THE TRUTH ABOUT THE BIBLE
Writing about this subject is so intimidating to me that I put it as the last section to complete. I know I’m not articulate enough to convey the true essence of its importance even though in my mind it’s all worked out, coming off my tongue is quite another matter! Sometimes I take the easy way out and just pray Isaiah 40:8 for the Mormons; asking the Lord to “just fix their thoughts” and make them know the truth of that verse!
Wouldn’t it be great if it was always that easy? This is why I am always amazed at how our God supplies for us and this is one of the times that I’m beyond grateful that He laid it on the hearts of intelligent people to write books and papers about the authenticity of the Bible and its validity.
As a Mormon I was never encouraged to study factual information about the Bible, thus my great mistrust of its validity. Below are some basic facts of the Bible that would be beneficial for the ex-Mormon to hear.
I believe the most interesting fact I learned about the Bible is that it was God-breathed, “theopneustos”. 2 Tim. 3:16. By the power of the Holy Spirit the words were written down on papyri while God used each individual’s personality and writing style to give mankind His Law and reveal Himself to us.
The Bible is a compilation of 66 books, written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. It was written by more than forty authors in three continents over the span of more than 1,500 years. It is by far the most read book in the history of mankind.
There are 333 prophecies in the Bible, 48 of which are in Isaiah chapter 53 alone! The odds of all those prophecies coming to fruition are staggering, yet that’s exactly what God did! Fulfilling just 48 of 61 of the prophecies concerning Jesus are 1 in 10157.
The Dead Sea Scrolls that were discovered in 1947 by a Qumran shepherd boy taught the scholars that no changes were necessary to the KJV Bible. The Bible is 99.9% textually pure. (Depending on the source, this figure ranges anywhere from 95% to 99.9%; I use the 99.9% figure based on the largest consensus of experts that I’m familiar with). The remaining .01% has no affect on the doctrine. Share with the ex-Mormon the method by which the scribes adhered to when copying the texts.
The original texts were hand written either by the author’s own hand or by a scribe under their supervision. The markings or letters are known as jots and tittles. If even one of these were written down incorrectly the entire page would be torn up and thrown away (usually burned) and they would have to begin all over again. It was an incredibly tedious work! Pastor Floyd McElveen wrote;
“More than 25,000 sites have been excavated verifying the existence of cities, kings, kingdoms events, officials, etc., proving the historicity and incredible accuracy of thousands of Biblical references. Archaeologist Nelson Glueck has said, “It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.”” (Evidence You Never Knew Existed, pg. 8).
The link below contains fantastic information on the Bible. I highly encourage you to go to this site or any others that you may know about and share them with the one you are mentoring. They need to know, they deserve to know and they will be more than shocked to know the truth!
The list of reasons why the Mormons don’t believe the Bible to be trustworthy is exhaustive. Joseph Smith spent an extraordinary amount of time berating the Bible and everyone who had ever used it or helped write it. No one was worthy enough to escape his tirades of scathing remarks and “prophetic” utterances of disdain towards God’s word. Listed below are just a few examples of his and other LDS leader’s heretical comments. Also notice the way their teachings vary, thus keeping the Mormon confused.
2 Nephi 9:16; “And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.” Also see 1 Nephi 13:23-4.
Articles of Faith, pg. 214; “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.”
“A fundamental operating principle of “revealed” religions is that all truth cannot be completely discovered through human reason alone. Without God’s aid, no one can obtain the vital data, proper perspectives, and interpretive keys for knowing him (see Reason and Revelation). Because Latter-day Saints believe that their religion is revealed through living prophets of God, they subordinate human reason to revealed truth.” Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 112.
A Bible! A Bible! Pg. 13 says; “Of course Joseph Smith also stated that the Bible had not been preserved in its original purity: “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly” (A of F 1:8). The word translated as it is used here must be understood to include the idea of transmission. That is, error has occurred not only in the translation from one language to another but also in the transcription of the text from manuscript to manuscript, even in the same language. The Bible has apparently suffered mostly from omissions….”
The rest of this chapter is a contribution given to us by Pastor Elbert Sorrell from Alexandria, Ohio.
“…The missionary looked at me on one occasion during the evening, apparently upset with my continual use of the Bible and said that he didn’t care what I would show him in “that book.” No matter what verses I used to answer questions or respond to them as we discussed the matters at hand, I was wrong…”
The Bible is only accepted as truth in the mind of an average Mormon in a very limited, qualifying way. The reason this is so is because of the claims that Joseph Smith made in his early written works circa 1830. Today you can find this rock solid belief in their testaments of faith (Articles of Faith) posted at the end of the Pearl of Great Price. The list of their standard works of scripture made it to number eight of their thirteen testaments. (1)
Smith arbitrarily took out and left alone what he deemed worthy of notice and believability for his devoted followers. He convinced people that the Bible was indeed the “word of God as far as it is translated correctly”; however when any member of the Church is questioned about their belief in the Bible you will be met with an air of hesitancy as their demeanor changes into a defensive mode. They claim there have been many “plain and precious truths” taken away from the Bible (this goes for their beloved KJV) and they won’t be able to provide which parts have been mistranslated or taken away. Smith convinced his believers the Bible is shot full of holes and is the one of the causes of the “Great Apostasy” which is why God needed Smith to “restore the One and Only True Church”. (2)
In my experience as a missionary we often used the Bible as a “backup” to give other doctrines in Mormonism validity as we taught them. We were often taught by our mission president to, “go from the known to the unknown” in teaching an investigator. We were to teach what was alike in our doctrine first and then the doctrines that were peculiar to Mormonism could be elaborated on more easily.
Another tactic is for them to try to use the Bible to show the disunity among the various denominations. This is something that is done quite frequently by most Mormons. For the purpose of this section let me say that your job as a mentor is to get the Mormon or ex-Mormon to see the validity of the Bible and not to become sidetracked by another issue. Also, do not get caught up in the trap of trying to defend a particular denomination. The purpose is to develop within those you are mentoring, an ability for them to use the Bible as their guide and not a particular church or group as their guide to the Bible.
After coming out of Mormonism in 1985 I was dealing one day with a Mormon missionary that was in my home and each time we dealt with a specific topic it was my habit (a good one I continue to use) to go to the Bible to verify the truth of what I was saying. The missionary looked at me on one occasion during the evening, apparently upset with my continual use of the Bible and said that he didn’t care what I would show him in “that book.” No matter what verses I used to answer questions or respond to them as we discussed the matters at hand, I was wrong. In dealing with this subject a little basic information could be helpful.
Remember that your aim is not to show them how much you know, but to impart truth in a way that is understandable to them.
A famous theologian is reported to have said that on the occasions that he was permitted to preach the Word of God that he often had people of various stations in the congregation. Amongst his listening audience you would find the rich, poor, learned and illiterate, nobles and commoners. When he preached he would attempt to reach out to those of the lowest station of society and that if he was successful in doing that, he knew that he would also reach the nobles. The Bible has come down to us through the centuries from its original form to the translations that we have today.
The original writings (those of the OT prophets, NT apostles and others who wrote the New Testament like Mark and Luke) are what are commonly called the autographs. These original writings are no longer with us today.
We do have what are referred to as manuscripts; which are copies of those originals. Many of those copies exist today and are what is used to make translations of the Bible in various languages. Needless to say, some of the manuscripts that are used are more complete or accurate than others. And while there are those that are more complete than others, there is nothing to lend to the idea that we do not have the complete Word of God for us today.
You could ask the question of your students; “Do you believe God could give us His Word perfectly through the Biblical writers?” If they answer yes then ask the following question; “If God is able to do that then don’t you think He also would have the power to preserve His Word to us today?” By now you’ve probably seen some resistance being put up by the one you’re mentoring in regards to the truths you are presenting to them. This is totally normal as well as expected so don’t panic! They have just spent an extraordinary amount of time allowing lies to be placed against their soul and they took each one of them in as truth. They don’t doubt you per se; they doubt everything and everyone that comes into their path and this includes themselves.
Remember this isn’t about flesh and blood as Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11; this is about the powers and principalities of the air. Your job is to continue laying the foundation of truth for them. Again, this is where prayer and perseverance on your part comes into play.
The subject of various versions or translations may come up from those you are mentoring as you approach the subject of the Bible. This is an area you need to be cautious in. Even though Joseph Smith did attempt a new translation of the Bible, it is not used in its entirety by the LDS church today. Unlike other cults today that has their own “translations” of the Bible, you are at an advantage with the ex-Mormon on this area because the King James Version is a reliable and beautiful translation. Rather than trying to get them to switch to another version, I would encourage YOU as a mentor to stay with the KJV in your mentoring for a few reasons:
1 – Accuracy of the language. Many things could be added here, but let it simply suffice to say the KJV is an accurate translation that can be trusted. Those you are mentoring need to have that security.
2 – Beauty of the language it is written in.
3 – Familiarity of the Mormon with it. You have enough to deal with as it is without having to contend with the issue of getting your students to acquaint themselves with a new translation of the Bible. It will also be easier for you to show how the Mormon Church has tampered with the Bible and twisted its meaning by using the KJV since this is the version they have historically twisted.
When they begin to see how their own church has twisted Scripture and lifted it out of context, while at the same time accusing various denominations of doing it, this could (and probably will) come as quite a shock to them.
You also have a wonderful opportunity here to share with the ex-Mormon or Mormon the fact that there have been Christians down through time that has given their very lives to give us the Bible in our own language. John Wycliffe in 1380 translated the NT and in 1382 translated the OT from Latin to English. William Tyndale translated the NT from Greek to English around 1524; Miles Coverdale and Thomas Matthews are also two men who undertook this noble task that are well known to those of us in the Church of Jesus Christ. These men, along with many others saw a need for the common man to have the Bible and in so doing; many were executed for their efforts.
Persecution was the order of the day simply because they loved the Word of God and loved the people they knew that needed the Word of God. It wasn’t enough they had it; they wanted others to have it as well. These people (just like those you are mentoring) went against the grain of a corrupt religious system and organization that did not want them to know the truth or tell it to others and yet at great personal cost to them in numerous ways, pressed on because they saw the reality of what the consequences were. This is another proof of the fact that the church of Jesus Christ was alive and well, even in those darkest and most difficult times, when the LDS church was yet to come into existence.
LET US REJOICE IN AND PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!!!
1 – Articles of Faith 1:8; “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.”
2 – Doctrines of Salvation 3:190; “We are informed in the Book of Mormon that the Hebrew scriptures went “forth from the Jews in purity unto the Gentiles, according to the truth which is in God,” and after they went forth from the Jews many changes were made, and “many parts which are plain and most precious; and also many covenants of the Lord have they taken away.””
© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.