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TALMAGE: IS HIS MORMON CHURCH REALLY A MARVELLOUS WORK?
We are going to study the apologetic for the Mormon faith given in the book, A Marvellous Work and a Wonder by LeGrand Richards.
A Catholic’s argument that said that only Catholicism or Mormonism had a chance of being the true Church. The Protestants are excluded because they came from the Catholics and are wrong if Catholics are wrong. The Catholics can claim to be the true Church because they have the apostolic doctrine and authority and the Mormons can claim to be the true Church because they say these blessings were lost and were restored by God through Joseph Smith (page 3).
The argument is completely amateurish. It supposes that the Protestants came from the Catholics but this is not true for the Protestant religion is based on the Bible which did not come from the Catholics but was only recognised by the Catholics. Protestants believe that the early Church was the same as theirs in belief but most of the Church became the Roman Catholic Church and that the true faith was preserved by Catholics who did not know of or take in much of Rome’s heresy and some sects and that the Reformation was the revival of the true faith: some of the Catholic Church going back to the original Catholic Church. It is possible for the Catholic Church to be wrong and for Protestants to make some corrections and become the true religion and thereby gain apostolic authority and doctrine.
Chapter 2 approves of Joseph Smith’s first vision story even though it has been proved that the 1820 revival that led to his first vision never happened and that it does not fit the stories he originally told. Talmage would have known that such proof existed for he was a Mormon apostle.
The first vision has been conclusively proven to be untrue and it is the foundation of Mormonism. If it is a hoax then nothing Smith asserted can be trusted and God could not expect us to by giving him golden plates.
On page 12, Talmage asserts that when God condemned the worship of idols for they cannot see or hear or eat or smell (Deuteronomy 4:28) he was saying that he can do these things for he has a body. But that is just God’s way of saying that they are not living beings. It does not imply that God is a human being like Mormons teach. And when nobody knows what the Christian God who is spirit is like who is to say that he cannot hear and see and smell without physical senses? The Christian Church does say that God can sense
The Bible says that man is made in the image of God which Talmage assumes means that God is a man (page 15). Support for this is sought in Genesis 5:3 in which Adam had a son, Seth, who was in Adam’s own image.
Christians say that God is a spirit and a personal being and man is a similar kind of being and supposes that is what is meant by being in the image of God. If the likeness is spiritual, man has a spirit which has memory understanding and will just like God, then Seth could have been made in Adam’s own spiritual image. Wouldn’t it be strange to say that Adam had a son who had a body like his unless that son was Adam’s double? The author of Genesis may have meant that the spiritual or whatever nature God gave Adam was passed on to Seth.
Exodus 24:9-10 and 33:9-11 say that God has feet and that God chatted with Moses like a man speaks to a mate. The first vision was just a symbolic picture of God for the Bible says that nobody can really see God and remain alive. And God could have chatted without having a body like Moses like two men would.
Page 25 condemns the notion of one Heaven and one Hell as being inconsistent with God repaying each person for what they have done. Mormonism has a temporary Hell for most people and a permanent one for the hopelessly stubborn handful of sons of perdition. And it has three Heavens. If punishments and rewards mean there can’t be one Heaven then there cannot be three either and there must be billions of Heavens. You can have one Heaven and one Hell with different levels of happiness or despair in each.
Talmage quotes Isaiah 29:11 to prove that the scholar, Professor Anthon, couldn’t read the page on which a portion of the untranslated Book of Mormon was written. This made a liar of Smith who just a page before was quoted as saying that Anthon gave Martin Harris a certificate to verify that Smith could miraculously translate the book into English.
Chapter 7 tells us that the Book of Mormon fulfils bible prophecies. That is so dishonest when the Book claims that the Bible has been altered by the whore or the Church of the Devil and so under the guidance of Satan. If Mormon doctrine had been expunged from the Bible centuries ago then why were the alleged prophecies that Talmage is thinking of that forecast the restoration of the gospel and the appearance of a true Bible in the form of the Book of Mormon taken out?
Jesus said that he had other sheep to go to who were not part of the fold he was ministering to and that one day there would be one fold and one shepherd. This is supposed to support the Book of Mormon’s assertion that Jesus visited America after he ascended to Heaven. The other fold, Talmage says, could not have been the Gentiles for Jesus said he was sent to Israel alone (Matthew 15:24). The Bible then seems to back up the Book of Mormon when it says that Jesus went to America to the other fold of the Jews. In reality, the other fold is the Gentiles because even though Jesus’ pre-crucifixion ministry was to Jews only he was to preach to the Gentiles after that. John is telling us the lie that Jesus appeared among the non-Jews after his resurrection which is disproved by the fact that the early Church had no interest in preaching to Gentiles until Paul came along. Never, was it said in the early Church that Jesus ministered to Gentiles the same way as he did the Jews or appeared to them.
Isaiah 29:1-4 says that the city of Ariel or Jerusalem and other unnamed cities will be struck by the hand of God and will suffer greatly and that it will speak out of the dust like a familiar spirit out of the ground. Talmage says this refers to the Book of Mormon for the only way dead people can speak out of the dust they have become is though the written word. But Mormonism itself believes that we can speak out of the dust by appearing to the living after we are dead! The nearest you can get to speaking out of the dust is by appearing to the living for your spirit has come from a body that has become dust. Talmage assumes that the unnamed cities are the Book of Mormon cities. Fanciful!
Talmage says that Smith translated the Book of Mormon with the Urim and Thummim which stand for Light and Perfection. These devices were used by the High Priest in the Bible to get information from the Lord. But the original Book of Mormon was not perfect proving that the Light and Perfection did not produce it and the Mormon Church tampered with the text thousands of times over the years to “correct” it. Today’s, Book of Mormon, contains a lot of waste of space even though the pretended authors of the book complained that they couldn’t write too much. Worse, the whole book has not been translated for two thirds of the Plates were sealed implying that if they had not been sealed Smith could have read them. So God could not stop the Urim and Thummim from translating what he wanted kept from Smith! How silly it all is!
The Book of Mormon records horrific cataclysms that allegedly changed the whole surface of the American continent. A Washoe Indian legend is recorded by Talmage in support of this “history”. The legend says that this could have happened two or three hundred years ago a fact that Talmage conveniently ignores. There was a big flood and the mountain smoked and the ground shook and there was a mudslide and one day the sun did not come up. The sun not rising could be taken as a vague memory of the three days of darkness that America endured when Jesus died far away (Third Nephi 8). The land was shook to dust during this time. But all nations have similar legends. A volcano is sufficient to explain where this legend came from. The ash blown up into the air could have made it seem that the sun did not come up.
How dishonest it is for Talmage to quote the testimony of Dr Willard Richards who concluded that either God or the Devil wrote the Book of Mormon after reading a few pages for the first time and the Devil could not have written it. It is not that simple Dr Richards! It could have been a man-made hoax. A man who knows the true word of God could use that word to make a fake scripture. Mormonism holds that the devil would do good and write a good book to do some greater evil. He’d do it and cause division for example.
On page 104, we are told that we are born again by Mormon baptism alone. What kind of God is more interested in saving a person by a rite than by the faith and love in that person? You could be more suitable for God before baptism than during it.
Talmage argues that when Micah said that Elijah will come back before the last day he meant the appearance of that prophet to Joseph Smith in 1836 in Ohio. The other witness was Oliver Cowdery. But would God make a prediction that anybody could fulfil? I could say I saw Elijah. God meant a physical return of Elijah. Visions are no good for even the Catholic Church considers the vast majority of sightings of Mary to be not worth investigating.
Talmage argues that when the thief asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom and Jesus said he would be in paradise that day with Jesus and paradise was where souls who were waiting to enter one of Mormonism’s three heavens go. That interpretation is not believable. Jesus is obviously and most likely telling the man that he will be in his glorious kingdom that day.
Talmage argues that baptism for the dead was practiced by some in the early Church (page 180). The Marcionite heretics practiced it. They were the earliest practitioners we know of. This is no help to the Mormon apologist for the people were heretics who denies that Jesus had a real body and that God had anything to do with matter. Mormonism is the complete opposite with its material God and its material Jesus.
Paul spoke of those who do baptism for the dead and called them they and not we implying that it as not a Christian practice. The Church at Corinth had fallen away from belief in the resurrection and Paul was saying that there would be no point in baptising for the dead if the dead did not rise (1 Corinthians 15:29). Talmage could have argued if he wished that when Paul is trying to convince the people that the dead will rise he means that he approved of the practice. Paul was saying that the dead rise when people are baptised for them. But this could easily be changed to: he was saying that the dead rise when people are baptised for them showing they believe that resurrection is likely the message being that if they could believe it we should as well. That is the true meaning. And no one can prove that baptism for the dead is right because of it. The Bible does not teach baptism for the dead because it does not teach that water baptism saves.
Jesus said that those in their graves would hear his voice (John 5:25,28). Talmage thinks this promises that Jesus would preach the gospel to the dead but the voice could be the voice of judgment on the newly resurrected. It is argued that since baptism is necessary for salvation and since Jesus preached the gospel to the dead (1 Peter 3:18-21) baptism for the dead must be right. But how can that be for the fact remains that the dead are not really baptised if somebody is baptised for them?
Talmage says that Jesus saved us partly by grace. The three main graces are our existence, our being freed from Adam’s sin by Jesus atoning for it and Jesus’ teaching. Grace means free gift. The second contradicts the Mormon doctrine that we can earn salvation. If we are free from Adam’s sin by grace and have to earn salvation from our own worse sins then surely it would not take much for us to atone Adam’s sin by ourselves? God would be evil if he got Adam’s sin atoned and left us to cope with worse. He must like the terrible sins better. When God had to get atonement for Adam’s crime and still grants us a kind of forgiveness for our own sins then there is something wrong. He seems to be rewarding our sins though his treatment of Adam’s sin shows us that he thinks condoning is wrong. The teaching of Christ is not a grace for it does him more good than us. That is what he gave it for. A gift is given out of kindness and not selfishness. Anything else is just a bait.
Talmage says that the Mormon rule banning the taking of alcohol, tobacco and coffee and tea is very wise. There is no harm in small amounts of these things. Why didn’t the Mormons make it a sin to drink water with fluoride in it or make it a sin to drive fast in a car? The Word of Wisdom only shows how unintelligent and untruthful the God of Mormonism is.
And tithing is a divine command in Mormonism (Doctrine and Covenants, 119). One tenth of your income has to be given to the Church if you are a Mormon. Does this not sound like letting oneself be used by a money-grabbing religion? You never get the surplus money back and temples and books and chapels are not as cheap as they could be. Mormon missionaries spread the word with their own money which is alarming when the Church is so rich.
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