En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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Posts Tagged ‘lds’

Our Father who is in heaven…!

Posted by Scott on April 25, 2008

Over the past few days I have spent some time researching Matthew 6:9-13 to which Jesus shows us how we should pray.  This followed Jesus explaining to us how “not” to pray.  I love the words of my Savior and take great heed to His words telling me how to pray.  He is telling the believers how to pray, not the general public mind you.  Think of it, how could someone pray like this who does not know the heavenly Father…the only way to know the heavenly Father is through the Son…Jesus Christ!  Refer to Matthew 11:27.

Prayer is no doubt something that is to be very personal and this model prayer is only to be used as a guide to enter into a very personal time with your heavenly Father.  Immediately in the beginning we are to make known exactly who it is we are speaking to.  This is not our earthly father.  No matter how frail or how great our earthly fathers where or are, we are still speaking in this moment with our most perfect parent of all…our heavenly Father.  He will never let us down.  He always loves His own.  He will carry us as an earthly father carries his own child.  We can count on our heavenly Father no matter what the circumstance we are in.  Do not think that He will spoil us, but He will give us exactly what we need and when we need it.  He never gives us too much or too little…it is always exact.  He listens to His children when they pray.  He longs to hear from us in this most intimate way…prayer!

After doing my early research on these words of Jesus a very personal and intimate prayer flows out from the text of verses 9-10 something like this:

“My dearest heavenly Father in all eternity, Your name is the holiest of all.  May Your royal kingdom come here, may Your pleasure be fulfilled here in my world as it is where You live in all eternity, the abode of heaven.”

The “abode” of heaven is a place elevated above all other places.  It is a place of dwelling in continuance.  This is where our self-existant heavenly Father lives…our God lives on high.  He has always been and always will be.  He lives in a place that has continued always without beginning or end.  Our heavenly Father right now is longing for the time in the future when He will share all eternity with His chosen people…this will be in the New Heaven…that is another subject by itself.  Think of your heavenly Father like what I have described above.  He is not a tyrant looking for someone to pounce on.  He is not an old judge without grace.  Our God is full of grace, mercy and love.  Our God is a “just” God.  He loves His chosen people and did so to the point He was willing to sacrifice His only Son on the cross for our sins.  Our heavenly Father is longing to be with us forever, but time is not an issue with Him, so He waits for His elect to accept Him.

In the meantime we have this beginning of Jesus’ model prayer.  I will continue later with the latter part of this prayer.  For now, just meditate on Matthew 6:9-10…these two verses alone once you understand and take into your mind the full meaning of Who you are praying to should be enough to leave you in awe of our wonderful heavenly Father.  Pray with great intimacy to our God in heaven.  He is waiting for His children to call upon Him.

In Christ,

Scott 2008

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Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates…Hoax!

Posted by Scott on March 30, 2008

Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates
Overview and Current Perspectives
Copyright © 2003 Institute for Religious Research


On April 23, 1843, six bell-shaped brass plates, covered with undecipherable engravings were unearthed near Kinderhook, Illinois, 70 miles south of Nauvoo. These plates have come to be known as the Kinderhook Plates.  A Latter-day Saint was present when the plates were discovered, so news traveled quickly back to the Mormon community in Nauvoo about the discovery of a new set of metal plates with writing on them. Initial LDS reactions were positive and reflected an expectation that these plates would support the ancient origin of the Book of Mormon. Soon after their discovery the Kinderhook Plates were taken to the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith so he could examine them.

On Wednesday, May 1, 1843 in the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, the editor of the Mormon Church publication TIMES AND SEASONS published an article on this discovery.

The article stated:  “Circumstances are daily transpiring which give additional testimony to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.” 

The article went on to say:

The following letter and certificate, will perhaps have a tendency to convince the skeptical, that…even the obnoxious Book of Mormon, may be true; and…that there may have been such [gold] plates as those from which the Book of Mormon was translated.

Mr. Smith has had those [Kinderhook] plates, what his opinion concerning them is, we have not yet ascertained. The gentleman that owns them has taken them away, or we should have given a fac similie of the plates and characters in this number. We are informed however, that he purposes returning with them for translation; if so, we may be able yet to furnish our readers with it (TIMES AND SEASONS, vol. 4, pp. 185-87).

The bell-shaped plates were later returned to Joseph Smith and according to historical sources, both Mormon and non-Mormon, he began a translation of the engravings and identified the skeletal remains found with the Kinderhook Plates.   

For example, Joseph’s private secretary William Clayton, recorded the following journal entry for May 1, 1843:

I have seen 6 brass plates which were found in Adams County . . . President Joseph has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found & he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven & earth (An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, ed. George D. Smith, Signature Books, Salt Lake City, 1991, p. 100; emphasis added).

For many years, this entry in Clayton’s journal was attributed to Joseph Smith as a first person statement.  This is because it was cited as such in the official History of the Church, May 1, 1843, which reads:

I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike County, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and others, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.

I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 372; emphasis added).

For 130 years this statement was accepted as unquestionably accurate.  Joseph Smith claimed to have seen the Kinderhook Plates, he identified them as ancient artifacts, and translated part of them.  However, since 1980 some LDS scholars and apologists have argued that these statements did not originate with Smith, but rather Clayton himself invented them or merely recorded hearsay.

This raises some interesting questions.

How plausible is this argument raised by some LDS writers? Was it unusual for accounts recorded by Joseph’s scribes to be entered as Joseph’s own words? Who was William Clayton? Was he in a position to accurately know and record Joseph’s words?  Was Clayton considered a reliable scribe and a dependable person?  Are there other entries in his journals that are accepted without question as the words of Joseph Smith?

Clayton: Intimate Confidante of Joseph Smith

From his conversion to the Mormon Church at age 23 in Preston, England in 1837, to his death in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1879, William Clayton is described as “never swerving in his belief in the church and its leaders” by George D. Smith, editor of An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton (p. xvii).  In his fifty page introduction to Clayton’s life and journals, George D. Smith includes descriptions of Clayton from close associates and family members who uniformly remember him as a serious, meticulous and dependable person. His daughter spoke of him as “methodical, always sitting in his own armchair, having a certain place at the table … his person was clean and tidy; his hands small and dimpled” (p. liii).  G.D. Smith writes:

Long after his death, Clayton was remembered as “the soul of punctuality”; his daughter remembering his “love for order, which he believed was the first law of heaven … he would not carry a watch that was not accurate” (p. xvi).

Mormon leaders recognized Clayton’s gifts and abilities early on, for after being a member of the LDS Church for less than six months he was named second counselor to the president of the British Mission (p. xvi), and later became the first branch president of Manchester (BYU Studies, 27:1, p. 47).

At Clayton’s death, Joseph F. Smith, who would become the sixth President of the LDS Church, noted Clayton’s achievements:

He was a friend and companion of the Prophet Joseph Smith, and it is to his pen to a very great extent that we are indebted for the history of the Church … during his acquaintance with him and the time he acted for him as his private secretary, in the days of Nauvoo (p. lx).

LDS scholars who have studied Clayton’s life have noted his “meticulous detail that was the hallmark of his writing” (p. xx), and also that,

Beginning early in 1842, William Clayton found himself involved in nearly every important activity of Nauvoo, but especially the private concerns of the prophet. For two and a half years, until Joseph’s death in 1844, they were in each other’s company almost daily.

[James B.] Allen [who wrote a biography of Clayton], explains that Clayton was not only Smith’s trusted employee and associate but also his personal friend and confidante. He wrote letters for the prophet, recorded his revelations, ran his errands, and helped prepare the official history of the church (pp. xxii-xxiii).

There would appear to be nothing or no one to detract from Clayton’s ability to accurately record the words of Joseph Smith, and every reason to believe he did so accurately and reliably.

Therefore, one can understand why the leaders of the LDS Church when compiling an authoritative history of the life of Joseph Smith and the Church, would accept without question the accuracy of Clayton’s journal entry for May 1, 1843 that stated:

I have seen 6 brass plates which were found in Adams County . . . President Joseph has translated a portion and says they contain the history of the person with whom they were found & he was a descendant of Ham through the loins of Pharoah king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of heaven & earth (Intimate Chronicle, p. 100, emphasis added).

As LDS leaders constructed a history of Joseph’s life with words recorded by him and others, it would have been easy to justify modifying Clayton’s May 1, 1843 entry so it read as follows when incorporated into the History of the Church:

I insert fac-similes of the six brass plates found near Kinderhook, in Pike County, Illinois, on April 23, by Mr. Robert Wiley and other, while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about six feet from the surface of the earth, which must have stood nine feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the skeleton and were covered on both sides with ancient characters.

I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the Ruler of heaven and earth (History of the Church, vol. 5, p. 372) 

If one does not accept Clayton’s journal entry at face value, about the only alternative is to imply that Clayton did not hear Smith make these statements, but instead was willing and capable of inserting speculative and unsubstantiated ideas and falsely attributing them to Joseph Smith.  While this can be granted as a possibility, it certainly seems improbable and highly implausible given what we know of Clayton’s life and character and the high level of confidence placed in him by Joseph Smith and subsequent LDS leaders and scholars.

Corroborating Evidence

Equally important in assessing the accuracy of Clayton’s journal entry is the existence of corroborating historical evidence related to Clayton, Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates. For example:

  • The Mormons  published facsimiles of the plates in a broadside titled “Discovery of the Brass Plates,” published at Nauvoo, Illinois, 24 June 1843.  This broadside stated in part:

    The contents of the Plates, together with a Fac-Simile of the same, will be published in the “Times & Seasons,” as soon as the translation is completed (LDS Archives – reproduced in Stanley B. Kimball, “Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax,” Ensign 11 [August 1981]:72). 

  • Joseph Smith hired Clayton specifically to record what he did and said, and “beginning in early 1842, William Clayton found himself involved in nearly every important activity of Nauvoo, but especially the private concerns of the prophet. For two and a half years, until Joseph’s death in 1844, they were in each other’s company almost daily” (Intimate Chronicle: The Journals of William Clayton, George D. Smith, ed., pp. xxii-xxiii). 

  • Clayton was with Joseph Smith on the day he records Joseph rendering his verdict on the plates (Intimate Chronicle, p. 100). 
  • Church Historian George A. Smith affirmed in 1858 that there was an accurate system in place so that the recorded history would be “strictly correct.”  The historians and clerks engaged in the work were “eye and ear witnesses of nearly all the transactions recorded in this history, most of which were reported as they transpired, and, where they were not personally present, they have had access to those who were” (Edward Ashment, unpublished article on file, Institute for Religious Research, Appendix A, p. 2) 
  • The history of Joseph Smith that contains the Kinderhook Plate statement was approved by Brigham Young, who himself was at Joseph Smith’s house and saw the plates there.   Young even includes a sketch of one of the plates he saw at Joseph’s house in his diary (Ashment, p. 2).

Thus, numerous historical sources indicate Clayton’s May 1, 1843 journal entry is accurate, and that Joseph considered the Kinderhook Plates ancient artifacts and began a translation of them. This historical evidence, coupled with a complete lack of any evidence to the contrary, was sufficiently convincing that for over 130 years no Mormon seems to have questioned or contested the authenticity of these bell-shaped brass plates.

LDS writer Stanley B. Kimball summarized the extent of LDS acceptance of the Plates as follows:

Over the decades, through the pages of the Times and Seasons, the Nauvoo Neighbor, The Prophet, missionary pamphlets, the Millennial Star, the Desert News, the University Archaeological Newsletter, the Improvement Era,  [in]  BYU Symposia  [and in Visitors’ Centers, and]  in books and unpublished reports, LDS scholars and laymen (and at least two RLDS writers) have affirmed and striven to prove the story of the Kinderhook plate incident and tried to make them vouch for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and to defend Joseph’s alleged translation of them (Stanley B. Kimball, “New Light on the Old Kinderhook Plates Problem,” based on a paper read at the 16th annual Mormon History Meeting, Ricks College, May 1-3, 1981, p. 3).

Challenges and Mormon Defense

Due to the historical evidence and the testimony of Joseph Smith, the Mormon community accepted and defended the Kinderhook Plates as genuine artifacts of ancient origin. Non-Mormons, however, at times challenged the LDS view that the plates were ancient artifacts. One such challenge came from Wilbur Fugate who participated in the 1843 discovery of the plates. He gave testimony in an 1879 letter to James T. Cobb that he had been involved in a hoax along with two other men. He claimed that together they had cut out thin pieces of metal and etched markings on them with beeswax and acid.  Then they had aged and secretly buried the plates and faked their discovery, inviting a Mormon to be present so word would get back to Joseph Smith (Welby W. Ricks, The Improvement ERA, vol., 65, 1962, pp. 656, 658).

However, Mormon defenders rejected this testimony and even had a surviving original plate examined in June of 1953 by Stanley B. Hill and Edward Pwiiski, two non-LDS engravers, to determine whether it was etched with a sharp object, or engraved with acid.  While this testing was not conclusive, there seemed to be evidence the plate was engraved rather than etched. This led Mormon scholar Welby W. Ricks to write:

The plates are now back in their original category of genuine. What scholars may learn from this ancient record in future years or what may be translated by divine power is an exciting thought to contemplate. This much remains. Joseph Smith, Jun., stands as a true prophet and translator of ancient records by divine means and all the world is invited to investigate the truth which has sprung out of the earth not only of the Kinderhook Plates, but of the Book of Mormon as well (Ibid. p. 660).

For over 130 years, from the discovery of these bell-shaped plates in 1843, the consensus Mormon position based on historical evidence was:

1.   The Kinderhook Plates appeared to be authentic, ancient artifacts.

2.   Joseph Smith saw the plates and had facsimiles made of them.

3.   Smith accepted them as authentic, evidenced by his claim to have translated them sufficiently to have determined their origin.

A Sudden Twist in the Trail

000aaaa_kinderhookcolor-crop-sh.jpg  All this changed radically in 1980.  In that year LDS history professor, Stanley B. Kimball, secured permission from the Chicago Historical Society to do a new series of highly technical tests, including use of a scanning electron microscope and an X-ray fluorescence analysis.  These were performed by Professor D. Lynn Johnson of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Northwestern University. The tests were conclusive: this was indeed one of the original plates presented to Joseph Smith in 1843.  However, it was not of ancient origin, but rather a modern brass alloy produced in the 19th century. The Kinderhook Plates were just what Fugate had claimed in 1879, “a humbug”. (Stanley B. Kimball, “Kinderhook Plates Brought to Joseph Smith Appear to be a Nineteenth-Century Hoax,” Ensign 11 [August 1981]:69-70).

Suddenly, the Kinderhook Plates did not support Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon, but instead raised serious questions about Joseph’s prophetic claims to be able to translate ancient languages.

LDS Scholars Revisit the Issue and Respond

LDS scholar Stanley B. Kimball, who initiated the conclusive testing on a surviving Kinderhook Plate in 1980, also provided the principle Mormon response to these results in an article he wrote for the official Mormon Church magazine, the Ensign. Kimball’s article reported the test results and then sketched out a survey of the historical evidence related to the Kinderhook Plates. Kimball’s conclusions (which have become the most common line of response given by other LDS apologists) can be summarized as follows.

  • Joseph was never fooled to begin with. The Kinderhook Plates were a frontier prank that Joseph was exposed to but he did not fall for it.

  • Joseph neither claimed to make a translation, nor did he even start a translation.

  • Joseph’s statement found in History of the Church that he had translated a portion of the Plates should be attributed to Clayton’s speculation.

  • Where Clayton got such an idea is unknown, but it is most likely he was reporting hearsay and then attributed it to Joseph Smith.

Stanley B. Kimball in his article for the Ensign magazine in August 1981, wrote:

Where the ideas written by William Clayton originated is unknown. However, as will be pointed out later, speculation about the plates and their possible content was apparently quite unrestrained in Nauvoo when the plates first appeared. … Whether or not he [Clayton] was present when Joseph Smith saw the plates is unknown (Ensign, August 1981, p. 67, 71).

Origination of William Clayton’s Ideas Unknown

It is notable that Kimball’s conclusions constitute a complete reversal of the previous Mormon position on the Kinderhook Plates. For over 130 years both LDS leaders and the Mormon community accepted them as authentic, ancient records, and as such they were used to support Joseph’s claims to be a true prophet, seer and translator.

Kimball’s article attempts to absolve Joseph Smith by claiming that the contemporary testimony of Clayton and others were based on “hearsay stories circulating in Nauvoo” (Ensign, August 1981, p. 73).

However, at least one other LDS historian has found serious problems with Kimball’s attempts to reinterpret Mormon history, and especially his attack on the reliability of William Clayton’s journal as a source for what Joseph Smith said.  Noted LDS scholar and writer Edward H. Ashment took exception to Kimball’s attempts to defuse the Kinderhook Plates issue.  Ashment first outlined the compelling historical evidence that closely linked Clayton to Joseph Smith and the Kinderhook Plates (cited earlier in this article).  Then, he detailed numerous serious flaws in both Kimball’s arguments and methodology as found in the Ensign article, and concluded with the following:

Kimball argues from the standpoint of argumentum ad opinabilem, in which the argument proceeds from prior belief to empirical conclusion. In this fallacy, the “prior belief” constitutes the categorical premise upon which the conclusion is based. In other words, because Kimball assumes that Smith was a prophet, Smith therefore would not have incorrectly identified and interpreted the Kinderhook Plates.  This explains his specious attempt to exculpate Smith by claiming that Clayton’s and others’ contemporary testimonies were based on “hearsay stories circulating in Nauvoo” (1981, 73).

Kimball’s article is an example of religious apologia presented as though it were history. Facts which are not congenial to increased faith in a given dogma are discredited (as Kimball has attempted to do with the 1 May 1843 entry), distorted or excised (Ashment, p. 2).

Kimball appears to impugn Clayton’s reliability to accurately record Joseph Smith’s words only when these now cast shadows on Joseph’s character and claims.

The question facing the investigator today regards the legitimacy of this post-1980 response. When we encounter objective evidence that overturns previous beliefs or at least calls them into question, is it honest or reasonable to then reassess and reinterpret the historical facts so the belief can stand, or is it time to reassess our beliefs and assumptions? The Kinderhook Plates are a known hoax.  Joseph Smith identified them as ancient artifacts and claimed to translate a portion of them. An honest wrestling with the issues seems necessary where there is a commitment to spiritual and intellectual integrity.

Glenn Evans
Joel B. Groat

Copyright © 2003 Institute for Religious Research. All rights reserved.

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He Leads Me Beside Still Waters!

Posted by Scott on March 28, 2008

Psalm 23:1-6 is a short chapter.  However, the Lord has it jam packed with meat that each of us guys can live on.

We have a God that is our Shepherd.  This means He watches over us as sheep.  Whether we like to think about it this way or not we are all like sheep prone to wonder away and get into trouble unless our Shepherd keeps us in line.  A Shepherd makes sure we are in the right places to eat and drink, so we will want for nothing.  This does not mean we will have everything we want, but everything we need…there is a difference.

Our great God gives us green lush pasture grass to lie down in…nothing greater to a sheep than tall luscious green grass in the morning with a bit of cool watery dew on top, yum-yum.  With us it is the same way.  Our gracious Lord gives us a place to lie down in peace at night.  It is our Shepherd that gives us this sweet rest. 

Then we are lead by the crystal clear calm waters that are quiet and peaceful.  These can be described like small ponds with not even a ripple across them, like looking at glass.  Come to think of it I have not seen sheep drink from a running brook or stream…as sheep they are probably too scary to drink from such a source.   Mostly I have seen sheep drink from is a still, quiet, pond or lake only.  Could it be this way for real..I will have to research further on that?  Anyway, in the middle of a hard day, God will calm us and quiet us with His presence.  Just knowing He is beside me is all I need to know in order to gain a steady hand with my problems.  Even if my issues are not going my way just having my Jesus beside me is all I need.  It is in this moment beside the calm quiet waters that He restores my aching troubled soul.   My Lord brings about the stability in my soul so that rest and peace can take place.  He gives us the steady hand to accomplish our work.  He gives us the steadiness to calm our families during the storm.  As Jesus leads us we can lead our families as well.  It is our job as dads and husbands to help our families to drink from these calm quiet ponds and find rest there.  We are to lead our families to the Shepherd.

You know guys, God is our personal guide leading us on the right paths in this life.  It is for His glorious name that He guides us back over to a righteous road away from the treacherous way we can be headed.  You know us sheep are prone to wonder and not recognize when we are going the wrong way that leads to our tragic end…God as our Shepherd knows this.  Thankfully we can count on His beautiful guidance each and every day.  It is hard for any man to give up ourselves in order to allow God to rule our lives, but guys, we must.  We must be the example of obedience to His word to show our families it is “ok”.  They will gain trust in our Shepherd if they see us trusting and obeying Him.

Throughout life each one of us will walk through the deepest darkest valley.  As the scripture puts it “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death”.  It is appointed that every man die once a physical death.  However, in this instance we can apply this “darkest valley” as death, financial ruin, spiritual upheaval, major health issues, etc.  In our lifetime we will walk through many dark valleys in order to get to the next mountain top and we have to climb this huge mountain just to get there.  Mountain tops are not that long compared to the valley below them and the sides leading up to them.  This is why we see far more valleys and find ourselves climbing mountains most of the time than we experience standing on top of the mountain.  Each mountain top experience I have had was absolutely wonderful…I never wanted to leave there, however, in order to continue to grow closer to my Lord and be obedient to His calling, I had to leave the mountain top and begin that long decent down the other side towards yet another valley.  This is tough to do.  God never promised us it would be an easy life, but that it would be one worth living in the end.  You see, we can count on our Lord to walk with us through these darkest valleys.  We need not fear any kind of evil since He is with us.  He has two big sticks to beat off anything that might try to keep us in that valley or ruin our time there…it is His rod and staff.  We can take great comfort in knowing this as we follow God along the right path through the valley.  Guys, these valleys are never where we want to stay, but the wisdom gained there is absolutely irreplacable.  I like to be beside a calm lake, with beautiful greenery all around.  I love watching the birds fly in and animals roam around those areas.  It can be great sometimes.  If we are not careful, guys, we will get accustom to living in the valley and not want to start climbing the mountain again.  These valleys have tremendous purpose, but we must continue on.  That mountain top is still the best place to be even if for a short period of time.  You see, it is there we can actually see all of God glorious wonder.  It is there we can shout the praises of our great King and see where it is we have been.  It is hard to see where we have been in the valley, but on the mountain top we can see it all that is behind us and much of what we have coming before us.  This is not saying we can see each trouble still to come…we can see much of the terrain we have to cross in order to get to the other side.  Hey, like my kids, I love a good adventure and in that valley below is adventure guaranteed.

Each of us no matter how gracious or good we are will have enemies.  Even if this enemy is satanic in nature, it is still our enemy.  As a matter of fact if anyone is against God they are an enemy of God making them our enemy as well.  So, regardless how hard we work to make sure no one is our enemy, we will still have enemies.  Our gracious Lord prepares a table that is fit for a king to eat at right in the presence of our enemies.  He intends that the enemy see that we belong to Him.  God wants our enemies to know that He is our God, our Guide, our Shepherd, Our Leader, and our Redeemer.  At the same time He anoints us or honors us before our enemies, which is one of the highest forms of affection and honor He will bestow on us.  Our cup will run over with the affection of our great sovereign Lord.  While the enemy can only grumble and look on…God is loving us and taking care of us each step of the way. 

Finally, we find ourselves with goodness, mercy, and love following us all the days of our lives.  This is a promise.  Men, understand that we can live off the promises of God…this t-bone steak for us!  This promise is not that we will spend our entire lives on the mountain peaks, but that even in the darkest valleys goodness and mercy and love will follow us there.  We can count on our God to provide that for us.  In the end of it all is really no end at all.  For we will live in the house of God forever.  For all eternity we will rest with our great God in heaven livign life to the fullest in thegreatest sense that God intended us to live.  These valleys, the shadow of death, the financial turmoil, the marital problems, the health issues, the pain, the suffering, the depression, the unclear direction, the uncertainty..this will all pass away someday into a new morning that is crystal clear with the light of the glory of our Lord Jesus with His hands open wide for each of us.  As God has said, “though I walk THROUGH the valley”.  It does not say we are staying there or how long we will be there.  We are only walking through it…there is another mountain peak coming…there is a new day dawning.  His mercies are fresh and new each morning, guaranteed!  After all is said and done in this life, we have eternity waiting…stop and imagine eternity or forever…what will that be like?  What a glorious picture we can make of this.  Those without Christ have no picture to visualize.  Those of us in Christ, oh what a wonderful day it will be.  AMEN!

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Honest Questions for LDS!

Posted by Scott on March 27, 2008

I have just run across these different ideas, rituals, stories and such as I have been studying on the LDS Church.  Now, admittedly I can hear all kinds of answers from non-LDS members and some former LDS members, but I do not know if they are correct.  Everyone has an opinion and some make a great case, but I want to hear from LDS members and what you think about these things.  I mean they are a part of LDS, so you must have an opinion or understanding on them.  Please, answer honestly and I will post what you answer.  If a further question arises from your answers I will post in another posting, but questions may not come up. 

Here are several questions to things I just do not understand:

1. Why does the Mormon church use Satanic symbols on the Temples?  The pentagram (satanic goat head) for instance is across the top of the Temple in Illinois 6 times?  Then you have the Sun God Baal underneath it 6 times and then towards the bottom is the moon god 6 times.  What is that all about?

2. Where did the planet Kolob come from in LDS?  I have read and watched documentaries on this and what is that all about?  God and other gods coming from a planet Kolob where a counsel once met to determine which one of God’s sons would be the redeemer and Jesus was chosen which made Lucifer mad and he talked a 1/3 of the angels to go with him or their skin turned black as a curse.  I don’t know that this is the belief across the board, but I have seen it in a few video presentations and also read a couple of articles that described it similiarly.  It tells us in John that Jesus was God’s one and only Son, so I am not sure where Lucifer comes in as being Jesus brother.  I have always heard this, but could not reconcile it.  I was just wondering what this is all about.

3. What was the stone for that Joseph Smith wore around his neck and Brigham Young wore one as well…so hhas been  reported.  I cannot remember what it was called….something like a Jupiter Stone or something like that.  The stones have been said to have occultic symbols on them of course I have never seen one or heard of one to know. 

4. I have heard two different accounts of this and I have read two different accounts.  One says that 13 witnesses actually testified to seeing the Golden Plates with their owns eyes.  Then the other account is that these 13 testified they only saw the Golden Plates spiritually..through spiritual eyes, but not physically…only Joseph Smith saw the actual Golden Plates with his own eyes.  I was just curious as to which one seems to be the actual doctrine of LDS on this.  I do not have an opinion on it…but when you hear or read two differing accounts one gets curious as to which it is.

5.  I read yesterday about the Kinbrook Plates.  These were bell shaped plates that were golden.  A group of men reportedly unearthed these plates that were stamped with symbols on them and took them to Joseph Smith.  It was told that Joseph begin to interpret these plates and symbols and when half way through found out that the plates were a hoax by these men and that the symbols meant nothing.  Do you have further information on this?  I only heard and read briefly on this, but wondered if anyone has actually seen any transcript as to what Joseph Smith was writing down as that the symbols meant?  The folks doing the documentary may not have known the truth about this either.  I was shocked to even hear about them as I had never heard about them until I was reading online about golden plates and then found a video that was talking about them as well.  Curious to know what else is known about them.

Remember, I am simply curious to know answers to these questions.  I get alot of questions about different things like this and I also want to be able to set people straight when they are misquoting as well.  If anyone can speak on some or all of these questions that would great.  If you simply do not have an answer that is understandable as well.



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LDS Members: You Have Met My Goal!

Posted by Scott on March 27, 2008

OK, you have answered the questions raised yesterday…thank you one and all.  I appreciate the great responses…some were very good responses and some just the same old stuff, but that is how it goes with any question no matter what the faith.  Some comments were somewhat harsh and I did not post them as my intent was not to create that kind of dialogue.  Any character assassins on me or my source is not allowed…sorry!  Just make the case for you personally and your faith and leave at that…I think we can all get along with that.

The overall goal was to create some dialogue here.  It seems if I ask sweet little questions in my post to the LDS they will not respond, however, when I post some questions that really are meaningless in the overall scheme of things you pounced like a cat on a flicker of light.  I would encourage you to just make your cases without all the snotty comments in between.   Some of you obviously have either had these questions before or really got to researching on it which is terrific.  We all must know why we believe what we believe and how to defend it.  I had a few that said you guys would not respond to the post and it would go no where and I thought they were crazy and you would respond and defend and you certainly have.  Great!  I am not saying here you convinced me otherwise, but that was not the goal intended.

Now, be looking for other questions in the future that really are a puzzle to me and I really do want the answers…I do not have any preconceived ideas on many of the future questions.  If I do I will tell you I do.  I would not be asking the questions if not looking for the answers.  Do not mistaken my questions as looking for truth…I am looking for some clarification on puzzling ideas, practices and questions.  I will make this very clear, I know where the truth is and it is found in my Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word, the Savior, the King of Kings and sets at the right  hand of my heavenly Father.  All the snotty remarks in the world will not change my mind about my Jesus.  I know how big my sovereign God is…far bigger than most will give Him credit for.  So, do not approach answering my questions as if to bring me into LDS…that will not happen…I want to be frank about that and it is not a slam against the LDS for me to say this.  However, I want to improve upon what I know about LDS from you…not from pamphlets and hear-say, which usually are distorted somewhat.  I have a few LDS missionaries that come over from time to time, but they really do not know very much about the deeper details of the LDS faith.  These 6 questions I asked stumped them, so I am not about to embarrass them with further questions like this….that is not my goal at all.  I care deeply for these young elders of the LDS and do not intend to embarrass them or argue with them either.

I like each of you that are civilized and even some that are spunky and I guess even those of you that did not get your comments posted, change your language and I will let you through:-)  Just realize I do not fear you or the LDS…there is nothing to fear, so I really do not understand why other Christians are so afraid of you either.  You may not think so, but it is true that I care deeply about each of you and where you will spend eternity.  In a strange way, though, I want to know everything I can about your faith.  This helps me to be able to understand where you are coming from.  If all I have are distorted ideas from what others say or what I read from those that may not know anything, then how can I understand you.  That goes both ways I know.  I will post a video I have found from time to time and ask you to help me understand what they are saying, so do not take the video as me trying to convince you of something or embarrass you…that is not the intent.  I want you to watch the same thing I am and shed some light on the content.  Many thousands of others will see the same thing.

So, do not turn your ears and eyes off, please.  I have watched more video productions, read more information (some good and some not so good), had personal conversations with Mormons, have clients that are Mormons or bel and even read a good portion of the Book of Mormon, so do not think I am clueless on everything.  Yet, I do not have an answer for many strange things you do or believe in…I say “strange” because it is too me.  Thanks for reading and listening to me and I look forward to some of you coming back to assist with answers and comments to my bizarre questions.  Just bare with any questions that may seem stupid…I do not see any questions as stupid you might ask no matter how simple.  Lets learn about each other.

Pressing on in Christ my Lord,


Galatians 1:6-9 & 2 Timothy 3:16-17  

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Could Joseph Smith have been a great story teller..or a true prophet?

Posted by Scott on March 26, 2008

Interesting video.  Sandra Tanner in this video is the great great grand daughter of Brigham Young.   Can you tell me your thoughts on the contents of this video?  I am not stating a support of it, just want your opinion of what it is claiming.  I mean for most people to think about someone putting their face inside a hat looking at a stone and having God’s word revealed to them is just amazing to me.  So, I just want some LDS comments on this.  Watch with openness of heart and mind.


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Free Masonry, the Occult and Joseph Smith! What are the connections?

Posted by Scott on March 26, 2008

Please watch and if you can address the issues this video raises I would greatly appreciate it.  I have read and researched most of this and it all seems to be true, but I wanted the opinion of someone from the LDS to address the issues.  I could not have presented it better than this video, so i just posted it to save time.  This is in no way condemning LDS…it just creates questions for the non-LDS person out here and we would like to know that someone from the LDS address it rather than us listening and watching and reading.


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Can Any Mormon or LDS Member Answer A Few Questions? Christian Comments Welcome!

Posted by Scott on March 26, 2008

Posted by Scott Baileyhave never found anyone within the Mormon faith that can answer these few simple questions which all raise other questions, so I pose these here to see if someone within the Mormon faith can answer them for me and everyone else…we really would like to know the answers.  For other great discussion questions go here:

1. If the American Indians were suppose to all be descendants of Lehi as is told, why was there so much diversity in the language and yet there was no indication of Hebrew in any of the Indian languages?2. Lehi as the Book of Mormon states that he found horses when he arrives in America.  Yet the horse described as well as many other domesticated animals did not even exist in America until the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors.  So, how could Lehi have found horses several hundreds of years before they were even in America?
3. Nephi says that he had a “bow of steel”.  It is well known that Jews did not have steel at the time Nephi states this nor were there any iron or steel smelted on this continent until many hundreds of years later after the Spaniard Conquest.  How did Nephi have a “bow of steel” hundreds of years before steel was even known?

4. In The Book of Mormon we frequently see mentioned “swords and sci-meters (scimitars).”  This is interesting again because “sci-meters or scimitars” were unknown until the rise of the Muslim faith well after 600 A.D.  How could this be?

5. We know according to scholars and historians that silk did not exist in America during the pre-Colombian times.  Yet, The Book of Mormon says the Nephites possessed silk.  How did they get silk when silk was not around and was unknown during this time?

6. Joseph Smith describes in The Book of Mormon the Mayan Cliffs and high mountain peaks.  Where are these actually located?  Much of the geography of The Book of Mormon was thought by B.H. Roberts, Mormon General Authority and considered an expert on The Book of Mormon in the early 1900’s, to be alot like the landscape in and around the New England area.  B.H. Roberts began to question the authority of The Book of Mormon in his latter days to the point and I quote “Joseph Smith wrote The Book of Mormon himself and that there was no golden plates“. This comes after years of devotion to the Mormon faith and he was an apologist and expert on Mormonism besides the fact that he served on the Mormon Church’s First Council of the Seventy.  All I ask is that where are the Mayan Cliffs and other geographical places mentioned located geographically..not speaking of the only one location in New York that was an easy find?

I would also challenge anyone to research B.H. Roberts work he did before his death in 1933, but was not published until after his death.  A comprehensive study of these documents were published in 1985 as Studies of the Book of Mormon by the University of Illinois.  These were also edited by two Mormon scholars, Brigham Madsen and Sterling McMurrin.  Further interesting facts is that B.H. Roberts, expert in the Mormon faith he was a part of to his death, he wrote an open letter to then President Heber Grant, his counselors, the twelve apostles, and First Council of Seventy requesting an emergency meeting with them concerning these many questions.  However, upon the conclusion of this meeting they had resolved nothing, many did not take these questions serious, and most only testified to what they believed without knowing or researching any of the facts raised in these questions.  B.H. Roberts concluded Joseph Smith was merely caught up in spiritual excesses to which he imagined prophecies and manifestations.  “His revelations become merely human productions…Morbid imaginations, Morbid expression of emotions (were) likely to find there way into the knowledge of Joseph Smith and influence his conceptions of spiritual things.”  Roberts also concluded that the “golden plates” did not really exist, but were “psychological”.  Finally, Roberts was convinced that it was very clear that The Book of Mormon was taken from the ground work of Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews that came out prior to The Book of Mormon and was published near where Joseph Smith lived at the time…in B.H. Roberts own conclusion was that Joseph Smith was a plagiarist.

So, in conclusion, I am simply asking if anyone out there claiming to be of the true Mormon faith or The Church Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can answer these puzzling questions for me.  If they can, we can put years of unanswered questioning to rest and thousands upon thousands of new believers will be added to the faith.




If you or someone you know would like more information on becoming a born again Christian, please, contact us via email Guys @ scott@dadsdevoted.com or Ladies @ dana@livingstones4moms.com !  We would be glad to spend time with you through email to answer any questions you may have and help you in placing your loyal trust in Jesus Christ as your savior today!  If you are only interested in debating theology, doctrine, religion or anything else, please, do that through the comment forum provided at the end of this post.


Researched from James R. Spencer, former Mormon Elder, from www.mazeministry.com

Update:  3-30-2010  I know many LDS members have commented here and on other sites claiming to have answered all these questions long ago. However, I have found only speculation in each answer given, nothing truthfully documented.  So, these questions still remain today as they did when first published. 

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Easter Special “At the Cross”and “Because He Lives”

Posted by Scott on March 22, 2008

“At the Cross” by The Gaither Vocal Band 



“Because He Lives” by the Gaither Vocal Band


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God Will Lead Us Out!

Posted by Scott on March 17, 2008

As I was setting in the jury room this morning waiting to hear if I would be one of those “lucky few” to be picked for a jury I was reading a book on God given strategies for dealing with difficult times.  It seems that so many people now days are dealing with a great deal of difficulty.  This could be health, job, family, spouse, financial, or any other combination of issues that have created some anxiety within you.  Have you ever sensed that your back is against the wall and you begin to wonder how you got there?  Rest assured God lead you into that situation for a purpose.  This purpose is one of His choosing and the end will result in His greater glory. 

A great quote from Charles H. Spurgeon:

“The Lord will make a way for you where no foot has been before.  That which, like a sea, threatens to drown you, shall be a highway for your escape.”

This is a great statement of faith.  God does not intend that we as believers in Christ walk on easy street all the time.  We may have moments of peaceful prosperity, but it is in those times we need to be resting up and staying alert, because something difficult will come to help us grow in the faith.  Now, hear me out on this….this is not to say that we should worry or fret during this peaceful time.  We need to enjoy everyday of peace we have.   However, just be diligent and sure that the peacefulness is only for a season just like the difficulties are seasons…only God knows how long these seasons will be.

As I think back over the years and the number of times my back was up against a situation like the Red Sea and the Lord provided a way out, I cannot help but go to my knees in thankfulness to a Holy God that takes such an interest in His people.  Many times we do not even realize that God has provided that dry ground for us to step across on and much of the time we will be pressed against the wall with no gate or door through which to go through when all the sudden one will appear.  Alot of times we get too into ourselves and take His gracious care for us for granted, so, it seems these events keep coming and coming and coming.  God will receive the glory for our lives.  This is the purpose…this is the purpose of our lives.

If you are low and find yourself in a difficult situation with no way out or simply a depressing moment in life that seems to have no end…take heart to God’s word:

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful (alert) and thankful.  Pray for us, too, that God may open a door (make a way) for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ,  for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

-Colossians 4:2-4 NIV

In conclusion for today.  I will end with a quote from author/pastor Robert J. Morgan:

“No sea is deeper than the ocean of His love.  There is no army stronger than His hosts in heaven, no force greater than His throne of grace, no enemy who can overcome His direct and indirect work in our lives.”

May the sovereign Lord Who is over us all, work in our lives to bring us deeper and closer to Him in these difficult days ahead as we know it.

Pressing on in Christ my Lord,


If you or someone you know would like more information on becoming a born again Christian, please, contact us via email Guys @ scott@dadsdevoted.com or Ladies @ dana@livingstones4moms.com !  We would be glad to spend time with you through email to answer any questions you may have and help you in receiving Jesus Christ as your savior today!  If you are only interested in debating theology, doctrine, religion or anything else, please, do that through the comment forum provided at the end of this post.

For those of you that read all the way to the very end….I was not picked for any of the juries!  Yeah!  Thought some of you might want to know that.

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