Wednesday, January 19, 2011

We have a duty to defend ...

Latter-day Saints have a duty to defend their faith, not by strife but by knowledge and gentle persuasion. We ought to know our scriptures, including the Bible, well enough not to falter at every sling and arrow of attack. Consider:

On a certain website devoted to creating a "crisis of faith" for Mormons in order to save their souls, one of the first suggestions is to assert that every Biblical theophany had witnesses. Joseph Smith had no one with him in the grove when he purported to receive his First Vision. Therefore, his story violated Biblical precedent.

Seems to me this theory falls apart with even a cursory reading of the Bible. Is anyone besides Noah reported to have heard God's direction to build the Ark? Who was with Abraham when he was called to be a father of many nations? Who witnessed the marvelous vision of the Lord to Isaiah, when "His train filled the temple"? Surely, there are many, many more of these.

It is sad, very sad to me, that any of my brothers and sisters in the Church could be so ignorant of the Bible and so weak in their faith as to actually fall prey to such silly attacks. But they do.

The Bible is the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. We take so much heat for such a self-evident statement. Can the Bible be translated incorrectly? Of course! Anyone with a pen and paper could accomplish that task! Are incorrectly translated passages still the word of God and therefore binding upon us? Did not someone many centuries ago mistakenly translate one of the Ten Commandments?

I have just read a chapter in St. Augustine's City of God in which he struggles for quite a few paragraphs to reconcile differences between the Hebrew manuscripts and the Septuagint version of the Bible regarding the lifespan of Methusaleh. If the great Christian Augustine could concede that copyists of the Bible before his day could introduce errors into the text -- even dare to consider that some were malicious -- can a Latter-day Saint be faulted for the same belief?

Latter-day Saints do not believe the Bible is corrupt or unreliable, as our critics claim we do. It is precious. It is beautiful. It is living word for our daily lives. But just as it was wrong of uninspired men to close the "Old Testament" canon with Malachi (as the Samaritans do after the Pentateuch), so it is wrong of man to close the lips of God after the Revelation to St. John.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I have never deleted any comments to this blog, except for obvious spam. The truth needs no protection.

So I am saddened to stumble across yet another Internet attack-site today posting a copious list of supposed failings of the Mormon Church, complete with at least ten glowing reviews by fans. And yet ... not one criticism of the site or its methods, not even one feeble little possibility of a question or a refutation.

It sounds like the election results from a dictatorship. Most egregious, one of the posters praised the site's "lack of bias." Bias, I am sorry to say, oozed from every nook and cranny of that site.

If you are going to spend your time criticizing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at least have the honesty to allow for the possibility that someone somewhere might have a response to your claim.

Otherwise, a truly intelligent mind will see right through you, and you do no favors for the cause of Christ.


Twice now, I have been asked to lead the lessons in Elder Quorum, as part of my calling.

Both times, I have had grand ideas but the delivery, to me, seems to fall very short.

Perhaps I am being taught to be more humble, to rely more on the Spirit to be the teacher, and less upon other means, such as props, video clips and my own "wisdom."

Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment but I welcome the chance to try again. This time, I resolve to clear away every visual aid, every prop, everything except the basic scriptures and the lesson manual.

We will have a clutter-free discussion.

Or so I hope.

We might just have a three-minute lesson.