Opening Video for Your World
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J: Welcome to another edition of Your World – the show that talks about … Your World. If you’re new to the show this week – we’re in the middle of a series of episodes about the religions that make up your world. Some fast growing. Some bizarre. But all interesting. This week we’ve sent our main correspondent, Phil, out to interview the spokeswoman for the Mormon church in LincolnNE. Let’s meet Kathy:
1 VIDEO: "Kathy” – two clips :46-1:02 and 1:23-2:10 (ends w/ ‘on that book’)
J: Phil – welcome – thanks for putting together these video clips for us. Now Kathy mentions Joseph Smith and this Book of Mormon – we should probably tell our viewers a little about these things.
P: OK, well, Joseph Smith is the founder of the Latter Day Saints – in the 1820’s Smith lived in upstate New York – it was a time of spiritual awakening and upheaval, and Joseph Smith was caught up in the spirit of his age.
J: And Kathy says that the Book of Mormon was given to him – I should clarify that a little – the claim basically is that a guy named Mormon was a prophet who lived anciently, here in the Americas, that is, during the 4th Century AD. This prophet Mormon wrote out the record of his people for the previous 1000 years – he wrote on Golden Plates which he then buried. Those Plates stayed buried for 1400 years.
P: The angel Moroni gave the Golden Plates to Joseph Smith, who translated them into what we now know as the "Book of Mormon”.
J: Well, I should probably save more about that whole issue – Joseph Smith and the gift of the Golden Plates – I should save further discussion of that until my last word. Phil – what else do we have here?
P: Well, I think you’ll find it interesting – we asked Kathy why it was that she is part of the Latter Day Saints church – let’s listen:
1 VIDEO "Why?” 2:30 – 3:26
J: Wow! What is it here with this show – didn’t we have a guest last week who used to be Lutheran too?
P: Well, Kathy never really was Lutheran, but it is pretty interesting that Lutheranism is in her background. I don’t know what to make of that really – whether it’s coincidence or whether Lutheranism is just a breading ground for people to branch off to other religions.
J: I also found it interesting that she’s a Mormon because it works for her. That sounded an awful lot like Jaime last Sunday as well. Didn’t Jaime say that she was a Wiccan because it worked for her?
P: Well, yeah, but I think that was just Kathy giving her personal testimony or whatever Christians would call that.
J: Well, nevertheless, I find it interesting that she didn’t say she was a Mormon because it was true – she is a Mormon because it works for her. I’m sure she believes it’s true, but that’s not what she said. Anyway, what else have you got?
P: Well, you just mentioned Christians. There is this controversy about whether Mormons are actually Christian or are not – we thought it would be good to get Kathy’s perspective on that – let’s take a look:
2 VIDEO "Christian” 20:50 – 22:13 ends w/ "head of our church” then cut to 27:00 -27:21 … check if these videos go together please, and are not redundant
P: So there you have it – Mormons are Christians.
J: Well … again, I’ll have my chance later to get in my last word on that. About the only point of agreement that I can make here is that Kathy claims to be Christian. There is really so much to discuss in that clip – my list is starting to get pretty long here for my commentary.
P: Well, let me give you another to add to you list! We asked Kathy about – you guessed it – polygamy. Here’s what she had to say:
1 VIDEO "Polygamy” 23:12 – 24:12
P: So, I guess that puts that to rest.
J: Well, not so fast. Let’s be clear about what’s going on here. It’s well documented that Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon faith practiced polygamy - I know – he called it plural marriage – he practiced polygamy as early as 1833. All told, by the time he was assassinated, he had about 30 wives.
WEB ONLY P: But there is some difference between earthly marriage and what Mormons call being ‘sealed’ for eternity, isn’t there? In the LDS church, marriage is an earthly institution. On the other hand, a man and woman can be sealed for eternity together without being together here on earth. The LDS Church lists 24 marriages for Joseph Smith, four of which didn’t even take place until after his death. So I’m not really sure how many of those marriages were consummated on earth, if you will. So this is pretty confusing.
J: Well, very true. In the book Doctrine and Covenants (section 101 of the 1835 edition … which was removed from the 1876 edition) polygamy was condemned. But then, in 1843, a revelation was given saying that plural marriage was God’s will – as far as I can tell, that revelation was first published in 1876 (section 132 of the 1876 edition). That was a reversal of a former revelation that had prohibited polygamy So it sort of goes back and forth.
P: Well, yes. Then in 1890, after just a ton of pressure from the United States government, the leader of the Mormon church received another revelation banning plural marriage since it was against the law of the land.
J: So actually the teaching, as I understand it, is this: polygamy is the correct doctrine, but it can only be practiced when it is authorized by God … and it is not now authorized. Would that be your understanding?
P: Sure. But the point here is that I don’t think Mormons today are some sort of polygamists – Mitt Romney is not likely to take on more wives anytime soon. So that’s that.
J: Hey – there’s the whole area of what Christians call salvation – getting to heaven or whatever – I think that’s an important question to ask anyone – how it is that they are going to be saved. From my understanding, the Latter Day Saints have more than one place you can go for eternity, and somewhat of a complex teaching about how you get there – is that right?
P: Yeah – in fact, I was thinking we’d save that stuff for next week’s show. I did get into that with Kathy, and I think you’ll find it pretty fascinating. But can we save that for next week?
J: Sure – so what else do we have this week?
P: Well, Kathy talked earlier about how the Latter Day Saints is a restoration of the early church of Jesus Christ. We wondered what exactly was restored – what others who claim to be Christian, like Roman Catholic or Lutheran – what they were missing. Where did they go astray? Let’s listen to what Kathy said:
1 ½ VIDEO: "Authority” 27:52- 29:22
J: Wow – very interesting!
P: You know – I’ve known some Lutheran pastors – I wonder what they’d say about this whole idea of authority and acting in Jesus’ name and so forth.
J: Well, Phil, that’s something I think our viewers should ask their pastor – whatever denomination they’re a part of – I wonder what Pastor Scheich over at Christ Lutheran Church in Lincoln would say?
P: No clue. But hey – that about wraps it up for today. I’ve gotta go – more assignments, you know.
J: When we get back, I’ll give you my take – stay tuned – put that remote down! After this commercial break to pay the bills, we’ll be right back.
J: Well, welcome back to Your World … the show that talks about Your World. Today we’ve been talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, perhaps more commonly known as the Mormon church. It’s been in the news a lot lately with Mitt Romney running for the Republican nomination for President, and so we thought we give it a look. We’ve just heard from Kathy Hill, spokeswoman for the Lincoln Stake of the LDS church . A Stake, by the way, is what they call their areas, and within a Stake are a number of what they call Wards – Lutherans, for instance, would call them Congregations.
So, let me give you my take on this … although as I noted before the break, I really would encourage our viewers to be asking their own pastors about this stuff.
History? First off, my comments on the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon proposes to tell a history of three different migrations of people to America. The main group was led here around 600 B.C. by a righteous Jew named Lehi. Lehi had six sons – two incurred the wrath of God and were cursed with red skin. The rest had white children. Jesus visited these people between his crucifixion and his resurrection. But then between 200-300 AD wars erupted, and by 400 AD the whole white race of Nephites had been destroyed, leaving only the dark skinned people to greet Columbus when he ‘discovered’ the new world.
Unlike much of Biblical history, especially from this time period, there is absolutely no corroborating evidence for this supposed history. None. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Not one other book or writing. Not a carving or engraving. Not a bone or a fragment – nothing to support any of this ‘history’ that is found only in the Book of Mormon. This is so very different from the history of this time period described in the Bible, which is corroborated all over the place– there is simply no comparison. This Book of Mormon history is accepted on faith, with no evidence whatsoever to support such faith. http://christiananswers.net/q-cc/cc-archaeology.html
Sources for Teaching Second comment on the Book of Mormon: Kathy is correct – one of the things that sets the Latter Day Saint church apart from the Christian church that has existed for 2000 years is the source of LDS theology. Christians have always listed one source for theology: The Bible. The Roman Catholic Church, over the years, has added to that source Church Tradition – without getting too technical here, commonly understood to be certain pronouncements of the pope. But Protestants, including Lutherans, have rejected this Church Tradition – they have said, if it’s in the Bible, it’s God’s Word; if it isn’t in the Book, then it isn’t. Period.
Mormons have added a whole host of sources for their theology … and not surprisingly in the process added a whole bunch of differing theology. The Book of Mormon. Doctrine and Covenants, which we spoke of earlier in connection with polygamy. The Pearl of Great Price. Various pronouncements of Church Leaders, such as Brigham Young, and others. And as for the Bible at its place as a source of Mormon teaching, well, that is somewhat suspect. The Bible is always spoken of this way: "The King James Version of the Bible, insofar as it is correctly translated.” No other translations are accepted (even though they are better). And even the KJV is suspect, as the phrase "insofar as it is correctly translated” is always added … thereby giving Mormons an option to reject a Biblical teaching by simply saying that the KJV isn’t correctly translated at that point.
Kathy makes an interesting point from the book of Revelation in the Bible:
18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
Kathy says that Revelation was not the last book of the Bible written, and therefore since even Christian denominations have added more books after this was written, it is then OK for Mormons to add a whole bunch of other books as well.
This is convoluted. First of all, conservative scholars agree that Revelation WAS the last book of the Bible written. It’s only scholars who don’t accept the Bible as the Word of God who then date other books after the writing of Revelation.
Second, that verse has nothing to do with people adding books to the Bible or not – it is irrelevant to the question that Kathy is addressing. That verse is talking about the book of Revelation itself – no one is to add anything to the book of Revelation. So even if the whole New Testament were written after that book … that is meaningless – the verse itself is talking about adding stuff to the book of Revelation.
This whole argument is a smokescreen for the real deal. The real deal is this: in order to be considered a source for the teaching of the Christian church, a book had to have been written by, or had a close connection to, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. That has been the position of the Christian Church for 2000 years. Joseph Smith was not one of those 12 apostles … no matter than he claims Peter James and John appeared to him and laid hands on him. Mormon wasn’t one of the 12 … and in fact there is absolutely no evidence from history that Mormon or Moroni or any of these other people ever existed.
Misdirection Can I comment for a moment more on Kathy’s use of Revelation 22:18? It is quite typical of the way Mormons quote the Bible or other texts. She brings up a verse which has absolutely nothing to do with the topic that is being discussed … but to the casual listener sounds quite applicable. Then she talks authoritatively about that verse, while the untrained listener nods his or her head in agreement and wonders why he or she never heard that in their Lutheran church. And by and by, after enough of this mis-direction and mis-quoting, the unsuspecting person becomes a Mormon. To quote Jesus:
37What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!' "
WEB EXCLUSIVE The Father as an embodied spirit: Joseph Smith taught that God the Father was once a man, in the same way that Jesus Christ was a man. That God the Father once lived on earth, as Jesus did. How does one begin to answer this claim? There is no evidence in the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments that this is true. This has never been the teaching of Jesus or of His Apostles. While some here and there, including Joseph Smith and the Mormons, have taught this, this teaching simply has never been part of the belief system of the Jews, of Christians, of the Scriptures. It is simply unfounded. For Joseph Smith and the Latter Day Saints to claim to be Christian while at the same time claiming the belief that God the Father has a body is simply incomprehensible – that teaching has never been a Christian teaching.
WEB EXCLUSIVE The Trinity: Mormons sometimes claim to believe in the Trinity – most often they deny it. When they say that believe in the Trinity, what they mean is that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are united in purpose, but not in identity. Because they do not believe that God is three persons and yet one God, they most often deny belief in the Trinity. And they correctly point out that the word "Trinity” does not appear in the Bible. Very true. And yet it is also just as true that Scriptures teach us about One God who is Three Persons. There is not room here to quote all the Scripture that has been used in that regard – a good place to start would be Luther’s Small Catechism and the Q & A that is part of that. Another good place to begin is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity And finally, I’d recommend "The Bible Answer Man” and his compilation of Scripture: http://www.equip.org/site/c.muI1LaMNJrE/b.2548553/k.C0AF/The_Biblical_Basis_of_the_Doctrine_of_the_Trinity.htm
Apostolic Authority: We’re about out of time for our show today, but I’ve got to comment on one more thing before we close: Kathy’s words about authority. She said that the Christian church today lacked authority, that Lutheran pastors do not claim to have the authority to act in God’s name here on earth. This is mis-leading at best.
Lutheran pastors indeed act in God’s name here on earth. In Matthew 28:18ff it says:
18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
And in John 20 we read:
21Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."22And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."
Pastors and Christians do claim to have authority to go and make disciples, to baptize, to teach as Jesus commanded, to forgive and retain sins, and so forth. But we do NOT have the authority as Jesus’ apostles did – we don’t create doctrine or write new Scriptures or receive revelations from God. Again, Kathy is either consciously or unconsciously confusing with her words. What she is actually claiming is that Christian churches such as Lutherans do not have the authority of Jesus’ 12 Apostles, namely to receive new revelations from God. And she’s right about that. Thank God! It makes me nervous when someone in NY or Salt Lake City or wherever claims to be able to receive new revelations from God that supersede or change previous revelations – that’s moving into David Koresh and Branch Davidian territory – that’s Waco TX all over again. And that’s pretty scary.
Well, we’re out of time on the show today – remember to check out our website for more info. On the web you’ll find my comments about this whole idea of God the Father being an embodied spirit, which is completely unbiblical, and about the Mormon denial of the Trinity, which is also against Scripture – check them out.
WEB EXCLUSIVE: Another great place to go on the web, at least for as long as it is up, ishttp://www.equip.org/site/c.muI1LaMNJrE/b.2522819/apps/cd/week.asp?master_filter=&event_date=1/18/2008 where Hank Hanegraaff did a week-long series on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Join us next Sunday as we hear Kathy describe the purpose that we human beings have on this earth, and the path that we human beings must take in order to make it to the celestial kingdom. A word to the wise – what you’re going to hear is very very different from the Christian faith and teaching. Until then, thanks for tuning in…
Closing Video for Your World
Sermon Topics: Classic