Why Not Cover Joseph Smith's Fulfilled Prophecies? - 10/04/2003
To whom it may concern.
I am proud to say that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. On a whim I decided to look up some of the prophecies of Joseph Smith and my search led me to your website. Needless to say, because you know it as well as I do, that many of Joseph Smith's prophecies came to pass and that the church as a whole does a lot of good in the world both
today and in the past. I'm wondering two things.
First, why are none of the fulfilled prophecies outlined in your website? I understand that you're trying to lead people in a direction you believe to be right, and discrediting the founder of a massive world religion would be a wonderful step in achieving that goal, but I've never been able to understand how people can so easily label Joseph Smith a false prophet. I don't consider myself to be a genius; I have my high school
diploma and have some college under my belt, but I would consider myself rather intelligent. Being the intelligent man I see myself to be, I know that I couldn't write a book that even compares to the Book of Mormon, let alone believe that an uneducated farm boy could. If Joseph Smith wasn't a true prophet, he would have to have written it and I don't think that's possible. Some might say that the Devil helped him write it. I don't think the devil would help anybody write any works that praise the Lord. I think if the devil were to have helped in the writing of it, it would have gone totally against the grain of mainstream Christian beliefs. I've read both the Bible and the Book of Mormon several times and I have found that they
work together hand in hand.
I don't think it's possible for one to feel good doing things that are wrong, and I feel good when I read it and do my best to live by it's teachings. Some might say that the devil has the power to make you feel good or even make you feel loved if you let him. I know for a fact that my perception of right and wrong is right where it's supposed to be and I'm deceivable, but not so easily deceived.
Second, I've never understood why anyone would spend so much time and effort, and I can tell by your site that a lot of time and effort has been spent, in discrediting other religions. I, like everyone else, believe my religion is true. I, however, unlike anyone else I know, am willing to admit the possibility I'm wrong in my beliefs. I don't think I am, and I truly hope I'm not, but the possibility is there. I wonder if people who
devote themselves to proving others wrong ever look at the way they believe and think, " I could be wrong". The same way you're able to look at my beliefs and say," that poor man is so deceived and confused", I'm able to look at your beliefs and say the same thing. What's to say you're right? What's to say I am? We both have to rely on the same thing...faith. If
either one of us knew the truth for a fact, that would probably mean that Christ himself had told us firsthand and we wouldn't have to rely on faith. I know that if Christ himself had personally told me to live a certain way or do things a certain way I would do it without question. Unfortunately, you and I don't have that luxury and have to rely on our faith. I know
you've probably heard all this before and remain steadfast in your convictions to bring people to the truth you believe in by dragging their beliefs through the mud, and you should. If you believe you're doing what's right, and you're not physically hurting anyone, I would tell you to continue on with the strength of a lion. I myself am going to continue to do the same. I believe Joseph Smith was a prophet. I have walked the same streets he walked and been to many of the places he once stood. I feel nothing there but a pleasant spirit of peace. If I do find out someday that I was believing incorrectly I'm going to be truly disappointed, not only because I would feel deceived, but I'd miss the spirit I feel when I follow the teachings of the gospel to the best of my abilities.
Thank you for reading my letter and I truly hope to get a reply from whoever it was who read it. Good luck in your efforts to spread the truth as you see it.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Hi Sam. Thanks for writing us. Your email came across as sincere, and definitely not rude, so don't worry about that. You said if you someday find out you've been wrong about your faith in the religion of Joseph Smith, you'll be "truly disappointed." Sam, if you're wrong, and you don't find that out before Christ returns for his church or before you pass away, disappointment will be a sad understatement. If you don't realize the error until after your death, then you'll be condemned to spend eternity in the hell the Bible speaks of. There's no opportunity for parole in that situation. We don't want you to be in that situation! We pray that won't happen to you. That's why this ministry exists - we don't want anyone to die believing they've found the truth, only to find they've been deceived.
According to Deuteronomy 18:21-22, it only takes one false prophecy to make someone a false prophet. Nostrodamus got it right sometimes. The horoscopes get it right sometimes. Psychics get it right sometimes. That doesn't make them true prophets of God. I predicted that the Road Map for peace in the Middle East would not be the end of violence, but that doesn't make me a prophet of God. Joseph Smith claimed to be a prophet of God, and the fact that more than one of his prophecies were false, makes him a false prophet by God's rules as found in the Bible! You don't want to follow a religion based on the words of a false prophet! That is inherently dangerous to your eternal soul!
You're right - there are a lot of good and decent Mormons. I grew up in southern Idaho, densely populated with Mormons, so I knew many wonderful LDS people. However, that has nothing to do with eternity. The Bible is clear that all our works are "filthy rags" to God, and salvation comes through faith alone - not through our works (Ephesians 2:8-9). People of all faiths and all creeds can be good, sincere people. Yet only Jesus can redeem their souls.
As far as authorship of the Book of Mormon, I believe it is possible for a young, poor farm boy to write the Book of Mormon. Certainly, he had help, as large sections have been plagiarized from the Old Testament, though not without errors. For instance, 2 Nephi 12:8-9 is an incorrect plagiarism of Isaiah 2:8-9. In Isaiah, the mean man and great man were not forgiven, because they bowed down and humbled themselves before idols. Yet in 2 Nephi, these two guys were not forgiven, because they FAILED to bow down to idols. The Book of Mormon has undergone about 3000 changes since 1830. Some of the changes were substantive, most were spelling and grammar errors. But if God inspired the work, is He the author of error? We know that He is not. Also, if Joseph Smith translated "reformed Egyptian" heiroglyphics into English, why did he a) translate it into King James English, which was not the language of the 19th century, and b) why did he put in a French word ("adieu", Jacob 7:27)? Also, I'm sure you're aware of the story concerning the Spaulding manuscript that Smith could have plagiarized, so I won't address that further. The Book of Mormon is full of historical errors. How could something divinely inspired be so full of errors? Also, why are the majority of LDS doctrines found in the Doctrines & Covenants and NOT in the Book of Mormon? Why does the Book of Mormon actually contradict many LDS doctrines? You find it hard to believe that Satan would inspire Joseph Smith in writing the Book of Mormon, as the BoM on some levels praises God. Yet if the Book of Mormon diverts people from the true gospel of Jesus Christ, which it does, then it is a wonderful tool for Satan! 2 Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan masquerades as an angel of light. Why does he do that? So he can gently steer sincere people such as yourself away from the truth, while convincing you that you are on the right path.
My heart goes out to you Sam - you and every other sincere Mormon. You ARE being deceived. The Lord Jesus Christ wants you to abandon the false prophet and his religion of works and aspirations of godhood, and come to Him. He paid a high price to redeem your soul. I would enjoy being able to see you in heaven when the time comes. You are in our prayers. May the Holy Spirit perform a wonderful work in your life and convict you of the truth - before it's too late.
Ben and Jennifer Rast