Is “anti” contrary to Christianity?

You can be “non” without being “anti”. 

I’m not a protestant (I’m Mormon), but that doesn’t make me anti-protestant.  The two are mutually exclusive.  And there’s a big difference from being “non” (like being non-Mormon), and being anti.  One is innocent, without malice, while the other is focused upon criticism and destruction.

I recently commented on another post, that as I study the life of the Savior, what I find is not a pattern of him being “anti” anything.  He didn’t seek opportunities to refute others.  Instead, he demonstrated a life of building, creating, of going around teaching the gospel, creating truth and testimony, performing miracles.  The times when he DID become more hostile or accusatory are when others sought him out to refute him, or to persecute him.  They were the “anti’s”.  Instead, His life was one of tolerance and love, understanding and empathy.  His conversations were not crammed with criticism.

Such were the teachings of Rabbi Gamaliel of Tarsus as described in Acts who counseled Saul and others against persecuting the saints.  Acts chapter 5 describes an event where Gamaliel encouraged moderation, saying “take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men… refrain from these men, and let them alone:  for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:  But ifit be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against god.” (Acts 5:38-39)

This is wisdom.  This is the character of Christ, whereas “anti” is an attribute of the adversary.  The one is centered around moderation, love, patience, kindness, tolerance, and understanding, the other centered around destruction, negativism, criticism, and judgement.

Theodore Roosevelt said it well:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbles, or how the doer of deeds might have done them better.  No, the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again…  Who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

If you’re going to be “anti”, be anti about principles and morals, things like “anti-abortion”, “anti-dishonesty”, “anti-drug abuse”, but don’t be anti about people or religions, for such is not the character of Christ.  As the Lord taught Peter, we must have compassion, and forgive all men their trespasses.

 

Rusty

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26 Responses

  1. Rusty,

    I respect your opinion but wholeheartedly disagree with it. Christ was very straightforward in His critique of doctrines which were contrary to His teachings. Take for example His way of handling the Pharisees. He was very direct in His words towards and about them. He shared His thoughts on many occasions and it was NOT always when He was provoked.

    I disagree with Mormonism’s teachings. I do not consider the religion to be Christian and when asked about it tell people very directly that it is wrong. I believe the church is misleading in it’s public image, the information which it’s missionaries teach (and withhold) and in it’s teachings (and withholding) to it’s active members (I was one for 15 years and my family and I left the church this year).

    Because of the way I feel about the church I do everything within my power to help people not be misled by the church. LDS members who are open to discussing it have come to me and I have shared with them my opinions. In addition, I have been asked by people who are researching the church to share my opinions. I do so openly.

    I think you and most mormons misunderstand the motivations of those of us who do this. You think we do this out of hate. I was in your shoes so I can understand how you feel. However, I can tell you honestly that I do what I do out of LOVE not hate.

    I harbor no harsh feelings towards any individuals in the LDS Church. In fact, I am still friends with many members of my old ward. The reason I share my beliefs and opinions about the falseness of the LDS Church is because I believe it keeps people away from a true relationship with the Savior. I feel the same way about ALL false religions (JW, Muslim, Buddism, Hinduism, etc). Adherants to these religions do not have a relationship with the Savior and are doomed to hell without Him. I want them to COME INTO a relationship with Him and to partake of the joy that comes from a relationship with Him. I can testify from experience that this relationship IS NOT found in the LDS Church. Therefore, I openly share the truthfullness of Christ and, if they are open to discussing it, the problems with the LDS faith.

    I love this saying I have heard…

    Truth without love is to hard. However, love without truth is to soft.

    We must be willing to share the truth, even when it might offend people. If we say that we love people and are not willing to tell them the truth, I say we don’t really love them. I try to speak the truth, in love, and take the risk that people might not like me because of it. If it helps to bring one person into a relationship with the true Christ, it is worth it.

    Anyway, I hope this helps to shed some light on this subject for you.

    Take care!!

    Darrell

  2. Nope, Rusty.

    I haven’t read Darrel’s response. I am just quickly replying to your very important question.

    When one loves that which is true and good, one also hates that which is false and evil.

  3. Other than turning off comments, there’s not much we can do about the anti’s attacking our essays, Rusty. I know it’s disappointing that some, or in some cases, most of the comments we get on an essay may be negative, but that’s the way it works.

    Sometime the anti’s have valid points that need considering and addressing. It’s also an opportunity to discover for ourselves which essays we feel strongly about defending. Perhaps there are some things that we could have said better or differently.

    I have had some great dialogs with anti’s and ex’s that have been mutually enlightening. We know that the majority of viewers do not comment, so sometimes the anti’s get undue attention. That’s OK. It all works out in the end. Thanks for your great blog Rusty. I read every post.

  4. Tim,

    I appreciate your comments, and agree with every word. I’ve probably learned more from talking to the Pondering Pastor than with anyone of my closest associates. He’s the best example of being a “non” without being an “anti”. He never hesitates to castize me when necessary, or to voice an opposing opinion, but I’d never call him an Anti. In every discussion he emulates the characteristics of Christ, maintains respect, focuses on principles, backs it up with great study and insight, and while we almost always end up disagreeing, I hold him in high esteem.

    Todd,

    As I said, being “anti” is good when it’s about principles and concepts “false and evil”, but it is not for us to judge another, but rather be patient, longsuffering, understanding, compassionate, and patient. Those are the attributes of Christ. The critic… he’s a perpetuator of negativity.

    Darrell,

    First, I’m sorry you feel the way you do about Mormonism. I appreciate your openness and willingness to tell your story. It’s meaningful to you for specific reasons, and could be meaningful to us if coupled with the reasons and context behind it, the substance that validates your decisions. In its absence, all we find is opinion. But there are millions of opinions to the contrary, of those who have come from other faiths and converted to the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter-day Saints, finding their relationship with Christ within its teachings and doctrine, as have I.

    Do you mind sharing that context in detail so that it can be addressed? Differing opinions are welcome. The goal here is to make sure the substance is presented in clarity, that every ready may judge for themselves, seeking counsel from the Holy Spirit. Decisions based on truth, and not opinion.

    So please, give us more “meat” with your story. You’ve said that you don’t consider that we’re Christians, but don’t explain why. Would you?

    You’ve also offered other criticisms, but chosen not to elaborate. Why? We have nothing to hide. If there are unresolved questions or issues that have plagued you and caused you to leave, what are they?

    It’s one thing to make accusations and cloak them in mystery to persuade those willing to take you at your word, but it’s another to openly present them and bring them out for discussion. I’m one of those you describe as “open to discussing it”. And that openness is available for all to see, for I too, believe that this is not a popularity contest. This is about the eternal salavation for the souls of men, and we must discuss these things with honesty and openness.

    Finally, and more to the point of this post, you may find in your study of the life of the Savior what you will, but I myself do not see the characteristics of a critic (and would appreciate you again backing it up with more substance, such as a list of references painting a pattern to the contrary).

    Thanks

  5. I was just thinking more about this, the issue of “non” versus “anti”. An anti is someone who spends the majority of their time talking about the bad about someone else, rather than the good about something.

    In politics, it’s like mudslinging. We all wish they’d stick to the real issues, and how they’re going to address them, but then when it comes to religion, rather than sticking to teaching principles in their own religion, a critic spends his time picking apart someone else’s.

    It’s interesting that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exactly zero amount of time is spent by church leaders talking negatively about other religions, or preparing them with “anti” doctrine. Instead, we focus on building, not destroying. Building testimonies of pure principles based on scripture and revealed doctrine.

    It’s interesting that while others work so feverishly to prepare their members against a “Mormon encounter”, the church continues to grow at such a vast pace, and it spends no time doing any such thing.

    Perhaps there’s a lesson there, that success is found more in building than destroying, or perhaps it’s just the doctrine.

  6. Rusty,
    Good job. I also read your posts, and will try to leave encouraging words, so you don’t feel completely alone.

    Suffice it to say, I don’t submit to the authority of others to judge my “christianness.” That is something, that is Jesus’ perogative, not theirs.

  7. Rusty,

    Thank you for your kind words above.

    Later, you write, “It’s interesting that in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, exactly zero amount of time is spent by church leaders talking negatively about other religions, or preparing them with “anti” doctrine.”

    The “battle lines” differ significantly from one part of this country to another. It is actually rare for me to have an encounter with Mormons and Mormon Missionaries (granted, I also mostly avoid the encounters face to face). The times I have, often end with attacks against orthodox Christianity. The last such encounter ended when the missionaries demonstrated that they had somehow learned how to attack Christians and Christian beliefs and were attempting to show how we were wrong. That’s different than you have described. Now, I’m not attributing that to all Mormon Missionaries, nor do I know what is taught in the formal training. But this has been my experience. Likewise, you’ve mirrored on occasion some of the same, ie: names of Christian denominations, the insufficiency of grace, etc. I think that any time we look to doctrinal differences, we will naturally fall into the sin of talking negatively about different religions. Religions tend to be “defined” by doctrine.

    Pondering Pastor

  8. Rusty & Pondering Pastor,

    This is an interesting discussion. It brings to mind something I’ve noticed about my own teaching in the LDS Church. I find myself occasionally comparing our doctrines with the doctrines of others when I teach. I’m a pretty good teacher, and contrast is a great teaching tool. But, honestly, whenever I’ve done that, I’ve felt a bit uncomfortable and cautious. Good as a tool as contrast might be for understanding, it is important for me that I never use it as a tool to put down the other religion, and that I use it sparingly. That’s the conclusion I’ve come to.

    Comanche Todd

  9. Todd,

    Good point. The “compare and contrast” approach to teaching has unique value in gaining clarity and appreciating the uniqueness of two independent things, like religions. And when done with accuracy and honesty, is appropriate. And I agree, if ever that contrast approach is used to attack, I’d immediately be suspicious of the “anti” part of that message, for its sure to be inaccurate, whether it’s in a sales presentation, or with religion. Any time I hear “anti” anything from anybody I inherently don’t trust it (which is why in business I never do “anti” marketing or sales tactics).

    Pondering Pastor,

    I hope I’ve never attacked another religion on my Blog (if I have, if you can point it out, I’ll happily remove it).

    I can certainly see how missionaries may often end up in more combative conversations, but they aren’t church leaders, they’re 19-21 year old boys who are out to teach the gospel, and often get attacked, and in doing so, learn how to defend themselves. But, they’re not taught that. I’ve been through the MTC (Missionary Training Center), where all missionaries go prior to service, and where they learn about the gospel, they learn the discussions, and they learn the language they’re going to speak. In that training they also learn how to teach, focusing on principles such as “build on common ground”, “teaching with love”, how to ask questions, etc., effective teaching techniques regardless of whether you’re a missionary, a Sunday school teacher, or a salesman. But they’re given no instruction, and in fact usually expressly warned and instructed to avoid confrontation and not to attack other religions.

    Church leaders in the LDS Church simply don’t go there, there’s no need. There’s enough good, enriching, enlightening, testimony-building material to focus on to spend any time meddling with “anti” content. It’s one of the things that I truly appreciate about the church, the focus is “teach correct principles and let the people govern themselves”.

  10. Rusty,

    Thank you for you response. I don’t mind expounding upon my story at all. I avoided doing that in my initial post as to avoid the appearance that I was trying to sidetrack your blog with information you did not want to hear.

    Let me be clear about something. I do not believe in “attacking” mormonism or any faith for that matter. I believe in respectfully discussing differences and in boldly pointing out where people go wrong. Again, loving someone means the willingness to share the truth with them… let me give you an example.

    Let’s say you have a friend, Ruth. You know that Ruth’s husband, Bob, is cheating on her. However, Ruth is under the impression that her husband is a wonderful, faithful husband. Would it be loving to go on pretending that Bob is wonderful and faithful or would it be more loving to share the truth with Ruth? Ruth might not like hearing it… in fact, she may not even believe you. She may accuse you of “attacking” her husband and you may lose your friendship with her. I htink most of us would try to help Ruth out. We would want her to know the truth about the man she has dedicated her life to. This is how I view sharing the truth about the LDS Church with people. I am not “attacking” them or their beliefs. I am just willing to tell them the truth about the LDS Church. Some find that painful… I know I did when I first came to the realization that the church had been lying to me. The same can be said for my wife. When she first heard the truth she did not like it either. In fact, her first reaction was to call it “anti-mormon lies”. Now that she has come to Christ she sees it for what it is and is very happy that she is out.

    The thing about using the title “anti-mormon” is that it is often just used as a scare tactic to keep the members in line. I do not like it at all. I remember hearing over and over again to “Stay away from the “anti-mormon material”. It is all just lies and is perpetrated by satan”. I had an encounter with LDS Missionaries earlier this year. A Christian friend of mine had a family member who was visiting with the missionaries. They asked me to come over and participate in one of the discussions. I told them to clear it with the missionaries as I did not want to spring something on them. The missionairies agreed and I came to the discussion. I told them in the very beginning where I stood. I explained that I had left the church, did not consider it to be true and had since become a member at a protestant church in town. They were fine with that. When the discussion started and they shared the first vision experience, I asked them directly if they were aware of the other 8 versions of the first vision. Boy, did that cause things to go south. They told me I was sharing “anti-mormon lies”… that there were not other versions out there, etc, etc, etc.

    Now, we ALL KNOW that there are other versions… but why did the missionaries say I was lying by telling them there are? Why were they unwilling to even LISTEN to the truth that there are other versions? IMO, it is because they have been fed the line for their entire lives to “STAY AWAY FROM ANTI-MORMON MATERIAL.” In my personal experience, it was not until I listened to the so called “anti-mormon” material that I learned a LOT of the truths about the church history. I am grateful for it as it taught me the truth about the church and enabled me to unwrap my mind from the whitewashed false version of the church that the leadership shares.

    Anyway, I am on my lunch break right now and cannot write more. I will get to your other questions later. I haven’t forgotten them.

    Darrell

  11. I appreciate your blog and the content. I am LDS and appreciate those who write things that are factual and show our faith as strong, loving, kind, generous, honest, and etc. I have fav’d you on Technorati and have added you to my fav’d links on my site at http://issuesoncall.blogspot.com. I hope you can exchange links with me as a method of networking our strengths. I appreciate your posts and look forward to future good reads. Thanks!

  12. I just have to second what Rusty said in reply to Pondering Pastor. Missionaries are not trained to attack or criticize other religions. It certainly happens but is always condemned by church leaders. One time as an LDS missionary I engaged in a somewhat heated exchange with a Catholic man where I criticized and attacked his church and faith. To this day, I regret my emotions and words. What I did was not done in a Christian spirit. It certainly was not fitting for someone who represented the Lord. I was able to have many other amiable discussions with others. Since that time, I have tried to avoid attacking anyone’s beliefs or religion. I even have a hard time responding to any criticism (I occasionally do) because it is easy for both parties to slip into experiencing negative feelings for each other or for the exchange to go beyond amiable to become accusatory or overly-critical.

    That being said, it is possible to discuss differences in beliefs or doctrines without anger or contention; however, it is very difficult. This is why the official LDS Church position is to take all the good that is out there and add to it by proclaiming what God has revealed to living prophets. We don’t seek to destroy but to add to. Sometimes inappropriate practices or beliefs need to be stopped – even forcefully – but in such cases there should always be an increase in love shown afterward so that the person does not esteem you to be an enemy.

  13. Re: Darrell

    “I asked them directly if they were aware of the other 8 versions of the first vision.”

    I’m only aware of 4 accounts of the First Vision. I’d be interested in getting the references to the other 4.

    Why does it matter that there are multiple accounts of the First Vision? So what if they are all slightly different! No one will tell a story or give an account exactly the same each time. The different accounts were given over a number of years and should be expected to vary some. Not one substantive thing is different in the different accounts – I’ve read all 4. In fact, there are portions of the other 3 that aren’t usually referred to (or known about) that I prefer over the account found in Joseph Smith-History (such as the fact that Joseph Smith spent a couple years pondering the words of the Bible and the words of the different preachers before the First Vision). The missionaries probably just felt threatened by your statement/question as if you were attacking Mormonism (which you may or may not have been doing). Where you saw them as not listening or not even trying to listen, they were probably just trying to not be confrontational. From your perspective, you may not have seemed like you were attacking them, but that’s not how it was interpreted.

    My question is, why is it important to bring up random things like the multiple accounts of the First Vision? While it may be done sincerely, it is a common anti-Mormon tactic to bring up random and little-known things (e.g., the salamander letter or Spaulding manuscript) to try to trip up a member of the Church. Sometimes these things are done in such a way that it’s like asking the question that I used to hear in Elementary School, “Do your parents know you’re stupid?” It’s like asking a Catholic, “Did you know that some Popes used to commit unspeakable whoredoms and commit murder?” It’s like the Jews who brought the woman taken in adultery to the Savior to see if He would go against Roman law (and say that the woman should be stoned – only Roman officials had the authority to condemn to death) or against the Law of Moses (and say that they should not stone the woman). He did neither; instead he posed a question back to them.

    In other words, bringing up such things, even if done sincerely, is a classic example of a straw man fallacy. Ad hominem fallacies are also common anti-Mormon tactics (e.g., “Joseph Smith was a gold-digger” or a “pedophile” or any number of other things I heard as a missionary {and still hear today}).

    I disagree with your views on anti-Mormon materials – you see them as having freed you from the lies of Mormonism whereas I see them as only spreading lies about Mormonism. I have done my fair share of reading them and responding to them. I’ve answered many questions about them for people. However, I have stopped doing that; not because I couldn’t handle what was in them but because every time I read anti-Mormon materials or arguments, the Spirit of the Lord left. Every time! That is what I couldn’t handle. There is a world of difference between anti-Mormon material and the honest seeking of truth or honest questions.

  14. Jared, here are the 8 different accounts of the first vision. If you scroll down halfway through the page you will find a table that compares the stories side to side.

    http://www.boap.org/LDS/History/HTMLHistory/v1c1history.html

    Ringer

  15. Jared,

    Thank you so much for your help. I’m so glad when I receive it. Sometimes I get busy and can’t get to every post as quickly as I’d like, and knowing people like you are there really helps put my mind at ease. Thanks for your replies to Darrell’s posts. I think you replied wonderfully well, and couldn’t add a thing.

  16. Regarding this topic, the Pondering Pastor asked a particularly pogniant question over on “Do doctrinal differences define us” that is compellingly pertinant to this discussion.

    He essentially inquired if there was a level of unorthodoxy, or a level at which our departure from what is orthodox, becomes too much and disqualifies us from the original classification (in this case, Christian).

    I wanted to point that out in case you missed it. I think it strikes dead center into the crux of this conversation, and will dedicate my very next post to it.

  17. Thanks. I appreciate all the work you put into your posts and responses.

  18. Rusty, I have a comment in moderation

  19. Jessica,

    No, it’s not in moderation, I simply deleted it. I don’t allow links to anti-Mormon sites on my blog. People dedicated to the destruction of anothers religion, bent on spending their time as a critic, not only do so at the peril of their own soul (as Rabbi Gamaliel taught), but they also have no place here.

    It’s distinctly “un-christian”.

  20. Deletion?

    Wow. You do detest some things.

    Rusty, I find it interesting how Joseph Smith revised phrases in scripture that he thought were unchristian and anti to his thought.

    Sincerely, I think the “anti” with a smile began with Joseph on this topic. Many in the I-15 corridor are dedicated to moving people in my church family beyond their religion. Alexander sought to conquer by accomodation. He was a clever general.

    Rusty, you need to go a lot more in depth to establish what is distinctly “un-christian” or “anti”.

    In regards to being a critic, one man lived his whole adult life as a critic of ancient near eastern religions – Jeremiah.

    Yet among today’s positive ecumenicists in America, the anti messages of Jeremiah about religion are tiresome. They hit the delete button to the words of God who wages war with false religious beliefs and actions.

    sincerely,
    et

  21. Well, it’s not the first time I’ve had a comment deleted by a Mormon, but it continues to amaze me. I was simply responding to Jared’s question. He asked for documentation of the other accounts of the first vision. He only knew of 4. I provided a link so he could review the other 6 accounts. I am deeply concerned that many LDS do not know the history of their own church and founder. Deleting comments that provide this information gives the idea that one is trying to suppress the truth from being known. I am not interested in being “anti” – I consider myself very Pro-Mormon. I want Mormons to have the whole truth so they can be set free to love and follow Jesus and not be shackled by the chains of religion that can keep a person from Him. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). We should never be afraid to investigate the facts. If a religion is true it will stand the test. If it is not true, surely we don’t want any part of it anyway!

  22. Todd,

    I detest wickedness, and that’s what I find in all too many anti-anything endeavors.

    Joseph Smith didn’t revise scripture. Rather, scripture was revised by men over countless centuries after the death of Christ and His apostles, through mistranslations, through Creeds, as ecclesiastical leaders sought the kind of accommodation of which you speak, and through other various means. What Joseph Smith did, as a prophet, was to restore the scriptures, and correct some of the fundamental truths that were lost, blurred, or had deteriorated in clarity over time. And it certainly wasn’t for popularity sake, for you could definately say it wasn’t accommodating. He died for it.

    In definition of what is “un-christian” or “anti”, I give you the post What truly defines a Christian?”.

    Jessica,

    That information is available from a number of sources (it’s not secret), many of them Mormon, so why would it amaze you that I should delete a reference to a source that is anti-Mormon?

    More importantly, why are people so surprised that there are differing accounts? Pick one of the most memorable experiences in your past, and write it down in story form. Then, in several months, write it down again. Try again in several years. Then, see how closely you’re accounts are. If they’re not identical, would it be fair for everyone else to call you a liar?

    What’s more, of all the things truly substantial (none of which changed) about his experience, and his records of it, why is it that critics are so bent on the comparatively insubstantial things that did? Are they that lacking in things with which to find fault? Were you to have had the same experience, to have seen the Father and the Son, a singular event that in and of itself would have flown in the face of all the doctrine of the day, to have stood in their Glory and to speak to them face to face… is it really all that surprising that some of the less important things get little blurry?

    Suggesting that we should discredit his account because over several tellings of it we find differences, is just plain silly.

    It’s another illustration of the shallow ground on which anti-Mormons walk. This kind of straining at a nat, looking beyond the mark, and the stereotypical overdramatization is all to characteristic of anti-Mormon literature.

    Is that really the strongest substance they have for an argument? If so, then indeed, as you suggest, let us come to know the facts, and not be affected by such misleading propaganda perpetuated by those so desperate to discredit the truth, but without any solid ground to stand on.

    Please, if we’re going to discuss something, let’s discuss something important, and not waste our time marveling at the fallibility of human memory.

  23. Nice job Rusty, it never ceases to amaze me how many people tell Mormons that we don’t have the ‘whole’ history of the Church. Then they cite books published and made available by the Church for the public.

    In fact, the LDS Church is currently producing a historical record about Joseph Smith’s life. Such a detailed examination has never been offered of any U.S. historical figure’s life who was not a US President. They will publish every thing written by, about, or for Joseph Smith in a 30 volume collection over the next 15 years. Please stop telling me that the LDS Church is hiding the truth from its members. How much more transparency is needed? The problem that should be identified is the number of church going Christians that do not study and learn enough about their respective religions, and about the beliefs of others from unbiased sources.

    You can learn more about the Joseph Smith project here: http://www.josephsmithpapers.org/Default.htm

    (I am using the title “Christian” broadly to include LDS, and J.W. and any other religion that holds the New Testament as holy scripture. That is being debated elsewhere on this blog. Lets keep it there not here.)

  24. Rusty, the scripture can’t be broken. Jesus said that. Jesus didn’t go back to major books like Genesis and Isaiah, etc. and do such cross outs and additions like Joseph. For example, compare the JST variants to the great Isaiah scroll. Pick up Parry’s work on Isaiah. With all his variants and KJVisms that don’t even compare to the most ancient scriptural book that humans have in possession, how did Joseph Smith restore Isaiah?

    People ask me to believe Joseph. But Joseph Smith showed strong anti-scriptural tendencies unparallel to the prophets, Jesus Christ, and the apostles. And in doing that, Joseph Smith is an anti to the fundamental belief and life purpose that grips my life.

  25. Todd,

    What do you think that means “the scriptures cannot be broken”?

    How did Joseph Smith restore Isaiah? By revelation.

    Such is the importance of having a living prophet, and why the Lord communicated so strongly that we must have prophets, because their job is to ensure clarity and truth.

    In reality, there has likely never been a soul who loved scripture more, or devoted more time to it, than the prophet Joseph Smith. To state that Joseph was anti-scripture demonstrates a severe lack of understanding about the life of the prophet, for his whole soul was given to the scriptures and their accuracy and restoration. Scholars still today, outside of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, endeavor to provide increasingly accurate translations and interpretations of scripture, but they are no more anti-scripture for their efforts than Joseph. And to assume falsity merely out of a departure of orthodoxy, is to place a bit too much faith in it, for what is orthodoxy but the officially accepted teachings of a primary group of people. The Creeds have shown that what is considered “orthodox” is subject to change. And if it’s subject to change, based on the wisdom of men, then it too, is fallible. Which is what the Lord Himself encountered when he came to the earth.

    At that time too, the orthodoxy of the day was far from Him. The entire purpose of prophets throughout time, has been to ensure the accurate interpretation of Gods will and doctrine, and when the prophets, apostles, and Savior were killed, that self-correcting mechanism of divine intervention on the entropy of truth was gone, and again, orthodoxy began to stray.

    The book of Revelation prophecies of the return of the prophets, and the Lord communicates clearly that they are part of the structure of His church, so whether you believe in Joseph Smith or not, the idea that there again will come a prophet, and that the prophet will have some course correction to do, need not surprise you. That is what they’ve always done, corrected the course of the people. But that doesn’t make them “anti”, it just means they’re correcting the course away from what was once “orthodox”.

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