18 July 2008

50 Answers to 50 Mormon Answers to 50 Anti-Mormon Questions (answers 17 & 18)

Tower To Truth Question #17:

17. If the Book of Mormon contains the "fulness of the everlasting gospel," why does the LDS Church need additional works?

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FAIR Answer #17:

The Book of Mormon's definition of "fulness of the gospel" is not "all truths taught in the Church." The fulness of the gospel is simply defined as the core doctrines of Christ's atonement and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Critics do not trouble to understand what the Book of Mormon says before attacking it.

To learn more: Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel

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Tower To Truth Question #18:

18. If the Book of Mormon contains the "fulness of the everlasting gospel," why doesn't it say anything about so many important teachings such as eternal progression, celestial marriage, the Word of Wisdom, the plurality of Gods, the pre-existence of man, our mother in heaven, baptism for the dead, etc?

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FAIR Answer:

The Book of Mormon's definition of "fulness of the gospel" is not "all truths taught in the Church." The fulness of the gospel is simply defined as the core doctrines of Christ's atonement and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. Critics do not trouble to understand what the Book of Mormon says before attacking it. Making the same attack twice (see #17) makes it no more convincing the second time.

To learn more: Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel

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My Response(s):

So, "fulness" doesn't mean "fulness." In Mormonese, "fulness" means "The only parts of our beliefs we will share with the world, lest they realize too quickly that we are indeed a false religion." Now, FAIR claims that The Book of Mormon's definition of "fulness of the gospel" is not "all truths taught in the Church." I must have skipped over that part of the BOM where it actually defines the phrase "fulness of the everlasting gospel." Oh, I know why. Because it doesn't. So when they come a-knockin' on your door, and they claim that their BOM contains the "fulness of the everlasting gospel,"--well, it doesn't. It only contains the things they want you to hear before they start laying all that other gobbledy-gook on you. You know, the whole "milk before meat" shpiel.

If there's one thing FAIR is good with, it is word games. And boy, do they play one here. What is it they say in their above answer? The fulness of the gospel is simply defined as the core doctrines of Christ's atonement and the first principles and ordinances of the gospel. So, what do they define the MORMON gosepl as being? At the link entitled "Book of Mormon and the fulness of the gospel" they say that,

In this passage [3rd Nephi 27:13-19] , Jesus defines "the gospel" as:
  • Christ came into the world to do the Father's will.
  • The Father sent Christ to be crucified.
  • Because of Christ's atonement, all men will be judged by him according to their works (as opposed to not receiving a judgment at all and being cast out of God's presence by default; 2_Ne. 9:8-9).
  • Those who repent and are baptized shall be filled (with the Holy Ghost, see 3_Ne. 12:6), and
  • if they continue in faith by enduring to the end they will be justified (declared "not guilty") by Christ before the Father, but
    if they don't endure they will be subject to the justice of God and cast out of his presence.
  • The Father's words will all be fulfilled.
  • Because no unclean thing can enter the Father's heavenly kingdom, only those who rely in faith on the atonement of Christ, repent, and are faithful to the end can be saved.

    Funny. My Bible tells about all those things too. Does it not contain the "fulness of the everlasting gospel?" Well, according to Salt Lake City--not anymore.

    Now, if you dig far enough into Mormon doctrine, you will find that this is not the end of the LDS "gospel." In fact, this is only the beginning. You must accept that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. You must do this and do that and believe something else. What, in fact, are the "first principles and ordinances" of the MORMON gospel? well, the 4th "Article of Faith" found in the Pearl of Great Price says,

    We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second, Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Oops. Problem. These are simply the FIRST Principles and Ordinances. Why are they the "FIRST" Ordinances and Principles? Well, because if there is a first, there has to be a second, no? In fact, thanks to the fine people at CARM (Christian Apologetics Research Ministry), there are several "core doctrines" of Mormon theology that you will not find in the "Most correct book of any on earth":

    Church organization
    Plurality of Gods
    Plurality of wives doctrine
    Word of Wisdom
    God is an exalted man
    Celestial marriage
    Men may become Gods
    Three degrees of glory
    Baptism for the dead
    Eternal progression
    The Aaronic Priesthood
    Temple works of washings, anointing, endowmants, sealing.

    So not only does the BOM not contain even one-third of essential Mormon doctrine--it doesn't even define what it means by "fulness of the everlasting gospel." To think, when they were making those 4000+ changes and additions, they could have at least slipped something in there about plurality of gods, celestial marriage, etc. I guess by the time Joseph came up with these things, it was too late.

    This is simply another smokescreen thrown up by (un)FAIR to divert people from the truth. They figure if they throw out that little bone, people will say, "Oh, that's what it means. OK" and move on. They don't like when people go deeper than the cute little sound bites they offer. And unfortunately, most people will be convinced by these. But if there's one thing I've learned from dialoging with Mormons over the years it is this: You will not proof-text a Mormon. And it helps to be ready for them to answer our objections to their beliefs.

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