Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Part XVI: Islam and Mormonism

by C. Fletcher

In studying world religions, I have noticed several similarities between Mormonism and Islam. Sure, there are significant differences as well (Monotheistic Islam vs. Polytheistic Mormonism for example), and I would not suggest that they are theologically compatible, but the foundings of both religions are surprisingly similar and worth noting.

Here are 12 of the parallels that have been noted (this list is by no means exhaustive):

1. Both claimed that the original meaning of the teachings of Jesus and those who preceded him had either been forgotten or corrupted.
2. Both prophets are reported to have come from humble beginnings with no formal education and were barely literate.
3. Holy Books: Both prophets wrote a new holy book that was apparently inspired by God, and both claimed that their holy book was the most correct and perfect book on earth. Also, they both claimed that their holy books were based upon a record stored in heaven. Both religions claim that their Holy Books have been preserved and are accurate to what was originally recorded by their prophets.
4. Both prophets claimed to have had visions and to have been visited by angels. For Muhammad it was the angel Gabriel, and for Smith it was the angel Moroni. Both visions revealed many new teachings that contradict the Bible.
5. Both believed that no true religion existed on Earth and they were there to restore God’s truth. Islam claims that Adam and Abraham were truly Muslim and that it is restoring 'the true faith of Abraham'. Mormons claim to have restored 'the true faith/church' that was on the earth during and after the time of Jesus, before the supposed "Great Apostasy".
6. Both prophets were practicing polygamists and advocated polygamy (and condemn polyandry) by supposed revelation from God. Additionally, both men married very young girls.
7. Both profited greatly (financially) from their followers by commanding their money.
8. Both men received “convenient” revelations just in time to satisfy their own desires. For example, Muhammad got a revelation that he himself was allowed to marry 8 wives instead of the usual 4 in Islam, and Joseph Smith got a similar revelation (revealed in Doctrine and Covenants section 132) that he was not only permitted to marry multiple wives, but that it was required for salvation and was an everlasting covenant. This revelation came just as he was going to be “caught” with other women he was having affairs with. Additionally, D&C 132 specifically mentions his wife Emma by name and warns her to death should she be unfaithful to Joseph. (Most scholars [even Mormon scholars like Todd Compton] estimate that Joseph Smith had 33 wives before he was killed. Surely he would have had many more had he lived longer.
9. Both left no clear successor for their faith - leading both religions to splinter after the death of their prophets. In each religion there are splinter groups with each group claiming to be the true successor or true continuation of the faith.
10. Both Islam and Mormonism have those who follow the "original doctrine" of the founding leaders and like these founding leaders, are violent polygamists, and have revelations justifying their evil actions.
11. Both prophets and religions deny the doctrine of the Holy Trinity and the eternality of Jesus, as well as Jesus being God in the flesh
12. Both men were murderers. For Muhammad, there is no question about this. Most Mormons teach and believe that Joseph Smith was martyred, but this is not true. It is historically verifiable that he shot and killed two men during the shootout that ultimately took his life. The Mormon view is that he was “led like a lamb to slaughter” and was killed as a martyr. Not so. It was a gunfight, that he and his brother lost, but not before taking some lives of their own.


Here are some scriptures to reflect on in light of the points above. While these scriptures may come across as abrasive... remember, it's not my view or anyone else's, this is the Bible.

Galatians 1:6-9 6"I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you, and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed."

2 Cor 11: 12-15 12And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

47 comments:

FrGregACCA said...

Todd Wood is an Independent Baptist Pastor in Salt Lake City North, aka Idaho Falls, Idaho. On his blog, Heart Issues for LDS, he is making a stand for historic Christianity. While, IMHO, his adherence to the Baptist tradition is limiting, he nonetheless deserves our prayers and support.

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

If a religious author’s writings do not speak according to the Holy Bible, there is no light in them (Isa.8:20 below).


Isa.8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.


Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

Seth R. said...

I think it would have been more honest and accurate to call this post "Similarities in the Way Mormonism and Islam are Screwed Up According to their Protestant critics."

Here's a few more precepts Mormons and Muslims share:

1. Faith in a God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and eternally concerned about the welfare of all human beings.

2. Belief in prophets whom God has raised up in every place and time in world history. Both have modern scripture, but both accept previous revelations such as the Bible and the Torah. But both also acknowledge that those documents are only true insofar as they have transmitted God's original word intact - neither of us are fans of Biblical inerrancy.

3. Observance of religious rituals and acts of worship such as prayer, fasting, and charitable giving.

4. Emphasis on a strong family life.

5. Adherence to high standards of moral conduct. Both religions are more concerned with a practical orthopraxic approach than the traditional Christian obsession with intangible belief or orthodoxy.

6. Observance of a dietary code intended to promote physical health as a means to spiritual well-being.

A few key differences:

1. Islam's strict monotheism and belief in an intangible God is incompatible with the Mormon belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. It is also incompatible with the LDS view of God as having a body.

2. Muslim nations are very much opposed to LDS proselyting. But then, I don't know many religions that are thrilled about losing members.

3. Muslims believe that Muhammad was the last prophet and would be opposed to the idea that God is continuing to speak to prophets as the LDS claim.

Best to focus on the actual modern religions and their practices, rather than anachronistic and largely irrelevant ad hominem attacks on the religions' founders.

Recovering Wino said...

Interesting...I was reading up on Mormonism a few weeks ago, and I thought that there were similarities between it and Islam.

Zugman said...

Ditto on Seth R.'s comment. It's hard to miss the anti-Islam, anti-Mormonism slant the article's author took in making interpretations. I can't speak for Islam (although I imagine its portrayal in the article was less than perfectly fair), but as far as his/her take on Mormonism, I'd say the author missed the mark, particularly on numbers:

4 - I'd like to know which parts of the Book of Mormon allegedly contradict the Bible's teachings. Ignoring the Bible's own mistranslations and errors (I love the Bible, but it's got some problems here and there. For instance, have you seen Song of Solomon? How'd THAT get in there?!), I'd say the two books harmonize amazingly well.

7 - what exactly constitutes profiting greatly? Was Joseph Smith basically taken care of by the early Latter-day Saints? Yes, for the most part, and that so he could concentrate on less mundane tasks. Was he pulling the strings on all their finances and pocketing all the money for his own gain and aggrandizement? No, although he urged them to pool their resources on projects like building temples to the Lord and assisting the sick and the needy. Pretty selfish, huh?

8 - I'm not going to spend much time on this one, other than to simply assert that Joseph Smith was either a prophet called by God through whom revelation was received, or he was a liar and a fraud. Guess which side the author was leaning towards...

9 - sveral pretenders muddied the issue of succession with their own claims to leadership following Joseph's death, but a study of Joseph's own words reveal that he passed leadership on to the Quorum of the 12 Apostles, then led by Brigham Young.

10 - this one's laughably biased. Minus the value judgments, the author's basically saying that some people with ties to Mormonism (though not its recognition as members) are "fundamentalists" who still practice polygamy. That's true.

11 - Mormons believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are distinct deity who are completely unified in their purposes. That IS different from the Holy Trinity, which says they're all the same being and yet not, and yet the same. Jesus occupies the same state of glory and perfection as the Father, and is thus eternal. As a mortal man, Jesus had the power of God - I call that being God in the flesh.

12 - again, a baldly biased interpretation. It's true, Joseph did acquire a pistol, and this after Governor Thomas Ford's empty promises to protect Joseph from mob violence, and he did use it, resulting in casualties. However, let's set one thing straight: the mob attacked Joseph in a jail, and he sought to defend himself and his fellow prisoners. I think there is an important difference between murder and self-defense which the author overlooked entirely.

The funny thing is, this article was actually quite tame in its misrepresentations and anti-Mormon spin. It was no doubt a bash on Mormons and Muslims alike, but a fairly well-researched one.

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath VISITED Us -


Lk.1:68 Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath VISITED and redeemed his people,


In Jesus dwells ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9 below) -

o God the Father
o The Holy Spirit of God the Father
o The Word of God the Father

The only begotten son of God the Father (Jn.1:14 below), Jesus (the Word - Jn.1:1, Jn.1:14 below), His beloved Son (Matt.3:17 below), was conceived of the Holy Ghost (Matt.1:20 below).

It is God the Father who conceived in Mary (blessed among women) His very Word through His very Holy Spirit (Matt.1:20 below).


Col.2:9 For in him dwelleth ALL the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Jn.1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, (Matt.1:20, Matt.3:17 below)) full of grace and truth.

Jn.1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Re.1:6, Lk.1:47 below).

Re.1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God (Jn.1:1 above) AND his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Lk.1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (Jn.1:14, Jn.1:1, Re.1:6 above).


Matt.3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son (Matt.1:20 below), in whom I am well pleased.

Matt.1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Jn.1:14, Matt.3:17 above).



Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

Fletcher said...

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the responses, wow... these post generated some action.

There is so much to respond to here that I can't possibly address it all in one post, plus I'm at work and really busy. However, I'd like to continue the conversation but I want to preface it with something here.

First, I am a Christian and I won't beat around the bush, I think Mormonism is utterly heretical. That being said, I am not anti-Mormon... but I am anti-MormonISM from a donctrinal perspective, or let's say, from an objective truth perspective. I believe it can be very well demonstrated that Joseph Smith as a fraud, albeit an charasmatic and intelligent man.

This has nothing to do with Mormon people, Momron followers. I'm sure there are millions of Mormons who are "Better" or "Nicer" folks than I will ever be, and I do have some Mormon friends who I care very much about - great folks.

So please, remove that from your minds, this is not about you (or anyone, except maybe JS :-)personally. It is about what you believe though, and where it came from. So in that sense, it's hard not to take an attack on one's beliefs personally and allow them to upset you and call them "anti-Mormon,", I get that, and I know I have the same tendencies but I do try not to. I talk to people often about my faith, people that thing being a Christian is just intellectually absurd. That's OK, I enjoy the conversations, really!

I could just as easily respond that anything someone holds in a negative light regarding Christianity as them being "anti-Christian" but where would that get me? I'd rather just have a rational discussion with them then sling "you are anti-Christian" at them. It's really just a smoke screen to hide fear in my view. "Anti-Mormon" is a popular term used by Mormons but to me, I hate to say... it's just whiney. Let's just talk about the issues, don't worry who is anti this or that. Let's just stick to the facts the best we can.

So I believe that Mormonism is easily proven false on many levels. The problem is emotions. Emotions are often the enemy of reason and so if one is emotionally attached to an idea (like the idea that JS is a true prophet of God's one true church and that the Book of Mormon, D&C, and POGP are truly God's revealed word) than it is hard for them to be totally objective, or even reasonably objective. This is the biggest problem I have come across in dialoging with Mormons over the years to be quite honest: They have a really hard time looking at any critique from the perspective that "hey, it is POSSIBLE that Mormonism isn't true, so I am willing to look into the counterarguments objectively and honestly and see for myself, despite my presuppositions and family ties to the church." You usually won't find that in a Mormon, and I understand why: The ties to the church are VERY strong and belief in Mormonism is based on feelings, not on the facts. Sure, there are Mormon apologists but that's another story.

When you do find a Mormon who is willing to pursue truth regardless of where it takes them, including very uncomfortable places, you will often also find a deconversion. I've seen it happen several times, but usually what I've seen is a lack of objectivity that I really think comes from fear... fear that the church is not true, because if the church is not true, Mormons see that as their whole world crumbling around them. This is not so though, if Mormonism is false, Jesus is still there to redeem you! All is not lost... in fact, all is gained.

It's a very difficult situation.

I just ask that if we are going to continue this conversation that we all try to be objective and intellectually honest with ourselves and with each other. If you guys are will to do that, then I'll continue the conversation with you. If you can't, I understand... most can't!

Peace!

Seth R. said...

I guess you might call me an amateur Mormon apologist. I don't mind fielding criticisms of Mormonism. Nor do I mind making such criticisms myself on occasion.

Don't lump me in with Zugman. He makes some good points (your assertion on Joseph Smith being a murderer was, frankly, ridiculous and needed to be corrected). But his tone is more combative than I'd prefer. I don't consider you particularly "anti-Mormon." Mostly because I don't really see that you make a career or hobby of undermining Mormonism whenever and wherever you can.

If you want to pursue this train of thought, fine by me. It's your blog. But we are kind of drifting off the original topic.

Since you mentioned it though, let's talk about the emotionalism bit.

First off, let's get one thing straight. Many Mormons do base their religious convictions on their emotional interface with Mormonism.

BUT, so do many Protestants, many Catholics, many Jews, and many Muslims. Ever been to a Protestant mega-church rally? Don't tell me that there isn't plenty of mindless emotionalism going on in the Protestant ranks.

So, the question really isn't whether Mormons themselves are too emotional, but whether our actual doctrine and theology ENCOURAGES blind emotion as a basis for testimony. I can demonstrate that it does not.

Let's go straight to Moroni 10:4-5. This is a scripture often quoted by Protestant countercult ministries with the aim of demonstrating the overly emotional approach of Mormons. It also features prominently in Mormon missionary discussions. You can expect to hear it if you invite the missionaries in and continue meeting with them any period of time.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost. And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

Now, Protestants look at this and say that Mormons are just thinking happy thoughts and closing their eyes real tight, and then it's make a wish, get a warm fuzzy, and you're there! They'd be wrong. But don't feel bad. A lot of Mormons make the same mistake.

You have to read the entirety of Moroni 10 to get a more accurate picture. Then you have to read Moroni 10 in context with other passages in the Book of Mormon such as Alma 32 (required reading on this subject). Protestants are always harping on us Mormons about reading Bible passages in context with the entire book, I would expect them to extend the same courtesy when quoting from the Book of Mormon.

What does Moroni 10 really say?

Well, verse 3 - he tells you to basically read the whole book. Study it, think about it. See how it fits into the larger pattern of God's dealings with humanity.

In short, in much-neglected verse 3, he tells us to engage in some informed critical thinking. THEN he drops the pray-for-an-answer bit on us.

Then in verse 6, he tells us to observe the results of conversion. See whether it improves your life, enlightens your mind, etc. If the results are good, that's another piece of evidence for you.

Verse 7 is a warning not to deny the influence of the Holy Ghost. Not an unreasonable request.

Verses 8-18 speak of the spiritual gifts that you may expect to accompany God's true Church.

Verse 19 speaks of a continuity in God's message (another injunction to compare the Book of Mormon with the larger pattern of God's dealings).

The remainder of the chapter is a very nice sermon on faith, hope and charity.

And we haven't read Alma 32 yet, which is crucial for further understanding on this point.

Now, is it really fair to take all that and boil it down to "Mormons believe because they have warm fuzzies?"

That may be true of some Mormons, but as I said it's true of a lot of Protestants too. Joel Osteen anyone?

Final point: a conversion based on cold logic and evidence is completely un-Biblical. The Bible specifically contemplates some spiritual non-evidentiary component to personal conversion.

Seth R. said...

Another comment... Don't assume you know where I'm coming from as far as objectively looking into Mormonism. I've read most of the criticisms of Joseph Smith. I find them inconclusive at best. Fact is, I actually like Joseph Smith - warts and all. I like his teachings, I like the theology he laid out. It resonates with me personally. Protestant theology does not resonate with me. Neither does the theology of other religions - though there are parts of other religions that I like.

Inconclusive criticisms of Joseph Smith are not enough to overthrow the simple fact that I like the message he brought. I do not like the traditional Christian trinity idea. It has zero appeal to me. I flat-out like the idea that God is embodied and is my literal spirit Father. I like having Christ as an elder brother. I like the idea of having a Heavenly Mother. I am greatly inspired by the idea that human beings can become as God is. A universe filled with free familial relationships of peers is highly attractive to me.

And as ugly and messy as it gets in practice here in mortality, with human flaws and failings, I have no problem with the idea of polygamy, or polyandry, or polygyny in the hereafter. Once you remove the mortal flaws of jealously, anger, and fear, why shouldn't the heart be large enough for more than one person.

I don't claim to know the way things will shake out on the eternal marriage front for Mormons in the afterlife. But the implications of Mormon doctrine on these subjects bother me not in the slightest.

In short, I simply like Mormonism - more than I like your religion. Sorry, but there it is.

Now after reading my statement of belief, is it really any sort of useful response to go on about whether Joseph Smith was an honest man or not. What makes you think that has any real relevance to the question at hand?

Was he a liar? Don't know. But why would being a liar disqualify him from being a prophet (it happened in the Old Testament after all)? Or from being inspired by God (what about the Psalms of Kind David?)? Or from being correct? Note - I don't believe he was a liar really, but my point is, it really doesn't matter since his teachings speak for themselves, with or without him - the man - attached to them.

Get it?

Even if he was a rascal, I happen to like what he was selling. And the more I read about him (from Mormon AND "anti-Mormon" sources), the more I honestly like the guy - warts and all.

Fletcher said...

Hi Seth:

Honestly, I found many ideas in your post quite shocking. Especially the "we have enough capacity to love many people" thing. Wow. So you don't think polygamy and polyandry cause way more hardships and confusion than any good that they do? Are you serious?

Your post does in fact exemplify what I am trying to say here. You say that you "like" the idea of Mormon teachings and you "don't like" some of the Protestant teachings.

My point is, when it comes to religious and metaphysical truth about God, the universe, our identity and purpose, etc. , it doesn't matter what we "like", it matters what is true. Truth about God is not a matter of personal preference.. it's either true or not.

For example, jihadii terrorists "like" the idea that they are assured salvation if they blow people up in what they think is a holy war context, so they do it. They commit mass murder because they have this idea that they are serving Allah and they get to go to heaven and be served by concumbines.

Surely, Joseph's man centered revelations were very much liked by his male followers. Heck, who wouldn't "like it" if it were truly good and God's will to have a whole bunch of women that you could have sex with, right?

Do you know about any of the following issues:

The origin of the Book of Abraham

The Lost 116 pages (first 116 pages that were the Book of Lehi that Martin Harris' wife "lost" or "took" that were never rewritten, that really almost stopped JS in his tracks)

The Hoffman Letters

The Kinderhook Plates

"In Sacred Loneliness" by Todd Compton

Also, why were Joseph and Hyrum mobbed at the jail that night? What was everyone so upset about?

One more thing (there are so many, but that's OK), what do you make of this verse in light of JS's original revelation:

John 6:46 and 1 Tim 6:16 both state clearly that no man can see God, but JS claims that he did see God the Father.

About God having a body, and the fact that you like this idea (which has nothing to do with whether or not it is a fact)...The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24). In Luke 24:39 Jesus says that a spirit does NOT have flesh and bones. We do not know what spirit is, but we do know what it is not. Also, God is everywhere, ominpresent. If he had a body, He could not be everywhere.... A body would mean that he has material, Matter, etc. Time is a function of the existence of Matter. Since God is outside of time, eternal, He could not be material. Therefore, He cannot have a body because he could not them be omnipresent.

About there being many Gods. What do you do with these verses?

http://www.carm.org/diff/Gen1_26.htm

Fletcher said...

I forgot to respond to the "Feelings" part of your post, sorry about that.

I am out of time for now, but I just wanted to mention that Jer. 17:9 says, "The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"

Mormonism wants you to trust feelings. But God wants you to trust His word.

There are so many things about Mormonism that contradict scriptures.... and we can talk about the veracity of the Biblical manuscripts if you want to go down that road, but first... you tell me: How do you know for a fact that the Bible is not accurate, was not translated accurately and preserved throughout the ages?

Please provide backup argumentation for this position.

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

The church is within every denomination throughout the entire world.

We who are in Christ Jesus have become a “new” creature (Gal.6:15, 2 Cor.5:17 below). We have BECOME the church of God (1 Cor.10:32, 1 Cor.1:2, 1 Cor.15:9, Gal.1:13 below), Jesus’ living body (Col.1:24 below).

No matter which denomination one attends, the living body of Christ is there.


Gal.6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (2 Cor.5:17 below).

2 Cor.5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (Gal.6:15 above): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

1 Cor.10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

Col.1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body's sake, which IS the church (1 Cor.10:32 above).

1 Cor.1:2 Unto the church of God (1 Cor.10:32 above) which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's:

1 Cor.15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God (1 Cor.10:32 above).

Gal.1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God (1 Cor.10:32 above), and wasted it:

Eph.2:16 And that he might RECONCILE BOTH (Jews and Gentiles) unto God IN ONE BODY (the church of God - 1 Cor.10:32 above) by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:



Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

Fletcher said...

I agree that all non-cult non-heretical denominations embody the Church Body. Are you including the LDS church in the Body of Christ as well? What about the Watchtower Organization? Same?

Seth R. said...

I suppose I want to wait until you actually respond to my explanation of Mormon "feelings" before engaging it.

Yes, I've heard about the Book of Abraham, lost manuscript, Hoffman's letters, the Kinderhook Plates, and probably a few issues even you haven't heard of.

When I said they're all pretty-much non-issues, I meant it. As a person who has read literature from both sides of the debate, I'm telling you this is trivial stuff that really has nothing to do with whether Mormonism is "true" or not.

True enough that it doesn't matter what I like. Truth is independent of personal taste. However, when it comes right down to it, I've got just as much backing for my religion in terms of evidence as you have for yours.

The mere fact that Jesus exists in the historical record doesn't make him the son of God any more than the historical existence of Joseph Smith makes him a prophet.

As for the Bible, Mormonism's unique doctrines are often not found in it. But neither are the doctrines of Mormonism incompatible with the Bible. I've read both, I see no problem.

As for your reassertion that I'm basing my beliefs on feelings... wrong. My beliefs are based on both what I like AND a lifetime of study of the Bible and Mormon writings. You kinda left out the second part.

As for polygamy, you're assuming that I was talking about earthly polygamy - which I actually agree with you is generally a pretty bad idea. If one of my daughters told me she wanted to be a polygamist, I would object to the marriage. It's much too easily abused. Nor do I have any particular desire to live it now.

But I wasn't talking about earthly polygamy. I was talking about the afterlife. If you want to argue with the point I made, please restrict yourself to the idea of polygamy in the afterlife, practiced by perfected beings, and not Warren Jeffs and other nutjobs in Arizona.

Quick illustration. Mormons believe that marriage is an eternal principle and that it endures beyond the grave. What if a guy marries in his twenties, spends 5 wonderful years with his wife and she dies in a car wreck. Then he remarries and lives with that woman for many more years. Is he supposed to choose between the two women in the hereafter?

It's not half as icky as you seem to think. Once you accept the premise that family relationships endure into the eternities, it actually makes quite a bit of sense. All the objections you raised to it are more or less premised on human imperfections and abuses that would be absent in Heaven.

As for Biblical inerrancy... I'd say it's highly unlikely. Given the geographically dispersed nature of the early Christian Church, the limitations on travel, and the largely uneducated and unskilled nature of the early Christian scribes, I seriously doubt a lot of the texts made it through completely intact. Once Constantine officially endorsed Christianity, the Roman elite jumped on the bandwagon, and Christianity gained some actual skilled scribes. But before then, the quality of Christian scribe work was pretty atrocious. And we haven't even gotten into those who altered the text based on their own personal theological agendas.

One of the sketchy texts in the New Testament is actually John 1:1 which many Biblical scholars think was altered by someone with a theological agenda. You know - the Protestant's favorite proof text for the idea of the trinity...

No, I don't think the Bible made it through entirely intact. I think the message made it through quite a bit. It really is a remarkable historical achievement how Christianity has managed to preserve this book. I don't want to minimize that. But no, it's not a perfect book. And it's not even close to a substitute for God's continued PRESENT voice and direction.

Again, we can jump all over the place on this debate, but we might be better served to keep it more focused. Perhaps?

Abu Daoud said...

Fletcher: I think that Bible Prophecy was saying that the LDS cannot be THE TRUE CHURCH because all true believers in Jesus are somehow linked to the true church.

(By the way, I loved all those NT verses on the church, thanks.)

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

Baptized into Christ to BECOME the church of God -

We tend to think that we “go” to church. We GO to church, and we come home FROM church. But the truth of the matter is that we who are in Christ Jesus ARE the church!

When we are baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit we become a “new” creature (2 Cor.5:17, Gal.6:15). We become individually, as well as collectively, the living body of Christ Jesus (Col.1:24). We BECOME the church of God (1 Cor.10:32, 1 Cor.1:2, 1 Cor.15:9, Gal.1:13, Acts 20:28, 1 Ti.3:5).

The church of God are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; (Eph.2:20)

Where ever we in Christ are the church is.



Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

David said...

Fletcher,

You made a point how both the Muslim prophet and Joseph Smith married young girls.

Minus the polygamy aspect, you could make the same claim about 19th century Protestants. They married young girls (teenagers) at a higher percentage of the time than Joseph Smith did.

See my scholarly survey at FAIR's new blog.

Best wishes

Fletcher said...

Seth:

Much to talk about and so much I could respond to but it's too much for one blog post and my wife is insisting that I go to bed :-). Which issue would you like to focus on? I agree... one at a time, so let's focus.

I also apologize for blasting out too much information all at once.

How about the nature of God having a physical body or the fact that no one can see the Father. I wrote on those already but you didn't respond, respond to those if you'd like and we can go from there.

Mormons, I do appreciate the discussion, I do it with love in my heart, not malice!

If we knew each other I'm sure we could easily be pals - we just disagree about theology and I like to talk about it. You guys do too it seems and that's a good thing. So often it is taboo, but why? Well, good night.

Fletcher said...

David,

I made a lot of points. If you want to just look at numbers or age of girls OK... but the nature of Smith's marriages are downright awful. I'm sure you know the details or should I write about how they (JS, BY, others) took wives from men that were already married and ruined their lives, married mother/daughter combos, JS was caught cheating with he and Emma's housemaids so he conveniently came up with D&C 132 right after which actually threatens his own wife (surely you've read this?), etc,?

When I first read D&C 132 I must admit: It made be quite upset, being a family man.

How about this where Joseph Smith boasts that he did more than Christ himself to keep the church together? It shows his arrogance... as do many other things, but this is a doozy!

God is in the still small voice. In all these affidavits, indictments, it is all of the devil--all corruption. Come on! ye prosecutors! ye false swearers! All hell, boil over! Ye burning mountains, roll down your lava! for I will come out on the top at last. I have more to boast of than ever any man had. I am the only man that has ever been able to keep a whole church together since the days

page 409

of Adam. A large majority of the whole have stood by me. Neither Paul, John, Peter, nor Jesus ever did it. I boast that no man ever did such a work as I. The followers of Jesus ran away from Him; but the Latter-day Saints never ran away from me yet.

God says that pride goes before a fall. Joseph died one month later. Think about it.

If you want the context, go here:

http://www.carm.org/lds/docs/HC_v6_408-9.htm

For more interesting quotes from Joseph Smith, go here:

http://www.carm.org/lds/quotes_js.htm

Seth R. said...

Interestingly, I have entertained the idea that Joseph may at one point have become a "fallen prophet." Or maybe he just had a "Moses moment" like that time Moses strikes the rock and pridefully tells the people "I have given you water" - for which he was reprimanded by God. The Doctrine and Covenants actually includes several instances of God rebuking Joseph. Joseph wasn't all that shy about including those uncomfortable revelations.

On to the embodied God. I assume you are talking about the phrase "no man hath seen the Father"?

Well, what about Stephen at his martyrdom?

How do you reconcile the two passages? Not that I think that "seeing" God the Father necessarily says anything about what He does or does not look like.

The idea of an embodied God isn't really that big a stretch for a traditional Christian. After all, Christians already believe God was embodied at some point in the person of Jesus Christ.

I'm not sure what logical contradiction you think Mormons are facing with their embodied God that you aren't similarly facing with your embodied Jesus. Any good Muslim theologian would tell us we're both wrongheaded idolaters for putting flesh upon the universal God.

Incidentally, I've gone the rounds enough times on other forums not to take it personally. Nothing in the way you've handled this discussion particularly bothers me. You've been polite. Just hope I haven't been too heated myself.

David said...

Fletcher,

Thanks for your measured response.

I agree that there is a lot to find awful about polygamous marriages, as they are completely foreign to our modern sensibilities.

Maybe I will blog about Joseph Smith's arrogance, but I tend to think he was riffing off of a similar boast made by Paul and dipping into the frontier culture of telling tall tales or creating folksy exaggerations not meant to be taken seriously.

The sources that Joseph was caught cheating by Emma are on shaky ground. One version of that story comes much later and second hand by a person hostile to Joseph Smith. In 1838 William McClellin plundered Joseph Smith's home while Smith was incarcerated and while Emma looked on. It is unlikely that she told this story to McClellin 9 years later. Emma always denied plural marriage happened to everyone else, why would she confess to a family enemy?

In 1833 or 1835, Joseph had married Fanny Alger, so I would not regard anything that occurred between the two as cheating. Your Compton source can confirm that.

Fletcher said...

Hey gang:

Well, we've agreed to be focused, so let's keep with the doctrines about God, (such as God's form, there only being one God, Man cannot see God the Father, etc.) for now and then we can move on to other things later. There is so much to talk about, but again, one thing at a time

John 4:24 says "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

Then we see in In Luke 24:39 (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.)Jesus says that a spirit does NOT have flesh and bones. We do not know what spirit is, but we do know what it is not. Also, God is everywhere. If he had a body, He could not be everywhere.... A body would mean that he has material, Matter, etc. Time is a function of the existence of Matter. Since God is outside of time, eternal, He could not be material. Therefore, He cannot have a body because he could not them be omnipresent.

As far as Steven, it was a Vision that is being described there. Was Jesus LITERALLY sitting on God's right hand?

1 Tim 6:16 tells us that no man can see God. "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."

John 6:46 is the same: "Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father."

Joseph claimed to see God the FATHER. You ask about Trinitarian theology and how we (Protestants) can believe that no one can see God (the Father)and also adhere to the idea that Jesus was God in flesh.

The Trinity is that God is one being in three persons. Jesus is God manifested in human form, but is a different person that God the Father. Sure, Trinitarian theology isn't the easiest subject of them all, but the Bible is clear that there is only ONE God, and Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are all repeatedly referred to as God in the Bible so voila: The Trinity.


For proof texts that there is only one God see Isaiah 43:10 (blatant), 44:6, 8, 45:5,14,18,21,22, 46:9, 47:8, John 17:3, 1 Cor. 8:5-6, Gal 4:8-9

Before you respond, please go read these verses.

Seth R. said...

Alright...

John 4:24

I read this scripture inclusively rather than exclusively. Sure God is spirit, but He is also many other things. I too am a spirit, but I am also something more than that.

Read 1 John 4:8. Am I to conclude that because "God is love," that He is also not many other things? The interpretation of these scriptures is quite similar. What about the passage claiming "God is light"? John 4:24 does not say God is "only" spirit or even that He is "infinite" spirit. You guys added those interpretations yourselves.

There's also a problem with your read when you look at the original Greek text. Greek has no indefinite articles like "a" or "an." So the phrase "God is spirit" can be equally translated as "God is spirit" OR "God is a spirit." Modern translators have chosen the former because of its parallels in 1 John 1:5 and 1 John 4:8. In all these passages, it seems to be referring to God's activity toward men rather than the nature of His being.

So John 24 ain't going to cut it.

Luke 24:39

I'm not sure why you think this supports your position. Christ is supposed to be God. You say God is only spirit. Yet Christ himself goes to great pains to prove to his disciples that he is physically there. Definitely embodied. Then he rises straight up into heaven in his EMBODIED form.

Could you be any plainer? Christ is still up there. And he's got his body with him. If it's so important to realize God as a spirit, why didn't Christ appear to his disciples as a spirit? Was he just roleplaying for a few days?

If God is a spirit, then it seems clear that Christ could not be Him. Because "a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have."

And what about 1 Corinthians 6:17? "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."

Am I supposed to conclude from this that I will become God in the hereafter?

John 1:18 says "No man has seen God at any time."

A problematic verse given that throughout the Bible, people DID see God (see Gen 32:30; Deut 5:24-26; Isa 6:5). Other scriptures (Deut 18:16; Judg 6:22-23, 13:22; Exod 20:19; Isa 6:5) clearly evoke the ancient Hebrew belief that viewing the personage of God would result in death. Often such scriptures were accompanied by surprise that the speaker had seen God, and yet lived to tell the tale. In fact, nowhere in the Bible doe anyone die after seeing God. The contradiction is never resolved in the biblical text.

However the LDS have resolved it via our own scripture - which explains that the glory of God is such that it will consume any mortal who views it. Thus, before witnessing God, a man must be changed in some way. This is explained in the beginning of the Book of Moses in the LDS Pearl of Great Price.

Thus LDS view John 1:18 as simply pointing out that a man cannot see God as he is. However, this will not always be the case, as 1 John 3:2 makes clear

"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."

As for Isa 43:10 and the other proof-texts, I think you're wandering off the mark here since we're discussing God's body, not whether He has company up there. I'll address those later if you want, but I'm going to stick to this topic for now.

Now, question, what do you make of Gen 1:26-27?

"And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."

Now, I imagine you will say that this is either figurative, or God is simply creating man with some of his attributes, but not all of them. Funny that the LDS are not granted similar leeway in interpreting John 4:24, but whatever....

But then, what about Gen 5:3?

"And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth."

Striking similarities. And the Hebrew language used in the verses is very similar as well. If there is a good reason to interpret one passage one way, and the other another way, what is it?

Incidentally, LDS do not believe that "spirit" is incorporeal either. It is considered to be refined matter, but still matter nonetheless. Early Christians held similar views. Consider the words of Tertullian: "For who will deny that God is a body, although 'God is a Spirit?' For Spirit has a bodily substance of its own kind, in its own form." Tertullian, 'Against Praxeas' 7.

I'll have to come back to this argument in a later post addressing the philosophical and logical implications of embodiment.

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath VISITED Us (Lk.1:68 below).

Lk.1:68 Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath VISITED and redeemed his people,


In Jesus dwells ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9 below) -

o God the Father
o The Holy Spirit of God the Father
o The Word of God the Father

The only begotten son of God the Father (Jn.1:14 below), Jesus (the Word - Jn.1:1, Jn.1:14 below), His beloved Son (Matt.3:17 below), was conceived of the Holy Ghost (Matt.1:20 below).

It is God the Father who conceived in Mary (blessed among women) His very Word through His very Holy Spirit (Matt.1:20 below).


Col.2:9 For in him dwelleth ALL the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Jn.1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, (Matt.1:20, Matt.3:17 below)) full of grace and truth.

Jn.1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Re.1:6, Lk.1:47 below).

Re.1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God (Jn.1:1 above) AND his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Lk.1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (Jn.1:14, Jn.1:1, Re.1:6 above).

Matt.3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son (Matt.1:20 below), in whom I am well pleased.

Matt.1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Jn.1:14, Matt.3:17 above).



Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

Fletcher said...

Hey Seth:

The point of Luke 24:39 is to show that biblically, a Spirit does not have flesh and bones. The "God is light" stuff is figurative, but you know that.

I thought I explained the "Jesus is God" deal earlier. Jesus is one person out of of three within the holy Trinity. The Bible makes it very clear that there is but one God ONLY, and Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are all called God on the Bible. So what do you do? You derive the Trinity.

So let's talk about God appearing in the OT.

In Num. 12:6-8, God says He appears to others in visions and dreams, but not Moses. Moses beheld God's very form. Then, in Exo. 24:9-11, 74 people saw the God of Israel and under his feet there was a pavement of sapphire, etc....God was seen in human form in the O. T., right? But Jesus said in John 6:46 that no one has ever seen the Father.

So, if God was being seen in the OT, but it was not the Father, then who was it? It was the Preincarnate Christ. The Father does not have a body of flesh and bones. Jesus does -- at least now...
Again, in 1 Tim. 6:16-17 it says that God dwells in unapproachable light whom no man has seen, nor CAN see. What do you do with that? Don’t bring up Steven again, that was a vision. You have to deal with this honestly Seth.

John 14:9 is where Jesus said to see him was to see the Father. Does that mean that the Father has two legs, two hands, a beard, and a couple eye balls? No.

Seth R. said...

I think the trinity is a totally unnecessary construct from the basic text of the Bible. This three-gods-in-one business is pretty-much incomprehensible. Mormons take more after Tertullian, who posited that Jesus and God the Father are one only in the sense that they share the same purpose, thinking and goals. The Godhead if you will. But they are not one substance. Making them one substance is totally uncalled for by the text. And it doesn't make any sense either.

As for Timothy 1:16, I already explained how this is perfectly consistent with the Mormon view. Mormons don't believe you can "see" God either, without undergoing a radical transformation. Otherwise you would be blasted by the mere presence of God physically.

It's important to distinguish between what the Bible is actually saying and what you are reading into it. Timothy tells us that you cannot "see" God. Well so what? That logically says nothing about whether He has a physical body or not. Is it possible to have a physical form and yet be unviewable by mortal eyes. Yes!

If you want to claim there is no Biblical proof of Mormon claims in the Bible, fine by me. I'd agree with you. But it just isn't true that the Bible flat-out contradicts Mormon claims. Our claims are perfectly consistent with the text itself.

Fletcher said...

Seth:

Does the Bible clearly teach that there is just one God, or not? Tell me what you think.

Then, we can look at whether or not Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are called God.

If we can demonstrate these ideas as biblically TRUE, then what do we do?

Anyway... JS claimed to have seen God the Father in his first vision. But yet we see in the Bible that no one CAN see him, so my point is: JS was lying. That's really it for that.

As far as the Trinity being incomprehensible by you and I's human finite minds... that alone shouldn't stop you from accepting it. There are many things of God that are incomprehensible to us humans, that's what makes God God after all. Can you comprehend how God created the universe ex nihilo, "from nothing?" I sure can't understand that, but I believe it. It's actually the only logical explanation for their being anything at all, a necessary Being to have started it. But, it's still incomprehensible.

So how do you know it is OK to see God after you go through a radical transformation? Was such a transformation undergone by JS during his vision time?

It is quite true that the Bible contradicts Mormon teachings. Biblical Monotheism, for one, contradicts Mormonism for sure.

I'd like to talk about the Book of Abraham at some point soon, since I believe that it plainly proves that Joseph Smith was, quite honestly, a blatant liar. Also, the first 116 pages going missing is another one. His false prophecies could also be discussed....

So, if you won't concede that there is only one God, that the Trinity makes sense in light of biblical teaching that there is only one God and yet the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are all repeatedly called God, and that God does not have a body.. even though I've given plenty of good reason to believe these things as true... then I say we can move on to the Book of Abraham if you're willing to?

Fletcher said...

Seth and other Mormon guys:

You can also email me at my blogspot profile if you want to talk more privately. I'd like that...

Fletcher said...

In the book "History of Joseph Smith" (p. 85), written by Joseph Smith's mother, Lucy Mack Smith, states:

"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them."

How is it that Joseph Smith told these stories several years before he allegedly found the golden plates and wrote The Book of Mormon?

He had quite the imagination.

Seth R. said...

"Does the Bible clearly teach that there is just one God, or not? Tell me what you think."

Depends what you mean by "God."

Do you mean, "does the Bible clearly teach that God is the only one of His species in existence?"

It does not teach that with any sort of clarity. Observe Gen 1:26:

Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness..."

The Hebrew word here is "eloheim" in the plural or "gods" as it is translated.

Then there is Psalms 82:6: "I have said ye are gods..." Again "eloheim" in plural.

You can read those verses a few different ways. But that's my point, there are multiple interpretations. There is no basis for saying that Mormonism is anti-biblical on this score.

Or do you mean "does it clearly teach that there is only one whom we should worship?"

It doesn't necessarily teach that either. After all, you can read the Bible as advocating worship of both the Father and the Son. And you definitely can read the Bible as teaching the two are separate. Ergo...

Does it mean there is only one entity - whether a unity of 3 individuals, or one substance - that we should direct our worship towards? I would say yes, the Bible does have that message.

Incidentally, Mormons do not believe in creation ex nihilo. Not a lot of other Christians are aware of this, and I thought you should know.

We believe that all matter is eternal. We ourselves, at our most basic level of identity are also eternal. God didn't "create" anything "out of nothing" in Mormon theology. When we call God "creator" we mean it in a similar sense of an artist who takes pre-existing material and creates beauty. Brings order from chaos.

I actually think that is the true (often unacknowledged) divide between Mormons and traditional Christians. All other debates are simply matters of degree.

Fletcher said...

Your question here totally supports the Trinity: The Father, Son, and HS are in communion with each other here... that is the "US". Jesus is co-eternal with the father. (John 1:1, 14, 8:58) and nothing was created that was not created by Jesus (Col 1:15-17, very clear). So Gen 1:16 clues us in on the Trinity from the beginning. The Trinity is a trinity of persons.

Jesus has two natures. This is called the hypostatic union. He is both divine and human. He did not consider equality with God something that we could understand so he emptied himself, meaning he suspended the use of some of his divine attributes while here with us. Have you read Phil 2:5-8 before? There's a lot of relevant material here, including yet another reference (out of many) of him being God. Check it out: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!


So still, we have one God. Did you read all of those other verses I sent supporting this? What do you do with the verses in Isaiah?

When the Bible does in fact speak of other gods it is speaking of false gods that have no true existence. It does not contradict itself. Gal. 4:8 says, "Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods."

You got a little off topic there, but I'm glad you brought up OUR eternality. However, my point is still this: The trinty is incomprehensible to our minds, but there are many things of God that are incomprehensible to our minds but yet we still believe. Think about his many attributes... omniscience, ominpresence (which by the way you didn't respond to, if God has a body how is he omnipresent?), omnipotence, etc. Aren't these incomprehensible?

Now, our own eternality is a logical contradiction in my view and is likened to Buddhism actually.

You cannot be infinite, only God can because God Himself is the Necessary Being that created everything. Everything else is contingent upon him, otherwise you get hurled into an infinite regression and you would have never made it here in the first place. Do you see what I mean. If an infinite number of events would have to happen in order for you to be here right now, you would have never made it here. That might sound confusing, I know. Consider this scripture. Col 1:16-17

"For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."

So you were created by Jesus, because ALL things that were created were created by Him. That rules Himself out of being a creation too doesn't it, since ALL things that were created were created by him.

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

In Jesus dwells ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9 below) -

o God the Father
o The Holy Spirit of God the Father
o The Word of God the Father

The only begotten son of God the Father (Jn.1:14 below), Jesus (the Word - Jn.1:1, Jn.1:14 below), His beloved Son (Matt.3:17 below), was conceived of the Holy Ghost (Matt.1:20 below).

It is God the Father who conceived in Mary (blessed among women) His very Word through His very Holy Spirit (Matt.1:20 below).


Col.2:9 For in him dwelleth ALL the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Jn.1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, (Matt.1:20, Matt.3:17 below)) full of grace and truth.

Jn.1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Re.1:6, Lk.1:47 below).

Re.1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God (Jn.1:1 above) AND his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Lk.1:47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour (Jn.1:14, Jn.1:1, Re.1:6 above).

Lk.1:68 Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath VISITED and redeemed his people,

Matt.3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son (Matt.1:20 below), in whom I am well pleased.

Matt.1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost (Jn.1:14, Matt.3:17 above).



Pat (ndbpsa ©) Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

bibleprophecy_ndbpsa said...

Revelation of the Godhead -

This insight provides an answer to the question, How is it there is but One God, yet Three (1 Jn.5:7, Jn.10:30, Matt.28:19 below)?

1 Jn.5:7 For there are THREE that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and THESE THREE ARE ONE.

Jn.10:30 I and my Father are ONE (Lk.1:68, Col.2-9, Re.1:6 below).

Matt.28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son (Jn.1:14 below), and of the Holy Ghost (1 Jn.5:7 above).


In the Beginning -

To explain this revelation we reference Genesis 1:2, which declares in part, "… And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."

And, we reference Genesis 1:26, in part, "And God said, Let US make man in OUR image… ."

John 1:1-3 also declares that, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS God (Re.1:6 below). The same was in the beginning WITH God. All things were made by him (the Word); and without him was not any thing made that was made."

And, John 1:14 declares, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father (Matt.3:17, Matt.1:20 below)), full of grace and truth."

What is divinely present in the beginning is the triune God - God the Father, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God.

Re.1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God AND his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Col.2:9 For in him (Jesus) dwelleth ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Lk.1:68 below)

Lk.16:8 Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people (Col.2:9 above).

Matt.3:17 And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son (Matt.3:17 below), in whom I am well pleased.

Matt.1:20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Jn.1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father (Jn.17:8), he hath declared him.


I Came Out From Thee -

The Lord Jesus, at John 17:8, praying to God the Father declares, "For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I CAME OUT FROM THEE (Jn.1:18 above), and they have believed that thou didst send me."


God the Father brought forth God (Re.1:6 above), His Word (Jn.1:18 above), manifested as His separate self and, likewise, the Spirit of God is brought forth from God the Father's very Holy Spirit, a separate self - all God the Father, the triune God!


The Holy Spirit of God the Father -

Therefore, what occurred when the Holy Spirit of God the Father came upon Mary, blessed among women (Matt.1:20 above), is that Mary conceived literally, and absolutely, the very Word of God the Father, in the flesh, our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


God, the chief corner stone of the church of God -

Mary gave birth to God (John 1:1-3, John 1:14, Re.1:6). The stone which the builders refused (Ps.118:22), would become “the head stone of the corner” of the church of God (1 Cor.10:32), His living body (Col.1:24). Therefore, Mary would become the mother of the church, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Eph.2:20), and we in Him being members in particular (1 Cor.12:27).



Pat (ndbpsa © - 1982)
Bible Prophecy on the Web
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BibleProphecy

Seth R. said...

Yes, I've heard of the so-called problem of infinite regress. I think it's an entirely artificial logic game that trinitinarians have cooked up that does not necessarily signify what eternity is or is not.

Infinite regress is a non-reality for Mormons. Nothing "caused" God. Nothing caused anything. Thus no infinite regress.

The seemingly monotheistic scriptures you cite are nothing more than an injunction of where to direct our worship. They say absolutely zip, nothing, nadda about whether God is the only one of His type and species or not.

Fletcher said...

Seth:

The infinite regress issue is not only NOT from trinitarians, but you could even call it secular. It's just logic. Logic stands alone regardless of religious affiliation.

God is necessarily a self-existent being who is eternal and who existed outside of time before he himself created time. All other beings are contingent. See Occam's razor.

It doesn't really matter that it's a non-issue "for Mormons" or not, the fact is, it is an issue that makes total sense to believers and atheists alike. Where do you get the idea that you are eternal anyway?

You have to play it out though, you have to think it through and understand it without Mormon presuppositions of your eternality in mind. Just put that aside and look at it on its' own. You cannot have an infinte regress of contingencies because you'd go back forever... we would never have made it here. We would not be.

Your response to their only being one God is indicative that no matter what, you are going to read into the scriptures a meaning that you need them to have in order to fit Mormon theology regardless of how plain the biblical truths are that there is ONE God. Not just one God that we should worship, but one God period at all.

Just read it plainly and let its simple truth resonate with you:

Isaiah 44:6 "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."

Because you are Mormon you are forcing yourself to extrapolate something that is entirely not there. It says "beside me there is no God." That's it!

Two verses later, in verse 8, Gods word emphasizes the very same point quite clearly: "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."

God here is saying that He knows NOT ANY. Not just "not any worthy of worship" but not ANY. The meaning of this verse is simple and clear. Don't read something into it because you need something else to be true, you owe yourself honesty here man! If you believe the Bible, and if you allow yourself to just read it plainly, then you can see here, there is ONE God, period, and the polytheism taught in Mormonism is utterly false. It's not my opinion, it is biblical and I actually believe what the Bible says.

I have seen these verses alone cause people that believe what the Bible says to leave the Mormon church.


Want to discuss the Book of Abraham over the weekend? I'm not sure how you can get around that one... but I'm sure you'll have some answers because you HAVE TO have an answer other than "you're right, Joseph Smith made it up" in order for Mormonism to be true, I just wonder what your answers are? The pappyri have been found (1966 I believe) and translated and shown to contain nothing at all what JS claimed they did. He made it all up! It's really amazing. I've shown this to Mormon missionaries and they just shook their heads and said "that cannot be true." But it really is!

http://www.carm.org/lds/ldspapyri.htm

Side topic: How is it that Jesus was born of a virgin (biblical) if Mormonism teaches that God in a body had physical union with Mary? I've never asked a Mormon that before, but just thought of it.

Please remember not to take anything I write here personally, it has nothing to do with you. You might be the coolest guy I'd ever meet, it's just MormonISM that I disagree with, not Mormons as people.

Seth R. said...

OK, why does there have to be a beginning?

An eternally existent universe is just as logical as one that came from nothing. It's simply the artificial parameters you have constructed that make it illogical in your mind.

Let's take an example. A Greek philosopher came up with the following bit of nonesense:

Suppose you are standing 5 feet from your front door. Then you walk exactly half the distance to the door. Now again, you walk exactly half the distance to the door. And again and again.

At this rate, you can never reach your front door. It is impossible. Because of the logical parameters you have set for yourself in reaching the door, you can never reach it. Even though it is right there!

Further consider that while it may look simple to reach the door, you must traverse every last one of those infinite half-steps in order to reach it. While it LOOKS like five feet, in reality there is an infinite amount of microscopic space between you and that door.

Logically, it should be impossible for you to reach the door.

A fine bit of nonsense. And that's all your infinite regress example is as well. Nonsense that doesn't necessarily signify reality. Certainly it isn't a part of the religion revealed from God. It's simply what happens when Greek logic puzzles collide with the Bible.

And don't bring up the Big Bang either. The theory is quite dated and Modern astrophysics is actually positing that there have been multiple "big bangs" across time, across space, and across half a dozen other dimensions we don't even understand and cannot observe.

Ever read about string theory? If you had, I doubt you'd be so confident that a physically present being cannot span the infinite.

There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy Horatio.

I don't mind if you want to posit that God is the uncreated creator. But don't tell me it's biblical. And don't try to tell me that it's been logically and conclusively proven. I'm no philosopher, but I've read enough of it to realize that Plato's assumptions have been deeply shaken by later thinkers.

Seth R. said...

Isaiah 44:6 "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."

Little self examination please.

"There is no other God"

Except Jesus, says the Christian.

Any Jewish theologian would know exactly what to say to that.

You traditional Christians get around the problem of having only one God just fine. What makes you think Mormons can't do the same thing?

Seth R. said...

The Mormon response to the Isaiah verse is to respond:

Yes, there is no other God, whom we are obliged to worship. But that doesn't mean we aren't of the same species as Him.

By the way, the idea that God had physical sex with Mary is purely speculative in Mormon thought. We don't deny it, we don't affirm it, we don't teach it. Some of our leadership had some opinions on the subject, but it was never really adopted as doctrine by the LDS Church.

Fletcher said...

Seth:

You wrote that "The Mormon response to the Isaiah verse is to respond:

Yes, there is no other God, whom we are obliged to worship. But that doesn't mean we aren't of the same species as Him."

Seth, this might be the typical Mormon response, but is this YOUR response personally? Can you honestly tell me that you are OK with the fact that you can take this very plain teaching (let's read it again) " I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." and then "Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."

It says there is NO God, I know not ANY God. How can you possibly go from that to "there is no other God, whom we are obliged to worship???"

The same species as God? Wow Seth, that is utterly blasphemy and disrespect to a God so infinitely mightier than we could ever even imagine to understand.

Again though, being like God and becoming God is a "nice idea" that is appealing to humans who want it all, just like having all sorts of women is.


Seth, this is really sad and I am praying for you my friend I mean that. The fact is, you don't want to believe what God's word plainly teaches because it doesn't match your theology, a theology that you so far must hold on to regardless of the facts p[robably because you are so deeply tied to it familialy, culturally, and personally. Do not let your tradition blind you to the facts that are right in front of your eyes! The meaning of these verses (and many others) is as clear as the sun.

Have you heard of the term "Eisegesis?" It means "an interpretation of Scripture that expresses the interpreter's own ideas, bias, or the like, rather than the ACTUAL meaning of the text."

That is exactly what's going on here. At this point it is a matter of the will. Are you WILLING to believe God's word over the Mormon churches heretical teachings?

About your request for self examination... I am starting to feel like a broken record so listen carefully one more time:

The bible makes it abundantly clear that there is but ONE God. Not one God that we should worship or revere in some particular way, just one God period. Jesus is clearly illustrated as God, and so are the Father and Holy Spirit. Therefore, you have the trinity.

We can talk about the impossibility of traversing an actual infinite later. But if you can't accept the plain meaning of these verses then I honestly don't see the point. I can only pray that the truth of God's word will haunt you, keep you up at night, and call your heart towards the one true God who does love you and wants to have fellowship with you on a very personal level, but also wants you to repent and worship him alone as the one true God expressed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit.

Like I said before: It IS OK if Mormonism is false, for all is not lost..not in the least! Jesus, your God and Savior is waiting for you to see him clearly for the very first time... if only you are willing.

Peace be upon you Seth, and any other Mormons who might be reading this.

Seth R. said...

Oh no, it was my own response.

You wrote:

"The bible makes it abundantly clear that there is but ONE God. Not one God that we should worship or revere in some particular way, just one God period. Jesus is clearly illustrated as God, and so are the Father and Holy Spirit. Therefore, you have the trinity."

If the Bible makes it abundantly clear that there is but ONE God, then why do you worship Christ in addition to God the Father?

You try to beat me over the head with a particular reading of Isaiah, and then you conveniently insert an escape clause for your own brand of polytheism. But you deny a similar interpretation to me.

If Christ is able to fully partake in God's glory, why is it so much of a stretch to believe that others can as well? After all, are we not called to become "joint heirs with Christ" in the New Testament?

You call this blasphemous and degrading of God.

I would respond that it is not I who is degrading God, it is you who is degrading humanity. At no point do I deny the unbridgeable gulf between me and God. At no time do I deny that it is only through Christ's Atonement that this gulf may be crossed. I have nothing but reverence for Jesus Christ and I marvel at both his life and his death that makes my salvation possible. I respect and reverence him as my beloved older brother and I love God as my Father. I fail to see where that stance "disrespects" either of them.

As for the trinity, it makes little inherent sense. Are God and Jesus the same person or aren't they?

If they are different people, you've got the Mormon position. If they are the same person, you've got monism, which traditional Christianity regards as a heresy (though a LOT of lay Christians subscribe to it).

But you are trying to have it both ways by saying "they are, but they aren't - and anyway, it's all a mystery."

Sorry, I don't buy it. I'd agree with the Jews and Muslims that the trinity doesn't really save you from polytheism. It simply makes it so no one can understand you. You can't say that God and Jesus are the same thing, but they aren't at the same time. It's a meaningless statement that gets us nowhere.

Fletcher said...

I am also very sorry that you don't buy it, because your very salvation is at stake. If you're wrong about Jesus, you're wrong about everything pretty much, and eternity is a long time to be wrong. It's depressing.....

Would you read it if I sent you an exhibition of Jesus being God from the scriptures, or would you just skim past it in a rush to reply with your preconceptions? I'm not trying to be harsh here Seth, this is an honest question. If I do write something up, it will take some time but I don't want to take the time (I'm very busy!) if you won't read it earnestly, without presuppositions. This is what I was talking about in my very first post: Being objective. This way I can defend Jesus=God=Holy Spirit, three persons in one being. I can't just "one line it" for you, it is indeed complicated, but it is NOT indefensible. It can be readily defended through the scriptures.


The main difference between Mormons and Christians is that Christians believe what the Bible plainly teaches, and Mormons believe what Joseph Smith and the other "prophets" say, OVER the Bible. I understand, you can't believe what God's word plainly says because it doesn't fit your Mormon presuppositions. Therefore, it becomes necessary to eisegete meaning so that it can fit, because a plain reading of scripture indeed does not fit Mormon theology. All of the other issues such as the Book of Abraham have to be excused as well, because these issues MUST become non-issues in order for Mormonism to be true. I've read the counterarguments about the BOA by Mormon apologists and I can tell you, whether or not I am a Christian they are really weak. They are almost embarrassing. The fact it, they are excuses and skirting because again, Mormonism MUST be true right?

Here's a question for you: What would it take for you to believe that Mormonism is not true, and that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God? Is there anything that would convince you?

I can understand why Mormonism is appealing, believe me. It would be an appealing idea (besides the utter blasphemy) if I thought I could become a God someday and rule my own dominion but it just flat out contradicts the Bible. A LOT of Mormon doctrine contradicts the Bible but I just hate to jump around from subject to subject. Joseph Smith was a creative guy, there's no doubt, and he knew how to appeal to people, especially men.

Take the celestial marriage idea for one more example, clearly this contradicts scripture. Look at Matthew 22:29-30 "Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven." Clear as day Seth. Plus, if we did have celestial families, whose planet are your kids on once they get married and have their own families, and on and on through the generation. Do they live on the planet of the mother or the father's side?

This is just another example, but again, there are hundreds. The Mormon has to continue to invent excuses why the scriptures do not actually say what they plainly DO say. I could go on and on and on with such examples but it's best to stay focused. My point is, Mormon theology is repleat with biblical contradictions and it just really bums me out. Mormonism would stop spreading all together if people were more educated on this, but the Missionaries are able to appeal to people who are lost and in search of something to heal them and bring meaning to their lives (that something is the gospel of Christ, the REAL one). They don't ever come to your door and teach the weird stuff, like God has parents from the planet Kolob, or D&C 132, or that we can become Gods, or that salvation comes by faith in Jesus "after all we can do", or the temple ceremonies, or the secret handshakes and undergarments, none of that is ever mentioned.. let alone the scores of historical proofs of its' falsehood, most of which we haven't even touched yet. They never mention any of that. Usually the young missionaries don't even know about most of this stuff, they are just thrown out there to prey on the theologically ignorant. It's all about Jesus and family, they SOUND very Christian but they leave out all of the blasphemy. It's very sad. If they told the whole story, people would look at them like they were totally bonkers and shut the door I'm sure of that.

Here's something I've wondered too: If you adhere to Mormonism in a big time way, you eventually become a God right? Why wasn't/isn't the angel Moroni a God? Why "only" an angel? Was he not a good enough Mormon? It's a side topic, but worth a ponder.

Talk to you later

Fletcher said...

Actually, here you go. You have to come up with some really good stuff to excuse ALL of these equivocations between God the Son (Jesus) and God the Father.

Remember, it is not I, myself, nor any other Bible believer that came up with the Trinity or that Jesus is God. It's just what the Bible says. There is one God, manifested in three persons. Sure, it's tough to get, but so are many mysteries of God. But I am not throwing out the mystery card here, because it can be articulated and can be demonstrated scripturally.

Here you go, look thses over... take your time. PS - I can actually come up with more than are on this list, it's really all over the place in the Bible.

http://www.carm.org/doctrine/Jesusisgod.htm

Seth R. said...

Look, you don't have to convince me that Jesus "is God." I'm a Mormon, that's part of our doctrine. The only reason I brought it up is because the Old Testament proof-texts you were trying to invoke against Mormonism apply equally to your faith.

You can tell me I'm operating from preconceptions if you want. I could say the same thing about you. I doubt that train of thought is going to get anyone anywhere. You can call me a heretic, and I can call you an apostate. But I doubt that's going to go anywhere useful either.

You say I just "want" the scriptures to agree with Mormonism, so I read them that way? I could just as easily say that you "want" the scriptures to refute Mormonism, so you read them that way. Is this really useful?

I appreciate your heartfelt concern. But the "your salvation is at stake" line is just an appeal to emotion. Remember, you guys don't tend to like it when we appeal to emotion at you, so why are you using it on me?

Incidentally, on that note... since when did Christ's Atonement become conditional? Not that we necessarily ought to pursue that tangent...

By the way, the other proofs you've cited against Mormonism really aren't proofs. They're actually full of holes, unless you're coming from evangelical preconceptions that is.

Seth R. said...

"The Mormon has to continue to invent excuses why the scriptures do not actually say what they plainly DO say."

Have you been keeping up on Christian apologetics? Because what you are saying is almost verbatim what I've heard atheists say about YOU.

And secondly, the Bible simply isn't plain. At least, it isn't plain on the topics you're claiming it's plain on. I've sat in on debates with evangelicals and Catholics absolutely shredding each other apart over the supposed "plain meaning" of the Bible. So don't talk to me about plain meaning. The Bible is very ambiguous on a lot of different topics - including the precise species of God, and whether there is a strict monotheism in there or not. The Jews think you guys are simply manufacturing the "Son of God" out of the Old Testament out of thin air. I've heard their arguments. We don't have an airtight case.

"My point is, Mormon theology is repleat with biblical contradictions and it just really bums me out."

So is you theology. You are being no more objective than I am.

"Mormonism would stop spreading all together if people were more educated on this,"

You can think that if you want. The truth is that as a group Mormons tend to be fairly well-educated. We aren't out there preying on the stupid people. One of my religion teachers at BYU was a fully accredited Protestant minister before he converted to the LDS Church. He had a masters in theology, divinity school, philosophy, the whole nine yards.

I suppose the missionaries just preyed on his ignorance and vulnerability right?

"They don't ever come to your door and teach the weird stuff, like God has parents from the planet Kolob, or D&C 132, or that we can become Gods,"

Minor quibble - Kolob is a star. And no one "lives" on it. Secondly, nowhere in Mormon scripture does it say that God did or did not have parents. One of our prophets coined a phrase "as man now is, God once was." But he never really explained it. Joseph Smith called God an "exalted man" but he never fleshed out the doctrine either. If we're not talking much about it, it's really because there isn't much to say about it as of yet. Why waste time speculating on things that God has not seen fit to elaborate on?

The idea that we can become gods is not exactly hidden from new converts. The idea that God is our literal spirit Father, and that our purpose is to become like Him is right there in the first missionary discussion. We are right up front with the divine destiny of humankind.

And incidentally, this stuff isn't weird. That's just your own prejudices talking.

"or that salvation comes by faith in Jesus "after all we can do"

Actually, that's right there in the missionary discussions too. We make it abundantly clear that there are things you have to do to receive exaltation. Now salvation, on the other hand, is a free gift to everyone in Mormon theology. Everyone, from Hitler, to Mother Teresa, from Christian to pagan, will receive a degree of glory in the afterlife due to Christ's great sacrifice, as a truly free gift.

We really aren't hiding the ball on this. It's not our fault if you're not paying attention.

"or the temple ceremonies, or the secret handshakes and undergarments, none of that is ever mentioned..."

Why should it be? Are we doing something wrong in there? If we are, I'm not aware of it.

"let alone the scores of historical proofs of its' falsehood, most of which we haven't even touched yet."

And I suppose you Protestants, when witnessing to potential converts, lead with the lack of any archaeological evidence for the Exodus. Right? Right after you get done explaining how evolutionary patterns among different animal species on Hawaii, Australia, and elsewhere make the story of a worldwide flood literally impossible? Or after you get done explaining how, according to John Calvin, everything I do is predetermined and nothing I try to do will make any difference?

Do you lead with that information? No? Then what makes you guys so much more honest than we are?

Come on! No one leads with all the negatives about their beliefs. No one. To do so would be dishonest, since you would be giving people a skewed view of what we believe.

Not that I'm conceding that these are even negatives to begin with. What's wrong with having religious clothing? And why should we be advertising it up front?


"They never mention any of that. Usually the young missionaries don't even know about most of this stuff, they are just thrown out there to prey on the theologically ignorant."

You have absolutely nothing to back this statement up with. Either back it up or retract it. Do you have the numbers to show that Mormons are particularly more stupid than any other group?

"If they told the whole story, people would look at them like they were totally bonkers and shut the door I'm sure of that."

And you accuse me of coming at this with an agenda? Wishful thinking my friend. Just because you think it's weird doesn't mean that other people have reached the same conclusion.

The only reason that your faith isn't popularly considered to be just as "bonkers" as Mormonism is because you've been around for 2000 years, which gives you a veneer of respectability. There is nothing inherently more unbelievable about God speaking to Joseph Smith as God speaking to Moses. Once Mormonism has been around for 2000 years, it will be every bit as respectable as Catholicism.

Sorry if I'm getting a bit heated, but you are being very condescending.

Fletcher said...

Hey Seth:

Sorry for the delay, I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel and I have a one year old, so not so much time to blog on the busier days. Well, there's a lot to reply to here. Can I have your email address so we can continue that way? This blog is getting really long and will get a lot longer if I reply to everything you wrote here.

Sorry for the condescension, I didn't mean it. I just get frustrated sometimes and I shouldn't, it's my bad.

My email is cfletcher1971@hotmail.ocom, what is yours?

Fletcher said...

I've been thinking. You said that the typical Mormon response to the verses that state emphatically that there is only one God is that that really means there is only one God which whom we are obligated to worship in a certain way....

But then also you believe that The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three separate Gods. So my question to you is: Which of these three Gods (in the Mormon view) is the one you are supposed to worship? My guess is that you are going to say "Elohim" (The Father), however... we have examples of Jesus being worshipped in the Bible, and it is the very same word in Greek (Proskuneo) as we find when the Bible shows people worshipping the Father, Elohim. See Hebrews 1:6, and other places where Jesus willingly accepts worship such as Matt 2:2, 2:11, 14:33, 28:9, and John 9:35-38. Jesus Himself said that you would worship God only in Matt 4:10, and yet he willingly accepts worship? I was wondering what you do with that?

Also, what do you think of Joseph Smith from a moral perspective? Did you know that it is very well documented (even among Mormon scholars) that 9 out of his first 12 wives were already married to other men (so he was enforcing polyandry), many of which whom he would send their husbands out on missions while Joseph stayed back and "played house" with their wives?

What is the typical Mormon response to this issue? If I were a Mormon that would really bother me, no matter what the excuse for this one is.

Seth R. said...

Oh, I'll be honest with you. There are limits to my knowledge of Mormon doctrine and this is one of them. Whom do we worship?

Well, God the Father (Eloheim) obviously. Not the Holy Ghost, I'm fairly sure.

But what about Jesus?

Well, honestly, I'm not sure. I'd imagine a lot of Mormons do worship him. As for me, I worship God the Father. I reverence Christ, I see him as the ultimate example to emulate. I view him as the only begotten son of the Father. But I don't pray to him (only through him, as he instructs in the scriptures).

I believe that ancient Israel was obliged to worship Christ under his old name of Jehovah, but I don't know if that was simply a duty he was fulfilling in the name of the Father. Certainly, throughout his ministry, Christ repeatedly deferred to the Father, even refusing to acknowledge that he had any holiness in and of himself, except as it derived from the Father.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by "worship." I'm uncertain on this issue, and I wouldn't take my comments as authoritative for my Church or fellow members.

There is no "typical Mormon answer" on the question of polygamy. For most Mormons, it's not something they think that much about. Which is too bad in my opinion.

Yes, I did know about the marriages to married women. I also know that some of the wives were unusually young (though young brides really weren't that unusual back then).

Yes, it does bug me, no matter what the explanation is. Just as I imagine the conduct of some of the prophets in the Old Testament bothers you.

I believe the principle of polygamy came from God. I'm agnostic on the manner in which it was implemented by Joseph and Brigham Young.

There is no easy explanation for polygamy. Certainly nothing that would fit in a soundbite or blog post.