joseph Smith as a prophet should we not accept Muhammad also?

    Both say they were given visions and an angel [Jibril Muhammad, Moroni - Smith] gave them their revelations.

    Both were given books they say came from God.

    Both were told that no true religion existed on the earth and they should bring the people back on the right path.

    Both claimed theirs was the right path and all other ways were to be rejected.

    Both claimed the Bible was lost, altered, corrupted and unreliable and was only accurate where it was not in contradiction with their book.

    Both claimed their book was revealed to set things straight.

    Both claimed their book was the most correct and perfect book on earth.

    Both were polygamists.

    Muslims and Mormons have progressive revelation. Muslims call it "Nasikh". Mormons like all Muslims, were originally polygamists until "The Manifesto" against polygamy was 'revealed' to John Taylor, over 40 years after Smith's death. This came on the eve of the US government outlawing the practice of polygamy. New revelation always replaces older revelation that became inconvenient to the prophet.

    Do you accept Muhammad as a prophet?

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  16. 3- QD

    Can Muhammad provide witnesses to even one of his angelic encounters? Joseph Smith has many: the three that saw the plates (the original book from from which he excerpted that portion we know as the Book of Mormon)and the angel which delivered them, and heard the voice of God commanding them to bear witness (which all did,never recanting although some left the Church over disagreements with J.S.). Then again there are eight who saw and handled the plates, but saw no angel. There is Oliver Cowdery that was with him when resurrected beings including Jesus Christ himself, visited them. Each delivering "keys" of authority in fulfillment of the Lord's commands. Beyond those recorded in the sources I agreed to are many other accounts recorded for prosperity in journals and letters of participants.

    Mohammad declared that Jesus (Isa) was no messiah and that no messiah was to come. Joseph Smith affirms that Jesus of Nazareth is the only begotten of the Father and the one true redeemer and savior of the world. The Book of Mormon affirms on nearly every other page that Jesus is the Christ, the only means to salvation and redemption from sin and death. Latter-day Saints accept as true and correct almost all of the Bible and those parts that are corrupted are generally present a weaken view of the power and grace of our Lord's atonement.

    The Quran went decades before the poems of Mohammad were collected and permanently recorded. Joseph Smith's translation was published under his eyes and those that scribed for him lived concurrent to their publications to challenge them if in error. We even have the ragged remnants of the printer's manuscript recovered from the ruins of the Nauvoo temple.

    Joseph Smith began as a barely literate youth that translated a book containing long lost Hebraic poetry styles (Chiasim, I belief they're called), many different voices, and accurately recorded landmarks on a continent he never set foot on and no Western had visited until almost his death in 1844. His translation also managed to cite things yet to be discovered in Meso-America, and that have a familiar ring to those who know the ancient American legends. They are logical and not contradictory; new revelations arise, but do not negate older revelations.

    And as some 14 millions will testify along with me, the Holy Ghost has born witness to their souls of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and what proceeds from that fact. There is also the "fruit" of the Restored Gospel, that of happy and productive families, a wealth of love and caring for friend, family, neighbor and stranger. Real changes in believers' lives that show the power and grace that accompanies repentance and obedience to the Lord. And of course, a strong, solid testimony of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.

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  17. 4- hw

    I'll start by setting a Biblical standard with a very important text.

    Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    Any being or person who brings a message that contradicts the Bible is "accursed" and should not be trusted we are cautioned.

    I'll try not to post long comments so as not to take up too much time in one go, and focus on the post you sent in reply to me. This will save me (us) from flying off in too many directions. I hope you'll do likewise. I may not get back to you immediately but do bear with me.

    Of course, you are entitled to believe what you want to, but these are my reasons for not accepting Mormonism is of the God of the Bible.

    Can Muhammad provide witnesses to even one of his angelic encounters? Joseph Smith has many:

    How did they "see" these plates?

    Notice how different this is from Moses' encounter when receiving the 10 C. Whilst Smith (and Muhammad) had "few" or no witnesses Moses had the whole Jewish population to back his veracity as a Prophet.

    But there's something more that doesn't add up here.

    Doctrines & Covenants [D&C] 17: 1 Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also of the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea.
    2 And it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

    3 And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God;

    4 And this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men in this work.

    5 And ye shall testify that you have seen them, even as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., has seen them; for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith.

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  18. 5- hw

    And:

    “Not many days after the above commandment was given, we four, viz., Martin Harris, David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and myself, agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain, by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfilment of the promises given in the above revelation—that they should have a view of the plates. We accordingly made choice of a piece of woods convenient to Mr. Whitmer’s house, to which we retired, and having knelt down, we began to pray in much faith to Almighty God to bestow upon us a realization of these promises.

    “According to previous arrangement, I commenced by vocal prayer to our Heavenly Father, and was followed by each of the others in succession. We did not at the first trial, however, obtain any answer or manifestation of divine favor in our behalf. We again observed the same order of prayer, each calling on and praying fervently to God in rotation, but with the same result as before.

    “Upon this, our second failure, Martin Harris proposed that he should withdraw himself from us, believing, as he expressed himself, that his presence was the cause of our not obtaining what we wished for. He accordingly withdrew from us, and we knelt down again, and had not been many minutes engaged in prayer, when presently we beheld a light above us in the air, of exceeding brightness; and behold, an angel stood before us. In his hands he held the plates which we had been praying for these to have a view of. He turned over the leaves one by one, so that we could see them, and discern the engravings thereon distinctly. He then addressed himself to David Whitmer, and said, ‘David, blessed is the Lord, and he that keeps His commandments;’ when, immediately afterwards, we heard a voice from out of the bright light above us, saying, ‘These plates have been revealed by the power of God, and they have been translated by the power of God. The translation of them which you have seen is correct, and I command you to bear record of what you now see and hear.’” ( History of the Church, 1:54–55.)

    Why could they only see the plates "by faith?" If the plates were tangible why would it take an act of faith to see them?

    Joseph Smith then concerned himself with Martin Harris, who had departed from them: “I now left David and Oliver, and went in pursuit of Martin Harris, whom I found at a considerable distance, fervently engaged in prayer. He soon told me, however, that he had not yet prevailed with the Lord, and earnestly requested me to join him in prayer, that he also might realize the same blessings which we had just received. We accordingly joined in prayer, and ultimately obtained our desires, for before we had yet finished, the same vision was opened to our view, at least it was again opened to me, and I once more beheld and heard the same things; whilst at the same moment, Martin Harris cried out, apparently in an ecstasy of joy, ‘’Tis enough; ’tis enough; mine eyes have beheld; mine eyes have beheld;’ and jumping up, he shouted, ‘Hosanna,’ blessing God, and otherwise rejoiced exceedingly.” ( History of the Church, 1:55.)

    They had a "vision" of something that contradicts the Bible in multiple places and Mormonism tries to answer this in the same way Muslims, not the Koran, but Muslims do by saying the Bible has been "corrupted!" But where's the proof for these claims?

    These records show they did not see physical plates with the naked eye, so why believe them and not Muhammad?

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  19. 6- QD

    Hugh,

    Sorry, to be so long in replying. It has been and continues to be a busy time.

    I wonder why you didn’t start a few verses earlier with Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you unto the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” For it is evidence that even in the time of the Apostles, while they were yet preaching the word unto the world, there were forces already working to undermine them and change what they were putting out? As evidenced in Paul’s complaint to Timothy, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me…” (2 Timothy 1:15). Even before that, while Christ Jesus was still among them and teaching himself, it is recorded that “…many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66).

    So, what assurances have you that the gospel you proclaim is pure and undistorted? Was it not contested for two centuries even before the Council of Nicene cir. 300 AD? Were not the decisions of that and other councils contested with bloodshed and murder afterwards? Are these the tools of Christ and his Apostles? Even today, why are denominations multiplying upon the face of the earth? Is there not,”One faith, one Lord, one baptism.”? (Ephesians 4:6) But, man has already “changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant...” (Isaiah 24:5) Which is all to fulfill the prophecy that the “day of Christ” shouldn’t come “…except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

    We bare witness that what we accept and preach is not a “new” gospel, but a “restored” gospel, by the same author who originated the first: our Lord Jesus the Christ.

    When were the heavens sealed? Who gagged God? Is he not the same now, as he was in the past, and is not his means of communicating with mankind the same as it has always been since the days of Adam? That is through the preaching of holy prophets and apostles. Do you think there are no new challenges that face mankind, no questions that perplex us, that would makes cry unto our God for answers and directions? Is Jesus, deaf or so hardened to our plight that he would remain silent after all his work and sacrifice? Did he not promise to be with us always, even unto the end? I’ll answer, no; but he is the same today as in the past and will be in the future.

    You say that the witnesses only saw a “vision” and did not physically handle the plates, but eight others specifically bore witness that they: “… did handle [the plates] with our hands…for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety….” Surely, you give credence to Paul’s two visions: that of his encounter on the road to Damascus, and his second visitation in the prison of Jerusalem. What more evidence did he have than Joseph Smith Jr. did? And, Joseph Smith has the second witness of Oliver Cowdery on multiple occasions: the visit of John the Baptist, the visit of Peter, James and John, and the visitations within the Kirtland Temple. What of Stephen’s vision of Jesus Christ standing on the right hand of God, whose testimony is truest: that of men of political power 300 years latter, debating and trying to reason an understanding of the Godhead to make it compatible with Greek philosophers; or the dying confession of a first-hand witness? The Father and Jesus are two separate individuals, not an amorphous conglomerate mystical manifestation that they came up with at Nicene.

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  20. 7-7

    If QD decides to take up my offer of further discussion, I shall reply to his most recent post and also go through more of the points which were originally put forward.

    PS. Please read Mike's story. This will save me from having to explain someone else's position on Mormonism when they have done it themselves.

    Speak soon.

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  21. Hello, Hugh.

    Yes, I have read Mike's story. Although, I think he and his beloved wife have made a mistake, we all must follow our consciences and where we feel the H.G. leads. All men have their agency, for good or ill, and that is why we are here.

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  22. 1-

    Gal.1 was not meant for the Apostolic era only but was meant as a warning for the Church then and future. If this were not so then how would we know how to discern truth from falsehood now? If I apply Gal.1 to Muhammad's experience I would have to say he was one such accursed person. Do you not agree? If not, why not?

    "So, what assurances have you that the gospel you proclaim is pure and undistorted?"

    If God was incapable of preserving the Bible would you not say the BoM can just as easily be corrupted?

    "Even today, why are denominations multiplying upon the face of the earth? Is there not,”One faith, one Lord, one baptism.”?"

    JW's say this too. Why is Mormonism right and not they? Have all Mormons believed the same?

    "We bare witness that what we accept and preach is not a “new” gospel, but a “restored” gospel, by the same author who originated the first: our Lord Jesus the Christ."

    Is the Mormon gospel the same?

    Eph.2:8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    2 Nephi 25: 23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

    Works cancels grace. When a Christian works it is to show he has accepted Christ. He works in our lives to do good things for Him:

    Eph.2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    It says nothing about working for grace to be bestowed upon us for salvation which is how 2 Nephi reads.

    "When were the heavens sealed? Who gagged God? Is he not the same now, as he was in the past, and is not his means of communicating with mankind the same as it has always been since the days of Adam?"

    There are a number of questions in this paragraph that seem jumbled up. God did not give Adam a Book and He spoke finally through His Son [Heb.1:2] All we can do is interpret (world) events in the light of what's been revealed in the Bible. Gal.1 warns against any message which contradicts the Bible. If not then should we be expecting another book after the BoM?

    "..but he is the same today as in the past and will be in the future."

    God revealed to Moses and the whole Jewish Nation the 10C and Torah but this was changed for JS, why? Where does it say they needed faith to see these stones upon which the 10C were written?

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  23. 2-

    "You say that the witnesses only saw a “vision” and did not physically handle the plates,."

    The ref's do.

    "..but eight others specifically bore witness that they: “… did handle [the plates] with our hands…for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety….”"

    Why not include JS's mother?

    "I have myself seen and handled the golden plates; they are about eight inches long, and six wide; some of them are sealed together and are not to be opened, and some of them are loose.." - Dan Vogel, ed., Early Mormon Documents (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), vol. 1, pp. 220-221

    “Of course we were in the spirit when we had the view, for no man can behold the face of an angel, except in a spiritual view, but we were in the body also, and everything was as natural to us, as it is at any time." - Letter of David Whitmer to Anthony Metcalf, March 1887, cit. Anthony Metcalf, Ten Years Before the Mast (Malad, Idaho, 1888),

    74; quoted in Anderson, 86

    “I was allowed to feel the weight of the box and they gave me to understand, that the plates was then in the box – into which I was not allowed to look” Isaac Hale (Joseph Smith – Rough Stone Rolling, p.63).

    So how did he know they were the actual plates? The Jews saw the actual tablets God gave to Moses. They were not covered. Why were the plates covered? Why could they not look?

    “Emma [Smith] said she sat at the same table with Joseph, writing as he dictated, with nothing between them, and the plates wrapped in a linen cloth on the table. When Cowdery took up the job of scribe, he and Joseph translated in the same room where Emma was working. Joseph looked into the seer stone, and the plates lay covered on the table” (Rough Stone Rolling, p.71).

    How couldd she know they were the actual plates?

    Are these the "eyewitness" accounts?

    Paul, Peter, Stephen had visions that were not contradictory to God's Word. They did not
    need to use seer stones to interpret their visions. Moses and the Jews needed no seer stones either.

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  24. Hello Mike. My name´s Bryan and I had a similar experience. I´ve always felt guilty for having left the church, though. You´ve JUST taken a burden off my chest and shoulders. God bless you ! x

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