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Joel Kramer Interview Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
December 7, 2020 8:19 pm

Joel Kramer Interview Part 2

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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December 7, 2020 8:19 pm

Joel Kramer, who has produced a number of videos on Mormonism as well as on biblical archaeology, is our guest this week in a rerun series. You need to check out his new book, Where God Came Down, available on


When one examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when limited 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 this additional viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.

My colleague at MRM. We also have, as a special guest today. Our good friend Joel Kramer, Joe Kramer used a pastor in the state of Utah. He pastored up in Brigham city, Utah but ended up going to Israel to live and it's an amazing story. You went back there really to hopefully answer a lot of the challenges that Mormons have raised when you were talking to Latter Day Saints because there's a lot of things that Mormons will bring up regarding the Bible that, surprisingly, or maybe not surprisingly, many secularists bring up because as you and I both know in order for Mormonism to be successful you have to downplay the significance of the Bible in order to elevate the teachings of Joseph Smith and all those that came after him.

But not only are you I would say learned in the field of archaeology. You have a background in apologetics you teach on the subject you are pastor, but you are also a filmmaker and I don't know if a lot of people are aware of the great contribution you have made towards the area of apologetics and for the Bible that you have come out with a lot of DVDs over the past several years I know we have used many of them here at Mormonism research ministry. You've done a number of videos having to do with the subject of Mormonism.

The first one I believe was DNA and the book of Mormon which of course is a very big topic because the Mormon church has long maintained this idea that the Lamanites are supposed to be ancient Indians. So when we talk about that video.

First, what made you want to do something on that particular topic when that issue came out and I was pastoring up in Brigham city. We took that on as a project I was a photojournalist by trade. Before I became pastor and so our goal was to produce that video as an outreach to our own community and weren't really thinking beyond that and so I wanted to go to the horses mouth, so to speak on these issues and so I went out and interviewed eight different DNA scientists, Mormon and non-Mormon, and as the truth always seems to be. It was very obvious what the reality was and and so we put that together, put it out in our own community and then that's how others found out about it in that kind of launched opportunity to do more more DVDs from from there and so I would say that from the DNA versus a book of Mormon which shows that Native Americans are not descended from Jews in the title page of the book of Mormon says they are from the right of Israel in the title page was supposed to be part of the gold plates that Joseph Smith allegedly translated from. So I think what you did there was monumental because it brought to the forefront. I think on a popular level, something that most people would not even be aware of because this was more of an argument among the scholars and even when that came out and one of the people you features Thomas Murphy and Thomas Murphy is was leased at that time, a member of record, I'm not really sure where Thomas Murphy is right now with Dick I got him a lot of trouble and he took a lot of heat for what he said but time has vindicated him and I think time is indicated that video as well and it's caused a lot of Latter Day Saints to rethink their position because if the main theme of the book of Mormon is not true. What is that tell you about the rest of it right.

I think that was a great contribution but then another one that you did later on was called the Bible in the book of Mormon. You always kind of you know, had the verses in their DNA versus the book of Mormon, the Bible versus the book of Mormon.

What I liked about that and I've often told people is what's good about this.

Is it not only shows that the book of Mormon is not what it claims to be, but it really shows the superiority of the biblical text over the book of Mormon which of course a lot of Latter Day Saints do not believe that the first time I went to Israel was to to do that video and did my interviewing over there and that really was its goal. There's lots of Mormons that are leaving Mormonism that are going into secularism and that is not the goal of of what we did is now not at all. And so I it became important to show them.

Not only that, the book of Mormon is not trustworthy, but that the Bible is and so that's what the intent there was was to encourage them to seek God in the Bible and to seek truth in the Bible I went to Israel to do that in and that seemed effective and that is eventually what led me to move to Israel and do that more and you interviewed a very prestigious archaeologist and that I yeah got a black eye.

His is a good friend of mine now. You know sometimes when you interview American archaeologists and scholars there. They're so worried about being politically correct and one thing I love about Israeli archaeologists is an especially Gabi bark eyes. He just he just says he doesn't have this political correctness filter.

He just says things the way that they are.

It's always a fun interview. For that reason there was something that he said in there that I've used when I talk with Latter Day Saints. He had some. He said something to the effect about great civilization always leave their junk behind and that's really when archaeology is finding all this stuff yeah and you don't lose civilizations like that that was I think what he was bringing out. You just don't lose civilizations and and that seems to be a good talking point explaining things to our LDS friends. Mormons ability to believe that the book of Mormon people numbered in the millions right. You just can't lose a civilization that numbers in the millions and that's exactly what happened.

If were going to believe the book of Mormon to see it was an education for me to go there initially to do that video and to interview Gabi bark I you gotta put yourself in my perspective, here I am doing an interview where I have to ask questions about the Bible. At the same level that I'm asking them with other people. I'm interviewing out of the book of Mormon so you have to understand I have this world renowned archaeologist in front of me. He was a Jewish Israeli archaeologist who is in Jerusalem standing next to the Temple Mount and the first question I ask them is how do we know that the Jewish people are real. He looks at me Gaza because I am Jewish next question I asked them is how do we know that Jerusalem is is a real city.

He looks at me real strange. He says because we are standing in Jerusalem, and now and that sounds crazy, but pretty remedial letter that is the level of question for the Bible that you have to bring it down to that level.

If you're going to be comparing it to the book of Mormon because that's where it's at. Afterwards he told me he told me when I made very said you know I so many people interview me and I don't usually remember them but I remember you I used to tell my students.

He told me that I I used to tell my students that there is no such thing as a stupid question and tell you interviewed me and I and you know I don't mean to be disrespectful saying that, but but that's what his reaction was to that because I was having to ask these questions and I had to go to the New World and I had to go to Guatemala and asked the same questions of archaeologists there that were experts in their field and asked them a question like, for example, do you use coins.

Now there's no metal used in no and in this well what about steel swords. None of there's no metal. What about metal plates and you know on and on and on and I found myself really often making kind of a fool of myself because of the level of questions I had to bring because of the issues in the book of Mormon and how the problems with the book of Mormon nurse at such an basic level, probably the most popular DVD that we sell in our back table at meetings is the Bible versus Joseph Smith very similar to the video talking about what did you do in the Bible versus Joseph Smith the Bible versus Joseph Smith is unique because the other videos I had produced on Mormonism by living here in Utah. The Bible versus Jesse Smith was produced entirely while I was living in Israel, so it kinda comes from that perspective. And it really gets at issues that I wasn't even aware of necessarily at the time of making the other ones. By that time I knew the scholars over there. I knew the issues but at the same time I had a script I was working on it.

I was putting this together but I didn't have anyone to really bounce it off of and so this gentleman. He was a generational Mormon. Greg ended up coming over with a friend of mine and I was showing him around the country.

I didn't even realize that he was Mormon until after I showed them around for a while when I realized I asked him I'm working on this film. Can I run this past you on video and he agreed to do that and that gave the project life and you know, of course, Mormons response often is well.

He's not an expert in. You should had a stake president. Are you should I had a bishop or you should add somebody who was more prepared, but the reality is, is there is no answers to these challenges to Mormonism. If you say to somebody like I said to him in cave number one of the Dead Sea Scrolls in regards to the Dead Sea Scrolls. Do you have an Mormonism anything like the Dead Sea Scrolls like we have for the Bible and Christianity in his answer of of silence and then no, what else can you say because that's that's the reality.

And so the wrestling and the silence was very genuine on his part as he wrestled with these things because there are no answers for them. From that Mormon perspective and you know I don't think you probably would've gotten a lot of different answers from someone that's a little higher up in the Mormon hierarchy unless they were engaging in spin.

I find when a Mormon is honest about a lot of this they really don't have answers. And so when you watch this interview you can you can sympathize and empathize with Craig as he is trying to deal with these issues that we would consider to be very important and that's that's a problem I find them talking to a lot of Mormons when you bring up some of these things will say I don't really care about that and I think Christian what you need to understand is when Mormon Sizzlin care about that. You need to remind them know. Maybe you don't put. I am concerned about that and if you're going to convince me that your church is worth looking into, or even taking seriously you really need to help me answer some of these questions for myself and usually I don't let a Mormon get away with this flat doesn't bother me because it does bother me and and I think we need to remind them of that jolt. These videos are awesome and I thank you so much for producing these. I don't know if you realize the impact that they have had with the kinds of work that were doing.

How can somebody get one of these videos are they can go to our website which is a source source flex and flex is spelled like a Netflix FL. I ask all of them are available on the website. In addition to feature DVDs. There's lots of video shorts and other things that are available there. We been talking with Joe Kramer, a good friend of ours who used a pastor in Brigham city, Utah and is spent a considerable amount of time studying over in Israel studying archaeology has a Masters in archaeology the hope that you will look into some of the videos that he has produced again if you want to look into that list of films that he is put out its www.source flex flicks is spelled FLIX source thanks Joe for being with us today. Thank you, thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you'll join us again as we look at another viewpoint is sick Mormonism research ministry want to wish you and yours and Julia's Christmas season.

As we remember the miraculous birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who came into this world to save his people from their sins viewpoint and Mormonism has been a blessing to you which you considering generous hearing gift to help further the efforts of Mormonism research ministry. Please note that your tax-deductible gift to MRM is very much appreciated and we humbly thank you.

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