Answers to Critics' Questions About the Church of Jesus Christ
by Joel Hardy
The following are just a few of the questions that have been asked by many critics of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day Saints. Actually, many of these questions came from the article "Questions to Ask Your Bishop" by Ira T. Ransom. Other questions come from both members and non members of the Church.
I have attempted to answer these questions to the best of my ability, relying on the 4 Standard Works of the church(Bible, Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrine and Covenants), comments from others more knowledgeable than I, and from my own studies and understanding on the subjects. The answers are based on the opinions of many and in no way are meant to represent the official opinion of the church. My apologies to anyone who did not receive proper credit.
The purpose of this endeavor is for the benefit of those seeking the truth, not to convince any critics how wrong they are.
"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." Author unknown.
This page may be updated periodically, but most new questions I answer will most likely show up in the "Answers to Submitted Questions" page.
Last update: 15 March 2010
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Note: Journal of Discourses - Many critics' questions relate to quotations from the Journal of Discourses(JOD), which was a sixteen-page semimonthly subscription publication privately printed in Liverpool, England, in 1854-1886. It included articles written by twelve different authors who recorded the speeches, mostly in shorthand, as they were delivered from the pulpit by 55 different church leaders such as Brigham Young, John Taylor, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, George Q. Cannon and others. It has never served in the past as a source for official Church teachings or scripture. It reflects the personal feelings, opinions, and speculations of the writers and/or speakers of the time. Because of modern revelation and because of "line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept" progression, we now have information on some of the subjects that was not yet known when the Journal of Discourses was published.
Though the First Presidency endorsed the publication of the Journal there was no endorsement as to the accuracy or reliability of the contents. There were occasions when the accuracy was questionable. The accounts were not always cleared by the speakers because of problems of time and distance.
In the earlier days of the Restored Church, nearly all sermons were given extemporaneously, including those in the JOD. It was virtually unthinkable in nineteenth century Mormonism to give a memorized or pre-written sermon. The early Saints felt that they should preach strictly by the Spirit. Elder Orson Pratt noted, sometimes he – and probably other speakers – gave sermons when their “mind[s] seemed to be entirely closed up....” Recalling such an incident, Pratt remarked, “What few words I could stammer forth before a congregation, were altogether unsatisfactory to my own mind, and I presume to those who heard me.”
Little wonder that some things in the Journal of Discourses seem out-of-place in what we currently know of Gospel principles.
It was not an official Church publication nor has it ever been a source for official Church doctrine.
The Nature of God and Eternal Progression
Pre-mortal life and Heaven
Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price
Prophets, Prophecy and Revelation
Grace, Works and Salvation
Satan, Sin, and Hell
General Church Doctrine
Is the Church of Jesus Christ a cult?
President Gordon B. Hinckley's answers to the most commonly asked questions.
17 Little Known Truths About the Mormons (My response to the anti-Mormon tract, "17 Little Known Facts about the Mormons")
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Other Apologetics Sites:
Gospel Topics - Answers to questions
Ask Mormon Girl - Joanna Brooks
Restored Apologetics videos
Jeff Lindsay's Answers to frequent questions about LDS Beliefs
New Jerusalem - Book of Mormon Answerman
Response to Mormon Critics
All About Mormons
Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research (FAIR)
One Minute Answers by Stephen R. Gibson
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