1. San Antonio, Texas Temple

     
  2. Why are you chaste?

     
     

  3. What is truth?

    Such a profound question, one that philosophers have been debating for millennia. While I don’t hope to answer it, I hope to bring some issues to light.

    There are some things I don’t regard as truth. Throughout history, there have been many mistakes made, many half-truths propagated, and slander regarded as accurate. Here are some issues that have been declared as true that I disregard:

    1. Experts for many decades believed Earth to be the center of the universe. They wrote down their beliefs as fact, fiercely defended them, and even murdered heretics who held opposing beliefs. They were wrong.

    2. Experts proved that the world was flat. There are still many today who hold fast to this belief (The Flat Earth Society), and use pseudo-science and facts to prove their beliefs. I know they are wrong.

    3. Experts in the 19th century believed in a substance called aether that filled the void of space. This element explained how light could travel throughout the universe. But this also proved to be wrong.

    4. Historians claimed that Attila the Hun had horns and was the spawn of Satan. I don’t fail to accept this theory as well.

    If you don’t believe me when I say that “fact,” and “truth” change over time, or based upon what country is publishing the history books, try reading a textbook from 30 years ago. Or a history book from North Korea. You’ll see that things change, and that often the experts are wrong.

    I am not attacking science however. It is how we attempt to explain our existence. But as such, it should be recognized that it is the truth as we currently know it, and when new knowledge is discovered that disproves what we used to believe, we need to adapt.

    A brilliant case-study into truth and information would be politics. Its sad that such a field would require fact-checkers, and that even fact-checkers need fact-checkers. If I am to believe everything spouted about President Obama, then I would wonder how he keeps his alien tentacles hidden on camera.

    Which brings me to my main point: history is full of “facts,” and “truth,” that disprove our faith. People have been attacking Joseph Smith since he exited the Sacred Grove nearly 200 years ago. All of these statements that attack him and his validity as a prophet have to be taken with a grain of salt. If we believe everything said about him by his contemporaries, then we must also believe all the conspiracy theories about JFK’s assassination or the moon landing.

    Who can we believe then? I trust his associates and his wife, who would arguably be biased. But you must realize that many of these witnesses (Martin Harris, Emma Smith, and others) left the church, but could never deny their testimony in the truth of The Book of Mormon.

    But we cannot appeal to our logic and reason if we are to prove eternal truths. Ask God, the source of light and knowledge, and He will manifest it unto you. This is my testimony. The Book of Mormon is true, Joseph Smith is a prophet, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God upon the earth.

     

  4. "When you choose whether to make or keep a covenant with God, you choose whether to leave an inheritance of hope for those who will follow your example"
    — President Henry B. Eyring
     
  5. San Antonio, Texas Temple

     

  6. "And it came to pass that so great was their faith and their patience that the voice of the Lord came unto them again, saying: Be of good comfort, for on the morrow I will deliver you out of bondage."
    — Mosiah 24:16
     

  7. Why Are There So Many Churches?

    We all ask soul searching questions in our quest for truth. These questions of the soul can be answered with a study of The Book of Mormon. When asking “Why are there so many churches?” reference these scriptures:

    "And the Gentiles are lifted up in the pride of their eyes, and have stumbled, because of the greatness of their stumbling block, that they have built up many churches; nevertheless, they put down the power and miracles of God, and preach up unto themselves their own wisdom and their own learning, that they may get gain and grind upon the face of the poor. And there are many churches built up which cause envyings, and strifes, and malice," (2 Nephi 26:20-21)

    "And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ.

    And it came to pass that when two hundred and ten years had passed away there were many churches in the land; yea, there were many churches which professed to know the Christ, and yet they did deny the more parts of his gospel, insomuch that they did receive all manner of wickedness, and did administer that which was sacred unto him to whom it had been forbidden because of unworthiness.

    And this church did multiply exceedingly because of iniquity, and because of the power of Satan who did get hold upon their hearts.

    And again, there was another church which denied the Christ; and they did persecute the true church of Christ, because of their humility and their belief in Christ; and they did despise them because of the many miracles which were wrought among them,” (4 Nephi 1:26-29)

    2 Nephi 28

     

  8. jams-world:

    thestraitandnarrow:

    This is the final chapter in my discussion of controversial topics within the church. This week we’re attacking the confusion that surrounds the keystone of our religion. The adversary (and those seeking the destruction of our faith), know that if you can discredit The Book of Mormon, you can…

    It’s a shame that you use the image you did to place a picture in our minds of how the translation took place, when you later include a description of how the translation really took place. The idea that the image uses to plant into your mind is false. It’s a work of fiction to make the whole situation seem more “normal”.

    Joseph Smith’s Education

    The young man, however, had very little formal education and was incapable of writing a book on his own, let alone translating an ancient book written from an unknown language, known in the Book of Mormon as ‘reformed Egyptian’.

    Classical misinformation that has been spread by the church since the death of Joseph Smith.

    The idea that Joseph Smith received very little formal education? Well that is sort of true. He had three years of formal education, which compared to us now, would be classed as little. However, back in them days compared to others, it was a fair amount.

    The way this is worded though by adding that he was  ”incapable of writing a book on his own" is utter nonsenses.

    I think it is important just to note that when Joseph Smith “translated” the Book of Mormon, he was no longer a 14 year old boy. He was 23 (if my memory serves me correct). Does this make any difference? Well… yes. A hell of a lot I believe. Before going into any details of why though, I just want to point out a few little facts really quickly that I think most members are completely unaware of:

    • Joseph Smith Sr - Teacher.
    • Hyrum Smith - Teacher.
    • It’s also believed that one of his sisters may have been a teacher at some point during JS’ early life.

    Joseph Smith had a LOT of home schooling by his parents, and siblings. His mother once said that he was schooled in “reading, writing, and the ground rules of arithmetic”.

    At age 20, he attended high school in Harmony, PA. This is why it’s important to realise that Joseph Smith was not the same 14 year old boy who received these visits from the angel Moroni. Joseph Smith was an educated man. Especially when it came to the Bible.

    Joseph Smith attended church regularly, and studied the Bible for years and years. He had a job at one church where he’d discuss and argue various topics of the Bible. He knew the Bible well. This is a quote from him that his Mother recalled “I can take my Bible, and go into the woods, and learn more in two hours, than you can learn at meetings in two years, if you should go all the time.

    The Book of Mormon

    This manuscript corroborates Joseph Smith’s statements that the manuscript was written within a short time frame and that it was dictated from another language

    Partly true. From viewing what is left of the original first transcription that the various scribes Joseph Smith used, and from sources of the people who witnessed the “translation” process, it’s fair to say that the manuscript was written within a short time frame. This idea often then makes people of the church think “How Joseph Smith have possibly made up this story in such a short tie frame?!”.  There’s huge flaw with this way of thinking though.

    This assumes that Joseph Smith made up the story whilst it was being written. This idea of course, is false. He had years and years to think of the story in advance. The moment he went into the woods to pray, up until the moment he started “translating” the Book of Mormon. There was a spanner thrown into the works of the process, with Martin Harrison loosing the 116 pages. This disrupted the story telling, and Joseph Smith stopped “translating” for a long time.

    • Joseph Smith had years worth of time to think the story up
    • He was very well educated in the Bible
    • He had an amazing imagination
    • The Book of Mormon heavily copies from the Bible
    • The Book of Mormon also includes stories,or so-called visions that his father used to have
    • The Book of Mormon contains themes and ideas that were often spoken about during the teenage years of Joseph Smith

    If you take out all these copied visions, ideas, stories, and the plagiarized bible accounts, we end up with a much, much smaller Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith had access to books, newspapers, and libraries. With so much of the Book of Mormon already coming from outside sources, filling in the middle parts and “bulking it out” wouldn’t have been that hard at all. - Especially with the amount of time he would have had to work on the story in his mind.

    For example, it includes errors that suggest the scribe heard words incorrectly rather than misread words copied from another manuscript.

    Correct. The scribe was only writing down what Joseph Smith had memorised from other stories.

    Green Eggs and Ham

    In addition, some grammatical constructions that are more characteristic of Near Eastern languages than English appear in the original manuscript, suggesting that the base language of the translation was not English.”

    It may suggest such an idea, but is not proof. There is a story called “Green eggs and ham”. As far as I understand, it’s a very simple Children book, written in the 1960’s (ish). When you choose to have an idea about a story, you can ready many things into it. When reading the Book of Mormon as a translated work from Hebrew written in am Egyptian-like language, you can find such things as chiasmus in. The Bible, and other Hebrew work is often full of them. What is interesting though is that if you were to hold a similar, incorrect view of the story “Green Eggs and Ham”, you will find that this story is almost a work of art. Rather then me explaining it inn real detail to make my point here, I’ll just link you to a 3 page PDF document that clearly explains what I’m about: https://dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V33N04_173.pdf

    So what I’m really getting at here is that if you want to read ideas into the book of Mormon to back up the idea it is of Hebrew / Egyptian descendant, you can find it. Just as you could in a story book that was wrote in the 1960’s.

    Conclusion

    I could go through the rest of the essays that you quoted from, but I think I’ve made my point. The LDS church uses half-truths, brilliant images, and misinformation to paint a FALSE image of what Joseph Smith was really like, and how the Book of Mormon came into being.

    Joseph Smith was a well educated individual. Sure, he wasn’t formally educated at schools like we are now, but he was educated. Because he was educated the way he was, it is more then likely that things such as his grammar were not tip top. Although I attended school, high school, college and university, I taught myself a lot of things, including the things that I studied at college and university. My grammar is terrible. My spelling is terrible, and well, my English all together is terrible. I am however, educated.

    Even a lack of education does not mean that a person is unintelligent. There have been a number of fantastic authors who were not very well educated. Some of the most important, and achieved business men and women had bad education. Some even had none. Education != Intelligence.

    Joseph Smith was more then able to write the Book of Mormon in the time frame he did, with the resources he had. This of course does not mean he did make it all up. I certainly believe he did, and the evidence is most definitely there to support such an idea.

    If you are going to make posts to clear up confusion, and to set the record straight to combat “The adversary” from attacking your religion, I’d suggest that first: you don’t take what  the church says as fact. And secondly, do your own research into how things really were.

    There are many non members, and ex-members who use false ideas, and false information to attack the church with. This is not much of a problem. The main problem for your church is the members believing in false ideas, and throwing them around as fact. The members right at the top of your church are doing it, members within your ward / branch will be doing it, the people who write these essays you are quoting form are doing it, and you are doing it.

    This sort of blind faith in what ever the church says is true is destroying your religion. It’s so easy for people outside of your church to see though this common misinformation and lies, and see the real truth.  at Members like yourself have no idea at all, and all you can do is spew out the same garbage that you have been taught yourself.

    Thanks for the reblog! You make some rational points, (I knew posting that painting was a bad idea. However my selection was sparse) however I have learned that arguing on the internet is pointless. We will have to agree to disagree.

    I would like to counter your argument that I have “blind faith.” After reading my posts you’ve made false assumptions about my character. You think that for me to believe what I do I must either be A. mentally deranged, or B. ignorant. You fail to accept a third option that I am a normal individual with a rational mind, and an open heart. I actually question a lot of things the leaders of my church do. I have questioned everything I believe. But I always turn to the God of the Universe for answers, instead of the internet. I have prayed earnestly for knowledge and truth, and I have found it. Not by research, but through prayer and meditation. This is the foundation of my testimony, not a fan-girl obsession you think I have. This is a gamble I’m willing to make, I put my trust in the Lord.

     

  9. "Obedience is a choice between our limited knowledge and God’s unlimited knowledge and power"
    — Elder L. Tom Perry
     
  10. Snowflake, AZ Temple

     

  11. Mormon Values, Modern Church: Translating the Book of Mormon

    This is the final chapter in my discussion of controversial topics within the church. This week we’re attacking the confusion that surrounds the keystone of our religion. The adversary (and those seeking the destruction of our faith), know that if you can discredit The Book of Mormon, you can discredit our entire religion. They exercise all their efforts in trying to disprove its divinity.

    Once again my quotes come from an essay published on LDS.org. If you have the time, I highly recommend you read it.

    "The angel [Moroni] charged Joseph Smith to translate the book from the ancient language in which it was written. The young man, however, had very little formal education and was incapable of writing a book on his own, let alone translating an ancient book written from an unknown language, known in the Book of Mormon as ‘reformed Egyptian’. Joseph’s wife Emma insisted that, at the time of translation, Joseph ‘could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter, let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon.’”

    "The manuscript that Joseph Smith dictated to Oliver Cowdery and others is known today as the original manuscript, about 28 percent of which still survives. This manuscript corroborates Joseph Smith’s statements that the manuscript was written within a short time frame and that it was dictated from another language. For example, it includes errors that suggest the scribe heard words incorrectly rather than misread words copied from another manuscript. In addition, some grammatical constructions that are more characteristic of Near Eastern languages than English appear in the original manuscript, suggesting that the base language of the translation was not English.”

    "To assist in the publication of the book, Oliver Cowdery made a handwritten copy of the original manuscript. This copy is known today as the printer’s manuscript. Because Joseph Smith did not call for punctuation, such as periods, commas, or question marks as he dictated, such marks are not in the original manuscript. The typesetter later inserted punctuation marks when he prepared the text for the printer."

    "Joseph Smith and his scribes wrote of two instruments used in translating the Book of Mormon. According to witnesses of the translation, when Joseph looked into the instruments, the words of scripture appeared in English. One instrument, called in the Book of Mormon the ‘interpreters,’ is better known to Latter-day Saints today as the ‘Urim and Thummim.’ Joseph found the interpreters buried in the hill with the plates. Those who saw the interpreters described them as a clear pair of stones bound together with a metal rim. The Book of Mormon referred to this instrument, together with its breastplate, as a device ‘kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord’ and ‘handed down from generation to generation, for the purpose of interpreting languages.’

    The other instrument, which Joseph Smith discovered in the ground years before he retrieved the gold plates, was a small oval stone, or ‘seer stone.’ As a young man during the 1820s, Joseph Smith, like others in his day, used a seer stone to look for lost objects and buried treasure. As Joseph grew to understand his prophetic calling, he learned that he could use this stone for the higher purpose of translating scripture.

    Apparently for convenience, Joseph often translated with the single seer stone rather than the two stones bound together to form the interpreters. These two instruments—the interpreters and the seer stone—were apparently interchangeable and worked in much the same way such that, in the course of time, Joseph Smith and his associates often used the term ‘Urim and Thummim’ to refer to the single stone as well as the interpreters. In ancient times, Israelite priests used the Urim and Thummim to assist in receiving divine communications. Although commentators differ on the nature of the instrument, several ancient sources state that the instrument involved stones that lit up or were divinely illumined. Latter-day Saints later understood the term ‘Urim and Thummim’ to refer exclusively to the interpreters. Joseph Smith and others, however, seem to have understood the term more as a descriptive category of instruments for obtaining divine revelations and less as the name of a specific instrument.

    Some people have balked at this claim of physical instruments used in the divine translation process, but such aids to facilitate the communication of God’s power and inspiration are consistent with accounts in scripture. In addition to the Urim and Thummim, the Bible mentions other physical instruments used to access God’s power: the rod of Aaron, a brass serpentholy anointing oils, the Ark of the Covenant, and even dirt from the ground mixed with saliva to heal the eyes of a blind man.”

    "In the preface to the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith wrote: ‘I would inform you that I translated [the book], by the gift and power of God.’ When pressed for specifics about the process of translation, Joseph repeated on several occasions that it had been done ‘by the gift and power of God’ and once added, 'It was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the book of Mormon.'”

    "Nevertheless, the scribes and others who observed the translation left numerous accounts that give insight into the process. Some accounts indicate that Joseph studied the characters on the plates. Most of the accounts speak of Joseph’s use of the Urim and Thummim (either the interpreters or the seer stone), and many accounts refer to his use of a single stone. According to these accounts, Joseph placed either the interpreters or the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the instrument."

    "Emma told her son Joseph Smith III, ‘The Book of Mormon is of divine authenticity—I have not the slightest doubt of it. I am satisfied that no man could have dictated the writing of the manuscripts unless he was inspired; for, when acting as his scribe, your father would dictate to me for hour after hour; and when returning after meals, or after interruptions, he would at once begin where he had left off, without either seeing the manuscript or having any portion of it read to him.’”

    I know this book is true. I know that it answers the questions of our souls, that it captures the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that it proves our claim as the restored church of Christ upon the earth. If you don’t have a testimony of this book, gain one. If you’re questioning its divinity, ask our Heavenly Father. Don’t listen to the naysayers, there will always be trolls. Our Father in Heaven, the God of this universe, is the source of truth, knowledge, light, and wisdom. Watch this talk by Elder Holland. Read the book, ponder its message, and then ask in faith through prayer.

     
  12. (Source: ldsgirlstop)

     
  13. mormonchannel:

    "However many mistakes you feel you have made, … you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love." —Jeffrey R. Holland

     

  14. "Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith."
    — Mosiah 23:21
     
  15. Snowflake, AZ Temple