Sunday, April 22, 2012

Does the Book of Mormon Add to the Bible?

Since the publication of the Book of Mormon, there has been controversy concerning it and it's message. I would like to reference the controversial scripture that seems to thwart the Book of Mormon from it's cover page which reads, "Another Testament of Jesus Christ".

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:" - Revelation 22:18

This scripture was written by John the Revelator, on the Isle of Patmos, sometime during the latter end of the 1st century. Now whether or not other sacred texts were written after is not relevant to my argument today.

It is a fact that the Books in the Bible were compiled together during the 4th century shortly after the Nicene Council. If this is true, then prior to this, the book of Revelation itself stood alone and during the compilation of the Bible those other Books were added to the Book of Revelation, then. This would mean, by those who wish to demean and discredit the Book of Mormon with this gross misinterpretation of this individual scripture, would condemn their own sacred texts and by their own standards blatantly declare that the Bible itself is a spawn of sin and was compiled contrary to the commandments of God. Therefore, those who wish to pursue this argument further must decide either John the Revelator was a liar and was not inspired of God, discrediting the entire Bible itself, or that scripture speaks exclusively to the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Mormon is the Word of God just as much as the Bible. 

A depiction of the Nicene Council.
"The Book of Mormon IS the most correct of ANY book on Earth and a man will get nearer to God by abiding IT'S precepts than by ANY other book on Earth." - Joseph Smith Jr. (Emphasis added.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For God So Loved the World

We all have read or heard or know the scripture John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." The purpose of this blog today is to cover a couple of things. First God's motives for making choices and yours.

Reasons for making decisions can basically be categorized into 3 sections the 1st being fear. I'll give examples to illustrate these differences.

Fear. Let's reflect on our Savior Jesus Christ. When Jesus suffered for our sin's, His reason for doing it wasn't because He was scared what would happen to Him if He didn't do it. If He did not do it He would not be afraid of us rising against Him and punishing Him or torturing Him, although all of those happened because He did do it. Jesus is God, He isn't scared of anything He has no reason to be. So His suffering for us was not because He was scared of what would happen to Him.

The second reason is because of self gain. Jesus personally did not gain anything from suffering for us and dieing for us. He didn't get a million dollars, nor did He get a new house on the beach. He did not get that job promotion He might have been looking for or some great reward for His outstanding zeal and courage. Like fear, He is God has all power and is in control of all things, He had no reason to do that for Him to personally gain at all.

The third reason is because of love. Jesus knew what our state would be if He did not die for us. He knew we would be worse than dead, far worse. He knew the suffering that we would deal with for all eternity. This kind of motive is charity. Pure love. Doing something for no other reason than because you love and care about someone. Jesus' motives for suffering for us was because He loves us.

This relates to us because of God's commandments. What are our motives for keeping God's commandments? Are we afraid that we might suffer consequences from not living how we should? Are we doing it because we want to earn a great reward and go to heaven were you live the good life? Or are we doing because we love Him?

"If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse!

We have all either seen movies or played games that involve a Zombie Apocalypse. Sometimes I just like to  come up with scenarios about what I would do if a virus was to spread, infecting people and turning them into zombies. To introduce you into the zombie apocalypse realm, you must first know that there are several different types of zombies. Some are ultra-athletes who can run faster than cars and can jump like 20 feet in the air, but there are also the classic slow and mindless zombies who for some reason can only say, "BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIINNNNSSSSSSS", but either one has a weakness... decapitation. (You can't do much without a head.) In order to destroy a zombie one must remove the head from the body. Complete annihilation must be enforced in order to keep these blood thirsty vagabonds at bay. So you probably wonder what in the world does this have to do with anything religion related. Well, I will begin.
Never trust a zombie. Even if he tells you he's just waiting for the bus...

In every zombie movie there is a survivor group. This group works and stays together to keep their safety in a zombie apocalypse. A similar statement was made by an ancient american prophet,
"And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls." (Moroni 6:5) This is the reason why it is a commandment to go to church because we live in a spiritual zombie apocalypse, exposure to the virus WILL turn you into a brainless monster who's only train of thought is destroying life.

As well as a survivors group a zombie apocalypse can only be endured if you got the right weapons. I hate to say it, but you'd last about as long in a zombie apocalypse with a pair of scissors as a package of franks at a hot dog eating contest. You get the point, you need to be well armed if you want to withstand a horde of raging zombies set on eating you. Well, what weapons do we have to fend ourselves in this great spiritual zombie apocalypse? What does God say?
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) This is the weapon that we have been given. God has given us His word to help us fend ourselves from these spiritual undead.

Or if he tells you he just wants a hug... he really just wants to eat you.
In conclusion has there ever been a zombie movie where someone from the group doesn't decide that their way is better and that they can stand alone? I am not aware of any. They decide, "Hey I'm going to explore this dark and creepy room by myself!" and what usually happens? A few short moments of suspense and then BAM! They are gonzo. They get attacked and if they survive they become infected and are worse than dead. So what can we learn from this? DON'T STRAY FROM THE GROUP! Don't suppose that you are smarter or any better able to survive the unending waves of soul destroying demons. Survival comes by being obedient to the rules, however unlike a zombie apocalypse these aren't unwritten rules. These are the commandments of God.

Well, despite the light heartedness of this blog I hope you learned a thing or two about how you can apply a zombie apocalypse into your life. I invite you to keep the commandments of God... and buy a machete.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Have Miracles Ceased?

In this day and age we live in, God ministering to men through visions, dreams, or even in physical manifestations, seem to be all, but believable. A person is usually ridiculed and thought of as a lunatic if they make a claim similar to these. The sadder part is most of these persecutors would be ones who come from a Theological based faith. So this is the question I will pose, if we believe that there is a God in Heaven, why would He not be a God of Miracles?

No man or woman can pull down miracles from heaven unless they truly believe and have faith that it will happen. In the story I'm about to post; a man's son that is possessed by a demon is brought before the Savior and He is asked to cure the child. He is informed that His very own disciples could not cast out this devil, but Jesus cast out the devil immediately. The disciples saw this and they wondered why it was that they could not cast out the demon. They had cast out demons before and the would cast out demons after, but I want you to look for the reasons why the Savior tells them they were unable to administer to the child.

"...There came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perversegeneration, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting."
(Matthew 17:14-21)

In conclusion I'm going to quote a prophet from the Book of Mormon who simply answers this question, "And if there were miracles wrought then, why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles. And the reason why he ceaseth to do miracles among the children of men is because that they dwindle in unbelief, and depart from the right way, and know not the God in whom they should trust." (Mormon 9:19-20) As an additional testimony that these scriptures are accurate and true, Jesus Christ did not perform miracles in Nazereth because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58).  Brothers and sister, we must believe. We must. If we do not we will not be privileged to the things which could have been ours if we had, but believed. True belief. I invite you to search within your hearts and commit to follow Christ by keeping His commandments, diligently seek to know Him and understand who He is by reading the Word of God, and by emulating His example in kindness, love, and patience.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Do Mormon's Worship Joseph Smith?

This is another question that missionaries and members of the church have faced and I'll address it in this post. To begin I'm going to have you take a look at the name of our Church, it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Despite the controversy it is not The Church of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet that restored the Church of Jesus Christ in these latter-days, but he is not the means by which salvation comes. Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.We do not worship Joseph Smith, we do not baptize in his name, we do not pray to Joseph Smith to even say that carries a deep offense. Salvation is in Christ, and Him only.

We worship quite differently than some congregations of other faiths. We sing Hymns to glorify God and Jesus Christ His Son. The sacred ordinance of the Sacrament is blessed by ones having authority from God and is then passed by others holding authority as well. Every week, we remember our promise to God when we were baptized, to keep His commandments and remember Jesus Christ continually. Talks are given by members of the congregation about varying subjects. They are asked weeks in advance to be prepared to share their personal feelings and their testimonies of the assigned topic. Afterwards, the congregation breaks up for Sunday school, children gather with children, adults with adults and our taught about the Savior and His gospel.

Baptism in our church is an essential part of accepting Christ's redeeming Sacrifice. As Peter, John the Baptist and the Savior Himself taught, baptism is done for a remission or a removal of our sins. Christ has commanded that all must be baptized if they wish to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:5). As Peter says in Acts 2:38 "Repent, and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins..." We baptize in the name of Jesus Christ because He is our Redeemer, not Joseph Smith.

Our prayers also differ from other faiths. We do as Jesus directed to pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:9) We pray in the name of Jesus Christ because He is our mediator with the Father. He died for us and is the One who salvation springs from. Thus our prayers are petitioned to the Father through  Christ's sacred atonement and name. We may thank God for the many blessings each of us have. We may also ask for assistance in areas that we are struggling and we must always ask that His will may be done even if it's not what we asked for or what we want. (Luke 22:42)

I hope this helps everyone understand that we appreciate Joseph Smith for what He did, just as good people from other Christian faiths appreciate Paul and Peter, Luke and Mark and John and James. But, we hold Joseph Smith in such high regards because without the events of 1820 and thereafter we would be indistinguishable and would have no religion. Our gratitude for the prophet Joseph remains at just that, gratitude. Not worshiping, or praying to or even thinking that his name might render some portion of Salvation. I love Jesus Christ. I know He lives.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are Mormon's Christian? Part II

So as I explained in Are Mormon's Christian blog post, the 2 reasons modern Christianity does not accept us as Christians is;
1.) We do not believe in the Trinity.
2.) We claim that God continues to speak and that the Bible is not the sole authority on Deity.
Elijah and the priests of Baal.

Today I will be explaining the second and similar to my previous post I'm not going to bash on people who do believe that the Bible is the sole authority, I'm just going to explain ourselves and why we believe that God has continued to reach out in love to His children by calling Prophets to the Earth today.

Well, taking a general look at religion should assure you that, we absolutely need a prophet. The Lord says, "he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets," (Amos 3:7) So tell me with the confusion and strife that exist between Christians churches would God reveal His secrets and will to help them be unified? Once again, yes! In fact Paul clearly says that the whole purpose for prophets and apostles is, "for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith..." (Ephesians 4:12-13)

God revealing Himself to the prophet Joseph Smith.
Okay, so maybe we do need prophet's, but what in the world classifies someone as a prophet? In the Bible we read, "If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision..." (Numbers 12:6) The Lord is quite clear here about how He will make a prophet truly known. We also read, "thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord..." (Ezekiel 3:27) Here it clearly says that a prophet will speak with power and authority given to him from the Lord. So now we know some of the many characteristics and qualities that a prophet must have. And finally in concluding the Sermon on the Mount the Lord says that not just anyone who claims these things will be a prophet, He strictly warns them that there will be several false prophets, but He gives the way to identify between the two, "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?" (Matthew 7:16

I have heard plenty of times that this scripture is saying that there will be no "real" prophets in the last days because Jesus says their will only be false ones. Well I say, if there was only going to be false ones why would He give a way to differentiate between the two? Because there are going to be real prophets in the last days. God has always worked with His children by calling prophets, if you don't believe that God calls prophets to help His children then, quite honestly, you don't believe the Bible. The Bible is a combination of sacred texts written by whom? The prophets. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Are Mormon's Christian?

This question seems to be coming up quite a bit and I feel that I might address it a little more fully. In today's religious world, the general population of Christians who don't believe that Mormon's are Christians believe this for mainly 2 reasons.

1.) We do not believe in the Trinity.
2.) We claim that God continues to speak and that the Bible is not the sole authority on Deity.

I'm going to focus on topic #1 in this blog and I'll post later about #2. instead. I'm also not going to explain why we don't believe in the Trinity, but rather explain why we believe that "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit..." (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22

The Appearance of The Father and The Son.
We believe that God, our Heavenly Father, is the literal Father of our Spirit's.  Hebrews 12:9 refers to Him as the "Father of spirits...", Romans 8:16 refers to us as the "offspring of God" and in John 20:17 Jesus identifies the Father not only as His Father, but "our Father" as well. We believe He has a physical body, but unlike ours His is Immortal, Glorious, and Perfect. 

We believe that Jesus Christ when He was resurrected received a body exactly like our Father in Heaven's and that Jesus Christ still has His body at this very moment. Several times throughout the New Testament His Apostles testified to thousands that He was risen and that He has physical body of flesh and bone at this very moment. The Savior Himself testifies of this in Luke 24:36-39. He appears to His apostles and they are scared because they think He is a ghost, a personage of Spirit, but he calms them and says, "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have."

We believe that the Holy Ghost doesn't have a body, but He is a Spirit. We believe that He touches the hearts of many people and that He bears witness of the truth to all who seek for it.

Well, I can testify that Jesus Christ lives and that His kingdom is on the Earth today and it is being led by a Prophet of God. I have received that witness of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost.