Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Definition: A Restorationist movement lead by claimed prophets, starting with Joseph Smith (1805-1844), with distinctive beliefs and a unique scriptural canon in addition to the Bible: The Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST).

Are their any problems with Mormonism?
Consider the following:
(1) Mormonism makes salvation impossible for this reason: It has a ‘no blood before Adam’s Fall’ doctrine, including no offspring or death in the pre-Fall Animal Kingdom.[1] Additionally, the Fall is described as a blessing in the Book of Mormon at 2 Nephi 2:22-5. (See problem 2 below.) The problem is that it presents blood as a product of Adam’s transgression, yet Jesus had blood (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:11),[2] but he was free of the affects of Adam’s transgression. (Luke 1:35; Hebrews 4:15) Therefore, what we have here may be called a soteriological contradiction, for Jesus was holy and sinless—he did not have any products of Adam’s transgression, but Mormonism gives him just that, blood from Adam’s transgression.

(2) 2 Nephi 2:22, 23 contradicts Genesis 1:28 which states this regarding Adam and Eve (NW): “Further, God blessed them [Adam and Eve], and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many, fill the earth and subdue it.’” (NET Bible renders this “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it!’” RS, Yg, NASB, NIV, as well as others, read similarly.) Thus Adam and Eve were told to have children, yet 2 Nephi 2:23 says “they would have had no children.” Exacerbating this is that Genesis 1:28 is found in the JST (see 1:30) as well as in another Mormon version of Genesis 1:28 found in Moses 2:28 in the Pearl of Great Price, which therefore also contradicts 2 Nephi 2:22, 23. This contradiction is a fatal flaw in Mormon scripture that alienates it from God. (Refer to Table 1 below.)

Table 1
Click to enlarge

Furthermore, 2 Nephi 2:22, 23 and 25 places Adam’s fall in a favorable, even liberating light, as verse 25 adds that “Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” This contradicts Romans 5:8, 10-12, 15-19 where Adam’s fall is described in negative, debilitating terms, even called a “trespass,” or “offense,” and “disobedience,” leading to “condemnation.” This contradiction with Romans chapter 5 is another fatal flaw in Mormon scripture that alienates it from God.

(3) There is also the problem of the source language of the Book of Mormon, called “reformed Egyptian,” which is described as more compact than Hebrew in the Book of Mormon at Mormon 9:32-33. However, this is impossible. The book By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus, by Charles M. Larson (Grand Rapids, 1992), says: “Ancient Egyptian writing is composed of both phonograms (‘sound-signs’) and ideagrams (signs that convey their meaning pictorially). In this language a word was usually expressed by using one or more phonograms, followed by an ideagram. In this arrangement the ideagram is called a determinative, because it ‘determines’ the meaning of the foregoing sound-signs and defines their meaning in a general way. ... While some Egyptian words need no determinative, many have more than one; some words even require as many as three determinatives to express a single thought. Egyptian writing was thus cumbersome to use, and lacked any true depth of abstraction. ... Eventually its vast inferiority to other forms of writing, such as Greek or Hebrew, led to its disuse and ultimate disappearance. But no one realized any of this in Joseph Smith's time.”—Pp. 88, 89.

Thus, the weight of the evidence indicates that the Hebrew-speaking Israelites would not switch to Egyptian Hieroglyphics and reform that to be more compact than Hebrew which was a superior language and already more compact than Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

(4) Mormonism also retains the Latin name Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12 KJ) for Satan in its scriptures (see 2 Nephi 24:12, Doctrine and Covenants 76:26 and the JST at Isaiah 14:12). However, Bible scholarship post-dating Mormonism has shown that Lucifer is not Satan. Rather, Lucifer is merely the translation of the Hebrew word heh·lel′, “shining one,” which is not a name or a title but a term describing the boastful position taken by Babylon’s dynasty of kings of the line of Nebuchadnezzar. Yet, Mormonism cannot remove this error without serious consequences to its credibility, as divine revelation would not perpetuate error and confusion.

When Someone Says—
‘I’m a Mormon (or Latter-day Saint)’
You might reply: ‘I remember your “Truth Restored” ad campaign a few years ago. Clearly you value the truth about God, right? So do I. In this regard, notice what Jesus said in John 17:17. (Read it.) So we can trust God’s Word; is that how you feel?’ Then perhaps add: ‘I agree with you that there was a Great Apostasy from the truth, and consequently a need for a restoration. Also, I agree that the cross is inappropriate as a Christian symbol. But I do believe that Jesus was free of Adamic contamination to be the Ransomer. Do you believe that Adam was created without blood and that blood is a product of his transgression?’ (Note, do not use the word "sin" here, as they do not believe it was a sin but something Adam had to do.) ‘Yet Jesus shed his blood for us?’ (Allow for response.) ‘Would you agree that Jesus our Savior was free of the affects of Adam's transgression?’ (Read Luke 1:35 and Heb. 4:15.) Then why would Jesus have blood if it is the product of Adam’s transgression?’ (Turn to page 29 under the heading “If Someone Says” under “Adam and Eve” in the book Reasoning From the Scriptures, or to chapter five of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? on page 47, and use this as a basis for discussion, highlighting Jesus’ role as Ransomer. Both books are published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.)

Or you could say: ‘Do you look at Adam and Eve with great appreciation for what they did in the garden of Eden? (Allow for response. Then read Romans 5:18, 19.) How does this scripture describe what Adam did? Why do you think Paul used words like “condemnation” and “disobedience” if we are to appreciate what Adam did?’

Another possibility: ‘I appreciate the high value you place on knowing the truth, as your “Truth Restored” ad campaign demonstrated. Do you think that restoring truth would perpetuate error and confusion? (Allow for response.) That would destroy all credibility of restoring truth, right? Then why is it that Mormon scripture preserves the Latin name Lucifer for Satan when Bible scholarship post-dating Mormonism has shown that Lucifer is not Satan, but is merely the Latin translation of the Hebrew word heh·lel′, and is the Babylonian king?’ (Turn to page 361 under “Satan the Devil” in Reasoning From the Scriptures, or to chapter ten of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? on page 96, and use this as a basis for discussion.)

[1] “Fall of Adam.” LDS Church’s Bible Dictionary. http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/bd/f/2 [Note: the latest edition of the LDS Church’s Bible Dictionary under the corresponding entry "Fall of Adam and Eve" has omitted reference to blood forming in the bodies of the primeval 'transgressors' Adam and Eve. This was doubtlessly done to soften the definition and make it more ‘milk-like,’ with the ‘meatier’ no-blood-before-the-Fall doctrine being presented later.] This ‘no blood before Adam’s Fall’ doctrine is also taught in the LDS Church’s Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual, “Chapter 8 – The Fall,” which quotes Mormon President Joseph Fielding Smith (http://www.lds.org/manual/doctrines-of-the-gospel-student-manual/chapter-8-the-fall?lang=eng):
“When Adam was in the Garden of Eden, he was not subject to death. There was no blood in his body and he could have remained there forever. This is true of all the other creations” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:76–77).
It is also taught in the LDS Church’s Ensign magazine in the following articles by Mormon Apostle Russell M. Nelson: “Constancy amid Change,” November 1993 issue, page 33 and “The Atonement,” November 1996 issue, page 33.

[2] “Christ.” LDS Church’s Bible Dictionary. (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bd/christ?lang=eng) In order for Jesus to be the “last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45), he would have to be what Adam lost and voluntarily sacrifice that to be the ransom. Mormonism makes that impossible.

(This was written by me attempting to mimic the general style of the book Reasoning From the Scriptures.)

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The Religion of “More”