The (Real) Book of Mormon Lesson 3

THE (REAL) BOOK OF

MORMON

Know The Authority

Christianity

There is little doubt where Christians get their teachings.

Hebrews 1.1, 2 (page 1862) God spoke to us through the Prophets and Jesus

John 17.17 (page 1680) God's Word is true

2 Peter 1.21 (page 1894) The Holy Spirit spoke through the writers of the Bible

1 Peter 1.24, 25 (pages 1887, 1888) The Word of God lasts forever

Galatians 1.8 (page 1810) If anyone preaches contrary to this, let them be damned

Revelation 22.18, 19 (page 1939) Don't add to it or subtract from it

What is God's Word to us?

The Bible

What if someone comes to us with a teaching contrary to what is in the Bible?

They will be sent to hell.  We shouldn't listen to them.

What does the Bible specifically say about adding or subtracting from the Bible?

Don't do it.  You will lose your place in heaven and earn God's plagues.

How long will the Bible be relevant to us?

Forever.  It lasts forever and is the same Word preached to every generation.

The Latter-day Saints

Obviously there will be huge differences between LDS teachings and Christian doctrine regarding the source of those teachings.

We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.

Joseph Smith, The Articles of Faith 8

Wherefore thou seest that after the book hath gone forth through the hands of the great and abominable church, that there are many plain and precious things taken away from the book, which is the book of the Lamb of God.

Nephi 13.28

What is wrong with the Bible?

It has been mistranslated, as well as having things taken away.

Who is responsible for that?

The apostate church which calls itself Christian.

What is another written source of authority for the Latter-day Saints?

The Book of Mormon.

Pastor Cares shares an insight.

Unexpectedly, the Book of Mormon doesn't fare much better than the Bible.  Although it is regarded much more highly, it is not used much more.  I became convinced of that when, for a couple of years, I used it quite extensively in my witnessing attempts.  I soon found out that very few Mormons could find their way around in it.  Most missionaries and ward teachers had great difficulty finding verses I would mention.  Once they found them, they had even greater difficulty explaining them.

Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons, page 105

Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants are 138 revelations, 133 of which were made to Joseph Smith.

1841 Doctrine of Baptism for the Dead (124)

1843 God's Physical body (130)

          Plural Marriages (131)

          Exaltation (132)

In my judgment there is no book on earth yet come to man as important as the book known as the Doctrine and Covenants, with all due respect to the Book of Mormon, and the Bible, and the Pearl of Great Price, which we say are our standards in doctrine.  The book of Doctrine and Covenants to us stands in a peculiar position above them all.

The Bible is a history containing the doctrine and commandments given to the people anciently.  That applies also to the Book of Mormon.  It is the doctrine and the history and the commandments of the people who dwelt upon this continent anciently.

This Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now.  It is our book.  It belongs to the Latter-day Saints.

Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, page 2

Pearl of Great Price

A collection of five brief works: Moses--Joseph Smith's reworking of the first five chapters of Genesis; Book of Abraham”translated by Joseph Smith from Egyptian hieroglyphics (plurality of gods, Kolob); Joseph Smith-Mathew”Joseph Smiths translation of Matthew 24; Joseph Smith-History”brief excerpts from the history of the church (vision Joseph Smith received as a youth saying all present churches corrupt); Thirteen Articles of Faith.

The Priesthood

Ongoing revelation continues in the priesthood.

The key is the right or privilege which belongs to and comes with the priesthood to have communication with God.

Mormon Doctrine, page 410

Within the Church there is an established pattern for receiving revelation and instructions.  We need to be reminded that anyone claiming to receive direction or revelation for others should be held suspect.  This is especially true when the content is believed to have relevance for areas, regions, stakes, or wards in the Church for whom the person has no particular responsibility.

Ensign, Nov.1990, page 22

 

Who has the right to receive revelations regarding the family?

The husband, the bishop and all the higher levels of Mormon authority right up to the Living Prophet in Salt Lake City.

Who has the right to receive revelations regarding the ward?

The bishop and all above him.

Who has the right to receive revelations for the entire Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

Only the Living Prophet at Salt Lake City.

What if a Latter-day Saint is facing a problem he doesn't know how to handle?

He will receive inspired guidance and revelation directly, from his bishop or from those over his bishop.  There will always be the voice of revelation to guide him in the new situations of the modern world.

The Living Prophet

Mormons believe that a sign of the true church is that it will always have a living prophet.

Next unto God and Christ, in the earth is placed one unto whom the keys of power and authority of the Holy Priesthood are conferred, and unto whom the right of presidency is given.  He is God's mouthpiece to His people, in all things pertaining to the building up of Zion, and to the spiritual and temporal salvation of the people.  He is God's vice-regent; I do not hesitate to announce this truth; for it is His Word, and therefore it is true.

Joseph Smith, quoted in Achieving a Celestial Marriage, page 147

When prophets, now are inspired by the Holy Ghost, speak, their words take precedence over other statements on the same issue.

Teachings of the Living Prophets, page 18

How does this explain doctrinal changes in LDS theology?

New revelations take precedence over old.

The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age¦Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering which you should do is that of the latest inspired words from the Lord's mouthpiece.  That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words in current Church publications.

Teachings of the Living Prophets, page 19

And in this conference [General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints] HIS PROPHETS SPEAK.

Teachings of the Living Prophets, page 63

What is the real "Bible to the Latter-day Saint?

The writings and speeches of the Living Prophet and what comes out in LDS publications.

Feelings

The Holy Ghost speaks with a voice that you feel more than you hear¦Revelation comes as words we feel more than hear.

Ensign, Nov. 1994, page 60

For me, the witness of the Holy Ghost is an intense feeling of serenity or well-being.

Church News, April 29, 1989

But how does this revelation come to us?

You feel it is right.

Drawing It Together

"Don't confuse me with your arguments.  I already know what I believe.  I feel in my heart that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one, true Church and I will never leave it.

Why is that a great argument for the Latter-day Saint and a frustrating obstacle to a Christian witnessing to them?

In the final analysis, their faith is based on feelings.  They feel the teachings of The Church of Latter-day Saints are correct and it is an unassailable position.  It is frustrating to a Christian, because we feel we can't reason with them.  They won't listen to reason.  It is all the more frustrating because, at its core, Christianity is a faith that doesn't always listen to reason, either.  If there is something in the Bible that goes against reason, we still believe what the Bible says.  We base our faith not on feelings, but on the revealed Word of God.

Christians see the completed Bible as a source of guidance and comfort for their faith.  Latter-day Saints see the Living Prophet and ongoing revelation as a source of guidance and comfort for their faith.

How can both of these viewpoints be true?

They can't, but the perspectives are both valid.  The Latter-day Saint is comforted that he always has Heavenly Father to tell him what to do, either directly through a revelation received through his feelings, or through Heavenly Father's Priesthood, the Living Prophet, the Council of Twelve, the bishop.  In every situation he has an answer, even if the answers sometimes shift.

The Christian is comforted that he has an unchanging and always relevant Word of God that applies to all and every situations.  Rather than having some man tell him what to do, he is confident only God can tell him what to do and those commands are crystal clear, literally being written black on white on the pages of the Bible.

Why will you never have an effective witness trying to get a Latter-day Saint to see that the Book of Mormon (as Trey Parker's Broadway musical shouts) is made up?

The Mormon will view your words as a blatant and offensive attack on what they hold dear.  The Mormon will always have an argument-proof system of belief.  Even if he is tripped up in an argument, his reliance on revelation manifesting itself as feeling will spring him from every logical trap.  And even if you win an argument, a man convinced against his will is unconvinced still.

The key is for the Holy Spirit to change his will.  And that will come only when he is ready to hear the true Gospel.  But that's our final week's lesson.