Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Book of Mormon 15/18

In John 3:17, 1 Timothy 1:15, and Matthew 9:12-13, it says that Jesus did not come into the world to judge the world or to call the righteous. Rather, he came into the world to save sinners. But the Jesus of the New Testament is unlike the Jesus of the BOM in this regard. In 3 Nephi 9, Jesus makes his appearance in America and utterly destroys sixteen different cities, burning some with fire and causing others to sink into the ocean or be buried beneath hills. These events were all judgments for the wickedness and unrighteousness of the inhabitants of those cities. Then Jesus offers the gospel to the rest, saying, "O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?" (3 Nephi 9:13).

I went to Yahoo Answers and asked, "Did Jesus come to call the righteous or did he come to call sinners? If he came to call the sinners, why did he destroy them BEFORE offering the gospel? Why did he offer the gospel to the righteous? If they are righteous, why do they need to be saved? Or am I misunderstanding 3 Nephi 9, John 3:17, Matthew 9:12-13, and 1 Timothy 1:15? Or is the New Testament unreliable? Or is the BOM unreliable?"

Some Mormons argued that there was no inconsistency since God had destroyed cities in the Old Testament. I grant that there is no inconsistency on God's part in destroying cities because of sin. The inconsistency is in the mission of Jesus when he came to earth--whether he came to call the righteous or sinners.

Other Mormons said that all these people had already heard the gospel, and because they were so wicked, there was no hope for them. The survivors were not without sin; they just weren't as sinful as those Jesus destroyed. There was still hope for them.

Part 16

27 Comments:

At 7/16/2009 11:43 AM , Blogger Paul said...

I wasn't aware of this content in the BoM, and it does seem extremely discordant with the Jesus of the N.T. The BoM seems to be suggesting that Jesus came for the sick and lost, but not the really sick or lost.

Being the centerpiece of the new covenant, I don't think it's warranted to simply appeal to any O.T. acts of God to seek consistency. If Jesus were supposedly in America building an ark and gathering animals we'd think that was weird, and it wouldn't be a very compelling answer to say, "Well, Noah did that and he's in the Bible."

 
At 8/04/2009 2:08 AM , Blogger Carl said...

I'd have to double check, but I don't beleive the Book Of Mormon says that Christ destroyed the cities or that he killed the people.

When Christ died, the people who had just 32 years before received signs that Christ had been born, the people who had had living prophets for centuries and who's faith turned on and of like a light switch were again not following the commandments and had lost their faith in Christ. Which isn't to say that they deserved it, but when the people set aside as special continue to not listen, sometimes they need a bigger reminder.

The peoples in the Book of Mormon were constantly becoming 'unrighteous' and suffering for it. They were also blessed when they were righteous. I don't believe that Christ punished them, but that they were not sheltered from events.

To make more sense of that:

There's evidence of a massive volcanic explosion in that area around that time. (I can't find the link referencing it now of course) The events described would fit known possible results of a volcanic eruption. Because they were not listening to the prophet, who may very well have been telling them to pack up and head out of harms way, they were caught in the volcano's dust and smoke and pyroclastic flow. Had they listened to the prophet, they wouldn't have been in the way. It's a possibility, it fits within what the scripture says. There's no reason to assume that Christ came to destroy anyone, it was a result of their actions, not the actions of Christ.

 
At 8/10/2009 3:17 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Carl, the BOM does say that Christ destroyed cities and killed the inhabitants. It’s in 3 Nephi 9. Beginning in verse 3, it says, “Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof,” and then repeats much of the same for several other cities. He destroyed both the cities and the inhabitants. According to 3 Nephi 9, it wasn’t that Jesus just neglected to shelter them from natural catastrophes. Jesus actually caused those catastrophes because of their sins. Jesus is the active agent in the entire series of events.

 
At 9/10/2009 1:58 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

Will you ask the same question at the second coming?

The bible testifies of destruction of the wicked and the righteous being preserved.....

Perhaps this question should be applied to the bible as well?

 
At 9/10/2009 4:38 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Tyson, I think you need to reread the last two paragraphs of the blog. You seem to have a misunderstanding about where I think the inconsistency lies.

No, I won't be asking the same question at the second coming. The Bible makes it clear that whereas Jesus came to save sinners the first time, he is coming for judgment the second time, and to gather his elect.

 
At 10/22/2011 10:44 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

The jesus of the BOM from this standpoint sounds like one who is sick and lost! A supposed "savior" who can't trust in his own power to save- a monster and a liar. I'm sorry, no offence, but I've read all the BOM blogs and I'm maybe more convinced than ever that BOM is a hoax. Sam has done a tremendous job with the research and history breakdowns. It's the best series I've ever read on this whole Blogger site. If Mormons were a mob, Sam would be in witness protection right now.

 
At 10/24/2011 1:20 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

wow, this is a bit late for a comment. I reread the last two paragraphs in this blog. I'd argue with the notion that "everyone" had the perfect opportunity to accept the gospel. I'd also be cautious using the generalization that LDS teach that this is reason why the cities were destroyed. I haven't found this teaching within the church. My opinion would be no one is beyond "hope" except those of perdition as the Savior and apostles taught. Also, Just because someone dies doesn't mean that they were too wicked to be redeemed. Death is not a judgement. It is part of our eternal pregression that everyone will experience. One last thing to consider is that this mortality is not the end of our learning. The atonement of Christ was eternal and extends beyond this mortality. As does the process of coming unto Christ.



@Richard...perhaps you should actually read the BOM yourself before you past judgement. I'm afraid that by only reading blogs about the BOM you have only read other's perspectives and understandings. A greater value would be found in actually reading the source for youself. What are you talking about when you say a "supposed Saviour who can't trust in his own power to save"?

 
At 10/24/2011 7:52 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Tyson, when I say supposed "saviour", it has nothing to do with the real Saviour Jesus Christ. The BOM jesus is clearly made up and there's nothing to make me think otherwise. Another jesus, another gospel trying to replace the real Christ! The Bible said many people would surface in the last days and claim that they were the Christ or claim that the physical Jesus was here or there when He really was not. Jesus Himself warned about this. The BOM shows way too much inconsistencies with history and common-sense occurances to be considered much of anything. Sam did a great job exposing it.

 
At 10/25/2011 5:22 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

@Richard
Are you aware of the inconsitancies found within the Bible? How many Christian denominations are there? Each denomination has their own interpretation of the Bible. The Christ that each denomination teaches about is different. The Catholics have a different Christ than the Protestants, the Baptists have a different Christ from the Adventists....

This is not manner in which the early Church was established. It was one faith, one baptism, one God.

I ask once again...have you even read the Book of Mormon or are yo making all of your judgements based off the explanation of man provided within their biased blogs?

I have read the BOM far more times than Sam has. His perspective is very different from mine. I would say it is very different from those who have spent their time reading it over multiple occasions.

Here's a question for you. In the Old Testament, there was a division among the tribes of Israel. You had the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. Both kingdoms had prophets who taught and proclaimed the will of God. Where both groups justified in having living prophets or was only one group holding the truth while the other was apostate? Also, is Jesus the Savior of only one of these kingdoms or the Savior of the world?

As for Sam exposing the BOM... When does secular understanding trump spiritual truths in regards to being taught by the Holy Ghost? Did Sam approach the BOM to find spiritual truths or was his intent do discredit the whole? If he appraoached the Bible in the same manner would you then agree that he "exposed" the bible in it's inconsistancies?

 
At 10/25/2011 9:15 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Hey Tyson, how you doing. I just had a question for you before I answer your other questions: Is the Book of Mormon translated from other languages? yes or no. Then I'll answer your other questions.

 
At 10/25/2011 9:36 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Tyson, I have another couple of questions as well. I notice that you have not directly disputed Sam's blog with further input regarding his research and his personal dissection of the BOM. You sound more upset that he exposed the BOM. What is it exactly that you don't agree with concerning Sam's blogs? You talk about secular understanding versus spiritual truths. Again, how would you interpret the inconsistencies of the BOM, and I will ask again, Is the BOM translated from other languages? Answer these questions and then tell me exactly what about Sam's research and findings did you have a problem with.

 
At 10/25/2011 9:40 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Tyson, what is your "perspective"?
Since you say that it's different from Sam's.

 
At 10/26/2011 3:34 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

@Richard - I don't want to take over Sam's blog, but i will attempt to answer some of these questions.

"IS THE BOOK OF MORMON TRANSLATED FROM OTHER LANGUAGES" - I would say yes. At the same time, I cannot say exactly how it was translated. I have acted as a translator before both in writing and in speaking. The translation process I utilized is obviously different from that Joseph experienced. Interesting enough, there are 2 sections in the Doctrine and Covenants that give us a glimps of the process. D&C 8 & 9. We also have the testimonies of those who saw the process as it occured.

I'm also not upset with Sam's blog. I actually posted that I'm impressed by his approach to this subject. I've read his posts and also the comments. To be honest, I haven't finished reading all of the blog posts on the subject yet. I'm doing so now, but stopped to write this. :)

I've noticed that Sam's approach in the beginning seemed sincere enough and dependant on his experiences. As I continue to read each post in the series it seems like it has turned more into a anti-mormon cut and paste job than a sincere search.

Sam has somehow skipped over the accounts and teachings found within the very book he is reviewing. He's stepped right into the shoes of an anti-mormon. I'm more curious as to why he choose this approach instead of using his own review.
I'm not saying that his review is wrong, but I will say it is very shallow approach. If Sam is indeed sincere in his efforts to understand the book, he missed the whole intent of the book.

That is why I asked you if you had actually read the Book of Mormon. When I read the Book of Mormon I read accounts found similar to those in the bible. Stories of faith, repentance and most important...prophets testifying of Christ. If you are going to approach the Book or Mormon in the same way Sam has...you have to do the same to the Bible. It too has many inconsistancies. However, you and I both know that such an approach is fruitless. It's like trying to use a mathmatical formula to explain a spiritual witness from the Holy Ghost. That is what I meant when I defined Sam's approach as secular vs spiritual.

Perhaps this conversation would be better served via email or something. I actually appreciate your questions and openess to discuss these issue.

 
At 10/26/2011 4:18 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Did Sam approach the BOM to find spiritual truths or was his intent do discredit the whole?

My intention was to write about my reaction to the BOM when I read it. My assessment turns out to be mostly negative because my reaction was mostly negative. If I had been more impressed with the BOM, my blogs would've reflected that.

 
At 10/26/2011 4:23 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

Did you cut and past your information from critics' or did you generate all this information by yourself?

Why didn't you comment on things like God's finger writing on the wall, or dead brother being brought back to life by a prophet?

 
At 10/26/2011 4:24 PM , Blogger Sam said...

I've noticed that Sam's approach in the beginning seemed sincere enough and dependant on his experiences. As I continue to read each post in the series it seems like it has turned more into a anti-mormon cut and paste job than a sincere search.

Nothing in my review was a cut and paste job. The whole thing is a sincere account of what I thought about the BOM. It all comes from the notes I took while I read it. Maybe it seems like a cut and paste job to you because the criticisms I've come up with are exactly the same as the criticisms others have come up with. But maybe that is because there is something to these criticisms. I doubt I'm the only one who noticed anachronisms, for example.

Sam has somehow skipped over the accounts and teachings found within the very book he is reviewing. He's stepped right into the shoes of an anti-mormon. I'm more curious as to why he choose this approach instead of using his own review.

While I was reading and taking notes, I wrote down mostly the things that jumped out at me or that had some relevance to the question of whether the BOM really was a translation of an ancient American document and whether it recorded real history. The whole series is my review.

 
At 10/26/2011 4:33 PM , Blogger Sam said...

Did you cut and past your information from critics' or did you generate all this information by yourself?

I didn't cut and paste anything except in Part 5 where I cut and paste from the comment section of "A Jew With a View About Jesus," but in that case, I was cutting and pasting what I myself had previously written.

But a lot of the stuff I wrote comes from previous education. For example, my knowledge of what early American civilizations were actually like comes from my history education. I majored in history in college. A lot of the theology comes from my previous theological education, which comes out in the blog I did on "grace." I think that's part 17 or 18. The information in Part 5 comes from all the books and articles I've read while studying ancient Judaism. So, I didn't exactly generate all the information myself. I've gathered a lot of education just from reading, and my criticism of the BOM comes largely from reading the BOM in light of that education. But that is not to say that I haven't read any anti-Mormon literature. I have, and I suspect some of it may have influenced me. But nothing I wrote was a cut and paste job.

Why didn't you comment on things like God's finger writing on the wall, or dead brother being brought back to life by a prophet?

Either because it didn't jump out at me or because it didn't have any obvious relevance to whether the BOM was a translation of an ancient American document. I only wrote about things I had something to say about.

 
At 10/27/2011 3:45 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

From what exact languages was the BOM translated? Tyson, you see? You present it like you don't even know if it actually is and there's no straight answer as to it being translated from other languages. you may be hiding that it's not translated at all for all I know. I can't read the mind. Anyway, with the Bible however, inconsistencies can be expected because it is widely KNOWN that the Bible IS TRANSLATED from other languages(Hebrew,Aramaic,into Greek and into English)which would account for accidental or intentional inconsistencies. Sam was just pointing that out in reference to the perfection of God. I'll answer more in another post.......

 
At 10/27/2011 4:01 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

So continuing from my other post....Sam was just pointing out the inconsisitencies of the BOM in reference to the perfection of God. He pointed out that an account that comes DIRECTLY FROM God which is untranslated,should not have so many inconsistences. That's a fair staement. I know were clearly offended and you don't have to hide that. I remember asking you what it was exactly that you had a problem with in Sam's research and findings. I knew why I asked you and I knew that you wouldn't present much of a solid thing wrong with Sam's actual research, but granted,you were willing to have a conversation via email and that's fine,but as much as you say that you were not upset,I think it's clear that you were...

 
At 10/27/2011 4:08 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

Moroni described the language as reformed egyptian which had been modified over a 1000 year period. As for how we would define the language today...your guess is as good as mine. This is all we have to go with so I don't want to speculate beyond this.

in regards to me hiding "that it's not translated at all".....I'm not sure what you are talking about. you asked if it was translated. I said yes.

 
At 10/27/2011 4:17 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Tyson,as to how I know that you were clearly upset and offended: Well explain to me how you go from being"impressed with {Sam's}approach to this subject" to commenting that his approach was a "shallow approach"? Anyway,Tyson I do agree that you are justified in your opinion as we all are in our own. And yes, I do welcome any conversation via email if you like. Anyway,if Sam were to do the same exposing with the Bible,I'd probably have negative views as well to the inconsistencies, but I would already have the knowledge that numerous things can be expected from a LANGUAGE-TRANSLATED account to justify for the confusion. That's why I get myself educated in particular languages so I have an idea how to break down the barriers of confusion...

 
At 10/27/2011 4:31 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Tyson,you see, you're still not clear as to what the BOM is being translated from. You still sound unsure in this department. I KNOW as well as the majority of Bible believers,that the Bible was translated from the Hebrew, Aramaic,into the Greek and then into English. There's no doubt about it. That's a clear difference between your point about the BOM and my point about the Bible. You can break down the confusion through dissecting through other language-translations of the Bible: Can you do that with the Book of Mormon?

 
At 10/27/2011 4:48 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Sorry for going in and out. This computer is having tech problems. But,in further answer to your questions, I would expect the inconsistencies of the Bible to be exposed as well. You don't think I already know that the Bible is packed with inconsistencies. Of course i know that. That's why I got myself educated in the languages that the Bible translates from to destroy certain barriers of confusion. I couldn't do that with the BOM which I have read in answer to your other question. I have had the same view of the BOM even before I read Sam's blog. I will admit that I was not aware of all the specific details that Sam talked about and exposed brilliantly in his personal research, but nonetheless,my opinion was still the same. I was not judging something I never read. I actually read the BOM. So I'm not dismissing inconsistencies from the Bible. I may be the most vocal about Bible inconsistencies than anyone (see my other posts in Sam's blogs)

 
At 10/27/2011 4:50 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

wow, you assumed a bunch of things there didn't you. I'm not offended. Everyone has their own opinion and perspective. I was simiply saying that my opinion is different. I didn't hide anything in this regard so I'm not sure where you are going.



If you'd like let's start with this post. 15/18.
First we need to identify the inconsistancy. Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I understand...Sam is saying that inconsistancy occurs where the unrighteous were destroyed in 3 Nephi due to their wickedness.

At this conjuncture it is important to note that LDS/Mormons believe that Jehovah = Jesus Christ. Thus, the destruction we see in the Old Testament was not inconsistant with what is found in the Book of Mormon. We have Noah, the cities of Sodom and Gomorraha, the destruction in Egypt, Cannan, and many other examples. The underlying principals and reasoning for destruction is the same between the books.

The question would then be...is that characteristic representative of the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament. I would say yes. A simple glance at the book of Revelation can display that aspect of Christ's authoritative power. In simpiler terms we have the Cursed Fig Tree found in both Natt and Mark. The curse, or prounouncement of judgement was passed upon the tree and it withered away.

Another thing to recognize...if you are going to be critical to the Book of Mormon, is the differences in theological doctrines. For example, Sam may find it inconsistant that so many people were destroyed because of their wickedness. I assume that he believes that once a person is dead..thats it. Judgement is then passed upon the person for Heaven or Hell. The LDS perspective is a bit different. We believe final judgement doesn't occur at death. After this life, our agency remains intact and we can continue to learn and act. This doesn't mean that we are free from our sins in this world, however, it does mean that those millions of souls who died without accepting the gospel of Jesus Christ are not doomed to hell. An example of this doctrine is found in 1 Peter 3:10-20. After the Savior died, Peter writes that He taugh spirits in prison. Who were these spirits? Obviously they weren't individuals who lived during the Saviors mortality. Verse 20 says that these spirits where they who were disobedient and have been waiting since the days of Noah. If the Savior was able to save these souls...death is not the final judgement.

Of additional note, Sam mentioned that he asked a question on Yahoo Answers about the Savior's purpose. Did he come to save the sinner or call the righteous? The correct answer is yes. He came to do both. I would also add that the Savior's role as Redeemer is not complete. The atonement was completed, but as the verse in Peter explained. There is still work being done on the other side of the veil with those who are already dead. The atonement of Christ was not just for the living, but also for the dead.

On a final note, the last paragraph of this post mentions that other Mormons said that all these people had already heard the gospel and that there was no hope for them. I disagree with this addumption. There is no way to generalize or assume this type of judgment upon a people. Destruction happens to the bad and the good. When there was a famine in the land, Elijah suffered along with the people. Even Christ suffored to death. Certainly he was righteous.

However, this is not the governing rule. There are times when the righteous are preserved. Moses leading Israel out of bondage is a great example. Abraham and Lot were saved, and Noah floated away.

 
At 10/27/2011 5:02 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

HOW I WENT FROM BEING IMPRESSED BY SAM TO SAYING HIS APPROACH WAS SHALLOW.

This is actually pretty easy to explain. Sam approached the book with understandable scrutiny. However, he never mentioned the core teachings of the book. Where is the review from a spiritual aspect. The Book of Mormon wasn't written to be a full historical account of these people. It was written with the intent to bring souls unto Christ. You can't go a page or two without noticing a reference to Jesus Christ. If I were to read the Koran cover to cover I too would find areas of inconsistancies. However, I wouldn't ignore the spiritual aspects found in the underlying principals and values. Perhaps Paul said it best, "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."1 Corinthians 2:14

 
At 10/27/2011 5:13 PM , Blogger Tyson said...

uhh... how am I not clear. "Reformed Eqyptian"

Let me see if I understand where you are coming from. Since I cannot tell you the exact language, as defined by todays scholars, found in the Book of Mormon...you discredit any translation that may or may not have occured.

Is that what you are saying?

 
At 10/27/2011 8:35 PM , Blogger Richard W 4Christ said...

Hey Tyson what's up. I was just saying that you just don't sound sure. Yes,you said it was "reformed Egyptian", but my thing is,you yourself don't sound sure nor even convinced yourself if the BOM was translated from that. I assumed that's what you meant when you said "your guess is as good as mine" and you did add that you did not want to "speculate beyond this". So was the reformed egyptian translation answer that you gave me a speculation? Can you tell me that it's an actual fact that BOM is translated from reformed egyptian without the fear of speculating? You know what I mean? Look at it like this: I told that I KNOW for a fact, without a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is translated from the languages that I mentioned earlier, but you still don't sound sure that the BOM is even translated from reformed Egyptian. If someone approached me with inconsistencies about the Bible, I would want to be SURE to get the record straight and that would mean that I would have to have accurate knowledge of prior language-translations. I'm sure if somebody approached you with a similar scenario that you'd want to be sure and not merely say "your guess is as good as mine" or fear that you are speculating rather than getting facts straight. But I do apologize if I may have misunderstood you.

 

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