AN INTRODUCTION TO A SERIES OF ARTICLES BASED ON WHAT HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED “TOUGH ISSUES” OF THE RESTORATION
Most of our readers wouldn’t be surprised that we at The Mormon Chronicle are not fans of anti-Mormon material which is known for its dishonest approach. However, you may be surprised, or even shocked that we would lump some “defenders” of the faith in with such enemies of the Gospel.
Some anti-Mormons begin their arguments with a predetermined conclusion and then pull “evidence” to fit that conclusion, leaving out any evidence that would contradict that predetermined conclusion. Unfortunately, some Mormon apologists have followed those same tactics, the only difference being their motive and predetermined conclusions.
While we must give these Mormon apologists credit for their desire to defend the faith, we believe some of their tactics can be just as damaging to the faith of others as anti-Mormonism. In the interest of expanding faith and knowledge of Christ, we must stand for truth especially when “friends” are the ones disseminating falsehoods.
The apologists, of which we are addressing, sometimes start off on the losing side of the argument with the presupposition that the ideas of the modern world are correct.
What’s wrong with being strange or peculiar? There was an apostasy – of course the understanding of those following apostate traditions will be different than those of a restored Gospel! We need to own-up to our differences. Otherwise we lose credibility as well as the understanding of important aspects of the restoration.
One example of Mormon apologetics vain attempts to “defend the faith” can be seen in the number of articles attempting to debunk the Prophet’s association with what people today equate to occultism and “magic”. The scriptures are full of instances where the Prophets of God use tools such as: water filled goblets, rods, casting lots and-so-on, (see: Gen 30:37–39; Gen 32:24–30; Gen 44:2, 5; Lev 16:8–10; 1 Chr 24:5; 1 Chr 25:8; 1 Chr 26:13; Prov 16:33; 2 Kings 13:21; Acts 19:12; & 1 Nephi 3:11, to name just a few) as a way to receive the will of the Lord. To claim that Joseph Smith, the Prophet of the Restoration, did not use the same tools that ancient Prophets used, is in-fact a disservice to the Prophet and denies his role as restorer.
Some apologists also apply inconsistent principles when defending their position. For example: When the teachings of a past Prophet seem to contradict scripture, some refer to the quote by Harold B. Lee that essentially instructs us to ignore anything that any leader says contradicting modern understanding of scripture. However, if another principle taught appears to contradict scripture, they claim that it is acceptable because we have continuing revelation.
You can’t have it both ways. This greatly diminishes credibility and can actually result in making anti-Mormons appear as a more consistent, and therefore a more accurate, source of information. This does not serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord said the truth shall set us free (John 8:32). We have nothing to fear if we adhere to correct and eternal principles. The truth is nothing to be afraid of, it leads to Christ.
This isn’t supposed to be a convincing argument of any point in particular, but an introduction of sorts, to articles on “tough” issues that that we feel have not yet been adequately addressed.
President Boyd K. Packer once explained that he and his friends “…had decided long since that we would live the gospel and not be ashamed of the Church or the history or any part of it.” We are not ashamed, we embrace all the principles of the Restoration of all things.