Thursday, January 29, 2009

Has the new Mormon Prophet given any new revelations from God? —Gerry A

No. But he has shared stories of his visits to widows, recited Edgar Guest poetry, and recently nailed the elusive "passive triplet" with this gem: "hearts were gladdened, spirits were lifted, and stomachs were filled."

OK, I just made that all up. But there's no question the role of prophet in the Mormon church is not what it was when Joseph was at the helm. I mean does anyone seriously think the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon is coming out during Monson's tenure? No, it appears that God's plan for the winding up scenes of the last dispensation is to have a bureaucratic gerontocracy that issues platitudes and can't be nailed down on any question where they may later be proven wrong. And poetry. Definitely poetry.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What happens if a Mormon forgets their secret Mormon temple password, how do they get into heaven? —John L

This is an excellent question. Several of the Mormon responders just laughed this off, but I assume that's because it's coming from a non-Mormon and they either aren't endowed and don't know what you're talking about or they just don't have an answer.

But the fact is there is little more than speculation available to Mormons wondering how the temple ordinances actually fit in to the more traditional idea of Judgment Day. What if you were an unrepentant Sabbath breaker but knew all the names and signs? Or supposing you were a real Saint, doubled your fast offerings every time a high councilman asked, visited your home teaching families twice a month, ate very little meat ... but somehow misremembered your new name and couldn't come up with it?

The simplest explanation, in my view: Joseph made it up as he went along.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why would Joseph Smith lie about talking to God and write the Book of Mormon? ? —Frank

What would he have to gain?
I don't know. I could speculate, but Joseph never gave a confession or anything approaching one, so far as we know. There's one affidavit from a neighbor where he purportedly says that the Book of Mormon thing was a rouse done for fun. But who knows? It could have been for attention. To drum up treasure-seeking business. For profit. (He first attempted to sell the copyright in Toronto.) To bilk Martin Harris. For power. Women. Self-protection. And on and on. There's no shortage of reasons why people do things. What's unique about Joseph was that he actually accomplished so much.

My best guess? All of the above. The motives for his actions changed over time, as do yours and mine.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

My friend, who helped convert me to be a Born Again Christian is now converting to be a Mormon. What do I say? —Elephant Box.

I've been Christian for over a year, and although a short time, I am strong in this faith. He fell away and now wants to convert. He comes to me for support and I don't know what to say. I don't agree with it. What would you do?
Is he asking for your opinion? If so then you should probably give it to him. But it won't help your friend to say you think Mormonism is bogus because your current faith tells you so. Of course your church thinks his church is wrong.

No, the only way I can see for your friendship to continue is to either not talk about it at all, or agree to investigate the truth claims of BOTH your church and his together. And keep in mind the right answer could end up being "none of the above." If you're not ready to face that possibility, I'd go with not talking about it at all.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What do you think is the most ridiculous story in the bible? ? —Kitus Maximus

The story that makes you say, "Wow, how the hell can people believe that?! I didn't know people could be that stupid!"

I would have to say:

1) The story of Adam and Eve
2) The virgin birth

The entire book is full of crap, but those are the stories that make me LMAO every time.

Additional Details
Yeah Noah's ark is another funny story.
I agree that lots of the stories seem fantastic, like Noah's ark and Jonah and the whale and the others mentioned already. But some believers simply see these stories as allegorical. So how about the slaughter of the Midianites in Numbers 31? Not exactly "ridiculous," but definitely leaves you wondering how the hell people can believe that this book contains the will of God.

Numbers 31
1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites
7 And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord commanded Moses; and they slew all the males.
9 And the children of Israel took all the women of Midian captives, and their little ones, and took the spoil of all their cattle, and all their flocks, and all their goods.
12 And they brought the captives, and the prey, and the spoil, unto Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and unto the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the camp at the plains of Moab, which are by Jordan near Jericho.
13 ¶ And Moses, and Eleazar the priest, and all the princes of the congregation, went forth to meet them without the camp.
14 And Moses was wroth with the officers of the host, with the captains over thousands, and captains over hundreds, which came from the battle.
15 And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive?
17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
31 And Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses.
32 And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep,
33 And threescore and twelve thousand beeves,
34 And threescore and one thousand asses,
35 And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.