8th Article of Faith
“We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
Has there ever been a topic in life that affects you so deeply that it makes it difficult for you to speak or to even write about? If there is, then you’ll be able to relate to the pain in my heart that I have over the 8th Article of Faith. It is rare that I am left speechless as the people in my life can certainly attest to; but this is one of those rare occurrences where this has happened.
On www.lds.org I signed up to receive daily ‘inspirational quotes’ from the Church called LDS-Gems. Each day I receive 1-3 quotes from various missionaries or leaders of the Church that I have found to be quite disheartening. The one I received today, September 8th, is what prompted me to write this article that you’re reading right now. Today’s ‘gem’ said:
“The Lord has promised us that as we ‘search diligently, pray always, and be believing, . . . all things [will] work together for [our] good’ (D&C 90:24). That doesn’t mean that everything will be perfect or that we will not have any trials, but it does mean that everything will be okay if we just ‘hang in there.’ Ours is the opportunity to ‘be . . . an example of the believers’ (1 Timothy 4:12), and the Savior has promised that ‘all things are possible to him that believeth’ (Mark 9:23). So believe in yourselves. Believe that you are never alone. Believe that you will always be guided.”
What caught my attention to the above mentioned article was the use of scripture from the Bible. How did the church leader Elaine S. Dalton know that the verses she used from the Bible were translated correctly enough to ensure their authenticity? Also pay particular attention to what she says. She quoted scripture from Mark which is Jesus telling the father to believe in Him and His power to heal his son and then Ms. Dalton went on to say “so believe in yourselves”.
1 Timothy 4:12 says; “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
Mark 9:23 says; “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
When I was a little girl growing up as a Mormon in Utah I distinctly remember sitting in my bed reading the stories of Jesus’ travels or the times I’d sneak into my brothers’ rooms each Christmas eve to read to them about the birth of the Messiah. I never could grasp the full meaning of the 8th article of faith because of the Church’s continual use of the scripture while at the same time denouncing it. It was very confusing for me and quite frankly, it still is. To the untrained eye this teaching about the Bible is benign, but after closer examination we must call it to the plate for what it is – a lie.
The one thing that I cannot live without is my Bible. Now I must emphasize that I do not worship my Bible, but I do indeed rely upon it heavily in each day of my life and use it for reference in every circumstance that arises. It is one of the many ways in which God speaks to me – all of us really.
To be an example as the LDS gems article stated we as Christians must be able to give a reason for our hope – 1 Peter 3:15 says; “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” Trusting in the Bible is certainly part of being able to give the answer. How do you call yourself a Christian and not trust the Bible?
2 Timothy 3:16 says; “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
As we all know, inspiration applies specifically to the original autographs of the Bible, not to copies and translations. However, this should not cause concern about whether the Bible you hold is truly the Word of God. Norman Geisler said;
“Even when the accuracy of a reading in the original text cannot be known with 100 percent accuracy, it is possible to be 100 percent certain of the truth preserved in the texts that survive. It is only in minor details that any uncertainty about the textual rendering exists, and no major doctrine rests on any one minor detail. A good translation will not fail to capture the overall teaching of the original. In this sense, then, a good translation will have doctrinal authority, although actual inspiration is reserved for the autographs”. Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, 1986, pg. 44.
There were over 40 authors of the Bible who ranged from slaves to kings, male, female, teachers, students, tax lawyers, etc. They wrote over a 1,500 year span, lived on three continents and it all came together in a compilation of 66 books. Despite all these differences one thing remains the same: their view of God.
Tell me exactly which ‘old Jew’ messed it up? Why is it that nothing of repute can be found with a statement such as this one? Unfortunately, the people of Mormonism are simply mimicking what they’ve been taught to say with no evidence for this monumental claim.
There are many reputable authors who speak much more eloquently than I do about the authenticity and reliability of the Bible so I will be giving a list of recommended readings at the end of this article. For the time being I want us to look at what the LDS Church has said about the Bible and give the reasons why they say it can’t be trusted.
James Talmage (served as one of the twelve apostles in early 20th century) authored the book Study of the Articles of Faith in 1899 and this is part of what he said about the authenticity of the Bible:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts the Holy Bible as the foremost of her standard works, first among the books which have been proclaimed as her written guides in faith and doctrine. In the respect and sanctity with which the Latter-day Saints regard the Bible they are of like profession with Christian denominations in general…The historical and other data upon which is based the current Christian faith as to the genuineness of the Biblical record are accepted as unreservedly by the Latter-day Saints as by the members of any sect; and in literalness of interpretation this Church probably excels. Nevertheless, the Church announces a reservation in the case of erroneous translation, which may occur as a result of human incapacity…” Page 214.
The first thing I would ask about this statement is to clarify what is meant when you say you accept it as genuine just like the rest of the world, probably even more so, yet you think there are things that have been erroneously translated? Martin Luther once said “If you don’t stand for something you will most certainly fall for anything”. The example I’ve just given of Talmage’s quote is evidence the members of the Church have fallen for something all right. They’ve bought into a lie that the word of God didn’t stand forever as God promised us in Isaiah 40:8 when He said: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.”
The Mormon hierarchy can say anything they want in regard to whether or not they truly believe in the Bible but don’t tell me this when the missionary kids come knocking on my door. Or better yet when I sit to have a simple conversation with my own mother about the Bible…she doesn’t have faith in its authenticity either. They have been convinced that “some old Jew” mistranslated the Bible, therefore their inability of being able to rely on it wholly.
Ask any Mormon in your life about the Bible and I guarantee you’ll receive the exact same response. It kills me that they’ve been lied to about this and the wool is so very thick over their spiritual eyes. The next paragraph is for the Mormon. With the utmost sincerity I ask you the following things and I challenge you to really ponder them in your mind; investigate your own history and the history of the Bible.
What is meant when you say you believe in the Bible, you carry it around with you or dust off the tops of the pages once a year, but you can’t trust it? Why even spend money on it? What are you doing? When did you begin to doubt its authenticity? Who gave you this false information and where did they get their information? Did you even ask them where they received their information? How can you trust the Book of Mormon when it contains a great portion of the Bible in it? Are the parts of Isaiah reliable if you read them from the Bible or only the Book of Mormon? Because I have to tell you that there are great passages of scripture from Isaiah that shouldn’t be overlooked but why do you believe in it if it’s full of errors? What about the portions of scripture from the gospels that are scattered about in the Book of Mormon? Are they still reliable if read from the Bible?
Here is part of an e-mail response that I gave to someone just a few weeks ago about the authenticity of the Bible and the type of God I worship:
– Since you were the one that said we got our information from ‘corrupted manuscripts’ could you tell me just how much studying you have done on the validity of the Bible? Are you aware that it has been proven accurate to 99.97% in its translation? The liberals tried for years to say that it was impossible for Moses to have written the books of the Law (that is the first 5 books of the Bible) because man did not write in word form at the time he was supposed to have done this. They (professional archaeologists and researchers) have since proven that writing actually existed long before Moses was around, beating the estimation of written words by more than 800 years. In addition to this, there are nearly 1,000 manuscripts available to scholars today of the New Testament. Every single one of them authenticates and backs up the validity of what has been written. We also have the recorded history of people such as Josephus who served as a Jewish historian who also wrote of things such as the resurrection of Jesus, the movement of the gospel throughout the world, etc. This serves as yet another ‘proof’ if you will that they are indeed authentic and can be trusted.
You are basing your judgments of corrupted manuscripts on something you’ve been taught in a sacrament meeting somewhere and by reading church doctrine written by uneducated men who sought godhood and exaltation and glory for themselves. They don’t care about the followers or your salvation. They don’t care whether or not they are beating their followers down. They’re only making sure they’re the ones in control instead of God Almighty. The God we worship is big enough to make sure the people know who He is as it says in Romans 1:18-25 and Jeremiah 31:34, 32:40; and Ezekiel 36:25-7.
In addition to my response to the e-mailer about the Bible I am compelled to tell the Mormons the truth about trusting the Bible. In 1947 the great discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls took place. The significance of this cannot be understated! They authenticated the accuracy of the Bible. These documents that were found in a cave by a young shepherd boy turned out to be older than the oldest transcripts that we had up to that point in time! Collectively, they were twice as old as the transcripts we already had. Furthermore, after the world’s reputable scholars had studied and verified all of the transcripts they recommended that no revisions should be made to the KJV. Bottom line? The Dead Sea Scrolls verified what we already had. It doesn’t get more real than that my friend.
Compare this with the history of the Church and Joseph Smith’s teachings. In the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg 348 it says;
“I shall comment on the very first Hebrew word in the Bible; I will make a comment on the very first sentence of the history of the creation in the Bible—Berosheit. I want to analyze the word. Baith—in, by, through, and everything else. Rosh—the head. Sheit—grammatical termination. When the inspired man wrote it, he did not put the baith there. An old Jew (emphasis mine) without any authority added the word; he thought it too bad to begin to talk about the head! It read first, “The head one of the Gods brought forth the Gods.” That is the true meaning of the words. Baurau signifies to bring forth. If you do not believe it, you do not believe the learned man of God. Learned men can teach you no more than what I have told you. Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council.”
On our website you will find an article entitled Mormon terminology and in it there is a translation chart on the first verse of the Bible. It is nothing close to what Smith’s translation is. Here’s the link: Mormon Terminology
We are praying that the Mormon understands that we are not attacking them personally. We are calling into question the reliability of Joseph Smith’s translations of the Bible, the Hebrew language and his audacity to claim the authority he did. All Mormons know the story of Smith having a 3rd grade education, this isn’t something that we’ve made up but is well documented throughout their history. When you visit Carthage, Illinois to take the tour of the jail you are led into a room to view a short film on Joseph Smith. You will see a short bio on Smith of how he could run faster than, jump higher than anyone else yet he had no money to go to school but was forced into child labor to help sustain the family’s need for food and shelter. He had no education yet he was found to be saying things like I’ve mentioned here and the followers were totally drawn into the same belief:
“Joseph Smith’s Lack of Scholastic Training. The production of the Book of Mormon is astonishing in view of the meager education Joseph Smith received in his boyhood. The financial resources of the family made it impossible for him to go beyond the schools in the little town of Palmyra, New York… In his early manhood, as soon as opportunity offered, he proceeded to make up for his deficiencies in technical education and at his death was acquainted with the fields of languages, law, history, and government.” John A. Widtsoe, Seven Claims of the Book of Mormon, pg. 22.
“Now, I ask all who hear me, why the learned men who are preaching salvation, say that God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing? The reason is, that they are unlearned in the things of God, and have not the gift of the Holy Ghost; they account it blasphemy in any one to contradict their idea. If you tell them that God made the world out of something, they will call you a fool. But I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow, and He is within me, and comprehends more than all the world: and I will associate myself with Him.” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 350.
Again, we ask the Mormon: which sounds more reasonable? Blind belief in fallible man with no education or the proof that God keeps laying at your feet? The leadership of the Church goes so far as to say that we should call into question anything that is not reasonable:
“Mormonism, as it is called, must stand or fall on the story of Joseph Smith. He was either a prophet of God, divinely called, properly appointed and commissioned, or he was one of the biggest frauds this world has ever seen. There is no middle ground. If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who wilfully (sic) attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false…” Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1: 188.
So again I ask the Mormon to think about my questions above in addition to these:
Why are you using scripture from the Bible if you think it is tainted?
If you’re a missionary why are you leaving the Bible behind with the inquirer if you don’t think it’s reliable?
Honest Christians don’t sell defective products to their potential customers and sleep well at night. And that’s just what the Church thinks of the Bible-defective.
Consider this: each of us is responsible for his/her own actions. The Church claims the Bible is not the inerrant word of God yet they give them away for free. What if that potential convert decided not to become a Mormon but joined another denomination instead? Wouldn’t you be held responsible for losing that convert? Personally that would be great as far as I’m concerned, but if I were the one out there claiming Mormonism is true then I’d feel a certain sense of responsibility for that ‘loss’. Why are you out there claiming to be a believer of the Bible yet this is not what you truly ascribe yourself to? You are essentially lying about the beliefs of the Mormon Church and they’re having you do this for them for free. Right now the Church has a campaign on called “Every Member a Missionary”. They have ‘enrolled’ each member of the Church into the missionary service of lying for them. This means my own mother is lying for them as well as my nieces, my cousins, my uncles, my aunts…
We are asking our Christian supporters to come alongside us in prayer for these misguided Mormon people! I’m praying for every person that has read Ms. Dalton’s comment in the LDS ‘gem’ and for her as well.
The books that we highly recommend are:
Josh McDowell: Evidence that Demands a Verdict, vol. 1 & 2
Lee Strobel: The Case for Christ
Floyd McElveen: God’s Word, Final, Infallible and Forever
There are many others out there that are great for study and give solid proof of the authenticity of the Bible. The book by Dr. McElveen can be purchased on our website and is an excellent tool for witnessing to the Mormon in your life or if you’re a Mormon you will see for yourself as he gives statistical information on the Bible and gives you direction on where to look for more information.
I want to make it clear that I do come to the Mormon people with meekness as it says in 1st Peter. In no way do I believe that I’m better than any Mormon, I am simply heart broken over their loss.
With Love in Christ;