BEWARE OF MORMONISM'S ATTACKS AGAINST THE BIBLE!
It is difficult to dialogue with LDS who give a weak lip service to the Bible in their eighth article of faith (The Bible is the Word of God insofar as it is translated correctly), but in reality have very little confidence in it because of these alleged problems:
It has translation problems (this to Mormons means both the language changes and the transmission or copying problems down through the centuries).
Joseph Fielding Smith said, "Scholars do not deny that the original text of the Bible has been corrupted. Truths have been removed to preserve traditions. Faulty translations and omissions of phrases and clauses have resulted in confusion."
"We are all aware that there are errors in the Bible due to faulty translations and ignorance on the part of the translators, but the hand of the Lord has been over this volume of Scripture nevertheless, and it is remarkable that it has come down to us in the excellent condition in which we find it." (President Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 3:191)
Now compare the bold-faced comment above to this statement by Orson Pratt: "All the most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament known to the world differ from each other in almost every verse. ... The learned admit that in the manuscripts of the New Testament alone there are no less than one hundred and thirty thousand different readings.... No one can tell whether even one verse of either the Old or New Testament conveys the ideas of the original author." J of Discourses, 7:27-28 (emphasis added)
It is missing some books and teachings, and is only part of God's revelation to us: I Nephi 13:26-27 speaks of plain and most precious parts of the gospel of the Lamb being taken away, and many covenants of the Lord.
It has contradictions, and errors. (I've seen lists, over the years, and responded to them - they are ALLEGED contradictions and errors.)
"...for thou hast magnified thy
word above all thy name." Psalm 138:2
"But the facts show otherwise!" you might say. OK -- what facts? Lets deal with those charges one by one.
1.The translation issue. We acknowledge that the Bible manuscripts which we have (dating back to the 2nd century and beyond, and a few to dates before Christ) are written in Hebrew, Greek and a bit of Aramaic. But the fact is that we have dictionaries, lexicons and exhaustive concordances to show us the meaning of all these words as they appear in our King James Version. In any verse where one feels the translation is a question (translation means language change), you need only look up the word in an exhaustive concordance to verify it, and see where the same word is used elsewhere to get a picture of its overall usage in the Bible. This "bad translation argument" is just a straw-man. In my dialogues that has become evident when I ask if they will accept what the King James says, OR even what the Joseph Smith Inspired Version says. Even Smith's version often fails to agree with current LDS teachings!
2. The transmission attack. Because we have manuscripts that date so far back, and because there are many of them -- some in other languages as the Bible was copied and spread throughout the known world, we have many copies to compare to one another to trace back what the original manuscripts (not available) said. Furthermore, the early church fathers quoted the Bible profusely in their writings, studies, sermons, etc. The fact is that all but 11 verses of the Bible were quoted. And the fact is that there are men who have given their lives to the study of this massive evidence (26,000 pieces of evidence for the New Testament alone, some small pieces, some books, some entire manuscripts). Let me give a concrete example to illustrate the value of this evidence. To check out what John 1:1 really says, for example, one might be able to find hundreds of copies of it with different dates, in varying languages, from varying countries. Of course the oldest ones would be the most reliable in our comparison work. But when you look at all the copies and find that 95% of them have one reading, and the rest of the variants are less than 1 or 2% each... you can know what the original text said. Thus, the verdict of those who have given their lives to study such evidence is that no doctrine of the Bible is affected by a variant reading, and the Bible comes down to us over 99% accurate to the originals based on manuscript study. It is ignorance of the tangible evidence to say we don't know what the idea of any verse was. Documentation of this evidence is found in the book, "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell, available at Christian book stores.
The underlying blasphemy here is that the almighty God wasn't able to protect his message to us. And I call it that because He promised to preserve it!
"For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Psalm 100:5; "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever." Isa. 40:8; "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled." Matt. 5:18; "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Matt. 24:35; "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever...But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.".
3. Lost truths. The charge found in I Nephi 13 is that an abominable church took away truths and covenants from the Bible, leaving the world in blindness. It is leveled against a church whose description apparently matches the Roman Catholic Church. But it didn't emerge as an organized force until centuries AFTER the writing of many of the early manuscripts that we still have of the Bible, so could NOT have been the agent that took away truths or covenants. The Catholics didn't start the Bible-burning to keep that book from the laity until around the 11th century! And our dead sea scrolls evidence dates to times before Christ, yet when it is compared to the later texts, we see no sign of corruption of the kind LDS charge.
I have seen the lists LDS put out of books mentioned in the Bible which we do not have now. But just because a book is MENTIONED in the Bible does not mean it qualifies as a revelation from God. God gave many messages to individuals and towns historically which are not a part of our Biblical canon. What if God gave a message to a town 1500 years ago that has ceased to exist and we don't have that message now? Are we missing information WE NEED TO KNOW? As I study the Bible I find that God's main truths have been repeated over and over again to us. That is His way of preserving the message we need. Further, everything a prophet of God chooses to write is not necessarily in the category of inspired scripture. The underlying issue is has God given us sufficient truths to live our lives and fully serve Him? And the answer to that is in I Peter 1:3 where it says that ALL THINGS that we need for life and Godliness are provided for us. II Tim. 3:16 also indicates that through the scriptures we have all we need to live for God.
4. Contradictions. I have seen 3 lists in my years of dialoging... and found answers for virtually everything on the lists! Yes, I know, "pride goeth before a fall", and I don't claim to "know it all". Maybe someday I'll have a significant so-called contradiction put to me that I can't find an answer for. But does that mean that no answer exists, just because I haven't found the answer to it? Many of the so-called unanswerable contradictions that existed years ago have been removed from the list by archaeological discoveries. I have had a few numeric and name contradictions pointed out to me which have been corrected and/or footnoted in newer translations, but nothing of any doctrinal significance.
The point is that over 95% of this attack ammunition has been proven to be lies! What I sense is that LDS aren't even looking for answers to the so-called contradictions because they need to be able to put down the Bible to justify the need for modern revelation that corrects it.
Here are some common examples of so-called contradictions that LDS have put to me:
OK, you get the idea. The lists were long and are buried in my files. I choose not to duplicate them in full. Unconvinced? Submit your strongest 3 to me and see if I can answer them. This will prove at least that the majority of the LDS "attacks" are invalid! And I say that all of them are! Do we dare to look at the Bible (and God!) as guilty until proven innocent, simply because of not knowing all the details of history? "Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name."
It is interesting to me that when I ask LDS to accept, word for word, Joseph Smith's translation of some verses in the Bible (such as Rev. 20:15 and 21:27, which show there can be two and ONLY two final destinations for mankind) they are unwilling to do so. (If you haven't read my main warning to LDS, "Mormons in Shock", please click here to do so.) You can't have it both ways! It is also amazing to me that the LDS have supposedly "restored all things" - at least they use the Acts 3:19 proof text of their church being the RESTORED church. But have all those alleged missing books of the Bible been restored? No. Have they given us a list of all the contradictions and corrections? NO. If their living prophet can't take care of these things....what is he there for? When I talk to LDS about the Joseph Smith translation... they tell me it wasn't completed. Perhaps we should look for a God who can do a better job of "restoring" things than that!
That minor copying errors crept into the Bible is a given. So what? To me these are nothing more than a smudge on the page. The message itself is clearly readable and unchanged. Such cosmetic differences in no way qualify as "covenants" or "plain and precious things". Any Mormon scholars who thought the dead sea scrolls would validate their Joseph Smith translation of Isaiah, or their Book of Mormon quotes of Isaiah were disappointed by the find. The older (by nearly 1000 years) text failed to prove that book had been corrupted so as to need any of the changes suggested by the Mormon versions of Isaiah. This tangible evidence alone shows that Smith was not acting on God's behalf. The dead sea Isaiah scroll matched the Christian church's version except for a few spelling variations and one other word in question that had no major effect on the text. This find has been a great confirmation to Christians of how accurately God's word has been preserved!
Surely listening to election campaign rhetoric should convince us NOT TO BE GULLIBLE! Don't believe every bit of mudslinging you hear! The same goes for the Bible. Are you looking for errors or are you looking for answers to such?
"All scripture is given by
inspiration of God,
"According as his divine power
hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the
knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue."
Jude 1:3 speaks of the faith which
5. Progressive revelation. God claims to have given us all we need. John 14:26 and 16:13 indicate that for our new covenant time period Christ did that originally ... giving "all truth" to the apostles. What can you add to "all truth" ? (Nothing but error.)
And He claims He is going to preserve it. A critic of mine says God has given no such promise. But if you look at Ephesians 5 it speaks of Christ as being in the role of a NOURISHER (and cherisher) of His bride, the church. Now I'd say that what a church needs to be nourished is truth, authority and guidance. Are LDS suggesting that Christ STARVED His beloved church of truth... perhaps at a time it needed it worst? That perhaps He did not have the power to fulfill this job? That when corruption crept into the Bible little by little he just sat there and let it happen and said, "Too bad.".? When you think it through, again.... it becomes blasphemous to suggest Christ would treat his bride like that. Historically, in Jeremiah we read of a king who burned up a scripture manuscript. Did God say, "too bad"? No, He sat Jeremiah down and had him write it all over again. But when a similar problem happened with Book of Mormon manuscript pages... the story was, "too bad".
Christ also claims that His words will be so adequately preserved that they will be the standard used to judge mankind (unsaved) on the judgment day - John 12:48. If they had been so corrupted that we could not be saved and live a life that pleases God, He could not use His words at that time! We would have an 'out'! LDS would like to put some other meaning on the verses that speak of the Word of God which endures forever...perhaps divorce it from referring to the Bible... but their first article of faith says they believe the Bible to be the word of God so far as it is translated correctly.
Think about it: What kind of a God would allow billions of people to live and die with a flawed, incomplete, corrupted instruction manual on how to please and know him? Were his "hands tied" in this matter for 1500 years? I would want no part of such a God!
Yes, I've heard that "mankind was just too sinful". So what's new? Romans 3:10 says no one is righteous in our performance before God, and Romans 3:23 says (literally) we all sin and keep on coming short of God's glory. That includes his children! (See also Isa. 53:6) Human nature has remained the same from Adam's day to the present moment! God's timetables are not dependent on man's level of worthiness, or we would never have had any revelation at all!
For further information on the issue of Completed revelation for our covenant period vs. progressive revelation see my article on Apostasy and Restoration.
6. The interpretation problem. I have a theory. It is this: If all students of the Bible were forced to follow the same rules for interpreting it, all of them would come out believing the same things on all the major, and important issues. (A major issue is one that can affect one's eternal destiny. An important issue has a big impact on how we live our life day by day.) Unfortunately, in the religious realm, there are no police to enforce the theory's rule. But I can at least tell you the rules. They are listed in part 2 of the Salvation Definitions section of my pages. Critics think these are my rules... not so... they are taught at Christian colleges world-wide. In many of the schools, the class is called Hermeneutics) The fact is, about half of what my pages are all about is the violation of those rules by Mormons! Most Mormons aren't even aware that such rules exist, let alone knowing what they are! I cannot tell you how many times LDS have accused me of misinterpreting something. But when I say, "which passage, and which rule did I break?"...the accusation disintegrates.
Our example: We need to have the same level of confidence in the Bible (our new covenant revelation) that Christ had in the Old Testament. He never corrected it but instead said "the scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35), and it was the authority he continually quoted in dialogues. He even at times based an argument on a single word's usage in the text (Matt. 22:43). God had evidently preserved the old testament; and He has done no less for the new. If your attitude towards the written word does not match this attitude of Christ's.... you had better do some re-thinking. If the old testament survived intact until the time of Christ, without benefit of printing presses, would it be any less likely to survive after Christ's time?
My dear Latter-day Saints: Can't you see that there are things in Mormonism that you have trusted in that are wrong? You need to question and to sort out. We are commanded to test the spirits and beware of false prophets. But don't throw out the good with the bad. God's word IS trustworthy! Satan's first recorded words were an expression of DOUBT in God's word ("Yea, hath God said?"). Think about it! Whose side are you on?