On Christmas Day, 2006, I received an email from a woman named Rose who expressed her disappointment with an essay I have written about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (The Mormons). She and I exchanged a few more emails, and she invited her son, Jack, to do most of the talking for her position.

I found both Rose and Jack to be intelligent and thoughtful people, so I was excited when Jack proposed that I publish our emails (unedited) on this website.

That's why this page exists - to publish our email conversation.

The only edits I will make will be to remove Jack and Rose's email addresses, and also to snip out anything that might give out their identity.

To make things easier to follow, I will number the comments in chronological order, and will color code them as follows:

  • Rose's emails will have a yellow background
  • Jack's email will have a blue background
  • My emails will have a green background

Also, this page was originally published on my personal website, long before Luke-15.org existed. Now that Luke-15.org is where all ministry-related resources are published, I have changed all link references from my personal website to this new address. I have not altered any other content. Thank you!


The essay that I wrote that Rose initially responded to is called Letter to a Mormon: Testing the Claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

This document was written with 2 purposes in mind:

  1. To train Christians in what the Mormons actually believe (but might not tell you)
  2. To have something tangible that you can give to a Mormon as a witnessing tool.

Please feel free to download this essay by clicking here.

In addition, Jack makes reference to a cults class I taught in the summer of 2005. Please feel free to download the Power Point slides to that class as a Microsoft Power Point file here, or as a black-and-white Adobe Acrobat file here.

These and many more resources are available to you for free at: http://resources.Luke-15.org.

If you would like to contact me, please do so by clicking here.
If you would like to contact Jack, his email address is: .


  1. Monday, December 25, 2006, 11:26 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: Email from Sohmer Family Website

    I recently was given an essay that you wrote about the Mormons. It seems quit negative to me. It also seems very distorted....like some of the facts have been twisted to suit your view of the Mormons. It appears to me, just like the tabloids that write about the movie stars and such, that you tell just enough of the truth in the article....just enough to peak someone's interest but not the real truth. I often wonder why a person feels they have to belittle another's religion...why you feel you have to put the mormons down. I don't go around and pick out all the jews faults, the catholics, the muslims....etc. I respect all beliefs...even though they aren't the same as mine....why did you have to waste 10 years of your time belittling the mormons? Do you feel you have to save all 12 million of them? They can't all be wrong...If you want to truly know what mormons believe....ask a devout mormon.

  2. Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 15:37 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose
    Subject: Re: Email from Sohmer Family Website

    Hi Rose,

    Thanks for emailing.

    Thanks also for reading the essay I wrote on Mormonism. It seems that you and I have a difference of opinion over the content though.

    I can understand why someone might see that essay as negative. I did try very hard not to write an "emotional" essay. I tried to merely present the Mormon teachings as found stated in Mormon scriptures, and present what the Bible teaches about it.

    I tried very hard not to resort to name calling or anything negative like that.

    May I ask you: are you a Mormon? If so, then I can understand how it would be very disturbing to come across an essay like mine. I know that many Mormons come from very tight-knit Mormon communities (one of the aspects of Mormonism I admire!) and so anything that appears to attack that community can be offensive.

    If you're not a Mormon, then is it that you just don't believe that people of faith should analyze the claims of other faiths? Is it ever legit to test the claims of a religion?

    In Biblical Christianity, we are commanded to do just that.

    The Bible teaches us that we are to "contend for the faith" (Jude 1:3). Actually, that verse says "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

    In context, this verse is talking about the need to contend because of false teachers. I know some people think that contending for the faith is "negative" but it is vital that we do this.

    Also, throughout the Bible we are told to study, to learn, to grow in wisdom and knowledge.

    Please consider this: A woman named Sarah is a doctor and a researcher. She finds the cure to Cancer. It is 100% effective, has no side effects, and can be synthesized inexpensively enough that anyone could afford it.

    The problem is that it takes a long time to make, and Sarah doesn't feel like spending the time to make a lot of it. She'd rather go to Disney World or to the Caribbean.

    Such a person would be a monster! If you have the cure for Cancer, and you know people are dying from the disease, compassion demands that you bring the cure to them.

    In the same way, Jesus commanded us to "preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). This is the most loving thing anyone can do.

    John 3:36 says: " He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." It is absolutely vital that we be correct about who Jesus is. Our soul is at stake.

    The God of the Bible is an exclusive God. Even the first 2 of the 10 Commandments deal with this. "There is only 1 True God," and "You cannot make a graven image of a god to suit yourself."

    So I try to persuade Mormons to know the true Jesus just like I try to persuade Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Catholics, and Atheists, etc.

    My desire is to see people have their sins forgiven, but the Bible teaches that that can only happen through the true Jesus of the Bible.

    The Mormon Jesus is a created being who, through good works, ascended into godhood, and we mortals can do the same someday. This is very different than the Jesus of the Bible.

    Please understand that I'm not trying to put Mormons down. I respect the devotion and zeal that many Mormons have. Biblically, though, that zeal is without knowledge, because they follow and teach the wrong Jesus.

    My heart also goes out to members of other false religions too.

    You said: "They all can't be wrong." Do you really believe that if a large number of people believe something, then it can't be wrong?

    If 30 million people think that the moon is made of cheese, then they're all wrong. Even if 100 million people believed it. Crowds of people can and often are wrong. If the Bible is true, then anyone who teaches otherwise is wrong, no matter how many of them there are.

    Do I feel that I have to save all 12 million Mormons? Not at all. The Bible teaches that God does the saving. It has nothing to do with me, but I praise God that he enjoys using his children in the salvation of others. So perhaps God will see fit to use the essay I wrote to help some Mormons leave their false system and come to the true Jesus of the Bible.

    You said I wasted 10 years of my life belittling Mormons." I hardly consider it a "waste." Scripture calls us to defend and lovingly exhort all people into the truth. So I count it a privilege to speak with Mormons, Catholics, Buddhists, etc.

    As for asking a devout Mormon, I have done that many times. And I've studied Mormon Scripture. I have noticed that Mormons very often say deceiving things when you speak with them. They say, "Oh yes, we believe in the Bible" but leave out the rest "except where it contradicts Mormon teaching." They say, "We believe Jesus is God," but leave out the vital part that says "but he once was man and become a god through good works, and we can become a god too!" They say, "We believe the blood of Christ covers your sins" but leave out, "only after you cover your own sins as much as you are able."

    I believe that my essay accurately highlighted many of the "troubling" beliefs in Mormonism. My essay was not meant to be exhaustive, but it does cover a lot of Mormon teaching. And as I said, all of it comes from Mormon scriptures.

    You said that I merely told "just enough of the truth in the article." Well, to tell everything about Mormonism would be an encyclopedic effort. My purpose was the give a "cheat-sheet" if you will on the highlights of the more disturbing of the Mormon teachings, and show from the Bible where they were wrong.

    There has to be a point where people of faith must defend the truth. It just can't be the case that the Bible is right, and the Jewish people, and the Catholics, and the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Mormons. Someone has to be wrong because all those groups teach radically different things.

    Do you think it's ever right to show false teaching for what it is? The Bible is full of people who point out the heresy in false teachers. And Mormonism does that too. Joseph Smith declared all churches false. I don't begrudge Joseph Smith for saying that if he could back it up.

    SO I realize that it is quite a statement that I'm making when I say that Mormon teaching is false, but that's why I use the Bible to back it up.

    If Mormonism is indeed a false religion, then 12 million Mormons are trusting in a lie and are heading to hell because their sins are not forgiven. How tragic! So if my essay can help, then I consider it a privilege to give it out for free to whomever will read it.

    I'm just so thankful and in love with the Jesus of the Bible. While I was a sinner deserving of condemnation, he came to earth, lived a perfect life, and died like a common lawbreaker to pay the penalty for the sin that I committed. What a Savior!

    Anyhow, thanks again for listening. I do hope you'll email back. I would like to know what about my essay offended you. Was it that you're a Mormon and so you didn't like what I had to say, or do you just think it's wrong for any religion to point out the false teachings of other religions.

    God bless you, and Happy New Year!

    sincerely,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  3. Tuesday, December 26, 2006, 11:26 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: Email from Sohmer Family Website

    Hello Mark.....I would like to correspond with you but also, my son, from Utah would like to "talk" to you. I am a mormon or rather....I am LDS...and I gave a Book of Mormon to a neighbor who thought, like you, that he should save me from going to HELL. Thus....your essay came into my hands as a GIFT for Christmas Eve. I just wanted to share our views about our religions but it seems like "YOU PEOPLE", or non-mormons aren't content to discuss each other's views but to put down ours....and I don't believe that is Christ-like. The very US Constitution and the founding of the United States was based on freedom of religion and it seems, since Joseph Smith had his first vision that non-mormons are out to prove us wrong. I don't go around telling the Baptist or Jews or Catholics or any religion that they are doomed. I just listen, express my views and go away happy that I believe the way I do. But....if we could have a 3-way discussion...I am open to listening to your views because I do believe you are OPEN to listening to my son and I. But...let's not degrade each other, OK? Rose

    My son's name is Jack and he will be emailing you soon....if that is OK. And yes....I am/was upset.....Do you have other articles like the one that you wrote about Mormons that you have done about Jehovah's Witness, 7th Day Adventist, Catholics, Jews? By the way, what religion are you?

  4. Wednesday, December 27, 2006, 8:02 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose and Jack
    Subject: RE: Email from Sohmer Family Website

    Hi Rose, Hi Jack.

    You asked what religion I am. I am a Christian. I am a Bible-believing Christian. I believe that the Word of God is perfect and supernatural, and is God's revelation to mankind.

    Yes, I have written similar essays about other religious groups. I have information about Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, Judaism, and others at my website: http://resources.Luke-15.org. I do that because not only am I a Christian, but I'm a GEEK too! 🙂

    Seriously, I guess I just enjoy doing research and sharing that research with others.

    If you don't feel funny telling me, who was your neighbor who gave you my essay? I'm just curious to know how far that essay has traveled.

    I want to say something about your comment that it is not Christlike to point out flaws in other religions. Jesus did that all the time, and He commanded us to as well. As long as we're not making fun of people personally. I have no ill feelings towards LDS's personally, but I do see major Biblical problems with the church's teachings. But this doesn't mean that I'm against you or your son. My guess is that if we met we'd enjoy each others' company quite a bit!

    Also, the founding of the LDS church was based on Joseph Smith declaring all other religions false.

    As you know, Joseph Smith said, "My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right - and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong, and the personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in His sight: that those professors were all corrupt" (Joseph Smith, "History of the Church, Vol. 1, page 5-6.)

    Also, Brigham Young said, "But He did send His angel to this same obscure person, Joseph Smith jun., who afterwards became a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and informed him that he should not join any of the religious sects of the day, for they were all wrong." (Brigham Young, "Journal of Discourses," Vol. 2, page 171. - 1855)

    The Book of Mormon says, "And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth" (1 Nephi 14:10).

    So the LDS church is not afraid to call other religions wrong, and neither should we. We ought to examine the evidence and see if the LDS church is correct. If they are, then other religions are false.

    I'm sure you believe that the other Mormon denominations are wrong, like: the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ," also known as "The Community of Christ" in Missouri, the "Church of Christ (Temple Lot)," the "Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," the "Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)," the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", also known as the "Strangite church," the "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints," the "True & Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days," and the "Latter-day Church of Christ" or "Kingston Clan."

    My guess is that you, as a Utah LDS, believe that these Mormon denominations are false.

    So I don't think it's wrong to point out the flaws in other religions. In fact, it is one of the loving things anyone can do.

    So I hope and pray that we have a fruitful 3-way discussion that will be edifying to all of us.

    Perhaps we should begin this way: A man runs up to you on the street and says, "Help! I have a knife in my back and I'm bleeding to death. I have THREE MINUTES to live. You're a Mormon! Please, tell me, what must I do to have my sins forgiven and have peace with God before I die? Please tell me. I only have 2 and a half minutes left!"

    What would you say to this man? Only 2 minutes to live now. He's never been religious, and lived a life of mocking God and never was concerned with righteousness. But now that he has 1 and a half minutes to live, he begs you to tell him what to do.

    What is your answer?

    Thanks!

    fondly,

    Mark
    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  5. Wednesday, December 27, 2006, 11:24 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: RE: Email from Sohmer Family Website

    Well...let the discussions begin. First of all to answer some of your questions......I am not a UTAH mormon and neither is my son. I live in Alberta Canada and my son is from San Francisco....he is temporarily living in Cedar Hills Utah because the company he works for is based there. I am a Christian, like you, but I follow the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS..as you already know). When did you write your essay? Mark, I already like you and I've never met you...so let's get that out of the way right now. I guess I would like to defend my position about you and your essays...you like to use modern day parables.....If you had met me and my husband and you noticed my husband had warts all over his face and a purple birthmark on his neck....would you point out his "flaws" to me or would you "turn the other cheek" and see what was good about him? Would you "lovingly" point that fact out to me? What would I do?

    Just like I do with the LDS religion....I "lovingly" would accept the flaws, not pointing them out specifically, and enjoy a "discussion" about birthmarks in general and MY views on birthmarks.

    My answer to the man that is dying in 1 1/2 minutes is.....God is love, God is merciful and I WILL PRAY FOR YOU. Then...I would turn him over to GOD and let GOD deal with it. I couldn't do much more in such a short time...Or...if he was lucky enough....I would email you and you would give the correct answer, right?

    Jack, what is your take on this? Rose

  6. Wednesday, December 27, 2006, 19:42 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Shalom from "Rose" & Jack

    Hi Mark:

    Somehow your email reply to my mother (a.k.a. Rose) and me ended up in my spam email box, so I'm sending a fresh email hoping to prevent that from happening again.  I did have the pleasure of reading your brief correspondence.  For my own edification, I'd like to clear up firstly that Rose is really the nickname of my mother who goes by the name of Judy.  Judith Rose.  Calling her Rose through our entire correspondence will seem a little funny to me.  Also, I'm not sure how much my mother will actively be involved in our correspondence.  She prefers, however, to read our correspondence, and would love to be copied on every email we send back and forth (if you don't mind).

    Mark, let me start by first saying that I love your style of writing in the emails sent back and forth.  It seems respectful, fair and honest...and I really appreciate that.

    I took the liberty of surfing your website a little bit.  Your family seems wonderful... and strangely, your kids do look exactly like you, although they might profit better by looking more like their mother (just kidding... I know we don't know each other, but I couldn't resist).  Seeing I had the benefit of reading a little about you on your website, I'd like to tell you a little about me and my family just in case you're interested.  Getting to know one another will most likely be helpful in our future discussion.

    I have a wonderful wife named Merrily, and have twin daughters named Katie and Sarah.  They are 2.5 years old, and love to pull everything out of every cupboard and drawer. Like you, I also graduated from university in 1995 (I'm 36 years old).   I obtained a B.S. in Economics with a minor in Business and Pre-Med from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT.  Although I was born in California, I basically grew up in Utah, save a few years in Calgary Alberta during my late teens.  I served an LDS mission in Johannesburg, South Africa from 1989-1991.  Although I grew up in a Mormon family, I consider myself a convert to the church and have modestly investigated many other religions.

    After graduation from BYU, I worked for a regional investment bank called <snip> for a few years, after which I obtained my Masters in Business from the University of Chicago.  My focus was analytical finance and entrepreneurship. 

    After my MBA I worked with <snip> in both New York City and San Francisco for 4.5 years.  (I saw that you were with Fidelity, but got the impression it was on the I.T. side.)  <snip> was a great experience, but I decided a few years back to venture out on my own, and thus moved to Utah and started a venture real estate company called <snip>.  (I got the name <snip> because we used to live right next to the <snip> in San Francisco, a mile or two from the Golden Gate Bridge.)  Moving out on my own definitely was the right choice because I have more freedom and time to spend with my family (not to mention talking with interesting individuals like yourself).

    Unlike you, I don't particularly have an affinity for penguins, but I do think I would enjoy having exotic pets. I also was not an English major, so you'll have to be patient with my writing skills.  (And don't hesitate to give me a few writing pointers.)

    Like you, I too love talking about God and the scriptures.  It's one of my favorite past times.  I actually plan on obtaining a Masters in Divinity one day... just for the experience and fun of it.  I like the history of religions (although I don't claim to know much), and I love studying the Bible.  I expect to start putting in applications sometime within the next 3 years.  I would love to study at Oxford or Cambridge... just because of the history that is there, but we'll see.   Being half Brit, perhaps you could suggest a nice place to live over there (or your mother could).   

    After studying further, the plan is to get involved at a university somewhere or get involved in missionary work.  I love to teach, which doesn't necessarily mean people love to listen to me.  BYU has a campus in Israell that I would love to get involved with, but I am a little worried about the geopolitical situation over there. I could end up anywhere really, perhaps even the University of New Hampshire.

    As a platform for our correspondence, I would love to use the Bible and discuss Christianity as taught from the Bible... at least initially... and then later (if you want) we can take our discussion to our other scriptures, etc.  

    I anticipate some very good discussions.  My only thing is... once we start on a topic, let's keep to the topic... and do it justice before we move on to other topics (at least as best we can, I know many topics are interrelated.)  I'm also big on personal honesty, and stripping ourselves of complete prejudice... looking at the scriptures for what they are and say, and recognize when our personal bias is complicating the discussion. I'm sure you can relate to this given your Jewish background, and the subsequent acceptance of the New Testament.  (Incidentally, by the way, I've always looked at Christianity as really Jewish... a sect of Jews (and "gentiles") who believe that Jesus is the Messiah.) 

    I also looked up the Fellowship Bible Church, and it looks like a good strong group of people that have a lot of fun.  If I'm ever in Chester, I definitely will stop by. 

    You suggested we start by discussing this scenario you proposed below:

    A man runs up to you on the street and says, "Help! I have a knife in my back and I'm bleeding to death. I have THREE MINUTES to live. You're a Mormon! Please, tell me, what must I do to have my sins forgiven and have peace with God before I die? Please tell me. I only have 2 and a half minutes left!"

    What would you say to this man? Only 2 minutes to live now. He's never been religious, and lived a life of mocking God and never was concerned with righteousness. But now that he has 1 and a half minutes to live, he begs you to tell him what to do.

    What is your answer?

    My answer would be, "Brother, your fate is in the hands of Almighty God... but know this, I know that Jesus is the Christ... and if it can at all be helpful to you, he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

    What is your answer?

    Sincerely, Jack

  7. Friday, December 29, 2006, 8:16 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: From Judy in <snip>

    I've been waiting for your response to my son Jack's response to his last email...are you still going to converse with us?

  8. Friday, December 29, 2006, 11:21 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose and Jack
    Subject: Re: From Judy in <snip>

    Definitely!

    I've just been a bit busy the last 2 days. Sorry.

    I did get Jack's email and enjoyed reading it.

    I will try to give you a thoughtful response today.

    THANKS! 🙂

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  9. Friday, December 29, 2006, 14:39 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: Shalom from "Rose" & Jack
    Hi Jack and Rose,

    Sorry I haven't gotten back to you sooner. I've been busy. But please don't think I'm not interested in talking with you. I definitely AM interested! In fact, it's a strange irony that it's because I'm so interested that I hadn't gotten back to you. You see, I want to have time to give you a thoughtful response, and not just write a quick reply.

    My comments bellow... 🙂

    On Wed, 27 Dec 2006 16:42:08 -0700, "Jack Evans" <snip> wrote:

     

    > Hi Mark:
    >
    >
    >
    > Somehow your email reply to my mother (a.k.a. Rose) and me ended up in my
    > spam email box, so I'm sending a fresh email hoping to prevent that from
    > happening again. I did have the pleasure of reading your brief
    > correspondence. For my own edification, I'd like to clear up firstly that
    > Rose is really the nickname of my mother who goes by the name of Judy.
    > Judith Rose. Calling her Rose through our entire correspondence will seem
    > a
    > little funny to me. Also, I'm not sure how much my mother will actively
    > be
    > involved in our correspondence. She prefers, however, to read our
    > correspondence, and would love to be copied on every email we send back
    > and
    > forth (if you don't mind).

    I don't mind at all. I'll call her Judy or Rose or Judy Rose - whatever she wants!

    >
    >
    >
    > Mark, let me start by first saying that I love your style of writing in
    > the
    > emails sent back and forth. It seems respectful, fair and honest.and I
    > really appreciate that.
    >

    Thank you. We obviously have different opinions, but I'm glad it came through that I respect you and intent to correspond with integrity and honestly.

    >
    >
    > I took the liberty of surfing your website a little bit. Your family
    > seems
    > wonderful. and strangely, your kids do look exactly like you, although
    > they
    > might profit better by looking more like their mother (just kidding. I
    > know
    > we don't know each other, but I couldn't resist). Seeing I had the
    > benefit
    > of reading a little about you on your website, I'd like to tell you a
    > little
    > about me and my family just in case you're interested. Getting to know
    > one
    > another will most likely be helpful in our future discussion.
    >
    >

    In truth they look a lot more like my wife, hence my photo-shopping of the picture. We recently adopted a little girl from China and the joke was that we had to adopt a child in order to get one with my coloring! A result of my Jewish heritage is that I have dark hair and dark skin, but my 3 biological kids all have my wife's fair skin and light-brown hair. But my new daughter from China has my dark hair and dark skin! 🙂

    >
    > I have a wonderful wife named Merrily, and have twin daughters named Katie
    > and Sarah. They are 2.5 years old, and love to pull everything out of
    > every
    > cupboard and drawer.

    Beautiful names! As for pulling everything out of cupboards... I know what you're going through. Before I had kids I had my 200+ CD collection alphabetized by artist. That went out the window once my oldest got old enough to crawl and reach them!

    > Like you, I also graduated from university in 1995
    > (I'm
    > 36 years old). I obtained a B.S. in Economics with a minor in Business
    > and
    > Pre-Med from Brigham Young University in Provo, UT. Although I was born
    > in
    > California, I basically grew up in Utah, save a few years in Calgary,
    > Alberta during my late teens. I served an LDS mission in Johannesburg,
    > South Africa from 1989-1991. Although I grew up in a Mormon family, I
    > consider myself a convert to the church and have modestly investigated
    > many
    > other religions.
    >
    >

    Sounds like quite an experience! Did you have a Liahona bike? Those are great bikes!

    >
    > After graduation from BYU, I worked for a regional investment bank called
    > <snip> for a few years, after which I obtained my Masters in
    > Business
    > from the University of Chicago. My focus was analytical finance and
    > entrepreneurship.
    >
    >
    >
    > After my MBA I worked with <snip> in both New York City and San
    > Francisco for 4.5 years. (I saw that you were with Fidelity, but got the
    > impression it was on the I.T. side.) <snip> was a great experience, but
    > I
    > decided a few years back to venture out on my own, and thus moved to Utah
    > and started a venture real estate company called <snip>. (I got
    > the name <snip> because we used to live right next to the <snip> in
    > San
    > Francisco, a mile or two from the Golden Gate Bridge.) Moving out on my
    > own
    > definitely was the right choice because I have more freedom and time to
    > spend with my family (not to mention talking with interesting individuals
    > like yourself).
    >

    Yes, I'm definitely on the IT side here at Fidelity. In fact, I know very little about finance. I just put my money in a Fidelity 401K and hope they know what they're doing!

    >
    >
    > Unlike you, I don't particularly have an affinity for penguins, but I do
    > think I would enjoy having exotic pets. I also was not an English major,
    > so
    > you'll have to be patient with my writing skills. (And don't hesitate to
    > give me a few writing pointers.)
    >

    I think you're being modest here. Your writing is great!

    >
    >
    > Like you, I too love talking about God and the scriptures. It's one of my
    > favorite past times. I actually plan on obtaining a Masters in Divinity
    > one
    > day. just for the experience and fun of it. I like the history of
    > religions
    > (although I don't claim to know much), and I love studying the Bible. I
    > expect to start putting in applications sometime within the next 3 years.
    > I
    > would love to study at Oxford or Cambridge. just because of the history
    > that
    > is there, but we'll see. Being half Brit, perhaps you could suggest a
    > nice
    > place to live over there (or your mother could).
    >

    You really did check out my site, didn't you? My former pastor (when I lived in Massachusetts) got his PhD from Cambridge. I could always hook you two up if you seriously wanted info about studying there.

    >
    > After studying further, the plan is to get involved at a university
    > somewhere or get involved in missionary work. I love to teach, which
    > doesn't necessarily mean people love to listen to me. BYU has a campus in
    > Israel that I would love to get involved with, but I am a little worried
    > about the geopolitical situation over there. I could end up anywhere
    > really,
    > perhaps even the University of New Hampshire.
    >

    There isn't much of an LDS presence at UNH. There was a Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints there for a while, but the congregation closed a few years back.

    >
    >
    > As a platform for our correspondence, I would love to use the Bible and
    > discuss Christianity as taught from the Bible. at least initially. and
    > then
    > later (if you want) we can take our discussion to our other scriptures,
    > etc.
    >
    >

    Sounds fair.

    >
    >
    > I anticipate some very good discussions. My only thing is. once we start
    > on
    > a topic, let's keep to the topic. and do it justice before we move on to
    > other topics (at least as best we can, I know many topics are
    > interrelated.)

    Agreed!

    > I'm also big on personal honesty, and stripping ourselves of complete
    > prejudice. looking at the scriptures for what they are and say, and
    > recognize when our personal bias is complicating the discussion. I'm sure
    > you can relate to this given your Jewish background, and the subsequent
    > acceptance of the New Testament. (Incidentally, by the way, I've always
    > looked at Christianity as really Jewish. a sect of Jews (and "gentiles")
    > who
    > believe that Jesus is the Messiah.)
    >

    I agree 100%. Christianity is Jewish. The apostles were Jewish. Jesus is Jewish! All of "New Testament" revelation expands on "Old Testament" revelation. There are no contradictions. The old prophesies the new.

    >
    >
    > I also looked up the Fellowship Bible Church, and it looks like a good
    > strong group of people that have a lot of fun. If I'm ever in Chester, I
    > definitely will stop by.
    >
    >

    God has blessed us tremendously there. It is refreshing to find a church body so devoted to sound doctrine.

    >
    > You suggested we start by discussing this scenario you proposed below:
    >
    >
    >
    > A man runs up to you on the street and says, "Help! I have a knife in my
    > back and I'm bleeding to death. I have THREE MINUTES to live. You're a
    > Mormon! Please, tell me, what must I do to have my sins forgiven and have
    > peace with God before I die? Please tell me. I only have 2 and a half
    > minutes left!"
    >
    >
    >
    > What would you say to this man? Only 2 minutes to live now. He's never
    > been
    > religious, and lived a life of mocking God and never was concerned with
    > righteousness. But now that he has 1 and a half minutes to live, he begs
    > you
    > to tell him what to do.
    >
    >
    >
    > What is your answer?
    >
    >
    >
    > My answer would be, "Brother, your fate is in the hands of Almighty God
    > but
    > know this, I know that Jesus is the Christ. and if it can at all be
    > helpful
    > to you, he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh
    > unto
    > the Father, but by me."
    >
    >
    >
    > What is your answer?
    >
    >

    I chose this scenario because I believe it will help us cut right to one of the major divisions between Biblical Christianity and LDS doctrine, and that is "works righteousness."

    How does one get to go to the Celestial Kingdom of God?

    Is it possible for a person who is about to die in 3 minutes to get to the Celestial Kingdom if he's done nothing deserving of it his or her whole life?

    You said that you'd tell the person that their "fate is in the hands of Almighty God" but that doesn't really help the person.

    Your prophet Joseph Fielding Smith was very clear when he said "Salvation comes by grace, faith, and works. Unless a man will adhere to the doctrine and walk in faith, accepting the truth and observing the commandments as they have been given, it will be impossible for him to receive eternal life, no matter how much he may confess with his lips that Jesus is the Christ, or believe that his Father sent him into the world for the redemption of man? So it is necessary, not merely that we believe, but that we repent, and in faith perform good works until the end; and then shall we receive the reward of the faithful and a place in the celestial kingdom of God." (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 2:311).

    Smith defined "works righteousness" perfectly here. Your righteousness, or exaltation, or entrance into God's Celestial Kingdom, is based on what you do. It's based on performing "good works until the end." Smith called entering the Celestial Kingdom a "reward."

    It would be IMPOSSIBLE for a person about to die in 3 minutes to adhere to the doctrines of the church because he's about to die. An LDS must admit that it will be impossible for this person in our scenario to reach the Celestial Kingdom because there's no time for him to earn his reward by a faithful life.

    You'd have to admit, "Well, I'm afraid it's too late for you to do anything to get into the Celestial Heaven.

    With that in mind, please consider the thief on the cross in Luke 23. "And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:42,43).

    This man was made righteous in an instant - in a heartbeat. How could an LDS explain this, given Joseph Fielding Smith's clear teaching that your own works are required?

    Your prophet Spencer W. Kimball taught "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation" (Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, 1972 edition, pp. 206-207).

    Yet the thief on the cross was saved alone by the grace of God, his faith in Jesus being sufficient to apply that grace.

    How would I answer a dying man if he came to me asking what he must do to be saved, with only 3 minutes to live?

    I'd say something like this:

    --- begin what I'd say ---

    God exists and you can know that for certain because He has left Creation as proof. Just as a building is proof there was a builder, so does creation give evidence that there was a Creator. And God has given us all a conscience as proof that he has a standard of right and wrong. We know in our heart that stealing, murder, etc is wrong.

    God is righteous and we are not. The Bible says " There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). It says "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

    We have broken God's commandments when we lie, take God's name in vain, and Jesus said we are guilty of adultery if we have an unclean sexual thought. And that's only three of the Ten Commandments. There are seven more!

    The Bible warns us: "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    We are all liars, blasphemers, and adulterers in heart - and worse. We deserve hell.

    We will all face God on Judgment Day, and we all have violated his laws. We deserve hell. The great news is that Jesus, the only one who never sinned even once, died on the cross to pay a debt he didn't owe, so that we could be set free from a debt we couldn't pay. Or put another way, Jesus died as though he lived like us, so we could be set free as if we lived like him. That knowledge ought to break our hearts and make us love and appreciate him so much!

    Just as a criminal can be set free if someone pays his fine, so can we be set free by Jesus paying our fine.

    We must repent, which means turning from sin and seeing it as awful as it is, and put our faith in the Christ of the Bible the same way one would put on a parachute before jumping out of a plane. You don't just believe in a parachute - you put it on!

    If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, you will be saved from hell immediately, and will enter God's Kingdom. When you do that, the Bible says that you are a new creation, and you get to heaven, not because you are a good person, but because you are a bad person who was forgiven by a very good God! No one in heaven will be able to boast that they earned their own way there, because none of us deserve it. It is the free gift of God so he gets all the credit and glory!

    Sir, you're going to die in one and a half minutes. Repent now, put your faith in Christ now, and you will be in God's Kingdom in 90 seconds.

    --- end what I'd say ---

    I speak kinda fast, but I timed myself speaking this and it took just over one minute.

    Please notice that I made it very clear that we deserve condemnation because our acts are all sinful. Remember Isaiah 64:6. I also emphasized that there's nothing we can do to earn God's favor. And I mentioned that perfect Jesus paid our penalty if we repent and put our faith in him.

    That's what I'd say to someone on the street who had 3 minutes to live.

    That's also what I'd say to the thief on the cross, or to anyone.

    Jack, that's what I'd say to you and your mom. You are sinners, and Jesus can forgive you - not because you're good, but because He is merciful and VERY good! Your baptism, temple activities, missionary endeavors, etc, will not earn you the Celestial Kingdom. You can't earn it. It's not a reward. It's a gift.

    In case you say, "Then you can sin all you want as long as you believe in Jesus?" Absolutely not. Remember the "repent" part. If you truly are repentant, then you will seek holiness from your heart BECAUSE YOU ARE forgiven, not IN ORDER TO GET forgiven.

    Put another way, good works are the fruit of salvation, not the seed.

    Please repent today and trust Christ, forsaking any trust you have on your own works.

    >
    > Sincerely, Jack

    Thanks for hearing me out. Your thoughts?

    blessings...

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  10. Friday, December 29, 2006, 15:46 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: RE: Shalom from "Rose" & Jack

    Mark....call me Judy or Mom....thanks for the insight....now, Jack?

  11. Saturday, December 30, 2006, 0:55 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Salvation in Christ

    Hi Mark:

    Don't worry about not getting back to me sooner.  I saw the email my mother wrote, and I know what it's like to get busy.  In fact, I'm sure there will be times where my schedule won't permit a response for days/weeks.  I'm glad you are interested in speaking.  I am too.

    It's interesting that you adopted a child from China.  My wife and I have trouble having kids, and are evaluating adoption.  I would love to adopt out of Africa, but we'll have to see.

    I'm not sure what a Liahona bike is... but the name cracks me up.

    I would love to meet your former pastor who got his PhD from Cambridge.  Given my non-traditional background for Divinity, I'm interested in learning from those who have gone before what might be an appropriate path in preparation for applying for a Masters program.   Perhaps you can copy him on our correspondence.

    And... yes, I did read a lot on your site.  I noticed that week 7 of the summer 2005 Cult class that you taught is about the Mormons. I didn't get a chance to read the whole thing, for it is 492 pages and it was getting a little late.  I was thinking, however, that our discussion could be a part of your class at some point. 

    Would you be open to publishing (unedited) our discussions as part of your lecture series?  If that doesn't work, how about posting our discussion on your website as we go?  I thought it might be useful, and would certainly keep us both honest.  Just you, me, and whatever God can teach us. We could start with the first letter I sent a few days ago.  Let me know if you think that's a good idea.

    Now on to our first topic... "works righteousness" (as you called it).  If you don't mind, I'll broaden it a little: Salvation in Jesus Christ.  What is it and how do you get it?  Fair enough? This is a good topic that is very interrelated. 

    In this email, I'll first answer your questions, and then ask a few myself, if you don't mind.  I'll bold my questions, so that you know which ones I'm hoping to learn a response. 

    First your questions:

    1. How does one get to go to the Celestial Kingdom of God?  My answer:  To quote our articles of faith: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.  We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."
    2. Is it possible for a person who is about to die in 3 minutes to get to the Celestial Kingdom if he's done nothing deserving of it his or her whole life?  My answer:  It depends, and we'll get into it more... trust me. 

    Below are comments of Christ regarding a parable he taught in Luke.  What was Christ teaching?  In verse 48, what do you believe he is saying?

    "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom [his] lord shall make ruler over his household, to give [them their] portion of meat in due season?  Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for [him], and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.  And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not [himself], neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many [stripes].  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:" (Luke 12:42-48; but read 31-48) 

    I'm placing a definite emphasis on verse 48 at the end.

    Your question about the man with 3 minutes to live had multiple implications.  I was left wondering: did this man ever have a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Was he a deliberate sinner, or did he sin in ignorance.  You mentioned he openly mocked God, which might be problematic for him (but it isn't for me to judge).  Was he offended by someone?  Was he confused by hypocrites he observed in religion or Christianity? 

    I'm surprised, given your research in Mormonism, that you haven't given any credit to the fact that we also believe that for those who had no chance in this life to learn of and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will have an opportunity to hear and accept it after their death in a time appointed prior to their resurrection; a chance for those who had no chance.  In that context, your quotes of Joseph Fielding Smith and Spencer W. Kimball are extremely innocuous.    

    Did you have a chance to read e entire article of Joseph Fielding Smith?  I wonder, because you mentioned that Smith was, "perfectly clear. Your righteousness, or exaltation, or  entrance in God's Celestial Kingdom is based on what you do.  It is based on performing good works until the end."   

    I'm puzzled Mark, and this is what I was talking about when I said earlier that fair analysis and stripping ourselves of prejudice and bias is important.  We teach that Salvation is a COVENANT relationship with Christ, and that it is PARTLY based on what we do, and Christ completes the rest.

    In the very paragraph preceding the Smith quote, he says, "So it is easy to understand that we must accept the mission of Jesus Christ. We must believe that it is through his grace that we are saved, that he performed for us that labor which we were unable to perform for ourselves, and did for us those things which were essential to our salvation, which were beyond our power; and also that we are under the commandment and the necessity of performing the labors that are required of us as set forth in the commandments known as the gospel of Jesus Christ."

    It is not our labors alone that save us.  Please, don't say or imply that we believe differently.

    I guess it boils down to a very simple question.  Taking into full account God's grace, did he also give us commandments that we must keep?   "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him."  (John 14:21)  What do you say?  I know this much: you yourself declare on your website the importance of keeping the 10 commandments.... But I am confused still as to your concise view.

    You mentioned, "Smith called entering the Celestial Kingdom a reward."  I couldn't help but think you disagreed that Heaven should be thought of as a reward... or sought after as a reward.  Was I right in this analysis?  I personally think he was in good company.  "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works."  (Matt 16:27)

    You mentioned, "an LDS must admit that it will be impossible for a person in our scenario to reach the Celestial Kingdom because there's no time for him to ear his reward by a faithful life." 

    Please don't put words in my mouth, it isn't impossible and we've never taught that it would be... and either you haven't studied Mormonism very well, or you're not being fair.  I would argue that with your background and knowledge of the Mormons, you have had to come across our belief that, "the gospel [is] preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit."

    Because billions of people have died without any knowledge of Jesus Christ, God has provided a way for all his children to receive them. President Joseph Fielding Smith calls this plan of salvation for the dead "one of the grandest, most reasonable, and soul satisfying doctrines ever revealed to man" (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 2:143).  Joseph Fielding Smith isn't saying, "it will be impossible for a person in our scenario to reach the Celestial Kingom."

    You mentioned the thief on the cross as your only justification for last minute salvation through the grace of Christ.  With this, I am left to assume that you interpret paradise as Heaven... the Heaven where God dwells.  Is that right?

    This paradise and your understanding of it... can you reconcile and help me understand where you believe Christ was in between his death and resurrection?  Can you keep it consistent with Christ's words to Mary at the tomb  when he suggested that he had not yet ascended to the Father... for he said, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."

    Just to throw in my two cents (and that's not much),  paradise is translated from the Greek paradeisos, which has multiple definitions, one of which is the world of spirits... neither on the earth nor in the heavens, but above and beyond the world.  Strong's Number is 3857 for your ease of reference in researching various meanings.

    My view on the thief, he may or may not have inherited the celestial kingdom.  I don't know.  I also believe, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you." (Matt 7:21-23)

    I think it is a mistake to automatically assume the theif received a fullness of salvation.  He might have, but I believe what Christ was really saying is, "thief, I will remember you, and today you will be with me in the world of spirits and we'll discuss my gospel... and you can choose prior to your resurrection."  Please don't forget, that the Bible also teaches Christ had not yet ascended to the Father prior to his resurrection.

    You mentioned, "we will all face God on Judgement Day, and we all have violated his laws.  Are you saying God does have laws?  Does he expect us to at least try a little bit, despite our imperfections, to try and live by these laws? 

    Do you believe that Mormons teach they must be perfect to obtain salvation?

    You mentioned, "we must repent, which means turning from sin."  You also said, "If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, you will be saved..." which implies people do have to make a choice and take an action to lay hold of Christ's atonement.  Doesn't that constitute labor?    

    But aah... now we get into the discussion of what constitutes sincere repentance.  That's the question.

    What is repentance to you Mark?  How is it demonstrated in the last 90 seconds of this man's life?  If this man lived a life of "mocking God and [was] never concerned with righteousness", should we believe that his repentance is sincere as he chose this most inconvenient time to think about it?  It may or may not be sincere, right?  Does just reciting those wonderful words in the last 90 seconds of his life secure him salvation with Christ?  What if he recites it, but doesn't really mean it?   

    I would really like to dive in with you further on your comment, "if you truly are repentant, then you will seek holiness from your heart because you are forgiven, not in order to get forgiven."  This is the standard argument against the fact that we are not justified by works... and faith only... right?  At some future date, we will have to reconcile it with, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."  (James 2:24)

    There is some truth in what you say about us seeking holiness when forgiven.  And it is absolutely true that we partake of the grace of God. We teach in the Book of Mormon that, "the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which comforter filleth with hope and perfect love."  (Moroni 8:26)  This perfect love is also known as Charity, which is summed up by Paul essentially as the virtues of Jesus Christ and a desire to do good. Because as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, through the grace of God we take upon ourselves the countenance and virtues of Christ, which motivates us to be better people and do good in excess of our natural capacity.  (1 Corinth 13)   Do you believe that we believe this?

    I agree with you that I and my mom are sinners, and Jesus can forgive us... but there are conditions of repentance.   He is merciful and VERY good, but we have to enter into his covenant relationship. The process is not as arbitrary as you suggest.

    "If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."  (Matt 16:24)

    Mark.  This works grace thing is really interrelated with the early doctrinal issues in Christianity of what to do about the Law of Moses.  As we have established, these were Jews who were practicing the Law of Moses.  Did Christ fulfill it?   Do we continue to circumcise?   Do non Jews  who convert to Christ also have to practice the Law of Moses?  Do we have to practice blood sacrifice anymore?  Etc. etc. etc. 

    This discussion in the New Testament about the Law of Moses should not be confused with the inexcapable fact that in the New Covenant, there are also laws.  You are confusing the discussion of works with the "works of the law of Moses", which doesn't eliminate the "works of the gospel of Jesus Christ".   This is not a Mormon thing.  Many objective scholars from all walks of life and religion have taught this.

    Paul said concerning Christ and the New Covenant relative to the Old (Second relative to the First:

     "But now hath he [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.  For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

    "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

    "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

    "For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

    "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

    "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

     "In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.

    Mark, this is a great start and platform for discussion.  You mentioned in an earlier conversation with my mom that Mormons really only believe the Bible, unless it contradicts their teaching.  Many in any faith, religion, or belief system do read the Bible with a prejudice, and gloss over things that contradict their teaching.  Will you?

    Sincerely,  Jack

    p.s.  I'm very serious about posting our discussions on your website.  Unedited, and in full view;  for better or for worse.  What do you think?

  12. Saturday, December 30, 2006, 1:26 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: One more thing

    Hi Mark:

    I didn't proof read my email before sending it to you... and after I sent it, I noticed that towards the end it appears like I was trying to pick a fight. Sorry if I came across in an inappropriate way. My question was not to provoke or question your integrity. I just really want to hold one another accountable for what we are saying.

    Also, the last scripture is in Hebrews 8, as I'm sure you already know.

    Yours in Christ, Jack

  13. Saturday, December 30, 2006, 16:34 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Liahona Bike...

    Sorry for the multiple emails... I'm a bachelor today because the wife and kids are in California for the New Year holiday. I'm going tonight to surprise them (they don't know I'm coming)... but today, I'm just reading your stuff... and doing errands.

    Pg. 362 of your Cult pdf talks about the Liahona Bike... but the web site doesn't work anymore. I wonder if with exceeding faith whether or not these bikes can fly? Anyway, I had never heard about the bikes... I may have to just go out and get one.

  14. Sunday, December 31, 2006, 16:27 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Hi Jack,

    Wow, that's quite a long response you sent me.

    Given that I want to respond prayerfully, respectfully, and thoroughly, it may be a few days before I can send you the response your email deserves.

    Please be patient.

    And I LIKE your idea of posting this publicly. I will have to think about the best way technically to set this up.

    Happy New Year!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  15. Monday, January 1, 2007, 17:51 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Happy New Year to you also Mark.

    Despite my longer email, I do think shorter is better... so I'll have to work on that.

    Best, Jack

  16. Thursday, January 4, 2007, 13:48 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Hi Jack (and "Mom"),

    I hope your New Year celebration were joyful!

    Thanks for your patience regarding my response to Jack's email. I thought I knew how to compose a large email, but I've got nothing on Jack! 🙂

    Anyhow, I wanted to send you a prayerful, thought-out response. So please find that below within the text of Jack's email.

    Blessings...

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

    > Hi Mark:
    >
    >
    >
    > Don't worry about not getting back to me sooner. I saw the email my
    > mother
    > wrote, and I know what it's like to get busy. In fact, I'm sure there
    > will
    > be times where my schedule won't permit a response for days/weeks. I'm
    > glad
    > you are interested in speaking. I am too.
    >
    >

    Definitely interested!

    >
    > It's interesting that you adopted a child from China. My wife and I have
    > trouble having kids, and are evaluating adoption. I would love to adopt
    > out
    > of Africa, but we'll have to see.
    >
    >

    I'm so sorry to hear of your fertility problems. I have a friend who is adopting from Ethiopia right now. I do hope it works out for you should you pursue adoption.

    >
    > I'm not sure what a Liahona bike is. but the name cracks me up.
    >

    http://www.themissionarydepot.com/missionary-bikes/missionary-bike-package/

    >
    >
    > I would love to meet your former pastor who got his PhD from Cambridge.
    > Given my non-traditional background for Divinity, I'm interested in
    > learning
    > from those who have gone before what might be an appropriate path in
    > preparation for applying for a Masters program. Perhaps you can copy him
    > on our correspondence.
    >

    I've read ahead and saw that you want to post this conversation on a website. When that happens, he'll be able to read it. But if you really do want to chat with him about his experience at Cambridge, let me know and I'll forward your contact info to him.

    >
    >
    > And. yes, I did read a lot on your site. I noticed that week 7 of the
    > summer 2005 Cult class that you taught is about the Mormons. I didn't get
    > a
    > chance to read the whole thing, for it is 492 pages and it was getting a
    > little late. I was thinking, however, that our discussion could be a part
    > of your class at some point.
    >
    >

    If you're willing, then I'd consider that very generous on your part. I can't imagine it makes you happy to see your church labeled under "cults" but it would be disingenuous of me to pretend I don't see it that way. Please understand - it's not a personal attack on you. I respect you. It's the doctrines of the LDS church that I maintain is against Biblical teaching, as I outline in detail in the PowerPoint slides.

    >
    > Would you be open to publishing (unedited) our discussions as part of your
    > lecture series? If that doesn't work, how about posting our discussion on
    > your website as we go? I thought it might be useful, and would certainly
    > keep us both honest. Just you, me, and whatever God can teach us. We
    > could
    > start with the first letter I sent a few days ago. Let me know if you
    > think
    > that's a good idea.
    >
    >

    Sure! I think that would be great! I just have to do some thinking about how to set this up from a technical point of view. I'll likely have to copy and paste everything and convert it to html. It may take a few days.

    >
    > Now on to our first topic. "works righteousness" (as you called it). If
    > you
    > don't mind, I'll broaden it a little: Salvation in Jesus Christ. What is
    > it
    > and how do you get it? Fair enough? This is a good topic that is very
    > interrelated.
    >
    >

    I still think I'd like to use the term "works righteousness" because it has a very specific definition. Does our salvation depend on our works? Or put another way, do our acts MERIT salvation? Or put yet another way, how is it that a person is made righteous

    >
    > In this email, I'll first answer your questions, and then ask a few
    > myself,
    > if you don't mind. I'll bold my questions, so that you know which ones
    > I'm
    > hoping to learn a response.
    >

    Fair enough!

    >
    >
    > First your questions:
    >
    >
    >
    > 1. How does one get to go to the Celestial Kingdom of God? My answer:
    > To quote our articles of faith: "We believe that through the Atonement of
    > Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances
    > of
    > the Gospel. We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the
    > Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance;
    > third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, laying on
    > of
    > hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost."

    So the formula is: faith in Jesus, plus repentance, plus baptism in water, plus laying on of hands? I want to make sure I understand this correctly.

    > 2. Is it possible for a person who is about to die in 3 minutes to get
    > to the Celestial Kingdom if he's done nothing deserving of it his or he
    > whole life? My answer: It depends, and we'll get into it more. trust me
    >
    >
    >
    > Below are comments of Christ regarding a parable he taught in Luke. What
    > was Christ teaching? In verse 48, what do you believe he is saying?
    >
    >

    This refers to the fact that in heaven there will be degrees of rewards, and in hell there will be degrees of punishments. Jesus said things like "But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you" (Matthew 11:22). This similar sentiment can be found in other places, like Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:24, Luke 10:12, Luke 10:14, and other places.

    This is also a warning to those listening that they need to repent of their sins. Many there no doubt heard Jesus preach for sometime, and knew his message, but had not repented. Christ emphasized that if you die in your sins (without having repented) your fate would be like the servant who did not do the Lord's will. Interestingly there is no mention of any "second chance" to hear and respond to the gospel in the afterlife, as the LDS church teaches.

    >
    > "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom [his] lord shall make
    > ruler over his household, to give [them their] portion of meat in due
    > season? Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall
    > find
    > so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all
    > that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth
    > his
    > coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat
    > and
    > drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when
    > he looketh not for [him], and at an hour when he is not aware, and will
    > cut
    > him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And
    > that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not [himself]
    > neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many [stripes].
    > But
    > he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten
    > with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be
    > much required:" (Luke 12:42-48; but read 31-48)
    >
    >
    >
    > I'm placing a definite emphasis on verse 48 at the end.
    >
    >

    Again, according to Matthew 10:15, Matthew 11:24, Luke 10:12, Luke 10:14, and other places, hell will be worse for some than for others.

    >
    > Your question about the man with 3 minutes to live had multiple
    > implications. I was left wondering: did this man ever have a chance to
    > hear
    > the gospel of Jesus Christ. Was he a deliberate sinner, or did he sin in
    > ignorance. You mentioned he openly mocked God, which might be problematic
    > for him (but it isn't for me to judge). Was he offended by someone? Was
    > he
    > confused by hypocrites he observed in religion or Christianity?
    >
    >

    Am I right to take away from this that you believe that those who never had an opportunity to hear the gospel in this life will not be held accountable to respond to the gospel in this life?

    What is the repercussion if someone "sinned in ignorance" or not?

    It makes little difference because the Bible clearly teaches that no one sins in ignorance. It's an impossible scenario.

    Please consider this passage:

    "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20).

    The Word says that all men (and women) "hold the truth in unrighteousness." We all know the truth about God, because "God hath shewed it unto them." You might ask, "How has God showed them? Even the person who lives in deepest darkest Africa who could never have heard the name Jesus? Yes, him too, because "the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen." The Creation itself tells us that there is a God! The witness of Creation tells us this, so that all of us are "without excuse."

    A little later in Romans, Paul says:

    "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel." (Romans 2:14-16).

    This tells us that even Gentiles, those who didn't know the Law of Moses, have God's Law written on their hearts. Everyone knows it is wrong to lie, and wrong to steal, and wrong to murder, yet we all are guilty of those things. We know this because God has given each of us a conscience.

    So there is no one who has sinned in ignorance. We all know there is a God because of the creation, and we all know that God has a standard we will be judged against, because of our conscience. Your scenario that a person could sin in ignorance is an impossibility.

    There is coming a day when God will "judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ," and no one can plead ignorance.

    It appears that you have too high a view of man - that man could be ignorant of God's Law. In fact, you ought to have a very low view of man, that we are utterly sinful and we all sin knowing that it is wrong.

    Back to our "man with a knife in his back" scenario. How long does it take to pass from unrighteous on the way to hell, to righteous on the way to heaven? If one were to follow a works-righteousness system, a system where your actions are required to merit heaven, then it would take more than 3 minutes. You'd have to "do" something, and it would be unlikely that a person would have time for it. Catholics believe you have to be baptized in water, and avoid "mortal" sins. Like Catholics, the LDS church teaches that you must be baptized in water, and you mentioned a few things more... faith, repentance, baptism, laying of hands. I've heard Mormon missionaries add "temple marriage" and other works as well to the list. It seems that the person with 3 minutes does not have time to do all that.

    >
    > I'm surprised, given your research in Mormonism, that you haven't given
    > any
    > credit to the fact that we also believe that for those who had no chance
    > in
    > this life to learn of and accept the gospel of Jesus Christ, they will
    > have
    > an opportunity to hear and accept it after their death in a time appointed
    > prior to their resurrection; a chance for those who had no chance.

    Oh, I've heard of it, as you know by reading my PowerPoint slides. You should also know that such a doctrine goes against the clear teaching of scripture.

    How do you understand this text? "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    Death, then judgment. No intermediate place to hear and respond to the gospel.

    Also, consider the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, starting at verse 20. I'm sure you know the story. A rich man dies and goes to hell. He begs God to send Lazarus to his living brothers so they can repent before they die so they don't join him in his torment.

    Such a parable makes no sense given the Mormon doctrine that says you get a second chance in the afterlife to respond to the gospel.

    If a second chance in the afterlife exists, then certainly the rich man would have changed his mind and received the gospel. But it was too late for him. And it will be too late for us too if we die in our sins. There is no second chance in the afterlife, at least, not according to the scriptures (The Bible.)

    > In
    > that
    > context, your quotes of Joseph Fielding Smith and Spencer W. Kimball are
    > extremely innocuous.
    >
    >

    You consider Joseph Fielding Smith and Spencer W. Kimball to be prophets, right? Then quoting them should be fair game, just as you quote the Bible to me.

    >
    > Did you have a chance to read e entire article of Joseph Fielding Smith?
    > I
    > wonder, because you mentioned that Smith was, "perfectly clear. Your
    > righteousness, or exaltation, or entrance in God's Celestial Kingdom is
    > based on what you do. It is based on performing good works until the
    > end."
    >
    >

    Well, is it the case that the LDS church teaches that you must perform good works to be exalted to the Celestial heaven? If not, then those quotes by Joseph Fielding Smith and Spencer W. Kimball are hard to understand.

    >
    >
    > I'm puzzled Mark, and this is what I was talking about when I said earlier
    > that fair analysis and stripping ourselves of prejudice and bias is
    > important. We teach that Salvation is a COVENANT relationship with
    > Christ,
    > and that it is PARTLY based on what we do, and Christ completes the rest.
    >

    This sounds like 2 Nephi 25:23, "for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do."

    The Bible teaches that salvation is ALL of God, and there is nothing we can offer. Even our faith and repentance are gifts from God, so God gets all the credit and glory for our salvation. There is no "Christ completes the rest."

    It reminds me of the many times my daughter will get a dollar and want to buy candy. Sometimes she picks out something that costs $1.25, but she only has a dollar. So I typically provide the rest. She pays her dollar, and I kick in the rest.

    Salvation is not like that according to the Bible.

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

    "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).

    And there are many more. It is the consistent teaching of scripture that God does the saving and God gets the credit.

    Grace plus works does not equal grace.

    >
    >
    > In the very paragraph preceding the Smith quote, he says, "So it is easy
    > to
    > understand that we must accept the mission of Jesus Christ. We must
    > believe
    > that it is through his grace that we are saved, that he performed for us
    > that labor which we were unable to perform for ourselves, and did for us
    > those things which were essential to our salvation, which were beyond our
    > power; and also that we are under the commandment and the necessity of
    > performing the labors that are required of us as set forth in the
    > commandments known as the gospel of Jesus Christ."
    >
    >

    Smith agrees with 2 Nephi 25:23. He is essentially saying, "God's grace, after all you can do."

    Paul the Apostle explained that this is an impossibility. If works are added, then grace isn't really grace.

    "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:5-6).

    How do you understand that Romans 11:5-6 passage?

    >
    > It is not our labors alone that save us. Please, don't say or imply that
    > we
    > believe differently.
    >
    >

    I believe I understand your position. You're not saying that it's your works alone - I know that. But you are saying that it's your works, plus God's grace. And I'm saying, as Paul did, that if your works are added, then grace isn't really grace anymore. It must be 100% God's work, if the Bible is correct - which I believe it is. Do you believe the Bible is 100% correct and 100% reliable to teach us the doctrines we need to know about God?

    >
    > I guess it boils down to a very simple question. Taking into full account
    > God's grace, did he also give us commandments that we must keep?
    "He
    > that
    > hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he
    > that
    > loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will
    > manifest myself to him." (John 14:21) What do you say? I know this
    > much:
    > you yourself declare on your website the importance of keeping the 10
    > commandments.. But I am confused still as to your concise view.
    >
    >

    This is a very common question, and I'm glad you asked it.

    Please consider a marriage relationship. Imagine I was married to a woman named Shelby (which I am!) and you followed me around for a month and saw that I never spoke of Shelby, never bought her flowers, and never complimented her. Then imagine that Shelby wrote me a love letter, and I never bothered to open it.

    One would safely conclude that I don't really have much of a relationship with my wife.

    You might say to me, "Why are you ignoring her? Why do you take her for granted?"

    Would it be correct for me to counter with, "Well, we're married, so now I don't have to woo her or be nice because we're in a binding marriage relationship."

    I'd be a fool! Just because one is married, doesn't mean their relationship should be allowed to suffer.

    If someone is in a saving relationship with God, then they will naturally want to do things that please God out of love for him, and not out of fear of being rejected.

    So are Christians supposed to perform good works? Of course! James 2 says a lot about this, as does Ephesians 2:10. But here's the critical part: our works are performed BECAUSE we're saved, not IN ORDER TO GET saved. This is a crucial distinction! Good works are the FRUIT of salvation, not the seed.

    How can someone who was loved and forgiven by God possibly happily go and continue to sin habitually? It can't be done. Such a person who claims to be saved, yet does not show his faith by works, is a hypocrite and a false convert.

    Imagine a husband who was caught cheating on his wife. He says to his wife, "I'm so sorry that I fell into adultery. Please forgive me. Please let's work this out. I'll do whatever is necessary to help heal our marriage."

    Since he appeared sincere, the wife decided that she would swallow her pride and take her husband back.

    Now imagine the husband says, "Thank you for taking me back. But you know, I liked the excitement of sneaking around with another woman, so if you don't mind, I'm going back to the bar to pick up a woman."

    The fact that the husband could even entertain such a horrible thought, much less state it, shows that he really has not repented of his sin. He still likes it, and is unconcerned that he hurt his wife.

    His actions reveal that he never really repented in the first place.

    In the same way, we must come humbly before the Holy Living God, confess our sins, and repent of them. If we continue our life of sin as we did before, that is strong evidence that our repentance was not genuine. True repentance evidences itself through a holy life. Your desires will change, and your wants will change.

    This is not to say that Christians do not stumble and sin - we do! But when we do we feel horrible about it. If we do not feel horrible about it, then that is evidence that we are not truly Christians.

    Consider a father and son on an overnight fishing trip to Florida's everglades.

    As they start setting up camp, the father says "Okay, son. I'm not going to spoil the weekend with a bunch of rules, so there's only one rule while we're down here. We're in the everglades, and there are alligators out here. You can fish from the dock, but there's no wading into the water or going out in any of the boats you may find around here. Keep to the dock and you'll be safe."

    Later, while the father was away for a bit, the boy was on the dock fishing. He began eyeing a rowboat tied there next to the dock.

    Defying the warning of his dad, the boy gets in the boat and pushes himself into the water. The splashing of the fish drew the attention of the alligators. One large alligator came alongside and smacked the little boat with it's tail. The boat rocked and the boy was thrown out. His father heard his panicked cry just before the boy passed out from fear.

    Some time later, the boy woke up. He'd been dragged up on the shore. As he sat up and saw his dad laying next to him, he knew immediately that something is wrong. His dad's face was grey and he was breathing shallow breaths. The boy looked down to see that his dad's legs had been gnawed by the alligator. Ribbons of flesh hanged from them and he could see bone in places where chunks of flesh had been torn out.

    Now... what son could look at his father and say, "Wow! Dad, you saved me. It's amazing. You saved my life. But I can see you're going to pass out and you'll probably be out for a while. I have to say, I caught six fish in two hours... that's as many as we got in two days. And it got really exciting when the alligators started swimming around. So, you don't mind if while you're passed out I just push back out in the boat for a little bit... do you?"

    Such a reaction on the boy's part would be unthinkable! In the same way, as Christians, we must look at the nails in our Savior's hands and feet. We must consider the flesh torn off from the Roman whips. Most importantly, we ought to meditate on the wrath of God that was unleashed on the Son of God. When we do that, our attitude ought to be of utmost thankfulness, and we should lovingly serve our Great God all our lives!

    Or said even better, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2).

    As for the Ten Commandments, the Bible tells us the purpose of the Ten Commandments.

    "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

    The Ten Commandments show us how sinful we are in God's sight. We have all broken the Ten Commandments. We are all liars, and thieves, and blasphemers, and worse. The Ten Commandments can be thought of as a mirror. The mirror shows you how dirty you are, but it doesn't take the dirt away. When you look in a mirror and see your dirt, you don't take the mirror off the wall and rub yourself with it to get clean. No, that's not the job of the mirror. The mirror shows you your sinfulness so that you will be motivated to go to the water to wash. The mirror of the Ten Commandments shows sinners that they need to go to the living water of Jesus Christ to be cleansed.

    So that's why I use the Ten Commandments when I share the gospel (I imagine you saw it on my "A Jew and His God" page.)

    The Ten Commandments can never help anyone to become righteous, they merely leave us helpless and in need of grace, so we will have the attitude of Peter in Luke 5:8, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

    >
    > You mentioned, "Smith called entering the Celestial Kingdom a reward." I
    > couldn't help but think you disagreed that Heaven should be thought of as
    > a
    > reward. or sought after as a reward. Was I right in this analysis? I
    > personally think he was in good company. "For the Son of man shall come
    > in
    > the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every
    > man
    > according to his works." (Matt 16:27)
    >

    In context, Jesus is speaking of non-Christians. Immediately before this passage Jesus said, "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"

    He is saying, "you must be saved because if you're not saved, then God will give you what you deserve. Your reward will be eternal condemnation and torment in hell."

    In that way, when we read the passage, and not just pull out a verse, we can see that the unrighteous will get the reward that is coming to them - so you better repent now.

    Also there is a difference between salvation being a reward, and the fact that there will be rewards in heaven for those who earned them.

    The Christian life is likened to a race by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:24. Consider a race. Only one person wins the reward at the end, but the rest aren't murdered or kicked out of the stadium for coming in second, or third. Yes, there will be faithful Christians who will be rewarded in heaven, and some more than others. This is taught in Scripture. But it doesn't mean that those who didn't run as well won't be considered a runner. If a person is truly saved, they might get fewer rewards in heaven, but they will be in heaven nonetheless. Their salvation is not dependant on how well they ran. But it is the case that we ought to strive to run well, because if for no other reason, it pleases God, and if we really are in a true relationship with God, we will want to please him.

    >
    >
    > You mentioned, "an LDS must admit that it will be impossible for a person
    > in
    > our scenario to reach the Celestial Kingdom because there's no time for
    > him
    > to ear his reward by a faithful life."
    >
    >
    >
    > Please don't put words in my mouth , it isn't impossible and we've never
    > taught that it would be. and either you haven't studied Mormonism very
    > well,
    > or you're not being fair. I would argue that with your background and
    > knowledge of the Mormons, you have had to come across our belief that,
    > "the
    > gospel [is] preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged
    > according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit."
    >
    >

    Yes, I'm aware of this doctrine, but it is entirely unbiblical. I previously wrote:

    --- begin quotation from earlier ---

    How do you understand this text? "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    Death, then judgment. No intermediate place to hear and respond to the gospel.

    Also, consider the parable of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, starting at verse 20. I'm sure you know the story. A rich man dies and goes to hell. He begs God to send Lazarus to his living brothers so they can repent before they die so they don't join him in his torment.

    Such a parable makes no sense given the Mormon doctrine that says you get a second chance in the afterlife to respond to the gospel.

    The rich man certainly would have changed his mind, but it was too late for him. And it will be too late for us too if we die in our sins. There is no second chance in the afterlife, at least, not according to the scriptures (The Bible.)

    --- end quotation from earlier ---

    >
    > Because billions of people have died without any knowledge of Jesus
    > Christ,
    > God has provided a way for all his children to receive them. President
    > Joseph Fielding Smith calls this plan of salvation for the dead "one of
    > the
    > grandest, most reasonable, and soul satisfying doctrines ever revealed to
    > man" (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56],
    > 2:143). Joseph Fielding Smith isn't saying, "it will be impossible for a
    > person in our scenario to reach the Celestial Kingom."
    >
    >

    This strikes me as similar to the Roman Catholic doctrine of "Purgatory." Are you familiar with that doctrine? It basically says that it's unfair for there to be "heaven" and "hell" and nothing else. So there's a third place (not mentioned in Scripture) that people who didn't earn heaven could go to in order to work their way to heaven eventually.

    The LDS doctrine you mentioned suffers from the same problem as the doctrine of Purgatory. It's not in Scripture, and worse, it is against established Biblical teaching. I've already quoted Hebrews 9:27 and the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Also, I've quoted many scriptures that make it clear that salvation is the gift of God apart from our works.

    >
    > You mentioned the thief on the cross as your only justification for last
    > minute salvation through the grace of Christ. With this, I am left to
    > assume that you interpret paradise as Heaven. the Heaven where God dwells.
    > Is that right?
    >
    >

    Yes, that is correct. The Greek word is used 3 times in the New Testament, and it is the same word in the Septuagint (The Greek Old Testament) used for "Eden." The other places in the NT it is used are: 2 Cor. 12:4 and Rev. 2:7. Clearly it is used as the place where righteous souls go after death.

    >
    > This paradise and your understanding of it. can you reconcile and help me
    > understand where you believe Christ was in between his death and
    > resurrection? Can you keep it consistent with Christ's words to Mary at
    > the
    > tomb when he suggested that he had not yet ascended to the Father. for he
    > said, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my
    > brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and
    > to my God, and your God."
    >
    >

    I am not sure it is relevant where Christ was in between his death and resurrection. To be honest, I'm not completely sure where he was. The Bible doesn't tell us. But I believe you wanted me to answer the question to prove that paradise does not equal heaven, am I right? All the passage says is that Jesus hadn't yet ascended since his resurrection. It doesn't say that he had never been to heaven before the resurrection. We know Jesus was in heaven BEFORE the incarnation.

    So to amplify the passage, one should read it like this:

    "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father since I rose from the dead, but I will ascend to my Father soon."

    So it is entirely plausible that Jesus was in paradise after his death, but before his resurrection. This would have to be the case since he promised the thief he would be with him that day (the day of his crucifixion.) Then he rose from the dead (back on earth) and told Mary that since he rose from the dead, he hadn't yet ascended, but will soon ascend.

    >
    > Just to throw in my two cents (and that's not much), paradise is
    > translated
    > from the Greek paradeisos, which has multiple definitions, one of which is
    > the world of spirits. neither on the earth nor in the heavens, but above
    > and
    > beyond the world. Strong's Number is 3857 for your ease of reference in
    > researching various meanings.
    >
    >

    Thanks for the reference. 🙂

    >
    > My view on the thief, he may or may not have inherited the celestial
    > kingdom. I don't know. I also believe, "Not every one that saith unto
    > me,
    > Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the
    > will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day,
    > Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast
    > out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I
    > profess unto them, I never knew you." (Matt 7:21-23)
    >
    >

    This is one of my favorite Bible passages. It speaks of false conversions. Those people who think they're Christians, but aren't. So sad. Terribly tragic.

    The clear teaching of scripture is that salvation is a free gift, and works come out of a heart of gratitude BECAUSE OF salvation, not in order to receive salvation.

    "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). But we've already talked about that.

    >
    > I think it is a mistake to automatically assume the theif received a
    > fullness of salvation. He might have, but I believe what Christ was
    > really
    > saying is, "thief, I will remember you, and today you will be with me in
    > the
    > world of spirits and we'll discuss my gospel. and you can choose prior to
    > your resurrection." Please don't forget, that the Bible also teaches
    > Christ
    > had not yet ascended to the Father prior to his resurrection.
    >
    >

    It does not say that. It says he did not ascend to heaven after his resurrection, and before he met Mary.

    Also, it makes no sense for Jesus to mean "today you'll have another chance in another place." Why would the Messiah not just say "chose now."

    You're assuming a lot there, and a lot is at stake.

    >
    > You mentioned, "we will all face God on Judgement Day, and we all have
    > violated his laws. Are you saying God does have laws? Does he expect us
    > to
    > at least try a little bit, despite our imperfections, to try and live by
    > these laws?
    >
    >

    We have all violated his laws. Yes, God has laws. I already mentioned that the Laws are meant to be a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3:24).

    The Law is not to make us righteous. The Law shows us that we are unrighteous, so that we will beg for mercy.

    "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (1 Timothy 1:8-11).

    Remember, the mirror merely shows you your filthiness, but it doesn't take away your filthiness. It wasn't designed to.

    >
    > Do you believe that Mormons teach they must be perfect to obtain
    > salvation?
    >
    >

    No, I don't believe that, nor did I say that. I do believe that Mormons believe that they must be as good as they can be to obtain salvation, and that God makes us the rest.

    In believing that it is even possible for man to do anything good enough to impress God shows you have too high an opinion of man. The Bible says, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).

    Even the works we consider good are filthy rags in God's sight. He is so very holy, and we are so very depraved.

    >
    > You mentioned, "we must repent, which means turning from sin." You also
    > said, "If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, you will be
    > saved." which implies people do have to make a choice and take an action
    > to
    > lay hold of Christ's atonement. Doesn't that constitute labor?
    >

    Repentance and faith are not labors. They are gifts of God and the expected fruit of someone who is made right with God by grace. Grace is 100% unearned favor.

    If someone is truly saved, they will repent. Their repentance doesn't earn their salvation; it is merely the evidence of their salvation. So we can accurately say, unless you repent, you will not be saved.

    Please consider this passage of Scripture:

    "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth" (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

    See that? It is God who gives repentance. If you repented, it's not because you were so smart and clever and made the right choice to repent. It's because God, out of his great mercy, granted you repentance. Get gets ALL the glory when a sinner repents! Praise God!

    >
    >
    > But aah. now we get into the discussion of what constitutes sincere
    > repentance. That's the question.
    >

    You are right - it must be sincere.

    >
    >
    > What is repentance to you Mark? How is it demonstrated in the last 90
    > seconds of this man's life? If this man lived a life of "mocking God and
    > [was] never concerned with righteousness", should we believe that his
    > repentance is sincere as he chose this most inconvenient time to think
    > about
    > it? It may or may not be sincere, right? Does just reciting those
    > wonderful words in the last 90 seconds of his life secure him salvation
    > with
    > Christ? What if he recites it, but doesn't really mean it?
    >
    >

    Repentance is a supernatural act of God in the mind of men, when God changes a sinner's mind about sin, so that the sinner considers it exceedingly sinful, and that causes the person to turn away from his/her sin like you would turn from a horrible smell. You want to get away from it.

    When God grants repentance, your desires change. You start to love the things that God loves, and hate the things that God hates.

    For example, so many movies I LOVED as a teen before I became a Christian are utterly offensive to me now. Why? Because of the repentance that God granted to me.

    As for whether or not the thief's repentance was genuine? Only Jesus knows the hearts and minds of men.

    Consider this: "[God], even [God] only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men" (1 Kings 8:39). This passage in 1 Kings establishes that God alone knows the hearts of men.

    Jesus evidently knew the thief's repentance was sincere, else he would not have promised him paradise. So given Jesus' testimony about this man, I doubt very much that he didn't really mean his repentance. Jesus considered it genuine repentance, so that's good enough for me!

    >
    > I would really like to dive in with you further on your comment, "if you
    > truly are repentant, then you will seek holiness from your heart because
    > you
    > are forgiven, not in order to get forgiven." This is the standard
    > argument
    > against the fact that we are not justified by works... and faith only.
    > right? At some future date, we will have to reconcile it with, "Ye see
    > then
    > how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." (James
    > 2:24)
    >
    >

    The argument you supply is remarkably similar to what some Roman Catholics say - that we must add works to our faith. I wrote about this in an essay I wrote about the Roman Catholic Church. Here's what I said in that essay:

    --- begin quotation ---

    The second chapter of James' epistle is a key scriptural hotbed when debating salvation by faith versus works.

    "What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?... Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone... But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?... Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:14,17,20-21,24,26).

    So there it is! The Bible says that Abraham was "justified by works!" And then it says, "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only." Shouldn't that be the end of the discussion?

    Not exactly. As with any Bible passage, we must look at the context to understand what is being discussed. In Romans, chapter 4, Paul states explicitly that Abraham was justified by faith. To make his case, Paul quotes Genesis 15:6 at Romans 4:3.

    "And [Abraham] believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).

    In James chapter 2, James says that Abraham was justified by works. But James did not appeal to Genesis chapter 15 like Paul did. To back up his claim, James appealed to the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac, which happened in Genesis chapter 22.

    Paul was speaking of Abraham being made right with God (salvation) which happened in Genesis chapter 15. James' use of the word "justify" is an entirely different thing than Paul. James referred to Genesis chapter 22, but Abraham had already been justified (in the sense of "being made right with God") seven chapters before!

    So there is no conflict between Paul's claim that Abraham was justified by faith and James' claim that Abraham was justified by works.

    [In James chapter 2], to 'justify' does not mean to be reconciled to God but to demonstrate the truth of a prior claim. (Sproul, R. C., New Geneva Study Bible)

    Pastor John MacArthur sheds light on this passage as follows:

    2:14 if someone says. This important phrase governs the interpretation of the entire passage. James does not say that this person actually has faith, but that he claims to have it...

    does not have. Again, the verb's form describes someone who continually lacks any external evidence of the faith he routinely claims...

    Can faith save him? Better translated, "Can that kind of faith save?" James is not disputing the importance of faith. Rather, he is opposing the notion that saving faith can be a mere intellectual exercise void of a commitment to active obedience... The grammatical form of the question demands a negative answer.

    2:21 justified by works. This does not contradict Paul's clear teaching that Abraham was justified before God by grace alone through faith alone (Rom. 3:20; 4:1-25; Gal. 3:6,11). For several reasons, James cannot mean that Abraham was constituted righteous before God because of his own good works:

    1. James already stressed that salvation is a gracious gift (1:17,18);
    2. in the middle of this disputed passage (v. 23), James quoted Gen. 15:6, which forcefully claims that God credited righteousness to Abraham solely on the basis of his faith... and
    3. the work that James said justified Abraham was his offering up of Isaac (Gen. 22:9,12), an event that occurred many years after he first exercised faith and was declared righteous before God (Gen. 12:1-7; 15:6).

    Instead, Abraham's offering of Isaac demonstrated the genuineness of his faith and the reality of his justification before God. James is emphasizing the vindication before others of a man's claim to salvation. James' teaching perfectly complements Paul's writings; salvation is determined by faith alone (Eph. 2:8,9) and demonstrated by faithfulness to obey God's will alone (Eph. 2:10). (MacArthur, John, The MacArthur Study Bible)

    Bible teacher R. C. Sproul makes James chapter 2 clear like this:

    2:14 Can faith save. This introduces the crucial issue of the relationship between faith and works. The question under scrutiny is, What kind of faith is saving faith? James's question is rhetorical; the obvious answer is that faith without works cannot save. Faith that yields no deeds is not saving faith. The New Testament does not teach justification by the profession of faith or the claim to faith; it teaches justification by the possession of true faith.

    2:21 justified. James appeals to Abraham as his chief exhibit of one who is justified by his works. This involves no conflict with Paul who also appeals to Abraham as the chief exhibit of one justified by faith. Note that James appeals to Gen. 22, while Paul appeals to Gen. 15. In the sight of God Abraham is justified in Gen. 15, long before he offers Isaac on the altar. God knew Abraham's faith to be genuine. Abraham is justified to us, to human eyes, in Gen. 22 when he shows his faith through his obedience.

    Jesus used the same verb in Luke 7:35 when he declared "wisdom is justified by all her children" (i.e., shown to be genuine wisdom by its results). Here, to "justify" does not mean to be reconciled to God but to demonstrate the truth of a prior claim. Just as true wisdom is demonstrated by its fruit, Abraham's claim to faith is justified by his outward obedience. Yet his works were not the meritorious cause of his salvation; they added no merit to the perfect and sufficient merit of Christ. (Sproul, New Geneva Study Bible).

    --- end quotation ---

    You can download that essay at: http://Luke-15.org/Gospel_of_Rome.pdf

    >
    > There is some truth in what you say about us seeking holiness when
    > forgiven.
    > And it is absolutely true that we partake of the grace of God. We teach in
    > the Book of Mormon that, "the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and
    > lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh
    > the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which comforter filleth with hope and
    > perfect love." (Moroni 8:26) This perfect love is also known as Charity,
    > which is summed up by Paul essentially as the virtues of Jesus Christ and
    > a
    > desire to do good. Because as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, through
    > the grace of God we take upon ourselves the countenance and virtues of
    > Christ, which motivates us to be better people and do good in excess of
    > our
    > natural capacity. (1 Corinth 13) Do you believe that we believe this?
    >
    >

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Do I believe that you believe what?

    I believe that you believe in good works, but I believe that you believe that those good works add to your exaltation to the Celestial Kingdom. It's all you can do, and Christ makes up the rest, like when I chip in an extra quarter so my daughter can buy a candy bar that she otherwise would not have been able to afford.

    >
    > I agree with you that I and my mom are sinners, and Jesus can forgive us.
    > but there are conditions of repentance. He is merciful and VERY good,
    > but
    > we have to enter into his covenant relationship. The process is not as
    > arbitrary as you suggest.
    >

    It's not at all arbitrary. God grants faith and repentance and God saves people despite their BAD works. Everyone's heart is deceitfully wicked. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).

    So when we do repent, it is God working in us, and he gets 100% of the credit and glory.

    >
    >
    > "If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his
    > cross, and follow me." (Matt 16:24)
    >
    >

    Agreed.

    >
    > Mark. This works grace thing is really interrelated with the early
    > doctrinal issues in Christianity of what to do about the Law of Moses. As
    > we have established, these were Jews who were practicing the Law of Moses.
    > Did Christ fulfill it? Do we continue to circumcise? Do non Jews who
    > convert to Christ also have to practice the Law of Moses? Do we have to
    > practice blood sacrifice anymore? Etc. etc. etc.
    >
    >

    You are right that the early church struggled with the purpose of the Law of Moses. People today still struggle with it - like the Roman Catholics, and like the LDS church. Any church that teaches that you must add your own merit to the formula is teaching a false gospel.

    >
    > This discussion in the New Testament about the Law of Moses should not be
    > confused with the inexcapable fact that in the New Covenant, there are
    > also
    > laws. You are confusing the discussion of works with the "works of the
    > law
    > of Moses", which doesn't eliminate the "works of the gospel of Jesus
    > Christ". This is not a Mormon thing. Many objective scholars from all
    > walks of life and religion have taught this.
    >
    >

    As I have already written, the Law of Moses is good if it is used lawfully.

    Who do you understand this passage:

    "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (1 Timothy 1:8-11).

    The Law of God, and the Laws in the New Testament (most of which are found in the 'Sermon on the Mount' passage) are entirely valid and binding. But the purpose is not to make us righteous, just as the purpose of a mirror is not to clean your face. It mearly shows you in truth your dire need of cleansing.

    "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24).

    >
    > Paul said concerning Christ and the New Covenant relative to the Old
    > (Second
    > relative to the First:
    >
    >
    >
    > "But now hath he [Christ] obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much
    > also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon
    > better promises. For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then
    > should no place have been sought for the second.
    >
    >
    >
    > "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the
    > Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with
    > the
    > house of Judah:
    >
    >
    >
    > "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day
    > when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
    > because
    > they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the
    > Lord.
    >
    >
    >
    > "For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
    > after
    > those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write
    > them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me
    > a
    > people:
    >
    >
    >
    > "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his
    > brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to
    > the
    > greatest.
    >
    >
    >
    > "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their
    > iniquities will I remember no more.
    >
    >
    >
    > "In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now that
    > which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.
    >
    >

    Yes, Christ has fulfilled the Law of Moses for those who are granted faith and repentance.

    >
    > Mark, this is a great start and platform for discussion. You mentioned in
    > an earlier conversation with my mom that Mormons really only believe the
    > Bible, unless it contradicts their teaching. Many in any faith, religion,
    > or belief system do read the Bible with a prejudice, and gloss over things
    > that contradict their teaching. Will you?
    >
    >

    Do I understand the 8th article of faith properly? It says, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly." According to this LDS article of faith, the Bible has errors in it. That is why I said that Mormons only believe the Bible when it doesn't contradict Mormon doctrines. Unfortunately for the Mormon, the Bible contradicts Mormon doctrine in a whole lot of places. You read my PowerPoints, so you know that the Bible teaches against the existence of more than one God, teaches against the teaching that God was once mortal, that we can someday progress to godhood, and a lot more. In practice, it appears that Mormons find the Bible quite unreliable.

    Biblical Christian, on the other hand, trust the Bible as the perfect Word of God with no errors and no equal.

    >
    > Sincerely, Jack
    >

    blessings...

    Mark

    >
    >
    > p.s. I'm very serious about posting our discussions on your website.
    > Unedited, and in full view; for better or for worse. What do you think?

    I'll start working on that. I think it will take a little time though.

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  17. Thursday, January 4, 2007, 15:47 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    I am finding this conversation between you young men very inspiring......I don't have much to add to Jack's part of the conversation except to say that Jack admires you Mark....However...since I am over 50 and nearly 60...could you distinguish your conversation with Jack and your words with either a different colour or a different text? My eyes are going on me and it's hard to distinquish between Mark and Jack's comments except I know Jack's thoughts. You boys keep up the good work and don't forget me....thanks....MOM

  18. Thursday, January 4, 2007, 16:02 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Jack, Mom,

    I went back and found all our emails and posted them to a page on my website.

    It was a lot of work to convert it all to HTML, but I think I got it. If you notice any mistakes, please let me know so I can fix them!!! 🙂

    The page is at: http://luke-15.org/email-discussion-with-two-mormons/

    As for Rose's suggestion that I highlight in different colors, I don't think I can do that because my email client is not an HTML client. It's plain text. But it's what I use to compose email. So I'm stuck in plain text unless I want to setup a whole new program.

    That's why I put Jack's comments in brackets ">" because that's the standard convention for quoting email in another message.

    On the website I was able to give our emails different background colors, but I can't do that when I send the email.

    I'm sorry. 🙁

    I hope that won't prevent you from continuing your listening in.

    I want to thank you for your willingness to let me post your emails.

    God bless!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  19. Thursday, January 4, 2007, 17:10 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Jack, Mom,

    I wrote and sent that last email way too fast. I meant to reciprocate Jack's "admiration."

    You both seem like very sweet and dedicated people, and I don't doubt your character one bit.

    Also, as for your comment about not forgetting you... I don't think I could easily forget you! 🙂

    Blessings...

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  20. Thursday, January 4, 2007, 20:54 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Do you agree that we love our Saviour, Jesus Christ, as much as you do? It shouldn't matter what religion we are as long as we are trying to be the best we can be...and like you said in your looonnnnggg email to Jack.....we obey Him and serve Him because we Love Him. I am very much enjoying your conversations between the two of you and must confess that Jack has made an extensive coverage of the scriptures a life long goal. He was/is an excellent son...and I am the proud mother....sometimes I wonder if he is really the fruit of my loins. He has a broad view of other's religions and respects their views....I hope you will respect his views even if they aren't the same as yours.....you're both wonderful young men and I commend you both for the worthy endeavor of conversing with each other. Keep it up...I am learning tons from you both....MOM

  21. Sunday, January 7, 2007, 20:44 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Hello Again

    Hi Mark:

    I hope this email finds you well. Sorry for the delayed response. I have been extremely busy with work, even over this weekend. I have a project being approved by the City, and although it is going very well, it is also taking a lot of my time; except on Sunday of course, which is reserved for the Lord. You'll just have to be patient with me.

    I have largely completed a response to your email. It is similar in length to the several we've exchanged recently, yet now I am thinking it should have been much much shorter. In fact, I am concerned that with the sea of words we are so eloquently exchanging, we are doing for ourselves and those who might be following along a disservice.

    Given the nature of our discussion, it lends itself to exponentially longer and longer emails as we both attempt to answer completely every word in the previous correspondence. We both want to entirely leave nothing undone, and we get caught up in the spirit of it all. The problem arises in the simple fact, however, that there is a lot going on at once, which can get dizzying. A better forum would be in an instant chat so that we could focus, asking one question at a time, and then immediately getting a succinct answer. Unfortunately, an instant chat is unlikely given our busy schedules.

    As a result, I would like to propose new rules of engagement if you don't mind. After you get my next long email (sorry), let's restrain ourselves from writing long emails. (I know I started it.) I think a more interesting way to proceed would be to ask one specific question, and then await a concise and deliberate answer before we move on... after which then the responder will ask his one specific question... and so forth. This way we can drill down into the true essence of what one another is sharing, and hold one another more accountable... making the discussion much more interesting.

    Are you up for these new rules of engagement? Please let me know, and if not, do you have a suggestion? Also, do you mind if I start with the first question? If not, I'll ask it at the bottom of my next email (arriving shortly), most likely revisiting one that I've already asked.

    Sincerely, Jack

  22. Monday, January 8, 2007, 12:03 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Salvation in Christ

    Hi Mom, (and Jack),

    One of the things I really like about our correspondence is that we have been respectful to one another. I appreciate that. Others who have read our correspondence have commented to me how it comes across that we all genuinely care about one another. I am happy for that!

    You ask, "Do you agree that we love our Saviour, Jesus Christ, as much as you do?"

    Out of love and respect for you, I have to be honest when I say that I believe that you believe you love Jesus, but the Jesus you love is not the same Jesus that I love.

    I'll try to explain briefly.

    Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet, but unfortunately, the Jesus they hold as a prophet is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus they esteem is a created being, not the Creator, and he did not die on the cross according to Muslim teaching. The Muslim Jesus is really a fictional character who happens to have the same name as the Biblical Jesus, but other than that, is not the same being.

    In the same way, the Jesus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not the Jesus of the Bible. Your Jesus shares the same name as the True Jesus, but that's about it. Your Jesus is a created being, the brother of the Devil. In great contrast, the Jesus of the Bible is The Creator. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3).

    Your Jesus was once a mortal and earned his godhood. The Jesus of the Bible has always been God and was never mortal. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Hebrews 13:8).

    Your Jesus' blood does not wash away all sin, but the Jesus of the Bible shed His blood to wash away ALL sin. "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

    So do I think you love Jesus? I think you love a fictional character named Jesus who somewhat resembles the True Jesus of the Bible, but is not the same man.

    That's why I lovingly implore you to trust the True Jesus of the Bible, and not the imitator Jesus of the LDS church.

    Your sincerity and devotion is not in question. Jack's mission to South Africa is commendable! The zeal that many Mormons show is commendable, but many religious people have zeal. The issue is not, "How sincerely or zealously do you worship God" but "is your God the TRUE God?"

    The Bible is very clear on this. "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" (1 John 2:23). Also, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son" (2 John 9).

    In fact, the epistles of 1, 2, and 3 John are all about how one must have the correct Jesus in order to be truly in the faith.

    Please know that with utmost care and concern I write to you - please, please be reconciled to the correct Jesus.

    Everything is at stake.

    with love and concern,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  23. Monday, January 8, 2007, 12:40 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Hello Again

    On Sun, 7 Jan 2007 17:44:59 -0700, "Jack Evans" <snip> wrote:

    > Hi Mark:
    >
    >

    Hi Jack!

    >
    > I hope this email finds you well. Sorry for the delayed response. I have
    > been extremely busy with work, even over this weekend. I have a project
    > being approved by the City, and although it is going very well, it is also
    > taking a lot of my time; except on Sunday of course, which is reserved for
    > the Lord. You'll just have to be patient with me.
    >
    >

    No problem!  🙂

    >
    > I have largely completed a response to your email. It is similar in length
    > to the several we've exchanged recently, yet now I am thinking it should
    > have been much much shorter. In fact, I am concerned that with the sea of
    > words we are so eloquently exchanging, we are doing for ourselves and
    > those
    > who might be following along a disservice.
    >

    It's a two-edged sword. On the one hand, we don't want to go one-and-on and bore everyone to death, but on the other hand we must take the utmost care to define what we mean with precision. Many of the words/phrases we share in common do not have a common definition. For instance, you and I both will use the term "salvation by grace" but we define it very differently. To a Mormon, "salvation by grace" means, "Because of Jesus' work on the cross, Jesus has earned for mankind the opportunity to earn their exaltation into godhood based on their good works." This is much different than what a Biblical Christian means by "salvation by grace." The Bible uses that phrase to mean "our unrighteousness is exchanged for Jesus' righteousness, so that we can be reconciled to God 100% based on what Jesus did, and 0% based on what we did, so that no man can boast that they earned anything. Instead we boast in a very good God who saved us not because we were good people, but because we're bad people who were forgiven by a VERY good God!"

    So I do think it's worthwhile not to gloss over words without explaining what they mean.

    >
    >
    > Given the nature of our discussion, it lends itself to exponentially
    > longer
    > and longer emails as we both attempt to answer completely every word in
    > the
    > previous correspondence.

    Agreed.

    > We both want to entirely leave nothing undone,
    > and we get caught up in the spirit of it all. The problem arises in the
    > simple fact, however, that there is a lot going on at once, which can get
    > dizzying. A better forum would be in an instant chat so that we could
    > focus, asking one question at a time, and then immediately getting a
    > succinct answer. Unfortunately, an instant chat is unlikely given our busy
    > schedules.
    >
    >

    Again, agreed.

    >
    > As a result, I would like to propose new rules of engagement if you don't
    > mind. After you get my next long email (sorry), let's restrain ourselves
    > from writing long emails. (I know I started it.) I think a more
    > interesting
    > way to proceed would be to ask one specific question, and then await a
    > concise and deliberate answer before we move on. after which then the
    > responder will ask his one specific question. and so forth. This way we
    > can
    > drill down into the true essence of what one another is sharing, and hold
    > one another more accountable. making the discussion much more interesting.
    >
    >
    >
    > Are you up for these new rules of engagement? Please let me know, and if
    > not, do you have a suggestion? Also, do you mind if I start with the
    > first
    > question? If not, I'll ask it at the bottom of my next email (arriving
    > shortly), most likely revisiting one that I've already asked.
    >
    >
    >
    > Sincerely, Jack

    My only problem is that I think we have a fundamental issue still on the table, and I know we are bad stewards if we leave it unresolved. You and I could go back and forth ad infinitum about golden plates, Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics, plagiarized italicized words in the book of Mormon, et cetera, and never touch on the key issue - how is it that a sinful mortal is made right in the sight of God?

    I introduced the scenario of the man with 3 minutes to live because it illustrates the difference between a religion that has a gospel of "works righteousness" and a religion that has the gospel of grace. We got sidetracked by your suggestion that the man might still have time to do what he needed to in the afterlife. But even still, it is based on what "he does." This is "works righteousness."

    It's also disingenuous because I clearly formed the scenario using the term "Celestial Kingdom." According to my understanding of LDS doctrine, the future for someone who accepts in the afterlife is the "Terrestrial Kingdom," not the higher "Celestial." So I ask again, "Could a man from my original scenario, with 3 minutes to live, do anything to get into the Celestial Kingdom?"

    I don't think it is fruitful to address anything else until this critical issue is dealt with. In the end, it will be shown that the Mormon gospel is one of works, and not of grace, and therefore, according to the Bible, it must be rejected.

    Everything is at stake. I plead with you to reject any gospel of works. This was Paul's message to the Galatians when he said, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into 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. 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" (Galatians 1:6-8).

    Jack (and Rose), I don't want you to be accursed, and you don't want to be accursed either. Please, consider the man with a knife in his back with 3 minutes to live. According to the True Biblical gospel of grace, he could be redeemed in an instant through true faith and genuine repentance. The Mormon gospel offers no such hope for him, in this life or the spirit prison.

    with genuine care and concern,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  24. Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 00:42 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Reply to Hello Again... also the other email is also being sent.

    Mark:

    Regarding my proposal for rules of engagement... believe me, it will not be boring for your readers.  It is an effort to focus, and hold each other accountable for what we are saying.  Like a deposition, if you will.  We "go on record" with very specific answer that we can hold one another accountable for, and build our discussion that way... (not as a result of me and you writing long diatribes that will get exponentially longer and longer.)  It is a fundamental shift of the evolution of our discussion, and will make us better "STEWARDS".

    Also, I was not suggesting a change of topic... I was merely point out we've got 10 of them going on right now... (grace/works/faith, work for the dead, resurrection, when is judgment, true repentance, degrees of heaven/hell, what is ignorance, definitional problems, Bible translated correctly, who is the true Jesus, etc. etc. etc.)

    Now... I'm apologizing in advance for what I'm about to say... because I want to keep our discussions civil and respectful (as you mentioned earlier).

    Your scholarship in Mormonism is comparable to someone who studied Christianity, but went to the Nation of Islam to learn it. 

    Surf the web, and you'll see the anti Christian rhetoric from many different sources of groups.  Hundreds of books and websites are dedicated to declaring the evil brainwashing ways of Christianity and it's troubled past; the fable of Jesus Christ, and the proof that he didn't really exist. All of them declare Christianity as a CULT.  Many of them will demonstrate how Christianity adopted its beliefs from earlier faith traditions, who also had virgin births and saviors, etc. etc. etc.  In fact, I'll do you a favor... let me surf the web for one minute...

    Aah... it took me all but 10 seconds to find one site you might enjoy reading... and appropriately, we have a "scholar" who has decided to take the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and do a verse by verse analysis, enlighten his readers of the tremendous stupidity of those who believe in the Bible (and Book of Mormon).

    http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm     

    Isn't he so smart?  Look at the research, and knowledge he has produced.  How could you and I be so dumb Mark?    

    (Sorry for the sarcasm.) You've done extremely well studying anti-mormon rhetoric, but you are no better off with your knowledge of my beliefs than one who studied the Skeptics Annotated Bible to learn about Christianity.

    And also... just for the record... it was not "disingenuous" of me to suggest that a man with 3 minutes to live could inherit the "Celestial Kingdom" if he accepted the gospel in the spirit world prior to resurrection. 

    Mark, you said, "According to my understanding of LDS doctrine, the future for someone who accepts in the afterlife is the "Terrestrial Kingdom," not the higher "Celestial." 

    Well, if we had employed the new rules of engagement much earlier, we would not have had to go through 50 pages of each other's rhetoric to finally understand I'm not being "disingenuous", and that you don't understand what you're talking about. (sorry... wanna go out do dinner sometime?)

    Here is the doctrine FOR THE RECORD: (didn't mean to shout there.)

    You are referring to this scripture in Doctrine in Covenants about those who inherit the Terrestrial glory: "And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial...  they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;  Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it." (Section 76:71-74)

    You, in all your hubris, have assumed that I was demonstrating your THESIS that (paraphrasing), "Mormons will not tell the whole truth..." 

    Well... Mark... it's not all that surprising that your understanding is distorted and incomplete. If you remember correctly from your so called research, Alvin, the brother of Joesph Smith, died prior to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Church.  Prior to doing any of the so called "works righteousness". I'll quote from section 137 for you, putting in bold letters what you missed for your ease of review. 

    "THE heavens were opened upon us, and I beheld the celestial kingdom of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell.  I saw the transcendent beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire; Also the blazing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son.  I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold. I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept;  And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins. Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom." (Section 137:1-8)

    So, I stand by my original statement of whether or not a man with 3 minutes to live will inherit the celestial kingdom.  IT DEPENDS!  (Again, sorry for raising my voice... I feel like I'm going hoarse.) 

    Why does it depend?

    If this man who is dying openly mocked God his entire life, and he had sufficient chance to accept Jesus Christ, and only when he is dying decides to do a last minute confession... although he can be saved, he CANNOT be saved in the Celestial Kingdom.  He can be saved in a lower kingdom, and/or he will suffer in HELL.

    BUT IT'S NOT FOR ME TO JUDGE... THERFORE...

    Because God knows the hearts of all men, as you so correctly have already pointed out, "All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, WHO WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT IF THEY HAD BEEN PERMITTED TO TARRY, SHALL BE HEIRS OF THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM."  

    In other words, this man who is dying will be judged by God who knows his heart.  Had this unfortunate event of being stabbed not happened, AND this man would have been allowed to TARRY THE FULL MEASURE OF A MAN'S LIFE, he may have made a different choice.  God knows whether or not this man would have accepted Him had he had the full measure of a man's life.  And if this man qualifies under this condition, he will be saved in the Celestial Kingdom despite having not been baptized or receiving any ordinances during his mortal life on earth.  DESPITE HAVING NOT DONE ANY OF THE SO CALLED "WORKS RIGHTEOUSNESS."

    (cough, cough... man my voice hurts.  Would you like a pair or ear plugs?)

    I'm now sending through my "long" email I referenced earlier.  Let's do our best to stick to the new rules of engagement.

    Sincerely, Jack

  25. Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 00:54 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Thus saith the Lord

    Hi Mark:

    Thanks very much for your reply.  I read it multiple times (about 5), and as I evaluated your thoughts, I spent a lot of time praying so that I might be guided by the Holy Spirit.   

    I believe we have both sufficiently demonstrated that we can churn out a long email, and this one will be no exception. (I wrote most of this prior to my earlier suggestion that we keep our emails shorter, with one question in mind.) I hope this emails length doesn't distract you too long.

    Regarding our personal salvation, and in response to my comments that we do what we can, and Christ completes the rest, you quoted one of the ancient prophets in the Book of Mormon.  It reads, "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." (2 Ne 25:23)

    You then proceeded to say, "It reminds me of the many times my daughter will get a dollar and want to buy candy. Sometimes she picks out something that costs $1.25, but she only has a dollar. So I typically provide the rest. She pays her dollar, and I kick in the rest. Salvation is not like that according to the Bible."

    I respect your analogy, and your message is coming through loud and clear.  If you don't mind, however, I'd like to modify it to more adequately reflect what the doctrine truly is.

    Let's fast forward a few years and assume that instead of some candy, your daughter wants to buy a car. An important modification to your analogy is that she's a struggling sophomore in high school, and has NO money and will NEVER have the money to purchase a car. How can she get the car?  You step in and offer her a deal.  You say, "daughter, I'll buy for you a car, and you can have it as a free gift, but here are the conditions: you are responsible for maintaining it as best you can.  When it needs maintenance, I'll pay for it, but you need to make sure it is regularly scheduled.  In addition, you need to do your best to obey all traffic laws, and keep tickets to a minimum.  If you can do this, you can keep the car.  It's my gift to you.  But if you don't, I'll take it away and you'll have to ride the bus."

    Now how's that for modification?  You are very good at illustrating your views through stories.  I'm convinced it's a good approach, and would like to tell you a story of my own.

    Let's presuppose a time during the U.S. civil war.  Union troops are spending the night encamped in a field somewhere in the South and as the troops bed down, night watchmen take their posts to ensure that the enemy does not break in.  Given the important duty of night watchmen, law was established declaring that should the enemy break in as the result of neglect, the penalty would be death.

    Unfortunately, on this particular night one watchman fell asleep and the enemy broke in taking the lives of several soldiers.  Recognizing the law, this watchman was brought before the court with President Abraham Lincoln presiding, and a separate judge ruling.   It was clear that this man was very sorry as he begged for his life in front of the judge; however, throughout the audience and jury were family members lamenting the loss of their sons, and they demanded justice.

    Now consider a plea from the guilty watchman's only living parent, his mother.  Before the judge, jury, and entire audience she says, "I know my son is guilty. In spite of all his good works and intentions, he is guilty of breaking the law and deserves to be punished, but I love my son and I know his heart.  I've lost my husband and two other sons in this terrible war, and I can't bear to lose my only surviving son. Please Mr. President... please?for my sake?will you allow my son to live?"

    If the mother is respected and honorable, the demonstration of her love for her only surviving son has the capacity to move all those in the courtroom to compassion on her son.  "Please, for my sake, will you allow my son to live?"  If all (infinite) in the courtroom are swayed by this mother's plea, her son will live, despite his breaking the law. 

    This begs the question: Can mercy rob justice?  In spite of the law, what happens if President Lincoln unilaterally uses his position of authority to allow this watchman his freedom?  Inevitably some, if not all of those present, will question the honor of President Lincoln in sustaining the law. 

    What have you lost once you lose the respect of those you govern?  The true source of power. Try governing those that don't respect you.  Regardless of your position of authority, inevitably in time your influence will diminish.

    President Lincoln must uphold the law.  The judge must also uphold the law.

    As we both know, God also has established law.  The old is found in Old Testament, and the new is found in the New Testament. And, because of law, "...we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." (Romans 3:19)  As you have already appropriately stated, "We have all violated God's law" and are sinners.

    In addition, God just can't exempt anyone he wishes arbitrarily from the consequences of breaking law.  If that happens, then the process becomes unfair throwing the whole Plan of Salvation into confusion. He must uphold his laws.

    So then how are we saved?

    At our final judgment before God, Jesus Christ our Savior will play a role similar to that of this watchman's mother.  Truly the infinite atonement is wrought out of Love and Compassion.  Through Jesus Christ's unsurpassed suffering, and through his blood spilt in Gethsemane and on the cross, he demonstrated his perfect love for us.  This allows Him, and Him alone, the right to plead our case before the Father on our behalf at the last day, essentially saying, "... for my sake, will you allow them into the kingdom?"

    In our Doctrine and Covenants, Jesus Christ declared, "Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him?Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." (Section 45:3-5)

    The First Epistle of John declares, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; And he is the propitiation for our sins... and hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments." (1 John 2:1-3)

    Such is GRACE: Christ giving us salvation completely, entirely, and absolutely free.  It is solely upon the merits of Jesus Christ, and for His sake that we become saved. 

    To restate differently, salvation is like the analogy of your daughter who has NO money and will NEVER have any money to purchase the car.  It is a free gift from you!  And regardless of her imperfect ability, she must abide as best she can within the bounds and conditions you establish, or she will lose her privileges.  This also assumes that you will help to increase her capacity to be a good and lawful abiding driver.  That is free help from you, but she has to do the driving!  (Through grace, Jesus Christ instills within us a greater capacity and love than we can attain on our own.)

    Similarly, the guilty watchman could do absolutely nothing before the law to save his own life.  He is guilty, and if the law is justly upheld, he must die... unless he has an advocate that can sway the jury to enough compassion to let him live (for the Advocate's sake)

    Now comes the truth that you have such a hard time understanding:  As sure as the Lord God lives, Jesus Christ will not plead our case before the Father unless we take up his cross and follow him. There are conditions and bounds of salvation.  "If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) 

    Therefore Mark, thus saith the Lord, and it is true:

    "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast."  We are saved "not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us... otherwise, grace is no more grace."  (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, Romans 11:5-6)  But "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."  Therefore, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling... and Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven... [And again I say] that he that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."  (Matt 7:21, Philip 2:12, Matt 10:32, Rev 3:5)

    Now Mark... if you don't mind, I would like to leave this for a moment, and make an observation.  There is no doubt that in subsequent emails you will defend your views diligently.  To you, it is absolutely unacceptable that you concede anything to a "Mormon" who belongs to a "cult". You will derive a response from the Bible with a calculus so convincing that from your point of view, I am an idiot. 

    What do I have to say about that?  Hey brother Mark, welcome to the club. And what club is this? It's the: My Interpretation of the Bible is the Only Correct Interpretation Club.  You'll be pleased to know that I'm also a member, and the benefits are fantastic.  Each member gets eternal salvation, the exclusive right to declare all other interpretations wrong, and the self reassuring satisfaction that they are the only true church on the face of the earth. 

    Notable club members today include (but are not limited to) the likes and derivatives of Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, Evangelical, Amish, Quaker, Messianic Judaism, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Anglican, Unitarian, non-denominational Bible believing Christian, etc, etc, etc, and finally last (but not least) Mormon. 

    The only downside is that among the various members, anathema is rampant. If you can get along with the bickering, however, it's a whole lot of fun.  Welcome!

    Now in all seriousness Mark, everyone believes more or less that they can prove their doctrine from the Bible.  And don't get me wrong.  I want to deliberate the scriptures with you down to the utter most, in every detail, with the honesty in heart of Jesus Christ... but there is one difference between me and you: I believe in continuing revelation that didn't stop with the last verse in the Bible. God reveals today the same as he always has through living prophets. 

    Just like the New Testament builds upon the Old with Jesus Christ as the "mediator of a better covenant" (Heb 8:6), in these last days in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, there are mysteries revealed today "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." (Ephesians 3:5)

    I believe that comparing and contrasting verses in the Bible is of great worth and valuable, but this principle alone will NEVER lead a person to the Truth, as evidenced by the multitude of Christian denominations and factions (including the so called non-denominational denomination.)  

    It is absolutely critical that we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and learn by the power of the Holy Spirit what is true... otherwise, you will never transcend the "club" with the true and living Word.  I know what your comeback will be; I've read your literature.  I look forward to the discussion, but we'll have to shelf it for another day... for this email is long enough already.

    In closing, if you'll permit me to step out of our discussion, I would like to speak to anyone who might be following along.

    You following might find interesting the Book of Mormon scripture quoted by Mark earlier in its full context, especially in light of what the Bible teaches, and from what I've discussed above. I find it quite enlightening, and included it below. You don't have to take my word alone for anything I've said, however. And you don't have to take Mark's alone either.  You should search the scriptures yourself, and ask almighty God in humble prayer to teach and confirm to you by the power of His Holy Spirit wither is Truth, for Christ truly said, "... the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." (John 14:26)

    (Bear in mind that this revelation was given between approximately 559 and 545 B.C.  It is one prophet, among many, declaring why he is writing in what eventually became known as the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.)

    "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.

    And, notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled.

    For, for this end was the law given; wherefore the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.

    And we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.

    Wherefore, we speak concerning the law that our children may know the deadness of the law; and they, by knowing the deadness of the law, may look forward unto that life which is in Christ, and know for what end the law was given. And after the law is fulfilled in Christ, that they need not harden their hearts against him when the law ought to be done away." (2 Nephi 25:23-27)

    Now Mark, I promised you one question in the spirit of the new rules of engagement proposed earlier.

    This man who has 3 minutes to live, although he openly mocked God his entire life (as you mentioned), will saying your confession as quickly as he can prior to death guarantee him his Salvation?  

    I've stated mine for the record, but I'm not entirely clear that you will say yes to the above question.

    I promise to keep future emails much shorter.  I also eagerly await your reply. Please give my very best regards to Shelby and your family.

    Affectionately yours in Christ, Jack

  26. Tuesday, January 9, 2007, 01:16 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Mathematics

    Mark: 

    Regarding my last two emails... please let's keep this from a mud slinging match. I'm not going to be perfect, and neither are you... but let's do our best.  

    As with mathematical principles... there are different levels of doctrine.  We've strolled through some deep calculus and very advanced algebra, without allowing each other to go on record for the basic addition and subtraction of our beliefs.  That's why I feel your accusation of my disingenuousness is silly.  I'm talking pre-algebra, and you're slamming me because I didn't start with calculus, and we haven't even mastered addition.  It gets a little annoying when you think I have a secret agenda and a different lexicon.  Sorry... but I've got to call it like I see it also, otherwise it wouldn't be fair to you; especially in the event that my beliefs are the Truth.

    Jack

  27. Wednesday, January 17, 2007, 15:29 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: Re: Reply to Hello Again... also the other email is also being sent.

    Hi Jack (and Mom).

    Remember me? (I know it's been a while).

    Anyhow, I'd like to say that it's been about a week because I've been pondering over and over again your points, but that would be false of me. Truth is, raising four rambunctious and wonderful kids leaves me with little time to communicate via email. I'm sure you understand, since you have twins yourself.

    Anyhow, I have considered your email, and I believe I can sum it up as follows:

    1) My understanding of Mormonism is like a person who learns about Christianity from the Nation of Islam.

    Can we call that the "you learned it from our enemies" objection?

    2) A person can go to the highest level of heaven without works if the person would have worked given the chance.

    Can we call that the "saved without works if he would have worked" reply?

    I'll address these in order.

    As for the "you learned it from our enemies" objection, this is in essence an "ad hominem" fallacy. An "ad hominem" fallacy is when one objects (erroneously) to an argument because of the person making the argument, not because of the substance of the argument.

    Example: Perhaps a Bible-believing Christian and an Atheist are arguing about Evolution. The Christian presents problems with carbon dating, with the origin of matter, with symbiotic relationships, et cetera, and then the Atheist answers with, "Well, you just believe in Creation because you're a Christian!"

    The Atheist attacked the person making the argument, but not the substance of the argument itself. He did nothing to answer the problems with carbon dating, his explanation of the origin of matter, the existence of symbiotic relationships, et cetera.

    In the same way, if someone has LEGITIMATE problems with Christianity, but learned them from the Nation of Islam, that is irrelevant. We must answer the questions regardless of where they came from.

    I brought up MANY fatal problems with the doctrines of the LDS church in my power points, and regardless of where I learned about those problems, those problems must be dealt with by a Mormon with integrity.

    The fact  that the Book of Mormon (allegedly written in the 4th Century AD) has plagiarisms from the 1611 KJV Bible must be answered, whether I discovered that on my own, or whether Louis Farrakhan told me.

    The fact that Mormonism teaches that God was once man, and that there exists many Gods, even though the Bible teaches that God was always God and there are no others anywhere must be answered, even if I learned about it through the Skeptics Annotated Bible.

    Joseph Smith's and Brigham Young's false prophesies must be answered in light of Deuteronomy 18:20-22:

    1. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
    2. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
    3. When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him"
      (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

    So it doesn't matter where one got their objections. The objections must be answered. And it is illegitimate to answer it by saying, "You got that at an anti-Mormon website."

    By the way, many of my sources come from actual Mormons, who were involved for years and reached high levels in the church, but when they compared their religion against the Bible, they were forced to conclude that the LDS church is unbiblical.

    Former Elder, James Spencer, is one such individual. He wrote, "Beyond Mormonism: An Elder's Story" which you can read online for FREE at http://www.beyondmormonism.com.

    Now, on to objection #2, the "saved without works if he would have worked" reply.

    I believe you have too low a view of God's standards, and too high a view of man's capabilities.

    When you say that a man can still achieve the Celestial heaven if he would have worked for it, that is still works righteousness. It is still earning it by your efforts. And so it violates the Biblical test of Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5, and a ton of other places.

    Not to mention that God's standard is too high for a man.

    God's standard is summed up by our Lord in Matthew 5:48: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

    How do you understand Isaiah 64:6? "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

    Given that even our "good works" are not good in God's sight, what can we possibly offer him that is righteous?

    It seems you have too low a view of God's standard, and too high a view of man.

    When you see yourself the way God sees us, as filthy rotten blasphemous murderous adulterous sinners, then you will agree with Paul in Colossians 1:21, that we are "alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works" and "by nature the children of wrath" (Ephesians 2:3).

    When we see ourselves that way, only then will the true gospel of grace make sense. Grace is not God giving us a second chance so we can earn our salvation. No, it is God's unmerited favor and adoption. It is truly amazing. And God gets all the credit and glory and praise, and, as I've said before, we are saved, not because we are a good person, but because we're a very bad person who was forgiven by a very good God!

    We must not have a weak view of our sinful state in the sight of a holy God.

    This is vital.

    God bless you...

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  28. Thursday, January 18, 2007, 13:42 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: Reply to Hello Again... also the other email is also being sent.

    Hi Mark:

    Of course I remember you. How could I forget such a colorful person? Thanks a lot for your response. And thanks for continuing to post our discussion on your site; putting it in the public domain means a lot to me.

    I also appreciate you keeping the confidentiality of my business email. I recently created an email address, however, that I would like you post at the very beginning of our discussion if you don't mind. That way, if someone wanted to contact me, they could do so. The email address is:

    I'm leaving for Hawaii Friday night for a week. As I'm flying over, I would like to respond to you then. One thing... however... I wasn't sure if you had more to say per your subject title. If you do, can you get it to me before Friday night? In the event that you don't, I just want to make sure I'm clear on your views of our 3 minute man scenario. I'm still a little fuzzy.

    Augmenting my earlier question, I would like to know your thoughts to the following:

    Suppose that now two men get stabbed and each have 3 minutes to live. Both have lead the exact same life, with the exact same intentions, equally mocking God their entire life as you suggested. The ONLY difference in their lives, is that immediately after the stabbing, one staggers North and runs into you on the street, while the other staggers South dying alone in an alley. You help the one to the North with his 1 minute prayer and confession, but unfortunately, the man in the South made no such confession before dying. Both were on the path to Hell. What happens?

    If you could kindly get back to me before I leave Friday night, I would appreciate it. Just answer the question. I don't need a long answer, simple and concise will do.

    Sincerely, Jack

    p.s. Want any souvenirs from Hawaii?

  29. Thursday, January 18, 2007, 15:22 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: Re: Thus saith the Lord

    Hi Jack,

    I'm thinking that maybe my replies will be shorter and more to the point if I do not copy your email within my reply. It's a hypothesis. Let's see if it works! 🙂

    Anyhow, regarding your analogy about the high school sophomore and the car...

    You say that salvation is like a poor 16-year-old girl who wants a car. She could never afford it. Her dad buys it on the condition that she maintains it. Is that your position?

    If so, then I think your demonstrating your high view of man again and your low view of God's standard. When we understand our utter sinfulness, we must conclude that not only can we not afford salvation, but we can't maintain it either. It is all a work of God. God earns salvation and it is God who maintains salvation.

    When we understand our utter sinfulness and depravity, then we can agree with Paul when he said "he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). In regard to his salvation, Paul said to Timothy, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

    In the Philippians verse, Paul is saying that God maintains our salvation. And the same is true in the 2 Timothy verse as well. "He is able to keep." It is God who keeps our salvation - not us. And good thing too because if it were up to us to keep it, we'd all fail.

    That's what I mean by my statement that you have too high a view of man's goodness. If you believe that man has it within him to maintain salvation, then you think much higher than what the Bible says of man.

    You must know inside, when you listen to your conscience, that you aren't good enough to earn your salvation, and not good enough to keep it either.

    Also, if it were up to us to keep our salvation, then we could boast. We could glory in our endurance! But the Bible teaches that we have nothing to boast of.

    It is God who grants salvation, and it is God who maintains it. He gets ALL the glory.

    In regard to your analogy of the civil war mom, you make the case that Jesus pleads for us like a mother pleads for her guilty son. This sounds a bit like the Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary interceding on our behalf.

    The Biblical truth, however, is not like either of those.

    According to the Bible, God can make a sinner just without violating His justice. It's through the substitutionary atonement of the perfect Lord Jesus Christ. He took our place, and paid our fine. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).

    If I owe a $100 fine for speeding, and I have no money, the judge can not let me go without compromising his justice. But if someone pays my fine for me, then the judge can let me go - the debt has been satisfied.

    We owe MUCH more than $100. What we owe, only Jesus could pay - and He did! Praise God!

    You said, "salvation is like the analogy of your daughter who has NO money and will NEVER have any money to purchase the car. It is a free gift from you! And regardless of her imperfect ability, she must abide as best she can within the bounds and conditions you establish, or she will lose her privileges. This also assumes that you will help to increase her capacity to be a good and lawful abiding driver. That is free help from you, but she has to do the driving!"

    I couldn't disagree more. This is not at all what salvation is like. The Bible has a much lower view of man than you do. We are completely unable to maintain our own salvation - that's why the Bible says that it is God who "does the driving." Otherwise we could boast. Otherwise, you're still in a works-righteousness system. It's still your works that keeps you saved.

    When you listen to your conscience, you must know that you are a sinner. When you really listen, you must understand how depraved all humans are. How possibly could you be good enough to maintain your salvation? If you think you can maintain it, then you have much too high a view of yourself.

    It is God who gives us faith. It is God who gives us repentance. And it is God who keeps us saved forever if we are legitimate converts.

    Jesus promised eternal life based on what HE had done. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13). Please note the terms "ye may know" (present tense) and "ye have eternal life" (also present tense.)

    It's that simple. We who know Jesus can know that we have eternal life. You can't have eternal life for a while and then not have it. Can you imagine someone saying, "Yeah, I had eternal life for ten minutes?" What's so eternal about that?

    When you say that if the teenager doesn't do her part, then she loses eternal life, you're changing the Biblical gospel and demonstrating your too-high view of man's goodness.

    Please consider John 6:39-40:

    1. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    2. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
      (John 6:39-40).

    It is God's will that none who are saved could possibly become non-saved. Your doctrine, the one that says that the girl loses her car if she fails to maintain it, though it may sound reasonable to the human ear, is not consistent with Scripture.

    As for your reference to Philippians 2:12, "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," this is a favorite of Roman Catholics. I dealt with it in my essay on Roman Catholic Doctrine called "The Gospel of Rome."

    Here's a snippet where I quote Joe Mizzi's essay "Work Out Your Salvation."

    The context makes it clear that Paul is here speaking about sanctification and not about justification. He exhorts the believers to be united together, humbly serving one another (2:1-11), and living blameless and innocent lives in the midst of an evil world (2:14,15). He is not telling them how to become right with God, but how to live righteously and thus fulfill God's purpose for them...

    Elsewhere in his letter, the apostle Paul discusses justification (Chapter 3:1-9). There, Paul emphasizes that nothing that he ever did could earn him a right standing before God. Since his conversion, he had ceased to depend on his personal obedience to the Law for righteousness. He was now trusting in Christ for justification. His desire was to "be found in Him (Christ), not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith" (Philippians 3:9).

    Mizzi, Joe, Work Out Your Salvation, http://www.justforcatholics.org/a113.htm

    If I believed what you believe, I'd be terrified all the time! How do you sleep at night? If you have the power to lose your salvation, yikes!

    I praise God that he has given us assurance of our salvation by the true Biblical gospel. God grants repentance and faith, and then he performs good works through us so he gets all the glory. We get none of the glory. It's all God.

    Regarding the man with 3 minutes to live, you asked: "will saying your confession as quickly as he can prior to death guarantee him his Salvation?"

    If you're implying that he's merely reciting words as a sort of "fire insurance" then no, that won't do anything for him. Perhaps you don't understand what I'm saying. I'm not saying that you get saved by saying a prayer. You must repent and have faith in the true Christ of the Bible. If the man truly repents of his sins and truly and genuinely has faith in the true Christ of the Bible, then he, like the thief on the cross, will be with Jesus in heaven. If he's merely reciting a prayer without conviction, then he's a hypocrite and not a Christian.

    If you thought I was saying that merely reciting a prayer makes you righteous in the sight of God, then I can understand your objections. I object to that too!

    I'm not sure I completely understand your section about the "My Interpretation of the Bible is the Only Correct Interpretation Club." Certainly a Mormon would not object to believing his church is correct and others are false? But the groups you mentioned do not get their doctrine from the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses consider the "Watchtower" and "Awake" magazines equal to scripture. The Seventh-Day Adventists elevate the writings of Ellen White to the same level as the Bible. Christian Science considers the writings of Mary Baker Eddy scripture. And the Mormons have the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price" and "Doctrines and Covenants" as well as proclamations from living prophets.

    It's been my experience that Mormons claim they believe the Bible, but whenever a Bible passage is shown to contradict Mormon teaching, the Mormon often says "Oh, the Bible has been corrupted in those places." In practical terms, Mormons do not believe the Bible 100%. If you did, you wouldn't be able to believe in a bunch of your doctrines, like that God was once man, that there are many gods, that man can become a god, that humans get a second chance to receive the gospel after death, et cetera, et cetera.

    That's why I've been trying so hard to point you to the Bible. Either it is true, or the LDS Church is true. They can't both be.

    Since God promised to supernaturally preserve His perfect Word:

    1. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
    2. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever
      (Psalm 12:6-7).

    "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35).

    Because God' Word has not become corrupted, we must conclude that the LDS doctrines are false.

    You can't have the Bible and LDS doctrines unless you believe God's Words have "passed away", that God failed to "preserve them from this generation for ever."

    As to your appeal to the readers...

    Ultimately, Mormons say that you can believe the Book of Mormon by "praying about it."

    This is silly. It sounds spiritual, but it really is an offensive approach.

    Jack, if I suggested that you ought to rob a bank, would you "pray about it?"

    What if I suggested you commit adultery? Would you pray about that to see if it's God's will for you to do that?

    Of course not! God has given us the 66 books of the Bible so that we can know His will. We know adultery is wrong - and we don't have to pray about it. In fact, if one did pray about it and got confirmation, then that would be evidence that he wasn't listening to God, but to a devil.

    Dan Corner handles this well:

    "How should a Christian respond to the Mormon challenge to pray about the Book of Mormon? You can ask them the following questions: (a) Have you ever prayed about the Koran, the Jehovah's Witness Bible or Avesta? (b) Have you prayed about bowing before a Mary statue or reciting the rosary? (c) Should you pray about robbing a bank and giving the money to the poor?

    The obvious answer is, there is no need to pray about anything that is not Biblical and is outside of God's will, including all of those. Because these things are unbiblical, if God would answer that prayer, it would always be in accord with His written word. But to ask God in prayer something he has already spoken about can be testing God, which is also forbidden." (Dan Corner, Should You Pray About The Book of Mormon?, http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org/bom.htm).

    Here's what the Bible says:

    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

    "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).

    The Bible tells us to prove all things, and search the scriptures. When the doctrines of the LDS church are tested against the Bible, they fail in a big way. That's what my essay that your Mom read was all about. I beg you to look at it again.

    http://Luke-15.org/Mormon_letter.pdf

    Also, I have hundreds of pages of evidence that the LDS church is a false church in the Power Point slides. You can download them for free at http://resources.Luke-15.org.

    We don't need to "pray about" the Book of Mormon, just like we don't need to pray about whether or not I should rob a bank.

    Search the scriptures. Therein is your answer to the Book of Mormon.

    Jack, you must see your utter sinfulness. I became a Christian because I saw my sinful state, and I realized that there was nothing I could do to earn my salvation, nor is there anything I can do to keep it. Please, truly repent and believe in the correct Jesus - the one from the Bible. Please do it today.

    with care and concern,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com
     

  30. Tuesday, January 23, 2007, 15:50 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: Re: Mathematics

    Hi Jack,

    You wrote:

    > As with mathematical principles. there are different levels of doctrine.
    > We've strolled through some deep calculus and very advanced algebra,
    > without
    > allowing each other to go on record for the basic addition and subtraction
    > of our beliefs. That's why I feel your accusation of my disingenuousness
    > is
    > silly. I'm talking pre-algebra, and you're slamming me because I didn't
    > start with calculus, and we haven't even mastered addition.

    You know, I've heard this similar analogy from Mormon missionaries before. The way it goes is that the LDS church has all kinds of doctrines that you need to be Spiritually mature to understand. They're for "later."

    I like your mathematics analogy a lot. That explains your position well.

    You know, one of the things I love about true Biblical doctrine is that there is no doctrine that can't be understood on the first day of Theology 101 class. Or, to borrow from your analogy, all the doctrines are "addition and subtraction" and no "calculus."

    Name a Biblical doctrine and it could be explained in a few minutes to someone who knows nothing of the Lord.

    How about "the Trinity?" Here goes: The Bible says there is only ONE God. Isaiah 44:8, as well as many other places make this clear.

    The Bible also attributes to Jesus traits that are only attributed to God. For example, God raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 3:15) and Jesus raised Himself from the dead (John 2:18-22). God alone knows the hearts and minds of men (1 Kings 8:39) and Jesus knows the hearts and minds of men (Matthew 9:4; Luke 5:22; Revelation 2:23). And there are more...

    Similarly, attributes attributed only to God are attributed to the Holy Spirit. So since there is only ONE God, and since Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both God, then the Trinity is defined as One God who exists in three persons. Simple. It may be hard to comprehend and wrap our mind around it, but it's easy to understand and explain and you don't have to go through months and years of learning before you can "get it."

    What other doctrine would you like explained?

    In contrast, the LDS church says that there are doctrines that are like "calculus." They're too advanced to understand at first.

    I don't buy it. What I really think is the situation is that the doctrines are soooo against what is known to be orthodox Christianity that the LDS church dare not tell potential converts for fear of scaring them off.

    How hard is it to understand that you believe that God was once a man and that he became God through good works and now lives on a planet named Kolob? How hard is it to add that he has many wives and is making spirit babies?

    How hard is it to understand that Jesus and the Devil are brothers and that we can be like Jesus if we do good works? The LDS church teaches this.

    These official LDS doctrines are not hard to understand. But Mormon missionaries are slow to answer these questions because they know it will chase off potential converts. And indeed they should!

    The Mormon church has MANY unbiblical and just downright strange doctrines, and they're not "calculus." They're not hard to understand. They're just plain embarrassing for the LDS.

    So I don't buy the whole "these doctrines are like calculus" argument. That's a cop out.

    The church of Scientology does the same thing. They believe that all life was created by an intergalactic ruler named Xenu. But they don't tell new converts that. You have to work your way up in the church and reach a certain level before they'll tell you that.

    I am so glad that all the Biblical doctrines are easy to understand, and can be explained to anyone from an illiterate orphan to a learned scientist.

    1 Corinthians 1:27-30 says,

    1. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
    2. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
    3. That no flesh should glory in his presence.

    I've been a Christian for 13 years and no one has pulled me aside to say, "Okay, Mark, now that you've been one of us for 5 years, we have some doctrines you're ready to understand now." At my 10-year birthday in the Lord, I didn't get more insider information.

    No, all the true Biblical doctrines can be explained during the first session, and I for one am not ashamed of any of the doctrines. That's one of the things I love about the Bible!

    If I were a Mormon, I'd be mighty ashamed and want to hide my belief about polygamy, church attitudes towards Black people, the nature of God, et cetera.

    Hey, I think this is my shortest email to you. See? Simple!

    with love and concern,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  31. Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 9:09 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: Re: Mathematics

    I don't like this guy AT ALL Jack....all he is interested in is making himself look good on his website and looking at his OWN personal view. I wish you would tell him where to go and how to get there. He has his head so far up where the sun doesn't shine. He is very unkind in his words and things are going from bad to worse. You can't win. I know you don't want me to write to him but I am very close to letting him know how I feel about him. I will talk to you sometime this morning...it's Wed. I am soooooo anxious for you to get home. The girls are being sooo good but I am not use to the constant chatter and care they take....I am pooped. I am going to charge you another $1,000.00....tee hee...Hope you are having a good time....Love ya...Mom...Hi Merrily.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  32. Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 9:12 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose and Jack
    Subject: Re: Mathematics

    Hi Rose,

    I think this email was sent to me by mistake?

    Anyhow, it doesn't look like it went to Jack as you intended.

    I hope things get better for you babysitting the girls.

    Mark

    P.S. Our agreement was to post everything on my website for public view unedited - so people could decide. Given the nature of this particular email, I am willing to make an exception and NOT post this particular email exchange. I suggest this for your benefit. Take care.

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  33. Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 10:47 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: Re: Mathematics

    Oops...sorry I sent this to the wrong person....I am not on my own computer and because I am over 50 I don't know how to work someone elses. I would appreciate you not posting THIS email on your website, either, as I know you are ONLY thinking of me....how considerate....but....since I have OBVIOUSLY sent this to you Mark....you know how I feel about you. Jack doesn't feel the same and is interested in continuing on with his discussion of the bible....but this is how I see it.

    IF YOU COULD KEEP TO THE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE BIBLE, then I think all of us could have a great learning experience (from each other) but from MY HUMBLE point of view....and my view only, you are only interested in slamming the mormons, you aren't interested in learning what a true mormon REALLY believes...only what you want to THINK that a true mormon REALLY believes and you want to take what bits and pieces of our doctrine that you want...twist it around.....to make YOU look good and mormons look bad. As mentioned in one of my first emails....you are like the tabloids that sees a celebrity say or do something and only print the stuff that is sensational and gets people's attention.

    When I have a discussion about our religion with others not of our faith.....we DISCUSS....we don't SLAM or make accusations.....I RESPECT other's pinions and beliefs and only share my own....not disrespecting their beliefs. That is what I don't like about you. You point fingers but look at the other four that are pointing back at you.

    Jack has tried many times to keep you on topic, but just about each and every response you have has some tone of MORMON BASHING in it. NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BIBLE. You keep bringing up points of the mormon religion that have NOTHING TO DO with the questions Jack has for you. I think you stay up nights thinking of rebuttals or else you go into your 10 year archive and dig out the nastiest things that you can.

    Since Jack has asked you to post things on your website...you continually write negative things about our beliefs. FOR YOUR VIEWERS, I am sure. Anyway....I got my feelings off my chest.....and as requested in the beginnings of this email....DO NOT POST THIS ON YOUR WEBSITE.

    YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT MORMONS REALLY BELIEVE! Perhaps you should take Mormonism 101 and quit trying to tell me what I believe with your pre-school education of what I believe. You have a formed opinion and as far as I can tell....nothing is going to change your opinion...even the truth.

    If you have anything else to say...direct it to Jack...not me. If you were my little boy I would put you in time out to think about how to treat others that are different from you.....including jews, catholics, mormons, muslims, blacks, native americans, scientologists, republicans, eskimos, zoo keepers, accountants.....etc...you get my point.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  34. Wednesday, January 24, 2007, 11:03 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: from mom

    Oops...sorry I sent this to the wrong person....I am not on my own computer and because I am over 50 I don't know how to work someone elses. I would appreciate you not posting THIS email on your website, either, as I know you are ONLY thinking of me....how considerate....but....since I have OBVIOUSLY sent this to you Mark....you know how I feel about you. Jack doesn't feel the same and is interested in continuing on with his discussion of the bible....but this is how I see it.

    IF YOU COULD KEEP TO THE DISCUSSION ABOUT THE BIBLE, then I think all of us could have a great learning experience (from each other) but from MY HUMBLE point of view....and my view only, you are only interested in slamming the mormons, you aren't interested in learning what a true mormon REALLY believes...only what you want to THINK that a true mormon REALLY believes and you want to take what bits and pieces of our doctrine that you want...twist it around.....to make YOU look good and mormons look bad. As mentioned in one of my first emails....you are like the tabloids that sees a celebrity say or do something and only print the stuff that is sensational and gets people's attention.

    When I have a discussion about our religion with others not of our faith.....we DISCUSS....we don't SLAM or make accusations.....I RESPECT other's pinions and beliefs and only share my own....not disrespecting their beliefs. That is what I don't like about you. You point fingers but look at the other four that are pointing back at you.

    Jack has tried many times to keep you on topic, but just about each and every response you have has some tone of MORMON BASHING in it. NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BIBLE. You keep bringing up points of the mormon religion that have NOTHING TO DO with the questions Jack has for you. I think you stay up nights thinking of rebuttals or else you go into your 10 year archive and dig out the nastiest things that you can.

    Since Jack has asked you to post things on your website...you continually write negative things about our beliefs. FOR YOUR VIEWERS, I am sure. Anyway....I got my feelings off my chest.....and as requested in the beginnings of this email....DO NOT POST THIS ON YOUR WEBSITE.

    YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE AS TO WHAT MORMONS REALLY BELIEVE! Perhaps you should take Mormonism 101 and quit trying to tell me what I believe with your pre-school education of what I believe. You have a formed opinion and as far as I can tell....nothing is going to change your opinion...even the truth.

    If you have anything else to say...direct it to Jack...not me. If you were my little boy I would put you in time out to think about how to treat others that are different from you.....including jews, catholics, mormons, muslims, blacks, native americans, scientologists, republicans, eskimos, zoo keepers, accountants.....etc...you get my point.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  35. Monday, January 29, 2007, 15:14 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: To Learn of the Father

    Hi Mark: 

    Hope this finds you well. Thanks for your emails. Like before, I read each one multiple times.

    First a quick order of business: As requested earlier, could you please put my email address at the top of our discussion?   Perhaps right below where you say, "These and many more resources are available to you for free at..."  I would really appreciate it. Again it is: . If you feel differently, please let me know.

    Thanks. 

    As you know, I've been in Hawaii for the past week. It was absolutely great.  Those islands are paradise.  We swam with dolphins, watched whales, soak up plenty of rays, went to the spa, ate a ton a food, and relaxed.  It was hard to come back. 

    While on vacation, I actually wrote about 23 pages (all week) of my thoughts.  Seriously!  However, I'm not sending it through.  Instead, I eliminated most of it for later conversations.  (Most was a discussion of the multiple one liner doctrinal issues you continue to insert.)  I decided instead to make this response more utilitarian in nature so as to point out a few of my observations about this discussion.

    You might recall that from my very first email I said, ""I anticipate some very good discussions.  My only thing is... once we start on a topic, let's keep to the topic... and do it justice before we move on to other topics... I'm also big on personal honesty, and stripping ourselves of complete prejudice... looking at the scriptures for what they are and say, and recognize when our personal bias is complicating the discussion." 

    You replied more or less with a simple "agreed." 

    I wish I would have also said "recognizing when our private interpretation is complicating the discussion."  We both have an interpretation of the Bible.  And as you know, I'm very big on Truth and correct interpretation being extracted by the power of the Holy Ghost because "... no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost." (1 Pet 1:20-21)

    Anyway, I said the above because the typical anti- Mormon proliferates the discussion into multiple topics quickly, gravitating to the sensational because it's the least understood and most distorted.  Moreover, anti-Mormons are quick to weave in the character attacks, of which you have not disappointed. In the very limited discussion we've had so far, I've been accused of being disingenuous, lacking integrity, and not telling the whole truth, essentially guilty of the "bait and switch".

    Why do you continually persist in such behavior? 

    Mark, you have a very committed person here.  I want to talk about every detail, but it has to be in an orderly fashion, without prejudice, and in a respectful manner... "line upon line, precept upon precept," topic upon topic.  I expect a little more maturity from the both of us in future discussions!  (I know I'm not perfect either.)

    If you could kindly stick to our original agreement of "let's keep to the topic", I would appreciate it.  To help facilitate this, I would like to further refine rules of engagement and go with one question, and one succinct answer at a time. At worst we'll have no more than two topics going, but it's better than the 25 topics you continually overload this discussion with.

    Now another issue: I'm observing that you are very desperate in this discussion to demonstrate evidence of your preconceived notions of Mormons.  You are trying so hard to do this that from my point of view it has become comical. 

    This observation is what I would like to focus on for the remainder of this email.

    For example, I mention there are different levels of doctrine like mathematics, and you opportunistically pounce on this as evidence that "Mormons start with a simple and inviting doctrine, but later trade it out for much deeper and devilish doctrine." (My words.)  You want people to believe that we would do such a thing like pull you aside and say, "Okay, Mark, now that you've been one of us for 5 years, we have some doctrines you're ready to understand now."  (Your words.)

    (Sigh.) 

    This is sad, because what I'm really advocating is a Biblical principle. "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts. For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:  (Isa 28:9-10) One must correctly understand "first principles of the oracles of God" before the "meat" makes sense.  (Heb 5:11-14)  Just like you need to understand addition before you can intelligently discuss algebra and calculus.

    That was the point... in all innocence, and you turned it into something it was not to suit your own purposes.

    Another example is your accusation that I introduced an ad hominem defense.  This would have been a more appropriate comment had I not produced the substance behind the defense, which was that our three minute man could be saved despite having not done the so called "works righteousness."

    Let me explain:  

    My original response to your question regarding the 3-minute man's salvation was, "it depends." You came back saying my answer was, "disingenuous because I clearly formed the scenario using the term Celestial Kingdom. According to my understanding of LDS doctrine, the future for someone who accepts in the afterlife is the Terrestrial Kingdom, not the higher Celestial."

    Your comment was the substance of the argument which prompted my response of, "Your scholarship in Mormonism is comparable to someone who studied Christianity, but went to the Nation of Islam to learn it." 

    You were adamant that Mormons could not "admit" that this man could be saved.  You specifically said, "An LDS must admit that it will be impossible for this person in our scenario to reach the Celestial Kingdom because there's no time for him to earn his reward by a faithful life."  This was annoying because you were so obstinate and so wrong... hence my comment about your scholarship. 

    However, I have demonstrated with substance that you were wrong about my beliefs and this man can be saved... but it truly depends.

    To preserve your own reputation you entirely hid behind ad hominem; clever, but not very fair.   

    The real point of sharing the skeptics annotated Bible and Book of Mormon was to help you see that from my point of view, anti-literature, whether it is about me, or about you, is not necessarily the gospel truth, and you must take care to not perpetuate what you learn from such as FACT.   Otherwise, why would I say, "How could you and I be so dumb Mark?"  That was the point! 

    Interestingly, you came back with thoughts from an "insider" about Mormonism from "Elder James Spencer."

    Can we call it the "I learned it from an insider, therefore it is true" reply? (See, I can codify my responses to make me look smart also.) 

    Again Mark, what should the takeaway be from hearing what James Spencer had to say?  Is it the same takeaway we should all have when we read www.exchristian.org?   Certainly these individuals on exchristian are as credible as James Spencer. (Please note the sarcasm.) In some instances you've got non-denominational ministers exposing the true insider's view of Christianity.  Many on this site call Christianity a brainwashed cult.  One protagonist goes so far as to say he left Christianity because of "sex, lies, slander, and abuse."  Pleasant isn't it?

    Mark, as a Christian (and yes I believe I am a Christian despite your unilateral proclamation against it), this exchristian.org website is disgusting to me. It's sad to see these stories... and even sadder to think that because of their deep prejudice developed against Christianity, most of them will never recover from their distorted views. 

    Isn't it interesting that they have Truth right in front of them, and yet they crucify again the Lord?

    "For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame."  (Heb 6:4-6) 

    The above scripture is a lot deeper than as portrayed by me... for it begs the question of how one partakes of the Holy Ghost, the true source of sanctification and knowledge.

    Regardless, these "insiders" have fallen away. And yes my friend, it is possible to fall from grace. I know you disagree, but it is Biblical... and simply responding with a comment like "they were never really saved" is not consistent with the Bible. God is our co-pilot, and at times he even takes over the controls, but we can steer our salvation into the ditch and "fall away" if we choose. (The above scripture is not talking about typical believers... it is talking about those who know so much through the power of the Holy Ghost, they become "sons of perdition" if they turn away.)

    So again, let me clearly restate my point on anti-literature:  Anyone can write something to make anything look bad.  In addition to anti-Mormon literature, there is a multitude of anti-Christian literature, anti-Islamic literature, anti-Jewish literature, anti-atheist literature, etc. etc. (It just depends on what side of the argument you WANT to sit on.)

    When you continually dump anti-Mormon propaganda on my lap, it does this discussion no good.  All it does is proliferate this discussion into many sensationalized topics which is the typical tactic used by anti-Mormons to throw the discussion into utter confusion and chaos.

    I'm not going to let you manipulate this discussion to serve your own agenda.

    However, YES... I will answer every single question (and you'll have to answer a bunch yourself), but you should reserve judgment (although you don't) until it becomes the topic; or until it is your one question. One question and one succinct answer.  

    Sorry I'm getting so archaic about this... but you are going to be held accountable for what you say, as much as I am... for I am not the only one under a microscope here. (And that my friend, is why I am so tickled you are posting our exchange.)

    You mentioned you would be ashamed if you were Mormon. I am not ashamed of what I believe.  I would be ashamed, however, if I believed what you teach we believe.  I've read all your anti-Mormon essays.

    (Sigh.)

    Finally, I would like to point out one more desperate attempt you've made to legitimize your preconceived notions about Mormons. If I understood you correctly, you believe that a man should not pray to know truth because it is already self evident in the Bible.  You also believe that Mormons, in all their deceit and devilishness, will try and get people to believe "another gospel" by ignoring the Bible, praying for another truth, eventually being led away from true Biblical teachings being deceived by a lying spirit.

    To explain further below:

    I chuckled when you said regarding the "club" and Bible interpretation, "... the groups you mentioned do not get their doctrine from the Bible."  I included every Christian denomination "including but not limited to" a list that included both you and me, and you said you're the only one who gets doctrine from the Bible.  

    I chuckle because you just don't get it.  You have a much distorted self awareness.

    Why?  Because you yourself elevate your own interpretations and views into "scripture" just like everyone else.  You reconcile your own beliefs with interpretations from Joe Mizzi, R.C. Sproul, Dan Corner, etc.  You read the Bible through the lens of men like John Calvin, who stood on the shoulders of men like St. Augustine, a member of a church that you call a cult. 

    You are no different than everyone else in the "My Interpretation of the Bible is the Only Correct Interpretation Club."

    Get it?

    If I say we must do something to keep our end of the covenant relationship, you call me a devil and a liar.  Yet does not the Bible say, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him...  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. (Luke 18:18-22) 

    You completely abandon what the Bible actually says, and turn to your interpretations that reconcile your views of specific verses to suit your own purposes.

    You are no different than anyone on that "club" list.  At least I can admit it! 

    The one difference I advocate, is that in addition to searching the scriptures, one must rely on revelation to know God's interpretation.

    "... why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."  (Matt 7:3-5)

    To complete this thought, I would like to continue by saying:

    You are very troubled when I say "you must pray and ask Almighty God" to help one understand the correct interpretation.  You quote Dan Corner who said, "The obvious answer is, there is no need to pray about anything that is not Biblical and is outside of God's will...But to ask God in prayer something he has already spoken about can be testing God, which is also forbidden."

    Sounds intimidating.

    This is Biblical Mark, and I'm talking about praying for the right interpretation of the Bible.  I'm not talking about praying as to whether or not we should rob a bank.  That is a ridiculous correlation.

    Also, I distinctly left the Book of Mormon out of it... as you might recall if you read again what I said.  This was your projection, not mine.

    The Bible does declare: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)  It is not forbidden as you would teach, it is encouraged!  And, God will not scold or "upbraid" people who do so. Your accusation that  it is "forbidden" is just a scare tactic used to preserve your own purposes.

    Sorry this offends you... but I'll say it again to anyone following: Don't take my interpretation alone, and don't take Mark's interpretation alone either.  You should search the scriptures yourselves and ask Almighty God to help you know His interpretation. 

    It is absolutely critical that you have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and depend upon God to help you understand His Word.

    Therefore "...Pray without ceasing... Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; [and] hold fast that which is good." (1 Thes 5:16-21)

    We will eventually talk about how you know whether or not you are under the influence of the Spirit of God or a lying spirit.  You can "Prove all things" with certainty by the Power of God (coupled with a strict study of the scriptures.) There is a critical, undeniable delineation of the Spirit of God that the spirit of Satan cannot mimic... but I know Mark can't articulate it... and I'm not going to share it just yet so that Mark can hijack it. 

    Mark, what good did arguing about scripture alone do the Pharisees and Scribes?   They certainly knew their scriptures...to the point where they worshiped the scriptures more than they did the  Messiah. Arguing about scripture alone did absolutely nothing to convince them of His Truth (although it was demonstrated in the scriptures)... and they eventually crucified their Savior anyway... and felt justified doing it.  

    What did they miss?  Something had to happen with their spirits also!  They completely missed the part where they had to be taught directly by our Father in Heaven, Spirit to spirit.

    "... whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."  (Matt 16:15-17)

    "...we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:... [for] God hath revealed [mysteries] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God...the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 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." (Read all of First Corinthians 2)

    When I said you should couple your scripture research with sincere prayer, it wasn't to "sound spiritual" as you accused me of, it was a declaration to get spiritual.

     Again... sorry this is so offensive to you.  "...Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?   But he [Christ] answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  (Matt 15:12-13) 

    Get it? 

    This concludes my personal observations of how I view your desperate attempts to demonstrate your own preconceived notions. This has not been a discussion without its prejudice.

    For future discussions, let's do what we can to keep it to one question, one succinct answer

    You can say your peace for the record regarding my comments above if you want; but I'm going to only focus on one question, one succinct answer in the future.  I'm telling you in advance, just in case you write another long email continuing to insert your preconceived notions.  I hear you... but I will only respond to your one question, with my one succinct answer (and I hope visa versa.)

    Now I'm still waiting for an answer to my one question:

    "Suppose that now two men get stabbed and each have 3 minutes to live. Both have lead the exact same life, with the exact same intentions, equally mocking God their entire life as you suggested. The ONLY difference in their lives, is that immediately after the stabbing, one staggers North and runs into you on the street, while the other staggers South dying alone in an alley. You help the one to the North with his 1 minute prayer and confession, but unfortunately, the man in the South made no such confession before dying. Both were on the path to Hell. What happens?"

    Most sincerely yours in Jesus Christ our Savior, and with equally as much care and concern, 

    Jack

    p.s.  I almost forgot; regarding working out our salvation "with fear and trembling."  I shared it not because we nibble our fingers and worry each day with "fear and trembling" about our salvation.  That is also ridiculous.  I used those words?expressly from the Bible?to make a point that we have a responsibility.

    You said, "If I believed what you believe, I'd be terrified all the time! How do you sleep at night? If you have the power to lose your salvation, yikes!"   This is you sensationalizing and distorting what I believe.

    We do sleep very well at night thank you because "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 Jn 4:18)   

    The calculus buzzing around this topic of "perfect love casteth out fear" is unbelievable, but you will never understand it without the Holy Ghost as your guide, that's why it's calculus.

    Also, if you could kindly keep from putting words in my mouth, I would appreciate it.  You make it sound like I believe I have so much to boast about. This is your projection of what I believe, I've never said anything of the like.   Again, your distortion.

    I believe, ""I know that I am nothing... therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things... for which [I] will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12)  

    "And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins, which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come." (Mosiah 4:11) 

    As I said before: "I am a sinner" and I am entirely dependant on the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.  I recognize I am an unworthy creature... and for you to continually imply that I believe otherwise just baffles me.  

    I look forward to seeing this response posted.

  36. Tuesday, January 30, 2007, 12:43 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Thinking

    Hi Mark:

    I was thinking about your Trinity comment at length this morning. Perhaps when/if it is appropriate; we could gravitate toward the Trinity and our understanding of God/Christ/Holy Ghost as our next topic. Only when appropriate, however. (I know regarding the topic of salvation? we still have to cover resurrection.)

    Thanks, Jack

  37. Wednesday, February 21, 2007, 13:23 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: from Judy and Jack

    Hi Mark....haven't heard from you in about a month. Jack and I were talking and wondered if you have received Jack's email about a month ago. We have noticed that is has not been posted on your website. Hope that you will continue to converse with Jack.as he would like you to answer his email.....Judy from Alberta (ps...this email is of no consequence so you don't need to post it on your website...)

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  38. Tuesday, February 27, 2007, 14:38 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Author and Finisher of our Faith - Jesus Christ

    Hi Mark:

    I hope this email has found you and your family well. I have recently become concerned that something has happened to you because you have been silent for over a month, and have not posted my correspondence. What gives? I sincerely hope that nothing has happened. If so... my prayers are with you. Please let me know.

    I was in Harford Connecticut on business last week, and came very close to inviting myself up to Chester, NH... but my busy schedule got the best of me. Perhaps another time?

    In your absence, I have spent the last month reading a lot on your website and also spent time reading the doctrinal proclamations on the website of Fellow Bible Church of Chester. Moreover, I've read our entire correspondence again. (If you can't tell, I like reading over and over.) I'm starving to continue this discussion, and hope you have not abandoned it. I know you're busy. I'm also busy and feel the burden... but what could be more important than an honest discussion about Jesus Christ. I hope to talk with you again soon.

    Here is a thought to brighten our day: "Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." (Eph 1:16-18)

    Mark - I know first hand that Jesus Christ paid for our sins, and thus He alone is our Advocate with the Father. I know that He Lives. I know that we are only made whole through His Atonement. I know this through the power of the Father, who has revealed it to me, and has caused me to be born again in Christ Jesus.

    Rejoicing, Jack

  39. Thursday, March 1, 2007, 11:05 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: I'm alive and well

    Hi Jack and Rose,

    Please forgive me for my recent silence. I appreciate your concern for my physical wellbeing.

    I am happy to report that I am indeed alive and well. 🙂

    I do, however, suffer from a horrible disease. It's called "perfectionism." I have this strong need to respond scripturally and thoroughly, and I guess I'd rather say "nothing" than say something incomplete.

    That's one of the reasons I haven't responded yet. Unless I can respond properly, I figured I'd wait.

    But with "life issues" (being a dad of 4), and work, and vacation, and some sickness in the home (nothing too serious), I see that it has been quite some time since we last corresponded.

    So this email is my attempt to beat the dreaded disease of perfectionism, and reach out to say that I'm alive and well and plan to email you more thoroughly soon.

    Take care!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  40. Friday, March 2, 2007, 14:59 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: I'm alive and well

    Hi Mark:

    Glory Hallelujah... you're alive and well. My suspicion was you were busy, but didn't know for sure.

    I see that you and I suffer from the same disease. I can relate very much, so take the time that you need.

    Mark... you'll be happy to know that I am sending through an email later today that discusses your concerns/accusations about:

    1. God is a man
    2. The plurality of gods
    3. Man can become a god

    It will give you lots of niblets to hold me accountable for.

    As you know, sending through an email like the one I'm about to send is not really how I want this discussion to evolve... because now we have an overwhelming amount of information circulating all at once and with our "disease" of perfectionism, a reply becomes burdensome and details get lost.

    I'd rather keep the discussion more focused.... but you keep asking me for it and when I hold back, it distorts how you feel about the discussion. I realized this while rereading our entire discussion again... so keep an eye out for it.

    You mentioned in an earlier email that you wanted a "Mormon with integrity." I believe I'm your Mormon (and always was). Most of it was written during last week, before we heard from you.

    God bless, Jack

  41. Friday, March 2, 2007, 18:03 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hello Mark:

    It's been a while.  I sincerely hope things are going well for you and your family.  I know how life can get sometimes with multiple responsibilities. 

    In your absence, I have been thinking a lot about this discussion as evidenced by this email.  Funny... although I haven't heard from you, you've really been with me every day.  You're always in my thoughts... I'm having discussions with you (in my mind) as I drive to work... your words are always ringing in my ears... and you're always in my prayers.

    My wife mentioned recently that I shouldn't forget I'm married to her, not you.

    Mark ? despite our differences, I hope you know that I consider you a friend, and equally hope you feel the same back.  I regret having raised my voice a little in discussions past... Charity "is not easily provoked", and at times I've been easily provoked.  Alternatively, Charity, "is kind" (1 Cor 13:4-5)... and I will make an honest effort to avoid an unhealthy spirit of contention.  (Healthy debate, on the other hand, is most welcomed and encouraged.) I hope you feel the same.

    As always, I am concerned that addressing multiple topics all at once will overload you and this discussion.  I hope you don't abandon this conversation... "for better or for worse." However, I would like to give you more of what you have been asking for in recent emails: answers to your accusations

    I'll start with a few baby steps in this email... and then we'll move forward one step at a time.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is a journey... the most amazing journey a person can take. (As I believe you already know.)

    Let me explain further:

    You mentioned in one of your earlier emails: 

    "... the LDS church says that there are doctrines that are like "calculus."  They're too advanced to understand at first... What I really think is the situation is that the doctrines are soooo against what is know to be orthodox Christianity that the LDS church dare not tell potential converts for fear of scaring them off... So I don't buy the whole "these doctrines are like calculus" argument.  That's a cop out." (see email #30.)

    I don't want to be thought of as a cop out... and I didn't share that analogy so that I could avoid talking with you about the specific accusations. 

    Mark ?"calculus" means the doctrine is complete, and can handle a stress test of careful, honest, deep questioning and thought.  It's the honesty and thinking that are advanced, not the doctrine. Some of the things of God are deep.  "for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, [even] the deep things of God." (1 Cor 2:10) 

    An important inference of my mathematics analogy is that the principles of addition and subtraction are not compromised when you start talking about algebra and calculus.  You don't abandon addition to discuss calculus.

    The things of God have to be learned by the Spirit of God as we study the Bible. Not by just our intellect alone; that is trusting in the arm of flesh.  The Spirit of God invokes a complete and utter honesty and order in the evaluation of Truth.

    Here is a different way of saying the analogy: it is like building a home.  You can't properly build the roof, without first laying a solid foundation and building the walls.  Only then can you successfully build the roof. The roof isn't difficult to build, but it is impossible to erect without a foundation and walls.  It needs to be done in order.

    Get it?  

    You suggested that the doctrines are "too advanced to understand," which isn't fair.  What I really was suggesting was order.   

    Order.   

    It's our honesty that is advanced, not the doctrine.

    (Sigh.)

    Most importantly right now, I'm trying to get to some of the deeper implications of our 3-minute man scenario you proposed.  I'm asking you deeper questions with more careful thought.

    Already, with my first follow up question, we've established that the 3-minute man's prayer and confession must be sincere and not a proclamation of "fire insurance", which means you have gravitated a little towards my original view: it depends.  

    With my third follow up question about the 3-minute man that you have yet to answer, I introduced two men into the scenario.  The implications of your answer get even more profound... and this is how the Truth of the situation will emerge...  if you're honest.

    Now... I'm waiting for an answer to the two 3-minute man scenario, and this is where I want to focus this discussion as a good "steward"... but while waiting... and since you've been silent for so long, I've taken the liberty to demonstrate that I'm not copping out; hence this email about an entirely different subject.

    This is what you've been asking for, and I've been holding back.

    As I mentioned in my previous email, I read our entire discussion multiple times over the past month in your silence, and the reoccurring theme is: Mormons won't tell the whole truth and they hide from answering the accusations put forth by critics.

    While reading, I did my best to completely strip myself of any prejudice I also might have (and I have my prejudices too).  I wanted to truly see from your point of view.  I prayed earnestly, and each time I read, I got a better sense of where you are coming from, and I feel a great deal of empathy for you and your positions. 

    If I understood Mormonism the same way you understand it, I wouldn't like the Church either.  Honestly... I'm not just patronizing you. 

    Of course, however, I also know this Church differently... and I know it by experience... and it is not the same Church you portray.

    I also noticed that in my effort to keep us to one topic, you have become frustrated because some accusations you have put forth have gone unanswered.  You are frustrated because you think I'm being elusive and am not a Mormon with integrity. Although I don't think it's a fair conclusion, I can see where you're coming from.

    I've been ignoring some of your issues... but not because I want to be elusive.  All I'm trying to do is maintain control of this discussion and hold each other more accountable for what we say... in the moment... in order... one topic at a time... not 50 pages later.  That's all.  

    (I think this luxury is impossible to achieve in a discussion such as this.)

    I'm going to forget it for now (just for now), and indulge you a little so that you can see that I really am just holding back with you, not because I don't know what to say.  Not because I am elusive or ashamed.

    You are so confident in what you think you know about Mormons; yet unfortunately for you, it plays really well into my hand.  Why?  Because you declare sensational and distorted things, and I get the satisfaction of exposing your scholarship while you post it on your website. (I'm not saying that to be disrespectful... in fact I find you to be quite intelligent... just not about Mormonism.)

    And if you could kindly scrap the approach that you know better than I what Mormons believe, it would be helpful... and serve you well.

    In this email, I want to address specifically a few topics that you have continually brought up in our correspondence, namely: the nature of God and us becoming gods.

    But... before I do, I just wanted to say a few things quickly about other accusations you keep bringing up... (...just to whet your appetite, and hold you at bay until later.) I've identified 4 of them, although I know there are more.

    First, you are misinformed about the gospel being preached to the dead.  It is biblical. (Isa 24:22, 1 Peter 3:18 & 4:6, Mal 4:5-6)  These are a few references, but it's really all over the Bible... and we'll get into it at a more appropriate time. For now, your Lazarus story and the timing of judgment is duly noted.  But, I want to say again, it is a chance for those who had no chance. Read what I originally said. You keep calling it a second chance, and it's not a second chance repentance scheme... it's a chance for those who had no chance to learn of Christ prior to their death.  Interestingly, I agree 100% about all men having a conscience given by God... we call it the "light of Christ," whether men recognize it or not. 

    Second, I believe that Joseph Smith absolutely referred to the King James Bible (the only translation he had) while translating the Isaiah portions of the Book of Mormon, etc. I'll get into the details of it later.  Just keep this in mind:  you are confused as to the process of using the Urim and Thummim, the revelatory medium used to translate the Book of Mormon, and also used by other patriarchs, such as Aaron and Moses.  Moreover, there are many instances where meaningful differences are evident... differences with profound implications that shine even a brighter light on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Third, regarding our attitude towards Blacks in the Church, you believe we are racist... right?  I'm sorry you feel this way, but can see why you believe this after studying anti-Mormon rhetoric. I say this with the full awareness of what quotes from leaders of this Church are circulating on anti-Mormon websites.  I'm not going to diminish this issue in the least, and I will take it very seriously, but for purposes of this email, I'm happy to report we are not racist... we'll talk more about it later.  But, for now, check out www.blacklds.org  

    To quote quickly one of our members, Gladys Knight (yup, the singer) she says, "many people say to me, 'I see a light in you more than ever before. What is it?'...During one performance at Disney world...[a member of the audience asked,] 'Could you please tell us...how you got that light?'  The question was direct. so I gave a direct answer: 'I have become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

    By the way... you do know that you make a big assumption that I'm not a black member of the Church, right?  What if I am?  I guess you'll find out when/if I get a chance to attend your anti-Mormon class, I really want to come.

    Fourth, Polygamy.  Yeah, I can see how this one also is very concerning to you... especially when you see someone like Warren Jeffs on CNN being convicted of some very serious crimes.

    Polygamy was not practiced by this Church in the early days the same way it is now practiced by those in Colorado City, etc.  I can document that very well.  It's what the anti-Mormons fail to disclose because it defeats their agenda.   Like you, I am as concerned about the issues surrounding Warren Jeffs, etc.  I also recognize with full self awareness that those in Colorado City are a derivative of my Church, and profess they are Mormon Fundamentalists. 

    Keep in mind that the Book of Mormon teaches, "For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women.  And whoredomes are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.  Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.  For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things." (Jacob 2:27-30)

    You don't begin to understand, my good friend, this principle of plural marriage. I myself have had to prayerfully study to comprehend it because we don't currently practice polygamy.  I only have one wife... and don't know that I could handle another.

    But keep in mind as a Bible believing Christian, that your very own heritage also has this principle.  Why?  All the old prophets practiced it, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And there were specific reasons for it. The very House of Israel is the product of a polygamist marriage.

    How will you reconcile this?  Are you ashamed?  We'll get into it more.  Again, I already know what scriptures you're going to come back with... and in context, we'll see what the Bible really has to say. 

    Now for the real reason of this email:  I want to address specifically your concerns about the following:

    1. God is a man
    2. The plurality of gods
    3. Man can become a god

    This has been brought up more by you in this discussion than any other accusation... and it pollutes our ability to have an intelligent discussion about anything else because of the prejudice/misunderstanding it harbors.

    My comments below are by no means exhaustive... but it is a start to get you thinking.  I feel like I could write hundreds of pages on this subject.

    I don't expect you to comment on anything in this email until it becomes the official topic (unless you want to).  So don't feel any pressure.  In fact, I would ask that you not... for I am more interested in continuing the discussion of grace and salvation... and in getting an answer to my question about the 2 men who are now dying.

    Because you continually insist with accusations... here is the doctrine.  I am a Mormon with integrity; not a cop out as you suggested. Put on your seat belt.

    #1:  God is a man.

    You are absolutely mortified that we believe God is a perfect glorified resurrected man... Yet does not the Bible teach we are created in the image of God? (Genesis 1)

    Let me take a very direct approach for simplicity purposes right now.  We can get into deeper implications another time.

    You believe Jesus Christ is God... right?  I believe this also.  A difference between your beliefs and mine might be, however, that I quite literally believe Jesus is the Son of God, and that God, His Father, is a separate being.  I believe you disagree with this... but let's shelf it for the purposes of answering accusation #1, and just work under the assumption that Jesus Christ is God and that Christ is the same as the Father.  Fair enough?

    With that being said... In your own doctrinal statements from the Fellowship Bible Church you declare: "We teach that our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1). We teach that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23)."  http://www.fellowshipbiblechester.org/doctrinal.html#Son

    In an earlier discussion, you mentioned to my mother, "Your Jesus was once a mortal... The Jesus of the Bible has always been God and was never mortal."  (see email posting #22.)

    I am absolutely floored and left wondering what Jesus you are reading about in the Bible, because I remember a child who was born of Mary, a man who walked the earth and taught the people; he ate fish with his disciples, was tempted by the devil, suffered in a garden and bled mortal blood from every pore.  He died on a cross, and resurrected 3 days later with an immortal perfected body. 

    Am I misinformed somewhere?  Do you have some unusual definition of incarnation that I'm not privy to?

    Mark ? Did not Christ resurrect as a glorified man with a body of flesh and bone (different from a mortal body of flesh and blood, which is corruptible)? Did not Jesus declare the following at his resurrection?  "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." (Luke 24:39)

    You quote on page 53 of your Cult pdf that: "God is not like us."  You then proceed to quote John 4:24, which states, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."  You also quote Luke 24 which states that, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" to emphasize that God doesn't have a body of flesh and bone.

    I'm confused... are you saying that Christ, who is God, is not resurrected?  How do you reconcile this with the statement from Fellowship Bible Church?  If Jesus Christ did physically resurrect, then don't you also believe that God is a resurrected man?

    To shift direction for a moment... you are also disgusted that we believe He resides in another celestial world somewhere in yonder Heavens "world[s] without end" (Eph 3:21)  If Jesus Christ did physically resurrect, then where is he now?  We know He ascended into heaven, and went somewhere.  "...Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11) 

    Do you believe the entire resurrection undid itself, and He now is some spirit essence in the immensity of space?

    Regarding John 4:24, I have just a few comments: 

    First, as you may already know, there are no indefinite articles ("a" or "an") in ancient Greek, so the passage can be translated "God is a Spirit" or "God is Spirit."  Most modern translations have chosen the latter because John's Statement "God is Spirit" is parallel to two other passages in his first epistle, "God is light" (1 John 1:5) and "God is love" (1 John 4:8)  In context, all of these passages seem to be referring to God's activity towards men rather than to the nature of His being, and of course it doesn't make sense to say God is "a love" or "a light."

    Second, is John suggesting that we also are only spirit, because we are told we "must worship Him in spirit?" (John 4:14)

    Third, Paul wrote, "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." (1 Corinthians 6:17)  To say that God is "a spirit" is grammatically equivalent to the statement that a man joined to the Lord is "one spirit," and yet, Christians obviously have bodies as well as spirits.

    Finally, Jesus Christ is a resurrected man.  It is a basic tenet of Christianity.  Did not the angels declare, "Why seek ye the living among the dead?  He is not here, but is risen?" (Luke 24:5-6)

    It is Biblical to believe that Jesus Christ ? God ? is a resurrected man. 

    Moreover, it is true that, "God [is] not a man, that he should lie;" as you've quoted in your essays. (Num 23:19)...  But what this is really saying is God is not like a man, because man lies and God doesn't.  I'm not saying the Bible is corrupt here, as you've suggested how the Mormons will reply, I'm saying you've interpreted it wrong, and Luke 24 proves it.  (Actually, only the Holy Ghost can prove it with a careful and fair study of the Bible.)

    I'll let you chew on this for a while... but there is some serious reconciliation you will have to account for.

    "Line upon line, precept on precept; that is how he lifts us, that is how he teaches his children.  Line upon line, precept on precept, like a summer shower, giving us each hour His wisdom."

    #2: The plurality of gods. 

    You would have people believe that we worship other gods, and that Mormons violate the Biblical declaration, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:30).

    This is you distorting what we believe to suit your own purposes.  

    We whole heartedly accept Exodus 20:30.

    We do not worship any other gods.  We worship the God of Israel.   

    (Find one statement from our prophets or scriptures that declare we should worship another god/gods, and I'll join your congregation.)

    We also believe that God is the "King of kings, the Lord of Lords." (1 Tim 6:15)  God the Father presides over a council of gods, subordinate to Him.  I know you have a problem with this... but it's all over the Bible... even from the very beginning.

    "Let us make man in our image." (Gen 1:26)  

    You speak Hebrew... right.  In Genesis Hebrew for God is: 'elohiym {el-o-heem'} and it is plural.  Possible definitions are: 

    1) (plural)
       1a) rulers, judges
       1b) divine ones
       1c) angels
       1d) gods

    2) (plural intensive - singular meaning)
       2a) god, goddess
       2b) godlike one
       2c) works or special possessions of God
       2d) the (true) God
       2e) God

    See Strong's Number 430

    This is not Mormon... this is Hebrew... and the plurality comes through in the translation... "Let us make man in our image."  I'm not stretching for any wild interpretation here.

    Interestingly, you've already mentioned the plurality of the Trinity, but you may not completely understand it by your own admission.  You mentioned, "There is no doctrine that can't be understood on the first day of Theology 101... [and] the Trinity is defined as One God who exists in three persons.  Simple.  It may be hard to comprehend and wrap our mind around it, but it's easy to understand and explain..."  (see email # 30) 

    Did you just say, "It may be hard to comprehend and wrap our mind around it, but it's easy to understand..."?  I'm confused.

    You state that the "Trinity is defined as One God who exists in three persons."  You also say on page 427 of your Cult pdf that, "Mormons often have an incorrect understanding of what Christians mean by the "Trinity"... They [Mormons] say Christians believe that God shows himself as the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost (i.e. modalism)."

    It sounds like what you believe could be modalism from what you said... but frankly, I don't know.

    Mormons don't have an incorrect understanding of what you mean by the Trinity, they have absolutely no idea what you mean.

    You want to know what I think?

    Mark ? Your own beliefs about the Trinity are "hard to comprehend" because whether you know it or not, the Christian understanding of the Trinity is rooted in the early creeds of the Catholic Church, most notably the Athanasian & Nicene. 

    (You keep invoking ? erroneously ? that my beliefs are Catholic... well, right back atcha my friend... and you are my friend, I'm just being sarcastic.)

    In early Christianity there were many competing views of the Godhead (Trinity) and the Christology of Jesus Christ.  Study early Christianity and you'll see it unfold right before your eyes.  Orthodoxy in the Trinity as we have it today is a product of a Catholic vote at Nicaea in the 4th century, etc, etc.  Orthodoxy is nothing more than doctrine that won the most votes/fights/arguments in the early struggles of Christian doctrinal development, not necessarily what was truth as originally taught by Jesus Christ.

    Are you with me?

    Interestingly, I believe you have fallen into the same trap you accused my mother of in the beginning of this email exchange.  You said in email #2, "If 30 million people think that the moon is made of cheese, then they're wrong.  Even if 100 million people believed it.  Crowds of people can and often are wrong.  If the Bible is true, then anyone who teaches otherwise is wrong, no matter how many of them there are." 

    Are you prepared to test your own "orthodoxy" against the Bible? 

    If you read carefully and prayerfully, the Bible doesn't teach a "hard to comprehend" Trinity.  It is just "hard to comprehend" because everyone reads it through the lens of what traditionally has been handed down to them from the Creeds.

    The Truth: God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings and constitute a presiding quorum known by us as the Godhead.

    The Father and Jesus Christ are separate, and can literally stand side by side.  What follows are just a few of hundreds of scriptures that attest to the individuality of the Father and the Son; this being said with full awareness that they are also "One" in purpose. 

    Don't believe me?... just read below.

    Did not Stephen declare, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God?"  Act 7:56

    Did not the Savior say, "It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me?" (John 8:18)

    Does not the Bible teach that the Father was heard at Christ's baptism as "... a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased?" (Matt 3:17)

    Who is Christ praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane?  "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done." (Luke 22:42)

    Who forsook Christ on the Cross so that Jesus could tread the wine press alone? "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34) 

    Who is Jesus ascending to after His resurrection? "... go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God, and your God." (John 20:17)

    Now comes the real calculus my brother Mark.  Does not the Bible also teach, "I and [my] Father are one?" (John 10:30)

    How should this be interpreted?  If interpreted through the lens of the creeds, you get something that is hard to "wrap your mind around."  How about we just let the Bible interpret it?  Read below:

    "IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) 

    Jesus Christ clarifies the above in his great intercessory prayer to His Father by saying:

    "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was... And now I am no more in the world, but these [my disciples] are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]...Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (Read all of John 17)

    Get it?  

    The Trinity is a plurality of three Gods; with the Father presiding as Head. "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)

    Technically, Jesus Christ's mission was the bring us unto His Father, who is God the Father.

    What I believe is Biblical.  What I believe is what Jesus Christ taught, and that is why the Jews crucified him. "... We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." (John 19:7)

    Mark ? I know you don't believe my interpretation, and I also know your response because I've read the Cult pdf. You are entitled to your different interpretation... but that's all it is ? your interpretation.  And... you will find comfort in that interpretation because millions and millions of other Christians believe similarly.  We'll... if that is the case... then why not also declare that the "moon is made of cheese."  

    (Kind of a cheesy ending... huh?)

    #3. Man can become a god.

    Some critics claim that we are blasphemous and even Satanic because we think we can become a god. Some anti-Mormons use the following scripture (although you haven't yet) in an attempt to show that wanting to be like God is satanic.

    "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isa 14:12-14)

    When the critics make these claims, they never explain what the doctrine really is. Instead, they give a perverted version that Mormons don't even recognize as what we believe or teach. (As evidenced by my mother's comments earlier stating that you sound like the tabloids.)  

    We absolutely do not believe that we will ever be independent of God or no longer subject to Him. The God of Israel will always be our God. He is the only one we worship. We neither worship other gods nor worship ourselves, and we do not believe that we will take away His glory, but we only add to it by following Jesus Christ.

    Now on to explain what the doctrine truly is:

    We believe that God is literally the Father of our spirits and that we lived in a pre-existence with Him. (This pre-existence is another subject, but it should be understood that this is what we believe... so that we can understand that God, in calling him our Heavenly Father, is not symbolic or figurative; the relationship is literal.)

    Does not the Bible declare: "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live?" (Heb 12:9)  "For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." (Acts 17:28)

    Our physical bodies are the offspring of our mortal parents, and God is the Father of our spirits. Therefore, our spirits are the offspring of God in the very same sense that our bodies are the offspring of our earthly parents. The book of Acts continues to say that since we are the offspring of God, God must be some type of being which we are similar to. "Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device." (Acts 17:29)

    As mentioned earlier, the doctrine of the Trinity as accepted as orthodox is certainly based on the creeds, which are "man's device."

    Even though we can be called gods, we are not on the same level as God the Father. He will always be exalted above us, throughout eternity. We are like Him in that we have potential. In order to reach that potential, there is a transformation that we must go through. We cannot go through this transformation without Jesus Christ.

    The Bible talks about this transformation very clearly... and you have it right in front of you every day of your life, but just don't see it. 

    Let me explain:

    There were two trees in the Garden of Eden: "And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil." (Gen 2:9)

    Adam and Eve ate of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which changed their state of innocence to our mortal condition we are in now. Once Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, our potentiality of becoming like our Heavenly Father was made manifest. "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." (Gen 3:22)

    However, they also transgressed when they ate, and that would prevent mankind from reaching this full potential, since no unclean thing can enter heaven. To prevent mankind from living eternally in this less-than-full potential state, God evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden and made it impossible for them to eat of the tree of Life. "So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Gen 3:24)

    Once the fruit of the tree of Life is eaten, we live in whatever condition our life has brought us to. Therefore, it is reserved for those who reach their full potential, or in other words, those who overcome. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." (Rev 2:7)

    Those who overcome are those who have obeyed the teaching of Jesus Christ: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Rev 22:14)

    Glory and perfection are two attributes that belong to God. As mentioned before... Christ, when He prayed to His Father in John 17, prayed for this very thing, that we might receive glory, and be perfect.

    "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:20-23)

    The Bible is quite clear that it is the fullness of God that we might have: "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3:19)

    But now Mark, we ask: does this "fulness" really have anything to do with the very nature of being a god? Answer: It most certainly does.

    "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Pet 1:3-4)

    The Bible continues to explain that as children, we have the opportunity to inherit everything the Father has: "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Rev 21:7)

    The Bible clarifies this inheritance. It tells us that we will inherit the very same thing that Jesus Christ inherits from the Father:

    "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of god: and if children, then heirs; heirs of god, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Rom 8:14-18)

    In fact, the Bible tells us that we may have thrones just like the Son and the Father: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev 3:21)

    "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."

    Get it?

    Besides the nature and characteristics of godhood, we are told that our bodies will be just like God's body. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Phil 3:21) 

    Does not the Bible say "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is?" (1 John 3:2)

    As you most appropriately mentioned earlier, God's standard is to be like Him: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt 5:48)  This can only be accomplished through the atonement of Jesus Christ and a change, through the covenant relationship, in our nature.

    And finally... I'll throw in something you haven't brought up yet, but eventually will.

    We believe that those who are married for eternity become like God. This principle, which is ridiculed by anti-Mormons, is also taught by the Bible. "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:7) 

    In summary... so that this is very clear for you.  We've just established from the Bible that:

    1. We were created in the image of God
    2. God is the father of our spirits and we are the offspring of God
    3. Man has become as God
    4. We will inherit all things
    5. We will be co-heirs with Christ of all things
    6. We will have glory
    7. We will have thrones
    8. We will be filled with the fullness of God
    9. We will be partakers of the divine nature of God
    10. We will be one with God
    11. Our bodies will be fashioned like His glorious body
    12. We can gain perfection through the atonement of Jesus Christ

    You'll notice that I deliberately stayed away from your anti-Mormon essay accusation that mentions Mormons quote Psalms 82 as their only justification for this belief.  I've read your essays and as you know, I think they are pretty weak... but I don't blame you.  All you do is parrot what other anti-Mormons before you have said.  (No offence.)

    It is tradition and your "orthodoxy" that teaches these things are not true. It is the councils of men that teach these things are not true; it is the creeds that teach these things are not true... But, my friend, it is the Holy Bible that teaches these things are true. I choose to believe what the Bible teaches as I've learned it through the revelations given to me of Jesus Christ.

    Again, don't take my interpretation alone.  Ask God if this is His interpretation, and continue to pray, fast, and search the scriptures diligently. Be "... more noble...[and receive] the word with all readiness of mind, and [search] the scriptures daily, [as to] whether [these] things [are] so." (Acts 17:11)

    In closing, and by way of trivia and interesting facts:

    The canonization of the New Testament did not happen until hundreds of years after the death of Jesus Christ.  For centuries Christian communities that emerged as "orthodox" debated on what collection of books should be considered "authoritative." ...But, as far as we know, in 367 A.D. a gentleman named Athanasius was the first person to name officially the 27 books of the New Testament as accepted by most Christian groups today.

    Would you consider Athanasius inspired of God?  I believe most Christians would, given they accept the 27 books as inspired.  

    Anyway, in one of his letters, this fourth-century defender of the faith made his famous statement that the Son of God became man "that he might deify us in himself." (Letter 60 to Adelphius) 

    Moreover, in his great work, On the Incarnation, he wrote similarly that Christ "was made man that we might be made God." (On the Incarnation 54. NPNF, 2nd Series, IV, p. 65.)

    My beliefs certainly were among those of the early Saints, and I've only scratched the surface... And some men who were responsible of choosing which books to include in the New Testament believed like me.

    I hope you consider carefully what I have shared, and I hope you feel of my integrity.  I take this stuff very seriously, and know by revelation from the Father that what I have shared is true.

    Most sincerely yours in our Savior Jesus Christ,

    Jack

    Ps.  I hesitate... because I don't want to detract from what I said above... but something you said recently has been bothering me... and as a post script I wanted to just clear it up. (Since this email is already very long... why not eh?)

    In email #29 you said, "In regard to your analogy of the civil war mom, you make the case that Jesus pleads for us like a mother pleads for her guilty son. This sounds a bit like the Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary interceding on our behalf...  According to the Bible, God can make a sinner just without violating His justice. It's through the substitutionary atonement of the perfect Lord Jesus Christ. He took our place, and paid our fine." 

    Mark - Jesus Christ does act as our Advocate between us and the Father.  I was not proposing a doctrine like Mary interceding. 

    If you read the story closer, I also said that a "separate" judge was ruling.  That was deliberate.

    Why did I say it?

    Because technically the Judge is Jesus Christ!  "...for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." (Rom 14:10)  "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22) The Father only presides.

    I quoted our Doctrine and Covenants where Jesus says, ""Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him? Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life." (Section 45:3-5)

    It was Jesus Christ who paid for our sins through his "sufferings and death."   Thus he alone has the right to "confess" our name before the Father (Rev 3:5)... The entire court is satisfied because the price was paid by Jesus... just like you mentioned: substitutionary.

    Perhaps my story wasn't clear enough, and if so... sorry.  I sometimes write in haste and don't proof read very well.  Regardless, I was bothered because you tried to make it look like I believed otherwise.  Thanks for listening.

  42. Thursday, March 8, 2007, 14:35 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: To Learn of the Father

    Hi Jack and Judy,

    You both have been in my prayers a lot lately.

    I have held off responding to this email from Jack for a few reasons:

    1. It was VERY long! (And I thought I knew how to write a long essay!)  😉
    2. I want to answer it prayerfully, thoughtfully, respectfully, and thoroughly.
    3. We went away on vacation for a bit.
    4. There's been some illness in my home - nothing serious, just the typical cold New England bugs.
    5. I'm also trying to figure out how much longer this type of discourse should continue. More on that in a bit.

    My comments below...

    Jack Evans wrote:

    >
    > Hi Mark:
    >
    > Hope this finds you well. Thanks for your emails. Like before,
    > I read  each one multiple times.
    >
    > First a quick order of business: As requested earlier, could you
    > please  put my email address at the top of our discussion?   
    > Perhaps right below
    > where you say, "These and many more resources are available to   
    > you for  free at..."  I would really appreciate it. Again it is: . If  you feel differently, please let me know.
    >

    I think that would be fine. I'll do that when I edit the site. Please gently remind me if I forget.  🙂

    (update: change made!)

    >
    > Thanks.
    >
    > As you know, I?ve been in Hawaii for the past week. It was 
    > absolutely great.  Those islands are paradise.  We swam with 
    > dolphins, watched  whales, soak up plenty of rays, went to the spa, 
    > ate a ton a food, and  relaxed.  It was hard to come back.
    >

    In the words of my favorite Mormon, Napoleon Dynamite... "Lucky!"

    I know you'd like to be my favorite Mormon, and you come in at a close second, but to date you've not shown the humor of Napoleon. Of course you do have the advantage of not being a fictional character!  😉


    > While on vacation, I actually wrote about 23 pages (all week) of 
    > my thoughts.  Seriously!  However, I?m not sending it through.  
    > Instead, I  eliminated most of it for later conversations.  
    > (Most was a discussion  of the multiple one liner doctrinal issues 
    > you continue to insert.)  I  decided instead to make this response 
    > more utilitarian in nature so as to point out a few of my 
    > observations about this discussion.
    >

    I think you and I should be able to secure a book deal before long!

    >
    > You might recall that from my very first email I said, ""I 
    > anticipate some very good discussions.  My only thing is... 
    > once we start on a  topic, let's keep to the topic... and do it 
    > justice before we move on to other topics/... I'm also big on 
    > personal honesty, and stripping ourselves of complete 
    > prejudice... /looking at the scriptures for what they are 
    > and say/, and recognize when our personal bias is complicating 
    > the  discussion."
    >
    > You replied more or less with a simple "agreed."
    >

    Yes, I remember.

    >
    > I wish I would have also said "recognizing when our private
    > interpretation is complicating the discussion."  We both have an 
    > interpretation of the Bible.  And as you know, I?m very big on Truth 
    > and correct interpretation being extracted by the power of the Holy 
    > Ghost because "... no prophecy of the scripture is of any private
    > interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of 
    > man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy 
    > Ghost."  (1 Pet 1:20-21)
    >

    This verse from 1 Peter teaches that there is only one correct interpretation of Scripture. We agree on that.

    >
    > Anyway, I said the above because the typical anti- Mormon 
    > proliferates the discussion into multiple topics quickly, gravitating 
    > to the sensational because it?s the least understood and most distorted.  
    > Moreover, anti-Mormons are quick to weave in the character attacks, of  
    > which you have not disappointed. In the very limited discussion we?ve had 
    > so far, I?ve been accused of being disingenuous, lacking integrity,  
    > and not telling the whole truth, essentially guilty of the "bait and 
    > switch".
    >

    Jack, I've noticed that you often use the term "anti-Mormon" to describe me. I'd like to think that I'm actually "pro God" and therefore "anti-Mormonism." Please note the distinction made between "anti-Mormonism" and "anti-Mormon." I'm not at all against Mormons. In fact, because I care so much for you, I've spent a LOT of time attempting to reason out of the scriptures with you and plead with you to repent of your sins and put your faith in the correct Jesus of the Bible. Though I do stand against the teachings of the Mormon church, I do not stand against the people of the Mormon church.

    I sense that you use the term "anti-Mormon" as an argument in and of itself to reject my points. As if to say, "Of course you don't agree with the Mormon church; you're an anti-Mormon!" Well, I may very well be "anti-Mormonism," but the arguments and evidences presented by me still must be answered, even if I am "anti-Mormonism."

    Imagine the absurdity of me making the case for a literal 6-day creation to an atheist scientist, showing scientific evidence for a young earth, and have his response be, "Of course you think that way. You're an anti-evolutionist! Anti-evolutionists often make use of young earth arguments. We should expect this from the anti-evolutionist crowd."

    I get the impression that in the same way, you use the term "anti-Mormon" in a disqualifying sense, as if the only reason that I argue against the Mormon doctrines is because I'm one of those "anti-Mormons." This is a common way for those on the losing side of an argument to save face. I hope that you're more interested in finding truth, even if that truth is different than what you've grown up believing, than saving face. I beg you to give this consideration.

    Also, where I have accused you of being "disingenuous," "lacking integrity," and "not telling the whole truth" I gave specific examples. I didn't throw out those accusations blindly, but put them out in response to something you wrote. Where I felt you were being disingenuous, I pointed it out. That's why those were not "ad hominem" attacks. As you correctly pointed out, an attack is not "ad hominem" if there's substance to back it up. For example, the scenario of the man with 3 minutes to live is meant to illustrate the difference between "salvation by grace alone" and "works righteousness." You said that it is LDS belief that you are saved by free grace alone, but you also must work in order to maintain your salvation. I called that "disingenuous" because you are smart enough to know that if you have to work to maintain it, then it's not free grace. You even gave the analogy of a girl given a free car but she had to work to maintain it. In saying that you believe in salvation by grace, but knowing that you need to work to keep it, you are using "grace" in a "disingenuous" way. I believe that was the example where I accused you of being "disingenuous."

    As for the charge of questioning your integrity, I do not believe that I did that. The comment I made was, "I brought up MANY fatal problems with the doctrines of the LDS church in my power points, and regardless of where I learned about those problems, those problems must be dealt with by a Mormon with integrity." This was in regard to you objecting to my objections because I learned them from those "anti-Mormons." Despite the fact that many of my sources are actual Mormon scriptures, the point I was making was that it doesn't matter where I learned of a problem with Mormonism. A Mormon with integrity must answer those problems regardless of who brought it up.

    As I said, "The fact that Mormonism teaches that God was once man, and that there exists many Gods, even though the Bible teaches that God was always God and there are no others anywhere must be answered, even if I learned about it through the Skeptics Annotated Bible."

    >
    > Why do you continually persist in such behavior?
    >
    > Mark, you have a very committed person here.  I want to talk about every
    > detail, but it has to be in an orderly fashion, without prejudice, and 
    > in a respectful manner... "line upon line, precept upon precept," topic 
    > upon topic.  I expect a little more maturity from the both of us in 
    > future discussions!  (I know I?m not perfect either.)
    >

    Pointing out where I believe you've been "disingenuous" is not inappropriate behavior. You have the right to defend yourself to show why you believe you were not being disingenuous.

    >
    > If you could kindly stick to our original agreement of "let?s keep to 
    > the topic", I would appreciate it.  To help facilitate this, I would  like
    > to further refine rules of engagement and go with* /one question,  and 
    > one succinct answer /*at a time*/. /*At worst we?ll have no more  than 
    > two topics going, but it?s better than the 25 topics you
    > continually overload this discussion with.
    >

    I share your concern over the length of these emails. I do. But it is not appropriate for you to send me a long email full of doctrinal errors, and then chide me for answering your email thoroughly. If you send me a long email with a lot of content and covering a number of points, then it follows that my response will also be long and cover a lot of points. The only way to avoid that would be for me to ignore large swatches of your emails, and that would be neither respectful, nor helpful.

    So Jack, if you want shorter emails, I think we'll have to scrap this discussion and start over. But as it is, you wrote a lot to me and I'm going to do my best to thoroughly answer all your points - hence a long response. So please don't chide me for breaking any so called "rules of engagement" of only giving one answer per email. When your email has X number of flawed arguments and heretical statements, then I am obligated to respond with X responses.

    >
    > Now another issue: I?m observing that you are very desperate in this 
    > discussion to demonstrate evidence of your preconceived notions of  
    > Mormons.  You are trying so hard to do this that from my point of view  
    > it has become comical.
    >
    > This observation is what I would like to focus on for the remainder 
    > of this email.
    >
    > For example, I mention there are different levels of doctrine like 
    > mathematics, and you opportunistically pounce on this as evidence that 
    > "Mormons start with a simple and inviting doctrine, but later trade it 
    > out for much deeper and devilish doctrine." (My words.)  You want 
    > people to believe that we would do such a thing like pull you aside 
    > and say, "Okay, Mark, now that you've been one of us for 5 years, we 
    > have some  doctrines you're ready to understand now."  (Your words.)
    >

    Indeed I did say this. I have never met the Mormon yet, who upon first witnessing encounter, tells the person, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes that many many Gods exist, and that a council of Gods came up with a plan to create the world and people it. One of those Gods then procreated and made Jesus, the Devil, and all of us. If we live a faithful life and perform certain works, then we could possibly be elevated to being a God too. Oh, by the way, the God who created the universe was once a man."

    Perhaps you're different, and you are upfront with people. Is this the case? Do you tell people those doctrines right away without them asking specifically?

    Whenever I ask a Mormon missionary about these doctrines specifically, as I always do when I speak with one, I universally receive the answer of "you could understand these things if you were a faithful member of the LDS church for many years." Or maybe "the nature of God is complicated and takes years of study within the LDS church to comprehend it." A simple "Yes, we do believe that" could be given, but I have never received such an answer.

    >
    > (Sigh.)
    >

    Indeed, (Sigh.)

    >
    > This is sad, because what I?m really advocating is a Biblical principle.

    > "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand
    > doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the 
    > breasts. For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line 
    > upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:  (Isa 
    > 28:9-10) One must correctly understand "first principles of the oracles 
    > of God" before the "meat" makes sense.  (Heb 5:11-14)  Just like you  
    > need to understand addition before you can intelligently discuss 
    > algebra and calculus.
    >
    > That was the point... in all innocence, and you turned it into 
    > something it was not to suit your own purposes.
    >

    All you've done here, Jack, is re-state your position about calculus and algebra and addition. So perhaps I should restate my argument that the things of God are not all that complicated? On the first witness encounter with someone, I could tell them everything they need to know. Now it is true that in time they will be fed meat, but that refers to a deeper understanding of the Biblical truths of the Bible, not NEW doctrines.

    In email #9 I outlined what I would say (and often do say) to someone the first time I witness to them.

    Anything else that they'd like to know can be explained then, and I don't shy away from anything. I do not believe I have ever answered a question, "That takes years of study to understand" or "you'd understand that better after being a member of my church for years and years."

    As you know, my church has a very thorough doctrinal statement for all to see. I have never seen an LDS publish such a doctrinal statement, such as:

    • We teach that there exist many many Gods.
    • We teach that our God is only one of many, and at one point in time was mortal.
    • We teach that present mortals can become a God too.
    • et cetera.

    I used the example of the church of Scientology. They don't tell their people about the Intergalactic Overlord Xenu until they reach a certain level in the church. They are not upfront with all their beliefs. It is not a terrific speculation to suppose that the reason is that most people would be understandably repelled by their doctrine of the Intergalactic Overlord Xenu. I proposed that the Mormon missionary wisely deflects questions about the nature of God in LDS doctrine for the same reason.

    But since I have a willing Mormon here, and an experienced Mormon missionary at that, I'll ask you. Why is it you are not totally upfront at first about the nature of God and the person of Jesus Christ? Why is it that you use language that "sounds" Christian, but you use those terms differently without being upfront on how you redefine them?

    I'll give you an example.

    I once asked a Mormon missionary point-blank if he believed that God was always God. He asked me if I meant that God was "eternal." I said, "Sure." He said, "Yes, God is eternally God and was eternally God."

    But then I pressed him and finally got him to admit that there existed a time when our God was not divine as He is now. So I asked him how it was he could possibly call God eternal then? His answer was "Well, God has been divine for so long it is as if He were eternal, and from our perspective He is." Yikes, talk about disingenuous!

    >
    > Another example is your accusation that I introduced an ad hominem 
    > defense.  This would have been a more appropriate comment had I not 
    > produced the substance behind the defense, which was that our three 
    > minute man could be saved despite having not done the so called 
    > "works  righteousness."
    >
    > Let me explain: 
    >
    > My original response to your question regarding the 3-minute man?s 
    > salvation was, "it depends." You came back saying my answer was, 
    > "disingenuous because I clearly formed the scenario using the term  
    > Celestial Kingdom. According to my understanding of LDS doctrine, the  
    > future for someone who accepts in the afterlife is the Terrestrial  
    > Kingdom, not the higher Celestial."
    >
    > /Your comment was the substance of the/ /argument/ which prompted my 
    > response of, "Your scholarship in Mormonism is comparable to someone 
    > who studied Christianity, but went to the Nation of Islam to learn it."
    >
    > You were adamant that Mormons could not "admit" that this man could be 
    > saved.  You specifically said, "An LDS must admit that it will be   
    > impossible for this person in our scenario to reach the Celestial  
    > Kingdom because there's no time for him to earn his reward by a 
    > faithful life."  This was annoying because you were so obstinate and 
    > so wrong... hence my comment about your scholarship.
    >
    > However, I have demonstrated /with substance/ that you were wrong about
    > my beliefs and this man can be saved... but it truly depends.
    >

    How am I misunderstanding your prophet Joseph Fielding Smith? He taught, "Salvation comes by grace, faith, and works. Unless a man will adhere to the doctrine and walk in faith, accepting the truth and observing the commandments as they have been given, it will be impossible for him to receive eternal life, no matter how much he may confess with his lips that Jesus is the Christ, or believe that his Father sent him into the world for the redemption of man? So it is necessary, not merely that we believe, but that we repent, and in faith perform good works until the end; and then shall we receive the reward of the faithful and a place in the celestial kingdom of God." (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, 2:311).

    Please note that this comes from your prophet, not from the Nation of Islam. I also cited a large paragraph to reduce the possibility that I am quoting out of context.

    Please explain to me how you can claim that someone can be saved without works when your prophet said otherwise.

    If anything the example of Joseph Smith's brother being in the Celestial is an example of a contradiction in LDS teaching, since Joseph Fielding Smith was so clear on the fact that works are required and Alvin hadn't performed those works.

    I know, I know, you're going to say, "Yeah, but he would have had he been given the chance."

    To that point the Bible says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27).

    You wrote, "We teach that Salvation is a COVENANT relationship with Christ, and that it is PARTLY based on what we do, and Christ completes the rest."

    This is an admission that you do not understand free grace. You can't say that we are saved by grace if our works even make up a portion of 1%. Then it is not grace. This was Paul's argument in Romans 11:

    "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:5-6).

    Or said another way, Grace plus Works does not equal Grace.

    Grace is not grace if our works are required to keep ourselves from losing that grace. That is not grace.

    You said, "It is not our labors alone that save us.  Please, don't say or imply that we believe differently."

    I know you do not believe that your labors alone save you. But you do believe that your labors play a part. In that, you are in a works righteousness religion, your acts contributing at least somewhat to your "salvation," giving you the right to boast. In stark contrast, the Word of God proclaims, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    So I ask you... do your labors or faithfulness or whatever you want to call it play even a bit of a part in either your exaltation to the Celestial kingdom, or your ability to keep that status?

    If not, then would you kindly re-write your "girl with a car analogy?"

    >
    > To preserve your own reputation you entirely hid behind ad hominem; 
    > clever, but not very fair.  
    >

    I'm not sure what you are referring to by "ad hominem" here. Are you referring to the case that I made that Biblical Christian doctrines are not like calculus? That is not ad hominem. The fact is that any Biblical doctrine can be explained in minutes. The true doctrines of God are accessible to the shepherd boy as well as the scholar.

    "Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" (1 Corinthians 1:20-21).

    This is not to say that over time we do not understand God's truth more intimately. This is not unlike your relationship with your wife, Merrily. I would guess that you could learn everything you need to know about her in one conversation (where she grew up, what she likes, her interests, et cetera.) Yet, in your marriage to her, I would expect that you know her more intimately and fully now then when you first courted. This is the "meat" of your relationship.

    In the same way, we can know everything we need to know about God in a very short period of time. But that does not mean that in time our understanding will not be deeper and more intimate. But deeper, or the "meat" so to speak, is not NEW knowledge.

    To apply this to our example, after being married to Merrily for 5 years, you do not all-of-a-sudden discover that she had a third arm growing out of her back the whole time you knew her!

    >
    > The real point of sharing the skeptics annotated Bible and Book of 
    > Mormon was to help you see that from my point of view, anti-literature,  
    > whether it is about me, or about you, /is not necessarily the gospel  
    > truth, and you must take care to not perpetuate what you learn from such
    > as FACT. /  Otherwise, why would I say, "How could you and I be so dumb 
    > Mark?"  That was the point!

    Jack, you know what a "straw man" argument is, don't you? A "straw man" argument is when you attack a position by erecting a false example that is easily refutable, associate your rival with that false position, and then attack the false position to make your rival's position appear to be invalid.

    It goes like this:

    1. The Skeptics Annotated Bible is false.
    2. Mark, as an "anti-Mormon" is just like the folks who did the Skeptics Annotated Bible.

    3. ERGO:
    4. Mark is wrong.

    The problem with this "straw man" fallacy is that point "b" is not true. Therefore the conclusion "c" is false.

    I AGREE with you that the "Skeptics Annotated Bible" is false. But that does not mean that all "anti-literature" should be lumped together. You erected a "straw man" when you inappropriately categorized me with the Skeptics Annotated Bible under the umbrella of "anti-literature" and then attacked that straw man. I'll gladly join you in your arguments against the Skeptics Annotated Bible.

    >
    > Interestingly, you came back with thoughts from an "insider" about 
    > Mormonism from "Elder James Spencer."
    >

    This is because you said that I learned everything from "anti-Mormons." I have already pointed out that it is irrelevant WHERE I learned it. If it's true, it must be answered regardless of the source. But to give an example, I offered James Spencer as an example of someone who left the LDS church not because of "anti-Mormons" but because the more he learned, as he progressed from proselyte, to baptized member, to priest in the order of Aaron, and then Melchisedek, the more he realized that he was in a false religious system, and it would be against conscience to remain.

    >
    > Can we call it the "I learned it from an insider, therefore it is true" 
    > reply? (See, I can codify my responses to make me look smart also.)
    >

    Funny, but you're still not funnier than Napoleon Dynamite!  LOL

    >
    > Again Mark, what should the takeaway be from hearing what James Spencer 
    > had to say?  Is it the same takeaway we should all have when we read 
    > www.exchristian.org <http://www.exchristian.org/>?   Certainly these  
    > individuals on exchristian are as credible as James Spencer. (Please  
    > note the sarcasm.) In some instances you?ve got non-denominational  
    > ministers exposing the true insider?s view of Christianity.  Many on  
    > this site call Christianity a brainwashed cult.  One protagonist goes 
    > so far as to say he left Christianity because of "sex, lies, slander, 
    > and abuse."  Pleasant isn?t it?
    >

    "Straw man" again. You lump James Spencer with exchristian.org, knowing that I'd be against exchristian.org.

    You're right when you imply that the fact that James Spencer is an ex-Mormon (and a very high-up one at that) does not make his testimony automatically credible, but it is inappropriate to discount it automatically by way of lumping him with exchristian.org. This is why it is a "straw man" argument.

    His story is fascinating, by the way. He had a very unique view into the LDS church, but that's not why I mentioned him to you.

    I mentioned him to you because you said that my knowledge of the LDS church comes from "anti-Mormon" websites. To prove to you otherwise, I made the following points:

    1. No, my knowledge of the LDS church does not come only from anti-Mormon websites. Jim Spencer, for example, was a Mormon for years and achieved a high standing in the church. Learning from him is not like learning from "the Nation of Islam."
    2. Many of my quotations come from actual LDS scriptures, not from anti-Mormon websites.
    3. Even if 100% of my info came from anti-Mormon websites, that wouldn't matter one bit. A Mormon must answer the charges, regardless of where the charges come from.

    Jack, you've fallen into an intellectual trap here. On the one hand you disregard the points I make that you think are from "anti-Mormons" and then you also disregard the points I make that are from those who have been deeply involved with Mormonism from the inside. You can't have it both ways. You must consider the points made regardless of whether they're from "anti-Mormons" or "ex-Mormons."

    >
    > Mark, as a Christian (and yes I believe I am a Christian despite your 
    > unilateral proclamation against it), this exchristian.org website is  
    > disgusting to me. It?s sad to see these stories... and even sadder to  
    > think that because of their deep prejudice developed against 
    > Christianity, most of them will never recover from their distorted
    > views.

    The Bible teaches that one cannot truly be considered a Christian when one does not know the true Jesus of the Bible.

    "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" (1 John 2:23).

    Do we know who Jesus Christ is? Do we have correct "Christology?"

    I recognize that this is one of the overwhelming goals of our discussion, to determine who, if either of us, has the right Jesus.

    But it does not follow that if I am a Christian, then you are. Also, if you are a Christian, then I am not. We can not both be Christians if the Bible is true.

    And yes, my heart breaks for these people too. Without the correct Jesus, a person is lost and heading for God's wrath. God is holy and He has promised to judge unrighteousness.

    There are no higher stakes!

    >
    > Isn?t it interesting that they have Truth right in front of them, and 
    > yet they crucify again the Lord?
    >
    > "For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have 
    > tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
    > And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to 
    > come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;  
    > seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him]  
    > to an open shame."  (Heb 6:4-6)
    >
    > The above scripture is a lot deeper than as portrayed by me... for it begs
    > the question of how one partakes of the Holy Ghost, the true source of 
    > sanctification and knowledge.
    >
    > Regardless, these "insiders" have fallen away. And yes my friend, it is 
    > possible to fall from grace. I know you disagree, but it is Biblical...  
    > and simply responding with a comment like "they were never really saved"
    > is not consistent with the Bible. God is our co-pilot, /and at times he 
    > even takes over the controls,/ but we can steer our salvation into the  
    > ditch and "fall away" if we choose. (The above scripture is not talking  
    > about typical believers... it is talking about those who know so much  
    > through the power of the Holy Ghost, they become "sons of perdition" if  
    > they turn away.)
    >

    Let the record show that you brought up the subject of "eternal security." I don't mind straying for a bit to address this, but I don't want to be chided by you for not sticking to the topic, or for breaking "rules of engagement."

    You wrote "we can steer our salvation into the ditch and 'fall away' if we choose."

    Jack, this demonstrated that you have too little a view of God and too high a view of man. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the ability to thwart the will of God! I'll say that again, because it is so critical. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the ability to thwart the will of God!

    How do you understand this passage?

    "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one" (John 10:27-30).

    True Christians shall never perish. They have "eternal" life. If one can loose "eternal" life, then it's not eternal. It's temporary. Nobody can pull a TRUE Christian out of the Father's hand - not even the Christian himself.

    The Bible clearly teaches the sad truth that there are true and false conversions. The parables of Jesus are all about this. The wheat and the tares. The good fish and bad fish. The wise virgins and foolish virgins. And more. There are those who appear to be true converts, but are not. They are hypocrites.

    If you want to hear a convicting sermon about this topic, Missionary Paul Washer did a superb job on this and you can download his sermon from my website: http://Luke-15.org/washer.mp3.

    Hebrews 6:4-6 says:

    "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (Hebrews 6:4-6).

    You assumed that this is referring to true bone-fide Christians who have lost their salvation. But that is an incorrect interpretation of Scripture.

    Why do I say that? Because when we survey all the passages about whether or not a true Christian can loose his or her salvation, it is overwhelmingly clear that he or she can not.

    I already quoted John 10:27-30. I would add Romans 8:29-30: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Romans 8:29-30).

    I'd add Philippians 1:6: "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).

    I'd add 2 Timothy 1:12: "for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12).

    I'd add 1 Peter 1:4-5: "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:4-5).

    I'd add Romans 8:35, 38-39: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35, 38-39).

    So when we come to Hebrews 6, we must interpret it in light of the whole Word of God. So let's look at Hebrews 6 with the following two established preconditions:

    1. Jesus promised that there would be both true conversions and false conversions.
    2. The whole council of God makes it clear that a true convert can never fall away, even if he or she wanted to, because nobody is powerful enough to thwart God's will.

    So how do we understand Hebrews 6 then?

    "those who were once enlightened" The scriptures teach that being "enlightened" does not mean "saved."

    I present into evidence John 1:9: "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9).

    John 1:9 says that Jesus "enlightens" everybody, but not everybody is a true convert. Therefore, "enlightenment" does not correspond to "being truly converted" in the New Testament. It means that everyone has been given the witness of God through the Creation and through conscience, so that all are without excuse.

    Paul teaches this exact same thing: "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

    Back to Hebrews 6: "tasted of the heavenly gift" - "tasted" when used figuratively in the New Testament means "experienced temporarily." That's how Hebrews uses the word in Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus experienced death temporarily.

    All men have temporarily experienced the goodness of God, "he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25).  This does not mean that all men have their sins forgiven.

    Back to Hebrews 6: "made partakers of the Holy Ghost" The Bible uses the terms "sealed" "indwelled" "filled" to describe the relationship between the Holy Spirit and a true Christian. When you look at the context, "partakers" must refer to those who have understanding of the Holy Spirit, and even experienced His miracles and goodness, but didn't go so far as to be "sealed," "indwelled," or "filled."

    When you compare scripture with scripture, one must conclude that Hebrews 6 is referring to false converts who had a spiritual experience, and even was a part of the church in the sense of attending and being a part of communion and baptism, but wasn't truly saved. And there's no salvation anywhere else. If they've rejected the true gospel, there's no second chance for them.

    Remember:

    1. Jesus promised that there would be both true conversions and false conversions.
    2. The whole council of God makes it clear that a true convert can never fall away, even if he or she wanted to, because nobody is powerful enough to thwart God's will.

    Now that's Theological meat! Yet it can be explained on the first day of Theology 101.

    >
    > So again, let me clearly restate my point on anti-literature:  Anyone 
    > can write something to make anything look bad.  In addition to
    > anti-Mormon literature, there is a multitude of anti-Christian
    > literature, anti-Islamic literature, anti-Jewish literature,
    > anti-atheist literature, etc. etc. (It just depends on what side of the 
    > argument you /WANT/ to sit on.)
    >

    I can't believe that I'm about to use an over-used cultural expression, but here goes. "It is what it is." "Anti-literature is what it is." Yes, it is "anti" but that doesn't mean it can be discounted. It also doesn't mean that it is automatically right either.

    It is not appropriate to answer the charges of "anti" literature by saying, "Oh, that's just anti-literature."

    The charges still need to be addressed.

    >
    > When you continually dump anti-Mormon propaganda on my lap, it does this
    > discussion no good.  All it does is proliferate this discussion into 
    > many sensationalized topics which is the typical tactic used by 
    > anti-Mormons to throw the discussion into utter confusion and chaos.
    >

    Again with the straw man. "Anti-Mormons use sensationalism to throw arguments into chaos. You're an anti-Mormon. So you're wrong."

    >
    > I?m not going to let you manipulate this discussion to serve your own
    > agenda.
    >
    > However, YES... I will answer every single question (and you?ll have to 
    > answer a bunch yourself), but you should reserve judgment (although you  
    > don?t) until it becomes the topic; or until it is your one question.  
    > */One question and one succinct answer/*. 
    >

    As I've stated before, I am compelled to answer all the points you make, so when you send me a loooong email with lots and lots of points, I'll respond with a long email answering all your points. It is not right for you to accuse me of breaking some arbitrary "rules of engagement" when this happens.

    >
    > Sorry I?m getting so archaic about this... but you are going to be held 
    > accountable for what you say, as much as I am... for I am not the only one
    > under a microscope here. (And that my friend, is why I am so tickled you
    > are posting our exchange.)
    >

    Did a grown man say "tickled?" Now I really fear for you! (humor - please take no offense.)

    You are right, those who teach will stand judgment for what they teach. We must both be on guard.

    >
    > You mentioned you would be ashamed if you were Mormon. I am not ashamed 
    > of what I believe.  /I would be ashamed, however, if I believed what you
    > teach we believe/.  I?ve read all your anti-Mormon essays.
    >  
    > (Sigh.)
    >
    > Finally, I would like to point out one more desperate attempt you?ve 
    > made to legitimize your preconceived notions about Mormons. If I 
    > understood you correctly, you believe that a man /should not pray to  know
    > truth/ because it is already self evident in the Bible.  You also  
    > believe that Mormons, in all their deceit and devilishness, will try and
    > get people to believe "another gospel" by ignoring the Bible, praying 
    > for another truth, eventually being led away from true Biblical 
    > teachings being deceived by a lying spirit.
    >
    > To explain further below:

    Since you take this up a few paragraphs down, I'll hold off my comments until then...

    Also, and this is a humorous sidetrack, I think it's funny that you used the word "Finally" to start this paragraph. "Finally" implies that you're coming to a close, but in reality you have like ten more pages of comments! This is not unlike the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:1, "Finally, my brethren" and then he went on for another two chapters!  LOL

    >
    > I chuckled when you said regarding the "club" and Bible interpretation, 
    > "... the groups you mentioned do not get their doctrine from the Bible."   
    > I included every Christian denomination "including but not limited to" 
    > a list that /included both you and me/, and you said you?re the only 
    > one who gets doctrine from the Bible. 

    The list you offered was: "Catholic, Seventh Day Adventist, Jehovah's Witness, Christian Science, Evangelical, Amish, Quaker, Messianic Judaism, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Anglican, Unitarian, non-denominational Bible believing Christian, etc, etc, etc, and finally last (but not least) Mormon"

    My answer was: "I'm not sure I completely understand your section about the "My Interpretation of the Bible is the Only Correct Interpretation Club." Certainly a Mormon would not object to believing his church is correct and others are false? But the groups you mentioned do not get their doctrine from the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses consider the "Watchtower" and "Awake" magazines equal to scripture. The Seventh-Day Adventists elevate the writings of Ellen White to the same level as the Bible. Christian Science considers the writings of Mary Baker Eddy scripture. And the Mormons have the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price" and "Doctrines and Covenants" as well as proclamations from living prophets."

    I suppose I should have said "some of the groups you mentioned do not get their doctrine from the Bible alone." Please accept my clarification. I still stand by the indisputable truth that the Jehovah's Witness organization, Christian Science, the Roman Catholic church, and the Mormon church all get their doctrine from sources other than the Bible, and that they consider those sources equal or superior to the Bible. Do you deny that the Mormon church considers the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price" and "Doctrines and Covenants" as well as proclamations from living prophets equal to or superior to the Bible?

    As for the Amish and Quakers, I confess I do not know enough about them to comment.

    For the record, I do not consider Bible-believing Messianic Jews, Pentecostals, Presbyterian, and non-denominational Bible believing Christians necessarily to be in error. We already talked about true and false conversions, so there likely are true and false converts in each of those groups.

    >
    > I chuckle because you just don?t get it.  You have a much distorted self
    > awareness.
    >
    > Why?  Because you yourself elevate your own interpretations and views 
    > into "scripture" just like everyone else.  You reconcile your own  beliefs
    > with interpretations from Joe Mizzi, R.C. Sproul, Dan Corner,  etc.  You 
    > read the Bible through the lens of men like John Calvin, who  stood on the
    > shoulders of men like St. Augustine, a member of a church  that you call a
    > cult.
    >

    Quoting Bible believing scholars is not the same thing as reading "the Bible through the lens" of them. I can not know everything about the Scriptures, and there are and have been wise and godly men throughout church history who have had keen insight into the Scriptures. I quote them because in many cases they showed impressive scholarship. They are not infallible by any means, and their teachings must be compared with scripture, and where there is a difference, scripture wins!

    >
    > You are no different than everyone else in the "/_My Interpretation of 
    > the Bible is the Only Correct Interpretation Club_./"
    >
    > Get it?
    >

    Once again, there is a major difference. The Roman Catholic church, Jehovah's Witness organization, Christian Science church, Mormon church, Unitarian, Anglican each get their doctrines from a source other than the Bible. (As I said, I can't speak regarding Amish and Quakers because I don't know enough about their teachings.)

    Jack, you must admit that you and I are different because I get my doctrines from the Bible alone, and you add the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price" and "Doctrines and Covenants" as well as proclamations from living prophets that your church considers equal to or superior to the Bible. This is no trivial difference.

    >
    > If I say we must /do/ something to keep our end of the covenant 
    > relationship, you call me a devil and a liar.  Yet does not the Bible  
    > say, "Good Master, what /shall I do/ to inherit eternal life? And Jesus  
    > said unto him...  Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery,  
    > Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father  
    > and thy mother.  And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.  
    > Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou  
    > one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and  
    > thou shalt have treasure in heaven: /and come, follow me./ (Luke
    > 18:18-22)
    >

    You left out the most important part of that passage. Where your '...' is, the Bible says: "And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God."

    Jesus was pointing out to this self-righteous man that he didn't understand what "good" really means. Good means "moral perfection" and "none is good, save one, that is, God."

    He was telling that young man, nobody but God is good. And the young man's reaction? He proclaimed his own goodness! "And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up."

    Imagine the utter self-righteousness to proclaim to the perfect Son of God that you had always kept the Ten Commandments.

    So Jesus did exactly what you're supposed to do when someone is self-righteous - you give them MORE commandments! Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor. In so doing, Jesus was expounding on the essence of the first and second Commandments: you shall have no other gods, nor make an image or idol.

    This young man's god was his money, and he made his riches into a form of idolatry. Jesus exposed that with the Law of Moses. That's why Paul said in Galatians, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

    Can you see the purpose of the law? It is to prove to us how bad we are so that we will stop justifying ourselves. We can not do anything to please God. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).  "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10).

    "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust" (1 Timothy 1:8-11).

    So what is the purpose of the Law of Moses? To make someone righteous? Absolutely not! The purpose is to show sinners how wickedly sinful they are.

    "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7).

    Think of it this way. The Bible says the Law of Moses is like a mirror. When you wake up in the morning, what is the purpose of the mirror? It shows you how bad you look! Your eyes are red. Your hair is out of place. Your skin needs a good scrub.

    Would you take the mirror off the wall and wipe yourself with it? Of course not! That's not its purpose. Its purpose is to show you how dirty you are, not to make you clean. The water makes you clean, and the mirror makes you very willing to use the water!

    In the same way, the Law of Moses shows us how awfully sinful we are, but religions like the Roman Catholic church and the Mormon church tell people, essentially, rub yourself with the mirror to get clean. Do this, this, this, and this, and then you might be clean enough in God's sight.

    But the Bible teaches that it is the washing by the blood of Jesus Christ alone that can make us clean. The Law merely points out to us how filthy we are.

    "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

    You completely misunderstood the passage in Luke 18:18-22. You thought the passage teaches that you have to follow the Ten Commandments to be made righteous. No one can follow the Ten Commandments because, as Jesus said, "none is good, save one, that is, God."

    Also, that statement is a testimony to Jesus' deity because the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus was good and never sinned.


    > You completely abandon what the Bible actually says, and turn to your 
    > /interpretations/ that reconcile your views of specific verses to suit 
    > your own purposes.
    >

    That's quite a charge. I've already dealt with your "evidence" regarding Luke 18:18-22.

    >
    > You are no different than anyone on that "club" list.  At least I can
    > admit it!
    >

    You admit that you're "in the club." The problem with "the club" is that many of the groups get their doctrines from a source (or sources) other than the Bible.

    That's a considerable difference between you and me, Jack. The difference is our view of the Bible.

    >
    > The one difference I advocate, is that in addition to searching the 
    > scriptures, one must rely on revelation to know God?s interpretation.
    >

    Or said another way, "my doctrine comes from a source other than the Bible, and that is the 'Book of Mormon,' 'Pearl of Great Price' and 'Doctrines and Covenants' as well as proclamations from living prophets that my church considers equal to or superior to the Bible."

    >
    > "... why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but 
    > considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say  
    > to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold,  
    > a beam [is] in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam  
    > out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the  
    > mote out of thy brother's eye."  (Matt 7:3-5)
    >

    Ad hominem.

    >
    > To complete this thought, I would like to continue by saying:
    >
    > You are very troubled when I say "you must pray and ask Almighty God" to
    > help one understand the correct interpretation.  You quote Dan Corner 
    > who said, "The obvious answer is, there is no need to pray about
    > anything that is not Biblical and is outside of God's will...But to ask  
    > God in prayer something he has already spoken about can be testing God,  
    > which is also forbidden."
    >
    > Sounds intimidating.
    >
    > This is Biblical Mark, and I?m talking about praying for the right 
    > interpretation of the Bible.  I?m not talking about praying as to  whether
    >  or not we should rob a bank.  That is a ridiculous correlation.
    >

    My point was that one does not need to pray about something that God has already revealed clearly. I used the example of "praying to see if God would have me rob a bank" precisely because it is ridiculous! The ridiculousness of it was to prove the point!

    But praying about whether or not it is God's will to rob a bank is far LESS ridiculous than praying about whether or not the "Book of Mormon" is the "Word of God" when it so often contradicts the Bible and was written by a man who made false prophecies. God spoke about this in Deuteronomy 18:20-22: "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).

    We need not "pray about the Book of Mormon." As I said before, "'Prove all things; hold fast that which is good' (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

    'These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so' (Acts 17:11).

    The Bible tells us to prove all things, and search the scriptures."

    >
    > Also, I distinctly left the Book of Mormon out of it... as you might 
    > recall if you read again what I said.  This was your projection, not mine.
    >

    Is it not a standard tactic by Mormon missionaries to present potential converts with a "Book of Mormon" and ask them to "pray about whether this book is true" and to use the feeling of a "burning of the bosom" as testimony that it is true?


    > The Bible does declare: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, 
    > that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be  
    > given him." (James 1:5)  It is not forbidden as you would teach, it is  
    > encouraged!  And, God will not scold or "upbraid" people who do so. Your
    > accusation that  it is "forbidden" is just a scare tactic used to 
    > preserve your own purposes.

    I am not at all suggesting that it is wrong to pray for wisdom. You are right - that is encouraged! Should I move to North Carolina? I should pray about that. Should my wife and I adopt another child? We should pray about that! Should I commit adultery? No! The Bible is clear on that. It would actually be WRONG to pray about that. In the same way, I need not pray about a church that teaches that God was once a man and whose prophets have been wrong so often.

    Also, James 1:5 IN CONTEXT is about persecution, and praying to receive wisdom to be encouraged in the midst of persecution. Please read ALL of James chapter 1 to see this.

    >
    > Sorry this offends you... but I?ll say it again to anyone following: Don?t
    > take my interpretation alone, and don?t take Mark?s interpretation alone
    > either.  You should /search the scriptures/ yourselves and /ask Almighty
    > God/ to help you know /His interpretation./

    I agree wholeheartedly! Search the Bible. Believe it 100%.

    But I am compelled to point out that you're not telling the whole truth again, Jack. You have already gone on record saying, "in addition to searching the scriptures, one must rely on revelation to know God?s interpretation."

    What exactly do you mean by "revelation" Jack? Are you not referring to extra scriptures, specifically the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price," and "Doctrines and Covenants," as well as proclamations from LDS prophets?

    So would you like to amend your statement to read the following:

    "You should /search the scriptures and  the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price," and "Doctrines and Covenants," as well as proclamations from LDS prophets yourselves and /ask Almighty God/ to help you know /His interpretation."

    >
    > /It is absolutely critical that you have a personal relationship with 
    > our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and depend upon God to help you  
    > understand His Word./

    Agreed. But make sure you have the correct "Heavenly Father" and the correct "Jesus Christ."

    "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" (1 John 2:23).

    Is the Heavenly Father eternal? The LDS church teaches no:

    "I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see." (Prophet Joseph Smith Jr., King Follett Discourse).

    The Bible says yes: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1)

    "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God." (Psalm 90:2)

    "Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting." (Psalm 93:2)

    "The eternal God is thy refuge" (Deuteronomy 33:22)

    And there are other MAJOR differences between the Mormon god and the Biblical God. You can see the essay "Letter to a Mormon: Testing the Claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" for a more exhaustive list.

    >
    > Therefore "...Pray without ceasing... /Quench not the Spirit./ Despise not 
    > prophesyings. Prove all things; [and] hold fast that which is good." (1  
    > Thes 5:16-21)
    >

    Amen.

    >
    > We will eventually talk about how you know whether or not you are under 
    > the influence of the Spirit of God or a lying spirit.  You can "Prove  all
    > things" with certainty by the Power of God (coupled with a strict  study 
    > of the scriptures.) There is a critical, undeniable delineation of
    > the Spirit of God that the spirit of Satan cannot mimic... but I know Mark
    > can?t articulate it... and I?m not going to share it just yet so that Mark
    > can hijack it.
    >
    > Mark, what good did arguing about scripture alone do the Pharisees and 
    > Scribes?   They certainly knew their scriptures.../to the point where they
    > worshiped the scriptures more than they did the  Messiah./ Arguing about
    > scripture alone did absolutely nothing to convince them of His Truth 
    > (although it was demonstrated in the scriptures)... and they eventually  
    > crucified their Savior anyway... and felt justified doing it. 
    >

    Or said another way:

    1. The Scribes and Pharisees argued about Scripture alone.
    2. The Scribes and Pharisees were wrong.
    3. Mark argues about Scripture alone.

    4. THEREFORE:
    5. Mark is wrong!

    But Jack, that is flawed for at least two reasons.

    Reason one can be expressed as follows.

    1. Hitler thought Germany was beautiful.
    2. Hitler was a psychotic anti-Semite.
    3. Mark thinks Germany is Beautiful.

    4. THEREFORE:
    5. Mark is a psychotic anti-Semite!!!

    Do you see the flawed logic? The fact that the Pharisees argued Scripture alone and I argue Scripture alone does not make us the same any more than I am like Hitler because we both think Germany is beautiful.

    But the second reason why this argument of yours is flawed is because the Scribes and Pharisees DID NOT ARGUE FROM SCRIPTURE ALONE. They argued from TRADITION! They had a source OTHER THAN Scripture!

    If they argued from Scripture alone, then Jesus would not have been able to say:

    "But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?" (Matthew 15:3).

    "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do." (Mark 7:8).

    "And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:9).

    "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." (Mark 7:13).

    The Scribes and Pharisees most certainly did not use the Scriptures alone to determine their doctrine. They elevated the works of men, the Talmud, and the Mishna, and Rabbinic teachings above the Word of God just like the Mormon church does with the "Book of Mormon," "Pearl of Great Price," "Doctrines and Covenants," and proclamations from your prophets.

    You chide me for basing all my arguments on the Scrptures, but it is the Scriptures alone which contain the Words of life. In Matthew 22, Mark 12, and Luke 20, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for NOT arguing from the Scriptures. "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures" (Matthew 22:29).

    >
    > What did they miss?  /Something had to happen with their spirits also!/
    > They completely missed the part where they had to be taught directly by 
    > our Father in Heaven, Spirit to spirit.
    >

    True, but they REALLY missed by elevating a source OTHER than the Bible, just like the Mormon church does.


    > "... whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art 
    > the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto
    > him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not 
    > revealed [it] unto thee, /but my Father which is in heaven./"  (Matt  
    > 16:15-17)
    >

    True.

    >
    > "...we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], 
    > which God ordained before the world unto our glory:... [for] /God hath  
    > revealed [mysteries] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all
    > things, yea, the deep things of God.../the things of God knoweth no man, 
    > but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the  world,
    > but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things  that are 
    > freely given to us of God. /Which things also we speak, not in  the words 
    > which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost 
    > teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual./ 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." (Read all of First Corinthians 2)/
    >

    Agreed.

    >
    > When I said you should couple your scripture research with sincere 
    > prayer, it wasn?t to "sound spiritual" as you accused me of, /it was a  
    > declaration to get spiritual./
    >

    As long as any "feelings" one might get via prayer do not "convince" them to do something the Bible has already answered. The Bible makes it clear what we ought to think of a religion that teaches the things the Mormon church teaches.

    When a Mormon says, "please pray about whether or not the teachings of my church are true" it's a lot like when liberal politicians sound compassionate when they justify their wasteful government spending by the emotional appeal, "think of the children." That appeal is meant to make the person put off guard and forget that the problem with the spending plan is that it is wasteful and hasn't worked in the past.

    In the same way, when a Mormon missionary gently suggests that we "pray about the Mormon church teachings" that has the effect of putting us off guard, since what could be so wrong about praying?

    There is nothing wrong with praying, but praying to see if the Mormon doctrines are correct when the Bible tells us that they are not correct is a lot like praying to see if God would want me to rob a bank. Both are ridiculous scenarios.

    >
    > Again... sorry this is so offensive to you.  "...Knowest thou that the 
    > Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?   But he [Christ]
    > answered and said, Every plant, /which my heavenly Father hath not 
    > planted/, shall be rooted up.  (Matt 15:12-13)
    >
    > Get it?
    >

    I know, I know. You think people who believe the Bible are Pharisees. But the Pharisees DID NOT believe the Bible. They believed their leaders and their tradition. That lead to their fatal errors.

    >
    > This concludes my personal observations of how I view your desperate 
    > attempts to demonstrate your own preconceived notions. This has not been
    > a discussion without its prejudice.
    >
    > For future discussions, let?s do what we can to keep it to */one 
    > question, one succinct answer/*.
    >

    You say this after sending me a HUGE email with tons and tons of points. If you send me an email with tons of points, the only way to respond with only one succinct answer is to ignore the majority of your email, and that is neither respectful nor helpful.

    >
    > You can say your peace for the record regarding my comments above if you
    > want; but I?m going to only focus on */one question, one succinct 
    > answer/* in the future.  I?m telling you in advance, just in case you  
    > write another long email continuing to insert your preconceived 
    > notions.  /I hear you/... but I will only respond to your */one
    > question/*, with my */one succinct answer/* (and I hope visa versa.)
    >
    > Now I?m still waiting for an answer to my one question:
    >
    > "Suppose that now two men get stabbed and each have 3 minutes to live. 
    > Both have lead the exact same life, with the exact same intentions,  
    > equally mocking God their entire life as you suggested. The ONLY 
    > difference in their lives, is that immediately after the stabbing, 
    > one  staggers North and runs into you on the street, while the other 
    > staggers
    > South dying alone in an alley. You help the one to the North with his 1 
    > minute prayer and confession, but unfortunately, the man in the South  
    > made no such confession before dying. Both were on the path to Hell.  
    > What happens?"
    >

    It is no accident that one man went south and one went north. God ordains ALL that comes to pass. If God wanted to save the first person, and thus sovereignly directed him to me, and this person TRULY repented and put his faith in the correct Jesus, then that person would be justified (made right in God's sight) in an instant, and would be with God in heaven when he died.

    I know you get offended by the idea that a person can mock God all his life and be made right without any works, but that is the Biblical message. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5).

    The mans repentance must be genuine, and that's between him and God. But if he truly is broken up over his sin and has truly repented and trusts Jesus alone to cover his sins, then he is justified.

    >
    > Most sincerely yours in Jesus Christ our Savior, and with equally as 
    > much care and concern,
    >
    > Jack
    >
    > p.s.  I almost forgot; regarding working out our salvation "with fear 
    > and trembling."  I shared it not because we nibble our fingers and worry
    > each day with "fear and trembling" about our salvation.  That is also 
    > ridiculous.  I used those words?expressly from the Bible?to make a point
    > that we have a responsibility.
    >

    "We have a responsibility." Do you mean that we have a part in our justification? If so, then you agree with Mormon prophets like Spencer W. Kimball and Brigham Young:

    "One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan and propounded by man is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; that belief in Jesus Christ alone is all that is needed for salvation." (Prophet Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, 1972 edition, pp. 206-207)

    "There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it." (Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses 3:247; see also, 4:53-54, 219-220.)

    Unfortunately, these men do not agree with the Bible:

    "we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved" (Acts 15:11)

    "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31)

    "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)

    "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7)

    I chose to believe the Bible over the words of men.

    Regarding your improper use of Philippians 2:12, I have dealt with this in an essay I wrote about Roman Catholicism. They misuse the verse the exact same way, so you can find the answer to that here: http://Luke-15.org/05-salvation.php#phil2_12.

    >
    > You said, "If I believed what you believe, I'd be terrified all the 
    > time! How do you sleep at night? If you have the power to lose your  
    > salvation, yikes!"   This is you sensationalizing and distorting what I  
    > believe.
    >

    You believe that you must perform good works to maintain your salvation. You even gave me an illustration of a girl given a free car. All I did was point out the natural and logical conclusion to your doctrine. If you can lose your salvation, you should be afraid all the time.

    >
    > We do sleep very well at night thank you because "There is no fear in 
    > love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He  
    > that feareth is not made perfect in love." (1 Jn 4:18)  
    >

    Ironically, this argues against your position. You see in God's character here that we need not fear because He will not cast away any that are his. I covered "eternal security" higher up in this response.

    >
    > The calculus buzzing around this topic of "perfect love casteth out 
    > fear" is unbelievable, but you will never understand it without the Holy
    > Ghost as your guide, /that?s why it?s calculus/.
    >
    > Also, if you could kindly keep from putting words in my mouth, I would 
    > appreciate it.  You make it sound like I believe I have so much to boast
    > about. This is your projection of what I believe, I?ve never said 
    > anything of the like.   Again, your distortion.

    It's Biblical. If you contributed to your salvation, then you can boast. That's why Ephesians 2:8-9 makes sense when it says, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    >
    > I believe, ""I know that I am nothing... therefore /I will not boast of 
    > myself, but I will boast of my God/, for in his strength I can do all  
    > things... for which [I] will praise his name forever." (Alma 26:12) 
    >

    Here is an example of elevating a work of man equal to Scripture. In this case you quote the book of "Alma," which, if I am not mistaken, is not a part of the Bible. (sarcasm.)

    The book of "Alma" is part of the "Book of Mormon."

    You trust a work other than the Bible.

    >
    > "And again I say unto you as I have said before, that as ye have come to
    > the knowledge of the glory of God, or if ye have known of his goodness 
    > and have tasted of his love, and have received a remission of your sins,
    > which causeth such exceedingly great joy in your souls, even so /I would
    > that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness
    > of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering 
    > towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the  
    > depths of humility,/ calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing
    > steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come." (Mosiah 4:11)
    >

    Funny, I can't seem to find "Mosiah" in my Bible. (sarcasm again).

    >
    > As I said before: "I am a sinner" and I am entirely dependant on the 
    > atoning blood of Jesus Christ.  I recognize I am an unworthy creature...  
    > and for you to continually imply that I believe otherwise just baffles me. 

    If you really believe that your works contribute at all to your justification, or contribute to your ability to maintain it, then whether you admit it or not, you are being self-righteous. Literally the term "self-righteous" means "having a righteousness that comes from self."

    I prefer to agree with the Bible and be 100% dependant on Jesus-righteousness. Whether or not you admit to yourself, if you believe you contribute to your righteousness, you are by definition self-righteous. Please, I beg you, repent of this.


    > I look forward to seeing this response posted.
    >

    One more thing... I said that I'm "trying to figure out how much longer this type of discourse should continue."

    This is what I mean. I hope you realize that I care very deeply for you guys, and that I thoroughly enjoy corresponding with you. There's nothing that excites me more than my Lord Jesus Christ and I wish I could write about Him all day.

    I am convinced that the priorities in my life ought to be as follows:

    1. God
    2. Wife
    3. Kids
    4. Job
    5. Ministry

    God must come first. If my spiritual intimacy with Him is bad, then there is no greater priority than getting that straightened out.

    Next comes my wife. I have made a covenant with her that God takes very seriously. I must let nothing get in the way of keeping my relationship with Shelby alive and fresh.

    Next come our children. I can not even let something as important as my job take precedence over my kids. That's one reason why I have not taken a "management" position here at work - because I've seen manager here and the hours they keep and I believe such a position would inhibit me from attending soccer games and ballet recitals. I can't have that. So I have made a decision to live on less but be accessible to my kids.

    Then comes my job. We all have to eat!  🙂

    Finally, ministry.

    Jack, I praise God that we met and have been corresponding, but it must come after the other four. Have you looked at how many pages we've already generated???

    (And I thought I knew how to be wordy! I definitely met my match in that department!!!) LOL

    So I concede the "wordiness" to you. You win that one. I can not keep up.

    I wonder how much longer you can keep up too, because Merrily was right to remind you that you're married to her and not me! (Wise woman there.)

    I get the impression that if either of us actually drank, and if we lived near each other, we could have a lively discussion over a brewsky (or two). That not being the case, these emails have been uplifting, but I believe it is wise that they draw to a close at some point soon.

    You've mentioned a number of times that you've read all my Power Points and my essays, so I'm left wondering what else I have to say? I think I was very thorough in those resources.

    Please do not get me wrong... I am perfectly willing to reason with you out of the Scriptures, but I think at this point, I have given you so much that you have more than enough evidence to show you the right way and what to do.

    I have also prayerfully considered your points too and brought them to the judgment seat of the Bible and found them inconsistent with Biblical teaching.

    If you have follow-up questions, I'd be happy to answer them as time permits, but I've already given you so much more than most Mormons will ever learn about their church.

    I do plan to address the topics you sent in your most recent email. As you know, it was also VERY LONG so please be patient.

    I pray that you will stop trusting in extra Biblical sources, and come to know the true God of the Bible as He revealed Himself in the Bible. Jack, you can trust the Bible. It has no errors. You can trust the Biblical Jesus. I hope that you do.

    fondly,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  43. Monday, March 12, 2007, 11:10 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Sorry for Chiding

    Hello Mark:

    Your response was very much appreciated.   And thank you so much for continuing to post this discussion.  You are a man of your word, and although I disagree with you on many things, I appreciate our friendship and respect.  

    You mention that it may be "wise to draw to a close at some point soon our discussion."  

    Although I feel much can still be said, I completely understand and respect your position.  I have always believed that debate over scripture alone will not bring a person to Truth, and it is also evident that neither of us will move off our interpretation of the scriptures, so I can relate to your feelings.  

    Let me know how you would like to proceed.  If it were up to me, however, I would continue this discussion. 

    Also ? I owe you an apology for some of the "chiding" that I have done in previous emails.  (That was my prejudice coming through.)  I take complete and full responsibility for my long emails (and they are long.)  I didn't mean to put the blame entirely on you, and yes, I myself could use a little more of my own advice and be more disciplined. 

    We both got caught up in the evolution of this discussion... and I wish we could go back and do it differently and more succinctly from the beginning.

    Outside of my own prejudices, what threw me off to "chiding" were comments from you similar to the following:  "You and I could go back and forth ad infinitum about golden plates, Reformed Egyptian Hieroglyphics, plagiarized italicized words in the book of Mormon, et cetera,..." or "If I were a Mormon, I'd be mighty ashamed and want to hide my belief about polygamy, church attitudes towards Black people, the nature of God, et cetera..."  (email #23 and #30.)

    These items were neither the topic nor brought up by me... and with just a few sentences, you take jabs at me.  Unfortunately for me, these jabs rest upon your misconceptions in your critical essays previously written... 492 pages worth. 

    When you take these jabs, I feel compelled to not let you get off so easy, which results in me writing a longer email.  I have yet to write my 492 pages.

    (... so actually, the wordiness accolade should go back to you.  I insist! Please note sarcasm.)

    Apology accepted? 

    Now on to bigger and better things:

    Mark, my use of the term "Anti-Mormon" is not an argument in and of itself to reject your points.  It is just a term I am familiar with.  Sorry for the misunderstanding; however, it is not fair of you to say, "this is a common way for those on the losing side of an argument to save face." 

    I don't believe I'm losing... but only an objective reader could really say... and concerning this discussion, neither you nor I are objective. 

    My "Anti-literature" diatribe was only to broaden your self awareness.  I said specifically, "you must take care to not perpetuate what you learn from such as FACT." (see email #35.) 

    Mark ? some of it is fact, and you are offended because of Christian "orthodoxy" and tradition... but much of it isn't fact, as also demonstrated from our dialogue thus far.  

    I respect your interpretations... but your beliefs are not self evident truths declared from the Bible... they are just your interpretations as John Calvin saw it.  Interestingly, I'm as much of a Bible believing Christian as you are, as evidenced by this email exchange and my interpretations as also proven from the Bible.

    You suggested I make a straw man argument.  You mentioned a straw man argument is "when you attack a position by erecting a false example that is easily refutable, associate your rival with that false position, and then attach the false position to make your rival's position appear to be invalid."  

    Is this what I am doing...?  Because I don't believe that is what I am doing.

    You mention as an example of a straw man argument that:  " a) the Skeptics Annotated Bible is false... b) Mark, as an "anti-Mormon" is just like the folks who did the Skeptics Annotated Bible... ERGO c) Mark is wrong."

    However, what I am saying is: a) there are people who can take God's Word and turn it into slop... b) Mark, you are turning my beliefs and the Book of Mormon into slop, which MAY also be God's Word... c) Mark, you MAY be wrong.

    Your approach is very myopic and has little self awareness.  You say emphatically that you are the only one with the correct interpretation.  Has not this discussion demonstrated I can do the same? 

    (Wait until you read my next email on PREDESINATION.  It will be forthcoming very soon.)

    Moreover, James Spencer is nothing more than a disaffected member of my Church.  He is as much an insider of Mormonism as those on exchristian.org are insiders of Christianity.  All James has done is subscribed to the critic's views and interpretations of Mormonism. 

    However, I, Jack, have not subscribed to the critics views, and I am also an insider of Mormonism who is telling a very different story.

    Make sense?  

    Now, please note carefully the following few paragraphs:

    You declare that revelation has ceased with the 66 books of the Bible.  Do not the Jews today also declare revelation ceased with the 39 books of the Old Testament? 

    According to them, you and I added 27 books that were not needful... not to mention we also worship a radical named Jesus Christ who said he was God!  According to them, Christians are heretical.

    Can you expand your self awareness and see that as you accuse me... you also are accused?

    No straw man arguments here... the straw man accusation is how you save face.

    And one more thing:

    You say concerning doctrine, "deeper, or the meat so to speak, is not NEW knowledge."

    Mark ? I most definitely believe God can give us additional knowledge consistent with His interpretation of the Bible.  You and I will just have to differ on that point.

    One of our Articles of Faith declares: "We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God" (Articles of Faith 1:9)

    Does not the Bible also declare that God can and will reveal knowledge "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit?"  (Eph 3:5)

    Also, much of the "deep" isn't NEW knowledge, it is LOST knowledge because of how Christianity has evolved over time.  Have you ever considered the history of Christianity and it's evolution through the dark ages, etc.?  

    Mark ? I've copied below something from the "Tongue Firmly and Cheek" Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints; (not a real department in case you missed that.)  It is entirely fabricated by a Jewish convert to Mormonism named John Tvedtnes.  (John Tvedtnes, however, is real person and a real convert, just in case you missed that.) 

    I figured it might better assist in getting my point across.

    This is us making fun of the predictability, the shortsightedness, and the lack of self awareness of those who write essays against Mormonism.  I hope you can see the humor in this.

    Sincerely, Jack

    From the "Tongue Firmly in Cheek" Department

    A Newly Discovered First-Century Document!

    by John Tvedtnes                              

    I recently discovered a mid-first-century A.D. document, Solving The Christian Puzzle, written by Rabbi Yohanan bar Alcalai, and have taken the liberty of translating it from the original Hebrew. I believe the document speaks for itself; it constitutes the remainder of this article:

    You've probably had Christians come around to your door, wanting to engage you in "discussions" about their faith. And maybe, as a good Jew, you've let them in the door. They seem to be nice young men, well-dressed, well-mannered. They may even speak Hebrew or Aramaic, and they may carry the Bible under their arms, but don't be deceived--they are NOT Jewish. Christianity is an insidious cult that seeks to tear real adherents of Judaism away from Moses and the Bible.

    Take, for example, their principal message, about the Messiah. They bring you their "New Testament, Another Witness of the Prophets" and try to convince you that their founder, Jesus, was the Messiah. But believe me, the Christians have a different messiah, not the Messiah of the Bible. While the biblical Messiah is a king who will liberate us from our enemies, the Christian messiah is said to have died for our sins, despite the fact that the Bible teaches that every man is responsible for his own sins (Leviticus 20:19-20). If a man commits murder, for example, he is to be executed for his sin, and there is no provision for someone else dying in his stead (Genesis 9:6). The law of God clearly states that "every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deuteronomy 24:16). For those not guilty of capital crimes, the Bible is clear about the procedure that must be followed in order to be cleansed from sin. One must confess his sins, make restitution for wrongs, and offer the proper sacrifice (Leviticus 4:2-4; Numbers 5:6-7).

    The Christians believe that because their leader died, it is no longer necessary to offer sacrifices at the temple. But the Bible says otherwise, commanding, "thou shalt offer EVERY DAY a bullock for a sin offering for atonement ... two lambs of the first year DAY BY DAY CONTINUALLY" (Exodus 29:36, 38). These sacrifices are to make "THROUGHOUT YOUR GENERATIONS" (Exodus 30:10). Ironically, the founder of the Christian Church was conceived out of wedlock, which, under the law of Moses, disqualifies him from participating in religious functions (Deuteronomy 23:2). The Christians' own scriptures acknowledge that Jesus was a winebibber (Matthew 11:19). The Bible warns us, saying, "a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink" (Micah 2:11). The false prophet Jesus, who also claimed divine prerogatives, was tried and found guilty of high crimes and executed by crucifixion. And yet some people are gullible enough to believe that he was sent by God!

    The Christians claim that their current leader, a sometime fisherman and money-digger (Matthew 17:27) named Simon (who goes under the alias of Peter), along with their other apostles, are prophets who speak with God. But their messages contradict the word of God as given through ancient prophets such as Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah. Prophecy ceased some four centuries ago with Malachi, whose record marks the end of the scriptures God intended to give mankind. The Bible tells us to beware of false prophets (Isaiah 9:15; Jeremiah 28:15), and the Lord warned us through Moses not to add or detract from his word (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32). The Bible, from Genesis to Malachi, is inerrant and all-sufficient, and it is blasphemous to suggest that God should give us additional scriptures, a "new" testament that contradicts in every particular what he has already given us.

    One of Simon Peter's supposed "prophecies" told him not to make a distinction between clean and unclean animals (Acts 10:9-16), despite the fact that the Bible clearly commands that we make such a distinction (Leviticus 10:10; 11:2-31, 41-47; 20:25; Deuteronomy 14:3-20). The "revelation" itself contains a clue to its false nature. It says (verse 10) that Peter was suffering hunger when "he fell into a trance" (Acts 10:10) His supposed "vision" (Acts 10:17)-or should we call it what it really is, an hallucination-was from the feeling in his stomach, not from God. I had a dream very much like Peter's one night, but instead of attributing it to a heavenly revelation, I chalked it up to a morsel of undigested cheese.

    The Christians also say that they have the priesthood, by which they claim to perform ordinances and various miracles. The Bible makes it clear that the priesthood is restricted to the tribe of Levi, and that God curses anyone else who tries to officiate in priesthood functions (2 Chronicles 26:18-19). When Aaron and his sons were anointed, God said, "for their anointing shall surely be an EVERLASTING PRIESTHOOD THROUGHOUT THEIR GENERATIONS" (Exodus 40:15). God made a "covenant of an EVERLASTING PRIESTHOOD" with Aaron's grandson Pinehas (Numbers 25:13), and his descendants still occupy the office of high priest at the temple in Jerusalem. It is people like the Christians whom the Bible condemns because they have "cast out the priests of the Lord, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands so that whosoever cometh to consecrate himself with a young bullock and seven rams, the same may be a PRIEST OF THEM THAT ARE NO GODS" (2 Chronicles 13:9).

    As for the supposed Christian "miracles," it is clear that they do not follow the biblical pattern. Their founder is said to have healed people by telling them their sins were forgiven (Matthew 9:2), while some people were supposedly healed by touching his garment (Matthew 9:20- 22; Mark 6:55-56). This practice of magical rites is confirmed in another Christian scripture, Acts 19:12, which says people can be healed by being touched with handkerchiefs or aprons touched by someone who has healing powers. Even more fantastic is the story in Acts 5:15, where we read that people were healed when the shadow of Peter fell on them!

    The Christians also deny the efficacy of circumcision, wanting to replace it with baptism. But in the Bible God clearly states that circumcision is "a token of the covenant betwixt me and you," and is to be "an everlasting covenant." If a man is not circumcised, God says, "that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant" (Genesis 17:10-14).

    In his "sermon on the mount," the founder of the Christian church openly spoke out against Bible teachings that had been revealed from heaven. Even while professing that he had not "come to destroy the law, or the prophets" (Matt 5:17), he changed the sixth commandment from "thou shalt not kill" to "whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matthew 5:21- 22). He also reworded the seventh commandment, rejecting the words "thou shalt not commit adultery" and substituting, "whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28). And though the Bible specifically says that we should perform oaths in the name of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:13; 10:20), Jesus abrogated the commandment and taught "swear not at all" (Matthew 5:34). He also denounced the biblical law of divorce (Matthew 5:31-32). In the same sermon, he showed his utter depravity and demented state by telling his disciples to pluck out their right eyes and to cut off their right hands (Matthew 5:29- 30). It is hard to believe that anyone could accept someone like this as the Messiah.

    Christians revere their leader as a martyr, one who "gave his life" willingly. Yet the facts tell a different story: When the chief priests came to lawfully arrest this Jesus, his principal disciple (and current leader of the Christians) lashed out with a sword, inflicting serious head wounds upon the high priest's servant! Jesus, the "martyr," was involved in a sword fight shortly before his death!

    Now, you might want to try helping your Christian neighbor find his way to the God of the Bible. But bear in mind that it will be difficult to talk to him because Christians have their own unique definition of biblical terms. So when they use the term "messiah," they're not thinking of the biblical Messiah, but of the criminal Jesus. When they speak of "sacrifice," they don't mean the sacred rites of the temple of God, but refer to the execution of the criminal Jesus. A true Jew understands salvation to be God's intervention in the affairs of men to save his people, Israel, from their enemies. But Christians use the term "salvation" to mean resurrection and going to heaven to live with God. And this comes only if you believe in their other messiah!

    We love the Christian people and need to do everything in our power to bring them back to the God of the Bible. You should, of course, pray for your Christian friends. But you can do more. The ministry we have organized here at Yeshivah Ahuvat ha-Shem needs your help in order to continue its work in exposing the insidious Christian conspiracy against the Jewish people. Please send your love offerings by courier to us at Yavneh-Yam. Thank you and God bless you for your faithfulness and generosity.

  44. Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 14:30 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: Sorry for Chiding

    Hi Jack,

    You said, "although I disagree with you on many things, I appreciate our friendship and respect."

    I can whole-heartedly say "ditto." I have appreciated our correspondence immensely and consider you a friend, disagreements aside.

    As to how I'd like to proceed... I think it would be best for our regular correspondences to come to a close. I think we've both said enough (and probably more than enough).

    I do intend to reply to your email from March 2 (email #41), and am working on that as we speak. The reason I want to do that is because you took a lot of time to present your case for the plurality of gods, et cetera, and so I don't think it's fair to leave you hanging on that. Also, you wrote that before I mentioned that it would be best to draw to a close, so I feel that you deserve a response. So I'll do my best to keep my word on that and get that to you when I can!

    As for your apology for chiding, I appreciate your kind words and I accept your apology. I also offer an apology to you. It was not my intention to take jabs at you personally. I did intentionally present evidence against Mormonism, but I had explained that there is a difference between attacking Mormonism, and attacking Mormons. All the Mormons I have had the privilege to meet seemed like lovely folks to me, and you appear to be no different. I should never attack you. It's the doctrines of the Mormon church that I find horrendous, when compared with the Bible.

    As for "losing" the argument... that's an unfortunate phrase, and I realize that readers of this webpage will likely have different opinions over who is "winning" or "losing." My intention is not to "win" an argument. When our Lord walked the earth (the first and only time - couldn't resist) He wasn't interested in winning arguments, but He was interested in winning men and women.

    I am not at all interested in having you or your Mom concede that you can't argue anymore. I'm interested in seeing you come into a right relationship with the God of the Bible. I'm interested in seeing you repent of the idolatry of Mormonism and cling to the Risen Savior of the Bible.

    I also realize that you want me to repent of two millennia of "apostasy" and come to the Latter Day church that restored what was lost when Jesus left the earth.

    You claim that you are a Bible-believer, and that your doctrine comes from the Bible. But this isn't true. You yourself have said that one requires current revelation (i.e. the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and modern prophets) to know God more correctly. So you do not consider the Bible to be sufficient.

    Does not one of your articles of faith say, "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly" (Article of Faith, #8).

    It's the "as it is translated correctly" part that is used by Mormons as a loophole to discount the clear teaching of Scripture in many places. Ugh.

    I do not believe I have quoted John Calvin to you even once in our discussion (I could be wrong on that though - we have had many many emails!) I'm fairly certain my doctrines have been backed up by the Bible, and not by John Calvin. I'm fairly certain my church's doctrinal statements all have Scripture verses as well - and no references to John Calvin.

    As far as your document on Predestination, I do not think that is necessary, given that we are aiming to come to a close.

    You said, "I most definitely believe God can give us additional knowledge consistent with His interpretation of the Bible."

    To this point I agree. Here's an example:

    In Genesis, God gives the slightest hints about His plan of redemption. He slaughters animals for Adam and Eve, beginning the practice of animal sacrifice. He says that Eve's descendant will be bruised by the serpent, but will ultimately crush the serpent's head. Shadows. Hints of what is to come. Then later in Genesis you learn that this son of Eve will come through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah. More information. Then in Psalm 22 we learn that this man will be crucified. Isaiah 53 tells us that He will have no wickedness and that He will die as an atoning sacrifice for His people! Isaiah 9:6 tells us He will be God himself! How could this be? Still, more revelation comes in time. Micah tells us that He will be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah tells us He'll be born to a virgin.

    But then the Mormons come along and say, "And here's more information to build on that. Jesus was a created being, and the brother of the devil. And Jesus' Father is one of many many gods. We only worship one God, so we're still monotheists, though. Oh, and another thing. Jesus' Father was once a mortal. See, new revelation, just as the New Testament added revelation to the Old!"

    See the vital difference, Jack? In time God reveals NEW information, but not CONTRADICTORY information.

    Mormon doctrine does not build upon the Old and New Testaments, but rather adds contradictory information. The Old and New Testaments say there is only ONE GOD, but the Mormons teach that there are many gods (I know, I know, you say you only worship one of them, but you still believe in the existence of many.)

    This is contradictory to the established Old and New Testament teachings.

    And that leads into the humorous and well-written fictional work "A Newly Discovered First-Century Document" by John Tvedtnes.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that, and I think I "got it." Tvedtnes is obviously a very capable and persuasive writer, but I kept saying the word "except" while I was reading his letter.

    For anyone who didn't read it, Tvedtnes basically came up with a pretend document from the 1st Century AD that was supposed to be written by concerned Jews who wanted to warn people of the "heretical" new sect called Christians. "They want to add 27 books to our established canon of 39 books! They say that the Messiah was crucified when the Bible says He'll be a King and Deliverer! And their founder is a drunkard who hangs out with prostitutes!"

    It's a clever way of attacking Bible-believing Christians like me who say allegedly similar things about the modern-day Mormons. "They want to add books to our established Canon of 66 books! Their founder was a drunkard and charlatan!"

    Tvedtnes' letter was exceptionally clever, but I kept saying the word "EXCEPT."

    Do you know what comes after "except?" It is: "the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ."

    So to go back to the fictional Jews of Tvedtnes' letter. "These pesky Christians want to add 27 books to our established 39... except, because Jesus raised Himself from the dead, He was thus declared by God Himself to be the Son of God."

    Don't believe me? See Romans 1:4.

    Hebrews 1 says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;" (Hebrews 1:1-2).

    The difference between the Christians wanting to add revelation to the established canon, and the Mormons wanting to add to established canon is no trivial one. The difference is that God spoke through His Son and raised Him from the dead to put His seal of approval on it.

    Did Joseph Smith or Brigham Young have any such historical evidences from God? The historical resurrection of Jesus from the dead can be shown as fact despite that it happened 2,000 years ago. Joseph Smith was around a century ago. What evidences does he have on that level?

    Tvedtnes was right when he pointed out that the Christians taught that the Old Testament sacrificial system should come to a close, but he neglected to add the critical missing piece, and that is that because of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we are now in a New and better Covenant, which, by the way, is EXACTLY what God prophesied would happen in Jeremiah 31.

    Back to Romans chapter 1. The Bible says that the gospel of Jesus was "promised afore by [God's] prophets in the holy scriptures" (Romans 1:2). In other words, everything taught in the New Testament was prophesied throughout the Old Testament. The New Testament may have contained New information, but not CONTRADICTORY information. That's what Tvedtnes gets wrong.

    One sees Christ all throughout the Old Testament. One does not see the doctrines of Mormonism all throughout the Old and New Testaments. In fact, the opposite are taught. Want an example? How about two:

    Mormons teach that there exist many gods. The Bible says, "Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." (Isaiah 44:8).

    Mormons teach that men who didn't have the chance to respond to the gospel will get another chance after death. The Bible says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    So to sum up, Tvedtnes' letter is flawed for at least two reasons:

    1. the Historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead proves that God was behind the new revelation (Romans 1:4)
    2. the new revelation of the New Testament was prophesied all throughout the Old Testament, and did not contradict, but added.

    Which leads us to this final point... Mormons then retreat to the "Ah, but the true church of God USED to teach what Mormons now teach, but the Bible was changed through the dark ages."

    You described this position well when you said, "Also, much of the 'deep' isn't NEW knowledge, it is LOST knowledge because of how Christianity has evolved over time.  Have you ever considered the history of Christianity and it's evolution through the dark ages, etc.?"

    The Mormon "prophet" Joseph Fielding Smith described this position even better when he wrote: "Again, following the death of his apostles, apostasy once more set in, and again the saving principles and ordinances of the gospel were changed to suit the conveniences and notions of the people. Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual darkness" (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, p. 266).

    People who hold this position, that the church and Bible have been corrupted over time, demonstrate that they have a very weak grasp of church history and how we got our Bible. The Bible we have today is not the one that went through the hands of zealous Roman Catholic scribes in 15th Century Spain. We have very old manuscripts that agree with our modern Bible.

    Also, what you propose happened is exactly what Jesus promised WOULD NOT happen.

    1 Timothy 3:15 calls the church of God "the pillar and ground of the truth."

    And here's what Jesus said about the church: "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

    Please note that Jesus did NOT say: "I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, except between 100 AD and 1830 AD."

    Also, Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20).

    Please note that Jesus did NOT say: "lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, except between 100 AD and 1830 AD."

    There was no church apostasy as the Mormon church claims. The Bible promises that this would and never could happen. Also, church history shows that there was always a Bible-believing witness from the time of the apostles to now, and this line did not go through your pesky Roman scribes.

    True Bible-believing churches existed since Pentecost, and continued to exist after the formation of the Roman Catholic Church in the forth century. These churches were called by different names as they scattered throughout Europe and Asia. In some places they were known as "Donatists." In other places, "Paulicians," or "Ana-Baptists," or "Waldenses" or one of many other names. All of them had in common the fact that they stood apart from Rome, taught the biblical gospel of grace, and had the marks of a true New Testament church as identified in the Bible. Many of the members of these churches died at the hands of Roman inquisitors for that faith. True Bible-Believing Churches Existed Before the Reformation.

    On October 31, 1517, Luther's 95 Thesis were posted at Wittenberg, but there had been Biblical churches that stood apart from Rome well before that, going back to the Apostles. In fact, these churches existed before the formation of what became today's Roman Catholic Church in the forth century, and well before Joseph Smith started his new church in the 19th Century.

    Many doctrines were added to the Roman Catholic Church during the dark ages, like purgatory, Mariology, the Papacy, et cetera, but these are doctrines that are rejected by the true church of God. Jesus promised to preserve His true church, and that's exactly what He did.

    The Mormon teaching of total church apostasy is not only wrong historically, but it is wrong Biblically as well.

    So where do we go from here? Well, as I have said before, this has to stop sometime, and now is as good a time as any. I do hope you will repent, Jack. I do care about you and I know that if you die now, you will die in your sins and God will justly pour out His wrath on you. You have sinned and you owe a sin debt to God that you cannot pay. The Mormon church offers you no solution to this problem. Please, I beg you, come to the trustworthy true Jesus of the Bible. You can trust the Bible. It is sufficient. It is trustworthy. Anything or anyone that contradicts it is not.

    Please, I beg you, consider your state before the God who hates evil. "God is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalm 7:11). Please, Jack, be reconciled to God.

    with warm regards,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  45. Tuesday, March 13, 2007, 14:38 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: from Jack's mom

    This is from Jack's mom....two things.

    1. IF you believe that YOUR Jesus Christ is a merciful God....and WE( all us mormons )have been led astray and don't know any better (your interpretation, not mine).....THEN why would YOUR Jesus hold us accountable for not knowing any better? That doesn't seem very merciful to me. Why would "we" need to repent if we are so ignorant of our understanding of the bible? Regardless of who is right or who is wrong....I Believe MY Jesus will have mercy on YOU for YOUR interpretations and your ignorance of MY understanding of the bible and that I will be held accountable for not sharing the gospel with you.
    2. You still haven't answered Jack's questions of many times about the 3 minute man that is dying.

    I love MY Jesus, which is the same man you believe in and I believe he loves me just as equally as he loves you...no matter who is right and who is wrong.

    I am proud of Jack for his conversations with you. He is a mormon with integrity and has answered all your questions honestly. You still don't play very nice in the playground Mark. I believe that you finally met an honourable mormon that HAS answered a lot of the "stuff" you put in your mormon cult essay and that he has addressed each and every accusation you have against our religion. But, from what I remember.....in my days of high school history....the USA was founded on freedom of religion and since the very first year of the LDS religion was founded, we have been persecuted..... and you have done your fair share.

    I think you met your match when you "met" Jack. I believe the Lord, through a very mysterious and miraculous way, got the two of you together to help you understand that your version of what mormons believe is not what we really believe in AT ALL and you needed Jack to clarify that for you. I believe that I was an instrument in The Lord's hands to help you come unto repentance and see the error of your ways.

    I am not sure why you choose to end your discussions with Jack except that they are long and costly in time....but Jack predicted that you would pull out of the discussions first...and as always....he is right and knows the truth. I wish you would re consider ending things at this point but that is up to you and Jack.

    I have learned more about the bible since you two have been conversing than at any time in my life and I have enjoyed reading your emails.

    And, as requested prior.....do not print my emails on your website....I have never given permission for you to do so.

    Also...for your sake of time and mine....you don't need to respond to this....unless you HAVE to. I am in complete agreement that we will never see eye to eye on each of our understanding of the bible and their meaning.

    Love to you....Jack's MOM

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  46. Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 3:05 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: Sorry for Chiding

     ****Hi Mark: Your quick response was much appreciated. Shouldn't
    you be working? Anyway, I just wanted to take a few minutes and say some
    things in the same format you generally respond to me. To distinguish my
    comments, I'll start and end each comment with four stars (****). Fair
    enough?****

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Mark Edward Sohmer
    Sent: Tuesday, March 13, 2007 12:41 PM
    To: Jack Evans
    Cc: 'Judy Jensen'
    Subject: Re: Sorry for Chiding

    Hi Jack,

    You said, "although I disagree with you on many things, I appreciate our
    friendship and respect."

    I can whole-heartedly say "ditto." I have appreciated our correspondence
    immensely and consider you a friend, disagreements aside.

    ****One of these days we'll have to share that drink you proposed;
    Although, I don't drink, and I'm not under the impress you do either
    (Although, this discussion is enough to drive me to drink. HA!)****

    As to how I'd like to proceed... I think it would be best for our regular
    correspondences to come to a close. I think we've both said enough (and
    probably more than enough).

    I do intend to reply to your email from March 2 (email #41), and am
    working on that as we speak. The reason I want to do that is because you
    took a lot of time to present your case for the plurality of gods, et
    cetera, and so I don't think it's fair to leave you hanging on that. Also,
    you wrote that before I mentioned that it would be best to draw to a
    close, so I feel that you deserve a response. So I'll do my best to keep
    my word on that and get that to you when I can!

    As for your apology for chiding, I appreciate your kind words and I accept
    your apology. I also offer an apology to you. It was not my intention to
    take jabs at you personally. I did intentionally present evidence against
    Mormonism, but I had explained that there is a difference between
    attacking Mormonism, and attacking Mormons. All the Mormons I have had the
    privilege to meet seemed like lovely folks to me, and you appear to be no
    different. I should never attack you. It's the doctrines of the Mormon
    church that I find horrendous, when compared with the Bible.

    ****I didn't ever take it personally. My concern was losing control
    of this discussion with many topics all at once. Had we started on the
    nature of God, I would have been happy to talk about that. It was all just
    a misunderstanding on both parts. No offence ever taken.****

    As for "losing" the argument... that's an unfortunate phrase, and I
    realize that readers of this webpage will likely have different opinions
    over who is "winning" or "losing." My intention is not to "win" an
    argument. When our Lord walked the earth (the first and only time -
    couldn't resist) He wasn't interested in winning arguments, but He was
    interested in winning men and women.

    I am not at all interested in having you or your Mom concede that you
    can't argue anymore. I'm interested in seeing you come into a right
    relationship with the God of the Bible. I'm interested in seeing you
    repent of the idolatry of Mormonism and cling to the Risen Savior of the
    Bible.

    ****We do believe in the same Risen Savior of the Bible, we just
    have different interpretations of the Risen Savior's gospel, that's all. I
    appreciate your concern, and equally share it with regard to you. We
    absolutely believe and know through the power of the Holy Ghost that the
    Savior in the Bible is the same Savior in the Book of Mormon.****

    I also realize that you want me to repent of two millennia of "apostasy"
    and come to the Latter Day church that restored what was lost when Jesus
    left the earth.

    ****Obviously we believe the apostasy is real as evidenced by the
    Multitude of Christian denominations... but two millennia is not entirely
    correct, because there were other tribes of Israel who had the truth and
    received the visitation from the Savior after His resurrection. John 10:16
    declares, "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I
    must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and]
    one shepherd." This is not speaking about the Gentiles, as many interpret
    it... for Christ's mission during his lifetime was not to the Gentiles.
    This is speaking of other tribes of Israel He visited and ministered to at
    His resurrection... other tribes that have been grafted off the natural
    branch, and place in another part of the vineyard for the purposes of the
    Lord. We literally believe one of those branches is represented by the Book
    of Mormon, specifically from the tribe of Joseph.****

    You claim that you are a Bible-believer, and that your doctrine comes from
    the Bible. But this isn't true. You yourself have said that one requires
    current revelation (i.e. the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl
    of Great Price, and modern prophets) to know God more correctly. So you do
    not consider the Bible to be sufficient.

    **** if these Documents are True and Revealed by God, does it
    matter? Speaking specifically about the Book of Mormon, it was given First,
    as a separate testimony that Jesus is the Messiah, the Truth of which can
    only be learned by the Power of the Holy Ghost. Second, to establish the
    Truth aready found in the Bible. What that Truth is, however, is subject to
    interpretation as this discussion has successfully demonstrated. That's why
    I believe in preparation for the Second Coming, God has brought forth the
    Book of Mormon. To quote from the Book of Mormon "And it came to pass that
    the angel of the Lord spake unto me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God,
    after I have visited the remnant of the house of Israel--and this remnant of
    whom I speak is the seed of thy father--wherefore, after I have visited them
    in judgment... I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch
    that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel,
    which shall be plain and precious, saith the Lamb. For, behold, saith the
    Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many
    things which I shall minister unto them, which shall be plain and
    precious... And in them shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my
    rock and my salvation. And it came to pass that I beheld the remnant of the
    seed of my brethren, and also the book of the Lamb of God (This is the Bible
    Mark) which had proceeded forth from the mouth of the Jew, that it came
    forth from the Gentiles unto the remnant of the seed of my brethren. And
    after it had come forth unto them I beheld other books, which came forth by
    the power of the Lamb, from the Gentiles unto them, unto the convincing of
    the Gentiles and the remnant of the seed of my brethren, and also the Jews
    who were scattered upon all the face of the earth, that the records of the
    prophets and of the twelve apostles of the Lamb are true. (This is saying
    the Book of Mormon will establish the Truth of and in the Bible.) And the
    angel spake unto me, saying: These last records, which thou hast seen among
    the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the
    twelve apostles of the Lamb, and shall make known the plain and precious
    things which have been taken away from them; and shall make known to all
    kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the
    Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto
    him, or they cannot be saved." (1 Nephi 13 in the Book of Mormon.)****



    Does not one of your articles of faith say, "We believe the Bible to be
    the word of God as far as it is translated correctly" (Article of Faith,
    #8).

    **** Yup. But it's not a loop hole. In this discussion I have
    always worked under your assumption that the Bible has been transmitted
    perfectly to us. That assumption is not a threat to my beliefs. Can you
    kindly point out to me one instance in our discussion where I used it as a
    loophole?****

    It's the "as it is translated correctly" part that is used by Mormons as a
    loophole to discount the clear teaching of Scripture in many places. Ugh.

    ****Not a loophole. We don't discount the clear teachings... we
    just have a different interpretation of what the unclear teachings are.****

    I do not believe I have quoted John Calvin to you even once in our
    discussion (I could be wrong on that though - we have had many many
    emails!)

    I'm fairly certain my doctrines have been backed up by the Bible, and not
    by John Calvin. I'm fairly certain my church's doctrinal statements all
    have Scripture verses as well - and no references to John Calvin.

    ****Yes, you have not quoted John Calvin. Sorry if I made a bad
    assumption, but I picked him up from your other writings and postings.
    Also, when it comes to Predestination, independent of your writings, I
    believe most roads lead eventually back through John Calvin, who took the
    ideas of Luther to a much wider extreme... and Luther, Ironically, took most
    of his ideas from a Catholic Bishop named St. Augustine. All these men were
    great men, don't get me wrong, but they did not operate with the fullness of
    the gospel as originally delivered to the Saints.****

    As far as your document on Predestination, I do not think that is
    necessary, given that we are aiming to come to a close.

    ****Mark, to be clear... I said, "Let me know how you would like to
    proceed. If it were up to me, however, I would continue this discussion."
    I have already written 98% of the Predestination reply, and I would really
    like to send it through for posting. In that reply, I have also written a
    response to your Brigham Young quote that was taken out of context, etc. (I
    didn't get to the other quotes yet.) It is extremely important to me that I
    send what I have written through... as important to me as it is important to
    you to send a response through on my comments regarding the nature of God.
    So... if you don't mind, I would like to send it, and then you can end the
    discussion... fair enough? I'm sure you would like the last word on your
    website, but I don't want to be shut out too early when there are still a
    few outstanding issues on the table that I am very passionate about that I
    have not fair chance to address. Make sense?****


    You said, "I most definitely believe God can give us additional knowledge
    consistent with His interpretation of the Bible."

    To this point I agree. Here's an example:

    In Genesis, God gives the slightest hints about His plan of redemption. He
    slaughters animals for Adam and Eve, beginning the practice of animal
    sacrifice. He says that Eve's descendant will be bruised by the serpent,
    but will ultimately crush the serpent's head. Shadows. Hints of what is to
    come. Then later in Genesis you learn that this son of Eve will come
    through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah. More information. Then in Psalm 22
    we learn that this man will be crucified. Isaiah 53 tells us that He will
    have no wickedness and that He will die as an atoning sacrifice for His
    people! Isaiah 9:6 tells us He will be God himself! How could this be?
    Still, more revelation comes in time. Micah tells us that He will be born
    in Bethlehem. Isaiah tells us He'll be born to a virgin.

    But then the Mormons come along and say, "And here's more information to
    build on that. Jesus was a created being, and the brother of the devil.
    And Jesus' Father is one of many many gods. We only worship one God, so
    we're still monotheists, though. Oh, and another thing. Jesus' Father was
    once a mortal. See, new revelation, just as the New Testament added
    revelation to the Old!"

    ****Hey... I've made progress... Why? Because you now admit that we
    don't worship many Gods. Yeaaaahhoooooo. Mark, I'm dying to talk about the
    above... but maybe at a future date in a different discussion. However, for
    now, what I'm about to say are my words alone, and I take full
    responsibility for them. In the expanse of Infinity (my words), there are
    Infinities upon Infinities, each literally an endless Infinity. We are only
    concerned about our Infinity, which by definition is ENDLESS. Clear? Now,
    just a question to get your juices going, the Bible teaches that our
    temporal existence upon this earth is more or less 6,000 years... right?
    What does the Bible teach about what God has been doing for the Infinity
    prior to our 6,000 year existence.... and what does the Bible teach He will
    be doing for the Infinity in the future after this Earth has been completely
    subdued under His feet? To say differently, if you could take a line that
    is Infinitely long in two directions as a measure of time, this earth's time
    of existence isn't even a pin prick on a line. Get it? Can you comprehend
    that there are Worlds without End with God the Father? Now Mark, what I
    have said is all we know as Mormons... and.... it is as much a mystery to me
    as it is to you. But, I believe we have a glimpse into that Endless
    Mystery.... but just a glimpse, nothing more. Moreover, from the Bible we
    know that we are His children, "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God,
    and joint-heirs with Christ" if we are found worthy. (Rom 8:17) Joint-Heirs
    with Christ! We are made in the Image of God, and although right now we are
    unworthy creatures, we can be made worthy through the Blood of Jesus
    Christ.****

    See the vital difference, Jack? In time God reveals NEW information, but
    not CONTRADICTORY information.

    ****contradiction is relative Mark. That has been my whole point
    throughout this entire discussion. I love this discussion... because I
    believe it illustrates that point. Mark... again... look at all the
    different Christian denominations... literally hundreds of different
    denominiations, most of who have some contradiction with the another.****

    Mormon doctrine does not build upon the Old and New Testaments, but rather
    adds contradictory information. The Old and New Testaments say there is
    only ONE GOD, but the Mormons teach that there are many gods (I know, I
    know, you say you only worship one of them, but you still believe in the
    existence of many.)

    **** Remember what I said earlier... Hebrew for God in O.T. is
    Elohiym and it is plural. I also demonstrated that is comes through in the
    Biblical Translation today. "let us make man in our image." (Gen 1) God the
    Father presides over a council of subordinate gods (note small g to denote
    them as jr.) And, we don't worship one of the subordinate gods... we
    worship God the Father. Moreover, the Father and the Son are separate
    beings, did I not also demonstrate that?****

    This is contradictory to the established Old and New Testament teachings.
    And that leads into the humorous and well-written fictional work "A Newly
    Discovered First-Century Document" by John Tvedtnes.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading that, and I think I "got it." Tvedtnes is
    obviously a very capable and persuasive writer, but I kept saying the word
    "except" while I was reading his letter.

    ****I'm glad you like John. Interestingly, I too always find myself
    saying "except" while reading your essays on Mormonism. I still like ya
    though... except... (Just Kidding)****

    For anyone who didn't read it, Tvedtnes basically came up with a pretend
    document from the 1st Century AD that was supposed to be written by
    concerned Jews who wanted to warn people of the "heretical" new sect
    called Christians. "They want to add 27 books to our established canon of
    39 books! They say that the Messiah was crucified when the Bible says
    He'll be a King and Deliverer! And their founder is a drunkard who hangs
    out with prostitutes!"

    It's a clever way of attacking Bible-believing Christians like me who say
    allegedly similar things about the modern-day Mormons. "They want to add
    books to our established Canon of 66 books! Their founder was a drunkard
    and charlatan!"

    ****Mark, to be perfectly clear. We are NOT ATTACKING
    Bible-believing Christians. John is just trying to level the playing
    field... and broaden self awareness. He's sticking up for himself... as his
    beliefs are being attached. That's all.****

    Tvedtnes' letter was exceptionally clever, but I kept saying the word
    "EXCEPT."

    ****Yeah... I know how you feel.****

    Do you know what comes after "except?" It is: "the historical resurrection
    of Jesus Christ."

    So to go back to the fictional Jews of Tvedtnes' letter. "These pesky
    Christians want to add 27 books to our established 39... except, because
    Jesus raised Himself from the dead, He was thus declared by God Himself to
    be the Son of God."

    Don't believe me? See Romans 1:4.

    **** Oh... I, Jack, believe Jesus is raised from the dead as already
    mentioned. But Mark... seriously... where is your self awareness? When a
    Jew reads Romans 1:4, it is like you reading The Book of Mormon 1:4. You
    don't believe in the Book of Mormon, and interestingly, the Jews don't
    believe in the N.T. So, are you going to get very far by just throwing the
    N.T. in a Jew's face? Hmmmm.... I don't think so. However, if the Spirit
    of God is with that Jew as he reads Romans 1:4, then we have a different
    story. Mark: I am telling you, IF YOU WILL STRIP YOURSELF OF THE PREJUDICE
    YOU HARBOR AND BROADEN YOUR AWARENESS, THE VERY SAME SPIRIT THAT TAUGHT YOU
    THAT JESUS IS THE CHRIST WILL ALSO CONFIRM THE TRUTH OF THE BOOK OF MORMON.
    Unfortunately, stripping that prejudice away will be hard because of the
    anti-Mormonism campaign you so firmly believe in. As I said earlier, I
    don't blame you... That's all you know and are WILLING TO ACCEPT, and if I
    understood Mormonism as you do (like the Brigham Young quote taken out of
    context you recently shared) I would not like the Mormons either.
    SERIOUSLY.****

    Hebrews 1 says: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in
    time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken
    unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom
    also he made the worlds;" (Hebrews 1:1-2).

    The difference between the Christians wanting to add revelation to the
    established canon, and the Mormons wanting to add to established canon is
    no trivial one. The difference is that God spoke through His Son and
    raised Him from the dead to put His seal of approval on it.

    Did Joseph Smith or Brigham Young have any such historical evidences from
    God? The historical resurrection of Jesus from the dead can be shown as
    fact despite that it happened 2,000 years ago. Joseph Smith was around a
    century ago. What evidences does he have on that level?

    ****To quote from our history, Joseph Smith declared that he saw the
    Father and the Son in what we term as his first of many visions: "I saw a
    pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which
    descended gradually until it fell upon me... When the light rested upon me I
    saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,
    standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name
    and said, pointing to the other--This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him! (JS-H
    1:16-17) IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN "HIS SEAL OF APPROVAL [IS] ON IT;" IF THIS
    IS NOT TRUE, THEN YOU WIN THIS ENTIRE DEBATE MARK... IT'S THAT EASY.****

    Tvedtnes was right when he pointed out that the Christians taught that the
    Old Testament sacrificial system should come to a close, but he neglected
    to add the critical missing piece, and that is that because of the
    historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we are now in a New
    and better Covenant, which, by the way, is EXACTLY what God prophesied
    would happen in Jeremiah 31.

    Back to Romans chapter 1. The Bible says that the gospel of Jesus was
    "promised afore by [God's] prophets in the holy scriptures" (Romans 1:2).
    In other words, everything taught in the New Testament was prophesied
    throughout the Old Testament. The New Testament may have contained New
    information, but not CONTRADICTORY information. That's what Tvedtnes gets
    wrong.

    ****Hail Hail Mark... I'm with you; but remember, Tvedtnes is
    deliberately joking around here, and deliberately leaving things out to
    demonstrate a point... he is not arguing with you. This was to illustrate a
    point that to the "fictional jew" who wrote this "fictional piece"... this
    jew views the N.T. as a contradiction. Get it? The "fictional jew" could
    not abandon circumcision, because it is an "everlasting covenant" and to
    have it done away with IS a contradiction. LITERALLY. Get it? Perhaps,
    somehow, you transitioned to forgetting this is an entire joke to illustrate
    a point?****

    One sees Christ all throughout the Old Testament. One does not see the
    doctrines of Mormonism all throughout the Old and New Testaments. In fact,
    the opposite are taught. Want an example? How about two:

    Mormons teach that there exist many gods. The Bible says, "Fear ye not,
    neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared
    it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no
    God; I know not any." (Isaiah 44:8).

    ****Mark... what else can I say than what I already have? You do
    recognize that certain Jews crucified Jesus Christ because of a scripture
    like this?... for he also declared that he was a God, literally the Son of
    God. Also, does not the Bible say: "AND the LORD said unto Moses, See, I
    have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy
    prophet." (Exo 1:7) Hmmm... it looks like we have contradiction here...
    because the Lord called Moses a god to Pharoah. And Moses is the one who
    wrote this... how presumptuous of him. With your methodology, I think we
    should declare the O.T. heretical. (Sarcasm.) Interestingly, When you look
    at the translation of "a god to Pharaoh", god is Elohiym in Hebrew... the
    very same Hebrew word used to denote God in Genesis 1 for the creation.
    This is a serious offence! 😉 I can keep going if you want.****

    Mormons teach that men who didn't have the chance to respond to the gospel
    will get another chance after death. The Bible says, "And as it is
    appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews
    9:27).

    ****The Bible also says, "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand
    before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is
    [the book] of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were
    written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the
    dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were
    in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Rev
    20:12) Mark: This is speaking about resurrection and judgment. All men
    resurrect; all bad and all good. It is a free gift, in the very sense that
    you define grace, regardless of their actions. This is different from
    salvation as defined by living with God in the eternities which has been the
    subject of our entire discussion thus far. We have not discussed
    resurrection yet. Now, the Final Judgment coincides with resurrection, not
    death, and when men resurrect, they "shall come forth; they that have done
    good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the
    resurrection of damnation." (John 5:29) After death is judgment... but
    immediately after death, in the spirit world, prior to resurrection there is
    only a partial judgment. OK? There is a time between death and
    resurrection where the souls of men await the resurrection. Also Mark...
    the rich man suffering in hell in Luke 16 was separated by a "great gulf
    fixed." Those who hear the gospel in the Spirit world are on the other side
    of that gulf, not in Hell. Got it? This rich man had his chance
    (figuratively), and the gospel being preached to the dead is a CHANCE FOR
    THOSE WHO HAD NO CHANCE, NOT A SECOND CHANCE REPENTENCE SKEEM. It is for
    those on the other side of the gulf. Concerning this other side... for
    those who knew Christ, it is termed by us paradise, and for those who have
    yet to know Him but are also not worthy of Hell, it is termed prison. It is
    not a second chance repentance skeem, and that's why Abraham declares that
    the remaining living, "Have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them."
    (Luke 16:19-31) Mark, to say again... only those who don't have "Moses and
    the prophets" (figuratively speaking) get the opportunity in the spirit
    world. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the
    unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but
    quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits
    in prison... For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are
    dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live
    according to God in the Spirit." (1 Pet 3:18-19 and 4:6) I get frustrated
    because we have really spent little time on this... (and that's partly my
    fault to stay to a more specific topic.) I could write pages and pages with
    multiple other Bible scriptures. And Mark... (I'm just picking on you here
    and being silly)..... you might want to talk with Rich Mullins about where
    Christ was for three days between death and resurrection. You say he was in
    Heaven with God, but Rich says, "I believe that He who suffered was
    crucified, buried and dead. He descended into hell and on the third day He
    rose again!" http://www.sohmer.net/rich.htm Rich, I don't know you, but you
    are much closer than Mark on where Christ was those three days. I believe
    he was on the other side of the "great gulf fixed", establishing a
    missionary effort for those who had no chance to learn of Him while in this
    life. Mark, you are right that the thief on the cross was in paradise... but
    paradise in the spirit world is not the same paradise the souls of men will
    inherit after their resurrection. Cool?****

    So to sum up, Tvedtnes' letter is flawed for at least two reasons:

    1) the Historical resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead proves that
    God was behind the new revelation (Romans 1:4)
    2) the new revelation of the New Testament was prophesied all throughout
    the Old Testament, and did not contradict, but added.

    ****Mark, I luv ya man... but you have jumped up on the horse, only
    to fall of the other side. Again Tvedtnes is joking... and it is "flawed"
    on purpose. Ok? Now Mark... how are you going to prove the resurrection of
    Christ? (Although, I certainly believe it.) Can you prove the resurrection
    to a "orthodox" Jew or Athiest, etc. etc. by quoting the New Testament to
    them? Try it and see how far you get with their traditions and prejudice.
    Again... Romans 1:4 will prove to them nothing, unless they open their
    hearts, humble themselves, be completely honest, have a healthy self
    awareness, and allow the Holy Ghost to witness it to them. And, again... TO
    THE ORTHODOX JEW, THERE ARE MANY CONTRADICTIONS. Read Tvedtnes again.****

    Which leads us to this final point... Mormons then retreat to the "Ah, but
    the true church of God USED to teach what Mormons now teach, but the Bible
    was changed through the dark ages."

    You described this position well when you said, "Also, much of the 'deep'
    isn't NEW knowledge, it is LOST knowledge because of how Christianity has
    evolved over time. Have you ever considered the history of Christianity
    and it's evolution through the dark ages, etc.?"

    ***Thank you... I aim to describe my position well.***

    The Mormon "prophet" Joseph Fielding Smith described this position even
    better when he wrote: "Again, following the death of his apostles,
    apostasy once more set in, and again the saving principles and ordinances
    of the gospel were changed to suit the conveniences and notions of the
    people. Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and a false order of
    religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as it had been
    the case in former dispensations, and the people were left in spiritual
    darkness" (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, p. 266).

    ****Amen. I should clarify... there were still true Christians
    during what we term the apostacy, but these Christians didn't have a
    fullness anymore. Regardless, these True Christians are Full Heirs. We
    don't believe they are lost, they just didn't have a fullness of Truth as
    originally taught.****

    People who hold this position, that the church and Bible have been
    corrupted over time, demonstrate that they have a very weak grasp of
    church history and how we got our Bible. The Bible we have today is not
    the one that went through the hands of zealous Roman Catholic scribes in
    15th Century Spain. We have very old manuscripts that agree with our
    modern Bible.

    ****Mark... Please please let's continue this discussion and talk
    about manuscripts. PLEASE? I can't do this justice here in this email. I
    agree that they are old, but we have not one original manuscript. NOT ONE
    ORIGINAL manuscript as penned by the original author. All we have are copies
    of copies. Check for yourself. Moreover, have you ever considered what John
    Mill did in 1707? To explain: Biblical scholars were not forcefully
    confronted with the uncertainty of their texts until the early eighteenth
    century. The floodgates opened in 1707, when an Oxford scholar named John
    Mill published an edition of the Greek New Testament that contained a
    critical apparatus systematically and graphically detailing the differences
    among the surviving witnesses of the NT. Mill had devoted some thirty years
    of his life to examining a hundred or so Greek MSS, the early versions of
    the NT, and the citations of the NT in the writings of the church fathers.
    His apparatus did not include all of the differences that he had uncovered
    in his investigation, but only the ones that he considered significant for
    the purposes of exegesis or textual reconstruction. These, however, were
    enough. To the shock and dismay of many of his contemporaries, Mill's
    apparatus indicated some 30,000 places of variation, 30,000 places where the
    available witnesses to the NT text differed from one another. Numerous
    representatives of traditional piety were immediately outraged, and promptly
    denounced Mill's publication as a demonic attempt to render the text of the
    NT uncertain. Mill's supporters, on the other hand, pointed out that he had
    not invented these 30,000 places of variation, but had simply noticed them.
    One positive outcome of the dispute was that a number of competent,
    classically-trained scholars entered into the fray, such disparate
    personalities as Richard Bentley and Johann Albrecht Bengel, and eventually
    such greats as Karl Lachmann and J. J. Griesbach. For the most part these
    scholars were less interested in discovering differences in our manuscripts
    than in figuring out what to do with the differences, with the ultimate
    objective of establishing the so-called original text, that is, the text as
    actually written by the New Testament authors themselves. Now Mark...
    unless you consider Bentley, Bengel, Lachmann, Griesbach, etc. etc
    absolutely perfect, I think it is safe to say that there could be some
    issues with the translation we have today. Heck Mark... there are issues
    with just some of the different versions we have today when you read
    closely.****


    Also, what you propose happened is exactly what Jesus promised WOULD NOT
    happen.

    1 Timothy 3:15 calls the church of God "the pillar and ground of the truth."

    And here's what Jesus said about the church: "I will build my church; and
    the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

    Please note that Jesus did NOT say: "I will build my church; and the gates
    of hell shall not prevail against it, except between 100 AD and 1830 AD."

    Also, Jesus said, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them
    in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching
    them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am
    with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:19-20).

    Please note that Jesus did NOT say: "lo, I am with you alway, even unto
    the end of the world, except between 100 AD and 1830 AD."

    There was no church apostasy as the Mormon church claims. The Bible
    promises that this would and never could happen. Also, church history
    shows that there was always a Bible-believing witness from the time of the
    apostles to now, and this line did not go through your pesky Roman
    scribes.

    ****So Mark, what about 2 Thess 2:3 which says concerning the second
    coming of Christ, "... for that day shall not come, except there come a
    falling away first?" Also... what about these scriptures? (Make sure you
    read every one before you make a comment.) Acts 20:29, Rom 11:21, 1 Cor
    1:11, 1 Cor 3:3, 1 Cor 4:18, 1 Cor 11:18, 2 Cor 2:17, Gal 1:6, Gal 3:1, Col
    2:22, 1 Tim 1:6, 1 Tim 1:19, 1 Tim 4:1, 2 Tim 1:15, 2 Tim 2:18, 2 Tim 3:5, 2
    Tim 4:4, Titus 1:10, Tit 1:16, James 4:1, 2 Pet 2:1, 2 Pet 2:22, 2 Pet 3:17,
    1 Jn 2:18, 1 Jn 4:1, 3 Jn 1:9, Jude 1:4, Rev 2:2, Rev 2:5, Rev 3:16, Rev
    11:7.****

    True Bible-believing churches existed since Pentecost, and continued to
    exist after the formation of the Roman Catholic Church in the forth
    century. These churches were called by different names as they scattered
    throughout Europe and Asia. In some places they were known as "Donatists."
    In other places, "Paulicians," or "Ana-Baptists," or "Waldenses" or one of
    many other names. All of them had in common the fact that they stood apart
    from Rome, taught the biblical gospel of grace, and had the marks of a
    true New Testament church as identified in the Bible. Many of the members
    of these churches died at the hands of Roman inquisitors for that faith.
    True Bible-Believing Churches Existed Before the Reformation.

    ****Mark... I'm tired... it's 12:49AM now on Wednesday morning and
    I've gotta go to bed... care to discuss your above further in future
    discussion? It would require us to continue, and not close our discussion.
    What if I say pretty please? (sarcasm again... I get funny when I get tired.
    Don't feel any pressure... these emails take a lot of my time too.)****

    On October 31, 1517, Luther's 95 Thesis were posted at Wittenberg, but
    there had been Biblical churches that stood apart from Rome well before
    that, going back to the Apostles. In fact, these churches existed before
    the formation of what became today's Roman Catholic Church in the forth
    century, and well before Joseph Smith started his new church in the 19th
    Century.

    ****Joseph Smith didn't start the Church, God did. Mormonism isn't
    a reformation, it is a restoration. Did not John the Beloved declare that in
    our day he saw, "...another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the
    everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every
    nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people?" (Rev 14:6) Moreover, does not
    the Bible teach, "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may
    be blotted out, when the time of refreshing shall come from the presence of
    the Lord, And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto
    you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all
    things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since
    the world began?" (Acts 3:19-21) Shall I share more?****

    Many doctrines were added to the Roman Catholic Church during the dark
    ages, like purgatory, Mariology, the Papacy, et cetera, but these are
    doctrines that are rejected by the true church of God. Jesus promised to
    preserve His true church, and that's exactly what He did.

    The Mormon teaching of total church apostasy is not only wrong
    historically, but it is wrong Biblically as well.

    ****Fair enough. That's your opinion. My opinion: As mentioned
    earlier, through the apostacy, there were True Christians... I don't
    disagree. However, he also preserves and reveals Truth through continuing
    revelation and living prophets, just like Isaiah, Moses, Peter, James, John
    etc. etc. Just like in days of old? Do you have any prophets like those of
    old? If not, why then declare that God is the same yesterday, today, and
    forever? Moreover, once the printing press was invented... that seemed like
    a perfect time to bring forth additional scripture in preparation for His
    second coming. Don't underestimate God's inspiration on the inventing of the
    printing press. More later? (Yawn)****

    So where do we go from here? Well, as I have said before, this has to stop
    sometime, and now is as good a time as any. I do hope you will repent,
    Jack. I do care about you and I know that if you die now, you will die in
    your sins and God will justly pour out His wrath on you. You have sinned
    and you owe a sin debt to God that you cannot pay. The Mormon church
    offers you no solution to this problem. Please, I beg you, come to the
    trustworthy true Jesus of the Bible. You can trust the Bible. It is
    sufficient. It is trustworthy. Anything or anyone that contradicts it is
    not.

    Please, I beg you, consider your state before the God who hates evil. "God
    is angry with the wicked every day." (Psalm 7:11). Please, Jack, be
    reconciled to God.

    ****Mark, I appreciate your words. I really do. I feel the same
    towards you. Just keep in mind... according to your doctrine, my path is
    already predestined by God. According to your doctrine, it's not my choice,
    so why do you keep inviting me into your Church? Predestination takes away
    the free agency of man. Foreordination, which is how the Greek really
    portrays the verse, does not take away the free agency of man. Sounds like
    you should get a little more involved in the "old manuscripts." God Bless
    you Mark.****

    with warm regards,

    Mark

    ****Most affectionately, Jack****

    ****(Note the time I sent this email... see what you're doing to me?
    Just in case you wondered, Merrily gave me the full go ahead to write
    this... so you'll be pleased to know I have not neglected her (And never
    will.) Please also give my kindest regards to Shelby. Please forgive any
    errors... I didn't proof read this closely.)****

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  47. Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 15:18 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    > Hello Mark:
    >
    >

    Hi Jack!

    >
    > It's been a while. I sincerely hope things are going well for you and
    > your
    > family. I know how life can get sometimes with multiple responsibilities.
    >

    We're all doing very well, thank you. My sincere regards to your family as well. 🙂

    >
    >
    > In your absence, I have been thinking a lot about this discussion as
    > evidenced by this email. Funny. although I haven't heard from you, you've
    > really been with me every day. You're always in my thoughts. I'm having
    > discussions with you (in my mind) as I drive to work. your words are
    > always
    > ringing in my ears. and you're always in my prayers.
    >

    This is because of Psalm 37:37. You may want to check that out. But it only works in the King James version. It'll be worth your time. Psalm 37:37. 

    >
    > My wife mentioned recently that I shouldn't forget I'm married to her, not
    > you.
    >

    Wise woman there!

    In my last email to you, on March 8, I mentioned that we should draw our communication to a close. Your wife touched on one of the major reasons I believe this should be so. Your latest email that I am now responding to is 30 pages in Microsoft Word! (Quite lengthy). However, you sent this email to me before I told you that we should draw to a close, so I think it's fair for me to answer this email.

    >
    > Mark - despite our differences, I hope you know that I consider you a
    > friend, and equally hope you feel the same back. I regret having raised
    > my
    > voice a little in discussions past. Charity "is not easily provoked", and
    > at
    > times I've been easily provoked. Alternatively, Charity, "is kind" (1 Cor
    > 13:4-5). and I will make an honest effort to avoid an unhealthy spirit of
    > contention. (Healthy debate, on the other hand, is most welcomed and
    > encouraged.) I hope you feel the same.
    >

    I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you better, Jack, and I hope my desire to close this conversation does not communicate that I'm no longer interested in keeping in touch. Quite the contrary!

    >
    > As always, I am concerned that addressing multiple topics all at once will
    > overload you and this discussion. I hope you don't abandon this
    > conversation. "for better or for worse." However, I would like to give you
    > more of what you have been asking for in recent emails: answers to your
    > accusations.
    >

    Fantastic!

    >
    > I'll start with a few baby steps in this email. and then we'll move
    > forward
    > one step at a time. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a journey. the most
    > amazing journey a person can take. (As I believe you already know.)
    >
    > Let me explain further:
    >
    > You mentioned in one of your earlier emails:
    >
    > ". the LDS church says that there are doctrines that are like "calculus."
    > They're too advanced to understand at first. What I really think is the
    > situation is that the doctrines are soooo against what is know to be
    > orthodox Christianity that the LDS church dare not tell potential converts
    > for fear of scaring them off. So I don't buy the whole "these doctrines
    > are
    > like calculus" argument. That's a cop out." (see email #30.)
    >

    Yes, I remember.

    >
    > I don't want to be thought of as a cop out. and I didn't share that
    > analogy
    > so that I could avoid talking with you about the specific accusations.
    >

    When you first brought up the "Calculus" illustration, it reminded me of what more than a few Mormon missionaries have told me when I brought up the LDS doctrines of the nature of God, the nature of Jesus, the nature of man, false prophecy, et cetera. They have all universally said something to the effect of, "If you become a member of our church and study for years and years, then you will understand."

    >
    > Mark -"calculus" means the doctrine is complete, and can handle a stress
    > test of careful, honest, deep questioning and thought. It's the honesty
    > and
    > thinking that are advanced, not the doctrine. Some of the things of God
    > are
    > deep. "for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, [even] the deep things
    > of
    > God." (1 Cor 2:10)
    >

    Interestingly, this verse does not mean what you propose it means. When you read the whole context of this passage in 1 Corinthians, you'll find that it says:

    "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Corinthians 2:9-12).

    The key to understanding this passage is the beginning of verse 11, "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit."

    To paraphrase, it says: Nobody can know the amazing things that God has prepared, except for the fact that God has revealed those amazing things to us so that we DO KNOW. Nobody can know the deep things of God because they're so deep (you used that part but left out the rest...) but because we received God's Spirit, God has revealed these things to us!

    Please note verse 12, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Corinthians 2:12).

    This is 180 degrees different than what you were saying.

    So your comment that the things of God are deep is incomplete, and thus your implication false. The things of God are deep, but God has revealed these deep things via His Spirit. That missing piece of info completely changes that Scripture and shows that you misused 1 Corinthians 2:10.

    As an aside, it is always helpful to read a whole passage of Scripture, and never just a verse, or part of a verse.

    >
    > An important inference of my mathematics analogy is that the principles of
    > addition and subtraction are not compromised when you start talking about
    > algebra and calculus. You don't abandon addition to discuss calculus.
    >
    > The things of God have to be learned by the Spirit of God as we study the
    > Bible. Not by just our intellect alone; that is trusting in the arm of
    > flesh. The Spirit of God invokes a complete and utter honesty and order
    > in
    > the evaluation of Truth.
    >
    > Here is a different way of saying the analogy: it is like building a home.
    > You can't properly build the roof, without first laying a solid foundation
    > and building the walls. Only then can you successfully build the roof.
    > The
    > roof isn't difficult to build, but it is impossible to erect without a
    > foundation and walls. It needs to be done in order.
    >
    > Get it?
    >

    I understand what you're saying, but I just do not find it persuasive. The Mormon doctrine that God was once a man, for instance. I don't think that's like a roof. I think Mormon missionaries don't bring it up because it will strike just about anybody as goofy, and scare off potential new members. When I peruse mormon.org, it is very vague about what the church teaches about God, Jesus, man, et cetera. It is written extremely vaguely. This is much different in style to the doctrinal statement of Fellowship Bible Church, for instance.

    Under "Nature of God," mormon.org says only:

    "Most people believe in a Supreme Being, even though they may call Him by different names.

    We know that God, our Heavenly Father, lives. He knows you and each of us and loves us all as His children.

    We are commanded to love God (Matthew 22:36-38). Jesus Christ taught that we must know the only true God to have eternal life (John 17:3). As His children, we must know who He is and what He is like.

    As you come to know and love God, you will find greater peace and joy, both in this life and in the life to come."

    Nothing about the fact that he wasn't always God. No hint that he's anything different than how most people view God. Yet the Mormon church teaches that God the Father is quite different than how most people understand Him to be. Your email gives evidence to this as you make your case for the Mormon god.

    >
    > You suggested that the doctrines are "too advanced to understand," which
    > isn't fair. What I really was suggesting was order.
    >
    > Order.
    >
    > It's our honesty that is advanced, not the doctrine.
    >
    > (Sigh.)
    >
    > Most importantly right now, I'm trying to get to some of the deeper
    > implications of our 3-minute man scenario you proposed. I'm asking you
    > deeper questions with more careful thought.
    >
    > Already, with my first follow up question, we've established that the
    > 3-minute man's prayer and confession must be sincere and not a
    > proclamation
    > of "fire insurance", which means you have gravitated a little towards my
    > original view: it depends.
    >
    > With my third follow up question about the 3-minute man that you have yet
    > to
    > answer, I introduced two men into the scenario. The implications of your
    > answer get even more profound. and this is how the Truth of the situation
    > will emerge. if you're honest.
    >
    > Now. I'm waiting for an answer to the two 3-minute man scenario, and this
    > is
    > where I want to focus this discussion as a good "steward". but while
    > waiting. and since you've been silent for so long, I've taken the liberty
    > to
    > demonstrate that I'm not copping out; hence this email about an entirely
    > different subject.
    >

    Is this the one where you said: "Suppose that now two men get stabbed and each have 3 minutes to live. Both have lead the exact same life, with the exact same intentions,  equally mocking God their entire life as you suggested. The ONLY difference in their lives, is that immediately after the stabbing, one  staggers North and runs into you on the street, while the other staggers South dying alone in an alley. You help the one to the North with his 1 minute prayer and confession, but unfortunately, the man in the South made no such confession before dying. Both were on the path to Hell. What happens?"

    If so, then I answered that in my email on March 8. I said at that time, "It is no accident that one man went south and one went north. God ordains ALL that comes to pass.

    If God wanted to save the first person, and thus sovereignly directed him to me, and this person TRULY repented and put his faith in the correct Jesus, then that person would be justified (made right in God's sight) in an instant, and would be with God in heaven when he died.

    I know you get offended by the idea that a person can mock God all his life and be made right without any works, but that is the Biblical message. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5).

    The mans repentance must be genuine, and that's between him and God. But if he truly is broken up over his sin and has truly repented and trusts Jesus alone to cover his sins, then he is justified."

    >
    > This is what you've been asking for, and I've been holding back.
    >
    > As I mentioned in my previous email, I read our entire discussion multiple
    > times over the past month in your silence, and the reoccurring theme is:
    > Mormons won't tell the whole truth and they hide from answering the
    > accusations put forth by critics.
    >

    This appears to be the case, as evidenced by my experience with Mormon missionaries when asked point-blank questions, as well as the chilling vagueness at mormon.org.

    >
    > While reading, I did my best to completely strip myself of any prejudice I
    > also might have (and I have my prejudices too). I wanted to truly see
    > from
    > your point of view. I prayed earnestly, and each time I read, I got a
    > better sense of where you are coming from, and I feel a great deal of
    > empathy for you and your positions.
    >
    > If I understood Mormonism the same way you understand it, I wouldn't like
    > the Church either. Honestly. I'm not just patronizing you.
    >
    > Of course, however, I also know this Church differently. and I know it by
    > experience. and it is not the same Church you portray.
    >

    Okay, then I look forward to hearing your case. I've read actual Mormon scriptures, and I don't see how I've understood the church wrong in regard to major Theological issues.

    >
    > I also noticed that in my effort to keep us to one topic, you have become
    > frustrated because some accusations you have put forth have gone
    > unanswered.
    > You are frustrated because you think I'm being elusive and am not a Mormon
    > with integrity. Although I don't think it's a fair conclusion, I can see
    > where you're coming from.

    > I've been ignoring some of your issues. but not because I want to be
    > elusive. All I'm trying to do is maintain control of this discussion and
    > hold each other more accountable for what we say. in the moment. in order.
    > one topic at a time. not 50 pages later. That's all.
    >
    > (I think this luxury is impossible to achieve in a discussion such as
    > this.)

    > I'm going to forget it for now (just for now), and indulge you a little so
    > that you can see that I really am just holding back with you, not because
    > I
    > don't know what to say. Not because I am elusive or ashamed.

    > You are so confident in what you think you know about Mormons; yet
    > unfortunately for you, it plays really well into my hand. Why? Because
    > you
    > declare sensational and distorted things, and I get the satisfaction of
    > exposing your scholarship while you post it on your website. (I'm not
    > saying
    > that to be disrespectful. in fact I find you to be quite intelligent. just
    > not about Mormonism.)
    >

    I'm glad then that you're sending this email finally!  🙂

    >
    > And if you could kindly scrap the approach that you know better than I
    > what
    > Mormons believe, it would be helpful. and serve you well.
    >

    I do not claim to know the Mormon church better than you, but I do think I'm in a better position to hold the Mormon church accountable for so-called "divine revelations" they have proclaimed throughout the years, as well as aberrant Theology that contradicts the Bible, than you are. An investigative reporter digging into a corporate scandal is much more likely to not hold back than a corporate insider who has all his stocks in the company he's supposed to be investigating. All I'm saying is that you are hardly impartial.

    >
    > In this email, I want to address specifically a few topics that you have
    > continually brought up in our correspondence, namely: the nature of God
    > and
    > us becoming gods.
    >

    Those are significant "problems" with Mormonism.

    >
    > But. before I do, I just wanted to say a few things quickly about other
    > accusations you keep bringing up. (.just to whet your appetite, and hold
    > you
    > at bay until later.) I've identified 4 of them, although I know there are
    > more.
    >
    > First, you are misinformed about the gospel being preached to the dead.
    > It
    > is biblical. (Isa 24:22, 1 Peter 3:18 & 4:6, Mal 4:5-6) These are a few
    > references, but it's really all over the Bible. and we'll get into it at a
    > more appropriate time.

    Isaiah 24:22: "And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited." (Isaiah 24:22).

    Okay, so you think this is teaching that the dead who did not get the chance to hear the Mormon gospel will get another chance after they die?

    Yikes.

    Okay, let's look at the whole passage:

    "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously." (Isaiah 24:21-23).

    I do not doubt that you honestly see the Mormon doctrine of getting a chance after death, but that's because you already believe that doctrine and are reading it into the text. This practice is sometimes sarcastically referred to as "isogesis." I do not believe that anyone readying the Scriptures honestly without a prejudice would read that and say, "Hey, this passage teaches that those who do not get a chance to respond to God's salvation will get a second chance after they die!" Nobody would read it that way when they read the text plainly and honestly!

    This passage is about God's wrath that is to come to both fallen angels "the host of the high ones" and to those who are esteemed to be important on earth "the kings of he earth." Both classes will be sent to hell, where they will be visited and judged and condemned. There is no mention of them getting a chance to repent at that point. Also, "the host of the high ones" does not sound like people who never had a chance to hear the right gospel, as you say. Certainly angels would have had the chance to hear the gospel.
     
    You mentioned 1 Peter 3:18 as proof that those who never got a chance get a chance after death. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:" (1 Peter 3:18).

    I honestly can not fathom how you derive that from this Scripture. I am not trying to be mean. I just don't see it at all.

    After reading the passage, I suspect you meant 1 Peter 3:19: "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;" (1 Peter 3:19).

    The whole passage says: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Peter 3:18-20).

    Verse 20 tells us who these "spirits in prison" are. They are people who were alive during the time of Noah. During that time, the gospel was preached by Noah. "Repent or drown." At that time, people could believe God and do something about it, or not believe, and perish as a result. And God was serious. According to the Scriptures, everybody on the planet except 8 people were killed. So Peter is saying, "if God did that to those people back then, He'll do it to you too, so repent!"

    Yes, God did "preach to the spirits in prison" but it doesn't say that He did it while they were in prison (a common metaphor for being dead.)

    Think of it this way. You go and preach the gospel to a group of people before they take off on an airplane. Then the plane crashes and they all die. It could be correctly said, "Jack preached to those dead people who died on the plane" but that doesn't mean that Jack preached to them AFTER they died.

    Remember, the key to understanding verse 19, "By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;" is to read verse 20, "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water." (1 Peter 3:20).

    God was so patient to the people in Noah's day, but God's patience is not infinite. Eventually, these people, who now are dead, were judged. Eventually it was too late for them. And so it will be for us. Once we die - it's over.

    An honest read of this passage (note, passage, not just a verse) would never lead a person to conclude that those who didn't get a chance to hear the gospel will get a chance after death.

    You mentioned 1 Peter 4:6: "For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit." (1 Peter 4:6).

    Ah, I think I can see what you're saying here. I believe you're saying that this passage teaches that there are some people, who, after they died, were preached the gospel, and as a result got to "live according to God in the spirit."

    Jack, context, context, context.

    Here's what the passage says: "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Peter 4:3-7).

    To paraphrase, "We used to live just like the unbelievers, with lust, drunkenness, partying, and abominable idolatry. We used to be just like that! And the people who do those things think it's weird that you don't join them any longer in that behavior, and they even talk evil about you as a result, but they shall give account to God. (and here comes your verse...) Since God will judge the quick (Christians) and the dead (non-Christians) those brothers of yours who became Christians, but then died physically, will one day live in the spirit. And that time is coming soon, so hang in there."

    Remember Jack, a HUGE problem for the early church was "What happens to Christians who die before Jesus returns?" Paul answers this in 1 Thessalonians 4, and Peter addresses it more casually here.

    Finally, you mentioned Malachi 4:5-6: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6).

    I am wracking my small brain to try to figure out how one would get from this that the dead who never had the chance to hear the Mormon gospel will get a chance after death.

    Is it because Elijah is dead and therefore since he is preaching, he's preaching to dead people? I really don't get it.

    Elijah never died. He was taken, as Enoch was.

    Also, John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy, since Jesus said, "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come." (Matthew 11:13-14).

    I don't doubt that you believe that the gospel will be preached to the dead, but this is not found in the Scriptures you mentioned. One must have a pre-belief in this doctrine and read that pre-belief back into the text, because that doctrine is clearly not in the text itself.

    >
    > For now, your Lazarus story and the timing of
    > judgment is duly noted. But, I want to say again, it is a chance for
    > those
    > who had no chance. Read what I originally said. You keep calling it a
    > second
    > chance, and it's not a second chance repentance scheme. it's a chance for
    > those who had no chance to learn of Christ prior to their death.
    >

    Point noted. For clarification, you are NOT saying that people who rejected the Mormon gospel get a second chance after death. But those who didn't have a chance, like Alvin, will get a first chance after death. Either way this is rejected for the same reasons.

    "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27).

    Also, please consider Isaiah 38:18-19: "For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth." (Isaiah 38:18-19).

    Dead people can not hope to get a chance to praise God. "They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth." Once you're dead, it's too late, according to Scripture.

    >
    > Interestingly, I agree 100% about all men having a conscience given by
    > God.
    > we call it the "light of Christ," whether men recognize it or not.
    >

    This is Romans, Chapter 1. I'm glad you agree.

    >
    > Second, I believe that Joseph Smith absolutely referred to the King James
    > Bible (the only translation he had) while translating the Isaiah portions
    > of
    > the Book of Mormon, etc. I'll get into the details of it later. Just keep
    > this in mind: you are confused as to the process of using the Urim and
    > Thummim, the revelatory medium used to translate the Book of Mormon, and
    > also used by other patriarchs, such as Aaron and Moses. Moreover, there
    > are
    > many instances where meaningful differences are evident. differences with
    > profound implications that shine even a brighter light on the gospel of
    > Jesus Christ.
    >

    I think you're addressing the problematic issue of plagiarism within the Book of Mormon? Yes, this is a HUGE problem with the Book of Mormon.

    David Wittmer, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, wrote: "I will now give you a description of the manner in which the book of Mormon was translated. Joseph Smith would put the seer stone into a hat, and put his face in the hat. Drawing it closely around his face to exclude the light and in the darkness the spiritual light would shine a piece of something resembling parchment would appear and on that appeared the writing one character a time would and under was an interpretation in English. Thus the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and not by any power of man." (An Address To All Believers In Christ, by David Whitmer, Richmond, Missouri, 1887, p. 12).

    So according to this Mormon witness, the Book of Mormon was translated miraculously one letter at a time.

    In 1844 Joseph Smith declared that the Book of Mormon was "the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts than by any other book" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 194, and History of the Church, 4:461).

    So with that in mind, that the Book of Mormon is supposed to be the most correct book on earth, and that it was supernaturally given to Joseph Smith one character at a time, it is a fatal problem for Mormonism that the Book of Mormon can be shown to be plagiarized from a 17th Century Bible translation.

    Why does this matter? It matters because the Mormon church teaches that the Book of Mormon was written by Mormon in the 4th Century, and then translated one character at a time miraculously by Joseph Smith in the 19th Century. Again, written in the 4th Century, but translated supernaturally in the 19th Century.

    The problem is with the italicized letters in the King James. If anyone has ever translated from one language to another, it is often the case that you have to add clarifying words to make the text flow better in the translated language. Nothing big - just small clarifying words here and there. The King James translators placed these words in italics to indicate when they did this. So these italicized words are not in the original text. They were added by the 17th Century translators.

    However, the Book of Mormon (allegedly written in the 4th Century), when it quotes the Bible, often contains the exact same italicized words that were added by the King James translators in the 17th Century!

    So how did a 4th Century book get 17th Century words and phrases in it?

    It is likely that it is NOT a 4th Century book, as the LDS church claims, but rather a work of fiction written in the 19th Century, which made use of the King James Bible that was freely available to Joseph Smith at the time.

    Zealous Mormon apologists are quick to back peddle and say, "You don't understand how Joseph Smith translated the Bible. He made use of the King James (they can not deny that!)" but that goes against their doctrine that it was translated one character at a time miraculously by God.

    And this doesn't even bring into account the fact that the Book of Mormon has clear errors in a number of places...

    But believe it or not, I intentionally didn't bring any of this up, because I wanted to focus on the fact that God is just and holy and has a law that we have broken many, many times. We all have fallen short and we all deserve to go to hell. Each and every one of us is a lawbreaker.

    The Mormon church offers no Biblical hope out of this situation. Only the Jesus of the Bible can save us.

    The problems with the Book of Mormon seem small when we consider that we owe a sin debt to God. So while I find this discussion about italicized words fascinating, the important issue is that the Mormon church has no way to help anyone have their sins be forgiven, and to have them brought to a relationship with the God of all.

    We have all broken God's perfect standard. You, me, Rose, everyone. And it is appointed unto man once to die, and then face Judgment. God is angry with sinners, and He has been storing up wrath for thousands of years waiting to be poured out on all lawbreakers. When we understand this, our utter depravity, that God hates sin and that we sin all the time, then the serious problems with the Book of Mormon seem petty in comparison, and indeed they are.

    Jack, I beg you to see yourself as God sees you - an unrighteous sinner who deserves everlasting hell. The Mormon gospel says, "Do this this and this and maybe you can become a god someday." In stark contrast, the Biblical gospel says, "even your righteousness is like filthy rags. There is nothing you can do. Throw yourself at God's mercy and He will save you and He will get all the credit and glory, and you'll be made righteous, not because you are a good person, but because you are a bad person who was forgiven by a very good God."

    >
    > Third, regarding our attitude towards Blacks in the Church, you believe we
    > are racist. right? I'm sorry you feel this way, but can see why you
    > believe
    > this after studying anti-Mormon rhetoric. I say this with the full
    > awareness
    > of what quotes from leaders of this Church are circulating on anti-Mormon
    > websites. I'm not going to diminish this issue in the least, and I will
    > take it very seriously, but for purposes of this email, I'm happy to
    > report
    > we are not racist. we'll talk more about it later. But, for now, check
    > out
    > www.blacklds.org <http://www.blacklds.org/>
    >
    > To quote quickly one of our members, Gladys Knight (yup, the singer) she
    > says, "many people say to me, 'I see a light in you more than ever before.
    > What is it?'...During one performance at Disney world...[a member of the
    > audience asked,] 'Could you please tell us...how you got that light?' The
    > question was direct. so I gave a direct answer: 'I have become a member of
    > The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."
    >
    > By the way. you do know that you make a big assumption that I'm not a
    > black
    > member of the Church, right? What if I am? I guess you'll find out
    > when/if
    > I get a chance to attend your anti-Mormon class, I really want to come.
    >

    You're always welcome! And you might be black. I have no idea. I do not deny that there exist black Mormons. There are also female Muslims, despite how misogynistic that religion is. I do not deny that the Mormon church has changed its tune on blacks in recent years, but still, the clear testimony of Mormon prophets and apostles can not be erased.

    According to one LDS apostle, some of those who fought on God's side "were more valiant than others... Those who were less valiant in pre-existence and who thereby had certain spiritual restrictions imposed upon them during mortality are known to us as the negroes. Such spirits are sent to earth through the lineage of Cain, the mark put upon him for his rebellion against God and his murder of Abel being a black skin...The present status of the negro rests purely and simply on the foundation of pre-existence" (Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.527, 1966 ed.).

    Also, the prophet Joseph Fielding Smith said, "there is a reason why one man is born black and with other disadvantages, while another is born white with great advantages. The reason is that we once had an estate before we came here, and were obedient; more or less, to the laws that were given us there. Those who were faithful in all things there received greater blessings here, and those who were not faithful received less" (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:61).

    This same prophet also said, "Not only was Cain called upon to suffer, but because of his wickedness he became the father of an inferior race" (Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection, p.101).

    Brigham Young taught, "Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be so." (Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:110, March 8, 1863).

    Apostle McConkie also said, "The negroes are not equal with other races where the receipt of certain spiritual blessings are concerned, particularly the priesthood and the temple blessings that flow therefrom..." (Apostle Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p.527, 1966 ed.).

    Your prophet John Taylor said, "And after the flood we are told that the curse that had been pronounced upon Cain was continued through Ham's wife, as he had married a wife of that seed. And why did it pass through the flood? Because it was necessary that the devil should have a representation upon the earth as well as God" (Prophet John Taylor, Journal of Discourses 22:304, August 28, 1881).

    So what is God's purpose for black people, according to this LDS prophet? So the devil will have a representative on earth as well. Ugh!

    Perhaps you'll say that these quotes don't matter because they come from anti-Mormon websites? But they are direct quotations from Mormon prophets and apostles!

    And this brings up another problem with the Mormon church - a lack of the doctrine of immutability of God. "For I am the LORD, I change not." (Malachi 3:6). "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8).

    Mormons seem to be not too interested in the doctrine of immutability - that is that God doesn't change.

    Blacks can not be priests, but then, viola! a new revelation. Now they can!

    Mormons must have multiple wives, but then the US Government threatens to close them down for the practice, and what do you know? A new revelation. Monogomy!

    Very convenient.

    Not very Biblical.

    >
    > Fourth, Polygamy. Yeah, I can see how this one also is very concerning to
    > you. especially when you see someone like Warren Jeffs on CNN being
    > convicted of some very serious crimes.
    >

    It's concerning to me because it is unbiblical, not merely because of Warren Jeffs.

    Jesus said, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." (Matthew 19:9).

    If polygamy was acceptable, then this verse would make no sense. If Jesus allowed polygamy, then it would not be adultery to marry a second wife. But it is a sin to marry a woman unless you are properly divorced from the first.

    Also relevant to this is the Biblical qualifications for elders (a.k.a bishops) and deacons:

    "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;" (1 Timothy 3:2).

    "If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." (Titus 1:6).

    Note that the qualification be "the husband of one wife."

    Some might say, "Ah, but this is only a requirement for church leaders, not for everyone else." Well, we are told many times in  the Bible to emulate our leaders, to follow them. No one would say, "having good behavior is only for elders. Regular members need not be that way." If that's the case, then it is illegitimate to say that only church leaders need be "the husband of one wife."

    The Bible teaches against polygamy, but the early LDS prophets and apostles were adamantly for it.

    Brigham Young was clear, "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." (Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269).

    There were a number of prophetic utterances stating that God would protect his church from those who tried to take away the right of polygamy (I can email them to whoever is interested). But then, a new and contradictory "revelation" came, called "The Great Accommodation" and the LDS church banned polygamy.

    Ah, there's that immutability problem again.

    In some ways I respect the Fundamentalist Mormon church more than your strain of Mormonism, because at least they are being true to your original prophets. Don't get me wrong - they're wrong based on the Bible, but at least they're consistently wrong.

    >
    > Polygamy was not practiced by this Church in the early days the same way
    > it
    > is now practiced by those in Colorado City, etc. I can document that very
    > well. It's what the anti-Mormons fail to disclose because it defeats
    > their
    > agenda. Like you, I am as concerned about the issues surrounding Warren
    > Jeffs, etc. I also recognize with full self awareness that those in
    > Colorado City are a derivative of my Church, and profess they are Mormon
    > Fundamentalists.
    >

    How it was practiced makes no difference. Our problem with Mormon polygamy should not be how Warren Jeffs practices it, but that it was practiced at all, and held as a key doctrine of the new faith. This was one more example of Mormon teachings that contradict the Scriptures.

    >
    > Keep in mind that the Book of Mormon teaches, "For there shall not any man
    > among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none; For
    > I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredomes are an
    > abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts. Wherefore, this
    > people
    > shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land
    > for their sakes. For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed
    > unto
    > me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these
    > things." (Jacob 2:27-30)
    >

    I'm not familiar with that passage, but it appears to me to merely be another example of contradictions within the Mormon system. If anything, this verse appears to be a problem for you because it shows the disunity between how Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and others taught and lived, and what their own Scriptures taught.

    >
    > You don't begin to understand, my good friend, this principle of plural
    > marriage. I myself have had to prayerfully study to comprehend it because
    > we
    > don't currently practice polygamy. I only have one wife. and don't know
    > that I could handle another.
    >

    Where would you put all the shoes???  😉

    >
    > But keep in mind as a Bible believing Christian, that your very own
    > heritage
    > also has this principle. Why? All the old prophets practiced it,
    > including
    > Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And there were specific reasons for it. The
    > very
    > House of Israel is the product of a polygamist marriage.
    >

    Yes, and unjust wars, and rapes, and murder, and all kinds of other sinful acts. The fact that these sinful acts exist in the Bible does not mean that God approved of it. It just shows further proof of the sinfulness of man (depravity) and our utter and urgent need for God's gracious forgiveness in Christ.

    >
    > How will you reconcile this? Are you ashamed? We'll get into it more.
    > Again, I already know what scriptures you're going to come back with. and
    > in
    > context, we'll see what the Bible really has to say.
    >

    I need not be ashamed. God made it very clear what He thinks of plural marriage. The fact that the patriarchs sinned in this way is shameful, but for them. I praise God that He has set the record straight on this subject.

    Jacob, for example, stole Esau's birthright, which was sinful, but that doesn't mean that God established that men everywhere ought to steal their brother's birthright. The 8th Commandment teaches that we are not to steal. So how do we reconcile this? Easy. Jacob was wrong to steal, but he did it and the Bible recorded it. The Bible records a lot of sins that people have committed. This is why it is essential to read the whole Bible.

    >
    > Now for the real reason of this email: I want to address specifically
    > your
    > concerns about the following:
    >
    > 1. God is a man
    > 2. The plurality of gods
    > 3. Man can become a god
    >
    > This has been brought up more by you in this discussion than any other
    > accusation. and it pollutes our ability to have an intelligent discussion
    > about anything else because of the prejudice/misunderstanding it harbors.
    >

    The reason I keep bringing these up is because they show that Rose's initial email is wrong. She has said that we're both Christians. This can't be. Either you are Christians, and I'm not, or I'm a Christian, and you're not. We cannot both be because we have such radically incompatible views of the basic nature of who God is.

    So if  you want to believe that God was once a man, and there are many gods and that men can become a god, that's you're right. But please don't insult everyone's intelligence with nonsense that we believe in the same God. That clearly can not be the case. Our views are mutually exclusive from one another.

    >
    > My comments below are by no means exhaustive. but it is a start to get you
    > thinking. I feel like I could write hundreds of pages on this subject.
    >

    I have no doubt about that!  😉

    >
    > I don't expect you to comment on anything in this email until it becomes
    > the
    > official topic (unless you want to). So don't feel any pressure. In
    > fact,
    > I would ask that you not. for I am more interested in continuing the
    > discussion of grace and salvation. and in getting an answer to my question
    > about the 2 men who are now dying.
    >

    I believe I already answered your question about the 2 dying men in an earlier email, and also further up in this one.

    >
    > Because you continually insist with accusations. here is the doctrine. I
    > am
    > a Mormon with integrity; not a cop out as you suggested. Put on your seat
    > belt.
    >
    > #1: God is a man.
    >
    > You are absolutely mortified that we believe God is a perfect glorified
    > resurrected man... Yet does not the Bible teach we are created in the
    > image
    > of God? (Genesis 1)
    >

    Yes, it does. Like God, we have a soul. We can know and do right and wrong. A shark, for example, is not "wrong" when he kills a swimmer. But I am wrong if I kill a swimmer. The difference between me and a shark? I have a soul and know right from wrong.

    >
    > Let me take a very direct approach for simplicity purposes right now. We
    > can get into deeper implications another time.
    >
    > You believe Jesus Christ is God. right? I believe this also. A
    > difference
    > between your beliefs and mine might be, however, that I quite literally
    > believe Jesus is the Son of God, and that God, His Father, is a separate
    > being. I believe you disagree with this. but let's shelf it for the
    > purposes of answering accusation #1, and just work under the assumption
    > that
    > Jesus Christ is God and that Christ is the same as the Father. Fair
    > enough?
    >

    I'm not trying to be picky here, but thorough. When you say that God the Father and Jesus are separate beings, you are advocating tri-theism (the Father is a god, the Son is a god, and the Spirit is a god.) For the sake of our discussion, you seem to be willing to temporarily scrap your tri-theism. In its place you propose a modalism (the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all the same.) But this is not the Biblical position either. The Bible does not teach that they are the same. The Bible teaches that the Father, Son, and Spirit are separate. They act together (at Jesus' baptism and transfiguration) and each have a will, and can communicate with one another. They are not the same. The doctrine known as the "Trinity" says that they are separate, but One Being. I'm pretty sure I explained this in an earlier email as an example regarding your "calculus" analogy. The Bible teaches that the Father, Son, and Spirit are each God, and the Bible also teaches that there is only One God. Therefore the "Trinity" can correctly be understood as One God who exists as three persons. "One 'What' but Three 'Who's'." Easy to understand, but hard to grasp. Oh the limitations of being a finite human!

    >
    > With that being said. In your own doctrinal statements from the Fellowship
    > Bible Church you declare: "We teach that our justification is made sure by
    > His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now
    > ascended
    > to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and
    > High Priest (Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:38-39; Acts 2:30-31; Romans 4:25; 8:34;
    > Hebrews 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1). We teach that in the resurrection of
    > Jesus
    > Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof
    > that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus'
    > bodily
    > resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all
    > believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20,
    > 23)." http://www.fellowshipbiblechester.org/doctrinal.html#Son

    > In an earlier discussion, you mentioned to my mother, "Your Jesus was once
    > a
    > mortal. The Jesus of the Bible has always been God and was never mortal."
    > (see email posting #22.)
    >

    That's right. Jesus is always God. It's that "immutability" doctrine again.

    >
    > I am absolutely floored and left wondering what Jesus you are reading
    > about
    > in the Bible, because I remember a child who was born of Mary, a man who
    > walked the earth and taught the people; he ate fish with his disciples,
    > was
    > tempted by the devil, suffered in a garden and bled mortal blood from
    > every
    > pore. He died on a cross, and resurrected 3 days later with an immortal
    > perfected body.
    >

    Jesus, who is always God, at one point in time was incarnated, or to use the Biblical wording, "took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7).

    John 1:1 should be a familiar verse: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1).

    This speaks of the fact that Jesus is always God. But then verse 14 says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). This speaks of His incarnation.

    Yes, you are right to say that Jesus was born of Mary, walked the earth, et cetera et cetera. This is understood in light of the "incarnation." In the incarnation, Jesus took the "form" of a man.

    The incarnation of Christ does not erase the fact that He is and always was God. Or said another way, John 1:14 does not negate John 1:1.

    Do you believe that Jesus was not fully God when He was on earth in Israel?

    >
    > Am I misinformed somewhere? Do you have some unusual definition of
    > incarnation that I'm not privy to?
    >

    I believe I just described the "incarnation" according to the Bible.

    >
    > Mark - Did not Christ resurrect as a glorified man with a body of flesh
    > and
    > bone (different from a mortal body of flesh and blood, which is
    > corruptible)? Did not Jesus declare the following at his resurrection?
    > "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." (Luke 24:39)
    >

    That's right. The Bible teaches that Jesus resurrected PHYSICALLY and not as a "spirit being."

    >
    > You quote on page 53 of your Cult pdf that: "God is not like us." You
    > then
    > proceed to quote John 4:24, which states, "God is a Spirit: and they that
    > worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." You also quote Luke
    > 24 which states that, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me
    > have"
    > to emphasize that God doesn't have a body of flesh and bone.
    >
    > I'm confused. are you saying that Christ, who is God, is not resurrected?
    > How do you reconcile this with the statement from Fellowship Bible Church?
    > If Jesus Christ did physically resurrect, then don't you also believe that
    > God is a resurrected man?
    >

    What the Bible is saying is that we are not God, nor are we like Him physically. One evidence of this is the fact that God is a spirit and does not have a physical body (John 4:24). This is true of God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and even God the Son BEFORE the incarnation. Since Jesus "was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:7) and was made flesh (John 1:14), He does have a physical body. But He is still God, according to John 1:1 and many other passages.

    Of course Jesus really resurrected. But that does not mean that Jesus is a God who was once a man and became a God. It means that Jesus is God, was made in the likeness of man and took on flesh in the incarnation, and rose from the dead physically. Jesus always was and always is God. At one point in time He took on flesh. This is quite different than the Mormon view that Jesus was once a man (not god), and then at one point in time became a god.

    >
    > To shift direction for a moment. you are also disgusted that we believe He
    > resides in another celestial world somewhere in yonder Heavens "world[s]
    > without end" (Eph 3:21) If Jesus Christ did physically resurrect, then
    > where is he now? We know He ascended into heaven, and went somewhere.
    > ".Ye
    > men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which
    > is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have
    > seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11)
    >

    I don't know that I'm "disgusted" by this. I'm disgusted that you believe that there are many gods and that Jesus and the Father were once man. I'm disgusted that you have the audacity to think we could become a god. I'm not disgusted that you think your god lives on Kolob. I just think that's weird. And I think most people would think that's weird too, which is why it's hard to find information about Kolob and these doctrines from Mormon missionaries. It's "calculus."

    >
    > Do you believe the entire resurrection undid itself, and He now is some
    > spirit essence in the immensity of space?
    >

    No, I believe He sits in heaven at the right hand of the Father acting as the advocate and High Priest for those who repent of their sin and put their faith in the God of the Bible.

    I also believe that those who go to heaven will have physical bodies as well. It's not a "spirit world" or anything mystical like that. We will have glorified resurrected bodies! And to tell you the truth, with the problems I've had with my earthly body, I see this as a welcome truth!!!  🙂

    >
    > Regarding John 4:24, I have just a few comments:
    >

    Only a few? Okay, okay, I'm wordy too!  🙂

    That's one of the things I like about you, Jack, that I truly think you and I have a LOT in common (not Theologically of course.) But I maintain that you and I probably are a lot alike and have a lot in common, our ability to talk on and on being one of them. Of course that's one of the problems with our relationship as well, as this is quite time consuming.

    >
    > First, as you may already know, there are no indefinite articles ("a" or
    > "an") in ancient Greek, so the passage can be translated "God is a Spirit"
    > or "God is Spirit." Most modern translations have chosen the latter
    > because
    > John's Statement "God is Spirit" is parallel to two other passages in his
    > first epistle, "God is light" (1 John 1:5) and "God is love" (1 John 4:8)
    > In context, all of these passages seem to be referring to God's activity
    > towards men rather than to the nature of His being, and of course it
    > doesn't
    > make sense to say God is "a love" or "a light."
    >
    > Second, is John suggesting that we also are only spirit, because we are
    > told
    > we "must worship Him in spirit?" (John 4:14)
    >
    > Third, Paul wrote, "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit." (1
    > Corinthians 6:17) To say that God is "a spirit" is grammatically
    > equivalent
    > to the statement that a man joined to the Lord is "one spirit," and yet,
    > Christians obviously have bodies as well as spirits.
    >
    > Finally, Jesus Christ is a resurrected man. It is a basic tenet of
    > Christianity. Did not the angels declare, "Why seek ye the living among
    > the
    > dead? He is not here, but is risen?" (Luke 24:5-6)
    >
    > It is Biblical to believe that Jesus Christ - God - is a resurrected man.
    >

    Yes, Jesus is a resurrected man, but that's not our point of contention. Our point of contention is that He was God first before He was in the form of a man. He was not a mortal man who became a god.

    >
    > Moreover, it is true that, "God [is] not a man, that he should lie;" as
    > you've quoted in your essays. (Num 23:19). But what this is really saying
    > is God is not like a man, because man lies and God doesn't. I'm not
    > saying
    > the Bible is corrupt here, as you've suggested how the Mormons will reply,
    > I'm saying you've interpreted it wrong, and Luke 24 proves it. (Actually,
    > only the Holy Ghost can prove it with a careful and fair study of the
    > Bible.)
    >

    Luke 24 proves that Christ physically resurrected from the dead. Luke 24 does not show that God was once a mortal.

    > I'll let you chew on this for a while. but there is some serious
    > reconciliation you will have to account for.
    >
    > "Line upon line, precept on precept; that is how he lifts us, that is how
    > he
    > teaches his children. Line upon line, precept on precept, like a summer
    > shower, giving us each hour His wisdom."
    >

    Jack, you've shown a fatal misunderstanding of the Biblical nature of God. If you're interested in learning more about the "Trinity" you may want to peruse my Jehovah's Witnesses materials, because they really are the ones who strongly deny the doctrine of the Trinity, and I show the Biblical support for it in those materials. If you have time, please try the essay, "Jesus Christ, God, and the Bible." If you don't have time, there's a cheat sheet called, "Why You Should Believe in the Trinity (Overview)." They're available at http://resources.Luke-15.org.

    Even though you're not a Jehovah's Witness, perhaps those materials would be helpful to you to understand the Biblical doctrine of the Trinity.

    >
    > #2: The plurality of gods.
    >
    > You would have people believe that we worship other gods, and that Mormons
    > violate the Biblical declaration, "Thou shalt have no other gods before
    > me."
    > (Exodus 20:30).
    >

    I would not have people believe that. I know very well that Mormons only WORSHIP one god. But I would have people believe that Mormons believe in many many gods. I know you only claim to worship one, but you believe in a plurality of gods.

    Apostle Bruce McConkie made the Mormon position clear: "Three separate personages: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, comprise the Godhead. As each of these persons is a God, it is evident, from this standpoint alone, that a plurality of Gods exists. To us, speaking in the proper finite sense, these three are the only Gods we worship. But in addition there is an infinite number of holy personages, drawn from worlds without number, who have passed on to exaltation and are thus gods" (Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 576-577).

    >
    > This is you distorting what we believe to suit your own purposes.
    >

    I was upfront about this in my powerpoint slides, in the class, and when speaking with Mormon missionaries. I know you don't claim to worship more than one god. But you do believe in many. That's what I'm exposing.

    >
    > We whole heartedly accept Exodus 20:30.
    >
    > We do not worship any other gods. We worship the God of Israel.
    >

    A god who was once a mortal and became a god is NOT the God of Israel.

    >
    > (Find one statement from our prophets or scriptures that declare we should
    > worship another god/gods, and I'll join your congregation.)
    >

    I didn't claim that you worshipped more than one god. But "worshipping one god" is not the definition of monotheism. "Believing in one God and worshipping that God" is the definition of monotheism. If you say, "We believe in many many gods, but we only worship one" then you are a polytheist. You are not unlike the Pagan Greeks who believed in many many gods, but only worshipped the local deity assigned to their city. The only difference is that Mormons do not believe that individual deities are assigned to cities, like Athens, and Corinth, but to Universes.

    >
    > We also believe that God is the "King of kings, the Lord of Lords." (1 Tim
    > 6:15) God the Father presides over a council of gods, subordinate to Him.
    > I know you have a problem with this. but it's all over the Bible. even
    > from
    > the very beginning.
    >

    I am so glad you wrote this, Jack. Here is proof that there is a FUNDAMENTAL and ESSENTIAL difference between us. You do believe in many many gods. Your prophets and apostles have said so, and now you have too.

    >
    > "Let us make man in our image." (Gen 1:26)
    >

    I use this verse all the time with unbelieving Jews who incorrectly claim that Jesus can't be God. Right there in Genesis 1:26, the Trinity is seen. The Trinity, not polytheism.

    >
    > You speak Hebrew. right. In Genesis Hebrew for God is: 'elohiym
    > {el-o-heem'} and it is plural. Possible definitions are:
    >
    > 1) (plural)
    >
    > 1a) rulers, judges
    > 1b) divine ones
    > 1c) angels
    > 1d) gods
    >
    > 2) (plural intensive - singular meaning)
    > 2a) god, goddess
    > 2b) godlike one
    > 2c) works or special possessions of God
    > 2d) the (true) God
    > 2e) God
    >
    > See Strong's Number 430
    >

    I do not speak Hebrew fluently, but I know a little, and I agree with you that Elohym is plural. This is consistent with Trinitarian doctrine. This does not open the door for Mormon polytheism though. "for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isaiah 46:9).

    >
    > This is not Mormon. this is Hebrew. and the plurality comes through in the
    > translation. "Let us make man in our image." I'm not stretching for any
    > wild interpretation here.
    >

    You know Colossians, chapter 1, right? "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Colossians 1:16). Also, see John 1:3, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made."

    Jesus and the Father and the Spirit (Genesis 1:2) all had a hand in creation. They perfectly worked together to make the universe. This is solid Trinitarian Biblical doctrine, not Mormon polytheism.

    >
    > Interestingly, you've already mentioned the plurality of the Trinity, but
    > you may not completely understand it by your own admission. You
    > mentioned,
    > "There is no doctrine that can't be understood on the first day of
    > Theology
    > 101. [and] the Trinity is defined as One God who exists in three persons.
    > Simple. It may be hard to comprehend and wrap our mind around it, but
    > it's
    > easy to understand and explain." (see email # 30)
    >
    > Did you just say, "It may be hard to comprehend and wrap our mind around
    > it,
    > but it's easy to understand."? I'm confused.
    >

    It's easy to understand that if I plug my lamp into the wall socket, the light turns on. Unplug it and it turns off. My 3-year-old understands this. But neither I, nor my 3-year-old fully comprehend how the electric company generates electricity, sends it along power lines, regulates it, gets it to my house without burning my house down, and has it travel to the wall socket so that just the right amperage is available for my lamp, and how the engineers at GE designed the filaments to glow, et cetera et cetera.

    We might be able to one day comprehend all that about the electricity and the lamp, but we'll never comprehend the full nature of God.

    The Bible teaches that there exists only One God, and that God exists in three persons. Easy to understand, just like it's easy to understand that if you pull the plug the light goes out, but hard (or impossible) to comprehend.

    >
    > You state that the "Trinity is defined as One God who exists in three
    > persons." You also say on page 427 of your Cult pdf that, "Mormons often
    > have an incorrect understanding of what Christians mean by the "Trinity".
    > They [Mormons] say Christians believe that God shows himself as the
    > Father,
    > or the Son, or the Holy Ghost (i.e. modalism)."
    >

    Perhaps I should update my slides. After speaking with you, you strike me more of a tri-theist than a modalist. Ultimately, though, you're a polytheist because you believe in many gods. You're certainly not a Christian. A Christian believes in One God.

    >
    > It sounds like what you believe could be modalism from what you said. but
    > frankly, I don't know.
    >
    > Mormons don't have an incorrect understanding of what you mean by the
    > Trinity, they have absolutely no idea what you mean.
    >

    I definitely agree with that!

    >
    > You want to know what I think?
    >
    > Mark - Your own beliefs about the Trinity are "hard to comprehend" because
    > whether you know it or not, the Christian understanding of the Trinity is
    > rooted in the early creeds of the Catholic Church, most notably the
    > Athanasian & Nicene.
    >
    > (You keep invoking - erroneously - that my beliefs are Catholic. well,
    > right
    > back atcha my friend. and you are my friend, I'm just being sarcastic.)
    >
    > In early Christianity there were many competing views of the Godhead
    > (Trinity) and the Christology of Jesus Christ. Study early Christianity
    > and
    > you'll see it unfold right before your eyes. Orthodoxy in the Trinity as
    > we
    > have it today is a product of a Catholic vote at Nicaea in the 4th
    > century,
    > etc, etc. Orthodoxy is nothing more than doctrine that won the most
    > votes/fights/arguments in the early struggles of Christian doctrinal
    > development, not necessarily what was truth as originally taught by Jesus
    > Christ.
    >
    > Are you with me?
    >

    Ah, yes, the "DaVinci Code" conspiracy. If you read the essay, "Jesus Christ, God, and the Bible" you will see that the doctrine of the Trinity is true because the Bible says so, not because the Council of Nicea says so. I don't believe in the Trinity because of a Catholic Council. I believe it because it is Biblical. I never once supported the Trinity based on a human council. I always cited Biblical passages.

    >
    > Interestingly, I believe you have fallen into the same trap you accused my
    > mother of in the beginning of this email exchange. You said in email #2,
    > "If 30 million people think that the moon is made of cheese, then they're
    > wrong. Even if 100 million people believed it. Crowds of people can and
    > often are wrong. If the Bible is true, then anyone who teaches otherwise
    > is
    > wrong, no matter how many of them there are."
    >
    > Are you prepared to test your own "orthodoxy" against the Bible?
    >
    > If you read carefully and prayerfully, the Bible doesn't teach a "hard to
    > comprehend" Trinity. It is just "hard to comprehend" because everyone
    > reads
    > it through the lens of what traditionally has been handed down to them
    > from
    > the Creeds.
    >

    No, we are supposed to believe in the Trinity because the Bible teaches it, not because a council said something about it.

    >
    > The Truth: God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three
    > separate beings and constitute a presiding quorum known by us as the
    > Godhead.
    >

    Big-time heresy there.

    >
    > The Father and Jesus Christ are separate, and can literally stand side by
    > side. What follows are just a few of hundreds of scriptures that attest
    > to
    > the individuality of the Father and the Son; this being said with full
    > awareness that they are also "One" in purpose.

    > Don't believe me?. just read below.
    >

    I believe that they are separate. I am not a modalist. I'm a Trinitarian. I believe they are separate, and I'd cite these same verses to show the error of modalism. These verses do precisely that. They show the error of modalism. They do not prove Mormon polytheism or some so-called "quorum" of gods.

    >
    > Did not Stephen declare, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of
    > man standing on the right hand of God?" Act 7:56
    >
    > Did not the Savior say, "It is also written in your law, that the
    > testimony
    > of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father
    > that sent me beareth witness of me?" (John 8:18)
    >
    > Does not the Bible teach that the Father was heard at Christ's baptism as
    > ".
    > a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well
    > pleased?" (Matt 3:17)
    >
    > Who is Christ praying to in the Garden of Gethsemane? "Father, if thou be
    > willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be
    > done." (Luke 22:42)
    >
    > Who forsook Christ on the Cross so that Jesus could tread the wine press
    > alone? "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mark 15:34)
    >
    > Who is Jesus ascending to after His resurrection? ". go to my brethren,
    > and
    > say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and [to] my God,
    > and your God." (John 20:17)
    >

    These all argue against modalism, that the Father, Son, and Spirit are all the same being. I also argue against modalism. We agree on that. But you believe there are many gods, and that is a whole different matter! Mormon polytheism is alien to the Bible.

    > Now comes the real calculus my brother Mark. Does not the Bible also
    > teach,
    > "I and [my] Father are one?" (John 10:30)

    > How should this be interpreted? If interpreted through the lens of the
    > creeds, you get something that is hard to "wrap your mind around." How
    > about we just let the Bible interpret it? Read below:
    >

    Not through the creeds. Through the Bible.

    >
    > "IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
    > was
    > God." (John 1:1)
    >
    > Jesus Christ clarifies the above in his great intercessory prayer to His
    > Father by saying:
    >
    > "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory
    > which
    > I had with thee before the world was. And now I am no more in the world,
    > but
    > these [my disciples] are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father,
    > keep
    > through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be
    > one,
    > as we [are].Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall
    > believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou,
    > Father,
    > [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the
    > world
    > may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I
    > have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and
    > thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may
    > know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
    > (Read all of John 17)
    >
    > Get it?
    >
    > The Trinity is a plurality of three Gods; with the Father presiding as
    > Head.
    > "Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come [again] unto you.
    > If
    > ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for
    > my
    > Father is greater than I." (John 14:28)
    >

    No, this is where you're wrong. The Trinity is not three Gods. The Trinity is One God, existing in Three persons. You misunderstand this essential doctrine and it leads you to a fatal conclusion. All of these verses are compatible with Christian Trinitarian Monotheism, not Mormon polytheism.

    >
    > Technically, Jesus Christ's mission was the bring us unto His Father, who
    > is
    > God the Father.
    >
    > What I believe is Biblical. What I believe is what Jesus Christ taught,
    > and
    > that is why the Jews crucified him. ". We have a law, and by our law he
    > ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God." (John 19:7)
    >
    > Mark - I know you don't believe my interpretation, and I also know your
    > response because I've read the Cult pdf. You are entitled to your
    > different
    > interpretation. but that's all it is - your interpretation. And. you will
    > find comfort in that interpretation because millions and millions of other
    > Christians believe similarly. We'll. if that is the case. then why not
    > also
    > declare that the "moon is made of cheese."
    >

    I believe my interpretation because it is supported in Scripture. Mormon polytheism is not. One good thing that we've established trough this: we can dispose of the nonsense that you and I are brothers. We obviously believe very different things and worship a very different God indeed.

    >
    > (Kind of a cheesy ending. huh?)
    >

    Eh, you're still not funnier than Napolean Dynamite.  😉


    >
    > #3. Man can become a god.

    > Some critics claim that we are blasphemous and even Satanic because we
    > think
    > we can become a god. Some anti-Mormons use the following scripture
    > (although
    > you haven't yet) in an attempt to show that wanting to be like God is
    > satanic.

    > "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art
    > thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast
    > said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne
    > above
    > the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in
    > the
    > sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will
    > be
    > like the most High." (Isa 14:12-14)

    > When the critics make these claims, they never explain what the doctrine
    > really is. Instead, they give a perverted version that Mormons don't even
    > recognize as what we believe or teach. (As evidenced by my mother's
    > comments
    > earlier stating that you sound like the tabloids.)
    >
    > We absolutely do not believe that we will ever be independent of God or no
    > longer subject to Him. The God of Israel will always be our God. He is the
    > only one we worship. We neither worship other gods nor worship ourselves,
    > and we do not believe that we will take away His glory, but we only add to
    > it by following Jesus Christ.

    > Now on to explain what the doctrine truly is:

    > We believe that God is literally the Father of our spirits and that we
    > lived
    > in a pre-existence with Him. (This pre-existence is another subject, but
    > it
    > should be understood that this is what we believe. so that we can
    > understand
    > that God, in calling him our Heavenly Father, is not symbolic or
    > figurative;
    > the relationship is literal.)

    > Does not the Bible declare: "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh
    > which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather
    > be
    > in subjection unto the father of spirits, and live?" (Heb 12:9) "For in
    > him
    > we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets
    > have said, For we are also his offspring." (Acts 17:28)
    >

    God created our spirits, yes. In fact, God created everything!

    >
    > Our physical bodies are the offspring of our mortal parents, and God is
    > the
    > Father of our spirits. Therefore, our spirits are the offspring of God in
    > the very same sense that our bodies are the offspring of our earthly
    > parents. The book of Acts continues to say that since we are the offspring
    > of God, God must be some type of being which we are similar to. "Forasmuch
    > then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the
    > Godhead
    > is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device."
    > (Acts 17:29)
    >

    We have already established that we are "similar" to God in the sense that we have a spirit and know right from wrong. We are made in His image. Remember the analogy of the shark killing the swimmer?

    This is a world away from implying that we are similar in the sense that we are like Him in nature and substance!

    >
    > As mentioned earlier, the doctrine of the Trinity as accepted as orthodox
    > is
    > certainly based on the creeds, which are "man's device."
    >

    And as stated earlier, the Trinity is true, not because of a creed, but because the Bible teaches it.

    >
    > Even though we can be called gods, we are not on the same level as God the
    > Father. He will always be exalted above us, throughout eternity. We are
    > like
    > Him in that we have potential. In order to reach that potential, there is
    > a
    > transformation that we must go through. We cannot go through this
    > transformation without Jesus Christ.
    >

    This is why Mormonism is not a Christian religion. This is entirely incompatible with Christian Biblical doctrine. So believe that you can become a god if you like, but don't be so dishonest to then consider yourself a Christian church.

    >
    > The Bible talks about this transformation very clearly. and you have it
    > right in front of you every day of your life, but just don't see it.

    > Let me explain:
    >
    > There were two trees in the Garden of Eden: "And out of the ground made
    > the
    > Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for
    > food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of
    > knowledge of good and evil." (Gen 2:9)
    >
    > Adam and Eve ate of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, which changed
    > their state of innocence to our mortal condition we are in now. Once Adam
    > and Eve ate of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, our
    > potentiality of becoming like our Heavenly Father was made manifest. "And
    > the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good
    > and
    > evil." (Gen 3:22)
    >

    I love the part that says "Behold, the man is become as one of us." I use this all the time with unbelieving Jews who incorrectly state that the Old Testament does not support the Trinity. Indeed it does!

    >
    > However, they also transgressed when they ate, and that would prevent
    > mankind from reaching this full potential, since no unclean thing can
    > enter
    > heaven. To prevent mankind from living eternally in this less-than-full
    > potential state, God evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden and made it
    > impossible for them to eat of the tree of Life. "So he drove out the man;
    > and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming
    > sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Gen
    > 3:24)
    >
    > Once the fruit of the tree of Life is eaten, we live in whatever condition
    > our life has brought us to. Therefore, it is reserved for those who reach
    > their full potential, or in other words, those who overcome. "He that hath
    > an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that
    > overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst
    > of
    > the paradise of God." (Rev 2:7)
    >
    > Those who overcome are those who have obeyed the teaching of Jesus Christ:
    > "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to
    > the
    > tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Rev
    > 22:14)
    >

    "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 3:23).

    God "now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30-31).

    God's commands? Repent and believe. This is what I brought up and have continually been bringing up since the beginning of our conversation. What must the man with 3 minutes to live do? Repent and believe. What must you do, Jack? Repent and believe. That's what God commands.

    >
    > Glory and perfection are two attributes that belong to God. As mentioned
    > before. Christ, when He prayed to His Father in John 17, prayed for this
    > very thing, that we might receive glory, and be perfect.
    >
    > "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on
    > me
    > through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, father, art in me,
    > and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe
    > that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given
    > them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me,
    > that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that
    > thou
    > hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17:20-23)
    >

    This hardly teaches that men will become a god.

    >
    > The Bible is quite clear that it is the fullness of God that we might
    > have:
    > "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be
    > filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3:19)
    >

    Once again, the only way anyone would take from this that men become gods is if they already believed that and were looking for it in the text. It is clearly not in the text itself. You see the Bible through a very thick set of pre-conceived Mormon goggles.

    >
    > But now Mark, we ask: does this "fulness" really have anything to do with
    > the very nature of being a god? Answer: It most certainly does.
    >
    > "According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain
    > unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us
    > to
    > glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
    > promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having
    > escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." (2 Pet 1:3-4)
    >

    Yes, we are partakers of the divine nature because we are born again, and made new creatures in Christ. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit dwells in us. But this does not mean that we become a little god. That is a disgusting and abominable doctrine.

    >
    > The Bible continues to explain that as children, we have the opportunity
    > to
    > inherit everything the Father has: "He that overcometh shall inherit all
    > things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son." (Rev 21:7)
    >

    Inherit eternal life, not inherit godhood.

    >
    > The Bible clarifies this inheritance. It tells us that we will inherit the
    > very same thing that Jesus Christ inherits from the Father:
    >
    > "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    > For
    > ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have
    > received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit
    > itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of god:
    > and
    > if children, then heirs; heirs of god, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so
    > be
    > that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I
    > reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be
    > compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Rom 8:14-18)
    >

    One day we will reign with Christ, but that does not mean that we will be little gods.

    >
    > In fact, the Bible tells us that we may have thrones just like the Son and
    > the Father: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my
    > throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his
    > throne." (Rev 3:21)
    >
    > "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as
    > I
    > also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne."
    >
    > Get it?
    >

    I get it. I understand your position. You believe we can become little gods.

    >
    > Besides the nature and characteristics of godhood, we are told that our
    > bodies will be just like God's body. "Who shall change our vile body, that
    > it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working
    > whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Phil 3:21)
    >
    > Does not the Bible say "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth
    > not
    > yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we
    > shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is?" (1 John 3:2)
    >

    We shall be like him. We will have resurrected bodies. Woo hoo! (I can't wait for that!) And we will no longer be trapped in sin! We will not be a little god though.

    >
    > As you most appropriately mentioned earlier, God's standard is to be like
    > Him: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is
    > perfect." (Matt 5:48) This can only be accomplished through the atonement
    > of Jesus Christ and a change, through the covenant relationship, in our
    > nature.
    >

    Actually, this cannot be accomplished by us. "there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17). "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

    God is good, and we are not. We can never be a little god. We can never achieve the standard of perfection of Matthew 5:48. Jesus did not say, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your father which is in heaven is perfect" so that we could say, "Great! I'll go be perfect then!" No! We can never achieve this, and Jesus knew it. Paul knew it too, which is why he said, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24).

    Remember a while ago I likened the Law of God as a mirror that shows us how filthy we are? That's the purpose of the Law. It shows us how dirty we are. It doesn't clean us. It can't. You don't pull the mirror off your wall and rub your face expecting to get clean. That's not its design. It is designed to show you how filthy you are so that you will go to the water to be cleaned. Jesus told us to "be perfect" to show us how filthy we are so that we would be cleansed by the blood of Christ and His righteousness, not our own. The more you try to be perfect, the more you'll realize how imperfect you are, and the more you'll come to believe that there "is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10).

    You'll also praise God for the fact that "now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
    Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" (Romans 3:21-22).

    It is so self-righteous of Mormonism to even hint that man has the ability to keep God's standards and achieve God's righteousness.

    >
    > And finally. I'll throw in something you haven't brought up yet, but
    > eventually will.
    >
    > We believe that those who are married for eternity become like God. This
    > principle, which is ridiculed by anti-Mormons, is also taught by the
    > Bible.
    > "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving
    > honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs
    > together
    > of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." (1 Peter 3:7)
    >

    So much for Jesus' story about the women who was married seven times!

    "The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." (Matthew 22:23-30).

    Jack, "Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage."

    >
    > In summary. so that this is very clear for you. We've just established
    > from
    > the Bible that:
    >
    > 1. We were created in the image of God
    > 2. God is the father of our spirits and we are the offspring of God
    > 3. Man has become as God
    > 4. We will inherit all things
    > 5. We will be co-heirs with Christ of all things
    > 6. We will have glory
    > 7. We will have thrones
    > 8. We will be filled with the fullness of God
    > 9. We will be partakers of the divine nature of God
    > 10. We will be one with God
    > 11. Our bodies will be fashioned like His glorious body
    > 12. We can gain perfection through the atonement of Jesus Christ
    >

    Thank you for finally making the Mormon position clear. You've defended my initial accusation - that Mormons believe in many gods, that god was once a man, and that men can become a little god. One should wonder why mormon.org not have this list prominently available.

    > You'll notice that I deliberately stayed away from your anti-Mormon essay
    > accusation that mentions Mormons quote Psalms 82 as their only
    > justification
    > for this belief. I've read your essays and as you know, I think they are
    > pretty weak. but I don't blame you. All you do is parrot what other
    > anti-Mormons before you have said. (No offence.)
    >
    > It is tradition and your "orthodoxy" that teaches these things are not
    > true.
    > It is the councils of men that teach these things are not true; it is the
    > creeds that teach these things are not true. But, my friend, it is the
    > Holy
    > Bible that teaches these things are true. I choose to believe what the
    > Bible
    > teaches as I've learned it through the revelations given to me of Jesus
    > Christ.
    >

    Yes, we must believe the Bible, not tradition or councils. I would never ask anyone to believe in Christian Trinitarian Monotheism because it was taught by a council. I do beg you to believe it because it is taught in the Bible. Certainly Mormon polytheism is not.

    >
    > Again, don't take my interpretation alone. Ask God if this is His
    > interpretation, and continue to pray, fast, and search the scriptures
    > diligently. Be ". more noble.[and receive] the word with all readiness of
    > mind, and [search] the scriptures daily, [as to] whether [these] things
    > [are] so." (Acts 17:11)

    > In closing, and by way of trivia and interesting facts:
    >
    > The canonization of the New Testament did not happen until hundreds of
    > years
    > after the death of Jesus Christ. For centuries Christian communities that
    > emerged as "orthodox" debated on what collection of books should be
    > considered "authoritative." .But, as far as we know, in 367 A.D. a
    > gentleman
    > named Athanasius was the first person to name officially the 27 books of
    > the
    > New Testament as accepted by most Christian groups today.

    > Would you consider Athanasius inspired of God? I believe most Christians
    > would, given they accept the 27 books as inspired.
    >

    You're wrong. Athanasius was not inspired. The 27 books of the New Testament are, but not him. I don't honestly know much about him, nor do I see how it matters much.

    >
    > Anyway, in one of his letters, this fourth-century defender of the faith
    > made his famous statement that the Son of God became man "that he might
    > deify us in himself." (Letter 60 to Adelphius)
    >
    > Moreover, in his great work, On the Incarnation, he wrote similarly that
    > Christ "was made man that we might be made God." (On the Incarnation 54.
    > NPNF, 2nd Series, IV, p. 65.)
    >

    I do not consider the works of Athanasius inspired. The Bible alone is sufficient to know what we need to know about God. The Bible does not teach Mormon polytheism.

    >
    > My beliefs certainly were among those of the early Saints, and I've only
    > scratched the surface. And some men who were responsible of choosing which
    > books to include in the New Testament believed like me.
    >

    Not Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Jesus, et cetera. And they're the ones who matter.

    >
    > I hope you consider carefully what I have shared, and I hope you feel of
    > my
    > integrity. I take this stuff very seriously, and know by revelation from
    > the Father that what I have shared is true.
    >

    "Revelation from the Father?" Is God speaking to you? How is that, Jack? Is it from searching the Scriptures? Or it form an extra-Biblical source? When we search the Scriptures, we do not find Mormon polytheism. So you must be getting it from somewhere else, and thus prove my claim that the Bible is not sufficient for you.

    >
    > Most sincerely yours in our Savior Jesus Christ,
    >
    > Jack
    >
    > Ps. I hesitate. because I don't want to detract from what I said above.
    > but
    > something you said recently has been bothering me. and as a post script I
    > wanted to just clear it up. (Since this email is already very long. why
    > not
    > eh?)
    >
    > In email #29 you said, "In regard to your analogy of the civil war mom,
    > you
    > make the case that Jesus pleads for us like a mother pleads for her guilty
    > son. This sounds a bit like the Roman Catholic doctrine of Mary
    > interceding
    > on our behalf. According to the Bible, God can make a sinner just without
    > violating His justice. It's through the substitutionary atonement of the
    > perfect Lord Jesus Christ. He took our place, and paid our fine."
    >
    > Mark - Jesus Christ does act as our Advocate between us and the Father. I
    > was not proposing a doctrine like Mary interceding.
    >
    > If you read the story closer, I also said that a "separate" judge was
    > ruling. That was deliberate.
    >
    > Why did I say it?
    >
    > Because technically the Judge is Jesus Christ! ".for we shall all stand
    > before the judgment seat of Christ." (Rom 14:10) "For the Father judgeth
    > no
    > man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John 5:22) The Father
    > only presides.
    >
    > I quoted our Doctrine and Covenants where Jesus says, ""Listen to him who
    > is
    > the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him?
    > Saying:
    > Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom
    > thou
    > wast well pleased; behold the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself
    > might be glorified; wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that
    > believe
    > on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life."
    > (Section
    > 45:3-5)
    >
    > It was Jesus Christ who paid for our sins through his "sufferings and
    > death." Thus he alone has the right to "confess" our name before the
    > Father (Rev 3:5). The entire court is satisfied because the price was paid
    > by Jesus. just like you mentioned: substitutionary.
    >
    > Perhaps my story wasn't clear enough, and if so. sorry. I sometimes write
    > in haste and don't proof read very well. Regardless, I was bothered
    > because
    > you tried to make it look like I believed otherwise. Thanks for
    > listening.
    >

    It is consistent with Christian Trinitarian Monotheism that Jesus advocates to the Father on our behalf. In Mormon tri-theism, or polytheism, Jesus is a separate being advocating like one person to another. That's why it's a bit like Mary, because Mary is not the same being as the judge, and to you, Jesus is not the same being as the Father.

    Please consider what the Bible says, you can trust the Bible alone Jack. You can trust the Bible. You really can. It's not corrupt, and it is sufficient. It says that we will stand before God on Judgment Day and be found guilty of breaking His perfect laws. Today God offers you a way out. Today He offers to pay your fine. I beg you to receive the Savior today. You might not have tomorrow.

    God bless you!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  48. Wednesday, March 14, 2007, 16:38 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Mark: I got all the way down to the Bruce R. McConkie quotes on the Blacks... I've gotta run to a meeting, but just wanted to send Bruce R. McConkie's discourse from 1978 on the issue. Can you please post within the text of my email a link to the attached document? Will you read the entire things?... Then you can make all the fun you want out of it. Enjoy... gotta run. Much obliged, Jack

  49. Tuesday, March 15, 2007, 10:16 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: from Jack's mom

    You know Mark.....the more I get to know you the more I don't like you...and you know that fact from a previous email I erroneously wrote to you. You have no respect for any one's opinion or beliefs but your own. This email is sarcastic and the respect I previously had for you is totally gone. However, Jack, being the respectful son I raised him to be, will find this humourous. I find it distasteful and the more Jack explains our beliefs to you the more sarcastic and ridiculous you get. Just with THOSE facts alone....I could never be a member of your congregation because you are PREDJUDICE. But, you are right about one thing....Jack is NOT your brother... because I would not have raised such an incensitive child. And in the other words, as well, Jack is not your brother in the human family. He may be upset that I have emailed this to you but I have sat back and watched you be a "spoiled brat" through this whole ordeal.

    POINT OUT ONE TIME JACK has lambasted your beliefs or church!!! He only explains our interpretation of the bible and here's a newsflash for you.....you aren't god, either. Jack's mom

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  50. Tuesday, March 15, 2007, 10:43 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose and Jack
    Subject: Re: From Jack's mom

    Hi Jack's Mom,

    In regard to your first question, the one about me believing that Jesus is merciful. Yes, He is merciful. Which is why He gives us all time to repent. He could squash us all and justly send us all to hell, but He gives us time to repent. But He will not hold back His judgment forever.

    You asked why Jesus would hold you accountable for not knowing any better? He will hold you accountable for what you do know. Here's what you do know:

    You do know that you've transgressed God's Laws. Jack called this "the light of Christ." I called it "Romans, Chapter 1." We all know that we have broken the 10 Commandments.

    Think of it this way. If a man jumps out of an airplane 30,000 feet without a parachute, he doesn't die "for lack of putting on a parachute." No, he dies for breaking the law of gravity and hitting the ground. If you die today without repenting and putting your faith in the correct Jesus of the Bible, you will go to hell, not because you didn't put on Jesus, but because you broke God's commands and are considered by Him to be a lawbreaker.

    Even an atheist knows that it's wrong to lie, to steal, to lust, to covet. Yet we all do these things despite our conscience telling us it is wrong.

    Also, I did answer Jack's question about the 2 men who were dying. I answered that in my email on March 8. I said at that time, "It is no accident that one man went south and one went north. God ordains ALL that comes to pass.

    If God wanted to save the first person, and thus sovereignly directed him to me, and this person TRULY repented and put his faith in the correct Jesus, then that person would be justified (made right in God's sight) in an instant, and would be with God in heaven when he died.

    I know you get offended by the idea that a person can mock God all his life and be made right without any works, but that is the Biblical message. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5).

    The mans repentance must be genuine, and that's between him and God. But if he truly is broken up over his sin and has truly repented and trusts Jesus alone to cover his sins, then he is justified."

    As far as Jack's prediction that I would pull out of the discussion first, we have all said all that we need to say, and more. I have pages and pages available on my website. You both know more about the errors of Mormonism than most Mormons will ever learn, so you have much to be accountable for. I have already demonstrated that Jack views the Bible incorrectly in a number of places, and thus far he has shown no interest of repenting of his error.

    My desire to come to a close is not out of a cowardice or a belief that he's winning. If I thought Jack were winning, I'd repent of my beliefs and become a Mormon! But He has not accurately presented Biblical truth. He has merely shown error after error and demonstrated that Mormons believe what they believe because they trust Mormon prophets more than they trust the Bible.

    We have also established that we can not all be Christians. What you believe and what the Bible teaches are fundamentally different. So let's not patronize each other with incorrect statements that we all love and serve the same Jesus. My Jesus and your Jesus are demonstrably different beings.

    In regard to not publishing your emails on my website, I have thus far honored your request, but I need to prayerfully consider whether or not I will continue to honor that request.

    It's just not fair for you to present yourself one way publicly, but then another privately. In "private" emails you say inappropriate things, but then say, "Don't publish this on the website so everyone can see how I really feel." I think that perhaps I may be allowing you to portray a hypocritical front - that you're a loving mom who sees me as a wayward son, when in reality we both know exactly how you feel about me. You were quite clear in previous "private" emails.

    I don't know that it serves anyone to allow you to present yourself one way publicly and another privately.

    So I suggest that if you don't want me to publish what you write, then don't write it. If Jack and I are accountable for what we say, then you should be as well.

    As for your former emails, I'm still considering whether or not it is the right thing to publish them or not.

    with concern,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  51. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 10:54 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: RE: From Jack's mom

    In answer to both your emails that you have just sent to me.....the way I felt about you PUBLICLY at the beginning of our "discussions" and the way I feel about you now are quite the opposite. Thus.....the reason I don't want my emails published. It better serves YOU that your following think that you are a wonderful man than for me to point out your flaws. The decision for the discussions to be published was between you and Jack.....This will be my last email to you. If you wish to correspond with Jack more....he will forward your correspondence to me. But as for you and I continuing to correspond.....IT STOPS HERE. You bring a darkness about you and I don't like the feeling I get when I read your rubbish. That is one of MY god's telling me to tell you....GET THEE HENCE SATAN (you being a satan like presence to me)....... and OH yeah....the God that I am referring to is GOD THE FATHER....I don't need any more of you writing me and calling me to repentance. I would rather go to that hell you think I am going to than follow you and your congregation. Mark, to me, you just have no common decency. You must stay up nights thinking of comebacks and unkind things to say and you always have to have the LAST WORD.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  52. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 10:56 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: One more thing.....

    If you publish any of my former emails, which I have asked you not to publish......then you must publish ALL OF THEM.....not just the ones you want to publish. It might help others to see you for who you really are.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  53. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 11:56 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Jack,

    Yes, I will read the McConkie essay, and I'll post a URL link to the file so people can read it if they want to. So I'll post the link, but since the purpose of my website is not to be a repository for any religion to post files, I'm not going to store the pdf on my server. I think posting the link is more than fair though.

    So if anyone wants to read it, you can do so at: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=11017&x=55&y=5

    with regards,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  54. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 11:59 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Thanks Mark: Much appreciated. God bless, Jack

  55. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 12:03 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    When you say "God bless" are you referring to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit?

    Have you seen the new television show, Battlestar Galactica (not the 1970's version)? In it the humans have a polytheistic religion, and they always say "My gods" instead of "My God."

    Anyhow, I just want to make sure I understand which of your gods you mean.

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  56. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 14:29 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Jack,

    This email is being sent only to you, because your Mom made it clear that she doesn't want to hear from me anymore.

    I read the McConkie speech.

    Thank you for sending it to me.

    I think the critical section is the following:

    --- begin McConkie quotation ---

    There are statements in our literature by the early Brethren which we have interpreted to mean that the Negroes would not receive the priesthood in mortality. I have said the same things, and people write me letters and say, "You said such and such, and how is it now that we do such and such?" And all I can say to that is that it is time disbelieving people repented and got in line and believed in a living, modern prophet. Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world.

    We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don't matter any more.

    It doesn't make a particle of difference what anybody ever said about the Negro matter before the first day of June of this year, 1978.

    --- end McConkie quotation ---

    This displays a shocking disregard for the Biblical doctrine of the immutability of God.

    If I'm understanding your Apostle correctly, he's saying that the new revelation (that Blacks can now be elders and partake of temple rituals in the Mormon church) negates all the previous revelation on the subject. "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation."

    But that's not how God's revelation works. Isaiah didn't negate Jeremiah, and Haggai didn't cancel out Micah.

    All of Scripture adds and builds, but never contradicts!

    And this didn't even address the part about your "inspired" prophets claiming that the purpose of black people is so the devil will have a representation on earth, and that if a white person marries a black person, the white person ought to be killed, and more.

    But you know what, though I find the Mormon history regarding blacks horrendous, it's not the worst part of Mormonism by a long shot. Far worse is the Mormon teaching that there exist many gods, that God was once a mortal, and that mortals can become a little god.

    That blasphemy is far worse than your troubled history regarding black people, and the ridiculous "forget what inspired prophets said in the past" covering that Mormon prophets came up with to spin the issue.

    You can not legitimately "forget" what an inspired prophet has said.

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com
     

  57. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 14:55 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Mark:

    I'm pretty busy today... but can't help myself but ask regarding immutability:

    Didn't the Sabbath change from day 7 to day 1? "And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made?" (Gen 2:3)

    HMMM...

    I've got hundreds of examples of immutability in the Bible Mark.

    Why Jesus Christ consider the Gentiles dogs, and not minister unto them during his mortal ministry? "But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast [it] to dogs." (Matt 15:26) The only children he is referring to is the House of Israel, not all men.

    Sounds like the "apostles" changed their mind from His original gospel.

    Broaden your self awareness.

    Hugs and kisses (like this ending better), Jack ;|

  58. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 15:06 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    The Sabbath did not change from the 7th day to the 1st. The Sabbath is still the 7th. The Lord's Day is the 1st.

    Common misunderstanding.

    Thank you for your honesty in admitting that you deny the doctrine of immutability.

    So far you are on record admitting:

    1. you believe in many many gods
    2. you believe that the Father, Son, and Spirit are 3 separate beings
    3. you believe that god was once a mortal
    4. you believe that us mortals can one day become little gods
    5. you believe that inspired prophets of God can completely contradict previous prophets of God and render their inspired prophecies mute.
    6. you deny the immutability of God

    This is proof that Mormonism is not Christian.

    I still can not figure out why these easy to understand doctrines are not plainly stated on mormon.org, other than to speculate that Mormons are smart enough to know that people would understandably reject Mormonism if Mormons were upfront about these things.

    I know it's taken us about 45 emails of specific questions to get you to go on record on all of these things.

    Are you typically upfront about these beliefs of yours with people? If not, then why not?

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  59. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 16:18 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Mark:

    Why do you remained silent on Jesus Christ calling the gentiles "dogs?" Didn't our Lord say that it was not right to give the gospel to them at that time? Hmmm. Gotta figure out an interpretation for that before you respond to quickly? (I say that with love.)

    Interestingly, in this email you went back to "ole faithful"... the gods... to distract from my question... and comfort yourself that those darn Mormons are heretics. That's the typical tactic I was talking about earlier... and accountability goes down the drain.

    In answer to your question about the 45 emails: I said in an earlier email, the first topic was salvation, and technically still is, and that is why we haven't discussed anything else yet as the "official" topic.

    You also agreed to one topic at a time Mark, until it was threshed out to the "utter most."

    Did you not also propose our first topic by bringing up the 3-minute man?

    Perhaps you should have proposed the nature of God as our first topic.

    And remember, I came to you out of my own free will and abandoned the rules I was hoping to maintain of staying on topic until that topic was finished. I could see that you were getting frustrated by staying on one topic, because of the prejudice you harbored from the yet to be discussed topics. (Although, we weren't done yet about the 3-minute man... for you still had yet to answer my question about 2 men in the same situation.)

    That's solid evidence I was avoiding you. (sarcasm.)

    I was hoping to avoid chaos... of which we are now in.

    It's that simple. 🙂

    I was holding back to stay on topic, not to avoid.

    Say what you've got to say to preserve your thesis... that's cool; but I do believe the record we're posting will support better my view of your thesis... and as I said in my first email, "keep us honest."

    So do you honor both the Sabbath and the Lords day; for we are told to keep the Sabbath holy?

    Jack

  60. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 16:56 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Jack, I did remain silent on Jesus calling the Gentiles dogs, but not for reasons that you think.

    I'm trying to wind this conversation down to a close.

    It is not necessary to start a new one on the Sabbath or what Jesus called a Gentile woman.

    Think of it this way. A young boy and his father are walking together in the woods, when the boy falls and has a sharp stick puncture his jugular vein.

    The father picks up the injured boy and carries him through the woods to a nearby emergency room, all the while using his own hand to keep his son's life blood from draining.

    When the boy and his dad finally reach the emergency room and get in front of the doctor, the boy lifts his small hand, and says, "Doctor, help me. I have a splinter and it hurts."

    What will the doctor do?

    If he's smart, he'll ignore the splinter and go to work on the real problem, the jugular!

    I am not interested in arguing over racism, Saturday/Sunday, and the proper way to understand Matthew 15:26 when you have admitted to believing in many gods, god was once mortal, and that mortals can become a little god.

    I don't keep going back to those because they're safe, or sensational, to distract you or to comfort myself. I go back to those because they're the jugular, so to speak.

    I've answered your question about the 2 men who are dying.

    You've answered my questions about the nature of your god.

    There's not a whole lot more to say, and thus, the conversation should wrap up soon.

    Anyone who has been reading along will be able to see clearly that Mormons believe:

    • in many gods
    • god was once mortal
    • mortals can become god
    • your prophets today can totally undo what your older prophets have said
    • you believe that you must perform works to keep your salvation.

    In contrast, I have presented the Christian teachings about the True and Living God of Israel:

    • He does not change.
    • He demands perfection.
    • We're not perfect.
    • On the contrary, we are all liars, and thieves, and blasphemers, and adulterers, and murderers at heart.
    • God is just to judge us and sentence us to hell.
    • But to show His great kindness, God came in the form of a man to pay the penalty for the sin we committed.
    • If we truly repent and put our faith in Him, He will forgive us forever, make us new creations, and we get to be with Him in heaven, not because we are good people, but because we are bad people who are forgiven by a very good God.

    As for Matthew 5:26, let's take this in context...

    "Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children?s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." (Matthew 15:21-28).

    Jesus is omniscient and omnipotent. He knew perfectly well that He was going to heal the woman's daughter. So why the "dog" comment? The answer is in the text. To test her faith and make a point about faith.

    He called her a dog, and she responded with repentance and faith. She didn't argue "How dare you call me a dog!" She didn't get mad. She accepted the humble role. "yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table"

    This is the heart Jesus wants - one that agrees with the Master that we are dogs. You and I are all dogs, Jack. Dogs do not get food from the Master's table based on their good works, but entirely out of the mercy of the Master. So too is it with us.

    But, you know what? How you interpret Matthew 5:26 is a splinter compared to the bleeding jugular that you've gone on record admitting. That's why I left it alone and why I only spent a few sentences on your Sabbath error.

    I do not agree with you that we are in chaos now. I think we're all very clear about what you believe verses what the Bible teaches.

    So I think we are drawing to a successful conclusion to this long conversation.

    with regards,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  61. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 17:20 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Mark:

    Chaos is the infighting and lack of respect that is happening today... not the clearness of either my or your beliefs. I appreciate your comments. Let's just make sure we don't wrap this discussion up before I get to send through predestination and finish out that topic. Got it?

    p.s. nice save on the dogs thing... but it is weak. You are very clever at reading the bible through your "goggles" too. You just illustrated the point again... You're in the CLUB. Nice to have ya!

    Mark, you can't prove anything from the Bible, unless you rely upon the Holy Ghost as your guide; Hence the many different Christian denominations.

    And Mark... just to use your line of thinking: given your response about Polygamy in your own heritage, you said those prophets were wicked men and that it was not God's will... but Mark, they were prophets none the less and they wrote scripture. So, by your base of reasoning, Joseph Smith could be a prophet despite polygamy, etc. etc. etc.

    Broaden your self awareness.

    You're looking at my jugular, and missing that your own jugular is bleeding pretty bad yourself.

    " And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matt 7:3-5)

    Broaden your self awareness.

    Jack

  62. Thursday, March 15, 2007, 11:55 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Mark:

    It's been a busy day, and I was just reading through this stuff quickly again before I go home. I wanted to say a few things about "immutability."

    I'm floored at your shortsightedness: I'm sorry if I'm being rude, but I'm really trying to understand you.

    I do believe God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. That was my whole argument when I declared that he can still lead his people through living prophets.

    So.... recognizing I believe that, I can also accept the fact that we no longer make blood sacrifice as instructed in the Old Testament.

    Is that a violation of immutability?

    I can also accept the fact that we no longer circumcise, which was an everlasting... EVERLASTING... token of the covenant people.

    Is that a violation of immutability?

    Do you recognize the struggle outlined in our very Bible about taking the gospel to Gentiles?

    During the first commission, Jesus forbade the apostles to go into the way of the Gentiles or to preach to the Samaritans. He said for them to "go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. 10:5-6).

    We must also bear in mind that the Jerusalem church was made up exclusively of Jews or Jewish proselytes and that there were no Gentiles converted to Christ until Cornelius in Acts 10.

    Even the apostle Peter who preached the first sermon on Pentecost had to have a special revelation from the Lord in the vision of the sheet that was let down from heaven with all kinds of animals in it before he would preach to the Gentiles (Acts 9).

    Is that a violation of immutability?

    This struggle continued all through the apostolic age Mark. The council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) that was held many years after Christianity started was convened for the purpose of considering the problem of Gentile converts' relationship to the Mosaic Law. Should they be circumcised... should they not, should the law be abandoned... should it not, etc. etc. etc.?

    This was done because there was a clamor among the Jewish/Christian teachers in the early church to force the rituals and practices of the Law of Moses upon Gentile converts.

    Is that immutability?

    (Sigh)

    Interesting note, as I mentioned earlier at the beginning of this exchange in January. The above is the context of the entire New Testament when we read regarding the Law and as to if the Law saves.

    The Law of Moses does not save you, it is Jesus Christ, which was forshadowed by the Law.

    But Mark, when you - Mark Sohmer - read about Law in the N.T., you forget this context... and deny that we have a "new and better covenant" given by Jesus Christ, which is also governed by the laws of the gospel.

    Mark, that is what this whole law/works/grace thing is.

    But... most Jews couldn't understand this... you wanna know why? Because they were stuck on the so called "immutability", and denied that God can and does lead men through revelation.

    God is the same Yesterday, Today, and Forever... and he leads his Church through revelation, which is the ROCK.

    "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt 16:17-18)

    ... "and upon this rock of flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (My version of course.)

    Expand your self awareness.

    Sincerely, Jack

  63. Friday, March 16, 2007, 9:44 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark and Jack
    Subject: Suggestion for Mark Sohmer from A mormon

    A mormon was visiting Meridian Magazine
    and thought you might have an interest in this article:
    http://www.ldsmag.com/books/070316presidents.html

    Meridian Magazine

    Your friend wanted us to pass on this message to you:

    I am proud of this man and thought you should read this article.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  64. Friday, March 16, 2007, 10:37 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: [Fwd: Suggestion for Mark Sohmer from A mormon]

    Hi Jack,

    I'm really confused.

    Do you know why your Mom sent me this link to an article about Mitt Romney?

    I mean, she made it very clear that she wanted nothing to do with me, considered me of the devil, and asked that I not email her anymore.

    Then the next day she sends me a link to an article about a potential Mormon President?

    So I'm confused.

    I'm a bit afraid to email her about this for fear of upsetting her more.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  65. Friday, March 16, 2007, 13:21 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: [Fwd: Suggestion for Mark Sohmer from A mormon]

    Hi Mark:

    Happy Friday (whew)!

    I'm as confused as you are, but you and I both know what a woman's prerogative is: a woman can change her mind anytime she wants. I don't know why she sent that to you. She also made it clear to me that she didn't want any further contact with you, to the point where she put a block on your email address.

    From her perspective, when you show respect, she really likes you. When you don't, she doesn't. Maybe she cooled off after yesterday's alley cat fight; (As you two were at each other's throats, I envisioned two cats just going at it, with fur flying everywhere. It made me laugh as I was driving home last night.)

    Mark: I don't want to force you to continue this discussion. I want to support you if you want to bring this discussion to a close, I just don't want to be shut out before I get to comment your email concerning predestination and a Brigham Young quote you used out of context, etc.

    To paraphrase your words: it would be disrespectful and dishonest of my not to reply.

    Moreover, it's natural in a discussion like this that we both want the last word... right?

    With that being said, I'll do whatever you want to do. I'll play by what ever rules you suggest. I could continue this discussion forever, but I also knew from the very beginning that arguing about the scriptures alone would get us nowhere.

    All I can do is neutralize by demonstrating that I also can prove my points from the Bible, and then put the matter in the Hands of God. This is precisely why I have said: "expand your self awareness."

    To belabor the point again, going right to the so-called jugular:If the Bible says we are "heirs of god, and joint-heirs with Christ" (Rom 8) your response is: "One day we will reign with Christ, but that does not mean that we will be little gods."

    If the Bible says that just as Christ over came, we can also overcome, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev 3:21) Your response is: "I get it. I understand your position. You believe we can become little gods."

    Do you understand that my position is quite literally the words of the Bible without any interpretation from me?

    I'll say it again: Do you understand that my position is quite literally the words of the Bible without any interpretation from me?

    Mark: I believe literally that we can be "joint heirs with Christ." I believe literally that, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne"

    Your response is shortsighted, and sometimes I think unfair... because if anyone has focused on every single jot and tittle of what the Bible actually says, it is you. But you abandon that literalness and clarity when it doesn't suit your own purpose.

    You focus on the word gods as your defense for your interpretation because the Bible ALSO says there is no other God besides me.

    We use the words gods literally as a synonym with "joint heirs with Christ."

    If this issue is being distorted primarily by the semantic argument you make, then I'll say it differently to demonstrate exactly how we mean it:

    We believe we will literally be "joint heirs with Christ" if we are found worthy, and will sit in His throne, just like he is set down in the Father's
    Throne.

    Your response of: "One day we will reign with Christ, but that does not mean that we will be little gods" is how you respond to this... and it is weak. It is a unilateral proclamation of what a "joint-heir" means, and it is weak.

    Moreover, if you want to apply that weak semantic rule, then Moses is NOT a prophet either and the NT is heretical, for it also says: "AND the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet." (Exo 1:7)

    I'm going to hold you accountable for this, although you have yet to respond to it.

    I don't care what rules you apply for establishing truth Mark, just be consistent and fair. That's what I mean by expand your self awareness. I've been consistent the whole time: You must appeal to the revelation of the Holy Ghost to know the Truth as you study the Bible.

    I'm sorry again for the fighting that has been introduced most recently into this discussion with you and my mom. Charity is not easily provoked, but is kind... that goes for both.

    Thank you for continuing to post this discussion. Feel free to email back...

    I'm in the office all day.

    Most sincerely, Jack

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  66. Friday, March 16, 2007, 14:53 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: [Fwd: Suggestion for Mark Sohmer from A mormon]

    Hi Mark: I finally talked with her. You don't need to copy her on any emails anymore. I mentioned to her that she reminds me of the former Presidential candidate Ross Perot: I'm in.... I'm out.... oh, I'm in again.... no, no... I'm out. We had a good laugh.

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  67. Monday, March 19, 2007, 15:35 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    > Hi Mark:
    >
    > Chaos is the infighting and lack of respect that is happening today... not
    > the clearness of either my or your beliefs. I appreciate your comments.
    > Let's just make sure we don't wrap this discussion up before I get to send
    > through predestination and finish out that topic. Got it?

    Jack,

    You don't have to send your document on predestination. I've been thinking about how our conversation started, and it started because your Mom got a copy of an essay I wrote. One purpose of the essay is to warn Christians that Mormons are not Christian, and I submitted, among other things, the following as proof:

    • Mormons believe in many gods.
    • Mormons believe that God the Father was once a mortal.
    • Mormons believe that we mortals can one day become a little god.

    You emailed to say that I had bad information that came from anti-Mormon sources. However, throughout our email discussion, you have gone on record confirming the three claims above, that you believe in many gods, that you believe that our God was once mortal, and that you believe that one day you may become a little god.

    Predestination, while fascinating, does not seem relevant anymore. I think we can wrap this conversation up now.

    >
    > p.s. nice save on the dogs thing... but it is weak. You are very clever
    > at
    > reading the bible through your "goggles" too. You just illustrated the
    > point again... You're in the CLUB. Nice to have ya!
    >
    > Mark, you can't prove anything from the Bible, unless you rely upon the
    > Holy
    > Ghost as your guide; Hence the many different Christian denominations.
    >

    Ah, the "There are many Christian Denominations therefore not the true church" argument. What Mormons fail to disclose when they use this argument is that there are many Mormon denominations too!

    Christ's church has been around for 2,000 years, and in those 2,000 years, it has pleased God to use fallible men. Fallible men make mistakes and quarrel and disagree. So there are different denominations.

    Yet the overwhelming # of them agree on salvation by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone. We also agree on "who God is" (i.e. not a mortal who earned godhood). Perhaps we differ on whether to sprinkle, dunk, or pour.

    And many of the denominations are due to geography. Before email and blogs, it was hard for the church in England to communicate with the church in the Netherlands, or Israel. So it's natural that there would be some diversity due to not communicating with one another.

    But let's look at the Mormons. You've been around a mere 175 years or so, and you've already got many splinter groups yourselves, and you have an infallible prophet to guide you!

    There is the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" in Utah, which believed that Brigham Young was the rightful successor to Joseph Smith. As you know, their website is: http://lds.org/

    There is the "Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ," also known as "The Community of Christ" in Missouri, which believed that Joseph Smith's son was the rightful successor to Joseph Smith. Their website is found at: http://www.cofchrist.org/

    There is the "Church of Christ (Temple Lot)" which is the only Mormon denomination that actually owns the property where Joseph Smith falsely prophesied that a temple would be built in his generation. Their website is: http://www.churchofchrist-tl.org/

    There is the "Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints" in Missouri. Members of the Remnant Church believe in the doctrine of Lineal Succession. The Prophet of the Remnant Church, President Frederick Niels Larsen, is a direct descendent of Joseph Smith Junior. Their website is: http://www.theremnantchurch.com/

    There is the "Church of Jesus Christ (Bickertonite)" which believes that Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith's "right-hand-man" was the rightful successor to Joseph Smith. Their website is: http://www.thechurchofjesuschrist.com/

    There is the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", also known as the "Strangite church" which believes that James J. Strang was the rightful successor to Joseph Smith. Their website is at: http://www.strangite.org/

    There is the "Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints", which disagrees with the great accommodation and still practice plural marriages today.

    There is the "True & Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days" started by James D. Harmston.

    There is the "Latter-day Church of Christ" or "Kingston Clan," which broke from Brigham Young's flavor of Mormonism in 1876.

    All these splits in under 200 years. I bet Christ's Church didn't have all these by 200 AD. If the Lord should tarry, I wonder how many Mormon denominations there will be in 1,800 years!

    Why should I believe that your particular Mormon denomination is the right one? Because you have a prophet? They all do! Because you have a "burning in your bosom?" They all do! Because you're the largest of them all? The Roman Catholic Church is larger than you - but that doesn't mean that you should be Catholic.

    The Mormon church has splits for the same reason that Christ's true church has splits - it's headed on earth by fallible sinful people. One difference, however, is that we don't claim to have infallible prophets heading us.

    Jim Spencer writes about his thoughts when he learned about these splinter groups:

    Gradually it began to dawn on me that all four parts of a typical Mormon testimony could be recited by any one of these groups. All believed Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon was the Word of God, that they belonged to the Restored Church, and that a prophet was the head of the Church today.

    So in reality, there was one main question up for discussion: Who was the prophet today? And, working backwards: Who had been the rightful successor to Joseph Smith? I was beginning to see that my Utah Church could not base its claim to authenticity solely on either Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon. They were obliged to prove that theirs actually was the Church Joseph founded, and that Brigham Young was Joseph Smith's rightful successor.
    Jim Spencer, Beyond Mormonism: An Elder's Story, You can read this book online for FREE at: http://www.beyondmormonism.com/

    >
    > And Mark... just to use your line of thinking: given your response about
    > Polygamy in your own heritage, you said those prophets were wicked men and
    > that it was not God's will... but Mark, they were prophets none the less
    > and
    > they wrote scripture. So, by your base of reasoning, Joseph Smith could
    > be
    > a prophet despite polygamy, etc. etc. etc.
    >
    > Broaden your self awareness.
    >

    Jack, nobody that I know claims that the prophets of God were sinless (except for Jesus, of course - He's the only sinless one). Yes, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. were sinners, just as you and I are today.

    Joseph Smith is not disqualified as a prophet because of his sin, but because he made false prophecies. This is according to the Word of God, Deuteronomy 18:20-22. But we haven't even discussed the false prophecies of Joseph Smith, nor do I think it's relevant to branch off into that now. It's enough that you have admitted to believing in many gods, that your god was once a man, and that you hope to become a little god someday. That's why we can wrap this up.

    Jack, I do hope that you will realize that you have erected a false god, an idol, and God will not hold you blameless for that. "For I the LORD thy God am a jealous God" (Exodus 20:5).

    Please flee to the Jesus of the Bible. You can trust Him. Repentance and faith in Him is your only hope.

    with sincere concern,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com
     

  68. Monday, March 19, 2007, 15:40 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Jack,

    Immutability means that "God does not change" not that God's dealings with men does not change.

    Of course the way God deals with men has changed over time. Your example of blood sacrifices is spot on. We no longer perform blood sacrifices, but not because God said "Aw, forget it" but rather because it was fulfilled in the perfect blood sacrifice of Christ.

    So there is a reason we don't perform blood sacrifices, and the Word of God gives us the reason.

    Mormons have something entirely different. Allegedly inspired Mormon prophets have prophetically gone on record saying that black people are cursed with dark skin because of misdeeds in the "pre-existence." They have gone on record infallibly stating that the purpose of black people is so the devil will have a representation on earth. And other horrible things. Then, in the 1970's, when the Mormon church wanted to expand into black countries, like Brazil, viola! New revelation, changing the way God feels about black people.

    And your Apostle McConkie says, "Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation."

    God's immutability means that prophets do not contradict one another. They can add and build, but not contradict.

    But, as with predestination, though this is fascinating, it is not really relevant since you've already gone on record saying you believe in many gods, that your god was once a man, and that you hope to become a little god someday. Somehow, immutability doesn't seem all that critical when one realizes the grave error of those beliefs.

    So although I would warn people against becoming a Mormon due to the error of immutability in Mormonism, I think it's FAR WORSE the fact that the Mormon church clearly has a different god, and a different "way of salvation" than that found in the Bible.

    Jack, do you wish to recant your statements about Mormons believing in many gods? Do you wish to recant your statements about your god once being mortal? Do you wish to recant your statement about your belief that men can become a little god?

    If not, then you have proven the point of the original essay that your Mom objected to. You have admitted that you believe these things, and thus, demonstrated that Mormonism is not Christian. And I believe we need not continue this email conversation any further.

    But I am not interested in "winning an argument." I am interested in seeing you forgiven by the jealous God of the Universe.

    He made you and He made me, and he commands us to repent and put our faith in the True Jesus of the Bible. Only then can we have hope.

    I pray you will do this very soon, Jack.

    your friend,

    Mark

    P.S. This long conversation illustrates exactly why I wrote the original essay, "Letter to a Mormon: Testing the Claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints." One of the purposes of this document is to inform Christians to what Mormons actually believe (but might not tell you).

    You have maintained that Mormons are really Christians, and we serve the same God, but we have established this not to be the case. You have gone on record stating that you believe in a different god. If the God of the Bible has always been God, and the god of Mormonism was once a man, but became a god, then they are not the same entities.

    One might think that mormon.org, the official website of the Brigham Young strain of Mormonism, would make the Mormon beliefs clear, but in actuality one finds very vague language there.

    At mormon.org, under "The Nature of God," we find:

    --- begin mormon.org quotation ---

    Most people believe in a Supreme Being, even though they may call Him by different names.

    We know that God, our Heavenly Father, lives. He knows you and each of us and loves us all as His children.

    We are commanded to love God (Matthew 22:36?38). Jesus Christ taught that we must know the only true God to have eternal life (John 17:3). As His children, we must know who He is and what He is like.

    As you come to know and love God, you will find greater peace and joy, both in this life and in the life to come.

    --- end mormon.org quotation ---

    No mention that this "God" was once a mortal. No mention that this "God" is one of many. No mention of any of the strange doctrines of Mormonism anywhere at mormon.org.

    That is precisely why I wrote my essay - to inform Christians what Mormons believe (but might not tell you.)

    In case anyone is interested, you can download this essay for free at: http://Luke-15.org/Mormon_letter.pdf.

    Unless you want to recant your statements about believing in many gods, then I do not see why this conversation needs to continue. "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD... before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10). You have admitted enough to demonstrate that the Mormon church is not a Christian church.

    I do hope you'll flee out of that non-Christian organization into a church that follows the true Word of God. Everything is at stake, Jack. You know more about Mormonism than most Mormons ever will, and to whom much is given, much is expected. Please do what is right. Please repent of the idolatry of Mormonism. Because I care for you, I must warn you that every person dies. When you do, you will be judged. "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    But there is hope. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). God can forgive you and me, not because of what we do, but because of what the Jesus of the Bible has done. And He gets all the glory and honor. What an amazing God!!!

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  69. Monday, March 19, 2007, 15:57 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Mark: Mark, my predestination is relevant... only because it clearly demonstrates you have misinterpreted the Bible. I go back through earlier translations, and manuscripts, and also demonstrate where Paul clearly didn't teach Predestination. Are you afraid of me sending it through? You keep telling me not to send it. Jack

  70. Monday, March 19, 2007, 16:02 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Mark:

    Can you restate clearly what you believe about the Trinity to where it makes sense? I'm still confused. And... if you don't mind, I would like to focus on it at least for a few more emails, so that I understand it clearly.

    Is that ok?

    Jack

  71. Monday, March 19, 2007, 18:08 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Mark: just reading this below again (I'm at work)... and after reading a little more closely, I don't feel comfortable letting you shake me off (and that's what you're trying to do)... you are so diligent right now trying to bring this conversation to a close... and I can't help but feel it is because you don't want to dive deeper into predestination and the Trinity... and I just don't thank that's fair. I think you are praying I just walk away and don't take this discussion further.

    Mark, I will demonstrate and expose your limited knowledge of the Bible regarding the nature of God and the Trinity and predestination. And... I feel you just run and hide so that I can't hold you accountable because you have to post everyting... What I've sent through already regarding the nature of God is just a drop in the bucket... a drop.

    You agreed that we could investigate to the utter most, so I say we do it... and we focus on the Trinity as a new topic. My predestination document will just be a secondary reply, something that is not the official topic. But I say we make the official topic right now the "TRINITY. Don't wimp out... and let's really focus on my question below. I will refrain from giving comments in my defense until I clearly and succinctly understand your doctrine of the nature of God. I'll just ask questions, and restate, without commenting in my defense. Sound good?

  72. Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 12:52 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Jack,

    I assure you that I am not at all afraid of what you have to say regarding "predestination." We've been emailing for approximately three months now, and have exchanged more than 50 LENGTHY emails. I have not held back from publishing anything publicly except where your Mom specifically asked me not to post something. I have not "wimped out" as you say, nor am I trying to "shake you off." Both of those allegations are highly inflammatory, and unfounded given that I've gladly answered your questions about a whole host of topics. The fact is that we've both said more than we need to, and we have satisfied the purpose of our discussion. This discussion has to end sometime, and when we look at why this conversation started, and the purpose, it's clear that now is the time to bring this to a close.

    This whole conversation started because you and your Mom objected to the essay, "Letter to a Mormon: Testing the Claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". You claimed essay was wrong, but you have gone on record agreeing with a number of the major allegations made against the Mormon church in that essay.

    My initial essay had nothing to do with predestination. The essay was to show that Mormonism is not Christian. Since you admitted to believing in many gods, and that your god was once a man, and that you hope to one day become a little god, you have conceded the debate. The essay says that Mormonism believes those things, and you have testified that you do as well.

    The only reason I can see for continuing this discussion is if you were honestly interested in learning how to repent of the idolatry of Mormonism and get right with God. I'd be happy to spend more time with anyone in that position.

    Regarding the Trinity, I have lots of pages of information available for free for you to download from my website: http://resources.Luke-15.org. I'd suggest you look under the "Cults" section, and then "Jehovah's Witnesses."

    Of note would be the essay, "Jesus Christ, God, and the Bible," but if you want something quick, there's a "cheat sheet" of sorts called "Why You Should Believe In the Trinity (Overview)". I believe those documents should be able to help you understand the Biblical doctrine of the "Trinity" and see from the Bible where it is taught.

    Jack, you have more than enough information to proceed.

    I'm not sure I understand why you're so adamant about continuing our discussion. We've both made our respective cases.

    You've gone on record stating that Mormons believe:

    • in many gods
    • god was once a man
    • men can someday become little gods
    • the efforts of man are required to keep your salvation

    In stark contrast, Biblical Christianity teaches:

    • there is only One God.
    • God has always been God.
    • The creation can never become a god.
    • Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, for Christ's glory alone.

    The case has been made that Mormonism is not Christian.

    In addition, we have explored "rabbit trails" that are not pertinent to this discussion: i.e. polytheism, black people, eternal security, the many denominations of Mormonism, et cetera, and now you want to add "predestination" to the list.

    I see no point. Predestination is not an essential of the faith, and I didn't even bring it up. It is mentioned nowhere in the essay that sparked this whole discussion.

    We could go on forever with these emails, but after three months and 50+ lengthy emails, I think one of us has to have the courage to say, "enough is enough." So that's what I'm doing. Enough is enough.

    Please consider what we have learned Jack. Please stop telling people that Mormons are Christians, when it is the case that Mormons are not.

    Way back in email #9, I wrote:

    God is righteous and we are not. The Bible says " There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). It says "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

    We have broken God's commandments when we lie, take God's name in vain, and Jesus said we are guilty of adultery if we have an unclean sexual thought. And that's only three of the Ten Commandments. There are seven more!

    The Bible warns us: "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    We are all liars, blasphemers, and adulterers in heart - and worse. We deserve hell.

    We will all face God on Judgment Day, and we all have violated his laws. We deserve hell. The great news is that Jesus, the only one who never sinned even once, died on the cross to pay a debt he didn't owe, so that we could be set free from a debt we couldn't pay. Or put another way, Jesus died as though he lived like us, so we could be set free as if we lived like him. That knowledge ought to break our hearts and make us love and appreciate him so much!

    Just as a criminal can be set free if someone pays his fine, so can we be set free by Jesus paying our fine.

    We must repent, which means turning from sin and seeing it as awful as it is, and put our faith in the Christ of the Bible the same way one would put on a parachute before jumping out of a plane. You don't just believe in a parachute - you put it on!

    If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, you will be saved from hell immediately, and will enter God's Kingdom. When you do that, the Bible says that you are a new creation, and you get to heaven, not because you are a good person, but because you are a bad person who was forgiven by a very good God! No one in heaven will be able to boast that they earned their own way there, because none of us deserve it. It is the free gift of God so he gets all the credit and glory!

    As a fallen creation, we are in dire need of forgiveness. Mormonism offers a solution (do this, do that, and then you can become a little god), but it's a false gospel. The God of the Bible offers the only true solution to our sin problem. Jesus will forgive all our sins, past, present, and future, when we repent and put our faith in him (the True Jesus of the Bible).

    Please, Jack, I beg you. Please be reconciled to God through repentance and faith.

    Please email me again if you need help finding out more information on how to leave Mormonism and come to the Living God of Israel.

    in Christ and for His glory,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  73. Tuesday, March 20, 2007, 15:31 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hey Mark:

    You are absolutely right to say that it was inappropriate of me to say you might be wimping out. You have kept your word, and posted this entire discussion.

    After sending the email, I thought better, but didn't say anything, and perhaps I should of.

    At the time I sent the email, I validated my insensitivity because you at times have also been very insensitive/inflammatory in this discussion, yet you endorse your insensitivity by saying it is of God... and I just laugh it off.

    My insensitivity was me alone, and I know better. At the time, however, I felt you could use a little of your own insensitivity.

    Sorry. That was entirely unfair of me. Apology accepted?

    I wish so deeply that you would engage the discussion on the Trinity and nature of God further. You have your essays, but only in this discussion can we hold each other accountable for what the Bible actually says. Even now, there is little accountability for some of my questions I've asked more recently because they are swallowed up in the disorganization of this discussion... and in your effort to close this discussion, you have not yet answered them.

    So... I'll make you a deal Mark:

    I'll send through one more email in addition to this, and it will be my final email. I will not respond to anything you may continue to write, if you choose to respond to the last email I send.

    You can have the last word, and you can also bring this discussion to a close.

    Fair?

    I just do not want to be shut out by you before I can make a few final comments on what you have brought up in this discussion. I'll keep my comments only to what you've brought up, and my email will be a long one.

    Give me a little time... because I'm very busy right now.

    In advance, I appreciate you accommodating this request (expecting that you will.)

    Very much appreciated,

    Jack

  74. Monday, March 26, 2007, 16:10 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Hi Jack,

    Regarding your final email, I will re-state my position. You have already demonstrated that Mormonism disagrees with the Bible in a number of major areas. Furthermore, you have supported the thesis of my initial essay, that Mormons believe in many gods, et cetera et cetera. I know you've said that my essay was based on research found at anti-Mormon sites, but then you agreed with the conclusions... that you do in fact believe and teach those doctrines.

    So given that you have supported my essay, I see no reason at all to continue. All that will happen is more rabbit trails about predestination, polygamy, or any number of other subjects that seem like "splinters" when compared with the jugular bleeding of polytheism and false gospels.

    I know you want to continue this discussion. You've made that clear.

    As I've already written:

    --- begin quotation ---

    I'm not sure I understand why you're so adamant about continuing our discussion. We've both made our respective cases.

    You've gone on record stating that Mormons believe:

    • in many gods
    • god was once a man
    • men can someday become little gods
    • the efforts of man are required to keep your salvation

    In stark contrast, Biblical Christianity teaches:

    • there is only One God.
    • God has always been God.
    • The creation can never become a god.
    • Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, for Christ's glory alone.

    The case has been made that Mormonism is not Christian.

    In addition, we have explored "rabbit trails" that are not pertinent to this discussion: i.e. polytheism, black people, eternal security, the many denominations of Mormonism, et cetera, and now you want to add "predestination" to the list.

    I see no point. Predestination is not an essential of the faith, and I didn't even bring it up. It is mentioned nowhere in the essay that sparked this whole discussion.

    We could go on forever with these emails, but after three months and 50+ lengthy emails, I think one of us has to have the courage to say, "enough is enough." So that's what I'm doing. Enough is enough.

    --- end quotation ---

    I stand by that quotation, and thus, your final email is not necessary.

    I appreciate your zeal, and I share your enthusiasm, I do! But enough is enough.

    Jack, I do care about you, but continuing this long conversation when it's clear that you want to stay in Mormonism is not the loving thing to do. I'm afraid I have come to the point where I have only one more thing to say, and that is if you continue in your sin, you will perish. I say that with no joy, but I can come up with no other conclusion given that you are trusting in a created being. Your "Jesus" is a created being, and that is not the "Jesus" of the Bible. By trusting in the Mormon "Jesus," you are guilty of transgressing the first and second of the Ten Commandments, and it is appointed unto you to face God on Judgment Day.

    Please, I beg you, turn from Mormonism. Mormonism can not take away your sins. Only the true Jesus can do that, and He is willing.

    If you want to do that, then by all means, please contact me. If not, then there is no reason at this point to continue this conversation.

    I do hope you will consider this.

    with love in Christ,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  75. Monday, March 26, 2007, 15:58 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: From a Mormon with Integrity

    Mark: I am going to send that final email... so plan on it. It is not right that you shut me out. It's that simple. After that email, then you can conclude. I can't help but sense you don't want to deal with my final email... because the more I write, the more your positions go down the tubes in error. Jack

  76. Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 18:26 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark
    Subject: Final

    Hi Mark:

    I sincerely hope this email finds you well.  Given your wish to bring this discussion to a close, as promised, this will be my final email.  I write with some reservation, because my wish would be to continue this discussion in a more disciplined and concise manner; however, I also recognize it is difficult to restore that discipline at this stage of our conversation. 

    I'd like to start by getting into a little history.  As you may already know, many believe that Clement of Rome (died circa 98 A.D.), one of the early Christian Church Fathers, personally knew the Apostle Peter.  In Clement's work Recognitions, Book III, he quotes the Apostle Peter as saying:

    "Nothing is more difficult, my brethren, than to reason concerning the truth in the presence of a mixed multitude of people. For that which is may not be spoken to all as it is, on account of those who hear wickedly and treacherously; yet it is not proper to deceive, on account of those who desire to hear the truth sincerely. What, then, shall he do who has to address a mixed multitude? Shall he conceal what is true? How, then, shall he instruct those who are worthy? But if he set forth pure truth to those who do not desire to obtain salvation, he does injury to Him by whom he has been sent, and from whom he has received commandment not to throw the pearls of His words before swine and dogs, (Matthew 7:6) who, striving against them with arguments and sophisms, roll them in the mud of carnal understanding, and by their barkings and base answers break and weary the preachers of God's word. Wherefore I also, for the most part, by using a certain circumlocution, endeavour to avoid publishing the chief knowledge concerning the Supreme Divinity to unworthy ears." (Clement, Recognitions, Book III Chapter 1.)

    Mark, as interesting as this discussion has been, it also has not been without its difficulties because I believe you "hear wickedly and treacherously."  You have an agenda that doesn't seek to understand, but instead persecutes and manipulates my beliefs.  You seek to tell me what I believe, rather than to allow me to tell you what I believe. You claim in ignorance that I hide my true beliefs from you.  And in pride, you manipulate everything I say to suit your own purposes.

    I don't care that you disagree with me, but I care when you manipulate.

    Your "barkings and base answers" demonstrate quite sufficiently that you have an anemic self awareness and unwillingness to have a fair and intelligent discussion of what the Bible actually says. 

    This is sad.   

    I'm sorry I have to say this so plainly to you, but I'm tired of turning the other cheek as you continue to slap me in the face with your ignorant comments.

    To continue, Clement further quotes the Apostle Peter by saying, "...The teaching of all doctrine has a certain order, and there are some things which must be delivered first, others in the second place, and others in the third, and so all in their order; and if these things be delivered in their order, they become plain; but if they be brought forward out of order, they will seem to be spoken against reason. And therefore order is to be observed above all things, if we seek for the purpose of finding what we seek. For he who enters rightly upon the road, will observe the second place in due order, and from the second will more easily find the third; and the further he proceeds, so much the more will the way of knowledge become open to him, even until he arrive at the city of truth, whither he is bound, and which he desires to reach. But he who is unskilful, and knows not the way of inquiry, as a traveller in a foreign country, ignorant and wandering, if he will not employ a native of the country as a guide,?undoubtedly when he has strayed from the way of truth, shall remain outside the gates of life, and so, involved in the darkness of black night, shall walk through the paths of perdition. Inasmuch therefore, as, if those things which are to be sought, be sought in an orderly manner, they can most easily be found, but the unskilful man is ignorant of the order of inquiry, it is right that the ignorant man should yield to the knowing one, and first learn the order of inquiry, that so at length he may find the method of asking and answering." (Clement, Recognitions, Book III Chapter 34.)

    You, my friend, are very unskillful, and know not the way of inquiry.  You trust in the arm of flesh, which is your interpretation of the Bible, rather than revelation by the Holy Ghost, which is the True Guide that will furnish the correct interpretation thereof. 

    To say again differently what Peter said above: "Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are] weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts. For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:  (Isa 28:9-10)

    You reject the notion that the Lord will teach us line upon line... here a little, and there a little. 

    This is sad... and you mock what you don't understand.

    As I mentioned earlier, I would and could continue this discussion in perpetuity, because the knowledge of God is endless, and Mark, we've just scratched the surface of investigating what the Bible actually teaches. 

    From the beginning our expectations about this discussion were very different.  You believed that within a few emails you would prove your points without hesitation conclusively, and I always knew it would be different. You expected a quick and dirty exchange, and I knew this would go on for literally hundreds of pages, etc. without anything being truly resolved. 

    My only purpose in this discussion was to expand your self awareness... because Truth never emerges by arguing about scripture alone. Truth is only transferred to the souls of men as they use the Holy Ghost as their guide while studying the scriptures.

    You are a fool to believe you can prove anything from the Bible without the Spirit of God  Mark... only God can lift the scales off the eyes of the blind as they read the Bible.

    In this, my final email, I would like to address a few topics.  

    1. I would like to briefly revisit us becoming joint-heirs with Christ.
    2. I will share some thoughts on Predestination.
    3. I'd like to discuss your Brigham Young quote you took out of context
    4. I'd like to conclude on prophesy and the nature of prophets.

    First, The Nature of God and Our Salvation:

    Mark: if the Bible says we are "heirs of god, and joint-heirs with Christ"  (Rom 8)  your response is: "One day we will reign with Christ, but that does not mean that we will be little gods."

    If the Bible says that just as Christ over came, we can also overcome, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev 3:21) Your response is: "I get it. I understand your position. You  believe we can become little gods."

    Do you understand that my position is quite literally the words of the Bible without any interpretation from me?

    I'll say it again: Do you understand that my position is quite literally the words of the Bible without any interpretation from me?

    Mark:  I believe literally that we can be "joint heirs with Christ."  I believe literally that, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne"

    Your response is shortsighted, and sometimes I think unfair... because if anyone has focused on every single jot and tittle of what the Bible actually says, it is you.  But you abandon that literalness and clarity when it doesn't suit your own purpose.

    You focus on the word gods as your defense for your interpretation because the Bible ALSO says there is no other God besides me.

    We use the words gods literally as a synonym with "joint heirs with Christ."

    If this issue is being distorted primarily by the semantic argument you make, then I'll say it differently to demonstrate exactly how we mean it: We believe we will literally be "joint heirs with Christ" if we are found worthy, and will sit in His throne, just like he is set down in the Father's Throne.

    Your response of: "One day we will reign with Christ, but that does not mean that we will be little gods" is weak. It is a unilateral and unscriptural proclamation of what a "joint-heir" means, and it is weak.

    Moreover, if you want to apply that weak semantic rule, then Moses is NOT a prophet either and the NT is heretical, for it also says: "AND the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet." (Exo 1:7)

    Hmmm...  Moses declares himself a god, and Aaron is his prophet.  It is interesting how you are less critical about such statements in the Bible, when are in direct opposition to your own beliefs.

    You are fool!

    Mark, you don't know your own Bible, and you mock what you don't understand.  I regret that you are incapable and unwilling to receive the necessary revelation from the Father in order to truly understand who he is. You partake of the same prideful spirit that influenced the Jews of old to crucify their very own Messiah.  You worship your interpretation of the Bible more than you worship the Father.

    Second, Predestination:

    In answer to my question about the 2 men who have 3-minutes to live, you said, "It is no accident that one man went south and one went north.  God ordains ALL that comes to pass.  If God wanted to save the first person, and thus sovereignly directed him to me, and this person Truly repented and put his faith in the correct Jesus, then that person would be justified... in an instant..."

    I find this quite an interesting answer, especially in light of the implications.

    Just to be clear:  you are eliminating man's free agency to choose God, for God "ordains all" and will choose who can be saved and who will be damned regardless of each man's independent will.  Is that right? 

    I'll just work under the assumption I have understood you correctly, although, I am certain that once you read my response, you will either say you meant something different or modify your answer somehow... because I don't think your answer is carefully thought out.

    Interestingly, in your answer, God doesn't ordain all, because this man's salvation is still conditional on his choice to "truly repent" and "put his faith in Jesus"... and "THEN that person would be justified in an instant."

    This is an if/then response which is conditional.  You are a contradiction unto yourself.  I chuckle... because my very first answer to this question was: it depends... and you were offended... yet you give a similar conditional response.

    Expand your self awareness Mark.  Be consistent in your approach.

    If the repentance is TRUE, and if this man puts TRUE faith in Christ, then I completely agree.  He will be saved, as I mentioned in an earlier email.  However, I believe any rational being would question whether or not this man is TRUE, given during his entire life he decided that instead of following the promptings of God,  he wanted to mock God, and then only when he is dying at the last minute he decides to repent.

    We believe in death bed repentance, if it's TRUE... but what are the chances of it really being true Mark?

    " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!" (Matt 23:37)

    According to you, God saves and God damns according to His good will and pleasure, and there is nothing we can do to play part in the covenant relationship of salvation.  To take it to an extreme, men can live an entire life of willful sin, as the 3-minute man, and ultimately be saved with God.... yet contrarily, other men can live their entire lives in righteousness, and yet burn in everlasting Hell.

    There is some truth to both statements above, but not even close to the extremes that you take it Mark!

    Funny thing... if men do good and yet burn in everlasting Hell, who was behind the good they did according to your doctrine?  The devil?  The man?  God?   I believe you feel no man can do any good out of his own free will and choice as God inspires him... instead, only God can do good through men independent of their free will... because we are all such "blasphemous murderous sinners"... which means, any good being done in the world by anyone is God working through men independent of their free agency, yet according to you God still sends some of these men He did His good through to Hell.

    Think about Mother Theresa.  She did a lot of good, yet belonged to a church you call a CULT.  Is she now burning in Hell Mark?  Or is she in Heaven despite having been a member of a CULT?  Or, was the good she did inspired of God, who still sent here to Hell?  Or, was she a big farce, and faked the good she did?

    Expand your self awareness Mark.  You are a contradiction unto yourself.

    I believe God does good through men by engaging their free agency, not eliminating it.

    You are a contradiction unto yourself:  First you say it is God who gives repentance, then you also say the 3-minute man must be sincere in his repentance to truly be saved.  Is it God, or is it man?  If it is only God, then couldn't we assume the repentance was sincere because God is behind it?  Or, can we safely conclude that God compels men to also repent insincerely?

    Expand your self awareness!!!

    I want to comment on your use of Romans 8:29-30 which states: "Whom [God] did foreknow, he also did predestinate, ... them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

    This is an interesting passage that has troubled many students of the New Testament of almost every Christian denomination (except yours of course)?and rightly so.

    It seems to teach that an all-powerful God has predetermined the destinies of every individual. 

    Predestination is a sectarian substitute for the true doctrine of foreordination.

     It is a false doctrine declaring that from all eternity God has ordered whatever comes to pass, having especial and particular reference to the salvation or damnation of souls. Some souls are irrevocably chosen for salvation, others for damnation; and there is nothing any individual can do to escape his predestined inheritance in heaven or in hell.

    As you know, we categorically reject this notion of predestination.  I believe you are misinformed on what the Bible truly is teaching. (I say this with full awareness of how the translation in the King James edition literally reads.) 

    However, we whole heartedly accept the doctrine of foreordination, which I believe is the correct interpretation of Romans 8:29-30. 

    Predestination strips away the agency of man.  Foreordination preserves the agency of man.  

    As I've already mentioned, I believe the most well-known advocate of predestination was the sixteenth-century French minister John Calvin, a man whom you've already stated as "inspired."   

    Mark, in the beginning you mention that you are a Bible believing Christian, and I truly respect and believe that you believe you are a Bible believing Christian, but you could be more correctly categorized as a Calvinist.

    On predestination, Calvin wrote, "We call predestination God's eternal decree, by which he determined within himself what he willed to become of each man. ... Eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or to death."  (Institutes of Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1957, 3:21:7.)

    It is also stated in The Creeds of Christendom, "Angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it can not be either increased or diminished."  ( "The Westminster Confession of Faith" in Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols., 6th ed., Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker House Books, 1931, 3:608.)

    The problem Mark is one of definition and interpretation. Many Christian churches regard the words predestine and foreordain as synonymous.  However, we believe foreordination is different from predestination, and we have learned this by revelation from God.

    With foreordination, there is no divine compulsion to ensure that a person who is foreordained to a particular calling in this life will fulfill his or her tasks.  Men's agency is not stripped away from them. "Many are called, but few are chosen."  (Matt 22:14)  To say it differently: Many are called and elected, but few make their calling an election sure. (2 Pet 1:10)

    We believe "Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council in Heaven before this world was." (Joseph Smith)  For example, Jeremiah was "ordained ... a prophet unto the nations" before his birth. (Jer 1:5)

    The Lord foreordained chosen spirit children in our pre-mortal life and assigned them to come to earth at particular times and places so that they might aid in furthering his divine will. These pre-existence appointments, made ?according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" simply designated certain individuals to perform missions which the Lord in his wisdom knew they had the talent and capacities to do.  (1 Pet 1:2) 

    Foreordination is thus different from predestination. Although our Heavenly Father inspires us and increases our capacity for righteousness through the power of the Holy Ghost, His divine compulsion does not take away our free agency. 

    We much choose whether or not we follow His promptings. 

    The true meaning of your so called "predestination" is taught in the Bible:

    " For [the kingdom of heaven is] as a man travelling into a far country, [who] called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one (foreordination); to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.  Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made [them] other five talents.  And likewise he that [had received] two, he also gained other two.  But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.  His lord said unto him, Well done, [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there] thou hast [that is] thine.  His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:   Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.  Take therefore the talent from him, and give [it] unto him which hath ten talents.  For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Matt 25:15-30)

    See how man still has agency, despite having been foreordained with "talents?"

    So why, then, does Paul speak of predestination? Do you believe he possibly could have meant foreordination as defined by me?

    Did not Paul declare in his letter to Timothy that God "will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth?" (1 Tim 2:4)  (As opposed to a select few as defined by you.)

    Did not Paul also declare that God "will render to every man according to his deeds. ... For there is no respect of persons with God?" (Rom 2:6-11) 

    In the same letter, did not Paul declare to the Romans their conduct would partly determine their standing before God: "Know ye not ... his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Rom 6:16)

    Paul's letters also make it clear that "the elect" can fall from grace and thus lose their standing before Him.  Speaking to the Gentiles he said:

    "For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches.  And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;  Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.  Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.  Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee."

    In fact, Paul claimed no guarantee of his own salvation: "For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;" (Heb 3:14)  "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.... But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." (1 Cor 9:25-27)

    "...lest.... I myself should be a castaway."

    Such constant exhortations to righteousness would hardly seem necessary if Paul believed your interpretation of predestination. From these scriptures, it seems clear that Paul did not believe as precisely as you've declared?at least as a Calvinist defines the term

    But then, we might ask, did Paul believe in and teach the doctrine of foreordination?as we define the term? Again, to find out, we need to study Paul's writings. He himself said that he had been set apart "before [he] was born." (Gal 1:5 Revised Standard Version.)

    He wrote to Timothy concerning their "holy calling" given "before the world began (2 Tim 1:9)  

    To the Ephesians, he said that the Lord "hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world" to receive the gospel and its blessings. (Eph 1:3-5)

    He told the Thessalonian members that "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth." (2 Thes 2:13)  Indeed, all people are foreordained to salvation and exaltation, but to fulfill that foreordination they must accept the gospel of Jesus Christ and "endure" to the end. (Mark 4:17)

    Now Mark -To be fair to your interpretation, we must then ask the question: If Paul did not believe in predestination, why does the passage in Hebrews refer to it?

    Could those who translated the King James Version have erred in using the English word predestinate to convey the meaning of foreordain?

    The problem arises because the Greek word proorizo, which is made up of the prefix pro (meaning "before or in front of; beforehand, or earlier") and the verb orizo (meaning "to determine, mark out, designate, destine, ordain, or appoint," or "to divide or separate from ... to pre-appoint or pre-ordain)" can be translated a number of different ways. In fact, various combinations of words have been used to translate the term over a period covering hundreds of years.

    The following examples come from various translations of Romans 8:29-30. Note how the same idea is translated in a number of different ways.

    Translation

    Year

    Romans 8:29

    Romans 8:30

    Wyclif

    1380

    bifor ordeyned

    bifor ordeyned

    Tyndale

    1534

    ordeyned before

    appoynted before

    Cranmer

    1539

    ordeyned before

    appoynted before

    Geneva

    1657

    ordeyned before

    appoynted before

    Rheims

    1582

    predestinated

    predestinated

    Standard Rev.

    1881

    foreordained

    foreordained

    James Moffatt

    1913

    decreed of old

    has thus decreed

    J. B. Phillips

    1958

    chose them

    chose them long ago

    Wm. F. Beck

    1963

    appointed long ago

    appointed long ago

    New Testament in Today's English

    1966

    had also set apart

    had already set apart

    In addition to these translations, the Greek word proorizo can be translated several other ways?for example, with such English words as allotted, planned, and fore-approved.

    Obviously, the most correct way to translate the word cannot be determined by simply referring to a dictionary. And the word chosen may not fully or accurately convey the original intent of Paul. The accuracy of any translation depends on the translator's ability to determine what the original author had in mind and then to convey that idea to the reader in another language.

    Determining what the original author meant is not a simple matter, especially when the writing was produced under inspiration. As I mentioned before, "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Pet 1:20-21)

    Just as the authors of the scriptures sought the Spirit as they wrote, so must we also seek the Spirit of Revelation as we study the scriptures if we are to correctly understand them.

    You continually persist to debunk this fact, and that is why you fail to see Mark.

    From the tenor of Paul's letter, I believe we can safely determine that the English word predestinate neither completely nor accurately conveys what Paul meant in Romans 8:29-30.

    So... what, then, did he mean?

    In verses 4 through 6, Paul tells members to "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. ... For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."  In verses 14 through 17 he explains, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. ... We are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." In verse 24 Paul explains the need for hope in order to attain promised blessings, and in verse 28 he says that "all things work together for good to them that love God" and who are foreordained to accept the gospel and become like Christ.  Further, those who are thus foreordained are "justified," "sanctified," and "glorified" (Rom 8:30) If they come unto Christ; If they fulfill their foreordination.

    Overall, Paul's teachings cannot be reconciled with the concept of Calvinistic predestination, and to translate proorizo as predestinate does not accurately convey Paul's intended meaning when you read more of what Paul actually said.

    Foreordain is a better translation. 

    Now to augment this a little more... although we are called and elected, we must strive to make that Calling and Election Sure.  Because "Many are called, but Few are Chosen" (Matt 22:14)

    Read what the Bible teaches:

    "SIMON Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:  Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, [and] add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."(2 Pet 1:1-11)

    Paul teaches us:

    "THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity." (1 Cor 13)

    It does not matter how many commandments you keep, you cannot be saved without the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  Keeping the commandments does not save us, unless we are bestowed through grace with Charity, which is defined by us as the "Love of God" and the countenance of Jesus Christ.  Those who possess a fullness of Charity are Born Again through the Holy Ghost and have a greater capacity, through grace, to do good.

     "Now the end of the commandment[s] is charity out of a pure heart, and [of] a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned" (1 Tim 1:5)

    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt 22:38-40)

    "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail-- But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath BESTOWED upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:46-48)

    Mark - we all have a very limited capacity - if any - to embody the characteristics of Charity.  I am a natural man.  I am a fallen man.  I am an imperfect man. However, my part of the covenant relationship is to qualify myself as best I can as a "true follower of... Jesus Christ."  I must have Faith in Jesus Christ, and follow Him.  

    Faith leads to action, not just mere belief.

    As I make this choice, I am endowed with a portion of His Spirit, and I go from "grace to grace" increasing "in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God..." (Luke 2:52)

    But... it truly is that we are saved by Grace, if and only if we are a true follower of Jesus Christ.  It is conditional.  We play a part in the covenant relationship. And if we pray with all the energy of heart, and qualify as true followers of Jesus Christ, we can be filled with this LOVE, which the Father BESTOWS through grace on us. 

    Bestows.

    "[Now] the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins; And the remission of sins bringeth meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth with hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God. (Moroni 8:25-26)

    Mark... this is how we maintain our salvation and this is what offends you so... but we do have a choice. The Holy Ghost fills us with Charity, and this Charity endures by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come.  But we must be diligent, and be true followers of Jesus Christ, or that Charity "shall be taken away... even that which he hath." (Matt 25:30)

    Get it?

    We don't wash ourselves clean by obeying law as you persist to say we believe. I'm so annoyed with your accusations that are simply untrue and self serving. 

    We wash ourselves clean with the Blood of Christ.  But Jesus Christ did give us a gospel with commandments, and we must make a choice - as he inspires us - to do our best to follow Him, to keep our end of the covenant relationship.

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

    Unfortunately you will entirely reject all that I have said, fulfilling the scripture which says: "...this people's... ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matt 13:15)

    You close your eyes Mark because of your prejudice.

    Now moving to another issue you've raised: The Brigham Young Quote You Took out of Context.

    You quoted Brigham Young as saying, "There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt.  The Blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 3:, p.247)

    Again... you've never read the original sermon, and you've pulled this off an "anti-Mormonism" website and adopted a preconceived notion that isn't what we believe.  As portrayed by anti-Mormons, out of context, this seems pretty harsh.  I agree with you; out of context, this statement is extremely offensive.  It is as if Brigham Young is saying the "Blood of Christ" is not good enough to save us.

    Have you not read anything I've written in the past 100 pages about our dependency on the Atonement of Christ?   

    Interestingly, in context, did you not also see that Brigham Young stated a few paragraphs before that all men who come unto Christ, "will be received, through the merits of the Son, into the kingdom of our Father?"  (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 3:, p.247)

    Hmmmm...  Seems inconsistent doesn't it.  Of course, however, your agenda doesn't promote responsible scholarship.

    Mark - Do you believe the Bible when it says, "...All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come?" (Matt 12:31-32)

    "... whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."

    I ask because in context, what you've quoted above from Brigham Young is exactly what Matthew is also saying in his gospel.  ;

    Read the entire sermon and do some legitimate research for once!

    Moreover, if you read the entire sermon given in 1856, Brigham Young was speaking of a theoretical principle that operates under a complete Theocracy, such as was the case in the days of the law of Moses. "He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." (Exo 12:12)  etc. etc. etc.

    We do not shed one another's blood for Atonement.  This was a theoretical statement that has neither been practiced by us nor revealed to us in this final dispensation. 

    However, critics like yourself, by taking one sentence on one page and another from a succeeding page and even by taking a part of a sentence on one page and a part of another found several pages away - all wholly torn from context -attempted to make it appear that Brigham Young and others taught things just the opposite of what they really believed and taught.  

    Therefore, let's raise the curtain of truth on this false and slanderous bluster, for the true doctrine is simply this:  

    1. Jesus Christ worked out the infinite and eternal atonement by the shedding of his own blood. He came into the world for the purpose of dying on the cross for the sins of the world. By virtue of that atoning sacrifice immortality came as a free gift to all men, and all who would believe and follow Christ would in addition

    2. But under certain circumstances there are some serious sins for which the cleansing of Christ does not operate. if a person has so progressed in righteousness that his calling and election has been made sure, if he has come to that position where he knows "by revelation and the spirit of prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood" that he is sealed up unto eternal life (D. & C. 131:5), then if he gains forgiveness for certain grievous sins, he must "be destroyed in the flesh," and "delivered unto the buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God." (D. & C. 132:19-27.)

    Again read what the Bible declares:

    Having your Calling and Election made sure is likened unto the Transfiguration of Christ and the Three Apostles outlined in the Bible. 

    Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue to make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three had received this more sure word of prophecy. (Read all of 2 Pet. 1.)  

    Joseph Smith taught: "After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shall be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his privilege to receive the other Comforter." (Teachings, pp. 149-151.)

     "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:17)

    Thus, as Joseph Smith also said, "The more sure word of prophecy means a man's knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy through the power of the Holy Priesthood." (D. & C. 131:5.) Those so favored of the Lord are sealed up against all manner of sin and blasphemy except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and the shedding of innocent blood.

    This is truly what is meant when the Savior declared, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." (John 10:27-30)

    If we are Christ's sheep, we will hearken unto the promptings of His Spirit (His Voice).

    This is also what Paul is saying when he says, "For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame." (Heb 6:4-6)

    Your interpretation is wrong and for purposes of this discussion, self serving Mark, and only through the Holy Ghost will you ever know.  Your round about way of saying this is really speaking about false converts is not true.   Your interpretation is a desperate attempt to reconcile your views of Calvinism, not what the Bible actually says.

    (sigh.)

    Moving on to: The Nature of Prophets and Prophecy

    Our message is that God continues to speak to mankind through prophets. It is the same message delivered anciently. But, as evidenced by this email exchange, Mark, you challenge this belief.

    This is a topic we have yet to explore, however, you have brought up many times that Joseph Smith was a false prophet.  Recognizing this is my final email, this is really my effort to anticipate what you might have said in hopes of expanding your understanding in the Bible and your self awareness.

    You make light of the admonition of our missionaries that people should pray to know from God whether Joseph Smith was a true prophet. This, you insist, is not the "biblical" method of determining the truth. If this were true, however, the promise of James 1:5 is false, along with Jesus' promise that those who ask will receive (Matthew 7:7) and that "all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22).

    Mark, you cite Deuteronomy 18:20-22 as the biblical test for false prophets. The passage reads as follows:

    Here, the Lord describes both the false prophet and the false prophecy. A false prophet either speaks for false gods or attributes to the Lord things that the Lord did not command him to speak. The Deuteronomy 18 passage establishes two criteria for a false prophecy:

    1. It must be uttered in the name of the Lord. This means that an off-the-wall comment by a prophet cannot be taken as a prophecy, pretended or otherwise, unless he declares that he is delivering the word of the Lord.
    2. The prophecy must fail. But no timeframe is established for the fulfillment of a prophecy.

    Interestingly, the Deuteronomy passage does not say that a man is a false prophet because his prophecy failed, only that the failed prophecy is false. This being the case, it is incorrect to conclude, as most critics do, that one false prophecy (even if some true prophecies are given) makes Joseph Smith a false prophet.

    Moreover, the danger in so defining the Deuteronomy passage lies in the fact that there is a tendency on the part of non-believers to "explain away" the prophecy, while believers seek ways to defend it. Right? Thus, the process of determining the truth or falseness of a prophecy becomes, to some extent, subjective.

    Consequently, a critic of Joseph Smith can look at a hundred of his prophecies, find one that, in his judgment, is in error, and thereby conclude that Joseph himself was a false prophet. That this has, in fact, happened with true prophets is evidenced in the Bible itself, where we read Jesus' statement about the stoning and rejection of the ancient prophets of Israel:

    These men were undoubtedly stoned because, in the judgment of their contemporaries, they were false prophets. A good example of the rejection of a prophet is the story of Jeremiah, who was imprisoned and mistreated by the leaders of Judah, who refused to believe his message..

    One of our prophets, commenting on the passage from Deuteronomy 18, wrote:

    "When is a prophet a prophet? whenever he speaks under the inspiration and influence of the Holy Ghost... When prophets write and speak on the principles of the gospel, they should have the guidance of the Spirit. If they do, then all that they say will be in harmony with the revealed word. If they are in harmony then we know that they have not spoken presumptuously. Should a man speak or write, and what he says is in conflict with the standards which are accepted, with the revelations the Lord has given, then we may reject what he has said, no matter who he is." ( Doctrines of Salvation 1:187)

    Mark; critics like yourself have a double standard.

    Based on the false premise that "all you need is one false prophecy to have a false prophet," critics ignore many of Joseph Smith's prophecies and have zeroed in on what they consider to be false.

    They typically identify unfulfilled commandments, opinions, and counsel as "false prophecies." In doing so, they forsake the rules laid out in Deuteronomy 18:20-22, ignoring the fact:  that the passage defines a false prophecy as one uttered in the name of the Lord which does not come to pass.

    The main problem is that the critics like Mark do not apply these same standards to biblical prophecies.

    Just to demonstrate one example, following the logic of the critics, we would have to conclude that Moses-to whom the revelation in Deuteronomy 18:20-22 is ascribed-was also a false prophet.

    "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?   For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Heb 7:11-12)

    In this particular example, Moses fills the requirement for the test of Deuteronomy much more closely than does Joseph Smith in most of the examples of "false prophecies" cited by the critics. How, then, can Mormons accept both Joseph Smith and Moses as true prophets, regarding their prophecies as divinely-inspired? The answer lies in the fact that prophecy is typically conditional.

    It was the Lord himself, through the biblical prophet Jeremiah, who explained the conditional nature of prophecy:

    "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them." (Jeremiah 18:7-10)

    Jeremiah himself exemplified the principle of conditional prophecy when he told king Zedekiah, in the name of the Lord, that he would not go captive into Babylon if he followed the prophet's instructions; otherwise, he would be taken captive and Jerusalem would be destroyed (Jeremiah 38:17-23).

    The conditional nature of prophecy explains why Jonah is not a false prophet. The Lord's threat to destroy Nineveh within forty days (Jonah 3:4) was mitigated by the repentance of the city's population (Jonah 3:4-9). "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not" (Jonah 3:10).

    This is problematic for you Mark, because you believe free will actions do not play a role, and that God ordains ALL independent of free will.  Regardless, here are other examples from the Bible::

    The Lord told David that the men of Keilah "will deliver thee up [to Saul]" (1 Samuel 23:12). This did not happen, however, because David fled from the city (verses 13-14).

    Isaiah told king Hezekiah, "Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live." (2 Kings 20:1) But after the king pleaded with the Lord, the prophet delivered a new message, saying that fifteen years would be added to his life (verses 2-6).

    The Lord told Moses that he would destroy the Israelites and make of Moses a greater nation than they. When Moses protested that this would be wrong, the Lord changed his mind (Numbers 14:11-20).

    Through Ezekiel, the Lord declared that the Lebanese city of Tyre would be destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar, never to be rebuilt (Ezekiel 26, especially verses 4, 7, 12, 14). Though Nebuchadrezzar laid siege against Tyre from 598 to 586 B.C., he was never able to take the city. The Lord then told Ezekiel that, in compensation for his not taking Tyre, Nebuchadrezzar would be given the land of Egypt, (Ezekiel 29:17-10). Its people would be slain and its rivers dry up (Ezekiel 30:10-12; 32:11-15) and the land of Egypt would remain uninhabited for forty years (Ezekiel 29:11-13). But though Nebuchadrezzar defeated an Egyptian army in battle, he never conquered Egypt either.

    Isaiah, in his prophesy against Babylon (Isaiah 13:1), declared that the Medes would slay men, women and children and that Babylon would "be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation" (Isaiah 13:17-20). In 539 B.C., Cyrus, king of the Medes and Persians, took Babylon without bloodshed, and made it one of the principal cities of his empire. Babylon remained inhabited for centuries afterward..

    For example, the missionary calling promised Thomas B. Marsh in D&C 112 was never fulfilled because he was excommunicated and forfeited his blessings. Critics have stated that if God really knew Marsh's heart (verse 11), he would have known that he would apostatize and not be worthy of the promised blessings. The same argument has been used in regard to George Miller's calling to the bishopric (D&C 124:20-21), eight years before he was disfellowshipped.

    By this same reasoning, God should not have promised a throne to David (1 Samuel 16:12-13; 2 Samuel 3:9-10; 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; 9:5), since David, in future, would commit adultery and order the death of an innocent man (1 Samuel 11).

    This also brings up the question of Jesus' promise to his twelve apostles: "Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 19:28).

    This promise was made before Judas betrayed the Master and he was obviously included among those who would sit on the "twelve thrones." How could Jesus have made such a promise to the one who would betray him, whom he termed "a devil" (John 6:70-71)? The answer seems obvious: at the time of the promises, Judas, Thomas B. Marsh and George Miller were faithful to the Lord. By their subsequent actions, they lost all claim to those promises.

    Prophesy also begs the question of timeframe.

    Interestingly, Isaiah also wrote:  "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither your ways my ways, saith the Lord."  (Isa 55:8) God's reckoning of time cannot be compared to that of man.

    Peter wrote that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8; compare with Psalm 90:4). The context of Peter's statement is that "there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Peter 3:3-4).

    After reminding his readers that the Lord does not reckon time as men do, he adds, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief in the night" (2 Peter 3:9-10).

    Most of Joseph Smith's prophecies do not give a timeframe for their fulfillment. Others indicate that the events will occur "soon." But from God's viewpoint, "soon" can be a rather long time.

    The Bible has a number of prophecies of things that the prophets said would happen "soon" but which did not, in fact, occur for a century or more. For example, Isaiah, in his prophecy concerning the destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 13:1, 19-20) wrote that "the day of the Lord is at hand" (Isaiah 13:6). Yet Babylon was not even conquered until 539 B.C., a century and a half after Isaiah, while its destruction came even later.

    Isaiah had also prophesied concerning the actions of Assyria against Israel and Judah: "Be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For yet a little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction" (Isaiah 10:24-25).

    Yet Israel was taken captive by Assyria in 722 B.C. and the Assyrian king Sennacherib attacked Judah in 701 B.C. But it was not until 605 B.C.-a century later-that Assyria was defeated by a coalition of Babylonians and Medes. In this case, the prophet's "little while" meant more than a century, making the prophet's counsel "be not afraid" meaningless to his audience.

    The New Testament Apostles used similar terminology. Jesus showed John "things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1; 22:6). After nearly two millennia, most of the things which John saw in the vision have not come to pass despite the fact that Jesus said they would occur "shortly."

    In Revelation 12:12, John wrote that the devil has "but a short time" until he is bound when the millennium begins (compare with Romans 16:20), but the devil has still not been bound and the millennial reign of Christ has not yet come.

    Peter was even stronger than James when he wrote, "But the end of all things is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). Obviously, "all things" have not yet ended, despite the nearly two millennia that have passed since these words were written. .

    Mark, assuming this is one of your issues regarding Joseph Smith: if prophecies uttered thousands of years ago by biblical prophets remain unfulfilled, can we not give Joseph Smith a century or two?

    In some prophetic utterances, Joseph Smith used timeframe terminology taken from the Bible itself. For example, the term "near, even at the doors" (D&C 110:16) derives from Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:33. In D&C 100:13, 15, we read of "a little season," a term coming from Revelation 6:11, where the martyrs are told that they will "rest yet for a little season." The statement is made after the opening of the fifth seal and prior to the occurrence of the many events scheduled for the sixth and seventh seals before the promise is fulfilled.

    One Mormon critic took Joseph Smith to task because he indicated that Moroni had said the prophecies in Isaiah 11 and Joel 2:28-32 were "about to be fulfilled" (Joseph Smith-History 1:40-41). The same critic also attacked the prophecy in D&C 88:87-a paraphrase of the Joel prophecy, which says that in "not many days" the moon would be bathed in blood, the sun would refuse to give its light, and the stars would be cast down-none of which has yet occurred. .

    It is hard to understand how the man could condemn Joseph Smith as a false prophet and yet continue to accept Joel, who uttered the same prophecy two and a half millennia ago. Moreover, the version found in D&C 88:87 is closer to Christ's paraphrase of the Joel passage (Matthew 24:29). Jesus said that "this generation shall not pass" until these words were fulfilled (Matthew 24:34).

    If this prophecy makes Joseph Smith a false prophet, then what of Jesus and Peter, who paraphrased Joel 2:10, 28-32; 3:15? What of Joel himself, or of Isaiah, who used similar wording when he spoke of the coming attack on Babylon (which occurred in 539 B.C.) by the Medes (see verse 17) and Persians (Isaiah 13:9-10, 13; compare with 24:23).

    Christ said that there were some living in his day who would not die before the fulfillment of the prophecy. Peter said that it was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost. To John, however (Revelation 6:12-17), the event was yet future. Obviously, the expression "not many days" cannot be taken as literally as the critics tend to take it. Prophecies are accomplished in God's time, not man's.

    As for Jesus' statement that these events would happen during his generation, Joseph Smith handled the problem by saying that Jesus was referring to the "generation" in which the signs would begin (Joseph Smith-Matthew 1:34).

    Those who reject Joseph Smith as a "false prophet" are left with the quandary of either believing Jesus to have falsely prophesied or of accepting at least one teaching from Joseph Smith. But, from another point of view, we know that there are people who were alive in Jesus day (and also in Joseph's) who have not died... one in particular is the Apostle John (John 21:20-24; D&C 7).

    Another prophecy to be fulfilled in "this generation" is the building of a temple in Jackson County, Missouri (D&C 84:3-5). This passage has been highly criticized because the temple has yet to be built. But the words are the same as those used by Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago concerning events that have not yet occurred.

    The double standard of the critics allows them to accept biblical statements without question, while denouncing Joseph Smith as a false prophet.

    Concerning prophetic language, when it comes to written revelations, the question of language becomes paramount. Was the revelation taken from the Lord's dictation by the prophet? Or does it reflect the prophet's language, reflecting the truths revealed to him by God? One could argue either case without clear resolution.

    For a reason that eludes us, some critics have proclaimed Joseph Smith to be a false prophet because he cites earlier biblical prophets. Surely, this is not the sign of a false prophet. In the Bible, prophets quote other prophets, even when placing the words in the mouth of God. .

    For example, Isaiah 2:2-4 is also found in Micah 4:1-3, with no credit line indicating that it is a quote. The following items are virtually identical in Obadiah and Jeremiah, one of which (presumably Jeremiah) quoted from the other without giving credit to his predecessor:

    Obadiah 1:
    1-4
    5-6
    8

     

    Jeremiah 49:
    14-16
    9-10
    7

    While some have taken Joseph Smith to task over biblical quotes in his revelations, others, ignorant that they are dealing with Bible passages, have termed some of these quotes "false prophecies."

    One critic noted that our Word of Wisdom found in our Doctrine and Covenants 89 is not from God because it makes false promises. It says that those who adhere to its principles "shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint," and that they shall have "health in the navel, and marrow in their bones" (D&C 89:18-21).

    Since not all Latter-day Saints who keep the Word of Wisdom are endowed with such perfect health, this is taken as evidence of a false prophecy. But the same could be said of the Jews to whom the words were originally addressed in Isaiah 40:31 and Proverbs 3:7-8, whence these promises are drawn.

    Again, we encounter a situation where the critics apply a different standard to Joseph Smith's revelations than they do to the Bible.

    Another example is the Lord's promise to Joseph Smith, found in D&C 71:9 and 109:25, that "no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." Since Joseph Smith was shot and killed, some say, isn't this evidence of a false prophecy? The passage is actually a quote from Isaiah 54:17 (cited in 3 Nephi 22:17). Isaiah's statement was addressed to the kingdom of Judah, which was defeated by Babylon in 586 B.C., when its capital, Jerusalem, was destroyed. Either Isaiah uttered a false prophecy, or he had reference to the latter end of Judah.

    How would today's critics have reacted to Isaiah's words a century and a half after the prophet had uttered them? I believe they would have treated him as a false prophet, just as they treat Joseph Smith. If Isaiah's prophecy refers to events yet future, with intervening periods of hardship for the Jews, then why cannot promises made to Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints be future? Why should we apply different standards to Joseph Smith than those applied to Isaiah and other biblical prophets?

    Mark, did you know that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such, otherwise, he is subject to his own opinions and is as any other man?

    Under date of February 8, 1843, Joseph Smith wrote:

    "[I] visited with a brother and sister from Michigan who thought that >a prophet is always a prophet;' but I told them that a prophet was a prophet only when he was acting as such" ( History of the Church 5:265).

    Prophets are, after all, human beings. The fact that they speak for God on occasion does not remove their free agency. Like all of us, prophets have opinions. Sometimes, these opinions are clearly set off, as Paul did in his first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:10, 12, 25, 40). Does not Paul say, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord...?"  etc. etc.

    Joseph Smith occasionally used wording such as "this is my counsel" ( History of the Church 1:455) or "I therefore warn" ( Nauvoo Neighbor, June 19, 1844). 

    Elder Charles W. Penrose, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and later a counselor in the First Presidency, wrote, "At the head of this Church stands a man who is a Prophet...we respect and venerate him; but we do not believe that his personal views or utterances are revelations from God." 

    More recently, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

    "It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man's doctrine. You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the revealed word in the standard works." ( Doctrines of Salvation 3:203)

    Similar thoughts were expressed by President Harold B. Lee, another one of our prophets:  

    "If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private opinion. The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President of the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it is false and you are not bound to accept it as truth."

    In January 1970, six months after the first Apollo moon landing, Joseph Fielding Smith became President of the LDS Church. Some anti-Mormon groups took delight in pointing out that he had, during his tenure as an Apostle, declared that it was "doubtful that man will ever be permitted to make any instrument or ship to travel through space and visit the moon or any distant planet."

    What these same critics failed to point out was that President Smith never attributed his belief to a revelation from God. Indeed, many of his generation held the same opinion, and all were surprised-but delighted-when proven wrong. Incorrect opinions do not make false prophets. Some of the Bible's foremost prophets, such as Moses and Jeremiah, objected that their lack of eloquence made them unsuited to fill the role the Lord had cut out for them. God overruled these opinions and sent them on their way.

    One opinion held by Joseph Smith, frequently cited by critics, is that the Lord would come in 1890 (e.g., History of the Church 2:182). That this was, in fact, his feeling, is clearly indicated by the number of references he made to it. Joseph's statements on this subject were made in reaction to Adventist prophecies that Christ would come in the 1840s ( History of the Church 5:272, 290-291, 326, 337).

    I was left to draw my own conclusions concerning this;s; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time, He would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His appearance or I shall go where He is" ( History of the Church 5:324, 337; D&C 130:14-17).

    Since Joseph did not live to the age of 85, the "if" portion of the Lord's statement to him clearly shows that it was conditional. Moreover, Joseph was not told that the Lord would return in glory in 1890, only that he would see him at that time if he was yet alive. In other words, the Lord did not answer Joseph's question directly, for the very reason that no one knows the time of his coming--not even Joseph Smith or the angels of heaven (Matthew 24:36).

    Joseph made an assumption based on what the Lord told him, but it was only an assumption, and it was unwarranted. But this assumption guided some of his other declarations. This does not make him a false prophet, only a mortal who--like the rest of us--often let preconceived notions govern his thoughts. He was perfectly willing (and able) to change direction when the Lord contradicted any of his preconceptions.s.

    Regarding the character of a prophet, and as you've so eloquently declared, prophets are not without faults. Critics sometimes point to some of Joseph Smith's human failings as evidence that he could not possibly be a true prophet. But Joseph Smith himself admitted publicly on several occasions that he had faults. Once, he wrote of receiving a visitor from the east:

    "After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man, indicating by this expression, that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord should see fit to reveal his will, must be something more than a man. He seemed to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of Saint James [5:17], that Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet he had such power with God, that He, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens." ( History of the Church 2.302; compare with Acts 14:15.)

    On another occasion, Joseph said, "Although I was called of my Heavenly Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this dispensation, and testify of His revealed will to scattered Israel, I am subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times" ( History of the Church 5:516).

    He also declared, "I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect me to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it from them; but if they would bear with my infirmities and the infirmities of the brethren, I would likewise bear with their infirmities" ( History of the Church 5:181).

    For some critics, the ultimate proof that Joseph Smith was a false prophet lies in the fact that he supposedly killed two of the men who stormed the Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. Actually, we don't know whose shots killed these men, since others present were also armed. .

    As the mob rushed up the stairs to kill Joseph and Hyrum Smith, both men fired through the door, while Willard Richards knocked down the rifle barrels of the attackers. Do the critics really expect that the prophet should meekly sit down with his hands up, waiting for some 200 men to burst into the room and riddle him, his beloved brother, and two of his closest friends with bullets?

    The defensive actions of Joseph Smith and his companions at the Carthage jail parallel what happened when envoys from the chief priests came to arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Peter drew a sword and smote off the ear of the high priest's servant (Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47 Luke 22:50; John 18:10) with one of the two swords that Jesus had allowed the apostles to bring with them from the upper room (Luke 22:38). While it is true that Jesus instructed Peter to put up the sword and proceeded to heal the wounded man, events following Christ's resurrection demonstrate that he continued to acknowledge Peter as the chief of the apostles.s.

    Joseph Smith's calling as a prophet has been questioned because some of his enemies accused him of brawling, lying, getting drunk, and even boasting. Joseph admitted having faults, but denied any gross sins (Joseph Smith-History 1:28). But his faults are, in the end, irrelevant to Joseph's prophetic calling, since many of the biblical prophets exhibited similar traits and sometimes did things most of us would consider worse than anything Joseph Smith did.

    Biblical prophets were guilty of other sins as well. Noah became drunk (Genesis 9:20-21), but had nevertheless received instructions directly from God (Genesis 6:13f). David, who is termed a prophet in Acts 2:29-30, and through whom it is said the Holy Ghost spoke (Acts 1:16; 4:25), was guilty of adultery and the murder of an innocent man (2 Samuel 11), for which the Lord deprived him of blessings (D&C 132:39). Moses and Aaron boasted "must we fetch you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:10), and were thereby punished because they did not give the Lord credit for the miracle (verse 12). .

    Joseph Smith was no worse than any of these ancient prophets, and far better than some.

    A few critics have claimed that Joseph Smith cannot be a true prophet because of the many enemies he made and because he spent time in prison. He was brought to trial, tarred and feathered, chased out of town, imprisoned, and so enraged some people that a mob finally killed him. Even some of his closest associates turned against him. What the critics fail to mention is that none of Joseph's imprisonments was the result of a trial or a conviction.

    But Joseph was in good company. Jesus had said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).

    Indeed, the earlier prophets had been persecuted. Jeremiah was placed in the stocks (Jeremiah 20:1-3), arrested and brought to trial (Jeremiah 26:8-24), later imprisoned (Jeremiah 32:2; 33:1; 37:15-21), and even placed in a miry dungeon to die (Jeremiah 38:6-8). Daniel was placed in the lion's den, but survived the ordeal through divine intervention (Daniel 6:16-23). The apostles Peter and John were thrice arrested, once imprisoned, and once beaten (Acts 4:1-21; 5:17-19, 26-41). Another apostle, James, was executed (Acts 12:1-2), after which Peter was again arrested and imprisoned (Acts 12:3-10).

    The apostle Paul was similarly mistreated by the populace and by government officials. Once, he was stoned by a mob and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20). He and Silas were both whipped and imprisoned (Acts 16:22-26). He wrote that he had been beaten five times by the Jews, thrice beaten with rods, and once stoned (2 Corinthians 11:24). On his last trip to Jerusalem, some sought to kill him (Acts 21:31; 23:12-22). He was then arrested and led from one prison to another over several years, without trial (Acts 22-28) until, according to tradition, he and Peter were executed by order of the emperor Nero.

    Even Jesus was mistreated in much the same way as Joseph Smith. He was accused of having a devil (Matthew 11:18; John 8:48; 10:20) and of being in league with the devil (Matthew 9:34). He was termed a "glutton" and "winebibber," who consorted with sinners (Matthew 11:19).

    Betrayed by one of his closest associates (Matthew 26:47-50), Jesus was ultimately arrested, while all of his disciples forsook him and fled (Matthew 26:56). He was led away and accused of various crimes, with supporting testimony from false witnesses (Matthew 26:59-60).

    Among the list of accusations, we find blasphemy (Matthew 26:65; compare to John 10:33), sedition (Luke 23:2, 5, 14), and treason (for having declared himself king). He was spat upon and struck by both Jews (Matthew 26:67) and Romans (Matthew 27:30), and the latter also whipped him (Matthew 27:26). In the end, he was tried and executed for treason (Matthew 27:37), the same crime of which Joseph Smith was accused when imprisoned at Carthage.

    Was Joseph Smith's order to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor press, so readily condemned by critics, really much different from the disturbance Jesus caused in the temple when he made a whip and attacked the stock merchants and money-changers, overthrowing their tables (John 2:13-16)? Some of Joseph's followers turned away when they learned that he was practicing plural marriage and encouraging others to do so. Jesus, too, lost disciples when he taught things that were hard for them to accept (John 6:60-66). Peter wrote that some Christians of his day found it difficult to accept Paul's teachings about the atonement (2 Peter 3:15-16).

    The vast majority of Joseph Smith's supposed "false prophecies" listed by critics are not prophecies at all, but "commandments" or "counsel" (see D&C 104:1; 115:1, 7-9, 12) which were not obeyed.

    If true prophetic statements are conditioned upon the sins or the repentance of those upon whom they are pronounced, then the same principle must apply to commandments. The Lord explained it to us this way: "t;

    A similar statement is found in D&C 82:10: "I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise" (compare with verse 4).).

    Let's examine one of Joseph Smith's revelations often listed as a "false prophecy" by critics. In D&C 114, David W. Patten was commanded to "settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can" and prepare to leave on mission the next spring with the rest of the Twelve Apostles (cf. D&C 118:5-6). Due to circumstances beyond his control (i.e., mob attacks), Patten did not settle his business "as soon as he can," as the Lord commanded and died before he could go on the mission the Lord had for him.

    Some have objected that, since God is all-knowing, he would have been aware that Patten would die, so why give such a commandment. In response, we ask, Didn't God know that Nineveh would repent upon hearing Jonah's message (Jonah 3:5)? Why, then, did he tell Jonah to prophesy doom to the inhabitants of the city (Jonah 3:4)? And didn't God know that Hezekiah would live another fifteen years? So why give two conflicting prophecies through the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 20:1-6)? Didn't God know that Pharaoh would reject Moses' words? Then why bother to send the prophet to the Egyptian king to ask that he let Israel go free?

    But there is more to the David Patten story than meets the eye. Mormons believe that when a commandment is given to a man because of the office he holds, the commandment can apply to his successor. Thus, while David W. Patten did not fill the mission to England, the new apostles called to fill vacancies in the quorum did.

    There are biblical precedents for this. For example, the Lord commanded Elijah to anoint Hazael king of Assyria and Jehu king of Israel and Elisha as prophet in his stead (1 Kings 19:15-16). Elijah did, indeed, call Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21). But it was Elisha, after Elijah was taken to heaven, who sent one of the prophets to anoint Jehu (2 Kings 9:1-10), and Elisha himself announced to Hazael that he would be king (2 Kings 8:7-13). In other words, Elijah did not accomplish two of the three tasks assigned to him by God. Does this make him a false prophet?

    In the Mormon view, he did the right thing by designating his successor, who followed through on unfinished business. In the same manner, some of the things the Lord commanded the early Latter-day Saints to accomplish (such as to settle in Zion, Missouri) will be fulfilled by their descendants and successors. Likewise, the blessings pronounced on each of the tribes of Israel by Jacob (Genesis 48-49) and Moses (Deuteronomy 33) are to be understood as blessings for their future generations, not only for the men to whom the words were addressed.

    We must also note that sometimes God's commandments are designed as tests of obedience. For example, he didn't really want Abraham to kill his son, Isaac, though this is what he told him to do (Genesis 22). The same is true of the Lord's commandment to send an armed group ("Zion's Camp") to redeem the land of Zion in Missouri (D&C 101, 103, 105).

    What about prophesy vs. vision:

    Visions are often highly symbolic and hence require interpretation. They cannot, therefore, necessarily be taken as "prophecy" in the sense of predictions of precise future events. As an example, we may consider Joseph Smith's vision of the celestial kingdom (History of the Church 2:380-381). It has been highly criticized because in it he saw the twelve apostles of his day in the celestial kingdom. Of the twelve, however, several were excommunicated and never returned to the Church. This, the critics say, is evidence of a false prophecy. More likely, it is an indication of what the Lord intended for them, had they all remained faithful.

    If Joseph Smith is to be condemned as a false prophet on the basis of this vision, then we must condemn Jesus as a false prophet for similar reasons. Christ promised his twelve apostles that, when he returned to reign in glory, they would sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). And yet Judas, who was one of the twelve at the time, later fell away and, losing his place as an apostle, was replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:15-26).

    If we take Jesus' words literally, then either Judas will receive the reward (which makes the account in Acts wrong), or Jesus lied. On the other hand, if we do not hold Jesus to every word, should we not extend the same courtesy to Joseph Smith who, after all, was far less perfect than the Savior?

    What about, as you mentioned earlier regarding the revelation on Priesthood, contradictory revelations Mark?

    Joseph Smith has often been criticized on the grounds that his revelations contradict those of the Bible. Most of the contradictions are more pretended than real, and result from the inability of the critics to accept any revelation subsequent to the writing of the books of the Bible. Some of Joseph's revelations, however, contain ideas not clearly delineated in the Bible or foreign to it. We have, for example, the idea of eternal marriage or of baptism for the dead, for both of which there are only hints in the Bible but much evidence in other early Christian literature.

    It is interesting to note that some of the biblical prophets also taught doctrines which either contradicted earlier scriptures or were at least totally unknown to earlier prophets. Thus, for example, Peter's revelation concerning the consumption of unclean animals (Acts 10:9-20) contradicts earlier revelations given to Moses (Leviticus 10:10-11; 11:4-47; 20:22-26; Deuteronomy 14:1-20). Paul received a revelation that the Gentiles would be heirs with Israel through adoption in Christ. He taught that this information had been hidden from earlier generations (Romans 11:25; 16:25-26; Ephesians 1:5, 9-10; 2:11-13, 19; 3:3-6, 9; Colossians 1:26-27).

    Some of Joseph Smith's prophecies only become "false" after being misinterpreted by the critics. Here are some examples:

    Some have termed D&C 101:17 a "false prophecy" because the Latter-day Saints were driven from Missouri. But the verse itself does not say that the people would not be moved, only that "Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered."

    The Lord still intends to have the city built. The situation is similar to the one found in Micah 5:9, where the Lord said that all of Israel's enemies were to be "cut off," yet also notes that Israel's cities would be destroyed (verses 11, 14). Israel was, in fact, taken captive and scattered before its enemies, the Assyrians and the Babylonians, were crushed. Obviously, the end result is the one that counts, not intervening misfortunes.

    Several critics have pointed to D&C 117:12-15 as a "false prophecy" because Oliver Granger's name is unfamiliar to most Latter-day Saints despite the fact that the Lord said "that his name shall be had in sacred remembrance from generation to generation, forever and ever" (verse 12). It seems unlikely that the memory of any mortal can be called "sacred," so the words "sacred remembrance" most likely refer to the fact that the Lord would remember him. After all, the verse begins with the Lord saying, "I remember my servant Oliver Granger."

    Some have listed D&C 121:8 as a false prophecy because Joseph Smith did not triumph over all his "foes," as promised. A similar thing was said of Jesus (Matthew 4:6), yet he died! He did triumph in the end, however, and so, too, shall Joseph Smith.

    Were we to take this literally, as the critics try to do with Joseph Smith, we must conclude that either Jesus prophesied falsely or else there are none who believe in him, since all die! Again, however, we must consider the real meaning. In the eternal scheme, believers in Jesus do not die. So, too, in the eternal scheme, Joseph Smith will triumph over his foes, just as the Mormon Church has succeeded despite persecution. .

    Despite the fact that D&C 87 was fulfilled, in detail, by the American Civil War between the northern and the southern states that began with the firing on Fort Sumpter in South Carolina in 1861, critics consider it a false prophecy on two grounds:

    1. Joseph was merely reacting to the crisis then going on in South Carolina, and
    2. the slaves did not rise up against their masters during the Civil War.

    In actual fact, there is nothing to say that a prophecy of a future event cannot be triggered by similar but unrelated events of an earlier time. The fact that Joseph repeated this prophecy a decade later (D&C 130:14-17) shows that he still anticipated its fulfillment long after the 1832/1833 South Carolina rebellion had been resolved.

    As for the "slaves," it could be argued that the prophecy was fulfilled by the few slave rebellions that took place during the Civil War and by the blacks (including former slaves) who served in the Union Army during that conflict. But the context of the "slaves" in the revelation seems to place their revolt after the spread of war to all nations, which did not take place until after the Civil War, which sparked a series of wars throughout the world that continues to our day. It could be equally argued that the word "slaves" refers to twentieth-century national liberation and/or civil rights movements.

    This brings us to the fact that some critics also quote secondary sources to illustrate "false prophecies" uttered by Joseph Smith. By their very definition, such sources cannot be considered totally accurate in their representation of the prophet's words. One of the critics became rather selective in his use of secondary sources. Whenever the "prophecy" (some of them weren't prophecies), in his judgment, failed, he was quick to pronounce the secondary source "authentic" or "reliable." But when it was fulfilled, he denounced it as coming from a secondary source and therefore unreliable. He even went so far as to term one failed prophecy as "reliable" because its source was "Mormon," while denouncing another fulfilled prophecy on the very same grounds.

    For my part, I use all secondary sources with caution. They may give insights, but they cannot be considered with the same weight as known statements of Joseph Smith. This is true of journal accounts as well, for the reason that they are generally written after the fact (often at the end of the day) and are usually not reviewed by the person who made the statement.

    Here is an example of how journals are sometimes misused: One critic quoted a revelation of Joseph Smith as found in Parley P. Pratt's Autobiography (page 100), reading "surely Zion cannot fail, neither be moved out of her place." Elder Pratt, however, gave an abbreviated version of the revelation, which is found in D&C 97:19-20. In the original, we find that the words in question are what "the nations of the Gentiles shall say" of Zion at some point in the future. The secondary version was evidently used because it is more susceptible to interpretation as a "false prophecy."

    Finally, we consider a statement attributed to Joseph Smith that may prove to be the one most frequently cited by modern critics, including yourself in your essays.  An article in The Young Woman's Journal 3 (1892), 263-264, indicates that Joseph Smith, as early as 1837, had declared that there six-foot people living on the moon, who dressed like Quakers and lived nearly a thousand years.

    Because of its absurdity, some critics have included the article in their list of Joseph Smith's "false prophecies," though it is by no means prophetic in nature and despite the fact that the article does not attribute the belief to divine revelation. The statement regarding people on the moon is both second-hand and very late, and there are no known statements from Joseph Smith himself. The source is the Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Book 14, and is from a journal entry dated 1881, nearly forty years after Joseph Smith's death! It is hardly a reliable source.

    Conclusion

    As we have seen, there are several basic problems with the various published (and unpublished) criticisms of Joseph Smith's prophetic calling. But two of these appear to drive all the rest. The first is the predetermined view of the critics that the Bible contains all the revelation God ever gave to man or ever will give.

    This means that there can no longer be any prophets. By this reasoning, Joseph Smith is a "false prophet." The second problem is a natural consequence of the first: Since Joseph Smith must be a false prophet, all the evidence is interpreted in a manner to support that view.

    With this attitude, it becomes easy to apply a separate standard to Joseph Smith than the one used for the biblical prophets or even for Jesus himself. If Joseph is prejudged to be a "false prophet," then the Deuteronomy 18:20-22 test must apply to all of his prophecies.

    By extension, however, the critics have applied the test to Joseph's opinions, commandments, counsel, and any other statements with which they take exception. When they find it impossible, using these procedures, to deny that a prophecy actually was fulfilled, they reinterpret it, deny its authenticity, or call it coincidence.

    I have yet to see a really objective study of Joseph Smith's authentic prophetic utterances by a non-Latter-day Saint. The nature of prejudice is such that I probably never shall.

    In conclusion, and as mentioned earlier, I wish so deeply that you would continue this discussion further. 

    Mark: there is one thing you cannot speak against, and that is my personal testimony that what I have shared is true!  I bear witness that God speaks and reveals today just as He always has.  I have had personal experiences with God that transcend this world, and God has personally revealed to me His Truth.  I know that he sent His son Jesus Christ to atone for our sins, and I personally know the Truth of the Savior Jesus Christ through revelation, not second hand experience, and not by reading scripture alone

    I know that Jesus is the Christ, and I have chosen to come unto Him through what has been revealed to me.

    I know because of the rebirth that has taken place in my life, and when uplifted by the Holy Ghost, His countenance becomes one with mine.  You only know Christ when you become one with Him, and through Christ, you can become one with the Father.

    I bear witness Mark that the Book of Mormon is true, and I invite you to read it with the same spirit that you read the Bible.  I bear witness that the Bible is also true, and thank God for that collection of books.  I also bear witness that man is not true, and the Truth to be the found in any book of scripture can only be learned from the Power of the Holy Ghost, not man's wisdom and interpretation.

    Most sincerely,

    Jack

  77. Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 22:41 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: FW: Final

    Hello Mark.....this is from Jack's mother. The only thing that I ask of you is this.....I hope and pray that if you already have not read each and every word that Jack has written to you in this final email that you will take the time to re-read the entire text. I know it is long but Jack speaks the truth. What has offended me about you, and thus my dislike of you, has been that you contend, manipulate and twist what mormons TRULY believe to suit you own purposes. You would rather take the word of other anti mormons or in other words, mormon critics than talk to a true practicing mormon. You have met one of the most believing, practicing mormons you will ever meet, in my son, Jack......in whom I am well pleased. It is my opinion that you are entitled to believe the way you do but it is not my place to criticize those beliefs....only to share what I believe and share my testimony of those beliefs. The new DVD comparing Joseph Smith to Jesus Christ (I am sure you are aware of the latest anti mormon compaign that has been circulating in the dominant mormon communities in the US and Canada) and more criticism of the mormon church is a prime example of the ignorance of what mormons truly believe. I personally am tired of you and Jack emailing each other. But, I do ask this of you personally.......In keeping with your "word" to post all correspondence between the two of you....I wonder if you have the courage to print this last email. If it means that you HAVE to print the emails that I have written to you personally, then so be it. I will give my permission but ONLY if you continue to post this last email as well. It clearly states what a mormon really believes by a true mormon....and not by you that has never set foot inside my church or truly researched our teachings for yourself. I don't know for what purpose you feel the need to print the emails between you and I but if you must, you must. I don't care....They aren't very flattering of you.

    It seems that since Joseph Smith's first vision that there have always been men, like yourself, ready to persecute, point fingers and pull the trigger. I wonder if you would have been among some of the men in that mob that killed our prophet years ago.

    I add to the same testimony that Jack has born to you at the end of this long email. I, too, have had many experiences and bear testimony to the truthfulness of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am proud to belong to the true church and I am grateful for the atoning sacrifice of my Saviour, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for a prophet of God, President Gordon B. Hinckley, that leads and guides this church, through direct revelations from God. I am grateful that my neighbor saw fit to bring me your anti-mormon essay that started this whole thing in the first place because I have gained an even firmer testimony of what the mormons believe......which are the teachings of Jesus Christ....my Saviour. So, if you are going to post my emails....then you must post them ALL.....including this one. Jack's mother.....Judith from Alberta

    [Editor's Note: This email was originally not posted on this website, but was later posted to comply with Jack & Rose's wishes, as expressed in emails 78, 79, and 80 (see below).]

  78. Friday, April 13, 2007, 11:59 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: Of interest

    Hi Mark: I saw what my mom wrote recently... and I think we should just publish everything, including all side exchanges between you and my mom or you and me. Sound good? I know it is a little more work for you, but I would appreciate it. Also, for your interest, I attached a picture of me and my family last fall, and one also from Halloween. Much appreciated. Jack

    [Editor's note: photos not published on this website to protect the privacy of Jack's family]

  79. Friday, April 13, 2007, 12:13 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack and Rose
    Subject: Re: Of interest

    Hi Jack,

    I had made the decision to not publish your mom's comments, but if you want me to publish them, then I will.

    I have been wrestling with this since I feel it is unfair that she can appear nice and friendly publicly, and yet write hurtful things privately. Yet I wanted to err on the side of respecting her desire to be private.

    But if you have an opinion about it, then I'll add your mom's comments.

    I'll have to go back and put in your Mom's comments. It will be quite a bit of work because some of our comments make reference to older posts by number. If I put in your mom's comments, it will throw off the numbers.

    I'll have to think about the best way to handle this.

    It might be that I have to go through and manually edit the references to specific numbers. I just hope I don't miss any.

    Any other ideas?

    Thanks!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  80. Friday, April 13, 2007, 12:46 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: Of interest

    Tell Mark I really don't care if he publishes my emails. I am NOT ashamed of anything I said to him....they were very unflattering of him and therefore I think THAT is his format for not wanting to publish my stuff. Or better yet....send him this email....I really don't care....It's just more stuff for the "fans" to wade through. Thanks for emailing Kari....we'll see on that one...It won't be at the intensity that Mark has been unless she gets her pastor involved. mom

  81. Friday, April 13, 2007, 12:52 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose and Jack
    Subject: RE: Of interest

    Hi Judy,

    I think you emailed me instead of Jack again.

    So here's your email to Jack so he can read it.

    I don't know who Kari is, but I bet you're having quite the interesting conversation.

    Please feel free to point her to our email conversation website or to me.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  82. Friday, April 13, 2007, 13:30 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: RE: Of interest

    Kari is a friend of mine and we have not started a conversation with her.....Yet! She has asked about Mormonism and has received one of those untrue, unflattering, twisted, anti-mormon DVD's that has been circulating for a couple of weeks. She has questions and asked to talk to Jack via email. She just recently joined a church, I don't know what denomination, and has lots of questions about the bible because she hasn't ever read it. I thought, before she learns the wrong things in the bible, that she would enjoy conversing with him, since he is so knowledgeable.

    I most likely will NOT be emailing her your address, your web site or your emails as I have found the majority of them offensive. You don't need to email anything from yourself personally to me as Jack forwards all your emails to me and I don't miss a thing.

    He already emailed me this message and I thought I was emailing (replying) him....however, as stated....I don't really care what you and he do. Jack is serious about becomimg a guest speaker and yes, he would pay his own way.

    He is very passionate about his beliefs....I am grateful he is my son. He is a wonderful son....well brought up, don't you think? I don't need an answer from you. Jack's mom

  83. Friday, April 13, 2007, 13:44 EST

    From: Jack
    To: Mark and Rose
    Subject: RE: Of interest

    Mark:

    I personally don't care... so do what you feel is best.

    As mentioned to you before, regarding the public/private thing... her feelings were the same privately/publicly, depending on the day. One day she really liked you because of the respectful exchange/ and then the next day she didn't like you as respect started to wane... and then, the next day she liked you again when respect was restored. (It was interesting to see her soften for you after she read your pamphlet upon first meeting you.) Any words she wrote, the day she wrote them, she meant them. This exchange was very emotional for her... that's all... yet, unfortunately, towards the end when you two started fighting... the exchange really did hurt her.

    If I recall correctly, and I don't care to rehash, when she sent an email meant for me to you by mistake, she was frustrated and upset at the time because she felt you were being unfair and changing my words.

    Mark: Any person's religion is close to the heart, despite the differences... and although we don't agree with those differences, it generally is a good rule to err on the side of respecting those differences. We weren't perfect in this exchange, but next time we will be better. 

    I also believe, however, that in respecting those differences, we shouldn't be shy in declaring what we believe is Truth. At times it is appropriate to "turn the tables." But the gospel is better preached in love and understanding, not through accusations and enmity... which generally offends. I'm different than most, I like a good debate and can take the accusations... and occasionally I can give them back... but my mother is different. Ok?

    Michael W. Smith is my favorite Christian artist. (I have every C.D.) He quoted in the "Live the Life" CD cover St. Francis of Assisi, and I never forgot it. It says, "Preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words." I love to use words, as evidenced by this exchange, but people don't respond generally to words unless moved upon by the Holy Ghost. However, people are more influenced by our actions as they reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ... and by our fruits, men will know.

    Interestingly, "But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things [which happened] unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other [places]; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."(Phil 1:13-20)

    I prefer that latter.

    Best, Jack

  84. Monday, April 23, 2007, 17:04 EST

    From: Rose
    To: Mark
    Subject: from an old friend

    Hello Mark......ever since you started defaming our church I have been subscribing to a website called FAIR.  Today they sent me an email with some information that reminded me of you.  I haven't been able to put my finger on my cause for not liking you but after reading the information from FAIR....this describes you to a "T".  I remember asking you sometime ago if the Saviour would do and say the things that you say and do...and you said that the Jesus I believe in and the Jesus you believe in are two different men.  I am grateful for the true Jesus that I believe in because I know that the Jesus you believe in would condemn, belittle and be mean-spirited....because that is how you believe and behave.  I am not sure if writing to you with the information is what I should do because it causes contention but I have felt the need to defend my beliefs.....but not belittle yours.  Anyway.....the following is from FAIR and I just wanted to send it.  I am sure your response to this will have a bite to it.

    By the way, the conversation with Kari and her husband are going in an entirely different direction with Jack that the conversation has gone with you.  It has been delightful to say the least.  There is "respect" on both sides which Jack and I were hoping to be with you.....oh well............  from you know who!

    From FAIR.  "Sometimes those of us who participate in apologetics get caught up in the thrill of the argument. It sometimes becomes more important to us to make our point, or win the discussion, than it is sincerely discuss our differences and try to understand each other. This can happen to both LDS and non-LDS.

    There is one particular type of anti-Mormon who is very caught up in the thrill of the fight. In their efforts to save us from the falsehoods of Mormonism, they insult and offend, then are surprised to find us not beating down their doors to leave Mormonism and join them. This type of anti-Mormonism ranges from making up and changing quotes in their material, to standing outside of temples and conference buildings and calling our wives, daughters and sisters "whores." I have to ask myself if Jesus would ever do that. I don't recall him ever belittling any common believers. I suppose I should be thankful for this type of anti-Mormon, as it gives an easy foil for apologetics. I can't imagine this brand of anti-Mormonism ever being effective at converting or deconverting.

    I hope we never fall into the same trap. I hope we always treat our differences with curiosity and not disdain. I hope we always welcome members who struggle with the commandments, and I hope we always remember the Savior in our conversations.

    --Scott Gordon
    President"

    ================================================
    THE FAIR JOURNAL                                            April 2007
    ------------------------------------------
              The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research
    ------------------------------------------

         Apologetics: The branch of theology that is concerned with
         defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines. (The
         American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth
         Edition, 2000.)

  85. Tuesday, April 24, 2007, 14:31 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Rose and Jack
    Subject: Re: from an old friend

    Hi Judy,

    I'm always a bit shocked when I get email from you, because you have made it very clear that you do not want to hear from me. Anyhow, I read the FAIR article.

    I agree that some people do like to argue just for the "thrill of it." This should never be the motivation of the True Christian. Jesus did not come to earth to win arguments, but to win men and women. He cared about the souls of people, not how he may have scored in a debate.

    I have to say that when you say this article describes me to a "T," you're making a judgment about my heart that I do not think any human can make about another. You're judging my motives and saying I am that type of person.

    I don't think that's fair, do you?

    If you could see my heart, you'd see that I have a sincere concern for you and Jack, and that I want you to be saved. That's why I spend time reasoning with you - because I care - not because I'm trying to get a quick thrill out of an argument.

    I think it's mocking of you to say those things about my intentions when you can't know my intentions.

    Scott Gordon wrote about people who make things up and change quotes in their materials. That's shameful! That's awful. That is outright lying, and I think we'd all agree that it does nobody any good to lie about an opposing opinion.

    Also, for people to call Mormon wives, daughters, and sisters the awful name Scott Gordon reported these people say is abominable! I would never condone that language, and it offends me that you think that describes me to a T.

    Please don't associate me with people like that, Judy. That's awful. And it's not fair since you don't know my heart.

    Also, "defamation" is a strong word, and it implies libel or slander, which have to do with circulating false accusations against someone.

    The accusation I made against the LDS church was this: The LDS church is not a Christian Church because, among other things, it teaches that there exist many gods, that God was once a mortal who became a god, and that we can become a god too.

    Jack has agreed that the LDS church does indeed teach this.

    So there's no defamation. The accusations I made were agreed to by Jack, as well as LDS literature.

    So please don't say that I have been defaming your church. When you say that, it is very contentious.

    I really do care about you and Jack, and I give you my word that I'm not emailing you just to get a quick thrill.

    I really do hope the best for you, and I hope that you will stop accusing me of being like people who say those awful things, or who killed Joseph Smith, or being of the devil, like you have said about me in the past. Those things are very hurtful and contentious.

    I am still working on a response to Jack's long "final email" and hope to get that out to him as soon as possible. It was a very long email though, so it might take some time.

    God bless you!

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com

  86. Thursday, May 3, 2007, 15:26 EST

    From: Mark
    To: Jack
    Subject: Re: Final

    >
    > Hi Mark:
    >

    Hi Jack:

    >
    > I sincerely hope this email finds you well. Given your wish to bring this
    > discussion to a close, as promised, this will be my final email. I write
    > with some reservation, because my wish would be to continue this
    > discussion
    > in a more disciplined and concise manner; however, I also recognize it is
    > difficult to restore that discipline at this stage of our conversation.
    >

    I know you want to continue. But we need to stop sometime, and now is appropriate.

    You have demonstrated that Mormonism is not Christian when you acknowledged your beliefs in doctrines such as polytheism, that God was once a man who became a god, and that man can become a god too.

    Since you have conceded that you believe these things, it is of little point to argue over secondary issues like predestination and the nature of prophecy, since the fact that you deny that there is only One True God is much more serious.

    However, since you insisted, I have decided to respond to your very long "final" email, out of care and concern for you, since I have sincerely grown to like you and consider you a friend. You strike me as a guy who is passionate about what he believes, and so I will do what I can to explain what the Bible says about your objections.

    >
    > I'd like to start by getting into a little history. As you may already
    > know, many believe that Clement of Rome (died circa 98 A.D.), one of the
    > early Christian Church Fathers, personally knew the Apostle Peter. In
    > Clement's work Recognitions, Book III, he quotes the Apostle Peter as
    > saying:
    >
    > "Nothing is more difficult, my brethren, than to reason concerning the
    > truth in the presence of a mixed
    > multitude of people. For that which is may not be spoken to all as it is,
    > on
    > account of those who hear wickedly and treacherously; yet it is not proper
    > to deceive, on account of those who desire to hear the truth
    > sincerely. What, then, shall
    > he do who has to address a mixed multitude? Shall he conceal what is true?
    > How, then, shall he instruct those who are worthy? But if he set forth
    > pure truth to those who do not desire to obtain salvation , he
    > does injury to Him by whom he has been sent, and from whom he has received
    > commandment not to throw the pearls of His words before swine and dogs,
    > (Matthew 7:6) who, striving
    > against them with arguments and sophisms, roll them in the mud of carnal
    > understanding, and by their barkings and base answers break and weary the
    > preachers of God's word. Wherefore I also, for the most part, by using a
    > certain circumlocution, endeavour to avoid publishing the chief knowledge
    >  concerning the Supreme
    > Divinity to unworthy ears." (Clement, Recognitions, Book III Chapter 1.)
    >

    Jack, ironically, later in your email you say this about my allegation that Joseph Smith believed in Moon Men:

    ---begin Jack's quotation---

    "The statement regarding people on the moon is both second-hand and very late, and there are no known statements from Joseph Smith himself. The source is the Oliver B. Huntington Journal, Book 14, and is from a journal entry dated 1881, nearly forty years after Joseph Smith's death! It is hardly a reliable source."

    ---end Jack's quotation---

    Do you see the irony? You claim it's wrong of me to quote a secondary source of Joseph Smith 40 years after Smith's death, yet you quote a secondary source of the Apostle Peter 40 years after his death! You can't have it both ways.

    Peter may or may not have said what Clement alleged Peter said, this I don't know. What I do know is that God has supernaturally preserved every single word of Peter that God wanted us to hear, and they are contained in the 1st and 2nd epistles of Peter, and in some quotations throughout the gospels and Acts.

    However, nothing in that Clement quotation strikes me as heretical, so I won't belabor that point. I just found it funny that you quoted a secondary source who wrote many years after the death of the speaker, and then criticized me for doing the same thing later on in your email.

    >
    > Mark, as interesting as this discussion has been, it also has not been
    > without its difficulties because I believe you "hear wickedly and
    > treacherously." You have an agenda that doesn't seek to understand, but
    > instead persecutes and manipulates my beliefs. You seek to tell me what I
    > believe, rather than to allow me to tell you what I believe. You claim in
    > ignorance that I hide my true beliefs from you. And in pride, you
    > manipulate everything I say to suit your own purposes.
    >

    The claim that I "hear wickedly and treacherously" is a judgment of my heart, and nobody but my Lord can make that judgment rightly. I'd rather stick to the facts at hand, rather than interpreting what may or may not be in each others' hearts. I'd much rather analyze each other's points in light of the Bible, rather than merely mocking one another and judging intentions.

    Here are the facts, as can be seen by anyone who has read through this epic discussion:

    You claim I tell you what you believe, rather than allow you to tell me. Well, this whole discussion started because of an essay I wrote in which I summarized some LDS doctrines. So far you have agreed that I accurately portrayed some of the most noteworthy ones. Among these are the LDS position on polytheism, the eternality of God, and man's ability to become a god. You have not disputed that the LDS church teaches these things, but rather affirmed my statements. So I do not see where the essay was foul. I do not understand your problem with it, since, in the case of those major doctrines, you agreed that I got them right.

    As for you hiding your beliefs from me, you have been forthright when I asked you specific questions, and I appreciate that. However, the Mormon church does not come out and expose their own beliefs as quickly as you have. In regard to the three noteworthy doctrines above, mormon.org is chillingly silent and has vague language that would lead the casual reader to conclude wrongly that Mormons are not much different than traditional Christians.

    As evidence, here is what mormon.org has to say about "the nature of God":

    --- begin mormon.org quotation ---

    Nature of God

    Most people believe in a Supreme Being, even though they may call Him by different names.

    We know that God, our Heavenly Father, lives. He knows you and each of us and loves us all as His children.

    We are commanded to love God (Matthew 22:36-38). Jesus Christ taught that we must know the only true God to have eternal life (John 17:3). As His children, we must know who He is and what He is like.

    As you come to know and love God, you will find greater peace and joy, both in this life and in the life to come.

    --- end mormon.org quotation ---

    No mention that God was once a man. No mention that there are infinite other gods. These facts are kind of important, Jack.

    So are Mormons keeping things back from potential converts?

    Let's look at mormon.org for "Who am I?":

    --- begin mormon.org quotation ---

    Who am I?

    You are a child of God - a daughter or son of your Heavenly Father, who knows you and loves you.

    You lived with your Heavenly Father before you were born. He has known you and loved you from the beginning.

    You are created in the image of God. Your Heavenly Father has created this world for you to learn, to grow, and to become like Him. Eventually, you can return to live with Him forever.

    For this purpose, He has sent His Son into the world. Through the Savior, nothing can "separate us from the love of God" (Romans 8:39).

    You are a child of God, whom He loves. This is your oldest, deepest, and most basic identity.

    --- end mormon.org quotation ---

    No mention that you are essentially equal to Jesus because both were created by the Father. No mention that Jesus is a created being that later became a god. No mention that we have the potential to become a god.

    Are Mormons intentionally keeping this information from potential converts in order to not scare them away? I'll let the reader decide.

    In stark contrast to mormon.org, the website for my church lists a very long and detailed statement of doctrinal beliefs. We're not holding anything back from anybody. I'd be interested if you know of any similar list regarding LDS beliefs published by the church. I've vigorously searched for such a list, and asked official Mormon missionaries, but all I have ever received was very vague language.

    >
    > I don't care that you disagree with me, but I care when you manipulate.
    >
    > Your "barkings and base answers" demonstrate quite sufficiently that you
    > have an anemic self awareness and unwillingness to have a fair and
    > intelligent discussion of what the Bible actually says.
    >
    > This is sad.
    >

    Perhaps this is a failure of the medium of email conversation. With email, you miss vocal inflections, body language, et cetera. I'm sorry I have come across to you as "barking and base." I actually took lots of time to communicate the genuine concern I have for you and your mom, and lovingly explain what the Bible teaches. There have been many examples of me comparing Scripture with Scripture to carefully show you what it teaches. Often I have spent hours composing my emails to you so that I would accurately, thoughtfully, and prayerfully show you the truth from God's Word. It makes me sad that you interpreted that as "barking and base."

    >
    > I'm sorry I have to say this so plainly to you, but I'm tired of turning
    > the
    > other cheek as you continue to slap me in the face with your ignorant
    > comments.
    >

    Jack, I know you disagree with my comments, but they are hardly ignorant. I have supported my arguments from the Bible in a painstaking manner. I have backed up my comments with Scripture, and thus they are not ignorant. Ignorant would be me spouting something off without backing it up. I do not think I have done that when it comes to major issues. Of note are the "big three:" there are many gods, our God was once a man, and men can become a god. But you've agreed that the Mormons believe and teach these. So even if I were completely wrong about the other topics: polygamy, racism, et cetera, it matters not since those are splinters when compared to the bleeding jugular, to borrow an analogy from a previous email.

    To the best of my knowledge, I have not made personal attacks against you or your character. If I have attacked you personally, then I apologize, take those words back, and ask for your forgiveness. I have assaulted your beliefs, but not your character. You strike me as an intelligent and careful fellow, and I bet we'd like one another very much if we met. But if our friendship were to blossom, you'd have to cease from the harsh personal attacks. I'll point some out in this email to you as they come up.

    Your personal attacks against me have not been outdone by your mom, who has been outright rude and hostile to me in private emails only recently published (because you two recently gave me permission to publish them.)

    Your mom said my head was "so far up where the sun doesn't shine." (Email # 31). She compared me to a tabloid writer, told me I was nasty on purpose, and if I were her son, she'd put me in "time out." (email #33). She said she would never have raised such an insensitive child as me, that I am a "spoiled brat," and implied that I believe myself to be God (see email #49). She also said there's a darkness about me, called my posts "rubbish" and called me Satan. She even went so far as to cast me out! (See email #51). She also implied that I was a murderer when she said that had I been there, I would have personally murdered Joseph Smith! (email #77). Jack, I would never say such contentious things about somebody! There is no benefit to openly mock someone the way your mom has mocked me. Very contentious.

    >
    > To continue, Clement further quotes the Apostle Peter by saying, ".The
    > teaching of all doctrine has a certain order, and there are some things
    > which must be delivered first, others in the second place, and others in
    > the
    > third, and so all in their order; and if these things be delivered in
    > their
    > order, they become plain; but if they be brought forward out of order,
    > they
    > will seem to be spoken against reason. And therefore order is to be
    > observed
    > above all things, if we seek for the purpose of finding what we seek. For
    > he
    > who enters rightly upon the road, will observe the second place in due
    > order, and from the second will more easily find the third; and the
    > further
    > he proceeds, so much the more will the way of
    > knowledge become open to him,
    > even until he arrive at the city of
    > truth, whither he is bound,
    > and
    > which he desires to reach. But he who is unskilful, and
    > knows not the way of inquiry,
    > as a traveller in a foreign country,
    > ignorant and wandering, if he
    > will not employ a native of the country as a guide,-undoubtedly when he
    > has
    > strayed from the way of truth,
    > shall remain outside the gates of life, and so, involved in the darkness
    > of
    > black night, shall walk through the paths of perdition. Inasmuch
    > therefore,
    > as, if those things which are to be sought, be sought in an orderly
    > manner,
    > they can most easily be found, but the unskilful man is
    > ignorant of the order of
    > inquiry, it is right that the
    > ignorant man should yield to the knowing one, and first learn the order of
    > inquiry, that so at length he may find the method of asking and
    > answering."
    > (Clement, Recognitions, Book III Chapter 34.)
    >

    Again, Peter may or may not have said that. Clement is not inspired Scripture. Also, I noticed that you got that quotation from the Catholic Encyclopedia (based on the hyperlinks within the text), and as you may know, there are many things attributed to the Apostle Peter by the Roman Catholic Church that are not Biblical.

    But, as I said before, nothing in that quotation strikes me as heretical, so I won't belabor it.

    >
    > You, my friend, are very unskillful, and know not the way of inquiry. You
    > trust in the arm of flesh, which is your interpretation of the Bible,
    > rather
    > than revelation by the Holy Ghost, which is the True Guide that will
    > furnish
    > the correct interpretation thereof.
    >
    > To say again differently what Peter said above: "Whom shall he teach
    > knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? [them that are]
    > weaned from the milk, [and] drawn from the breasts. For precept [must be]
    > upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a
    > little, [and] there a little: (Isa 28:9-10)
    >
    > You reject the notion that the Lord will teach us line upon line. here a
    > little, and there a little.
    >

    What I reject is the practice of the Mormon church to not be forthright about their teachings and hide behind the defense of "you have to hear it a little at a time."

    "Precept upon precept, line upon line," does not mean that you tell people vague things on mormon.org, and then later let them know that there are many gods, that God was once mortal, and that mortals can become a god. There is a huge gulf between what we find in the Mormon church and the Biblical principle of Isaiah 28:9-10.

    Of course God's truth is revelatory. I have previously written the following:

    --- begin quotation ---

    In Genesis, God gives the slightest hints about His plan of redemption. He slaughters animals for Adam and Eve, beginning the practice of animal sacrifice. He says that Eve's descendant will be bruised by the serpent, but will ultimately crush the serpent's head. Shadows. Hints of what is to come. Then later in Genesis you learn that this son of Eve will come through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah. More information. Then in Psalm 22 we learn that this man will be crucified. Isaiah 53 tells us that He will have no wickedness and that He will die as an atoning sacrifice for His people! Isaiah 9:6 tells us He will be God himself! How could this be? Still, more revelation comes in time. Micah tells us that He will be born in Bethlehem. Isaiah tells us He'll be born to a virgin.

    But then the Mormons come along and say, "And here's more information to build on that. Jesus was a created being, and the brother of the devil. And Jesus' Father is one of many many gods. We only worship one God, so we're still monotheists, though. Oh, and another thing. Jesus' Father was once a mortal. See, new revelation, just as the New Testament added revelation to the Old!"

    See the vital difference, Jack? In time God reveals NEW information, but not CONTRADICTORY information.

    Mormon doctrine does not build upon the Old and New Testaments, but rather adds contradictory information. The Old and New Testaments say there is only ONE GOD, but the Mormons teach that there are many gods (I know, I know, you say you only worship one of them, but you still believe in the existence of many.)

    This is contradictory to the established Old and New Testament teachings.

    --- end quotation ---

    This is what is meant by "line upon line" "precept upon precept." I wholeheartedly hold the position that God has revealed more and more over time, but it is not the contradictory information that the Mormon church teaches.

    >
    > This is sad. and you mock what you don't understand.
    >
    > As I mentioned earlier, I would and could continue this discussion in
    > perpetuity, because the knowledge of God is endless, and Mark, we've just
    > scratched the surface of investigating what the Bible actually teaches.
    >
    >>From the beginning our expectations about this discussion were very
    > different. You believed that within a few emails you would prove your
    > points without hesitation conclusively, and I always knew it would be
    > different. You expected a quick and dirty exchange, and I knew this would
    > go
    > on for literally hundreds of pages, etc. without anything being truly
    > resolved.
    >

    I did expect that within a few emails, if you answered the questions, a difference would be established between Biblical Christianity and Mormonism. And in fact, this has been the case. We have done that. We can see now that the "Jesus" of the Bible and the "Jesus" of Mormonism are not the same being, and can not be the same being. That has been established in our email discussion, and the essay that started this whole thing has not been discounted. You have agreed that Mormons do actually believe the things written in that essay, at least in regard to the plurality of gods, the nature of god, and man's potential future.

    So I consider this email exchange a great success.

    As for this going on for hundreds of pages, I have no doubt that is possible, but I do not see the point, so that's why I believe we ought to stop where we are. You have demonstrated sufficient evidence that Mormonism is not Christian, and you have informed the readers of much more than they could find at mormon.org.

    Also, you have clearly heard the true gospel of grace, that we are completely sinful and there is nothing in us that can please the One Holy God of the universe. He demands holiness, and we are not holy. He will punish sin.

    He can punish us, or He can punish Jesus in our place. We must flee to the correct Jesus. Only there do we have hope. That is the true Biblical gospel. God "now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30-31). This includes you and me, Jack. We must repent and trust the Jesus of the Bible.

    >
    > My only purpose in this discussion was to expand your self awareness.
    > because Truth never emerges by arguing about scripture alone. Truth is
    > only
    > transferred to the souls of men as they use the Holy Ghost as their guide
    > while studying the scriptures.
    >

    I have never argued against the fact that the Holy Spirit must illuminate Scripture in the hearts of men. The Bible will make no sense to a person unless God Himself does a work in that person's heart (illumination.) So the question is: how do we know if the Holy Spirit is indeed illuminating Scripture, or if we're listening to another "spirit?" The answer is this: the Holy Spirit shows us truth from the Bible, but never contradicts the Bible. When a "spirit" says that there are infinite number of gods, you can look to the Bible where it says clearly: "for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isaiah 46:9). "have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isaiah 44:8). There are tons more verses like this. So if a "spirit" teaches that there are many gods, then we can know with certainty that that "spirit" is a false seducing spirit, and not the Holy Spirit. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1).

    >
    > You are a fool to believe you can prove anything from the Bible without
    > the
    > Spirit of God Mark. only God can lift the scales off the eyes of the
    > blind
    > as they read the Bible.
    >

    I agree that we must have the Holy Spirit illuminate God's Word or we'll never understand it. That's not our point of disagreement. Our point of disagreement is over how to test whether the "spirit" you're listening to is the Holy Spirit or a false seducing spirit. One sure way you know if it is the "Holy Spirit" or some other deceptive "spirit" that is speaking to you is if that "spirit" upholds previous revelation, or contradicts it.

    "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

    >
    > In this, my final email, I would like to address a few topics.
    >
    > 1. I would like to briefly revisit us becoming joint-heirs with
    > Christ.
    >
    > 2. I will share some thoughts on Predestination.
    >
    > 3. I'd like to discuss your Brigham Young quote you took out of
    > context
    >
    > 4. I'd like to conclude on prophesy and the nature of prophets.
    >

    Fair enough. But I have to say that I really am strongly of the opinion that this is unnecessary. We've already each said more than we need to and we each have enough information to see Mormonism for what it is. Since you've already made it clear that Mormonism is not Christian, I don't see the point in arguing over secondary issues, but since you insist, I will take the time to consider your points, and where appropriate, answer your points as God gives me wisdom.

    >
    > First, The Nature of God and Our Salvation:
    >
    > Mark: if the Bible says we are "heirs of god, and joint-heirs with Christ"
    > (Rom 8) your response is: "One day we will reign with Christ, but that
    > does
    > not mean that we will be little gods."
    >
    > If the Bible says that just as Christ over came, we can also overcome, "To
    > him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I
    > also
    > overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne" (Rev 3:21) Your
    > response is: "I get it. I understand your position. You believe we can
    > become little gods."
    >
    > Do you understand that my position is quite literally the words of the
    > Bible
    > without any interpretation from me?
    >

    Jack, I believe your problem lies in your method for interpreting the Bible.

    Yes, of course we take it literally, but that does not mean that there is no imagery and metaphor and poetry and figurative language in the Bible. I can illustrate this way.

    Psalm 17:8 says, "Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings."

    By your Bible interpretation method, if you were to be consistent, you should interpret Psalm 17:8 to mean that we are round fruit that grows on trees, and God has wings and feathers!

    Nobody should make that conclusion, but if you are to interpret it "literally" without figurative language, then you should.

    Interpreting the Bible literally does not mean that we believe God has literal wings. Interpreting the Bible in a proper literal sense means we allow to text to speak for itself, and seek to understand it, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the way the intended audience would have understood a passage. Godly Jews at the time of King David would have understood Psalm 17:8 to be figurative language, and so ought we.

    Interpreting the Bible properly means understanding the context, and comparing scripture with scripture to discern the whole counsel of God on a matter.

    So let's look at "Joint heirs." You refer to Romans 8:17: "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God." Here's the context. Paul is talking about the fact that we are ADOPTED children, not natural children. Adopted children are not biologically the same as their parents; begotten children are. Just 2 verses before your verse, it CLEARLY says, "but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Romans 8:15, emphasis mine). Spirit of "adoption." We are not of the same substance with God, nor can we be. This is what the context shows us. The context makes it clear that "joint heirs" does not mean we get to become a god. It means we get to be a part of God's family, as adopted children. That's what the context shows.

    And if there be any doubt, one only need to look at other scriptures to clarify. Remember, the Bible does not contradict itself. When there's a passage you have a question about, you check other passages to clarify for you. Other passages are clear. God says, "I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6). Also, "understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10).

    On to your next scripture. You claim Revelation 3:21 supports that we get to become a god someday. Revelation 3:21 says, "to him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." I don't know why sitting with Christ on His throne means we get to become little gods. I don't see that. More likely is that it means we will rule with Christ, which is exactly what the Bible teaches at Revelation 20:6, and other places.

    >
    > I'll say it again: Do you understand that my position is quite literally
    > the
    > words of the Bible without any interpretation from me?
    >

    I'll say it again as well... to interpret the Bible literally is to understand there is figurative language, and that we must take verses in context and in light of all of scripture. Otherwise you have to believe that God has feathers.

    >
    > Mark: I believe literally that we can be "joint heirs with Christ." I
    > believe literally that, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with
    > me
    > in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in
    > his
    > throne"
    >

    I know you believe this. And this is a grave heresy on your part - one the Bible does not support when you read it in context.

    >
    > Your response is shortsighted, and sometimes I think unfair... because if
    > anyone has focused on every single jot and tittle of what the Bible
    > actually
    > says, it is you. But you abandon that literalness and clarity when it
    > doesn't suit your own purpose.
    >

    No, I do not abandon literalness and clarity ever. I read the Bible the way it is supposed to be read: in context, and in whole.

    >
    > You focus on the word gods as your defense for your interpretation because
    > the Bible ALSO says there is no other God besides me.
    >

    Right! No other god.

    >
    > We use the words gods literally as a synonym with "joint heirs with
    > Christ."
    >

    And in this you greatly err. I have already shown that the "joint heirs" in context is about adoption. It does not teach that we get to become a god.

    >
    > If this issue is being distorted primarily by the semantic argument you
    > make, then I'll say it differently to demonstrate exactly how we mean it:
    > We
    > believe we will literally be "joint heirs with Christ" if we are found
    > worthy, and will sit in His throne, just like he is set down in the
    > Father's
    > Throne.
    >
    > Your response of: "One day we will reign with Christ, but that does not
    > mean
    > that we will be little gods" is weak. It is a unilateral and unscriptural
    > proclamation of what a "joint-heir" means, and it is weak.
    >

    I have already demonstrated that "joint heirs" is in the context of adoption, not natural children. We are not of the same type of God, nor can we ever be. And the whole counsel of God agrees. "Understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10).

    >
    > Moreover, if you want to apply that weak semantic rule, then Moses is NOT
    > a
    > prophet either and the NT is heretical, for it also says: "AND the LORD
    > said
    > unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother
    > shall be thy prophet." (Exo 1:7)
    >
    > Hmmm. Moses declares himself a god, and Aaron is his prophet. It is
    > interesting how you are less critical about such statements in the Bible,
    > when are in direct opposition to your own beliefs.
    >

    Actually, it is Exodus 7:1. So let's look at the context, so we can properly interpret this passage literally. It says "I have made thee a god to Pharaoh." It does not say, "I have made thee a god." When you look at what actually happened, Moses went speaking the words of God to Pharaoh, as a faithful ambassador. Moses was standing in the place of God, sort of like when I tell me 8-year-old to tell my 4-year-old to stop eating crayons, the 8-year-old, by faithfully delivering my message and being clear that the message comes from daddy, is being "a daddy to the 4-year-old."

    But this isn't actually correct, because Moses was "not eloquent... slow of speech, and of a slow tongue" (Exodus 4:10).

    So God sent Aaron with Moses to speak on Moses' behalf, much like a prophet speaks on God's behalf.

    So Moses speaks to Aaron, and then Aaron speaks on Moses' behalf to Pharaoh, perfectly mirroring how God speaks through prophets to people. That is why Exodus 7:1-2 says, "And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land."

    And in case anyone says, "Hmmm, I don't know. Maybe the Mormons are right and we get to become a god," we need only to look at all of scripture to clarify. "Understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10).

    >
    > You are fool!
    >

    That's a bit contentious, Jack, and an unnecessary personal attack.

    >
    > Mark, you don't know your own Bible, and you mock what you don't
    > understand.
    > I regret that you are incapable and unwilling to receive the necessary
    > revelation from the Father in order to truly understand who he is. You
    > partake of the same prideful spirit that influenced the Jews of old to
    > crucify their very own Messiah. You worship your interpretation of the
    > Bible more than you worship the Father.
    >

    You are judging my heart again, Jack, and that contentious language is not helpful.

    >
    > Second, Predestination:
    >
    > In answer to my question about the 2 men who have 3-minutes to live, you
    > said, "It is no accident that one man went south and one went north. God
    > ordains ALL that comes to pass. If God wanted to save the first person,
    > and
    > thus sovereignly directed him to me, and this person Truly repented and
    > put
    > his faith in the correct Jesus, then that person would be justified. in an
    > instant."
    >
    > I find this quite an interesting answer, especially in light of the
    > implications.
    >
    > Just to be clear: you are eliminating man's free agency to choose God,
    > for
    > God "ordains all" and will choose who can be saved and who will be damned
    > regardless of each man's independent will. Is that right?
    >

    What I am saying is that man is horribly wicked. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 7:9). "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    Scripture consistently teaches that if man did have free will, then he would never use it to seek God. "There is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11).

    So we could argue whether or not free will exists till the cows come home, in the end we must conclude that whether we have free will or not, man on his own never seeks after God.

    This is why I have said in the past that you have too high a view of man. If you believe that man has the inclination to seek God, then you contradict Romans 3:11. If you believe man would chose God, then you are blind to history. Man is wicked, not good. We would never choose God. Is there free will? I'll ask you this: does a 5-year-old child have the free will to choose boiled cabbage over chocolate cake? No child would pick the cabbage over the cake! But this analogy is not strong enough, because we hate righteousness MUCH MORE than a child hate cabbage, and we hunger after sin MUCH more than a child thirsts for chocolate!

    The Bible teaches that man loves sin and hates righteousness. Colossians 1:21 says that we were "enemies in your mind by wicked works." Ephesians 5:6 calls men "children of disobedience." A child of disobedience would never choose God.

    So this begs the question... how can anyone get saved? And in this comes the doctrine of "election" that so offends you. The doctrine of election says that God chooses us, because we would never choose Him. Given the choice, we'd always choose sin. God must change our heart of stone, to give us a heart of flesh.

    There's a beautiful picture of this in Ezekiel chapter 36 (verses 22-38). Please allow me this long quotation:

    1. Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went.
    2. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.
    3. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
    4. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
    5. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
    6. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
    7. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
    8. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.
    9. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.
    10. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.
    11. Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.
    12. Thus saith the Lord GOD; In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.
    13. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by.
    14. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
    15. Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD build the ruined places, and plant that that was desolate: I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.
    16. Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.
    17. As the holy flock, as the flock of Jerusalem in her solemn feasts; so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men: and they shall know that I am the LORD.

    Okay, here comes the "Sohmer" commentary. Verse 22 "I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen." This teaches that what God was about to do, He did it not because Israel deserved it. It's not because Israel earned it. Quite the opposite, Israel profaned God's holy name!

    Why would God do this? Verse 23 "the heathen shall know that I am the LORD." Or said another way, God did it for His glory. It glorifies God for even the heathen to say, "Wow, what a great God!"

    So what is it that God was going to do for Israel?

    Here is a partial list of the things God was going to do for Israel:

    • "I will take you from among the heathen" (vs. 24)
    • "[I will] gather you out of all countries" (vs. 24)
    • "[I will] bring you into your own land" (vs. 24)
    • "I [will] sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean" (vs. 25)
    • "from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you" (vs. 25)
    • "A new heart also will I give you" (vs. 26)
    • "a new spirit will I put within you" (vs. 26)
    • "I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh" (vs. 26)
    • "I will give you an heart of flesh" (vs. 26)
    • "I will put my spirit within you" (vs. 27)
    • "[I will] cause you to walk in my statutes" (vs. 27)

    And there's more, but I think you ought to get the idea. Please note the consistent "I will." It is God who was doing the action. Grammatically speaking, God's actions are "active" and man's are "passive." Or said another way, God does the doing, and we do the receiving. It is all of God, and none of us.

    Yes, it does say, "ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (vs. 27) but only right after it says, "[I will] cause you to walk in my statutes." Yes, Israel will obey, but only because God worked in the hearts of the Israelites to give them the desire and ability to obey. Without this supernatural work of God in the heart of an unbeliever, nobody would ever have the inclination to choose God. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    Lest anyone think that perhaps Israel did even a smidgen to earn this, God says, "Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord GOD, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel" (vs. 32).

    And did you notice the wonderful picture of true repentance in verse 31? "Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations."

    This is consistent throughout the Bible. It is God who grants repentance. It is God who gives faith.

    "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9, emphasis mine). Grace and faith are gifts of God, "not of yourselves."

    Acts 2:47 says, "And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." It is God and God alone who adds to His church.

    When you realize that we are deceitfully wicked, and that none seek God, you must conclude, as the Bible teaches, that only God can give the gift of faith and repentance. It comes from Him. To think otherwise is to have a blasphemously high view of man.

    >
    > I'll just work under the assumption I have understood you correctly,
    > although, I am certain that once you read my response, you will either say
    > you meant something different or modify your answer somehow. because I
    > don't
    > think your answer is carefully thought out.
    >

    I believe it is not only thought out, but Biblically supported, as shown above. I could provide volumes more, but it hardly seems necessary. Whether you believe in the "total depravity" of man seems like a small thing when you admit that you believe in many gods.

    That's a much bigger problem.

    >
    > Interestingly, in your answer, God doesn't ordain all, because this man's
    > salvation is still conditional on his choice to "truly repent" and "put
    > his
    > faith in Jesus". and "THEN that person would be justified in an instant."
    >

    Not really. As I have said, it is God who puts it on man's heart to "truly repent." It is God who gives the gift of faith. So God does ordain all. God decides who will truly repent, or else His will would be subject to our choices, and that makes for one very weak "god." It is inappropriate to attribute to man the power to thwart the sovereign will of Almighty God.

    Here's what the Bible says about whose choice it is as to who repents and believes:

    "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:3-6, emphasis mine).

    Check out the what is "active" and which is "passive."

    God chose us.

    God predestined us.

    God made us accepted in the beloved.

    "according to the good pleasure of his will."

    A few verses later we see the teaching of God's absolute sovereignty again, "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will" (Ephesians 1:11).

    And I love this from Acts, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48, emphasis mine).

    Who believed? Those who "were ordained to eternal life."

    Jesus said "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: (John 6:44).

    Predestination is a Biblical teaching.

    >
    > This is an if/then response which is conditional. You are a contradiction
    > unto yourself. I chuckle. because my very first answer to this question
    > was: it depends. and you were offended. yet you give a similar conditional
    > response.
    >

    I was not offended because you gave a conditional answer, I was frustrated that you gave an ambiguous answer, one that required the belief in "a chance in the afterlife to receive your message." The original scenario of the man with 3 minutes to live was to illustrate that you believe in a gospel of works, which you later conceded to when you gave the analogy of the girl with the free car, how she must work to maintain that car. If you can lose your salvation by failure to work, then you have a gospel of works. This is incompatible with the Biblical gospel which is "not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:9).

    He who saves you also keeps you. (Philippians 1:6, and many many other passages.)

    >
    > Expand your self awareness Mark. Be consistent in your approach.
    >
    > If the repentance is TRUE, and if this man puts TRUE faith in Christ, then
    > I
    > completely agree. He will be saved, as I mentioned in an earlier email.
    > However, I believe any rational being would question whether or not this
    > man
    > is TRUE, given during his entire life he decided that instead of following
    > the promptings of God, he wanted to mock God, and then only when he is
    > dying at the last minute he decides to repent.
    >
    > We believe in death bed repentance, if it's TRUE. but what are the chances
    > of it really being true Mark?
    >

    I know of at least one true deathbed repentance!

    "And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).

    Hallelujah! What a great God we have: that He can and will justify a man in a heartbeat without works, and keep that man from stumbling, so God gets 100% of the glory!

    >
    > " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest
    > them
    > which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children
    > together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye
    > would not!" (Matt 23:37)
    >
    > According to you, God saves and God damns according to His good will and
    > pleasure, and there is nothing we can do to play part in the covenant
    > relationship of salvation. To take it to an extreme, men can live an
    > entire
    > life of willful sin, as the 3-minute man, and ultimately be saved with
    > God..
    > yet contrarily, other men can live their entire lives in righteousness,
    > and
    > yet burn in everlasting Hell.

    I was with you up until you wrote "men can live their entire lives in righteousness." There you go with your too high a view of man again, Jack. Nobody can live his or her entire life in righteousness. That is a non-issue because it can never happen. None of us are righteous! None.

    "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Romans 3:10-18, emphasis mine).

    This is the BIBLICAL state of man, Jack, and it is very dire. You have much too high a view of man if you think it is possible for man to live a righteous life. In fact, it's even worse - you not only have too high a view of man, but you blatantly contradict the clear teaching of scripture in Romans 3 and other places.

    Herein is why we NEED the true Biblical gospel. God demands holiness and righteousness, but we do not and can not be holy and righteous. We have as much desire for holiness as a child has for steamed cabbage over chocolate. Actually, as I said earlier, that analogy is not nearly strong enough.

    >
    > There is some truth to both statements above, but not even close to the
    > extremes that you take it Mark!
    >
    > Funny thing. if men do good and yet burn in everlasting Hell, who was
    > behind
    > the good they did according to your doctrine? The devil? The man? God?
    >

    As I showed from Romans 3, men do not do good. This is a non-issue.

    "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

    >
    > I believe you feel no man can do any good out of his own free will and
    > choice as God inspires him. instead, only God can do good through men
    > independent of their free will. because we are all such "blasphemous
    > murderous sinners". which means, any good being done in the world by
    > anyone
    > is God working through men independent of their free agency, yet according
    > to you God still sends some of these men He did His good through to Hell.
    >
    > Think about Mother Theresa. She did a lot of good, yet belonged to a
    > church
    > you call a CULT. Is she now burning in Hell Mark? Or is she in Heaven
    > despite having been a member of a CULT? Or, was the good she did inspired
    > of God, who still sent here to Hell? Or, was she a big farce, and faked
    > the
    > good she did?
    >

    I'll say it again: "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

    Jesus said, "except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5).

    I can't claim to know Mother Theresa's heart, but this I do know, unless she truly repented and trusted 100% in the correct Jesus, then she will perish regardless of any so-called "good works" she may have performed.

    There are Buddhists and Scientologists and Roman Catholics and Mormons who do "good things" (by human standards) but righteousness comes from Christ, and not from deeds we do. Unless we repent and trust the True Jesus, we will perish. That's the consistent message.

    Think of it this way, if a man is found guilty of rape and murder, and the judge says, "What have you to say for yourself?" It would be futile for the criminal to say, "Yes, I have raped and murdered, but I want you to know that I also walked an old lady across the street once or twice."

    You have too high a view of man. Mother Theresa may have done "good things" from our point of view, but the Bible says that we have all broken God's laws. James said, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10). So in God's sight, Mother Theresa was a blasphemer, and an idolater, and a murderer, and an adulterer, and worse. Unless she repented and put her faith in the True Jesus, she will perish. And so shall you, Jack. You must repent and trust the True Jesus. It is your only hope.

    >
    > Expand your self awareness Mark. You are a contradiction unto yourself.
    >
    > I believe God does good through men by engaging their free agency, not
    > eliminating it.
    >

    If man were allowed to exercise his free agency, he's do BAD and not good. "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matthew 7:18). Jack, we are bad trees, not good ones. Remember Romans 3.

    >
    > You are a contradiction unto yourself: First you say it is God who gives
    > repentance, then you also say the 3-minute man must be sincere in his
    > repentance to truly be saved. Is it God, or is it man? If it is only
    > God,
    > then couldn't we assume the repentance was sincere because God is behind
    > it?
    > Or, can we safely conclude that God compels men to also repent
    > insincerely?
    >

    It is God who grants true repentance. Faith is the gift of God, according to Ephesians 8:9.

    >
    > Expand your self awareness!!!
    >
    > I want to comment on your use of Romans 8:29-30 which states: "Whom [God]
    > did foreknow, he also did predestinate, . them he also called: and whom he
    > called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also
    > glorified."
    >
    > This is an interesting passage that has troubled many students of the New
    > Testament of almost every Christian denomination (except yours of
    > course)-and rightly so.
    >
    > It seems to teach that an all-powerful God has predetermined the destinies
    > of every individual.
    >
    > Predestination is a sectarian substitute for the true doctrine of
    > foreordination.
    >
    > It is a false doctrine declaring that from all eternity God has ordered
    > whatever comes to pass, having especial and particular reference to the
    > salvation or damnation of souls. Some souls are irrevocably chosen for
    > salvation, others for damnation; and there is nothing any individual can
    > do
    > to escape his predestined inheritance in heaven or in hell.
    >
    > As you know, we categorically reject this notion of predestination. I
    > believe you are misinformed on what the Bible truly is teaching. (I say
    > this
    > with full awareness of how the translation in the King James edition
    > literally reads.)
    >
    > However, we whole heartedly accept the doctrine of foreordination, which I
    > believe is the correct interpretation of Romans 8:29-30.
    >
    > Predestination strips away the agency of man. Foreordination preserves
    > the
    > agency of man.
    >

    Foreordination, as you define it, requires one to have too high a view of man. It says that man has the goodness within him to repent. I have shown from the Bible that there are none who seek after God. There are none who God would foresee to repent.

    Also, God clearly caused some people to reject God. I give you the case of Pharaoh and Judas as two classic examples. "For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth" (Romans 9:17). God raised Pharaoh up specifically for the purpose of having him reject God, so that God could be magnified through the just condemnation of Pharaoh. Heavy stuff. This is meat, for sure. Easy to understand, but hard to wrap our minds around.

    Please spend some time in Romans chapter 9. Paul uses the example of Jacob and Esau, how God chose Jacob and rejected Esau based solely on the discretion of His sovereign will.

    "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto [Rebekah], The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Romans 9:11-13, emphasis mine).

    Before Jacob or Esau were even born, God chose one to love, and one to hate. It wasn't based on your view of foreordination. It was based on God's purpose according to election.

    In case you question whether or not God is "just" to do this, Paul anticipated that, and answered it in that chapter.

    "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy... Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth" (Romans 9:14-16,18, emphasis mine).

    The Bible teaches that God shows mercy to some, and He hardens others.

    Paul then uses the analogy of the potter and the clay. "Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?" (Romans 9:21).

    God is perfectly within His right to make some for the purpose of glory, and others for the purpose of destruction.

    I know that offends you, but it is the Biblical teaching.

    >
    > As I've already mentioned, I believe the most well-known advocate of
    > predestination was the sixteenth-century French minister John Calvin, a
    > man
    > whom you've already stated as "inspired."
    >

    Calvin is not the most "well-known advocate" of predestination. The Apostle Paul is, as evidenced by Romans chapter 9.

    And when did I ever call Calvin "inspired?" In fact, I don't think I even mentioned Calvin at all in this conversation. You brought up Calvin. I have maintained that the issue of predestination is not relevant to this discussion because you have already admitted to believing in many gods and that you hope to become a god someday. You kept insisting that you wanted to talk about Predestination. I never brought it up.

    >
    > Mark, in the beginning you mention that you are a Bible believing
    > Christian,
    > and I truly respect and believe that you believe you are a Bible believing
    > Christian, but you could be more correctly categorized as a Calvinist.
    >

    I have just defended the doctrine of predestination from the Bible. I did not quote Calvin. I need not quote Calvin. Calvin may or may not have taught correctly, but that makes no difference. I quoted the Bible, not Calvin. Please see Romans 9, and many other places. It is God who chooses, and good thing too, because if it were up to us to choose, none of us would. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    >
    > On predestination, Calvin wrote, "We call predestination God's eternal
    > decree, by which he determined within himself what he willed to become of
    > each man. . Eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for
    > others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of
    > these
    > ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or to death." (Institutes of
    > Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B.
    > Eerdmans, 1957, 3:21:7.)
    >

    You know, I've never read Calvin's "Institutes." But it doesn't matter, because Calvin is not inspired. Only the Bible is.

    >
    > It is also stated in The Creeds of Christendom, "Angels and men, thus
    > predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably
    > designed;
    > and their number is so certain and definite that it can not be either
    > increased or diminished." ( "The Westminster Confession of Faith" in
    > Philip
    > Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 3 vols., 6th ed., Grand Rapids, Mich:
    > Baker House Books, 1931, 3:608.)
    >

    I've never read the Westminster Confession of Faith. It is not inspired. Only the Bible is.

    >
    > The problem Mark is one of definition and interpretation. Many Christian
    > churches regard the words predestine and foreordain as synonymous.
    > However,
    > we believe foreordination is different from predestination, and we have
    > learned this by revelation from God.
    >

    I also regard foreordination and predestination as different. But the Bible teaches predestination, so if you have a "revelation" that contradicts Biblical teaching, then that "revelation" is not one we ought to believe.

    There are false revelations, you know. How do you judge them? If they contradict Scripture, they're false.

    >
    > With foreordination, there is no divine compulsion to ensure that a person
    > who is foreordained to a particular calling in this life will fulfill his
    > or
    > her tasks. Men's agency is not stripped away from them. "Many are called,
    > but few are chosen." (Matt 22:14) To say it differently: Many are called
    > and elected, but few make their calling an election sure. (2 Pet 1:10)
    >

    So you believe that Pharaoh could have repented and allowed Israel to go without the use of the 10 plagues? The Bible does not agree with you.

    You believe Judas could have repented and not betrayed Christ? The Bible does not agree with you.

    "The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand" (Isaiah 14:24).

    "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isaiah 46:9-11, emphasis mine).

    "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Psalm 115:3).

    Complete sovereignty is shown here.

    >
    > We believe "Every man who has a calling to minister to the inhabitants of
    > the world was ordained to that very purpose in the Grand Council in Heaven
    > before this world was." (Joseph Smith) For example, Jeremiah was
    > "ordained
    > . a prophet unto the nations" before his birth. (Jer 1:5)
    >
    > The Lord foreordained chosen spirit children in our pre-mortal life and
    > assigned them to come to earth at particular times and places so that they
    > might aid in furthering his divine will. These pre-existence appointments,
    > made 'according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" simply designated
    > certain individuals to perform missions which the Lord in his wisdom knew
    > they had the talent and capacities to do. (1 Pet 1:2)
    >

    You said that God designated tasks to certain individuals that "the Lord in his wisdom knew they had the talent and capacities to do."

    The Bible teaches otherwise, that we are dead in our transgressions and sins, and thus we will never choose to do the right thing.

    You have much too high a view of man and much too low a view of God.

    Your view of god makes him unable to know for sure that his will can be carried out, because he can't be sure that men will do what he wants them to do. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the power to thwart the sovereign will of Almighty God.

    In addition, following your understanding of foreordination, if a person actually DOES fulfill God's will, then that person has much to brag about. He made the right choice. He did what was good. He did it.

    Your understanding of God's will leads you to blasphemy and idolatry.

    >
    > Foreordination is thus different from predestination. Although our
    > Heavenly
    > Father inspires us and increases our capacity for righteousness through
    > the
    > power of the Holy Ghost, His divine compulsion does not take away our free
    > agency.
    >
    > We much choose whether or not we follow His promptings.
    >

    If it were up to us to choose whether or not we follow God's promptings, none of us would. Your view of man is too high.

    >
    > The true meaning of your so called "predestination" is taught in the
    > Bible:
    >
    > " For [the kingdom of heaven is] as a man travelling into a far country,
    > [who] called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And
    > unto
    > one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one
    > (foreordination); to every man according to his several ability; and
    > straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents
    > went and traded with the same, and made [them] other five talents. And
    > likewise he that [had received] two, he also gained other two. But he
    > that
    > had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
    > After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with
    > them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other
    > five
    > talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I
    > have
    > gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done,
    > [thou] good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few
    > things,
    > I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy
    > lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou
    > deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents
    > beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful
    > servant;
    > thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over
    > many
    > things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received
    > the
    > one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man,
    > reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not
    > strawed:
    > And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there]
    > thou
    > hast [that is] thine. His lord answered and said unto him, [Thou] wicked
    > and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and
    > gather
    > where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money
    > to
    > the exchangers, and [then] at my coming I should have received mine own
    > with
    > usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give [it] unto him which
    > hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he
    > shall
    > have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that
    > which he hath. (Matt 25:15-30)
    >
    > See how man still has agency, despite having been foreordained with
    > "talents?"
    >

    I am wracking my brain around this one, but I don't see it.

    >
    > So why, then, does Paul speak of predestination? Do you believe he
    > possibly
    > could have meant foreordination as defined by me?
    >

    No, because he used the examples of Pharaoh, Jacob and Esau, and clay and the potter. He was quite clear. And if Paul meant foreordination, as you defined it, then he would not have to answer the charge of God being unfair, as he did in Romans 9:14.

    >
    > Did not Paul declare in his letter to Timothy that God "will have all men
    > to
    > be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth?" (1 Tim 2:4) (As
    > opposed to a select few as defined by you.)
    >

    Context, context, context. Okay, let's looks at 1 Timothy 2:4. "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).

    This can not mean that God wants "every single person" to be saved, because we have already established that God did not want Pharaoh to be saved, nor Judas, nor Esau. These were vessels made for destruction. So how do we understand 1 Timothy 2:4?

    There are at least two ways:

    Pastor John MacArthur says it this way (and no, I do not think MacArthur is inspired. I recognize that others have studied this and when I use their ideas, I don't want to plagiarize. MacArthur is as fallible as I am. Both my statements and his must be tested against the whole of the Bible.) Okay, with that said, here's what MacArthur said:

    The Gr. word for "desires" is not that which normally expresses God's will of decree (His eternal purpose), but God's will of desire. There is a distinction between God's desire and His eternal saving purpose, which must transcend His desires. God does not want men to sin. He hates sin with all His being (Pss. 5:4; 45:7); thus, He hates its consequences- eternal wickedness in hell. God does not want people to remain wicked forever in eternal remorse and hatred of Himself. Yet, God, for His own glory, and to manifest that glory in wrath, chose to endure "vessels ... prepared for destruction" for the supreme fulfillment of His will (Rom. 9:22). In His eternal purpose, He chose only the elect out of the world (John 17:6) and passed over the rest, leaving them to the consequences of their sin, unbelief, and rejection of Christ (cf. Rom. 1:18-32). Ultimately, God's choices are determined by His sovereign, eternal purpose, not His desires." (McArthur, John Jr: The MacArthur Study Bible. electronic ed. Nashville : Word Pub., 1997, c1997, S. 1 Ti 2:4)

    Another way to understand 1 Timothy 2:4 is to realize that in the first-century church, there was confusion about how Gentiles get saved. Do they have to become Jews first? The first council of Jerusalem met to discuss this. (See Acts chapter 11).

    You also see Paul battling this heresy in Galatians when he tells the Galatian Jewish Christians that Gentile converts DO NOT HAVE TO BECOME JEWISH first in order to be saved. But during the first Century, the Jewish leaders were heavy proselytizers. They tried very hard to make Gentiles become Jewish. Jesus and the Apostles taught otherwise - that God saves Jews and Gentiles the same way - through faith in Christ. That's why Paul uses terms like "first for the Jew, and for the Gentile" in Romans. Contrary to popular misconception at the time, God saves Jews and Gentiles the same way.

    In John chapter 3, you have Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, and Jesus taught him, "For God so loved the world..." What Jesus was saying was, "For God so loved JEWS AND GENTILES that He gave His only begotten Son, that if Jews or Gentiles believe in Him, they should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    Jesus was saying that the same gospel that saves Jews also saves Gentiles. Thus "the world" is a reference to salvation being offered to all tongues and nations and tribes and peoples - not just Jews.

    1 Timothy 2:3-4 says " ...God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." If "all men" meant "every single human being" then what about Judas? What about Pharaoh? What about Ahab? We must conclude that "all men" means "all types of men."

    Either one of these understandings harmonizes with Romans chapter 9 and the many other places where predestination and election is taught.

    >
    > Did not Paul also declare that God "will render to every man according to
    > his deeds. . For there is no respect of persons with God?" (Rom 2:6-11)
    >

    Yes, and since everyone performs bad deeds, we're all in BIG trouble. We all deserve condemnation, because "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11). Romans 2:6-11 shows us what we deserve. But that's why the true gospel is so amazing! Don't leave out Romans 6:23, which is what Paul was building up to in Romans 2. Romans 6:23 teaches us: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Praise God for grace - undeserved favor!

    >
    > In the same letter, did not Paul declare to the Romans their conduct would
    > partly determine their standing before God: "Know ye not . his servants ye
    > are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto
    > righteousness?" (Rom 6:16)
    >

    Right, and nobody, without God supernaturally working in their heart, would ever obey unto righteousness. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    >
    > Paul's letters also make it clear that "the elect" can fall from grace and
    > thus lose their standing before Him. Speaking to the Gentiles he said:
    >
    > "For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the
    > root
    > [be] holy, so [are] the branches. And if some of the branches be broken
    > off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and
    > with
    > them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not
    > against
    > the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root
    > thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be
    > graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou
    > standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the
    > natural branches, [take heed] lest he also spare not thee."
    >

    I can understand how you would read the text this way. When you reject salvation completely by grace, then it is a logical conclusion that salvation would be contingent on your works.

    Paul's exhortation to the Romans that you quote (from Romans chapter 11) is a classic evangelistic pitch to the unbelievers within their midst.

    In this Romans 11 passage, Paul is saying, "Those Israelites who didn't actually have true faith and repentance were cut off and condemned. If God will condemn those of His chosen race who do not truly believe and repent, God will certainly condemn Gentiles who do not truly have faith and repent - so be careful! Get saved! Repent and believe!"

    Paul addresses the unbelievers in the midst of the church in other letters as well, like 2 Corinthians. There Paul exhorts them, "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

    This is not unlike any preacher who delivers a sermon mostly to Christians, but interjects, "But if you're not a Christian, you must repent and believe the gospel."

    Like Mormonism, the Roman Catholic Church also teaches that you can lose your salvation. So as not to reinvent the wheel, I'm going to quote an essay I wrote on the Roman Catholic Church. It's called "The Gospel of Rome: Investigating the Claims of the Roman Catholic Church," and you can download it for free at: http://Luke-15.org/Gospel_of_Rome.pdf.

    ---begin quotation---

    Jesus promised eternal life based on what he had done. The Word of God promises: "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (1 John 5:13).

    It's that simple. We who know Jesus can know that we have (present tense) eternal life. You can't have eternal life for a while and then not have it. Can you imagine someone saying, "Yeah, I had eternal life for ten minutes?"

    What's so eternal about that?

    Jesus said: "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:39-40).

    The Bible is clear that we can know that eternal life is our present possession. Yet Rome teaches that you can lose your salvation.

    The Gospel According to Rome, Section 5: The Roman Catholic Plan of Salvation, http://Luke-15.org/05-salvation.php#eternal_life

    ---end quotation---

    Yes, there are legitimate warnings in Scripture to unbelievers within the church, who attend an assembly, but are not truly "of Christ." They do not have true faith and repentance. But the Scriptures are very clear that truly saved Christians are sealed permanently with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself promises that it is God's will that none be lost.

    >
    > In fact, Paul claimed no guarantee of his own salvation: "For we are made
    > partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast
    > unto the end;" (Heb 3:14) "And every man that striveth for the mastery is
    > temperate in all things.. But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into
    > subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I
    > myself
    > should be a castaway." (1 Cor 9:25-27)
    >
    > ".lest.. I myself should be a castaway."
    >

    I'm confused as to why you're using your "final email" to bring up "eternal security," a topic that you and I already discussed, and that has not come up since.

    In email #42, I wrote:

    ---begin quotation---

    You wrote "we can steer our salvation into the ditch and 'fall away' if we choose."

    Jack, this demonstrated that you have too little a view of God and too high a view of man. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the ability to thwart the will of God! I'll say that again, because it is so critical. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the ability to thwart the will of God!

    How do you understand this passage?

    "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one" (John 10:27-30).

    True Christians shall never perish. They have "eternal" life. If one can loose "eternal" life, then it's not eternal. It's temporary. Nobody can pull a TRUE Christian out of the Father's hand - not even the Christian himself.

    The Bible clearly teaches the sad truth that there are true and false conversions. The parables of Jesus are all about this. The wheat and the tares. The good fish and bad fish. The wise virgins and foolish virgins. And more. There are those who appear to be true converts, but are not. They are hypocrites.

    ---end quotation---

    I stand by what I wrote before about this.

    The Hebrews passage you cite is consistent with the doctrine that says that true Christians will not apostatize their faith. How can you tell if someone is a false convert? Well, if he gives up the faith 5 years down the road, or 10 years, or even 20 years, he was not a true convert. That's all that is being said in Hebrews 3:14. It's not at all unlike when Paul tells the readers to examine themselves in 2 Corinthians 13:5.

    In 1 Corinthians, the term "castaway" is an athletic term, which Paul's audience would have understood well since Corinth was home to the Isthmian Games, second only to the Olympic Games. He uses athletic terminology in that verse. The key is the phrase "when I have preached to others." Context, context, context. Paul is saying, "I'm like an athlete who trains hard (lives a disciplined godly life), so that I am not disqualified from preaching the gospel. That's why "when I have preached to others" is there. The context shows that Paul is saying, "Corinthians, don't give into the rampant sexual immorality that exists at Corinth, or else your witness is tarnished and you can't share the faith with people."

    This is consistent with Paul's qualification for Deacons and Elders in 1 Timothy and Titus, that they be above reproach. In 1 Corinthians 9, he is saying that he does the hard work to maintain his clear testimony so that he can safely preach without people being able to level a charge against him that he's a hypocrite.

    Your belief that one can lose their salvation does not harmonize with the clear teaching of Scripture that you can know that you presently have "eternal life" and that Jesus Himself promised that it is God's will that none can take a true Christian out of the Father's hands.

    >
    > Such constant exhortations to righteousness would hardly seem necessary if
    > Paul believed your interpretation of predestination. From these
    > scriptures,
    > it seems clear that Paul did not believe as precisely as you've
    > declared-at
    > least as a Calvinist defines the term
    >

    Paul is merely telling the unbelievers in the midst, the tares among wheat if you will, that they better become authentic repenters, or else they will be condemned.

    >
    > But then, we might ask, did Paul believe in and teach the doctrine of
    > foreordination-as we define the term? Again, to find out, we need to study
    > Paul's writings. He himself said that he had been set apart "before [he]
    > was
    > born." (Gal 1:5 Revised Standard Version.)
    >

    I don't mean to be picky, but Galatians 1:5 says, "To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." I don't see anything about being set apart, and I looked around and couldn't find a verse like that. I think I get your meaning, but Galatians 1:5, when I looked it up, didn't give me what you put.

    >
    > He wrote to Timothy concerning their "holy calling" given "before the
    > world
    > began (2 Tim 1:9)
    >

    Yes, God determined to call Paul and Timothy before the world even began. I see that as an argument in favor of predestination, not against it.

    >
    > To the Ephesians, he said that the Lord "hath chosen us in him before the
    > foundation of the world" to receive the gospel and its blessings. (Eph
    > 1:3-5)
    >

    Again, this is an argument in favor of predestination, not against it.

    >
    > He told the Thessalonian members that "God hath from the beginning chosen
    > you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the
    > truth." (2 Thes 2:13) Indeed, all people are foreordained to salvation
    > and
    > exaltation, but to fulfill that foreordination they must accept the gospel
    > of Jesus Christ and "endure" to the end. (Mark 4:17)
    >

    This is more evidence that you have too high a view of man, and too low a view of God. It is inappropriate to ascribe to sinful man the power to thwart the sovereign will of Almighty God.

    If it were up to man to be good enough to actually act out God's will, then God's will would NEVER come to pass, because we're all very very sinful. I don't think you understand just how sinful we are. The Bible uses the term "dead." Human beings are literally dead in sin.

    "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1).

    Please note that it is God who does the quickening. Why? Because dead things can not raise themselves.

    "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Ephesians 2:5).

    Note the clear teaching of salvation by grace. Why is it vital that salvation be 100% grace, because dead beings are powerless to contribute.

    "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" (Colossians 2:13-14).

    Note also, we were dead. Muerte. As in, road kill. And it was God who did the quickening, not even 1% us. We contribute nothing, nor can we. If you believe that man must work with God in salvation, or in keeping it, then you have too high a view of man. It is 100% God, so no man may boast (See Ephesians 2:8-9).

    >
    > Now Mark -To be fair to your interpretation, we must then ask the
    > question:
    > If Paul did not believe in predestination, why does the passage in Hebrews
    > refer to it?
    >

    I think you meant Romans, not Hebrews.

    >
    > Could those who translated the King James Version have erred in using the
    > English word predestinate to convey the meaning of foreordain?
    >
    > The problem arises because the Greek word proorizo, which is made up of
    > the
    > prefix pro (meaning "before or in front of; beforehand, or earlier") and
    > the
    > verb orizo (meaning "to determine, mark out, designate, destine, ordain,
    > or
    > appoint," or "to divide or separate from . to pre-appoint or pre-ordain)"
    > can be translated a number of different ways. In fact, various
    > combinations
    > of words have been used to translate the term over a period covering
    > hundreds of years.
    >
    > The following examples come from various translations of Romans 8:29-30.
    > Note how the same idea is translated in a number of different ways.
    >

    >    Translation    Year    Romans 8:29    Romans 8:30   
    >    Wyclif 1380 bifor ordeyned bifor ordeyned
    >    Tyndale        1534        ordeyned before    appoynted before
    >    Cranmer       1539        ordeyned before    appoynted before
    >    Geneva    1657    ordeyned before    appoynted before   
    >    Rheims    1582    predestinated    predestinated   
    >    James Moffatt    1913    decreed of old    has thus decreed   
    >    J. B. Phillips    1958    chose them    chose them long ago   
    >    Wm. F. Beck    1963    appointed long ago    appointed long ago   
    >    New Testament in Today's English    1966    had also set apart    had already set apart   
    >
    > In addition to these translations, the Greek word proorizo can be
    > translated
    > several other ways-for example, with such English words as allotted,
    > planned, and fore-approved.
    >
    > Obviously, the most correct way to translate the word cannot be determined
    > by simply referring to a dictionary. And the word chosen may not fully or
    > accurately convey the original intent of Paul. The accuracy of any
    > translation depends on the translator's ability to determine what the
    > original author had in mind and then to convey that idea to the reader in
    > another language.
    >

    Use whichever wording you'd like: foreordination or predestination, as long as you define what you mean.

    You defined foreordination as God designating tasks to certain individuals that "the Lord in his wisdom knew they had the talent and capacities to do."

    The Bible teaches otherwise, that we are dead in our transgressions and sins, and thus we will never choose to do the right thing.

    You have much too high a view of man and much too low a view of God.

    Your view of god makes him unable to know for sure that his will can be carried out, because he can't be sure that men will do what he wants them to do. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the power to thwart the sovereign will of Almighty God.

    As I said before, following your understanding of foreordination, if a person actually DOES fulfill God's will, then that person has much to brag about. He made the right choice. He did what was good. He did it.

    Your understanding of God's will leads you to blasphemy and idolatry.

    >
    > Determining what the original author meant is not a simple matter,
    > especially when the writing was produced under inspiration. As I mentioned
    > before, "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
    > For
    > the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God
    > spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Pet 1:20-21)
    >

    It's actually not too mystical Jack. In the case of predestination or foreordination, God made it perfectly clear what He meant by giving us examples of Jacob and Esau, Pharaoh, and Judas. These are men who were sovereignly determined by God's will to be either elected for glory, or elected for condemnation, according to God's own desire.

    I know this doctrine offends you, but it is in the Bible. This is exactly what Paul meant when he used the term proorizo. He backed it up with the example of Jacob and Esau and Pharaoh. Studying the text in context shows that.

    "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto [Rebekah], The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Romans 9:11-13, emphasis mine).

    Before Jacob or Esau were even born, God chose one to love, and one to hate. It wasn't based on your view of foreordination. It was based on God's purpose according to election.

    >
    > Just as the authors of the scriptures sought the Spirit as they wrote, so
    > must we also seek the Spirit of Revelation as we study the scriptures if
    > we
    > are to correctly understand them.
    >
    > You continually persist to debunk this fact, and that is why you fail to
    > see
    > Mark.
    >

    We do not disagree that one must have the Holy Spirit in order to understand Scripture. I have never argued against that.

    Where we disagree is in how one knows whether or not they're hearing the "Holy Spirit" or a seducing spirit. "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1). The way you tell is if that "spirit" confirms the truths of the Bible, or contradicts them.

    This is why, though I find a discussion on sovereign election fascinating, it is a bit pointless with you because you so obviously are listening to seducing spirits. How is this obvious? The Bible says, "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me" (Isaiah 46:9). Yet you say you believe in many gods. You contradict the Bible.

    God says, "before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10), yet you hope to one day become a god someday. You contradict the Bible.

    Sovereign election is such a side issue compared to the glaring fact that you believe in a god other than the God revealed in the Bible. And you will stand before Him on Judgment Day. He commands you to repent of your idolatry. The god of Mormonism is a false god, an idol, and powerless to forgive you of your sins. You must throw yourself at the mercy of Almighty God, and if you repent and trust in Him, the God of the Bible, you will get mercy, not because you're a good person, but because you're a bad person who was forgiven by a very good God. 100% of the glory goes to God! Hallelujah!

    >
    > From the tenor of Paul's letter, I believe we can safely determine that
    > the
    > English word predestinate neither completely nor accurately conveys what
    > Paul meant in Romans 8:29-30.
    >

    Not so fast, read Romans 9 and you'll find out exactly what he meant. There you'll see the example of Jacob and Esau, Pharaoh, and even the Potter making some vessels for destruction, and some for glory. Predestination based on sovereign election is the only true option.

    >
    > So. what, then, did he mean?
    >
    > In verses 4 through 6, Paul tells members to "walk not after the flesh,
    > but
    > after the Spirit. . For to be carnally minded is death; but to be
    > spiritually minded is life and peace." In verses 14 through 17 he
    > explains,
    > "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. .
    > We
    > are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and
    > joint-heirs with Christ." In verse 24 Paul explains the need for hope in
    > order to attain promised blessings, and in verse 28 he says that "all
    > things
    > work together for good to them that love God" and who are foreordained to
    > accept the gospel and become like Christ. Further, those who are thus
    > foreordained are "justified," "sanctified," and "glorified" (Rom 8:30) If
    > they come unto Christ; If they fulfill their foreordination.
    >

    You added the "if." And as I said, if it were dependent on sinful man to make a righteous choice, no one ever would, because, as Paul said, "There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11). I'm sorry to keep having to say this, but you have too high a view of man and too low a view of man's sinfulness.

    >
    > Overall, Paul's teachings cannot be reconciled with the concept of
    > Calvinistic predestination, and to translate proorizo as predestinate does
    > not accurately convey Paul's intended meaning when you read more of what
    > Paul actually said.
    >
    > Foreordain is a better translation.
    >

    I completely disagree, and I've already explained why. Paul makes himself perfectly clear in Romans chapter 9. Jacob and Esau: God choose Jacob and not Esau before they were even born. It had nothing to do with their actions at all.

    "(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) It was said unto [Rebekah], The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (Romans 9:11-13, emphasis mine).

    Before Jacob or Esau were even born, God chose one to love, and one to hate. It wasn't based on your view of foreordination. It was based on God's purpose according to election.

    >
    > Now to augment this a little more. although we are called and elected, we
    > must strive to make that Calling and Election Sure. Because "Many are
    > called, but Few are Chosen" (Matt 22:14)
    >

    Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold on a second. This verse that you took out of context comes from the parable of the wedding feast. This parable supports sovereign election!

    The parable starts in verse 1 of Matthew 24, and it goes like this:

    A king invites a chosen set of people to a wedding, but none of them want to come. So he sends servants to bid them, and they abuse and even kill the servants. So the king says, forget them, invite the commoners. Many come, but some come improperly.

    And here's how you interpret that: the king is God. The chosen set of people is Israel. God called Israel to be His chosen people, but Israel for the most part rejected God and didn't care about the things of God. God sent prophets like Isaiah, Malachi, Micah, etc. to warn the people. These are the "servants" in the parable, and some were beaten and some were even killed. So then God opened the door for even Gentiles to come into the Kingdom. But there are those who come, but are not truly repentant. They're false converts. They're hypocrites. And like the tares among the wheat, they will be sifted out on Judgment Day.

    Then we come to the verse you quoted. "Many are called, but Few are Chosen" (Matt 22:14). Who is called? Everyone who hears the true gospel proclamation to repent of your sins and trust in the True Biblical Jesus. You, Jack, are called in this sense, since I shared this with you many times. And those who are chosen by God, elect, are the ones who will respond by faith and repentance. Only those who are chosen can respond that way, because our hearts are so wickedly sinful, we'd all be like the man who came to the wedding without the proper garment. Only God can put on our heart the gift of faith. That's what Ephesians 2:8-9 is all about, as well as so many other Biblical texts.

    >
    > Read what the Bible teaches:
    >
    > "SIMON Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have
    > obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and
    > our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through
    > the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine
    > power
    > hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness,
    > through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
    > Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by
    > these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the
    > corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all
    > diligence, [and] add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to
    > knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience
    > godliness;
    > And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
    > For
    > if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall]
    > neither
    > [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But
    > he
    > that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath
    > forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather,
    > brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye
    > do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be
    > ministered
    > unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour
    > Jesus Christ."(2 Pet 1:1-11)
    >

    It appears that you are saying that Peter is here teaching that you have to add virtue and knowledge, etc. in order to prevent yourself from losing your salvation.

    The text does not say that at all. Peter himself taught that a true Christian could never lose his or her salvation. Compare 1 Peter 1:4-5, which says that True Christians are called "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:4-5, emphasis mine).

    Peter has already gone on record with the clear teaching that God supernaturally preserves true Christians.

    In the passage you quote in 2 Peter, Peter is not contradicting himself, but saying that a True Christian will be fruitless if he or she does not act virtuously (and he gives a list.) He doesn't say you'll lose your salvation. He never says that. He merely said that you'd be a stagnant Christian spiritually. Peter says that this Christian has "forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." Peter did NOT say that he has had his purging taken away.

    Think of it this way. Your daughters... is there anything they could ever do to have them be "not your daughters" anymore? Of course not! What if they murdered someone? What if they ran away? What if they disowned you? Nope. They're still your daughters, and they always will be. If they do those horrible things, that will make your relationship suffer, and perhaps to the point where they forget about you, but a true father would never and could never forget or disown a true child.

    Check out this tender language here in Isaiah 45: "Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 45:15-16, emphasis mine).

    God the Father will never forsake a TRUE child of His. If you are a child of God, which is done by God's will, then you will always be His child. You may have a rotten relationship with God though, and Peter is warning Christians of that in 2 Peter 1:1-11.

    And this brings up the critical question: who are the children of God?

    Mormon.org says, "As your Father, God knows and loves you personally." (http://www.mormon.org/learn/0,8672,801-1,00.html)

    Mormon.org says that all humans are God's children, but is this true according to the Bible?

    The Bible calls men "children of disobedience" (Ephesians 5:6).

    The Bible says we are "alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works" (Colossians 1:21).

    Jesus said that those who are unsaved have the devil as their father! (See John 8:44).

    God does not know and love everyone as a Father, as mormon.org claims.

    In contrast to mormon.org, the Bible teaches, "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13, emphasis mine).

    Clearly men do not start out as children of God. We start out as children of wrath. We start out as enemies of God. But God gave power for some to become His children. This didn't happen because of our will, or our flesh, but because of God's will and choice. It was completely God's choice and God's will. it's 100% God, and 0% us.

    >
    > Paul teaches us:
    >
    > "THOUGH I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not
    > charity,
    > I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have
    > [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
    > and
    > though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not
    > charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the
    > poor],
    > and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth
    > me nothing. Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not;
    > charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself
    > unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
    > Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all
    > things,
    > believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity
    > never
    > faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether
    > [there
    > be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall
    > vanish
    > away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is
    > perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was
    > a
    > child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child:
    > but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see
    > through
    > a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall
    > I
    > know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these
    > three; but the greatest of these [is] charity." (1 Cor 13)
    >
    > It does not matter how many commandments you keep, you cannot be saved
    > without the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Keeping the commandments does
    > not
    > save us, unless we are bestowed through grace with Charity, which is
    > defined
    > by us as the "Love of God" and the countenance of Jesus Christ. Those who
    > possess a fullness of Charity are Born Again through the Holy Ghost and
    > have
    > a greater capacity, through grace, to do good.
    >

    This is so Roman Catholic! You are saying that God gives us grace to earn our own salvation. But that's not grace! I don't need to argue with you on this, since the Bible is so clear.

    In countering the Galatian heretics who taught that one needed to follow the Law of Moses in order to be saved, the Apostle Paul infallibly wrote:

    "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Galatians 2:16, emphasis mine).

    The "works of the law" are acts that we perform, and Paul made it clear that nobody will ever be right with God based on his or her own works. Here "faith" is clearly contrasted with "works."

    "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10).

    Paul's warning against trusting in your own works is even stronger here, calling anyone who trusts in the law "under the curse." Why? Because it is impossible to fulfill the Law! Nobody is good enough, so it is a curse to seek to be justified that way. Compare this with what he wrote in Romans 3:10: "There is none righteous, no, not one."

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

    This verse counters all that you have said on the subject. Faith itself is a gift from God. And we should be very thankful for that because if salvation were by works, none of us would be good enough to achieve it. The Apostle Paul understood, as should we, that believing that God gives us grace so that we can work for our salvation, like you argued, is due to having an inappropriate and inaccurate view of man's goodness. The Bible teaches that we have no goodness in and of ourselves that would impress God and prompt him to grant us eternal life. When we understand the Biblical concept of our total depravity, then we realize the ridiculousness of believing in works salvation. (And when I say "works salvation" that includes the belief that you must work in order to maintain your salvation.)

    To the church at Philippi, Paul wrote:

    "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:8-9, emphasis mine).

    Notice the wording "not having mine own righteousness." If Paul, the great apostle, had no righteousness to earn salvation, then neither can we!

    And there are many more Bible verses that show consistently and conclusively that salvation is by grace and not by works:

    "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5-7, emphasis mine).

    "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Romans 3:20).

    "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24, emphasis mine).

    "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28, emphasis mine).

    In Romans, chapter 11, Paul concludes:

    "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:5-6).

    The Bible is clear: grace plus works does not equal grace!!!

    I'll say that again. Grace plus works does not equal grace!

    >
    > "Now the end of the commandment[s] is charity out of a pure heart, and
    > [of]
    > a good conscience, and [of] faith unfeigned" (1 Tim 1:5)
    >
    > "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy
    > soul,
    > and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the
    > second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On
    > these
    > two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matt 22:38-40)
    >
    > "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing,
    > for
    > charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the
    > greatest
    > of all, for all things must fail-- But charity is the pure love of Christ,
    > and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last
    > day,
    > it shall be well with him. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the
    > Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love,
    > which he hath BESTOWED upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus
    > Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear we
    > shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this
    > hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. (Moroni 7:46-48)
    >
    > Mark - we all have a very limited capacity - if any - to embody the
    > characteristics of Charity. I am a natural man. I am a fallen man. I am
    > an imperfect man. However, my part of the covenant relationship is to
    > qualify myself as best I can as a "true follower of. Jesus Christ." I
    > must
    > have Faith in Jesus Christ, and follow Him.
    >

    You have way too high a view of yourself if you think you can do anything that God sees as righteous. If it were up to us to do our "part of the covenant relationship," none of us would or could. You are following an impossible gospel. Your hope is hopeless. There is nothing you can do to fulfill your part. You, me, and everyone else, will fail 100% of the time.

    >
    > Faith leads to action, not just mere belief.
    >

    I agree wholeheartedly. This is James, chapter 2. But you're not teaching that faith leads to action. You're teaching that action leads to salvation (or at least to the keeping of salvation.) Your scripture, 2 Nephi, says, "by grace we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23).

    The Mormon "gospel" is not only unbiblical, but it is a self-righteous gospel where sinful men have the audacity to think they can do their part.

    According to the Bible, good works are the fruit of salvation, not the seed. This is much different than what the Mormon church teaches.

    >
    > As I make this choice, I am endowed with a portion of His Spirit, and I go
    > from "grace to grace" increasing "in wisdom and stature, and in favour
    > with
    > God." (Luke 2:52)
    >

    You must be very proud of yourself for doing all this good. I am not meaning to be sarcastic or coy. If you really believe that you add to your salvation, or contribute by performing good works to keep your salvation, then you are by definition self-righteous. You are depending on a righteousness within yourself.

    In contrast, the Bible teaches us to depend solely on the righteousness of Christ.

    "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5, emphasis mine).

    The Bible shows that we ought to see ourselves as ungodly, yet you see yourself as someone who makes the right choices to increase. You are in a very dangerous place of disagreeing with God about your sinfulness, and counting on a false gospel. Jack, I beg you to see yourself the way the Bible describes you, and throw yourself on the mercy of the True and Living God of Israel. There is no other God.

    >
    > But. it truly is that we are saved by Grace, if and only if we are a true
    > follower of Jesus Christ. It is conditional. We play a part in the
    > covenant relationship. And if we pray with all the energy of heart, and
    > qualify as true followers of Jesus Christ, we can be filled with this
    > LOVE,
    > which the Father BESTOWS through grace on us.
    >
    > Bestows.
    >

    This is wrong for at least 2 reasons:

    1. If we must do something to earn grace, then it's not grace.

      "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:5-6).

      The Bible is clear: grace plus works does not equal grace!!!
       
    2. Let's say that point #1 is wrong, and grace can include works, what you said will still be wrong because none of us are good enough to "qualify as true followers of Jesus Christ." You have way too high a view of man and way too low a view of man's sinfulness.

       "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    >
    > "[Now] the first fruits of repentance is baptism; and baptism cometh by
    > faith unto the fulfilling the commandments; and the fulfilling the
    > commandments bringeth remission of sins; And the remission of sins
    > bringeth
    > meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of meekness and lowliness of
    > heart cometh the visitation of the Holy Ghost, which Comforter filleth
    > with
    > hope and perfect love, which love endureth by diligence unto prayer, until
    > the end shall come, when all the saints shall dwell with God. (Moroni
    > 8:25-26)
    >

    Your book of Moroni says "the fulfilling the commandments bringeth remission of sins."

    The Bible says, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5-7, emphasis mine).

    "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Romans 3:20).

    "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24, emphasis mine).

    "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28, emphasis mine).

    This passage in Moroni supports my charge that the Mormon "gospel" is not the Biblical Gospel.

    >
    > Mark. this is how we maintain our salvation and this is what offends you
    > so.
    >

    It's not so much that it offends me, as much as it is that it contradicts Scripture. Your error is seen in your audacious claim: "we maintain our salvation." The Scriptures make it clear that you are not good enough to do that.

    >
    > but we do have a choice. The Holy Ghost fills us with Charity, and this
    > Charity endures by diligence unto prayer, until the end shall come. But
    > we
    > must be diligent, and be true followers of Jesus Christ, or that Charity
    > "shall be taken away. even that which he hath." (Matt 25:30)
    >
    > Get it?
    >

    Yes, I get it. You believe that you must perform works in order to maintain your salvation. In so believing, you demonstrate a much too high a view of man, much too low a view of man's sinfulness, and much too low a view of God. You also contradict the Biblical Gospel which says that God saves us 100% and God keeps us 100%.

    >
    > We don't wash ourselves clean by obeying law as you persist to say we
    > believe. I'm so annoyed with your accusations that are simply untrue and
    > self serving.
    >

    The Book of Mormon says, "by grace we are saved, after all we can do" (2 Nephi 25:23). You yourself have said that a Mormon must perform good works or else his "salvation" will be taken away from him.

    You say, "we are saved by grace, but we have to stay saved by works" and I'm saying that in practice that's no different than being saved by works. I've also shown you that believing in "salvation by grace, but that you have to keep it by works" is a self-contradiction, because grace is, by definition, not works. This is exactly what Paul was arguing in Romans 11:5-6.

    >
    > We wash ourselves clean with the Blood of Christ. But Jesus Christ did
    > give
    > us a gospel with commandments, and we must make a choice - as he inspires
    > us
    > - to do our best to follow Him, to keep our end of the covenant
    > relationship.
    >

    "Keep our end?" Once again you're arguing that if we don't perform enough works, and of the right caliber, then we will have our salvation taken away from us. This is entirely unbiblical.

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

    Yes, true Christians do keep commandments, but not in order to work to keep their salvation. The Bible never teaches that. The Bible teaches clearly that we perform good works BECAUSE we're saved, not in order to get saved, or in order to maintain salvation. As I have said before, good works are the fruit of salvation, not the seed.

    If our salvation were up to us to work to maintain, then if someone did successfully pull it off, they'd have reason to boast! But the Bible teaches this should never be. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    >
    > Unfortunately you will entirely reject all that I have said, fulfilling
    > the
    > scripture which says: ".this people's. ears are dull of hearing, and their
    > eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes,
    > and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and
    > should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matt 13:15)
    >

    Actually, I reject what you say because it fails when tested against the Bible.

    Ironically, the verse you quoted comes from a passage that supports the doctrine of sovereign election.

    If you back up a few verses, you'll see that Jesus' disciples had questioned Jesus as to why He spoke in parables to the crowd, and not plainly. Here's what the Master said:

    "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matthew 13:11).

    To paraphrase, Jesus said, "I speak in parables because I want some people to not understand, and I want others to understand. So I speak in parables to deliberately confuse those who are not picked to understand."

    The Bible teaches that there are some people who Jesus decided He wanted to understand His words, and some people He decided He did not want to understand His words. You may be offended by this, but it is taught in Scripture. Jesus picks some to understand, and picks others to not understand. Herein is the doctrine of sovereign election. We can shake our fists and say we don't like that, but what is the clay to say to the Potter, "why have you made me thus?" See Romans 9:20.

    >
    > You close your eyes Mark because of your prejudice.
    >

    Actually, I have considered your arguments, and found them unbiblical. To believe in unbiblical statements is neither wise nor safe.

    >
    > Now moving to another issue you've raised: The Brigham Young Quote You
    > Took
    > out of Context.
    >
    > You quoted Brigham Young as saying, "There is not a man or woman, who
    > violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to
    > pay
    > the debt. The Blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood
    > must
    > atone for it." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols., 3:, p.247)
    >

    On its surface, it appears to be a direct contradiction of Biblical doctrine, "the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

    >
    > Again. you've never read the original sermon, and you've pulled this off
    > an
    > "anti-Mormonism" website and adopted a preconceived notion that isn't what
    > we believe. As portrayed by anti-Mormons, out of context, this seems
    > pretty
    > harsh. I agree with you; out of context, this statement is extremely
    > offensive. It is as if Brigham Young is saying the "Blood of Christ" is
    > not
    > good enough to save us.
    >

    The quotation is saying that the blood of Christ is not sufficient, meaning something in addition is required. Whether I read this on an anti-mormon website, or read it in an LDS library makes no difference. But I'm willing to hear you out on how you reconcile this statement from Brigham Young with the Biblical truth of 1 John 1:7 (and many other places.)

    >
    > Have you not read anything I've written in the past 100 pages about our
    > dependency on the Atonement of Christ?
    >

    Yes, I've heard you say that we have to have Christ's atonement, plus our own good works. You've said that many times. If we don't keep up our end of the bargain, you say, we will have out salvation taken away. I've heard you.

    >
    > Interestingly, in context, did you not also see that Brigham Young stated
    > a
    > few paragraphs before that all men who come unto Christ, "will be
    > received,
    > through the merits of the Son, into the kingdom of our Father?" (Journal
    > of
    > Discourses, 26 vols., 3:, p.247)
    >

    Yes, I read the following:

    "And when they get through with this probation, if they have done, all the time, according to the best they knew, God will not hold them responsible for what they did not know, and they will be received, through the merits of the Son, into the kingdom of our Father."

    Brigham Young is saying exactly what I've said the Mormons teach, which is that you have to perform good works as much as you are able, and only then will the blood of Christ cover the rest. Not unlike when my child only has 25 cents, but wants a 50-cent candy, so she throws in her 25 cents, and I cover the rest for her.

    But this is not the Biblical gospel. According to the Bible it is 100% God, and 0% us. It's by grace that we are saved, not "grace, after all we can do."

    But even if Brigham Young were correct here, you'd still have a glaring problem because NOBODY can do "all the time, according to the best they knew." Nobody will meet that standard, because, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11, emphasis mine).

    Brigham Young had way too high a view of man, and way too low a view of man's sinfulness.

    By the way, I also read in the sermon where Brigham Young said, "Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands." (emphasis mine.)

    Yikes!!! You'd be justified to murder a couple engaged in adultery!?! Worse yet, Brigham Young believed and taught that the murdered couple, as a result of their own blood being spilt, would have atoned for their own sins. Such blasphemy! Only Christ can atone for our sins. Brigham Young had a demonstrably wrong view of what atonement is.

    >
    > Hmmmm. Seems inconsistent doesn't it. Of course, however, your agenda
    > doesn't promote responsible scholarship.
    >

    You're mocking me here, Jack, and mocking is not a helpful way to discuss things.

    >
    > Mark - Do you believe the Bible when it says, ".All manner of sin and
    > blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the
    > [Holy]
    > Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word
    > against
    > the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against
    > the
    > Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither
    > in
    > the [world] to come?" (Matt 12:31-32)
    >

    Of course I do.

    >
    > ". whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven
    > him,
    > neither in this world, neither in the world to come."
    >
    > I ask because in context, what you've quoted above from Brigham Young is
    > exactly what Matthew is also saying in his gospel.
    >

    No, not at all. Brigham Young taught that those who were good enough and did good, Christ would do the rest. Brigham Young said that slain people would atone for their own sins. This is not at all found in Matthew's Gospel, or anywhere in the Bible.

    >
    > Read the entire sermon and do some legitimate research for once!
    >

    More mocking.

    >
    > Moreover, if you read the entire sermon given in 1856, Brigham Young was
    > speaking of a theoretical principle that operates under a complete
    > Theocracy, such as was the case in the days of the law of Moses. "He that
    > smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." (Exo 12:12)
    > etc. etc. etc.
    >
    > We do not shed one another's blood for Atonement. This was a theoretical
    > statement that has neither been practiced by us nor revealed to us in this
    > final dispensation.
    >

    I am glad for that!

    Still, Young made it clear that the blood of Christ is not sufficient for full atonement. Sufficient, meaning that nothing else is required in addition. The Bible teaches that the blood of Christ is sufficient, which is a very good thing because none of us have anything righteous within us to add!

    >
    > However, critics like yourself, by taking one sentence on one page and
    > another from a succeeding page and even by taking a part of a sentence on
    > one page and a part of another found several pages away - all wholly torn
    > from context -attempted to make it appear that Brigham Young and others
    > taught things just the opposite of what they really believed and taught.
    >

    I don't understand why you have a problem with me pointing out what you yourself have said many times, and that is that if we do not "keep up our end of the covenant" we will have our salvation taken away. That is what Mormonism teaches, and it's what you've said in this discussion, and it's not what the Bible teaches.

    >
    > Therefore, let's raise the curtain of truth on this false and slanderous
    > bluster, for the true doctrine is simply this:
    >
    > 1. Jesus Christ worked out the infinite and eternal atonement by the
    > shedding of his own blood. He came into the world for the purpose of dying
    > on the cross for the sins of the world. By virtue of that atoning
    > sacrifice
    > immortality came as a free gift to all men, and all who would believe and
    > follow Christ would in addition be cleansed from sin through his blood and
    > receives eternal life, also known as exaltation. (Mosiah 3:16-19; 3 Ne.
    > 27:19-21; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 5:9-10.)
    >

    Aha! Now we're getting somewhere! This is exactly what I meant when I've said that Mormons often use the same words that Christians use, but give them different meanings.

    You said just here that the blood of Christ purchased "immortality" as a "free gift."

    This is NOT Biblical salvation.

    Biblical salvation is having your sins totally forgiven and being 100% reconciled to God.

    Yet the Mormons teach that the blood of Christ merely purchased "immortality." Or said another way, "Because Jesus died on the cross, ALL PEOPLE get resurrected and live forever" but it says nothing of where they live forever (a level of heaven, or hell), and says nothing about whether or not their sins are forgiven.

    You said, "and all who would believe and follow Christ would in addition be cleansed from sin through his blood and receives eternal life, also known as exaltation." (emphasis mine).

    So, according to you, the blood of Christ makes EVERYONE immortal, but ONLY THOSE who "believe and follow Christ" will additionally be cleansed from their sin and be exalted.

    How do you get your sins forgiven in Mormonism? Follow Christ. When I've asked Mormon missionaries what that means, I've been given a list of: be faithful, learn, be baptized in the Mormon church, be involved in secret temple ceremonies, et cetera.

    All of these things are "works," and the Bible is clear that salvation is not from works:

    "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:5-7, emphasis mine).

    "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight" (Romans 3:20).

    "Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24, emphasis mine).

    "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28, emphasis mine).

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

    So your teaching is the following:

    • Because of Jesus' blood, everyone gets a resurrection.
    • Those who "follow Christ" as defined by the Mormon church will, as a result of their faithfulness to do all they were able, will have the blood cover what they couldn't do and they will be forgiven.

    This must be rejected because it fails the test of being compared with Scripture.

    >
    > 2. But under certain circumstances there are some serious sins for which
    > the
    > cleansing of Christ does not operate. if a person has so progressed in
    > righteousness that his calling and election has been made sure, if he has
    > come to that position where he knows "by revelation and the spirit of
    > prophecy, through the power of the Holy Priesthood" that he is sealed up
    > unto eternal life (D. & C. 131:5), then if he gains forgiveness for
    > certain
    > grievous sins, he must "be destroyed in the flesh," and "delivered unto
    > the
    > buffetings of Satan unto the day of redemption, saith the Lord God." (D. &
    > C. 132:19-27.)
    >

    This is the javelin through the heart bit.

    But this shows that you have too low a view of man's sinfulness. You talk about "grievous sins," but don't you know that we all are guilty of grievous sins?

    Jesus said if you lust, you are guilty of adultery. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).

    Jesus said if you hate, you are a murderer. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matthew 5:21-22). Compare this with, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3:15).

    We all are guilty of many grievous sins. We are all murderers, and adulterers, and liars, and blasphemers, and idolaters, and worse. That is why we need the Biblical gospel. That is why our only hope is found in the fact that God Himself is the justifier of the ungodly.

    >
    > Again read what the Bible declares:
    >
    > ".All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the
    > blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And
    > whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven
    > him:
    > but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven
    > him,
    > neither in this world, neither in the [world] to come?" (Matt 12:31-32)
    >

    In context, the Pharisees had attributed Jesus' miracles to Satan, when the proper response to seeing Jesus' miracles ought to have been repentance and faith. This, Jesus called "blaspheming the Holy Spirit." When someone is shown the works of God and attributes them to Satan, that person blasphemes the Holy Spirit. Jesus will forgive any and all sins, but He will not forgive the sin of unbelief since it is through belief that sins are forgiven. Believing in Christ is the only way to have your sins forgiven, according to the Bible. If you reject Christ, there is no other option left for you to be forgiven. There is no "plan B." But I'm not sure I understand how this passage makes your case that one must spill his own blood to atone for certain grievous sins.

    Incidentally, this passage presents a powerful argument in favor of the doctrine of the Trinity as it requires that the the Father, Son, and Spirit be one in order for it to make sense.

    >
    > Having your Calling and Election made sure is likened unto the
    > Transfiguration of Christ and the Three Apostles outlined in the Bible.
    >
    > Those who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word
    > that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God, make their calling and
    > election
    > sure. That is, they receive the more sure word of prophecy, which means
    > that
    > the Lord seals their exaltation upon them while they are yet in this life.
    >

    Jack, you wrote, "Those who devote themselves wholly to righteousness, living by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God..."

    I feel like such a broken record, but there ARE NO PEOPLE LIKE THIS. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    >
    > Peter summarized the course of righteousness which the saints must pursue
    > to
    > make their calling and election sure and then (referring to his experience
    > on the Mount of Transfiguration with James and John) said that those three
    > had received this more sure word of prophecy. (Read all of 2 Pet. 1.)
    >

    The "more sure word of prophecy" of 2 Peter 1:19 is the written Word of God (Old Testament, and New Testament books written at that time.) Peter is saying, "I was there on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured, but there's an even more sure word of prophecy than that, and that is the written Word of God."

    We can trust the Bible. We can believe it over our experiences. Peter trusted the Bible over his experiences, and he experienced the transfiguration! We can trust the written Word of God. It says there is only one God, and that no god will be formed before or after Him.

    >
    > Joseph Smith taught: "After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his
    > sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy
    > Ghost (by the laying on of hands), which is the first Comforter, then let
    > him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after
    > righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say
    > unto him, Son, thou shall be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved
    > him, and finds that the man is determined to serve him at all hazards,
    > then
    > the man will find his calling and election made sure, then it will be his
    > privilege to receive the other Comforter." (Teachings, pp. 149-151.)
    >

    The Bible teaches otherwise. The Bible teaches that none hunger and thirst for righteousness. The Bible teaches that we ought to hunger and thirst, but we don't. No man is determined to serve God at all hazards. Peter thought he was able, and boldly announced, "Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death" (Luke 22:33), but when the time came, Peter did exactly what we all would do, he denied his Lord.

    If you really think you must be "living by every word of God" then I say to you by the authority of the Word of God that you cannot and will not do this.

    You must flee to Christ and beg for mercy.

    >
    > "If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he
    > shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
    > [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it
    > seeth
    > him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you,
    > and
    > shall be in you." (John 14:17)
    >
    > Thus, as Joseph Smith also said, "The more sure word of prophecy means a
    > man's knowing that he is sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and
    > the
    > spirit of prophecy through the power of the Holy Priesthood." (D. & C.
    > 131:5.) Those so favored of the Lord are sealed up against all manner of
    > sin
    > and blasphemy except the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and the shedding
    > of innocent blood.
    >

    But we all have shed innocent blood. Jesus said if you hate, you are a murderer. "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matthew 5:21-22). Compare this with, "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer" (1 John 3:15).

    >
    > This is truly what is meant when the Savior declared, "My sheep hear my
    > voice, and I know them, and they follow me; And I give unto them eternal
    > life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of
    > my hand." (John 10:27-30)
    >

    This supports the doctrine of "eternal security" which offends you so. But we've already talked about this passage.

    >
    > If we are Christ's sheep, we will hearken unto the promptings of His
    > Spirit
    > (His Voice).
    >
    > This is also what Paul is saying when he says, "For [it is] impossible for
    > those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and
    > were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of
    > God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to
    > renew
    > them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of
    > God
    > afresh, and put [him] to an open shame." (Heb 6:4-6)
    >

    This is discussed in detail in email #42.

    >
    > Your interpretation is wrong and for purposes of this discussion, self
    > serving Mark, and only through the Holy Ghost will you ever know. Your
    > round about way of saying this is really speaking about false converts is
    > not true. Your interpretation is a desperate attempt to reconcile your
    > views of Calvinism, not what the Bible actually says.
    >
    > (sigh.)
    >

    Please re-read what I said in email #42 about Hebrews 6. There I diligently compared Scripture with Scripture to show that Hebrews 6 can not mean what you want it to say. I compared Scripture with Scripture. This is exactly how we are supposed to test true and false doctrine. Yet you want to discount what I wrote by alleging that I was merely making a desperate attempt to reconcile my so-called preconceived notions.

    If you want to play that way, then I say that everything you have written is not based on research, but based on your desperate attempt to reconcile the Bible with your polytheism.

    That's not a legitimate way to discuss things.

    You'll have to show me specifically how the Scriptures I used were used incorrectly, and why Hebrews 6 means what you want it to mean.

    >
    > Moving on to: The Nature of Prophets and Prophecy
    >
    > Our message is that God continues to speak to mankind through prophets. It
    > is the same message delivered anciently. But, as evidenced by this email
    > exchange, Mark, you challenge this belief.
    >
    > This is a topic we have yet to explore, however, you have brought up many
    > times that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Recognizing this is my final
    > email, this is really my effort to anticipate what you might have said in
    > hopes of expanding your understanding in the Bible and your self
    > awareness.
    >

    Jack, were you going to let me know that the majority of your upcoming argument about prophecy was plagiarized by an article by LDS apologist John A. Tvedtnes which can be found at: http://www.fairlds.org/Bible/Nature_of_Prophets_and_Prophecy.html?

    Not very honest of you Jack to be cutting and pasting from other people and making out like it's your own work and thoughts.

    Still, despite this, I'll do my best to answer John A. Tvedtnes's questions.

    But this makes me wonder if you're interested in having a discussion, or merely interested in publishing FAIR articles on other people's websites.

    I'm also wondering how much of our discussion so far was your questions and ideas, or someone else's that you passed on as yours. "Oh what a tangled web we weave..."

    >
    > You make light of the admonition of our missionaries that people should
    > pray
    > to know from God whether Joseph Smith was a true prophet. This, you
    > insist,
    > is not the "biblical" method of determining the truth. If this were true,
    > however, the promise of James 1:5 is false, along with Jesus' promise that
    > those who ask will receive (Matthew 7:7) and that "all things, whatsoever
    > ye
    > shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22).
    >

    These verses are written to Christians, (i.e. people who are already in the faith). These verses are not given to unbelievers as a method for discerning whether a religious claim is true and they should believe it or not?

    You consistently take verses out of context, and apply them to people and situations that the original authors did not intend.

    When we read the Bible, we must ask:

    • What is written?
    • To whom is it written?
    • What is the circumstance in which it is written?
    • What is the Biblical principle?

    When we read the Bible, most of the time we are snooping in on a conversation between two parties other than ourselves.

    Think of it this way. Suppose I wrote a letter to my wife. In it I tell her that I love her, that I've been thinking of her all the time, and that I've been saving up to take her to the finest restaurant in our city. She should get herself in her best clothes and meet me at the restaurant at 6PM on Saturday.

    Now suppose you intercept the letter and read it.

    What can you legitimately learn from the letter, even though it wasn't written to you?

    Well, you could learn that I'm loving and generous and kind and thoughtful.

    However, since the letter was not actually written to you, you would be quite mistaken to think that you could show up at 6PM and expect to get any food on my dime! It wasn't written to you.

    This example is meant to illustrate the proper way to read the Bible, or any text for that matter. Even when reading Shakespeare or Hemmingway, you should always understand what is being said and to whom. You quote James 1, Matthew 7, and Matthew 27 to support your ridiculous notion that unbelievers ought to test the claims of prophets by "praying about it" when those passages were not written with that in mind at all. They were written to established believers for specific purposes. It is inappropriate to apply those passages to unbelievers as a method for determining truth, just as it would be inappropriate to apply those passages to teach people that they ought to pray about whether or not they ought to rob a bank.

    The Bible tells us how to test a prophet. It is found in Deuteronomy 18.

    >
    > Mark, you cite Deuteronomy 18:20-22 as the biblical test for false
    > prophets.
    > The passage reads as follows:
    >
    > "But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I
    > have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other
    > gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How
    > shall
    > we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh
    > in
    > the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is
    > the
    > thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it
    > presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him."
    >
    > Here, the Lord describes both the false prophet and the false prophecy. A
    > false prophet either speaks for false gods or attributes to the Lord
    > things
    > that the Lord did not command him to speak. The Deuteronomy 18 passage
    > establishes two criteria for a false prophecy:
    >
    > 1. It must be uttered in the name of the Lord. This means that an
    > off-the-wall comment by a prophet cannot be taken as a prophecy, pretended
    > or otherwise, unless he declares that he is delivering the word of the
    > Lord.
    >
    >
    > 2. The prophecy must fail. But no timeframe is established for the
    > fulfillment of a prophecy.
    >
    > Interestingly, the Deuteronomy passage does not say that a man is a false
    > prophet because his prophecy failed, only that the failed prophecy is
    > false.
    > This being the case, it is incorrect to conclude, as most critics do, that
    > one false prophecy (even if some true prophecies are given) makes Joseph
    > Smith a false prophet.
    >

    It says that the "prophet" who gets even one prophecy wrong is supposed to die. Tvedtnes twists the Scriptures to try to glean that a prophet can prophesy wrongly and still be a true prophet.

    The clear intention of this passage is to underscore the fact that one false prophesy makes a person a false prophet.

    >
    > Moreover, the danger in so defining the Deuteronomy passage lies in the
    > fact
    > that there is a tendency on the part of non-believers to "explain away"
    > the
    > prophecy, while believers seek ways to defend it. Right? Thus, the process
    > of determining the truth or falseness of a prophecy becomes, to some
    > extent,
    > subjective.
    >

    I suppose this might be the case, but we can certainly look objectively at a prophecy and determine objectively if it happened or not. It's not all subjective.

    >
    > Consequently, a critic of Joseph Smith can look at a hundred of his
    > prophecies, find one that, in his judgment, is in error, and thereby
    > conclude that Joseph himself was a false prophet.
    >

    This is exactly what we're supposed to do to test prophets. If even 1 in 100 are false, then the man is a false prophet.

    >
    > That this has, in fact,
    > happened with true prophets is evidenced in the Bible itself, where we
    > read
    > Jesus' statement about the stoning and rejection of the ancient prophets
    > of
    > Israel:
    >
    > "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest
    > them
    > which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children
    > together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye
    > would not!" (Matthew 23:37).
    >
    > These men were undoubtedly stoned because, in the judgment of their
    > contemporaries, they were false prophets.
    >

    The people stoned them because they hated the message, not because they doubted the prophecies.

    "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake" (Matthew 10:22). Why did the world hate Jesus?

    "Me [the world] hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil" (John 7:7, emphasis mine).

    What was it that put John the Baptist in prison? It wasn't that he prophesied the coming of the Lamb of God. The answer is here: "For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her" (Matthew 14:3-4). What did John in was the same thing that got the other prophets in trouble - testifying that the deeds of the people were unlawful.

    It wasn't that they doubted that what the prophets said would come to pass, but that they hated that the prophets called them to repentance.

    >
    > A good example of the rejection
    > of
    > a prophet is the story of Jeremiah, who was imprisoned and mistreated by
    > the
    > leaders of Judah, who refused to believe his message.
    >
    > One of our prophets, commenting on the passage from Deuteronomy 18, wrote:
    >
    > "When is a prophet a prophet? whenever he speaks under the inspiration and
    > influence of the Holy Ghost. When prophets write and speak on the
    > principles
    > of the gospel, they should have the guidance of the Spirit. If they do,
    > then
    > all that they say will be in harmony with the revealed word. If they are
    > in
    > harmony then we know that they have not spoken presumptuously. Should a
    > man
    > speak or write, and what he says is in conflict with the standards which
    > are
    > accepted, with the revelations the Lord has given, then we may reject what
    > he has said, no matter who he is." ( Doctrines of Salvation 1:187)
    >
    > Mark; critics like yourself have a double standard.
    >
    > Based on the false premise that "all you need is one false prophecy to
    > have
    > a false prophet," critics ignore many of Joseph Smith's prophecies and
    > have
    > zeroed in on what they consider to be false.
    >
    > They typically identify unfulfilled commandments, opinions, and counsel as
    > "false prophecies." In doing so, they forsake the rules laid out in
    > Deuteronomy 18:20-22, ignoring the fact: that the passage defines a false
    > prophecy as one uttered in the name of the Lord which does not come to
    > pass.
    >

    Yes, I understand. A prophet is not accountable to infallibility when he is merely talking as a man, like if Joseph Smith said that he thought the Red Sox would win the World Series, it would be his opinion, and not a "Thus saith the Lord" statement. I get it. (Yes, I know there were no Red Sox in the 1830's - I'm just making a point.)

    Anyhow, so let's just stick to "Thus saith the Lord" statements, like this one:

    "Verily thus saith the Lord: It is wisdom in my servant David W. Patten, that he settle up all his business as soon as he possibly can, and make a disposition of his merchandise, that he may perform a mission unto me next spring, in company with others, even twelve including himself, to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world" (Doctrine and Covenants, 114:1).

    Unfortunately for Mormons, this prophecy did not come to pass because David Patten died that fall.

    Mormons typically answer this 1 of 3 ways:

    1. David Patten was not faithful, so the Lord took away the prophecy, or, if you don't like that excuse, then
    2. This was fulfilled "spiritually" through others in David Patten's stead, or, if you don't like that, then,
    3. David Patten did fulfill this after his death in the "other world."

    Each of these excuses fall apart.

    1. Joseph Smith considered Patten faithful and said so during his eulogy. Joseph Smith said this of David Patten: "Brother David Patten was a very worthy man, beloved by all good men who know him. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection." (History of the Church Vol. 3, p. 171, emphasis mine).
    2. The prophecy does not give room for others to fulfill it in proxy. It clearly states "David Patten."
    3. If this referred to the other world (death), then where were the eleven others that were to go with him?

    And if this doesn't convince you that Joseph Smith fails the Deuteronomy test, then how about this:

    1. A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
    2. Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
    3. Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
    4. Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
    5. For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house. (Doctrine and Covenants, 84:1-5, emphasis mine).

    Make no mistake, this is prophesy. It says "a revelation of Jesus Christ." It says "the word of the Lord" (twice!). The prophesy is that a temple will be built in Missouri in the generation of those who heard the prophesy. It is now 2007 and that generation surely is all dead, and there has been no temple built there.

    In case you say, "a generation" could mean hundreds of years, that option is taken away from you due to what LDS Apostle Orson Pratt said in 1871.

    You see, in 1871, Mormons were beginning to become uneasy because the generally accepted definition of a generation (40 years) was about to expire in regards to Joseph Smith's prophecy about the Temple in Missouri. Mormons of 1871 were getting scared that Smith was about to be labeled a false prophet.

    This is how Orson Pratt comforted the Mormons in 1871:

    Apostle Orson Pratt said in regard to Joseph Smith's Independence Temple revelation: "Here then we see a prediction, and we believe it. Yes! The Latter-day Saints have as firm faith and rely upon this promise as much as they rely upon the promise of forgiveness of sins...a temple will be reared on the spot that has been selected, and the corner-stone of which has been laid, in the generation when this revelation was given; we just as much expect this as we expect the sun to rise in the morning...But says the objector, 'thirty nine years have passed away.' What of that? The generation has not passed away; all the people that were living thirty-nine years ago have not passed away; but before they do pass away this will be fulfilled" (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 275, emphasis mine).

    See what Orson Pratt said? He defined "generation" not as 40 years, but as the time it takes all the people alive at the time to die.

    This may have bought Joseph Smith some more time in 1871, but in 2007, it no longer works. All the people who were alive when Smith made that prophecy in 1832 are now dead, and there is no Mormon Temple in that spot in Missouri.

    That doesn't convince you?

    How about this?

    1. I, the Lord your God, am not displeased with your coming this journey, notwithstanding your follies.
    2. I have much treasure in this city [Salem, MA] for you, for the benefit of Zion, and many people in this city, whom I will gather out in due time for the benefit of Zion, through your instrumentality.
    3. Therefore, it is expedient that you should form acquaintance with men in this city, as you shall be led, and as it shall be given you.
    4. And it shall come to pass in due time that I will give this city into your hands, that you shall have power over it, insomuch that they shall not discover your secret parts; and its wealth pertaining to gold and silver shall be yours.
    5. Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them.
    6. Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal mercifully with her.
    7. Tarry in this place, and in the regions round about;
    8. And the place where it is my will that you should tarry, for the main, shall be signalized unto you by the peace and power of my Spirit, that shall flow unto you.
    9. This place you may obtain by hire. And inquire diligently concerning the more ancient inhabitants and founders of this city;
    10. For there are more treasures than one for you in this city.
      (Doctrine and Covenants 111:1-10)

    Here, God told Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery through the word of the prophet Joseph Smith that they should go to Salem Massachusetts, because the residents of that city would give them of their gold and silver so the Mormons could pay their debts.

    This is not a conditional prophecy. God said, "Go and you'll get the money." The men went, and didn't get the money.

    I did not get this from an "anti-Mormon" website. I got this at an official LDS website: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/dc/111.

    And lest you say, "This isn't a 'Thus saith the Lord' statement," Doctrine and Covenants clearly labels this is divine revelation. The passage begins with the words, "Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Salem, Massachusetts, August 6, 1836" (emphasis mine).

    Joseph Smith objectively fails the Biblical test of a prophet set forth in Deuteronomy 18.

    But you're right that I didn't bring this up. That was intentional on my part. I don't see the point about arguing about whether or not David Patten fulfilled a prophesy or whether or not a temple was built or if the Mormons were given gold by Salem, when the much more glaring problem is that you deny that there is only One True God. You deny that God was always God. You believe that through your faithfulness, you can be exalted to godhood. When you hold such idolatrous and obviously unbiblical beliefs, it seems of little importance to squabble over what "this generation" could mean.

    So you're right, I did not bring this up in our discussion, nor do I see a lot of point to bring it up now.

    >
    > The main problem is that the critics like Mark do not apply these same
    > standards to biblical prophecies.
    >

    Ah yes, here comes the common Mormon argument that you can't trust the Bible either.

    >
    > Just to demonstrate one example, following the logic of the critics, we
    > would have to conclude that Moses-to whom the revelation in Deuteronomy
    > 18:20-22 is ascribed-was also a false prophet.
    >
    > In Numbers 25:13, Moses said, in the name of the Lord, that Phinehas, his
    > grand nephew, would hold the priesthood eternally. But if Hebrews 7:11-12
    > is
    > correct, the Aaronic priesthood is not eternal.
    >
    > "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it
    > the
    > people received the law,) what further need [was there] that another
    > priest
    > should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the
    > order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of
    > necessity a change also of the law." (Heb 7:11-12)
    >

    Exodus 29:9 says that Aaron and his sons would be priests, but says nothing about his grandsons (Phinehas.) Numbers 25:13 is an extension of Exodus 29:9, in effect saying, yup, for his grandsons and great grandsons, and great-great grandsons too.

    And by the way, the Hebrew word is yolam, which is translated in other places in the Bible as old, ancient, long, and other ways.

    There need not be a disharmony between Numbers 25:13 and Hebrews 7, as you yourself would agree to since you have said you believe that the Bible is God's Word. If there is a disharmony between these two texts, then my faith is false, and so is yours.

    Or do you actually believe there are contradictions and errors in the Bible?

    It is my charge that Mormons do not really believe the Bible is God's perfect Word, and typically when a Christian has a conversation with a Mormon, the Mormon inevitably shows that he doesn't really believe the Bible is inerrant, as you have done here.

    >
    > In this particular example, Moses fills the requirement for the test of
    > Deuteronomy much more closely than does Joseph Smith in most of the
    > examples
    > of "false prophecies" cited by the critics. How, then, can Mormons accept
    > both Joseph Smith and Moses as true prophets, regarding their prophecies
    > as
    > divinely-inspired? The answer lies in the fact that prophecy is typically
    > conditional.
    >

    I agree. Prophecy is often conditional. "If you do X, then God will respond with Y."

    But not all prophecy is conditional. Some prophecy is unconditional, like "The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem."

    >
    > It was the Lord himself, through the biblical prophet Jeremiah, who
    > explained the conditional nature of prophecy:
    >
    > "At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a
    > kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation,
    > against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the
    > evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak
    > concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;
    > If
    > it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of
    > the
    > good, wherewith I said I would benefit them." (Jeremiah 18:7-10)
    >
    > Jeremiah himself exemplified the principle of conditional prophecy when he
    > told king Zedekiah, in the name of the Lord, that he would not go captive
    > into Babylon if he followed the prophet's instructions; otherwise, he
    > would
    > be taken captive and Jerusalem would be destroyed (Jeremiah 38:17-23).
    >
    > The conditional nature of prophecy explains why Jonah is not a false
    > prophet. The Lord's threat to destroy Nineveh within forty days (Jonah
    > 3:4)
    > was mitigated by the repentance of the city's population (Jonah 3:4-9).
    > "And
    > God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God
    > repented
    > of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it
    > not"
    > (Jonah 3:10).
    >

    No disagreement here. Jonah is not a false prophet because the people repented. Had the people not repented, and the city was not destroyed, then Jonah would have been a false prophet.

    >
    > Ironically, Jonah was upset by the fact that the prophecy was not
    > fulfilled,
    > and the Lord had to explain to him that the resultant repentance of
    > "sixscore thousand persons" was more important than fulfilling the word
    > (Jonah 4:1-11). From this story, it is obvious that the free-will actions
    > of
    > men play a role in the fulfillment of prophecy.
    >

    You make too great a leap here. The Bible does not say in the book of Jonah whether or not Nineveh's repentance was due to their "free will" or to God's sovereign choice for them. Given that it's not in the text, we must look to see what the whole of the Bible has to say about this, and the Bible is clear that the Ninevites would never have repented had God not been working in their hearts to cause them to repent, because "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    Scripture consistently teaches that if man did have free will, then he would never use it to seek God. "There is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11).

    >
    > This is problematic for you Mark, because you believe free will actions do
    > not play a role, and that God ordains ALL independent of free will.
    >

    The Bible teaches that God is absolutely sovereign. He is not subject to the will of His creatures. His creatures are subject to God's will. It is inappropriate to attribute to man the power to thwart the sovereign will of Almighty God.

    >
    > Regardless, here are other examples from the Bible:
    >
    > The Lord told David that the men of Keilah "will deliver thee up [to
    > Saul]"
    > (1 Samuel 23:12). This did not happen, however, because David fled from
    > the
    > city (verses 13-14).
    >
    > Isaiah told king Hezekiah, "Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order;
    > for thou shalt die, and not live." (2 Kings 20:1) But after the king
    > pleaded
    > with the Lord, the prophet delivered a new message, saying that fifteen
    > years would be added to his life (verses 2-6).
    >
    > The Lord told Moses that he would destroy the Israelites and make of Moses
    > a
    > greater nation than they. When Moses protested that this would be wrong,
    > the
    > Lord changed his mind (Numbers 14:11-20).
    >
    > The Lord said through Elisha that the combined armies of Israel, Judah and
    > Edom would "smite every fenced city" of Moab and that he would "deliver
    > the
    > Moabites also into your hand." But one city, Kir-hareseth, was not taken.
    > When Mesha, the Moabite king, sacrificed his son on the city wall, the
    > Israelites left and went home. The prophecy was not fulfilled because the
    > Israelites would not cooperate with the Lord's wishes.
    >
    > Through Ezekiel, the Lord declared that the Lebanese city of Tyre would be
    > destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar, never to be rebuilt
    > (Ezekiel 26, especially verses 4, 7, 12, 14). Though Nebuchadrezzar laid
    > siege against Tyre from 598 to 586 B.C., he was never able to take the
    > city.
    > The Lord then told Ezekiel that, in compensation for his not taking Tyre,
    > Nebuchadrezzar would be given the land of Egypt, (Ezekiel 29:17-10). Its
    > people would be slain and its rivers dry up (Ezekiel 30:10-12; 32:11-15)
    > and
    > the land of Egypt would remain uninhabited for forty years (Ezekiel
    > 29:11-13). But though Nebuchadrezzar defeated an Egyptian army in battle,
    > he
    > never conquered Egypt either.
    >
    > Isaiah, in his prophesy against Babylon (Isaiah 13:1), declared that the
    > Medes would slay men, women and children and that Babylon would "be as
    > when
    > God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither
    > shall
    > it be dwelt in from generation to generation" (Isaiah 13:17-20). In 539
    > B.C., Cyrus, king of the Medes and Persians, took Babylon without
    > bloodshed,
    > and made it one of the principal cities of his empire. Babylon remained
    > inhabited for centuries afterward.
    >

    We have already established the conditional nature of prophecies. No argument there.

    >
    > Mark, it is in the light of the conditional nature of prophecy that we
    > must
    > consider some of Joseph Smith's prophecies.
    >

    Not so fast. Some of Joseph Smith's prophecies were not conditional. "God will establish a temple in Missouri in this generation" is not a conditional prophecy, just like "A virgin will conceive" was not a conditional prophecy. These do not fall under Jeremiah 18:7-10. Some prophecies are conditional (you did a nearly exhaustive job listing them), but some, like "the Messiah will crush Satan's head" are not conditional. You can tell by the way they're phrased and what they're about. It's really not all that complicated.

    The prophecies regarding Salem's gold and the Temple in Missouri were not conditional.

    >
    > For example, the missionary calling promised Thomas B. Marsh in D&C 112
    > was
    > never fulfilled because he was excommunicated and forfeited his blessings.
    > Critics have stated that if God really knew Marsh's heart (verse 11), he
    > would have known that he would apostatize and not be worthy of the
    > promised
    > blessings. The same argument has been used in regard to George Miller's
    > calling to the bishopric (D&C 124:20-21), eight years before he was
    > disfellowshipped.
    >
    > By this same reasoning, God should not have promised a throne to David (1
    > Samuel 16:12-13; 2 Samuel 3:9-10; 1 Kings 2:4; 8:25; 9:5), since David, in
    > future, would commit adultery and order the death of an innocent man (1
    > Samuel 11).
    >

    The fact that God ordained David to be king despite his flaws is an argument in favor of unconditional grace. Of course David didn't deserve the blessings bestowed upon him. Furthermore, none of us deserve the blessings bestowed upon us. God doesn't only use those who are righteous, because there are none righteous. Instead He uses sinful people like David, Paul, Moses, and all who are redeemed by the Christ of the Bible.

    >
    > This also brings up the question of Jesus' promise to his twelve apostles:
    > "Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall
    > sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones,
    > judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Luke 19:28).
    >

    Not to be picky, but this is Matthew 19:28, not Luke.

    >
    > This promise was made before Judas betrayed the Master and he was
    > obviously
    > included among those who would sit on the "twelve thrones." How could
    > Jesus
    > have made such a promise to the one who would betray him, whom he termed
    > "a
    > devil" (John 6:70-71)? The answer seems obvious: at the time of the
    > promises, Judas, Thomas B. Marsh and George Miller were faithful to the
    > Lord. By their subsequent actions, they lost all claim to those promises.
    >

    The passage in context reads:

    "Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first" (Matthew 19:27-30, emphasis mine).

    The subject of the prophecy is clearly stated as those who have followed Christ, and those who have forsaken all for Christ. Judas never qualified for that. It is wrong to think that Judas once followed Christ, but then later fell away. No, Judas was a devil from the beginning (John 6:64). He was never a true convert to the faith. He was always about himself.

    As for 12 thrones, the Bible makes it clear who will sit on that 12th throne: Matthias, as seen in Acts 1:21-26.

    Yes, it's not Judas because this is a conditional prophecy, which is evident by the context. So Jeremiah 18:7-10 applies.

    Unfortunately for Mormonism, Joseph Smith made some unconditional prophecies that did not come to pass, like that a temple would be built at the Temple Lot in Missouri in their lifetime (which Orson Pratt defined for us as the lifetime of those alive in 1832), and that Salem Massachusetts would give Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Hyrum Smith, and Oliver Cowdery gold and silver. These were unconditional prophecies, and they were false prophecies. Deuteronomy 18 applies.

    >
    > Prophesy also begs the question of timeframe.
    >
    > Isaiah wrote of those who would say, "Let him [the Lord] make speed, and
    > hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One
    > of
    > Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!"(Isaiah 5:19)
    >
    > Interestingly, Isaiah also wrote: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    > neither your ways my ways, saith the Lord." (Isa 55:8) God's reckoning of
    > time cannot be compared to that of man.
    >
    > Peter wrote that "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a
    > thousand years as one day" (2 Peter 3:8; compare with Psalm 90:4). The
    > context of Peter's statement is that "there shall come in the last days
    > scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise
    > of
    > his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they
    > were from the beginning of the creation" (2 Peter 3:3-4).
    >

    No argument here. All one need do is to do some street witnessing to hear unbelievers say things like, "Hey, this Jesus of yours hasn't returned in 2,000 years, so I guess he's not coming!"

    >
    > After reminding his readers that the Lord does not reckon time as men do,
    > he
    > adds, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count
    > slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should
    > perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord
    > shall come as a thief in the night" (2 Peter 3:9-10).
    >
    > Most of Joseph Smith's prophecies do not give a timeframe for their
    > fulfillment. Others indicate that the events will occur "soon." But from
    > God's viewpoint, "soon" can be a rather long time.
    >

    Agreed.

    >
    > The Bible has a number of prophecies of things that the prophets said
    > would
    > happen "soon" but which did not, in fact, occur for a century or more. For
    > example, Isaiah, in his prophecy concerning the destruction of Babylon
    > (Isaiah 13:1, 19-20) wrote that "the day of the Lord is at hand" (Isaiah
    > 13:6). Yet Babylon was not even conquered until 539 B.C., a century and a
    > half after Isaiah, while its destruction came even later.
    >

    True, but the prophecies I listed were ones that were not open-ended. The Temple was to be built in Smith's generation. Salem's money was to be given when they got there. Patten was supposed to go on a mission "next Spring."

    >
    > Isaiah had also prophesied concerning the actions of Assyria against
    > Israel
    > and Judah: "Be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod,
    > and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt. For
    > yet
    > a little while, and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their
    > destruction" (Isaiah 10:24-25).
    >
    > Yet Israel was taken captive by Assyria in 722 B.C. and the Assyrian king
    > Sennacherib attacked Judah in 701 B.C. But it was not until 605 B.C.-a
    > century later-that Assyria was defeated by a coalition of Babylonians and
    > Medes. In this case, the prophet's "little while" meant more than a
    > century,
    > making the prophet's counsel "be not afraid" meaningless to his audience.
    >

    "Be not afraid" was hardly meaningless. None of God's Word is meaningless.

    It is not appropriate for the creation to judge the Creator's revelation.

    Anyhow, the three prophecies I listed of Smith's are not analogous since Smith's prophecies contained specific timeframes.

    >
    > Zephaniah, writing of the destruction of Judah, wrote that "the day of the
    > Lord is at hand" (1:7) and that "the great day of the Lord is near, it is
    > near, and it hasteth greatly" (1:14). This was written in the days of King
    > Josiah (1:1), nearly a century before Judah was taken captive by the
    > Babylonians. Joel used similar words, saying, "the day of the Lord is at
    > hand" (1:15) and "the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand"
    > (2:1).
    >
    > The New Testament Apostles used similar terminology. Jesus showed John
    > "things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1; 22:6). After
    > nearly two millennia, most of the things which John saw in the vision have
    > not come to pass despite the fact that Jesus said they would occur
    > "shortly."
    >
    > In Revelation 12:12, John wrote that the devil has "but a short time"
    > until
    > he is bound when the millennium begins (compare with Romans 16:20), but
    > the
    > devil has still not been bound and the millennial reign of Christ has not
    > yet come.
    >
    > James wrote, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.
    > Be ye also patient.for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.behold, the
    > judge
    > standeth before the door" (James 5:7-9). Yet Jesus has not yet come to
    > judge
    > and reign.
    >
    > Peter was even stronger than James when he wrote, "But the end of all
    > things
    > is at hand" (1 Peter 4:7). Obviously, "all things" have not yet ended,
    > despite the nearly two millennia that have passed since these words were
    > written.
    >
    > Mark, assuming this is one of your issues regarding Joseph Smith: if
    > prophecies uttered thousands of years ago by biblical prophets remain
    > unfulfilled, can we not give Joseph Smith a century or two?
    >

    No, since the prophecies of Joseph Smith that I quoted had specific timeframes attached to them.

    Also, this is not one of my "big issues" with Mormonism. I didn't even bring false prophecy up with you. I contend that this is quite minor when compared with the false theology of the Mormon church (polytheism, the eternality of God, that men can become little gods, et cetera.)

    So even if I conceded all this talk of prophecies to you, the Mormon church would still be false because the doctrines of the Mormon church are contradictory to the Bible.

    Joseph Smith's false prophecies are extra evidence to show the false nature of Mormonism.

    >
    > In some prophetic utterances, Joseph Smith used timeframe terminology
    > taken
    > from the Bible itself. For example, the term "near, even at the doors"
    > (D&C
    > 110:16) derives from Jesus' statement in Matthew 24:33. In D&C 100:13, 15,
    > we read of "a little season," a term coming from Revelation 6:11, where
    > the
    > martyrs are told that they will "rest yet for a little season." The
    > statement is made after the opening of the fifth seal and prior to the
    > occurrence of the many events scheduled for the sixth and seventh seals
    > before the promise is fulfilled.
    >
    > The statement in D&C 106:4 ("the coming of the Lord draweth nigh")
    > resembles
    > the one in Revelation 22:20 (see also 3:11; 22:7), where John quotes Jesus
    > as saying, "Surely I come quickly." The century and a half that separate
    > us
    > from Joseph Smith are nothing compared to the nearly two millennia since
    > John wrote those words.
    >
    > One Mormon critic took Joseph Smith to task because he indicated that
    > Moroni
    > had said the prophecies in Isaiah 11 and Joel 2:28-32 were "about to be
    > fulfilled" (Joseph Smith-History 1:40-41). The same critic also attacked
    > the
    > prophecy in D&C 88:87-a paraphrase of the Joel prophecy, which says that
    > in
    > "not many days" the moon would be bathed in blood, the sun would refuse to
    > give its light, and the stars would be cast down-none of which has yet
    > occurred.
    >
    > It is hard to understand how the man could condemn Joseph Smith as a false
    > prophet and yet continue to accept Joel, who uttered the same prophecy two
    > and a half millennia ago. Moreover, the version found in D&C 88:87 is
    > closer
    > to Christ's paraphrase of the Joel passage (Matthew 24:29). Jesus said
    > that
    > "this generation shall not pass" until these words were fulfilled (Matthew
    > 24:34).
    >

    But you're not having a discussion with "One Mormon critic." You're having a discussion with me, and I didn't bring D&C 88:87 up.

    >
    > If this prophecy makes Joseph Smith a false prophet, then what of Jesus
    > and
    > Peter, who paraphrased Joel 2:10, 28-32; 3:15? What of Joel himself, or of
    > Isaiah, who used similar wording when he spoke of the coming attack on
    > Babylon (which occurred in 539 B.C.) by the Medes (see verse 17) and
    > Persians (Isaiah 13:9-10, 13; compare with 24:23).
    >

    I never said this particular prophecy makes Joseph Smith a false prophet. First of all, I didn't even bring up the subject of false prophecy in our discussion, since the Mormon false doctrines that contradict the Scriptures are enough to prove Mormonism a false church. And I certainly didn't bring up the Joel prophecies. If we must talk about false prophecy, then I submitted 3, all of which have specific timeframes, and 2 of which are unconditional, and all of which did not come to pass.

    >
    > Christ said that there were some living in his day who would not die
    > before
    > the fulfillment of the prophecy. Peter said that it was fulfilled on the
    > day
    > of Pentecost. To John, however (Revelation 6:12-17), the event was yet
    > future. Obviously, the expression "not many days" cannot be taken as
    > literally as the critics tend to take it. Prophecies are accomplished in
    > God's time, not man's.
    >
    > As for Jesus' statement that these events would happen during his
    > generation, Joseph Smith handled the problem by saying that Jesus was
    > referring to the "generation" in which the signs would begin (Joseph
    > Smith-Matthew 1:34).
    >

    I agree with Joseph Smith on this one. His is a reasonable interpretation.

    >
    > Those who reject Joseph Smith as a "false prophet" are left with the
    > quandary of either believing Jesus to have falsely prophesied or of
    > accepting at least one teaching from Joseph Smith. But, from another point
    > of view, we know that there are people who were alive in Jesus day (and
    > also
    > in Joseph's) who have not died. one in particular is the Apostle John
    > (John
    > 21:20-24; D&C 7).
    >

    Jesus did not prophesy falsely, and it's no quandary to say that Joseph Smith got one thing right. When he agreed with Jesus, he got it right. Even false teachers can get some things right when they agree with God.

    By the way, John 21:20-24 certainly does not teach that John never died. Yikes!

    Here's what it actually says:

    1. Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?
    2. Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?
    3. Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.
    4. Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
    5. This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.
      (John 21:20-24, emphasis mine)

    Jesus did not say that John would live forever. The text says that Jesus used it as a hypothetical to make the point that it's none of Peter's business how John should die.

    Jack, you must read the Bible for what it actually says, and John 21:23 makes it clear that the Apostle John would not live forever.

    >
    > Another prophecy to be fulfilled in "this generation" is the building of a
    > temple in Jackson County, Missouri (D&C 84:3-5). This passage has been
    > highly criticized because the temple has yet to be built. But the words
    > are
    > the same as those used by Jesus nearly 2,000 years ago concerning events
    > that have not yet occurred.
    >

    You might have had a "out" on this one had not Orson Pratt, an original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, not defined what "generation" meant in Journal of Discourses, Vol. 14, p. 275. You can't have it both ways. But I've already discussed this.

    >
    > The double standard of the critics allows them to accept biblical
    > statements
    > without question, while denouncing Joseph Smith as a false prophet.
    >
    > Concerning prophetic language, when it comes to written revelations, the
    > question of language becomes paramount. Was the revelation taken from the
    > Lord's dictation by the prophet? Or does it reflect the prophet's
    > language,
    > reflecting the truths revealed to him by God? One could argue either case
    > without clear resolution.
    >
    > But Mormons realize that the Lord "speaketh unto men according to their
    > language, unto their understanding" (2 Nephi 31:3; see also D&C 1:24).
    > Thus,
    > each prophet of the Old Testament wrote in his own dialect. Some of the
    > later ones even used Aramaic or Persian words then being borrowed by the
    > Hebrew language.
    >
    > For a reason that eludes us, some critics have proclaimed Joseph Smith to
    > be
    > a false prophet because he cites earlier biblical prophets. Surely, this
    > is
    > not the sign of a false prophet. In the Bible, prophets quote other
    > prophets, even when placing the words in the mouth of God.
    >
    > For example, Isaiah 2:2-4 is also found in Micah 4:1-3, with no credit
    > line
    > indicating that it is a quote. The following items are virtually identical
    > in Obadiah and Jeremiah, one of which (presumably Jeremiah) quoted from
    > the
    > other without giving credit to his predecessor:
    >
    >
    > Obadiah 1:
    > 1-4
    > 5-6
    > 8
    >
    >
    >
    > Jeremiah 49:
    > 14-16
    > 9-10
    > 7
    >
    > While some have taken Joseph Smith to task over biblical quotes in his
    > revelations, others, ignorant that they are dealing with Bible passages,
    > have termed some of these quotes "false prophecies."
    >
    > One critic noted that our Word of Wisdom found in our Doctrine and
    > Covenants
    > 89 is not from God because it makes false promises. It says that those who
    > adhere to its principles "shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk
    > and not faint," and that they shall have "health in the navel, and marrow
    > in
    > their bones" (D&C 89:18-21).
    >
    > Since not all Latter-day Saints who keep the Word of Wisdom are endowed
    > with
    > such perfect health, this is taken as evidence of a false prophecy. But
    > the
    > same could be said of the Jews to whom the words were originally addressed
    > in Isaiah 40:31 and Proverbs 3:7-8, whence these promises are drawn.
    >
    > Again, we encounter a situation where the critics apply a different
    > standard
    > to Joseph Smith's revelations than they do to the Bible.
    >
    > Another example is the Lord's promise to Joseph Smith, found in D&C 71:9
    > and
    > 109:25, that "no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper." Since
    > Joseph Smith was shot and killed, some say, isn't this evidence of a false
    > prophecy? The passage is actually a quote from Isaiah 54:17 (cited in 3
    > Nephi 22:17). Isaiah's statement was addressed to the kingdom of Judah,
    > which was defeated by Babylon in 586 B.C., when its capital, Jerusalem,
    > was
    > destroyed. Either Isaiah uttered a false prophecy, or he had reference to
    > the latter end of Judah.
    >

    I agree with you in regard to Isaiah 54:17, but it does appear that D&C 71:9 personalizes it to Joseph Smith specifically, but I'm not going to make a big deal out if it. Again, I don't count Joseph Smith a false prophet because of this instance, but because of the more troubling and obviously false prophecies that I have already mentioned. However, even if none of Smith's prophecies were false, he'd still be a false teacher nonetheless because his doctrines contradict the Bible.

    This is why I didn't bring up false prophecy with you, Jack, and instead focused on the false doctrines of the Mormon church.

    >
    > How would today's critics have reacted to Isaiah's words a century and a
    > half after the prophet had uttered them? I believe they would have treated
    > him as a false prophet, just as they treat Joseph Smith. If Isaiah's
    > prophecy refers to events yet future, with intervening periods of hardship
    > for the Jews, then why cannot promises made to Joseph Smith and the
    > Latter-day Saints be future? Why should we apply different standards to
    > Joseph Smith than those applied to Isaiah and other biblical prophets?
    >

    We apply the same standard - Deuteronomy 18. Granted, some prophecies are conditional, and some have open-ended timeframes, but Smith clearly uttered some non-conditional prophecies with specific timeframes that did not come to pass.

    >
    > Mark, did you know that a prophet is only a prophet when acting as such,
    > otherwise, he is subject to his own opinions and is as any other man?
    >
    > Under date of February 8, 1843, Joseph Smith wrote:
    >
    > "[I] visited with a brother and sister from Michigan who thought that >a
    > prophet is always a prophet;' but I told them that a prophet was a prophet
    > only when he was acting as such" ( History of the Church 5:265).
    >

    Yes, I understand. Which is why I brought up examples that contain "Thus saith the Lord" or are clearly labeled as "revelation" in Mormon scriptures.

    >
    > Prophets are, after all, human beings. The fact that they speak for God on
    > occasion does not remove their free agency. Like all of us, prophets have
    > opinions. Sometimes, these opinions are clearly set off, as Paul did in
    > his
    > first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:10, 12, 25, 40). Does
    > not
    > Paul say, "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord.?" etc. etc.
    >

    Jack, you demonstrate that you do not trust all of the Bible when you say things like this. Yes, Paul does say, "to the rest speak I, not the Lord", but this does not mean that the following is not inspired Scripture. All Scripture is God-breathed and inspired, even when Paul says "speak I, not the Lord."

    So what does that mean, "not the Lord?"

    In order to understand it, let's look at the context of the whole passage.

    Just two verses before Paul had answered the Corinthians' question about what to do when a married couple gets saved. Should they divorce in order to serve the King better? Jesus Himself answered this question when He was on earth, so Paul says, "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord." He says this because Jesus Himself had given this commandment while on earth (See Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:5-8).

    The next question the Corinthians asked Paul was something that Jesus did not address when He was on earth. They asked him what to do if you're a Christian and you have an unbelieving spouse who does not want a divorce. When Jesus was on earth, He never spoke to that specific situation, thus when Paul gives an answer, he says "speak I, not the Lord."

    So the context explains the use of "not I, but the Lord" and "speak I, not the Lord." This is not a denial of the inspiration of that passage.

    >
    > Joseph Smith occasionally used wording such as "this is my counsel" (
    > History of the Church 1:455) or "I therefore warn" ( Nauvoo Neighbor, June
    > 19, 1844).
    >
    > Elder Charles W. Penrose, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and later a
    > counselor in the First Presidency, wrote, "At the head of this Church
    > stands
    > a man who is a Prophet.we respect and venerate him; but we do not believe
    > that his personal views or utterances are revelations from God."
    >
    > More recently, Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
    >
    > "It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what
    > has
    > been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it
    > aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high
    > or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept
    > them.
    > Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as
    > the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man's
    > doctrine. You cannot accept the books written by the authorities of the
    > Church as standards in doctrine, only in so far as they accord with the
    > revealed word in the standard works." ( Doctrines of Salvation 3:203)
    >

    Ironically, why should I believe Charles W. Penrose or Joseph Fielding Smith since they are merely giving their opinions as men?

    Oh well, it doesn't matter, because:

    1. I didn't bring up false prophecy as a reason to reject Mormonism. The false doctrines are much stronger reasons to reject Mormonism than the false prophecies.
    2. When you insisted on talking about false prophecy, I took great care to only mention those that specifically had "Thus saith the Lord" or were clearly recognized as "revelation" so as to avoid you countering with "he was only speaking as a man, and not a prophet" argument.

    >
    > Similar thoughts were expressed by President Harold B. Lee, another one of
    > our prophets:
    >
    > "If anyone, regardless of his position in the Church, were to advance a
    > doctrine that is not substantiated by the standard Church works, meaning
    > the
    > Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of
    > Great Price, you may know that his statement is merely his private
    > opinion.
    > The only one authorized to bring forth any new doctrine is the President
    > of
    > the Church, who, when he does, will declare it as revelation from God, and
    > it will be so accepted by the Council of the Twelve and sustained by the
    > body of the Church. And if any man speak a doctrine which contradicts what
    > is in the standard Church works, you may know by that same token that it
    > is
    > false and you are not bound to accept it as truth."
    >

    Again, I only cited prophecies found in Doctrine and Covenants, and that had "thus saith the Lord" or were recognized by Mormons as "revelation."

    >
    > In January 1970, six months after the first Apollo moon landing, Joseph
    > Fielding Smith became President of the LDS Church. Some anti-Mormon groups
    > took delight in pointing out that he had, during his tenure as an Apostle,
    > declared that it was "doubtful that man will ever be permitted to make any
    > instrument or ship to travel through space and visit the moon or any
    > distant
    > planet."
    >
    > What these same critics failed to point out was that President Smith never
    > attributed his belief to a revelation from God. Indeed, many of his
    > generation held the same opinion, and all were surprised-but
    > delighted-when
    > proven wrong. Incorrect opinions do not make false prophets. Some of the
    > Bible's foremost prophets, such as Moses and Jeremiah, objected that their
    > lack of eloquence made them unsuited to fill the role the Lord had cut out
    > for them. God overruled these opinions and sent them on their way.
    >

    You're not having a discussion with one of "those critics." You're having a discussion with me, and I didn't even bring up Joseph Fielding Smith's personal thoughts about space travel. It is irrelevant.

    >
    > One opinion held by Joseph Smith, frequently cited by critics, is that the
    > Lord would come in 1890 (e.g., History of the Church 2:182). That this
    > was,
    > in fact, his feeling, is clearly indicated by the number of references he
    > made to it. Joseph's statements on this subject were made in reaction to
    > Adventist prophecies that Christ would come in the 1840s ( History of the
    > Church 5:272, 290-291, 326, 337).
    >
    > Joseph reported that he had once prayed to know the time of the Lord's
    > coming, and had been told, "My son, if thou livest until thou art
    > eighty-five years of age, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man." But
    > Joseph was careful to add, "I was left to draw my own conclusions
    > concerning
    > this; and I took the liberty to conclude that if I did live to that time,
    > He
    > would make His appearance. But I do not say whether He will make His
    > appearance or I shall go where He is" ( History of the Church 5:324, 337;
    > D&C 130:14-17).
    >
    > Since Joseph did not live to the age of 85, the "if" portion of the Lord's
    > statement to him clearly shows that it was conditional. Moreover, Joseph
    > was
    > not told that the Lord would return in glory in 1890, only that he would
    > see
    > him at that time if he was yet alive. In other words, the Lord did not
    > answer Joseph's question directly, for the very reason that no one knows
    > the
    > time of his coming--not even Joseph Smith or the angels of heaven (Matthew
    > 24:36).
    >
    > One might enquire about the likelihood that the Lord would "trick" Joseph
    > Smith thus, making him think that he would see the Lord in 1890 when, in
    > fact, the Lord knew Joseph would die in 1844. The question is mooted by a
    > similar situation in the Bible. Isaiah came to King Ahaz in the name of
    > the
    > Lord and told him that Ephraim (head of the northern kingdom of Israel)
    > would be broken "within threescore and five years" (Isaiah 7:8). Ahaz
    > reigned in Judah from 734 to 728 B.C. Sixty-five years later would be
    > 689-663 B.C. In actual fact, however, Israel was taken captive in 722
    > B.C.,
    > just six years after Ahaz's death, when his son Hezekiah was king of
    > Judah.
    >
    > Joseph made an assumption based on what the Lord told him, but it was only
    > an assumption, and it was unwarranted. But this assumption guided some of
    > his other declarations. This does not make him a false prophet, only a
    > mortal who--like the rest of us--often let preconceived notions govern his
    > thoughts. He was perfectly willing (and able) to change direction when the
    > Lord contradicted any of his preconceptions.
    >

    Jack, I am baffled as to why you devoted so much time to defend a point I didn't bring up, nor had I intended to bring up.

    This whole line is irrelevant to our discussion.

    It would be like if I were having a discussion with an Evolutionist, and the Evolutionist never even brought up "Carbon Dating" and I launched into a long diatribe about why the evolutionist is wrong about Carbon Dating. Slow down... the Evolutionist didn't even bring it up!

    >
    > Regarding the character of a prophet, and as you've so eloquently
    > declared,
    > prophets are not without faults. Critics sometimes point to some of Joseph
    > Smith's human failings as evidence that he could not possibly be a true
    > prophet. But Joseph Smith himself admitted publicly on several occasions
    > that he had faults. Once, he wrote of receiving a visitor from the east:
    >
    > "After hearing my name, he remarked that I was nothing but a man,
    > indicating
    > by this expression, that he had supposed that a person to whom the Lord
    > should see fit to reveal his will, must be something more than a man. He
    > seemed to have forgotten the saying that fell from the lips of Saint James
    > [5:17], that Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, yet he
    > had
    > such power with God, that He, in answer to his prayers, shut the heavens."
    > (
    > History of the Church 2.302; compare with Acts 14:15.)
    >
    > On another occasion, Joseph said, "Although I was called of my Heavenly
    > Father to lay the foundation of this great work and kingdom in this
    > dispensation, and testify of His revealed will to scattered Israel, I am
    > subject to like passions as other men, like the prophets of olden times" (
    > History of the Church 5:516).
    >
    > He also declared, "I told them I was but a man, and they must not expect
    > me
    > to be perfect; if they expected perfection from me, I should expect it
    > from
    > them; but if they would bear with my infirmities and the infirmities of
    > the
    > brethren, I would likewise bear with their infirmities" ( History of the
    > Church 5:181).
    >
    > In a letter to Oliver Cowdery, intended for publication, Joseph wrote, "I
    > do
    > not, nor never [ sic] have, pretended to be any other than a man 'subject
    > to
    > passions,' and liable, without the assisting grace of the Savior, to
    > deviate
    > from that perfect path in which all men are commanded to walk" (
    > Latter-day
    > Saints Messenger & Advocate, November 6, 1834).
    >
    > For some critics, the ultimate proof that Joseph Smith was a false prophet
    > lies in the fact that he supposedly killed two of the men who stormed the
    > Carthage Jail on June 27, 1844. Actually, we don't know whose shots killed
    > these men, since others present were also armed.
    >
    > As the mob rushed up the stairs to kill Joseph and Hyrum Smith, both men
    > fired through the door, while Willard Richards knocked down the rifle
    > barrels of the attackers. Do the critics really expect that the prophet
    > should meekly sit down with his hands up, waiting for some 200 men to
    > burst
    > into the room and riddle him, his beloved brother, and two of his closest
    > friends with bullets?
    >

    Are you having a side discussion with someone else and confusing this conversation with that one? I never mentioned any of this.

    >
    > Does the fact that he fought for his life make him less a prophet? If so,
    > then Elijah, too, was a false prophet, for he twice called down fire from
    > heaven to destroy groups of 50 men sent by the king to arrest him (2 Kings
    > 1:9-12)! Elijah slew a hundred; Joseph Smith may or may not have slain two
    > men. Moses also slew a man he caught harming another (Exodus 2:11-14), yet
    > God chose him to be a prophet. Another biblical prophet, Elisha, angered
    > because young people were taunting him because of his bald head, called
    > she-bears out of the woods to devour them (2 Kings 2:23-24).
    >
    > The defensive actions of Joseph Smith and his companions at the Carthage
    > jail parallel what happened when envoys from the chief priests came to
    > arrest Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Peter drew a sword and smote off
    > the ear of the high priest's servant (Matthew 26:51; Mark 14:47 Luke
    > 22:50;
    > John 18:10) with one of the two swords that Jesus had allowed the apostles
    > to bring with them from the upper room (Luke 22:38). While it is true that
    > Jesus instructed Peter to put up the sword and proceeded to heal the
    > wounded
    > man, events following Christ's resurrection demonstrate that he continued
    > to
    > acknowledge Peter as the chief of the apostles.
    >
    > Joseph Smith's calling as a prophet has been questioned because some of
    > his
    > enemies accused him of brawling, lying, getting drunk, and even boasting.
    > Joseph admitted having faults, but denied any gross sins (Joseph
    > Smith-History 1:28). But his faults are, in the end, irrelevant to
    > Joseph's
    > prophetic calling, since many of the biblical prophets exhibited similar
    > traits and sometimes did things most of us would consider worse than
    > anything Joseph Smith did.
    >
    > For example, Jeremiah followed king Zedekiah's instructions to lie to the
    > princes of Judah (Jeremiah 38:24-27). Elisha went even farther,
    > instructing
    > the Syrian general Hazael to lie to the Syrian king Ben-Hadad (2 Kings
    > 8:9-10). Peter, chief of the apostles, through whom the Lord revealed his
    > will (Matthew 16:17; Acts 10:9-20), lied at least three times when he
    > denied
    > knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). And in 1 Kings 13, we have the story of
    > a
    > prophet who lied to another prophet, by means of a false revelation, and
    > thereby caused his death.
    >
    > Biblical prophets were guilty of other sins as well. Noah became drunk
    > (Genesis 9:20-21), but had nevertheless received instructions directly
    > from
    > God (Genesis 6:13f). David, who is termed a prophet in Acts 2:29-30, and
    > through whom it is said the Holy Ghost spoke (Acts 1:16; 4:25), was guilty
    > of adultery and the murder of an innocent man (2 Samuel 11), for which the
    > Lord deprived him of blessings (D&C 132:39). Moses and Aaron boasted "must
    > we fetch you water out of this rock?" (Numbers 20:10), and were thereby
    > punished because they did not give the Lord credit for the miracle (verse
    > 12).
    >
    > Joseph Smith was no worse than any of these ancient prophets, and far
    > better
    > than some.
    >

    Again, I'm baffled why you spent so much time on this when I never brought up any of this.

    >
    > A few critics have claimed that Joseph Smith cannot be a true prophet
    > because of the many enemies he made and because he spent time in prison.
    > He
    > was brought to trial, tarred and feathered, chased out of town,
    > imprisoned,
    > and so enraged some people that a mob finally killed him. Even some of his
    > closest associates turned against him. What the critics fail to mention is
    > that none of Joseph's imprisonments was the result of a trial or a
    > conviction.
    >
    > But Joseph was in good company. Jesus had said, "Blessed are they which
    > are
    > persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    > Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall
    > say
    > all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be
    > exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they
    > the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12).
    >
    > Indeed, the earlier prophets had been persecuted. Jeremiah was placed in
    > the
    > stocks (Jeremiah 20:1-3), arrested and brought to trial (Jeremiah
    > 26:8-24),
    > later imprisoned (Jeremiah 32:2; 33:1; 37:15-21), and even placed in a
    > miry
    > dungeon to die (Jeremiah 38:6-8). Daniel was placed in the lion's den, but
    > survived the ordeal through divine intervention (Daniel 6:16-23). The
    > apostles Peter and John were thrice arrested, once imprisoned, and once
    > beaten (Acts 4:1-21; 5:17-19, 26-41). Another apostle, James, was executed
    > (Acts 12:1-2), after which Peter was again arrested and imprisoned (Acts
    > 12:3-10).
    >
    > The apostle Paul was similarly mistreated by the populace and by
    > government
    > officials. Once, he was stoned by a mob and left for dead (Acts 14:19-20).
    > He and Silas were both whipped and imprisoned (Acts 16:22-26). He wrote
    > that
    > he had been beaten five times by the Jews, thrice beaten with rods, and
    > once
    > stoned (2 Corinthians 11:24). On his last trip to Jerusalem, some sought
    > to
    > kill him (Acts 21:31; 23:12-22). He was then arrested and led from one
    > prison to another over several years, without trial (Acts 22-28) until,
    > according to tradition, he and Peter were executed by order of the emperor
    > Nero.
    >
    > Even Jesus was mistreated in much the same way as Joseph Smith. He was
    > accused of having a devil (Matthew 11:18; John 8:48; 10:20) and of being
    > in
    > league with the devil (Matthew 9:34). He was termed a "glutton" and
    > "winebibber," who consorted with sinners (Matthew 11:19).
    >
    > Betrayed by one of his closest associates (Matthew 26:47-50), Jesus was
    > ultimately arrested, while all of his disciples forsook him and fled
    > (Matthew 26:56). He was led away and accused of various crimes, with
    > supporting testimony from false witnesses (Matthew 26:59-60).
    >
    > Among the list of accusations, we find blasphemy (Matthew 26:65; compare
    > to
    > John 10:33), sedition (Luke 23:2, 5, 14), and treason (for having declared
    > himself king). He was spat upon and struck by both Jews (Matthew 26:67)
    > and
    > Romans (Matthew 27:30), and the latter also whipped him (Matthew 27:26).
    > In
    > the end, he was tried and executed for treason (Matthew 27:37), the same
    > crime of which Joseph Smith was accused when imprisoned at Carthage.
    >
    > Was Joseph Smith's order to destroy the Nauvoo Expositor press, so readily
    > condemned by critics, really much different from the disturbance Jesus
    > caused in the temple when he made a whip and attacked the stock merchants
    > and money-changers, overthrowing their tables (John 2:13-16)? Some of
    > Joseph's followers turned away when they learned that he was practicing
    > plural marriage and encouraging others to do so. Jesus, too, lost
    > disciples
    > when he taught things that were hard for them to accept (John 6:60-66).
    > Peter wrote that some Christians of his day found it difficult to accept
    > Paul's teachings about the atonement (2 Peter 3:15-16).
    >
    > The vast majority of Joseph Smith's supposed "false prophecies" listed by
    > critics are not prophecies at all, but "commandments" or "counsel" (see
    > D&C
    > 104:1; 115:1, 7-9, 12) which were not obeyed.
    >

    Which is why I was careful to use actual non-conditional prophecies found in Mormon "standard works."

    >
    > If the person receiving the instructions failed to comply, then the
    > "prophecy," according to the critics, is proven false. By this reasoning,
    > even God himself is a false prophet, for Lot's wife disobeyed him and
    > looked
    > back at the city of Sodom (Genesis 19:17, 26). Cain sinned even after the
    > Lord had told him, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if
    > thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door" (Genesis 4:7).
    >
    > If true prophetic statements are conditioned upon the sins or the
    > repentance
    > of those upon whom they are pronounced, then the same principle must apply
    > to commandments. The Lord explained it to us this way: "Who am I, saith
    > the
    > Lord, that have promised and have not fulfilled? I command and men obey
    > not;
    > I revoke and they receive not the blessing. Then they say in their hearts:
    > This is not the work of the Lord, for his promises are not fulfilled. But
    > wo
    > unto such, for their reward lurketh beneath, and not from above" (D&C
    > 58:30-33).
    >

    Not all prophecies are conditional. "If you don't repent, God will destroy this town" is conditional! However, "The Messiah will be born in Bethlehem" is not conditional. Also, "The Messiah will be rejected by His own" is not conditional. And "There will be a Temple in Missouri before everyone here dies" is not conditional.

    >
    > A similar statement is found in D&C 82:10: "I, the Lord, am bound when ye
    > do
    > what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise" (compare
    > with
    > verse 4).
    >
    > Let's examine one of Joseph Smith's revelations often listed as a "false
    > prophecy" by critics. In D&C 114, David W. Patten was commanded to "settle
    > up all his business as soon as he possibly can" and prepare to leave on
    > mission the next spring with the rest of the Twelve Apostles (cf. D&C
    > 118:5-6). Due to circumstances beyond his control (i.e., mob attacks),
    > Patten did not settle his business "as soon as he can," as the Lord
    > commanded and died before he could go on the mission the Lord had for him.
    >
    > Some have objected that, since God is all-knowing, he would have been
    > aware
    > that Patten would die, so why give such a commandment. In response, we
    > ask,
    > Didn't God know that Nineveh would repent upon hearing Jonah's message
    > (Jonah 3:5)? Why, then, did he tell Jonah to prophesy doom to the
    > inhabitants of the city (Jonah 3:4)? And didn't God know that Hezekiah
    > would
    > live another fifteen years? So why give two conflicting prophecies through
    > the prophet Isaiah (2 Kings 20:1-6)? Didn't God know that Pharaoh would
    > reject Moses' words? Then why bother to send the prophet to the Egyptian
    > king to ask that he let Israel go free?
    >

    We already discussed the David Patten prophecy.

    I have already stated:

    Mormons typically answer this 1 of 3 ways:

    1. David Patten was not faithful, so the Lord took away the prophecy, or, if you don't like that excuse, then
    2. This was fulfilled "spiritually" through others in David Patten's stead, or, if you don't like that, then,
    3. David Patten did fulfill this after his death in the "other world."

    Each of these excuses fall apart.

    1. Joseph Smith considered Patten faithful and said so during his eulogy. Joseph Smith said this of David Patten: "Brother David Patten was a very worthy man, beloved by all good men who know him. He was one of the Twelve Apostles, and died as he had lived, a man of God, and strong in the faith of a glorious resurrection." (History of the Church Vol. 3, p. 171, emphasis mine).
    2. The prophecy does not give room for others to fulfill it in proxy. It clearly states "David Patten."
    3. If this referred to the other world (death), then where were the eleven others that were to go with him?

    >
    > But there is more to the David Patten story than meets the eye. Mormons
    > believe that when a commandment is given to a man because of the office he
    > holds, the commandment can apply to his successor. Thus, while David W.
    > Patten did not fill the mission to England, the new apostles called to
    > fill
    > vacancies in the quorum did.
    >
    > There are biblical precedents for this. For example, the Lord commanded
    > Elijah to anoint Hazael king of Assyria and Jehu king of Israel and Elisha
    > as prophet in his stead (1 Kings 19:15-16). Elijah did, indeed, call
    > Elisha
    > (1 Kings 19:19-21). But it was Elisha, after Elijah was taken to heaven,
    > who
    > sent one of the prophets to anoint Jehu (2 Kings 9:1-10), and Elisha
    > himself
    > announced to Hazael that he would be king (2 Kings 8:7-13). In other
    > words,
    > Elijah did not accomplish two of the three tasks assigned to him by God.
    > Does this make him a false prophet?
    >
    > In the Mormon view, he did the right thing by designating his successor,
    > who
    > followed through on unfinished business. In the same manner, some of the
    > things the Lord commanded the early Latter-day Saints to accomplish (such
    > as
    > to settle in Zion, Missouri) will be fulfilled by their descendants and
    > successors. Likewise, the blessings pronounced on each of the tribes of
    > Israel by Jacob (Genesis 48-49) and Moses (Deuteronomy 33) are to be
    > understood as blessings for their future generations, not only for the men
    > to whom the words were addressed.
    >
    > We must also note that sometimes God's commandments are designed as tests
    > of
    > obedience. For example, he didn't really want Abraham to kill his son,
    > Isaac, though this is what he told him to do (Genesis 22). The same is
    > true
    > of the Lord's commandment to send an armed group ("Zion's Camp") to redeem
    > the land of Zion in Missouri (D&C 101, 103, 105).
    >

    You know Jack, I googled some of your words, and I found your text verbatim written by others.

    Specifically, John Tvedtnes. http://www.fairlds.org/Bible/Nature_of_Prophets_and_Prophecy.html

    Not very forthcoming of you.

    Despite this, I've spent time answering the objects of others that you have passed on as your own. But I must stand to my original reason for wrapping up this discussion - that we could go on and on for even more pages and not go anywhere. We have each said more than we need to in order to make our respective cases.

    The point of the original essay I wrote was that Mormonism is not Christian, and some reasons to support this is that Mormons believe in polytheism, that God was not always God, and that man can become a little god. You and your Mom emailed to tell me that I was wrong, but then you admitted that those three teachings are indeed true Mormon doctrines.

    So there's nothing else to say.

    I don't see the point of you copy and pasting large chunks from other peoples' writings and having me spend my time answering them.

    I have already made the case that Mormonism is not Christian, and you have agreed to the points I made supporting that claim.

    There really is no reason to continue discussing alleged false prophecies that I didn't bring up. For this reason, I'm going to ignore most of the rest of your email, not because I don't have an answer, or because it can't be rebutted, but because it's not a good use of time. You already know much more than most Mormons ever will learn about the false doctrines of the Mormon church, and you know what you need to do.

    You must repent of the idolatry of Mormonism, of the blasphemy of thinking that you could one day be formed into a little god, and of the self-righteousness of thinking that you have any goodness that would earn you the privilege of remaining in God's grace. If you do not repent, then you will perish on the Day of Judgment.

    Please, Jack, I beg you, please repent.

    >
    > [Editor's note: large chuck of John Tvedtnes's article has been deleted for lack of relevance to this discussion.]
    >
    > In conclusion, and as mentioned earlier, I wish so deeply that you would
    > continue this discussion further.
    >

    I know you feel that way, but I don't see any point. Also, I have lost some faith in you since I have discovered that you have copied and pasted large sections of other peoples' work and put it forth as your own.

    I just don't have the time resources to argue with you, John Tvedtnes, and whoever else you may or may not be quoting large passages from.

    We both have had lots of room to say what we want to say, and at this point it is a matter of the heart. Unless you want to know the truth, you will hold to Mormonism. I pray that God will change your heart though, and what glory it would be should that happen!

    >
    > Mark: there is one thing you cannot speak against, and that is my personal
    > testimony that what I have shared is true! I bear witness that God speaks
    > and reveals today just as He always has. I have had personal experiences
    > with God that transcend this world, and God has personally revealed to me
    > His Truth. I know that he sent His son Jesus Christ to atone for our
    > sins,
    > and I personally know the Truth of the Savior Jesus Christ through
    > revelation, not second hand experience, and not by reading scripture alone
    >
    > I know that Jesus is the Christ, and I have chosen to come unto Him
    > through
    > what has been revealed to me.
    >
    > I know because of the rebirth that has taken place in my life, and when
    > uplifted by the Holy Ghost, His countenance becomes one with mine. You
    > only
    > know Christ when you become one with Him, and through Christ, you can
    > become
    > one with the Father.
    >
    > I bear witness Mark that the Book of Mormon is true, and I invite you to
    > read it with the same spirit that you read the Bible. I bear witness that
    > the Bible is also true, and thank God for that collection of books. I
    > also
    > bear witness that man is not true, and the Truth to be the found in any
    > book
    > of scripture can only be learned from the Power of the Holy Ghost, not
    > man's
    > wisdom and interpretation.
    >
    > Most sincerely,
    >
    > Jack
    >

    Jack, please understand that I mean no disrespect for your "personal testimony" but people of many different and contradictory faiths all have "personal testimonies" that their faith is true. Mormons have a personal testimony of their faith, as do Jehovah's Witnesses, and Buddhists, and Muslims, and even atheists! I have heard atheists make claim that their heartfelt devotion to atheism has given them peace and meaning and purpose and strength, and they know in their heart that they are right.

    It is possible that our personal feelings can deceive us.

    This is why the Bible so often warns us not to trust in feelings. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs14:12, and Proverbs 16:25).

    The Bible exhorts us to test all things against established Scripture to tell if it's true. I bear you my testimony that I have fervently tested the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and found them to be false based on the fact that the teachings contradict established Scripture.

    We must deny that God is of the sort who says, "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" (Isaiah 43:10, emphasis mine), but then says later that there is a "council of the Gods" (Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse).

    Mormonism teaches that there are many gods.

    The Bible declares: "Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God... Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any" (Isaiah 44:6,8).

    So while I do not doubt that you are sincere in your beliefs, I implore you to trust the Bible above your feelings. Jack, feelings can be, and often are, wrong.

    How do you know what is true? It's not based on feelings. It's based on the Word of God, and we can and must trust God's Word. The Bible is 100% trustworthy.

    Like you, I also make the claim that what I know to be true is based on revelation, and not on man's wisdom. You and I both claim to have had a "second birth" and we both claim to personally "know Christ."

    Let me be clear: I claim these things, Utah Mormons claim these things, Reorganized Mormons claim these things, Fundamentalist Mormons claim these things, as do Jehovah's Witnesses, members of the "Way" and members of many other religious groups. We can't all be right.

    So how do we know who has truly listened to the Holy Spirit, and who has listened to a false seducing spirit? The way we tell is by seeing which one conforms to the Bible. Paul said, "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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8,9).

    Or said another way, cursed is anyone who teaches a "gospel" different than the gospel that Paul already taught the Galatians.

    What is the gospel Paul already taught the Galatians? It is found in the Bible.

    Jack, I bear you my testimony that there is only One True God, and He is holy and He is righteous. He hates sin, yet His creation sins all the time. We are much more sinful that we think we are.

    God has given us the Ten Commandments to show us just how awfully sinful we really are. To think that there is anything righteous in us, or that we are even capable of doing good, is to have a blasphemously high view of man, and way too low an understanding of our sinful state.

    And as true as it is that we are sinners, God will judge and punish sin.

    "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    God "commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:30,31). This is bad news for us because we have no righteousness. The Bible says "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:10-11).

    "After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God" (Romans 2:5).

    Jack, you have gone on record stating that Mormons believe:

    • in many gods
    • god was once a man
    • men can someday become little gods
    • the efforts of man are required to keep your salvation

    In stark contrast, Biblical Christianity teaches:

    • there is only One God.
    • God has always been God.
    • The creation can never become a god.
    • Salvation is by grace through faith in Christ alone, for Christ's glory alone.

    The case has been made that Mormonism is not Christian.

    Way back in email #9, I wrote:

    God is righteous and we are not. The Bible says "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). It says "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

    We have broken God's commandments when we lie, take God's name in vain, and Jesus said we are guilty of adultery if we have an unclean sexual thought. And that's only three of the Ten Commandments. There are seven more!

    The Bible warns us: "it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).

    We are all liars, blasphemers, and adulterers in heart - and worse. We deserve hell.

    We will all face God on Judgment Day, and we all have violated his laws. We deserve hell. The great news is that Jesus, the only one who never sinned even once, died on the cross to pay a debt he didn't owe, so that we could be set free from a debt we couldn't pay. Or put another way, Jesus died as though he lived like us, so we could be set free as if we lived like him. That knowledge ought to break our hearts and make us love and appreciate him so much!

    Just as a criminal can be set free if someone pays his fine, so can we be set free by Jesus paying our fine.

    We must repent, which means turning from sin and seeing it as awful as it is, and put our faith in the Christ of the Bible the same way one would put on a parachute before jumping out of a plane. You don't just believe in a parachute - you put it on!

    If you repent of your sins and put your trust in Jesus, you will be saved from hell immediately, and will enter God's Kingdom. When you do that, the Bible says that you are a new creation, and you get to heaven, not because you are a good person, but because you are a bad person who was forgiven by a very good God! No one in heaven will be able to boast that they earned their own way there, because none of us deserve it. It is the free gift of God so he gets all the credit and glory!

    As a fallen creation, we are in dire need of forgiveness. Mormonism offers a solution (do this, do that, and then you can become a little god), but it's a false gospel. The God of the Bible offers the only true solution to our sin problem. Jesus will forgive all our sins, past, present, and future, when we repent and put our faith in him (the True Jesus of the Bible).

    Please, Jack, I beg you. Please be reconciled to God through repentance and faith.

    Jack, I know this is all true because of my testimony as a redeemed and born-again child of God, and this testimony conforms to the Bible. The One True God gets all the glory and honor and praise!

    I offer to you the same message I would give to a Buddhist, a Moslem, an agnostic, or anyone: unless you have the righteousness of Christ that comes by faith and repentance in Him, you will perish on the Day of Judgment.

    I certainly hope you will trust Christ soon. 10 out of 10 people die. Nobody knows when Judgment will come. Jack, today is the day of salvation. I beg you to be reconciled to Christ today, because you might not have tomorrow.

    If you want to speak more about your need to repent of the false doctrine you have been believing and teaching, I will do my best to make myself available to you. If not, then I count it a privilege to have met you, and I wish you all the best. I do hope to see you in heaven some day, but it will only be possible if you repent and trust the Jesus of the Bible completely.

    with love and concern,

    your friend,

    Mark

    ---------------------------
    10 out of 10 people die.
    Are you ready?
    http://www.needgod.com


That's how the conversation ended. Please keep Jack and Rose in your prayers, that they would come to know the True God of the Bible, and respond with the proper repentance and faith. What amazing praise and glory would go to God for that!!!

Please feel free to contact me anytime by clicking here.

P.S. For more resources on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons), and other documents that may be of interest to you, please visit my resources page. God bless you!