Ministering to Mormons in Utah Day 3

Tuesday July 3, 2012: In the morning we went to the house of Doris Hanson, an internet TV personality (A Shield and Refuge Ministry) who reaches Mormons for Christ.  It was a fantastic morning as we learned how she ministers to young women who have been trapped by polygamy.  Doris grew up as a child of polygamy, which gives her a great foundation to share.  She gave each of us her book “Is Polygamy Biblical?”  It was our second day in a row where we met an elegant older woman with a passion for serving Christ in the Mormon community.

In the afternoon we divided up into new partnerships.  Teresa and I went on the Brigham Young house tour.  Our guides were two sister missionaries, one from the Philippines and the other from Spain.  As we walked along I asked about Brigham Young’s many wives. How many lived in the main house?  They told me only one.  Did the others live in the house next door?  They said one lived there.  Where did the others live?  All over the city they said.  As we moved through the narrow hallways I kept praying for an opportunity to share but it didn’t materialize.

Finally, at the end of the tour I whispered to Teresa to wait as everyone left the building; I had a plan.  After everyone had filed out, I asked the missionaries if I could ask a question.  They were more than happy to answer.  I said you confirmed that Brigham Young had multiple wives, is that correct?  They said yes.  You also said that he read the Bible and followed all the commandments.  Again they said yes.  I then said in the Bible the Book of Timothy (1 Tim. 3:2) says a leader or an elder should be the husband of one wife.  Why didn’t Brigham Young obey the command to have one wife?  The Cambodian missionary said you have to have understood the time and the need to take care of the women.  Since my time was limited I didn’t get a chance to point out historians report there were more men than women that made the trek to Utah.  Brigham Young and other powerful leaders took wives that would have been available for other men.

I said how could God from Adam until Joseph Smith command men to only have one wife and then change his mind and say you can marry as many wives as you want and then years later change His mind again and say only one wife.  Is this the God you believe in?  Do you believe in a God who changes His mind over and over again?  They were caught off guard by my argument.  I told them personally I have a hard time believing in a God who flips back and forth.  They said they believe God allowed polygamy by “faith.”  Again instead of an answer I got the standard blind faith response.  Once a Mormon realizes he or she doesn’t have an answer they use this worn out phrase, “I believe it by faith,” which means I am going to believe the impossible to be true. I just struggle with a belief system that has so many false teachings covered over by blind faith.

As we walked away from the house, Teresa told me she watched the quiet missionary from Spain display a confused look, as if she was questioning her beliefs.  At least a stone was placed in her shoe.

Teresa and I next went to the history museum across the street.  Once we entered, we were approached by one of the information ladies at the front desk. She asked if we needed help. I said I had some questions about the museum.  I asked what archeological artifacts they had.  She pointed out that they had some from the time of Joseph Smith and many depicting the arduous trip of Brigham Young to Salt Lake City.  I then mentioned I am reading through the Book of Mormon and saw that 600 BC was when 1 Nephi took place and the last book ended around 425 AD.  I asked do you have any artifacts from that time period.  She said no.  I said that’s incredible with millions of people and all the wars that took place.  I mentioned the Bible has lots of archeological support.  I then asked how many ancient manuscripts they have during that time period.  She said none because everything was written on the golden plates and Moroni took them back.  I told her in the New Testament alone we have over 5,600 ancient manuscripts.  I asked her why there are no artifacts to support the Book of Mormon.  She didn’t know how to answer.  She said if I had further questions there are individuals circulating throughout the museum who could answer questions.  Teresa and I then went on our tour hoping for additional conversations.  We saw only one host who hurriedly walked past us.

After meeting up with the team at 3pm we divided into new groups.  Brandon, Kristeena, and I went to the north visitor center.  We were met my two sister missionaries and we asked for a tour.  Our missionary guides were sister Soum and sister Richards.  We first visited a small sized replica of the temple in Jerusalem. The sister Soum asked what happened in the temple during the time of Jesus.  We told her many things that happened during that time.  The missionaries said the LDS have restored the use of the temple, along with the priesthood and prophets.  Brandon said the temple was no longer needed; no more sacrifices after Jesus.  The Bible says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  I asked the missionaries who raised Jesus from the dead.  The both said Father God.  I said the Bible teaches the Father raised Jesus and that He raised Himself.  Jesus said tear this temple down and in three days I will raise it up.  His disciples later realized He was speaking of the temple which was represented by His body. He was actually pointing to his future resurrection.

In one of the rooms Kristeena asked if the LDS Church teaches that we become angels. She said the video showed us that Moroni was once a man who fought in battles but later appeared as an angel to Joseph Smith to lead him to the golden plates. In the Bible we learn angels are not human, but spirits. Sister Soum said no we don’t become angels and moved us along to the next video station.

We got into a discussion on the missing archeological artifacts and zero manuscript evidence.  Do you have ancient copies of the Book of Mormon?  They said Moroni feared someone would steal them or distort them so he took them back.  We mentioned the Bible is loaded with archeological evidence, ancient cities that are still in existence today, and there are over 5,600 ancient New Testament manuscripts to ensure accuracy of the Bible.

They said the Bible could only be trusted as far as it has been translated correctly.  Kristeena mentioned when we compare translations they are very similar because translators only went from Greek to English or Hebrew to English.  I said I wouldn’t trust any Bible that hasn’t been translated correctly.  And we have great translations!  Scholars say that in spite of minor spelling errors or changes in word order the Bible today is 98% accurate with zero doctrinal issues.

Near the end of our tour they pointed out how the current Protestant Church has many denominations as compared to the one LDS church.  Kristeena mentioned there are many groups that have split away from the main LDS church and don’t agree with each other.  Both missionaries agreed with her.

They went on to explain how a prophecy in Ezekiel 37 points to the Book of Mormon and the Bible.  Ezekiel 37:15-22 mentions two sticks and they said one stick represents the Book of Mormon (stick of Joseph) and the other the Bible.  I said they were reading their beliefs into the verses.  Nowhere do we see the sticks named as books.  The actual context was one stick was the nation of Judah and the other Israel.  It was a future prophecy of the reuniting of the divided northern and southern kingdoms. This prophecy has not been fulfilled but points to Revelations and the end times.

During the time we were together Soum, when she couldn’t answer us continually said I take things by faith.  As before she meant I take a leap of “blind faith” when there are no good answers.  Once the tour ended we said goodbye and left to go the dinner with the rest of the team.

That evening we went to the taping of the Shawn McCreney show.  Shawn is a major star on internet television with a large viewing audience (he said around 150,000 households).  He weekly challenges Mormon’s and their false beliefs.  At the beginning of the program he had us stand behind him as the cameras came on.  He then handed the mike to me to report why we were in Utah.  I told him how we had spent our days getting into conversations and challenging the Mormon beliefs around Temple Square.  We know we were successful because of how many times we heard “we believe it by faith.”  After my overview, we sat down to watch the rest of the program.

His main topic was Joseph Smith blunders in the Book of Mormon.  Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth.”   McCreney exposed multiple errors this book.  For example we read in 2 Nephi 4:14, “…for a more history part are written upon mine other plates.”  Go back and read the sentence again.  Does the God of Mormonism need an English class?  Or Mosiah 7:8 says, “…and they stood before the king, and were permitted, or rather commanded, that they should answer the questions which he should ask them.”  Can’t God make up his mind?  Did He permit or command?  How can God error in His communication of truth?

All through the program McCreney provided additional blunders by Joseph Smith.  I suggest watching Shawn’s program with a pen in hand. The most correct book on earth, the Book of Mormon, contains multiple errors.  The July 3rd program can be found at: http://hotm.tv/327/

For all of us it was a fun and informative evening.  We returned to the blue house tired but excited at what transpired during the day.  We were looking forward to how God was going to use us on the 4th of July.

Go to Day 4 here

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Jenn July 14, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Hello Steve, a friend of mine who is a Mormon shared this article. I wondered if you would have a read and tell me what you think if you get the chance.
    http://www.gregtrimble.com/so-you-think-the-book-of-mormon-is-a-fraud/#.U8QsRBdPYxh.mailto
    Thank you

  • Jenn July 15, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Hello again Steve,
    Since my last post, I have read your articles on Unmasking the Deception of Mormonism, which was really helpful. But I was wondering if maybe you would be able to exchange email addresses with me, as I have started a dialog (through email) with the friend mentioned above and would love some direct guidance in moving forward. Like I said before though, what you have already written is extremely helpful, so if your advice is a case of me just following that, that is fine as well.
    Every blessing, the passion you have for knowledge of the Bible and apologetics has inspired me.
    Thank you,
    Jenn

  • Steve Bruecker July 18, 2014, 5:15 pm

    Jenn,
    The article was very poorly researched and had no idea how Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I made brief comments below each of the 11 points he made.

    So…You Think The Book of Mormon is a Fraud?
    JULY 6, 2014 BY GREG TRIMBLE

    If you’re ever having doubts about the restoration or about Joseph Smith, just read the Book of Mormon and ask yourself these 11 questions:

    1. Could an uneducated boy come up with 531 pages of ancient scripture on his own that was historically accurate and prophetic in nature?

    Everything I‘ve read reports he had a 5th grade education. He obviously could read. The Book of Mormon was supposedly translated from “reformed Egyptian” (this language does not exist) to English for Joseph Smith. All he had to do was read English. He had his head buried in a hat with a “seer” stone and said he saw the English and spoke what he saw. When Harris wrote it down, if the text was written perfectly, the next line would appear in the hat. Therefore, the earliest edition of the Book of Mormon should be perfect. Then why are there nearly 4,000 corrections of the earliest Book of Mormon? Did God make errors?

    Stating the book is historically accurate and is prophetic in nature are both without evidence. There are zero archeological artifacts in any museum. The so-called prophecies stem from the dating of the book at the bottom of the page. If the book is fictional, which aligns with the evidence, then the so-called prophecies of the coming of Jesus Christ, etc. are all taken from Smith’s knowledge of the Bible. There are no verifiable prophecies.

    2. Would it be possible for that boy to understand and include ancient Hebrew literary writing styles such as idioms and Chiasmus, some of which weren’t even discovered until long after Joseph Smith was gone?

    Smith didn’t need to understand any literary genres or Hebrew. He just read in English what he saw. Plus this is an assertion with zero evidence. What are some examples of these styles from the Book of Mormon?

    3. How would Joseph Smith have been able to know so much about the Middle East, especially the Arabian Peninsula where Lehi and his family traveled? The book includes findings in that region that no one had discovered yet.

    Again Smith just read through the stone in the hat. As before this is an assertion and examples are needed. The author bears the burden of proof.

    4. How could Joseph Smith come up with roughly 200 new names in the Book of Mormon and then have them turn out to be Semitic in nature?

    The author of this article doesn’t understand the process Joseph Smith received when he translated the Book of Mormon. Allegedly, God revealed to him in his hat the words He wanted written down. Therefore, Smith introducing 200 new names is false. They supposedly came from God. As before this is an assertion with no evidence. The author has the burden of proof. Where are the examples?

    5. If you think Joseph Smith couldn’t have written this book, then where did it come from? If one says the devil put him up to it…then why would Satan want to publish another testament of Jesus Christ and a book that does nothing but promote righteousness. Jesus said that a house divided against itself would fall.

    Of course Satan would love this book. To fool 15 million people to follow a false God, false gospel, and false Jesus would be one of his finest works; and it is!

    6. Who were the “other sheep” that would hear Jesus’s voice in John 10:16?

    All New Testament scholars say the “other sheep” are gentiles. It fits the surrounding context and other books such as Ephesians. A Jewish reader during that time period would have no clue about a civilization on another continent, supposedly hundreds of years earlier.

    7. Why are there volumes of books written by non-LDS authors stating that Christ came and visited the America’s a couple thousand years ago just like it says in 3rd Nephi? (See Example “He Walked The America’s”) How would Joseph Smith have known this when at the time no one even considered it?

    The book he alluded to has been completely discredited. He lists no other sources for this fantasy. He needs to name one scholar that believes this that is not LDS.

    8. If we have the stick of Judah (record of the Jews or the Bible), then where is the stick of Joseph that is referenced in Ezekiel 37:15-20? The Book of Mormon is the only explanation for this scripture. Lehi was a descendant of Joseph. Think Joseph Smith could have gotten that right by sheer chance?

    All Old Testament scholars know this is addressing the divided Kingdom; Judah to the south and Joseph/Ephraim to the north. The context explains this interpretation. Bringing the sticks together represents divided kingdoms becoming one.

    9. How could there be so many witnesses of the Book of Mormon and the plates and not one of them deny their testimony even when some of them became bitter toward Joseph Smith? With so many people involved…a hoax of this magnitude could never go uncovered.

    All the so-called witnesses were Mormons (11 of them) and say they saw the plates in a vision (through the eyes of faith). Smith asked them in the forest to pray about seeing the plates. Why pray about a physical object you can simply hold and look at? They needed the eyes of faith to see the plates.

    10. How could the Book of Mormon never contradict itself while being an extremely complex book? After all these years…someone would have found something…but no.

    This proves nothing! If you have one author, Joseph Smith, he should be able to avoid contradictions. However, some of the teachings contradict LDS doctrines, such as in Alma 11:44, “…be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God.” The LDS Church believes in 3 gods (actually believe in millions of gods), not the one Triune God. They say the 3 (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are one in purpose. However, it cannot mean that. It doesn’t say the 3 “are” but the 3 “is.” The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is identified as the one Eternal God. This has nothing to do with unity in purpose but of being or the ontology of the one Eternal God.

    11. And the most important question to ask yourself is “How do I feel while I read the Book of Mormon?”

    This is the most important test for the LDS Church. They don’t want you looking at facts or evidence; they want you to have a feeling to overcome missing facts and evidence. They want you to believe by “blind faith.” This is a circular argument. 1) How can I know the Book of Mormon is true? 2) You need to pray about it. 3) Where is that taught? 4) In Moroni 10:4. 5) Where is that verse found? 6) In the Book of Mormon. 7) How can I know the Book of Mormon is true? 8) You need to pray about it. 9) …and on and on and on around in a circle. Praying over the Book of Mormon cannot be a measure of truth. The Bible says to test all truth and hold to the good (1 Thess. 5:21). When they tell you the spirit will testify to the truth, the Bible says, 1 John 4:1 (NIV) “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” One false prophet has gone out into the world and his name is Joseph Smith.

    Steve

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Do Objective Morals Exist?
Answering Tough Questions
Counting the Cost
Is God the Author of the Bible?
God’s Holiness and Love Wins
Ministering to Mormons in Utah
Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness
What Ever Happened to Hell?
Accurately Interpreting the Scriptures
Understanding the Christian Worldview
Accused of Partnering in Wickedness
Set Apart Christ as Lord
Sharing with Knowledge & Wisdom
Becoming a Good Ambassador for Christ
How to Persuade Others
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