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October 25, 2020 9:12 pm
Unprepared to engage Mormon missionaries when they knock on your door.
Perhaps the book Mormonism 101 will help Mormonism 101. Published by Baker available at your favorite Christian bookstore .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a perspective view .1 Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect.
And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism welcome to this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Tom Hobson, Tom Hopson is the author of a book titled the historical Jesus and the historical Joseph Smith, Tom.
It's good to have you on the show welcome.
It's great to be here that you and I met at a conference here in Salt Lake City just got talking and then you came out with this book. It's an intriguing title and I want to talk about that but you are a retired pastor and educator. Once you introduce yourself to our listeners because I think that's going to be important as we go along. In this interview I had a heart for the LDS per 43 years. I first met them on a youth group trip from St. Louis to Oregon the same fateful trip on which I met my wife in Oregon on the way there I met the LDS in Ogden and then again in Salt Lake on the way back. My heart went out to the burden from God. I began to feel like God was calling me. I thought, and to serve as a Protestant pastor in Mormon territory somewhere. This was before I even went to seminary. God never worked it out.
God never opened the door for me to serve as a Protestant pastor so I retired.
The last thing I did was spending four years teaching Latin and Greek, Hebrew and Bible at a Christian college that was following the old Harvard classical model and when I got done. My wife and I volunteered for two months to help start a Christian coffeehouse down in Mount Pleasant, Utah. While I was there I was blogging and when I got done and came back pastor colleague of mine said why when you take your blogs and put them together into a book and a little nervous about that but it turns out, didn't dismiss the been what God had in mind all along why he put that burden on my heart for the LDS. Now you say that you're pastoring with state or UN at the time your pastor got a sense of humor.
He often send me where the Mormons have given up and left town.
So I was 15 years in Iowa couple years in Missouri couple years in Illinois. I'm in an Illinois suburb of St. Louis.
Certainly, the states have a lot of Mormon history, no doubt coming Council Bluffs, Iowa, Nauvoo, Illinois and Missouri. I mean, this is kind of world there still a lot of restoration movement churches that kind of attach themselves to that state as well.
God never did bring you out here but yet you have this desire to reach the Mormon people. I am always intrigued by that when someone doesn't live out west or maybe even around the state of Utah and yet they still have a strong desire to want to reach the Mormon people.
I think that's great.
Let me ask you this. Having written a few books myself. Authors usually have a reason when they want to book to be written or certain type of book to be written. What compelled you to write this book and what audience do you hope to reach with it. This book is a collection of everything I would want to say to a latter-day St. or anyone who wants to become a latter-day St.
I tried my best to limit myself to the fact that temple, LDS, and I would both recognize that the true I tried my best not to trash Joseph Smith or to trash his claims. I tried to be gentle, so much so that when Mike my publisher first got the book they almost dropped it because he put it was pro Mormon men had to convince them it was not for. We could go on with the project basically is designed to be a book that is safe to give or loan to LDS people we care about the price is low enough to order and quantity is an evangelistic tool I hope to reach some LDS folks directly, but most of the time. I realize it's probably going to be outreach through the hands of Christians who have a burden for LBS that they love % this book I would direct people to the book website and boy the name of the God sent historical Joseph.org what are the chances that you would get that name before someone else did historical Joseph.org on the home page there are five links where the book can be ordered including Utah lighthouse UT LM the the lowest price to get it at is through the company website. All HarperCollins Christian is under event in Thomas Nelson books can be gotten through a site called church source.com church source.com and by my book can be gotten there as well.
Plus, on the on the website.
There is also a Mormonism blog where a whole lot of stuff that didn't go into the book is posted. The title the historical Jesus and the historical Joseph Smith. Of course a latter-day St. looking at that title might be puzzled and they might say what what what you mean to tell us about Jesus. Why the name of Jesus is in our churches name. Obviously we know something about Jesus so Mormon might argue that they already believe in Jesus, so why address the subject of Jesus in your book, the answer is that as people arrive at the conclusion that Joseph Smith is not worthy of their trust. We have seen huge numbers of LDS who lose their faith in Joseph who end up throwing out Jesus also. So that's why strategically from the very beginning. I set my mind to spend almost half the book establishing why is Jesus worthy of our trust before I gently change the subject to whether Joseph is worthy and try to apply the same standards to both the same methodology to both. In fact, I was teaching about the historical Jesus at my local church and as I was doing so. If a man didn't apply the same criteria to Joseph Smith and what do we know for a fact about him. My approach in the book is that you don't have to have religious faith to use the Bible or even Mormon sources define undeniable facts. You have subsection in chapter 1 it asked this question, it's how can we know the facts, what means should be used for us as well as Latter Day Saints. When it comes to recognizing facts. We should believe in, in that section you list what is called quoting the criteria of authenticity explain for listeners. The points that you included on page 3 of your book.
The criteria of authenticity are not intended to be telling us what we can and can't believe about Jesus simply means by which we can identify those particular facts that are undeniable in all theology is theology that facts on the ground like what did Jesus do precisely what exactly did he say there are some criteria to wear even you don't have to have religious painting of yesterday was really said this Jesse really did this so the five criteria and no everyone's got a different list but the list that I use has five on it number one we look for multiple sources. The more sources that document the item in question, the better, especially if they are independent and not carbon copying each other's number two do they tell us unflattering truth and I Jesus chooses a trader to be one of his top 12 followers who would make that up.
We look for information that makes Jesus stand out from his Jewish heritage and, if possible, also from the early church. If he stands out from both of them so much the better. Number four. We look for information that fits with what we've already accepted as true about Jesus and then number five information that explains why Jesus gets killed. For example, the fact that he goes around acting and talking like is God that'll do it. So if you have all five of those men usually this is what I call historical bedrock. But if you don't have all five. That's okay. And you know there are parts of our Gospels that I have to take on faith because they don't have this kind of evidence behind them, but because they come to us through Gospels that do have historical bedrock, then I say I'm willing to trust the Bible and I trust everything. The Gospels say about Jesus because of the historical bedrock that I already am standing on one of the sad things that I find in talking to ex-Mormons who have drifted off into agnosticism or even atheism is. It seems like the claims that they usually all made while they were members of the LDS church really mean nothing to them anymore, which makes me wonder did they ever own those claims for the Jesus they claim to believe and I know at this point we can argue that their view of Jesus certainly has some differences.
Then what we would call the New Testament view of Jesus, but it seems like all of a sudden you're going to get rid of all religious faith just because you came to know that Mormonism wasn't true. Do you find that just to be as odd as I find it I find it believable to me, not the direction I would go but then again I haven't walked in their shoes.
I would live the life they lived. They seem to a trusted Joseph so much that if Joseph is in true Jesus can't be true would be how they appear to be thinking, and that's what I want to avoid.
I want it. If I were to be messing with their belief in Jesus. I brother back off about Joseph that if there really such a choice. This way I would rather than be on board with Jesus. No matter where the hunt for Joseph.
Turns out I see what you're saying. I often bring up the fact that our associate Aaron shuffle Wallace has a great question that he likes to ask Latter Day Saints in the course of the conversation and that is when you come to find out that the Mormon church isn't true.
Are you going to abandon your faith in Jesus and that usually puts the Mormon on the spot because at this point in their life they would never think they would do something like that but yet we have certainly found through experience that that does happen too often that if Joseph Smith didn't prove to be the true prophet that they assume that he was then obviously the Jesus. He talked about can't be the one that that they were always led to believe he was, and you can just see how the dominoes start falling at that point, which is just so tragic.
That's why start with Jesus first. I have found that sometimes talking about Joseph Smith and going after his credibility or lack of credibility can sometimes hinder the conversation because of the loyalty that so many Latter Day Saints have for him. That's where try and be as gentle as I can. When we finally get around to Joseph. I must also say least about Jesus. I'm not trying to prove the Christian Jesus versus the Mormon Jesus, I'm just trying to establish that Jesus, whoever he is, is the biblical Jesus is worthy of our trust and I think that's a good strategy because as I mentioned earlier. Certainly there going to be differences in their view of Jesus, but let's save that for another conversation was cut a move into that conversation will talk tomorrow were going to continue looking at what you have in your book. It's titled the historical Jesus and the historical Joseph Smith, thank you for listening. If you would like more information is research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.
We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sharing your faith with the Latter Day Saints.
It helps to know what their church is taught in several basic topics. For this reason is research ministry has provided its crash course is crash course, Mormonism includes concise articles highlighting what LDS leaders and church manuals have taught on issues that will probably come up in a typical conversation. You can find these informative articles and crash course Mormonism.com that's crash course Mormonism.com