Share This Episode
Viewpoint on Mormonism Bill McKeever  Logo

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

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 662 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

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

Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Matt Slick Live!
Matt Slick
Alex McFarland Show
Alex McFarland

Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on 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 edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of 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. Joel Kramer used to 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 with 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 them. But not only are you, I would say, learned in the field of archaeology, you have a background in apologetics, you teach on this subject, you were a 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, but 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 why don't 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 a pastor. And so our goal was to produce that video as an outreach to our own community.

And we weren't really thinking beyond that. And so I wanted to go to the horse's mouth, so to speak, on these issues. And so I went out and we 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 so we put that together, put it out in our own community, and then that's how others found out about it.

And that kind of launched an opportunity to do more and more DVDs from there. And so I would say that from the DNA versus the Book of Mormon, which shows that Native Americans are not descended from Jews. And the title page in the Book of Mormon says that they are from the House of Israel. And 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 that you feature is Thomas Murphy. And Thomas Murphy was, at least at that time, a member of record.

I'm not really sure where Thomas Murphy is right now. But that kind of got him in a lot of trouble, and he took a lot of heat for what he said. But time has vindicated him, and I think time has vindicated 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 does that tell you about the rest of it? I think that was a great contribution. But then another one that you did later on was called the Bible and the Book of Mormon. You always kind of had the verses in there. 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. The first time I went to Israel was 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 what we do.

No, not at all. You're right. And so 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, 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 in that.

Yeah, Gaby Barkay, who's a good friend of mine now. Sometimes when you interview American archaeologists and scholars, they're so worried about being politically correct, and one thing I love about Israeli archaeologists, and especially Gaby Barkay, is he just says it. He doesn't have this political correctness filter. He just says things the way that they are, and so he's 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 said something to the effect about great civilization, always leave their junk behind, and that's really what archaeology is, is finding all this stuff. And you don't lose civilizations like that.

That was, I think, what he was bringing out. You just don't lose civilizations, and that seems to be a good talking point when we're explaining things to our LDS friends. Mormons have been led to believe that the Book of Mormon people numbered in the millions. You just can't lose a civilization that numbers in the millions, and yet that's exactly what happened if we're going to believe the Book of Mormon. See, it was an education for me to go there initially to do that video and to interview Gaby Barkay.

You've got to 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 of the Book of Mormon. So you have to understand, I have this world-renowned archaeologist in front of me who is a Jewish-Israeli archaeologist who is in Jerusalem, standing next to the Temple Mount, and the first question I ask him is, how do we know that the Jewish people are real? He looks at me and he goes, because I am Jewish! Next question I ask him is, how do we know that Jerusalem is a real city? He looks at me real strange, he says, because we are standing in Jerusalem.

And that sounds crazy, but 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 when I moved there, he said, you know, 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 this, I used to tell my students that there's no such thing as a stupid question until you interviewed me. And I don't mean to be disrespectful saying that, 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 ask the same questions of archaeologists there that were experts in their field and ask them the question like, for example, do you use coins? No, there's no metal used, you know, and this, oh, well, what about steel swords? No, no, 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 that I had to bring because of the issues in the Book of Mormon and how the problems with the Book of Mormon are at such a basic level. Probably the most popular DVD that we sell on our back table at meetings is the Bible versus Joseph Smith, very similar to the video you're 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 while living here in Utah, the Bible versus Joseph Smith was produced entirely while I was living in Israel.

So it kind of 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 any one to really bounce it off of, and so this gentleman who 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'd showed him 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, Mormon's response often is, well, he's not an expert and you should have had a stake president or you should have had a bishop or you should have had 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 in Mormonism anything like the Dead Sea Scrolls like we have for the Bible and Christianity? And his answer of silence and then no.

What else can you say? Because 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 the Mormon perspective. And you know, I don't think you probably would have 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 empathize with Greg as he's trying to deal with these issues that we would consider to be very important. And that's that's a problem I find when talking to a lot of Mormons, when you bring up some of these things, they'll say, Well, I don't really care about that. And I think Christian, what you need to understand is when a Mormon says, Well, I don't care about that.

You need to remind them. Well, maybe you don't. But 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. Well, that doesn't bother me because it does bother me. And I think we need to remind them of that. Joel, 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 we're doing. How can somebody get one of these videos? They can go to our website, which is Sourceflix and flicks is spelled like Netflix, F-L-I-X. All of them are available on the website. In addition to the feature DVDs, there's lots of video shorts and other things that are available there.

We've been talking with Joel Kramer, a good friend of ours who used to pastor in Brigham City, Utah, and has spent a considerable amount of time studying over in Israel, studying archaeology, has a master's in archaeology. I hope that you will look into some of the videos that he has produced. Again, if you want to look into that list of the films that he has put out, it's www.sourceflix. Flicks is spelled F-L-I-X. Thanks Joel for being with us today. Thank you.

Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another Viewpoint on Mormonism. All of us at Mormonism Research Ministry want to wish you and yours a joyous 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. If Viewpoint on Mormonism has been a blessing to you, would you consider a generous year-end gift to help further the efforts of Mormonism Research Ministry? Please know that your tax-deductible gift to MRM is very much appreciated, and we humbly thank you for your kind support.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-17 23:41:16 / 2024-01-17 23:47:03 / 6

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime