How do Mormons accept Joseph Smith's claims of having seen God


#1

Smith’s first vision in which he claims to have seen God conflicts with the Bible, which says, “No man hath seen God at any time”(John 1:18, 1 John 4:12). In Exodus 33:20, God also says, “There shall no man see me and live.” Men cannot see God beacause He is Spirit(JOHN 4:24), and spirit is invisible( Col. 1:15, 1 Tim. 1:17), Invisible means it cannot be seen. 1 Tim. 6:16 also says He “dwells in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see.” I would like to understand how mormons accept Joseph Smith’s claims.


#2

The LDS religion has morphed since Joseph Smith “translated” the “golden plates” he claimed to find. The first Mormons were Book Of Mormon salespeople who went door to door. The BOM as the LDS folks like to refer to it, answered one of the burning questions of the day and that was “Where did the Native Americans come from”. The first book of the BOM is carefully written and rather interesting, providing an alternate history to the Bible but as you go through each successive book, it gets less and less original and more and more, lifting whole quotes from the KJV, as it was obvious (my opinion - heretical to Mormons) that Smith found writing a new “Bible” a more daunting and laborious task than he ever could imagine (another “proof” that the Bible could NOT have been written by man!). Most Mormons have not, as I have done, read the BOM from cover to cover although when the missionaries make their first contact with prospective church members, the BOM is the first thing they will give you.

This is important about the content of the BOM since it does in fact, teach the same things as the Bible… that God is simple and infinite, that God is changeless and many other things which are directly in contradiction to what the LDS church teaches today.

The LDS church recognizes four books as “Sacred Scripture” including the KJV Bible and ONLY the KJV and this is important because one of the verses missing in the KJV but present in every other better translation disproves their claims about the Urim and the Thummin which Smith claimed to be “seer stones” but were in actuality, “sacred lots” (kind of like that 8 ball you can buy where you ask a question and it tells you “yes” or “no”).

The book of “Sacred Scripture” which governs what the Mormon church REALLY teaches is a small volume called “Doctrines and Covenents” or the “D & C” as Mormons affectionately refer to it. Unfortunately for those who study both the BOM and the D & C, they will discovered that the D & C contradicts the more traditional God concept taught in the BOM and not only that, but there is actually a reference in the D & C (I read THAT from cover to cover also) to an “intelligence neither created nor made” which pretty well defines the way non Mormon Christians describe God. So when I talk to Mormons about “issues” in their teachings, I first show them this passage in the D & C and add that if this IS an “intelligence” it must then, be purposeful etc etc and that this is what WE believe God looks like and that Jesus is His Son. The Mormons describe God as a finite being, graduated from living on this earth. Actually the difference in the God concept is the biggest problem with the LDS church but many converts to LDS are not made familiar with this.

Since so much of the BOM is lifted from the KJV, it’s likely the verses you quoted might be found there also but the LDS folks will explain this by their doctrine of “ongoing revelation”. According to this, the current Prophet can change anything stated in any of the “Sacred Scripture” by his own revelation - this is how they permitted multiple wives (basically when Joseph wanted this in his own life) and how they changed that again when the US govt objected.

This is a long answer :p- hope it answered your question!


#3

Their missionary combination reference quotes texts in the OT, like “I have seen God and lived”

read John 1:18, 1 John 4:12 for context. I John 4, is simply saying that everyone does not see God on a regular basis. The main point of the text is around verse 20, how can you say you love God when you don’t love your brother whom you can see. John 1:18 is simply saying that Jesus is revealing God to the world through his incarnation. Neither text holds the interpretation that no one has ever seen God at anytime. Both texts speak in general people do not see God face to face. Also, John 1:18 is speaking of no one in general seeing the Father.

John 1:18
No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

John 6:46
No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.

Later Jesus says, if you seen me you have seen the father.

They would also, quote texts like Acts 6 or 7 about Stephen seeing Jesus at the right hand of the Father in heaven.

You are right our best arguement is “God is Spirit” and therefore does not have a physical body.

But, using the watchtower misreading that no one has ever seen God at anytime simply does not work.


#4

Hi, thanks so far for the responses. Unfortunately it’s not very simple is it? I was asking also because I have mormons visit guite often and I wanted to be prepared for their responses. To be honest I feel a bit more confused. How to talk to those who apparently have an “equal” counter response? Granted I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer so please make responses simple.:stuck_out_tongue:


#5

This topic isn’t that easy, and leads to a lot of confusing blind alleys. It’s probably better to steer the conversation elsewhere.

Here are two instances of man seeing God without repercussion:

First, Isaiah saw God:
Is 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"
Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin forgiven.”

Second, the whole nation of Israel saw God: Jesus.

In the OT we have the commandment not to make an image of God, because no one knew what God looks like.

Deut 4:15-18 "Therefore take good heed to yourselves. Since you saw no form on the day that the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth.

However, in the NT we have God in the very person of Jesus who walked among us. Making an image of Jesus is perfectly permissible, because God showed Himself to us in physical form. And while the bible does not describe Jesus’ appearance, a great many faithful Christians believe that Jesus did leave us His image on His burial cloth, now known as the Shroud of Turin.

The Mormon hot-button invitation you really want to avoid is their insistent suggestion that you accept the BoM and pray over it. They’ll tell you the Holy Ghost will give you a quiet assurance and confirm the BoM is true through your feelings, thoughts, and impressions. Permit me to state this quite bluntly: when the devil wants to get ahold of you he speaks in a very soft reassuring voice.

Nan


#6

LOL, well, you are lucky to have so many Mormon visitors. I’ve got Mormons in my life, but the missionaries stay far away from me. Oh, how I wish I could get a visit every now and again from some Mormon missionaries.

The advice not to engage them very specifically on scriptural matters is probably sound, unless you yourself are a very knowledgable Bible person, and schooled in the peculiarities of Mormon definitions and doctrines. Myself, I prefer to avoid details. Every time I’ve ever gotten bogged down into scriptural details with Mormons, the arguments have ended in stalemate, if not me getting tangled up in my tail. The basic problem is that Mormons don’t define many common words the same way we Christians do, so when you think you’re all on the same page, you suddenly realize that, no, they’re in a completely different chapter than you are. Also, the missionaries are trained to argue along certain tricky lines, and unless you are prepared to address those tricky lines adequately, you can find yourself getting into trouble.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t out-argue them in their own terms. Just don’t expect it to be easy, or not to require some solid preparation.

I stick to the overall view. I like to bring up polygamy. You’ll probably find that the missionaries don’t know very much about it. Many Mormons find their polygamist past embarrassing, and avoid the subject. Find out all you can find about Mormon polygamy, especially the way it was practiced by Joseph Smith (upwards of 48 wives) and Brigham Young (over 50 wives). I’ve found that Mormon women and girls are particularly receptive to this information, for obvious reasons.


#7

Hi, thanks Nan for your response. Yes, I recall the emphasis made on reading the Bof M. for the assurance that it is true. One mormon gave me her emotional testimony to it. I don’t know how this confims anything. I read a verse from Jeremiah recently, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Subjective feeling shouldnt be the reason for your faith. I believe we catholics understand that concept well. The warm fuzzies are nice but not always given. This makes me think of something else a mormon told me. I had done some research before the visit so I already new about some of their doctrines. Ex. God is flesh and bones, lives on another planet, Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers. She told me that the new mormons are not taught this stuff right away because it is like giving the meat to babies before the milk. I didnt have a good response at the time but It did remind me of something I heard from catholics. And what it is to Catholics is that in the begining of your conversion you feel consolations but as you progress God takes away these warm fuzzies to help you grow in your faith. Do I have that right?


#8

Hi and thanks Allweather for your advice. I got to use it today too! Another pair. I’m a Mormon magnet:D I mentioned polygamy and one Elder mentioned Joesph Smith did it for the purpose of the wives that were left because their husbands were away at war and to give, the wives, some kind of identity? Didnt ask what war, was kinda stunned at the response. It doesn’t even make sense. Im not sure the Elder even knew what he was saying. They have an answer for everything. :confused:


#9

You’ve got this one nailed.
Jer 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it?

In searching for it I found another one that seems even more applicable to Joseph Smith:
Jer 23:25-32 I have heard the prophets who prophesy lies in my name say, “I had a dream! I had a dream!” How long will this continue? Is my name in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy lies and their own deceitful fancies? By their dreams which they recount to each other, they think to make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name for Baal. Let the prophet who has a dream recount his dream; let him who has my word speak my word truthfully! What has straw to do with the wheat? says the LORD. Is not my word like fire, says the LORD, like a hammer shattering rocks? Therefore I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who steal my words from each other. Yes, I am against the prophets, says the LORD, who borrow speeches to pronounce oracles. Yes, I am against the prophets who prophesy lying dreams, says the LORD, and who lead my people astray by recounting their lies and by their empty boasting. From me they have no mission or command, and they do this people no good at all, says the LORD.

This makes me think of something else a mormon told me. I had done some research before the visit so I already new about some of their doctrines. Ex. God is flesh and bones, lives on another planet, Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers. She told me that the new mormons are not taught this stuff right away because it is like giving the meat to babies before the milk.

The “milk before meat” policy is more along the lines of “if we told you this screwball stuff up front, you’d run away as fast as your legs could carry you.” They want you to buy into the program with a warm feeling of assurance from the Holy Ghost, then get to know what nice people they are (and they really are nice people). Then when you’re feeling secure (or hooked) and have broken away from anyone who would dispute the theology they start dropping the hidden mysteries on you: "Did you know you can become a God?

Catholics, on the other hand, tell you what you’re getting yourself into right up front. Marian doctrines are a biggie, and in RCIA we usually get to them pretty quickly. We recognize that these doctrines are a difficult hurdle, and we reassure our inquirers that they should keep asking the hard questions until they are satisfied.

I didnt have a good response at the time but It did remind me of something I heard from catholics. And what it is to Catholics is that in the begining of your conversion you feel consolations but as you progress God takes away these warm fuzzies to help you grow in your faith. Do I have that right?

I hope you’re not thinking that Catholics believe God rips the rug out from under your feet to force you to stand. That’s not the case at all.

It’s more along these lines: The closer you get to God, the harder the devil fights to keep you in his clutches. Yet if you let God be the lord of your life, you find that He always gives you sufficient grace and strength to deal with whatever burdens you have. That’s the ultimate “warm fuzzy” in my opinion. There is no calamity too difficult for God; He just may handle it in a completely different way than you wish.

Nan


#10

The “milk before meat” policy is more along the lines of “if we told you this screwball stuff up front, you’d run away as fast as your legs could carry you.” They want you to buy into the program with a warm feeling of assurance from the Holy Ghost, then get to know what nice people they are (and they really are nice people). Then when you’re feeling secure (or hooked) and have broken away from anyone who would dispute the theology they start dropping the hidden mysteries on you: "Did you know you can become a God?

:smiley: Yes, I did think of that too. But I like how you put it.

It’s more along these lines: The closer you get to God, the harder the devil fights to keep you in his clutches. Yet if you let God be the lord of your life, you find that He always gives you sufficient grace and strength to deal with whatever burdens you have. That’s the ultimate “warm fuzzy” in my opinion. There is no calamity too difficult for God; He just may handle it in a completely different way than you wish.

You really know your stuff. Thanks for the clarification.


#11

And thank you.

If it hadn’t been for your referencing Jeremiah I wouldn’t have seen those awesome scriptures.

Since you seem to be getting a lot of visits from the Mormons, they must think you’re vulnerable. You might check out the thread “Any former mormons out there?” It’s got a lot of material you can use.

Nan


#12

Well, that is a completely nonsense answer on his part. Joseph Smith was practicing polygamy several years in secret before he finally admitted it, and when he did, he made it out that he was reluctantly obeying God’s order to take more wives. He claimed that he resisted, but that God told him that unless he obeyed, he’d be destroyed. When his wife, Emma, complained bitterly, she was also threatened with “destruction” via a revelation from God to… guess who?.. drum roll… Joseph Smith.

Recently I brought up this subject of Mormon polygamy to my fiance’s father. His reply was a very typical one, that I’ve heard several times from Mormons, and that is that polygamy was made necessary during the trek to Salt Lake because of a shortage of men. But this is not true. Whether there was or was not a “shortage” of men is beside the point. Polygamy is a sinful practice, without any possible justification under any circumstances. And, it remains a fact that a shortage of men had nothing to do with it. Joseph Smith was practicing it BEFORE the move to Salt Lake began, some ten years before he was murdered in 1844.


#13

HOw do other christians accept that Jesus is God?


#14

Since you seem to be getting a lot of visits from the Mormons, they must think you’re vulnerable.

Well then, it’s time to turn up the HEAT and rustle some Mormon feathers 'cause I am CATHOLIC and proud to be. I am limited on my ability to articulate scripturally my faith and always need to look up stuff but ,passion for my faith is not lacking. :thumbsup:


#15

Memorize Isaiah 43:10 and 2 cor 4:4

Isaiah 43:10
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that** I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.**

When you get into a discussion about polytheism, they will claim to be monotheist because they worship the god of this world.

2 Corinthians 4:4
In whom the **god of this world hath blinded **the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

:thumbsup:


#16

When you get into a discussion about polytheism, they will claim to be monotheist because they worship the god of this world

Yes, this is exactly what I went through with the last missionaries. Thanks for the versus to memorize:tiphat:

The missionaries will be visiting me again Sunday.


#17

Hi there, I noticed that you are Jewish and assume a practicing one. So can I ask you a question? Why don’t Jews believe that Jesus is God? I would like to be informed in this area.


#18

Well, this has always been a hard thing for me to internalize… the idea of Jesus being God. Rather than try to make a case in my own words, I would just say that I accept the teachings of the Catholic Church in this regard. I am not smart enough to have worked out the theology on my own, nor will I ever be able to comprehend it adequately such that I can say with any degree of certainty that “Jesus is God because thus and so.”

However, when I read the NT I find many inferences, lots of them in words attributed to Jesus himself, that make the claim. Other Bible writers, including several OT references, make the claim. But in the end, I believe it because the Church teaches it, and I accept everything the Church says I must accept in order to be a member. “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only son of God. Eternally begotten of the Father. God from God, light from light, true God from true God. Begotten, not made, one in being with the Father. Through Him all things were made…”

This I believe.


#19

Go get 'em, blessings. Those cults thrive on weak Catholics who are afraid to stand up for the faith. No one can stand up to a Catholic who is bold, proud, and willing to defend the faith down to the nub. You will kick some Mormon bee-hind, but unfortunately they will stop coming around as a result.

Plant some seeds in their little minds. Someday those seeds may bear Catholic fruit in their lives.


#20

The missionaries may try to explain this by thier BOM but give them this: Doctrine and Covenants Section 84:21,22 which contridicts thier own scripture. It says “without the ordinances and …the authority” of the Melchizedek priesthood" without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father and live"
But Joseph Smith claimed to see God the Father in his “First Vision” however, his vision was several years BEFORE he allegedly recieved the Melchizedek priesthood…:slight_smile:


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