SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
The Community of Christ - formerly the Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Many Mormons felt that Brigham Young who was Smith’s successor was a false prophet and did not recognise him. Some of these persuaded Joseph Smith’s son, Joseph Smith III to become the new prophet and this took place on the 6th of April 1870 when the Reorganised Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was formed. It is headquartered in Independence, Missouri and now it prefers the title, The Community of Christ. Though Young was appointed by the Church Smith led at his death it is by no means certain that this appointment was valid for the Latter-day Saints Church had apostatised and by changing the faith ceased to be the true Church. Young’s errors of doctrine when he claimed to be writing scripture which even his own Church rejects these days would suggest that even if there was no evidence for rigging the election this would prove something had gone wrong for a false prophet had been chosen by the Church.
This Church has a progressive outlook towards theology and unlike the Utah Church it ordains women to the priesthood. Most members consider the Book of Mormon to be largely a 19th century product. They hold that God is so different to us and so other that the prophet has to struggle with what he is told as best he can for man has to express what God tells him his own way. They say then that though the Book of Mormon is largely true there is human error in it and that Smith confused revelations he received when translating it with the word of God he already knew which was why the Book so strongly has the marks that indicate there was copying from the King James Bible going on. They say that this happened because the communication with God was so difficult and the prophet could get confused but God would make sure that the final result was satisfactory all the same. They say that nevertheless the Book of Mormon is the infallible word of God in matters of doctrine and morals. This liberal position is possible for some accounts of the translation process do not support the theory that Smith was given the Book of Mormon word for word though some said he was. They never said why they thought it was word for word - it may have looked that way but they could have been wrong.
This Church holds that the Book of Abraham is not scripture. The evidence they have that the Book of Abraham is fiction is that it says there are many Gods while the Book of Mormon and the Bible say there is only one God. The Church maintains without evidence that Smith was only trying to translate from Egyptian the natural way and was not claiming divine inspiration for his translation. First of all there were several testimonies from Mormon believers that Smith used the Urim and Thummim to translate it (page 182, The Case Against Mormonism). These items were for enabling God to help you translate so the Church is deluding itself. Plus the book deals with revelations from Heaven to Abraham and it is impossible to believe that Smith would not have considered this book to be scripture. Even if he didn’t he was still giving false revelations. Smith was not using manuals or anything to translate so he was either making it up or he thought the meaning was coming into his head through divine or psychic powers. The Church is refusing to regard a false scripture as evidence that Smith was a fraud.
Some in this Church hold that the Book of Abraham is not scripture for it was written after Smith had been led astray and so he could not have had his prophetic ability at the time. They draw parallels with David and Solomon and Jonah and Judas and Moses to show that prophets sometimes do go astray.
The Church like the Utah Church has to admit that the Book of Abraham was a forgery and a fraudulent translation. It has to admit that if Smith would do such a thing he could not have been chosen by God to produce the Book of Mormon. If the Book of Abraham is a fake so is the Book of Mormon for both were allegedly originated by a miracle power to translate. Smith was unable to distinguish between divine revelation and his own imagination. Come to think of it, when God reveals strange doctrines and has disturbing moral codes how would any prophet know? Faith in revelation is always based on liking the prophet and trusting him and not in God for how would you know if he assessed that God was talking to him with any competence? The prophet is the foundation of faith and yet he can’t be for you need to guess that he is a prophet and that God expects us to believe him so it just leaves you as uncertain as before. It gives you conjecture and not faith. All who believe in inspired scriptures and in prophets are sectarians in the bad sense of the word.
The good thing about this Church is that it shows that the Mormon Church in Utah should not be so rigid and sure of itself. If the latter really had a prophet over it, it would not be so fundamentalist even in regard to the fallen scripture that it stubbornly defends, The Book of Abraham.
There is a sect that follows the Book of Mormon called the Church of Christ with the Elijah Message. It is the third largest sect that follows Joseph Smith having 25,000 members. The sect believes that it has received new scriptures dictated by the resurrected John the Baptist from Heaven. Two prophets, Otto Fetting and after his death Leonard Draves have seen the Baptist. Nobody else can back up their testimony though the second message from John which Fetting received has John stating that the statements of two or three witnesses was necessary to establish all things (Message 2:1, The Word of the Lord). The book means two witnesses have to see the vision at the one time but with this Church you had Draves starting to have visions for anybody could have claimed to have had some revelations from John after Fetting.
A GATHERING OF SAINTS, Robert Lindsay, Corgi, London, 1990
A MARVELLOUS WORK AND A WONDER, LeGrand Richards, Deseret Books, Utah, 1976
AN ADDRESS TO ALL BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, David Whitmer, Board of Publications of The Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Lacy Road, Independence, Missouri
ARE THE MORMON SCRIPTURES RELIABLE? Harry L Ropp, IVP, Illinois, 1987
ASK YOUR BISHOP, Ira T Ransom, 317 W 7th South, Brigham City, UT 84302
CHANGES IN JOSEPH SMITH’S HISTORY, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1965
CHANGING OF THE REVELATIONS, Apostle Daniel McGregor, Church of Christ, Independence, Missouri
GOD’S WORD FINAL INFALLIBLE AND FOREVER, Floyd C McElveen, Gospel Truth Ministries, Grand Rapids, 1985
CONCISE GUIDE TO TODAY’S RELIGIONS, Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, Scripture Press, Bucks, 1983
HOW TO ANSWER A MORMON, Robert A Morey, Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota, 1983
JOSEPH SMITH AND MONEY DIGGING, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1970
JOSEPH SMITH’S BAINBRIDGE NY COURT TRIALS, Wesley P Walters, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, Salt Lake City, 1977
LARSON’S BOOK OF CULTS, Bob Larson, Tyndale, Wheaton, Illinois, 1988
LEAVING THE SAINTS, Martha Beck, Portrait, London, 2005
NO MAN KNOWS MY HISTORY, Fawn M Brodie, Vintage, New York, 1995
MORMONISM SHADOW OR REALITY? Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1972
MORMONISM, AA Hoekema, Paternoster Press, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1978
MORMONISM, MAGIC AND MASONRY, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1988
MORMONISM, MAMA AND ME, Thelma Geer, Calvary Missionary Press, Arizona, 1983
MORMONISM, THE PROPHET, THE BOOK AND THE CULT, Peter Bartley, Veritas, Dublin, 1989
NEW LIGHT ON MORMON ORIGINS, Rev Wesley P Walters, Utah Christian Tract Society, 1967
SOME MODERN FAITHS, Maurice C Burrell and J Stafford Wright, IVP, Leics, 1988
THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, Church of Christ, Temple Lot, Independence, Missouri, 1995
THE BOOK OF MORMON, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Deseret Enterprises Ltd, Manchester, UK, 1972
THE CASE AGAINST MORMONISM, VOL 2, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1968
THE FACTS OF MORMONISM ARE STRANGER THAN FICTION, Charles Crane and J Edward Decker, Christian Information Outreach, Kent, 1982
THE HUMAN ORIGIN OF THE BOOK OF MORMON, Wesley P Walters, Ex-Mormons for Jesus, Florida 1979
WHY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST WAS ESTABLISHED ANEW IN 1929?, Church of Christ with the Elijah Message, Independence, Missouri
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