The Book of Mormon: Should Christians Pray About It?

22 Responses »

  1. Depends on what your actual objective is Shazaloo. If you want to justify your pre-determined decision not to pray about the Book of Mormon, then you have accomplished your purpose. However, if you wish to reach out to Mormons, and help them to understand, this will miss the target, and leave them confirmed in their own minds that you are just part of the great apostasy.

    When Mormons invite you to pray about the BoM, what they are actually doing is asking you to pray whether Joseph Smith received it through revelation. Now, there are passages in the BoM which will resonate with Christians and make them feel warm inside, which is no surprise really, as some of it was plagiarised from the Bible, while other sections were arguably contributed by the Rev. Sidney Rigdon’s from his sermons. The sleight of hand in this “praying to find out” process however, is in persuading investigators that their warm feelings confirm the HISTORICITY of the book. You see, the message may be true, (in part at least), but that doesn’t make it an authentic historical record, which is the real issue.

    So the best approach if you really wish to help the young men or women who are presenting this message, (and I speak as one having long experience within Mormonism), is to establish that the real purpose of the exercise is to validate or invalidate Joseph Smith, who dictated the book, as “the prophet of the restoration”. Once that objective is agreed and understood, then the textual content of the Book of Mormon may be put to the test.

    I think this presents an investigator with a unique opportunity to share with missionaries a series of concerns which the text raises. For example, there are some serious historical anomalies in the text which are rather well known, (but may not be known to the missionaries). Furthermore, since the agreed objective is to ascertain whether Joseph Smith was a prophet able to translate ancient texts, there is also the poignant case of the Book of Abraham, about which there is much written. Unless one is completely closed off to reason there is material and to spare there which will make any intelligent person start to question. It will of course require some study and preparation to present the material properly, and the approach, I would suggest, should always be to ask the missionaries to find answers for you.

    One final word: these young missionaries are sent out like lambs into the world often at great personal sacrifice. They are not evil emissaries, even if you don’t agree with the aims of the institution which sends them. Please love them therefore, and assure them of your love for and trust in the Lord. You may be the only example of non-LDS Christians they will ever meet. Don’t let them depart without them knowing the reason for your faith, and your readiness to help them spiritually if they should ever need you. Inevitably, many of them will discover the huge holes in their espoused theology sooner rather than later, and will come to doubt. Sadly, many Mormons who leave their faith’ leave all faith in Christ behind. It is a very lonely journey for them when they do. So please give them hope and reason to hold onto something positive.

    In summary, I would say, if in doubt always pray with them, and God will not condemn you for it. Pray not so much about the book, but about their overall message. Give them carefully considered and prepared food for thought and a reason to hold on to Christ, even when they come to understand that they can no longer hold onto the Book of Mormon.

    • @ journeyofloyaldissent-
      I completely disagree with you. Shazoolo mentioned numerous times that he is speaking from experience. I have used similar strategies with the Mormons for more than ten years.

      You stated, “So the best approach if you really wish to help the young men or women who are presenting this message, (and I speak as one having long experience within Mormonism), is to establish that the real purpose of the exercise is to validate or invalidate Joseph Smith, who dictated the book, as “the prophet of the restoration.”

      There is no “best” approach. Mormons are just as different as individual people as are
      Christians. What works with one set of missionaries may not work with another. It is better to have many strategies to rely on instead of just one.

      Lastly, where did he ever say that Mormon missionaries are evil emissaries? I agree with you that we must treat them well (we take the out to dinner!), but to “encourage” Shazoolo to love them the way that you did is implying that he does not. That is simply false.

      • I’m sorry I appear to have ruffled feathers. I had intended to be constructive. We’ll have to just agree to disagree then Keith. I am only sharing a perspective based upon 41 years of inside experience of Mormonism. Whether that qualifies me to comment with any degree of insight you may judge.

        For clarification, I don’t doubt for a moment that Shazaloo’s suggestions are motivated by godly love, and are sincere. I commend you Shazaloo for caring enough to want to help. And I agree with you absolutely Keith that Shazaloo did not say that missionaries are evil emissaries. You’re making wrong assumptions if you think I did. I was merely stating the worth of the young men and women in case that point should be overlooked by anyone.

        I’m really just pointing out that anyone who follows Shazaloo’s suggestions, honest and sincere as they evidently are, should first ask themselves whether their principal objective is [1] self-justification for not entering into a prayerful investigation of the Book of Mormon, or [2] assisting those whose grasp of BoM historicity is deficient, to understand the book’s true provenance.

        If it is the former, then the advice given is probably spot on – I wouldn’t know because I’m not in that position. If the latter, however, then I’m sorry, but in most cases it’s not going to cut the mustard, and in fact may actually serve to buttress the missionaries’ or LDS members’ existing bigotries.

        Sorry if that offends. It’s offered humbly, but receive it as you will.

      • Hi there don’t worry about ruffling feathers, having discussions which even include disagreements is part of what this blog is all about.

        Certainly 41 years in Mormonism will give you a massive understanding of Mormonism, however I sense that the way you are dealing with this issue might be showing that there are still a lot of Mormon views in you.

        In this video Shazaloo deals logically with the problem of using prayer to test what is true in that there are various faiths with this claim and also why arent Mormons praying about those, Shazaloo then goes on to the best part which is what is the biblical response to this. Biblically we do not ask God in prayer what is true. You notice Jesus never said to people ask God if what I am saying is true? No He just said I am the way, I am the truth, follow Me. The word of God the bible is our standard for truth we are to believe it by faith and put any other teaching to the test of this scripture and if it fails which Mormonism does on many levels then we can know its not true.

        However you may see it as a more friendly and accepting approach just to go with what they are asking and pray, you may even think that it will speak to them if you pray and get a feeling that it is wrong, however I do not believe this to be so, In Moroni 10:3-5 which I am sure you are well familiar with it says we are to pray with all sincerity, so what goes through the Missionaries mind when we do this prayer but dont get the “right answer” as far as they are concerned? Ultimately the only thing they can do is get you praying with more sincerity, and so the circle goes on.

        So logically, biblically and I would say psychologically the best way to challenge the concept of Moronis promise is not to go along with it but rather lovingly show the flaws in its reasoning and what God has said on the matter

      • Bobby, there is a clear distinction between holding Mormon views, and understanding the Mormon viewpoint. Unless we are prepared to understand, then how can we ever truly hope to help? I’m sure you know me well enough to know where I now am.

        I don’t question the logic of what Shazaloo has presented, only the wisdom of using this approach with “dyed in the wool” Mormons. What is the end objective? Is it only to confirm to bibliophiles that the biblical view is correct, or is it to reach out and encourage others to engage in a genuine process of questioning? My gut feeling is that the suggested approach will likely alienate more than it will enlighten. To tell you otherwise would be dishonest. As a wise old man once observed, when first aid is required, administer first aid, not a lecture on medicine.

        I believe there needs to be a something of a C-change in approach if we wish to become more effective and play a useful role in dealing with the casualties of the Mormon meltdown which is going to happen in the UK.

        And please understand something else: no, don’t pray about the VALIDITY of the BoM. Please read again what I have written on that subject; I am not advocating that. But, share your honest reasons for doubting the HISTORICITY, and therefore the spiritual value of the BoM, (eg the anomalies of horses, swords, chariots, flocks, and wheat, and clear examples of plagiarism from 19th century material, and also Joseph Smith’s telling inability to translate the Book of Abraham), and ask for the missionaries to find explanations for you. Then, if you believe as I do that our God has the power to work miracles, ask them to explore these matters prayerfully with you. You see, by excluding the Lord from the process, you will run the risk with Mormons of appearing self-righteous, bigoted, and frankly out of tune. After all didn’t the Saviour counsel: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you”? Through Mormon eyes you will only discredit yourself by excluding God, so encourage them to ask the Lord the right questions, and put them in a position of seeking answers. Seeking such explanations is how most of those currently leaving Mormonism begin their journey. BUT… above all, let them know of your own personal hope in Christ. You may be the one they will turn to in their hour of despair.

        I will share the presentation with others who are undergoing a similar journey to my own and will ask them for their views, which I will duly report back.

      • Just getting back as promised to report some comments received from post-Mormons in response to the above video presentation.

        Please understand, lest I be yet again misunderstood, I am not sharing these responses in order to challenge in any way the idea that Christians should not pray about the BoM.

        Although titled “The Book of Mormon: Should Christians Pray About It?” that doesn’t accurately describe what the video addresses. Its central theme, having pre-supposed that the answer to this question is “no”, (which I don’t disagree with in essence by the way), is, as Shazaloo clearly explains at round about 1 minute and 10 seconds onwards, some ways in which to counter the LDS missionaries’ attempts to invite investigators to pray about the BoM. Perhaps the video might more properly be titled “The Book of Mormon: How to Challenge a Mormon Missionary’s Sales Pitch”

        Presumably however, in line with the purposes of this blog, the Christian’s aim will be to go beyond justification of a choice not to pray about the BoM, to reaching out to the young men or women standing before you as LDS representatives, to assist them in seeing a larger and fuller picture of their own culture. If the aim is to enlighten, rather than merely to counter or justify, it is crucial that the worldview of those before you, (and the likely impact of what you say upon that worldview), is properly understood. If it is not understood, then lasting damage rather than positive assistance may be the result. You may wonder if that really matters. If so, then ponder for a moment an image of little ones, and millstones.

        Surely no-one is in a better position to assess the usefulness of the ideas presented, you would think, than those who have already made, or are in the process of making the long and difficult journey out of Mormonism. I asked the following question of some who are in that position:

        “What would your honest response have been as a True Believing Mormon to the material presented in the video?”

        Here are some representative comments received:

        Comment 1:
        As a TBM, I would have thought that he was pretty arrogant and using the books he showed would have made me want to leave his home asap! Also the example of whether you would pray about going into a park with a gun to shoot children is not going to help his argument one little bit. Anyone, Christian or Atheist, would know that’s a complete no, no!! I probably would not be open to anything else he said after that.

        Comment 2:
        As well meaning as he is, I believe a better approach would be to ask about the contradictions within Mormon doctrine (and there are plenty) and/or discuss Biblical passages.

        Comment 3:
        Just seeming to be critical of the missionaries’ methods will not help either party.

        Comment 4:
        This approach can be counter-productive. You may think it is all nonsense, you may be able to prove a percentage of it is rot but telling people so in many cases will just have the other person think you are calling them stupid, even if you mitigate it by saying, “Hey I’ve been there too, and I know I was being an idiot until I realised the truth”

        Comment 5:
        I think I would have found it rather puerile, and the effect on me would have been if anything to confirm me in my Mormon views, rather than help me to start questioning anything.

        Comment 6:
        Rather offensive. I think I would have turned away, said each to his own, and left him to preach to himself.

        Comment 7:
        I’d like to think it would have piqued my curiosity, but in all honesty, I was so involved in the church at the time, I would probably have laughed it off and dismissed it as typical anti-Mormon ranting.

        For what it is worth Shazaloo, I think your efforts are commendable insofar as they may be used to explain to converted Christians why they might not take seriously an invitation to investigate the spiritual content of the BoM. However, as a method for dealing with LDS missionaries, or other LDS members who are the product of long-term indoctrination, there is cause to rethink your strategy. If you value Mormons, (and I believe you do), then the verdict appears to be that in the long term you may do actual harm using this approach. Because your methods appeal to your own worldview, does not guarantee its usefulness in unravelling another very different one. Please accept this criticism in the positive spirit it is offered.

      • Thanks for that, I think rather than carry this on into a big debate I would just say I will bare those in mind but fundamentally I have to say I disagree, I did notice when you at first put this discussion on your own facebook page. I saw that people there were dead against the idea of evangelicals attempting to reach out to Mormons at all, I am not sure these opinions raised are with any sympathy to what we are doing, however that does not take away from the fact that these are their views.

        Funnily enough the last time I met up with some missionaries they said they would not talk Mormon Doctrine with me at all until I had a testimony of the truthfulness of the church, not just that I pray about it, but that I pray about it and get an affirmative answer.

        While the process of communicating the biblical gospel to Mormons may not be an exact science with black and white right and wrong methods, I think that sticking with the guidelines on this video is definitely a good way of starting the discussions off as you mean to go on, and going with Moroni’s promise would only lead to the problem of the missionaries telling you, you need to keep praying with more sincerity and so on.

        I think your perspective that only those who know Mormonism like you and your friends do can truly get through to Mormons does have some merit but even that only goes so far, if God is real and does draw people to Himself as Jesus said in John 6:44 that He does, and if Gods word really is living and active as Hebrews 4:12 says it is, then going with the methodology set out by the bible is surely the safest bet as God has even more power to save than any full perspective on Mormonism ever can.

        Here is what we see in the bible people did when approached with new teaching.

        Acts 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

        They didnt pray about it but they searched the scriptures, and so should we.

      • Alternatively one thing I have said before is that I will pray that God reveals His truth, I think this keeps praying in the mix but also does not put you within the restrictions of Moroni’s promise.

  2. Praying to find out of the BOM is true is like praying to see if it is okay to commit adultery.

    The BOM has been proven to be fraudulent, and Joseph Smith proven to be a false prophet. Knowing this, to pray about the BOM is totally wrong.

  3. Firstly, may I point out as a Mormon, that we are in fact Christians. The proper name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or LDS). If you are going to discuss a topic, you should use the correct terminology. Secondly, the Book of Mormon was taken to many sources at the time of it’s publication to verify it’s authenticity.
    To say that you are going to pray for an entire religion to be convinced of their falsehood is incredibly naive and rude. The young people who serve missions do so of their own choice and because they have a knowledge of the truth of the gospel. Every church has people who fall away, and the members are not perfect by any means, but this is no more evidence of the falacy of the Book of Mormon than any other Christian who leaves their denomination.
    Finally, you have to study something to be able to say for certain that it is not true. If you had done your research thoroughly, you would realise that we also have the Bible and that they are records of two different people, on two different continents, and the reason they contain the same points is because they are sharing the same message: both are testifying of Christ. LDS missionaries are not going to tell you that you are wrong, they are just trying to share the fullness of the gospel that has blessed their lives.

    • Hi Kristie thanks for commenting.

      You may or may not know but the vast majority of evangelical or bible believing Christians do not accept the Mormon Church as Christian, this is not a mistaken use of terminology, I have been studying Mormonism for around 10 years and the guy on the video has been for I believe longer, you can disagree with our conclusions but please dont make the mistake of thinking that it is with a lack of research. Out of interest do you ever wonder why Christians look at the Mormon church this way? Is it merely Anti-Mormon hate or is there more to it?

      I certainly do pray for Mormons to be free from religion and come to Christ however the main point of the video is to show that actually that praying and waiting for some kind of inner witness is not the best way to measure what is true, evidenced by the hundreds of LDS offshoot groups that claim an inner witness of the truthfulness of their church and that yours is in a state of Apostasy.

      Past experience tells me that you are very unlikely to reply so I wont go on other than to point you to my recent post A different Jesus? where I look at the problem of the Mormon Jesus compared to the biblical one, if you would like to discuss this more I think thats a great place to start.

    • Kristie,

      I am an ex-Mormon, having left the LDS in 1972. I became a real Christian in 1974 and since that time have studied deeply the LDS history, documents, doctrines, etc, and have amassed a library of official LDS documents, including a copy of the original 1830 BOM and 1833 Book of Commandments, JOD, History of the Church, etc, etc, etc. I began such studies so as to reach Mormons with the truth, because my heart goes out to them in their bondage to a false belief system.

      The LDS Christ is not the Christ of the Bible, nor is the LDS god the God of the Bible. Just those two things demonstrate that the LDS is not a Christian faith. They can call the person they follow, “Christ,” but calling a dandelion a rose does not thereby make it a rose.

      Joseph Smith has been proven to be a false prophet, and the BOM has been proven to be work of fiction which includes vast amounts of KJV copied word-for-word. The Book of Abraham was proven to be nothing more that Smith’s imaginative ideas while looking at an Egyptian funeral document.

      A false Christ cannot save anyone from sin. I pray that, like me, you will seek the true God.

      • Credit to you Chatfield. Those points are exactly the meaty issues which are deserving of full examination by sincere Latter-day Saints, and the key to it all for most is to investigate the statements you made in your third paragraph… but possibly it takes a post-Mormon to understand that fully.

        Credit to you too Kristie for having the courage to post your comment. Confronting spiritual reality is a long tough lonely journey for us all… make it one step at a time and never lose hope.

  4. I didn’t come on this forum to argue with you. I have a firm testimony that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is God’s true church on the earth restored by Joseph Smith. Nothing anyone can say can shake that. I am sealed to my husband and the temple and will be with him and my children forever. That is what makes me happy,
    With regards your perception as to whether we are Christians or not, I would like to point out the name of our denomination. It includes Christ in the name. The definition of a Christian is “A person who has received Christian baptism or is a believer in Jesus Christ and his teachings.” (Not my definition, google it!) We believe that Jesus was the Christ, that he died for the sins of the world and that he rose again. We believe that he taught people to love one another and to live to be the best they can be. As a Christian, I live to the standards I believe will enable me to be the best I can be and return to live with our Heavenly Father again. This is what I believe makes a true Christian, regardless of denomination. If you love all people, you will pray for this and not for someone to come to your point of view.

    • Hi Kristie if you didnt come to debate why did you come to a so called “Anti-Mormon” site, was it to bear your testimony, shake the dust off your feet and leave us anti Mormons in our state of darkness with even less of an excuse because someone else of the faithful had declared what they know?

      I am guessing so, and thats ok if I was in your position I would do the same, however the fact that you have even clicked on a site like this says that all those things that Mormons so often put on the shelf are catching up on you, although you would never admit it and maybe I am wrong however think about it. Right through Mormonism from the beginning to, today we have masses of problems, multiple first vision accounts, the cannonisation of a document that says something about God (that He is Spirit) contrary to something that was supposedly revealed to Smith years ago (the lectures on faith). Joseph Smith marrying other mens wives sometimes in secret, he translated a book of scripture from egyptian papyrus when later these papyrus are shown to say something entirely different, (the book of Abraham) and the list goes on right through to a church today (which has the name of Jesus Christ in it, but so could the church of Jesus Christ of bananas) that constantly backs off from its founding beliefs saying those Antis are giving half truths, where does it end?

      You can bear your testimony again, and again, and again but the only person you are convincing is you, this site is always here for you and there are loads of articles here for you to spend time looking at and comment on however you wish.

      You said living to true standards makes you a Christian and thats what its all about, that very statement proves to me fully the unChristian teachings of Mormonism, Isaiah 64:6 will show you what your good works will do and Romans 4:5 will show you what your good works could never do, I do what I do because I am in stinkin love with Mormons and I pray that I get as many of you guys as possible to stop trusting in your standards and works and totally 100% unreservedly trust in Jesus. I have no hate towards Mormonism and I certainly dont hate Mormons, if thats what you are picking up here you should read or watch any posts again.

      • I came on this forum because a friend pointed it out to me and asked for my opinion. I make a point of speaking to people from any religious background to find out as much as I can about it. If we have an extra book that supports the teachings of the bible, does that make it wrong? There are plenty of religious books that back up the teaching of the bible. We trust in Jesus fully. If you believe in miracles, why is it not possible for a 14 year old boy to find and translate the records of an ancient people through the guidance of the Holy Spirit?

      • Its not just the principle of what Smith did that’s the problem, its the trail of issues he left behind, I went through a number of them in my last comment. There is a danger of us just going in circles here of talking about, talking about the issues, if you would like to pick one of the issues I raised I would be happy to explain it further.

      • Supposing Joseph Smith didn’t do the things we have been taught that he did, would you want to know Kristie? That is the question which determines how sincere we are.

        If you did wish to know, would you be prepared to weigh all the evidence fairly, both for and against? That is the question which determines how committed to truth we are.

        If the evidence led you away from what you presently say you will never renounce, would you still follow? That is the question which determines whether we really do trust in Jesus fully.

        Some of us here have answered these questions affirmatively, and it takes courage and strength to do so. I wish everything we were taught in Sunday School, and YW lessons was true, but real history sadly tells another story. I wish it were not so, but it is.

        In the end it doesn’t matter at all what Joseph did. It only matters what God did.

        Good luck on your continuing journey Kristie.

    • Kristie,

      What is your testimony? Have you personally witnessed the “First Vision?” Have you examined the history of Joseph Smith and the entire LDS faith? Your “testimony” is likely to be only agreeing with what you have been told. How do you KNOW that the LDS is the true church? What investigation have you done to verify?

      Since the Bible says that there will be no marriages in heaven, you contradict Scripture by claiming eternal marriage.

      You say that you have extra Scriptures which support the Bible: have you really compared them with the Bible? They contradict the Bible in many, many, many areas of doctrine and history, let alone the identities of God and Jesus. Take a look at my blog and I list many of them.

      I bear you my testimony that I know that the LDS is a fraudulent faith, that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, and that the BOM, POGP, D&C are all works of Smith and not of God.

      One of our testimonies has to be wrong. If I’m right, you will spend eternity in hell. I pray you investigate these things for yourself.

  5. Kristie,
    My heart goes out to you. I was LDS born and raised for 40 years. I have been out officially for a year now. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. After 5 years of researching all of Mormonism (LDS version and others) I think the most important thing is who God is and who Jesus is. Please research this. Compare the God of the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible with the LDS version. Other Mormon denominations believe in the Holy Trinity, why? Your testimony is the same as all LDS that I know, why? It’s because like me, you have heard it over and over every month at fast and testimony meeting and it’s reinforced in Primary, Young Womens, Priesthood Meeting, Young Mens, Relief Society and Sunday School. How do little children as young as 3 “know” that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God and that the LDS church is true? I had this same testimony. I too used to get offended when someone would tell me I wasn’t a Christian. Like you, I would point out the name of Christ in the name of our church. Doesn’t it bother you that all LDS come back with that line? Why do all LDS give that reason? Have you ever asked yourself why Christians say Mormons aren’t Christians? Christianity and Mormonism have a different God. The Christian God of the Bible is Trinitarian in nature, unchanging, the only God, besides him He knows no other God, there were no Gods before him and there will be no Gods after Him. The Christian Jesus is God incarnate. The Mormon God is nothing but an exalted man who lived on an earth like you and worked his way to godhood and is one of millions or maybe billions of gods, who is a polygamist, somehow procreating spirit babies with his who knows how many wives. The Mormon Jesus has been demoted to your spirit brother who needs your help to Save you. These are different Gods Kristie. This is why Christians say Mormons are not Christian and rightly so. May you one day ask yourself the hard questions and ask the Lord to help you find the answers, trusting in Him to lead you and not relying on your own feelings as I know you have been taught to do. There is only one Christ who Saves and he can’t be found in Mormonism.

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