SpiritDragon

Assurances today's LDS church is the restored gospel

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The linear logic seems to follow that if the Book of Mormon is true than Joseph Smith is a true prophet and the church is true. What assurances do we have specifically from Joseph Smith's time that the restored church would not be led away. What evidence do we have to support confidence in the notion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church restored through Joseph Smith and not a wild branch.

When confronted with this concept as far as dealing with fundamentalist groups and so on who also claim the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and prophet status of Joseph I typically find myself thinking of Joseph talking about how the church will fill North America and fill the world. To my knowledge only one LDS off-shoot does that and it is the mainstream Mormon church.

What other evidence can you think of to support the position that the church has not fallen away?

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A few contemporaries of Joseph said the following:

Quote

Orson Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, reported: “Joseph the Prophet … said, ‘Brethren, remember that the majority of this people will never go astray; and as long as you keep with the majority you are sure to enter the celestial kingdom.’”16

William G. Nelson reported: “I have heard the Prophet speak in public on many occasions. In one meeting I heard him say: ‘I will give you a key that will never rust,—if you will stay with the majority of the Twelve Apostles, and the records of the Church, you will never be led astray.’ The history of the Church has proven this to be true.”17

Ezra T. Clark remembered: “I heard the Prophet Joseph say that he would give the Saints a key whereby they would never be led away or deceived, and that was: The Lord would never suffer a majority of this people to be led away or deceived by imposters, nor would He allow the records of this Church to fall into the hands of the enemy.”18

See (https://www.lds.org/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-27?lang=eng)

 

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6 hours ago, SpiritDragon said:

The linear logic seems to follow that if the Book of Mormon is true than Joseph Smith is a true prophet and the church is true. What assurances do we have specifically from Joseph Smith's time that the restored church would not be led away. What evidence do we have to support confidence in the notion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church restored through Joseph Smith and not a wild branch.

When confronted with this concept as far as dealing with fundamentalist groups and so on who also claim the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and prophet status of Joseph I typically find myself thinking of Joseph talking about how the church will fill North America and fill the world. To my knowledge only one LDS off-shoot does that and it is the mainstream Mormon church.

What other evidence can you think of to support the position that the church has not fallen away?

The only evidence that matters is that given by the Holy Ghost.

6 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Growth, by itself, proves nothing.  

Or course what @SpiritDragon is talking about is not growth by itself, but rather growth after a prophesy of growth. That still doesn't "prove" anything. But it is logical to conclude that if Joseph Smith said the church would fill North America then the only true branch of Joseph Smith's legacy is the one who fills North America. Of course this is still problematic because one who belonged to one of the smaller branch-off groups could easily believe that it was simply a prophecy that wasn't yet filled.

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7 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Growth, by itself, proves nothing. On the other hand, any church that bucks cultural trends (swims against the stream, so to speak) and still grows, gets my attention. 

 

1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Or course what @SpiritDragon is talking about is not growth by itself, but rather growth after a prophesy of growth. That still doesn't "prove" anything. But it is logical to conclude that if Joseph Smith said the church would fill North America then the only true branch of Joseph Smith's legacy is the one who fills North America. Of course this is still problematic because one who belonged to one of the smaller branch-off groups could easily believe that it was simply a prophecy that wasn't yet filled.

Indeed, growth alone proves nothing other than there is a need being met somehow. TFP is correct, the logic follows in growth following a prophesy of growth and is problematic as a stand alone because indeed other groups could one day also grow, perhaps even exceed the mainstream church's growth - although it seems unlikely it is a possibility.

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

The only evidence that matters is that given by the Holy Ghost.

While I can't disagree with this, it is useful to have other background information. A witness from the Holy Ghost regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is likely the bedrock of many a testimony. A further witness that the current church leadership is directing the kingdom with the correct authority is possibly a more difficult task. My concern is that any number of errors can be made in the name of following the Holy Ghost without sound teachings to guide those decisions.

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2 minutes ago, SpiritDragon said:

While I can't disagree with this, it is useful to have other background information. A witness from the Holy Ghost regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon is likely the bedrock of many a testimony. A further witness that the current church leadership is directing the kingdom with the correct authority is possibly a more difficult task. My concern is that any number of errors can be made in the name of following the Holy Ghost without sound teachings to guide those decisions.

I don't follow. If the Holy Ghost as a witness is unreliable in one matter then it is in the other. If it is reliable as a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon then it is reliable as a witness of the authority held by Thomas S. Monson. Rather, conversely, if any number of errors can be made in the name of following the Holy Ghost then why cannot the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon be one of those errors?

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Just now, The Folk Prophet said:

I don't follow. If the Holy Ghost as a witness is unreliable in one matter then it is in the other. If it is reliable as a witness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon then it is reliable as a witness of the authority held by Thomas S. Monson. Rather, conversely, if any number of errors can be made in the name of following the Holy Ghost then why cannot the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon be one of those errors?

It can be one of those errors. The Book of Mormon offers a definitive look at some critical fruit of the prophet Joseph Smith that lends to a strengthening of testimony concerning knowing he is a prophet by his fruits. The Book of Mormon contains a promise that the truthful seeker who sincerely prays will receive an affirmative answer as to its truthfulness. The thing is that each progression of faith needs to fit within the context of revealed truth. For instance if I believe the Bible is true and am praying about the Book of Mormon, it is helpful to know that the bible and Book of Mormon work together and are not contradictory to each other. Perhaps you are very fortunate that witnesses from the Holy Ghost are always clear. I've talked to many people where this is not the case. I'm not saying that the Holy Ghost isn't reliable, simply that it won't teach anything contrary to revealed truth. This is also not to say that the current church leadership is against any revealed truth that I'm aware of. I'm just curious what other evidences we have.

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I have posted this little story several times before on this subject and this forum – but since the question keeps being asked – I will tell it again.

A few years back I was doing work with the Federal Reserve Bank in Denver.  I like to learn as much as I can about things interesting to me and the Federal Reserve Bank is not an exception.  Following one of our project meetings I was talking with one of the Banks directors of the facility we were installing a new system.  My question was – is there a sure fire, never fail way to determine real money from counterfeit?  The manager responded with a very affirmative “Yes!”  But then he added that it is not what you think.

In a post on another thread I suggested that there is not much difference between seeking a sign and seeking a proof.   The answer to determine a counterfeit from a genuine plays into this very notion.  The manager pointed out that it is impossible to look at currency (money) and determine if it is genuine or a counterfeit.  In essence the manager said that whatever you think you are looking for is precisely what the expert will counterfeit.   A careful reading of scriptures would indicate that Satan enlisted to deceive Jesus was by trying to get Jesus to “prove” or show that he is the “Son of G-d”.   

I would make another note here that I am personally excited to see that @The Folk Prophetsuggested that instead of trying to prove that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is G-d’s restored “Kingdom” that we should rather ask G-d if it is his restored Kingdom and expect divine revelation through the Holy Ghost to settle the matter for us.

So how did the Federal Reserve directory say we can identify counterfeits?  He had me take out a dollar bill and show it to him.  He pointed out that the money was a “Federal Reserve Note”  and the title of “The United States of America.  Just below than on the left side t also says that the note is legal tender.  Then at the bottom of the note on the right side it has the signature for the Secretary of the Treasure.   It is that signature that validates the claim the money is valid.  So, to know if the money is genuine or counterfeit – the one and only way is to present the bill to the Secretary of the Treasure and ask if it is valid.  I was told it does not matter what other opinions there are or what others think is proven or not proven.  By LAW whatever the Secretary of the Treasure says is genuine or valid – that is genuine USA money.  Also, regardless what any expert says or regardless of what is written or proven by whatever means that are claimed to be proof – is all invalid and not true if the Secretary of the Treasure says the money is not valid.

It is also my opinion that contrary to all other claims concerning the truth of religion – the simple fact of life is that it is not to obligation of any man to prove or demonstrate what is of G-d or even what the scriptures say or do not say.  It is not the obligation of any messenger to validate, demonstrate or prove that G-d has sent them or speaks through them.  It is the obligation of each individual to ask, seek, knock and search out the truth by asking G-d what is true, genuine and not a counterfeit.  Those that seek validation from the person preaching any doctrine or point of doctrine are setting themselves up for being deceived.   Rather we are all obligated to seek out the source and ask G-d.  It has been my experience that at times the answer has been to study scripture, at other times to listen to the voice of prophets, at other times to listen to a wide variety of messengers and at times to think and ponder on my own – but always to validate and complete my understanding through the “Gift of the Holy Ghost”.

It does not matter who or what man or men we agree with or disagree with or what scripture we can quote or think we understand – what matters is that we seek truth from the source.

 

The Traveler

 

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8 minutes ago, Traveler said:

I would make another note here that I am personally excited to see that @The Folk Prophet suggested that instead of trying to prove that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is G-d’s restored “Kingdom” that we should rather ask G-d if it is his restored Kingdom and expect divine revelation through the Holy Ghost to settle the matter for us.

Excited?

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2 hours ago, Grunt said:

I don't see how there can be any current proof of anything, except through Christ and prayer.

 

1 hour ago, MormonGator said:

Exactly. You can't objectively "prove" it, that's why it's called faith. 

Just to be clear, I'm not asking anyone to prove anything. I'm just seeking the combined knowledge of forum participants in sharing evidence that the church as restored by Joseph Smith is the same church we have today in the mainstream LDS church. Clearly, it all backs up to faith in particular sources. For instance, the Isaiah 29 prophesy of the Professor Anton exchange with Joseph Smith doesn't prove that Joseph is a prophet, but it lends a lot of credibility to a story when it appears to have been foretold and involving players that wouldn't likely just be re-enacting the event to make it appear to match prophecy. 

I understand the importance of faith but would like help with quotes to the effect of how the priesthood authority has continued on in an unbroken chain since Joseph Smith, or teachings concerning the gospel being promised not to be again removed from the earth in the final dispensation of the fullness of times.

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15 hours ago, SpiritDragon said:

 

Just to be clear, I'm not asking anyone to prove anything. I'm just seeking the combined knowledge of forum participants in sharing evidence that the church as restored by Joseph Smith is the same church we have today in the mainstream LDS church. Clearly, it all backs up to faith in particular sources. For instance, the Isaiah 29 prophesy of the Professor Anton exchange with Joseph Smith doesn't prove that Joseph is a prophet, but it lends a lot of credibility to a story when it appears to have been foretold and involving players that wouldn't likely just be re-enacting the event to make it appear to match prophecy. 

I understand the importance of faith but would like help with quotes to the effect of how the priesthood authority has continued on in an unbroken chain since Joseph Smith, or teachings concerning the gospel being promised not to be again removed from the earth in the final dispensation of the fullness of times.

 

Actually the “Church” established by Joseph Smith Jr. is not exactly the same as the Ancient Church.   This is, in part, why the church includes the title of Latter-day Saints as part of it name – to distinguish it from the ancient church.  In addition, we live in the time prophesied in scripture that is known as the time of “Restoration of all things”. 

It is my personal observation that times are changing and we are entering a era where many in society are thinking new ideas are a threat.  It does seem to me that when I was growing up – more people were interested in learning about new things – especially in the LDS church.  It is seeming to me that more and more people are getting upset over new ideas.  Sure, when I was young there were anti-Mormons – but it seems to me that members are turning from seeking – if something is not part of their bubble of what they think – they will not consider it.

If someone is looking for G-d and his kingdom they will find more and more – each day, line upon line upon line and precept upon precept upon precept but as soon as they think they have found it – I belief they will become deceived thinking they know enough and their journey of truth has ended.  Anyone with a different idea becomes their enemy.  And so instead of talking about what they believe they find reason to fault what others believe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    

The Traveler

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13 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Let me be more clear in my questioning.

 

Why?

 

It means that I have misunderstood you in some previous discussions – and I can very easily fix that.  :)

                                                                                                                                                                                    

The Traveler

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You can't prove it, you say?

I have one thing to say to you:  "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon."  

To me, this is pretty strong evidence that the Book of Mormon is exactly what it purports to be.  

I know I would feel plenty nervous about leaving the Church, based on this alone (along with hebraisms in the Book of Mormon, wordprint studies, first century practices mysteriously and spontaneously popping up in the modern Church, details of Lehi's journey which correspond with Arabian geography, evidences of the ancient origins of the Pearl of Great Price, etc.)  How do you explain all of that if Joseph Smith was a fraud?  You cannot.

I know the importance of having a spiritual confirmation first, but I think there is plenty of non-spiritual proof out there that the Church is of divine origin (and by extension that God exists), if you are looking for it.

As far as I can tell, no other religion in the world has set forth a sacred book, such as the Book of Mormon, and has had that book proven so thoroughly through academic means.  

Edited by DoctorLemon

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23 minutes ago, DoctorLemon said:

You can't prove it, you say?

I have one thing to say to you:  "Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon."  

To me, this is pretty strong evidence that the Book of Mormon is exactly what it purports to be.  ...

Nope, not proof.  Anti-Mormons have a response to that too.  Not that I agree with them.  But it is only good for us, not them.

Edited by Carborendum

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EDIT:  OK I see what this thread is saying, assurances LDS is true and not FLDS or Community of Christ or Bickertonite or whoever.

Well, Jesus did say you could tell a false prophet by his fruits!

What are the fruits of these others?  There are either none or the fruits are bad (e.g. FLDS).  Meanwhile, the normal Church produces nothing but very, very good fruits through perfecting the saints, proclaiming the gospel, and redeeming the dead.

I think it is pretty obvious the Church is the correct continuation of the religion restored by Joseph Smith.  To assert otherwise, you have to explain two things: 1) prove that President Monson is a false prophet, even though the Church produces nothing but good fruit regularly (e.g. proclaiming the gospel, perfecting the saints, saving the dead, charity work, etc.) and Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 that you would recognize a false prophet or a true prophet by their fruits,and 2) that Warren Jeffs is a true prophet, even though his works have been nothing but evil (breaking up families, abusing children, breaking the law, etc.)  

I think everyone knows that only one Church claiming Joseph Smith as restorer stands out in its works, its ability to do good, and its ability to produce righteous, good people, and that is the LDS church.

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9 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

Nope, not proof.  Anti-Mormons have a response to that too.  Not that I agree with them.  But it is only good for us, not them.

I've read the anti-Mormon responses, that chiasmus, hebraisms, wordprint studies, etc. are all "chance"!  I think such responses are pathetic in the face of how overwhelming the evidence actually is, tantamount to sticking one's head in the sand, hoping that irrefutable evidence goes away (or refusal on the part of anti-Mormon writers to get too familiar with the subject matter at hand, in fear of being "converted", as happens ever so often!)  

The best anti-Mormon response was, "this proof is the work of the Devil".  Well, at least that explanation is not totally illogical... but then you have to reconcile the Church today with Matthew 7.  Where are all of the bad fruits?  Why are Mormons such good people?  Why is the Church making such a positive difference in the world?  Why is the Church keeping Christ at the forefront of the minds of millions, at a time when Christianity is dying in America?  

It simply doesn't make sense to say the Church is not true, no matter how you cut it.

Edited by DoctorLemon

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3 minutes ago, DoctorLemon said:

I've read the anti-Mormon responses, that chiasmus, hebraisms, wordprint studies, etc. are all "chance"!  

No, their response is even worse than that.  They say that Joseph Smith's personal writings also exhibit similar repetitive patterns.  So, apparently chiasmus was simply "Joseph Smith's Natural Language pattern."  They take that to be proof he was a false prophet.

I take that to mean that Prophets naturally speak in Hebraisms.  So, yeah, I'll buy that.

Edited by Carborendum

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10 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

No, their response is even worse than that.  They say that Joseph Smith's personal writings also exhibit similar repetitive patterns.  So, the apparently chiasmus was simply "Joseph Smith's Natural Language pattern."  They take that to be proof he was a false prophet.

I take that to mean that Prophets naturally speak in Hebraisms.  So, yeah, I'll buy that.

Then they run up against wordprint studies, which clearly show that the Book of Mormon was written by multiple people, none of whom match the writing style of Joseph Smith!

I also question if such anti-Mormons are aware of the scope of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.  I get the sense they think it is random verses here and there, a sentence or two here and a sentence or two there.  Folks, there are entire chapters (Alma 36, e.g.) that have very clear Chiasmus structures, spanning dozens of verses.  Such structure is not the result of one's writing style, but very carefully planned poetic writing that would be outside the realm of an uneducated schoolboy.

So arguing that chiasmus is merely a product of Joseph Smith's writing style is what we in law call a non-sequitur.  

Edited by DoctorLemon

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1 hour ago, DoctorLemon said:

I also question if such anti-Mormons are aware of the scope of chiasmus in the Book of Mormon.

Remember I'm on the same side here.  But there really is no such thing as "proof" by mortal means.  Remember truth is only obtained through the Spirit.

EXAMPLE:

When analyzing the most famous chiasmus in the BoM (Alma's story of his conversion) it seems almost irrefutable to me and you.  It is so long and formatted.  But you know what they point to?  

Instead of the common version we refer to which is perfectly parallel, they point to an alternate version that re-defines a couplet saying that this one line out of about 30 is out of order.  Therefore, that is proof it was not intended to be chiasmus or that it was imperfect chiasmus.  This, of course, proves that it is a false book.

** My give up **

No, the truth is that none of this matters unless you've already been opened up to the idea because you're received a witness of the Holy Ghost.  That's all.  There is no other proof of divine things other than the Holy Ghost.  One might try to prove the Bible to an atheist.  It just won't happen through mortal means.  The only way to convert is through the Holy Ghost.

There are even those who have been "convinced" by these mortal means.  But without the foundation of the Power of the Holy Ghost, they end up being the seeds that were choked out by weeds.  It simply isn't strong enough to keep one converted.

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