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.