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Mormonism 101 is research ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson has helped many more to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith.
Mormonism 101 is a Christian bookstore online. MRM.org .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 so glad to be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson.
My colleague at MRM for the past couple of days we been looking at the subject of truth and basically this whole series sprung from an article that was in the desert retinues was published on January 10, 2019 titled what is truth why Pontius Pilate's question still resonates today I want to bring something out when we discussed this topic today because Mormon could very easily say to us will wait a minute Bill, you're a Christian, you take a lot of things by faith. Don't you and I would readily admit yes I do will how do you know those things that you take by faith are true. If you can't prove them empirically if I am trying to make the case that evidence is certainly important. Now let me just explain this the way I look at it that the belief something that is not been proven is faith. And yes there are a lot of things us Christians that we believe that we cannot prove empirically. For instance, I've often said, I can't prove that my sins are forgiven. There's no way I can empirically test that I can only go by the promise of Jesus himself who said that when I put my faith in what he did on the cross on my behalf because I recognize Jesus to be a trustworthy source. That's why I believe that my sins are forgiven and that I believe something that is true. However, if I was to believe something and say it's faith to trust in something that's been this proven that's where I say I have to draw the line because that's not faith to trust in something that's disproven. That's foolishness and that's the rule crux of what were trying to discuss here because you have a lot of D St. you want to believe the things are church tells him, even when the evidence goes against it, they can certainly ignore the evidence and that's what we've been talking about. In fact in this series we quoted Abu Murray, who works with Ravi Zacharias ministries and he's written on the subject. He wrote a book called saving truth finding meaning and clarity in a post-truth world and he says our problem with truth isn't so much that we don't understand it, it's that we don't like it and I think he's quite correct words I could say there's a lot of truth in what he says their people just don't want to have their truth claims upset. I get that.
But if it does not honor God to believe things that are false, wouldn't you think that if you are a believer and cling to be a Christian that you would find it important not to believe things that are in fact false. We have a friend who actually took a camera out on the streets in Salt Lake City and asked different Latter Day Saints walking by. If they would be willing to take a short interview on the question of if Mormonism was not true.
Would you like to know it if it was not true and he was surprised that half of the people that he interviewed several dozen said no they would not want to know.
I think that's true with many people and especially with Latter Day Saints because, listen, if you understand that Mormonism is not true. It really will radically change your life especially if you live in a Mormon culture like where we live here in Utah because the way that your friends are going to approach you. The way your relatives are going to approach you. The way your family, your wife and your children. It's a very difficult thing. So do you really want to know the evidence and according to what his survey showed half the people are saying I really don't want to know. I'd rather just believe in Mormonism, even if it's not true because it's more pragmatic for me to be surprise at all with that in yesterday's broadcast. We introduce Carrie Newell's name Jerry Milstein.
As I mentioned yesterday is in Egyptologist is a professor of ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University. He wrote an article in the inside magazine for December 2018, titled the book of Abraham Revelation and you and I think some of the things that Dr. Milstein says in his piece bring out exactly what we been talking about in quite frankly Eric for a guy of his caliber. It's a bit disappointing to hear some of the things that he says because even though he admits that his views regarding the book of Abraham, and we did discuss that yesterday. It's a part of Mormon scripture and it's also a book that is caused a lot of Latter Day Saints to leave the Mormon faith.
Why, because when they read the truth about the book of Abraham and how the book came about from some Egyptian papyrus that Joseph Smith, the founder Mormonism allegedly translated because they had been led to believe that his translation was an English equivalent of the Egyptian that was on the papyrus when they came to the realization that that's not the case at all.
They felt that they had been lied to and that Joseph Smith, in fact, was deceiving people into thinking just that yesterday we were reading from the gospel topics and say and this is found on LDS.org title translation and historicity of the book of Abraham, and in this essay, I read a portion of it yesterday, but I want to read a little bit more now because it goes along with this idea of what the word translation really means to Latter Day Saints today and it certainly not the traditional definition.
Some may assume this is what it says Joseph study of the papyrus. This would be the Egyptian papyrus that came to him in 1835 through Michael Chandler. His study of the proprietor may have led to a revelation about key events and teachings in the life of Abraham, much as he had earlier received a revelation about the life of Moses while studying the Bible this view assumes a broader definition of the words translator and translation. According to this view, Joseph's translation was not a literal rendering of the papyrus as a conventional translation would be, rather the physical artifacts provided an occasion for meditation reflection and revelation this they catalyzed a process whereby God gave to Joseph Smith a revelation about the life of Abraham. Even if that revelation did not directly correlate to the characters on the papyrus and Bill. How did they come to that conclusion because for many many decades. Latter Day Saints were led to believe it was a literal translation as you mentioned earlier. Why all of a sudden do they come up with this conclusion because scholars who were expert in Egyptology recognize that with the book of Abraham says does not match the papyrus that it allegedly came from. And because of that, and that fact is really irrefutable. The leadership in the Mormon church knew we better back off of this we need to backpedal on this and so they came up with this phrase about inspired translations because it had to be something more supernatural, rather than natural that you can't say inspired translation because it makes no sense whatsoever.
The church needed to have said inspired creation because it came out of the mind of Joseph Smith and if that's the case then the book of Mormon. Does that come out of the mind of Joseph Smith while we don't have those gold plates but we do have the papyrus that the book of Abraham was written, and I think that might be one of the worst things I could have ever happened to the Mormon churches to have that uncovered in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and then it was given to the LDS church. We have that today we can see that Egyptologist can show us what that originally said and what it said has nothing to do with what Joseph Smith has written and is today part of the pearl of great price. I want to look to some the opening statements that Kerry Milstein makes in his article the book of Abraham Revelation in you and again this is found in the inside magazine December 2018 begins on page 54. He opens the piece by saying this. I have spent almost 2 decades studying the book of Abraham and its history. I wish to use this book as an example to discuss an important issue. The relationship between knowledge and revelation while education is valuable and important as we become increasingly educated. We must guard against the tendency to respect the world's methods of learning more than gods let me stop there because that statement right there. I would say okay as a Christian I can understand where he's going with this.
For instance, if you were to take a certain worldview. Let's say the flatterers people. The flatterers people certainly do recognize a certain idea of what are earth is like.
It goes against the grain of what everyone else seems to be saying what science has said what photographs from outer space looking at our world tend to tell us and again that goes back to what I said earlier, if you believe in something that's unproven.
That's faith but to believe in something that's been disproven. That's foolish, we would say that those who believe in a flat earth are being foolish because they can explain a lot of things. They can explain climates.
For instance, that I mean how would you have climates and seasons.
If you had a flat earth. They come up with all these highfalutin ways of explaining this letter just to many of us just ridiculous, but he is saying while education is valuable and important as we become increasingly educated.
We must guard against the tendency to respect the world's methods of learning more than God, to a certain point, I know what he saying here because certainly what we believe as Christians seems to fly in the face of what some scholars and some secular scholars are trying to tell us now in these areas, such as the case of evolution. There's no way that they can really scientifically prove evolution because to be proven scientifically, you have to observe it. You have to repeat it somehow they can't do that and that's why we call it a theory exactly now that is certainly changed since you and I went to school when I was in high school. I remember my biology class. The teacher, making it very clear when discussing this issue that this was only a theory that all of a sudden over the years. It develops into a fact into science while denying the basic definition of what science is, but many have been led to believe this. Okay we have a different point of view there's good people on both sides, but both cannot be right. So I would understand what Milstein saying here is, as a Christian I would go with what I believe God has revealed in the Bible. Even though there may be some secular scientists out there that would disagree. Bear in mind also, folks. There's good scientists out there that do believe in creation and do hold to the biblical model and and so we can't just ignore all them as well. Tomorrow I want to look more closely at some of the arguments that Dr. Milstein makes because I really think that some of his points are actually self refuting.
He uses the sharp sword to try and make his point but I wonder if he realizes that that sword cuts both ways and in some cases I think the point he's trying to make actually work against him when it comes to defending the controversy a portion of Scripture in Mormonism known as the book of Abraham.
Thank you for listening 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 will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is