Conceptual Distillation – is Mormonism true?

by Rusty Lindquist on January 25, 2011 · 36 comments

Let’s face it, life is full of gray.  It’s complex.  Everything we do simply entails so much.  Every decision we make can lead to a dizzying number of unforeseen outcomes.

In fact, there’s so much complexity around the decisions we make that it’s often amazing we make any decisions at all.  And as you might expect, the more important the decision is, the more complex it’s likely to be.

This principle is particularly present when those decisions involve the destiny of our own immortal souls.

The reasons for this are clear.  Not only are there such awesome, sometimes formidable, life changing consequences to decisions of such an eternal nature, but the adversary of all righteousness, Satan himself, tries tremendously hard to further convolute our thoughts, cloud our judgment, and confuse our course.

He attempts to put so many things before our mind at the same time, each with their own self-fabricated importance, that he obscures the true, essential elements of a decision.

It’s like my asking you to catch a ball.  It sounds easy, right?  So I grab a ball, and then take several steps back from you.  Then, at the same moment I toss you the ball, I simultaneously toss a dozen glass plates your way.  You’re mind is so distracted by the inborn fear of breaking glass, that you’re attention becomes immediately scattered, unable to process it all at once, you lose focus, and miss the ball.

It’s a simple concept really, with brilliant results.  If you missing the ball is my objective, of course.

In the same way, when it comes to those most important decisions in our lives, the ones with an eternal impact, such as choosing a church, Satan endeavors to put so much before your mind that you’ll inevitably lose focus on what matters most.  The core.  He knows that we’ll be so intent upon our innate, inborn tendency to want to reason it all out, resolve every conflict, that we too, will lose focus, and miss the ball.

But the reality is that there is no point in time at which ever conflict is resolved when it comes to knowing whether Mormonism, for instance, is true.  Even Christ himself, the very picture of perfection, in his omniscience and omnipotence, with the absolute purity of eternal truth behind him, was unable to convince even the majority of those who surrounded him.

So while here (on this blog), and anywhere else, we discuss so many different doctrines, and share so many varying views of scripture, all of which are important endeavors, they too, can prove to be only distractions in answering the real question – is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the true church? 

As with any decision of real value, there comes a time when you simply have to distill it down to the core questions.  From the occasionally convoluted conversations you must extract the essential elements upon which all else are founded.  It’s a process of purification.  What ARE the real questions?

  1. Is Joseph Smith a prophet?
  2. Is the Book of Mormon True?

That’s it.  It’s that simple.  Catch the ball.  Ignore the plates.  Ask the question.

For if Joseph Smith was a prophet, then the Book of Mormon is what he says it is, a sacred record of Christ’s visit to the Americas, in the western hemisphere, sacred scripture that confirms and compliments the record of his time in the eastern hemisphere.  If Joseph was a prophet then the church that he organized is true.  Or you can work the other way – begin with the Book of Mormon.  For if it is true, then from it you can derive the rest in the same way.

There are many people that are anxious to share with you their opinion.  But will you base your eternal exaltation upon the opinion of others?  There’s only one real way to know if these things are true.  Go the source, taste for yourself, and ask your father in heaven.

His mouth is not shut.  He can give you an answer.

There will be those who reply to this post and say “I didn’t get an answer”, or “my answer was different”. 

Does that make any difference to you?  My prayer is that you’ll let the plates fall where they may, that you’ll see through the obscurity and embrace the simplicity of the two essential questions before you, and that you’ll find out for yourself that your exaltation might be based on your own divine witness, and not an opinion of another.

To learn more about Joseph Smith, click here.  For more about the Book of Mormon, or to receive your free copy, click here.

My testimony to you is that they are true.  Both of them.  But don’t take my word for it either, make it your own.

Rusty

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margaret August 26, 2008 at 9:17 PM

As a former Baptist who has read the Book of Mormon, studied the life of Joseph Smith, pondered and prayed about these things, I can say, without reservation, that
1. Joseph Smith is a Prophet,
2. The Book of Mormon is true,
3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true!
As Rusty said, don’t take my word for it. You can find your own testimony.

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2 mormonsoprano August 27, 2008 at 5:28 AM

I add my witness to Rusty and Margaret. The answer I received to these two essential questions was Yes!

Over many years since, The Holy Spirit has continually confirmed peace to my soul regarding these answers. I encourage you to take Rusty’s invitation. It’s one of the very most important things you will ever do.

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3 Eric Nielson August 27, 2008 at 6:53 AM

Margaret:

I went to Georgia on my mission. I often thought that Baptists would love the Book of Mormon if they read it.

Rusty:

I thing we need to be a little careful here. Joseph Smith is very important, but he was just the messenger, not the message. Many traditional Christians seem to think that a prophet must be perfect in every way, or he is not a prophet. Joseph Smith was just a man. This is a big reason the Book of Mormon is so important. What content did Joseph Smith bring to the table. With the Book of Mormon and the D&C – he brought a lot.

For those who want to cast a few stones at Joseph Smith the man, I might refer you to a post I wrote a while back here.

I am a big fan of keeping our faith focused and simple.

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4 Rusty Lindquist August 27, 2008 at 10:09 AM

Eric, You’re wise, as usual. It SHOULD be clearly understood by all, that we do NOT worship Joseph Smith, he was a prophet (which obviously means we have tremendous respect, love and honor for him), but ours is not the Church of Joseph Smith, but the Church of Jesus Christ.

Still, in distilling the question of the truth of the church down to thest point possible, we come to these two, primary questions.

If we simply asked “is the church true”, then we end up with far too many plates in the air, but by boiling it down to these bare basics, we can quickly come to an inspired conclusion, the foundation of which will serve as a tremendous aid in then continuing our ongoing analysis and study of the full breadth of doctrines and principles taught by the church.

For if Joseph Smith wasn’t a prophet, then why bother learning the finer points of doctrine? But if he was, then we’re now well prepared to begin our course of study, our testimony giving us the foundation necessary to accept and discover principles that are unfamiliar or unorthadox.

So please, to Eric’s point, don’t interpret my “conceptual distillation of Mormonism” as the inferrence of anything other than that these represent the finest possible point on which all else around Mormonism hinges.

P.S. Eric, that was a fantastic article. For those of you who didn’t read it, I encourage you to do so. It addresses a core point often raised by critics.

Margaret, Mormon Soprano… as always, thank you for your witnesses.

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5 Margaret August 27, 2008 at 10:17 AM

Eric, I do love the Book of Mormon!

I’d just like to emphasize that with Mormonism, you can’t follow along because someone you admire is a member, or you just “feel good” about it. You MUST pray and get that special witness, or when the first challenge comes along you will fall away. That witness is vital. Mine, as with many others, was so strong I could never deny it.

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6 Eric Nielson August 27, 2008 at 10:21 AM

Thanks Rusty. I was just suggesting that in evaluating Joseph Smith we evaluate what he produced, not the person himself. Look at his teachings and experiences and pray about them.

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7 marlajayne August 27, 2008 at 5:48 PM

Enjoyed reading this post and the comments. The other day my former mother-in-law told me that her son and I had done an excellent job of raising our three children and that they had all turned out to be exceptional young adults. They aren’t perfect, so this is not a goody two-shoes, bragging type of post.

Back to the story…I was a little surprised at this unsolicited positive comment and didn’t know what to say at first. After about three seconds, I thanked her and told her that the children were (are) like they are because of two reasons: the love their parents feel and express towards them AND the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Oh, and back to the two questions: yes and yes.

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8 Clean Cut August 27, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Excellent post! And very good comments. My answer to the question stems from The Book of Mormon. Because it’s so true, so good, so powerful, and so from God–I know the rest is too.

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9 thewordofme August 27, 2008 at 7:58 PM

Mormonism and Christianity are both pretty much myths. There are no proofs in the real world that either are true.
But, in their favor they have helped to keep the unemployment rate lower.

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10 Rusty Lindquist August 28, 2008 at 3:15 PM

Hmm, I’d liken that to saying “Kangaroos don’t exist”, and when asked why I answer “because I’ve never seen one”.

In the case of religion, evidence is individualized. I have received ample and indisputable evidence that there can be no doubt. But all of it is of such a personalized non-shareable nature that it only is compelling to the individual that receives it.

Sort of like “start excercising”… why? “becasue if you do, you’ll feel better, you’ll have more energy, you’ll be more mentally alert”. Prove it.

It’s a tough thing to prove, but you take someone who has not excercised regularly, and you get them to do it for a sustained period of time, and suddenly they experience the same thing that you had testified to them in the first place, and will add their testimony to yours. But still, the two testimonies combined can’t convince someone else – that is until they try it themselves.

Such it is with Mormonism. I can testify to you that it is true, but until you try it and find out for yourself, my testimony can do little to convince you. You have to experience your own personalized evidence and proof.

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11 thewordofme August 28, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Photos and movies and skeletons of Kangaroos are readily available, they easily prove their existence. Most, if not all, of our physical world is provable in these manners.

In our million+ years on this earth I’m sure we have worshiped many ‘gods’ and there has never been the slightest physical evidence ever presented that anyone of them is real.

It’s amazing to me that there are so many people on this earth that believe in a spirit of some kind that has no existence, or proof of existence.

Not to be unkind, but Mormanism has more than it’s share of unprovable and highly contested ‘facts’ behind it. I never did find evidence of that big battle on Hill Cumorah. And I’m told that the DNA evidence shows that Jews never entered the bloodline of the American Indians…well maybe recently, but never in ancient times. 🙂

That DNA evidence, by the way, is admissible as proof in a court of law…so it can’t be dismissed lightly.

So, are you basing your belief on what you call a ‘feeling’ and just refusing to base it on real proofs, or is there something else that is not declared?

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12 sibbesian August 30, 2008 at 9:51 AM

You are asking the wrong two questions. The two questions that you need to ask are.
1. Is Jesus Christ as described in Hebrews 1:1 the unique Son of God and the culmination of God’s revelation.
2. Do I accept the final authority of the Old and New Testaments in all matters of doctrine.
If you answer these correctly in accordance with Scripture your two questions become redundant.

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13 ryan September 3, 2008 at 5:26 PM

oooh, I like this train of thought! The last two posts have got my mind reeling.

First, to thewordofme,
If a court of law is the way we prove things, you’ve backed yourself into a corner. The strongest proof in a court of law is an eye-witness. The front pages of the book of mormon contain eyewitness accounts of people who saw the gold plates. It was mid day, no trick slight of hand or false mirrors. They handled the plates with their own hands. These were men well respected in their community. And they carried this witness to their death beds.

Three other eye-witnesses saw the plates and witnessed an angel explaining and confirming that the translation provided by Joseph Smith was accurate, that it truly is a record of a people who populated the American continent. Again, broad daylight. No trickery here. Interestingly enough, all three witnesses became enemies to Joseph Smith and left the Mormon church. None of them recalled their testimony and took their witness to their graves.

Pretty strong evidence, don’t you think? A court of law is lucky to get one eye-witness, but the entire case revolves around his/her testimony. I can hear you forming a counter-argument, “But what about exhibits, relics, or architectural structures to prove this existence?” I submit that God requires faith before the proof. Otherwise we would not learn humility in the process–a key ingredient to becoming Christ-like. If there was undeniable proof that Joseph Smith was a prophet, all of us would be accountable for that which was provided us, and we would be condemned. But God is merciful and will supply sufficient evidence to match our faith. Usually it is even more powerful, because it comes from the heart. But my convictions will not convince you. I dare say that the gold plates being on display in the Smithsoniam institute for all to see would not convince you either. God knows this, so He called the plates back into heaven. Hard to believe? Not really. Miracles can always be explained away as coincidence by the non-believer, but occur as witnesses to the believing. All it takes is humility and a sincere desire to know the truth. Your first leap of faith is the most difficult. Think of it like Indiana Jones crossing the ravine on the invisible archway. The archway was always there and just as strong, and Indidana’s faith got stronger with each step.

And now to Sibessian:
Your redirection is well-spoken. Of course the real core envelops all of Christianity. “Is Jesus Christ the way, the truth and the life? No man can come unto the Father but by Him?” The core of Christianity is exactly that. Ideally, we accept Jesus as our personal Savior and Redeemer, make His atonement “efficient” in our lives, promise to keep His commandments, and until the end use every effort to keep that promise.

This is why some people fail when going through the motions of Moroni’s promise(see Moroni 10:3-5). They feel they only need to read the book of Mormon to discover if it’s true or not. They do not approach the book with a “sincere heart and real intent.” I submit the promise in this manner. If I read the Book of Mormon with the intention to draw closer to God, to personalize the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to include my own sins, and to understand more fully His love for me, I will feel of God’s love, I will understand the atonement more fully, and my gratitude for my Savior will spur me on to love and serve my neighbor more wholeheartedly. And this is how I will know the Book of Mormon is true. And then, as Rusty stated, I can reason the rest from this keystone–Joseph Smith, latter-day revelation, priesthood authority, and the Mormon church. All true. It works. Try it.

One issue I have with Mormon culture is its emphasis on whether the Book of Mormon is true or not. If my sole thought is to determine whether that book is true, I will follow Moroni’s promise, discover that it indeed is true, but then what? If I have not learned in the process how to draw closer to God

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14 ryan September 3, 2008 at 5:43 PM

sorry about the last paragraph. I thought I deleted it when I submitted the post– please excuse the redundancy.

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15 thewordofme September 4, 2008 at 12:04 AM

Hi Ryan, thank you for your well thought out reply.

First let me state that I have known, and do know some Mormon people, and I respect them very much. I generally do not talk religion with them. So I find this opportunity to talk with you about this subject–a very nice thing. I tend to ask or state stuff right out without ‘beating around the bush’, but there is no disrespect implied or intended.

You write:
“If a court of law is the way we prove things, you’ve backed yourself into a corner. The strongest proof in a court of law is an eye-witness.”

My answer to this is you should probably talk to some policemen or DA prosecutors. Also you might look at the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. 4 eyewitnesses to the death of their Messiah and 4 very different stories—what, where, when, who, how, etc..

I believe that scientific evidence is actually stronger in the courts nowadays. Eyewitnesses can and do occasionally lie or embellish or dis-remember things.

You write:
“The front pages of the book of Mormon contain eyewitness accounts of people who saw the gold plates. It was mid day, no trick sleight of hand or false mirrors. They handled the plates with their own hands. These were men well respected in their community. And they carried this witness to their death beds.”

At this point I (obviously) don’t know the whole Mormon story in depth, but from what I do know; where is the Hill Cumorah proofs? I am a BIG fan of archaeology and I know how much evidence can be found in the ground. And the story of Joseph Smith that he translated from the “reformed Egyptian” has been universally unsupported by Biblical and linguistic scholars. At least those that are not of the Mormon faith.

I tend to research religion a lot, and many things I find are, to me, proofs that there is no Christian (or other) God. ‘Little’ things; like there is no truth to Noah’s flood, many peoples and languages were already all over the earth in the time of “The Tower of Babel’, the large number of contradictions that are in the scriptures, the **iron chariots that God could not defeat, that there is no proof that ‘God’ helped the Hebrews in their beginnings…or ever. They basically went through the same ‘hell’ that other civilizations of the time did…no better, no worse.

(**”And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.” Judges 1:19)

You write:
“I dare say that the gold plates being on display in the Smithsonian institute for all to see would not convince you either. God knows this, so He called the plates back into heaven.”
Actually if I could see the Golden Plates in the Smithsonian, I would be a whole lot more convinced. If I could see the ‘Ark of the Covenant’ and feel the power of it as described in the Bible I would likely be a convert, but the fact is that there is absolutely no solid evidence that ANY religion is in fact…true. Calling the plates back to heaven makes no logical sense to me.

My gut feeling about Joseph Smith, from what little I know…at this point, is that he was a con-man. Please consider that I think Paul of the NT was also one.

Peace

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16 Rusty Lindquist September 4, 2008 at 12:45 AM

I agree with Ryan, and I think you unintentionally validate his point that having the Gold Plates in the Smithsonian would do nothing to convince you (or anyone else for that matter).

You disagree, but then at the same time say you don’t believe in the Bible, and there’s no controversy about the archeological evidences that it was real and legitimate, yet that can nothing to convince you of their divinity. They can only attest to their historicity.

The Lord taught a divine principle when he said “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”.

Physical, scientific evidence is suitable if what you seek is physical scientific understanding and acceptance, but it can never bring you to a spiritual understanding and acceptance. Spiritual testimony must be obtained spiritually.

Having the Bible before you, with all its associated historical, archeological, and bibliographical backings will not (and clearly have not) convinced you that it is divine, for this very reason. By the same token, the physical availability of the Gold Plates would do nothing to convince people that they are the word of God.

For the eye of the spirit to be opened, you must shut the eye of the body. Until you do, your vision will be restricted to man’s meager, mortal capacities, and you shall never experience the soaring feeling associated with embracing truth that transcends the mortal mind and reaches into eternity.

Shutting the eye of the body requires faith, which is why faith is so difficult for so many. It’s contrary to the inclinations natural man. It’s also God’s natural filtering mechanism to determine the elect. The road unto salvation is straight and narrow, with few that be that find it. All will reach a time in their life when they will be required to take a step of faith, for some it means they must separate themselves from traditional beliefs, for others it means they must separate themselves from the eye of the body, that they may see with the eye of their spirit.

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17 ryan September 4, 2008 at 6:39 PM

To thewordofme:

One last attempt to state what you ignored–that faith is a true principle we must learn in order to be saved. I fear your resistance to belief without proof will ultimately be your spiritual downfall.

Since you are a reasoning kind of guy, lets reason together. Lets take two people who have different views of life after death. The first one believes that life ends with death–there is no part of us that moves on. The second one believes that life goes on, and the same spirit which was housed in a mortal body will be reunited with an immortal one. The first view is one which develops complacency. Since there is no life after death, there is no need to struggle out of your comfort zone to seek spiritual blessings. The second view is one which develops faith. Since the way you live your life affects your eternal progression, you constantly live a life that God would be pleased with.

Now no matter who is right, the second view wins. Lets first say that the first person’s view is right–death conquers all. Both die, and since they’re dead, neither has any regret. (I will also interject that the epitaths of these two people may be vastly different, as the second view harbors constant vigilance, service and love for fellow man, and the first view harbors coasting through life.)

Now lets say the second view is right–the Savior is there to greet both after they die, and they give an accounting of what they have done with their lives. The second person will be happy that he spent so much effort in trying to be Christ-like. And the first will have regret that he never had faith in the unknown–that he sought for a sign before believing. As Jesus taught Doubting Thomas, it is good to believe after seeing, but it is better to believe without seeing.

I will reiterate a theory that explains why there is such little evidence or proof of religious matters. God is merciful and will give us a witness only after the trial of our faith. Otherwise we are condemned with proof that is there for all to see.

You yourself planted a rationalization already when speaking of the arc of the covenant. If it was on display in some museum, do you think that everyone who passed by it would feel a whoosh? I submit that feeling spiritual power requires effort and preparation–God will not cast pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet . . . So according to what you inferred, if you were one of those who didn’t feel a rush of power coming from a spiritual relic, you would rationalize that the Bible may have some historic relevance, but you would not become a believer as you have not been shown that it was a divine work.

Prophets are righteous people who see what others can’t, and teach those who can’t see. With faith, those non-prophets can have just as strong of a conviction. You can call them con men if you want, but you are only deceiving yourself. I only hope that you will live your life in such a way that you have no regret.

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18 Rusty Lindquist September 4, 2008 at 7:09 PM

I like that. Taking a purely non-spiritual, entirely reasonable line of thinking would still lead one to determine that religion is the wiser course to pursue. For either way, you win.

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19 Margaret September 4, 2008 at 7:38 PM

With the second view, as long as we keep trying our hardest until the end of this life, the atonement (grace), makes up the difference. Makes me want to work harder to be better than I am. How can we lose, as long as we keep doing good? And who can argue with doing good?

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20 Mike September 4, 2008 at 11:09 PM

I’ve been trying to do good works for the past few months. But I don’t think I have made any process. I have tried to be more giving of my time and money, but then I found myself trying to tell others about my good deeds or silently gloating in my own righteousness. How do you really give of yourself without your left hand knowing what your right hand is doing?

I also have tried not to look at other woman lustfully. But I tell you truthfully, that if any man tells you that he has conquered the sin of lust, he is a liar. I’m a middle aged man and those younger women look mighty fine. It’s hard not to turn your head and take a peak. And you men know what I’m talking about if only you would be honest with yourselves.

I found that when I tried to do good, I was more aware of my own wretchedness. The more I tried to do good, the more distance between Christ’s character and my character. He said forgive 70 times 7. I struggle forgiving just once. He said love your enemies and those that despite fully use you. I try to avoid my enemies so I don’t have to think evil thoughts about them. I can go on and on, but one thing is sure, I’m not like Him.

I mean how do you really pull off thinking your becoming Christ-like in the good works that you do?

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21 thewordofme September 4, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Ryan, thank you for your reply.

You write:
“One last attempt to state what you ignored–that faith is a true principle we must learn in order to be saved. I fear your resistance to belief without proof will ultimately be your spiritual downfall.”

Principle…A basic generalization that is accepted as true and that can be used as a basis for reasoning or conduct.

I accept that many things need to be examined before belief in them, especially if these things are counterintuitive.

I find that many principles in Christian religion need to be examined because they make no sense. I must be spiritually deprived, because I cannot believe just on someones say so.

When someone tells me that the earth and all humanity was created ex nihilo six thousand years ago, that all the different races and languages on earth came from 8 people who survived a Universal Flood four thousand or so years ago, that there is a spirit in the heavens that can do magic things…I tend to look for proofs.

I find it amazing that so many people accept these far fetched stories as truth without even investigating.

Going a little further with that, the Mormons add whole new layers of stuff to the Bible that must be accepted with no proofs…and that has much evidence against.

You write:
“Since you are a reasoning kind of guy, lets reason together. Let’s take two people who have different views of life after death. The first one believes that life ends with death–there is no part of us that moves on. The second one believes that life goes on, and the same spirit which was housed in a mortal body will be reunited with an immortal one.”

Well the short answer is that there is no evidence at all for life after death; of course we humans want to believe that we somehow go on to better things, but seriously there is nothing to indicate this is so…just some human desire to believe. Some people make a living on catering to this desire. Also your example sounds suspiciously like Pascal’s wager.

You write:
“As Jesus taught Doubting Thomas, it is good to believe after seeing, but it is better to believe without seeing.”

This is of course what the priest, rabbi, minister or cleric would want you to do because they can never provide proofs.

You write:
“I will reiterate a theory that explains why there is such little evidence or proof of religious matters. God is merciful and will give us a witness only after the trial of our faith. Otherwise we are condemned with proof that is there for all to see.”

Sounds kinda’ like the free-will argument. This is an argument that makes no logical sense. If God wants all this worship just let us KNOW He exists. But, all this trial-of-faith, belief-without- proof is just drama developed by men to torture our sense of reality. 🙂

You write:
“You yourself planted a rationalization already when speaking of the arc of the covenant. If it was on display in some museum, do you think that everyone who passed by it would feel a whoosh? I submit that feeling spiritual power requires effort and preparation–God will not cast pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet . . . So according to what you inferred, if you were one of those who didn’t feel a rush of power coming from a spiritual relic, you would rationalize that the Bible may have some historic relevance, but you would not become a believer as you have not been shown that it was a divine work.”

All I can answer is that I did feel a spiritual…something, when I first saw Monument valley and the Grand Canyon, and the King Tut exhibit, but when I saw the Dead Sea Scrolls I felt an honest interest in them as artifacts, but nothing compared to Monument Valley, et al.

One always needs to watch out for con-men.

My life has been full of good and bad, but the good overrides the bad…by far.

Peace

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22 Margaret September 5, 2008 at 5:14 PM

To Mike,
If it’s any comfort, I think that if someone thinks they are Christ like, they might have a problem with pride. The important thing is to keep doing good things, and I think eventually you find you can do them without telling a soul. If you can see results of your good deed without letting anyone know you are the doer, it gives you the most wonderful feeling. Only you and God know you did it, and that’s enough! If your thoughts wander, sing a hymn or recite a good poem that you’ve memorized to focus on good things.

And to Thewordofme,
I think first, you need to have a real desire to know that God exists and Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. If that desire isn’t there and you are satisfied with believing that God doesn’t exist, it will never happen. it’s OK to be wary and avoid being conned, but if you study and pray privately with a real desire to know, you will find out. God does answer sincere prayers. I tell you that from experience.

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23 ryan September 5, 2008 at 6:14 PM

Thank you, thewordofme, for your response. I guess we’ll just agree to disagree. I just wanted to close my argument with something I’ve been thinking a lot of in the last year.

I think one of God’s hobbies is to provide miracles in a subtle enough way that you can only recognize the interventions as miracles if you are actively looking for them. A humorous example is the story of the man who climbs on his roof to escape rising flood waters. As he watches the waters steadily rise up toward him he prays for divine assistance. A child in a raft rows by and offers to float him to safety, but the man declines, saying, “I prayed and I have faith the God will save me.” He declines similar offers when a boat and a helicopter both come to offer assistance. Eventually the waters overtake the roof and sweep the man off to a drowning death. When he reaches heaven he asks his Maker, “Why didn’t you save me when I had so much faith in you?” The Lord replied, “Well I sent you a raft, a boat, and a helicopter!”

There is proof out there of God’s existence. Martin Luther once said, “There is proof of the Resurrection not just in cannonized scripture, but in every leaf in the springtime.” More than half of scientists, chemists, and astronomers believe in a divine being, not because there is undeniable proof that He exists, but that the world is so spectacular that it is more reasonable that there was a Master Planner than a random evolution.

I kept a journal for a few weeks with the sole purpose of looking for daily “God winks” as my family calls them–subtle miracles that when recognized, are God’s way of “winking” at us. I wasn’t good at it at first, and I had to ponder quite a bit on some ordinary days. but before I went to bed, I found something–some interaction or event that demonstrated God’s love for my family. This confirms my conviction that God does exist. Not blind faith, but confirming evidence (personal proof in fact) that he not only exists, but loves and cares for us as His children.

I suggest you give it a try. Much better than waiting for an angel to visit you, telling you you were deceived. Even thats not good enough for Cain, Laman, or a handful of others who were so convinced that God doesn’t exist that they ignore the evidence before them. Good luck in your endeavors, and peace be with you.

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24 Ethan June 6, 2009 at 7:11 PM

Good read and a good message.

Find out your self with the information at the source and not second hand.

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25 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 4:14 PM

Does anyone pay any attention to this thread any more?

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26 Margaret September 3, 2009 at 6:40 PM

Yes. I think Rusty will be back soon.

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27 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 11:33 PM

I became curious to see if anyone talks about these things. Good topics. Is the church true and does god exist. I was interested here until I realized all I read was from a year ago. Oh well.

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28 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 11:34 PM

I became curious to see if anyone talks about these things. Good topics… Is the church true and does god exist. I was interested here until I realized all I read was from a year ago. Oh well.

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29 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 11:36 PM

Looks like I missed the best part of it. All was a year ago. I’ll check back.

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30 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 11:37 PM

I’ll check back.

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31 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 11:42 PM

Silly system kept sending me to a page that said “Bad Request”. Thought it wasn’t working. Didn’t realize it was putting my comment up there each time. Technology has made me seem redundant. Cute. 😉

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32 Morcautiouseye September 3, 2009 at 11:45 PM

Tried three times to post. System kept telling me “Bad Request”. Now I feel redundant. 😉

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33 MEB September 5, 2009 at 5:00 PM

System seems to be working for everyone else, morcautiouseye. Perhaps user error is to blame?

Love to see you back anytime, Rusty! I know you’ve been out with some serious family issues, and we are glad they are working out. That comes first, blog is down the list a ways.

Good luck!

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34 thewordofme January 8, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Hi Ryan,

You write:
“More than half of scientists, chemists, and astronomers believe in a divine being, not because there is undeniable proof that He exists, but that the world is so spectacular that it is more reasonable that there was a Master Planner than a random evolution.”

That statement is not true.

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35 Rusty Lindquist January 9, 2010 at 12:23 AM

Maybe it’s not! Good greif I apologize. Clearly I did a terrible job here (looking back now) at stating a figure without a source. I know in general I’m careful not to do that, so I’m confident I must have read that somewhere recently (to this post), but failed to put it in the final draft.

I honestly can’t think of where I would have even read it, but perhaps you know. At least of something similar (I assume, given your certainty in stating it’s falsehood). Could you point me to your source so I can make the appropriate correction above?

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