Witnessing to a Mormon - 02/22/2004
I am a 20 year old female who recently went on a blind date with a 24 year old male who has converted to mormonism about 3 years ago. He is from a Christian background and testifies that the teachings of mormonism are true and accurate. Curious about his testimony, I began to do some research on
the religion and in the process have found that I myself am not fully equipped in the Word (referring to Bible). This experience has caused me to question my beliefs and examine the possibility of another scripture. After reading the Bible and looking at websites, such as your own, I know that
Jesus is the only way to salvation. My mormon friend keeps telling me that the bible is missing "plain and simple truths", this is not true. I have told him that the "plain and simple truth" is to accept Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Saviour. This idea is not enough for him. I have been witnessing to him for the last couple of days and he has presented me with
something that I'm not sure of how to respond to. I was hoping you could provide some insight. He writes:
"For example, in Amos 7:6 it says that the Lord repented. Well, the Lord does not repent. In Numbers 23:19 it states that god is not a man in the likes he would lie or need to repent. If god ever made a mistake or sinned, we would have not right in trusting him. So, whether it's Old or New Testament, the scriptures are not all there and they are not all translated
correctly. Since the Book of Mormon was translated and not written, it is the most correct translation in existence."
In reading the scripture I have found it alarming that God is said to have repented. Is there a logical explanation for this so that I can explain this contradiction to my mormon friend? He also writes in regard to a scripture from Revelation 22:18 :
"In terms of our discussion about the Book of Revelation, I am focusing on the claim that it makes against the book of Mormon. These claims were made when the Book of Mormon was first published and have continued to be made.
A careful reading of the words makes it clear that the warning against adding to or taking away does not refer to the whole Bible or even to the New Testament, but to use John's words, only to the words of "the book of this prophecy." That is, the prophecy contained in the book of Revelation. This is substantiated by the fact that some of the books of the New
Testament had not yet been written when John wrote the book of Revelation, and even those that had been written and were in existence at that time had not yet been gathered into one compilation."
In my research I have found that it is quite probable that Revelation was in fact the last of the books to be written, somewhere around AD 90. Of all the books in the New Testament, the ones authored by John were the latest books
written. Therefore, my logic would lead me to believe the order of his books to have been written as follows: John, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation. Is this a safe assumption and argument?
I look forward to your response and thank you in advance for your reply. I think your website is great, and I especially like the new listing of questions to ask mormons. In the conversations held with my friend, he often times will contradict himself without even realizing it. I am asking God for patience in this matter as I believe my friend will see the light, since he is a new convert. Please pray for me in this matter as I will pray for your ministry as well.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Tiffany. Thanks for writing to us. We're glad the Lord has burdened your heart for your Mormon friend, and we praise God that your Bible study and search for the truth has convinced you that Jesus IS the only way to salvation (John 14:6). Prayer and Bible study will be your invaluable and indispensable partners as you witness to him. Remember, you may not see him turn from Mormonism, but at least you can plant a seed. The Holy Spirit can work with that small seed. The LDS Church is such a cult-like environment that its adherants are encouraged to not question their beliefs. That creates a wall that only the Holy Spirit can penetrate. So be constantly in prayer.
First, regarding Amos 7:6. In the King James Version (KJV), it does say the Lord "repented." It also says that in verse three of the same chapter. However, we must be careful not to apply our current understanding of the word "repent" to its usage here. Remember, the KJV was translated in 1611, so some of the same words had slightly different meanings. The Hebrew word in this verse is nacham, which most commonly means "to be moved by pity; to have compassion." There is typically a change of action involved as well. The NIV and NKJV say "relented", and the NASB says, "changed his mind." Taking the meaning of the Hebrew word nacham, and viewing it in light of the context and the other translations, what we find is that "repent" was used somewhat allegorically. The Lord changed a course of action because He was moved by pity and compassion. He did not "repent" as we currently use that word.
Tiffany, the Mormons love to argue the meaning of Revelation 22:18. Rather than engage in that debate (which could go on almost endlessly), I think you should focus on Galatians 1:6-9, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Remember what the LDS Church likes to call the Book of Mormon? "Another Testament of Jesus Christ". This "Testament" speaks of a gospel that is not found in the Bible -- a gospel based on works; a gospel that calls Jesus the spirit brother of Satan; a gospel that calls Jesus one of many gods. Therefore, the Book of Mormon fits what we read of in Paul's warning to the Galatians. Your friend calls the BoM "the most correct translation in existance." He also states there are "plain and precious truths missing" from the Bible. Let's examine this new and false gospel.
Mormons believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon from golden plates. What happened to these plates? They're gone...a rather inconvenient development if one wanted to independantly verify what Smith claimed to have done. The plates were engraved with "Reformed Egyptian" heiroglyphics - a language that no one aside from Joseph Smith has ever seen. The only heiroglyphics we can view are on the papyrus from which Smith claimed to have translated the Book of Abraham. Except those weren't "Reformed Egyptian" heiroglyphics. They were just your standard heiroglyphics, and Egyptologists have proven that they form a common Egyptian burial papyrus -- NOT a so-called "Book of Abraham." Unlike the Bible, the Book of Mormon is NOT substantiated by archeological discoveries. In fact, the BoM is in direct conflict with what scientists now know about the history of the Americas and the natives who lived here. Even Mormon scholars have written articles claiming that the Book of Mormon is not reliable as a historical record. The BoM scholastically has more holes in it than my oldest pair of socks! Read this article for more details on the Problems with the Book of Mormon.
Your friend claims that the Book of Mormon is the most accurate translation ever made. Then why were several thousand corrections made to the Book of Mormon since it was first published in 1830? Most of the corrections are of spelling and grammatical errors, but those shouldn't even be there if it was translated by divine guidance! In one verse (Jacob 7:27) we find the word "adieu." Now, when translating a tale of a lost Hebrew tribe from "Reformed Egyptian" heiroglyphics into 17th century English during the 19th century in the United States, how in the world does a French word end up in there? In 2 Nephi, Joseph Smith does a fairly good job of plagiarizing from the book of Isaiah. Yet he still made a mistake. In 2 Nephi 12:9, Smith decided that the parallel verse in Isaiah 2:9 was incorrect. Isaiah 2:9 says, "And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not." Smith figured the Bible must be wrong here, so when he copied this verse in 2 Nephi 12:9, he wrote, "And the mean man boweth not down, and the great man humbleth himself not, therefore, forgive him not." Unfortunately, if Smith had bothered to read Isaiah 2:8 as he copied it to 2 Nephi 12:8, he would have seen that this passage was talking about people who humbled themselves before idols! Therefore, in his incorrect plagiarism of Isaiah, Smith made 2 Nephi 12:8-9 say that those who do not bow down to idols must not be forgiven! Oops!
Your friend talks about plain and simple truths that are found in the Book of Mormon but not in the Bible. What truths are those? Is he talking about Smith's advocating of polygamy? Well, that's found in Doctrine and Covenants, but polygamy is actually condemned in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:24, 27). Is he talking about the doctrine of eternal progression? Joseph Smith and Brigham Young taught that God was once a man like us who progressed to godhood, and we can follow that same path. Yet this notion is refuted several times in the Book of Mormon, particularly in Moroni 8:18. Is he talking about the Mormon doctrine that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are actually three separate gods? Well, that's refuted in 3 Nephi 11:36. You see, there is actually very little Mormon doctrine within the Book of Mormon. In fact, most of Mormonism's most unique doctrines are contradicted in the Book of Mormon. They don't tell people that until they're baptized into the LDS Church though.
Has your friend given you a Book of Mormon and told you to read it? If so, did he tell you that if you pray if it is true, you'll be given a sign - a "burning in the bosom" that testifies that the Book of Mormon is true? If so, that act is sinful according to the Bible. Jesus said some very important things we must consider. First, He told us not to put the Lord our God to the test (Matthew 4:7). When you pray about the Book of Mormon and await a sign attesting to its truthfulness, you are putting God to the test. This is a sin according to Jesus Himself! Also, Jesus said that a "wicked and adulterous generation" asks for a sign (Matthew 12:39). Why is this so important? Because even Satan can cause signs and feelings, if he feels it will deceive people. Jesus said false Christs and false prophets can cause miraculous signs to "deceive even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). As a born again Christian, you are the elect. Please don't be deceived. In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul tells us that even Satan can masquerade as an "angel of light." Jesus and Paul gave us these warnings because they know that Satan is the master deceiver. We have an antidote, though. The Bible is the game plan. If it's not biblical, then it's not of God. You can be assurred of that. I would never discourage you from praying for wisdom - the Bible says we should do just that! But don't pray to put God to the test, and don't accept something unbiblical based on a sign or a feeling.
Another thing you should point out to your friend is how easy it is to prove that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Read the article Joseph Smith's False War Prophecy (click on the name), and you'll see plainly that Joseph Smith was a false prophet. Remember though, our job isn't complete when we expose false teachings. We must also direct people toward the truth. As you study your Bible, key in on those passages that clearly explain the plain and simple truth of the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Heaven isn't something we can attain through works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Rather, good works are a result of our faith in Jesus Christ. Our salvation is a gift from God through His grace toward us. That is the beauty of the gospel, and that is why Christ took the scorn, ridicule, beatings, betrayal, and crucifixion -- He just loves us that much. May the Lord bless you and guide you as you witness to your friend, Tiffany. If we can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to email us.
Ben and Jennifer Rast