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What is Truth?

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
December 27, 2020 8:05 pm

What is Truth?

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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One member is examining the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when 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 on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM there was an article in the desert written news that was posted on January 10, 2019.

It was written by Jennifer Graham.

It was titled what is truth why Pontius Pilate's question still resonates today.

It starts off this way in his interrogation of Jesus. Pontius Pilate famously asked what is truth or as we would say in Latin quid asked Veritas pendants, politicians, and philosophers are still wrestling with the question today about one of the reasons why this article caught my attention is because just recently I was reading some post on various Facebook pages and this Facebook page happen to be one that discusses Mormon doctrine and people who have come out of Mormonism can attend to post on here and what caught my attention was, it wasn't obvious Latter Day Saints who was accusing another individual of lying because they had said that Joseph Smith was a polygamist and this individual was demanding that this person who they assumed were lying produce some type of legal documents to verify that Smith in fact had more than one wife. Now we would look at that is same way you can't produce any kind of legal document to verify Joseph Smith's pluralize because it wasn't legal.

I mean, yes, definitely. But even the church admits now the LDS church admits that Joseph Smith had as many as 40 wives. You would think that would be proof enough for a person who has loyalty to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints when his own church leadership is admitting to this, but this person was incredulous that someone would say that Joseph Smith was a polygamist and this individual did not believe that to be true. This is why it really caught my attention when I saw this article when it talks about Pilate and his statement what is truth. Naturally there quoting from John 1838, of course, the truth was standing right before him when he asked that question because as Christians we believe as Jesus has said of himself that he is the way the truth and the life.

But I think there's some things in this article that we can learn from.

Although I'm going to say upfront allotment were not going to cover because much of it has to do with truth and error as it pertains to the political arena and were not a political organization, although I think all of us are pretty serious about what we believe politically, but there are some things in here that I think relate to religious truth and how people come to believe certain things and that's why wanted to cover this, but there are some interesting things that are in this piece there's a comment in the third paragraph Eric when we started, there is is the gravity of pilots question why it still matters in a culture that somehow pronounced post, truth, and this is a quote that comes from Margaret Sullivan in a column that she did for the Washington Post on December 17. She says this lies are coming at the American public in torrents, raining down on them everywhere they turn the intentional spreading of disinformation on every platform from Facebook all the way to PayPal in we would certainly agree with that in our information age as it is been we are being emblem parted with statements right and left and I'm sure you agree, Eric.

Sometimes it seems to be overwhelming to try and wade through all the things that we've read nowadays because it used to be. If we read something in a book.

The book has been pretty much vetted by a publisher. And so there was some veracity given to that old. Now anybody can post anything and they can cite anybody or anything, and it makes you have to stop and pause and wonder is that a good source is the statement being made tainted by their bias.

And of course we would say yes of course it's been tainted by their bias. Everybody has bias and sometimes we are accused by Latter Day Saints. Assemble your bias and I think it may shock them when we write back and say yes we admit were bias. We do have a worldview that we feel is based in the Bible not and what a Mormon would think is our latter-day prophets. So certainly we do have a bias and we do have certain things that we consider to be better standards for determining what is right, then maybe some Latter Day Saints were going to sources that we would question would you think Bell that most people approach truth based on their presuppositions and what I mean by that is, they will gauge as to whether or not something is true, as if it actually falls in line with their preconceived notions that they already accept yes and I think that goes the other way to a Mormon might say, for instance, will you don't believe the book of Mormon because you automatically don't believe it. To begin with. So everything that you read from the book of Mormon is going to be viewed through your prejudice and you're going to look at it negatively. I would argue there's probably some truth to that, except it fails to asked the question is why did I come to the conclusion that I don't believe the book of Mormon in the first place right it's because we have spent a lot of time examining the quote unquote truth claims of the book of Mormon and based on its truth claims we have found them to be faulty. So yes we do approach the book of Mormon with a huge amount of skepticism. But it's only because our research has led us in that direction.

In the first place. Whereas, as you brought out a Latter Day Saints who probably hasn't seen some of the things that we have seen has not research the things that we have found might readily go by the feelings that they have because they were told by the missionaries will just pray about this and the Holy Ghost will manifest the truthfulness of the book of Mormon to you and they assume that that is a good way for determining truth and we would argue, no, that's a terrible way to determine truth so if the evidence were to be shown that the book of Mormon is a true book talking about a real history of real people and real events. I think that we would have to take that into consideration. But what you're saying is we don't have that information affect everything we have goes against the veracity and the historicity of the book of Mormon. I have a couple of quotes that I want to give you that relate to what we're talking about here. One is from the first presidency member and Eldon Tanner, who in October 1978 at Gen. conference is found in the end sign of November 1978, page 46 says.

No matter how sincere one's belief may be in an error.

It will not change the air into truth. He states it right.

I think we would agree with that, certainly, and then another quote comes from J. Reuben Clark in a book that was written by D.

Michael Quinn called J.

Reuben Clark, the church years and this is from 1983, page 24 of that book.

And J. Reuben Clark said if we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation if we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed and we would agree with that too. If in fact we are believing something that is wrong I would hope our honesty as a Christian would say that needs to be abandoned and you know you and I emphasize this very fact. Many times when we speak that Christian churches on this topic. We need to be vulnerable as we hope our Mormon counterparts would want to be vulnerable to admit we could be wrong, we could be wrong. We are not on this yet.

How do we determine whether we are or not.

Well, we would say by the evidence, not because of the mere feeling or in the case of many Latter Day Saints a desire to want to be a Latter Day Saints. That's a terrible way to come to a proper conclusion.

Many Latter Day Saints are going to accept though, whatever their leaders say I want to give you one more quote.

This is from a Mormon apologist's name is Michael Ash and he wrote a book called shaken face syndrome page 16.

Very interesting. What he says he writes we need to be aware that sometimes we are too quick to uncritically accept the things we hear or read even from sources such as church leaders or in church magazines. It's not that their words aren't usually true, but we admit we should use our brains as well as our spirits when we study the gospel even hold that the the at the leaders were always correct on things that maybe that went beyond their understanding and knowledge, but I think that's an interesting quote to say. Even the leaders out of the question because many Latter Day Saints don't think that way and you bring up a good point would most modern LDS leaders agreed that what Michael asked just said in that statement is true, I would say many of them would say no that's not true right the Lord speaks to the leaders of the church. We tell them what is right and you need to get in line and believe it and who are you to question what we say is true, because they are the Lord spokespeople. There was a quoting here from updo Murray. He is a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and he works with Ravi Zacharias ministries decided to saying that Americans have not lost the validity to discern truth but have gotten better at ignoring it. When I first read that I had to really analyze that sentence because I think what he saying here without any more information to back up that statement is the ability to come to a truthful conclusion is still out there. We've never lost that, but which he is implying is many people have ignored the ability to come to an actual truth and we would much rather ignore it. He says our problem with truth isn't so much that we don't understand it, it's that we don't like it. I think that can go in all sorts of directions.

Many times I know when we're talking with fellow Christians about certain doctrinal beliefs and certainly there are peripheral issues that we do have our disagreements on but I've often noticed sometimes in talking with some Christians, how they tenaciously hold onto something that's really not a primary belief. It's not my opinion a a sword worth falling on, but they will hold onto this regardless old all the many verses that might show that there conclusion is a little bit questionable. I would think that if they would be honest with themselves.

They would at least have to admit, they could be wrong on this, but many times we get very dogmatic about some things that maybe we shouldn't be dogmatic because you know me Eric without a lot of discussions on theological issues and there's some issues I really don't know what the conclusion as I see good arguments by well-meaning scholars and believers on both sides and sometimes I think we need to take the approach of I don't know. I don't know those essential issues and not the essential issues that we hold to his Christians, such as who is God is Jesus the Trinity salvation by grace, we have a hold on those. But we may disagree on some of those side issues in one of the paragraphs in this article is now so what is truth.

It's a question that keeps theologians and philosophers up at night befuddled legal scholars and puts lawyers in jail. How would we answer that question.

I think Christian, you need to have a concise way of explaining what truth is we've always use this very short explanation.

Truth is that which conforms to reality. And this is why we would challenge a lot of the assumptions that many Latter Day Saints have even regarding the first events in their history. The first vision. For instance, most Latter Day Saints believe that Joseph Smith saw God the father and Jesus in the spring of 1820. The evidence doesn't support that position. Things like that ought to be challenged and if found to be faulty should also be abandoned. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding this research ministry.

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