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Dear Gramps,

How can I get my testimony back? I have been baptized in the Mormon Church now for 18 months. I remember my conversion and felt a very strong spirit from the Lord. for the first six months of my conversion. I was extremely strong and I new without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord existed and this was his church. I’m a Latter-day Saint, but seem to have been overcome with a lot of disbelief. I still live all the laws of the gospel, but lately my disbelief started to get me to go on anti-Mormon sites and I have a few questions. I guess most of them are lies, but some have really stuck in my mind. Things I don’t understand.

In Israel, where the bible is set, you can still go and see the ruins of the buildings and places that it talks about in the Bible. In America I’m confused because of the cities that are talked about in the Book of Mormon are not on the continent any more? How could they just disappear without leaving a single trace of evidence?

Another question on my mind, the solid gold plates that were found by Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is a very big book 500+ pages. How many plates were there, because the images that I’ve seen of the gold plates that would still be very heavy for one person to carry on his own?

One of the ten commandments of God is thou shall not worship false idols. Why do we have a statue of Moroni on our temples? Is that a false idol? I’m just confused as to why other churches of Christ have crosses on the top of their buildings but one of the church’s biggest ordinances happens in there. What does Moroni have to do with it? It was Elijah who brought the sealing power back on the earth in the early days of the Mormon Church, not Moroni.

I don’t know if this is true or not but I’ve read that Brigham Young once said that: Black people will never receive the Priesthood until after the resurrection, and that if any white person was to marry a person of that origin the penalty was death. Is that true? Now if God told Brigham Young that Black people will not receive the Priesthood until after the resurrection, why would he then tell somebody else over a 100+ years later that they now can receive the Priesthood? I’m not a racist, some of my best friends are black, but why would God make a strong statement like that then go against it in years to come after black people have fought for the right to be treated civilly?

If none of this is true then could you tell me what was really said? I have faith and trust in your word in the Bible. In the Book of Mormon it teaches of one God and that he is a Spirit. Joseph Smith taught that there is a plurality of Gods and that God has a body of flesh and bones, that he got to be God through living righteously to his God, and the same with the God before him and so on.

These are all on anti-Mormon sites. I Just want to know certain answers. I want the Spirit back in my life; I’m on the verge of leaving!. The anti sites have poisoned my mind. I do not go on them anymore but their statements are still stuck in my head.

Michael

 

Answer

 

Dear Michael,

Let me try to answer each of your concerns. but first let me generalize a bit. Why to you think that there are any anti-Mormon sites at all? We never see those kinds of poisonous remarks about any other church. Why do you think that would be so? Let me tell you. The Mormon Church–The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–is the kingdom of God on the earth. With the organization of that church the dispensation of the fullness of times was ushered in, which is never to be taken from the earth. All the prior six dispensations of the gospel ended in apostasy, and the truths of the gospel and priesthood authority to administer the things of God among men were taken from the earth.

This dispensation of the fullness of times, and with it the restoration of the true Church of Jesus Christ, was ushered in with one of the most marvelous revelations from God to man of all time. Both God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ appeared in heavenly vision to the boy, Joseph Smith, called him to be a prophet, and gave him the calling to restore to the earth all of the blessings of all the prior gospel dispensations. Those are the basic true facts from which we must proceed in examining why there is so much opposition against the Church. Since it is the only true and living Church, the only organization on the earth that has the power and the authority to bring the children of men back into the presence of their Father in Heaven, the enemy of all righteousness is raging in the earth, doing all he can to thwart the work of God and destroy His Church and kingdom on the earth. So Satan will influence every person he can, and every organization over which he has sway to impede the word of God.

So when you hear any word that tends to tear down The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or to malign its leaders or its adherent members, you may know without any shadow of doubt that those influences are Satan inspired. Those who promulgate such falsehoods, by doing so, label themselves as servants of the devil. Thus, knowing who they are, you have done the right thing, as you said, by not going any more to those anti-Mormon internet sites that have poisoned your mind. The very fact that they are there is a powerful proof of two things– one, that the Church that they are railing against is indeed God’s own church on the earth, and two, that they are the servants of the devil.

Now, with that background, let’s see if we can address each of your specific concerns—

“In Israel, where the bible is set, you can still go and see the ruins of the buildings and places that it talks about in the Bible. In America I’m confused because of the cities that are talked about in the Book of Mormon are not on the continent any more? How could they just disappear without leaving a single trace of evidence?”

None of the cities talked of in the Book or Mormon, other than those that have been destroyed by the Lord because of the wickedness of the people, have disappeared. They are still where they have always been. However, none of them have been identified as specific Book of Mormon sites. I think that there are two reasons for this. One, although the bible has been around almost since the beginning, many biblical sites have only recently been discovered and many more are yet to be identified. The Book of Mormon sites have only been known to be in existence as such for less that 200 years, and the hieroglyphic language of the early American sites is just now beginning to be interpreted. The second reason, to my mind, is that it is very important that the Book of Mormon, that contains the fullness of the gospel, must be believed through the application of faith rather then because of physical evidence. When one applies faith to the study of the Book of Mormon, the Spirit may gives its holy witness to the student that the Book of Mormon is indeed the word of God. Thus, its principles will be believed rather than just the fact that it is a historical document.

“Another question on my mind, the solid gold plates that were found by Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is a very big book 500+ pages. How many plates were there, because the images that I’ve seen of the gold plates that would still be very heavy for one person to carry on his own? ”

The number of plates that were given to Joseph Smith is not known. However, without doubt, it was a heavy load, but not so heavy that one person could not carry it. It has been estimated that the plates of the Book of Mormon that the Prophet Joseph had in his possession were on the order of 7×8 inches and 6 inches thick. However, one cannot consider that this represents a solid mass of gold of those dimensions–which would weigh about 200 pounds. The plates were neatly inscribed by hand with hieroglyphic characters, so they would be far from perfectly smooth. It is easy to imagine that with the inevitable minor unevenness of the plates that they would weigh more on the order of 100 rather than 200 pounds.

“One of the ten commandments of God is thou shall not worship false idols. Why do we have a statue of Moroni on our temples?….”

The statues of the angel Moroni on top of the temples are not idols to be worshiped. Have you every seen anyone worshiping a statue of the angel Moroni? If you would like a point of comparison, visit a Catholic cathedral. You will often find around the nave and transept crypts containing statues of the various saints. There is usually a railing in front of the statues and a kneeler. Watch the parishioners as they kneel before the statues and pray to them for favors and intervention with deity. In many such churches you will find that the adorers leave gifts of gratitude for blessings received from the saints that these statues represent. That indeed is idol worship. Why do you think that those who accuse the Mormons of idol worship because they have a statue of the angel Moroni atop their chapels do not accuse the Catholics, who actually venerate the statues of their various saints, of idol worship? The answer, of course, is clear. It simply relates to the source of the inspiration for such criticisms.

“What does Moroni have to do with it? It was Elijah who brought the sealing power back on the earth in the early days of the Mormon Church, not Moroni.”

The angel Moroni is placed atop Mormon chapels as a symbol of the restoration, rather than a representation of Elijah, because the Book of Mormon, that was delivered to the Prophet Joseph, is the Handbook of the Restoration. It contains the fullness of the everlasting gospel, and in the words of Joseph Smith—

I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book (Book of Mormon introduction).

“I don’t know if this is true or not but I’ve read that Brigham Young once said that: Black people will never receive the Priesthood until after the resurrection, and that if any white person was to marry a person of that origin the penalty was death. Is that true?”

No, that is not true. It is a lie, undoubtedly promulgated by those who know that it is a lie, and are trying under the inspiration of Satan to destroy the work of God. Let me give you a few statements collected at random that have to do with the Negro and the priesthood, and see if you can detect by the spirit of the remarks if the above statement attributed to Brigham Young has any truth in it.

“President Brigham Young, in a discourse given in 1855, speaking of the Negro said: “It is their privilege to live so as to enjoy many of the blessings which attend obedience to the first principles of the gospel, though they are not entitled to the Priesthood” (Journal of Discourses, 2:184).

“President Brigham Young and John Taylor spoke on the necessity of contributing to the temple fund, and the meeting concluded with the Prophet’s speech about the feasibility of annexing Texas, Mexico, and Canada, and liberating the Negro by indemnifying their owners. After the choir sang, Brigham Young gave the closing prayer” (Pearson H. Corbett, Hyrum Smith, Patriarch, p.339).

“Sometime in God’s eternal plan, the Negro will be given the right to hold the Priesthood” (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price, p.406).

“In the Book of Mormon it teaches of one God and that he is a Spirit. Joseph Smith taught that there is a plurality of Gods and that God has a body of flesh and bones, that he got to be God through living righteously to his God, and the same with the God before him and so on.”
One must understand the context of the scriptures and the statements of Joseph Smith that refer to the nature of Deity. Both are absolutely correct and not it disagreement.

And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen (Book of Mormon, Introduction).

We do not believe that the Father, the Son and Holy Ghost are one substance, but rather one in purpose, plan and function–three separate beings that are as one. That is the tenor of the Book of Mormon descriptions of God, which is consistent with the same views expressed in the Bible.
The Bible also speaks of there being a plurality of Gods, although this obvious biblical doctrine is not understood nor accepted by the uninspired sectarian world—

For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him(1 Cor 8:5-6).

This statement clearly states that although there be many Gods, we owe our allegiance, our veneration and our worship to one God, who is our Father in Heaven.

Gramps

 

 

 

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